Things I Wish I Had Known, Part II: The Embarrassing Stuff

In my previous post, I covered a lot of topics that I considered to be “things I wish I had known” when I started playing DDO… even with a lot of pen and paper background.  That post was geared more towards the new player as a bit of general advice;  this one is for the vets, who I’m sure will enjoy pointing and laughing at my colossal failures as an early player.

 


 

Melees:  Pick a combat style and stick with it.

 

When I first started playing DDO, I had just finished replaying a dwarf character in Dragon Age: Origins,  who was a dual-wielder of longswords.  In DDO, I decided to go with bastard swords, because why not go big or go home?  For some reason, I had completely forgotten about the Two Weapon Fighting feat line, and without it and its associated penalty reductions, I couldn’t hit squat.  And by “squat,” I mean, “still unable to reliably hit a beholder in a level 12 quest on Normal difficulty due to the fact your paladin is suffering obscene penalties due to dual-wielding without the appropriate feats and sporting oversized weapons in both hands.”  I still, to this day, swear that he missed a barrel on a 17.  It was proper humiliating.. and after playing Invaders! for the first time and crawling away from the catastrophic train wreck, Thol switched over to Two-Handed Fighting and started swinging a great axe.  He hasn’t looked back since.

 


 

Avoid multiclassing right away… on your main, at least.

 

I was lucky enough to dodge this bullet in the sense that I didn’t do anything too crazy on my mains.. for a while, at least.  My first multiclass toons were abysmal failures – I think the worst was adding two cleric levels to my Fire Savant sorcerer so that “he could wear heavy armor and heal himself.”  Sure, he could put the armor on, but then he couldn’t cast for squat (due to arcane spell failure) or heal for squat (due to only having Cure Light Wounds and no Devotion items).  Yes, let us become lousy at both jobs!  Huzzah!

It wasn’t until I was planning on doing the Druid past life for Tubbs’ Heroic Completionist that I did something way far out.. and my TR buddy at the time did the same.  Having established a solid rapport wherein I was the front line aggro management and he was the rear line necro/support caster, some (likely heavily intoxicated) part thought it would be fun if we switched roles!  So his main became a toaster paladin and mine became a casty monk/druid and by level 7 both of us had decided it would be best if we just waited for Otto’s Boxes to come on sale and work on alts in the meantime.  Which is exactly what we did.

 


 

Demo your next build, especially if it’s multi-classed.

 

Oh, man, I can’t stress how many times this has saved my hide.  My biggest hose-up is failing to change the alignment at character creation and then suddenly being unable to level up into the class I need to pick.  Or forgetting that Single Weapon Fighting requires invested ranks in Balance.  If I were to point out the biggest failure on this part, it would be the time I was supposed to do a Bard/Fighter life for a character, and started as a Purple Dragon Knight… forgot to change the alignment, and then circa level 7 when I went to take my first Bard level, discovered I had hosed up the entire life, since Bards cannot be Lawful.  D’oh!

Or, let’s see, there’s that time I was supposed to bring some druid into my war cleric build, who was Chaotic Good, and suddenly I now had yet another cleric life to finish since I didn’t have the points at the time for an alignment change.

Most recently, I had this crazy idea for an Intelligence-based deep gnome “bardificer” which I demo-ed.. focused on using Light Hammers to capitalize on the racial benefits as well as the Battle Engineer damage bonuses.  Everything sounded great on paper, until I realized after the first demo quest trial that I’d completely castrated it by failing to include more than the bare minimum of Charisma or Perform.. which turned all of the bard abilities effectively useless.  The redeeming part is, it was a demo toon, so I can take it back to the drawing board without having to grind it all out!

 


 

Be prepared for “The Big Four.”

 

This could be an entire article on its own.  So I’ll just summarize the most traumatizing points, here:

  • That time when my dwarf maulfighter didn’t have any Lesser Restoration pots and because Charisma was a dump stat had to flee from the Quori Stalkers that were eating his Charisma in The Prisoner and slowly chip away at them one or two swings at a time while I cried into my whiskey
  • That time when my dwarf fire savant sorcerer went into the Haunted Library for the first time and the very first thing the very first Clay Golem did was punch him in the face with a Cursed Wound and while he couldn’t heal he kept trying to push through the quest until the Blackbone Skeletons that are immune to fire pointed and laughed and mocked him to death while he still couldn’t heal
  • Those half-dozen times or more where I ignored the messages from Pernicioius and Virulent Mummy Rot and said “it’s only a point or two” until suddenly I was helpless in the middle of the fight with Raiyum and his posse of Death Hex Wraiths who thought I was a right proper tasty morsel (though, truthfully, this is a combination of Resto, Curse, and Disease)
  • The first time I was in heroic Jungles of Khyber (back in the days I still PUGged regularly) and a drow Luridae Seer struck my paladin with Blindness for over ten minutes and I asked the party cleric who had ran ahead and they replied with “sucks to be you.”  So that’ll never happen again…

 


 

Immunity doesn’t always mean impunity.

 

So when I got to level 9 as a druid and saw the Venom Immunity feat granted, I was so super psyched I ran straight through a wall of poison traps like all the toasters were doing and immediately dissolved into a puddle of first-life patheti-goo.  That was when I noticed the words “damage from natural poisons,” not, “immune to poison.”  A very, very important distinction.  One which I should have known, having come from the P&P background where such loopholes are all-too-common.

On the other hand, I did get my revenge a few levels later when I ran through the walls of venom traps in Against the Demon Queen as a fire elemental who actually was immune to poison, so, there’s a small glimmer of redemption in this one.

 


 

Melees:  Have an ooze/rusty solution.

 

So back when I first started… I mean very first started, as in still playing quests on Normal the very first time and exploring every nook and cranny.. I ran into my very first ooze in Durk’s Got a Secret and in my excitement, forgot about their Corrode Metal attributes from pen & paper.  At the time, I had a handful of assorted (crappy) lootgen weapons and starter gear – remember, this is the first time through! – and watched in abject horror as they all dissolved into proto-paste and I wound up mostly-naked punching slime to death.  Yeah, don’t do that.  Even when you finally survive the fight, you’re left standing in a sewer with nothing left, scratching your head, thinking to yourself, “well, now what?”

So of course I tried to continue the quest.  Guess what?  Angry kobold shaman don’t really care that you’re effectively unarmed and trying to punch them to death.  They’ll pump you full of volts from a nasty Lightning Bolt just the same.

 


 

Hang on to that returning throwing weapon…

 

So in spite of Tholgrin being my main, my nom de plume, and the first character created on pretty much every D&D/fantasy game I’ve ever played in the past two decades, he wasn’t my first character to hit level 20 or even explore most of the quests.  That honor goes to Kiljoen Lorebringer, a sorcerer – gasp! – who was a fire savant.  And yeah, he ran crashing and screaming into a mess as soon as it came time for Shavarath and Epics.  The worst of it all was in the quest Blown to Bits, most specifically, the Iron Fire Bomber optional.  If you’re not familiar, this cat has an obscene amount of hit points, has 50% absorption to all elemental energy damage, is super-charged by fire (yay for me), and drops demolition charges that can blow you out of existence without so much as a by-your-leave.  Luckily, there’s a resurrection shrine in his room.

Me being a stubborn type, after the first… um, seven or eight deaths.. decided that it was a personal thing and that this fool was going down.  It took two hours and thirty-six minutes, during which time I was completely naked, and the only real weapon I had during that time was kiting and firing off a Magic Missile every time I generated enough spell points from Echoes of Power. The entire time, I couldn’t help but think how this situation would have been a little bit easier if I’d not left the Chill Shard in the bank because it wasn’t “on brand” for my fire savant.  In retrospect, it wouldn’t have helped in that particular fight due to his insane DR, but the scar remains.

For the record, that fight ended with eighty-six deaths.  I said I was stubborn.

 


 

So there you have it, a few of the silly things I did when I first started, and some of the reasons for the suggestions I’ve previously made.  Hopefully you got a giggle or at least a commiserating chuckle out of it!

 

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Things I Wish I Had Known

Chatting with a buddy of mine recently had us waxing nostalgic about some of the mistakes we used to make when we had first started playing DDO.  Odds are likely, if you’re a veteran of the game, this post may give you some giggles; otherwise, it’s geared mostly towards new players to perhaps lend some advice.

Boring Disclaimer: as with any “opinions and suggestions” type piece, the following thoughts are just that, and not ironclad instructions that must be followed under penalty of death.  Or are they?

I have no idea how this will be organized, so let’s just dive right in.

 


 

Melees:  Pick a combat style and stick with it.

With the exception of extreme end-game uber-calculations (which we aren’t going into), there are merits and drawbacks to each of the major combat styles.  Once you have your character concept in mind, and have decided on a combat style – Single Weapon, Two Weapon (also unarmed for Monks), Sword & Board, or Two Handed – it’s typically best to stick with it.  In general, that means picking a weapon category as well, and plan on taking the appropriate feats.

So, typically, one of the following sets of feats:

  • Single Weapon Fighting -> Improved Single Weapon Fighting -> Greater Single Weapon Fighting
  • Two Weapon Fighting -> Improved Two Weapon Fighting -> Greater Two Weapon Fighting
  • Two Handed Fighting -> Improved Two Handed Fighting -> Greater Two Handed Fighting
  • Shield Mastery -> Improved Shield Mastery and Improved Shield Bashing

 

And one of the following feats, appropriate to the chosen weapon type:

  • Improved Critical: Bludgeoning
  • Improved Critical: Piercing
  • Improved Critical: Slashing

 

If it seems unbearable to account for four feats on your build, load it up with as many as you can.  The increased combat effectiveness for a fully-fledged master of their combat style compared to the alternative is phenomenal.  Rangers are lucky in the sense they get most of their two-weapon line for free.

 


 

Avoid multiclassing right away… on your main, at least.

Generally speaking, my typical advice to new players is “Don’t multiclass until you know what you’re doing,” with a follow-up statement of “if you asked if you know what you’re doing, you don’t, yet.”  This applies mostly to striking out and creating your own builds – of course, following an established build that someone else has already researched and tested (not theorycrafted) is an entirely different animal.

Most notably when it comes to multiclassing is that it can either go phenomenally well or phenomenally poorly, depending on how well it was planned, and – for characters just beginning their careers who don’t have a lot of past lives behind their belt – how well it synergizes together.  A 50+ past life toon can get away with a lot more than a first- or second-lifer, and when it comes to highly complicated builds, that can result in heavy collapses.

On the other hand, half of what you will learn is from failed experiments.  By all means, go forth and create a halfling Dexterity-based heavy armor fighter-wizard swinging a great axe while (attempting to) throw Magic Missiles.  Just don’t do it on your main, which can create a foul environment where you feel that you have to play a disastrous build just to progress.  Create a “disposable hero” for that whimsy… and be prepared to have fun with it.  Which leads me right into…

 

 


 

Demo your next build, especially if it’s multi-classed.

As tempting as it is to jump right into that next life you’ve been salivating over, it can be wise to not do it immediately.  This is particularly true if it’s already late at night, as for some complex builds, one mis-click at an early level can send a large amount of things for later levels swirling in disarray.  The easy way to prevent this?

Try and keep one character slot free for demo toons*.  By the time you have reached level 20, odds are likely you’ve unlocked enough favor to build Veteran Status II toons – commonly called “vet-7” since they start at level 7 – and almost guaranteed enough for vet-4.  As these are once-per-server unlocks, you don’t have to keep doing it on every life.  Even better is if you have access to one of the Iconic races, which allow you to start at level 15, along with coming with some (mediocre) gear to help with the demonstration process.

Bear in mind, many times when you build a demo toon, you’re not going to be anywhere close to full potential.  Go ahead and put your demo toon into some content where they’re going to be underprepared – historically, I’ve used The Lords of Dust for this on Iconic demos.  (Yes, walking into effective level 18 at level 15, intentionally.  -Ed.)  The purpose for this is to catch yourself and make note of common pitfalls in multiclass builds that you may not have thought about already, such as:

 

  • Alignment restrictions – did you accidentally make your druid/monk neutral good instead of lawful neutral? Can’t take monk any more!
  • Class restrictions – did you completely forget about Arcane Spell Failure on that Favored Soul/Sorcerer idea?
  • Spreading yourself too thin – does this build require so many Action Points to come online that it won’t be ready until 21? Perhaps that should be reevaluated..
  • Feat requirements – are you actually going to meet the requirements for the feats you need at the levels you want to take them at?
  • Gearholes – do I have the appropriate pieces of gear available, or are there holes I need to account for?
  • Are there any take-aways I need to address before building this for real?

 

It may seem like a lot of work, but investing 2-3 hours in a demo toon can save twenty to thirty levels of pain, if you do find yourself catching an “oops.”

*Also, don’t forget – even if you don’t have a slot free on your current server (which is ideal, as you still have access to all of your BtA goodies) – there are still plenty of other servers to “experiment” on.

 


 

Be prepared for “The Big Four.”

Potions of Lesser Restoration.  Potions of Curse Removal.  Potions of Remove Disease.  Potions of Blindness Removal.  Even if your chosen class cannot cast the spells inherently, there are potions for sale at various vendors across Stormreach;  ideally, grab the potions at the Guild Potion Vendor in House K to score a discount.  (The guild ones seem to be less likely to explode, too.  -Ed.)  Most of my characters that can even inherently cast “The Big Four” as spells carry a stack of the potions as well, for when the feces collides with the air circulator.

Each one of the conditions these readily available potions fixes can cripple your toon.

 

  • Stat damage can leave your toon in a “helpless” state where they are unable to take any actions whatsoever and, in addition, suffer additional incoming damage. Stat damage is the most common of The Big Four and happens all the time in higher level content.
  • Minor curses only cause a -4 penalty to everything (attacks, skills, and saves). That’s bad, but severe curses can prevent you from receiving incoming healing.  The nastiest ones, inflicted by the Cursed Wound effect, have no maximum duration and last until you can get to a rest shrine or the curse is removed.
  • Diseases run the gamut from mildly annoying to devastating, particularly if your saving throws aren’t exactly stellar. If you plan on venturing into mummy territory, carry both Curse Removal and Remove Disease potions or effects.
  • Blindness can easily be negated by certain gear effects or a Topaz of Blindness Immunity; however, without it and venturing on your own, you may find yourself failing a saving throw and getting nailed with it. The first time you’re in a drow level and get struck with blindness that has a ten-minute duration with no solution will be the last time you’ll ever let that happen.  It sucks.

 

If you’re a party-going type, there are also wands for The Big Four you can get.  Wands have the added advantage of being able to bestow the effect on others; several of the potions state they have a “pour spout for application to friends,” but that is a dodgy effort at best.  Wands are also cheaper (a single wand of 50 charges costs about half as much as a stack of 50 potions), but require the removal of your weapon to use, and are also prone to breaking from combat damage.

 


 

Immunity doesn’t always mean impunity.

Folks that come from a background of the pen & paper game, particularly the 3rd edition which DDO is based off of, are already well and familiar with this particular loophole.

Anytime something is listed with an immunity to status effects, it usually comes with a clarification, such as immunity to natural poisons.  That doesn’t mean that the character is immune to all poisons.

DDO (and the pen & paper game) have three tiers of classifications for poisons, diseases, and some other effects:  Natural, Magical, and Supernatural.  Generally speaking, as one moves up the tiers, the effects become nastier;  immunity to natural diseases, for example, is a relatively minor bonus, as it is the Magical and Supernatural diseases which cause the most headache and problems.  The same goes for poisons, as well – you can be immune to natural poisons, but that won’t save you from getting paralyzed by Drow Weapon Poison.

In other words, before you get too excited about seeing the word “immunity,” double-check to make sure there isn’t a clarification next to it.

 


 

Constitution is not a dump stat.  Repeat:  Constitution is not a dump stat.

When creating a build, the term “dump stat” is used to refer to an attribute which has been either largely or totally ignored in order to allow points to be applied to other attributes.  For example, a player designing a pure brute fighter might ignore Intelligence in favor of focusing on more physical statistics.

Constitution, however, is not a dump stat.  Constitution measures how physically solid and resilient your character is, as well as determining your total number of hit points (staying alive is good) and your Fortitude saving throws, which is frequently used in saving throws versus deadly or crippling effects (staying alive is good).

In short, staying alive is good.  Your DPS when dead is exactly zero.  You can heal nothing when dead and disable no traps when dead.  Constitution is not a dump stat.  If there is only one piece of advice you take away from this article, this should be it.  Can I repeat it a few more times?

 


 

Melees:  Have an ooze/rusty solution.

Nothing will wreck your day faster than being unprepared when you turn the corner and see a pair of Grey Oozes slithering their way towards you with intent to glop all over your weapons and armor.  Ideally, you’ll have an Everbright version of your chosen build’s favored weapon, but that ideal scenario may be a far time in coming.  Farming Durk’s Got a Secret for a Muckbane (or two!) is a good alternative.

Some options if you don’t have Muckbane and are encountering oozes and/or rusties:

 

  • First things first: Just because a weapon has Ooze Bane on it does not make it immune to ooze/rusty damage.  Ooze bane just makes it deal additional damage to the target creature type.  A steel sword of ooze bane will still be powder in a few swings.
  • Handwraps do not take damage from oozes/rusties. It won’t be efficient if you’re not a monk, but your real weapons will be intact.
  • Ranged weapons suffer no damage from oozes or rusties, but cause most types of oozes to split into smaller versions. While this increases the number of combatants, it is still preferable to risking the destruction of your primary weapon in a bad situation.
  • Sun Flasks, while consumables, utterly annihilate oozes at low levels (in many cases one-shotting oozes on Elite through level 3 content). Don’t buy them from the DDO Store until you check with friends and guildies as they are typically available in vast abundance during and after Festivult.
  • Wooden weapons do not take additional damage from rusties, but it does not make them immune to normal weapon wear and tear.
  • Oozes can still damage wooden weapons and shields, but it is still advisable to use “disposable” wooden weapons on an ooze as opposed to your very valuable primary weapon.
  • Not all quarterstaves are wood. Be sure to check the material type before potentially feeding your opponent a snack.
  • Extreme Caution and/or Panic is advisable for unprepared Warforged dealing with Rust Monsters. Rust Monster Stun can stun toasters for 6 seconds, creating the helpless condition for bonus damage on top of the bonus damage already dealt by Rust Monsters.  This effect can stunlock your toaster until his/her/other demise.
  • Alternately, hide behind the ranged DPS/caster and whimper periodically.

 

 


 

Hang on to that returning throwing weapon…

For builds that aren’t explicitly dealing in ranged DPS, it may seem silly (at first) to have a returning throwing weapon.  You’ll thank me (or whomever gave you the suggestion beforehand) later.

First of all, there are plenty of enemies you just can’t reach (or reach right away) without a ranged weapon.  In addition, there are places where you need to be able to strike a target lever in another part of the room – granted, in many of these, there’s a breakable nearby with a bow and 10 (!!) arrows, just in case, but that doesn’t always happen.  And, in the case of the above comment, a returning throwing weapon is great to have while kiting a pack of oozes that hunger for your flesh (and armor) if you haven’t found an Everbright or glass weapon.

For casters, it’s mostly nice just to be able to contribute something if you run out of blue bar and while you’re waiting for Echoes of Power to fill you back up.  Sure, it might not be much, but “not much” is greater than zero.

And, finally, you never have to bother with ammo.  (Primary ranged DPS builds can typically summon their own.)

 


 

Casters:  You can Metamagic each of your spells independently.

Generally speaking, putting the metamagic feat on your hotbar and turning it on for everything is a recipe to have an empty blue bar.  Instead, right-click the individual spell you want to crank up and use the options there to toggle any or all of the metamagics for that spell independently of the rest of your other spells.  That way you can have an Ultimate Panic Button copy of Heal with all of your Empowers and Quickens on, and then a “less critical” version for general use… or just pick and choose which spells get boosted.

And a friendly reminder – your Spell-Like Abilities can always be metamagicked for no additional spell point cost.  It’s a general consensus that every SLA should have every available metamagic turned on at all times.  After all, it’s free, why not crank it?

 


 

Oddly, be happier about Medium Eberron Dragonshards than Larges.

You can check out the entire list of trade-ins and locations on the wiki, but my personal list of favorites are the experience elixirs and the Shard Trinket of Greater Restoration.  The trinket is essentially a 20-charge clicky with no minimum level and no UMD requirement, which makes it an amazing resource to have when things go pear-shaped.  There are plenty of other options, as well, including a Shard Trinket of Mnemonic Enhancement which might catch a few casters’ eyes.  What is strange is the best turn-ins are hoarded around Medium Eberron Dragonshard Fragments, not the Large ones – your options for Large turn-ins are:

 

So don’t be sad next time you pull a Medium Eberron Dragonshard fragment and your buddy pulls a Large.  You got the better deal.

Also of note – at the end of each turn-in is a logic puzzle which hands out a reward if you get it correct.  The bonus is pretty lukewarm, at best, so don’t panic too much if you can’t figure it out (or skip it entirely).

 


 

So that’s about all I can come up with off the top of my head for the Things I Wish I Had Known when I started playing the game.  Next time, I’ll spill the beans on the embarrassing stories that led to these little enlightenments!

The Most Loneliest Component

Primary casters in DDO have long been used to stocking up on loads of spell components and have a wide variety of means to ensure they don’t run out mid-fight – which is always an awkward situation.  Even secondary casters are known to keep a healthy stock for the exact same reasons.

There are, however, one group of components which you can fork into the garbage can forever.  I’m looking at you, druids, with your brand-new pass that just came out (although this has made me giggle for years, now).

A full level 20 druid has enough spell slots to keep the entire level 9 spellbook prepared at all times.  And at 10pp a pop, our good friend Sprig of Sacred Mistletoe looks like he’d be expensive.  (Or she, or other, I’m not judging.)  On the other hand, let’s take a look at all of the level 9 Druid spells…

And that’s the entire level 9 spell list.  There is an entire level of spells, for which a component has been created, a use for which does not exist.  Now, it’s frequent for me, as a front-line divine who doesn’t typically cast offensive spells on my Clerics (melee Warpriests) and Favored Souls (melee Warpriests) and multi-classes thereof (still melee Warpriests) to have entire spell levels of spells I choose to take that don’t require components.  But that’s just what I am selecting, which by happenstance does not require it.

This, on the other hand, is an entire spell level where the only way to consume the components is to either throw them away, sell them, or have them blown up in a hostile Delayed Blast Fireball.  So the next time you’re at a reagent vendor and stocking up on Druid bits and bobs, skip buying level 9 components.  You’ll never need them.*

 

*Until Standing Stone reads this post and retrofits one of the spells to require material components.

 

 

Don’t Knock the Scroll (Or Do)

Recently, I went through my small army of characters in order to ensure that each of them was already in possession of a Mantle of the Worldshaper and a Voice of the Master in preparation for creating a whole slew of Master’s Gifts.  The result was a slew of running the Delera’s Tomb and Ruins of Threnal story arcs on a number of toons in a very short period of time.

In the process, I was reminded just how much time can be saved in the Abandoned Excavation (part three) of the Threnal storyline by simply having the ability to pick a mild-DC’ed lock, so that you don’t have to go hunting down the randomly-placed Silver Key, which (if you’re unlucky, and I always seem to be) can waste a lot of time and absolutely kill your speed run.

To that end – yes, I promise, there is a point! – I tracked down some Knock scrolls in the Marketplace arcane scroll vendor’s inventory.  Of course, there are wands which drop with higher Caster Levels (the most frequent one I see is 10th), but at the time, there weren’t any available on the Auction House and I was too lazy to bother looking for one in my Buy Back tab.  Or anywhere else, for that matter.

Armed with this amazing Caster Level 3 Knock scroll, I sent my Spellbuckler (or is it Swashsinger?) bard back to Threnal to try and scroll the lock… and while I was dismayed it didn’t work, I was simultaneously cracked up that the Open Lock roll for this (admittedly readily available) scroll was only +3.

Plus three!!  A well-built first-life level 1 rogue using Rusty Thieves’ Tools can easily roll triple that!  (+4 for Skill rank, +3 for Attribute bonus [only requires 16 Dex], +2 for Rusty Thieves’ Tools = +9.  -Ed.)  Scrolling +3 is a joke!

And so, it became a point of interest, a pseudo-academic exercise, if you will, in order to find exactly where the “break point” of these scrolls’ effectiveness was.  It was clearly earlier than the Ruins of Threnal’s level-10 third arc.  But where, exactly, did it fall?

So, armed with a stack of 100 freshly-purchased scrolls, I sent my bard off in search of where they failed.

ScreenShot01723

My hypothesis was that they would work on the locked door at the end of Necromancer’s Doom and not much else.  A handful of folks on Twitter seemed to agree, with the general consensus to my flippant announcement that I might make a ‘comprehensive list’ saying that it would be a very, very short list.

ScreenShot01724

Success on a 1.  This is ruining my hypothesis.

Well, Necromancer’s Doom managed to succeed on a 1.  With Knock’s +3 bonus, that means the DC for this lock is 4 or less.  According to the wiki page I literally just found while typing this sentence, the suspected DC is 1.  Supported.

ScreenShot01726

The next one that I could think of was the pair of locked doors in the “trap route” of Sunken Sewer.  This was successful on a 17;  according to the wiki information log, the break point is 16.  Which means the scroll would succeed on a 13, or 65% of the time.  Not too bad, yet.

ScreenShot01727

Success on the second door in The Sunken Sewer.

ScreenShot01728

Still.  Not.  Failing.  Ugh!

Moving up to level 3 content, the next one that stood out was the locked door at the end of The Swiped Signet.  This quest has a habit of making my right eye twitch due to the Quickfoot Casters’ obsession with casting Sleet Storm at every possible opportunity.  The wiki says the DC for this door is 8, which I succeeded with my scroll on a 9 (+3), so there you go.  Hasn’t failed yet… ugh.

Bear in mind, I’m also not going through each and every single lock, but roughly one-quest-per-level just as a silly experiment.

ScreenShot01731

Ah-HA!  Failure!

I was drawing a blank at level 4 and 5 quests with locks that were a) readily accessible and b) not already part of a multi-part quest arc, so I jumped up to level 6 with Mirra’s Sleepless Nights.  (You can already tell I’m a very thorough scholar of pointless information, can’t you?)  Unsurprisingly, the chest in the first room with undead spawning in it failed on an 18 (+3);  however, the second chest with the cold trap actually opened with an identical roll.  I went through a bunch of scrolls on the first chest to roll higher than an 18, since theoretically, a 19 would have unlocked it, but ran out of patience first.

ScreenShot01733

Darn… it worked.  On half the chests.

The second chest in Mirra’s Sleepless Nights with a slightly lower DC.

ScreenShot01735

And finally, the desired result!

Finally, I came to the next lock on my list, which was in The Forgotten Caverns as part of the standard House Kundarak Locksmith’s Square favor quest bunch.  While not technically a “real lock” since there’s a key in a box about thirty yards away, I still gave it a shot, anyway.  And failed on a 20 (+3).  According to the wiki, failed miserably, too, since its suspected DC range is 32-47 (31 failed, 47 succeeded).  Not even remotely close.

ScreenShot01736

45 Scrolls of Knock were wasted in this experiment.

So there you have it, folks, the door that finally broke the scroll.  Granted, there were plenty of locks I skipped, but this was an exercise in (mostly) silliness and real-world application and not a full-on inquiry.  In short, the take-away is that while Scrolls of Knock are not inherently useless, they do lose their functionality circa level 6 content (on Elite).

Plus, I got a blog post out of it with a bunch of pretty (?) pictures, so there.

Proposed Perversity

Lately, I’ve been finding myself making what I’ve started calling “perverse” builds.  Things that shouldn’t work, or are just plain silly, or doing things specifically for the sake of doing things instead of going for what works already and what’s proven successful.

The most recent completed entry in this list is Adipostal’s current life, as a scimitar-wielding (because I hadn’t made a scimi build yet) wizard (because I haven’t played one in ages) with a small shield (to prove my own biased opinions that small shields were pointless wrong) who could front-flip (because a buddy of mine had made his toaster arti backflip, and I can’t not one-up that) that wasn’t a Bladeforged (because reasons) that could trap (because 30% free XP and why not).  That bizarre list of criteria wound up being the Warforged 13 Wiz/6 Ftr/2 Rog speed-striking monster with a massive crit profile with shield bashing and… oddly became one of my more enjoyable toons to play, once I figured out how to make it work for me.

My current project is an Aasimar scourge, purely Wisdom-based (thanks to half Favored Soul levels), dual-wielding heavy maces, going up the Tempest ranger tree with a heavy splash into Warpriest (I refuse to call it ‘war soul’) to double-up on the deity weapon damage, and a splash of rogue to keep the trapping up.  It’s holding sixteen at the moment and thus far appears to be quite an enjoyable little bucket of what-the-heck.  However, it’s not scratching my perverse build itch, since it’s still heavily focused on Warpriest, and as War Divines are kind of my thing, it’s not that unusual.

So, lately, I’ve taken to thinking out loud about some things I wanted in this next bout of strangeness:

  • A falchion build – because I’ve never done one before, and the collection of unused ones is getting a bit ridiculous, and it should actually go Strength-based for once
  • No divines or monks – because I’ve done loads, they’re proven successful, and it needs new and twisted
  • No dwarves – I’ve only played like 10,492 dwarf lives already. (Okay, it was only 108. -Ed.)  I will never speak ill of my stumpy brethren, but it needs to be new and twisted
  • No iconics – gotta start in K-town to get the full experience
  • Don’t care about Reaper with a silly build, but still needs to be self-sufficient in Elite
  • Most importantly, it has to make someone go ‘why the..’ when they look at the build

In order to address all of these concerns, I worked in reverse.  Starting with the thought something that would immediately catch your eye, I came up with a melee artificer that doesn’t use a rune arm.  Because, you can’t use a rune arm with a falchion, as it’s a two-hander.  So that was a great start.

But self healing?  Warforged is too obvious.  There are loads of new options in the Renegade Mastermaker tree, and with recent changes to Improved Construct Essence allowing full self-healing from Repair sources at level 12, that’s an option.  Taking Artificer to 15 grants access to Reconstruct, which is more than sufficient to crank out massive repair-based healing.

So, what, then?  Clearly this line of thinking is going fleshy.  But as I’ve already set aside, my beloved dwarves are out of the question.  A half-orc with a two-handed weapon is – even though the class is wrong – still far too cliché for it to be considered perverse.  Halfling?  No, I already have a few of those.  Gnome?  Perhaps, but that leans a bit too much to going Intelligence-based in the Harper tree, and I don’t want it to be a non-standard ability score (because at this point, going standard ability score is almost counter-culture).  What about… a drow?

Drow have no racial inclinations towards falchions (bonus), they tend to lean more towards Dexterity builds in melee combat (bonus), and have little to no synergy with a front-line Artificer.  I think we have a winner!

So putting everything together, I’ve come up with…

  • Drow, possibly Envenomed Blades if enough points?
  • Front-line melee, Falchion user, Strength based, no rune arm
  • Shuriken for ranged damage solution (specifically because it’s not a crossbow)
  • Heavy Armor, but still tumbling, because backflipping heavy armor arti, that’s why
  • No Evasion because no evasion on purpose
  • Improved Construct Essence for self-healing and toaster benefits while still fleshy
  • 16 Artificer for access to Reconstruct + Deadly Weapons (both 6th level spells)
  • Artificer focusing on Renegade Mastermaker for defense and party benefits
  • 4 Fighter for Kensei bonuses and free feats (yeah, yeah, low hanging fruit, I’m cheating a little bit)
  • No clue what Destiny to go in yet

That’s what I’ve got thus far.  Well, and a whole chest full of falchions waiting to be used.  Let me know what you think.

Flirting with Insanity

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a pretty severe case of alt-itis.  And it’s not just a case of having several toons to bounce between, but having a small army of fully-geared and stacked toons that drives me to cozy up with madness.

Take, for example, the “Checklist” which I’ve been working on for two years, now.

Checklist

To the folks seeing this for the first time, this just looks like a wall of black dots.  For those that have been following along, this means that the only things preventing this particular fit of obsession from being completed are farming a Mysterious Bauble and two Shards of Supreme Power for Adipostal, the “Wizard” extraordinaire.  (In related news, Adi marked having successfully soloed The Shroud with every class.)  Which isn’t much, although the RNGezus deity of my home server appears to know this is driving me insane and keeping the drop rates out of reach intentionally.

That Checklist took a lot of farming and grinding to accomplish.  Heck, the column for pulling twenty-one Cursed Blades of Jack Jibbers alone took over two years.  But the satisfaction in knowing that any toon I log into has a safety net is quite grin-inducing.  On the other hand, it’s almost done, so what is going to take up my next flirtation with insanity?  Leveling and reincarnating alone isn’t nearly enough.

So, for the first time on this blog (and perhaps my Twitter account, as well), I present to you, dear reader (all two of you!) the Seriously EPOS Bonus Checklist!

EPOS Checklist

So what does all this mean?

MM Solution means the character has some form of counter to Magic Missiles, be it as simple as a Mystic Belt from Bring Me The Head of Ghola-Fan!  or an innately cast spell (Shield and Nightshield).  Other solutions exist, such as enhancements which provide the permanent effects of the above spells, or in the case of Occult Slayer barbarians, the level 18 core ability Force Ward.  With U38 came the option for Renegade Mastermaker artificers to emulate the effects as well with the second core, Alchemical Shield.

Teleport is pretty self-explanatory.  Can the character cast a Teleport effect, either inherently, via scroll, or does he have a clicky?  Royal Guard Masks are valid for this requirement, as is the Belt of Braided Beards, even though the latter has a pretty steep level requirement.

Draconic Soul Gem is a little more loose;  in short, does the character have a minimum of 30 elemental resistance (without guild buffs, which I still don’t use) for Acid, Cold, Electric, and Fire?  (Sonic, as the red-headed step-child of the energy types, gets a pass.)  This is most easily accomplished with the augment of the same name (hence the label) but can be fulfilled by other means.

Orcish Boots or, if you run within my little circle on Orien, “Das Büüüts,” sometimes even as simply “The Shoes,” refers to owning a pair of Orcish Privateer’s Boots.  (And no, I don’t share between toons.  Can’t stand it when I log on to a toon and someone else has Their Shoes.)  If you’re unfamiliar, they provide a massive boost to fire resistance, fire absorption, speed, permanent Freedom of Movement, and a colorless slot all in one pair of shoes at minimum level 24.  Yes, plz, kthxbai.  Head to Epic Three-Barrel Cove and start hunting some rare encounters and airships if you’d like to land yourself a pair or seven.  Or nineteen.  Whong Fei-Hung gets a pass only due to his Shuricannon pure-Dex build having Dex Boots of Dexly Dexterity Dexness which are too dang efficient to skip on.

Master’s Gift is very self-explanatory.  Do I have a Master’s Gift available for the toon?  It may not seem like much, and some folks will say switching to a Voice of the MasterMantle of the Worldshaper, Pale Green Ioun Stone, or Experienced Evil before the quest ends will fulfill the same effect.  The case more often than not, however, as these items aren’t worn full time, is that the wearer “misses out” on switching to their experience booster item for the majority of optional experience grants and many quest endings – since most quests end as soon as the boss is dead, and without much preamble if you’re soloing.  Or maybe I’m just too focused on the combat to bother switching for the last 5-10% of the bosses’ hit points.  In either case, those missed opportunities all add up when we’re stretching out a timeline of hundreds of past lives, each running between three and eleven million XP.  That adds up.  A Master’s Gift ensures that all of those little bits adds up over time without having to stress over switching to an item.  Now I just need to farm up 45 more Greater Tokens of the Twelve in order to finish manufacturing the Gifts I’m missing.

Abbot Sigil is another self-explanatory one.  Now that the Litany of the Dead sigil is no longer a per-use item, and returns one Completed Sigil which persists through all forms of reincarnation, finishing this (which I previously rarely did) in order to gain access to the Litany XP farm is definitely something to finish up.  Granted, this doesn’t work with Ascension Chamber flagging (a bug, apparently), but that’s not what I’m looking for.

And that’s all well and good, except, it’s not.  As you can see, even in the short time since I came up with the idea, there’s an awful lot of progress having been made on that front.  It’s not done by any means, but it’s certainly not the “wall of Swiss cheese” I started with on the original Checklist.  So how is one to step that up a notch?

Destinies

I think that one goes without explanation.  Time to crack some knuckles and get to grindin’.

 

 

Scrying on a Saturday Night

Okay, so this has been poking about in my head for the past week or so, and I finally decided to put pen to paper.  Or fingertip to keyboard.  Whatever.

In any case, this is a parody/filk of the (rather famous) song Saturday Night by The Misfits, so all credit is to them, please don’t sue me for a silly parody.

Saturday Night

Only partially copyrighted, but the Fiend logo is still property of The Misfits (or whomever holds the rights today).

There’s 52 ways to to snoop on anyone
One or two are the same,
And they both use a spell
I’m coming clean for Lorthazz,
Ingstold doesn’t save as well
But the intrusion won’t last all night
And so maybe, maybe I’ll be over
Just as soon as this duration ends

And I can remember when I saw her last
We were running all around and having a blast
But the back row of the grand hall
Is so lonely without you
I know when you’re home
I was snooping about you,
There was was something I forgot to say
I was scrying on a Saturday night
I was out drinking without you,
They were playing our song
Scrying on Saturday night

As the moon becomes the night time
You go groggily, quietly to sleep 
I’m sitting in the chamber,
Where we used to sit and organize scrolls
Now I’m watching, watching you sleep   (creepy)

I can remember when I saw her last
She was lying in bed with dreams of the past
But the back row of the grand hall
Is so lonely without you
I know that you’re home
I was snooping about you,
There was was something I forgot to say
I was scrying on a Saturday night
I was out drinking without you,
They were playing our song
Scrying on Saturday night

 

Okay, okay, I’m done with my parody career.  For honests.  Weird Al, I am not.  I promise some more actual content in the future.