I had a pretty severe bout of alt-itis over the weekend. It was a productive one, however.
it all started off with Tholgrin sliding up to level cap in the Primal sphere and then Epic Reincarnating into his first-ever stack of passive Fast Healing. I know some might disagree with taking that over Colors of the Queen, but I for one am fond of regeneration, which takes hit point damage attrition pretty much off the table. Plus, a few stacks of it during Heroic leveling makes for a wicked solution to brain-dead hireling AI on builds that aren’t prone to self-healing.
Following that was several other characters getting some play time: Khail Ironfist, my pure Shintao monk, made his way up to 25. I did get a little irritated with his build, though, and LR’ed him to be more in line with my current Shintao expectations; after all, he was my first monk, and there were a lot of things I wasn’t exactly pleased with. After his reincarnation, he’s vastly more enjoyable to play. There’s nothing special here – he’s somewhat akin to an “Uncle Tubbs, Jr.,” just without all the extra tricks. Having made that connection, of course I had to log Tubbho on for a little while and got him up to 24.. although, while I was lucky and scored a Mysterious Bauble for Orsyn Burr (the original palificer artadin) Friday night, I wasn’t so lucky after several runs with Tubbs. Sad face.
I found myself gravitating towards Whong Fei-Hung, my halfling stick-monk, repeatedly over the weekend. I’m not sure why – perhaps it’s simply because he hasn’t found his “epic groove” yet. In Heroic play, the stick-build flattened everything in its path at absurd speeds and left nothing in its wake. In Epic play, however, his lack of defenses and equipment left me whining about it in quite a few previous posts. Sure, he has more gear, now, but there was still a distinct lack of… something that left me unfulfilled.
(Sidebar: Whong Fei-Hung is named after a Chinese martial artist, physician, and philanthropist. As is the case with Chinese names, the family name goes first, and his given name which he would actually be addressed by is Fei-Hung. This is in spite of the hundreds of phallic comments that get posted in Harbor General whenever he says something. There, cultural education in a DDO blog – who’d-a-thunk it?)
It wasn’t until I was running a Caught in the Web that I happened to see on the LFM panel – and thought to myself, “hey, maybe I can score a Sireth (lol right)” that it started to sink in. Whong simply didn’t have the defensive capabilities to hang with the rest of the melees, so I found myself hanging back with the raid’s “real” Shuricannon and pretending alongside him. Now, Fei-Hung already had a large chunk of the important feats for the build from when he was levelling – Shuriken Expertise, Ten Thousand Stars, and Improved Critical: Thrown Weapons were all in his catalog. He also had a nice level 20 Spelltouched Shuriken to chuck around (he was level 23 at this point), and his passive ki generation was more than enough to keep spamming Ten Thousand Stars.
Then I started thinking – hey, this is pretty fun.
Mind you, he wasn’t originally built as a Shurcannon, so his stats weren’t optimal. He had an acceptable* (more on this later. -Ed.) Dexterity, but by no means cranked to the max. His Wisdom, likewise, was not maxed out, and he was in Grandmaster of Flowers instead of Shiradi Champion. So by no means was he a “killer” during the raid; aside from two instant deaths where he got flung from the platforms (one by Lolth’s legs, and one by a Goristro at the final platform that thought Fei-Hung looked more like a softball than competition), and a third-and-final near-instant death when a replacement wave of Portal Keepers spawned all around him while running back, he didn’t’ take much of any damage during the whole raid.
And, as luck would have it, he’s now the proud owner of a Sireth, Spear of the Sky. Wow, that thing is tasty.. the irony is that it popped into his life right around the time I was thinking of repurposing him.
Having already had some experience in Legendary Dreadnaught from when he first hit Epic play, it wasn’t much of a chore to hop over into Shiradi. Getting that leveled up, however, was a bit of a pain. I swallowed my pride a bit and joined in some “pity PUGs” that didn’t mind having a “baby Shuricannon” in an off destiny basically pike while running alongside the real crew.
It was between two of these PUGs where I found myself reading through some of the original post about Firewall’s Shiradi Shuricannon build. Reading that and taking a closer look at how Shuriken Expertise and Ten Thousand Stars worked in conjunction with his current build lead me to my second Lesser Reincarnation of the weekend – although this one was less “I’m unhappy with the original build” and much more “I’m going to take this character in a completely different direction.” (Plus, Khail was allowed a refinement, considering he’s almost two years old on the same life and was my fifth toon, ever. –Ed.) After some restructuring which tripled his Dexterity and doubled his Wisdom (at the cost of 24 hit points), he re-emerged from the Reincarnation Grove, and picked up a delightful new Spelltouched Shuriken for his new life.
Force Burst (this exists on randomly generated items??? –Ed.) for 1-6 force damage on hit and an additional 1-10 on crit, Lightning Strike as the static proc which hits for 600-900 electric damage, Wounding for -1 CON per star, and Hemhorraging for 2-16 bleed damage per star. Plus, as a Spelltouched, four other random effects every star. What. Yes, that just happened. While it’s not a “perfect” star with Improved Paralyzing as a static effect, holy cow-sauce, that’s damned close to second place.
(It should be noted at this point that if you drop an opponent’s Constitution down far enough, they get stunned for several seconds, during which they take Helpless bonus damage. With doubleshot, Shuriken Expertise, and Ten Thousand Stars active, plus every star having a chance of doing not one, but two points of CON damage (there’s nothing preventing Spelltouched effects from “doubling up” during the random part), and people are dropped to minimum Constitution at alarming speeds.)
Armed with his new toy and a rebuilt character, I set off. The first thing I noticed was that cranking his Dexterity through the roof did wonders for his Armor Class – while that’s pretty much an obvious assessment, it never struck me the extent of how much his defenses had been crippled by what I had previously thought of as an “acceptable” Dexterity. It also never registered how much of a gap existed between what I thought of as Fei-Hung’s “acceptable” Dexterity and Khail or Uncle Tubbs’ agility and their significantly higher Armor Classes. I won’t be making that mistake again.
Two runs of Spies in the House later – which I admit to hating in the first place – and I was able to click “Accept” on the destiny window to unlock Double Rainbow. And then really see what this build could do.
Okay, give me a second to gather my thoughts. Because, whoa.
First things first – Firewall, you’re a bloody genius. Even without being Drow, this is a star-chucking machine gun of death and cultivated chaos. There are procs everywhere. People are getting neg-leveled, turned into frogs (yes, “Single Frog” instead of Mass Frog is a confirmed Shiradi effect), instantly killed, disintegrated, struck by lightning, fireballs, meteors, force explosions, you name it. And that’s in addition to random sonic damage and the four extra effects from the Spelltouched shuriken which also run the gamut from disintegration to paralyzing to establishing four or five different kinds of DOTs. Add into the mix that Whirling Wrists gives a jaw-dropping 60% thrown attack speed increase (are you kidding me??) with the halfling thrower racial enhancements, and the pages and pages of numbers never stop scrolling.
Don’t even try and keep track of everything that’s going on. You won’t be able to. And even if you check the combat log to try and scroll back and figure out just happened, the odds are pretty good that unless it was the last star you threw, it’s already scrolled off. Yes, the effects fire off that quickly.
For you number junkies: Remember, each star has (and this is before Ten Thousand Stars):
- Base damage
- Quiver of Poison damage (if you have it)
- Force burst base damage
- Force burst critical damage (on crit)
- Lighting the Candle fire damage
- Lighting the Candle force damage (on crit)
- Wounding for -1 CON
- Lightning Strike damage (approx. 1.5% proc rate, from what I can tell)
- Hemhorraging damage
- Spelltouched random on-hit elemental damage (changes every throw)
- Spelltouched random proc (changes every throw; rate varies depending upon individual procs)
- Spelltouched random debuff (changes every throw)
- Spelltouched random special ability (changes every throw)
- 7% chance for 10d10 Favorable Winds sonic damage
- 7% chance for 2d100 Force damage
- 7% chance for 2d10 stat damage (possibly to CON as well for extra stun power)
- 7% chance for 1d100 random damage type
- 7% chance for random effect
- 7% chance to paralyze with no save
- I’m probably forgetting at least one thing
- and practically guaranteed to create at least one additional star per throw between Shuriken Expertise and doubleshot
I’ve tested it, and literally rolled my entire combat log off in two (2) throws with Ten Thousand Stars on. Granted, that was a total of seven hits, but that’s not the point. The point is, the list of effects that happen each star is completely, and utterly, retarded.
He doesn’t even feel like a “rear line ranged” fighter. If they get close, good, now they’re getting hit with Point Blank Shot, too. Although if things do get sticky, I can always switch to Sireth – now with Dex to-hit and Dex to-damage, thanks to a few points put back into Henshin Mystic. Squee!
So Fei-Hung has found his “epic groove,” so to speak. Heroic stick-fighter and backup star-chucker, Epic star-chucker and backup stick-fighter. How’s that for a bit of twisted irony?
Although there is one thing I wasn’t able to find (uncertain if it was asked on the forums and I just didn’t read far enough, yet), and that’s regarding the “off hand” weapon. Everyone seems to agree that it needs to either be Celestia or something with Devotion slotted; I’ve already got Devotion slotted elsewhere, but was unable to find the purpose why. I experimented with a few kamas in the off-hand (and plain shuriken, with all toggles off, for control), but noticed nothing different. None of the damage effects or procs ever fired off. Which leads me to wonder – what’s the point of the off-hand, except for effects that are not directly related to combat? Celestia has none, that I can see, just on-hit combat effecst and procs. While not entirely satisfied with my choice, I settled for a Rahl’s Wrath for the Greater Cold Resistance and a slot to put something in later. Is Celestia bugged, in that its effects work with throwing weapons, or am I missing something entirely, here?
Even with that question unanswered, I’m having a complete blast with my reworked little stick-monk – er, Shuricannon. In the event you, too, have a halfling or drow monk that you’re not entirely sure where they’re going in Epics, I’d highly recommend giving the build a shot… it’s quite tasty!