Misadventures

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Success on the second door in The Sunken Sewer.

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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.

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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.

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Darn… it worked.  On half the chests.

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

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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.

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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.

On the Mines of Tethyamar

One need only take a few minutes on my character login screen to realize that I may, possibly, exhibit a preference toward dwarves when it comes to my character racial selections in DDO.

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The Gates of Ironvale Deep

Glancing through the files of old pen & paper characters – some from First Edition, when “dwarf” was a class – some Third Edition, and a ghastly number of Second Edition would reveal a scattered humanoid here and there, but well over 95% dwarves, as well.  One might even count the Firbolg character (2nd Edition Complete Book of Humanoids) as nothing more than an overly tall dwarf.  They sure play like one.

I confess that I have never once played an elf in pen & paper, and only did one life as such in DDO thus far.  Unless you’re counting Morninglords.  Then it’s two.

What I’m slowly getting at is that I might meet a few of the general criteria for being classified as “pro-dwarf.”  Maybe.

Which, when I first heard about Update 36’s Duel for the Underdark pack involving a lot of drow, meant I was largely indifferent from an excitement standpoint.  Don’t get me wrong – New Content!  YAY!  Although the power creep on the last few packs has been somewhat unsettling, but that’s neither here-nor-there, it’s still new content.  And that’s what’s important.  But the fact it’s drow-based?  That part I can’t see myself getting terribly excited over.

Except – it wasn’t drow-based.  I mean, sure, there are drow involved, but that’s not what the focus is on.  The focus is on the dwarves.  Especially so in Records of the Past, a quest which has one strolling through the abandoned settlement of Ironvale Deep, where everything positively screams stumpy.  The architecture, layout, the little details – such as every shrine having a statue of Moradin, the dwarven All-Father deity – is nothing short of a four-foot dwarfgasm.

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Statue of Moradin at the shrine, as it should be

That’s not to say there isn’t a shred of beard-iness in the other quests, oh-no-sir.  Each of the others has a distinctly stout element to it – be it rescuing slaves without killing them or dealing with a madman and his defiled legion of mining corpses, there’s a touch of it on every single quest.  And it’s delightful.

There is, however, a problem.  One minor issue.

No matter what you set your game audio to, Hal Stoutheart never shuts up.  Spend more than a few seconds in the public area and you’ll hear him bellowing through your speakers (or into your earholes, if you use headphones) in an incessant stream of what is clearly propaganda.  It’s an interesting and immersive touch for the first ten or fifteen seconds.

After that, you’ll start hearing your partymates saying things like “oh, no, he’s talking again, get in quest now!  Move!  Move!  Move!” and “aaaaaaaaaahhhh” and ”why does the Maker hate me so?

Please, if anyone from Standing Stone is reading this, for the love of Moradin, make Hal’s voice obey the volume sliders.  Please.  We’re begging you.  Everything else about the pack is lovely, truly, but that one thing that sends folks screaming from the public area.

And without giving away too many spoilers, there’s quite a bit of wonderful dialogue and interactions.  I’m pretty sure my favorite moment was not dwarf-related, at all, but rather offering to hold a mind flayer’s tentacles out of the way while it vomited on my boots.  Pure gold, that.  

Oh, and Oreo the Panda says hi.

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HAAAIIIIIIIIIIIII

Projects

I’ve tried to write six different articles already today, and scrapped them all for some reason or another.  Whatever.  It’s Monday.  I’m allowed to be a little bit hazy.

At first, I was going to write up a “re-introduction” to the characters I’m playing, as several have evolved (in a manner of speaking) from their original iterations when I started the blog in 2014.  Also, I’d be willing to wager that the majority of the readers – all four of you! – probably haven’t gone back and read back to the second post ever, especially after being idle for over a year.  But, that was boring.  Or, I thought so, at least.

So, instead, I’m going to just ramble about some of the plans I have in the near future for several of my toons.  More to keep things straight for myself than anything else, but if it provides you with a few minutes of distraction and/or entertainment, then that’s a win for both of us.

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Adipostal (left) and Kemron, the intimi-tank of our static Reaper group and Adi’s bestamest friend for sneak attack damage.

Adipostal  (formerly Immano of Llawriennal)

Level/Race/Class:  8 Halfling Rogue

Weapon of Choice:  Great Crossbows

Song Stuck In His Head:  “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult 

In a former life, Adi was an elf cleric/monk whose job was to stay at 20 and help other toons on that “final push” to 20.  Which was a noble thing, or, at least the idea of it was.  Except that he was barely ever used.  So when a few friends decided to try a static Reaper-only group, with dedicated characters and party roles, he was the first to get “volunteered.”  Nothing particularly special about the build – it’s an Intelligence-based Rogue Mechanic with the Dragonmark of Healing and Healing Words to throw around other folks in emergencies –  which has been proven before on Orsyn Burr’s rogue life and Uncle Tubbs’ rogue life.  But for this particular grouping, we actually wanted proven builds and not experiments.  His current plans are to finish out the Heroic career, provided that irritating IRL Server can stop getting in the way with our scheduled night.

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Bholgrin (right) with some folks in the Temple of the Deathwyrm

Bholgrin Stoneforge

Level/Race/Class:  30 Dwarf Paladin/Monk/Rogue

Weapons of Choice:  Dual longswords and fists

Spirit Animal:  Swiss Army knife

Currently, Bholgrin is working on fleshing out his Epic Destinies.  As of last night, he has his Divine and Martial spheres completed and has started in on Primal with Shiradi Champion.  The long term goal is to start working on his Epic Completionist status.  For the time being, that’s a very long-term goal, as there are other projects which are taking priority.

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Fyrewoman (center) finally found someone else who shares her fashion sense.

Fyrewoman, Pastor of Muppets

Level/Race/Class:  30 Halfling Monk

Weapons of Choice:  Quarterstaves and fire.  Lots and lots of fire.

Notable Quirk:  Guildless by design

Fyrewoman has what is simultaneously the easiest and hardest plan on my current to-do list.  All she is missing for the “2016 Checklist” (which has still yet to be completed halfway through 2017) is to pull a Cursed Blade of Jack Jibbers and she’s done!  Of course, as anyone who has tried to pull a Jack’s Blade – let alone twenty-one of them! – knows, they’re a pretty ephemeral thing, and can sometimes evade detection for months at a time.   As with all items from the Loot Gods, I could pull it tonight, or I could pull it sometime in October.  But that’s what she’s waiting on before reincarnating again – the long-term plan is to do the same Henshin Mystic based build again and get her three Monk past lives, all without ever using a guild ship, buffs, or amenities.

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This shot is ancient.  Apparently I haven’t actively played Kil in a lot longer than I thought.

Kiljoen Lorebringer

Level/Race/Class:  30 Dwarf Warlock (but not for long)

Weapon of Choice:  Concentrated blasts of ABBA music  (sonic damage, for those at home)

Spends Tuesday Nights:  Desperately trying to catch up on Critical Role episodes

Kiljoen started his existence as a sorcerer.  He was my first character to hit 20, at which point he hit a screeching, grinding halt.  When the Warlock class came out, I was super-excited and made two!  Kiljoen was the second, a Fey-pact Soul Eater who ran in Divine Crusader and laid waste to pretty much everything.. as warlocks are wont to do.  Nowadays, I’ve pretty much stopped using him, mostly because the “whole warlock thing” got old.  Fast.  Currently, I no longer have a Cleric in my lineup – which is making my “one of every class” compulsion cause eyeball twitching every time I think about it.  Blargh!  There it goes again!  Anyway.. one unused Warlock plus needing a Cleric results in Kiljoen getting reincarnated.  Originally, he was going to be a sword & board Warpriest – but I already have that build in the form of a Favored Soul named Whall.  One comment from a friend and a flashback to a previous life immediately swapped the build around into a 18 Cleric/2 Fighter great-axe wielding Warpriest who plans to spend the majority of his time eyehole-deep in the pit.  (That seems to be a common place for my characters… just sayin’.  –Ed.)  He’s got most of his gear ready to rock and is just waiting for some of my other projects to get some momentum before taking the plunge.

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Smishy, being photobombed by Horace the Pseudodragon.

Smishy the Unfluffed

Level/Race/Class:  16 Dragonborn Fighter

Weapon of Choice:  Khopesh and Tower Shield to the face

Favorite Food:  Tacos

Smishy has had an… interesting history.  There’s a running joke that he is cursed to be, well, smishy, regardless of whatever build and equipment he has.  A joke which he has unsuccessfully avoided on this life – while he can take physical damage like a champ, spells still tend to wreck his face.  Oh, well.  The build I came up with was what some folks would call a “long game” investment – once he hits twenty and is able to step into his Epic Destiny, it’ll be an entirely different toon – but others would say is an “ER build.”  Still others would call it “bloody stupid.”  Ah, well, I’ve never been known to make the most intelligent of decisions.  Only four more levels to go until Smishy (hopefully) becomes less smishy… and then an Epic career follows!

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Riding the Storm Out.  @DDOMicki told me to bring Energy Sheath.  I didn’t listen.  Still… five million hit points on that dragon!

Whong Fei-Hung

Level/Race/Class:  30 Halfling Monk

Weapon of Choice:  10.8 Billion Shuriken to the Faceholes

Preferred Hot Dog Toppings:  Mustard, chili, and onions

Fei-hung (named after a Chinese martial artist and philanthropist), better known amongst my group of ragtag buddies as the “mini-pimp” due to his outlandish getup, has had a wonderful run as a Shiradi Shuricannon.  So he’s staying that way.  I still need to finish some Caught in the Web runs  in order to acquire his Celestia, Brightest Star of Day for his off-hand.  He’s recently finished upgrading his Quiver of Alacrity for when he reincarnates back into Heroics – because we can’t have Fei-hung’s trademark “run faster than The Flash” compromised! – but that will come after he finishes three more Primal Epic Past Lives, so that he can toggle between Fast Healing (keeps hit point attrition down) and Multishot (for peak damage output).  So that’s at least six more lives on the books for the diminutive flinger of frenzied facepaste.

Checklist as of 06-12-2017

Items in parentheses are finished Epic/Legendary versions.

…And the Rest of the 2016 Checklist

The original plan was to have the Checklist completed by the end of 2016, as a “one-up” to the personal challenge I’d set for 2015.  Because we can’t just go on and get complacent, can we?

Of course, as folks who followed along already know, there was this nasty little bout with an IRL raid boss called “cancer” that hit me at the beginning of the year, which resulted in my near-immediate absence from the 2016 Player’s Council that I’d been quite excited to get accepted to.  Dealing with the fallout from that, the disgusting medical bills, and getting back into the work groove just left me with no time or emotional energy to invest in the Council – for which I am quite sad.  Alas, life moves on, and hopefully there isn’t any animosity from the Council. (which basically got ghosted.  Oops.)

Anyhoo, moving on.  The origins of the Checklist came about from my seemingly-complete lack of ability to prepare a character properly for a reincarnation.  As such, I developed a list of items which I wanted to have before I went back to K-town again:  an unsuppressed Ioun stone applicable to the next build, a Temple of Elemental Evil weapon (either mushroom-crafted or named), at least one piece of Green Steel, a Jack Jibbers blade, and finally a Mysterious Bauble for spell point users.  Which is quite a hefty list for a single character – so, naturally, I wanted to get all twenty-one of my characters checked off.

Because I’m insane.

I even made a nice spreadsheet to track the progress – some may have seen intermittent updates on my Twitter feed (@TholgrinDDO).  At present, it’s pretty darned close to getting finished, as you can see below.

Wow.  So, that’s, like, a lot of stuff that I want to do.  And of course, all of it wants to be done right nao, and I don’t have that kind of time.  Blech!  One of these days, I’ll get to a point where I only have one project on my books at a time.

Yeah, right.  Like that’ll happen.

Until next time, happy slaying!

 

The Worst Sorc Ever?

So, once again, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here.  Should come as a big surprise to anybody who’s followed the blog during it’s run – Yay, regularity!

What sparked this completely random post, you might ask?  Well, I received a rather subtle message from @DDOCentral over the weekend, which said, “For crying out loud, write a new post, you lazy sodding bastard!”  I’m paraphrasing.  A lot.  It actually just said “Write a new blog post for Full Moon Fury.”  Plain and simple.  Isn’t cognitive interpretation grand?

And that leads us to the here and now, with an awkward pause in the narrative while I figure out how to segue from “haven’t written anything new for over a year” to “current events in DDO and D&D life” without tripping over 525,600 minutes worth of Rent references.

First and foremost, a little teaser for a project I’ve been working on recently.  For those of you who don’t follow along with the pen & paper side of Dungeons & Dragons, Wizards of the Coast has a forum/store/thing called the DM’s Guild which allows content creators to officially publish content with limited access to licensed names and places.  I’ve been working on a slightly.. warped.. supplement with the intent of publishing it on the DM’s Guild when it’s done and making hardcover copies available through its sister site, DriveThruRPG.  Granted, that’s still a ways off – the manuscript is approximately 85% complete, but layout and lack of art is always nagging the back of my brain – so that’s what’s been taking up quite a bit of my writing time recently.

Yeah, yeah, that doesn’t account for the year beforehand, but, hush, you.  I had, uh, laundry to do.  And stuff.

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Brawnpits does not approve of your laundry task.

And now, an even more awkward transition (but lacking self-promoting teaser plug) to recent happenings in DDO.

The Worst Sorc Ever?

Folks who have been following the blog for a while know of my – how shall I put this? – gentle dislike of playing arcane characters.  Note I’m not saying arcane characters are bad, I run with some seriously amazing ones regularly, but they just don’t seem to click in my brain.  That had been bothering me for a while, and I had a Bladeforged paladin just hanging around collecting dust, so I sent him through an Iconic Reincarnation.

M. Night Shame-A-Lot Twist!  I actually prepared this one.  See, I told you it was shocking.  Even to the point I completed twenty raids to get some gear before starting a new career.  What a novel concept, eh?

Alas, I digress.  The base concept I had in my brain was simple:  Do what you do best, just with a sorcerer icon.  Which of course meant heavy armor and giant weapons.  Granted, these tend to be frowned upon by sorcerers, but, to heck with the meta, says I.  Slap that heavy armor on!  Take up a greatsword!  And take Power Attack, while you’re at it!

Wait, did he just say Power Attack?  Yes, yes I did.  And Cleave.  And Great Cleave, too!

But wait!  There’s More!™

As a Bladeforged, I gave him Adamantine Body, which is the toaster equivalent of Heavy Armor.  Slap a slew of points in the Eldritch Knight and Racial trees to reduce the Arcane Spell Failure to zero.  Now, I’m well aware my DCs will be poo – especially since I left in three Paladin levels to gain access to the Sacred Defender stance – so my spell selection reflects this, only taking spells which have no saving throw amidst a few buff and utility spells (such as Knock and Jump).

Once he got to Epics, the result was a complete sparkle-fest.  Bladeforged with Displacement, an Epic Cloak of Ice for blue-flames, Energy Sheath for an electrical aura, permanent Tenser’s on for holographic armor and tentacles, Bladeforged spikes sticking out everywhere, and a purple-and-pink greatsword which looks more like a Unicorn Frappuccino of Nightmares than a threatening weapon.  Knock him below 50% HP and he gets a short-term Eldritch globe which makes him look like an overgrown tie-dyed ping-pong ball.  All while standing in ice storms and cloudkills and acid rains and flinging procs on his sword.

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Aapex Predator in *almost* Full Sparkle Mode.  Several layers of sparkle are missing from this screencap.

And the best part – I actually enjoyed it.  Granted, he’s arguably the worst sorc ever, definitely a contender for the least-sorc-iest sorc, if nothing else.  He does, at least, have a metamagic feat (Quicken) and, um, yeah, that’s about it.  Everything else looks more like a melee build with a flaming hand for its icon.

Is this particular build optimized in any way, shape, or form?  No, not at all.  In fact, about the only thing he’s really good at is self-heals.  Repairs.  Whatever.  And sparkling.  He’s really, really good at sparkling.

But the important part, at least for me, is I had fun playing an arcane.  A class I normally cringe at the concept of going through a life of.  So much so that he’s now currently on his second playthrough of the build, where we’ve cranked the difficulty up a notch.  Turns out he’s still really good at self-heals even in Reaper mode, although that only helps so much when you forget you’re still a sorcerer, dive eyehole deep into the pit, and get rended limb from limb by half a dozen champs and a Plague Reaper who decided that self-healing really wasn’t that good of an idea.  But that’s probably the fault of the person sitting behind the keyboard.  Probably.

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And now a completely unrelated image I dub “Stoned People In Thrones.”  It’s coincidentally the name of my indie-folk-pop acoustic band.

More stuff to come.  Probably.

32 Raids in 24 Hours

This past weekend was a holiday one in the United States, and I would like to think I took good advantage of that fact.  Let’s start at the end and go backwards.  Why?  Because I can.

The final thing that happened before I logged off was the acquisition of the one and only Hellpuppy, the Monster Manual creature companion for slaughtering a metric butt-ton of Hellhounds.  When shrunken down to such small dimensions, he kind of looks more like a disfigured chihuahua, but I suppose that adds to the charm in its own way.

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Ain’t he adorable?  I named him Roger.  Because, reasons.

Immediately prior to that was the completion of a completely berserk number of raids in a single day.  Because of course I couldn’t just leave last years’ 20 Shrouds in 24 Hours stunt alone, now, could I?  Of course not.  That would be silly, and while I am silly, I don’t do silly things.  Often.  I’m lying.  Frequently.  But that’s all beside the point.

Let’s take a quick gander at what transpired on Holiday Monday alone:

  •         Twenty runs (in a row!) of Fire on Thunder Peak (resulting in the Dragon Masque for Whong Fei-Hung the Halfling Shuricannon and Mini-Pimp, which trumps his previously meh helmet (that offered almost nothing), adding Negative Energy each star (which he throws at the rate of 1.2 billion per millisecond), adding Deception (yet another per-star proc), Insightful Sneak Attack (to a Ninja Spy’s already per-star sneak attack), and Deadly XI.  Okay, the Deadly XI is already on the Epic Dawnbringer, but now it’s not star-specific.)  Oh, and (((excessive parentheses))).  I may or may not have proposed marriage to Tharaxata the Dragon while we were having alone time.  Folks that were present in the raid may or may not have heard me bellowing “Why won’t you love me?!?” while flinging my halfling monk at her chest.  It was the bouquet of flowers in his off-hand she was so enamored with, I’m positive of it.  None of that makes sense.  But, then again, none of the whole day made sense.
  •         Three runs of Legendary Shroud, on various toons (Wally the Ghost Archer, Whong the Shuricannon, and Orsyn the Ghost Mechanic).  Lots of materials for Legendary Green Steel, which puts me that much closer to finishing off Tholgrin’s LGS Great Axe.  Also started up an LGS Great Crossbow for Orsyn, and an LGS Shuriken for Fei-Hung.
  •         Two runs of Legendary Hound of Xoriat (two successful, that is, there were actually four, but the puppies glitched out on two runs and had to be restarted) on Fei-Hung and Orsyn.
  •         Four runs of Legendary Tempest’s Spine which resulted in not a single set of the Leathers of the Celestial Archer which Orsyn has been drooling over since they came out.  At least they can be purchased for Xorian Runes, once I acquire enough of them – which in no way led to me running LHoX.  Where the Leathers also have a chance to drop.  Nope, not related at all.  For honests.  I’m lying.  It seems I’m doing that a lot, today.
  •         One run of The Mark of Death on Bholgrin Stoneforge the Romunkadin Favormaster (12 Pal/7 Mnk/1 Rog) which resulted in everybody getting skunked (except for Masterwork Tapestry Shreds).  Sadface.
  •         Two runs of Defiler of the Just on my primary Paladins, Tholgrin Stoneforge (Knight of the Chalice brute) and Mattok Shalefinder (Vanguard hate-tank), which resulted in someone getting lucky and pulling the Boots of Blessed Travels and Mattok still not having a Fellblade. Meh.  I can’t get too greedy, though, as Mat pulled Ultimatum on Friday.  Woohoo!

For those of you keeping track at home, that is thirty-two raids in a single day, with a lot of toon-switching and a lot of bypass timers.  Well, a lot more than is demonstrated above, because as we go back in time, the weekend was still rolling.

Okay, not rolling nearly as quickly as the weekend ended, that’s for sure.  Monday was off-the-wall insane.  There were a number of raids pulled from Friday through Sunday, though, which I’m sure was bolstered by the +5% per-party-member Buddy Weekend Bonus.  (After all, a full raid party then nets +55% XP.)  I won’t bore you with the details of the other three days, as they’re nothing compared to what you just read.

As for an update on the rest of the toons – Uncle Tubbs is now sitting tight at 28 on his “rogue” life, wherein he’s essentially a carbon copy of Orsyn Burr’s build, just with a wizard level that I couldn’t be arsed to Lesser Reincarnate out.  The goal being to rack up Tubbs’ first Deep Gnome past life, as well as score a Heroic Rogue past life, as well.  After that, it’s only Fighter and Ranger left to strike up a Heroic Completionist.

Aapex Predator the Paladin pulled his Jack Jibbers’ blade over the weekend, and Khail Ironfist the Shintao Monk finished his Green Steel Weave Boots, getting both of them marked off the Checklist.  In addition, even though he was “excluded” from the ‘List for Ioun Stones, I went ahead and unsuppressed his.  Now that’s the 20th Unsuppressed Ioun Stone on this account, and I can finally put the Dreaming Dark to rest.  For good.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my pure Artificer, Madfinger Runewarden, is currently a hot bloody mess.  Note I am not stating the class is a mess, just that toon – I did several runs with him whilst trying to get his Jack’s blade, and each one made me feel the need to ingest the contents of a box of dishwasher detergent.  Rather than finish up his farming amidst screaming fits of hateful pseudo-teenage angst, I have decided that Bholgrin’s quest for Epic Completionist (that’d be EC #3 for the account) will be delayed by one Epic Career, during which point I will repurpose Madfinger into a hybrid melee-ranged artificer in much the same theory as made the Palificer Artadin a delight to play.  The only further inquiry is whether to go Bastard Sword or Dwarven Axe for the melee part – there are still a few minor details to iron out.

Hopefully, that will make the rotund engineer more enjoyable to play.  Plus, his skills currently are shot, and “repairing” his build at this point would require a reincarnation to begin with.  Might as well check him off for “wings” and get an Epic Past Life in the process, right?  Right.

Anyhoo, I’m out of time for this lunch break update.  More to come in the future.

Oh, and P.S. – I had no less than eight random people inform me that I probably need to seek professional help.  I also may or may not have been having debates with myself in three different voices at the time.  (It takes a special kind of “speshul” to lose your own argument with yourself. –Ed.)  Oh, well…

More Days Meh

In spite of the absolute lack of content on the blog, I’m still alive and kicking.

Sort of.

Those who follow it regularly might recall my (rather loopy) post-operation post with some details about the hemicolectomy to remove a cancerous tumor on my right colon.  Since then, I’ve had surgery twice more to open up my leg and remove infected tissue – which is still being treated with an open wound with packing changed daily.

Sufficiently grossed out yet?  Hey, feel better – at least you’re not here, looking down at said open wound and the drainage.  Now that’s gross.

Some days are better than others, but we’re slowly getting to the stage where more days are “meh” than bad.  I won’t go so far as to say we’re having “good” days, yet, since being so much as a few minutes late on prescription pain pills results in a lot of bad mojo.  I’ll start saying we’re having good days when I can get off those and dwarf up a bit more.

Since I haven’t been working, though, I’ve had some time to spend in-game when I’m not comatose in bed.  And while I haven’t come up with a “challenge” list to top Thol’s Goals for 2015, I have established something equally crazy which I dub “The Checklist.”

Do not confuse that with Teh Czeqqcklysst, which is something completely different.

Checklist as of 03-19-2016

The Checklist evolved from the first goal I had for the year, which was simply to get wings for everybody.  Then I thought about how I’m notorious for TRing folks before they’re ready, and this time I was going to make sure they had an Ioun Stone before I TR’ed them.

Then that became an Ioun Stone and Green Steel.  Then Temple crafting was added on.  Then… you get the idea, until it grew into its current (psycho) iteration.

The idea is to ensure that every “regularly played” (i.e. not silly toons, such as Smishy the Unfluffed which followers of @TholgrinDDO on Twitter have been introduced to already) toon is not only prepared for the next life, but prepared, stacked, and 100% fully pimped out nerd-style.

I’ve done a bunch of work on it already, but as is clear, there’s still quite a bit of road to go.  Several toons are already “Ready For Wings,” in that everything else is checked off except for having a past life, but they’re temporarily being pre-empted by Gorruk’s current side trip;  I’ve made him take on a Cleric life (currently level 12) for the sole purpose of having the Healing Word past life feat, that he may use that and his Past Life Fast Healing (a.k.a. “regeneration”) to keep kickin’ around as a full-fighter without any blue bar whatsoever.  Because that’s obviously a logical solution to being a full fighter with no blue bar, duh.

Sheesh, get with the program.

And since I don’t feel like typing a whole bunch of new content, here’s some pictures and captions of recent shenanigans in no particular order.  I’m lying, since I posted them as I scrolled backwards, so they’re in reverse chronological order.  As if you cared.

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Gorruk the “Cleric” Pseudo-Fighter with his purdy new maul

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Mattok showing Harry who’s boss in the Temple of Elemental Evil

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Smishy the Unfluffed, obligatory gnome extraordinaire, dual-wielder of the Awesome Broom of Exquisite Pain (left) and Ultimate Sweeper of Death (right)

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Soloing The Dreaming Dark, Zoo-Style (and as EvenNote pointed out, the wolf interloper brought Funyuns)

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Holy Crapola!  Look at all the people!

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For those of you scared of the Epic Temple, it’s totally worth it.  These are some of the optionals on NORMAL.

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I introduced Esh, Vonn, and Wreist to Caught in the Web.. so of course we 4-manned it.  Booyah!

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+5 CON Tome on my first Temple of the Deathwyrm run?  Don’t mind if I do!

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Celebrating Wreist’s first Shroud run.. of course, two-manned, and with a naked victory dance on the altar at the end!  Who needs a full group to learn?  (Wreist’s nerves might tell a different tale..)

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Giant… that’s just gross.  Seriously, bro.  Toilet paper.  Just… EW.  Even Mini-Harry won’t look at it.

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The Four Musketeers, in increasing order of height and decreasing order of sneakiness.  From left to right, Orsyn (me), Socks, Esh, and Vonn.

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Advanced Boss Mocking:  Leave your Pocket Harry juggling fireballs the entire fight.

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The Generation Gap:  Wreist’s first melee life, playing as a copy of Tholgrin’s KotC build.  These two were utterly *terrifying* when side-by-side.

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The most secret of Dangerous Artifacts kept under tight (?) security in The Twelve’s secret storage facility.

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Thol’s collection of vorpal weapons, pulled from end reward lists in the Harbor over fifteen minutes.  Because it will totally remain a rare effect when it is extended to level 1 for availability…….. (that’s sarcasm)

And that’s all the photos I feel like posting for now!  The meds are starting to kick in, and I feel the need to go put peanut butter on a graham cracker and eat it.  And if you haven’t tried it, yes, it’s bloody delicious.  Go do it.  Now!

Get to the choppah!  The choppah of graham crackers!


 

I was going to put some stuff about the medical condition here, but apparently WordPress doesn’t want me to, because it’s wiped it twice.  So pfft.  I might type it up later, but at the moment I’m feeling more of the “sod it” variety.  Happy Saturday!