OCD

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!

 

Tholgrin’s Guide to Minimum Acceptable Standards

Minimum Acceptable Standards

We all gotta start somewhere…

As one with a severe case of alt-itis, I often find myself switching to toons I haven’t played in quite a long time.  Back when I was freely bouncing between them frequently and not caring a whim about my performance, the little inconsistencies between each toon’s loadout didn’t bother me;  as a more seasoned player, they drive me berserk to the point I won’t even play with the toon until he (or she) meets what I have since dubbed “Minimum Acceptable Standards.”

Now, before you get into a ruckus or all riled up and assume I’m calling your build something, keep in mind that what I’m referring to are what I believe to be universal standards as apply to all of my toons.  Every single one of them.  I’m not applying them to you or your toons, although they may serve as a guideline for some less-experienced players who are wondering “what the hell do I need to keep and/or get?” when looking at the mind-boggling array of items available in the game.  While the “Big Four” (blindness, curse, resto, disease) may be second-nature to more veteran players, I recall from personal experience when that wasn’t the case for myself, back when I first started.

So, without further ado, I present to you Tholgrin’s Guide to Minimum Acceptable Standards, in no particular order – since they all have to be met, anyway!  And keep in mind, when reading this, that these are what I consider to be ”universal,” in the sense that I believe every toon should have these resources available, regardless of class, build, or race, and not a checklist to make an “uber” toon.

  •         Some form of self-healing, however rudimentary.  Whether it’s natively-cast spells, scrolled with UMD, chugged from potions, or some other means, literally every character needs to restore hit points in some fashion or another.  Ideally, it is combat-capable – and by that, I mean something that can be pulled off in the middle of a right-proper fuster of clucks.  However, that’s not always the case, but downing half-a-dozen Cure Serious Wounds pots is better than absolutely nothing, if that’s your only option.  Higher level toons may consider stocking up on Silver Flame pots – while they’re not ideal, thanks to the “side effects” (-50% move speed, -10 all ability scores, -4 saves for 30 seconds), it’s more efficient than lugging about thousands of smaller potions.  Of course, potions are a last resort, but again, these are “minimum” acceptable standards, not ideal!
  •         A Remove Blindness solution.  Most commonly achieved with the cheap and readily available Potion of Remove Blindness sold by the adorable Guild Potion vendor in House K, it can also be achieved through Blindness Ward effects (at low or very high levels) or cast natively by a number of divine classes.  Green Steel clickies with Panacea also work, however, the limited number of charges make this a “less than ideal” solution, particularly in drow-heavy areas (they do seem to love their blindness, don’t they?).  However, it’s still better than nothing.  If you happen to not be in a guild, you can pick these up from Feather’s Fall Apothecary in House J, or the Potion Vendor under the red tent in the Marketplace.  Also found in the Portable Hole and other vendors.  Divines can cast this natively, and Shintao monks also have this as one of their toggles for Healing Ki.
  •         A Remove Curse solution.  Also easily acquired via the Guild Potion Vendor in House K (as are all the “Big Four”), Remove Curse is absolutely critical in certain areas, at least, if you want to have any real chance of survival.  Notable areas include The Haunted Library, most of the Demon Sands of Menechtarun, and walking into Caught in the Web without a huge stack of them is a recipe for being turned into drider facepaste.  While divines can cast this natively, it should be noted that just because a character has a healing spell does not mean they can remove curses.  Druids, for example, can heal and remove disease, but must find some other means of curse removal, while Bards are the opposite.  Shintao monks have access to this as a toggle for their Healing Ki, as they do for all of the “Big Four.”  If you only get one or two Healing Ki toggles, it’s a hard toss up between Remove Curse and Lesser Restoration;  resto is more widely valued, but when you need a curse removed, it is 100% invaluable.  If you don’t have access to the guild potion vendor, you can pick them up at the vendor in the Marketplace, or also in Feather’s Fall Apothecary in House J.
  •         A Restoration solution (multiple tiers).  Lesser Restoration potions, like the rest of the “Big Four,,” are readily available from the House K guild potion vendor.  If you don’t have access to him yet, for whatever reason, you can also find them at the Potion Vendor under the red tent in the Marketplace.  Plain Restoration potions exist, but are extremely rare in lootgen;  savor these, as they also restore one Negative Level each chug in addition to more ability score damage than the Lesser version (duh).  Greater Restoration cures all negative levels and all stat damage, but (to my knowledge) does not exist in any form of potion format.  It can, however, be scrolled (Guild Divine Scroll vendor in House K, or House of Wizardry in House J) if you can summon up the 44 UMD difficulty.  Shintao monks, once again, have Lesser Restoration available as a toggle from their Healing Ki finisher, Clerics in the Warpriest line can score an area Lesser Restoration with the Ameliorating Strike enhancement, and most Divine casters (including Druids, this time) can mimic most of the effect via the Heal or Regenerate spells – sans negative levels, of course.  For those with some Medium Eberron Dragonshards to spare, one can also acquire a Shard Trinket of Greater Restoration from Clarice Roden in the Marketplace, which has 20 charges of Greater Restoration and no minimum level.
  •         A Remove Disease solution.  Diseases may not seem like a scary thing to many young adventurers.  That is, until they watch in horror as that one failed roll rapidly turns into two, and then the debilitation escalates into crippling, character-destroying effect if left unchecked.  Many veteran toons have the saving throws necessary to avoid much of the effects of disease, but it is not always something you want to leave to chance – especially on a young toon’s life or when venturing into mummy territory, where Pernicious/Virulent Mummy Rot can really mess with your hair day.  Readily available from the Guild Potion Vendor in House K (notice he’s “the place” to go for the Big Four?), as well as the potion vendor in the Marketplace and Feather’s Fall Apothecary in House J.  Divine casters can cast the spell natively – although Bards cannot, even though they can Remove Curse.  Once again, Shintao Monks have this available as one of their Healing Ki toggles, and many classes become immune to “natural” disease – although most of the nastier afflictions you’ll come across will be magical in nature, and this is not entirely something you want to rely upon.
  •         Deathblock (after level 7).  At low levels, instant-death effects aren’t very common, so this isn’t something of concern to most young toons.  After approximately character level 7, however – the exact point also depends upon what content you are running – you should have a Deathblock effect on or available at all times.  Readily available from lootgen  items, as well as many named items (Bloodplate Armor is a wonderful solution for heavies, for example, able to tie in Deathblock and Fortification via a Blue Augment Slot), it should not be difficult to acquire, but is dang-near required for survival, particularly in beholder- or caster-heavy areas.
  •         Fortification (100% by level 8).  Ideally, you’ll start seeking Fortification immediately, but the ones available below level 8 are… less than ideal.  Still, 75% is better than 0%, given the option, but the earliest level you can reliably get 100% fortification is level 8.  For those at home wondering “what’s fortification,” you’re probably also wondering why your characters seem to suddenly get wrecked by absolutely massive hits completely out of the blue.  Those are enemy critical hits, and they are just as shredding to player characters as ours are to hostile mobs.  Some ranged and casters can get away without having a whole lot of fortification, but as a front-liner, it’s bloody mandatory for survival.  Unless you like the level 2 ogre Bloodknuckles hitting you for 184 bludgeoning damage in a single swing, that is.  In Epic levels, some mobs have Fortification Bypass, and some Heroic champs do, as well;  as such, going over 100% is not “wasted effort.”  If you don’t have Fortification on your melee toon, trust me and put it on – you will see an instant reduction in the time spent as a swirling rock.
  •         Stuff Bags.  While it probably seems so second-nature to veteran players, getting your threebies of bags as soon as humanly possible is definitely a minimum.  Otherwise, these “baggable” items will bloat your inventory and make adventuring quite a bit more annoying than it really needs to be;  set the bags to auto-gather and breathe a sigh of relief.  You can acquire the following bags for free on all toons with no access restrictions (yes, there are more available, but these are free):

o    Small Gem Bag from Fitzpat the Fence (Harbor)

o    Small Collectibles Bag from Baudry Cartamon (Harbor)

o    Tiny Ingredients Bag from Felix d’Cannith (Harbor), Maker (Cannith Crafting Hall), or Vertigo (Marketplace)

o    Small Ingredients Bag from Jeanselme Brutecius (Tower of the Twelve); note he will try and give you one at 40 Favor for The Twelve, so if you want a second, leave the first in your bank, as they’re exclusive.

  •         A Fire Resistance solution.  Be it an item with a permanent enchantment, an augment, spell, or potions, Fire is the one element that you will come across almost universally in your travels.  Of course, there are situations where other elements come up in abundance (except perhaps Sonic), but virtually every hostile arcane and divine will cast some form of Fire-based spell at you, lava exists with alarming frequency (if one were to apply real physics, that is), and fire traps or exploding barrels are bloody everywhere.  If you only have one Elemental Resistance solution for all time, it should be fire, and should be in such abundance as to either be permanent (item) or in quantities where it might as well be permanent (stacks of 100 Fire Resistance potions).  My personal preference is an item for Fire, and the remainder can be done however needs-be;  but Fire is one that is, in my experience, a non-negotiable for every toon, front-line or not, and at every level.  The good news is that they’re readily available and relatively easy to craft, even at moderate to low crafting levels.  Obviously, just one resist isn’t going to cover every base, and while you’re out stocking up on Fire resist pots, you might as well grab Cold, Acid, and Electricity while you’re at it, unless you can cast the spell natively… but get Fire as an absolute minimum.

It should also be noted that there are wands readily available for “The Big Four.”  These, while somewhat more restrictive in use than potions, have the distinct advantage of being able to be used on other players.  (Several of the potion descriptions state they have a “funnel” and can be used on other players, but the actual execution of such a feat is… unreliable, at best.)  If you can use wands, they are notably cheaper than an equivalent stack of potions, if platinum is actually of concern in your budget.  On the other hand, wands also have the nasty tendency to break in combat, and require the user to switch weapons to the wand and then back to the weapon to use – which can be rather annoying in a heated battle.  The same goes for Cure Wands.. and don’t get me started on the Eternal Wand of Cure Minor Wounds (a.k.a. “the annoying thwip-stick”).

What follows are a few optional, but most definitely desired, things to have checked off.  They aren’t considered to be “minimum” standards, however, but if you can mark these as done, they will most certainly pay off in the long run.

  •         Death Ward (after level 7).  Not to be confused with its cousin Deathblock, above, Death Ward serves a different purpose.  Yes, Death Ward prevents instant death effects like its cousin, but it also prevents 100% of Negative Energy damage (Necrotic Ray, Cause Wounds, Harm, etc.) and makes the recipient immune to Negative Levels by the same regard.  Anyone who has watched their awesome toon get neg-leveled into oblivion knows full well the difference between a Death Ward clicky (Visor of the Flesh Render Guards, Eternal Flask of Death Ward) or spell being the difference between having your character (and blue bar) minced to pieces and waltzing away carelessly.  If you have the faction coms to spare for the Clerics of Eveningstar, you can trade one com in for an unbound Potion of Death Ward.  Not a bad exchange for toons whose coms are otherwise gathering dust.
  •         An XP Booster (multiple items).  Almost every veteran character has at least one of these items available, somewhere.  The entire group of these are casually referred to in PUGs as a “Voice,” the statement of which acts as a reminder to put one’s XP booster item on before the completion of the quest – that stacking 5% adds up over time!  There are several different versions, as outlined below:

o    Voice of the Master – Delera’s Tomb

o    Mantle of the Worldhspaer – Ruins of Threnal

o    Pale Green Ioun Stone – Shadow of a Doubt

o    The Master’s Gift – made from a Voice, a Mantle, and 5 Greater Tokens of the Twelve

And, as Gamer Geoff caught, I missed the easy-to-acquire Experienced Evil from the Temple of Elemental Evil turn-in for both quests!

  •         A Raise Dead solution.  While some put this in their “minimum” acceptable standards, I file it away as optional, mostly since some builds (i.e. pure fighter or barbarian) probably won’t have the snuff to reliably make it happen.  There are scrolls available for Raise Dead, Resurrection, and True Resurrection from the Guild Divine Scroll Vendor in House K, as well as Raise Dead scrolls being found in the House of Wizardry in House J, all starting at 36 UMD difficulty and going up from there.  You can craft Green Steel triple positive items with a single shot of Raise Dead as a clicky, and the unbound and not exclusive (!!) Ring of the Ancestors, which can be farmed from the Slavers of the Shrieking Mines quest in the Restless Isles.  The Ring requires a Good alignment, however, and also only comes with one charge per rest – as such, I wouldn’t refer to them as “solutions,” but rather, “better than the alternative.”  The same goes with the elven divine racial Undying Call ability, which allows a 6th level elven divine to resurrect an ally, albeit with a pretty brutal cooldown.

Well, there you have it!  A little (srsly?  Little?  –Ed.) list of the things which I consider to be mandatory across every toon, and must-haves where available for the majority of the rest.  I should point out that this has no relation to the items which are on my “Checklist” of things I want to get my army of characters for 2016 – that’s tracked in a spreadsheet and something entirely different!

Happy Slaying!

 

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!

Tholgrin’s Guide to Great Crossbows

Orsyn Burr has had a rough life.

Well, it didn’t start off that way.  At first, he was my initial delving into the Palificer Artadin build, which was later shattered by the Palificer Artadin 2.0.   Go figure.  Since then, he’s been largely ignored.

It was around the time I had logged Orsyn back on after the nudge to level cap got raised, where I realized something awful:  I have had one of every “main class” – wizards and sorcerers excluded – in my roster since shortly after I started playing;  with Felldar, my former “rogue” going, well, rogue, and taking over Orsyn’s spot, it’s only fair for Orsyn to turn the tables and, well, go rogue.

So he did.

He’s now sitting pretty in Epics, a level 22 “Master Mechanic and Ghost Extraordinaire,” but I learned a few lessons while bringing him up to snuff.  Yes, there’s a purpose to this infuriatingly long and rambling introduction, and that is that there are very, very few named Great Crossbows available.

So here are all of them.  Yes, all of them.  It’s not as scary as it sounds.   

Author’s Note:  One advantage to Great Crossbows over Heavy Crossbows is that any vorpal hit from a proficient user will create an automatic, no-save knockdown effect on non-red-named enemies.  While it’s not frequent enough to be used as a primary crowd control source, it is a nice benefit.  Oh, in addition to the fact that Great Crossbows hit with the impact of an anti-materiel rifle.


 

Tholgrin’s Guide to Every Named Great Crossbow in the Game

Oladren’s Great Crossbow

Minimum Level 1

+0 Great Crossbow, 1[2d8] base damage, Cold Touch (+1 cold damage on hit), Keen I (expanded crit range without feat).  Enhanced critical range of 15-20.

Item Found In:  The Collaborator end turn-in reward, guaranteed pop.

Personal Notes:  Playing a mechanic at low level, particularly solo, is rather tough.  This bow makes things a little easier with the enhanced critical range, which makes seemingly every other shot an explosive crit.  While it doesn’t necessarily hold up all the way to the next named great crossbow, it’s certainly one you can pack heat with for a few levels.  Useless against undead, though.


 

Temple of Elemental Evil Great Crossbow (Weapon Version)

Minimum Level 7

+3 Great Crossbow, 1.5[2d8] base damage, 1% Elemental Vulnerability (specific to weapon type);  can be upgraded to include Seeker +4, Crippling (-50% enemy movement speed on critical), Elemental Blast (+1d10 elemental damage specific to weapon type on crit, additional 4d6 elemental on vorpal), Purple Augment Slot, and either a +2 or +4 mythic weapon boost with super-rare mushrooms.

Item Found In:  Temple of Elemental Evil Part One, Part Two, or End Rewards.

Required for Above Upgrades:  200 Rusty Gilled Mushrooms from ToEE Part One, 50 Yellow Parisol mushrooms from ToEE Part Two, 50 of the appropriate elemental mushrooms from ToEE Part Two, and optionally a Red Cage or Octopus Stinkhorn mushroom (although the return on investment for anything beyond Tier 2 is debatable).

Personal Notes:   When it comes to Great Crossbows, one could consider it their “thing” to have massive critical damage.  Some weapons that are less “crit-killer-ey” don’t get quite the same punch as a ToEE weapon, but for crit-heavy weapons, they can be delightful.  Just make sure to farm the Heroic mushrooms on an Epic-level character, or be prepared for a seriously long haul.


 

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Leverage

Minimum Level 7

+3 Great Crossbow, 1.5[2d8] base damage, Lesser Human Bane (+1d6 bane to humans), Heartseeker I (+3d6 untyped damage on crit), Frostbite (+1% vulnerability on hit), Insightful Sneak Attack Bonus +2, Purple Augment Slot, Mythic Weapon Boost +2, Mythic Shield Boost +2

Item Found In:  Temple of Elemental Evil rare chests, end chests, extremely low drop rate

Personal Notes:  If nothing else, this is one sexy-looking great crossbow!  I glamered this almost immediately and haven’t looked back.  I also found myself leaning towards Leverage over the ToEE Great Crossbow I had made, mostly due to the versatility wherein Frostbite (in spite of its name) causes 1% damage vulnerability to all damage types, not just the element in question on the ToEE Great Crossbow with the same minimum level.  On the other hand, Leverage does have a pretty rough drop rate – I’ve pulled one out of over a hundred runs of both parts of the Temple and countless chests on each run – so in its absence, the ToEE weapon is a solid alternative.  But not nearly as centerfold-worthy.


 

Green Steel Great Crossbow

Minimum Level 12

+5 Great Crossbow, 1.5[2d8] base damage, evil damage bypass, various effects

Base Item Found In:  Created from various ingredients in the Vale of Twilight and upgraded with ingredients found in The Shroud raid and/or Epic Devil Assault

Personal Notes:   The big problem with “grading” Green Steel as a generic is that there are far too many permutations to summarize in a single sentence.  One might be a bloody demon-killer while another might struggle to plink kobolds in the Harbor.  As such, I’m going to leave this here as a “your mileage may vary,” and keep it at that.  On the other hand, considering what becomes available next level with Divine Artillery, even the best Green Steel great crossbows are up for some serious competition.  However, it should be noted that Green Steel has Evil damage bypass, which thanks to The Archon’s Trial and specifically Rhi’enne the Planetar’s singlehanded efforts (read: absolutely retarded Evil-aligned DR in Epic), is greatly in vogue as of late.


 

Divine Artillery

Minimum Level 13

+5 Great Crossbow, 2[2d8] base damage, Deception III (5% chance to bluff enemies on hit, +3 sneak attack, +6 sneak attack damage), Eldritch III (+3d4 Force damage on-hit), Vorpal (auto-kill on natural 20 if 1,000 HP or less; otherwise, 100 untyped damage), Stealth Strike (-15% ranged threat), Flametouched Iron (bypass Good DR), Purple Augment Slot

Item Found In:  The Devil’s Details,  end chest

Personal Notes:  Don’t let the fact this thing’s appearance is akin to a toy manufactured by NERF and Fischer-Price fool you, the Divine Artillery is the Noisy Cricket of great crossbows.  This thing hits like a freight train and grows to retarded damage ratings with the top tier of the Mechanic tree filled in.  As in, I feel fully comfortable saying “this weapon will carry you from 13 to 20.”  That kind of stupid damage.  However, get a cosmetic… because nobody will take you seriously with that golden shiny pew-pew  toy in your hand.


 

Alchemical Great Crossbow

Minimum Level 12 (blank), 16 (Tier 1), 18 (Tier 2), or 20 (Tier 3)

+5 Great Crossbow, 2[2d8] base damage, various effects

Base Item Found In:  The Master Artificer end chests

Personal Notes:  Technically, the “blank” should be filed with the blank Green Steel, since they’re both ML12.  However, Green Steel stays ML12 while the Alchemical skyrockets as you add effects to it.. and granted, some of them are pretty tasty.  On the other hand, in order to see much of any effect at all, the weapon needs to be at Tier One,  where it automatically jumps to ML16.  That, in my opinion, causes it to be filed above the rest.  As with Green Steel, you’ll pretty much have to already be a higher level to get the materials needed to craft it, as they drop only from level 20+ raids.  Having personally cranked out the effort to create one of these Alchemical Bad Boys, I’ll summarize it with the following:  “Sure, go ahead and make one if you already happen to have the ingredients, or are going to run the raids for fun anyway.  But have to recommend against farming explicitly for Alchemical weapons – there are better alternatives with less effort available.”


 

Did anyone else notice this humongous jump in levels, or was it just me?

Thunder-Forged Alloy Great Crossbow

Minimum Level 22 (blank), 24 (Tier 1), 26 (Tier 2), or 28 (Tier 3)

+9 to +12 Great Crossbow, 3.5[2d8] to 4.5[2d8] base damage, metalline, various effects

Base Item Found In:  Created at the Magma Forge in the Ruins of Thunderholme for 20 Thunder-Forged Dwarven Ingots and 15 Commendations of Valor

Personal Notes:  I have long been quoted as saying, “If you’re going to be taken seriously in Epic, go T-forged or go home.”  Thunder-Forged weapons are some of the most ridiculously powerful in the game, and the raw damage alone can even make blanks more viable than other alternatives.  Great Crossbows are no exception to the rule.  They’re sexy.  Farming the ingredients for a Tier One (grand total of 80 Ingots and 60 Coms) isn’t a terribly agonizing ordeal, either.  “Make one,” says Tholgrin – at least a Tier 1/level 24, since there are alternatives at 26 if you don’t feel like farming too many materials.  Seriously, though.  Make one.


 

Epic Temple of Elemental Evil Great Crossbow (Weapon Version) 

Minimum Level 26

+7 Great Crossbow, 5[2d8] base damage, 1% Elemental Vulnerability (specific to weapon type);  can be upgraded to include Exceptional Seeker +5, Crippling (-50% enemy movement speed on critical), Greater Elemental Blast (+4d10 elemental damage specific to weapon type on crit, additional 6d6 elemental on vorpal), Purple Augment Slot, and either a +2 or +4 mythic weapon boost with super-rare mushrooms.  Also becomes part of the Epic Elemental Evil set with a set of armor, providing a +20 Quality bonus to Melee and Ranged Power as well as Universal Spell Power while both are equipped.

Item Found In:  Epic Temple of Elemental Evil Part One, Part Two, or End Rewards.

Required for Above Upgrades:  200 Epic Rusty Gilled Mushrooms from Epic ToEE Part One, 50 Epic Yellow Parisol mushrooms from Epic ToEE Part Two, 50 of the appropriate Epic elemental mushrooms from Epic ToEE Part Two, and optionally a Red Cage or Octopus Stinkhorn mushroom (although the return on investment for anything beyond Tier 2 is debatable).

Personal Notes:   I struggle to get excited about the Epic ToEE Great Crossbow.  In Heroics, your options are very limited at that point;  in Epics, one can easily farm T-Forged Ingots at a much faster rate for an arguably better end product (for one point, the difference in base damage of the 26 versions – 1[2d8] – must immediately compete with the +7 [ToEE] vs. +11 [T-forged] enhancement bonuses difference).   Now I’m not saying that the Epic ToEE Great Crossbow is inherently bad, but  the return on investment when directly compared with a T-forged makes it a rough comparison to lean in favor of directly.  Your mileage may vary, particularly if the Epic Elemental Evil Set Bonus is incorporated.


 

Epic Leverage

Minimum Level 26

+7 Great Crossbow, 5[2d8] base damage, Greater Human Bane (+3d6 bane to humans), Heartseeker VI (+13d6 untyped damage on crit), Frostbite (+1% vulnerability on hit), Insightful Sneak Attack Bonus +6, Purple Augment Slot, Mythic Weapon Boost +2, Mythic Shield Boost +2

Item Found In:  Epic Temple of Elemental Evil rare chests, end chests, extremely low drop rate

Personal Notes:  Honestly, I can’t have any real-world comments on the actual play-effectiveness of the Epic version of Leverage, since I haven’t found it yet.  However, given the many parallels between the Heroic and Epic pair of Leverage vs. ToEE Great Crossbow, I’d have to wager money on Epic Leverage being the winner… if you’re lucky enough to have one.  I’m not.  Sadface.


 

Legendary Green Steel Great Crossbow

Minimum Level 26

+14 Great Crossbow, 5[2d8] base damage, various effects

Base Item Made From:  Legendary level 30 content ingredients

Personal Notes:  This is going to be extra thin.. mostly because their modular nature makes the new Legendary Green Steel weapons highly customizable.  As such, their combat effectiveness can range from “amazing” to “meh” and everywhere in between – your mileage may vary.


 

Epic Divine Artillery

Minimum Level 28

+12 Great Crossbow, 5.5[2d8] base damage, Deception IX (5% chance to bluff enemies on hit, +9 sneak attack, +18 sneak attack damage), Eldritch VI (+6d4 Force damage on-hit), Sovereign Vorpal (auto-kill on natural 20 if 3,000 HP or less; otherwise, 300 untyped damage), Stealth Strike (-15% ranged threat), Flametouched Iron (bypass Good DR), Orange Augment Slot

Item Found In:  Epic The Devil’s Details, end chest

Personal Notes:  Much like its Heroic counterpart, this thing hits like a weapon out of a.. a… a something epic and awesome that hits really, really hard.  In the hands of a Mechanic with the bonus Sneak Attack damage built up, this can punch holes through enemy heads at an alarming rate.. and that’s a good thing!  Just make sure, as before, to wear a cosmetic… because who wants to show up to fight Legendary Malicia with a NERF crossbow?


 

And there you have it!  While it’s not the most red-headed of the red-headed stepchildren (that poor distinction goes to darts), it’s definitely a weapon category that has only a few players in it.  Of course, they are players that hit like an artillery barrage, but that’s beside the point.

I hope this little dose of Tholgrin’s Patented Research Made Easy® has helped in some way, shape, or form!

Happy Slaying!

P.S.  Have a request for a future post or “Tholgrin’s Guide?”  Leave it in the comments below!

 

Tholgrin’s Intro Guide to Epic

Having walked many players through their first forays into Epic careers, I’ve heard the same questions and confusions popping up over and over again.  It seems these are the type of questions that players new to Epic content aren’t sure how to ask, or can’t find clearly stated answers on the wiki.  As such, I thought I’d put this article out there to provide a simple, plain-terms explanation of how the “Epic thing” works.

Those of you who are already familiar and have several ERs under your belt can probably skip this entire post, since this is aimed at the “first-timer” to learn exactly how the gears turn.

First things first, let’s take a look at the three (3) types of experience earned in Epic levels, as opposed to the one (1) kind earned in Heroic play (measured by the blue bar).

Epic Character Experience  (purple bar, no ‘bubbles’)

As far as your character “build” is concerned, leveling ends at 20.  You cannot gain any more levels in a “class” beyond the total that capped out your Heroic career;  for example, there is no such thing as a 20 Fighter/8 Favored Soul.  With the exception of feats being selected, every character receives the exact same growth in terms of Hit Points, Spell Points, Skill Points, and Base Attack Bonus from levels 21 through 30;  only the feat selections make these levels differ from one character to the next.  Epic Character Experience is earned no matter what you do, and caps at level 30 (as of the time of this writing).  Once you hit cap, you cease earning Epic Character Experience.  Unlike Heroic experience, the epic Character Experience does not have a “bubble system” of display, as there are no ranks segmenting a given level.  Fill it up once, and you’re at the next level.

Epic Destiny Experience  (yellow bar, with ‘bubbles’)

First things first:  if you have not yet purchased Epic Destinies (or acquired them with a bundle purchase, previously) then you should note that Epic Character Experience does not apply retroactively to your Epic Destinies.  This means, should you play for a few days and earn, say, 500,000 Character Experience before you purchase Destinies for your account, you will start with 0 XP for your Destinies and work up from there.  This may help make an important decision if you don’t have them yet – you may want to put your brand-newly Epic toon on pause until you can acquire the Destinies.  Or not, your choice, really, just make your decision informed and don’t get caught blindsided.

Anyhoo… once you switch over from Heroic to Epic play, the XP Bar at the bottom will automatically switch from the blue bar (Heroic XP) to the purple bar (Epic Character XP) automatically.  You can click the “rotating circle of arrows” near the Main Menu button to toggle between many different views – personally, I prefer the one which has the Purple Bar visible in the background, with a smaller Yellow Bar overlaid in front of it while leveling Destinies; this way, I can see the progress of both Destiny Experience and Character Experience at a glance.

Having said that, let’s explain why they’re different.  Epic Character Experience functions largely the same way Heroic Experience worked – you gain it, level up, and move along.  Epic Destiny Experience is earned in tandem with Character XP in the sense that every point you earn for your character is earned in copy for the currently active Destiny.  (Yes, this means you have to level each Destiny up independently of the others.)  Destiny Points – the Epic Destiny version of Action Points – earned in one Destiny only apply to that Destiny.  This means you cannot earn points in Exalted Angel and spend them in Unyielding Sentinel, no matter how hard you try.

On the other hand, unlike Epic Character Experience, Epic Destiny Experience is permanent.  This means that, once you “cap out” a Destiny and it states “Maximum Epic XP Earned” in the yellow bar, that whichever destiny you have just capped will remain so forever.  If you earn only four (4) XP in a Destiny, you will forever have those four XP in that Destiny, until you add more to it.  You never, ever lose experience in an Epic Destiny, no matter how many times you Epic Reincarnate;  once you cap out all twelve Destinies, you can turn the Epic Destiny Experience meter (yellow bar) off, forever, for that toon.  (Because it’ll always say the same thing – “yes, I’m still capped.”)  As you level up a given Destiny, you will unlock adjacent ones on the Destiny Map – it takes three levels to unlock a Destiny within the same Sphere, and four levels for the “bridge Destinies” to cross over into an adjacent Sphere.

Which is completely different from..

Epic Destiny Sphere “Karma” (really, it’s experience, it just doesn’t have a bar)

You earn karma – commonly referred to as “Sphere XP,” by being active in a Destiny which corresponds to a particular sphere.  While this may sound complicated, they’re pretty logically grouped together, and make quite a bit of sense, once you think about it.  Just because a Destiny was structured with a specific class in mind has absolutely nothing to do with what class you are, currently.  (In fact, some of the most effective Epic builds criss-cross the lines and cherry pick from all over, not just their “official” Destiny.)

Primal Sphere

  •         Fury of the Wild – the “barbarian destiny”
  •         Primal Avatar – the “druid destiny”
  •         Shiradi Champion – the “ranger destiny” officially, although one of the blurrier lines in practice

Martial Sphere

  •         Legendary Dreadnought – the “fighter destiny”
  •         Grandmaster of Flowers – the “monk destiny” (don’t let the name fool you)
  •         Shadowdancer – the “rogue destiny”

Arcane Sphere

  •         Fatesinger – the “bard destiny”
  •         Draconic Incarnation – the “sorcerer destiny”
  •         Magister – the “wizard destiny”

Divine Sphere

  •         Unyielding Sentinel – the “paladin destiny”
  •         Exalted Angel – the “favored soul destiny”
  •         Divine Crusader – the “cleric destiny”

In order to be eligible to Epic Reincarnate and earn an Epic Past Life, one needs to have a total of 6,000,000 Karma in a given Sphere, which will allow you to pick one of three Epic Past Life feats related to that given Sphere.  In other words, you cannot spend your entire epic career in Shadowdancer and earn an Arcane Epic Past Life feat;  if you want a given Epic Past Life, you’ll have to be in the correct Sphere.  (Unless, however, you already had your six million sphere XP earned on a previous Epic career.)

Having said all that, it does not mean that you must earn the six million Sphere XP before you cap out your Epic Character Experience – and, frequently, on the first life, it does not happen that way.  For example, if you are playing a Fighter who selected Legendary Dreadnought (Martial sphere) and wish to earn an Epic Past Life Feat: Fast Healing (Primal), one would need to level Legendary Dreadnought up to level four (as it’s a “bridge Destiny” that connects with Shiradi Champion in Primal), then switch over to a Destiny in the Primal Sphere and begin earning Karma in that sphere.  All of the experience earned in Legendary Dreadnought stays there forever – and the Sphere XP earned stays there until it is spent to ER at a later date.  However, upon reaching level cap, the player may have to do a little bit more adventuring to “make up” the Sphere XP left behind in Martial during the process of unlocking the Primal Sphere.

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The Map View of Orsyn Burr’s Epic Destinies, showing a number of things:  1) Unyielding Sentinel is at level 5, which “unlocks” the two other Destinies in the Divine Sphere (Divine Crusader and Exalted Angel);  since Unyielding is a “bridge destiny” and is above level 4 (note the four “stars” forming a line between Divine and Martial) he can unlock Grandmaster of Flowers;  Shadowdancer and Legendary Dreadnaught will both unlock when Grandmaster hits level 3, or can be unlocked with the purchase of a Key of Destiny (hence the coin symbol on them);  the Divine sphere has 162,287 Sphere XP (Karma) towards an Epic Past Life, and none of the other Spheres have any progress whatsoever.

Confused, yet?  Don’t panic!  None of your progress is ever lost.  All Destiny XP earned is retained forever, and all Sphere XP is retained until it is spent during the specific Epic Reincarnation process for that specific sphere in exchange for an Epic Past Life Feat.  (In the example above, all Sphere XP earned while leveling up Dreadnought will hang around until used to purchase a Martial Epic Past Life Feat while ERing… even if the player does a dozen or more ERs in other Spheres, first.)

Because of this, however, many veteran players tend to keep a given Epic career focused within a specific Sphere;  in the example above, Epic Life #1 would probably remain in the Martial Sphere, and Epic Life #2 would start and stay in the Primal Sphere (to maximize efficiency).  This doesn’t mean that a player must remain in a given Destiny, however – it’s not uncommon for a player’s first Epic Life in a given Sphere to be spent “filling out” all three Destinies present, since that’s a “one-and-done” deal and never needs to be done again.  Ever.  It also works out quite nicely that capping out each Destiny (1.98M per Destiny x 3 Destinies per Sphere = 5.94M) fits in beautifully with the six million Sphere XP needed to score an Epic Past Life for said Sphere.

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Tholgrin’s Destiny chart, showing every destiny “Done” and capped out.  At this point, Destiny XP becomes a non-issue (as everything is at maximum).

To summarize, any time you earn experience while playing DDO with a toon level 20 or above, you can benefit in up to three places:

  •         Epic Character Experience (from level 20 up to level 30), and
  •         Epic Destiny Experience for the active Destiny (until the Destiny is capped at 1.98M), and
  •         Epic Destiny Karma for the active Destiny’s Sphere (up to 6M).

If you should decide to Heroic TR early – by that, I mean after 20 but before 30 (sometimes called “chickening out” –Ed.) – all of your Destiny XP and Sphere XP are still hanging around until next time.  You’ll have to re-acquire your Epic Character XP, of course.

The other reason for filling out all of the Destinies in a Sphere is to earn..

Twist of Fate and Fate Points

Destiny abilities, while wonderful, are only active while you currently have the Destiny active.  In other words, if you cap out Grandmaster of Flowers and then move to Shadowdancer, all of the benefits you earned in Grandmaster of Flowers are “suspended” until you return to that Destiny.  That rule, however, can be bent from somewhat (with only a few Twist of Fate points) to an extreme degree (a large number of Twist of Fate points).  The primary source of earning Fate Points is by leveling up the Epic Destinies themselves – every three Destiny levels (total, across all Destinies) is worth an additional fate point.  (You can also earn a Fate Point every 4th ER and by purchasing Tomes of Fate from the DDO store.  –Ed.)

This means if you have Fatesinger at level 4, Shadowdancer at 3, and Dreadnought at 2, for a total of 9 levels, you have a total of three Fate Points.  If you were to level Dreadnought to 3 and make it 10 levels, you’d… still have three Fate Points.  They only increase in count on whole divisions.

For an easy way to think of it – capping an entire Sphere is three Destinies at five levels each, for a total of fifteen levels.  In other words, each capped Sphere is worth 5 Fate Points;  capping out all four Spheres alone is worth twenty Fate Points.

These Fate Points are used to unlock and upgrade Twist of Fate slots.  These slots allow you to “twist” in abilities from other Destinies which are not presently active – however, you cannot twist “Core” abilities, which are listed as Innate on the abilities list.  Using Fate Points, you can unlock a slot, which automatically allows a Tier 1 ability to be used in that slot – and then spend additional points to upgrade the slot to hold up to a Tier 4 ability.  As one can imagine, the further you upgrade a slot, and more slots you unlock, the more expensive they become in terms of Fate Points.  More specifics are available on the wiki as far as point costs for various combinations.

I won’t go into the possibilities of various combinations of Destinies and Twists, which run the gamut from absurd (pure Fighter in Magister with Endless Turning twisted in) to downright deadly (hehehehe – I said I wouldn’t go into it!  -Ed.) and beyond.  What I will point out are a few common pitfalls I have seen others try:

  •         If you’re twisting in an enhancement to another Destiny ability, you must have the prerequisite ability as well in order to take advantage of it.  Example:  You cannot twist Rainbow in from Shiradi Champion without having Prism to activate it.  (Well, you can, but it won’t do anything at all.)  It’s possible to twist in Double Rainbow to another Destiny, just expensive (both in Fate Points and slots).
  •         Many abilities are also contingent upon class abilities – twisting them in without having the relevant class ability will offer no benefit.  Example:  As mentioned above, a pure Fighter getting Endless Turning from Divine Crusader, when the Fighter class has no ability to Turn Undead in the first place.

o    On the other hand, the Fighter in question could twist in Turn Undead from the same tree, as well as Endless Turning, to further bend and confuse that rule.  However, without the backing of an actual Paladin or Cleric build, the logic of this decision may be pretty questionable.

  •         Similar to the above, some abilities may not require class abilities, but are otherwise unusable without being active in the Destiny itself.  For example, Reign from the Fatesinger tree enhances the character’s weapons with lightning strikes on vorpal;  it counts as a Spontaneous Song, which isn’t a problem while the player is in Fatesinger, even without a single Bard level, as the Destiny itself provides songs.  On the other hand, twisting it into a class which has zero songs means the ability is now null-and-void since it cannot be activated while in a Destiny which does not provide songs innately.
  •         Tier 5 and 6 abilities cannot be twisted in, at all, and neither can Innate (“core”) abilities.  Make sure you check that before you try and twist in Adrenaline (innate, Fury of the Wild) and Leap of Faith (tier 5, Exalted Angel) to your Dreadnought.
  •         Purchasing slots with your Fate Points is not permanent, and you do not have to ER in order to reset your slot purchases.  Simply visit a Fatespinner (one in the Marketplace and one in Eveningstar) to have her reset your Fate Points for free.
  •         You can get a 4th Twist of Fate slot upon attaining Epic Completionist (three Epic Past Life Feats total in each Sphere;  note they do not have to be three different Past Life Feats, you can simply get three stacks of one you like).  However, it’s not free, and still costs Fate Points to unlock/upgrade.  

So now that you’ve gotten your character up to level 30, what happens then?

Reincarnation

In Heroic play, there’s not a whole lot of intricacies when it comes to reincarnation.  You simply make it to level 20, acquire your Heart of Wood however you see fit, and then trot over to the Reincarnation Grove.  That’s it!  Of course, there are a few more… intricacies.. with Epic than there are with Heroic play.  But, then again, that’s part of the addiction, once you figure them out!

There are four general ways to go about your reincarnation business, once you make it to Epic:

  •         Heroic True Reincarnation (TR) – cutting one’s Epic career short, for whatever reason, and returning to level 1.  This provides a Heroic Past Life feat and is not available as an option for Iconic characters.  All Epic Character XP* is forfeited with no benefit.  Doesn’t differ from traditional Heroic TR’ing in any meaningful way.  (*Note this is not your Destiny XP or Sphere XP being forfeited.  –Ed.)
  •         Epic Reincarnation (ER) –  Upon reaching level 30 and accumulating a total of six million Sphere XP (“Karma”) in a chosen Sphere, the character is able to select which Epic Past Life feat from their chosen Sphere and return to level 20.  In the process, the character will be “rebuilt” from level 1 to 20, allowing new feat selections and point/skill allocations;  think of this step as a Lesser Reincarnation performed at level 20.  You cannot change classes, races, genders, or the like during this part.  Epic Reincarnation does not build a TR Cache the same way Heroic True Reincarnation does – what’s in your bank, stays in your bank.  Iconic characters can ER back to 20 the same way other characters can.
  •         Double Reincarnation (or ER/TR) – a common practice of performing an Epic Reincarnation, followed immediately by a Heroic True Reincarnation.  Yes, you can do that!  The only thing which may makes this step somewhat more complicated is lining up both Hearts of Wood back-to-back.  Iconic characters cannot perform double reincarnations as they are ineligible for Heroic True Reincarnation.
  •         Iconic Reincarnation (IR) –  Only available for Iconic races (currently Bladeforged, Morninglord, Purple Dragon Knight, and Shadar-Kai, regardless of chosen classes), an Iconic character who decides to return to level 1 must perform an Iconic Reincarnation.  They must be at level cap and get a special Heart of Wood (shockingly called an Iconic Heart of Wood), at which point they will receive two past life feats, much like a Heroic race would if they were performing a Double Reincarnation.  However, instead of an Epic Past Life Feat, the Iconic reincarnation provides the character with an Iconic Past Life Feat and the Heroic Past Life Feat for their primary class.  This can be performed regardless of current Sphere XP;  in other words, you don’t have to rack up and/or spend any Sphere XP to perform an Iconic Reincarnation.  Your character will be sent right back to 1, where just like with a Heroic Reincarnation, there’s nothing preventing him from selecting another Iconic race and jumping right back up to 15.

So hopefully, this little article will provide some clarity on questions you might have had about “how that whole Epic thing works.”  If you have any more questions regarding “that Epic thing” that you can’t seem to find a straight answer on, leave it in the comments section below, and I’ll try and find one for you!

ScreenShot01045

And here is a close-up of Tholgrin’s butt, because, reasons.

Happy slaying!

 

Tholgrin’s Guide to Level 20 Melee Weaponry

Taking that first step into Epic questing on a character build that hasn’t been there before can be quite the shock at times.  Some things that were effective in Heroics suddenly turn out to be insufficient, gear that you hadn’t updated because you hadn’t needed to suddenly becomes a problem, all sorts of things happen.  And the power jump from 19 to 20 – both in character builds and gear – is pretty phenomenal.

Frequent readers of this blog are already well aware of the fact that I tend to lean pretty heavily on the melee side of things.  With that in mind, I figured I’d compile a list of the weapons one might be interested in acquiring to prepare for that nice little jump into Epic play.

Keep in mind this guide is specifically geared for front-line primary melee types – not castery thingies that happen to be weapons, such as the Drowned Priest’s Torch, or ranged thingies, except that Noxious Fang which just slipped in and I didn’t feel like deleting after going through the trouble to write it up.  All of the data was collected from the DDOWiki and links are provided.  Where I have them, I’ve included my experiences with damage and proc rates for those elusive “occasionally” effects such as Lightning Strike and Disintegration – by their very nature, your mileage may vary on these abilities.  Personal notes, if I have any, have been added at the end of each entry.

So sit down, grab your favorite beverage, and scroll over to your favorite weapon section – and take advantage of Tholgrin’s Patented Research Made Easy®!

Melee Weapons



Part One:  Two-Handers

Epic Antique Greataxe 

+6 Great Axe, 2[1d20] base damage, Force Burst (1-6 on hit + 2-20 on crit), Metalline, Adamantine, Righteous, Red Augment Slot, Colorless Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  The Snitch or Phiarlan Carnival arc turn-in

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Phiarlan Carnival quests;  Shard – Under the Big Top  

Personal Notes:  This thing is delicious!  Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the expanded Base Damage die (d20 instead of d12) which leads to quite a whallop, close to double the impact from the Epic Hellstroke.  Metalline (yes, the Adamantine is redundant, but who’s counting) and Righteous combined bypasses close to 90% of the Damage Reduction you’ll encounter, a Red slot for versatility, and a Colorless to patch up whatever’s missing.. this is definitely worth crafting and gets Tholgrin’s Personal Seal of Approval.  (No, seriously, he uses one from 20 through 22.)


Epic Elemental Greataxe of Fire  

+5 Greataxe, 2[1d12] base damage, Flaming Burst (1-6 fire on hit + 2-20 fire on crit), Brilliance (1-6 light on hit + 2-20 on crit), Metalline, Greater Incineration (personal estimates:  ~180 fire damage, ~2% proc rate, YMMV), Magma Surge (personal estimates:  ~500-600 fire damage, ~1% proc rate, YMMV), Greater Cold Resistance (30)

Item Found In:  Cannith Challenge Turn-In:  600 Orthon Metal Scraps, 600 Crystallized Magma Shards, 600 Necromantic Charms

Personal Notes:  A pretty darn tasty alternative if the Epic Antique Greataxe shard isn’t cooperating for you.


Epic Fury of the Flame 

+6 Maul, 2[1d10] base damage, Adamantine, Flaming Burst (1-6 fire on hit + 2-20 on crit), Brilliance (1-6 light on hit + 2-20 on crit), Fracturing (2-12 untyped for hostiles with skeletons), Impact, Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Servants of the Overlord end chest

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scroll/Seal – Epic Web of Chaos quests;  Shard – The Spinner of Shadows 

Personal Notes:  I’ve been planning on rearranging one of my dwarves into a Constitution-based maul user – and this is on his checklist to get before 20.


Epic Greatclub of the Scrag 

+6 Greatclub, 2[1d10] base damage, Anarchic Burst (2-12 vs Lawful on hit + 4-24 on crit), Icy Burst (1-6 cold on hit + 1-10 cold on crit), Greater Regeneration (2hp/30 seconds, affected by heal amp)

Base Item Found In:  Into the Deep 

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scroll – Epic Red Fens quests;  Seal – Fathom the Depths;  Shard – Into the Deep optional Pit Demon chest

Personal Notes:  Haven’t made this one, yet.


Epic Hammer of Life  

+6 Maul, 2[1d10] base damage, Good aligned, Greater Disruption, Greater Disruption Guard, Natural Armor +5, Heal +20, Repair +20, Mass Heal (3 charges, recover 1/day), Purple Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Plane of Night 

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scroll/Seal – Epic Vault of Night quests;  Shard – Plane of Night end chest

Personal Notes:  All of the information available from the wiki for this is whoa out of date… sort of kind of fifteen updates old.  Sorry!


Epic Hellstroke Great Axe 

+6 Great Axe, 2[1d12] base damage, Cold Iron, Doublestrike 6%, Incite +20%, Keen I, Maiming (2-12 damage on crit), Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  The Chronoscope, Bloodplate’s Chest or Turn-In

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  The Chronoscope

Personal Notes;   It’s better than not having an “officially” Epic weapon simply due to the base damage, however, its lack of special tricks is relatively lackluster.  The bonus aggro gen isn’t super-special, and Keen is negated by not stacking with Improved Critical (which any melee worth their salt will have for their chosen weapon group).  While not a bad weapon, especially if you already have the components, if you’re going to farm for a scroll/seal/shard-style Epic great axe, go for the Epic Antique Greataxe instead.


Epic Souleater

+6 Quarterstaff, 2[1d6] base damage, Epic Trap the Soul (yet no difference in function to Heroic version), Bodyfeeder (+15 temp HP on crit), Negative Energy Spike (2-12 negative damage on hit – heals undead), Demonic Might (+2 Profane bonus to Strength), Vampirism (~1-2 hp recovered per hit, affected by heal amp), Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Into the Deep optional Pit Demon chest

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scroll – Epic Red Fens quests;  Seal – The Last Stand; Shard – Into the Deep optional Pit Demon chest

Personal Notes:  Haven’t made this one, yet.


Epic Staff of Nat Gann

+6 Quarterstaff, 2[2d6] base damage (Dex modifier), Silver, Dexterity +7, Dodge +8%, Sneak Attack Bonus +5, Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  The Chronoscope, Bloodplate’s Chest or Turn-In

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  The Chronoscope

Personal Notes:  Much like the Heroic version, the Epic Staff of Nat Gann makes for a pretty delicious all-around whacking rod for stick-builds, and performs quite well until Sireth or T-forged becomes available.


Epic Sword of Shadow

+10 Greatsword, 2.5[2d6] base damage (17-20, x3 crit profile), Adamantine, Red Augment Slot, Colorless Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Plane of Night

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scroll/Seal – Epic Vault of Night quests;  Shard – Plane of Night end chest

Personal Notes:  Don’t let the lack of flashy effect words deter you – this thing is a killer of gods.  Boasting base damage ratings that compete with Tier 2 Thunder-Forged, expanded critical range, and an expanded critical multiplier, this is a very, very worthy weapon to farm for.  Having said that…. get your overalls and mud boots on, ’cause you might be farming for a very, very long time.


Epic Whirlwind

+6 Greatsword, 2[2d6] base damage, Air Guard (occasionally knocks enemies over or speeds up user), Force Burst (1-6 on hit + 1-10 on crit), Epic Telekinetic (on crit knockdown, DC 35 Strength check), Smoke Screen (20% blur), Screaming (1-6 sonic on hit), Thundering (1-8 sonic on crit), Red Augment Slot, Colorless Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Den Mother Fheena’s rare encounter in the Sands of Menechtarun.  According to the wiki, she is “located in the separated area at the South of the gnoll village. Climb the Western-most ladder to get there.”

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Epic Menechtarun quests;  Shard – Zawabi’s Revenge

Personal Notes:  While I haven’t used it personally, I have to admit it looks kind of fun.  Might be something to keep an eye out for my greatsword users..


Stout Oak Walking Stick

+6 Quarterstaff, 2[2d6] base damage (19-20/x3 crit range), Aligned, Impact I, Fracturing (2-12 untyped damage on hit vs. things with skeletons), Felling the Oak (trip opponent on vorpal, no save), Immunity to Slippery Surfaces

Item Found In:  Eveningstar, Villagers of Eveningstar Turn-In:  15 Commendations:  Villagers of Eveningstar

Personal Notes:  This thing packs a serious whallop!  The Felling the Oak ability couples quite nicely for stick-build Rogues who have taken the Thief-Acrobat enhancement No Mercy, for an additional 30% damage against downed opponents.



Part Two:  Heavy One-Handers

Epic Timeblade

+6 Longsword, 2[1d8] base damage, Doublestrike 6%, Improved Paralyzing (DC25 Will), Improved Slowburst (DC28 Will), Feather Falling, Freedom of Movement, Red Augment Slot, Colorless Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  The Chronoscope, Bloodplate’s Chest or Turn-In

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  The Chronoscope

Personal Notes:  Pretty darn useful for sword-and-board builds in low-level Epics, but only if you’re not planning on playing on Epic Elite, where the saves are pointless.  The Freedom of Movement is quite handy and dual augment slots let it take on quite a variety of roles.  It won’t be your ultimate pig-sticker of death, however.


Epic Calomel Weapons

+5 Rapier, Scimitar, Falchion, Repeater, Longbow, Handwraps (base damage by weapon type +1[W] except wraps), Greater Dragon Bane (+4 attack, 3-18 bane damage on hit), Tidal Burst (1-4 damage on hit, double if Fire creature, additional 1-8 [x2], 2-16 [x3], or 3-24 [x4] on crit), Crushing Wave (personal estimates:  ~30-45 damage + ~20-30 cold damage per tic, 3 tics, approx. 1.5% proc rate, YMMV), Corrosive Salt (personal estimates:  ~12-36 damage, ~2% proc rate, YMMV)

Item Found In:  Cannith Challenge Turn In:  600 Crystallized Magma Shards, 600 Orthon Metal Scraps, 600 Jade Scorpions

Personal Notes:  Significantly less impressive than Epic crafted items, but also easier to acquire.


Epic Chaosblade

+6 Khopesh, 1[2d8] base damage, Anarchic Burst (2-12 vs Lawful on hit + 4-24 on crit), True Chaos (1-6 vs. non-Chaotic), Vampirism (~1-2 hp recovered per hit, affected by heal amp), Vorpal, Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Zawabi’s Revenge

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Epic Menechtarun quests;  Shard – Zawabi’s Revenge

Personal Notes:  Pretty slick in the hands of a khopesh-based crit-killer, but it can be a righteous pain in the snookus to get the ingredients for it.  Plus, it looks cool, and that’s important.  Duh!


Epic Chimera’s Fang

+6 (up to +10) bastard sword, 2[1d10] base damage (17-20 crit range), Silver, Keen I, Shocking Burst (1-6 electric on hit + 1-10 on crit), Destruction (-1 AC and -1% fort on hit, 20 stacks), Shatter +10, Disintegration (personal estimates:  ~250-300 untyped damage, ~1% proc rate, YMMV), Chimera’s Ferocity (added benefits depending on Dragonmark presence and growth), Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Chimera’s Fang, upgraded from Chipped Bastard Sword, acquired in The Tide Turns end chest and/or arc turn-in  (two-stage upgrade)

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Epic Sentinels of Stormreach arc quests;  Shard – The Tide Turns

Personal Notes:  No personal experience with this one.  


Epic Cruel Nobility

+6 Scimitar, 2[1d6] base damage, Axiomatic (2-12 against Chaotic on hit), Unholy (2-12 against Good on hit), Slicing (1-4 bleed on hit), Bleeding (1-8 bleeding on hit), Disintegration (personal estimates:  ~250-300 untyped damage, ~1% proc rate, YMMV), Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Lords of Dust, Tahmael’s chest

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scroll/Seal – Epic Web of Chaos quests;  Shard – The Spinner of Shadows

Personal Notes:  I haven’t personally used the Epic version of this in combat.  The Heroic version is similar – and the Unholy damage hits very, very few hostile mobs.


Epic Dynastic Falcata

+6 Khopesh, 1[2d8] base damage (Charisma modifier), Axiomatic Burst (2-12 vs. Chaotic on hit + 4-24 on crit), True Law (1-6 vs. non-Lawful), Adamantine, Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  General Tanankh’s rare encounter in the Sands of Menechtarun wilderness area.  According to the wiki, found in the northwest corner of the Undead ruins area, in an area shaped like an abandoned building.

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Epic Menechtarun quests;  Shard – Zawabi’s Revenge

Personal Notes:  Practically begging to be wielded by a Charisma-based crit-killer on a Favored Soul or Paladin life, it’s the opposite of the Chaosblade.  Although it seems to have lost a Purple slot in the Epicifying process, it’s still quite nice.


Epic Elemental Khopesh of Water

+5 Khopesh, 2[1d8] base damage, Icy Burst (1-6 cold on hit + 2-20 cold on crit), Improved Paralyzing (DC25 Will), Crushing Wave (personal estimates:  ~30-45 untyped damage + ~20-30 cold damage per tic , 3 tics, approx. 1.5% proc rate, YMMV), Slowburst (DC15 Will negates), Freezing Ice, Greater Fire Resistance (30)

Item Found In:  Cannith Challenge Turn-In:  600 Crystallized Magma Shards, 600 Orthon Metal Scraps, 600 Jade Scorpions

Personal Notes:  Slowburst is largely pointless with a DC15 save in Epics, however, the Freezing Ice portion is quite tasty.


Epic Kron’zek’s Cruelty

+6 Scimitar, 2[1d6] base damage, Shocking Burst (1-6 on hit + 1-10 on crit), Maiming (1-6 on crit), Keen I, Lightning Strike (personal estimates:  ~500 electric damage, ~1% proc rate, YMMV), Improved Destruction (-1 AC on hit, -1% fort, 20 stacks), Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  A Small Problem, or Phiarlan Carnival arc turn-in

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Phiarlan Carnival quests;  Shard – Under the Big Top

Personal Notes:  While I freely admit the blows from the Lightning Strikes are delicious, the rest just doesn’t hold up that well.  Keen is once again moot for most melees, however, the expanded crit range (15-20) just might turn to gold in the hands of a druid or ranger crit-killer build.


Epic Mirage

+6 Scimitar, 1[2d6] base damage (17-20 expanded crit range), Deception, Ghost Touch, Improved Cursespewing (DC20 Will on hit), Sneak Attack +4, Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Utach Sandcrawl‘s rare encounter in the Sands of Menechtarun wilderness area.  The wiki just says “drow area.”

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Epic Menechtarun quests;  Shard – Zawabi’s Revenge

Personal Notes:  Not much experience with either the Heroic or Epic versions of this weapon.  Aside from the expanded crit range, there really wasn’t a whole lot of squee to capture my attention.


Epic Mournlode Weapons

+5 Shortsword, Longsword, Greataxe, Light Mace, Warhammer, or Maul (base damage by weapon type +1[W}), Righteous (Good aligned, +2 attack/damage vs. evil), Undead Bane (2-12 bane damage vs undead on hit), Brilliance (1-6 light on hit + 2-20 on crit), Radiant Blast

Item Found In:  Cannith Challenge Turn-In:  600 Orthon Metal Scraps, 600 Crystallized Magma Shards, 600 Necromantic Charms

Personal Notes:  A solid undead-wrecker if you’re in need.


Epic Sirocco

+6 Long sword, 2[1d8] base damage, Air Guard (occasionally knocks enemies over or speeds up user), Force Burst (1-6 on hit + 1-10 on crit), Epic Telekinetic (on crit knockdown, DC 35 Strength check), Sirocco (occasional blindness, DC20 Reflex save negates), Vertigo +10, Smoke Screen (20% blur), Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  The Chamber of Raiyum

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Epic Menechtarun quests;  Shard – Zawabi’s Revenge

Personal Notes:  An awful lot of rare effects on this blade that make it look interesting – can’t say I’ve played with it, though, as I haven’t found the shard, so I can’t speak to the actual in-play effectiveness.


Epic Templar’s Justice

+6 Dwarven war axe, 2[1d10] base damage, Cold Iron, Holy Burst (2-12 good vs. evil on hit + 4-24 on crit), Brilliance (1-6 light on hit + 2-20 on crit), Godly Wrath (occasionally applies 3x 2-8 light damage tic every two seconds), Good Blast (4-24 good damage on crit vs. non-good), Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Spinner of Shadows

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scroll/Seal – Epic Web of Chaos quests;  Shard – The Spinner of Shadows

Personal Notes:  Oddly enough, I have the scroll and the shard.  The seal is being a right proper punk, though..


Epic Templar’s Retribution

+6 Bastard sword, 2[1d10] base damage, Cold Iron, Holy Burst (2-12 good vs. evil on hit + 4-24 on crit), Brilliance (1-6 light on hit + 2-20 on crit), Godly Wrath (occasionally applies 3x 2-8 light damage tic every two seconds), Good Blast (4-24 good damage on crit vs. non-good), Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Spinner of Shadows

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scroll/Seal – Epic Web of Chaos quests;  Shard – The Spinner of Shadows

Personal Notes:  Effectively identical to the Templar’s Justice, only in bastard sword format and not as pretty.  Really.  It’s kind of disappointing, visually, compared to its counterpart.


Epic Unkor’s Cleaver

+6 Battle axe, 2.5[1d8] base damage, Limb Chopper (-75% movement and -50% attack speed on vorpal),  Keen I, Vorpal, Bleed (1-8 bleeding damage on hit), Red Augment Slot, Eat Jerky 1/day (remove poisons and heals unknown amount), Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Chains of Flame

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Epic Menechtarun quests;  Shard – Zawabi’s Revenge

Personal Notes:  I love the tactical fun when Limb Chopper activates on Cleaver, Hewer of Suffering.  While I can’t say I’ve used this one, personally, it sure seems to look like a one-handed Cleaver, Jr.


Oathblade

+6 Longsword, 2.5[1d10] base damage (15-20/x2 crit range), Parrying VIII (+4 Insight to AC, Fort, Will, and Reflex saves), Absolute Law (2-12 vs non-lawful on hit), Vorpal, Keen I, Maiming (1-6 extra on crit), Bleed (1-8 bleed damage on hit)

Item Found In:  Eveningstar, Purple Dragon Knights Turn-in:  15 Commendations:  Purple Dragon Knights

Personal Notes:  A very worthy weapon for longsword users and sword-n-board builds.  Don’t overlook the tasty expanded critical range and defensive properties.



Part Three:  Light One-Handers

Epic Ancient Vulkoorim Dagger

+6 Dagger, 2[1d4] base damage, Adamantine, Epic Giant Bane (+8 attack, 6-36 bane damage), Giant Slayer (“small chance” to have giant make DC25 Fort save or die instantly), Extra 2-16 Damage Vs. Giants (on top of Bane damage), Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  An Offering of Blood

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Epic Menechtarun quests;  Shard – Zawabi’s Revenge

Personal Notes:  A little too specific to be of much use, unless you happen to be underleveling the Epic Gianthold wilderness area a great deal.  Don’t expect the Giant Slayer to do much of anything.


Epic Elemental Rapier of Air

+5 Rapier, 2[1d6] base damage, Shocking Burst (1-6 electric on hit + 1-10 electric on crit), Screaming (1-6 sonic on hit), Improved Roaring (2-12 sonic on crit), Greater Sirocco (on crit attempts to blind, DC35 Reflex negates), Slicing Winds (personal estimates:  3 tics of ~18-36 untyped damage every 2 seconds, approx. 2% proc rate, YMMV), Greater Lightning Resist (30)

Item Found In:  Cannith Challenge Turn-In:  600 Crystallized Magma Shards, 600 Orthon Metal Scraps, 600 Jade Scorpions

Personal Notes:  A solid Epic rapier if you’re not having luck with any others.


Epic Elyd Edge

+6 rapier, 2[1d6] base damage (18-20 crit range), Silver, +18 Implement Bonus, +7 Charisma, Devotion +90, Screaming (1-6 sonic on hit), Cacophonic (personal estimates:  ~120 sonic damage, ~1.5% proc rate, YMMV), Inspiring Echoes (bard buff songs affect all nearby allies; no longer quite as awesome as most already do that by default now), Anthem (songs regenerate slowly), Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Elyd Edge, upgraded from Corroded Rapier, acquired in The Tide Turns end chest and/or arc turn-in  (two-stage upgrade)

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Epic Sentinels of Stormreach arc quests;  Shard – The Tide Turns

Personal Notes:  A young Epic Swashbuckler’s wet dream… even with the Inspiring Echoes part being mostly invalidated with the Bard pass.


Epic Envenomed Blade

+6 Shortsword, 2[1d6] base damage (Str or Dex modifier), Poison Burst (1-6 poison on hit + 1-10 poison on crit), Improved Paralyzing (DC25 Will), Armor Piercing 10%, Deadly Spider Venom (on vorpal – 3 tics of 10-60 poison damage every 2 seconds and 3-18 Constitution damage failing a DC34 Fort save), Enervation (occasional negative levels), Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Lords of Dust, end chest (don’t sell your soul for it, the drop rate on the base item is stupid high even in Epic)

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scroll/Seal – Epic Web of Chaos quests;  Shard – The Spinner of Shadows

Personal Notes:  Been waiting on the shard for this one to drop for a while, now… any day now… come to Tholgrin….


Epic Garos’ Malice

+6 Shortsword, 2.5[1d6] base damage, Flaming Burst (1-6 on hit + 1-10 on crit), Blinding Embers (blinds on vorpal, DC35 Reflex negates), Vorpal, Greater Incineration (personal estimates:  ~180 fire damage, ~2% proc rate, YMMV), Red Augment Slot, Colorless Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  The Snitch or Phiarlan Carnival arc turn-in

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Phiarlan Carnival quests;  Shard – Under the Big Top

Personal Notes:  Not bad.. but if you have the faction coms for it, grab a Star of Day from Eveningstar instead for shortsword users for the greater wham! factor.. but they don’t have augment slots.


Epic Midnight Greetings

+6* to +10* kukri (equal to INT modifier, min +6, max +10), 2[1d6] base damage, Improved Deception, Improved Paralyzing (DC25 Will), Finesse (grants Weapon Finesse feat and +2 Enhancement bonus to Dexterity), Disintegration (personal estimates:  ~250-300 untyped damage, ~1% proc rate, YMMV), Assassination +2, Red Augment Slot, Ki Weapon (monks may use without becoming uncentered)

Base Item Found In:  Midnight Greetings, upgraded from Filthy Kukri, acquired in The Tide Turns end chest and/or arc turn-in  (two-stage upgrade)

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Epic Sentinels of Stormreach arc quests;  Shard – The Tide Turns

Personal Notes:  A truly delicious weapon for any Assassin or Ninja Spy.  It should be noted the Ki Weapon property applies to the Heroic version, as well.


Epic Noxious Fang

+9 Throwing Dagger, 2[1d4] base damage, Poison (1-6 on hit), Epic Fort Save +3 (categorized as “epic bonus”), Large Scorpion Poison (1-4 Con damage on crit, “additional” 1-4 after one minute if DC14 Fort saved failed [seriously, it’s not going to be alive after a minute, and DC14 in Epic?  Please, this aspect is a joke. –Ed.]) Disintegration (personal estimates:  ~250-300 untyped damage, ~1% proc rate, YMMV), Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  The Snitch or Phiarlan Carnival arc turn-in

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Phiarlan Carnival quests;  Shard – Under the Big Top 

Personal Notes:  Of serious interest only to the most die-hard of thrower builds that scoff the chaotic devastation of Spelltouched weaponry or collectors, this one is largely a “skip.”  Aside from the +9 bonus, you can do better with a slotted Lootgen… and that’s kind of sad.


Epic Phiarlan Spy Dagger

+6 Dagger, 2[1d4] base damage, Acid Burst (1-6 on hit + 1-10 on crit), Improved Deception, Dusk (10%  concealment, or “half blurry”), Enfeebling (1-6 Strength damage on crit), Improved Paralyzing (DC 25 Will), Purple Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Partycrashers or Phiarlan Carnival arc turn-in

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Phiarlan Carnival quests;  Shard – Under the Big Top

Personal Notes:  Don’t have much personal experience on this one… I tend to use bigger and scarier things than daggers.  Like breadsticks.


Epic Sting

+6 Shortsword, 1[2d12] base damage (19-20 crit range), Wounding (-1 Con on hit), Puncturing (1-6 Con damage on crit), Large Scorpion Poison (1-4 Con damage on crit, “additional” 1-4 after one minute if DC14 Fort saved failed [lolz again –Ed.]), Immune to Poison, Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Utach Sandcrawl‘s rare encounter in the Sands of Menechtarun wilderness area.  The wiki just says “drow area.”

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Epic Menechtarun quests;  Shard – Zawabi’s Revenge

Personal Notes:  While I haven’t used it personally, it appears to serve the same purpose, tactically, to the way I use Epic Ivy Wraps in conjunction with a DC caster.  Destroy the Constitution and even a lousy necromancer can land a Finger of Death.  The extended effect of the Large Scorpion Poison, however, is still comical… DC14?  Really?  That was pathetic even at Heroic level 5…


Epic Zephyr

+6 shortsword, 1[2d6] base damage (18-20 crit range), Finesse (grants Weapon Finesse feat and +2 Enhancement bonus to Dexterity), Red Augment Slot

Base Item Found In:  Yurrugh the Swift‘s rare encounter in the Sands of Menechtarun

Seal/Scroll/Shard Found:  Scrolls/Seals – Epic Menechtarun quests;  Shard – Zawabi’s Revenge

Personal Notes:  I would hope the information in the wiki is out of date.  Mostly because the Heroic version looks better than the Epic one, according to the information available as of this writing, with the Heroic Zephyr having a 2[2d4] base damage vs. 1[2d6] on the Epic, and literally no functional benefit to Epifying it whatsoever.  In fact, according to the pictures, Epifying it is a damn downgrade.


Star of Day

+6 Shortsword (acts as bastard sword in combat, but uses shortsword feats), 2[1d10] base damage, Brilliance (1-6 light on hit + 2-20 on crit)

And any two of the following effects:  Fiery Detonation (15-90 fire AOE on vorpal, DC39 Reflex halves), Flaming Burst (1-6 fire on hit + 1-10 fire on crit), Radiance (4-24 + blind on crit, no save), Disruption (4-24 bane damage to undead on hit, instant destruction on vorpal if less than 1000 hp), Holy Burst (2-12 on hit vs. evil + 3-18 on crit), Greater Good (2-12 vs. non-good on hit)

Item Found In:  Eveningstar, Clerics of Amaunator Turn-in: 15 Commendations:  Clerics of Amaunator

Personal Notes:  These are absolutely wicked for shortsword users.  Easy to get, reliably awesome, look sweet.  Get one with Fiery Detonation in the off-hand for your throwing weapon builds or weapon set to add a quick AOE fire blast on vorpals without the stress of farming for a Celestia.  In short, great!


Well, there you have it!  I hope this makes your hunt a little easier and helps plan things out.

Happy hunting!

On Chest Ransack

treasure-chest

I learned something over the past few weeks that I thought I’d share with my readers – yes, all two of you!  I hope it will be as useful to you as it turned out to be for me – after I’d already burnt myself in the process.

We hear the term “ransack” used a lot in DDO.  Quest ransack for XP penalties, chest ransack for reduced or no loot, ransacking the taverns after too many Dirty Kobolds.. you get the idea.

However, it should be noted that the two primary means of ransack – Quest XP and Loot – are not talking the same language.  Sure, they both use the same word, but they don’t mean the same thing.

Sure, most folks know the Quest Ransack mechanic – the first time you run a given quest on a given difficulty each day, you are immune to any XP penalties.  However, once you start re-running a quest on a difficulty you have already played, you start receiving a 20% penalty each time.  This is how the Ye Olde Thyme method of running quests on Elite / Hard / Normal and then repeating a given difficulty (or in the other direction, if you’re not VIP) still work – the first three runs, being the first on a given difficulty that day, are immune to quest ransack penalty.  After you do all three, however, you’ll start chipping up a hefty negative penalty.

Of course, that penalty goes away at 50% per “DDO Day” (18 hours, like the Daily Dice), so even if you blitz a quest down to the bare minimum of 20% base XP, you’ll be back to groovy in 36 hours, provided you stay away.

And, of course, you can always keep an eye on what your current penalty (but not what difficulties you’ve already run that day) is on a given quest with the /ransack command.

But that isn’t what I really came to talk about.  I really came to talk about chest ransack.

It all started when I was trying desperately to farm a Cursed Blade of Jack Jibbers for Tholgrin, my “main main.”  In some regards, that became a bone of contention that one of the only tricks Thol couldn’t do that Uncle Tubbs could was self-resurrect – and while the Jack Jibbers Blade is an extremely limited form of self-resurrection, it’s enough to potentially bring a party wipe back around.  And thus, I decided Thol would not ER until he had his chubby mitts on one.  (The likelihood that he’d probably never use it is irrelevant.   –Ed.)  (Update:  As of 9:27p.m. EST on 08/20/2015, Tholgrin is now the proud owner of his very own Jack Jibbers Blade!)

Chest ransack is detailed quite well on the wiki, for anyone who wants to go read the specifics.  Or, you can stick around and have me put it in plain terms, hopefully with a chuckle or two thrown in for good measure.  Or not.  Whatever.  If you’re reading this, I already have your click on my stats page.  So HA!!

In short, every chest in DDO is tracked individually.  The first time you open a given chest, it starts a full-on 7-day timer – exactly seven days, or 168 hours, or 10,080 minutes, whatever you want to think of it as, from when that chest is first opened.  Your chest ransack does not reset until this timer expires.  Unlike quest ransack, it doesn’t “refresh” in small bits and pieces every “DDO Day.”  You have eight (8) shots at the chest during that period before your results start getting wonky and named loot won’t pop.

What does this mean, in English?  Well, that depends on how you look at things.  If you’re specifically trying to get a piece of named gear without regard to the experience earned, shoot, run the quest eight times in a row, then wait a whole week before trying again.  If you’re trying to maximize your loot runs with experience earned, then watching your Quest XP ransack will help that aspect, but has no bearing whatsoever on the chest loot – it’s still more than possible to ransack a chest loooong before your XP penalty gets even mentionable.  For example:

  •         Monday:  Run Elite/Hard/Normal/Elite (total 20% penalty for 2nd Elite run only, 4 runs of chest)
  •         Tuesday:  Quest XP Ransack penalty removed (50% restored every day), Run Elite/Hard/Normal/Elite (20% penalty, total 8 runs of chest)
  •         Wednesday:  Quest XP Ransack penalty removed (50% restored every day), Run Elite, chest loot compromised and named items no longer dropped, but zero Quest XP Ransack Penalty.  Must wait until the timer expires (started Monday as of the opening of the chest during the first Elite run).
  •         End Results:   Ransacked chest, no XP penalty.

To me, at least, this further supports the theory that one either focuses on experience or loot.  Trying to “spread out” loot runs over a few days to prevent ransack – which I freely admit I was guilty of until just this past week! – does literally nothing to prevent chest ransack or aid your chances of scoring an item.  The only difference between running a quest seven times in seven days versus running it seven times in one day is the amount of experience you’ll receive – although, it might help your mental state, to avoid burnout.

But for those of you who are hardcore grinding for a specific piece, get ready to buckle your boots up – because there’s nothing preventing you from doing eight runs in a single night.

Hope this helps you guys with your strategic planning, and happy hunting!