The monastic life of unarmed combat in Stormreach in the realm of DDO and realms beyond has, frankly, been a pain in the hands for many Monks.
While other classes could wield all kinds of weapons that can help bypass an enemy’s innate material or alignment-based damage reductions, the Monk is a special case.
The body of the unarmed Monk is the weapon. Handwraps aren’t coded as weapons but enhancements that add to the effectiveness of unarmed damage.
And that is the rub. To fight gracefully, a Monk must remain Centered. This means you can’t wear any light, medium or heavy armor. You can wear an outfit, a robe, or run about in your brown skivvies if that’s your thing. You’re also limited to only a few weapons outside of handwraps that could add the same DR-bypassing goodness of a traditional melee character–at the expense of slightly slower attack speed than fighting unarmed, as well as being prohibited from using some of the Monk’s speciality unarmed-only tactics such as Stunning Fist and the Dark Monk’s Touch of Death.
As Monks enter level 16 and begin flagging themselves in the Vale of Twilight for “The Shroud,” a question enters the mind of a Monk. How can my fists effectively damage a devil or demon? These creatures are among the nastiest denizens in the game, especially on their home turf in Shavarath or the Demonweb.
By level 16, all Monks can bypass Magic (L4), Lawful (L12) and Adamantine (L16) material protections. But lesser devils require either Good-aligned handwraps/materials (such as Flametouched Iron) or Silver weaponry to hurt them effectively. Any Monk can wear Holy or Pure Good handwraps easily enough in this case.
But soon a Monk will encounter the horned devils and the pit fiends. These devils require your hands to bypass Silver and Good simultaneously to bypass their damage reduction.
Before Update 14, you had a handful of options to keep your unarmed fighting working best:
- Be a Light Monk and complete all Shintao Monk training levels. This adds Byeshk, Cold Iron and Silver unarmed damage reductions to your fighting. Just wear some Good-aligned handwraps and you’re, er…good.
- As a Dark Monk, win the lottery by farming for and finding the Devout Handwraps: +2 Metalline of Pure Good handwraps, or finding a pair of randomly generated Silver Threaded of Pure Good handwraps on the Auction House (for insane prices) or in chest loot.
- Have an Artificer grant you a Planar Weapons good-alignment buff or a Silver Weapons buff, depending on what you have on-hand (so to speak).
- Be a high-level Cannith craftsman and make your own Metalline of Pure Good handwraps.
(Oh, and while you Dark Monks are farming, you’ll need Cold Iron-studded of Pure Good and Byeshk-threaded handwraps if you didn’t find Metalline of Pure Good handwraps, since Xoriat creatures don’t care about Silver.)
As of Update 17, however, all Monks can rejoice, as the expensive and frustrating preparations needed to have Silver+Good handwraps has been (somewhat) mercifully resolved by the developers.
The key can be found in either adventure (although getting both packs is ideal), thanks to updates to two handwrap sets I’ve considered standard equipment at early training: the Devotion and Eternal Rest handwraps.
Before Update 17, each set possessed half of the Silver/Good answer for unarmed fighting. Eternal Rest handwraps were silver-threaded. The Devotion handwraps were Flametouched Iron and Holy.
As with much of the named gear in Update 17, both handwraps received a great makeover with a small price. The developers corrected the redundancy of Holy with Flametouched Iron in the Devotion handwraps and made them haughtier: +3 Enhancement damage, Holy, Devotion +48, and a Red augment slot. They bind to character on equip, so you can still farm them with one character and give them to others.
The important part: That Red augment slot. This slot can accept a Ruby of Silvered Strikes. Ta-da: Harry Beaters that can fully damage a pit fiend or horned devil.
Similarly, I discovered that the Eternal Rest handwraps got a similar revision: +2 Enhancement damage, Ghost Touch, Silver-threaded , Undead Bane with a Red augment slot as well. Add a Ruby of Good later in your life and you have another Harry Beater set.
The challenge, of course, is finding that specific Ruby. Both can be bought using Tokens of the Twelve (the new name for “Epic Dungeon Tokens”) from the Epic vendor there. You can farm Tokens with a higher-end character from “Devil Assault” or other Eberron epic level quests. You might get lucky and the thing drops for you in your loot. Gems are not bound to character; your “altitis” may just pay off.
Or–you may find yourself looking on the Auction House for these gems at insane prices.
Didn’t I mention something like that before? (Sigh.)
Okay, so it may still require a harsh amount of resources to get a decent set of Harry Beater handwraps. At least it’s easier to get a set of upgradable handwraps themselves with minimal effort, as opposed to a gargantuan amount for a fully working pair.