Update 29: The New Hotness

Level 30: Our powers are over 10,000!!!1!

Level 30: Our powers are over 10,000!!!1!

So the devs dropped by the forums to note their plans to bring level 30 to our worlds.

If you haven’t caught it, start with this thread from Vargouille.

They “flattened” the XP curve to not make it horrifically hard to get there. But at levels 29 and 30, you get bonuses such as extra Fate points (that stack with everything you’ve earned, including Epic Completionist and Fate tomes) and that 4th Fate slot you can only get with Epic Completionist (not sure if that means E-Cers get 5 slots total)

Then there are new feats. At level 29 you get a new Epic Destiny Feat slot, which require 3 capped destinies but also give you a series of new feat types. These can be found here.

Of these, a few caught my eye:

  • Dreamscape (2 Primal+ 1 Arcane)
    Activate to pop off to the land of dreams. You are invulnerable and invisible for five seconds, then return with a random 30-second buff. 1 minute cooldown.
  • Harbinger of Chaos (1 Primal+2 Martial)
    With weapon and unarmed attacks, deal 1d20 Bane damage against all targets and an additional 2d20 Chaos damage against Lawful targets. This scales with Melee or Ranged power depending on your weapons.

These aren’t bad at all for Monks and adaptable to my Zen bow builds, too.

By level 30, you get a Heroic feat slot–a welcome bonus as often builds have to sacrifice that one feat at level 18 you can attain now. And there’s a new set of feats called Legendary Feats, listed here.

Legendary Feats require you to have 3 Epic Destinies of the same or a combination of two destinies plus one from another. These are far more exciting. Of interest to me are:

  • Scion of the Ethereal Plane
    Permanent Blur, and while sneaking, permanent Displacement.
    +1 point of Sneak Attack damage for every 2 points of Hide you have
    +2 to all Skills
    Permanent Invisibility Guard, as per the item effect
  • Scion of the Astral Plane
    +4 to Tactical Feat DCs
    +4% Doublestrike & Doubleshot. An additional +4 if you are centered.
    +4% Dodge.
    +4 to Reflex Saves.
  • Scion of Limbo
    +2 Determination Bonus to all Saves
    eight buffs, each one minute long. Cycles randomly.
    +40 Melee and Ranged power, +80 Spell Power
    +16% Doublestrike & Doubleshot, +20% Spell Crit Damage
    +30 PRR and MRR
    +20% Dodge and +40 Healing Amp
    +20 DR /Law
    Your weapon/unarmed strikes and spells deal 1d20 Chaos Damage
    Each time you would be damaged, you have a +5% chance to completely ignore the damage. Does not affect any incoming Positive, Negative, or Repair effects.
    Confetti explodes around your shoulders. Festive!

I’m so interested in the Scion of the Ethereal Plane feat. The devs like stealth! They really, really do!

There are updated feats for lower level Epic characters, too. I’m still unsure what, if any, of these are directly applicable to any kind of Monk at the moment.

And cheers to the PRR and MRR bonuses for Epic hirelings. Combined with Harper Agent and Primal Avatar builds, you could make a strong tanker out of some hirelings–provided they don’t wander off or lose focus on the fight.

Knowing how swiftly we got the Doubleshot changes from Update 28, I suspect these ideas will be our Christmas present under the update tree, all before the end of the year.

What’cha think about them? I’m interested mostly on monastic applications, as is the focus of this blog, so fire away.

Bowmaster – The Aggressive Zen

A revisit to an old idea but with a bit more spice.

A revisit to an old idea but with a bit more spice.

(Updated: Thanks for the corrections, gentle readers.)

Now that I understand more on how to perfect a simple non-Ranger archer, it’s time to answer the other side of the question.

The Zen Archer excels in sniper shooting combined with high miss-chance defenses, evasion and spell resistance. To make all that work, she can’t call a lot of attention to herself, but especially not in melee fights.

The recent Update 28 Patch 1 has actually improved the overall Ranged Power of the Zen Archer because of the changes to Ten Thousand Stars. (That is, at least I think so.) I may make a variation where WIS is higher than DEX since Ranged Power is greatly increased with TTS.

But I digress. It’s time to create a more aggressive Monk Archer, or “monkcher.” One that stays a pure Monk (and thus maximizes the benefits of TTS) but, unlike the Zen Archer, sacrifices a bit of defense for Doubleshot bonuses as well as high damage over multiple targets.

An archer build that is designed to attack first and count the bodies later.

My working name for the build is the “Zen Bowmaster.”

I’ve tried this before with Pynthetica a while back and didn’t get a lot of traction because I neglected to research how bow damage is calculated.

It will be an Elf as well to use DEX to damage. However, WIS is boosted to give more Ranged Power and attack bonus for as long as she can spam TTS. That’s particularly important since Action Points will be at a premium in such a build and can’t be used to get Ranged Power elsewhere.

The Elf side needs 20 points or so to complete the Aerenal Weapon Training, Aerenal Grace (DEX-to-Damage for bows), Skill (3% Doubleshot), a point into Arcanum (some MP) and then 4 AP to activate the Elven Arcane Archer tree.

Most of the AP in the AA tree go into the things you’d expect. Since the Elf AA tree levels slowly, with the last two core abilities not available until levels 22 and 25, I have to reserve AP until those last cores are available, especially Master of Imbuement for 20% additional Doubleshot. This will go with any Enhancement bonuses from gear (the heroic and epic Dynamistic Quiver come to mind) and the Epic Destiny feat of Doubleshot for 10% more.

So, by level 28 I will have at least 5% (Skill and 2% guild ship buff) with Shadow Arrows (5%) and Master of Imbuement (20%) for a standing 30% Doubleshot, not counting any item Enhancements. The Epic Destiny feat gives 20% 10% at level 28 for a total standing 50% 40% Doubleshot without item Enhancements.

The magic is added with Ten Thousand Stars as it adds (Monk level x 5) to Doubleshot for 30 seconds. At level 28, that’s 140% 100% additional Doubleshot for a total of 140% Doubleshot. That’s a 80% chance to shoot an additional arrow on every attack in addition to the usual additional arrow. Ranged Power also goes through the roof, The higher the WIS, the more Ranged Power appears to boost overall damage.

The Bowmaster has to forsake the bonus features that the Zen Archer favored from the Harper Agent tree and most of the Ninja Spy tree. Although this Monk is aligned as a dark Monk like the Zen Archer, it simply won’t have enough AP to add more than a few points into Ninja Spy to train Stealthy for +1 passive ki regeneration and Acrobatic for some Dodge, perhaps. Shadow Veil, 25% Incorporeality, is too expensive, so Ghostly items may be the best the Bowmaster can do. They’ll be lots more Ranged Power from TTS than what I could manage from Harper Agent, in any case. Next to Shadow Veil, I’ll miss the Ninja Spy’s 30% extra damage from No Mercy.

The Bowmaster might have some stealth, but I don’t think it’s her calling. Perhaps I may experiment with Use Magic Device. I might, just might, be able to get enough UMD to use Heal scrolls with points and the right items. Others have done it, so all I need to do is emulate what’s been done. That first change from my initial tooling in Character Builder Lite was to have at least 10 CHA and get a +5 Tome for that ability to aid in UMD. That, and rip all skill points from Hide and Move Silently. I could also add in an INT tome for one or two more skill points to add to UMD, of course.

She’s going to need that healing. The Bowmaster, with Improved Precise Shot often active, is a berserker like her monkcher brethren. She’ll use her AA powers to punch through and heavily damage the hordes. She won’t be still at all like her counterpart Zen Archer except in the basic monastic defenses and movement speed, as well as benefits from Earth Stance and Ocean Stance to critical threat range and passive ki regeneration, respectively. Perhaps I can work in Shot on the Run for a bit more Ranged Power and remove any movement-based attack penalties.

The feats should be similar to the Zen Archer except: No Dragonmarks for eventual use of Displacement; Improved Precise Shot is added. Deflect Arrows may be optional in favor of Dodge or a feat to help with UMD. I also mentioned considering Shot on the Run.

Here’s the preliminary build for those interested. Comments welcome. I won’t be adding this one up for “discussion” on the DDO forums for now, at least until I get it working. I’m confident that you don’t need to spray levels in non-Monk classes to get the most out of a Monk archer. Like everything else I tend to build, I believe you simply need more monastic cowbell.

More to come as I move Paracleta, this Arcane Archer Monk version 2, through her paces.

Zen Bowmaster
Monk 20
Lawful Good Elf

. . . . . . . .28pt . . 32pt. . .34pt . . 36pt. . .Tome . . Level Up
. . . . . . . .---- . . ----. . .---- . . ----. . .---- . . --------
Strength. . . . 10. . . .10 . . . 10. . . .10 . . . . . . . .4: DEX
Dexterity . . . 16. . . .17 . . . 17. . . .18 . . . +5. . . .8: DEX
Constitution. . .6. . . . 8 . . . 10. . . .11 . . . . . . . 12: DEX
Intelligence. . .8. . . . 8 . . . .8. . . . 8 . . . . . . . 16: WIS
Wisdom. . . . . 18. . . .18 . . . 18. . . .18 . . . +5. . . 20: WIS
Charisma. . . . 12. . . .12 . . . 12. . . .11 . . . +5. . . 24: DEX
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28: DEX

. . . . . 1 .2. 3 .4. 5 .6. 7 .8. 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
. . . . .------------------------------------------------------------
Concent . 4 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 23
Spot. . . 4 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 23
UMD . . . 2 .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. 11½
. . . . .------------------------------------------------------------
. . . . .12 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3


.1. . . . : Skill Focus: Use Magic Device
.1 Monk . : Deflect Arrows
.2 Monk . : Zen Archery
.3. . . . : Point Blank Shot
.3 Monk . : Path of Inevitable Dominion
.6. . . . : Rapid Shot
.6 Monk . : Ten Thousand Stars
.9. . . . : Manyshot
12. . . . : Precise Shot
15. . . . : Improved Critical: Ranged
18. . . . : Improved Precise Shot
21 Epic . : Combat Archery
24 Epic . : Great Ability: Wisdom
26 Destiny: Toughness
27 Epic . : Blinding Speed
28 Destiny: Doubleshot

Enhancements (40 of 80 AP)

Elf (20 AP)
. . • Elven Accuracy, Elven Dexterity, Elven Accuracy II
. . . . .1. Aerenal Weapon Training
. . . . .2. Aerenal Weapon Training, Arcanum I
. . . . .3. Aerenal Weapon Training, Arcane Archer
. . . . .4. Aerenal Grace, Aerenal Weapon Training, Skill

Elf-Arcane Archer (13 AP)
. . • Arcane Archer, Morphic Arrows
. . . . .1. Energy of the Wild III, Corrosive Arrows
. . . . .2. Force Arrows III

Ninja Spy (7 AP)
. . • Basic Ninja Training
. . . . .1. Stealthy III, Acrobatic III

Destiny (24 AP)

Shiradi Champion
. .1. Healing Spring III, Dexterity
. .2. Prism, Pin II, Wisdom
. .3. Rainbow, Otto's Whistler II, Wisdom
. .4. Double Rainbow
. .5. Nerve Venom III
. .6. Audience with the Queen

Twists of Fate (3 fate points)
. .1. Dance of Flowers (Tier 1 Flowers)
. .2. Rejuvenation Cocoon (Tier 1 Primal)

Zen Balance 2: Electric Boogaloo

PynA3So the balance change discussion is now reality with Update 28 Patch 1.

I suspected that none of my ranged characters should take a hit from this. In fact, I thought most should get a boost.

In case you’re a too-long didn’t read kind of person (not likely since you’re coming here to listen to me), here’s the change in a nutshell:

Both Manyshot and Ten Thousand Stars become feats to give brief bonuses to Doubleshot and Ranged Power. There’s no longer any Doubleshot penalties naturally for this reason. Rather than animating a flurry of arrows, your Doubleshot represents additional hits but also more powerful missile hits.

Manyshot = Current Doubleshot + (BAB * 4) with Current Ranged Power + (BAB *4).

Ten Thousand Stars is now aligned to your Monk level and WIS score. TTS Doubleshot = Current Doubleshot + (WIS) with (Monk level * 5) + Current Ranged Power.

So let’s show what I get with this new scheme through pictures. All characters are using Shiradi Champion level 5 and are level 28 unless noted. Weapon types here are less important than any spells, feats, enhancements or ED abilities that improve their BAB, Doubleshot, Ranged Power and WIS.

(Note: I am not strong in HTML and can’t easily correct the headers of the characters slamming against each other below. My apologies if it’s harder to read.)


Build: Drow Shuricannon (Ninja Spy Monk 28)

Uses: Ten Thousand Stars only. WIS 36 (Ocean Stance)

Before: Doubleshot: 2%, Ranged Power: 54

After: Doubleshot: 102%, Ranged Power: 90







Build: Elf Deepwood Stalker (Ranger Level 28)

Uses: Manyshot only. BAB 24

Before: Doubleshot: 35%, Ranged Power 73

After: Doubleshot: 131%, Ranged Power 193





Build: Elf Zen Archer (Ninja Spy Monk Level 23, Shiradi 4)


  • Manyshot, BAB 22
  • Ten Thousand Stars, WIS 39

Before: Doubleshot: 10%, Ranged Power 68

With TTS: Doubleshot: 110%, Ranged Power 122

With Manyshot: Doubleshot: 98%, Ranged Power 144



The Outcome

The numbers aren’t as telling as performance, and this varies because of the difference in weapons with the shuriken and bows. All of them blow the training dummy into sawdust in seconds with any of these modes.

Misty’s Manyshot, mostly because the Doubleshot effect adds an additional shot when over 100% now, combined with her high Ranged Power, definitely hasn’t lost the overall effectiveness to me. She holds the highest Doubleshot and Ranged Power scores, which is natural and expected for a Ranger. I would cry out “nerf!” myself if this weren’t the case as the Ranger is the natural archer class. In short, I’m seeing similar effects to the multi-arrow effect of the old Manyshot but with more damage per arrow. The best news here is that the power of Manyshot has greater control to the player. Increase your Doubleshot and/or Ranged Power elsewhere, and the damage increases. In fact, with Killer working, Doubleshot goes up further by 20% with Misty, so her true Doubleshot would be 151% as things die.

Szyncletica’s shuriken performance is weaker because she’s yet to add any significant standing Doubleshot gear. Unlike Pynthetica and Misty, Szyn also gains no additional Ranged Power outside of Shiradi and Epic levels. That said, being a full Monk with a decent WIS gives a reliable TTS performance, although weakest of the three as far as the numbers show. This is due in part because a Shiradi Shuricannon is already a multi-shotting thrower because of the combined effects of Shuriken Expertise and Ninja Spy’s Advanced Ninja Training, both of which add a chance to throw an additional shuriken per attack. Thus, the game squeezes in more stars per attack in addition to what Szyn already throws, and the animation shows that.

It’s Pynthetica that’s pleasantly surprising. My Zen Archer build shows its muster without full training in Shiradi and with four Epic levels (and its corresponding Ranged Power bonuses) yet to go. Pyn’s standing RP is higher than Misty’s RP at level 28. While Misty’s Doubleshot is best (she has the Epic Destiny feat of Doubleshot as well), Pyn comes in a strong second with TTS alone at 110%.(Pyn’s Elf enhancement with a ship buff gives 5% and she pulled a Dynamistic Quiver to get another 5%). Her Manyshot bonuses to RP were respectable as well at 144.

So, Pyn’s extra RP from Harper Agent helps. Being a full Monk helps, too, and Pyn has more damage to come. She used the revised feats in a Shroud run that night, and wasn’t displeased at all.

As I said in an earlier post, only the change in TTS is a nerf to splash builds like monkchers, since only 2 Monk levels or a lower WIS won’t give a lot of Ranged Power or Doubleshot boost. It should be interesting to see how those builds are revised.

In other news from this patch: I’m looking forward to the new Halloween event, which previews live for an in-game load test for us all today (10/23). I’m also digging the cleaner, more responsive look of the DDO Store. Nice work, devs.

Quick Thoughts on the Balance Changes

scalesProducer Severlin announced some expected changes to game balance in a future update.

While much of it doesn’t affect my favorite class, a few changes will adjust how Monks fight.

The first change is the removal of Melee Power from all Two Weapon Fighting feats. Sev and Team believes they build too much DPS based on their standard for DPS, the Swashbuckler. With a few TWF ninjas under my belt, I’m unsure of this. But then, the changes reflect adjustments that are larger in scope than my experience and skill.

The Keen weapon property is being adjusted to be stronger on some weapons than others. The list of weapons given a +3 bonus to critical threat range seem, to me, weapons that aren’t used as often as they could be: Kukris (love ’em), rapiers, falchions and scimitars. This doesn’t change my current +1 to my shortswords. Clearly this encourages more use of those weapons. Improved Critical also gains similar changes.

Now the meaty stuff. Manyshot is being revised. Rather than multiple shots for 20 seconds, Manyshot damage is calculated as Base Attack Bonus (times 4) to both your Doubleshot and Ranged Power levels. It still shares a 30 second cooldown with Ten Thousand Stars. This clearly forces the monkcher builds to retool, and I don’t think I mind that.

Likewise, Ten Thousand Stars adds your Wisdom score to Ranged Power and then adds your Monk level * 5 to your Doubleshot. This one I like as it clearly forces more Monk levels to use a Monk-designed feat. This, again, throws the monkcher idea under the bus again since only 2 Monk levels just won’t make TTS effective. For my all-Monk level Zen Archer, however, this REALLY brings the AD&D concept of WIS into play with Monks and bows and means TTS may deliver more damage than Manyshot, encouraging me to use that feat slot for something else.

Doubleshot values over 100% now have a chance to create an additional attack. I don’t know how I could take advantage of this myself, but it’s something to look into. I’m happy to get 35% sustained Doubleshot on my first complete Zen Archer.

The thread is full of sass and cuss. It’s worth a read. I haven’t read it since the first, so there may be changes since then. How does these and other changes affect your build?

I’m really thinking how this can make my Zen Archer a greater powerhouse.


Invaders! A Video Walkthrough

Current Score: Ninja 3, Beholders: 0.

Current Score: Ninja 3, Beholders: 0.

Sorry for the 2-week+ timing between posts. Per my guild rules, real life comes first. Work, as well as a family illness, has made the past weeks pretty tough to post anything of significance.

I’m surprised I’ve not made a video walkthrough of one of the most challenging Heroic quests in the game. That’s probably because it’s a bat-shit crazy idea for any class to complete, much less complete by going solo.

But if they were any character that could make it work in my dojo, it’s Kiricletica, built to solo from the start.

Invaders!” is a revisit to the central Waterworks sewer system (minus the hidden doors, rare encounters and usual denizens). A Xoriat invasion occurs there, cutting off paths through the sewers, scaring the crap out of the kobolds and, most distressingly, causing many, many beholders to appear.

Flesh Renders and Polar-Ray zapping Ice Flensers routinely spawn from portals throughout the place. Beholders aren’t isolated, often guarded by Xoriat followers, Cyclonic-blasting Thaarak Hounds and more beholders.

Your mission is to clean out the place of everything that shouldn’t be there, of course, primarily the beholders.


  1. This is a place where a grouped party may not be the best idea. A beholder’s antimagic cone will likely render some in your party defenseless and debuffed before it starts zapping with various things. Enervation. Disintegrate. Telekinesis. It will try to paralyze, curse, burn and instantly kill you. A group will draw a lot of attention, so as a result, the beholder’s effects may not allow you to back each other up as you’re disabled and picked off.
  2. Death Ward is mostly useless here because the first thing a beholder will do is use its antimagic cone to zap you of any buffs (outside of Monk, Bard and airship buffs, which can’t be dispelled). You MUST wear a Deathblock item to have some protection against Finger of Death and a few other instant-kill spells. Deathblock isn’t a panacea but it will buy you time. Pale Masters might find it a bit easier.
  3. If the beholders aren’t scary enough, the respawning Ice Flensers love Polar Ray, which can hit at 100-200+ damage. There’s also the hordes of Thaarak Hounds that enjoy mass hits of Cyclonic Blast at 70+ points each, as well as some instant-death and acid attacks.
  4. Most parties will trod along drawing attention from anything that moves, often near respawn points. Invisibility spells are useless against beholders and many other enemies here as they have True Seeing or See Invisibility. Antimagic effects will debuff them off of you, anyway.
  5. To increase the randomness, there are many Chaos Orbs circulating about, sometimes bringing you benefit or bane at exactly the wrong time.
  6. There is only one rest and resurrection shrine.
  7. Party members with low saves, little or no spell protection or Deathblock will not last long. Especially vulnerable are party members with a HULK SMASH zerging mentality. They may get lucky and nail a few threatening things, but eventually they’ll be in the wrong place and be zapped themselves or attract more attention that a party can handle.
  8. You have to pass a lot of enemies, including several beholders, to reach each of the elder beholders that hold open a locus used for invasion.
  9. Enemies do not easily “rubberband” here (return to their spawn point if kited too far). If you’re being chased, expect the chase to buy you time, not escape.


  1. It’s not impossible for magic party members to fight here against beholders, but it’s central that another party member draw the beholder’s attention first, preferably far away from the spell caster so they won’t get hit by an antimagic cone. From there, spell casters can treat beholders to a taste of their own medicine with instant-death spells, Flesh-to-Stone or related attacks.
  2. Ranged attacks against beholders here can be both hit and miss, so to speak. If your ranged attack can draw one beholder away from a group of them, you reduce the amount of potential damage or deaths in your party. If your ranged attacks throw off area-of-effect damage, you’ll draw all the enemies in that group to you.
  3. Attacks that stun or paralyze help a lot. For all their magic damage, beholders have the fortitude of a balloon. If you get the jump on them, removing them is comparably easy.
  4. This quest supports the power of high stealth, if you use it properly. (Invisibility will not work.)  Sewer passageways are narrow. Ice Flensers use Hide. You need a strong Spot to detect them, or at least avoid colliding into them. Some enemies may detect you while Sneaking, such as Thaarak Hounds, so you may need to draw them away to avoid fighting more than need to at any moment. Beholders have 360-degree Spot, but with a high Hide score, you can move to point-blank range and pop them. However, Thaarak Hounds have blindsense, which stealth can’t defeat. Their Cyclonic Blasts in a group of hounds can whittle your HP immediately and/or knock you down. Dispatch them promptly.
  5. Spell absorption items will buy you time. I carried a Scarab of Spell Absorption but didn’t use it as wisely as I should.
  6. Champions that appear really throw the dungeon’s power against you. Prioritize their demise over all others.
  7. The final fight is your only named creature, which can be one of several encounters. It’ll likely have a final entourage of similar enemies guarding it. Before you can fight it, you must remove all the elder beholders.
  8. The optional killing of outsiders objective is almost inevitable to complete. Portals throughout continually spawn enemies you can kill.

Sewer Cleaning from Hell

Kiricletica was loaded with Heal and Restoration scrolls. Alone, she leveraged high passive ki regeneration and used Quivering Palm to rid herself quickly of some targets. Sometimes with a Tiefling Assassin’s Blade in hand, she used its Wounding powers to make sure that Pain Touch finishers stick against beholders, muting them and making them harmless for a quick finish. Most fights, however, used a Metalline of Pure Good shortsword or a Forester’s Brush Hook. I used Pain Touch and Quivering Palm as much as possible.

Fast ki regeneration helps in frequent use of Shadow Veil for both Incorporeality and Invisibility for times where fighting or evasive action is better.

The hardest part for me involves the respawning renders, especially the deadly Polar Rays from the Flensers. Hounds are also challenging since they can sense me no matter what. They loved to spam Cyclonic Blast. In a group of three or move, those attacks would all but kill me.

I entered two levels higher than the quest. Still, I tried and failed this quest three times early, often downed by hounds, before managing a completion on Elite…and even then, I had to use a raise-dead cake when I moved into a fight before failing to preparing even once, just before the end-fight.

But I did get it done. See the results.

Be sure to click the “CC” button to see the captions. My apologies for the dimness; I’ve already adjusted it to improve it slightly and will do so again later.

The Best of Both Worlds


Leveling felt like it took forever, but Ryncletica the Poisonmaster is back in Epic.

Epic melee combat always requires a different strategy. Like Rogue Assassins, Epic Ninja Spies thrive on opportunity, and try to generate as many opportunities as possible.

What’s surprised me are the many opportunities a Ninja Spy has available.

Healing Up and Epic Destinies

Like Szyncletica the star-thrower, Ryncletica is a Drow and needed better battle healing. The popularly trained Rejuvenation Cocoon was the simple answer, attained at level 24.

Most of you know how grinding through Epic Destinies to unlock access to each one can be a bit daunting. Thankfully, experience with my first mature Zen Archer showed me that the rewards were well worth it. (This isn’t news for many of you. I’m just slow, so I apologize. I’m more likely to enjoy playing than grinding for continuous growth, typically.)

When Ryn last TR’ed, I was rather selfish in leaving a destiny because the benefits felt safe. Shadowdancer was like that for Ryncletica. I felt safer in it and did not see how other destinies outside of Grandmaster of Flowers would synergize as well as with my Ninja Spy. But, now, after playing through several with the Zen Archer (a ninja at heart), I’ve seen the light and rededicated Szyn and Ryn to complete as many destinies as necessary to get commonly useful abilities and improve the character’s overall efficiency.

Again, I apologize for being dense about this sort of thing until recently. Like enhancement trees, you shouldn’t overlook benefits in other destinies, even it it takes time to develop them. And best to take advantage of first-life XP to build these up faster than in later lives.

So Legendary Dreadnought right now ultimately provides some HP and melee power, but I don’t find myself doing much with the boosts. I’m appreciating the critical hit and threat boosts, and I’m sure to enjoy Master’s Blitz for boss fights.

It’s when I trained up Shiradi that Ryn showed a different side of herself. Ryn is a light version of Shuricannon 1.0 because she is Drow, lacking only the ranged feat bonuses and a bit less DEX. But, with a Celestia in hand, Ryn can tear through monsters almost as well with her stars as her swords. Ryn’s behaving more like a Ranger than a Monk in this regard; capable of equally powerful melee or ranged fighting if the need arises.

I’ll let you know more about other destinies as I level them to open up more fate slots if I see a need.

As for healing amplification, I need that, too. Neither Drow nor Ninja Spy offer any inherent healing amp. I’m using a herolic Shamanic Fetish for some boosts to it right now, but if I can improve it with some points to my Healing skill with an augment, I’ll add it. The Purple Dragon Gauntlets are an easy option but it takes away my Melee Alacrity I appreciate from my Fabricator’s Gauntlets. But then, I could use a crafted Trinket of Melee Alacrity and use the PDK Gauntlets to see if its healing amp works better than Devotion spell power.

Weapons (or: How I Own Drow with Level 4 Shortswords)

With the capstone enhancement, Ninja Master, I will often Vorpal with my shortswords.

But I understand how some feel that there aren’t really powerful shortswords for Epic play.

I’m realizing this isn’t as much of a problem for a Ninja Spy that uses their innate skills.

I have a couple of Epic Elemental Fury swords for level 26, and two Thunder-Forged Shortswords in use now. Both TF swords have Rubies of the Endless Night, but they aren’t as effective to me as I would like against some things, and I’d likely swap those out for some Good augment gems.

I also want my Poisoning powers at maximum. One weapon can improve that, with some extra grinding in one quest.

That’s “Spinner of Shadows.” The goal is to find two Shards of the Envenomed Blade. I’ve got one Seal and two Scrolls so far. Once I can upgrade two, they will become my stronger Epic “go-to” weapon against most non-demon enemies that are susceptible to Poison damage. The Epic Envenomed Blade has a decent 2(W)+6 base damage boost and a higher Enhancement damage. The Enervation feature will match that I’ve added to the weaken Tiefling blades in the form of Rubies of the Endless Night. The upgrade gains me Red augment slots where I can improve their DR, likely with Good gems.

I recall Evennote’s post of some time back of her frustration in grinding for a Shard for her Silver Slinger. I believe she did eventually get one to drop later in repeated runs in “The Spinner of Shadows”. That was back in 2013, before a recent update that defined the chances of Shards and Seals drop rate at 5% at Epic Normal to 15% on Epic Elite. Of course, running in a party should stack those odds through the number in the party. A guildmate’s expressed interest, too, in running “Spinner” often enough to find it, so, with chest ransack rules also factoring in, a larger party is best.

One thing I won’t look forward to handling are the Hezrous. Hezrou demons suck. I’d rather stick-and-move against Karas, especially with Ninja Poison DoTs, even in EE. But Shards for the whole chain drop only in the Epic Chest of “Spinner.”

I thought to improve my Hezroubuster skills. Most Spinner hunting parties die because they split up too much. Herzous easily whomp solo adventurers without a plan. Staying together saves resources. And the blue spiders weren’t going anywhere.

So, before I had the TF swords, and with a little research, I make some Hezroubusting shortswords.

I had to test out those +5 Axiomatic Burst Flametouched Iron Shortswords of Chaotic Outside Bane in an Epic Normal run in “Spinner,” but not before double-checking some notes on controlling the Spinner. Seems I was overdoing the pinning process. After pinning her well in rounds 1 and 2, I had several minutes to run around with my two hirelings to gather crystals.

And then came the hezrous and renders. I charged in, the new swords butchering them. I shoved in what dark finishers would work against them sometimes (Pain Touch) but mostly it was a DPS thrashing of any hezrous that got too close. Being in Grandmaster of Flowers helped; I have a few more bits of XP to fill that destiny before returning to Legendary Dreadnought.

The battle over, but no shards of any kind. ‘Tis sad. But I lived. As soon as I can build up a bit more power and gain a party, it’s back to the Khyber salt mines.

But for Ryncletica, the simple things remain ridiculously effective in many places.

I entered an Epic Hard “House of Broken Blades,” armed myself with only my Tiefling Assassin’s Blades and laid waste to that place.

The key (as always) isn’t in the base weapon damage but in several other aspects:

  • Poison damage from the blades combined with Ninja Poison
  • The 15-20 critical threat range, now turned to 13-20 with Ninja Master and Improved Critical
  • Higher damage with high (though not highest) DEX
  • Tthe Ninja Spy’s various abilities to make enemies helpless.

I mixed up stealth using the hirelings to lure enemies close, or sneaked up to enemies and smacked them with Freezing the Lifeblood over and over. Any Drow that met me, including Orange-named and nasty Champions, dropped very quickly as the full power of the tiefling sword carved their HP with a few strikes. Even the bosses hated me with the critical hits (and boosts to critical damage from LD) that whittled them down.

And if they’re too dangerous to constantly swat? A Snowstar damages as well as melee blades. I’m working on finding a Dawnbringer.

Advanced Armor and other Gear

I’m using the Way of the Sun Soul set and have an unlocked Spider-Spun Caparison for later.

I investigated the benefits of the Shadow Dragonscale armors to see if an outfit would be a benefit. My Poisonmaster relies on effects that wound (weakening CON and therefore Fortitude to make dark finishers stick) deliver Poison (magnified by my Ninja Poison debuffing) and bypass fortification. Doesn’t look like those outfits will help, outside of 130% fortification that would relieve me of wearing two items and not one to get my fortification to 175% or better.

Higher Doublestrike would be preferable, too. Having 20 to 25% based Doublestrike would be ideal when I’m not spamming Shadow Double for a 6-second 100% Doublestrike burst. I don’t see that happening unless I do Epic TRs.

Sometimes, with some Netherese or even a pirate gets you down, a ninja needs to dance.

Sometimes, with some Netherese or even a pirate gets you down, a ninja needs to dance.

Not many choices to boost attack speed. It may not be a bad thing to consider grinding for an Epic Jorgundal’s Collar (Level 25) with its 15% alacrity.

Fitting in improved epic fortification (150%) is critical for melee fighting, far more than my ranged work with Mericletica. I have Brace for Impact already for 40% and can use the combined Fabricator’s set for another 25% but at the cost of the Sun Soul effects and some stat benefits. I want 200% but I’m functional enough at 150%, with a few rings and cloaks to boost things as I need them.

Champions are still a pain, and Ryn has it harder at times. I tried her first EE with my usual hireling duo (Albus the Favored Soul and my Onyx Panther) in EE “Bargain of Blood.” Hobgoblins were more initially resistant to Freezing without weakening them more in some way. When a Champion came out, he turned my party into an unappealing goo.


I completed two Shavarath quests to get my Yugoloth potions, and have a few other stacking potions to get DEX and WIS briefly to 46. That seems low but consider how the poisonmaster needs that balance. I’m favoring WIS since a helpless-inducing finisher allows the Ninja Spy enhancements to tear up anything, reducing the need for higher DEX.

Like any other melee fighter, Ninja Spies don’t like crowds. But one Flash Bang or a Diversion dummy and I’m so much vapor to regroup. I still don’t like aberrations and demons. I do better against the living humanoid types.

That said, I want a standing 44 WIS and 40 DEX through any means I can. I may retool Grandmaster of Flowers to a higher WIS than DEX to help with the critical finishers.

Because Ryncletica is all over the map with her abilities, it’s going to harder to pin down her build for the Monk guide’s build section. But maybe that’s a good thing. That variation might let you try different things without straying too far from the build’s inherent function.

It’s a harder melee build to play, for sure. Stealth simply avoids immediate death. Yet it’s not her EDs or powerful weapons that make Ryn enjoyable. It’s her innate skills as a Monk that make her more than just another light fighter. To anyone that claims that finishing moves are useless, Ryn (and Kiricletica before her) put such claims to the question. 

I Hate The #@*#%@! Netherese!

The Monk class is the strongest anti-mage class in the game.

You Shar-loving, magic missile throwing motherf_____!

You Shar-loving, magic missile throwing motherf_____!!!

But Ryncletica the Poisonmaster was striking out last night against a few Netherese Wizards in a Heroic Hard run of “End of the Road” in the High Road quest chain.

Both starts were stupidly easy. Against squishy humans, Ryncletica’s attacks with an Envenomed Blade and Tiefling Assassin’s Blade or Vampiric Fury Shortsword dice up people quite well.

Then my little party approaches the multiple spell ward line and at least two enemy wizards. Despite some initial beatdowns with the blades to weaken their fortitude and hit them with a Freezing the Lifeblood paralysis or a Quivering Palm kill, the bastards stayed up.

The first one, a Champion, hurled a buttload of likely maximized magic missiles into me before I realized it, sending me to Dolurrh. Fine, fine. I will be more prepared next time.

The second one that clocked me wasn’t a champion at all but maneuvered himself into the spell wards line, making it nigh-impossible to hurt him sufficiently before he whipped off a Disintegrate or something and I was looking at my soulstone again.

I was fuming. My guild master, normally the one that makes sailors blush when she’s having a bad character day, was amused at how my calm was completely damaged.

I abandoned the attempt and joined up with the guild master’s party for a more successful and comparatively relaxing runs through Gianthold with Kiricletica.

Some Tips about the Netherese

Just wanted to give a few suggestions, no matter if you’re Heroic or Epic, for what it’s worth. After all, I’m a soulstone here.

  • Always wear Deathblock and use Death Ward, especially against Champions. Often Netherese mages hit you with Dispel Magic before unleashing a series of nasty things.
  • Carry a Shield clicky. Magic Missiles are extremely dangerous in the hands of these guys. Look at the picture.
  • Kill them quickly. Screw anything else around you. Netherese mages aren’t support, they’re the central attacker in many quests, and for good reason. Fight magic with magic. Blast them with Finger of Death, send in your Assassins and Shintao Monks.
  • If you’re not a high-level Monk or Drow, wear items with Spell Resistance and Evasion if possible. These things will help you shrug off commonly problematic non-damaging attacks that may debuff you.
  • Disable them. Paralysis will be hard to land on these guys, so don’t rely on it. Try stunning, knockdowns, bashing, DoTs, Bard spells–just get these guys unable to cast, if only briefly.

My monastic calm totally left me. I wish there were a quest option where we could reprogram the flying glacier from “What Goes Up” to send it towards Netheril to drop that big magical-plutonium ball of mythallar on their city. And let one adventurer ride it back yelling, “Yippie-ki-yay, motherf____!!! Magic-missile THIS, you c___suckers!”

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