So Close and Yet So Far: Epic Elite Solo

Garamol and Lynncletica in negotiations for his loot.

Garamol and Lynncletica in negotiations for his loot.

In between her farming duties for her lower-powered students, Lynncletica, the Little Mountain and my most powerful character, is eyeing how to attain her Purple Dragon Knights favor to unlock her Spider-Spun Caparison outfit.

At the time of this writing, she’s got 319 favor, short of the 375 needed to access the NPC that will allow unlocking.

I figure I might be able to get the needed favor by completing EE with the Eveningstar and Underdark chain quests.

That’s a better number of favor since the introduction of the three inaugural Shadowfell quests, which added more PDK favor to the mix.

As noted before, Lynncletica is built to endure EE as long as any pure Monk can manage. In any other difficulty or adventure outside of Epic Elite, she is practically invulnerable.  She ventures through the Subterrane for Icy Raiment farming with nary a care.

Final score: Lynn 1, Sinvala 0.

Final score: Lynn 1, Sinvala 0.

She can tank Arraetrikos in “The Shroud” on Elite and not feel the least inconvenienced, avoiding much of what he throws out.

She can take out Sinvala the Black Dragon in Elite “Mired in Kobolds” (the dragon is CR 30, and we know how nastier dragons are as of Update 17).

I find soloing with Lynn a joy, but it also helps me weed out any weaknesses in her. Soloing most anything up to Epic Hard is quite doable within the quest objectives. Multiple party member-quests are about the exception.

But Epic Elite, as experienced players know, is a different beast. I’d love to have a few guildies join me rather than  an insane solo run, but as I noted in my last post, our guild, and perhaps DDO as a whole, is significantly suffering from player attendance.

To test out her capacity to survive and beat an EE adventure, Lynncletica’s first EE solo run began in the millhouse in the King’s Forest.

As few hirelings of any level would survive in EE, I summoned only a Rogue/Shadowdancer, just to disable the spell wards inside the home. Healing would come from Lynn’s potent healing amplification numbers (I estimate about 400%).

Lynn has two combat modes. In Dreadnought mode (with Legendary Dreadnought as dominant Epic Destiny), Lynn can dish greater damage but have little in the way of additional attacks granted by Grandmaster of Flowers, and lose out on some PRR, Dodge bonus and tactical DCs granted from that destiny. Lynn’s preferred mode for EE is to twist LD’s Improved Combat Expertise and Unyielding Sentinel’s Brace for Impact for more PRR and fortification combining all the DCs and Dodge effects and PRR boosts in GMoF. She typically sits around 686 to 735 HP depending on her buffs or combat mode.

On entering, I parked the hireling and set about pummeling the Drow Priestess. This took a while as Lynn’s combat damage was lower and the CR 44 Priestess’s overall DR was rather nasty. A few times she brought me to half my HP before I needed to use one potion between Healing Ki bursts and Fists of Light’s +2 to +5 HP recharges per hit. Soon, the Priestess walked off with her warning and I was left to figure out the better strategy to complete this place.

Option 1: A Sacrifice of Many for the One

Here, I’ll just encounter the Priestess and beat her up until she sacrifices everybody and has nothing left to live…with, then slay her to complete.

This avoids the dangerous fighting of her minions in each room as well as the risk that the Rogue hireling would get insta-killed and unable to remove the wards, leaving me quite vulnerable to their damage. The downside is that the Priestess would draw on every body, minion or hostage, to stay alive.

I recall one player that managed to attract the Priestess in the hidden attic room, where it appears she was too far to sacrifice anyone, but at the time I was playing I couldn’t look up that reference. His stealth skills likely equal Ryncletica’s ability, but Lynn’s stealth, while superior, lacks the Shadowdancer advantages that the forum poster’s build likely had, including Improved Invisibility to open that hidden room without attracting a mob.

Option 2: Go Hero

I chose this option on my first attempt, to slay minions and rescuing hostages to leave the Priestess with little to sacrifice. It didn’t seem that I would save any time or resources in trying to gun the Priestess down in option 1 by outlasting her. I figured I would get the upper hand on her minions if I was lucky.

The Rogue hireling (a lower level Epic one, to my fault) barely took down the first two wards in the outer upper hallway. After I parked her near the entrance, I tried to remove the enemies in the first room.

Did I mention how I hate mages? In my first attempt in Grandmaster Mode, a wizard managed to blow through my 44 saves to hold me, and that was that as the fighters sliced me up like so much bologna. Holding a Monk is about the one defense that mages might succeed to cast in time before a spell-resistant and high-saving Monk tries to stun them. That mage got lucky or was just the better man, being a likely CR 40.

A couple of days later, I tried again, switched to Dreadnought Mode for considerably more damage but keeping most of my defenses up. This time, however, the Priestess would have none of it and managed to blast me with disintegrate attempts faster than Lynncletica’s otherwise-impressive ability to fully reheal all her 700+ HP  while fighting in less than 45 seconds.

More Thinking To Do

I still wonder if this particular EE would be better done in Dreadnought mode. The key is to build up blitz moments that could be used to attack the minions–hard–in Master’s Blitz epic moment mode. It’s an incredible attack mode that Lynn learned can increase speed and damage to godly levels for powerfully fast takedowns for as long as you have enemies to kill.

Building up a charge would not be too hard, since I can spam up a charge in a public area and wait in-quest to use it in the minion room.  With luck, the speed of takedowns will recharge the Blitz to allow me to perform a similar take down in successive rooms. The Blitz is a good idea because it will last up to 2:30 min, or 1 charge lost per 15 seconds. If I can kill fast, the Blitz sustains itself.

Which means, with critical hits in the thousands and normal attacks in the 200s, taking down anyone should be easy with haste boosts. Whether a mage intervenes in time to ruin my berserk mode is another story.

As to that mage, the maximum reflex save I can generate with temporary boosts and buffs is about 52. My stunning DC is about the same, suitable for a lesser-fortified class such as a wizard. If I enter a room, target the mage and off him first, I have a literal fighting chance. I need those same reflexes to evade certain damage from attacks, but from there, its the Big Three of Miss Chances combined with fast takedowns and stick-and-move fighting that might win the day for an EE solo run.

Some comments from an esteemed commenter a recent post notes some greater benefits from Unyielding Sentinel (among other destinies) that I haven’t tried yet. On his pure Monk, using Fatesinger for buffing, he has over 1300 HP (also thanks to taking Toughness feats until his fingers bled). Good defenses, too. In Lynn’s next life, a few more Toughness feats and anything to help Dodge and reflex saves still attracts me. For those who think that a Monk can’t tank, well, Daniel’s work should change your mind.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Keavaa
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 16:35:58

    I fully appreciate the position you’re in, giving up GMoF for Dreadnaught is a tough one. Its easy to get comfortable in GMoF as its such a nice fit. As I have seen for myself the blitz in action on my fighter in eGH. Once the killing starts I can maintain an ongoing blitz for 15mins very easily – slayers are fun like that. One, at most two hits from Breach and the guy is dead. For my monk Keava though, her path is still a fluid one and still working bit by bit to improve her. Epic Hards are routinely easily accomplished solo. With work, family and just everyday things find time to devote to each toon becomes more challenging. Keava’s time will come, and the sun will shine a glorious glow when she is complete. I have her stun DC in the high 50s and her saves are about the same. Some more HP, more PRR are next on the list. And some wraps better than grave wrappings too I guess.

    Looking forward to seeing how Lynn turns out for you.

  2. teachersyn
    Jul 18, 2013 @ 18:05:09

    There are handwraps BETTER than Grave Wrappings?! From what twisted, evil developer beta would those come from? 🙂

  3. grimorde
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 04:16:37

    I do love GMoF, but I have to admit for the more difficult quests my monks use US for the higher hit points, the area healing, all it’s other benefits and have cocoon twisted in for that extra bit of healing.

  4. Daniel Haughton
    Jul 19, 2013 @ 08:38:55

    I must point out that I only have 1300+ hit points in Unyielding Sentinel. In Fatesinger I have 1114. Also, I do not have a Greensteel hit point item nor a Vitality item at present, both of which would drive my hit points higher.

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