Throwing Stars of DEATH!

One shuriken plus one fully-trained ninja equals a powerful ranged attack as never before on a Monk.

One shuriken plus one fully-trained ninja equals a powerful ranged attack as never before on a Monk.

A quick note to being a Ninja Spy with the new Update 19, news of which I discovered very recently to my delight. Most of you who’ve played Monks know of shurikens, or throwing stars.

As ranged weapons, they’re likely the weakest of all, with only a 1d2 damage range. Only the ones that include “Returning” should matter to you.

Over the years, successive updates have added feats or abilities to raise the occasional damage, such as Shuriken Expertise and Ten Thousand Stars). Nevertheless, throwing stars added some themed mystique and limited ranged options befitting a fully-trained and well-equipped Ninja Spy.

Generally, most Monks used a throwing star only when they were totally unable to attack something in melee (thankfully, a rare occurrence). But Update 19 brings a scimitar-sized ray of sunshine specifically to ninjas. At level 20 in the Ninja Spy class enhancement tree, you are eligible for the final core enhancement:

Ninja Master: You gain +2 Dexterity. While you are centered, you gain a +1 Competence bonus to the Critical Threat Range with Short Swords and a +2 Competence bonus to the Critical Threat Range with Kamas and Shuriken. Any piercing or slashing weapon you wield gains the Vorpal ability.

Let’s unpack this one from my experience last night with Ryncletica, your Friendly Neighborhood Ninja, while finishing up an Epic Hard solo run through “Feast or Famine” in Gianthold.

It’s Not The Size That Matters

After nearly an hour of patient infiltration to the final fight, Ryncletica has arrived too late to remove the boss and his guards from the final room before hunting party had also arrived, leaving me with no fewer than 45 enemies to clear.

Her ship buffs are exhausted but Ryn is still quite capable, with a full set of Shadow Charges as a Shadowdancer. Remember the Conservation of Ninjitsu applies here (as it did to those bastards in the old monastery, whose stolen fortress I imploded after killing their boss).

So I decide to pull out the recently updated Snowstar, one of only a few named shuriken in the game, and begin carefully smacking one enemy at long range to pull that one out of the main hall, isolating and eliminating orcs one by one. I prefer to remove any spellcasters first as they are often buff or heal enemy fighters.

So, out plods out one of the enemy mages who got a love-tap from the Snowstar. He stops for a moment in reconsidering chasing me down,, so I throw another star at him…

…and a large “100” popped above the mage’s head, in addition to a purple-tinted Poison-drop symbol.

Wait..what?

Feeling increasingly amazed, momentarily confused and downright edgy, I just kept throwing and throwing in curiosity and surprise, studying the damage results until the mage’s HP dropped to less than 1000, when that last throwing star severed his head from his body.

Holy Crap on a Cracker. I just remembered this was a new feature. Even a low-powered shuriken in the hands of a fully-trained level 20 ninja can vorpal an enemy, adding 100 damage on a critical, instantly killing if the enemy’s HP is less than 1000.

The competence bonuses make a star’s damage more extensive as well, and early Ninja Training core abilities add greater chances for a Doubleshot effect, throwing an additional shuriken per attack (So that’s why the guy took 200 to the face from one throw!).

As well, the critical threat range on the throwing star, normally only 20, has now gone to 18-20 in a ninja’s hands, increasing the likelihood for a vorpal hit. Further, the enemy’s getting smacked with stacking magical Ninja Poison, which is a damage-over-time effect.

But Wait! There’s More!

Prior to Update 19 there were only two named-item throwing stars: the aforementioned Snowstar and the Shadow Star (recently updated with a useful Deception ability that makes enemies confused as if Bluffed, slowing their likelihood to attack you).

With the arrival of the new Wheloon quests (specifically, “Friends in Low Places”) comes a third named shuriken: The Morning Star:

  • +5 Enhancement Bonus Solar I (1 to 6 Light damage)
  • Flaming II (2 to 8 Fire damage)
  • Ghostbane II (2 to 8 undead bane damage, Ghost Touch)
  • Red Augment Slot (!!!)

It is…out of character…to say that Ryncletica, an enlightened Monk of the Order of Syncletica, who lives a vow of charity and asceticism, covets this weapon.

It’s not out of character for me, the player, to squee throughout the game, cleaning Wheloon out until I get my hands on that sumbitch.

Until then, my crafter made some shards for a stronger throwing star. Yeah, I could start work on a Green Steel Shuriken, but crafting one (and with an augment slot if there are any)  just seems neater.

Besides, I had immediate need of crafting up a Holy Silver of Bleeding or Maiming shuriken for a date with Harry.

For those enemy spies keeping score at home, Ryncletica is capable of insta-killing you in four ways:

Sleep well, my adversaries. Sleep well.

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32 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jordan
    Sep 13, 2013 @ 21:09:19

    “As well, the critical threat range on the throwing star, normally only 20, has now gone to 18-20 in a ninja’s hands, increasing the likelihood for a vorpal hit. ”
    However, from DDOwiki:
    “A vorpal weapon can instantly kill most kinds of creatures. On an attack roll of a natural 20 which is also confirmed as a critical hit…”
    Are you sure crit range increases the likelihood of vorpal?

  2. Yaegur
    Sep 14, 2013 @ 03:16:20

    Don’t forget the added bonus of dexterity to damage with slashing and piercing weapons as well, boosting Shuriken quite a fair bit in the hands of a ninja spy. My monk is preparing for a TR into a Drow Ninja Spy that shall specialize in both short swords and shuriken. (The idea going along with something similar to my Ranger, being a Vulkoor-ish inspired character.) Increased Dodge, the Ambidexterous enhancements, much needed boost to damage for both short swords and shuriken, and the Venomed Blades, similar to the Assassin line.

    For the record, though, I believe vorpal only qualifies when you roll a natural 20, and then succeed on the confirmation roll, not any old critical hit.

    I’m curious as to how you spent your AP from the Ninja Spy line, however. I just spent points in everything but No Mercy and the added damage from Poison Exploit. (57 AP. Ouch.)

    • teachersyn
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 23:48:39

      I spent similarly. I put a point in No Mercy (extra damage on stunning and pummeling? Sure.) Since Poison works slowly, I didn’t go down that road but I’m still playing with how effective or practical it is to try.

      • Yaegur
        Sep 15, 2013 @ 00:19:04

        I’m still playing around with the points. I didn’t take anything to really stun or incapacitate, and as far as I could see, Unbalancing Strike (my favorite elemental strike), blinding, and so on, didn’t make anyone helpless, and most creatures I’ve come across so far end up dead before I manage to lower their stats low enough.

        All of this is definitely still a work in progress. At least now I don’t have to worry about waiting 3 days in between tests, but it’s certainly taking a hit out of my platinum.

        • teachersyn
          Sep 15, 2013 @ 11:18:52

          If I haven’t mentioned before, I’d strongly recommend Flash Bang to its maximum. It’s AP-cheap and gives you a mass stun/blind for 6 seconds. Good ki-powered non-epic crowd control that works quite well and is VERY ninja.

          • Yaegur
            Sep 15, 2013 @ 19:44:00

            I had the Flash Bomb. I’m simply tinkering around with the most of all of it. Most of my characters are Dragonmarked, so quite a few points have to be invested into the racial tree as well. For the moment, however, I’m toying with the Shintao line. I’m quite disappointed in it having an entire line dedicated to Earth stance, however, but oh well.

            There are several perks in each of the three trees that are so interesting. It’s a shame some of them are so costly, however.

            • teachersyn
              Sep 16, 2013 @ 18:13:33

              Yes, the line definitely favors the Earth tanker stance a bit too much. Air could use a lot more love given their damage/speed ratio.

              • Yaegur
                Sep 16, 2013 @ 19:35:31

                I suppose they thought that given the DPS nature of Shintao, people would be attracted to Earth Stance, Air would be going to Ninja, and Fire would be preferred by those who go Henshin (especially considering one of the enhancements in this tree lowers your ki generation by one). Water is a nice general stance, but I think it may be a bit too bland. A lot of the effects you get from various items that give bonuses based on stances, Ocean seems to get the short end of the stick.

                A low DC poison that only goes off during a vorpal strike (Jidz Tet’ka), a Fire Shield on vorpal (Sun Soul), or cold resistance + AC + Dodge bonus (Walking with Waves from Grandmaster). I suppose it’s nice that Meditation of War grants a +5 maximum dodge bonus, but I don’t know… My monk has enough trouble fitting in her feats. Balancing out the TWF line, the Halfling Dragonmark (It is such a boon to no longer need to spend 3 feats on this), Weapon Finesse, Toughness and Stunning Fist seems to leave little room for the Spring Attack line. Perhaps a TR or two, and a boost from tomes will allow me to drop Finesse further down.

                Completely off topic here, but seeing as it is a topic on some stuff from the Ninja Spy tree, why not? Your book doesn’t mention the spot skill. Do you neglect it, in favor of wisdom and a spot item? Do you not worry about the spot at all? Do you even bother with it so far as hiding enemies?

                • teachersyn
                  Sep 17, 2013 @ 13:35:18

                  On enhancements: Air is left in the lurch. Fire is needed for the Henshins badly for ki generation (and that tree still needs better ki regeneration). My two ninjas are Ocean for the high saves, Dodge and ki regeneration–I’m seeing more people favor it. Earth is now the Thing for many and it works if you build it right, but that just classifies Earth Monks are bludgeon machines (and the nerfing of clerical skills doesn’t help). I’m warming up to poison after watching it DoT the hell out of some low-level bosses but need the better Ivy Wraps and a pull of the Scorching Wraps for the ninja to be able to do this unarmed through their lifetime.

                  I neither praise nor censure Spot. Monks just don’t have many skill points. It’s rare for my ninja not to notice hidden/invisible Epic enemies in her path with practically no Spot at the comparatively close range they are to them, as opposed to archers and rogues that really need it for distant enemies and traps you want to sense from a distance. My Rogue Monk is an exception here at the sacrifice of Diplomacy while also adding some Bluff points, too.

                  You’re getting love out of the much maligned Weapon Finesse? Good on ya. 🙂 I am less worried about TWF as in the past as enhancements and Epic Destinies add this over time. I’d look to more Dodge or new attacks or combat stances. My Henshin, while still doing a few things unarmed, is adding in the Two Handed Fighting line and Stunning Blow.

  3. FuzzyDuck81
    Sep 14, 2013 @ 15:10:48

    I’d also suggest looking into the spelltouched shurikens from eveningstar challenge turn-ins (their cost will decrease following u19 patch 2 too) as they have a number of nice effects including random damage effect types – apparantly was a bug, but the devs decided it was a cool bug & kept it, calling it the “spellplague” effect, or something like that anyway

    • teachersyn
      Sep 14, 2013 @ 23:49:53

      I recommend reading about that. Glad the high number of collectibles is dropping. It made running those things impractical.

    • Yaegur
      Sep 17, 2013 @ 16:20:05

      If I’m not mistaken, Henshin gets… 2 bonuses to it’s ki regeneration. The first one from the third tier of the Contemplation enhancements, and the second from the capstone. You’d get a third more if you hop into water. A few extra points spent into the Ninja tree, and you can grab the ki regeneration while being in stealth for a mere 4 AP. I’m still using Water Stance either way. I really love this thing. It’s just a shame that the Jidz Tet’ka doesn’t even at least increase the DC from the epic. From what I’ve seen, the DC doesn’t change from 17. I love all three bonuses from the stance, but it’d be nice for something continually going along for the ride.

      If it hasn’t been a concern yet, I shall perhaps try that myself, with eschewing spot.

      Weapon Finesse is more of a… Let’s go with a safety measure. On a Halfling with the point spread I gave it, I couldn’t afford more than 12 strength for base. A few points were spent into INT as well. 3 skills just wasn’t enough for the theme I was going for. Dropping TWF is possibly an option. I always figured that the extra +60% to offhand strikes helped enough to be worth the taking.

  4. geoffhanna
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 13:22:06

    I wonder how much of that stacks with Halfling enhancements?

    • Yaegur
      Sep 16, 2013 @ 14:37:03

      Far as I can tell, there’d be no change with the current Halfling throwing enhancements. The Skillful Thrower already does what the Ninja Spy tier does, and the Master Thrower is broken. However, I don’t see how that would be too much of a problem should it start working.

  5. Kavatch2.0
    Sep 18, 2013 @ 10:12:34

    The only way Turbine could make stars even remotely tempting (for me personally) would be to make them dual wieldable.

    • Yaegur
      Sep 18, 2013 @ 10:50:20

      They’re not so bad as is, though. Especially considering the 1d2. A Ninja Spy will now get way more out of it than before. It’s just a shame that the Halfling Master Thrower enhancement seems to be broken. If one really wanted to focus in it, however, you could grab Shuriken Expertise, Rapid Shot, Quick Draw, Ten-Thousand Stars and IC:Ranged. Toss in Ninja Training (though I’m unsure if this stacks with Shuriken Expertise) and Ninja Master, then you got a force to be reckoned with, so far as a Star-Wielding Monk.

      • teachersyn
        Sep 18, 2013 @ 11:00:31

        Agreed here. When a vorpal goes off (more on a double shot effect), you can really take down Epic enemies. I don’t think I’ll become a star-master just yet, but a full Ninja should have a couple of bursting stars for high-level remote damage.

        • Yaegur
          Sep 18, 2013 @ 15:06:14

          I’ve just been using the Shadow Star, as returning Shuriken don’t spawn in the Auction House very often. I found two of them, from level 1-20. No fun. I doubt they appear often in loot either.

          Every Ninja should definitely have one, if not for the sole purpose of drawing aggro from a group one at a time. However, you have to be careful with timing of the throws, as enemies nearby could eventually “ping” you if you keep shooting their friend, as each time it lands it gives them a listen check.

          • teachersyn
            Sep 18, 2013 @ 15:42:01

            Exactly. Turn off auto-attack, target the most vulnerable/naughty that’s away from the pack, and watch them zerg towards you after one throw. Generally works flawlessly since there’s no real noise from the enemy being struck, but from others getting wind of an ally getting attacked, as you said. Shadow Star is easy to farm from STK, as is the Snowstar from Sorrowdusk. On Ghallanda, looks like the returning shurikens are drying up fast, much less the metal-based ones, so word is spreading.

            • Yaegur
              Sep 18, 2013 @ 15:51:50

              Well, I don’t have Sorrowdusk, so the Shadow Star is the only option I have for a named one at the moment. Thinking of crafting up one from Greensteel, eventually. My Ninja still trying to get a pair of Short Swords from it. A Mineral Shuriken might be nice. A Radiance might be better, what with Shuriken being given a better critical threat range.

              I’ve never really kept AutoAttack on. I suppose using it might save my wrists, though. Also worth noting is that due to how ranged attacks work in DDO, it helps to turn it off on occasion, and use mouselook to aim for certain mobs, just slightly over their head. I use this in particular when I’m running STK III, in the room with the fire trapped ladder, with all of the mobs up a level higher.

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  8. FuzzyDuck81
    Oct 12, 2013 @ 03:51:56

    I’ve been playing around with shurikens a bit more now i have some spelltouched ones, and they’re turning out to be a lot of fun – particularly now i’m levelling shiradi champion – whirling wrists is 60% greater attack speed, and combined with the doubleshot/throw chance, and the ninja thingy to give a chance of extra ones thrown too… holy moly its a laugh.

    • teachersyn
      Oct 12, 2013 @ 08:59:05

      I may need to look into that ED!

      • FuzzyDuck81
        Oct 12, 2013 @ 15:26:30

        Yeah i been soloing a couple quests, using shuriken to pull one, then i duck behind a corner into stealth mode.. when they come round, & stop, ambush them pin which gives the same helpless debuff as stunning (my ninja is light side & shortsword user, dont have stunning fist) & then switch back to my swords & beat them down, relying on sense weakness twist to make it fast 😀

      • FuzzyDuck81
        Oct 13, 2013 @ 05:05:35

        …saying that, i woudn’t necessarily recommend shiradi as an ideal one for ninjas, but at least there are some nice synergies so it’d not as painful to level as some of the others 🙂

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