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.
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:
- Manslayer (Drow Smoke Goggles),
- Quivering Palm (Monk feat)
- Ninja Master (Vorpal from any piercing/slashing weapon)
- Vorpal Strikes (Epic feat, unarmed combat).
Sleep well, my adversaries. Sleep well.