After a bit of appreciation of the longsword using the Monk feat, “Whirling Steel Strike,” I abandoned these weapons on Kiricletica in favor of her shortswords.
I primarily needed to get two feat slots used just to activate longsword use, repurposing them for Power Attack and Cleave.
Kiri’s namesake uses a longsword, but adding this in was part experiment, part emulation. I’ve never seen how effective a Monk would be with a longsword. It’s not bad at all, really. I think I’d recommend it for a Kensei build since Fighters will get free proficiency and have many feat slots to add in Whirling Steel Strike to make that a Centered weapon long before their Kensei enhancements kick in for Centering other weapons.
On Shortswords and Unbalancing Strike
Shortswords, a piercing weapon, actually work since I do carry kamas for slashing damage when required. I’ll soon use some Forester’s Brush Hooks and later some Dream Edges for close-quarters slash-work. I lose the longsword’s 1d8 to the shortsword’s 1d6 as well as slashing, but I also gain greater availability of these weapons and ninja competencies. There’s also the needed Vampiric Fury Shortswords from the Lordsmarch area. So far, I’ve resisted crafting any Lesser Vampiric weapons.
Ninja Spies get natural proficiencies and bonuses to shortswords, so, in addition to Power Attack (prerequisite) and Cleave, I keep adding in the Two Weapon Fighting feats and will gain competence bonuses to the swords. Later, as Sneak Attack abilities as trained, I expect more happy from Unbalancing Strike, a ki attack that effectively does a Diversion hit where Sneak Attack vulnerability is increased.
Unbalancing Strike is also a Water attack. When it and Fists of Darkness are chained (Water/Dark/Water) you get Freezing the Lifeblood, a paralyzing attack that works on any non-ooze or construct for up to 60 seconds. That saved my butt in a “Bargain of Blood” Elite run I did where I died twice after attracting too much attention. Being able to paralyze without a paralyzing weapon came in handy. I run in Ocean Stance to boost my saves so the Jidz-Tet’ka poisoning paralysis effect is still in place as well on a critical hit chance.
I love Unbalancing Strike with Freezing the Lifeblood as it promises to be a lesser but effective substitute for Stunning Fist. I spin around everyone and gain extra attacks without counterattacks, including elementals, spiders and some bosses. I also gain the pleasure of delivering Ninja Poison with the shortswords equipped. I’m using my handwraps almost exclusively for oozes and rust monsters at present.
A curious thing: I noticed that the DDO Wiki entries for the pre-Update 19 version of Unbalancing Strike wasn’t updated and started to do so. As I peered through each class tree I recalled that the Elemental Ki Strike existed in all three Monk class trees.
There’s no language that says that you cannot spend AP in other trees to pick up another one of the attacks or that they are exclusive except to themselves. I might consider this and pick up Fists of Iron for a powerful strike or Eagle Claw Attack for a weak Destruction attack. I may spend more points in either Shintao (to get 10% healing amplification from two core abilities) or Henshin Mystic (where I’ve already spent points in Contemplation for more passive ki regeneration).
As for shortswords, I’ve collected a few noteworthy ones, some from times past that I’ve saved.
Remember the “Night’s Grasp” prefix? Weapons with this prefix gain negative energy damage and Maladroit (DEX damage). In the hands of a Ninja Spy that can make things very vulnerable to such damage thanks to Touch of Despair, a Night’s Grasp weapon dealt horrifying purple damage.
Sadly, this weapon prefix went away several Updates ago and I’ve hoarded any handwraps and weapons I could find ever since. Worse of all, all of these items became bound to character on equip, so if I committed that weapon to a character and couldn’t make that character fulfill their destiny, tough noogies, unless I try to swap it from one character to another using my own Astral Shards through the Shard Exchange, at the risk of some other buyer grabbing them before I can buy them on my other character.
But then, it’s not a totally bad position. If I sell it, to myself or another, I still get Shards to try again for other items there. I only fully lose that item only if I abandon that item on a character fated to oblivion by reroll.
Completing Gwylan’s Stand and Tear of Dhakaan
I took a swing at “Gwylan’s Stand” a short time back and failed once before on Level 9 Elite at character level 9, but I got it done on a second try recently on level 10, proving my point that I need to power up a bit more to handle more combat-intensive areas.
With Kiri’s rules, it has to be an infiltration quest where there’s a mandatory slaying of several lieutenants, but I could avoid most everything else.
I decided to run it again to record how to infiltrate it with limited kills and with the new shortsword/paralyzing finisher whammy as well as the Night’s Grasp shortsword. For poetry’s sake, I also carried Gwylan’s Blade for a bit of role-playing retribution.
Dual-wielding shortswords proved quite effective in fights. Most enemies that I struck didn’t last long between getting bluffed or paralyzed.
I’ll upload it to the Syncletica G. YouTube channel when time allows.
I tried my hand at “Tear of Dhakaan” as well on Elite. Kiri did pretty well, despite having to backtrack a couple of times when I missed a mandatory lieutenant to kill. The most dangerous part would normally be the small city where respawning enemies will overwhelm you if you don’t leave. Stealth and quick feet helped to avoid that problem.
Level 12 Happiness
A series of runs this past week to complete the Sorrowdusk chain, VoN1 and 2 pushed Kiri up to Level 12. Awaiting her were those pair of Vampiric Fury Shortswords. I think I’ve not had it easier in Sorrowdusk before since stealth allowed me to rapidly complete the Co6 side with Devious bonuses.
Getting the Master stances really helped since now, in Greater Ocean Stance, the extra WIS and another +1 passive ki regeneration is really incredible, with a stable pool sitting in the 80s, twice what she had before L12 (+1 from Contemplation, Stealthy and Greater Ocean Stance for a total +3). Defense is up a bit as well, but not much, still wearing the Quicksilver Cassok until I can build a White Dragonscale Robe for her at L14.
Action Points have gone to boosting the Cleric dilettante so I can use Restoration scrolls, into the Ninjitsu abilities to move forward to getting Touch of Death, and to Sneak Attack damage. I’ve got a Death’s Locket for some Deathblock but can wear it situationally until I add an augment gem if the need arises. I shouldn’t have to wear it all the time since I’m playing the How Not to Be Seen Game, Professional Edition, where mages shouldn’t blow up people they don’t know are nearby.
I added one point to DEX for more damage but now will focus AP to WIS points to increase my DCs for finishing moves, specifically to ensure that Unbalancing Strike and Freezing the Lifeblood continue to work. Tomes are certainly not out of the question.
I took the feat Improved Critical: Piercing to help the shortsword use. I’d like to add in Seeker +6 somewhere to improve damage fox expected crunch times when fighting is a must. Gaining Abundant Step with this last level-up will help a long way for better stealth maneuvering.
Built some +3 Metalline of Pure Good shortswords to handle most anything else I encounter at her next target, the Ruins of Threnal. Now that I’m more overpowered, it’s also time to backtrack to Elite runs on “The Pit,” the Carnival series, “The Tide Turns” and to dive pell-mell into the Lordsmarch Chain.
I’ve been noticing that the site visits are way up, hopefully in interest on Kiri’s progress. If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to leave a note.