The Sound of Four Arrows Flying

For the Zen Archer, contemplation and mastery of Wisdom is a point.

For the Zen Archer, contemplation and mastery of Wisdom is paramount…to a point.

A recent post chided those who forgot that the quests in the Devil Battlefield are still worth running.

But Teacher Mernom’s comment in that post on the availability of potions (available through collectibles) that briefly raise ability scores for an Alchemical bonus, made me return to a study I’ve conducted out of curiosity until rather recently.

How high can I lift a character’s Wisdom score?

Kiricletica’s Case: Powerful Finishers

A Monk’s powers are often determined by their WIS, specifically, their WIS modifier score.

After the discovery that Kiricletica’s dark finishing moves could be very effective even in Epic Elite with a very high WIS, I sent her through the Devil Battlefield flagging quests, all on Elite difficulty except for “A New Invasion” to gain sufficient Yugoloth favor for their special stacking potions that raised an ability score by +2, with a side effect.

At level 26 and geared up, Kiricletica’s WIS sits around 48, unbuffed. With a +2 guild ship buff (Artifact bonus), a Yugo potion and a DDO Store elixir, I could get Kiri to 54. Mernom’s discovery noted that I can up that score to as high as +3 with trading for House Deneith’s alchemical potions, which last for a minute to 1 minute 30 seconds.

Kiri’s need to ensure that her paralyzing and muting finishers would land, based on the common finisher DC (10 + Monk level + WIS modifier).  Thus, Kiri’s Freezing the Lifeblood finisher requires a 10+26+22 = 58 to escape. While Kiri’s attempts on an Epic Elite solo run have not yet been successful (sticking to her solo rules for her first life), This isn’t a bad DC to have, although 62+ would be better.

Forum Research

In helping Kiri’s WIS score, a DDO forums often brought me to this older but useful thread on every possible permutation you could find in-game to generate the absolute maximum ability score.

Teacher AidanRyuko’s post first defined a “base package” of possible points that all classes could attain. Some, like a +2 bonus as a Completionist character, I’d never likely see, while others, such as getting a +5 ability tome, weren’t out of possibility even if I chose to “pay to win.”

Aidan’s sheet is a little dated as it doesn’t take into account the existence of gear with +10 to enhancement bonus ability scores with the new level caps of 28 and now 30.

My return to this research is to help Pynthetica, my Zen Archer, currently at L17 in this second life.

Pynthetica’s Case: Ex decem milibus, sapientia

Like Kiri, Pynthetica needs WIS but not specifically for finishing moves.

Pyn’s archery prowess for burst damage comes from Ten Thousand Stars (TTS) for now. If she has an extra feat slot in Epic training to add Manyshot, I won’t object to it. But a Zen Archer is feat-starved, trying to ensure there are other critical ranged feats in its arsenal.

So why only TTS?

Based on much cooperative crowdsourced player observations and calculations in a thread, the formula for generating extra arrows per attack in TTS came down to this:

  • 1st extra projectile: (3*WIS modifier+30) percent chance
  • 2nd extra projectile: (3*WIS modifier-20) percent chance [minimum 24 Wisdom]
  • 3rd extra projectile: (WIS modifier-15) percent chance [minimum 42 Wisdom]

Each projectile is rolled one after the next; ie you must successfully roll the first extra projectile for a chance at a second, and successfully roll the second for a chance at a third.

TTS doesn’t give the guarantee of 4 arrows as Manyshot ultimately behaves.

However, TTS can be used twice as often: once per minute (30 seconds active, 30 seconds to cooldown, versus 20 seconds with a 2 minute cooldown for Manyshot).

TTS also requires ki, which means you need a strong passive ki regeneration (or switch to melee fighting for a bit) as well as WIS to define a higher pool. But when you start tinkering with 40 WIS or more and sitting about in Greater Ocean Stance with other ki regeneration abilities, odds are that you’re going to have ample ki for any fight where duration is required.

Getting that fourth arrow is not easy. To have a mere 5% chance at that arrow requires a WIS of 50. The highest practical 4th arrow chance for Pyn is is probably 10%, or a heartbreakingly high WIS of 60. One could look at this philosophically as there are similar nice weapon effects that may not proc often, such as being Frozen.

So it’s an advantage with diminishing returns for Pyn’s TTS after getting no less than a 5% chance, or WIS 50. As with Kiricletica, I may be able to attain that in Epic levels with a +7 item and epic destiny training alone, with nary a single potion to be had.

But when it’s crunch time and I need to squeeze every chance of an arrow out of her zen training, at least I know my options. At WIS 50, Pyn would shoot two arrows 90% of the time, three arrows about 40% of the time, and 4 arrows only 5% of the time.

I might be able to live with that. But now I also know I shouldn’t try to go all out to make Pyn’s WIS higher than 50 unless I want to have superior emergency stun and finisher options. As a dark Monk, Pyn’s Freezing the Lifeblood finisher could make heavy damage of one isolated enemy.

At least I know now that a few extra points for Szyncletica would not hurt, either. Since DEX defines damage and with Shuriken Expertise and Ninja Training already producing extra stars, her lesser WIS is not as critical with her TTS.

Zen Mastery: Approaching Level 20

Without the Bow Strength feat but with a lesser version that comes from the Half-Elf: Ranger dilettante, I should retire from Wisdom studies and research what I can do to increase my base damage on the bows to offset the lower STR bonus I gain in weapon damage as a pure Monk with a bow. I prioritized training the last racial abilities to add the last dilettante ability that added 8 to my bow damage modifier as Pyn approached level 16.

Sitting in Pyn’s personal bank, purchased during a recent DDO Store sale, is a +5 WIS tome for level 19.

The Devil Battlefield is penned into her schedule for getting the Yugo potions. My recently lax collectible gathering will now go back into overdrive as I hunt down any I can use to purchase a chance at the House Deneith alchemical potions to use when I need the absolute maximum performance.

A Frozen Tunic is also in the plan.

Banishing and Paralysis looked more attractive when I realized the latter had three tiers where the Will save is superior to Improved Paralyzing as found on Szyncletica’s spelltouched shuriken. It’s not cheap, however; as you have to train Terror Arrows rank to increase Paralyzing Arrow ranks. Such training will just make any Vale of Twilight or outsider battles on Eberron soil that much easier.

Once she returns to Epic levels, training two tier 1 abilities in Grandmaster of Flowers (Enlightenment for more Concentration, total ki and passive ki regeneration, as well as Dance with Flowers for up to 1.5 to base weapon damage) are a great idea. I can Twist these two abilities while active in Shiradi Champion’s immediate ranged attack effects that Pyn trained in part in her first life as a Ranger.

Breaking Siegebreaker

Pyn has been my first character to take advantage of Kiricletica’s discovery of how to easily beat the “Siegebreaker” final boss and her puzzles. (I added this solution to the DDO Wiki article once I learned it.)

In summary, you need invisibility and good Hide/Move Silently numbers, with perhaps Evasion at the least.

As most of you know, if you simply run around a circle that has all pads fully lit, it auto-solves the puzzle. The challenge is that enemies teleport into the small pit, attacking you and disturbing the puzzle. Worse, the enemies keep coming until you solve the puzzle. Did I mention the pads are also traps?

As she learned from Kiri, Pyn immediately hid and went invisible after the Hag went intangible. Pyn remained in the puzzle’s center. The enemies that spawned stood unaware and did not approach. Pyn circled the puzzle, evading the traps on each, solving the puzzle as well as closing the enemy portal. The Hag stays intangible until those few enemies are slain but they now cannot harm the puzzle as I kited them to death.

After giving the Hag a few licks, she went intangible again and Pyn repeated the same steps. By the last fight with the rust monster cavalry, completing the puzzle completes the quest. You will still have to slay those things to leave without dying and having your gear chewed on by the rusties, but you can loot your end-chest first while in stealth. Kiri just deployed a Diversion dummy for the enemies to chew on as she finished out.



15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tom Aparo
    Jun 09, 2014 @ 17:20:51

    If Pyn were an elf you could always try to use Aerenal weapons training and grace to use dex as the damage modifier on a longbow. I think elves are automatically granted the weapon prof. as a feat. I haven’t tried it out yet but it seems like it would work if you have the points to spend.

    • teachersyn
      Jun 09, 2014 @ 22:59:26

      Yep. The Half-Elf Ranger dilly gives a lesser Bow Strength that’s good enough, while the Elf would have to train in two feats to get the full version. It also gave proficiency, so it wasn’t a bad option. I may look to Elf next time.

      • mernom
        Jun 11, 2014 @ 01:11:09

        There’s also the skill one,+3 to dodge,dodge bypass,and some more stuff.
        Btw,your chance to shoot your 3rd\4th Arrows are lower then what you mentioned in your post:in order to have a chance to shoot the 3rd,you MUST shoot the 2nd,and in order to shoot the 4th,you MUST shoot the to get your chance to shoot 4 arrows you should multiply all your extra shot % number. (I think,haven’t delt with math for some time now)

        • Dawnzerly Light
          Jun 11, 2014 @ 02:33:05

          If it works as described, with a 50 WIS (+20 mod), Pyn will shoot 2 arrows 90% of the time, 3 arrows @ 36% (0.9 * 0.4), and 4 arrows only 1.8% of the time (0.9 * 0.4 * 0.05). The case for 60 WIS (+25 mod) increases these numbers to 100%, 55%, and 5.5% respectively.

          • Dawnzerly Light
            Jun 11, 2014 @ 03:30:34

            Spent an hour going through the linked forum thread, and I’m afraid the formulae espoused by Teacher Thlargir does not fit the evidence provided by testers in the thread. For example, there are several reports of 22 WIS having 3 arrows proc on several shots. I’m still not sure what might be more accurate, however.

            • teachersyn
              Jun 11, 2014 @ 08:33:04

              For a forum thread, it was pretty civil as they all crowdsourced their work. I suspect Thlargir’s calculations are the most accepted but, yes, I agree something might be missed. Perhaps there’s always a random chance for an additional arrow on some rolls.

          • teachersyn
            Jun 11, 2014 @ 08:31:00

            Thanks for any corrections to my math; I fail as a teacher there. You make a good case to go even higher on the WIS. And there is still a side benefit of stunning something or using finishers where the WIS modifier won’t hurt.

          • mernom
            Jun 11, 2014 @ 10:42:21

            That should sum it.

        • teachersyn
          Jun 11, 2014 @ 08:29:38

          Yeah, I did add that clause from the wiki about the chances. In practice, it seems to work out that multiple arrows are pretty reliable. Even with a low WIS of 24 on my ‘Cannon, I still get 1-2 reliably. It’s not a bad payout.

  2. erdrique
    Jun 11, 2014 @ 08:59:57

    Interesting insight on Seigebreaker, I’ll have to try that the next time I get in there with the invisibility potions. As for the collectibles for the House D potions, I tend to find most of those in the Gianthold area if you were looking for good places to find them.

  3. mernom
    Jun 12, 2014 @ 13:56:18

    It’s rediculse how much junk you gather around on your adventures,you should hve alot of stuff if you didn’t really used it cag get some preatty neat stuff,for example the vampire trader has greater hero pots,and i managed to trade a heavy fort sapphire from him.
    Btw I’m honored to be called ‘teacher’.

    • teachersyn
      Jun 12, 2014 @ 16:44:59

      You’re very welcome. Anyone that’s contributed gets the “Teacher” title here and in the guide because they taught me and the rest of us something!

      With your noting of those House D potions, I’m reacquainting myself with many of the collectors since they’re not a random crapshoot as they used to be.

      • James
        Jun 12, 2014 @ 22:58:56

        Hi have you noticed the new tomes 6 in ddo store? Extremely expensive but if you must have it, may be worthwhile. Also the lasting supreme ability potions x5 has a code to make it free.

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