On first building Flynncletica, I was attracted to the use of Dexterity to Damage for her Swashbuckling fighting style. I knew how well that worked based on my experience with the Ninja Spy’s identical ability on Kiricletica and others.
I’ve considered recanting DEX-to-damage to try a different tack with a Different Tack (the ability), which determines which stat (other than STR) defines your damage.
My DEX is a bit higher after a few points in it. I chose Halfling to improve her Dexterity. I can get my CHA about as high as DEX when I want to convert the masses through a Fascinate song and then a Mass Suggestion.
But as I learned the hard way in a Heroic Elite run of “Friends in Low Places,” I wasn’t quite the charmer as I hoped by the end fight. I thought I needed more CHA and/or needed to concentrate on CHA for Damage.
I’m Feeling Fascination
I have no problems in training non-damaging spells and songs. It’s my monastic upbringing. Playing Shintao Monks, I’m often buffing and supporting allies as well with Healing Ki, finishing moves and elemental curatives like the Lesser Restoration SLA, Restoring the Balance.
At lower difficulties or with enemies with lower Will, Suggestion sticks well, answering the enemy challenge to “You and whose army?!” But I’d like to ensure that Mass Suggestion sticks rather well in Elite difficulties.
Since the ability Different Tack allows CHA to work as damage, pumping my character’s CHA to improve its modifier, not DEX, would be the prudent thing if I want Flynn to dominate fights by redirecting them as allied attackers with CHA as the sole modifier for all things important.
Thankfully I had some foresight on this on reaching 1,750 favor. I chose a +2 CHA tome and then used two upgrades for an inherent +4.
I had strongly considering using a Lesser Heart of Wood to redo my stats, adding back the DEX points to CHA–but not too many. I still need higher DEX for good Reflex saves.
I’m looking more at CThruTheEgo’s “Monte Cristo” build for bardic advice, after getting my build inspiration from another DEX based thread for a soloing Bard.
As more of you know than me, Fascinate’s DC is the Perform skill +d20. With Perform maxed out now and using a Perform +13 ring, using the effect works quite well.
With some Spellsinger training, I could Fascinate specific monsters that otherwise can never be Fascinated. But I’m heavy in Warchanter training now, enjoying the attacks that freeze enemies and abilities that add PRR and doublestrike bonuses. At level 19, Flynn had 32 PRR (with only a PRR +2 gem) and 29% standing doublestrike.
I’ll gain Evasion, another 1% Doublestrike, +2 DEX and +2 CHA with level 20 and the Swashbuckler capstone enhancement. So, perhaps, I’ll stay where I am, but use Epic Destinies and items to add more CHA to get my Will saves higher. The DEX will help Reflex to make my miss-chance effects work better.
I have a lot of destiny grinding ahead of me.
But I had look at the Charms as they stood now and commit to a direction.
Not Magically Delicious
Back to that end-fight in “Friends in Low Places.” Knowing the enemy zerg-rush of that last fight, I began dropping down Mind Fog and Otto’s dancing balls to slow things down, then readied myself to Fascinate and use Mass Suggestion to boot. My goal wasn’t to kill the mobs but to keep them off immobile and off of me while I concentrated on killing the last boss to prevent more enemies from spawning.
It didn’t work. I think these enemies had a higher Will save, for one, as I could pick off and charm the straggling bands of invaders but had a harder time slowing the camp attackers. I became overwhelmed too quickly to mount a counter-offensive.
I needed to improve my charming personality.
Charms break down into several sub-abilities. You can charm most humanoids and some monsters except oozes, constructs and undead (although you can Fascinate them with a bit more training).
Suggestion has a different DC calculation: 10 + (Bard level/2) + CHA modifier. I’m all Bard; that’s good. But at CHA 22 at the lowest, I need to keep up my girly poise if I’m to redirect my enemies.
My best DC is 28. I’d rather have 35 or better in Heroic.
CHA seems the go-to stat, but does that all but guarantee that Charms and Suggestion will do as I want?
There’s also a second charming effect, Dominate, that I enjoy. I’d rather convince a Orthon follow me around to go with the rest of my summoned posse.
I did some reading on builds and realized that the Shard of Xoriat would be more useful than for the great meat shielding beholders, renders, mind flayers and Taken you can wield from it. It’s also a bardic treasure with Exceptional CHA +1 and Greater Enchantment Bonus.
If I read that right, Greater Enchantment Bonus adds a stacking 2 to my overall Charm-related DCs, right? Please let me know if I’m reading that wrong. I think it’s comparable to boosts like Combat Mastery, which help tactical feat DCs for things like Stunning Fist for Monks.
So, I’ve got CHA +4 in tomes. I can also wear a +6 CHA enhancement item, having plans to slot a colorless gem in either of my level 20 armor or shield.
The next items I can imagine would help are collectible-generated Potions of Influence (stacking +1 to +3 CHA bonus) that I can use any time, as well as the +2 Yugoloth favor potions from Amrath and the quests of the Devil Battlefield. Toss some Turbine Points to the DDO Store and I can add in the stacking +2 Elixirs. So I can add up to another +5 to +7 now for brief periods.
I planed to go into the Devil Battlefield as soon once I hit level 20, wanting to have a better-than-average level when heading into these quests on Elite. Last night I impulsively tackled “Sins of Attrition” on Elite, coming out of that CR 21 fight by the skin of my teeth. Haystack the hireling over-healed throughout the quest, straining our spell point reserves. Eventually I left the sumbitch behind until the last battle. I just needed the Death Ward from the guy, anyway.
But…do you see my mistake in all of this thinking?
I mistakenly believed that Will saves are improved by CHA, when it’s WIS that affects a Will save, right? I need the Force of Personality feat to make my CHA modifier work for Will saves, as there’s no way I’ll add anything to WIS on Flynncletica unless a +5 tome comes dropping from the sky on her head. At least…that’s my understanding of it. Please tell if I’m wrong before I gimp another character!
The next feat slot for that comes at level 21. I was going to slum it out with potions until that time. But…I chose to make a feat swap. I can live without Improved Shield Mastery (with a small loss of doublestrike and PRR) to be a better charmer into Epic.
One thing that’s a little disorienting involves what the comely young Halfling Bard chicks are wearing this year on Level 20 and beyond.
I have only three items in my cavalier’s wardrobe on reaching 20: a tier-3 Epic Swashbuckler shield, some tier-3 Epic Duelist’s Leathers, and an Epic Elyd Edge. I thought of adding a Heavy Fortification gem in the shield’s blue slot and a +6 CHA colorless gem in the armor so I can dispense with my Minos Legens, perhaps moving its Vitality +20 colorless gem to something else in the future and freeing my head for something more interesting later.
Looking about Eveningstar, I realized that there doesn’t appear to be any bard-inclined epic gear as we can get for Monks (the Sun Soul set) or Fighters (the Purple Dragon Knight set) or Wizards (the Battle Arcanist set).
There are a few options through the Druid trader, such as the Lenses of the Woodsman and Boots of the Woodsman. The Leathers light armor isn’t bad either although not attractive enough to swap out for the Epic Duelist’s Leathers, even with the equipped set bonus.
The Purple Dragon Gauntlets with their greater STR, CON bonus and 30% healing amplification would be welcome, I’m sure, as perhaps the Iron Mitts, and the Kobold Admiral’s Tiller from Epic Three-Barrel Cove.
But you can see where this is going. An epic Bard Swashbuckler seems to be more of a motley of items that don’t have much set complementarity with each other as opposed to items from the Eveningstar sets.
The popular Bard SB threads again offer some suggestions. Two of them caught my eye.
- Sage’s Mantle cloak (from “The Tracker’s Trap”) for equipment Enchantment Focus bonus
- Intricate Field Optics goggles (from “Return to Gianthold Tor”) for Insightful CHA or CHA +8
Flynncletica, having a desire for a Corymrian weapon, recently completed the challenge “Ring of Fire” with all optionals completed (bye, dragon!), my first character to complete a full challenge. She obtained a serviceable level 16 rapier with ingredients gathered but does plan to run challenges to make level 20 and 24 weapons.
Additional suggestions from the adventurer’s peanut gallery are welcomed.
I did mention I will find myself grinding my ass off to gain not only specific abilities but the many Twist of Fate slots required to hold them?
For once, I may not mind this. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to take the easy way out if I can do so.
One Key of Destiny (I hope) as a first-life character and I’m unlocking Unyielding Sentinel out of the gate. I want its Shield Prowess, Brace for Impact and Legendary Shield Mastery immediately for defenses. Once that tree is trained, it’s off to Grandmaster of Flowers to slum it out a bit as a monastic fighter as I unlock the Martial tree. I might actually put away my swashbuckling gear for a bit as I train this, wielding only a shortsword for a bit of flavor and to impress the other Monks.
Then, on to Shadowdancer for its extra doublestrike and Shadow Form for better incorporeality. I see this destiny as my default once I train enough Fate points to unlock what I desire to Twist from other places.
The Shadowdancer greatly improves Flynn’s scouting and ambush abilities and will help her survive it better. Her miss-chance effects will be stronger with up to 50% concealment, 25%+Dodge and 25% Incorporeality of Shadow Form to go with higher AC and PRR.
If I cannot use a Key of Destiny to start, I’ll begin as a Fatesinger and earn my prerequisites the old-fashioned way by unlocking the spheres, one by one.
In short, sure. I want them all. All the Destinies.
I’ve never trained more than three destinies on any one character before, and even then, one of those destinies wasn’t fully trained. But with a Swashbuckler and its hybrid lifestyle as fighter and bard, I won’t feel as stripped-down while moving between or training destinies.
While as a first-life, where there’s no XP penalty, this is the best opportunity to make the most of Flynn’s abilities. I’ve never had a reason to be a destiny completionist–until now.