Secret Harper Agent Man

Harper Assassin: A perfect and deadly combination.

Harper Assassin: A perfect and deadly combination.

Update 23 brought a fascinating addition to the enhancement tree: Harper Agent.

For those of you that don’t bother to read the flavor text of various Harper favor quests in the Forgotten Realms to gain an idea of who they are, here’s some info from one wiki, and more information from Wikipedia. Of course, DDO Wiki has a short summary.

For DDO purposes, the Harper Agent is the first enhancement tree that any character can access. In fact, your character is granted this tree automatically as a VIP, but requires a DDO Store purchase for others. (Reports are coming in that some players don’t see the tree: This is a Known Issue.)

Harpers are the Forgotten Realm’s counterpart to MI-6 or CIA or House Phiarlan: they’re spies. A good-aligned group, they investigate and infiltrate suspicious groups throughout the land, seeking any information they can use to counteract and defeat those who try to subjugate or eliminate the good people of Faerun.

The Harpers we see in Eveningstar are quite busy in several theaters of operation. You’ll first encounter them as they deal with a caustic infection and a maddened druid in “The Druid’s Deep” quest chain. Shortly after, the Harpers are fending off the Netherese on three fronts: A race to collect pieces of a dangerous and ancient Netherese scroll in “The High Road” adventures, dismantling a Netherese outpost embedding itself in the Wheloon Prison, and rescuing Oriphaun Huntsilver while also stopping a powerful Netherese army in the Storm Horns.

Odds Are You Won’t Live to See Tomorrow

The Harper Agent tree appears more suited for Intelligence and magic users.Your precious Action Points will be strained to use much of what this tree offers while also keeping your class tree abilities strong–and that’s what the developers appear to want you to do. The Harper is a class to itself. Harpers are spies first with a strong Minor in Asskicking second.

Each Core Ability increases Universal Spellpower, your to-hit against Evil creatures, and/or your DEX, CHA or INT ability scores.Tier 1 abilities improve general Rogue/spymaster skills of Listen, Search and Spot, toughens you up with innate Energy resistance and HP, and adds the first of two Strategic Combat abilities. The first lets you use your INT modifier as your to-hit with melee and ranged weapons. You can improve this ability in Tier 3 to use your INT modifier for your attack damage rolls. This ability alone is going to be positively exploited by Rogue Assassins, whose INT is used for many of the skills, including Assassinate. Pumping up only INT is a godsend for damage and DCs as both Rogue and Assassin.

Spell power and spell point boosts come throughout, as well as Melee Power and Ranged Power boosts. New to the game, not all classes gain any of these new augmentations to attack damage except, perhaps later, as Epic characters. The Harper Agent can add more to the Heroic character.

As for Monks, there’s less there to consider except for, perhaps, the Arcane Archer or half-elves. Increases to melee power, spell and hit points and spell power might be great for my Pynthetica, the Zen Archer. The Ranged Power boosts alone might compensate for the lesser overall damage she deals, being neither a “monkcher” or Ranger. But my Action Points are spread all over already. It’s going to be hard to accommodate the new tree.

Given You Some Numbers, But Take Away Your Name

The Harper Agent is all about higher numbers. More ability points. More spell power, melee and ranged power. Ultimately, magic users gain more versatility as they can reduce their dependency on material spell components and add the Extend Spell feat as an enhancement through the tree, freeing up a feat slot. By level 12 training, your weapons can gain Deception effects or Righteousness (good-aligned) or you can add 10 stacking Harper bonus spell power.

But as I noted, the more you train as a Harper, the less potent you may become in your traditional class.

But for most DDO players, multiclassing is commonplace. The Harper Agent simply allows additional diversity but at a cost to some of your identity. I noted how Assassins will eat this up (I’m strongly considering how to add this to Sukitetica). Wizards can gain some serious powers, as well as Bards, the natural traditional class that might mate best with the tree.

If you find that your traditional class tree’s Tier 5 offerings are lackluster and your racial options even less appealing, then the Harper Agent might bring a refreshing and powerful change to your build.

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. FuzzyDuck81
    Oct 08, 2014 @ 11:33:15

    I’ve been experimenting with it on a few builds, my findings:

    Pure caster druid – very strong, substitute positive spellpower from the NW chain for universal from harper & makes summons/charms/hires even stronger.

    Pure artificer, primarily arcanotechnician – similar to druid, extra spellpower is nice & int inherently to damage saves a spell slot.

    Pure monk light-side ninja (equal parts swf melee & shuricannon capable) – ditched shintao & henshin almost completely in favour of picking this up, its.. interesting. Extra spellpower & melee power helps a little with damage & self healing, but really no major difference except as noted below…

    “knife in the throat” is very, very nice little ability.. good amount of physical damage, only 1SP a pop, can be quickened & enlarged if you have those metamagics, the damage is boosted by spellpower & crit chance (presumably force/kinetic, dunno if it’s going to be changed to be spellpower-neutral but my shiradi has had 2k crits off it) & it’ll knock out a regular mob’s spellcasting abilities for up to 6 secs with no save.. love it, and it’s this that makes it worth it for my ninja IMO since with that & the shuricannon stuff you can really do some funky special forces tactical play 🙂

    • teachersyn
      Oct 08, 2014 @ 12:02:09

      Great results. As a ninja, I can do the Pain Touch finisher and knock out spell and melee attacks for a full minute, but Knife in the Throat/Throat Dagger has no save–nice.

      As a ‘Cannon, there’s not much to train there as a Ninja Spy, so increasing ranged damage, if Ranged Power works, isn’t a bad idea. Artificers, yeah…should have added them to this post; they’d love this tree, too. I’ll have to play with it a bit and see how Stealth Team Six tactics are improved. Should be nice!

  2. geoffhanna
    Oct 08, 2014 @ 19:40:38

    Huh. I wonder what kind of Ranger you could make this way. I am guessing you could make a pretty good DEX one. Maybe even a decent INT one? Along with Insightful Reflexes?

    Nah. You are right there is better synthesis with the Assassin.

  3. DDOCentral
    Oct 09, 2014 @ 02:41:18

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.

  4. mernom
    Oct 09, 2014 @ 04:47:42

    ‘The first lets you use your INT modifier as your to-hit with melee and ranged weapons. You can improve this ability in Tier 3 to use your INT modifier for your attack rolls.’
    tier 3 adds to damage rolls,not atk.
    btw,if i remember correctly,the tree can be unlocked by favor,and that adds an interesting possibility.
    evry favor faction in ddo can have it’s own tree,that unlockes and gets better as your favor goes up.(for example,house p tree can be assasian\acrobat\spellsinger theamed tree,and house D can mimic the defender trees from the fighter and pally class)

  5. erdrique
    Oct 11, 2014 @ 16:30:05

    Yeah, the Harper Agent tree has some interesting possibilities. I’m going to be watching to see what types of builds folks put together with this tree.

  6. Caz
    Oct 11, 2014 @ 20:53:59

    Interested to see how this synergizes with the Eldritch Knight. Pure INT & CON melee builds whose per-hit damage is derived largely from spellpower seem custom built for this. Maybe a wizard-rogue split for full traps and assassinate would be the way to go.

    How does this tree stack up to other Wizard trees for pure class DC casters, like the instakill Necromancer builds? Every point you add to INT is precious to those builds, and the Harper tree looks like it might be a better AP-to-INT ratio than some of the other caster trees.

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