The Adventures of Hjolan and Kellicletica

The monastery’s ranks slowly but happily grow, as does its reputation.

One acolyte shows great promise. She’s Hjolan, training in the Shintao unarmed arts. Lately she and my newer single-weapon wielding Ninja Spy, Kellicletica, have teamed up on many adventures as they move from early to mid-level questing.

Pairing light and dark Monks makes for rather rapid questing with good synergy. The Shintao grabs the aggro. Hjolan admits to never being great in stealth and so has often leapt headlong into mobs where even Aasimar fear to tread. But right behind him is Kelli, her Tiefling Assassin’s Blade slicing, dicing, poisoning and slaying with sneak attack, CON stat damage and lots of Ninja Poison.

Despite my recent love of what Falconry does for several Monks, Kelli is pretty stock Ninja Spy so far. Her main skill, which I’m exploiting well enough so far, is that she’s a Halfling. Her healing dragonmark provides useful Heal spells for emergencies or in-combat along with a few Cure Serious and Light options. While not as diverse as going Half-Elf for their Dilettante options as my low-kill stealth master Kiricletica has once done, the Action Points used are far cheaper, too.

Another benefit for defense as a Halfling are Dodge bonuses and increases to Dodge cap, which stack with related enhancements in Ninja Spy. At level 13, rocking gear to give her Adherent of the Mists set bonuses, she’s at 33% Dodge.

Halflings gain extra Sneak Attack dice to add to Kelli’s strikes and Sneak Attack bonuses to hit hard.

To hit fast, Kelli uses only one shortsword and Single Weapon Fighting feats. Ninja Spy requires bulking up on DEX for to-hit and damage but also WIS for ensuring her dark finishers land and stick. Of course, some CON is needed to survive a strike or two, as are items to add Blur or other concealment to go with her 25% Incorporeality miss-chance.

Lastly, to be jack of key ninja trades are some throwing enhancements at the upper end of the Halfling tree to fight off enemies with shuriken at range. Not sure if these stack with the Ninja Spy’s endgame level 18 powers, but it’s likely.

Standard stealth skills raised high to avoid many fights or to flank enemies, although newer quests take this more into account with required stops to speak to NPCs or interact with objects that leave her obviously vulnerable.

That still leaves Kelli with a ton of AP to work in somewhere else, and I’m not yet sure where to go with that.

I’m simply pushing the stock Ninja Spy as far it can go.

One quest chain that I don’t see as popular as it once might have been is the Assault on the Slave Lords.

I don’t blame others playing this one less often. Hjolan and I did parts 1 and 2 of this and my memories of why it’s not as popular came back quickly as we progressed. It’s a taxing chain. Enemies at Elite level are extremely numerous, varied and powerful. Traps are prevalent and require a good Rogue. Shrines are few, hirelings drain themselves of spellpoints rapidly and player death is probable without a proper attack and defense plan. Come light into the domains of the Slave Lords and you will die.

I’d played this one enough, and died enough times, to know where we had to go, trying to recall what to skip. I wanted to save more slaves but frankly the deeper one-way corridors of enemies, bosses and one shrine at the end of all of that just wasn’t worth the trouble in part 1.

Part 2 gave us a small respite as the hobgoblin mobs were numerous but not quite as potent. Still, it was a terrible grind with two hireling clerics which weren’t very discriminating in spellpoint use.

The good news was that bosses were less of a problem because of our high DPS. Between Hjolan’s unarmed strikes and my Ninja Poison-edged blades, the bosses were hardly a threat.

Hjo had been looking forward to the final fight, which has four red-named lords, all being recharged by a central boss. Hoped to poison DoT every one of them to slow and then stop them before they stopped us, which wouldn’t take long seeing how the hirelings we had were as good as dead with little sense to concentrate on healing the player characters.

Putting Slave Lords part 3 at a later date, we entered the lands of Barovia and the domain of the sinister Count Strahd. Thanks to previous characters who have entered the domain, Kelli already had a Borovian shuriken and shortsword, each with Rubies of Ghostbane from the Night Revels.

As noted often, Ninja Spies are best at slaying the living and, unlike the Shintao, are weakest at the undead because the ninja’s destructive use of ki manifests as negative energy effects, which are, best, harmless to the undead. Ninjas use swords rather than bludgeoning weapons as well, making cutting down skeletons slower. So gearing up and striking sure and fast is Kelli’s best offensive act, with avoiding fights altogether a second tactic.

Hjo and I had little worries in “Death House” (such a series of tragedies in this storyline). Hjo has blended in some Rogueish search and disarm skills, but on Elite they aren’t especially great. I opted to bring in Fira, a capable halfling Rogue to keep us a little safer.

Likewise, the hags at Old Bonegrinder and the hordes of wolves in “Fresh-Baked Dreams” weren’t nearly as much a problem as I’ve had with light Monks or my archers. Kelli could slaughter well out there, with Ninja Poison very effective against the pie-making witches since, as a melee fighter, she’s used to fights in close quarters.

Then, dinner time with the Count. Numerous encounters in the enormous Castle Ravenloft in “An Invitation to Dinner” have left me overly cautious even on my self-healing Monks. Thankfully, the synergy of our two Monks made completion relatively easy. The starting fight with the cursespewing Shadows of Hate thankfully resulted in no fatalities with even the hirelings, thanks to Hjo’s spamming of Healing Ki with lesser-restoration buffing. From there I was optimistic in our reaching objectives, even taking on Strahd a second time for another chest. The ghostbane-enabled Borovian Shortsword did wonders.

A running joke between Hjo and I involves her tendency to take excessive damage. On a whim I asked how much fortification she had after leaving Ravenloft. Well, it was not 100% or greater, which was horrifying and surprising. Hjolan had survived much to-date that should’ve killed her twice over, especially Slave Lords.

I strongly suggested a detour from Ravenloft to a duergar mine, in “A Relic of a Sovereign Past.” There, Hjo could gather adamantine ore there and quickly whip up a Nightforge Gorget necklace for 100% fortification to live a lot longer.

Duergar, or dark dwarves, can’t be paralyzed. But Kelli easily nauseated many, leaving them completely unable to spellcast or fight, saving us a lot of trouble against many casters and fighters.

By the quest’s end, we opted to fully piss off the duergar king, at which point I poisoned him to the point where he was bleeding green in seconds. As his personal blackguard appeared, rather than concentrating on one enemy, Kelli ran around the crowd, hacking away and delivering Ninja Poison to collectively hurt the enemies and generating ki before settling on eliminating each one as Hjo kept aggro and punched many of the guys into oblivion.

With a gorget equipped (Kelli opted to make one for herself while there with some spare ore she brought along), Hjolan and Kelli continue their work to cleanse the realms. More to come; it’s been historically rare for me to run with other Monks so continually.

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. saekee
    Oct 23, 2020 @ 12:14:09

    have you tried a vistani ninja with your build there? You get the cool dagger-down animation too. You can cosmetic a nice longsword or shortsword and it will appear as a downward animation if wielding a dagger with the vistani enhancement, looks really cool…

  2. DDOCentral
    Oct 24, 2020 @ 17:26:35

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.

  3. Stoner81
    Oct 25, 2020 @ 06:11:12

    Have a look at the Cloak of Invisibility from Tempest Spine and slot it with a Sapphire of Fortification. It will give 100% fort plus 10% miss chance due to Ghostly and grants Ghost Touch due to the Ghostly! Insane for level 9!

    • teachersyn
      Oct 31, 2020 @ 06:59:36

      A good addition. A hard drop to get, but a good one if you can get it. Ninja Spies get 25% Incorporeality with a core enhancement, and thankfully there are some Blur (20% concealment) options to add to make (in combination with Dodge) the Ninja Spy one of the best innately difficult player classes to strike.

  4. Hjolan
    Oct 27, 2020 @ 17:22:42

    To be fair, fortiwha? probably wasn’t foremost in mind in Hjolan’s build but despite her gimped starting stats precluding a lot of combat feats, and taking a level of rogue she seems to be working out (just perhaps not as an elite trapper)

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  6. renren
    Oct 30, 2020 @ 19:39:53

    Nice blog post, I like your screenshot too.

    Did you say Hjo multi-classed into rogue? Monks have very good capstones for both ninja spy and shinto, I think it would be wiser to avoid multi-classing monk w/rogue and instead avoiding/save vs traps. Especially if your group is entirely monks who can all leap and evade well 🙂

    FYI – In death house you can avoid the spikes in the basement if you hug the west wall coming down the hallway from the north to the south. (the spikes wont even trigger)

    • teachersyn
      Oct 31, 2020 @ 06:55:11

      Yep, Hjo (not my character) added 1 Rogue level. It helps primarily in opening chests. He’s blown up more control boxes than not, naturally, which is marginally better than no Rogue in party at all.

    • Hjolan
      Oct 31, 2020 @ 12:19:50

      Hjolan is a bit messed up, being a result from server hopping a whole ago and having base stats something like 11/12/11/14/17/10 so I thought I’d try a splash … the limited trapping capabilities are proving useful for some trapper bonus and more vendor trash from locked chests to feed her crafting skills … being first life, she’ll certainly survive to TR though.

  7. Ausdoerrt
    Nov 16, 2020 @ 22:01:44

    How do you feel about DEX-based ninja spies at cap? I’ve rolled one based on your Poisonmaster build, and while fun in theory, she feels underwhelming, especially compared to my STR-based henshin. Stacking poison just doesn’t provide as much ‘oomph’ as pure insanity of 4-digit criticals with THF.

    The most use I’ve gotten out of this build was in Shiradi as a ranged toon. But going melee doesn’t feel quite as impactful as I’d like. Plus constantly switching between IPS and Precision is a pain.

    Any advice on how to make the most of Ninja Spy in epics? Thanks!

    • teachersyn
      Jan 15, 2021 @ 09:25:42

      Hey there, and sorry for the late reply. Two-weapon fighting is great against bosses to me, where stacking damage over time helps. But yeah, Ninja Spy seeks best for effective overall fighting with Single Weapon Fighting. Its tree is for DEX to-hit/dmg so one might as well take advantage of that and pour on the speed. Many of my all Monk archers used NS to improve damage and ki regeneration, although I have a new one that is a light Monk and does more (post to come). In epic, poison still rules as well as the NS fortification debuff, IMO.

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