Hardcore Monk II – Death and Life Everlasting

I always felt that some of my tips for defenses on a Monk were generally ignored by many players. Things like miss-chances and certainly fortification go a long way, as well as the benefits of finishers, particularly those of the Ninja Spy.

But in Hardcore, I’ve learned everything matters. Everything.

I’ve created four characters now, with the 3rd week in play.

The first order of business for all of them is the persistent use of acid-absorption items when opening a chest, which could always spawn a deadly spitting mimic. Other elemental absorption gear, from rings, cloaks and outfits, tend to drop well, and most are well-geared at present. So has fortification items, thankfully.

But what I did not prepare for as well were the special Hardcore monster champions, based on the other crazy Daelkyr of Xoriat.

During party play, in the 2nd quest to rescue Arlos, we encountered a kobold shaman. I knew to be wary of them already with their potent lightning damage and concealment fog that makes them hard to target.

I had my newer build, a Zen Friar, on the attack. I had just glimpsed the monster and its reddish champion name and popped a Falconry Diving Shot attack in hopes of tripping it.

Moments later, a Fear symbol appeared over Loreicletica’s head, along with a banner message that appeared too fast for me to read.

Seven seconds later, Loreicletica was dead. And as you know, you have one life to live in Hardcore.

I read up on all these special champions after that demise.

Of the nine champions, the one that killed me is the most dangerous: Valaara’s Legs. Each champion has a special quality with other special defenses or attacks. In the case of Valaara’s Legs, after review on the wiki, I discovered:

The fear of death is upon you! If you do not remove this fear, you will be stricken by madness so painful it may destroy you!

“NOTE: Once this champion hits you, a 7s timer appears on your debuff bar. The debuff icon is simply a fear icon with a red edge. All the champion’s hits, including spells, proc it, but it has an internal cooldown to re-proc the debuff on you, almost 8s cooldown. 7s timer on all difficulty. Remove fear spell or pot to remove this debuff, or Hafling/Aasimar’s Bold fear shake off will work.”

So that’s how I died.

My two survivors are Serethetica, an Aasimar Henshin Mystic, and Petracletica, a Halfling Ninja Spy. Both have the Bold enhancement that will remove fear or shaken effects by 3 seconds with that enhancement maxed out with 3 AP.

Both characters also carry the unbound Remove Fear potions from the Marketplace on their toolbars, to apply to party members that show that red-lined Fear symbol.

Other champions aren’t much better, but slightly less deadly.

With the archer’s demise, I decided to create a new backup character. And that’s the effective limit of players I should have. It takes time, especially with all the cautiousness you and your party have in proceeding through a dungeon, in the number of characters you have in work. Altitis in Hardcore means you’re not progressing fast enough to reach any of the rewards. Best to stick with one character, and that means a lot of coordination with members in your party in clearing quests at the highest possible character level for that dungeon before Hardcore lockout, 4 levels above the quest’s base level, kicks in. For example, the highest player level that can enter a Level 1 quest (no matter what difficulty level you select for the quest) is Level 5. Go to level 6, and you’re locked out of that quest forever with this server season.

But back to my 3rd character. I realized I erred the moment I made Stelacletica, a Drow Ninja Spy.

She’s using the weakest weapon in the game, the shuriken.

In non-hardcore play, finding or crafting shuriken wasn’t a big problem. But in Hardcore, there just aren’t that many stars. You get the useful Sworn Silver and Ethereal weaponry, each with a red augment slot, with just a few ingots from the Borderlands. But the next named star is the Shadow Star from the level 3 quest chain, Seal of Shan-To-Kor. And naturally, you want to run these quests at as high level as possible for favor used to receive your Hardcore rewards–if you survive. So farming at-level is a very risky thing, even with the guaranteed list of all named gear from the chain if you dare to run it three times, even on Normal difficulty.

Because crafting is a time-luxury no one has in Hardcore, Stela is stuck to what damage she can generate through any enhancements or feats. Based on Firewall’s old Shuricannon build, I’ve tweaked the build a bit with the use of the Falconry universal tree for crowd control. But that tree doesn’t add any weapon damage effects.

It’s good that there is an artificer in our party, which can give elemental weapon buffs that noticeably add damage. But I can’t always expect an artificer in party. The Shuricannon build used both Ninja Spy Sting of the Ninja and Drow Venomed Blades enhancements for whopping poison damage on many enemies. But that’s not enough.

My experiment with Feydark Illusionist came up with nothing. Its Shadowblades imbuement for weapons is simply a +1 enhancement bonus.

So I’m going to invest in a bit more from the Henshin Mystic tree to fight to survive: Lighting the Candle. It’ll add Fire and Force damage to the stars. To get that enhancement, I’ll need to spend 10 AP, but in the process I’ll also get Contemplation for +1 passive ki regeneration needed for using the Ten Thousand Stars ability, and more ki with the extra Concentration skill points added.

I better enjoy TTS while I can; the new updates coming may change how Shuriken Expertise and Ninja Spy’s similar ability provide burst or ranged damage, mostly in part to reduce lag, which I understand.

Petracletica is an excellent scout at level 7 with one hireling to help, deadly when she adds more virtual party members as meat shield combatants, giving her time to assess what is going on. She’s already entered the Feywild and scored a Rockslide Ring. Shadowblades are a godsend in Hardcore since they’re nothing but Force, which blows through most damage reduction and incorporeality. Additional Feydark Illusionist enhancements to add permanent Concealment and Shield are equally helpful.

But now the next challenge: Getting through Splinterskull. The need for an emergency Death Ward option is vital as we approach Level 9 and far more dangerous mages.

And Petra is still not sure if she can hold out a balance of DEX high enough for Reflex saves and weapon to-hit/damage in coordination with WIS for sticking finishing moves, given that higher CON is really needed for more HP. Hopefully one of the rewards of the Mimic tokens, a belt, might be useful to boost her health situationally if she can get enough tokens after fending off mimic after mimic.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ddomicki
    Apr 16, 2021 @ 02:45:11

    Reblogged this on Micki's Delirium and commented:
    Reposting as I thought the post has some good advice for HC. 🙂

  2. DDOCentral
    Apr 16, 2021 @ 18:00:16

    Reblogged this on DDOCentral.

  3. FuzzyDuck81
    Apr 16, 2021 @ 19:08:19

    One of the best tips I can think of is to feel no shame in running on normal or even casual for certain guaranteed items – eg when you hit level 9 you’ll be able to step into relic of a sovereign past & grab some nightforged gear which can be a big help.

    • teachersyn
      Apr 21, 2021 @ 09:15:33

      That’s good advice, which I took to heart with Petra farming the Seal of Shan-To-Kor on Normal to get a Shadow Star shuriken, as well as the Feywild to get named item set gear. You can always come back to a quest later (preferably with a party) to complete on Elite for maximum XP and favor.

  4. Renren
    Apr 20, 2021 @ 18:01:05

    Good article, nice to see you taking your monk builds to HC!

    Some ideas for gearing: obviously at level 10 you’ll have access to the barovian shuriken which will be great for your shuri-monk. But before then you could pick up a ruby of acid 2d6 is min level 4 for like 200 mysterious remnants or 3d6 at level 8 for 400 remnants at the hall of heros mysterious remnant vendor. Slot the ruby into the ethereal returning shuriken.

    Also at level 8 you can get a topaz of fear immunity (75 ddo points) and slot that into your level 8 indominable wrappings hps belt from the mimic vendor.

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