Zen Archery and Returning Again and Again

archer

I’ve been mostly re-leveling Pynthetica. She completed a run as a new Monk archer build, the Shadowbow Ninja (great damage) and is now back as a Zen Archer with her second Epic True Resurrection.

On Pyn’s first eTR, the larger problem was finding and using all the lower level equipment. Not the bows: I had several good ones, especially the free Unwavering Ardency (from the 10th Anniversary Party) that’s more than powerful enough until you can wield a Pinion. I simply wanted useful goggles, boots, trinkets and the like.

Cannith Crafting to the rescue. Update 32’s revised features really helped customize new tools that supported normal and Insightful bonuses for any items. Most importantly, anything I made with bound shards is bound-to-account, making storage of the items easier by transferring them to my bank characters as I TR.

By finally getting my crafting level up to level 29 or so right now, Pyn’s equipped with Tendon Slice and Armor Piercing bonuses, Insightful Dodge and ability scores. Fortification was the only thing I couldn’t swing in, so I had to use some older Heroic items to keep it (and Deathblock) in place until I reached level 25 or so. On return to level 28 (where the bulk of my best gear is usable at minimum level), the central crafted items may be the goggles (WIS/Insightful WIS for maximum Ranged Power and AC), boots (Dodge/Insightful Dodge), gloves (DEX/Insightful DEX, Tendon Slice) and perhaps bracers as a wild card (Resistance). The necklace slot is also up for grabs as the Epic Golden Guile is less useful now, but I have no idea what to add. Same is true for perhaps one ring.

As to what Epic Past Life feats I choose? Doubleshot and Fortification. I wanted a quick 2nd Doubleshot feat after epic life #2 but I was impatient in rebuilding that karma back in the Primal tree. I’ll grab that second Doubleshot stack (3% per stack, maximum 3 stacks) on another eTR.

Changes with Updates 33 and Improved Deception did affect the Zen Archer build with mostly positives than negative. For one, more Dodge and stacking maximum Dodge with the Monk stance adjustments, so Pyn has around 38% Dodge (with items) in Water stance. But what the stances gave, it also took away by moving the critical threat multiplier from Earth stance to Fire stance. As Fire stance is rather WIS-lowering and gives no benefits while in ranged attack, the Zen Archer would only go to Earth stance for a little more PRR now. Wind stance remains only useful for a DEX boost and gives no other benefit for a ranged (as opposed to thrown) weapon user.

The bluff spinning effect that Improved Deception created was defined as a bug with Update 34, so that’s gone. More challenging is the aggro change in shooting one enemy in or near a group of others, which aggros the entire group. For me, I’ve adjusted my gameplay to use height and barriers that restrict a mob’s ability to bum-rush my party. I still use two or three hirelings (thanks for the extra kitty, SSG) in solo play to grab the aggro first when practical.

When there’s nothing to slow down a zerg attack, I ramp up my own. The Zen Archer still has potent damage per target with all of its Ranged Power and the ability to use Ten Thousand Stars and Manyshot to improve attack speed and Ranged Power. She may not be using Improved Precise Shot (she’s a sniper) but she takes down single enemies so rapidly that the change isn’t particularly bad. (I am considering, as you should, adding IPS as an option for faster clearing as one of my last Epic feats, since the aggro change can work against you.)

Combined with the right bow, mobs of 10 or more are killed rapidly. Add in a few uses of Shiradi talents such as Otto’s Whistler and Pin and smaller groups are easily managed.

The Zen Archer’s talent to stand and defeat armies of enemy archers remains very good. With the extra Dodge in Water stance, it’s better. No other ranged/thrown weapons character I know of could stand toe-to-toe against the gnolls in Epic “Chains of Flame” without losing 3/4 of their HP or worse. With all her defenses up, Pyn might lose 1/8 of her HP.

So, I’m considered the new Racial Reincarnation options. As an Elf, Pyn could work to get that extra +1 DEX and Action Point. But frankly, I see this new option as a bit underwhelming, especially since the price of using Racial Reincarnation works like a Heroic True Reincarnation (favor, flags, quest completions reset, empty your TR cache). That’s a lot of sacrifice for a little gain. And Racial Reincarnation is mutually exclusive to other reincarnations. You can’t make both a Racial and Heroic/Epic TR at the same time.

 

Advertisements

On Locusts and Honey: Hermit Syncletica

In the desolation hide all the answers.

In the desolation hides the answers.

DDO Forum user Grace_ana asked me to visit a thread about beginner builds. She set some rules for new beginner preset build concepts, based on what’s offered but commonly unused from the character creation screen:

Rules for the pre-made paths are as follows:
1. It must be a pure build.
2. It cannot require any tomes.
3. It should have both a 28-pt and 32-pt option.
4. It should be workable with any race. This means including racial feats is fine, as long as a particular racial feat isn't vital.
5. Don't include enhancements, though the paths should be anchored in a tree much like the current ones are anchored in a former PRE.
6. It should only go up to level 20.

I couldn’t break things down in number-crunch mode using character creation tools. But I could recite the natural advantages of a human Monk without a lot of fuss.

A Monk is a natural fighter that doesn’t really require much from the enhancement trees to be a viable fighter, completely naked, into level 20. And I answered so, breaking down the reasons why.

I’m not sure if I properly helped Grace in her thread. I suspect I didn’t, leaving more questions than answers. But she inspired me.

I feel compelled to verify what I’ve said. It might be, to-date, my most challenging project since Kiricletica’s solo adventures.

Syncletica in the Desert

My first Monk and namesake to the blog and guide has been a bit idle. I’ve reincarnated her Shintao counterpart, Lynncletica, as an improved Shintao tanker. As a Wind-Stance Monk, Syn was generally great in Heroic but had issues in Epic play. They are my only Shintao Monks.

Syncletica is named for a real-life monk–specifically, a Desert Mother, a monastic of the early Catholic Church in the Fourth Century. Said to be very beautiful, she gave up her family’s wealth to devote a life to prayer, living in the desert.

I have always tried to show the qualities of the Monk class. To do something different and worthy rather than trying to build the best one. And its been quite a while since the abbess herself has made any news; all of her students are more “famous.”

SynHermitSo, like her namesake, I sent Syncletica into the desert.

Away from her stores of equipment. Away from her students and dojo.

She lives a meager earning, scraping by for platinum to purchase healing potions. Staying away from her guildship and the buffs it provides, its shelter.

In her third life, she owns nothing re-equipped from her past life, nothing in her inventory. No leaving the snowy side of Korthos for better-than-starter items for her first lives, or buffs.

If she finds something useful in the course of her adventures, she may keep it. But her Resurrection Cache and bank is far away, gathering dust in the city banks and never available.

Like John the Baptist in New Testament lore, her subsistence is simple, starting by the shipwreck by Korthos Island and fighting forward. She must make the most out of less.

She declines loans from player characters out of quest; everything she possesses must be earned by her efforts (that is, no twinking). If she wants something crafted, she’ll have to do it herself. In a party, she will accept buffs but not call out for any specific buff for her own sake.

If her inventory fills, she cannot reach a bank and must sell or abandon what she has. She’ll have no collectible or ingredient bags short of what is given to her in this new life.

All that is old is new again. Damage bypassing will come from handwraps and kamas, if need be. Augment gems may help this challenge. Her memory filled with stories of Kiricletica braving adventures alone, Syn will have to emulate some of her student’s art. Life will be expensive. It will be difficult.

Most importantly, this Syncletica does not train any class enhancement trees. She’ll use the human racial enhancements, but that is all. She will choose the path of light once more, choosing the Fists of Light feat at level 3 but will not train the Shintao or any other class tree.

She’ll train some feats to improve her prowess. Two-Weapon Fighting, Dodge and Mobility, Stunning Fist, and a few others. Tactical combat feats will be important. She trains the Dragonmark of Passage for a speed boost and, later, Dimension Door and Teleport.

And what items Syncletica does find may not fit with her new meditations. She might choose to wear only a robe, a ring and a bracelet, and these things only for some important protections, such as Deathblock and Fortification.

Her goal is to demonstrate and completely master all available powers of the unarmed self, not to have those powers skewed or even corrupted by things she may wear or training from a special school. She wants to show the inner quality, the finer edge of the living weapon that is the Monk.

Non-combat skills are critical, such as Diplomacy. Enlightenment does not necessarily include fighting.

Hirelings are allowable, but Syncletica would prefer to push herself rather than find herself dependent on them. A few quests will require one for mandatory levers or switches.

The Hermit Challenge

Everything I know of Monks in the DDO world began with Syncletica (carrying over lessons learned in the Neverwinter Nights games). Over time, I compiled what I’ve learned in gameplay and from others into a guide.

By testing her in this playstyle I can do some things I managed with Kiricletica, such as increasing my appreciation of finishing moves and stealth.

But I may also be able to show how little is needed as a viable Monk up to level 20. After that, the rules change dramatically with Epic monsters and I don’t think any build as bare as this could survive without enhancements and Epic Destiny training.

I’ve claimed in my guide that a Monk is still quite deadly with little to no equipment.  Syncletica becomes my demonstration of this claim.

I will try to give detailed build specifics and report her progress often to illustrate strengths and weaknesses.

The Ascetic Guardian

My posts have been filled with pleasant diversion from the blog’s focus.

Shuricannons.

Shortsword wielding ninjas.

Even Bard Swashbucklers.

Whatever happened to good ol’ fisticuffs?

Well, rejoice, Dear Heart, as now we return to those thrilling days of not-so-yesteryear of the thrice-new adventures of Lynncletica, the Little Mountain.

More sword than shield, Lynn's defenses will increase. But her attire befits that of a hermit until she is truly worthy to be a guardian.

More shield than sword, Lynn’s defenses will increase. But her attire befits that of a hermit until she is truly worthy to be a guardian.

With a third life, Lynn is not so little. Her larger physique granted by the third reincarnation makes her appear Amazonian, compared to others about the dojo.

Lynncletica returns as a Shintao Monk once more, leaving the role of the dojo’s Epic leader to Szyncletica for now. This time, Lynn is able to take full advantage of the Shintao training, which favors the Earth Stance for defense and power.

Of course, Lynn can never keep up with the Joneses in Boston, Mass., where their role as DDO’s developers continually tweak or change the curve of reality. Now comes Update 23, which will add a new mechanic for more melee and ranged damage: melee power.

The idea has many critics. Sir Geoff of Hanna has fired an early salvo of scorn about it. And I must admit to being darned confused about the notion.

I have read, in as much as time allowed, the expected updates to improve player defenses, especially against Epic characters. It would be nice not to get one-shotted by a minion. Four or five, maybe, if you’re not prepared. But the guys in heavy armor wear heavy armor and shields for a reason. It should take quite a lot of punishment for their characters to die.

What they need is something that scales with Epic damage bypassing, so the devs “Armor Up” threads had discussed adjustments with PRR and introduction of yet another mitigation ability, Magic Resistance Rating.

I find that welcome…but don’t we already have Spell Resistance for countering effects of certain spells? I believe I read that MRR aids against offensive spells, which makes a little sense with a sword-and-board against a powerful mage. But here, we come perilously close to that balance of mage versus melee where, all things being equal, mages lose. That’s why magic is what it is.

Peak Performance, Part Deux

Lynn’s return to Heroic continues my goal to get more of my characters to early levels to assist others. I’d also like Lynn, now gaining experience much slower, to help with Evennote’s great initiative, Players Helping Players, by helping her eventual avatar appearance on my server.

For now, I’m working to get Lynn to level 5. She appears for now  in some Ragged Rags as a mark of monastic asceticism, helping me to remember and appreciate the foundation of the unarmed Monk. Unless required or invited into party, Lynn enters on Elite without hireling support to help me train in defense and attack.

I’m particularly keen on preparing her for using Ki Shout. It’s an Intimidate effect that uses the Concentration score rather than Intimidate, a cross-class skill for Monks. I want to draw attention. I want the enemies to see only me, to fight me.

That sounds a little suicidal for a Monk, but here me out.

Log Horizon Revisited: The Guardian Motif

This fearless (or foolhardy) desire to serve more in the tanking role is certainly spinning off from my Log Horizon appreciation. This anime, where a D&D-styled game has become an alternate reality where the players live in that world as people based on their characters, has clear roles of battle tactics that serve the protagonists very well.

The first three main characters you see are an Enchanter (a Wizard-like character whose role is to augment his party member’s attack and defense) a Guardian (a heavy-armored fighter who intentionally tanks, that is, attracts all enemies to him to bear the brunt of the fighting while others in the party coordinate attacks) and an Assassin (which does as the name says) with ninja-like stealth skills.

Guardian: Taunter and Tanker Extraordinaire.

Guardian: Taunter and Tanker Extraordinaire.

I don’t quite have an Enchanter character, but Flynncletica the Bard comes a little closer to it. Kiricletica (despite the homage of her name to a Sword Art Online protagonist) is more like an Assassin with her Ninja Spy skills, so there’s a spot for a Guardian, and Lynn can fill that.

The second episode of the first series (a second series arrives this Fall) shows our Enchanter, Shiroe, and Guardian, Naotsugu, about to be ambushed by a player-killer group of at least 4 people. just nearby a large woods in a small glade at night. The enemy party consists of at least two Rogue-like people, a Fighter and a healer class.

What these four poor bastards don’t realize is that Shiroe and Naotsugu are perfect at their roles, trusting in each other’s abilities implicitly from their days as part of their game’s Ultimate Static Group, a non-guild renowned for their prowess in completing raids that even high-level guilds struggled to do.

I’d invite you to watch the episode, for free, online at Crunchyroll. The action scene is barely 10 minutes, about 5 minutes into the episode. But let me summarize how two players began to completely mop the floor with these four players in an excellent demonstration of teamwork. This show illustrates great RPG strategies we’re forgetting on DDO.

  1. Shiroe, the Enchanter, is seen casting a passive spell (but not announcing what he’s doing) as Naotsugu leaps in to gather aggro on the three attackers, their healer apparently staying behind the fray for support.
  2. As his maul-wielding fighter beats on Naotsugu,the enemy leader orders a nimble roguish attacker, using two chakrams, to attack Shiroe. Just as she leaps at him, Shiroe slows her down with Astral Bind, a rooting spell.
  3. Realizing a new problem, the enemy leader tells the chakram-wielder to switch places so he can attack Shiroe.
  4. Naotsugu notices the aggro change (and Shiroe trusts that he does) and performs “Anchor Howl”, a super-intimidate AoE effect that compels all in range to attack him alone. If anyone tries to ignore Naotsugu, he can make a nasty counterattack.
  5. With all three attackers now on Naotsugu, Shiroe realizes that the Guardian can only take that much attention for so long before his HP is gone. First, he casts what seems to the enemies as a worthless spell that throws floating lights around the enemy’s heads.
  6. Shiroe next targets the enemy fighter and casts “Thorn Bind Hostage”, a rooting spell that creates nasty magic thorns around a target that also roots them in place.
  7. Naotsugu strikes the thorns around the maul-wielder, causing him to lose half of his HP immediately. Surprised, the enemy leader calls out for the healer to restore health to their stricken member. Several thorns remain on the maul-wielder and the implications to all are deadly clear.
  8. Naotsugu strikes again at the punishing thorns. The enemy fighter dies and disappears (in this new reality, they are immortal and resurrect back in town), shocking the remaining enemies. The enemy leader shouts at their healer, who sways and promptly drops to his knees. Shiroe’s very first action at the start of the battle was to cast a sleeping spell on the healer, knocking him out of the fight, literally.
  9. The chakram-wielder becomes frustrated and attempts to attack Shiroe, but Naotsugu slaps her to near-death as she is still under the Anchor Howl intimidate effect. She soon runs away from the battle.
  10. The enemy leader, alone on the battlefield, calls out for his party backup, a Summoner and Sorcerer hiding in the woods. But Shiroe already knew about them.
  11. Shiroe’s count of “four enemies” was based on the fact that Naotsugu was momentarily stopped by a rooting spell not cast by any of the four attackers on the field. This was code to Akatsuki, the Assassin, who was in the woods as well and interpreted Shiroe’s message that more of the enemy were in wait elsewhere. Shiroe’s floating lights kept the enemies from seeing into the dark woods, where Akatsuki proceeded to assassinate the two mages without interference.
  12. Akatsuki drags out the dying two mages, who disappear. The enemy leader is totally alone and soon dies as well in a fitful and pitiful attempt to stab Shiroe, which Akatsuki does not allow.

It’s Naotsugu that played the dominant role in the battle. His role wasn’t as damage dealer but his aggro generation allowed all other party members to use their talents to the fullest without being under attack. No one paid attention to Shiroe’s strategic machinations until it was much too late. Akatsuki wasn’t known to the enemy party. She notes to the enemy leader, “your teamwork is full of holes.”

And note that the team of three had no healer of their own in party and were outnumbered 2 to 1. This continues into episode four, and even then, the team, now with two additions, has a only very weak healer as they ultimately must fight in another player-killer scenario, five against at least twenty five.

The central fight is a Swashbuckler against an evil Monk, cleverly taunted into a one-on-one battle. When the enemy Monk tries to dogpile on his sole combatant using the rest of his guild, guess who steps in and forces that mob to concentrate on him? Yep. That’s Naotsugu. In addition to Anchor Howl, he uses a special ability comparable to the Unyielding Sentinel’s epic moment to become effectively impervious for a time to buy Shiroe and the swashbuckler the time they need against the Monk.

Our guys win again.

Strategy works. Tanking is still awesome because a skilled party can handle far more formidable forces in this mode, rather than arming themselves to the teeth and attacking individually and on sight, each member likely pulling more threat to them than they could handle. The AI isn’t incompatible with this traditional style; the player attitudes now are. Everybody wants to be the star, it seems.

In contrast to what I described from episode 2 of the show, by episode 13, a junior group of adventurers show exactly how NOT to fight, losing and retreating again and again because of poor aggro management and only a vague sense of each other’s roles until one of them, a Shrine Priest that’s fond of Shiroe, begins training them to work as a team, with her work emulating Shiroe’s encounter-control tactics. That group becomes a bundle of power and dominance after that.

Lynncletica, Guardian Monk

So, Lynn is getting adjustments to make her a better Guardian-type Monk stylized a little after Naotsugu as Akatsuki is currently inspiring bits of Kiricletica. Her hit points will be sizable, her attacks powerful, but her defenses more formidable.

It’s not quite too different from her second-life as Lynn could handle almost any enemy in tanking but struggled a bit with Epic Elite defenses. My hope is that I can improve her against some EE as well, particularly as Update 23’s changes come into play.

She can heal herself and remove damaging curses and effects. Most importantly, Lynn can keep the bulk of the fight on her with her Ki Shout. From there, others in the party can debilitate enemies without fear of immediate counter-reprisal.

More and more STR will be Lynn’s regimen to eliminate targets, with close attention to WIS and CON.

I hope I can find a little more PRR than the 67 or so I managed by Epic, but it’s the miss-chance powers that I’d like more. Lynn never trained any Ninja Spy techniques and may consider it for Shadow Veil for 25% incorporeality. She didn’t have the strongest Dodge in the past, either, with maybe 18%. That’s got to change, too. She can Blur herself adequately.

One thing that the new Shintao tree has firmly discouraged me from doing is to train all the Elemental Curatives. Since Rise of the Phoenix only resurrects yourself and is no longer a Raise Dead SLA, I’ll only train the remove-curse and lesser-restoration abilities, which are great mass-effects in party, and shove the freed AP into Ninja Spy or improving more defense abilities. I’ll be immune to natural poisons and disease and can carry potions for magical types.

Combat Expertise will be retrained; it’s 10% stacking bonus to all AC goes fine with Earth Stance’s 20%. Lynn could get 100 AC without effort by level 20.

And, if team strategy is handled well, any party that Lynncletica serves won’t require extensive healing.

Lynn might train up additional abilities from the Ninja Spy and Mystic trees. The Henshin side has Mystic Training for improved finisher DCs, and an Animal Form style. Way of the Patient Tortoise has no negatives with more Concentration and HP, but Way of the Tenacious Badger seems nice in that my unarmed damage increases as my HP decreases, at the price of less Fortitude (compensated by higher CON). Adding more Dodge from the ninja’s Acrobatic ability is an easy choice to add points toward Shadow Veil. Perhaps, then, Faster Sneaking and Stealthy to add a bit more Hide/Move Silently and gain a point of passive ki regeneration.

I’m skipping Exemplar as before. The few points to unused cross-class skills Heal and Intimidate and the extra Threat generation I can gain through Devotion spell power and higher Concentration.

Deft Strikes and its increased off-hand attack rate is inviting, but Reed in the Wind’s extra Dodge is also helpful.

I’m curious how PRR will be effective for Monks with Update 23’s goal to cap PPR for unarmored folks. That said, I”m still a fan of it. So the Iron Skin ability gets maxed for 15 untyped PRR, as well as Conditioning for more Concentration and 15 more HP.

The jade attacks are always handy and will be trained, of course. If tier 4’s Instinctive Defense can be trained to reduce damage should Lynn become helpless (before I can use my Harper Pin if low on HP), then I’ll add it. I’m more keen on adding another CON point at this level.

Tier 5 of Shintao is filled with goodies. Meditation of War helps PRR but reduces Dodge cap in Earth Stance (at least until the last core enhancement offsets this). Empty Hand Mastery raises the unarmed attack hit die. I like Kukan-Do’s remote stunning but feel my CHA will never be high enough, and prefer to bring the fights closer to Stunning Fist range.

By Epic levels, Lynncletica will take more training as the Unyielding Sentinel, an epic destiny designed to tank and endure. She’ll lack only the ability to wear a shield for more defense but will gain more CON and PRR, and can amplify her Shield AC bonus from a Flawless White Dragonscale Robe once she creates one. There’s also the newer destinies that may offer more.

I’m looking forward to being more like a mountain, sturdy and invincible. Here’s hoping there’s more I can adapt in Update 23.

 

 

The Lone Blade: Kiricletica Reborn

Kiri's a little closer to the single-bladed Akatsuki than her "Sword Art Online" inspiration. And not nearly as cute when assassinating.

Kiri’s a little closer to the single-bladed “ninja” Akatsuki from “Log Horizon” than her “Sword Art Online” inspiration, Kirito–although Kiri’s not nearly as cute when assassinating.

Feeling impulsive a few days ago, I gathered up some Tokens of the Twelve with the L26 Kiricletica, made a Heroic True Heart of Wood and proceeded to start a new life with my soloing Ninja Spy.

My impulsiveness made me forget to buy up a boatload of Yugoloth potions, but I still have a modest supply.

And the new ingredients system for the Shared Bank makes localizing collectibles needed for the House Deneith ability potions for more emergency WIS or DEX so much easier. I’ve also been more crazed in farming anything mossy for those WIS potions.

Reviewing the quest list, there wasn’t much else Kiri could accomplish that was necessary to do, although I entertained clearing all other lower quests for a time. She’d mastered Shadowdancer and Grandmaster of Flowers.

But I wanted to give Kiri a few important changes under her cloak for this second life.

The Lone Blade

Kiricletica’s first life had one general problem: attack speed. As an armed Monk, damage per second with shortswords is a bit lower than fighting unarmed. She had offhand chances with the Two Weapon Fighting feats but didn’t train them in full.

She was able to pack in more damage with many enemies, thanks to Ninja Poison. However, takedown speed is critical in solo ops so that the isolated enemies you remove do not have an opportunity to strike back or call for help.

Kiricletica is now the first of my Monks to use Single Weapon Fighting.

It was a clear choice to boost attack speed for a character that’s not a one-man army. My exploits with Flynncletica sold me on this idea immediately.

By level 15, Kiri as a SWF user could have 30% base Combat Style bonus melee alacrity, not counting stacking enhancement bonuses from Wind Stance, Haste, or her Melee Alacrity trinket. For quick takedowns, that’s a help.

I said “could” because feats can still be tight if I want to add in Whirlwind Strike for some combat options. If I have to pick, it’s obviously for more SWF speed.

Kiri won’t enjoy the innate stacking Doublestrike, Dodge or AC bonuses that Swashbucklers like Flynncletica can gain with the right training of that class’s enhancements, combined with SWF.

But that’s not the point. The Ninja Spy already masters a shortsword with impressive attack bonuses, Dexterity to Damage, as well as enjoying inherent abilities as a Monk. If I can add some morale bonus Doublestrike in from something, great. She’ll also gain Shadow Double later for a burst of 100% Doublestrike with 2x weapon damage for 6 seconds with a 30 second cooldown.

To my pleasant surprise, Single Weapon Fighting is treated as a Monk Class Feat. Curiously, I couldn’t initially select it during character creation with the granted 2 ranks of Balance already in place, the feat’s only prerequisite. I had to backtrack and add two more points to Balance before the feat was selectable.

Dodge and the Half-Elf Cleric Dilettante returned as well. Using scrolls and wands is just too good to pass up. Training Mobility and Spring Attack for Dodge as well as Combat Expertise for more AC.

I felt more reserved in training too much of the Half-Elf tree, and I shouldn’t be. I chose the Elven side in Kiri’s first life for more Dexterity, which was rather meh, but going more Human this round should be more advantageous with its Action Boosts for special needs, and more additional ability points. Improved Recovery is a no-brainer for needed healing amplification, as is boosting the Cleric dilettante for using Heal and Restoration scrolls.

She ate a saved 30,000 XP gem from a very lucky Daily Dice roll to send her straight to level 3, where she’s already taken the Dark path and trained much of the good stuff in the Ninja Spy tree, lacking only Sting of the Ninja for a while longer.

Kiricletica has the maximum WIS I could add to her on creation: 18 base. She’s already 24 WIS with buffs, inherent bonuses and Ocean Stance  at level 3, still lacking an enhancement bonus item. I exploited her power immediately, using “Freezing the Lifeblood” finishing moves on the few orange bosses of a few Korthos quests. Kiri had 48 base WIS and could boost it to 54-56 with potions by L26. I want to see 60 there for perfect finishers.

Once damage-enhancing abilities such as No Mercy are trained again (up to 30% more damage to helpless enemies), takedown speed will be insane, especially with Human Action Boosts and more DEX. Of course, the assassinate-like Quivering Palm at level 15 should apply quite well with Kiri’s very high WIS DC.

DEX is still important and is the second critical stat. I want to get this much higher than her first life, perhaps 40-45 by Epic. This should help not only sword damage but increase Kiri’s throwing star prowess. If feats allow (and I doubt they will), I’ll add Ten Thousand Stars to her in this life.

Ki retention and generation is the real challenge to making this work at such low levels; Kiri’s DCs for her finishers at her level is rock-solid. A crafted Concentration +7 helm sits on her head for a bit more help. Eight action points are going to train the Henshin Mystic’s Mystical Training (more to finisher DCs)  to ultimately gain the Contemplation ability (more Concentration and another passive ki regeneration point).

Not a single point goes into any Shintao ability.

I dug up a Phiarlan Mirror Cloak  for more Hide/Move Silently until I can use her Cloak of Shadows once more.

She’ll try to have a bit more Spot, too. Colliding into the asses of other stealthy enemies while sneaking around yourself is outright embarrassing.

The Revised Mission

I’ve got a lot of characters to get up to speed and also to TR in keeping with improving my ability to help others enjoy the game and improve their skills.

While I love, love, LOVE playing Kiri in solitary mode, and will still do so from time to time, I’m trying to hold her back while I TR and level up a few others, as too many of my characters are loitering around at higher levels.

I’ll still keep Kiri to her original soloing challenge rules while alone as a matter of role-play, but she’ll be likely joining parties more often. I’m only questioning whether to move her to level 5 right away.

Flynn and Szyncletica will be diving into several “Devil’s Assault” runs to generate as many Tokens as I’m able to do. I’m determined to get my dojo to be less top-heavy so I can help out other players and have more fun to boot.