The Irresistable Bowmaster

tauriel

Tauriel from the film of the book, “The Hobbit.” She’s got nothing to do with the post. I just think she’s lovely.

With Pynthetica the Zen Master at 5,000 favor, capped all levels and relevant destinies, and completing raids to gather ingredients and gear to create and improve her Legendary Green Steel and Thunder-Forged bows, it was time to finally dust off Paracleta.

Paracleta, as you might remember, is an experimental build that’s the opposite of the stealthy, high-defense, virtually uninterruptable damage on single-target zen mastery of Pynthetica. The “Zen Bowmaster” build is intended to a swift-moving DPS build that does not stay still.

The challenges I have with Paracleta involve the near-exclusive use of the Elven Arcane Archer tree. Rather than glomming resources from both Ninja Spy and Harper Agent trees, I need to max out the AA tree at 40+ action points so I can have a much-higher inherent Doubleshot than Pyn’s 32%. Paracleta’s base Doubleshot should be nearly 58% by level 25.

Because I haven’t enough action points to spare after adding the required AP for the Elf racial enhancements for Dexterity-to-Damage, Paracleta won’t have a high Incorporeality, losing out on Ninja Spy’s 25% Shadow Veil. Her Dodge won’t be as high (perhaps 27% at Epic). She can still gain Lesser Displacement (25% Blurry) with an item–but even Pyn hasn’t found that item for herself yet. Ranged Power damage will be a bit less, too, with no use of the Harper enhancements.

I could be wrong on the AP as the AA update clearly adjusted ranks and some point requirements. If I can find points for Shadow Veil, I will use it.

But, as with other builds, serendipity often comes from gameplay.

At the end of level 11, I added Terror Arrows to the mix.

Now I’ve played Pynthetica in her first life as a Human Ranger Arcane Archer, so I’m familiar enough with Arcane Archers. But it seems the Arcane Archer’s recent enhancement update has improved the potential effectiveness of Terror Arrows greatly to Paracleta’s benefit. This is the current definition:

On Hit: Target is feared. (Will save vs. DC: 20 + Wisdom Modifier + Enchantment Spell Bonuses)
On Vorpal: Target is subject to a Phantasmal Killer effect.
Passive: +1 bonus to DC of Enchantment Spells

 

So, what’s a Monk known for, in terms of ability stats? Often, a very high WIS.

Pyn’s higher WIS serves for stronger damage and Doubleshot using Ten Thousand Stars, in addition to great Will saves and total available ki. Paracleta will gain greater benefit from the same stat but, since the success of Terror Arrows is based on a high WIS modifier, Paracleta stands to halt more enemies with these arrows than many other builds, including Rangers, who might add 14 base points to WIS to gain their spells but not add much more to the stat. Likewise, monkcher builds, often using STR from their Ranger levels as the bow damage, concentrate on STR with just enough WIS to have enough ki for Ten Thousand Stars.

Therefore, while DEX is the ruling damage stat on both Zen builds, a higher WIS (50 or more) on Paracleta will mean not only that Terror Arrows could be an incredible crowd-controller, but so will all the other specialty arrow imbues, including Paralyzing Arrows, Smiting Arrows and Banishing Arrows, now all using the same definition. Short of red-named immunity, there would be few enemies that will resist a hit.

So imagine a single arrow on Improved Precise Shot that paralyses or Fears a mob very reliably. Standard paralysis is only DC 17, while I will have much more, as high as my WIS will go: At 50 WIS, that’s a 40 DC at least. So if spell casters can still charm and do related things at similar modifiers on INT or CHA, I should be able to make do–I hope.

And if I can understand the arcane bonuses from Enchantment bonuses and where and how I can boost those to improve the overall DC of all these arrows, so much the better. Tips are appreciated. I found some named goggles to add a point.

I ran Paracleta through some level 6 quests on Elite to get their XP. On her first life she can just sneeze and gain 100 XP, so leveling up is less a priority than to experiment with what Paracleta can do.

In “Redwillow’s Ruins”, “Taming the Flames” and “Tear of Dakkaan”, Paracleta ruled those places with Terror Arrows, causing all kinds of things that should be hard to Fear to run away. My keyboard controller is set up for me to quickly change targets so I can keep everything Feared while also shooting them dead. My hireling Cleric even survived “Flames”, a place where hirelings quickly die because of spamming fireballs from the fire elementals. But these things can’t spam if they’re too busy running away. Same for the hobgoblins. I kept them at bay, with my Frozen Tunic occasionally entombing enemies, or Vorpal hits activating Phantasmal Killer effects for a quick kill.

With level 15 now banked after a powerful run through the Red Fens and Vault of Night chains, I watched Paracleta nail Fear or Ph.Killer with 98% success in some Demon Sands side quests. The real test comes in the Droaam quests. Those guys have better saves over many other enemies.

But when I tackle them, I’ll have a +2 WIS tome and at least 32 WIS.

I guess I shouldn’t worry too much about Paracleta’s overall defense. It may be no worse than Szyncletica the Shuricannon. With a high DEX (at least 45, I hope, by cap) Paracleta will also have good reflexes, too. Not using Improved Precise Shot on the Zen Archer build to avoid getting attention was the deal there. But with several levels of mob-stopping power available to the Arcane Archer, IPS is not only back on the table, but desired.

After all, the whole purpose of the build is to see how hard you can push the all-Monk build using existing enhancements. Since Monks have a great overall default set of saves, it shouldn’t be impossible to make due with even three-fourths of Pyn’s defense.

At level 15 it’s time to wear more stout armor than the Level 12 Frozen Tunic, so either a stored Icy Raiment or White Dragonscale Robe is due. I have the insane Unwavering Ardency bow from the Anniversary event for equal measure. The modifier for that bow with a Seal of the Black Abbot is making me actually run the Orchard chain and explore the wilderness to get the needed items to get that seal.

With a goal of getting 50+ WIS by level 30, Paracleta should be something interesting to play. Now I can’t wait to go to level 15 and add Improved Precise Shot. That’s where the fun begins.

Paracleta will share one common trait with Pynthetica in that total weapon damage is less important than a secondary benefit from the build. In Pyn’s case, it’s total defense from high Reflex and miss-chance. High weapon damage came along as part of the design and n Epic Destinies and Ranged Power in Epic. In Paracleta’s situation, at this point, it’s the overall DC to speciality imbues for tactical control of a battlefield–and applying that pain to as many targets as possible with as many hits per attack as possible with high Doubleshot and Improved Precise Shot.

The Zen Archery feat also takes hold when WIS is higher than DEX in determining the attack roll. I just need to keep DEX high to keep damage going.

So Paracleta will gain so much from just boosting WIS throughout her lifetime to ensure her specialty arrows do their work no matter what the difficulty. She may end up becoming far more “Zen” than Pyn.

I’ll likely post a video sometime of Paracleta doing her thing in a Droaam quest just to show it off. I might have enough data to post the official build by 20 but want to push her further to find her big weaknesses since every build has one.

FYI: The character’s name (pear-uh-KLEET-uh) fits barely in my typical character naming scheme and is based on another name for the Holy Spirit in Christian theology: “Paraclete” means “the advocate.” She tries to invoke the spirit of the bow.

Bowmaster – The Aggressive Zen

A revisit to an old idea but with a bit more spice.

A revisit to an old idea but with a bit more spice.

(Updated: Thanks for the corrections, gentle readers.)

Now that I understand more on how to perfect a simple non-Ranger archer, it’s time to answer the other side of the question.

The Zen Archer excels in sniper shooting combined with high miss-chance defenses, evasion and spell resistance. To make all that work, she can’t call a lot of attention to herself, but especially not in melee fights.

The recent Update 28 Patch 1 has actually improved the overall Ranged Power of the Zen Archer because of the changes to Ten Thousand Stars. (That is, at least I think so.) I may make a variation where WIS is higher than DEX since Ranged Power is greatly increased with TTS.

But I digress. It’s time to create a more aggressive Monk Archer, or “monkcher.” One that stays a pure Monk (and thus maximizes the benefits of TTS) but, unlike the Zen Archer, sacrifices a bit of defense for Doubleshot bonuses as well as high damage over multiple targets.

An archer build that is designed to attack first and count the bodies later.

My working name for the build is the “Zen Bowmaster.”

I’ve tried this before with Pynthetica a while back and didn’t get a lot of traction because I neglected to research how bow damage is calculated.

It will be an Elf as well to use DEX to damage. However, WIS is boosted to give more Ranged Power and attack bonus for as long as she can spam TTS. That’s particularly important since Action Points will be at a premium in such a build and can’t be used to get Ranged Power elsewhere.

The Elf side needs 20 points or so to complete the Aerenal Weapon Training, Aerenal Grace (DEX-to-Damage for bows), Skill (3% Doubleshot), a point into Arcanum (some MP) and then 4 AP to activate the Elven Arcane Archer tree.

Most of the AP in the AA tree go into the things you’d expect. Since the Elf AA tree levels slowly, with the last two core abilities not available until levels 22 and 25, I have to reserve AP until those last cores are available, especially Master of Imbuement for 20% additional Doubleshot. This will go with any Enhancement bonuses from gear (the heroic and epic Dynamistic Quiver come to mind) and the Epic Destiny feat of Doubleshot for 10% more.

So, by level 28 I will have at least 5% (Skill and 2% guild ship buff) with Shadow Arrows (5%) and Master of Imbuement (20%) for a standing 30% Doubleshot, not counting any item Enhancements. The Epic Destiny feat gives 20% 10% at level 28 for a total standing 50% 40% Doubleshot without item Enhancements.

The magic is added with Ten Thousand Stars as it adds (Monk level x 5) to Doubleshot for 30 seconds. At level 28, that’s 140% 100% additional Doubleshot for a total of 140% Doubleshot. That’s a 80% chance to shoot an additional arrow on every attack in addition to the usual additional arrow. Ranged Power also goes through the roof, The higher the WIS, the more Ranged Power appears to boost overall damage.

The Bowmaster has to forsake the bonus features that the Zen Archer favored from the Harper Agent tree and most of the Ninja Spy tree. Although this Monk is aligned as a dark Monk like the Zen Archer, it simply won’t have enough AP to add more than a few points into Ninja Spy to train Stealthy for +1 passive ki regeneration and Acrobatic for some Dodge, perhaps. Shadow Veil, 25% Incorporeality, is too expensive, so Ghostly items may be the best the Bowmaster can do. They’ll be lots more Ranged Power from TTS than what I could manage from Harper Agent, in any case. Next to Shadow Veil, I’ll miss the Ninja Spy’s 30% extra damage from No Mercy.

The Bowmaster might have some stealth, but I don’t think it’s her calling. Perhaps I may experiment with Use Magic Device. I might, just might, be able to get enough UMD to use Heal scrolls with points and the right items. Others have done it, so all I need to do is emulate what’s been done. That first change from my initial tooling in Character Builder Lite was to have at least 10 CHA and get a +5 Tome for that ability to aid in UMD. That, and rip all skill points from Hide and Move Silently. I could also add in an INT tome for one or two more skill points to add to UMD, of course.

She’s going to need that healing. The Bowmaster, with Improved Precise Shot often active, is a berserker like her monkcher brethren. She’ll use her AA powers to punch through and heavily damage the hordes. She won’t be still at all like her counterpart Zen Archer except in the basic monastic defenses and movement speed, as well as benefits from Earth Stance and Ocean Stance to critical threat range and passive ki regeneration, respectively. Perhaps I can work in Shot on the Run for a bit more Ranged Power and remove any movement-based attack penalties.

The feats should be similar to the Zen Archer except: No Dragonmarks for eventual use of Displacement; Improved Precise Shot is added. Deflect Arrows may be optional in favor of Dodge or a feat to help with UMD. I also mentioned considering Shot on the Run.

Here’s the preliminary build for those interested. Comments welcome. I won’t be adding this one up for “discussion” on the DDO forums for now, at least until I get it working. I’m confident that you don’t need to spray levels in non-Monk classes to get the most out of a Monk archer. Like everything else I tend to build, I believe you simply need more monastic cowbell.

More to come as I move Paracleta, this Arcane Archer Monk version 2, through her paces.

Zen Bowmaster
Monk 20
Lawful Good Elf


Stats
. . . . . . . .28pt . . 32pt. . .34pt . . 36pt. . .Tome . . Level Up
. . . . . . . .---- . . ----. . .---- . . ----. . .---- . . --------
Strength. . . . 10. . . .10 . . . 10. . . .10 . . . . . . . .4: DEX
Dexterity . . . 16. . . .17 . . . 17. . . .18 . . . +5. . . .8: DEX
Constitution. . .6. . . . 8 . . . 10. . . .11 . . . . . . . 12: DEX
Intelligence. . .8. . . . 8 . . . .8. . . . 8 . . . . . . . 16: WIS
Wisdom. . . . . 18. . . .18 . . . 18. . . .18 . . . +5. . . 20: WIS
Charisma. . . . 12. . . .12 . . . 12. . . .11 . . . +5. . . 24: DEX
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28: DEX

Skills
. . . . . 1 .2. 3 .4. 5 .6. 7 .8. 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
. . . . .------------------------------------------------------------
Concent . 4 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 23
Spot. . . 4 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 1 .1. 23
UMD . . . 2 .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. ½ .½. 11½
. . . . .------------------------------------------------------------
. . . . .12 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3. 3 .3


Feats

.1. . . . : Skill Focus: Use Magic Device
.1 Monk . : Deflect Arrows
.2 Monk . : Zen Archery
.3. . . . : Point Blank Shot
.3 Monk . : Path of Inevitable Dominion
.6. . . . : Rapid Shot
.6 Monk . : Ten Thousand Stars
.9. . . . : Manyshot
12. . . . : Precise Shot
15. . . . : Improved Critical: Ranged
18. . . . : Improved Precise Shot
21 Epic . : Combat Archery
24 Epic . : Great Ability: Wisdom
26 Destiny: Toughness
27 Epic . : Blinding Speed
28 Destiny: Doubleshot


Enhancements (40 of 80 AP)

Elf (20 AP)
. . • Elven Accuracy, Elven Dexterity, Elven Accuracy II
. . . . .1. Aerenal Weapon Training
. . . . .2. Aerenal Weapon Training, Arcanum I
. . . . .3. Aerenal Weapon Training, Arcane Archer
. . . . .4. Aerenal Grace, Aerenal Weapon Training, Skill

Elf-Arcane Archer (13 AP)
. . • Arcane Archer, Morphic Arrows
. . . . .1. Energy of the Wild III, Corrosive Arrows
. . . . .2. Force Arrows III

Ninja Spy (7 AP)
. . • Basic Ninja Training
. . . . .1. Stealthy III, Acrobatic III


Destiny (24 AP)

Shiradi Champion
. .1. Healing Spring III, Dexterity
. .2. Prism, Pin II, Wisdom
. .3. Rainbow, Otto's Whistler II, Wisdom
. .4. Double Rainbow
. .5. Nerve Venom III
. .6. Audience with the Queen

Twists of Fate (3 fate points)
. .1. Dance of Flowers (Tier 1 Flowers)
. .2. Rejuvenation Cocoon (Tier 1 Primal)