Update 21: Min-Maxing Beyond Thunderholme

I couldn’t resist my post title.

So, Update 21 has arrived with a host of interesting niceties, a spot of new gear, a super-long quest, a massive wilderness area and two raids. The downside to all of the above is that it’s targeted to the young twitchmonster leveling players at level 26 and greater.

D&D Anniversary Cards

What all players will find on the first character logged in after the update is the D&D Anniversary Box, a special gift to all in celebration of Dungeons & Dragons’s 40th anniversary.

Inside, depending on your account type (VIP, premium and free-to-play) you’ll get 5 random collector cards with descriptions of classic D&D monsters (they’re very nice), a bag to hold these cards, a Magical D20 clicky to get more cards (1 per day for all except VIPs, which get 2), and a special clicky that can combine two different cards for special items.

For most, the Anniversary Cards are probably the cooler bonus. With the right combinations, you’ll get Raid Bypass Timers, Eternal Potions for special hard-to-come-by protections such as Death Ward and Freedom of Movement, +3 Tomes, and more. Like the Risia Ice Games, the cards are akin to recipes. Some cards will be common but others may appear more often.

The bad news? As of this writing, the Magical D20 device is broken. You can use it once but it’s not resetting after 24 hours for anyone. GamerGeoff suggests a non-exploitive workaround using any other accounts you own.

No word on how long the card system will last. Let’s hope at least 6 months.

Release Notes

Update 21 has many, many bug fixes. You should read the Release Notes for greater detail, but here’s a summary and commentary on a few of them as they relate to the monastic arts.

  • Quivering Palm, after getting a boost to DCs through Sundering bonuses in a previous update, has been nerfed down for balance but with a compromise bonus that increases the DC chance should it miss until it hits or three minutes pass. I’m OK on this; while QP is a great Assassinate-like move, you shouldn’t be able to spam it using our shorter monastic cooldowns.
  • Grasp the Earth Dragon no longer sometimes triggers enemy-targeted effects on allies. I didn’t know this anti-stun buff was busted to begin with, so hats off to the devs for the fix.
  • Many spell-like abilities and supernatural abilities now correctly cannot be used in anti-magic fields. This should be interesting. Monk buffs such as Dance of Clouds (Blur) aren’t disspelled by beholders, the primary anti-magic field maker. But the question is whether a Monk can still generate this and other buffs while within a field. I’m betting yes but I need to test it.
  • Monk Henshin Mystic – Elemental Words (Tiers 1-4) – All-Consuming Flame and Winter’s Touch are no longer giving the wrong damage vulnerability (cold vs. fire). I never use any of these former Ninja Spy debuffers on my Mystic, Quintessica, except Static Charge, to make Harry in the Shroud more vulnerable to lightning.
  • Epic Moment Counters should no longer be reset when you go through a portal within a quest. Yay! We should be able to keep our Grandmaster of Flowers charges in “The Portal Opens” and other quests.
  • Grandmaster of Flowers – Light as a Feather now properly negates falling damage under all circumstances. If you have a multiclassed Monk that uses this (pure Monks don’t need it with Perfect Slow Fall) then this fix should keep you from splatting in the future.
  • The Quiver of Poison is now Bind on Acquire, instead of claiming it was Bind on Equip, as this type of item is unable to function properly as Bind on Equip. When people tried to sell these items, they would bind on pulling them from mail into your inventory, keeping you from moving it to the character of your choice. After much gnashing of teeth to fix, they decided just to change the flag so you can no longer trade this item but then allows it from being broken in trading. These items are nice for the Shuricannons as it adds more untyped poison to their attacks (along with Sting of the Ninja and Venomed Blades).
  • The effects of the Potion of Wonder have been updated. The devs don’t say how it was updated. Did they remove the detonation pack effect? While fun in the right crowds after a quest or raid, it’s a griefing suicide-bomber tool should the det pack go off in the middle of a raid.
  • Quest Experience changes: As expected, the “Jungle of Khyber” will no longer give the super-XP it has before, but is still quite a bountiful reward. What I appreciated were the boosts to many quests that really deserved a boost due to their difficulty, such as “In the Belly of the Beast,” “Chains of Flame” in the Sands, and “The Thrill of the Hunt” in Wheloon. The new ‘Jungle’ is Epic Normal “What Goes Up”: it’s XP has doubled from 30K to 61K.
  • A feature is now available that allows you to receive and immediately consume a Siberys Spirit Cake with Astral Shards when you die: just click on the “Revive” button that appears near the Quest Objective panel when you die. This feature is not usable in Raids. Note that it is still possible to obtain cakes by navigating the DDO Store and using Turbine Points. I noticed this after Kiricletica had died due to carelessness a day ago. I suspected that the Revive button used Astral Shards, and I was right. I think that might be cheaper than TP.

Things That Broke/Are Still Broken

Updates often cause gloom, despair and agony on us. Deep, dark depression and excessive misery.

Here’s one list.

  • Sting of the Ninja is broken for thrown weapons. Ninja Poison isn’t being dosed. That’s a big ouch for Shuricannon builds like Szyncletica, who were able to get extra damage on enemies this way. I didn’t notice problems on Kiricletica using her shortswords, so this is probably limited to thrown weapons. I
  • Likewise, the thrown weapons critical modifier bug, identified by the developers, didn’t make it to Update 21’s fixed list. The bug does remain listed on the Known Issues list.
  • Stunning Fist still does not help in charging Everything is Nothing (that’s DEATH BLOSSOM to you) nor does any Light attacks work in their finishing moves.
  • You can’t use your Key to Eveningstar from an airship. Just leave it and use it anywhere else but there.

Thunderholme

The new adventuring stuff is found as you make your way towards the bridge where the Storm Horns quests were found. Gone is a simple bridge that you can’t cross. In its place, a full bridge that takes you across the river and to an ancient dwarven castle that the Netherese have occupied.

The Ruins of Thunderholme is a large, large wilderness area in the form of a ruined castle.  Don’t go in here unless you are at least L25 and built to handle respawning swarms of undead dwarves, animated by many Netherese necromancers. Shrines are distant, and this place is meant to kill hirelings with ease. I took my L25  tanker Lynncletica into this L28 area and adapted well (Shintao Monks are natural undead hunters) but was very glad that my healing amplification was very high.

I ran with my guild leader at first, she having a harder time on her Shintao Monk. In our travels, we found one of the bosses that, when beaten (and provided you’re at the right level) grant you access to one of the two new raids. The guild leader invited another guildmate and I waited near the boss and his posse while Leader went to help retrieve him–no small feat. The Ruins is a complex maze-like area with several floors. The map adapts to what floor you are on in a zone-less manner that’s refreshing enough, but surviving in here requires you to be very tough since things respawn and often.

So Lynn was pondering, waiting for the party to regroup when a minion of that boss, Degan the Death Knight, aggroed on me. Degan was at least a level 32 undead knight. And when you have a Red-Named boss with “Death” in his name, you don’t hesitate to use Death Ward.

Lynn slowly pummeled Degan and Friends, healing repeatedly since this fight actually managed to put dents in Lynn’s strong AC (109) and PRR (67) as well as her miss-chance effects. Even unbuffed, Lynn can heal almost 1/4 of her total HP with Healing Ki every 10 seconds and generates +2 to +4 HP with the Fists of Light healing curse–more if I put on a Shamanic Fetish for more positive energy boosts. A Healing Ki hit of 200 isn’t unusual.

I took down Degan on my own and returned to find the group to lead them to our chest.

We explored for hours–hours–and then encountered an underground city that the Faerun Drow would be envious to see.

Thunderholme-ShadowDragonLair

The picture doesn’t quite do it justice…the place seemed to stretch for miles and miles. And none of us were remotely ready to take on a dracolich that night.

Thunderholme is still being mapped and documented by other adventurers, so information on additional goodies is a bit sparse.

As far as loot goes, there’s not a lot of gear, and much of it favors the fighter-type or spellcaster. A couple of items did catch my eye:

Both offer a little something for defense or damage, but again, it’s as if the developers wanted to make fewer items but add a lot more abilities to these items.

So, explore this new spot, where dwarves yet again dug too deeply, and let me know what you think. It gives me a reason to start leveling Lynncletica again.

Power Slaying: Szyncletica at Endgame

I thought I’d make some final screen captures of Szyncletica the star-thrower as she approaches level capstone in her first life. She’s L26 at the time I write this, and may likely reach L28 before Christmas if I still haven’t looted or crafted the essentials I think she needs for Life 2.0.

As noted before, this is a very powerful build that can take down single enemies well and do surprisingly well against mobs with the right shuriken. In fact, I have one of those “right shurikens,” getting lucky to get an Improved Paralyzing Level 20 spelltouched star. With Improved Precise Shot (IPS), she’s a very effective one-man crowd controller in some Epic adventures.

This is one character I’m looking forward to reincarnating with glee. It’s fun to play at all levels, and she will only get stronger, although I’m pondering my options for her weakest point.

Dragons

One of my first tastes of how good Szyn would be involved a foray into “Mired in Kobolds.” At the end, you encounter Valrath, a young black dragon. If you want all the treasure in that area, you can stick around to take out his much tougher mother, Sinvala.

Animated illustration of circlestrafing. The b...

Animated illustration of circlestrafing. The blue player circlestrafes counterclockwise around his red adversary, firing continually as he does so. Red, unable to keep track of the moving blue, misses with most all shots. Blue is at an advantage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One thing I learned about many dragons is that they aren’t immune to poison. Szyn’s fighting style on dragons, given their relative size and difficulty in turning,  is basically circle strafing: (1) run around the enemy, (2) pelt them with debilitating stars and accumulate poison damage, (3) repeat until dead.

I was level 16 going into a Normal run on this, so I didn’t do anything especially “epic” except to survive a dragon. They spin and try to chase you, often spewing a nasty dragon breath of acid.

Because of their bulk, however, they aren’t as fast in chasing if you’re fast enough. By spinning about, the larger dragon cannot turn quite fast enough to hit you with their breath. Depending on the size of the area, you should be able to run without evading obstacles. In this quest, Valrath has a small group of paragon kobold fighters and shamans as well as the unstable power crystals that throw damage, and there are briar patches.

Being a ranged fighter with lots of Dodge and Improved Evasion, I stood my ground and immediately removed the crystals before beginning my run. I didn’t have to quite target the kobolds. They eventually got into my throwing pattern at the dragon and IPS removed them.

Szyn-vs-SinvalaValrath was my match at 16. Then I stayed about for Sinvala, who comes in at CR21 on Normal. She got the same treatment but much larger poison damage, often reaching 75 per tick.

As for touch healing, circle strafing works because the hireling is busy trying to chase you around and thus tends to stay out of immediate danger since the dragon is focused on the damage dealer–you. Occasionally I’d cut across the dragon’s flank to get a quick heal from my hireling (in this case, Isadora the Cleric) and then continue my circling.

I’ll likely go back in to see how I do against the CR30 mama dragon on Elite, while being 4 or so levels below her at around L26. Only Lynncletica has beaten Sinvala on Elite–and she’s a tanking Shintao with far greater defenses than Szyn.

A more recent adventure was in Epic Normal “Don’t Drink the Water,” where Szyn entered at L24 against CR27 Tharmalos, a green dragon that loves his poison breath. Strange that he’s not immune from poison, either.

Szyn-vs-TharmalosI attacked him the same way as with Sinvala: circle strafing. After a point, the area’s floor breaks up into pools of acid, so I’ve developed a third-eye, as it were, jumping while strafing to avoid the holes.

Against Tharmalos and his tendency to try to pounce on you like a 12,000 pound rabid kitten with a serious case of mange, standing still at any time against him was unwise.

So, in summary, Szyn’s speed, evasiveness and miss-chance, combined with firepower, makes her a fierce dragon slayer. Thankfully, the game offers a wide area to fight when dragons appear, be it in “Mired,” the epic Gianthold wilderness or the raid “Fall of Truth.” Else, she’d be a chew toy.

Bosses

If dragons can be felled, smaller bosses shouldn’t a huge issue in general. The problem here is typically maneuvering room. The smaller the corridor or room, the tighter circles I have to spin, and the more likely that a boss will chase me. Often here, their lair is too small and I collide with everything, forcing me to move the fight out of an area or use another tactic.

In solo play, my hirelings never out-do my damage rate and so keeping Threat is always a problem.

Since most bosses aren’t large or stay still, the attack pattern goes from circle strafing to kiting the enemy in solo play. I let them chase me but always stay ahead of them while continuing my barrage. This works very well against spell casters that sometimes cannot deal their most damaging spells due to my poison-dotting as well as any other Shiradi effects that interrupt their concentration. Distance is key against fighters as Drow hit with poison of their own as well as dangerous critical hits.

Unlike my melee Monks, Szyn has got away with just using her non-epic White Dragonscale Robe and adding a modest 110% fortifying set of gloves into the mix for Epic play. She just got a Blurry item to help with attacks so she’s more untouchable but can withstand a hit or two without serious complications. I’ve been farming for a Shimmering Arrowhead in “The Weapons Shipment” with no joy and imminent chest ransacking. I’m not reincarnating before I have this and one or two Green Steel weapons in her arsenal.

Shroud fighting is good for Szyn as she can hold still with Archer’s Focus to concentrate damage on the static Harry in part 4, sidestepping as required to avoid the occasional meteor. In part 5, she lets the melees engage for a moment and then attacks from a long way away, always keeping one of the melee fighters between her and Harry as a way to keep him from immediately breaking in a run towards her position.

When not strafing, the challenge is to stay out of melee range, keep enough miss-chance effects up to minimize ranged damage and not to kite enemies too far from their lair to avoid rubber-banding them back to their start, fully healed and more dangerous than when you had better health and buffs.

Poison, poison, poison. I can’t say enough on the positives of this dot effect. Slashing damage from the stars now confirm for me what Szyn is best at: Killing non-demonic, non-undead, non-construct hordes.

Weaknesses

Starting off at low level, mobs aren’t too good to encounter. With IPS, it’s less of a bother. But there are some things I just can’t take down very well.

Undead giant skeletons. They need the best bludgeoning DR and my slashing attacks with shuriken just don’t do it. Even with the vaunted Morning Star and using Shiradi stance “Stay Good,” I give limited damage. So much for any Subterrane trips until I get that Greater Disrupting Green Steel star completed.

Golems and living constructs. Without a smiting shuriken, it’s tough going on constructs. I began work on Elite runs in the Cannith Manufactury for the three quests there. In “Power Play,” it wasn’t too bad in using the spelltouched stars for damage. But in the end fight, the continuous respawns and awkward kiting I had to do became too complex and I died from Steelthorn’s team. I don’t have an answer for these guys through any named or high-crafting option at present. I could only craft up a Holy Adamantine Greater Construct Bane star to use on them and planar portals in the Shroud. I hate artificers. They really use Lightning Motes nowadays to stun very effectively since Update 19. It’s not impossible for a smiting shuriken to be generated, I think. It’s just that the damn weapons overall don’t show up as often in loot generation, much less higher-end stars with great properties.

Demons and devils. If there are only a few individuals, it’s not a problem. When mobs show up, Szyn’s inability to poison them and their DR requirements (Good) limit the use of Epic Destiny options in Shiradi. I appreciate the “Stay Good” stance to add no-damage Good alignment to weapons. But this won’t work against pit fiends and horned devils. Perhaps paradoxically, while its harder to remove demonic mobs, my Shocking Burst Silver of Pure Good star easily robs these bosses of their life. Go figure.  A better Green Steel Mineral II star is in the works. Szyn held her own quite well in an Epic Normal “Devil Assault” run with a couple of hirelings to light-tank. Even got a Shard of Great Power for my troubles. I’ll have two or three more runs there before Szyn is ready for her second life, in so far as needed Tokens of the Twelve, at least.

The Near Future

I’ve been organizing more guild Shroud runs that seem to be appreciated. Just had one last night (at the time of this post) and I think I finally have all the materials required to fully craft my Greater Disruption star. With maybe another run or two, the Mineral or Ice II will be next.

I see myself skipping the Demonweb quests this time around since getting XP isn’t the issue, but the right gear. Self-piking a Heroic series of Wheloon Prison quests to pick up more useful mid-level gear as well as Heroic Gianthold for similar items attracts me more. I’m even considering doing several Eveningstar challenges to build at least one more low-end spelltouched star to add to the next life’s arsenal, or encouraging a few guildmates to help me run the Cannith Challenges for a Frozen Tunic

In addition to the necessary Shroud runs, I’m looking more at epic Gianthold for thinking ahead to building an Epic White Dragonscale Robe and getting the matching helm. That means joining PuGs of “Fall of Truth.” My guild’s rather conservative on Epic and raid play compared to some,  and I’m less likely to join a PuG, so I haven’t gotten out there much.

There’s also the matter of survival. Three emergency recharges of Healing Spring isn’t cutting it for sustained battle play where rests or places to hide to use Wholeness of Body are possible, such as a raid. While Szyn has some of the best DPS, she has the worst healing amplification of my characters–practically zero. Often this isn’t a problem since her fighting style allows her to stay far away from melee attacks and dodge or evade many magic and missile attacks. But in the Shroud, the Whirling Blades eat her alive, especially on Elite. I got smacked with 50-100 point ticks, and only the character’s speed avoided a nastier fate.

I’ll spend some PDK commendations for some Purple Dragon Knight Gauntlets before reincarnating but I need a better battle healing option. My usual alternative for my Monks, vampirism, can’t work on ranged attacks, which is all that Szyn is able to do in effective fighting.

After re-reading the Shradi Shuricannon thread once more on things I’ve might have missed, I’ll realize now I will have to bear disabling Shiradi for a time and start training a bit in Primal Avatar for Rejuvenation Cocoon and a little more health. Unlike the build specification, I don’t think I trained anything in Shintao Monk to gain 10% amplification, and it’s a bit late to worry about it now, given that I’m not planning on entering Szyn in anything in this life that requires it.

At the risk of sounding redundant, this is one reincarnation I’m looking very forward to doing, but I have to slow my excitement down and gear up for the next life while I can.

Throwing It In – A Shuriken Ninja

Inspiration comes from multiple places. After learning of the destructive magic within the throwing star wielded by a fully trained Ninja Spy, I thought briefly how it would be cool to see more use of shuriken before my attention wandered off to Quintessica and her Mystic abilities.

Somebody accepted that challenge. Forum user “Firewall” designed a build that specializes in throwing stars, and I’m shamelessly, proudly creating a version of my own.

The “Shiradi Shuricannon,” by Firewall

I love this design. For starters, it’s a pure Monk, which immediately drew cheers from me.

Firewall wasn’t trying to use the typical min-maxing that comes from multiclassing, but to utilize every racial and class ability, skill and feat to generate the strongest damage you can from the shuriken.

Firewall chose the race that gains natural proficiency and expertise feats with shuriken: the Drow.

His ability stats were atypical for any Monk I’ve played or seen, but for a good reason.

STR 8/DEX 20/CON 14/INT 10/WIS 14 with a 36 point build. Very low STR is weird, yes.

But STR doesn’t define damage when you have a Ninja Spy where DEX to damage ability now applies for piercing and slashing weapons. A high DEX, with Shuriken Expertise, also defines the percentage chance of throwing an additional star per attack.

Over the character’s training, you add in feats that improve the number of stars thrown or extent of damage, such as Point Blank Shot, Quickdraw, Precise Shot, Precision, Rapid Shot, Improved Critical: Thrown, Improved Precise Shot and Ten Thousand Stars.

To help with miss chance, he adds in Dodge and improves that further by selecting the racial ability Improved Dodge for up to a 3% additional bonus. And then he takes the racial ability “Xen’drik Weapon Training:” which adds +1 to hit and damage with shortswords, rapiers and shuriken. Being a ninja, she also gets the Shadow Veil ability for invisibility and incorporeality. She just needs a little Blur happiness from somewhere.

Firewall uses much of the Ninja Spy tree to add poison damage, stealth, dodge and agility, but also dabbles a bit in the Henshin Mystic tree to gain more DEX and passive ki regeneration. That’s an important thing since ranged/thrown damage cannot generate ki, while some throwing abilities will require ki to activate. He threw some points in abilities there that I couldn’t see the point about initially for combat, such as Negotiator.

Reading on, I realized that he wanted the extra Diplomacy for use with the Epic Destiny, Shiradi Champion, and its Epic Moment, Audience with the Queen (a special buff with at least a DC 20). He also put points in the Shintao tree to gain two core enhancements (10% healing amplification, some Tainted protections), and adds points to Ki Shout (use Concentration skill for Intimidate), Conditioning (more Concentration and HP), and points in Exemplar. That’s a weird one since the few Intimidate points given are worthless, but there is the 2 points to Heal for positive healing amplification.

For skills, a point into Tumble, some more Diplomacy, and encourages points in Hide, Move Silently, Jump, and Spot as one has the points to use.

The real challenge in this build isn’t the overall damage, but what you are able to throw at your enemies. Of all the weapons in the game, the shuriken has very few named versions. All of these have the “Returning” feature so you can use it all the time. Throwing stars seem to be in-vogue, so its harder to find loot-generated stars with Returning as its feature. You’ll pay more if they have additional effects or properties such as being Adamantine or Silver.

I’ve been hoarding a few of these long before the enhancement pass. Sadly, my crafting efforts had left some of the better ones bound to the character that holds them. This leaves me with gathering the handful of named stars I shuffle about my characters as they level and crafting a few others for tactical use as required.

  • Shadow Star: A simple star that’s easily farmed from the Shan-To-Kar quest chain. Despite having no elemental damage, its Keen property leaves quite a sting.
  • Snowstar: An improved version from the Sorrowdusk series from a recent update makes this Icy Burst star quite useable.
  • The Morning Star: A new item from “Friends in Low Places” in Wheloon and the only star I’ve seen with an augment slot. Designed to rip undead or shadow enemies apart.

In addition, I need an acid solution (trolls of any kind), a Pure Good solution (I have a couple of Silver returners that I can craft) and an Adamantine solution (golems). But there’s still the likelihood that good ol’ fisticuffs will be required. This build doesn’t specialize in unarmed fighting as well, but I can see taking one Two Weapon Fighting feat to ensure that a couple of shortswords with common DR solutions will take care of what I can’t pew-pew into the afterlife.

Items with Deadly and Accuracy can help, as well as a Doubleshot bonuses I can find on things.

Now, going the full Ninja Spy route means that the build’s throwing stars gain Vorpal at level 20. When you’re throwing as many stars as this character can do, the damage must be completely incredible.

Firewall notes that Shiradi Champion is used as an Epic Destiny for obvious reasons to support and augment thrown damage and a few Epic Feats that will finalize the damage as an Epic character.

A New Member of the Dojo

Getting home yesterday, I rolled up a new character. In celebration of the new character’s difference as well as personal tradition, she has a backstory that is quite different than others in the dojo.

“Szy Dun’Robar was groomed from birth to be a powerful leader. But, as is the way the Drow of the Forgotten Realms, competition to be the Matron Mother is fierce and deadly. Approaching her Age of Maturity, Szy was ambushed by rival sisters and huddled into the darkness of the Underdark, stripped of all gear and left to die. Thankfully, one family friend had learned of the plan and infiltrated the ambush team. The man, a Drow servant named Zhang, left a small cache of essentials and a map in a crevice, with a note: ‘Leave the world of Toril. Find yourself in the outsider world of Xen’drik. Return when ready.’ it said.

Szy made her way to the outskirts of the village of Eveningstar and to a mysterious portal, bristling with Drow energies but smelling of something less..ambitious. In her weakened state, Szy lost consciousness but was discovered and cared for by a small residence of Monks. Recovering, she learned was weaker physically–far weaker in fighting unarmed than others in this monastery. The abbess told her, “Let your inner gifts grow. Use our training to magnify what you already know. What can you do?” she asked.

Szy picked up a wooden training throwing star, like the type she’d played with all her life–and threw it squarely at a wooden training dummy, piercing the dummy with the star, wedged firmly as if the star were made of steel.

The abbess learned of Szy’s life story and warned the young Drow that justice isn’t revenge. In honor of her new teacher, Szy chose the name Szyncletica and began discipleship under Senior Teacher Ryncletica in the art of the ninja. Perhaps, one day, she’d return to the lands that people here called the “Forgotten Realms,” and to the House of Dun’Robar–not to rule or slay, but to humble them and their Matron. To let them know that Szy’s shadow would be ever haunting them and stopping their dark plans against all who simply want to exist.”

Meet Szy, newest Toril refugee.

Meet Szy, newest Toril refugee.

Szyncletica (or “Zin” for short in pronunciation) is a young Drow, so some sacrifices were made in her ability points. Thankfully I have a small supply of tomes to give her to compensate a bit.

I skipped the preamble of Korthos and zipped her immediately to level 7 to see what she could initially do. It took quite a bit of hopping from bank character to player character to find suitable gear for her, and she still lacks a bit.

But, armed with what she had, I stepped her into the Searing Heights to screw with things there.

Holy crap. If anything lasted more than three throws, it was because it was a rare encounter. Using only the Shadow Star (which has no elemental damage at all), the hits were fast and accurate. Most things died before they could come remotely close, and her high Spot allowed a ridiculous high target distance. Szy is an impressively nasty slayer, even at a paltry level 7. It almost seemed as if she had been an archer.

I can’t wait to add more ninja training points to gain poison damage. Concentration and ki regeneration are priorities since she can’t use Ten Thousand Stars with less than 20 ki without a non-throwing way to generate it.

Unfortunately, ki attacks can’t work with thrown weapons, so poison and other weapon damage will have to do. That does mean that I can focus all my feats and abilities to maximize the tiny stars in her hand.

Like Hawkeye in Marvel Comics, Szyn will work better from a distance. She’ll need to go very, very ninja in narrow dungeons and sewers to avoid attracting too much attention that she cannot handle. She’s got “scout” written all over her, but infiltration requires her to be able to fight back with more durability.

As for self-healing, it’s a double challenge. Thrown weapons can’t use Vampirism.  She hasn’t any spell-like abilities related to healing. I’ll have to see what can be done, but she’s likely going to avoid hordes unless distance gives her an advantage. As in her imagined backstory, Szyn may always be vulnerable to mobs.

"Is this how all of you clerics dress on Xen'drik? WTF were you THINKING, Flower?"

“Is this how all of you clerics dress on Xen’drik? WTF were you THINKING, Flower?”

I’ll be trouncing through the “Sentinels of Stormreach” adventures to gain access to House Deneith’s weapon supplier for partially-returning shurikens if they suit the need.

Of course, getting one of the Wheloon stars is strong in my mind.

Stay tuned. At least Teacher Firewall helped me stop my hemorrhagic gushing about Mystics, right?

(Updated to correct the misspelling of my own character’s name. That’s sad. It’s pronounced “Zen-CLET-ti-ca” as in, ‘What is the sound of one arm throwing?’)