A Drow In Despair

Szyncletica1

I’m away from DDO during the season of Lent. This is a saved post I’ve made while I’m away. This post may or may not contain sensitive subject matter unsuitable for some minds (specifically, religion).

Reader discretion advised.

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With a solo of the Shroud under Szyncletica’s belt, what’s next for this mad Monk?

Once upon a time not long ago, the “Tower of Despair” raid was an important objective for Monks to find ingredients for and any of the special rings there which can be used to create a DR-breaking bursting ring that worked only with unarmed attacks.

It was the dev’s substitute for being unable to upgrade the already-existing Green Steel crafting system to accommodate the introduction of handwraps when the Monk class arrived shortly thereafter.

Nowadays, there are plenty of handwraps you can craft and use to break DR from other systems in the game, so the whining of the lack of GS wraps has faded. But with the introduction of Epic characters and quests, so has the desire for people to run “ToD.”

Now, these Incredible Potential rings aren’t much use to Szyn, either, as a throwing Monk. The ring’s unlocked Holy Burst and related bursts work only on unarmed attacks.

But there’s wasn’t much in the way of loot in the Shroud to gain for Szyn, either. She completed it simply to say that she did. And so it is for the Tower.

I wouldn’t dream of this insane run were it not for the Thunder-Forged Shuriken that causes incredible damage fast enough to destroy a pit fiend alone.

The question now is whether Szyn can manage two bosses at the same time on a Normal-difficulty run.

The Good

From a matter of destruction, Szyn’s weaponry as a maxed L28 character should do short work against the trash inside the Tower. She can already handle the same kinds of nastiness alone inside an Epic Hard “Devil Assault” as she did in the Shroud. She uses Rejuvenation Cocoon, has high miss-chance powers and strong Reflex saves (90) because of her very high DEX (62+ when the winds are right).

The Bad

The first challenge will be destroying the Judge and the Jailer in part 1. I’m unsure if I can keep the attention of only one, or if I’m going to have to fight both at once. Improved Precise Shot will help. I’m not sure if Freedom of Movement will help against chaining effects from one of them.

The best news is that, being a Monk, my resistances to certain attacks are higher and I’m highly maneuverable and damage-resistant, keeping my distance as I attack. I only need to carry a small barge-load of Remove Curse potions and watch my healing.

The Ugly

I expect the fight against Nythirios and his Shadowfiends in Part 2 will be far harder than smacking Horoth into his component atoms in Part 3.

Veterans know that Nythirios is a pit fiend like Harry. No big thing there. But it’s his little dark icy-cold pets that swarm around, trying to freeze-kill over entire parties that disturbs me. In a normal party, you need only to designate someone to aggro the Shadowfiends, drawing them away from the party while your main team beats Nythirios into goo. When he’s down, the deadly fiends vanish. I’ve watched 10 HP casters do this job and, surprisingly, stay alive. If a HP-weak Wizard can do it, then a thrower should be able.

For me, I’ll have to kite everything (when do I not kite?). Szyn is very fast in attack and speed (permanent Haste through the Epic feat Blinding Speed), so she’ll need to have lots of Protection against Cold potions handy to slow any of the serious damage that a Shadowfiend might hit her with if she grazes one too close. My hope is that I’ll just drag Nythirios and Friends, kiting them while my Shiradi effects and Celestia off-hand explosions kill off the Shadowfiends long enough to reduce them as a threat while continually aiming at the fiend to end him. I’m always using Improved Precise Shot so any strikes hit all between me and my target if I can keep the alignment right.

In Part 3, again, it’s a matter of kiting. The room is generally a circle and big enough for me to do this. Horoth has a stunning attack that I cannot counter as a dark Monk, but I hope to survive it long enough to put down enough damage on him. Plenty of Orthon trash spawns and respawns, and then Suulomades the horned devils enters to try to trash me, too. I could change my target to Suulo while running for my life if things are stable enough, then slay Horoth.

It’ll be a matter of experimentation based on how much damage I’m taking and how much damage I can inflict against trash and bosses before Horoth gets lucky with a Disintegrate hit or prolonged stun. While now in possession of the FoM-granting Orcish Privateer’s Boots, I must wear Boots of Anchoring throughout the battle to keep from getting banished to Eberron.

This is a complete experiment because I’m a little bored, and also because I want to know the lay of the land before I think of taking my Ranger inside to hunt for her Gilvenor’s Ring. When paired with Gilvenor’s Necklace from another Devil Battlefield quest, she’d gain 10% Ranged Alacrity as a Competence Bonus–stacking with other Ranged Alacrity bonuses.

Imagine having 30% Ranged Alacrity once I get a Pinion bow (20% alacrity) and when wearing these items.

I did. I needed to cuddle and have a cigarette after that. I don’t smoke.

Postmortem: Attempt #1

So, shortly before my sabbatical, I took Szyn the thrower into “Tower of Despair.”

The cool part is that I was able to use stealth to avoid a lot of fighting before entering the realm of the Judge and Jailer, sneaking by 90% of everything.

That first fight worked out about the way I expected, and I was victorious. I used my Thunder-Forged Shuriken for much of the fight because of the raw damage, but experimented with my Green Steel Mineral II star as well.

I took some time to prep for the expected nightmare of Part 2, arming myself with Fire Shield items, watching others complete the area while alone and how they didn’t die. But then I made the mistake of thinking too much after watching VoodooSpyce’s videos, particularly a run into the Tower while solo. His character stood still, not kiting, so that the Shadowfiend’s cold aura wouldn’t hit him nearly as often. I felt cocky and tried it his way.

I was slaughtered rather quickly by standing still.

I should’ve stuck to my first instinct to kite the Shadowfiend while attacking the pit fiend. While VoodooSpyce’s videos was useful, I may need to look to the monkchers in the crowd to see what can be done here, at the least.

Szyncletica: Shroud Beater

It’s my first major accomplishment. Szyncletica, now a capped Epic Shiradi Shuricannon, defeated the Shroud on her own on a quiet Sunday morning.

Wasn’t easy.

Part 1

I had two attempts here. The first aborted at part 1 when I missed a second portal keeper that appeared.

I learned an important strategy: Portal Keepers are bound to appear if you’re slow at the portals, solo or not.

The key is to simply target and kill the keeper and then continue on with your work. Know the portal manifestation order and check all the portals.

If you hear a second warning after you’ve thought you’ve killed any keepers, you missed one and have less than a minute to rectify your mistake.

I took that knowledge into my second attempt and was able to beat part 1 without significant issue.

Part 2

I had a terrible group of lieutenants, about as annoying as a solo runner can get I had Kasquick, the troll, the lion and the fire elemental. The last two lieutenants are stupid fast in their ghosts returning to the center. I know from study that other solo runners have abandoned their run if they’d got such an over-speedy group. But I’m fast, too. I gave it a go.

After I killed off Kasquick near the southwestern tree and began working on the others, I noticed how much time had gone past before Kasquick had returned to life. On killing fire, I watched him get stuck within a corner, staying there for almost 3 minutes before the game AI forced him to the center to revive.

I tried to take advantage of that spawn slowness and the fact that this was a maze. The best place to slay them is near and just north of the southwestern recharge tree. The lieutenants have a tendency to get stuck or meander slower to the center and their respawn point. I needed that time; the lion was extremely fast in running back to the center, faster than the elemental.

With a series of timed beatdowns and some lucky procs from my Celestial sword’s passive explosions of fire and light, the lieutenants fell, the crystal eliminated and now, on to the dreaded part 3.

Part 3

This time, I thought of another idea to conquer this place, where the Prismatic Wall had taken me twice already.

I zoomed through the area, smashing as many crystals above the doors as fast as I could before I opened up the central fountain, retreated and waited.

I knew now that eliminating door crystals brought the Wall up faster. I wanted to wait to start any water runs until the Wall spawned so it wouldn’t spawn atop me.

Celebratory cannonballs in Part 3's regenerating pond.

Celebratory cannonballs in Part 3’s regenerating pond.

Finally it appeared. I began a careful series of runs out, always following far behind the Wall as I did my work, filling only one fountain and removing crystals as I retreated back to the center where the Wall does not travel.

I waited for the Wall to pass by my fountain door on its clockwise path, then sprinted out counter-clockwise to do what I could do.

It took about 30 minutes, but patience won, and I left part 2 with two chests and victory.

Now to go where few others have gone.

Part 4

I thought to myself that Part 1 and 2 were the most difficult because they had a time element. That was only partly correct. Part 1 is timed only once a portal keeper appeared. Part 2 isn’t timed at all except in the fine window you have while all lieutenants are down and the race to destroy their respawning crystal. It’s part 3 that requires the greatest timing.

One Ninja Drow, one battle.

One Ninja Drow, one battle.

Now, it was just a matter of combat. A matter of outlasting my enemies.

The Whirling Blades are a nuisance but not very dangerous on Normal. My thoughts in this first encounter with Arraetrikos involved one important factor: Beating his regenerative factor.

As Klorox the Barbarian showed, it was a matter of damaging Harry faster than he regenerated.

I kicked up my defenses, drank a DDO store elixir and a Yugoloth potion, and got to work.

Taking out the trash was easy enough, and then Harry arrived.

We meet at last, pit fiend.

We meet at last, pit fiend.

The Thunder-Forged Shuriken with its tier 1 upgrade did its work. I pulled 1/5th of his HP away on round 1.

Each time the pit fiend disappeared, I went into Sneak to boost my passive ki regeneration and used Wholeness of Body to recharge my HP to full.

Staying hidden also left me hidden from the devil spawns, allowing me to take my time in regenerating ki and waiting for my Eternal Potion of Death Ward to recharge.

The gnolls that arrived to recharge Harry fell very, very quickly each round to vorpalling stars and were never a factor.

Harry and I fought on. After 5 rounds or so, the beast fell.

Part 5

As ready for the final fight as I'd ever be.

As ready for the final fight as I’d ever be.

I waited at the part 4 altar to regenerate my ki to maximum and clear the cooldown on my Eternal potion.

The strategy here was similar to part 4, although I realized that I’d have a hell of a time separating the speedy revived lieutenants.

And just before I entered, I decided to buy some +20 Jump potions from the DDO Store.

It took a bit to slay the lieutenants.

Then Harry materialized once more.

Bet most of you have never seen this view of part 5 before, high above.

Bet most of you have never seen this view of part 5 before, high above.

I drank that Jump potion and leaped atop the center pedestal, running all the way up and was able to stand on the edge of the outside wall of the area. I pelted Harry senseless and with impunity.

After 15 minutes or so, the deed was done.

Another feather in the cap for Firewall’s Shuricannon design, even with a weaker design such as my own.

I give you a video of the last minutes of the battle.

 

And Sir Geoff: By request: the dance of victory.

ScreenShot01379ScreenShot01378

Maybe I found my final inspiration a couple of days ago, after discovering an old DDO thread of a much-earlier Shroud victory by the quintessential Sarlona guild, Caffeine.

Every one in the raid group used only Clubs of the Holy Flame.

Completed years ago, that’s still going to be more badass than anything I have done or can think of doing.

 

 

Solo Shroud Update

Family obligations keep me from trying to make more attempts to complete “The Shroud” on Normal with Szyncletica as often as I wish. It’s also a far longer task because I’m alone in there, so I need at least 2 hours, uninterrupted.

That said, I did make a second attempt a weekend ago. Completed part 1 without issue. Part 2 had a great pull of lieutenants that I removed in one round.

Part 3 ate me again. This time, while I spotted the prismatic wall while in the center, I began to carefully follow it as I removed more crystals.

Not so smart. The DDO Wiki page warns that the wall has a tendency to make a new copy of itself at corners as it moves down a side. Zapped again for being too close to said corner.

At least Szyn’s combat prowess is confirmed with parts 1 and 2, right?