Like Flurry of Blows, but even better
Several months ago, I posited a build that was intended to have the most hits/second of any build. A mostly-monk, that mixes in ranger and druid to achieve as much off-hand strike and doublestrike as one can get.
Here’s the specifics of the build.
The thing that had me most excited was the possibility that the character would actually hit even faster as the fight progressed: the enhancement Fatal Harrier causes an increase in melee speed on every kill (up to 25%) while Killer causes an increase in Doublestrike on every kill (up to 20%).
But there is no instant satisfaction: most of my play time has been on my running-every-quest-on-Elite-at-level character Mawry. My new monkly punchist was not getting much action.
Until this weekend. Now back to level 17, he still doesn’t have Killer (that won’t come until level 19) but he does have Fatal Harrier and he does have most everything else.
So … how does he do? Is the plan working?
Oriental Adventures, currently Monk11/Ranger3/Druid3, hires Isadora Ironclaw and prepares to enter the Acid-Scarred Caverns, home of a tribe of acid-splashed troglodytes and hosting the quest Acid Wit. Oriental has been in here before of course, many times, although not during this life. Nonetheless, he knows what to expect.
Acid. Lots of acid. Also a lot of rock elementals. Acid rock.
No worries, grabbing the selection of ship buffs (and conveniently forgetting that there no longer is a +30 Acid resist buff), he is confident. “Nothing to fear”, he thinks, “everything in there can be punched.”
And surprisingly, that is pretty much how it goes. Isadora is all but useless of course, refusing to stay put in the quest entrance, hitting things with her mace and blowing her mana on a series of heals that Oriental doesn’t really need.
Me and You and a Bubbly Ooze
Oriental brings in a series of minions via the Shard of Xoriat, but the troglodyte casters have some kind of Cometfall fetish and the minions are ground into their constituent pixels about as quickly as they can be summoned.
Oozes do better in the environment for some reason. Oriental wears a robe that includes Sundering Ooze Guard and there is usually an ooze in the group. Temporarily, but still, comfortingly. “Hi Puddin!”
The biggest challenge, at least early on, is remembering how to play this character. The first fight takes awhile, and Oriental gets hit. A lot!
“Oh right”, thinks I, “I have Shadow Veil“. Not that it’s doing me any good when I am not using it.
I am barely able to damage my way through the elemental’s DR: Oh right, turn on the Power Attack toggle.
I keep losing hit points to CON damage. Oh right, Difficulty at the Beginning, another toggle I had forgotten to turn on.
Wouldn’t it be nice if the various toggles stayed in their current setting at logoff?
For that matter, wouldn’t it be nice if I had any idea how to play Oriental?
But to be fair, Oriental is complicated. Finishing moves, buffs, action clickies, all kinds of buttons to manage. Even when I’m on my game, playing him correctly is a challenge. It’s part of why I like him so much. Fun, but never easy.
Trash Removal Service
For the most part, I can get through the quest by making sure to get the casters first, then backing up to a wall and letting the various meleers come at me all at once. There are apparently not enough troglodyte meleers to pose a serious threat; as long as I remember to keep the damage down via Shadow Veil, Reed in the Wind, and the occasional Flight. And include a lot of Fists of Light.
For Oriental, this is the usual view
The Vampiric Stonedust handwraps work amazingly well on the troglodytes in this quest. Oriental hits so often that the stun and stone prison both fire off a lot, one or the other occurring in nearly every fight. Plus, I get two points of healing on every punch (one from the handwraps, one from the Fists of Light) which is plenty, for the most part.
And Fatal Harrier is everything I had hoped. The punching speed is magnificent; the only hard part is making sure to kill something every 20 seconds so it stays powered up. I get reckless, charging into battles, anything to keep the Harrier going.
But eventually the trash removal fun comes to an end and I am facing the boss. Not an easy boss either, this one has lots of hit points, very high armor class, but in spite of all that is actually a caster with a selection of both Divine and Arcane spells.
Its ability to heal itself is annoying, but even worse is the constant Acid Cloud and Acid Rain area of effect spells. One of them quickly takes down Isadora, leaving just me. Oriental carries Gust of Wind for just this reason, but it takes time, time that he would rather use punching things.
Nonetheless, nothing for it but to soldier on and keep punching. And casting Gust of Wind. And using Fists of Light. And remembering to use the Fists of Light finisher. And hitting all my action boosts. And … well you get the picture. Lots of buttons to remember.
And a long, long fight (for a picture, see the image at the top of this post). When I am hitting all my buttons correctly, there isn’t much that the red-named Troglodyte can do to me. But on the other hand, his AC and hit points are so high on Elite that there isn’t much I can do to him either.
Time passes. Even when lag strikes, it is not enough to save the red-name.
Eventually, victory. Not swift, not beautiful, but thoroughly inevitable. Victory, and looting, and end rewards. Lovely. I didn’t stick around for the optional fight, the lag was worsening and it seemed wisest to get while the getting was good.
And it was. Good. Very good.
I can’t wait to see this build when I get Killer too.
🙂 😀 🙂