Chelena was built around Critical Rage back when you could get Crit Rage II at 12th level. At the time, it was top-shelf; Chelena was a fine DPS’er and life was good.
Then Crit Rage II was changed/nerfed to require level 14, but left grandfathered for those who already had it at 12: but only long as you never redo your enhancements. So I didn’t.
Level cap raises, new enhancements. But no changes to existing ones, at least not for Chelena. I added a couple of fighter levels for the feats. Now she is 12/2. Next cap raise she is 12/4, but still, life is pretty good.
Tempest builds, AC builds, evasion builds all come into play but Chelena holds onto her Crit Rage II. Maybe she will add two rogue levels for evasion? She achieves level 18 as barb 12/kensai 6. Life is okay but not like it was before. Chelena holds her own but doesn’t dominate the way she did.
And then comes Frenzied Berzerker. Suddenly a falchion can have a better crit range AND a better crit multiplier than my Crit Rage II maul. Barbarians in my own guild are clearly out-hitting me and have more hit points too! But I am stubborn. “Maybe it is just an equipment issue” I tell myself, “maybe if I upgrade her maul and get a decent ToD set she’ll catch back up”.
But some inner voice must have been telling me different: Chelena had enough XP for 19th level but I held off taking it.
I (finally) replaced the Elemental Mastery II maul I made for Chelena back when we were all experimenting to figure out how greensteel crafting worked and got her a Mineral II version with exceptional CON. This made an instant and noticeable improvement. The “equipment issue” theory was still in play. Yet still I held off taking her last levels.
Then I fell in love with how the Deneith Heavy Chain looks on her. It is medium armor; this means no evasion, and ends the idea of splashing rogue once and for all. Its just as well, in the intervening years I’ve created another barb that was designed for evasion from the beginning. I don’t really need two of them.
The final straw was Sunday night. Joining a ToD group, I was asked to be the Horoth tank. I gave a frank assessment of my capabilities, and warned them I would need constant healer attention but they were stuck and so I was the one. Trouble almost immediately: in part 2 I couldn’t keep agro on the Judge. I kept losing it to a monk. A monk! Then the end fight, I grab Horoth and pull him to the correct place and commence beating on him with my new maul.
Nothing much happens. His hit point bar is so steady it may as well have been painted on my screen: the only thing taking visible damage is my ego.
Someone comes in for melee and immediately takes agro and has to shield block until I can take it back. The party sees this, they are not mean-spirited, but it is obvious that Chelena is affecting the plan. “Wait to go in, maybe we need to wait until the bar is lower than usual.” “Maybe we should wait till Horoth is at down to half?”
We did win, Chelena did the job. But my oh my did it take a long time.
The next day I took her last two levels (fighter! not rogue!) and bought a lesser heart of wood to redo her feats. Re-did her enhancements too obviously, good bye Crit Rage, hello Frenzy. Dropped the luxury feats and slammed Toughness three times. The changes added more than 100 hit points to her red bar and more than 150 points to her crit damage. I’ve Shrouded with the new Chelena, and wow what a difference!
This was only Monday. I am still looking for my next chance to tank Horoth. I’ve got you this time sucka!