Apr 092014

Building a Commando
Halfling Commandos don’t happen by accident.
You have to craft them. Carefully.

You all surprised me last week with your take on UMD in the end game. 53 people voted, and the majority of you, 75%, felt that UMD was still useful even in the end game. That is quite the majority.

Interestingly, all 75% of you felt that if you are going to have UMD, you need a lot, at least 30+. Not a single vote was cast in favor of 20+ UMD. Not one.
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Aug 162010

I’ve updated my new Favored Soul to incorporate the lessons learned in initial playtesting and now she is New! Improved! Lemon-Scented! (and she also has a lot more hit points).

The change has made a really significant difference in her melee survivability. She is able to fearlessly lead the charge, zerg mercilessly, and still have time to heal whatever damage she takes. Except of course when I get too excited mashing the attack buttons and forget that she is a healer 🙂

She buffs Shield of Faith and Nightshield, and keeps Prayer and Divine Favor on her main hotbar. She uses the latter two like attack boosts, and never enters a fight without both of them in place. Her favorite tactic is to jump-cast Soundburst while charging into melee, take out anything stunned right away, and then commence with general hack-and-slashery.

She dominates the kill count.

But – and this is a big BUT – I am not sure her domination is due to her build. The early levels of DDO are really easy, most characters can dominate if they play hard and fast. Plus I built her a nice sword. Really nice for her level actually, It is a +1 True Chaos Falchion of Pure Good that also has Icy Burst and a tiny guild augment slot that I fill with Flame touch.

The sword gives her five damage numbers on most attacks, and the bad guys just melt away. All she has to do is manage to hit them.

The fact is, she is built to be primarily a healer, albeit one that heals from the front line. I suspect that as she increases in level she will find that her melee ability is less dominant and that she has to focus more on healing to be of use to the party. My hope is that her melee remains at least functional, I can’t imagine that it will remain as top-shelf as it has been to-date.

But all I have is what I have seen from her so far, and that has been outstanding. Bottom line: up to level six, my new Favored Soul Beatifica is a huge success 🙂

Jul 312010

I need to have a decent healer but I hate just sitting there watching the red bars. I need action: someone who can heal from the front lines.

The Life Knife
Level 20 Neutral Good Halfling Female
(20 Favored Soul)

Goals of this build:

  • Good healing ability
  • Decent Blade Barrier
  • Enough HP and DPS to stand in front, even if not overpoweringly so

This is my fourth attempt at a Favored Soul. None of my previous efforts (an evil caster that only selected necromantic spells, an overly-ambitious ranged/melee/healing/caster, and a mostly meleer) have proven to be long-term viable.

This time I am scaling way back: pretty good healing, yes, but the fighting is so-so and the offensive casting is lacking altogether (other than BB of course).


(32 Point)       (Level 1)          (Level 20)
Strength             14                 20
Dexterity            10                 12
Constitution         16                 16
Intelligence          9                 10
Wisdom               14                 16
Charisma             13                 18

Tomes Used
+1 Tome of Intelligence used at level 4
+1 Tome of Strength used at level 4

This is one class that would really benefit from the extra four points available through TR. But I am SO over TRs, at least until there is more high-level content. +2 Tomes for CHA or (especially) CON would be pretty helpful here.


Hit Points:     507:  140(FvS) +120(CON) +30(vit) +60(CON item) +22(Tgh) +30(GFL) +60 (Enh) +45(greensteel)
Spell Points:  2715: 1725(FvS) +80(CHA)+60(CHA item) +150 (Enh) +300(greensteel) +400(archmagi)
BAB:             15:   20 with divine favor
Fortitude:       24:   16 +3(con item) +5(resist item)
Reflex:          19:   14 +5(resist item)
Will:            24:   16 +3(wis item) +5(resist item)

Hit points are fine, and spell points seem pretty good. The saves kind of scare me. They are much lower than I expected. I wonder if I am missing something?


                 (Level 1)            (Level 20)
Concentration         4                    23
Jump                  2                    24
Tumble                1                     1

Not a skill-rich build


Level  1 Favored by the Sovereign Host (FvS)
Level  1 Martial Weapon Proficiency: Falchion
Level  3 Toughness
Level  5 Energy Resistance: Fire (FvS)
Level  6 Extend Spell
Level  9 Empower Healing Spell
Level 10 Energy Resistance: Acid (FvS)
Level 12 Improved Critical: Slashing Weapons
Level 15 Energy Resistance: Electricity (FvS)
Level 15 Maximize Spell
Level 18 Quicken Spell

Three melee related feats and a bunch of healing/party support. No room for spell pen or THF 🙁


Favored Soul Damage Boost III
Favored Soul Jump II
Favored Soul Toughness IV
Racial Toughness II

Halfling Dexterity II
Favored Soul Charisma III
Favored Soul Wisdom II

Favored Soul Ascendency: Sovereign Host
Favored Soul Wand and Scroll Mastery III

Favored Soul Prayer of Life III
Favored Soul Life Magic IV
Favored Soul Energy of the Scion IV

Laser focus. I would do without the Jump and Halfling Dex but I need to spend the points on something.

Anything I missed? Anything I could improve? I always make at least one major error when I do one of these…

This build created using
DDO Character Planner Version 3.34
DDO Character Planner Home Page
Thanks to Ron and the Planner team!


  • Veteran cannot consume tomes till level 4
  • This also caused a loss of one point in Jump
  • Swapped feats to be able to take Toughness at level 3
Jun 172010

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.

Chelena in Heavy Deneith ChainThen 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!

Oct 062009

I put together a build for a guildie and posted it to the forums, but for whatever reason I’m not getting any comments.

I really appreciate the peer review implied in a forum posting. I’m not saying all of the comments are helpful (LOL definitely not!) but many are. In this particular case there are a couple of open questions. I’ll excerpt the forum post:

This build is for a guildie that is looking to add DPS to our raids. After some conversation, we came up with a list of what he wants in the build:

  • Assassin with a DPS emphasis
  • UMD
  • Halfling (the character is for an all-Halfling guild)

Yes that is a short list. He asked me to put in anything else I thought would help. I think his playing style will benefit from improved saves. And I think he will enjoy being a top-shelf trapsmith too, he likes to be really involved.

Open Questions:

  • Levelups in INT or DEX?
  • Does this build require Diplomacy?
  • If Diplomacy is required, what do I give up to get it?

If the build was for me, I’d just roll it up and get playing: I am not afraid of the reroll. But it is for someone else and I’d really prefer to get it right the first time.

One more link to the forum writeup: Sly Dirkly: Halfling UMD Assassin 18 / Paladin 2