So many choices. So many!
Last week, my completionist-in-progress finally did, dropping the “in-progress” part and wallowing in the victorious newness of her long-sought, +2-to-everything feat.
This weekend, taking advantage of the +25 Epic XP, I worked my Kung Fu Caster, Oriental Adventures, up to level cap. Once there, she still had that free Epic Heart of Wood that everyone got and … well … now she’s TR’d again. With a Heroic Heart already acquired and standing by for use, just as soon as I can figure out how to use it on her.
And that is the nub right there. For both of these characters. I’ve been so busy planning how to get them to this point (especially Mawry my completionist) that I have haven’t figured out what to do with them when they get there.
I have a lot of characters but I gave up on trying to play all of them back when Reincarnation first came out. It used to be that if you wanted to try out a class or prestige enhancement or playstyle, you needed a character that was dedicated to that goal. Because of this, I have 19 character slots on Sarlona alone.
But that is true no longer. Since reincarnation, Mawry was able to try out a dozen different character schemes on her way to completionist and yet in every one, she remained Mawry. If there had been reincarnation all along, I’d probably have more like five or six characters (plus mules of course). Five or six or maybe seven seems to be all the characters you need to be able to fill a role in any party, and still is likely more than one can play regularly.
The point is, I need to do something with these two characters that I am not already doing with any others. I have several roles that I know I will want into the future, and characters slotted into those roles:
- Healer: Brymn Haversack, who plays a sort of Radiant Tank now and will be greatly helped by the new Divine epic destiny (should it ever actually get released)
- Control Caster: Ejecta Patera, archmage
- Rogue: Evangelyne Bith, stick-fighting acrobat, and sneak-thief extraordinaire
- DPS Melee: Knicker Tan, TWF barbarian, pure DPS
- Self-Supportive Melee: Chelena Armstrong, Kensei Maulist and self-healing tactical fighter
So where to fit Mawry and Oriental? They have to be different, both from what I have already, and also from each other. Very different. Otherwise one or both of them won’t get played.
In Mawry’s original life, she was a DEX-based TWF melee that could also range very well and even provide back-up party support and healing. I am leaning towards something similar in this life, except with a change in nuances so that this time she is a ranged attacker that can also provide very good DEX-based TWF melee, along with the party support.
I’m not sure of the above, but I am leaning that way.
But whither Oriental? I am certain that I want her to stay with the Kung Fu, the unarmed combat is the best part of her Monkish background, and something that no other character does. But how do I differentiate her from my (three) other melee characters? And what about the Caster part of her self-image? Can I continue to afford eight levels of Wizard? Do I still want to?
So many choices. First though, one primary choice: Strength, or Dexterity?
If I make her STR-based and focus on DPS, I won’t be able to get her STR very high, she will, after all, still be a Halfling. Also, I played this style once on during Mawry’s sojourns … it was a very successful build! But it is one-dimensional, and lacks self-healing. I could maybe work that in via dragonmark? But even if so, won’t this take playtime away from Knicker?
Or I could make her DEX-based and focus on AC and saves? She’ll still have some DPS, not as much obviously, but will be significantly more survivable, and make the most use of Monkish Evasion. Also, a DEX build may free up some attribute points when one starts as a Halfling, making it easier to add higher WIS or INT.
But the STR vs. DEX choice is only the beginning; she has to have more than just the fists. What other attributes should she strive to attain beyond just the Kung Fu?
The way I see, I have four distinct choices. I don’t know if I can get more than one of them in though, this seems like the kind of choices where trying to do too much ends with a character that can not actually do anything. I think I have to pick one and go for it:
The Path of Wisdom
If I max her Wisdom I’d have crowd control capabilities versus some monsters with the Shin Tao tree, and a pretty nice Stunning Fist. Plus even better saves and AC.
Not Being There
If I keep at least seven of her Wizard levels, I can maximize her chance to be missed to more than 66% by combining a decent Dodge, the Ninja Spy Shadow Veil, and always-on self-cast Displacement. Although obviously Wizard levels come at the cost of hit points and BAB.
Burninating the Peasants
I could focus on the Caster part of Kung Fu Caster, go Henshin Mystic, and turn Oriental into a nuking fire/force caster that can fight. I suspect that the nuking capabilities of this build would be insufficient in Epics and I am not sure any amount of min/maxing would make it up. The Henshin Mystic tree just looks … weak. I don’t know how else to put it. But I’ve never played one. Am I right?
The Fastest Fists in the West
I’m not even certain how to go about constructing this version but the goal is to hit as often as possible by maximizing offhand proc chance, melee alacrity, and doublestrike. I think it needs a little bit of ranger along with a little less wizard but I am unsure. Either way, this build wouldn’t hit as hard as some other DPS builds but would hit more often, potentially way more often, and that might make up the difference?
I am likely missing other secondary attributes that she could work to achieve, and that would differentiate her from my other characters sufficiently to justify getting her some playing time but without overlaying the play style of anyone else.
Both Mawry and Oriental are a bit of a puzzlement to me right now. Protean fuzziness representing future potential, but obscured by the seemingly infinite number of choices and my own lack of certainty.
What do you think?
🙂 😀 🙂