Friday, December 30, 2011

DDO Video Fun (Wandering Monster)

Created by a loving gaming couple and children, Wandering Monster is a series of short cartoons from the perspective of the monsters. They did an episode focusing on DDO, and while trying to find it again I also found out they did a lot of DDO machinima videos. Here are three of their videos, one of the traditional Wandering Monster show, and two of their DDO machinimas.

1) Meets DDo

2) Town Hall Meeting

3) Ddo Poker Night

Monday, December 19, 2011

Neverwinter: Another Heroes of Neverwinter Giveaway

Hey guys, sorry I'm slow on getting this to you, but there is another giveaway similar in nature to the one at Flames Rising. This one is at Geek Native, you can find out more here.

Sadly the giveaway ends tomorrow, so be sure to grab the goodies today. There are currently no entrants, stands to reason you will be chosen.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Neverwinter: An interview with the Director of Product Marketing and a Giveaway!

I dropped by the Flames Rising blog today to read their great interview with Peter Banks of Atari (Director of Product Marketing for Heroes of Neverwinter). Not only is it a great read with lots of information on the direction the game is meant to take and what Peter's favorite parts of it have been so far, but Flames Rising is also hosting a contest on the site to give away some great in game items.

You can read and interview and enter the contest at the Flames Rising blog.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Walkthrough: Mystery of Delera's Tomb

From the start of My Life In Stormreach I've wanted to post in depth tutorials for some of (maybe someday all) the quests. That dream has been a bit in the making, but I'm ready to unveil the first few, which will focus on the Delera's Tomb quest line (I'll go back to do the other's in the adventure pack at another time). So, without further ado, let's get to it. Oh yeah, and there will be massive spoilers, obviously. If that's something you want to avoid you should probably avert your eyes now.

Getting the Quest/Getting To The Quest
The Drawbridge
The Shortcut
Drawbridge Continued
The Locked Door Optionals
The Annoying Ambush Halls
The Final Chamber

Before attempting this quest you should take the time to prep yourself for combat against undead.

 For warriors this means you should snag some Ghost Touch and Undead Bane weapons. In addition, there are enemies that appear near the end that have some pretty nasty DR against everything but good weapons, so a flametouched or Pure Good might be a nice addition to your supplies.

For casters you'll want spells that allow you to control or outright decimate undead. Command Undead is invaluable in this for getting control of some of the combats. There is nothing like taking control of nine out of ten arcane skeletons and watching them own everything in the room. If you're coming back to elite this (and why wouldn't you?) then I suggest Wall of Fire, few spells have the usefulness of this one against undead. It utterly obliterates.

The Quest
Ah Derek, the House Jorasco tool.
You're going to want to pick up this quest from Derek Grospic in House Jorasco. He's to the right of Airship Access and directly in front of the access area for Delera's Graveyard. This is a pay to play quest, so if you haven't done so you can purchase it from the DDO store for 850 Turbine Points (trust me, this quest line is worth it, but we'll get into that later).

Once you're done agreeing to look into the situation you'll want to enter into the graveyard and find Delera's Tomb.

You can't miss it.

What a creepy looking statue.
Once you've reached Delera's Tomb you'll want to go inside the middle door--labeled Delera's Antechamber. Don't worry about the other two, those are for other quests (and we'll get to them later.) Once inside you'll be greeted by the familiar narrator's voice who will inform you that the rest of the module will be narrated by the one and only Gary Gygax (rest in peace Gary). Once through the foyer and into the dungeon proper you'll see a raised drawbridge to your right and an alcove to your left...there are also four wooden coffins in between these two areas. To lower this first drawbridge you'll want to use the lever in the alcove.

But WAIT, if your party's jump is high enough (or a wizard can give you a high enough jump with the Jump spell) you can skip this entire portion of the quest...which consists of two combat encounters, and pulling four switches to lower two drawbridges and open two doors. However you'll be missing out on a treasure chest. If you don't want to here about the shortcut then click here to skip it.

I prefer to do the first two switches, which unlocks the door with the treasure chest and then use the shortcut.

So what's the shortcut? Well, if you just swim to the other side and have a decent jump you can grab the ledge, pull yourself up and crush the undead guardians before moving on.

Didn't I help someone destroy a Sovereign Host temple once...yeah...

But for those who are unwilling or unable to skip this section, let's go back and cover it. Or skip ahead if you want to use the shortcut.

Be ready because once you pull that lever the caskets are going to bust and four skeletons wielding bows are going to come out and attack your party. Make quick work of them and then get ready for a swim because even though half the drawbridge is down the other side isn't, and the two doors to either side of the bridge are both closed off.

Maybe the wizard shouldn't be the one to get it.
Underneath the opposing drawbridge (the one still up) in the very center there is a pillar, dive here and look on the side closest to the ledge. There is a small switch underwater which you will have to pull, this will raise one of the doors--the one with the treasure chest. Swim back to the entrance and either climb the ladder on the left side or jump and grab the ledge (if you're skill is high enough). Return to the center of the bridge to find the open door.

There is a switch inside. There are also some more coffins...they will burst open once you pull that switch so get ready...If I am partying or have a hireling I drop a few fire walls or other damaging area spells inside the room and then have the tank, hireling (or pet for artificers) pull the switch.

Once that switch is pulled the door shuts, locking you in with the undead. This is why I like to have someone else do it, while they are battling those undead I can cross the hall to the other door (now open) and pull the lever inside to drop the second half of the drawbridge. Once the first door opens head in and collect your chest, then continue along the drawbridge.

Before moving on be sure to collect the white mushroom (because we always get our collectables, right guys?)

See those glowing green corpses on the ground inside the door? Yeah, those will come to life when you walk near them, they are also the only way to get the Conquest bonus for this quest. They will respawn, which is necessary because there aren't enough enemies in the quest to get the 25% bonus for killing monsters (you need to kill about 160, if you straight run through you'll be about 30 short). I like to drop a wall of fire or flame turret at the door, run in to grab aggro and then retreat back through the door, letting the spell deal with the enemies.

Just try not to get hit by archer while you disarm it.
After you've slain the zombies head in and turn right, there is a spike trap here so let your trapsmith take care of it. In the meantime you will want to use ranged weapons to take out the archers on the other side of the trap.

If you don't have a trapsmith don't worry, this trap is easily avoidable. See those holes in the ground? Just walk in between them and no spike will touch you.

After the trap and skeletal archers there is a fourway. The room on your right has shrines (as well as a couple wights), the room to your left is locked and has an optional scorpion boss named Vengeance. Before taking on Vengeance try to smash the sarcophagi with ranged attacks as they will burst open on your entrance...preventing you from getting the Ransack bonus. You'll want to do this for every room you enter. If you try to go forward from here a gate will slam shut and trap you in the room with some spawned undead. Get used to this, you're going to want to move together as a party into all new rooms in this quest because they will almost always close on you.

On higher difficulties these traps can be a real pain.
Deal with vengeance and the spawned undead and take a second to search for the control panel for the cold trap in this hallway. If you don't have a trapsmith take a second to cast resist energy cold or protection from cold and attempt to jump over the cold streams. Sometimes you can make it through without a scratch this way, if not the resist/protection spells should keep you from death.

You are once again in a fourway. Straight ahead and the to right are some optionalls. If you turn left you'll continue the quest.
+1 Cool to Turbine for the Iliad reference

The optional to your right is Myrmidon Patroclus, a wight myrmidon guarding a chest. Once you take him out you should stop and search for the control panel because the chest he was guarding is trapped with a stream of poison. If you don't have a trapsmith you can avoid this trap by standing to the right of it when you open it up.
The control panel is on the right of the chest.

When you try to return to the main room you'll be greeted with a group of undead and a locked door. I know it's beginning to feel like Devil May Cry but you'll have to take out the undead to get that door open again. Grab the collectable in the corner of the room and head out.

The next optional is an altar which needs to be cleansed. This one is pretty straightforward, walk in, use the altar, and defeat the spawned baddies to progress.

After dealing with the optionals you'll want to continue along down the path (facing some ghasts on your way who may or may not respawn). Two thirds down this hall is another cold trap. Disarm it or prepare to jump over it and then proceed to the end of the hall...which will slam shut in your face. Destroy the spawned undead and then continue on.

The control panel is on the right side of the hallway, right before the first cold stream.
Oh goody, my favorite area. Remember how I told you that the party should move together? Well, the PARTY SHOULD MOVE TOGETHER, because otherwise you'll be split up when an army of undead and a few wraiths come knocking on your door.

If you go right then you'll clear an area to a few shrines, but left leads to a collectable and then a chest.

Once you get through this first half of annoying ambush after ambush there is a long hall that serves as a point of, you guessed it, ambush. Deal with the undead, snag the collectable and then head into the middle chamber to face off against a wraith called the Shade of Destruction. Do the whole trapped hallway thing again, pick up the collectable and then proceed to the final chamber.

Loot first, note later, just in case the ambush kills you.
Inside is a chest and a group of corpses with a note on the ground next to them. Snag your chest and then prepare for a battle because as soon as you pick up that note it's ambush time. You'll be facing off against myriad undead who will spawn inside or outside the room as well as the Omaren Deathguard, a spectre who always seems to die before I can get a picture of him. While the quest itself is finished now there is an optional that becomes available now. You can slay 40 ghostly skeletons for 20% of base xp. There are ten inside the room with you, to kill the rest you'll have to backtrack through the dungeon, slaying them as you go.

What advance? You didn't award me anything. Not a single copper.
Finish the quest and head back to Grospic, he'll tell you to meet up with a priest in the graveyard who will give you the next part of the quest. There you have it, you've just finished the Myster of Delera's Tomb so go ahead and give yourself a pat on the back.

While you're at it, let me know if you liked this guide and would like to see more. It took me a bit longer to complete than most of the articles, but I think it was worth it, do you?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Picture Teaser

A few pictures from the upcoming article.

Bear with me guys, it is coming along.

Sorry About the Delay

Sorry about last week guys. New content is on its way, and in depth content at that, but I need you guys to hold off just a little bit longer. I'll have something posted up later tonight, so be sure to either check in then or tomorrow to see it, in the meantime though I hope everyone is having a great December.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Cannith Crafting Planner

My haggle bard Ahshoka happens to be the Cannith Crafter for my guild, until recently this meant very little as I just wasn't good enough at crafting to create the unbound shards required for useful items. However, that has recently changed.

What has not changed though is how much planning has to go into making an item. You've got to acquire the essences, build the shards, pray to the lords that be that the item slot you want to use can accept the shard.

It's a hassle to be sure.

So I looked around for program to help me, and my guildmates with the process.

I found quite a few actually, but they all used excel and I'm afraid I don't have excel. I would have used them via Google Docs but...well, they didn't work with that program.

But I did find one I liked and I'm posting it here so that my guildmates, and of course you fine readers, can enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Neverwinter: November Update

Heroes of Neverwinter received a new update on 11/23. 

*Several quests now have locked chests instead of dropping treasure via corpses, which increases the need to bring along a rogue.

In addition the stores have been refocused as follows:

* Mercenary Arms has been redesigned to focus on: armor and weapons, including implements
* Tarmalune Trade House has been redesigned to focus on: accessories (rings and helms) and magical consumables
* Beached Leviathan has been redesigned to focus on: food and drink, and the occasional Hero’s Commendation

Also several consumables have been revamped as well:

• Potion of Blessed Circumstance now grants a +2 bonus to saving throws for an entire adventure instead of +1.
• Refreshing Salve now grants a +3 bonus to saving throws for an entire adventure instead of +2.
• Sword Mountains Spice Cake now grants a +3 bonus to initiative for an entire adventure instead of +1.
• Neverwinter Spider Stew now grants resist 5 to acid and necrotic damage, in addition to its previous resist 5 poison benefit. All resistances last for an entire adventure.
• Conyberry Mead now grants +5 perception for an entire adventure instead of +3.
• Dwarven Celebration Brew grants +1 attack for an entire adventure and no longer imparts a -5 perception penalty.
• Ointment of Defense now grants resist 2 to all damage sources for an entire adventure, instead of resist 1.
• Zombie Juice now grants resist 5 to all damage source for an entire adventure and no longer imparts speed or initiative penalties.
• Vial of Dwayberry Extract now grants +5 damage to all melee attacks for an entire encounter and no longer inflicts damage to the imbiber.
• Frosted Mushroom now inflicts 5-15 cold damage and slows all enemies within a burst 3 area of effect.
• Glyph of Black Ice now inflicts 2-12 necrotic damage and knocks prone all enemies within a blast 4 area of effect.
• Vial of Slayer’s Sight now grants a +10 increase to critical strike range for 3 turns, instead of +1.

Monday, November 28, 2011

DDO Video Fun (Dance Dance DDO Edition)

Another month, another set of videos. This time there's a theme!

1) DDO Dance Video

This may be my favorite. An adventuring party goes out and has a little too much fun with Otto's Resistable Dance.

2) Dungeons&Dragons Dance Movie

A well choreographed dance video set to Jet's "Are You Gonna be My Girl".

3) DDO Disco dance video

This duo put together an amusing dance video competition between a human and a half-orc.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hope Everyone had a Great T-day

Ah, a holiday, I hope you'll let me take a break from the usual for the occasion.

I just want to thank all my readers for coming here and making this site worth the time I put into it. So with that in mind I'll be giving gifts from now through the holiday season.

Anyone who comments on a post from now till the end of the year and leaves their server and character name in the post or sends it vial e-mail to will receive 100 Platinum. In addition I'll be auctioning off some items, including 3 Small Eberron Dragonshards (enough to get an xp potion), Mnemonic Enhancers, and more. Everytime you post you'll be entered to win one of the items in the drawing. This is my little way of giving back. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Neverwinter: Notes on the Rogue Class

Since the fighter in Heroes of Neverwinter is still incapable of holding aggro the rogue is my go to guy for controlling the aggro of my opponents.
Why the Rogue?
Because the rogue has moves that limit or outright deny the opponent actions. Attacks like Stunning Blow (which all rogues receive and which remains one of the best moves for them throughout the game) and Walking Wounded keep the enemy from advancing on my party or acting, which is very useful.

Below is my Rogue Defender Build, which should suffice to help you conquer enemies until your fighter learns how to aggro:

Starting Class: Obviously Rogue
Starting Race: Eladrin or Halfling for the +2 to Dex...preferably Eladrin for fey step, which will become all too helpful for this build.
Starting Abilities: You'll want as high a Dex as possible, pump it straight up to 20. As for the rest, meh, not as important to what you need to do here.
Powers: Make sure you up Dash, Dazing Strike, Walking Wounded, Battle Focus, and Knockout.
Equipment: Items which give you bonuses to attack rolls or speed should be equipped or stocked up on to ensure you can reach your enemy and deliver status effects.

The following tactics are what makes this build so useful.

Battle Focus+Stunning Blow
Use this combo when you really need to make sure someone doesn't take turns anymore. I use this move to incapacitate leaders and artillery before they have a chance to attack me. Controllers are also a good target, but usually their AC is so low that you can go without the +5 to attack from Battle Focus.

Walking Wounded/Dazing Strike+Fey Step/Dash
Got an enemy melee combatant, run up to the bastard and slam him with Walking Wounded or Dazing Strike. Once he is dazed you simply use your teleport powers to move back a space and he won't be able to reach you again. If you do this right you can keep your entire party safe by rushing melee soldiers and brutes before they have a chance to engage your party.

No combo here, just the move Knockout. A powerful attack which slows your opponent. If you want you can combine it with Dash or Fey Step like the above moves, alternatively you can just use it on any idiot foolish enough to engage you in melee. Hit them with it at the start of your turn and just walk away.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Things I Hate About Update 12

There really isn't much that I didn't like about the update, which is good right? That's how it is supposed to be. There were a few things though so let's get down to it.

Shared Platinum Bank Account

When I first heard about this I thought it would be great...but the execution ruined it for me. Even at its cheapest this feature will still run you close to 5 dollars of your hard earned cash (and almost seven at the other end of the spectrum). Why would anyone want to spend that much money for a feature that can essentially be used already?

While I'll stand by the shared bank account until the end of times, this shared platinum vault thing is a waste of your money. If you want to share money between your characters just draft up a letter, it will save you money that you should be spending on adventure packs anyway.

Homunculus Enhancements

This one is appearing on both the positive and negative lists...and this is really just a nitpick issue but still...why can't a lawful homunculus destroy boxes? I get that they're trying to draw some parralell between destructive impulses and the chaotic alignment, but I really feel like the Hunter of Boxes enhancement should have been separate from the new alignment enhancements.


DAMNIT! Quit nerfing this move please. *sighs* Earthgrab is one of my favorite things to exploit. First they lower the criticals on helpless victims, and now they don't even count it as a paralysis effect. Don't get me wrong, that's helpful if you are fighting clerics who can cast curative magics, but most of the time this wasn't an issue. I agree that this should have been changed, I'm merely bummed out because I loved exploiting it. Oh well, time to find something else.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Things I Like About Update 12

Wow, this one was a biggie. There happens to be quite a lot that I like about this update so let's just dive right in ok? (Note: I'm not even going to try to cover challenges just yet, those are getting their own post).

Character Renaming
Oh thank Pelor...sorry I mean Arawai...THIS is something I feel should have been included in the game a long time ago. Yeah, ORCSLayer69 may have seemed like a cool name for your human barbarian at one point but...well, that was before you realized the way you capitalized things helps to explain the origin of the half-orc race.

A few spells and their descriptions have been cleaned up, but what I like most are the changes to Flame Arrows and Conjure Bolts. The former can finally use masterwork arrows as a spell component AND lasts until logout (as opposed to the end of the instant). Suddenly I'm starting to consider taking it a lot more. As for Conjured Bolts, well, I don't know if you've played an artificer or rogue mechanic yet, but those repeating crossbows EAT crossbow bolts in droves. Well, now you no longer have to take up several of your slots just to make sure you don't run out in combat...they stack to 1000! Now if only they'd let us stick them in quivers too...

Oh my wizard, no longer will you need be afraid of holding onto those motes of night and winter until the next festival...because they changed the weight on a lot of these items. I think the most notable change happens to be to the essences. At higher levels you require so many of these it hurts my mind sometimes, and that means that people with low strength (most of your archetypal crafters) suffer mightily by having to carry hundreds of them. But not anymore, thank you Turbine. My weak ass bard is grateful.

Um, I don't care about the other ones they introduced...I just love that I can make my defender destroy boxes again. I happen to HATE going around and breaking my boxes with my artificer...mostly because it takes a long time to do so with my bolts and I happen to be too lazy to switch to unarmed (even though I hotkeyed it). Now my pet will do that for me, resulting in a bonus to xp.

So many things have been tightened up, in particular they did a nice job on the monk stances. Not that I play a monk anymore, but still, good job guys.

Poor hirelings
There are two things I like that they changes about how these guys operate. 1) Arcance casters will no longer rush into melee to use their ranged spells...oh thank god. 2) The little floating indicator thing (this goes for pets too) really helps my impatience. I used to hit those command buttons over and over again, now I can stop when I realize he's heard my command.

Now that I think about it, I guess I was the DDO Navi "Hey! Listen! Look! Come Here! Listen! Look!..."

Monday, November 14, 2011

Building a Better Beast: The Specialist

I always wondered what the spikes were for.

Welcome back to Building a Better Beast. We’ve already taken a look at The Tank, and The Wraith, today we’ll explore another build called the Specialist. Whereas the Tank focuses on being indestructible and the Wraith supports his rogue allies, the Specialist is a melee combatant who uses his abilities to control the flow of combat.

As always the artificer should start by taking the Augment Summoning feat. He should also pick up all the repair spells he can. In addition he might want to consider the following.

1st Level: Because they are both melee combatants your Specialist can benefit from all the same spells as the Tank.

Ablative Armor--A pool of hit points which keep the Specialist safe from physical injury.
Shield of Faith--At lower levels your Specialist is still without his armor upgrades, this will help to offset that major difference between the Tank and the Specialist.
Enchant Weapon--The utility of the Specialist comes from his combat feats, if those attacks don’t hit he isn’t as useful. A +1 to hit is always appreciated.

2nd Level: A few defensive spells, as well as a spell which is key to the build.

Rienforce Construct and Toughen Construct--I’ve already extolled the virtue of these spells when we discussed the Tank. What holds there holds here as well.
Bull’s Strength--The DC for combat feats depends on the Strength of the user. This is why it is so important to get your Specialist’s Strength as high as possible.

3rd Level: A few spells from the same list as the tank, and one peculiar choice.

Shield of Faith, Mass and Stoneskin--As described in the Tank build.
Flame Turret--What makes this choice so peculiar is that it isn’t a buff spell for the Specialist. However, it works really well with this build. By utilizing the Specialist’s Intimidate and Takedown attacks you can keep an enemy well within ranged of the raging fires of the Flame Turret.

4th Level: Either of the Armor spells are useful at this level. Unlike the Tank whose high AC makes Thundering Armor almost useless the Specialist is a little bit easier to hit, and thus the spell effect is more likely to be useful.

5th Level: At this level you’re going to choose a favorite spell as well as possibly get an upgrade of an earlier spell.

Radiant Forcefield--Remember how we were talking about how the Specialist is easier to hit? This spell will make that factor a little less pronounced.
Bull’s Strength, Mass--Like Shield of Faith, Mass you might as well buff all the warriors while you buff your own.

6th Level: Although they aren’t essential to this build you can use the Specialist’s skills to kite enemies into position for Blade Barriers and Tactical Detonations.


1st Level:
Let’s start by picking up the first of the Specialist’s combat feats, Takedown. It unlocks the Trip command.

2nd Level:
Now we’re going to select the other one, Shattering Strike. It unlocks the Sunder command.

3rd Level:
Menacing Growl will let the Specialist guide enemies forward so that he can disable him with his combat abilities. It unlocks the Intimidate ability.

4th Level:
At this level you’re going to want to upgrade both your combat feat abilities. DC12+Str Modifier.

5th Level:
Let’s not wait any longer to pick up Adamantine Plating, this will increase your AC by +8 and give you a Damage Reduction of 2/adamazinte.

6th Level:
Time to buy Homunculus Strength.

7th Level:
Time to increase Shattering Strike and Takedown again DC is now 14+Str Modifier.

8th Level:
Upgrade Menacing Growl 2 steps. Intimidate is now +12.

9th Level:
Save your points.

10th Level:
And spend them on Homunculus Strength II.

11th Level:
Now you can enjoy the capstone enhancement Homunculus Combat Alacrity. This enhancement gives a 5% chance to double strike, and a 5% increase to attack speed.

12th Level:
Maximize your combat feats. DC is now 10+Str Modifier+6.

13th Level:
Pick up Reinforced Armor for a +10 to hit points.

14th Level:
Upgrade your Reinforced Armor (+20 now) and max out Menacing Growl (+16 to Intimidate)

15h Level:
Max out your Reinforced Armor for a +40 to hit points.

16th Level:
Time to pick up Combat Alacrity II which will increase the double strike and attack speed to 10%.

17th Level:
Increasing Adamantine Plating two steps sounds like a good idea, which will give your pet a +12 to ac and a DR 6/adamantine.

18th Level:
I suggest picking up Danger Avoidance, this will give you an additional +1 to AC and +2 Reflex Saves.

19th Level:
Increase Danger Avoidance two steps, your dodge bonus to AC and Reflex saves will now be +3 and +6 respectively.

20th Level:
Wow, you’re just about about as tough as the Tank if you take this level to max out Adamantine Plating (+14 and DR 8/adamantine) and Danger Avoidance (+4 to AC and +8 to Reflex saves).

Friday, November 11, 2011

Spelling it Out: The Ranger and Paladin

Who doesn't love that line?

Last time we did a Spelling it Out we took a look at the Wizard. When you think spells, you can’t go wrong thinking wizard, but these versatile casters don’t have a monopoly on the Art and so today we’re going to be taking a look at combos for the oft overlooked Ranger and Paladin

For the Ranger:
The Scout
Spells Involved: Camouflage, Jump, Longstrider, Wild Instincts

A ranger is well suited to the position of party scout. So is the rogue, but with this potent combo the ranger can get it done better and faster. With Jump the ranger can reach areas others can’t, and with Camouflage he can explore it without being seen while Wild Instincts will ensure he sees everyone else.. Even if he is spotted he can use Longstrider to get out of dodge, and if he isn’t seen the spell will still help him reach his allies much quicker than the rogue.

For the Paladin:
Heaven’s Wrath
Spells Involved: Virtue, Angelskin, Stalward Pact, Zeal

A palading utilizing the above combo is a force to be reckoned with. Demons and devils had especially beware. He has Damage Reduction 5 which can only be overcome by magic weapons which are also evil, and his hit point total has both been increased and bolstered by temporary hit points. Finally he has a 10% chance to double strike enemies. Combine this combo with liberal use of Divine Power and Bull’s Strength or an item which gives a bonus to strength and your paladin will be even more lethal.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Neverwinter: A Time for Giving...

Watch out or he'll gobble you up.
So this is the month of Novembeard...sorry, November...which means that Thanksgiving is coming up this month. To that end I figured I'd talk about giving thanks to your friends for all their hard work in providing you free PCs to party with. One way that you can give thanks, and it is simple trust me, is to give your friends a gift or two.

Each day in Heroes of Neverwinter you can leave your friends two gifts. You give them the first by clicking on the "Send Gift" button and the second can be left in their Chest of Wonder after visiting their house. Each option has a different set of items which you can send to your Facebook Friends, and you can unlock even more by leveling up your characters.

The following is a list of what items you can give your friends and at what levels they become unlocked. If you want to be really crafty I suggest linking your friends to this page and saying something like "Hey, look at what I found out on this blog about online Dungeons and Dragons games!" If they don't get the picture you can always hit them with a clue bat.

Send Gift Options

  • Gift of the Day: This option is always random, but includes such wonders as Frosted Mushrooms and Hero's Recommendations.
  • Helm's Hold Journeybread: You can't go wrong with the gift of HP, plus this one is available from level one.
  • Thieve's Tools: Also available from level 1 is this sucker which gives a bonus to thievery checks.
  • Spider Egg Souffle: You unlike this +3 to attack for an encounter item by earning the Traveler achievement.
  • Amber Brew: You can give your friends this Elemtental Resist 5 item (duration 3 rounds) after you've gotten the Sellsword achievement.
  • Traveler's Feast: Like I said, you can never go wrong with the gift of hp heals. Unlocks at level 2.
  • Conyberry Mead: Help out your rogue friends with this +3 to perception item, unlocked at level 3.
  • Sword Mountain Spicecake: +1 to initiative for the adventure with this item unlocked at level 4.
  • Crag Mushroom: All those heals can only go so far. Extend their usefulness by giving the gift of increased Max HP for an adventure with this item unlocked at level 5.
  • Dwarven Celebration Brew: I'm actually not a big fan of this item, which gives a +1 to attack for a -5 to Perception. Unlocks at level 6
  • Enchanted Thieve's Tools: This item, unlockable at level 7, is three times better than normal Thieve's Tools.
  • Incense of Ferocity: The final item on this list unlocks at level 8 and gives a +1 bonus to all damage for the adventure.

Leave a Gift Options

  • Free Gift of the Day: Like the above, this is usually what I give. The variety keeps my gifts from getting stale I think.
  • Dwarven Celebration Brew: On the leave a gift list, this doesn't even need to be unlocked.
  • Potion of Blessed Circumstances: A +1 to saving throws for the encounter, why yes, I don't mind if I do. Available at level 1.
  • Kobold Incense: This item gives a +3 bonus to your defenses against traps, unlocks at level 2.
  • Ointment of Defense: This item, available at level 3, gives the user resist 1 against all damage for an entire adventure. A level 3 unlockable.
  • Refreshing Salve: +2 to saving throws until the end of turn, for when you just HAVE to stop taking ongoing damage. Available at level 4
  • Enchanted Thieve's Tools: Once again we have one that is available earlier than its "Send Gift" counterpart. This one can be given at level 5.
  • Incense of Warding: One of my favorite items. All allies in close burst 3 get a +1 to their defenses for 3 turns. Available at level 6.
  • Amber Brew: Resisting elemental damage is always nice. Unlocks at level 7.
  • 10 Gold: This is the most useless option available to you. Almost anything else you could give is better than this junk, which is only available after level 8 anyway.
  • Leviathan Ale: One of my favorite gifts to give, this refills 3 points of the energy meter when received. Unlocks at level 9.
  • Potion of Healing: Like I said, you can go wrong with free heals. Available at level 10.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Who Does it Better? Skill Focus: Haggle

Yeah, it's like that.

A while ago a reader commented on "Haggle, is it worth it?" and stated that he thought the artificer might be better suited to a haggle build. I decided to take a look at the three classes which use Haggle and see which one could get the highest.

The three classes which have Haggle as a class skill are the Artificer, Bard, and Rogue. Assuming each one is trying to excel at Haggle they’d all want a Charisma of at least 18.

Here the Bard has an advantage. Charisma is the key ability for his spellcasting. However, that is the only advantage as even though Charisma enhances Use Magic Device, that is also a skill shared by all three classes. With a high enough Use Magic Device and some willingess to utilize items spellcasting doesn’t bear as much weight in this argument.

So let’s assume each of our prospective haggle masters has a Charisma of 18, takes maximum ranks in the skill at every level and has taken the feats Skill Focus: Haggle and Negotiator.

So, at first level, without enhancements they should all have a Haggle of +13. Now let’s take a look at how they can increase their haggle even more by level 20.

First off let’s start by taking all the Improved Haggle enhancements for a bonus of +4. Next we’re going to take all of the Artificer Skill Boost enhancements, which will give a +5 bonus to the skill for 20 seconds, certainly long enough to click the sell button. The Artificer also gets access to the Eagle’s Splendor spell, so he can easily give himself a +4 to charisma, which corresponds to a +2 bonus to the check. In addition he will raise his charisma every 4 levels which will give him and additional +2 to the check. If we tally these up the Artificer will have a haggle of 41 (5 from feats, 23 from ranks, 4 from passive enhancements, 5 from active enhancements, and 4 from Charisma) at level 20.

That is without items which can be used universally by any of the classes and so won’t be analyzed here.

Now we take a look at the Bard. Like the artificer before him, and the rogue to follow we will start by taking all the Improved Haggle enhancements for a bonus of +4. Also, similar to the others he will raise his Charisma every four levels but unlike the other two he will continue this at level 20. But he, unlike the other two, can raise his Charisma three times through enhancements, in addition his capstone enhancement raises Charisma by an additional two for a +1 to the check. Combine all of this into a higher Charisma gives him a +3, adding on the spell Eagle’s Splendor that he can cast gives an additional +2 to the check. Speaking of spells, the bard also has access to the spell Focusing Chant, he also has access to Greater Heroism which grants an additional +4 to the check. Adding all this together gets us a Haggle bonus of 47 (5 from feats, 23 from ranks, 4 from passive enhancements, 5 from spells, 10 from Charisma).

Finally we’re going to take a look at the rogue. Right off the bat he gets +4 from Improved Haggle, he like the artificer can get a skill boost so there is +5. He raises his charisma at each chance and uses Eagle’s Splendor for a total of +4. All told we get the same here as we did for the Artificer above.

So, with the breakdown complete, the Bard is still victorious at Haggle. Even if I add in the ability for Rogues and Artificers to use Greater Heroism items, the Bard still has two points on them. It is a close match, so the question you have to ask yourself is--is two points in Haggle enough to suffer through 20 levels of Bard?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Building a Better Beast: The Wraith

Originally I was going to call this build "Traptester"

Welcome to number two in an ongoing, but limited, series called Building a Better Beast. In each segment we take a look at how to make your artificer’s pet, that little bundle of mechanical joy called the Iron Defender, even better. Today’s build focuses on a very narrow niche, making a pet which works well with rogues.

Artificers are already pretty rogue-like, and two classes share a lot of similarities, maybe you want your pet to work well with rogues because you want to multiclass, or maybe you just want to help the rogue out when he goes scouting. Either way, this beast setup (which I’m code-naming Wraith) will help.

Like the last build, the Tank, there are spells which will make this build even more effective. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up the Augment Summoning feat.

1st Level: Like always you want to make sure you can heal your pet, but more important is protecting it from the various traps that it may encounter as it defends the rogue.

Repair Light Wounds--A standby which is necessary. Plus it doesn’t take up a spell slot, so why not?
Resist Energy--Drop a few of these on the Iron Defender to help defend iit from getting blasted by unseen traps.
Resistance--Like the aforementioned spell, this will help keep your Iron Defender safe. A bonus to spells means he is even more likely to take half damage from most traps, which makes it easier for Resist Energy to soak up all the abuse from the trap.

2nd Level: With the next few spells there is really no chance your pet will be damaged by elemental spells, and even physical traps will have trouble getting through to him.

Protection From Energy--Combined with Resist Energy the two make for a potent defense against elemental damage.
Reinforce Construct--Temp hit points? Yes please, lets see those spikes hurt your pet now.
Cat’s Grace--An increase to AC and a bonus to Reflex saves, come on traps, you’re going to have to try harder

3rd Level: Other than the Repair spells and possibly Stoneskin if you want to spend some extra money, there really isn’t a lot here for the Wraith.

4th Level: Upgrade for one spell, another repair spell and everyone’s favorite armor enchantment.

Protection From Elements--Like Protection from Energy, but for every element at once, most certainly worth it..
Armor of Speed--Unlike the tank who wants this for AC and attack speed, the Wraith really just wants this for the +1 to Reflex saves.

5th Level: Just like the tank you’ll want to pick this spell up.

Radiant Forcefield--This spell is amazing, if by some chance an Elite trap happens to break through your pet’s defenses, this will make the damage even more neglible.

6th Level: Other than reconstruct there aren’t really any options for this build.

1st Level:
Homunculus Distraction, the bluff skill makes enemies susceptible to sneak attacks for awhile, trust me, your rogue will thank you.

2nd Level:
Homunculus Ruthless Deception while the enemy is susceptible to sneak attack damage for 6 seconds you might as well add on some of your own. Get +3 to sneak attack damage with this enhancement.

3rd Level:
Homunculus Skillful Deception, a +2 to hit with sneak attacks is pretty helpful too.

4th Level:
Pick up Homunculus Danger Avoidance for a bonus to AC and Reflex saves.

5th Level:
Turn that bluff up a notch by picking up Homunculus Distraction II, and don’t forget to upgrade your Danger Avoidance while you are at it.

6th Level:
Homunculus Dexterity has become available to you, take it for a chance at a great enhancement later on.

7th Level:
Time to upgrade your sneak attack capabilities with Ruthless Deception II and Skillful Deception II, bring the bonuses to a +4 to hit and +6 to damage.

8th Level:
Pick up Danger Avoidance III and Distraction III to increase your combat effectiveness even more.

9th Level:
Your pet is still a combat build when it comes down to it, pick up Reinforced Armor to give him the extra hit points he needs.

10th Level:
Skillful Deception III and Ruthless Deceptoion III this level means your pet’s getting a +6 to hit and +9 to damage on sneak attacks.

11th Level:
Time to max out Danger Avoidance and Distraction.

12th Level:
Save your points.

13th Level:
And spend them now for Homunculus Dexterity II

14th Level:
Fear those traps even less by picking up Homunculus Evasion, a captsone enhancement you’ve unlocked with your rogue-like abilities.

15th Level:
And now you can max out your Ruthless and Skillfull Deception abilities for a +8 to hit and +12 to damage while using sneak attacks.

16th Level:
Take a moment and reward yourself with Improved Evasion.

18th Level:
A +20 to hit points would be nice, go ahead and upgrade your armor twice.

19th Level:
You might as well accept your brutish nature by picking up Adamantine Plating.

20th Level:
And upgrade it twice here for a total of +12 to AC and DR 6/adamantine.