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View Full Version : Advice needed for 1st life Shadar-kai Monk / Rogue



ThunderCraft
02-08-2014, 05:34 PM
I haven't played a monk in several years and now I want to give it another try. But I have some specific requirements. I've been reading the other builds and threads here, but most of it is about TR builds and the use of lots of tomes. That, and monks have changed so much. They seem so complicated now and there are so many different ways to build them that I feel completely lost.

General requirements:
- Level 1 class must be Rogue (First-life Shadar-kai, plus it's needed for the skill points and traps.)
- Main class is Monk (Has to have at least 12 levels to get Abundant Step and Master of Forms.)
- Be able to disable traps and open locks
- Be able to either scroll/wand heal or self heal to a useful degree
- Be able to survive enough epic content to TR
- Assume I have no tomes (New server! I might pick a few up later, but I can't count on it.)

Also: I always play with a friend of mine and one of us is always the healer and the other is the trapmonkey. This will be the trapper. But I can not rely on him entirely for heals (usually a "Battle-Cleric") and being able to use resurrection scrolls would be a big plus.

My problem is trying to decide which type of monk to build and play which fits the above criteria. And one of the biggest issues is adjusting the stat points to make it viable - particularly with my limited access to tomes (i.e., none) and the feats I want to take. (Combat Expertise requires 13 INT. Power Attack and the Cleave line requires 13 STR. The TWF line requires 15 DEX. The THF line requires 15-17+ STR.)

1) I've thought about the Monkcher. Focusing on ranged attacks would be nice. This would require at least 6 levels of Ranger. That means my other two levels -must- be Rogue. And level 2 Rogue doesn't have much to offer. (Well, I could make that 7 levels of Ranger. But that would just give Improved Wild Empathy, which isn't something to write home about.)

2) I've thought about a Henshin Mystic build, focusing on the quarterstaff. If I had at least 2 levels of Rogue, then I could purchase the Stick Fighting enhancement in the Thief-Acrobat tree which means I could use my DEX bonus for attack and damage with quarterstaves. This means I could skimp a bit on STR. And, from what I read (https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php/429336-Ninja-vs-Shintao), a Henshin Mystic with a quarterstaff can really dish out the DPS. Per this post (https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php/435736-Iconic-monk-sanity-check?p=5245058&viewfull=1#post5245058), it's very tempting to take 1 level of Druid instead of Fighter. First level spells include Ram's Might, Jump, and Shillelagh (+1.0 [W] damage with a wood quarterstaff). That, and the cheap (7 ap) wand and scroll mastery and the ability to use some druid scrolls. Problem is, the TWF line would not be useful for a quarterstaff build and I would not have the STR to get the THF line...

3) I've thought about an 18 Mon / 1 Fgt / 1 Rog build. The fighter level would help a build that otherwise seems a bit feat-starved. And it'd be nice to have 18 monk levels, considering the benefits. This seems to be a somewhat popular build and I even see some example builds with Shadar-kai. Problem is, these builds are not 1st-life and they assuming the use of a lot of tomes, which makes them much more viable. I've tried to build something like this with the Character Planner, but I am unable to manage enough skill points to make the rogue skills seem viable. (I tried with 14str, 16dex, 14con, 12int, 16wis, 6cha. But 12 INT was not enough skill points without a tome. Monk and Fighter levels would only give 5 skill points per level. And most Rogue skills cost double the points.)

4) I've also thought about using Basic and Advanced Ninja Training in Ninja Spy to use DEX for slashing and piercing. Again, this would allow me to skimp on STR. But unarmed damage would suffer and most are saying that handwraps are almost always superior to other weapons for a monk, even with the TWF line. And I suspect I might regret it if I limited myself to less than 13 STR. (No Cleave line, for one thing. And more susceptible to Ray of Enfeeblement.)

As such, I'm thinking I will be forced to have less than 18 monk levels in order to get the skill points and stats needed.

I'd like to ask about feat selection, too. But until I decide which of these build paths to go with, that seems rather pointless.

Edit:
I'm leaning towards #2, the Henshin Mystic with the quarterstaff. With the Thief Acrobatics enhancement one can get up to +15% in attack speed. I think part of my indecisiveness is not being able to find many example builds for this. I'm having trouble figuring out the feats, especially since the 2HF line is right out for this build.

Can anyone share a link to a Henshin Mystic build with some Rogue levels (preferably with a focus on Dex)?

Rhysem
02-08-2014, 09:04 PM
I understand wanting 12 monk for abundant step. You might try using iconics to create a temporary character to try going 5-6 rogue and running up the T-A tree and seeing if the qstaff warp move would fill the abundant step role. It'd help the skill aspect of life and free up levels to be more flexible in what you add to it.

whereispowderedsilve
02-08-2014, 09:10 PM
You could try this out: But change the split to 12 monk 5 rogue 3 druid instead:

https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php/434662-Stickin-Around-quot-Real-mature-Bradley!-quot-QStaff-bashin

Rhysem
02-08-2014, 11:10 PM
Interesting.

It skipped the opposition philosophy attack though. That seems crazy if you're doing T5 henshin. Other than bosses very little lives 10 seconds near my monk, so having an AoE neg level go off seems neat, plus you could build up dark debuffs if you cared to.

ThunderCraft
02-09-2014, 01:25 AM
I understand wanting 12 monk for abundant step. You might try using iconics to create a temporary character to try going 5-6 rogue and running up the T-A tree and seeing if the qstaff warp move would fill the abundant step role. It'd help the skill aspect of life and free up levels to be more flexible in what you add to it.

By "qstaff warp move" you are referring to the tier 5 enhancement "Vault", correct?


You could try this out: But change the split to 12 monk 5 rogue 3 druid instead:

https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php/434662-Stickin-Around-quot-Real-mature-Bradley!-quot-QStaff-bashin

Thanks! You have no idea how hard it was for me to decide my multiclass split.

I think I'll try both suggestions in one build. Vault sounds interesting and if I don't like it I can always change that.

Rhysem
02-09-2014, 10:18 AM
Yes, vault is what I meant.

The only thing I'd be unsure about is going dex based. If you do that you're giving up on ever getting overwhelming critical. If you go str based, you can build up to 23 even with just the 'freebie' favor tome (16 base + 5 level ups + 2 tome = 23 at level 20). Pushing that favor might be a stretch, but you could do it if you decided you had to.

Alternately, if you don't mind some cheesy farming -- with 12 levels of monk, if you grind out the house P trinket real fast, you still have a week of jumping for the purple coin from the dingy. You could farm up some of the icy burst kits and motes for the polar bear cub and sell them off to pick up a tome.

ThunderCraft
02-09-2014, 07:05 PM
Alternately, if you don't mind some cheesy farming -- with 12 levels of monk, if you grind out the house P trinket real fast, you still have a week of jumping for the purple coin from the dingy. You could farm up some of the icy burst kits and motes for the polar bear cub and sell them off to pick up a tome.

It's funny that you suggest this. My main reason for this build is to farm ice game coins. In fact, Abundant Step was what motivated me to purchase Monk about 3 or 4 years ago. Thing is, at that time, I found Monk to be rather difficult to play (especially without a game pad). That, and as I said, my friend and I play the roles of healer and trapmonkey when we play together. Back then, there were not any Iconics or Stones of Experience. And I could not manage to grind 12 levels on a 28-pt build before the ice games were over.

Sure, I could just use any iconic and go 14 levels of straight Monk, just for coin farming. But my character slots are filling up and I'd much rather build a Monk that I will actually play through the game.

I do plan on a bit of coin farming. But I don't feel like farming for a profit. I always found it rather tedious and frustrating.

I'll build one of these on every server and, after a bit of favor and/or coin farming with a couple of them, use them all as mules. I need to build them now as I expect DDO to give out Birthday Battle Boxes or something similar the end of this month. (I'm still very bitter that I missed out on those last year! Expired in the mail?! Just because I happened to not play or bother checking my mailboxes that month?) I want toons that I could play some day ready to receive them, especially on servers that I don't normally play.


The only thing I'd be unsure about is going dex based. If you do that you're giving up on ever getting overwhelming critical.

I wasn't worried until you said something. But then, I've only recently gotten a toon to 20 and I haven't played Epic content yet. So maybe I should be worried?

I'll have to try it out. If they can't handle high level Elite raids or Epic content, then I'll use a free respec. And, by that time, I'll probably have picked up a few more tomes or at least some stuff I could sell/trade for a tome. But they'll probably change Monk anyway before I attempt Epic stuff with these.


If you go str based, you can build up to 23 even with just the 'freebie' favor tome (16 base + 5 level ups + 2 tome = 23 at level 20). Pushing that favor might be a stretch, but you could do it if you decided you had to.

I had forgotten about the freebie +2 favor tome. But that's because I have yet to manage 1,750 favor on any server. (I'm basically an on-again, off-again weekend casual player.)

I am very close to finishing my build in Character Planner. My stats look like this at level 20: STR 14, DEX 22, CON 14, INT 14, WIS 14, CHA 6. This is without so much as a single tome. With the Staff Control and Stick Fighting in Thief-Acrobat, that much DEX gives a +6 to attack and damage with the quarterstaff. And my AC should be very nice with some decent equipment.

I only managed to get the stats that high because of the Shadar-kai stat distribution. It sacrifices CHA (which I really only need for UMD) and gives a bonus to DEX (which is quite useful). Thing is, if I happened to have a bunch of +1 hearts of wood and stat tomes lying around, I'd go with the Purple Dragon Knight for the extra feat and skill points. But I don't so I can't.

ThunderCraft
02-10-2014, 03:43 AM
And here's my build: Mystical Whirlwind of Nature


Character Plan by DDO Character Planner Version 04.20.01
DDO Character Planner Home Page (http://www.rjcyberware.com/DDO)

Benbau Prymmin
Level 20 Lawful Neutral Shadar-Kai Male
(12 Monk \ 5 Rogue \ 3 Druid)
Hit Points: 230
Spell Points: 284
BAB: 14\14\19\24
Fortitude: 14
Reflex: 20
Will: 14

Starting Feat/Enhancement
Abilities Base Stats Modified Stats
(32 Point) (Level 1) (Level 20)
Strength 14 14
Dexterity 17 24
Constitution 14 14
Intelligence 14 14
Wisdom 14 14
Charisma 6 6

Starting Feat/Enhancement
Base Skills Modified Skills
Skills (Level 1) (Level 20)
Balance 7 19
Bluff -2 -2
Concentration 2 24
Diplomacy 2 9
Disable Device 6 22
Haggle -2 1
Heal 4 4
Hide 3 7
Intimidate -2 -2
Jump 6 14
Listen 2 2
Move Silently 3 7
Open Lock 7 24
Perform n/a n/a
Repair 2 2
Search 6 19
Spellcraft 2 2
Spot 6 20
Swim 2 3
Tumble 7 18
Use Magic Device 2 21

Level 1 (Rogue)
Feat: (Selected) Power Attack

Level 2 (Monk)
Feat: (Monk Bonus) Dodge

Level 3 (Monk)
Feat: (Selected) Cleave
Feat: (Monk Bonus) Mobility

Level 4 (Monk)
Feat: (Monk Path) Path of Harmonious Balance: Fists of Light

Level 5 (Monk)

Level 6 (Monk)
Feat: (Selected) Precision

Level 7 (Monk)
Feat: (Monk Bonus) Combat Expertise

Level 8 (Rogue)

Level 9 (Monk)
Feat: (Selected) Great Cleave

Level 10 (Monk)

Level 11 (Monk)

Level 12 (Monk)
Feat: (Selected) Improved Critical: Bludgeoning Weapons

Level 13 (Monk)

Level 14 (Monk)

Level 15 (Rogue)
Feat: (Selected) Spring Attack

Level 16 (Druid)

Level 17 (Rogue)

Level 18 (Druid)
Feat: (Selected) Whirlwind Attack
Feat: (Druid Wild Shape) Wild Shape: Bear

Level 19 (Druid)

Level 20 (Rogue)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Staff Control (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Stick Fighting (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Thief Acrobatics (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Thief Acrobatics (Rank 2)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Thief Acrobatics (Rank 3)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Sly Flourish (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Sly Flourish (Rank 2)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Sly Flourish (Rank 3)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Quick Strike (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Quick Strike (Rank 2)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Quick Strike (Rank 3)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Haste Boost (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Haste Boost (Rank 2)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Haste Boost (Rank 3)
Enhancement: Thief-Acrobat (Rog) - Sweeping Strikes (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Nature's Warrior (Drd) - Nature's Warrior (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Nature's Warrior (Drd) - Extra Wild Empathy (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Nature's Warrior (Drd) - Extra Wild Empathy (Rank 2)
Enhancement: Nature's Warrior (Drd) - Extra Wild Empathy (Rank 3)
Enhancement: Nature's Warrior (Drd) - Athletic (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Nature's Warrior (Drd) - Flight (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Nature's Warrior (Drd) - Flight (Rank 2)
Enhancement: Nature's Warrior (Drd) - Action Boost: Double Strike (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Nature's Warrior (Drd) - Action Boost: Double Strike (Rank 2)
Enhancement: Nature's Warrior (Drd) - Action Boost: Double Strike (Rank 3)
Enhancement: Nature's Warrior (Drd) - Fatal Harrier (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Nature's Warrior (Drd) - Fatal Harrier (Rank 2)
Enhancement: Nature's Warrior (Drd) - Fatal Harrier (Rank 3)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Riddle of Fire (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Ki Bolt (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Staff Training (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Way of the Clever Monkey (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Staff Training (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Quick Strike (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Quick Strike (Rank 2)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Quick Strike (Rank 3)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Fists of Iron (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Staff Training (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Lighting the Candle (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Lighting the Candle (Rank 2)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Lighting the Candle (Rank 3)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Dexterity (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Staff Training (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Dexterity (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Staff Specialization (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Henshin Mystic (Mnk) - Every Light Casts a Shadow (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Ninja Spy (Mnk) - Ninja Training (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Ninja Spy (Mnk) - Ninja Training (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Ninja Spy (Mnk) - Shadow Veil (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Ninja Spy (Mnk) - Sneak Attack Training (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Ninja Spy (Mnk) - Acrobatic (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Ninja Spy (Mnk) - Acrobatic (Rank 2)
Enhancement: Ninja Spy (Mnk) - Sneak Attack Training (Rank 1)
Enhancement: Ninja Spy (Mnk) - Unbalancing Strike (Rank 1)


As Rhysem pointed out, I'm sacrificing STR. It's enough for the PA-Cleave feats. But without a STR tome or Ability Points it can't get the 2HF line. And it will never achieve Overwhelming Critical.

I'm hoping the sacrifice was not in vain. Dex builds - particularly Rogue splashes - go very well with the Shadar-kai. But giving up the 2HF line allows me to choose other feats.

This thread convinced me to give Whirlwind Attack a try:

Is Whirlwind Attack still broken? (https://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php/432621-Is-Whirlwind-Attack-still-broken)

Particularly this post:


I have a rogue/monk that does a cleave/greatcleave/whirlwind/Sweeping strikes set and can do quite a bit of AoE damage fast, since when the whole set has been cycled through, the first one has almost gone off timer.

And even without this, Xianio's "QStaff bashin" build promises insane quarterstaff attack speed with the right enhancement picks. (Not to mention the extra +1[W] from Druid's Shillelagh.) Granted, it's more 'theorycrafting' than anything until I play this. But I'm looking forward to it.

If I don't like Whirlwind Attack, I could still do a feat swap. Though, I'm not sure what I'd swap it with. (Toughness? Deflect Arrows? Resiliance?) And it'd be a shame, since it has all the prerequisites.

I did consider how much I'd be losing by giving up the 2HF line. But then I read this:


The value of the thf feats depends a great deal on your playstyle. You do not get glancing blows when you move or use cleaves. So if you're going to be moving around and/or using cleave/great cleave constantly, then you won't be getting any benefit from the thf feats.

I guess I'll find out if I like it. But moving while attacking or using special attacks is more my play style, anyway.

Somehow, I saved enough AP for both Staff Specialization and Every Light Casts a Shadow (for the level drains). I'm just sad I could only invest in one rank of Sweeping Strikes. I like the idea of tripping all nearby opponents, especially since it's based purely on my insane DEX.

I also picked Unbalancing Strikes. I'd love to make an opponent vulnerable to sneak attack, even if I have their full attention. It also lowers AC and makes them extremely vulnerable to that Sweeping Strikes I mentioned.

I found it's not possible to take tier 5 enhancements in more than one tree. But I do have a seperate enhancement plan to test out the thief-acro Vault. Above is my planned end result. Though, I may adjust the enhancements. I'm tempted to sacrifice the Ninja-Spy tree for either the Shadar-kai tree or some Shintao.

Rhysem
02-10-2014, 07:55 PM
Not sure both quick strikes make sense. The rogue one is already up nearly 100% of the time, so henshin isn't adding much there, and the bonuses are both morale so don't stack. I'd sub out henshin's for contemplation. You'll want the Ki, especially with lighting the candle.

I'm a fan of always-on bonuses, so I'd never personally take sly flourish or haste boost over 2-3 ranks of staff training. Note that staff training between theif acro and henshin stacks. I'm also not sure you want sly flourish dumping aggro. You're 12 monk, you're perfectly capable of tanking with decent gear and possibly Iron Skin (in Shintao, of course that's 11 more AP which would be rough).

I'm not sure how effective sweeping strikes will be with only a few levels of rogue. It will be interesting to see. You're at least dex based, which will help.

ThunderCraft
02-28-2014, 12:32 PM
Not sure both quick strikes make sense. The rogue one is already up nearly 100% of the time, so henshin isn't adding much there, and the bonuses are both morale so don't stack. I'd sub out henshin's for contemplation. You'll want the Ki, especially with lighting the candle.

I'm a fan of always-on bonuses, so I'd never personally take sly flourish or haste boost over 2-3 ranks of staff training. Note that staff training between theif acro and henshin stacks. I'm also not sure you want sly flourish dumping aggro. You're 12 monk, you're perfectly capable of tanking with decent gear and possibly Iron Skin (in Shintao, of course that's 11 more AP which would be rough).

I'm not sure how effective sweeping strikes will be with only a few levels of rogue. It will be interesting to see. You're at least dex based, which will help.

Sorry I didn't respond sooner. Thanks for the comments and advice. These are good points. After building and playing this toon for several days, I'd have to agree with most of your points.

Having two quick strikes does not seem to help much. And, indeed, Lighting the Candle is eating up most of my Ki, even in Water Stance. The Haste Boost is kind of nice, situationally. But it is of limited use and I sometimes forget to use it. Stacking the staff training was somethind I had already considered, but now it seems like the smartest path.

Thankfully, these are enhancement changes. And those are easy enough to respec.

Sly Flourish and dumping agro: That was intentional. First, I want to take maximum advantage of my backstab. (I eventually plan to get equipment to enhance this, too.) Reduced aggro means more sneak attacks. And, as I said, I'm almost always in a party of at least two and when I'm the rogue my friend is the tank/healer. I may be capable of tanking, but that's not the role I wanted to play. (Seems slightly pointless without intidimidate, anyway.)

Sweeping Strikes: So far, it does seem effective. It's quite fun to see the enemies flailing about on the floor. :) However, I've only tried low to mid level quests so far. And since I only took tier 1, it does not do an exceptional amount of damage. I'm thinking of swapping some stuff to take it to tier 3. Again, if I don't like it I can change it.

One issue: I must be suffering from Artificer withdrawal because I miss being able to do ranged attacks. ;) I picked up a +4 returning throwing knife (which I Frosted during the ice games) for emergencies. But it's not the same. :D Anyway, with this speed and Abundant Step I can rapidly close in to most enemies for melee.