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  1. #1

    Question Kung Fu Caster: Halfling Monk/Wizard

    I continue to struggle with two conundrums: how to create anything useful that uses Monk hand-to-hand combat, and how to create a melee caster. This build attempts to combine both.

    Code:
    Oriental Adventures: Halfling Monk Wizard Level 20 Lawful Good Halfling Female 12 Monk \ 8 Wizard (20th level)
    The design constraints:
    • Halfling
    • 4th level arcane spells
    • Lots of punching
    • Adds value to party even at endgame


    The build features:
    • Improved evasion
    • Doubled-up stunning
    • All the happy pseudo-clericy monk abilities


    Code:
                      Starting          Feat/Enhancement
    Abilities        Base Stats          Modified Stats
    (32 Point)       (Level 1)             (Level 16)       (Cap/Geared)
    Strength             14                    14               20
    Dexterity            16                    22               34*
    Constitution         14                    14               20*
    Intelligence         13                    16               22
    Wisdom               13                    16               24
    Charisma              8                     8               9
    * in greater wind stance
    
    Tomes Used
    +1 Tome of Dexterity used at level 3
    +1 Tome of Wisdom used at level 3
    +2 Tome of Wisdom used at level 7
    
    [Update] changed ability increase to DEX
    [Cap Update] tome references to include min levels. Also, she actually has +2 tomes on STR and CON but these are not necessary to the build.

    Code:
    Planned
    Hit Points:   180 (258 w/ CON item and GFL)
    Spell Points: 478 
    BAB:          9\9\14 
    Fortitude:    11 
    Reflex:       15 
    Will:         15 
    
    Capped/Geared 
    Hit Points:   410 (128 base, 100 con, 87 feat, 96 enchanted)
    Spell Points: 487 or 587 when wearing POPX
    BAB:          +13/+16
    Fortitude:     25 or 22 when wearing POPX
    Reflex:        31 or 28 when wearing POPX
    Will:          31 or 28 when wearing POPX
    Oriental swaps her Trinket slot between Head of Good Fortune with Alchemical Resistance Ritual, and a Pearl of Power X. This is a bit of a pain as I often forget and either am 100 spell points short, or run the quest with the POPX instead of the intended +3 to saves.

    Code:
    AC                       Capped/geared    
    10 base                  10 base
     2 centered              12 dexterity* 
     1 halfling               7 wisdom
     6 dex                    6 armor
     1 dex (air stance)       5 deflection
     3 wis                    4 dodge
     3 +6 dex item            3 centered
     3 +6 wis item            1 size
     5 +5 protect item       --
     6 +6 armor item         48
     1 ritual 
    --
    41 
    
     4 shield
     1 haste
    --
    46                       53 self buff
    
    * in greater wind stance
    [Update] thanks for suggestions!

    Code:
                      Starting          Feat/Enhancement
                     Base Skills         Modified Skills
    Skills           (Level 1)            (Level 16)    Capped/Geared
    Balance               7                    25            45
    Concentration         6                    23            50
    Jump                  6                    25            33
    Spot                  6                    21.5          41
    Tumble                7                    16            27
    
    Not enough skill points for useful UMD.

    Code:
    Feats
     (1) Stunning Blow
     (3) Cleave 
     (6) Two Weapon Fighting
    (12) Improved Two Weapon Fighting
    (15) Improved Critical: Bludgeoning Weapons
    (18) Greater Two Weapon Fighting
    
    Monk Bonus Feats
     (1) (monk 1) Stunning Fist
     (3) (monk 2) Power Attack
     (6) (monk 3) Weapon Finesse
    (11) (monk 6) Toughness
    
    Wizard Bonus Feats
     (3) (wiz 1) Extend Spell
    (10) (wiz 5) Quicken Spell
    [Update] dropped Dodge added Weapon Finesse at level 6
    [Cap Update] reworked to include TWF chain after Module 8 came out

    Note that I seem to be entirely missing whatever feat I selected at level 12. This concerns me, I'm sure I didn't just forget to take one! Where did it go?

    Also the Quicken turned out to be a waste, I never use it. Maybe if Solid Fog worked correctly. But it doesn't and I am likely going to swap for Mental Toughness and pick up another hundred spell points.

    Code:
    Enhancements
    Halfling Dexterity II
    Halfling Cunning III
    Halfling Guile III
    Halfling Luck (Fortitude) I
    Halfling Luck (Will) I
    
    Racial toughness II
    
    Monk Special Attacks
     Lifting the Veil
     Receptive Earth
     Restoring the Balance
     Difficulty at the Beginning
     Rise of the Phoenix
    Monk Animal Path 
     Way of the Patient Tortoise III
    Monk Improved Recovery I
    Monk Prestige Enhancement 
     Shintao Monk II
    Monk Way of Air Master of Thunder
    Monk Way of Earth Adept of Rock
    Monk Wisdom III
    
    Wizard Intelligence II
    I expect to be in wind stance most of the time. I don't expect to be using monk-special punches very often if at all.

    [Cap Update] Reworked completely when Shintao II came up in Update 7. And my comment about using the monk special punches was way off base, I use them all the time. ALL the time.

    Code:
    Spell (1): Mage Armor
    Spell (1): Jump
    Spell (1): Shield
    Spell (1): Protection From Evil
    Spell (1): Ray of Enfeeblement
    Spell (2): Blur
    Spell (2): Touch of Idiocy
    Spell (2): Glitterdust
    Spell (2): Web
    Spell (3): Haste
    Spell (3): Rage
    Spell (3): Heroism
    Spell (3): Displacement
    Spell (4): Fire Shield
    Spell (4): Solid Fog
    Spell (4): Stoneskin
    All are buffs, except those chosen for their ability to bypass SR and/or saves.

    [Update] dropped resist energy, added Touch of Idiocy.
    [Cap Update] the spell list holds up pretty well, but at higher levels Mage Armor, Touch of Idiocy, web and Glitterdust drop off - replace with Detect Secret Doors, Knock, Invisibility and See Invisible. Also I added Fireball over Rage for Hadoogun-based reasons.

    Code:
    This build created using Character Plan by DDO Character Planner Version 2.96 DDO Character Planner Home Page Thanks Ron!
    Last edited by geoffhanna; 12-09-2010 at 07:30 AM. Reason: CAP update

  2. #2
    Community Member Raiken's Avatar
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    weapon finess does work for unarmed, i would go with level up points in dex and wis for the ac , + to attack if you get weapon finesse, and to help stunning fist dc

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by geoffhanna View Post
    I continue to struggle with two conundrums: how to create anything useful that uses Monk hand-to-hand combat, and how to create a melee caster. This build attempts to combine both.
    Easiest way to be a good melee caster is to be Warforged, so arcane spells can factor into your own healing, compensating for bad hp and AC. WF also get Power Attack enhancements, so 1-2 fighter levels and 14-15 sorc/wiz levels work great, with focus on buffs and offensive spells that have no save (Solid Fog, Wall of Fire, Enervate + Finger to kill things). But obviously, that doesn't work with your goal of "lots of punching".

    In D&D there's a feat called Ascetic Mage which allows a monk/sorc to use charisma for AC instead of wisdom, and to burn spells for unarmed damage. Without a similar kind of explicit support in the game rules, I wouldn't suggest combining classes like that.

    Quote Originally Posted by geoffhanna View Post
    Dodge? One point of AC worth taking? If not, what instead?
    Dodge is slightly worth it if your AC is already high, because then it might take a monster from hitting you 20% to 15%, which means you'd last 25% longer. But since you seem to be having trouble getting much AC, dodge wouldn't really help you. The obvious AC factor you're missing is Combat Expertise, for which your wizardly intelligence qualifies you, but CE doesn't go well with casters.

    Quote Originally Posted by geoffhanna View Post
    With all the newer badguys that debuff, is self-buffing still viable?
    They actually make it more valuable. Any old fighter or barbarian can get a ton of buffs passed out at the start of a quest, but if they're dispelling in the middle of combat they can suddenly be in trouble. Having wizard ability means you can rebuff yourself immediately when that happens. (The downside is that a lower caster level from being a halfbreed wizard makes their dispel attempts more reliable) (And with under CL 11 you can hardly do Resist Energy).


    Quote Originally Posted by geoffhanna View Post
    AC seems really low. What am I missing?
    Combat Expertise +5
    Protection +5
    Natural Armor +3 to +5
    Chaosgarde +2 (normally get AC 6 off the robe slot instead, or AC 4 from Mage Armor spell)

    Quote Originally Posted by geoffhanna View Post
    I put all the ability raises into STR. Does weapon finesse work on unarmed combat?
    Yes, you can finesse with fists if you can't afford str points.
    Last edited by Angelus_dead; 09-04-2008 at 03:06 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Yet more questions

    Thanks for the responses!

    I failed to include one constraint, the character will be in a halfling-only guild

    Combat Expertise was (as you suspected) left out on purpose. I assumed it impractical for any kind of caster, even a self-buff-only sort of caster.

    Based on the other suggestions, I switched to DEX instead of STR, which also meant a need for Weapon Finesse. I also revisited and improved the AC calculation.

    Remaining/New Open questions:
    • I am up to 51 AC with barkskin. Items, auras and bard song = low-sixty-ish?
    • Is low-sixties AC enough to be worth having?
    • Going to need a Greensteel hitpoint item? (I assume yes)
    • Spellpoints enough to keep buffs on all the time? (I assume yes but may want magi item)
    • Which melee caster build will be more effective? This one? Or this one?

  5. #5
    Community Member Raiken's Avatar
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    even with no combat expertise, you can use defensive fighting after buffing for another 2 ac instead of 5 from CE

  6. #6
    Community Member Thrudh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geoffhanna View Post
    Remaining/New Open questions:
    • I am up to 51 AC with barkskin. Items, auras and bard song = low-sixty-ish?
    • Is low-sixties AC enough to be worth having?
    • Going to need a Greensteel hitpoint item? (I assume yes)
    • Spellpoints enough to keep buffs on all the time? (I assume yes but may want magi item)
    • Which melee caster build will be more effective? This one? Or this one?
    51 AC is good even at end-game... low 60s AC is very very good... that even helps against raid bosses

    Plus, the best part about being a melee/wizard is self-cast displacement... With a 50+ AC and self-cast displacement, you will not get hit very often.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiken View Post
    even with no combat expertise, you can use defensive fighting after buffing for another 2 ac instead of 5 from CE
    I thought of that. My ranger has a hard time keeping Defensive Fighting active, but she self-heals via spell and that ends the stance. Potion-based self-healing does not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thrudh View Post
    ...Plus, the best part about being a melee/wizard is self-cast displacement... With a 50+ AC and self-cast displacement, you will not get hit very often.
    That stacks with Solid Fog effects right?

  8. #8
    Founder Osharan_Tregarth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geoffhanna View Post
    I thought of that. My ranger has a hard time keeping Defensive Fighting active, but she self-heals via spell and that ends the stance. Potion-based self-healing does not?
    Correct. Potions don't break stance.

    Neither does lay on hands, for paladin based characters. (Not really applicable to your build, but there it is)
    Osharan, Esharan, Osharina, Usharina, etc... I'm the 'sharans. Epoxy. Notverysexy.
    I've taken the craft disturbing mental image feat... You have been warned!
    Share and Enjoy!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by geoffhanna View Post
    That stacks with Solid Fog effects right?
    It does not stack with fog effects.

  10. #10

    Default Update

    I ran this character from 1st to 6th level over the weekend, and wow! This character is a blast to play! Veteran players on TWF characters outkill me. But not by much, I am absolutely carrying my weight.

    I know that monk unarmed combat does not have the DPS of advanced twf or thf but it sure is more stylin'. Charge a bad guy, time the cleave just right, and you leap into the air and kick him in the head! How cool is that!?
    Code:
    Self-buffed at level six (in Wind stance)          Spell List
    AC:      29                                        Bulls Strength
    HP:      89                                        Blur
    MP:      306                                       Expeditious Retreat
    Saves:   +11/+14/+12                               Mage Armor
    Unarmed: +11 tohit 1d6+4 dmg                       Prot from Evil
                                                       Shield
    I am usually in Power Attack stance using +3 flaming handwraps (+10 tohit 2d6 + 10 dmg)

    As expected, I don't often use the elemental punches except vs. red names. I do use the double stun attacks all the time, but they aren't landing very often; I need to figure out how to pump up these DCs.

    She is the most active character I have played. It would help a lot if I had real twitch skills, especially against heavy hitters like ogres and trolls. I'm getting better, but I might want to move the Toughness feat up in the stack; I fail to get out of the way more often than I should. And I chow through the CSW potions
    Last edited by geoffhanna; 09-24-2008 at 08:04 AM.

  11. #11

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    I am bumping the build threads that I still use to avoid the Great Purge of 09.

  12. #12
    Community Member Thrudh's Avatar
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    I've been looking at my ranger/wizard... and I just don't see any reason to go for 5th level and 6th level spells... (unless you're warforged and want self-cast Reconstruct)

    I'm thinking 7-8 levels of wizard gives the best bang for the buck... so I'll probably go 12/8 ranger/wizard...

    Monks get Abundant step at level 12... and that is a ridiculously nice ability. I'm thinking a 12/8 monk/wizard might be a good combo for end-game.

  13. #13
    Founder Osharan_Tregarth's Avatar
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    I'm still on the fence for my Ranger/wizard(which is why he's been stalled at level 12 forever)

    I'm definitely going for 11/5 Ranger/Wizard(Warforged), but haven't been able to decide what I'm doing after that.
    Osharan, Esharan, Osharina, Usharina, etc... I'm the 'sharans. Epoxy. Notverysexy.
    I've taken the craft disturbing mental image feat... You have been warned!
    Share and Enjoy!

  14. #14

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    I am rethinking end plans a little.

    Definitely still going for 9/7 now, but am no longer certain whether I will finish 12/8 and get abundant step, or 9/11 and get tensor's transformation.

    p.s. this character is SO fun to play

  15. #15

    Default Cap Report: A Love Letter

    This character capped three or four weeks ago and I wanted to update how she turned out.

    In a word, "awesome"!

    I finished her as a monk12/wiz8. Partly because I wanted her to have the monk icon rather than the wizard icon (it saves explanations when entering new groups), but mainly because I wanted Abundant Step. Which, by the way, is so wonderful it defies explanation.

    She has great saves, reasonable AC, enough HP, and with Displacement always on is so survivable that even I have a hard time getting her killed.

    There have been changes to the leveling plan since the OP. Not surprising since the game has changed so much in two years. The biggest changes: unarmed combat gains benefits from the TWF chain, and Monk prestige enhancements. I'll update the OP with the current feat and enhancement lists.

    --------------------

    A favorite thing to do: jump-cast Fireball while I yell "Ha-DOO-Gun" over voice chat and see who gets the Ryu reference.

    --------------------

    People regularly ask me why I put eight levels of wizard on my monk. I used to go into the specific advantages, but (a) it gets boring to type that much and (b) most people still aren't impressed, and (c) it doesn't give the whole picture.

    I built this character to be a fighter/magic-user because she is fun to play. The eight levels of wizard add to the fun. That is the whole reason: she's fun!

    I tried a lot of fighter/wizard combos but they all sucked at fightering and also at magic-usering and that leaves one with nothing useful at all. On the other hand, twelve levels of Monk provide all of the benefits of a full-on Light monk. I sacrifice Quivering Palm, but I don't miss it: a pair of vorpal kamas gets you to the same place a lot faster (on those monsters that the game still allows you to instant-kill). She punches a tad lighter but not noticeably: she is essentially as serviceable as any other light Monk. But she is more than compensated by constantly-on Shield, Fire Shield and Displacement.

    She duals vorpal kamas when she has to but prefers punching. Hand wraps with +10 stunning are mandatory. Most combats start with Stunning Blow/Stunning Fist, and with the hand wraps stun occurs quite often. She punches very very quickly; once she has something stunned the screen fills with clouds of damage numbers.

    But melee is only one of her capabilities. She buffs, she casts, she crowd controls, she keeps her party free of curses and other maladies, she raises the cleric when necessary, and also she punches whatever needs punching.

    This morning was a perfect illustration. I join Epic Party Crashers already in progress. I end up facing the red-named hammer fighter boss from the assassin troupe in the bathrooms with a Favored Soul. No idea where the rest of the party is.


    • Round 1: Punch Punch Punch - bad guy taking slow damage, FvS is taking a beating
    • Round 2: Cast Displacement, Heroism, Stoneskin on FVS, keep Haste on us both - FvS damage slows, DPS goes up a little
    • Round 3: Walk of the Sun finisher - DPS goes up a little. FvS gets stunned
    • Round 4: Grasp the Earth Dragon finisher - we won't get stunned again. I get agro, but not taking much damage
    • Rounds 5-10: I keep up both finishers, Haste, Displacements, Stoneskins and Fire Shield (cold) plus my usual buffs. Punching toggles between Fists of Light, Smite, and Storm Strike III. A Rogue eventually joins us and agro switches but nothing really changes. The bad guy takes forever to kill but he can't lay a hand on us; the end is inevitable.


    And this was just one fight. There are so many buttons to mash to play her correctly. Spells, finishers, must have the right weapon ... lots and lots of buttons. Its such a challenge! Playing Oriental is never boring.

    I have a lot of characters and I love them all. But Oriental is special. I can't get her into every group, some people will never understand. She is never going to be the flesh-ripping DPS fiend that my barbarian is, or the brutal crowd lock-down caster that my wizard is. She isn't supposed to be. She's supposed to be fun. And she is.


    So fun

  16. #16

    Smile Leveling plan

    I got a message asking me to lay out the order of levels and feats. I was confused by this request until I reviewed the way I had written it in the OP. Now I understand. Clarity is good

    Code:
    Level  Class  Feats 
    
     (1)  Monk    Stunning Blow, Stunning Fist 
     (2)  Wiz     Extend Spell
     (3)  Monk    Cleave, Power Attack
     (4)  Wiz     none
     (5)  Wiz     none
     (6)  Monk    Weapon Finesse, Two Weapon Fighting
     (7)  Wiz     none
     (8)  Monk    none
     (9)  Monk    --- open --- you choose
    (10)  Wiz     Quicken Spell
    (11)  Monk    Toughness
    (12)  Wiz     Improved Two Weapon Fighting
    (13)  Wiz     none    
    (14)  Wiz     none
    (15)  Monk    Improved Critical: Bludgeoning Weapons
    (16)  Monk    none
    (17)  Monk    none
    (18)  Monk    Greater Two Weapon Fighting
    (19)  Monk    none
    (20)  Monk    none
    The order only really matters up to 12th level.

    Sorry about the weird (open) comment in level 12 (edit now level 9), I am still unable to tell what feat I selected there, as far as I can tell I don't have one. I guess am going to have to get a heart of wood and work through this again myself just so I can tell
    Last edited by geoffhanna; 12-09-2010 at 07:31 AM.

  17. #17
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    Did you take the monk path at lvl 6 instead of one of the feats listed perhaps, and thus it moved to lvl 12 ??

  18. #18

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    Oh... maybe? I do have a monk path ... hmmm ....

  19. #19
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    That looks like a lot of fun! I love weird builds that defy standard cookie-cutter roles in parties.

    -Aradaine

  20. #20

    Smile Playing Roles

    Quote Originally Posted by Aradaine View Post
    That looks like a lot of fun! I love weird builds that defy standard cookie-cutter roles in parties.
    She is capable of filling the cookie-cutter role "Light Monk". As far as I know that role only exists in ToD, but she is quite competent at it.

    She is also exceptionally well-suited for the "Stunner" role in epics.

    With her attack speed, she is a top-shelf vorpal user too, but I'm not sure that is actually a "role" so much as it is an excellent way to take out the trash.

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