Many thanks to everyone who read or used this build. I have now posted an updated version here: http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=407723
The original thread will still be preserved for posterity.
Divine Phoenix – an unarmed human healing amp build (15 Paladin, 4 Monk, 1 Rogue)
First I want to give major props to SolarDawning for the Solar Phoenix build (http://forums.ddo.com/showthread.php?t=309261), which was the primary inspiration for this character.
That said, I was interested in finding a way to increase the damage output while still retaining the survivability and versatility of the Solar Phoenix. I was also interested in making better use (in my humble opinion) of the paladin class with my build, beyond the 21% healing amp from the Hunter of the Dead prestige.
Divine Might, Divine Favor, and Zeal are three of the paladin’s most powerful abilities, and all of them gain in relative power with increasing attack speed. Since nothing (as far as I know) attacks faster than a hasted, haste-boosted, unarmed monk, then it stands to reason that an unarmed monk-splash paladin would put those abilities to their greatest possible benefit.
I also find that for me to get excited about playing a character it needs to be able to play solo much of the time, and I really do not like using hirelings since they just slow me down. Soloability boils down, in many ways, to having a potent source of self-healing. This build has that in spades: healing ki and fists of light as a constant, low source of heals as well as a handful of beefy Lay on Hands, then the whole healing mix is topped off with maximized cure serious wounds. All of which are boosted by 300-400% healing amp and a smattering of paladin devotion. Oh, and don’t forget easy access to 40+ umd, which is to say, no-fail heal scrolls.
So to recap: dps + self-heals = fun!
Without further ado, on to…(drum roll please) THE BUILD!!!
This build really shines if you have a past life as a monk. That is what my current character has, and I highly recommend it, though I do not believe that it is strictly necessary.
16 strength (+5 levels, +2 tome, +6 item, +2 stance, +1 human adaptability = 32 without even trying. Add in +2 ship buffs, rage, a +7 item and +1 exceptional = 38)
15 dexterity (+2 tome, +6 item, +1 exceptional = 24)
14 constitution (+2 tome, +2 ship, +2 rage, +6 item = 26)
8 intelligence (+2 tome = 10)
8 wisdom (+2 tome, +6 item = 16 which is more than enough to cast level 4 spells)
16 charisma (+2 tome, +6 item, +2 enhancements, +1 human adaptability +1 exceptional = 28)
For 32-point build, just drop starting charisma to 15 and put your final level-up stat boost at level 20 into charisma instead of strength. This is not recommended as a 28-point build.
Feats and leveling progression:
1 R) Toughness, Two-weapon fighting
2 M) Power attack (M)
3 P) Past life: monk
4-8 P) Extend at level 6
9 M) Improved two-weapon fighting, toughness (M)
10 M) Path of Harmonious Balance
11-12 P) Improved Critical: Bludgeoning
13-16 P) Greater two-weapon fighting at 15
18-20 P) Maximize at 18
Haste Boost (1)
Human adaptability: strength (2)
Human greater adaptability: charisma (4)
Human Improved Recovery III (12)
Human Versatility II (3)
Way of the Patient Tortoise (1)
Improved Recovery I (2)
Extra Lay on Hands III (6)
Hunter of the Dead II (6)
Racial Toughness II (3)
Sneak attack training I (1)
Devotion IV (10)
Charisma II (6)
Wisdom I (2)
Paladin toughness III (6)
Divine Might III (6)
Extra turning II (3)
Improved turning II (3)
Void Strike I (1)
Divine Righteousness (1)
“Hey Whomhead, why did you go for that strange class split?”
Glad you asked! The paladin has many powerful abilities that are, I feel, often under-rated. So here’s a breakdown of my reasoning.
15 Paladin gets:
Hunter of the Dead – this grants negative energy immunity as well as 10% healing amp at each tier for 21% total.
Zeal – 10% double strike! There is a continual debate among the monk community whether fire stance for the extra strength and ki generation, or wind stance for the double strike chances, is the better stance for dps. My answer: I want both! Seriously though, get yourself some haste and cast zeal, and you get the best of both worlds. Can you say Win/Win? I knew you could!
Cure spells – when maximized and amplified by your healing amp, the devotion enhancements, and superior potency, each cast of CSW will hit you for better than 300 hit points, and even a cure light will hit you for more than 150. You get two level 4 spell slots with 15 paladin. I chose to take CSW, but deathward and stalwart pact are both perfectly viable alternatives since your CMW will still be potent.
Divine Might 3 - +6 damage per swing at the attack rate of a hasted/haste-boosted unarmed monk? Yes please, with gravy on top!
Divine grace – charisma bonus added to all saves. It is quite easy to get each save higher than 30, and with some buffs they’ll be around 35-40 each.
Divine Righteousness – 1 minute of double hate generation coupled with a little bit of gear makes you a potent hate tank under the right conditions.
4 Monk levels gets:
Evasion – pretty obvious how powerful this ability is, especially when coupled with crazy-high saves.
Light path – there are just a huge amount of benefits to this path. On a low-monk splash this path does so much for your character, it almost doesn’t seem fair. You get all of the light finishers (-25% sp costs for you and the party, +2 to-hit, stun immunity, and heals… yum!). You also get fists of light, which when coupled with 400% healing amp gets you a whopping 4-8 hp back with every hit.
Healing amp - 10% healing amp from enhancements. Hey, every extra source adds a lot of amp, so load me up!
2d6 base fists damage – if you have the monk past-life (which is highly recommended for this build) and the Garments of Equilibrium your base fists will hit for 2d6 damage. Not too shabby for one feat and an extra level beyond that required for the light path.
Rogue level gets:
Haste Boost – stacking 15% bonus to attack speed. Pretty self-explanatory how powerful this.
UMD as a class skill – widely accepted as the most powerful skill in the game. Self heals, fire shield, teleport… the list of benefits is nearly limitless. You also get open locks, which with just 4 points at character creation can still get you picking nearly every lock in the game.
1d6 + 3 sneak attack – while it is just a little bit of damage it is basically free, and hey, damage is damage, right?
NOTE: I have considered going with a Fighter level instead of the Rogue level. Both get Haste Boost, so that’s a wash. Beyond that you’re trading one feat and full BAB for baby sneak attack damage and all the versatility that comes with Rogue skills – particularly UMD. For me the advantages of Rogue for solo play made that my choice, but going Fighter and rearranging the feats some to get Quicken or another Toughness would be a worthy alternative.
30% healing amp from enhancements. Multiplicative stacking of healing amp means more sources are incredibly powerful. As with the Solar Phoenix this is a core component of this build.
Bonus feat – I figure that at a bare minimum this gives you 22 hit points, and anything more interesting you can think of beyond that is just gravy.
No penalties to any stat at character creation. This is surprisingly important given the extreme level of MAD (multiple attribute dependency) this build has.
The ability to even out to stats with human adaptability enhancements.
An extra skill at each level.
The all-important Dee Pee Ess
After having this build posted for a while, many of the comments center on the notion that this build will have bad DPS. Since this seems to be a major concern, I am adding this section to address the issue.
First point: no, this build will not be able to deal comparable dps to a fully dps-specc’ed barbarian or fighter (though it may very well edge them out on 100% fort targets). Of course you have to make some trade-offs when it comes to survivability and damage. This is more or less inherent in good game design and, aside from WF arcanes, holds pretty true in DDO. On the other hand, this build will deal comparable, if not greater, damage than that of a pure light monk, which is the more logical comparison to make than to H-Orc barbs. But compared to that light monk it will have better to-hit values due to paladin buffs and burst damage from smites. Of course the monk gets better stuns, but the Divine Phoenix also has the benefits of higher saves, umd, and healing amp compared to that light monk.
Second point: it is really easy to underestimate the DPS potential of this build. I am not sufficiently “mathy” to go into a full on analysis of it, but I am quite comfortable saying that this build will out-dps any of the longsword-wielding Solar Phoenix variants. While in DPS mode (more on that later), the Divine Phoenix attacks ~10% faster due to unarmed fighting, has a higher base damage (2d6 for fists VS 1d8 for greensteel longswords), and has many more bursting effects that add an enormous amount of damage per hit. In auto-crit conditions the difference is even more apparent as all of the bursting effects are amplified by 50% as well.
Third and final point: I play this character in two distinct modes – Survival and DPS. The differences between the two modes primarily revolve around gear changes, but can be extended even into changing your enhancements for a healthy increase in damage.
In most epics and end-game raids the healers are designed to keep characters with average levels of healing amp alive. This means that your 400% healing amp is largely going to waste, except for the amusement healers may get out of seeing really big green numbers appear above your head. In these groups your role is to get out there and kill stuff. And that’s pretty much the end of the story.
It may go without saying (but I will do it anyway) that while in these situations you will want to have all of your DPS-enhancing gear on: Garments of Equilibrium or Enlightened Vestments (these rock the house in Epic Chronoscope) instead of the Dragontouched Robes, Shintao Cord instead of a Bard necklace… the list goes on. Check out the gear section below for a full layout.
In addition to these instantaneous gear changes, if you have a few days where you’ll be running the same content, you can change your enhancements around as well. Because there is no difference in feat requirements for the Hunter of the Dead and Knight of the Chalice prestige lines, you can swap between the two every 3 days. I would strongly recommend doing so if this fits into your playstyle. For example, choose KotC over the weekends and HotD while you’re soloing during the week. KotC tier 2 adds 2d6 and +3 to-hit to your attacks against evil outsiders, which comprise the majority of stuff in end-game raids. Finally, as with all of the other paladin abilities, the faster you attack, the more powerful the ability is. And never forget that no one’s attacking faster than you.
Miscellaneous miscellany: points and summations
Take whatever you want at creation – you’ll have a ton. Priorities are UMD, Balance, Concentration. Open lock is nice, as are jump and 1 in tumble. As you level, prioritize UMD, concentration and balance.
6 greensteel charisma skills item
4 greater heroism
3 golden cartouche
2 good luck
3 human versatility
= 50 use magic device, but can hit 38-40 with barely any gear swapping for easy heal scroll use
20 heroic durability
20 racial toughness
30 paladin toughness
30 greater false life
5 Tortoise path
10 Draconic vitality
1.21 Hunter of the Dead
1.25 Jidz + fire stance
1.3 Epic gloves of the claw
= 408% total healing amp
I have not worked to increase this at all, so I don’t know exactly how it would go. I do think that with the right gear you could get situational good AC, but the limitations placed on the healing amp gear makes AC tough to achieve.
*important caveat* this is very much a work in progress since I am still trying to accumulate the epic items and ToD rings. I like the way it is shaping up though!
Because the needs of a character while soloing are typically quite different from those for group play (i.e. raids/epics) I'm have put together two gear options. The one on the left is for groups, where DPS is king, and the one on the right is for soloing (aka "survival mode), where things like big healing amp and superior potency are more important than a few extra points of damage. Where there is only one option listed, then that's a permanent slot.
Head: Epic Helm of frost
Neck: Shintao cord / Smedgar's necklace (equip when resting for the Wis VI and soloing for the Sup. Pot.)
Goggles: Epic Raveneye
Trinket: Epic Gem of Many Facets (yellow slot: dunno here, maybe blindness immunity?)
Cloak: Epic Envenomed Cloak (green slot: Toughness)
Body: Garments of Equilbrium / 10/20/Earth Dragontouched
Bracers: Epic Jidz-tetka (green slot: Greater False Life; colorless slot: ?)
Gloves: Epic Gloves of the Claw
Boots: Epic Boots of Corrosion (green slot: heavy fort; colorless: ?)
Belt: Greensteel concordant opposition (+45 HP)
Ring 1: Kyosho’s + holy burst
Ring 2: One of the +6 Dex rings + shocking burst / Smedgar's + shocking burst
You'll want to fill the colorless slots with any exceptional +1 stats you're missing. I left those blank as which one will depend on which ring you get for shocking burst and whatever is needed to even out your stats.
It is certainly the case that much of the damage output of this build is tied to the ToD rings and other gear. However, I don’t have either of my rings bursted yet, and have still managed to lead several PUG raids and many quests in kill counts. I’m not trying to brag, just pointing out that players with less than optimal gear should not be shy to try this build out. It is easy and fast to level, and can dish out sustainable and acceptable dps levels without gear any fancier than some +2 Holy Handwraps of Bleeding (which I used almost exclusively from the moment I could equip them).
The Achilles Heel of gearing this build. Sadly the build does currently basically require the Devout Handwraps from the Shadow Crypt to break DR on Arreatrikos, Sulu, and the pit fiend gang. Hopefully in the future it will be easier to get DR-breaking wraps with the new crafting system, but until you do you should plan on spending some QT in the crypt. Fortunately it has some of the highest XP per minute in the game, so you probably would be hanging out there any way.
EDIT: It was pointed out that once you get Holyburst crafted on your ToD rings, then it becomes much easier to break pit-fiend DR, as it only requires silver-threaded wraps which can be acquired in the Catacombs. They can also be found as rare rewards in the end chest of Devil Assault, though I have run it many times without any luck. In any case, not quite the Achilles Heel it seemed at first.
I play as Fistsofsteel on Khyber (http://my.ddo.com/character/khyber/fistsofsteel/) check me out if you want to see how my gear accumulation is progressing.
Finally, thanks for reading! I really enjoy this build, and think that it has a lot to offer. If you have any critiques or things I’ve overlooked, please let me know.