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  1. #1
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    Default Build Wanted: Dragonborn Kensei Monk

    Hi. So, returning player here and before I dive into this to figure it out on my own, I wanted to see if there was some sample builds out there. I mainly like to tank, but I don't know if I will be able to in DDO 'cause I've not played it in close to four or five years before I posted this. I do like the Dragonborn, though, and I wanted to try to fit into an oriental/asian feel to them if at all possible. Thus, the idea of a kensei running around.

    Sooo... asking others for help on this and seeing what ideas others have to run with? Thanks!

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    First of all, almost anything you're going to end up with will be sub-optimal with your design criteria of Kensai + Monk + Dragonborn + tank. Most particularly, 'tanks' are primarily endgame builds designed for difficult content - they're unnecessary in easier content - and such tanks need to be so extensively optimized that any deviation from the gearing/past lives/builds tends to render them incapable of performing their job. At best, you can hope to build a durable character despite the fact that none of your other criteria provide any significant durability benefits.

    The classic reason to take Kensai/Monk was the T5 Kensai ability One With the Blade that permits using any melee weapon as a Ki weapon. However, in current DDO, this benefit isn't very useful. With Knight's Training, a Whirling Steel Strike Monk is already using the best one-handed weapon available. While you could potentially use a Great Axe, Great Sword or Falchion, THF is relatively weak right now, none of your class/race enhancements favor it and your choice of Monk precludes taking the tree that favors it best (Frenzied Berserker).

    Another benefit that seems lost by your approach is the ability to use Dexterity with any melee weapon via Ninja Spy/Kensai. Unfortunately, you've chosen one of the two races that suffers a penalty to Dexterity. The two stats Dragonborn do favor (Strength and Charisma) are of minimal use to this type of build and the bulk of enhancements in the Dragonborn tree are of no use for a melee build. That leaves the unenviable choice of either picking a different build approach or aiming for a build that ignores the fact that you're choosing one of the worst possible races for it.

    So it might help to more clearly break down what you really want. Rather than breaking it down in terms of specific game mechanics, try thinking of the look and feel of what you want.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hjarki View Post
    First of all, almost anything you're going to end up with will be sub-optimal with your design criteria of Kensai + Monk + Dragonborn + tank. Most particularly, 'tanks' are primarily endgame builds designed for difficult content - they're unnecessary in easier content - and such tanks need to be so extensively optimized that any deviation from the gearing/past lives/builds tends to render them incapable of performing their job. At best, you can hope to build a durable character despite the fact that none of your other criteria provide any significant durability benefits.

    The classic reason to take Kensai/Monk was the T5 Kensai ability One With the Blade that permits using any melee weapon as a Ki weapon. However, in current DDO, this benefit isn't very useful. With Knight's Training, a Whirling Steel Strike Monk is already using the best one-handed weapon available. While you could potentially use a Great Axe, Great Sword or Falchion, THF is relatively weak right now, none of your class/race enhancements favor it and your choice of Monk precludes taking the tree that favors it best (Frenzied Berserker).

    Another benefit that seems lost by your approach is the ability to use Dexterity with any melee weapon via Ninja Spy/Kensai. Unfortunately, you've chosen one of the two races that suffers a penalty to Dexterity. The two stats Dragonborn do favor (Strength and Charisma) are of minimal use to this type of build and the bulk of enhancements in the Dragonborn tree are of no use for a melee build. That leaves the unenviable choice of either picking a different build approach or aiming for a build that ignores the fact that you're choosing one of the worst possible races for it.

    So it might help to more clearly break down what you really want. Rather than breaking it down in terms of specific game mechanics, try thinking of the look and feel of what you want.
    Hm. Well, as I stated I'm not aiming at tanking at current as I get back into the swing of the game. I'm aiming at that asian/oriental feel, so perhaps a great sword or falchion might work? I don't know for sure there. I'm also not familiar with some of the concepts you stated.

    Other thing? I'm not a min-maxer or munchkin type of player. I want a build that's fun to play because it is that fun.

    By the asian/oriental feel, I mean something like a dragonborn samurai type or the like such as that. Dual wielding, or using overgrown weapons. I'd love to see what others have done with the race as well as get ideas from others out there. That's why I started this thread.

    Lastly, I guess you could term what I would like as a "bruiser" type of concept. Dishing out damage and able to take it. Perhaps an off-tank or the like? Hard to say on that one. I basically like going in with just one weapon usually, but I know that might not be doable so much in DDO as well without going for the bigger weapons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryukendo View Post
    By the asian/oriental feel, I mean something like a dragonborn samurai type or the like such as that. Dual wielding, or using overgrown weapons. I'd love to see what others have done with the race as well as get ideas from others out there. That's why I started this thread.
    Most of the Dragonborn builds you'll see are Charisma-based caster builds.

    In terms of the Asian/Oriental feel, Monk is a specific kind of Asian/Oriental - a martial artist in a robe. There aren't really any sets of Samurai armor or katana/wakizashi in the game, although maybe there's some cosmetic that looks vaguely like it. I think you might be fighting an uphill battle here, since DDO doesn't really have an equivalent of Kara-tur or similar settings.

    Lastly, I guess you could term what I would like as a "bruiser" type of concept. Dishing out damage and able to take it. Perhaps an off-tank or the like? Hard to say on that one. I basically like going in with just one weapon usually, but I know that might not be doable so much in DDO as well without going for the bigger weapons.
    With a melee Dragonborn, I'd probably go with either Paladin or Cleric.

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    Bwest Fwiends Memnir's Avatar
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    But, conversely, if you want to be a Dragonborn Kensi Monk, than go ahead and play one.
    It's a game. Have the fun you want to have with it - and tell conventional wisdom to go pound sand. Some of the most fun builds I've ever played went exactly contrary to what everyone else was doing. I had a blast, and the zeitgeist isn't the end all and be all in this game.

    Been saying it since 2005: play what you want and play it well.
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    Sounds like a very personal build. Honestly, your best bet would be to build it up yourself, then bring it to the forumites to analyze, and get suggestions from them. Then pick through the suggestions that you like, and the ones you dislike. This is one of the ways that I learned how to build personally.

    Granted, forumites don't know all, so that is why you should look into what they tell you.
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    Community Member NemesisAlien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hjarki View Post
    Most of the Dragonborn builds you'll see are Charisma-based caster builds.

    In terms of the Asian/Oriental feel, Monk is a specific kind of Asian/Oriental - a martial artist in a robe. There aren't really any sets of Samurai armor or katana/wakizashi in the game, although maybe there's some cosmetic that looks vaguely like it. I think you might be fighting an uphill battle here, since DDO doesn't really have an equivalent of Kara-tur or similar settings.



    With a melee Dragonborn, I'd probably go with either Paladin or Cleric.
    There are samurai style helmets, hoplite and roman as well...

    As for swords, what do you think khopesh are? Basically based on katana.

    For wakizashi, there are some daggers that can pass off as it, just need to equip every random till you see the right shape.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NemesisAlien View Post
    As for swords, what do you think khopesh are? Basically based on katana.
    DDO Khopeshes are admittedly ahistorical (the original art director apparently had no idea what one looked like and subsequent artists just went with it), but they're a thick, heavy blade rather than the long, thin blade of a katana. They're not 'based on' katana, but an Egyptian weapon that predates the katana.

    Truthfully, the closest thing DDO has to a katana would be the long sword, although the lack of curvature makes it look different.

    For wakizashi, there are some daggers that can pass off as it, just need to equip every random till you see the right shape.
    Wakizashi were slashing weapons, not piercing weapons. They also (like katana) had considerably different guards than Western-style swords.

    In any case, the lack of any Oriental elements in DDO means that the OP will have considerable difficulty putting together armor/weapons that look 'Oriental'.

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    Thanks to those that are encouraging my ideas. Fortunately just one going "oh, you will be disappointed" so I am definitely going to attempt this. I figure doing the first six levels as a Fighter/Kensei might be a good start?

    Also, since it is obvious that I will be doing a hefty balance between Str, Dex, and Wis at least with maybe Cha on the side, any advice there?

    Far as the oriental feel that is being a "problem" with one bit on here, I'll note that is why I wanted to do the monk. Even if I can not stick a straw hat on the Dragonborn, the robes themselves LOOK like the feel I want.

    Further, I'll note classically samurai were not oriented on just the katana and wakizashi. You also had overgrown iron studded clubs, long bows, spears, staves, and a few chain and rope weapons.

    Also, I'll note I could also loosen up a bit and go Chinese style as well.

    I'm still open to ideas, advice, and criticism. I'll note since I'm just returning, I'm mostly experimenting as it is. The first five or so levels as Kensei could really be the best start, now that I think about it. And with my inexperience, I have an important question because I just realized it.

    What monk enhancements pair well with Kensei? While Henshin Mystic looks cool, I also do not want to end up stuck with a quarterstaff here. Ninja Spy looks interesting, but as noted is more dexterity focused it seems. And I have little to no experience with the Shintao? It looks more ah.... unarmed focused?

    Hope to hear back with some criticism/positive response like I've mostly been seeing.

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    Community Member NemesisAlien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryukendo View Post
    Thanks to those that are encouraging my ideas. Fortunately just one going "oh, you will be disappointed" so I am definitely going to attempt this. I figure doing the first six levels as a Fighter/Kensei might be a good start?

    Also, since it is obvious that I will be doing a hefty balance between Str, Dex, and Wis at least with maybe Cha on the side, any advice there?

    Far as the oriental feel that is being a "problem" with one bit on here, I'll note that is why I wanted to do the monk. Even if I can not stick a straw hat on the Dragonborn, the robes themselves LOOK like the feel I want.

    Further, I'll note classically samurai were not oriented on just the katana and wakizashi. You also had overgrown iron studded clubs, long bows, spears, staves, and a few chain and rope weapons.

    Also, I'll note I could also loosen up a bit and go Chinese style as well.

    I'm still open to ideas, advice, and criticism. I'll note since I'm just returning, I'm mostly experimenting as it is. The first five or so levels as Kensei could really be the best start, now that I think about it. And with my inexperience, I have an important question because I just realized it.

    What monk enhancements pair well with Kensei? While Henshin Mystic looks cool, I also do not want to end up stuck with a quarterstaff here. Ninja Spy looks interesting, but as noted is more dexterity focused it seems. And I have little to no experience with the Shintao? It looks more ah.... unarmed focused?

    Hope to hear back with some criticism/positive response like I've mostly been seeing.
    There is a handwraps not monk built out there somewhere, need to dig it out, been wanting to try that...

    Its kensai with wraps, no monk, cant find the thread though, pretty sure i suscribed to it...

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    Quote Originally Posted by NemesisAlien View Post
    There is a handwraps not monk built out there somewhere, need to dig it out, been wanting to try that...

    Its kensai with wraps, no monk, cant find the thread though, pretty sure i suscribed to it...
    Sounds like someone succeeded in making an actual boxer of a fighter to me. Wouldn't mind seeing this just for kicks if you find it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NemesisAlien View Post
    As for swords, what do you think khopesh are? Basically based on katana.
    Khopeshes are based on... khopeshes.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khopesh
    Last edited by Kynestra; 03-29-2019 at 06:19 AM.
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    Also if you're looking for a katana style sword, there are several long swords in the game that are similar, such as heroic greensteel (Vale of Twilight / Shroud crafting) or Sirocco (Demon Sands) / Nicked Longsword (Sharn Syndicate) as well as random gen with the same skin.
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    Hm. I was looking to potentially get off the beaten path here.

    Researching some, I'm seeing some other weapons that appeal to me. Great axes, for example, great swords. Mauls are also a possibility. I've even looked at falchions as a big possibility there.

    In any case, that's also part of why I wanted to go kensei starting out.

    I'll also note someone else pointed out that a Cleric level might be a good thing, but I've got no experience with that one at all.

    In any case, thanks again for ideas and all. I'll let you fine folks know my progress as I go. From the looks, I'm going to be starting out as a Fighter and aiming at Kensei exclusively there. Which works fine for me!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryukendo View Post
    Which works fine for me!
    Have fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kynestra View Post
    Khopeshes are based on... khopeshes.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khopesh
    On screen it looks like japanese blade

    Anime style

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryukendo View Post
    Hm. I was looking to potentially get off the beaten path here.

    Researching some, I'm seeing some other weapons that appeal to me. Great axes, for example, great swords. Mauls are also a possibility. I've even looked at falchions as a big possibility there.

    In any case, that's also part of why I wanted to go kensei starting out.

    I'll also note someone else pointed out that a Cleric level might be a good thing, but I've got no experience with that one at all.

    In any case, thanks again for ideas and all. I'll let you fine folks know my progress as I go. From the looks, I'm going to be starting out as a Fighter and aiming at Kensei exclusively there. Which works fine for me!
    Ya, if youre going thf with greats swords, I would go 12 fighter and or splash 1 cleric for divine might.
    If you splash monk you won't be centered until level 12 tier5 one with blade. So maybe take 2 levels monk after 12 to get your evasion on, and switch to robes.
    Otherwise, thf is good for strength build. You take power attack and cleave. Which is maxed on thf. Really you don't need monk, but if you do it makes it an evasion evasion build, with high dodge cap. Otherwise as fighter you can use armor.
    Tho I would put points into str and cha, and splash 1 cleric for divine might. Easiest way to get higher str.
    Good luck
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vish View Post
    Ya, if youre going thf with greats swords, I would go 12 fighter and or splash 1 cleric for divine might.
    If you splash monk you won't be centered until level 12 tier5 one with blade. So maybe take 2 levels monk after 12 to get your evasion on, and switch to robes.
    Otherwise, thf is good for strength build. You take power attack and cleave. Which is maxed on thf. Really you don't need monk, but if you do it makes it an evasion evasion build, with high dodge cap. Otherwise as fighter you can use armor.
    Tho I would put points into str and cha, and splash 1 cleric for divine might. Easiest way to get higher str.
    Good luck
    Woah, back up. That's something I didn't know there. You have to be level 12 before you can get your tier 5?

    Right, that definitely changes some things for me. Does it have to be straight up to level 12 in one class or can it be multiple classes?

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    If you do not mind monk, take a look at classes> cleric> battle cleric 28/32 pts.
    With stats changes, it work with dragonborn.

    Edit. Glamer Guard of Shogun armor, a samurai helmet and a long swd thats looks like a katana, and poof! you are a samurai!!
    Last edited by Ballrus; 03-31-2019 at 02:44 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ballrus View Post
    If you do not mind monk, take a look at classes> cleric> battle cleric 28/32 pts.
    With stats changes, it work with dragonborn.

    Edit. Glamer Guard of Shogun armor, a samurai helmet and a long swd thats looks like a katana, and poof! you are a samurai!!
    Interesting. I'll have to look there.

    Also, what glamer items and the like would I need for that? And do you have a screenshot?

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