Monday we challenged the third adventure in the Vault of Night series in DDO. I was playing Martinier de Pasolai. Marty is a split fighter/thief who first started out as a character in the obscure tabletop system known as Throwing Stones. That game represented your character as dice. Each side had one of three colors – red, silver or gold. Each color was worth one point in a stat – Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence. The idea behind Marty was that he was a melee fighter but his stats were balanced. I started with four dice, one each of a highly imbalanced and one balanced. So I had the same score in all my stats. Intelligence was used for initiative, so he had good initiative. After that, when I leveled up by gaining a new stone, I only added dice that had two sides of each color.
So he had a bit of rogue and even bard (mostly just persuasion) in him. I was surprised to find that, in that system, he was really good at counterattacking, and knocking people to the ground or disarming him. A typical fight would go thus: Marty would hold off three guys, Patrick (a caster) would befuddle, paralyze, or otherwise drop other opponents into a pit, and Lucy would charge around the battlefield, leaving grease spots behind her.
Often, when those three guys attacked Marty, they would all fall down. This was fun. But Marty’s personality was fun, too. He was a “gladiator” – think professional wrestling done with armor in an arena. Some of the fights were fixed and Marty was the guy to “make sure the public had a good time and didn’t cotton on to the idea that the outcome was, er, predetermined”
Anyway, this doesn’t translate to D&D or consequently DDO very well, but I have gone with – highish INT and CHA, split fighter/thief (5/5 after last nights ding!) . In DDO he is a trap mechanic with no spot whatsoever, and is good with Bluff (bluff pulling rocks!) He has Combat Expertise, which he loves, and Improved Trip, which he also loves, and Improved Feint, which seems less useful.
Also, he’s dabbling in Use Magic Device, and he has the Least Dragonmark of Finding. So he often picks up wands in dungeons that he can use.
All of this stuff is probably way off the “power curve”. He has very low hit points for a plate tank of his level, for example. If he was keeping and holding aggro, the sneak attack dice he gets wouldn’t be as useful. However, it is all to frequently the case in DDO that whatever target “cannot be influenced”. Say, all undead, for starters.
But Marty has multiple “attack modes”, and this came in useful last night, as we were doing The Jungle of Khyber, quest 3 in the Vault of Night series. With Marty were Karayasama, she who dominates, Lobilya, halfling thief, and Worstof, Phritz’ ranger (he of the repeating heavy crossbow).
The Jungle of Khyber isn’t a jungle at all, but a cave (the opening to it is in a jungle, though!). Our mission is to track down, and rescue Veil, a drow rogue who is being pursued by a construct from the plane of Law, an Inevitable. Last week, we wiped when we pulled too many of the drow at once. This is a problem the encounter intends to give you, as the drow wander around a lot, and the archers among them love to retreat back up the corridor, leaving you to chase them or be filled full of holes. Meanwhile their casters will drop Flamestrikes on you.
But we got through that stuff this week, with a little more care, a little more caution and some better firepower. Marty is very effective against casters, but he has to go into “caster mode”. He switches out his normal +2 adamantine plate for some studded leather with spell resistance. He sneaks up on said caster, trips him with a sneak attack, and proceeds to beat him mercilessly (sneak attack damage applies while they are prone!). This works pretty well. Also, I get my evasion, so some of their area attacks miss me altogether.
The next area brought us beholders. Ugh. We see a beholder up ahead, buff up and I charge. I engage it, but I’m dropped by a disintegrate thrown by the SECOND beholder who was down a side passage. Karayasama gets one of the beholders charmed, and it kills the other one. Since we have ninth level cleric hirelings along, I am rezzed and all’s right with the world. With the help of a minor globe of invulnerability, we circle the remaining beholder and drop it quickly when the charm comes off.