Post by Lythe Featherblade on Apr 1, 2012 17:25:25 GMT
spear yes, quarterstaff however as nice as it would be on pitfiends, you lose your wisdom AC bonus as it's a monk weapon, and your AC would drop 32 points or so.
Favorite enemies, as a CS ranger I've found was always slightly different than my melee rangers... such as undead, if you're a pure archer they're not worth it, if you do melee with intuitive attack they're definitely worth taking
Post by Lythe Featherblade on Apr 1, 2012 21:27:37 GMT
My current zen isn't an optimal build to level up, as it is designed from scratch to take advantage of things such as double demi stat boosts, +16 gear and all the other aspects of being level 80. Until you get at least single demi and maybe level 65, you are better of going straight zen such as this build, or if you want something that can tank and stay standing, as a dexer or dexer uni.
I am still looking at posting my zen at some point but there will be no UR/secret/open versions. If you are starting up and want a sub UR race ranger, something like Kurtulmak's Chosen (open subrace forums dexer), Elven Warder (dexer, ranger section) for melee, or any of the zen ranger builds for zen. Elven Warder was actually designed for and has notes for multiple secret/UR subraces, and I just posted an open subrace zen (8 legs up on the competition) if you have absolutely no idea which way you're going to go.
Pure Ranger, Max Craft Armor, Discipline, Hide, Listen, Tumble
Feats 01: Blooded, FE Outsiders 03: Zen Archery 05: FE Abberations 06: Intuitive Attack 09: WF Shortbow 10: FE Magical Beasts 12: WF Spear 15: Great Fortitude, FE Shapechangers 18: Lightning Reflexes 20: FE Monstrous Humanoids 21: Armor Skin 23: Bane of Enemies 24: Great Wisdom 1 25: Epic Prowess 26: EWF Spear 27: Great Wisdom 2 29: FE Reptillian Humanoids 30: Great Wisdom 3, FE Vermin 32: FE Animals 33: Great Wisdom 4 35: FE Magical Beasts, Dragons 36: Great Wisdom 5 38: EWF Shortbow 39: Great Wisdom 6 40: FE Elementals
We will end up at WIS66 with +14s, wis arti and double demi giving you exactly the amount of wis you need for an extra DC of called shot. I could have went for a few more DC but felt that a little bit of checks was worth it. What do you think?
These stats are with a BUR race, but should scale down to secret.
With a bow (at 1x with +16s), I have 108AB. Up to LWF: Shortbow.
With a spear, no focuses, I have 101AB. More than enough for most current content.
As far as starting stats, I see the Zen as a Greater Ruin machine, for every DC you get your chance of killing a mob goes up 5%, not much is more important. In Lythe's case, he stayed at 64DC rather than bumping 4 more wisdom to get 65, which allows more STR/DEX for checks. On an open build, I really wouldn't suggest it.
Instead, pick up your last 2 Great Wisdom. Bump your starting wisdom to 18.
Post by Lythe Featherblade on Apr 3, 2012 3:48:54 GMT
I just did a bit of math and found that at level 60, with a +14 wis item, you would have 58 wisdom, and a DC of 57 (+1 for PoM item, +1 if you somehow find an ego item). So, DC 58. Don't count on wisdom arti, double demi or anything else. Getting to level 60 is relatively easy, getting demi levels or a wis artifact can be very hard.
Assuming you find +14 str and dex items, you'd have a base of 32. Universal Contumacy ring gives +2 to checks, so you can be a base of 34.
To put that into perspective, my old SD is dex based, and has a 32 Str, with +4 from an item. At 36 base on str checks, its a 'light' uni tank, surviving any trash mob stat checks, still able to tank stuff with the aid of the recently modified bard epic ability, but if a mob that needs to be tanked appears, like a pitfiend, and the bard is too far away or out of UUU, sooner or later the SD will be on the ground helpless and dead.
So your stats give you a bit of survival, but when things get serious, you'll still want to be cowering in the back.
As a zen ranger your best defense is range. I don't even try to avoid combat, I'm so busy sniping most of the time that I have to make an effort to keep up with the party and stay where I'm surrounded by mobs.
Now back to your 58 DC. A melee ranger with 58 in str or dex (so melee version of what you have) would have a DC of 55 (PoM gloves, no ego item). At 58 in one stat, they make any stat checks in the hells for that stat unaided. So if a malebranch comes, the dex ranger can step up and generally stay standing and alive. Your zen can't. They trade a little DC for actual tanking ability.
Getting to actual demi levels means surviving nessus. Unlike most runs, nessus requires a bit more thought into party composition. If you're doing a job, you want to be able to do it to the best of your ability. Sure you have 58 DC, but a kenku (secret race with +4 wis) zen ranger with great wis 10 and max starting wis has 2 more DC and is sitting at 60. It's not the trash knockdown you're worrying about, it's the big mobs like pitfiends and malebranches with str/dex checks in the mid 40's or higher, which you aren't going to make anyways especially when people get scattered, start to limbo and the bard isn't anywhere near you. So then you have to look at what you're actually contributing to the party. You're ok at surviving, but you're not a tank. So your DC 58 called shot at range is what you bring, and I'm playing my str or dex ranger with a DC of 59, which works with melee or at range, and my lesser stat check (dex or str) base of 45 or higher meaning I can still tank most things without breaking a sweat even when the bard is crumpled dead in a corner. Every character counts in a party doing harder runs, and while I don't want to sound elitist, Nessus is not the place to go expecting to be dragged because you'll become more powerful later. I don't think I've ever seen a nessus run with more than 1 zen ranger, and I can't say the same for very many other classes.
Lastly, damage. Maybe I've been bringing the wrong message across when I say zen rangers should have intuitive attack so they can dish out some damage.
The number 1 thing zen rangers contribute is called shot. You want to have a really good called shot if that's the only thing you can bring. Being able to tank some trash mobs doesn't count for much. Intuitive attack is for when you run out of CS'able mobs and there are some crit immunes that need beating down. It is not really something you want to design your character around unless you have resources to spare.
The most useful thing CS can do is quickly eliminate a number of nasties within a short time of them spawning, even when you are nowhere near them on the map. If you have your bow out you can do that much faster, because every time you swap weapons you lose a flurry of attacks (anti-exploit). If you sacrifice too much DC then the chances of you taking out a particular nasty decreases, and suddenly the tank is confused, or half the party got area morded and lost all their buffs, or the unchecked ice fiends nearly wiped the party with their area damage.
When you are meleeing, your great DC of 58 suddenly drops down to 45. Your enemy killing ability is now only useful for dropping their con by 6 (and fort by 3). Meanwhile the non-demi secret race melee rangers still have their DC of 55, and are doing equal or better damage than what you do meleeing. Their called shot supplements their damage, if called shot doesn't kill the enemy after a few rounds the damage will have done so.
Drop your weapon focus feats for spear. If you go something like kenku with max wis the 8 more wis means you are only 2 AB lower with a spear, while having gained 2 DC in called shot. The 4 more AB you gained with a bow also means that if your first few attacks missed the Rakshasa due to high conceal your later attacks still have a decent chance of beating their AC for the called shot attempt. If you have to melee or are out of CS'able mobs you still can, but you are not hurting your primary ability to do something that you may only do sporadically.
This isn't the first time I've seen someone do something with a high level character, and others try to emulate it with a brand new character and less than optimal races/gear etc. I applaud your effort, as players like you push the limits and sometimes find new ways to do something that older players miss. But please trust me when I say that this is not a good way to make a fresh zen ranger. When your primary ability is an all or nothing ability like called shot, you do not want to hurt it just to be able to do a mediocre job at something else.
The path from level 1 to the end game is a long one, and many classes can really gimp themselves for much of it if they plan on keeping a character unchanged all the way through. My open subrace zen archer for instance isn't intended to be taken past nessus. It's designed as a training character for a brand new player, so that once they've seen what the high end game is like, they can make a decision on the direction they want to specialize in, and then rebuild the character, prefferably with higher tier subrace more optimal for the path they've chosen.