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Maldar, the Magnificent
09-13-2003, 03:56 AM
Post: #1
Maldar, the Magnificent
This is the third character whose adventures I've written up for the Diablo II community. The idea is to create characters with unusual builds to see if those characters can be taken through 1.10s hell difficulty. The first character whose adventures I wrote up was Grizabella, the Realistic Fighter Mage, who showed that with the upgraded Enchant and new items in 1.10, it is possible to create a melee sorceress who uses reasonably findable equipment and complete hell difficulty, albeit only if the player has a lot of patience and uses a lot of tactics. The second character was Gunter, the Barbarian Mage, who used only barbarian War Cry skills and the Firewall spell given by the Trang-Oul's set to kill monsters. The popularity of the reports of the adventures of both Grizabella and Gunter surprised even me, and I highly recommend reading those reports if you have an interest in these types of characters.

As Gunter was nearing the completion of his adventures, I started thinking about what my next character would be. There were several times when Gunter would stun a monster boss pack and his mercenary would focus on and kill the boss while the minions sat there stunned and unable to do anything. That led me to think about the occasional times that I would help friends rush (I don't take rushes myself, but I'll sometimes give them to friends), and how my sorceress would teleport by all the monsters and kill the quest bosses. I laughingly wondered if it would be possible to only kill the quest bosses. At first, I considered various sorceress builds to do this (and I may make one later), but as I thought about how one would deal with certain areas, I realized that I kept arming my theoretical sorceress with charged wands with necromancer curses on them -- like wands of Terror and Dim Vision. I thought, "Why not just make a necromancer instead?" Once I switched to thinking about necromancers, the build fell into place.

The result is Maldar, the Magnificent, a.k.a. Maldar, the Pacifist Hero. He's 100% untwinked, and in a nod to those who balk at the use of cross-class skills, he will use only necromancer skills, except he will be allowed to use a staff of Teleport in the Maggot Lair where otherwise it would be impossible to travel very far without killing things. He's about to step into hell for the first time and I plan to keep everyone up to date on his progress like I did with Grizabella and Gunter. I'll detail his specific build and equipment in my next post, but first here is his story.


----------------------------------
MALDAR, THE MAGNIFICENT

Sanctuary has had many heroes, but no hero could ever match the legendary deeds of the necromancer Maldar.

[Image: Maldar_intro1.jpg]

Maldar traveled throughout the lands of Sanctuary and engaged in mortal battle with terrifying demons and horrifying monsters. Whenever a local population had a demon problem that they could not handle, they knew that they could send word to Maldar and he would come and clear the demon infestation for them.

[Image: Maldar_intro2.jpg]

As Maldar traveled further and performed ever more heroic deeds, all the people of Sanctuary began writing songs and telling stories of the adventures of Maldar. In time, the free peoples of Sanctuary began to refer to him as Maldar, the Magnificent.

[Image: Maldar_intro3.jpg]

But to demons, he became known simply as the "Demonslayer."

Maldar slaughtered thousands of demons and as he became more famous and as the cheering of the masses grew louder, an emptiness grew inside him. The pleasure he once felt while killing demon hordes began to fade. Doubts crept into his mind. Then, one pivotal event changed Maldar's life forever.

[Image: Maldar_intro4.jpg]

As he was clearing out an infestation of demons, he fired a series of bone spirits at a grotesque and killed it. But just before the grotesque died, it gave birth to a grotesque worm baby. The worm looked around, saw Maldar, and jumped into his arms. The worm thought Maldar was its mother.

That's when Maldar realized what had been troubling him. People kill demons, because they don't want to be slaughtered by them. But if people slaughter demons, he thought, then doesn't that make people just as bad as demons? Didn't his own actions make him no different than a demon?

Maldar gathered up the worm and walked out of the demon lair, leaving the remaining demons to their own devices. He traveled back to his solitary mountain home and began leading a monastic life, dedicated to the study and cultivation of life rather than the study of death. All requests for assistance were met with the same response, "Do your lands not have your own 'heroes?' I will not intentionally harm another being whether he be person or demon."

When rumors of the rise of the three Prime Evils first surfaced, Maldar dismissed them as idle fancy. As demons began proliferating in ever growing numbers, pleas for help came to Maldar from all over Sanctuary but still Maldar ignored them. Meanwhile, the heads of all of Sanctuary's guilds met in council to share all of the information they had gathered about the rise of the Three and to make plans for an appropriate response. In the end, they agreed that only one hero in all the land was capable of stopping the Three: Maldar, the Magnificent.

They traveled to Maldar's mountain retreat and presented him with the evidence they had gathered. The information was fragmentary, but there was no doubt that the Three had indeed returned. The council members told Maldar that only he in all the world had the power to stop the Three. They emphasized to him that if he stopped the Three, he would be preventing a catastrophe that would involve the slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent people. Maldar listened in silence and contemplated the information the council had given him for a long time. Finally, he spoke.

"Diablo and his brothers' plans will likely result in the deaths of both innocent people and innocent demons if those plans are allowed to come to fruition," he said. "I will help you, but only if you agree to do things my way. Only those demons and other assorted monsters who must be killed to stop the Three are to be killed. All others are to be left alone. They are innocent beings who have been riled up by the power and influence of the Three. Remove the Three and they will no longer threaten Sanctuary. Agreed?"

The council conferred for a long time. Many members of the council did not like the idea of leaving tens of thousands of demons alive, but in the end all agreed that without Maldar's help, all hope was lost. They finally agreed to Maldar's proposal.

So Maldar donned his armor, shield, and wand and once more traveled abroad to fight evil and save the world. Can Maldar stop the Three without any unnecessary monster deaths? Can Maldar, the Magnificent, -- Demonslayer -- become Maldar, the Pacifist Hero? Stay tuned.


(ed. I love that screenshot of Maldar fighting Diablo).
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09-13-2003, 03:58 AM (This post was last modified: 09-13-2003 06:17 PM by MongoJerry.)
Post: #2
Maldar, the Magnificent
[Image: Maldar_build1.jpg]

MALDAR BUILD AND EQUIPMENT

Maldar's equipment is completely untwinked, so he found all of his items himself. He's level 79 now and is about to step into hell for the first time. He's going to abide by the following rules:

1. He plays solo.
2. He plays in /players 1 mode.
3. He must get every waypoint and quest in game order.
4. He may only kill those monsters whose deaths are necessary to fulfill the quests.
5. He may not use any cross-class skills, except that he can use a staff of Teleport in the Maggot Lair (where it would be impossible to travel otherwise without killing things).
6. No mercenaries ever! (Maldar has had difficulty finding mercenaries who will abide by his pacifist code, and if he used mercenaries only against bosses, then he'd have to kill the mercenaries afterward which would be an abomination to him. Besides, Maldar the Magnificent needs no stink'n mercenaries!)
7. He may be twinked as much gold and as many full rejuvenation potions as he needs. (The council is covering all his expenses). Obviously, he can't gamble with twinked cash. I don't expect to use this feature much. Maldar already has a large cash horde and a large stash of his own full rejuv potions. Plus, I'll conserve rejuv's by using red and blue potions as much as possible. However, I didn't want to end up in, say, Act IV and not be able to make any progress simply because I'd run out of rejuv potions with no way to restock Maldar's supply.

Maldar can reroll monsters and maps if he needs to, but he has to fulfill every quest. I'm going to play him as if he were a hardcore character and see how far he can go without dying. Feel free to speculate how far you think he'll get.

As far as I can tell, the only monsters that the game requires one to kill in order to fulfill all of the quests are:

1. All the monsters in the Den of Evil
2. Blood Raven
3. The Countess
4. Andariel
5. Radament
6. The Summoner
7. Duriel
8. The Gidbin flayer
9. The Council members
10. Mephisto
11. Izual
12. Hephasto
11. The Grand Vizier
13. De Seis
14. The Infector of Souls
15. Diablo
16. Shenk the Overseer
17. Nihlathak
18. The Ancients
19. (Colenzo and Achmel?)
20. Baal
21. The Cow King

I'm not sure if it's possible to coax Colenzo and Achmel out of the main room in the Throne of Destruction (which would allow the next boss pack to appear). If it is, Maldar will do that. If it's impossible, then he'll have to kill them.


CURRENT EQUIPMENT

Maldar's equipment is completely untwinked. In other words, all of these items are ones he found himself or bought from shops:

Helm: Vampire Gaze socketed with a perfect ruby (18% dr, +38 life)
Belt: Ocher Plated Belt of the Whale (14% lr, +99 life)
Gloves: Iratha's cuff (30% cr, half freeze duration)
Weapon: Necromancer's Grim Wand of the Magus (+2 all skills, 20% fast cast, +3 Confuse)
Shield: Scintillating Bone Shield of Deflecting socketed with 2 perfect diamonds (60% block, +52% all resists)
Ring: Bahamut's Ring (+105 mana)
Ring: Great Wyrm's Ring of Nova Shield (+90 mana, 14% chance to cast lvl 4 Nova)
Amulet: Prismatic Amulet of the Whale (19% all resists, +89 life)
Boots: Ruby Greaves of Acceleration (33% fr, 40% faster r/w)
Armor: Artisan's Light Plate of the Whale socketed with a Ral, Ort, and Thul (+30% lr/fr/cr, +99 life)
Weapon switch: Pus Spitter
In stash: Battle staff of Teleportation (only for use in the Maggot Lair)

Interesting. Two uniques (one of which is on weapon switch and will be rarely used), one low level set item, and all the rest are magic items. And yet, I'm quite happy with Maldar's equipment. That goes to show just how much Blizzard improved magic items in LoD. In fact, a lot of my equipment was stuff I bought from shops. I got the shield, armor, and boots from nightmare Anya. The wand and staff came from Akara, and the belt came from Larzuk. Shopping at Anya's was a huge time saver, because I could use Anya portal to reroll her shop and shop for armor, boots, shield, and gloves at the same time. I ended up using the Iratha's gloves, because of its bonus "half freeze duration," but while shopping I got separate gloves with 30% lr, 30% fr, and 30% cr (the highest possible resists on gloves). If I used my 'Lore' circlet instead of my Vamp Gaze, I could have a no uniques, rares, or set items character. Heck, I could have Maldar wear a crown socketed with a Ral-Ort-Thul and add a no runewords policy, too. Incidentally, the amulet was one I gambled, so you could say that I bought it from the shop, too. I just about fell out of my chair when it appeared.

I know, Maldar's equipment makes him look florescent. Oh, well. This is hardcore. Safety matters more than fashion. One of the critical aspects of this build is that Maldar needs to be able to run quickly. So getting a pair of 40% faster r/w boots and a lightweight set of armor and shield was essential. That's why I shopped for light plate armors and bone shields at Anya's instead of shopping for tower shields and higher defense armors at Charsi's.

The "of the Whale" suffix on Maldar's belt, amulet, and armor gives Maldar a huge boost to his life. Combined with the life bonus from the perfect ruby, Maldar's equipment provides 325 life out of Maldar's total 951 life.

I tried crafting several pairs of gloves and imbuing and crafting a couple of wands, but I didn't get anything useful. I'm going to spend Maldar's last imbue (assuming he gets the malus) on another wand. Maybe I'll get lucky. It'll be tough to get something that beats +2 all skills and 20% fast cast, but you never know. Fast cast isn't as important for this build as it is for other casting necromancers, but a small amount of fast cast helps when you have to cast on the run.

The Pus Spitter on weapon switch will be useful to stop monster heal on bosses who regenerate life with it's poison damage over 8 seconds. I checked the poison damage calculator to see if adding poison damage charms to Maldar's inventory would increase the poison duration, but it turns out that it wouldn't. (Well, if I added two charms, I could increase the duraction to 8.5 seconds. Big deal).

Charms: His inventory is almost completely full of charms and combined they give:

+120 life
+61 mana
38% lightning resist
20% fire resist
24% cold resist
14% poison resist
10% magic find
+1 strength
+7% faster run/walk

Maldar found a +14% all resists grand charm (I was so happy about that), so that's the reason for the +14% to poison resist. The magic find won't do Maldar much good, since he won't be killing many monsters, although he can open chests. However, the 10% mf is on two small charms and I don't have anything else good to replace them with, so I might as well use them.


MERCENARY EQUIPMENT

There is no mercenary!


SKILL ALLOCATION

CURSES

20 points Dim Vision
1 point Terror
1 point Decrepify
1 point Amp Damage (deprecated)
1 point Life Tap (deprecated)
1 point Iron Maiden (prereq)
1 point Weaken (prereq)

POISON AND BONE SPELLS

20 points Bone Spirit
20 points Bone Prison
14 points Bone Wall
1 point Bone Armor
1 point Teeth (prereq)
1 point Corpse Explosion (prereq)
1 point Bone Spear (prereq)

SUMMONING SPELLS

1 point Clay Golem
1 point Golem Mastery


I found a bug with the way Bone Armor and its synergies, Bone Wall and Bone Prison, work. The game and the Arreat Summit say that both Bone Wall and Bone Prison give +15% to the damage that Bone Armor can absorb. It turns out that they actually give you a straight +15 to damage absorb for each skill point put into them -- not +15%. Since Bone Armor itself only gives you +10 damage absorption per point put in it, if you want to boost the amount of damage your Bone Armor absorbs, it's better to put the points into Bone Prison and Bone Wall rather than Bone Armor itself! That kind of works out well for me, because Bone Wall and Bone Prison also act as synergies for Bone Spirit, so I get a "two for one" deal by putting points into them. However, meleemancers should be in an uproar about this. Consider 41 points dedicated to boosting one's Bone Armor. Currently, the best strategy would be to place 1 point into Bone Armor and the rest into Bone Wall and Bone Prison. That would give you 620 points of damage absorption. But if the synergies worked the way they're supposed to, then you would put 20 points into Bone Armor and the other 21 points into Bone Prison and Bone wall. That would give you 871 points of damage absorption.

While leveling up Maldar (yes, he had a mercenary in normal and nightmare -- he wasn't a pacifist then), Amp Damage and Life Tap were very useful. Maldar meleed through most of normal and the early part of nightmare and used a blessed aim merc to keep up his attack rating. By the middle of nightmare, he switched to being a pure caster. The combination of maxed Dim Vision which halted entire screens of monsters at once with a low radius Amp Damage and Life Tap in service of Maldar's merc rocked. Unfortunately, Amp Damage and Life Tap won't be useful anymore, but they were so useful in normal and nightmare that I don't regret spending the skill points on them.

The Clay Golem was a late addition to the build. I'm not sure how much I'll use it -- probably very little, actually. But I thought that being able to cast a Clay Golem as a distracter could be useful at times. I figured that spending two skill points to enable me to have an extra tool to use would be worth it.

All further skill points will go into Bone Wall.


STAT POINT ALLOCATION

Maldar's naked (no items) stat allocation looks like this:

Str: 75
Dex: 213
Vit: 167
Energy: 25

After equipping everything, his stats look like this:

Str: 76
Dex: 213
Vit: 167
Energy: 25

This build is not very mana intensive, so I chose not to put any points into Energy. The two rings and one grand charm with +mana on them are plenty of mana to work with. When I have to kill bosses, I can quaff mana potions in order to spam bone spirits.


RELEVANT STATISTICS

With this equipment, stat, and skill setup, Maldar gets:

1188-1286 Bone Spirit damage
550 Bone Armor damage absorption
951 Life
437 Mana
74%/75%/73%/5% Resists
18% Damage reduction
75% Block
+2 All skills
+47% Faster run/walk
+20% Fast cast


GAME PLAY WITH MALDAR

In theory, an encounter a typical monster pack works something like this:

1. Dim Vision the edge of the screen to blind all upcoming normal monsters.
2. Run up and bone prison all the bosses and champions.
3. Cast Terror as necessary to get monsters out of the way.
4. Run past everyone.

Of course, in real life, things get a lot hairier -- especially in narrow passageways.


COMMENTS

1. I'd originally intended to wait until Maldar was 80th level before moving on to hell, but it was taking too long. It was really easy to get to 78th level in 8-player nightmare with Baal runs, but it took like five runs to go from 78th to 79th level. By that time, the only things giving Maldar any decent experience were Lister's minions and Baal himself. I didn't want to bother going through the pain of getting to 80th level in nightmare.

2. So, on an insanity scale from 1 to 10, where does this character build lie?


[Image: Maldar_build2.jpg]
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09-13-2003, 04:13 AM (This post was last modified: 09-13-2003 06:16 PM by MongoJerry.)
Post: #3
Maldar, the Magnificent
Moderators, could you edit the subject of this thread and make it "Maldar, the Magnificent"? Normal folks can't edit a post's subject line once the post has been submitted. After weeks of writing "Gunter," my brain couldn't make the shift. Thanks!

edit: Thanks!
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09-13-2003, 06:19 AM
Post: #4
Maldar, the Magnificent
9/10.

I approve since you use DV, which is my favorite crowd control spell. The archer picture demonstrates how safer NM and Hell would be with it.

As for the clay golem, he would be a good distraction, but isn't bone wall/prison better since they're boosted and stronger? He's still a fun one to have around though. He also appears stronger than he is since slowness can be interpreted as more life.

Of course, fire golems still have much more life.
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09-13-2003, 06:42 AM
Post: #5
Maldar, the Magnificent
MongoJerry,Sep 13 2003, 03:49 AM Wrote:He's going to abide by the following rules:

3. He must get every waypoint and quest in game order.
4. He may only kill those monsters whose deaths are necessary to fulfill the quests.
5. He may not use any cross-class skills, except that he can use a staff of Teleport in the Maggot Lair (where it would be impossible to travel otherwise without killing things).
A pity about rule #2, as so few waypoints and quests are actually needed in order to kill the 3 prime evils. As an example, as v1.10s stands, even solo you don't need to kill the summoner (he's a human, how could you kill him in good conscience?!) to progress (by killing duriel) as you can say "hello" to him as you touch his tome and go through his red portal to the canyon (where you can pick up the waypoint). You will not, however, be able to return from town via Town Portal to the Canyon or Tombs.

A pity about #5, as Telekinesis doesn't have much danger of killing anything in hell but could probably be used to spare lives, such as your Baal's minions (Colenzo and Achmel) dilemma.

Your Clay Golem will potentially cause damage to living beings. In rare cases (weenies like maggot young perhaps) he might dishonor you by actually killing something. What you need is a Decoy.

Very clever build/theme, especially with the new synergies in the Bone line (imagine my surprise in v1.10beta1 when I imported my bone prision build necro and saw he was even more of a god than before).

With pumped Leap, and howl, taunt and grim ward to control and bypass crowds, I imagine a barb could live with the same restrictions (perhaps even without teleport). But the use of Bone Spirit as a ranged attack, which can be focused on a target without danger to others, is a nice touch.

However, because you have bone wall, teleport and town portal, it seems to me you are enpowered and therefore under moral obligation to pied piper all the monsters out of the Chaos Sanctuary, sealing it with a bone wall, teleporting to the River of Flame waypoint and re-entering the sanctuary via Town Portal. This presumably prevents their unfortunate death due to your action of killing (the 3 SUs) to release Diablo. (Wow, what incredible dedication to a moral stance). Of course, never having tried anything so crazy, I don't know if it's possible.

Good luck to Maldar!

"He's got demons? Cool!" -- Gonzo, Muppet Treasure Island

"Proto-matter... an unstable substance which every ethical scientist in the galaxy has denounced as dangerously unpredictable." -- Saavik, Star Trek III

"Mom! Dad! It's evil! Don't touch it!" -- Kevin, Time Bandits
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09-13-2003, 08:10 AM
Post: #6
Maldar, the Magnificent
Quote:As for the clay golem, he would be a good distraction, but isn't bone wall/prison better since they're boosted and stronger? He's still a fun one to have around though. He also appears stronger than he is since slowness can be interpreted as more life.

Actually, there are some things that totally ignore bone walls and bone prisons -- things I'm likely to talk about in the writeups of the adventures in various Acts. But to give you a preview, I found out that ghosts fly right through bone walls and bone prisons without hesitation -- a nice realistic touch of Blizzard's, I must say. So ghost champions and bosses scare the heck out of me -- especially if they're extra fast. A clay golem could be useful to distract a ghost boss for a second while I run away. Also, I found out a trick with ghosts using town portals, but I'll wait for the writeups to describe it. It's pretty cool.

Also, the Ancients totally ignore bone walls and bone prisons (although walls and prisons do stop Madawc's throwing axes) and the granddaddy of them all -- OK's -- shoot bone spirits right through walls and prisons. So, again, I'm thinking the clay golem could be used as a distractor for a couple of seconds while I'm dealing with OK's. At only around 600 life, though, he won't last very long in a fight.

Again, I don't plan to use clay golems much. I plan to use bone prisons and bone walls mostly like you suggested. But I wanted to have the option to cast one in special circumstances.
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09-13-2003, 09:00 AM
Post: #7
Maldar, the Magnificent
Crystalion,Sep 13 2003, 07:33 PM Wrote:With pumped Leap, and howl, taunt and grim ward to control and bypass crowds, I imagine a barb could live with the same restrictions (perhaps even without teleport). But the use of Bone Spirit as a ranged attack, which can be focused on a target without danger to others, is a nice touch.
Grim Ward???

That's not a very pacifist skill :P
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09-13-2003, 06:25 PM (This post was last modified: 09-13-2003 06:26 PM by MongoJerry.)
Post: #8
Maldar, the Magnificent
Quote:A pity about rule #2, as so few waypoints and quests are actually needed in order to kill the 3 prime evils. As an example, as v1.10s stands, even solo you don't need to kill the summoner (he's a human, how could you kill him in good conscience?!) to progress (by killing duriel) as you can say "hello" to him as you touch his tome and go through his red portal to the canyon (where you can pick up the waypoint). You will not, however, be able to return from town via Town Portal to the Canyon or Tombs.

Well, I'm requiring that Maldar fulfills all the quests, so he has to kill even the optional quest bosses like the Countess, Radament, and the Summoner. I'll come up with some excuse. :-)

Quote:Your Clay Golem will potentially cause damage to living beings. In rare cases (weenies like maggot young perhaps) he might dishonor you by actually killing something. What you need is a Decoy.

Nah, 3-point Clay Golems don't do very much damage. Even maggot young will be able to heal faster than the Golem can hurt them. Anyway, like I said, I don't plan to use the Golem much-- just in special circumstances where bone prisons and walls aren't effective.

Quote:With pumped Leap, and howl, taunt and grim ward to control and bypass crowds, I imagine a barb could live with the same restrictions (perhaps even without teleport).

That is a very interesting idea. I would never have thought about Leap. Does maxed Leap also knockback regular boss monsters and champions?
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09-13-2003, 08:14 PM (This post was last modified: 09-13-2003 08:25 PM by Crystalion.)
Post: #9
Maldar, the Magnificent
WhyBish wrote:
Quote:Grim Ward??? That's not a very pacifist skill
Yes, I know, except the game has corpses lying around like mad in act 5 already and it seems rather symbolic (when allowed) if you GW the corpse of a (quest) required kill. And certainly it is a lovely pacifist skill in a party (so much so, that your party members may hate you for it, haha).

Quote:Nah, 3-point Clay Golems don't do very much damage.  Even maggot young will be able to heal faster than the Golem can hurt them.  Anyway, like I said, I don't plan to use the Golem much-- just in special circumstances where bone prisons and walls aren't effective.
Well, partly I'm giving you a bad time because it has been revealed that the new v1.10 slows monsters effect of the Clay Golem is triggered by the monster beating on the Golem (*not* the Golem touching monsters). This makes your Golem, since you aren't allowed to use a HF merc, a rather effective spot crowd control (as the bunch around the distraction golem will be slowed to boot, as you attempt to sneak past).

Quote:That is a very interesting idea.  I would never have thought about Leap.  Does maxed Leap also knockback regular boss monsters and champions?
Better even. Level 25 Leap (aside from stunlocking everything I could see on my 800x600 screen) also always put Shenk (a large SU) into HR. The only downside I can see to this uber skill (since it now also synergizes Leap Attack) is that you can't drink potions while Leaping (making it annoying to have to stop chain casting it when you're low on HP or mana). Another misfeature is that although you can Leap some distance, it isn't very far, and there isn't any interface clue (you'll jump in place instead of moving if your cursor is too far away).

Edit: another possible downside is that Leap might decrease your weapon's durability (I see Leap has a 1 in that column in skills.txt--surprisingly Frenzy does not). I kind of doubt it though.

"He's got demons? Cool!" -- Gonzo, Muppet Treasure Island

"Proto-matter... an unstable substance which every ethical scientist in the galaxy has denounced as dangerously unpredictable." -- Saavik, Star Trek III

"Mom! Dad! It's evil! Don't touch it!" -- Kevin, Time Bandits
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09-14-2003, 04:09 AM
Post: #10
Maldar, the Magnificent
MALDAR: ACT 1, SAVING CAIN

From the fragmentary information it had gathered, the council concluded that Diablo's locus of power currently seemed to be located somewhere near the rogue monastery in the region of Tristram. Maldar decided to search for Diablo there.

When he arrived in the area, he found a countryside laid waste by hordes of demons and rogues who had turned to villainy because of some unseen evil force. He found a group of refugees huddled behind a hastily constructed wooden barricade. Apparently some rogues still stayed true to the Light and were attempting to put up a feeble stand against the onslaught of the demon hordes around them.

Maldar introduced himself to Kashya who seemed to be the military leader of the camp and asked for information regarding Diablo and the surrounding countryside. But Kashya ridiculed this "old man" who had wandered into the camp. Maldar's heroic deeds had all occurred before she was born, and while people still spoke of Maldar, tales of his adventures were little more than children's stories to her. She couldn't believe that a legendary figure would wander into her camp and took the man standing in front of her to be a fraud or even worse, a spy.

Angered by Kashya's insolence, Maldar left to speak with Akara, the spiritual leader of the camp, but she received him with nearly as little warmth as Kashya had. Akara remembered first hand the deeds of Maldar, but she clearly could not believe that the man she was talking to could be him. Maldar told his story and explained his philosophy against unnecessary violence.

Akara feigned patience and understanding with the old man, but when she could take no more, she said, "If you are truly Maldar, the Magnificent, then you must show us. There is a place of great evil in the wilderness. Kashya's Rogue scouts have informed me that a cave nearby is filled with shadowy creatures and horrors from beyond the grave. I fear that these creatures are massing for an attack against our encampment. If you are sincere about helping us, find the dark labyrinth and destroy the foul beasts."

Maldar stared and scowled. It was clear that Akara had not been listening closely to him and that she hadn't believed anything he had said. Decades before, the mere sight of him would have brought out thousands to greet him and cheer his name. Now, he was being treated with scorn by dirt-stained refugees.

Maldar thought for a moment. If it was true that monsters were massing for an attack, then that would be disastrous for the countryside behind the encampment. Hundreds of people and demons would lose their lives in the struggle. But if Maldar attacked the place where the monsters were massing, then perhaps he could delay the impending attack long enough to find whoever was controlling the demons and in the end save many more lives -- both human and demon -- that way.

"I will do what you have asked," said Maldar. "But I do it not for you, but instead for the lives it will save. And when I return from this mission, you will know that I am truly who I say I am."

Maldar abruptly turned, walked out of camp and uttered the famous battle cry that had not been heard in Sanctuary for decades.

"All who oppose me, beware!"


[Image: Maldar1_denevil1.jpg]

It would be difficult to describe Dim Vision as an underutilized skill, since "Hit Blinds Target" is a mod on many popular weapons and pieces of armor. However, it is unusual to find necromancers who focus on it even though it can be an incredibly powerful spell in the hands of a player who knows how to use it. In particular, I think that maxed Dim Vision should be a part of standard meleemancer builds, whether they are poison dagger necros or not. I've seen many postings by people, still in cookie-cutter barbarian or bowazon thought mode, who think meleemancers should max amp damage. This is silly, because a meleemancer can only attack one monster at a time. It's far better to blind whole screenfulls of monsters and then cast low-level low-radius amp damage or life tap on the particular monster you want to fight. That way, you can pick off monsters one at a time.

Anyway, since "blindness" is fairly common in D2, I won't describe its effects on monsters in all the gory detail I did with Taunt in the writeups of Gunter's adventures. However, as I was leveling Maldar up, I did make a few minor discoveries and observations about Dim Vision that I'll share along the way.

One of those observations is that Carver Shamans and other monsters who raise others from the dead, like Fetish Shamans and Hollow Ones, don't raise monsters from the dead when they're blinded -- even when they're standing right on top of a corpse. Apparently the game considers raising monsters from the dead an "attack," and if a shaman can't see you, then he doesn't know to "attack" and raise his minions from the dead.

Clearing the Den of Evil was uneventful. In 1-player mode, bone spirits are more than powerful enough to kill blinded and imprisoned enemies. I'm leaving the awarded skill point unassigned for now in case I decide I need to add points to an unexpected skill later (Terror to make it last longer? Decrepify to make it last longer? Bone wall to make Bone Armor and Bone Spirits stronger?).

[Image: Maldar1_bloodraven.jpg]

Getting to and killing Blood Raven was easy. It was nice to be able to trap her and hold her in place, since she's so fast and moves around so much now that it's a pain to kill her with most characters. She's not dangerous, mind you -- just a pain to kill.

I'm starting to notice Dim Vision's quartered time length in hell. At level 22, it lasts 12.5 seconds in hell which sounds like a reasonable amount of time, but when you're depending on it for survival, it sure feels short. If I get delayed somewhere (a doorway's blocked, for example), then I have to remember to cast a Dim Vision backwards or else I might get a swarm of monsters coming at me from behind.

[Image: Maldar1_scroll.jpg]

The going was pretty steady and easy through the Stony Field, the Underground Passage, and the Dark Wood. Actually, the going was fast compared to what I'm used to. What a time saver it is to not actually have to kill monsters!

I've discovered some things about monster AI and Dim Vision. The Arreat Summit says, "Dim Vision will not prevent a monster from moving. If a Monster is blinded when moving it will continue on toward the spot where he last saw you. If you move, he won't be able to see where you went."

That's not exactly true. What really happens is that the monster continues to see you until he has to make a new "decision." Monsters who make decisions often shut down immediately. Monsters who make decisions less often will continue to do what they were doing until they are forced to make a decision. For example, gargantuans who are closing in to attack you and then get blinded will continue to come toward you and will follow you all over the map. In order to get them to stop, you have to force them to make a new decision. For example, you can bone prison them, make them run into other monsters, or make them run into walls, chests, and other barriers. Blinded carvers will also follow you around if they were closing in on you before they were blinded, and lancers will keep right on charging you after they're blinded.

How do you stop them? Make sure to blind them before they can see you. Maxed Dim Vision covers almost the whole screen and it centers on whatever spot you clicked on. That means that you can blind monsters a half a screen away off screen. If they're blinded before they see you, they'll just shuffle around randomly. If you want to fight them, you can then pick them off. If you're Maldar, you can quickly and safely run past them.

[Image: Maldar1_stones.jpg]

I had a comically difficult time opening the portal to Tristram. I first drew Rakanishu's pack down below the stones, Dim Visioned them, and to make sure they stayed put, bone prisoned them. Then, as I started touching the stones, a couple of monster packs (on whom Dim Vision had probably expired) came from off screen, so I had to stop, bring them down with Rakanishu's pack, Dim Vision them, imprison them, and go back to the stones. I ended up having to do this four times before I was finally allowed to hit all the stones and start up the portal.


Maldar entered the portal to Tristram and what he saw was a sight to behold. What was once a proud city was nothing but dust and smoldering ashes. Before any monsters could spot him, Maldar ran into the center of town and found Deckard Cain in a cage hanging high in the air. Just then, some champion skeletal archers spotted Maldar and started shooting arrows at him. Maldar cast some bone walls around the area to deflect the arrows and then lowered Cain's cage to the ground and opened the door. Cain was stunned by the appearance of the figure in front of him. He seemed to recognize him. Was this truly Maldar, the Magnificent?

"Deckard Cain, if you value your life, leave here immediately," said Maldar.

Cain raced out of his cage and took a portal to the safety of the rogue encampment. Maldar started a portal for himself and just as the enraged monsters surrounding him battered down the bone walls, Maldar entered the portal and arrived at the rogue camp safe and sound.

Cain thanked Maldar profusely for his rescue. "Surely, you are Maldar, the Magnificent," said Cain. "I met you once, but you probably wouldn't remember me, since it was long ago -- back when Tristram was still a fair city."

"I remember you, Deckard Cain," said Maldar. "You had your nose stuck in a book. You seemed to prefer to read about adventures than participate in them, but I could use your help now if you have any knowledge that would help me turn back the evil designs of Diablo and his brothers."

Cain told Maldar that he suspected that the demon queen Andariel was probably behind what had happened at the rogue monastery. Apparently, Andariel and Diablo had patched up their differences and she was once more aligned with him.

"Andariel!" said Maldar. "Yes, that makes sense. If she is in league with Diablo, then that is a foul sign indeed. I must go to the rogue monastery to find her and kill her before thousands of innocent people and demons die.

"But first, I have a detour to make in order to finish some old business. It shouldn't take long. Then, I will head straight for the rogue monastery and show that queen that she aligned herself with the wrong demon."
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09-14-2003, 07:21 AM
Post: #11
Maldar, the Magnificent
MALDAR: ACT 1, PART II

In the process of saving Cain, Maldar came upon an old moldy tree with an aura of magic about it. Investigating more closely, he found that it contained a book that told of a solitary tower that stood above the ruins of the once mighty castle of the evil Countess who had been buried alive. The book claimed that the tower was infested with all sorts of wicked monsters and also contained within it the vast wealth of the Countess.

"So, you escaped your entombment," said Maldar. "I knew I should have made sure you were really dead. It sounds like you're back to your old tricks again. It's time I paid you a visit and finished what I started."


[Image: Maldar1_tower.jpg]

It's difficult to describe the intensity of playing a character like this. Blind and imprison the monsters and run past them. It sounds easy. But in narrow enclosed spaces, you can't zone out for even a moment. You have to be constantly aware of what's around you. You have to be thinking about what could lie ahead -- perhaps a boss or champion pack or a swarm of monsters in a small room --, what you left behind that could wake up from Dim Vision and come after you, and where you'd escape to if you need room to maneuver or park monsters.

Before I created Maldar, I made a test character using Nobbie's 99th level characters. I wanted to experiment a little to try to figure out what curses and skills I'd need and how many points should be placed into various skills to be useful in hell. I tried out the Countess's Tower, the Arcane Sanctuary, and the Crystaline Passage in order to see what playing in narrow corridors would be like. Besides finding out that this character build would be both really really hard and really really fun, I found out an interesting tactical point: in indoor areas, it's best to keep the bone prisons to a minimum.

When I started playing my test character, my strategy in the Countess's tower was to Dim Vision monsters, cast several bone prisons around them, sneak by the monsters, and then cast bone prisons behind me to make sure I wouldn't be followed. That worked well up until I ran into champion packs in narrow spaces or worse in dead ends and I found myself trapped with no place to go. My test character died three times in the tower because of this, and I started wondering if this character build was workable.

Then I tried to using bone prisons sparingly and then suddenly things became a lot easier. Doing so meant that I had to remember to cast Dim Vision behind me if I got delayed somewhere, but because I stopped using bone prison so much, I had a lot more room to maneuver.

The other reason why the Countess's Tower was so tough for my test character was that fact that it has lots of ghosts in it. Why is that important? It's important because ghosts fly right through bone prisons and walls without hindrance. So if you run into a champion ghost pack or the worst, an extra fast ghost boss pack, you're pretty much hosed because you can't Dim Vision them and you can't imprison them.

Well, not quite. True, you can decrepify them and try to out run them, but that's tough. However, there's one more cute trick that I found by accident. If you cast several bone prisons in a room with the ghosts and then tp to town, the ghosts will switch to attacking the bone prison. When you come back through the townportal, they'll keep attacking the prison and you can then book it out of there. It's best to do this in a place where you know it would be safe to park the ghosts and where you know you can run a decent distance without being slowed down by other monsters.

[Image: Maldar1_countess.jpg]

After dodging many monsters and parking several ghost packs, I managed to get to the countess's chamber, spam the place with bone prisons, and kill the countess. I got a Tal and Tir. Oh, well. If I was going to get low level runes, at least I got a Tir, so I can try crafting another wand the next time I get a chance to break out a perfect amethyst from my mule.

Just to add insult to injury, I kept all of the Countess's minions Dim Visioned, let the bone prisons expire, and then picked up all of the gold from the chest and from the two side chambers in the 5th level of the tower. There was a boss pack of ghosts down there, so it was especially gratifying to snatch all the treasure under the monsters' noses (or what's left of their noses).

[Image: Maldar1_malus.jpg]

After dealing with the countess, it was time to set off for the monastery. Everything worked pretty straightforwardly. One kind of cool thing about Dim Vision is that it works through walls and doors -- kind of like an amazon's Slow Missiles. Before opening a door, you can cast Dim Vision in front of it and the effect will spread out into the next room. That way, all the monsters will already be blinded and you can run past them. If you don't do that, then the monsters will see you and start rushing you. If you then blind them, many of them will keep rushing you until they're forced to make their next "decision" by running into something, for example. It's much better to blind monsters before opening doors.

[Image: Maldar1_andariel.jpg]

I made my way down to Andariel's lair. It turned out to be one of the easier fights I've had with Andariel, since her poison attacks were completely blocked by the spammed bone prisons. I did have one little scare when I accidentally bone prisoned myself next to a boss zombie and I couldn't get out. I had to sit there and wait 24 seconds for the bone prison to expire -- refreshing my bone armor and quaffing red potions the whole time. You can't unsummon bone prisons or walls, unfortunately. Once the prison finally collapsed, I rushed out of there, cast new bone prisons on the zombie and everything else and finished off Andariel.

No, I didn't get any good items from Andariel or in the entire Act. It's tough to find good items when all you can do is open chests and kill quest bosses.

Act 1 Quest Screen

Act 1 Waypoint Screen


When Maldar returned to camp after defeating the evil queen Andariel, the rogues held celebrations that were mixed with joy and wonder. Truly a living legend was walking among them and had saved their lives, homes, and families. They tried to find ways to express their gratitude, but all attempts seemed to fall short of the way they felt.

Maldar accepted their gratitude but turned down all offered gifts for he said, "Living your lives with kindness and compassion will be reward enough." He bade them farewell for he and Cain were going to travel to the city of Lut Gholein where reports said that Diablo had recently passed through. Will Maldar, the Magnificent, be able to stop Diablo before it's too late?
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09-14-2003, 11:20 AM (This post was last modified: 09-14-2003 11:28 AM by Crystalion.)
Post: #12
Maldar, the Magnificent
An excellent report as usual. Here are some comments on theoretical points that might be of help...

Quote:tactical point: in indoor areas, it's best to keep the bone prisons to a minimum.

...in narrow spaces or worse in dead ends and I found myself trapped with no place to go
I love "free" spamable Bone Prison (I made a whole necro around it long ago) but in many cases, especially now that v1.10beta has different logic relating to it, you're better off with bone wall. If you made the mental shift that firewall sorcs must (e.g. sideways walls in parallel to your line of travel) then you will begin to see the light... instead of magical bone springing out of nowhere that impede the monsters *and* you, you can create bone lined corridors of travel, personal expressways, and spot sealants with bone wall (this works because you have so many points that the walls have some durability--most players never got these insights with necros because the early bone wall/prisons in normal crumble when the monsters just glare at them, and, of course, because the necro has such an array of other powerful techniques).

Quote:ghosts fly right through bone prisons and walls without hindrance.  So if you run into a champion ghost pack or the worst, an extra fast ghost boss pack, you're pretty much hosed because you can't Dim Vision them and you can't imprison them.

Well, not quite.  True, you can decrepify them and try to out run them, but that's tough.
One of the many reasons (boss/champ immunity) that knockback and stun effects are so useful, even though curses are usually uber. This would be one of the cases where a Barb build (using Leap) with your restrictions might have an easier time of it. Clearly you are restraining yourself from using teleport very much (and I know it can be rather dangerous in tight/unknown territory) but in open terrain with a little maneuvering room you could lure the ghosts one way, decrep, then burst away a bit by teleport. Vs. just a boss (not a champ pack) it is a pity you have no knockback skill (ala ring of telekinesis) due to your restrictions. It is quite an amazing (standard) assassin trick to Psychic Hammer a boss away, to infinity and beyond. Hasta La Vista, Baby. (PH gets bonuses to knockback special monsters beyond what normal knockback/telekinesis would roll, fyi).

Quote:However, there's one more cute trick that I found by accident.  If you cast several bone prisons in a room with the ghosts and then tp to town, the ghosts will switch to attacking the bone prison.  When you come back through the townportal, they'll keep attacking the prison and you can then book it out of there.
Ah. I was a bit puzzled by your earlier post alluding to this. I've said it before: Town Portal is the most powerful spell in the game. One could write a very long post detailing uses of this simple spell. In your case here, like knockback/HR and obstacles (bone wall/prison, for monsters that can't pass through them), you're basically just utilizing the fact that TP is on the roster of ways to reset monsters current AI goal. As such it is worth noting that Dim Vision can also work more smoothly for you if you warp out and it is a great way to get confuse/attract up to potential (not for Maldar, though). IIRC a few of the AI programs are "smarter" and will not be fooled by the presence of minions (decoys?!) etc., resetting their pursuit of you relentlessly. I don't have a good feel for which monsters exhibit this in practice, so I can't look into your future to flag danger. Fingers crossed for Maldar.

Quote:Dim Vision is that it works through walls and doors -- kind of like an amazon's Slow Missiles.  Before opening a door, you can cast Dim Vision in front of it and the effect will spread out into the next room.  That way, all the monsters will already be blinded and you can run past them.  If you don't do that, then the monsters will see you and start rushing you.
Excellent point. People in general should not misread/misperceive this, however--don't fall into the the "monsters will see you" or not way of thinking... Most doors are at least partly porous to "vision" and many monsters don't need "vision" at all to activate and want to pursue you. Fortunately not many monsters can open doors, so we can generally think of doors in a "before, and after we open them" manner, but this is a technical mistake. Because the monsters can't get to you, they are resetting their behavior frequently. This would be typically be the reason that blinding them before vs. after opening the door works better, not some notion of whether they "see you". Monsters "cheat". And given the way attacks are working (easily) through walls these days, one nasty way to "see" this is to spend some time in dumgeons always hugging walls and doorways. Ouch, ouch, ouch. Of course the flip side of this is that my Shadow Master will often Dragon Flight and cast traps through solid walls (which is a difficult trick to manage, as a player), so I'm not complaining too loudly (man oh man can she stir up trouble).

For style points you might thumb your nose at the monsters occasionally by casting Terror on them while they are imprisoned (lasts better in v1.10 than it used to), so they fully appreciate how Magnificent you are. :D

"He's got demons? Cool!" -- Gonzo, Muppet Treasure Island

"Proto-matter... an unstable substance which every ethical scientist in the galaxy has denounced as dangerously unpredictable." -- Saavik, Star Trek III

"Mom! Dad! It's evil! Don't touch it!" -- Kevin, Time Bandits
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09-14-2003, 10:47 PM
Post: #13
Maldar, the Magnificent
MALDAR: ACT II, BEGINNING

When Maldar and Cain arrived at the desert city of Lut Gholein, Jehryn, the Lord of Lut Gholein, met them at the city gate. Jehryn had received word that Maldar, the Magnificent, had returned from retirement, and he was pleased to receive such distinguished visitors in a time of such trouble for his city.

Jehryn told Maldar and Cain that a Dark Wanderer looking for the fabled tomb of Tal Rasha had passed through his city. Not long afterward, the city became besieged by an evil power that no one could identify. People whispered tales of the dead rising from their tombs and horrible creatures lurking amongst the moonlit dunes. Suspiciously, Jehryn also told them that he couldn't invite his distinguished guests into the palace, because he said, "Things are... rather a mess right now." Clearly, Jehryn was not telling Maldar and Cain the whole truth.

Maldar and Cain wandered through the city and asked for information from the townsfolk. Atma, the tavernkeeper, told Maldar of a horrible creature hiding in the city's sewers that hungered for human flesh. She had lost both her husband and her son to it and asked Maldar to exact revenge on the terrible creature. Maldar looked sympathetically upon the mourning widow and expressed his sympathies to her. As he walked away from her, however, he was unsure about doing what she asked of him. He felt uncomfortable about embarking on a mission motivated purely by revenge. Still, her description of the creature disturbed him, so he decided to speak with Cain as well as Fara and Drognan who among the townsfolk seemed to know the most about mystical creatures and local legends.

Cain, Fara, and Drognan all came to the same conclusion. The creature appeared to be an ancient Horodric mummy and Fara said it seemed to have an unusually restless and malevolent spirit. Drognan thought that the mummy was none other than Radament the Fallen who recently decided to leave his tomb and prey on mortal flesh. The fact that Radament decided to leave his tomb so soon after the Dark Wanderer appeared seemed like too much of a coincidence for Maldar and Cain. Maldar decided to embark on Atma's quest after all. If the Dark Wanderer was indeed Diablo, then it was important to stop Radament from carrying out Diablo's plans for Lut Gholein, whatever they might be.



I typically enter the Lut Gholein sewers from the trap door next to Greiz, but just as I was about to do that, I felt a gnawing in the back of my mind. There's that other entrance to the sewers by the dockside and I've always wondered why it was there. What's more, it always seemed like I had to pass by it on my way to the stairs to level 2. I thought that maybe Blizzard included that "secret" entrance as a sneaky way for knowledgeable players to get to the second level of the sewers quickly.

So on a lark, I entered the sewers using the entrance by the docks, made a quick right, and found the stairs to level 2 almost immediately. It's funny how one can learn new things about a game even after playing it intensively for 20 months (not counting an 18 month hiatus).

[Image: Maldar2_radament.jpg]

Getting past the skeletal archers and mages was pretty easy with Dim Vision and Bone Prison/Wall. Once I got to Radament's area, I drew off most of his skeleton minions and Dim Visioned and Bone Prisoned them. Then, I ran in and spammed bone prison all around the room to hold down Radament and keep the remaining minions at bay. After that, I took down Radament with Bone Spirits, waited for the Bone Prisons to expire, picked up the book and tp'd out of there.

The Halls of the Dead (Maldar has to get every waypoint) were surprisingly dangerous. It had a lot of narrow corridors filled to the brim with skeletons, bats, and mummies. One room had a mummy boss who was Conviction aura enchanted and a boss bat who was fire and cold enchanted. That was scary as hell. But I got to the Halls waypoint all the same. *whew*

Then it was time to be off to the Maggot Lair. As I said in my opening message, the Maggot Lair is the only place where I'm allowing Maldar to use Teleport (using a staff of Teleport on weapon switch). Still, when I first entered the Lair, I tried very hard to keep to the no-teleport rule. I lead a group of scarabs and itchies back to the entrance room and Dim Visioned and Bone Prisoned them there, but then I ran into a boss maggot parked right in the middle of the corridor and there was nothing I could do but teleport past him and the monsters beyond him.

The Maggot Lair was tight and it was rough when I'd teleport right in the middle of a pack of monsters.

[Image: Maldar2_maggots1.jpg]

But that didn't stop me from doing a little item finding by opening a few chests and kicking open a few jugs. What's kind of cool about casting Dim Vision on maggots is that they seem to consider the act of laying eggs as an "attack." So, if you blind them so that they can't see you, they don't lay eggs and you don't have to deal with hordes of little baby maggots. (There are baby maggots in the above screenshot because of the boss maggot who can't be blinded).

When I found the main chamber, I Dim Visioned everything as quickly as I could to try to limit the number of baby maggots that would be created. Then, I teleported right to the chest, thinking that I could hit the chest and exit before the bugs knew what was happening and that if there were bugs there, I could cast Terror on them to make some space and then hit the chest.

Unfortunately, it didn't work. There were too many itchies and other monsters there and I couldn't hit the chest. Plus, they were packed in so tightly that when I cast Terror on them, they had nowhere to run. I took a lot of hits and after quaffing my third full rejuv, I Dim Visioned everything, teleported across the room to a temporarily clear spot and tp'd to town to refresh my potions.

[Image: Maldar2_maggots2.jpg]

When I returned, I adjusted my strategy. I Dim Visioned everything again but this time I cast a bunch of bone prisons on the nearest half of the room. The idea was first to protect me from randomly wandering monsters and second to attract the more distant monsters near the chest toward my side of the room. I let the Dim Vision expire for a few seconds and cast a few more bone prisons on my side of the room. Then, I recast Dim Vision and teleported over to the chest.

[Image: Maldar2_maggots3.jpg]

The strategy worked. Most of the bugs had moved away from the chest. Two itchies remained in the area, however, preventing me from clicking on the chest. I cast Terror on them to move them out of the way, then Dim Vision and then some local bone prisons to hold the bugs back. Then, I hit the chest, grabbed the staff, and tp'd to town.
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09-14-2003, 10:49 PM
Post: #14
Maldar, the Magnificent
[Image: Maldar2_vipers1.jpg]

The Viper Temple was quite fun. It has a lot of monsters in it, but its rooms are also quite large, making it easy to run past most monsters. It was funny to run around opening chests and breaking jugs while a dozen snakes randomly slithered around me.

[Image: Maldar2_vipers2.jpg]

However, I had one very frightening moment in a hallway. I ran into a champion pack of vipers and when I instinctively cast Bone Prison on them, I accidentally trapped myself while I was in range of their attacks. After making some futile attempts to get out, I cast a tp, but it appeared too far away and I couldn't get to it. So, I cast decrepify on the vipers and refreshed Bone Armor and quaffed potions, hoping I could survive and get out once the Bone Prison expired. The Bone Prison finally expired and with the vipers decrepified, I was able to slip between them to the town portal and refresh my potions. *whew*

[Image: Maldar2_vipers3.jpg]

I took the stairs down to the second level of the Claw Viper Temple and immediately spammed Dim Vision everywhere. As I slowly made my way around the alter, Fangskin, the only monster who hadn't been blinded, came charging out. I led him back to the entranceway stairs and Bone Prisoned him there. Then, after Dim Vision expired, I led his minions away from the alter and Dim Visioned and imprisoned them. After that, it was a simple matter to run around the mummies, open all the chests, kick open the jugs, hit the alter, grab the amulet, and tp to town.



The townsfolk thanked Maldar for stopping the Claw Vipers and restoring light to Lut Gholein. Jehryn took Maldar and Cain aside and finally revealed what he had kept hidden from them earlier.

A dimensional portal had opened in the cellar of the palace and the city's guards were fighting a losing battle against hordes of hideous monsters who were pouring through the rift. Jehryn asked Maldar to investigate the situation and stop whoever was leading the attack before his city was overrun. Maldar quickly agreed to the task and charged into the palace.

Can Maldar find the dimensional portal and stop whoever was sending the monsters into Lut Gholein?
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09-15-2003, 03:20 AM
Post: #15
Maldar, the Magnificent
MALDAR: ACT II, THE ARCANE SANCTUARY

I ran quickly through the palace levels (which was easy, because it always has the same layout) and entered the dimensional portal to the Arcane Sanctuary. I touched the waypoint and then I had a decision to make. Which direction was I going to try first? I decided to try the northeast direction (upper-right).

[Image: Maldar2_arcane1.jpg]

The pathways in the arcane sanctuary are too narrow to allow someone to slip past monsters and anyway, ghosts can come upon you from all directions and block your path, so the way to deal with the Arcane Sanctuary if you're not allowed to use Teleport is to draw monsters from the direction you want to go and park them in the three directions you don't want to go.

[Image: Maldar2_arcane2.jpg]

Parking normal ghosts is pretty easy, actually, since it's easy to lead them to where you want them to go and then send them off to the nether reaches of the sanctuary. You lead them as far as you feel you can safely go in the direction you want to park them, Dim Vision them, move around behind them, cast Terror on them repeatedly until they fly off the screen and then cast Dim Vision at the edge of the screen. The last thing the ghosts remember is that they were flying away from you, so they keep on going for a decent distance and if everything works out well, you won't see them again.

[Image: Maldar2_arcane3.jpg]

But things don't always work out well. At some point while I was parking some monsters in the southwest, I woke up a ghost boss pack and he seemed to have picked up some of the ghosts I thought I had ditched. Unfortunately, casting Dim Vision on the minions wouldn't do any good, because now that they were already locked onto me, they would keep coming at me even after they get blinded (until their next "decision"). Plus, that wouldn't stop the boss in any case.

[Image: Maldar2_arcane4.jpg]

In a panic, I used the bone prison-tp trick by spreading a few bone prisons, going to town, and coming back. As expected, the ghosts switched to attacking the bone prison. I booked it up the northeast direction, figuring that the waypoint area was now offlimits. I had already made some progress in parking some of the monsters from the northeast direction, though, so I thought that maybe I could park the remainder of the monsters in some of the side paths up there.

Unfortunately, the ghosts must've broken through the bone prison quickly, because it wasn't long before I saw a mass of ghosts closing in on me from behind. I tp'd to town.

Now I had another decision to make. I had effectively managed to park the whole ghost pack up in the northeast, but I had already pulled out about a third of the monsters from that direction -- and parked them in the other three directions! Should I leave the ghosts and switch directions or figure out another way to deal with the ghosts?
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09-15-2003, 03:22 AM
Post: #16
Maldar, the Magnificent
[Image: Maldar2_arcane5.jpg]

I decided to deal with the ghosts. So I returned to the sanctuary via the waypoint, ran up the northeast path and got the whole ghost pack to chase me.

[Image: Maldar2_arcane6.jpg]

Then I led them to the southwest direction -- all while casting Dim Vision in front of me to blind the monsters I'd already parked. I ran as deeply in the southwest direction as I could and started a tp. The moment the first ghosts got to me, I entered the portal and went to town.

I came back to the sanctuary via the waypoint and worried about whether I had parked the pack deeply enough. Actually, a few ghost stragglers hadn't been parked deeply enough, but because they were normal ghosts, I was able to lead them up the northwest direction and ditch them there. It looked like the boss and most of the pack, though, were staying safely parked in the southwest. I made sure to try to stay as far away from that direction as possible just in case.

[Image: Maldar2_arcane7.jpg]

After that, all that was left to do was to draw all of the monsters from the northeast direction and lead them and corral them to the northwest direction. I also had to pray that there were no boss or champion ghost packs sitting up in the northeast direction.

[Image: Maldar2_arcane8.jpg]

Luckily, there weren't any more ghost boss or champion packs to deal with. I managed to move all of the remaining hell clans and ghoul lords from the northeast direction to the northwest direction, and I managed to send all of the ghosts off into deep space. After an hour's hard work, I found the Summoner's platform.

Did I say an hour? I should've said that it took an hour in each direction, because you see, everything I said above was the story of clearing out the northeast direction. When I first entered the Arcane Sanctuary, I actually tried the northwest direction first. After an hour of carefully moving and parking monsters, I found it was one of the false directions. Luckily, I found the Summoner in the second direction I tried and luckily he wasn't in the teleport portal direction. If he had turned out to be in the teleport portal direction, I would've had to have rerolled the map and started from scratch.

So, how did Maldar do against the Summoner? Stay tuned.
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09-15-2003, 04:31 AM
Post: #17
Maldar, the Magnificent
MALDAR: ACT II, FINALE

[Image: Maldar2_summoner.jpg]

The hardest part about the summoner was getting to him. Once Maldar found him, it was a simple matter to bone prison him and cast bone spirits at him. The bone prison stopped a couple of the Summoner's glacial spikes and the bone spirits killed him in 5-6 shots. Like I said in Gunter's writeup, the Summoner can dish it out, but he can't take it.

[Image: Maldar2_tomb.jpg]

Tal Rasha's Tomb had Ghoul Lords, Gorebellies, and Scarabs. This was a really easy draw, because it was easy to run past everything. There weren't any ghost boss packs to deal with and no Hollow One/skeleton packs clogging up hallways. I found the staff chamber fairly quickly and stuck the staff in it. I was scared. How would Maldar do solo against the infamous hell Duriel?

[Image: Maldar2_duriel.jpg]

OK, I lied. I wasn't scared at all, because I'd already done this in nightmare difficulty. I immediately spammed Bone Prison on Duriel to stop him dead in his tracks and then cast a barrage of bone spirits at him. There was nothing Duriel could do and after quaffing 5-6 blue potions, Maldar killed Duriel without any trouble.

Act 2 Quest Screen

Act 2 Waypoint Screen


Maldar returned to Lut Gholein but when Maldar told the citizenry his news, the celebrations were muted. The people were happy to know that the evil that had plagued their fair city was vanquished, but the knowledge that Diablo had managed to free his brother caused a spectre of fear to fall upon their hearts.

Now that Diablo had freed Baal, Drognan suspected that he would head toward the temple city of Kurast where it had been rumored that Diablo's other brother, Mephisto, had established a base of power. Maldar and Cain decided that they would travel there themselves and see if they could stop Diablo and his brothers' plans before it was too late. Jehryn ordered the sea captain Meshif to take Maldar and Cain to Kurast, and Meshif was only too happy to oblige for his ship had been impounded at the docks during the time of crisis in case there was a need for an evacuation of the city. Meshif was grateful to be allowed to leave.

Maldar bid everyone in Lut Gholein a fond fairwell and boarded Meshif's boat, which would take him to Kurast. What adventures lay in store for him there?
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09-15-2003, 12:29 PM
Post: #18
Maldar, the Magnificent
MongoJerry,Sep 13 2003, 06:16 PM Wrote:That is a very interesting idea.  I would never have thought about Leap.  Does maxed Leap also knockback regular boss monsters and champions?
Leap's knockback effect works an ALL monsters except for act bosses (in 1.09 - havent tested in 1.10). You don't need to max it; 9-14 points or so is enough to cover most of the screen. It would also give you the mobility that you were seeking in teleport charges.
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09-15-2003, 03:43 PM
Post: #19
Maldar, the Magnificent
Well, I'm requiring that Maldar fulfills all the quests, so he has to kill even the optional quest bosses like the Countess, Radament, and the Summoner. I'll come up with some excuse. :-)

The Countess, Radament, and the Summoner are a bunch of low level aparatchiks who stand to gain materially with any and every success of the Three Prime Evils. These are not innocent demons, not hardly, indeed, they are:

Summoner:

A Human Sorcerer of Diablo I stripe who is trying to get rich on the War with the Light: on the backs of the demons who he summons to the fight. He is part of the problem, eh?

Countess:

Modelled from an old Romanian tale, as I recall, this human woman imprisoned and killed children, but it appears that the folk tales try to blame the Demons. Given the motivation for your hero, she is just as big a problem as any other.

Radament:

A kidnapper of Atma's son, he runs a band of thugs. Knock off the Kingpin, and the criminals start to melt away, they will no longer be goaded into their anti human activity and shedding their ichor in the process.

Nilithak: Not a demon, a human and a Necro (the churl !!) who is making a play for power on the backs of demons.

Schenk: Here we are again with yet another mid level bureaucrat whose dreams of riches and glory are on, you see this one coming, on the backs of the innocent demons who he "leads."

I think the excuse will hold together rather well. :)

Cry 'Havoc' and let slip the Men 'O War!
In War, the outcome is never final. --Carl von Clausewitz--
Igitur qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum
John 11:35 - consider why.
In Memory of Pete
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09-15-2003, 04:12 PM
Post: #20
Maldar, the Magnificent
Radament and Schenk pose a direct and imminent threat to a local villiage, and it's obvious even to a pacifist that by defeating their leaders (and humiliating them by practically ignoring them in the process) the demons will be demoralized out of their attack on the humans. Thus hundreds of both demon and human lives are saved at the price of only one.
The others are kinda sketchy. :P
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