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11:19 pm, March 21, 2015
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Melee Master Vampires: Oh Dual-Fang Runts of the PM Tree UNITE!

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Disclaimer: This is a work in progress. I am no expert on PMs so please post your suggestions. There have been a number of threads recently with players proposing vampire builds. I also was intrigued and played a 6 monk/7 wiz/7 rogue version to cap recently out of curiosity. There are many strengths and weaknesses of this dual-fanged runt of the PM tree.

Why Choose Shroud of the vampire
  1. The Multiclass build has under 12 levels of wizard and hence unable to use the vastly superior wraith form. I will presume this is always the case.
  2. While in this form, you gain +2 Strength, +2 Charisma, +2 to the DC's of you Enchantment spells, and generate 25% less threat from spells and attacks.
  3. On Vorpal Melee Hit: Your attack causes Energy Drain, inflicting 1 Negative Level on your victim.
  4. You have +100% critical hit resistance, are healed by negative energy, and are unaffected by positive energy or repair effects, but take triple damage from light effects.
  5. You are considered undead rather than your original type for the purpose of most effects.
  6. Undead resistances—100% stacking fortification, free deathblock, deathward, immunity to poisons such as Drow venoms, green dragon breath and nasty poison traps (and resistant to disease etc.)
  7. Tier 5: While in Shroud of the Master Vampire, you gain +2 Dexterity, your vulnerability to Light damage is reduced to 200% (from 300%), and your melee and unarmed attacks heal you for 1 point of Negative Energy damage. This currently also works on ranged attacks (throwers and bows have been tested) although it is not WAI (so don't build around it, but hey! Think of all the non-WAI stuff floating around!
  8. Self-buffing from usual arcane levels such as displacement etc.
  9. You saw a re-run on Netflix of one of those horrendous Underworld films and were dazzled by the leather tights



Key Issues with Vampire Form
  1. You MUST take tier 5 in PM tree. This reduces the light vulnerability to the same as the other undead shrouds. However, it limits one from taking other tier 5 options. Staves give an implement bonus but will not benefit from Tier 5 Henshin or Acro.
  2. Undead vulnerabilities—vulnerability to light, needs negative healing, no neg hit points status (0=soulstone)
  3. Melees typically seek positive healing amplification via enhancement tree bonuses and gear. Divine casters will boost healing via Empower heal, healing lore, etc. You, as a PM, must do both but the latter with under twelve arcane levels (One can splash divine classes). Furthermore, your caster levels will be poor for healing due to low wizard levels AND there is only one item in the game that gives a bonus to neg healing amp (deathwyrm cloak, ML 27!). Also, to cast inflict wounds or negative energy burst, one must target oneself=PITA.
  4. You are a caster and melee. This makes juggling gear an issue. Staves give implement bonuses but will not benefit from the tier 5 of staff specialization so wielding them is poor DPS. Never enough SP for healing since you do not have enough wizard levels. In later epics there is enough gear to merge needs but by then you will be sick of your little vampire and reincarnate ASAP.
  5. You need 6 levels of wizard for the vampire shroud but 7 for Greater ***** Aura and Neg Energy Burst. Hence consider 7 levels the absolute minimum (This eliminates splashes with 14 Paladin Levels, bad synergy anyway)
  6. Limitations on armor type based on some of the better synergies (below). Hence the uber heavy armored wraith with its bonus of MR against light damage cannot be attained although something similar could be followed with medium or light armor (for druid or swashbuckling). One could also go heavy fighter levels and wear heavy armor.



Build philosophies should use two key goals to mitigate the poor healing and emphasize the minuscule healing-on-hit:
  1. Increase attack speed (and offhand attacks if TWF) for more healing on hit and perks from weapon effects (Monk unarmed, Druid Fatal harrier, various haste boosts)
  2. Add sources of temporary hit points to create pseudo-healing (enhancement trees, gear)


One has the following options as well:
  1. Add sources of void lore, nullification, potency, implement bonuses (such as Cloak of the Dragon)
  2. Possibly add divine sources of healing (cleric levels for self-casting inflict spells) as an option, even using scrolls
  3. Add MR to boost light resistance
  4. Twist Embrace the Light (basically, one does this instead of Brace) for light resistance
  5. Memorize this list or keep its window open: Avoiding Light Damage
  6. Buff your heal skill


Class and Enhancement Synergies: Mix and Match as you want
  1. Monk—unarmed attack speed, pajamas do not cause ASF
  2. Druid—fatal harrier, spell points
  3. Barbarian—temporary healing from FB (T2) Blood tribute; Ravager (T2) I Like Pain.
  4. Bard—swashbuckling only requires T3; CHA vamp bonus helps or one may use INT damage options for synergy with SP pool
  5. Cleric/FVS—inflict wounds spells. Inflict critical (level 4) requires 7 levels; Harm (level 6) requires 11
  6. Artificer (and Rogue mechanic)—INT as base stat, bonus SP, uses non-WAI healing on hit for ranged items
  7. Harper Tree—INT strategic combat/KtA; various bonuses to both SP and MP
  8. Rogue—2 rogue for evasion, helpful if swashbuckling and stuck with light armor.
  9. Ranger—9 levels gets evasion, also helps with numerous melee feats and TWF boosts



Gear with Synergies
  1. Light resistant gear. Key of this group is Pale Rod since it merges so many needed attributes.
  2. Synergy with Druid splash but not workable with neither swashbuckling nor monk.
  3. Grave Wrappings—neg levels on Vorpal; also gives Soul Eating for 35 HP on vorpal. ML 20. However, its damage is surpassed quickly by Addy knuckles and TF weapons. Easily acquired!
  4. Adamantine Knuckles—though they do not give temp hp, they offer an implement bonus as well as extra slots for adding nullification if missing
  5. Staff of the Necromancer—poor as melee weapon but its Arcane Augmentation will add a wiz level when casting ***** auras. ML 21. Easily acquired!
  6. Epic Envenomed Blade—great synergy with vorpal enervation for Swashbuckling. PITA to farm.
  7. Robe of Shadow. Useful if using centered monk levels.
  8. kind fellow forumites will hopefully suggest more

References



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