Bulging Biceps Barbarian Brothers Bodacious Blowout (Tournament)

Kstil3227

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Finally got time away from work and the family to get this write started.

Wulfstan the WW Barbarian started his journey lonely, missing his brother deeply. He knew he'd half to survive this journey and make it back to Harrogath to be reunited with his brother Weder in any way possible. Like any HC tournament character I've played so far (only been 2 before this 😐) Players setting was set to 8 and full clearing of every inch of any map, caves, holes, tombs, swamps, etc was to be done. Maximize the gold and item finding. Also this meant many, many trips to town to sell off many items along with some power shopping for certain items with certain mods.

Time to for Wulfstan to venture out into the Blood moor in search of vast riches and monsters to slay. Pretty simple clearing everything and gathering up enough junk to sell and buy 2 plain scepters or get lucky and find a 2os scepter from Akara for the damage increase early on. First interesting find came very early on in the Mausoleum, but had no use with a Double Swing barbarian for time being. Stuck in the stash for a "trophy find" Then off through the rest of Act 1 to the countess. Please, Please give Wulfstan decent runes on the 1 and only time he gets to kill her in normal, not terrible but not El, Ith, Eth, or Tir to make a Steel or Malice right away. Did manage to find a decent amulet to start, AR/DEX, Life, and Fire Res. Got to start somewhere right. Then up next, the Pits. Ya its only normal pits, but its still more gold and chances for runes. Nothing to note except the chest drop on level 2. All rares and no upgrades from either of the 2 skull caps, more gold though. Gold is piling up in the stash, which means gambling to come shortly once level 18 is hit right before Andariel. Boots and Belt were kept after 75k in gold gambled. Back down to the Catacombs Wulfstan goes to take on Andariel, poison wasn't too much of a problem with pre-drinking antidotes. Stood toe-toe with Andariel until she went down. More gold is all I got from the drops, outside of the chipped Topaz and Sapphire.

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Once to Lut Gholein, it was time to hire a mercenary to help with the journey until Wulfstan could be re-united with his brother Weder. Then gambled a pike from Elzix and off they went. Instead of taking on Radament first, it was a trip to the Halls of the Dead to acquire the cube to make space with the gems that needed to up cubed up. Then off to Radament for the extra skill and reduced vendor prices, man do they ever overcharge for potions before that scroll. Throughout the desert rune after rune was dropping for Wulfstan, and finally he had the runes to make Steel and Malice. Time to start swinging away and watching blood fall from the enemies with the open wounds proc. Ran through all the tombs looking for Kaa. A great early game piece of "armor" dropped in another tomb, Cannot Be Frozen is amazing early on. Definitely sacrificing the belt slots for CBF. Duriel next, and down Duriel went. Nothing for drops except the Grand Charm.

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Act 3 is rough chasing down all those flayers and raptors, but mind set was full clear, so that's what Wulfstan did. Only notable drop was a set ring, I don't remember if this was Cathan's or Angelic's but Wulfstan did find both through his normal play through. The fight with Mephisto was nothing spectacular, just stand toe to toe til Mephisto died. Great Helm was a bust on the roll, so more gold.

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Act 4, first notable drop was a Sol Rune in the CotD. Could use that to make a Lore Helm if a good 2os Barb Helm pops up. Izual was lengthy fight on P8 but it was done. +2 skills, check. Hellforge drop was good for crafting, Nef Rune. RoF was a long journey with both bugs and grotesque worms spawning. Chaos was pretty simple. Diablo fight was a pretty good fight. Wulfstan was able to stand mostly toe to toe til Big D dropped. Half the drops were Set/Unique but nothing of worth to Wulfstan. More Gold=More Gambling.

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Finally Act 5, Wulfstan takes of running to Qual-Kehk to talk to him about being re-united with his brother. Finally made it through everything only to be told Weder and his troops had be captured, but word was they were still alive. After hearing this, Wulfstan took off killing everything in sight on the way to the Frigid Highlands and freeing Weder and all the barbarians from Sharptooth's capture.

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The runes started dropping all over Act 5, Thul, Dol, Dol. Good start to the collection in hopes gaining enough to make a worthy runeword at some point. Anya's reward was nothing special but did have +41 to life so it was given to Weder. Also found a 3os Bastard Sword so Malice was made in that to give to Weder as well. Bought a +life armor as well from Larzuk for Weder to wear. Once Weder was decked out in his starting gear, more questing was to be down before the battle with the Ancients and Baal. A very, very amazing unique dropped in the Halls on the way to Nihlathak. BONESNAP, +216ED roll, below avg. but still great. So now at level 44 it was time to use Wulfstan's 1 respec to WW with that find. What an amazing jump in damage, but a drastic change in play style. Getting use to short whirls and mana draining fast, it was all whirl, whirl, drink, drink. But most all enemies fell by the waste side fast. Ancients were underwhelming, so off to the WSK and Throne. All waves were "Spin to Win" dead where they spawned, even Lister and his pack. Off to Baal, he only cloned once and it was late so they didn't matter to Wulfstan or Weder. Down goes Baal. Lots of gold from Baal, and Greyform dropped. Interesting drop, to up or not. Idk.

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Destroyer Wulfstan
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LCS with BC/BO/Shout
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Skills:

Combat
1 in all pre-reqs to WW, 16 WW

Masteries
14 Mace Mastery
1 Iron Skin
1 Inc. Stamina
2 Natural Res.

WarCries
1 Howl
1 Shout
9 Battle Orders
1 Battle Command

Cows are all slaughtered. They dropped Wulfstan 1 Amn rune and Tancred's boots, that's all for the notable drops.

Up next Nightmare.
 

OldSoldier

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Magnus and Alcuin ventured forth into the wilderness, in search of foes to slay and people to save. Alcuin looked through Magnus' stash of runes and requested that his upgraded Shadowfang Espandon be replaced with a diminutive Steel shamshir. This is because of two of its primary attributes (healthy IAS and 50% OW) combined with Alcuin's love of bashing his enemies and sending them hurtling backward so that he can then focus on another enemy while the first bleeds uncontrollably. The experiment worked well, and even gave them the ability to send the larger and more healthy opponents for a long ride with a bloody trail.
Screenshot122.jpg

Most of the act was fairly uneventful, though drops were OK for the most part, due to the almost 300% MF when Alcuin was able to make the kill. The duo found their first unique amulet (Eye of Etlich), followed very shortly by a Peasant Crown (nice for FRW and the +1 skill, but not good enough to replace heavy MF barb crowns). The drop by /P2 Countess was pretty awesome.
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I guess that El rune is all she could afford with all the other piles of gold laying around the place. The jewel wasn't bad though.
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The Smith dropped our first elite rare item, and it was great for a thrower, but it had no staying power. Too bad, it would have about tripled Magnus' damage.
Screenshot127.jpg

Our bruising duo found a nice undead crown in the jail, which Alcuin is wearing now because the lack of life leech on his weapon necessitates it elsewhere at this point. We still haven't found a Duskdeep, which is a great helm for companion warriors, but hopefully they can turn one up soon. Magnus searches a lot of bodies for additional items, and sometimes it pays off.

Their lack of crushing blow was a hindrance against Andariel, who managed to drop Alcuin to his knees several times, despite Magnus bringing his Cleglaw's gloves and General's flail to the fight so that she'd move at a snail's pace. She still moved fast enough and hit hard enough that her poison, even despite Alcuin's undead crown poison bonus, and Magnus drinking many antidote potions, still took some time. Eventually she dropped, yielding some low level set items.
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The pair also found a Stormguild, Bverrit Keep, Hwanin's Bill, Brainhew (x2), Skull Splitter, The Patriarch, and finally some crushing blow for Alcuin in their future boss fights!
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The final drop of note was a nice one that comes in handy for additional drops, since I normally just do resurrectable creatures, champions and bosses.
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The Halls of the Dead took a couple of hours because unravelers were loading the areas, and sometimes they were able to resurrect skeletons and zombies before Magnus could put them down permanently with some horking or a grim ward.

A question, I think I already know the answer, but I'll ask it anyway: does MF raise chances of getting magic/set/rare/uniques while using Find Item? i.e. will that Ali Baba be useful as a switch weapon while horking to increase chances of a good drop if the drop check is passed?

Destroyers Magnus and Alcuin, Dry Hills WP
 

NorthDakota

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Sep 8, 2020
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The experiment worked well, and even gave them the ability to send the larger and more healthy opponents for a long ride with a bloody trail.
Screenshot122.jpg

THIS PICTURE IS AMAZING
 
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Babyhell

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A question, I think I already know the answer, but I'll ask it anyway: does MF raise chances of getting magic/set/rare/uniques while using Find Item? i.e. will that Ali Baba be useful as a switch weapon while horking to increase chances of a good drop if the drop check is passed?

Yes it does! Horking sessions will deliver :p
 
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PhineasB

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Nice progress @Kstil3227 and @OldSoldier

Folcwald has continued with his progress and I’ll plan to update at the end of the weekend. In the meantime, aside from a Gull, the Ali Baba is hard that beat on hork for an untwinked Barb. Congrats!
 

Babyhell

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Planning a complete update soon, now in Act 2, Lost city to be cleared/waypoint grabbed, clvl 24 #p7 and he got a Gull lately #HadToShare!

Since then, he had been watching merc doing the job xD
 
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PhineasB

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Quite an update to get through here, but here it goes!
Destroyer.jpg
Conqueror.jpg
I will start off with (spoiler-ish) observation that item and charm drops (and topaz drops) were really poor, but rune drops offset. And the gem shrines were non-existent (didn't find one until A5 NM), but he ended up having more XP shrines than I can recall on a playthrough as compensation. (Full disclosure: I also killed Eldritch twice because I instinctively took him out after hitting WP, but needed to S&E to mule stuff off. I didn't keep any items from second run though.)

We left off after picking up our brother Frisian in A5 Normal. The duo picked up a Rixot's (which was up'ed for crushing blow) and a Sharp GC, before getting a nice rare ring that became obsolete but will likely be equipped for Hell. Then it was uneventful to take down Baal, with a source of CBF (but shattering corpses). Cows and Nihl were also taken down without significant drops.

Into A1 NM, we picked up a higher damage sword (when up'ed) in Griswold's than the rare Falcata for Frisian, and then onto Countess who was generous with a Sol and two other lower runes. A blood belt was made that turned out nicely with max life leech and fire resist. A 26MF Nagel dropped in Catacombs, and Andy was taken down without incident (or useful drop).

A2 NM saw a major damage upgrade for Frisian in Hexfire. We were gambling swords and gloves at this point (hoping for IAS and MF), and eventually got a nice roll. Then a random magic ring dropped, rendering a second, lower roll Nagel obsolete:
NM A2 Magic Ring.jpg
Pending resist needs, this may stay end-game due to boost to base AR, MF and coolness of magic ring! We then encountered our first PI in Tal's True Tomb (hit first to clear out stash space for the staff), as a reminder that limited elemental damage from charms would slowly not be enough. An Io had dropped, along with 3os Knout allowing Black, and Duriel fell without issue, and another Sol provided. We had just filled out the 3rd pTopaz (total) in AS, which went into a 3os barb helm, and then another 3os with better staff mods (+2 BO and +1 BC to give it without hard point) fell in the other tombs for slight upgrade when pTopazes were made in A3.

Little of note through A3, with a nice Stormtree fight. Kill speed was really suffering at this point, before we finally gambled a nice sword upgrade! Little of note again to Meph, who dropped Darksight as possible end-game for CBF, CoS charges, and other stats. The stairs down on each level had come early and the rest of the levels were saved to later, with a nice rune drop in Lem opening up Treachery or possibly Lawbringer :) There was also a Hawkmail for CBF option on armor for either barb brother.

NM A4 was uneventful early, with thankfully no Stygian Hag types until RoF. But this dropped in RoF as clear end-game choice:
NM A4 (LoH).jpg
The HF delivered with an Um, opening up Crescent Moon as an option for 3os sword (and all pAmethysts saved if needed for socket rolls).

We had at this point gambled another ~170ED flamberge that was up'ed, which allowed Folcwald to get the Hexfire (or use Sureshrill when CBF was essential). CS was carefully cleared, with CBF being handy and Taunt getting more and more use (a skill I haven't really used, due to only untwinked Barb being WC based and twinked ones being really powerful). We coaxed Diablo into a walled area that limited use of firestorm and he fell, without anything of use.

In A5 NM, we then crafted a few rings using the Sols that had dropped, with this gem likely end-game along with either MF magic or the earlier rare (more likely due to resists). And we shopped this armor (4os with life), which got the three pTopazes he had accumulated again after filling helm and not getting a forth until WSK.

Damage was again slowing, but it was safe with BC and taunt, until an upgrade fell for Frisian in Swordgaurd at Crystalline Passage, nearly doubling his damage output over the rare. We had switched to gambling amulets, with this one being a candidate for end-game, but definitely early Hell:
NM A5 Amulet.jpg
Frozen Tundra delivered a second Lem, freeing up the hard decision between Treachery and (possibly) Lawbringer. Ancients took a few rolls to avoid amp, but a PI Korlic that took a while (swapped Swordguard with Frisian when main weapon lost durability). Another nasty roll in WSK (PI Gloam boss!), but taunt allowed us to isolate the boss. Waves were easy (taunt), and Baal fell, with a Dwarf Star not especially useful (Ravenfrost would have been interesting).

So that's a big update! Nihl and Cows remain in NM, and then a respec to balance stats (dext in the hopes of PB for Crescent Moon) and, more importantly, shifting skill points from double swing to max BO. I need to assess equipment to figure out stats and resists also, to see if an extra skill point in Natural Resistance might be needed.

I'm hoping to finish up Nightmare during the week, and then will take a break before making decisions on stats and skills and gear for Hell.

Good luck to other participants. Looking forward to updates!
 
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Babyhell

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Quite a progress @PhineasB !

On my side I still haven't finished Act 2 - not speaking of NM, just Act 2 normal, but full clears/lots of horking/gold piling for later, beside leveling another Sorc for Travincal running later. Lacking topazes, I stayed on flawed for now, but overall got over 200MF (231 iirc) thanks to other gear pieces, so full clears is all about S/U drops.

Next session will see the Duriel fight (and first use of Frenzy!) before tombs clearing if I feel so - having another level is always nice, but drops could be so much better later that I'm thinking about a players1 Act 3 until Council back to p7, and jump to Act 4.

Anyway, hope to throw a real update by tomorrow evening ;-)
 
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OldSoldier

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@PhineasB, two Lem runes, I am so jealous! That's exactly what I'm hoping to get by the end of NM for the exact same reasons as you. A Lawbringer & Treachery- laden Brother Barbarian Basher would be quite the asset. The fact that you have two means that you don't have to decide between the two runewords.

My guys have tapped the Canyon of the Magi (NM) waypoint but still have two legs of the Arcane Sanctuary to clear, so it'll be a couple of days before my act II update. Unfortunately my drops are not very good yet...
 

Babyhell

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Duriel's delivery
Since last time, Act 1 had been completed, so had been Act 2. Pretty nice MF finds, lots of horking help, and so does the overall equipment. Currently sitting at 258MF before Act 3, with only flawed topazes!

Act 1 noticeable drops were this nice rare ring, and a 2os jawbone cap with Mace mastery that will be later socketed for MF.


Andy had been killed on lvl 20, without providing anything great, not even a Nagelring... hoped for one :-/

Act 2 started by some worthless gambling then shopping Flail bases for Steel and stashes Malice ones.
Soon a pair of Gorefoot were equipped, and had to wait until the Stony tomb to find the first Tir. Not so long after a second one was dropped and the two Steel weapons were available when getting the Cube (1 2). This one allowed the upping of gems, made a temporary equipment with flawed ones only.


Far oasis delivered big time with nothing less than a Gull (!), changing killing strategy for more merc killing.


Afterwards, entered Lost city at clvl 24, and found there a nice Cathan's seal for later.

While getting back to town, checking stuff, found pretty close one from the other 24 MF gloves and boots.

Merc finally got upgrades with a Dimoak's hew from the Claw viper temple, and his own MF helm:


Frenchy activated AS waypoint close to clvl 26, and found there his source of Crushing blow for bosses:


Canyon of Magi had been entered at clvl 26.5, and decided to go straight to the good Circle tomb. After a few resurrections for merc and health pots buying, Duriel was finally slained at clvl 27 and... delivered a Tarnhelm. New helm!


Now on to Act 3. Let's find out some new shiny things!
 

OldSoldier

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Magnus and Alcuin finished off act II without much fanfare.

After finding the Blade of Ali Baba, we changed our strategy to Alcuin being the primary killer, with a small bonus to damage provided by his upgraded Undead Crown, and he donned the Rattlecage, which provided both crushing blow and a flee chance, which ended up working pretty well with the shiny Rune Sword Malice he was toting. The Malice was key to defeating enemies like this swarm, our first PI.
Screenshot139.jpg

Our first observed "Cruel of Quickness" was not really all that good, but it is nice to see them popping up, even if only shopping. I am still waiting on a CoQ exceptional throwing axe or knife.
Screenshot141.jpg

We did receive a Manald Heal ring in the level 3 Maggot Lair, but absolutely nothing S/U from then until finding a Razorswitch in one of the false tombs. It was fairly disappointing spending all that time waiting for Alcuin to kill all mobs, and horking every single body (granted, only a find item skill level of 4, so only about 30% chance of finding something) and not getting anything at all through the lost city, ancient tunnels, viper temple, arcane sanctuary, canyon of the magi and 6 of the 7 tombs, with about over 300% MF to boot. Now that we've traveled into the Kurast jungles, and swapped some gear around, we'll be packing nearly 400% for Alcuin's kills when Magnus is holding the Ali Baba. I hope it gets better! We are finding a lot of gold, which is nice and helps with our gambling addiction.

We made sure to get our General's flail and Cleglaw's gloves before the final fight, which made Duriel pretty tame. He's moving pretty slowly here, and doing 34% less damage to boot (oops, the battle cry effect had just expired when I took the shot, but I had it up most of the time during the fight). Alcuin never went below half, even though Duriel ignored Magnus and focused entirely on his brother. Alcuin's Rattlecage made the /P8 fight much more productive.
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At least Duriel dropped an OK Unique shield. We may use it against bosses if nothing better than the General's flail turns up.
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Magnus and Alcuin, Be-Bopping along at the Kurast Docks, level 60.
 

PhineasB

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Nice progress @OldSoldier

As for me, Folcwald continued his journey, now into A2 Hell. We left off with Nihl and Cows for NM. The first Hall rolled Shamans, and the carvers are 66% PI in NM, so very annoying. The patience was rewarded though with a Vex. Not likely useful for him, but cool to have highest rune drop possible! Onto Cows, and another really nice drop in Vile Husk.

Then onto Hell, which prompted a swap for MF gloves (LoH), boots (Natalya's) and amulet (the +1 Barb skill and LR rare), and the two MF rings for lower MF rings (Blood ring and the rare), and a plated belt with missing resists and FHR. That still left him with >200 MF with 4 pTopaz armor and 3 pTopaz helm plus rings and charms.

We were on the lookout for elite swords, and the first dropped with 3os, becoming a Lawbringer and the second elite armor rolling 3os and becoming Treachery. Frisian became a hoss, not having any issues until Andy. Decrep is awesome of course, and knockback for undead was significant. Downsides are cold damage for shatter and RIP mod, reducing the horking considerably.

But the duo safely progressed to Outer Cloister (countess dropped Ort :\) but the Pit made up for it, with Lem #3 on the playthrough, giving runes for second Treachery for Folcwald to up IAS, damage reduction and resists with Fade, and cold resist where he is a bit short. I don't have armor yet, but it's nice to know it's there.

I had picked up magic Legend Sword and Balrog Blade by Inner Cloister, and burned through chipped gems and regular, netting a 2os Ferocious Balrog Blade that may get two damage%/+damage jewels for big damage (and fast Frenzy with Treachery). The Legend Sword had 2os with lower damage mod. We also gambled through nearly 2.5M gold through the Act, hoping for boots upgrade, but no luck :(

A unique Ogre Axe fell to no good effect, and progress to Andy was smooth. She dropped another Ogre Axe for good measure, and that was that. He also picked up Nord's Tenderizer and Demon Limb along the way, with game thinking he should have gone with Club Mastery. Demon Limb will likely get use for the charges, as the AR is a bit low as the duo took out Radament, and cleared first area and underground (with entrance to next area immediately to the left after leaving town). Level 80 about to enter Dry Hills.

He was p8 for NM (except countess p1 and Meph, Diablo and Baal p3), and has been p3 so far (except countess p1) and I'm hoping to keep that and MF set up through A2 in hopes of a big upgrade. But if not, the duo is well set with good weapon options for Folcwald (3os Legend Sword makes Crescent Moon Possible, along with Vile Husk and the 2os Balrog Blade), CBF and mana leech with Darksight, and good IAS with Treachery armor (need a base).
 
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OldSoldier

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@PhineasB, your gear is pretty sweet! I hope to get there myself, but so far not much of note for higher end stuff. My barbs have over 400% MF for the brother's kills, but we're still waiting for drops like yours... what is your find item level?
 
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PhineasB

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I maxed Find Item, and kept it maxed after respec before moving into Hell. I decided the FI points were worth it relative to weapon mastery, especially before respec because the weapons were switching around as damage improved (and for bonus points for double maxed F skills to match the duo's names!). We had double swing maxed, so had pretty low BO before respec, but with the merc tanking, it wasn't really an issue.

On respec, I kept the same approach for mastery, as it's really only the critical strike that's traded off (damage and AR are relatively small added on top of Frenzy). I think I'm up to 3 hard points in Sword Mastery now, but started with only one. I also shifted points from max double swing to max BO, with 8 hard points in double swing initially, but now higher to pump Frenzy damage. I also shifted stat points to 140 dext (phase blade if found) and saving 50 to use for strength for Balrog Blade if needed, which it likely will be :)

I'll post a more complete rundown of stats and gear when I finish A2, as that's when he'll switch to full survival gear. With 400 MF and horking, your gear should improve dramatically, especially into A4 and A5. Good luck!
 

OldSoldier

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I only have one hard point in Find Item, so my hork switch has only a total of 5 points at best (1 for hard point, +2 warcries weapon, +1 on the barb helm, and +1 for Battle Command) so my drop rate isn't all that great. I'd be super happy with getting a Demon Limb like you did; the +AR of that single piece would be worth more than the entire 20 hard points of Double Throw! Of course, my double throw barb doesn't plan on maximizing his primary skill due to the fact that it really doesn't help much at higher levels.

For my hork career, Magnus is still pretty much getting shut out, but hopefully that'll change soon. So far he's parked at the Kurast Bazaar and we haven't found much of note in A3 either. Maybe we'll get some luck in the Durance of Hate. He's definitely flush with cash due to the Ali Baba drop and a nice GF on his boots and belt, so that helps with directed chances at better gear. I'm pushing hard for gloves and weapons right now.
 
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PhineasB

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Conqueror Folcwald and Frisian, Level 82, A3 Hell

Alright, it's time for an update and to transition to full survival/damage gear. The rest of A2 was successfully (if not quite safely) navigated. Halls of the Dead provided a major upgrade, but also highlighted a problem. First the upgrade:
H A2 Guillames.jpg
Crushing Blow for Frisian is quite nice, with life leech provided through Lawbringer. The challenge: Lawbringer. The knockback to undead was quite dangerous in the tight quarters, with non-undead mixed in. Because Frisian's AI is more aggressive, he would go ahead and push monsters back into Folcwald, With non-undead (in this particular case, nasty bat boss packs) swarming Folcwald, he almost got surrounded and taken out, but managed to survive with the aid of a few purples. So we assessed, and decided to swap in the 2os Balrog Blade for Frisian before tackling AT. It worked well, with added benefit of no RIP, so every monster hork-able.

We dropped to p1 for Sandy Pit, AT, and eventually for good in Viper Temple, drawing out skeletons before tackling the Greater Mummies who spawned there. He picked up a Ruby (11) SC of Dexterity, which was nice. Progress was smooth, if slow, up to AS, which was a little tedious on the arm with all the stairs as to be expected, but 1 pt Berserk sorted out ghosts just fine while hiding behind Frisian to avoid mana burn. Nothing useful dropped over this stretch, but this was a nasty PI boss, unbreakable with Decrep (but breakable when amp proc'ed) and poison immune so life regenerated.
H A2 Nasty PI Boss.jpg
It took a while, but the elemental damage and occasional amp eventually outpaced the regen. Then the tombs, which had not Greater Mummies in the first two false tombs, but then in the other four, with two having lots of bosses and champ packs. Ghosts rolled in the latter two. So it was a bit slow drawing out resurrectable undead, and I did one at a time throughout the week, with the game paused and computer left on overnight. Notable drops were Nos Coil and IK Boots, which are interesting but ultimately not useful for Folcwald.

We tackled the True Tomb, with thankfully no Greater Mummies and eventually took down Duriel (who obviously dropped nothing useful):
H A2 Duriel down.jpg
We then gambled through 1.5M gold on amulets, with nothing to show, and then built the second Treachery in a 3os Mage Plate. Unfortunately, only one Phase Blade dropped and it rolled 1os. So we have the 3os Legend Sword for Crescent Moon, but will hold off on making it for now. Instead, we used the saved stat points to up strength to 185 and equip the 2os Balrog Blade with a 27%/13 max jewel. He also has the Treachery Mage Plate, and swapped in 30FRW/13 FR/39CR Boneweave Boots, keeping 3 pTopaz helm for now. Cold and fire resist are maxed, and lightning and poison (with Vile Husk) are >60. We've also dropped one Spirit Sword on switch for Demon Limb, which should help with AR.

I'd appreciate feedback on two things to finalize gear:
- The open socket in the Balrog Blade. I have another ED%/+max damage jewel, but I think AR will be more important. Given AR% from Frenzy and Enchant charges, it seems base AR would be beneficial, so a pAmmy might be best. But Eth will reduce enemy defense by 25% (12.5% for bosses). Any idea on which will give more bang for the chance-to-hit buck, or if there's another option that I'm overlooking?

- Socket quests. Darksight will give CBF, so I will likely go that route if/when it becomes necesary. But I can't think of good use for a socket, except pRuby for life. He doesn't need resists, and I guess he could go pTopaz for MF. Same with the Guillame's on the merc; I can't think of a good use for a socket. So I'm thinking to socket Vile Husk hoping for a Pul to allow it to be up'ed, but still useful without due to +damage% to undead, amp, and poison resists), and save the NM socket quest for now. For that socket, should I go ED%/+max jewel or pAmmy/Eth?

Current gear is summarized below:
- 3 pTopaz helm (Darksight is available)
- 2s Ferocious Balrog Blade (1s with 27%ED/+13 max jewel) / Vile Husk
- Treachery Mage Plate
- LoH
- Rare Plated Belt with 24 FHR, 29 LR, 19 PR, replenish life, + life
- Rare Boneweave Boots with 30 FRW, 19, FR, 39 CR
- Blood Ring (3LL, 114 AR, 13 MF, Life/Strength
- Rare Ring (133 AR, 18 CR, 16 LR, 12 MF)
- Rare Amulet with +1 Barb Skills, 39 LR, Life/Mana/Replenish
- Spirit / Demon Limb

Charms are a mix of Resists, Sharp, Vita and MF, some with secondary mods

Barb Merc (Frisian)
- Guillame's
- Treachery Scarab Husk
- Lawbringer Balrog Blade

I'm going to take a short break from this to do some AS runs with the HC Trapper and Pit runs with 99er Druid, but hoping to tackle A3 Hell toward the end of next week.
 
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OldSoldier

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Aug 19, 2020
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@PhineasB Personally, I really like Vile Husk and used it a lot on my Frenzy Barb. I also had LoH, and between those two, stuff pretty much melted when the amp went off. It'll be useful less for you since your brother will be decrepifying everything fairly often which will overwrite your amps, but I think you'll like it. You could always socket your helmet with a diamond for base AR if you want, or supplement with charms. It is interesting, I am trying to tackle my AR needs by going heavy into Dexterity with my build, and have very little as a % AR bump outside of the weapon mastery. You're the opposite!

Magnus and Alcuin continued onward into the Acts III, IV and V (I'll spare the cheesy narrative for the last difficulty if they make it). We scored as notable finds in act III (keep in mind this is with over 400% MF for Alcuin's kills and 300%+ on horks, which was pretty much every monster in the whole set of acts I discuss here): A lum rune in great marsh, Bloodfiest gloves and Tearhaunch greaves in the Flayer Jungle, a Humungous in the Swampy Pit, a Mahim Oak Curio in the Forgotten Reliquary, and a Visceratuant in the Durance 2.

We did get a nice throwing axe, which got upgraded to Francisca and are still used (they are just slow).
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Our first stairs trap (it was not too tough).
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We brought Cleglaw's gloves and the General's flail to the fight against Mephisto, and Alcuin had worn his Rattlecage and Magnus had made a Black knout, so we had plenty of crushing blow and open wounds (Alcuin was still rocking his Malice rune sword). We switched gear to full MF and Alcuin got the kill for a nice 400% MF boss quest drop. Great result!
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Blar!

Our first Physical Immune took a while to bleed out, but he went down. Magnus rocks 3-6 cold damage and 15 poison damage so I didn't bother to help much on this one...
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In act 4, our ridiculous haul of finds included a Peasant Crown war hat in the Plains of Despair, another General's flail and some Silkweave boots in the City of the Damned, Kinemil's Awl giant sword and Bloodrise morning star in the River of Flame, an Io at the Hellforge (ugh), and finally a decent drop:
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The Isenhart's shield is the one highlighted, but that was the second drop of whatever it was that I horked. The primary drop was the Crow Caw tigulated mail. It has FHR, IAS and OW built in. It meant that when I wanted, I could swap out the malice, which did horrible damage, for an ethereal honor zweihander, which does quite a bit more and has life leech on it. Alcuin likes to bash things away, and 35% OW is enough so that I can still see enemies' health drop when they are pushed aside or stunned and Alcuin moves on to a new target. Between Crow Caw and Rattlecage I'd say Alcuin is set for armors if I cannot score a Lem for treachery.

The Chaos Sanctuary was not difficult since I play pretty conservatively. Diablo focused on Alcuin but Magnus had him slowed up with his gloves and flail, and the damage dealt was lessened with battle cry.
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His 400% MF quest drop yielded a nice weapon (for a druid).
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So far in act V, the drops have definitely been better. We scored a Blackhorn's Face (we actually have gotten two in the act, the other dropping in the Drifter Cavern) in the Bloody Foothills, a Heart Carver in Abaddon (which we used for a while until we could find a +3 warcries weapon for sale from a vendor, whereupon we switched to that for increased utility from better levels of BC, BO, Shout and Battle Cry). Arreat Plateau yielded a Nightsmoke belt, Frozen River gave us The Diggler, Skin of the Flayed One landing in the Drifter Cavern (along with said Blackhorn's Face and a Cathan's Amulet), and Frozen Tundra gave us a Hellclap short war bow. That's pretty much it. We got a few more duplicates here and there (another Peasant Crown, anyone?) but overall still not much to show yet. We're horking 100% still, at about a 35% clip.

We did get this neat jewel:
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And had a neat fight. Hatfields vs McCoys here, pitting Magnus and Alcuin vs Devil and Sharp Hack.
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Magnus and Alcuin have touched the Ancient's Way WP, ready to face their ancestors. They also have not yet paid a visit to Nihlathak's humble abode. Level 71 and Magnus' primary skills of BO and throwing mastery and Double Swing are now maximized. Future skills will go into Battle Cry and probably Double Throw for the lame 10%/level AR bonus. It makes Magnus wish he'd spent more time studying up to be a Frenzier.
 

OldSoldier

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Aug 19, 2020
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Magnus and Alcuin forged onward today, making a big mess at PI Talic's expense...
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WSK was pretty uneventful, with only a minor stair encounter at the Throne of Destruction. Being a careful Barbarian, Magnus found that even the minions of Baal himself (not the minions of destruction mind you) were not immune to their underlings being lured from their friends one at a time to their doom. The ToD had burning souls (which was good, I'll explain later) and ghoul lords and about 5 snakes, which was odd there were so few of them. The barbs' tactics involved taunting them out for a good clobbering, one at a time, ala the Three Stooges. Look at the blood trail in front of Lister. We pushed him back half the hallway. Magnus marveled at his brother's sheer strength.
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The boys switched gear around for Baal, dropping the MF gear and picking up the CB/OW/slow equipment. We left the cleglaws gloves in the stash permanently since the Blackhorn's face provides 20% slow and the general's flail provides 50% slow. Magnus' gloves now provide 8% CB themselves so they are a good replacement in that regard. Once they got the nasty jerk down to a mere sliver of life, off went the specialized gear (save for the flail, which remained throughout the fight) and on went the MF gear. Alcuin got the final shot, and their tally of MF was 351%. This is the result.
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No matter! I wish I'd gotten something nice like Duriel's Shell or SotV, but alas, it was not meant to be. In the ToD, we got three neat drops, shown in the next three pics.

Finally! A burning soul dropped it on the hork. Our decent-rune stash now includes 4 Lum, and 1 Lem and 1 Ko rune. That's a Smoke and a Treachery or Lawbringer right there. However, I am pretty fond of getting a second drop for nearly every body, I have to think hard about how I want to use that Lem rune (i.e. Treachery or Lawbringer for Alcuin - his weapon is still the ethereal Honor Zweihander, which is good but definitely not great). I know it will pay dividends in many ways, but my gear is not up to snuff yet to make a final decision. I lean toward Lawbringer for now for Al.
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Is this a good candidate for a hybrid trap/WW sin?
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One of the minions dropped this at the throne. If it had almost any IAS or a socket it'd be nice for Al. Upgraded it will be comparable in damage to the Honor, besting it on the top end due to the Grinding mod. Probably not good enough to replace it without the runes to upgrade it to Elite, of which I have neither and both would be better suited elsewhere (i.e. Fal for a Lionheart for Magnus or Um for a Duress or Crescent Moon for Alcuin). Still it is neat.
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They still have to visit with Nihlathak but that'll come next.
 

OldSoldier

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Aug 19, 2020
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The boys caught up with Nihlathak last night. There were the blowdart flayers on all three levels of the Halls, so the going was slow but there were tons of drops. And I mean tons... this picture does not do the amount of loot on the floor justice. I was picking up potions just to drink to get the text out of the way so I could see how much gold was in the piles right at Magnus' feet.
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We were able to find some decent boots which we won't wear in most likelihood.
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We also got a lot of lower end set items, actually completing the Berserker's set, which is the only set we've been able to complete at this point. We also got our 5th Lum rune, which officially equals the number of Nef runes they'd found up to this point as well. So we can make up to 5 Smoke runewords if we really want to light it up in style.

Level 74 and ready for some cows. They'd already rearranged their gear for hell and can sport maxed fire and lightning resists and still manage to get 265% MF on all kills and horks when the Ali Baba is in hand. Despite bad headgear options at this point (almost all Magnus' gambling gold has gone in vain looking for good throwing weapons, specifically throwing axes and balanced axes) we have enough equipment flexibility to maintain good resistances if a truly awesome piece shows up.