Sacred:Tharkane's The Dark Elf Compendium Part 2, Sacred PLUS
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Originally posted at DarkMatters for review and discussion.
The Blade Masters
Certain warriors of the Cabal elected to focus their energies upon the mastery of close combat. Though possessing knowledge enough to inflict injury and death using a variety of means available to all of their elite brethren, these Dark Elf males relished hand to hand combat above all. These are the Blade Masters, whirling engines of destruction on the battlefield.
The blade master seeks to develop the strengths of the Dark Elf in the wielding of two weapons, and the mastery of the unique Dark Elf blades of Zhurag-Nar. Though certainly not the only character that can wield two weapons simultaneously - both the Gladiator and Seraphim are able - Dark Elf special moves, weaponry, and special items are designed to take full advantage of Dual Wielding.
The Blade Master does not merely swing weapons at his foes in battle. The field of battle is sacred to him, and it is there that he finds meaning and purpose. Combat is a science and devotion to him, and to this end he seeks to perfect deadly blows that stun, wound, and strike critically vital areas. The Trap Master casts his deadly traps amongst his enemies, seeking to lure them into certain death. The Blade Master, however, seeks to throw himself into their midst personally, where he can execute spinning blows which strike as many of his enemies as possible. He is aggressive and fearless...however, hidden beneath his battle fury is a coldly calculating strategic mind which understands that mobility on the battlefield is the key to victory. At the highest levels of difficulty, a Blade Master can successfully vanquish hordes of undead, orcs, and even the deadly ice elves with his blades alone.
This is the first skill gained by the apprentice Blade Master. The gaining of this skill should be immediately followed by the satisfying placement of a second weapon in your only available weapon slot. Thus begins your journey.
Tip: The strategically-minded Blade Master will develop weapon sets custom-tailored to take advantage of the weaknesses of his enemies. This is perhaps the greatest advantage of the Dual Wielding skill. Weapons which deal out poison damage are effective against most non-montrous opponents, such as the rogues and soldiers you will encounter. Weapons which deal out fire damage are ideal for use against the undead, which you will encounter in roving groups later on. Weapons which deal out magic damage are rather unique, and shouldn't be overlooked as many of your foes are vulnerable to magic. Study your opponents' resistances closely and develop a plan to take advantage of their weaknesses.
This skill should be taken the next time a new skill becomes available (level 6). In the beginning, agility will insure your survival in battle by making you more difficult to hit, and increasing your Attack Rating. Without the constant present benefit of a shield, the Blade Master relies upon this skill as his primary defense before he becomes more powerful later on.
Note: A wise Blade Master will keep a shield ready in his inventory, or waiting in an open weapon slot, for those times when he faces a multitude of foes that are wearing him down.
Level 12 will see the need for this skill arise. Foes are becoming more dangerous, and more punishing with their blows. Select this skill and invest in it generously.
Level 20 is a critical level. You will be encountering mages and undead creatures by now, and the need for superior resistances is vital. The armor skill is a must for the Blade Master, for not only does it increase the protection and resistances offered by the armor you wear, but it also increases your movement speed while wearing it.
Tip: Armor, amulets, and rings should be considered the basic building blocks of the Blade Master's power. How these items are arranged in concert with the weapon sets will determine how devastating you are on the battlefield. The Forge section below will outline basic strategies in item and armor arrangement.
Level 30 should see this skill selected. Dark Elven craftsmanship is unsurpassed in Ancaria. In ancient subterranean forges, the master smiths of Zhurag-Nar craft brilliantly wicked and dreadfully deadly tools of war: the Dark Elf blades. The Blade Master seeks to possess such blades, for they are the extensions of his fury in battle. Outsiders are mistaken when they assume that the Dark Elf weaponry drips only of poisonous substances: such is not the case. Some Du'blades blaze with fire, and others are shrouded by magic force. These are to be treasured and kept when found, for they will devastate your unwitting foes who expect venom on your blades.
The taking of this skill also permits the use of the powerful Dark Elf set weaponry, such as Krag's Judge, a du'blade that has three rune slots and leeches the life from your foes with each strike. Other Dark Elf set weapons, such as Ethan-Rhys' Malicious Blade, have a hightened chance of critically striking an opponent. Critical hits are the bread and butter of the Dark Elven Blade Master, who whirls about the battlefield dodging spurting showers of his opponents' blood.
The Final Skill
Attaining level 50 is the beginning of the journey to perfection for the Blade Master. The selection of your final skill, while as important as the others you selected earlier on, is more of a reflection of your own battle tactics and personal taste. By the time you reach this level, you will have established the beginning of your special weapon sets, which you create with loving care to dispatch your witless enemies as efficiently and as painfully as possible. You will have some experience under your belt as well. Trap Lore would be an excellent choice, as this skill shortens the regeneration of the trap CAs, of which Adrenaline and Testosterone are the greatest concern to the Blade Master.
Trading would also be a viable choice. Pause to consider how often you engage the merchants with your business, and how you always stop to look closely at the magical amulets and rings they offer. Trading, along with the Charisma statistic, decreases the prices you pay to the merchants for goods. The Trading skill itself improves the quality of what the merchants offer you. Thus, it is possible to engage your mercantile skill and purchase the leeching amulets, critical hit rings, and so forth you will need to remain an engine of destruction all the way to Niobium difficulty.
Tip: The wise Blade Master maintains a selection of choice rings and amulets in his personal treasure chest. He draws upon this selection when commissioning the blacksmith to create his weapon sets. [[ Parrying]], while most effective when a weapon and a shield are used, is still useful to a Blade Master. An experienced Master knows when to wield two weapons, and when to use a weapon and a shield. The shield boosts defense, resistances, and can add bonuses and useful effects under the right circumstances. If you know what I am referring to, then parrying would be a good choice for you.
In summary, the final skill selection is up to you. It is your mark, and the brand of your particular style. Choose it well, for you never be able to select a new skill again.
NOTE: More to be posted in this guide, stay tuned.