A pat you can pet. With great power comes great responsibility. I call it 'the Axe effect'. You may have noticed my previous pat threads built around the 'Beast' zerker I got from colony. Well, this is my third and last one: Patriarch Frosticles, lvl. 84, Polar Bear. My previous builds didn't use the shapeshifting ability of the weapon so I felt I had to build something that did. I decided to throw a frost zealot and winnie the pooh in the telepod and out came the polar bear, combining a bunch of sub-zero punishment with the ability to take it too. Having almost 2.4k life and 33k defense essentially took the defensive characteristics of a paladin more than a few steps further. In order to stay true to the idea of a zealous bear, he had to be able to attack at 4 FPA. I also wanted to be able to block at 75%, since the usage of holy shield makes a bear block at a comfy 5 frames instead of the usual horrible bear block of around half a second. Offense: I wanted damage and speed. Not just any speed, but loads of speed was required to hit 4FPA. This also meant that I could forget about high damage and corresponding leech effectiveness. Ouch. I originally planned to go for a 55% IAS phase blade, but browsing through the AS I came across a weapon that dealt quite a lot more damage and was actually fast enough to hit 4FPA: a triple-Shaeled Griswold's Redemption: Code: Griswold's Redemption Caduceus 'ShaelShaelShael' One-Hand Damage: 129 to 159 Durability: 35 of 70 Required Dexterity: 56 Required Strength: 78 Required Level: 66 Mace Class - Fastest Attack Speed Item Version: 1.10+ Expansion Item Level: 86 Fingerprint: 0xbe2cb2d9 +224% Enhanced Damage Requirements -20% 100% Increased Attack Speed 350% Damage to Undead Socketed (3: 3 used) [size=1]Partial set bonuses left out.[/size] The physical damage is still too low to leech effectively in Hell, so that had to be dealt with in another way. Hint: little red popping bubbles may have had something to do with it. The great thing about this palabear is of course his aura. I went for frost because slowing stuff is fun and it fits comfortably into my masterplan of building the ultimate tank. A total of +11 to holy freeze was reached, so wherever he went you could hear the *bumpity crackle plonk* of the monster's nuts collectively freezing of and shattering on the rocks. The not so great thing plagueing every oskill shapeshifter is that he was only able to use his regular attack, so no AR and %ED. For this reason I went with a blessed aim merc. For a change the desert dweller had to be kept alive because this bear is meant to go *thwack*, not *whoosh*. Luckily, keeping the moron in one piece wasn't too difficult considering that he had ample time to land a few blows in the time it took a random frozen critter to raise its arm to strike. The combo blessed aim + a few charms and jewels put the bear's AR at 7k+, which was more than enough. Defense: Staying with the theme of heavy thick-furred lycanpooh I wanted defense, and rediculously unneccesary overkill amount at that. My sources defense were the following: - 20 pts. in Holy Shield. - 8 pts. in Defiance. (that's where my spare points went) - Fortitudes' chilling armor. - Exile's lvl. 16 Defiance. - Loads of dex to reach 75% block. [159 total] - Slowing stuff by 57%. - All adds up to a total defense of: 33537. Scary. Needless to say, he tanked rather well. I already listed some stuff, but for completeness' sake: ---- Gear ---- Head: 9% Nightwing's Veil socketed with +90AR/15% IAS (thanks, asmo!). Nice boost to cold damage and the +2 to all skills boosts the bear shift. Neck: +28 Mara's Resists, but more importantly the only way of boosting his inner bear. Left paw: Gris' caddy. Speed and damage. The bonus %ED against undead worked great against those pesky CI zombies and skeletons. Right paw: 'Exile' +45 res/lvl. 16 defiance/1102 def Gilded Shield. Yup, overkill. My moron liked the defiance a lot as well. Well, not really overkill because the life tap was the only way to leech back life reliably because of the lowish damage on the weapon and no spare equipment slots for more leech. I would have used Dracul's otherwise. Both paws: Brimstone Claw, craft. 10% IAS, 10% CB, and 18% cold resistance. And some javelin skills too. I can explain. He once sat on an amazon by accident in a crowded bus and these gloves were the only useful things left in the puddle of bones, goop and bear hairs. Bear waist: Immortal King's Detail Resists, defense and strength. Still beats any rare belts I have. Hind paws: Gore Rider What kind of bear doesn't have crushing blow? Spare paws: 'Beast' + 'Spirit' Akaran Rondache Again, +all skills on the spirit boost the bear. Bear fingers: dual raven frosts: The bear freezes, but that doesn't mean he likes to be frozen. +40 dex & +467 AR total. Bear pet: Tal's mask, Treachery, and a Crescent Moon cryptic axe. ------------ Skills 'n stats ------------ Holy Shield: 20 (+ a few prereqs) Holy Freeze: 20 Resist Cold: 20 Salvation: 20 Defiance: 8 Blessed Aim: 1 Strength: 154  (I put leftover points here after hitting 2.2k life) Dexterity: 101  Vitality: 245  Energy: Misclick trap. Didn't fall for it though. 15  Damage: 3499-3762, mostly frost AR: 7391 -------------------- Random observations -------------------- As usual, gaining shift at lvl. 67 meant a long road ahead. My enchantress fell in love with his overly hairy back and offered to fire him up through normal. Easy. In Nightmare his frosty powers were developed enough to take on the role of a frost ranger. It was fun to put a buriza in his hands and seeing how often I could score the max of 5 consecutive hits. Act III was still skipped though. He entered Travincal yelling 'Hey look! It's elvis on a flying hippopotamus'. Confused and bewildered the council knocked the compelling orb off the pedestal. Somewhere in the jungle, parts of Khalim danced in their graves. Goofing around with a bow lost its charm somewhere when he decided that spraying snowballs of destruction with 'Voice of Reason' was lots more fun. He entered Hell at lv. 67. Ouch. The bear didn't really mind being low-level, but the merc kinda did. Result: poor Frosticles had to fight creatures like this one on his own. The bastard out-regenerated the open wounds, but a quick trip back to raise the merc did the trick thanks to the added lightning damage and static field on his weapon. Speaking of which, I really liked the static field when dealing with mobs of cold immunes. Having most of them at 50% already drastically cut down the time needed to waste them with crushing blow and lowish physical damage. Lowish considering that I played through acts I-III at /players 5. Life tap also triggered often enough to stay alive during these fights. Looking back, 'Duress' might have been a better option because the rate I gained life with Tap active didn't need Forti's added damage. But then again, 'Duress' didn't have that nifty chilling armor that nearly killed my PC in act V. This is what happened. You can't really tell, but on that picture, there's a bunch of those act V freeze-breathers giving my bear a hard time. Apparently every frame of freeze breath cloud triggered my chilling armor sending out lots and lots of bolts causing my PC to freeze as well. If I hadn't stepped out of their breath in time, I might have had to redo that section after killing the D2 process manually. Ancients spawned cursed, mana burn, and stone skin. I yawned. Baal's minions? I yawned. Baal? I yawned. Conclusion: maybe he was a bit too safe. But not safe enough to guard against stupendous amounts of noob from his creator: - Death 1: CI snakes in the snake temple killing the merc and ignoring my defense. When, oh when will I learn to split when the merc goes poof in under two seconds. Probably never, I'm afraid. - Deaths 2-4: Iron Maiden. Who would have guessed that life tap active and a lowish damage weapon could kill a 2.3k life bear? I wouldn't, but the added damage from fortitude probably swayed the balance from somewhat safe around OK's to not really safe around OK's. Thanks for reading!