Intro After coming back to the game, I wanted to make the cookie cutter builds I had never really gotten around to before, but I wanted to add a little bit of a twist so I decided to make characters geared more like they were back when I joined the forum . I pressed that a little far – most builds from '07 would have Harlequin Crest, Reaper's Toll, and the like – but that was with the intent of forcing some difficulties in as far as both building and playing went. I was away for a long time and wanted something of a refresher course. In the end I threw in a few builds I had done before and liked to compare and just to keep the excitement up. In those cases, I chose what I felt was the strongest build under the limitations, since I wouldn't suggest something like a Blova or a 20PN/20PE/20PD/20CE necromancer to someone of the represented gear level even though I prefer each to their counterparts here with adequate wealth. The mark I chose for the rarity cutoff was a 1:3000 chance to drop from Nightmare Mephisto, without any magic find. I figured that would provide a decent representation of things you could expect to find while farming NM Meph to fuel some twinked characters. I allowed the use of low-level runewords and left the opportunity for breaking the rarity rule open if I could convince myself it was interesting enough. I hadn't accurately predicted just how much the gear limitations would affect the mercenaries, though. I mean, certainly once I saw it the reason why was clear: with only 3 gear slots, what goes in each makes a big difference, but it wasn't something I foresaw properly. When you're used to mercenaries with %damage reduction and big elite weapons to fuel their leech, the difference is massive. I don't remember which character it was exactly, probably Poy_Zen, but I distinctly remember one of them going through 1 million gold in Act 5 Hell just on revives. Certainly a not-small portion of the blame for all those deaths falls on me being lazy with potions, but still. The Characters 1. The_Snowman, Frost Zealot. I knew a paladin would come first, since they’re by far my least favorite class, but I wasn’t sure about the exact build until I sat down to plan him. While thinking about the various options I remembered a not-uncivil argument between myself and UllaV which clinched things. Given that, untwinked would’ve been more apropos, but I’ve already done more untwinked chars than I ever wanted. It was later in the sept before I started including kpop songs in the writeups, but if that had been a practice at the time, clearly there could only be one choice. 2. Bowlette, WWS Dexazon Playing the paladin was not particularly enjoyable for me, so I wanted to go with an interesting char afterward, as a reward. I wanted a javazon, but I didn’t have a titan’s and a bowazon was a very close second on the list so no complaints. She was a blast to play, although I wish I had had some CB on the merc. Bowlette also had to suffer a lack of kpop links in her writeup, for which I would apologize if she were real. Still, that’s no reason to not rectify the mistake and clearly no song encapsulates the life of a bowazon better than Push Push. 3. BurritoofFury, Feral Rage/Fury Druid This guy had the one exemption I used on the rarity rule for the sept: the Harmony on the Rogue. After the rough time I had with Bowlette, I felt it necessary to get some CB on this guy and the Harmony both helped alleviate the drawback of said CB and provided something of a PI solution. This was the first writeup to include a kpop link, but that was chosen more as playing off of Nagisa’s (less-than-serious) suggestion to include them (ie I linked “Nobody” since I assumed nobody wanted the links.) Regardless of the truth in that thought, in hindsight I’m disappointed that I didn’t use this vid instead. 4. Poy_Zen, Poison/Skeleton Necromancer I knew this was going to be the necromancer build from the start, but he actually exceeded my expectations. A poisonmancer without a DWeb performs very different from one with a DWeb, no doubt, but this guy was still quite good. Since making Patriarch I’ve done a bit of p7 Pit running with him in a slightly more MF focused setup than in the middle video on the writeup (swapped BKWB for a nagel, swapped in MF charms; just over 300 total MF) and though it’s not much of a sample in 40 runs he’s averaging 2 minutes 10 seconds, which has been trending down. Not competitive, by any means, but nice for a change of pace. 5. Lilietta, TS/DC/DS Assassin She was originally intended as a fishysin with an unupgraded Ribcracker and was such until one point while I was leveling on normal Pindle when I realized that instead of hitting with Ribcracker and switching weapons to do literally anything else I could just use the Bartuc’s on switch all the time, with the added benefit of hitting harder. Trimming points was fairly straightforward and she still plays pretty much like a fishysin: death sentry does most of the work. In planning I had thought about Gloom’s Trap for the belt slot, but decided she would probably be fine without any mana leech. Eventually I settled on giving the merc an Insight while debating whether mana burn monsters would cause problems with charging up. This thread also probably includes the worst excuses for puns in the history of the world. So, you know, it's got that going for it. 6. Dervish, Whirlwind Barbarian When deciding on doing the sept, it just made sense to me to do Barbarian and Sorceress last, considering they were the classes I had the most experience with and liked the most. That he would be a whirlwinder was certain very early, but the question of which weapon took a little longer until I remembered a certain unique axe which, while only a pupil, is still rather cleaver when it comes to death. He was originally created to make my haul pic from the most recent MFO and has since served as pack mule for my AT runners charms while she was crafting as well as gem cuber, so I feel he deserves something in return. He’ll get a respec and become my trav runner. I mean, with his name I can’t have him not whirl. 7. FBtheI, Blizzballer Sorceress Save the best for last! Well, sort of, Sorceresses are my favorite class, but a Blizzballer would be ranked 3-5 among the builds represented here, so the ordering has more to do with respecting how much worse teleport makes characters without it feel. This character took an hour or so longer than a sorc would normally take me – by choice; I killed more than usual to get a better idea of how she fared – and was still completed in less than half the time of 5 of the others, and not far off half the time of the barb. Having her anywhere else in the list would’ve unfairly tainted the other characters in my mind. Outro Planning has a way of leading to more planning, it seems. During the course of this project I've come up with interesting build ideas for five of the classes, and I'm hoping I can come up with something for the Assassin to make it a sextet. Short of an idea falling in my lap, the Paladin will probably receive no love. Thanks for reading. Hope you got something out of it. For myself, I’m going to indulge in some celebratory music, probably with dancing. Cause manly.