INTRODUCTION How to sum this up? Let's start by saying that I chose to make a purist character because I've always wanted to play Single Player the way it was meant to be, getting from scratch to end-game OPness relying solely on my own skills: this is for me one of the greatest gaming challenges I can think of. Before someone asks, for "purist" I mean doing only what's allowed by the game within the 1.13d SP experience, therefore: no twinking or trading, no muling/editing programs, no mods, no time travel, no messing around with D2 files at any time. Being part of the original game content, "cheesy" tactics like the menu-teleport trick or S&E in dangerous circumstances were allowed, but seldom exploited. The build choice fell on WW barbarians because I like their versatility, damage, and FCR breakpoints, it's an all-around solid and fun class to play. The most powerful RW weapon available for WWers in SP - namely Breath of the Dying - is quite difficult to get, and I decided that I wanted to obtain it twice for dual wielding, just for good measure. The idea of getting my hands on Zods always thrills me, and the gratification of creating botd is way bigger than, say, fiddling around in Trav/LK/wherever and getting Lo runes to make Grief with almost no effort. This extra challenge spiced things up for good, and gave me some more motivation to hold on with the project. STORY (more like a boring personal diary, but ok) So here he is: Perkele, lvl 1 SC barbarian, dual wielding ebotd wannabe. As your metalhead friends will confirm, his name is a finnish curseword meaning "devil", possibly the most powerful profanity one can say in that language. This is his story, if you're curious about how he did it. Spoiler Blowin in the Whirl His journey was, at first, nothing memorable. He breezed through normal as every good barb does. His first unique, found in the catacombs, was the almighty Bloodfist, but apart from that there was nothing else worth remembering from normal. He stopped for a while in act 1 NM because the lack of damage and crushing blow didn't allow him to keep going on smoothly, therefore he started to farm the Countess for Amn rune (Strenght runeword gives 25% CB) and Andy for some other juicy weapons. Amusingly, Andy turned out dropping Amn while the Countess gave him a Coldsteel Eye. Appeased by his first, quick grinding session, he moved on to meet NM Meph. Farming Mr. Piñata was quite a nuisance: it took a lot of time to reach him and get good loot, mostly because I wasn't spending any point into sword mastery (preferring mace instead) and I didn't have much %mf and CB, plus the tele charges from a random blue staff found earlier were expensive, so Perkele was always broke. After a few dozen runs I was already bored to death, but in the end Meph was kind enough to drop something useful: a Guillaume's. Getting this helm led to a huge twist in the gameplay: CB wasn't linked to weapons anymore, so my pool of hurty-stick choices increased by a lot. Pimp my Barb He champ'd with two random weapons, finished act 2 hell, but didn't want to annoy Meph again, so he backtracked and started with some act 1 routine runs: Andy, Countess, pits. Despite the shameful amount of deaths collected due mostly to me being a careless jerk, here's where some good loot started to drop; Ravenfrost, SoJ (which he proudly wore for a while), 40%mf Chance Guards, Reaper's and Kira's for merc, Metalgrid (first golden ammy to ever drop for him, crazy RNG) were all from the pits, while in other places he found: LoH (inner cloister), Nord's Tenderizer and Naj's staff (tower dungeons), 40%mf Gheeds and Heaven's Light (random pops in the catacombs). Andy was pretty stingy, and just a single, nice drop from her was worth keeping: a 48%mf Wartrav. After a few weeks of lazy grinding, everything was falling into place: Perkele had a decent pair of maces hitting the last bp for WW, and all the stats were good enough to keep moving forward and own the rest of hell, but I still promised myself not to leave the pits without some RW bases first; I was specifically after a non-eth 5os BA for Beast RW (my next target) and some eth BAs for ebotd, which I wasn't expecting to find soon anyway. After a whole week unsuccessfully spent cubing the few white BAs I was able to find, one night a couple of zerkers dropped: a plain eth BA and a non-eth 5os BA. Dunno if the chances of this happening are low enough to be considered jaw-dropping, but they surely were for me! Lord of the Runes Then I quested till the forge, which granted me an Um, but most importantly I popped my first HR, a Sur, in the city of the damned. Another Sur meant Beast, so it was LK-time. I ran the place intensively, but no HRs ever dropped in almost a week. Eventually, after losing an Ohm and a 15%dr String of Ears because of a software crash, a superchest gave me a Ber. Not the Sur I was looking for, but oh well I barely had the time to make Beast and respec to axes, that just half an hour later Bremm's gang threw in a Jah, thus allowing me to aim for Enigma pretty soon. I got the runes to cube up another Ber in a week or so roaming around act 3, and in the meantime I also farmed hell Meph scoring all sorts of goodies: Highlord's, a couple of Wizzys, Arreat's, Razor's Edge, 5 or 6 String of Ears (all below 12%dr tho), and a [email protected] GC which added up to the other shimmering charms I already had. Since I had a total of [email protected] resists in my inventory, I realized I didn't really need Arreat's, so I stuck with Guillaume's instead. The random Smoke armor Perkele was wearing was soon replaced by Enigma, made in a broken mage plate armor once it was repaired and socketed through the cube. This part was utterly ridiculous: it took me about five days to decide what armor to take, during which I ran the pits and other places collecting junky cube food while struggling hard with my overcrowded stash. To make things even more complicated, other valuable items were also dropping during the process, like a second plain eth BA (jaw dropped again) and Gores (perfect roll yay), but in the end I somehow managed to sort my things out. At this point Perkele was fully geared up and ready to pursue his long-time dream: one Zod to rule them all. The designated victims for his rampage: those cute council members in Trav, big surprise here. I ran them for ten days, 30+ hours of never-ending, merciless massacre. The results were pretty satisfying rune-wise: 4x Vex, 2x Sur, 2x Ber, 1x Jah... then suddenly, on tenth day, Cham! Time to leave the poor guys alone and cube their treats. One of the eth axes was socketed by Larzuk and in no time Perkele's first Breath of the Dying was born, with an amazing roll of 396/12. One down. BOTDouble or Nothing My focus then switched from farming runes to leveling. Perkele was sitting at lvl 94 when he started to do p8 pit runs, and I wanted him to be at least 96. My plan was to kill boss packs, cube all the HRs I was able to find, and possibly cube-socket eth-BAs in order to get a 6os roll (thus sparing, with some luck, one Larzuk quest reward), but things diverted a bit when I knew about the upcoming winter RFO. Favoured by a fortuitous Arachnid Mesh drop, I thought it was time to replace Wizzys with HOTOs, and so I did. The first 4os flail was incredibly hard to come by and made me waste some precious time - another reminder of what 1.13 business is all about. Perkele reached lvl 96 after beating the Ancients and stopped questing at the WSK2 waypoint, then he contributed a bit to the RoF superchests thread while waiting for the RFO to begin. Not a single eth BA was ever found on the way to his final level, making me realize how super lucky this guy was to find those two eth bases earlier. RFO was good despite the lowish amount of qualifiers: I was short of one Cham and one Ber to cube things up, so at the end of the competition it was a relief to see, among those few runes, that I had exactly what I was looking for. Breath of the Dying no.2 (another fantastic roll: 391/12) took soon the place of Beast to be displayed along with its twin, then I respecced to boost my strength and got ready to finally pat Perkele after five months of hard work. Yes, slapping Baal to death with two self-farmed ebotdz is as good as you may think. DATA No readouts, sorry. Use your imagination! Perkele, lvl 96 Barbarian - LCS STATS Str 259 (428) Dex 56 (135) Vit 250 (320) Ene 10 (70) Life 3426 (w/ BO) Mana 557 (w/ BO) Def 7581 (w/ shout) Res 75/36/75/28 Hork 51% (on switch) SKILLS 20 Axe Mastery 20 Whirlwind 14 Berserk 20 Battle Orders 11 Shout 10 Find Item 2 Natural Resistance 1 Increased Speed 1 Prereqs GEAR WEAPON 1 - Breath of the Dying in Eth Berserker Axe [178-525] Roll: +396%ed, 12%ll WEAPON 2 - Breath of the Dying in Eth Berserker Axe [176-520] Roll: +391%ed, 12%ll WEAPON SWITCH 1 - Heart of the Oak in Flail [1-24] Roll: [email protected] WEAPON SWITCH 2 - Heart of the Oak in Flail [1-24] Roll: [email protected] ARMOR - Enigma in Mage Plate  Roll: +765def HELM - Guillaume's Face  socketed with magic jewel: +40%ed, +5str AMULET - Highlord's Wrath RING 1 - Ravenfrost - Roll: +18dex, +231ar RING 2 - Rare ring - Roll: +10fcr, +6mindmg, +79ar, +3str, +58mana, [email protected] BELT - Arachnid Mesh  Roll: +111%ed GLOVES - Laying of Hands  BOOTS - War Traveler  Roll: +156%ed, +48%mf, 5atkdmg CHARMS Gheed's Fortune - Roll: +40%mf, +90%gold, -10%prices Other charms - Roll (total): [email protected], +10fire, +8cold, +14light, +219ar, +14maxdmg, +181life, +16mana, +4str, +1dex MERCENARY: Vikhyat, lvl 96 Act 2 NM Might Aura WEAPON - Eth Reaper's Toll [57-679] Roll: +222%ed, 12%ll ARMOR - Guardian Angel  Roll: +190%ed HELM - Kira's Guardian  Roll: [email protected], +53def SELF Q&A - Can you give an overview of the build? Well, it's basically an exotic version of the standard Trav Barb: whirl till every non-PI dies, berserk the rest, rinse, repeat. PIs can be annoying even with merc casting decrep, that's why I always keep berserk as left-click attack, and if the screen gets too crowded, howling a couple of times usually helps to deal with them. As for mana burners, I just have to attack holding right click (whirlwind) until I'm able to land one single normal hit and leech approx. half manabulb back, while for unleechables mana pots can be necessary from time to time. Having life+mana leech on weapons gives great freedom to use whatever ring and piece of armor you want, that's why Arach is a permanent part of the build (fast tele is sweet). If I ever need extra protection I throw in a SoE or some rare ring with res, Wisp Projector, or Ravenfrost, and I'm just fine. Teleporting is not a problem for my mana pool either: dual HOTOs and Arach make life easy since I can go over 105%fcr with any fcr rare ring, and the impressive total of +10 to all skills makes tele quite cheap to cast. Another cool thing about the build is the +60 to all stats from dual botd, more for bragging rights than else - the +60 VIT is not even BOable. Raw damage output is almost the same as two +340dmg Griefs. Made in crystal swords. Made in China. But poison novas are prettier than two green blades! - No Arreat's? Since I have good life leech and I reach a decent amount of resists and AR, I prefer to focus on damage instead, and Arreat's doesn't help much in this regard. I never had to use this helm at any point in the game, really. - What about killing speed? What's better, dual ebotdz or ebotdz+griefz? According to some old calculations, dual ebotdz should deal more damage. Truth is, personally I don't see a big difference in terms of final damage, but it's quite clear that Beast helps a lot to hit targets. Fanaticism works wonders to increase the notoriously low AR of whirlers, and on top of that, it makes one-hand attacks like berserk much effective, thanks to the improved damage and attack speed. Still, unless you use ATMA bugged stuff, Beast is weak and you must repair it often. This is a big no-no for me, that's why I like the dual ebotd variant more. However, my Beast could still be used as secondary weapon in case I need to single-handedly kill stuff in the future. Yes Nihla, I'm looking right at you. - Why not Treachery and Andy on merc? Because I just came out of a RFO, and I had to throw them away to make room in my stash. Not a big loss anyway, they can be farmed again. Treachery, Andy, and many other options would be better for sure, but the GA+Kira combo works fine too. Oh btw I made a list of the most valuable finds that I had to charsi in order to gain more inventory space (and because I like to do it the sebhehe's way), go ahead if you like horror stories. Spoiler 1 Windforce 1 Tomb Reaver 1 Steelrend 2 Grandfathers 2 HoZ (both high %ed roll) 1 eth Gladiator's with high dmg reduction 1 40%mf Chancies 2 30%mf Nagelrings 1 SoJ 1 perfect BKWB 1 perfect Nature's Peace 3-4 Mara's 2 Metalgrids 2-3 [email protected] jewels 1 SC [email protected] +psn dmg 1 +15%ias/+22%ed jewel Many TC3s An infinite amount of nice RW-bases, rainbow jewels, rings, ammies, skillers. - What!? Are you insane? Why, of course! - Well if that's so, I bet you also have a spreadsheet or something to soothe your rune obsession. Yes, I kept track of all Pul+ drops since the beginning of my journey. Unsurprisingly, most of the runes were farmed in LK and Trav. Ohms, on the other hand, were dropping all over Sanctuary. Here's the up-to-date list: Spoiler Code: Pul 14 Um 16 Mal 15 Ist 8 Gul 12 Vex 8 Ohm 7 Lo 2 Sur 6 Ber 5 Jah 3 Cham 2 Zod 0 ------- TOT: 98 - What are your future plans? Refine this char with some steel GSs and other fancy stuff? Run Nihla and reach 99? Make Doom, Enigma in sacred armor, and other sexy runewords for fun? Respec to singer or pit zerker? Complete the grail? Retirement? You decide. Vote now! FINAL THOUGHTS I'm very happy on how this came out, everything shaped up wonderfully, with the right items dropping at the right time in Perkele's story, almost like the game knew what I needed, for once. Was the experience fun? Sure it was! Top-five moments were my first Cham drop ever, the Ber+Jah drop in half an hour, Metalgrid as first golden ammy, the RFO, and patting. Also surprised by the two botd rolls, I didn't expect to be that lucky, I wonder if this is the way the game has to compliment my commitment. Finally, I'd like to thank you people of the SPF for all the info, support and company provided during the journey. You're some cool human beings, especially if you made it through the whole wall of text without skipping any part. Ciao!