Patriarch Thaddeus


Diabloii.Net Member
Patriarch Thaddeus

At long last, Thaddeus stood on the summit of Mount Arreat. Had it only been a few weeks since the quest began? The passing of days had lost all meaning-- the measure of time now was enemies slain, artifacts found, or the number of lands emptied of hell's slaves. Below, Thaddeus could see his twisting path up the mountain sides, walls and trenches at every turn. Every barrier man or angel had built to keep the demons at bay had failed and been turned against him, slowing his pursuit of The Three to a crawl. Only one set of guardians remained. True to form, Baal had tricked his way past them; Thaddeus could not. The Demon lord was probably still laughing.

Bitterness tainted his thoughts; rage would come next, and Thaddeus knew he must keep his mind clear for his next task, however pointless it might be. Three statues stood on the summit, untouched by time or frost. All faced an altar, which Thaddeus approached. Light shone from the ancient runes carved into the summit's cracked stones, and three voices spoke in unison: "We are the spirits of the Nephalem, the Ancient Ones. We have been chose to guard sacred Mount Arreat, wherein the Worldstone rests. Few are worthy to stand in its presence; fewer still can comprehend its true purpose. Before you enter, you must defeat us." The statues leapt to life, swiftly moving to attack.

Hardly sporting, three against one, Thaddeus thought. When the Ancient wielding a poleax leapt to strike him down, Thaddeus felt no call to oblige him by remaining in place. He moved a short distance away and let fly with a Hammer of Ghrab Thaar, an ancient power of his own. Master Poleax winced as the hammer tore through his spirit, as did his friend Master Sword when he approached. As Master Poleax leapt again, Master Sword suddenly raced forward, spinning at great speed, his blade slicing through the air high and low and striking many blows. None were very powerful, but one found its way past Thaddeus' shield, and at a single touch his energy burned away to nothing.

One is not a warrior unless one understands the purpose of a withdrawal: you are not running away, you are repositioning yourself. The Light can aid only those with the strength to call it, and while it wasn't likely that the swordsman could kill him, he could weaken Thaddeus enough that the others could finish him quite easily. So he retreated, backing towards the edge of the summit plateau, throwing axes and sword blows bouncing off his shield. If the guardians seemed disappointed by his lack of nerve, they gave no sign, and Thaddeus did not stop until he was at the very edge of the summit plateau. His pursuers stopped. Neither was willing to risk a fall, it seemed, though the third of their number kept up a rain of axes, which Thaddeus blocked almost without noticing.

As they moved in, Thaddeus quickly gulped a rejuvenating potion, and called upon the hammers once more. Masters Sword and Poleax stood side by side before him, perfectly positioned. Both were highly accomplished fighters, as should be expected, adept with their chosen weapons. Thaddeus felt a great deal of sympathy for them as holy power crushed their spirit-like forms; it was a sad day, that the Light should be put to such a purpose. Master Poleax broke first, dissipating with a cry of pain, the first sound he had made during the battle. His brother in arms followed him swiftly.

The last of the Ancients, untouched as yet, opted to... withdraw. He played at cat-and-mouse among the columns for a while, popping out to bounce something off the paladin's shield now and again; the end was inevitable, but Thaddeus knew he had been charged to defend the summit, and do this he must. In the end, Thaddeus cornered him in the very doorway he was protecting. A stone upright blocked the spinning of the hammers, so Thaddeus raised his scepter, and as swiftly as he could, beat the Ancient One's skull in like a rotten melon. It took much longer that he had anticipated.

Words of congratulations and of warning echoed as the gate ratcheted open, but Thaddeus barely heeded them. The battle had been easy; Baal's troops were much more of a danger than these "guardians". Was humanity so weak? Was the battle with Hell been lost before it had begun? No, he thought; these Barbarians fault lay in their strategy. Striding forward to meet Thaddeus face to face, then standing their ground once the power of Ghrab Thaar had been unleashed, pitted them against his greatest strength. The direct attack is the easiest to make, and to counter. Baal's troops scampered about at a distance, casting spells or hurling slings and arrows. To prick a man to death is not a sign of strength, but brute power is at a disadvantage when confronted with a foe that slips away instead of resisting. Baal himself would probably be full of subterfuge. It was well past time to find out. Thaddeus strode into the keep.

Ah, the Hammerdin. Staple of many a magic finder's arsenal, Blessed Hammer can blast through just about anything in the game, and when combined with the Paladin's toughness, shield blocking, and utility auras, makes for one of the strongest builds D2 has to offer. Naturally, while I do want the chance to test out all my lovely Paladin gear, I don't want the game to be too easy. What could I possibly do to make playing a Hammerdin difficult, while still twinking on elite gear?

First, no mercenary. Thaddeus made Patriarch in v. 1.09 without a merc, he can do so again. Not only does this not give me a meat shield to hide behind, but I have to take care of every enemy myself, even in places like the Maggot Lair, where Blessed Hammer is just about useless.

Second, keep the game at /players 8 throughout Hell difficulty, with two exceptions: the Hell Ancients (that's the real reason they were so easy) and any area where exploding Flayer skeletons spawn (man, I hate those things.) Even in the Kurast temples where Wailing Beasts, the only monster immune to BH, can spawn, I did not dial things back. And wouldn't you know it... I rarely ever see Wailing Beasts, but with Thaddeus, they turned up in four of the six temples. Just try to tell me the game doesn't know.

Third, select equipment for theme, not utility. The Hammerdin guides I've read recommend lots of fast cast equipment to get those hammers flying, so I will not equip any faster cast at all. Thaddeus will fight in melee combat a lot, and I'd never dream of running a melee character without any leeching. So, equip no leeching items, relying only on potions and the Redemption skill for life and mana. I'm going to be using Redemption for body cleanup anyway.

Mini-capsule review: Angelic Raiment
A cute little set, which unfortunately fills two prime item slots, body armor and weapon. True to form, both are less than desirable. The armor provides plenty of fire resistance, but has little else going for it and high fire resistance is not really needed early in the game. The weapon is decent against undead, possibly making it useful in Act II normal, but there are better options available. Only the ring and amulet are useful for their partial set bonuses: wearing both gives a substantial AR boost and +75 to life. Many characters get through Hell with two Angelic rings and an amulet; I have one myself, in fact.

Mini-capsule review: Milabrega's Regalia
With many of the normal sets, you really find yourself wondering just what the designer was thinking when they made it. Milabrega's is obviously meant to be a Paladin set, and is useable at level 17. The weapon damage is fairly poor, so a melee Paladin would want something better. The whole set gives +3 to Paladin skills, but has no faster cast, so a caster Paladin could also do better. On top of that, the armor requires 100 strength. Even without the high level requirement, by the time your Paladin is that strong, he could do much better than this. None of the partial set bonuses are particularly useful, so its hard to say what this set would be good for.

Mini-capsule review: Sigon's Complete Steel
Ah, much better! The biggest of the normal sets at six items, Sigon's has a lot of ground to cover, and does it well. Your weapon slot is free, thus avoiding the biggest drawback in most of the normal sets. The gloves and one other item provide 30% increased attack speed, 10% life leech, and some other stuff that hardly matters next to that, making a Sigon's gloves-boots-belt combo one of the most popular melee character twinks until you're big enough for the Immortal King's gear. The only drawback is the high strength requirements all that steel plate demands, but the gloves give +10 strength which helps a lot. The partial or complete set is standard gear for many starting characters; it even looks stylish.

Patriarch Thaddeus: Level 89 Paladin
STR 150 (194)
DEX 90 (120)
VIT 265 (285)
ENG 35

Blessed Hammer 20 (34)
Zeal 20 (34)
Holy Shield 1 (15)
Concentrate 20 (32)
Blessed Aim 20 (synergy for Blessed Hammer)
Vigor 9 (synergy for Blessed Hammer)
1 in other utility skills and prereqs

Life: 1207
Mana: 302
AR: 3903
DR: 7441
BH damage: 6993-7069
Zeal damage: 1720-2257
Resists: 95/90/95/90

Thwacking implement: Heaven's Light, two 'Shael's
Head: Crown of Ages, 'Lo' and 'Ort' (I debated about using a Lo to increase lightning resistance to 95, but have not regretted my decision. Near-immunity to the spitzen-sparken is so nice.)
Body: Guardian Angel, 'Um'
Shield: Herald of Zakarum, with a perfect diamond. Accept nothing less.
Guts: Credendum (From the Disciple set. The holiest sounding belt.)
Hands: Laying of Hands (Also from the Disciple set.)
Feet: Waterwalk (Not many boots with holy or miraculous names. I don't recommend these, though they did increase my fire resistance to 95.)
Neck: Seraph's Hymn (Mara's Kaleidoscope is nicer, but it doesn't sound holy and I'm using mine on another character.)
Finger: Order Knot (Rare ring. +112 AR, +6 str, +30% cold r., +24% poison r.)
Other Finger: Stone of Jordan (Not so holy, but I want to say I have a character who's used one.)
Charms: skillers, life/mana, faster hit recovery

Crank the game up to /players 8 and cut through it like a hot knife. Zeal in confined areas, Smite on ranged attackers and other enemies I wanted to quit wiggling and die already. With a good defense rating, very high resistances and 75% shield blocking, Thaddeus ran into few real problems until he hit Act V Hell. Well, all those Wailing Beasts were annoying, but mostly they just took a long time to die. Smite really takes the ginger out of tough monsters, as does the Crushing Blow on Heaven's Light.

Act V, of course, is where all that changes. Masses of archers are the Hammerdin's real weakness, and the slopes of Arreat were full of Skeleton Archers, Sabre Cat Slingers, Corrupted Rogue Archers, and even Succubi, who I've never seen in above-ground areas before. They came out just for me... The mini-hells had a variety of foes, emphasizing powerful ranged attackers but with a mix of Frenzytaurs, Claw Vipers, the Reanimated Horde, and other melee types who love to snuggle up close to you and keep you from chasing down all those damned archers. The Worldstone Keep was utterly nasty; one level had Frenzytaurs, Greater Hellspawn, and Succubi who cast Amplify Damage. I don't think any of my other characters could have survived that level. Baal took forever, and dropped crap.

Well, so much for that. Thaddeus may have a career as a Baal runner, though I'll want to level up a merc for him if I do that. He'll need new equipment too. I'll think about that later-- on to the next character!



Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Patriarch Thaddeus

Impressive read. I liked it. :)

Stories bring these to life. And it's good to see some utility too, since fully synergised hdin might be the strongest character ingame, but it suuuucks on narrow areas, ie. maggot lair etc..


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Patriarch Thaddeus

Nice read Stony, well done. Wud u recommend this char for HC? If so, what adaptations and gear fittings (if any) wud u suggest?


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Patriarch Thaddeus

Congrats on your patriarch

(And I will go to mumble something about wasting Lo like that somewhere else...)


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Patriarch Thaddeus

Grats on the Pat!

Very nice write-up and extra style points for you! :thumbsup:


Re: Patriarch Thaddeus

I have some questions concerning the Lo...

Some good jewel in CoA instead Lo, for example -req, all resist or IAS would be much better choice, I don't see any significant difference between 90 and 95% resist.

ORT (????!!!!) in the same helmet as Lo is a big waste IMHO, if you spend something extremely rare, why didn't you waited for some good jewel instead? For example 30% resist lightning with second mod...?

If you really wanted to have 95% resist, why didn't you wear for example Thundergods Vigor? This belt together with GA will offer much better protection against lightning than some crappy Lo in a helmet. Maybe you don't like the name, I understand that style is important, but when it comes to high runes, style means nothing. Yes, maybe it is stylish to have Zod in ethereal Shako, but noone makes it (SPF-wise)...

You already have items like Fortitude or Grief, or you are vanilla, or have you several Lo's in stashes...?

Don't take this post offensive, I am only asking, because I am a little bit shocked... :surprise:


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Patriarch Thaddeus

if you spend something extremely rare, why didn't you waited for some good jewel instead? For example 30% resist lightning with second mod...?

Don't take this post offensive, I am only asking, because I am a little bit shocked... :surprise:
Because they are his/her items, of which he/she can do whatever he/she wants with them.


Congratulations on the Patriarch, and good job on the write-up. I have never really thought about using Zeal as a backup for Blessed Hammer, but it seems cool enough.



Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Patriarch Thaddeus

Nice read Stony, well done. Wud u recommend this char for HC? If so, what adaptations and gear fittings (if any) wud u suggest?
Hammerdins do fine in hardcore. Just get a meatshield, some caster items (faster cast would help a lot) and maybe use Smite as your backup skill. Zeal isn't a great choice, but I like Zeal.

As for the Lo... I did think about it before I dropped it in there. Really. There are much better uses for a Lo, but I have more than one left in my stash, and I think it's better to use an item than to let it sit and forget I have it. The Ort was because I'd already used my lightning resistance jewels on other characters. Thundergod's Vigor was out for two reasons: the name didn't fit, and I was already using it on another character. I'm trying to make it through a septivirate without using any item more than once, you see, to explore what can be done with some of those odd items D2 offers up.




Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Patriarch Thaddeus

Chalk me up for another one who thinks you're crazy for using that Lo in the helm. I admire your dedication to staying true to your character but ... Lo!?


Diabloii.Net Member
Re: Patriarch Thaddeus

Again with the Lo. Children, it's only an item. Hard to get, sure, and there are much more efficient ways to use it, but after my years of dedicated item finding, I felt I could splurge a little with one of my extra runes. I thought it would be fun to be almost immune to elemental damage, and I did have fun. That, in the end, is my best measure of success when playing a game.