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    Default Unofficial Guide to Iron Defender Pets

    Ok this is my first attempt at a guide so I hope people like it.

    An Artificer and his Dog

    Introduction
    Along with the new artificer class we are also getting several new (at least to DDO) game mechanics not seen to-date on the shores of Stormreach. One of the more exciting additions is a new type of companion; the Iron Defender. This new companion is classified as a pet and unlike other companions you can have (summons or hirelings) the player has some ability to customize their Iron Defender as they see fit.

    The Basics
    When you first begin your career as an Artificer you gain an Iron Puppy. Though he is small he is vicious (much like a Halfling only better house trained). As you grow in power you pet grows in both stature and strength, he not only gets bigger his stats improve and you get Action Points (2 per level) to use to customize its training. These AP’s allow you to determine how you prefer to utilize the pet and are covered later on. The Iron Defenders beginning statistics and their evolution are:
    STR: Begins at 15 and increases by +1 at every Artificer level, 34 at 20th level

    DEX: Begins at 14 and increases by +1 every 2 Artificer levels, 23 at 20th level

    CON: Begins at 15 and increases by +1 at every Artificer level, 34 at 20th level

    INT: Begins at 6 and increases by +1 ever 4 Artificer levels (5th, 9th, 13th, 17th), 10 at 20th level

    WIS: Begins at 10 and increases by +1 every 2 Artificer level, 19 at 20th level

    CHR: Begins at 10 and increases by +1 ever 4 Artificer levels (5th, 9th, 13th, 17th), 14 at 20th level

    HP (without con): Begins at 36 = 10 (base) + 20 (Heroic Durability) + 6 (two Toughness feats); it gains +10hp / level (as fighter) plus extra HP for its Toughness feats. At 10th level it gets a third Toughness feat and at 20th level it gains one more; culminating in 308 base HP at 20th level. When you add the in its Constitution bonus (+12 / level with CON 34) it has an impressive 548 HP base at 20th level which can be modified thru AP’s and magic items/spells (see below) (Thanks to Whargoul for the assist on the HP breakdown).

    AC (without DEX): Begins at 14 (10 base + 3 Natural, +1 for small size). As you level the dog increases in size and at level 5 it becomes medium size (in PnP this occurs at level 6 but it seems that the devs did it at level 5 in DDO). Also, as you level it gains additional bonuses to AC (presumably natural bonus) at levels 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, and 20 ending with a total base AC of 26 at 20th level. When you add in your Dexterity bonus (+6 with DEX 23) you have an AC of 32 which can be modified thru AP’s and magic items/spells (see below).

    Its saves are the same base as a fighter’s good fort, poor reflex and will. They can be modified thru magic items/spells (see below).

    Alignment: This information is not displayed anywhere but as constructs the Iron Defender should have the alignment of True Neutral. People have found that Stability items work on the Iron Defenders and that they seem to be unable to equip non-neutral alignment restricted items, so it would seem that they are True Neutral. As part of Update 12 the devs added four new enhancements that allow you to adjust your pets alignment to good, evil, lawful, or chaotic (see below).
    You control the Iron Defender through a standard Hireling type control bar with the stand your ground, follow, attack, defend, passive, and interact with target buttons. You also have four empty buttons that you get to assign as needed based on your AP choices e.g.; Intimidate or Bluff. When you issue a command to your Iron Defender the button for the command gains an orange outline letting you know that the Iron Defender has received your command. This border will go away after the command is executed (added as part of Update 12).

    As you can see the Iron defender can make a fairly formidable addition to any team, and they are better behaved than your average Barbarian. But the stats listed above are just a starting place; they do not take into account bonuses granted through feats such as Augment Summon, AP’s such as Homunculus Strength, or through magic items and spells. Beware however your new companion is much more that a disposable meat shield; you are ineffably linked and if it should perish you will feel the loss deeply. The death of an Iron Defender is traumatic for the Artificer, causing the Artificer to take 10% of their maximum hit points in damage (but cannot bring the Artificer below 1 hit point), and 10% of an Artificer's maximum spell points. This loss can be mitigated by taking the Uncaring Master enhancement for your Artificer (you mean uncaring draconian master you).

    You can access your Iron Defenders character sheet by either right clicking on its hot bar and selecting ‘View pets character sheet’ or by clicking the ‘Pet’ button on your own character sheet. You will need to access the Iron Defenders character sheet to equip items or to add its AP gained abilities to the pet command bar.

    Action Points
    As with your character, your Iron Defender gets AP as you level, but unlike your character it only gains 2 AP pre Artificer level instead of 4. Don’t get me wrong, two per level is still very powerful. These AP are spent / reset through the Artificer trainer just like your characters, including a cost in gold pieces. Through AP’s is one of the ways you get to customize the Defender to better fit your individual Artificer’s play style. Do you prefer a more aggressive, in your face, type of pet or one that practices a bit more caution and guile? The available AP enhancements lines are:
    Bad Dog (1): This changes your Iron Defenders alignment to evil.

    Good Dog (1): This changes your Iron Defenders alignment to good.

    Homunculus Adamantine Plating I – IV (2/1/1/1): The first level of this enhancement grants the Iron Defender +8 to its AC, DR 2/adamantine, and its attacks bypass Adamantine DR. Each additional level grants a stacking +2 AC and +2 damage reduction; for a total of +14 AC and DR 8/Adamantine with all four levels.

    Homunculus Combat Alacrity I – II (Capstone) (2/2): The Iron Defenders mastery in combat is such that it is able to attack faster than normal. Each level grants a +5% Competence bonus to chance to Double Strike and +5% stacking Competence bonus to attack speed with melee and ranged weapons.

    Homunculus Danger Avoidance I - IV (2/1/1/1): Each level of this enhancement grants the Iron Defender a stacking +1 to armor class and +2 to reflex saves; for a total of +4 AC and +8 Ref save with all four levels.

    Homunculus Dexterity I – II (2/4): Each level of this enhancement grants the Iron Defender a stacking +2 increase to your Iron Defenders Dexterity score; for a total of +4 with both levels.

    Homunculus Distraction I – IV (2/1/1/1): This grants the Iron Defender the use of the Bluff skill, allowing it to make targets vulnerable to sneak attack. Each level of this enhancement also grants the Defender +4 to its Bluff skill for a total of +16 with all four levels.

    Homunculus Evasion I – II (Capstone) (2/2): The first level of this feat grants Evasion to the Iron Defender, the second level grants it Improved Evasion.

    Homunculus Fearsome Tactics I – IV (1/1/1/1): Each level causes your Iron Defenders attacks to generate +10% more hate, making enemies more likely to attack it. These bonuses are stacking for a total +40% additional hate with all four levels.

    Homunculus Menacing Growl I – IV (2/1/1/1): This grants the Iron Defender the use of the Intimidate skill, allowing it to frighten enemies into attacking it instead of you or your allies. Each level of this enhancement also grants the Defender +4 to its Intimidate skill for a total of +16 with all four levels.

    Homunculus Reinforced Armor I - IV (2/1/1/1): Each level of this enhancement grants the Iron Defender a stacking +10 HP; for a total of +40 HP with all four levels.

    Homunculus Ruthless Deception I – IV (2/1/1/1): The Iron Defender gains stacking +3 bonus to damage with sneak attacks per level of this enhancement; for a total +12 with all four levels.

    Homunculus Shattering Strike I – IV (2/1/1/1): This grants the Iron Defender the use of the Sunder feat, allowing it to reduce the armor class of enemies on demand. Each level past the first grants a stacking +2 to the DC of the sunder for a total of +6 with all four levels.

    Homunculus Skillful Deception I – IV (2/1/1/1): The Iron Defender gains stacking +2 bonus to hit with sneak attacks per level of this enhancement; for a total +8 with the full four levels.

    Homunculus Stealth Tactics I – IV (1/1/1/1): Each level causes your Iron Defenders attacks to generate +10% less hate, making enemies less likely to attack it. These bonuses are stacking for a total +40% less hate with all four levels.

    Homunculus Strength I – II (2/4): Each level of this enhancement grants the Iron Defender a stacking +2 increase to your Iron Defenders Strength score; for a total of +4 with both levels.

    Homunculus Takedown I – IV (2/1/1/1): This grants the Iron Defender the use of the Trip feat, allowing it to knock down enemies on demand. The second level of this enhancement grants a +2 to the DC of the Iron Defenders trip attempts and grants the use of the Improved Trip feat. The last two levels grant a stacking +2 to the DC of the Iron Defenders Trip and Improved Trip attempts; for a total of +6 with all four levels.

    Obedience Training (1): This changes your Iron Defenders alignment to lawful.

    Hunter of Boxes (1): This changes your Iron Defenders alignment to be chaotic and caused it to more frequently attack crates and barrels; essentially reversing an earlier change to the AI which reduced this kind of behavior.
    It is unclear what base level, if any, the Iron Defender has in any of the skills augmented by these Enhancements. I can attest that as I leveled my Artificer it seemed to be able to consistently land its Intimidate drawing the agro off of me for a bit. Also of note is that although you can add a button to the Iron Defender’s control bar to command it to use these abilities, I have noticed that the AI for the pet will use these abilities on its own as well.

    Magic Items
    Unlike other companions available in DDO, such as summoned creatures or Hirelings, your Artificer has the ability to equip a limited number of magic items on their Iron Defender. Through your Iron Defenders Character Sheet you can equip items in your inventory onto the Iron Defender. It has two equipment slots available; Docent and Module.

    As far as I’ve seen your Iron Defender can have equipped any docent including Named and BtA or BtC ones. I have not tried a docent purchased from the store which, like most items in the store, might only be usable by the purchasing character.

    When you equip a docent to the pet it adds colored stripes down its back platting. Note that currently zoning resets the Iron Defenders appearance removing the stripes. The docent is still equipped. To get the stripe back you need to either log off or un-equip and re-equip the docent. Dismissing the pet and re-summoning it does not fix this issue.

    Modules are a special type of Iron Defender specific equipment. There are some offered as quest rewards, but generally many people will create their own. Modules are created at the Trap crafting tables by using Mechanical Trap Parts and handwraps. The station will not allow named handwraps to be used in the creation of these modules; but you can use randomly generated, Cannith crafted and handwraps modified by the Ice games and Stone of Change (thanks to Memnir for verifying this). The total plus equivalent of the handwraps used determines how many Mechanical Trap Parts it requires; levels 1 – 3 require 10 parts, levels 4 – 6 require 25 parts, levels 7 – 9 require 50 parts, levels 10 – 12 require 75 parts, and levels 13+ require 100 parts. The Iron Defender is limited by its level as to how powerful a module it can equip, just like a character. I can foresee the Artificer having a few modules to swap out in their Iron Defender depending on the situation and mobs being encountered. Note: It has been reported that you can disjoin a Module in the Cannith crafting device to prepare it for crafting; however there appears to be a problem with doing so. The disjoined module retains its original ML and will increase from there as you add shards. (thanks to Alexandryte for the heads up on this).


    The Care and Feeding of Your Iron Defender


    As with your character there are many things to consider when making choices for how to enhance and equip your Iron Defender. You need to consider what its primary role will be; is it going to play the role of a tank distracting the mobs from you, or will it be the support character executing precision attacks on enemies while their attention is on you? Should the Iron Defender be Highly Defensive or do you want to maximize its attack and damage? I think that they have enough options to fulfill a wide variety of roles depending on your preferred play style. Below are a few things to keep in mind:
    1. You can get both Capstone enhancement lines, Homunculus Alacrity and Homunculus Evasion, for your Iron Defender but to get them and the prerequisites for them would require all 40 AP’s available to the pet. Neither line uses Homunculus Adamantine Plating or Homunculus Reinforced Plating, so though fast and evasive it will have a much lower AC and HP total. Is the tradeoff worth it? That you will have to decide for yourself. I would suggest that you instead choose one capstone line to concentrate on. My preference is, of course, Evasion because we all know how coveted this ability is; many people splash Rogue or Monk, missing out on their class capstone ability, primarily for this one ability. The prerequisites are less attractive IMHO than for Alacrity but it is well worth it I think. You might be able to only get level one of each and still have enough AP for the other stuff.
    2. What is your Artificer play style? Are you a ranged spell focused Artificer, or a up in their face melee focused Artificer? If ranged then you will likely want a tough pet with a high AC/HP/Intimipup. If melee focused you might prefer a sneaky attack from behind pet which maximizes anti-hate and sneak attack damage.
    3. Do you mainly solo or join parties? This can help you determine what role the Iron Defender needs to support. If you solo then the pet need to be as versatile as possible to help fill all the missing party roles. If you primarily join parties then the Iron Defender can be more focused on a specific party role.

    Fun Facts
    Did you know that your Iron Defender, as long as he is alive, can pick up your soul stone and carry it to a shrine? Hopefully you will never need too but I thought it was a very interesting option. I have, unfortunately, had the opportunity to test this, “No really I only allowed myself to die, just to test this, honest”.

    You can name your little Iron buddy. When you first bring the little fella home from the House Cannith kennel he has the very unimaginative name of “Iron Defender”. On the character sheet there is a button to rename the Iron Defender. Currently this can only be done once so that is why I have a pet named mUCKBANE (stupid caps lock Rune Arm activation key glad it was changed to the ALT key instead). The good news is that you can rename it again after a reincarnate (or at least I could because it was originally named Cujo). New in Issue 12 you can buy remane tokens, for you and your pet, from the DDO store, for a small nominal fee of course.

    Speaking of Muckbane, the name was decided upon after I saw how nicely this beast rips through mucks. Be careful though when you encounter mucks that divide when hit with slashing weapons it can easily turn one muck into an entire muck village. Oh and they handle spiders quite handily as well.

    I have seen my Iron Defender jump onto those unreachable ledges that Kobold Shaman’s inevitably use to antagonize you. It was funny to see Muckbane jump up there and take care of business. Incidentally they also climb ladders, it is actually quite amusing.

    The ‘Use’ gear command in the pets hotbar becomes attack command when you have an enemy targeted allowing you to direct your companion to attack that target.

    You can key-map you Iron Defenders’ control bar which will allow you to more easily / expediently direct its actions. (source Masterzzan)

    You can easily target your own Iron Defender by pressing ctrl+1. (source Masterzzan)

    Disadvantages

    Although I really like this new type of companion there are a few issues I do have with them:
    1. The AI does leave something to be desired. They have made some improvements to it since first preview release, but overall it still needs work. Sometimes, for no apparent reason the Iron Defender will stop following your prescribed command (Attack, Defend) and just follow you around. I found that you can usually get it back on course by switching modes and then switching back.
    2. The pet seems to have ADD, or something. It seems to constantly be switching targets. It is really annoying when you are being royally messed up by a group of ten mobs only to have your loyal pet, which is set to defend, attacking that lone archer instead of the ten mobs beating on you with swords.
    3. A few more item slots would be nice. Yes two is better than none, but I would love an amulet slot, or a belt slot, or maybe even a trinket slot. Sure a cloak or ring slot may not be right but a few more would be nice.
    4. Items with clickies, if you equip the Iron Defender with an item that has a clickie, you have no means to have it activate the clickie. The obvious answer is to not equip the item, but sometimes the other effects are very desirable; for example I have mine equipped with a Gorgon Docent.

    Either way you slice it, the Iron Defenders flexibility is a welcome addition to DDO and we can only hope that the Dev’s continue improving along this path. I can foresee many uses for this new type of pet companion; familiars, animal companions, Leadership feat granted cohort, etc… Whether you plan on playing an Artificer or not I think we can agree that this is an exciting new addition to the game.

    Edit: The original post was edited to include comments from responses. I would like to thank everyone for the help to improve this guide. I tried to give credit where it was due I am sorry if I missed anyone.

    Edit 2: The guide has been updated to include changes from Update 11.1 and 12. At the time of this update the Update 12 content (the four alignment changing enhancements) is still only on Lamannia and is subject to change.
    Last edited by Drakos; 03-09-2012 at 01:14 AM.

  2. #2
    Community Member Sleepsalot's Avatar
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    Nice work I did enjoy reading it..

    Sleeps

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sleepsalot View Post
    Nice work I did enjoy reading it..

    Sleeps
    Thank you for the comment, I rather enjoyed writing it.

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    Community Member jongleur's Avatar
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    nice job..thanks for the info

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    Community Member Battery's Avatar
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    nice write-up, appreciate the info
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    Loved it! Very nice guide.
    Im planning on giving mine a DT docent. Hope thats possible.
    Also do you think we can craft shroud or alchemical modules or is it only cannith crafting?

    Two other questions: Do you think its worth taking improved precise shot on an int based Atrificer? And: How does the Tactical Detonation work? Will it and BB and some other spells make my Arti a nuker if i have high enough DC?
    Last edited by Falske_bengt; 08-31-2011 at 09:03 AM.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Falske_bengt View Post
    Loved it! Very nice guide.
    Im planning on giving mine a DT docent. Hope thats possible.
    Also do you think we can craft shroud or alchemical modules or is it only cannith crafting?
    It is my understanding that we will be able to equip DT docents on the Iron Defender. I have not tested it yet, but from what I've heard you can put BtC and BtA docemts on them which should allow DT, Epic, etc...

    So far I haven't seen any modules avaliable for the Iron Defender. This is by no means a definative answer. So far I've only seen two methods to get modeles; create them at a devce workstation (ones used to make traps) or as quest end rewards. You cannot create them using Cannith crafting; at least I can't find any formulas in the crafting table. Also the device worktable does not seem to accept crafted handwraps when creating the modules.

    Edit: I forgot to address your other questions. Although they are really outside the scope of this guide i'll do my best.

    I really don't have a definative answer for the Imp. Precise Shot feat. I can tell you that I do take the feat.

    As for Tactical Detonation and Blade Barrier making the Artificer a viable Nuker, I would have to say not really. Both are nice but with the limited SP that an Artificer has, much of which being spent on their buffing spells, the IMHO don't make good Nukers. It'd that whole Jack of all Trades Master of none concept.
    Last edited by Drakos; 08-31-2011 at 09:39 AM.

  8. #8
    Bwest Fwiends Memnir's Avatar
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    Excellent guide. +Rep
    A few additions, if I may:


    Modules started dropping in Artificer end-reward tables as of the last update to Llama. I've seen several of them, but they have the random-loot problem of often being of questionable use... like Ghost Touch of Everbright, for example. I have no idea if they are in chest loot yet, however.

    You cannot use named handwraps in the creation of modules.

    Handwraps that have been enhanced by the Ice Games crafting can be used to make modules.
    .
    .

    For example.


    Named docents are taken for dog armor just fine - so I think DT would have no problems.

    The hotbar-able combat feats are very effective, I've found. If you have sneak attack capability, either from Rogue multiclassing or Half-Elf dilly feats - a dog's Intimidate will open up a lot of damage for you to do. Their Bluff also works single-target, and I've seen the dog do both quite a bit without being told.

    Opinion: The Evasion enhancements are far more useful then the combat alacrity. Most of the time my pet has died, it has been because it's awkward AI has stumbled into a trap or drawn agro from a spellcaster. Both of which Evasion helps with a lot - and since I swapped the lill guy's enhancements over to Evasion, it's death rate has dropped significantly.
    Last edited by Memnir; 08-31-2011 at 09:40 AM.
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    Thanks for your answers Dracos, even if the questions was out of subject! But it kind of busts my planning. Think ill have to replan my Atri a bit...

    Nice module Memnir, also thanks for the advise.

  10. #10
    Community Member Mister_Peace's Avatar
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    Looks like he gets 12 hps per level, and takes Toughness at level 10 and double toughness at level 20.
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  11. #11

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    Thanks for all the comments everyone, I'm glad the guide is useful.

    Memnir, I'll see about incorporating the additional info when I get home. It's to much of a hassle with my phone.

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    Community Member Jaid314's Avatar
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    the doggy does have an "attack my target" button (not that it always works). the "use object" button switches over to "kill stuff" when you have an enemy targeted.

    in an ironic twist of fate, while the defender will occasionally run off and smash barrels with no instruction whatsoever, commanding it to do so has never worked for me

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaid314 View Post
    the doggy does have an "attack my target" button (not that it always works). the "use object" button switches over to "kill stuff" when you have an enemy targeted.

    in an ironic twist of fate, while the defender will occasionally run off and smash barrels with no instruction whatsoever, commanding it to do so has never worked for me
    Thanks for the information I'll check this out the next time I log on to the preview server.

  14. #14
    Bwest Fwiends Memnir's Avatar
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    One other thing,

    Modules will be in the Handwrap section of the AH, so look for em there.
    Exit, pursued by a bear. ~ William Shakespeare (stage direction from The Winter's Tale)

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    Community Member Alexandryte's Avatar
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    It is worth noting that while the modules you craft can be deconstructed to a blank state, they retain their minimum level still. Meaning the Level requirement can only go up. They also maintain binding (to character) upon deconstruction.

    It would be inadvisable to fix modules in this manner until this is tended to.
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    Community Member Letrii's Avatar
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    Didn't see it mentioned, is this with or without Augment Summon?
    Quote Originally Posted by MajMalphunktion View Post
    *Handwraps. Yes we know. Here is my known issue for handwraps. Hand wraps in assorted flavors are borked.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Letrii View Post
    Didn't see it mentioned, is this with or without Augment Summon?
    All the numbers listed are for the Homunculus without the advantage of the Augement Summoning.

  18. #18
    Community Member testing1234's Avatar
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    nice guide.

    so what effect does augment summon have on it?
    cant help feeling all artis will have the feat if it give a nice boost to their living moving bb i mean pet

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by testing1234 View Post
    nice guide.

    so what effect does augment summon have on it?
    cant help feeling all artis will have the feat if it give a nice boost to their living moving bb i mean pet
    Yes the Augment Summoning feat will be very adviasble for artificers. It has the same effect on you Iron Defender pet as it does on all creatures you summon; +4 to all characteristics. This will translate to +2 HP / Level, +2 Attack/Damage, +2 to all saves, etc...

  20. #20

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    Very nice guide. +1 Can't wait to get my arty and her dog on live.
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    Qui dicebas in corde tuo: In cælum conscendam, super astra Dei exaltabo solium meum.

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