To qualify for Lifethreader the character must have 20 levels of Cleric, 10 levels of Weapon Master, Weapon of Choice (Sickle), Death Domain Powers, Healing Domain Powers, and 25 Heal skill before level 32.
The Lifethreader quasiclass mixes the divine channeling powers of the Cleric with the combat prowess of the Weaponmaster. Together, they create a unique ability to channel great amounts of both healing and damaging energy through their weapon.
- On achieving Lifethreader status at level 30 or 31, the Lifethreader is given a Lifethreading item which allows him to use Lifethreading powers.
- Using the Lifethreading item while wielding a sickle will allow the Lifethreader to enter Lifethreading mode. In this mode, the Lifethreader will damage all nearby enemies and heal all nearby allies each round. Each round, a cleric spell memorized by the Lifethreader will be drained to fuel Lifethreading power. The maximum level of the cleric spell to be drained may be set by issuing the SIMTools commands !dam1 through !dam9.
- When referred to below, Lifethreader level is equal to Cleric level plus Weaponmaster level, including legendary levels. The radius increases as the Lifethreader gains Lifethreader levels.
- Allies affected by Lifethreading will be healed by the base amount times the multiplier (see below).
- Enemies affected by Lifethreading will be damaged by the base amount times the multiplier (see below), with a fortitude save for half against a DC equal to ((Lifethreader level / 2) + Wisdom modifier).
- Further, their SR will be lowered by 1 point per 20 points of Heal skill possessed by the Lifethreader.
- The base effect amount for Lifethreading is equal to the Lifethreader's Heal skill, including modifiers from Wisdom and items, times (55 + (drained spell level * 5))%.
- There is a base multiplier that is equal to 1 at Lifethreader level 30, increasing to 1.5 at level 38, to 2 at level 45, to 2.5 at level 53, and to 3 at level 60.
- The healing is further increased with additional Cleric levels: +0.5 at Cleric 25, and +0.5 at Cleric 30.
- The damage multiplier increases with additional Weaponmaster levels: +0.5 Weaponmaster 16 and +0.5 at Weaponmaster 20.
- By default, the damage done is slashing damage but having additional weaponmaster levels grants other types of damage:
- At 14 levels of Weaponmaster, magical damage becomes available.
- At 16 levels of Weaponmaster, negative damage becomes available
- At 20 levels of Weaponmaster, positive damage becomes available.
- The Lifethreader may toggle between these with the !damsl, !damma, !damne, and !dampo commands.
A Lifethreader's spells follow standard rules for casterlevel and DC.
As mentioned above, the threading radius increases with threader level. It is a step function of the threading level / 10 -- for example there is no increase in radius from level 50 to 59, then a bump in size at level 60. The total radius of a level 60 threader is roughly the double of a level 40 threader.
Building a Lifethreader
Lifethreaders are very versatile, with many ways to build and play. There are two main decisions to be made when building: type (CON, WIS, STR, DEX, STR hybrid, DEX hybrid) and class (20/20, 26/14, 30/10, or other).
- DEX A classic build. Damage output with sickle will be typical dexer output, but AC will be very high (130s or 140s before expertise). The only downside is the str checks which include PFs, Kytons, Cornugons, Bezekiras, and Gelugons. This is a non-issue if you have a good party with a great bard, but it can be very frustrating if your bard isn't over par. Half-Kyton is an ideal race for this, though many others will work well.
- DEX Hybrid Take the proven dex formula, then add more str to reach 32-42 in gear. This is probably the most reliable build, though requires a BUR race such as Kolyarut or Zenythri for best effect. Example: Light-weight Threader
- STR Maximizes sickle damage, and will do very well in LL areas. I highly recommend having a base Dex of 14 or higher or it will suffer greatly in the Hells.
- STR Hybrid Take a str build and add more dex. I think the dex hybrid is a better choice for Lifethreaders, but a str hybrid will work, especially if you have a Strongheart and good other gear.
- WIS Has been played successfully, using high Wisdom to increase DC. Without raising Str and Dex to about 18-20 base, it will suffer from excessive KDs. Having high Wisdom increases healing skill and using intuitive attack feat allows the about the same AB of a dexter build. Typically get the advantages of using a higher Weapon Master level build. Example: Zeny Wis Threader Tank
- CON Unproven and looks dubious for play in post-LL areas (Hells, Elysium).
The relatively new cleric spell Foundation of Stone (1) should allow WIS and CON threaders to be more playable as judicious use of the spell will prevent them from getting knocked down repeatedly on every Hells spawn.
Splashing any other class on a lifethreader will have serious negative effects, and is generally not recommended. Among other things, even one level of another class will greatly reduce the threading radius, which means less damage and less healing.
Any number of cleric levels from 20 to 30 are possible on a threader. The four below seem most advantageous in terms of bonus feats given, cleric abilities, and threading abilities.
- 20 Cleric / 20 WM Most flexible in damage types and most overall damage output. Good all around choice. It does have the fewest cleric abilities.
- 21 Cleric / 19 WM Loses Pos threading and some damage output. However it gains cleric caster level 41 which is increasingly important for adding spell abilities. This includes: UEF doubles duration, Greater Restore works (only 4 rounds), Resurrection grants temp hp and works on disintegrated people, Divine Power grants LBAB, Prayer and Doom are better though still can't penetrate SR, Heal and Remove Disease and Remove Curse work in new areas. If you can get ego items, this kind of build is a poor choice.
- 26 Cleric / 14 WM Loses Pos and Neg threading. Adds some healing amount, loses some more damage amount. Loses a little AB. In addition to all the CL41 benefits listed above, you'll have enough cleric levels to get epics (e.g. Miracle) and your Divine Power will give an extra attack. It's an interesting choice -- less damage output and the loss of two types, to gain substantially more battle-cleric type skills.
- 30 Cleric / 10 WM All of the 26/14, but also loses Magic type. A little more healing than 26/14 but same damage output.
Playing a Lifethreader
These are miscellaneous notes and tips from playing a number of lifethreaders.
How you play before becoming a threader at level 30 or 31 depends on which type you're building. For a Str or Dex type, you will likely play as a tank, albeit a rather poor one. A Wis threader, especially one going 26/14 or 30/10, may be able to concentrate more on cleric abilities.
Since your threading damage and healing is dependent on your Heal skill, it is vital that this be as high as possible. ESF: Heal is a must skill to have. You should try to equip enough heal gear to reach +50 when buffed. Some threaders take LSF: Heal to ensure it is maximized and make gear selection easier.
Getting Displacement or some other form of concealment will greatly increase your survival. Consider using a few cleric spells to help out if necessary (UEF, Entropic Shield, Endure Elements, Energy Immunity, etc.). Alternately trade out some caster gear for defense and rest more often.
You should have a backup form of Greater Sanctuary, whether this is a Precious ring, GS potions, or scrolls. You may find that you've threaded away your GS spells right when you most need it.
Since you have WM levels, you have Expertise. You may or may not have Improved Expertise. If things look rough, don't be afraid to use it.
You have a limited amount of time threading, and higher level spell slots do the most damage and healing. I highly recommend turning threading off as soon as possible after a fight or even right before it ends if you're in a party. Turn it on just in time for the next spawn's group. How much you need to do this depends on how easy rests are and how much caster gear you're wearing.
While rare, some groups will immediately spawn the next group as the previous fight is ending. Such non-stop action means no need to turn threading off until a big pause happens.
The more caster gear you wear, the better and longer you can thread. On the other hand, more caster gear will give you less AC and less defense.
In the hells, a dex hybrid threader will do about 20% of damage from sickle and 80% from threading. This is with generally large masses, threading on for all of them, positioning to thread the maximum number of mobs, and constantly attacking with the sickle. A non-tank threader will of course see little to no damage from sickle. Fighting one mob at a time, fighting from the sidelines rather than the mob mass center, or not threading for every fight will lower threading damage. Massing in many LL areas such as Desert, DB, or Illithids will result in massive threading damage output, though in general the LL areas will show 30-50% sickle damage for a tank threader.
In the Hells and Elysium, Slashing damage is almost always the right choice. There are a few places in the Hells where Positive is preferred, and in Elysium the Negative and Magic types have uses. In LL areas Slashing is rarely the preferred type. Positive is almost always best for undead. Magic or Negative are useful on many others.
The threading radius is decently large at level 60, but it's still about the same as a Healing Circle. Therefore you need to be conscious of where you are in relationship to the mobs and your party members if you want to get the best use out of threading. A damage threader may have different choices than a healer threader. A party member getting heavily damaged or incapacitated (e.g. knocked down) may very well lead to your positioning such that your threading encompasses them so they get healed. In many cases you may need to resort to the keyboard movement commands to make your character move properly.
For maximum damage you will want to center yourself in the mass such that your threads hit as many things as possible while hitting something appropriate with your sickle. Of course you need to be able to survive this and not get incapacitated (e.g. stoned or knocked down). You also would like to cover fellow tanks with the healing, which may mean being a little closer to them. Many builds/players may not want to be quite so aggressive, and playing next to the other tanks in the front line but not ahead of them.
Some mobs are very difficult to kill with normal means, especially those with high concealment (e.g. Dogai, Ayperobos Swarm, and such). If you thread near them, whether attacking them directly or not, you get one hit a round, every round. A threader is the best way to take out a Swarm other than a PM or mage with the right spells memorized and ready.
Typical tank threaders do not take spell penetration feats, the caster level is low (40-50), and wisdom is low (19-24). This highly limits the offensive capabilities. However Earthquake does bypass SR so is still useful in LL areas (it is generally not worth using in the Hells or Elysium). Buffs a tank threader might use include GMW, DF, Bless, Entropic Shield, Prayer, Endure Elements, FoM, Battletide, Regeneration, Monstrous Regeneration, and UEF. For typical Hells parties, the buffs may only be FoM since the others are either better supplied by other party members or are ineffective. While not that common, a single Healing Circle before or during a hard fight can be helpful as it offers a large amount of continuous healing on top of your threading.
- Amnesia Not a big issue with high-AC threaders if you can get displacement, but very annoying when it happens. This will be a much bigger problem for lower AC threaders. The Nameless Pit Fiend has a no-save amnesia attack as well that is quite bothersome. Styxwalkers boots will make you immune, but at a price.
- Incapacitation When knocked down, stoned, frozen, stunned, time stopped, gagged, tripped, confused, and so forth, your threading stops. It will take a full round action to reactivate it. Avoiding these when possible is of course highly desirable.
- Kickback For many things your healing can make up for the kickback you receive. Beware of being too aggressive and getting in over your head. While one Hamatula may do 80 points to you and get healed without you noticing, charging into a group of ten may kill you.
- Party Kickback Threading is effectively one hit on everything around you, once per round. This is certainly much better than a tank actually swinging at a machine, but if you have too many at once and weak party members, they will not appreciate you. On the other hand you can kill things like machines and fumes if you have to, without killing any observant people.
- Tears Threading splits tears. Again, you only have exactly one hit per round, and your threading does quite a bit of damage to non-para tears. However you should avoid threading near Paragon or Elite tears as they will split with alacrity.
- Slagging You must be wielding a sickle to thread. If your sickle is slagged, your threading stops. Carry backup sickles, and I highly recommend grabbing a few extra store-bought ones for Nessus. If you're getting slagged a lot on a layer, just fill some bags with store sickles so you can throw them out afterwords. You do not want to have Asmo at Near Death and have your last sickle slagged.