True Amazon (Amazonian) - by Charis
What follows is sketchy information on just a few of these. There will be more, and more details will follow with further playtesting. But those who wish to follow the Amazon role need not wait...
Amazon Barbarians distrusted all forms of magic spells. Some used limited forms of magic or colored items, others use naught but non-magic gear. Amazon Valkyries were the sole advocates of the spear in Diablo 1. They also had unswerving loyalty to the heavens, and were strongly limited in skills until they were viewed as worthy, by the finding of the Gotterdamerung. Amazon Spellbinders and Elitists did not at all fear magic, but sought to excel in wizardry as well as combat.
The "Eastern Amazons", as the sisters of Diablo 2 are called, are a distinct people. They too call themselves "Amazons", yet most have lost sight of the ancient traditions. There are a few tribes that do remember, and more Amazons coming from Tristram to help retell the tales of the old ways. The Eastern Amazons are extremely agile, like spear and javelin, as well as being true masters of the bow. Valkyrie influence is clearly seen in their skills. To help distinguish the two, the variant Amazons are now called "Amazonians" (AMZ), although some refer to themselves as "True Amazons". The Eastern Amazons are most often called Amazons, and the abbreviation 'AMA' is used. Sometimes they are called "Zons", and the true sign of a lack of Amazonian heritage is referring to oneself as a Spearzon, Bowzon, etc. An Amazonian will scoff at such 'limited' self descriptions. (D1 Amazons are called "Classic Amazons")
* Suggested rule: in normal diff, assign ONLY the four DOE, Radament, Izual skill points, and leave others undistributed until clvl 30 and the defeat of Diablo. Distribute and catchup through NM/Diablo, then save up at least 20 skill points. Explore the different trees and see what special equipment she finds by herself to decide for herself how to be a versatile killer. Too often a preconceived plan doesnt allow for change in direction (or for blizz nerfings). Alternately, continue pattern in NM and Hell once you enter them, distribute no points except the 4 quest points, until Diablo is slain for that difficulty. (If that's TOO much, spend some points in the passive trees, only 4 to bow/jav) *
* Suggested rule: The Guardian concept is quite strong in AMZ tradition, passing on skills to the younger amazon girls. Guardians will want to take a rogue merc and treat her as someone to mentor. Hiding behind a male or letting him do all the killing would be ridiculous to an Amazon. Having an aura 'boy' might be considered acceptable by some (eg Holy Freeze, Might, Defiance)
Explorer - roams the Blood Moor and Cold Plains. To avoid disrepect to her new sisters, she uses a weapon new to her - the Javelin. The Javelin is used exclusively in this phase, so that she may gain the trust of Kashya, the leader of the Rogue Encampment. The Mausoleum and Crypt, and all bosses within must be killed, and the phase ends with the defeat of Blood Raven. All skill points assigned during this phase must go to the javelin tree (you MAY however, choose to save some, rather than assign) - at least one point must be assigned to Jab. The other goal, besides slaying the evil priestess, is to find an axe... :) Townfolk may not be used during this phase except as required for quests.
Defender - this is a grueling test for True Amazons. It was no piece of cake in D1, and it will not be easy now. Twelve bosses must be slain wielding a 2H axe, including the following: Rakanishu, Treehead Woodfist, and the cursed one in Tristram. (If the only axe found is 1H, that's fine but use it without a shield.) For skills, at least one point must go to Critical Strike and one to Dodge. The hardest part of this quest may be the following. Kashya has assigned a mercenary to you. You MUST guard her with your very life. What greater shame could there be than to fail to protect her for even one quest?! (Tristram) Of course, if you die, all confidence will be lost and your mercenary will leave you in shame. All of the vile inhabitants of Tristram must fall under the blade of your axe. If the merc is lost, her death MUST be avenged, in an unusual way - barehanded. Considering Rakanishu or Woodfist may be the culprit, this may not be easy. The creature type responsible for the mercenary death is now a true enemy of the Amazon, she will not spare the life of any she sees from then on. Another Mercenary must be retained, with the same protect-or-avenge rule. Only when Tristram is clear may she be left there to mourn and protect. (No 'dismiss' skill, do what you need to, to make it so) Sad indeed is the Defender who loses their rogue to a trap! Some have hung up their boots at this point, while others become fanatics, opening every chest, barrel, urn they ever see, disarming it so no others may be slain by a trap. The Defender who enjoys the axe should consider making a "Steel" axe with Amn and Tir (Crushing Blow, mana steal, enh dmg, triumphant). (Or Honor later on)
Warrior - now you have truly gained the trust of your new sisters. Your mercenary may now be dismissed, or may tag along, but now considered responsible for her own actions. A key new phase now begins, where sword and shield are used - the True Amazon must learn again how to block and to strike well. Only passive tree skills points may be assigned in this phase (although again, you may instead choose to hold them). No less than twelve bosses must again be slain, and amongst them will be the Countess and the evil Andariel. The latter will certainly not be easy for the young Amazon. Let her train to become ready. (Note on gifts - no self-respecting Amazon would accept something too good for her, which would make a mockery of the training) The heartiest of Amazons will try to pull this off wielding the Horadric Malus (!) although this is by no means required. (Although not a sword, these and other special weapons are meritorious.) Note that the gift of an imbue may NOT be utilized by an Amazon of rank less than Matriarch. (ie, save it until she gets the rank and a good item to imbue) True Amazons who value flexibility will train with a variety of sharp 1H weapons and shield in this phase -- it's particularly stylish to find rares of different 1H wpns and use a different one for each boss.
Avenger - to become ever more versatile in combat, the Amazon tradition requires a large two handed weapon in this stage. A Maul or heavy blunt was required to crack the skulls of several special bosses in D1. Here, a two handed Spear class weapon may be used. This both serves tradition and builds a bridge to the Eastern Amazons. And yet... the True Amazon wishes to prove herself above the Eastern AMA - so her choice of several key bosses (for example, Soulless Kaa and Radament) should be slain with a polearm (Voulge, Poleaxe, etc.) All quests in Act II must be completed, and the vicious Duriel slain.
a joyous time for the True Amazon! It's back to her roots
Heroine - with Mephisto's defeat, the Amazon is now a Heroine, and may pass through the portal to Hell. Like the Classic Amazon, she has her choice now of weapon. The keeper of the Hellforge hammer must be defeated to destroy Mephisto's soulstone. Finally, Diablo will be met in combat. Proud traditional Amazons will plan to defeat Diablo with three different weapons on the three difficulties: Bow, Wpn/Shield, and two handed wpn (done in any order). Only a Heroine or higher may use Decoy. There is a tradition for this first slaying of Diablo. The Amazon should, if possible, select a socketable version of her intended weapon, and embed a stone of at least normal quality which represents the 'colors' of her nation - blue, green, red, amber, white, purple, or black. (Some even have a 'flag' of two or three colors) Other stones may be added for their effect, these will not affect the color of the weapon - just the first one. Tradition also suggests those with access to attendants (mules) save this weapon for a distant day after they have become queen, for Homecoming, when Diablo dies again to this very wpn, Hell diff.
Where does Champion
fit in? (The optional title for AMZ seeking extra challenge)
True AMZ's will only consider the "Slayer" title valid after wiping out the Moo Moo farm of their evil inhabitants.
Finally... a new title...
The Grand Matron AMZ has seen and done it all. After being a queen for at least five levels, with at least one skill max at 20 pts, and imbuing/crafting/runing a Grand Matron Bow, the GMAMZ candidate harkens back to the old days of boss hunting, and does an expanded Stealth-like hunt. She must start in the Rogue Encampment and defeat without death The Smith, Andariel, Duriel, Mephisto and the three council bosses, Diablo and Hephasto and three seal bosses, Shenk, the minion bosses of Baal, and Baal himself. The bow is to be the weapon used. No GMB other than a blue or white may be used until this title is obtained, and on entering the final battle with Baal, the newly made GMB must be used. Ideally, a Ceremonial Bow should be used for the other bosses in this quest.
WHAT DOES AN AMZ
LOOK LIKE IN PRACTICE?
In testing this in D2X, ChariSena(AMZ) was reborn and followed these quests. Highlights include: tanking Ancients and surviving, killing Diablo with the Chieftain and no deaths, joyfully finding a Kuko bow (1.08) and Gloom Trap belt, distributing only one pt per tree before Diablo was killed at clvl 30, and leaving 20 pts undistributed until after Hell/Baal, to give her a chance to "find her D2 focus". In the end, those 20 went to Lightning Fury, and after several cow runs, there is no regret :) She also found a Buriza on the Cow lvl, but thought it too cheesy for an AMZ and passed it on to ChariSwan. Her skills around 70 were max Immo, max LF, medium MS, Strafe, GA and FA, and one pt went to every skill so she could use anything- remaining focus will be on Pierce, better passives, a few more GA and perhaps Plague Jav. She used Cleglaw's set right up to Hell/Baal (before deciding on the LF). The wpn speed and clvl-scaling dmg and CB was nice, but low block % and inefficiency in Hell diff led her to switch to jav and shield (hopes to find Titans one day).
TWINKING and TOWING
OTHER AMZ FLAVORS
Acknowledgment - abundant thanks to all royal Amazons who've made this a great variant. Thanks also to Whyte_Tyger for his help in playtesting, and superb stories. And thanks to LemmingOfGlory for comments and for pushing forward the D2 Variant tradition.
Appendix: Rune word bows are highly cherished, and every AMZ must construct one at or before becoming Queen. The stats of three current ones are below:
Melody - 3 Socket
Missile Weapons - Shae + Ko + Nef
Zephyr - 2 Socket
Missile Weapons - Ort + Eth
Silence - Dol Eld
Hel Ist Tir Vex (probably too rare or not worth the runes)
("Venom" is the bow of choice for Nightshadows, and no AMZ would make/wield one!)
For spears, Honor,
Silence and Strength are the practical choices. Fury is nice
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