Vampiric Draw is a powerful Soulmaster art, but one with sharp limitations that have prevented it's regular use for most of the cities history. So, read on please and discover the "Secrets" of Vampiric Draw.
Focus: Resilience Major
Orbit learnable: 60
Cost: 10 Resilience
Target: Single Dreamer (Mares are not currently affected by the art)
Evoke Time: 7 Seconds base, Decreasing by approximately 0.5 seconds per plateau (10 plat = 6.5 sec, 20 plat = 6 sec, 30 plat = 5.5 sec, 40 plat = 5 sec, 50 plat = 4.5 sec, 60 plat = 4 sec, 70 plat = 3.5 sec, 80 = 3 sec, 90 plat = 2.5 sec. Approximate
Effect: Drains 4 points of whatever targets element, that the evoker is currently focused on regenerating. This increases by 4 at 10 plateau, and 3 for every plateau afterwards. This art does NOT work on mares of any sort. Lesser and Datoken, function as though the evoker didn't have an essence of the target. Darkmares, it is as though the mare has no elements to be drained, though the art otherwise targets them. Also, Vampiric Draw bypasses Reflect.
Vampiric Draw requires an essence of the target to be affected with the evoke. If no essence is held, then the art will not fire. Vampiric Draw also has a VERY high chance of destroying the targets essence. Nearly 100% at unplatted. This does decrease some, but even at 60 plateau... only one out of three or four evokes does Not destroy the essence. Putting the chance at roughly 75% at 60 plateau, meaning the chance decreases by approximately 3 or 4% per plateau. This puts it's 90 plat "Destroy Essence" rate, at approximately 65%. Meaning only every 2nd or 3rd evoke will result in the essence remaining intact (Testing with the Elders has confirmed this rough rate).
In the far past, there were great disturbance in the dream. Nightmares had invaded the city of dreams and soon after, even more terrible creatures, the Dark Mares, roamed the city causing havoc and great fear among the inhabitants. However during all this, some dreamers were concerned with much more pleasant matters.
Like the young maiden Cira for instance, had newly fallen deeply in love with a promising young SoulMaster named Loran. Cira sat softly on the meadow, picking flowers while she dozed away on clouds of thoughts about her love. She closed her eyes and breathed in the scent of a flower, brushed her blonde locks from her face, then gazed into the distance.
A loving smile played across her lips as she saw Loran approaching her. Holding her flowers she stood up and waited for him. Suddenly he dashed towards her and screamed something, she couldn't make out the content, but understood something was wrong. She turned around slowly then froze up as her eyes fell upon a smirking Dark Mare. Loran yelled for her to run as he ran to her aid, but she was trapped in its gaze and he was too late.
The Dark unleashed its terror on Cira, who fell to the ground then slowly faded from the dream. Screaming out his despair, Loran entered a hopeless battle with the much stronger mare. The result was given, soon he was exhausted, wounded and cornered. The Dark mare towered over him, loading up the final strike to finish him off.
Preparing for his doom, Loran sunk down to his knees looking to the ground below him. There before him lay the essence of his beloved Cira. He picked it up and squeezed it to his chest as his resilient tears rolled down his cheeks. A single tear slipped form his chin, fell slowly down and hit the essence he crunched in his arms. The essence slowly evaporated from his grip and a wondrous feeling washed over him, his wounds healed and he was filled with new energy and courage. With his refreshed strength he grasped his blade tightly in his fist and thrusted it into the flesh of the Mare. A ragged gasp later it fell to the ground and perished.
Loran never got over the loss of his beloved Cira and buried his grief in studies. In his lonely nights he researched many things, especially his experience with Cira and the Dark Mare, something he later perfected into an art he named Vampric Draw.
by Kaer Gerroz
Unlike many other arts, where "Spamming" evokes is a viable (if sometimes expensive) tactic, Vampiric Draw does not allow this same option. Even with several of the targets essences available, the evoker can only expect to be able to get a single evoke off per essence held. So, while the art can do substantial damage to a targets elements at higher plateaus... it's use is by necessity limited to more tactical levels. Holding an evoke and waiting for a prime opportunity.
It's best uses are to target the primary element pool of someone who is evoking high cost arts (Abjure, Healing Aura, Firestorm, Razorwind, Blend, Shatter, Dreamquake, etc), Targeting a non-Soulmaster who is restoring/doing art support, or target someone's dreamsoul when they are under heavy fire and nearing dissolution. I'll break this down a bit more below.
4th sphere or lower Target:
Uses of Vampiric Draw against targets of this sphere are pretty much devastating if the evoker has a moderate plateau to their art. Targeting their element pools while they're evoking can wipe out most of the targets element pool, or dreamsoul in a single evoke. Even solo against a target of this sphere, the evoker can fire a single evoke and follow up with a single chakram shot... granting a Very high likelihood of collapsing the target in a single evoke/shot barrage. Targeting other elements is a bit more limited for any focus except Fatesenders, who's arts tend to have a higher cost than non-FS arts, disrupting the targets evoke and making them go for their Lucidity elemens instead of their Dreamsoul.
5th & 6th Sphere Target:
Targets of these sphere's are reaching the level where they have the top level (and most expensive) arts available to them, with element pools capable of absorbing the drain caused by Vampiric Draw. To affect anything other than the dreamsoul of one of these targets, careful timing is required. These dreamers also tend to float less, so burning more than one to neutralize or incapacitate the target starts to become a diminishing returns issue. The optimal use for Vampiric Draw against these targets, is to wait until they are under heavy fire from an ally or two... and hit them the moment they reach Near Dissolution. Even if they remain standing from the Draw, it pretty much outright neutralizes the first hit of Dreamsoul they take, giving the ally a chance to land a "Killing Blow". Otherwise, it is only effective to use when the target is drawing on their highest cost arts, at a tactically opportune moment.
7th - 9th Sphere Targets:
These targets are the least vulnerable to Vampiric Draw, being able to readily absorb the drain caused by even a high plateau Drain with minimal issue. The drain caused by a 9th plateau Draw, only takes slightly over 1/3rd of a 7th sphere dreamers dreamsoul or primary focus element, and they are capable of taking a hit or two from even the highest level chakrams around (especially if shielded). This makes Draw's use even more tactical. Basically eliminating it's use in any situation where the target is not taking fire from at least 1 VERY skilled fighter, or a pair of lesser skilled ones that are landing a lot of hits. The use of Draw for any element other than Dreamsoul is nearly useless against these targets, particularly given that your only likely to get a single evoke from an essence, and dropping one of these dreamers is a fair amount of work for even the cities best fighters (Assuming the target has Any reasonable level of combat skill). At best, you may cause a single evoke to fail... so choose your timing and situation well.
Once a Soulmaster gets known for having access to this art at high levels, they become a VERY high priority target for enemies. Often coming under heavy and nearly immediate fire as soon as they enter an engagement. Even when not targeted immediately, Soulmasters of this level have high Restores, Abjures, and Poisons, that we are placed on an opponents "watch list" as soon as our presence is noted. This means that people watch us, and as soon as we are seen starting to use arts heavily, people are usually designated to put a stop to us. This is particularly true if we're seen standing somewhere, holding an evoke. It is strongly recommended that a Vampiric Drawing SM try to involve as much screening from hostile forces as possible, wear a strong shield (Draw's evoke speed is not optimal for skirmish style fighting) and stay VERY aware of their surroundings with a hand on their Dreamsoul and near their alterors/shields.
The best way to get a tactically valuable evoke of Draw off, is to stay mobile until your desired target becomes distracted and heavy targeted by allies, or intently focused on their art barrages, then rapid evoke Draw on them before moving again. Possibly taking a rapid sniping shot at the target as soon as the evoke goes off. As with any art, plat it as high as you can, as fast as you can in order to achieve optimal efficiency of use (In terms of Art effect; evoke speed; and essence preservation).
~ Arnaya, Soulmistress
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The most important lesson I've learned over this past year, is not to let anyone make you cruel. No matter how badly you want to give the world a taste of it's own bitter medicine, it is never worth losing yourself.