Gods know I spent several hours being intimidated by Character Generation screen. I'm writing for you guys / gals who stare at screen and can't for the love of it find anything reliable to help you decide where to commit those sweet points and what perks to take. I will stay away from spoilers. Only spoil a few minor things like some items. I've almost completed my first PotD run with Spellblade (Streetfighter / Wizard). I stayed away from most broken/OP things for challenge's sake, and I feel I was powerful, but not outright broken. I value RP options pretty highly. That's my point of view, and I'm going to give tips with that in mind. First thing first I'd recommend you to figure out which playstyle/flavor you want to go for your main character. This will dictate a number of later choices. NOTA BENE: Respec exists in the game, but is bugged and broken and unusable. Unfortunately, you have to get you build right, reroll basically means starting the game over. I would group combat roles as Support, Melee/Offtank, Tank, Artillery Nuker and Artillery Crowd Controller. Your Watcher's combat role is the core thing you should decide and build from there. Most classes are capable of performing in at least a couple of these roles, and sometimes hybrid a bit. Tanks need to be sturdy and sticky. Stickiness is achieved via being able to hit like a truck with Disengagement attacks. Tanks have to be able to deal good damage in this game to function. They also need at least 3 Engagements. There are items and buffs that improve this, you don't have to exclusively rely on innate character abilities. Melee/Offtank characters need to be as sturdy as tanks, but with those guys you sacrifice some stickiness for more mobility/damage or a bit of direct crowd control. It's a real thing to build a dual-wielding shotgun "melee" killing machine. Supports need to be FAST and reasonably sturdy. They often have to react very quickly to someone suffering a crit, or to dispel a debuff, or to save someone under fire with armor buff. Artillery Nuker needs to be able to hit things accurately and painfully in expedient manner. You may sacrifice sturdiness a bit with this flavor of character, but I'd advise against it - there are a lot of rogue-type enemies in the game who enjoy teleporting in your backline and oneshot KO your glass cannons. Nothing brings me joy more than witnessing those assassins fail because my "glass" cannons are made of rock. And poisoned spikes. Artillery Crowd Controllers need to make their debuffs land and for those debuffs to stick. Otherwise they are the same as Nukers. There are a total of 7 full-fledged Companions in the game. You may want to bear in mind their combat roles before deciding which Watcher style to go for. There are 2 Tanky/Offtanky companions, 2 Supports, 2 Artillery Nukers and one dude who can be anything but Support basically. Some of them might leave your party pending your story choices, but you will always have access to 1 Tank, 1 Support and that hybrid fellow. Companions are...
So, to Class/Race selection. Race does not matter in most of cases. Period. Choose on aesthetics. There are some synergies here and there, but they are usually obvious enough. I would advise to NOT pick a Godlike. There are some really dope helmets in the game, and Godlikes look ugly. Exception being Spellcaster or Support Watcher. I did not find any worthwhile helmets for those archetypes, so Nature Godlike is fine in this case.
Classes and perks.
Frontliners (no spoilers!).
Supports (still no spoilers!)
Artilleries (almost no spoilers here as well!)
Attributes. Might: 10 for weapon-users, around 14 for healers, and 16+ for damage-dealing spellcasters.
Constitution: 15+ for armor-tanking frontline, 12-14 for Supports, 10 for everyone else.
Dexterity: 10+ for tanks, 18+ for Supports, 14+ for everyone else.
Perception: 18+ for Spellcasters, 15+ for frontline, 10+ for Supports.
Intellect: 18+ for Crowd Control, 16+ for Supports and AoE Artillery, 14+ for self-buffing frontline, 8+ everyone else.
Resolve: 14+ for frontline, 10+ for Supports, 8+ everyone else.
Don't take the bait and take Proficiency for weapons just because you intend to use it a lot. Proficiencies offer situational abilities for specific encounters.
Absolutely take Rending Smash Mace proficiency early on at least one of your melee characters. There are numerous enemies with SCREW YOU IM CAPTAIN AMERICA amounts of armor. Maces have very high penetration themselves and -1 Armor debuff they apply really helps. After that you can acquire Flail, Club and Morningstar proficiencies to help setup your spellcasters. You don't need to go redundant on this - just one frontline character/companion with it will suffice. For your ranged ladies pick Medium Shield / Dagger proficiencies and keep Dagger + Medium in a spare weapon set. This combo makes even a squishy character somewhat tanky and helps survive enemy dives. Quarterstaff proficiency is a reasonable alternative. Pistol proficiency is very strong, especially on One-Handed Style caballeros. I enjoyed kitting my offtanks with dual Blunderbusses and going ham with Powder Burns and Full Attack abilities. Transforms those single-target dds into aoe gib machines. Very low accuracy though, try to assist with Crowd Control or buffs. Arbalest proficiency was okay. Spear proficiency was useful on monks and paladins who struggled with +engagement bonuses.
Scepters are extremely strong, and their Proficiency is also good. The dirty secret here is Scepter damage type. They are the only ranged weapon offering Crush/Slash combo, which the only out for your Sniperinos facing off hordes of Skeletons and stupid Constructs.
Wands are trash. Rods I found unimpressive - too slow / low damage. Most proficiencies that provide straight up +damage, or +penetration or some such are traps. Unless you're playing Devoted Fighter, but then you know what you are doing. Skills. Passive skills are used in dialogues and special events. There are also some items that scale with your passive skills. Notably, Metaphysics spellcaster Quarterstaff and History defensive Cloak. There are also Metaphysics scaling Large Shield, Intimidate-scaling medium armor, and a bunch of others I don't remember immediately. There was something scaling off Stealth. I don't recall any items scaling off Bluff, Diplomacy, Insight, Streetwise and Survival. Insight is checked very often, and Metaphysics was checked... Almost never. Once or twice. Survival is often checked outdoors, but you can use a companion for most of these. Same story with Streetwise, but in cities. Active Skills are to be applied in gameplay in one way or another. Explosives and Sleight of Hand are useless. Very rarely checked. Sleight of Hand at 2 was enough to pickpocket all valuables everywhere I bothered to.
Mechanics is good. Lots of traps, lots of locks. My Watcher was Mechanics specialist, I never looked back. Probably can be circumvented by a companion specialist.
Stealth was surprisingly good. Obsidian bothered to design many otherwise hostile places in a way that a stealthy character can solve those efficiently. Certain NPCs outright asked me to do things discreetly, without alarming anyone and were pleased when I managed to. Not to mention plenty of booty just lying around waiting to be stolen. Multiple outdoor interactions, too. I noticed that these often make stealth check for the most clumsy character in the group, so it may be worthwile to invest at least a point for everyone.
Athletics provides you with 1/encounter quick selfhealing ability called Second Wind. It is extremely useful. Invest at least a few points on every character. Multiple party-wide Athletics check in dialogues/events as well.
Arcana is necessary to peruse high level Scrolls. Scrolls crafting is expensive, but there are plenty around the world. Honestly, even on PotD game was simple enough to not use any scrolls. I did use some traps and potions though, which brings us to...
Alchemy. Improves efficiency of potions and drugs. That is, BOTH duration AND effect. You can have +7 Might/Const/Dex for 400 seconds from a drug if you invested in Alchemy. Potions may heal for twice as much, or provide buffs for twice as long. I found Alchemy fun and strong. Phew, that post got out of hand. And I also wanted to talk about companion builds. Some other time, I guess.