Grim Face (Hearth Orlan, Priest of Eothas) & Co - Part 8
Again it's about a month since we last heard of Grim Face and his merry band, sorry for that. Due to some unexpected RL events I can't play as much as I wish to though we made quite decent progress and gained two level ups. At the moment we cleared Caed Nua lower levels down to lvl 6, finished all available/remaining act 2 Defiance Bay side quests/tasks (except Cinders of Faith) and also Dyrford Village/Crossing. Most fights were completed via per-encounter abilities and Cipher powers. After gaining Lead Spitter blunderbuss Grieving Mother began to deal just tremendous damage with mindblowing damage numbers, quickly replenishing her focus to fire even more devastating powers! I rarely used guns in PoE1 before but now I just can't turn back, at least not for Cipher characters.
Overall there isn't much interesting in those fights to write detailed report so here is a quick rundown and RP choices we've made:
Endless Paths of Od Nua.
Level 2. Xaurip territory with some lesser Wyrms. Nothing special for level 7 party. Hand and Key armor went to Pallegina. Measured Restraint rapier to Aloth though I don't think he'll ever use it.
Level 3. Ogres and thus another difficulty spike. For small groups (2 or 3) we used Whisper of Treason and Mental Binding and that was enough. Since PoE Druids are tough, those Ogre Druids gave us pain and we can't avoid to receive damage so had to rest for healing but also were less stingy with per-rest abilities/spells. Whisper of Treason and Mental Binding are cheap and reliable though and Slicken or Pillar of Faith also help a lot. For Matron Mother Zolla we called for some Beetles followed with Shades, and then charmed her best buffed champion to fight on our side. Expose Vulnerabilities>Combusting Wounds>Shining Beacon spelled their doom. Found another pair of Gloves of Manipulation (seems it's 'all-or-nothing' with those in my playthroughs) and Grieving Mother now wear Rundl's Finery.
Level 4. Compared with previous level local Oozes/Trolls/Bugs are like a kids even if pretty sturdy sometimes. Sagani got new bow (Persistence), Eder - a new blade (Resolution sabre with Corrosive Lash) and we made sure to return to previous level to get a Llawran's Stick. Gyrd Haewanes Stenes was fully upgraded there too.
Level 5. More Xaurip and mature Drake - the only worthy opponent there. Some Beetles for distraction, Prayer Against Fear, Mental Binding, Whisper of Treason allowed us to deal with their retinue via Expose Vulnerabilities>Combusting Wounds>Shining Beacon combo and being alone the Drake is not much of a threat. Itumaak claimed the trophy (love the last screenshot - pretty symbolic)
Level 6. Undead territory. Skeletal Rangers and Wizards are a bit of a pain being out of reach (this is a case when narrow passages aren't a boon for us) but overall the level is easy. Opening the passage to the next level granted us enough exp to level up the whole Crew>lvl8:
Grim Face: Mechanics>8, Painful Interdiction
Eder: Athletics>5, Apprentice's Sneak Attack
Aloth: Athletics>4, Survival>4, lvl4 spell>Confusion, Weapon Focus: Noble
Sagani: Lore>7, Weapon Focus: Peasant
Grieving Mother: Lore>8, Phantom Foes, Apprentice's Sneak Attack
Pallegina: Lore>9, Apprentice's Sneak Attack.
Next level have foes with petrifying attacks against which we have no protection as of yet so enough of dungeon crawling and back to the fresh air.
First we solved 'The Forgotten' task of which I completely forgot (sorry). We called for Shades and Aloth applied the fresh Confusion spell to the great effect. Grim Face was stunned by the monk but wearing both Blaidh Golan and Ilfan Byrngar's Solace he has impenetrable defense. Shades dealt with the Wizards via draining ranged attacks and the rest soon followed them back to the Wheel. Eder got Sanguine Plate (Crush-Proofed) and now wear it alone with Shod-in-Faith (both activate their build-in abilities on crit).
Then we finished 'Missing Sentries', cleared the rest of Heritage Hill district and destroyed the machine on the top of the tower.
After little chatting with Lady Webb 'The Final Act' became available for us to solve. We aslo finished 'The Man Who Waits' by taking a position in Uscgrim cell and completed 'The Wailing Banshee'. The worst encounter there was when we were ambushed in an uncomfortable position and had to improvise. We also had to Withdraw Grieving Mother twice since those spirits focused her as a biggest threat (which she indeed is). The next floor encounter is much less difficult. We were able to convince Maerwith to pacify the spirit of her mother and for those troubles Grim Face got Jack of Wide Waters (Slash-Proofed) and Lilith's Shawl.
Next we finished 'A Two Story Job' - killed the goons in Copperlane and got the gem ourselves for Abrecan Doemenel. Not that we want to gain their favor but just to lesser the overall reputation drop in the future.
Time to tie up remaining loose ends for which we are already overpowered - Lions and Trolls/Pwgras packs in Woodend Plains and dispose of the 'Lord of a Barren land'. I didn't intend to fight Raedric's Guards (there is nothing wrong with those soldiers) but just forgot to equip some Berathian robes and angered the whole floor. Anyway we killed only those who stand on our way to Raedric himself and level 8 crew is just too overpowered for them (and Raedric's crew as well) to pose any meaningful threat.
Next was Dyrford Crossing were we cleared the outdoors first and then sanitized the spider infected cave. Korgrak was invited to guard the Caed Nua and Grim Face got a Girdle of Eoten Constitution. Sevis' gang was disposed off to gain pristine dragon egg - with Athletics:5 and Constitution:20 Eder was able to get it without any troubles - and we fought a pack of Forest Lurkers/Pwgra/Menpwgra to get Boots of the Long March.
Back in Dyrford Village we got Lead Spitter blunderbuss for Grieving Mother and this is the moment when the true fun began. As I've already mentioned with this weapon Grieving Mother is just a pure nightmare for our foes. We also hit level 9 at the moment:
Grim Face: Mechanics>9, Spell Mastery: Armor of Faith
Eder: Lore>9, Confident Aim
Aloth: Athletics>5, Survival>4, lvl5 spell>Call to Slumber, llengrath's Safeguard, Spell Mastery: Chill Fog
Sagani: Lore>8, Heal Companion
Grieving Mother: Recall Agony, Borrowed Instinct
Pallegina: Lore>10, Athletics>4, Liberating Exhortation.
Next we finished 'Cat and Mouth' task killing Medreth and his gang - that's a reputation drop I was talking about - and proceed with 'Blood Legacy'. We entered the Temple via Dyrford Crossing and went straight to Wymund. Grieving Mother helped Aelys, Wyrmund was paralyzed and never recovered, his support got all kinds of afflictions and that's it. Skaen Mind Breakers are dangerous (as all Ciphers are) but we can handle them. Then we spent some time to sanitize the whole Temple having little trouble with that and went for extreme shopping back in the Dyrford Village.
With all that done we have little to do now and thus ready to proceed 'Through Death's Gate'. Stay tuned!
to be continued...