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Everything posted by Enuhal

  1. @semiticgod There are a certain number of quests where you can avoid potentially dangerous or annoying battles with stealth, but this is usually only true if your entire party has a certaint amount of stealth (~3-5, which, in my opinion, isn't worth it). For solo runs, high stealth can actually be crucial - certain encounters are generally always avoided by solo PotD players, and some of these can only be avoided with a certain stealth level. Regarding The White March, there is indeed a lot of content there - it is somewhat different from the main game and has quite often been compared to Icewind Dale with the main game being a bit more like BG2 - WM offers more battles, more dungeons and less story. I would be interested to see a blind attempt - possible to achieve, I think (if one strives for peaceful solutions whenever possible, at least), but tough. Quickly figuring out new types of enemies is certainly required.
  2. Thanks, Alesia_BH and Serg BlackStrider! I've now also added links to all previous updates to every post of the run, so it should be easier to follow it over the many pages of this thread. Well done with the throne room, Jaheiras Witness. Good luck in your battle against Maerwald!
  3. Liresh, wild orlan Shieldbearer of St. Elcga, Update 8 (final update) Previous updates: No spoilers for WM here, this post only covers Sun in Shadow. So I was writing this lengthy conclusion post to my run and was almost finished when my PC randomly crashed and everything I wrote was gone. Here's the short version: Entering Sun in Shadow, we scaled up difficulty once again, hoping to make things interesting. Nonetheless, no challenges awaited us on our way to Thaos - shadow drakes and engwithan shades, even upscaled, did not deal any damage to the party despite us only using spell mastery abilities and cipher powers. The final battle remained the only interesting part of Chapter IV: We start with lots of buffs, including all of the food (including dragon meat), some drugs (svef is great for our damage dealers) and start combat by sending our animal companions to tank the two statues while buffing up with flasks of war paint, delerious alacrity of motion and the like. Liresh tanks Thaos, Kerion and Selissa start applying AoE buffs and debuffs: https://imgur.com/ZLsIhrV While Thaos is able to get one dangerous spell through, he is soon forced to enter Woedica's Judge: https://imgur.com/HS5vkzY Liresh takes this opportunity to use gLoH+Shielding Touch on the one injured wolf, and we take down the Headsman first: https://imgur.com/x3eI6T9 I propably should've taken this time (with the opponents dealing next to no damage) to heal up and apply some more buffs with Selissa, but I was eager to end the battle and took down the Judge right away: https://imgur.com/J9YWfHU Thaos returned to his body and caught me off guard - a confusion spell affected parts of the party, and I had no prayer against bewilderment active - luckily, with Andur being affected, Thaos ended up getting stunned himself via psychic backlash: https://imgur.com/jC4RqYL Our foe was able to heal up, but even with confusion forcing some of the party in melee range, we still could deal significant damage - their respective weapon focus applies to our damage dealer's melee weapons (Tidefall, Abydon's Hammer, Wend-Walker), and Liresh starts taking this opportunity to heal up everyone: https://imgur.com/aoz4HUb Being huddled up does give Thaos a chance to deal significant AoE damage with a Pillar of Holy Flame. However, he is already near death at this point, and Selissa has now applied prayers against bewilderment and treachery: https://imgur.com/1yYaf2g Finally, Thaos falls: https://imgur.com/PwxCqMZ Mira, one of our animal companions, was the one to get in the final hit: https://imgur.com/56us1WX We honor our deal with Berath, though not before taking a screenshot of the final party stats: https://imgur.com/Gx4Ym2s So, there we have it: 9 months of ingame-time, 4000 enemies defeated. Liresh has the highest damage hit - this has to be a Steafast Sunlance proc. For those wondering, Selissa's high number of hits is due to her opening up combat with Interdiction quite often. Why did Andur get knocked out 7 times (mostly in the early game)? Well, a) he sometimes has to get closer to our opponents than our rangers to apply some cipher powers, b) for a while, I was using him as a very squishy melee damage dealer (to power up his soulbound belt), c) as our mechanics guy, he did end up walking into a deadly trap once or twice. Final observation: Megaira, our Stormcaller ranger, was able to defeat Amria, the Persistence ranger, when it comes to total damage done, even though Amria had better support equipment. While it is math-informed consensus here that Persistence is the weapon with higher damage output, I have always disagreed with this sentiment based on personal experience and how things actually play out in the game. These rangers have the same stats, almost the same build (heart of the storm is the one exception), the same animal companion, and Amria even has better equipment. There might be factors in favor of Megaira (it's possible that she has spent more time in the party, as I sometimes swapped out party members to complete companion quests - though I always switched around who would stay in and who would stay out), but if there's truly a significant difference in the damage potential of both weapons, shouldn't Amria still be ahead? I remain a Stormcaller fan. I won't be able to continue this run in Deadfire unless I'm able to fix the current performance issues that make the game almost unplayable for me right now, which is not likely to happen until I get a new computer (which might take years), so let's consider Liresh's adventures to be done for now. Edit: It seems that, in hindsight, the Caed'Nua throne room battle was indeed the most dangerous fight for Liresh in the entire game (and it was really, really close). I think that the dragon battles might have been more dangerous, but anything else didn't really hold a candle to the early game, which confirms by previous thoughts on the PotD difficulty curve.
  4. Congrats on your first success, semiticgod. Regarding your experiences on PotD, I think that maybe a six paladin party isn't exactly the easiest way to go about things - they just can't provide the utility, damage, crowd control etc. that a well-balanced party will give you. It certainly can be done, but it requires a certain amount of experience. The easiest formula I can give for PotD success is: Stack accuracy, use positioning to your advantage, don't be afraid to throw out massive amounts of buffs and disables, take out/disable enemy spellcasters (or other kinds of foes with disables at their disposal) quickly and know which fights to avoid/delay. Regarding the stats discussion: I think intelligence is quite important for nearly every build in the game (except for the mentioned DoT-based builds), not only for spellcasters (and I would never create a cipher with, let's say, less than 14 int, usually going for 16+). As Jaheiras Witness mentioned: It is universally agreed upon that it is one of if not the most important stats for barbarians (carnage is amazing and enables a ton of super fun builds - I can confirm this from personal experience), and it is great for certain fighter/rogue builds as well. Even if you don't use scrolls and potions on a rogue, the class will try to apply various debuffs with the usual per-encounter full attack abilities, and if they last longer, that's great for you. Certainly, a damage-dealing rogue barely needs constitution or resolve at all, so there are usually points available to increase Int if the build calls for it. I do, however, like resolve for my primary tank, even though I agree that it isn't a very strong stat over all. I just think that in the early game (pre Caed'Nua), every point of deflection is helpful, and I don't care what my paladin's damage potential is until much later in the game (and lay of hands is strong enough for the early game even without high might).
  5. Liresh, wild orlan Shieldbearer of St. Elcga, Update 7 Previous updates: This post includes spoilers for The White March 2 for those who haven't played it yet. There are two bounty fights considered to be somehwhat difficult on upscaled PotD in WMII: Magran's Faithful and Brynlod. The first one was among the first things I did in the second expansion. My main concern was monitoring the enemy caster bars: I had to make sure that no super-dangerous high level spells like storm of holy fire would hit my party. I used strategic stormcaller attacks to interrupt some of the priests until I got Kerion into position to keep the enemy backline prone with calling the world's maw while also disrupting spells on the frontline with relentless storm: https://imgur.com/revhFF1 That way, nothing but a few firebug spells ever hit my party, and this battle was won. Before going for Brynlod, I did some more sidequests, such as the Stalwart Mines. Breathing in some spores greatly reduced any potential difficulty in fighting the Radiant Spore: After all the sporelings were dead, I essentially just had to go for the main threat with full offensive force. https://imgur.com/Qy5TvjB After re-activating the cannons at Durgan's Battery (no trouble here, and some more durgan-forged upgrades, this time for a few pieces of armor), I entered Whitestone Hollow, where I was able to fully upgrade Steadfast: https://imgur.com/lCytjm2 To get to 27 might, I simply had to add champion's boon to the Caed'Nua +3 buff, the Salty Mast +2 boon and the +4 helm. After clearing that area, my final bounty did lead me to face Brynlod. His backline is actually very strong and deals a ton of damage (lots of mages using summoned weapons and duplicates etc.), which resulted in my animal companions not surviving for long. I also wasn't able to get some good crowd control in on them, mainly due to positioning problems and some interruptions: https://imgur.com/TDT2ciz However, once Brynlod's frontline was finally destroyed (which was difficult with all the damage coming in - I had to retreat and heal up with several characters while dealing the neccessarry damage), I was able to disrupt the archers by calling statue summons right in their face - they finally stopped attacking my vulnerable characters, and that was their downfall: https://imgur.com/nitxP8v Victory was ours - and we resumed with the WMII main questline. At the abbey, I went for the non-combat approach, even doing my job as "tidebringer", so I only had to face 2-3 groups of monks before the battle against the abbot. That one was fairly easy, especially since I managed to sway some of the monks to my side: https://imgur.com/cTd9bvW Finally, I fought my way through a bunch of eyeless (super easy with some cipher powers, such as mental binding) to face the kraken - not exactly the most difficult boss, because it doesn't have great defenses or a great endurance pool. It was already at injured when I barely got started buffing up my party: https://imgur.com/ltcXGGG When the three eyeless appeared, I just kept focusing on the primary foe, and it fell shortly before they reached my party: https://imgur.com/FoWHviS After switching to some defensive equipment, my cipher was quickly able to gain control of the situation: https://imgur.com/NblWvVT And we got to upgrade Persistence to legendary. We used the diving helm and made our way to the final part of the expansion: Mowrghek Îen. Most combat there was relatively trivial by now. Even though the opponents had levels as high as my party, I was easily able to keep them disabled with stormcaller, cipher powers or druid spells: https://imgur.com/aC1Jb2e Now, of course, I wasn't going to fight Llengrath. That would be crazy, especially after I sought peaceful solutions for the adra dragon and alpine dragon encounters as well (always making sure to have the right attribute buffs to gain the right dialogue options beforehand, of course - in this case, 16 intelligence) - so I made a nice and very helpful deal with the archmage: https://imgur.com/3eIantN Every single area is now explored, every battle fought or resolved otherwise, every quest completed - except for Sun in Shadow. We're more than ready.
  6. Due to limited experience playing with rogues, I won't be adding much to the discussion - I only want to mention that one of the very, very few documented cases of someone achieving the elusive "The Ultimate" achievement (which not only involves PotD, trial of iron (which is no-reload play), expert mode and solo play, but also defeating all of the toughest opponents in the game, such as the dragons, archmages and bounties) was done by someone playing as a rogue - it's even available as a youtube video (though I've never had the patience to watch much of it):
  7. Liresh, wild orlan Shieldbearer of St. Elcga, Update 6 Previous updates: Spoilers for The White March, for those who haven't played it yet. I started expansion gameplay with Longwatch Falls. It quickly turned out that even the largest languafeth group in the area didn't really have what it would've taken to seriously inconvenience my party at this point: https://imgur.com/819GVZ9 However, I still had great respect for the Alpine Dragon, so I sought a peaceful solution to this quest: https://imgur.com/JdshSIm After some exploration of Russetwood, a couple of sidequests and bounties, I finally entered the Battery. I was mostly content with just using my spell mastery abilities at this point (and cipher powers, mostly amplified wave), barely having to use any actual spellslots. A relentless storm against huge groups of foes, a prayer against fear or imprisonment for certain situations, and that was about it. I made sure to get all of the durgan steel available to me and made my way down to the White Forge. While I did decide to use the full array of spells against the forge guardians (which mostly involves minor avatar, radiance, crowns of the faithful, devotions for the faithful, dire blessing, blessing and the like while Andur adds time parasite into the mix and Kerion summons a burning stag before casting a bunch of AoE nukes), that was propably overkill at this point: https://imgur.com/ifOTS1k I returned to Stalwart after upgrading my weapons with Durgan Steel (not enough to go for armor pieces yet) and once again chose to scale up content - now things might get somewhat interesting again, maybe. Since I don't have huge parts of the game left to try and upgrade Steadfast, I went to the Iron Flail fort right away. I entered via battering ram, called the world's maw down upon the backline of my foes and entered the tent, once again going for a peaceful resolution. The three eyeless were unable to resist paralyzation via mental binding: https://imgur.com/t4CDVAw The third one actually didn't even engange with me right away, its path was propably blocked due to its huge hitbox. I had to search for it to actually end combat. Getting the first Steadfast upgrade was easy enough, but killing 100 foes with my super-defensive paladin will be hard to achieve... if I want to get there, I will have to pay special attention. After getting the soulbound blade, I first travelled back south in order to finish a remaining part of WMI - Crägholdt Bluffs. Having reached level 16 at this point, most battles weren't too difficult, but I feared that I was getting into trouble when fighting a large group of soldiers on the western side of the map - as you can see here, there's suddenly another group from the northern side joining, and they're going right for my vulnerable backline: https://imgur.com/nSZOlFc I was able to retreat with most of my group except for Andur, who had to try and stay alive in melee combat - he got some help thanks to shielding touch and the like, and once relentless storm was added into the mix, he took his chance to escape. Soon, the battlefield was under control: https://imgur.com/GKBGLkj He did go relatively low in health, but this was the only somewhat scary moment. For example, inside, I decided to send Liresh by himself into a room full of animated weapons, and he didn't seem to mind all that much: https://imgur.com/IKWNPBZ (I was just making sure that all the attention was focused on him before entering with the others, though I could've been a bit more careful - he did go down to about half of his health.) The battle against Concelhaut turned out to be rather easy. As I always do, I lured my foes back to the doorway, minimizing most of the danger. This was once again an opportunity to break out some of the more powerful buffs, which is always nice: https://imgur.com/dqK0vXu With that, I was finished with WMI. WMII awaits! The final two levels were gained during this session, and these were my final talent picks: Behold the Martyr (bad choice - wanted to try it out, but no one has been knocked unconscious so far in the expansions) and Bear's Fortitude for Liresh, SM:Devotions for the Faithful and Veteran's Recovery for Selissa, SM:Calling the World's Maw plus Marskman for Kerrion, Vengeful Grief for my rangers, with one of them adding Accurate Wounding Shot, the other Brutal Takedown, and finally Reaping Knives, Defensive Mindweb, some random power and Psychic Backlash for Andur. I still haven't used the Helwax Mold. Maybe I will use it on the +4 dexterity boots?
  8. Liresh, wild orlan Shieldbearer of St. Elcga, Update 5 Previous updates: I decided to start doing bounties for now. Thanks to my high levels, I didn't have much trouble. With me having extensive experience against huge groups of ogres, Nalrend the Wise, one of the tougher ones, didn't stand a chance: https://imgur.com/XqNZpi4 While I was back at Twin Elms anyway, I decided to get my last Stormcaller upgrade by resting in the Sky Dragon's lair, also taking that opportunity to challenge the beast to combat. This is the only dragon I plan to kill, and the battle wasn't all that challenging, with no one taking significant damage: https://imgur.com/tbppKa1 I used its eyes to enchant Borresaine, making it a superb weapon. Doing all the bounty quests also triggered a lot of stronghold adventures, including this very helpful little thing: https://imgur.com/mZmpFwo However, I still didn't use the Helwax Mold - propably going to use it on one of the White March items granting +4 to an attribute. The one bounty that actually gave me some trouble was the battle against Lord Exarch Sserkal. I opened with prayer against treachery, but before my priest could cast another prayer, most of my party (including Selissa) was hit by a confusion effect that lasted a very long time, which resulted in a ton of damage for my backline. The moon godlike passive and shod-in-faith helped to keep everyone alive. Still, I made it through all of that, had my priest cast the appropriate prayer and ended up victorious: https://imgur.com/91gObv7 With the bounties done, I entered the endless paths once again - by now, the fampyrs in level 8 didn't stand a chance (I also killed the final one to get new armor for Liresh). Not much of note happened in the next couple of levels, and for my final fight (since I didn't plan on killing the adra dragon), I unleashed the full power of Selissa (though only a couple of her buffs show up on screen here): https://imgur.com/XtkgLmY I talked with the adra dragon and defeated Falanroed for her, ending this questline and the remaining main game content. Now, only the White March remains. The party is now level 14, and we got some more talents: Liresh - Sacred Immolation, Shielding Touch; Kerion: SM: Returning Storm, Veteran Recovery; Selissa: SM: Dire Blessing, Veteran Recovery; Andur: Time Parasite, Stasis Field, Detonate, Veteran Recovery; Rangers: Twinned Arrows for both, Heart of the Storm for Stormcaller, Brutal Takedown for Persistence.
  9. Liresh, wild orlan Shieldbearer of St. Elcga, Update 4 In the end, I decided to not do the White March for now, only getting my hands on Stormcaller, which involved ~3 relatively easy battles at Durgan's Battery. After that, I started Chapter 3 and entered Elmshore (once again, with upscaled content), avoiding all of the encounters to the north and south for now - I first wanted to gather some experience in Twin Elms, where I started doing sidequests and godquests. I decided to promise the souls to Berath (can never have enough resolve) - theirs was also the first godquest I did. After picking up Starlit Garb as well, I ended up returning to Elmshore. I didn't have level 11 by then, so no prayer against treachery when facing Adragans, but prayer against imprisonment was an option. Luckily, I was sometimes able to take out these dangerous foes without needing a defensive prayer thanks to quick focus fire and some stuns/prone effects/paralyzations: https://imgur.com/31ZVKCc I knew that the group of ogres, ogre druids and ogre matrons to the north of the area would be huge, but I didn't remember exactly how many of these I had to face. I realized right away that this was going to be a tough battle, so I wasted no time adding per-rest abilities such as statue summons into the mix. Important parts of the equation were getting my druid into a good position for relentless storm, keeping up Liresh's health (had to use some infuse with vital essence potions here), renewing my buffs multiple times and trying to use as many mental bindings/ringleaders as possible to weaken the opposition. Still, with two pets down, my damage reduced and it being hard to stop enemy spellcasting, things didn't look great: https://imgur.com/1MlBowC However, I was able to use Selissa to resurrect my animal companions with an other returning storm disabling the ogres to get her into position. Starting to throw in some cipher/druid AoE damage, I finally gained control of the battlefield: https://imgur.com/0XtOmzK The southern groups with multiple adragans ended up being relatively easy to deal with in comparison: https://imgur.com/M1Xolza I propably should've gone to the Northweald first. Turns out that the battles there are far easier than those in Elmshore. I completed a bunch of sidequests there (including Hylea's godquest, the peaceful way) and finally got my priest to level 11. Now, I was ready to take down Raedric II. I also discovered that you can mention to him that you're a Champion of Berath as well if you have Berath's Boon at this point. Nice! Prayer against Treachery turned the fampyrs into non-factors. I took out Raedric first (using multiple mental bindings), because he can deal some significant damage with his fireballs: https://imgur.com/mg4ThoU Salvation of time kept my prayer up, and we got a ton of experience for this victory. Back in Twin Elms, we used some sneaky tactics to solve both Galwain's and Rymgard's quests with very little combat, by using some scripted sequences/skillchecks to make it to Sul, returning the same way and taking down the Bear and sneaking through the western part of the Rymgard temple, only having to fight 1-2 pale elves and talking down their leader. Nice. Finally, we entered the Burial Isle, but with prayers against imprisonment and fear, there's nothing we had to be scared of there: https://imgur.com/uTqhx9O At this point, I could jump down to Sun-in-Shadow and end this game - my party is level 12, and even upscaled Thaos really wouldn't stand a chance (he's not exactly the most powerful endboss ever designed). However, since I can't really play Deadfire right now (thanks to performance issues rendering the game basically unplayable for me), I might as well go for the Frozen Crown (again) and do upscaled White March content to draw out this run. I've also got some endless paths levels and bounty quests left to do! Here are some talent updates: Liresh gained Healing Chain and Greater Lay on Hands, Kerion went for SM:Burst of Summer Flame and Superior Deflection, Selissa added SM:Consecrated Ground and Superior Deflection, Andur gained Amplified Wave, Mind Plague, Disintegrate and Greater Focus, while the rangers both added Stunning Shots and Apprentice Sneak Attack. Also a general thought on no-reloading, which I think is very true for PoE1: To me, it seems that once you've figured out a set of tactics that work for you in this game on a certain difficulty level, no-reloading by using the same set of tactics over and over again seems far easier than for example in the Baldur's Gate Series. There simply aren't as many things that can randomly go wrong, not that many ways to make a mistake. Instant death effects barely exist (petrification can come close, to be fair), disables are less powerful and can be countered relatively easily, and if you have a priest, there are basically clear answers to almost anything the enemy can throw at you. I noticed this first (to my surprise) when, after completing the game on PotD once, I immediately managed to do the same thing again with Trial of Iron active. My later frozen crown run confirmed this suspicion, and this run cements it - depite my rustiness early on and some close calls, if you go for established strategies, they will work out 99% of the time, while things can easily go wrong in Baldur's Gate, because tiny mistakes matter much more and often result in immediate death. However, near-perfect execution is not required in PoE - once you've get the general strategy down, some sloppy play will rarely result in death. The exception to this might be the dragon battles - those beasts (except for the sky dragon, if you've got the proper levels) can take down an entire party in seconds, and I don't have any secure strategies for dealing with them in a no-reload context (and of course solo runs are a completely different story as well - things such as "The Ultimate" are still ridiculously difficult). Not sure how other PoE veterans think about this, but that's my general feeling. Of course, now that I've said this, I will propably immediately die in some White March encounter
  10. Regarding the endless paths: Yes, level 4-7 are quite easy, except for one battle in level 7, in the north-eastern part of the map. Luckily, the game recognizes this as well, and a spirit will show up to warn you about that battle. Just don't move past the spirit if you want to avoid it for now (which I would heavily recommend. It's really quite difficult).
  11. Liresh, wild orlan Shieldbearer of St. Elcga, Update 3 Previous updates: After picking up the various quests in Dyrford, we make our way to the crossing. Strangely enough, I remember encountering Adra Beetles at this place, but I didn't end up meeting any of those. Most of the battles aren't worth mentioning, though the battle at the eastern edge can be a bit tricky. We did get hit by a plague of insects, but ended up losing only our animal companions: https://imgur.com/Ym4etGz With our levels being high enough, we decided to gather some extra gold (via selling tons of equipment) by facing Blood Legacy head on, fighting our way through the entire complex. I buffed Andur's mechanics via Caed Nua resting to get rid of even the most difficult traps down there and eventually took down the final group: https://imgur.com/EVB8pq1 Luckily, none of the NPC ciphers seem to know how to really use their class all that well, otherwise this place would actually be difficult without prayer against treachery. Through Death's Gate is left for later - instead, it's time for Searing Falls. Prayer against Fear does the job against drakes: https://imgur.com/4X9KQL5 Cail the Silent is lured back to the choke point. We throw a dozen buffs and debuffs into the mix, and Kerion starts spamming AoE spells into the enemy backline. Calling the World's Maw is super effective and basically ends this fight: https://imgur.com/bU1dm1M Once again, we have the mechanics buff active to gather Tidefall. Pearlwood Bluff is cleared next, and now we make way for Caed Nua - we are ready to fight the Battle of Yenwood Field (another questline that I heavily recommend @Alesia_BH - it starts as "A Call to Court"). We do have veteran troops and crucible knights (who take out the warmages). A huge battlefield like this is great for our priest and our druid - all the buffs and debuffs affect tons of allied and enemy soldiers. We decide to take out the enemy commander early on by casting mental binding on him and shooting him down: https://imgur.com/g0OIbRb After breaking the enemy line, we claim our victory: https://imgur.com/PhbXJZk And a nice exceptional plate armor for Liresh. Back in Caed Nua, we celebrate by going Xaurip Hunting in the Endless Paths. The first two levels are very easy, but we are certainly ready to take on some ogres as well - we just have to make sure not to get hit by the ogre druid's plague of insects if possible. While I can't see defences on expert mode, I remember something about ogres having very weak will defense, so mental binding is used heavily (and works very well). For the bossfight (which is the most dangerous battle in the first half of the endless paths in my opinion), we use Calling the World's Maw to interrupt spellcasting for the first time, following up with possibly the most broken druid spell in the game, relentless storm (which we recently got access too). Everything is stunned, and victory is easy from there: https://imgur.com/6Xk1Da4 After getting past some slimes and trolls (picking up Persistence), another drake ( https://imgur.com/BGcSNF9 ), beetles and a horde of undead, we get to level 7, which is our target for now. We fight a ton of blights, get the unique wand for Selissa, but don't challenge the final group guarding the stairs to level 8. That one's a little bit too risky for now - but we will be back. We decide to complete Through Death's Gate (but not start Chapter 3), rest up again and finally start the White March. With Liresh being level 10 now, we get the option to scale up the content, and of course, we accept. We want this game to be as challening as possible (without restricting ourselves, of course - Harpagonis has completed this game on PotD solo with a naked character and I think also with a level 1 character, never leveling up, but I like to have access to my full potential. Also, I'm terrible at solo play). Anyway, we have to face the invading ogres upon entering Stalwart. The Ringleader cipher power turns the weak-willed ogres against themselves, making the boss fight somewhat easy: https://imgur.com/14R6MLS That's it for now. Next time, we will dive into the White March I - if only to get access to Stormcaller, my favorite item in the entire game series. We have, by now, gotten rid of most of our arbalests + plate armor - only one of our rangers still is using these (to be precise: Hold-Wall enchanted with Kith-Slaying, Corrosive Lash, Exceptional (yes, I do travel to Ondra's Gift from time to time to buy the one Vithrack Brain stored by that merchant, but I was also lucky and had a bunch of Vithracks try to invade my keep as a random event)), and that one will be replaced by Stormcaller soon. Party damage has increased, and durability has barely suffered. What I really want right now (aside from Stormcaller) is level 11. Prayer against Treachery is super important for several upcoming encounters, and I want my cipher to get amplified wave (heavily nerfed, but still awesome). Here's the update on our talents: Liresh has picked up Righteous Soul and Superior Deflection, Kerion went for WF:Peasant, SM:Nature's Mark and Two Weapon Style (works with shapeshifting), Selissa now has Empowered Interdict, SM:Blessing and Aggrandizing Radiance, Andur gained Mind Lance, Ringleader, Body Attunement, Borrowed Instict, WF:A and Marksman, the Rangers went for Marksman, Takedown (not my usual choice, but I want to test it out) and WF:Peasant (for Persistence)/WF:Soldier (for Stormcaller, because that ranger is using Tidefall as a secondary weapon and an Arbalest for now). I usually complete the entire main game content before doing White March, so let's see if anything bad happens because I'm not as well equippend and as high a level as I usually am. I will certainly pick and choose my encounters.
  12. Regarding Dyrford, I'm sorry you got into trouble there Alesia_BH. My advice was based on a bit of a false assumption - when talking about Dyrford, I merely meant Dyrford Village itself and the Dyrford Crossing, not Through Death's Gate. Because my own playstyle usually involves delaying the mainquest (often for as long as possible), I didn't even think that others might include that quest under the umbrella of "Dyrford" - my bad. Well, aside from that part and one group at the eastern border of the Dyrford Crossing, everything else is quite easy even relatively early on, in my opinion (though the difficulty of Blood Legacy heavily depends on how you approach the quest - and there are many, many different ways and outcomes). So, which sidequests in Defiance Bay do I recommend? That's a bit hard for me to say, as I always complete all of them (I'm a completionist, so I don't really pick and choose). Since you're playing as a kind wayfarer and also doing some RP, I'd expect that you wouldn't want anything to do with House Doemenel, but you can still do "A Two Story Job" the good way (though you have to get the quest in the house next to the Dozen stronghold in Copperlane). There's no reason not do "The Final Act" (you can get it from Kurren in Hadret House) - it's easy and has multiple endings, which is always nice. You can do "Far from Home" and "Supply and Demand" all at once if you didn't already. While you're there, All Hands on Deck, Brave Derrin and Clandestine Cargo can also be completed (basically, if you want some experience, just run around Ondra's Gift and talk to everyone, and you will pick up a couple of easy tasks). Another choice could be The Forgotten or Missing Sentries, both can be completed within a few minutes. The Whailing Banshee, which starts near the Lighthouse in Ondra's Gift, is the only somewhat difficult quest in the Bay, but it should be easy for you by now thanks to the levels gained from the main questline, and you can find a very nice cloak while you're doing that one. This is also one I would recommend from a story perspective - with some exploration and the right stats (maybe get some perception buffs for you main character) and dialogue options, it can be a nice self-contained little story. If you only want to do a few quests, not all, this one and possibly The Final Act are the ones I'd recommend (though The Forgotten can get you a piece of armor that is crucial for some builds, so that one could also be nice). Both make sense to do from an RP perspective, since you're working for/with Lady Webb already, so helping our Kurren, one of her Ciphers, would only be natural, and regarding the Lighthouse you can hear about the problems it's causing (ships are sinking etc., it's propably something a kind wayfarer would care about) just by walking past some town criers - they mention it from time to time. Congrats on beating the game, semiticgod. Looking forward to you joining with a no-reload attempt. I think that once you have the basics of this game figured out, you will do very well - I found it surprisingly easy to jump from Normal straight to PotD once I started to understand the basic game mechanics, and I'm generally not very good at getting into new games (and since you've managed to no-reload SoD blind, you're propably quite good at it). Of course, doing more Defiance Bay sidequests would certainly be helpful to reduce difficulties later on. People have in the past complained that this game gets way too easy once you reach Defiance Bay, and all the free or easy experience on the table there is the primary reason for that (this is also why the option to upscale content in Chapter 3 and The White March if you're at a higher level was added). Also looking forward to see your run, Borco!
  13. I wouldn't recommend going to White March just yet, Alesia_BH - maybe wait one or two levels. Dyrford is honestly not too difficult, but I'm almost certain that there are several sidequests in Defiance Bay that you haven't done yet, and those would be even easier, so I'd recommend starting there. If you go to Dyrford right now, I would trying to avoid fighting any opponents in stormwall gorge just yet (though I'm not 100% sure if the adragan will show up on hard).
  14. Adressing why I like arbalests so much: There are a couple of reasons. a) This isn't a thing anymore, but it used to be the case that reload times from weapons such as guns, crossbows and arbalests wouldn't be affected by heavy armor - this is the reason why I started combining arbalests + plate armor, and even after this was changed I still felt like the combination was quite powerful in the early game. b) I like to have very slow weapons early on, because there aren't a lot of reliable ways to take out a single spellcaster right away until some better disables are available. The opening burst damage of a bunch of arbalest users is great. Also, you can get through DR (forest lurkers, skeletons and the like). c) Yes, the arquebus would be an alternative, but I dislke the lower accuracy: PotD adds 15 to all defenses for the enemy (and also increases their accuracy by 15), so losing accuracy is extra painful. Also, I just don't like guns in this game. I think they're fine in deadfire, but in my opinion they don't really fit into PoE1, so I just don't use them. d) There are a lot of fine arbalests available early on. e) I think arbalests are simply very cool. I always switch away from arbalests in the midgame (so pretty soon for my current party) - at this point, I will also stop having everyone run around in plate armor - most of my party will wear light armor or robes once once I start to change weapons (I plan to buy Borresaine, get Persistence, Stormcaller and some type of implements from the endless paths - my druid is already using the soulbound scepter for the ability to regain shapeshifting powers).
  15. Liresh, wild orlan Shieldbearer of St. Elcga, Update 2 Previous updates: I did have a lot of time to play yesterday, so we managed to make some decent progress. Defiance Bay is a great place to relax and do easy quests in, and we started by exploring, picking up quests and completing some non-combat encounters. After having travelled through the city opening chests, entering buildings and the like, we ended up back in Copperlane where we started to do some fighting. I won't comment on all of the many battles, only on the ones that could potentially be difficult or the ones where we screwed up. First, there's Purnisc - I just want to mention that the room the fake Purnisc is in is much bigger than it looks, allowing for some great positioning on the southern part and a very safe party: https://imgur.com/HjFyjuF Nothing of importance happened while doing Copperlane and Brackenbury quests, but in Ondra's Gift, I forgot about the exact position of the opponents in the All Hands on Deck task, which is why I ended up running into them in a completely screwed up formation, with my spellcasters at the front and blocking off Liresh from reaching combat. I ended up using my first 3rd level spells to gain control of the battlefield - returning storm being the important one: https://imgur.com/gtftYwW After doing the minor quests (avoiding anything too challenging, such as the lighthouse and the water for now), I entered the Woodend Plains and cleared the area. The lions ended up getting lured into a chokepoint, and hold beasts turned that one into a rather easy encounter: https://imgur.com/VXh0HL7 Eventually I moved on to the main questline, taking out sporelings and trolls at a strategic set of stairs: https://imgur.com/TZ2VLOT After taking the peaceful route (luckily, Shieldbearers of St. Elcga are free to be deceptive) during "Never far from the Queen", we decided that we could take on some adra animats now - and we could: https://imgur.com/FQYEesU We have reached a part of the game were the ranger pets are really super-powerful, dealing huge amounts of damage and not going down in every second fight. Things were looking great, I spent my money on the new soulbound items from the deadfire pack (I have never played with that one before, so I want to test them out), and I finally picked up the official companions to have someone to take care of quests at the keep. However, I forgot about something VERY important when going to get Durance. Gramrfel the Wayfarer and his huge crew of bandits. I have never faced that guy this early on, with a level 5 party. That one was a very tough battle. He seems to be a relatively high level chanter, casting summoning spells etc., and his party kept getting healed up, making it impossible for me to take down his multiple ranged weapon users with AoE spells. My ranger pets were taken down relatively early on, I was forced to counter bonded grief with eldritch aim potions. I was using my entire spellbook, and finally, once I entered my two statue summons (wood beetles and shades) into the mix, I was able to focus him down: https://imgur.com/2s0EkZp By then, some of his crew had made it into my backline (something I had managed to avoid for quite a long time). With everyone out of spells, I had very little damage left. I ended up suffering two knockouts, with Liresh having to drink potions to stay alive, until I was finally able to take down the last of my opponents: https://imgur.com/yB5uBw1 That was certainly unpleasant. To relax, I made my way to Heritage Hill. Taking down vessels is easy enough, especially in easily blocked-off streets: https://imgur.com/enWRL6S Kerion the druid ended up taking out the three mages here with three bursts of summer flame. After I was done with the tower (and also finished The Man who Waits), I finally took on the lighthouse (my last quest inside the city walls). I used a lot of foodbuffs for that one, and only the first battle ended up being somehwat challening, due to the opponents being very spread out. I also decided to finally take out Raedric, which was quite easy at this point, due to me being overleveled: https://imgur.com/ODmNhMi My last battle for now was in Stormfall Gorge, on the way to Dyrford Village. There, I had to face my first Adragan with a huge group of beasts and the like. His returning storm ended up being super-annoying (even though I countered with my own). Being level 7 by now, I went through all of my options - devotions for the faithfull, calling the world's maw etc. to give myself some advantage. While one of my rangers got knocked down due to petrification, I did end up winning the battle, mostly thanks to Kerion's rather insane damage as a cat. https://imgur.com/oDLgIyn My party is completely done in Defiance Bay for now and has reached level 7 (with level 8 for Liresh himself). Liresh picked up Liberating Exhortation, Veteran's Recovery, Reviving Exhortation (super useful because that one works on ranger pets and removes bonded grief) and Deep Faith. Kerion picked up Greater Wildstrike Shock, Selissa went for Painful Interdiction. My rangers gained Stalker's Link, Merciless Companion and Driving Flight, and Andur decided to go for Apprentice Sneak Attack and Recall Agony, Ectopsychic Echo, Secret Horrors, Pain Block and Silent Scream. For difficult battles, I now usually open up on my priest with inspring radiance/interdiction/devotions for the faithful/blessing/dire blessing, while sometimes adding certain prayers and spells such as iconic projection for damage and healing. Kerrion starts with returning storm and nature's mark, often adding various AoE damage spells such as calling the world's maw, dancing bolts, sunbeam, blizzard, burst of summer flame and the like, and if I really need lots of damage, he will transform and go into melee combat (he can also get back his shapeshifting ability thanks to Gyrd Háewanes Sténes if needed). Andur often opens up with a mental binding and likes to add secret horrors or silent scream once he gains more focus, though I still use whisper of treason from time to time. The rangers tend to open with wounding shots and try to stay on target with their animal companions if possible, while Liresh is in charge of keeping himself and the animals alive with LoH and his exhortations. This is all very basic stuff, nothing fancy - most of my combat decisions come down to positioning and targeting, which seems far more important to me.
  16. I sadly can't keep up with all of your posts, Alesia_BH, but I will try to adress the early game tanking weapon question and the taking out spellcasters early thing: Here are some weapons that I think do a decent job for a defensive paladin early on: a) any kind of enchanted hatchet (the only unique one you can get early is Hearth Harvest from the woodend plains) b) Measured Restraint, the rapier from the endless path level 2 (easy to get, provides 1 free extra engagement) c) Oidhreacht/Gaun's Share for the self-heal (endless paths 1/temple of eothas) d) Shatterstar, sold by Sigrun in Copperlane (same as Measured Restraint, but with a bit more damage) e) Shame or Glory for the marking buff if you decide to join the Crucible Knights (reward for their second quest) f) Whispers of Yenwood for the constitution bonus g) If you have the deadfire pack, the war club of the mataru can help out your party by eventually causing hobbled and weakened on your foes (and it upgrades automatically) Liresh has for now settled on the War Club of the Mataru (and, if I make it that far, will propably only ever get rid of it in favor of Steadfast in WM2). With merciless companion and apprentice sneak attack on some of my characters, causing these afflictions is especially useful for group damage. When it comes to taking spellcasters out: My current party setup features 5 enchanted arbalests, two of them wielded by rangers. The opening salvo is strong enough to take down basically any spellcaster, especially if improved by inspiring radiance or one or two wolf attacks. Finally, I'd say that, besides understanding the basic mechanics of the game, positioning might very well be the most important factor to turn difficult challenges into easy encounters in PoE. I would recommend experimenting with luring enemies backwards, blocking off passages, keeping your backline out of combat for multiple seconds and the like - all of these can often be hugely beneficial.
  17. The leaden key agent attackers are quite weak, you should be able to take them down, especially if you quickly take out the spellcasters.
  18. My typical ranger build looks a bit like this: 1 Wounding Shot 2 Resilient Companion 3 Predator's Sense 4 Vicious Companion 5 Stalker's Link 6 Merciless Companion 7 Driving Flight 8 Marksman 9 Marked Prey 10 Weapon Focus Peasant 11 Stunning Shots 12 Apprentice's Sneak Attack 13 Twinned Arrows 14 Heart of the Storm (in case I get storm caller, which I usually do - otherwise, when sticking with Persistence, this would be accurate wounding shot here and beast hunter at 16) 15 Vengeful Grief 16 Accurate Wounding Shot This is not a fixed build - often times, I change around the order of things and skip one or two damage abilities/talents to get some defensive options early on. Like Serg BlackStrider, early on I focus on my companion, and by the midgame I make sure to increase the actual ranger's damage. Twinned Arrows is, of course, the most important thing when it comes to damage, and I would never leave the house without the utility of stunning shots and driving flight. Regarding the non-deflection defenses @semiticgod, they work just like deflection - accuracy vs. reflex is rolled if an attack targets reflex etc. - if you look at special abilities and spells, there are quite a few of them that don't target deflection, so especially once you start facing spellcasters or foes that have other ways of applying disables, you have two choices - have very high additional defenses or try to gain total immunity to specific disables via priest prayers (which, depending on your level, is not always an option). Those who are likely to get hit by such abilities and can't afford to get disabled (such as tanks, because getting disabled tends to ruin their deflection) should have very high additional defenses. Luckily, paladins are very good at this by nature.
  19. Very impressive, though propably not recommended to try in a no-reload setting without testing it a couple of times first
  20. Good work with the spirits so far! My advice for Maerwald - don't fight the battle on his terms, run out of his room and around a corner immediately (you have to be fast, otherwise he might be able to get a spell off) and things will get much easier. Edit: Seems like we posted that at exactly the same time
  21. Liresh, wild orland Shieldbearer of St. Elcga, update 1 Previous updates: This last session showed me just how rusty I am when it comes to this game. I kept mixing up areas and forgetting about important encounters. While I at some point remembered to use inn resting buffs, I completely forgot about food. Despite all that, I'm still alive. Things start out easy enough - I finally remember that I should've gone to Esternwood right away to pick up a fine arbalest at the graveyard, which I do without any trouble (having a priest turns early vessel encounters into a cakewalk). Next, I turn to Magran's Fork, where I encounter this mage who doesn't survive my initial burst attack: https://imgur.com/vMH9wI0 I'm feeling great about my party when I suddenly walk into one of the four most dangerous enemy groups in early PotD - the boars in the center of Magran's Fork. I'm somewhat out of position, with my vulnerable party members way too close to the action. I also miss a lay on hands on one of my wolves, so both of them die almost immediately, heavily reducing the impact of my rangers. What should've been my trump card, charm beasts, completely misses. My druid Kerion, while doing some great damage in his cat form, gets knocked out, which leaves me with only my cipher Andur as a serious damage dealer (the two rangers being affected by bonded grief, which can be a huge issue in the early game): https://imgur.com/oadK6zv One of the adult boars goes after the priest Elissa, and while moon godlike priests are great at keeping up their endurance, when she gets close to getting knocked out, her health is also super low. I fear for her life - but she ends up making it, knocked out but not dead: https://imgur.com/m1SM3Ep Well, that was certainly unpleasant. Luckily, the remaining parts of Magran's Fork, the entirety of Madhmr Bridge and the Black Meadow provide no such challenges. With my piercing damage heavy party, forest lurkers can take a while to take down, which is why I make sure to spam a bunch of debuffs at them, lowering their deflection (though thanks to expert mode, I have to count on my intuition for such things): https://imgur.com/9aIBbl0 We also learn that Nature's Mark and Divine Mark don't seem to stack. Oh, and our custom party members reach level 3, wich grants our rangers predator's sense, while our cipher gains mental binding (crucial!) and amplified thrust. Anslög's Compass is next. We make sure to equip the helm providing immunity to confusion on Liresh before facing the dank spores: https://imgur.com/otGoa6x The xaurip camp is approached from the south, we have some accuracy versus wilder resting bonuses and start by increasing accuracy with inspiring radiance and blessing while setting up our animal companions and Liresh in a defensive line. The horde approaches: https://imgur.com/Riw1OX8 And seconds later, after the opening salvo and two quick aoe spells, almost all of them are gone, having dealt basically zero damage to us: https://imgur.com/7z0TmQj Liresh levels up and takes up hold the line (while I agree that such talents are overrated, I like them for this party composition) and I take a quick trip to Raedric's Hold and Caed Nua for the exploration XP before making my way down into the Temple of Eothas. Enemies without teleportation or ranged attacks are easily blocked off from reaching our vulnerable party members by luring them back to doorways. We take full advantage of being in a dungeon area for once (couldn't do that against the boars, really). On the second level, however, we encounter Nr. 2 and 3 on my personal list of the four most dangerous early PotD encounters: The groups including two shades and a bunch of shadows. Shades do a ton of frost damage at range, and shadows tend to teleport into the backline - luckily, they also don't have a lot of hit points. Survival provides us with accuracy against spirits, and we do really well with our ranged attackers getting healed up by the very powerful consecrated ground spell: https://imgur.com/Ahu7r7A Both battles are successfully braved, which makes me feel better about my chances. The skuldr kings and their allies are laughable in comparison, as they simply can't get access to any vulnerable party members: https://imgur.com/tX7QKG7 However, in Caed Nua, things almost fall apart again. We clear the outside areas without much trouble (also applying a corrosive lash on one of our now 3 fine arbalests and a "fine" enchantment on Liresh's brigandine), but with Liresh at half hp, I foolishly decide to move on to the main hall. Why, you might ask? Well, completely forgetting about the most dangerous encounter in the keep (and Nr. 4 on my list) will do that to you. Our problems are similiar to the ones encountered in the boar battle: While we can take out shadows very quickly, our wolves are very squishy, and without them, our damage is severely reduced. I also don't have a lot of spell levels left, and Liresh ends up getting stunned a couple of times in a row, so things start looking very badly: https://imgur.com/YMYgHR8 Luckily, I soon realize that I simply have done a poor job with focus fire - all of my remaining enemies are heavily wounded. The battle is actually over only seconds later - all it takes are a couple of shapeshifter attacks and another salvo of arbalest bolts: https://imgur.com/Pxy2mka Relieved, we return to Gilded Vale to rest for the resolve buff and fight our way through to Maerwald. As soon as combat starts, our entire party leaves his room: https://imgur.com/qO8jCjj We wait until Maerwald actually moves forward - his blights aren't as fast, and he's isolated at the front, so we make our move and kill him almost immediately: https://imgur.com/S9woh9b The blight are quickly taken care of, and we rush through the Woodend Plains to finally enter Defiance Bay - safe at last. Oh, and we get our custom party members to level 4. Phantom Foes and Draining Whip for Andur, Vicious Companion for our rangers, Interdiction for Selissa and Wildstrike Shock for Kerion.
  22. Just wondering what your strategy is against enemies who are immune to pierce attacks? Its always put me off having too many bow/gun users. Aside from the things mentioned by Serg BlackStrider, here are some more points: 1) Enemies with full immunity to pierce attacks are quite rare. Honestly, only certain types of blights (flame blights, for example) come to mind (though it's been a long time since I played this game, so I might be forgetting something). Other enemies, such as forest lurkers, skeletons or adra animats, might be very resistant, but especially with slow ranged weapons, getting some damage in is still possible, especially if you lower their deflection, allowing you to crit a lot. 2) Rangers generally have high accuracy, and abilities such as wounding shot can be used in melee combat, so equipping a decent melee weapon is a viable option if needed. 3) Adding a lash to ranged weapons or having a weapon such as stormcaller can add other damage types other than piercing even to bows/crossbows (interestingly enough, just like Serg BlackStrider, I also don't use guns in this game).
  23. Well, you won't get higher than level 4 before Caed'Nua (maybe doing Raedric's Hold would get you there, but that idea seems crazy to me), so I think you're ready. I usually spend my first bit of money on weapon/armor enchants and some specific fine weapons/armor (and inn resting buffs), but deflection is always good to have as well. Regarding custom parties: Custom characters will generally be one level below your main character, but they usually have better stats than the official companions, and you can get different classes early on. Since a lot of people enjoy testing out unusual builds in PoE, custom parties are at least somewhat popular. Even if one prefers to use official NPCs, filling up your party to full size right away with 2-3 custom companions is very useful to make the early game easier (and, at least on PotD, the early game is propably the hardest part of the game except for specific lategame content). Once you make it to Defiance Bay, you can relax - it will get much easier to gather experience, gold and items. There's another short difficulty spike in early chapter 3 (at least that's my opinion, others may disagree with that).
  24. I'm not sure if White March affects the main game AI, but it's certainly possible: Enemies in the expansions are definitely much more likely to ignore your tanks and attack the back line. That's why it's important for a fighter tank to have overbearing guard and a paladin tank to provide additional utility, such as healing other party members and later using sacred immolation. Mostly, positioning and not engaging with your most vulnerable characters right away are useful ways to counter this behaviour. Regarding the temple quest: I would definitely recommend delaying it and getting Kana first.
  25. @semiticgod Non-magical helmets are purely cosmetic. However, some magical helmets can be very useful, and godlikes can't wear them (moon godlikes are still one of the most powerful races, though). Regarding armor, here's how I do things: Early on, when party members are very squishy, I put everyone in the heaviest and most protective armor I can get my hands on. Around the mid point of the game, I change that, putting my spellcasters and some ranged damage dealers into light armor or robes - you get to be more survivable, you will have more crowd control to prevent opponents from getting to your back lines etc. To go along with heavy armor, I start off with very slow weapons (arbalests are great for this) on my damage dealers and hatchets for those who just have to stay safe. Early game, especially on PotD, is mostly a game of accuracy versus deflection - you need to stack as much accuracy as posible (having a priest with inspiring radiance, bless etc. is super helpful here - though some effects don't stack, for example bless and the paladin aura), and stuff like the druid spell nature's mark to lower opposing deflection values is very valuable as well. If you're not aware, placing two melee characters on opposing side of an opponent will also give them a "flanked" debuff (oh, and you can be affected by this as well) which will lower their deflection by 10 (if I remember correctly). The other important part is to know which encounters to delay - namely everything involving shadows/shades/other spirits. While I'd do the temple basement in Gilded Vale before going to Cae'Nua, it would be the very last thing to do before going there (oh, and I tend to skip Raedric's Hold until a few levels later). Finally, I'd recommend hiring a few custom companions at the inn in gilded vale to fill up your party. This will make the early game a lot easier. That being said, I couldn't resist and started a run myself: Introducing: Liresh, the wild orlan Shieldbearer of St. Elcga https://i.imgur.com/vf31ist.jpg I like having my main character with a very high resolve for certain dialogue options, so making him a tank seems logical. This is a current screenshot, because I didn't realize that the print screen key does nothing in PoE, so sadly I don't have any screenshots from the very early game. Liresh starts with very high deflection thanks to his resolve score, which will allow him to use a small shield early on (the Outworn Buckler). While some might and intellect would be nice for when he gets sacred immolation much later in the game, survivability is priority Nr. 1. He started with lay on hands, and later got weapon and shield style, while his skillpoints will be spent on athletics and survival. This run will be played on triple crown settings, which means Path of the Damned, Trial of Iron and Expert Mode (so stuff like getting maimed before death is automatically deactivated anyway), with the most recent patch and all DLC. Nothing of significance happened on my way to Gilded Vale - except that I forgot to sell Gaun's Pledge to Heodan, who would've given me much more money than anyone else. I haven't played PoE1 since 2016, so I will propably forget a lot more things. Back then, I had pretty reliable tactics for all encounters on PotD when playing with a party, but I'm sure that by now I will be very rusty. In any case, after making it through the tutorial, I snuck through Valewood, avoiding all encounters. I made it to the Inn, sold all of my stuff and hired the party I'm going to use throughout the game - all my favorite classes! There's Selissa, my most important party member - a moon godlike Priest of Magran. All she needs is dexterity and intelligence, because she won't be doing much damage or healing - she will focus on buffing up the party with the most crucial buffs (such as inspring radiance, bless, dire blessing, devotions for the faithful, crown of the faithful and various prayers against crowd control effects) as fast as possible. https://imgur.com/hlH8UIl Her first talent point was invested into inspiring radiance, and she will mostly focus on survival (after getting the 4 points in athletics that every party member will get for group skill checks). Next, we have Kerion, our druid. He's here to provide all kinds of electricity damage, most importantly the two very powerful storm spells, returning storm and relentless storm, which is why his first talent point was put into heart of the storm. As most other party members, he will focus on survival: https://imgur.com/1jl8gVV Our mechanics specialist is Andur, a Cipher, starting with whisper of treason, eyestrike and antipathetic field plus biting whip. He will provide crowd control (via mental binding and amplified wave) and ranged damage later on: https://imgur.com/iFW31rt Now, our final two slots are essentially filled with the same character: Both are wood elf rangers, my favorite class in PoE1, which is why I chose to bring two at once. They are both focused on might, dexterity and perception, they will put their skill points mostly into survival and they have a wolf companion. These two wolves will be crucial, as they are great early game tanks and damage dealers whose death essentially doesn't matter, and they can provide for easy flanking. They, together with Liresh, will make up our front line - everyone else will prefer to stay at range. Our rangers (who start with wounding shot and add resilient companion as their next talent) are called Amria and Megaira: https://imgur.com/JF7OckR https://imgur.com/8hefLxs Now that we have our party, we solve the grain quest by talking (I like to often avoid battles in this game) and return to Valewood to free the cook and deal with the bear cave. Kerion's charm beast spell and Andur's whisper of treason make it so we only have to deal with one bear at a time, making this relatively simple. After all that, our fresh recruits reach level 2 and get their talent points. We move on to Magran's Fork, where we stay on the northern part of the map, fighting a huge pack of wolves. Our typical strategy for encounters such as this: Approach only with Liresh and our two wolf companions, buff with inspiring radiance and bless, apply nature's mark, start shooting a flanked opponent while controlling dangerous foes with whisper of treason and the like. Wounded animal companions get healed with lay on hands. We make it to the eastern part of the map and into the black meadow, where we quickly travel northwards, having to fight only a group of forest trolls. Then, we get to our target: The bandits who have captured the blacksmith's supplies. A difficult battle awaits, because the bandit leader is tough and regenerates health. Our two rangers fall unconscious thanks to enemy crossbow bolts, but we end up victorious and return to Gilded Vale to complete this quest. Now we can buy the Outworn Buckler - we also get an additional brigandine and a crossbow (heavy armor and slow ranged weapons, that's how I like it early on - sadly, the improved arbalests are way too expensive for now). At this point I'll have to stop for now. I'm not sure how often I will be able to update this run, but I will certainly try to remain active.
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