AS OF 1.1 THIS BUILD SEEMS TO HAVE STOPPED WORKING
“Lightning Rod” Battlemage
Battlemage caster able to unleash calamitous amounts of lightning damage on self and foes.
Some Vailian animancers believe that electrocution could be a way to cure most soul ailments. After defeating Thaos Watcher decided to try this method to get rid of his abilities and stop vexing intrusions of tarrying souls. While treatment was not successful it gave Caed Nua’s ruler ability to gather lightning energy that he could unleash to power up his weapons and spells.
There will be spoilers after disclaimers!
This is an endgame build which shines (or rather becomes godlike) during endgame.
Some may view this build as a gimmick, some as a bug-like feature.
Unique item is required to play this build and it is only accessible if you kill certain character or pickpocket that item from them.
I designed this build to be playable without a party after certain level.
Playing this build risks killing your party especially if left on AI behaviors.
You can build a party to enhance this build however it then becomes exploity.
You can use Aloth for this build.
There is no reason to believe that you won’t be able to finish whole game solo on POTD with this build, but I did not test it personally. I tested this build solo on almost all endgame fights (including last boss).
One might play this build on Trial of Iron, though I pity the fool who tries that.
Reading stuff in italics is not necessary, although I think I’m done with those.
I do not remember where I got all the items that I will recommend for this build, if you know where to get them (or wiki is updated) let me know.
“Lightning Rod” is build around Deltro’s Cage Helm. This helmet gives +X% lightning damage to all attacks for 30 secs after suffering lightning damage. The formula for x is:
X = Lightning damage received / 100
That means f.e. that receiving 20 lightning damage will add 20% lash damage for 30 secs. That effect stacks addictively for each hit taken. It is worth noting that duration of this damage bonus in calculated from each hit separately. This can theoretically result in ridiculous damage, orders of magnitude higher than base abilities.
At face this helmet seems to be good only in fights where expected lightning damage taken is high. However there are couple of spells in Deadfireat that can be self-casted to proc the buff initially. One hit of lightning damage is sufficient to then make any other spell (f.e. Wizard’s Fireball) to also apply lightning damage on self. It creates chain buff sequence that grows exponentially.
I will add that you can use several tactics to abuse this helmet that include using other party members or casting out of combat. They are nice for testing and creating ridiculous numbers but for actual gameplay they are bit bothersome. Execution of this build however is pretty straightforward and not exploity.
So we got two problems to solve:
How do we get damaged by lightning attacks? What ability to use?
How to make sure we will hit ourselves? How do we survive it?
1.a. There are 2 wizards spells perfect for applying lightning damage. Jolting Touch and Chain Lightning. At the beginning of combat just target your character with one of those and IF YOU HIT you will get a buff, that will apply to chain hits of the same spell. From there applying even more is easy, cause every attack you perform adds lightning damage. Fire fireballs on your feet or cast Minor Missiles on yourself. Just make sure you share a bit with surrounding foes.
There is also third way by standing near wall and firing Crackling Bolt. It’s bit tiresome but doable. You need to do that as evoker before getting Chain Lightning.
1.b. One of a reasons I started playing a battlemage was to use Tactical Barrage together with Conqueror Stance to increase accuracy for wizard spells. Wizards have only bad ways to increase accuracy, so fighter that helps. +5 perception and +10 accuracy and graze to hit conversion really help.
Secondly - NO buffs to reflex. Sacrificing dexterity to lower reflex might also help.
2. Surviving - sometimes you will deal so much damage that you will one shot yourself. That’s why we need Unbreakable. Before getting it, you can wear gear with Second Chance. Saint’s War Armor is a good early game choice.
What makes this build completely broken is Unbending, it’s 50% damage converted into instant healing. It seems to me that healing that it applies is affected by something, cause it seems to heal for more than 50% damage dealt. Using it makes you enter nigh god mode. The only thing that would kill you are hits that surpass your remaining health pool.
Currently in my playthrough I stopped using it cause it kills the fun of a build. I swapped to athletics and potions.
Other part of surviving is avoiding afflictions, their duration doesn’t really matter - it’s kill or be killed out there. Thankfully Tactical Barrage can get rid of 2 types - add resistances from talent tree and gear and racial and we should be good to go.
Also interrupts are a pain for casters. Getting as much concentration as possible is important.
(optional) - Evoker - losing Jolting Touch sucks, makes you wait until lvl 16 until you can unleash this build. But if you make it it makes playing it twice as fun.
You can play it safe and just put points in perception and int/might only, or do this:
Might 18/10 Can be swapped with dexterity.
Con 11 Prevents one-shotting self so no dumping.
Dex 10/18 Can be swapped with might.
Per 18 Raises reflex but you need to hit enemies.
Int 15 Mainly for AoE size latee- and buff duration early-game
Res 3 Resolve is good, but not good enough if you kill everything instantly.
Anything with afflictions resistance or nature godlike. Human, fire godlike, nature godlike is also good if you don’t use unbending - you will be bloodied.
Alchemy - x - healing potions.
Athletics - x - great for early game.
Arcane - x - 9 gets you Chain Lightning Scrolls.
Explosives - x - Lightning Bombs on self, if dexterity affliction resistant.
Mechanics - x
Sleight of Hand - x
Stealth - x
ABILITIES by Power Level (!-needed, r-recommended, *&-in recommended Grimoire, [blank]-not important):
Fighter - Disciplined Barrage(!); Wizard - Jolting Touch (!) - if not Evoker, Fan of Flames(&), Minolletta’s Minor Missiles®, Spirit Shield.
Fighter - Fighter Stances(!), Determination®; Wizard - Rolling Flame, Ray of Fire(&). Fighter - Tactical Barrage(!), Combat Focus®; Wizard - Fireball(! &), Crackling Bolt, Minolletta’s Bounding Missiles. Fighter - Fearless, Unstoppable, Body Control, Vigorous Defense; Wizard - Heart of The Storm®, Minolletta’s Concussive Missiles®. Fighter - Unbending(!), Conqueror Stance(!), Armored Grace®, Tough; Wizard - Blast of Frost(!), Torrent of Flame(! &), Rapid Casting(!). Fighter - Improved Critical; Wizard - CHAIN LIGHTNING(!!!). Fighter - Unbreakable(!), either Unbending upgrade®, Accurate Empower®; Wizard - Delayed Fireball(& r).
Helm Deltro’s Cage Helmet - drop from Bernadetto’s family matriarch.
Armor late: Deltro’s Cage (Legendary, WARNING: Shock Shield kills this build)
early: Saint’s War Armor (WARNING: Veteran’s Maneuver kills this build)
Weapons Griffin's Blade (Hound’s Courage - 10% more spell damage) - Neketaka encounter
Sun and Moon (both upgrade paths are insane) - sold in Dunsage
Neck Strand of Favor, Protective Eothosian Charm, ...
Gloves Firethrower’s Gloves - main quest Magran’s Teeth.
Rings Kuaru’s Prize, ...
Chameleon’s Touch, ...
Belt Upright’s Captain Belt, Ngati’s Girdle...
Boots Boots of Stone…
Grimoire Ninagauth’s Teachings - Arkemyr’s vault
Only thing really necessary is a helmet, weapons, armor, rings are recommended, rest can be changed. Can’t remember location of all.
Get close to enemy in stealth.
Surprise them by standing up.
Use Tactical Barrage, Unbending.
Surprise them even more by casting Chain Lightning (empowered) on yourself (repeat until you get hit).
Use Minoletta’s Minor Missiles on yourself (this is optional, and not recommended without Unbending).
Use other abilites (Fireball your feet, blast of cold them)
Watch the aftermatch.
Arcane Dampener is dangerous to you, but most times you should be able to kill before it is casted.
Arcane Deflection is hilarious.