Jump to content

semiticgod

Members
  • Content Count

    163
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    1

Posts posted by semiticgod

  1. Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

     

    Mercifully, the rest of the party survives the paralysis; there aren't quite as many enemies as there were when we first got paralyzed. Rius prepares a Fireball, hoping we can bring down some of the weaker enemies even if the Cean Gwlas are too tough.

    PglxlAQ.jpg


    Still, that sudden flash of paralysis is a very bad sign. It means that the Spirits probably have even more such attacks up their sleeve, and they might use it again in just a few more rounds. We need to make sure we can survive another blast.

     

    We renew our Scroll of Defense and Prayer Against Fear, but otherwise dedicate all of our attention to dealing damage; blindness penalties on the enemy alone can't keep us safe. After several rounds, we finally reach a breakthrough: Frost brings down a Cean Gwla with a Minor Missiles scroll!

    4lz6lr4.jpg


    We've made some progress on the enemy, but we've also lost our best character as well as two of our beetles, and the enemies appear to be ignoring the third beetle, which means we've still got a lot of enemy pressure on us. Frost keeps using scrolls, but not all of her rolls are great.

    EquOVk5.jpg


    Rius is running low on spells, and I know that she won't be able to help contribute to an early kill on another enemy. Knowing that another paralysis attack could come at any moment, Rius refreshes blindness on the enemy.

    cqFcCD2.jpg


    Mora Tai is now in good health and has no scroll-related duties to take care of, which means he can help Frost bring down one of the Cean Gwlas. Frost lands the kill with another scroll! The last Cean Gwla is down!

    KYPpq1z.jpg


    Rius is out of Arcane Veils and is taking damage, but Zovai knocks a Spectre down with Pillar of Faith, and Frost deploys Finishing Blow to slay it while it's down. The enemy herd is growing thinner.

    VgLERmh.jpg


    Another Finishing Blow brings down the next Spectre, leaving only a single Spectre intact. But it, too, is blinded, and Frost kills it with sneak attacks with the help of her remaining allies.

     

    Our reward for our brush with death was nine servings of Spirit Residue. Wow.

     

    I don't want to fight any more Cean Gwlas. Not after that. We immediately leave the area.

    • Like 3
  2. Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

     

    Back to Cliaban Rilag! Or whatever area this is; I don't know the names.

     

    E37GyWs.jpg


    Whisper of Treason still works reliably on Spirits, and for the survivors, our single-target burst damage thins the herd even faster.

    ZQPRO6H.jpg


    The Animats are immune to charm and have excellent damage reduction, to the extent that Divinegon's blunderbuss is all but useless. However, Silent Scream goes right past Animat damage reduction, and Ectopsychic Echo can overcome it through brute force.

    QwslYYU.jpg

    4N7JmBK.jpg


    Back to Defiance Bay! Pallegina now has St. Garam's Spark, which she uses to help Divinegon land her introductory blunderbuss blasts (though it probably only helps Mora Tai, our paladin, who is closer to Pallegina). As before, we side with the Doemonels, craft a bunch of Moonwell scrolls, and run into more assassins, because apparently they didn't hear about what happened to the last ones: Chill Fog blinded the ranged attackers, and Whisper of Treason took over the melee grunts.

    haEkmcg.jpg


    The fight actually takes a little while, and requires us to use a fair amount of attack spells, but it's nothing unusual or cool-looking that would warrant more screenshots.

     

    We spend thousands of copper on shiny baubles from the black market, allowing us to give a +2 Might enchantment to Divinegon's clothes and add +2 Intellect to Rius' Skaen robe. Finally, we do the Ducal Palace quest thingy and flee Defiance Bay.

     

    We run into some Pwgras out in the wilderness, who quickly prove problematic by summoning Flame Blights right between our front line and back line, exposing our more vulnerable characters to fire damage.

    3J7nS0g.jpg


    The Pwgras also hit pretty hard in melee combat. I never actually noticed that before; I kind of just assumed they had weak physical attacks because they cast high-level druid spells. Play enough RPGs, and you tend to assume that big spells mean small muscles.

     

    Into the ground! Or whatever the place with the Crystal Eater spiders is called. The spiders really catch us by surprise when they one-shot Divinegon with a pillar spell of some sort.

    dj2EXEk.jpg


    We keep Divinegon behind Withdraw for the rest of the fight, but fortunately she's already cast Ectopsychic Echo, which means we still get a lot of damage output out of her.

     

    After a quick nap, we run into a fight with a lot of Spirits. Since we've been crushing enemy Spirits lately, I don't think to open with a Scroll of Defense or anything like that.

     

    The entire party gets paralyzed on the first round, and I realize that we are in very deep trouble.

    8LemlEW.jpg


    The first few hits we took before the bigger Spirits arrived are enough to put Mora Tai in danger. It only takes a little more to push him over the brink.

    pJVhk6t.jpg


    I count the seconds as they tick by, hoping to get the party moving as soon as the first character recovers from paralysis. But until that happens, all I can do is watch the enemy take down Divinegon.

    9UWmJ09.jpg


    Pallegina recovers! She immediately uses Reviving Exhortation to bring back Mora Tai, who uses a Scroll of Revival to get Divinegon back on her feet. But before Frost can recover from paralysis and use a red potion to cling to life, the enemy brings her down.

    tuZSxu5.jpg


    We still have more Scrolls of Revival, and Frost is back up in a few seconds, but we're still making little progress against the enemy; we're using all our strength just to avoid dying. And to my consternation, Mora Tai appears incapable of using our newly-crafted Moonwell scrolls--his Lore is still at 6.

     

    Rius, our mage, keeps trying to blind enemies to minimize pressure, while Divinegon uses a Potion of Eldritch Aim to improve her chances at a game-changing cipher spell. Meanwhile, Frost, our rogue, fortifies herself with a red potion and then reads a Minor Missiles scroll to earn some quick and reliable damage against a Cean Gwla.

    2b7bRnh.jpg


    Pallegina has just used a Scroll of Defense and is about to bring out some beetles, while Rius, having successfully blinded several enemies, is using a Prayer Against Fear scroll (she's the only one who's carrying one) to help our long-term Accuracy. We're starting to put our defenses together so we can make progress against the enemy.

     

    Divinegon finally gathers just enough Focus to activate Silent Scream, only to discover that if you miss the initial target, Silent Scream also does no area-effect damage, either--the spell completely fails, costing us 40 Focus at a crucial stage in the fight when we really need to pin down at least one enemy.

     

    I check the dialog box, and it seems the Cean Gwla's Will defense is 83, compared to Divinegon's 80 Accuracy. We only needed to roll an 18 out of 100 to land that hit. We got a 3 instead.

     

    And because the Cean Gwlas can teleport, Divinegon is already under direct pressure from one of the strongest enemies on the map. The very instant that she fails that crucial spell, a Cean Gwla puts her down, and our best offensive asset is once again on the ground.

    L9guSY5.jpg


    We finally get our beetles on the map, and after realizing that she, too, doesn't have the Lore to use her own Moonwell scrolls, Rius finally uses her Prayer Against Fear scroll. Frost is in a bad position to do anything useful, but she manages to find a small window in which to use Fan of Flames.

    j2diL0e.jpg


    We've only done modest damage to the enemy, and the strongest critters, the Cean Gwlas, are a long way from death. Frost can't win this on her own; we really, really need Divinegon on hand to win this fight. If she can just take down one Cean Gwla, we might have a shot at coming out of this alive. Knowing that Divinegon's Health is dangerously low and it would only take a single blow to knock her back down, we use another Scroll of Revival, hoping that our cipher can bail us out if we buy her a few precious seconds to work her magic.

    FUIF6sv.jpg


    One second later, the Cean Gwlas paralyze the entire party, and instantly take down Divinegon.

    Nu5Peb1.jpg


    Her Health appears to be at zero now; she's completely out for this fight.

     

    We're all on our own now.

    • Like 3
  3. Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

     

    I'm unsatisfied with Zovai's talents, so I burn some copper re-training her, giving her Inspiring Radiance for an Accuracy boost for the party and Veteran's Recovery to make her a little harder to kill. We have over 20,000 copper now, but we're probably going to go through a lot of it very quickly.

     

    We're around level 6 right now, so we really want some more XP before we approach the endgame. I want to be higher-level than I was in previous runs when we finally tackle Thaos; I've never encountered those charm spells that I've heard are present in the PotD final fight. To that end, we head to Raedric's hold.

     

    We can stomp most of the enemies with per-encounter abilities. We do see some nasty surprises in the tunnels, though: Osrya dies very quickly to our opening assault, but a Skeletal Wizard appears to knock out Divinegon in a single hit with Necrotic Lance!

     

    Fe4ZBfe.jpg

    m0D7M28.jpg


    Upstairs, things are less complicated. Most of Raedric's goons appear to be weaker against crushing damage than other damage types (must be the mail they're wearing)... although I'm not sure how much that really matters, considering Ectopsychic Echo has high base damage and can break through even high damage reduction pretty well.

    Qbk9zIL.jpg


    Divinegon finally hits level 7! We now have a powerful source of raw damage that is party-friendly and (unlike our beam spells) positioning-independent.

    Jgo2Ofi.jpg


    The enemy priests hassle us a little, but they can't do much besides fortify the enemy's defenses, and they can't really do it good enough to stop Divinegon.

    9Cuf5Nh.jpg


    Time to bring down Raedric himself. We position our 3 tanks in a triangle to counter the conveniently symmetrical enemy pattern, then inch everyone forward to make sure our back line is close enough to assault the enemy mages on the first round. Frost, our rogue, uses a Minor Missiles scroll to add a slight damage boost in the hopes of bringing down one of the mages before it can cast a big spell. Rius, our mage, throws out a Fireball, and her Intellect is high enough that the radius is so wide that we can hit almost every enemy on the map without touching anyone in the party.

    HSCVqTn.jpg


    We activate Ectopsychic Echo and fling another Fireball into the mix. It's only been moments, and the enemy is already crumpling.

    RbRhJDu.jpg


    The beam does most of the work. Soon, Raedric is all but alone.

    ovXQKdW.jpg


    You see that little white icon on the Raedric Defender, below "Defender" and above "Liberating Exhortation?" I don't know what that is. I've never seen a perfectly white icon like that.

     

    Selling off all the crap we looted from Raedric nets us over 12,000 copper. Pallegina and Divinegon are now at level 7 (Pallegina now has Reviving Exhortation!), while the rest of the party is at level 6. Here is our party after Raedric's hold:

    agFj5gg.jpg
    soIeR79.jpg
    Yqoy3jH.jpg
    fGc1Udu.jpg
    9Y3GLTM.jpg
    axV6wd9.jpg
    KuKpaVC.jpg
    WCgVEIe.jpg
    4MrgvgO.jpg
    WeDTOKg.jpg
    SeQd9RJ.jpg
    R0SVJmS.jpg


    Mora Tai are dual-wielding because the shield Deflection bonus didn't really seem necessary; they've been pretty sturdy without shields. Zovai has a shield since she has basically no need for Accuracy (as I mentioned when we first created her, I kept her Perception low because I didn't plan on having her fight), and our back line is lightly armored to maximize attack speed.

    • Like 3
  4. @Enuhal: Well done! Good on you for trying out new builds, even if they didn't prove as effective as one might have hoped. You've got some pretty big numbers on those characters--I know part of that is due to being level 11, but those extraordinarily high Might values really surprise me. How did you get Might up to 24 and 28?

     

    I hope we see some forays into Pillars of Eternity 2 at some point. It looks like we've got a few players who are capable of handling PoE 1, which means a saga run feels doable in the near future. It would be great to see our first entry in the Hall of Heroes.

    • Like 3
  5. I might try a poverty run in the future, but I'm also considering running a party of glass cannons. It looks like a cipher and a monk have a weird synergy: ciphers benefit from dealing damage and monks benefit from taking damage, but ciphers can miss enemies and monks can die when at the front using their firsts.

     

    So, why not keep a cipher and a monk at the back of the line? The cipher could generate Wounds and Focus using dual-wielded sabers, and the monk could use a long weapon to strike from behind the tanks. Combine Turning Wheel with the +20% fire damage talent, and the monk could deal lots of damage with Firebrand from the Gloves of the Forgemaster. With just 3 Wounds, Firebrand would deal about 60 damage per hit with maxed-out Might. If you used a blunderbuss on the monk to maximize Wounds, you could deal over 150 damage on a critical hit. Meanwhile, the cipher has a valuable source of easy hits; you won't have to rely on good attack rolls to hit the enemy.

    • Like 2
  6. What do you guys think about the prospects of a poverty run? It's not possible to beat the game completely without any items whatsoever, but I think if you tweaked the rules to just forbid inventory items, it would be more doable:

     

    1. No items equipped except for grimoires, pets and unenchanted clothing; no items in inventory; no items in stash aside from quest items

    2. Copper can be spent to buy custom characters, resolve quests, and rest at inns

    3. You can buy and use Camping Supplies

     

    That way, wizards would still be playable, certain quests could still be completed, and resting would still be possible without unreasonable restrictions (you could forbid buying Camping Supplies, but that would just mean more backtracking to rest at inns; it wouldn't impact actual difficulty). The game would move very fast if you didn't have to manage your inventory.

     

    But monks seem kind of fragile, Novice's Suffering is much worse than normal weapons, and missing out on expendables and equipped items would make the team a lot easier to kill. Path of the Damned seems like too much for a poverty run in these terms. It looks like a good team would just be priests with Novice's Suffering, wizards with Concelhaut's Parasitic Quarterstaff, and druids with shapeshifting and Firebrand.

    • Like 2
  7. Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

     

    With both paladins confused, we cannot use Liberating Exhortation on either. We need to clear the field quickly before we get overwhelmed with disablers, but Rius' Fireball barely does anything; even the weakest enemies are still at Barely Injured. Divinegon opts for Ectopsychic Echo, and Frost uses Shadowing Beyond to make sure she doesn't get disabled when she runs into the horde.

     

    But we've got more bad news. The Dank Spores can also cast Domination spells, and their Accuracy is so strong that even Mora Tai's 75 Will save can't keep him safe.

     

    kIvo74H.jpg


    Thanks to Shadowing Beyond, Frost is safe from disablers for the time being, allowing us to drag the beam over the nearest Dank Spore. But the Dank Spores are tough, and they seem to have very few limits on how often they can use their Domination spells. They nail both Pallegina and Rius, at the back of the line, and suddenly half our party is under enemy control.

    W2WCOTh.jpg


    Apparently charmed party members like to use ranged weapons, which means that Pallegina immediately switches to her arbalest. Divinegon's terrible Deflection allows Pallegina to land an easy critical hit, knocking down our strongest attacker. Meanwhile, Frost tries to finish off the Dank Spore, which managed to survive Ectopsychic Echo.

    4P7X4yZ.jpg


    Pallegina recovers and uses Lay on Hands to undo some of the damage she did to our cipher. Frost manages to bring down the wounded Dank Spore, but the one right behind it lands another Domination effect, and our second-best damage dealer is under enemy control.

    pgXATbb.jpg


    The rest of the party finally manages to defeat the Sporelings, and now only the Dank Spores are left. We hurry down to kill the one at the south, hoping that the eastern one won't be able to reach us so far away.

     

    But right before we reach our target, we trigger a trap. Zovai, our priest, and Rius, our mage, go down in a single blow.

    VnSCFRB.jpg


    Worse yet, Zovai's lousy Health means that she's already in the red--even if we revive her, she's going to be really wobbly. Afraid that the cloud trap deals lingering damage, we retreat to the north and target the eastern Dank Spore instead. But when Soul Ignition completely fails against the spore, we have to hurry in and attack it directly in melee combat.

     

    But that just makes things even worse. There are two more Dank Spores right behind it, and attacking it exposes us to even more Domination effects. Mora Tai summons a trio of Wood Beetles, but he doesn't act fast enough, and the enemy takes control of him once again.

    2akTNXD.jpg


    The spores to the east are too dangerous when put together; we need to switch focus to the southern one, which remains isolated. We make progress, but it just keeps throwing out more and more Domination effects, and no one in our party seems capable of resisting it.

    OETqeFR.jpg


    Divinegon consumes a Potion of Deleterious Alacrity of Motion (cool it with the long names, Poe!) in the hopes of landing an earlier kill on a Dank Spore, but everyone else in the party is malfunctioning. Mora Tai is getting status effects stacked on top of each other.

    uz5phgA.jpg


    Divinegon has built up 64 Focus and could spam powerful cipher spells to change the tide of combat, but the rest of the party keeps attacking her, and her Endurance is getting lower with every moment. Then the Dank Spores start targeting Divinegon, and we lose our cipher to the enemy as well.

    loC2soc.jpg


    What is Divinegon doing so close to the enemy? Well, I sent her out once we got control of Mora Tai, who still has a single Liberating Exhortation spell left. Divinegon is back under our control! But when Mora Tai gets charmed yet again, and I see that the rest of the party is completely broken, I realize that I can't afford to have Divinegon spend just one round blasting the three Dank Spores to the east before she gets charmed or confused again. That would wound the spores, but it wouldn't kill any of them.

     

    Our best use of Divinegon's temporary sanity is a simple Scroll of Revival. I'm worried that Zovai is going to get killed right after she climbs to her feet, but I really need Zovai and Rius' help to survive this encounter. We get our priest and wizard back, but sure enough, Divinegon gets crushed and charmed right afterwards.

    zYCggqa.jpg


    Divinegon attacks Zovai, nearly killing her, and Zovai tries to rescue her attacker using Suppress Affliction. But another Domination spell comes out right afterwards; we simply don't have enough cures for charm effects to actually keep control of our party members.

     

    Divinegon manages to cling to life, possibly because Rius lands a Chill Fog against the eastern Dank Spores and blinded at least one of them. Rius can't follow up, however; she gets charmed moments later. Meanwhile, Frost finally recovers from the southern Dank Spore's charm and poisons it again. Unfortunately, these things have massive Endurance pools, and even Envenomed Strike can only get them partway to death's door.

     

    WHHzPcq.jpg


    Divinegon's domination lasts just long enough for her to fire a blunderbuss at Rius. It's an excruciating loss, because that long reload period could have been so useful to us. Notice that Zovai has just been sitting there for many seconds--I know a single hit could knock her out, so I've been waiting for an opportunity to make use of her spells.

    vwnUlBm.jpg


    When Divinegon does finally recover from charm, she quickly takes advantage of the deep Focus pool she's generated and uses it to set the nearest Dank Spore on fire. Finally, another Dank Spore is close to death--in all this time, we've only managed to take down a single one before.

    uQlzO8t.jpg


    Divinegon manages to hurry away before getting dominated--again, presumably because of the Chill Fog spell affecting the eastern spores--and activates Soul Ignition on the southern Dank Spore. Unfortunately, she gets charmed yet again, and turns our blunderbuss against our party once more, though our paladins are thankfully  sturdier victims than Rius.

    zolYsgq.jpg


    Finally, Rius finishes off the second Dank Spore! But its cousin to the south charms Divinegon, who punishes Rius for her heroism.

    OD3KdHU.jpg


    Even a single Dank Spore is capable of repeatedly charming our party members, and Rius takes another two blasts from Divinegon's blunderbuss before Frost finally lands the killing blow.

    QCeO4yw.jpg


    Soon after, Divinegon recovers from Domination, and we use an Ectopsychic Echo to put down the southern spore.

    7sGUXYb.jpg


    The other two spores are stuck in the east (and there's another southern one I haven't noticed), and I consider hurrying over to fight them, but it's simply too dangerous to do so without resting first, and since the spores are completely immobile, it makes conceptual sense to run away and rest.

     

    This time, we have a safer strategy for the spores: send in Pallegina, let her get disabled, and then cure her with Mora Tai's Liberating Exhortation while the rest of the party nails the spore with ranged weapons. It goes down in seconds.

    8ySWc4s.jpg


    We try the same thing against the last two spores, but when we send Rius to run behind the spores, she gets killed by a trap, canceling an Ectopsychic Echo that I thought would help us kill the spores.

    myP2G8l.jpg


    Still, we manage to bring down one of the spores with the help of Amplified Thrust, and while Zovai gets hit a second Amplified Thrust spell due to being confused, the last spore is prone due to a crit from Pallegina's arbalest.

    yITUXKy.jpg


    This was immensely frustrating and time-consuming, and it felt flat-out unfair the whole time because there was essentially nothing we could do to counter all those disablers once we were in combat. But it's finally over, and the spores are dead.

    • Like 3
  8. Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

     

    After clearing up some remaining mobs in the Skaen temple, we head out to nab a dragon egg. We pay off the adventurers guarding it (they looked well-equipped, so I saw no need to mess with them) and apply area-effect spells to the local Wurms. They don't do much besides pepper Pallegina with tiny fireballs.

     

    YK9ksem.jpg

    0aPUOwR.jpg


    Later, we pick a fight with some Pwgras and Lurkers, but flub up our positioning and end up with Divinegon at the front.

    JN6TFyv.jpg


    Rius prepares a blindness spell and Frost stakes out a position to use a Fan of Flames scroll, while Divinegon tries to keep her Endurance high enough to survive a disengagement attack when she tries to escape. Unfortunately, the Lurkers impose the Stuck effect on hit, so we have to use Liberating Exhortation first. But when Divinegon tries to make her escape...

    ocI1eBj.jpg


    ...the disengagement attack itself reapplies the Stuck effect. Ironically, trying to flee only got her stuck in place even longer.

     

    Zovai throws out Iconic Projection to keep healing Divinegon while Frost keeps using Fan of Flames scrolls. Meanwhile, Divinegon activates Antipathetic Field since we don't have enough room to slip a party member past the enemy so we can use Ectopsychic Echo instead.

    Egme7t8.jpg


    That's one of the disadvantages of using Ectopsychic Echo: you can't actually make it work if you're keeping everyone in the party safe behind a choke point; you need at least one party member out in the distance, in danger, in order to make effective use of the beam.

     

    Surprisingly, Zovai's Iconic Projections do a lot to weaken the enemy (it's not just Frost that's making progress) despite her poor Perception, allowing us to thin the herd and eventually strike down the survivors with Amplified Thrust.

    QWNNxV4.jpg

    COZlsqN.jpg


    We sell off another 8,000 copper in spare gear and ingredients, increasing our copper supply by 50%, and run into a gang of assassins in Defiance Bay--it's a good thing we rested right beforehand. Divinegon is now using a blunderbuss as her introductory burst damage weapon, and nearly kills the enemy mage in one hit.

    k5HogjY.jpg


    It only takes a single hit from Rius' Chill Fog to brush him off his feet. Unfortunately, that Chill Fog hits a nearby Justiciar who foolishly wandered into the fray, turning him hostile. Worried that killing him would cause a lot of problems later on, Divinegon charms him with Whisper of Treason, hoping that the assassins kill him so we don't have to.

    nC7XMtd.jpg

     

    Alternatively, maybe the Justiciar could survive the encounter and remain friendly afterwards. But in my experience with Infinity Engine games, turning someone hostile is a permanent change; charm only suspends that hostility.

     

    Anyway, Frost kills the remaining mage with her scepter and Divinegon uses her large Focus pool to mess with the melee grunts. We could have used Ectopsychic Echo, but I didn't want to send any of our party members into Rius' Chill Fog spell.

    VUcL2Yq.jpg


    Notice that one of the assassins has turned on the charmed Justiciar. By the time the fight ends, the Justiciar is dead--problem solved.

     

    We travel to Cliaban Rilag, which gets us enough XP to bring three new characters to level 6. Rius picks Weapon Focus: Peasant in order to strengthen Concelhaut's staff, while our paladin takes an offensive Talent and our rogue takes a defensive one to compensate for their typical weaknesses.

    BIetbkH.jpg

    9ZhDjBJ.jpg


    Rius now has an unbuffed Accuracy of 63 with Concelhaut's staff.

     

    In Cliaban Rilag, we make short work of many of the enemies using Divinegon's incredible ranged attacks. She has a new synergy with Frost: now Frost can use Shadowing Beyond to sneak right past enemies, allowing her free movement when stretching Divinegon's Ectopsychic Echo over the enemies. Combined with Divinegon's blunderbuss, we can kill the otherwise dangerous druids within seconds.

    ER0pCMm.jpg

    iaVglTh.jpg


    I don't remember running into a lot of traps here in my Normal mode run, so it's a very big surprise indeed when Pallegina gets knocked out by a ludicrous 200-damage hit.

    Yzd7APz.jpg


    It's not a big deal, though, since it happens outside of combat and Pallegina gets right back up. We go for one more major fight before we rest and recover her Health, and since we plan on resting anyway, we use our beetle figurine. Turns out that enemy druids are perfectly willing to use their best spells on weak summons while largely ignoring the party waiting just a few steps away.

    ezutvcW.jpg


    We rest up and enter the next battle in good condition. But I severely underestimate the threat of the local Spores. Right at the start of combat, the enemy confuses both of our paladins.

    7ONQnvI.jpg


    This is a very bad sign. But I didn't appreciate just how bad it was until later.

    • Like 3
  9. Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

     

    We head back to town to rest and restock, and Zovai, our Moon Godlike priest, hits level 6 after visiting the local church, taking Aggrandizing Radiance because I thought the stat bonuses went to everyone instead of just the priest.

     

    Despite our difficulties with the Skaen crazies, I decide to probe around the sacrificial chamber-looking room that I avoided in my previous run out of concern that there was a nasty boss fight past the doorway. I arrive just in time to save some poor girl from being sacrificed, and use Divinegon's cipher powers to wipe her mind.

    ZFLRyOQ.jpg


    But apparently that doesn't grant us a nonviolent resolution, and we enter the boss fight I've been dreading. We use a Scroll of Defense early on and use our opening shots from arbalests and such to wound the enemy leader, Wymund, and poison him. Notice Rius deploying a fast-casting Fireball, and the enemy rogue landing a nasty sneak attack on Divinegon herself.

    sHRtPbH.jpg


    Through no choice of our own, Divinegon starts this fight right out in front, exactly the opposite of where we always keep her, and I'm not even sure I'd have had room to move her to the back if I had noticed sooner. Divinegon suffers multiple attacks in sequence, and an enemy cipher even disables her.

     

    fMBoHyN.jpg


    We heal her a little, but we can only do so much on such short notice. Zovai casts Consecrated Ground, which in retrospect I don't think can even affect confused allies. A Pillar of Holy Fire puts even more of our weakest characters in danger.

     

    Rb8lENU.jpg


    Our only means of healing Divinegon quickly comes from Lay on Hands, but we can't use Liberating Exhortation at the same time, which means our best attacker remains confused. We trade blindness spells with the cipher, but we're not making much progress--with multiple characters in danger, we have to focus on defensive options until Divinegon is back under our control. We have another heavy hitter in Frost, our rogue, and she's hard at work, but Divinegon is the real source of power in this party.

     

    TVUWkrv.jpg


    Finally, Divinegon is on our side again. In the meantime, little has progressed on either side--Frost has been trying to deal fast damage to Wymund with Minor Missiles scrolls, but Wymund has the damage reduction to shrug off most of it.

     

    DSIwK7S.jpg

     

    We lose our beetles, but Divinegon generates enough Focus to start up an Ectopsychic Echo beam. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to move around Divinegon while she was confused, and we're short of Lay on Hands spells. Rather than risk Divinegon getting killed, I just cover her with Withdraw, knowing that Ectopsychic Echo will continue even while she's inactive.

     

    But then I see the beam completely miss several enemies in a row. I check Divinegon's record screen and her Accuracy is 16. Apparently she's blinded and dazed, which imposes a -35 total penalty, making her beam all but useless.

     

    Now we have to do all the heavy lifting without our star attacker, and the process is much slower than it normally would be. Frost and Rius *using Concelhaut's staff) appear to be doing most of the work, and while the enemy applies lots of damage to the party, that damage is pretty evenly distributed and therefore puts no one character in danger. Even when the enemy cipher confuses Frost, we still have a spare Liberating Exhortation spell to fix her up.

     

    With multiple characters bearing down on him, Wymund struggles to stay afloat. Frost uses Finishing Blows and Fans of Flames to boost her damage, but Mora Tai lands the final blow due to a lucky roll.

     

    1fv9Ub5.jpg


    Divinegon escapes from Withdraw only to find two enemies remaining. She charms a sentry and we all gang up on the enemy cipher that was responsible for Divinegon's confusion at the start of the fight.

     

    We free the would-be sacrifice and tell her to seek safety at a temple (luckily she didn't die or turn hostile to Rius' Fireball at the start of combat), and the quest is complete. Our reward is a vast hoard of gear to sell for copper and an Exceptional robe--nothing game-changing, but it gives us bigger numbers.

    • Like 3
  10. Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

     

    We're running low on resources, but I decide to tackle one more fight before resting, figuring that the small room nearby can't hold that big of a fight.

     

    That assumption doesn't hold. We've got an enemy cipher with a pistol, a wizard who fires off Minor Missiles, and two Skaen priests who blast us with Iconic Projection. We go deep into the red, and it takes a lot of work to keep the party healthy.

     

    CbF0chy.jpg

     

    Notice that Frost is using a Minor Missiles scroll to deal faster damage against the enemy Mind Breaker. He falls within seconds, but I soon realize that there are two ciphers at hand, and our own paladin, Mora Tai, has just fallen. Hoping to finish him off quickly, Frost hurries forward into a now-vacant space and uses a Fan of Flames scroll.

    xeO9JEd.jpg


    PoE is weird in that fighters are just as effective with scrolls as spellcasters. Unfortunately, we've been neglecting another important threat, the enemy priests, who take down Frost with a Pillar of Faith. Enemy spellcasters are more offensive-oriented than Zovai.

     

    7AErmDu.jpg

     

    These are just nameless goons, but they've taken down two of our party members. Just for safety's sake, we deploy a Scroll of Revival to bring back our paladin and rogue. Apparently status effects can linger after death; Frost has several effects still running.

     

    DUAyWKt.jpg

     

    Does anyone know if those effects continue to run out while the character is knocked out, or are they just put on hold until the character is back on their feet? If it's the former, that would mean there would be some scenarios where you might want before reviving someone, to make sure they got back up with no negative status effects active (namely, those that could get them knocked down again shortly after being revived).

     

    The remaining cipher is actually in pretty decent health, so we try charming him. Divinegon succeeds, but gets stunned in the process--I hadn't expected Psychic Backlash.

     

    BAZ8oXl.jpg

     

    But with Frost back on her feet, we can deal heavy damage with another poison attack and blast the enemy with more Fan of Flames scrolls.

     

    kaqwqtc.jpg

     

    Our paladins are both prone due to another pillar spell thingy from the priests, but Frost continues her dirty work uninterrupted, and the enemy finally collapses.

     

    The cultists really surprised me in that last fight. I didn't realize how many tools they had at their disposal.

    • Like 3
  11. Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

     

    Time to take down Heritage Hill! We test out Finishing Blow against a Skeletal Wizard and get one of the biggest blows of the run.

    U2KLF42.jpg

     

    We can stomp most of the Guls just by using Ectopsychic Echo, with Consecrated Ground to keep us healthy. We don't need many per-rest abilities to get through the Vessels here.

    pGG0l4q.jpg


    The last fight, right next to the tower, is a little tougher because we used the stairs as a chokepoint and therefore can't use Frost, our rogue, or Zovai, our priest, to drag Ectopsychic Echo over the enemies. Divinegon does find a nice opportunity to use Antipathetic Field, which requires a hostile target instead of a friendly one:

     

    vdjRnEe.jpg

     

    The beam is at just the right angle so we don't get any party members caught in the line of fire.

     

    Inside the tower, Divinegon walks past the wall of enemies in order to reach the enemy wizard with Mental Binding, but this results in an enemy Dargul targeting her. Since a Dargul could paralyze her, we need to keep it away from Divinegon. We can do that with a simple Halt spell.

    IhKjTSf.jpg


    Frost gets into trouble again on the next level, at which point we have a more reliable but more costly way of keeping Divinegon safe: a Withdraw spell. Apparently Withdraw doesn't cancel Ectopsychic Echo, so Divinegon can deal damage for several seconds even while she's hidden away and disabled.

     

    MkNREIT.jpg

     

    We've been strapped for cash for a long time now, but we finally get our copper count to just under 10,000 by selling off a lot of loose junk, including a bunch of excess ingredients I doubt I'll be able to use. Do any of you guys find yourself selling off large numbers of ingredients?

     

    Outdoors, we run into a Pwgra along with a team of trolls. Fearful of getting nailed by some horrible druid spell, I send in a single tank while everyone else in the party runs away.

    JXE6Ro7.jpg


    Sure enough, we don't have to deal with any wide-ranged damage spells, and by sending Pallegina over to the other side of the enemies, we can crush the Pwgra with a beam early on.

     

    5OhIlFI.jpg

     

    The trolls easily survive Ectopsychic Echo due to their high Endurance, but we still have Whisper of Treason and Mental Binding to exploit their poor Will defenses.

     

    Since we have strong charm spells on hand, I decide to tackle the nearby lions and get Hearth Harvest for one of our tanks. Frost tests out Envenomed Strike and finds that her high Accuracy allows her to poison even high-Fortitude enemies like an Elder Lion.

    68R3OD0.jpg


    Notice that I haven't done anything with our positioning. This means I completely fail to keep the lions focused on our sturdier characters, and one of the lions targets Divinegon. This time, Halt isn't so effective--the spell can hold a target in place for a long time, but it's perfectly capable of failing, especially since Zovai's Perception is pretty low.

     

    K3YtdDN.jpg

     

    The bad roll is very costly. Divinegon isn't remotely capable of handling an Elder Lion on her own, and even Frost's powerful poison attack can only get the lion down to Injured.

    3sRWtSw.jpg


    Another lion runs around our party to reach Divinegon at the back, but Divinegon manages to charm one of them, and Zovai uses Iconic Projection to heal our cipher from afar.

     

    3R2EE1l.jpg

     

    While Divinegon struggles to cling to life, Ectopsychic Echo does its work, bringing down one of the lions that was targeting someone else in the party, but Whisper of Treason wears off, and Divinegon has to resort to a red potion to survive.

    Dc8Cw6w.jpg


    Ultimately, our various healing options aren't enough to keep Divinegon on her feet, and she collapses right before she could attempt a last-ditch effort to bring down the lions via a Fan of Flames scroll. Meanwhile, Frost, our similarly fragile rogue character, is doing great. Unlike Divinegon, Frost has avoided getting targeted by any lions, and has therefore been free to dedicate all her attention to dealing damage.

     

    ofNvHDX.jpg

     

    The lion herd finally thins out, and the survivors suffer extra pressure. Rius is testing out Concelhaut's, and is finding it to be very effective. Like Frost, she chose Envenomed Weapon, mostly out of curiosity.

    RMCfx0P.jpg


    I enter the Skaen temple via the mill (I didn't actually know that was an option until now) and start wrestling with the local cultists. The enemies here have a lot of great spells and are pretty sturdy, but even they have trouble dealing with Ectopsychic Echo.

     

    OGC0kWZ.jpg

     

    I try using Whisper of Treason instead, but that doesn't work so well; it takes longer to cast three Whisper of Treason spells than a single Ectopsychic Echo (both options take 30 Focus altogether). That gives the enemy more time to hurt us, and the Skaen priests can deal area-effect damage with Iconic Projection.

    6Tcpcny.jpg


    I only gradually realize that the enemy's classes are very diverse--the Skaen Mind Breakers are ciphers, apparently using firearms, and they can use Mental Binding on us. That's bad news, considering Divinegon herself has very weak Will saves.

     

    VVvJr89.jpg

     

    Mora Tai's Liberating Exhortation fixes up Divinegon, but the Skaen Mind Breakers appear to have a lot of Focus; an enemy cipher confuses Divinegon shortly afterwards.

    InZRXKT.jpg


    We trade disablers, and eventually we find room to cast Ectopsychic Echo on Zovai.

     

    MBci0Tk.jpg

     

    The next time around, I make a point of nailing the Mind Breaker early on, with Frost tacking on poison damage. Since we're running low on resources and need to rest soon, I summon some beetles, expecting to rest soon after the fight.

    9Q67fN3.jpg


    This paves the way for an early kill, sparing Divinegon the trouble of resisting mental attacks and ensuring that our own cipher can keep firing off spells. As long as Divinegon is functioning normally, we can make fast progress against the enemy.

    • Like 3
  12. @Jaheiras Witness: I like 6 Mechanics because that's always been enough for me to detect traps, even if I can't always disarm them. I assume you need higher Mechanics to deal with stuff in White March or Od Nua or whatever, but so far I've most been dealing with the main quest and so the party is always level 9 at highest.

     

    I've actually got injuries on zero Endurance enabled, so revived characters will have injuries. I like Scrolls of Revival because they're good rescue options when stuff goes wrong (they're even area-effect!). Besides, no one else in my party can currently revive anyone without the scrolls. Prevention is always better than a cure, but a Scroll of Revival only takes up a single slot, so keeping a "cure" option on hand imposes little opportunity cost. I don't think we have to choose between preventing knockouts and curing knockouts when the latter only takes up one slot.

     

    I usually go with Potions of Infuse Vital Essence on every character, Scrolls of Defense on several, Scrolls of Revival on whoever can use it, and Fan of Flames for a single damage dealer. I'll equip a few scattered other potions and scrolls, but I very seldom use them. How do you guys use your quick slots?

     

    I haven't seen much appeal in a wand-based wizard due to the importance of their spells, but I suppose it would be great for area-effect Interruptions. Scepters (or maybe just the Engwithan one) are fast weapons but have an average Interrupt duration, and a high-Perception wizard could slow down multiple enemies with Blast, though I've never tried it before.

     

    You know, my first no-reload run in BG2 was with a team of casters designed to play like fighters--that is, I used no warrior classes, but tried to fight primarily using weapons. My spellcasters mostly used buffing spells in order to make them function more like fighters. That was the "Party of Spiders" run on the Beamdog forums. I've wondered about a party of spellcasters in PoE that used no area-effect spells, or just no damage spells, and focused on using wands and Concelhaut's to deal damage. Concelhaut's actually seems really strong to me; the damage is massive and the Accuracy bonuses are substantial. Being able to cast Eldritch Aim and Wizard's Double without using potions actually makes wizards seem like strong replacements for fighters.

     

    I don't usually mind if my party's gear looks weird, as long as it's functional. Style and appearance aren't that important to me.

    • Like 3
  13. @Alesia_BH: I only know of one Marking weapon, St. Garam's Spark, and I think it's a great option for an introductory blast from arbalests and firearms. It sounds like a spectacular enchantment, because if you have three characters attacking the same target, you've got +10 Accuracy for 2 different characters. If it applies to spells, that's even better.

     

    What I'm not sure about is the timing. Does it amount to -10 to all defenses for whichever character the wielder is targeting at any moment? Because if it does, that means you could actually grant +10 Accuracy to different party members attacking different targets by canceling attacks and changing targets in between other party members' actions.

     

    I also can't help but wonder if it stacks with other items with the same enchantment. If you had three such weapons and the users were all attacking the same target, would it amount to +20 Accuracy for all three of them?

    • Like 3
  14. Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

     

    Frost, our rogue, finally hits level 4! Notice she's using a flail--I don't know why flails are fast weapons in PoE, but they are.

     

    AVlHJiu.jpg


    I'm not sure how strong Envenomed Weapon is, but the prospect of massive, unresistable Raw damage three times per day, on a character with extremely high Accuracy, two attacks per round, and sky-high Might sounds very lovely.

     

    Time to deal with the thugs by the docks! I had some trouble with these guys in my Normal mode run, so I make a point of taking them seriously. We summon Wood Beetles to hold off the melee goons and apply blindness effects. Frost waits a moment for Divinegon to generate 30 Focus, at which point Divinegon hits her with Ectopsychic Echo so our rogue can stretch the beam over the enemies. Even in PotD mode, it's extremely effective.

    3WwuuTV.jpg

     

    I think this spell was balanced assuming you were using a stationary party member as a target. Dragging the beam across the screen lets you deal far more damage than you otherwise could. Ectopsychic Echo deals damage over time, so it gives the enemy some time to apply pressure to the party, but Consecrated Ground is enough to keep us afloat.

    tZcLMP0.jpg


    Here are some shots of our party members' gear. They seem a little under-equipped compared to other players' parties, which I think is a factor of my ignorance of certain key items, but the basics are covered. My custom paladin and priest, Mora Tai and Zovai, are there to tank while our rogue is dual-wielding fast weapons to maximize damage output. The only reason Pallegina isn't using a shield is because she already has a Weapon Focus Talent that gives her +6 Accuracy with her existing sword. As for Divinegon herself, she uses an arbalest at the start of combat for burst damage and then a scepter for faster, more reliable damage.

    6jk6qhl.jpg

    X1mwgEw.jpg

    lXBO9Yg.jpg

    3xb5llp.jpg

    AIDd6qO.jpg

    PVpX9yA.jpg

     

     

    Our rogue also has Eder's old mail since it will revive her if she loses consciousness, which I think is a decent tradeoff for the larger recovery penalty (normally I'd equip her with something very light). Notice that Rius has a +2 Intellect horn as well as a +2 Intellect hood--I know this doesn't stack; this setup was a mistake on my part.

     

    Also note that we have Scrolls of Defense and Scrolls of Revival distributed throughout the party. I like to keep Lore high on all characters due to the flexibility it brings. Athletics always stays at 1, I don't invest in Stealth at all, Mechanics caps at 6 for a single character, and Survival stays at 1 or 4 until I can get someone to 7.

     

    I keep working with Ectopsychic Echo with our rogue as a target. The convenient thing is that Frost seems to only gets the attention of a single enemy near the back, which she can handle for a few rounds safely by taking advantage of Blinding Strike, covering her poor defenses by blinding the only threat to her safety.

    ZDjO8a3.jpg


    Dual-wielding also means she gets two chances at blinding, covering some of the risk of failure due to bad luck, and while she can't go toe-to-toe with a monster for very long, she doesn't have to, because by the time the blindness wears off, Ectopsychic Echo has already done its work. Even when Frost suffers pressure from two enemies, her weak defenses don't need to last that long when Divinegon is ending fights so quickly.

    hwx3XCR.jpg


    When enemies are spread out differently, however, and sending a party member past the front line will get them attacked by multiple enemies instead of just one or two, I can't use Frost, lest she get knocked out by the sudden pressure. Instead, I use Zovai, which prevents us from using Consecrated Ground on our fighters but also doesn't require our primary tanks to disengage and break the wall, which could invite enemies to attack our fragile characters at the back.

    ADCAdn7.jpg

     

    Notice that Zovai is confused. I don't know how strong the enemy fungi's Accuracy values are, but apparently even a high-Intellect priest's Will isn't always strong enough to shrug off confusion effects... unless that confusion effect actually targets another type of defense.

     

    The same thing happens with our next Ectopsychic Echo target, Frost. I switched to Frost because there were fewer enemies.

    Tyd5jmG.jpg

     

    In both cases, Ectopsychic Echo seems to cancel early. Does confusion end the beam because the target's allegiance changes, and Ectopsychic Echo needs to target a friendly character?

     

    Overall, it's a very effective, offensive-oriented strategy that makes a large impact very early on in combat. In the fight with the nearby skeletons, Divinegon is able to one-shot a low-Endurance mage with her upgraded arbalest, then use the Focus generated by that blow to crush the remaining enemies with a beam.

    4Utultd.jpg

    XoWvRcU.jpg


    Whenever you can establish an early advantage, the enemy is unable to use its greatest strengths, which means you don't have to deal with certain dangers. But it also means you don't learn how to handle those dangers when the high-offense, blitzkrieg-style approach fails to end fights early. That's not currently a problem for us, since we have a priest and two paladins who will soon have important rescue options in the form of new exhortations, but it means that we're not learning quite as much as we could if we allowed the enemy to punch us around a little.

     

    We find two copies of the Nature's Embrace belt, deal with the underground cult quest thingy peacefully (I've never fought them before and don't want to learn how), and get the Engwithan Scepter, which I promptly upgrade.

    2qQjBrW.jpg

     

    I pick the bonuses against Vessels because Thaos' allies at the end of the game are Vessels. I don't know of any other important options that are useful over a broader range of major fights.

     

    I've never done the Parable of Wael quest before, but I decide to try it out. Turns out the enemies are just bandits. We fail to manage the flow of hostiles, and the bandit leader hurries past our tanks to threaten our back line, but Whisper of Treason is a great means of eliminating individual threats, and it's cheap enough that we still have lots of Focus for the big gun.

    HijiBgd.jpg

    8GUnEBF.jpg


    Mora Tai hits level 5, learning Liberating Exhortation, my old favorite, and Frost levels up as well, learning Finishing Blow in the hopes that it'll help us land some early kills in key situations.

     

    We also get the Ring of Eternal Funding, but I don't know how it works. What exactly does it do?

     

    Divinegon hits level 6 and takes Weapon Focus: Noble for the bonus to Accuracy with her scepter, while Pallegina takes Critical Focus, which doesn't seem interesting or important but seems like a safe bet. We use a rest bonus to gain Accuracy against Vessels before entering the sanitarium to tear up the flesh muppets. We huddle our casters near the door, fan out our tanks to intercept the enemies before they crowd around us, and then splatter goo all over the place.

    lncQ22q.jpg

     

    • Like 4
  15.  

     

    Lesson learned. If somebody in the party has to die, make it the Moon Godlike.

     

    :huh:

     

    Arcadia says that you sound like her parents. She's not happy.

     

    Lesson learned. If somebody has to be unhappy, don't make it the Moon Godlike. They're hard to put down!

     

    Speaking of which, maybe Silver Tide is the reason there are so many Moon Godlikes in this thread. They were better than other Godlikes at surviving attempts at infanticide.

     

    But look on the bright side. At least Moon Godlikes will know to be better parents when they have their own children. (insert trollface icon)

     

    I guess this is what happens when powergaming calculations clash with roleplaying sensibilities. This stuff is horrible!

    • Like 4
  16. On might v perception. Thank you for your perspective on this, Semiticgod. I'll suggest, however, that your model needs additional detail before we'll be able to draw a conclusion. You need to consider:

     

    1) the relative value of might with increasing damage bonuses (you've only considered the case of a damage bonus of 0%, which is the optimal case for might; might becomes less valuable as damage bonuses increase, since the might bonus is additive with, not multiplicitive with, other bonuses)

    2) the effect of crit multipliers

    3) the class of the character and thus the damage and crit multiples available

     

    Were you to do this, you'd likely find perception relatively important for rogues, and might relatively important for wizards (focusing on damage only)

     

    Of course, there's also the less easily quantified matter of disablers and effect on crit abilities

     

    Best,

     

    A.

    I've been wondering about this, because the findings didn't seem right to me. It didn't seem realistic that Perception would be so much less important than Might for the purposes of damage output. In light of this information, Perception does have some potential that Might alone cannot match.

     

    1. You mention that Might bonuses only stack additively with other bonuses, and not multiplicatively--that is, Might only modifies base weapon or spell damage, right? The biggest bonuses to damage besides Might are 50% for a cipher (Biting Whip and an Exceptional weapon) and 100% for a rogue (50% from Sneak Attack, 20% from Reckless Assault, and 30% from an Exceptional Weapon). There's also the Backstab Talent for rogues, but I don't think that's worth it for other reasons. For other classes, I just see 30% from an Exceptional Weapon, or 20% from an elemental spell with the right talent. That definitely makes Perception very important for rogues and ciphers, but for other classes, the difference is more minimal. Unless you're using Firebrand, which presumably could be stacked with the flame talent for a 50% damage bonus.

     

    If Perception modifies that 30% bonus from Exceptional weapons, while Might does not modify it, then we've got a 3% increase in output per point of Might, and a 2.6% increase in output per point of Perception. Presumably, you need a total non-Might-related damage bonus of about +50% in order for Perception to play a larger role in damage output than Might: you'd need to multiply 2% (the optimal apparent bonus from each point of Perception) by 1.5 in order to match 3% (the base bonus from Might). For really high or really low values for Perception, though, presumably you'd need the damage bonus to equal 100% (since the lower bonuses from Perception would be about 1.5%, which you'd need to double to match Might's 3%).

     

    2. What crit multipliers are relevant here? I only know of a single pair of gloves that increase crit damage by another 10%, and firearms appear to have a 30% penalty to crit damage. I'd have thought that critical damage was mostly static at 150% of the norm.

     

    3. Disablers are definitely another story. Often, the duration of a disabler is wasted--you only need X number of seconds to kill a troll; not X+10. In this sense, comparing the 1.5% or 2% bonus from a point of Perception to the 3% bonus from a point of Intellect is not a fair comparison. I think it's much, much more important for a disabler to be reliable than long-lasting--in which case it's not whether you land a graze or a hit or a crit; it's whether you land a disabler at all. Of course, Intellect also improves buff durations while Perception does not, so again, we've got extra factors to consider.

     

    4. Certain items can impose status effects on hits or crits, which would tip the balance in favor of Perception compared to Might.

     

    5. Conversely, certain effects, like a Heart Orlan's Minor Threat or a flail's graze-to-hit conversion, would tip the balance slightly away from Perception.

     

    Put all these factors together, and I think we have a fairly balanced situation based on tradeoffs. I'd put it this way: Perception has more potential to improve damage and attack spell durations than Might or Intellect, but cannot improve healing or buff durations. Thus, Perception is a strictly offensive-oriented stat, while Might and Intellect are a mix of offense and defense.

     

    I like that Pillars of Eternity imposes tradeoffs. It makes stuff more complicated and more balanced; it's not just about cranking one single stat up to 11 and riding on that.

    • Like 5
  17. Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

     

    Maerwald summons some Blights early on, which we quickly chop up in order to isolate the wizard. Maerwald actually helps bring them down with his Chill Fog spell. Notice Divinegon trying to charm a Blight right after it blew up, wasting the spell.

     

    qJQuYHb.jpg


    Maerwald himself is still very dangerous, and he blasts us with a Fan of Flames spell. Zovai's Silver Tide triggers, instantly recovering much of the damage. Moon Godlikes might not be utterly broken, but they are definitely quite strong.

     

    QaLMK4S.jpg


    Mora Tai, our paladin and primary tank, falls to Maerwald's Fireball, but Maerwald doesn't last long under sustained pressure from two highly offensive-oriented Hearth Orlans and a mage, Rius, with Concelhaut's Parasitic Quarterstaff. Our wizard whomps him.

     

    HGwCCia.jpg


    I took an interest in Concelhaut's after hearing @Alesia_BH praise it, but I didn't realize how effective it really was. It might be slow, but it deals massive damage and grants +8 to Accuracy, which is enough to give a level 1 mage remarkable damage output.

     

    I exit the game and come back to it later, at which point I discover that I failed to save after defeating Maerwald--our latest save is an autosave. We have to beat him all over again.

     

    But this time, we get much, much worse luck. Rius and Divinego, our mage and cipher, fall to Maerwald's second Fireball. Zovai, our Moon Godlike priest, never got hurt badly enough to hit 75% Endurance, which meant Silver Tide never triggered.

     

    WuqliFI.jpg


    Silver Tide would have saved us. I guess the lesson is that the Moon Godlike should ideally take more damage, faster, than other party members in order for Silver Tide to be most effective for the party as a whole.

     

    We still have our second-best damage dealer, Frost the Hearth Orlan rogue, who helps us dispatch the Blights. We take some damage from the Blights' explosive deaths, though, and Maerwald still isn't done casting Fireballs. Zovai nearly dies to the third Fireball--which actually means the rest of the party gets healed up right quick thanks to Silver Tide.

     

    SH1zjhl.jpg

     

    Zovai uses Withdraw on herself to avoid death, but it's not necessary--Maerwald made a lot of progress against us, but our surviving characters did likewise, and our party has a lot more Endurance than he does. Frost finishes him off with her flail.

     

    9uG9c7V.jpg


    Lesson learned. If somebody in the party has to die, make it the Moon Godlike.

     

    We kill a few beetles for their shells, but head no further because we already ran out of Camping Supplies and I don't remember what else is on the first level. With the party in good shape, I decide to tackle the bears back at the cave near the start of the game. We probably could have handled this fight even earlier; the bears have terrible Will saves.

     

    jIMniUI.jpg


    Charm decreases all defenses by 25, so that zero Will should actually be a 25. That's a guaranteed graze for Whisper of Treason even at level 1--not enough for a fight with three bears in a no-reload context, but enough that we probably could have dealt with this fight right after getting Kana.

     

    In town, I wander into a house with two occupants. You know how some characters don't talk to you, and instead just trigger Watcher visions?

     

    Yeah, I always thought that meant those characters were spirits. You know, dead people. And I assumed that, since they were dead, they wouldn't notice or care if I tried to steal something nearby.

     

    Turns out that those people are all very much alive--it's just that you only speak with them on the spirit level. Which means that stealing stuff starts a fight that we can't run away from due to Pillars of Eternity's combat rules. We only have two choices: fight to the death and win, or fight to the death and lose.

     

    The occupants only have one choice: fight to the death and lose.

     

    f2vz3XN.jpg


    Once we're rested up, I decide to head back to Caed Nua and wrestle with some spiders. Most of them are easy to handle with Whisper of Treason, but the big one will take a little more effort. Fortunately, the queen is stuck behind the little due to how critter circles work, and by firing an Antipathetic Field beam (not to be confused with Ectopsychic Echo, the much stronger, party-friendly level 3 beam) from the side, Divinegon can deal a lot of damage to multiple spiders for just 10 Focus while we're waiting for the big spider to reach us.

     

    XcGJFtF.jpg


    We blind the queen before she can engage anyone, but it doesn't matter--by the time the other spiders are out of the way, Divinegon has built up enough focus to paralyze-lock the spider with Mental Binding.

     

    1jn6sWe.jpg


    Ciphers are just plan fun. You can thrash herds of critters with Mind Blades or beam attacks, charm almost anything with Whisper of Treason, and paralyze even the toughest critters as long as your cipher has decent damage output. The spider queen dies without touching us (though Frost did suffer a lot of damage from the other spiders and had to be hidden with Withdraw).

     

    UdaeJh5.jpg


    We run into some bandits (where did they even come from?) who quickly converge around our tanks, allowing Rius, our Wood Elf wizard, to blind all of them except for the archers near the back. They're pretty sturdy, though, with excellent damage reduction, so only our stronger hits, usually by Frost the rogue and Divinegon herself, deal more than single digits.

     

    Y0UaT9V.jpg
    druKrhL.jpg


    They don't have any special tricks, fortunately, and we don't suffer any big hits from the crossbowmen.

     

    Then I head downstairs, and a small horde of Xaurips rushes us. I don't remember this part, so this is very much a surprise. Divinegon kills one basic Xaurip with her arbalest (targeting the weakest enemies is usually the most reliable way to generate Focus) and charms a Skirmisher, but we've still got a lot of pressure bearing down on Eder. Notice the Wurm to the south--I don't remember fighting those guys here in my other runs.

     

    lkwZ3YL.jpg


    Rius blinds a few of the Xaurips and Mora Tai's Lay on Hands spell keeps Eder safe. Rius splatters the enemy priest with Concelhauts, and the fight is won in moments.

     

    tdkCoYG.jpg


    But that fight still concerned me--that was a lot of enemies at once, despite being the first fight in the area, and the Wurm was new to me. I've never been this far in the game in PotD mode, and I don't know what's around the corner. The next batch of Xaurips might be much tougher than I remember them being in my other runs.

     

    We're better off not finding out. It's not like I know of any important items on this level, or any important sources of XP. I've said that I plan on continuing this run even if I die, as a minimal-reload run, but I intend on playing this as though it were a no-reload run, which means anticipating dangers and gauging unknowns.

     

    That Wurm and the priest indicated the presence of significant unknowns. Time to head out!

     

    On the way to Defiance Bay, we run into a Forest Lurker (easily dispatched with cipher powers) and a Pwgra, which thankfully shows up on its own. Consecrated Ground keeps the Pwgra's Infestation of Maggots spell from causing anything more than scratch damage, and cipher powers pin it down.

     

    a3mIHEp.jpg


    We do the March Steel Dagger quest, but again fail to pick the right dialog option (I was hoping there was a way to keep the dagger without being mean to the kid) and we get the wood beetle figurine but not the dagger and the +20% attack speed enchantment I've been hoping for. As usual, we head for the balcony in Brackenbury and climb in to fight the guards. This time, I know not to underestimate them, and have Divinegon apply mental effects fast.

     

    5mBYiDq.jpg


    Divinegon finally hits level 5 and learns Puppet Master and Ectopsychic Echo. I actually don't see what's so great about Puppet Master when Whisper of Treason is so much cheaper, at 10 Focus instead of 30. Charm applies combat penalties while domination doesn't, but I use charm effects to screw with enemy functioning and distract other enemies, and three low-functioning enemies-turned-decoys are worth more than one high-functioning enemy-turned-ally.

     

    So I just use Ectopsychic Echo instead. It already crushes most everything, and it's completely safe. Plus, with her arbalest, she can get the necessary Focus pretty fast.

     

    3dBXKbe.jpg


    I'm using Frost, our rogue, as our target. Why a rogue? Well, the other party members aren't really available:

     

    1. Eder and Mora Tai, our primary tanks, could deal with the disengagement attacks that can come from running past enemies to stretch the beam over the crowd. However, we need them to stay in position to hold the enemies, and disrupting that arrangement costs us control of the battlefield.

    2. Rius, our mage, needs Arcane Veil to stay safe in melee combat, and I don't like using Arcane Veil in every fight because we only get two per rest and I prefer to keep my mages in the back. Also, I want Rius casting Blackened Sight as soon as possible, and having her run around would delay that.

    3. Zovai, our priest, has the defenses to handle disengagement attacks, but her Consecrated Ground spell follows her around, and if I send her far away to stretch Divinegon's beam across the map, then the rest of the party goes without healing.

     

    Frost is therefore our best option. She's the only one I don't need to be in any particular place at any particular time during a fight.

     

    We'll be relying heavily on Ectopsychic Echo to do the heavy lifting in future fights. The other party members fulfill some very crucial roles in enemy management and maintaining the party's defenses, but Divinegon is going to be the one landing kills.

    • Like 4
  18. @Jaheiras Witness: I ran some numbers. With attack rolls up to 15 being Misses, 16-50 being Grazes, 51-100 being Hits, and 101+ being Crits, we get the following spread for a character that deals 10 damage on a normal hit, and whose Accuracy is 40, 30, 20, 10, or zero points above or below the target's Deflection:

     

    i1BKVrv.png
     

    It looks like every 1 Accuracy below the target's defense imposes a 1.48% penalty to output, while every 1 Accuracy above the target's defense grants a little more than a 2% bonus to output, which steadily decreases as the bonus gets higher. My numbers are probably inaccurate because I only grouped things by 10's, but it looks like we've got a 1.5% penalty for negative Accuracy minus defense, and a 2% bonus for positive Accuracy minus defense.

     

    It's definitely less meaningful than Might for offensive purposes, especially when we factor in the importance of bigger hits to overcome damage reduction. Now Perception looks rather unimportant, even for the purposes of reliability.

    • Like 1
  19. I have more meta-level stuff on my mind, so forgive this long post if you're not a fan of abstract discussion:

     

    I've been thinking about Dexterity vs. Perception. Each point of Dexterity grants 3% faster attacks, while Perception grants only 1% better Accuracy. Ostensibly, that means Dexterity would buy more offensive power and reliability. But I think there are a couple reasons this isn't the case, and a third reason why Perception is more important in a no-reload context:

     

    First, not all attacks are equally important, especially for spellcasters. For very long fights or for multiple fights without resting in between, you will find yourself using normal attacks or per-encounter abilities, which are weaker than per-rest abilities. Dexterity might give you more attacks overall, but it doesn't increase how many special abilities you can use. Having 3% more basic attacks isn't as useful as having a 1% stronger Fireball early in the fight; the latter is more than three times more impactful.

     

    Second, the 1% improvement in Accuracy from Perception isn't actually a percentage--it's a percentage point. In terms of actual percent effectiveness, the importance of that number depends on your base chance of landing a hit. For example, if you only have a 33% chance of landing a hit, a single percentage point increase is equal to a 3 percent improvement (34 divided by 33 is about 1.03, a 3% difference from 1). Since tougher critters are harder to hit, this means that Perception gets increasingly important in the more dangerous fights, the ones where you need the most help. A +10 bonus to Accuracy will do very little if you already have an 80% chance of a hit, and you're probably not fighting a challenging critter in that case anyway. A +10 bonus to Accuracy when you only have a 20% chance of a hit, however, means you're hitting 50% more often overall--and it's helping you against a much tougher enemy.

     

    Third, the higher your overall Accuracy, the lower the chance that you'll fail multiple times in a row with an important offensive option. Our trouble with Whisper of Treason is a good example: while our chance of charming a Phantom was strong overall, we still had a small chance of failing several attempts, which left us with a much tougher fight. If our Perception was a little lower, the chance of an individual failure is only a little higher, but the chance of multiple consecutive failures is significantly higher.

     

    Now, Dexterity does have important defensive and utility uses, so Perception isn't necessarily a more important option in all cases. But I do think Perception is very important for higher difficulties because each point plays a larger role in winning the hardest fights and preventing the worst turns of bad luck.

     

    The same applies for Might vs. Perception. A character's Might has a role in healing, but for offensive purposes, in a no-reload context, I think it's more important to have high Perception than high Might.

    • Like 1
  20. I have a habit of making long posts, so I keep having to split my posts in two so I don't go over the image limit.

     

    Back to the temple of Eothas! Now that we've established that we can handle Spirits at Caed Nua, we know it's safe (or at least not unwise) to tackle the ones at the temple. We get better luck with Whisper of Treason, so there are no close calls.

     

    I was a little concerned about the Skuldrs, but they have worse Will defenses than the Spirits. Divinegon can easily charm even the strongest of them. They still last a little while, but that just means Kana has time to summon a Phantom to stun-lock them.

    hBwTcId.jpg

    UNsYNDq.jpg


    Then we get a wakeup call. The Spirits at the temple are much tougher than the ones at Caed Nua--there are Shades here in addition to the Shadows, and apparently Shades have a powerful ranged cold attack. They target our weakest party member and bring Divinegon within inches of death.

    1rMnOTY.jpg


    We heal her quickly, which is just enough to save her from another cold attack from the second Shade. They don't cast it again, however, and with only three enemies on the map and no disabled party members, we crush the Shades before they can cause us any more trouble.

     

    It isn't long before we run into another couple of Shades, however, and these ones come bolstered by more Shadows. Once again, they target Divinegon, and once again, Divinegon barely survives the two successive attacks by quickly healing in between them. But we're still in trouble: one of the Shades is heading straight for Divinegon, and I don't want to know what their melee attacks can do.

    xGVDkEM.jpg


    Mercifully, we just barely charm the Shade approaching Divinegon. It's just a graze, but it's long enough to dodge the threat of a sudden death, since our Consecrated Ground spell will keep healing our cipher.

    wPMXdx1.jpg


    The other Shade is still hostile, however, and easily lands an alarming hit on Divinegon.

    CgYduVU.jpg


    But Kana's Phantom makes it to the Shade and lands a stun effect. Divinegon has a chance to escape without triggering a disengagement attack!

     

    But she doesn't make it more than a few steps before the other Shade recovers from charm and immediately nails her with another ranged attack, and now her Health as well as her Endurance is dangerously low. Keeping Divinegon in the fight is no longer realistic; we have to hide her with Withdraw.

    XMb8LsY.jpg


    Without Divinegon's spells and scepter, the party is much weaker offensively, and actually killing the Shades is extremely difficult. Aloth burns his spells and our Phantom and fighters apply pressure, but they only kill a single Shade before Withdraw's lengthy duration finally expires. Divinegon is back in danger, and the odds of her surviving another ranged attack are slim.

     

    Desperate to end the fight quickly but low on Focus, Divinegon resorts to a Minor Missiles scroll. The extra boost is just enough to bring down the Shade!

    vtfxjxZ.jpg

     

    That was much uglier than I thought it would be. We really aren't great against ranged spells; Divinegon's low Constitution really puts her at risk and forces our other party members to look after her.

     

    Before we face Maerwald, I finally replace Kana, Durance, and Aloth with some custom party members I like more. Eder is our only non-custom character, and he's only sticking with us until we get Pallegina.

     

    We have a more balanced party this run. First, we have Mora Tai, an Aumaua paladin with high Perception (again, I want that reliability) and otherwise balanced stats, who is there for tanking, Liberating Exhortation, and the Zealous Endurance aura to pair with Pallegina's Zealous Focus. He's just there to keep the rest of us safe.

    2kN5wW2.jpg

    Next is Zovai, our high-Intellect Moon Godlike priest with low Constitution, boosted by Whispers of Yenwood. She's just there for support; she's not going to be doing a lot of fighting.
    kxOV0Z0.jpg

    Third is Frost, a high-Perception Hearth Orlan rogue, who will be using ranged weapons and dual-yielding to deal quick and reliable damage. Her defenses are absolute crap, but I want to explore rogues more, and I've learned to wait a moment before deploying a rogue to make sure Frost can strike at an enemy's side without drawing attention to herself. Notice her ludicrously high Accuracy values.

    Lt4uGtn.jpg

    Our last custom character is Rius, a high-Intellect, high-Perception Wood Elf wizard. She's there for reliable blindness spells that will penalize enemy Accuracy and enable sneak attacks from Frost, our rogue. As a Wood Elf, she'll get +5 Accuracy on any ranged attack or spell (testing has suggested that the bonus applies to even fairly close enemies; not just very distant ones).

    zmYiQl9.jpg

    Notice that everyone but Zovai has very high Perception. I've heard (I forget from who) that PotD mode gives bonuses to enemy defenses, and I want to make sure that I can count on our attacks to succeed. I don't want our success to be dependent on good attack rolls.

    • Like 4
  21. Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

     

    We fought some trolls in an area whose name I don't know (I still don't have a lot of names and places down), and Whisper of Treason proves capable of completely fending off enemy pressure. Trolls move slowly, and while you can't kite them as easily when they come in groups, a single charmed troll is enough to keep the others occupied. Notice Kana summoning skeletons--this method of fighting is very safe, but also very slow.

     

    hjsY1Gf.jpg

     

    Divinegon's high Might, Perception, and Dexterity let her build up Focus quickly, which means she can deploy multiple charm and paralyze spells in every fight. Her Accuracy is sky-high; she can even break the Will defenses of enemy priests.

     

    5L4ZOxh.jpg


    Finally, we hunt down the +2 Intellect hood, which temporarily goes to Eder so we can tank the Will o' Wisps back at the temple of Eothas without worrying about our tanks getting confused. Funny thing is, it doesn't appear necessary--Divinegon can break the difficulty just by charming the Will o' Wisps.

    UZeNNXh.jpg


    That's the nice thing about Poe: immunities are very scarce, which means disablers never become completely useless. In BG, critters had all sorts of immunities that made little sense and weren't even displayed (why would a dragon be immune to Slow?), and certain bosses were immune to basically everything besides damage.

     

    I finally tackle the Skuldrs--not because I had any special tools to deal with them, but just because the party felt a little tougher overall. Both of our tanks got stunned on the first round, but Whisper of Treason takes the pressure off our tanks. Charm just doe so much to change the opening rounds of combat.

    w9KtAE2.jpg

     

    The other Skuldrs in the south are tougher, but blindness keeps our tanks safe and charm turns back the Skuldrs who reached our weaker characters. We failed to use a choke point to control enemy movements, but charm was enough to compensate.

     

    We don't do anything downstairs, but merely entering the area gets us enough XP to bump Divinegon up to level 4!

    67zFJAE.jpg


    Divinegon learns Mind Blades to help us with larger hordes of weaker enemies. It becomes relevant soon after, when we discover that the Sporelings in the seaside cave are immune to charm. Like with the Will o' Wisps, Eder stays at the front with the hood on to block confusion effects.

    bPviWsl.jpg


    Durance is providing support with Consecrated Ground, and he pitches in an Iconic Projection to help clear the field early. When we finally reach the Dank Spores, Divinegon switches to Amplified Thrust to speed up the kills.

    otC35nu.jpg


    Finally, the rest of the party hits level 4. Aloth learns Arcane Veil, Eder takes Two Weapon Style to improve his dual-wielding with hatchets, and Kana takes Envenomed Strike just to try it out (I don't plan on keeping him around much longer). We add a single custom character, a Moon Godlike priest named Zovai, but I don't have a screenshot for her status at level 3.

     

    Zovai has low Constitution so her Silver Tide will trigger earlier and keep our other party members safer, and she has low Perception because I don't plan on using a lot of offensive priest spells. She's designed to serve as a secondary tank and cast buffing spells; she's not there to take offensive action.

     

    Time to take on Caed Nua! The Phantoms no longer seem as threatening; they have much less Endurance than I thought. Divinegon takes it down to Near Death with her opening shot from the Fine Arbalest and boosts her Focus to 41.

    q00q1Nm.jpg


    We can't stop the enemy from stunning Kana, but Whisper of Treason takes over the second, uninjured Phantom. The biggest threats, the Phantoms, are already mostly neutralized.

    FxZQRTZ.jpg


    We put down the first Phantom, isolate the second, and bring it down with the help of Amplified Thrust.

    1qd2ujX.jpg


    One of the other fights adds a Will o' Wisp and an Earth Blight to the equation, which increases the pressure on the party but doesn't substantially alter the situation--we can still screw with the enemy's functioning using Whisper of Treason. Eder gets confused by the Will o' Wisp, since I've taken the hood off of him (I didn't know there were Will o' Wisps around here in PotD mode), and we discover that confused party members are treated as enemies for the purposes of our damage spells: Mind Blades, a party-friendly spell, hits our own fighter.

    BCHyfoH.jpg


    Zovai gets stun-locked due to her low Constitution, but by the time it happens, we've already broken the enemy's strength with Whisper of Treason and Divinegon's powerful strikes with her scepter.

     

    But the next fight is much tougher: we have three Shadows and two Will o' Wisps along with twin Phantoms, and a low attack roll means that Divinegon only grazes with her opening arbalest attack. Since the fight happens in an open area (I didn't really know where all the enemies were; I only knew where the first group was), we haven't cornered our party to protect our spellcasters, and we quickly get surrounded. After a poorly-aimed Blackened Sight spell and multiple bad rolls on Whisper of Treason that win us exactly zero charmed critters, the enemy strikes at our heart with full Accuracy, and Durance goes down in seconds.

    0zIHovm.jpg


    The fact that Whisper of Treason can be cast multiple times at low cost means that we get multiple chances to charm enemies, but there's still a very small chance that several of them will fail in succession.

     

    Kana, barely avoiding a stun attack, summons a Phantom of his own, while Divinegon switches from Whisper of Treason to her scepter in an attempt to bring down a Phantom more reliably. With Minor Missiles from Aloth, we slay an enemy Phantom, while Kana's summoned Phantom slays a Shadow, but the remaining enemy Phantom is still in good condition, and Kana's defenses aren't strong enough to resist getting stunned forever.

    rksHLU7.jpg


    Zovai's healing spells just barely keep Kana alive, and while the Phantom keeps targeting Kana, we have time to grind it down.

     

    It's an important lesson: Whisper of Treason can break certain encounters, but on the off chance that multiple charm attempts fail, the fight will end up much more deadly than previous fights, increasing the risk that the player underestimates the danger. If you discover an offensive strategy that establishes an early advantage in combat, bear in mind that attack rolls are subject to chance. An offensive-oriented strategy might seem unbeatable 90% of the time, but in the other 10%, it will fail completely, and you need to plan for that 10%; not the 90%.

     

    We upgrade Divinegon's scepter with the Fine and Corrosive Lash, an important boost to our primary attack when Whisper of Treason fails. But for the final tussle with Spirits, inside the castle, we have a better strategy: since we have a narrow corridor and a straight stream of enemies in this fight, we can establish an early advantage by blasting the enemy with two Fan of Flames scrolls by our two tanks, Eder and Kana. This comes in addition to a Chill Fog by Aloth and a crossbow bolt by Kana (learning from other no-reloaders, I've adopted crossbows and arbalests over firearms on the ground that they're more reliable). The Fans of Flames are devastating, and due to the enemy's positioning in this fight, the coverage is extensive as well.

    CiHIc3O.jpg


    Eder does get stunned, but the scrolls severely weaken the enemy, and another one is another to break them. Aloth finishes them off.

    Y6UfhtU.jpg

     

    We get Whispers of Yenwood, which goes to Zovai simply to improve her low Constitution. I dropped her Constitution to make Silver Tide happen earlier, but that reasoning is more of a "low Constitution isn't that bad, so it's worth the cost for a Moon Godlike" as opposed to a "low Constitution is actually better." Besides, Whispers of Yenwood is a slower weapon, and I like my frontliners to be using faster weapons, since slower weapons involve fewer attack rolls and therefore a greater chance of multiple consecutive misses.

    • Like 4
  22. Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

    Explorer from the Living Lands

    Difficulty: Path of the Damned

    Settings: Maim before death; injuries on zero Endurance

    Might 18

    Constitution 6

    Dexterity 18

    Perception 20

    Intellect 10

    Resolve 6

     

    Divinegon (dih-vih-nih-gahn) is a lazy wanderer who slowly meanders wherever fate takes her, not minding where she ends up or how long it takes to get there. I've still got the same portrait for my Watcher.

     

    hGWJOnB.jpg

     

    Her lazy, sleepy approach to life is only there to justify her low Constitution and low Resolve, which I needed to drop to crank up her Might, Dexterity, and Perception (I really want that reliability for PotD mode). It would actually be better if she was a Wood Elf, since that would give me another +5 to Accuracy when using ranged weapons, but I like Orlans more. There's something about this fuzzy blonde gnome critter that I like.

     

    By the way, I was wrong about the price you get from selling Gaun's Pledge. Selling it to Heodan at the start of the game gets you 1,667 copper pieces. It's very much worth the trade, because the ring itself is largely worthless (the healing effect is pretty crummy).

     

    Anyway, this time, I haven't dropped Intellect. While Divinegon is primarily going to be a damage dealer, there are some very, very important disablers we need for the early game, and I want normal durations for them. Whisper of Treason is a very cheap charm effect we can spam relentlessly as long as we fire an arrow every once in a while. The effect is a huge game-changer, few early-game enemies have strong Will saves, and it only costs 10 Focus--very low-cost for such a reliable and effective spell.

     

    7GT8cVa.jpg

     

    One of the things I plan on doing differently in this run is using slow-firing weapons to generate gobs of Focus early on in fights. Right now, we don't have many such weapons, but even a simple crossbow is quite deadly in the hands of an offensive-oriented cipher. More importantly, it's satisfying to land those higher-damage hits.

     

    5y6L0G7.jpg

     

    The prologue isn't too much trouble; I think you need a weak Watcher and some very bad luck for it to go poorly, assuming you're making full use of Calisca and Heodan's abilities (and assuming both are in the party). By the time Divinegon sneaks through the wilderness straight to the inn at the Gilded Vale, we've gathered enough stray loot to collect 2,500 copper in all.

     

    But I won't be recruiting any custom characters yet, because this part of the run happened before @Alesia_BH pointed out that creating them early was more efficient. If it looks like I'm ignoring prior advice early in this run, it's because I hadn't gotten it at the time. So right now, I've only got Eder and Aloth on the team.

     

    After dying very early on a couple times in PotD mode during my Moon Godlike paladins run, I'm very cautious about early game fights, since a lot of them are deceptively dangerous. I dip into the temple of Eothas, but only long enough for the easiest fight in the entire dungeon. Divinegon, now at level 3, deploys her newfound spell, Amplified Thrust. As I've probably said before, I really like this spell--the burst damage is fantastic, and the knockback is great for safely breaking engagement for endangered allies.

     

    ujiC1m0.jpg

     

    To maximize her Focus gain and damage output, Divinegon is wearing simple clothing and switches from a crossbow to a scepter in combat. I used to prefer wands for ciphers, but scepters deal slashing/crushing damage, which I think is better than piercing/crushing damage, particularly since crossbows, arbalests, and firearms already deal piercing damage. As strong as she is, we're not remotely tough enough to handle wolves or bandits or the like, so I recruit Durance and we make our way to Caed Nua while studiously avoiding every fight along the way--except for a lone troll on the main road, which can be safely kited until Divinegon has enough Focus to paralyze it with Mental Binding.

     

    nQsNp3s.jpg

     

    Reaching Caed Nua gets us some level ups, and Eder chooses Confident Aim (I didn't know what else to pick, so I chose the safest option) while Aloth learns Combusting Wounds and Curse of Blackened Sight. The blindness spell is the most important, and from what I can tell, Blackened Sight is easily the best level 2 wizard spell. Imposing area-effect, party-friendly -25 Accuracy on a failed Will save is crippling for most enemy groups, even late in the game.

     

    I've learned to fear wolves, and I've also learned to be extremely generous with per-rest abilities despite getting so accustomed to not using them in my first no-reload run. When we tackle the wolf pack in Valewood, or whatever the area with the kidnapped cook is called, we lure them a short ways away so Durance, Aloth, and Divinegon can get Consecrated Ground (a great long-term investment in healing), Blackened Sight, and Whisper of Treason off the ground. I'll often lure enemies a short distance, just to buy us an extra second of buffing time.

     

    Er7jLdw.jpg

     

    The fight actually takes some time, but Consecrated Ground heals our scratches, and we come out in good condition. Once we're rested up, we go fight the Xaurips and duck into the bear cave just long enough to get the 50 XP from discovering the new map. We use the same strategy against the bandits, and Divinegon shows off her Amplified Thrust with her biggest hit yet.

     

    ljaj90m.jpg

     

    After selling off some loose gear (Kana's estoc and Durance's robe are great sources of money), we wrestle with some small wolf packs before making our way to the boars. I fail to control the assault, unfortunately, and Divinegon comes under heavy pressure when I let the boars spill past our tanks. Durance hides her with Withdraw, one of the very, very few escape options available in PoE.

     

    W4vWnkZ.jpg

     

    The duration is much longer than we need it to be, however. While Divinegon is safely locked up, the rest of the party struggles to make progress, and by the time Divinegon breaks free to save the day, Aloth has already gotten crushed in spite of his Wizard's Double spell, and Kana had to replace 3 skeletons.

     

    Z2W2X8P.jpg

     

    Nearby, Ludrana almost kills Kana with Minor Missiles, who recovers with Second Wind, and Aloth survives a graze from Necrotic Lance, a spell that could easily have killed him in one hit if Ludrana had gotten a better roll (I've seen it happen before).

     

    L6M7TNj.jpg

     

    Luckily, Divinegon charmed one of the paladins early on and Eder knocked the other one down, which means that no one in the party takes enough damage to suffer a knock out--though Ghost Blades brings several of us awfully close!

     

    wuBIHU2.jpg

     

    In the end, Kana stuns Ludrana with a wave invocation and Divinegon paralyzes the surviving paladin.

     

    7ocUgcO.jpg

     

    Down at the beach, we tackle a bunch of Xaurips who would normally pose a substantial threat to a level 3 party. But Whisper of Treason really screws with them, and it lets us partially remove the threat of paralysis attacks from the Xaurip Skirmishers.

     

    3dtxmc9.jpg

     

    Notice that our charmed Xaurip Skirmisher is already blinded--Aloth's Blackened Sight spell appears to come out faster than Whisper of Treason, and I haven't been practicing good timing to make sure that we only charm critters that resisted the blindness spell. Divinegon discovers that even the paladins, the Xaurip Champions, are pretty easy to charm--I think their Will defense is a 51, which Divinegon can actually break.

     

    Feeling confident about our successes against the weakest enemies in PoE, we stroll down to the Guls near the shore. Guls and other Vessels are immune to charm, but Mental Binding can still paralyze them just fine, albeit at a much higher Focus cost.

     

    6rB3Wct.jpg

     

    In BG, undead were immune to cold damage and paralysis, but Mental Binding and Chill Fog work just fine on undead critters in PoE. Once we grab the Fine Arbalest, greatly improving Divinegon's Round 1 shot, we stomp on some spiders in the temple of Eothas by using a choke point and applying Chill Fog. I go no further, however; I still want that +2 Intellect hood (I forget what it's called and where it's found) before dealing with the Will o' Wisps, and I have no plans for tackling the Skuldrs anytime soon. I'd rather stick with safer encounters.

     

    But when we fight the bandits guarding the stolen merchandise from the shop at Gilded Vale, an encounter I thought we could handle safely, a long-range druid spell reminds me that Divinegon is a glass cannon that needs to be kept far from the fray.

     

    L0kuQtI.jpg

     

    But Durance is fully capable of keeping Divinegon in good health, and a strong hit with her arbalest on the first round means that Divinegon can cast Whisper of Treason twice in a row. The crowd quickly turns majority green.

     

    D7Rfj6D.jpg

     

    The tide of battle completely shiftsin our favor, and soon all that's left are the enemy archers, who are no more sturdy in close combat than Divinegon. And unlike our party during the fight with the boars, these bandits have no priests to bail out a fragile character.

     

    1VxKwmF.jpg

     

    Druids are scary. It's weird that druids haven't shown up much as party members in this challenge so far, considering how dangerous they've proven as enemies.

     

    I don't have any wacky long-term plans or weird tricks planned for this run. I've decided that it's more important for me to better ground myself in basic PoE technical knowledge before I try any experimental strategies (my usual preference) in a higher difficulty setting like PotD.

    • Like 5
  23. @Alesia_BH: I'm very behind on posting on my current run, a PotD run with another Hearth Orlan cipher. I think I'll start posting tomorrow.

     

    @Enuhal: I don't know anything about "builds" in PoE (what on earth is a Cauterizer?), but I see the logic in a low-Constitution Moon Godlike. Since Silver Tide is triggered by the Moon Godlike's Endurance reaching certain percentages, you can make it trigger earlier by giving them lower Constitution. The Moon Godlike can take the hit to their survivability, and the early triggering of Silver Tide will be more likely to save other characters. A Moon Godlike with high Constitution, by contrast, will watch their Silver Tides go wasted, since their comrades will already be dead by the time the 2nd and 3rd Silver Tides arrive.

     

    @Jaheiras Witness: That Dragon Thrashing chant seems very powerful indeed! But I don't think it cheapens the challenge or anything like that; you've fought long and hard, and played very smart, to earn that chant. I'm glad to see Jazz Wit (remind me where the name comes from?) finally wading into the fray. I'm still amazed that he can handle ogres and stuff.

     

    Those Divine Marks? One of them was wasted? That Combusting Wounds: Pointless- everybody is dead or dying. And Arcadia never got to use her staff either. 

     

    lYW5ni2.jpg

     

     

    Whoah there, Alena! Chill! They're totally dead already!

    There's a meme to that effect:

    • Like 3
  24. Alesia isn't big on the "taking damage" thing. She has a habit of doing very, very long-term planning with her defensive options. She makes it look easy, but it's all based on careful preparation.

     

    If you snuck up on her at a party and tried to poke her with a toothpick, you would discover that she had already sewn a Button of Shielding +1 into the exact spot on her shirt where you tried to poke her.

    • Like 3
×
×
  • Create New...