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Sweeper Agent Class: Harbinger ( Streetfighter/Troubadour ) Difficulty: PotD+ Version: 2.0 Solo?: You can cheese a lot of stuff in solo PotD+ with a chanter (summons) and rogue (dot & run) granted you may have to make a few adjustments in skills and prep your fights, but the build is better appreciated with a party. (Sorry if this is long. I wrote it in a very general way.) DESCRIPTION: The Sweeper's main focus is an interrupt and utility build that is tuned more towards range, but it can handle well also as a midline melee. It does various sorts of things that I will like to call "sweeping" and in this particular build, the unique quarterstaff, "Street Sweeper" is part of the utility kit. The Streetfighter rogue subclass is very popular with the amazing bonuses received when it hits its requirements of being flanked and/or bloodied. A very popular way of achieving this is by using the blunderbuss modal to achieve the speed bonus, but in this build we are achieving this with the harbinger's advanced wisp summons attacking the harbinger with its distracting attack. Now that we have our own wisp battery triggering our "Heating Up" buff with its autoattacks, it gives a lot more freedom in using a wider selection of ranged weapons or meleeing a single target without the need of being surrounded. The wisps also serve 5 other functions: 1. Damaging you down gradually to bloodied (<50% health) for "On the Edge" dmg buff if you like to take it slow to bloodied range. 2. Use the 2nd wisp to act as a spotter that debuffs your target for sneak attack potential. 3. Chain interrupting the enemy with the wisp's interrupt active ability. 4. Being a decoy. 5. Supply another streetfighter ally with "distract" if they don't have super high defenses. If you have more than 2 streetfighters, you can do additional micro to hit additional targets. Technically you could delegate the wisp work to another chanter who then uses those wisps to fuel other Streetfighter hybrids opening up the way to some party combos, but I want to highlight the points for this build combo as a whole package. First Sweep: Sweeping gunfire (or blast! or strikes!). Not new to the hand mortar rogue builds, but using a weapon that has aoe capabilities like hand mortars or rod + modal allows the harbinger to apply its debuffs enmasse. Second Sweep: Sweeping them off their feet (Interrupts) The harbinger's active skills come with a degree of interrupt depending on the grade of the attack. To further supplement the kit, many weapons have modals and crit effects that can keep the enemy from doing stuff efficiently and I'll mention some of these weapons at the weapon section of the guide. The energized buff you can get allows crits to interrupt so it could possibly work with other weapons, but the buff upkeep can be taxing so it is mostly used only when extra PEN is needed. Wisps are your strongest interrupt as they can chaincast their interrupt skill to eat up a massive stack of concentration and lock down even the toughest of enemies like dragons. Third Sweep: Street Cleaning - Buff countering The streetfighter has access to many types of afflictions, which can be very beneficial to countering the buffs of enemies granted they are not immune to the counter. Some hard enemies have no timer on their buffs and require its respective counter to strip them off it. An example is using blind to strip the enemy of the perceptive buff, which then lowers their hit and crit chances on your tank. For other buffs with durations, this is were the quarterstaff Street Sweeper's buff clearing feature shines. For other notable cleaning options the war bow, Veilpiercer, has a chance to clean buffs and even has a on-rest skill that can strip out all duration effects in a tiny area. Fourth Sweep: Cleansweep - Situational AoE burst Chanters have a skill, "White worms writhed in the bellies of the dead," (that I will just refer to as "Corpse Explosion"), where it will detonate a single downed enemy and inflict crush damage within its average radius. The upgraded version of the skill, "Their Putrid Stench Wafts Across", has its tooltip only state that it now applies a long lasting sickened debuff. The upgraded version now blows up every body within the massive targeting circle that now covers nearly the entire screen thanks to the high INT of the build. Even if the target circle does show red in the middle (hazardous aoe), it doesn't actually affect your team at all. It even can target your dead skeletons from the skelly chant if you are fast enough to cast it before its corpse disappears. No reason to not clean those floors up. Assuming you are not facing crush-immune or ridiculously high Reflex enemies, this skill makes having a bunch of downed enemies into a cheap nuke that can escalate into a deadly cycle. I usually like to spend Sasha's Singing Scimitar's free empower point here on trash. Alternatively, with the streetfighter's' fast recovery coupled with a high arcana skill you can machinegun expensive scroll nukes if you have the resources as a last resort. (edited) TIP: Turn off gibs in options so they don't get chunked when they die and not leave a body. Optional Sweep: Minesweeper. With its high perception, you can turn this character into your mechanics monkey and have it sweep the floors for traps. Other notes: It is worth mentioning that I made this build with a skillset to achieve a decent enough PEN to circumvent most enemies with stupid high armor (~15-17AR). I chose Troubadour over Skald since PotD+ diminishes Skald a bit and Troubadour is a lot more consistent. Skald is very good in lower difficulties, but be aware that its phrase gain from crit only applies to melee crits. GAMEPLAY: Open up with Artierial Strike if you have it. Summon your wisps and have them attack you. Stay in the Troubadour's Brisk Recitation modal for the "Energized" buff if you want to use a weapon with no passive interrupt or need the extra penetration for an enemy. If you can comfortably damage with your current penetration or don't need a lot of soft interrupts, turn off Brisk Recitation to have your party benefit from double linger chants. This method is easier since now you only need phrases to resummon wisps and don't suffer from inconsistent chant buffs. Apply all relevant debuffs if enemies are clumped up nicely and you can stay in aoe mode if it is more beneficial for damage. I like to save some rogue power in case I need situational buff countering or to escape since the build is meant for countering/utility and not damage output. With the opener done, Send one wisp to assist you in picking off enemies and/or possibly micro wisp to lock them down if they are extremely dangerous. Once a few enemies are down and the remaining survivors are close to the bodies, detonate them and repeat the process. In case you are using phrases to debuff enemies (Armor debuff invocation) or chaincasting corpse explosions, I recommend going back into Brisk Recitation modal to regain phrases quickly to upkeep your wisps. DISADVANTAGES: If built for more damage by dumping RES and CON, the obvious weaknesses of being squishy applies. The biggest disadvantages of a build with low RES is a deflection rating where enemies will often start chasing you down and the increased durations of debuffs with long timers. Having the harbinger with a long INT affliction can be annoying as it will go about and interrupt your backline. Other things like very long dots with low CON can threaten you if not watched carefully so dedicate a few quick slots to recovery items. Considering that you need to manually autoattack with wisps to make the build work and maintain buffs, it requires a bit of micro that can't be scripted. If you are soloing and having wisps tank and interrupt, prepare for micro hell. If you are playing with a full party on lower difficulties, the burst damage from other classes may leave you with not much to play with. RACES: Human - For fighting spirit synergy when you want to live on the edge. (Used in playthrough) Nature Godlike - Starts with ideal stats. If you prefer a power level over the helm slot using energized to achieve your buff requirement. Has interesting perk with Heart Chime amulet. Elf - Starts with ideal stats. Aumaua - About the same with elves. Hearth Orlan - To squeeze out that extra crit chance with a party. Dwarf - If you plan on using Aamina's Legacy a lot. ATTRIBUTES: My playthrough stats as a Human including background and without Berath's Blessing: (8/8/18/18/19/7). A bit of space to go glass cannon and buff out stats with blessing. MIG - Low/High. If more interested in crits and interrupts then make this "Low" since DEX/PER are better for that path. If deciding to be more of a glass cannon then dump RES/CON and make this "High". CON - Low/Dump. Not too keen on dumping this all the way since a little bit of an HP buffer for self-damage and midlining is helpful. DEX - High. Hey look! It's a DEX chanter. It does nothing for accumulating phrases, but it helps with everything else allowing more actions you can do within your "buff" windows. Depending on your weapon setup, you can get away with less. PER - High. Helps for criticals and landing abilities in early PotD. You can do with less in lower difficulties, but it still is very useful in finding hidden items and traps. You also need a bit to offset the perception affliction's -5PER penalty. In most cases this will probably be maxed in PotD. INT - Maxed. Your most important stat for increasing the duration of summons, buffs, and debuffs allowing less downtime with having to reapply. As a troubadour, you will clip your double chant lingers at some point, but more INT is always good for everything else. RES - Low/Dump. Lowering this helps the duration of the "distract" affliction to last longer for streetfighter to work, but it also increases durations for every other affliction. Too little also makes enemies peel off often to try and get you if your melee can't engage them all, but that is what skelly chant is for :D. SKILLS: Arcana - If you plan on using Spearcaster a lot, then this should be the skill to take. It also greatly helps to make certain hard encounters easier via scroll nuking. Alchemy - Great mileage for self-buffing and healing options. Athletics - Other than being useful for events, it is an okay lazy heal button after taking a bad hit or self-sustaining your hp pool when it gets dangerously low. Mechanics - BONUS RP! If you want to get extra sweepy then make them into your mechanics monkey. Stealth - Handy for ambushes and general roguing. Metaphysics - If you plan to use Chromoprismatic Staff and/or Animancer bow a lot, this skill should be your main passive skill. History - Can be useful if you plan on using The Giftbearer's Cloth. CULTURE & BACKGROUND: This part is flexible, but you will want one that has the main attributes and skills listed above. In my playthrough I took Old Vallia for INT and the Artist background because the Street Sweeper quarterstaff kind of looks like a gigantic paintbrush that paints their enemies dead on the canvas that is the ground. Kaboom! Art. WEAPONS & MODALS: +Good / ?Notable / -Bad ABILITIES: +Good / ?Notable / -Bad EQUIPMENT: +Good / ?Conditional / -Bad
I didn't see a thread about this here and I thought you guys might find the following information interesting, since it is about Project Eternity. Our good friend, Infinitron, asked Josh Sawyer a question on his formspring and he answered with a video. The question was, "When you write about how all classes in Project Eternity should be "useful", what does that mean? Does it mean they need to be equally powerful and "balanced"? If so, what dos that even mean in a single player, party-based RPG?" Here's his answer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGv_-a8GBhY The conversation continued in chat and here was what was said: Q: You didn't address the "party-based" part of my question, though. _Should_ players even care how well any individual character in the party performs compared to another as long as the party as a whole manages to perform its tasks adequately? Also, FYI, the reason I write "balance" in quotes is because I'm not sure the definition of balance you're thinking of is the same one most people think of when they read the word "balance". Balance of what? Power? Usefulness? Choose your words carefully. A: Yes, they should still care because if there are weird imbalances in the party that are assumed to be solved with a "correct" party composition, that implicitly suggests "incorrect" party compositions. It's pretty common in D&D groups to "need" a healer. Arguably in BG2 there are places where you absolutely need an arcane spellcaster. I think that limits potential party compositions and is not a benefit to the player. I think we should move away from class designs that shove classes into a niche that have little/no overlap with other classes and then make content that effectively demands you have a character of class x/y/z to move forward. From my perspective, it's actually not important if the player doesn't care about individual class balance. But I'm the designer, not the player. I can't see any benefit for myself or players for me to *not* consider balance and utility in their design. Q: Re: "Correct" party compositions. See, thing is, that was kind of a part of the core D&D experience for a lot of people. Assembling the crew, like in a heist flick. Gotta have the healer, the mage, the tough guy. You'd carefully "hire" for each position. What about what I'm suggesting would stop you from making/building that party? Q: Presumably, your balancing of the classes would change them in such a way that the familiar dynamic of the classical D&D party would be irrevocably altered. Everybody would be sort of healer-ish, everybody would be sort of fighter-ish, etc. No diversity. Not if drawing outside of traditional lines is an optional activity. Want to build a wizard who wears no armor and stands in the back with noodle arms while the huge full plate fighter pounds on dudes' faces and the rogue scoots around backstabbing? Cool Q: Moreover, you might wish to consider that the traditional distinct classes had a sort of elegant simplicity to them. You've no doubt seen how every first-time player goes and rolls up his first Human Fighter. And not a Half-Elf Fighter/Mage/Thief. I might be getting a bit theoretical here since this is hardly an issue for me, but the traditional classes also had a secondary function, serving as a kind of additional difficulty setting. Fighters were for the beginners, mages were for experts. Nothing will prevent you from building a simple, straightforward, low-maintenance fighter (if you want to) in PE. Q: Oh, I don't doubt that. But of course that leads to the question of whether this great freedom and flexibility in character development will inevitably lead to poorly balanced combat encounters and other content. The most important type of balance. Inevitably? Come on. Q: Heh. I share your optimism! Unfortunately I can't say the same for everybody I know. You know, it would be great if you or somebody else at Obsidian could tell us a bit more about how you guys design and balance individual combat encounters in your games. [source]: http://www.formspring.me/JESawyer -------------------------------------- So, what do you think? Let everyone know. But, please please please please please please please please keep the conversation on-topic. If you're going off on tangents, just start a new thread.