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Hey guys, 

 

So after getting really discouraged by the honestly immersion breaking way I had to play Mindstalker, and getting some input from Haplok here on these forums, I decided to attempt a Monk/Cipher multiclass for my assassin Watcher. Now, this might sound like a weird option until one considers the following, from a roleplay perspective...

 

A: Monks cover a wide range of disciplines, from mercenaries to retainers to assassins.

B: Monk abilities and Cipher abilities both heavily involve the soul. While the Cipher focuses on manipulating the souls of their allies and enemies, Monks focus on strengthening their own soul through mortification to become stronger. 

 

Some things that, mechanically, Monk/Cipher misses out on that Rogue/Cipher gets

 

- Escape > Shadowing Beyond (Good 'get out of jail free' card for sticky situations. Not really any equivalent skill in the Monk arsenal, so... Just play better?)

- Sneak Attack damage (Up to 80% on no-Subclass Rogues/Assassins, 100% on Streetfighter. Only applies to weapon damage though) 

- A few more attacks that target Reflex

 

What Monk gives that Rogue doesn't

 

- 10 extra Might with Helwalker for spell damage, and a patently insane 10 Intellect for another 100% AoE size and 50% duration of afflictions AND the Ascended state. 

- Less hoops to jump through in order to set up your bonus, and less of a penalty to yourself (50% extra damage on a Ranged character isn't too bad, though the lack of escape options definitely hurts). 

- A really good Full Attack in Stunning Blow (Can be used at range, can refund the cost on Crit)

 

Now for the build!

 

Race: Human (Meadowfolk) or Aumaua (Coastal)

 

Class: Helwalker/Ascendant 

 

Culture/Background: Rauatai/Aristocrat or Scholar

 

Stats:

 

Might: 20 (15 Base +1 Human +1 GotM +2 Berath's Blessing +1 Permanent Stat Boost) 

Con: 10 (6 +1 Rauatai +1 Effigy's Resentment (Durance) +2 Berath's Blessing)

Dexterity: 18 (15 Base +2 Berath's Blessing +1 Chameleon's Touch) 

Perception: 21 (18 Base +2 Berath's Blessing +1 Chameleon's Touch)

Intellect: 20 (18 Base +2 Berath's Blessing)

Resolve: 6 (3 Base +2 Berath's Blessing +1 Human) 

 

20 Might becomes 30 with max Wounds from Helwalker, and from there it's not hard at all to reach 35. 20 Intellect becomes 30 with Helwalker + Duality of Mortal Presence. 10 Constitution effectively becomes 12 in regards to max HP with the bonuses from GotM and Effigy's Resentment. With Tough, that's 291 HP, enough to take a hit and get out of dodge. 

 

Abilities per level

 

Level 1 - Swift Strikes/Eyestrike

Level 2 - Whispers of Treason (Respec to Tenuous Grasp at level 10/When done with the Digsite)

Level 3 - Penetrating Visions

Level 4 - Two-Weapon Fighting/Draining Whip

Level 5 - Mind Blades 

Level 6 - Dance of Death

Level 7 - Secret Horrors/Lightning Strikes

Level 8 - Mental Binding

Level 9 - Stunning Blow

Level 10 - Puppet Master/Duality of Mortal Presence (Maybe respec Puppet Master to Mind Lance at level 15)

Level 11 - Enduring Dance

Level 12 - Thunderous Blows

Level 13 - Borrowed Instinct/Stunning Surge

Level 14 - Tough OR Rapid Casting

Level 15 - Ringleader

Level 16 - Amplified Wave/Turning Wheel

Level 17 - Disintegrate

Level 18 - The Empty Soul

Level 19 - The Dichotomous Soul/Ancestor's Honor

Level 20 - Echoing Horror

 

The abilities aren't set in stone. I went for predominantly damage dealing powers, but overlooked some very good crowd control powers. I'm interested in hearing other ideas for ability layouts from you guys. 

 

Gear 

 

Weapons: Thundercrack Pistol/Scordeo's Prize. Not only does dual-wielding pistols make you look inherently badass, Storm Rune Shot is a really good skill to use for quickly racking up Focus - though it is per-rest, so bear this in mind. Scordeo's Prize has some very good enchantment options that further help with crit damage and action speed. In another slot, get Kitchen Stove with Thunderous Report for insta-Ascension on one attack. 
 
Pet: Cutthroat Cosmo for the recovery reduction and party-wide effect of 5% bonus damage with guns. Every little bit helps. 
 
Armor: Miscreant's Leathers is my personal pick for the 5% chance to just ignore an attack. Furthermore, when used with Cutthroat Cosmo, it just... doesn't have a Recovery penalty. Plus it looks stylish, and Blow the Man Down is easily my favorite quest for all of the ways you can solve it. I'm definitely open to other suggestions though. Maia's armor seems like it'd be good for the 20% hit to crit on dodging a ranged attack, but that requires... dodging a ranged attack. Plus it's a % chance to happen, not a guarantee. 
 
Helm: Acina's Tricorn is why this build doesn't work with Godlikes unfortunately, as well as why Miscreant's Leathers is my favorite piece of gear to go with it for style points. Get it, love it. 
 
Rings: Chameleon's Touch and Ring of the Marksman. Chameleon's Touch can be acquired on Neketaka (Though the bounty to get it can be pretty rough) as can Ring of the Marksman (Though this is VERY important, and I'm putting this here so I won't forget. You must pickpocket it off of the Rauatai Sailors as part of the Valera portion of the Family Feud quest. As a pro-Rauatai character, obviously I can't kill them. As for... why I decided to steal their ring? Well, they weren't using it, I guess). 
 
Cloak: Cloak of Greater Protection - It's like Giftbearer's Cloth for people who A: Don't need the extra weapon/quick item slot and B: Don't overindulge in History. 
 
Neck: Token of Faith (+2 Resolve) or Amulet of Greater Health (25 max Health) - Lots of not unique items here, but I can't really think of many good neck slot items I've come across. The amulet brings us over 300 HP. Cipher's Shackle could also work for the +Con and Dexterity Affliction resistance. 
 
Gloves: Bracers of Greater Deflection - They're bracers that deflect things. Both this and the Cloak are taken in the event that you might be hit eventually and that if you are, you probably want to make sure you're at least not crit and killed before you can teleport away. 
 
Belt: Belt of Eoten Constitution - Mostly so that your 10 Con becomes 12 Con. That adds an extra 21 HP. I'm not entirely sold on this one, so other Belt options would certainly be welcome. Maybe Gwyn's Bridal Garter for the added resistance to Dexterity Afflictions?
 
Boots: Boots of the Stone or Bounding Boots (Grant Leap for a quick escape option). 
 
So, all in all, what do you guys think? The abilities might need a little tweaking, but while I think this is in for an equally rough (If not more rough) early game start compared to my Mindstalker, it has the potential to really come into its own and be a lot more fun to play. I really wasn't enjoying the constant penalty I was having to accrue to play the Streetfighter variant of this build, and I think this option allows for a more even blend of Cipher and Monk abilities that synergizes together a bit more naturally. 
 
Please feel free to be candid with your comments. If there's two skills here that don't synergize, let me know. Otherwise, I'm feeling pretty confident about this one, and the initial testing has been positive. 

 

Edit: Swapped out Lesser Wounds for Whispers of Treason and Mind Lance for Puppet Master, for early-mid game Charm/Dominate. I might respec when I get Ringleader, though having multiple options to apply those afflictions sound good. Thinking about swapping out Ectopsychic Echo for Secret Horrors, but I'm not sure. 

 

Edit: Realized I had counted two extra points, so I took them off of Dexterity, dropping it down to 18 after all bonuses. That makes my total attack speed 6.2 seconds compared to 5.1 seconds with the Streetfighter buff. More if I use the Chant with a Herald. That's not taking into account every potential buff, though. 

Edited by Cyrus_Blackfeather
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I guess I would ask what cause you to be discouraged from using a mindstalker in the first place. Streetfighter recovery bonus is admittedly a little clunky to activate, but you can also opt for the other subclasses. The other rogue kits (Assassin, Trickster, default) are quite viable.

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... okay, yeah, this looks pretty awesome.

 

Any particular reason you go Human? It doesn't seem like getting Bloodied is really in the battle plan. Just general panic-button reasons?

 

EDIT: Actually, looking at it again, I think your attribute total is assuming two extra points.

Edited by gkathellar

If I'm typing in red, it means I'm being sarcastic. But not this time.

Dark green, on the other hand, is for jokes and irony in general.

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... okay, yeah, this looks pretty awesome.

 

Any particular reason you go Human? It doesn't seem like getting Bloodied is really in the battle plan. Just general panic-button reasons?

 

Mostly for customization options/portrait variety. Aumaua would definitely fit Rauatai a lot better, but I'm not as much of a fan of their look. I dunno, I'd have to play around with it. 

 

 

I guess I would ask what cause you to be discouraged from using a mindstalker in the first place. Streetfighter recovery bonus is admittedly a little clunky to activate, but you can also opt for the other subclasses. The other rogue kits (Assassin, Trickster, default) are quite viable.

 

The Streetfighter Recovery time penalty is incredibly clunky, at least for me. -5 Accuracy, -1 AR, and (I think?) -10 Deflection from Distracted are all pretty huge drawbacks. I could use one of the others, I suppose, but I also like the bonuses you get from Helwalker. 

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My minstalker was assassin/beguiler.  I played him as an old vailian with the clergy background as though he was a hiding villain in a musketeers film.

I Chose the dove dialogue options when in polite company and the shady options every other time.  Most people thought I was a really nice guy but the more astute could tell there was something off. This let me twist xoti up into knots and feel less terrible about a 'romance' with her.  The ending slides where a confused mess though with her light hearted and long lasting friendship with Eder coinciding with her boxes of dead animals and her devoted letters to me.

At first I went melee, expecting to use the hood reward from Aldys with the Bardatto rapier and Rust's stiletto.  I instantly took aggro from anything I went near and was dying too fast in light armor (and that assassin penalty).  It was still a nice combo to have when something isolated got near and the hood still did nice things for ranged, but I went for the 50% no recovery on crit bow(s) instead.

I don't know if the assassin's from stealth accuracy bonus does apply to cipher spells but I never had any trouble landing whispers of treason on even very high will enemies when using it as a cheese stealth alpha strike vs large crowds (instead of opening with damage).

Sneak attack bonus damage plus biting whip was more than enough of a focus gain with the beguiler return to always have enough focus to keep my debuffs and buff up or drop a string of whispers of treason.  I did not pick any of the bonus focus passives, but I did take the penetration boosts.  My damage came from sneak attack bow shots etc, not cipher spells. Everything on screen was always flanked and frightened, I always had the accuracy buff and deathblows was always up.  

I had 2680 crits by the time I reached Ondra's Spire but had only done 107106 damage (I did more with Maia in one playthrough!).  I pretty much left him on a custom AI setting I was constantly editing and he was always debuffing rather than shooting.  My swashbuckler Eder was benefiting just as much from my debuffs,  putting in 104955 sword and board damage! 

If I replay him to try a better ending I will definitely try Trickster out just so I can give melee a better crack.  I just can never make streetfighter work for me if I'm standing around in my skivvies.  Its kind of hard to look the part of a Monk/Clergy in armor.  Maybe we'll get a visible appearance slot option in the future.

https://i.imgur.com/Nr8pH3g.png

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My minstalker was assassin/beguiler.  I played him as an old vailian with the clergy background as though he was a hiding villain in a musketeers film.

I Chose the dove dialogue options when in polite company and the shady options every other time.  Most people thought I was a really nice guy but the more astute could tell there was something off. This let me twist xoti up into knots and feel less terrible about a 'romance' with her.  The ending slides where a confused mess though with her light hearted and long lasting friendship with Eder coinciding with her boxes of dead animals and her devoted letters to me.

At first I went melee, expecting to use the hood reward from Aldys with the Bardatto rapier and Rust's stiletto.  I instantly took aggro from anything I went near and was dying too fast in light armor (and that assassin penalty).  It was still a nice combo to have when something isolated got near and the hood still did nice things for ranged, but I went for the 50% no recovery on crit bow(s) instead.

I don't know if the assassin's from stealth accuracy bonus does apply to cipher spells but I never had any trouble landing whispers of treason on even very high will enemies when using it as a cheese stealth alpha strike vs large crowds (instead of opening with damage).

Sneak attack bonus damage plus biting whip was more than enough of a focus gain with the beguiler return to always have enough focus to keep my debuffs and buff up or drop a string of whispers of treason.  I did not pick any of the bonus focus passives, but I did take the penetration boosts.  My damage came from sneak attack bow shots etc, not cipher spells. Everything on screen was always flanked and frightened, I always had the accuracy buff and deathblows was always up.  

I had 2680 crits by the time I reached Ondra's Spire but had only done 107106 damage (I did more with Maia in one playthrough!).  I pretty much left him on a custom AI setting I was constantly editing and he was always debuffing rather than shooting.  My swashbuckler Eder was benefiting just as much from my debuffs,  putting in 104955 sword and board damage! 

If I replay him to try a better ending I will definitely try Trickster out just so I can give melee a better crack.  I just can never make streetfighter work for me if I'm standing around in my skivvies.  Its kind of hard to look the part of a Monk/Clergy in armor.  Maybe we'll get a visible appearance slot option in the future.

https://i.imgur.com/Nr8pH3g.png

 

Well, that's the main reason I decided to go Helwalker - +10 Might allows for a lot more versatility in terms of the type of damage you're able to do. I was going Streetfighter/Ascendant, but the stuff you have to do to make Streetfighter work when you're at range just isn't enjoyable for me. I've considered other options as well, pairing off No-Subclass Rogue with Monk or Ranger, or Cipher with Ranger, but none of those really seemed all that fun to me. At the end of the day, here's what I'm looking for for THIS particular character. 

 

- A ranged damage dealer. That's obvious, and easy enough to make in a number of different ways. I prefer dual pistols for the 'cool' factor and because pistols, of the ranged family, seem to have the better enchants. I also really want a mixed martial/magic class because I love exploring that concept. The best fit for the kind of character I wanted to play that followed that theme was a Cipher gunner. 

- A Cipher multiclass. Ciphers were BIG in the first game, and I feel like they have the potential to be big here, for the kind of character I'm wanting to make. It's not JUST his weapon skills that make him an asset to his faction, it's the information he's able to extract, through a variety of subtle and/or painful ways. 

- A Cipher multiclass that's able to use their spells. I get that that's not 100% optimal, but people on these very forums seem to be having a lot of fun with things like Mind Blades, or Disintegrate, or Amplified Wave. Heck, if Amplified Wave's AoE is as big as it was in the first game, with 30 Int it should make boarding actions ridiculous. Same thing with Mind Blades and its tons of bounces at max level. 

 

I LIKE Mindstalker as a concept (Even if I hate the name), don't get me wrong, but I could never really get something that 'stuck' with it. The Streetfighter bonus is great, but is more suited for a melee character. With range, while it does come in really handy, the conditionals for setting it up are a lot more specific. You either need to play recklessly and get bloodied... or you can use Powder Burns, neither of which appeal to me. Plus, you're never really encouraged to use your Cipher spells outside of reapplying CC while Ascended, since your Rogue damage is always going to be superior. 

 

Edit: Basically, as long as what I've presented here isn't suboptimal (Like, say, a Priest/Wizard or a Priest/Cipher), without having to be "Meta" (Paladin/Chanter solo PotD or Streetfighter/Berserker Lightning Cheese from before 1.2), I'm content with it just being considered "Good fun." 

 

That being said, I am considering going Aumaua for the race, and probably Island for the immunity to slog (Since I'm not really planning on getting or staying Bloodied). Kind of stepping on Maia's toes a bit there, though. But, hey, more lore-friendly. 

Edited by Cyrus_Blackfeather
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The abilities aren't set in stone. I went for predominantly damage dealing powers, but overlooked some very good crowd control powers. I'm interested in hearing other ideas for ability layouts from you guys.

Maybe swap out Ectopsychic Echo with Secret Horrors. Mostly because its kinda clunky to set up and in the time it takes set up you'd probably get more mileage out of the other offensive powers. Personally I prefer it with a Chanter or Ranger (Ghost Heart only) multiclass, since you can summon behind the enemies and then lash the tether on them.

 

As for Secret Horrors, it inflicts Frightened which makes enemies stop using their abilities, very useful against enemy casters. Between Puppet Master, Ringleader and Secret Horrors you're well set for crowd control.

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The abilities aren't set in stone. I went for predominantly damage dealing powers, but overlooked some very good crowd control powers. I'm interested in hearing other ideas for ability layouts from you guys.

Maybe swap out Ectopsychic Echo with Secret Horrors. Mostly because its kinda clunky to set up and in the time it takes set up you'd probably get more mileage out of the other offensive powers. Personally I prefer it with a Chanter or Ranger (Ghost Heart only) multiclass, since you can summon behind the enemies and then lash the tether on them.

 

As for Secret Horrors, it inflicts Frightened which makes enemies stop using their abilities, very useful against enemy casters. Between Puppet Master, Ringleader and Secret Horrors you're well set for crowd control.

 

 

Alright! Thanks. 

 

What do you think of this compared to the Mindstalker I'd been fussing over? Personally, I think this seems like a lot more fun. 

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Like I wrote in the PM, I'd definitly not skip Ecto Echo. It's one of the best Cipher powers.

And unless he's soloing, chances are he'll have another ranger (Maia?) or Chanter (Pallegina/Tekehu?) to comfortably link the companion/summon behind enemy lines.

Hammering Thoughts are nice, but a bit redundant with Thunderous Blows. 

Edited by Haplok
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Made some more small tweaks - changed out The Complete Self for Echoing Horror (Extra little bit of CC on kill). Also, once I get Puppet Master, I've considered respeccing out of Whispers of Treason for Tenuous Grasp, provided the issue with respeccing removing your character creation picks if you upgrade them is fixed. 

 

I'm considering getting rid of Tough for Fast Casting, especially for my big AoE spells like Amplified Wave, and for Disintegrate. That does hit my HP pretty hard, though... ranged character. 

 

After I get Ringleader, I might spec out of Puppet Master for Mind Lance. It targets Reflex and has good base Penetration. I also want to get Mental Binding in there for another quick CC against groups, but I have no idea where I'd put that. 

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does Swift Flurry work with ranged weapon?

In russian translation it says it works with melee only.

 

It does! Dangit. 

 

Hmm. So, that frees up a slot to either take Lightning Strikes (Which doubles up with the shock lash from the Thundercrack pistol, I think) or get Stunning Blow early and pick up Mental Binding at Level 8. I'd probably go for Mental Binding just to round out my fast-cast CC a little bit more, though Lightning Strikes is a tough second just for that little bit of extra damage. Plus, I like the idea of shock with this build - it's just a shame the Thundercrack pistol isn't pierce/shock like Lord Darryn's Voulge is Shock/Slash. 

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Well, i'd use Kitchen Stove with Thunderous Report for 1shot focus generation and second weapon set with Scordeo's Trophy and some other pistol.

Thunderous report then switch to pistols then spam your spells :)

Sorry for my bad english.

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Well, i'd use Kitchen Stove with Thunderous Report for 1shot focus generation and second weapon set with Scordeo's Trophy and some other pistol.

Thunderous report then switch to pistols then spam your spells :)

 

Alright! And single-handing a Blunderbuss pretty much negates the Accuracy penalty. I went ahead and added that into the gear list. 

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Any other comments or concerns? I think this is ready to play, bar a few other potential bits of tuning. 

 

1. I'm thinking of switching the race to either Coastal or Island Aumaua to more fit the aesthetic of a Rauatai intelligence/black ops officer. Obviously the race is flexible depending on where your character is from, culture-wise. This is subject to change per more feedback into the intricacies of the VTC versus RDC, but bear in mind I like to try to stick with lore-appropriate races to the culture I pick. 

 

2. The finalized stats now that I stopped accounting for two extra points that didn't exist. That is, unfortunately, a failure in the math of most of my builds, due to my poor balancing. 

 

3. The finalized abilities. I might drop Mental Binding in favor of something else from the Cipher or Monk trees. And can anyone tell me if the +1 flat Penetration from Hammering Thoughts stacks with the +2 Penetration from Thunderous Blows? Further, is +3 Penetration to spells and weapon damage all that's really needed? 

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Figured I'd update this. Updated some of the abilities (Decided to take Lightning Strikes. Good idea or nah?) and took Stunning Blow instead of Hammering Thoughts or Ectopsychic Echo. I'm considering whether or not to just not upgrade Hammering Thoughts if it doesn't stack with the lash from Thundercrack Pistol - though it does apply a lash to my other pistol regardless, so that's good. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Any update on this? Has this worked out at all for you or was it just "meh"? Really curious because I was looking into doing the same thing! Would really like to hear an update on how it went and your thoughts. Cheers!

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