So, I'm fairly set on really wanting to play a Cipher for my pro-Vallian playthrough, for a couple of reasons;
1. Roleplay-wise it really fits. The Republics are one of the few places where animancy (And thus, one assumes, Ciphers) are fairly widespread and accepted, albeit with some caveats - you can't go around shooting people in the head to test out your new headache curing short bow, for instance (See: Essence Interruptor).
2. I played a Cipher in the first game, and had a lot of fun with it.
3. After Priest, it has the highest number of special dialogue interactions.
Now, I've been having some problems deciding on what class to play - because I'm trying to get a happy medium between good roleplay and a fun build to try in general. Ergo, I've considered the following.
1. Transcendent (Ascendant/Helwalker): Turning Wheel's fire lash affects spell damage as well, so things like Amplified Wave can, when they Pen, do pretty significant damage. Lightning Strikes affects ranged weapon as well as melee weapon damage, and then couple that with Recall Agony and that's a really good suite of lash damage. Helwalker also allows for +10 Might/+10 Int per wound, albeit at a pretty steep damage vulnerability cost, especially when taken with the damage penalties from The Red Hand, or the High Harbinger's Robes.
Why not Nalpazca? Because Nalpazca really doesn't work from a roleplay perspective for me. Plus, most drugs have had their effects severely nerfed. I would like to get some feedback from anyone who's tried a Transcendent Helwalker and how hard it was to keep them alive/how much micro had to be used.
2. Mindstalker (Assassin/Soulblade or No Subclass/Soulblade, I'm not sure): I'm really not a fan of Mindstalkers, because without the Streetfighter they don't really offer any action speed buffs or good penetration outside of Assassinate, which is conditional. That said, the Assassinate bonus does apply to spells as well, so I could use it for some of Cipher's big "Needs to hit/crit" powers like Ringleader or Borrowed Instinct.
I was inspired by this video, but I'm not sure how much of this has been nerfed:
And also this build: https://forums.obsid...ed-mindstalker/
And here's my attempt at a (Ranged) Mindstalker here: https://forums.obsid...ion-company-rp/ (This is incredibly out of date)
If I did make a Mindstalker, it'd most probably be melee. Also, not sure if Streetfighter or Assassin would be a better choice there. Streetfighter kind of hinges on getting yourself in a situation you'd really rather not be in in order to work.
3. Inquisitor/Psyblade: I list both of these here because I have similar problems with the two of them. For Inquisitor, there's really not a Paladin subclass that suits the kind of character I want to play (Bleak Walker comes the closest, but then they're way too aggressive for the subtle sort of secret agent/assassin character I'm going for). Psyblade almost works, but then the Fighter is a tad too unsubtle.
4. Pure Ascendant: I already have a thread up about this, but it definitely seems to suffer pretty badly from ability drought after PL6. For example, Time Parasite, for being such an ubiquitous power, has a REALLY crappy duration.
Of these choices, the one that best fits the kind of character I'm wanting to play is Mindstalker. While it doesn't have an on-demand Penetration boost like the Monk does, and lacks in terms of raw stat power, it does offer quite a bit of bonus damage to recycle Focus quickly, and aesthetically fits the sort of spy/assassin/Corvo Attano from Dishonored character I'm trying to evoke here. Transcendent is probably my second choice, provided I pick the right Monk school, but Mindstalker is offering most of what I feel like I need.