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Hey guys, 

 

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:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBU60vMDi3c

 

And also this build: https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/101391-class-build-dishonored-mindstalker/

 

And here's my attempt at a (Ranged) Mindstalker here: https://forums.obsidian.net/topic/104034-final-copy-the-company-man-ranged-mindstalker-assassinascendant-for-heavy-immersion-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. 

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If you don't want Nalpazca pick no-subclass monk, in my opinion Rogue subclass don't give any benefits for Cipher powers, but for example Sherlock Holmes or Witcher were drug addicted, so I don't see any problems to Agent who was specially trained and addicted by some type of drug

Edited by mant2si

Solo PotD builds: The Glanfathan Soul Hunter (Neutral seer. Dominate and manipulate your enemies), Harbinger of Doom (Dark shaman. Burn and sacrifice, yourself and enemies for Skaen sake)

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If you don't want Nalpazca pick no-subclass monk, in my opinion Rogue subclass don't give any benefits for Cipher powers, but for example Sherlock Holmes or Witcher were drug addicted, so I don't see any problems to Agent who was specially trained and addicted by some type of drug

 

... Sherlock Holmes WAS a coke addict, yeah. Which I guess would be... Svef in this case? 

 

And there's nothing saying I have to stay 100% true to how the subclass presents itself. I was just mostly thinking about this;

 

"The Nalpazca distinguish between the material world and the imagined world of perceptions, feelings, and false structures, seeing the latter as the limiting force that prevents a person's transcendence. They employ extreme practices to remain ever-conscious of what is truly real, and are known for exhibiting bizarre anti-social behavior in public settings, consuming powerful hallucinogenic drugs, and inflicting great pain upon themselves, all so as to allow themselves to "see more clearly." There are even rumored to ritualistically cannibalize the flesh of the recent dead so that they might come to terms with their own mortality, though such rumors have the ring of superstition." 

 

Pretty intense stuff! I might try no-subclass though, just because with the nerfs to the way Alchemy scales things now, I feel like the negatives to Nalpazca outweigh the positives. I could be wrong, though. And Monks in general can occupy many of the same places a Rogue might in society; some work as assassins. 

 

It's a pretty tough pick. I'd be interested to hear the pros and cons of both Transcendent and Mindstalker. 

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^ ^ ^ 

Well check monks from BG seiries game, they have stealth and can detect traps, so I think monk may become assassin, but assassin can't become monk, for me the difference between them in their life position and how they become proficient in their class, assassin is guy who specific on killing peoples, and monk is guys who spent a-lot of time just on self improving, but of-course Vallian, can steal monks techniques and just study their agents as they want, not all agents need to kill people ?

Mind-stalker offer invise and good melee/range damage boost + interruption
Monks offer Action speed/Damage boost/Intellect Boost/Summons/500% To range for melee weapon/Unlimited resource/Blade turning/Penetration boost

Edited by mant2si

Solo PotD builds: The Glanfathan Soul Hunter (Neutral seer. Dominate and manipulate your enemies), Harbinger of Doom (Dark shaman. Burn and sacrifice, yourself and enemies for Skaen sake)

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Helwalker should be fine as a ranged character.

 

Another option is a blunderbuss Streetfighter/Ascendant. You can pick only/mostly fast cast spells, so his recovery reduction makes his casts really rapid.

 

Pure Cipher is good also. Waiting till level 16 for Amplified Wave / Disintegrate sucks.

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The way your describing the monk is way too busy having to upkeep those buffs, maintain your wounds, and then milk your ascendant windows. Summons and the ranged buff are nice, but they add a lot of downtime if you are already in a party.

 

I played a dumbstalker soulblade and it's pretty nice in the assassin rp kind of way. You muddle them up and then methodically kill each person. It's no poweroverwhelming aoefest like an ascendant but it's nice to tap some unlucky target and watch them get sheared by soul annihilation in seconds.


Filthy Chanter Main  :dragon:   :skull:  :skull:  :skull:  -_-

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The way your describing the monk is way too busy having to upkeep those buffs, maintain your wounds, and then milk your ascendant windows. Summons and the ranged buff are nice, but they add a lot of downtime if you are already in a party.

 

I played a dumbstalker soulblade and it's pretty nice in the assassin rp kind of way. You muddle them up and then methodically kill each person. It's no poweroverwhelming aoefest like an ascendant but it's nice to tap some unlucky target and watch them get sheared by soul annihilation in seconds.

 

What do you mean by "Dumbstalker"? Just keeping Int low so that Disintegrate ticks for more? 

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It was a low int build that pumped its other stats by lowering INT, but it didn't go full tard with mule's wit because I didn't actually needed to cast disintegrate much since soul annihilation was enough. I just had enough INT to have a distraction and as long as I can hit and pen, I'd have a steady focus gain to cast other spells. Spells like ectopsychic echo and antipathetic field have fixed timers so it didn't matter what my INT is at.

Edited by Metaturtle

Filthy Chanter Main  :dragon:   :skull:  :skull:  :skull:  -_-

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It was a low int build that pumped its other stats by dumping INT, but it didn't go full tard with mule's wit because I didn't actually needed to cast disintegrate much since soul annihilation was enough. I just had enough INT to have a distraction and as long as I can hit and pen, I'd have a steady focus gain to cast other spells. Spells like ectopsychic echo and antipathetic field have fixed timers so it didn't matter what my INT is at.

 

Yeah, I REALLY don't like to dump INT if I can help it, since it's so important from a roleplay context. 

 

I think I'm going to try out both Mindstalker and Transcendent as Mercs and see which performs best DPS-wise. 

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It was a low int build that pumped its other stats by dumping INT, but it didn't go full tard with mule's wit because I didn't actually needed to cast disintegrate much since soul annihilation was enough. I just had enough INT to have a distraction and as long as I can hit and pen, I'd have a steady focus gain to cast other spells. Spells like ectopsychic echo and antipathetic field have fixed timers so it didn't matter what my INT is at.

Yeah, I REALLY don't like to dump INT if I can help it, since it's so important from a roleplay context.

 

I think I'm going to try out both Mindstalker and Transcendent as Mercs and see which performs best DPS-wise.

You dont need to really go low INT with a mindstalker soulblade since the common stat to go low is RES. Just having high MIG and DEX makes the stalker get into a flow of dispatching their enemies really quick from filling up focus immediately from a round of attacks then execution with soul annihilation right after and you don't need to always cap focus to use it. Edited by Metaturtle

Filthy Chanter Main  :dragon:   :skull:  :skull:  :skull:  -_-

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It was a low int build that pumped its other stats by dumping INT, but it didn't go full tard with mule's wit because I didn't actually needed to cast disintegrate much since soul annihilation was enough. I just had enough INT to have a distraction and as long as I can hit and pen, I'd have a steady focus gain to cast other spells. Spells like ectopsychic echo and antipathetic field have fixed timers so it didn't matter what my INT is at.

Yeah, I REALLY don't like to dump INT if I can help it, since it's so important from a roleplay context.

 

I think I'm going to try out both Mindstalker and Transcendent as Mercs and see which performs best DPS-wise.

You dont need to really go low INT with a mindstalker soulblade since the common stat to go low is RES. Just having high MIG and DEX makes the stalker get into a flow of dispatching their enemies really quick from filling up focus immediately from a round of attacks then execution with soul annihilation right after.

 

 

Alright, I'll give it a go! Wasn't a fan of dropping Res either at first, but since it's much less the "Charisma" stat now, I'm okay with it. Just basically need high Might, Dex, Perception, and Intellect. 

 

I do like the idea of Soul Annihilation though just because it has such a fun name. Is it still pretty powerful? I heard it got nerfed. 

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It's... okay. I'd say comparable in power to a Rogue's Devastating Blow. of course, Focus is a less limited resource then Guile. And SA ignores enemy armor. Not really spectacular though.

Edited by Haplok

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It's... okay. I'd say comparable in power to a Rogue's Devastating Blow. of course, Focus is a less limited resource then Guile. And SA ignores enemy armor. Not really spectacular though.

 

Hrm... I'll give both a try and see what sticks. 

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True, it's totally relying on every damage booster it can get like rogue's deathblows to get that raw damage as high as it can into the enemy healthpool. I like that it functions like a weapon hit that does normal weapon damage then adds the raw damage like a supercharged lash.


Filthy Chanter Main  :dragon:   :skull:  :skull:  :skull:  -_-

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But this build is very boring, how you can play Cipher and know that you can't spam AOE or Disintegration  or Mind Blades ;)

Edited by mant2si

Solo PotD builds: The Glanfathan Soul Hunter (Neutral seer. Dominate and manipulate your enemies), Harbinger of Doom (Dark shaman. Burn and sacrifice, yourself and enemies for Skaen sake)

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But this build is very boring, how you can play Cipher and know that you can't spam AOE or Disintegration or Mind Blades ;)

But stop spamming an ability to spam another ability? Ah who am I kidding, big numbers and aoe is the business lol.

Edited by Metaturtle

Filthy Chanter Main  :dragon:   :skull:  :skull:  :skull:  -_-

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I thought that Ascendant/Helwalker was incredibly powerful. I dual wielded Hand Mortar and Fire in the whole. Begin fight with insta cast self buffing, Stunning Surge the pack, insta Ascension, and go to town. The build took off sooner than I would have thought. At level 10 with Silent Scream it started to feel pretty good. For raw power this is the way to go imo.

 

You are squishy as you mentioned, but its not too hard to work around tbh. In fights where managing engagements prove tough, like ship combat, I just used BDD at the start, and by the time it wears off, the fight is completely under control.

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For ranged/spellcaster ascendant monk is very strong multi but the downside is you will get amplified wave and disintegrate when only a few encounters are left. 

 

For fun and power factor I like the melee Espirs/LDV Zerker/soulblade Witch. Very simple and effective: soul annihilation->barbaric smash->sa->smash->sa->smash....etc

May actually work better with Amra or Oathbreaker now, though Espirs ghostblades should proc on weapon attacks. 

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For ranged/spellcaster ascendant monk is very strong multi but the downside is you will get amplified wave and disintegrate when only a few encounters are left. 

 

For fun and power factor I like the melee Espirs/LDV Zerker/soulblade Witch. Very simple and effective: soul annihilation->barbaric smash->sa->smash->sa->smash....etc

May actually work better with Amra or Oathbreaker now, though Espirs ghostblades should proc on weapon attacks. 

 

My concern with Witch is that it might be too chaotic for the kind of character I'm wanting to play here. 

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Alright, so. Situation report time:

 

1. Plain Ascendant: Gets really good stuff early, but lacks in a lot of interesting/useful things later on. Hit-to-Crit for Will targeting abilities is good, as is AoE size based on Focus, for Ascendant at least, but Time Parasite's duration is much too short for being both a PL8 ability and Cipher's only Action Speed boost. Ranged

 

2. Transcendent: Good Action Speed buff, solid power and replenishing resources, but may have a few too many options (Which is weird, I know, but Recovery time between casts is a thing). Ranged

 

3. Mindstalker: Melee DPS with Soul Annihilation and some important fast-cast Cipher spells. Trades versatility in terms of Cipher powers for damage from Soul Annihilation coupled with Rogue offensive abilities like Devastating Blow. The only downside is a lack of a Recovery reduction unless I take Streetfighter, or spam Stealth skills and absolutely destroy my Guile. Melee

 

4. Witch: According to what folks have said, Witch is the best, but it really doesn't fit in terms of an RP perspective. That said, it offers solid hit-to-crit and Penetration, makes good use of two-handed weapons for Soul Annihilation and AoE attacks with Carnage (Amra, LDV, etc.) and can scream enemies to death with Silent Scream in true Barbarian fashion. I'm wondering if there's another way to approach this build that might work better. Melee

 

My current rankings are:

 

1. Mindstalker

2. Transcendent 

3. Witch (Or equivalent)

4. Ascendant

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you can use my mod to make single class ascendant quite fun without being over the top:

 

https://www.nexusmods.com/pillarsofeternity2/mods/122

 

all it does is make time parasite last longer: about the same time as borrowed instinct but caps the effect at about +75% action speed.

also I buffed wild leech so to make it scale projectiles based on power level, so it is quite good as at high levels and ascended you can leech 3 or 4 inspirations with one cast that way. 

oh yeah and defensive mindweb lasts shorter but is unbreakable

 

 

other than that witch and transcendent are about the same on terms of power

after that pure cipher (only if also making sure to max focus with item attacks)

mindstalker is better of as a soulblade as melee or debuffer beguiler if ranged I think. most damage as a rogue you do through weapon attacks because that is where all your rogue bonuses go. 

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you can use my mod to make single class ascendant quite fun without being over the top:

 

https://www.nexusmods.com/pillarsofeternity2/mods/122

 

all it does is make time parasite last longer: about the same time as borrowed instinct but caps the effect at about +75% action speed.

also I buffed wild leech so to make it scale projectiles based on power level, so it is quite good as at high levels and ascended you can leech 3 or 4 inspirations with one cast that way. 

oh yeah and defensive mindweb lasts shorter but is unbreakable

 

 

other than that witch and transcendent are about the same on terms of power

after that pure cipher (only if also making sure to max focus with item attacks)

mindstalker is better of as a soulblade as melee or debuffer beguiler if ranged I think. most damage as a rogue you do through weapon attacks because that is where all your rogue bonuses go. 

 

Yeah, I was definitely going to go Soulblade if I went Mindstalker. Also, thanks for the mod. Once the patch drops, I'll check it out. I wonder if it'd break the game too much to use it with a Cipher multiclass as well? 

 

That does adjust the rankings somewhat. Now, I'd really want to try a pure Cipher (Using your mod) or a Mindstalker before a Transcendent or a Witch. I think I'll run a few tests with the Mindstalker after work tomorrow and see how well the Soulblade plays - but Guile regen is going to be a pain. Unless someone's made a mod that gives Rogues better resource management. 

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