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The Pillars of Eternity No Reload Challenge


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@Jaheiras_Witness: Very informative stuff! I especially like your positioning--intentionally cornering your character to form an artificial chokepoint is very clever, and not something I would have considered. I've only done that once before as far as I can recall, when I cornered an Archer/Mage character against Belhifet in SoD. That's not something I would have tried in PoE. You're doing a great job of optimizing your tactics. It shows a lot of insight into the game system; I didn't realize there was that much depth to the fights with the Xaurips.

 

How important are Concentration and Interrupt in PoE? I've generally regarded interruption as an occasional inconvenience that could generally be ignored, on the grounds that the longest interruptions are only 1 second, and it takes many seconds to land those interruptions since the weapons that impose it are so slow. I suppose a solo run would need to deal with lots of pressure, and while spell disruption doesn't exist in PoE, I can see how multiple interruptions would build up over time.

 

Is there any way you could use this offensively? That is, is there a way to reliably interrupt-lock an enemy with a full party?

Edited by semiticgod
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Gray Sidoh: No Per-Rest Abilities Run (three paladins, three ciphers)

 

After having barely survived an encounter with a bunch of Blights and Adragans in Od Nua, we head to Copperlane and burn thousands of gold on ingredients for crafting--without the ability to use per-rest abilities, we need to rely on consumables for big battles. We brew some Infuse Vital Essence potions and tack on a few more enchantments to our gear. Back in my old run, I never did any enchanting at all: I checked it in the early game, found I couldn't do anything, and didn't know when it was possible.

 

We stop by Caed Nua and fight some Leaden Key Agents. They put up quite a fight, but compared to the last one, it's a breeze. Mind Blades continue to thrash the opposition.

 

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A few safe fights later, Gray Sidoh finally hits level 5 and gets Reviving Exhortation, which I didn't even know existed until now. Suddenly, we can revive a fallen character once per rest--and after some light questing in the main storyline, our other two paladins take the same Talent, while Rius, our first cipher, learns Silent Scream, which stuns the target for a short time and deals lots of raw damage.

 

Suddenly, we have a major boost in our offensive power (as if we needed it) and the ability to revive a fallen character three times in every fight. We're much safer now--and ready to handle more serious challenges.

 

Some Leaden Key jerkbags give us some grief, but Puppet Master lets us turn the fighters on their friends. The thing about ciphers is that they start every fight with a big wad of Focus already loaded. This means we always get to start every fight with a powerful new option, which lets us establish an early advantage in a fight--which makes minor fights especially fast.

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We're quickly reaching the point when Mind Blades can't really break the difficulty of every fight anymore, and Ectopsychic Echo requires careful positioning, but Puppet Master scales better with enemy strength. Mind Blades does static damage, which means less and less against tougher critters; Puppet Master grants a bigger advantage when the target is bigger.

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We can even dominate Adragans; they have a surprisingly weak Will defense. And for critters with strong Will defenses, we still have strong damage options in the form of Silent Scream. Being able to ignore damage reduction is very lovely indeed.

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And when Silent Scream doesn't deal enough damage, we have Ectopsychic Echo.

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Our ciphers are still as vulnerable as ever, however, even if we can revive them, and apparently a charmed Ogre Druid's insect spell can break the domination effect of other charmed ogres. As fast as fights can go in our favor, the tide can turn against us just as fast if I'm not careful.

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So, if party-unfriendly effects are on the map, domination can be easily broken. We switch to paralysis instead!

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There are a lot of little fights in between these ones, but I don't have screenshots for them all, and not all of them feature any turning points or reveal new information.

 

I'm really having fun with Ectopsychic Echo. Partly it's because it feels so much like Agannazar's Scorcher shenanigans in BG, but mostly because it's shiny and effective. We just cast a couple Ectopsychic Echo spells on a single paladin, then send the paladin past the enemies. It lets the enemy land several disengagement attacks, but there's just something very lovely about stretching a bright blue death beam all the way across the map. The only limit is your movement speed!

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We spend over 15,000 copper pieces on ingredients and craft some scrolls of Moonwell. Not everyone can use it, but I've been trying to max out Lore to make sure we can spam high-end scrolls when necessary, while still making sure everyone has 1 Athletics and some points in Survival. Gray Sidoh takes the Deep Pockets Talent (imagine that: having deep pockets is a talent) so she can use a couple more quick items per fight. I haven't been using many, but we're going to want a lot of scrolls and potions and stuff for the final battle.

 

We choose Accuracy: Beast before the fight with the dragon, and right before we reach it, we get another round of level ups for our second and third paladins and our first cipher (I got the party members at different times, so their level ups are staggered). Zovai takes Deep Pockets, Lothras takes Deep Faith, and Rius finally learns Greater Focus so she starts combat with another 10 Focus, which is very useful if you want to throw out a bunch of Ectopsychic Echo spells on the first round of combat.

 

The Accuracy bonuses against beasts should make it easier for us to bring down the Sky Dragon when we're throwing out psychic spells. We're really, really going to need this if we pick the wrong dialog options with the dragon.

 

But we don't, so we make peace with the monster.

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I already knew the right dialog options, but I don't like the idea of making the fate of the run depend on three correct button presses. I wanted to make sure we at least had a few tiny bonuses in case I pressed the wrong button. Play enough no-reload runs and you get accustomed to creating contingency plans and so forth.

 

Resolving the issue peacefully gets level ups for Vivenne and Viora, both of whom take Bull's Will for the +10 bonus to their Will defenses. Their low Intellect has always given me pause, since the penalties to Will make them especially vulnerable to disablers.

 

We spend thousands more copper pieces on ingredients and nab the bow, Borresaine, for its ability to stun on critical hits. In the hands of a high-Accuracy character like one of our ciphers, we should get a few stuns out of it. We enchant it to deal corrosive damage and bonus damage to Vessels, because I'm guessing that damage reduction against corrosive damage is rare (I remember not even seeing it on slimes, which ostensibly would be immune to acid and stuff) and we already have species-specific damage bonuses against other types of critters.

 

I really want to hit level 9 before tackling Thaos because I want to be able to craft and use Scrolls of Maelstrom to take advantage of the low Reflex defenses of Thaos' big friendly giants. Since I don't want to do fetch quests to gain experience (I don't know where to find easy quests, so it would involve a lot of aimless wandering around Defiance Bay), I head back to Caed Nua, where some of Raedric's undead goons are apparently waiting for me. Alesia_BH mentioned the possibility of beating Raedric a second time, so I'm guessing this is the start of a much bigger challenge.

 

One round into combat, and I see a problem. The enemy Fampyr, a creature I've never encountered before, can charm our party members--and can even break past Gray Sidoh's incredibly high Will defense.

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More importantly, the undead are already encroaching on our ciphers. I pull them aside and activate Ectopsychic Echo, but I can't escape the reach of the Fampyr, and its damage output proves extremely fast--faster than our paladins can address the problem. We lose Vivenne early on.

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Fortunately, we've made enough progress via Ectopsychic Echo that we can overpower the enemy. Even so, it's a worrisome sign. That one Fampyr was enough to really screw up our strategy once it flanked us, and it sounds like fighting Raedric is going to entail dealing with a lot more Fampyrs.

 

We didn't come anywhere close to dying in that fight, or even close to suffering a second knockout, but the enemy made progress against us, and that's a real shift in the situation. If Raedric is a step above these guys, he might be too much for us.

 

I decide not to tackle Raedric for now. Instead, we're going back to Od Nua. It's been a while since we fought the Blights and Adragans, and now we should be able to handle the nearby fights without relying on finite resources.

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@Alesia_BH: I'd think that Eyestrike would be more useful as a level 1 Power pick. It lasts half as long, but it also takes half the Focus of Phantom Foes, and I think Amplified Thrust is a better choice for 20-Focus abilities that deal damage. But Phantom Foes should definitely enable sneak attacks.

 

I've been wondering about a thief's invisibility powers. It seems like a great option for solo runs, and I'd think it would synergize beautifully with firearms, as the invisibility would give you plenty of time to reload and the sneak attack bonus should enable some incredibly strong shots. I also notice that thieves have very high Accuracy, which would make them very excellent at using offensive scrolls. I don't know how they'd fare in a solo run considering their otherwise weak defenses, but I've wondered if a party of 6 thieves might be fun to play.

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Eyestrike is a possibility, too, but it has half the duration, as you noted, and less than 1/3rd the radius.

 

I imagine using both, with Eyestrike being the preferred choice against low Fort enemies and Phantom Foes preferred against low Will ones. 

 

(I'm entertaining the idea of running a 2 cipher, 4 rogue party. In that context, Phantom Foes could justify itself at L2)

 

Best,

 

A. 

Edited by Alesia_BH
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That's basically my Proposal 1 from above assuming you don't mean that characters that died in PoE might qualify for honorable mentions. Those should all go to the Graveyard, in my opinion- no honorable mention consideration for those.

 

So,

 

A) Died in PoE = Graveyard; B) Completed PoE and stopped = Honorable Mention; C) Completed PoE and died in PoE 2 = Honorable Mention (we can add a line denoting this);D) Completed Saga = Hall of Heroes

 

Here are my latest thoughts on the matter:

 

- We start with an assumption of saga no-reload being intended; 

- We have three charts: Hall of Heroes, Honorable Mention, Graveyard;

- //A) Died in PoE = Graveyard; B) Completed PoE and stopped = Honorable Mention; C) Completed PoE and died in PoE 2 = Honorable Mention (we can add a line denoting this);D) Completed Saga = Hall of Heroes// - that's how I've thought myself (since I'm not inclined to segregate the failed runs on nearly-successful, notable failures, general failures and non-notable at all), with an exception that assuming of saga run in the first place one do not go automatically in the Honorable Mention chart upon completing PoE I, but only if/when he die in Deadfire. I'm fine with placing the record into the Honorable Mention chart if after successful PoE I run the participant do not indend/have not an opportunity to continue in Deadfire. If, with time, that particular character contunue in Deadfire and succeed there, he/she will be moved from Honorable Mention chart into the Hall of Heroes;

- The run should be properly started in this thread (with Entry Procedures defined in the OP) and have at least one proper "Intro" entry here. No 'off-screen' entries are allowed. So, for example, Amaruq's demise will qualify (it is sad, @Borco, to hear she's gone. There is no shame in it at all and those Caed Nua Shadows/Phantoms caused my first Knockout for Eder), but those two 'off-screen' Gray Sidoh's runs will not;

- It would be nice if our posts of the run will contain the links to the previous entries and (whenever possible) next ones (like we have it in Beamdog's no-reload thread). It would be far easier this way to follow the one particular run if someone wish to.

- To put an entry in one of those charts I need a PM message containing:

1. Link to the proper 'Intro' post with

 

a) Name

b) Race & Subrace

c) Class

d) Culture

e) Background

f) Attributes

i.) Version

ii.) Difficulty Level

iii.) Settings (specifically: Maim Before Death- On/Off; Injuries On/Off; Expert Mode On/Off)

iv.) Mods (if any)

 

2. Link to the final post and any other comments you want to see there.

 

And... that's it.

Edited by Serg BlackStrider
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@semiticgod: positioning makes a huge difference and is one of those factors that lets you climb the difficulty levels. In a way you have to lose the BG instinct. In BG you would never block yourself in; with no flanking, no engagement and the ability to run away, you would always want to leave yourself an escape route. But in PoE jamming yourself into a corner with no escape route ia often the safest option, as weird as it sounds, if it stops you being encircled.

 

In terms of how much difference it makes, take the above battle I fought against the xaurips. If I had ignored positioning entirely and casually stood in the middle of the camp and let myself be surrounded, my run would now be over and that is no exaggeration. The xaurip skirmisher’s paralyse would be a death sentence with 5 or 6 xaurips, including champions, all auto-hitting me. I got paralysed approximately 10 times in the battle I fought (some were 2.4 sec grazes, others were 4.8 sec hits)...if I had been surrounded I wouldn’t have made it past the second paralyse effect. As it actually played out, with only the skirmisher and priest jabbing at me, the paralyses were an inconvenience but never life-threatening. So the difference something as simple as positioning makes is like night and day.

 

With regard to interrupt and concentration, they are generally insignificant for party play but are a huge part of the solo game. While a single interrupt does little, being interrupted constantly makes you unable to do anything, as if you were stunned. Interrupt requires you to start your action again; so not only do you have the momentary impact of the interruption, you also lose whatever time you had already invested in the action. So imagine being interrupted 2 seconds into a 3 second action, with a 0.5 interrupt value. That has cost you 2.5 seconds. Now imagine this happening 2 or 3 times in a row...that’s what I mean by interrupt-lock, it can be devastating. Generally it happens when you have multiple opponents or opponents with fast attacks all engaging you; and that’s what makes guls dangerous.

 

You absolutely can create characters built around Interrupt as an offensive action: you need high PER, the Interrupting Blows talent, and fast attacks (e.g. dual wielding) preferably with a weapon that can disable on crits. When such a character gets stuck into an opponent, that opponent can be considered neutralised. But only really useful against single targets or small groups, not against mobs.

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PS Rogues are quite bad, one-trick ponies. I generally love playing Rogues in other games but they are badly implemented in PoE. The idea of solo rogue with firearms + shadowing beyond to assassinate enemies does not work because 1) you only get 2/rest and 2) combat ends if the enemies cannot see any character, at which point their endurance heals.

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@Serg_Blackstrider: Fair point about the "off-screen" runs. I actually do have screenshots of my earlier attempts, but I doubt I'll bother posting them here just to put a couple names in the Graveyard.

 

I wasn't able to do this in my current run due to the ban on per-rest abilities, but does Envenomed Weapon seem very powerful to you guys? It deals damage in the high double digits, can be used three times per rest, and it deals raw damage. I assume some enemies are immune to it on the grounds that it's poison, but I don't know which critters might be immune. After all, brainless critters like Blights are nonetheless vulnerable to stun, and it's possible to paralyze various versions of undead. Immunities are kind of scarce in PoE compared to BG. Ostensibly, a high-Accuracy character would be able to deal lots of damage with it.

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PS Rogues are quite bad, one-trick ponies. I generally love playing Rogues in other games but they are badly implemented in PoE.

I'm currently running a rogue in my first PotD play through (we're in Defiance Bay, alive and well). I chose the class because I wanted to explore it, not because I expected it to be especially powerful. So far, I wouldn't say that my rogue is "bad," she's just not a rogue- or at least not like any rogue I've ever played. The impression I'm under is that the PoE development team was un-fond of rogue tactics in other games and chose to nerf their analogs in PoE. My rogue doesn't use stealth. She doesn't use traps. She's effectively a needy archer/off-tank, demanding micromanagement. She's a White that Wends Hearth Orlan with a perception of 21. Her build emphasize critical hits and coordinated attacks. In the early game, she's been using soldier weapons: an arbalest and a pike. She opens combat with an arbalest shot and then engages with her pike, maintaining a safe distance while triggering sneak attacks and simultaneously leveraging her Hearth Orlan bonuses. With her high crit percentage and sneak attack bonuses, she's a capable physical damage dealer who works well in the context of a team. She's our leading damage dealer and she hasn't been knocked-out yet. Solo she'd be hopeless.

 

Later in the adventure, when she has the items/talents/abilities to make it work, she'll likely abandon the pike and start dual-wielding (though, sadly, probably in heavy armor)

 

Am I disappointed with PoE's implementation of the rogue concept? Sure. I miss the backstabbing, trap-laying rogues of BG. But I do think it's possible to build a moderately effective PoE character using the rogue class: Just don't expect her to be a "rogue."

 

The idea of solo rogue with firearms + shadowing beyond to assassinate enemies does not work because 1) you only get 2/rest and 2) combat ends if the enemies cannot see any character, at which point their endurance heals.

Makes sense. I chose not to comment, but I was skeptical of that idea.

 

(I do still like the idea of a six rogue party that uses backstabs and firearms. 2/rest in a party that rests infrequently? That's too few- you're better off emphasizing criticals. 12/rest in a party that rests frequently? That could be goofy fun.)

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Nice insight, it is all relative. People have soloed the game with Rogue so it’s not like it’s a hopeless class. It is just very limited, specialising in single target damage, and defences are quite bad. My first few attempts at PoE were with Rogue (usually my favourite class), but the lack of sustainability on front line really bothered me, so I was soon exploring other classes.

 

I think your point about playing a rogue but not like any rogue you have ever known is spot on!

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Due to limited experience playing with rogues, I won't be adding much to the discussion - I only want to mention that one of the very, very few documented cases of someone achieving the elusive "The Ultimate" achievement (which not only involves PotD, trial of iron (which is no-reload play), expert mode and solo play, but also defeating all of the toughest opponents in the game, such as the dragons, archmages and bounties) was done by someone playing as a rogue - it's even available as a youtube video (though I've never had the patience to watch much of it):

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The Tale of Gloomy Face: Hearth Orlan, Druid - Chapter II: Pre Caed Nua areas.
 
 
Okay, I'm glad to report that all pre Caed Nua areas (including dungeons of Raedric's Hold) are safe to travel now.
First I decided to pospone a sanitizing of the Temple of Eothas a bit to get Xoti 3d level with some hunting in the wilderness.  
As a Druid I had little troubles in Magran's Fork being able to either Hold or Charm Beasts when needed, though I had to split a large pack of 4 adult wolfs and 2 young ones charming all but one of those. Only two adult wolfs persued us to nearby ruined tower so that's divide-and-conquer in action. After that three wolfs near merchant are just a nuisance in comparison. We also got a Fulvano's Amulet there and dealt with Ludrana but saved a pack of Boars for later.
The first level of Eothas' temple is not that dificult and Xoti finally hit level 3 upon fighting some spiders there. Four Will-O'-Wisps, being completely optional, gave us troubles though confusing Eder, then me and Aloth and applying heavy damage. We prevailed in the end but that fight show us that we are still not ready to face more vicious Spirits downstairs. At least this level is safe now.

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Esternwood is uneventful to the point of being dull (pick Cape od Deflection on the local Cemetery). Anslog's Compass is much more fun. We dealt with local scattered groups of Xaurips and Guls and approach the main camp from the south. I called for Lesser Blight to help Eder hold the line a bit. Fortunately, it appears to be a Flame Blight which is completely immune to piercing damage and allowed us to throw fire spells freely. Xaurip Champions are tough nuts though so after depleating all our spells and our buffs expired I had to shift to Kitty Form and shred them to pieces. This allowed me to hit level 4 and pick a Bear's Fortitude since with my Might and Constitution at 10, Fortitude saves are my Achilles heel.
Inside the cave we only need to kill a single roaming Sporeling to finish the quest so other three and two Dank Spores are left for later. Aloth hit level 4 as well and choose Chill Fog with Penetrating Blast. Cleaned Madhmr Bridge next to gain Hermit's Hut (spared the looters and had to lie to fellow orlan Peregund though something tells me she would understand my motives had she knew their story) and onto the Black Meadow to obtain those supplies already. I've tried to lure a lone bandit to the pack of Trolls to have them fight each other but ended up fighting them all together. Not a big issue though since Trolls are vulnerable to fire and acid so Fan of Flame and Autumn's Decay made short work of them.
Remaining Bandits are on agenda: Tanglefoot + Chill Fog as an opening (Xoti is busy with standart set of buffs), heavy preasure on the leader under Kitty form, finish:
Lonely Forest Trolls are helpless but a pair of Forest Lurkers gave us trouble. They have incredible resistances, formidable hp pool, long-reach arms and stuck on hit so when Eder is immobilized he can do nothing to them but only take heavy damage. They are vulnerable to fire but our spells alone aren't enough to overcome their hp pool and our physical attacks barely grase them or completely miss (mostly), so after depleting all of those fire spells we had to resort on puting Eden under Withdraw and kite them all over the area (they are slow and disengeage readily). I'm not happy with that but there were little else we could do.
We tried our luck with Shadows on the second level of Eothas' temple a bit and then I suddenly remembered of the Whispers of Yenwood sword from the Caed Nua, which could noticeably improve our chances vs them. We need that sword, so onto the Card Nua! It seems our appearance is not welcome. Two Phantoms and three Shadows attack us right away. Eder is stun-locked immediately and, with some bad luck/rolls, is unconscious in few seconds. 
A Small Rain Blight last just long enough for Eder to be on foot again via a Second Chance ability from his armor and we unleashed our fiery wrath (Fan of Flames, Sunbeam, Burst of Summer Flame) killing all but one Phantom.
But even that single Phantom was able to nearly bring Eder down again and only a Withdraw from Xoti saved him. She also tanked Phantom after that for me and Aloth to burn it down to ashes. My girl!
Single Shadows and a group of Flame Blights further east are pale in comparison. Blizzard + Winter Wind made short work of them. And we sneak into the main hall just to pick a sword.
Well, we have a weapon to deal with those Spirits but how we could survive long enough to kill them? The answer is:

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This potion is a wonderful boon for our survival vs both Spirits (frost attacks) and Oozes (corrode spits) inhabiting the lower levels of Eothas temple. The only downside is that the ingredients are quite scarce pre Caed Nua. With potion buff, wielding the Whispers of Yenwood and some Fan of Flames scrolls Eder has far less difficulties to tank those creatures. Sure thing each Crew member have this potion in quick slot in case of emergency.
Since I have enough points spent on Mechanics, there is no need to fight neither large pack of Spirits guarding the water plug, nor Oozes guarding the key, but this is a completionist run so... Eder block the door > Xoti hit with buffs > Aloth cast Chill Fog - even though the Spirits have sky-high frost resistance, Blindness is strong debuff nonetheless - > me called for Small Flame Blight ('lucky' me) > Fireworks!
Oozes are not worthy to mention.
The 'final guardians' (fast Spirits and slow-mo oozes) are separated for safe dispatchment and Xoti gains a Gaun's Share which I find exceptionally fitting thematically - she is actually a Priestess of Gaun (a lesser known aspect of Eothas) in Deadfire, and moreover Flails are my most favorite Cleric weapon in Baldur's Gate world.
Eder, buffed with potion of Wizard's Double, is nearly untouchable and thus now a proud owner of The Pilgrim's Lasting Vigil.
Undead in the Raedric's Hold Dungeons are pushovers and the only read danger are those five adult Black Oozes - they are spread out and their corrode spits hurt. Found Healing Hands gloves in the Prison but left Osrya for later when I'll have full party and be ready to clear the Hold properly.
Time to tie up some last loose ends - Boars in Magran's Fork (Hold Beast's make wonders), Trolls in Madhmr Bridge (Eder tank under Wizard's Double potion buff, Autumn's Decay and Fun of Flames for the damage) and Dank Spores in Anslog's Compass (Eder put Hermit's Hut for those and engage single handedly):
Now, with all pre Caed Nua areas clear, the only remaining tasks are disinfection the Keep's courtyard and Main Hall. For the Main Hall I've placed all my party members in the corner near entry door with Eder luring the Spirits there. This way it's a lot safer (somehow lost a screenshot here). Right upon descending into the Maerwald's level me (Returning Storm!!!) and Eder (Disciplined Barrage) hit level 5. Aloth hit level 5 after defeating the Spider's Queen (Combusting Wounds and Expose Vulnerabilities). Eder now dual wield Whispers of Yenwood and Oidhreacht - I'm not fond much of 'passive' sword-n-board fighter tanks and even without shield he could have not so bad deflection with cheap Wizard's Double potion and far better accuracy and attack speed (which I pretty much like):

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The rest of the level is cleared:

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and I press a curious hidden button on the flour (oh, some secret treasure maybe?) unrested and empty of spells (I think two level 2 on me, one on level 2 for Aloth. and I think a single use on level 2 for Xoti). "Oh, sh*t!!!" Having the key to the main Maerwald's sanctuary door I completely forgot there is another way in. And right into the cutscene with an imminent fight afterwards. Maerwald opened with Fireball. "Run! Run for your lives!"

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We took a position in nearby room with a door to be blocked by Eder and the rest spread out across the room to not catch a Chill Fog or another Fireball all together. He cast Expose Vulnerabilities on Eder, Chill Fog on me and then a Fireball right on his feet (obviously, the years of isolation did not pass without a trace for his mind)

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Now, we have our own Keep so we enlisted Kana and Durance to proceed with the mundane tasks (quests). The road to the Defiance Bay is also opened so we have another crucial Crew member - Sagani. She joined at level 5 and heeding @Boeroer's and @Enuhal's insights I leveled her like this: Wounding Shot (auto) > Resilient Companion > Predator's Sense > Vicious Companion > Stalker's Link
 
Current state:
 
Gloomy Face - Druid (lvl 5); Stealth:0; Athletic:1; Lore:1; Mechanics:7; Survival:4; Talents: Veteran's Recovery>Bear's Fortitude; Equipment: Hermit's Hut, Brigandine, Minor Cloak of Protection, Minor Ring of Deflection, Ring of Overseeing, Fulvano's Boots, Fine Hunting Bow/Fine Hatchet+Small Shield;
 
Eder - Fighter (lvl 5); Stealth:0; Athletic:2; Lore:6; Mechanics:0; Survival:5; Talents: Rapid Recovery>Vulnerable Attack; Abilities: Knock Down (auto)>Confident Aim>Disciplined Barrage; Equipment: The Pilgrim's Lasting Vigil, Fine Brigandine, Cloak of Eothasian Priest, Minor Ring of Deflection, Minor Ring of Protection, Boots of Stability, Blunting Belt, Whispers of Yenwood+Oidhreacht/Fine Arbalest;
 
Aloth - Wizard (lvl 5); Stealth:0; Athletic:1; Lore:7; Mechanics:2; Survival:5; Talents: Blast>Penetrating Blast; Equipment: Aloth's Leather Armor, Minor Cloak of Protection, Healing Hands, Gaun's Pledge, Scepter/Rapier;
Grimoire: Level 1 - Fan of Flames, Slicken, Chill Fog, Minoletta's Minor Missiles; Level 2 - Curse of Blackened Sight, Infuse With Vital Essence, Combusting Wounds, Bulwark Against The Elements; Level 3 - Expose Vulnerabilities, Fireball;
 
Xoti - Priest of Eothas (lvl 4); Stealth:0; Athletic:1; Lore:6; Mechanics:0; Survival:5; Talents: Interdiction>Painful Interdiction; Equipment: Brigandine, Cape of Deflection, Fulvano's Gloves, Minor Ring of Protection, Ring of Overseeing, Gaun's Share+Medium Shield/Fine Wand;
 
Sagani - Ranger (lvl 5)Stealth:2; Athletic:1; Lore:5; Mechanics:0; Survival:6; Talents: Agile Retreat (auto)>Resilient Companion>Vicious Companion; Abilities: Wounding Shot (auto)>Predator's Sense>Stalker's Link; Equipment: Fine Hide Armor, Fulvano's Amulet, Massuk Hunting Bow/Fine Dagger+Fine Hatchet;    
 
to be continued...
 
P.S. Seems one allowed to put a limited amount of pictures in the post so some of those are links here. I'll fugure out how many pics I'm allowed and will write accordinly in the future.
Edited by Serg BlackStrider
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I only want to mention that one of the very, very few documented cases of someone achieving the elusive "The Ultimate" achievement (which not only involves PotD, trial of iron (which is no-reload play), expert mode and solo play, but also defeating all of the toughest opponents in the game, such as the dragons, archmages and bounties) was done by someone playing as a rogue - it's even available as a youtube video

 

 

Interesting! I'll be sure to check that out.

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Nice insight, it is all relative. People have soloed the game with Rogue so it’s not like it’s a hopeless class. It is just very limited, specialising in single target damage, and defences are quite bad. 

 

Thanks. My experience with the class is still very limited. I will add this, however: the one thing that BG rogues and PoE rogues have in common is that they are at their best when they make effective use of items. I suspect that a perceptive and intelligent rogue with a high lore score and Deep Pockets, using potions for defense (Llengrath's, Ironskin, etc) and scrolls for AoE offense, would be a reasonably well rounded character, (although his or her only true comparative advantage would remain single target damage).

 

My current rogue, Aotha (who is an experiment, intended to lay the groundwork for a reincarnation of my favorite BG character, Alesia), is a drifter (stealth and mechanics) but Alesia will emphasize Lore.

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Unfortunately, I'm here to give a rather anti-climatic update, as Amaruq had fallen before I was able to catch up with her progress.

I just noticed this. I'm sorry for your loss, Borco.

 

The Caed Nua main hall is definitely one of the game's hurdles. I believe I now have a method that insures safe completion, inspired by my observations of Enuhal and Jaheiras Witness (Alikae got through without any knockdowns on Hard, Aotha, my rogue, got through with no knockdowns and very little damage on PotD). I'll be sure to share before your next run!

 

Speaking of your next run, do you have a character in mind?

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Gray Sidoh: No Per-Rest Abilities Run (three paladins, three ciphers)

 

We do a little more dungeon crawling, trying to put together enough experience for level 9, but we aren't getting very far, and when I see an ominously large room...

 

QqFTBZU.jpg

 

...I decide to beat it. I don't know what lies in that chamber, but big fights tend to take place in big rooms, and rushing into a major fight completely blind isn't worth it just to get a few steps closer to level 9.

 

Still, we really could benefit from level 9 against Thaos, so I decide to go ahead and try my hand at Raedric, figuring that I could at least deal with a few of the first fights just to gauge how strong Raedric himself would be. But when I meet a Fampyr outside his castle, I discover that there are no fights leading up to the big one; you go straight to Raedric.

 

I decide to take a gamble and fight Raedric in spite of my worries about Fampyrs. Sure enough, there are multiple Famyrs in the fight with Raedric, and they again prove incredibly accurate in their charm spells despite Gray Sidoh's spectacular defenses.

 

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We fix it quickly and fire off a couple of Ectopsychic Echo spells, and while Gray Sidoh slips past the enemies in order to catch more of them in the twin beams, we've got a problem: the enemy is already encroaching on our ciphers. We pull our ciphers back, but the enemies give chase. We can't shake them.

 

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We split up our ciphers, but all it does is free a single cipher from pressure; the other two are both under attack, and when I try to nail the enemy with a Scroll of Paralysis, we only pin down a single enemy. Raedric launches a fireball, and Viora, already under heavy pressure by two enemies, crumples in seconds.

 

0487q4n.jpg

 

And for the two enemies who were attacking Viora, their next closest target is Rius, another cipher. The enemy is about to target another vulnerable party member.

 

I can't finagle my way around this, so I decide on a reset: I send our two remaining ciphers to the northeast while our paladins move to block the stairway and slow down the enemies.

 

3YKGuZa.jpg

 

But the stairway isn't narrow enough for our paladins to completely block it off, and the enemies keep chasing our ciphers. We still can't safely use our best offensive characters.

 

But by luring the enemy north, we can revive Viora with Reviving Exhortation in complete safety. Viora got knocked out in the south, but with the enemies running around in the north, she is now free from enemy pressure!

 

fRvuctt.jpg

 

With some careful micromanagement, we pull Vivenne, our other cipher twin, away from all the enemies but a single Fampyr, and we've made enough progress on that Fampr that we can finish it off. Now Vivenne has no enemies engaging her, which means we have two ciphers acting from a safe position. Only Rius is in danger.

 

fFlgCWe.jpg

 

Raedric himself is currently busy hassling Lothra to the south, and Lothra is holding her own thanks to her solid paladin defenses. Since Raedric has incredibly strong defenses and he doesn't seem to be causing any real problems, I decide to ignore him; his allies are the real threat right now.

 

This means we need to take Viora, currently in the south, and bring her up north to help defeat the enemies up north. There's a single Fampyr Guardsman on the stairway, though, which means we need to kill him before Viora can safely join the fight up north.

 

For some reason, that Fampyr Guardsman heads north on his own, but Viora has gotten charmed and cannot join the fight just yet. Rius, far to the north, is under heavy pressure right now, with three enemies all closing in on her.

 

1QVRyic.jpg

 

We've having a lot of trouble killing these enemies; they're injured but not close to death. Even when Zovai deploys a Missile Barrage scroll against the presumably fragile Fampyr mage, he stays on his feet. Rius, however, is not remotely as sturdy, and we don't have enough healing options or enough time to keep her safe. Rius collapses.

 

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Viora is no longer charmed, but we've still got Gray Sidoh charmed in the south and Vivenne charmed in the north, which means we still can't take action against the enemies in the north. We heal up Viora before we send her north, at which point I discover that Moonwell is enemy-friendly. Apparently Raedric gets some of the healing, too.

 

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It's not a problem, because Raedric is currently neither a target nor a threat; he's too sturdy and is dealing too little damage to justify targeting him.

 

Up north, the enemies run ignore Zovai and run south towards the fight with Raedric, but the moment Vivenne recovers from the charm effect, they switch targets and run right back to the north to engage her. I didn't know they'd switch gears like this, which means Zovai is busy using a scroll and cannot intercept the enemies before they can reach Vivenne. They swarm Vivenne, and we lose another cipher to a knockout.

 

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Still, Zovai's second Missile Barrage scroll brings a Fampyr to Near Death, which means we'll be in a better position to keep our ciphers safe once we have room to revive them.

 

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Viora heads up north to help finish off that Fampyr with a Scroll of Paralysis, but to my frustration, the enemies gleefully disengage from Zovai to rush after our final cipher. No matter how I position our characters, they always make a beeline straight for our ciphers. It seems that they always choose targets with the lowest defenses. Viora is nowhere near them, but they hurry southwest to target her.

 

Ng4aZmz.jpg

 

Gray Sidoh leaves Lothra to distract Raedric and intercepts one of the Fampyrs chasing Viora as Viora flees to the south. For once, a Fampyr actually stays engaged with a paladin rather than chasing our vulnerable cipher. But even now, we still can't make use of our cipher: she gets charmed again.

 

Hpb9nHg.jpg

 

I notice something interesting. That charm came from a Fampyr, Viora is all the way in the south, where there are only Fampyr Guardsman; not the one enemy just named "Fampyr."

 

That Fampyr, currently fighting Zovai in the far north, cast that charm spell from all the way across the map. That's just silly--none of my spells have every had such a ridiculously long range.

 

Finally, Zovai brings down the Fampyr that's been hovering at Near Death for what's felt like ages. That might not seem like a big deal, but it means that the north is completely clear of enemies--and since both of our fallen ciphers are in the north, that means we can revive both of them in a safe area.

 

V7vp3BA.jpg

 

Zovai only has a single use of Reviving Exhortation, of course, so we can only revive Rius and not Vivenne, unless I'm willing to bring another paladin up north (which would risk luring an enemy north to apply pressure to Vivenne and Rius). But that's fine with me; we've been spending so much time running around trying to secure an advantage in positioning that we've actually made a lot of progress against the enemy in the meantime. It doesn't take much more work to clear the field in the south.

 

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After much work, Raedric is finally alone. Now that we have no Fampyrs to worry about and our ciphers are safe, we revive Vivenne and blast Raedric with Ectopsychic Echo.

 

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Gray Sidoh finally hits level 9, and learns Reinforcing Exhortation, which might help us defend a threatened cipher--but will probably see no use, since scrolls and Lay on Hands will probably be more useful as rescue options. We can now craft some Scrolls of Maelstrom for fast, high-damage options during the final fight.

 

We still need our other characters to reach level 9, however, as we can't use those Scrolls of Maelstrom until our ciphers can break 10 Lore. But we're not far from level 9--it won't be much longer before we're ready for Thaos.

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Jazz Wit, Solo Coastal Aumaua Chanter (Hard), Part 5

 

Short and quick update today. Jazz Wit cleared the Temple of Eothas. We did some fighting against spiders, skuldr, shadows, shades, oozes and even a phantom, but we avoided siderooms we didn't need to clear to get to the end.

 

A few highlights and screenshots. Firstly, when positioning goes wrong:

 

 

46.jpg

 

 

My aim here was to get back to the archway but I got stuck by spider webs. If I broke off now I would suffer at least 3 disengagement attacks. The only consolation was that I was surrounded by spiderlings rather than the adult spiders. So I fought where I stood but lost a lot more health than I should have done if I had got the positioning right.

 

I have lost count of how many phantoms I have summoned. Now I have to fight one :o

 

 

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But I back off enough that I can summon my own just before it gets its hands on me...

 

 

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Don't think I'll be going this way:

 

 

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We complete the quest by letting Wirtan go and rest up at the Black Hound. Next stop is Caed Nua. Here is the character record:

 

 

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Couple of things I have highlighted:

 

1) We have defeated 130 enemies but Jazz Wit is responsible for only 28 kills :D. The phantoms are carrying the day.

2) We have done 2,698 damage but taken 1,493 damage. That's more than 50%! Shows how attritional this style is and the dependency on healing. In solo no-reloads in BG2 for instance, you would likely expect to be doing between 10:1 and 100:1 damage, not 2:1.

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