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The Pillars of Eternity No Reload Challenge


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Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher (party of ciphers)

 

Guess what? Phantoms have no immunity to charm effects!

 

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By itself, that completely solves the problem of their deadly attacks. We can pin down one Phantom on the first round with three crossbow or arbalest bolts, then charm most of the survivors and turn them against each other. We stomp over everything with Whisper of Treason.

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As for Maerwald, we charm his summoned Blight and then apply ranged pressure. He barely gets a single offensive spell off the ground.

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With Caed Nua cleared, we proceed to the next area. Turns out our party is really not equipped to handle Pwgras. Our frontliners get blasted with Infestation of Maggots, which is even worse than it sounds.

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Here we see a key weakness of an all-cipher party: we have no healing options besides scrolls (which I have yet to scribe, and would heal very little anyway) and Second Wind. That isn't enough, and four ciphers get knocked out before the Pwgra even hits Near Death.

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Finally, we bring down the Pwgra, but we're reduced to two unarmored archers, and there are too many trolls for us to kite them all.

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Only one of our remaining party members knows Whispers of Treason; Viora has used Intellect as a dump stat and has therefore focused on damage spells. How do we deal with these trolls when we only have one source of Whispers of Treason?

 

Simple: we use Amplified Thrust to knock back any trolls who get too close! We can't do it often, but we don't need to; it does a lot to bring the trolls close to death.

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With two archers dealing lots of ranged damage, one cipher charming the trolls to keep them distracted and the other knocking stray trolls back, we can finish off all the remaining enemies despite most of our party being knocked out.

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Woodend Plains might be a valuable source of Awakened Wood ingredients, but those Pwgras are very nasty. Also, as I discover mere moments later, Forest Lurkers are even stronger than I realized: they're immune to charm spells and can even attack from a distance!

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Honestly, I'm not even sure that's intentional. I don't see any projectiles, the attack involved no spells, and the Forest Lurker's arms aren't that long.

 

Anyhoo, I decide to tackle the lions. I know it's a bad idea, but I'm finding this run less interesting than I thought and less viable than I thought. We can break almost every encounter with a blitzkrieg or charm offensive and neutralize threats on Round 1, but without healing spells, we have to do that for every fight in the game, or else, sooner or later, we're going to get battered on Round 2.

 

In this case, though, I'm pretty sure we have good odds. We have a snack and open with a Prayer Against Fear scroll, and our opening flurry from our archers and their crossbow and twin arbalests brings one lion to Near Death right off the bat.

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Notice we're using Speaker to the Restless to impose some fear effects of our own. It's kind of important to apply Accuracy penalties when you have a party of glass cannons.

 

Divinegon suffers heavy damage, but once we land a few charm effects, the enemy is again under our control.

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Divinegon is still under some pressure, however, and she's not equipped to handle even a single lion in one-on-one combat; charming all the others isn't enough to keep her truly safe. She scrapes by with Second Wind and a red potion, but when those run out, her only means of defending herself is Psychovampiric Shield to improve her Deflection.

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Eventually she gets knocked out, but by the time it happens, the rest of the party has crushed the enemy with ranged attacks and Whisper of Treason.

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Hearth Harvest is ours! We give it a little upgrade and keep wandering around, struggling against some wolves (to our surprise) and then wandering into a spider den, where we trigger a LOT more spiders than I thought we would when we first entered the area.

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We can charm them, but... Whisper of Treason is a single-target spell. It's not as useful when the enemies are more numerous. Our charmed spiders get crushed early and the party gets swarmed. Our best tank, Lothra, can't handle more than a few seconds of enemy pressure.

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Divinegon struggles to maintain consciousness as our only remaining tank. We charm more spiders, but there are just too many. Mora Tai gets targeted and doesn't last long after that. In desperation, Divinegon uses Antipathetic Field, hoping she'll survive long enough for the beam to kill a few spiders.

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Unfortunately, there's one critical weakness behind Antipathetic Field: you can't control where the target goes after you first hit it. And when the spider we target moves too far south, Rius gets caught in the beam.

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Divinegon gets knocked out, and the beam dissipates before it can clear the field. Our only hope is to deploy some scrolls of Fan of Flames and build up enough Focus and then charm the healthiest survivors.

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But only one of our remaining ciphers has the scroll, and she's not in a good position to use it. Zovai goes down, and all is lost.

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We probably could wipe out the enemies just by using the Fan of Flames scrolls at the start of combat, but I don't intend to do so.

 

When I first started out, I planned on continuing the run even if I got a death. The logic was that I would learn more if I played through the game, tolerating reloads, and gathered some new information. However, the reality is that this party is not very good for learning things: it's so strong offensively that it ends fights before the enemy has a chance to fight back, which means I don't get a chance to gauge enemy strength or figure out how the enemy operates. The party is strong and I'd say it's perfectly viable even in PotD mode (though very suboptimal; our 3-cipher, 3-paladin party was much better for no-reload gameplay), but it's probably the second-worst party I could pick, just behind a party of 6 rogues, if I wanted to learn more about the game.

 

But I still like ciphers. I think my next run will include a cipher as our Watcher, but I won't create a whole party of them. Put too many high-offense ciphers in a party and most fights aren't really fights anymore--and on the rare occasions when you don't establish an early advantage and break the difficulty, you're probably going to get crushed really fast.

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Re your next character: are you tempted by solo yet?

 

 

Soon. The order of operations will be:

 

1) Complete a party NR on PotD (likely/hopefully this run)

2) Watch The Ultimate Rogue video, linked by Enuhal, from end to end, taking notes

3) Run a generic rogue on Normal, emulating The Ultimate Rogue strategies, but tweaking for RP plausibility and style

4) Run Alesia on Hard or PotD

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Arcadia, Moon-Godlike Wizard

 

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Game Version: 3.7.0.1318 with White March I & II

Difficulty: PotD

Settings: Maim Before Death: On; Injuries: On; Expert Mode: OFF 

Mods: None

 

Character Description: When Lady Greymore-Landsworth, presumed to be infertile, became pregnant at the late age of 36, the nobility of Southern Aedyr celebrated. But when the Lady gave birth to one Arcadia Greymore-Landsworth, a Moon Godlike -with elven features no less- rumors started to spread. Had it been Earl Greymore Landsworth who had been infertile all this time? And had the Lady, in desperation, found a solution among the family's many elven servants? And was the fated child's godlike features a sign of favor or disfavor? A blessing or a curse? Lacking an heir -and as desperate for a child as the Lady- Earl Greymore-Landsworth strove mightily to sway public opinion in Arcadia's favor, at great personal cost. But years later, when Lady Greymore-Landsworth gave birth once again -this time to a human child- no one was surprised when Arcadia Greymore-Landworth quietly disappeared.

 

Now alone, on the road, Arcadia Greymore-Landsworth merely calls herself Arcadia. There is no dignity in names, she has learned: only in actions.       

 

Gaming Notes: Following a lamentable (yet quasi-intentional) PotD NR near miss with our lovable Orlan Rogue, Aotha, I have decided to run a wizard similar to my successful yet unpublished Hard NR character, Alikae. I'm still a PoE novice, but I'm optimistic about this run: Alikae succeeded with ease on Hard and Arcadia can only benefit from my recent PotD experience with Aotha. We'll see what comes.

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Arcadia, Moon-Godlike Wizard: The Early Game

 

Arcadia has assembled her early party and is now ready to begin questing- despite a modicum of drama in the prologue.

 

In our opening Glanfathan battle, Calisca had a series of astonishingly bad rolls, leading her to take significant health damage. When we rested, later on in Cilant Lis -post Heodan convo and for her benefit- she abandoned us, taking the waterskins, and thus our route to the Cloak of Minor Protection. Usually this wouldn't be a problem, since Calisca is typically killed by the traps in this case. But since we had already disarmed the traps, she was nowhere to be found. Where could she be? I was beginning to think that all was lost, until I saw this. I've never been happier to see a dead friend.

 

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With waterskins in hand, Arcadia returned to the ruins and claimed her prize using Arcane Veil->Spirit Shield->Eldritch Aim->Concehault's Parasitic Staff. Note to self: Cast Eldritch Aim last.

 

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(As you've surely inferred, Arcadia had taken her first level up by this point, selecting Arcane Veil. Her skill points went to Survival. I like all of my team members to reach Survival 4 for the +10 against creature type. That's too good to pass up.)

 

At the Black Hound, Arcadia met an oddly familiar priest...

 

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who was traveling with an oddly familiar wizard.

 

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This trio will form the core of our party from here to the end.

 

Seeking experience together -and in need of a tank- Arcadia, Alikae, and Alena added Eder and descended into the Eothasian Temple. We did just enough to level up here, pulling no punches, on account of our low levels. 

 

In the early game, setting aside per encounter abilities, the party's standard strategy was:

 

Alena: Armor of Faith->Blessing->Barbs of Condemnation

Arcadia: Arcane Veil->Spirit Shield->Curse of Blackened Sight->Concelhault's Parasitic Staff->Eldritch Aim

Alikae: Eldritch Aim->Fan of Flames

Eder: Stand in the door and suffer

 

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Alikae did most of the damage in these encounters

 

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Arcadia held her own, however- proceeding slower, but with more staying power

 

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Once Alena and Alikae leveled up, adding Interdiction and Arcane Veil respectively, we made out way to Caed Nua to collect Kana, picking up Durance's staff and clothes Durance along the way.

 

In the early game, Concelhault's Parasitic Staff is an excellent weapon: 21 is a solid graze for a L3 character with middling strength

 

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37 a decent hit

 

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Now with L2 priest slots, we added on Prayer Against Infirmity against the trolls. 

 

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Alena got her first kill here.

 

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We'll return to the Eothasian Temple in our next session.

 

 


Best,

 

A.

 

Current Status:

 

Arcadia, Wizard- (lvl 3): Stealth:0; Athletic:0; Lore:5; Mechanics:1; Survival:4; Talents: Arcane Veil; Notable Gear: Cloak of Minor Protection; Grimoire: Level 1 - Concehault's Parasitic Staff, Chill Fog, Spirit Shield, Eldritch Aim; Level 2 - Curse of Blackened Sight, Infuse With Vital Essence

 

Alena, Priest of Wael (lvl 2)Stealth:0; Athletic:1; Lore:4; Mechanics:0; Survival:2; Talents: Interdiction

 
Eder - Fighter (lvl 3): Stealth:2; Athletic:5; Lore:1; Mechanics:0; Survival:2; Talents: Rapid Recovery; Abilities: Knock Down, Fighting Spirit, Defender
 
Alikae - Wizard (lvl 2): Stealth:1; Athletic:0; Lore:2; Mechanics:4; Survival:0; Talents: Arcane Veil;
Grimoire: Level 1 - Fan of Flames, Slicken, Eldritch Aim, Minoletta's Minor Missiles

 

Kana - Chanter (lvl 3)Soon to be respecced, despite my reservations, because I'm sick of suffering his skeletons... 
 
Durance- Priest of Magran (lvl 3): Soon to be booted...
 

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Arcadia, Moon-Godlike, Wizard: The Eothasian Temple

 

Despite our low levels, he Eothasian Temple quest went much smoother for Arcadia than it had for Aotha. This bodes well, I think, for Arcadia's prospects. In the early game, Aotha suffered from my Hard hangover. I had acquired some bad habits, on account of playing on a difficulty level that was too easy. Arcadia's play, in contrast, has benefited from a recent run on PotD. I did little different, here but I did what I did with greater precision and control.

 

In the quest's focal encounter, we hung back and lured our enemies to us, rather than boldly charging forward. This gave us time to buff before engagement. Alena cast Blessing; Durance cast Armor of Faith; Alikae cast Arcane Veil->Eldritch Aim and Arcadia cast Arcane Veil->Spirit Shield->Concelhault's Parasitic Staff->Eldritch Aim.

 

 

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Upon engagement, Durance added Consecrated Ground and Holy Power. Arcadia and Alena debuffed with Curse of Blackened Sight and Divine Terror respectively. Alikae cast Fan of Flames

 

 

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Arcadia got the final kill with Concelhault's Parasitic Staff

 

 

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Same method for the large shadow group near the Cloak of the Eothasian Priest.

 

 

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Same result: Final kill to Arcadia with Concehault's

 

 

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In our next session, we'll retrieve Ranga's potion and visit Mahmar Bridge before moving on to Caed Nua.

 

Best,

 

A.

 

Current Status:

 

Arcadia, Wizard- (lvl 3): Stealth:0; Athletic:0; Lore:5; Mechanics:1; Survival:4; Talents: Arcane Veil; Notable Gear: Cloak of Minor Protection; Grimoire: Level 1 - Concehault's Parasitic Staff, Chill Fog, Spirit Shield, Eldritch Aim; Level 2 - Curse of Blackened Sight, Infuse With Vital Essence

 

Alena, Priest of Wael (lvl 2)Stealth:0; Athletic:1; Lore:4; Mechanics:0; Survival:2; Talents: Interdiction

 
Eder - Fighter (lvl 3): Stealth:2; Athletic:5; Lore:1; Mechanics:0; Survival:2; Talents: Rapid Recovery; Abilities: Knock Down, Fighting Spirit, Defender
 
Alikae - Wizard (lvl 2): Stealth:1; Athletic:0; Lore:2; Mechanics:4; Survival:0; Talents: Arcane Veil;
Grimoire: Level 1 - Fan of Flames, Slicken, Eldritch Aim, Minoletta's Minor Missiles

 

Kana - Chanter (lvl 3)Still waiting to be respecced
 
Durance- Priest of Magran (lvl 3): No one cares: no one
 

Edited by Alesia_BH
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@Alesia_BH: It looks like you created your custom characters at level 1. Is there any particular reason why? I prefer to get my Watcher to level 3 so I can add level 2 custom characters, and then I stagger new character creations so I can create each one at the highest level possible. A level 2 custom character only costs 250 more copper pieces, but starts with 1,000 more experience points, which I think is a great bargain considering that money is easier to find than experience. The bargain only gets better at higher levels: higher-level custom characters start with more and more experience points, but each additional level still only costs an extra 250 copper pieces.

 

Speaking of money, I've found that you can sell Gaun's Pledge to Heodan at the start of the game for more than 1,300 copper pieces, almost 1,000 more than you could get by selling it at a later point in the game. Heodan buys stuff at very good prices, so selling stuff to him before you pick up the waterskin is a great way to start the game with extra money.

 

I've also recently discovered that you can recruit Aloth, Eder, Durance, and Kana without fighting anything tougher than a single Forest Troll (which can easily be kited using ranged weapons). This might not be news to you guys, but it's a game-changer for me. I used the following routes through Magran's Fork and the Black Meadow to avoid fights:

 

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In the past, I fought my way through various early-game fights with a small party, which made things much more difficult. Starting with 5 characters, all of which are already at the Watcher's level (unlike custom characters), makes a big difference in the early game.

 

Is anyone else using a lot of hatchets for the Deflection bonuses? I think dual-wielding hatchets offers a good offensive build that still gets a little defensive boost.

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@Alesia_BH: It looks like you created your custom characters at level 1. Is there any particular reason why?

 

 

Thinking long term, my paramount concern is the size of the experience gap. It's smaller the sooner you recruit. 

 

Ideally, I'd recruit as soon as I reached L2, at 1000XP. That's not possible, though.

 

(Also, I just wanted to add my peeps and get rolling ASAP. I don't have Gaun's Pledge in my install so cash is a little tighter)

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Is anyone else using a lot of hatchets for the Deflection bonuses? I think dual-wielding hatchets offers a good offensive build that still gets a little defensive boost.

 

I like hatchets on casters. 

 

For a dual-wielding rogue, the consensus is that sabres with Annihilation are the way to go: Resolution + Purgatory

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Arcadia, Moon-Godlike, Wizard: Minor Questing Around Guilded Vale

 

Before departing for Anslog's compass, the party did some clean up work in the vicinity of Guilded Vale. We liberated Tenfrith, picked up Fulvano's gloves, and collected the Fine Crossbow.

 

In all of these screenshots, you'll see an excessive amount of casting, in light of the ease of the encounters. In Aotha's run, I proved to myself that all this isn't necessary: positioning and accuracy focused Talents and Abilities is enough, at least through much of the adventure, even on PotD. Nonetheless, I've decided to take an all-out approach early in this run in the interest of getting my action timing down. In BG, I always used Autopause: Spell Cast and Autopause: Round Ended. I'm unacustomed to pausing myself at the moment of action completion. I need to get that down.

 

Our standard opening is now

 

Action 1: Alena: Armor of Faith; Durance: Blessing; Alikae: Arcane Veil, Eldritch Aim; Arcadia: Arcane Veil, Eldritch Aim

Action 2: Alena: Divine Terror; Durance: Consecrated ground; Alikae: Slicken or Arcane Assault; Arcadia: Curse of Blackened Sight or Chill Fog

 

Specific protection are added as needed and subsequent damage spells are chosen according to context and taste.

 

(This is usually over-kill in the early game. I'm just practicing.)

 

 

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Here we see the party just after Action round 2. Slicken and Chill Fog have granted Alikae the opportunity to move to the front line and cast Fan of Flames. Note that Kana is shooting over the top at the mama wolf.

 

 

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Variation on the same theme in the rescue of Tenfrith. In this case, positioning precluded use of Chill Fog, Slicken, and Fan of Flames, so Alikae and Arcadia went with their alternates, notably Arcane Assault. And when that happens, Alena reserves her Interdiction to avoid duplication of effort. 

 

 

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Alena: Interdiction; Arcadia: Concehault's Parasitic Staff for the finish

 

 

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Best,

 

A.

 

Current Status:

 

Arcadia, Wizard (lvl 3): Stealth:0; Athletic:0; Lore:5; Mechanics:1; Survival:4; Talents: Arcane Veil; Notable Gear: Cloak of Minor Protection; Grimoire: Level 1 - Concehault's Parasitic Staff, Chill Fog, Spirit Shield, Eldritch Aim; Level 2 - Curse of Blackened Sight, Infuse With Vital Essence

 

Alikae, Wizard (lvl 2): Stealth:1; Athletic:0; Lore:2; Mechanics:4; Survival:0; Talents: Arcane Veil;

Grimoire: Level 1 - Fan of Flames, Slicken, Eldritch Aim, Minoletta's Minor Missiles

 

Alena, Priest of Wael (lvl 2)Stealth:0; Athletic:1; Lore:4; Mechanics:0; Survival:2; Talents: Interdiction

 
Eder, Fighter- (lvl 3): Stealth:2; Athletic:5; Lore:1; Mechanics:0; Survival:2; Talents: Rapid Recovery; Abilities: Knock Down, Fighting Spirit, Defender

 

Kana, Chanter (lvl 3)Still waiting to be respecced
 
Durance, Priest of Magran (lvl 3): No one cares: no one

Edited by Alesia_BH
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@Alesia_BH: You don't have Gaun's Pledge in your install? Why not? I'm not running any mods, so I don't see why I would have any items you wouldn't.

 

 

Gaun's Pledge is for people who pre-ordered. I bought the game about a month ago.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Arcadia, Moon-Godlike, Wizard: The Smith's Shipment

 

On the way to Anslog's Compass, the party took a detour to assist Peregrund and recover Tuatanu's craters. I'll just cover Tuatanu's quest here. This was super fun. Our party, now at L3, is shaping up.

 

First the trolls.

 

After a standard opening (Armor of Faith, Blessing, Arcane Veils and Eldritch Aims), our cold, darkness, and confusion (lunacy) wizard, the Moon-Godlike Arcadia, collaborated with our fire and brimstone wizard, the Fire-Godlike Alikae, to set us up for the kill. Alikae: Slicken->Web; Arcadia: Chill Fog.
 

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Time to bring the pain. Alikae gets in position for Fan of Flames; Durance and Alena close for double Divine Marks on the backline infiltrator. Arcadia readies her staff.
 

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And go. (Note, Semitigod, that the 81 and the 67 came from the priests: by L3 the can start putting on the hurt)
 

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Arcadia finishes off the line breacher with her staff; the priests get ready to drop another
 

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Clean up now.
 

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Onto the bandits!
 
Standard opening, with the addition of Wizard Double for Eder. We followed with Divine Terror + Curse of Blackened Sight + Consecrated Ground
 

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We're using party friendlies this time due to spacing. The priests notice that our foes are in a line so they go with Iconic Projections instead of Divine Marks. Arcadia's staff is on the way.
 

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Nice crit from Arcadia. 
 

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That was quick...
 

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Race to the finish line.
 

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Best,
 
A.
 
Arcadia, Wizard (lvl 4): Stealth:0; Athletic:1; Lore:7; Mechanics:1; Survival:4; Talents: Arcane Vei, Hardened Veill;
Grimoire: Level 1 - Concehault's Parasitic Staff, Chill Fog, Spirit Shield, Eldritch Aim; Level 2 - Curse of Blackened Sight, Infuse With Vital Essence, Merciless Gaze

 

Alikae, Wizard (lvl 3): Stealth:1; Athletic:0; Lore:2; Mechanics:6; Survival:1; Talents: Arcane Veil;

Grimoire: Level 1 - Fan of Flames, Slicken, Eldritch Aim, Minoletta's Minor Missiles; Level 2 - Binding Web Concelhault's Corrosive Siphon

 

Alena, Priest of Wael (lvl 3)Stealth:0; Athletic:1; Lore:5; Mechanics:0; Survival:4; Talents: Interdiction

 
Eder, Fighter- (lvl 3): Stealth:2; Athletic:5; Lore:1; Mechanics:0; Survival:2; Talents: Rapid Recovery; Abilities: Knock Down, Fighting Spirit, Defender

 

Kana, Chanter (lvl 3): Still waiting...
 
Durance, Priest of Magran (lvl 3): Why do I even bother?

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Great progress for Arcadia.

 

Just responding to various points:

 

Divinegon gets knocked out, and the beam dissipates before it can clear the field. Our only hope is to deploy some scrolls of Fan of Flames and build up enough Focus and then charm the healthiest survivors.

 

 

You can only gain focus through weapon damage, not spells or scrolls.

 

Divinegon is still under some pressure, however, and she's not equipped to handle even a single lion in one-on-one combat; charming all the others isn't enough to keep her truly safe. She scrapes by with Second Wind and a red potion, but when those run out, her only means of defending herself is Psychovampiric Shield to improve her Deflection.

 

 

 

The Psychovampiric Shield has to be first, not the last resort. If you had it up early Divinegon wouldn't have taken so much damage in the first place. You have 6 ciphers, the other 5 could start with Whispers of Treason if they want but for your main front-line character Psychovampiric Shield has to be #1 priority.

 

 

Alena: Armor of Faith->Blessing->Barbs of Condemnation

Arcadia: Arcane Veil->Spirit Shield->Curse of Blackened Sight->Concelhault's Parasitic Staff->Eldritch Aim

Alikae: Eldritch Aim->Fan of Flames

 

 

This makes me so happy. Virtually perfect sequencing of actions.

 

@semiticgod: it appears to me from the outside that this is the difference that will help you succeed at the higher difficulty levels. You still seem to be reactive to danger and are using defensive options when things start to fall apart; rather than use the defensive options first so that things do NOT fall apart.

 

 

@Alesia_BH: It looks like you created your custom characters at level 1. Is there any particular reason why? I prefer to get my Watcher to level 3 so I can add level 2 custom characters, and then I stagger new character creations so I can create each one at the highest level possible. A level 2 custom character only costs 250 more copper pieces, but starts with 1,000 more experience points, which I think is a great bargain considering that money is easier to find than experience. The bargain only gets better at higher levels: higher-level custom characters start with more and more experience points, but each additional level still only costs an extra 250 copper pieces.

 

 

All XP in PoE is like BG's quest XP. With one small difference, all characters in your party will get the same XP for whatever happens, it does not get divided between party memebers. So you are not losing any XP by recruiting your NPCs earlier or gaining any XP by recruiting them later.

 

The small difference is that you get 10% bonus XP (divided over party members) for every character short you are of the maximum 6. So if you have 3 characters for instance, you get 30% extra XP; a solo character gets 50% extra XP (which means in my solo run, I am getting 150XP where 6 party members would get 100XP each, for a total of 600XP; I do not get the remaining 450XP: this is a much better balance than a solo character getting 6 x XP).

 

 

For a dual-wielding rogue, the consensus is that sabres with Annihilation are the way to go: Resolution + Purgatory

 

 

Dual sabres is great for a melee cipher also (Sabres special power is they do extra damage; more damage = more focus). For rogues I would suggest disabling weapons (on-crit prones/stuns etc) to enable sneak attacks and later Deathblows.

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Dual sabres is great for a melee cipher also (Sabres special power is they do extra damage; more damage = more focus). For rogues I would suggest disabling weapons (on-crit prones/stuns etc) to enable sneak attacks and later Deathblows.

 

 

Makes sense.

 

(I'd think this would hinge, to a significant extent, on whether you are solo or in a party. If you're in a party, with a reliable means of applying afflictions, with little or no opportunity cost, you'd be better off with Annihilation, at least from a DPS perspective. If solo, and in need of means of applying afflictions, then on hit effects would be preferable.)

Edited by Alesia_BH
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@semiticgod: it appears to me from the outside that this is the difference that will help you succeed at the higher difficulty levels. You still seem to be reactive to danger and are using defensive options when things start to fall apart; rather than use the defensive options first so that things do NOT fall apart.

 

You're right, of course.  But this is a style choice, I think. Semiticgod tends towards a semi-chaotic play style. I think he appreciates that more proactive defense would increase survivability. It just doesn't seem as fun to him right now as flashy damage. That's why he's gravitated to rogues and ciphers and has a dour assessment of priests.

 

I'd love to see Semiticgod succeed on PotD. Soon. And I do think focusing on defense would get him there quicker. But I also think it's pretty cool that he's playing the game in ways that are completely different from everyone else (his posts are fun to read). I'm also confident that he'll figure something out if he keeps at it. If he's enjoying himself -and he doesn't mind filling the graveyard- then I'd just assume encourage him to keep being wild. This is all goofy fun, in the end. 

 

I vote for fewer meanderings into horrible, run ending death traps, like Searing Falls and that spider pit. But aside from that, I'm enjoying the ride- so long as he is, that is.

 

Best,

 

A. 

 

 

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Arcadia, Moon-Godlike Wizard: Anslog's Compass

 

I'll just say it: I'm really enjoying this run. We're spamming vancian spells on helpless, low level mooks. I suppose that's a little unsporting. But I do need to practice my timing for tough fights and this is a great way to do it. So, yeah. I have an excuse. 

 

Let's talk about the fights. First, the xaurips. We had a good time with this. And as you can see in the screenshots, the xaurips thought they were going to have a good time, too. Look at them run: "Yippy-skippy! Speary-speary time!"

 

 

 

NWcfmvr.jpg

 

 

 

But then: "Damn! What's this? We're stuck." 

 

 

 

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"And now we're stuck and falling. And blind. And holy frack it's cold."

 

 

 

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Yeah. Not a fun day for the xaurips after all.

 

 

 

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Onto the sporelings. Standard opening.

 

 

 

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Followed by Chill Fog and Concehault's Corrosive Siphon. 

 

 

 

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We dropped the ball a bit on that backline charger. Arcadia should have intercepted him, running her Hardened Veil. Instead, she re-applied blindness. True, I wasn't certain that that one had picked up blindness in the fog, but I should have checked rather than tossing a spell to hedge. That needless delay let him get to Alena. Fortunately, we had a contingency plan in place.

 

Alena: Withdraw; Durance: Divine Mark; Kana: Reny's; Arcadia: Engage in melee

 

 

 

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Arcadia with the finish.

 

 

 

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Finally, the dank spores. My thanks to Semiticgod for reminding me that the Hermit Hat provides confusion immunity. We'll keep using that.

 

 

 

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Caed Nua is next.

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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I realize that priests are important and you need to deploy defensive options early in the fight in order to establish a long-term advantage (I've pointed out that disengagement is one of those defensive measures best suited for the first couple rounds of combat rather than the last). But I tend to resist following certain rules of gameplay, and I try to find ways to break them. My playstyle errs strongly on the side of the experimental rather than the optimal. I gradually pick up details about optimal gameplay and effective tactics, but my main goal is to screw around and play the game as weirdly as possible. @Alesia_BH has compared me to Doc Brown in that sense.

 

But yes, do keep telling me when I'm doing something crazy or stupid, even if I am doing it intentionally. I might not follow the advice, but everyone benefits from hearing it.

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Jazz Wit, Solo Chanter (Hard), Part 15

 

This does not look right...

 

 

184.jpg

 

 

Time to eat and fight. Forge Knights are very annoying opponents.

 

 

185.jpg

 

 

They have lots of special abilities (some highlighted in above screenshot). On top of that they regenerate and cast heal when badly wounded. The only saving grace is that the regeneration stops after a while (like Veteran's Recovery) so you can grind them down after that (this is how Jazz Wit will win these fights).

 

The first of the 3 battles:

 

 

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Something else that helps is that their AoE attacks are not party-friendly :D

 

 

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That's a lot of Chain Lightnings. Hope they are not all simultaneously headed my way...

 

 

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More unfriendly fire:

 

 

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And the third battle:

 

 

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The Forgotten task is next. This can be a very dangerous battle if you get it wrong.

 

 

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The big advantage you have in this fight is that you can split their group into two if you back off slightly (the others drift back to the other end of the bridge). But this is also one of those fights that does not end until one side is defeated.

 

 

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I am not taking any chances in this battle, the full gamut of defences is being deployed (Scrolls of Protection and Defence, Spirit Shield etc).

 

 

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2 vs 2 is more sporting than 3 vs 1 don't ya think?

 

 

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I am using scrolls of Stag's Horn for burst damage in this fight (Fan of Flames does not work so well because of the distance between opponents).

 

 

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The phantom provides the final flourish.

 

 

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This is not a straightforward decision:

 

 

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Some players love Sanguine Plate and even create builds around procing the Frenzy. But I really do not want to be procing it at all! -10 deflection and hidden endurance/health bars is exactly the last thing I need for Jazz Wit. The good thing is I should not be receiving critical hits very often due to my strong defences. I'll try it out but will be taking it off swiftly if I'm becoming frenzied with any regularity.

 

I can upgrade my shield to Exceptional :) (bought the Vithrack brain from Cartugo)

 

 

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Lord of Caed Nua  :geek:

 

 

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Time to investigate Heritage Hill.

 

 

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I was hoping to get to level 9 before this point (I've had tough times against the banshee in the past; Jazz Wit's low ACC will really hurt in this fight) but I think that would involve going down the Endless Paths (and I also want to be level 9+ before doing that because of the sheer number of fights). So we'll have to do it at level 8 (should still be fine, I have tons of resources now).

Edited by Jaheiras Witness
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Jazz Wit, Solo Chanter (Hard), Part 16

 

I'm at the stage of the game now where I have so many crafting ingredients (as well as money) that I can go ballistic with consumables. Deep Pockets moreover allows me to bring offensive scrolls to the party (as well as the key defensive/healing potions I always have to hand). The undead of Heritage Hill now have first-hand experience of what this means.

 

 

201.jpg202.jpg203.jpg204.jpg205.jpg206.jpg

 

 

(Check out how many "misses" there are in some of those combat logs: I was also using Mirrored Image potions liberally).

 

The Sanguine Plate procs Frenzy  :fdevil:

 

 

207.jpg

 

 

Only took a paralysis first for Emilio Valtas to crit me.

 

Back to destruction:

 

 

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Onto the banshee tomb. I was a little apprehensive about this battle so I prepped to the max and let the Adra Bettle suck up the initial onslaught while I used some defensive scrolls.

 

 

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The intention here was to get the justiciars but I even managed to charm Leyra  :geek:

 

 

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Onto the offensive scrolls:

 

 

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And the coup de grace:

 

 

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(The observant may have noticed the sequencing of actions: figurine to buy time, defensive buffs, protection from fear to regain accuracy, crowd control, damage. It's such a simple but effective formula).

 

With only 1 x Frenzy proc in Heritage Hill, I decide the Sanguine Plate will serve and proceed to buy the gems necessary to upgrade it:

 

 

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This is something I have not noticed before. This lot of backers...

 

 

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...are the opponents from the Forgotten task who I beat up earlier  :devil: (here:)

 

 

193.jpg

 

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Arcadia, Moon-Godlike Wizard: Caed Nua

 

Our challenge regulars seem to have Caed Nua figured out now. That's good news. Arcadia is here to spread the word.

 

But first, a note on party management: Durance is history. I really wanted to keep him this time -really I did, honest ( :no:)- but the secret circle of Eothasian priests insisted on assassinating him again and so Cassia (who you may recall from Ashoka's run) has returned.

 

 

dTot97J.jpg

 

 

You may be wondering why we recruited Cassia so late. Well, I was leaning toward replacing Durance with Sagani. But I decide that I was enjoying having two priests again, so we added Cassia. Since we recruited her late, her XP lag is on the large side, but we'll work through that- no worries at all.

 

To the fights! Or, in the case of the courtyard, the lack thereof. We stealthed by the shadows, following the wall.

 

 

jxMVxoF.jpg

 

 

We then took on the unavoidable will'o'wisp before harvesting some primal flame from the flame blights. We added a lash to Yenwood.

 

 

GuA223K.jpg

 

 

Into the hall. We secured our hidey-hole and then pulled the spirits. This time we made a point of using the shadow to block out the phantoms- not so much because we needed to, but as practice for an upcoming solo.

 

 

JgIFdaZ.jpg

 

 

Now that we have Inspiring Radiance, the priests open with Armor of Faith + Holy Radiance. Arcadia, who is the third member of the front line, took her Arcane Veil before going Eldritch Aim->Chill Fog. Alikae tossed Concelhault's + Arcane Assault. Kana ran At the Sight + Come, Come. Eder basically stood there looking tough.

 

 

pIVjdN6.jpg

 

 

What ever damage Eder took was healed by Consecrated Ground. Well done, team!

 

 

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To Maerwald!

 

The plan here was to exit the room, aggregate to buff, disperse to mitigate AoE damage risk, and lay stationary AoE stuff at the doorway.

 

Here we are buffing.

 

 

CrGn7sG.jpg

 

 

And here we are spread out, watching Maewald, stuck in an unavoidable trap, slowly dying. One mistake here: Eder was too close. He shouldn't have been within AA range. No need for that.

 

 

DJVTVVN.jpg

 

 

By the time he broke free, his blights were mostly tapped and he was near dead. Good on Eder for scoring the payback kill.

 

 

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Onto to Defiance Bay!

 

Best,

 

A.

 

Current Status:

 

Arcadia, Wizard (lvl 4): Stealth:0; Athletic:1; Lore:7; Mechanics:1; Survival:4; Talents: Arcane Veil, Hardened Veill;

Grimoire: Level 1 - Concehault's Parasitic Staff, Chill Fog, Spirit Shield, Eldritch Aim; Level 2 - Curse of Blackened Sight, Infuse With Vital Essence, Merciless Gaze

 

Alikae, Wizard (lvl 4): Stealth:1; Athletic:0; Lore:2; Mechanics:7; Survival:1; Talents: Arcane Veil; Hardened Veill;

Grimoire: Level 1 - Fan of Flames, Slicken, Eldritch Aim, Minoletta's Minor Missiles; Level 2 - Binding Web, Concelhault's Corrosive Siphon, Combusting Wounds

 

Alena, Priest of Wael (lvl 4)Stealth:0; Athletic:1; Lore:6; Mechanics:0; Survival:4; Talents: Interdiction, Inspiring Radiance

 
Eder, Fighter- (lvl 4): Stealth:2; Athletic:5; Lore:1; Mechanics:0; Survival:4; Talents: Rapid Recovery; Abilities: Knock Down, Fighting Spirit, Defender

 

Kana, Chanter (lvl 4): Respecced, but I don't have deets available right now

 

Cassia, Priest of Eothas (lvl 3): No deets: sorry!
 
 

Edited by Alesia_BH
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@Jaheiras Witness: I continue to be amazed by your progress as a solo chanter. I'm glad to see it.

 

@Alesia_BH: A few questions and comments: What is the use of Armor of Faith against Shadows? I thought that Armor of Faith's damage reduction was only physical; I didn't notice elemental resistances in the description (if it does grant other bonuses, AoF sounds really strong).

 

When I fight the Shadows, I just wear hide or scale armor for the Freeze damage reduction (which is actually pretty considerable, to the extent that a Consecrated Ground spell can allow a character to survive getting stunned by Phantoms for many seconds). Do you ever switch armor when you know which damage types the enemy is using?

 

How exactly did you trap Maerwald? Are those Blights stuck in place somehow, or is Maerwald himself pinned?

 

When you mentioned Cassia's "XP lag," I realized that I was thinking of custom character XP the wrong way--I thought that creating them late would be fine, since you only pay an extra 250 per level to get them all the XP they need to reach the Watcher's level minus one. Thus, you get more and more XP for every additional 250 copper pieces. Problem is, the XP gap between the Watcher and the custom party member also grows with level; a custom character can have thousands of XP less than the Watcher if you create them too late. This suggests that the time to create a custom character will basically always be "as soon as you can afford it."

 

I notice you re-trained Kana. I know you don't have the details at the moment, but what role do you think re-training has in the game? I've wondered if it's a good late-game option for custom characters, who could be tailor-made to fight Thaos or a similar boss (though I don't know what tweaks would be optimal).

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What is the use of Armor of Faith against Shadows? I thought that Armor of Faith's damage reduction was only physical; I didn't notice elemental resistances in the description (if it does grant other bonuses, AoF sounds really strong).

 

 

Armor of Faith work for all sources, both physical and elemental:

 

 

zrihZIg.jpg

 

There is no need to specifically mention elemental DR in the description since when we talk about it in general - i.e. Plate Armor base 12 DR - it means DR12 vs all sources with specific adjustments vs Slash(15)/Pierce(15)/Shock(6). And if we apply a spell which increases DR in general - it increases them all by default. Some talents only modify a single DR (Scion of Flame: +5 Burn DR only, etc.).

 

And all this means that if you want a better Freeze DR vs Shadows then you better use not a Hide (6 Freeze DR) or Scale armor (9 Freeze DR) but Mail (9 Freeze DR), Brigandine (10 Freeze DR) or Plate (12 Freeze DR).

 

edit: and I think it's might be worth to mention, that it's generally a bad idea to apply DR proofing for sources with 'negative efficiency coefficient'. I.e. for example Brigandine has -25% armor efficiency coefficient vs Corrode damage and so you don't want to apply Corrode Proofing to it. It's far better to 'proof' those sources, which have 'positive or neutral increasing coefficient' - i.e. for Brigandine it would be Crush (+25%) or Slash/Pierce/Burn/Freeze/Shock (0%) since  'Proofing' enchants are always applied at first and then a total value is modified by 'armor efficiency coefficient': (Base+Quality+Proof)*Armor Efficiency Coefficient.

Edited by Serg BlackStrider
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