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The Pillars of Eternity No Reload Challenge

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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).



Yes. AoF works against elemental damage.


It's a solid spell: it has a meaningful effect, the duration is moderately long, and the cost is cheap. It doesn't stack with consumables, but its DR value is superior to them (Ynefer: 3, Ale: 2, Beer: 1, ) 


Later in the adventure the temporal opportunity cost becomes significant, and so you'll see us using it less, but we'll still put it into play, time permitting


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?


I do switch armor on occasion, but not that often. At this point, the early game is easy enough for me that armor switching wouldn't be worth the effort. Later, when quality armors are available, the cost of maintaining a wardrobe becomes significant. If I were solo -or if I had an overabundance of resources- I'd switch more.


When I do switch, it's usually for a bonus verses one affliction or another.


(Note that the DR quotes for armor are a little confusing. You'll see a base DR number and then other numbers below associated with specific damage types. If there is no number below for a particular type, that doesn't mean that the armor offers no protection against that type: it means that the base number applies. So, hide armor, for example, isn't more protective against cold than leather armor. They're both 6s. The only advantage of hide versus leather against cold is the -5% recovery.)


EDIT: I just noticed that Serg covered this already. Thanks, Serg! 


Problem is, the XP gap between the Watcher and the custom party member also grows with level


Right. That's why I recruit ASAP. Note, though, that if you are close to a level the gap can be smaller if you wait a little.


EX: If you're at L2 and have 2750 XP, you're better off waiting. If you recruit as soon as you reach L3, 3000 XP, you'll recruit a character with 1000 XP for a gap of 2000. In contrast, if you recruit immediately the gap would be 2750: 2750 v 0. 




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



It wasn't literally a trap. We just tossed Slicken and some stationary AoE stuff (Web and Chill Fog) at a point that he couldn't avoid.


Maerwald failed his save against Slicken. I think he failed against Web, too, but the animation is harder to see. The blights are immune to both prone and stuck, but they stayed there anyways- not sure why, possibly blindness


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).


I'm unfold of retraining. It seems like a bailout option for players who've made build mistakes. It rarely makes sense from an RP perspective.


I will, on occasion, retrain NPCs to suit my needs. When I do that I do it reluctantly. I have not as of yet retrained a PC.


I imagine it could be powerful, with the requisite game knowledge to leverage it. 







Btw, apologies for the sparse, inelegant replies- I'm really tired now!

Edited by Alesia_BH
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@semiticgod: thank you! But to be perfectly honest, right now the game is very easy for Jazz Wit. My defences are strong, I outlevel my opponents, I have tons of potions and scrolls, only danger is complacency. And I will become even stronger at level 9 (more on that to come).


The game will become more of a challenge again when I start taking on tougher opponents and go to the higher level areas, where my relative level advantage no longer applies.


Regarding XP, even the XP gap if you wait to recruit which you are currently talking about isn’t that important because the level progression in PoE only increases by 1k XP at each level (rather than a geometric rate). It is very well designed so that whichever way you do it, your custom NPCs will always be 1 level behind your PC or story companions. The one caveat is to recruit shortly after levelling up. If you are close to a level up and recruit, then the NPC will be nearly 2 levels behind.


Retraining is not something I do but it can be very strong. The cost of retraining isn’t an issue once you are swimming in cash. Hypothetically you could retrain a character for every major encounter, to change your stats, abilities and talents for that encounter. For example if you are facing a dragon, DEF is irrelevant (since a dragon’s attacks are vs FOR). So you could dump any deflection abilities and talents and take all the ones that boost FOR. You could also take abilities which are specific for that fight (e.g. Fearless for a Fighter, Brutal Backlash for a Cipher etc) and even change your skills (for example max Athletics and Lore just for a combat encounter - you don’t need Mechanics or Stealth to fight a dragon!). And once you are done, retrain again back to a more normal configuration. Net result = big advantage for the setpiece fight with the only cost being money.


So retraining could potentially give you a huge benefit, depending on your appetite and patience to micromanage (as well as metaknowledge; you need to know what is coming up to configure appropriately).

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Regarding XP, even the XP gap if you wait to recruit which you are currently talking about isn’t that important because the level progression in PoE only increases by 1k XP at each level (rather than a geometric rate). It is very well designed so that whichever way you do it, your custom NPCs will always be 1 level behind your PC or story companions. 



The size of the gap isn't a huge deal, but it is noticeable. Player created NPCs won't always be one level behind. Sometimes they're one level behind and at other times they're at the same level. The proportion of time spent 1 level behind, versus at the same level, is a function of the size of the gap. The larger the gap, the more time spent behind.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Arcadia, Moon-Godlike Wizard: The Queen That Was


Ok! Arcadia's updates have fallen a teensy-tiny bit behind her progress. In the interest of catching up, I'll upload four posts in quick succession: one covering The Queen That Was, another covering minor quest in Defiance Bay, and another covering L1 of the Endless Paths. Those posts will be followed by a stand alone post summarizing the party's current items and abilities. Let's get to it!


As a central storyline quest, The Queen That Was is worthy of its own post, in my opinion. It is, however, a very brief quest. This won't take long. There are three encounters worth talking about: the oozes, the troll/sporeling crew, and the Leaden Key inner sanctum.


We let Eder solo the oozes, assisted by the Marvelous Mr. Reny. We did this in the interest of preserving health, since we'd yet to visit Cartugo or harvest beetle shell for Potions of Infuse with Vital Essence.






Against the troll/sporeling crew, we used the bridge as a choke point. Prayer Against Infirmity was added to our standard buffs. Most of the damage here was done by AoE spells cast by Arcadia and Alikae







Finally, a note on the Leaden Key ceremony. As we all know, taking the peaceful route is the safest option here, especially if you do the quest early. But what should god-likes do, seeing as how they can't equip the Woedica hood? Simple. Take the Woedica hood and put it in your god-like PC's inventory. When you approach the door, you'll get an option to put it on. Take that option, and you'll be fine.











Edited by Alesia_BH
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Arcadia, Moon-Godlike: Minor Quest in Defiance Bay


After visiting the Temple of Woedica, Arcadia completed a few minor quests in Defiance Bay: Rogue Knight (peaceful), At All Costs, and His Old Self. I'll forgo coverage of Rogue Knight and jump right into At All Costs.


Despite our low levels (4/3), I was confident heading into this encounter. Danna and her crew are a lot less threatening than they look. Further, Verzanno's Valian guards aren't entirely useless. It would be pretty hard to lose this fight.


Here we see the opening. Eder, who had flanked east to defend Verzanno, has dropped some beetles. Kana has used a Scroll of Defense. The priests have gone Armor of Faith and Inspiring Radiance, respectively. Alikae went Arcane Veil->Eldritch Aim, while Arcadia prepared her melee buffs.






We're ready to go on the offensive. Most of the party is focused on Danna, as Arcadia finishes her buffs: Divine Terror + Interdiction from the priests, melee engagement from Eder and Kana, and a gentle nudge toward death, via Minoletta's, from Alikae. Meanwhile, the beetles are nip, nip, nipping at Danna's heals and keeping Verzanno safe. If this is Danna's idea of an assassination plan, then it's amazing that she's lived this long: she's outnumbered, she's outgunned, and she's out-beetled. The only thing she has going for her is that hat. Is it fashion week in Defiance Bay?






Danna is dead thanks to a crit via Merciless Gaze. We move onto the next target while Verzanno reloads Forgiveness.






Entering clean-up phase now. Note that the priests are tossing Barbs of Condemnation rather than Divine Marks due to the longer range. We skipped Iconic Projection in this fight because I wasn't 100% sure how it would effect allied non-party combatants and I didn't want to risk turning the Valians hostile.






Arcadia ends it.






Following the battle, we released Kana and added Pallegina. On our way back to Copperlane, we were assaulted by Doemenel thugs. Mr. Innocent-Bystander has a valid question.






He soon had his answer.






Finally, HIs Old Self. We've positioned Eder and his Knockdowns near Nyrid. Pallegina is prepared to defend the party. The rest of the crew is to the south, in the corner, with the mages in the front.






Combat begins. Eder, Knockdown (Nyrid); Pallegina, Scroll of Defense;  Arcadia and Alikae, Arcane Veil->Eldritch Aim; Alena, Armor of Faith; Cassia, Holy Radiance.






We're on the offensive now. Eder, Knockdown (Nyrid); Pallegina, Flames of Devotion; Alena, Iconic Projection; Cassia, Iconic Projection; Alikae, Combusting Wounds->Concelhault's Corrosive Siphon; Arcadia, Curse of Blackened Sight->Wizard Double






Once again, Arcadia ends it with her staff.








We had fewer spells available to us on the second floor, but we still had more than enough. Armor of Faith + Holy Radiance->Interdiction from the priests; Combusting Wounds->Concelhault's from Alikae; Chill Fog from Arcadia.








Nest stop: Caed Nua. We need some beetle shells.





Edited by Alesia_BH
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Arcadia, Moon-Godlike Wizard: Od Nua Level 1


Beetle shells! Yeah, we're here for the beetle shells.


We'll cover this quickly so I can catch up and start playing again.


The first spider group was killed with Chill Fogs while Eder and Pallegina stood in a doorway.






The beetles were killed with per encounter abilities. Eder and Pallegina lost some health here. But, yeah, we got our beetle shells, so that won't be a problem going forward.






We rested before taking on the looters. This was fun.


We opened with beetles to divide their front line. Eder and Pallegina intercepted the two looters who made it pass the beetles. Armor of Faith and Inspiring Radiance from the priests; the wizards are waiting to see how the battle field develops before deploying their spells.






Ok. Let's get to work. Arcadia buffs in preparation for a backline assault; Alikae gets to work on the front liners with Combusting Wounds->Concelhault's Corrosive Siphon. The priests toss some debuffs, Divine Terror and Interdiction.






Arcadia is ready for her backline assault now. She takes a moment to thin out line two before proceeding to the archers.






The archers are dead, the last fronliner's days are numbered, thanks to an incoming Divine Mark






We converge on the remaining mid-liner for the finish.






Finally, the spider queen. Beetles first. Eder takes position behind the beetles to intercept any line breakers. Pallegina positions east to intercept any who might come around. Arcadia starts her buffing while awaiting the incoming foes.






Slicken + Chill Fog + Iconic Projection decimates the little spiders and holds off the spider queen's assault. Pallegina prepares to intercept the flanker, supported by Minoletta's from Alikae.






The stage is set for a showdown: Spider Queen v Arcadia. The party holds back and watches.






Let's do this! (Note Arcadia's buffs. Note, too, that Zealous Endurance and Inspiring Radiance are suppressed: Eldritch Aim at +15 is the only acc buff here)












And beetle shells!









Edited by Alesia_BH
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Great tactics & serious reeding here!  :thumbsup:


Thanks! Any chance you'll join us?



@Alesia_BH: Intriguing Alena-Portrait. Where did you find it?



I found it on Fandom. I don't recall what search led me to it.


I find most of my character portraits here:




When I'm ready to start a new game, I scan the feed until I find something that interests me. I then decide what the character's class, attributes, tactical style, and background should be based on the portrait. It's a semi-random character generation method, essentially.


Scanning the feed for a about a minute a moment ago, I found 6 candidates:








Rogue (Arya Stark)






Rogue or Chanter






Fighter or Paladin













Fighter or Barbarian






It's a great resource.






Btw, the last two will probably become characters in the not-too-distant

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Alesia_BH, thanks for your quick reply!


I'm sorry, but in the next few weeks RL owns me. And, to be honest, after one run on normal I don't think that I have the required competence.


Btw, outbeetled is a term I will add to my vocabulary :grin: .


May the force be with you good luck,



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Btw, outbeetled is a term I will add to my vocabulary :grin:

Promise me you'll use it in a job interview. I mean, you can two-step to cover it up after the fact, but you have to work it in there.


"I don't know who else you've interviewed for this position, but I can promise you this: I will out work them and outbeetle them every day of the week"


"I'm sorry: What did you just say?"


"I said...I said that I'm a hard worker. And that my skin is thick. Like chitin. And whatever you need -even if you need someone to roll dung- I'll be on it"

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"... with a skin that's thick and a beetle that's strong.

Sixteen tons, and what have you got..."


Sing it with the voice of Johnny Cash :grin: .


On topic: Have you planned to go the melee way with Arcadia for the whole game? (Citzal lancing the baddies?)

And if you do so, which armor do you prefer? Angio's because of DAoM? Rayment of Wael's Eyes?





Edited by Arctur
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I'm sorry, but in the next few weeks RL owns me. And, to be honest, after one run on normal I don't think that I have the required competence.


No one is born a veteran no-reloader and skills are trained by trials and errors. Just try (when you'll get an opportunity) and you'll quickly find out that a no-reload is the only way to play properly. Hope that with time you'll join us. I'm looking forward for that.

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Alesia isn't big on the "taking damage" thing. She has a habit of doing very, very long-term planning with her defensive options. She makes it look easy, but it's all based on careful preparation.


If you snuck up on her at a party and tried to poke her with a toothpick, you would discover that she had already sewn a Button of Shielding +1 into the exact spot on her shirt where you tried to poke her.

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On topic: Have you planned to go the melee way with Arcadia for the whole game? (Citzal lancing the baddies?)

And if you do so, which armor do you prefer? Angio's because of DAoM? Rayment of Wael's Eyes?



Arcadia will spend some of her time in melee and some of her time at range. 


Alikae, a prior PC and successful Hard NRer, turned NPC, wore Blaidh Golan, which I think is an excellent choice for a melee mage. It's hide so the recovery penalty is minimal. At the same time, it offers excellent bonuses for a melee character- especially one with a relatively low Fort score.


When I select gear for characters stylistic cohesion is a significant concern. I don't focus on maximizing the power of my character builds. Instead, I strive to be tactically proficient enough to allow me to pilot RP plausible, stylistically cohesive characters safely through the adventure. Stylistically, the obvious choice for Arcadia, a Moon-Godlike, is the Starlit Garb. She'll wear that. Our Priest of Wael, Alena, will get the Rainment of Wael's Eyes.



No one is born a veteran no-reloader and skills are trained by trials and errors. Just try (when you'll get an opportunity) and you'll quickly find out that a no-reload is the only way to play properly. Hope that with time you'll join us. I'm looking forward for that.



Thanks for covering this, Serg! I contemplated writing something similar.



@Serg BlackStrider, thanks for your kind words. The next run (hard) starts tomorow, and after that -- I think I will give it a try.


And Arctur, I'm super-glad that you'll be joining us! Looking forward to your run!



Awesome work Alesia, you are absolutely destroying every encounter with tactical perfection. You can see how much you are dominating from the screenshots: there's barely a scratch on any party member! Great work.



Thanks! I feel I'm making progress, at least. I'd say that I've made the transition from novice to intermediate. I still have a lot to learn, though!



If you snuck up on her at a party and tried to poke her with a toothpick



Huh? Now I'm wondering what type of parties you go to?   :teehee:





Edited by Alesia_BH
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Arcadia, Moon-Godlike Wizard: Minor Quests in and Around Defiance Bay


After collecting our beetle shells, we took on two more minor quest out of Defiance Bay: The Parable of Wael and Built to Last. Both of these fights went reasonably well.


First, The Parable of Wael. The Parable of Wael fight was slightly inelegant simply because the battle ended before we could ramp up into stages three and four of our battle plan. That led to a few wasted spells. It also meant that Arcadia never got a chance to transition into melee mode. Bummer. We won without significant injury once again, though, so I suppose it's all good.


Here we see the opening. Eder, Wood Beetles; Pallegina Scroll of Defense; Arcadia, Arcane Veil->Eldritch Aim; Alikae, Arcane Veil->Eldritch Aim; Alena, Insiping Radiance->Interdiction; Cassia, Armor of Faith






In round two, Pallegina engages with Flames of Devotion. Eder holds position astride the beetles to intercept line breakers. Alikae goes  Slicken while Arcadia casts Chill Fog. The priests start pulsing Iconic Projections.






The enemy is pretty much screwed now. They're dazed; they're blind; they're on their butts; and their butts are cold. Plus, they're getting pounded with Iconic Projections. 






Alikae isn't sure that Iben is getting enough Chill Fog so she targets her with a Minoletta's. We don't want to see any spells out of Iben.






We're ready to transition to phase three of the battle plan now. The problems is that there's very few people left to kill.






Those Divine Marks? One of them was wasted? That Combusting Wounds: Pointless- everybody is dead or dying. And Arcadia never got to use her staff either. 






Whoah there, Alena! Chill! They're totally dead already!






Right. Onto Built to Last. But first: Danna's beau. We just used per encounter abilities here: Holy Radiance + Interdiction + Arcane Assault. Naturally, we used weapons, too. Once again, no real injuries here.






Built to Last was fun because we got to see what happens when someone breaks the line. An enemy rogue used Escape to leap over the beetles and threaten our casters. Here's the problem with that. Thanks to their Arcane Veils and illusions, Alikae and Arcadia are as tough to kill as the tanks. And if you get near the priests, that means you're in range for double Divine Marks, meaning you'll be taking a couple hundred HP of damage very soon.


Here's the opening. Note the rogue up in Alena's grill.






Double Divine Marks incoming. Pallegina observes, ready to intervene, but the priests have got this.












We're in party friendly mode this time, on account of Vianna. That means no Slicken and Chill Fog from the wizards. Instead, they go Curse of Blackened Sight + Combusting Wounds in round 2.






Our enemies are dazed and blind and they're burning. Here come the Arcane Assaults and Iconic Projections.






The wizards refresh their veils and prepare for the finish. It's a race now.






Arcadia can't reach her target because Alikae took it out with a Minoletta's. Eder and Pallegina fight over the last kill, deploying Knockdown and Flame of Devotion respectively.






But Arcadia sneaks in and gets the last knock.






Soon, I'll set aside a post to discuss party status. Ciao for now!





Edited by Alesia_BH
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I was tempted into starting a new run. I really didn't want to do it, as I'm also playing a BG run right now, but all of you left me no choice, with all your interesting updates, using different classes in interesting ways and discussing builds. It is another custom party run on PotD, but with the "remaining" classes, those I haven't used yet the last time around. I have basically no PotD experience with any of them except for the fighter (which I used to play as a tank before realizing that a paladin could do pretty much the same thing but with more utility) - some of them, such as the monk, I've never played with at all, on any diffculty.


Builds are either based on random things I've read on these and other forums or entirely experimental (the rogue and barbarian follow some kind of glass cannon build, the fighter is doing what I've previously done with the class, but the chanter is only based on some random knowledge (I know that the Dragon Thrashed chant and summoning things are propably good - so that's what the build is based on), the mage is kind of an improvised blast-build (something I always wanted to try, but I'm not sure what stats/spells are important for it - I just like using implements, okay?) with the spells people generally seem to like (aoe debuffs, weapon summons and the like) and I have really no idea what I'm doing with the monk - I've never read any monk builds, never played with a monk, basically I'm just picking whatever seems decent at the time, hoping that general knowledge of game mechanics won't turn that one into something entirely useless (though I can always retrain).


This party will not only be entirely different from everything I've done in PoE because of the classes (I have never played this game without a priest except during my two solo runs, for example), this will also be almost entirely a melee party, with the wizard being the only ranged weapon user (thanks to blast) - so prepare for a lot of injuries. Also, I'm not doing any expansion content/endless paths (except for level 1)/bounties this time.


Before I start documenting this run, I'd like to ask - how exactly do you add screenshots into your posts here? I've yet to figure that one out, and I might've missed a post explaining this. Links simply aren't as interesting.

Edited by Enuhal
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@Ehuhal: Glad you've started a new run!

As for images: copy a 'direct link' from imgur>paste it here (like you've done it before)> add [img*=direct link] (without *)>done.

If you want to hide a picture under spoiler tag: add [spoiler*]...[/spoiler*] (without *)

Edited by Serg BlackStrider
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All right, let us try this. Thanks @Serg BlackStrider for the advice regarding screenshots!


Pausanias, Coastal Aumaua Fighter, Introduction


A word of warning: Pausanias is not exactly a good guy. He is utterly pragmatic and will have no trouble betraying allies, siding with villains and always taking the easiest way to achieve his goals. Basically, to mix things up, I'm going to make very different decisions compared to Liresh.


This run is played on PotD, with injuries on and maim before death off. The only reason I'm not playing expert mode is the need for AoE indicators - while I know my cipher/druid/priest AoEs pretty well, I'm flying almost blind when it comes to chanters and mages, and for this run, none of my usual classes will be in my party. Now, meet Pausanias, our protagonist and primary tank:






Very similiar in terms of stats to Liresh. He is a coastal aumaua for the extra resistences, slave background for athletics and survival. The two extra points went into intelligence because of knockdown, overbearing guard and some of the defensive fighter buffs - I want all of these to have a decent duration. Our party is at level 3 right now, and Pausanias has chosen knockdown, weapon and shield-style (we want that reflex save, and this time, we're going with the heaviest shields we can find) and guardian stance - which I chose instead of defender because my party is mostly melee, so the deflection bonus for everyone should be helpful. I might retrain Pausanias once he gets overbearing guard, because engagements will be a lot more valuable then.


Pausanias quickly fought his way through the prologue (nothing interesting to cover here, except that I remembered to sell Gaun's Share to Heodan this time) and skipped all encounters in Valewood to recruit his party. First, let's talk about Jeanne, our moon godlike rogue:






This is an experiment - I'm following the build in the ultimate achievement video that I've posted in this thread, which is something I would usually never do - I don't like glass cannon builds, and I've never gone below 10 in any stat on purpose in PoE. I want to see how well such a build will work out in a party, and with a relatively bad player at the helm (compared to the person who created the ultimate video) - so we started off with crippling strike, adding Two Weapon Fighting and Reckless Assault so far.


Our only ranged companion is Ögedei, a boreal dwarf wizard:






I chose his race for the accuracy bonus against certain types of enemies, and high intelligence to boost his blast AoE. His early spell choices include Chill Fog, Parasitic Staff, Eldritch Aim, Slicken and Spirit Shield plus Combusting Wounds and Curse of Blackened Sight, and he has learned blast - which I plan to use with minor blights and the blue stone sceptre later on. Let's see if that works out.


Next, we have Catalina, a death godlike barbarian:






She is based on the Cauterizer build, but there are some changes, such as her race and her talent selection. She starts off with Frenzy and has added Accurate Carnage plus Savage Defiance for now - no Firebrand belt yet, but that will change very soon if things go according to plan.


There's also Friedrich, another moon godlike. He's a chanter with very low dexterity (as the stat doesn't affect chants):






The plan is to equip him with defensive items and use him as a secondary tank while having a damage chant running, sometimes summoning additional fodder. By now, he has learned Soft Winds of Death, Blessed was Wengridh, At the Sight of their Comrades plus Reny Daret's Ghost and Crashed upon the Shield.


Finally, we have Chandragupta, our boreal dwarf monk. I'm going for a very generalist damage dealer build here, mostly because I have no idea what I'm doing. So far, he has Torment's Reach, Swift Strikes and Two Weapon Style (which I hope works with first - it does work with shapeshifting for druids, so I'm somehwat hopeful). Time will tell how he will develop:






With the party now gathered, I picked up some quests in Gilded Vale and solved Against the Grain peacefully. High resolve is always nice for skipping lots of combat. The party travelled back to Valewood, first exploring the bear cave. I used chill fog against the bears and soon realized one of bigger problems wich such a melee heavy party: While damage output is very good once you start flanking and surrounding your enemies, party unfriendly AoE is much harder to use:






I also took the opportunity to free the cook - no trouble here, but I'm quickly learning how fragile Jeanne really is with her glass cannon build. She's going to require a lot of control:






Our final battle here was against the wolf pack. I threw in a slicken, used my per-encounters such as rage, knockdown and crippling strike etc. - things went quite well, as most of the wolves focused their attention on Pausanias while Ferdinand was able to work as a secondary tank with my damage dealers helping him out - Pausanias has the stats to stay alive by himself, while chanter and monk can take some punishment, but not too much.






The remaining wolves were bunched up enough for both arcane assault and carnage hits, so they didn't stay alive for long:






We decided to complete Vengeance from the Grave the peaceful way and turned in Late for Dinner before exploring Esternwood to pick up a little bit of equipment and experience. Nothing noteworthy here, the area isn't exactly dangerous. Sneaking through Black Meadow to the southern part, we entered Madhmr bridge in order to complete Ferry Flotsam to get our hands on the hat. The two trolls in the north-western part actually gave us quite a bit of trouble, knocking out our two glass cannons Jeanne and Catalina - with one or two hits each. Still, they were taken down and we had to rest anyway. We were close to level 3 at this point, so we returned to Black Meadow in order to get our hands on the Smith's Shipment. This one didn't go so well the last time, so we decided to change things up and approach from the east:






As our foes approached, I quickly noticed that the Bandit Leader, who I swear was a fighter during my last playthrough, turned out to be a barbarian this time - that means low deflection, so we decided to knock him down with slicken and take him out first. However, our party also got hit by a Nature's Mark:






That's not great for those of us who already have terrible deflection. Indeed, Jeanne gets knocked out by a single hit (I think from the arbalest in the back), but our opponents die at an even faster pace. I quickly make the decision to send Friedrich right at the two ranged bandits - he has to stop them from taking out more party members. He does a good job staying alive, and Ögedei, who has eldritch aim + parasitic staff running, deals a good amount of damage:






The eastern bandit group is now gone, and while Friedrich does take a few hits, he has done his job and bought the others the required time to come to his aid - victory is ours, and we make our way to turn in the quest, which grants the party level 3 (Pausanias, being ahead of the pack, is close to level 4). For now, we rest up in the Dyrwood's Pride rooms of the Black Hound Inn.

Edited by Enuhal
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Jazz Wit, Solo Chanter (Hard), Part 17


Heading down into the Endless Paths. Currently <2k XP short of level 9. Lots of xaurip fights (not always straightforward either).






I used the pit to go straight down to level 5 (don't want to face the ogres on level 3 yet).






The drake fight did not start well. I wasn't sure if I had enough speed to get back to a chokepoint position so decided to open with Fleet Feet and then run. But I was too slow and got paralysed through disengagement.






It did not take long for Frenzy to proc from the Sanguine Plate and that was a big help in this fight. The +4 to MIG and CON (+16 FOR) virtually eliminated any further danger of paralysis. So even though I was totally surrounded, I wasn't in that much trouble.






Once my defences were secure I could start chipping away at the xaurips.






And in the end it was a comfortable victory.






That victory nets me a nice shield.






It's not as good for Jazz Wit as it can be for many other characters, as his coastal aumaua defences already give him +20 vs these attacks, so he should rarely be prone or stunned anyway.


Up to level 4: feels a bit odd doing this level in reverse.






But finally we reach the third key milestone for a Chanter: level 9. I increased Athletics to 1 and took this chant...






So Jazz Wit, who is already a very strong defensive character, who can spend his time in combat using consumables rather than attacking, now also gets the highest DPS ability in the game...as a passive effect which requires no active action whatsoever. And that ability is AoE, damage over time (only a % of DR applies), has two damage types, is party friendly, and also stacks with itself.


This is why Chanters are so strong and Dragon Thrashed is so overpowered compared to other class abilities.


It's also what this character concept has been building towards.


Now we're going to have some fun  :ban:

Edited by Jaheiras Witness
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Jazz Wit, Solo Chanter (Hard), Part 18


Let's do a demonstration of the power of Dragon Thrashed. This is the first battle since I reached level 9.






You can see the start of the combat at the top of the log. In the above screenshots, I have not physically attacked either the troll or the swamp slime. Yet the troll (which bear in mind has hundreds of endurance points) is badly injured and the slime is near death within around 10 seconds of the start of combat. The battle is over...






...in the time it took me to chant 4 phrases.


Everything just...melts around a properly configured Dragon Thrashed chanter. I can't think of a better word. No other class can kill so many opponents so quickly and with so little effort.


I can now change my tactics rather drastically. No longer do I need doorways and chokepoints. The centre of the battlefield is where I now generally want to be, with as many opponents around me as possible. Here I go eschewing a perfectly serviceable chokepoint to run right into the middle of a group of slimes:






This time it was over in 3 phrases.






This troll is affected by 3 instances of Dragon Thrashed, which I think is the maximum number you can stack (due to the relationship between how long it takes to chant and the linger effect). Using some rough calcs, I think this troll is taking something like 30 points of damage per second from the chants.






It's not all plain sailing; some battles are still challenging.






This ogre fight was very nasty:






I don't know exactly how close I was to dying because of frenzy, but I sank a few healing potions because it sure felt close. There were 3 ogre druids in that fight, all launching stag's horns, plague of insects et al (and they stack when cast by different casters). One of the biggest problems was positioning: I had to use some kind of chokepoint to avoid having 6 ogres swinging clubs at me, but that meant two of the druids (on the right in above screenshot) were out of range of my chant, so they had free reign to hammer me with spells. Things were quite uncomfortable before I managed to get them under control:






Frenzy + protections brought to bear against Zolla:






Chants + Ray of Fire brought a swift conclusion:






I don't think I can keep using Sanguine Plate for long. It is just too risky not to know where your health and endurance stand.


Finished this session off by dealing with more Caed Nua invaders:






Next time we will continue deeper into the Endless Paths...how far deeper will depend on how much I fancy fighting Adragans I guess.

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Arcadia, Moon-Godlike Wizards: Shades and Forest Lurkers

On our way to Raedric Hold we received word that shades and forest lurkers were attacking the stronghold. That sounded strange to me because it doesn't even seem like they'd hangout together. It's like hearing that Ted Nugent and Sarah Silverman are TPing the front lawn. No. I'm pretty sure that's not happening.

Anyhoo, to the fight.

With most of our party members at L5, we're now seeking ways to work L3s into our game plan. We don't have it down quite yet. Nonetheless, we prevailed without significant injury once again, despite facing some seriously annoying enemies.

Standard opening: Pallegina, Scroll of Defense; Eder, Wood Beetles; Arcadia, Arcane Veil->Eldritch Aim; Alikae, Arcane Veil->Eldritch Aim; Cassia, Armor of Faith; Alena, Holy Radiance.


Pausing briefly to see how the battlefield developed, we decided to skip Slicken this time and have Alikae immediately tap L3 with Fireball. Arcadia, meanwhile, is tossing Chill Fogs. The priests go Interdiction and Circle of Protection.


Alena adds on a Dire Blessing while Cassia moves on to Iconic Projection. The wizards turn their attention to the enemy front line, casting Combusting Wounds and Curse of Blackened Sight.


The priests are both tossing Iconic Projections now. Arcadia, who has an enemy at her side, fires up a Llengrath's and prepares to go into tank mode. Eder, making limited progress with his flail, attempts to activate Sunbeam via the Sun-Touched Mail of Hyan Rath.


Steady, everyone. We're getting there! Stick to the game plan!


The shade gives up on attacking Arcadia and goes for Alena. By this point, I had realized that Eder was frozen by a glitch, which is why his Sunbeam was taking forever. He resumes melee under Disciplined Barrage and scores his first kill.


Alena smokes her assailant with a Divine Mark. Just the lurkers left now.


Eder races to assist Pallegina; Arcadia goes Curse of Blackened Sight->melee; Alikae flanks east to unload Fans of Flame; the priests go Interdiction + Barbs of Condemnation


Arcadia ends it (with an assist from Alikae).




Edited by Alesia_BH
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