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The Pillars of Eternity No Reload Challenge


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There are seven marking weapons that I'm aware of, of which only 6 may be used in a given run. St. Garam's Spark, Shame or Glory and Cladhaliath are the easiest to find. Cladhaliath and Shame or Glory are mutually exclusive.

 

The other easily acquired one is the Spectacular Spetum, found in the Club of Refined and Distinguished Gentlemen (barf!) on the second floor of the Salty Mast (barf again...).

 

The final three are more difficult to acquire. One is available in a bounty quest (apparently those are hard). The other two are deep in the Endless Path. The Blade of the Endless Paths is one of them.

 

Marking will only effect one ally. Specifically, the one closest to the wielder. Reports suggest that it does effects targeted spells, although I haven't tested that yet personally. It does stack with other accuracy bonuses.

 

I like to pair St. Garam's Spark with Forgiveness. If you point the attack sword from a distance, the pistol wielders will end up standing next to each other, meaning you'll toss a +10 to the +20% speed bonus weapon. St. Garam's should pair well with Ducanale as well, although I haven't tried that.

 

Best,

 

A. 

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Yes, there are seven marking weapons and out of those I only use two - Blade of the Endless Paths (+20% attack speed, superb, 5DR bypass, marking - just lovely) and Cgadob's Hazel sometimes (one could have better implements at the moment of acquiring it). I've never crafted Cladhalíath since this requires a Soul Vessel and I always let Nridek go peacefully using the Soul Vessel to revive his colony. Spectacular Spetum might be an interesting option before you get the Blade but I'm usually short of money early on (Caed Nua's upgrades are costly and there are many other expenses). Who need Shame or Glory when there is Whispers of Yenwood, and I don't use firearms at all.

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@semiticgod: you mentioned capping Mechanics at 6 for a single character. Your decision but I would not recommend that. Minimum really should be 10, I would suggest 12+ as better number (highest difficulty trap is 17 I think, to give you some context).

 

Using scrolls of Revival might work since you have injuries turned off. Normally a revived character should be at a significant handicap because of injury which can even make them a liability. It seems like you are going down the “cure” rather than “prevention” route.

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@Alesia_BH: Regarding Blast - I have always liked the concept of making implements more of a thing, but having tested it out extensively now, I feel like you barely ever find the time to actually attack with a wizard, when spells are almost always the more powerful option, especially in the battles where your wizard actually needs to make an impact. In the early game, when you don't have enough spells yet and might be more likely to just attack, you don't have the required talents to actually deal decent damage with blasts. Also, potential blast crowd control (such als Gyrd's dominate chance) is not reliable at all. All in all, while it's a fun experiment, if I were to play the most efficient no-reload wizard, I would skip blast and go for veil and more defenses right away (also, summoned weapons such as draining staff and especially spirit lance are great, and obviously they don't go along well with blast). The damage of a combo such as blast and minor blights is decent, but doesn't compare to spamming AoE nukes.

 

If one is very, very conservative with resting, I can see more reasons to go for it, but considering that dangerous implements also drains some of your health, blast has some downsides even in these cases.

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On the Blast matter - yes, I'm not a fan of the 'fighter/mage' concept and I also don't like to rest after each and every battle (neither in BG nor in PoE) so having a decent auto-attacking option is what I prefer. Since I always play on PotD, I also need some means to penetrate a sky-high DR of my opponents. And here comes a @Boeroer's Zeblastian Hurtstacker autoattacking double trouble dps wizard. I don't follow the build letter by letter but pretty much like an overal concept.

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On the Blast matter - yes, I'm not a fan of the 'fighter/mage' concept and I also don't like to rest after each and every battle (neither in BG nor in PoE) so having a decent auto-attacking option is what I prefer.

 

 

That makes sense. If you are operating with rest restrictions, the Blast line becomes a reasonable choice.

 

I've been striking a balance. I don't allow my team to leave mid-quests to rest or proffer camping gear, but I do allow them to rest during quests, in dungeons. With that approach, I haven't felt a need for the Blast line. With additional rest restrictions, I might be inclined to try it.

 And here comes a @Boeroer's Zeblastian Hurtstacker autoattacking double trouble dps wizard. I don't follow the build letter by letter but pretty much like an overal concept.

 

That looks awful...

 

(I appreciate the appeal of a ranged wizard who relies on physical attacks, but that build makes way too many sacrifices)

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Who need Shame or Glory when there is Whispers of Yenwood

 

That surprises me. I appreciate why Jaheiras Witness used Yenwood with his solo chanter, but in party play Shame or Glory seems a better choice, in most circumstances.

 

At present I have Pallegina wielding Shame or Glory. It's great. It allows her to carry a shield while significantly increasing the efficiency of her off-tank who can be specialized for damage. With Shame or Glory + Coordinated Attacks, she can toss a +20 over to Eder, radically increasing his hit and crit percentages. And those bonuses can be applied to whatever weapon we choose, including weapons with on crit effects, such as Starcaller or weapons with +0.5 crit damage modifiers. I'm tempted to respect Eder with Ruffian + dual-wield, in the interest of seeing what he can do with Resolution + Purgatory +20 Acc. I think it would work nicely.

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Who need Shame or Glory when there is Whispers of Yenwood

 

That surprises me. I appreciate why Jaheiras Witness used Yenwood with his solo chanter, but in party play Shame or Glory seems a better choice, in most circumstances.

 

At present I have Pallegina wielding Shame or Glory. It's great. It allows her to wield a shield while significantly increasing the efficiency of her off-tank who can be specialized for damage. With Shame or Glory + Coordinated Attacks, she can toss a +20 over to Eder, radically increasing his hit and crit percentages. And those bonuses can be applied to whatever weapon we choose, including weapons with on crit effects, such as Starcaller or weapons with +0.5 crit damage modifiers. I'm tempted to respect Eder with Ruffian + dual-wield, in the interest of seeing what he can do with Resolution + Purgatory +20 Acc. I think it would work nicely.

 

Make sence. The thing is that I have a single sword-wielder in the party (Eder) and Pallegina is always a two-hander - I just don't envision her otherwise. When I build a character I'm trying to avoid of making the most effective outcome at the cost of losing the 'theme' of a person. For example, Mazzy would be a beast wielding Ravager but a Halfling lass with huge halberd or some two-handed sword seems a bit weird looking. The same way using Outworn Buckler makes Pallegina more effective defensively but again, a Paladin with tiny shield... :huh: I don't use items just because they exist in the game world and looks attractive.

 

I appreciate the appeal of a ranged wizard who relies on physical attacks, but that build makes way too many sacrifices

 

Such as? I take Aloth, train him to use Blast/Penetrating Blast, give him Engwithan Scepter and later Golden Gaze and as a result have him able to 'stun-lock' the enemies via autoattack interruption, bypass DR and apply 'free' Expose Vulnerabilities (which you need on PotD anyway). I don't use Dangerous Implement (or any other approaches based on 'low health advantages') since I don't like my characters to be hurt (that's why Monks aren't of any interest to me). And he still is able to cast all of wizard's nukes and buffs if needed. What sacrifices does he make in this case?

Edited by Serg BlackStrider
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Defenses, certainly. It is, as Boeroer freely acknowledged, a glass canon build.

It also skips talents that enhance vancian casting.

It could be fun to play with, I'm sure, but it basically compromises the wizard class's greatest strengths, defenses and vancian casting, to maximize its greatest weakness, physical damage dealing. It's definitely not a direction that I'd be interested in pursuing, at this time.

Your Aloth build is more sensible than the linked build.

Best,

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Make sence. The thing is that I have a single sword-wielder in the party (Eder) and Pallegina is always a two-hander - I just don't envision her otherwise. When I build a character I'm trying to avoid of making the most effective outcome and lose the 'theme' of a person. For example, Mazzy would be a beast wielding Ravager but a Halfling lass with huge halberd or some two-handed sword seems a bit weird looking. The same way using Outworn Buckler makes Pallegina more effective defensively but again, a Paladin with tiny shield... :huh:

 

 

I'm the same way. Style matters to me. 

 

I'm comfortable with the Outworn Buckler with some paladins, less so with others. With Ashoka, for example, the Outworn made sense. Ashoka was a Kindwayfarer who operated independently, as is common in the order. The Kindwayfarer order is on the roguish side as paladins go. Kindwayfarers are also travelers by nature. A practical, light, party protective shield fits perfectly.

 

It makes less sense for Pallegina. She strikes me as a practical, no-nonsense warrior, but she's also on the elitist side. The buckler does seem a bit déclassé for her. I agree that she looks best with a two-handed sword.

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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It could be fun to play with, I'm sure, but it basically compromises the wizard class's greatest strengths, defenses and vancian casting, to maximize its greatest weakness, physical damage dealing. It's definitely not a direction that I'd be interested in pursuing, at this time.

 

But does the development of a magician as a melee brute not pursue the same goal - 'to maximize its greatest weakness, physical damage dealing'? Which you are making now with Arcadia. The only difference I can see is ranged vs melee approach.

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@Jaheiras Witness: I like 6 Mechanics because that's always been enough for me to detect traps, even if I can't always disarm them. I assume you need higher Mechanics to deal with stuff in White March or Od Nua or whatever, but so far I've most been dealing with the main quest and so the party is always level 9 at highest.

 

I've actually got injuries on zero Endurance enabled, so revived characters will have injuries. I like Scrolls of Revival because they're good rescue options when stuff goes wrong (they're even area-effect!). Besides, no one else in my party can currently revive anyone without the scrolls. Prevention is always better than a cure, but a Scroll of Revival only takes up a single slot, so keeping a "cure" option on hand imposes little opportunity cost. I don't think we have to choose between preventing knockouts and curing knockouts when the latter only takes up one slot.

 

I usually go with Potions of Infuse Vital Essence on every character, Scrolls of Defense on several, Scrolls of Revival on whoever can use it, and Fan of Flames for a single damage dealer. I'll equip a few scattered other potions and scrolls, but I very seldom use them. How do you guys use your quick slots?

 

I haven't seen much appeal in a wand-based wizard due to the importance of their spells, but I suppose it would be great for area-effect Interruptions. Scepters (or maybe just the Engwithan one) are fast weapons but have an average Interrupt duration, and a high-Perception wizard could slow down multiple enemies with Blast, though I've never tried it before.

 

You know, my first no-reload run in BG2 was with a team of casters designed to play like fighters--that is, I used no warrior classes, but tried to fight primarily using weapons. My spellcasters mostly used buffing spells in order to make them function more like fighters. That was the "Party of Spiders" run on the Beamdog forums. I've wondered about a party of spellcasters in PoE that used no area-effect spells, or just no damage spells, and focused on using wands and Concelhaut's to deal damage. Concelhaut's actually seems really strong to me; the damage is massive and the Accuracy bonuses are substantial. Being able to cast Eldritch Aim and Wizard's Double without using potions actually makes wizards seem like strong replacements for fighters.

 

I don't usually mind if my party's gear looks weird, as long as it's functional. Style and appearance aren't that important to me.

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Oh good, just wanted to ensure you didn’t think Mech 6 was enough based on early game! The really high level traps are WM and Cragholdt but tbh difficulty 10+ are common even in Act 2 of main game. Because of the increasing cost of going up in skills, you need to plan ahead and ensure whoever you want to get to high Mech score doesn’t waste too many points on other skills in early game.

 

Apologies I didn’t realise you had injuries on, I misread your opening post. That’s good for balancing; sometimes it can be better not to revive a character in combat if they will be severely disabled and low in health. I noticed you had the “good stuff” (Vital Essence, Defence, Protection etc) in your quick slots in the screenshots, nothing wrong with those choices.

 

For quickslots I generally have 2 slots “blocked out” for healing endurance and health (healing potion + vital essence). The remaining 2 slots (or 4 with Deep Pockets) are variable depending on what I’m facing, and can be scrolls, potions or figurines. Metaknowledge clearly helps. I don’t have Prayer vs Fear normally for instance, except when I know I need it :)

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But does the development of a magician as a melee brute not pursue the same goal - 'to maximize its greatest weakness, physical damage dealing'? Which you are making now with Arcadia. The only difference I can see is ranged vs melee approach.

 

 

To be clear: my comments weren't directed at your Aloth build, but, rather, the Zeblastian Hurtstacker. And for the reference of those who haven't clicked the link, the build skips Arcane Veil and uses the Nature Godlike race, with the intent of leveraging Neverending Wellspring by perpetually hovering between 50% endurance and death- with a con of 3. The description calls it a "pure-glass canon." The merit of the build being that the author "enjoyed the thrill of being in constant danger." That sounds awful to me.

 

As mentioned earlier, I appreciate the appeal of a ranged physical damage dealing wizard- so long as one doesn't sacrifice too much in the interest of achieving that. There are certainly sensible ways of approaching that.  I'm sure your Aloth strikes a better balance

 

My full statement was that the build "compromises the wizard class's greatest strengths, defenses and vancian casting, to maximize its greatest weakness, physical damage dealing." The distinction between Arcadia and the Zeblastian Hurtstacker is that Arcadia's build does not compromise defense and survivability or vancian casting in the interest of additional physical damage. Rather, it seeks to leverage the wizard class's innate flexibility and defensive strengths to grant the party a third tank, if and when that would be desirable. Arcadia spends most of her time casting and then flips to melee when her party needs her to. Her talents and abilities emphasize defense and casting.

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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I agree that build is impractical, esoecially if you are playing no-reload. Tbf a lot of builds in this forum might be “fun” on the occasions you can get an opportunity to unload but are not serious builds if you are playing intensively and for survival (basically any time I see a CON 3 and/or RES 3 build, I know it’s an impractical character).

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Pausanias, Coastal Aumaua Fighter, Update 4 - Part 1

 

Previous Updates:

 

 

 

This is a rather large update, so I'm splitting it into two parts. Here we go:

 

The party starts fighting their way through Dyrford Crossing (after buying Tall Grass as a backup weapon for Catalina), and everything looks fine. We easily triumph in the battle for the Nest Egg:

 

53frY9S.jpg

 

However, our run suddenly takes a terrible turn - we've been kind of playing on autopilot since getting to Defiance Bay, as most quests there are pretty easy - I ended up mostly doing the same thing over and over once I figured out one sucessful approach to combat, with little adjustment to new types of enemies or new party skills and a resulting change in strengths and weaknesses. So, when I approached the far eastern group in the Crossing, which includes several mênpŵgras, I thoughtlessly used the choke point provided by the map, applied combusting wounds and started hitting with blast/carnage/winds of death. I did throw in a slicken to disrupt some spellcasting, but I completely failed to appreciate that, with 5 melee party members, everyone would get hit by spells like infestation of maggots. Since this never was much of a concern with my usual groups, I completely underestimated the damage potential of the spell, so when Friedrich, at about 3/4 of his health, got critically hit by two of them, my alarm bells didn't go off immediately. I was also busy taking care of Jeanne, who was already at a dangerously low life total due to a single crit of the same spell:

 

yxlvANu.jpg

 

When I finally realized that things were starting to go wrong for the two of them (the others were basically fine) and looked at the remaining duration of the spell (I hadn't found a single ring of unshackling at this point), I was shocked - it was basically going to last forever, so I had to finish combat as quickly as possible to make it stop. I got lucky with Jeanne: She barely got knocked instead of dying permanently - having removed her from the remaining party meant that she didn't get hit by more (in this case very harmful) endurance healing. Friedrich, however, basically can't die to low endurance - with ancestral memory, being a moon godlike, constant recovery and the like, he regenerates endurance like crazy. In this case, that was very bad. My only way to save him would be killing the remaining foes before his death (because combat ending also ends hostile spell effects).

However, having used the choke point approach screwed over my ability to get the most efficient damage out of my melee damage dealers. I actually did make it: I killed the last foe before Friedrich got to zero health. However, the end of combat is on a short delay, and during that delay, the Infestation of Maggots got a final damage tick in, permanently killing Friedrich:

 

siYH0FK.jpg

 

With no maim on death, this is what I signed up for - and it isn't a run ending tragedy. Still, it could've been so easily prevented:

a) I could've realized by now that choke points are only beneficial for this party if the enemy is totally dependent on melee damage themselves - in any other case, I'm hurting my own ability to destroy them much more than I'm hurting the enemy

b) I could've realized the danger of the infestation spells and continued to apply slicken, confusion and other crowd control spells to keep the mênpŵgras from casting their spells

c) I could've used scrolls of defense and/or protection (which, despite having trained lore, I hadn't even crafted at this point. I've never needed them in my other runs, in fact, with Liresh, no one in my party had invested in even a single point of lore - a priest removes the need for scrolls entirely, though they can, of course, still be a nice addition) or some other defensive items/potions, such as infuse with vital essence (which, at this point, only Pausanias had in his inventory)

 

In any case, this served as a much needed wake up call. I immediately returned to Dyrford to hire another Chanter, Barbarossa, who is basically the same character, except he's an Aumaua Moon Godlike (instead of an elven one) and is one level below the party now - this and ~2000 gold is the relatively mild punishment for losing a custom party member - I can live with that, though I'm certainly not happy. I started playing with much more focus after that, immediately crafting some defensive scrolls and better understanding the unique strengths and weaknesses of my party. Instead of just doing the same thing over and over again, I thought of a viable strategy for each halfway-challenging encounter before engaging, thinking about the things that could actually go wrong.

 

Back at the Crossing, I still had to take our some spiders and Korgrak + Bears, who had no way to handle Ögedei's confusion spell:

 

HO21GBC.jpg

 

Now, here's a nice little strategy for getting some easy experience and gold if you, like myself, don't like fighting your way through an entire dungeon full of Skaen worshippers: Entering from the Crossing (you might need a prybar and a hammer+chisel if your main character doesn't have a very good might score), if you have at least 9 mechanics (10 is better for certain traps on the way), you can sneak your way through the blood pool room directly towards the boss (even with 0 stealth):

 

yYa2w6O.jpg

 

There is literally only one fight that you have to do on the entire way, and it's against a lousy group of three Skaenites - one of the weakest groups in the entire dungeon, really:

 

oxggv8U.jpg

 

After that, you have direct access to Wymund. You could, of course, just kill him or have Grieving Mother help out the girl, but in my case, I made a deal with him:

 

1qdnDHX.jpg

 

This turns the entire temple friendly, and you're completely free to disarm all the traps and loot all the items inside without any combat. Very much worth it for basically no effort.

 

I didn't fancy doing Through Death's Gate right now after my bad experiences with Infestation of Maggots (never a problem for my previous groups, so I felt a bit spooked), so I turned to the Searing Falls, having prepared some scrolls of prayer against fear to fight the drakes. I made a few mistakes against the first group, such as summoning firebrand (which obviously does very little damage in this fight), opening with a confusion spell (which made the battlefield a bit too chaotic for my tastes and simply wasn't needed) and the like:

 

H1dlmUo.jpg

 

We also didn't renew our prayer against fear (I had assumed that it got renewed, but with Barbarossa's low agility, the cast didn't actually get through), so it took us quite a while to achieve victory:

 

wPz4eel.jpg

 

We did much better against the second larger group of drakes, especially after applying At the Sound of his Voice:

 

y892d4C.jpg

 

Time for Cail the Silent. While using a choke point for this fight would be unavoidable (and, over all, a good thing, with the limited ranged abilities of xaurips and drakes), I did make sure that a second melee damage dealer (Jeanne, in this case), got access to Cail, and, of course, we had Catalina using Tall Grass. Meanwhile, Ögedei dealt with the backline, applying chill fog, expose vulnerabilities and the like:

 

xHuzT9h.jpg

 

Minoletta's Concussive Missles allowed him to blow up any xaurip priests and high priests to prevent further healing, and victory was easily achieved after that:

 

UStMTW3.jpg

 

 

Let's continue in Part II of this update!

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@Alesia: got it, thanks for explanation!   :)

 

@Jaheiras Witness: I really don't like min-maxing approach. Glass cannons are surely impractical, especially for no-reload. On the other hand purely defensive builds, a 'walking fortresses', able only to soak loads of damage and very little else, don't attract me either. I like my characters to be 'real'.

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Pausanias, Coastal Aumaua Fighter, Update 4 - Part 2

 

My only other available quest (with my restrictions of "no endless paths, no expansions, no bounties, no companion quests" being a limiting factor) in order to get more power before Through Death's Gate was The Battle of Yenwood Field - which turned out quite interesting. This was the first time this one actually got a little bit close for me, mainly because I had no priest to buff up my entire army, which is obviously a huge advantage.

 

My basic approach: Get my melee characters into the enemy backline right away while Ögedei tries to turn the melee battle in our favor with his spells - starting with a very effective confusion:

 

c0V86UN.jpg

 

Our positioning seemed pretty decent to start with, but despite recruiting veteran troops and helping them out with multiple AoE disables, the Caed Nua forces started to get overwhelmed, which resulted in enemies swarming Ögedei - who, to remind you, has no veil. Barbarossa did give him some time with a very effective At the Sound of his Voice invocation, and the enemy backline was starting to fall - priests and mages were mostly gone, only one cipher and Captain Emery remained:

 

TgUIA4u.jpg

 

However, I couldn't stop Ögedei from getting knocked out:

 

UAkRRkA.jpg

 

Jeanne took out Emery and Catalina started cleaving through the main group of enemy soldiers, though. Victory was ours:

 

EZESRAz.jpg

 

But only a single archer remained of the entirety of the Caed Nua forces. Still, the loot was more than worth it, and Jeanne ended up getting the final upgrade for her War Club of the Mataru. With all the money, we ended up buying some diamonds and other gems, finally upgrading the parts of our equipment we were going to keep until the end to exceptional quality and applying some +2 stat buffs on our armor (Gathbin's exceptional plate armor is also now what Pausanias is wearing).

 

For the Mênpŵgras and Druids of Through Death's Gate, I had a new approach prepared. I had the almost unkillable Pausanias, protected with vigorous defense, engage completely alone, with the others a screen away, until the first round of enemy magic had hit him. At this time, the others stormed in (having already applied some buffs to themselves to prepare for this moment), waiting for an opportunity when no dangerous spells were about to hit - often, confusion provided such an opening:

 

KfmssQF.jpg

 

At this point, combat was going on long enough so that Barbarossa could follow up with At the Sound of his Voice, granting Catalina the opportunity to smash the opposition into fiery pieces - she usually only needs 3-4 hits with no recovery (pretty much a literal second) to destroy an entire group once one enemy is sufficiently weakened:

 

whD2aaP.jpg

 

We varied this approach, going in earlier if an opportunity presented itself:

 

R3Jpz81.jpg

 

We had a lot of fun with the final battle on level 1 of the dungeon, luring back the sporelings:

 

7eR6VdS.jpg

 

Catalina's most powerful hit to date, propably - 342 damage with one attack. With the next one, she started a string of no-recovery attacks that ended up getting rid of the entire group. Of course, we still had the dank spores and swamp spores to deal with. With no priest and a bunch of deadly traps lying around (literally deadly - two of such traps would certainly kill Jeanne), we didn't fancy our luck. Confusion and domination effects would have our party run possibly through all of these traps. In the end, after trying a few approaches with our two anti-confusion hats (unsatisfying because domination was still an issue, but luckily it's always easy to retreat against spores), we decided to get the entire party high on snowcaps (which are just great for situations like this), rushing in, with Jeanne going in last, thus being an impropable target, allowing her to get rid of the traps:

 

0Un8Nxn.jpg

 

The second level is very easy compared to the first, so there isn't really anything noteworty to say about it. We ended up returning to Defiance Bay, finishing the chapter and fighting our way past a relatively weak leaden key group:

 

0LZv3jp.jpg

 

We avoided all encounters in Elmshore (except for picking up the sealed missive) and made our way into Twin Elms, where the party is now resting. As a side note, all of our soulbound items are now fully upgraded, and we didn't get the option to scale up content upon entering chapter 3, despite most of the party being at level 9 (Barbarossa, though, was only level 8 - I'm not sure which level is required to do this, but it seems like 8/9 isn't enough).

 

Here are our talent choices for levels 8/9:

Pausanias: Hold the Line (now useful with Overbearing Guard), Unbending (for emergencies)

Jeanne: Weapon Focus: Knight, Finishing Blow

Ögedei: Weapon Focus: Peasant, Call to Slumber (the other spells weren't important or already available via spellbooks)

Catalina: Scion of Flame, Bloodlust

Barbarossa: Beloved Spirits (and he will pick up The Dragon Thrasehd when he gets to level 9)

Chandragupta: Apprentice Sneak Attack, Enervating Blows

Edited by Enuhal
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@Jaheira's Witness: Yep, these potions would certainly have been helpful in this situation. I have now created a few more (I've gone on a bit of a crafting spree before doing Through Death's Gate), but there are just so many different things I like to fill my quickslots with. Having never needed these potions with my usual group constellation, I am still trying to see what I can get away with (just like semiticgod, I don't always go for the safest options available even if I know about them, at least in PoE). I don't think forced disengagement would've gotten Friedrich knocked out - he was regenerating so much endurance, there was basically not even a little bit of red on his portrait during the entire fight, and he also had pretty high deflection thanks to his shield and bracers - plus the enemies remaining once I noticed things going badly weren't exactly dealing huge amounts of physical damage (and with the chokepoint blocking movement, this would've been difficult to pull off in the first place). To be fair, at the time, I wasn't thinking of that option at all (though I was thinking of trying to knock him out via friendly fire, but I was quite sure that would only serve to kill him faster, again, with his endurance regeneration being so high).

 

Regarding min/maxing: As someone who used to never put any character's stats below 10, having now tested out some extreme builds for this run, I would agree that 3 con/res is a bit too squishy for reliable party-based no-reload play, but I wouldn't say the same when it comes to only putting res at 3 - Catalina, who has res 3, hasn't gotten knocked out in ages, hasn't come close really - having low deflection but decent health is actually quite helpful for the build (and I have spirit shield potions in case she needs better concentration). Since she has shod in faith, the sanguine plate and the belt of the royal deafire cannoneer all equipped, getting hit by a crit can be quite beneficial to her.

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@Enuhal. Sorry for the loss of your NPC. Your mishap sounded extremely similar to Ashoka's close call in Through Death's Gate. Counting Semiticgod's unpleasant Infestation of Maggots experience, we've now had three. That threat needs to be on everyone's radar.

 

Anyhoo, great work! Looking forward to your new post!

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

 

Time to take down Heritage Hill! We test out Finishing Blow against a Skeletal Wizard and get one of the biggest blows of the run.

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We can stomp most of the Guls just by using Ectopsychic Echo, with Consecrated Ground to keep us healthy. We don't need many per-rest abilities to get through the Vessels here.

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The last fight, right next to the tower, is a little tougher because we used the stairs as a chokepoint and therefore can't use Frost, our rogue, or Zovai, our priest, to drag Ectopsychic Echo over the enemies. Divinegon does find a nice opportunity to use Antipathetic Field, which requires a hostile target instead of a friendly one:

 

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The beam is at just the right angle so we don't get any party members caught in the line of fire.

 

Inside the tower, Divinegon walks past the wall of enemies in order to reach the enemy wizard with Mental Binding, but this results in an enemy Dargul targeting her. Since a Dargul could paralyze her, we need to keep it away from Divinegon. We can do that with a simple Halt spell.

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Frost gets into trouble again on the next level, at which point we have a more reliable but more costly way of keeping Divinegon safe: a Withdraw spell. Apparently Withdraw doesn't cancel Ectopsychic Echo, so Divinegon can deal damage for several seconds even while she's hidden away and disabled.

 

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We've been strapped for cash for a long time now, but we finally get our copper count to just under 10,000 by selling off a lot of loose junk, including a bunch of excess ingredients I doubt I'll be able to use. Do any of you guys find yourself selling off large numbers of ingredients?

 

Outdoors, we run into a Pwgra along with a team of trolls. Fearful of getting nailed by some horrible druid spell, I send in a single tank while everyone else in the party runs away.

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Sure enough, we don't have to deal with any wide-ranged damage spells, and by sending Pallegina over to the other side of the enemies, we can crush the Pwgra with a beam early on.

 

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The trolls easily survive Ectopsychic Echo due to their high Endurance, but we still have Whisper of Treason and Mental Binding to exploit their poor Will defenses.

 

Since we have strong charm spells on hand, I decide to tackle the nearby lions and get Hearth Harvest for one of our tanks. Frost tests out Envenomed Strike and finds that her high Accuracy allows her to poison even high-Fortitude enemies like an Elder Lion.

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Notice that I haven't done anything with our positioning. This means I completely fail to keep the lions focused on our sturdier characters, and one of the lions targets Divinegon. This time, Halt isn't so effective--the spell can hold a target in place for a long time, but it's perfectly capable of failing, especially since Zovai's Perception is pretty low.

 

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The bad roll is very costly. Divinegon isn't remotely capable of handling an Elder Lion on her own, and even Frost's powerful poison attack can only get the lion down to Injured.

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Another lion runs around our party to reach Divinegon at the back, but Divinegon manages to charm one of them, and Zovai uses Iconic Projection to heal our cipher from afar.

 

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While Divinegon struggles to cling to life, Ectopsychic Echo does its work, bringing down one of the lions that was targeting someone else in the party, but Whisper of Treason wears off, and Divinegon has to resort to a red potion to survive.

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Ultimately, our various healing options aren't enough to keep Divinegon on her feet, and she collapses right before she could attempt a last-ditch effort to bring down the lions via a Fan of Flames scroll. Meanwhile, Frost, our similarly fragile rogue character, is doing great. Unlike Divinegon, Frost has avoided getting targeted by any lions, and has therefore been free to dedicate all her attention to dealing damage.

 

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The lion herd finally thins out, and the survivors suffer extra pressure. Rius is testing out Concelhaut's, and is finding it to be very effective. Like Frost, she chose Envenomed Weapon, mostly out of curiosity.

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I enter the Skaen temple via the mill (I didn't actually know that was an option until now) and start wrestling with the local cultists. The enemies here have a lot of great spells and are pretty sturdy, but even they have trouble dealing with Ectopsychic Echo.

 

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I try using Whisper of Treason instead, but that doesn't work so well; it takes longer to cast three Whisper of Treason spells than a single Ectopsychic Echo (both options take 30 Focus altogether). That gives the enemy more time to hurt us, and the Skaen priests can deal area-effect damage with Iconic Projection.

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I only gradually realize that the enemy's classes are very diverse--the Skaen Mind Breakers are ciphers, apparently using firearms, and they can use Mental Binding on us. That's bad news, considering Divinegon herself has very weak Will saves.

 

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Mora Tai's Liberating Exhortation fixes up Divinegon, but the Skaen Mind Breakers appear to have a lot of Focus; an enemy cipher confuses Divinegon shortly afterwards.

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We trade disablers, and eventually we find room to cast Ectopsychic Echo on Zovai.

 

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The next time around, I make a point of nailing the Mind Breaker early on, with Frost tacking on poison damage. Since we're running low on resources and need to rest soon, I summon some beetles, expecting to rest soon after the fight.

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This paves the way for an early kill, sparing Divinegon the trouble of resisting mental attacks and ensuring that our own cipher can keep firing off spells. As long as Divinegon is functioning normally, we can make fast progress against the enemy.

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