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The Pillars of Eternity No Reload Challenge

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And you've just killed one of the best/strongest Caed Nua's hirelings, what a loss...  ;(


Great progress and perfect battle approach. Keep rocking!




Interesting. I just mentioned his leg injury and he freaked out. It didn't seem like a confrontational remark.


I'll try something else next time.





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I might try a poverty run in the future, but I'm also considering running a party of glass cannons. It looks like a cipher and a monk have a weird synergy: ciphers benefit from dealing damage and monks benefit from taking damage, but ciphers can miss enemies and monks can die when at the front using their firsts.


So, why not keep a cipher and a monk at the back of the line? The cipher could generate Wounds and Focus using dual-wielded sabers, and the monk could use a long weapon to strike from behind the tanks. Combine Turning Wheel with the +20% fire damage talent, and the monk could deal lots of damage with Firebrand from the Gloves of the Forgemaster. With just 3 Wounds, Firebrand would deal about 60 damage per hit with maxed-out Might. If you used a blunderbuss on the monk to maximize Wounds, you could deal over 150 damage on a critical hit. Meanwhile, the cipher has a valuable source of easy hits; you won't have to rely on good attack rolls to hit the enemy.

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Arcadia, Moon-Godlike Wizard: Through Death's Gate


Something weird is happening with Caed Nua this run. We have, by now, built everything except the curio shop. Nonetheless, Pallegina keeps telling me that the castle must have "seen better times." Either Pallegina really like curios or something isn't right.


While Pallegina isn't impressed, we can't keep the raiders away. Each and every quest, it seems, has been interrupted because some gang of thugs is scaling the walls or climbing up from the dungeons. Dear Steward, can't you just reseal Od Nua when I'm away? And wall-scalers: Read the news- when you get in, all that happens is that you get served a heaping plate of hot death. Go play Scrabble or something instead. And, yes: I mean you Raedric's undead army. Play Scrabble.


Shortly after murdering Korgrak (who apparently just wanted to be our friend) we found ourselves falling back on Caed Nua in defense of the construction workers, slaving away on Pallegina's Curio Shop. It was skeletons. We killed them. I'll skip the pictures.


To Cliaban Rilag. We tried a few different things this time. Most of them worked. And the ones that didn't work nearly did. We almost have Cliaban Rilag down, I think.


To begin with, we tried to use a Rite of Youthful Spirits to prevent injury on the bridge leap. That didn't quite work. Alikae -whose base Athletics score is 0- still got hurt. Next time we'll try stacking a Caed Nua bonus, too.


Anyhoo. Since Alikae can still cast with a sprained wrist, we decided to proceed. We thought we could at least make it to the Pwgra showdown on per encounter abilities. And we did.






Eder and Pallegina suffered some cumulative health damage, making their bars yellow. We could have fixed that, but since we intended to rest soon anyways, we decided to just let it be. 


Time for the first druid battle, also know as the test run. We dropped our beetles, took our buffs (including Devotions for the Faithful) and then went to work. We noticed that Iconic Projections were kind of awesome here since they could be cast at a safe distance from the arthropod horror-show happening up front. Um, Pallegina: You've got some maggots on your shoes- just thought you'd like to know.






Just one more druid left, the slacker. We dropped him quick with targeted spells. No injuries here (maggots don't do any harm if you haven't been hurt).






Ok. Let's try that again. Beetles first.






And while we're on the subject of beetles, I'd just like to say that I appreciate you, beetles. You have, like, the worst job ever. You spend most of your time in a figurine -all bottled up and minuscule- and when you're released, it's always to do something terrible. I imagine you're thinking. "Frack! I'm alive again. What is it this time? Oh. I get to be eaten alive by locusts and maggots. Great." Worst job ever- except, maybe, building a curio shop for Pallegina. Can you imagine working for Pallegina and in particular, building something stupid for Pallegina, which you know she'd take way too seriously. Does it beat being eaten by maggots?






This time we went all in on the Iconic Projections. That was the right call. They worked beautifully, what with the need to maintain distance and the narrow corridor.







Finishing off the laggard menpwgra and a remaining blight. No injuries here.






Time for mushroom heaven. Hoping to disarm the traps pre-combat, we tossed Alikae, who wears Lilith's, a Rite of Walking Shadows. Stealth 6 wasn't enough, however. She ended up getting chased and tagged with confusion.






Fortunately, she used very few spells against the pwgras, so she was able to bail herself out once Pallegina liberated her.


Arcane Veil->Llengrath's->Maura's Writing Tentacles->Combusting Wounds. The priests pitched in with a couple Shinning Beacons.






Not a scratch.






Onto the spores. Eder with the Hermit Hat.






Followed by Pallegina, in the Hand and Key.






Back to Eder for the last (no screenshot).


With Alika's mechanics score at 9, we had to fight little on L2. We did some of the side rooms, nonetheless- including the most disappointing encounter in all of PoE. I mean, am I the only one who still expects to find something cool here, what with the forge, and all?






Ok! It's time for me to eat breakfast. I'll continue catch up coverage after that.





Edited by Alesia_BH
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Pausanias, Coastal Aumaua Fighter, Update 6 - Final Update


Previous updates:




On burial isle, while fighting our way to the top, we had no problem burning prayer against fear scrolls against Cean Gŵla, as we had over ten of them prepared - this served to speed up combat a bit:




No troubles on the way, so after some final preparations, we jumped into the pit - only to remember shortly after that we had forgotten to spend our remaining money on dragon meat/egg dishes, something I had planned to do quite a while ago. Oh well.


Once again, we didn't get the option to scale up content difficulty. In consequence, any battles until we got to Thaos were extremely easy at this point. Having slain so many drakes in much bigger quantities, a couple of shadow drakes can't really scare this party, especially with even more prayer against fear scrolls at their disposal:




It was time to face Thaos, and a bunch of food plus some carefully selected drugs were consumed in preparation. I also made sure to prepare my quickslots, hoping to be ready for anything.


This was a VERY close battle. I think it was also the only time during all of my at this point around 10 PoE runs where Thaos was actually the most difficult opponent for the party. Usually, it's some early game fight such as shades in the Temple of Eothas or the Caed'Nua great hall or some super-lategame fight such as one of the dragons (not including the sky dragon, which is far easier compared to the adra/alpine/bog variety). This time, Thaos, especially due to his high defenses and significant AoE damage (which is especially dangerous for melee-based groups), turned out to be quite a problem.


So, to open the encounter, instead of buffing right away, my nr. 1 priority was having Pausanias run at Thaos while Chandragupta/Jeanne ran at Woedica's Judge, the others at the Headsman. Why is that? Well, buffing immediately would cause the vessels to move closer to Thaos, which would increase the likelyhood of my other characters getting hit by Thaos' cleansing flame, which would propably result in instant death for some of my glass cannon builds and heavy damage for anyone else - so I planned to have Pausanias fight on his own, keeping Thaos busy, with the others staying as far away as possible, taking down the vessels.


While I wasn't perfectly content with my positioning, I had little choice in the matter once engagement started, so I started buffing up:

Pausanias: Vigorous Defense => Potion of Major Recovery => Unbending (which would get renewed from time to time), monitoring his health and endurance (I had potions ready for both of these)

Jeanne: Alacrity of Motion => Power => War Paint - after that, she went to town on the judge, with crippling strike/blinding strike

Ögedei: Scrolls of Defense => Protection => Eldritch Aim => Alacrity of Motion => Minor Blights - after that, he had to job of weakening the headsman (by blinding it, for example)

Catalina: War Paint => Firebrand => Rage

Chandragupta: Only War Paint (I wanted him to keep his attention on the Judge, as he had to tank for Jeanne - if she'd be the target, her life would soon be at an end)

Barbarossa: Scroll of Moonwell => Valor => Prayer against Bewilderment, while having defensive chants active


As Ögedei and Barbarossa both would be busy buffing for quite a while and Catalina wouldn't do as much damage against a single target, I predicted the Judge to go down first, with Jeanne being a specialist at taking down single targets such as these - she got off to a great start with We-Toki knocking the vessel prone and the War Club applying the weakened debuff, allowing both her and Chandragupta to make use of their sneak attack:




With crippling strike and blinding strike applied, the Judge lost endurance rather quickly. Meanwhile, on the other side, Catalina had to tank, but she was doing fine. Barbarossa, who had barely gotten to level 11 (entering the place of the final battle grants a relatively decent experience boost), called in some ogres to help out with damage - but Jeanne was clearly ahead - the Judge tried to turn around to hit her, but at this point another hit was enough to take him out:




Pausanias was doing fairly well, with Unbeding preventing anything bad from happening. Of course, Thaos' pillar of holy fire did quite a bit of damage even to him, but nothing too serious at this point. Jeanne and Chandragupta rushed to assist with the Headsman, who was only injured at this point. This problem was quickly solved:




Everyone was doing well in terms of endurance and hitpoints, and only Thaos was left. At the time, everything seemed to be going according to plan. I realized that buffs were running out, so I tried to re-apply the scroll-buffs while the group ran at Thaos, hoping to overwhelm him. This did not turn out well.


Barbarossa's low dexterity and his low casting speed prevented him from getting in the buffs as soon as he should've (and I propably started trying to do this a bit too late). I was unable to interrupt a cleansing flame (Thaos' high defenses stopped attempts at using knockdown and stunning strike) + pillar of holy fire combo, which took out Catalina despite her high endurance. Jeanne also got hit by the cleansing flame (not the pillar), which resulted in her being almost dead - she wouldn't survive another spell and had no good way to evade it (running away would've resulted in a propably deadly disengagement attack). Chandragupta, who hadn't reached Thaos yet, was fine, and Ögedei stayed at a safe distance, while Barbarossa had high enough defenses to still be in decent condition. Now, Ögedei had a huge problem in any case: None of his usual spells had any reasonable chance to affect Thaos in a meaningful way - this is one time where having the blast build turned out to be quite useful, as he actually did some decent damage by attacking with minor blights, buffed up with alacrity of motion and eldritch aim - and he was the only party member safe from fiery death. Pausanias was at half health at this point, so he used second wind for endurance and infuse with vital essence for health regeneration. Thaos was at injured by this point. Sadly, in the heat of battle, I forgot to take a screenshot at this moment - but you'll get one showing the state of battle a few seconds later soon.


So, what happened in these few seconds? Well, with Jeanne pretty much doomed, I had her go all in - I wanted her to use her two finishing blows before her death, even though Thaos was only at injured. They turned out to be extremely crucial and very effective, taking him from injured to near death basically by themselves. After that, another pillar of holy fire did indeed kill Jeanne, and a Confusion followed. Barbarossa, who had been interrupted trying to rebuff multiple times, still tried to apply prayer against bewilderment again - and he was too slow. Now, Ögedei and Pausanias are immune to confusion thanks to their hats, and Barbarossa resisted. Chandragupta was affected, though (shortly after that, the prayer started doing its work - it would end up stopping another confusion attempt from Thaos, so it was crucial to still finish the scrollreading) - so, with Catalina and Jeanne dead plus Chandragupta confused, we only had Ögedei's minor blights as a relevant damage source, as Pausanias' build is very defensive. I decided to switch Barbarossa from his defensive chants to Dragon Thrashed, as I had to find a way to take Taos down quickly - two more damage spells from him, and everyone but Pausanias could easily be dead:




This turned out to be a good idea. Jeanne had really done a great job softening Thaos up. While another pillar of holy fire did some significant damage to our chanter, the dragon kept on thrashing, and with a few minor blights hits further lowering our antagonist's health, Barbarossa was the one to finish the job with his chanting:




Also: The value on that moonwell scroll over the course of the fight really can't be overstated. Certainly worth the topaz!


A hard-fought victory for our party. A melee-heavy lineup certainly isn't ideal at dealing with Thaos - a few ranged damage dealers could've easily avoided all these damage spells. Also, being unable to disable him with his high defenses and us not getting lucky enough to break through them was a big factor. Let us now look at some final party stats:




Not surprised that Catalina is dominating the party damage in such a huge way. It certainl felt that way throughout the game. While she didn't do much against Thaos, when it comes to typical group fights, she was the most valuable party member. Getting 28% of total kills is a huge number compared to the 16% achieved by Amria, the leader in this category for Liresh's run. Jeanne getting knocked out 12 times is still 2 times fewer than I predicted at the start of the run (I was guessing it would be around 14 times).


Now, with these classes/builds being an usual choice for me, here are some quick thoughts on their performance:

Pausanias: Well, my opinion hasn't changed: Almost everything a fighter tank can do, a paladin tank can do too, and the paladin has way more additional abilities and flexibility. Overbearing guard is nice, but not enough to outweight exhortations, LoH and the like. Still, they can do the job without major issues.

Jeanne: This build is certainly very good at doing one thing: Doing huge amounts of damage and applying negative status effects on a single target. It would also be great for scrolls and the like, but I decided to put her skill points into mechanics. For my taste, it took too much micromanagement to keep her standing, and even with that, it was not always possible. Also, single target damage isn't that important for the majority of the game. I have to admit though: During the Thaos fight, she was the most valuable party member, doing by far the majority of the damage both to the vessels and to Thaos himself.

Ögedei: I've mentioned this before, but I'm not convinced by the blast build. The vancian spells are more valuable, and in the early game, where spellslots are still hard to come by, you don't have the talents yet to deal very high damage with blast. The combination with combusting wounds is decent for some early encounters, though. Still, I'd prefer a more defensive build for no-reloads. I don't have to mention that mages are obviously super strong in general. For myself, I still would prefer having a druid instead, but only because I have much more experience playing with them and using their spells. Certainly, mages have stronger defensive abilities.

Catalina: It's propably clear by now that she was my favorite party member during this run - blood thirst with a high-damage weapon and accurate carnage is so much fun, and being a death godlike is quite helpful for this build in my estimation. You only need firebrand and rage to burn your way through hordes of enemies, and even without firebrand, tall grass is known to be an amazing weapon with carnage and high int for a reason. If I were to run with Liresh again, I'd propably cut the second ranger and take a barbarian with me instead.

Chandragupta: I still don't feel like I've really figured out monks all that well yet. Over time, I've gotten more comfortable with this one, but I might've chosen too many passives in his build. Obviously, his more sturdy build prevented him from rivaling Jeanne for single target damage, but with little AoE to his name, he never really impressed me. He did get to be rather tanky near the end, and stunning strikes are obviously good to have, but I would welcome someone else picking up the class and doing something more interesting, creative and powerful with it.

Friedrich/Barbarossa: Despite the death, my chanters did a good job as secondary tanks while applying buffs, debuffs or damage with their chants. Dragon Thrashed is obviously great. My one big mistake was propably making the low-dex chanter into my primary lore character - I had two others with lore 4 for fear/defense/protection scrolls, but only Barbarossa had the lore for Moonwell/Valor/Prayer against Bewilderment. I should've realized that the scrollreading job would be like priest-buffing, where only dexterity and intelligence really matter, so choosing a low dex character fot the job would be a terrible idea. This did come to hurt me quite a few times. Honestly, I would've propably done better with Barbarossa as mechanics guy and Jeanne using the high level scrolls.


Well, this is it for Pausanias. Good luck to all the other runners!

Edited by Enuhal
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Great work, Enuhal! Congrats!


The Thaos battle can be tricky with low level parties. That's one of the reasons why I like to limit side questing: it saves the drama for the end.


I also agree that ranged parties fair better in that fight and most spells are of limited use if your level is low.


I know you have a BG run active, and so another PoE game probably isn't in the cards (at least for now), but it would be great to see you run another team, if and when you're in the mood. Please do stay around, in any case!






Btw, can you post final character records for all of your team members? I'm interested in seeing their base defense/accuracy scores, just to calibrate my minimal needs for the final battle on PotD.


Btw II, I'm glad to hear that your rogue faired well in the final fight. I suspected that rogues would be valuable there. As a matter fact, that was the logic behind running a rogue, Aotha, in my prior run. It's a shame that the White Forge battle prevented her from getting there.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Thanks! I certainly plan to be an active reader of this thread in the coming weeks, so I'll be around.


Final character records for all party members (from a save right before Thaos):




















These records include food buffs and drugs, but no battle buffs. Some food buffs are missing (+3 might/+3 resolve from dragon food and +1 perception, for example), and some drugs such as goldrot chew reduce accuracy. I went for the Caed Nua +3 might resting bonus. Accuracy against vessels is higher thanks to huge survival scores on multiple party members (I also used a rite scroll to boost survival before resting for the very last time).


In combat, accuracy was of course much improved: Scrolls of valor add +15, and so do flasks of war paint (which are amazing, though they don't last very long) or the eldritch aim spell. Defenses also get increased by scrolls of defense, moonwell, vigorous defense and the like, while svef sadly takes down resolve/deflection (but it's certainly worth it for damage dealers). Killing the sky dragon instead of just talking would've also resulted in some more accuracy thanks to possible superb enchantments, but that felt like an unneccessary risk.

Edited by Enuhal
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Arcadia, Moon-Godlike Wizard: Minor Encounters in and Around Defiance Bay


You're getting sleepy....Actually, you're probably not. I'm not sleepy either: I just drank a pot of coffee. 


I was getting sleepy, past tense. I was getting sleepy around the time when Arcadia returned to Defiance Bay. You'll start to see our play slipping soon- soon but not yet. Our saving grace in the return to Defiance Bay was the ease of the encounters. Had we fought more challenging battles, this would have looked a lot worse. 


Ok. First, Anslog's Compass. This is a trivial fight, but I'm inclined to post on all the central story line stuff.


Standard buffs, no scrolls. Pallegina breaks north to intercept a line breaker. Eder holds position in the south, while the casters get ready to fire it up.






Notice how our casters are a little disorganized. Their positioning is inelegant. Two of the four are ready to cast, and yet they're not casting. Arcadia is auto-attacking some unimportant bloke. That's a sign: I was getting tired and sloppy by this point.






This battle is easy enough that it didn't matter, though. In fact, our beetles and Iconic Projections alone ended it before we got to do anything interesting.






I hate fighting forge knights- I really do. They spam AoE spells and their knockbacks screw up your positioning: it's hard to keep everyone happy and safe. They rarely make much progress, but they are annoying.


We did a reasonably good job in these fights, I guess, but I did make a key mistake just as I thought I had them figured out. I'll do better next time.


The opening battle started with our tanks getting knocked around and our casters, taking some AoE damage on account of getting too close. Everyone except Arcadia is injured here, albeit slightly, with the exception of Eder.






A plan is emerging for future fights, however: 1) send in the tanks, under Bulwark; 2) wait until the battle field settles down before bringing the squishies into play; 3) have the squishies prioritize disablers, and then get to work with long range, party friendly stuff. it makes sense. We hadn't quite figured that out yet, though, but this point. The casters are way to close here, using stuff like Concelhault's Corrosive Siphon. Fortunately, the forge knights didn't make us pay.






By battle 2 we had it right. Tanks first->Curse of Blackened Sight->ranged damage spells. Cassia got nicked by a lightning bolt, but aside from that everyone was fine. We used Iconic Projections and Minoletta's here, due to range.






Onto the final battle. We knew what to do by this point. We just didn't do it. Everything started our fine. This makes sense: Curse of Blackened Sight from the buffed wizards, Iconic Projections from the distant priests.






But everything is about to go downhill.The priests are using Shinning Beacon in this shot, which isn't a great idea, since the range is so short. And even if we wanted to use Shinning Beacons, we surely should have pulled the priests back ASAP after release.






Instead the priest hung out, watching their handy work and casting long range stuff at short range. I'm getting sleepy.






And we paid the price. That's way more yellow and red than we've seen for a long, long time. Sorry, everyone!






After that humbling event, I summoned enough concentration to get the assassin ambush right. Our execution is on point here.






But soon, we'd suffer out first knockout since the Temple of Eothas at L3 (Eder, 1). That's coming up next.





Edited by Alesia_BH
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@Enuhal: Well done! Good on you for trying out new builds, even if they didn't prove as effective as one might have hoped. You've got some pretty big numbers on those characters--I know part of that is due to being level 11, but those extraordinarily high Might values really surprise me. How did you get Might up to 24 and 28?


I hope we see some forays into Pillars of Eternity 2 at some point. It looks like we've got a few players who are capable of handling PoE 1, which means a saga run feels doable in the near future. It would be great to see our first entry in the Hall of Heroes.

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@semiticgod Thanks!


How did Catalina get to might 28? The calculation goes like this:

Base 19 (18 +1 from The Living Lands), +3 Training Grounds resting bonus (Caed Nua), +3 Goldrot Chew, +3 From an item (in this case, Belt of the Royal Deadfire Cannoneer, but an item like the Girdle of Maegfolc Might or the Engwithan Adra Ban Amulet, both of which pretty much everyone will find in their playthroughs, will do the job as well). Sadly, Goldrot Chew doesn't stack with Duc's Own Beefloaf, but in combat, Catalina will go up from 28 to 32 due to her frenzy (and with greater frenzy, which she doesn't have, it could even be 34 - not to mention champion's boon if I had a priest).

The characters with might 24 have similar buffs, but with a lower base might, or maybe with only a +2 might item, or maybe with Duc's Own Beefloaf instead of Goldrot Chew etc.

Goldrot Chew, btw, should ideally be replaced with a Dragon Meat Dish - I just forgot to buy some dragon meat before jumping into the pit.


I would certainly try my hand at Deadfire if my graphics card could handle it, though with my one playthrough on normal difficulty, I'd propably be rather inept at the game (and there are some significant differences in regards to mechanics and pretty extreme changes to the various classes - during that one playthrough, I quickly noticed that a lot of my old favorite abilities aren't nearly as powerful or just don't work the same way they used to). PotD difficulty was apparently very easy at release, but after a few patches, especially the early game (and the new DLC content plus the new megabosses) seems to be quite difficult now, even for veterans. However, just like in PoE I, once you make it to the big city of the game, things get much easier if you know which content can be done without much violence to get some easy gold and experience.


That being said, I, too, would really like to see someone trying their hands at taking a PoE run into the second game!

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I hope we see some forays into Pillars of Eternity 2 at some point. It looks like we've got a few players who are capable of handling PoE 1, which means a saga run feels doable in the near future. It would be great to see our first entry in the Hall of Heroes.



Agreed. I'd like to try PoE II soon. I have two technical hurdles to clear, though: 1) downloading 25gb over a slow internet connection; 2) running PoE II on an aging MacBook Air. The latter seems dubious: my Air struggles with PoE I.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher


I'm unsatisfied with Zovai's talents, so I burn some copper re-training her, giving her Inspiring Radiance for an Accuracy boost for the party and Veteran's Recovery to make her a little harder to kill. We have over 20,000 copper now, but we're probably going to go through a lot of it very quickly.


We're around level 6 right now, so we really want some more XP before we approach the endgame. I want to be higher-level than I was in previous runs when we finally tackle Thaos; I've never encountered those charm spells that I've heard are present in the PotD final fight. To that end, we head to Raedric's hold.


We can stomp most of the enemies with per-encounter abilities. We do see some nasty surprises in the tunnels, though: Osrya dies very quickly to our opening assault, but a Skeletal Wizard appears to knock out Divinegon in a single hit with Necrotic Lance!




Upstairs, things are less complicated. Most of Raedric's goons appear to be weaker against crushing damage than other damage types (must be the mail they're wearing)... although I'm not sure how much that really matters, considering Ectopsychic Echo has high base damage and can break through even high damage reduction pretty well.


Divinegon finally hits level 7! We now have a powerful source of raw damage that is party-friendly and (unlike our beam spells) positioning-independent.


The enemy priests hassle us a little, but they can't do much besides fortify the enemy's defenses, and they can't really do it good enough to stop Divinegon.


Time to bring down Raedric himself. We position our 3 tanks in a triangle to counter the conveniently symmetrical enemy pattern, then inch everyone forward to make sure our back line is close enough to assault the enemy mages on the first round. Frost, our rogue, uses a Minor Missiles scroll to add a slight damage boost in the hopes of bringing down one of the mages before it can cast a big spell. Rius, our mage, throws out a Fireball, and her Intellect is high enough that the radius is so wide that we can hit almost every enemy on the map without touching anyone in the party.


We activate Ectopsychic Echo and fling another Fireball into the mix. It's only been moments, and the enemy is already crumpling.


The beam does most of the work. Soon, Raedric is all but alone.


You see that little white icon on the Raedric Defender, below "Defender" and above "Liberating Exhortation?" I don't know what that is. I've never seen a perfectly white icon like that.


Selling off all the crap we looted from Raedric nets us over 12,000 copper. Pallegina and Divinegon are now at level 7 (Pallegina now has Reviving Exhortation!), while the rest of the party is at level 6. Here is our party after Raedric's hold:


Mora Tai are dual-wielding because the shield Deflection bonus didn't really seem necessary; they've been pretty sturdy without shields. Zovai has a shield since she has basically no need for Accuracy (as I mentioned when we first created her, I kept her Perception low because I didn't plan on having her fight), and our back line is lightly armored to maximize attack speed.

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Good job with Raedric @semiticgod. Just a quick note: As far as I'm aware, Thaos isn't using any charm spells, even on PotD - just confusion, which can be countered via prayer against bewilderment (level 4 cleric spell or scroll with a requirement of 8 lore) or snowcaps (which I didn't use because of the -5 perception, but it might just be worth it).

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Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher


Back to Cliaban Rilag! Or whatever area this is; I don't know the names.



Whisper of Treason still works reliably on Spirits, and for the survivors, our single-target burst damage thins the herd even faster.


The Animats are immune to charm and have excellent damage reduction, to the extent that Divinegon's blunderbuss is all but useless. However, Silent Scream goes right past Animat damage reduction, and Ectopsychic Echo can overcome it through brute force.



Back to Defiance Bay! Pallegina now has St. Garam's Spark, which she uses to help Divinegon land her introductory blunderbuss blasts (though it probably only helps Mora Tai, our paladin, who is closer to Pallegina). As before, we side with the Doemonels, craft a bunch of Moonwell scrolls, and run into more assassins, because apparently they didn't hear about what happened to the last ones: Chill Fog blinded the ranged attackers, and Whisper of Treason took over the melee grunts.


The fight actually takes a little while, and requires us to use a fair amount of attack spells, but it's nothing unusual or cool-looking that would warrant more screenshots.


We spend thousands of copper on shiny baubles from the black market, allowing us to give a +2 Might enchantment to Divinegon's clothes and add +2 Intellect to Rius' Skaen robe. Finally, we do the Ducal Palace quest thingy and flee Defiance Bay.


We run into some Pwgras out in the wilderness, who quickly prove problematic by summoning Flame Blights right between our front line and back line, exposing our more vulnerable characters to fire damage.


The Pwgras also hit pretty hard in melee combat. I never actually noticed that before; I kind of just assumed they had weak physical attacks because they cast high-level druid spells. Play enough RPGs, and you tend to assume that big spells mean small muscles.


Into the ground! Or whatever the place with the Crystal Eater spiders is called. The spiders really catch us by surprise when they one-shot Divinegon with a pillar spell of some sort.


We keep Divinegon behind Withdraw for the rest of the fight, but fortunately she's already cast Ectopsychic Echo, which means we still get a lot of damage output out of her.


After a quick nap, we run into a fight with a lot of Spirits. Since we've been crushing enemy Spirits lately, I don't think to open with a Scroll of Defense or anything like that.


The entire party gets paralyzed on the first round, and I realize that we are in very deep trouble.


The first few hits we took before the bigger Spirits arrived are enough to put Mora Tai in danger. It only takes a little more to push him over the brink.


I count the seconds as they tick by, hoping to get the party moving as soon as the first character recovers from paralysis. But until that happens, all I can do is watch the enemy take down Divinegon.


Pallegina recovers! She immediately uses Reviving Exhortation to bring back Mora Tai, who uses a Scroll of Revival to get Divinegon back on her feet. But before Frost can recover from paralysis and use a red potion to cling to life, the enemy brings her down.


We still have more Scrolls of Revival, and Frost is back up in a few seconds, but we're still making little progress against the enemy; we're using all our strength just to avoid dying. And to my consternation, Mora Tai appears incapable of using our newly-crafted Moonwell scrolls--his Lore is still at 6.


Rius, our mage, keeps trying to blind enemies to minimize pressure, while Divinegon uses a Potion of Eldritch Aim to improve her chances at a game-changing cipher spell. Meanwhile, Frost, our rogue, fortifies herself with a red potion and then reads a Minor Missiles scroll to earn some quick and reliable damage against a Cean Gwla.


Pallegina has just used a Scroll of Defense and is about to bring out some beetles, while Rius, having successfully blinded several enemies, is using a Prayer Against Fear scroll (she's the only one who's carrying one) to help our long-term Accuracy. We're starting to put our defenses together so we can make progress against the enemy.


Divinegon finally gathers just enough Focus to activate Silent Scream, only to discover that if you miss the initial target, Silent Scream also does no area-effect damage, either--the spell completely fails, costing us 40 Focus at a crucial stage in the fight when we really need to pin down at least one enemy.


I check the dialog box, and it seems the Cean Gwla's Will defense is 83, compared to Divinegon's 80 Accuracy. We only needed to roll an 18 out of 100 to land that hit. We got a 3 instead.


And because the Cean Gwlas can teleport, Divinegon is already under direct pressure from one of the strongest enemies on the map. The very instant that she fails that crucial spell, a Cean Gwla puts her down, and our best offensive asset is once again on the ground.


We finally get our beetles on the map, and after realizing that she, too, doesn't have the Lore to use her own Moonwell scrolls, Rius finally uses her Prayer Against Fear scroll. Frost is in a bad position to do anything useful, but she manages to find a small window in which to use Fan of Flames.


We've only done modest damage to the enemy, and the strongest critters, the Cean Gwlas, are a long way from death. Frost can't win this on her own; we really, really need Divinegon on hand to win this fight. If she can just take down one Cean Gwla, we might have a shot at coming out of this alive. Knowing that Divinegon's Health is dangerously low and it would only take a single blow to knock her back down, we use another Scroll of Revival, hoping that our cipher can bail us out if we buy her a few precious seconds to work her magic.


One second later, the Cean Gwlas paralyze the entire party, and instantly take down Divinegon.


Her Health appears to be at zero now; she's completely out for this fight.


We're all on our own now.

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Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher


Mercifully, the rest of the party survives the paralysis; there aren't quite as many enemies as there were when we first got paralyzed. Rius prepares a Fireball, hoping we can bring down some of the weaker enemies even if the Cean Gwlas are too tough.


Still, that sudden flash of paralysis is a very bad sign. It means that the Spirits probably have even more such attacks up their sleeve, and they might use it again in just a few more rounds. We need to make sure we can survive another blast.


We renew our Scroll of Defense and Prayer Against Fear, but otherwise dedicate all of our attention to dealing damage; blindness penalties on the enemy alone can't keep us safe. After several rounds, we finally reach a breakthrough: Frost brings down a Cean Gwla with a Minor Missiles scroll!


We've made some progress on the enemy, but we've also lost our best character as well as two of our beetles, and the enemies appear to be ignoring the third beetle, which means we've still got a lot of enemy pressure on us. Frost keeps using scrolls, but not all of her rolls are great.


Rius is running low on spells, and I know that she won't be able to help contribute to an early kill on another enemy. Knowing that another paralysis attack could come at any moment, Rius refreshes blindness on the enemy.


Mora Tai is now in good health and has no scroll-related duties to take care of, which means he can help Frost bring down one of the Cean Gwlas. Frost lands the kill with another scroll! The last Cean Gwla is down!


Rius is out of Arcane Veils and is taking damage, but Zovai knocks a Spectre down with Pillar of Faith, and Frost deploys Finishing Blow to slay it while it's down. The enemy herd is growing thinner.


Another Finishing Blow brings down the next Spectre, leaving only a single Spectre intact. But it, too, is blinded, and Frost kills it with sneak attacks with the help of her remaining allies.


Our reward for our brush with death was nine servings of Spirit Residue. Wow.


I don't want to fight any more Cean Gwlas. Not after that. We immediately leave the area.

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Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher


Outside, we get ambushed by Leaden Key jerks on the way to Twin Elms. After our disastrous encounter with those Spirits, I use all of our best options, including expendables; I don't want to get caught off-guard again. The agents, though, cannot paralyze the entire party at once. And as long as Divinegon remains functional...



...the enemy needs to be very, very strong to survive the first few rounds of combat.


We run into more Spores soon after, which immediately triggers alarm bells--it wasn't that long ago that we nearly died to a roomful of mushrooms. After activating a Scroll of Defense and Prayer Against Bewilderment, I check the shrooms' immunities and realize they're missing one.


You can totally make these legless mushrooms fall down by making them slip over and fall.


Frost and Pallegina have just been dominated, but Mora Tai fixes Frost with Liberating Exhortation. Rius knocks down the mushrooms once or twice more before flinging out a Fireball, while Divinegon hurries south to cast an Antipathetic Field on the southern shrooms.



Unlike Ectopsychic Echo, Antipathetic Field is party-unfriendly, which means that even if Divinegon gets charmed, she'll still keep dealing damage to the mushrooms, and since Divinegon has no melee weapons, she's not going to move either if she gets charmed, so that beam is going to stay in place.


As it turns out, the mushrooms never think to target Divinegon, anyway. They screw with the rest of the party, which suffers as a result, but Divinegon remains untouched, perfectly free to re-cast Antipathetic Field and dissolve the mushrooms in the beam. Rius contributes from afar with Fireball, and Divinegon uses her high Focus to deal Raw damage to the slimes threatening the party.




Done! That took more work than it probably seemed, but the notable factor was Divinegon being ignored by the shrooms.


I stop by an inn to re-train Pallegina; her lack of Liberating Exhortation has been bothering me (I got her at level 5, I think, and she didn't have it). I also switch her Weapon Focus from Knight to Noble and move the Ravenwing mace from Mora Tai to Pallegina, allowing Pallegina to get +6 to Accuracy for both hands. The Ravenwing mace and Ituuk (or whatever it's called) dagger both benefit from that talent. Mora Tai has no Weapon Focus talents, so he just sticks with Hearth Harvest and a custom saber.


Mora Tai soon hits level 7 and learns Reviving Exhortation (who wouldn't take that ability as soon as it was available?). Frost follows suit, learning Escape to help her jump past enemies and stretch around Divinegon's Ectopsychic Echo, and Rius learns the tentacle spell, since I'm guessing the damage output is respectable. Plus, we could use another source of disposable tanks; summons are hard to find in PoE.


Or at least, I've had trouble finding them. I've never found that Adra Beetle figurine, and all the summoning totems for sale are sold at incredibly high prices, to the extent I wasn't sure they were even worth the expense. The only summons I've ever used are from Summon Blight, the Phantom call and skeleton summoning spells for chanters, and the Oak Beetle Figurine.


Anyway, we get into a fight with some Adragans and Blights, and I get the impression that Blights have incredibly high damage output when Mora Tai gets knocked out in two hits.


This was before I learned that Petrify makes the victim take double damage from all sources. I take the next fight more seriously and burn a level 4 spell from Rius. Turns out Confusion (is that really the whole spell name?) is really effective; even high-Will Adragans are susceptible to it.


It only lasts for long, but Frost can tear up a lot of the enemies with her sneak attacks once Rius blinds them with Alastathoria's Everlasting Plague of Ebony-Tinted Vision Distortion Invocation.


We're almost ready for the endgame. We spend thousands of copper on buying and upgrading high-end weapons. Has no one else noticed this amazing club?




Divinegon hits level 8 and chooses the Extra Weapon Set talent so she can carry an additional firearm or arbalest. This will give her another major boost to Focus and reduce the chance that her introductory assault will fail badly and leave her unable to follow up with strong options early on in combat due to bad luck.

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 Just a quick note: As far as I'm aware, Thaos isn't using any charm spells, even on PotD - just confusion, which can be countered via prayer against bewilderment



I just ran a test to confirm, using Ashoka's save. On Hard Thaos uses Dominate in addition to Confusion. The duration is long, too. It's more than an annoyance.




(I can't comment on PotD, since I haven't faced him on PotD yet, but I'd be surprised to learn that he does it on Hard but not PotD.)





Edited by Alesia_BH
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NW: Although I do distinctly recall party members aggressively pursuing each other for long periods of time (seemingly not Confused behavior) in the Hard battle, from this screenshot alone I suppose we can't rule out the possibility that Thaos reflected Gyrd somehow. I'll run another test as soon as I'm able.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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On Blesca's Labor. I agree: it's great. It's a particularly good choice for a low level character attacking Thaos. My inclination would be to keep my rogue ranged, if I had the party to do so, but if you intend to let Frost engage Thaos in melee, it's a great option for her. In that case, I'd skip the lash and go with Kith slaying for the final 4 enchantment points

Edited by Alesia_BH
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It's certainly possible that he uses dominate (I've found two more sources claiming that he does, so it seems likely), though that would mean that he never tried to do it in both of my recent battles against him, which does seem a bit strange, given that he went through all of his other spells multiple times. Checking Liresh's notes, I did cast prayer against treachery later in the fight (which suggests that I, too, remembered him using that ability at some point), but I didn't make any note of Thaos actually trying to dominate anyone. Of course, Liresh was fighting scaled-up Thaos, who is a bit of a different animal; For example, he has access to the Thaos-only spell Symbol of Woedica, which normal Thaos certainly doesn't.


Maybe Thaos' spell rotation is entirely random and I just got lucky, or maybe his Dominate is somewhat rare in general compared to stuff like confusion, pillar of holy fire, cleansing flame etc.


@semiticgod: In case you want to know where the adra beetle statue is to be found:


If you start exploring a place called Valtas Manor in northern Heritage Hill, you will discover a quest leading you to the statue


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