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Grims' Fairy Tales: by Grim Face - Boreal Dwarf Priest of Eothas, Drifter from Deadfire Archipelago. Introduction.


Game Version: with White March I & II
Difficulty: Path of the Damned, Trial of Iron
Settings: Maim Before Death: On; Injuries: On; Expert Mode: OFF; AoE Highlighting: On; Show Qualifiers/Personality/Reputation: OFF 
Mods: None


Some comments on stats. I don't make any of those below 10 just because I never like this. 12 Might since Dwarfs have +2 racial bonus. Max Dexterity and Intellect for fast cast/action and wide AoE/longer duration of spells (even though quick and nimble Dwarf might look a bit weird. let's make an assumption it's because he is still young). Resolve at 10 since higher Gloomy Face's value (13) doesn't help much with serious dialog checks anyway (the only reason he has that value) and in combat there are lots of means to buff Deflection/Concentration. 

He is also a primary party Mechanic (lockster/trapster) - seems obvious to me since he is a Dwarf.
The Core Crew will be: Eder, Aloth, Xoti (custom clone of her PoEII character), Pallegina, Sagani. And as usual this will be a fully completionist roleplaying run with an intention to keep it 'knockout free'. When he will eventually reach Deadfire I'll make him a Thaumaturge (Priest/Wizard).

I'm not sure of his updates frequency at the moment (Gloomy Face is still in priority) but since a proper introduction of a character at the very start of the run is essential part of the challenge, here we are.

let's get started...

Edited by Serg BlackStrider
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What do you guys think?



I think it could be highly effective. I also think it would be challenging, in some respects.


One of the advantages of working with a stable team is that you come to know its strengths and weaknesses. You develop a battle plan and you refine execution. You iron out kinks. You remedy unexpected flaws. You stumble; you grow; you get better.


I've always believed that knowledge of the resources you possess is often more important than the resources themselves. I feel that the approach you're proposing may sacrifice the former, for the latter.


I also don't necessarily think that it would be inconsistent with an RP approach. The very first Alesia run, on the old, old forums was an RPed/novelization No Reload. It was abandoned in Saradush, sadly, because it had become too time consuming (I was in grad school, at the time).


Alesia and Imoen were friends. They were a team. They were always together. As for other party members, they were added and discarded flexibly, based on the exigencies of each quest, intersected with RP considerations. Alesia didn't travel with a party. She navigated the world with a friend and assembled teams for each mission. It was a lot of fun. It was also challenging, in light of BG XP system. PoE would be better suited to that approach.


As a matter of fact, when I do run Alesia in PoE, I'll probably do it that way, with flexible parties, often small, chosen for each mission, like her first BG run. What you're proposing is little bit different, but there is some similarity, I think.


If you'd like to give it a try, feel free. I'll acknowledge, though, that I'm less fond of the respec and disposability parts of your proposal. I'd prefer to see a large stable of characters that you draw from flexibly. It's up to you, though, of course.


What is the maximum number of characters that you can build and hold in reserve?





Edited by Alesia_BH
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Best of luck to Grim Face! May his adventures be injury free!






Btw, I agree that a no knockout no reload is possible. I just don't think that I, personally, have a high probability of success at this time. Setting aside the times when I've been playing for hours and hours without sleep (or playing on Klonopin and wine, trying to sleep), and speaking solely of the quests that I know and do, I run into trouble in the Skaen Temple and in Durgan's Battery.


I can solve the Skaen temple problem by using your approach there. It's the small battles, fought consecutively, with rest restrictions, that get messy. I can just bypass those and drop Wymund. EDIT: Now that I think of it, Arcadia's team did the Skaen Temple without in combat knockouts and without leaving for camping gear. It not so bad, really. Alyssa just fought a sloppy battle there that unnerved me.


In the battery, it's the spirit fights that get me They aren't really a threat to my teams, but I do have trouble keeping everyone on their feet. I probably just need to study the problem. I've basically just been lazily AoE bombing my way through those encounters, without carefully studying enemy abilities. Once I understand what they're doing to me I'll be in a better position to stop it.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Mira - Cipher


Mira was tired of these menial tasks for these inconsequential people. She was glad to receive a missive from that Chancellor to meet in a tavern in the city. Arriving there however Mira immediately sensed something amiss, people were looking around more then normal and trying to gauge their minds she only felt nervousness and danger. As she and her group turned to leave however it was too late, behind her entered that arrogant woman the bodyguard to that lord that dared challenge her for Caed Nua. She needn't speak as her group had already fanned out to intercept the crazy wench and her henchman.








Circling around herself however she ran into another guard, she assaulted his mind with visions to attempt to paralyze him however his mind proved to strong. Luckily a few quick summoned creatures through the use of figurines distracted the guard long enough for Mira to regroup with the rest of the team. As she assaulted the minds of the henchman Kiran cleaved them asunder with his flaming sword leaving streaks of smoke in their corpses and the acrid smell of burning flesh. Finally when the fog of battle cleared from the minds of the group no one was left standing.








Mira quickly returned to the keep to make sure it wasn't being assaulted but she found it still safe although the lord was amassing an army close by in Yenwood, something to deal with later when Mira had expanded her group of allies. She did however talk to the warden at the keep who had some bounties to take care off, craving a challenge Mira and the group decided to clear up a few and also earn some money for some much needed upgrades to the keep and their gear. First on the victim list was a Xaurip priest, the group spotted him in Valewood but noticed that he had a sizable number of allies including drakes. Kiran suggested a choke point approach and Mira readily agreed considering herself lucky that Kiran was such a good friend and that she had left his mind intact.








Eder was ordered to go and draw the enemies to the bridge which could act as the choke point for the fight. He shouted a few curses at the Xaurip and made a run for it. In the mean time Garragh was layering some protections on the group and Aloth was setting up a killzone with some chill fog. The area was wide enough for Eder and Pallegina to grab the attention of most enemies after which Kiran came charging in with his flaming sword in hand while Mira skirted the side lines alternating between attacking the mind and the backs of their enemies.








Finally the drakes were cleaned up and shortly after the high priest fell as well to the groups barrage of attacks.








For the next victim a different approach was taken, the group split up with Mira and Kiran splitting off from the group and hiding behind their quarry. Then when properly engaged with the other four they would walk up to the back line and quickly dispatch the most dangerous members of the group in the clerics, mages and rangers.








After setting up in such a manager Eder and Pallegina engaged while Garragh provided the needed magical protections and Aloth started working on the frontline. After all enemies were properly engaged Mira and Kiran crept up to the back line and quickly dispatched them.








The main foe however quickly turned and went straight for Kiran, with the four others unable to help being blocked by the frontline it was up to Mira to keep him locked down while Kiran beat him into submission.Luckily they were more then up for the task and they quickly cleaned everything up. Finally the last foe presented itself in the Black Meadows. For this fight the group just started grouped up quickly went to work on the blights and other enemies that accompanied the foe, however some of them managed to charge past Eder and Pallegina and went straight for Garragh and Aloth. Mira tried to control the battlefield as much as she could however many of her abilities seem to be resisted by the elementals, it was hard for Mira to manipulate the minds of creates so different from her. Worst off all soon after killing most of the elemental Kiran also went down, Mira and Eder will still staring down his giant determination on their faces. I will not let some stupid rock keep me from my destiny, our destiny Kiran! Eder quickly used the last of their resources and summoned three wood beetles to distract the beast while he and Mira went at it with all their might and rage, Mira's anger reflected in Eder's mind due to her manipulations. And finally the beetles managed to fell the creature, good riddance!







Edited by FNGRenegade
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Yikes! That was a close call against The Dweller. I'm glad Mira made it!




Btw, what level was Mira at? I'm curious about the appropriate level for that encounter. I've only done it while severely over-leveled.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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My OSX install exploded in the middle of Defiance Bay questing, and I lost the photos from the first chunk of quests. That said, I didn’t take many, as the combat has proven easeful overall, with little to showcase. This post will try to keep things moving, in hopes that the content I’m heading for next will be more challenging. I’ll need to decide how much of The White March I’m going to complete with this group outside of the main quests.



Table of Contents




Aures - Act II, Chapter 1: Defiance Bay


Introduction: Is this what we came to do?


Aures and team take stock of their success so far. Certainly, they’ve helped the people of GIlded Vale find some glimmer of hope. The violence necessary to achieve that hope is concerning to Aures. Shouldn’t she have been able to negotiate better terms without resorting to bloodshed? Would Raedric have listened to reason if we had tried to talk first? Gregoria thinks Eothas would approve of their actions, or at least forgive them their mistakes made on the way. The choices we’ve made have been on the behalf of those most in need, and certainly that includes the people of the Gilded Vale. Niclesa thinks things are going well. We have a keep to base our operations and we’ve accumulated resources and allies. Redemption is a meaningless word if it doesn’t apply to things like food, beds, and physical safety. Eder thinks we did the right thing. As complicated as his relationship is with the people of the Gilded Vale, they didn’t deserve the punishments and unreasonable demands being meted out.

Still, Aures feels something bigger than Raedric is happening here in the Dyrwood. His cruelty was a symptom of the larger malady, the Legacy, but perhaps also a side-effect of a more elaborate scheme. The Leaden Key Maerwald spoke of feels ominous. Small organizations working in secret to achieve their aims is exactly the strategy the Order of the Broken Shackle believes to be most effective. What aims, then, is the Leaden Key pursuing?

Entering Defiance Bay, we see the Legacy at work here too. The tensions between the Dozens and the Knights and the Duke bode ill. All of this talk of Animancy is also of interest. Aures grew up in a world where back alley Animancers did their work in secret, and the mix of charlatans and profiteers with genuine practitioners was often deadly. Banning something like Animancy will only cause more harm, but there is a lingering question of what ethical and safe animancy could possibly look like. Even the most earnest scientist runs such high risks when attempting to affect the soul of another person. And yet, since the Bîaŵac, Aures finds her moral high ground slipping away. Didn’t she, after all, absorb the knowledge of Maerwald’s soul, choosing to gain whatever advantage that might provide instead of setting his soul free?



Part 1: In the city . . . the city of ‘Fiance

In the city, we set out to learn as much as we can, gain allies, and look for what small ways we can alleviate the suffering being caused by the Legacy.


A young boy trades us the location of a beetle figurine in exchange for a special dagger used by the Crucible Knights.

We help a distraught and abused young woman with her relationship with a drug dealing fiancé. The fiancé was being held prisoner and impersonated. We killed the impersonator when he wouldn’t listen to reason.

We protect an inept and deceitful Vailian Trading Company merchant. And recruit a strong willed and sharp tongued Vailian paladin. We send Eder back to the keep, promising to call for him when our status in the city is high enough to earn access to the records he desires.

We investigate the disappearance of a young boy and track down his murderers. Inexplicably, we let the murderers go free (was not reading dialogue options well at 6:00am).

We recover a stolen sea chest from some thieves, killing them when they attack us.

We are ambushed by Doemenel Thugs, out for retribution for our defense of Verzano.


Nicelsa level 5: Sure-Handed Ila

Gregoria level 5: Level 3 spells


We peacefully negotiate with the dozens gang harassing brothel customers, and convince them to stand down.

We defeat rogue Engwithan Animats, and recover parts of a relic scepter. We sell the parts to an animancer in the Sanitarium, having little use for such a relic.


Aures level 6: Weapon & Shield Style


Despite Dustan’s misgivings and our own, we help the Crucible Knights with animancy research, hoping that it will prove more helpful if implemented by an organization with a strong code of ethics. We also help a Dozens member recover an heirloom breastplate through careful negotiation, learning that some of the Crucible Knights are bad eggs, showing all the worst aristocratic qualities Aures grew up around in Aedyr.


Our status with the Crucible Knights allows us to buy new boots for Niclesa, which pair nicely with her Belt of Bountiful Healing.


We attempt to investigate the lighthouse in Ondra’s Gift, but after a challenging battle with the spirits on the first floor, we get scared and do the next part of the animancy research quest for the Crucible Knights in Anslogg’s Compass, buying the Company Captain's Cap for Niclesa. After these purchases, we are running pretty low on gold.


Somewhere in here the rest of the group hits level 6.


Pallegina level 6:  Wrath of Five Suns

Aloth level 6:  Deleterious Alacrity of Motion, Aspirant’s Mark

Sagani level 6: Merciless Companion

Niclesa level 6: Ancient Memory

Gregoria level 6: Painful Interdiction


All of this work to learn more about the city has been fruitful, but Aures reminds the group that we came here to investigate the Leaden Key. After a conversation with a ghost, we head into the catacombs to see what we can learn. We choose to spy, instead of fight, taking advantage of a mask left behind by a dead initiate.









After leaving the Temple of Woedica, Aloth shares that he is awakened, too. We all had our suspicions. We agree to take him to the Sanitarium to see if we can find an expert to help.

While in the catacombs, we search for Rowyna and find an Orlan in hiding, instead. Of all the factions vying for control of Defiance Bay, the Knights are the most stable, but they are not without flaws. The most just thing here is to help him flee.


We also find Helig of Thein in the sewers and agree to help him in exchange for information about Rowyna. We will oppose this perverse and cruel person once we’ve secured what information we can.


Before we head to the Sanitarium to investigate leaden key and Aloth, we stop by a house in Copperlane that Aures had a suspicious feeling about. Inside were a gang of well supplied thieves planning their next score. They attacked us and we killed them. Lord Reymont will want to hear about this.







In the sanitarium we consult an expert on awakenings with Aloth, convincing him to allow her to publish her research. We also talk with Moedred and are compelled by his motivations for killing Helig. Whatever else we do, we will make sure Moedred’s work is completed. We negotiate with the Head Animancer to get access to patients, learning that Caedmon Adzo has been performing ever more harmful and risky experiments in an attempt to recover status and knowledge following a very public botched experiment. His intentions are pure, but the utter lack of care for the well being of the patients or the ethical concerns with his methodologies leaves Aures and the group feeling even more suspicious of animancy. To find out the Leaden Key has been pulling strings here, too, is not surprising. We fight our way out and tell the Head Animancer what we’ve learned. Even if the Leaden Key had not intervened, though, Adzo’s methods and ambition would have ended up in a similar place. It seems the Leaden Key pushed the cart faster, but it was already set on this track.


As we leave the sanitarium, we are intercepted by a courier and meet with Lady Webb. She will prove to be a powerful ally, we think. We also talk with Kurren, who gives us a task to track down some missing people.


Back in Ondra’s Gift, we convince a sex worker to give up an Engwithan Medallion (we swap out the Munca Arret for the Pilgrim’s Helm and add the Caed Nua bonus). We also head back to the Tower to complete the banshee quest. One there, I realize that I had already fought all the battles necessary to move the quest forward peacefully.  


In Brakenbury we turn in the Medallion quest and talk to one of the leads connected with the disappearances.


Aures level 7: Reviving Exhortation


We talk with Maerwith, and convince her to go meet with the Banshee.


Pallegina level 7: Inspiring Triumph

Aloth level 7: Confusion, Mara’s Writhing Tentacles

Sagani level 7: Takedown


Back to Ondra’s Gift, we complete the Banshee quest and talk with a patron at the Salty Mast about one of the disappearances.


In Copperlane, we talk with the last of the disappearance lead and track down the source. For Lumdala, we hear out her offer, but can’t let her go free, killing her instead. (instakill opening volley with major damage from Pallegina).






We confront the noble funding the murders, refusing to let him go free (resulting in his death by suicide). We let Dunryd Row know about both Lumdala and the noble, but not the minor helper.


Part 2: Country Living

We head out to Woodend Plains and get the scroll without much trouble.


We keep on moving, heading through the gorge to Dyrford. Once there we agree to help find a murderer, though something about that story doesn’t sit right, convince the priest to tell us where the ruins are, talk with Lord Harond, and agree to help a farmer and a merchant. We follow up with the tanner and others in town about the missing woman, Aelys. The tanner says “the ogre did it”, so we go to Dyrford Crossing to find this orgre.


Upon entering the cave, we level up.


Niclesa level 7- Lo, Their Endless Host

Gregoria level 7- Level 4 spells


We fight the spiders in cave, and pull multiple groups. This actually felt like a challenge, unlike the previous hours of combat. Being level 5 when you start Defiance Bay means being over-leveled for almost everything.







We negotiate with the Ogre and convince him to leave. It’s tempting to recruit him as an ally at the keep, but there are too many downsides with an ally like that in a public facing situation.

We clear the cave, killing the Spider Queen.


We go to get the dragon egg, and intimidate some of the mercenary gang to leave, killing the rest. Perhaps it would have been better to just pay them to leave and avoid the bloodshed.







Exploring more of this countryside, we stumble into a fight with Forest Lurkers and Pŵgra and Mênpŵgra. This was also a challenge, though by that I mean mostly that I pulled out all the stops, including summons and high level spells. Charming one of the caster primordials helps tremendously. 


We head back to Dyrford and share what we’ve learned and accomplished with the farmer and merchant. Pallegina takes the farmer’s blunderbuss, thinking she could learn to use it to great effect. The signs of a skaen cult are troubling, but we aren’t quite ready to investigate it. We lie to the Domenel gang about Nyfre at Niclesa’s request. If we can foil their schemes peacefully, we will.


On our way back to Defiance Bay, we stop at Caed Nua to collect some rewards and talk with a palace messenger


Part 3: Back in the Bay

When we get back we head for Heritage Hill. The battles here are mostly an auto attack/per encounter fiesta. The challenge is low enough, that I begin trying to get soul bound items upgraded, looking for Niclesa to receive critical hits. I give Niclesa that exceptional Estoc we picked up from one of the groups of adventurers/bandits/thieves and have her charge in first on most fights. Once we see Shod In Faith, I can switch back to the shield (or not, depending on the incoming damage). We are also having Gregoria auto attack as much as possible with Gyrd Háewanes Sténes. We’ve activated the displaced image proc on crit, which is the most valuable for her, though the 3 resolve will also be nice.








We work our way through the tower. Darguls have lots of health, but don’t damage our group. We destroy the machine. Aures respects the importance of these Engwithan ruins for the Glanfathan people, but she believes meddling with souls is wrong on the small scale, much less on a grand scale like what the machine is capable of. Each person should have autonomy over their own soul.


We return to the Hall of Revealed Mysteries and give Grimda back the scroll. We have enough spooky voices in our heads, without inviting even more of them. (I also forgot that I hadn’t hidden the scroll yet - whoops). We tell on Nadyn who is trying to get dangerous animancy research. The theorems of Pandgram have already borne enough bad fruit. We don’t need more of that kind of research, no matter how well intentioned.


Onward to First Fires. We check in with the Valian Embassy, agreeing to try and find out more about illicit dealings in Engwithan artifacts.

Upon returning to Crucible Keep, we find a party with forge knights gone wild.


Aures level 8 - Bear’s Fortitude

Aloth level 8 - Minoletta’s Concussive Missiles, Bear’s Fortitude


The forge knights are challenging in the sense that they actually deal damage to the group, and stay alive much longer than most enemies we’ve run into. We advise Clyver to stop the research. This was not a great idea in the first place, and we’ve proven it at significant cost.


Pallegina level 8 - Penetrating Shot

Sagani level 8 - Weapon Focus (Peasant)


We head to the sewers to end the threat of Helig. Of all the crimes committed through animancy, his feels symbolic. The violent imprisonment and control of someone’s soul and the cruel enjoyment all along. We kill him easily and convince Dalton to set Rowyna free.


At the Charred Barrel for our meeting, we convince Emery to betray Gathbin. Then we head back to Caed Nua and diffuse the mob with gold. Our supply is much higher now, and the 1,000 we give is quite justified.

We grab adventure rewards and head back down into the Endless Paths.


Part 4: How low can you go . . .

On level 2 we climb down the pit and clear backwards to the stair cases. Having secured the level, we confront the drake and find it cannot be negotiated with.


It is powerful enough that we bring out all of our tools. Charmed, Paralyzed, Isolated, Destroyed. 








We clear level 4. Finding a new bow for Sagani.


Niclesa level 8 - Beloved Spirits

Gregoria level 8 - Bear’s Fortitude


We zone up into slimes in level 3, kill a patrolling ogre, and go back down. We come back to level 3 from above with more camping supplies and a fresh rest. Time for Zolla.


We bottleneck them in the doorway and charm & confuse a few to help mitigate the damage.







Up Next: Party Update

Edited by Ivanfyodorovich
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Aures - Act II, Party Update - level 8










































I took these images after completing Blood Legacy, which is why you see Grieving Mother in some of the screen shots. I left Aloth out, because I'm going to be recruiting Maneha shortly. 



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Mira - Chanter


Turning in the bounties at the warden Kiran suggest to Mira to take a look at the paths between the keep. Since they are there anyway and don't have any pressing matters Mira decides it's a solid plan and they decent the paths. Having little trouble clearing the Xaurips on the first few levels Mira decides to keep pushing on until they run into an Ogre, asking for some help. Since they might as well see what the ogre can give them for the task, they can always kill him afterwards, Mira decides to agree. The party pushes further into the caves clearing ogres as they go until they reach a big room filled with ogres and their target. Mira thinks for a moment and instructs the group to run a similar gambit as with the bounty for the knight. She and Kiran head off into a parallel hallway and setup for an ambush while Eder and Pallegina set up a defense at a crack in the wall.








After the battle has started and Aloth has taken a few hits Mira and Kiran decide to charge in they catch the ogres suprised and Mira manages to get an Echtoplasmic Echo off towards the front line, this was the main reason she was looking for these types of ambushes. Mira is now strong enough to start with nearly enough focus for an Echo and if she manages to get behind the lines in this way the front and back line quickly melt away.








After returning to the ogre they decide to push onward. Clearing some more ogres they run into an ambush of their own however. Ogres in front and to the right threaten the party, their druids battering the group with spells. The Ogres swarm the party, luckily for the group this also means that Aloths blast along with DAOM provides the group with insane amounts of damage especially when combined with Kiran in the middle of the fray with his flaming great sword. The ogres inflect large amounts of damage but the group quickly dispatches them nevertheless. They do however need a rest and luckily there is a short cut back to the surface nearby.








After some well deserved rest the group decides to clear some more floors until they run into a drake. First dispatching the Xaurips with their usual tactics Eder distracts the drake and points him away from the rest of the group. Mira had already had some time to become familiar with drake minds while fighting the Xaurip priest and she knows this beast has the ability to breath fire which she wants nowhere near herself or Kiran. Unfortunatly Eder seems unable to keep the dragons attention as he moves around from target to target.









The drake eventually goes down without much issue though and never even manages to get a fire breath off. Mira however decides this is enough of these damp caves for now, it's time to get back into the city and clear up some more of these tasks. So the group heads back to Defiance Bay and we take a look at their stats (at that point, unfortunately I only have character screenshots I have no idea why I didn't make inventory ones, no talents or abilities either I'll make sure to take some new ones for the end of the next update and include them):























Note: It seems somehow imgur messed up the order of my screenshots, I remember being level 7 for sure when doing the bounties and the order of the fights in my imgur folder also don't match my notes. I did the report as much as I can in the order my notes were in but I think these screenshots were taken before I started this posts adventures not after. Sorry for the inconsistency, like I said work was very chaotic being the last week before holidays and me leaving my team after the holidays. I'll make sure that further coverage is better.

Edited by FNGRenegade
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I should have listened to myself and not upscaled WM1, I'm still doing fine but the DLC I already didn't like just got a lot less fun with the fights being just giant drags not hard but just micro intensive and without feeling of accomplishment after finishing them. I doubt I'm gonna force myself to go much farther then this. I'm feeling a little burned out on the game, I might conitnue my solo run or just go start PoE II without a decent PoE run to continue on. I will of course keep following the rest.

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Sorry to hear that FNGRenegade! If you do continue your solo run, please do feel free to post it.


(And if you move on to PoE II instead, let us know what you think, as a no reloader. Some of us haven't tried it yet.)





Edited by Alesia_BH
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About the PoE2 thread: If we're going to do what we discussed before--have a bunch of runners all start posting in a new PoE2 thread simultaneously so we can establish a friendly atmosphere right off the bat--I will be ready to do soon it after January 2, when I have a test.

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Noted! Early January sounds good to me, too.


We seem to have had a lull in activity, likely associated with the holiday. I, personally, will resume playing and posting on the 26th. I'm guessing others will too. Until then, happy holidays, everyone! And if you still feel like posting, over the next couple of days, please do. You will have readers. I'll be among them!





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Aures Act II, Chapter 2: Loose Ends, Then Northward!


Part 1: You can read minds?

Coming back into Defiance Bay from Caed Nua, we attempt to gather information about The Forgotten and their smuggling operation. When our cover is blown, violence ensues.



The plate armor we take from the corpse of one of the dead smugglers doesn't seem to fit anyone in the group. It was sized for an Aumua, apparently. Maybe Kana will want to play dress-up? 


Having earned a reputation with Defiance Bay, we return to the Archives with Eder as promised. Finding out his brother fought for Readceras is a hard truth, one that demands we look for more answers. We head to Cliaban Rilag to see what we can find. Back in Defiance Bay, we have Kurren examine the relic and find what answers we can for Eder. He decides to return to Caed Nua and process it all, and we continue on to Dyrford Village. 


As we walk through town we notice a woman we hadn’t met yet. She is interesting, and Aures invites her to come with us. It seems she is a Cipher. Perhaps her skills will be useful to us. 


We enter the Temple of Skaen from Dyrford Crossing using the key we picked up from the dead cultist in the spider cave. We kill a few cultists, but sneak through to a large room equipped for animancy experiments and procedures. Wymund explains his plot, and we give Grieving Mother the go ahead to wipe Aelys’ mind. Wymund is killed without much effort when he attacks us.




Once again we find animancy being used inappropriately for “good” intentions. We send Aelys to the Temple of Berath for help getting out of Dyrford. Back in town, we let Harond go, but take as much from him as we can first. Killing him won’t undo what he’s done, but perhaps his gold can be used for better purposes. 


The Leaden Key remains to be investigated here, and so we head to Cliaban Rilag to see what we can find. The Leaden Key is using these ancient machines to cause the Legacy. If it’s being done, it should be able to be undone. Why they are doing this remains a mystery. Some kind of misplaced loyalty to Woedica? Why would preventing souls from being born help her? 


Combat is starting to become very boring to me during this part. Grieving Mother is fun to play around with, trying out her abilities that I have less experience with, but the fights are not very challenging.


The spores take a while to kill with all of the domination, and traps are still hard hitting. 



My team is weighted toward defense, with one of my damage dealers being high burst, low sustain (Pallegina w/ Firearms & Wrath of 5 Suns), so high health enemies take a while to kill. I had intended to start WM1 at level 8, and avoid the option to upscale, but I think I should upscale at this point to increase the challenge and bring some drama back to this run. (I wrote this before heading to Stalwart, and the drama was delivered . . . )


We head back to Caed Nua to regroup. Geyda comes to us asking for help finding subjects to do animancy research. Wow, did she pick the wrong person to ask for help. I send Aloth away with her to destroy the research. There’s enough “research” going on these days without having more well intentioned animancers doing more. There doesn’t seem to be any reason to believe this could help end the Legacy. The kind of information and access to ancient Engwithan machines that would be needed to produce something useful seem to be way beyond the skill and knowledge of anyone currently in the Dyrwood. 


With the little experience we get for the audience with Geyda, Aures reaches level 9. 


Aures level 9 - Sworn Enemy


We pick up the quest for Stalwart from the Steward and reach a few more level ups. 


Sagani level 9 - Driving Flight

Pallegina level 9 - Deprive the Unworthy


Before heading to Stalwart, we go to Pearlwood Bluff to continue Sagani’s quest. On the way, we run into Nedyn from the Sanitarium, who tries to kill me for telling on her to Grimda. Have we just committed ourselves to this path of violence, or has it just infected everyone here? 

We sneak through Searing falls as much as possible, but face off against drakes. After a few battles, I feel confident fighting them. We could take on Cail, but I want to wait until we recruit Maneha. We skip as many battles as we can in Pearlwood Bluff, and move Sagani’s quest forward. 


Part 2: New Friend from the North!

We arrive in Stalwart to an Ogre Party. Upscaled Ogre Battles take some care that’s been missing. In the opening seconds of the Darzir fight, Niclesa body pulls and gets blasted by cannoneer sneak attacks, almost dropping on the first volley. The accuracy defense gap we’ve been benefitting from the past 3 or 4 levels is gone. We start pulling out all the stops. Charms, Figurines, Gregoria empties her spell book.


We prevail. 


Our custom characters level up. 


Niclesa level 9 - Dragon Thrashed

Gregoria level 9 - Mastery Armor of Faith


We pick up quests in Stalwart and meet a new friend.



We equip her with that snazzy Sanguine Plate and Shod in Faith, as well as the Belt of the Deadfire Cannoneer and the War Club of the Mataru. We are building her to be sturdy and maximize debuffing enemies via shouts, threatening presence, and carnage weapon procs, while surviving anything thrown at her through high health pool and lots of healing. 


With Maneha in tow, we go back to Caed Nua to fend off some bandits that were threatening. While we’re there, we pick up some bounties to try for a bigger challenge and see Maneha in action. 


First up is Warchief Iklak. We charm the drake using sworn enemy first to make sure it lands. We repeat this a second time during the fight to keep things in our favor.



The Warchief is casting from the edges, but when he is confused by the Company Captain’s Cap, he runs back and resets by himself.


I was careful this battle and we won without much danger, though our tanks took a little damage. 


Magran’s fork holds two “bounties” with both Sly Cyrdel and a just regular old malcontent Gramfel. Nothing to note in these battles (or screen shots taken). Charm is helpful, as is our normal strategy of bursting down softer targets in the backline with Pallegina and Sagani + Itumaak. With Dragon Thrashed, our defensive team works much better. Survive long enough, and everything just dies. Slightly less painful than the previous. Maneha doesn’t have Heart of Fury yet, but is still fun to send in to the middle of the pack and see her sit there relatively unharmed, while carnage ticks up damage. 


Next up - back to the frozen, deadly north . . . 


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Aures Act II, Chapter 3: White March


Table of Contents


Part 1: The Grind

Before heading to the White March, we take on Cail the Silent. 

We charm a Young Drake and mop up the Xaurips. Deprive the Unworthy helps to remove those priest buffs they gave Cail. Cail gets confused, giving us time to work on the rest of the group. 

With everything else dead, we focus him down. 


Getting to White March, I was not feeling it. I was sick with food poisoning and was playing quite a lot while I lay in bed trying not to get sick. I started out picking up every quest, but started to get worn out by it all and decided to try and make it through the main quest as quickly as possible, skipping things that felt tacked on. 


We get started in Russetwood to make friends with the Ogres. We sneak through, stopping to pull the silver arrow from the wolf, get a troll heart and River Weed, and running into the Pale Elf slavers by accident, snagging Bittercut. 


We sneak through the Ogre cave as much as we can, head down the ice chute, and engage our first groups of Lagufaeth. They are challenging for us, with higher defenses and paralysis that we forget to ward against at first. 



After making a peaceful resolution with the Ogre Matron, We save the druid cursed by Galawain with as few fights as possible. 

We stop to take care of some slavers. Not in my Dyrwood!


We observe the Giftbearer by the hole in the ice, and return to the Temple of Ondra to get the medallion back, letting the thieves go after they pay up. It's hard to see how their practice was much different than actual priests on this. The sweet new armor we get goes to Niclesa. While in town, we check in on Thrysc and his son, and get an antidote for our friend outside the Inn. 


Onward to Durgan's Battery. We find the adra gems, fighting the Lagufaeth in the cave. 

We fight Urhal to get the vessel slaying sword. Random violent mobs intent on killing us with high value equipment is beginning to be a theme. Our usual methods work well here. 




Inside Galvino's lab, we try to get through with as little fighting as possible, but every damn room is packed with hard to kill constructs, deadly traps, and the damned exploding vessels that charge. It's tedious. I took many, many photos as we went, each battle requiring some care. 


At first we are able to burst down the Unstable Constructs with Sagani and Pallegina and Gregoria. 




As they start to pile on in subsequent rooms, though, we can't handle them fast enough. With Aloth gone, we don't have a way to slow them down with an AoE, and I'm too tired and bored to try and think about other options like Web scrolls. We live through a few of the explosions, but the battles are taking their toll on our party. Resting is necessary every time we find a new camping supply. 



For a few fights, we send in Maneha as a sacrifice. She surprisingly survives a few blasts, but they can't make it through her health pool. I notice somewhere in here that St. Ydwen's is not proccing the destroy vessel effect. 


We head back to Stalwart to awaken someone. I pick the Old Woman, thinking I can push the awakened soul back down. With this group I either don't have high enough stats, or I choose the wrong options. She attacks us, and we kill her. 

I tell the fisherman about Galvino’s accusation, failing the task. I've never actually done this quest, so I was surprised to read up after this that you're supposed to uncover a plot here. What's done is done, I guess. 

Back to battery to open those gates!


A few more fights with Lagufaeth, then Open Sesame! (Watching the Fellowship of the Ring for the first time in years today was fun, just having done this the day before. Dead dwarves, ancient mines, doors with passwords. What changes stays the same, ehh?)


Part 2: Death and Vengeance in the Battery

We make our way in cautiously, having slogged our way through Galvino's. One of the first big hallways we carefully disable a trap and engage the fight. Things are working well so far. 


Then, without thinking, we step on the second trap that is clearly marked by the special tile on the floor. In a flash, our party size shrinks to 5. Gregoria is dead. No maim on expert mode. Aures gains a level. 


Aures level 11 - Zealous Endurance



This is a first for me. I felt a jolt of excitement and energy. They game punched back. I felt like I was in a dying relationship where I was happy to finally be in a fight about something. The game actually cared enough to fight back. I was instantly engaged again. 


Interesting questions came up immediately. What character to add to the party? Do I make another custom character? What is their story? Should I change my strategy? 


The group heads back to Caed Nua to regroup. We review equipment. Make a few purchases. 


Aures sends word to the Broken Shackle that one of our best and oldest has fallen. We ask for support. A priestess of Berath, Giuseppina. More reserved and quiet, though no less effective on the battlefield. 




Part 3: Vengeance and all that. 


We fight our way to the forge with lots of resting and care taken with each Battery Siren fight. We use scrolls of protection and defense, prayers against stuck, paralyze, and frighten, most of our figurines, and Overwhelming Wave from the White Crest Armor. 


We still tend to have 1 or 2 party members knocked out each fight. With a few ways to revive now, I'm not concerned about knock outs. These fights are a slog, but we make it through carefully, feeling some energy again with the challenge and the looming threat of character death. 





The abductions are the most problematic for us. This fight, Niclesa was abducted across the room, removing our AoE dps from the concentrated spirits and our buffs and heals.



She lasts for quite a while, but eventually succumbs. I use almost every trick I have to pull this one out. 




There are a few other epic fights, but we make it down to the forge intact and confident in our strategies and power. 


Next up - Battle at the Forge (too many photos for this post)

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Aures Act II, Chapter 3: White March - Continued


Part 4: To Light a Forge
We follow a similar plan to the one executed by Alesia_BH and Arcadia as well as my other reload party. We start the party in the top corner. Scroll of Defense, Scroll of Protection, Scroll of Valor, Scroll of Moonwell - Beetles and ivory wurm figurines help buy time for buffs and to identify targets. 


Overwhelming Wave helps to buy time as well. 


Aures uses Sworn Enemy on Marunn who is closest, and then uses Whisper of Treason.


We send Itumaak around the table to focus down the first Fragment with Sagani and Pallegina helping. It drops when Itumaak arrives.


Meanwhile, Maneha and Niclesa are wearing down the Guardians by the corner. 


Pallegina and Itumaak attack the second Fragment, but come under pressure from Forge Guardians.


Marunn’s first charm wears off, and Itumaak gets knocked out before Aures can reach him with a Lay on Hands. Aures casts Whisper again.


With Marunn charmed again, Aures resurrects Itumaak. Niclesa summons a Drake and we let Marunn’s charm wear off to focus him down, cleaning up the last Forge Guardians. 



Success. This fight is less difficult than many of the previous getting down to the Forge. The multiple Battery Sirens, the stunning spirits, and the traps. It still feels good to pull out every stop and execute a plan. Onward!
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Nice work in the Battery, Ivanfyodorovich! Glad you made it through!


In Alyssa's run, which I declined to post, we suffered routine knockouts in the Durgan's Battery fights. I felt like I was being sloppy, but now I think they're just kind of hard to stop. Those fights seem to have been deliberately balanced in such a way as to insure that you'll take a mild beating in each encounter.  


Have you done the Durgan's Battery without knockouts, Serg? Do you have any advice on that?





Edited by Alesia_BH
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One of the reasons I declined to post on Alyssa was that I was embarrassed by the routine knockouts in the Durgan's Battery fights. I felt like I was being sloppy, but now I think they're just kind of hard to stop. Those fights seem to have been deliberately balanced in such a way as to insure that you'll take a mild beating in each encounter.  


Have you done the Durgan's Battery without knockouts, Serg? Do you have any advice on that?


Yes, I've done that (upscaled), but that was quite a time ago, so I don't remember much at the moment to give any valuable advice. It's definitely possible, at least with game version I had back then. Both Druid and Cipher with whom I had those knockout free runs (with reloads) have a number of disablers to easy those fights a bit. I'm going to start WM right after 'Undying Heritage' and "Through Death's Gate' now (i.e. after we'll finish all of Defiance Bay content) so will see how it will go with current one. 

Edited by Serg BlackStrider
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I've done it myself at 12 with Mithlean and Mithras, it was a good challenge but not that bad. The deflection is mostly the problem so a good way to get that down or buff your accuracy are required. And a good solution vs terrified otherwise your looking at a permanent -20 acc on all your characters.

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I've done it myself at 12 with Mithlean and Mithras, it was a good challenge but not that bad. The deflection is mostly the problem so a good way to get that down or buff your accuracy are required. And a good solution vs terrified otherwise your looking at a permanent -20 acc on all your characters.


Thanks! I decided to go for it at 13 and was successful - more details to come in next update. Currently in WM2. Should be closing in on Thaos tomorrow. 

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About our with-reloads run with a cipher, wizard, two priests, Firebrand-wielding rogue, and dual-wielding barbarian:


After the Skaen temple, we tackled the spider den (I don't know the real names of most areas) and got nearly overwhelmed through sheer offensive pressure, suffering a knockout on one of our priests. We failed to corner the party and therefore took a lot of pressure, especially because the enemy came in waves and the spiders weren't clumped together closely enough for us to catch as many of them in area-effect spells. Ectopsychic Echo cleared the field before we suffered more than one knockout.


In the past, I've made peace with Korgrak, but since other players mentioned slaying him, I went ahead and opted for the violent resolution. Korgrak knocked half the party prone, but could not stay standing with Frost (our wizard and main character) to cast Slicken. Whisper of Treason charmed several bears and Mental Binding paralyzed Korgrak.


Frost finally hit level 7, learning Confusion and Maura's Writhing Tentacles, and we took on the adventurers guarding the wurm's egg, once again following the example of other no-reloaders by opting for bloodshed when nonviolent options were easily available. Turns out that the advice I got was quite sound: the adventurers really aren't that dangerous. A single blast from a blunderbuss wiped out the enemy mage in one hit, and Ectopsychic Echo easily wiped out the remainder.


Back in Cliaban Rilag, or whatever that dungeon with the Corrupted Druids is, we dispatched the druids with Slicken and Ectopsychic Echo (their offensive damage spells never caused us a problem, though I don't know why).


The Spores were another story. The Sporelings went down to Firebrand, but even with the Prayer Against Bewilderment spell, we were still vulnerable to the Dank Spores' endless Domination attacks, and with an Accuracy of 77, Holy Meditation couldn't cover that vulnerability, either. Worse yet, Divinegon, our cipher and primary offensive asset, gets knocked out by a trap and a single blow afterwards, robbing us of our Ectopsychic Echo.


The fight involved a lot of micromanagement, but basically, the strategy boiled down to staying out of range of all but one Dank Spore, allowing us to strike from afar using Chill Fog and Iconic Projection while only exposing us to a single Dank Spore's Domination effects. Summoning tentacles also allowed us to divert some attacks away from the party, with the added advantage being that the tentacles, being immobile, could not attack us when they were under enemy control. Even then, progress was so slow without our cipher (I wasn't willing to burn a Scroll of Revival to get Divinegon back) that we suffered lots of damage in the process.


Doing Pallegina's quest got our other party members up to level 7, granting Escape to our rogue to make Ectopsychic Echo easier to work with, Silent Scream to our cipher for high-impact Raw damage as well as Going Between (I never use defensive cipher options, but that seemed like a good one), and level 4 spells for our priests. Our barbarian took Thick-skinned for the extra damage reduction.


Back at Cliaban Rilag, we dispatched the Spirits with Silent Scream and summons to soak up paralysis attacks and blasted the Animats with Holy Radiance from our two priests. Rius, our rogue, got her highest-damage hit yet with Finishing Blow and Firebrand, at 151 damage.


Finally I returned to Caed Nua to get Gyrd Haewanes Stenes, which I bound to our wizard, Frost, since we had no druids and I wanted shields and melee weapons for our priests. We ran into a couple Assassin encounters in Defiance Bay, but they have pretty lousy defenses and fell to Shining Beacon (a great party-friendly damage option) and Ectopsychic Echo. We nabbed the Shod-in-Faith boots from the Crucible Keep Armory so our barbarian would trigger a Consecrated Ground early in combat.


Since I've only sided with the Doemonrels before, I decide to try out the Crucible Keep guys. The Winds of Steel quest goes smoothly due to our wide range of offensive options (I don't think the quest is balanced for level 7+ characters) and having both Ectopsychic Echo and two priests to cast Holy Radiance let us deal with the Forge Knights.


The ogres trounce us, as I discussed before, and we try again. This time, we summon some tentacles to hold off the ogres coming in from the north, allowing us to fire off a bunch of area-effect options. Most of the damage apparently came from Iconic Projections--at level 7, and with two priests, we can spam Iconic Projections for many rounds.


We ran into trouble with Spirits at Cliaban Rilag due to area-effect paralysis attacks. A Confusion spell bought us time to use Scrolls of Defense and Moonwell and set up our other defenses, though the Cean Gwla resisted the confusion effect and still managed to use its paralyzing wail. We actually suffered two wail attacks, which suggests that either the Cean Gwlas can spam the attack sometimes, or that another Cean Gwla could apply a second wail despite being confused. When we recovered, the enemy was no longer confused, and so we started taking damage while buffing the party with scrolls and spells. Thanks to concentrated work from our rogue, who had begun dual-wielding with the War Club of the Mataru, we managed to bring down the first Cean Gwla via sneak attacks (the Cean Gwla was in the middle of the party and therefore easily flanked) and Finishing Blow. Frost landed another Confusion spell, which bought us enough time to focus fire on individual enemies. Still, there were lots of enemies and we nearly suffered a knockout to our cipher before we saved her with Withdraw.


The next batch of Spirits was easier, mostly because we landed Slicken early to knock the Cean Gwlas prone. Without the threat of paralyzing wails, we were able to act freely and make progress unimpeded.


Outside, we smashed some Leaden Key guys with Ectopsychic Echo and got in a long, protracted battles with some slimes and spores. Most of the trouble could have been avoided if we had simply retreated until we were out of range of the spores, killed the puddings, and then approached the spores one by one, striking exclusively via ranged attacks. As long as spores are immobile, there's no reason not to tackle each one (or two, if they're clumped together in a certain way) separately, at range--maybe even across two different encounters.

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Aures Act II, Chapter 4 & Act III, Chapter 1: Death comes for us all


Table of Contents


Part 1: Pour one out for the dead . . . 

After our success at the Battery, we head to tie up a few loose ends over in Longwatch Falls. We clear a path to a cave that Aures has a bad feeling about, so we turn around. (I'd already decided to deal peacefully with the Alpine Dragon, and I really wanted Ryona's Vambraces for Pallegina, but I kept thinking about something I read in this thread early about being prepared to fight if I miss-clicked. I didn't feel ready for that risk yet.) Feeling good about clearing our way to the cave, though, and our success against the Lagufaeths, even with the 3 Broodmother fight, we decide to press on and find that Thermal Pearl. 


While fighting the last group, the party is on the right side of the area. Things are going well, so well, that I send Niclesa over to the left to start dealing damage to 3 sidewinders. Suddenly, I realize she is losing endurance quickly, and health. I send heals and try to drink a potion of vital essence, but I'm too slow. She is dead. This being expert mode, she is dead dead. 


I have no one to blame here but myself. I got lazy and over-confident. At least I survive with the rest of the party. I think about how to fill that slot. It feels weird to just create another Orlan chanter. I decide we will just bring Kana back in to the group. He has been doing most of our detective work, and has slightly more XP than Aures, somehow. 


We leave the White March and head back to Caed Nua. With Kana in tow, we clear the rest of the Endless Paths in one go, making our way to Od Nua. We deal peacefully with him, hoping he can find some peace now in death. 


We also agree to help the Adra Dragon. This decision is mostly practical, but Aures wants an end to the threat from below the stronghold, and any aid this being can give we will put to use. 


We head back to Defiance Bay to complete Act II. The party is level 12 (Kana 13). 


During the trial we try to introduce some nuance, but agree that Animancy is dangerous. Too many have advocated for what might be discovered, what good might be done, ignoring the very real harms that are being done in the process. 


We upscale Act 3.


Act III, Chapter 1


Part 1: Quickly Now


We make haste to Twin Elms, and pick up quests all around. We pray to all the gods and gain their quests. I'm feeling a little bit worn out of quests, but realize there are some here that I do want to complete before we move on. 


For Against the Tribes we take the leader prisoner and choose the talent. I thought this would result in the Glanfathans giving us a reward, but it's a peaceful solution, all the same. 

We play soul detective for Hunter, Brother. 

We find Persoq, but I somehow am not able to avoid violence with the Fangs, and we kill them all. 

We complete the two quests in Noonfrost without violence, convincing the Pale Elves to leave before rescuing the brother. 

For Galawain, we fight and kill the bear. Cleverness above brute strength. 

We find the song birds, but convince him not to eat them. 

Now we take on the Sky dragon. I was pretty sure level 13 was strong enough, but I went for it without confirmation.  Maneha tanks with diving hat while we buff. 

Paralyze works wonders. 



We sleep in lair to complete the final upgrade to Stormcaller. I'm curious if we could have done a peaceful resolution here and still camped for the upgrade. The eyes are worth it to me (though having killed Thaos, I don't think they are necessary). 


We turn in all our quests and commit to Berath. It's been that kind of run. Death comes for us all. We must believe there is something good that can come from death. 


Part 2: White March Part 2


Getting back to Stalwart, we head to the Iron Flail Camp, inspired by Enuhal's run. We decide to break through the front gate, mostly because I don't feel like fighting a hundred little battles.




It's a royally bad idea, except that we are over-leveled, even for upscaled WM2. The result is actually feeling pretty epic and powerful as we plow through with multiple injuries. 


We are able to find a peaceful resolution with the commander, despite killing so many of his troops to get to him. 


I'm over prepped for the first fight with the Eyeless. St. Ydwin trivializes this a bit, but even without it, we are too strong for them. 



Back in Stalwart, we get a few quests around town. We head to Whitestone to get Ryona’s Breastplate. We track down 2 sets of Bleakwalkers, and have a conversation with an Alpine Dragon, feeling a bit more secure.  


Onward to the Abbey. This part scares me more than anything else I've done so far. I recently completed this at level 15 with another run, and the monks here were crazy challenging. Their defenses are sky high, and they hit very hard. I think this must have been balancing for all the chanters with their fire AoE. The wounds generated on all of them at once is pure insanity. 


Both out of fear, and a desire to limit bloodshed, we go along with the Tidebringer schtick. We listen to the old abbot in the dungeon, and consider his offer. In trying to sneak through, though, we aggro a room packed with priests and 3 monks. I think this is it. 


In hindsight, I think it's entirely possible to fight the patrolling solo low tide cultist that wanders the hall here, without anyone from the room to the right coming out. Next time, I will make sure that's what I do. 


Thankfully we can block them in with one person at the door. The monks stay out of range to teleport back into our backline in 1s and 2s. We focus down one monk at a time, pulling out every buff and debuff, and still whittling them down. 





This feels like what an AI that uses all of it's tools might be like. 


When the time comes to decide the fates of the low tide, Maneha urges to drown them and let them pass on. I feel the pull towards the same. What redemption is there in letting them free? Berath’s words weigh on me. Death, too, is a new birth. (It doesn't hurt that the thought of fighting even more of these monks is terrifying to me.)


In the final showdown with the Abbot, we convince some of his followers to abandon him. There are 2 monks, plus the abbott to deal with. We focus them down one by one, trying unsuccessfully to charm or dominate them a few times. Summons and the now allied tidalfist cultists are enough to hold them off. We turn off Dragon Thrashed for these fights to prevent the other monks from spamming us with damage. 






With the abbott down, and most of the party 15, we set off to forge the hammer, get the cannons firing, and level up all of our soulbound items via bounties. 


The team is now level 16, except for Guisseppia. We prepare for the final face off against the Eyeless. Party Update to follow. 


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