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Alia, Pale Elf Rogue (PotD Solo)- Entry 2: Defiance Bay


The distinctions between PotD and Normal may not be seen, but they are felt. Alia's Defiance Bay battles look like Astrid's. Don't be fooled, though: there were differences. Fights lasted longer; enemies were more dangerous; death was always closer. Fortunately, Alia found herself able to thrive with a few adjustments.

When Astrid arrived in Defiance Bay, she sought the Oaken Scarab figurine and the Rotfinger gloves. With those item in hand she felt capable of taking on all comers. Alia, in contrast, took a more measured approach, building additional capacity before launching into combat.

After a quick trip into the catacombs on the 9th to pick up the Rugged Wilderness Hat, Alia completed Something Secret, Rogue Knight, At All Costs, Brave Derrin, A Voice from the Past, Unwanted, The Queen that Was, The Man Who Waits, and The Final Act in that order. That allowed her to accumulate a significant amount of gold and experience with but one fight: the battle with Helig in A Voice from the Past.

Before taking on Helig, Alia secured the Obsidian Lamp. Fletcher's Stay + Gjefa allowed her to unlock the chest. Here we see the shades in action, mobbing Helig while Alia finishes from a far. Astrid's ranged weapon was Forgiveness. Alia prefers a crossbow.


The crossbow was fast enough to allow Alia to kite the remaining revenants. This wasn't necessary. I just enjoyed the novelty: this wouldn't have worked with Forgiveness.


Moving on to The Queen that Was, Alia, whose base strength is 10, used a +1 might armor enchantment and goldrot chew to reach might 14, allowing her to intimidate the practice guy and secure her hood.

The Man Who Waits followed soon after. This was done entirely with stealth once again.


Additional early item goals included the Rotfinger Gloves, the Munacra Arret and the Silver Crow Axe. Oaken Scarab + Obsidian Lamp + Rotfinger Gloves  + Munacra Arret were instrumental to her strategy in the midgame. To illustrate: Supply and Demand.

Oaken Scarab

Rotfinger Gloves->Munacra Arret. The primary purpose of Whispers of Treason is to insure that enemies will continue to have a target when the beetles unsummon. On PotD, battles can last long enough for that to happen.


Once the beetles disappear, it's shade time. Alia fires away with her crossbow as the battle draws to a close.


The other kith fights were fought in the same way, more or less. Some groups made it to the shade phase, others did not. Dodwyna and crew never saw the shades. First the beetles.


Then the rot. Combusting Wounds is a nice additional, time permitting.




The Two Story Job crew put up a better fight: they got to the shades, at least.

This shot was taken just after the final Touch of Rot was released. Alia has charmed Slecg in advance of shade time.


And done.


All Hands on Deck and The Parable of Wael were uneventful. Alia used the same method in both.



Seeking one last level up before facing Marshall Wenfeld, Alia headed north to complete two Guilded Vale quests she missed: A Mother's Plea and Vengeance from the Grace



Since Marshall Wenfeld wears full plate, we swapped out the Silver Crow axe for Ravenwing, upgraded with a shocking lash and kith slaying. We built this weapon just for him. Alia wished to keep Wenfeld in engagement for the first few rounds in order to prevent him from wandering off and drawing in the crucible knights- hence the out-of-character emphasis on a melee weapon. (For my rogues, melee weapons don't really matter until Twin Elms.)


For better or worse, Wenfeld scorched himself with a Pillar of Holy Fire. We only got one swing with out purpose built, carefully constructed weapon. Shed a tear.


After that, we used shades to keep Wenfeld pinned. Although she's built for melee in anticipation of the endgame, Alia prefers to fight at range.


That left us with one more quest: Undying Heritage. We used stealth here, save a single fight on the ground floor of the tower. The only tricky parts were outside, on the way to and from Icantha.

This was tight, but we made it without Shadowing Beyond.


Shadowing Beyond was required here, both out and back.


We rested to insure we'd have an emergency Shadowing Beyond in reserve, in the event of an accident. We cast over by the gate near Icantha's place and then raced toward the tower. This is the last hurdle of the quest. Run, Alia, run!


Made it! Alia is off to Dyrford.




Edited by Alesia_BH
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Very impressive! I love the use of stealth and the clearly very well-planned routes and options. Down to the very point of stealth for intimidation etc. Can't wait to see how she goes!

BTW, Serg. Thanks for the advice regarding scrolls. I have actually finished Elanna's run, and her and Eder will shortly be parting ways, but it's good advice for Kana who will replace him and just in general. In that group I didn't focus on lore with any of my spell casters really, figuring that they had enough of their own stuff to throw without resorting to scrolls. I'd be interested in everyone's general scroll(/consumables) thoughts and strategies.



Edited by Concrete Monster
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1 hour ago, Concrete Monster said:

I'd be interested in everyone's general scroll(/consumables) thoughts and strategies.

Well, it depends on how you are free on terms of resting/using per rest abilities. Personally, I try to limit my resting and mostly rely on per encounter abilities/consumables. For example in my current run the last time we rest was like right after we got Caed Nua as a Keep two updates ago. Thus we need to use food in a manner I've mentioned here and Potions of Infuse with Vital Essence for Eder when his health drops too low (usually he is the only one who take significant damage). If you are rest-freebie then you are rarely need to use those and just for particularly dire encounters. The scrolls I'm mostly using are of Defense/Protection/Valor, Moonwell, Prayer Against Fear/Bewilderment/Imprisonment/Treachery, Insect Swarm, Paralysis and various Restore Endurance - these I'm trying to collect and buy ingredients for. Others I only use if I find them on my travels. And general approach is, as I've already mentioned, give healing/damaging scrolls to the character with high Might and protective ones to the character with high Intelligence. For Moonwell it is better to have both Might and Intelligence high. Actually that's why I'm trying to have all party members be 'Lore friendly'.

Edited by Serg BlackStrider
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Alia, Pale Elf Rogue (PotD Solo)- Entry 3: Dyrford

I have a lot of free time: I mean a lot of free time. If I had a teensy tiny bit more free time, I'd totally put together an online tourism marketing campaign for Dyrford, complete with a jingly commercial. That sounds great.

Anyhoo, Alia didn't need a marketing campaign to get her to Dyrford: She, like, had to go. But compulsory or not, Alia enjoyed her vacation. And can you blame her?

Good times!


The Nest Egg doofuses were more threatening. I use Autopause: Enemy Sighted to insure that I can time my first action perfectly. The dialogue before this fight throws that off: there's no automatic pause between the dialogue and combat start. As a consequence, these blokes got a little too close for comfort.


Fortunately, Alia was able to get a Shadowing Beyond cast in just in time.


Then it was beetles down, followed by a textbook victory. Once again, we used Int 16 to get rid of the wizard and two grappling hooks to get the egg down safely.


Our next target was Korgrak's cave. On normal, Astrid sneaked pass the spiders outside the cave. On PotD, I think it's safer to kill them. We didn't pull any punches here.


Once we were in the cave, we stealthed to Korgrak using the short cut tunnel. Remember: keep the runny-runnies to the north, and the lazy-lazies to the south. I have a little rhyme to help me remember that. It goes runny-runny: sunny-sunny; Lazy-lazy: mayonnaise-y. That makes sense, because sunny means south and mayonaise-y mean north since mayonnaise is white like snow. You just have to remember to flip it around, because it's backwards:  Runny-runny is really north and lazy-lazy is actually south, right? Oh! And don't forget: it's all good the first way if you live in Australia because everything is upside down there. Got it?



Once we got to Korgrak, we high fived him and welcomed him to the team. He's putting the hurt on Raedric's Undead Army as we speak.

Next, Blood Legacy. By the time Alia got to Blood Legacy, she had 5 base points in mechanics. I like to do this with Hedge Maze + Gjefa bonuses. Hedge Maze grants +2 to stealth and Gjefa +1 to mechanics. 5 + 2 (Gloves of Manipulation) + 1 = 8. Mechanics 8 is the magic number for Dyrford. Mechanics 8 is particularly important in Through Death's Gate, as you'll soon see. In Blood Legacy, mechanics 8 let Alia open this door, granting her access to the inner sanctum key and bloodless quest completion.


Onto Through Death's Gate. This is one of the trickier quest for my solo rogues. With a mechanics score less than 8, there are three scary bits. With mechanics 8, there are but two.

The first challenging part is the druid room. The menpwgra in the center of the room is hard to get by: A Shadowing Beyond cast is required. As in all Shadowing Beyond race-throughs, we want to maximize our movement rate and Intelligence. I like to use the Orlan Bramble ring here, too, since there's a risk of being hobbled. Blacsonn could make sense as well, now that I think about it.


On PotD it's a good idea to pull and kill the sporelings: there's just too many of them.  Fan of Flames scrolls work great for that. This is why we wanted those spider legs back in Caed Nua.

Btw, Remember to wear the Hermit Hat when pulling the sporelings!


With the majority of the sporelings nixed, exiting was much safer.


Ok. Next level. I totally screwed this up...The plan had been to use Mechanics 8 to open the final door and bypass the oh-so sketchy spirit room. Unfortunately, I absent mindedly rested, dispelling our Gjefa bonuses. Faced with the choice of returning to Ondra's Gift or negotiating the spirits, we chose to backtrack and see Gjefa again. That meant we had to pass through the druid and sporeling rooms three times. Remind me never to do that again!

The upside, I guess, is that we got to fight this battle, the final confrontation of the quest, fully rested. That fight is totally winnable with Whispers of Treason and Fan of Flames scrolls alone, though.


So that's that: We're going to Twin Elms everybody! Yay!



Edited by Alesia_BH
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Alia, Pale Elf Rogue (PotD Solo)- Entry 4: Twin Elms

Some of you seem to think that Alia is moving quickly. The Leaden Key disagrees.


Fast? Slow? Whatever. Just don't get in Alia's way. The Leaden Key assassins learned that the hard way. Simultaneously I learned a lesson the hard way: when you separate enemies for tactical advantage it not only strains plausibility it leads to ugly, embarrassing screenshots.

Like this, for example. Here we see Alia to the east of the map, with a fighter and a chanter, both drawn from the fray with Shadowing Beyond. This fight looks way less cool than it could have, huh?


Oh, well. Here we see the Leaden Key Rogue throwing down with a charmed fighter and three shades. Alia, meanwhile, is playing pinata with the Leaden Key Wizard. No candies in there, I'm afraid.


Upon arrival in Twin Elms, Alia completed Hard Bargain and Sacrificial Bloodline before heading into Teir Evron. We talked to all four god groups, with the intention of completing at least three of the quests, possibly four.

The Nest Above the Clouds was first. Stealthing may seem lame to some on RP grounds. I beg to differ. In fact, I think it makes perfect sense. I mean, if you had a choice between fighting all this and walking around it, what would you do? I'd totally go around- an not just because I am epicly lazy.


We completed The Nest Above the Clouds peacefully and then proceeded to Into the White Void. With Int 19, this can be completed peacefully. All you need to do is pick up the Blue Crystal Key in the east and then walk over to the northwest. This was almost too easy, but we'll take it. Prison of Ice is easily completed once the elves are gone.


My last rogue fell in The Old Queen and the New King. It happened right here:


My character had accessed the back of the maw with a grappling hook. Upon reaching the other side, she was tired. And as luck would have it, there were two enemies there: a lion and a lion clansman. Not wanting to fight fatigued, I tried to escape and rest. Sadly, that didn't work. We ended up drawing in other enemies and dying a horrible death. Alia had no intention of making the same mistake. She took down the lion and lion clansman ASAP. Fatigue be damned.

After chit-chatting with Sul, Alia decided to fight Oernos. She opened with Shadowing Beyond and then ran. Even invisible this was kind of scary.





Where was Alia going, you ask? Here:


Because when do you ever get to see lions and bears fight each other? This was super-fun to watch. And look: Alia even stole the kill, thanks to a well timed finishing blow.


The fight didn't end with the death of Oernos. This turned into a brawl, spread throughout the Maw. I enjoyed this, and it actually makes sense. There was a stand off between warring factions. All they needed was a catalyst. Alia was that catalyst. No regrets here.


That brings us to Alia's near death experience. At the Mercy of the Tribes is without question my least favorite quest in the game. There's nothing wrong with it in a technical sense, or in a story sense. It's just too tempting and too dangerous. Dungeon Delver is awesome; Stelgaers are not.

My plan here was thin on details. The intent was to use Whispers of Treason from the Arret and Spirit Spiral to make the stelgaers fight each other. Aside from that...I don't know? Use the choke point and hope for the best? Terrible plan.


By the time we ran out of summons and Whispers of Treason charges, we were left with this:


That's sort of a best case scenario, and yet it was still exceedingly dangerous. Alia was knocked unconscious and brought back by the Ring of Wonder. She was one more hit from death. And then:


Just in time. I mean just in time! I'll never do that again-not without a better plan, that is.

Hunter Brother went better. The stelgaers went down with ease- partly because an elder had failed to join the fray.


The blights and lurkers were taken down in batches, with a rest in between. This would have been a bit much otherwise.


And that, my friends, was Alia's last Twin Elms quest. All that remained was to pack up and head off to the Burial Isle.



Edited by Alesia_BH
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Alia, Pale Elf Rogue (PotD Solo)- Entry 5: The Burial Isle

Alia's passage to Thaos was more eventful than Astrid's. Fortunately, the precautionary measures that I put into place but hadn't tested worked splendidly. Alia was revealed at an in opportune time, but she survived.

The stroll to the The Pit went smoothly. Surprisingly, it's possible to get through all this without using Shadowing Beyond.


Things got interesting in a bad way shortly after the descent. This spirit encounter is always nerve wracking. Like Astrid, Alia initiated combat by revealing herself to a spirit that lacked a disabling weapon. She then raced for the door, wearing Blaidh Golan, Rymgrand's and the Hermit Hat, while running Farmer's Spread and Casita Casserole. The logic here being that we want to maximize our survivability in the event of an untimely reveal while also minimizing the likelihood of a reveal through movement rate and intelligence. It's a good plan.


Unfortunately, there is a chance element at play here. If the pursuing spirits bunch up in the wrong way, the path to the exit can be partially blocked, impeding progress. That delay can lead to an untimely reveal. Like this:


Blaidh Golan and Rymgrand's Mantle to the rescue. Alia emerged virtually unscathed, although she did end up pulling two animats, leading to this scene:


Onto the drakes. The first one was and is easy. It would be pretty hard to lose a character here. Trigger the encounter out of stealth. Activate Shadowing Beyond ASAP, run east with max movement rate, using Farmer's Spread and a rest bonus, and max intelligence, using the Hermit Hat and Casita Casserole. It couldn't be simpler. Just don't wear Shod in Faith! No Shod in Faith! See that crit from a fear effect? If Alia had been wearing Shod in Faith, Consecrated Ground would have triggered and she would have been revealed. Shod in Faith is great, except when it isn't and when it isn't it's really, really bad.


I was a bit nervous about the second drake encounter since my first PotD solo no reload attempt ended here. I had delayed activating Shadowing Beyond slightly, and that caused the drake to be pulled slightly east, blocking the exit. That needn't have been fatal, but I neglected to hedge against the possibility of fighting the drake, thus my character lacked Prayer Against Fear and Bulwarks. Happily, Alia was ready. She executed stealth perfectly and she was prepped to fight if it came to that. Fortunately, it didn't. See that notification about Wael fighting shades? That means we're good: the path is clear.


Thaos remains.



Edited by Alesia_BH
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Alia, Pale Elf Rogue (PotD Solo)- Entry 6: Thaos!

So: we've made it to Thaos. It's time for a throwdown. First, though, we should review Alia's build.


Skills: Stealth: 11, Athletics: 3, Lore: 2, Mechanics: 5, Survival: 2

Abilities:  (1) Blinding Strike (3) Reckless Assault (5) Finishing Blow (7) Dirty Fighting (9) Fearsome Strike (11) Deathblows
Talents: (2) Weapon Focus: Knight (4) Shadowing Beyond (6) Deep Pockets (8) Weapon Focus: Adventurer (10) Two Weapon Style  

Boons: Hylea’s Boon, Dungeon Delver

And her inventory.


Every item has a purpose. One choice, the Torc of the Falcon Eyes, is obviously sub-optimal, but 1 Per point wasn't worth the trouble of fighting the lighthouse spirits. In future fights, I'll likely change the glove slot: the Rotfinger gloves weren't used at all. I'm happy with everything else, although I remain undecided on the We Toki + Starcaller, Two Handed Style + Adventurer versus We Toki, One Handed Style + Vicious Fighting issue. I'm leaning towards the latter these days, although Alia did ok with the former.

The plan is to use We Toki + Starcaller, both with vessel slaying, against the judge and headsman. Sheathed in Autumn, with kith slayer + freezing lash, is for Thaos.  

As for the other items:

The Hermit Hat is for Thaos's confusion spells; Heldrik's Coat, for the Judge's prone on hit; the Ring of Unshackling is for Cleansing Flame; the Boots of Speed, for spell evasion and potion quaffing; the Blunting Belt is great because hooray for DR;  the Ring of Wonder is there because everyone makes mistakes.

Our camping bonus is accuracy v vessel. The Rugged Wilderness Hat got us to Survival 4.

Ok. Let's get this party started!

This is Thaos. I have it on good authority that he wears his grandmother's dirty underpants.


We opened with Shadowing Beyond and then raced west. Our next objective was to apply DoAM and War Paint before engaging. We really, really, really want to get this turkey stunned or on his keist before he can cast Devotions for the Faithful. Devotions for the Faithful slows everything down.

We started out well on that front.


But then we failed to keep him locked, due to a dirth of criticals. At this point, I was wishing I had gone One Handed + Vicious.


It's all good though: Woedica's Judge falls.


Despite an early blindness, we had trouble landing stun or prone. That Shining Beacon cast made us run. Happily, we successfully evaded.


That's better!


Two down.


Time to finish this. The sketchy part was evading Cleansing Flame. The beetles were plan A; the Ring of Unshackling, plan B. Plan A worked.


Next, we stalled awaiting the expiry of Shields for the Faithful. Note that we've switched to Sheathed in Autumn.


Once Shield for the Faithful expired, we engaged.


From here on out we chipped away while evading spells. We made steady progress, but we didn't always evade as well as we could have.


I need to get better at that.


Happily, Alia had enough healing on hand to compensate for my ineptitude.


And done! Say hello to my first PotD solo no reloader, everyone! Hooray!


What's next? Honestly, I'm inclined to run another rogue. This time I'd like to work in some bounties, some White March content and some Endless Paths. I'll let you know when I'm ready to go ahead with that. For now, let's celebrate Alia's victory. You go girl! Pale elves forever!



Edited by Alesia_BH
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Congratulations, Alesia! Outstanding, impressive and just beautiful run! Champagne for everyone!

On a 'At the Mercy of the Tribes' and juicy Dungeon Delver talent - you know that there is no need to fight those Stelgaer to finish this quest. With high Resolve (which Alia is lacking) or decent Twin Elms Reputation (which she has) it's possible to convince Fangs Bright Blood to accept imprisoning Esmar if you have Dungeons built in Caed Nua. Personally I'm always going this way - avoiding unnecessary bloodshed and let Esmar to think of their actions. Later I just free him.

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Ok, everyone! It's time to introduce my new character. Meet Alena

Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)


Game Version: with White March I & II, Difficulty: Normal, Settings: Maim Before Death: On; Injuries: On; Expert Mode: OFF, Mods: None

Gaming Notes: After completing no reloads on normal and PotD with a rogue, I've decided to move onto a different class. I chose a priest because priests seem to have the highest ceiling of all PoE characters and I would like to take on some off-questline challenges. The plan is to complete a run on normal and then move onto PotD, as I did with my rogues. We'll see how that goes. Early results are encouraging, I must say: priests rock!

(@Serg_BlackStrider. These stats are for a normal PoE run specifically. On PotD, with the intent of moving onto Deadfire, I'd up Per)

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 1: Caravan Camp to Caed Nua

Rumor has it that the early game is hard for priests. Alena disagrees. Alena says she's just as capable of any character: she just has to do things differently. I think she's right.

Alena handled the early game much like her rogue predecessors. The only difference was in the order of her actions, with that order being largely determined by her initial skill point allotment. Let's take the item raid on Raedric Hold as an early example.

Safely navigating the Hold and recovering the Gloves of Manipulation requires stealth 5 and mechanics 4, with the 4th mechanics point available through Laborer's Rest at The Black Hound. That combination, stealth 5 and mechanics 4, is not available to a priest until level 4. And that meant Alena had to take a different approach.

She entered the Hold on the 20th at Level 3, with stealth 5 and mechanics 2 + 1 (Laborer's Rest).


That allowed her to retrieve the Boots of Stealth, but not -not- the Gloves of Manipulation. That's ok, though: because Boots of Stealth would get her to L4 and thus Act II. How? I'm glad you asked...

Stealth let Alena complete the Smith's Shipment.


That was followed by Ferry Flotsam- a quest that Alena, as a priest, handled better than her rogue predecessors.

Opening arbalest shot->Interdiction


Divine Marks


On PotD, this might be different. On PotD, that Interdiction might be an Inspiring Radiance. Whatever. The point is that Alena did great. I'm happy for her and she's happy, too.

Do you know what made Alena even happier? Reaching the oh-so crucial milestone of 5K coppers. Because 5K coppers buys you an animat. And an animat is a ticket to leisurely completion of act 1.


Great, huh? But some of you may be thinking: "Wait, wait: back up. How did she get 5k coppers?" Ok, well, selling Gaun's Pledge to Heodan was a good start. Then there were the random fine weapons strewn about, collected thanks to those shiny new boots. But you know what took her over the top?  A robe and a quarterstaff.


I'm 100% against killing NPCs to sell their gear. But I'm also 100% for killing Durance on general principle. In this run, the latter trumped the former. You know how Pallegina is cool and nice but creepily sadistic toward Verzano? That's how I am with Durance. Every character biography should read:


Alena was just doing her part.


After completing Ferry Flotsam, Late for Dinner and Against the Grain, Alena was one quest shy of L4. Buried Secrets requires mechanics 4 + stealth, so that was out. Alena went with Vengeance from the Gravee. That was safe thanks to her animat buddy. PotD would require a different solution. Don't ask me what that is: I haven't decided yet.


Having attained L4, it was time to head to Caed Nua. On normal, stealth alone will get you to Maerwald. Just let the steward open the door and slip back into stealth. Hooray for easy!

Speaking of easy: Mr. Amazing the Animat made the Maerwald encounter that exactly. Shoutout to the cray-cray watcher himself for the assist on the blights. Flame blights do hate Chill Fog, and we couldn't have cast it with out you, Maerwald. Thanks!


Finished with some Fan of Flames scrolls.


And just like that our priest has made it to Defiance Bay. I'll post on the Bay soon.



Edited by Alesia_BH
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Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 2: Defiance Bay and Dyrford Sidequests

Alena and I are an odd pair. She's an overachiever; I'm not. To illustrate: over the last 24 hourds Alena has conquered many upon many foes, making a name for herself across the Dyrwood and beyond. I, in contrast, haven't even gotten around to posting on her progress. If you imagine she's getting frustrated with me, you're right. She thinks her adventure deserves better coverage. She has a point. Sadly, I have by now forgotten many of the details of Alena's early adventures, and so coverage will be disappointingly sparse. Apologies, Alena: I promise I'll do better on your PotD run.

Anyhoo. Defiance Bay! Alena's early item goals were: 1) Oaken Scarab; 2) Obsidian Lamp; 3) Rotfinger Gloves; 4) Munacra Arret. Does that sound familiar? It should. Astrid and Alia did the same thing.  Alena, as a priest, had more options available to her, but that 4 item combo is too good to pass up. I'm pretty sure very nearly any character of any class can make it to Twin Elms using stealth and those items. Someday I'll restrict them. Today is not that day.

At this point Alena found herself in a bit of a Catch 22. To get experience, she needed the Obsidian Lamp. But to get the Obsidian Lamp, she needed Mechanics 7, which required experience. The solution? You guessed it: Fetch quests! Something Secret, At All Costs and Rogue Knight got her close to her goal. Never Far from the Queen, which was completed with stealth, took her the rest of the way.

Her first fight was with Helig. That went well. She opened with beetles and then dropped a Pillar of Faith on Helig. That was effectively check mate: it killed Helig and knocked his undead on their tuckuses.


Pillar of Faith is one of those rare low level spells that's useable at any level. The damage may be middling but that long, long duration AoE prone is skiddly-diddly.

We did Supply and Demand next. Oaken Scarab->Pillar of Faith->Iconic Projection(s).


Having leveled up and reached base Mechanics 3, Alena headed north to Guilded Vale, seeking the Gloves of Manipulation. It was nice to be able to kill these people for once:


While in town Alena finished the remaining Guilded Vale quests: Buried Secrets and A Mother's Plea.

With a base score of 3 and the Gloves of Manipulation, Alena was ready to claim the Obsidian Lamp. Base + Gloves of Manipulation + Fletcher's Stay + Gjefa yields 3 + 2 +1 + 1 =7.

The shades saw their first use in His Old Self. They did great- nearly killing Nyrid on their own (don't let the piddling damage in the screenshot fool you).


IIRC, we used Iconic Projections and Pillars of Faith here almost exclusively. Fortunately, we had one pillar left over for the final mercenary. Note that we targeted our beetle instead of our enemy: sometimes prone is better than damage.


In All Hands On Deck Alena fought much like Astrid and Alia: Figurine->Touch of Rot X 3->Whispers of Treason->Figurine->finish stragglers. The only real distinction was in the final phase: Alena used Divine Marks where Astrid and Alia used finishing blows.


Ditto Built to Last.


And A Two Story Job


We shelved the Rotfinger Gloves in favor of priest spells in the Parable of Wael. Most of the damage was done by Iconic Projections cast from behind the beetles. Pillars and Divine Marks were used to finish.


Here Alena's path diverged from that of her rogue predecessors. While the rogues completed all of the Defiance Bay quests before leaving for Dyrford, Alena went to Dyrford before The Man Who Waits and Undying Heritage. What was the logic here? While the rogues had been able to complete The Man Who Waits and Undying Heritage with stealth alone, Alena would need to fight. In light of that, she sought additional experience.

By now the Rotfinger gloves were seeing less and less use. Alena passed on them in Cat and Mouse.


But she did bring them back for Nest Egg.


I think -think- they saw their last use in Changing of the Guard.


In any case, Alena was by now approaching level 7. Blood Legacy would get her there. By level 6 Alena had a base mechanics score of 4, allowing her to open the door to the sacrifice chamber with Gloves of Manipulation + Fletcher's Stay + Gjefa's Boon. What she lacked, however, was the stealth score to make it to the final chamber. Exiting and taking Hedge Maze + Iqali's Boon would have let her stealth through, but she chose instead to fight the final crew. Happily, they were pushovers. The shades took down the skaen mindbreaker with ranged attacks alone. Iconic Projections, Pillars of Faith and Shinning Beacons did the rest of the work.


After a quick trip to the lighthouse...


Alena was ready for the story line battles. I'll post on those soon.



NW: Apologies for the lack of build details. I had rushed through this section of the game and hadn't taken notes. To my recollection, her first three talents were Interdiction, Painful Interdiction and Deep Pockets in that order. She took mechanics 4 and put the rest of her skill points in stealth. Anyhoo, you will see her final build soon. Spoiler Alert: She's currently ~400XP point from L16!

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Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 3: Defiance Bay and Dyrford Storyline Quests


Ok! Alena's posts are now, way, way, way behind her progress. And since we have a lot of super-cool stuff ahead, I'm going to rush through the pre-Twin Elms content.

But before I do that, I'd like to preview some of Alena's recent achievements.

Like lighting the forge.


Hosting an ogre roast.


Crushing bounty after bounty with no damage at all.


And, yes, dropping a dragon, albeit an easy one.


The point is that Alena is all grown up now and she's well on her way to a semi-completionist NR. Who knows? Maybe she'll get a chance at an Ultimate soon? We'll just have to see.  But first: we need to catch up. And that brings us too...

The Man Who Waits. This was easier than I expected.

We dropped our shades and faded into Uscrim's cell.


We then moved onto Shinning Beacons followed by Iconic Projections.


We finished with Divine Marks.


Some of you may have noticed a dearth of buffs and debuffs, in this fight and others. Have I been remiss in not mentioning them? Noppers. Alena didn't use them in the early game. They weren't needed. Perks of playing on normal, I guess. Interdictions and prone via Pillar of Faith were more than enough. Over kill, in fact.

Moving on to Undying Heritage...

Emulating Astrid, Alena stealthed through this quest. She fought one minor battle in the tower but that was it. On PotD this quest will look different: stealthing sans Shadowing Beyond isn't feasible there. On normal, Alena got a free ride. We'll take it.


Onto Dyrford.

Do you remember when I said I'd like to do an online marketing campaign for Dyrford, complete with jingly commercial? Well I've come up with the first few lines of the song. They're really stupid and that's why I love them. They go:

It's a little town with Skaenites!
And the spiders really bite!

There's an ogre who really likes to eat pigs.
And a grieving mother in a garden digs.

That amuses me way, way more than it should. Please do submit more lines for consideration, everyone!

K. Back to the action...

In Through Death's Gate Alena used Alia's modified stealth method: starting with mechanics 8, pulling and killing the sporelings, and then picking the lock on the final door. That worked great. It will not I repeat -not- work on PotD. There's no way to stealth through this room on PotD.


A summons juke may be possible, but I think we'll actually fight the druids next time. Something to look forward to!

The sporelings were pulled and killed. Alena had the luxury of using her book rather than scrolls. Shades->Iconic Projections->Shining Beacon


We pulled all the sporelings this time -as in every single one. That made exiting easier than usual. I liked it.


Just one more fight. Whispers of Treason + Animat + Gyrd did the trick.


After that, we unlocked the door (Gloves of Manipulation + Aritificer Hall + Gjefa) and slipped on out. We're off to Twin Elms.




Edited by Alesia_BH
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Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 4: Twin Elms- Part 1

PoE priests are a bit like BG mages. In the early game they're competent but fragile; in the late game they're immensely powerful. Upon arriving in Twin Elms, Alena was on the verge of reaching phase 2 of her development. Playing it safe, she navigated Twin Elms with minimal combat. As you will soon see...

First, the Leaden Key ambush. As per usual, we used summons to draw aggro and then unloaded our damage spells, relying on Shining Beacon and Iconic Projection in this case. Note that Alena's Interdiction is undeployed. There's no excuse for that. I just get lazy sometimes.


Shades finished the mage. Iconic Projections and Divine Marks took care of the rest.


After trading a letter for a shield, getting a merchant killed and poisoning some kid's father (The Sealed Missive, Hard Bargain, Sacrifical Bloodlines) Alena made her way to Teir Evron. She talked to all four god groups, fully intending to complete all four quest. She did Nest Above the Clouds peacefully and then did Into the White Void using stealth. A Servant of Death and The Old King and the New Queen were saved for later.

Hunter Brother was next, followed by At the Mercy of the Tribes. Since stelgaers are dangerous, we summon juked the crew over by the giant carcass.


And then, taking a tip from Serg, we completed At the Mercy of the Tribes peacefully, using Resolve 17. Alena's base Resolve is pretty low at 6, but she just made it. What a coincidence, huh?


The keen eyed among you may have noticed the Ring of Changing Heart and thought: Has Alena even gone to the White March, how'd that happen? Well, the answer is, yes: Alena had gone to White March for that ring exactly. I just decided to include the Darzzir fight in an upcoming White March post.

Speaking of which: Guess what's next? The White March. Finally some serious combat!



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Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 5: White March- Part 1

Astrid's run was fun. Alia's was great. I had a good time with both- I learned a lot from both. Their runs were, however, brief: my rogues did very few sidequests- instead focusing on the goal of defeating Thaos.

With Alena, my intent is to see and complete additional content- hopefully everything, more or less. That's exciting, but also frightening. I've only soloed White March I once. I've never soloed White March II. That's scary.

Despite my fears, Alena did great, at least in White March I. Priests are very well suited to claiming the Battery.

Our first trip to Stalwart happened some time ago, before our final quests in Twin Elms. We swung by to claim the Ring of Changing Heart and then headed back to the Dyrwood. Alena was at level 10, I believe.

Against Darzir, Alena focused on positioning and distraction. She used summons and charms to keep her enemies at a distance. Alia Braccia, Aru Brekker and Llengrath's potions were used to mitigate canoneer risk. Disablers, noticeably Pillars of Faith, were put in play, too.


By now I felt like I was getting the hang of playing a priest. In retrospect I was wrong. I mean, I still -still- keep forgetting to use Interdiction. This battle is virtually over and it's still there, waiting to be clicked. No matter: Darzir is dead and that's what counts.


The Ogre Matron was completed with stealth and mechanics. Having taken Artificer Hall and Gjefa bonuses for the traps, Alena's stealth score was a bit lower than I would have liked. She made it through nonetheless.


The next time I come through here I may try Hedge Maze + Iqali and Rymgrand's Mantle, wearing the Ring of Wonder in case the traps behaves unexpectedly.


(Btw, what happens if you wear two second chance items? Do you get three chances or do both of them trigger on the first knockout? Asking for a friend.)

After reaching an agreement with the Matron, we went straight to Galvino's place. We wanted to make as much progress as we could before losing our Artificer Hall and Gjefa bonuses.

In my first solo run of the White March, I tried stealthing this. That didn't work out as well as I hoped: it led to reloads. Having learnt my lesson, Alena fought her way through. We did this slowly, systematically with frequent rests. In future runs I hope to rest lest frequently here.  


I won't comment on every fight. I'll just share a representative battle.

Here we see Alena at a choke point, disabling her foes with Pillars of Faith. She's running Shields for the Faithful, Devotions for the Faithful and DAoM.


Iconic Projections take down the constructs while our beetle prepares to intercept an unstable construct. In my first solo attempt of Galvino's Workshop I suffered a reload to those things: the AoE on their explosions was larger than I had thought. Alena was more careful.


Finished with Divine Marks


It felt good to finish Galvino's. It's not terribly difficult. If you know it well I'm sure it's a breeze. But there are ways to die here and I've only passed through this place a couple times. Happily, Alena succeeded. Durgan's Battery is next.



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Glad to see Alena making additional content! And performs there nicely, as usual! Maybe Alesia will feel a taste for completionist gameplay someday? 😃

As for your question about multiple 'second chance' items - unfortunately I can't comment on that matter since I don't use them trying to go with a zero-knockout approach and is this case it doesn't matter how those items work. But at least I can say that they are a 'double-edge blades'. If, for example, your char will be knocked out having low health as well with a solid blow leading to maimed condition and then granted a second chance by the item with enemies nearby, this could lead to a quick perma-death by those enemies dealing you enough damage to knock out again. I think in this particular case it also doesn't matter much if those multiple items work one after another - it will not help you to survive. For solo run if your char will be knocked out with enemies far enough form him/her this could work since it will de-aggro those enemies, but if enemies are close by the chances are slim.

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Thanks, Serg!

As a solo character, Second Chance is a nice insurance policy. There are a number of threats that can one hit nix a PC. Second Chance gives you, well, a second chance. Second Chance is especially useful for traps.

The reason I was asking is that Freezing Pillar traps do massive damage but also have a stationary AoE. It's likely possible to be hit by one, go down, get up, and then get taken down again. A third chance could be helpful, since it would increase your probability of exiting the AoE.

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Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Build Interlude

Coverage of Alena's run has been spotty at best. Sorry about that! I've been especially lax in covering build choices. I'll try to be more proactive about that in future runs, since PoE players seem to be really, really into builds.

Anyhoo, here's Alena. She works and I like her, but I see some avenues for improvement in her next iteration.


Skills: Stealth 10, Athletics 3, Lore 10, Mechanics 9, Survival 2

Talents: Interdiction, Painful Interdiction, Deep Pockets, Weapon and Shield Style, Scion of Flame, Incomprehensible Revelation, Veteran's Recovery, Fast Runner

Alena's skill points weren't planned in advance. Rather, choices were made based on her needs at particular stages of the adventure. That approach can makes sense in no reload play, since endgame power is of no significance If you can't survive to the endgame.

Alena's talents reflect a balance between offensive needs and defensive needs. On PotD, she would have looked different, since ACC bonuses would be a greater priority. Alena's last talents, Veteran's Recovery and Fast Runner, were taken as an experiment to see if they'd significantly enhance survivability. The jury is still out on both, but passive healing and speed are never useless. I'm not dissatisfied with either.

Let's move onto items, shall we?


Alena doesn't have a fixed item set. She has a wardrobe: a collection of items suited to different occasions. Take her armor slot, for example. She prefers Raiment of Wael's Eyes in honor of her god, but she'll go with something else if the situation calls for it. She takes the same approach with her weapon slots. Nightshroud is her go-to because she rarely uses her weapons and Shadowing Beyond is too useful to ignore. It also goes with the Wael theme. In Alena's upcoming PotD run I may have her use Raiment of Wael's Eyes + Shimmering Cloak + Nightshroud in the interest of stylistic cohesion. That sounds fun to me.

Ok! That's enough about that. We'll continue with the White March soon!



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Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 6- Dyrwood Bounties

After opening the Battery, Alena returned to the Dyrwood to pick up some extra experience, seeking L11 and the oh-so-important Major Litany. She used the bounties for this. Fortunately, I took a lot of screenshots here, so these battles nicely demonstrate Alena's late-mid game battle plan. It basically goes like this:

Step 1: Approach cautiously, initiate combat from as far away as possible. (This isn't a particularly good example, but you get the idea)


Step 2: Deploy summons to draw aggro. Initiate buffing. 


Use Whispers of Treason on any enemies who pass the summons.


Step 3: Complete buffing. Alena's standard buffs list at L10 was: DAoM + Shields for the Faithful + Minor Litany + Devotions for the Faithful + Champion's Boon. 


She deployed variations on this theme, depending on needs. Llengrath's was substituted for Shields for the Faithful when reflex was needed. Salvation of Time was added if a long battle was expected. Dire Blessing was added, time permitting. Prayer Against Imprisonment was added if paralyzation or petrification were threats. Upon reaching L11, Crowns for the Faithful and Major Litany were added, Prayer Against Imprisonment saw less use. At L13, Minor Avatar replaced Champion's Boon

Step 4. Go nuclear. A full buffed high level priest wearing light armor and running DaoM is reminiscent of a Vecna + AoP clad mage under Improved Alacrity. And so by the time the last buff is cast I'm all:


And the battlefield starts to look like this.


Followed soon after by this:


The other bounties went the more-or-less the same way.


Alena kept her enemies distracted with summons and charms while layering on her buffs...


And then dropped bombs until space pig was full of flaming critic chunks (Btw, that's what space pigs eat: flaming crit chunks. Now you know.)


Yuppers. That's how that happened: L11 reached, Major Litany attained. We're now ready to enter the Battery!



Edited by Alesia_BH
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Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 7: White March I- Part 2

Now at Level 11, Alena was ready for the Battery. She met some lagufaeth along the way.

She opened with Prayer Against Imprisonment. With Autopause: Enemy Sighted active, it isn't difficult to get the spell off in time.


Prayer Against Imprisonment was followed by DAoM->Shields for the Faithful->Devotions for the Faithful->fish fry


PoE players seem to loathe lagufaeth. I don't mind them, which is interesting -very, very interesting. Why? Because the lagufaeth are very much like kuo toans, and oh how I hate kuo toans. A moment ago I did a Google search for "Kuo Toan Baldur's Gate," operating under the assumption that I'd find links to post in which I've complained about kuo toans. I clicked on the images tab and was kind of surprised that there were only five such links on the first page of result. That's how much I hate kuo-toan: if you look them up on the internet you'll find me bitching about them. They never kill my characters, but they make me want to kill myself. My personal hell would find me trapped in an eternal video game fighting nothing but kuo toans for ever and evs.

The lagufaeth don't bother me as much. I'm not sure why. They're miserable little fishy stinkers, but they don't get my goats. I'm oh so glad for that.

Anyhoo. The fish are dead. Long live the fish. We fought another group, but I'll spare you the details on that. Instead we'll head into the battery.

The Great Hall was uneventful- uneventful enough that I hardly took screenshots. And so we'll move on to the mines.

After winning the opening battle, we used mechanics 12 to enter the workshop. The trolly-troll battle was fun.

Alena parked in the doorway, called her summons and took her buffs and then went to work. I believe we used Shields + Devotions + Minor Litany + DAoM here, followed by pillars and beacons.


Whispers of Treason feels especially valuable in chokepoint encounters. It's super-satisfying to turn that one source of enemy pressure into a valiant defender.


Alena is a highly capable warrior now, but she still stealths through encounters from time to time. Thankfully the defenders weren't tipped off by the gleaming space pig.


Alena's objective at this stage wasn't the foundry so much as Nightshroud. Her intention was to recover Nightshroud, level it up, and then level herself up one more time before taking on the Battery's final battles. This may not have been necessary, but since I've only soloed the Battery once before, it felt like a sensible precaution.

We finished off the Nightshroud defenders...


and then returned to the Dyrwood to drop pillars on skuldrs. We needed to blind 13 enemies and skuldrs have eyes.


Once we got Nightshroud to level 4, we put it to use in The New King and the Old Queen. I'm confident Alena could have fought this battle, but I enjoyed Alia's method, so I decided to do that again.


Alena would have preferred to stand and fight, but she's saddled with unheroic me, so that didn't happen. Maybe she'll get her way next time. I do owe her one.


By the end of The New King and the Old Queen Alena was one quest away from a level up. Since the Burial Isle was close, we swung by there.

With spectres and cean gwlas on the field, Alena opened with Major Litany.


She then filled in the rest of her buffs, followed by Salvation of TIme:


Salvation of Time ended up being utterly unnecessary: the spirts blew up super quick. One moment Alena was surrounded, the next she wasn't.


It's good to be a priest.


We'll finish up the Battery next.



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Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 8: White March I- Part 3

I remember the first time I competed White March I. It wasn't long ago. I was playing a full party and I struggled. I remember thinking that no reloading White March would be difficult and that soloing no reloading it would be nigh impossible. I didn't know what I was doing then: I was still a PoE novice. And yet the challenge of the White March seemed to transcend the temporary affliction of ignorance. It really did seem difficult.

Since then time has passed. I completed White March I no reload with a party and with reloads solo. With Alena, I've now solo no reloaded it. It's not a grand accomplishment- I'm sure it's matter of course for many upon many a player. But I'm pleased to see that I'm making progress. I'm definitely getting better.

Of the battles in Durgan's Battery there is one that stands out as a threat. It's the spirit ambush just prior to the White Forge. It's hard to maintain position. It's hard to avoid traps. It's hard to thwart disablers. It's hard to stay on your feet. Or so I thought. Happily, Alena did all of the above. And with surprising ease.

First, an admission- one that may not matter to others but does matter to me. In preparation for this fight I experimented with a save from another run, testing alternate strategies. I've long been against the parallel save approach to no reload games. I've long felt that experimenting with specific battles -especially with a similar character in the midst of a run- is counter to the spirit of the challenge, which to my mind is to create a character and let her write her story, success or failure. No redemptions or second chances, as a friend of ours once said. Excessive experimentation can turn an adventure with twists and turns, ups and downs, into a previously solved puzzle. The thrill of a no reload isn't getting everything right: it's knowing that you can get things wrong, knowing that you can fail. You can't fail if you've already found all the answers.

And so while I'm pleased to say that Alena has prevailed, the victory does feel hollow to me. And on that basis, I'm going to request that Alena not be considered for out Hall of Heroes- at least not for this run. She'll get a shot at that in her PotD run.

Ok. With that out of the way, let's turn to the fight. The main threats here are wraiths, spectres and battery sirens. Wraiths abduct; Spectres stun; Battery sirens paralyze. All are dangerous, but wraith abduction is the greatest threat since it thwarts tactical positioning and introduces trap risk. Micropositioning matters, as does buff order.

Here's the approach that worked for Alena. She triggered the encounter and then immediately -immediately- stopped moving. She then cast Major Litany ASAP. Why? When the battle begins the wraiths charge while the spectres and sirens deploy their disablers. Soon after the wraiths charge, they use abduction. If you don't move at all, they'll run just far enough to clear the traps before casting abduction. Like this:


With Major Litany up, Alena's next move was to drop some shades. That helped relieve pressure. It's better to have four targets on the field than one.


After being bounced around by the wraiths, Alena eventually found herself here, in a comparatively safe spot, with most of her foes engaging the shades. This may seem like a fortuitous outcome, but given the prior sequence of events its probable, according to my experiements.


Having quaffed her DAoM potion, and with few enemies in sight, Alena was in a perfect position to buff. Acting quickly, she added in Minor Litany, Shield for the Faithful and Devotions for the Faithful. She then raced to the center of the battle field to draw her enemies around her. Once her foes had gathered she dropped pillars. Kaboom!


With informed micropositioning and a judicious balance between defense and aggressiveness, this battle can be pretty safe. I'm not convinced that I can do it safely with other classes, but I'm moderately satisfied with my approach for priests.


With the spirits dispelled, it was time for the semi-anticlimactic forge guardian battle. Honestly, I'm not sure what happened here. Do you see those paralysis effects? You may be thinking that Alena cleverly used a scroll. She didn't: the fragments did that to themselves. And with the fragments neutralized, Alena had no trouble taking he buffs, seen here in the screenshot.


Alena next move was to eliminate the fragments with Pillars of Holy Fire.


She then disabled the guardians with Pillars of Faith.


And followed by unloaded freeze damage, using shades and Iconic Projection.


Nightshroud ended it.


The Forge is open. White March II is on the horizon.



Edited by Alesia_BH
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