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I never used only one phrase, so here comes the stupid question -- do I have to put three times Come, Come, Soft Winds into one chant or is one time enough?

Nope, you have not. Any of your chants could be of one single phrase put in them and that phrase will be repeated all over again.

Edited by Serg BlackStrider
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I never used only one phrase, so here comes the stupid question -- do I have to put three times Come, Come, Soft Winds into one chant or is one time enough?

Nope, you have not. Any of your chants could be of one single phrase put in them and that phrase will be repeated all over again.

 

Thx Serg for quick reply.

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...

Solo Wizard is always fun in PoE.

 

In the early game you can use Arcane Veil and that's enough until you get Llengrath's Displaced Image, after whence you can stack both, as they can be cast together. Concelhaut's Corrosive Syphon regularly 'one-shots' packs of the early enemies--especially spirits and blights, and it targets a defense that is not commonly high during early game. Chill Fog is a bread and butter utility and you can combine it with Minor Blights for easy one-two.

 

There are also types of enemies that hate each other and you can use the above mentioned kiting tactics to make them fight among themselves.

 

Quite frankly, if you want to be safe, your best bet is to skip some of the harder content and focus on Caed Nua's throne room. You will need a figurine for that.

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@Alessia_BH, and other no-reloaders,

 

while I'd love to participate in this thread and challenge, I feel that I have other priorities right now and don't want to devote my time.

However, there are four things I've found inherently imbalanced in this game. I'd love to read a playthrough of somebody who tries to ban some of them in their POTD no reload playthrough. Those are:

- Summons from figurines(especially early - they don't depend on your party level and skills)
- Charms, both from casters and items(especially against strong opponents with higher level. Many strong foes have weak Will defense, and can either soak tons of damage, or damage their allies significantly)

- Wizards, Druids and Priests. When things go south Vancian-spam can go a long way to save the team
- Overleveling. Once you know the game it's easy to almost always be stronger than your enemies in a given area. Remedied by delaying level-ups

 

My personal challenge runs up to now were fully-reload, but with banning more and more strategies over time. Summons and charms went out the window during my current no-Vancian casters and level-delayed playthrough, as I've noticed I were able to handle many encounters at a low level just by using summons and charms strategically...in every single interesting fight. There's at least one ring and one helmet which grant Dominate and Whispers of Treason, both are available quite quickly, though I don't remember where exactly.

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@Baron Pampa: Real life priorities always come first. When you have time, we'd love to have you join the challenge. As for your list:

 

1. I have never found a figurine because I don't know anything about Pillars of Eternity. And now that Alesia_BH has described an adra beetle figurine as overpowered, I'm probably not going to be comfortable using it.

2. Charms are very strong, as I've just recently begun to learn. I don't think they're game-breaking, though, or "cheesy" or unfair or exploit-y or anything like that. They're just effective spells that work as they're intended to. Charm effects are supposed to turn dim-witted ogres against their friends; that's true in most any fantasy game.

3. While I've forbidden per-rest abilities (Vancian-style spells) in my current run, I don't consider them overpowered per se. Those spells are very strong, but they're balanced by the limitations imposed by resting: you only get a handful of those spells for an entire rest period, while ciphers and chanters and fighters can be almost as strong for much, much longer, and with much less micromanagement. Vancian spells are limited, and that's what keeps them balanced.

4. I don't think we can quantify this. How many levels is too many for which parts of the game? Fighting Raedric at level 8 is certainly easy, but it's not necessarily optimal, because doing a low-end quest so late in the game yields much less significant rewards than if you had fought it at level 5. Doing quests late makes them easier, but the rewards are also less meaningful when your party is already strong.

 

You might be able to smash the game with summons and charms, but that doesn't mean summons and charms are overpowered. That just means you're using them effectively. After all, I'm using nothing but paladins and ciphers, and Jaheiras Witness has been soloing the game with a chanter with great success. Does that mean that wizards, druids, priests, paladins, ciphers, and chanters are all overpowered? I wouldn't think so. They just have some important strengths.

 

If summons and charms seem too easy for you, of course, then it's probably a good idea to switch gears. But I think this is less of an example of a strategy being overpowered, and more of an example of you using effective tactics to successfully meet a challenge.

 

I think we should definitely encourage people to try out new tactics. But we don't want to give the impression that some tactics make the game "too easy" or anything like that. After all, some people might really enjoy those tactics, and we want them to feel welcome posting about no-reload runs that use those tactics. If somebody told me that paladins and ciphers were overpowered, my run would feel like less of an accomplishment if I were to succeed.

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@Alessia_BH, and other no-reloaders,

 

while I'd love to participate in this thread and challenge, I feel that I have other priorities right now and don't want to devote my time. However, there are four things I've found inherently imbalanced in this game. I'd love to read a playthrough of somebody who tries to ban some of them in their POTD no reload playthrough.

 

 

Thank you for your perspective, Baron Pampa. Know that I sympathize with your comments, in some respects.

 

In strategic RPGs, such as Pillars of Eternity and Baldur's Gate, players tend to undergo a process of personal evolution. In the early phase, when players are new to the game and faced with challenges they don't fully understand, they experiment wildly- testing a variety of tactics until they find something that works. Once they hit upon a successful method, they then reuse it and perfect it. On occasion, they discover something that works extremely well -even too well- to the point that the method becomes reductive: each and every challenge -or at least most challenges- are met with the same tactic. Players who reach this stage are then faced with a choice: keep using that method or move onto something else. Most move onto something else.

 

Once you've mastered a game, you understand that there are multiple ways to trivialize the adventure- many of which are widely known, others less so. At that stage, you come to enjoy play-throughs that exercise judicious restraint: employing tactics that are meted to the challenges faced, eschewing tactics that are exploitative or overpowered, and displaying a subtle, even artistic command of the game's core mechanics. Exploits and unbalanced tactics start to look like crutches. They become un-fun to use and less fun to watch.

 

At the same time, unconstrained experimentation is an essential part of the process of player growth- both at the individual and communal level. In the Bioware BG No Reload challenge, which this challenge is based on, we strove to strike a balance: we did not ban any tactic, in recognition of the fact that players at different phases of development need to use different tools, and experimentation -at all levels of play- is a pleasurable part of the gaming experience, but we encouraged players to cultivate effective yet relatable playing styles, ones that audiences would respect and enjoy reading about. We also discouraged players from employing tactics that could lead readers to dismiss the challenge as a goofy cheese fest, partly as a courtesy to fellow participants. None of this was codified in a rule set, nor did it need to be: it worked because we had an understanding. When players discovered tactics that began to seem reductive, exploitative or just plain unfun to watch, they'd ask what others felt and then they'd make their own decisions, with community feedback in mind. Take my experience with the adra beetle figurine, for example. I noticed that it was a bit much -especially since it's available so early. I asked what others thought of it and then I made my own decision. Since no one objected to it, I decided to keep using it on occasion -for now. Once I get better, I'll stop using it (at least until I take on a challenge wherein it would no longer be over-powered). If my fellow players had found it over-powered, uninteresting or reductive, I would have chosen to phase it out sooner. That's the process: we experiment, we discover, we share. If we find something that seems broken, we highlight it and solicit feedback. We then make our own decisions in light of that feedback. Its an effective way to achieve balance: it allows everyone to experiment freely while also letting us maintain community standards. It also leaves the individual player -and his or her personal vision- as the final authority.

 

Now: Is any reader likely to find a player whose personal practices match theirs exactly?  Of course not! And that's good. Variety and diversity are a good thing. The challenge should reflect a variety of styles and sensibility. If you'd like to see a play-through in accordance with your personal preferences, there is only one way to achieve that: Play! I'm sure you'll find others who appreciate your style. I know that I will be among them.

 

Thanks again for your comments, Baron Pampa. We hope to see you active someday!

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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I am not sure about the concept of a kiting mage. It may work early game but when you start facing fights with 6+ opponents, you may not be able to run even if you have the speed to get away. Then there’s the disengagement damage and recovery is also slower when moving. I think more likely you have to stand and fight.

 

A wizard is well equipped to do this though. You have Arcane Veil as a talent (probably first pick) which you can later improve to Hardened Veil. This gives you a huge, undispellable deflection bonus against everything except guns. Trouble is it is just 2/rest and has a short 10 second base duration, so you will likely use both instances every fight. You activate this first thing in battle to buy you time to get Wizard’s Double/Spirit Shield et al up, and then you can go on the offensive.

Agreed. I'm working with a melee mage now. While PoE's arcane defensive spells aren't nearly as robust as BG's, they are formidable. Playing on hard, my mage has yet to be knocked out in combat, despite charging into the middle of the fray in the toughest battles we've faced. Her current buff regiment is Arcane Veil (Hardened) + Lengrath's Displaced Image + Infuse with Vital Essence + Spirit Shield + Concelhaut's Parasitic Staff + Deleterious Alacrity of Motion + Eldritch Aim. She wears Blaidh Golan. It takes a while to get her buffed -and she could surely do more damage by using that time to cast behind the lines instead- but she is a capable front line warrior.

 

In the end, PoE mages are a bit like BG mages: they seem squishy and vulnerable, but once you experiment with the mechanics you understand that they really aren't. They just need micromanagement.

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Thanks for the in-depth replies to my post :). Just to clarify: I see that my post might have given the impression that I'd like to see some formal rules about banning strategies I listed. That was not my intention - my intention was to say that I'd be particularly interested in following playthroughs in which some of those are banned. That ban, however, of course would have to stem from individual player decision, not some kind of community pressure or thread rules. Thanks once again :)

Edited by Baron Pampa
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Thanks for the in-depth replies to my post :). Just to clarify: I see that my post might have given the impression that I'd like to see some formal rules about banning strategies I listed. That was not my intention - my intention was to say that I'd be particularly interested in following playthroughs in which some of those are banned. That ban, however, of course would have to stem from individual player decision, not some kind of community pressure or thread rules. Thanks once again :)

 

 

No worries, Baron Pampa. Your post was clear enough.

 

(I just decide to take the opportunity to address the issue of tactical preferences, in the general case, for everyone's reference.)

 

Best,

 

A.

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In my BG runs, I noticed that I became increasingly more strict about my personal rules over time, and I began to employ fewer exploits in general. This wasn't because I had any opposition to exploits or anything like that; I just found them less fun as time went on, and I transitioned to other things. Only when I did exceptionally difficult runs, like a solo LoB run or a poverty run, did I use exploits.

 

I remember in the LoB challenge for BG, Grond0's example inspired me to play without LoB XP bonuses. Two days later, I invented a way to hit the BG1 XP cap in 10 minutes (it involves using Stone to Flesh scrolls to repeatedly re-petrify Greater Basilisks using a charmed Lesser Basilisk). It's an obvious exploit and ridiculously overpowered, but I'm actually rather proud I discovered it. It's become standard fare for the solo no-reload LoB challenge, if only because that challenge more or less requires certain exploits in order to be beaten. I don't use it anymore, though.

 

In general, humans like challenges, and when things get too simple, they find ways to make them more complex. I think this is because it ensures that people keep learning about things. Primates actually get a slight dopamine hit from solving puzzles; evolution has rigged us to enjoy figuring stuff out. One of the reasons I've been enjoying PoE is because I keep finding out new things about the game, both in terms of technical details (Liberating Exhortation doesn't prevent an effect from being re-applied; it just suppresses effects) and meta-level concepts (disengagement is a poor rescue option, but a solid way to establish an advantage in positioning).

 

None of my current strategies seem very exploitative to me, which I think is just lack of knowledge on my part (either I don't know the exploits, or I know them but don't realize how strong they are if properly used). Considering how my other runs have played out, I'll probably discover some ridiculous trick, do some bizarre run using it, and then get bored and try something else.

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In my BG runs, I noticed that I became increasingly more strict about my personal rules over time, and I began to employ fewer exploits in general. This wasn't because I had any opposition to exploits or anything like that; I just found them less fun as time went on, and I transitioned to other things. Only when I did exceptionally difficult runs, like a solo LoB run or a poverty run, did I use exploits.

 

​Same. And I think that's the natural progression: from more exploits to fewer, over time, as you become more skilled and self-aware. For me, that process began back on the old, old Bioware forums, in the original Ascension Solo Challenge.  

 

 

 

Only when I did exceptionally difficult runs, like a solo LoB run or a poverty run, did I use exploits.

 

Makes sense. The tactics one is willing to use influences the set of challenges that one can undertake. Some players choose to embrace exploits in the interest of achieving one end or another, others eschew their use and work with the challenges achievable in their absence. I've always preferred the latter approach -both as a player and as a reader- but that's more a preference than anything else. It's a stylistic choice- nothing more.

 

Best,

 

A. 

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Jazz Wit, Solo Coastal Aumaua Chanter (Hard), Part 2

 

I didn't get much chance to play this weekend so have made only a small amount of progress, going through Valewood and into Gilded Vale.

 

Bandit camp fight is over as soon as I can summon Reny Daret's Ghost.

 

 

19.jpg

 

 

Into the wolf lair and a little bit of positioning advice (not so important for this battle but conceptually important for tougher battles down the line). Take a look at this screenshot:

 

 

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The two enemies engaging me are Young Wolves. Behind them is the main Wolf, but she can't reach me as she is blocked off by the pups. In this situation I do NOT want to kill the Young Wolves in a hurry: better to be engaged by them than the more dangerous adult Wolf. As such, as soon as I get one of the pups badly injured, I have switched my attack to the other pup. This way I can continue fighting the less dangerous opponents...

 

 

21.jpg

 

 

...and let the Phantom take care of the adult.

 

The point here is not just about Chanters and their summons. For any solo character you will come across situations in the game where you will face large groups of opponents. If you can engineer situations through positioning where only the weaker opponents are attacking you and the stronger ones are blocked off, that gives you time either to buff more before facing the toughies or to attack/weaken them from a distance.

 

My Mechanics score is high enough to auto-detect the hidden item under the wall.

 

 

22.jpg

 

 

I like to roleplay my PoE runs even when main intent is the challenge of no-reload. Therefore I choose dialogue options in line with how I imagine my character, make decisions in a similar vein, and I do not stealth to detect hidden items if it makes little sense to be in stealth at that time (e.g. in cities).

 

As it happens, I get a minor ring of protection which is useless to me given I already have minor cloak of protection (they do not stack). The item shuffler component of IE Mod means random treasures are truly random rather than dictated by the bizarre date conventions of the base game (which are manipulable when you know what appears when).

 

I carried on to Gilded Vale after exploring Valewood a bit, did the intro dialogue, completed the Tenfrith quest (progressing to level 3, increased Stealth to 3 and took the Reflex chant), advanced the main quest by resting and then talking to the hanged dwarf, and also completed the 'Against the Grain' task by persuading the bullies to back off. Next time we will head further south to Magran's Fork.

 

Quick glance at my chants.

 

 

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I have two chants set up: the damage chant (3 x Soft Winds) is what I have on as default. I also have a buffing chant set up for emergencies where I need higher defences, which alternates the FOR/WIL and REF chants. It is unlikely I will need this but you never know, and at least I have the option to switch (you cannot set up new chants while in combat).

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Liresh, wild orlan Shieldbearer of St. Elcga, Update 6

 

Previous updates:

 

 

Spoilers for The White March, for those who haven't played it yet.

 

I started expansion gameplay with Longwatch Falls. It quickly turned out that even the largest languafeth group in the area didn't really have what it would've taken to seriously inconvenience my party at this point:

https://imgur.com/819GVZ9

However, I still had great respect for the Alpine Dragon, so I sought a peaceful solution to this quest:

https://imgur.com/JdshSIm

After some exploration of Russetwood, a couple of sidequests and bounties, I finally entered the Battery. I was mostly content with just using my spell mastery abilities at this point (and cipher powers, mostly amplified wave), barely having to use any actual spellslots. A relentless storm against huge groups of foes, a prayer against fear or imprisonment for certain situations, and that was about it. I made sure to get all of the durgan steel available to me and made my way down to the White Forge. While I did decide to use the full array of spells against the forge guardians (which mostly involves minor avatar, radiance, crowns of the faithful, devotions for the faithful, dire blessing, blessing and the like while Andur adds time parasite into the mix and Kerion summons a burning stag before casting a bunch of AoE nukes), that was propably overkill at this point:

https://imgur.com/ifOTS1k

I returned to Stalwart after upgrading my weapons with Durgan Steel (not enough to go for armor pieces yet) and once again chose to scale up content - now things might get somewhat interesting again, maybe. Since I don't have huge parts of the game left to try and upgrade Steadfast, I went to the Iron Flail fort right away. I entered via battering ram, called the world's maw down upon the backline of my foes and entered the tent, once again going for a peaceful resolution. The three eyeless were unable to resist paralyzation via mental binding:

https://imgur.com/t4CDVAw

The third one actually didn't even engange with me right away, its path was propably blocked due to its huge hitbox. I had to search for it to actually end combat. Getting the first Steadfast upgrade was easy enough, but killing 100 foes with my super-defensive paladin will be hard to achieve... if I want to get there, I will have to pay special attention. After getting the soulbound blade, I first travelled back south in order to finish a remaining part of WMI - Crägholdt Bluffs. Having reached level 16 at this point, most battles weren't too difficult, but I feared that I was getting into trouble when fighting a large group of soldiers on the western side of the map - as you can see here, there's suddenly another group from the northern side joining, and they're going right for my vulnerable backline:

https://imgur.com/nSZOlFc

I was able to retreat with most of my group except for Andur, who had to try and stay alive in melee combat - he got some help thanks to shielding touch and the like, and once relentless storm was added into the mix, he took his chance to escape. Soon, the battlefield was under control:

https://imgur.com/GKBGLkj

He did go relatively low in health, but this was the only somewhat scary moment. For example, inside, I decided to send Liresh by himself into a room full of animated weapons, and he didn't seem to mind all that much:

https://imgur.com/IKWNPBZ

(I was just making sure that all the attention was focused on him before entering with the others, though I could've been a bit more careful - he did go down to about half of his health.)

The battle against Concelhaut turned out to be rather easy. As I always do, I lured my foes back to the doorway, minimizing most of the danger. This was once again an opportunity to break out some of the more powerful buffs, which is always nice:

https://imgur.com/dqK0vXu

With that, I was finished with WMI. WMII awaits!

 

The final two levels were gained during this session, and these were my final talent picks: Behold the Martyr (bad choice - wanted to try it out, but no one has been knocked unconscious so far in the expansions) and Bear's Fortitude for Liresh, SM:Devotions for the Faithful and Veteran's Recovery for Selissa, SM:Calling the World's Maw plus Marskman for Kerrion, Vengeful Grief for my rangers, with one of them adding Accurate Wounding Shot, the other Brutal Takedown, and finally Reaping Knives, Defensive Mindweb, some random power and Psychic Backlash for Andur. I still haven't used the Helwax Mold. Maybe I will use it on the +4 dexterity boots?

Edited by Enuhal
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Jeesus... 

 

Traps are one matter, but when the game forgets to calculate my Arcane Veil into Deflection or a paralyzed enemie starts moving and attacking me I feel like I need an immediate break... This game has got an ironman mode, while still having these... well, game breaking occurrences. I've forgotten much, lol. 

 

Before going on a rant, I just want to give a fair warning that in certain cases when combat becomes busy, the systems MAY break down a bit. Unfortunately, it's the reality. 

 

PS: one thing that I have to give to Deadfire is that is has a very good polish in this regard. I've never seen a single time when the game won't calculate something or make a stunned foe move and stun me in return. 

Edited by Hulk'O'Saurus
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That's jolly bad luck if you are saying it has happened to you. I have never seen anything like that, how does a computer programme ever "forget" to calculate something correctly just because of workload? Do you have a screenshot or video? I assume you have discounted that it could be human error? So the arcane veil may have expired, or it was a gun attack, or the paralysed opponent had some kind of dispel or release effect applied etc?

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That's jolly bad luck if you are saying it has happened to you. I have never seen anything like that, how does a computer programme ever "forget" to calculate something correctly just because of workload? Do you have a screenshot or video? I assume you have discounted that it could be human error? So the arcane veil may have expired, or it was a gun attack, or the paralysed opponent had some kind of dispel or release effect applied etc?

 

Don't worry, I know what I am talking about. The next time it happens, I will make sure to make a screenie of it. I must say I've gotten several of these occurring.

 

I remember having taken a few screenshots before where an Unconscious enemy is able to stand up and continue attacking after suffering another cc effect. I've even posted it some time ago, but the screenshots are no longer available. 

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Gray Sidoh: No Per-Rest Abilities Run (three paladins, three ciphers)

 

We've been doing okay so far, but I'm concerned about the druids in Stormwall Gorge. Their area-effect spells could apply some very heavy pressure on our ciphers and leave our paladins without support. They crushed me in my last attempt at a Normal mode no-reload run (the blind, reloading run on Easy died multiple times; the first Normal mode no-reload run died to a bear; and the second Normal mode no-reload run died to the druids), and our party isn't well equipped to deal with area-effect damage.

 

The solution? I walk around them. There's a safe path across Stormwall Gorge that lets you avoid the druids entirely.

 

lEAU6Yf.jpg

 

I am a tactical mastermind! And also an inveterate coward.

 

We buy some new gear, including a pair of boots that extend the range of our paladin auras (I put it on the paladin with the Accuracy aura, since I want the ciphers to benefit from the bonuses more often). We finally run into a couple of beetles, giving us the ingredients for an Infuse Vital Essence potion. We've been very generous with potion usage, so we need to replenish our supply. Finally, we put some extra damage enchantments on our gear--in my previous runs, I did very little enchanting, but now I know to tweak our gear to optimize our stats.

 

For the first time, we delve into the Skaen temple, which I previously couldn't access due to having low Might in my party. Most of the enemies aren't heavy hitters in terms of damage, but I notice a disturbing problem: the enemy can use disablers, and while our three paladins can use Liberating Exhortation to fix them, it's a disruption in the party's functioning.

 

isG5TgA.jpg

 

Notice the traps that I could not disarm. Our first cipher doesn't have the Mechanics to disarm them, so I just walk around them.

 

Whenever we engage the Skaen cultists, we target the spellcasters first with Mind Blades, since the initial hits do more damage than the area-effect hits. It lets us bring down the key opponents relatively quickly.

 

B7GSm31.jpg

 

Then I see this room, and the party comes to a halt.

 

2XV9kMH.jpg

 

That looks like a sacrificial altar, and if it's anything like the one with the Xaurips and their Drake, entering that room could lead us right into a major fight that we aren't prepared for. I decide to play it safe and back away from the room.

 

Most of the enemies don't give us much trouble, but the numbers in the dialog box demonstrate that the enemy can hit pretty hard if it gets lucky. Most of the time, our paladins can shrug off the attacks, but bad luck can really amplify the threat, as one of the enemy priests demonstrates.

 

2r6mKYx.jpg

 

The enemy starts hitting harder and reaching longer, poking at our ciphers. It seems the cultists have some area-effect options, and either the area of effect is very wide, or the enemy is smart enough to target our ciphers.

 

Ke3ruDu.jpg

 

It's not fatal to the ciphers, but even suffering moderate damage forces our ciphers to resort to healing options if our paladins can't reach them immediately, and having our ciphers spend a few seconds healing themselves means that we're making less progress against the enemy.

 

Once we clear out most of the first level, only the sacrificial altar room is left. I don't know this area at all, and the local cultists have managed to land some heavy blows on our party. If a boss fight lies beyond that room, the difficulty might be high enough to put us in danger. Rather than dive into unknown territory, we leave the area. Safety first!

 

I make peace with Korgrak and deal with the spiders using Puppet Master. As Baron Pampa pointed out (before I had a chance to post on my progress!), enemy Will defenses are generally much weaker than their other defenses, which means it's not that hard to turn the spiders against their queen.

 

2L2yOBw.jpg

 

For the first time ever, I take advantage of a resting bonus from an inn: the Wurm's Nest room at the Dracogen Inn, giving us +6 to our damage reduction against fire damage. It's time to take on the Drake and the Xaurips back at Caed Nua!

 

We're a little overleveled for this fight, but I think that's pretty reasonable considering how much tougher the Drake fight is than the other fights in the area. I discover that the Xaurip Skirmishers are more than just petty meat shields, however: they also can paralyze on hit!

 

XAdpc1x.jpg

 

Notice the Scroll of Defense and the various other buffs listed on Gray Sidoh. We might be high-level for this fight, but there's no reason not to burn some limited resources when it comes to a high-pressure boss fight I've only beaten once before.

 

Paralysis attacks or no, the Xaurips are highly vulnerable to Mind Blades, and it doesn't help that their own ally, the Drake, uses a Knockdown effect that's party-unfriendly and can easily knock them prone. In the end, the Xaurips crumple under minimal resistance, and our ciphers lock down the Drake with paralysis spells of their own.

 

NNpGar3.jpg

aAJe2Yb.jpg

 

The Drake falls, and one of its talons becomes our first ever Scrolls of Revival. All of our characters are investing in Lore, so I plan on giving high-end scrolls to everyone in the party. We also get Ilfan Bryngar's Solace, the incredibly tank-friendly shield that made Eder more or less invincible against big enemies with knockdown attacks in my previous run. With +50 to all defenses when the wearer is stunned or prone, it's basically designed to fight dragons.

 

I continue to learn how to manage enemy pressure and position my ciphers. I pay much closer attention to enemy approach patterns, since I only get a second or two to recognize when an enemy is targeting my ciphers. When some skeletons decide to slip past our three paladins, I pull back my ciphers to buy enough time to fire an Amplified Thrust, which is enough to break engagement with its knockback alone (and also deals enough damage to score early kills on certain critters).

 

TB5HpfU.jpg
dKu2Eiz.jpg

 

I love seeing that bright blue glow. I associate it with monsters dying.

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Gray Sidoh: No Per-Rest Abilities Run (three paladins, three ciphers)


Back to Od Nua! I think we're in pretty good shape to deal with the local elemental Blights. Everything here appears to explode on death, but our paladins have strong defenses that they can more or less shrug off multiple blasts while taking minimal damage.

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This still means we need to be careful, however--our ciphers are not nearly as sturdy, and killing a Blight too close to our back line could pose a real threat to the party's functioning. The good news is that we get lots of new ingredients from the Blights, and use them to upgrade some weapons.

I died in my last run to a swarm of Blights in this very area, but since we do so well against the first batch of critters, I decide that we're ready to handle the big fight that killed me last time.

Then I see a new enemy I don't recognize, an Adragan, and I realize that I might have made a mistake.

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In seconds, I realize that I've definitely made a mistake. The Adragans can cast summoning and domination spells. Right off the bat, Gray Sidoh is under enemy control in spite of her 97 Will.

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We've also got some Animats on the field, and I discover that they have 20 damage reduction against piercing and slashing weapons, which means both Mind Blades and Amplified Thrust, two of our best attack spells, are all but useless against them. Worse yet, the Blights have similar resistances. We're going to have trouble bringing any of these guys down.

Then a Greater Earth Blight teleports right on top of our ciphers, endangering our primary damage dealers mere seconds into combat.

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Vivenne takes 37 damage right off the bat, and we receive yet another ominous sign: the Adragans can use Petrify!

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I've never encountered this effect, but I've heard in this thread that it's absolutely deadly. Lothra prepares to use Liberating Exhortation, but even then, Gray Sidoh is in danger: she takes more than 50 damage from a Greater Flame Blight, and our other paladin, Zovai, gets stunned by a Returning Storm (!) from a Greater Wind Blight, meaning she can't use Lay on Hands to bail out Gray Sidoh. Worse yet, our ciphers are struggling to stay afloat; Vivenne is already forced to use an Infuse Vital Essence potion.

Then I see the worst sign yet. Right after Lothra uses Liberating Exhortation on Gray Sidoh, Gray Sidoh gets Petrified again. This is when I finally realize that Liberating Exhortation only cures active status effects; it doesn't prevent new ones from being re-applied.

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When I check the dialog box, I discover that that Petrify spell has an Accuracy of 85, meaning it has about a 50% chance of working with every casting. This isn't something we can just shrug off.

Our paladins are struggling to stay afloat. Our ciphers are making little progress. And I see no indication that the tide is going to change.

My heart sinks. I'm not sure I'm going to win this one.

I consider just setting the party on a basic path and hoping we get lucky, but I decide to pause for a moment and study the situation. Since Mind Blades and Amplified Thrust are mostly useless, our ciphers have been steadily building up Focus--that's the only thing that's been trending in our favor since the fight began; I haven't wasted Focus on any low-impact spells.

We've got several Blights right on top of the party, but our ciphers can't disengage without putting themselves in danger. To the east, we've got more Blights and the two Adragans, who are in full condition and, due to being spellcasters, presumably have high Will defenses, which means burning our Focus on Puppet Master might waste our only decent resource if we get bad luck. If we fail to dominate anything due to a couple bad rolls, we are more or less out of luck.

But our paladins can disengage with relative safety. And there's one important spell that I haven't yet fully exploited.

Ectopsychic Echo.

The thing about Ectopsychic Echo is that it targets a friendly actor and deals damage over time to everything in between caster and target--a straight line damage over time spell. Thus, it's very similar to the Agannazar's Scorcher spell from Baldur's Gate.

I made dramatic use of Agannazar's Scorcher in my BG--I actually invented a trick called the "scorcher loop," which multiplies damage from the spell. On many occasions, I have carefully used beam-type spells to deal heavy damage to large groups by dragging the beam across the map. And while Ectopsychic Echo has no "loop" trick to be exploited that I know of, the base damage is nevertheless quite high.

And the damage type is crushing. Everything in this area is vulnerable to crushing damage.

Our sturdiest character is Gray Sidoh, so I have Vivenne use Ectopsychic Echo on Gray Sidoh, who has just recovered from Petrify with a re-cast Liberating Exhortation, hoping to have Gray Sidoh scurry out to the east, dodging disengagement attacks, and then drag the beam over the Adragans to deal unblockable damage to them and the Blights. The first hit smashes the Greater Earth Blight that's been threatening our ciphers. Our other ciphers attack the same Blight with wands, hoping to kill it early and escape the pressure.

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Immediately, we suffer a setback. Gray Sidoh gets dominated. We can no longer use her to drag the beam over the enemies. But the beam destroys the Greater Earth Blight, which means we can have Vivenne run to the east instead. She'll be much more vulnerable in the process than Gray Sidoh would be, but the beam only lasts for 10 seconds, and we can't afford to wait for Gray Sidoh to recover from domination; we need to make use of the beam now, before it runs out.

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Rius is at 34 Focus, but has been forced to use a Scroll of Defense in lieu of Ectopsychic Echo to shore up our defenses. But once she can act again, I have her use Ectopsychic Echo on Vivenne instead of Gray Sidoh. Now, Vivenne is carrying two separate beams at once. And the damage from the twin beams is spectacular.

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The party is still under heavy pressure, but we're finally making progress. Unfortunately, by hurrying to the east, Vivenne provokes both Adragans at once, who switch targets and run after her.

But this also puts both of them right in the middle of both beams. They can chase her and probably kill her very easily, but since they don't have the AI to edge out of the beams, they get caught by both.

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Still, Vivenne can only get so far as a fragile cipher, and bad luck strikes. A Returning Storm spell stuns her, allowing the Adragans to close the distance.

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But the beams continue even while Vivenne is stunned. One Adragan succumbs to the beam after just a few seconds of exposure, and the other is close to death!

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The beams still have a few seconds left. It's enough to slay the second Adragan.

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After two spells and a few feet of movement, the tide of battle has shifted decidedly in our favor. Even so, I burn another Scroll of Defense for safety's sake, and we build up a little more Focus while applying some healing effects to shield us from any nasty surprises.

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Finally, we re-activate Ectopsychic Echo, and obliterate the last enemy with three simultaneous beams. It's a beautiful sight, and very welcome after such an incredibly close battle.

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I leave the area immediately after the fight is over. We came out ahead, but it cost us lots of potions and scrolls, and I don't know if the other fights on this map are any harder than this one. If they are, I don't think we could handle them.

We need to restore our resources, so we burn nearly 4,000 coppers on ingredients and scrolls over at Defiance Bay. We craft some replacements for the potions and scrolls we lost, tack on a few more enchantments to our gear, and we are mostly back up to speed, though our supplies are still somewhat depleted.

I thought the run was going to end there. We were so overwhelmed at the start that it wasn't clear if we could make it out. But Ectopsychic Echo and some careful maneuvering killed the Adragans far more easily than I had thought possible. I knew Ectopsychic Echo would be strong, but I hadn't bothered using it until just now; I had been relying on Mind Blades and Amplified Thrust to do all the work.

I decide to turn my attention to simpler fights. We've proven that we can handle big threats, but those Adragans and Blight cost us some precious and finite resources, and I don't want to find myself low on key expendables right before a major fight. It's time to ease up on the danger and build up our strength before tackling any scary encounters.

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By the way, I really appreciate you creating this thread, @Alesia_BH. I had been growing weary of BG for a long time, but stuck with it because I didn't know any similar games I might enjoy. I'm having a blast learning Pillars of Eternity, and I'm glad you inspired me to finally try it out.

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Jazz Wit, Solo Coastal Aumaua Chanter (Hard), Part 3

 

Jazz Wit's newfound stealth skills are put to good use sneaking around Magran's Fork after he spots some wolves prowling around. The only wolves I fight are the ones harrassing the merchant. The rest are carefully avoided, as are the family of boars. I did fight the troll to get Fulvano's Amulet, swapping it in for the redundant minor cloak of protection. After chatting to Durance, Jazz Wit openly approaches a small group of people in the eastern part of the woods and is surprised when his greeting results in immediate attack.

 

This is a tough 3-on-1 fight where you can take a lot of damage. My first aim is to survive long enough to summon the phantom.

 

 

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The phantom takes care of the paladins in short order but it's still a painful battle.

 

 

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It's not quite as close run as it looks since I have some healing potions and would have drunk one if my health had got any lower. For winning this battle we get mail armour (slight upgrade on my starting breastplate) and a large shield (the first one you can get your hands on in-game).

 

I rested overnight in the abandoned house and set off for the Black Meadow at first light.

 

Breakfast of champions:

 

 

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I sneak past most enemies in the Black Meadow but do fight this group of wichts.

 

 

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Wichts are dangerous because they come in large groups and can interrupt-lock you, but they have very lttle health and even a few seconds of Soft Winds soon kills them. Winning this fight gets us Fulvano's Boots.

 

I locate the bandits and prepare an ambush of my own.

 

 

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I summon a phantom to draw out the rest of the bandit camp.

 

 

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One of the bandits runs off to fight the nearby trolls; so we go after him once the rest are dead and add some trollskins to our collection.

 

 

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I return to Gilded Vale to hand Tuatanu back his goods. Kolsc asks for our help against Raedric but I decide not to get involved. Instead I spend the evening at the Black Hound for some well-earned R&R.

 

In the morning I head back to Valewood and collect Fulvano's gloves to complete the accessories collection. Bear fight:

 

 

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This can be a very dangerous fight and is a bit of a beginner's trap. The bear hits very hard, so I use Wizard's Double and Ironskin potions to take the edge off. The phantom ends the fight in short order as always.

 

Might as well clear the xaurips too since I have food buffs active:

 

 

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I return to Gilded Vale and try to find Nonton. With no clear idea where to look I resort to knocking on doors, which leads us to Aufra and acceptance of her quest. Nonton meanwhile is in Ingroed's House. After hearing the lovers' side of the story, I let them go and get a minor ring of deflection (nice) and advancement to level 4.

 

I have 3 milestones for a solo Chanter. The first is reaching level 4; the second is reaching Defiance Bay; and the third is reaching level 9. The first is happily achieved :).

 

Why is level 4 an important milestone? Well, these are my defences at level 3:

 

 

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You can see my deflection is already pretty good and I am doing as much as possible to boost it (hatchet, large shield, minor ring of deflection). FOR is also strong, WIL average, REF a bit of a disaster. At level 4 I get my second talent, which is Weapon & Shield Style. This gives me +6 deflection when using a shield and also adds my entire shield deflection bonus to my REF defence. I can also now enchant my shield for another +4 bonus!

 

 

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Whoops, no adra :o I used it to craft the Ironskin potions. Never mind, we'll find some more. At level 4 I also increased my Lore to 4, Stealth to 4, and Survival to 1, and I took the Thunder Rolled invocation (which I will pretty much never use but I have no use for any of the other options either).

 

New defences:

 

 

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You can see my deflection has improved by 9 and once I enchant the shield it will actually be a 13 point improvement from advancing 1 level. That's about the biggest incremental level-on-level jump possible. My REF has improved by 25 (!) and that will be 29 after enchanting the shield. My survivability has just increased massively :).

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By the way, I really appreciate you creating this thread, @Alesia_BH. I had been growing weary of BG for a long time, but stuck with it because I didn't know any similar games I might enjoy. I'm having a blast learning Pillars of Eternity, and I'm glad you inspired me to finally try it out.

 

 

I'm glad you're here, Semiticgod! This is fun. And it's fun because we've gathered a great group of players.

 

A big thanks to Borco, Enuhal, Semiticgod, and now Jaherias Witness for deciding to join. And an additional thanks to all the readers and commenters. May we keep the challenge rolling!

 

Best,

 

A.

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