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I've looked around and sadly I can't seem to find any general "solo strategies" guides.  Some lengthy videos without annotations and I could probably skim any of the dozens of Let's Plays... but, man, I just want the strats not the streamer's commentary and navel-gazing.


I'll be playing on Hard, rather than PotD, because I also plan on doing all quests and sidequests, all dragons, all archmages, etc - essentially The (Frozen) Ultimate on hard, except I'm not going to use ironman mode, expert mode, etc.  I also plan on recruiting and then promptly dumping NPCs in an inn or the keep - I plan on doing their personal side quests as well, but anytime they might have to be present for combat, they will be hiding in a corner and not being involved.


I don't plan on limiting item choices since that might make things a little too tedious at times.  Deadfire Pack items are fair game.


I could definitely use some advice on how to PROPERLY kite monsters and get them to fight other monsters.  Kiting spiders to a stag and watching the stag stomp the **** out of them is pretty easy, and I was able to fairly reliably get the forest lurkers to plod over and massacre the bandits holding Tuatanu's stuff after a few attempts (surviving the initial alpha strike from the bandits once they see you was the messy part.)  I can consistently pull guards and such from Raederic's throne room, but I've never been able to find a way to exit combat, so I run out of health by a death of a thousand cuts (Ironskin potions reduce incoming attacks to chip damage, but it's still enough over time) long before they run out of warm bodies to throw at me.  I didn't have enough Stealth skill to sneak past the courtyard spirits in Caed Nua, so I'm not sure if the better plan might be to just Fan of Flames them from stealth and just save scum if I get stunlocked until it works.  I've seen a short video guide on how to abuse the Animat summon item in the throne room to break combat vs the spirits there, and I've heard you can kite beetles or xaurips to Maerwald's room.


But I could also use some advice on how to build the Druid.  I don't think min-maxing stats will be particularly important since it's only Hard, nor do I think race choice will matter much.  I do plan on continuing this character through to Deadfire and soloing that game as well (same circumstances), so ideally it should be a race that's effective there too (such as blue Amaua having Strength resistance, normal Dwarf having Constitution resistance, and so on.)  I like Boreal Dwarf or Pale Elf the most, thematically, but anything could work.  I don't think Godlike would work, seeing as the Deadfire Captain's Cap is an extremely good item to have for most of the game (four immunities plus a heap of stats) and I strongly doubt anything I'd gain from Godlike passives would outweigh that.


I'm not sure how important Mechanics will be.  How much is needed to locate traps, not disable them?  How much total Stealth is needed to make important sneaks?  Which Spiritshift form seems best?  Boar has the constant regeneration, but if I'm using sword and board in my normal form (and I feel like I might have to?) then I'm going to suffer a steep Deflection loss in any form but Stag.  Wolf or Cat would be best if I want to use Spiritshift only to burn down enemies.  Would taking Focus: Peasant or Zealot's Focus be better?  Focus is only +4, but won't limit my item choices.


My general thinking for "From start to getting to Defiance Bay" is something like this:


- Get to Gilded Vale and do the normal things.  Stuff Aloth and Eder in the inn.  Grab a grappling hook from Tuatanu and abuse Charm Beast to kill the wolves and get the Dex gloves.  Might be able to Charm Beast through the bears, but might need to wait for Hold Beast first.  After bears are dead, benevolent Ingroed and Nonton for the +5 deflection ring.  Once Stealth is high enough, steal everything that's not tied down; murdering the backer NPCs doesn't seem to harm your reputation hardly at all if they catch you stealing and attack you first.  Objective is to hoard 5000cp for the Animat horn (it's 5000cp after Tuatanu lowers the price when you return his stuff to him.)


- Head to Magran's Fork.  Maybe use Charm Beast/Hold Beast to kill wolves and boars for fun and profit?  Grab the fine greatsword/pollaxe by the adra formation to sell (unless 2H is better than sword and board?)  Grab Fulvano's amulet, killing trolls when possible (very easy with Firebrand) since troll skin is a valuable crafting item.  Head through to Black Meadow.  Grab the fine hunter's bow near the spear spiders (kite them to the nearby stag to kill them and loot their legs for making Fan of Flames scrolls.)  Kill trolls when possible, loot burned lady throughout the area.  Kite forest lurkers to bandit camp, watch them stomp the **** out of the humies, get Tuatanu's stuff.  Collect and dump Kana and Durance on your way back to Gilded Vale.  Detour to Madhmar Bridge at some point, avoiding the OP stunlocking xaurip, and loot the fine hatchet from the campsite.  Kill the looters and return Peregrun's stuff to get some cash and the +2 Int/Confuse immunity hat.


- Charm/Hold Beast your way past the spooders in the temple, kill the Skuldrs, get the fine sword.  If you have Mechanics enough, disarm and loot the randomized loot box by the puzzle.  Can probably Firebrand your way past the spirits on the second floor to get to the second randomized lootbox in the storeroom.  Defeating the Skuldr King and Greater Ooze on the bottom floor might be too difficult for now, though.


- Once you have the Animat summon, it should be possible to massacre the xaurips at Anslog's Compass (pull small groups whenever possible, kite to the two gormless NPCs if you need warm bodies) and kill the sporelings for the stuff for Aufra's potion.  Make some Fan of Flames scrolls and use them and your Animat buddy to make your way to Caed Nua keep.  With 3+ stealth and a move speed buff you can sneak past the spirits in the throne room to the door, then can manipulate their AI with the Animat summon to drop combat and make your way downstairs.  Charm/Hold Beast through the spooders, unlock Maerwald's door (or get the key I guess) and bring some xaurips or beetles to the party.  It's probably possible to kill the Spider Queen with judicious use of Charm/Hold Beast and claim Oidreacht, if that's worth doing.


- On the way to Defiance Bay and the land of unlimited XP, probably worth detouring to sneak/Charm/Hold your way past the kitties to get Hearth Harvest.  Save up the 8200cp to get the Deadfire Captain's Hat?  Would the War Club be worth considering?

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