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Hey everyone! Like many the news of Avowed inspired me to make a new playthrough of Pillars of Eternity. I'm almost done with the first and want some build advice going into Deadfire. I'm playing a wizard for the first time and while I'm primarily focused on roleplay, I want to experiment with builds more. I went with a sword and shield style wizard for 1 and going into two, I'd love advice for both sticking with a pure wizard sword wielding build and a multiclassed Battlemage so I can decide before I start Deadfire. Thank you in advance to everyone who helps me out with all this!

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A thread developed from an OP with a very similar request to yours just this morning. Have you read it?

 There's some good information in there. If you haven't read it, I recommend it. If you have, do you have any reactions to the recommendations there?

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Thank you! I'd not read it before since I didn't think the contents would be relevant to what I'm after. Having gone through it all, this is actually extremely enlightening. Again, thanks a lot for pointing this out to me.

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Well having checked out that thread I do want to ask what grimoires would be best to use for a front line battlemage? I feel like I've never made good use of them and just end up sticking to the main grimoire with Aloth. I saw it suggested that swapping between grimoires and focusing on using wizard levels to get perks is a good way to go so some expansion on how best to approach that would be ideal.

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I'm not an expert by any means, but for a front line battle, the most important Grimoire at the beginning would probably be Llengrath's Martial Masteries. Getting it is only gated by gold. You can get a similar Grimoire (Katrenn's Grimoire) for free, but it's gated by how early you can tackle a certain encounter.

That Grimoire alone probably has the majority of every martial spell you want by itself.

At a quick glance, it's missing Mirror Image, Wizard's Double and Ryngrim's Repulsive Visage as what might be considered must haves for a front line battle mage.

If all you want to do is engage on the front line and swing your summoned weapon around, there is probably enough room to take those 3 spells + all the passives you could probably want and be good to go.

After that, it's a bit more complicated. You're still a Wizard, so your options outside of swinging your summoned weapon around are almost limitless. So what Grimoire you want is largely decided by what else you want to do.

At minimum, you are probably looking for high impact close range AOE spells. Ghost Blades is pretty darn good early game, as is Torrent of Flame for instance.

The Battle-worn Grimoire, purchasable in Port Maje from Alteria is a great early choice. It has Chill Fog, Slicken, Combusting Wounds, Binding Web, Ryngrim's Repulsive Visage, and Minor Arcane Reflection.

Grimoire of Disruption is another versatile spellbook. It has Thrust of Tattered Veils, Slicken, Expose Vulnerabilities, Arcane Dampener, Minor Arcane Reflection, and Arcane Reflection. It can be purchased relatively early, or found in Ruined Towers. Using it requires a bit of meta knowledge however. You need to know you are going into a battle where you want to interrupt a spell with Thrust of Tattered Veils, because switching to it to interrupt will probably mean you are to late. I'd either take Thrust as a skill anyway, or use scrolls.

Ninagauth's Teachings will give you Slicken, Torrent of Flame and Death Ring. Other spells are good too, but situational based on what you want your character to do.

Mercenary Wizard Grimoire (not sure where to find it exactly, outside of Ruined Towers) has Ghost Blades, Mirrored Image, and Arcane Reflection.

I don't know all the essential martial spells, but I am sure some one else will step in and provide a list. Best advice? Take those spells first and then when you find a grimoire that provides two or three of those spells, respec out of them and take passives instead. The three above grimoires cover a lot of basic bases however and are a good start and are found easily enough. So don't take those ones :).

I haven't recommended any late game Grimoires, because by the time you get them, you'll have a better grasp of what you are doing with your character and will know if the Grimoire suits you are not. Some with special spells are spoilers too, so it's up to you if you want me to list them or not.

 

 

 

Edited by NotBad
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Thanks for this guidance. Where can I get that llengrath grimoire? I've played through the game twice already so I'm not worried about spoilers. Also I am really tempted to get the evoker specialization for wizard since it boosts the spells I seem to most need for a frontline mage. Is it worth the limited spell list?

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20 minutes ago, lady gray said:

Thanks for this guidance. Where can I get that llengrath grimoire? I've played through the game twice already so I'm not worried about spoilers. Also I am really tempted to get the evoker specialization for wizard since it boosts the spells I seem to most need for a frontline mage. Is it worth the limited spell list?

You can buy it in the Dark Cupboard, in Neketaka. 

Are you planning to be a single class or multi class Wizard?

Evokers lose access to summoned weapons, so it depends on what type of Battlemage you are planning to be. Losing Transmuation sucks too, but it all depends if you are planning to cast spells + swing your weapon around. If yes, versatility is limited anyway by your characters action economy. You probably won't be able to use every spell you have access too in battle anyway, so being limited by schools is less impactful.

If you are purely casting spells? Well then it still depends. You won't lack for something to do, but there are some really good Transmutation spells worth looking at. Namely, Slicken, Combusting Wounds, Arcane Dampener, Pull of Eora, Freezing Pillar, Temporal Cocoon, and Arcane Cleanse.

 

Edited by NotBad
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Plus Conjuration: Wall of Flame (combos great with Combusting Wounds - also Chilling Fog, another great spell you'd loose), Wall of Draining (awesome to endlessly prolong powerful but short lived effects), all summons and weapon summons.  IMO not worth it.

Blood Mage is great, tho :)

 

Regarding Ninagauth's Teachings, it also includes 2 unique spells: Shadowflame - an OP combat opener that deals decent damage AND paralyses enemies it hits (use Dazzling Lights from Stealth prior to that to catch their attention and bunch them all up - but be careful not to actually hit anyone - as that'd break Stealth) and Death Ray which deals Raw damage and is arguably one of the best damage spells, particularly vs high AR enemies like golems and bosses.

Edited by Haplok
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Posted (edited)

I'm gonna be going with a multiclass Fighter/Wizard and my hope is primarily to be a frontline character dealing damage primarily through weapons. And I'm gonna be playing on turn-based mode if that makes any difference.

Edited by lady gray
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I re-read your original post, so I'll dial back and bit and work with that.

Let's say you want to be a single class Wizards wielding a Sword and a Shield. 

The pros of a shield is more deflection. The cons are less accuracy with anything more then a small shield.

There aren't a lot of pros to wielding a sword at all however. Swinging your sword won't ever be better then casting a spell, and if anything, swinging a sword would be slightly detrimental, because the recovery from it will reduce your spell casting reactivity. The Griffin's Blade with + 10% spell damage is probably the best Sword you can get in this situation, but you'll basically play like any other spell casting Wizard in Deadfire already. You could definitely be an Evoker here, but you'll play less like a battlemage and probably more like a area of effect damage mage.

A front-line Wizard using summoned weapons is different animal. Citizal's Spirit Lance is pretty darn good and worth swinging. You aren't a Sword and Board Wizard anymore however.

A MC Fighter or Paladin/Wizard with a Sword + Shield would make a mighty fine tank. In this case, you would focus on defensive spells, engagement slots, concentration, and I'd look at stacking reflex, then possibly just casting spells on top of yourself. If your aim wasn't to summon weapons, Evoker could be pretty good here (but then, be careful of casting spells on top of you, you might double one and possibly die).

 

EDIT: Just saw your last reply - the important question is: Are you using summoned weapons or not? A MC Sword and Shield Fighter + Wizard isn't going to be the best way to do damage through weapons. You're more of a tank then you are a damage dealer with your weapon. Damage through spells is another thing.

 

Edited by NotBad
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Particularly in Turn Based mode, its really not the best choice to swing your sword once to hit one enemy, when you could use the same turn to hit 5 enemies with a Fireball for higher damage. Or better yet, Blind 5 enemies and continuously damage them for several rounds with Chilling Fog. 

First weapon combo that's kinda fun and competitive with spells on a Fighter/Wizard is summoned Spirit Lance (Conjuration school) with Fighter's Clear Out move.

I guess earlier you can use the Lance with aoe Mule Kick... but that's still Power Level V needed to summon that Lance.

Edited by Haplok
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@NotBad I'm not planning to use summoned weapons, but if someone were to make a good case for them I'd be open to being persuaded otherwise. In all honesty I want to go the Battlemage route for the aesthetic more than the practicality, I just want to make sure I approach the concept as effectively as I can.

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5 hours ago, lady gray said:

@NotBad I'm not planning to use summoned weapons, but if someone were to make a good case for them I'd be open to being persuaded otherwise. In all honesty I want to go the Battlemage route for the aesthetic more than the practicality, I just want to make sure I approach the concept as effectively as I can.

i think in particular you need to worry about the action economy which is a problem for all caster multiclasses, especially in turn-based. i don't have a lot of experience with turn-based mode, but i suspect that most of the buffs are free actions. evoker is fine - i would also recommend enchanter, but it sounds like you don't care too much about much of what conjuration has to offer.

as an evoker i think illusion magic is your friend, combined with engagement. i don't know how well it works in turn-based mode, but a close-range terrify effect (ryngrim's repulsive visage) on RTwP will occasionally cause enemies to run out of engagement range, triggering a disengagement attack, which can be pretty brutal coming from a fighter multiclass - not only does doing this protect you from harm, but the free attacks are a way around the constrained action economy.

a shield is going to hurt your accuracy, but if most of the spells you cast don't care about accuracy (because they are buffs), then it's less of a big deal. plus, if you pick up disicplined barrage and an upgrade, and also pick up confident aim you can worry even less.

rolling as a blackjacket might be interesting - when you pick up the passive quick switch your weapon slot switching becomes a free action. you could have some sort of stat stick and just switch to it in the same round as when you cast a spell, e.g. keeping magran's favor (+2 fire PL) in one slot, putting the SSS axe in another (for free upgrades to might inspirations), griffin's blade with +10% spell damage in another, and you can just switch to whatever you need in the moment. (pick up arms bearer for a 4th for a non-spellcasting weapon)

Edited by thelee
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These are interesting ideas, I hadn't considered what Blackjacket could bring to the table. Also I feel I should say that I went back to look at the subclasses for wizard and I got confused as to what each did; it turns out Enchanter is the subclass that gives me most of what I want, in that I get a whole host of buff spells to choose from, so thank you for pointing that out to me. It just goes to show how long it's been since I played Deadfire. 😛 

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11 hours ago, lady gray said:

@NotBad I'm not planning to use summoned weapons, but if someone were to make a good case for them I'd be open to being persuaded otherwise. In all honesty I want to go the Battlemage route for the aesthetic more than the practicality, I just want to make sure I approach the concept as effectively as I can.

The best good case I can make for them is that the game isn't exactly as friendly to the idea and concept you want out of your character.

There is room to both buff your character a lot and sling damaging spells around, so buffing yourself and just swinging with your sword will always be inherently less optimal then buffing yourself and slinging spells instead. It's the primarily doing damage through your weapon part that is the tough one to fix, as the requirement to embrace that concept is only really achieved by deliberately ignoring a lot of the inherent strength and versatility of being a Wizard itself.

Three alternatives I can think of that come close to but not exactly to your goals:

1) Design your character similar to how I played Eder in my last play through.

Equip a sword & shield, & buff yourself with wizard spells for survivability, and engage a bunch of mobs and then just cast spells on top of yourself until enemies are thinned or you are only left with the boss. I'd stick to Medium Shields in this instance, as to not penalize your accuracy to much with spells, while also providing a good boost in survivability. This sorta sucks though because the Large Shield modal is really good at absorbing reflex based spell damage...

Once mobs are thinned, switch to dual wielding a pair of strong weapons for single target damage, and use the fighters full attack skills to leverage this. The advantage gained is not needing to use or skill into single target damage spells at all and you are leveraging both classes fairly equally.

You can get away with being a Evoker + Fighter if you go down this route.

2) Play a Trickster (Rogue subclass) + Fighter instead.

This is closer to the concept you want, except you aren't a Wizard anymore. Trickster gets access to a few buffs, Mirrored Image, Ryngrim's Repulsive Visage, and Llengrath's Displaced Image, which won't be as strong as the sum of all the Wizard buffs you COULD have access too, but the benefit is, this is a combination designed around actually doing damage with equipped weapons, and not spells. You'll have passives and talents that support doing damage with your weapon.

Rogue + Fighters are inherently tanky enough, without all the added Wizard spells. My Swashbuckler Eder was tough as nails on PotD. He wasn't invincible, but being invincible is overrated anyway. Adding the Trickster spells on top will make you tougher then my Eder was, so it should feel satisfying to play as a front line character, who also feels a bit like a spell caster. Sticking to sword + shield will still be inherently weaker damage wise then dual wielding or two handed however.

3) Embrace summoned weapons. Unfortunately, summoned weapons are two handed, so you automatically lose the sword and shield aspect you want from your character. However, in terms of feeling like a Battlemage, within the constrains of what Deafire offers, this is probably your best bet.

You cast a bunch of defensive spells, summon Spirit Lance and wreck martial AOE havoc on your enemies. Wizard defensive spells are so good, you don't really need a shield anyway, it's borderline overkill.

You do not want to be a enchanter or a conjurer however. Both lose access to Illusion spells, which contain some of the best buffs you want on your character - Wizard's Double, Mirrored Image, Displaced Image,  and Repulsive Visage.

 

Edited by NotBad
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2 hours ago, NotBad said:

You do not want to be a enchanter or a conjurer however. Both lose access to Illusion spells, which contain some of the best buffs you want on your character - Wizard's Double, Mirrored Image, Displaced Image,  and Repulsive Visage.

i disagree - depending on how one builds, one does not need illusion at all. both the +AR and +deflection class of spells suffer from a relatively similar problem in that they can be close to worthless or very valuable, all depending on your character (both are pretty sensitive to difficulty setting as well). my eder focused pretty exclusively on spirit shield, ironskin, bulwark, and llengrath's as well as spell reflection as defenses and it worked very well, but i also had heavy armor. his dps was pretty ok, but it was not based on weapons (spells), but OP seems less concerned with a super-optimal build.

 

i do agree that depending on what OP is going for, trickster + fighter is a very compelling option. imo that's one the better ways to get a (non-summoned) weapons-focused caster.

Edited by thelee
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1 hour ago, thelee said:

i disagree - depending on how one builds, one does not need illusion at all. both the +AR and +deflection class of spells suffer from a relatively similar problem in that they can be close to worthless or very valuable, all depending on your character (both are pretty sensitive to difficulty setting as well). my eder focused pretty exclusively on spirit shield, ironskin, bulwark, and llengrath's as well as spell reflection as defenses and it worked very well, but i also had heavy armor. his dps was pretty ok, but it was not based on weapons (spells), but OP seems less concerned with a super-optimal build.

 

i do agree that depending on what OP is going for, trickster + fighter is a very compelling option. imo that's one the better ways to get a (non-summoned) weapons-focused caster.

Definitely listen to this man first over me, though I think he's got his Aloths and Eders mixed up :p.

My assumption, which could definitely be flawed due to lack of experience, was that since OP wanted to use shields, stacking deflection would be the path of least resistance, no? That's at least where my rejection/objection came from in terms of enchanter.

If they didn't decide to stack deflection, wouldn't it make the shield even more redundant in their concept? Assuming PotD, and for my own understanding mostly.

 

Edited by NotBad
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1 hour ago, NotBad said:

Definitely listen to this man first over me, though I think he's got his Aloths and Eders mixed up :p.

My assumption, which could definitely be flawed due to lack of experience, was that since OP wanted to use shields, stacking deflection would be the path of least resistance, no? That's at least where my rejection/objection came from in terms of enchanter.

If they didn't decide to stack deflection, wouldn't it make the shield even more redundant in their concept? Assuming PotD, and for my own understanding mostly.

 

lololol i was rereading my post and something about the eder reference didn't sit quite right but i couldn't put my finger on it.

 

i think the benefit for shields is that they don't have to be all or nothing - medium and large shields have modals that can give you huge survivability returns without necessarily needing to go all in on deflection. even on my characters that don't stack deflection i sometimes use med/large just for those. small shields are a lot iffier. (i tend ot mostly use them on ranged casters with firearms so that they have slightly better chacne of shrugging off ranged attacks)

Edited by thelee
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We're getting slightly off-topic, but I'm becoming a convert of light shields. Tuotilo's Palm, mostly.

My swashbuckler Eder has never been as good as when I used Palm on him along with Gipon Prudensco. This was Turn Based however and I've also used the small shield modal (+15 Accuracy for next attack after being missed in melee). Plus the additional Palm enchant that also has a chance to retaliate after a miss. Anyway, he became a real Riposte monster.

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I'm actually going to be just playing on the normal difficulty, and I'm gonna be using Berath's Blessings to up my stats form the start, if that influences things at all. You guys have pointed out some good points relating to weapon and shield use, I'm wondering if there's anything to be said for two-handed weapons as part of a battlemage build? And I've actually always been curious about Swashbuckler Eder but I've always been worried about losing a potential party tank. Is that something I should be concerned with or are there ways to counteract that?

 

Also I want to thank you guys for being so absurdly helpful. I was not expecting this much detailed support but it is proving so useful.

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IMO Swashbuckler is like the only proper way to build Eder. It hardly makes him any worse as a tank (well, by a tiny fraction, I suppose), but greatly improves his offensive capabilities and mobility.

Edited by Haplok
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45 minutes ago, lady gray said:

I'm actually going to be just playing on the normal difficulty, and I'm gonna be using Berath's Blessings to up my stats form the start, if that influences things at all. You guys have pointed out some good points relating to weapon and shield use, I'm wondering if there's anything to be said for two-handed weapons as part of a battlemage build? And I've actually always been curious about Swashbuckler Eder but I've always been worried about losing a potential party tank. Is that something I should be concerned with or are there ways to counteract that?

 

Also I want to thank you guys for being so absurdly helpful. I was not expecting this much detailed support but it is proving so useful.

Eder as a Swashbuckler tank is as good as Eder as a pure Fighter tank. Don't even stress about it one bit.

On normal difficulty, with Berath's Blessings, you'll have a lot of leeway in relation to what is and isn't effective. From that perspective, prioritizing concept over everything else is probably AOK.

If you're dead set on being a Sword & Shield Fighter / Wizard who casts buffs and then wades into battle, it will work.

For considerations sake, if you aren't fixated on being a Wizard, and more set on being a martial caster who primarily does damage through their weapon and buffs themselves, you might also consider a Cipher (Soulblade) / Fighter. That really fits the theme of buffing yourself and enchanting your weapon to deal damage.

But I get you want continuity from your PoE 1 play through, so I'd just ride the Sword & Board Fighter / Wizard idea you have, and just be slightly open to the idea that casting damaging AOE spells might be the occasional more efficient use of your time/turn. To keep on theme, stick to spells that work mostly in melee range. E.g. Ghost Blades (could be considered a AOE extension of your sword for instance), Jolting Touch, Concelhaut's Draining Touch, Torrent of Flame, Minoletta's Precicely Piercing Burst, even Essential Phantom could be on theme, as it essentially duplicates your character and your characters equipped weapon.

 

Edited by NotBad
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I've been playing Eder as a swashbuckler on PotD lately. He is very tanky if you use a shield as noted above and also invest in the fighter defensive talents. Sneak attack gives him a great damage bonus. I usually only get a few rogue abilities, escape, riposte, persistent distraction, deep wounds and deathblows, mainly. He's very sturdy and rarely falls in combat, even against the PotD hordes. I usually give him a large shield as my MC is usually a monk multiclass; there are many great large shields in the game, including one that you can get quite early under Neketaka. The fighter abilities help him overcome the large shield accuracy malus, and the shield gives him great defense, particularly against ranged attacks due to the modal. Escape and charge give him mobility with the modal on.

Edited by dgray62
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