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[5.0 class build] "Disruptor" - theurge (skald/animist)


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After my keeper build, I was fascinated with the druid (a class that I have really underplayed) and tried to brainstorm some fun setups with it. It took some testing to make sure everything worked as I anticipated, but I'm happy with the results, which is a debuffing druid/chanter with some party utility that is so good at disrupting enemy plans in a zany way. How zany? Well, this build has yielded the first and only time I've ever been in a situation where it has been an optimal decision in a high-level fight to cast an empowered Tanglefoot (and yes, it wrecked the enemies!).

 

Basic build outline: stats

Hearth Orlan, 8 might/9 con/14 dex/20+1 (white that wends) perception/18 intellect/8 resolve.

Classes: skald + animist[boar or cat]

Skills: alchemy (try to get up to 10 with a combination of gear and buffs) and explosives (put the rest here); religion

Level-by-level guide (with free spells in [] brackets, respec options in {}, respec points in <>, optional picks with an asterisk)

  1. Hel-Hyraf...; Come, Come | Tanglefoot [Sunbeam]
  2. Fast Runner
  3. Arms Bearer
  4. {White Wurms... => One Dozen...} | {Hold Beasts => Two Handed Style*} [The Moon's Light]
  5. Firebrand
  6. Two Weapon Style
  7. Reny Daret's... | Spreading Plague* [Returning Storm] <Respec "White Wurms..." to "One Dozen...">
  8. The Shield Cracks
  9. The Fox...
  10. The Long Night's... | Wicked Briars [Conjure Blight] <Respec Hold Beasts => Two Handed Style, optional>
  11. Tumbling
  12. Form of the Delemgan
  13. Ben Fidel's... | Embrace the Earth Talon [Plague of Insects]
  14. Tough* or Uncanny Luck*
  15. Rapid Casting
  16. Their Companion... | Venombloom [Sunlance]
  17. Farcasting*
  18. Nature's Terror*
  19. Spellshaping* | Nature's Bounty* [Lashing Vine]
  20. Accurate Empower

This build has you respec a couple times. The first is because White Wurms just gives you so much value early on, but as the build hits its theme it becomes less important compared to getting some chanter utility.

The second is because beasts become significantly less dangerous later on in the game (with the late, small exception of SSS), so you respec out of Hold Beasts into a weapon style. I marked this respec as optional because you can hold onto Hold Beasts if you want, or you can pick up a different spell.

Recommended chants:

Song 1: One Dozen -> Come, Come...

Song 2: The Fox... -> The Long Night's... -> Come, Come...

edit: the justification for these recommended songs is that you start with the situationally valuable chants first, so if you switch your songs you get those going first (e.g. your party gets hit by terrified, switching to song 1 will quickly dispel it). beyond that, come come targets fortitude so having it come right after the long night's (-14 fort) helps it land/crit.

 

Recommended weapon proficiency and order:

flail|club, quarterstaff, greatsword, crossbow/arbalest, warbow, arbalest/crossbow

 

edit: forgot to mention, I highly recommend getting the watcher ability that gives you a tier 3 perception inspiration. this build actually gets a lot more general utility out of being able to generate Intuitive vs Brilliant.

 

Gear

Weapon slot 1: Keeper of the Flame or Ondre's Flog of Obedience main hand, Kapana Taga offhand

Weapon slot 2: Spine of Thicket Green with modal on

Weapon slot 3: a crossbow, arbalest, or St Omaku's Mercy

Armor: Changeling's Mantle

Other items: Helm of the White Void, Ring of Focused Flame, Gloves of Accuracy, Boots of Speed, the Magnificent Escape Cape, Ring of Prosperity's Fortune

Pet: Lucero for the -25% item recovery bonus and dex resistance, or Frau Nils or the Obsidian Worm for the bonus melee accuracy

Misc: do the RDC quest to go into the underwater dungeon, and then do what Galawain asks of you to destroy the dungeon so that you get a +1 perception buff.

Possible late-game alternates: replace of Ring of Focused Flame with Kuaru's Prize since action economy means you use less and less Fire-keyworded stuff. As another alternate, in end game if you have a consistent source of a mind inspiration, consider swapping Magnificent Escape Cape with Shroud of the Phantasm for the action speed buff - your defenses are extremely good against most threats at levels 19-20 and being able to interrupt easily makes it easier to disengage safely so the cape itself with its only +10 disengagement bonus becomes less useful.

 

How the build plays

Early on, you are just a general theurge. You should take advantage of the ability to get an early Ring of Focused Flame by making good use of Sunbeam and Firebrand. Use Tanglefoot to help soften enemies' reflex defense up against your own Sunbeam and the rest of your party.

At about level 10, you become a premium debuffer. The Long Night's... chant will give you repeating afflictions against the enemies totalling up to -14 fortitude, which will help land a couple of your spells (Wicked Briars, Spreading Plague, and Returning Storm) in addition to helping your party members. Wicked Briars becomes a great utility spell doing damage and also adding a further source for reducing reflex. Your chanter invocations help soften enemies up even more with -2 AR from The Shield Cracks, and the general utility from Reny Daret's and especially its upgrade (which bestows -10 all defenses even if the enemy is somehow not affeted by the main frightened effect). But if you really want a preview of where this build is going, go rest periodically in Tikawara, which can give you a resting bonus that lets your abilities interrupt when empowered (this resting option goes away if you destroy the adra in poko kahara). Try it with Wicked Briars and watch in amazement as enemies can get very little done.

Whenever you get the Helm of the White Void (shoot for level 13-15, depending on skill and difficulty), your power as a general debuffer and aoe damage dealer gets kicked up a notch.

At level 16, the build takes off. Energized from the chanter invocation will let you interrupt on a crit (on top of a nice +2 PEN and +5 might), but the real magic is that your druid and chanter arsenal is full of stuff that ticks multiple times. Combined with up to +20 accuracy (+10 from ring of focused flame and +10 from helm of the white void) a high perception, tons of enemy defense lowering effects, you'll be critting a lot. In a typical non-trivial fight you can layer these effects (including bonus from helm of the white void):

  • Venombloom, every 3s at +10 acc (each component can crit interrupt)
  • Wicked Briars, every 3s at +10 acc (both the damage and the hobbling can crit interrupt)
  • Tanglefoot, every 3s at +10 acc
  • Cinder Bombs, initial hit and every 3s at +20 acc
  • The Fox..., The Long Night..., and Come Come... chants will hit every 6s; The Long Night will do so at +10 acc

In harder fights, you can empower any one of those abilities for an additional accuracy (and duration/pen/damage) from +5 PL bonus. (In end-game you get a further +10 from accurate empower). You can quaff a potion of merciless gaze for additional hit-to-crit, and don't forget to stockpile money to supercharge your ring of prosperity's fortune.

All the while, try to mix in a Ben Fidel or Shield Cracks; Ben Fidel is especially great because the -10 all defenses will make ALL your effects more likely to crit. As a general debuffing effect, persistent frightened will make your enemies more harmless while also making your own debuffs last longer on them (on top of the other usual benefits to reducing their resolve).

I recommend keeping the spine of thicket green equipped at the start of every fight so that your initial round of buffing and casting gets boosted (i chose the +3 PL upgrade for beast/plant effects since that covers the effects I actually want to cast). I recommend keeping the +20 deflection modal on as protection. After your initial surge of buffing/debuffing, I recommend switching weapons - the loss in PL will weaken your ongoing effects, but using the -25 defense modal on either your flail or club will more than make up for it. Club is generally the better choice (helps Venombloom, Ben Fidel..., The Fox...), but if you plan on dropping more cinder bombs or--better yet--have someone else in your party using a club, switch on the reflex penalty one instead. (In general I don't want to use both modals if I can help it, just as a matter of personal taste. Except for...)

As an optional pick later on, Nature's Terror comes along. It, too, will tick every 3s with multiple components, and beneficially targets will and reflex, both of which you can lower quite easily with one of your weapon slots. Because it's not plant or beast-based, you don't have to worry too much about losing out on the +3 PL bonus from switching away from Spine. With Energized active, you are going to make it very hard for any enemy you're nearby to get anything done. However, the reason why Nature's Terror is an optional pick is because with poor positioning, you'll also make it hard for anyone in your party to get anything done.

In fact, this is a general theme of the build - you have to be very careful with targeting and positioning of everyone, especially after you unlock Energized shenanigans. In the build guide I suggest picking up Tough at level 14, and this is mostly an artifact of me playing on PotD and loving the resiliency Tough adds. If you're having problems with positioning, pick up Farcasting or Spell Shaping earlier instead. Farcasting especially - both Venombloom and Wicked Briars have very small ranges (5m) and getting an additional 1m can mean a world of difference, especially when you're fighting in awkward or cramped indoor locations.

 

You might be wondering just how effective all of this constant interrupting is. Well, here are two ways I can put it:

  1. Originally this build picked up the animated weapon summon (as is a pretty safe bet for chanters) at level 19. However, after actually playing with this build I dropped it in favor of some passives because I'd much rather be using the phrases on refreshing Energized and any Brilliant shenanigans on creating more interrupt effects rather than rapidly summoning new allies.*
  2. Normally I feel compelled to play a build all the way to the end to ensure its utility/viability, but levels 16-17 were so utterly convincing that I felt it was unnecessary to wait to see the build to its end. When you have an entire big boss fight shut down and there's very little the enemies can do about it except melt away, it's quite astounding to see.

*That being said, your biggest weakness here is The Oracle, Memory Hoarder, and Dorudugan -- all of whom can't be interrupted. In such a case, however, I feel like as a general debuffing, aoe damage theurge this build is fine, since that's what it is for half the game. Though that being said, if you're more comfortable having all your bases covered, you can pick up the animated weapon summon and drop one of the later optional picks.

 

There's a random sub-theme here: lots of disengagement bonuses. Between form of the delemgan, boots of speed, the magnificent escape cape, tumbling, the fox chant, you can give yourself a +70 swing in your favor against enemy accuracy against disengagement attacks (it's actually a +90 swing, but disengagement attacks get a +20 bonus); this is probably one of the most efficient ways to persistently stack on deflection. Switch over or keep your quarterstaff active for an additional +20 generic deflection and you'll find that this build is actually safer actively disengaging from attacks, which is good because Venombloom, Wicked Briars, and Nature's Terror frequently require you to get very close to the front lines. I don't recommend actively disengaging for your other party members, even with The Fox chant active, unless they also have tumbling and form of the delemgan at the very least, or if you have no other choice.

 

Random notes

Ring of Focused Flame boosts the following things this build might use +10 acc: sparkcrackers, cinder bomb, immolator, firebrand attacks, sunbeam, sunlance

Helm of the White Void generously boosts this build at +10 acc: pretty much every bomb except {immolator, grenade, concussion bomb, the healing bomb}, tanglefoot, sunbeam, hold beasts, spreading plague, returning storm, wicked briars, embrace the earth talon, plague of insects, nature's terror, venombloom, reny daret/ben fidel... invocation, the long night's... chant.  Note that even when there is a part of the ability that is on a separate attack roll from the actual mind/body affliction, helm of the white void still generously grants a +10 accuracy bonus.

Venombloom is secretly keyworded as poison and won't affect poison-immune creatures. Wicked Briars is not poison-based despite appearing similar. Wicked Briars and Tanglefoot are ground-based effects, though Venombloom curiously isn't. So keep that weird rock-paper-scissors set up in mind against poison-immune and/or flying foes.

Wall of Thorns does not work with this build. Hazard effects do not correspond their effects to you very well, so e.g. the crit interrupt doesn't work at all.

The build recommends a boar or cat. Cat because they have a killer buff that boosts action speed. Boar because of the utility of having a self-heal, and the raw damage DoT can help you early on in cases where you have terrible PEN or AR mitigation.

 

The main reason why this build doesn't go all-in on explosives is because you can get great utility out of supplementing your explosives with a few select consumables, especially potion of merciless gaze. The potions from nature's bounty also benefit from alchemy. Do a lot of drugs. This build loves Coral Snuff (+15% action bonus) and Deadeye (+5 acc, 15% interrupt). Eventually Nature's Bounty (if you pick it) will obviate the need for Coral Snuff. Potion of Impediment seems to only work on weapon attacks, however (at least I didn't see it get proceed in the one fight I used it except on melee attacks), but as a skald you'll love that anyway.

 

 

Possible party members and variants

The ultimate synergy here is a wizard that has access to conjuration and transmutation magic. Between the AR debuffing and general defense lowering (especially resolve), it is very easy to land a long-lasting Combusting Wounds at full PEN against even tanky foes. Add on all the ticking damage effects from the druid, and add on random conjuration/transmutation magic (wall of force, malignant cloud, chill fog) and you can do an absolutely stunning amount of damage.

  • If you weren't aware, DoT or HoT effects that stack will immediately tick for damage/healing when another stack lands. At even level 14-15 or so, I've seen damage numbers from Combusting Wounds tick for 100+ damage every single time one of {Wicked Briars, Wall of Force, Malignant Cloud, any party member attack) lands. I didn't exactly go out of my way to to do this like I have in the past (bleeding modal for axe), but it sure made absolute quick work of the Beast of Winter DLC when bullet-sponge enemy/boss health is ticking away so quickly you can literally see the bar empty before your eyes, and this was before I got Venombloom and Nature's Terror to add in to the mix. (in this case, Fassina quickly became the unparalleled damage leader of the party because all combusting wounds damage is credited towards the wizard who cast it.)

A priest is also always a good choice, in particular Xoti. Prayer/Litany for the Spirit is great on this theurge for the extra AoE and duration (and PL). Devotions is a wonderful +10 accuracy. Xoti in particular has Wicked Briars and Wall of Thorns, which can help extend The Shield Cracks (and further synergizes with the combusting wounds mechanic above, if you want to trivialize many boss fights in the game).

Instead of a priest a paladin also works for zealous focus (+5 acc, +5% hit to crit).

A barbarian with spirit frenzy is also a subtly nice choice, because the one main affliction you haven't got covered that you would really benefit from is a might affliction, and spirit frenzy will spread staggered everywhere very cheaply.

 

The build here uses Skald because it really helps the lower level invocations be extremely cheap to use, and later on you're likely to crit a lot with melee attacks so it's not terribly hard to get up to the six you need to re-use Their Companion. However, Troubadour is also a good choice - for a slightly worse low-end behavior (Brisk Recitation gets you the lower invocations as fast as a skald but without linger or possibiliy of getting invocations even faster with crits), you get arguably much better high-end behavior (easier to generate Their Companion when needed, your chants tick every 3s, which doubles the interrupts you can get from chants, at the cost of no linger).

The build here also uses Animist because the free spells helped cover a lot of bases and provide general utility (Sunbeam is an excellent tier one spell that works great in this build, The Moon's Light is great healing utility, Returning Storm goes great with all the debuffing, Lashine Vine is a powerful summon that scales). However, because so many effects that you want to use are plant or beast based, choosing an Ancient is also an alternative choice - though your ability points are going to be a bit harder to spend because you don't get as useful free spells (though you do get Form of the Delemgan and Venombloom, and the free Hold Beasts opens up space in the early game).

 

If you don't want to run a theurge in particular, you can also try to sub in a wizard instead of the druid. However, pay attention to the Wall of Thorns notes - the same applies to all the hazard effects the wizard has. That still leaves Chill Fog (tier one, though you should probably just use Slicken instead), Binding Web (tier two), Ryngrim's Repulsive Visage (tier three), and Ninagauth's Freezing Pillar (tier six) as options that give you at least +10 accuracy (i'm excluding the beams because i don't find them as useful for this setup due to their particular aiming needs; YMMV). That's not bad, and you also would free up a couple skill points because instead of relying on disengagement accuracy/deflection shifts, you can just use Deleterious Alacrity of Motion or Fleet Feet to grant you engagement immunity. All the other principles of the build will stay true, but you lose a bit of general utility in the process (Nature's Bounty, Form of the Delemgan, and The Moon's Light are great party support spells and Embrace the Earth Talon and Returning Storm are great druid particulars) and the wizard equivalents all have a much shorter duration than the druid effects (the wizard effects are typically 10s with a few not mentioned here [no +10 acc] that can go up to 15s, whereas the druid effects start at base 20s and can go up to 30s [Nature's Terror]), which may result in some action economy issues in shorter fights (spending more time recasting effects) and spell resource issues in larger fights (blowing all your spells too early).

 

This build doesn't go out of its way to recommend Least Unstable Coil, but because Venombloom and Returning Storm are in your spell roster, this theurge would make very happy work of Least Unstable Coil's tier 3 inspiration shenanigans.

As a possible build alteration, instead of respeccing out of White Wurms, you can upgrade it, at which point it benefits from the +10 acc of helm of the white void. You might find yourself extremely constrained on phrases though, so this might be a better choice for a troubadour with brisk recitation active.

Note that because you have so many ground effects, items that summon flying help are great because they are effectively immune to all your shenanigans. It might even be worth considering a variant that picks up the Drake summon at some point. (Though do watch out for Venombloom, which should affect flying foes as well)

 

This build has a particular vulnerability to might afflictions, because it's expensive for you to re-cast Their Companion early than anticipated. A source of might resistance might be useful (though not enough to switch away from the hearth orlan's 10% hit to crit).

Edited by thelee
late game tweaks
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This looks like a really interesting build, thelee. I like the idea of continually disrupting powerful foes. This seems like a great build for making use of Their Companion. One question I have is why you recommend taking weapon proficiencies in ranged weapons. Doesn't skalds only gain phrases from crits from melee weapons? Also, I like the synergy with a wizard companion. While Fassina works, do you think a bloodmage companion might be best to repeatedly cast combusting wounds and so forth?

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1 hour ago, dgray62 said:

One question I have is why you recommend taking weapon proficiencies in ranged weapons. Doesn't skalds only gain phrases from crits from melee weapons?

I should've made that more clear, all those were 100% for like mega/boss encounters, where I don't want to necessarily be up close, but I want to disrupt the enemy doing something critically important. These days I *always* have every single person in my party take xbow or arbalest at level 16 or 20 so I have freedom to equip my characters with extra interrupts that can be done basically at will; for this character in particular since most of the proficiencies are taken care of early I picked up both just for maximum flexibility. The warbow is there because I though St Omaku's Mercy was a nice convenient synergy (scales with religion, can instant recover on crit and you already have a high accuracy from perception, gloves of accuracy, hearth orlan) for typical non-boss situations where you're in cramped indoor environment and can't get in melee range anyway.

 

1 hour ago, dgray62 said:

Also, I like the synergy with a wizard companion. While Fassina works, do you think a bloodmage companion might be best to repeatedly cast combusting wounds and so forth?

absolutely. in fact it might be close to being utter cheese. at least it's a bit "fairer" than using brilliant :). edit - on the scale of all possible cheeses, this is probably pretty tame. this combo has been around for ever, it's just that this theurge package expressly uses a lot of damage ticking abilities and piles on the debuffing.

Edited by thelee
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Very Cool. My personal choice would be Troubadour/Ancient. 

You did something similar to me in PoE: after seeing enemy druids using Plague of Insects to destroy my concentration and then using Tanglefoot to constantly interrupt my party I build a max PER + interrupt gear Druid and it was fun. But since interrupts were less reliably and less severe in PoE compared to Deadfire and because the enemies where it mattered had very high Fortitude to resist the Plague and high Resolve for absurd concentration it wasn't as impactful as it appears to be here. 

I have three questions though:

1. Why not using Plague of Insects and/or "Thick Grew Their Tongues" (or did I miss that)? The latter would even work as interrupter chant as well because it does a hit roll vs Will. I reckon this would lead to interrupts sooner because they completely remove Concentration right away...?

2. Do you know if "Death in Life" from the Blackend Plate would also lead to an interrupt? Can you think of other items who have an "aura" that does hit rolls?

23. Did you mean Endre's Flog of Obedience? ;) #itemNameAnalMinMaxingHauntsTheLee 

For the inexperienced reader I want to point out that there are two separate invocations whose name starts with "Reny Daret's...": a) the phanom summon and b) the cone-shaped fear invocation which leads to "Ben Fidel's". Obviously here it's the latter. I have no idea which deceptive dev came up with this confusing cabal. ;) 

I have done something similar with a Berserker/Ancient and went to get the Slayer's Claw (Tenacious-->Energized) and paired it with Keeper of the Flame and Rekvu's Fractured Casque. You won't have the chants of course and the Frenzy duration is shorter than the Champion Invocation  - but high action speed and Blood Thirst in combination with DoTs (Plague oI) and Pulses (Wicked B., Venombloom...) were very good in fights where you have some weaker enemies that die way before the tougher ones, giving you crazy spell output - and Blood Thirst can help to crit a bit more. Berserker Frenzy + Barbaric Smash is likely to crit even high defense foes due to the high crit conversion and the stagger from Spirit Frenzy in combo with the weaken effects is nice. Also nice is that Barbaric Shout (that doesn't naturally interrrupt like the Barbaric Roar) turns into a cheap interrupt tool whose AoE is huge. But Slayer's Claw comes rel. late... :(

Edited by Boeroer
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Great stuff.

I'll try to build Fassina this way as a Wizard/Chanter in my current playthrough. May finally make sense of her.

"Time is not your enemy. Forever is."

— Fall-From-Grace, Planescape: Torment

"It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question, and he'll look for his own answers."

— Kvothe, The Wise Man's Fears

My Deadfire mods: Brilliant Mod | Faster Deadfire | Deadfire Unnerfed | Helwalker Rekke | Permanent Per-Rest Bonuses | PoE Items for Deadfire | No Recyled Icons | Soul Charged Nautilus

 

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Just a quick question: Why come, come soft winds? It seems like the chant doesn't do enough to justify the chant slot.

Otherwise, very instructive. I wish you had posted before my playthrough with a Druid/Chanter! ;)

Indeed, Chanters have so much group utility I am tempted to run 2 of them in the future. Or perhaps I should have simply stuck to my original plan and made my main tank a 2nd Chanter. With just 1 Chanter, I don't have enough slots for all the cool chants and invocations! ;)

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24 minutes ago, dgray62 said:

I believe that Come, Come Soft Winds is chosen primarily for the interrupts. As you note, it's damage is low, but it would be a regular pulse of interrupts for every enemy in chant radius.

Ah, ok. Thanks!

Edit: The in-game description doesn't say it interrupts?

Edited by Lampros
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It seems you didn't get the main point of the build:

He is using the Energized inspiration from the Invocation "Their Champion". Once you are energized all your critical hits will interrupt the enemy. That includes chants as well (as long as they do a hit roll that can critically hit). They do hit rolls every 6 secs (with Brisk Recitation every 3 secs). Druid's pulsing spells like Tanglefoot do hit rolls every 3 secs. Different chants target different defenses though (Come Soft Swinds targets Fortitude for example). So it's benefical to have a portfolio of offensive chants that target all different defenses. On top of that the chant heals AND can interrupt while being energized. Ancient Memory would heal better but can't interrupt (doesn't do hit rolls on enemies). 

Edited by Boeroer
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1 hour ago, Boeroer said:

It seems you didn't get the main point of the build:

He is using the Energized inspiration from the Invocation "Their Champion". Once you are energized all your critical hits will interrupt the enemy. That includes chants as well (as long as they do a hit roll that can critically hit). They do hit rolls every 6 secs (with Brisk Recitation every 3 secs). Druid's pulsing spells like Tanglefoot do hit rolls every 3 secs. Different chants target different defenses though (Come Soft Swinds targets Fortitude for example). So it's benefical to have a portfolio of offensive chants that target all different defenses. On top of that the chant heals AND can interrupt while being energized. Ancient Memory would heal better but can't interrupt (doesn't do hit rolls on enemies). 

OMG, now I understand. I am such a newb I don't even know most of the inspirations!

Edit: It looks like my Theurg has hitherto averaged only about 18 percent crit. So I'd need a lot of effects going off to have this work.

Edited by Lampros
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14 hours ago, Boeroer said:

I have three questions though:

1. Why not using Plague of Insects and/or "Thick Grew Their Tongues" (or did I miss that)? The latter would even work as interrupter chant as well because it does a hit roll vs Will. I reckon this would lead to interrupts sooner because they completely remove Concentration right away...?

2. Do you know if "Death in Life" from the Blackend Plate would also lead to an interrupt? Can you think of other items who have an "aura" that does hit rolls?

2. Did you mean Endre's Flog of Obedience? ;) #itemNameAnalMinMaxingHauntsTheLee 
 

1. I mostly found myself extremely constrained in ability points, so compromises were made in places. Thick Thick was a victim of this, because you did miss that the Animist gets Plague of Insects for free :), which was a point in the Animist's favor.

2. Honestly I have no idea, I forgot about items like this.

2 (3?). grumble grumble!

 

8 hours ago, dgray62 said:

I believe that Come, Come Soft Winds is chosen primarily for the interrupts. As you note, it's damage is low, but it would be a regular pulse of interrupts for every enemy in chant radius.

yes, on top of this, it's only one of two chants at tier one that actually targets enemies, and of the two, this one seemed like it had much more general utility because of its steady self-heal and the raw damage is very relevant help early on when PEN/AR mitigation is in shorter supply and enemy health lower. as a fun bonus, it interacts with any combusting wounds shenanigans. edit - unfortunately my assumption was wrong on this. it still has decent utility otherwise

 

6 hours ago, Lampros said:

So this build works on non-interruptible bosses as well? Or are they still troublesome? :(

it "works" on non-interruptible bosses, just not with the interrupts :)  against them this functions more just like a normal theurge. though all the debuffing of defenses and AR and +2 PEN has such great general utility that a "normal" theurge is still very effective.

Edited by thelee
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26 minutes ago, Lampros said:

Edit: It looks like my Theurg has hitherto averaged only about 18 percent crit. So I'd need a lot of effects going off to have this work.

do you have helm of the white void? it gets you a completely stackable, almost 100% effective +10 flat accuracy bonus. do you have ben fidel's invocation? that'll give you a flat -10 all defense debuff against foes. the hearth orlan really helps with its high max perception and hit to crit passive.

 

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1 minute ago, thelee said:

do you have helm of the white void? it gets you a completely stackable, almost 100% effective +10 flat accuracy bonus. do you have ben fidel's invocation? that'll give you a flat -10 all defense debuff against foes. the hearth orlan really helps with its high max perception and hit to crit passive.

 

I don't ever recall seeing Helm of the White Void; but this is likely because I am used to playing a melee-centric group and do not really pay much attention to caster items. But I will look it up online and remember to get it ASAP now. As for Ben Fidel's invocation, I am still level 11, so not yet! ;)

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i forgot to mention in the original post (updated now) that as a watcher you need to get the "mien of death's herald" set of abilities, which grant you up to a tier 3 perception inspiration. while probably every min-maxer (including myself) would normally recommend getting brilliant, for general utility having intuitive for cases where enemies have just an unfair high defense against you really helps (mostly matters for end-game).

 

4 minutes ago, Lampros said:

I don't ever recall seeing Helm of the White Void; but this is likely because I am used to playing a melee-centric group and do not really pay much attention to caster items. But I will look it up online and remember to get it ASAP now. As for Ben Fidel's invocation, I am still level 11, so not yet! ;)

it's in beast of winter DLC, off the frozen elf statue. It is absolutely a game-changer for the build (it was actually the starting point because after seeing it in some earlier experiments at how generous the +10 accuracy was I was trying to find a build-around that could take good advantage for it). Even before you are able to interrupt, it just gives basically the entire build a wonderful upgrade in effectiveness. even just using tier one sunbeam at +20 accuracy is very good.

Edited by thelee
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just to add, even for non-casters helm of the white void can be very good and is worth a check for anyone's setup. rogue abilities should generously benefit from it, for example. mule kick (but not knockdown) and charge on fighter also benefit. while i haven't tested this one in particular, even barbarian should benefit once they have spirit frenzy. however OBS programmed the item, it's just generously in the player's favor and so long as the ability in question has a mind/body affliction at any point, the entire thing gets a +10 accuracy bonus.

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20 hours ago, thelee said:

 At even level 14-15 or so, I've seen damage numbers from Combusting Wounds tick for 100+ damage every single time one of {Wicked Briars, Wall of Force, Malignant Cloud, any party member attack) lands.

How exactly does Combusting Wounds works? The in-game description, which is clearly wrong, states that it does 4 burn damage over 6 seconds in an AOE when hit. It's effects are more modest at lower levels. Does it the scaling really ramp up as you gain levels or PLs?

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56 minutes ago, dgray62 said:

How exactly does Combusting Wounds works? The in-game description, which is clearly wrong, states that it does 4 burn damage over 6 seconds in an AOE when hit. It's effects are more modest at lower levels. Does it the scaling really ramp up as you gain levels or PLs?

so there's a few things.

1. combusting wounds is an applyovertime effect IIRC. that means that what it does is actually wrong compared to the tooltip. basically it does 2 damage per tick, including an additional 2 damage upon initial application. (all applyovertime effects understate their damage because of this initial application being excluded from the tooltip)

2. combusting wounds stacks, so that you can get multiple ticks. the only limit is essentially the number of times you can manage to stack it within a given duration.

3. the way stacking DoTs appear to work is that it's essentially treated as one DoT, so all the damage is summed together and ticks as one.

3b. that includes the initial application.

4. unlike some other stacking buffs, I do not believe DoTs (or HoTs for that matter) track their expiration times separately. When you apply a new stack, it refreshes the duration and adds a new stack. tested just now, this is wrong, expiration times are tracked separately.

 

fassina in this case had tier seven spells. that means +5 PL on combusting wounds. Had +1 PL from having the conjurer summon out, for +6 total. I believe combusting wounds damage gets +10% damage per PL. It also scales with might, but that's relatively irrelevant due to how buggily it is implemented with ApplyOverTime effects. So by default, each tick will do 3.2 damage per tick, including upon initial application. (edit: testing just now, the tooltip suggests it only gets +5% per PL, but it doesn't square with the actual per tick damage numbers i get in testing. so either the tooltip is somehow wrong, or there's something odd about how PL bonuses are determined for applyovertime effects.)

normally what keeps combusting wounds from going out of control is that you're not constantly bombarding the enemy with damage effects, each tick has low duration, the master debuff that generates the stacking dots doesn't last very long, and it has relatively low PEN. However, with the shield cracks and passive flanking I was able to get the Beast of Winter (using them as an example because I remember it most clearly) down to ~7 fire AR iirc, which is more than enough for a +6 PL combusting wounds to do full pen. Fassina also had infuse with vital essence for 20 intellect plus a couple from items. In addition, the resolve penalty and overall defense lowering i accomplished meant the initial combusting wounds crit on rymrgand for something like 40s with each DoT at around ~12s, plenty of time to build up stacks under dedicated focus.

the last time I examined the tooltips in detail, between wicked briars (three of them, two from the theurge, one from xoti), malignant cloud, wall of force, an animal companion, come come chant, single-minded focus fire from my entire party (i let the adds in that fight just get consumed by incidental hits from the aoe) i had 21 stacks of combusting wounds. And that literally meant everytime I saw a red number tick on top of rymrgand from any one of my many damage sources, right behind it was another number for 70+ damage (in fact I only examined the tooltip closely because rymrgand was dying much faster than expected, and that took a while because rymrgand had so many debuffs that it was hard to actually see the stackc ount), and that number kept climbing up with each tick until rymrgand basically disintegrated before combusting wounds could even run out.

i don't remember the specific stack count and situation for neriscyrlas, but i was seeing 100+ damage number ticks rapidly near the end (and remember, these aren't the every 3 s ticks, these are the numbers you see every time any other damage effect happens on ner so it's happening very rapidly). based on the other numbers, i can infer that it got up to the 30+ stack count between everything that was happening . it was so shockingly fast neriscyrlas's AI script didn't even have time to ready its cast of llengrath's safeguard (which I had been preparing interrupts for) before she died.

 

if you *really* want to exploit this, combine scordeo's edge and the best axe you can find. trigger blade cascade, salvation of time it a bit (don't even have to do brilliant tricks), switch to your axe, and just go to town. *each* time you swing your axe with no recovery, you will 10% of your weapon damage as raw, plus all the other stacks' worth of damage. I melted dorudugan in no time whatsoever, even with severe underpenetration.

 

note however that the game really does not like this - when stacking gets this extreme weird stuff happens at end-of-combat cleanup. i will see characters getting healed for an overflowed amount of health (e.g. 2 billion or 2^32) at end of combat, or they might even take an overflowed amount of damage (-2 billion). in my blade cascade + bleeding axe situation, i actually crashed the game the first time I did this on dorudugan after it died. (the beast of winter situation didn't do anythign too weird so that was probably a safe stacking range, but definitely at neriscyrlas i saw my characters getting healed for 2 billion as i switched into the scripted encounter after her defeat and i was worried from prior experience that i might have jsut crashed my game)

 

edit: this is also why unbending on a fighter can be extremely good, because the same applies to heals except in reverse. I first discovered this behavior a short while back (and I think Elric Galad helped explain/research it) actually when in an SSS arena fight an enemey fighter with unbending was healing for something like 100+ health *every time I hit it*. it went from near death to unharmed in a blink of an eye. be real careful around unbending and try to wait it out instead, or use something like arcane suppression or tranquilizer shot or street sweeper to get rid of it.

Edited by thelee
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37 minutes ago, Lampros said:

Would Combusting Wounds have the same efficacy in turn-based, too?

hm, you would need to make sure to exceed the terribly unfavorable rounding cutoff here.

with some PL scaling and high intellect the damage dots just *barely* get over the cutoff to get to two rounds duration. you would have to somehow get 20-40 damage attacks in within two rounds, which seems challenging (though all the hazard and persistent effects would tick twice each round iirc). this is where the action economy issues of turn-based hurt alot. it only really works in RTwP because some actions are extremely fast (dual wielded full attacks - you could squeeze in two of those in the "time" it takes for turn-based to handle one dual-wielded full attack).

 

but let's see, based on some back-of-the-envelope-math and my recollection of the rymrgand fight:

over ~12s combusting wounds Dot (2 rounds):

  1. 12 triggers from 3x wicked briars
  2. 4 triggers of malignant cloud
  3. 4 triggers of wall of force (i think hazard walls trigger more often, but i'm low-balling it here)
  4. 6 each hit from three dual-wielded party members making two rounds of attacks
  5. 4 hits from two non-dual-wielded party members making two rounds of attacks

that would get you to 30 stacks by the final attack, so it looks doable. with more effects (cinder bombs and such) you could get higher. in fact, given this, and the fact that in my RtWP fight i was using full attacks and fast weapons with a couple of my melee fighters (which basically doubles+ the hit count in the same duration) and had an essential phantom and an animal companion, i'm surprised my persistent stack count against rymrgand didn't get even higher. i guess he died too quickly 😄 

HOWEVER, if you're just missing even a slight bit of intellect or PL scaling or the enemy's resolve is too high, you only get one round of combusting wounds DoT and it would get much harder to meaningfully stack up

Edited by thelee
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45 minutes ago, thelee said:

hm, you would need to make sure to exceed the terribly unfavorable rounding cutoff here.

with some PL scaling and high intellect the damage dots just *barely* get over the cutoff to get to two rounds duration. you would have to somehow get 20-40 damage attacks in within two rounds, which seems challenging (though all the hazard and persistent effects would tick twice each round iirc). this is where the action economy issues of turn-based hurt alot. it only really works in RTwP because some actions are extremely fast (dual wielded full attacks - you could squeeze in two of those in the "time" it takes for turn-based to handle one dual-wielded full attack).

 

but let's see, based on some back-of-the-envelope-math and my recollection of the rymrgand fight:

over ~12s combusting wounds Dot (2 rounds):

  1. 12 triggers from 3x wicked briars
  2. 4 triggers of malignant cloud
  3. 4 triggers of wall of force (i think hazard walls trigger more often, but i'm low-balling it here)
  4. 6 each hit from three dual-wielded party members making two rounds of attacks
  5. 4 hits from two non-dual-wielded party members making two rounds of attacks

that would get you to 30 stacks by the final attack, so it looks doable. with more effects (cinder bombs and such) you could get higher. in fact, given this, and the fact that in my RtWP fight i was using full attacks and fast weapons with a couple of my melee fighters (which basically doubles+ the hit count in the same duration) and had an essential phantom and an animal companion, i'm surprised my persistent stack count against rymrgand didn't get even higher. i guess he died too quickly 😄 

HOWEVER, if you're just missing even a slight bit of intellect or PL scaling or the enemy's resolve is too high, you only get one round of combusting wounds DoT and it would get much harder to meaningfully stack up

 

Hmm, so I guess I'd need to ensure 2 rounds. Let me take Aloth out of mothballs and see how long his Combustible Wounds last and then calculate from there.

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Thanks for the detailed reply, Thelee. I was going to try your new build with a tactician/blood mage to see how the DoT madness works out. Like many players, in the past when I played mages I preferred the evoker/blaster direct damage route. This was largely do to the fact that I didn't understand how spells like Combusting Wounds worked, and hence didn't use them.

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I've found Combusting Wounds pretty useless in Turn Based mode.

MAYBE its possible to work to make it work. But I think its damn hard.

Consider this: ray-type and wall type spells tick EVERY second in real time, rapidly racking Combustion ticks. But in Turn Based 6 of those ticks are compressed into one bigger tick every round. And you get 3 ticks total (for 10 second spells), instead of 11 ticks...

I guess instant multiattack effects would be better, like Minoletta's various missiles, (dual) blunderbuss multishots and such. But I don't think its really worth the hassle.

Edited by Haplok
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On 10/30/2020 at 5:08 PM, thelee said:

hm, you would need to make sure to exceed the terribly unfavorable rounding cutoff here.

with some PL scaling and high intellect the damage dots just *barely* get over the cutoff to get to two rounds duration. you would have to somehow get 20-40 damage attacks in within two rounds, which seems challenging (though all the hazard and persistent effects would tick twice each round iirc). this is where the action economy issues of turn-based hurt alot. it only really works in RTwP because some actions are extremely fast (dual wielded full attacks - you could squeeze in two of those in the "time" it takes for turn-based to handle one dual-wielded full attack).

 

but let's see, based on some back-of-the-envelope-math and my recollection of the rymrgand fight:

over ~12s combusting wounds Dot (2 rounds):

  1. 12 triggers from 3x wicked briars
  2. 4 triggers of malignant cloud
  3. 4 triggers of wall of force (i think hazard walls trigger more often, but i'm low-balling it here)
  4. 6 each hit from three dual-wielded party members making two rounds of attacks
  5. 4 hits from two non-dual-wielded party members making two rounds of attacks

that would get you to 30 stacks by the final attack, so it looks doable. with more effects (cinder bombs and such) you could get higher. in fact, given this, and the fact that in my RtWP fight i was using full attacks and fast weapons with a couple of my melee fighters (which basically doubles+ the hit count in the same duration) and had an essential phantom and an animal companion, i'm surprised my persistent stack count against rymrgand didn't get even higher. i guess he died too quickly 😄 

HOWEVER, if you're just missing even a slight bit of intellect or PL scaling or the enemy's resolve is too high, you only get one round of combusting wounds DoT and it would get much harder to meaningfully stack up

It turns out Combusting Wounds does 1 round even at 20 Intellect. I am not sure what I'd need to get to 2 rounds - 30? If the latter, then that is likely not practicable ;(

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