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Just wondering if anyone could provide some advice for a Templar, possibly extending into the rest of the party as well.

Going into Deadfire, I took my Priest of Berath and slapped Goldpact Knight on top of it (my favourite PoE1 character was a Goldpact) but I'm not sure if I like it. I'm playing on Veteran and I'm not struggling immensely, but I feel like something isn't clicking for me. Before starting the game I browsed some builds, but every Templar I found was not Berath, not Goldpact, or neither. I love the pair thematically and RP-wise, and further unto RP, I'm using greatswords (primarily; I've got a morningstar as well for crushing since it doesn't seem feasible to brute force through Armor like in PoE1).

The problem I think I'm having with the character is that I just don't know what to do with her/where her strengths lie and how to capitalize on them. Priest spells have a long cast time. I want to drop a buff/debuff, then go HAM with Whispers of the Endless Paths, but it often feels more like I drop a buff/debuff, then I swing once and rebuff/debuff. Again, it's not like I'm having horrible issues in combat, at least not yet, but just that I feel like I'd be getting much more out of the character if I'd not been a Priest. What I want out of my character is: aggressive, versatile front liner, emphasizing the melee aspect more than the spellcasting, but the spells being there to add variety. I'm just not sure how to really make it work.

My party is: Eder (Sword and board Swashbuckler), Pallegina (Herald, which was the class I'd originally thought of playing before seeing she can be one), Aloth (Pure Nerd), and Xoti (Pure Priest; my thinking was the spell changes to 2/encounter per spell level and limited spell pool, overlapping wouldn't be too bad, and she could fill the more typical Priest role while my MC does the whole righteous battlefield devastation shtick)

Right now, I have Xoti and myself cover buffs/debuffs (she has more buffs, since I generally like to cast my at the start of a fight, then focus mostly on offensive play afterward) and Pallegina is practically the primary support between Ancient Memory, Zealous Endurance, and (Greater) Lay on Hands. Eder and Aloth do Eder and Aloth things - they're fine, in my book, I just need to find more grimoires and meticulously respec and piece together the ultimate spell list for Aloth. The big questions, I guess, are as follows:

What are key Priest spells?

Beyond crucial general Priest spells, which would best benefit this character?

How would you build a Templar meeting the aforementioned criteria? Both the Priest and Paladin side of it. (Berath, Goldpact, Greatsword; should I have been a Crusader for this instead? I almost wanted to try Devoted + Priest, my Paladin was forever envious of Fighter Armor Penalty reduction in PoE1, but swapping sword for morningstar was the only reason I beat Steelclad Constructs)

Should I have made Xoti a monk? Feels like my melees are crowded as is, and whether or not ranged monk works, it feels weird conceptually. I like fairly traditional classes and roles.

Which effects don't stack with Zealous Focus/Endurance? I recall reading somewhere that Armor buffs don't stack with Endurance (really, really bummed by that, honestly) but does that mean Accuracy buffs don't stack with Focus as well? Do Hit-to-Crit not stack with the Zealous Focus upgrade? Do other Heal over Time effects not stack with Endurance's upgrade (Ancient Memory, for example).

Without necessarily listing off where to get everything, are there any particularly great items I should be on the lookout for? I'm like 15 hours in, level 10, (I play RPGs very slowly) and only just really branching out from Neketaka, and my party has very little interesting equipment yet. 

As a bit of a side note, Pallegina loathes Xoti. I'm sure I could might find this with a quick search, but my experience with looking up these kinds of questions in games usually leads to massive, often unrelated spoilers, so just while I'm the general subject of party composition... will companions hating each other ever result in them leaving the group like good vs evil NPCs in Baldur's Gate? I like them both, Pallegina probably fits my character better but Xoti's more engaging being that she's A) more sociable B) a new face. 

 

Lastly, the scope of this post kind of mutated as I wrote it, so apologies in advance for the haphazard mess of words above. Thanks for reading though, if you made it through to the end.

P.S. I don't suppose Deadfire has a totally busted greatsword with +50% critical damage that causes prone on crit? 😅

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Deadfire has no Hours of Saint Rumbalt, no. :) But it has a nice collection of Great Sword so I guess you will find something nice. It surely has a great armor that is totally fitting for your combo.

Berath/Goldpact is a viable combo but nothing that screams "synergies!" right into your face. Maybe that's what you are feeling. It doesn't do too much for your melee prowess (like a Streetfighter/Berath or Devoted/Berath would do) nor is your spellcasting much improved (something like Helwalker/Berath could do that). At least not on first glance. Same with the Goldpact Knight: there are some combos that works really well and are obvious - like Goldpact/Spiritshift Bear (druid) which has incredible armor rating and good damage output with 0 armor penalty. Goldpact/Berth doesn't seem to do that much for the Goldpact part either. 

With this combo you might have to look more closely. For example you can't know yet that the lash that Eternal Devotion will give you (10%) works with ALL direct damage attacks you do - including spells. Berath has some nice damaging spells. So that's not bad!

Also the Spiritual Great Sword you can summon will scale its lash with your Berathian dispositions! Meaning it will get stronger if you behave according your the order's rules. This stacks nicely with Flames of Devotion/Eternal Devotion. Big lashes on your Flames of Devotion attacks. Get the Ring of Focused Flames and you will ahve very high accuracy with Flames of Devotion. This will feel a lot better in melee. Whispers of the Endless Paths can be a great weapon with the right setup - but I don't think it's particularly good with your combo.

So maybe you just need some more "secret knowlege" about the Berath/Goldpact combos to have more fun with it (and to see stuff you might enjoy looking fowared to get going). Maybe @theleewants to chime in. Afaik he played some more Berath Priest and may have more insight. My personal experience with this combo is a bit limited.  

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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I think you've hit the nail on the head here, yeah. It's a general lack of synergistic feeling more than anything. I think the two work thematically (hey, their dispositions synergize really well!) but mechanically there may be a bit of a gap. Even on character creation it occurred to me there might be (Paladin in general seems like it might be a better fit with Magran? Fire and all that jazz) but Berath is my bae. Likewise, I can imagine Bleak Walker might have more synergy with Berath by way of Corrosive damage? But my knowledge of Bleak Walkers is hazy; I just remember their Flames of Devotion granting extra Corrosive in Pillars 1, anyway.

I've mostly been using Whispers because it looks so damn cool and I'm early enough along that the only other greatswords I've seen are generic Fine ones. And because it brings me joy to think of Eder getting teary-eyed after I melted down the shards of the Estoc I had him swing for half of PoE1 to make myself a sword instead.

My general line of thought with the Templar here was that in Pillars 1 Priest was fun with a lot of things it could do. My Goldpact was a nigh-untouchable juggernaut by mid-game without a shield, providing my party with big utility by way of cheeky Rumbalt knockdowns and massive single target damage (her record by the end of the game was around 220 damage, iiirc), but she was also a little lacking in gameplay. It seemed logical to squash the two together in Deadfire, since you can, but it isn't proving as fun or effective as I'd hoped. 

In a worst case scenario, I could just restart the game. Probably wouldn't take me more than 3-5 hours to more or less catch myself back up since I'd be able to skip through dialogue. I'd prefer not to, and especially would prefer not to without first planning out a new build & party to better fulfill this particular character's fantasy, but it's not the end of the world. I'm only working part time right now anyway thanks to unspecified global events, so it's not like I don't have the time. 

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Yeah, I played Templar, but most of my berath experiences are with fighter (Cleric), for the simple reason that--what you're experiencing--is that the action economy kinda sucks with a paladin, and there's some unsynergistic overlap between paladin and priest (for similar reasons I found it very hard to find a satisfying chanter/priest build). At least with a fighter, you get instant buffs (disciplined barrage/strikes line of skills, vigorous defense), attacks that go with your normal attacks (e.g. mule kick), and you also get straight-up action economy boosts (armored grace and mob stance), whereas you don't get much of that with paladin. And even then it felt like sometimes I had too much to do that I wasn't getting many weapon hits out of it (but it didn't always need to be; morning star debuff mule kick every once and a while to make sure my fort-targeting spells land was fine).

 

The templar I ended up going with was actually Eothas + Kind Wayfarers. It's still not truly synergistic, but it "felt" a lot better as an all-purpose healer/defensive character; Kind Wayfarers can dual-wield and turn lay on hands into a supreme area heal; combine that with priest defensiveness and I don't have to worry about my lame offensive output and instead act as a heal-monkey/buffer.

 

Honestly, for a more optimal offensive paladin setup I would have gone with Skaen or Wael as priests; they fit much better with your desired offensive role and they have far fewer action economy issues due to so many of their bonus spells being instant and/or no recovery. I would also boost your dexterity as reasonably as high it can go; the less time you spend casting, the more time you have to attack (and you can also easily buff other non-dex stats as a priest).

 

Unfortunately I'm not sure I have great ideas to tweak your existing build to what you want outside of rebooting. I have a few that can help adjust and maybe that'll help enough:

  • One is to go armor-light (light or cloth) if you aren't already. This will speed you up versus trying to tank attacks with heavy armor. the goldpact ability will still give you a bit of survivability; and then priest spells become more about aiding your survivability and maybe you won't feel like you're casting buffs all the time instead of being a damage-dealer.
  • Another is to just focus on one or two buffs and put the rest into more niche abilities so that they're still useful but you're not wasting all your time using them instead of your favorite whacking activity (devotions is a great candidate for a main buff. stuff like champion's boon, resurrection, or revive the fallen are extremely powerful to have in you pocket so won't feel like a "waste" if you're not using them in every fight).

 

On 4/2/2021 at 6:58 AM, 0rangekun said:

Which effects don't stack with Zealous Focus/Endurance? I recall reading somewhere that Armor buffs don't stack with Endurance (really, really bummed by that, honestly) but does that mean Accuracy buffs don't stack with Focus as well? Do Hit-to-Crit not stack with the Zealous Focus upgrade? Do other Heal over Time effects not stack with Endurance's upgrade (Ancient Memory, for example).

pay attention to the specific name for the buffs. Active generic accuracy buffs won't stack with zealous focus. Active generic +AR buffs won't stack with Endurance. Unfortunately in either case it means some redundancy with priest buffs (devotions grants +10 generic accuracy so will override zealous focus; litany for the body will provide hardy (+2 AR) which will override zealous endurance; even goldpact knight bonus will override zealous endurance instead of stacking). Active boosts to perception will stack with zealous focus, because even though the net effect is still an accuracy boost, perception is a different "type" of buff. All hit->crit and similar effects operate differently; every single one will be applicable, but they are each checked independently (so unlike everywhere else in the game, they stack multiplicatively; e.g. a 10% hit to crit plus upgraded zealous focus will equal (1 - .9 * .95) = 14.5% hit->crit instead of (10% + 5%) = 15%. Anyway, this is part of why I like Exalted/Zealous Charge for aura - stride and the hit downgrade effects are really hard to clash in terms of stacking and can be extremely useful.

Edited by thelee
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Appreciate the detailed response, even if I'm sad (but not surprised) to hear you don't have a magical fix to the problems I've outlined. 

1 hour ago, thelee said:

Skaen or Wael as priests

I was thinking this just the other day while taking a few minutes to actually read what other Priests can do (I didn't bother before, because I wasn't even considering sullying my first, full RP playthrough with some other deity). The 0.4 action speed Wael spells, though... ugh! Would have fit perfectly; jack myself up to be even harder to hit so I can focus that much more on gibbing everything with Flames of Devotion.

1 hour ago, thelee said:

Anyway, this is part of why I like Exalted/Zealous Charge for aura - stride and the hit downgrade effects are really hard to clash in terms of stacking and can be extremely useful.

It does have the added benefit of action speed from its upgrade, too, which I don't mind. I just like Focus' Hit to Crit. Crits are fun. It's lame to hear about Zealous Endurance's armor not stacking, though. I've been running it on Pallegina since she spends more time tucked in the middle of my group (assuming the heal over time upgrade even stacks with Ancient Memory). Although it honestly feels a bit like I should have Pallegina running around gutting people while I sit tight playing support.

All in all, I'm still very conflicted. Even if I do restart and try Fighter/Priest, I'm not sure it would quite hit the mark for me. The Priest changes as a whole get me down. Maybe less so if I'd designed my character to better lean into that role, I don't know. Fighter/Priest may feel better, or maybe I should just trade out Priest altogether for Fighter/Paladin. 

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2 hours ago, 0rangekun said:

It does have the added benefit of action speed from its upgrade, too

i think you might be mistaking it for something else; charge gives you bonus movement speed, and then bonus evasion.

 

2 hours ago, 0rangekun said:

It's lame to hear about Zealous Endurance's armor not stacking, though. I've been running it on Pallegina since she spends more time tucked in the middle of my group (assuming the heal over time upgrade even stacks with Ancient Memory).

yeah the lack of armor stacking really is lame once you plan out your party a bit because you can easily find several ways to get more than +1 as an active bonus.

that being said, the heal does stack with ancient memory. HoTs and DoTs all stack, so long as they are different spell or ability names. (Some HoTs and DoTs even stack with themselves, with deranged outcomes.) Honestly that's the best part of the endurance aura - upgrading it for the persistent, free, eternal heal. 

 

2 hours ago, 0rangekun said:

All in all, I'm still very conflicted. Even if I do restart and try Fighter/Priest, I'm not sure it would quite hit the mark for me. The Priest changes as a whole get me down. Maybe less so if I'd designed my character to better lean into that role, I don't know. Fighter/Priest may feel better, or maybe I should just trade out Priest altogether for Fighter/Paladin. 

it might be worth trying a wael priest for like the intro area just to see how it feels, since it seems like you are quite partial to a goldpact paladin. you get Arcane Veil right at the start, so you can already get a preview for what it is. Wael works really well with martial classes for the type of gameplay you talk about in the first post because of how many evasive spells they get for free, and in ways that are sometimes more advantageous than a true wizard. And then you can periodically mix in buffs or debuffs as opportunities allow (and champion's boon and minor avatar at the top is real nice for a melee-oriented build). I've probably used the wael subclass more than any other subclass in the game, in a wide array of builds.

Skaen is also extremely versatile and one of the bonus spells is straight up weapon-based (Finishing Blow), but alas you don't really get to get a feel for it until you at least unlock their second-tier spells (for Escape).

 

gonna plug my guide a bit in case it helps understand some of the aspects of the paladin or priest: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/227477-pillars-of-eternity-ii-deadfire/faqs/76599/paladin and https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/227477-pillars-of-eternity-ii-deadfire/faqs/76599/priest

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10 minutes ago, thelee said:

it might be worth trying a wael priest for like the intro area just to see how it feels, since it seems like you are quite partial to a goldpact paladin.

A little bit. Goldpact is leaps and bounds above the rest for me, for RP, and Paladin generally has a special place in my heart. I hated playing my Paladin in PoE1 on release, then come White March rebalancing and introducing new abilities it felt so worth sticking with it!

I suppose it couldn't hurt to check out Wael, it'd just be such a shame to ditch Berath. I know you can make your character from scratch when you import your save, but it feels best trying to keep the character as close to their imported history. But yeah, the spells... I used Touch of Rot early on, but I've never used it to much good effect since getting a full party. I don't use the free Resolve buff  much because it only lasts about 20 seconds for a 3 second cast. Wandering Plague, I don't think I'm using right because it never seems to wander, and Divine Terror I want to use but mechanically it's not jiving, and it's been easier+more effective to let Aloth toss his own fear (I forget the name, but IIRC it does Weakened and Terrified). That's as high as I've gotten so far, but I don't think the higher level spells stand out much more to me (the Berath ones, I mean; long cast time or no, some of all-priest ones I'd be using for sure). Maybe the Rust -4 armor spell? But I don't know that I'll need more than the -2 I can get from a Chanter Invocation playing on Veteran, especially when I'm not locked to any damage type as a Devoted or something.

Anyway, thanks! I'll check those links out tomorrow - think my brain's too mush for big reading right now.

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13 hours ago, 0rangekun said:

Wandering Plague, I don't think I'm using right because it never seems to wander

spreading plague actually does wander quite a bit, but the catch is that it wanders very slowly. so there's quite a bit of a delay between each bounce. i do like it though - in large, drawn-out fights you can end up covering the entire battlefield.

 

13 hours ago, 0rangekun said:

Divine Terror I want to use but mechanically it's not jiving, and it's been easier+more effective to let Aloth toss his own fear (I forget the name, but IIRC it does Weakened and Terrified).

yeah, wizards are king at resolve afflictions in this respect. it's more useful if you're using e.g. fassina (who doesn't have access to illusion magic).

 

13 hours ago, 0rangekun said:

Maybe the Rust -4 armor spell?

i hate to disappoint, but the spell is niche enough that it might disappoint. The key thing is that the duration is so short, and fights where just the more standard -2/-1 AR effects on top of +2 weapon modals isn't enough to penetrate, the enemy tends to have so much health that you need a lot of casts to get good mileage out of it, and multiclasses aren't great for that (they only get 1 cast).

Edited by thelee
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