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Hi folks. Long-time lurker here who’s benefited enormously from all the builds and advice on this board. After ~400 hours in Deadfire I recently completed my first Triple Crown (on the 4th attempt) and thought I’d share my approach for other pretty-good-but-not-great players who may be intimidated by that achievement (I certainly was!).

Nothing here is particularly innovative and shouldn’t be surprising for veterans, but I haven’t found a complete guide like this anywhere. Cheers!

General approach

Stealthing solo through the whole game is possible and probably the quickest/easiest way to get the achievement, but I wanted to feel like I “earned it”. I don’t mind cheesing a bit (see Gaining XP below) but I did want to build a serious party and take on at least some of the tougher fights (dragons, high-level bounties, etc.). I didn’t attempt the DLCs or megabosses on my successful run because I was anxious about finishing, but I’d like to try that on a subsequent attempt.

The hardest part of the Triple Crown is the Trial of Iron (permadeath). As an unabashed scum saver this really forced me to change how I play and basically everything below is how I adapted to it.

Party composition

Any build that works for a normal upscaled POTD playthrough can theoretically work here. However, if you’re a pretty-good-but-not-great player like me you want to err on the side of caution and build a party that’s as low-risk as possible.

That means at least one dedicated tank plus a dedicated healer. At least two characters need revives so that if your healer goes down you’re not screwed. It’s worth equipping every member of your party with a Luminous Adra Potion as further insurance.

Renewable resources should also be a priority. With a full party, fights don’t often last long enough to need them, but you can’t risk ending up in a long fight without abilities/spells. Alternatively, have a few get-out-of-jail free cards like invisibility that allow you to reset combat in a pinch.

Inspired by this post, the party I used for my successful run were all multiclassed Fighters (Tacticians) that can reliably trigger Brilliant. Specifically I used:

  • Watcher: Fighter (Tactician) / Wizard (Blood Mage) → damage, crowd control, debuffs or whatever else is needed in each fight (micro-intensive)
  • Fighter (Tactician) / Wizard (Blood Mage) → wizard buffs + Citzal’s Spirit Lance + Cleaving Stance + Clear Out = main damage dealer
  • Fighter (Tactician) / Cipher (Beguiler) → keeps all enemies flanked with Phantom Foes; additional buffs/debuffs as needed; uses The Red Hand for supplementary DPS
  • Fighter (Tactician) / Paladin (Shieldbearers of St. Elcga) → main tank and backup healer, stacked engagement to hold down the front line (Kapana Taga for flank immune)
  • Fighter (Tactician) / Priest (Eothas) → main healer, buffer and off-tank (Squid’s Grasp for flank immune)

Yes, it’s a cheesy OP party, but sometimes you need to pull out all the stops! Happy to provide specific build details if anyone’s interested.

Gaining XP

In a normal run I enjoy grinding through the low levels, but with permadeath looming I had to adapt by rushing to a relatively high level before getting into any real fights. Here’s my strategy (requires Berath’s Blessings for Level 4 + 50,000 gold + Stormwind Sails + veteran sailors):

  1. Make Edér a Rogue and put all points into Stealth (and Smoke Veil to be safe, though you shouldn’t need it). He can easily sneak through the Sea Cave to rescue Beodul and through the digsite to get Oderisi’s notes.
  2. Go to Maje and remove all companions from your party at the Kraken’s Eye. You gain experience 40% faster when solo and you won’t need any help for a while. Might as well do the other quick Maje quests while you’re here (can’t sail anywhere without my boy Riggere!).
  3. Sail to Nekataka, complete The Shipwright's Plight, then buy a Dhow. Sail to Sayuka and buy three Royal Bronzers. Equip your hull/sails from Berath. Hire/recruit the finest sailors the Deadfire has to offer… or whatever you can afford.
  4. At this point you can comfortably win every single naval combat on the map (see this thread on naval combat tips). If in doubt (e.g., if your hull health is low or a ship starts sailing toward you to board), just retreat and try again. With Dhow + Stormwind Sails you almost always have the initiative. Sail around sinking all the named ships and visiting all the named map features for additional XP.
  5. You should also collect any freebies relevant to your planned build (e.g., Nalvi pet, Lord Darryn's Voulge).
  6. Cash in those bounties! Specifically, go to Aenia (Queen’s Berth), Barati (Kahanga Palace), Fleet Master Wakoyo (Brass Citadel) and Udita (Dunnage) who have all the ship bounties.
  7. At this point you should be around level 13 and that’s without doing any of the non-combat quests in Nekataka! You can tackle those now if you want (see these threads for suggested quest order) to gain another level or two.
  8. Once you’re ready to actually fight stuff (and ideally right after your Watcher has hit a new level), go ahead and hire/recruit your companions who will be one level behind. You can then circle back to low-level combat quests/bounties. Make sure to prioritize whatever gear you need for your builds before taking on any harder fights.

By my 4th Triple Crown attempt, I was able to make it to level 13 in about 2.5 hours realtime. Since I was prepared for my runs to end at any moment, I didn’t want to waste any more time than necessary getting up to speed.

Dealing with Expert Mode

If you’re not used to playing in Expert Mode (where lots of useful UI features are missing), there are a couple things you need to get used to.

The biggest one is not being able to see area of effect indicators. I died on one of my attempts because I accidentally aggroed the Nekataka city guards with a fireball while fighting Katrenn. For my successful run, I switched my main grimoire from Ninagauth’s Teachings to the Dusty Black Grimoire which has more single-target and Foe-only spells.

Not having combat tooltips was also tricky, mainly for determining enemy AC and defenses at a glance. However, you still get most of that information in the combat log. In general, having the wiki open in the background is helpful to fill in gaps, especially for dialogue options.

Also, the AI is your best tool for minimizing human error (e.g., you can set up your AI to use/avoid abilities based on enemy immunities that you can’t immediately see as a player). The More Custom AI Conditions mod is a true blessing, but mods certainly aren't necessary.

Final thoughts

By the time you’re level ~15 with all your core abilities and gear, your Triple Crown run shouldn’t feel fundamentally different from a normal POTD playthrough. By that point a solid party composition should be pretty resilient in any fights below your level (even with upscaling). You just can’t afford to make any dumb mistakes. Often I play with a podcast or movie running in the background, but for my Triple Crown runs I really had to be paying attention to avoid silly mistakes (forgetting to rest off injuries before a tough fight, picking a wrong dialogue option that triggers combat, etc.).

It may help to actually write out a plan before you start your run. I know it sounds like homework, but I promise it’ll take less time than restarting after you get killed by Ateira (like I did on my first attempt). Knowing which quests and gear to prioritize (and in which order) will reduce the likelihood of a game-ending error.

Final tip: when you do inevitably fail an attempt, I suggest sticking with the same party concept for the next run (with any necessary tweaks) so you can reuse your AI scripts and quest order. You’ll save time and you’re less likely to make the same dumb mistake twice.

As I said above, I’m no expert at this game. Just an enthusiast happy to achieve this milestone. I hope this advice is helpful to others, and maybe even encourages other long-time players to attempt the Triple Crown for the first time.

Next stop: The Ultimate! 😄

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  • 6 months later...
On 1/4/2022 at 2:57 AM, pisoj said:

I'd be interested in this party builds!

Hmm so I'd like to help but it's been long enough that I don't remember the details and the only save file (because of Trial of Iron) is Moi Gweth, which goes right into dialogue / end credits. Does anyone know if there's a way to export the characters from that save file somehow?

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