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I'm planning to run Fassina as a sorcerer in this playthrough and wanted to make her a melee based character if possible.  To that end I am willing to mod her druid/wizard subclasses if it makes it more unique/fun/viable.

My first thought was to use the wizard side for the fast casting self buffs then shapeshift and enter the fray.  This isn't too far off from how I used her in my previous playthrough where I would self buff, summon a weapon, duplicate myself and then charge in.  Though should I include some casting, perhaps some of the AoE lightning spells from the druid?

I'm wondering if anyone has advice on subclasses for this kind of build.  Which druid subclass has the best shape-shifting?  Which wizard subclass might self buff the best?

I also wonder if I should instead run her as pure wizard but change her to a transmuter and use the ogre form instead of the druid shapeshift?

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shape shifting doesn't last very long without wall of draining later, so maybe you're better off with summoned weapons? fast-casting buffs from wizard, maybe summoned weapons, or use the fiery sword from the druid along with that ring that gives +10 fire accuracy.

taste of the hunt is a great choice for this, but conflicts with the fiery sword. nature's terror comes later and is also a good supplement. robust at tier three or the lightning storm spells (relentless or returning) also fun.

 

normally shifter is considered to be real good at shape shifting, but i think would conflict way too much with this build, since it bars any spell casting while spell shifted (including taste of the hunt). i think vanilla animist is fine, but you could also mod her to be a fury, giving up the healing for better fiery sword/nature's terror/storm dynamics.

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If you go the spiritshift route I recommend Zandethu's Draconic Fury for the late game. It's good fun because of the Terrify effect - and the lashes stack with Wildstrike. That leads to nice melee damage. Of course the spell also works with other melee options such as summoned weapons.

 

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Fury has the boon where the shapeshift is extended upon getting a kill but I wonder how reliable that is.  With Fury I'd probably have to be fine with the shift ending before big fights are finished and then falling back on just casting. 

Shifter wouldn't presumably have to worry about running out of shifting but can't reapply buffs or casts while shifted I guess.

It's hard to know ahead of time if the builds would end up flowing well or feeling clunky.  Only one way to find out I guess!

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The Fury's Spiritshift has ranged weapons though, not melee. Won't work with stuff like Zandethu's Draconic Fury. Also the base dmg is quite low (because they have a build-in bounce/jump) effect.

Once you get Wall of Draining you can prolong the shift until the end of combat in nearly all fights.

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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I started a solo run with a shifter/BM, it’s a great combo. 
If you want to go melee, you can cast your Wizard buffs, and then shift. As a shifter, you can shift 5 times per fight, so even if you still didn’t get Wall of Draining it’s a good time. And there is no penalty if you don’t shift.

If you want to cast spells while shifted, take a look at the Thundercat build

Edited by Manu22
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Ah good to know.  I'm thinking a shifter sorcerer might fit more with how I envisioned her playing now.  Use a bunch of wizard instant cast buffs and then shift into a form and go fight.  If the shift ends I could rebuff if needed and then shift into the next form.  Thanks all!

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I also had a lot of fun playing a melee sorcerer build. While it is true that spirit shifting doesn't last forever (at least until you get wall of draining), if you have high INT, as you should, it will last long enough for 90+% of encounters in the game. Also, I'd recommend that you get Monastic Unarmed Training as a backup, and for foes with low crush resistance. Later, you can explore the various summoned weapons that the wizard side can provide. And definitely get Taste of the Hunt, which gives you a quick heal and a devastating DOT when it lands. If you use the Grimoire Imprint exploit you can steal this spell early from bog druids (on Huana boats, for example) and thereafter have infinite casts of it.  But if you're not fond of cheese, you'll want to save lvl 2 druid slots for this spell. But this only works if you don't go with Shifter. If you go with shifter, forget about this spell, since you won't be able to cast it while shifted.

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The fire sword is pretty good with the ring of focused flame (lets you cancel out the acc penalty of the weapon modal) and the fire PEN passive.

Also, as someone who basically played a melee sorcerer recently, it's not that you don't do spiritshift, it's that spiritshift lasts like a fraction of the fight before you can do wall of draining. Summoned weapons fill in the gap pretty well (better, depending).

I maintain that shifter is not a great pick for a melee-oriented sorcerer. some of the summoned weapons on the wizard side are bonkers compared to shifting, and in practice i find that not being able to cast while shifted *is* a major hindrance (i'm playing a SC shifter now). My sorcerer could freely cast buffs like Arcane Veil, Ironskin, etc. or close-range/centered aoes like torrent of flame, piercing burst, etc. while still in spiritshift form. As shifter, it's a deliberate decision of risk to leave the protection of spiritshift form in order to cast again. For some forms, it comes with potentially quite the opportunity cost (losing the regen of boar form, the extra AR of bear form, or the defenses of stag form).

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Maybe Magran/ Fury? You'd have lots of firepower, with the extra spells on the Magran side coming from the wizard spell book, and you'd get some healing which you'd otherwise lack on the Fury side. You could be a fire/electricity specialist, which gives you more flexibility, since Magran alone is so heavily weighted toward fire spells.

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