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Planning my first Deadfire run - need advice on party composition and builds


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I’ve made it to Deadfire, at last! I’m planning my Deadfire run, but would appreciate some help planning ahead (Normal Difficulty).

Now, first of all, I plan on using pre-generated companions because they’re fun (even if they’re stats vary from sub-optimal to mediocre).

  1.          My main character in PoE is a wizard and I’ll probably keep her that way (I think that multy-classing is not the best option for “pure” casters like priest, wizard and druid due to how I perceive the Power Levels to work).
  2.          I’m also planning on bringing along a pure Priest on heavy buffing duty (I’ll leave the healing to a Chanter) which leaves three spaces to fill in.
  3.          I loved the paladin and the chanter in PoE 1, so I guess I’ll bring Pallegina as a Herald with healing focus (Lay on Hands, Ancient Memory, Exalted Endurance, Mercy and Kindness, Practiced Healer). She will also get the three phrases that remove Afflictions. The issue is that I don’t see how I can build the Herald towards healing and take all the cool offensive chants/phrases as well. So I guess I’ll need another Chanter in that capacity.
  4.          So I went through the list of characters looking for another suitable Chanter Multiclass. Tekehu (or what’s his face), Vatnir and Fassina do not qualify (see the note above about multiclassing “pure” casters, plus I want Vatnir as my priest), so this leaves me with Konstanten. His Howler class looks great for my style of play – he and Pallegina will tank, sharing offensive and defensive phrases, while the priest and mage cast from the back line. “Old Siec” on Konstanten boosted by “Mercy and Kindness” on the Herald looks sick on paper. But then I realised Konstanten’s Intelligence might be too low for the job. I mean how small will his AoE be?

Finally, I have one character space left. I really like ciphers, but I have no tank in the current setup.  So I’m torn between Serafen, Ydwin, Eder, Mirke and Rekke. Serafen has a terrible subclass, but maybe I can fix that with mods? Mirke and Rekke (as Brawlers) seem cool enough for tanks, though.

So my questions:

  1.   I  Is the Herald and Howler combo something that will work out?
  2.         How badly do I need a fighter tank? Can I do without one and how do I get extra engagement slots on Herald/Howler in that case? Poleaxe and Thick Skinned? Barbarian Shout? Shield and Spear?
  3.          How early can I get Konstanten and Vatnir to join? Do I need to finish Vatnir’s DLC in order to keep him?
  4.     I   Is there a mod that changes Serafen’s subclass to something functional? The Balance Polishing Mod (I only like small parts of it, based on description) has an edit to Wild Mind that disallows head explosions and there’s a mod that turns him to a Soulblade/Barbarian (Alternate Class Features), but is there something simpler to use that makes him Cipher (no subclass) for example? Otherwise I ould go for the fampyr woman.
  5.          Interrupts. How do they work? If I were to stack “Thick Grew their Tongues”, Barbaric Roar and Interrupting Blows on Konstanen, would I be able to stun-lock enemies reliably?
  6.          What’s the best way to increase Pallegina’s and Konstanten’s chant AoE? They are, sadly, not the brightest tools in the shed…
  7.      Is there a mod that tweaks any of the barbarian subclasses to make sense? They all seem underwhelming on paper.
  8.      Carnage. It seems quite downgraded in comparison to what it was in PoE 1. Is it worth wasting ability points on Accurate Carnage then (Konstanten)? Does it amplify weapon enchants (i.e. if the weapon has a chance to stun on hit, doest it provide a chance to stun all in the AoE)?
  9.       Is there a reliable source of Constitution Inspiration that doesn't come from a Druid? I don't plan on taking one and it seems I'll miss out on AoE Constitution boosts.
Edited by Majorman
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1 hour ago, Majorman said:

       Interrupts. How do they work? If I were to stack “Thick Grew their Tongues”, Barbaric Roar and Interrupting Blows on Konstanen, would I be able to stun-lock enemies reliably?

Interrupt remove one layer of concentration (below the health on the top-left windows when you point the mouse on a character). The chant Thick Grew and others spells that make the target Immune to concentration attack remove all the layers and prevent them to regain concentration. Then, all your interrupting attacks cause an interrupt : when the concentration acount is 0, the action is lost and the target is "stun-lock" for a short time. 

Energized cause every crit to interrupt, whatever the source. A chanter get, on top of Thick Grew, an invocation that give him Energized Inspiration, so chants "passively" interrupt when they begin.

1 hour ago, Majorman said:

    Carnage. It seems quite downgraded in comparison to what it was in PoE 1. Is it worth wasting ability points on Accurate Carnage then (Konstanten)? Does it amplify weapon enchants (i.e. if the weapon has a chance to stun on hit, doest it provide a chance to stun all in the AoE)?

Carnage is less efficient than it was in PoE1, but the game is different : carnage depend of PL so at end level, it is not 33% of base weapon damage in AoE, but more than. 

Carnage cant crit, so dont work for Blood Frenzy ; Spirit Frenzy work differently, even a graze from any source (spells, weapon, carnage...) cause Stagger. 

Carnage is not a weapon attack, so enchantments and weapon effects are not applied. 

 

1 hour ago, Majorman said:

     Is there a reliable source of Constitution Inspiration that doesn't come from a Druid? I don't plan on taking one and it seems I'll miss out on AoE Constitution boosts.

Lay of Hand upgrade with a Paladin (I personally prefer the Courageous upgrade) and Reinforcing Exhortation, Frenzy and Savage Defiance with a Barbarian, Pain Block from a cipher, some priest spells, wizard self-buff etc..

Constitution Inspirations are the easiest to have, but only druid and chanter can give an AoE constitution buff. 

1 hour ago, Majorman said:

       How badly do I need a fighter tank? Can I do without one and how do I get extra engagement slots on Herald/Howler in that case? Poleaxe and Thick Skinned? Barbarian Shout? Shield and Spear?

With a party, a lot of classes are able to tank, fighter and paladin are just more resistant without supporting classe nearby, and fighter (Unbroken) seems designed to engagement. Summons are good for the job too, since you plan 2 chanters in your party.

There are some way to "aggro" ennemies without tank, with crowd control. As a wizard, Pull of Eora do the job, and because there is 2 items that make you immune to Pull an Push effect, the combinaison between your main wizard and a melee tank in the Pull of Eora area is nice, even if pull and push effect doent proc a disengagement attack.

With a cipher, Puppet Master on a tank ennemy is great (adverse paladin are often resistant to intellect, so Puppet Master charm them, not Whisper of Treason)

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For 3), you can get Konstanten fairly early, right when you arrive in the big city.  Vatnir you won't get until MUCH later (like lv16+) unless you do some sneaky stuff.  He's gated behind a tough boss fight but there are ways to potentially get him as early as like lv4 I've heard.

However, I should note that for much of the game, sidekicks have far less diologue.  Sidekick flavor diologue is most abundant in their respective DLCs.  The companions are the ones that really speak up the most, especially with a mod like everyone's two cents. 

For 4) I think people sometimes over emphasis Serafen's subclass drawbacks.  It's really not THAT bad- it will probably cause you to wipe a couple times throughout the game which isn't that horrible in the grand scheme of things.  Modding Serafen into a normal Cipher wouldn't be too hard- I've been modding almost all of the companions/sidekicks into new classes/subclasses for my repeat playthroughs but it does take some time to learn the process.  Easiest way is to download other people's mods and open the .xml files in something like notepad++ with a JSON viewer plug in in order to see how they work.  I could probably do a mod for you in the next day or so if you really want it and don't want to learn for yourself.  I have him modded as the Psion cipher subclass in my current playthrough.

For 6) if you want to mod stats it's pretty easy.  Easiest way would be to download BPM and only keep his sidekick and companion stat buff files (if you don't want the rest of his stuff) and edit them directly.  I believe his stat mods buffed every sidekick/companion by 2 points to compensate for not being well distributed but you could edit the values to whatever you want.  I edited them to be what I wanted for the new classes/subclasses I modded and therefore removed the +2 bonus points they were getting.  Aside from that, their chant radius improves with INT so give them +INT items and buff them with intellectual inspirations if possible and also position them such that their chants are able to reach the allies or enemies they need to affect. 

For 7) the Barbarian subclasses are pretty darn good if you play them.  Give them a try first IMO.

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Posted (edited)

So, I somehow managed to accumulate 26 hours of playtime in 2 days (my boss is going to be mad). A third of that was spent on the character screen. 

 

I've decided to stick with Serafen for now (with the Balance Polishing mod's component that prevents head explosions), but I haven't planned in advance and have additional questions:

1. Does the Raw damage from Blood Rage generate focus? I use the Community Patch, if that matters. 

2.How useful is Bloody Slaughter? In theory, it should cause overkills that should generate more focus. In practice, I use Serafen to unload double Blunderbusses in the face of enemy mages, resulting in quick death. He's so efficient, he doesn't even trigger Bloody Slaughter. I also remember it being Bloody Useless in PoE 1, so maybe I'm better off skipping on it entirely. 

3. Are there many enemies that are immune to charm? So far Whispers of treason is the GOAT, but do I need Puppet Master for some hypothetical charm-immune enemies? 

4. What Witch synergies are there? So far I mostly use Barbarian damage passives, Rage and Sprint (so I can get to those mages faster) and dump the rest in cipher abilities. It still seems that cipher/rogue is better. 

Edited by Majorman
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21 minutes ago, Majorman said:

4. What Witch synergies are there? So far I mostly use Barbarian damage passives, Rage and Sprint (so I can get to those mages faster) and dump the rest in cipher abilities. It still seems that cipher/rogue is better. 

bloodthirst and blood lust will also work for a cipher. getting kills from a disintegrate and free recovery out of nowhere can be nice. (though i think the free recovery applies on the next action if it happened in the middle of recovery)

a furyshaper's wards also complement a cipher (on top of the rest of your party)

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4 hours ago, Majorman said:

1. Does the Raw damage from Blood Rage generate focus? I use the Community Patch, if that matters. 

Only weapon damages generate focus, not DoT or carnage (it is a status effect). The Amra carnage effect does, it is a weapon effect, but not a melee one!

4 hours ago, Majorman said:

2.How useful is Bloody Slaughter?

I'm not sure but I think Bloody Slaughter work only with melee weapons, I cant look for the moment the in-game tooltip.

4 hours ago, Majorman said:

3. Are there many enemies that are immune to charm? So far Whispers of treason is the GOAT, but do I need Puppet Master for some hypothetical charm-immune enemies?

Against intellect resistant ennemy, you have to dominate the target to charm her, you are right. Whispers of Treason is cheap and useful, but while charmed, ennemies loose their hostile abilities, they are more impactful while dominated. Both are impactful however!

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3 hours ago, crdvis16 said:

I believe there was another post recently where it was confirmed that a bashing shield would benefit from both two weapon style and sword and shield style.

Indeed it does work. I always pick both for monks, and wield Tuotilo's Palm in the offhand.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, dgray62 said:

Indeed it does work. I always pick both for monks, and wield Tuotilo's Palm in the offhand.

Di verus? Two-handed weapons suddenly became even less appealing. And Two Weapons Style is a passive, so it stacks with Berserk, Vielo Vidorio, Armored Grace and so forth. Oh, the possibilities! 

Was it the same in PoE 1? I might have missed the chance to optimise Maneha.

Bottom line: I think I'm never going to use regular shields again. 

Edit: how can I steal Magran's shield from Nakateka? A guard stands by it 24/7.

Edited by Majorman
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31 minutes ago, Majorman said:

Was it the same in PoE 1? I might have missed the chance to optimise Maneha.

No, it was not. :)

31 minutes ago, Majorman said:

Bottom line: I think I'm never going to use regular shields again. 

The bash is rel. weak - but it's a great shield nonetheless. At least the bash sclaes with Transcendent Suffering (or Monastic Unarmed Training). Still not as potent as a real weapon but not bad at all. You can profit from the increased speed and circumvent the shield bash if you use Primary Attacks (for example Force of Anguish) because those always only use the primary weapon instead of auto-attacks which will alternate between primary and off-hand weapon (in this case bashing shield).

33 minutes ago, Majorman said:

Edit: how can I steal Magran's shield from Nakateka? A guard stands by it 24/7.

Use Sparkcrackers. Throw them left of the guard somewhere to lure him away and quickly grab all that is on the stand. Magran's Blessing has a rubbish bash because it doesn't scale at all - so here it's even more important to circumvent it's use if you are looking for damage output. 

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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3 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

The bash is rel. weak - but it's a great shield nonetheless. At least the bash sclaes with Transcendent Suffering (or Monastic Unarmed Training). Still not as potent as a real weapon but not bad at all. You can profit from the increased speed and circumvent the shield bash if you use Primary Attacks (for example Force of Anguish) because those always only use the primary weapon instead of auto-attacks which will alternate between primary and off-hand weapon (in this case bashing shield).

What if I don't care about the shield damage, but the on-hit effects like interrupt (Thick grew their tongues+Interruptung blows and some Hit-to-Crit buffs)? 

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If you don't care about the lower damage output then of course it doesn't matter. 

For Full Attacks that have some special effect on hit or crit the additional bash is benefical - for example for Stunning Surge you'll have two chances to land a critical hit, for Crippling Strike you'll have two chances to apply the affliction and so on. 

But in general: if you can avoid auto attacks with a bashing shield then avoid them. You will have the same attack speed an recovery if you carry the bashing shield but use primary attacks only. For example a Nalpasca/Soulblade may be able to alternate between Force of Anguish and Soul Annihilation all the time (which are both primary attacks that only use the main weapon) but they will have the dual wielding speed nonetheless if you carry a bashing shield. It's just so that the shield bash won't get used but only the main weapon (with dual wielding speed). 

This is not superimportant or game changing - it's just a small piece of info that's good to know. :)

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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