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Hey all!

I finished my first playthrough a week or so ago, not paying too much attention on fights, not setting up AI tactics etc. Now, I want to start a new game on PotD difficulty and I want to have a fully custom group running around. Problem is, I'm finding it very hard to settle on something and round out the members. So, the candidates for the main character are the following:

Hunter (Arcane Archer/Devoted): Spearcaster, stack Arcana, max MIG, DEX, PER or Shepherd (Arcane Archer/Bleak Walker): Dragon's Dowry, same overall logic. Note on these: if the main's a ranger, I want my Troubadour to chant for the ranged attack speed and the 15% burn, thus I think I'd prefer the Chanter to be ranged in this case, herself hold DD and make her a Herald with the FoD upgrade for extra recovery. Thus, I can only see Hunter being the valid choice between the two. Fighter seems to have better offensive passives for the AA too and Penetrating Strike works at ranged for a total of +5 Penetration (+2 from Devotion and +3 from the ability itself). The Hunter would also anyway receive the chanter's bonuses. Only counter-argument here is that DD + FoD's upgrade for extra burn damage after the hit would stack even better with the recovery speed buffs provided by the chanter, but then, I get a 2nd Arcana maxing char (due to Spearcaster being held from chanter's hands) and force both chars to essentially only deal fire damage.

 

Another consideration for the main char is Tempest (Berserker/Fury): Frenzy + Wisp + Cage + Soulbound Pollaxe + Nature Godlike passive + 1 more PL from a Priest's INT buff (which also will remove the nasty friendly-fire from the Tempest's AoE spells). Notes on this one: a priest is not something I don't want to have anyway; it's immensely valuable support via her buffs.

Mentioned here for clarity is another main character potential choice in Sage (Helwalker/Evoker): stack all wounds with scepters, nuke with those plus Priest buffs at 35 MIG and 35 INT. Note on this one, before I comment on both of the last ones together: if I go for this, and if -as I've read somewhere- the cap on stats is 35, which Helwalker reaches very easily via +10 in MIG and INT through his modal and basic wounds system, I would be wasting Berath's Blessing stat buff, since I would be buffing with my Priest (Devotions of the Faithful + Litany for the Spirit). He can always be not the main character though.

 

Now, thoughts on the last two: if I do any of the two, I don't feel like I cannot go for a passive healer Herald that will help both of those (Tempest to recover him through Frenzy and Sage through the self-burn of the Scepters). That is fine, even as the Herald will be doing nothing other than healing, since her chants will be limited to Memory & something that would help the current battle. If I do that though and also recruit a Priest (which I want, for the buffs), I'm only left with 1 spot open for a full party, and I have no knowledge to create a good sturdy tank. Also, if I go for those two, my DPS will basically be only magical and coming in huge bursts of very limited time frames from those two characters, while the others will be tanking, healing and buffing for them. The Sage will certainly do some damage with his scepters, and sure, it's not bad, just feels limiting, IF I get a proper tank, which again, I have no idea how to create a very sturdy one.

I hope you can see my predicament. I feel very torn and have restarted a hundred times already trying to find a golden spot. What would you suggest? Any idea is welcome, either for the main char, the support, the setup etc.

Thank you for reading!

 

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hi, i suspect you may not be getting much of a response simply because w/out knowing much of what you actually want to do (versus just comparing builds) it's hard for us to know what you actually want. you have three very different builds that all seem fine, so my instinct is just to say to roll a d3 since i don't know what values you place on play style or whatnot.

  

On 8/11/2022 at 7:42 AM, Evershade said:

I don't feel like I cannot go for a passive healer Herald that will help both of those (Tempest to recover him through Frenzy and Sage through the self-burn of the Scepters). That is fine, even as the Herald will be doing nothing other than healing, since her chants will be limited to Memory & something that would help the current battle. If I do that though and also recruit a Priest (which I want, for the buffs), I'm only left with 1 spot open for a full party, and I have no knowledge to create a good sturdy tank.

there's a double-negative here that may or may not be intentional, so i don't know what exactly you're trying to say; my one main remark is that a herald can very much function as a very sturdy tank as well.

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Even for a full power gaming party I like Edér. Heart Defender's Scale and 2nd pet (for me it's usually Nalvi), makes up for no subclass and unpotimized stats spread imo. I like taking a Seer. It was my first watcher build on my initial playthrough (potd), and I find it hard to let go. Steady good damage output with all the cipher goodness. If I hire a second adventerure, that's my herald usually haha.

As for your watcher's build, take one that has an engaging, interactive playstyle. I think most of us focus on the watcher the most, and a build that can be set on an AI and let go can get boring real quick. The Spearcaster build can definitely work on a companion, and doesn't feel like it would need much micromanagement. The druid/barb combo on the other had sounds like something you want to pay a close attention to.

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9 hours ago, thelee said:

hi, i suspect you may not be getting much of a response simply because w/out knowing much of what you actually want to do (versus just comparing builds) it's hard for us to know what you actually want. you have three very different builds that all seem fine, so my instinct is just to say to roll a d3 since i don't know what values you place on play style or whatnot.

  

there's a double-negative here that may or may not be intentional, so i don't know what exactly you're trying to say; my one main remark is that a herald can very much function as a very sturdy tank as well.

Yeah, I mean that the Herald is indispensable. Could you provide a stat attribution of a tanky healer Herald with a good engagement limit?

And yes, I see what you mean! 

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7 hours ago, Zoda said:

Even for a full power gaming party I like Edér. Heart Defender's Scale and 2nd pet (for me it's usually Nalvi), makes up for no subclass and unpotimized stats spread imo. I like taking a Seer. It was my first watcher build on my initial playthrough (potd), and I find it hard to let go. Steady good damage output with all the cipher goodness. If I hire a second adventerure, that's my herald usually haha.

As for your watcher's build, take one that has an engaging, interactive playstyle. I think most of us focus on the watcher the most, and a build that can be set on an AI and let go can get boring real quick. The Spearcaster build can definitely work on a companion, and doesn't feel like it would need much micromanagement. The druid/barb combo on the other had sounds like something you want to pay a close attention to.

Thank you for this one!

What I would ideally like to find is a tank build that is very hard to instantly drop even if it is assaulted with focused fire and does not require too much attention on my part. I don't mind managing tanks, but I would preferably like to manage my Watcher and other dpsers on the team, or the active healing, when needed.

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I always had good results with a Fighter/something + large shield. The modal of the shield offers excellent protection against ranged attacks and of course the usual benefits for deflection and reflex. Fighter offers the engagement that helps to glue attackers to the tank and some nice defensive abilities and healing. 

A Paladin/Fighter may be the most "hands-off" tank there is. Preferably Unbroken/Goldpact because it combines excellent armor with great defenses and engagement as well as healing. A nice thing about a Crusader is that later in the game, should your armor outgrow enemies' penetration and make you very tanky on its own, combined with your party's healing and Unbending, you can retrain the Crusader towards a more offense-focused direction and still tank well.

But I also use Eder as a Swashbuckler as my main tank often enough (to be honest I do that most of times). It is a bit more difficult in the early stages because he has no early class-related deflection bonuses (like a Trickster would have) - but after a few levels it's already working very well. Later on the combination of large shield modal + Adept Evasion makes him almost impervious to even my own casters' friendly fire AoE spells.  

The early advantage of using a Fighter/Rogue (generally an Unbroken/Trickster would be the best choice for a tank) with a large shield is that you can still move while the large shield modal is active - with the help of Escape. Riposte is also a nice touch on a tank imo. I recently made a very enjoyable main tank who was also quite good at offense with an Unbroken/Streetfighter (end gear: Bronlar's Phalanx + Gladiator's Sword for the true Gladiator looks... ;) As I said before: Swashbuckler tanks need a bit more attention in the early game but work well for me a bit later on.  

Herald also works well as main tank who doesn't need attention, but there's less engagement available, so you will have to invest more thought into it (e.g. using a Shieldbearer and a spear+modal for 3 engagement - which is a good start and works right off the shelf).

Using a Stalker with either a Paladin or Fighter can also lead to a good tank. And you will even have an additional body to keep enemies off your party members. A Stalker's Bear will have excellent armor (with Resilient Companion) and will not go down so easily - not enough to do the main tanking for you but good enough for being an additional off-tank. 

 

---

In general, the combination of receiving a lot of grazes instead of hits with having higher armor than the enemies' penetration leads to a huge amount of damage reduction. Damage penalties like from grazes and underpenetration are very impactful (for the "why" see here: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/227477-pillars-of-eternity-ii-deadfire/faqs/76599/inversions ). Large shield modal offers another source of damage reduction. That's why gunshots - which can otherwise be a low level tank's demise if there's enough enemy rangers or rogues with arquebuses etc. - can be laughed at of you have a large shield and the modal on. 

There are many ways to build a functioning tank, but most of them require some attention. As I said: I think the most uncomplicated one is a Crusader. Some might say it's also the most boring one. ;)

 

 

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6 hours ago, Evershade said:

Thank you for this one!

What I would ideally like to find is a tank build that is very hard to instantly drop even if it is assaulted with focused fire and does not require too much attention on my part. I don't mind managing tanks, but I would preferably like to manage my Watcher and other dpsers on the team, or the active healing, when needed.

If you go stalker, then deffinitely take Edér. +2 armor for both you and your bear is nuts, and Nalvi for recovery bonus for the rest of the group (honestly Edér's party bonuses are crazy, and I like the guy). Tekehu with specific builds can also perform extremely well, thanks to his unique subclasses. Like he is amazing at setting up Tacticians with the foe only Chill Fog he gets from Watershaper and there are some insane combos you can do with his Stormspeaker subclass and the Effort great sword if you go single class. I often take Maia for the gunhawk subclass, as a scout. She is very good at picking off casters with her increased range and built in interrupts. Scout gets all the acc/damage from the class, the suboptimal stat spread is nothing compared to the benefits gunhawk offers. The other companions I'm not so keen on from a powergamer standpoint.

I can second Boeroer on fighter + something. Devoted/Unbroken/Tactician are all amazing multiclasses. I'm planning a Tactician/Druid right now that applies Taste of the Hunt with WoTeP in an AOE, then switches weapons until the DOT needs to be reapplied. Probably gonna take Edér and Tekehu with him with a Seer and not sure on the last party member.

Tactician/soulblade was my 2nd plythrough, very sturdy build as well that sets up Brilliant tactician for himself, while also dishes out damage.

Tactician gets better the more you put into your party.

You can just stack a tonn of armor and use unbending with high might and int in the lategame. Like I made a Devoted/Berserker after I killed Memnok on my last playthrough to make use of the Chromoprismatic staff, and despite the berserker selfdot, unbending and high armor kept him up without anything but the passive heal of my herald even in harder encounters.

Warcaller can also be a nice tank, it is not just sitting around with the agro. I used mine as unbending/trubadour. He has a +10 deflection/+1 engagement chant, and with 20 int you can linger 2 chants (or go for brisk recitation and invocations). Unbroken can be changed to Tactician, if you are using a tactician party, brilliant + brisk recitation returns phrases super fast to use on invocations.

Unbroken/trickster is another fun tank build. I used it with Tuotilo's Palm and monastic training. It does very good damage for a tank with the riposts and autoattacks. Throw in the 15% drain chant from a chanter and it probably doesn't need much looking after. I guess it would work well as a Steel Garrote paladin too instead of Unbroken.

Edited by Zoda
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On 8/11/2022 at 7:42 AM, Evershade said:

Hunter (Arcane Archer/Devoted): Spearcaster, stack Arcana, max MIG, DEX, PER or Shepherd (Arcane Archer/Bleak Walker): Dragon's Dowry, same overall logic. Note on these: if the main's a ranger, I want my Troubadour to chant for the ranged attack speed and the 15% burn, thus I think I'd prefer the Chanter to be ranged in this case, herself hold DD and make her a Herald with the FoD upgrade for extra recovery. Thus, I can only see Hunter being the valid choice between the two. Fighter seems to have better offensive passives for the AA too and Penetrating Strike works at ranged for a total of +5 Penetration (+2 from Devotion and +3 from the ability itself). The Hunter would also anyway receive the chanter's bonuses. Only counter-argument here is that DD + FoD's upgrade for extra burn damage after the hit would stack even better with the recovery speed buffs provided by the chanter, but then, I get a 2nd Arcana maxing char (due to Spearcaster being held from chanter's hands) and force both chars to essentially only deal fire damage.

I have some thoughts on this specific section which may help you narrow down what you want for your main character. In terms of Devoted vs. Bleak Walker, the Devoted can get accuracy and crit conversions from Conqueror Stance and Disciplined Strikes, along with the passive graze to hit conversion and added damage from their weapon proficiency feats, while the Bleak Walker can modify their Flames of Devotion attack with gear that provides a lot of added accuracy such as the Ring of Focused Flame and Helm of the White Void and also gains added accuracy and crit conversion from Exalted Focus aura, penetration with Scion of Flame, and a refundable mark ability with Sworn Rival. Keep in mind that both weapons suffer from blunted criticals, however, which somewhat lessens the impact of getting high accuracy and leveraging it for crits with them. Regarding Spearcaster vs. Dragon's Dowry, Spearcaster may get more penetration in the hands of a Devoted, but the bigger issue for ranged combatants is dealing with enemies with pierce immunity rather than high pierce armor, in which case Dragon's Dowry in the hands of a Bleak Walker has an easier time dealing damage due to their burn and corrode lash. Spearcaster does have very useful on-hit effects, including an interrupt modal which can be invaluable in boss fights. Both classes can always switch to bows for alternative damage types (I recommend Frostseeker and Essence Interrupter because they play nicely with Arcane Archers) when dealing with pierce immune enemies, but the Devoted is going to suffer the accuracy penalty for not using their specialized weapon. Also note for Arcane Archers, the Arcana skill gives added accuracy specifically when using Imbue abilities, and the Imbue abilities that do damage are hampered by the fact that they don't scale properly, making Imbue: Web and Imbue: Eora a little more useful. I would say high Arcana makes more of a difference with Spearcaster because the skill will give added accuracy for normal attacks, which is needed to overcome the penalty for being a non-elemental weapon in the hands of an Arcane Archer. The Devoted also gets armor recovery bonus, translating to a slight increase in DPS, while the Bleak Walker gets a chance to regain class resources upon kill.

It does sound like you really want a Herald and also a tank on your team, so I think making the Herald into a tank as opposed to another ranged member would be useful here. If you can get their intellect to 20, a Troubadour could keep two chants up at once with Brisk Recitation turned off, allowing you to maintain Sure-Handed Ila for your ranged main character while also getting the effects of another chant of your choice. If you do end up going with the AA/Bleak Walker for your main, a Steel Garrote/Troubadour could still work in the same party due to non-conflicting dispositions, though a Shieldbearer as others have suggested may be more useful in this role for the added engagement. I don't mean to complicate your choices even further, but I think a Steel Garrote/Troubadour would actually benefit from the Daze effect granted by Spearcaster because it would activate their life steal if you still want to go ranged. Or Blightheart could be a nice alternative for more chanter phrases upon kill. I still personally think going with a Herald tank simplifies the matter, however.

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5 hours ago, tackthumb said:

I have some thoughts on this specific section which may help you narrow down what you want for your main character. In terms of Devoted vs. Bleak Walker, the Devoted can get accuracy and crit conversions from Conqueror Stance and Disciplined Strikes, along with the passive graze to hit conversion and added damage from their weapon proficiency feats, while the Bleak Walker can modify their Flames of Devotion attack with gear that provides a lot of added accuracy such as the Ring of Focused Flame and Helm of the White Void and also gains added accuracy and crit conversion from Exalted Focus aura, penetration with Scion of Flame, and a refundable mark ability with Sworn Rival. Keep in mind that both weapons suffer from blunted criticals, however, which somewhat lessens the impact of getting high accuracy and leveraging it for crits with them. Regarding Spearcaster vs. Dragon's Dowry, Spearcaster may get more penetration in the hands of a Devoted, but the bigger issue for ranged combatants is dealing with enemies with pierce immunity rather than high pierce armor, in which case Dragon's Dowry in the hands of a Bleak Walker has an easier time dealing damage due to their burn and corrode lash. Spearcaster does have very useful on-hit effects, including an interrupt modal which can be invaluable in boss fights. Both classes can always switch to bows for alternative damage types (I recommend Frostseeker and Essence Interrupter because they play nicely with Arcane Archers) when dealing with pierce immune enemies, but the Devoted is going to suffer the accuracy penalty for not using their specialized weapon. Also note for Arcane Archers, the Arcana skill gives added accuracy specifically when using Imbue abilities, and the Imbue abilities that do damage are hampered by the fact that they don't scale properly, making Imbue: Web and Imbue: Eora a little more useful. I would say high Arcana makes more of a difference with Spearcaster because the skill will give added accuracy for normal attacks, which is needed to overcome the penalty for being a non-elemental weapon in the hands of an Arcane Archer. The Devoted also gets armor recovery bonus, translating to a slight increase in DPS, while the Bleak Walker gets a chance to regain class resources upon kill.

It does sound like you really want a Herald and also a tank on your team, so I think making the Herald into a tank as opposed to another ranged member would be useful here. If you can get their intellect to 20, a Troubadour could keep two chants up at once with Brisk Recitation turned off, allowing you to maintain Sure-Handed Ila for your ranged main character while also getting the effects of another chant of your choice. If you do end up going with the AA/Bleak Walker for your main, a Steel Garrote/Troubadour could still work in the same party due to non-conflicting dispositions, though a Shieldbearer as others have suggested may be more useful in this role for the added engagement. I don't mean to complicate your choices even further, but I think a Steel Garrote/Troubadour would actually benefit from the Daze effect granted by Spearcaster because it would activate their life steal if you still want to go ranged. Or Blightheart could be a nice alternative for more chanter phrases upon kill. I still personally think going with a Herald tank simplifies the matter, however.

Thank you so much for the reply!

 

If I do go for a Herald tank (Troubadour), I would dumb might, is that right? Since I won't have him do Ancient Memory, but rather the burn on weapons and the ranged attack speed buffs, I would be allowed to give him more resolve?

 

I've ran around with the following party for some time now and am level 6:

Tempest for MC (Fury/Berserker)

Sage (Helwalker/Evoker)

Herald (Kind Wayfarer/Troubadour)

Priest of Galawain (mod)

Fighter (Stalker/Unbroken)

 

It's overall okay. The Sage needs some time to build wounds and I wish that Mend Pet was not completely bugged for the AI tactics (the fighter tries to heal the pet even if it's unconscious and the tactic has "is unconscious, NOT" set), but the Tempest nukes hard, when he does not graze or miss. Also, Charm Beast is OP. The Herald's double healing because of dual wielding is insane; 25x2 heals x Zeal amount x 6 (because of the fighter's pet) or x9 because of her own wurms. Poor Lay on Hands just can't compete. Combats look like this; tempest enters frenzy and spiritshift, casts Storm's Rage while the Priest casts Holy Power for the group and clears the tempest's confused status with the first INT litanny for him to then AoE nuke safely. When the Sage reaches 10 wounds, he has 35 might (holy power) and casts his own spells for devastating results. Meanwhile, the Herald's wurms do just so much damage. I'm having some trouble with ship combat and the enemy's rogues, but I don't think I can do too much about that. The AA would definitely be much better in picking off enemies one by one and I definitely have no ability to focus fire specific targets outside of missile spam with the sage, but that's a downside I have to deal with, I guess. 

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I don't see too much of an issue with lowering might in favor of more resolve for a tank Herald, especially if you're not going to be using healing auras. And as you've already discovered, Heralds don't necessarily have to put out a lot of damage on their own when they can use summons to do that for them. I would caution that might contributes to your fortitude defense so you could be getting knocked down more if you dump it completely.

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Resolve is mostly redundant on a Herald as 1. you'll likely be so tanky that enemies do not prioritize you, even if you dump resolve and have low deflection and 2. you don't really care about most debuffs except for stuns and paralysis so the reduced negative effect duration is also less interesting.

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4 hours ago, tackthumb said:

I don't see too much of an issue with lowering might in favor of more resolve for a tank Herald, especially if you're not going to be using healing auras. And as you've already discovered, Heralds don't necessarily have to put out a lot of damage on their own when they can use summons to do that for them. I would caution that might contributes to your fortitude defense so you could be getting knocked down more if you dump it completely.

Thank you so much for your continued input. And thank you @NotDumbEnoughtoo for your post. I was viewing the possibility of having 2 paladin subclasses in the group as something to be avoided or sub-optimal, but I don't think this is the case anymore. They will each have different auras running namely ACC for the AA and AR + healing for the Herald, plus they will be doing different things.

Since the Herald can be made into a tank and still hold the ranged dps chants up, Dowry will go the AA and the Herald will be focused on simply tanking it out.

Thanks again!

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If I would dump a stat on a Herald tank who is not supposed to be doing a lot of attack rolls it would be... CON. ;) Because I drop CON on tanks most of times. With powerful healing abilities (Lay on Hands with high MiG and INT) and very good defenses, resistances and hostile effect duration you don't need a lot of health. Negative impact on fortitude is balanced out by max MIG. For more health (if you feel you need it) you can pick Tough and wear an Amulet of Greater Health as well as CON gear. They're some which is good for a tanky herald anyway (see Boots of the Stone, Maker's own Power) and quite high bonuses early (e.g. Girdle of Eoten Con). 

The next would be PER (bc. not many attack rolls and low reflex will be compensated with Weapon & Shield Style), then DEX (already going to be good enough). The rest would be high or even maxed. 

Imo it's suboptimal to have a Troubadour Herald and not have passive healing combos (Exalted Endurance, Ancient Memory + Her Courage, Lethandria's Devotion* in a second weapon setup etc.) - and also make dedicated songs against afflictions. With the resistance phrases a Troubadour can remove any affliction completely with those songs and Brisk Recitation in very short time: 3 secs for one tier of affliction. For example Paralyzed will get reduced to stuck when the first phrase lands, Stuck will get reduced to Hobbled when the next phrase lands and so on. You don't really need to pick any resistance abilities if you have those phrases. So better pick such a phrase than an individual resistance passive. Also profits your party members and summons. Nothing's more annoying than summons that are locked in hard CC.

However, some protection against mind control is in order since a turned or even confused Herald can really mess things up. So the maxed RES and INT for very high Will defense is already good. Add a passive for even more Will defense and defenses against INT afflictions.

Then having a song with Aefyllath + Sure-Handed Ila for the times nobody is in trouble is good, too. Especially nice to have on the early stages of the fight. 

Imo flexibility is king.

)* Cheese possible: Lethandria's Devotion can be abused with switching weapon sets. Each time to switch to a weapon set with Lethandria's Devotion in it you and the party will receive the healing tick. If you make a weapon set A with the shield in it and a weapon set B with a copy of the shield in it you will get the healing tick each time you switch. Switching itself adds recovery time - but the switching itself has no recovery and also works while paused. So you can pause, switch weapon sets manually as often as you like and heal you and the party (if in range) in the process. You can also make an AI script that spams weapon set switching as soon as a party member is near death or so. The Herald will be soft-locked because of the stacked switching animations that will occur multiple times per second and give him jitters - but he will heal everything around him very quickly without any cost. 

 

Edited by Boeroer

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