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Just about finished with a Poe1 run. I was initially thinking about making my Paladin into a multiclass Soulblade, but I was thinking of other combinations and kinda switched gears on that. Paladin/Druid sounds fun to me, and specifically Paladin/Shifter.

Any special considerations for that? I am playing a Darcozzi and so won't be changing that. I know it's probably the weakest Paladin kit in Deadfire but it is what it is I guess. Figure the basic strat would be cast a hot, cast a dot or two, shift--->melee. Spine of Thicket Green is I guess the best caster weapon to use for my initial casts.

Anything else I'm missing or synergies/gear/etc? I figure this combo should be a solid mix of offense/defense/tankability. Bit of a jack of all trades I suppose.

 

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i haven't explored this combo before, and you probably have already considered it, but loading up on the wildstrike and spamming flames of devotion seems like a decent melee-ing option. As a plus, upgrading flames of devotion to add a damage lash would be useful for switching out of a form and blasting enemies with a few spells as needed. (if you use spells like wicked briars and venombloom you probably could open with them and then when you get the flames of devotion lash later the damage should dynamically update)

boar is going to be your premier melee-dps-er because of the stacking DoT, and the lash from flames of devotion plus the bonus damage from the mark should really skyrocket its effectiveness.

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oop also small consideration - even on PotD the spiritshift forms can be pretty tanky, and I think bear form plus the defensive paladin aura should give you some pretty decent hardiness; you end up with AR equivalent to heavy armor (with no weaknesses), automatically enchanted to a reasonable level, plus an additional +2 AR

Edited by thelee
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7 minutes ago, thelee said:

oop also small consideration - even on PotD the spiritshift forms can be pretty tanky, and I think bear form plus the defensive paladin aura should give you some pretty decent hardiness; you end up with AR equivalent to heavy armor (with no weaknesses), automatically enchanted to a reasonable level, plus an additional +2 AR

Yeah I figure this character should be able to adapt to a situation pretty well. If I need survivability, I can do that. If I need more dps, I can do that. If I need to spend more time casting, I can do that too.

The diversity seems fun to me even if it might not be individually the very best at any of those things. But I think embracing the versatility is key.

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I haven't played a Paladin/Shifter but a couple of thoughts spring to mind (assuming you are seeing this character as being a tank). Firstly, as I recall, neither Paladins nor Druids are amazing at holding engagement with enemies. Paladins don't have any talents (passive or active abilities) to give them even a +1 engagement. I think Druids get +1 engagement when shifted but not in their non-shifted form. This means that when not shifted you will not have any ability to "engage" the enemy (sort of like Deadfire's version of holding threat) so enemies can easily slip around you to get at your squishier characters. And even when shifted you will only be able to engage (hold in place) one enemy. The easiest ways to increase engagement is through weapons and shields (having a shield gives +1 engagement, some magic weapons give +1 engagement, and the spear weapon modal gives +1 engagement) but as a shifted druid those don't help you. You can use a weapon and shield in non-shifted form, but that could mean having to spend 2 passives on weapon styles (weapon + shield style for non-shifted and two weapon style for shifted), and you presumably won't want to stay in non-shifted form much anyway. There are other ways to increase engagement but they are not available until later in the game (e.g. through chants).

Another consideration is that I think - I might be wrong - the attacks for all shifted forms is dual-wielded slash damage. Personally I like to make sure that all my characters have at least 2 damage types strongly covered (and ideally 3), ideally being able to just weapon switch in combat to deal with situations where there are enemies with different resistances in the same pack (more of a consideration for upscaled POTD which feels like a penetration/armour arms race).

Personally I love the fantasy of shifters and in my first playthrough (on veteran rather than POTD) I did use a fighter-shifter (a hired adventurer rather than my main character) to replace Eder as my main tank after I was about half-way through. Worked pretty well. I'm a big fan of having 1 fighter (SC or MC) in my party as my main "tank" as fighters can hold 3 or 4 engagement through their active/passive talents whilst using weapons that don't increase engagement and not having to use a shield. I often then use a second melee character that can hold at least 1 engagement as a damage-dealer/off-tank.

A couple of final thoughts. If you make the Paladin a kind wayfarer, the character can double as a good healer through its druid spells and the Kind Wayfarer Paladin's modified version of Flames of Devotion (which heal in an AoE around you when you hit with this ability). Or as a Bleakwalker for focused damage dealing. Those are my favourite 2 paladin types.

TL;DR: I think a Paladin/Shifter would make a good damage-dealer/off-tank, but not a great main tank (because of the low number of engagements that Paladins and Druids can hold through their passive/active abilities). 

Edited by Vasvary5050
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Paladin/Shifter can be pretty tanky in bear form because of the bonus AR from the several paladin passives and the very good AR of the bear's natural armor. At the same time the damage output is pretty good, too because Ring of Focused Flames + Flames of Devotion leads to good ACC, and FoD/Eternal Devotion lash and Wildstrike lash do stack - and you won't have any recovery penalty from armor. Add Scion of Flame for +1 PEN for FoD attacks. Add Exalted Endurance for more AR and passive healing.

Goldpact is cool because the +4 AR from Gilded Enmity goes on top (except Elated Endurance, that +1 AR gets suppressed). 

A Bleak Walker/Shifter can even add Spirit of Decay to push FoD's PEN to +2. 

No particularly good idea about Darcozzi/Shifter - but all that FoD+Wildstrike and AR bonus+natural armor stuff also apply to this combo of course.
The Fire Shield of Darcozzi's Lay on Hands lasts a long time. It also gives bonus freeze AR which complements Woodskin or Form of the Delemgan which can help you and your party in several encounters. 

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10 minutes ago, Boeroer said:

Paladin/Shifter can be pretty tanky in bear form because of the bonus AR from the several paladin passives and the very good AR of the bear's natural armor. At the same time the damage output is pretty good, too because Ring of Focused Flames + Flames of Devotion leads to good ACC, and FoD/Eternal Devotion lash and Wildstrike lash do stack - and you won't have any recovery penalty from armor. Add Scion of Flame for +1 PEN for FoD attacks. Add Exalted Endurance for more AR and passive healing.

Goldpact is cool because the +4 AR from Gilded Enmity goes on top (except Elated Endurance, that +1 AR gets suppressed). 

A Bleak Walker/Shifter can even add Spirit of Decay to push FoD's PEN to +2. 

No particularly good idea about Darcozzi/Shifter - but all that FoD+Wildstrike and AR bonus+natural armor stuff also apply to this combo of course.
The Fire Shield of Darcozzi's Lay on Hands lasts a long time. It also gives bonus freeze AR which complements Woodskin or Form of the Delemgan which can help you and your party in several encounters. 

Yeah some of the other Paladin kits would definitely give a bit more synergy I think. But since I'm importing this guy I want to stick with his order for roleplaying purposes. That said I think it should still be a pretty solid combo even if the Paladin order I chose isn't the most optimal. The bonus freeze AR could be pretty useful in some areas at least.

Gear gives bonuses in Shapeshift form except for armor and weapons, right? So I'd want to focus on armor and weapons that are useful in caster form and rings/boots/etc that are useful in shifter form? 

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4 hours ago, Vasvary5050 said:

I think Druids get +1 engagement when shifted but not in their non-shifted form.

only bear and boar forms get the engagement

4 hours ago, Vasvary5050 said:

Another consideration is that I think - I might be wrong - the attacks for all shifted forms is dual-wielded slash damage.

in unmodded deadfire, a few of the forms do pierce: https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/pc/227477-pillars-of-eternity-ii-deadfire/faqs/76599/druid

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While Darcozzi probably isn't the best shifter subclass to pair with shifter, I always equip Darcozzi Paladins with the Outworn Buckler, which has some great enchantments, reducing durations for negative effects, that are more effective in the hands of a Darcozzi Paladin. I'd recommend that you equip this shield in one weapon slot, and Lethandria's Devotion in the other. You can cast your spells and then shift. But if you are hard pressed and low in health with an affliction or two, return to kith form, and then rapidly switch back and forth between your weapon slots. Each time you switch you'll heal and reduce negative durations for yourself and nearby allies. When you're recovered you can shift again. While any class/subclass can do this, the strategy is most effective for Darcozzi Paladins.

Edited by dgray62
typo correction
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4 hours ago, dgray62 said:

While Darcozzi probably isn't the best shifter subclass to pair with shifter, I always equip Darcozzi Paladins with the Outworn Buckler, which has some great enchantments, reducing durations for negative effects, that are more effective in the hands of a Darcozzi Paladin. I'd recommend that you equip this shield in one weapon slot, and Lethandria's Devotion in the other. You can cast your spells and then shift. But if you are hard pressed and low in health with an affliction or two, return to kith form, and then rapidly switch back and forth between your weapon slots. Each time you switch you'll heal and reduce negative durations for yourself and nearby allies. When you're recovered you can shift again. While any class/subclass can do this, the strategy is most effective for Darcozzi Paladins.

Is there a good caster one hander to pair with Outworn Buckler? I figured Spine of Thicket Green was the item I'd want to use with this build to boost casting but looking the Outworn Buckler the bonuses on there do seem pretty nice and being a bit tankier in caster form is probably welcome. Maybe that would be better than having a little bit of a PL boost to my offensive spells?

 

Or perhaps I should bring both along situationally 

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8 minutes ago, masterty66 said:

Is there a good caster one hander to pair with Outworn Buckler?

You can always use a dagger + modal to increase your deflection against melee attackers (doesn't stack with active deflection buffs though), Griffin's Blade can give a little bit of a damage bonus to offensive spells, Magran's Favor and Sun and Moon can give you power levels for fire spells (or freeze in case of Sun & Moon), Kapana Taga or Squid's Grasp can make you immune to flanking (Rapier + Buckler is a nice combo for a Darcozzi anyway)... there are some more weapons which can make sense to just hold in your main hand while casting.

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if you're just casting, as an end game weapon you could use weyc's wand. when you empower an ability you get +3 PL for 20 seconds (intellect would help boost it), which can make your casting phase go pretty well.

In fact, this might be a good synergy for any caster paired with a darcozzi for any hard fights. With Least Unstable Coil, you could empower the Darcozzi's Lay on Hands on your self. Every time you get hit and trigger you minor flame aura damage, you'd trigger another tier 3 inspiration. Eventually you'd get Brilliant. (I think you can also keep this effect going by re-using Lay on Hands on yourself. The game "remembers" that the original use was empowered, and just refreshes the duration. Though the flame aura should last plenty long by itself). You'd basically be able to cast druid spells in perpetuity, with a +3 PL for much of it. or you could just keep shifting into forms (though brilliant won't restore spiritshift) and spam flames of devotion over and over and over and over again.

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6 minutes ago, thelee said:

if you're just casting, as an end game weapon you could use weyc's wand. when you empower an ability you get +3 PL for 20 seconds (intellect would help boost it), which can make your casting phase go pretty well.

In fact, this might be a good synergy for any caster paired with a darcozzi for any hard fights. With Least Unstable Coil, you could empower the Darcozzi's Lay on Hands on your self. Every time you get hit and trigger you minor flame aura damage, you'd trigger another tier 3 inspiration. Eventually you'd get Brilliant. (I think you can also keep this effect going by re-using Lay on Hands on yourself. The game "remembers" that the original use was empowered, and just refreshes the duration. Though the flame aura should last plenty long by itself). You'd basically be able to cast druid spells in perpetuity, with a +3 PL for much of it. or you could just keep shifting into forms (though brilliant won't restore spiritshift) and spam flames of devotion over and over and over and over again.

That's a neat trick. I'll have to try that out when I pick up the wand.

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Finally got this going. Character is performing well enough so far. Just finished the dig site. Spiritshift hits pretty hard and the tankiness is welcome. The free spells it gets are very nice as well. The digsite being what it is I had to spend a lot of time tossing heals on my other party members though. 

I think once I get a few levels under my belt this should really shine between the aoe dots and the heals. I mean any Druid is powerful I suppose, but this should be relatively sturdy too thanks to the Paladin half. 

The versatility should be such that as long as I have a tank in my party I should be able to fill out the rest of it with whatever. This character can fill a lot of roles. Probably not main tank though due to the lack of engagement. But Eder will probably fill that niche most times.

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