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So, I've been thinking about doing an anti-hero Priest of Skaen who seeks to punish those they view as oppressors; a Punisher-esque character who isn't afraid to be cruel to those they deem worthy of retribution. Given this focus on retaliation, I've come up with the following build idea:

Race: Fire Godlike (or maybe a non-godlike)

Culture: NOT Aedyr or Ixamitl Plains (Resolve will be minimized)

Background: Something that gives bonuses to Mechanics or Survival (if trying to solo, choose a Mechanics-boosting background) -- maybe a blacksmith (laborer) who was betrayed by a jealous master, a slave who conspired and killed their masters at sea, or even a colonist who fled persecution. Could even be a scientist who enjoyed taking down powerful criminals until they found out they were being used by someone they cared about.


  • MIG: 18 (or 19, if you go Living Lands and want to completely max Might)
  • CON: 16 (enough to have a healthy amount of Endurance at half health, could be 14 maybe?)
  • DEX: 15 (or maybe 14 or 13 if raising Might and/or Intellect)
  • PER: 8 (with all the priest accuracy buffs, along with Song of the Heavens, this can be dropped a little)
  • INT: 18 (want long buff durations; could be 20 for more Will and a bit longer durations if you go Old Vailia)
  • RES: 3 (can buff concentration and we want to get hit, so can drop this)


Mechanics: 9 if get gloves of manipulation and soloing; 11 otherwise. can be 0 if not soloing

Survival: 2 or 6 + Sanguine Plate when resting to get accuracy bonus.

Lore: 10 if you want Maelstrom scrolls; could be left at 2, I suppose.

Athletics & Stealth: whatever's left over, with a preference for Athletics.

Planned Talents (not necessarily in this order):

  • Prey on the Weak
  • Apprentice Sneak Attack
  • Vulnerable Attack
  • Scion of Flame
  • Inspiring Radiance
  • Aggrandizing Radiance
  • Interdiction
  • Painful Interdiction or Weapon & Shield Style

Event Based:

  • Flick of the Wrist
  • Dozen's Luck
  • Song of the Heavens
  • Gift of the Machine if doing a truly evil playthrough, skip if doing an anti-hero
  • Effigy's Resentment: Durance perhaps if not soloing, especially if playing as a Fire Godlike with Orlan parents

Planned Mastered Spells:

  • Blessing/Holy Meditation/Halt (for sneak attack bonus)
  • Instill Doubt (for sneak attack)/Divine Mark (for damage and lowering deflection)/Repulsing Seal (for Sneak Attack)
  • Dire Blessing / Pillar of Faith
  • Devotions for the Faithful

Planned End-Game Equipment:

  • Head: Fire Godlike
  • Armor: Vengiatta Rugia (for sneak attack bonus and retaliation) or Coat of Ill Payment (+RES, retaliation, more DR) -- PER+2 buff regardless
  • Arms: Swift Action Gauntlets or Ryona's Vambraces
  • Legs: Glanfathan Stalking Boots (for Sneak attack bonus if not using Vengiatta Rugia) or potentially Viettro's Formal Footwear (for more Lore and DEX) or perhaps Malina's Boots for Preservation enchantment and move speed?
  • Neck: Maybe Lost Periapt of the Winding Path for Resolve and concentration or Shroud of Mourning for Resolve
  • Waist: Belt of the Royal Deadfire Cannoneer (for Flame Shield and attributes) (maybe Broad Belt of Power if using Ring of Thorns
  • Ring 1: Gwin's Band of Union (instill doubt and more INT)
  • Ring 2: Iron Circle (more CON and more armor)
  • Alternate Ring Option: Ring of Thorns
  • Weapons: Drawn in Spring, Stilettos (Bleak Fang, Azureith's Stiletto, etc.), Clubs (War Club of the Mataru, etc.), Steadfast, Nightshroud, St. Ydwen's Redeemer, Abydon's Hammer
  • Shields: Sura's Supper Plate, Aila Braccia, Little Savior


The idea behind this build, mechanically, is to make use of Skaen's sneak attack bonus even when casting; thus, a retaliation armor and Sura's Supper Plate are preferred, along with Vulnerable Attack and high Might, to cause decent pain to anyone who dares attack this priest. Since late-game priests spend a lot of time casting and not as much time doing melee damage, the retaliations are a nice way to double-dip on the damage, so to speak.

I could also see going for a non-godlike and using a helm with Preservation on it so that I can stick with Sura's Supper Plate; Maybe Garodh's Chorus or the He Carries Many Scars helm. If using Garodh's Chorus, could use a different armor than Vengiatta Rugia due to the retaliation effect on the helm, but that would mean losing the sneak attack bonus if not using Glanfathan Stalking Boots. Maybe could even do Maegfolc Skull with Coat of Ill Payment and Glanfathan Stalking Boots, but then we'd have to use Malina's Boots or Ring of Thorns for Preservation. Or... I could stick with Fire Godlike and Vengiatta Rugia, and use Malina's Boots? Problem is... Malina's Boots are an Azzuro item, so no guarantee of getting it... Maybe replace one of the rings with Ring of Thorns then?

Any thoughts or feedback on this build idea, especially around the questions below, are welcome.

  • Fire Godlike or non-Godlike? If non-Godlike, what race? Human for Fighting Spirit and Might? Hearth Orlan for more crits? Coastal Aumaua for stun/prone resistance and Might?
  • Which configuration of equipment sounds best?
  • Am I crazy to try such a retaliation priest? Could it actually work alright, or even well?
  • Should I lower Constitution more, given how much priests can buff themselves?

EDIT: Double-checked my memory of Garodh's Chorus helm; it only has Preservation OR Retaliation, not both.

Edited by hansvedic
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If it's mainly about retaliation I think not much beats a Fire Godlike's Battle Forged at high levels since it scales so well. All the other retaliations don't.

I think the low health of priests could make this concept challenging, especially because you need to receive at least a graze in order to retaliate (contrary to riposte). That's why I wouldn't drop CON.

I guess you know this but similar forms of retaliation don't stack unless they are from a passive (Battle Forged) or a weapon (see Sura's Supper Plate). So for example it's either armor, helm or cape (see Hiro's Mantle) + Sura's.

How about Swanddling Sheet and Binding Rope? They kind of retaliate, too. Iirc they do have stacking issues with normal retaliation though - but I am not 100% sure anymore.


Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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For boots what do you thing about Echoing Misery? With its ray you can hit more than one enemy.
For armor a good one could be The Golden Scales due to its reflecting ability and with a durgan Alia Braccia ranged attacks can be very dangerous for attackers.
Fire Godlike character with Belt of the Royal Deadfire Cannoneer are really effective, I try a fire based druid with this combo and it performed very weel :) -->


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