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Woedica Themed Custom Party, and some questions on finding a very good party synergy.


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after a good majority of my 350 hours spent in character creation, lurking these boards, and theorycrafting, I figured I could start posting here. First of, many thanks to Boeroer, Shai Hulud, thelee, kaylon and elric for all the builds and info posted in here.
 

Came up with a Woedica themed party, because I've always wanted to do a hardcore "Lawful Evil alignment" RP run.  Went custom for class flexibility and because I'm not a fan of whining companions whenever I do cruel things.

 

The party:

  1. [CORE]
    1. Berzerker / Steel Garrote Fanatic MC with Shattered Vengeance & any other weapon Dual Wield
    2. Trickster / Unbroken Swashbuckler Hireling with sword & board for disengagement or 2 blunderbusses
    3. SC Priest of Woedica Hireling with a pistol or fists
  2. [SIDE]
    1. Stalker / Beguiler Seer
    2. Troubadour / Psion Spiritualist


The standard tactic:
MC runs into a big group, frenzies, and hits stuff with Shattered Vengeance (mainly for Shards of Woedica RP flavor) and other weapon dual wield. The unbroken/trickster tanks if needed, but can escape to enemy backline to get shooters, or behind grouped mobs on the Fanatic, casting additional afflictions like the Ryngrym's Repuslive Visage. The Priest of Woedica uses Writs to add afflictions, buffs party, and can cast Triumph of the Crusaders or Watchful Presence on the Fanatic. Took Fire Godlike to allow the Fanatic to stay Bloodied longer with the +1 armor rating.  I didn't min-max the Priest, so it can also run in and punch mobs with Spiritual Weapon when things go well (because why not?). I really like the interaction between SC priest buffs and the Fanatic. Haven't had the Fanatic go down once.

Side chars, I just added afterwards to have more buffs (from Ciphers and Caster) and have a melee/ranged flexible guy with pet in case I want to set off the Fanatic and Swashbuckler off into the fold, so the Seer can quickly take down any enemies that make it past the frontliners. 
I've been having a lot of fun with this party, though it's steamrolling things a bit too well. I'm pretty sure the [SIDE] chars are completely superfluous...I'm not much for playing solo but I might try a reduced party.

I really want to find a way to make a 'Spanish Tercio' & Alatriste-inspired build, where the gear would be the same as in Spanish Tercios, but the roles similar to Alatriste's band of rogues, i.e. some sword and board infantry, pikes, crossbows/arquebus gunners, a duelist with daggers or rapier, and 1 priest (because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition).  

Anyhow - my questions are: what are your experiences with creating party synergies? Have you come up with any fun RP inspired party builds? How would you go about creating a party around Steel Garrote + Woedica Priest? Any ideas for a cool small party with lots of synergy?
 

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How much have you played tje game and what difficulty settings?? If you aren't doing POTD a ton of parties will work so whatever you like the most is best.

Assuming POTD upscaled...If I did a woedica themed party I would probably make everyone a priest of woedica or in the steel garrote, but im not that creative. Maybe have a Priest, a paladin, and a few "initiates" who would be multiclassed from whatever and want to join the steel garrote or priesthood. The SG classes have great synergy with afflictions so we pick classes that cause afflictions

For a really simple small party that works incredibly well, use

Steel garrote paladin x 2

Priest of woedica / troubadour 

The Priest chants many lives and the paladins can spam divine immolation healing each other and burning everything and getting back 2 resources each per skeleton dead. Priest of woedica / bellower also extremely good. Weyc robe can reduce chant duration by 50% narrowing the gap between them and troubadour, and they can cast invocations at +6 power level

I've tried this party and it shreds anything not immune to burn. But doesn't fully come online until very late.

---

For a full party that isn't as gimmicky...far from optimal due to restrictions of priest and SG but...

Steel garrote paladin - divine retribution goes well with theme and is procced on any summon death, at high levels would sacred sacrifice a lot

Priest of woedica - it's a Priest with writs.

SG / FF - great tank and damage dealer

Priest of woedica /  bellower - becomes very powerful with weyc items and least unstable coil, chants many lives for main paladin

Priest of woedica / blood mage - cannot get more versatile, king of buffs

Also like sg/troubadour, helwalker/priest, streetfighter/SG, SG/soul blade. Actually id prefer the helwalker/priest versus the priest.

For woedica themed stuff theres the hood worn by the inquisitor in oathbinder. Also the magistrates cudgel in subterranean temple, which judges people giving you +10 accuracy (for spells too). Restricted to cipher, fighter, and monk. I like the cipher version the most since he benefits a lot from extra accuracy and stuns on criit

And make sure you import a history where you went woedica, like keeper of secrets. Mostly flavor, but NPC steel garrotes do have a special boon. Unfortunately you can't get it. Kind of weird that enacting woedicas plan makes no difference to the games plot...

 

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Haven't actually ever finished the game. I only play on POTD, not always upscaled (depending how powerful / RP the builds are).  That 1st build looks like fun, though I generally try not to use summon gimmicks with chanters etc.

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9 hours ago, Aoiren said:

Haven't actually ever finished the game. I only play on POTD, not always upscaled (depending how powerful / RP the builds are).  That 1st build looks like fun, though I generally try not to use summon gimmicks with chanters etc.

Ah. Well playing with a small party is pretty challenging unless you know the game very well. I'd probably go with a full party, at least if you plan to play more difficult content like DLCs and megabosses. Some of the DLCs are pretty good, the megabosses are just kind of pointlessly difficult encounters but I still like the challenge.

So Shards of Woedica is an interesting weapon though I've never used it. As a club you can use the modal to decrease a target's will by 25. The "shards of woedica effect" also increases damage taken and you can either give the club to a tank with the "Blessed Defiance" upgrade, but IMO "Coordinated Escape" is more interesting. This allows you to give the club to a non-tank who can wade into the fray, debuff an enemy, not get engaged, and flee. The will debuff is especially useful to ciphers but there are priest and wizard spells that target will also. Even some paladin abilities, like Glorious Beacon. The higher level "sacred immolation" and upgrade abilities target reflex, so you might consider having a character with a flail. There are some nice flails like "sun and moon" as a stat stick, and sungrazer for its ability to cancel recovery as well as stun on crit. Flail modal debuffs reflex by 25. 

Looking at your party...

I've played probably 80% of multiclass comboes but never actually played a fanatic. A berserker/paladin would have good armor (+2 from frenzy's hardy, +1 crush/slash/pierce from thick-skinned, +1 from exalted endurance, and eventually +3 from stoic steel). Should have decent defenses with deep faith. And has some self-healing options with lay on hands and eventually savage defiance. The health loss from frenzy eventually gets to be pretty bad but it is manageable. It's too bad carnage isn't like in POE1 where the Shards of Woedica effect would be distributed to everyone hit by the carnage. Anyway, you should take spirit frenzy because it applies stagger on hit, and this will trigger the SG passive so a SG attacking the staggered enemies gets back health. Don't upgrade it to spirit tornado (ability is buggy). You also definitely want blooded, not just for the damage bonus but because it is one of the only ways to gauge where your berserker's health is when it is concealed. If the blooded effect is active it is under 50%. Your character will make some comment about healing when he first hits 25%. You can also script him to self-cast lay on hands when near death. I'd take the other barbarian passives and savage defiance / stalwart defiance. On paladin side there are many options, definitely take exalted endurance. Liberating Exhortation is quite useful, as is Reviving Exhortation (unless you're expert enough noone ever dies). The willbreaker would also be an interesting weapon choice for woedica themed party since it is a punishment-themed weapon, and it debuffs will as well as the modal debuffing fortitude, both of which would be helpful to your ciphers. Also if you take the brute force ability as a barbarian you can target fortitude instead of deflection. Deflection is normally lower, but staggered from spirit frenzy

Trickster/Unbroken is fairly straightforward and should make an okay tank / fighter. I find enemies don't break engagement that often. I'd consider the devoted subclass because it offers +2 penetration and +25% crit damage with your weapon of choice which would help with damage output especially if you want him to use 2 blunderbusses anyway. If he's meant to switch weapons a lot you might consider black jacket, which can remove the delay from switching weapons and gets an extra weapon set. Unbroken is good too but best on tanks, and this character won't have enough armor to be a great tank, though probably good enough for regular POTD.

Priest of Woedica will be good as long as he/she doesn't run into combat unbuffed. Priests are fantastic and have some of the best party support spells like devotions for the faithful, champion's boon, spiritual ally (has unlimited heals), consecrated ground, barring death's door, and at higher levels I'm a fan of spark the souls of the righteous. The writ spells are extremely powerful debuffs as well. Writs of war and sorcery can shut down a lot of enemies, but even the humble writ of engagement is useful. And the writ of mending gives mass enfeeble which is extremely powerful. 

Stalker/beguiler is interesting. I've played seers quite a bit but not this specific combination. IMO...if this is a melee character you're better off with soul blade. If not, you're probably better off with ascendant or psion if you don't mind the redundancy. Also if it isn't a melee character, don't take stalker. I'm guessing since you picked stalker it is melee, and soul annihilation provides fantastic burst damage on hard to kill enemies. Beguilers are best at spamming low level spells, but psions are just as good at that, so I don't see a lot of reason to take them unless it's just for variety. For cipher picks I listed most of what you want below, it's generally the same stuff you'd want for the spiritualist, but also take draining whip, hammering thoughts, lingering echoes, and the empty soul (last two take with spiritualist also). For ranger picks, I recommend the bear as an animal since it is the tankiest and attacks pretty fast. Take vicious companion and resilient companion. Protective companion and Stalker's link give big accuracy buffs when you attack an enemy the animal is threatening. Also want at the least heal companion, revive companion, evasive roll, and marked prey. Concussive Tranquilizer is nice if you have room. Predator's Sense can give your companion a big damage boost, provided there is a damage over time effect, and ciphers have lots of DOTs (soul ignition, disintegration), and there are also weapons with DOTs like I'd recommend Stalker's Patience. It fits thematically but is also a very powerful spear with bonus damage on flanked targets from ambushing, mortal wounds provides a constant stacking DOT effect, and best of all mercy strike has a 33% chance to attack again on crit, which means you can often get double, triple, quadruple strikes, or more (which is extra great as a seer since you will gain a TON of focus). Seers can stack accuracy higher than any other build so you should basically always crit. Marked Prey is +10, Stalker's Link is +10, flanked is +10, Survival of the Fittest is +10 (when active), borrowed instinct is +20 (keep this spell up ALWAYS), and psychovampiric shield debuffs resolve by 10 making it effectively +10. These all stack for roughly +70 to +80 accuracy on top of whatever you get from equipment. I'd consider one-handing stalker's patience (or whatever if it has good on-crit effects), that's another +12. If your accuracy is high enough from the other things you're already always critting, then use a shield or dual wield. Other weapons with good on-crit effects- aldris blade of captain's crow heals you, sungrazer stuns, ball and chain prones, magistrate's cudgel is particularly good for its "judged" marker and is soulbound to ciphers giving 3s stun on crit. I'd probably use stalker's patience and magistrate's cudgel, either dual-wielded or just switching weapons after an enemy is judged. 

Troubadour/psion is a build I've played a LOT and it is fantastic, very versatile, on chanter side there are many good picks but you probably want summons, thunder rolled like waves on black seas, and at the sound of his voice and upgrades. The instruments of death are ultimately the best summons but until then the wyrms are good damage and the ogres are solid. For chants you probably want thick grew their tongues, ancient memory, and many lives pass by. Beyond that it is more specific to what you are trying to do, and the resistance chants can be very useful, or the damage chants (mith fir), or sure-handed ila if you have a lot of ranged characters, especially if using weapons with reloads since sure-handed ila applies twice on reload weapons. On psion side, you want at least one charm spell, psychovampiric shield, mental binding, secret horrors, soul ignition, body attunement (situational), borrowed instinct (always up), echoing shield, pain block, tactical meld, disintegration and ancestor's memory. Normally you want brisk recitation on so you can cast more invocations but it depends on the situation.  

Overall your party looks pretty solid. It's a good combination of tanks, support, and damage, and I think you'll be able to do all the content provided decent gear choices and stat spreads. 

Edited by Shai Hulud
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Here are a few strong MC combos that fit your theme well (and can make a pretty strong party too):

  • fanatic - steel garrote/berserker (off tank)
  • inquisitor - steel garrote/soul blade (main tank)
  • holy slayer - steel garrote/rogue(dps)
  • celebrant - priest of woedica/troubadour (support)
  • zealot - priest of woedica/street fighter (dps)
Edited by Kaylon
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I already had an ongoing run with the party I described while writing that post.

I went with Shards of Woedica because it's cheap and quickly available, but also because of the club modal - whatever the Fanatic hits gets Will debuffed to ensure afflictions go through and the healing from afflictions is sustained. Also, increasing single target damage via the bonus helps with the self-healing by hitting afflicted. I haven't actually taken Lay on Hands, or any other heals. Using Watchful Presence from the Priest is plenty, though for most fights the Fanatic doesn't even reach Bloodied because of the self-healing. For the tougher fights so far, the self-healing is enough to sustain more than long enough for the Priest to cast Triumph of the Crusaders or Watchful Presence, because the fire Godlike AC bonus also triggers at that point. In case of emergency, the Fanatic is also wearing the Eothasian amulet thingy that gives a heal on near death.

Funnily enough, I put the Unbroken/Trickster in a leather armor because he wasn't pulling much aggro even when running into the fray upfront and before the Fanatic, but mobs still tend to congregate on the Fanatic with the Unbroken in Leather Armor...

14 hours ago, Shai Hulud said:

Stalker/beguiler is interesting. I've played seers quite a bit but not this specific combination. IMO...if this is a melee character you're better off with soul blade. If not, you're probably better off with ascendant or psion if you don't mind the redundancy. Also if it isn't a melee character, don't take stalker. I'm guessing since you picked stalker it is melee, and soul annihilation provides fantastic burst damage on hard to kill enemies. Beguilers are best at spamming low level spells, but psions are just as good at that, so I don't see a lot of reason to take them unless it's just for variety.

I picked Stalker/Beguiler as a way to have a melee/ranged/caster char who can run to the front, off to the side, shoot from the back, or cast away CCs and afflictions as needed. Hybrid is the keyword for this fellow.
Went Stalker for the tankiness as I wanted a hybrid who could do both melee and ranged - I don't actually need the AC to do anything on the battlefield, so he just sticks with the Stalker if he's hanging back and shooting / casting away. 
Went Beguiler for the better party synergy. Deceptions > Shreds for putting out afflictions ASAP and consistently. As he's half Ranger, this char does plenty of single target damage already without Soul Annihilation. Because of the affliction focus of the party, he's always generating a ton of focus, and as an accurate Ranger, he gets the full soul whip bonus on pretty hard hitting attacks (attacking sneak attack vulnerable is never a problem). Also, Soul Blade would come at the cost of Max Focus and starting focus.
Overall, this char fits super well into that role. With the pet, he's tanky enough to go do some flanking, or intercept anything headed to the backline. With the ranger + Beguiler soulwhip, he constantly generates focus. Usual set-up is Eyestrike, Marked Prey, Normal Attack, then more CC / afflictions depending on what's needed. I'll definitely try that Stalker's Patience / Magistrate's Cudgle combo. He's outfitted with the Spine of Thicket Green for now, I haven't been able to find info on whether the +beast enchant on it works for beast tagged abilities from the Ranger. Not sure if that's been tested already.

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1 hour ago, Aoiren said:

I haven't been able to find info on whether the +beast enchant on it works for beast tagged abilities from the Ranger.

Nope - only the Druid spells that are keyworded with "Beast".

 

1 hour ago, Aoiren said:

attacking sneak attack vulnerable is never a problem

You mean with weapon attacks I presume. With the deception spells it generally isn't a problem at all with the Beguiler. Even the deception spells that are cast on unafflicted enemies will generate focus: first the deception's affliction will be put on the enemy... and only after that the game checks if the enemy is afflicted and if there should be focus generation (for casting a deception spell on an afflicted enemy). :)
This is one reason why the Beguiler mechanic around deception spells/focus generation (outside the weapon attacks) is so strong.
 

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