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[5.0 Sidekick Build] Fassina, The Venomous Vailian (Sorcerer)

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I’ve had this build in draft for years now, but just completed a full playthrough to test it exhaustively. I love the companion and sidekick builds @Ascaloth and others have posted, especially the way they mix mechanical fun with narrative details for each character. This build works great in most parties, but is designed to be paired with a Konstanten Howler build that I’m posting as well. This is in no way unique insight or creativity on my part, but mostly a very basic build that focuses on fun synergies. I’m posting so that it’s available for folks who want to bring Fassina along and are looking for a quick, fool-proof build. 

I tested this on PotD Upscaled with a typical party (Swash Eder, Herald Pallegina, Priest Xoti, Howler Konstanten). I used the Community Patch and Balance Polishing Mod, but the build does not depend on them to work. I’ll do my best to highlight if something is a CP or BPM feature only.  (Borrowing @thelee's format here w/ some slight edits)

The Pitch: Stack gross amounts of +PL and clear the battlefield with layers of AoE DoT, Pulse, and direct corrode and raw damage. 

Sorcerer - Wizard (Conjurer), Druid (Animist)

Human (Ocean Folk), Vailian Republics - Arcane Apprentice (+1 INT, +2 Arcana)

MIG 13
CON 11
DEX 12
PER 12
INT 16
RES 14

Note: If you are playing this build with a hired adventurer or watcher you could make these choices to further optimize. 

  • Choose Nature Godlike (trade +1 Poison PL and +2 INT for +1 universal PL)
  • Choose Ancient Druid instead of Animist (additional stacking +1 PL for plant and beast spells). 
  • Make PER and INT your highest scores, followed by MIG and DEX. You could dump RES and CON as much as you are comfortable.

Skills: Alchemy (or Arcana) and Metaphysics. More explanation below. 

Concelhaut’s Parasitic Staff (a), Conjure Familiar (a) // Talon’s Reach (a), Sunbeam (a), Spiritshift Wolf (a)
Choice of: Touch of Rot, Tanglefoot, Vile Thorns, Nature’s Mark
Infuse with Vital Essence // Insect Swarm, The Moon’s Light (a)
Necrotic Lance
Autumn’s Decay or Binding Web
Deleterious Alacrity of Motion // Infestation of Maggots, Returning Storm (a)
Combat Focus
Purge of Toxins [BPM]
Spirit of Decay // Form of the Delemgan, Conjure Blight (a)
Wicked Briars or Wall of Flame
Spell Shaping
Rapid Casting // Wall of Thorns, Plague of Insects (a)
Embrace of the Earth Talon or (Uncanny Luck, Heart of the Storm, or Scion of Flame)
Arkemyr’s Capricious Hex or Ninaguath’s Freezing Pillar // Venombloom, Sunlance (a)
Choice of: Quick Summoning, Garden of Life, Spell Resistance [BPM], or an optoin from a previous tier
Tayn’s Chaotic Orb or Wall of Draining  // Accurate Empower [BPM] or Call to the Primordials, Lashing Vine (a)
Potent Empower [BPM] or an option from a previous tier

Weapon Proficiencies:
Dagger (a), Rod (a)
Staff or/and Pike
Hunting Bow

Weapon slots:
I: The Spine of Thicket Green (Empowering Instinct, Grove’s Respite) or Lance of the Midwood Stag (Lord of the Forest)
II: Essence Interrupter or Blightheart or Amaliorra

Note: Spine vs. Lance. Both are available immediately for “free”; I used the Spine for my playthrough, but on reflection, Lance is likely better in every case except vs Vessels. Both work great, though. You could always juggle them to maximize PL for plant/beast spells, but that is more micro than it’s worth for me, plus I prefer to have my second weapon set for an alternative ranged option. 

Essential gear:
Spider Silk Robe (Spider Blooded, Poison Master) 
Mask of the Grotto Deep
Serpentskin Grimoire
Fassina’s Grimoire
Battle-worn Grimoire

This build focuses on maximizing a few strong spells with synergistic keywords (Poison, Plant, Beast, Acid, Decay, Conjuration) to stack up staggering amounts of damage, but stays flexible with tried and true utility spells for every situation. 

Universal +1/+3: (Summon Familiar/Lance of the Midwood Stag)
Poison +3 (Mask of Grotto Deep & Spider Silk Robe)
Conjuration +2 (Conjurer subclass)
Plant +3 (Spine of Thicket Green)
Beast +3 (Spine of Thicket Green)

+PL by Spell:

  • +8
    • Malignant Cloud (Conjuration, Poison)
  • +6 (+7 w/ Spine)
    • Plague of Insects (Beast, Poison [BPM])
    • Venombloom (Plant, Poison)
    • Wall of Thorns (Plant, Poison [BPM])
    • Vile Thorns (Plant, Poison)
  • +6
    • Noxious Burst (Poison)
  • +5
    • Necrotic Lance (Conjuration)
    • Binding Web (Conjuration)
    • Death Ring (Conjuration)
    • All Wizard Wall spells (Conjuration)
  • +3 (+4 w/ Spine)
    • Insect Swarm
    • Talon’s Reach
    • Tanglefoot
    • Wicked Briars
    • Form of the Delemgan
    • Lashing Vine
    • Call to the Primordials

The basic flow is standard stuff: buff > DoT spells > direct damage spells w/ debuffs and utility spells as needed. 

Infuse w/ Vital Essence
Deleterious Alacrity of Motion
Summon Familiar
Form of the Delemgan

Core DoTs:
Plague of Insects
Infestation of Maggots
Malignant Cloud
Insect Swarm

- Keep the staff modal on most of the time. Pike modal is a great debuff if you aren’t using Nature’s Mark or similar active effects that reduce Deflection. You should be able to stay in robes the whole game, but if you are concerned about getting focused fired, Cabalist Gambeson is great b/c Woodskin and Delemgan cover the AR gaps perfectly (always a fan of flaunting the haul from Arkemyr’s Vault, too). Ironskin is also great and is in the Snakeskin Grimoire. 

- Form of the Delemgan is easily the strongest spell in your entire repertoire. It single-handedly makes many encounters go from deadly to average with the Dexterity Affliction immunity and bonus AR. For your tankier party members, it makes Scale armor and Brigandine amazing by shoring up their pierce AR gap. Note that bonus AR is one place where specific does not stack with general. If you have both Spirit Shield and Form of the Delemgan, it will choose the higher of the two values for each damage type, rather than stacking. 

- Early/mid game you’re going to want to pay attention to enemy defenses and armor and cast the best spell you have for those defenses/AR, regardless of bonus PL. Sunbeam, Returning Storm, Slicken, Chill Fog, and Combusting Wounds are almost always useful. When all else fails, switch over to your ranged weapon and plug away (or bonk w staff or pike).

- Poison immune enemies are not that scary or troublesome. Just lean on your non-poison options. Unless you wait till very late, you won’t have many poison spells for Hanging Sepulchers. The rest of your early game kit works great. Same for Poko Kohara Ruins/Engwithan Waystation. Splintered Reef is an interesting case, as the Fampyrs are not immune to poison and many have lowish Fortitude. It’s worth blasting them with everything you’ve got and not worrying about the immune skeletons and guls. Speaking of, Guls and Alguls are weak to fire, so blast away. The fights in SSS with constructs, skeletons, and naga are all manageable, as well. Essence interrupter w/ Essential Phantom works great for the constructs. For the Naga you have less options, but Chill Fog, Slicken, Wicked Briars, Tayn’s Chaotic Orb, Lashing Vine are all helpful. 

- I recommend rushing the Kraken (lvl 10/11) and Splintered Reef (lvl 15/16) to maximize the time you have with your full equipment set. The Kraken has high Fortitude, but is not immune to Poison, and is weak to freeze and corrode. See above for Splintered Reef. When I did Splintered Reef Menzaggo died from AoE DoTs before I ever targeted him with anything else. While it doesn’t have much we really need for Fassina, rushing Beast of Winter is quite easy, too. Fassina eats Neriscyrlas up (Combusting Wounds, Wall of Flame, Insects to strip Concentration, Wall of Thorns - RIP). 

- This build works exceptionally well with a Howler like Konstanten built to lower enemy Fortitude and take the occasional hit from hostile AoEs. See my companion build, The Bodyworker for a version of this kind of build. It’s particularly helpful to crack open big enemies with high Fortitude via Morningstar Modal and -all Defense debuffs. Anything that lowers Fortitude in an AoE is awesome. Especially awesome are debuffs for Fortitude that target a different defense. For example, vs. Will:. Devotions of the Faithful, Secret Horrors, Interdiction, Mind Plague, Reny Daret's Ghost Spake w/ Upgrade, and Shining Beacon. 

- Other fun combinations include: 

  • watch a big boss’s HP bar fall through the floor by stacking up all of your DoTs and have a priest cast Cleansing Flame (this might depend on BPM fixes). 
  • watch all of your DoT and debuff durations fly through the roof when a boss is hit with Enfeebled from a Forbidden Fist monk

- Paladins with Righteous Soul and melee characters with Khapa Tea make your life much simpler once you have Malignant Cloud and Venombloom. You can gather up all of the melee enemies and then plop your spells right on top without worry. 

- I like the idea of stacking Alchemy all the way and using poisons to take advantage of the +PL. This sort of works with Blightheart and the Arquebus modal (which gives a much needed +20 accuracy to the poison). The fact is, though, it adds significant micro and not much versatility. Arcana is the clear best choice, not the least of which, because Fassina gets a special background with +2. Being able to cast all those evocation spells, along with some of the best from Priest, is so valuable at the end of the game. 

- Accuracy is not Fassina’s strength, so look for all the ways you can improve that. Aware from Priests or Ciphers, +Accuracy from Priests or Paladins or Deadeye. Potion of Perfect Aim is wonderful and should be used for every difficult fight. 

Some things that worked for me on Megabosses: 

  • Dorudugan: Equip Essence Interrupter and keep an Essential Phantom up. Keep Form of the Delemgan up on anyone in melee. Respec to grab heals - Moonwell counters a few spells, which can really help survivability. Embrace of the Earth Talon is great if you use Amaliorra and every possible debuff / accuracy boost. 
  • Hauani O Whe: Not poison immune, but the highest Fortitude defense of any enemy in the whole game. For simplicity sake, I used Disintegrate to cut the fight in half, but her DoTs would shred through some smaller oozes. For big HOW, I landed a combusting wounds and then dropped every wall spell I had on ‘em. Wall of Thorns, Flames, Force from Fassina. Watch his health plummet. Venombloom is great, too. 
  • Sigilmaster Auranic: Nice addition with Arcane Reflection self-cast. Essence Interrupter and Phantom for the Sigils. Form of Delemgan is a life saver vs. all the Petrify and Paralyze. Venombloom and all the rest aren’t too hard to land here, once you clear the sigils. Probably some other tricks you could do, but this one is relatively easy. 
  • Belranga: Form of the Delemgan majorly trivializes a key mechanic by eliminating all of the paralyze/petrify. DoTs clear up the spiders with ease. Once you get Belranga into territory where you can land spells, any of your tricks work great. Stack up the DoTs and watch her fall. 

BPM Notes:
- Wildstrike Corrode seems like an easy fit in this build, but it’s actually not as useful for us, because when you are Spiritshifted, your carried weapons are replaced by the Spiritshift ones. This means you are always trading away more applicable +PL for the narrower Wildstrike bonus. That said, there are other reasons to spiritshift, and if you want to have more to do while shifted, by all means. 

- The Improved Empowered Abilities are great with this build. Accurate is a must, Potent & Lasting are great as a second/third. Venombloom is probably your best choice to empower, so kick things off with a bang and then toss out the rest of your spells. 

Edited by Ivanfyodorovich
correcting tag for Ascaloth
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Currently playing a sorcerer and it changed my view on conjurer. Their spells aren't ideal on their own but at least they have access to wall of flame, chill fog, freezing pillar etc. Sorcerer naturally leans to using tons of DoT/AoE spells combined with combusting wounds so conjurer will have most of the tools at hand. Caster/caster multiclass is also better in BPM compared to vanilla, since the spells we get from brilliant is limited in power, in longer fights a MC caster isn't far behind compared to SC casters.

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On 2/20/2024 at 7:34 AM, yorname said:

Currently playing a sorcerer and it changed my view on conjurer. Their spells aren't ideal on their own but at least they have access to wall of flame, chill fog, freezing pillar etc.

yeah, on paper just looking at spells conjurer looks kinda lame, but they still keep a bunch of good spells (slicken, combusting wounds, and walls) and the +1 PL from familiar goes a long way to smoothing out the higher recovery time on the non-conjuration spells. i probably put it tied up there with enchantment for second place wizard subclass in terms of what I like to use (evocation is GOAT-ed i think).

Edited by thelee
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