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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 Fassina Sorcerer build that I’m posting as well. This build is a riff on @Boeroer’s Konstanten Build (post) set up to offtank and pair well with Fassina. The lightbulb clicked when I saw Konstanten has the highest base Fortitude of any companion or sidekick. Maybe he had a wizard cousin who liked wearing diving helmets? I’m posting this build so that it’s available for folks who want to bring Konstanten 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, Sorcerer Fassina). 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 formatting here, slightly edited)

The Pitch: This build drops enemy Fortitude through the floor while dropping Will and AR to boot. It stands in the middle of melee and shrugs off attacks that target Fortitude or deal Corrode damage. 

Howler - Chanter (Skald), Barbarian (no sub)

Mountain Dwarf, The Dyrwood - Drifter (+1 RES, +1 Sleight of Hand, Bluff, Streetwise)

MIG 15
CON 17
DEX 12
PER 11
INT 10
RES 13

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

  • Choose any non-godlike race. You could do worse than Mountain Dwarf, as CON Resistance is nice to have out of the box. 
  • Choose any Barbarian Subclasses that you fancy, though you need an answer for Berserker’s Confused status. Corpse Eater would fit well with the BPM upgrades, giving you even more survivability in most fights. 
  • Make CON, PER and INT your highest scores, followed by MIG and DEX. You could dump RES a little.

Skills: Athletics and/or Alchemy and Survival. More explanation below. 

Come, Come Soft Death (a), The Thunder Rolled (a) // Barbaric Yell (a)
And Hel-Hyraf Crashed Upon the Shield
Thick Grew Their Tongues // Thick Skinned
One Dozen Stood, Two-Handed Style, One-Handed Style [BPM] or Accurate Carnage [BPM] 
Reny Daret’s Ghost Spake // One Stands Alone
The Shield Cracks
Bloody Slaughter
The Long Night’s Drink // Spirit Frenzy
Savage Defiance
Barbaric Shout
Ben Fidel’s Neck Was Exposed // Bear's Fortitude (AT2)
Leap, Tough, or Uncanny Luck
Old Siec Would Not Rest // Brute Force
Spell Resistance
Oh, But Knock Not (AT4), What Ruo Naka Found, Threatening Presence [BPM], or Interrupting Blows (AT6)
Called to His Bidding or Accurate Empower [BPM]  // Spirit Tornado
Stalwart Defiance [BPM], or choice of previous

Weapon Proficiencies:
Battle axe (a), Mace (a)
Morning star

Weapon slots:
I: The Willbreaker (Unavoidable Demise, Make Them Flinch)
II: Shattered Vengeance or Kapana Taga

Essential gear:
Helm of the Void
Aloth’s Leather Armor
Undying Burden

This build focuses on synergistic debuffs to reduce enemy Fortitude, Will, and AR, setting up your party for faster kills, while soaking up enemy attacks. 

- The real work horse here is the synergy between the chant The Long Night's Drink Birthed the Revenge of Morning and the Barbarian abilities Spirit Frenzy/Spirit Tornado. While frenzied, every attack you make, with any ability, will cause Staggered (-5 MIG, Cannot engage enemies). Because The Long Night’s Drink is an attack, enemies affected by it are not only Weakened, but also Staggered. These two conditions together lower their Fortitude by 20!. For enemies who are resistant or immune to MIG afflictions, The Long Night’s Drink also lowers MIG independent of any affliction, resulting in an only slightly less impactful -14 Fortitude. This would be powerful even if it was a one time use ability, but the attack repeats every 6 or 12 seconds, and synergizes with itself, because it targets Fortitude. Once it hits, it has a much easier time of reapplying again, making it last the entire encounter in most situations. 

*Note: there is a bug in the vanilla game where Spirit Tornado only applies staggered on weapon attacks. If you’re playing vanilla, do not upgrade to Spirit Tornado. 

- In addition to Long Night’s Drink and Spirit Frenzy, we can lower an enemy's Fortitude by an additional 25 points with the Morning star modal Body Blows, which targets Deflection. This is often the first wedge to pry open high Fortitude enemies, as it makes The Long Night’s Drink much easier to land. On top of those, we have the upgraded version of Reny Daret’s Ghost Spake (Ben Fidel’s Neck Was Exposed), which targets Will and lowers all defenses by 10 and applies Frightened (-5 Deflection, -10 Will, -3 power levels). Lastly, the invocation And Hel-Hyraf Crashed Upon The Shield lowers AR by 2. With the upgrade, this can be kept up for the entire battle without much effort (especially on any target being focused). 

The net effect on all of this on enemies who are not affliction resistant or immune is: 
-2 AR
-15 Deflection
-55 Fortitude
-10 Reflex
-20 Will

- Spirit Tornado is worth a quick mention here. With BPM, it is very worth snagging, and honestly great for end game even in Vanilla, as many late game enemies have Might affliction resistance anyway. Terrified for 1 Rage in an AoE is very fun. 

- Choosing higher level invocations increases your max phrases. Your goal is to have at least 5 max so that you can cast Ben Fidel’s Neck and Hel-Hyraf back to back at the start of combat. Non-offensive invocations cost +1, and choosing a high level one will give you the highest possible max phrase count. 

- Keep your weapon modals on all the time. The damage penalties eat up all of your bonus damage from MIG, but in light or medium armor with frenzy, you still put out some decent damage. I didn’t do any math on this, but my gut is that the modal deals more total damage across the party if at least 1 other party member is attacking Fortitude. Once you have The Willbreaker, it makes more sense to use that 100% of the time and have another character use a club to keep Bewildering Blows up, even when trying to lower enemy Will, because Relentless stacks with those and adds an additional -3 to -15 Will.  

- With Kosntanten’s health pool being so large (~500 hp with a few points of bonus constitution and frenzy), you don’t have to babysit him. Instead, when you notice he’s getting close to bloodied, or is being focused by a few high damage enemies, you can toss a heal over time on him and/or use Stalwart Defiance. In BPM, Defiance stacks with Robust, in addition to getting extra base healing, but even without those changes, it’s a pretty great fit for K. 

- Surviving fights also requires having enough armor for the enemies you’re fighting. At a minimum, enough means that when he’s critically hit, he has enough AR to avoid overpenetration. You can figure out what that target is by using this formula (AR needed to avoid overpen=1+((Enemy PEN * 1.5)/2). With Thick Skinned, he should be fine in most fights with upgraded Light or Medium armor even on PotD. When in doubt, Potions of Spirit Shield last a decently long time and are cheap. Aloth’s Leather Armor is a phenomenal choice, because it has no weaknesses if you upgrade to Structurally Stable (and actually gains extra Corrode AR). The bonus defense against Transmutation and the Overseeing enchantments are also wonderful. Other great choices are Magnera’s Chain, Iridescent Scale, or Saint’s War Armor. The latter two really depend on Woodskin/Delemgan and some +corrode AR to work, but they have great enchantments). If you are facing particularly challenging enemies (e.g. rogues with ranged weapons that prioritize low HP allies), Heavy armor works great, too. Blackened Plate with the damage aura and -AR aura are a natural fit here. Both autohit, so won’t apply Staggered from Spirit Frenzy, but they do stack with everything else in your toolbox. 

- One very powerful trick that I like using Konstanten for on challenging bosses is putting him into the Kahako Nihi armor from SSS with the Hardened Plates upgrade. With heavy armor, K can take crits easily, and the debuff that it causes lasts the entire encounter. This is especially nice on Megabosses like Dorudugan and Hauani O Whe, where you’re stuck grinding them down. 

- The biggest downside of K in this build is low accuracy and low Intellect. These aren’t as damning as you might think, though. Gloves of Reliability and Helm of the Void, are a big help early (as of course priest/paladin buffs). Since your biggest single debuff targets deflection, flanking, etc also helps. The other reason it’s not completely damning, is that your main abilities are very cheap (1 Rage, 2 and 3 Phrases). If you whiff one, you can try again at little cost. Similarly, lower duration is not much of an issue. Lastly, as a melee chanter, your chants and invocations easily hit multiple enemies. 

- Pretty much as soon as you can get K, you can snag Saru-sichr from Arkemyr’s mansion with no violence. If you planned ahead and started with some extra gold from Berath’s Blessings, you should also have Shattered Vengeance. These will keep K in business for most of the game. I’d also recommend doing Beast of Winter as soon as you can (14 is great). Helm of the Void is huge. If you have a wizard with Combusting Wounds, Neriscyrlas is a breeze. K can make sure it lands, and Thick Grew Their Tongues helps you keep that pesky Llengrath’s Safeguard. Sidenote: if you’re running Fassina here, all of her poison spells work on top of Combusting Wounds shenanigans. Very easy once K gets N’s Fortitude under control. 

- This build works exceptionally well with Fassina and other characters with abilities that target Fortitude and Will. Big K has no problem standing in the hostile AoE spells that Fassina uses. If you use an Antidote, Khapa Tea, or get Purge Toxins from Fassina, you can safely ignore Venombloom, Malignant Cloud, and Noxious Burst. But if you don’t have immunity to poison, your high Fortitude and Voidward will make them completely survivable. Konstanten has the highest base Fortitude of any companion or sidekick.** We take Bear’s Fortitude to increase that even further, and with Frenzy up, he gains an additional +20 Fortitude. If you have an active source of +All Defenses (Circle of Protection, etc.), that’s helpful, but not necessary. I also usually give Konstanten a Cloak of Greater Protection for an additional +10. 

**For fun, here’s a breakdown of the top 5. 

  • Konstanten (Barbarian): 54 (30 class, 10 MIG, 14 CON)
  • Konstanten (Howler): 49 (25 class, 10 MIG, 14 CON)
  • Pallegina (Paladin): 45 (25 class, 4 MIG, 6 CON, 10 Faith & Conviction (+Deep Faith))
  • Eder (Fighter): 44 (20 class, 12 MIG, 12 CON)
  • Serafen (Barbarian): 42 (30 class, 10 MIG, 2 CON)

- I think Alchemy is by far the most useful active skill, especially for the late game where fights can go very long and keeping buffs up is worth quite a bit. That said, there is great synergy with Athletics and Undying Burden, and if your party needs someone with high Athletics, that’s a great fit, also. 

- As mentioned above, Konstanten works great with a source of consistent Healing over time. A Herald with Ancient Memory and Exalted Endurance is usually plenty to keep him happy (also a great choice to work with Fassina, due to Righteous Soul). 

Some things that worked for me on Megabosses:

  • Dorudugan: I had K face tank Doru to start the fight until he caught Hardened Plates, then had him wail away with Willbreaker, standing far enough away from the other 2 melee so that a Brutal slash would only ever hit 2 of the 3. BPM savage defiance and some back up heals along with stacked AR meant no overpen with crits, and underpen on regular hits. You have to do some work with a few characters to make a debuff strategy work here, but K is a key piece of the puzzle. BPM Threatening Presence helps quite a bit (immune to engagement when above 75% HP), but you can eat a disengagement crit with this setup with a similar amount of health. I respec to Blood Frenzy/Bloodstorm for this b/c he is resistant to Body Afflictions, and w/ BPM I had basically infinite frenzy (I think BPM Salvation of Time or something else has an odd interaction here, but I couldn’t figure it out).  The extra dmg from the dot is not huge, but there’s not much else to spend points on. 
  • Hauani O Whe: Similar to Doru, stack AR, stay alive through the crits. I used Disintegrate to shorten the fight tremendously, and K helped that land. If you weren’t doing that, I’d pick up the accuracy boost for The Thunder Rolled and keep oozes stunned (5s base, vs Reflex w/ one attack roll for 2 Phrases)
  • Sigilmaster Auranic: The biggest contribution K makes is the use of his old massage room back the the Wild Mare, but he does fine here smashing on sigils and making Auranic easier to land damage on. Spirit Tornado is fun on Auranic, who can be terrified. 
  • Belranga: Pretty happy here with Khapa Tea smashing away. Carnage is nice to speed up spiderling kills. Once you switch over to Belranga, the lowered defenses help speed everything up a bit. 

BPM Notes:
- The Improved Empowered Abilities are great with this build. Accurate is a must, Lasting is great as a second. With Lasting, Ben Fidel’s Neck is probably your best choice to empower at the start of a fight. 

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Since you are using crush damages at principal, you can give to Fassina (or other caster that attack the same enemies than Konstanten do) Sungrazer : the -1 crush AR penalty from Blunt Rock work on any critical hit, including spells, and stack with everything.

Other think about your chant choice, at pl1, At the Sight (+10 fortitude and will) in really better than Come Soft Wind, in my opinion : at melee damage dealer most of the enemies are going to try to stop you at distance and all your defenses should be targeted, especially fortitude and will.


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1 hour ago, Constentin Lévine said:

Since you are using crush damages at principal, you can give to Fassina (or other caster that attack the same enemies than Konstanten do) Sungrazer : the -1 crush AR penalty from Blunt Rock work on any critical hit, including spells, and stack with everything.

This is a great tip, since that will stack and lasts the whole encounter. I did not realize it applied via spells. 

2 hours ago, Constentin Lévine said:

Other think about your chant choice, at pl1, At the Sight (+10 fortitude and will) in really better than Come Soft Wind, in my opinion : at melee damage dealer most of the enemies are going to try to stop you at distance and all your defenses should be targeted, especially fortitude and will.

I completely agree here. If I were creating this build with a hireling or watcher, I would likely choose At the Sight (assuming no other chanters in the party). Because it's a sidekick, that choice is already made for you. 

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  • 3 weeks later...

This sounds really interesting. I would love to try it out. I also found your Fassina build that works well with it, but do you also have a link to a Pallagina Herald build you are talking about ? I never really used any of those 3 charakters as I usually go with the same group all the time. So it seems fun to try out new things.

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