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So I just got this game and am looking for some help on creating my first character, which I've decided to make a Cipher.  I've been reading up on different classes, and I was between a Cipher, Druid, and Wizard. Since I can get a Wizard NPC early, it came down to Cipher and Druid, and the Cipher description just sounded really cool so I figured I'd try one first.


According to their description, they sounded like they could play as melee mages, in a sense, but many threads I've seen have made them sound too squishy really to play melee all that much, and that ranged weapons are King with a Cipher.  Is it possible to do a hybrid build where I can use both ranged and melee options?  I'd like to be able to start out ranged in tougher fights, throw out spells, and then move into melee range or something like that. And with easier stuff just be able to melee.


If this is possible, what kind of stats should I start with?  For ranged, it seemed to be to max Might, Dex, and Int, and put the rest into Resolve I think?  Which means dumping Con and Perception.  But would that make me extremely terrible in melee?  I really have no idea what a good way to distribute my stat points would be.  Basically, I'd like to use both melee and range, and sling spells for CC/damage.  Any thoughts/ideas/advice would be greatly appreciated!

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They can work fairly well with extended range melee weapons, the quarterstaff and the pike, at least as long as you are paying attention to make sure they don't get engaged.

I recently made a cipher character that is using a quarterstaff quite a bit.  My stat distribution looks like 16s-9c-16d-7p-18i-12r.  My talents will probably be...


Peasant weapon focus

two handed style


biting whip

draining whip

superior deflection


or something along those lines.  A wood elf.  I'll use a quarterstaff and hunting bow, but mainly the quarterstaff.  I'm not really experienced with building ciphers, but I have used grieving mother quite a bit.  Hopefully some cipher players will charm in as well.

Edited by Climhazzard
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What difficulty are you planning on playing on? Cipher's squishyness is a big issue on PotD difficulty level, where enemies hit hard and have high accuracy. The main thing to watch out for is that enemies will turn to attack your Cipher when they engage in melee, because they don't have to break engagement with your tank to turn and whack you in the head. Ideally, then, you want to either engage enemies with reach, being careful in situations with larger enemies or big groups that swarm past your tanks, or else only engage enemies that have been paralyzed/stunned so they can't do anything. You'll probably also need to use at least light armor so that you can take a few more hits.


The reason people tend towards ranged Cipher builds is twofold: 1) You don't have to worry as much about their fragility, and 2) The Blunderbuss is a great focus-generating weapon. I toyed around with a Ruffian Weapon Focused Cipher build that would open with a blunderbuss blast and then switch to dual-wielding stilettos. I decided it was impractical for PotD, but could be fun on a lower difficulty level.


Constitution and Perception are definitely your dump stats. At level 10, a point of Constitution is worth maybe 4 Endurance out of ~130. Not enough to save you if you're taking heat. Likewise, the Interrupt effect from Perception is meaningless because a Cipher has much better methods of preventing the enemy from doing anything.

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I wouldn't worry about it too much, just focus on playing the game once without spoiling it too much.


By what you told me

mig 18

con 10

dex 14

per 3

Int 18

res 12


Now cipher is talent started and focusing on one weapon is quite a job already but on two even more so, but it's a good idea because when you can melee you should


Weapon focus adventurer

Two handed Style

Biting Whip


At 6 you are pretty set, with mainly using estocs and warbow, or go


Weapon focus soldier

Two handed style

Biting Whip



Makes your main weapons the pike and the arquebus and even arbalest if you find a good one, can even shoot your gun at start of the fight and since it takes forever to reload just stab the rest to death. Either should work fine with little room for you to alter it to your preference by the end.

Edited by Nadrac
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Sorry for not responding until now!  Life can get quite hectic at times!!


Thank you for the replies!  They are much appreciated. To answer some questions, I'm planning on playing on normal difficulty to start. I'm completely new to Pillars of Eternity, but I've played these kinds of games before.  I like the idea of being able to do both melee and range with the cipher, and I actually do like the idea of grabbing Weapon Focus Peasant and using the Hunting Bow and Quarterstaff (I like bows for ranged damage and staves for melee damage typically in games).  Would I have a lot of troubles doing this on Normal difficulty?


I'm not sure on race entirely.  I like elves, but I think elves in this game look a bit.. meh.  Humans are Aumua look pretty nice and have 1 and 2 might, respectively.  Godlike would be the other race with decent stats, but good lord those heads.  So I'm mostly looking between Human and Aumua unless Elf grows on me.


As for stats, I was thinking of trying 19 Might, 10 Con, 17 Dex, 3 Perception, 19 Intellect, and 10 Resolve.  That's as a Human going with Old Vailia for culture.  Would that be ok, to dump Perception like that?


And just one last question... which abilities should I start out with at level 1 with the Cipher? I like Soul shock and mind wave, but should I go with 1 damage and 1 cc instead? Mind Wave is kinda both in 1, though. Any thoughts?


Thank you so much for the responses, everyone!

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I went with Mind Wave and Tenuous Grasp for my level 1 abilities. I start difficult or challenging fights with TG and boom; 1 enemy is immediately out of the game. (It's also hilarious to see his team mates wailing on him due to the engagement rules)

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