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This is my first run through and I'd like to keep spoilers to a minimum.

 

Right now, I'm level 4ish playing on hard. I have Eder on point, Kana and Durance on backup, with Aloth and my Cipher in the rear...not that it matters. Mobs are all but ignoring my front line and going straight for Aloth and my Cipher (this must be that new AI from 2.0). Inside, I can sometimes make choke points work, but outdoor maps are just chaos. CC at this point is weak. I'm not using Aloth's spells as much as I could. However, this is largely because if I did, I'd have to rest after every other battle and with only being able to carry 2 camping supplies, it's just not viable. My Cipher has Mind Wave, but the duration is pretty short (even with her high Int), and mobs aren't usually clustered well enough to get optimal effect. I also have Mental Binding, and use it when I can, but she generates focus so slowly her CC can't keep up with the chaos. If I'm lucky, Kana survives long enough to get skeletons (he came with this invocation), but the skeletons are pretty squishy. If anything, they only buy me about 10 seconds, if that. As for Durance, he can usually get off his per encounter abilities. After that, he can sometimes be helpful with a reach weapon, but usually is more "helpful" as a punching bag if he gets engaged, and he usually does.

 

I'm almost tempted to restart as a paladin. Then I would have a stronger front line. However, I think my Cipher is my main source of damage (as paltry as it is). Also, I'm thinking having another tank isn't going to help because I'm sure she'll get ignored as well as mobs make a beeline straight for my squishies. I'm not sure what to do at this point. It's nothing like BG/IWD where a front line actually held. If everything is going to go straight for the squishies, and there's nothing in the environment to allow me to set up a physical choke point, I'm not seeing any options here.

 

Any tips? thanks.

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How much damage are your melee chars dealing? If your frontline is able to deal half-decent damage conpared to your backline, the mobs won't disengage half as much as against zero-damage tanks.

 

I also noticed that building every char in a way they can stand against at least a single foe in melee does not decrease DPS by much, but does wonders to your suvival rate. What spells and talents did you give to Aloth? A parasitic staff and some buffs can make any wizard into an emergencial melee powerhouse.

 

Last of all, have you considered a melee heavy party instead of a traditional strategy? I've found that most classes can be sufficiently resilient without losing much damage if built well, and the highter base speed and/or damage of melee weapons allows for more balanced attribute spreads. A meele DPSer forced into ranged may deal less damage, but a ranged DPSer forced into melee dies.

 

 

Edit: have you tried hiring an adventurer to close your frontline? Generaly the first thing I do after entering the first inn is hiring one or two party menbers, generaly a melee off-tank and a wizard so I can give Aloth better spells.

 

 

And I noticed you gave Durance a pike. Pikes are for more vulnerable melee DPSers. If you want Durance to deal damage, give him a gun and take the Inspired Flame talent, if you want him to help hold the line give him a sword and a shield. But beware: it will lower the accuracy of his offensive spells and debuffs.

Edited by DreamWayfarer
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As of patch 2.0 I prefer to run two tanky melee DPS characters (sometimes backed up by a hunter's pet for a third tanky unit) rather than relying on one pure tank. In my last game that was a hybrid tank/DD build on Eder and my main character playing as Boerer's retaliation cipher build, with Ituumak as well a lot of the time. If you use stealth to find encounters and make sure your tanks engage first and are a little spread our they usually do a decent job keeping most of the enemy away from your ranged damage dealers; any that do creep past can be crowd controlled then focused down fairly easily.

 

The reason this is my favoured set up is that whilst additional durable melee characters are helpful in outdoor encounters, in a lot of dungeons it can be hard to get them all into range. I find two to be a nice sweet spot for this.

 

If your main character isn't at all tanky then Zahua, Pallegina and Kana can do a good job of being a second tank after Eder (my preference is in that order, though with the changes to Pallegina in 3.0 that might change), or you can hire an adventurer.

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The reason this is my favoured set up is that whilst additional durable melee characters are helpful in outdoor encounters, in a lot of dungeons it can be hard to get them all into range. I find two to be a nice sweet spot for this.

 

 

True, that is the main weakness of a heavy melee setup: chokepoints become your enemy.

 

However it isn't too hard to build a melee DPS char that can do good, if suboptimal, damage at range.

 

It is matter of preference. I myself like heavy melee setups because I feel they make better use of balanced, non min-maxy stats.

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Ya I always run a minimum of two tanks, sometimes as many of 4. You'll need at least two though to have a shot at keeping agro, and they need to be doing damage. Also be smart about what you target. Don't let a ranged dps target the mob that hasn't been harmed at all by the tanks.

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As of patch 2.0 I prefer to run two tanky melee DPS characters (sometimes backed up by a hunter's pet for a third tanky unit) rather than relying on one pure tank. In my last game that was a hybrid tank/DD build on Eder and my main character playing as Boerer's retaliation cipher build, with Ituumak as well a lot of the time. If you use stealth to find encounters and make sure your tanks engage first and are a little spread our they usually do a decent job keeping most of the enemy away from your ranged damage dealers; any that do creep past can be crowd controlled then focused down fairly easily.

 

The reason this is my favoured set up is that whilst additional durable melee characters are helpful in outdoor encounters, in a lot of dungeons it can be hard to get them all into range. I find two to be a nice sweet spot for this.

 

If your main character isn't at all tanky then Zahua, Pallegina and Kana can do a good job of being a second tank after Eder (my preference is in that order, though with the changes to Pallegina in 3.0 that might change), or you can hire an adventurer.

As a matter of interest, what changes to Pallegina are you talking about? Are the changes to Paladins in general, or to Pallegina?

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"Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, 'He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destruction. She is Love.' So, to reply to your statement, they do not call themselves gods. Everyone else does, though, everyone who beholds them."
"So they play that on their fascist banjos, eh?"
"You choose the wrong adjective."
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After 2.0 the AI has gotten pretty decent at ignoring meat bag 3 DEX 3 might tanks.  So first and for most although your tanks job is to soak damage build him/her to be able to do some sort of burst and consistent damage (FoD for Paladins and Knock Down for Fighters) even if it isn't amazing.  Also do your best  to keep their ACC up.  I understand that most tanks probably don't have the highest AC but using a small shield for instance or starting the fight with a single hander for superior ACC works.  The AI does not want to eat engagement attacks so once they are stuck to your tanks and you have engagement on them for the most part they wont leave.  Exceptions being monk, Barbarians and Paladin enemies with Zealous Charge.  CC those guys if they run past you.

 

Secondly, since 2.0 I run melee heavy.  Yes it sucks in dungeons sometimes but its worth it.  I also give the other melee guys a Pike or ranged weapon that they are competent with (Weapon Focus Soldier rocks) and its cool.  The more solid your front line the less likely the AI will disengage as their are obviously less targets and they cant physical get by you.  Also taking 4 disengagement attacks sucks.

 

Lastly, if you do not want to run heavy melee have a group with high mobility.  A Paladin with zealous charge and a chanters chant works.  Also the talent.  This will let your smaller front line of 2 tanks and the party run quickly away once your line folds.  your tanks can then reengage the enemies running by and they will sick.  You can do this dance even with one tank.

 

My current party comp in my new TC run that is working in the early game is Paladin (tank/Support), Fighter (DPS), Monk, Chanter (tank/support) with a Wizard and Priest in the Backline.  The frontline is too thick for even the crazy amount of mobs in PotD.  Its durable and dishes out pain thanks to the Monk and even the fighter.  FoD helps burst damage very well and the chanter is giving good buffs with his awesome Phantom.  Mean while the Priest and Wizard (Concelhauts staff his really hard) play as Pikeman or if their is a dangerous heavy hitting enemy late in the game they can back off and play ranged CC/Support.

Have gun will travel.

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Just to clarify, I don't think heavy melee is bad. My preference is just for 2/3 less pure tank frontliners and then 3/4 ranged DPS.

 

As a matter of interest, what changes to Pallegina are you talking about? Are the changes to Paladins in general, or to Pallegina?

 

Two things. The first is that non-main character Paladins will level up their Faith and Conviction ability. This won't go quite as high as the main character can with perfect reputations, but it is independent of reputations (it's tied to level instead). Second a screenshot of a class specific talent for Pallegina's order has been released.

 

The second one is of unknown usefulness, but the improvement to Faith and Conviction will definitely help Pallegina a lot.

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Just to clarify, I don't think heavy melee is bad. My preference is just for 2/3 less pure tank frontliners and then 3/4 ranged DPS.

 

As a matter of interest, what changes to Pallegina are you talking about? Are the changes to Paladins in general, or to Pallegina?

 

Two things. The first is that non-main character Paladins will level up their Faith and Conviction ability. This won't go quite as high as the main character can with perfect reputations, but it is independent of reputations (it's tied to level instead). Second a screenshot of a class specific talent for Pallegina's order has been released.

 

The second one is of unknown usefulness, but the improvement to Faith and Conviction will definitely help Pallegina a lot.

About time they just tied it to their level.  Been saying that from the start.

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Have gun will travel.

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Just to clarify, I don't think heavy melee is bad. My preference is just for 2/3 less pure tank frontliners and then 3/4 ranged DPS.

 

I don't think anyone implied you thought so. Most people here just spoke against the "tank&spank" strategy, but if I understand it right, your two frontliners setup is not about tanks that may as well be mobile walls.

If two guys are enough for you to hold the line and you think having 4+ melee characters is not worth the micromanagement, that is fully OK.

Edited by DreamWayfarer
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I don't think anyone implied you thought so. Most people here just spoke against the "tank&spank" strategy, but if I understand it right, your two frontliners setup is not about tanks that may as well be mobile walls.

If two guys are enough for you to hold the line and you think having 4+ melee characters is not worth the micromanagement, that is fully OK.

 

Indeed my tanks aren't pure tanks but rather sturdy tank damage dealer hybrids. It's one of the things I like most about patch 2.0: I've always disliked the pure tank archetype introduced from MMOs where you have a character whose job it is to literally be hard to kill, and nothing else; so having, what seems to me, a more realistic situation where the front liner also does damage or supports the party is much more satisfying to me.

 

Also to clarify, I usually also had Ituumak helping with tanking duties, and usually had one of my ranged characters set up to be a little sturdier for emergency off tanking duties, so perhaps my setup should be viewed as a 2+ tanks. The main thing I wanted to avoid was having more than three characters set up for pure melee because, in my case at least, I often found it difficult to get them all into contact in dungeons. That said, an extra reach weapon wielder is fine and I don't care too much if pets can't always make contact.

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I have been plaything a party without a front "wall" since the later part of 1.06. Not really because ob's intention to move away from Tank-and-Spank but because the playstyle isn't very dynamic to me... it gets boring. I tried my first playthrough where most characters has at least decent survivability after I had to abandon 1 playthrough due to said boredom. Corridors aren't really too bad actually. In early game, I have at least half of my party equipped with reach weapons. Late-game, I unlocked mobility skills like Flagellant's Path and Dragon's Leap.

 

You *can* still do Tank-and-Spank though. I mean no reason why getting your squishes to have their back against the wall and cover their front and flanks entirely with tanks and summons will not work.

 

@Kneller: A Cipher's physical dps can be quite good as well due to Soul Whip. I tried a dual wield stilettos/sabre Cipher that is quite decent. One of the best cipher skills I feel is Psychovampiric Shield. It increase your deflection whilst decreases the enemy's deflection and Will by 10. So makes your enemy easier to hit while you are harder to be hit, and it last for a good amount of time. Then they are the usual skills like Ectopsychic Echo and Amp Wave.

 

A ranged Cipher will suffer with lower Focus generation as the physical dps (associated with Focus generation) will generally be lower when compared to melee. If you will like to stick with a ranged Cipher, I will suggest a Blunderbluss Cipher consuming Carow Golan. It reverts the Cipher back to the pre-1.06 days of where you can gain +2 Focus per hit of the Blunderbuss (so +12 Focus as long as all 6 pellets land not including the actual dmg). 

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My favourite strategy is to use 3 frontline "tanky" characters, usually at least one paladin with a zealous aura and 2 fighter/barbarian/monk type characters. Enemy mobs still try to run or teleport past the frontliners at times, so the basis of this strategy is really to try and mitigate that and find ways to make my backrow casters more resilient to enemy melee. The party formation will usually look something like this:

 

Fighter/Monk (Eder)                     Paladin/Barbarian (Pelegina)          Fighter/Monk

Druid/Wizard (Hiravias/Aloth)       Priest (Durance)                             Cipher (Mother)

 

- I give all my backrow casters arbalest (which has the longest range) or arquebus, and a hatchet + shield in their secondary weapon slot. When a backrow caster is engaged by more than one melee enemy, I switch their weapon to hatchet + shield to boost their deflection, since I don't need them to inflict melee damage so much as cast spells to buff/heal my party and/or immobilize my opponents (although Mother does need to inflict damage to regenerate her focus. But I can usually spam amplified thrust for that). I also shapeshift Hiravias when I need a backrow melee damager.

 

- to maximize the benefits of zealous aura on the party, I need to keep Pelegina alive for as long as possible. Her stats are not optimized for melee damage dealing, and she does not have fighters' constant recovery, so I make her a shield + one handed specialist to give her more longevity in battle. She still does a lot of damage with flames of devotion with a good unique sabre, but her utility is in her other abilities like the paladin's zealous aura and liberating exhortation (very useful in negating enemy CC).

 

- I don't bother with midrow "off-tanks" at all. When I tried it, I felt like they were hampered by being forced into to do something they weren't particularly good at. There are any number of things an "off-tank" can be be doing that is more useful than being a "off-tank." I suppose chanters might make good "off-tanks", but only because they can't really do much else otherwise. Since 90% of my battles are done before (or right when) my chanter finish 3 verses, I rarely bother with them.

Edited by yupper
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^ Engagement is pretty useless if you don't do a lot of damage per hit. Enemies will just ignore it to reach the soft targets. Don't waste precious talent- or ability-points on that. Even with a build focused on disengagement attacks (did some tests) it's not worth it.

 

He summoned skeletons with Kana, he didn't fight them.

 

It's not very easy to protect glass cannons from being attacked. First of all, they are an attractive target because they have a low deflection and low DR. The AI will try to attack them first. Secondly, they do lots of damage or are casters which also makes them the number one target for the AI. If the "motivation" is so strong the AI will ignore a lot of punishment in order to reach those glass cannons. You wouldn't do it any other way I suppose.

 

One thing that works (besides not having squishies) is if you take Fast Runner and run away if you get targeted. Most enemies quickly realize they are too slow to catch you and turn around.

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First off, level 4 is the pits. Once you hit level 5 and get level 3 spells, you'll have way better CC and things will get a lot easier. So the first bit of advice is to avoid the tough fights until you hit level 5. There are enough quests and relatively easy fights in the game to get you there without too much pain; then you can tackle Raedric's Hold and stuff.

 

Second, as others have pointed out, you can't hold the line with a single tank if there's no chokepoint (as there usually isn't). In fact defensive tactics just don't work a lot of the time in the early game; your defences just aren't strong enough and there are no choke points. So focus on CC and direct damage: try to keep the strongest enemy away from your squishies and kill their easier-to-kill enemies first, then hit the strongest one with everything you've got.

 

Here are some tactics I use to get through the very early game:

  • Durance. The L1 spells that increase Deflection and Accuracy help a lot. I open up with one or the other, depending on the situation. Then I target the mob boss with the spell that lowers Deflection and Accuracy, it's a pretty powerful single-target debuff and will make it go down pretty fast. From level 2, Consecrated Ground and Repulsing Seal are super-good.
  • Aloth. I have the "build from scratch" box ticked so I give him a slightly different spell selection. Chill Fog is great (slow, DoT, blind), Slicken is fantastic CC although short-duration. Fan of Flames does really good AoE damage, but of course you have to get Aloth positioned right for that. Note and make use of the "no FF" fringe. I sometimes have Aloth hang back and only move in once the engagement starts and then blast a FoF.  Or else first drop a Chill Fog, then circle to the side and follow up with FoF. Fetid Caress and Bewildering Spectacle are also very useful, as is Curse of Blackened Sight if you don't have an alternate means to blind (e.g. Eyestrike).
  • Eder. I target the "most dangerous" enemy with him, try to keep it off my squishies. It's not a front line, but it makes a difference.
  • Kana. His skeletons are terribad, so I always give him Reny Daret's Ghost and pop that as soon as possible, then I use the phantom to run between enemies stunning them. That'll usually win the battle right there. Other than chanting (Blessed was Wengridh gives +1 Movement btw which helps running away a lot), I usually have him melee to keep the beasties off Durance and Aloth. I let him keep his armor because at that point it's more important that he makes it to 3 phrases than that he does a lot of damage.
  • PC. Does what the PC does. If a cipher, I open with Eyestrike trying to catch as many of them in it as possible (Blinded is a really strong debuff), repeat as necessary, or alternate with Soul Shock or that one thing that knocks them down.
Edited by PrimeJunta

I have a project. It's a tabletop RPG. It's free. It's a work in progress. Find it here: www.brikoleur.com

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btw about tank-and-spank

 

I recently tried that again after a long while -- made Minmax the really squishy, really hurty rogue, dressed him up in a snazzy Vailian outfit, built Edér into a tank, and went to town.

 

It alternated between hilarious and frustrating.

 

When I could keep him from getting targeted, it was hilarious. Damn things just burst into gibs in no time flat.

 

Trouble is, a lot of the time I couldn't, and then he'd go down in like one or two shots.

 

I'm sure I could get it to work by practicing my fine movement control and watching the AI targeting, but that's not my preferred playstyle so I gave up on it. I suspect DotA-heads might like it though. And if I stuck with it and starting stacking useful items on him -- boots of speed f.ex. -- it would get a good deal easier. But as it is it's not my thang. I prefer my characters a bit more robust, and like to find synergies between them. Direct point damage is kind of boring.

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  • Aloth. I have the "build from scratch" box ticked so I give him a slightly different spell selection. Chill Fog is great (slow, DoT, blind), Slicken is fantastic CC although short-duration. Fan of Flames does really good AoE damage, but of course you have to get Aloth positioned right for that. Note and make use of the "no FF" fringe. I sometimes have Aloth hang back and only move in once the engagement starts and then blast a FoF.  Or else first drop a Chill Fog, then circle to the side and follow up with FoF. Fetid Caress and Bewildering Spectacle are also very useful, as is Curse of Blackened Sight if you don't have an alternate means to blind (e.g. Eyestrike).
  • Kana. His skeletons are terribad, so I always give him Reny Daret's Ghost and pop that as soon as possible, then I use the phantom to run between enemies stunning them. That'll usually win the battle right there. Other than chanting (Blessed was Wengridh gives +1 Movement btw which helps running away a lot), I usually have him melee to keep the beasties off Durance and Aloth. I let him keep his armor because at that point it's more important that he makes it to 3 phrases than that he does a lot of damage.

 

I thought even with the "build from scratch" box ticked you couldn't change the pre-made companions level 1 choices, including their spell choices. Or do you just mean you pick different spells for Aloth's level 2 and 3 picks than the default ones?

 

Also yeah, Reny Daret's Ghost is amazing early on, and even late game it's still a decent distraction. If Kana started with it instead of the skeletons he would be close to perfection, but as it is he's merely very good. First time I played the game I didn't like his character so didn't take him, but in my second play through I discovered he actually has some pretty cool interjections and he grew on me.

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I thought even with the "build from scratch" box ticked you couldn't change the pre-made companions level 1 choices, including their spell choices. Or do you just mean you pick different spells for Aloth's level 2 and 3 picks than the default ones?

Yep, that's what I meant. Pick Chill Fog or Slicken for level 2. I usually go with Chill Fog.

 

Also yeah, Reny Daret's Ghost is amazing early on, and even late game it's still a decent distraction. If Kana started with it instead of the skeletons he would be close to perfection, but as it is he's merely very good. First time I played the game I didn't like his character so didn't take him, but in my second play through I discovered he actually has some pretty cool interjections and he grew on me.

I always liked Kana, both the way he's written and the way he plays. I just wish they hadn't given him those stupid skeletons.

 

Backer beta lore: the skeletons were hilariously broken in one of the early betas. Not only did they punch hard, they didn't unsummon after the fight, so if you had a chanter onboard, after a while you'd be commanding an entire freakin' army of darkness and roflstomping over everything. I believe they may have over-nerfed them a bit because of that...

Edited by PrimeJunta
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Just have your Cipher use Psychovampiric Shield or Tenuous Grasp and have Aloth use Arcane Veil if the enemy get past Eder. In an ideal situation though, you would have at least two front liners, its near impossible for one person to hold off every single enemy that comes your way in open areas. Also watch out, since some abilities will break your engagement. I know this is the case with the Paladin's exhortations and the Chanter's invocations.

 

As for how I do it? Early game I actually don't really try. If they stick to my tanks, well yay, but usually they don't. In such cases, I actually have my casters built for melee anyway. Priest is Skaenite stabbing them in the back. Wizard has Arcane Veil and the ever powerful Parasitic Staff spell. Druid just transforms into a giant bear and mauls everything. Its probably the ideal way to play them early on anyway, since it requires much less resting. Chill Fog and Tanglefoot are generally the first spells I toss out in most skirmishes at any rate. Slowing down their movement does help to a degree. As an added bonus, both spells inflict ailments that will allow your followup attacks to have a much easier time landing.

Edited by Wolken3156
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I thought even with the "build from scratch" box ticked you couldn't change the pre-made companions level 1 choices, including their spell choices. Or do you just mean you pick different spells for Aloth's level 2 and 3 picks than the default ones?

Yep, that's what I meant. Pick Chill Fog or Slicken for level 2. I usually go with Chill Fog.

 

Also yeah, Reny Daret's Ghost is amazing early on, and even late game it's still a decent distraction. If Kana started with it instead of the skeletons he would be close to perfection, but as it is he's merely very good. First time I played the game I didn't like his character so didn't take him, but in my second play through I discovered he actually has some pretty cool interjections and he grew on me.

I always liked Kana, both the way he's written and the way he plays. I just wish they hadn't given him those stupid skeletons.

 

Backer beta lore: the skeletons were hilariously broken in one of the early betas. Not only did they punch hard, they didn't unsummon after the fight, so if you had a chanter onboard, after a while you'd be commanding an entire freakin' army of darkness and roflstomping over everything. I believe they may have over-nerfed them a bit because of that...

 

 

 

 

I thought even with the "build from scratch" box ticked you couldn't change the pre-made companions level 1 choices, including their spell choices. Or do you just mean you pick different spells for Aloth's level 2 and 3 picks than the default ones?

Yep, that's what I meant. Pick Chill Fog or Slicken for level 2. I usually go with Chill Fog.

 

Also yeah, Reny Daret's Ghost is amazing early on, and even late game it's still a decent distraction. If Kana started with it instead of the skeletons he would be close to perfection, but as it is he's merely very good. First time I played the game I didn't like his character so didn't take him, but in my second play through I discovered he actually has some pretty cool interjections and he grew on me.

I always liked Kana, both the way he's written and the way he plays. I just wish they hadn't given him those stupid skeletons.

 

Backer beta lore: the skeletons were hilariously broken in one of the early betas. Not only did they punch hard, they didn't unsummon after the fight, so if you had a chanter onboard, after a while you'd be commanding an entire freakin' army of darkness and roflstomping over everything. I believe they may have over-nerfed them a bit because of that...

 

Its over kill now though.  The chanter Skeletons are USELESS.  I don't think I ever see them do over 2 damage.  Everything is like .6 damage lmfao.  The Phantom is like 10 fold better.  Freeze damage, stun and sneak attack lol

Edited by Torm51

Have gun will travel.

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Man, I know it was a bug in the beta, but I would really, really like to play a "Kana, Lord of darkness" with hundreds of skeletons build.

"Those who look upon gods then say, without even knowing their names, 'He is Fire. She is Dance. He is Destruction. She is Love.' So, to reply to your statement, they do not call themselves gods. Everyone else does, though, everyone who beholds them."
"So they play that on their fascist banjos, eh?"
"You choose the wrong adjective."
"You've already used up all the others.”

 

Lord of Light

 

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Man, I know it was a bug in the beta, but I would really, really like to play a "Kana, Lord of darkness" with hundreds of skeletons build.

In early versions of BG-1 had the clerics' summon skeleton spell gave you half a dozen of the useless creatures but this could be exploited against lower level bosses.

Use your sneakers to locate the boss fight, summon a load of of skellies on the enemy position, they won't do much (any) damage but they will force an engagement, simultaneously have your wizard drop a stink bomb (nauseous fog?) spell on them, this doesn't affect the skellies but makes your enemies faint repeatedly and weakens them. Shoot enemy with missiles until dead…

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