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1. Can I build PC Cipher as frontline tanky fighter preferably with decent damage output, in heavy armor and dual wielding melee? Currently I'm thinking on Godlike or Aumaua races. What race, skills and weapons/armor would be best in that case if it's even possible?


2. Since Durance became unbearably annoying and I don't use hired adventurers, I'm looking for replacement. Is it possible to build Druid (Hiravias) as decent healer/buffer, at least remotely on par with Durance? Maybe some other companion class variants?


Any builds, suggestion and tips would be really appreciated.

Edited by Stoner
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1. I guess so. Theoretically a melee cipher should even outdps a warbow one, simply because sabre has comparable base damage but shorter attack_duration. 
Also have to note that cipher doesn't have special full attacks. So later into the game you will likely better be with 1H+Shield (because at zero-recovery you will attack same as fast anyway).

Or even plain 1H if you are going to make use of daom or time parasite.

I suppose you will likely want to use 1H+Shield for the very early game too, at least until you get access to Psychovampiric Shield, or get a pala with Reinforcing Exhortation. (or something else to buff your deflection)


As for powers:

- must have: Whispers of Treason, Psycho Shield, Mental Binding, Echo, Mind Lance, Puppet Master, Silent Scream, Detonate, Meld, Instinct, Meld, Amplified Wave and Disintegration 

- not saying that other's are bad, but rather more situational. For example if you will not DW, than ofc you will have to use Time Parasite more often; not just for to slow enemies attacking rate, but for your own speed as well. Another one to consider is Antipathetic Field. Being in front, you will be able to make more use of it. Pain Block, Going Between, Body Attunement and Mindweb can help you, or your party with extra tankiness. But in practice you won't be using them that often. Sometimes it's better to just prone everyone.


As for races:

- Not sure if Fire Godlike is really worth it

- Coastal Aumaua extra defenses against prone and stun can be useful. But I've found that enemies seem to cast paralyze more often

- Tbh I'd go for Human or Hearth Orlan. More crits -> more damage from anihilation -> more focus -> more damage from powers.


The hardest part is stats spread. You need everything, so there is little to min-max. 

- need high might, because it increases the damage of your powers; and helps generate focus faster.

- non-dumped con, because having to rest because of cipher is non-sense. Also running of health during battle is a no go.

- need high dex, because it speed's up your cycle of deal damage -> gain focus -> cast powers. But there is no need to max it. Having zero recovery and 10 dex, is like having normal recovery and 43 dex, for your auto-attacking. Ofc zero-recovery and 20 dex is better, but sometimes you just need to find an attribute to sacrifice.

- need high per, because missing and grazing is the last thing you wish to do. Also if you will go for Resolution/Purgatory over Bittercut, you realy want to crit.

- need high int, for decent duration on buffs and cc effects, and also aoe of stuff like detonate and amplified wave. Imho 16-17 is enough.

- and finally you need resolve to be able to stand in the front.


So perhaps something like 16/10/12/16/16/8 or 15/11/11/15/15/11?


2. Druid can easily substitute priest in healing department. But not quite so in buffing. Priest buffs go well beyond what scrolls could give you.

Edited by MaxQuest
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I'm going to assume your playing on hard or harder, if your on normal or below you don't need to worry.


1). The Backlash Bedlam build (from the pinned build list) is the only tank cipher build I know of. With that said I find melee ciphers tend to work better when played like DPS rogues, going in after your tanks to attack priority targets. They can definitely take a few hits, but if multiple enemies are surrounding them it tends to not end well.


2). My thoughts on Priest and Druid:

Do you need a priest? No.

Can a druid be an adequate healer to keep your party alive? Yes.

Are there unique buffs you can't get without a priest? Yes.

Can the druid help in other ways a priest can't? Yes.

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I'd look at going with Ruffian group for a melee cipher. You can start with an alpha strike of a pistol or blunderbuss and then wade into battle with a shield and a sabre or stiletto. The sabre is slower but hits harder.  


It depends on how quick you blast out your focus. Getting to where in between every attack you can cast a power would be the goal. Look for low cost fast cast powers.

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^^ this.

also, you can put any character up front, and the cipher has a few talents to make it more survivable (stealing damage resistance and stats from enemies, plus time parasite, for example), but also remember they have a much lower health and endurance pool than most other characters.  definitely on a par with rogues, and I agree with the persona above who suggests treating them like rogues.  it works out very well; they even have the right skill bonuses to treat them like rogues for trap/lockpick duties.

use the quick switch talent, use penetrating shot mode, armsmaster, and swap between scon's roar and leadspitter, and have resolution/bittercut in your main hand, and your favorite stilleto or club in your offhand for your third weapon slot.

use ryona's bracers, and the belt that reduces you swap time another second (and gives you accuracy on traps and a bit of dex too boot). 

those will do you well.

ciphers can do almost as much damage rigged like this as a rogue does, plus so many other benefits.

but tanks?  sure... you could... but certainly not the best choice, and quite risky.


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Retaliation doesn't generate focus any more - at least at the moment. So you can take the Backlash Beldam build and throw it into the litter box. Which is sad. I don't know if it's a bug or intended.


But Psychovampiric shield got buffed. So it's possible to build a tanky cipher. Cipher's endurance and deflection are not super high, so I would always use a shield. My favourite single weapon for a melee cipher is a sabre - preferably Bittercut because it has two damage types. Sabres have high base damage and work best with your soul whips's dmg bonus. Then I would follow the advice of my fellow posters and use a gun for the alpha strike in order to get a good chunk of focus at the beginning of a fight.

A nice combo coukd be to use Antipathetic Field and Bittercut (plus corrosive lash) with Spirit of Decay. This will multiply your beam and overall weapon damage of Bittercut (as long as it applies corrode damage) by 1.2 (not like the other dmg mods that just add percentage of base damage).

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Good and plenty of suggestion on Cipher, thanks. I think I see the picture now of what he would look like...


Though I still will appreciate input on Druid. I have used Hiravias for rather short time, as melee Shapeshifer which didn't work so well, so I benched him and I'm mostly unfamiliar with Druid powerfull builds, spell combos and other useful gimmicks... Pointers to decent builds would be pretty welcome as well.

Edited by Stoner
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Look at this build: Bath!t Crazy

Works really well with Hiravias - one of my favourite builds of all times. Sturdy, great CC and debuff. Lots of damage for a tank, too.


Look at the synergy of Blaidh Golan + Ilfan Byrngar's Solace: not only will you have -50% stun and prone duration, but you will also have +100 to all defenses if you got stunned or prone - because shield and item enchantments stack!


This guy is nearly always up and casting. :)

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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another thing not often mentioned with ciphers, is the level 2 spell: phantom foes.

because of the rest mechanics in the game that can give you really good bonuses against flanked enemies with some survival skill, this makes phantom foes a great first spell to use against groups of enemies.  with level 12 survival, you now are automatically doing 20% extra damage to them once you cast this.

aside from that bonus, it also frightens them, which makes them slightly easier for you to hit, and them less likely to hit you.

all for just 20 focus.


really REALLY useful if you are playing a solo cipher, where you are not going to be flanking enemies very often otherwise.


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since we're on the subject of ciphers... the one thing I never was satisfied with was what armor to use for your average ruffian build cipher.

gambio's is what I usually settle on (free speed buff ftw), but this time I went with vengiatta rugia, to try out the bonus to flanked, plus I like the way it looks.

what are other cipher user's favorite armors?


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