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[CLASS BUILD] The Dichotomous Soulbenders (twisted twin CC/DPS mophers)

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"You know... in a fight, if you really need help, you'd meditate briefly on your pain, then you summon two physical manifestations of suffering, one made of flame, the other of ice. This technoque is called 'The Dichotomous Soul' and it requires a lot of training to master that. However - when I was younger and met your mother, and we were doing... those things... you know... that young people do... it may be that I wanted to impress your mom and summoned this in a... err... very wrong way..." 
- Rokkua, aka "The Long Pain" aka "Dad" -
"You are mophers? Half monk, half gophers?"
- Last words of Yon "Malicious Tongue" Sweets, jester -
(sorry for the bad photoshopping - was in a hurry)
The Dichotomous Soulbenders
Difficulty: PotD v. 3.02
Solo: seriously? ;)
Class: Cipher
Race: Hearth Orlan
Background: Ixamitl Plains - Scholar
MIG: 17 
CON: 10
DEX: 18 
PER: 10
INT: 15
RES: 08
Skills: Stealth 2, Athl. 7|9, Lore 6|4, Mech. 1, Surv. 10  
Talents (a=auto, r=recommended, !=important)

Veteran's Recovery

Novice's Suffering (!)

Weapon Focus: Peasant ®
Draining Whip ®
Two Weapon Style ®
Vulnerable Attack ®

Fast Runner

Outlander's Frenzy
Minor Threat (a)
Soul Whip (a)
Second Whind (kind of a)
1st Level Cipher Spells
Antipathetic Field
Mind Wave
Soul Shock
Whisper of Treason ®
2nd Level Cipher Spells
Mental Binding
Psychovampiric Shield (!)
Recall Agony
3rd Level Cipher Spells
Ectopsychic Echo
Pain Link ®
Puppet Master
4th Level Cipher Spells
Body Attunement ®
Pain Block ®
Going Between (!)
Silent Scream
5th Level Cipher Spells
Borrowed Instinct ®
Tactical Meld ®
6th Level Cipher Spells
Amplified Wave
Mind Plague
7th Level Cipher Spells
Statis Shell
Time Parasite ®
8th Level Cipher Spells
Defensive Mindweb ®
Reaping Knives (!)
Items (*=additional echantments by me; !=important, r=recommended):
Weapon set 1: fists (!)
Weapon set 2: Stormcaller ® | Twin Sting ® or Persistence
Boots: Boots of Speed | Sandals of the Forgotten Friar ®
Head: Crossed Eye Patch | Munacra Arret
Armor: Starlit Garb (*PER +2, *Durgan Reinforced, *Pierce-Proofed) | Rundl's Finery (*Exceptional, *Durgan Reinforced, *Pierce-Proofed )
Neck: Talisman of the Unconquerable ® |  Talisman of the Unconquerable (r - you can get a second one from Okrun if you don't give him back the medaillion of his sister - WMI quest)
Belt: Broad Belt of Power
Rings: Ring of Protection, Ring of Deflection
Hands: Gauntlets of Swift Action/Mourning Gloves
Quick slots: Scrolls & Potions (especially Potion of Power, scrolls of Confuse and Paralyze)
Hey there - another build of my new "twisted" series, I hope you enjoy:
When I was toying around with Novice Suffering on the Immortal Martyr the other day I found out that the bonus damage from that talent counts towards damage modifiers now! Halleluja!
That means that Savage Attack and stuff not only increases the whimpy base damage from unarmed attacks (like it did before), but also the bonus from Novice's Suffering (like it does with Trancendent Suffering). This is really good news. Now you can have real fast weapons in the early game that upgrade automatically and do a lot of damage. The "base" damage now is really good and works really well with all sorts of damage modifiers like Savage Attacks, high MIG, flanking bonus and so on.


The above istn't true (anymore?). dmg bonuses don't increase the bonus dmg, only MIG does. So you want to focus on MIG and attack speed to get the most out of Nivice's Suffering.
Also found out that Novice's Suffering's bonus doesn't get amplified by critical hits.

On the upside_ grazes also don't do much less damage than hits. So it's kind of balanced.

Anyhow - I asked myself: "Which class gets a neat damage bonus but doesn't crit a lot in melee?" - and the answer was obvious to me: the Cipher! He gets a nice +40% damage bonus from Soul Whip + Biting Whip, but his ACC is not too good - so it doesn't matter too much that the crit damage of fists is not that high. The damage of normal hits is, and that counts here.
So I came up with those two buddies here. I always thought it's a pity that ciphers can't cast their best buffs on themselves. There's only one solution to that: two cipehrs, right? Their buffs also fit nicely into the monk theme: Going Between and Pain Block could also be monk's abilities. And they help you to perform a lot better in melee. Add in Psychovampiric Shield and they are like mindbending monks.
Once those two guys are buffed up they are really devastating warriors - and focus generation with those fast flying fists is so high that I can't really spend it all (until I get to higher levels where the focus costs explode). And you obviously spare a lot of durgan steel. ;)
So, my everyday routine with them is:
- Get the camping bonus for movement (in hard encounters go for the ACC bonus if it's against non-kith)
- let the frontliners engage
- shoot with a bow to gain enough focus for your first buff (usually Psychovampiric Shield, later Going Between), if you have focus left, do some sort of CC (in hard encounters I shoot until I have enough focus for two buffs - usually Psychovampiric Shield + Going Between. Later on I will always try to cast Time Parasite first and aim for Reaping Knives next if the foes are not too dangerous. If they are, I will wait for more defensive buffs)
- switch to fists, pick a target, rush in, flank (!) and beat the crap out of the foe while gaining lots of focus.
- do CC like hell and pick the next target
- try to keep 10 focus as backup - if you get targeted by too many foes, you can always mind control one guy to distract the others
Novice's Suffering leads to good ACC values for your melee attacks - so 10 PER is no problem. For hard encounters there is another nice trick: cast Tactical Meld on each other: you will gain +20 ACC if you attack the same target - which you should always do. This stacks with Minor Threat from the Hearth Orlan's racial ability. You can then cast Boworred Instinct on the same target. The debuff will not stack, but you will still get another +20 ACC each. So - +40 ACC is really nice against foes with high defenses (bounties for example). And while it doesn't do any good for out fists' crits, our spells and scrolls will hit like trucks afterwards (aka crit).
And of course you can always buff your other party members, too!
This all works really well. I'm really amazed by the synergy of fists and focus. To make things more interesting you can sprinkle Antipathetic Field, Ectopsychic Echo and other dps stuff into the mix. But hoestly it doesn't matter - take the powers you like best. I just found that Whisper of Treason and Puppet Master enormously help you to stay alive while you beat up mobs. Fast cast makes the difference here. Ranges ciphers can affort to cast slower spells. If you're in the middle of a crowd you want fast casts. One reason I chose DEX 18. I toyed around with the stats a lot and found that this distribition worked best.
Atm Puppet Master is a lot faster than Whisper of Treason. I guess there's a bug because both should be equally fast. But it is still a great power because it's so cheap and lasts long enough.
I also like the "dichotomous" looks of them and the fact that one has an eye patch and the other a monocle. ;)
I chose Stormcaller because the focus generation is really great with it even without ranged talents - because of the -6 DR.
Twin Sting comes late and is only good if you fully unlock it, but then it's good for a cipher. Especially since you only want too shoot a bit until you have enough starting focus. And because it's a soulbound item it profits from Weapon Focus Peasant. Any Hunting Bow will also do I suppose, but keep in mind that those can be bad against foes with high DR - and you want to go into melee as quickly as possible. You could also use guns for the initial phase - but I did that all the time with ciphers and I felt that bow & crossbow fit the monkish theme better than guns.
Once you get Defensive Mindweb and Reaping Knives it's game over for most foes. If you have a defensive Paladin or Fighter in the party, you can just cast Reaping Knives as soon as possible, then go into the fight and very quickly generate focus for you AND your brother and let Defensive Mindweb follow. Then you become untouchable while dealing aweseom damage. Game over. :)
The great thing about Reaping Knives on a cipher is that you generate focus for yourself (like you would do with any other weapon) and at the same time you also generate focus for the caster. So with this setup you double focus generation while doing insane raw damage. This makes up for the loss of the synergy between Novice's Suffering and Reaping knives which OBS nerfed.
Keep in mind to switch off Vulnerable Attack once you have Reaping Knives running! You don't need the DR bypass then but may want to gain additional speed. :)
I hope you like it. Thanks and bye bye!*
*© Jörg Sprave

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Thanks for this nice build !

Nice armor choice btw ^^


I would be very curious about novice (and trandcendant) suffering multiplied by anything but crit.

Maybe the damage modifier stacking additively has been replaced by new (undocumented) rules ?


Quality modifier for weapons seam to have been integrated to base damage on the tooltip. I wonder if it true...

Edited by Elric Galad
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Great build and story as usual. Just wondering how you managed to get athletics to 719 and lore to 614 :)

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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."
"You've already used up all the others.”


Lord of Light


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Nice build as always. I have two quick questions:


1). Is there any synergy between Novice Suffering and the Reaping Knives?

2). Is there some reason firsts would work better than stilettos or sabers in the early game?

1.: Nope :) Not anymore

2.: Yes - they are very fast (faster than sabres) and have good base damage (higher than stilettos). This is really good for focus. Damage modifiers work better with them than with stilettos. Sabres do less dps because they are slower (and in early game you can't enchant too much). And those fists also get an ACC bonus after few levels. But even a late game they are good because they scale to superior and above if I'm right. At least my ciphers had 100+ACC with fists late game. With only 10 PER and ciphers' underwhelming starting ACC. You could bring any sabre to higher damage with a lot of ressources though - especially in the endgame. But why bother with sabres then if you can have friggin' Reapin' Knives? ;)

Edited by Boeroer

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Great build and story as usual. Just wondering how you managed to get athletics to 719 and lore to 614 :)

He? There's are pipe "|" between the numbers, not "1". Like in Unix - but less nerdy. Tell me - do you have a nerdy forum template with nerdy medieval fonts running? ;)

Edited by Boeroer
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Very nice and atmospheric build as always. The whole double dipping thing with Reaping Knives on two ciphers is totally new for me. Amazing!


One thing that could make you happy: If I remember correctly, you can even own two copies of Talisman of the Unconquerable.


One copy can be found in an urn outside of Durgan's Battery and the other copy is a possible quest reward in stalwart. But you need to lie for it.


Edited by L4wlight
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:skull: SHARKNADO :skull:

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Really? Didn't know that. That's really good to know. What's that Stalwart quest? Is it new WMII stuff?


If there was only a way to get two pairs of sandals (other than the Helwax Mold).

Edited by Boeroer

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No WMI stuff. It's the quest Regrets Worth Trading at Temple of Ondra. You have to make sure that the dwarf do not follow into the temple, when you confront the fake priests. After you are in possession of his heirloom by either killing the priests or letting them go, you have to lie to him about the amulet and keep it. This turns the quest amulet into Talisman of the Unconquerable.


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:skull: SHARKNADO :skull:

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It is the quest in WM1 Ondra Temple , if you Lie that Dwarfs pendant was thrown to the lake you get it after completion of the quest , there is another way to do it without Lies , after you find out that ondra priests are fake , you can tell it to the dwarf outside of the temple and he will run in to fight them , just let him die and you probably will get it after quest 


Edit : Lawlight beat me to answer :D 

Edited by Blunderboss
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  • 1 month later...

^ Depends on the enemy. It has worked for me on majority of enemies, but not on the dragons. They were becoming immune but still able to attack and move, like you describe.


Other unexpected thing about stasis, is that you can cast disintegration and then the shell, and target will still take damage from the dot. Was using this on eyeless, until have figured out that 2 x Mental Binding is just cheaper in terms of focus.


And another trick is, if one of your party members got charmed or dominated, you can cast stasis on him, making him into a godly tank) (that's might be useful if adragans dominate your closest to adra dragon character, and he will be resisting all the damage)

Edited by MaxQuest
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I only used it as a variant of my withdraw trick against dragons: block the way of the dragon with a character and then cast withdraw or status shell on him. I didn't test if the chanter + the Dragon Thrashed + Withdraw trick also works with stasis shell.

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  • 5 months later...

So I just found Twin Sting, since this is my first time seeing this weapon I was quite awed at it.

Unlocking doesn't seem to be too hard, haven't tried it yet tho.

(Just went out of the game to see what the upgrades are)

Being able to shoot two times without reload seems already op for my mindweb build, but also +3 focus on hit?

Sign me up. :D

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

Hey guys,


New to Pillars of Eternity here.  Old BG and Torment player who now has some time to go through POE 1 and 2.


Going to play POTD since I like hard tactical challenges and after looking at lots of classes this cipher/monk really appeals to me from a RP  and gameplay standpoint.  Only question is I want to play as human and will that nerf the build too much?


Also, what 4 companions do you recommend to go along with the twins? That is also from a character standpoint as I am not sure I'll have the time to play through POE more than once and therefore probably won't get to sample all the characters.


Finally, how hard will this build be in the early going and how rare is the equipment?


Thanks for all these interesting builds.

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the build will be ok early on because Novice's Suffering offers good damage in the early game.


The gear doesn't matter too much. The only "essential" part is the sandals of the forgotten friar. They increase the dps quite a bit. Stormcaller can be obtained fairly early, Twin Sting comes a bit late. But don't puch it: they are not essential for the basic idea of this build.


I would focus on the party members you get first: Edér, Aloth, Durance and Kana Rua.

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