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I just started a new party. I normaly never have ciphers or chanters but thought I may take a ipher insted of a wizard... but now I'm not sure.

 

I just don't know how to use them. I have about 15 focus at level4 and can never really do much... I never really get enough focus to use more than the first level cipher stuff and they aren't exactly amazing. Should I retrain her as a wizard?

 

There must be something I'm missing, everyone else seems to like ciphers. What stats are best for ciphers?

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I wrote a whole guide on this, though its filled with typos and is slightly outdated (Amplified Thrust no longer generates Focus so its use is questionable). Also for some dumb reason I didn't put any mention of Arms Master. I hate myself forever.

http://forums.obsidian.net/topic/84139-class-build-cipher-a-beginners-guide-to-gunmage/

 

If you don't want read all that though:

- Get gun

- Use gun to shoot enemy's face for massive focus generation (Ideally on a target affected by Mental Binding)

- Swap to other guns rather than reload them. If all guns have been fired swap to a bow instead

- Shoot arrows in enemy's faces (Pew pew pew) while using any powers based on the current situation

- Or just Soul Shock spam

Edited by Wolken3156
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Cipher basically has to be built as a physical dps class.  One route that works well is gunswap, as mentioned above, it's micro intensive though...  like, shoot, swap, shoot, spellcast, swap, shoot.  Suitable for a MC but not really for your 6th companion.  Other options are weapon reliant, warbow or reach weapons work good, warbow is the least micro intensive.  It really comes into it's own when you get a superb durganized warbow, durganized armor, guantlets of speed, and high level spells.

 

Before then you'll be relying on ectopsychic echo a lot, mindblades, mental binding, puppet master, and maybe phantom foes to support your rogue.

 

TBH it's one of my least favorite classes because it's power curve is really steep (unless you go the gunswap route, that works fairly early on), and it's heavily reliant on weapon/item quality to gain focus.

 

Early game, soul shock spam;  Midgame, ectopsychic echo;  Lategame.... bam, super strong.

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Shoot low DR stuff. Use Whisper of Treason. A lot. That's it basically. ;)

Or Echo. ;)

 

But the most important part of Boroers post is that you should pick your targets wisely if there is enemies with low deflection and/or DR the3y are preferred.

Having Quick Switch and maybe even 3 slots is also very good advice given here but you could also open with a gun and then just switch to a bow and stay with it.

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Ranged ciphers are easier to play. But with melee attacks you will get more focus because of the higher attack speed and/or the additional dmg mods, but you will more likely be knocked out. Luckily you have spells that disable foes.

 

Ciphers are sort of hybrids: they do a lot of weapon damage with their soul whip but they also can cast really nice CC and support spells. They just can't spam them in quick sussession like wizards/priest/druids can. They balance this out with pure per encounter usage (or better: per resource) and the higher weapon damage. I mean +40% weapon damage through soul whip without any drawback is a lot.

 

The more weapon dps and the lower the enemies' DR is the higher the focus gain will be.

 

So a melee cipher with a two hander for example could use following things to raise damage per hit:

- Soul Whip (+20%)

- Biting Whip (+20%)

- high MIG (18 MIG: +24%)

- Savage Attack (+20%)

- Apprentice's Sneak Attack (+15%)

- Damage bonus to flanked targets (survival, items, up to +40%)

- Two Handed Style (+15%)

 

For a total damage bonus of +154% just by casting Phantom Foes. Maybe his weapon is exceptional, then he will be at +184%. An elemental lash will also add a lot of damage and focus.

 

This is pretty nice. He will kill things quickly but also gain a lot of focus per hit. If you give him a reach weapon he doesn't even need to be super sturdy and can reach enemies easier without running around too much. I tried Durance's staff once and it's nice because it's the only reach weapon with two damage types. Llawran's staff is cool because of the speed - together with Time Parasite you will be hitting very, very fast with lots oft damage per hit.

Edited by Boeroer
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Good points, Boeroer.

 

As somebody who has not tried a melee cipher yet, I can't help wondering if given the ease of stacking damage modifiers for a Cipher's weapon attacks, a sturdy 2H melee Cipher concentrating on debuffing and controlling rather than damage powers might not be able to do fairly well on the front line with durganized Blade of the Endless Paths or Tidefall, say, trading off some of the might typically taken by damagedealers for other stats to be more sturdy, and not dumping resolve.

 

Say Deadfire Pale Elf for 20 dexterity, 10 strength for a nice baseline, and 8 points left over to increase constitution, perception, intelligence, or resolve from their 10 base as needed, with durganized Sanguine Plate and/or Outlander's Frenzy thrown in for good measure.

 

(Come to think of it, if it works even half decently, it would work for the Grieving Mother.)

When I said death before dishonour, I meant it alphabetically.

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Ciphers have Psychovampiric Shield and Body Attunement for +25 deflection and +7 DR. They can be played in the front line. Veteran's Recovery is a good pick as well. They even work well with a shield and a sabre (preferably Bittercut because it has two damage types and works with Spirit of Decay which adds another +20% to damage).

Pain Link is another great power for a front line melee cipher.

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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I just started a new party. I normaly never have ciphers or chanters but thought I may take a ipher insted of a wizard... but now I'm not sure.

 

I just don't know how to use them. I have about 15 focus at level4 and can never really do much...

 

 

I didn't use one for my first play through, did on my second, and now wouldn't play without one.  I build mine as ranged, rather than melee, but I think both can work fine.

 

I haven't studied the details of stats and builds to the extent that many people have, so I'll defer to others' wisdom there.  But here are some abilities that I've found highly valuable:

  • Whisper of Treason.  L1 ability, so available right away.  This is enormously powerful, and I use it through most of the game.  Only 10 focus, and getting a powerful enemy fighting for your side is huge.  First, because of the damage it dishes out.  Second, because of the damage it takes: sometimes this can destroy it completely.  Third, because other enemies attack it instead of your own guys, so you take less of a beating.  Forth, because it can often get a frail party member out of trouble if they're getting hit by something they can't stand up to.  Fifth, because it can help preserve battle lines when something breaks through.  One of the best abilities in the game, IMHO.  It's a Swiss Army Knife of spells.

     

  • Mental Binding.  L2, 20 focus.  This can take many types of powerful enemies temporarily out of the fight, and at the same time, it's a powerful debuff.  You do much more damage to them, and they aren't beating on you.  It trivializes most fights against just 1 or 2 enemies.

     

  • Defensive Mindweb: near-invulnerability for your whole group.  Suddenly those PotD fights in WM against huge hordes of creatures aren't so scary.

     

  • Eyestrike.  Early game ability.  It overlaps with some wizard spells, and is shorter duration, but unlike the wizard spells you can cast it every fight - even multiple times in a single fight.

     

  • Reaping knives: You can cast this on a fighter type, and have more focus than you know what to do with.

     

  • Lots of useful debuffs, like Phantom Foes, Secret Horrors, Recall Agony, etc.  Unlike priest spells, you can cast them many times between rests.  Many have a large effect radius, so you can cover most or all of the battlefield.

     

  • Pain Block: useful to cast on a tank who's getting beat on for +10 DR and some regen.

 

Not only does the cipher bring a lot of powerful abilities to the table, they help per-rest casters like Wizards, Priests, and Druids go further between rests, since often you can avoid burning a per-rest spell in favor of a Cipher equivalent.

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Anyone know what the functionality is like for a Monk that has reaping knives cast on them? How does it interact with unarmed damage bonus?

 

It doesn't interact with the unarmed damage bonus at all, nor receive the accuracy bonus.

 

However a Monk is still a good candidate to use them on since they're good on their own and do raw damage, a Monk has good accuracy and will usually have two weapon fighting, so he can take good advantage of them.  They would work especially well with swift strikes, though with Durganized armor and gauntlets of swift action you can be really fast anyways if you turn off vulnerable attack (you wouldn't need it with reaping knives).  I'm not sure if the damage from turning wheel or lightning strikes stacks on reaping knives.  And I'm not sure if hitting with Torment's reach with them active counts towards your focus gain.

 

I found them to work really well on Barbarian with two weapon spec, if I remember correctly the hits from carnage count towards your focus gain.  Monk is probably a better candidate for hitting bosses with the though.  

Edited by Climhazzard
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One of the best candidates for reaping knives is another cipher. Cast reaping knives on each other and you'll double your focus gain. The raw damage of the reaping knives in your hands does wonders for your focus and at the same time you'll give the same amount of focus to the other cipher and vice versa.

 

Barbarian is also a great option.

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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