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Hi again all,

 

I finally got quite curious about Ciphers, and I would like to play one as MC for my next run (should be in hard mode, temptatively 4 people party but to be seen).

 

The idea is that I want to play a ranged Cipher without too much micro management, and  with a specific  roleplay / background.

 

Race would be pale elf, with the concept of a lonely "cursed" hunter having to leave home

weapons : arquebuse (or BB but Arquebuse preferred regarding background / roleplay), bow, pike (2h sword as an alternative)

 

I was wondering which stats and talents would be appropriate ? Do you think this could result in a gimp MC with all my specific background (especially on hard mode with a small party) ? I don't know Cipher skills at all so difficult to choose without risk.

 

I know this must have been said many times, but I can't find a build close to this one on the forum.

 

Again many thanks for your great insights.

 

Aginorh

 

 

 

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Race would be pale elf, with the concept of a lonely "cursed" hunter having to leave home

weapons : arquebuse (or BB but Arquebuse preferred regarding background / roleplay), bow, pike (2h sword as an alternative)

Wait, do you want a ranged or actually melee cipher (alpha-strike with blunderbuss and switch to pike)? :)

 

Do you think this could result in a gimp MC with all my specific background (especially on hard mode with a small party)

My first thought was that for a ranged cipher, wood elf would be the preferred race. But since you are going to have a small party, pale elf could be decent for a squishy cipher, as you will attract much less attention from the spectres, shades and alike.

 

 

The idea is that I want to play a ranged Cipher without too much micro management, and  with a specific  roleplay / background.

Not much micro means warbows. Specifically: take Rain of Goddath or Cloudpiercer and stick to it.

As for stat spread it depends on what niche in your group, do you want your cipher to fit:

- cc: 13/8/18/18/18/3

- aoe-dmg: 18/8/17/17/15/3

- versatile: 15/8/18/18/16/3

 

For armor, I would take Durance Robe or Vailian Clothing. Later you could consider Starlit Garb, Raiment of Wael's Eyes or Angio's Gambeson. And durganize them ofc.

From mandatory items there are only Gauntlets of Swift Action. And Talisman of the Unconquerable if you can guarantee having endurance above the threshold.

From mandatory skills: 4 survival.

 

Make Mental Binding your best friend, and paralyzed targets your focus batteries.

Abuse Whisper of Treason and Ectopsychic Echo.

Soul Shock has superb damage per focus coefficient and is very effective vs low-DR xaurips.

Optimize your focus generation to the point, where you can chain Amplified Waves and keep non-immune enemies perma-prone.

Give Detonate and Disintegration a try.

Time Parasite is great. And Defensive Mindweb plus Reaping Knives (on a barb) even better.

Edited by MaxQuest
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Race would be pale elf, with the concept of a lonely "cursed" hunter having to leave home

weapons : arquebuse (or BB but Arquebuse preferred regarding background / roleplay), bow, pike (2h sword as an alternative)

Wait, do you want a ranged or actually melee cipher (alpha-strike with blunderbuss and switch to pike)? :)

 

Do you think this could result in a gimp MC with all my specific background (especially on hard mode with a small party)

My first thought was that for a ranged cipher, wood elf would be the preferred race. But since you are going to have a small party, pale elf could be decent for a squishy cipher, as you will attract much less attention from the spectres, shades and alike.

 

 

The idea is that I want to play a ranged Cipher without too much micro management, and  with a specific  roleplay / background.

Not much micro means warbows. Specifically: take Rain of Goddath or Cloudpiercer and stick to it.

As for stat spread it depends on what niche in your group, do you want your cipher to fit:

- cc: 13/8/18/18/18/3

- aoe-dmg: 18/8/17/17/15/3

- versatile: 15/8/18/18/16/3

 

For armor, I would take Durance Robe or Vailian Clothing. Later you could consider Starlit Garb, Raiment of Wael's Eyes or Angio's Gambeson. And durganize them ofc.

From mandatory items there are only Gauntlets of Swift Action. And Talisman of the Unconquerable if you can guarantee having endurance above the threshold.

From mandatory skills: 4 survival.

 

Make Mental Binding your best friend, and paralyzed targets your focus batteries.

Abuse Whisper of Treason and Ectopsychic Echo.

Soul Shock has superb damage per focus coefficient and is very effective vs low-DR xaurips.

Optimize your focus generation to the point, where you can chain Amplified Waves and keep non-immune enemies perma-prone.

Give Detonate and Disintegration a try.

Time Parasite is great. And Defensive Mindweb plus Reaping Knives (on a barb) even better.

 

Thank you for your reply.

In fact regarding weapons I was thinking of pike as a last resort weapon (would need arms bearer still)

 

Why would pale elf be safer from spectres ?

 

Regarding purpose I would think versatility is mandatory in my small group. But is  resolution at 3 not painful for will saves ?

On  the party I was thinking to  try Aloth + Eder + Durance and MC since rolled characters will suffer from lower level. But maybe it's better to roll specific NPCs ?

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Why would pale elf be safer from spectres ?

 

Cold resist.

 

Regarding purpose I would think versatility is mandatory in my small group. But is  resolution at 3 not painful for will saves ?

On  the party I was thinking to  try Aloth + Eder + Durance and MC since rolled characters will suffer from lower level. But maybe it's better to roll specific NPCs ?

 

 

Resolution 3 is absolutely great if you can reliable avoid anything ever attacking your Cipher (and after level 15 when you can use Defensive Mindweb to make your whole party super tanky). Personally I don't like dumping stats as low as 3, so I might consider something like

 

14/8/16/16/16/8

 

For a versatile build. At level 15 you might want to respect since Defensive Mindweb is so powerful.

 

Any particular reason you've chosen Aloth, Edér and Durance as your companions?

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Why would pale elf be safer from spectres ?

 

Cold resist.

 

Regarding purpose I would think versatility is mandatory in my small group. But is  resolution at 3 not painful for will saves ?

On  the party I was thinking to  try Aloth + Eder + Durance and MC since rolled characters will suffer from lower level. But maybe it's better to roll specific NPCs ?

 

 

Resolution 3 is absolutely great if you can reliable avoid anything ever attacking your Cipher (and after level 15 when you can use Defensive Mindweb to make your whole party super tanky). Personally I don't like dumping stats as low as 3, so I might consider something like

 

14/8/16/16/16/8

 

For a versatile build. At level 15 you might want to respect since Defensive Mindweb is so powerful.

 

Any particular reason you've chosen Aloth, Edér and Durance as your companions?

 

Thank you. Regarding companions, that was just a first idea in fact, to have tank+priest+wiz.

Eder is tanky enough. Aloth decent wizard, and Durance well, is ok for buffs and heals ?

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Why would pale elf be safer from spectres?

As JerekKruger already said, it's because of frost resist. Specifically:

- spectres deal freeze damage (via auto-attacks)

- some of them explode on death, again dealing freeze damage

- shades do have draining freeze ability, which is a paralyze + deal high freeze damage. When they decide whom to attack with it, they give a preference to targets with lowest freeze DR.

 

But is  resolution at 3 not painful for will saves?

Having a will defense at 40 or 60, will make no real difference as you are likely to get affected by respective effects anyway.

Similar situation is when you try to solo a dragon. You either pump your defenses; or don't give a damn about them at all, and look for other means to circumvent the problem.

In your case circumvention would be: including a paladin/priest/or having high lore + preemptive disabling of enemy monsters that try to charm/confuse/dominate your party members.

 

Note: for a ranged cipher, resolve is more useful because of concentration, rather than deflection or will. But still, you don't want to be hit at all; so you either plan to not get hit and drop resolve; or you select a more sturdy (melee plate; or leather/blunderbuss) variant of cipher. 

 

On  the party I was thinking to  try Aloth + Eder + Durance and MC since rolled characters will suffer from lower level. But maybe it's better to roll specific NPCs ?

You will have a party of 4. While the number of enemies will remain the same. This means you will need enough AoE. While also:

1. have a dedicated (high fort/reflex/hp) tank against dragons

2. offtank that would be able to cover your flank.

3. dps + cc

4. and the last spot is flexible

 

The 3rd spot is taken by your MC cipher.

The 1st could be barbarian, paladin or monk.

 

So

V1:

pos1. Barbarian; pos3. Cipher; These have good synergy with melee paladin and melee-or-ranged: priest, wizard, druid and 2nd cipher.

V2:

pos1. Paladin; pos3. Cipher; You could complement it with a pos2. Chanter offtank (via Dragon Thrashed) and pos4. Cipher/Druid

V3

pos1. Monk pos3. Cipher; You could complement it with a pos2. Paladin and pos4. Priest/Druid

 

Now a note about predefined companions:

- Their stats are not bad; but they fit into specific niches. E.g. depending on lineup, you might need one sort of priest or another.

- Kana fits nicely into the role of pos2 offtank for V2 lineup. Also having a paladin, cipher and druid in the group will guarantee that he won't fall down.

- Durance is a meh debuffer, and has too high resolve. I would not use him in V1. But he could fit into V3 and attack with his quarterstaff.

- Pallegina has a bit bland stuffs; but give her mig/int items she will greatly fit in V3 and especially in V1.

- Hiravias fits perfectly in V3. 

- GM fits nicely in V2.

Edited by MaxQuest
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Why would pale elf be safer from spectres?

As JerekKruger already said, it's because of frost resist. Specifically:

- spectres deal freeze damage (via auto-attacks)

- some of them explode on death, again dealing freeze damage

- shades do have draining freeze ability, which is a paralyze + deal high freeze damage. When they decide whom to attack with it, they give a preference to targets with lowest freeze DR.

 

But is  resolution at 3 not painful for will saves?

Having a will defense at 40 or 60, will make no real difference as you are likely to get affected by respective effects anyway.

Similar situation is when you try to solo a dragon. You either pump your defenses; or don't give a damn about them at all, and look for other means to circumvent the problem.

In your case circumvention would be: including a paladin/priest/or having high lore + preemptive disabling of enemy monsters that try to charm/confuse/dominate your party members.

 

Note: for a ranged cipher, resolve is more useful because of concentration, rather than deflection or will. But still, you don't want to be hit at all; so you either plan to not get hit and drop resolve; or you select a more sturdy (melee plate; or leather/blunderbuss) variant of cipher. 

 

On  the party I was thinking to  try Aloth + Eder + Durance and MC since rolled characters will suffer from lower level. But maybe it's better to roll specific NPCs ?

You will have a party of 4. While the number of enemies will remain the same. This means you will need enough AoE. While also:

1. have a dedicated (high fort/reflex/hp) tank against dragons

2. offtank that would be able to cover your flank.

3. dps + cc

4. and the last spot is flexible

 

The 3rd spot is taken by your MC cipher.

The 1st could be barbarian, paladin or monk.

 

So

V1:

pos1. Barbarian; pos3. Cipher; These have good synergy with melee paladin and melee-or-ranged: priest, wizard, druid and 2nd cipher.

V2:

pos1. Paladin; pos3. Cipher; You could complement it with a pos2. Chanter offtank (via Dragon Thrashed) and pos4. Cipher/Druid

V3

pos1. Monk pos3. Cipher; You could complement it with a pos2. Paladin and pos4. Priest/Druid

 

Now a note about predefined companions:

- Their stats are not bad; but they fit into specific niches. E.g. depending on lineup, you might need one sort of priest or another.

- Kana fits nicely into the role of pos2 offtank for V2 lineup. Also having a paladin, cipher and druid in the group will guarantee that he won't fall down.

- Durance is a meh debuffer, and has too high resolve. I would not use him in V1. But he could fit into V3 and attack with his quarterstaff.

- Pallegina has a bit bland stuffs; but give her mig/int items she will greatly fit in V3 and especially in V1.

- Hiravias fits perfectly in V3. 

- GM fits nicely in V2.

 

Makes a lot of sense thank you for all the details !

 

So considering your V1, I would think :

 

pos1 : Barb tank (with shield obviously, but still doing dmg (and Aoe), based on the Golden Dragon build from Boeroer)

pos2:  DPS Paladin (2 handed probably I still have to check builds)

pos3: ranged versatile Cipher cc+Aoe

pos4 : versatile (by definition) Druid ?

 

I would think a Druid can fit heal and aoe dmg in one class, but of course less efficiently than a typical priest and wiz ?

Or would a buff/debuff/heal priest be better (easier) ?

 

With this party in mind I would clearly roll 3 NPCs from start. I hope it is not too much of a penalty early game.

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Makes a lot of sense thank you for all the details!

No problem)

 

So considering your V1, I would think :

 

pos1 : Barb tank (with shield obviously, but still doing dmg (and Aoe), based on the Golden Dragon build from Boeroer)

pos2:  DPS Paladin (2 handed probably I still have to check builds)

pos3: ranged versatile Cipher cc+Aoe

pos4 : versatile (by definition) Druid ?

Barb can be used as dragon-tank; but in usual encounters better use him as dw-dps.

 

So it's a barb (in plate and with Shod-in-Faith boots) with high mig/con/int and low resolve; dual-wielding sabres in early game; and [We-Toki + Rimecutter] or [dual-Purgatory] in the late game. And who switches to MH + Dragon Maw shield after he has used his Barbaric Blow and Heart of Fury.

 

I will elaborate on paladin + druid later.

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Makes a lot of sense thank you for all the details!

No problem)

 

So considering your V1, I would think :

 

pos1 : Barb tank (with shield obviously, but still doing dmg (and Aoe), based on the Golden Dragon build from Boeroer)

pos2:  DPS Paladin (2 handed probably I still have to check builds)

pos3: ranged versatile Cipher cc+Aoe

pos4 : versatile (by definition) Druid ?

Barb can be used as dragon-tank; but in usual encounters better use him as dw-dps.

 

So it's a barb (in plate and with Shod-in-Faith boots) with high mig/con/int and low resolve; dual-wielding sabres in early game; and [We-Toki + Rimecutter] or [dual-Purgatory] in the late game. And who switches to MH + Dragon Maw shield after he has used his Barbaric Blow and Heart of Fury.

 

I will elaborate on paladin + druid later.

 

Ok so a dps build for the Barb with high con 

Edited by Aginorh
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Actually it's totally fine to do Heart of Fury with Badgradr's Barricade or Dragon's Maw. No switching needed. Especially when your endurance drops a HoF with Dragon's Maw will do good damage and fully heal you at the same time. I did a playthrough with this barb tank guy and he was good (no need to min max, alsoworks with balanced stats): The Golden Dragon

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Actually it's totally fine to do Heart of Fury with Badgradr's Barricade or Dragon's Maw. No switching needed. Especially when your endurance drops a HoF with Dragon's Maw will do good damage and fully heal you at the same time. I did a playthrough with this barb tank guy and he was good (no need to min max, alsoworks with balanced stats): The Golden Dragon

Ok nice, but how about early game ? You just give him a heavy shield and sabre ?

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Actually it's totally fine to do Heart of Fury with Badgradr's Barricade or Dragon's Maw. No switching needed.

True that.

Although you get Dragon's Maw relatively late in the game. What I meant is, that he'd better use dual-wielding before he gets it.

As for use HoF with DW or with 1H+DragonMaw, it really depends on situation) With Shod-in-Faith, Savage Defiance, Lay on Hands and Cipher's CC barbarian should have enough regen already.

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It's in the build description I guess. But yes. :)

 

The trick is to stack as many acc debuffs on the enemy as possible with frightening, dazing and similar effects and combine that with good defenses and defense buffs. Like a paladin's Reinforcing Exhortation and so on.

Edited by Boeroer

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@MaxQuest: true. If you get Heart of Fury before Badgradr's Barricade (or Dragon's Maw) you'd better be switching to dual weapons before triggering HoF. You don't even need Two Weapon Style because it does nothing for HoF.

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If you plan to cast Combusting Wounds on the enemies you want to hit with Heart of Fury (strong recommendation) than any bashing shield will also be fine (larder door for example). That way you can generate the same amount of hits like with dual weapons and still have awesome deflection and reflex. Combusting Wounds will do the killing because HoF with two swings generates a lot of hits.

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So I went on and tried my 4 members party like this, a 4 pale elves gang (hard mode) !

 

pos1 : Barb tank based on Golden Dragon, The from Boeroer)

pos2:  DPS Paladin (dual wield, based on Bleak Walker )

pos3: bow ranged  Cipher cc+Aoe (15/8/16/18/16/5)

pos4 : Druid  caster (high might / per / int, low con /res medium dex), bear form

 

Just level 3-4 atm, and only the druid is relatively less useful (since very few spells at that level and squishy), but i'll give him a staff and bow to do a little DPS.

Barb is ok with tanking, Paladin and Cipher hit hard. Focus goes up quite fast with the bow and high dex.

 

EDIT : it is also worth mentioning this  party is a lot of fun to play !

Edited by Aginorh
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^ Sounds solid. 

I am not completely sure on the paladin's niche through.

I never played with a dw-paladin, but I am a bit concerned with his dps after the FoD alpha-strike.

If those who have played with that build and it provided a decent dps contribution, while having zero problems keeping enemy frontline at bay, than it's ok.

 

A backup/alternative plan could be to make your barb a little more dps'y, while paladin more tanky.

My current party has a core similar to yours. Although I've gone for:

- a dw-sabre-barb

- tank-support darcozzi paladin (outwarn buckler + shame or glory) without FoD

 

Barb is one of main dps'ers during trash fights. But will be able to tank dragons if needed, with 1H+Dragon Maw.

Paladin is a pure tank. He deals like 5-10% of party damage; but is great at body/passage blocking plus has lots of buffs/scrolls.

Alternative tactic I use is: send paladin to solo tank the dragon. While keep barbarian with the rest of group. Minions flock around. Get CC'ed and Carnage/HoF/BB served. I like the flexibility, when I can approach any encounter in at least two different ways.

 

Btw, such tanky paladin requires zero supervision. While everything that jumps on Barbarian from another flank, gets instantly paralyzed by cipher. So their health even through goes slowly down over multiple encounters, does that at the same rate. There is no feel that someone drags the party down or force it rest more often than the other members do.

Edited by MaxQuest
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Such paladin's dps potential via FoD can be sufficient if you have a party which ends encounters quickly (one the barb has HoF most encounters will end very quickly ;)). With +20 ACC and a lot of lashes your 2 full attacks do great damage and then your autoattacks do some more. Especially against casters and other soft targets such paladin can be nice because usally it's no problem for him to rush in alone and reach the backline and not go down while doing this. Then he will be able to take out two casters quickly and then just distract the enemy frontline. Since he doen't need any afflictions or whatever to do 2 devastating attacks it's very easy to manage. I'd say his dps is comparable to a fighter's in short fights. And then he can add support.

 

When enemies get tougher you will see a drop in dps because they can eat more hits before they die and your FoD damage can't keep uo with that. But then you will have Sacred Immolation and it's all good again. 

 

 

The barb's tanking will get better and better. While he's not supertanker no.1 at low levels he will be very good once he gets his special talents, items and abilites which define him. Glad that he's already doing well enough. Some players don't have patience. ;)

Edited by Boeroer
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^ Sounds solid. 

I am not completely sure on the paladin's niche through.

I never played with a dw-paladin, but I am a bit concerned with his dps after the FoD alpha-strike.

If those who have played with that build and it provided a decent dps contribution, while having zero problems keeping enemy frontline at bay, than it's ok.

 

A backup/alternative plan could be to make your barb a little more dps'y, while paladin more tanky.

My current party has a core similar to yours. Although I've gone for:

- a dw-sabre-barb

- tank-support darcozzi paladin (outwarn buckler + shame or glory) without FoD

 

Barb is one of main dps'ers during trash fights. But will be able to tank dragons if needed, with 1H+Dragon Maw.

Paladin is a pure tank. He deals like 5-10% of party damage; but is great at body/passage blocking plus has lots of buffs/scrolls.

Alternative tactic I use is: send paladin to solo tank the dragon. While keep barbarian with the rest of group. Minions flock around. Get CC'ed and Carnage/HoF/BB served. I like the flexibility, when I can approach any encounter in at least two different ways.

 

Btw, such tanky paladin requires zero supervision. While everything that jumps on Barbarian from another flank, gets instantly paralyzed by cipher. So their health even through goes slowly down over multiple encounters, does that at the same rate. There is no feel that someone drags the party down or force it rest more often than the other members do.

 

Sounds good backup/alternative. But I will try to stick to this team unless it appears really too difficult, and If it does I will use your backup, because I do not want to hire more than those 4 cold blood killers. It's part of my modest challenge to stay with 4 people (and also playing an evil aligned party).

 

I also like the originality of these builds we'll see  how it goes.

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Actually the final encounter in Eothas temple was quite tough, even if doable.

 

At this party level (nearly 4, but cipher is 4 already), the barb tank did not much damage (1500 till now), Paladin 2400 dmg but rather squishy, Druid 3500 dmg (hits hard but also squishy), and Cipher 5500.

Barb does tank ok but does not keep agro (no skill) and he has few possibilities to interrupt etc.

 

I will try Maxquest formula :)

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Nobody keeps aggro very well - except squishies. ;)

 

Enemies will always target squishies if they can and eat disengagement attacks to reach them. No amount of engagement slots will change that very much. 

 

Binding rope on a front liner is cool because it stucks enemies who already hit you. Perfect for a barb with HoF if the enemies can't get away from you.

 

The barb will not be a great damage dealer until lvl 11 when he gets Heart of Fury. Then he will be at the top of the list after few fights. ;) Until then, his main focus should be debuffing enemies with fear and daze and other stuff. Also helps your party members to stay alive, not only the barb. 

Edited by Boeroer

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Nobody keeps aggro very well - except squishies. ;)

 

Enemies will always target squishies if they can and eat disengagement attacks to reach them. No amount of engagement slots will change that very much. 

 

Binding rope on a front liner is cool because it stucks enemies who already hit you. Perfect for a barb with HoF if the enemies can't get away from you.

 

The barb will not be a great damage dealer until lvl 11 when he gets Heart of Fury. Then he will be at the top of the list after few fights. ;) Until then, his main focus should be debuffing enemies with fear and daze and other stuff. Also helps your party members to stay alive, not only the barb. 

Yes indeed ! Now I really block the way to my cipher believe me ;-)

 

Thing is the barb is also very slow.

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Yes, he has the lowest DEX I presume. DEX doesn't matter for Heart of Fury at all - but for all other attacks low DEX it's a hinderance. Thing is: with a barb tank who also should be able to deal massive damage via HoF later on you can't dump anything else than DEX (besides CON). You need high MIG for the damage and healing, you need high INT for the radius and the durations, you need high PER in order to hit as good as possible, you need high RES to get good deflection right from the start and to prevent interrupts.

 

Forget interrupts - he's indeed too slow for that.

 

If you get We Toki (prone) or Cladhaliath (stunning) or Godansthunyr (stunning) you could test if you like that even better than Bittercut or sabres in general. They don't do as much damage but they can help a lot with crowd control. Prone or stunned enemies can't run past you.

Edited by Boeroer

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Combusting wounds is a little gem of a spell, ive heard alot of people say that its useless but its totally not. For example with wizard with maxed out blast and high intel, hit alacrity, minor blights, then cast combusting wounds on the mob cluster and they attack them with kalakoths, its actually silly OP.

Good with barbs too tho.

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