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About two years ago, I played Pillars Of Eternity, just as it came out. I did not get very far: I kept dying, the mechanics were obscure, the quests confusing. So I stopped playing. I started again. I am glad I did: the patches have improved the game massively. Send this "guide" to some friends who thought it was nice so here it is: Anything I missed or that is inaccurate? Please let me know.

Thus, have some Pillars of Eternity advise… In no order whatsoever.

Character build is a min/max exercise. The above guide is good at giving you ideas. Personally, I play ciphers. If I had to chose another class, I'd go Wizard or Paladin. Chanter sounds great but all you do is chant… So, pick races and background that give you bonus to your class.

Most state tests are 12+, 16+, and 18+ so getting as many things at 16 is a plus. Don't hesitate to dump state(s) to 3.

Look at your companions, you need the following three as they are recurring in the next game: Eder, Aloph, and Pallegina. The first two, are nearly your first companions. The last one, you get after Act I.

There are no quest markers but every journal entry for the quest tells you where to go.

Read lore. It is a very rich world and you'll get quickly lost without it.

All your items can be enchanted. This is the way to True Power. So, look at it all and get the basic ingredients -- even if it means buying them. You can do that at any time from the equipment screen: select an item, it's at the bottom of the description.

Feel free to buy magical gear if you have spare cash. I prefer to buy ingredients and enchant.

Find/buy raw food, cook it, and use it as a way to get massive bonus. There is  a cook book. Literally, a cook book!
                        
Fill in your quick use slots with stuff to use during combat.
                        
You can set all party members to be AI controller. This is nice if you want to just concentrate on what your character is doing. AI does a good job. In fact, you could put all your party (not just the NPCs) as AI controlled and not worry about combat at all. I do not recommend that, but each to its own.
                       
In combat, I tend to concentrate on the biggest threat first and mush it. Then, back to the biggest threat left and so on.

You can play combat at half speed as well, giving you more time to think. Or you know, pause it?

Camping supplies allow you to regenerate abilities (eight hours sleep) and you can buy a few but you will find some as random loot.

Always have lock picking sets, crow bars, and grappling hooks. ALWAYS.

You can set a pattern in which your party travel: do so. Make sure the tanks are in the front, casters at the back, and supporter in the middle. You can set two: one for outside, one for inside.

Some dialogue will have a marker (like "[Diplomat]" or "[Passionate]" or …) at the end.  It is well worth picking the same one (or two) over and over again. You build up a reputation using those and get more out of people.

Sneak mode is great but slow but you can speed time up. In sneak mode, you can detect traps and hidden things. Use fast mode to travel from A to B when you know there is nothing to fear.

There is no level scaling so if you are getting mushed into a thine paste, you are not high level enough. Go back and do more stuff.

You earn XPs by doing quests and exploring, not killing monsters.

You make money by finishing quests, raiding everything not nailed down, and selling loot. The latter gets massive but your "treasure chest" is accessible form anywhere so you can just keep piling it and sell it later.  In addition, your keep generate taxes revenue every so often although you need some of that to pay for the guards that you eventually get there.

On the first map, head southwards and explore things there: you get a gun. Sell it, it is useless unless you play a cipher and can enchant it. In fact, sell as much stuff as you can before doing quest things -- hint: it's to the west.

When getting to the first first town, avoid talking to anyone or exploring.

In the first town, head to the smith (get quests, sell items), then the inn. You get Aloth (the tourette syndrome mage). In the inn, hire a companion
(cheap!) then sleep.  Who should you hire? Depends on where your weakness lie. They will level with you and can be left at your keep to protect it. This is the cheapest you will EVER get companions.  When you wake up, head to the tree again: talk to the dead dwarf and then Eder (the cheerful fighter).

Explore Vale to get a few more easy quests: Do them.

Now, head back the way you came and explore: Get XPs and levels.

You can explore the ruined temple, it is a nice dungeon and has lots of nice stuff inside.  However, I would wait till you get Durance and Kana along with your keep. It will make it easier. On the other hand, finding your keep will be harder.

Then head to your keep: you will recruit Durance (the mad priest) and Kana (the joyful chanter). Now, you should have a full party.

Once you have you keep, start building! Make sure your value and armour are close to each other or you will lose a lot of taxes. I like to keep the armour over the value.

Go back to the smith in Vale and sell stuff. From now on, you should have money coming out of your arse.

The endless path is a great way to make money fast. However, at one point you will get pounded into thine dust. This is your clue that you are not high level enough. Go off, do other things, and come back later. This is by design!

That should get you started.

Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum kum superiorum aetate contexitur? Marcus Tillius Cicero

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Only thing I'd really disagree with not hesitating to dump stats to 3.

 

For ranged characters that are unlikely to get hit often or who can shore up their own defences reducing stats to three isn't the end of the world – however I find with low Con the chance of getting one-shotted with low endurance characters is very high indeed. Also, when you inevitably do get ganked, if you've tanked your resolve it's very unlikely you're going to be able to recover from that if you haven't got concentration buffs. This is especially true in the early game with less hard CC.

 

Reducing any stat to 3 on a melee character is a big no-no in my books. You can get away with 3 intellect on some characters (Rogue in particular) and this synergises nicely with wounding effects but apart from that the examples where reducing a stat to 3 is good are reserved for specific builds that are designed to counter such weaknesses with items/ability selection. I wouldn't say as a general principle this is sound for melee chars. Dumping resolve/Con on a melee char is a death sentence without the right builds, Per is required so you can hit stuff, MIG is necessary so that you do damage and actually attract aggro away from your squishies and Res less than 10 means you're going to get interrupted a lot.

 

Just my 2 cents. Otherwise nice guide.

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Yeah, not convinced by the as low as they will get myself. I followed a cipher build from this very forum and they were keen on it. I tried, it's not too bad. ☺

Nescire autem quid ante quam natus sis acciderit, id est semper esse puerum. Quid enim est aetas hominis, nisi ea memoria rerum veterum kum superiorum aetate contexitur? Marcus Tillius Cicero

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