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Need some help deciding on party assignment, with some restrictions

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I'm making a Hard playthrough (because PotD is more annoying than fun) with a specific party makeup: the returning NPCs of Deadfire (Eder, Aloth, and Pallegina), as well as two characters my friends want - a ranged cipher and a melee wizard.


I'm trying to decide how best to assign functions and roles to this party.  My player character will be a tank Paladin.  I'm expecting to have a party with three melee and three ranged characters, but I could maybe run four and two at the risk of having some spacing issues in corridors and other narrow areas.



My basic idea is to give Eder Defender and a two-handed weapon, eventually focusing on Overbearing Guard since even with heavy armor (a requirement from my friend) I'm expecting enemies to prefer the Wizard's terrible Deflection over my Paladin and Eder's decent Deflection.  I'll probably arrange for the melee Wizard to primarily use Pikes and Quarterstaves to attack from behind the safety of the Paladin and Eder - I can see fitting in a fourth melee character (Pallegina) into this equation here.  The alternative would be to use the Wizard similarly to a Rogue, using a single one-handed weapon and focusing on flanking after the initial draw-up of enemies has stabilized a bit - the ACC bonus for using a single one-handed weapon will certainly help compensate for the Wizard's terrible base ACC.




The PC Paladin will probably be a Shieldbearer with the Shielding Flames talent for the Deflection boost, but because my party won't have a Priest for emergencies (mostly for Withdraw, since healing besides Consecrated Ground tends to be a waste of an action), I'm wondering if it might not make more sense to take a different order and just take Lay on Hands instead, for the emergency spot heal.  Since I plan on the PC Paladin being mostly a support role, taking Darcozzi for the ACC boost on Liberating Exhortation is attractive as well.  I'm not quite sure what kind of weapon to focus on eventually.  I don't like building characters around specific equipment, but I do like having a general idea of where I want them heading.  Disorienting and Marking seem like high value choices - both increase my allies' ACC versus a target in different ways.  Unless Marking applies to all allies attacking that target (the wiki is vague), Disorienting seems a bit better.  Notable weapons include: Cladhailath (Marking, Coordinating or Reliable), Shame or Glory (Marking), and Strike Hard (Disorienting.)  The shield will obviously be Outworn Buckler, eventually replaced with Little Savior late in the game.  This Paladin will probably take Zealous Endurance for the hit->graze coverage.  A wand or other fast ranged weapon with an Accuracy enchant will probably be the secondary weapon, to be used with the Paladin's ability to instantly break Dominate etc on allies.



Eder, as mentioned, I'm planning on using Defender to increase his engagement limit and then focus on massive Overbearing Guard hits.  Strategic positioning of squishy party members should work as enticement to get enemies to try and risk breaking engagement.  Once again the wiki is vague, so I'm not sure if Disengagement attacks are considered full attacks (attack with both weapons) or not.  If they're considered to be full attacks, he has a lot more equipment options.  Otherwise, it'll probably be a typical "futz around until 10 Mechanics, go get Tidefall" deal.  Possibly switching to Blade of the Endless Paths late in the game to take advantage of Marking.



The melee Wizard should be the most interesting.  I imagine I'll need to go high on INT to increase self-buff durations.  DEX and MIG seem like the next two stats to focus on; PER's bonus to ACC is pretty lacking, and Spirit Shield removes my need to worry about RES for Concentration bonuses.  Leftover points may go into CON to buffer the WIzard's terrible base HP, though abusing the "health potion" trick (drink one of those +50 END/HP potions just before combat ends and the health recovery is permanent) should help extend the times between resting.  Jena's Lance seems like an ideal early game item, with its Reliable quality and the useful +1 CON.  Greenstone Staff is a potential late game choice, although I'm sure I could do better.  Honestly, switching to a single one-handed weapon seems more attractive the more I think about it - Bittercut seems absolutely perfect for this character, since I'll probably want to take Spirit of Decay to maximize the END-draining Concelhaut spells anyhow.  Whispers of Yenwood with a Fine enhancement would probably make for an excellent early game weapon, with its Reliable quality.  Grimoire Slam might actually be usable with this character!  I know people like to take Arcane Veil for melee Wizards, but I seriously hate relying on per rest abilities to make character builds work, and I already have spells that give me massive Deflection bonuses (and more)... or potions that give the same.  Grimoire Slam would be a useful way of breaking engagement as needed.



Pallegina, as mentioned, I'm kind of not sure what to do with.  Her stats are just all over the place, and I'm not sure whether to make her another melee character or put her as a ranged character.  Maybe giving her a reach weapon would make the most sense, or I can give her a two-handed weapon and a blunderbuss or pistol for use if she can't fit into melee.  I'd steal Durance's staff and give it to her (since she wants Scion of Flame for all of the usual reasons plus her special Sworn Enemy feat) if I didn't think that would completely override fluff (why would Durance give his staff away, and why would it have its special "all damage as Burn" function in anyone else's hands?)



The Cipher won't be anything unusual.  Typical ranged Cipher focusing on bows.  Probably make an early jaunt to Endless Paths IV for Persistence (as well as Resolution) and use that until the obligatory Stormcaller.  Yawn.



Aloth is... Aloth.  Probably focus mostly on control spells since damage Wizards are a little lacking (and he lacks the Might for that role, anyhow), give him the scepter whose name I can never spell, and so on.




Since I've never really focused on it before, how exactly does swapping in NPCs for side quests work?  Their side quests are lost forever if you fail to complete them before a specific point, right (can't do Eder's or Aloth's if Defiance Bay is burning and you didn't advance the quests past that point, right?)  What about, say, killing Gabbros in the Endless Paths without Kana being present?  Can I still take him down there and he'll have his moment of existential crisis, or is that lost forever?  I plan on this being my last playthrough of Pillars and I'd like to have a save where I've done everything to import into Deadfire :)

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Just note that Defender doesn't work with some other offensive modals for example Savage Attack. Could mean dps loss for your Edér.


Sadly, disengagement attacks are not full attacks, so the best option would be a melee weapon with highest possible damage on hit. This would be Firebrand. But Tidefall comes close and is also good on Edér because he has only 10 INT. Wounding works best with low INT and high MIG, so I'd say Tidefall is your best option for disengagement-attack-damage. If you also want to cause prone with autoattacks on crit (and Edér can crit a lot with Disciplined Barrage) I would recommend Hours of St. Rumbalt. Also nice for dps with the annihilation enchantment (+0.5 crit damage). Synergizes nicely with durgan steel.


Reach weapons like pikes and quarterstaffs don't engage with bigger range (reach), so they have no advantage when using anything around disengagement.

Edited by Boeroer

Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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Yeah, the reach weapons would only be to help keep the melee wizard out of immediate danger in the early stages of the game.  I'd probably transition her to a single saber once I get Resolution.


Any suggestions on how to tackle those ****ing ogre druids early in the game?  **** have way too much damn HP for the level of spells they can cast :-/

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Disable them asap. Knockdown, Slicken and so on.

But charming them is the best way to deal with them. They will unleash their Plague of Insects on their fellows and it's foe only.

You can use Edér with Munacra Arret if you don't want to use a cipher for that. Edér + Disciplined Barrage + Munacra Arret = crit charms.


I only mentioned reach weapons because some people get the idea that Defender + Overbearing Guard might be very good with reach weapons because those have longer reach. That's not the case with engagement which has a fixed range - no matter the melee weapon.


If you want a great melee wizard then I would spec for two handers. Citzal's Spirit Lance is super powerful and every dmg mod you can add to it (Savage Attack, Two Handed Style, Apprentices Sneak) is good for it because its base damage is huge. For the times you don't want to summon it you can also use the Parasitic Staff (works with the same talents) or Tall Grass or Llawran's Stick or even a great sword or whatever two hander.

Citzal's Spirit Lance + Citzal's Martial Power is absolutely awesome and turns tough fights into easy ones with only two spell uses.


Spirit of Decay + Bittercut is also nice.

Note that for a wizard it's very easy to reach 0 recovery with dual wielding + Alacrity. This is also very beneficial in order to cast as quickly as possible after weapon attacks. Single one handed weapon use has no advantage for a wizard like it has for a chanter. But if you like it then go for it.


Arcane Veil is not meant for every-encounter-use. But Hardened+Arcane Veil + Wizard's Double or other defensive buffs lead to an absurdely high deflection value that will leave you untouchable for over 15 secz. This can be extremely valuable when facing tough foes. In a full party you can totally do without though.

Edited by Boeroer
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Deadfire Community Patch: Nexus Mods

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