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[Help] Building a PoTD Party to import into Deadfire

Help PoTD PoE II: Deadfire

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#1
DafyddRW

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Having just finished my second full campaign of Pillars of Eternity and my first with the White March installed (I know I'm late to the party but I've gotten completely hooked having played 220 hours in the couple weeks I've owned the game) I've decided to push myself by playing on PoTD with Expert Mode enabled, and given that Deadfire is on its way early next year I want to create a character to import.

 

However, I'm torn on how to build my party since I found Hard difficulty quite challenging by itself, and I built my party quite poorly to the point that I wasn't able to beat the Alpine Dragon or Llengrath, so I'd like some help building it this time so I don't run into the same problems.

 

I do have a few ideas though, and some I'd be reluctant to part with. My MC has to be an Aedyr Meadow Folk because I have a custom portrait I intend to use, and I'd like to prioritise relatively high Mental stats to maximise dialogue options, but background and class are quite flexible. I'd like to pick a class that could have potential multiclass synergies, and I'd like to play one of a Cipher, Druid, Monk, Chanter or Ranger (in descending order of how much I want to play them).

 

As far as the rest of the party goes, I'm planning on using Aloth, Edér and Pallegina throughout since they carry over to Deadfire, but the last 2 companions are quite flexible. I'd prefer not to use Sagani though, throughout my last campaign Itumaak was bugged and seemed to have a movement speed of 0.00001 in combat so I'd rather not have to deal with that again.

 

Any help is much appreciated.

 

(Side notes: Should I kill or bargain with Sefyra? It seems like I could run into her in Deadfire if I help her escape, but Scale Breaker seems like it would pretty useful. Same question applies for Llengrath. Also, I know it's a bit late to pledge for Deadfire, but I'd like to do so; however, is there any issue due to the fact that I'd be converting from GBP to USD?)


Edited by DafyddRW, 01 September 2017 - 11:48 AM.


#2
Soaren

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I've decided to push myself by playing on PoTD with Expert Mode enabled, and given that Deadfire is on its way early next year I want to create a character to import.

However, I'm torn on how to build my party since I found Hard difficulty quite challenging by itself [...]


Are you certain about this decision to play with Expert Mode on, especially if it's your first foray into PotD and Hard has already proven to offer some challenges on its own? I suppose a lot depends on how much you've learned during your playthroughs, as that tends to make all the difference. I also suppose you can always disable EM if it proves to be too restricting for you, however you won't be able to enable it again for that particular run. Or you can simply enable/disable extra options in the menu as you see fit, as that's pretty much all the mode does: turns off all of them as a full package.

Disclaimer: I am thoroughly biased here, since I consider Expert Mode more of an artificial difficulty rather than actual challenge. One that only adds to general tedium and annoyance and wastes your time by removing quality of life improvements. Like playing with a blindfold on. But that can be strangely compelling to some.
 

I do have a few ideas though, and some I'd be reluctant to part with. My MC has to be an Aedyr Meadow Folk because I have a custom portrait I intend to use, and I'd like to prioritise relatively high Mental stats to maximise dialogue options, but background and class are quite flexible. I'd like to pick a class that could have potential multiclass synergies, and I'd like to play one of a Cipher, Druid, Monk, Chanter or Ranger (in descending order of how much I want to play them).


I can talk about a Human Cipher focused on maximizing access to all potential dialogue options (well, perhaps 99,9% of them; Glanfathan Leader in the prologue gets a pass).
There will be some variation in base stats based on whether you intend to pursue melee or ranged path, crowd control or raw damage dealing, and how exactly do you like to play: for example, you can get by with much lower Resolve (although this applies to all dialogue-related stats, this one gets sacrificed the most for combat efficiency) if you go take your stronghold - and consequently get access to Defiance Bay - before completing any/some of the quests in Gilded Vale and surrounding areas. Once at that point it becomes considerably easier to meet all desired checks, provided enough copper and no severely dumped applicable stat. Added bonus: a few more stronghold turns.
 

As far as the rest of the party goes, I'm planning on using Aloth, Edér and Pallegina throughout since they carry over to Deadfire, but the last 2 companions are quite flexible. I'd prefer not to use Sagani though, throughout my last campaign Itumaak was bugged and seemed to have a movement speed of 0.00001 in combat so I'd rather not have to deal with that again.

 
Durance and Kana are fine picks if you end up going with MC Cipher, and want to have a relatively easier time on PotD. Although if you can't stand either or prefer to have Hiravias or GM along with you, they can more than carry their weight. White March additions can be trickier since they lend themselves towards some melee routes, just like Eder and Pallegina usually. Less casters would call for different strategies (fully doable of course, but likely harder).
If you go with a different class, pick based on your preferences and/or weaknesses of your current party. You can always use more characters than 5 and slot them in for fights where a particular class might help you greatly, as long as you hold onto some gear for them.

Re: Itumaak: that's an unfortunate (and likely rare) bug, something PoE is unfortunately very well known for. If you like having Sagani around, chances are it's not going to be a common occurrence.
 

(Side notes: Should I kill or bargain with Sefyra? It seems like I could run into her in Deadfire if I help her escape, but Scale Breaker seems like it would pretty useful. Same question applies for Llengrath. Also, I know it's a bit late to pledge for Deadfire, but I'd like to do so; however, is there any issue due to the fact that I'd be converting from GBP to USD?)


I haven't looked much into PoE 2, but which NPCs may or may not reappear seems to be anybody's guess and something dependent on developers' whims. The rule of thumb generally tends to be: if it's not a companion and can be killed, it's unlikely to have a grand defining role in the continuation. But they coud always have some minor side content. Unless Deadfire decides to break the mold and pull one over on people who enjoy leaving many a dead body in their wake.  ;)
You can err on the side of caution, follow your usual preferences, go with whatever your character would be most likely to do if you adhere to roleplaying principles, or grab your precious loots without a care in the world. 
 
Never too late to pledge if it can help with the ongoing game development and one is interested in pursuing certain perks. I still hope to be able to do it myself later in the year.
There should be no issues whatsoever when using PayPal or similar forms of payment, as the currency conversion is being done automatically (and you should be informed of the final value and current rates before having to finalize anything).

Edited by Soaren, 01 September 2017 - 05:49 PM.


#3
DafyddRW

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 Are you certain about this decision to play with Expert Mode on, especially if it's your first foray into PotD and Hard has already proven to offer some challenges on its own?

I guess not, I could just disable a bunch of the extra options and re-enable any that I miss too much (I predict that AoE highlighting will be one of those), but it wasn't that Hard difficulty as a whole was challenging, more like some difficult encounters were especially difficult due to my sub-optimal party comp (PC Barbarian, Edér, Pallegina, Zahua, Sagani and DoC, so I basically had zero Per Rest abilities and no buffs except for Zealous Focus) and that could easily have been overcome by a better comp.

 

I can talk about a Human Cipher focused on maximizing access to all potential dialogue options (well, perhaps 99,9% of them; Glanfathan Leader in the prologue gets a pass).
There will be some variation in base stats based on whether you intend to pursue melee or ranged path, crowd control or raw damage dealing, and how exactly do you like to play: for example, you can get by with much lower Resolve (although this applies to all dialogue-related stats, this one gets sacrificed the most for combat efficiency) if you go take your stronghold - and consequently get access to Defiance Bay - before completing any/some of the quests in Gilded Vale and surrounding areas. Once at that point it becomes considerably easier to meet all desired checks, provided enough copper and no severely dumped applicable stat. Added bonus: a few more stronghold turns.

 Cipher is definitely the class that intrigues me most, it seems like a lot of fun and I don't really have experience with it because I've never really used GM very much (I don't really like her overly-secretive personality) but I can't think of any potential multiclass synergies off the top of my head (on the other hand, a Monk/Druid multiclass seems like it has the potential to be incredibly powerful). If I did play a Cipher I'd probably lean towards a ranged build and dump CON to nothing so I can boost other stats, maybe using Stormcaller if I'm not using a ranger. Do you think a stat distribution of 19/3/12/14/18/12 or 19/3/10/14/18/14 is reasonable for a ranged Cipher? If not, what do you suggest? Also, is it better to focus on CC powers or Damage powers, or is it better to do something like take CC powers early and Damage powers late?

 

Durance and Kana are fine picks if you end up going with MC Cipher, and want to have a relatively easier time on PotD. Although if you can't stand either or prefer to have Hiravias or GM along with you, they can more than carry their weight. White March additions can be trickier since they lend themselves towards some melee routes, just like Eder and Pallegina usually. Less casters would call for different strategies (fully doable of course, but likely harder).

I don't really like Durance so maybe I could drop him for Hiravias? And while I don't mind running with Kana I have no idea how to effectively build him. What do you consider to be the best ratio of Melee and Ranged party members? So far I've been playing 3 Melee (+ Itumaak) and 3 Ranged (I actually built both Pallegina and DoC as Gunners in my last campaign, with Pallegina using Lead Splitter and very high DR bypass and DoC using Fellstroke and maximising Sneak Attack damage) but I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Also, who would be the designated mechanic in this party? I'd assume Kana or Hiravias, but in both cases it feels like a waste of their other skills.


Edited by DafyddRW, 02 September 2017 - 11:42 AM.


#4
Soaren

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I guess not, I could just disable a bunch of the extra options and re-enable any that I miss too much (I predict that AoE highlighting will be one of those), but it wasn't that Hard difficulty as a whole was challenging, more like some difficult encounters were especially difficult due to my sub-optimal party comp (PC Barbarian, Edér, Pallegina, Zahua, Sagani and DoC, so I basically had zero Per Rest abilities and no buffs except for Zealous Focus) and that could easily have been overcome by a better comp.


I see. It's true, that comp would have some clearly defined strengths/weaknesses, and a certain set of limitations.

Newer games like PoE can certainly spoil a person. I never missed AoE highlighting in old Infinity Engine games, since it wasn't much of a concept. But now it's hard to give up on. But yes, it's down to whatever suits your preferences with Expert Mode.
 

Cipher is definitely the class that intrigues me most, it seems like a lot of fun and I don't really have experience with it because I've never really used GM very much (I don't really like her overly-secretive personality) but I can't think of any potential multiclass synergies off the top of my head (on the other hand, a Monk/Druid multiclass seems like it has the potential to be incredibly powerful).


I wouldn't worry about that much, because there are bound to be powerful multiclass options for just about anything. Especially something as versatile as Cipher. It's great fun to play.
And should the worst case scenario happen, I understand you can still decide for your imported character to start as a different class.

If I did play a Cipher I'd probably lean towards a ranged build and dump CON to nothing so I can boost other stats, maybe using Stormcaller if I'm not using a ranger. Do you think a stat distribution of 19/3/12/14/18/12 or 19/3/10/14/18/14 is reasonable for a ranged Cipher? If not, what do you suggest? Also, is it better to focus on CC powers or Damage powers, or is it better to do something like take CC powers early and Damage powers late?


It works, if you are good at avoiding damage and shoring up your defenses. But any occasional ranged attacks/spells or anything that can't be fully avoided may spell dire consequences for your character. Thus 5-6 CON is slightly safer. RES of 11-13 works alright for dialogue checks, as long as you rely on your stronghold/item/Salty Mast boosters (then again with Expert Mode you won't be able to see the requirements anyway, unless your memory or notes serve you well). High MIG lends itself more towards damage dealing, but do mind it's not as crucial for a Cipher due to their innate % bonuses to damage through Whip talents. Personally I value having decent DEX for spellcasting and reasonable PER because accuracy is king on PotD, but I'm never obsessed with big numbers or rely on pure damage powers. So it's down to preferences again. More INT is always great, but as usual having anything this high will require some compromises elsewhere.

You can end up with a combination of CC/Damage powers, but early on focusing on control has huge benefits. You'll be hard pressed to find any Cipher builds that don't mention Whispers of Treason, Eyestrike, or Mental Binding.
 

I don't really like Durance so maybe I could drop him for Hiravias? And while I don't mind running with Kana I have no idea how to effectively build him. What do you consider to be the best ratio of Melee and Ranged party members? So far I've been playing 3 Melee (+ Itumaak) and 3 Ranged (I actually built both Pallegina and DoC as Gunners in my last campaign, with Pallegina using Lead Splitter and very high DR bypass and DoC using Fellstroke and maximising Sneak Attack damage) but I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Also, who would be the designated mechanic in this party? I'd assume Kana or Hiravias, but in both cases it feels like a waste of their other skills.


Surely. Hiravias' areas of expertise will be slightly different by default, as nothing can really compete with a priest in terms of defensive support. With Kana you'll probably want to focus on Endurance regenaration early on (Ancient Memory + Beloved Spirits), and then decide which path to pursue(ranged/melee, offensive/defensive chanting, etc.). There is no shortage of ideas around these parts for just about anything (for example with freshly bumped chanter-specific threads on the first page of this subforum).

3 Melee + 3 Ranged is sort of a standard spread, so it obviously works fine. But so does 2/4 and 4/2, except for the fact that melee characters suffer much more than ranged when/if you are fighting in tight passages and they can't all get in on the action (or if they can't afford to be focused by multiple enemies, or stand too close to one another due to incoming aoe attacks). It's good if your characters can be somewhat versatile if an opportunity calls for it.

I like Aloth as my mechanic, as you can focus mainly on that and Survival. Kana works too, but chanters tend to be a lot more passive than wizards or druids, and as such are a good target for increased Lore and thus scroll usage.

#5
DafyddRW

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It works, if you are good at avoiding damage and shoring up your defenses. But any occasional ranged attacks/spells or anything that can't be fully avoided may spell dire consequences for your character. Thus 5-6 CON is slightly safer. RES of 11-13 works alright for dialogue checks, as long as you rely on your stronghold/item/Salty Mast boosters (then again with Expert Mode you won't be able to see the requirements anyway, unless your memory or notes serve you well). High MIG lends itself more towards damage dealing, but do mind it's not as crucial for a Cipher due to their innate % bonuses to damage through Whip talents. Personally I value having decent DEX for spellcasting and reasonable PER because accuracy is king on PotD, but I'm never obsessed with big numbers or rely on pure damage powers. So it's down to preferences again. More INT is always great, but as usual having anything this high will require some compromises elsewhere.

 

 My first campaign was a 3-CON 3-RES DPS Rogue so I learned pretty quickly how to avoid being targeted, and my last campaign was a 3-CON Barbarian that was still tankier in Scale Armour than Zahua was in full Plate so given the right set of equipment CON is not that necessary, especially at range. I'll have to be very careful with such a squishy character but I think 3-CON should be fine.

 

 If Soul Whip stacks additively with MIG then I'll happily drop it down to 15 to boost DEX and PER, do you think 15/3/15/15/18/12 is a decent spread?

 

Hiravias' areas of expertise will be slightly different by default, as nothing can really compete with a priest in terms of defensive support. With Kana you'll probably want to focus on Endurance regeneration early on (Ancient Memory + Beloved Spirits), and then decide which path to pursue(ranged/melee, offensive/defensive chanting, etc.). There is no shortage of ideas around these parts for just about anything (for example with freshly bumped chanter-specific threads on the first page of this subforum).


3 Melee + 3 Ranged is sort of a standard spread, so it obviously works fine. But so does 2/4 and 4/2, except for the fact that melee characters suffer much more than ranged when/if you are fighting in tight passages and they can't all get in on the action (or if they can't afford to be focused by multiple enemies, or stand too close to one another due to incoming aoe attacks). It's good if your characters can be somewhat versatile if an opportunity calls for it.

I like Aloth as my mechanic, as you can focus mainly on that and Survival. Kana works too, but chanters tend to be a lot more passive than wizards or druids, and as such are a good target for increased Lore and thus scroll usage. 

 

 Fair point about the mechanic, I was going to argue that Aloth's base 4 Lore would make me want to invest more into it, but Kana also has a base Lore of 4 so that's redundant.

 

 With Kana, I feel like creating a build using level 1 and 2 phrases to build chants quickly and unload higher level invocations quite frequently. Maybe I could build him as a ranged attacker (maybe using something like Borresaine or Curoc's Brand?) focusing on defensive/buffing phrases, and buffing/summoning invocations? Is Brisk Recitation worth a pickup in that case or is it a wasted talent?


Edited by DafyddRW, 04 September 2017 - 01:18 PM.


#6
Soaren

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My first campaign was a 3-CON 3-RES DPS Rogue so I learned pretty quickly how to avoid being targeted, and my last campaign was a 3-CON Barbarian that was still tankier in Scale Armour than Zahua was in full Plate so given the right set of equipment CON is not that necessary, especially at range. I'll have to be very careful with such a squishy character but I think 3-CON should be fine.


In that case you should be fine, experience in navigating squishier characters certainly helps. Ciphers are similar to Rogues in their low Endurance/Health scores, but can be made more defensive with a nice early way to boost one's deflection. Not that you'll want to take hits on your ranged regardless.

If Soul Whip stacks additively with MIG then I'll happily drop it down to 15 to boost DEX and PER, do you think 15/3/15/15/18/12 is a decent spread?


Mhm, Ciphers can get quite a few stacking damage modifiers, that's why even the ones running around with MIG 10 are capable of respectable damage.

The stat spread looks pretty versatile, should serve you reasonably well.
 
 

Fair point about the mechanic, I was going to argue that Aloth's base 4 Lore would make me want to invest more into it, but Kana also has a base Lore of 4 so that's redundant.
 
With Kana, I feel like creating a build using level 1 and 2 phrases to build chants quickly and unload higher level invocations quite frequently. Maybe I could build him as a ranged attacker (maybe using something like Borresaine or Curoc's Brand?) focusing on defensive/buffing phrases, and buffing/summoning invocations? Is Brisk Recitation worth a pickup in that case or is it a wasted talent?


Yup, exactly. Aloth and Kana are identical in that manner, it's just that one is going to have far more active spells to cast. With certain scrolls given to Kana, he can alleviate your lack of a priest for more problematic encounters.

Brisk Recitation is not something you can avoid picking, actually. It's an automatic class ability that you earn at lvl 4 and which improves every few levels. And sure, ranged works alright for Kana (you'll want to take some care with your positioning if your buffs are to hit both melee and distant characters); there is no harm in giving him a weapon and a shield in a separate slot anyway, if occassions arise where he needs to get more tanky. You should try the route you mention and see how you like it; it could prove to be more interesting/entertainting than the cheesier one-note path of chanting one certain offensive phrase ad infinitum.





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