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As a BG2 / SCS player, my favourite way of playing games is solo no-reload, of which solo ToI is the PoE equivalent. I don’t necessarily have to have the mode on, just as long as I know to stop when the character perishes :).


I’m only mastering Hard difficulty at the moment with this playstyle. I’ve experimented with PotD but cannot survive without dying regularly enough to warrant going full barrel there yet. Once I’ve succeeded a couple of times at Hard I’ll give it a proper go.


Having tried many classes, I have to agree with a generally held view that Chanter by far is the most suitable. Other classes are good at different things or for a limited time or when they hit a certain level. But only Chanter has a more-or-less foolproof method that can survive anything and works from level 1 upward.


The reason for this is you can focus your build and actions entirely on defence, while your chants and invocations take care of damage. As a chanter, all you need is time: just stay alive and time alone will take care of your opponents. This makes chanter a safer bet than similar conceptual classes like Cipher or Monk. You have to score weapon damage with a Cipher to use your abilities. If you can’t you’re buggered. A chanter just needs to stay alive and lo, the enemy suffers.


While some say chanters can be boring, for me the challenge of surviving everything without ever tripping up is interesting enough - and the really interesting part is in working through items and combinations. Because chants are passive, you get the opportunity to use scrolls and potions far more than you would with other classes, for whom using items detracts from dealing damage. With a chanter, you can actually begin to use the horde of consumables the game throws at you, craft some more, take Deep Pockets, and adjust your quick slots all the time. This leads to the cleanest stash ever :).


The basic strategy for minimum risk is simple. From levels 1-8, you use a hatchet, large shield, the best armour you can find, and concentrate on defensive talents. Meanwhile Soft Winds grinds down your opponents and every 10-12 seconds you summon a phantom, which smashes everything with sneak attacks because the opponents are futilely swinging at you. You don’t even need to use your weapon. The damage it does is irrelevant and the time is better spent using scrolls and potions. Only if you have nothing else to do should your swordarm get some practice. And even then, I often stop attacking when the chant counter gets to 2 so the phantom can be summoned asap without wasting any time in recovery.


At level 9 a few things change. The large shield is swapped for something smaller (since accuracy now matters) and you don’t need to bother with the phantom anymore. In the rare event that you need a summon, ogres are the choice (but you rarely do because most opponents will be scorched dust by the time the counter hits 5). And even then, continuing the chant can be more damaging than taking the time to summon). Other than that, you keep concentrating on defences and attack with a weapon only when there is nothing better to do.


The build is quite simple. Any race works, I prefer defensive ones. Take all defensive talents, with a possible exception for Scion of Flame (definitely if you use the unofficial mod that fixes DoTs). MIG and INT are your most important stats; DEX can be dumped as much as you want, even recovery after summoning a phantom is irrelevant as you can summon another one 1-2 seconds after the first expires. Allocate rest of points between CON, PER and RES as desired.


My favourite build is as follows. No respeccing needed and absolutely no invocation glitch exploits.


Race: Coastal Aumaua

Old Vailia Merchant


MIG 20

CON 16


PER 10

INT 19

RES 10


I prefer CON for max survivability (esp Fortitude defence, which is usually the critical cause of death).




Veteran’s Recovery

Weapon & Shield Style

Superior Deflection

Deep Pockets

Scion of Flame

Bear’s Fortitude

Body Control

Gallant’s Focus


Skills (excl story bonuses)


Atheltics 0

Lore 7

Mechanics 12

Stealth 4

Survival 5


Lore can be boosted to 8 through story talents or other bonuses, which lets you use the cool level 4 scrolls. Survival 5 lets you get to 10 for crucial battles through Sanguine Plate & rites. Base Mechanics of 12 means you don’t ever need to worry about traps.




Only 2 that actually matter: Soft Winds until level 8 and then Dragon Thrashed forever thereafter. Take others for situational use or for custom combinations against particular opponents. A lot of chants are not much use for this solo build, but the ones that boost defences can all be good.




The only one that truly matters is the Phantom (Reny Daret’s Ghost) until level 8.


White Worms is situationally good for doorway carnage.


The level 2 invocations are pretty rubbish for this build, paralyse and charm are the only decent options but the level 1 options are nearly always better. Ogres is good at level 3 for when you need bodies. Whatever else you like, summoned weapons are good at level 5.


Equipment does not require anything special, just the best stuff you can find. Hatchet and shield is great defensively, Whispers of Yenwood is also good for the CON boost in early game. Anything that boosts stats or defences is good. A few spellbind options like Munacra Arret are also nice. Belt of Royal Deadfire Canoneer is great for the stat boosts and Flame Shield, but Firebrand itself is pretty useless for this build (too slow and compromises defence).


Food: Rauatai Cookies and Sweet Pie all the time. Add Farmer’s Spread and Cassita Casserole once you get to Defiance Bay. Be a glutton, buy and eat as much as you can.


Enjoy :)

Edited by Jaheiras Witness
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  • 4 weeks later...

Detailed Build & Guide to Act 1


Coastal Aumaua Chanter, Old Vailia Merchant

MIG: 20

CON: 16

DEX: 3

PER: 10

INT: 19

RES: 10



Athletics: 0

Lore: 8

Mechanics: 12

Stealth: 4

Survival: 4


2: Mechanics 5

3: Stealth 3

4: Lore 4, Stealth 4, Survival 1

5: Mechanics 6, Survival 2

6: Mechanics 7

7: Mechanics 8

8: Mechanics 9

9: Lore 5

10: Mechanics 10

11: -

12: Mechanics 11

13: Mechanics 12

14: Lore 7

15: Lore 8

16: Survival 4



Only the first 2 are essential and should be taken in order. The rest are flexible / optional.

2: Veteran’s Recovery

4: Weapon & Shield Style

6: Superior Deflection

8: Deep Pockets

10: Scion Of Flame

12: Gallant’s Focus

14: Bear’s Fortitude

16: Body Control



I recommend you create 2 chants: “buffing” (in which you place your self-boosting chants such as defence bonuses) and “damage” (which will be Soft Winds from levels 1-8, Dragon Thrashed from level 9 onwards). You should have the damage chant on as default, occasionally switching to the buffing chant if you run into something nasty unexpectedly (phantoms, banshees, adragans etc) and need some temporary help until you can get some scrolls / potions off.

1: Blessed was Wingridh

1: Come, come soft winds

3: At the sight of their comrades

5: One dozen stood

7: Lo, their endless host

9: The dragon thrashed

11: The silver knights’ shields

13: They shielded their eyes

15: With all your strength



Phantom is the only thing you truly need to use until level 9. By level 7 you can chaincast the phantom thanks to brisk recitation (i.e. summon a new one as soon as the old one disappears). Piling up bodies at doorways can make “White worms” really good too. From level 9 you will rarely need to cast anything except for the occasional ogre summon or some burst damage with “Seven nights”.

1: But Reny Daret’s ghost

2: White worms writhed

4: The thunder rolled

6: At the sound of his voice

8: The lover cried out

10: Oh, but knock not on the door

12: Seven nights she waited

14: So singt thy biting winds

16: Called to his bidding


Guide to Act 1

· This is the “hardest” section of the game (actually not that hard for this build). If you can get to Defiance Bay without dying, you are well on the way to completing ToI.

· Aim is to get to level 4 at minimum risk. Survivability increases hugely at level 4 thanks to 1) Weapon & Shield style, 2) fine enchantments 3) brisk recitation. For example, at level 4 your deflection increases by 13 and your reflex by 29 – those are huge relative jumps.

· Basic strategy for this section is to maximise deflection (hatchet and large shield), pick up some decent equipment, and then head to Caed Nua.

· Combat strategy is to survive long enough to summon the phantom, at which point the fight is essentially over. Put on your thickest armour, eat food, swig potions, whatever it takes to stay alive.


1. Tutorial. Straightforward enough. Swap your sword for a hatchet as soon as you find one. Let Calisca do the work while you use a bow / crossbow. Advance to level 2.


2. Valewood. Free Tenfrith by fighting the bandits, they are not difficult as they do hardly any damage and the phantom makes short work of them. Fight the wolves and get the freebie minor treasure near the ruins (Mechanics 5 allows you to detect it even without stealth). You can’t climb the wall yet and don’t enter the bear cave. Skip the xaurips, there’s nothing valuable there.


3. Gilded Vale. Advance to level 3 as soon as you turn in the Tenfrith quest. Do the windmill task (Against the Grain), advance the main quest by resting, pick up the Blacksmith quest. Sell all your trash and buy food from the inn (I prefer ale, cookies and sweet pie combo).


4. Magran’s Fork. Stay in stealth mode as much as possible, pick up the freebies and avoid unnecessary fights. Do fight the wolves just to the east of the starting point to get the 3 healing potions from the merchant. You can fight the troll if you want for Fulvano’s Amulet. You can skip the Ludrana fight but I normally do it as it gets you a large shield and mail armour (upgrade to your starting medium shield and breastplate). Rest in the ruined house and pick up the grappling hook + other minor stuff.


5. Black Meadow. Same as Magran’s, stealth and pick up the freebies. You can fight the wichts if you want for Fulvano’s Boots. Every other fight until the bandits should be skipped. Whatever you do, do not aggro the forest lurkers near the shrine (either steal the loot in stealth or just skip it). You can technically pick up the Blacksmith’s crate in stealth but it just seems unrealistic, so I fight the bandits. Kill the scout first (hide in the trees just to the east of the trolls and fire at him when he comes close). The main camp can be split up by approaching from the south and moving away to drag some of the bandits with you. Whatever you do, the fight is not too hard if you are well buffed and concentrate on healing until you can summon the phantom.


6. Return to Gilded Vale, turn in the smith quest. You don’t need to buy anything (the Animat summon is not much use and has a very limited shelf life, but get it if you want). Rest and buy more food.


7. Back to Valewood. Grab Fulvano’s Gloves from the wall with the grappling hook you got from Magran’s Fork. Enter the bear cave with max buffs (food/goldrot chew etc). You need to survive a few swipes from the bear until you can summon the phantom. If you have the animat, use it. Otherwise use any Wizard’s Double / Ironskin potions you have, and use healing potions if you lose any chunk of endurance (you need to ensure you have 60+ Endurance at all times to avoid getting one-shotted).


8. Back to Gilded Vale. Complete the bear cave quest and let the lovers go without taking their money to get minor ring of deflection. Pick up Aufra quest. Should be level 4 now which is a big milestone. Enchant your shield to fine immediately, armour / weapon not so important. Usual rest / resupply.


9. Temple of Eothas. You can stealth through most of it and pick up easy loot. Try to fight a few skuldr in the first level main room to get ears for Wizard’s Double potions. Don’t enter the room where there is a whole pack of them (and possibly a skuldr king, the southwest room before the bells). You have to fight a few shadows on level 2 but they can be done one at a time and are easy. Avoid the side rooms, especially the shade or phantom rooms, there is no worthwhile treasure for the risk. Go as directly as possible to the pool room and split the enemies up as much as possible by retreating away (you don’t want to be fighting the whole pack of oozes with the spirits simultaneously – take out spirits first, then oozes are easy). Ignore the room with the helmet and skuldr kings – you’ll get much better headwear soon enough and not worth the risk (although it can be done with Wizard’s Double potions to make yourself near impossible to hit). Complete the quest and rest up.


10. Anslog’s Compass. Only watch out is xaurip skirmishers - try to isolate if possible or find a corner where others are blocking their path when taking on the camp. Phantoms should target them first. Be careful of the guls, you do not want to be engaging any more than 2 at one time or you can find yourself interrupted to death. You only need to fight one sporeling (fire missile weapon / run to cave entrance and fight whatever follows, normally only 1 or 2 follow you that far).


11. Ponamu – if you have the money, buy the Royal Deadfire Canoneer belt. Otherwise come back for it when you have 8k coin. Firebrand isn’t that great for this build but we want to unlock upgrades asap as the stat boosts + Torrent of Flame / Flame Shield are amazing. Company Captain’s Hat is optional, personally I don’t like charming enemies randomly as they can end up benefiting from your buffs (classic example of dragons healing through your moonwell etc).


12. Madhmr Bridge. We enter from the west to avoid skirmisher ambush. Scout mode for northern section, you can sneak around the xaurips near the camp to pick up a fine hatchet from the container. Do the Ferry Flotsam quest (peacefully is best) to get Hermit’s Hat (+2 INT and immune to confusion – lovely).


13. Esternwood. Easy area, loot from the graveyard is main reason (fine arbalest + hidden minor treasure), you can skip / scout past the rest of the area and just head east on the road.


14. Raedric’s Hold. This is totally optional – you can skip it completely or come back later if you want. However for this build it is very straightforward. Climb the vines and rest to remove fatigue, kill 1 or 2 guards, enter the temple area and put on robes. Make the deal with Nedmar and go to the dungeons. The undead here are easy enough, you can explore as little or as much as you want, there’s tons of easy loot / xp from traps. If you want to game it, you can time your arrival to get specific random loot such as gloves of manipulation / gauntlets of accuracy. I use a loot shuffler and do not do this. Release the prisoner, you don’t even have to do Osyra if you don’t want to. Return to Nedmar, get the key, go chat with Raedric. Agree to reassess your options, go see Kolsc. Fight Kolsc if you want or (my preference) agree to deal with Raedric. Back to Raedric’s throne room and no more talking. Fire an arrow at the nearest guard and retreat to the bedroom doorway. Only a couple of guards will follow and you can fight one at a time in the door. Great thing about this fight is combat doesn’t end until they are all dead, so you can just stand there, summon, send the phantom to attack, rinse and repeat. Any guards that do go for you can be fought at the doorway choke point so you are in no danger of being overwhelmed. It’s an easy win and you can then loot to your heart’s content. This will also get you to level 5.


15. Caed Nua. Enter in stealth and hug the southern wall, go all the way east and then north. You have to fight one Will-o-the-Wisp, which is easy as you are immune to confuse. Enter the keep, get Whispers of Yenwood (enchant it to fine/burning lash, it can serve as your weapon for a very long time thanks to the +2 CON). You can now prepare for the “hardest” fight in Act 1 (some might say the whole game!) – the phantoms and shadows in the throne room. But actually it is easy, even without any summon animat / run to the statue tricks. Buff to the max, especially CON (cookies/chicken) and MIG (goldrot chew). Prepare a custom chant – At the sight of their comrades / Come, come soft winds alternating (the linger will ensure the buff lasts all the time). Once you trigger the fight (e.g. fire an arrow), retreat to the little western alcove next to the door. If you position perfectly only one opponent can engage you (which will be the shadow, perfect) or at most two opponents if not perfect (one shadow and one phantom). While you are waiting for them to get there, take a defensive potion such as Wizard’s Double / Ironskin. You should have an effective Fortitude of 115 (20 base + 12 from level + 5 ring + 48 stats [MIG 23 CON 21] + 20 race + 10 chant). With your deflection and this level of fortitude, it is very unlikely you will get stunned, and even if you do, it will be a short graze only which is fine if there is only one phantom attacking you. Don’t touch the shadow, you want it to keep blocking other phantoms. Just stand there, summon your own phantom behind the opponents, let it attack one of the other phantoms, and rinse-repeat until won.


16. Endless Paths Level 1 should now be very easy. You have choke points galore to stack up the bodies, White Worms can finally get an outing. You can kite spider queen back to the entrance to the room to build up 2 chants while moving, which means you only need to engage for 2-3 seconds before you can summon the phantom. Maerwald is also best fought by retreating to the doorway after his speech, letting the blights block him off, and summon the phantom behind Maerwald to make short work of him.


17. Woodend Plains. Stealth and loot to avoid any fights. If you want Hearth Harvest (it’s a nice hatchet) you have to fight a pride of lions, which is not necessarily easy though your “Speaker to the Dead” watcher ability really helps by debuffing their accuracy. It’s a choice between +5 deflection (Heath Harvest) or +4 Fortitude +10% Health (Whispers of Yenwood). I prefer the latter so skip this fight as well.


18. Aedelwan Bridge – and Act 1 is over! Not so difficult actually and you now have tons of options to pick up easy xp and equipment in Defiance Bay. If you make it here without dying, you can give yourself a little pat on the back J

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