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Pillars of Eternity Minimal and No Reload Thread (spoilers)

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  • Serg_BlackStriderSerg_BlackStrider Member Posts: 176
    edited March 6
    I agree with @Enuhal that Cipher is difficult for solo run. The thing that their most powerful abilities require friendly target doesn't help too. Looking forward to see how Astarta will fare!

    JuliusBorisovAlesia_BHEnuhal
  • Jaheiras_WitnessJaheiras_Witness Member Posts: 592
    I don't think draining weapons like Drawn in Spring generate focus for a Cipher (from the draining part). You might be better off just maximising hit damage (e.g. sabres).

    I would personally not go the DEX route as a Cipher, so let's see how your run plays out. I would go something like:

    MIG 17
    CON 9
    DEX 9
    PER 15
    INT 19
    RES 9

    Ciphers are really fun; I would say the most flexible and interesting class to play. But it will certainly require refining which powers you want to go for, optimising your strategy and (probably most important) figuring out which order to cast spells in. For example, do you start with a big alpha strike or with a Whisper of Treason? Do you buff with scrolls first or get Psychovampiric Shield off? You may even get situations with a Cipher where (more than other classes) you defend through offence: for example, generating focus to cast a "stealing" spell like Time Parasite (buffs you and weakens opponents) rather than taking a defensive action.

    Good luck!

    Alesia_BHEnuhalBlackraven
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited March 7
    Astarta, Moon Godlike Cipher (PotD Solo): Entry 1, Caravan Camp to Caed Nua

    Three cheers for Caravan Camp! Oh how I love thee! There's beer and guns and fashionable clothes! What more could you need? Ok. So it's one beer. And that gun doesn't work. And those fashionable clothes were taken off a corpse. But, you know, we've all seen this place a zillion times and I'm desperate to make it interesting. So hooray for Caravan Camp! Hooray! Hooray! Hooray!

    (Quick shout out to Chateau Irenicus: You'll always be the first...)

    Ok! Here's how Astarta killed things:

    wl6mn40nyp2y.jpg

    Antipathetic Field is anything but pathetic. It has an insanely high power ceiling for an L1 ability. There's one problem with it though: it'll kill your friends. Thankfully, Astarta doesn't have any friends.

    We did more of that: killing things with the death ray, that is.

    xbnidg96aar9.jpg

    But we did not avoid the game's first badge of incompetence: the wound of shame on Heodan. I'm beginning to think that having Heodan run around, doing naught but take disengagement attacks is less than ideal...

    glh2s0wyg60w.jpg

    Moving on! It still sucks to be Heodan.

    v8rszy03xhkh.jpg

    These oozes usually target Calisca, in my experience, but apparently Heodan's injury made him the jucier target. The question now is: will he survive?

    And yes! We gave the poor boy a hunting bow so he could stay out of harms way. He got his soul ripped apart by a machine instead of being eaten by spiders. That's better, right?

    1vil764cxfu9.jpg

    At L2 we took Galant Focus: Acc matters in the early game and we're going to respec.

    So: we've made it to Guilded Vale. Soloists and readers alike: You know the early game drill. We went Boots of Steath on the roof: 20th; Gloves of Manipulation in the bedroom: 2nd; Ring of Searing Flames: 2nd. We didn't stick around for the Ring of Unshackling on the 4th but I kind of wished we had.

    Dungeon dwellers were nixed with Eyestrike->fine quarterstaff. Fun was had by all.

    a6yoakrtibva.jpg

    After leaving Raedric's we used stealth for The Smith's Shipment, followed by beer and chi-chat in Against the Grain.

    You know zen koans? Those bizarre sometimes contradictory questions with unexpected answers? Well I have on for you.

    Question: When is failure a success?
    Answer: Durance!

    4ccenkmpce3f.jpg

    Our next fight was the skifty little Late for Dinner throwdown. I continue to enjoy this fight. I think it's because I get to use traps.

    8qs4jzjoyzwa.jpg

    After opening combat with a war bow shot, we faded and then called our new buddy, Mr Amazing the Animat. We should have opened with Mr Amazing instead of the bow. Next time.

    hmqr2ls10h2u.jpg

    Used the death ray to melt the outlaw while the other A dropped the bandit. As Marylin Manson once said: We're all stars now in the dope show.

    2y84mo7bb87l.jpg

    Gotta love the team work in this battle, amirite?

    2nt55vycbyo5.jpg

    Quickly now. Stealth for Buried Secrets. We leveled up here and took Fast Runner.

    njtscdkkzpu1.jpg

    Summons juke for the main hall.

    l6egf6rtow5g.jpg

    You know what that means: Maerwald will speak with you now.

    ytwgfajgo5i8.jpg

    You know the fine wand over by Galawain's Shrine? And do you remember how we took Fast Runner? 2 + 2 means we're going to win this fight. We worked in some fineries, though.

    Like blocking the door with Mr. A.

    09r7h96lhfc6.jpg

    And duping Maewald into killing his spirit bro.

    wz331p6ry6en.jpg

    We even got off a gratuitous cast of a questionable pick: Psychovampric Shield. If you're all: Hey, why not Llengrath's? It comes in a freaking bottle! All I can say is we'll get to that later.

    hxitda5m1y44.jpg

    Artful separation made this a breeze. Remember: It isn't cheesy when you're the one doing it.

    8sr2rtfx9vci.jpg

    Pop goes the weasel.

    1xwmo66dc3l7.jpg

    Ok! I'll be back with some Defiance Bay sidequests soon!

    Best,

    A.

    Btw, Astarta at L4, IIRC

    Skills: Athletics, 0; Lore, 2; Stealth,5; Mechanics, 3; Survival, 0

    Powers: L1- Whispers of Treason, Eyestrike, Antipathetic Field; L2- Mental Binding, Phantom Foes, Psychovampiric Shield

    Talents: Galant's Focus, Fast Runner

    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
    JuliusBorisovSerg_BlackStriderBlackraven
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited March 7
    I don't think draining weapons like Drawn in Spring generate focus for a Cipher (from the draining part).

    They don't. Drawn in Spring is still cool though.
    I would personally not go the DEX route as a Cipher

    Noted. Full disclosure: I'm biased towards fast characters. Slow characters are just less fun.

    But I also think gaming context matters. I use in combat autopauses. The difference is very noticeable with those.

    One more note: If choosing between 2 points of Dex and 2 points of Per, the answer, to my mind is 3 points of Per via Blacsonn. Goldrot grants the option of shifting a portion of the excess Per over to Might. With both you get:

    Dex: -2
    Perception: +1
    Might: +3
    Movement: +1

    So, we're turning our two additional Dex points allocated at character creation into 4 points spread across Might and Perception plus a movement rate bonus, not to mention +25 against Ground. I like that deal.

    Best,

    A.

    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
    Serg_BlackStriderEnuhalBlackraven
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited March 6
    And btw, I picked Astarta's stats with her post buff numbers in mind. This is how she looks at L6, pre-combat, with resting bonuses, food and drugs

    (Criminal, Aldwyn, Farmer's, Sweet Pie, Cookies, Casita, Goldrot, Blacsonn, Carow Golan)

    uk1xidluajoo.png

    Note, too, that this is with Carow Golan and Deep Pockets, so she has +10 Deflection and +30 Concentration at the ready via Spirit Shield, making that 6 Res less of an issue. And she's moon godlike so that con is less of a problem. Speed will help with scroll application, partially negating the Fort and Will digs.

    Best,

    A.

    Serg_BlackStriderEnuhalBlackraven
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited March 7
    Astarta, Moon Godlike Cipher (PotD Solo): Entry 2, Defiance Bay Sidequests

    In my last post I shared Astarta's talent picks. They were Gallant's Focus and Fast Runner. Some of you may be thinking: Hey! Those aren't cipher picks! You're right. And that makes sense. Because Astarta isn't a cipher. What I mean is she doesn't fight like a cipher- at least not in Defiance Bay.

    My rogues, Astrid and Alia, were expert weapons wielders who rarely used weapons. Likewise, Astarta is a cipher who rarely uses cipher powers. In the early/mid-game, item charges and scrolls are so powerful that they crowd out swings of weapons and such. By the time you've summoned your shades, dropped your Touch of Rots, and called your beetles, there isn't much left to do, really. Whispers of Treason is nice, since it gives enemies a target in between summons, but that, too, can be cast via item. What's a cipher to do?

    Astarta decided to run with it. Why not? In the early mid-game, Astarta was basically Alia + Silver Tide. Even their base accs were virtually identical at 30 and 29, thanks to Gallant's Focus. And Astarta had one more advantage over Alia beyond Silver Tide: she had a movement rate bonus via Fast Runner. So yeah: proven strategy plus passive healing and a movement rate bonus? Astarta wasn't going to die here. She had a free pass to L7.

    First things first:the de rigueur fetch quest binge- Something Secret, Brave Derrin, Rogue Knight, At All Costs and Unwanted. We did Never Far from the Queen, too, using stealth and intimidation. We took Ring of Deflection and Fenwalkers for our Catacombs random loot items.

    Helig was our first fight. We were at L5. We didn't have the Rotfinger Gloves yet, but we had picked up the Obsidian Lamp, using Gloves of Manipulation + Fletcher's + Gjefa.

    We opened with the Obsidian Lamp. Helig is doomed. You can see that I've cast Psychovampiric Shield here. I did that mostly because I like the name. Ask me what I want for Christmas and I'll say "A Psychovampiric Shield, please!" I'd like to say that to an actual Santa: a mall Santa. Can you imagine? A grown woman sitting on a mall Santa's lap and asking for a Psychovampiric Shield? It would be great. I'd totally do it, except mall Santas are gross. Plus it's March.

    bqwbugg09yzq.jpg

    Anyhoo. As you probably guessed, the Psychovampiric Shield cast ended up being just as useless as a mall Santa. This room is big;they're slow; we're fast;we have a bow; they don't.But I'm glad I cast it nonetheless: the animation is neat, and it's always a good idea to test defensive spells in a safe environment.

    I'm pretty sure the shield was long gone when the vastly superior Mental Binding ended the fray.
    62t7itylmofo.jpg

    (Oh! That crit reminded me. We were rolling with Yenwood and Gaun's Share at this point, each wielded one handed. Why? They cover all three damage types; they're free; and they have defensive bonuses. We'll need to select our weapons with greater care soon, but we aren't there yet. For the super curious, Yenwood has a burning lash; Gaun's Share has corrosive and kith slaying.)

    After returning to Dalton, we picked up the Rotfinger Gloves and put down some thugs. Obsidian Lamp->Ring of Searing Flames->Rotfinger Gloves x 3->Whispers of Treason->Oaken Scarab.
    fml6ncanifyp.jpg

    This battle was very simple. I've fought many just like it before. And yet it marked a turning point for me as a player. Something small happened that really changed my perspective. I guess I'll document the event first. We can go on to the navel gazing after that.

    The battle predictably wound down to one charmed thug and some allied beetles. These thugs regenerate, but with Silver Tide untriggered, her cipher powers at the ready, scrolls on hand and potions at her disposal there was no threat at all. And even in the worst of worst case scenarios, Astarta could have fallen back on her movement rate advantage. I wasn't worried in the least. I did get annoyed though. The beetles unsummoned, The thug engaged and when he did, interrupt became a problem. I knew this was a risk- Astarta does have a low Resolve, after all. But I hadn't prepared for that contingency. Those who know my BG play are aware that's very unlike me. We took more damage here than we needed to, more than I would have liked.
    cml0cbjqpciv.jpg

    That's when I started thinking. Since beginning PoE play I've been sort of coasting along, not analyzing, not studying- just picking up little tidbits here and there. I’ve been playing as if I already knew everything, like I’ve been with BG in recent years. But what I should be doing is playing like I played BG when I first started: as an active learner. I see why I fell into that trap. I’m not a gamer in general. I’m a BG player almost exclusively. And so I’m not accustomed to studying new games. I only did that once and that was years ago. But now it’s time for change. Now it’s time to turn my brain on. I think I’ll do that.

    Anyhoo. That was way longer than intended. The point is, I think I’m going to get better soon. Hooray for that!

    And hooray for dead xaurips! Seeking another level up, we backtracked to Guilded Vale. This is hardly worth discussing, but I kind of like this shot. The shades are targeting the priest, fyi.
    jdmfcfszxxaj.jpg


    We finished with Mental Binding. Note the March Steel Dagger here. It’s fun to play with against low DR enemies. I’d sort of like to dual wield the Sword of Daenysis and the March Steel sometime. I don’t expect it to be great, but it could be fun in the early game
    nwpity6av2i5.jpg

    We killed the bears next. We’ve charmed a young one. The shades are targeting the adult. Easy win.
    qbg36a0cuh5e.jpg

    Ok. By now we had reached L6. We were ready for some caster battles. We started with Built to Last because Built to Last means Aru Brekker and Aru Brekker meant we could respecc. Here we can see the opening, along with food and drug buffs. The Arrow Trap was there because we still have two left over from the early game and they're actually kind of nice. 20-27, base. No acc penalty, only bonuses from Mech 4 up. That's a a solid free attack.
    19tnty8rqpz9.jpg

    We caught some debuffs here: hobbled and dazed. The durations were brief, but this annoyed me. I definitely intend to make the Ring of Unshackling a greater priority in future games.
    i9a6tdd7ifag.jpg

    Dodwyna falls first, thank to triple Draining Freezes from the shades.
    o4lyzq1zby28.jpg

    Endgame. Have fun with that, Mr. Mercenary. How much did you get paid for this job?
    xbwwvuqlv0ei.jpg

    All Hands on Deck went smoothly. A few battle plan contingencies on display here. A charger, breaking off from the shades, catches a Whispers of Treason.
    brv5bigs3n76.jpg

    We now keep Spirit Shields at the ready, having learned our less in Supply and Demand.
    cdpjp6i11ub0.jpg

    By Two Story job I started to feel I had this battle plan down, with all contingencies in place. I don't expect drama or significant damage in fight like this going forward. Pre combat stats.
    2tu52kmcbg59.jpg

    We started working Deleterious Alacrity of Motion into the sequence here. Note the early Spirit Shield, taken due to the possibility of a charger peeling off and engaging. I don't expect to do that often, but it's something that should be available, depending on positioning.
    ioi0a46o7oq5.jpg

    Crushed'em. We used Mental Binding in the closing. Speaker to the Restless was deployed as we built the requisite focus. Virtually no damage in this fight.
    tfre9pcewpp1.jpg

    With plenty of room to operate, we skipped the early Spirit Shield in The Parable of Wael. The shades are targetting Iben.
    nvjqe6wkboj8.jpg

    Virtually no damage once again. In and of itself that doesn't matter: these are super-easy fights, even on PotD. But I can start to feel myself approaching battles with the same mindset I used in BG. I'm excited about that. It may not save Astarta, but it bodes well for runs to come. That's good.
    jdc7dwx6svzu.jpg

    Best,

    A.

    Current Character Record and Inventory as we head off to Dyford. (Note the respec!)
    3g94cow4knsn.jpg
    k7akan50sr7q.jpg

    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
    Serg_BlackStriderEnuhalJuliusBorisov
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited March 7
    Ciphers are really fun; I would say the most flexible and interesting class to play. But it will certainly require refining which powers you want to go for, optimising your strategy and (probably most important) figuring out which order to cast spells in. For example, do you start with a big alpha strike or with a Whisper of Treason? Do you buff with scrolls first or get Psychovampiric Shield off? You may even get situations with a Cipher where (more than other classes) you defend through offence: for example, generating focus to cast a "stealing" spell like Time Parasite (buffs you and weakens opponents) rather than taking a defensive action.

    Good luck!

    Thanks for your comments, Jaheiras Witness! Please do feel free to chime in with tips and advice. You obviously know more about ciphers than I do, and you have more soloing experience, judging from last winter (I'm going to catch up, though, if you don't start playing again!)

    Best,

    A.

    Blackraven
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited March 7
    And btw, @Jaheiras_Witness, I'm currently experimenting with proper cipher, per encounter ability tactics against weaker enemies, ones that I'm over-leveled for. That's been fun! And your comments are more relatable now, too!

    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited March 7
    @Blackraven. I went back and spoiler tagged my post Caed Nua content. I hadn't internalized that some people on this forum haven't finished the game yet, including you. Sorry! I'll spoiler tag everything except character records going forward.

    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
    BlackravenJuliusBorisov
  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,288
    Cool stuff @Alesia_BH, have fun with your Cipher! :blush: And thank you for the spoiler tags, much appreciated!

    Ravna, Wood Elf Priestess of Wael (1)

    Ok so some experiments have been conducted, albeit just in Act I and only with Chanters, Druids, and Priests (the classes that interest me the most at this point along with Ciphers). But I think I know what I want now. I've decided to return to the ranged Priest of Wael concept. Many people on the Obsidian forum and on Reddit say Normal/Hard difficulty gets 'easy' relatively fast, so it seems PotD is where it's at. I rolled a new PotD Priestess of Wael, Ravna:

    6al8lyk5ku1y.jpg

    Game Version: 3.7.0.1318 with White March I & II
    Difficulty: Path of the Damned, Trial of Iron
    Settings:
    yh6htd5zqu6a.jpg
    * Trial of Iron was a mistake. Admittedly, I love not being able to quick-save and test stuff, and just being forced to play on all the time. But I'm not ready for this kind of difficulty and I may want to be able to play minimal reload. I might activate the console to switch ToI off at some point. Or just start a ToI-free run next time.

    I've tried to steer clear of detailed 'build' threads (so as not to end up copying someone else's blueprint, which would bore me). But I've seen enough to understand that all stats are not equally meaningful. Nevertheless I've tried to stat Ravna as a fairly well-rounded character with no real god stats or dump stats, much like the story companions. Also, I chose Aedyr and Drifter for her background because it fits with her being a Wood Elf (Aedyr) and, in my mind, a wandering pursuer of mysteries (drifter) in conformity with the tenets of her faith. Other than being a bit deceptive at times, she's a good and positive sort. Thankfully Wael is completely fine with Ravna being benevolent, passionate, and diplomatic.

    At the campsite she sold Gaun's Blessing so she could purchase brigandine armor and a rod. Calisca in melee and Ravna from range dispatched two young wolves without difficulty. But the first two Glanfathan hunters aggroed Ravna and depleted half of her health. (We rushed their archer, rather than splitting up or attacking the meleer. Not sure if that's the way to go.) The next hunters were tanked by Calisca and attacked by Ravna with her rod, and the group with the leader managed to knock Heodan out despite Ravna's heals, before they succumbed.
    ncv6w3fhgkg8.jpg
    The trio rested halfway through Cilant Lis and handled their business well in the dungeon. For melee, Ravna dual-wielded hatchets taken from the hunters for their deflection bonus at this point, accepting she wouldn't be as brutal as she might with other weapons.

    Her level 2 talent of choice was Inspiring Radiance for its accuracy bonus, and she pumped stealth for her own safety alone in the woods. She made it through Valewood - where all she did was looting a corpse, picking some herbs, and discovering a bear cave - and she reached Gilded Vale. Such a glum, grey place, and that tree... wow, what a way to set the tone for the game!

    Ravna explored the town on her own, solved a conflict between the miller and some townspeople, and interacted with the soul of Caldara de Berranzi (love the Old Vailia angle in this game, maybe my next character should be a paladin of the Darcozzi Paladini order). She was rewarded with her next level-up, which saw her hone her stealth, mechanics, and survival skills.
    5ukze55ivu50.jpg
    Being a bit of a wanderer, Ravna decided to explore the lands surrounding Gilded Vale before she'd seek out any companions. Her stealth enabled her to recover stolen supplies for the Blackhammer Smithery. On Madhmer Bridge (reached from Anslög's Compass), Ravna got her first taste of battle since Cilant Lis. She had just had a nice picknick - some cocoa, vegetables and an ale - when she ran into two looters, an archer and a (literal) hatchet man. With her Withdraw spell she managed to divide her two foes, as the archer disengaged and wandered out of eyesight before she turned visible. With several buffs (Consecrated Ground, Armor of Faith, Blessing, Holy Power) she bested her foe in melee combat.
    agxa32ucoh6s.jpg
    With her food buffs still in effect and a re-application of AoF, Ravna defeated the archer as well. When she learned that the looters were really a family in ruins as a result of recent storms, she let them go with the flotsam they'd appropriated, and returned to Gilded Vale.

    Back in town she was joined by Edèr and Aloth, at Margran's Fork by Durance, with whom she traded her brigandine for his robe, and near Caed Nua by Kana Rua (wow that almost rhymes). Ravna had yearned the company because Dyrwood was full of dangers. The party of five (all at circa 4.5k XP) dispatched some wolves and bears in Valewood. Ravna didn't enjoy this much, she was a Wood Elf who was fond of nature's children, but what had to be done had to be done.

    Against the bears I'd made the mistake of not having memorized level 2 spells for Aloth, but this didn't prove fatal. With two priests in the group, buffs and debuffs (AoF, Blessing, Consecrated Ground, Holy Power, plus Aloth's Dazzling Lights) were quickly activated, so everyone was soon dealing damage. Aloth who was in the back was nevertheless targeted by a young bear, but he handled his predicament surprisingly well.
    5fgufp7xm9tv.jpg
    Low level wizards may be squishy but not like in BG. He also got the killing blast on the grown bear by the way.
    5o9ghpowxmhc.jpg
    Attacking from the north, the well-buffed party made short work of Ludrana and her two paladins, with Aloth attacking Ludrana from afar (Minor Missiles, Arcane Assault), while the rest focused on the warriors.
    sbf7i4k619fr.jpg
    She managed to injure some of the companions with a Ghost Blades, but Aloth downed her before the other could finish the paladins. Aloth seems to be quite powerful, and with Ludrana's grimoire even more so, as he learned Chill Fog, Ghost Blades, Fetid Caress, and Necrotic Lance from it. (I hadn't respecced him or any of the companions. It's my preference this time to take the NPCs the way they come.)

    Completing the Late for Dinner and Vengeance from the Grave quests and killing some forest trolls, wichts, skeletons, and wolves made everyone reach level 4. (Ravna had got there a bit earlier, but I waited to level everyone up at the same time.)

    Ravna improved her mechanics skill (4), and received the Incomprehensible Revelation talent from her deity. Probably inferior to Aggrandizing Radiance or Interdiction, but I like it for being a unique priest of Wael talent. And besides, a free Daze spell and improved accuracy with rod and (Durance's) staff aren't useless.
    Edèr took 3 points in survival and specialized in weapon and shield style. I want to give him a nice mix of offensive and defensive skills so that he can competently tank and dish out damage with a good weapon that we have yet to find for him. I don't find him particularly interesting mechanically or in terms of his personality, but he's been doing his job well and friendly enough.
    Algoth took me a while but eventually he ended up with Combusting Wounds (I also liked Curse of Blackened Sight a lot), 3 points in Survival, and Arcane Veil (in case he gets aggroed again like in the bear cave). Based on what I've seen so far from him, he's here to stay.
    Durance received 3 survival points and Magran's Inspired Flame. Like with Ravna, this is an RP-inspired talent, but at the same time it makes some sense, since I intend to develop Durance into a heavily armored sword-and-shield guy, as a bulky melee counterpart for nimble Ravna. I'm not sure for how long he'll be with the party. Two priests might turn out to be overkill at some point. And I'm not sure yet what to think of his character. He's a foul-mouthed dirt-bag but for the story he seems interesting with his knowledge of Watchers.
    Kana Rua I really like so far, both for his upbeat personality and for his Chants, mostly summons in our case. At level 4 he got +1 athletics, +3 survival, But Reny Daret's Ghost, and the Beloved Spirits talent.

    Despite their buffs, Chill Fogs, Iconic Projctions, and Chanter summons the level 4 party had a rather prolonged fight with eight Xaurips at Anslög's Compass. In the buffing process their priest started casting Divine Terror, which was almost immediately countered by Ravna's Prayer Against Fear.
    oiv0hsoe072r.jpg
    None of the companions were ever in danger, but the long duration of that battle made me question my effectiveness. It was the first time buffs had worn off before the end of the encounter. Divine Mark was solid,
    9fdznmofl11i.jpg
    but it's a single-target spell. Maybe Bewildering Spectacle or Curse of Blackened Sight would have been the better pick for crowd control for Aloth.
    A smaller group of Xaurips was swiftly disposed of, but inside a spore cave the party had their first casualty. They hadn't rested, so they were low on spells/buffs. One of the sporelings depleted Kana Rua's health. Thankfully he was maimed rather than killed.
    ibuxqp1fb1n7.jpg
    Now resting was absolutely necessary. The well-rested party dispatched the remaining spores with missiles despite two confusions (not Ravna though, thanks to the Hermit's Hat).

    Money is a problem in that we've got only 4k, which is not nearly enough for the good stuff we've seen for sale. My positioning probably needs work as well, as Kana Rua's fall shows. Hopefully I can improve on that fast.

    EnuhalSerg_BlackStriderAlesia_BHJuliusBorisov
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 521
    Fourth Update: Iacchus, the Pale Elf Wizard - Randomly Generated Party Challenge, PotD

    This one is interesting, mostly because of my own incompetence and bad memory about certain encounters. Almost lost the run here.

    Anslög's Compass involves one big fight against xaurips, including against priests, champions and skirmishers. I was ready for that one, had Raiden and Alkyone eat some food and drink some beer. The enemy backline was disabled and weakened via slicken and chill fog while Aurora started buffing up the party with Inspiring Radiance, Blessing and Armor of Faith:
    29v529ddz34g.png
    Predictably, Raiden got stunned by the xaurip skirmisher, greatly weakening his defenses:
    6re8vcsm0li4.png
    While this did result in him getting knocked out and the skirmisher moving on to Aurora, my damagedealing melee fighters, Alkyone and Surya, were able to quickly take down our enemies one by one:
    yj3k0ckn7aoo.png
    Isolated, the lonely skirmisher stood no chance:
    rkvbuada7bmx.png
    So - this obviously isn't the encounter where we got close to death. "But Enuhal", I might hear you say - "This is clearly the hardest encounter on the map!" Well, yes. I even rested after that one, to make sure i was prepared for anything coming my way. However, I managed to screw up to the south of the xaurip camp by pulling a truly unneccessary number of guls for no real reason.
    First, I just engaged one of the vessels and took it down. Next, I encountered a group of 3-4 of them. Fine - not too easy, but nothing my party wouldn't be able to handle. But, as I was setting up Alkyone to flank the guls from the east, she added three more foes into the mix - they were waiting just out of sight, and I didn't notice. They all swarmed her, and with her weak defenses, she was an easy target - so we lost our best damage dealer, and as you can see in the screenshot, my general positioning is terrible - Raiden is supposed to take most of the hits, but he's barely getting attacked:
    s0y819b3o69s.png
    Breaking engagement with anyone seemed way too risky, though, so my goal was to deal as much damage as possible before everyone got knocked out. We quickly lost Surya and Aurora, but Iacchus and Numitor started spamming Fan of Flames, taking down some of our foes:
    bwka1n6eyx3o.png
    Not even arcane veil was enough to keep the swarmed Numitor alive, though. Raiden and Iacchus were left standing. At this point, I realized that Raiden has great reflex defenses due to his stats and his weapon-and-shield style and just started casting spells directly at him, allowing Iacchus to hit more guls - still, it wasn't enough. Raiden got knocked out, and it was Iacchus - who was out of spells - against three guls. I saw no choice but to try and run. Two guls had engaged the Watcher at this point, but their disengagement attacks only grazed him:
    98uuftvwpt0k.png
    You can see one gul, belonging to the eastern group, already turning around at this point. A second one soon followed, but the third gul persisted - it was already near death. Iacchus had to stand and fight against this last foe - since he's not exactly good at that, at least not without spells, I had to activate both of his arcane veils to ensure his survival - but he prevailed:
    b1dpydjcwn6f.png
    As it turned out, the two guls who didn't follow Iacchus ran out of sight of my remaining knocked out party members - so everyone was able to get up again! That was a close one!
    j2zs2pkgrzhy.png
    I rested, and actually only found on of the two guls in the morning, as I was hoping to get my revenge. No idea what happened to the other.

    In any case, I still had to clear the spore cave. Not too difficult, though I once again got Alkyone into an awkward position when pulling the party back to isolate the sporelings:
    ubakjimgov13.png
    I really have to work on that. Luckily, the dank spores were easy to defeat, as Raiden blocked their confusion attacks with the hermit hat:
    8ckxyl1qj1b9.png
    Returning back to Gilded Vale got my party to a much needed level 3. Raiden picked defender (not sure if that's a good choice at this point, to be honest), Alkyone got reckless assault. Numitor learned Bewildering Spectacle and Fetid Caress. I spent some gold on more food and swapping around wizard spells (having two wizards means that I get access to a wide variety, as they can exchange parts of their grimoires, but there's a lot of copper involved). Let's hope that Magran's Fork is less stressful, though there's a very dangerous group of boars to deal with around there.

    BlackravenSerg_BlackStriderAlesia_BHJuliusBorisov
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited March 7
    Wow! This is getting seriously exciting! We have a nice little mix of runs going now: Blackraven's first time party run, Enuhal's random party, my solo- not to mention Serg's and Julius's ongoing adventures. This challenge doesn't just have signs of life: it's come to life! Nice work, everyone!

    Best of luck! Good hunting!

    Best,

    A.

    @Blackraven Ravna looks great! And I love the play on your name, which I assume was intentional. Also, the balance between tactical and gaming and RP is on point. Good stuff!

    @Enuhal I've never embraced the character randomization concept personally, but I'm really enjoying it in your run. It was a great choice! And frax guls, amirite?

    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
    Serg_BlackStriderBlackravenEnuhalJuliusBorisov
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 521
    edited March 8
    Fifth Update: Iacchus, the Pale Elf Wizard - Randomly Generated Party Challenge, PotD

    Magran's Fork went much better than the Compass. I started by moving arond the edges of the map, taking down a single troll and eventually running into Ludrana and her goldpact paladins. Raiden engaged the first paladin while I had Alkyone and Surya run towards Ludrana in order to quickly take down the squishy wizard. The paladin broke engagement, Raiden followed him in order to at least flank him, and Iacchus, the one being targeted, activated his arcane veil. Aurora tried to weaken the paladin with a divine mark, though Iacchus himself was much more effective by simply smashing him to bits with the Parasitic Staff, and Ludrana herself stood little chance:
    6lq39glcfyrg.png
    A quick victory was achieved, and the next significant battle was against a huge pack of wolves to the north. After the customary start via inspiring radiance, I decided to prevent my frontline from being overwhelmed by using Numitor's Bewildering Spectacle for the first time - with much success:
    vgmx73uxdhha.png
    The wolves were mostly busy with each other, so I was able to take down a few of them right away. After the confusion effect ended, the wizards followed up with slicken and chill fog, and in the end, we ended up with zero knockouts, though Alkyone came close:
    5fnr2cbi2hf0.png
    Next up: The big boar battle near the centre. These guys can be tough, and so I started my wizards off with Eldritch Aim to prepare for a longer battle. Also, we prepared with foodbuffs:
    ckyqqhhnd3ur.png
    Surya, who was attempting to cast charm beasts on a number of my foes, got swarmed, but was able to finish his spell:
    3b429487edco.png
    Sadly, he wasn't fast enough to use his second wind before getting knocked out. I reinforced the party with armor of faith while most of the boars were blinded or knocked prone through wizard spells (two of them also being affected by combusting wounds):
    hy71tq8fh0fk.png
    Numitor summoned the Parasitic Staff, which greatly improved our damage output - aided by an Iconic Projection, the party started to take down the otherwise relatively tough enemies:
    fekhhauw5khl.png
    Victory:
    f22m6whprbms.png
    Only one knockout in Magran's Fork - a clear improvement compared to earlier efforts :smile:

    Serg_BlackStriderJuliusBorisovBlackravenAlesia_BH
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 521
    edited March 9
    Sixth Update: Iacchus, the Pale Elf Wizard - Randomly Generated Party Challenge, PotD

    Venturing into the Black Meadow, the party first encountered a group of four trolls - double the number we faced at the Bridge, so we decided not to mess around, throwing a couple of buffs and even Fans of Flame at our foes:
    faxmlmx85e65.png
    This is ideally how these battles are supposed to go: Raiden engages most of the enemies while Aurora buffs up the party, Surya and Alkyone join later to deliver the melee damage, and the two wizards start disabling and nuking the enemy from the back lines (though they can go to the front if needed, as they both have arcane veil):
    80fe1yrcr8uc.png
    Iacchus reached level four at this point, choosing Infuse with Vial Essence and Hardened Veil - I need everyone to be quite tanky if needed, and while Hardened Veil may seem like overkill, I think it's quite useful and even neccessary because of the lack of genuine front liners in this party - Also, we're going to be facing teleporting spirits soon.

    This is also the point where I started to pay a lot more attention to the strengths and weaknesses of our enemies - damage types and defenses alike. I usually don't pay too much attention to that, aside from outright immunities, because my usual party combinations are all about beating deflection - the spells I tend to use that target other defenses are so powerful (such as returning/relentless storm, calling the world's maw, mental binding, amplified wave) that I'd use them against almost any type of enemy. This time around, though, I have to deal a significant amount of damage via low level wizard spells, and I don't have any good ranged physical damage dealers. One of my wizards has terrible accuracy, so I really need to choose the right spell to break defenses and get past damage reduction - which is why I used a LOT of fire spells in the Black Meadow (trolls, spiders and forest lurkers are all weak against them), such as Sunbeam, Burst of Summer Flame and Fan of Flames. These all target reflex, which is good, because trolls and forest lurkers aren't the best in that departement, and I employed steps to weaken their reflex defenses even further.

    In any case, we had to deal with some bandits to get the smith's shipment first. The leader is a barbarian, they also have a druid and a crossbow-wielding rogue, who can be quite dangerous. Everyone buffed up with some food before the battle, and Alkyone had to retreat right away because she got hit by the first crossbow bolt:
    03joofca9u34.png
    While we made sure the enemy frontline got blinded and flanked, allowing us to quickly deal damage to the bandit leader, Iacchus moved towards the ranged attackers in order to disable them - however, he was stopped by a Talon's Reach and took a lot of damage:
    xidyxzfxwd72.png
    Iacchus took the opportunity to activate his new Hardened Veil, causing the bandits to miss all future attacks. Meanwhile, the enemy frontline was overwhelmed and taken out by our melee fighters:
    pt3nziglszk3.png
    Everyone moves to the east to gang up on the crossbowmen, and victory is soon ours:
    fcxi6y1jr4l5.png
    I propably made a mistake by not resting after this battle and fighting on for a while, getting rid of more trolls, wights and eventually spiders to the south. Raiden's health got awfully low in the process:
    xzwaqt2u2jvg.png
    Still, he survived, and we rested after that - now, we had to face a few more trolls:
    43iy6qifhdge.png
    And finally, the forest lurkers to the north-east. They can be dangerous at this point, as they have a lot of hitpoints, deal a ton of damage, are immune to a lot of crowd control effects and their attacks tend to cause the "stuck" effect. Raiden was sent to the frontline, and our three casters started spamming fire spells while Aurora buffed up the party. Now, it's usually fine to just cast Fans of Flame on Raiden, because he has great reflex defenses. However, I think he might've been prone, which caused this to happen:
    xazsjwd79f21.png
    Thanks, Numitor. Not to worry, though - Iacchus stepped up, activating his Hardened Veil and using the opportunity to cast more fire spells, point blank:
    hfgq63c9i9ms.png
    Surya added two Bursts of Summer Flame, taking down the first forest lurker, and we finally moved into melee combat to flank and kill the second one:
    bldajovwiy8l.png
    So much for the easy parts of Act I. Next up is the Temple of Eothas. This should be fun.

    JuliusBorisovSerg_BlackStriderBlackravenAlesia_BH
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 521
    edited March 10
    Seventh Update: Iacchus, the Pale Elf Wizard - Randomly Generated Party Challenge, PotD

    Before entering the Temple of Eothas, I made my first item purchase: A Blunting Belt for Raiden. Downstairs, I first dealt with a couple of whisps and spiders before running into a skuldr group, including on of their kings. I had forgotten about this encounter, and with Raiden being at about half of his health due to previous spider battles, I decided to have him block of the entrance into the room while my druid and the wizards started spamming their most powerful nukes - Raiden even joined in with his own Fan of Flames scroll:
    erphd10ci0ly.png
    As Surya defeated the Skuldr King with a Talon's Reach, I was quite sure that being very aggressive with spells at this point was the right choice, considering Raiden almost dropped into the red despite the battle being rather short:
    bypaq7tv945c.png
    After resting, we ventured down to level 2. When fighting smaller groups of spirits, we usually just engaged with Raiden while the others used their per-encounter abilities:
    2yyp1xzbx7rj.png
    However, dealing with the larger shade/shadow groups required a different approach. Not confident that Raiden could even stand for long against the shade's cold damage, I decided to start off with Iacchus himself tanking via Hardened Veil - this also gave him the opportunity to cast Fans of Flame without hitting any party members.
    kwwnt5wvpm7a.png
    Adding Combusting Wounds and Burst of Summer Flame into the mix, a few shadows were dropping quickly. As our enemies started teleporting around, everyone already had their melee weapons and shields prepared, and with the addition of a Parasitic Staff and some shapeshifting, the remaining shades didn't stand a chance:
    vqh070i5xrt7.png
    After resting and fighting through more spirits and oozes, I made it to the second group with shades. This one turned out to be a bit more difficult. I once again first engaged with Iacchus and his Veil, but my positioning wasn't great, with party members blocking each other and the spirits starting to teleport much earlier. While Numitor was able to protect himself with his own Veil and Aurora was able to stay out of trouble, Surya was without protection and got knocked unconscious. I quickly realized that I had to go all out, and luckily, both of my wizards were in a good position to cast their nukes:
    c85gz41ag5sm.png
    After the weaker enemies were taken down, Eldritch Aim + Parasitic Staff was enough to defeat the stronger shades:
    5cgha1zyqiv5.png
    I did have to rest again (I picked up some camping supplies on level 1 after my first rest down here), this time going for accuracy against wilders for those who had enough survival, preparing to face the big skuldr group with two kings. Using the chokepoint, everyone was positioned behind Raiden in a line, providing equal access to the enemy backline. Throwing in spells like Chillfog, Combusting Wounds, Dancing Bolts, Burst of Summer Flame and Iconic Projection after a few buffs (mostly Inspiring Radiance and Eldritch Aim, as I forgot to cast Blessing) was enough to quickly end things in our favor:
    k4a07anvh6tt.png
    As you can see, I decided to equip Raiden with Gaun's Share for now. No deflection bonus, but better damage and healing. Next up is Caed Nua.

    Post edited by Enuhal on
    JuliusBorisovSerg_BlackStriderAlesia_BH
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 521
    edited March 11
    Eighth Update: Iacchus, the Pale Elf Wizard - Randomly Generated Party Challenge, PotD

    We started exploring the courtyard of Caed'Nua, moving to the east, from there to the north, clearing out the smaller sprit and blight groups. There are two big ones we had to deal with: The one in the northwest, and the one in the southwest. We encountered the shadows, whisps and phantoms to the northwest, near the inn, first. Raiden was already at about half health from previous encounters, so Iacchus once again stepped up to engage first, his Hardened Veil at the ready. Even with the annoying phantom stuns, his deflection was still very high:
    yythf54iwfot.png
    Not having any strong defenses against the stun effect was a problem, and so was only having the hermit hat to counter confusion (on Raiden at this point - should've switched it to Iacchus). After a quick combusting wounds, some dancing bolts took down a few spirits as more AoE spells were prepared and Iacchus got confused:
    lc2o5dmquhc1.png
    The battle was already almost won when Iacchus suffered a knockout, because the confusion effect caused him to get critically hit by Aurora's own Iconic Projection:
    hwkb0dkev0st.png
    Now, any sane person would've decided to rest at this point. However, I had set my mind on finishing the courtyard without a rest for some reason (mostly pride, I'd guess - which is not exactly the best motivation for no-reload play). This is how I ended up running into the second big group of shadows, phantoms and whisps to the southwest. And what a battle it was - with a terrible start at that. Numitor with his own Arcane Veil was my chosen tank, but got confused right away, so basically nothing was protecting the backline:
    m3et9b0ygyak.png
    While the others were buffing up their accuracy and starting to weaken the enemy, Numitor's confusion ended relatively quickly, but even with his Veil, he got flanked, stunned and killed within seconds:
    skxphh2bfqdl.png
    On the plus side, the spirits now got into a position where it would be possibly to hit all of them with even small-scale AoE spells. On the minus side, a permastunned Raiden was the next one to get knocked out, and I was lucky not to lose him permanently:
    zmg1dfg4bt7u.png
    Surya hit with an Insect Swarm, but much more important - and crucial for the future of this run, to be frank - was Iacchus' Bewildering Spectacle. It was basically my last hope - we needed to get a good outcome from this one, otherwise we would surely get overwhelmed. The success and change in the combat situation was immediate: One of the phantoms resisted, but the other one was affected and started stunning its former comrade. One whisp got grazed and wandered to the north, and an affected shadow wandered to the west:
    rlrb606u00d7.png
    We got really lucky when the whisp ended up targetting and killing the confused shadow instead of one of my party members as the duration of the Spectacle came to a close:
    2y9xhwpx7dny.png
    Still, two phantoms and a whisp were still a terrifying force to overcome for our weakened party, with no defense against the stun effects. Luckily, the phantoms had weakened each other, and Alkyone was able to take one of them down. As Surya got knocked out, unable to get out of a prolonged stunlock, the whisp was defeated as well. Aurora had zero spells left and does no damage with her pitiful accuracy and might score, so we effectively only had Alkyone and Iacchus, who used his last spell to summon the Parasitic Staff, to finish this battle:
    bhlhda8et8ba.png
    Sadly, instead of attacking Aurora, the final phantom turned to Alkyone, who has by far the worst deflection in the party. She was defenseless, got revived by the Saint's War Armor, but knocked out again - VERY close to permanent death, but not quite there, luckily. Iacchus activated his second Veil to prevent a similiar fate. Shortly after, his Parasitic Staff finally finished the job:
    044onr4w1tor.png
    Only two party members left standing, zero spells left, two almost permanently lost - this one felt even closer than the gul encounter. Obviously, we rested after that one. Glad we made it.

    Now, the battle in the great hall. We prepared with food and beer for that one. No whisps, which means no confusion. The plan was for Raiden to stand his ground while the others would buff up and cast fire spells - things started out fine, but Raiden got stunned at the wrong moment, lowering his reflex defense, which meant that he once against got knocked out by friendly fire:
    o4ogq6svh2jd.png
    While Alkyone was the next to get stunned, our barrage of fire spells quickly killed two phantoms and weakened the other spirits:
    x00csjpkr5se.png
    Alkyone didn't event end up getting knocked out - so I'd call this one a clear victory:
    xkrse51a783u.png
    Wanting to save our final camping supplies for right before Maerwald, the party cleared the library spirits and carefully pulled the spiders in the prison in small groups. Raiden was low on health again, so I decided to do more veil-tanking:
    zowwhnwnqt0q.png
    Another rest, and we were ready to face Maerwald. I'm quite happy with how this fight went: As soon as I saw our opponent casting Chill Fog, I knew that running out of the room would grant us victory - predictably, he missed our entire party, blinding and damaging his army of blights instead. He cancelled his follow-up fireball as the party retreated:
    6bsxbz6crywn.png
    Raiden was in place to block the doorway, and we also had a trap prepared, while the Chill Fog did some of our work for us:
    fckzzkctspb6.png
    Raiden blocked off the blights, and Alkyone immediately jumped on Maerwald, dealing some damage and critting with the blind effect:
    7ss49jq32ef7.png
    Maerwald was unable to finish a single spell and was taken down by party-friendly nukes and Alkyone's melee assault:
    y602hq2ub3a4.png
    We didn't explore any other part of the Endless Paths, instead starting to build up the main keep and making our way encounter-free through the Woodened Plains and into Defiance Bay, where we will pick up next time.

    Edit: Forgot to mention: Defeating Maerwald got the recruited characters to level 4. We made sure to get athletics and lore to four on everyone. Both Alkyone and Raiden will get more lore after that, as they make for the best scroll users, Iacchus is going for mechanics, and the others will max survival. As for talents - Raiden: Wary Defender; Alkyone: Weapon Focus: Knight; Aurora: Interdiction; Surya: Wildstrike Shock; Numitor: Hardened Veil.

    JuliusBorisovSerg_BlackStriderAlesia_BH
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 521
    Ninth Update: Iacchus, the Pale Elf Wizard - Randomly Generated Party Challenge, PotD

    We started exploring Copperlane, first doing "Something Secret" the non-violent way to get ourselves our first statue summons. After getting our hands on some quests, our first battle in the city was against the Two-Story-Job crew. Raiden was able to take most of the enemy aggression, with the exception of the wizard - At first, I wanted Alkyone to rush him, but he activated his Veil right away, so I decided that Iacchus should try and paralyze him instead until his Veil was gone:
    zi41hpf1cz8s.png
    While the wizard was able to knock out Surya, he ended up in a very bad position, with his remaining allies knocked prone by Slicken and the flanked enemy barbarian almost gone:
    3wuten6lgjpo.png
    At this point, Raiden and Alkyone, with some ranged support, were able to take down the enemy crew one by one, with the wizard being disabled for most of the fight until he, too, got flanked and killed:
    2cjy723yjyu3.png

    Next up: "His Old Self." As we had the ring, and I knew I could talk Nyrid into combat right away, we simply surrounded the wizard beforehand, while Iacchus with Hardened Veil would block off the entrance - this worked like a charm, and Nyrid wasn't able to cast a single spell:
    jbq113lwdpxv.png
    However, some of the more heavily armored mercenaries turned out to be quite difficult to kill, and as Iacchus' Veil wore off, I used the wood beetles to relieve some of the pressure and provide additional damage:
    jk1nkfdscji4.png
    Iacchus, for some reason, ignored all of my commands to activate his second Hardened Veil, resulting in him getting knocked out. Luckily, others were able to finish the job:
    advo5wtjzhkv.png
    A wounded party made its way upstairs, where Raiden lured the remaining mercs into a bad position - they were perfectly arranged in order to be taken down by our remaining AoE spells:
    ln0wapsb3kcc.png
    Iacchus reached level 5 after this quest, gaining access to Minor Blights (I intend to give him "Blast" at level 6) and Malignant Cloud (because I wanted to have a good AoE spell that targets fortitude - I already have grimoires with level 3 reflex spells). Finally, we decided to complete the "Parable of Wael" and enchanted our first item - Raiden's large shield is now of fine quality.
    I approached the Parable crew from the southwest, starting combat with our usual accuracy buffs and a triple disabling threat of Tanglefoot, Chill Fog and Slicken:
    0nyzzj6dz8g8.png
    With reflex defenses sufficiently lowered and Combusting Wounds applied, it was time to throw in some nukes:
    a1cfobe2jnjp.png
    The enemy melee line was taken out, and the party retreated to lure the ranged attackers to the edge of the Tanglefoot/Chill Fog-zone:
    qf5e8063pz8n.png
    A very clean victory. We returned the stolen scroll to the temple and will explore more of the city next time. The chainmail with Sun Beam charges was given to Alkyone for now, as she needs something to do in case it's too dangerous for her to engange in melee combat, and I don't have an endless supply of scrolls.

    JuliusBorisovSerg_BlackStriderAlesia_BH
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 521
    edited March 13
    Tenth Update: Iacchus, the Pale Elf Wizard - Randomly Generated Party Challenge, PotD

    Not much to report in terms of combat for the most recent session. I mostly explored First Fires and Brackenbury, completed some mostly non-violent quests (A Two Story Job, A Call to Court, The Theories of Pandgram), got my hands on the obsidian lamp figurine (using some lockpicks and the +1 mechanics resting bonus) and started building up my keep (mostly going for prestige right now in order to get access to adventures). The only major battle in the two areas was one I only encountered by accident, because I forgot which dialogue options I had to choose to complete "Rogue Knight" the peaceful way - so I ended up having to fight against Penhelm. Luckily, I already got my party to level 5 with "A Two Story Job", so I was well prepared for such an encounter (Picks: Vigorous Defense for Raiden, Dirty Fighting for Alkyone, Alacrity of Motion + Expose Vulnerabilities for Numitor).
    Many enemy fighters with knockdown were involved in this battle, so Raiden was unable to keep many enemies engaged. We started to weaken our opponents with Speaker of the Restless and Interdiction after the usual accuracy buffs. Surya's new Returning Storm was added into the mix - as powerful as ever:
    79lihhskferg.png
    I was able to get the enemy forces into a position where I was able to effectively apply my AoE spells - Chill Fog, Slicken, Noxious Burst, Dancing Bolts, Expose Vulnerabilities, Iconic Projection, Sunbeam etc. Not much the enemy could do about that, and the battle quickly turned against Penhelm:
    see73hq7zohe.png
    Victory was ours. I decided to spend some gold on learning all of the available grimoire spells for our wizards, regretting some previous spending (I found a fine large shield immediately after upgrading the one Raiden hat). I did end up upgrading "Whispers of Yenwood" to fine, though. The Blue Stone Sceptre was given to Surya, who will eventually use it to get his boar shapeshift back if needed. With everyone at level 5, am now ready to make my way to Raedric's Keep.

    Serg_BlackStriderJuliusBorisov
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 521
    Eleventh Update: Iacchus, the Pale Elf Wizard - Randomly Generated Party Challenge, PotD

    I decided to clear out the entirety of Raedric's Keep, which is something I usually never do - generally, I go for Raedric at level 5-7 with a frontal assault, which results in four big battles in total, after that the whole thing is done. Why did I want to do everything? Three reasons: a) More gold from selling all the things. b) an opportunity to upgrade the Blue Stone Sceptre quite a bit due to tons of battles. c) I was trying out different wizard spells (as I don't have much experience with wizards) that I usually never use, so a large variety of not too difficult battles would be a good opportunity to do so.

    We started with the courtyard, which usually involves two big pulls. The first one went fairly well, with Raiden holding the front line, the others providing buffs and some experimental aggressive spells and Alkyone taking out the enemy archers by herself:
    g5dkcnukhfhd.png
    Alkyone did end up accidentally pulling another enemy from the northwestern part of the courtyard, but we still ended up victorious, though slightly more wounded than was neccessary:
    1722cdp9h1q7.png
    The second courtyard battle started in a similiar fashion, though I was more careful with Alkyone. With Raiden's vigorous defense, I started throwing some reflex based spells directly at him to test out their maximum damage potential (rolling flame, crackling bolt, fireball etc.):
    z8ou8tsujyqv.png
    Once again, we got through this one without a knockout, but lost some health, especially on Raiden and Alkyone:
    a482ubu81gyd.png
    Now, it was time for us to move up the ramparts, clear them out and make our way to the temple area. As Raidens hitpoints started getting lower and lower with each battle, I started using my wizards for Veiltanking, even adding the shade summons for one of the larger battles:
    o4ad8183yzyz.png
    Now, what I really should've done is obvious: Rest. But I wanted to clear out the entire courtyard + temple without resting once (why? no idea). This approach almost turned into a terrible disaster during the last battle of the area, the main temple room, where I started off with Numitor using his final Veil as a tank. I had pretty much no spells left for that one, and my plan was to use the wood beetle summons to gain an advantage - but I heavily underestimated the number of enemies I would have to face. As the wood beetles died, we had no spells, no per-encounter abilities (except for a few second winds and Surya's shapeshift), almost no scrolls (none that would be very useful for this specific situation) and low endurance or even health on most party members:
    l2yonhitu6cu.png
    I had to retreat with our veil-less wizards. While Raiden had almost no health left, he was the only one even capable of tanking without the use of spells. I hoped for him to get knocked out so the other could flee, but his constant recovery soon turned out to be too powerful - I even intended to sacrifice him permanently so the others could escape as he got surrounded before I thought to myself: "Let's at least try to save him - if he dies, the run is as good as over anyway - we would have no frontliner at all." - so we turned around, taking out the one acolyte who didn't attack Raiden:
    56syk6jr1v7a.png
    At this point, the enemy priests were out of aggressive spells as well - while Raiden's hitpoints were very low, he was only getting missed or grazed, despite being flanked - so his hitpoints were dropping very, very slowly, giving us some time. All I had left was attacks, so it was mostly up to Surya and Alkyone. In a race against time, the number of enemies was reduced to 1 while Raiden still had 18 hitpoints left:
    jrcvw9yly3h5.png
    And we - barely - ended up making it. Raiden is at 11, but all the enemies are dead:
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    That was way too close! Time to finally rest. Now, we made our way to the dungeon, dealing with various vessels first and climbing up to the other side of the ramparts:
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    Once again, I didn't rest for the entirety of the dungeons, so when facing Osyra, Raiden was too low with his points to tank. Iacchus took his place, and while he took a lot of damage due to spells, we were able to quickly weaken the opponents by affecting most of them with blind effects, Combusting Wounds, Interdiction and the like:
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    Surya's Returning Storm did its thing, and Iacchus managed to hold on while an Iconic Projection took down Osyra herself:
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    Another rest, and I started to fight my way through the keep. Most of the items I found around here turned out to be relatively bad, with the exception of a ring with three Combusting Wound charges, which Alkyone can use. There's one relatively big battle near the entrance, though I approached the enemy from behind, giving me a huge tactical advantage - and since I planned to rest once more before facing Raedric, I was able to go all out with spells and per rest abilities:
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    Now, for Raedric. We buffed up with food and ale, engaged in combat, starting with the usual accuracy buffs, adding in a scroll of protection and some shades:
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    Numitor was forced to activate his Veil, as we prepared to weaken the enemy with Expose Vulnerabilities, Twin Stones, Sunbeam and Bewildering Spectacle. Raiden, at this point, had already taken down one archmage via Fan of Flames scroll:
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    The Bewildering Spectacle actually managed to hit Raedric himself, giving us a huge advantage as the enemy line completely crumbled:
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    In a cruel twist of fate, a champion of berath was the one to take down Raedric. Now, we only had to clean up the rest:
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    With the keep cleared, we looted everything, ended up not equipping most of the new items and buying the bronze horn at Gilded Vale. We also had to fight off attacking skeletons at Caed'Nua, and Iacchus gained level 6, learning the blast talent and Llengrath's Displaced Image. Next time, I'm planning to clear the Endless Paths level 1 + 2.

    Serg_BlackStriderJuliusBorisov
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 521
    Final Update: Iacchus, the Pale Elf Wizard - Randomly Generated Party Challenge, PotD

    To make things short: We cleared the Endless Paths levels 1+2, killed Captain Emery and her party to finish "A Return to Court" and travelled to Ondra's Gift to complete the remaining Defiance Bay sidequests. The last one we wanted to do for now, before moving on to some parts of the mainquest and Dyrford Village, was "The Forgotten". I forgot about the enemy wizard opening with Bewildering Spectacle, which affected three of our party members for ~10 seconds, but I was able to recover with statue summons. I felt like I had the battle firmly under control after both of the enemy wizards were dead, so I basically stopped paying attention, barely noticing that two of their melee fighters were taking out most of my party. I have no idea how Numitor even got knocked out - I remembered him being at full endurance, and then suddenly he was gone - he would've easily been able to stabilize the situation once more, as he had a lot of spells left, including both of his Veils. Suddenly, only Aurora and Raiden were still standing, soon after that it was Raiden in a one on one against the enemy barbarian. It was super close, with the enemy being near death, but Raiden wasn't really able to hit him. In retrospect, there were a ton of things I could've done to easily turn this around (I had lots of scrolls, one more statue summons and most of my spells left), but I simply didn't realize quickly enough that I wasn't in control of the battle anymore.

    I will be taking a break from the game for now, good luck to everyone else!

    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,955
    I'm sad to hear that, @Enuhal. I never had any difficulties with the Forgotten fight, good to know it could go dangerously. I know it feels really hard after you lose a no-reload run in PoE (for me, personally, it's usually worse than when I lose in BG, as in BG a lot is randomised, rolls, etc, while here it's usually the same schedule you have to do).

    Serg_BlackStriderEnuhal
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,955
    10 months later, my cipher killed the Sky Dragon. The party was of level 12, so it happened just as I wanted, without out-levelling the encounter, and from the first attempt. This combat was easier than the Adra Dragon, or maybe it showed I finally mastered (hopefully) the skills the game gives the player.

    My cipher's Phychic Backlash, a few Scrolls of Paralysis, Champion's Boon and other Perception buffs (unlike the dungeon with the Adra Dragon, this quest sequence was clear as it mentioned I need to kill a dragon, i.e. a beast, so the resting bonus for 5/6 party members was increased Accuracy against Beasts), and Mental Binding (yes, as easy as the lvl 2 cipher spell), as well as Dunance's litanies against Fear and Stun were key.
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    A good reward for this was that I finally, years after PoE had released, found out what the hell happened in that world and what the game's plot was about. It wasn't that big of a twist and I wonder why it was hidden so deep in the game. Only 5.6% of players have the achievement on Steam for killing these 2 dragons, which is too bad: I wish things were mixed in a different way so that more players could enjoy the combat AND the story behind both the main plot and the mega-dungeon.

    Serg_BlackStrider
  • Serg_BlackStriderSerg_BlackStrider Member Posts: 176
    Well job done, @JuliusBorisov ! Personally, I'm out of those 5.6% since I always kill Adra Dragon (story wise), only once Alpine (unintentionally) and never Sky one (RP wise). You made me wonder what's there behind that achievement...

    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,955
    edited October 14
    I wonder, why do you think the Sky Dragon should live? I thought Hylea was a good god and you heard tales from a few NPCs you meet that the dragon was a problem for the local people. Also, which quest do you choose and why in Council of Stars? In my opinion, returning souls to the bodies they were intended for was the reasonable thing to do.

  • Serg_BlackStriderSerg_BlackStrider Member Posts: 176
    edited October 14
    I wonder, why do you think the Sky Dragon should live? I thought Hylea was a good god and you heard tales from a few NPCs you meet that the dragon was a problem for the local people. Also, which quest do you choose and why in Council of Stars?

    But why she shouldn't? Yes, she is predator and thus (as any predator) she could be a problem for the locals. That by itself isn't an excuse for me to kill her or any other creature - I always fight in self defense when negotiations are failed or not possible. More so she is mother with newborn hatchlings and when I return to Hylea I tell her that "The dragon sought shelter for her young. Are you not also the goddess of motherhood?" convincing her that not killing Sky Dragon was the right thing.

    In Council of Stars I, as a die-hard completionist, take all four tasks, complete them all and then always choose Hylea to gain their favor. Berath is close by and I usually struggle whom to choose but in the end it's always Hylea (if only for Aufra's child, or Derrin's little sister, or ... any other hollowborn child).

    Post edited by Serg_BlackStrider on
    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,955
    Eder killed Thaos.

    Once @BelgarathMTH asked me to comment about the final fight of the game. Won't lie, 2 times my ass was kicked without any meaningful chance of winning. No debuff seemed to work. Then I sat back and thought about what should I do to make it right. I found a supposed answer and decided to test it. It worked after the first try and without any pre-buffing. This was on the Path of the Damned difficulty, with upscaled Thaos and while my party only recently reached lvl 13.

    I decided to let Eder tank one of the big statues while the rest of my party focused on the second statue. We didn't do much regarding Thaos and just ate his attacks, using several revival scrolls. Eder was absolutely fine tanking on his own, while the damage from 5 of us was enough. Especially, Tentacles helped.

    When we defeated the first statue, we switched to the second and here came a solution: Kana's ogres could tank Thaos' damage like no other summons or party members. They kept lasting just enough for Kana to resummon them while we fought the second statue.

    The second statue went down and I thought, boy, I don't want to melee Thaos because of his big damage. I could only send Eder there. So what did others do? Used their ranged weapons, of course. My cipher casted Ectopsychic Echo. This was enough to finish the battle in ~20 minutes.

    When I tried the combat for the first 2 times, I had no chance. Turns out that I just needed to use some tactics-- and it all worked. Overall, the final battle was challenging enough and the feeling right now is very rewarding. Beating the Adra Dragon felt like a bigger accomplishment, but the final battle didn't disappoint.

    Probably the biggest joy came from learning the full story-- I'm totally satisfied with the choices I made. 387 hours and 5 years later, PoE is now finally finished.
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    Serg_BlackStriderAdam_en_tiumBelgarathMTH
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