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Pillars of Eternity Minimal and No Reload Thread (spoilers)
edited May 2021
Hello everyone! It's been over a year since my last post in this thread - which is also the last time I touched PoE - so I'm quite rusty. However, ever since my failure in my previous attempt of getting an entirely randomized party through PotD (with some additional restrictions), I wanted another chance at finishing this challenge. Recently, I've bought a new PC, and load times are much faster - so I decided to get back into it. I rolled up another randomized Watcher, made my way to Gilded Vale, rolled up the party I was going to be stuck with (Chanter, Druid, Druid, Cipher, Rogue, Paladin) - and promtly died in the sporeling cave at Anslög's Compass, with my tanking paladin getting knocked down and killed by sporelings pretty much immediately. I didn't remember enough about my previous tactics and went in there with the party at level 2. Should've waited for level 3.
Well, with that additional early failure, I was even more motivated to finally do this thing. I knew I could succeed, especially with a priest in my party, and a few days later, I rolled up another party. I thought about starting to write some reports if as soon as I made it to Defiance Bay, but in the end decided against it. However, now that the run is over (let's see which way it will end), I've decided to share some updates. My memory regarding early parts of this run isn't all that clear, so I won't always be able to get into much detail.
Here are the rules: Fully randomized character creation (for a full party of six). Companions have to be recruited as soon as possible (which means that they will start out at level 1 with the Watcher at level 2, making it impossible for the majority of the group to reach level 4 before entering Caed'Nua unless you deal with Raedric in some way). Official NPCs can never enter the party, and you can't take their gear (they can only do Stronghold Missions). Obivously, PotD and no-reload. Also, no items from the Deadfire Pack, as some have considered these to be a bit overpowered. Dead characters can not be replaced, and you can not reroll your stats/skills/talents. Always pick high level scaling if given the option (in this run, we will have everything scaled up except for The White March Part I, because I went to Stalwart early on in an attempt to pick up Stormcaller).
I will introduce the party in this post, write up a few updates in the following days, and go over the builds and gear in detail in a later post. Here's what my randomization tool rolled up for me:
The Watcher, Uthyr: Moon Godlike Rogue (Ixamitl Plains - Scholar)
Might 18, Constitution 11, Dexterity 19, Perception 3, Intellect 13, Resolve 14. Starting with Crippling Strike.
So... the elephant in the room: Amazing stats, except for that awful, terrible, incomprehensibly bad perception. That hurts, especially on PotD, where accuracy is so important. If I could switch Perception and Resolve, this would be an amazing Watcher. I prefer blinding strike, but that's fine. Moon Godlike is good as well, goes great with Shod-in-Faith for some great party healing. Luckily, rogues have high natural accuracy, so he should still be able to hit some enemies. Obviously, as a rogue, he would focus on mechanics (though he would also get lore 4 (for level 2 scrolls), athletics 5 (scripted interactions) and survival 4 (accuracy against specific enemies - all of my characters would get these as their basic skills). Used mostly as a flanking melee dual-wielder with reckless assault.
Luned, Wood Elf Fighter (Ixamitl Plains - Aristocrat)
Might 9, Constitution 17, Dexterity 10, Perception 11, Intellect 18, Resolve 12. Starting with Disciplined Barrage.
Once again, I prefer Knockdown here, especially with Intellect 18! This would turn out to be my only viable frontliner, so the fact that she's a wood elf is... not good. Constitution is great, Resolve could be better. With the high intellect, good for some defensive scrolls and knockdowns (overbearing guard will be the go-to talent here). Early points went into defensive things like weapon and shield style, hold the line and defender. Focused on survival.
Loki, Savannah Folk Druid (Ixamitl Plains - Laborer)
Might 19, Constitution 16, Dexterity 5, Perception 15, Intellect 7, Resolve 16. Starting with Spirithshift: Boar.
Well, this is a pretty bad druid. Very low dexterity and intellect will hurt a lot. High constution and resolve won't turn this one into a good frontliner - the lack of strong defensive druid spells is the limiting factor here. Will be going the shapeshifting route, as I usually do. He would go on to spiritshift a lot, because I ended up getting a second druid with better casting stats. Focus on lore.
Dismas, Wood Elf Druid (The Living Lands - Hunter)
Might 19, Constitution 17, Dexterity 7, Perception 18, Intellect 12, Resolve 5. Starting with Spiritshift: Stag.
Slightly better. Again, strong might score. Slightly more dexterity and a decent amount of intellect. Still, going for a spiritshift build (as I usually do with druids) - this involves weapon focus: peasant, two weapon style, wildstrike shock and the like. Focus on lore.
Daidalos, Fire Godlike Wizard (The White that Wends - Laborer)
Might 12, Constitution 17, Dexterity 14, Perception 12, Intellect 18, Resolve 5. Starting with Chill Fog, Parasitic Staff, Fan of Flames, Slicken.
This one's really strong - especially the opening spells (which are, believe it or not, also randomized). The only thing I would've liked here is eldritch aim, and fire godlike is not very useful for this guy. All around strong caster with good dexterity and great intellect. Starting with (hardened) veil for defenses and some boosts to his elemental damage. Focus on lore - so, why three characters with a focus on lore? Because my last character didn't end up being a priest, so I had to rely on scrolls for some crucial immunities, and you need high lore for prayers against imprisonment, treachery and the like.
Irene, Hearth Orlan Ranger (Old Vaila - Drifter)
Might 17, Constitution 6, Dexterity 15, Perception 8, Intellect 13, Resolve 19. Starting with Wounding Shot and an antelope companion.
Pretty nice, mostly because I like rangers and I love Stormcaller. Once again low perception, and the high resolve is absolutely wasted here. Early talents will focus on the pet, Sága, which turned out to be decent at tanking and great at pulling. Focus on Survival.
All in all, this is a decently strong party - it has a frontliner and some spellcasters, which should be enough to make success at least a possibility. No priest hurts, but scrolls and gear can replace at least some of the powerful buffs and debuffs that a priest would offer. We only have two physical damage dealers, so we will have to rely on our three primary spellcasters quite a lot - indeed, I've never had to rest as many times as I had to in this run.
Let's see how we did in Act 1 in the next update.
Post edited by Enuhal on
edited May 2021
I forgot one rule I set for myself in my previous post: This is a completionist run, which means that I will have to do every quest and fully explore every area (though I don't have to fight every battle - peaceful solutions are allowed, and I will often ally with the bad guys to avoid difficult fights).
Randomly Generated Party Challenge, Attempt 3, Update 1:
After recruiting our level 1 party, we went back to Valewood in order to rescue the cook and deal with the bear cave. Not much trouble here, as our two druids turned early beast encounters into relatively easy battles due to their "charm beasts" spell. To get early experience and a little gear, I quickly made my way to Esternwood, where I picked up a fine arbalest at the graveyard - great item, and my ranger would go on to use this one until level 8! I went on to Madhmr Bridge (skipping most encounters in Magran's Fork and Black Meadow by sneaking around the edges) to get the Hermit's Hat, letting the looters go. In general, while we will do all available quests, we will go for peaceful solutions as often as possible to avoid potentially risky battles. A bit more exploring and dealing with the blacksmith's shipment got our party to level 3.
A quick check on gearing and strategy: I generally used the heaviest types of armor I could find, and hatchets + small shields for my casters (though the wizard would eventually be equipped with a wand). I found a fine hatchet and used a large shield for Luned, while Uthyr was dual-wielding fine + regular daggers and clubs in the second slot, in order to fight skeletons. I didn't spend any of my early gold until I could afford the animat figurine and the blunting belt.
Combat strategy in the very early game: Mostly use Luned and Sága (the ranger's pet) to get attention, while Uthyr tries to flank, with the casters using their early AoE spells - favorites are chill fog and slicken, for tougher or longer fights also parasitic staff, sunbeam, dancing bolts, nature's mark, and, starting with level 3, combusting wounds, burst of summer flame and blizzard. Against beasts, the druids would use their specific anti-beast spells. Against weaker enemies, I would mostly rely on spiritshifting, which would otherwise be used in single target encounters, when a druid was foricibly engaged in melee combat or to finish a fight once it was clearly won.
If the terrain allowed it, I would always use choke points. The only one negatively impacted by this would be Uthyr - honestly, for most of the game, a lot of what I did was either gather enemies around Luned or block them off at a choke point with Luned while the three casters started spamming AoE spells at the enemy hordes.
With level 3 and the Hermit's Hat, I felt ready to take on Anslög's Compass and the sporeling cave. This time around, we faced little trouble, though we did drink some ale for damage reduction. Notice that Uthyr has already picked up gallant's focus, which is great for us, because we don't have any regular accuracy buffs (later on, there would be scrolls of valor for harder encounters). Not a clean fight, as Dismas was knocked out, but a substantial improvement over the previous attempt:
We finished the remaining encounters in Magran's Fork and Black Meadow before moving on to the Temple of Eothas. Pulling with Sága (who is comparatively expendable) and using the Hermit's Hat allowed us to overcome confusion effects:
We did fairly well against the shades and shadows, as spiritshifting works well against them, having a moon godlike is quite helpful and we made use of our various fire spells, which are strong against most foes down here. However, we did have to use both of our camping supplies in order to move on to the powerful skuldr kings. This was the first time that we weren't quite able to hold a chokepoint: While we used chill fog and fire AoE, protected by Luned, the skuldr managed to take down both Sága and our fighter, forcing the feeble Uthyr to step in - though we still had some strong afflictions going on our foes:
Still, even a blinded foe was able to defeat Uthyr, so I prepared Daidalos with his arcane veil and parasitic staff for the job. The druids spiritshifted, and together, they took down the remaining foes in melee combat:
That's one big obstacle out of the way. However, I wanted to get level 4 for my party (Uthyr was already at this level, but the created characters will always be about one level behind the Watcher), and the only content left before Caed Nua was Raedric's Hold. Fighting Raedric would've been way too dangerous, so I decided to side with him (positive side effect: No fampyr fights in early chapter 3). Still, I would have to reach the deranged lord first. I fought my way through the sewers, avoiding as many encounters as possible:
I made a deal with the animancer, moved upstairs to kill the priest (using disguises and resolve to get to him), though I had to fight a few of his friends - which ended up granting me some plate armor. After talking to Raedric, I sought out Kolsc. With the very small fighting area, I evened the odds by summoning some blights and using the animat figurine:
With me basically going all in and using most of my spellbooks, Kolsc stood no chance, and victory was soon ours:
Level 4 for everyone! As a small bonus, we got to plunder Raedrics Keep, though the priest quarters were entirely hostile to us, forcing us into a few more fights. This did give us enough plate armor for everyone, though, and a few magical items.
Now, to Caed'Nua. Not that difficult with a level 4 party at this point. Luned is already pretty tanky (found a fine large shield at Raedric's), and we still have our fire spells. Still needed both of our camping supplies to get through the spirits and blights, though. We used what ale and food we had left before facing Maerwald. The encounter started with powerful moves on both sides: The hostile watcher hit us with a perfectly placed chill fog, while Irene hit him with a wounding shot and an animat, summoned at his back, knocked him down:
Uthyr, being blinded and engaged by a blight, didn't do well - with his bad defenses, he took a ton of damage, while I moved some of the others away from the chill fog. The others took down the blights with their spells soon after, and while Uthyr fell to the fire blight, everyone else was able to swarm Maerwald and take him down:
As a "bonus", we almost lost the run when we made the stupid decision to keep exploring at least this first level of the endless paths. Actually, I had made a mental note in earlier runs to NEVER do this right after killing Maerwald, but being rusty, I forgot about this and only remembered it later. All went well until we faced the spider queen, who, with her stuck effects and web AoE, started to annihilate a party that was already low on both health and spells. Our druids, while doing fairly well against the spiders with their anti-beast spells, eventually died in their spiritshift forms, and while the spider queen was already near death, she managed to take out everyone except for a heavily injured Luned and Daidalos - and both were constantly missing her. Luned drank a potion, and Daidalos activated eldritch aim + parasitic staff - one of the best spells to turn around tough encounters in the early game one resources have mostly run out:
In the end, the parasitic staff did the trick:
Definitely our closest encounter with death so far. Very much underestimated the spider queen. I picked up Oidhreacht and equipped it on Luned instead of Gaun's Share, because I confused Oidhreacht with Mesaured Restraint and thought it would give me an extra engagement. I didn't correct this mistake until much later in chapter 2. Ouch.
We ended up setting Maerwald's soul free in order to boost prestige. I want to get as much prestige as possible for better adventures, in order to obtain some powerful gear such as the Helwax Mold. Now, we made our way to Defiance Bay without engaging in any other encounters.
Post edited by Enuhal on
Randomly Generated Party Challenge, Attempt 3, Update 2:
In Defiance Bay, we started by doing the various sidequests. Most of them, except for The Whailing Banshee and The Forgotten, are pretty easy. I started in Copperlane with "His Old Self", a quest where you can simply position your party in an ideal way to instantly flank and kill the enemy spellcaster while blocking off some melee foes:
With some of the easier quests in Defiance Bay done (which resulted in acquiring the wood beetle figurine and the shade figurine), I went to the woodened plains for the Parabel of Wael. On the way there, I ran into big trouble: A group of Pwgras and Trolls - the latter aren't too much of an issue, the former can be deadly with their druid damage over time spells, such as infestation of maggots and insect swarm. It's certainly too early for such a battle, though getting to level 5 provides some advantages, such as the very powerful druid spell "returning storm". I realized that I was getting overwhelmed rather quickly, and with only Dismas, Irene and Daidalos going (with hardened veil and parasitic staff - once again a powerhouse), I had to rely on my new figurines - the shades are still very powerful at this point in the game. It was a somewhat close battle, though not as bad as the spider queen:
In comparison, getting the Parabel of Wael was quite easy. I also acquired Hearth Harvest, using the first of many prayer against fear scrolls and some anti-beast-spells.
I was able to complete the additional quests in Brackenbury and First Fires, also getting my hands on the Blue Stone Scepter (used for now by Dismas), Äru Brekr, Nature's Embrace (lucky random drop, great on my rogue) Shod-In-Faith (also great on Uthyr), some fine brigadines, a fine robe, and a belt with wildstrike burn. I didn't equip Äru Brekr right away, but upon reaching 8, this would come to be the primary armor of my fighter (upgraded, of course), mostly for the +1 combat speed. I also kept both Nature's Embrace and Shod-In-Faith for the entire game on Uthyr, because with his low defenses, he gets crit quite often, so we get constant DR and AoE heal.
In terms of factions, I obviously sided with the Doemenels - their special talent is great for rogues, and they have by far the easiest and fastest questline to complete:
Not counting Cail the Silent, we soon had only The Whailing Banshee left in terms of Defiance Bay sidequests. We took on this challenge at level 6, by which Uthyr had picked up "shadowing beyond" - and as the focus target of the first large group of shades and spectres, he made good use of this ability to survive the battle, allowing for the others to achieve victory via returning storm, blinding effects and fire spells:
We did complete "Never far from the Queen" the peaceful way, via infiltration, before moving on to Dyrford. Some more easy experience in the village before going to the crossing. The big group of primordials to the east was left alone, though we got the nest egg and met the ogre, who we recruited. This meant getting past more spiders and another spider queen, though with our higher levels we didn't face the same issues as before:
Next up: Blood Legacy. This quest can be very hard if your try to fight your way through waves of ciphers, skaenites and barbarians - but we weren't going to fight much at all. We entered via the crossing, using our high might, moved stealthily past some traps directly to Wymund - not enough mechanics to disarm all of them, so careful movement was required. The only group we had to fight were three opponents directly in front of the final door, only including one cipher - and then we simply allied with Wymund:
Dyrford brought us to level 7, which is crucial, as we get access to spells such as calling the world's maw (one of my favorites) and talents such as overbearing guard. This is usually where I start changing up my early game gear - away from plate armor or brigandines, to lighter types of armor, and often times also faster weapons. Most of this will happen in the next update, though, when we try to complete some of the harder content in Act II.
Randomly Generated Party Challenge, Attempt 3, Update 3:
I decided to make my way to The White March. Why so early? Well, I wanted to get Stormcaller for Irene. There are only ~3 battles neccessary to get this amazing weapon, with the initial ogre battles being propably the most difficult - but they are certainly doable at level 7. Returning Storm, spiritshifting, aggressive flanking and a lot of reflex and will effects (slicken continues to be excellent) did the trick:
This also allowed for us to gather quite a bit of experience by just walking around Stalwart for a bit, and we obtained the special talent "Luck of the Dozen" (our stats aren't good enough for "Flick of the Wrist, sadly). We went to Russetwood, just picking up the arrow and leaving, and entered the Battery. One battle against a tiny group of Languafeth was easily won, and we snuck past a second group. Then, when close to the location of the second part of Stormcaller, I realized that I had made a TERRIBLE mistake. I forgot that accepting the bounty quests in Stalwart will spawn the Metzla-Encounter, which blocks the way to my favorite bow. Just not talking to the bounty guy would've done the trick - but now, I would have to try to fight Metzla at level 7. I kind of knew that there was no way I could win this fight, but I came all this way for one specific purpose and didn't want to give up so close to the goal - so I enganged Metzla, using quite a few figurines, most of my spellbook, lots of crowd control... and I was utterly crushed. It wasn't close - I was unable to kill a single one of Metzla's people. Once it was clear to me that victory would be impossible, I attempted to use the only option available to me: Have Uthyr try to reset the encounter with Shadowing Beyond, one of the very few skills that provide a somewhat reliable way to flee from combat unless you have strong speedboosts. Loki was still standing, which gave Uthyr some time to get away - but as you can see, Uthyr had the "weakened"-status effect on him, which results in -2 combat speed, so he was crawling away very slowly:
Uthyr only had this one shadowing beyond left - the second one was used earlier in combat in order to get into a good position against an enemy spellcaster. Uthyr was already very low on health - and he did not get out of line of sight of all enemies in time: One priest followed him as shadowing beyond ended, casting barbs of condemnation. This brought Uthyr into red health, and I thought the run would be over - but right after casting the priest spell, our foe turned around, and we got out of combat - seems that Uthyr ran away far enough from the original position of Metzla in order for the encounter to reset (fast mode active tells you that we are out of combat, as this mode can't be active while still fighting):
This is the closest I've ever come to death in PoE while still actually surviving. Pretty incredible. Luckily, we had pulled Metzla quite a bit to the south for our initial battle, so when Uthyr returend to the knocked-out party, they were able to get back up without engaging in any more combat. Later on, I learned that for The White March II, the bounty groups will never stop chasing your party and won't even return to their original position if you use shadowing beyond - I'm very happy that this feature wasn't implemented for White March I.
Well, I decided to forego Stormcaller for now - the alternative would be Persistence, but, I didn't want to deal with the ogre level at the Endless Paths quite yet, so I returned to Defiance Bay, where I completed The Forgotten - I was level 8 at this point, so no trouble here, and another dead party avenged:
Next up, some easier main quests - The Man who Waits is relatively simple:
The rewards are huge, though: Ravenwing, which Uthyr would go on to use for a while together with Aatuuk, which we picked up in Blood Legacy (our first exceptional weapon), and Blaidgh Golan, which is, in my opinion, one of the best light armors in the game. Uthyr would use this all game long, upgraded to Exceptional, Corrode-Proofed, Constitution +2 and eventually durganized. I corrode-proofed most of my armor because corrosive damage is a weakness to the types I used, but I did regret this a bit later. There just isn't enough corrossive damage in the game. Fire-proofing more gear would've been nice.
I entered Heritage Hill next, where I used a prayer against fear-scroll in order to fight my first banshee:
I pulled a massive amount of vessels in front of the tower, but powerful AoE spells such as calling the world's maw and burst of summer flame allowed me to deal with them:
No trouble in the tower itself, and Uthyr chose to help Adhelm, gaining the "Gift from the Machine"-feat as a consequence.
I didn't want to go for Through Death's Gate right away, as the druids can be tricky to deal with. Instead, I decided to get some gear by going for the first half of the endless paths - this means we have to get past the ogre level - the normal ogres aren't the problem, but the ogre druids can be deadly. I had some scrolls of defense and protection at the ready, but mostly I just used Sága to start combat and draw out the first druid spells - with some very positive results:
Also, it's pretty easy to knock these guys prone:
Zolla is the one battle where I decided to use the protection + defense combo while using a chokepoint - our classic strategy, with the casters spamming AoE spells while Luned took care of holding the line. Of course, we are overleved for this encounter, but you can never be too careful with ogre druids and ogre matrons:
We went pretty low in health while fighting trolls and slimes further down, but honestly, we were just trying to see how far we would be able to get without resting - I wasn't in any real danger here:
After picking up Persistence, it would be time to fight our first drake, though with another prayer against fear scroll, this wasn't much of a problem:
Very good item pickup here: Ilfan Byrngar's Solice - already at exceptional. You can maybe tell that I love items with the "Preservation"-Enchantment. You get knocked prone or stunned so often in this game, and these are usually some of the most dangerous situations. Preservation kind of removes the dangers here, and is especially nice for Luned, as we can now center Slicken on her without putting her into much danger at all.
We stopped our expedition down into the paths at the blight level - we killed the blights, but stopped before facing the huge group of primordials to the north-eastern part of the level. Way too dangerous for now. Our successful drake battle made me want to go to Searing Falls next - we had now reached level 9, which is propably the biggest power-spike for druids. Honestly, level 5 spells are their best - better than the lategame stuff. Plague of insects and firebug are already great, and relentless storm is propably the best druid spell in the entire game. For our Wizard, call to slumber (great because we lack stuff that targets the will defense) and malignant cloud (amazing at choke points) are important additions. With some more prayer against fear scrolls, we cleared the outside area:
Cail the Silent didn't stand much of a chance - there's a natural chokepoint in her lair, and with our AoE power even more improved, there wasn't much she could do. Pull of Eora is something we picked up earlier - I haven't used it much in previous runs, but now I love the effect, as it centers the opponents, providing a great target for our AoE spam:
We ran into another group of drakes at Pearlwood Bluffs, but we still had anti-fear scrolls left (we're not using the materials for anything else):
Luned would go on to use The Unforgiven until some time later in Act III. Doing all that and Through Death's Gate (now that we have killed the ogre druids, kith druids aren't much of a threat in comparison) - basically all available non-expansion content before Act III - granted us level 10. To bring this post full circle, I decided that I was now powerful enough to kill Metzla. Revenge would be ours: With some foodbuffs, calling the world's maw, plague of insects and, most importantly, relentless storm on our side, the previously seemingly unbeatable foes were dealt with - not easily, they were still to be taken seriously - but certainly the encounter wasn't incredibly difficult anymore. Knocking everyone prone brought reflex saves down, and our AoE spells mostly target the reflex defense - Luned lost quite a lot of endurance, but being prone herself allowed preservation to kick in, and she ended up not even getting knocked out:
Stormcaller was ours. Metzla also drops a mace with 1*Prayer against Treachery per rest, which would've been great, but the effect never showed in my interface. Not sure if I was just blind or if there's some kind of bug (I would have the same problem later on with other gear as well), but I couldn't use it at all. In any case, since Metzla still wasn't a pushover, and there's some easy experience available early in Act III (upscaled for us, so Elmshore battles have to be skipped for now, as they're incredibly difficult), we didn't continue with the White March quite yet, instead attending the animancy hearings and moving on to Twin Elms.
Randomly Generated Party Challenge, Attempt 3, Update 3:
We took the road to Twin Elms, not engaging in any of the Elmshore battles for now. First, we picked up a few quests, did some of the bloodless parts - not too hard, for example, to get the 20 resolve needed for Sacrificial Bloodlines thanks to our +3 resolve ring and the Caed Nua resting bonus. The easiest godquest here is the one for Rymgard, because, with just 17 resolve, you can avoid any and all combat here be taking the doors to the left, sneaking around and talking to the pale elf leader, convincing them to give up.:
Much more important: Galawain's Maw. This one is a bit more tricky, because of constant fear effects, nasty traps and druid spells - still, all but 3 big fights can be avoided by using a rope and grappling hook and going to Sul through the thicket. I kind of understimated Oernos, resulting in a rare knockout to Luned, but the druid anti-beast spells did the trick in the end:
I made some important purchases here: Another unique hatchet, We-Toki (new weapon for Uthyr, would be upgraded and paired with Godansthunyr for extra crowd control on crits) and Seven Skuldrs Worth, the permanent new armor of Loki (upgraded in the usual fashion). At this point, I remembered that I stil hadn't fought the Battle of Yenwood Field - which, at this point, was pretty easy to win, as I already had access to level 6 spells such as Gaze of the Adragan:
I made my way up to the Northweald to meet the Sky dragon, get the aforementioned Godansthunyr (the non-violent way, since dragon fights are way too dangerous) and sleep in its lair for the final upgrade to Stormcaller. That meant fighting my first big group with Adragans in it - a dangerous proposition, because they have both domination and petrification effects at their disposal, and my scrolls aren't ready yet (you need very high lore for those). My way of dealing with them: Pull with Sága, which will draw out their first spell (usually a domination effect, sometimes a domination + petrification double combo), get quickly into range after that in order to disrupt them with relentless storm, slicken and calling the world's maw, finish them with AoE spells:
Since this encounter was a success, I went back to Elmshore to fight a few similiar battles, still avoiding the big group of ogres, ogre druids and ogre matrons to the north. Somtimes, getting a party member petrified was unavoidable, but with a careful use of choke points:
And "supress affliction"-charges from one of my rings, which I used for the most dangerous circumstances, the fights to the north went well. Further down south, the groups are tightly packed. I kind of panicked when another Adragan from an additional group came into view (though not combat range) during one of the battles:
Luckily, we didn't pull that group:
For the final adragans here, we used our figurines for an easier battle:
One point that would continue to make things more difficult here and at other times is the low dex of our druids - they never get to cast the first spell, the enemy is always faster, so we have to brace for at least some adverse effects no matter how we engage spellcasters. With these parts of the maps cleared, we also got the Song of the Heavens feat, which is important for the +1 perception. We also went back to the Northweald, clearing the remaining area, only leaving the Elmshore Ogres for now after we also engaged the druids at Blood Sands, making use of the possibility to position our party in a superior fashion to make this pretty difficult (when upscaled) fight somewhat easier. These guys love to use Embrace the Earth Talon, which has a deadly petrifiy effect, which resulted in two knockouts:
As for our god-blessing, we chose Galawain. We are also using Sheathed in Autumn now on Luned, upgraded with Kith-Slaying, plus the two unique small shields available so far. Also, Angio's Gambeson on Irene, for the alacrity of motion.
Next up, we will return to The White March I and also do some bounties.
edited May 2021
Randomly Generated Party Challenge, Attempt 3, Update 4:
There's one very difficult battle in Longwatch Falls, against two Languafeth broodmothers. They are high level priests and can use powerful spells such as minor avatar and cleansing flame to buff themselves and destroy the party. Languafeths employ constant paralyze effects, against which we have no immunity. The enemy is also somewhat separated, and they are mostly ranged opponents, so they won't bunch up - so, as we engaged, we immediately used some figurines and defensive spells in preparation for a long fight:
The battle was pretty even for the most part. We were able to lay down some powerful AoE spells, tough Uthyr would get knocked out by cleansing flame in time:
As Daidalos now became the primary target of our foes, he used his hardened veil, which bought him some time. The minor avatar on the broodmothers started to run out, turning them into much easier targets. Still, as Daidalos lost more endurance, I decided to try out on of the items gained via stronghold adventures - the Looking-Inward-Chime. I didn't read the item description very carefully and din't realize that this was essentially an AoE Shadowing Beyond - Very powerful indeed! This got us out of combat for a tiny little second, which caused the western broodmother to return to her original position, making the remaineder of combat very easy for us, as our foes were now separated:
The chime is charge-based, but has quite a lot of uses, so I decided to give this to Luned for now - she's likely to be the last woman standing and doesn't need her quickslots for high level scrolls and physical DPS potions.
Next, we fought the Gleaming Society, the other early White March I bounty. Unlike Metzla, these gave us little trouble - we opened with powerful spells such as returning storm and gaze of the adragan, lowering their reflex saves into oblivion while applying reflex-targeting AoE:
There's a second big host of enemies with a broodmother and some ice blight, though made much easier by a nearby chokepoint - this nice little bridge, perfect for our usual tactics:
We once again equipped our resolve ring to get to Resolve 17, in order to peacefully deal with the Alpine Dragon:
And finally, for sidequests around here, we completed the next batch of WM bounties - in both cases, returning storm and our other AoE spells were enough for us to achieve victory:
We now entered Galvinos Workshop. These contsructs aren't very smart at targeting and will stick on Luned if she walks in by herself, allowing her to surround herself utterly with foes as the others get in and cast their AoE. Luned, having weapon and shield-style and a decent shield, has great reflex saves, even greater when she's prone (thanks to the preservation effect), so she can handle some friendly fire (though we often try to use party-friendly AoE):
We didn't enter Russetwood quite yet - there's a group of Fampyrs there, and we want enough experience in order to gain lore 12 on at least one of our casters, so we can use a prayer against treachery scroll. In order to get the experience, we completed all of the Caed'Nua bounties. However, that meant also killing Nalrend the Wise, so we'd have to finally clear out the ogres in Elmshore. Luned approached them from the east, using her high combat speed to lure them towards the party, so they would bunch up while following her:
Now, Uthyr started activating defense + protection scrolls, while the casters used slicken, calling the world's maw and returning storm in order to both target and lower even further the ogre's reflex defense, knocking most of them prone and disrupting a lot of dangerous ogre druid spells:
Now, we only had to clear up the enemy horde as quickly as possible, still knocking them prone again from time to time:
Nalrend himself was dealt with in a similiar fashion:
I don't have too much to say about the other bounties - we used snow caps against the annoying dank spores:
But, aside from the odd scroll of defense here and there, these were the only additional ressources employed for these battles. We are using form of the delemgarn and moonwell a bit more while Luned pulls the enemy towards the party, as you can see in the screenshots:
Oh, and I also decided to clear Burial Isle:
Back in Russetwood, we ran into this Old Dunryd crew, which hit us with a nasty confusion effect. Luckily, Irene had her supress affliction-ring at the ready:
At this point, Azzuro FINALLY showed up in our Stronghold, though propably too late to get Rimecutter (we did get it much later, but I didn't end up using it). Also, nice prestige score here:
The fampyr battle was uninteresting - with the use of our scroll, these foes were no trouble at all. We also made a deal with the ogres around here and got our final piece of armor (enchanted with all of the usual goodies), Wayfarer's Hide, for Dismas. As I picked up Bittercut, I already had the Helwax Mold in my posession - and my current rogue weapons were fully enchanted, at 13/14 or 14/14 slots, so I wouldn't be able to use the Kraken's Eye legendary enchamentment on them. A plan formed in my mind to switch to double legendary Bittercut in the very late parts of the game.
Now, we finally entered Durgan's Battery. We made use of choke points as we could, and we were certainly overleved (as this is the only non-upscaled part of this run), though some later groups of battery sirens did achieve a few knochouts against us:
Finally, we had to destroy the Forge Guardians. That one turned out to be really simple, compared to getting there. The party gathered in one corner in order to buff up during the start of combat, as Luned was able to get the attention of most foes. Relatively easy to afflict prone effects on these guys:
We bound the spirits to the forge, durganized Luned's shield and some armor pieces, and planned our next move - returning to the Endless Paths of Od Nua.
Randomly Generated Party Challenge, Attempt 3, Update 5:
Returning to the Endless Paths, we first had to deal with the big group at the level 7 exit. Having now dealt with similiar groups in Elmshore many times, this wasn't too much of a problem, despite Luned getting petrified early on:
We are also overleveled for this, so that doesn't hurt. Next up, the Famypr level, one of the reasons I waited this long to go here. We are using the library resting bonus, which means all of our 3 casters have lore 12 or higher, and we produced enough prayer against treachery scrolls here. Facing the first group, we used one as an opener:
So, these groups have only 1 fampyre each - I thought they had more on PotD. Being that they are easily knocked prone, I decided to try my luck without using scrolls for the next couple of battles, and it turned out completely fine - Luned has defensive vigor to push her will defense, and we can also use Sága to pull. Sometimes, the fampyres even open with combusting wounds instead of dominate, which allows me to knock them prone and kill them right away.
Whenever a fampyr would actually charm a party member, it would always just be a short-duration graze:
All in all, not much trouble here. Further down, we would begin to encounter more and more banshees, forcing us to use more prayer against fear scrolls:
You can see here one of my favorite things about calling the worlds maw (which is climbing in my personal rating in every run I have a druid with me): It does, in fact, NOT count as a ground effect, and can knock even flying enemies prone.
Level 11 is another dangerous one: Here we have swamp spores and a giant dank spore. Time for more snowcaps (the remainder of my supply), and a defense scroll to help even more:
No trouble with the vithraks or the adra animats (honestly, level 13 is propably easier than earlier levels). We tried out some level 8th level spells, having reached level 15. Honestly, I don't like a lot of the high level druid spells. For most battles, I use spells up to level 5, sometimes adding rot skulls or venombloom, rarely anything higher level. My wizard does use Ninagauth's Freezing Pillar at level 6 quite a lot, and there's one truly great 8th level spell: Kalakoth's freezing rake, propably the most damaging nuke in the game. Neverless, we did use some tornados to deal with the final battle of this level, mostly for testing purposes:
Now, we'd only have to face Od Nua and his spirits. Apparently, these guys have bad reflex defenses, so after a few rounds of AoE spells, the battlefield changed from this:
Now... obviously, I'm not crazy enough to fight the adra dragon. I didn't look up many things for this run, but one thing I checked up on was requirements for peaceful conflict resolution concerning extremely strong enemies, which is how I knew the needed resolve scores for some earlier quests. However, to talk down the adra dragon, perception 16 is needed - and Uthyr started with perception 3. For a short while, I was panicked, thinking that I wouldn't be able to get my perception that high and that I would be forced to fight the dragon in order to still call this a completionist run. Luckily, disaster was averted - There is a way (and I could even get perception to 17, with some later content). Currently, I would only be able to achieve 15:
3+1 from Song of the Heavens, thanks to the Oldsong quest; +3 from Lilliths's Shawl; +3 from Caed Nua tower resting bonus; +2 from Aldwyn in the Salty Mast (stacks with resting bonuses); +3 from Blacsonn (does not stack with foodbuffs). One way to go higher: Upgrade from Lillith's Shawl to Mantle of the Excavator, which has +4 perception. To get this, we'd have to start The White March II (upscaled, of course) and do the quest at Durgan's Battery, which mostly involves dealing with a ton of skuldraks. Not too bad - relatively short and not too difficult. We used a mechanics scroll to boost Uthyr to 15 mechanics, making the elevator into a non-issue, and won the battle at the top with relative ease:
With the cloak now in my posession, I was able to talk down the dragon:
After dealing with the dragonslayer, we got access to the dragon's hoard, including the scepter (now used by Daidalos) and the incredible small shield, little savior (now used by one of our druids). Also, it seems that the stronghold menu is now playing the pronoun game with me:
Who is "he"?
Well, now it's time for The White March II, upscaled. Concelhaut and Llengrath (who could give Uthyr an additional point of perception, hence my earlier claim that even getting from 3 to 17 would be possible) will have to wait until later. Now, I've been fairly good with The White March II with my previous parties, but this is were you will truly see that this group is NOT optimized for the end game.
Randomly Generated Party Challenge, Attempt 3, Update 6:
We continued WMII at Whitestone Hollow, which wasn't much trouble. Facing the Terror of Whitestone Hollow, we had to deal with broodmothers again. With garden of life, consecrated ground, silver tide and moonwell we were able to deal with the heavy endurance damage, and supress affliction (we now have an additional ring, and would soon get a third one with these charges) is great at countering the cleansing flame damage over time-effect:
So far, so good - we got our hands on some good gear here, but my next move wasn't very smart. I continued with doing WMII bounties, going after Magran's Faithful. I forgot about the fact that upsacled Magran's Faithful is one of the hardest encounters in the entire game, often considered to be on-par or more difficult than some dragon battles (with Brynlod being even more difficult). That's why I didn't prepare at all for this fight, approaching it like any other - getting Luned in position, knocking the backline prone etc.:
However, usually, after this, a few AoE spells will destroy the enemy backline. Not so. These guys have insane defenses, and they started hitting us with firebugs, storm of holy fire, cleansing flames and the like. Only at this point did I start using some figurines, but as quite a few enemy melee fighters hat simply ignored Luned and gotten to my own backline, we already got Irene knocked out:
Soon, I realized that I had no chance of winning this battle - my AoE spells simply weren't doing enough damage and the priests were also healing up the opposing party. Mostly misses and grazes on my end. All in all, we only killed three of the faithful when I realized that I would have to try and flee. We did pull them back quite a bit from their starting position, and Uthyr had Shadowing Beyond at the ready. This time, I didn't wait until the last possible moment and got out of there - you can see that Uthyr is far of screen in the upper right corner as Loki, our last man standing, gets surrounded:
Consider my surprise when most of the enemy host didn't return to their original position (Roedwith and one of his druids did, though) - most of them just stayed near our knocked out party. Turns out that WMII bounty battles behave somewhat differently than other fights in this game: They never stop following your party. You can't run away from these fights. The only reason Uthyr even got away was because, with Shadowing Beyond, he was completely out of sight, so the AI did not know where to go:
So, the problem here: If Uthyr would return to the party, he'd get attacked by an incredibly powerful group of enemies, and our revived companions would be extremely weak (can't rest or leave the area while party members are knocked out). I thought up a plan: Uthyr, despite the strange circumstances, was considered out of combat for the purposes of changing items and using food/drugs, so I boosted his combat speed, so he'd be able to lure the enemy away from the knocked out party, allowing them to revive and get their endurance up in peace. As he approached, Luned immediately stood back up, though, and instead of following Uthyr, the enemy went after Luned. Luned has great combat speed herself, so she ended up doing the luring away, getting the enemy to the northwestern part of the map while Uthyr started running back to the knocked-out party:
The party got back on their feet, with low health and injuries. Still no way to rest and heal, as Luned got knocked out again, with the enemy now surrounding her - though the party was now able to catch out one of the foes by himself, because he turned from Luned towards the others:
Luned stood up AGAIN as the party approached, and to my advantage, she was able to activate vigorous defense as all enemies only put their focus on her. This allowed us to pick off the final enemy spellcaster around, a priest:
Daidalos used eldritch aim to boost accuracy, which allowed him to petrify the remaining foes with gaze of the adragan - this not only greatly increased our damage, but also saved Luned from possible death:
Now, we finally got out of combat, allowing us to rest. This was extremely close. Without shadowing beyond, the run would've been over, and without combat speed boosts, we'd also be done. Extremely complicated encounter for our party due to our poor initial approach. As I mentioned earlier, Roedwith and one of the others had actually ran back to the centre, but with their low numbers, they weren't a threat anymore:
So, when it now became time to deal with the final bounty, Brynlod (who, by the way, is lvl 21 when upscaled), I did a short google search to look for potential pitfalls and strategies, wanting to avoid a second near-disaster. I learned now that he, too, would never stop following the party. People recommended pulling his party back to one of the narrow bridges/shallows in the area, and someone also mentioned that his illusionists might not follow the rest of his party, allowing a lucky party to isolate them. Luned, with her superior combat speed, was the one who had the job of luring his party far away from their initial position, to what I saw as the best chokepoint on Dyrford Crossing. Meanwhile, the party started buffing up with defensive buffs, having also used some food:
Sága and Luned blocked off the chokepoint, and we now had our accuracy buffed high enough to inflict initial stun and prone effects - and, indeed, the illusionists didn't follow Brynlod, taking most of his arcane support away:
We used a scroll of valor here (would become a staple for the most dangerous battles still remaining) to further buff accuracy - these are some nice buffs, considering that we have no priest:
Also note that Daidalos is usually getting at least a few hits and even a crit here or there with his AoE spells. We started throwing down a veritable storm of AoE spells into the blocked-off enemy group, finishing the fight by petrifying their front line:
Now, we only had to track down and kill the illusionists:
What a difference having a plan really makes.
Another tough sidequest/battle in WMII is, of course, the Radiant Spore, though I made sure to buff up my constitution, allowing Uthyr to breathe in some spores in order to free the vithrak. We first made sure to take down the sporelings with party-friendly AoE while buffing up (with snowcaps protecting us):
With the sporelings down, we rushed at the radiant spore, ignoring the tentacles:
One things this party is quite good at is high damage against single targets, thanks to having a powerful rogue and two spiritshifting druids. The spore was destroyed in seconds:
Sidequests are now done for WMII. The main questline remains - so we will move to the Iron Flail Fort next time.
edited May 2021
Randomly Generated Party Challenge, Attempt 3, Update 7:
Things started off well at the iron flail fort, with Daidalos achieving multiple kills with a devastating freezing rake at the gates:
However, I made a huge mistake when trying to get to the command tent. The direct path is blocked off by camp buildings/tents, and you have to go to the west first. I didn't remember this, so when I spotted some enemies near the command tent, Luned used her charge ability to basically teleport to them - but now, the party wasn't able to get to her and assist - she was basically isolated, and the only way to get to her was past multiple groups to the west. Luned tried to run to the party and ended up surrounded and stunned by a huge amount of enemies:
In theory, a decent enough position for our AoE spells, but while Luned has great defenses, she isn't completely invulnerable. As the damage started to get to her, additional enemies approached from the south:
Luned fell unconscious, and the situation wasn't looking great:
For a second there, Luned got up thanks to her unbroken talent, which bought us some time - and our AoE spells finally started to thin out the enemy lines while Luned got knocked unconscious for a second time:
With Luned gone, we needed to use our figurines to call in additional fodder - this gave us enough time to achieve victory:
The way to the command tent was now pretty much clear, and after resting, we peacefully completed the encounter. Now, we had to face our first group of eyeless. The eyebeam on upscaled PotD is absolutely disgusting in terms of damage - no one in our party, not even Luned, can survive it, unless we intervene. Usually, I just spam mental binding on the eyeless, but we don't have a cipher. Still, it is possible to knock these guys prone, but if they use the eyebeam early on, one or two knockouts are likely - a fate suffered by Irene this time around:
With that, we infilatred the ondrite monks, going for the easiest route - drowning the low-tide monks and not talking to the abbot before going up to the reliquary, as we don't need any of the loot. This meant that the only enemies we actually had to fight were one group of low-tiders - still pretty dangerous, as Uthyr got knocked out, but relentless storms and freezing rakes did the trick in the end:
Now, we moved on to the final area, where we had a surprising amount of trouble with the battles outside - Very happy to have skipped most combat against the monks, because these guys are devastating. Master Diometto's group knocked out two of us, almost actually killing Uthyr:
These ondrite wizards are very good with their wall spells - especially if assisted by languafeths and their paralyze effects. Once again, Uthyr was in big trouble:
Shadowing beyond saved him, though, and after resting again, we dealt with the final few eyeless outside. Since every eyeless is a potential knockout if they use their eyebeam and we can't stop them, we had to rest again before taking down the final group, with the aid of our remaining figurines and ogre summons:
We had to return all the way to Caed Nua for camping supplies and another rest before actually entering their lair. Dismas aggressively used relentless storm + calling the world's maw spam to separate triple eyeless groups:
Now, we had the kraken to deal with. Resting provided us with an accuracy bonus against beasts - only to find out that the kraken is, in fact, a primordial - I think that's the second time I've made this mistake:
Still, if there's on thing this group is good at, it's quickly taking down a single enemy, especially if they have bad deflection and can be stunned by Irene's attacks. Spiritshifting really helped us to get him down quickly:
This might very well have been one of the easiest fights in the entirety of WMII. In fact, we were so fast that the three eyeless appearing during the battle didn't get into our line of sight before the kraken was down. While the log claims "combat start", you can see that fast mode is still active. We were able to klick on the pillar and finish WMII without fighting these eyeless. The scripted interactions as we were fleeing were quite funny: Using our most powerful spell, which often does over 100 damage to multiple enemies, just to hold together some ice:
And now, we used the kraken's eye + helwax mold to get Uthyr his new weapons - double corrosive lash durganized legendary Bittercut:
He picked up spirit of decay and wf: ruffian in preparation for this. Finally, we're done with the exceptional weapons we picked up all the way back in early Act III. The other kraken's eye we ended up using for edge of reason, now the new weapon for Luned.
Next up: The two archmages.
Randomly Generated Party Challenge, Attempt 3, Update 8:
We entered Crägholdt Bluffs, making sure to engage the drunken orlan by himself - turned out to be fairly easy:
However, these mercenaries are generally not to be taken lightly. We had to pull out all the stops (okay, maybe not all, but a lot of high level spells) to deal with this big group to the west:
I rested up before taking on their captain; Luned used "charge" to go in with the others staying back and buffing up in the beginning:
As everyone gathered up around Luned, it was easy to take them down with AoE - actually easier than the previous fight. Next up, we had a huge group of ancient deathguards to deal with - I had to use a prayer against fear-scroll immediately and also activated a few figurines, as the group was much larger than actually intended:
I used a lot of party-friendly AoE (freezing pillar, plague of insects, relentless storm etc.), and with the addition of some fire stags, I quickly gained the advantage:
We returned to Caed Nua for some camping supplies and entered Concelhaut's place. Uariki was the first disciple we dealt with, though that was a bit of an accident - I wasn't sure if combat would start if I took his durgan ingots:
I tried to keep the summoned weapons busy while Luned and Sága took down the wizard. I ended up having to save Uthyr with shadowing beyond and Irene with beetle shell. Another rest was in order:
The other disciples were much easier to defeat, especially since I was prepared for them. With Sabel, it was easy to keep their vessels prone or stunned while taking them down:
Pelden starts off neutral, so we could easily surround and kill him:
No need to kill the vithrack, so we now had to face the archmage himself. Pretty easy if you just block off the door. We used defense, protection, valor and a bunch of other buffs (some item-based, some from our spellbooks):
As we started spamming our AoE spells and summons, we were quickly able to lower Concelhaut's defenses, and with the valor scroll, Daidalos had enough accuracy to petrify him, sealing his fate:
Next up, we went to Llengrath's swamp (with the impronouncable name). We found arcanist Badrwn and managed to knock him prone right away, following up with our new crushing doom spell:
There was one other big battle against swamp cultists further south. Freezing rake did a good job here:
The rest of the map was easily cleared, and we durganized our remaining armor and shields before resting in Caed'Nua for the intelligence buff. We equipped our +4 to int shoes and went to talk to Llengrath (16 intellect is one of the ways you can get a peaceful talk):
We changed around some items, rested for +3 perception and made our way to Sun in Shadow. Upscaled Chapter 4 is not hard, except for Thaos himself. I prepared a ton of scrolls with several types of protections, and used some anti-fear scrolls against shadow drakes:
The next post will deal exclusively with the Thaos battle.
edited May 2021
Randomly Generated Party Challenge, Attempt 3, Update 9:
After re-organizing my quickslots, I had scrolls of revival at the ready on all three of my spellcasters - I also had scrolls of prayer against bewilderment, treachery and fear at the ready on at least two characters each, same for scrolls of defense, protection and valor. Not that many figurines, but more potions instead, especially alacrity of motion, which is crucial, especially since we don't have the greatest dexterity scores. My resting bonus of choice (adding to the +3 perception from Caed Nua) was bonus damage against flanked enemies. I thought about accuracy against vessels, but thought that Thaos himself would be the bigger problem, and I planned to flank him anyway. To further boost accuracy, Luned put the Blade of the Endless Paths in her second slot, which has the "marking" ability, granting +10 accuracy to a nearby ally if Luned is attacking the same target. My plan was to keep up all of the defensive scrolls at all times after using alacrity of motion potions, boost up accuracy and defenses with further buffs from our spellbooks, take down the vessels quickly and flank + kill Thaos with a quick burst of damage fuelled by accuray boosts, spiritshifting and spells and abilities to reduce his deflection. Upscaled Thaos has extremely high defenses, so getting spells to actually affect him is quite difficult.
I also equipped three rings with suppress affliction, because they are a great way to get rid of the powerful damage over time effect inflicted by cleansing flame, Thaos' most dangerous aggressive spell. As we started to use our scrolls, Daidalos also summoned a duplicate via substantial phantom, and Thaos, after self-buffing with shields of the faithful, started with his first cleansing flame:
The cleansing flame hit Dismas, and Irene started to try and save him with supress affliction. Meanwhile, the substantial phantom used arduous delay of motion (which actually hit Thaos, but the effects don't matter for him), while Daidalos tried to get crushing doom on him - sadly, getting the effect doesn't mean much, because each individual attempt to hit him ended up missing:
Sadly, as Irene finished suppress affliction, the cleansing flame wasn't even affecting Dismas anymore. Action speed was just too slow:
Despite all of the effort to save Dismas, he ended up getting knocked out by Woedica's Headsman:
Daidalos and Loki both had revival scrolls, so we quickly got Dismas back. Once he was back up, he renewed his relentless storm, and Daidalos took the opportunity to start casting freezing rake against the stunned vessels to great effect:
At this point, Luned was tanking one of the vessels, and Uthyr the other, as Sága was already down. We started to get some good hits in after knocking down our foes a few times with calling the world's maw, though the fact that Thaos had managed to cast one of the most powerful spells in the game, devotions of the faithful, on everyone in the area, made it much harder to actually finish them:
We used our figurines in order to distract Thaos while Uthyr was able to finally destroy the headsman with his first finishing blow (decent 95 damage hit):
As Thaos was using his next two spells against our figurine summons, Luned was able to knock down Woedicas Judge, giving Uthyr the opportunity needed for his second finishing blow, this time for 149 damage:
At the same time, Dismas, once again affected by a cleansing flame, was saved by Irene's suppress affliction, which was fast enough this time around, and Thaos destroyed all figurine summons with a single spell - still, they did their job in distracting him for a short while. Thaos was already slightly injured, mostly because of Daidalos hitting him with minor blights between his spellcasting. With no flanking and persistent distraction applied yet and the accuracy penalty from devotions of the faithful still going, our wizard still had a 45% chance to hit, which isn't bad against Thaos:
For a few seconds, we managed to flank Thaos and get some good hits hin via spiritshifting, minor blights and our marking weapon. However, I made a crucial mistake, not renewing prayer against bewilderment - I had renewed prayer against treachery and our scrolls of defense at valor, but didn't notice that bewilderment was gone, so Thaos' confusion grazed Loki and Uthyr while hitting Luned:
As Dismas renewed the prayer, the confusion grazes ended very quickly. I can't remember if I used suppress affliction or if they just ran out - in any case, while Luned was still confused, a few stuns from relentless/returning storm gave us the opportunity to get in some very good hits, especially from Uthyr and the spiritshifted Loki:
As Loki's spiritshift ended, Dismas used his instead, and we finally got our flanking plan going, which also added a distraction effect, lowering Thaos' deflection even if he wasn't stunned. Luned also returned to combat, prepared to add the marking bonus to our efforts:
Just as he was near death, Thaos was able to cast crowns of the faithful, greatly increasing his defenses again, allowing mostly just grazes on our part. However, while an attempt by Uthyr to finish the fight with sever the soul failed, his next attack was a graze for a very impressive 38 damage - finally defeating Thaos:
Once the vessels fell, the remaining combat actually didn't take very long - as mentioned previously, with spiritshifting, a rogue built for single target damage and the ability to inflict a lot of stun effects, we generally do very well against lone enemies. Still had to pause a lot, because every spell cast by Thaos can be devastating. In the end, we achieved victory and finally completed this challenge, which I'm very happy about. My previous failures were really gnawing on me.
Also, I completely forgot to eat the dragon meat (or any other drug/foodbuffs) that I had bought for this battle.
I will add an additional post tomorrow, where I will detail my final choices regarding talents, abilities and gear, in case anyone is interested.
Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer
edited May 2021
, I decided not to read your WM posts (not to spoil myself about the expansions) but read everything else. Impressive results for a randomized group without a priest.
edited May 2021
! I hope you get around to playing The White March at some point
As promised, some details on our builds and final gear choices plus some additional thoughts:
Talents and Abilities:
Two Weapon Style
(The Merciless Hand)
(Gift from the Machine)
(Song of the Heavens)
Weapon Focus: Knight
Spirit of Decay
Weapon Focus: Ruffian
(Sever the Soul)
2* Legendary Corrosive Lash Bittercut (Durganized)
Blaidh Golan (Exceptional, Corrode-Proofed, Con +2, Durganized), Shod-in-Faith, Nature's Embrace, Fulvano's Gloves, Mantle of the Excavator, Ring of Deflection, Pensiavis mes Reì, Scrolls of Defense/Protection, Wyrm Statuette, Deleterious Alacrity of Motion/Power/War Paint
This is basically a standard high-damage single target dual wielding rogue build. The unusual thing here is the fact that I chose WF:Knight (when I was still using We Toki) and later on Ruffian - I think both were the right choices at the time, but maybe my planning could've been better. Spirit of Decay is obviously only a good choice if you plan to use Bittercut. All in all, this character ended up performing quite well, doing the most damage in the party over the course of the run (though at some points, Daidalos, our wizard, was ahead).
Weapon and Shield Style
Hold the Line
Weapon Focus: Knight
Bonus Knock Down
Edge of Reason (Corrosive Lash, Vessel Slaying, Legendary, Durganized) + Ilfan Byrngar's Solice
Blade of the Endless Paths (Corrosive Lash, for Marking)
Äru Brekr (Exceptional, Corrode-Proofed, +2 Perception, Durganized)
Iron Circle, Ring of Deflection, Cloak of Protection, Fenwalkers, Siegebreaker Gauntlets, Blunting Belt, Figurines, Potions (also Displaced Image)
There are a ton of ability choices for fighters. The one thing I tried out here is high mobility via fast runner and charge, both of which I haven't taken before - and I'm quite happy with the results. A defensive warrior will generally be tanky enough for most situations, so you can get some utility later on instead of even more tankiness. The weapon choice certainly wasn't ideal and mostly due to poor planning.
Heart of the Storm
Greater Wildstrike Shock
Two Weapon Style
Apprentice Sneak Attack
Weapon and Shield Style
Burst of Summer Flame
Captain Vicciol's Anger (corrosive, kith-slaying), Little Savior (durganized) / Persistence
White Crest's Helm, Wayfarer's Hide (corrode-proofed, durganized, perception +2)
Gathbin Familiy Signet, Ring of Unshackling, Boots of the Long March, Engwithan Adra Ban Amulet, Bracers of Deflection, Girdle of Eoten Constitution, Alacrity of Motion Potions, Scrolls
Low dexterity and int prevented this guy from being great at his job, even with some good gear, but spiritshifting is basically always quite effective given the right build, and the super-powerful level 3-5 druid spells do their job even with bad stats. The spell masteries aren't my first choice, but I didn't want to copy what I did with Dismas, so I decided to go for some variety.
Heart of the Storm
Greater Wildstrike Shock
Two Weapon Style
Apprentice Sneak Attack
Weapon and Shield Style
Calling the World's Maw
Réghar Konnek (kith-slaying), Aila Braccia (legendary, durganized) / Blue Stone Scepter
Hermit's Hat, Seven Skuldr's-worth (durganized, corrode-proofed, +2 constitution), Ring of Unshackling, Ring of Thorns, Boots of Stability, Cloak of Protection, Glittering Gauntlets, Girdle of Maegfolc Might, Scrolls + Alacrity of Motion
Basically the same, but with better stats and spell mastery choices. Also suffered the most knock-outs, though, due to lack of defensive abilities and worse defensive stats compared to Loki.
Scion of Flame
Secrets of Rime
Curse of Blackened Sight
Parasitic Staff, Eldritch Aim, Slicken, Thrust of Tattered Veils
Mirror Image, Bulwark Against the Elements, Merciless Gaze, Necrotic Lance
Alacrity of Motion, Expose Vulnerabilities, Fireball, Minor Blights
Confusion, Concussive Missles, Writhing Tentacles, Pull of Eora
Call to Slumber, Malignant Cloud, Evervating Terror, Wall of Force
Chain Lightning, Capricious Hex, Gaze of the Adragan, Freezing Pillar
Concelhaut's Crushing Doom, Delayed Fireball, Llengrath's Warding Staff, Substantial Phantom
Kalakauth's Freezing Rake, Wilting Wind
Puitènte med Príncipi (corrosive, vessel-slaying), Drawn in Spring + Supper Plate
Gwisk Glas (durganized, burn-proofed), Gwyn's Band of Union, Ring of Unshackling, Viettro's Formal Footwear, Cloak of Protection, Celebrant's Gloves, Girdle of Eoten Constitution, Scrolls (revival, against treachery, against fear)
So... this is propably my worst build, though this guy still performed quite well. The last four talent points were just wasted. I didn't want to go for a blast build. Why I chose to invest into it anyway, I don't know - I basically never ended up attacking with implements, except for minor blights, which do fine without these talents. Should've just doubled down on the caster build, maybe taking fast runner, spirit of decay etc and some more utility. In any case, this guy had good stats, so he got our best caster items and ended up a primary scroll user in the final parts of the game due to his decent action speed. Spell masteries also not ideal - alacrity of motion would've been nice instead of minor blights, for example.
Weapon Focus: Peasant
Apprentice's Sneak Attack
Heart of the Storm
Accurate Wounding Shot
Stormcaller / Wend-Walker (Kith-Slaying)
Maegfolc Scull, Angio's Gambeson (+2 Intellect, Corrode-Proofed, Durganized)
Ring of Unshackling, Ring of Thorns, Boots of Stability, Cloak of the Frozen Hunt, Gauntlets of Swift Action, Girdle of Eoten Constitution
This is my well-established basic Stormcaller build, focusing on the pet early on and going for the bow-talents later. The only difference: I tried Revive Companion instead of Vengeful Grief for my final talent. If I were to do this again, I would've gone back to Vengeful Grief, because I only ended up using Revive twice due to lack of time/action speed.
Here are our final party combat stats:
Most enemies defeated: Uthyr (819)
Most total damage done: Uthyr (157320) - as mentioned before, in the early lategame, Daidalos was the leader here
Highest single target damage: Uthyr (303) - finishing blow basically secures Uthyr this one without competition
Most crits: Daidalos (2179) - because of eldritch aim and high-int with constantly spamming AoE spells
Most hits: Uthyr (10952) - he doesn't have eldritch aim and terrible perception, otherwise he could've gotten most crits as well
Most damage taken: Luned (37339) (obviously)
Most times knocked out: Dismas (21) - mentioned the reasons before. Druids have bad defenses/very few defensive spells, and he had worse defensive stats than Loki.
That's it for now - Good luck to all other PoE players!
Post edited by Enuhal on
Hey there, hi there, everyone!
Congrats on your run, Enuhal! I haven’t gotten around to reading all your posts yet, but I look forward to it. Thanks for sharing!
Playing a six chanter party:
There's no kill like ogrekill.
So far I haven't attempted to no-reload Pillars of Eternity, but I might try it in the near future (probably with a silly party like this). My previous few playthroughs didn't require too many reloads, and I could probably have fewer reloads simply by avoiding some of the really dangerous fights.