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Pillars of Eternity Minimal and No Reload Thread (spoilers)

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  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,399
    Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

    Mercifully, the rest of the party survives the paralysis; there aren't quite as many enemies as there were when we first got paralyzed. Rius prepares a Fireball, hoping we can bring down some of the weaker enemies even if the Cean Gwlas are too tough.


    Still, that sudden flash of paralysis is a very bad sign. It means that the Spirits probably have even more such attacks up their sleeve, and they might use it again in just a few more rounds. We need to make sure we can survive another blast.

    We renew our Scroll of Defense and Prayer Against Fear, but otherwise dedicate all of our attention to dealing damage; blindness penalties on the enemy alone can't keep us safe. After several rounds, we finally reach a breakthrough: Frost brings down a Cean Gwla with a Minor Missiles scroll!


    We've made some progress on the enemy, but we've also lost our best character as well as two of our beetles, and the enemies appear to be ignoring the third beetle, which means we've still got a lot of enemy pressure on us. Frost keeps using scrolls, but not all of her rolls are great.


    Rius is running low on spells, and I know that she won't be able to help contribute to an early kill on another enemy. Knowing that another paralysis attack could come at any moment, Rius refreshes blindness on the enemy.


    Mora Tai is now in good health and has no scroll-related duties to take care of, which means he can help Frost bring down one of the Cean Gwlas. Frost lands the kill with another scroll! The last Cean Gwla is down!


    Rius is out of Arcane Veils and is taking damage, but Zovai knocks a Spectre down with Pillar of Faith, and Frost deploys Finishing Blow to slay it while it's down. The enemy herd is growing thinner.


    Another Finishing Blow brings down the next Spectre, leaving only a single Spectre intact. But it, too, is blinded, and Frost kills it with sneak attacks with the help of her remaining allies.

    Our reward for our brush with death was [i]nine [/i]servings of Spirit Residue. Wow.

    I don't want to fight any more Cean Gwlas. Not after that. We immediately leave the area.

    JuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,399
    Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

    Outside, we get ambushed by Leaden Key jerks on the way to Twin Elms. After our disastrous encounter with those Spirits, I use all of our best options, including expendables; I don't want to get caught off-guard again. The agents, though, cannot paralyze the entire party at once. And as long as Divinegon remains functional...



    ...the enemy needs to be very, [i]very[/i] strong to survive the first few rounds of combat.

    We run into more Spores soon after, which immediately triggers alarm bells--it wasn't that long ago that we nearly died to a roomful of mushrooms. After activating a Scroll of Defense and Prayer Against Bewilderment, I check the shrooms' immunities and realize they're missing one.


    You can totally make these legless mushrooms fall down by [i]making them slip over and fall[/i].

    Frost and Pallegina have just been dominated, but Mora Tai fixes Frost with Liberating Exhortation. Rius knocks down the mushrooms once or twice more before flinging out a Fireball, while Divinegon hurries south to cast an Antipathetic Field on the southern shrooms.



    Unlike Ectopsychic Echo, Antipathetic Field is party-unfriendly, which means that even if Divinegon gets charmed, she'll still keep dealing damage to the mushrooms, and since Divinegon has no melee weapons, she's not going to move either if she gets charmed, so that beam is going to stay in place.

    As it turns out, the mushrooms never think to target Divinegon, anyway. They screw with the rest of the party, which suffers as a result, but Divinegon remains untouched, perfectly free to re-cast Antipathetic Field and dissolve the mushrooms in the beam. Rius contributes from afar with Fireball, and Divinegon uses her high Focus to deal Raw damage to the slimes threatening the party.




    Done! That took more work than it probably seemed, but the notable factor was Divinegon being ignored by the shrooms.

    I stop by an inn to re-train Pallegina; her lack of Liberating Exhortation has been bothering me (I got her at level 5, I think, and she didn't have it). I also switch her Weapon Focus from Knight to Noble and move the Ravenwing mace from Mora Tai to Pallegina, allowing Pallegina to get +6 to Accuracy for both hands. The Ravenwing mace and Ituuk (or whatever it's called) dagger both benefit from that talent. Mora Tai has no Weapon Focus talents, so he just sticks with Hearth Harvest and a custom saber.

    Mora Tai soon hits level 7 and learns Reviving Exhortation (who wouldn't take that ability as soon as it was available?). Frost follows suit, learning Escape to help her jump past enemies and stretch around Divinegon's Ectopsychic Echo, and Rius learns the tentacle spell, since I'm guessing the damage output is respectable. Plus, we could use another source of disposable tanks; summons are hard to find in PoE.

    Or at least,[i] I've[/i] had trouble finding them. I've never found that Adra Beetle figurine, and all the summoning totems for sale are sold at [i]incredibly [/i]high prices, to the extent I wasn't sure they were even worth the expense. The only summons I've ever used are from Summon Blight, the Phantom call and skeleton summoning spells for chanters, and the Oak Beetle Figurine.

    Anyway, we get into a fight with some Adragans and Blights, and I get the impression that Blights have incredibly high damage output when Mora Tai gets knocked out in two hits.


    This was before I learned that Petrify makes the victim take double damage from all sources. I take the next fight more seriously and burn a level 4 spell from Rius. Turns out Confusion (is that really the whole spell name?) is really effective; even high-Will Adragans are susceptible to it.


    It only lasts for long, but Frost can tear up a lot of the enemies with her sneak attacks once Rius blinds them with Alastathoria's Everlasting Plague of Ebony-Tinted Vision Distortion Invocation.


    We're almost ready for the endgame. We spend thousands of copper on buying and upgrading high-end weapons. Has no one else noticed this amazing club?




    Divinegon hits level 8 and chooses the Extra Weapon Set talent so she can carry an additional firearm or arbalest. This will give her another major boost to Focus and reduce the chance that her introductory assault will fail badly and leave her unable to follow up with strong options early on in combat due to bad luck.

    JuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,399
    Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

    We head back to Od Nua, just to see what's left. The last time I was here, I stopped short of fighting the Xaurips because the presence of Wurms concerned me, but now that we're much higher level, I'm not worried about the "unknowns" anymore; we're tough enough to handle Xaurip-grade surprises.

    The Xaurips are remarkably easy to crush at this point. Divinegon now has the Extra Weapon Set talent and therefore can open with an arbalest and a firearm blast before switching to the Engwithan Scepter, and the extremely high Focus numbers let us use Silent Scream to deal very fast, very high Raw damage to groups of enemies.


    We finally get the Hand and Key armor, which will be very helpful in the final battle. After resting for the Wilder Accuracy bonus, we take on the Xaurips in the big blood chamber, and Rius, our mage, tries out her new tentacle summoning spell. Turns out the tentacles have a shocking [i]71 Accuracy[/i], and they deal very impressive damage per hit. Their inability to move is barely any handicap; they're best used to construct walls, and their wide circles only make that easier.


    Against the ogres on the level below, Rius finds that Slicken is highly effective against the low-Reflex ogres, allowing Frost to slip past the druid without provoking a disengagement attack. Even the ogres have trouble standing up to Divinegon these days.


    But it's just [i]barely[/i] not enough to clear the field, and when more ogres join the party, we start taking heavy damage and getting knocked prone. Rius buys us lots of time by re-applying Slicken, which also allows Frost to land some sneak attacks on top of Finishing Blow.


    When we know Frost is safe and Divinegon has enough Focus, we clear the field with another Ectopsychic Echo.

    When we fight Zolla, we use Slicken early in combat rather than midway through, and even Zolla can't deal with slippery floors.


    We follow up with blindness and Silent Scream, crippling the fighters and paralyzing Zolla...


    ...but when Divinegon gets knocked prone, I just throw out a Confusion spell to keep the pressure off of our poor cipher. By the time it wears off, Zolla has already killed another ogre!


    We clean up with another Ectopsychic Echo. So, so many fights end with that spell.

    The next batch of ogres proves just as vulnerable to Slicken as the others, but Rius finds that Confusion lasts longer and doesn't need to be chain-cast to keep the ogres off our backs.


    This fight involved a lot of optimizations, but the basically formula involved disabling the ogres with Slicken and blindness while applying area-effect damage from every source we had.



    Notice how broadly scattered our party was. I have no idea why I let them stray so far apart, but the reason we could get away with this arrangement and survive without choke points (aside from our high levels and strong defenses under Circle of Protection) is that the ogres spent so much time disabled that they couldn't actually apply much pressure.

    We don't go much farther in this dungeon, but we do fight some scattered critters and generate enough gold to craft a bunch of expendables and upgrade some of our gear. I burn so much money on upgrades and expendables that we actually send up selling off dozens of units of excess ingredients just to afford everything.

    As we approach the big hole to Thaos, we finally reach level 8 for our paladin, rogue, and wizard. We're almost ready.




    High-damage spells take down the Stelgaers and Blights, but the Adragans are a different kind of threat. We open with the Oaken Scarab Figurine and a Scroll of Defense land a fast kill on the first Adragan.


    I'm hesitate to send Frost out past the enemies to enable an Ectopsychic Echo, since I don't know what the Adragans might do to her, so Divinegon just uses Antipathetic Field instead. It won't hit the Adragan at the far back, though--Antipathetic Field only affects those within the beam, and the original target is outside of it.


    We blast the beetles with Silent Scream to get past their high damage reduction while our own beetles succumb to enemy pressure. We've got a couple characters stunned thanks to Returning Storm or some such, but no Petrification nonsense so far.


    Divinegon busts out Soul Ignition to light up the uninjured Adragan and charms a big beetle, but in the end, it's Zovai, our low-Perception priest, who scores the kill against the odds.


    Zovai has actually been surprisingly effective with Iconic Projection when she uses it. I didn't intend for her to deal much damage, but she's still quite capable of doing it, even if she doesn't have the raw power of Frost, Rius, or Divinegon, our rogue, mage, and cipher.

    As always, I prepare for a fight with the Sky Dragon, but I successfully choose the right dialog options. I haven't fought the Sky Dragon since my Easy mode run, and I don't think I actually beat it even then (unless I somehow forgot doing so).


    Done! We now have Hylea's favor, though Pallegina has mixed feelings about the matter.


    We're almost to Thaos. But before we do, I really want to hit level 9, since I'm sure Thaos is going to be an absolute nightmare.

    JuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,399
    Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

    Near the Thaos Hole, we run into a bunch of Spirits, and when we see a Cean Gwla among them, we take the threat seriously, deploying our beetles and summoning some tentacles. Divinegon lands a kill on a Phantom with her blunderbuss (she opens with an arbalest for a reliable hit, then a blunderbuss for a heavier hit, then a scepter for consistent damage), but our beetles aren't doing too well against the enemy, and our tentacles spawn to the south, away from the enemy. This robs us of a very valuable wall--and worse yet, the tentacles can't even move; the entire spell was a waste.


    Our twin paladins are still in good condition, though, which buys us some time to launch some Fireballs and stuff, allowing us to weed out some of the weaker critters.


    There are some druids in this fight we need to worry about, but when one of them gets Returning Storm off the ground, we discover that our tentacles actually had some small role: absorbing lightning bolts.


    Divinegon targets the druid, which I deem one of the primary threats, while Rius, our mage, blinds the enemy and Zovai, our priest, deploys Iconic Projection. Our wall has held up long enough for Zovai to use all of her important defensive options, which means she has time to try an offensive spell. Again, I've underestimated Zovai's potential as a damage dealer. Having middling Perception doesn't really [i]cripple[/i] your offensive output; it merely makes it a little weaker and less reliable.


    Our wall holds strong, and we bring down the enemies with little trouble. But the next fight is very different: this time, we get a familiar party-wide paralysis effect, and we have neither a chokepoint nor a wall to reduce enemy pressure.


    We don't suffer heavy damage while paralyzed, but we do get surrounded. The moment we break free, we fortify our defenses: Pallegina uses a Moonwell scroll (I was able to crank up her Lore when I re-trained her to get Liberating Exhortation); Mora Tai, our other paladin, uses a Scroll of Defense; Zovai casts Circle of Protection followed by Devotions of the Faithful; and Rius casts Confusion, successfully scattering the enemies and temporarily keeping pressure off of our back line. Frost, our rogue, has no such defensive options and stays on the offensive; Divinegon uses Silent Scream for a reliable damage burst.


    We've still got two Cean Gwlas flanking us, but strong offensive action by Frost and Divinegon bring them down, while our tanks to the north hold the line. With the broad bonuses from Moonwell, a Scroll of Defense, and Circle of Protection, the enemy can't really break through our defenses, and soon the field is clear enough for Divinegon to activate Ectopsychic Echo and drag it over the enemies without worrying about any dangerous disengagement attacks on her target.


    After another rest, we run into another group of Spirits, and get [i]another [/i]party-wide paralysis. We've got a decent choke point, but Frost is within range of a Cean Gwla, and Pallegina takes massive damage before the paralysis wears off.


    We don't have time to cast Moonwell (Pallegina needs to heal herself first), but Rius summons some tentacles, exposing several enemies to attack. It won't do much to distract from the party, since we've already got a chokepoint in place, but it'll deal some damage in the meantime.


    Enemies teleport past the chokepoint, but only Pallegina is suffering much pressure, though she's barely clinging to life. Meanwhile, Divinegon blasts away at the enemy.


    The enemy starts making progress on Rius, but Frost is on hand to neutralize individual threats.


    By the time our tentacles vanish and an opening appears, allowing the enemy to threaten the party, we've already pinned down the Spirits flanking us, and we've dealt heavy damage to the enemies in front of us. We clean up with more area-effect spells.

    The Thaos Hole is open to us, but we're not ready to head through. We've upgraded our gear and put together a suite of consumables (though we couldn't afford dragon food), but we still haven't gotten everyone to level 9. Problem is, the only way I can see us getting enough XP is either by doing a lot of dangerous delving in Od Nua, spending a [i]lot [/i]of time searching for safe quests around Defiance Bay or wherever, or tackling Raedric.

    After much thought, I can't accept the prospect of leaving undead Raedric in place; too many people die in the epilogue for me to be okay with sacrificing all those people to increase our odds of making it past Thaos.

    So, there's just one more fight before we enter Sun in Shadow. It's time to confront Raedric for the second and last time.

    JuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,399
    Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

    After an inn rest, a wilderness rest for Accuracy bonuses against Vessels, and several meals to boost our stats, we confront Raedric at the top of his castle. We just have enough time to cast Circle of Protection, summon our beetles, and use a Scroll of Defense and a Moonwell scroll before the enemy's charm spells take control of [i]half[/i] of our party on the first round. Things are already looking very ugly--even our best defenses couldn't ward off those charm effects.


    Pallegina fixes up Rius, our mage, with Liberating Exhortation, since we really need her spells to handle enemy pressure. Mora Tai, our other paladin, also uses Liberating Exhortation to fix up Zovai, our priest. Rius takes too much damage shortly after returning to our control, which means she has to use a red potion instead of addressing the health of the rest of the party.

    But she doesn't get the chance. Right after she drinks her potion, a Fampyr charms her [i]again[/i], and our mage is out of commission for the time being.

    Then the enemy follows up with Finger of Death. I have no idea what this spell does, exactly, but it kills two of our beetles and puts Frost, our rogue, in critical condition.


    We have no control of the battlefield, limited control of our own party, and we've made zero progress on either killing the enemy or neutralizing any key threats. We just can't function when so many of our party members are charmed or inches from death.

    Frost uses Shadowing Beyond, but to my disbelief, [i]a [/i]Fampyr [i]completely ignores it[/i] and lands a disengagement attack on Frost, who is supposedly to be untargetable!


    I don't know why Shadowing Beyond isn't working on these enemies, but there's no chance that Frost broke invisibility; I sent her away immediately after she activated Shadowing Beyond.

    Fortunately, the enemies don't [i]follow[/i] her, so she still manages to find a safe spot, where she uses a Blur potion (also known as a Vial of Llengrath's Astigmatism-Inducing Elixir of Blurring Visage) followed by Second Wind. Meanwhile, Zovai adds a little more healing and Mora Tai uses a scroll to shield us against fear effects. Rius is still in the process of casting Summon Giant Tentacles, but it's a slow-casting spell.


    Frost is now in decent condition and also has a total Deflection of 80, enough for her to safely handle melee pressure. Divinegon activates Silent Scream, but it only stuns a Fampyr for about 10 seconds, and while the area-effect damage is impressive, it's not enough to actually neutralize any threats. Using a stronger disablers would have been more useful, but Divinegon's best status effect spells are charm and domination spells, both of which the Fampyrs are immune to.

    The good news is that Rius has finally summoned the tentacles! Notice that we've kind of boxed in the enemies--we've got a few pinned in place, but several of them are still in a position to threaten vulnerable party members.


    Rius has had trouble blinding many of the Fampyrs at once due to positioning and timing issues, but the Fampyrs are a little wounded, and eventually we'll be in a place to actually start pinning them down. Divinegon has low Focus, no active threats to her health, and no vulnerable targets she could bring down quickly. Thus, her best option is a long-term investment: a haste potion, also known as an Adversely Effective Energy-Enervating Amazing Alacrity of Action Elixir, or AEEEAAAE for short. This will speed up her attacks and pave the way for a game-changing offensive in the near future.

    The Fampyrs and tentacles deal heavy damage to each other, both apparently having stronger Accuracy than Deflection. Divinegon targets our previously-stunned Fampyr for easy hits that will generate Focus faster. Frost joins in to land some Sneak Attacks, but it appears that the Fampyrs are immune to her poison attacks.


    I got the impression from the game's description texts that Envenomed Weapon worked on a lot of critters because it deals Raw damage and Raw damage is supposed to bypass immunities and damage reduction. It makes sense for undead whatevers to be immune to poison, but I wish it had been more clear starting out--immunities are very rare in PoE, even for undead.

    Zovai is currently blocking in the Fampyrs to the east, and Divinegon is already in position to cast an Ectopsychic Echo on Zovai, which should catch most of the enemies without needing much movement. But immediately after she gathers the Focus to cast the spell, she gets charmed again.


    It looks like the beam is still doing damage to the enemy, which suggests that the beam remains party-friendly, but a second later, it coincides with a Fireball from Raedric, and two of our tentacles die. I can't tell if that means Raedric's Fireball finished them off, or Divinegon's beam is hurting our allies. I see green numbers as well as red numbers, and I can't divine the source.

    Then Zovai, who has been renewing our defenses, gets charmed as well. Now I know the beam is against us; Mora Tai gets hit while the enemies appear unaffected.


    I still don't know, however, if this is because Divinegon was charmed or because Zovai was charmed (or if both of them had to be hostile in order for the beam to go hostile).

    I check the dialog box and discover that the Fampyrs' Accuracy with their charm spell is a shocking [i]97[/i]. Even Zovai with her Will of 100 only has a tiny chance of shrugging off the spell completely. No wonder we've been struggling to function; the enemy can spam charm spells with nearly-unbreakable Accuracy.

    But now, the enemy is in much worse condition than it was before. Only one of them appears to have fallen, but the others are still heavily wounded, and once we get Divinegon back under our control, she and Frost can start knocking down the rest of the pins. Rius and Zovai both got charmed, but they're not offensive assets, and they've already fulfilled their more important roles: keeping the party intact long enough for Divinegon and Frost to do their dirty work.


    The enemy deals big damage to our weakest party members, Rius, Frost, and Divinegon, but since Zovai and Mora Tai are both under our control when that happens, we can heal the damage before anyone suffers a knockout. Divinegon activates Ectopsychic Echo, and this time there are no charm effects to spoil the effect. Another Fampyr gets crushed.


    No further charm effects come out, and with the beam on our side, the enemies crumple. Only Raedric is left. He chases Divinegon a short distance south, and while I can't break engagement with him, I don't need to: thanks to the haste potion, Divinegon has enough Focus to stun him with Silent Scream.


    It's all over for Raedric. Frost lands the final blow, and everyone in the party gains a level.

    We base our final talents on our needs for the Thaos fight: Pallegina takes Aegis of Loyalty, allowing her to cancel charm, domination, and confusion effects by striking party members. She wears the Hand and Key armor, so she'll be especially resistant to those effects herself, which means our best cure for domination will also be the most resistant to it. Mora Tai takes Hastening Exhortation, since I figure we could use an offensive boost for Frost and/or Divinegon to take down the judge and executioner before they can stomp all over us. Rius takes Call to Slumber and Llengrath's Safeguard to shore up her defenses. Frost and Divinegon, meanwhile, choose Deep Wounds and Detonate in order to help us get past the high damage reduction that I assume Thaos and his allies have.

    We're finally ready. We head into Sun in Shadow.

    JuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,399
    Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

    We take the Suite of Worldly Wonders at the Goose and Fox in order to get the Lore bonus. I don't know if we'll be able to keep it until Thaos, but if we do, it'll mean that Frost, our rogue, will be able to use Maelstrom scrolls, and she's the one character best equipped to use them, since Divinegon, our other high-offense character, needs her quick slots for buffing potions and the like.

    Inside Sun in Shadow, we get some ugly surprises from the local Spirits, who use some ranged stun attacks to knock out Rius within seconds.


    They have an Accuracy of 96, virtually impossible for us to block, and when Divinegon's Health gets low, Zovai, our priest, covers her with Withdraw.


    Fortunately, we have a decent choke point and Frost remains in good condition, allowing us to gradually wear down the enemy.

    Since I'm trying to minimize resting in this area (if we rest too many times, we lose access to the Lore bonus on Frost, which we really need so she can spam Maelstrom scrolls), we play it conservative with our resources. Fortunately, we have some strong counters for the Shadow Drakes, who prove highly vulnerable to a Confusion from Rius, our mage. Divinegon can also nail them with Whisper of Treason, which gives us a slight offensive edge against the Engwithan Shades compared to Confusion alone.



    Once a Shadow Drake is isolated, we can hold it in place with Mental Binding and then crush it with Rius' tentacles.


    This is actually a pretty agonizing process; I'm trying to deal with an unknown number of potentially dangerous fights while trying to avoid resting, which means it's hard to decide how many per-rest abilities I can afford to use. Divinegon significantly extends our resources; her Focus is completely independent of resting.



    But ultimately, we end up needing to rest too many times, and we lose our bonuses from the Goose and Fox. Frost's Lore is now at 9 while wearing the +2 Lore robe, which is just 1 point shy of the 10 she needs to use Maelstrom scrolls.

    The answer is a rare scroll that grants +3 Lore to the whole party for 120 seconds--not great, but it can be used outside of combat, which means that Frost will be able to use Maelstrom scrolls for at least a few dozen seconds into the fight with Thaos. We eat all of our buffs, including the white mushrooms for their +40 defense against charm (and I assume domination?) effects and some scattered bonuses optimized to each character, including the +20% Focus gain item for Divinegon herself.

    Here is our party at the end of the game, right before facing Thaos. Most of us have the Accuracy bonus against Vessels, but Rius and Zovai picked damage reduction instead. Note that some of the extremely low stat values, like Divinegon's incredibly low Resolve, are the result of consumables that impose drawbacks.













    Just before we enter the fight, Pallegina and Divinegon hit level 10, and Divinegon takes Marksman for the +5 to ranged Accuracy.

    JuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,399
    Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

    We open the fight with Thaos with a suite of long-term investments: a Scroll of Defense, a scroll of Moonwell, Circle of Protection, a scroll of Prayer Against Fear, wood beetles, and for Frost, our rogue and second most important damage dealer, a haste potion.


    Notice that Mora Tai, our second paladin, is right next to Woedica's Headsman, the executioner. This is because Mora Tai is wearing the Blaidh Golan hide armor, which grants +50 to all defenses when prone.

    Now, I've mentioned in the past that the shield Ilfan Byrngar's Solace is very overpowered in this fight because it can make a tank nearly invincible: as long as the bearer is prone, the enemy can barely scratch the character, and the enemy won't switch targets. For the same reasons, the shield is very excellent against drakes and other heavy hitters that use knockdown effects. I decided not to use that shield because it seemed too overpowered.

    However, Blaidh Golan has the same effect, so I'm effectively working with the same situation: Mora Tai is trying to hold down the executioner.

    We want to bring down Thaos quickly so we can focus on the statues, so Frost hurries over to try to blind Thaos and deal some quick damage. Meanwhile, Rius, our mage, uses a Scroll of Valor to give us +15 Accuracy and Divinegon drinks a haste potion, which hopefully stacks with a Hastening Exhortation from Mora Tai, so she'll be able to deal some quick ranged damage on Thaos.

    Then I see a very, very ominous sign. When Divinegon targets Thaos with her normal attack, the chance of a hit is displayed as 0%.


    Thaos has a Deflection of 153, by far the highest I've ever seen on [i]anything [/i]in PoE. Frost has landed a hit, and Rius' Scroll of Valor doesn't appear to have taken effect just yet, but it looks like Thaos is virtually untouchable.

    How are we supposed to kill Thaos if even our strongest characters struggle to hit him?

    Thaos casts his fire spell and nearly kills Frost, who clings to life with the help of a red potion. Pallegina, Frost, and Divinegon are all attacking Thaos at once, knowing that we can't stand up to those fire attacks forever, but they've only been able to graze him, and combined with Thaos' impressive damage reduction, we only deal damage in the single digits.

    Thaos casts another Pillar of Holy Fire spell and takes down Frost, a huge blow to our offensive potential, while Divinegon wastes a Whisper of Treason spell on the executioner. Just like last time, I fail to realize that charm is listed as an immunity for the statues.


    The confusing thing is, charm and domination are also listed as [i]resistances[/i] for the statues, which implies that they're not immune. We just lost 10 Focus and a few valuable seconds for Divinegon, whom we need to pin down Thaos.
    Thaos nails us with more fire damage, and this time, Zovai, our Moon Godlike priest, takes enough damage to trigger Silver Tide, which does a lot to support the other party members, who are all suffering.


    We bring back Frost with a Scroll of Revival (we have a lot of those scrolls) and she heals herself with Second Wind, but Divinegon falls to another fire spell. If we scattered, some of us could escape those fire spells, but we'd lose the benefits of Moonwell and Circle of Protection/Scroll of Defense.


    We try to recover with Lay on Hands, Consecrated Ground, and a Scroll of Moonwell and Scroll of Revival for Divinegon, but we're still in poor condition, and we've made precious little progress on the enemy.


    In fact, we've done essentially nothing since the fight began aside from clinging to life.

    We desperately need to deal damage to Thaos, but his sky-high Deflection makes him nearly invulnerable to our normal attacks. I intended for Frost to use her Maelstrom scrolls against the statues, but we need them for Thaos; we can't do more than scratch him otherwise. As Frost prepares to use her first Maelstrom scroll, the rest of the party restores our defenses.


    Frost lands a hit with Maelstrom! But Thaos is still applying massive pressure, and even Moonwell, Silver Tide, and Consecrated Ground aren't enough to keep Zovai in good condition without additional support. Zovai's low Constitution proves her undoing.


    Low Constitution might not be bad for a Moon Godlike, but if your [i]only healer [/i]has low Constitution, then area-effect spells can rob the party of a vital resource. We really need Zovai to stay healthy.

    Anxious to retrieve our healer, we use another Scroll of Revival to bring her back, but it seems her Health is too low for her to get back up in stable condition. She falls mere seconds after we revive her, and now that our beetles are gone, Woedica's judge is encroaching on the party.

    But Frost is making solid progress by spamming Maelstrom scrolls; Thaos is already at Injured. The Maelstrom scrolls target his Reflex defense instead of Deflection, a 43-point difference that makes it much easier to hit him. Plus, Maelstrom does massive damage when it does hit.


    Soon, Thaos retreats into his shell. We're safe! Relatively speaking, anyway. Now we just have to deal with the statues.

    Without the threat of area-effect fire damage to worry about and without a high-priority target like Thaos to attack, we have a little more freedom and flexibility in what we can do. We bring back Zovai, who will provide ranged support.


    Her Health is low, but even if she dies permanently, that's an acceptable risk--this is the final fight, so a knocked-out character is no different from a permanently dead character for the purposes of winning this fight. This is the safest time to bring her back.

    But we're still vulnerable to area-effect disablers; it seems the judge and/or executioner can knock all of us down at once. Suddenly, the whole party is on its back.


    I check the durations and wait for the shortest one to run out so we can get back to work. Just as it ends, we suffer another fire attack that takes down Zovai once again, and I realize that those Pillars of Holy Fire weren't coming from Thaos--they were coming from the judge!


    And while I failed to appreciate the fact in all the confusion, it seems that Divinegon is within the judge's melee range. Before she can take action or try to heal herself or escape, the judge knocks her down and nearly knocks her out with its melee attack.


    Its Accuracy is 92. There's no way Divinegon's defenses can stand up to that. We desperately need to get Divinegon out of danger; we absolutely need her strength to prevail in this fight. But Zovai isn't here to cast Withdraw; we have to bring her back with another Scroll of Revival.

    But these things take time. It won't be long before the judge gets another chance to attack, and we can't count on Divinegon's lousy defenses to keep her safe. If her Health gets low enough, we simply won't be able to revive her without risking her being instantly knocked out or even permanently killed.

    Frost only entered the fight with so many Scrolls of Maelstrom; we simply can't win the fight with Frost alone. We need Divinegon on her feet and active to actually deal enough damage with high enough Accuracy to bring down the enemy.

    But Zovai won't be able to rescue Divinegon in time; she's not fast enough to act before the statue gets another attack roll. And if I try to run, Divinegon will instantly trigger a disengagement attack that could put her down for good.

    I leave the game paused for a moment and consider the situation.

    Death seems highly probable. We have many Scrolls of Revival, but those do nothing to keep our Health in good condition, which means eventually we'll reach a point at which we can no longer recover from setbacks.

    The enemy's defenses are nearly impossible to bypass without more Scrolls of Maelstrom. Even if Divinegon gets Ectopsychic Echo off the ground, that targets Deflection, which means that the odds of dealing much damage to Thaos are dicey at best, and bad luck could neutralize the effect.

    Disablers aren't really workable. The enemy has too many immunities and too many resistances for us to [i]reliably [/i]disable anyone.

    We are stuck in a situation in which we simply don't have the raw [i]numbers[/i] to either defend ourselves from attack or make progress on the enemy. We are just not strong enough.

    At this point, it seems all I can do is wait for the judge's next attack to come, and hope that it gets a low roll that will allow us to keep Divinegon in good condition until Thaos returns to the fight, when we'll really need our cipher's strength to supplement Frost's.

    But I have seen these situations in the past, and while it would be less stressful to muddle through things and hope for the best, I've survived bad situations by stepping back, recalculating, and changing up my approach. I step away from the emotional connection to this party and my desire for the run to succeed in order to study the problem in a neutral context.


    I peruse my options and find a solution: Slicken, a very brief disabler which targets the enemy's Reflex defense, the weakest defense of all three enemies in this fight.


    We get a low roll, but it's still enough to knock down the judge. Divinegon has been able to drink a red potion, but she is now prone, and cannot flee just yet. Zovai is also prone.

    We can use Liberating Exhortation, but we only have so many castings, and we want to hold onto them for the fight with Thaos, which I'm sure will involve a lot of ugly disablers. Pallegina can cancel charm effects by attacking a charmed party member, but she has no fast ranged attacks, and moving to strike a friendly target in melee could expose her to a disengagement attack, so Pallegina's Aegis of Loyalty isn't rock solid. We need Liberating Exhortation for later on.

    Instead, we just use a single Liberating Exhortation, on Zovai. Divinegon remains prone.


    Divinegon is more important overall, but fixing Zovai first allows her to cover Divinegon with Withdraw. By the time Divinegon escapes, we should have a better handle on the situation.

    But Zovai is very slow, and the judge is recovering from Slicken. Rius tries to re-apply it, but this time, Slicken doesn't work.


    But the judge is also slow, and Zovai has enough time to hide Divinegon before the judge strikes. Instead, the judge targets Mora Tai, knocking him down. But Mora Tai gets +50 to all defenses when prone, and we don't need him on his feet--we just need him to keep distracting the enemy.


    Mora Tai is now keeping both enemies occupied, and we have a moment of respite. While Divinegon is out of commission, we need to establish a stronger position for when she returns, and we need to keep our weaker party members safe so they'll still be around to help with Thaos. We draw Rius, Pallegina, and Frost to the southwest and start setting up new defenses.


    Divinegon is still right next to the judge, however. If we don't establish our advantage by the time she escapes, the judge gets another shot at her, and she'll only have a few more seconds of Infuse Vital Essence when Withdraw wears off.

    JuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,399
    Divinegon, Hearth Orlan Cipher

    With Divinegon trapped by Zovai's Withdraw, we need to bring down the statues without the help of our cipher. Our best remaining asset is Frost, our rogue. Frost has extremely high Accuracy, and even when she gets bad rolls, Deep Wounds will keep up a steady stream of damage.


    Frost won't be able to do this on her own, however. Zovai casts Champion's Boon on Frost for a +10 bonus to Might and Rius summons a trio of tentacles to take advantage of their high Accuracy and strong damage per hit. Mora Tai, however, is in trouble: his defenses aren't quite as strong when he's not prone, and a bad hit from a fire attack puts him deep in the red.


    The enemy knocks down our tentacles (apparently you don't need legs or a back to be knocked prone in PoE) and Frost starts burning her last Scrolls of Maelstrom, since the scrolls can hit both judge and executioner simultaneously. Rius manages to blind both statues, but then Zovai dies.


    What killed her? I don't see any source of damage listed, and the only alternative explanation I can think of is that a red potion wore off, dropping her to zero Health or Endurance.

    We're making progress, but Divinegon is about to escape from Withdraw, and while we're making strong progress against the statues, the judge is still going to be around when she gets out. I send Pallegina over to flank the judge in the hopes that it will keep the judge from attacking Divinegon. Notice the multiple disablers we've managed to apply in the meantime. Also notice that we've lost our tentacles by now.


    Divinegon is almost out. When she escapes, I need to draw her away and then activate Ectopsychic Echo, so I send Frost north of the judge to serve as our target. Frost goes north; Divinegon runs south.


    Rius blinds the statues again, enabling more sneak attacks from Frost. Divinegon, finally free and newly healed by Withdraw, activates Ectopsychic Echo. The damage is impressive; the statues don't have the sky-high Deflection that Thaos did.


    Divinegon kills the judge! But Thaos is back, and we've got another burst of flame coming, while Mora Tai is in poor condition.


    We scatter our party a little, triggering disengagement attacks but possibly sparing us from a dangerous fire attack. But Thaos remains as sturdy as ever; he completely evades the first hit of Ectopsychic Echo.


    But we have two pieces of good news. First, Thaos is running out of his Shields for the Faithful spell, which appears to be the source of his high Deflection. And when I check the dialog box, I discover I was wrong--Ectopsychic Echo targets the Reflex defense; not Deflection. The chance of a hit is much higher than I thought.


    Our other characters can't touch him, so they switch to either attacking the executioner or using defensive options like renewing our Scroll of Defense buff. Divinegon targets the executioner as well in order to generate Focus (Thaos is too hard to hit).

    Thaos has just re-cast Shields of the Faithful, but he targets the executioner rather than himself. His Deflection drops by 60 points, and he suddenly becomes a much more vulnerable target. He's still just as deadly, however. Fortunately, our party is scattered, and Mora Tai is the only one suffering from Thaos' fire spells.


    It's time to capitalize on Thaos' newfound vulnerability. Rius summons more tentacles to surround Thaos, and Divinegon re-activates Ectopsychic Echo.


    The tentacles prove fully capable of striking Thaos now that his Shields for the Faithful spell is down, though Ectopsychic Echo does the least damage I've ever seen it do.


    But that's just the first hit. Ectopsychic Echo deals much more damage soon after, and the executioner is collapsing under pressure from Frost and Divinegon.


    Frost lands the final hit! The executioner goes down!


    Thaos is all alone now. He's still a threat, but we've made lots of progress with Ectopsychic Echo and Rius' tentacles.


    But he's not done with us just yet. Our tentacles are gone, and without them, we can't keep up the pressure like we used to. Worse yet, Thaos kills Mora Tai with fire damage and nails Divinegon with a confusion spell.


    And on top of that, he dominates Divinegon for 40 seconds.

    That's three spells cast in a single second. I don't know if that's supposed to happen, but Thaos appears to have an [i]extremely [/i]fast rate of casting.

    I give Pallegina the order to use Reviving Exhortation on Mora Tai, but decide that it's more important to cure Divinegon's domination effect soon than to get Mora Tai back on his feet, especially since Mora Tai's Health is in the red and could die moments after being raised. I switch her to Liberating Exhortation. While we wait, Divinegon's Ectopsychic Echo blasts Rius' newly summoned tentacles.


    Rius brings back Mora Tai while the rest of the party and our tentacles apply further pressure to Thaos. He's down to Near Death!


    A tentacle lands the final blow. Thaos falls.


    Divinegon wipes his memory and returns the souls of the world to their intended bodies.

    That was an alarming fight. Defense against prone effects appears very important in this fight; getting knocked down really screwed with Divinegon. I think it may be best to start this fight by scattering some of the party rather than dedicating all party members' opening actions to defensive or buffing options. The fight would have been much, much smoother if we had split up the party and kept more people out of the way of those awful fire spells. A few Potions of Bulwark Against the Elements also would have done a lot to minimize damage; there are lots of fire spells and the 15 damage reduction against fire would save a lot of Health and Endurance. Woodskin would be another good option if you have a druid in the party (we had some Woodskin effects due to the two Woodskin belts we got in the Catacombs at Defiance Bay).

    Accuracy is very important for this fight, but breaking Thaos' ludicrous 153 Deflection doesn't appear to be necessary. It's probably just better to target his much lower Reflex defense with Scrolls of Maelstrom and maybe some other bombing spells, which could send him into hiding much more quickly if you dedicate multiple characters to bombing him.

    Quickly isolating Thaos appears to be the best priority in this fight; he and the statues aren't nearly as strong separate as they are together. Reflex-based damage spells look like the best way of dealing damage to Thaos early on, and the same applies to the statues afterwards; Slicken appears to be pretty reliable against them. It's best to take your time against the statues and let Thaos' shield spell to wear off ([i]assuming [/i]the duration continues while he's hidden; I don't know if it does) so he'll be vulnerable to physical attacks when he reappears.

    JuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,399
    Nizidramanii'yt, Hearth Orlan Wizard
    Difficulty: Hard
    Settings: Injuries on zero Endurance; Maim before death on zero Health
    Mods: None
    Special: Poverty run (no items in inventory besides cosmetic items and starting grimoires; copper can only be used for rests and quests)

    I've decided to try my hand at a poverty run, bumping the difficulty from PotD to Hard so I don't have to deal with the bigger numbers of PotD, but still get the full-sized fights you don't get in Normal mode. We can't use any equipment, consumables, or weapons besides those we create magically or which have no effect (like unenchanted clothing and headgear), we can't keep anything in our inventory, and we can only use copper to rest an inns, buy Camping Supplies, and pay for quest-related stuff like bribes.

    Our Watcher this time is Nizidramanii'yt (which I pronounce [i]nih[/i]-zih-druh-[i]mah[/i]-nee-it), another Hearth Orlan mage like Gray Sidoh, with the same portrait as always. The name Nizidramanii'yt comes from the black dragon from Baldur's Gate 2--not to be confused with the [i]shadow [/i]dragon, named Thaxll'ssilliyia.


    The prologue is free from the poverty restrictions because it's impossible to de-equip Heodan during the fight with the Glanfathan goons, but I still keep Nizidramanii'yt free of items. To deal with enemies, Nizidramanii't (which is a lot harder to type than Divinegon was, so let's called her Nizi) can use Concelhaut's Parasitic Quarterstaff, which is actually the most powerful item you can get until much later in the game. It's a staff and therefore slow, but the damage is incredible and it even heals the wielder.


    The moment Nizi hits level 2 in the Gilded Vale, we buy 5 level 1 custom characters, since we're not going to survive long with the item-dependent vanilla NPCs.







    I'd post their inventory screens, but there's not much to show. Most of them don't even have clothes yet.

    Anyway, our basic strategy is to use two druids as bombers and damage dealers while shapeshifted, two priests to compensate for our lousy defenses, and two wizards with Concelhaut's staff for damage and disablers. There's nothing special about their stats; I just cranked up Perception, Intellect, and Might and avoided dropping any others too low.

    The good news is that, without armor, everyone is going to be moving very quickly and we'll get to burn lots of spells very fast. We'll also have some deceptively strong defenses once our wizards get Arcane Veil, and our druids will have summoning spells that will help us handle enemy pressure.

    I also considered a monk, a barbarian, and a cipher, but decided against each one. The monk seemed too underpowered and vulnerable, the barbarian didn't seem to have good enough damage output with Novice's Suffering, and the cipher would struggle to generate Focus without a real weapon. Instead, we're a spell-heavy party that will need to rest often.

    JuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,399
    Nizidramanii'yt, Hearth Orlan Wizard (Poverty run)

    As it happens, the early game is actually fairly easy if you've got a druid. A lot of the early-game fights are against Beasts, and even level 1 druids can charm them pretty easily.


    Plus, while this party has very limited options for sustainable damage, we do have great burst damage, since we have six full-time spellcasters. And even without using spells, our mages can hit pretty hard with Concelhaut's.


    We carefully pick our fights to make sure I don't run into anything too scary, and gradually get Nizi up to level 3, giving her blindness and some better defenses. I really like how she looks; the Ixamitl outfit is quite fancy.


    Beasts are one thing, but humanoids are a little tougher to deal with. But fully rested, we have some decent disablers against humanoids as well: Slicken is a short-lasting but very reliable disabler.


    Once we return to the inn to report our success in saving the cook from the bandits, all our custom characters hit level 2! All of my options are geared towards optimizing our offensive potential.





    Why not shore up our defenses? Well, Superior Deflection doesn't show up for some reason, and there's not much else we can do to improve our defenses. Besides, our Deflection is going to be extremely low for pretty much the whole game aside from our mages during Arcane Veil, so if we're taking pressure, we're probably dead whether our Deflection is 30 or 35.

    Anyway, with blindness on hand, we can handle some heavy hitters for short periods of time, and when we've got lots of enemies on the map, our druids can blast them with area-effect spells.


    We have trouble against the Sporelings, however. We let our druids take the confusion spells from the Dank Spores, then have our mages rush in with Arcane Veil to deal damage with their staffs. Unfortunately, they get confused pretty easily as well, forcing us to resort to ranged spells.


    In the temple of Eothas, we try our hand at the spiders and Spirits, using rest bonuses to get +10 Accuracy against each one. Frost ends up playing a major role thanks to her Fan of Flames spells.



    For tougher fights, we use choke points, Dancing Bolts, and blindness spells to apply spell damage from a safe position.



    We set foot on level 2, but go no further; we're not ready to mess with Spirits tougher than Will o' Wisps. I'm worried about the fight at Caed Nua, and we need to make sure we're as strong as possible before we take on the Phantoms and Shadows.

    Since this is a poverty run, of course, we can only do two things to make the party stronger: gain levels, and practice our strategy. We've got some work to do before we're ready to handle Caed Nua.

    JuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,399
    Nizidramanii'yt, Hearth Orlan Wizard (Poverty run)

    Back to the poverty run! We need a little more XP before we tackle Caed Nua, since we've got very few resources to handle dangerous critters like Phantoms, so we run around in search of enemies and quests. We've got one big task ahead of us: the bandits around the lost shipment to Gilded Vale.

    Here's one of the many problems with poverty runs: since your tanks can't wear armor, you're pretty much at the mercy of enemy weapons unless you're a wizard with Arcane Veil. And even Rosevine doesn't have the Endurance to handle a volley of crossbow bolts.


    We have a few moments before the next volley comes, so we buy some time with Slicken and follow up with Winter Wind. By the time the melee enemies reach us, they are badly wounded and Frost is already in position for a deadly Fan of Flames spell.


    Mora Tai helps clean up the surviving melee grunts in bear form and Frost finishes the last one with Concelhaut's.


    The next fight with humanoids plays out fairly similarly: Rosevine takes massive damage from introductory attacks, but Slicken keeps the melee fighters at bay for a moment, allowing our druids to blast them with cone-shaped damage spells.



    Finally, Nizidramanii'yt hits level 4 and takes Hardened Veil. I don't know if we're ready for Caed Nua, but we're as close as we're going to get. We pack our party against a wall, lure the Spirits closer, and open with Summon Blight. Frost and Nizidramanii'yt, our mages, are at the front, using Arcane Veil to avoid attacks (their low Fortitude doesn't matter if they don't get hit) and Concelhaut's to deal damage fast.


    The strategy works marvelously. One of our Blights keeps three Spirits distracted to the east while the rest of the party quickly dispatches the nearby Phantom. Wizards are fantastic for poverty runs (as long as your rules permit starting grimoires, at least).


    Druids are also very useful; their bombing spells offer substantial burst damage, earning fast kills and preventing the party from suffering from much pressure.


    Summon Blight offers a great decoy, but the spell takes a rather long time to cast. We only got our Blights out this early because we lured the enemy from a considerable distance away.

    We try the same thing against the Spirits inside the castle. By the time the Spirits reach the alcove where the party is hiding, we've already brought out two Blights. The enemy does terrible things to the Blights, but since we got Flame Blights, they deal massive damage to the enemy when they fall.



    Dancing Bolts from our druids lets us make even more progress against the Spirits. By the time our mages engage the Spirits with Concelhaut's, the enemy is already mostly dead.


    Outside, we can't corner the party so well, which exposes our back line to pressure and gets Nizidramanii'yt stunned. Our druids bail her out with damage spells that take down the enemy before they get finish her off.


    Then we approach the Spirits with the Will o' Wisps at the back, and things start out much uglier. The Will o' Wisps fire off their bolt spells, and we quickly lose one of our druids. Mora Tai might have survived if he had used Second Wind, but confusion made that impossible.


    We've got Spirits bearing down on the party, but we've applied blindness and Combusting Wounds, and twin Iconic Projection spells do a lot against the low-Endurance Spirits.


    Rosevine takes down two Shadows with Autumn's Decay, and our mages put down the survivors with Concelhaut's. Our defenses might be awful, but a lack of items does almost nothing to diminish a spellcaster's damage output.


    Done! We muddle through the fights with the spiders (we need to take a trip back to town once or twice to deal with all these critters) and pick the lock to Maerwald's room. I never thought about whether lockpicks would be allowed in a poverty run, but since they're in the stash instead of our inventory, they're fine with the rules I set out in the starting post.

    We open with Inspiring Radiance, Consecrated Ground, Insect Swarm, and Autumn's Decay, dealing some modest damage while letting us shrug off Maerwald's Corrosive Siphon spell. We get Armor of Faith and Blessing off the ground and nail Maerwald with a blindness spell.


    Frost is struggling to cast Combusting Wounds, but due to some bug, she goes several rounds without doing [i]anything[/i]. Does anyone know why a character might refuse to take an order even when the action icon shows up correctly on their portrait? I don't see how she'd be unable to see her target; there aren't any walls getting in her way, and she's not disabled by anything.

    Nizidramanii'yt is functioning properly, however, and knocks Maerwald off his feet with Slicken, taking advantage of his weaker Reflex defense.


    By canceling Frost's order, having her walk a short distance away, and re-issuing the order (and I think I had to do this twice), we finally get Frost to cast Combusting Wounds. It lands, but it's hardly necessary: Maerwald is already alone and blinded, and thanks to Consecrated Ground and Slicken, no one in the party needs to dedicate a round to healing. We take him down with Concelhaut's and shapeshifting.


    On to Defiance Bay!

    JuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,399
    Nizidramanii'yt, Hearth Orlan Wizard (Poverty run)

    We skip most of the wilderness fights on the way to Defiance Bay (we took down a single Pwgra using blindness and druid spells), we head to the Catacombs of Defiance Bay, where we suffer lots of damage from the Primordials, though nothing endangers the party's survival.

    Then we tackle some skeletons, who remind us of our one biggest weakness as a party: we have no item-based damage reduction. Just like burst damage from crossbows knocked out Rosevine in an earlier fight, burst damage from the Skeleton Wizards' damage spells does horrible things to poor Nizidramanii'yt.


    Then another wizard follows up with Bounding Missiles, which knocks out Divinegon and costs us a Consecrated Ground spell. A healing spell from our other priest, Zovai, and Nizidramanii'yt's Second Wind bring our main wizard back up to speed, but the enemy still isn't done: another Bounding Missiles spell takes down Frost, our second wizard.


    Worse yet, we've got two Necrotic Lances coming up, and all we've been able to do is deal some light damage and blind one of the mages with Sunbeam. But our druids' Dancing Bolts spells have been making progress on the enemy. It's enough to finish off the non-blinded enemy mage, sparing us an ugly Necrotic Lance spell.


    Rosevine fails to finish off the other mage, but thanks to blindness, the Necrotic Lance misses us. Bad luck could have left us with two more fallen party members and two enemy mages still intact.


    We visit the cult at the bottom of the area and resolve the quest without violence, getting the whole party up to level 4. Now we're ready to deal with the Primordials I skipped earlier. A summoned Blight soaks up a Dank Spore's confusion effect, leaving the rest of the party fully functional. As long as the party is alive and well, we can deal massive damage with area-effect spells.


    After some Dancing Bolts, the enemy is spread out in just the right way for us to blast them with Iconic Projection. I must agree with @Alesa_BH; I've consistently found that Iconic Projection offers surprisingly solid damage output. Priests have good offensive capabilities; they're not just useful for healing and buff spells.


    Next up, Heritage Hill!

    Right off the bat, we get crushed. Multiple mages accost us in the first fight, and a combination of Necrotic Lance and Bounding Missiles spells knock out [i]three[/i] party members on the first round of combat.


    But our druids already summoned their Blights, who hold off the enemy fighters even after their summoners have fallen. With both priests still very much alive, our defenses are solid, and Nizidramanii'yt and our twin priests still have enough damage output to bring down the distracted skeletons while they struggle to kill our Blights.

    We're not done with mages, however. In the fight by the tower, Nizidramanii'yt falls to a single Necrotic Lance.


    Notice the poor positioning of our Blights: one is at the choke point in front of the party, while another is surrounded by enemies beyond the choke point. I spread out the Blights because I hoped the more distant one could distract the mages, but mostly it just got our second Blight exposed to more danger.

    No Nizidramanii'yt means no Slicken spell, and we have no other means of keeping the enemy wizards at bay. All we can do is focus our attention on the enemy fighters to bring them down quickly. We blast them with damage spells and weather the enemy wizards' attacks as best as we can, but ultimately, we can't keep pace with the enemy's damage output, and our second wizard falls.


    We've managed to isolate an enemy mage, but we can't quite pin it down. Eventually, Rosevine manages to summon a Blight, but she's too late to distract the remaining mage, who knocks out our other druid, Mora Tai.


    The Darguls paralyze Rosevine, but our numerous spells have done a lot to wear down the enemy, clearing out many of the melee enemies and wounding the last mage. Finally, one of our priests just barely manages to take down the enemy mage with a ranged attack.

    JuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,399
    If you guys have been interested in Nizidramanii'yt's poverty run, then I have bad news: I don't plan on continuing this run any further.

    There are two reasons for this. First, the party is kind of simple and gameplay isn't very diverse. We only have three different classes across six party members, and our same-class characters aren't that different from each other in terms of their functions and abilities. Plus, without items, there's not much customization to do and XP is the only thing of value we can obtain. This party has little growth in its future beyond gaining levels, and gameplay is not going to evolve very much as time goes on.

    In a word, the run is going to get increasingly less interesting as time goes on.

    The second reason is that, based on our progress thus far, the likelihood of getting past Thaos is extremely slim, and the odds of even getting close to him aren't much better. We're way too vulnerable to sudden knockouts from burst damage, and with no Scrolls of Revival or paladins on hand, it'll take ages before we'll have any revival options. This is a Hard run rather than Path of the Damned, so the numbers will be a little more forgiving, but the root problem is not something I know how to fix: we can't bounce back when things go wrong

    Despite our success so far, the run seems doomed in the long run when I factor in how little experience I have with PoE.

    A poverty run with my rules (they're much stricter than the ones I saw in @Harpagornis' run) seems perfectly doable; getting to Defiance Bay didn't require strokes of luck or anything like that, and there are lots of other fights that you don't need items to win. But I don't think I have the game knowledge to complete this one, and I think a different run will be more enlightening.

    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,955
    edited December 2018
    POTD Miyamoto, Coastal Aumaua, Kind Wayfarer - Part 3: The City factions, The Forgotten, Spider Queen

    Previous report here
    Start of the run here

    Exploring Defiance Bay, I stumbled across the Thieves' Hideout. I never visited this place before, so was caught up by a surprise. Once Arya was critted by Tenuous Grasp, I decided the cipher was the first enemy to stop. Overall, these thieves weren't a challenge.






    Purnisc/Nyrid didn't last long against Fetid Caress + sneak attacks.







    Dodwyna and her mercenaries first went through Aloth's mass damage spells, then didn't last long against a front trio of Miyamoto, Eder, and Kana.







    I saved Verzano. Danna and her Doemenel friends had a better starting position but they had too few HPs.







    With Pallegina available I decided to try her right away in "The Forgotten" quest. I swapped Eder for Pallegina and gave her a two-hander from Roedric.

    For this fight, I opened up with summoning 3 shades through a newly acquired figurine. Arya was one-shotted by Minoletta's Concussive Missiles.






    2 enemy mages had to be dealt as quickly as possible, so Kana's new spell (the cone of Paralysis) was put to a good use.






    The rest of the fight was easy.







    Now I had about 18k cp and had to decide on my party. I actually questioned everyone, including my custom rogue, and tried different party combinations on the first level of Caed Nua. I wanted to try soulbound items from the Deadfire DLC pack, and this is why I swapped my sword and shield to a two-handed weapon (Firebrand), giving the buckler to Pallegina. I chose Zealous Endurance for her, so that my party members could be under both paladin auras. I've got used to having one tankiest tank, though, this is why in the end I decided to drop Kana, not Eder. I'll miss a chanter, that's for sure, but I want to try a party with 2 paladins and 1 fighter between them, all under the effects of 2 auras + the buckler. I also want to see the Vielo Vidòrio talent in combination with Miyamoto and Arya.

    With this refreshed party I didn't have much trouble against the Spider Queen.







    Here's my party right now with their items.










    Everyone are at the lvl 6.
    Most enemies defeated: Arya, 168 from 524.
    Most total damage done: Arya, 15093.
    Highest single target damage: Arya, 61 (thanks to Azureith's Stiletto and its Jolting Touch).
    Most crits: Arya, 351.
    Most hits: Durance, 952.
    Most damage taken: Miyamoto, 4585.
    Most times knocked out: Miyamoto, Arya 5.

    Miyamoto: Athletics 7, Lore 5, Survival 4
    Aloth: Athletics 4, Lore 8, Survival 3, Mechanics 1 (pre-defined)
    Arya: Stealth 3, Athletics 3, Mechanics 8, Survival 1
    Durance: Athletics 6, Lore 8, Survival 2
    Pallegina: Athletics 7, Lore 2, Survival 5
    Eder: Athletics 7, Lore 2, Survival 5

  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited December 2018
    I don't know why Shadowing Beyond isn't working on these enemies, but there's no chance that Frost broke invisibility; I sent her away immediately after she activated Shadowing Beyond

    The latter sentence explains the former, I suspect. If an enemy initiates pursuit of a friendly, and that friendly activates Shadowing Beyond, the pursuit will continue until the enemy reaches the friendly. Once contact is made -and only after contact is made- the enemy will walk away and seek another target.

    With my solo rogue, Arista, I got in the habit of activating Shadowing Beyond and then immediately running toward my enemies and bumping into them. Counterintuitively, that maximized the post Shadowing Beyond distance from foes.

    Best,

    A.

    Serg_BlackStridersemiticgod
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited December 2018
    Hey, all! While I've decided to refrain from reposting all of my reports from Obsidian, I will share my wizard, Arcadia's final battle with Thaos. I think some may find it helpful.

    I'll also post my future runs on both forums, starting with my next.

    Best,

    A.

    Serg_BlackStrider
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited December 2018
    Arcadia, Moon-Godlike Wizard: Thaos- Part 1

    Ok, everyone! Apologies for jumping ahead, but I have some wonderful news that I'm excited to share. Arcadia has defeated Thaos! Hooray!

    The exciting thing is that this wasn't just a victory: it was a slaughter. This was my first time facing Thaos on PotD. Nonetheless, we prevailed with no knockouts and with virtually no damage. The damage that did occur was attributable to a single avoidable error. I'm confident that I have a reliable strategy for the final battle now. That's cool.

    I'd like to begin by updating everyone on the party's status and abilities.

    Eder, Fighter (Level 13)

    Skills: Stealth: 0, Athletics: 12, Lore 4, Mechanics: 0, Survival: 9
    Abilities: Armored Grace, Confident Aim, Disciplined Barrage, Unbending, Unbroken, Weapon Specialization: Adventurer
    Talents: Weapon and Shield Style, Weapon Focus: Adventurer, Rapid Recovery, Bear's Fortitude, Sanctifier, Deep Pockets



    Pallegina, Paladin (Level 13)

    Skills: Stealth: 0, Athletics: 10, Lore 4, Mechanics: 0, Survival: 8
    Abilities: Coordinated Attacks, Flames of Devotion, Liberating Exhortation, Sacred Immolation, Reviving Exhortation, Sworn Enemy, Zealous Focus
    Talents: Weapon Focus: Knight, Sword and Shield Style, Veteran's Recovery, Scion of Flame, Bear's Fortitude, Deep Pockets



    Arcadia, Wizard (Level 13)

    Skills: Stealth: 1, Athletics: 5, Lore 12, Mechanics: 2, Survival: 7
    Talents: Arcane Veil, Hardened Veil, Weapon Focus: Noble, Secrets of Rime, Dungeon Delver, Marksman, Hylea's Boon, Deep Pockets
    Mastered Spells: Eldritch Aim, Curse of Blackened Sight, Kalakoth's Minor Blights
    Grimoire: L1: Eldritch Aim, Minoletta's Minor Missiles, Chill Fog, Slicken; L2: Bulwark Against the Elements, Concelhault's Corrosive Siphon, Curse of Blackened Sight, Infuse with Vital Essence; L3: Arcane Dampener, Kalakoth's Minor Blights, Llengrath's Displaced Image, Minoletta's Bounding Missile; L4: Confusion, Minoletta's Concussive Missile, Maura's Writing Tentacles, Pull of Eora; L5: Blast of Frost, Call to Slumber, Citzal's Spirit Lance, Ninagauth's Bitter Mooring; L6: Arcane Reflection, Gaze of the Adragan, Minoletta's Precisely Piercing Burst, Ninagauth's Freezing Pillar; L7: Ninagauth's Killing Bolt, Wall of Draining




    Alikae, Wizard (Level 12)

    Skills: Stealth: 2, Athletics: 0, Lore 4, Mechanics: 11, Survival: 4
    Talents: Arcane Veil, Hardened Veil, Weapon Focus: Ruffian, Scion of Flame, Marksman, Deep Pockets
    Mastered Spells: Eldritch Aim, Curse of Blackened Sight
    Grimoire: L1: Eldritch Aim, Fan of Flames, Minoletta's Minor Missiles, Slicken; L2: Bulwark Against the Elements, Concelhault's Corrosive Siphon, Curse of Blackened Sight, Infuse with Vital Essence; L3: Expose Vulnerabilities, Fireball, Llengrath's Displaced Image, Minoletta's Bounding Missile; L4: Ironskin, Minoletta's Concussive Missile, Maura's Writing Tentacles, Pull of Eora; L5: Call to Slumber, Citzal's Spirit Lance, Llengrath's Safeguard, Torrent of Flame; L6: Citzal's Martial Power, Gaze of the Adragan, Minoletta's Precisely Piercing Burst, Death Ring



    Alena, Priest of Wael (Level 12)

    Skills: Stealth: 0, Athletics: 1, Lore 12, Mechanics: 0, Survival: 7
    Abilities: Inspiring Radiance, Interdiction, Incomprehensible Revelation, Weapon Focus: Noble, Dangerous Implement, Deep Pockets



    Cassia, Pries of Eothas (Level 12)

    Skills: Stealth: 1, Athletics: 1, Lore 10, Mechanics: 0, Survival: 8
    Abilities: Inspiring Radiance, Interdiction, Weapon Focus: Peasant, Scion of Flame, Marksman, Deep Pockets



    (Phew! That took forever...)

    Ok, let's move onto the inventories. First, here are all the consumables that we intended to use/equip for the fight. Note that there is one error: the Duc's shouldn't be there (I neglected to take it out before taking the screenshot)



    Now the character inventories. I'll cover these in pairs.

    Pallegina and Eder

    Comments: Pallegina and Eder will be working as a team to pin-down the statues. Pallegina, who has crush-proofed armor, Scion of Flame, and a high Will score, will be taking on the Judge; Eder, wearing a Blunting Belt, will be facing the Headsman. Note that both have a Preservation item: Ilfan Byrngar's Solace for Pallegina and the He Carries Many Scars helm for Eder. Note also that Eder has Scrolls of Defense, Unbending and Unbroken while Pallegina has Scrolls of Revival, Reviving Exhortation, and Second Chance. As a pair, they'll be very hard to take down.

    EDIT: Ooh! One more thing: Eder's Esotec- that's a generic Fine Esotec that we enchanted with Superb + Shocking Lash + Kith Slayer. It's purpose built for killing Thaos. Pallegina, wielding Shame of Glory and with Coordinated Attacks, will be stacking an additional +20 acc on it in the closing.




    Arcadia and Alikae

    Comments: Alikae's job will be to insure that Thaos is always occupied, and thus unable to turn his attention to the all important priests and tanks. Her summons and melee book will be used to that end. Arcadia is on Arcane Dampener and Moonwell duty. She'll also be expected to do some damage at range. Additionally, she has one summoning item, in the event that Alikae is incapacitated and we need a quick distraction.




    Cassia and Alena

    Cassia, wearing the Hermit Hat, and carrying a stack of Scrolls of Prayer Against Bewilderment Scrolls will protect us from Confusion. Alena, wearing The Hand and Key and the Gathbin Family Signet, carrying Scrolls of Prayer Against Treachery, will keep us safe from Domination. The one Snowcap is for Alena. She's using it for the additional +20 v Domination more so than the Confusion immunity. Cassia will be handling our Scrolls of Valor; Alena, our Scrolls of Protection





    Ok! That's all the background information you need. I'll post the battle after lunch!

    Best,

    A.

    JuliusBorisovsemiticgod
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited December 2018
    Arcadia, Moon-Godlike Wizard: Thaos, Part 2

    It's good to have a plan. It's even gooder when then plan is good. In her fight with Thaos, Arcadia was triply blessed: she had a plan, it was a good plan, and it worked. That's the goodest.

    The Plan:

    Phase 1: As soon as the battle begins, send Pallegina to the Judge and Eder to the Headsman. Do this as quickly as possible, seeking to maintain spacing between the statues, respectively, and Thaos. While Eder and Pallegina race to engage their targets, have Alikae summon her wood beetles directly in front of Thaos, with the intent of absorbing Thaos's opening spells. Simultaneously, send Arcadia, Cassia and Alena to the opposite side of Thaos. Wait for Alikae to join, and then start buffing, opening with Scroll of Protection + Scroll of Valor from the priests and Llengrath's from the wizards. Follow with Circle of Protection and Maura's Writing Tentacles. Meanwhile, the tanks should take Llengrath's->Bulwark Against the Elements.

    Phase 2: By now the statues should be pinned behind virtually invulnerable tanks and Thaos should be knee deep in beetles. Begin working on Thaos, starting with Reflex, via Holy Pillars from the priests. Have Alikae buff for melee, while Arcadia works on lowering Thaos's Deflection with Arcane Dampener. When the Dampener hits, let Alikae engage, and start targeting Thaos's Deflection with spells. Knock him into the statue ASAP.

    Phase 3: Once Thaos is in the Judge statue, send the casters over to the Headman. Let Arcadia lay down a Draining Wall connecting the two statues. Begin targeting Will, via Shinning Beacon, while waiting for Arcadia to land an Arcane Dampener. Once the Dampener hits, switch to Deflection and finish ASAP, though without profligate use of spells.

    Phase 4: Let Eder join Pallegina in melee. With the additional +20 from Pallegina's Coordinated Attacks + Shame or Glory, Eder should be perfectly capable of taking down the Judge on his own. Bring him down gradually, layering in buffs as he approaches Near Death. End him when we're buffed and ready, but not before.

    Phase 5: Let Eder switch to his Esotec. Have him engage in melee with Pallegina at his side. Target Reflex until a Dampener lands and then finish by targeting Deflection. Be sure to maintain spacing at all times. Be sure, too, to refresh buffs as needed and break engagement when Pillars of Fire are en route.

    Execution: The battle went according to plan, with one notable exception. After the Headsman fell, I got a little over excited and made a positioning error. I also needlessly allowed Eder, Pallegina, and Alikae's buffs to lapse. Had I not made those errors, we would have emerged unscathed, with no need for healing. Instead, we needed a Moonwell. We'll get it right next time.

    Ok. Let's see it!

    Here's the opening. Pallegina and Eder have engaged their targets. They've taken their Llengrath's. The beetles are down. The casters are in position and taking their buffs.




    We add some tentacles. Cassia finishes our buffing while Alena starts testing Reflex. Alikae is buffed and ready for melee.




    Alena's Holy Pillar lands, albeit for modest damage. Alikae approaches, while Arcadia fires up Arcane Dampener. Meanwhile, the tanks are proving untouchable: no significant damage yet.



    The Dampener lands. It's party time. Deflection is open.



    The wizards hammer Thaos with Concussive Missiles while the priests use their Prayer Against Treachery and Bewilderment scrolls, just in case.



    Thaos jumps and the casters move on to the Headsman. Arcadia lays down her Draining Wall.



    The priests start working on Will with their Shinning Beacons.



    Arcadia lands her Dampener. The Headsman's Deflection is only 59 now. Alikae closes in melee for the finish, targeting that 16 v Piercing with Citzal's Lance.



    The Headsman falls, with a nudge from Arcadia via a lowly L1: Minoletta's Minor Missiles.



    Ok. Now here's where I screwed up. There is no reason for Eder and Pallegina to be right next to each other here: they should be on opposite sides of the Judge to frustrate AoE targeting. To make matters worse, I slipped and let their buffs expire, both Bulwark and Llengrath's. That, too was an unforced error. Worse still, I moved Alikae and Alena too close, putting them in range for an Pillar of Holy Fire cast. We've been hit. The damage isn't bad, but it is noticeable.



    We regroup, laying down a Moonwell. We ease the Judge down gently, granting us time to buff.



    We take Prayer Against Treachery and Bewliderment, along with Bulwark and Llengrath's all around. We're ready. Drop him.



    Let's do this. Eder equips the Esotec of Thaos-is-Totally-Going-to-Die, while Pallegina engages with Shame or Glory + Coordinated Attacks. Our spacing is good, our Reflex scores are high and we're running Bulwark. We're protected from Confusion via active scroll and Hermit Hat + multiple scrolls in the form of Cassia. Alena cements our Domination defense by activating Lord's Authority, insuring her Prayer Against Treachery scrolls will remain under our control. That's checkmate.



    Thaos is out of options.



    Cassia ends it with a Pillar of Holy Fire



    Fin!



    I hope you enjoyed the battle, everyone! I'll be sure to post my next run here, from the beginning!

    Best,

    A.

    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
    JuliusBorisovsemiticgod
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,605
    @semiticgod , I submitted this thread years ago when I was first playing PoE, and the idea didn't catch on at the time. I'm glad to see it's now a thing thanks largely to @Alesia_BH . It didn't even occur to me that someone else might want to do stuff like update the thread title and do other things that the thread owner can do. So, if there's a way for you or @JuliusBorisov to take over ownership of the thread as moderators then please feel free to do so.

    I always enjoy reading minimal and no-reload runs, but I rarely post any of my own, and I don't think I'll be coming back to PoE for a long time. I'm currently really into World of Warcraft, and I don't see my interest in that ending any time soon, especially since I have to pay the subscription fee until I'm ready to unsub and go back to my single player games.

    JuliusBorisovsemiticgodGrond0Serg_BlackStrider
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    Julius is a better choice. I'm here now, but I will disappear again in the not-too-distant.

    And thanks opening this thread, darling dear! I would have never thought to post on PoE, or open the Obsidian thread, had I not found it!

    Best,

    A.

    BelgarathMTHJuliusBorisovGrond0Serg_BlackStrider
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,955
    edited December 2018
    I'll do that - no problem, but a bit later.

    POTD Miyamoto, Coastal Aumaua, Kind Wayfarer - Part 4: Caed Nua levels 2&3, Catacombs, Woedica Temple

    Previous report here
    Start of the run here

    To try my new party setup without a chanter, but with a two-hander in Miyamoto's hands I chose the levels 2 and 3 of Caed Nua. It was a very nice feeling seeing Miyamoto critting for 60, and sometimes even bigger, damage. I wouldn't try a two-handed weapon in POTD without another paladin in the party and also Eder.





    The xaurip horde at the end of the level 2 was not a problem for a front line of 3 heavy melee warriors with a quick support from my rogue.





    Ogres and especially ogre druids proved to be a challenge. It started ok with 3 druids meleeing with my 3 warriors. But soon the enemy druid began ripping my party in pieces.






    I managed to take down the druid, and only one ogre was left. But it's that easy to kill one creature on POTD without a DPS character alive.







    The lonely druid was not a big threat, however.





    It felt like continuing on this level would be a suicide for now, so I opted to go to the city catacombs instead.

    There I didn't encounter much difficulties neither with trolls nor with mushrooms.







    I managed to complete all the soundbound upgrades on my belt and my club.






    I decided to attack the final chamber of the Woedica Temple. Aloth was constantly under attack, but thanks to my warriors blocking the paths, and constant healing, I managed to keep him alive.







    Minoletta's Minor Missiles one-shotted Arya. Miyamoto tried Torrent of Flame. Wood Beetles finished one of the enemy mages.







    Here's my party right now with their items.










    Everyone are at the lvl 6.
    Most enemies defeated: Arya, 222 from 688.
    Most total damage done: Arya, 21932.
    Highest single target damage: Miyamoto, 94.
    Most crits: Arya, 554.
    Most hits: Durance, 1382.
    Most damage taken: Miyamoto, 6908.
    Most times knocked out: Arya 7.

    Miyamoto: Athletics 7, Lore 5, Survival 4
    Aloth: Athletics 4, Lore 8, Survival 3, Mechanics 1 (pre-defined)
    Arya: Stealth 3, Athletics 3, Mechanics 9, Survival 1
    Durance: Athletics 6, Lore 8, Survival 2
    Pallegina: Athletics 7, Lore 2, Survival 5
    Eder: Athletics 7, Lore 2, Survival 5

    Serg_BlackStridersemiticgodBelgarathMTH
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited December 2018
    I like your front line, Julius! It's similar to Ashoka's: Eder + Pallegina + kindwayfarer PC. The distinction is that I let Pallegina handle two-hander duty while my kindwayfarer went sword and board. Your configuration is probably more efficient, since it should trigger more Strange Mercies (I kept Pallegina as a two-hand warrior, and Ashoka as a shield bearer, mostly on style grounds).

    Later in the adventure I went with The Hours (Pallegina) + Resolution (Ashoka) + Starcaller (Eder) on my frontline. Resolution was chosen for my kindwayfarer in the interest of maintaining a reasonable Strange Mercy trigger rate. In your case, with the two hander in the hands of your Kindwayfarer, I'd consider giving Pallegina a marking weapon instead, to increase the prone rate from The Hours or the stun rate from Starcaller.

    Have you thought about your weapon choices in the next stage of the adventure?

    Best,

    A.

    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,955
    Well, although I know something about end-game spoilers for PoE, I haven't beaten it, so I can't really think about final weapons and armor. I'm learning the game as I play. My previous attempt at Hard stopped after I reached the Lady Webb (I just stopped to try PotD). I also don't feel like I should drop playing the game normally and explore rather distant areas just for the merchants, or stuff. Maybe it'll fail me at one point, but so far playing parts of the game I don't know blindly, with the risk of losing everything, is very attractive.

    For example, I really thought about dropping Aloth after during a few serious fights I mostly tried to protect him from dying. But once Aloth got access to the 4th lvl spells, I no longer think dropping him is a good idea.

    For now, I decided to buy the White Spire to be able to inflict more damage while not using Minor Spellbind: Firebrand.

    Its Blizzard, DR bypass 5 and Disorienting (-5 All Defenses for 5 seconds on Hits) seemed useful.

    I'll share tomorrow about the first fights I had with that estoc.

    Alesia_BHBelgarathMTH
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,955
    POTD Miyamoto, Coastal Aumaua, Kind Wayfarer - Part 5: Lilith, Bounties, Gramrfel

    Previous report here
    Start of the run here

    The Wailing Banshee was a quest during which I started about dropping Aloth. First level of the tower, I'm caught by a surprise ambush. A spectre spawned right next to Aloth, and although I tried everything to save him (the only thing I didn't do in time was to withdraw him by Durance), he still died.








    The rest of the fight was straightforward.





    2nd level of the tower, no ambush this time. Still, these spirits targeted Aloth. Durance withdrew first the wizard, then himself.






    The withdrawal period ended, and Pallegina casted Lay on Hands on an already knocked out Aloth. The fight was won shortly after.






    The fight against Lilith was fun. Especially after I learned afterwards that I could finish the quest without fighting. Anyway, this was a moment of madness: the whole party and all my summons are paralyzed.





    It wasn't THAT bad, though, and after the party members became active, Aloth was withdrawn. I tried to kill Lilith first, and Arya helped.






    I slowly finished spirits one by one, losing, of course, Aloth in the process.







    I was about to go to Caed Nua to swap Aloth for Kana, when the party levelled up during Adra Animats encounters.






    After getting access to 4th level spells, I immediately understood odds changed into Aloth's favor. Mass Confusion, and Maura's Writhing Tentacles looked very promising. To test them (along with other lvl 7 abilities, including abilities to revive knocked out party members for Miyamoto and Pallegina) I decided to complete the first 3 bounties.

    3 shadows, and then 3 beetles were meant to distract xaurips while the rest of the party focused on 2 drakes. Aloth casted Confusion for the first time, and OH BOY!







    While everyone else was confused, the party killed 1 drake. It might read as a small achievement, but drakes have high DR against Fire, so they were much worse than the horde of xaurips.





    Aloth casted Confusion again. It let Arya kill Warchief Iklak and activate Mourning Gloves buffs.






    After that enemies went down rather quickly.







    For the Dweller fight Aloth started with Confusion and proceeded with Tentacles. It distracted enemies and let the party kill the Dweller first. This was also the fight where Miyamoto tried Blizzard to lower enemies' attack speed.








    Arya didn't survive the Dweller's mass spell but now I could revive companions! It helped greatly to continue killing quickly.






    For the third bounty, I went with the same route: Confusion and Tentacles from Aloth, 3 Blizzard from Miyamoto.







    Without resting, I approached Gramrfel, as I had all the summons unused. It wasn't a difficult fight, cleric buffs helped. My rogue now has Persistent Distraction (When contributing to Flanked, the victim is also Distracted), and this was a killer.







    Everyone are at the lvl 7.
    Most enemies defeated: Arya, 263 from 804.
    Most total damage done: Arya, 27961.
    Highest single target damage: Miyamoto, 94.
    Most crits: Arya, 755.
    Most hits: Durance, 1900.
    Most damage taken: Miyamoto, 8406.
    Most times knocked out: Arya, 10.

    Miyamoto: Athletics 7, Lore 5, Survival 5
    Aloth: Athletics 4, Lore 8, Survival 5, Mechanics 1 (pre-defined)
    Arya: Stealth 3, Athletics 3, Mechanics 10, Survival 1
    Durance: Athletics 6, Lore 8, Survival 4
    Pallegina: Athletics 7, Lore 2, Survival 6
    Eder: Athletics 7, Lore 2, Survival 7

    Serg_BlackStriderBelgarathMTH
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,955
    POTD Miyamoto, Coastal Aumaua, Kind Wayfarer - Part 6: Lions, Ogres, Getting levels

    Previous report here
    Start of the run here

    Feeling confident after the bounties, I decided to try my luck against the lion pack from Woodend Plains. It went much easier than I thought. Maybe finally I started to understand how to use Aloth. Here're lions fighting each other thanks to Confusion.





    Separating the pack into individual lions (while others were under the effects of Confusion) and killing them quickly was the key.






    After that I moved back to the Ogres in Caed Nua. I had started rather safely, before Aloth was one-shotted, I tried to retreat, and got even more ogres chasing me.






    What to do in that situation? Don't panic! Fallen comrades could be revived. The most important thing was to block the horde of ogres from going out of that room. And cast Confusion/Charm from a distance.






    Slowly, very slowly, I took down the ogres, while Eder and Pallegina were blocking their path.






    Even an 8hp rogue can be deadly.







    Looking back at this fight, I think I finally learned all the basics of the PoE fights. So after a rest I approached Zolla. She wasn't difficult - the key was to constantly keep enemies (at least a part of them) fighing with each other, and buff the party (by Durance's spells).







    The real joy came when Miyamoto reached the 8th level. Strange Mercies which @Alesia_BH mentioned... I didn't even imagine my character to become so much effective. Basically, what I now had to do was to damage an enemy till "near death", switch everyone except for the paladin for other targets, wait till Miyamoto killed the first creature, and enjoy a group healing at 60~ something endurance. Rinse and repeat.

    This helped greatly on the lvls 5 and 6 of Caed Nua, and also in the Sanitarium and Heritage Hill. Once I opened the way to the lvl 7 of the dungeon, everyone except for the rogue got another level.

    Here's my party right now with their items.










    Everyone (minus Arya) are at the lvl 9.
    Most enemies defeated: Arya, 410 from 1175.
    Most total damage done: Arya, 51764.
    Highest single target damage: Miyamoto, 94.
    Most crits: Arya, 1489.
    Most hits: Durance, 2895.
    Most damage taken: Miyamoto, 11329.
    Most times knocked out: Arya, 12.

    Miyamoto: Athletics 7, Lore 6, Survival 6
    Aloth: Athletics 4, Lore 8, Survival 7, Mechanics 1 (pre-defined)
    Arya: Stealth 4, Athletics 3, Mechanics 10, Survival 1
    Durance: Athletics 6, Lore 8, Survival 6
    Pallegina: Athletics 7, Lore 6, Survival 7
    Eder: Athletics 8, Lore 4, Survival 7

    Grond0BelgarathMTHsemiticgod
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,955
    edited December 2018
    POTD Miyamoto, Coastal Aumaua, Kind Wayfarer - Part 7: Going completely blind now. Swapping Eder?

    Previous report here
    Start of the run here

    Almost everything in the game going forward is a territory I haven't seen. I've read @Alesia_BH 's posts about a zero knockdown counter, and it looks impressive. But I guess it's a bit difficult to accomplish if the player doesn't know what fights are waiting for her, what creatures' abilities are, what are their strengths, etc. While I try to minimize the amout of knockouts, I just can't stop them sometimes.

    It showed itself on the lvl 7 of Caed Nua, when in the final encounter Aloth and Durance were knocked out. It started rather normally, but soon stuns and pertifications intervened. This fight made me want those shocking AoE spells...







    I won, though.





    The lvl 8 of Caed Nua seemed dangerous from the start - when my rogue disarmed the lvl 10 trap. I still decided to try fighting there. And getting my rogue killed 3 times in one encounter seemed brutal. Fampyres are fun!







    So just as with the lvl 3 of Caed Nua, I decided to retreat, and try better luck elsewhere - in my case, in Stormwall Gorge. There the fights went much easier: feral druids and lions at least didn't knockout anyone.









    I met Hiravias, recruited him, levelled him up, and couldn't resist the urge to try him, especially reading all the praise from @Serg_BlackStrider about druids. Looking at my party, I chose that I might try dropping Eder. Yes, the party worked well since the last shakeout. But why not try how it will go? AoE, party-friendly stuns sounded very useful.

    And they turned out to be being very usefull indeed! I decided to try my party with Hiravias against all the Fampyres, and I managed to complete the level without any further knockouts! And to think it all became possible only with me using lvl 3 and 5 shocking spells by Hiravias, without his other spells... As soon as I start feeling I need to return to an unkillable tank, I will do that. But for now, I'll delve into the exciting druid magic.









    Serg_BlackStrider
  • Serg_BlackStriderSerg_BlackStrider Member Posts: 176
    edited December 2018


    And they turned out to be being very usefull indeed! I decided to try my party with Hiravias against all the Fampyres, and I managed to complete the level without any further knockouts! And to think it all became possible only with me using lvl 3 and 5 shocking spells by Hiravias, without his other spells... As soon as I start feeling I need to return to an unkillable tank, I will do that. But for now, I'll delve into the exciting druid magic.

    You might easily build Hiravias as an unkillable tank without losing his shocking spell capabilities (especially considering that his 'storms' best work with him being near front line). Two-in-one. Or even three-in-one (if you also want an impressive DPS monster when needed). And yeah, Druids rocks!

    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,955
    POTD Miyamoto, Coastal Aumaua, Kind Wayfarer - Part 8: Dealing with Od Nua.

    Previous report here
    Start of the run here

    One of the features of the Endless Paths of Od Nua is that there's always the next level, right? It was almost impossible to stop myself from exploring it till the end. I didn't know what to expect, and thus every next fight was full of adrenaline.

    Crystal eaters. Well, at first I didn't actually realize these creatures can be dangerous. Confusion from Aloth, stuns from Hiravias made the encounter easy.






    The ambush on the next level was a very cool surprise. I arrived there without resting, so it was a good test.








    Crystal eaters again. And again, no problems. I still didn't realize how dangerous they were.






    A Cead Gwla fight. This time, Durance casted Prayer against Imprisonment, and it helped a lot. In the next few hours this will become my must-cast spell.







    Sporelings. I approached them, and retreated, so that later I could shoot Swamp Spores one by one from a distance.






    Crystal eaters. For some reason, on this level I felt all the danger from them fully. Basically, Petrification - 1 or 2 hits - a knockout.

    At one moment only Hiravias, Pallegina and Arya stayed on the battlefield (plus summons). But Pallegina revived Miyamoto, Miyamoto revived Aloth, and very carefully I finished all the spiders. It wasn't the loudest of calls, but certainly reminded about the need to be cautious.








    I didn't know what to expect and thought that I should bring Kana in case I meet this Master of Od Nua. That's playing blindly for ya! Later I realized I didn't need Kana, but oh well. The funniest thing is that his Paralyze cone spell was very affective against this level's enemies: Adra Animats.

    The effectiveness of that chanter spell was seen in the fight against the Guardian of Od Nua. Basically, the task was to hold the line till Kana can cast it.







    The Guardian was stunned, and Aloth used Pulls of Eora to keep other enemies away.







    I was a bit disappointed Kana didn't have much diaglogue with the Spirit of Od Nua. Also, not seeing a peaceful option, I attacked the shadow (you can even see it spawned right above my character - I didn't know where I should expect it), - only later I read that fight was not mandatory. But I got a very nice fight, which made me use everything I had - all 6 summons (from items), for example. Again, Prayer against Imprisonment was the key here.









    After the fight my characters reached the 10th lvl. While I'm playing blindly, I don't feel I should proceed to the next level - I don't know what is there, but for a long time I have been expecting something very-very bad. The fight against Od Nua, and all the fights on the previous levels were very exciting. It's time to explore the world more, before returning here (I think I would need lvl 6 spells at least).

    Grond0Serg_BlackStriderBelgarathMTH
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,955
    POTD Miyamoto, Coastal Aumaua, Kind Wayfarer - Part 9: A huge Drake, Lle a Rhemen ruins, A Lord Gathbin Massacre.

    Previous report here
    Start of the run here

    Looks like the 10th level was enough to not have ANY difficulties in the Searing Falls and Pearlwood Bluff. Cail the Silent, a huge drake from the cave (so huge that he was even bigger than normal drakes) couldn't hit us. I saw @Serg_BlackStrider had 2 crits by Cail the Silent one-shotting 2 of his characters, but I didn't see anything similar. At that moment, it felt as a low-level encounter (later I was a bit surprised to see 190+ damage against Serg from this Drake).







    The ruins of Lle a Rhemen felt like another semi-difficult level from Caed Nua. Prayer against Imprisonment, Confusion, and all spirits and spiders lost any threat level.









    Then I decided to close another old quest. I had to go to a battlefield. And the start of the fight looked really cool - my party vs an army.





    However, with so many enemies close to each other, Aloth's Confusion spam and Hiravias' lighting spells shone even more. While the majority of enemies were busy with my summons, their numbers were constantly decreasing.







    Having 2 paladins safely fighing against several enemies each, and Arya + Hiravias quickly taking down an enemy after an enemy, let Aloth and Durance cast all the CC/buffing spells I needed.








    Here're my party screens - for Hiravias I chose a two-handed staff (for longer reach) + the robe giving +2 to INT. Now his Area of Effect is +10% thanks to the ring from Lord Gathbin. I can conclude I don't need Eder in this party setup, and I like how with Hiravias the killing speed doubled.










    Everyone are at the lvl 10.
    Most enemies defeated: Arya, 570 from 1809 (next Miyamoto with 310, Aloth with 245).
    Most total damage done: Arya, 79410 (next Miyamoto with 54885, Aloth with 49617)
    Highest single target damage: Hiravias, 95.
    Most crits: Arya, 2528.
    Most hits: Durance, 4892.
    Most damage taken: Miyamoto, 17466.
    Most times knocked out: Arya, 19.

    While 19 knockouts are a bit much, Hiravias hasn't been knocked out yet.

    semiticgod
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,955
    edited January 2019
    POTD Miyamoto, Coastal Aumaua, Kind Wayfarer - Part 10: Final.

    You know, since approximately the lvl 8 of Caed Nua my party hasn't had any problems. When everyone except for Arya and Hiravias reached the lvl 11 (thus me getting new spells for Durance and Aloth) after clearing Dyrford Ruins (the Skaen Temple), I decided to try myself against the final boss of the Endless Paths of Od Nua.

    Just as I had suspected, it was a dragon. What I hadn't suspected, though, is that unlike Baldur's Gate dragons this one came with helpers.

    When the dragon nearly one-shotted the whole party, I started to feel "This would be it". And I actually ... liked the feeling because the game stopped feeling challenging a long time ago. It didn't took long before Miyamoto fell. Really, I couldn't even cast anything.











    I'm positively sure I would have completed the whole game if I didn't go there, but I'm glad it ends this way. This peak of difficulty was welcome considering the game couldn't provide any challenge when I explored other areas. Maybe this would have ended differently if I knew what to expect from the dragon, but this is the joy (and I'm not kidding here) of playing blindly.

    Serg_BlackStriderLadyRhiansemiticgodElrandir
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