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Pillars of Eternity Minimal and No Reload Thread (spoilers)



  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    edited February 2020
    Thank you for your reply, Jaheiras Witness! Your solo runs last winter were edifying and inspirational. I was hoping to talk tactics with you at some point.

    Now that I think about it, though, this particular encounter isn't the best route into that discussion. I doubt your advice would be relatable, due to the complexity of the encounter and the differences between the characters we've built. Threats in that fight include paralyze, stun, daze, fear and, yes, being air dropped onto traps. Interrupt lock is a concern, too. As a priest, the litanies are available to counter all disablers. Micropositioning can addresss the airdrop risk. Deflection and or Crowns for the Faithful can foil interrupt lock. The devil is in the details: where -exactly- one should step. Which order should buffs be cast in. Questions like that are very hard to address in the abstract. Further, the answers will differ depending on build. Ultimately, then, I think I'll have to go it alone on this one.

    Thanks nonetheless, my friend!


  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    edited February 2020
    Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 2: Defiance Bay and Dyrford Sidequests

    Alena and I are an odd pair. She's an overachiever; I'm not. To illustrate: over the last 24 hourds Alena has conquered many upon many foes, making a name for herself across the Dyrwood and beyond. I, in contrast, haven't even gotten around to posting on her progress. If you imagine she's getting frustrated with me, you're right. She thinks her adventure deserves better coverage. She has a point. Sadly, I have by now forgotten many of the details of Alena's early adventures, and so coverage will be disappointingly sparse. Apologies, Alena: I promise I'll do better on your PotD run.

    Anyhoo. Defiance Bay! Alena's early item goals were: 1) Oaken Scarab; 2) Obsidian Lamp; 3) Rotfinger Gloves; 4) Munacra Arret. Does that sound familiar? It should. Astrid and Alia did the same thing. Alena, as a priest, had more options available to her, but that 4 item combo is too good to pass up. I'm pretty sure very nearly any character of any class can make it to Twin Elms using stealth and those items. Someday I'll restrict them. Today is not that day.

    At this point Alena found herself in a bit of a Catch 22. To get experience, she needed the Obsidian Lamp. But to get the Obsidian Lamp, she needed Mechanics 7, which required experience. The solution? You guessed it: Fetch quests! Something Secret, At All Costs and Rogue Knight got her close to her goal. Never Far from the Queen, which was completed with stealth, took her the rest of the way.

    Her first fight was with Helig. That went well. She opened with beetles and then dropped a Pillar of Faith on Helig. That was effectively check mate: it killed Helig and knocked his undead on their tuckuses.


    Pillar of Faith is one of those rare low level spells that's useable at any level. The damage may be middling but that long, long duration AoE prone is skiddly-diddly.

    We did Supply and Demand next. Oaken Scarab->Pillar of Faith->Iconic Projection(s).


    Having leveled up and reached base Mechanics 3, Alena headed north to Guilded Vale, seeking the Gloves of Manipulation. It was nice to be able to kill these people for once:


    While in town Alena finished the remaining Guilded Vale quests: Buried Secrets and A Mother's Plea.

    With a base score of 3 and the Gloves of Manipulation, Alena was ready to claim the Obsidian Lamp. Base + Gloves of Manipulation + Fletcher's Stay + Gjefa yields 3 + 2 +1 + 1 =7.

    The shades saw their first use in His Old Self. They did great- nearly killing Nyrid on their own (don't let the piddling damage in the screenshot fool you).


    IIRC, we used Iconic Projections and Pillars of Faith here almost exclusively. Fortunately, we had one pillar left over for the final mercenary. Note that we targeted our beetle instead of our enemy: sometimes prone is better than damage.


    In All Hands On Deck Alena fought much like Astrid and Alia: Figurine->Touch of Rot X 3->Whispers of Treason->Figurine->finish stragglers. The only real distinction was in the final phase: Alena used Divine Marks where Astrid and Alia used finishing blows.


    Ditto Built to Last.


    And A Two Story Job


    We shelved the Rotfinger Gloves in favor of priest spells in the Parable of Wael. Most of the damage was done by Iconic Projections cast from behind the beetles. Pillars and Divine Marks were used to finish.


    Here Alena's path diverged from that of her rogue predecessors. While the rogues completed all of the Defiance Bay quests before leaving for Dyrford, Alena went to Dyrford before The Man Who Waits and Undying Heritage. What was the logic here? While the rogues had been able to complete The Man Who Waits and Undying Heritage with stealth alone, Alena would need to fight. In light of that, she sought additional experience.

    By now the Rotfinger gloves were seeing less and less use. Alena passed on them in Cat and Mouse.


    But she did bring them back for Nest Egg.


    I think -think- they saw their last use in Changing of the Guard.


    In any case, Alena was by now approaching level 7. Blood Legacy would get her there. By level 6 Alena had a base mechanics score of 4, allowing her to open the door to the sacrifice chamber with Gloves of Manipulation + Fletcher's Stay + Gjefa's Boon. What she lacked, however, was the stealth score to make it to the final chamber. Exiting and taking Hedge Maze + Iqali's Boon would have let her stealth through, but she chose instead to fight the final crew. Happily, they were pushovers. The shades took down the skaen mindbreaker with ranged attacks alone. Iconic Projections, Pillars of Faith and Shinning Beacons did the rest of the work.


    After a quick trip to the lighthouse...


    Alena was ready for the story line battles. I'll post on those soon.



    NW: Apologies for the lack of build details. I had rushed through this section of the game and hadn't taken notes. To my recollection, her first three talents were Interdiction, Painful Interdiction and Deep Pockets in that order. She took mechanics 4 and put the rest of her skill points in stealth. Anyhoo, you will see her final build soon. Spoiler Alert: She's currently ~400XP point from L16!
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    edited February 2020
    Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 3: Defiance Bay and Dyrford Storyline Quests


    Ok! Alena's posts are now, way, way, way behind her progress. And since we have a lot of super-cool stuff ahead, I'm going to rush through the pre-Twin Elms content.

    But before I do that, I'd like to preview some of Alena's recent achievements.

    Like lighting the forge.


    Hosting an ogre roast.


    Crushing bounty after bounty with no damage at all.


    And, yes, dropping a dragon, albeit an easy one.


    The point is that Alena is all grown up now and she's well on her way to a semi-completionist NR. Who knows? Maybe she'll get a chance at an Ultimate soon? We'll just have to see. But first: we need to catch up. And that brings us too...

    The Man Who Waits. This was easier than I expected.

    We dropped our shades and faded into Uscrim's cell.


    We then moved onto Shinning Beacons followed by Iconic Projections.


    We finished with Divine Marks.


    Some of you may have noticed a dearth of buffs and debuffs, in this fight and others. Have I been remiss in not mentioning them? Noppers. Alena didn't use them in the early game. They weren't needed. Perks of playing on normal, I guess. Interdictions and prone via Pillar of Faith were more than enough. Over kill, in fact.

    Moving on to Undying Heritage...

    Emulating Astrid, Alena stealthed through this quest. She fought one minor battle in the tower but that was it. On PotD this quest will look different: stealthing sans Shadowing Beyond isn't feasible there. On normal, Alena got a free ride. We'll take it.


    Onto Dyrford.

    Do you remember when I said I'd like to do an online marketing campaign for Dyrford, complete with jingly commercial? Well I've come up with the first few lines of the song. They're really stupid and that's why I love them. They go:

    It's a little town with Skaenites!
    And the spiders really bite!

    There's an ogre who really likes to eat pigs.
    And a grieving mother in a garden digs.

    That amuses me way, way more than it should. Please do submit more lines for consideration, everyone!

    K. Back to the action...

    In Through Death's Gate Alena used Alia's modified stealth method: starting with mechanics 8, pulling and killing the sporelings, and then picking the lock on the final door. That worked great. It will not I repeat -not- work on PotD. There's no way to stealth through this room on PotD.


    A summons juke may be possible, but I think we'll actually fight the druids next time. Something to look forward to!

    The sporelings were pulled and killed. Alena had the luxury of using her book rather than scrolls. Shades->Iconic Projections->Shining Beacon


    We pulled all the sporelings this time -as in every single one. That made exiting easier than usual. I liked it.


    Just one more fight. Whispers of Treason + Animat + Gyrd did the trick.


    After that, we unlocked the door (Gloves of Manipulation + Artificer Hall + Gjefa) and slipped on out. We're off to Twin Elms.



    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    edited February 2020
    Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 4: Twin Elms- Part 1

    PoE priests are a bit like BG mages. In the early game they're competent but fragile; in the late game they're immensely powerful. Upon arriving in Twin Elms, Alena was on the verge of reaching phase 2 of her development. Playing it safe, she navigated Twin Elms with minimal combat. As you'll soon see...

    First, the Leaden Key ambush. As per usual, we used summons to draw aggro and then unloaded our damage spells, relying on Shining Beacon and Iconic Projection in this case. Note that Alena's Interdiction is undeployed. There's no excuse for that. I just get lazy sometimes.


    Shades finished the mage. Iconic Projections and Divine Marks took care of the rest.


    After trading a letter for a shield, getting a merchant killed and poisoning some kid's father (The Sealed Missive, Hard Bargain, Sacrifical Bloodlines) Alena made her way to Teir Evron. She talked to all four god groups, fully intending to complete all four quest. She did Nest Above the Clouds peacefully and then did Into the White Void using stealth. A Servant of Death and The Old King and the New Queen were saved for later.

    Hunter Brother was next, followed by At the Mercy of the Tribes. Since stelgaers are dangerous, we summon juked the crew over by the giant carcass.


    And then, taking a tip from Serg, we completed At the Mercy of the Tribes peacefully, using Resolve 17. Alena's base Resolve is pretty low at 6, but she just made it. What a coincidence, huh?


    The keen eyed among you may have noticed the Ring of Changing Heart and thought: Has Alena even gone to the White March, how'd that happen? Well, the answer is, yes: Alena had gone to White March for that ring exactly. I just decided to include the Darzzir fight in an upcoming White March post.

    Speaking of which: Guess what's next? The White March. Finally some serious combat!


    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    edited February 2020
    Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 5: White March- Part 1

    (The post is in the spoiler tag, since I'm don't think Julius has done White March yet)

    Astrid's run was fun. Alia's was great. I had a good time with both- I learned a lot from both. Their runs were, however, brief: my rogues did very few sidequests- instead focusing on the goal of defeating Thaos.

    With Alena, my intent is to see and complete additional content- hopefully everything, more or less. That's exciting, but also frightening. I've only soloed White March I once. I've never soloed White March II. That's scary.

    Despite my fears, Alena did great, at least in White March I. Priests are very well suited to claiming the Battery.

    Our first trip to Stalwart happened some time ago, before our final quests in Twin Elms. We swung by to claim the Ring of Changing Heart and then headed back to the Dyrwood. Alena was at level 10, I believe.

    Against Darzir, Alena focused on positioning and distraction. She used summons and charms to keep her enemies at a distance. Alia Braccia, Aru Brekker and Llengrath's potions were used to mitigate canoneer risk. Disablers, noticeably Pillars of Faith, were put in play, too.


    By now I felt like I was getting the hang of playing a priest. In retrospect I was wrong. I mean, I still -still- keep forgetting to use Interdiction. This battle is virtually over and it's still there, waiting to be clicked. No matter: Darzir is dead and that's what counts.


    The Ogre Matron was completed with stealth and mechanics. Having taken Artificer Hall and Gjefa bonuses for the traps, Alena's stealth score was a bit lower than I would have liked. She made it through nonetheless.


    The next time I come through here I may try Hedge Maze + Iqali and Rymgrand's Mantle, wearing the Ring of Wonder in case the traps behaves unexpectedly.


    (Btw, what happens if you wear two second chance items? Do you get three chances or do both of them trigger on the first knockout? Asking for a friend.)

    After reaching an agreement with the Matron, we went straight to Galvino's place. We wanted to make as much progress as we could before losing our Artificer Hall and Gjefa bonuses.

    In my first solo run of the White March, I tried stealthing this. That didn't work out as well as I hoped: it led to reloads. Having learnt my lesson, Alena fought her way through. We did this slowly, systematically with frequent rests. In future runs I hope to rest lest frequently here.


    I won't comment on every fight. I'll just share a representative battle.

    Here we see Alena at a choke point, disabling her foes with Pillars of Faith. She's running Shields for the Faithful, Devotions for the Faithful and DAoM.


    Iconic Projections take down the constructs while our beetle prepares to intercept an unstable construct. In my first solo attempt of Galvino's Workshop I suffered a reload to those things: the AoE on their explosions was larger than I had thought. Alena was more careful.


    Finished with Divine Marks


    It felt good to finish Galvino's. It's not terribly difficult. If you know it well I'm sure it's a breeze. But there are ways to die here and I've only passed through this place a couple times. Happily, Alena succeeded. Durgan's Battery is next.


    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    edited February 2020
    Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Build Interlude

    Coverage of Alena's run has been spotty at best. Sorry about that! I've been especially lax in covering build choices. I'll try to be more proactive about that in future runs, since PoE players seem to be really, really into builds.

    Anyhoo, here's Alena. She works and I like her, but I see some avenues for improvement in her next iteration.


    Skills: Stealth 10, Athletics 3, Lore 10, Mechanics 9, Survival 2

    Talents: Interdiction, Painful Interdiction, Deep Pockets, Weapon and Shield Style, Scion of Flame, Incomprehensible Revelation, Veteran's Recovery, Fast Runner

    Alena's skill points weren't planned in advance. Rather, choices were made based on her needs at particular stages of the adventure. That approach can make sense in no reload play, since endgame power is of no significance If you can't survive to the endgame.

    Alena's talents reflect a balance between offensive needs and defensive needs. On PotD, she would have looked different, since ACC bonuses would be a greater priority. Alena's last talents, Veteran's Recovery and Fast Runner, were taken as an experiment to see if they'd significantly enhance survivability. The jury is still out on both, but passive healing and speed are never useless. I'm not dissatisfied with either.

    Let's move onto items, shall we?


    Alena doesn't have a fixed item set. She has a wardrobe: a collection of items suited to different occasions. Take her armor slot, for example. She prefers Raiment of Wael's Eyes in honor of her god, but she'll go with something else if the situation calls for it. She takes the same approach with her weapon slots. Nightshroud is her go-to because she rarely uses her weapons and Shadowing Beyond is too useful to ignore. It also goes with the Wael theme. In Alena's upcoming PotD run I may have her use Raiment of Wael's Eyes + Shimmering Cloak + Nightshroud in the interest of stylistic cohesion. That sounds fun to me.

    Ok! That's enough about that. We'll continue with the White March soon!


    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    edited February 2020
    Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 6- Dyrwood Bounties

    After opening the Battery, Alena returned to the Dyrwood to pick up some extra experience, seeking L11 and the oh-so-important Major Litany. She used the bounties for this. Fortunately, I took a lot of screenshots here, so these battles nicely demonstrate Alena's late-mid game battle plan. It basically goes like this:

    Step 1: Approach cautiously, initiate combat from as far away as possible. (This isn't a particularly good example, but you get the idea)


    Step 2: Deploy summons to draw aggro and initiate buffing.


    Use Whispers of Treason on any enemies who pass the summons.


    Step 3: Complete buffing. Alena's standard buffs list at L10 was: DAoM + Shields for the Faithful + Minor Litany + Devotions for the Faithful + Champion's Boon.


    She deployed variations on this theme, depending on needs. Llengrath's was substituted for Shields for the Faithful when reflex was needed. Salvation of Time was added if a long battle was expected. Dire Blessing was added, time permitting. Prayer Against Imprisonment was added if paralyzation or petrification were threats. Upon reaching L11, Crowns for the Faithful and Major Litany were added, Prayer Against Imprisonment saw less use. At L13, Minor Avatar replaced Champion's Boon

    Step 4. Go nuclear. A full buffed high level priest wearing light armor and running DaoM is reminiscent of a Vecna + AoP clad mage under Improved Alacrity. And so by the time the last buff is cast I'm all:

    And the battlefield starts to look like this.


    Followed soon after by this:


    The other bounties went more-or-less the same way.


    Alena kept her enemies distracted with summons and charms while layering on her buffs...


    And then dropped bombs until space pig was full of flaming critic chunks (Btw, that's what space pigs eat: flaming crit chunks. Now you know.)


    Yuppers. That's how that happened: L11 reached, Major Litany attained. We're now ready to enter the Battery!


    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    edited February 2020
    Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 7: White March I- Part 2

    (Post is in the spoiler tag)
    Now at Level 11, Alena was ready for the Battery. She met some lagufaeth along the way.

    She opened with Prayer Against Imprisonment. With Autopause: Enemy Sighted active, it isn't difficult to get the spell off in time.


    Prayer Against Imprisonment was followed by DAoM->Shields for the Faithful->Devotions for the Faithful->fish fry


    PoE players seem to loathe lagufaeth. I don't mind them, which is interesting -very, very interesting. Why? Because the lagufaeth are very much like kuo toans, and oh how I hate kuo toans. A moment ago I did a Google search for "Kuo Toan Baldur's Gate," operating under the assumption that I'd find links to post in which I've complained about kuo toans. I clicked on the images tab and was kind of surprised that there were only five such links on the first page of result. That's how much I hate kuo-toan: if you look them up on the internet you'll find me bitching about them. They never kill my characters, but they make me want to kill myself. My personal hell would find me trapped in an eternal video game fighting nothing but kuo toans for ever and evs.

    The lagufaeth don't bother me as much. I'm not sure why. They're miserable little fishy stinkers, but they don't get my goats. I'm oh so glad for that.

    Anyhoo. The fish are dead. Long live the fish. We fought another group, but I'll spare you the details on that. Instead we'll head into the battery.

    The Great Hall was uneventful- uneventful enough that I hardly took screenshots. And so we'll move on to the mines.

    After winning the opening battle, we used mechanics 12 to enter the workshop. The trolly-troll battle was fun.

    Alena parked in the doorway, called her summons and took her buffs and then went to work. I believe we used Shields + Devotions + Minor Litany + DAoM here, followed by pillars and beacons.


    Whispers of Treason feels especially valuable in chokepoint encounters. It's super-satisfying to turn that one source of enemy pressure into a valiant defender.


    Alena is a highly capable warrior now, but she still stealths through encounters from time to time. Thankfully the defenders weren't tipped off by the gleaming space pig.


    Alena's objective at this stage wasn't the foundry so much as Nightshroud. Her intention was to recover Nightshroud, level it up, and then level herself up one more time before taking on the Battery's final battles. This may not have been necessary, but since I've only soloed the Battery once before, it felt like a sensible precaution.

    We finished off the Nightshroud defenders...


    and then returned to the Dyrwood to drop pillars on skuldrs. We needed to blind 13 enemies and skuldrs have eyes.


    Once we got Nightshroud to level 4, we put it to use in The New King and the Old Queen. I'm confident Alena could have fought this battle, but I enjoyed Alia's method, so I decided to do that again.


    Alena would have preferred to stand and fight, but she's saddled with unheroic me, so that didn't happen. Maybe she'll get her way next time. I do owe her one.


    By the end of The New King and the Old Queen Alena was one quest away from a level up. Since the Burial Isle was close, we swung by there.

    With spectres and cean gwlas on the field, Alena opened with Major Litany.


    She then filled in the rest of her buffs, followed by Salvation of TIme:


    Salvation of Time ended up being utterly unnecessary: the spirts blew up super quick. One moment Alena was surrounded, the next she wasn't.


    It's good to be a priest.


    We'll finish up the Battery next.


    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    edited February 2020
    Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 8: White March I- Part 3

    (Post is in the spoiler tag)
    I remember the first time I competed White March I. It wasn't long ago. I was playing a full party and I struggled. I remember thinking that no reloading White March would be difficult and that soloing no reloading it would be nigh impossible. I didn't know what I was doing then: I was still a PoE novice. And yet the challenge of the White March seemed to transcend the temporary affliction of ignorance. It really did seem difficult.

    Since then time has passed. I completed White March I no reload with a party and with reloads solo. With Alena, I've now solo no reloaded it. It's not a grand accomplishment- I'm sure it's matter of course for many upon many a player. But I'm pleased to see that I'm making progress. I'm definitely getting better.

    Of the battles in Durgan's Battery there is one that stands out as a threat. It's the spirit ambush just prior to the White Forge. It's hard to maintain position. It's hard to avoid traps. It's hard to thwart disablers. It's hard to stay on your feet. Or so I thought. Happily, Alena did all of the above. And with surprising ease.

    First, an admission- one that may not matter to others but does matter to me. In preparation for this fight I experimented with a save from another run, testing alternate strategies. I've long been against the parallel save approach to no reload games. I've long felt that experimenting with specific battles -especially with a similar character in the midst of a run- is counter to the spirit of the challenge, which to my mind is to create a character and let her write her story, success or failure. No redemptions or second chances, as a friend of ours once said. Excessive experimentation can turn an adventure with twists and turns, ups and downs, into a previously solved puzzle. The thrill of a no reload isn't getting everything right: it's knowing that you can get things wrong, knowing that you can fail. You can't fail if you've already found all the answers.

    And so while I'm pleased to say that Alena has prevailed, the victory does feel hollow to me. And on that basis, I'm going to request that Alena not be considered for out Hall of Heroes- at least not for this run. She'll get a shot at that in her PotD run.

    Ok. With that out of the way, let's turn to the fight. The main threats here are wraiths, spectres and battery sirens. Wraiths abduct; Spectres stun; Battery sirens paralyze. All are dangerous, but wraith abduction is the greatest threat since it thwarts tactical positioning and introduces trap risk. Micropositioning matters, as does buff order.

    Here's the approach that worked for Alena. She triggered the encounter and then immediately -immediately- stopped moving. She then cast Major Litany ASAP. Why? When the battle begins the wraiths charge while the spectres and sirens deploy their disablers. Soon after the wraiths charge, they use abduction. If you don't move at all, they'll run just far enough to clear the traps before casting abduction. Like this:


    With Major Litany up, Alena's next move was to drop some shades. That helped relieve pressure. It's better to have four targets on the field than one.


    After being bounced around by the wraiths, Alena eventually found herself here, in a comparatively safe spot, with most of her foes engaging the shades. This may seem like a fortuitous outcome, but given the prior sequence of events its probable, according to my experiements.


    Having quaffed her DAoM potion, and with few enemies in sight, Alena was in a perfect position to buff. Acting quickly, she added in Minor Litany, Shield for the Faithful and Devotions for the Faithful. She then raced to the center of the battle field to draw her enemies around her. Once her foes had gathered she dropped pillars. Kaboom!


    With informed micropositioning and a judicious balance between defense and aggressiveness, this battle can be pretty safe. I'm not convinced that I can do it safely with other classes, but I'm moderately satisfied with my approach for priests.


    With the spirits dispelled, it was time for the semi-anticlimactic forge guardian battle. Honestly, I'm not sure what happened here. Do you see those paralysis effects? You may be thinking that Alena cleverly used a scroll. She didn't: the fragments did that to themselves. And with the fragments neutralized, Alena had no trouble taking he buffs, seen here in the screenshot.


    Alena next move was to eliminate the fragments with Pillars of Holy Fire.


    She then disabled the guardians with Pillars of Faith.


    And followed by unloaded freeze damage, using shades and Iconic Projection.


    Nightshroud ended it.


    The Forge is open. White March II is on the horizon.


  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    edited February 2020
    Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- Entry 9: Assorted Killings

    Ok! I just went through my screenshots. I'm positively daunted by the task on posting on every single battle in that folder so I'm going to take a little shortcut.

    After opening the White Forge Alena competed most, if not all, of the White March sidequests. She then returned to the Dyrwood and finished all of the Warden's Lodge bounties, followed by Cali and the Skydragon. Instead of covering each fight in detail, I'm going to cover one bounty and the sky dragon fight. I'll also share a Cali screenshots because I think it's pretty.

    In Alena's PotD run I'll make a point of keeping posts current with progress. I won't let myself become fall behind and become overwhelmed. For now, though, we are where we are: I want to resume playing and I don't want to spend hours posting old battles before I do. K? Great. Thanks. Sorry!

    Let's cover that bounty.

    I chose Daroth Grimault for this because it's the fight that best illustrates Alena's approach. Plus, the screenshots look cool, especially the last one.

    As Julius noted, I'm fond of food. I'm becoming fond of drugs, too. Blacsonn sees regular use. Svef makes the rotation pre-DAoM. Others are used as needed for resistances. In this case we took blacsonn and snowcap. Between the two we lost 2 dex points and 2 per points in exchange for +40 against charm. With that stacked a top the Rainment of Wael's Eyes bonus we would have been pretty safe, even if litany lapsed.

    Alena opened with shades and then started buffing.


    The shades fell before Alena was ready to fight, but Pillars of Faith bought her additional time.


    We're ready now. Time to make it rain.


    If you're thinking: "Dude! You were so over-levelled for that!" The answer is yes, absolutely. It was fun nonetheless.


    Fun for Alena, that is: Daroth disagrees. Veteran's Recovery took care of DAoM damage and grazes, keeping Alena at full endurance throughout the fray.


    Daroth falls. I think this screenshot is cool.


    Speaking of cool screenshots: Here's Alena full buffed with Cali proned by pillars. You can guess what happens next, right?


    The sky dragon fight was very similar to the Daroth encounter. First the shades.


    Then the buffs. Check the screenshot for the list.


    Next, Scroll of Paralysis.


    Followed by a whole lot of hurt.




    That was my cleanest dragon fight yet, solo or with a party. Yes, we were over leveled, but it was still satisfying. I've never killed a dragon in a solo no reload before. First are always cool!

    So that's that: Were finally ready for White March II!


    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,483
    Hola everyone! Guess who's late to the party (as usual)? I bought PoE 1 yesterday and am currently in Act 1. I may post about my run though I'm sure "minimum reload" would still be a ton of reloads in my case.

    Interestingly I'm playing an Elven Priestess of Wael, the same class @Alesia_BH is currently soloing as I've just discovered. Haven't read any posts yet, because I don't want to spoil anything at this stage. I did scroll to Alesia's first post and found that we built our priestesses quiet differently, this is my Whisper:


    She's actually my second character. I'd rolled a human Berathian priestess first, but then several unheroic deaths made me think a ranged priestess might do better in my incompetent hands. :wink: Whisper's ranged accuracy as a wood elf helps with both her spell-casting and her missile attacks with her rod, and her first talent Incomprehensible Revelation boosts her accuracy with her rod even further. Very high dex is really nice for the action and recovery speed. At low levels, with few spells to cast, it's nice to see her contribute meaningfully in combat. Later on I assume she'll be casting more. Maybe I should have maxed intelligence instead of putting points in resolve, for better AoE of her spells. She's a backliner after all.

    A big difference with Baldur's Gate is that you can't pre-buff very well. Whisper would love to cast Armor of Faith before attacking some already scouted foes.

    She hasn't died yet, but that's thanks to my first character that I took to Gilded Vale. Anyway happy hunting to all!
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    Yay! Welcome to the party, Blackraven! I look forward to seeing your priest in action.

    I'll likely be joining you in Guilded Vale soon. Alena fell at the end of White March II, due to an injudicious decision. I've been continuing her as a minimal reload character, completing the Alpine Dragon and the WM I & II bounties, among other things, but her game is feeling very over to me now and I'm inclined to start anew.

    In any case, best wishes to Whisper!



    Btw, Whisper's build makes some sense to me. I do think wood elf is a better choice than human, power wise. Alena is only human because I had picked her portrait before anything else, and her portrait is clearly human.
  • Serg_BlackStriderSerg_BlackStrider Member Posts: 176
    Yes, great to have you in the Crew, Blackraven! Seems priests are a mainstream characters at the moment =) Safe travels to Whisper!

    @Alesia_BH : sad to hear that Alena fell... Her performance was splendid. I'm eager to see your next character in action.
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    edited March 2020
    Alena, Meadow Folk Priest of Wael (Solo)- FINAL UPDATE

    Sad news, everyone: Alena has fallen.

    It happened near the end of White March II, just before the kraken.

    Eyeless Ray of Fire is a significant threat to solo characters. For most of White March II Alena managed that risk well, using Second Chance->Shadowing Beyond (Nightshroud)->disengage + rest. By the last fight before the kraken, however, I had become over-casual. Eager to finish the quest, I attempted to heal Alena after her Second Chance had fired, rather than disengaging and resting. That proved to be a fatal mistake. Alena was sent prone by an Eyeless Kick and then hit with a second Eyeless Ray of Fire. This was the scene just before the prone took effect.


    Sad day :'(

    I'm not sure what's next. I'm leaning toward running another priest, this time on PotD, but I'm also tempted to run try a different character. i'll let you know when I decide. Thanks to everyone who followed Alena's run!


    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,483
    Thank you @Alesia_BH and @Serg_BlackStrider for the warm welcome! Are you also playing a priest Serg? Have you posted about it elsewhere? And Alesia, sorry about Alena (fitting name for a solo character for me, as it sounds a lot like the word for 'alone' in my language). I read your post, but found myself blissfully ignorant of the problems you mentioned.

    Whisper has been making some progress, but I also had to reload soon after I posted, when the entire party was overcome by a pack of wolves... It was difficult for me to continue, clearly due to my BG no-reload habit, but I continue I did. I must say we're doing a lot better with an extra level (4) and with Kana, who's AI script is working great, as a fourth companion. Two priests is also quite nice, because it allows the party to activate Armor of Faith, Blessing Consecrated Ground, Holy Radiance, and Interdiction very early (making up for the impossibility of pre-buffing). Maybe at a later stage, Durance will become superfluous though.

    With the above-mentioned buffs the party has been doing well, unlike earlier, where I considered everything a threat. Still, Whisper did get knocked unconscious a brief while ago in the fight with Maerwald, who dealt massive fire damage before we finished him off.

    This quasi-death was probably due to her trying out Durance's staff on the front-line. She's more capable with it than Durance, thanks to her Incomprehensible Revelation passive, but still functions better in the back. BTW she's also donned Durance's scorched robe (instead of the clothes she used to wear, never used armor) and gave him a suit of heavy armor. He seems relatively tanky for a priest, and I like having someone next to Eder in the front.

    So far I love the priest class, though druid, chanter and cipher look very interesting too (maybe they could be interesting for no-reload for you Alesia?).
    Now if I were to roll another priest, maybe for a no-reload adventure after my current run, what would be good 'builds'? I think Whisper as an extremely fast-casting, back-line buffer/ranger priestess of Wael works pretty well, at least in a party, but I doubt she's optimal. And what about melee priests? From a no-reload perspective, what if any, would be a good melee build in terms of race, attributes, deity?
  • Serg_BlackStriderSerg_BlackStrider Member Posts: 176
    Blackraven wrote: »
    Thank you @Alesia_BH and @Serg_BlackStrider for the warm welcome! Are you also playing a priest Serg? Have you posted about it elsewhere?
    From a no-reload perspective, what if any, would be a good melee build in terms of race, attributes, deity?

    Yes, we have a thread for PoE no-reload over here. You are most welcome to join us there too. And yes, I'm currently run a Priest of Eothas there.

    Melee priest is pretty viable even on max difficulty. You can check this build (lot of video how he fares in most crucial encounters).
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    Please do feel free to cross post in the other thread, @Blackraven!

    That thread had some inertia last winter. I, Enuhal, Jaheiras Witness, Semiticgod, Serg and others were all posting regularly. I vanished, though, pursing one of my RL adventures, and the thread lost steam after that. We're hoping to breathe life back into it now. Another run would surely help!


  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 614
    edited March 2020
    Introducing: Iacchus, the Pale Elf Wizard - Randomly Generated Party Challenge, PotD

    Hello everyone

    Inspired by recent activity in this thread, I've decided to once again play some PoE. Last time around, I completed two party-based PotD no-reload runs (not posted here, but still around on the obsidian forums), making use of all of the classes in the game. As I don't enjoy solo play all that much, there has to be some kind of additional challenge in order to make things interesting again. I've decided to have a go at a staple when it comes to my BG runs - a randomly generated party challenge. Playing on PotD with no maim on death, this involves every single character being entirely randomized, with me having no input at all into the character creation process. Since PoE doesn't have an option to randomize stats, I had to create an excel sheet in order to achieve this.

    For the prologue, I obviously only had access to my watcher. The dice gifted me with a pale elf wizard called Iacchus:

    If dexterity and constitution were switched, this would actually be an excellent character. As it is, the low dexterity is going to hurt a bit, but I think this watcher is still going to be quite capable, as wizards are generally one of the most powerful classes in the game. I also got lucky with the inital spell selection: Chill Fog, Parasitic Staff, Fan of Flames and Wizard's Double. Would've loved to switch the last one out for Eldritch Aim or Slicken, but the others are all great. Iacchus is a drifter, so I thought about making him the mechanics guy right away, but decided to save the level 2 skillpoints to check out what the remaining party members would be able to bring to the table.

    Starting off, I sold everything I could to Heodan (the money is needed to recruit 5 party members right away) and equipped Calisca with a one-handed weapon for extra accuracy. Iacchus used his lore to save Heodan, and a flanking + knockdown + blinding strike + arcane assault combo was enough to quickly take down the glanfathan leader:
    Time to finish things up with a Fan of Flames:
    I fought my way through the ruins, mostly using daggers and flanking plus arcane assaults in order to maximize damage output:
    Iacchus skipped all encounters in Valewood and used his intelligence to avoid combat at the Black Hound before entering and recruiting his party. I had to level up first, and I decided to add arcane veil and slicken into the mix, though taking eldritch aim was tempting. Now, let us meet the characters I will be working with:

    Alkyone, Coastal Aumaua Rogue:
    These are great stats for a rogue! This one's certainly going to be a primary melee damage dealer. She is starting with blinding strike, which is what I'd prefer in any case. Might be the mechanics person instead of Iacchus.

    Raiden, Mountain Dwarf Fighter:
    So, this is interesting. Raiden has the only traditional tanking class in the party, but his defensive stats are... bad. I've never played a fighter as a damage dealer before, and I'm not sure if I can afford to do so. Currently no idea how I'm going to build this one. He starts with disciplined barrage, which is certainly not as useful as knockdown would've been.

    Surya, Coastal Aumaua Druid:
    Would've wished for a higher amount of intelligence here. I don't need that much might for my druids, but AoE is important. He was assigned the boar shapeshifting form, which I've never used before and which doesn't seem all that powerful. Still, he is propably going to be a very capable aggressive spellcaster and nuker. Always good to have a druid.

    Aurora, Fire Godlike Priest of Eothas:
    This one I'm really happy with - mostly because she is a priest, and priest-buffs will increase the power of a randomized, and thus not optimized party by quite a bit. The might score is pitiful, but I will just try to stick to buffs and not use many heals and nukes with Aurora. 17 int is very nice, though the high constitution score isn't needed at all. Also: Never played a fire godlike before, but the bonus is unlikely to be relevant all that often.

    At this point, I was praying for a paladin with good defensive stats, or a cipher with decent int and perception (or even a high int barbarian). My prayers weren't answered, and I got another wizard instead - obviously still a useful class (lots of vancian spellcasting here, might need to rest a lot), and at least it's not a monk, right?

    Numitor, Wild Orlan Wizard:
    Low perception really hurts on PotD. The other stats are fine, I'm happy that this one, at least, has high dexterity. This might allow for a build with a certain amount of quick selfbuffs (eldritch aim will be needed, for one). I swear, I didn't manipulate the spell selection: Chill Fog - again; Fan of Flames - again; - Wizard's Double - again. No Parasitic Staff this time, but Slicken instead. Amongst my two wizards, Wizard's Double is the only relatively bad pick here - quite lucky indeed!

    All in all, this is certainly above average from what I'd expect with a randomized party. Simply having a priest is already a big plus, and if I get past the early game, my druid and the two wizards will have access to great AoE and crowd control. What's missing is a strong frontliner - which means that I will propably have to be very careful with positioning and be prepared to build up defenses on every character. Arcane Veil will certainly be helpful with that.

    I should mention that, while I plan to provide frequent updates for this run, they're propably going to be very small. I only have a little bit of time each day to play PoE right now, so don't expect this run to go very fast. I'm also quite rusty, so I might just misremember something and stumble into a dangerous encounter early on. We shall see.
  • Serg_BlackStriderSerg_BlackStrider Member Posts: 176
    Great to see you in action again, @Enuhal! May the dice will be lucky for your Crew!
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 614
    edited March 2020
    @Serg_BlackStrider Thanks! Luckily, the dice have already played their role - only the character creation is randomized - everything I do on level ups is my choice, so things often come down to "how can I salvage this weird combination of stats?"

    First Update: Iacchus, the Pale Elf Wizard - Randomly Generated Party Challenge, PotD

    Short update for today: Since I'm not allowed to add non-randomized characters to my party, I killed Aloth and Eder to get their equipment. Eder was surprisingly tough and knocked out my fighter, Raiden (his terrible defensive stats are really quite noticable). I didn't want to rest, because I already had the fletcher's inn resting bonus going, so I went to Valewood with a wounded party, stacking deflection on my priest instead to take down the bandits and save the cook:
    Iacchus gained another level. I decided to pump every skillpoint into mechanics and added Curse of Blackened Sight and Combusting Wounds to his spellbook. Despite some camping supplies waiting to be used everywhere, I foolishly decided to go on and face the cave bear without resting, still wanting to hang on to the inn bonus as long as possible. I had Surya cast charm beasts - but this one kind of backfired, because it managed to affect every opponent in the cave, so I had no target to kill. I had to wait for a bit and tried to blind the bears with Chill Fog and Curse of Blackened Sight - which worked, but didn't prevent them from knocking down Aurora, my current frontliner:
    Luckily, blinded bears are easy to hit - some arcane assaults and good hits by my best damage dealers, Surya in boar form and Alkyone with her sneak attacks worked wonders, though Surya got knocked down as the battle came to a close:
    Not our finest hour, but we prevailed and went on to rest. Our execution was much better against the pack of wolves to the south: I made sure charm beast would only hit a few of them, turning the wolves against each other, which gaves us time to flank and kill the stragglers:
    A very clean victory here, and no other spells needed (well, except for a blessing to improve our lousy accuracy). I used Iacchus' might score to solve Against the Grain peacefully, returned to the Black Hound and I should mention that the others in the party reached level 2. Aurora went for Inspiring Radiance (gotta get that accuracy), Numitor added Arcane Veil and Eldritch Aim, Surya took Weapon Focus: Peasant to improve his accuracy as a boar. The other two choices were a bit more difficult. I decided to go for Two Weapon Style for Alkyone right away, and Weapon and Shield Style for Raiden, commiting to turn him into a tank. Not sure if that one will work out.
  • Serg_BlackStriderSerg_BlackStrider Member Posts: 176
    edited March 2020
    Enuhal wrote: »
    @Serg_BlackStrider Thanks! Luckily, the dice have already played their role - only the character creation is randomized - everything I do on level ups is my choice, so things often come down to "how can I salvage this weird combination of stats?"

    I see. Well, this simplify things a little bit. Another hurdle is a custom made party and thus all but Watcher being lower level. You might already know this but there is a trick to pump your other characters easy once you have Caed Nua as a Keep - just send them one after another on the adventures (the grander the better). This way they'll get some piece of shared experience AND bonus exp from the adventure. In my previous run I had custom made Xoti and after I've sent her on the grand adventure and then reported some finished bounties right away she immediately ended up with more experience than my Watcher himself.
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 614
    edited March 2020
    Interesting. I knew that you could get experience via adventures, but I had no idea that you could get past your watcher this way. Sadly, this won't be an option for my party, as one of the less important rules for this challenge is that I can't add or remove any party members on purpose (death is the only option, but I'm not allowed to get rid of "dead weight" on purpose if one of the characters is really useless - the idea being that you have to play with the hand you're dealt, no matter what). I will allow myself to take NPCs along in order to complete adventures, but they're never allowed to join the party. Oh, and I also can't replace dead characters, so if someone dies, we're down to five.
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    Great to have you back, Enuhal! Looking forward to Iacchus's adventure!


  • Serg_BlackStriderSerg_BlackStrider Member Posts: 176
    edited March 2020
    Enuhal wrote: »
    Interesting. I knew that you could get experience via adventures, but I had no idea that you could get past your watcher this way.

    Yeah, didn't knew this myself until trying and just look at that (digged out some old screenshots):

    Anyway, safe travels for your Crew under such strict rules!
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 614
    Second Update: Iacchus, the Pale Elf Wizard - Randomly Generated Party Challenge, PotD

    Today, we cleared Esternwood. Not a lot of combat here, but the lack of a strong frontliner with good defenses is very noticable. Simply fighting against a few spiders and wights already brought Raiden to about half of his health, despite me stacking all available deflection on him. Replacing him with the character with the best constitution and resolve, Aurora, doesn't work all that well - one second into combat, and half of her endurance is gone - though her inspiring radiance always allows for a quick victory against vessels, such as the undead at the graveyard:
    I found a fine crossbow and a minor ring of deflection here. This party isn't as ranged-heavy compared to my usual playstyle, so the crossbow isn't all that useful to me right now. To deal significant damage, I mostly use my rogue Alkyone, the boar shapeshift and arcane assaults - the two people relying on regular attacks are both melee fighters, everyone else has to use spells.

    I also made my way south to unlock the bridge and the compass by staying on the western side of both Magran's Fork and the Black Meadow, which means I only had to face one small pack of wolves and a group of wights. Propably going to do Madhmr Bridge tomorrow.
  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,483
    Lovely to have all these old Baldur's Gate no-reload friends active in this thread!
    I didn't expect I'd love this game as much as I do! (It's been two late nights in a row lol.)

    Interestingly my desire to test different classes has been stronger than my desire to complete the game, so I don't have much progress to report. Hopefully soon...

    @Serg_BlackStrider thanks for the links. Guess I'm going to create an Obsidian account then, although I think this minimal reload thread serves me better at this point than the no-reload one over there.
    @Enuhal, best of luck with your crew!

  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 614
    @Blackraven I'm glad you like the game :smile: It's certainly in the top 5 of my favorite cRPGs!

    Third Update: Iacchus, the Pale Elf Wizard - Randomly Generated Party Challenge, PotD

    Madhmr Bridge is generally a relatively easy area, and I wanted to get the Hermit's Hat before moving on to Anslög's Compass. There are some trolls around, however - I tried my best to improve my chances of actually dealing damage to them by lowering their deflection with nature's mark, knocking them prone with slicken etc. while buffing my accuracy with inspiring radiance and blessing:
    Sadly, I was unable to get my wizards into a position to follow up with Fan of Flames, so I resorted to blinding and flanking the trolls while my only two reliable damage dealers, Alkyone and Surya, tried to take them out. It took a while, but success was ours:
    There's also an encounter against a xaurip group involving a high priest, who can certainly be dangerous at this level. I ran into him, not remembering the existence of the encounter, and started in a bad position. Alkyone got exposed to multiple enemies, got knocked out but recovered thanks to wearing Eder's armor. I saw a Pillar of Faith come in and had her retreat, otherwise she might've been gone for good. This resulted in very low hp on Raiden. I kept the xaurips weakened with a chill fog, but had little left in terms of other buffs and debuffs, so Iacchus himself had to take down the high priest with his fine crossbow:
    After this battle, I decided to finally rest. I solved Ferry Flotsam the semi-peaceful way and travelled to the Compass.
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    edited March 2020
    Alrighty then! Time to hop back on the no reload train! Toot-toot!

    Astarta, Moon Godlike Cipher (PotD Solo)


    Game Version: with White March I & II, Difficulty: Path of the Dammed, Settings: Maim Before Death: On; Injuries: On; Expert Mode: OFF, Mods: None

    Gaming Notes: Spoiler alert! I'm pretty sure I know how this run is going to end. Astarta is going to die. There's nothing wrong with her, mind you: I'm the problem. I've never completed the game with a solo cipher on any difficulty level, much less PotD. And I only have one PotD solo NR success thus far: my pale elf rogue, Alia. I considered a run on Normal or Hard, in the interest of giving Astarta a fighting chance, but after my experience with Alena, in which a Normal run felt unsatisfying and the prospect of completing a follow up run on PotD sounded unfun, I've decided to run Astarta on PotD.

    So, yeah: Astarta's chances don't seem great to me. But that's ok. A run needn't end in victory to be fun, and that's what this is about in the end: Fun! Best of luck to our ill fated godlike! May her run end with dignity!

    Build Notes: I like Astarta. She works. Some would say her Might is too low and her Dex is too high. I've thought about that, and I think the girl is alright. Might is great, but in my limited experience with PoE solo no reloads, doing what you need to do when you need to do it seems to have a greater impact on survivability than damage output. And how much damage will she really loss? Speed matters there, too. Some calculations suggest this is a closer call than many assume. I'm content with the tradeoff here.

    What about her Perception? That may be an eye brow raiser to some on PotD. But isn't accuracy the most readily modifiable stat in the game? And aren't ciphers great at lowering enemy defenses? An unremarkable Per score should work. We'll see how it goes!
    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 614
    Good luck - a Cipher does seem like a pretty difficult class to run solo compared to your previous choices (or compared to most classes, for that matter - wizards, paladins and chanters all seem quite straightforward in comparison as well). I'm expecting a lot of treason, scrolls, running and summoning to happen here, maybe some speedboosts and anitpathetic fields - looking forward to see your approach. My ciphers usually end up spamming mental binding and, later on, amplified wave, but I get the feeling that those spells won't be as useful in solo play :smile:
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 465
    edited March 2020
    Thanks! It'll be an adventure, to be sure!

    I did start a cipher run on Normal a little while ago, off thread. That character made it to L12 before succumbing to an unexpected difficulty spike. I was seeking Drawn in Spring, and that led me deeper into the Endless Paths than I had ever gone before. I stumbled onto a vithrack sentry crew and basically got murdered.

    There was a dialogue before the fight, something about the sentries attacking in unison? I took that as a sign that stumbling onto those blokes is bad, and I should have done it a different way.

    Anyhoo. Before that she was gravy. She rocked. No problems at all. Some of the bounties did get a little laughable-scattered-implausible, but setting that aside, she performed well (Btw, that character was a wild orlan named Aotha. Rest in peace, sister! I'm sorry I couldn't take you to the big time!)

    Aotha's Normal strategies will work on PotD until L7. After than things are gonna get sketch, starting with Undying Heritage and Through Death's Gate. We'll see what comes!
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