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mikeprichard

Avernum 3 - Skills FAQ (Rune Reading, Nature Lore, Tool Use/Unlock Doors, Barter)

51 posts in this topic

I'm planning a third playthrough of A3 after a break of several years, but since there aren't any shiny Strategy Central posts on the forums for the older remakes, and I can't find definitive info on some skills by searching around, I'd appreciate confirmed answers for the below. Cheers!

 

(Answers courtesy of Earth Empires, Ishad Nha, Nikki, and old threads such as http://spiderwebforu...ore#entry125341 and http://spiderwebforu...ge__hl__barter.)

 

Rune Reading

1) What is the maximum total value needed across the party to learn all spells and get all other benefits from this skill throughout the game?

ANSWER(?): ~30.

2) How does Vahnatai Lore interact with this skill (e.g. which/how many spells can only be learned by having Vahnatai Lore, and at which value)?

ANSWER: Vahnatai Lore points are checked separately from Rune Reading for certain spellbooks (such as Capture Soul and Simulacrum in Ghikra, Return Life in Lorelei, Divine Host in Moon, and Radiant Shield in the Defiled Crypt). In addition, they are always counted as Rune Reading points, and therefore assist in understanding all other spellbooks.

 

Nature Lore

1) What is the maximum total value needed across the party to get all caches in the game?

ANSWER(?): 23.

 

Tool Use and Unlock Doors

1) What is the maximum total value needed on one character to disarm all traps in the game?

ANSWER: 29. This is the value needed to disarm the traps in Sharimik's City Hall; the most difficult traps after that are two cabinets in the Golem Factory and one dresser in Erox (24), two other cabinets in the Golem Factory (22), and two chests in the Chasm of Screams (21). Other traps in the game only require around 20 or less. Note that the Rogue's Leather and Nimble Gloves each add 4 points to Tool Use skill when disarming traps, but fine/magic lockpicks don't add to Tool Use skill when disarming traps.

2) Is there any need for Tool Use once you have the Unlock Doors spell at level 3?

ANSWER: Yes. Tool Use is still needed to disarm traps.

3) Does Tool Use enhance the Unlock Doors spell if put on the same character?

ANSWER: No. This mechanic was only introduced in Avernum 4.

 

Barter

1) What is the maximum total value needed across the party to get the best possible item resale prices in the game?

ANSWER: 20. This will get you the "max" 45% item resale price rate at almost all merchants (with the exception of Winn in Blackcrag Fortress, who requires a total Barter value of 29 to reach the 45% rate); i.e., merchants will purchase the party's items for 45% of the items' base values. Note that unlike other items, the resale price for spellshards and spellbooks is capped at 36% of their value (900/2500 for spellshards, 450/1250 for spellbooks). Note also that actual shop prices are never affected by Barter.

2) Do different merchants still offer better/worse item resale prices at the maximum effective Barter value of 20?

ANSWER: No. At the maximum effective Barter value of 20, all merchants will buy the party's items at exactly 45% of their base values (with the exception of Winn, noted above).

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rune:

 

1. 30ish and 1 item gives +5 so 25ish.

2. you can buy 5 levels per party member and some things and quests give +1 to lore.

 

nature:

 

1. ~23

 

tool:

 

1. 15-17 with tu items

2. yes since traps can't be disabled with that

3. don't think so

 

barter:

 

1. 16ish

2. not really

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Earth Empires - great, thanks! Just to clarify a couple things:

 

A new party with two magic users already starts with about 30 total Rune Reading, so are you saying a level 1 party can already access all level 3 spells etc.? I must be missing something here. Also, is Vahnatai Lore checked completely separately from Rune Reading, or does it just add to the same Rune Reading pool?

 

And for Tool Use, the actual max total needed is more like 20-25, and you're saying 15 "base" plus points from items gets you there, yeah?

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I keep a Bar of Silver in my front PC's inventory. When party visits a given store, this enables me to check how good the prices offered for our items really are, default price is 111 coins. (Each party member has 5 in Barter.)

I think Vahnatai Lore is checked by itself, so you must have enough of it or you won't learn the spell.

Edited by Ishad Nha

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Thanks, Ishad - so apparently there are variations in prices between different merchants even at "max" (5 points per character) Barter skill; I thought I remembered that from the last time I played a couple years ago as well. (EDIT: confirmed this from older threads.)

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I'd be interested to know if you find merchants that still give better buy/sell prices above Barter 20 (for the whole party) - I'm still not clear on that from reading through old forum threads. The only mostly consistent thing people have said is that sellback prices cap at 45% of base item value, but there may be some lousy merchants that don't reach that cap until Barter is higher than 20 - if ever.

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I saw no increase, in money obtained by the party for selling items, for 32 Barter, after I used the Character Editor to increase the scores.

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OK, thanks - so I'm guessing 20 Barter is around the max that has any effect on sellback prices at all merchants. I'll probably do some more testing as I get further along in my own playthrough.

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3) Does Tool Use enhance the Unlock Doors spell if put on the same character?

ANSWER: Yes.

 

Are you sure for A3, and what's the formula? I have seen this question answered for A4, but for A3 I want to make sure it's advantageous to make my mage the tool use character. If not, my instinct would be to make that my nephil archer (character 2).

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Tool Use and Unlock Door synergy, it's nice but you get level 3 Unlock Doors without too much delay. To access the level 3 version before you get the Dispel Barrier spell, try using a Piercing Crystal or Scroll of Dispel Barrier.

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As for the formula, see Lilith's old post on A4: link. I can't confirm it was calculated the same way in A3, but have no reason to believe it wasn't.

 

There was a massive engine change between A3 and A4, including a complete change in both the spell list and in how spells work, so there's really no reason to believe it is calculated the same way in A3.

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I've done additional testing with varying levels of the Barter skill at different merchants using the Orb of Thralni (5,000 gold item value) for reference, and can now confirm with 99% certainty that a total Barter skill of 20 - not 18 or lower, as some older forums posts indicate - is needed to get the maximum 45% resale rate at all merchants in the game. For example, Carson - the same merchant in Lorelei who teaches you the skill - had resale prices of 25% of item value at Barter 0, which was among the worst I've recorded anywhere. As I incremented the Barter skill, his resale rates increased by 1% for each point of the skill until skill 20 (45% resale rate) was reached. Further skill increases above 20 had no effect on his or any other tested merchants' resale prices, including merchants such as Grove in Sharimik who had originally offered resale rates of 30-35% at skill 0.

 

I'll continue checking merchants as I play through later areas and revisit earlier ones, but I think I'm now good with Barter; updated the OP.

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So, I'm pretty certain that Tool Use has no impact at all on Unlock strength in the original trilogy. In fact, as far as I recall, that thing only existed in A4, right? After that total party TU started being a thing. I think the habit of sticking TU on to your mage/priest was just because they had more skill points free.

 

Edit: Yup. Found this: http://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/index.php?/topic/19642-will-this-party-work-in-avernum/#entry262036. I think I'm more inclined to trust Randomizer on this one.

 

If you're having trouble figuring other things out, BoA is pretty well-documented at this point, and it shares a whole ton of things with A1-3.

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nikki - thanks for the info; I'll start digging through the BoA forums. And as for Tool Use, I was relying on Jeff's post in an old thread (http://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/index.php?/topic/10372-party-useful-skills/#entry117462) I had initially thought was about A3, but was in fact about A4 and was misplaced in the "First Trilogy" forum (site admins, moving the linked topic to the "Second Trilogy" forum would be appreciated). Anyway, I've fixed the OP - cheers.

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Oh. So *i isn't Jeff. Jeff posts under the Spidweb account (it has a picture of a dragon as its avatar). *i is one of our administrators.

 

As for that thread, yeah I'll take a look at moving it to the right forum. Cheers for the heads up.

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nikki - OK, I should've known that; I've seen Jeff post on the forums occasionally.

 

Also, confirmed that Vahnatai Lore points add to the Rune Reading point total, and updated the OP.

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Dang, I guess I was justifiably skeptical about that synergy, and now have a non-ideal character with Tool Use. Oh well, thanks Nikki, and Mikus for all the other info. I am planning to eventually replay the game on Torment anyway. I usually do my first play through on Hard because of things like this, and then Torment when I have better seen the full picture to properly min-max and optimize.

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There's an A2 guide which says there's a Pathfinder learning crystal which makes it only necessary to buy 5 points for 3 characters and 2 for one character (17 points total). How many should you buy in A3?

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I've found that 20 total points of Pathfinder in your party will get you through swampy terrain without getting poisoned 99% 95% of the time, while 40 points (or possibly less) seems to allow you to even walk on lava without taking any damage. That said, I haven't focused on testing that skill, but if you're planning a new playthrough, feel free to post anything you find through your own testing here, and we can make this a mini-"Strategy Central" for A3, at least for skill info.

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Ok. Well I can confirm that 5X4 points does still get me poisoned, but much more rarely. I'm wearing pilgrim's cloak which brings my front character to 7. I'll let you know if he gets poisoned by terrain.

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Pathfinder doesn't have any effect on general poison resistance, if that's what you mean; it will only help you avoid damage from walking on terrain like swamp (poison), lava (fire), etc. Anyway, you'll find that at 20 total points, you'll still occasionally get poisoned from walking on swamp terrain. But at 40 points (10x4), I'm no longer having any issues at all with either swamp or lava, at least not so far.

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So how much Vahnatai Lore do you need to read those special spell books, or for any other things like special encounters?

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Unfortunately, I haven't been able to nail down exact amounts of required Rune Reading and Vahnatai Lore (or Nature Lore - not sure where Earth Empires got that ~23 NL value for caches, though it's likely to be pretty accurate from my limited testing); that's why I've still got ?s next to those issues in the OP. But I can tell you I bought 5 levels of VL for each of my 4 PCs in Ghikra relatively early, and I never encountered any related events afterwards I couldn't handle. You also get at least 5 free points for each PC at various points in the mid/late game (including 2 points in the Defiled Crypt), but in order to get them, you'll need at least a couple points of VL on your characters to start with.

 

Not sure about special encounters (what exactly those might be, and how much they might need), and digging through the old forums is turning up a lot of conflicting info - or no info at all.

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Yeah, it's my first time playing A3 past the demo, so I have no evidence that there are any special encounters based on Vahnatai Lore. Just thought there might be, given how Jeff thinks in his other games. You know, unless I cap my gold, I think I'll hold off buying VL until I need it, then tell you how much I needed.

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I actually think you're right about certain special encounters needing VL; I'm just not sure which ones they could be, and don't want to give you any misinformation.

 

So if you're just starting a new game and wouldn't mind helping out, it'd be great if you save before each cache/VL book, then edit the skills by a point at a time to test the exact skill values required. I only got kind of serious about this thread after I was several hours in, and don't quite have the dedication to start over and do this myself, but just throwing it out there if you're really interested in this. You would be advancing the cause of Avernum 3 min-maxing analysis. So there's that.

 

EDIT: I just remembered you can't actually edit Vahnatai Lore in the Character Editor (though you can still edit Nature Lore and Intelligence - NL's "base" stat), and I doubt you want to run back to Ghikra and buy 1 point at a time every time you run into a VL event (although there aren't that many of those, I think). But do whatever works.

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I've confirmed with 98% confidence that the trap in Sharimik City Hall, at 29 required Tool Use, is the hardest trap in the game, followed by certain others at 24, 22, and 21; updated the OP.

 

Also, I'll be taking a break from Avernum for a while, but feel free to post more info here on these (especially the unconfirmed Rune Reading/Vahnatai Lore and Nature Lore skill requirements) and other skills. Later!

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From my playing so far, I haven't encountered a need for any VL, and I am now gold-capped (well, holding onto one item which would put me over). This is on Hard difficulty, no cheats or character editor. I have finished the slimes and cockroaches, and done southeastern Valorim as far north as Vahkohs, though I'm not strong enough for the Mad Monks or the Drake Lord yet. I've even been storing my spell books and Xian items. I have not bought any L2 spells, because I find I don't need them. I have been fine using L1s until I get L3s. So, in a practical sense, I'd say you don't need to worry about VL at all until you have nothing better to spend your money on. I will probably buy 4X2 levels of VL and go from 4X5 to 4X10 Pathfinder next, mostly to avoid becoming gold-capped.

 

As for NL, I trained to 15 NL in my party early on, and so far (based on the areas I've explored as described above), the only places where this isn't high enough are one outdoor herb patch north of the Nephilim village and east of the Drake Lord in SE Valorim, and another outdoor herb patch on the last island of the chain that has basilisks. Now I've got 19 NL and will see if I can get those.

 

Update: corrected this post. My NL values were 15 and then 19. 19 got me a gray mold patch north of the Nephilim village, and a mandrake patch at the end of the lost isles chain with the basilisk.

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I ended up spending my excess gold from the first time I got capped on 4X3 VL, which was apparently not a smart move at this point in the game (still haven't solved the third monster plague). I then visited the city (I forget the name) with the house and the Barter trainer for the first time, and I bought potion recipes (I'm a completionist) and was only able to afford 10 Barter and not the house after that. So, this play through is a learning process to time my purchases more effectively for my Torment play through.

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I've found that you can never have enough gold. Once you have purchased all the spells you need, and unlocked all the special skills, you can purchase unlimited knowledge brews from Silverlocke, and upgrade items in Lorelei and Blackcrag.

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Yeah I think I'm about at that point. Speaking of knowledge brews, I seem to remember some vendors offering them cheaper than Silverlocke, but is she the only one with unlimited quantity?

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In A3 she sells out of Knowledge Brews soon enough, I don't know how many she may have.

But she will restock if you buy her whole stock. This gets expensive, obviously.

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Rache's site and walkthroughs neglect to mention about Silverlocke's existence.

 

Uh, Rache's site (which is currently hosted by Harehunter) definitely does mention Silverlocke. This map of Upper Avernum has Silverlocke's hut listed as number 38.

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Uh, Rache's site (which is currently hosted by Harehunter) definitely does mention Silverlocke. This map of Upper Avernum has Silverlocke's hut listed as number 38.

 

but not in stores-section http://rachea3.tripod.com/avernum3/id7.html which is 1st in google's results when searching avernum 3 shops (nor does hh's version http://www.harehunter.info/Avernum3/Maps1/id7.html).

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Earth Empires, please just stop.

 

I know that you are just trying to be helpful. However, you frequently end up inserting factually incorrect information into game board threads. Then we have this whole digression where you argue with people about it. This is the same thing that happened when you mixed up the chapter 2 rapids with the Waterfall Warrens.

 

Ultimately, what this means for Spiderweb's customers is that they have to wade through a whole lot of inaccurate information and pointless arguing in order to find what they are looking for.

 

You have previously been asked not to act as an "information supplier" in game board threads, unless you are 100% sure about the information you are supplying. So, if you don't have the information without using google or consulting a walkthrough, please just let it go. Let somebody else answer the question or make the correction.

 

You have also been asked to make legible posts. Although I recognize and appreciate that you have been making an effort here, it continues to be a problem.

 

Altogether, this means that you have a problem with spam posts: a large number of posts that -- while they don't hurt anyone -- must be waded through in order to get to posts with accurate, legible, and/or on-topic content.

 

For that reason, Earth Empires, I am giving you an official warning as a moderator. Please stop making posts that:

- are factually inaccurate,

- are especially difficult to read,

- are off-topic/spam.

 

No one is perfect, but you need to do a better job of meeting these standards, given that you are a frequent poster. Thank you.

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I made my post based on Rache's stores-list and walkthroughs.

 

No matter what the source of your information was, you were wrong. You've been warned in the past not to try and give out information that you're not sure about, because posting misleading advice has been a recurring problem for you. In future, I'd strongly recommend that you don't post information unless you've personally confirmed it by playing the game yourself.

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Nature Lore: 19 NL is enough until I reached one cache in NW Valorim near the quarantine border, and one in NE Valorim north of Tevrono that I couldn't uncover.

 

Update: Raised NL to 22 and that was enough for the NE cache (near the guy who sells Xian's Vest), and the one near the northern Church of the Divine Lucre camp. I'll test the NW one later.

 

Vahnatai Lore: I also think it was probably way overkill to buy 3X4 VL, because I just now destroyed the golems and met the empress, and my characters all got 5 VL just from quests and books, so 8x4 = 32 total. I'm guessing the required VL number listed in the OP is a total. I don't know if you can get any VL without first having some small number of points, but I started a Torment playthrough and I'm being more thrifty now.

 

Pathfinder: When my party had 5X4 Pathfinder, people were still taking damage sometimes. I trained just one point more for everyone (6X4 = 24 total) and they avoid all damage now. However, I am not entirely sure whether this is entirely due to the Pathfinder, or maybe partly level based, or partly based on the fact all my characters have fairly high resistances, and fairly high Hardiness to counter encumbrance.

 

Other observations: Things are going well for my party on Hard, which has a Slith fighter, two nephil mage/priests, and Hsska the priest, the only non-custom. The customs have Sickness Prone, the mages and Hsska have Natural Mage (I made him a mage/priest too), and the fighter has Fast on Feet. There are enough AP items at this point in the game to give my fighter extra APs and two of my casters start the fight with 6 APs. The characters are all in their 40s now. There are relatively few fights where multiple characters are taking heavy melee or single target spell damage, it seems, compared to other Spiderweb games (i.e. fewer ambushes, or maybe I'm just playing better). I did have to reload several times for the outdoor encounter with several Dark Wyrms, because a different character kept starting in the front, and I had to use 2-3 invulnerability potions for my fighter. Other stuff I'd think would be hard (lorewise) is generally a breeze, like the golems. My casters have so much magic bonus between Natural Mage, items, spell skill and Magery that Ice Lances often hits as hard as Fireblast, with only Arcane Blast pumping substantially higher numbers. I'm talking maybe 80s with Ice Lances, 80s to 100s with Lightning or Fireblast, and 140s+ with Arcane Blast against high level enemies like golems that aren't too resistant.

 

For my new (Torment) playthrough: I see there is quite a lot to spend gold on after all, like Magery and Parry skill. This time I'm going to try to max all the non-trainable special skills before buying Silverlocke's Knowledge Brews. I will keep my eye out, however, and take special note of those alchemists who sell Knowledge Brews for cheaper (even if in smaller quantity). My goal is to avoid any exploits (like the infinite item merchant) or use of the character editor, which I have been good about so far in my Hard playthrough. I also want to end up with my whole party composed of the NPCs who join, if I unlock them at convenient times in a natural way. I'm thinking the archer will not take Natural Mage, but become an Archer/Priest/Tool User. The energy restore mind crystal can go to him later.

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nobear - just checking in for a bit; thanks for continuing to post the results of your testing! Few points:

 

Nature Lore - it sounds like you've tested every single cache in the game except for the one way in the NW near the border wall; if you test that one and post the final result (I'm thinking it will either be your existing 22 requirement or maybe 23/24), I'll update the OP.

 

Vahnatai Lore - the "30" estimated total in the OP is for Rune Reading, not Vahnatai Lore (although I confirmed in-game that VL points do add to the displayed Rune Reading total in the character sheet), so I have no idea on that one. It looks like the VL requirements may remain a mystery for now.

 

Pathfinder - I didn't do any serious testing of this myself, but Hardiness and resistances don't have anything at all to do with the effects of Pathfinder (which only affects whether you take damage when walking over damage terrain). Just don't want you wasting time trying to factor those in to the Pathfinder effects somehow. But here's a suggested test: with 24 total Pathfinder, try walking over lava for a few minutes - just make sure you don't use a lava area with periodic "explosions" like the giants' caves, as those aren't negated by Pathfinder. If you never take any damage after doing that, I think we can confirm your number.

 

Cheers!

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Sorry for being absent for so long. I've been busy with schoolwork, so I've played very little lately.

 

Nature Lore: It wasn't all the caches, because I hadn't been in Footracer Province yet. Now on my Hard (Tough) game I have cleared the area around the Keep of Tinraya, and gotten as far as the final stone circle with the Haakai and Mung Demons. I still haven't gotten around to that NW cache outside Footracer Province.

 

Vahnatai Lore: Through another book/encounter/whatever, I am up to to a ridiculous 9X4 = 36 VL. That means, so far, I have had 6 in-game experiences grant VL to all my characters. I'll see how much, if any, VL needs to be bought on my Torment game.

 

Pathfinder: I have been walking over lava left and right, and all other dangerous terrain. Not a single incident of getting hurt so far with 6X4 = 24 Pathfinder. I think it's safe to confirm it as all you need for any practical intents.

 

I wrote in another thread that Torment didn't seem to increase the difficulty for me, and I've almost defeated the slimes in that play through. I don't know if this is a bug with my version of A3, or maybe with my particular save file, or if the Torment difference in A3 is supposed to be very minor compared to other Avernums.

 

Cheers!

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