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Student of Trinity

A6 - Torment singleton game abandoned by ascension

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I struggled a long way through a torment singleton game, with a divinely touched natural mage nephil. I had decided from the beginning to edit up both lores and tool use as high as necessary to be able to open all doors, find all caches, and read all books on first encounter. Other than that I played a straight and conservative game, with a fair amount of AI exploitation but no outright engine abuse.

 

I screwed up in investing the skill points to unlock Riposte, then never finding it worthwhile to put points in Riposte. But since I also unlocked Lethal Blow, and felt that to be worthwhile, the waste in going on to Riposte was not great. And other than that I think my build and strategy were decent. I didn't sell skribbane; but for most of the game, I was doing fine.

 

But somewhere shortly after finishing off the Manburner, I hit a kind of wall, where the game was just becoming too annoying. There were too many enemies that applied the lightning cloud effect, which lasts a long time and for which there is no real counter. There were too many enemies that could fight for many rounds, then suddenly kill me in one shot. There were too many swarms that resisted charming all the time, despite my having Spellcraft over 20. I started resorting to 'imdrained' and 'ouchouchouch', at first with the idea that I just didn't want to have to reload and waste a lot of progress in order to go stock up on more potions. But gradually my healing by mystical forces started to feel like a fair response to insane amounts of lightning cloud damage.

 

But even that wasn't enough to beat the things that would stun me silly. I stopped off to fight through the Spire arena on my way to killing Loyalist Ghavross for Melanchion, and the three gladiator dudes that are the third last opponent just drove me nuts. I hit the editor, punched every unlocked ability to 40, and finished the game as the jaguar god of death.

 

Verdict: okay, with my outrageous health and resistance levels, my god singleton was only actually in danger maybe once or twice, and went through most of the game with health and energy bars high. But: quite a lot of late game monsters on torment have several thousand health, as well as ferocious attacks, and lasted many rounds even against my buzzsaw deathgod. Before his ascension, he'd have had no chance at all. Maybe I missed something, somewhere; but honestly, my game was on track pretty well, hard but doable, right up to the last set of Levitt missions. Then suddenly it was hopeless, without cranking up divinely touched to outright divine.

 

On the other hand: finishing off just the last, worst part of the game with a god character is actually kind of fun. I think it would get boring to do too much more of the game this way, but after struggling a good long time against all those wretchedly unfair monsters, a few hours of smashing them to bits was surprisingly satisfying.

 

Bottom line: I'm not complaining about the game's balance. It is called 'Torment'. And it's possible I missed some kind of left turn at Albuquerque in my build path. I'm suggesting that if you hit a wall in the late game, you can still have fun ending the game.

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Thanks for the update. I'm still grinding through the Occupied Lands on torment at level 48 and really hate the extreme need to charm foes to prevent being overwhelmed. This game is the hardest I've faced in torment even with the extra levels and the skribbane exploit to reach level 61.

 

Parry becomes incredibly important to deal with AP draining stunners and avoid massive amounts of damage.

 

Edit -

 

I tried Slarty's build of a divine touch elite warrior and ran a nephil up to level 18 doing the first aid cities tier. This seems to be a viable build, but quest order is different to avoid getting hit with lower physical armor. It will balance out for armor after Gladwell's 3rd quest. The higher parry will be more useful since my current game I had to postpone Lark's Onyx Scepter quest.

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I was still doing okay, though grinding was a fair term, at around your point. Things started to get tough in the low fifties, though, and I finally gave up and went godly at something like 55.

 

I think I only had Parry 6, before ascension; maybe I should really have pumped it more. I had made a major skill point investment to get Priest Spells high enough to case Divine Restoration, but it sure was nice to have that.

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Well parry caps at 50% (level 17) so at that point riposte might have been nice as an extra chance to avoid some attacks. I figure I won't be able to do that until after Tenevra. Although I tried it in my first 4 character game and didn't find it that helpful.

 

A singleton really needs to make choices about priorities in gaining unlocked skills.

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I forgot to post much about my game, but it was pretty successful. Maybe I'll pick it up agains someday, who knows. I trickled off playing around Mertis, but my DT EW Slith (the Slith part is actually important for once) did quite well. It felt much less Torment-ing than previous Torment playthroughs I've done, although a large amount of picking-and-choosing quest order was indeed necessary.

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wasbear   

So is slith really better than nephil for a singleton this time around, given the decreased usefulness of both bows and dodging? Is dodge sufficient to avoid most attacks on normal if not torment difficulty?

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Dodge breaks down quite early after you get to the Castle. It will still be noticeable in the middle of the game but not enough to avoid major damage.

 

A nephil works great at the start because the thrown weapons with javelins allows for one or two shot kills of goblins even on torment difficulty. Over the course of the game a slith would become better because of extra health per level.

 

This is the first game with a level 61 cap that you can actually reach as a singleton. Avernum 1 had a level 40 cap that a singleton could reach in the middle of the game.

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Dodge quickly becomes close to nonexistant on Torment if you don't put skills into it. Randomizer put skills into his, as I recall. It is literally impossible to keep it going on Torment however, and all those dodge skills will be pretty much useless by the late game.

 

Sliths are better because of the extra health, which has been increased, and the resistances, which have also been increased. Flat 20% bonuses to fire, poison, and acid resistance is pretty useful. However, the most important difference is that, thanks largely to the skribbane dealers, sliths will no longer end up at a lower level than nephils. This is significant less for the skill points than for the increased bonuses from Divinely Touched and Elite Warrior.

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Thinking it over, I can see how maybe Elite Warrior is a better choice than Natural Mage. Where in previous games I was consistently relying on spells to put out major damage, with melee a stalling tactic to conserve energy, in A6 it just mostly worked out that if I really wanted to kill something fast, I had to hit it with blades. And for cases where I really didn't want to do that, because the target was all spiky, I found that humble Smite with a Mighty Blow was pretty darn good. The higher level mage spells really are not so tremendous in A6, at least not on Torment. On lower difficulties they might still seem fine, because Arcane Blow would still clear out mobs quickly, and Arcane Summoned creatures would survive quite a while.

 

Cloak of Blades makes a real difference that I really wouldn't want to lose, but at worst you could probably buff up just out of range of each fight, and do a couple of summons, then put on your armor, and hope the buffs last through most of the battle.

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With very few exceptions, the best armor doesn't encumber or doesn't encumber much, and there are a lot of accuracy-increasing items that increase your encumbrance allowance. That's the key point. You *don't* lose out on much armor protection at all -- if any -- by skipping Natural Mage. Not at any point in the game. Elite Warrior also makes armor-wearing easier, by the way, since it increases your carrying capacity by quite a bit. That saves you Strength, and you get free Parry (great) and free Blademaster. The latter gives you an effectively huge damage boost even with magic, since it allows you to use battle disciplines a lot more often.

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The period from leaving the Castle Food Depot until you get rewarded for Gladwell's 3rd quest is the part where armor is significantly different. I don't remember there being many significant accuracy-increasing items until you hit the Eastern Gallery to make up for the difference between Natural Mage and Elite Warrior.

 

Having Blessed Plate as a Natural Mage near the start gives a significant advantage for physical armor that can't be matched for the early game especially since you can get it without combat. The best armor for Elite Warrior is either Enchanter Robes if you have tool use 12 or Spider Woven Silk Robes depending upon what bonuses you want.

 

An Elite Warrior has to spend more time avoiding getting hit, but from experience I know that the NM version takes longer to reach the same level of parry and needs lots of strength (7) to take advantage of the better armor.

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In that early game portion, EW characters can easily wear the Blessed Plate and just not use mage spells. For a singleton there isn't much need for them early, anyway, and when you absolutely need Haste, you cast it precombat. Even on Torment, Slith + DT + EW gives you plenty of power with 10-40 halberds (also available without fighting) early on, even though you may switch to DW swords later.

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It's probably my playing style since I tend to use daze early in the game to deal with swarms where I can't get a decent terrain position to reduce my potential attackers. I used it heavily in the Blosk Hoarders quest to get past the fleeing thugs until I was in a position to pick them off before the exit.

 

A nephil DT+NM is playable it just becomes an extremely boring grind as you approach Formello.

 

I'm going to try your build and see if the extra resistances make it easier when you get past the Eastern Gallery.

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The Nephil DT NM was what pooped out on me on the last set of Levitt missions. Up to then it was playable, but then the wheels kind of fell off; or at any rate I got fed up. Super high parry from EW might be the trick.

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Yeah. One of the keys to A6 Torment, I think, is that there are a lot more options to optimize things defensively. The Slith resistances are better, Endurance is better, Luck is a LOT better, and Hardiness and armor and Parry and the DT bonus are as good as always. A6 is -not- a game for glass cannons. Part of the trick is figuring out what is most cost-effective. For Parry, it starts out cheap but ends up hogging skill points, and with EW you can skip most of those while still getting the best effect from it.

 

I tried playing with Daze, btw, and found that it was unacceptably inaccurate for a singleton, even with high magic skills. Gone is the Daze of G3 that could stop everything in its tracks every time.

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