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Learned Noremac

A:EftP - Is a No Magic Playthrough Possible?

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Grah-Hoth VS. The Magically Challenged Cavemen, First Attempt




Well, we're all set to go grab that sparkling little ruby sitting in the middle of that magic circle that definitely isn't a trap. We certainly shouldn't prepare ourselves to fight the king of all demons before grabbing it. No sir. The party consists of, in order, Leo, Brauner, Charlotte, and Diana. Brauner's got Demonslayer. And why yes, he is black, I hadn't noticed. I certainly didn't put him in the party solely so I could deflect all accusations of racism with "Why, some of my best video game characters are black!" Ahem.




My plan is to get Diana to hit that switch so she can hang around the in the hallway and run away once the fight is over, but there's so many damn skeletons that it's taking a few turns. Otherwise, though, a pretty promising start to the fight. I'm well stocked on Invulnerability Potions, so I have Charlotte take a swig.




Brauner is sort of obscured by the pole, by the way. But this is looking...dare I say it? Rather easy. Somehow Grah-Hoth only notices about now, or maybe later, that I've got Demonslayer. Being stabbed with it numerous times, you think he'd have been able to tell much eariler. Also, the Gazers and their mental effects start to become pretty annoying.




Oh man. I've totally got this. And on the first try too. Just to be sure, I have everyone drink invulnerability potions. Except Diana, since no one stands a decent chance at even hitting her. But I think my victory is assured, and I can safely relax and...




NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NOT KNOCKBACK! NOT NOW! I'M SO CLOSE! Well, hold on. Maybe I can get Brauner back over to Grah-Hoth before he's surrounded. If worst comes to worst, I might be able to have him switch swords with Leo mid fight. I can still win this.




...or not. Leo is perpetually stunned, slowed, or dazed until he dies, Grah-Hoth finally took notice of the only character still hitting him, and Brauner's got a rather thick wall of baddies to wade through if he wants to help. Could this be the end of our fearless and magicless heroes?


Brauner dies, predictably, but Grah-Hoth won't attack someone he's charmed, so all that happens to Diana are two rounds of menacing staring. Suprisingly, Diana manages to hold her own--Grah-Hoth can't consistently hit her and doesn't do lethal damage when he does. No pic, but for a while I'm sandwiched between two Imps that leaped into the corridor but can't hit me. I'm impressed that she finds room to dodge AoE fire attacks in such a small space, but I figure I'm pretty much dead--there's no room to place anyone if I use a Return Life Scroll and even if I can kill Hoth, I can't move so I can't run away. Then, one of the Imps inexplicably decides to leap away, so I rush into the open room and pull out a Return Life scroll, hoping to mount an unlikely comeback...




Oh come on! I totally had room for more than just one! I'm almost certainly dead now, but I figure I'll try it to the last. Thankfully, Grah-Hoth shows that he has a much better attention span than I do by NOT getting bored and wandering off once losing sight of me. So Charlotte starts stabbing some Imps while I try to move Diana into the treasure room to revive the rest of them.




Wait...is this really happening? The imps are dead, Grah-Hoth has no buddies, he's resorting to summoning demons just to keep me away from his throat...in retrospect, I probably should have tried to get him to follow me in here from the start....




YES! And escape is all but assured! The men die while the women escape because I'm too cheap to use any potions now that I've already won, but I'll take it. Grah-Hoth can be beaten on Hard Mode without ever casting a spell! I was almost certain I was going to lose that one, but there you have it.


There's a few minor things to pick up before I can go for it, but I'll do a similarly detailed account of the Final Gauntlet, and ultimately of the killing of Hawthorne.


Two random thoughts:

-I found a free Steelward spring in the Northern Isles, but after you drink it 4-5 times, it stops working. Sort of weird, given that Ward of Elements is better and you can get it forever in the Castle's altar...in any case, in the absence of spells, you gotta save your ward items.


-I have never run a pure archer before this file, and have a question for those that have. Do you generally find you do more damage with the First Expedition Bow or with the Possessed Bow(less damage, but 50% chance of critical hit) I have a Lethal Blow skill of 12...thoughts?

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Very exciting tale!


I think the math favors the Possessed Bow, and that's the one I kept for my archer. But I never made a serious test of it.

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very nice story and you got bit lucky (which is needed against Grah) and yes best tactic would been luring "him" into trap (Grah in doorway and 3 chars pummeling Grah with swords/poles in close range and archer bit further).

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Well, this is interesting. I had a little time on my hands, so I shot a hapless ogre a hundred times — 50 with each bow. Maybe not enough to be statistically significant, but that's the limit of my tolerance for boredom.


Anyway, here's the result:


Possessed (Heartstriker) Bow

  • 70% of hits critical
  • 369 average total damage/hit
  • 109 average after resist

First Expedition Bow

  • 42% of hits critical
  • 393 average total damage/hit
  • 117 average after resist

This was with 12 Lethal Blow, and everything else equal. It looks like (slight) advantage: First Expedition.

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Wow that surprises me, I would have thought the much higher crit chance would make Heartstriker better.

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Fewer crits, but only about a 30 point difference in the rate. I don't know if that's an anomaly. Also note that the crits you do get with the FEB are much higher, naturally, many of them into the 500s; low 400s were more typical for the PB.

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Stop the Underworld, I Want to Get Off!




A fair warning, this was not as exciting as my Grah-Hoth battle. But anyway, I love all the build up to this area--it's as though they expect you to just happen to be wandering around in here and stumble upon the exit, so they throw a bunch of hints about corpses that were probably on the surface recently, etc. So, we're all set to fight some weird giants and stumble around in the dark.




I actually didn't even realize the fight in the illusory surface room was avoidable. Normally, I'd fight it anyway, but this is a long enough dungeon as it is, so whatever. I hit the secret switch and move on, saying my password and so on.




It's times like this I wish I did this party with 2 archers. For mindless giants, they've actually positioned themselves fairly strategically--without a ranged attack, your characters have to run all the way around to go up the stairs. Still, all these guys can dish out is physical damage, and the party is well equipped to deal with it. No big problems so far; not even using up too many potions.




Am I the only one who both loves and hates these "dark" dungeons? They add a nice bit of variety, but GAH I can never wait for them to be over. This is the real challenge--I'm not sure I can do this without being able to spray AoE attacks all over the place.




The first few waves of baddies are fine, and I don't even spend that long stumbling around looking for the wheels. However, things start to go south right about here. Mental effects, even with the Arcane Lore, are always a problem. This, combined with their high powered elemental attacks, makes Gazers and Eyebeasts my most hated enemy in this runthrough. I've hoarded all the decent armour that give bonuses to Mental Resistance, but I never know beforehand what I'm gonna face, so I never switch to it in time. Thankfully, it looks like Brauner might be too far away to hurt anyone.




We manage to survive, but at the cost of one of our members. As I mentioned, the party is pretty functional even with a member down. But, I really don't want to fight the boss without a full party, and I REALLY don't want to walk all the way back to town. So, despite the fact that they're limited, I burn a Return Life Scroll. I've never even purchased any at any point, so I'll likely manage.




He doesn't look like much, but that there is the boss. The toughest lich I've fought so far has been Drath, so let's see if this joker can top him.




This is one of the reasons I love the dark dungeons. I'm focusing on the Lich, and every now and then one of these giants rushes out of the shadows and takes a swing. I'm never sure exactly how many opponents I'm facing, so it's nice and suspenseful. Eventually, the Lich inflicts Death Curse on someone, but unlike the Hakkai Lord, his take 13 or so turns to kick in. While I understand that this is because I've got no means of curing the effect, it ends up being purely psychological. There's no way the fight would last 13 turns after he does it anyway, win or lose.




Ding dong, the lich is dead! Hooray! Mercifully, his defenders vanish after he dies, so I don't have to worry about fighting the Ironward ones. As I've said before, such enemies actually aren't that hard to kill, but my archer is nearly dead, and without her I'd have only one character that inflicts magical damage. We stumble through the darkness and find...




The surface! Again, apologies for a rather bland runthrough. It was exhausting, but not especially difficult in comparison to Grah-Hoth. So, now that's done.


After doing this, but before posting, I also killed the Queen Aranea(in the second lair) and Thantria, just for kicks. Neither fight was especially challenging or interesting, so I won't detail them here. With pretty much every useful stat now trained, Hawthorne is next on my list, and my last task for this playthrough. I'm not sure if I can manage this one without Blink and AoE attacks, but we'll see.

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Hawthorne is possible as long as you keep moving using extra action points to keep from hitting a bottleneck.

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who says FG's giants are mindless? all giants in that area were (are) quite smart which occasionally made things bit difficult (due other enemies which were trying to devastate party).

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Alright, so, I've attempted Hawthorne a few times, and been unsuccessful. It takes an eternity, but I've identified three main trouble spots:


-About 2 seconds in, there is a forced bottleneck where you essentially have to kill almost everyone. Doable, but takes a long time without AoE attacks.


-Garzahd battle. Annoying, but doable. The main problem is the sheer volume of cronies he has, so even when he's gone, it is very difficult to actually get out afterwards. The hallway afterwards is narrow so guys can pretty easily become trapped.


-Hawthorne himself. I've gotten here on each attempt, but because of the Garzahd battle, I can never get everyone in here consistently. I'm not precisely sure which step triggers it, but the group tends to get cut off when about 8 or so guys instantly spawn in the end hallway and surround everyone. I try to get someone into Garzahd's room, wait for everyone to die, and then use a Return Life scroll, but you have to have a full round of no actions if you are revived, and it only revives at like 25% health. My feeling is that if I could get all 4 in here, it would be a breeze. I've got invulunerability and battle frenzy potions, and with only 2 guys was able to get the golems down to whichever phase comes after "terror", but then I got knocked back into a corner and couldn't hit the golems anymore.


My strategy has basically been to use Battle Frenzy to push my way through groups whenever possible, and save Invulnerability for the Hawthorne fight. Without an AoE attack, I only kill guys when they are actually forming a "wall" preventing me from moving. I've considered using Battle Disciplines with knockback, but because of a slight bug enemies are essentially immune to ensarement and immobilization unless you inflict it for at least 2 turns.


Any advice? I'm thinking I may try focusing on keeping the group tight in the final hallway to make sure that everyone is past the proper point before the 8 guys instantly spawn. But otherwise, anyone have any ideas?



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Do you have the latest game version? I remember Jeff changing Return Life scrolls so you came back to full health instead of what you had just before dying.


Maybe Adrenaline Rush and curing potions to remove fatigue with potions/scrolls to keep Battle Frenzy level since you don't want to slow down. Also try to keep moving forward even leaving enemies alive behind you. I usually get trapped in the east corridor.


This is especially true with Garzahd with moving along the east wall to the final corridor.

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I have the latest iPad version...maybe he didn't update it there? Yeah, I kill very few people overall--except in that first corridor where they block you, the only other guys I'll kill are the ones directly blocking me. Otherwise I just Battle Frenzy to outrun them.


Also, unless I'm mistaken, you can't cure fatigue in this game. Not like Avadon. So I use the Adrenaline Rush when I can to get some extra attacks(shame I can't use it to move...), but curing potions won't do much except get rid of the endless amount of ensaring and immobile that these dudes inflict(which is why I've brought a few for each character.)

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I'll post pics if people want--there's nothing interesting but they do prove it. But yeah, I did it!


At the first bottleneck, I just used a Speed Burst scroll and had everyone try to take out as many guys as they could, as quickly as possible. Once there was enough room, everyone drank their Battle Frenzy potions and we just barely outran the chasing mob. At the Garzahd fight, it was focus fire until he flees. At this point, the team was sort of split and had been swarmed by the mob, but I was able to get Charlotte(spear fighter) into the next hallway. I got her to just near the throne room while deliberately letting everyone die.


Once they were all dead, I used a Return Life scroll to bring everyone back. (Last time, I'd made the mistake of reviving everyone IN the throne room--bad idea. You need a round for healing.) I managed to get everyone healed and into the throne room just ahead of the approaching mob. At that point, Invulnerability started coming out and I switched to an Elemental Ward. This, combined with some Armor potions and Battle Frenzy potions meant I was able to break the shield with ease. Once the shield popped, I had everyone switch to bows, and thankfully Hawthorne is weak enough that 2 shots from untrained archers are enough to kill him.


So that's that. The game can be beaten on Hard Mode without ever casting a spell.

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If you're crazy enough to try this, some things you need to know:


First of all, make sure to use the strategy thread. It has lists of trainers, potion recipes, maps, a lot of stuff that will help fill in the blanks here.


Potion Farming


In battle, your only way of healing will be the use of potions. This means several things:


-You can't afford to wait until Level 8 to sell things. You'll need to buy potions early on, and buy some Cave Lore from Vemeers as early as possible. The upshot of this is that you don't NEED 4 people to take Negotiator--I got through with 2 people and was able to train in everything I wanted and then some.


-There are two early game sources of Healing Herbs you need access to. One is in the Gremlin Grove between Fort Avernum and Silvar, and cannot be accessed until you get Almarian Wine. You can find some Almarian Wine in the NE room of the Nephil Castle for the Stolen Necklace quest, on the ground floor. Get this as soon as you're strong enough. The other patch is northwest of Fort Duvno, surrounded by some water--you'll find it pretty easily.


-By the mid-late game, you'll want access to all of the herb patches, and you will want to do a "farming run" every now and then. You can check a map to find them all, but basically do this:


Warp to Cotra, walk to the Healing patch NE of Fort Duvno, then to the Gremlin Grove for more Healing Herbs. Walk south towards Mertis, then move through the network of tunnels to the east of it and you'll find Spiritual Herbs. Keep moving south until you hit the Tower of Magi, then move west along the road. One of the paths on the northern part of this road has Energetic Herbs -- get them. Then walk into Almaria and warp. If it's late game, go to Bargha. If it's mid game, go to Cotra.


Second Part

If midgame: Go to Cotra, get in a boat, go west a bit and then north as far as you can. On the land mass with the Hidden Aranea Lair and the chapel where you can learn Return Life, you can score some healing herbs at the very top of the land mass. Then, get back in your boat and go to Freehold of Kyass for the nearby Graymold patch(it's off on some islands). From there, walk west to the Mandrake Root patch, and then you're done. Leave your boat by Cotra to save time for the next run.


If lategame: Go to Bargha, walk east and get the Mandrake Root patch, keep going east to Freehold, use the Orb of Thralni to jump to the Graymold patch, then use the orb again to jump east to the next landmass. Walk a bit east and then go north as far as you can for the Healing Herbs, and then you're done.


-For healing out of battle, aside from walking outdoors, you have two options, and I suggest you exercise both. In Bargha, Ethridge can train you in First Aid. 2 points for each character, while costly, will give you a decent amount of health after each fight. Secondly, before you complete the Sss-Thss quest, you can receive free food in Fort Remote by talking to the cook there. You want to get an enormous store of kebabs and have each character hold them in their quick use slot. If you are playing on a computer, NEVER speak to Mick and simply type 1 repeatedly to skip through the conversation quickly. If playing on iPad, DO talk to Mick, then try to position the screen such that the cook herself is positioned exactly where the "2" conversation option appears, and just poke in the same spot until you get food, then hit the checkmark, and repeat. In either case, it doesn't take TOO long to get a few hundred kebabs once you get a decent rhythm going. Also, pick up all food you can find regardless--you probably want to sell meat and fish, but the valueless food and bandages are worth keeping. Make sure to get all your kebabs for the rest of the game BEFORE killing Sss-Thss.


Stat Training


-With 2 characters having Negotiator, I was able to afford all of the stats I'd ever need, and then some. That should be sufficient for you, too.


-Prioritize defensive stats--you can't heal easily, so damage reduction is very important. Also, get each character to 15 in their base weapon stat so that they can use Adrenaline Rush as soon as possible.


-Because you have no way of curing mental effects, each character should buy 2 levels of Arcane Lore. You can get them from Erika at 800 gold each.


-Each character should buy 2 Levels of Resistance, Hardiness, and Parry. Melee characters should wait until they have got 10 Hardiness and 10 Parry before going to the trainer(this way the stat can be raised to 12). Archers can buy the stats whenever.


-Most of your stats can be bought cheapest in Freehold after completing all the Freehold quests, but you may not be able to wait that long, nor will you you need to for some stats. If Hrarr trains the skill, hold off as long as possible on training it. Check the strategy thread for a list of trainers to get a sense of what's available where.


Party Makeup


Since you aren't using magic, these are all the options possible for party building. ALL characters should be as tanky as possible, either through evasion or endurance. You will most likely invest more in Endurance for melee fighters than you usually do.


Dual Wielding Swordsman: Definitely viable. You'll likely have multiples--there are enough DECENT swords for 3, or even possibly 4 dual wielders. Keep in mind that Demonslayer's resistances make it a very viable endgame sword for this type of playthrough--survivability is key.


Sword/Shield Wielder: More viable than on a normal playthrough. You can't heal, so the armor bonus could be nice to have. The only real issue is that swords tend to offer better bonuses than shields, though there are a few with good abilities.


Pole Weapons User: Viable. The damage output is less than a dual wielder, but you can get "Smite" and combine it with a quicksilver item to get two attacks per turn. Other melee fighters CANNOT AFFORD TO USE QUICKSILVER ITEMS--the damage increase is not worth the amount of armor you lose. Since Smite has no negative effects, you only need a single one for the spear wielder, which is nice.


Ninja/Mixed Melee and Missile Fighter: The versatility of this type of character would actually be very much welcomed--you can't always hit who you want with melee fighters. If you do it, make sure to max out Parry, Hardiness, AND Gymnastics, so that you become hard to hit AND tanky. You will, however, lose a bit in terms of Endurance and damage output, so Cold and Acid foes will be a problem. Might be worth a shot, hard to say.


Archer(Bow User): Definitely viable. Invest heavily in DEX and decently in END, and max out Gymnastics. This will make your character almost impossible to hit in most encounters, and ensure that you can't be one-hit-KO'd so you can heal. I reccomend equipping just ONE quicksilver item--this means that if Gymastics kicks in AT ALL, you get 2 attacks. The Archery skill tree is very easy to fully max out, so I also reccomend investing 5 points in Luck to increase your defense, and archers are the best characters to invest in Tool Use for the same reason. Keep in mind that DEX does not help evade Cold or Acid attacks, so you need some endurance to survive those. You absolutely need at least one archer for Steelward foes, as well. (More on that later)


Flinger(Thrown Weapon User): Not viable. Thrown weapons outdamage bows but there are a limited supply of them, so they should not be your primary form of attack. In addition, no thrown weapon offers any special bonus, while there are several bows that do.


General Strategy


-Save all of the following items: The Bow of Storms, The Flaming Sword, and any armor or weapon that provides a decent bonus to Mind Effect Resistance. The bow and the sword are crucial to fighting Steelward foes--such fights are rare, but you won't get through them without having one character use each weapon. For this reason, you ABSOLUTELY need an Archer. The Mind Effect items are for fights where mental effects are a big deal--change your equipment to increase Mental Resistance when fighting foes that use lots of mind affecting moves.


-Save your Return Life Scrolls as much as possible. I was able to make it through the game without ever buying any, but keep in mind that the game does have a limited supply of them.


-You will notice very quickly that your party stands a decent chance at winning a fight even when 1 or 2 characters die--this is because you essentially have 4 stand-alone characters, and not a synergystic "machine" that can't function without all of its parts. For this reason, it is acceptable to even NOT HEAL a character who is close to death if victory is in sight(since doing so will cost you a non-renewable resource). Just run back to town afterwards.


-Save your Piercing Crystals. You can't open every barrier, but you can open up everything you NEED. If you end up using all of them, and there aren't any more to buy, you can buy out the Slith Merchants near the Waterfall Warren of everything they have, and they will restock. You can do this with any merchant, so if you really end up needing Return Life Scrolls you can do that too.


-By praying at The Castle's altar, you get a Ward of Elements at Level 1. Where possible, get this before fighting anything major, though note that some areas will require you to enter a town and lose the ward. For those areas, you can gain the spellward through items. Steelward is available at a spring in the northern isles, but you only get a few uses of it, so really, you're just using items for that one. Ward of Thoughts can be found in the Honeycomb, but again, it has only a few uses. In any case, Thoughts is not an especially effective ward, so I suggest going for one that reduces damage instead, EVEN WHEN FIGHTING MIND-AFFECTERS. Your saved Mind-Res armor, as well as your points of Arcane Lore, will have a much more noticable impact.


-FOCUS FIRE. This is a good idea anyway, but it is absolutely CRUCIAL to this playthrough. Your goal in any fight needs to be to reduce the number of guys damaging you as quickly as possible. For this reason, getting all 4 characters to have Adrenaline Rush should be done as soon as possible.


Hope that helps, and I REALLY hope none of you are silly enough to actually try this out. It's a BIG headache, believe me. Also, while it MIGHT be doable on Torment, I really don't suggest trying it--if it is possible, you will probably have to spend way too much time grinding for potions. On Hard, the only time I needed to grind was for some of the game winning quests in order to replenish my supplies.

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Nicely done! And thinks for putting together a list of the tips and strategies you used. It's a great addition to A:EFTP knowledge base.

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I'd like to see a future version of Adrenaline Rush, or any turn where if you have a certain # of action points left you can still move. Say if you have 6+ AP remaining you can still move. Enemy slows still apply of course, but if I fire of an AR and wipe out all adjacent opponents I'd like to step one to the left to get a whack on the next guy. I mean when I think of AR I think of a bezerk axe wielding maniac leveling foes all over the field, or an archer leaping around firing shot after shot, then ducking for cover.


Of course it would be particularly deadly for casters to lay down overlapping sheets of AOE :)

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The items you can't use like a robe, cloak, what have you, you can sell for extra money. *stupidly points out the obvious* Sorry I'll just leave *slinks away*

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Tried this on Normal for kicks.


One thing to add is that the Frozen Blade can be wielded in the off-hand to negate its drawback of taking hit chance from Intelligence instead of Strength. This adds another consistent source of non-physical damage.

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