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BloomingLilac

A2: Crystal Souls - Questions

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1. Is the Strong Back trait worth getting? I'm confused about whether it's an improvement over Swordmage or if it's meant to decrease a character's "to hit" penalty. My warriors are so strong now that they are nowhere near being encumbered by their armor. However, they do miss a lot when I have them wear too many items with "to hit" penalties. They both have at least one level of Sure Hand.

 

2. I just finished the Find Gremlin Women quest. I'm in the Giant Fort. Do I need to wait until the women have been rescued to get through this passage?  I've tried casting Move Mountains to break the rocks inside the fence. That didn't work, and I can't see any other switches. Here's a screenshot:

 

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1225590710

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

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I believe Strong Back only improves your weight limit, not your hit rate. The best way to improve your hit rate for melee fighters is just to invest more points into Strength, and think carefully about what armour is really worth wearing in the early game. Eventually you can get to a point where you can just wear everything and still hit almost all the time, but until then, sacrificing 5% hit rate to take 2% less damage often isn't a good tradeoff.

 

It's been a while, but I don't think there's actually a way for you to get into that room.

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Thank you, Lilith.

 

I have my melee characters wearing regular pants instead of the leather greaves, etc., but one of them has the Assassin's Shield, which has +2 to Lethal Blow, 3% to melee damage, and 12% chance to parry. I'm wondering if I'd be better off having everyone dual wielding except for my slith warrior. That shield has -15% to hit chance. My priest and mage are using the Stout Hardwood Shield (+2 to Hardiness, +8% chance to Parry) and the Shield of Succor (+8% chance to Parry, +10% to Healing). Both shields have -10% to hit chance. They both have the Sure Hand trait, and my mage has the Swordmage trait. They're starting to hit more often now that I've added points to their strength.

 

I normally increase my melee characters' strength every other level and increase their endurance so that it's about equal to strength since they take so much damage in combat.

 

When they level up, I notice that they get stat increases automatically, but it flashes so quickly that I don't always see which ones were increased. Is the stat increase random? For example, I sometimes notice +1 Strength or +1 Dexterity above them when they level up at the same time. Sometimes my priest or mage gets +1 Intelligence. I know that their health and spell energy increases when they level up, but I don't think they always get the same stat increases.

 

I went back to the Blasted Ruins to sanctify the evil altar, but I still can't find a key to get into the locked room. I tried opening it with the key that was guarded by the three demons. Am I missing a key somewhere in the ruins? I'm assuming that I'll find it somewhere else or that I'll have to come back when I can dispel the barrier. Unfortunately, I have to kill Limoncelli to learn Dispel Barrier. Is there anywhere else to learn the spell? I'll need at least two levels for that barrier.

 

http://steamcommunity.com/id/BloomingLilac/screenshot/880881779827775031

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The stat increases are in order on the stat/ability screen starting with +1 strength at level 2 and then again at level 6.

 

The Blasted Ruins key is found much later in the game,

 

There is only the reward for Dispel Barrier if you want to get to level 3 later in the game with the spell book. However Aimee much later in the game can give you the first level according to Slarty's list.

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1 hour ago, Randomizer said:

The stat increases are in order on the stat/ability screen starting with +1 strength at level 2 and then again at level 6.

 

The Blasted Ruins key is found much later in the game,

 

There is only the reward for Dispel Barrier if you want to get to level 3 later in the game with the spell book. However Aimee much later in the game can give you the first level according to Slarty's list.

 

Thank you for replying. I don't understand what you mean regarding the stat increases. My characters are currently at level 16 and 17. How would the increases apply after level 6? To clarify my comments about stat increases above, I meant that sometimes I will see different stats above the characters' heads when they level up. The text is purple. Sometimes my warriors will get a point in strength and other times they'll get a point in dexterity, and if I recall correctly, they occasionally have an endurance increase. I mostly see bonuses of intelligence for my mage and priest, but sometimes they get dexterity bonuses.

 

Also, I was wondering if intelligence has an effect on how much experience each character gains. My mage and priest level up faster even though they all have Quick Learning and Great Wisdom traits.

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The stat increases in a cycle of 4 levels, so strength is at 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, ..., dexterity is at 3, 7, 11, 15, 19, ..., intelligence is at 4, 8, 12, 16, ..., and endurance is at 5, 9, 13, 17,.,,,

 

They all get the same bonus at the same level, but you might have missed the messages.

 

Experience is based equally among those characters alive when it is given. There is a small random element of a few points. Having traits will give you more experience, however the higher level you are the less experience you get so it isn't as much of a gain near the game's end. Intelligence makes no difference.

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7 hours ago, BloomingLilac said:

I have my melee characters wearing regular pants instead of the leather greaves, etc., but one of them has the Assassin's Shield, which has +2 to Lethal Blow, 3% to melee damage, and 12% chance to parry. I'm wondering if I'd be better off having everyone dual wielding except for my slith warrior. That shield has -15% to hit chance. My priest and mage are using the Stout Hardwood Shield (+2 to Hardiness, +8% chance to Parry) and the Shield of Succor (+8% chance to Parry, +10% to Healing). Both shields have -10% to hit chance. They both have the Sure Hand trait, and my mage has the Swordmage trait. They're starting to hit more often now that I've added points to their strength.

 

I normally increase my melee characters' strength every other level and increase their endurance so that it's about equal to strength since they take so much damage in combat.

 

Dual wielding is almost always stronger than using a shield for a character who's going to be attacking in melee. Think about it this way: would you rather take a little bit less damage, or inflict nearly twice as much? However, keep in mind that dual wielding also carries a hit penalty, so you'll still need ways to mitigate that (Dual Wielding skill helps).

 

That strength:endurance ratio sounds a bit low to me, too. I usually added 3 points of strength for every 1 point of endurance. Hardiness and Parry are generally more effective at keeping you alive than Endurance. If you've maxed both of those out already, the other way to reduce the damage you take is to reduce the number of enemies as quickly as possible.

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It also depends upon game difficulty level. On normal you can usually take out the enemies faster than you take damage. Whereas on torment difficulty you get into a fight of attrition where you can die in a single round if you are swarmed. So the harder the difficulty level, the more Dual Wielding skill you want before switching from shield to sword.

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2 hours ago, Lilith said:

 

Dual wielding is almost always stronger than using a shield for a character who's going to be attacking in melee. Think about it this way: would you rather take a little bit less damage, or inflict nearly twice as much? However, keep in mind that dual wielding also carries a hit penalty, so you'll still need ways to mitigate that (Dual Wielding skill helps).

 

That strength:endurance ratio sounds a bit low to me, too. I usually added 3 points of strength for every 1 point of endurance. Hardiness and Parry are generally more effective at keeping you alive than Endurance. If you've maxed both of those out already, the other way to reduce the damage you take is to reduce the number of enemies as quickly as possible.

 

1 hour ago, Randomizer said:

It also depends upon game difficulty level. On normal you can usually take out the enemies faster than you take damage. Whereas on torment difficulty you get into a fight of attrition where you can die in a single round if you are swarmed. So the harder the difficulty level, the more Dual Wielding skill you want before switching from shield to sword.

 

I've had better luck with Dual Wielding in previous games (A6 & Avernum: EftP) than with sword and shield, but my characters were getting killed by ogres and giants before they even had a chance to attack. I started equipping them with the shields and increasing endurance so they'd have enough hit points to survive those massive blows. They're able to withstand a lot more damage now that they have 170+ hit points. My mage and priest can actually do as much or more damage with spells than my warriors which is fine by me because the warriors can survive long enough to keep them alive now.

 

I have a ring with +2 to Dual Wielding, so I'll probably get rid of my sword fighter's shield and try increasing strength more often than endurance to see how it goes. I'm playing on normal difficulty. Maybe I just tried to complete some quests I wasn't meant to do until my characters were at a higher level.

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Okay, now everyone in my party is level 21. I tried taking on the eyebeast in Cotra. Even with Invulnerability potions, I can only get its health down to about half before I'm annihilated. I'm hoping I still have time to raise my casters' weapon skills high enough for the benefit of using Adrenaline Rush. (?) (It never occurred to me that that discipline would be beneficial to them until I started browsing the forums.) I just read somewhere that characters don't get as many traits after level 30, and I haven't been putting any points into Resistance. Any thoughts on whether I can make it through the game without having many points in that?

 

Now that I've got my melee characters' weapon skills built up, I'm putting more points into Parry/Riposte/Quick Action/Lethal Blow/Hardiness, etc. I truly hope I don't have to start over. They don't have many points in Gymnastics and Blademaster. Tool Use is 12, Cave Lore is 11, Arcane Lore is 13, Vahnatai Lore is 2, and First Aid is 8. I haven't invested in Luck or Sage Lore.

 

My casters still need to learn Divine Fire and Fireblast. I suspect that will help me defeat creatures like the eyebeast. (?) Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

 

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That is one of the toughest fights in that part of the game. It's scripted so you need to keep using the basins and concentrate on that eyebeast. Positioning is important so you can attack without taking too much damage.

 

Traits are every 5 levels after 30.  You can usually finish the game in the low 30 level range or wander around the map gathering ingredients to make wisdom crystals to go up.

 

Get the high level spells because of the greater damage in area attacks. 

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2 hours ago, Randomizer said:

Traits are every 5 levels after 30.

 

I thought skill points were every 5 levels and you stopped getting traits entirely. But yeah, it's kind of a moot point, since level 35 is about the highest you're likely to reach in the course of an ordinary playthrough.

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15 hours ago, BloomingLilac said:

Okay, now everyone in my party is level 21. I tried taking on the eyebeast in Cotra. Even with Invulnerability potions, I can only get its health down to about half before I'm annihilated. I'm hoping I still have time to raise my casters' weapon skills high enough for the benefit of using Adrenaline Rush. (?) (It never occurred to me that that discipline would be beneficial to them until I started browsing the forums.) I just read somewhere that characters don't get as many traits after level 30, and I haven't been putting any points into Resistance. Any thoughts on whether I can make it through the game without having many points in that?

 

Now that I've got my melee characters' weapon skills built up, I'm putting more points into Parry/Riposte/Quick Action/Lethal Blow/Hardiness, etc. I truly hope I don't have to start over. They don't have many points in Gymnastics and Blademaster. Tool Use is 12, Cave Lore is 11, Arcane Lore is 13, Vahnatai Lore is 2, and First Aid is 8. I haven't invested in Luck or Sage Lore.

 

My casters still need to learn Divine Fire and Fireblast. I suspect that will help me defeat creatures like the eyebeast. (?) Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

 

Wait, you're putting skill points into your magic user/priest's melee weapon skills?  For them I tend to just, over the course of a game, give them a point or two in sword use & bows just to have a last ditch option if they're low on energy or in a null field (also to open up the option of Hardiness & Parry).  Other than that though you'd be MUCH better served pumping up their spell levels & spellcraft.  If you really want them to have the extra action points then use a potion, scroll or Haste at L3 (once you get it).

 

Your First Aid is really high (unless you bought the skill points rather than using your own).  At most, for my typical party they'll have maybe three total.  First aid is nice but it doesn't do 'that' much after a battle that you can't get by drinking a potion/eating something or ducking back into town to recharge (& unless you're on the Dark River or deep in Empire territory, a friendly town usually isn't 'that' far away)

 

Gymnastics is nice as it'll give you an extra action point every few rounds.  When combined with armor/shields that give you an extra point you can usually have two attacks/round without being hasted.

 

Sage Lore is good to put a point or two into as it counts (iirc) as 3 arcane lore when reading spell books.

 

I also tend to toss a point or two per character into Luck as it does slightly tilt random events (of which there are MANY) into your favor.

 

Resistance is on my 'nice to have but not vital' list.  If I've maxed out all the spell levels that I want for my casters (usually two, both dual classed (MU/Priest) with one maxed to the highest level magic & around level 10 in priest and the other maxed in Priest & level Fireblast in magic) 'and' maxed out Spellcraft then I'll think about putting a couple into Resistance (although Hardiness & Parry tend to get them first).

 

Another option that I like doing is letting the melee guys wear less encumbering armor (or a point or three in Swordmage) & get their magic use/priest up to level 5-6 so that in the start of the fights they can haste/bless everyone or cast slow/daze on whoever you're fighting.  That frees up the more powerful spell casters to toss the much more damaging spells at whoever you're fighting.  If you let whoever you're fighting come to you, that gives you a round or two to buff up & meet them on better terms.

 

Divine Fire is a must as it can be used as a grenade where Fireblast is a cone of attack.  You'll need both moving forward as you'll need to do lots of damage quickly to large groups of Empire soldiers who are rolling up on you.

 

The eyebeast in Cotra - I usually leave him for a while after clearing out the Empire troops.  Come back later when you've got the firepower to smash hard & fast.

 

You probably won't need to restart with the party that you've got but it's not an optimal build (at least the way I fight through things).

 

Good luck/have fun/etc

 

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3 hours ago, TriRodent said:

Wait, you're putting skill points into your magic user/priest's melee weapon skills?  For them I tend to just, over the course of a game, give them a point or two in sword use & bows just to have a last ditch option if they're low on energy or in a null field (also to open up the option of Hardiness & Parry).  Other than that though you'd be MUCH better served pumping up their spell levels & spellcraft.  If you really want them to have the extra action points then use a potion, scroll or Haste at L3 (once you get it).

 

No, I only have a few points in Bows & Swords for the same reasons that you mentioned. I don't want my mage and priest to be completely reliant on their spells when they run out of energy or when the melee characters die. Now that I think about it, I believe the post I was reading about casters benefiting from Adrenaline Rush may have been someone's advice on playing as a singleton. I have my casters' spell skills maxed and now I'm putting points into Spellcraft.

 

I appreciate all your tips for an optimal build. When I replay the game, I'll probably train different skills.

 

The first thing I do when I start one of these games is give everyone at least one point in Priest spells because I don't like having to run back to town so often to revive fallen party members.

 

I must be doing something right because the Cotra eyebeast is the only foe I haven't been able to beat other than the roaming ogres near the Tower of Magi before my party leveled up a bit. They don't die after the first blow anymore, thank goodness.

 

My priest has learned Divine Fire now. I just need to find someone who teaches Fireblast. If my party learns the first level of a spell in a dungeon, will they still be able to train twice? If I recall correctly, my priest was only able to buy one level of a spell with the trainer in Fort Dranlon. I switch back and forth between the games in this series, so it could've been Avernum: EftP instead.

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You can train in weapon skills and use items like Discipline Blade to help you get enough or near Adrenaline Rush. Having extra attacks in the first round of combat with area effect spells makes a big difference.

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3 hours ago, BloomingLilac said:

My priest has learned Divine Fire now. I just need to find someone who teaches Fireblast. If my party learns the first level of a spell in a dungeon, will they still be able to train twice? If I recall correctly, my priest was only able to buy one level of a spell with the trainer in Fort Dranlon. I switch back and forth between the games in this series, so it could've been Avernum: EftP instead.

 

IIRC, you can buy two levels of any spell from a trainer/teacher.  Learning something from a spellbook will bump that spell to level 3 (but only if you already have two levels in that spell).  However if you have no levels of that spell purchased then what you learned from the book will only work at L1.  For instance you don't have anyone who can cast Fireblast at the moment.  In your next dungeon you stumble across the spellbook that teaches it.  Now anyone with high enough magic levels to cast it can cast it at level one.  After getting that you head to the next town down the line.  While there you find someone who will teach Fireblast (woo hoo).  You (assuming you have the money) will be able to buy two levels of the spell from him/her, giving you L3 in that spell now.

 

For skills though it is different.  Let's use First Aid as an example.  As long as you don't add two skill points to FA while leveling up then you can train twice in that skill.  If you've already raised it to one point then you can only buy one additional point in the skill.  I mentioned First Aid because you said you had 8 points in your party in that skill.  If you never picked that skill while leveling up then you could buy two levels each for every member in your party from a trainer (we'll leave aside if that's a good use of your money...) which would be a good way to get that much First Aid as it cost you no skill points that you got from leveling up. 

 

Well hell... again iirc .... Jeff changed the way that skill trainers work sometime in the past.  The way it is for most games is like I just described.  In A2CS you might be able to buy two levels from a trainer at any point... 'but' skills tend to be capped at 10 (other than melee/spells which go to 20ish).  For 'really' useful skills (spellcraft for instance) it's better 'not' to train in that skill until you've maxed things out at 10 because then you can add the two trainer's skill points to make 12 (same with using items that raise a skill category, hold off using them until you've maxed things out).

 

For only being able to buy one level, was it a really low level spell?  If you've already automatically learned a spell from the start then you're already at L1 & can only buy to L2.  You'll still need to find the textbook to get to L3

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I was thinking that it was a spell my priest didn't already know, and when I went to train, I was only able to buy one level (after finding the first level somewhere out in the world). However, I may have just forgotten that I'd already trained once.

 

Thanks for explaining all that. I thought someone had posted that if you kill Limoncelli to learn Dispel Barrier or train with some other NPC (Aimee?) before getting the first level at Pyrn's Tower, it wouldn't count. I'd hate not being able to learn more than 2 levels of that spell.

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On 12/9/2017 at 1:51 PM, BloomingLilac said:

2. I just finished the Find Gremlin Women quest. I'm in the Giant Fort. Do I need to wait until the women have been rescued to get through this passage?  I've tried casting Move Mountains to break the rocks inside the fence. That didn't work, and I can't see any other switches.

 

You can't get to Gremlin women (and I'm sure it wouldn't be smart thing to go there even if it was possible due Gremlins can be nasty fellows) w/o cheating and unlikely that there is something valuable.

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