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wackypanda

A2:CS - No magic playthrough

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Posted (edited)

Inspired by Learned Noremac's no-magic run of A:EftP. No coherent strategies for now, just thinking out loud.

 

With no Resistance or Arcane Lore training and no items that cure mental effects, this may be a bit of a non-starter. :p

Has anyone ever observed Sanctification Scrolls curing mental effects, or am I misremembering?

Edited by wackypanda

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Posted (edited)

Thinking out loud again.

 

Sanctification Ritual scrolls don't cure mental effects. It doesn't seem as if any item does. In my last run I had my non-spellcasters wear their mental effect resistance gear all the time, which got them to >60% mental resistance at the endgame. I don't know if there is enough mental armor for four. Human PCs can conceivably burn traits on INT and Luck to improve mental resistance.

 

How many enemies are immune to physical damage?

 

Weapons that can inflict non-physical damage (to different degrees of usefulness):

- Flaming Sword

- Frozen Blade - in A2:CS works like the Flaming Sword instead of using INT for to-hit like A:EftP

- Bow of Storms

- Oozing Sword

- Venomous Blade

- Ever-Rotting Bow

- Jade Halberd

If I recall correctly, none of the swords in this list can be dual-wielded with each other.

 

Whoever is the HM lore slave also has to burn 4 skill points to get 2 Arcane Lore for the portal ritual.

Edited by wackypanda

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Will try a party of one dual-wielder, one spearman, and two archers, all human. Two or more dual-wielders would be much more effective in the late game, but painful in the early game (even when using single swords without shields). Two archers because there seem to be more dungeons in A2:CS where ranged enemies snipe you.

 

Most of them will have skill points or traits for Luck and Intelligence, because those are the only ways I can think of to raise mental resistance other than items. With traits, the more relevant ones will have already been taken.

 

Otherwise most of the strategies from the A:EftP thread should apply, e.g. buying First Aid, hoarding food etc.

 

Intended end-game builds (not counting trained points):

 

Urist (Dual-wielder)

10 Melee

10 Hardiness

10 Parry

10 Blademaster

8 Quick Action

7 Dual Wielding

8 Lethal Blow

 

Traits: STR x5, END x5, Health x3, Mighty Blows x3, Dual Blade x2, Parry Mastery x2, Fortune x2, INT x2

 

Lokum (Spearman)

8 Pole

10 Hardiness

10 Parry

10 Blademaster

10 Quick Action

10 Lethal Blow

5 Luck

 

Traits: STR x5, END x5, Health x3, Mighty Blows x3, Backstab x3, Parry Mastery x2, Fortune x2, INT x1

 

Feb (Archer 1)

10 Bow

10 Sharpshooter

10 Lethal Blow

10 Gymnastics

10 Sniper

2 Priest

2 Arcane Lore (needed for portal ritual)

3 Tool Use

5 Luck

1 Cave Lore

 

Traits: Negotiator x1, Nimble Fingers x2, DEX x5, END x5, Health x3, Sure Aim x3, Fortune x2, INT x3

 

Egdoth (Archer 2)

Weapon skills as above

7 Tool Use

5 Luck

1 Cave Lore

 

Traits as above

 

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Posted (edited)

Chapter 1 was straightforward. On Normal one can complete most of the quests, including destroying the slith fort and the hidden ogres (I really wanted the boost in mental resistance that the latter quest gives). For the slith fort I skirted around the perimeter to pick off the slith flingers before taking on the boss, and also took advantage of it being such a small dungeon with zone exits on all sides.

 

An interesting detail about initiative that I learned from the ogre fight, which may have been known already. If you turn on "party acts in roster order" and get into a fight where initiative, from first to last, is rear character 1 > rear character 2 > enemy > first character, the turn order is first character > enemy > party, putting you at a disadvantage. I always had "act in roster order" on because I hate the idea of my archers (or casters, in other playthroughs) getting blocked by my front line, but that outdoor fight went better once I'd turned it off.

 

If in a given round no one has taken enough damage for my archers to finish them off, I have my archers spread out their Flawless Shots to ensnare enemies in the rear. That gives you some breathing room.

 

When I hit level 8, I bought First Aid from Fort Draco for everyone. I also bought some Cave Lore from Tor and mined the fungal clearing every time I passed by Formello, then made as many potions as I could before starting Dark Waters. In hindsight, I could have had two of my party invest an extra skill point in their weapon type to bring it to 11, then bought Bows and Thrown Weapons in Formello to bring them to 15 weapon skills for early Adrenaline Rush instead.

 

Halfway through Dark Waters now. Stashed all my food in Fort Draco prior to going down the rapids, but still got one message about losing food. Oh well. Bandages don't get lost, but they're not that useful for healing in battle. For healing post-battle there's standing outside, or the purchased training in First Aid.

Edited by wackypanda

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Thanks! That would be useful even with a normal party, especially in that one end-game fight (I can't remember which exactly) where the whole party gets nullity. I'm playing without mods for now.

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Posted (edited)

Upped the difficulty to Hard. Cleared the Coffin Caves by letting the enemies in the coffin room come to the doorways. Then, when fighting the undead in the back room, I exploited the campsite outside by having one archer flee there when everyone else was KO'ed, then going back in for round two. The issue with stashing food prior to Chapter 2 which I belatedly realized is: you need food to rest at campsites. For health you don't actually need to rest, and this party doesn't need to recover energy, but rest is needed to raise unconscious. Derp. At least there was enough food scattered about Chapter 2 for at least one rest, or that cheese strategy wouldn't have worked at all.

 

First Aid is unfortunately useless in the Tomb of Dahris-Bok, because the one person you send will only have 2 First Aid. At 2 First AId it is possible to "recover" as little as 0 health and 1 energy. I chose the archer with Mercuric Leather and Gymnastics, for the increased evasion and extra actions. (I also wanted Tool Use so that I could do both the combat and trap route in the first corridor a la Geneforge, and the melee fighters don't have any.) Worked reasonably well so long as I positioned myself to avoid getting swarmed. I did have to use all my bandages, a few potions, and a few Fiery Wand shots, but I still have plenty of potions and wands to go around.

Edited by wackypanda

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Comments on builds and equipment:

 

Urist

Level 12

Strength 16 (+3)

Dexterity 5

Intelligence 5

Endurance 7 (+4)

Melee 10

Hardiness 7

Blademaster 7

Parry 3

Dual Wielding (+2)

First Aid 2 bought

Cave Lore 2 bought

Luck (+1)

Traits: Strength x3, Endurance x3, Mighty Blows x1, Ambidextrous x1, Fortune x1, Health x1

 

I'm still not sure I've reached the point where it becomes better for Urist to dual-wield compared to sword and shield or single sword. I have him dual-wielding anyway, with a waveblade for the +5% hit chance and the steel shortsword stolen from Fort Draco.

 

Lokum

Level 12

Strength 16 (+4)

Dexterity 5

Intelligence 5

Endurance 7 (+3)

Pole 9

Hardiness 8

Blademaster 8

Parry 2

First Aid 2 bought

Cave Lore 2 bought

Magical Efficiency (+2)

Luck (+1)

Traits: Strength x3, Endurance x3, Mighty Blows x2, Health x1, Fortune x1

 

Fairly straightforward. I think his damage output may be starting to fall behind, but I haven't been paying very close attention. The crude halberd is his weapon of choice for now, as it has both the 25% chance for bonus damage which spears get, and the cleave damage chance which halberds get. I don't think the spear bonus was intentional. Now the only advantage the steel spear from Fort Draco has is its damage dice.

 

Feb

Level 13

Strength 5 (-1)

Dexterity 17 (+5)

Intelligence 5

Endurance 8 (+1)

Bows 10

Sharpshooter 1

Gymnastics 5 (+1)

Priest 2

Arcane Lore 2

Tool Use 3 (+2)

First Aid 2 bought

Cave Lore 1

Luck 5 (+1)

Traits: Dexterity x3, Endurance x1, Sure Aim x2, Fortune x1, Nimble Fingers x2, Negotiator

 

Feb is a level ahead of the rest of the party from clearing the Tomb of Dahris-Bok. She has the Mercuric Leather (which can be crafted before even starting Chapter 2) for +1 AP, meaning that Gymnastics only has to succeed once to give her an extra action.

 

If I had started this playthrough on Hard I probably would not have pumped all those lore skills at the beginning . As it is I'm just glad I don't have to think about them.

 

Egdoth

Level 12

Strength 5

Dexterity 16 (+3)

Intelligence 5

Endurance 7 (+2)

Bows 10

Sharpshooter 4

Tool Use 7 (+2)

Spellcraft (+1)

First Aid 2 bought

Cave Lore 1

Luck 5 (+5)

Traits: Dexterity x3, Endurance x2, Sure Aim x1, Fortune x1, Nimble Fingers x2, Negotiator

 

As there are only enough ingredients for one Mercuric Leather in Chapter 1, Egdoth is pumping % missile damage and % crit chance (in equipment and skill choices) instead of Gymnastics. Feb is still the main ranged damage dealer. I expect things to even out as the archers' skill trees max out.

 

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Posted (edited)

Arrived in vahnatai lands, did the three tests, and saw the council of Olgai. Because this party has no particular love for vahnatai and their hand-waving magic nonsense, they returned to Avernum straight after. Not one of my better ideas. Burned through a lot of potions. Still brute-forced my way into enough quests for Magi Clearance.

 

I've never played the original Test of Patience, but this version could be a little bit more difficult so that it deserves the name more. The gate puzzle in the Tomb of Dahris-Bok was harder. I sent my second archer and did a bit of grinding with the hostile constructs until they started having >20% chance to hit.

 

Test of Strength required a few potions and careful positioning, so that melee enemies block each other and enemies like the thorn-shooting fungi don't have you within all of their ranges.

 

After returning to Avernum, most of the potions that were used were spent on fighting the Serpent Cult (when the party was at level 13-15), because once you go into the Snake Pit you can't leave until you've defeated the boss. At least potions are technically renewable. It didn't help that I didn't have Adrenaline Rush. Failing that, Leg Sweep (weakness curse) + Well-Aimed Blow did the most damage.

 

The brigands in Silvar also deserve mention, as their leader uses Bladeshield, which effectively decreases the damage she takes from this party by more than half. My spearman was able to get some hits in by cleaving from the brigand leader's summons, but otherwise my archers had to do most of the work.

 

I also did a few minor quests and bought some training, including bringing Cave Lore up to 7 total. This got me enough graymold to cure the sick nephil village, which unlocks the best trainer for bows.

 

When it comes to getting Magi Clearance, my petty, spiteful method of doing so is to boat around Almaria because they don't deserve my 5 coins. Because you can no longer land directly north of Almaria, this involves landing north of Fort Emerald, using a piercing crystal or Move Mountains to get into Fort Emerald (they won't open the gate if you enter from the north), getting Magi Clearance at the Castle, activating the Castle pylon, and then backtracking and activating the portal at the Tower of Magi. I may come to regret this since this party actually needs piercing crystals.

EDIT: And of course you can circle around Gnass to get to the Castle from the north instead of breaking into Fort Emerald. Derp.

 

Edited by wackypanda

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Cleared some dungeons in the Eastern Gallery for money. Also cleared most of the Spiral Pit, but can't complete the quest to purge it completely because the center is blocked by a level 2 barrier. I also aimed for fights that would get me items which increase weapon skills, mainly the Almaria storeroom infiltrators and Gaddika's fortress. Everyone now has Adrenaline Rush, and all the Cave Lore one can get from Tor.
 

In A2:CS Dark Thoughts gives a slight boost to mental resistance.

 

I've just noticed that enemies have recurring problems with targeting if I completely block off their path to my two archers. I don't find it too cheesy as I can't always set it up with this party, but sometimes I wonder.

Edited by wackypanda

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