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A3: RW - How not to Suck Playing (SPOILERS)

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Other players may have different advice depending upon how they like to play.

 

Make sure you have plenty of different saved games and save before entering a dungeon or taking a delivery quest because some may expire before completion.  Also before praying at altars because they can be hazardous to your health.

 

Character Building

 

Plan ahead with your party so you don't have to edit it or worse restart because you tried to use jack of all trades or ones that have difficulty hitting the monsters. It's hard to build a bad party at the start, but later on in the game bad decisions will reduce your chances of hitting.

 

The most important stat is for your primary attack. Melee fighters need strength, range fighters need dexterity, and mages and priests need intelligence to do more damage and increase their to hit chance. Each point in that stat increase your damage by one level and your to hit chance by 5%. This is more important than increasing the related combat ability in the skill tree because that only increases your to hit chance by 1%.

 

The next most important stat is endurance since this game uses the same system as Avadon where your health increases by 5 when you gain a level or raise your endurance by 1. Endurance is the more important stat for the first character in your party if it isn't a high dexterity character during outdoor encounters that character is usually attacked by the monsters and can easily die in the first round even on normal difficulty. The exceptions are area attacks that hit more than one character and a knockback attack that moves the first character so the next one gets hit by other monsters. For those the second character needs some health. You can get by without increasing endurance on normal difficulty for most encounters.

 

Your other two stats will increase automatically with a point being added as you level up starting with strength at level 2, dexterity at level 3, intelligence at level 4, and endurance at level 5. Then it repeats. If you want to increase strength to avoid encumbering your character you can or wear lighter armor until your strength goes up on its own.

 

You can't successfully make a character that will evade all attacks by maximizing dexterity even on normal difficulty. There is always a minimum 5% chance to hit and most boss monsters have an even better chance. Even specializing in dexterity won't work. Like Avadon it appears that dexterity evades physical, fire, and energy attacks, intelligence evades mental attacks, and endurance is used to calculate evading cold attacks and resisting poison and acid.

 

Above level 30 when you level up you no longer get traits. The fixed increased stats, health and spell energy increase still occur. You still get assignable stats and skill points until level 35 when they are now every 5th level. There is no level cap in the game if you have the patience to grind to higher levels. However with only 16 traits per character and some only available at higher levels, you need to plan ahead. You will probably finish the game in the mid 30 levels depending upon how many quest you complete and wisdom crystals you use. Above level 40 it's hard to get experience from monster killing. Getting above level 43 is not worth the effort or needed.

 

Abilities in the Skill Tree

 

When getting abilities in the skill tree you only need one of the prerequisite abilities below and you can't increase it more than the highest level below. There is also a cap on raising the abilities above the lowest tier beyond 10. Tool use and nature lore are capped at 10 and luck at 5.

 

Trainers can be used at any time with no increased cost and they don't count against the 10 cap for higher tier abilities. So you can reach 12 in some abilities before items. Trainers are very useful for less important abilities. However if you use the trainer for a higher tier ability, you may not be able to raise it later using skill points if the lower skill is capped so hold off on trainers until you have used all the skill points you are planning for that skill. This is important for Parry, Spellcraft., Resistance, and Sniper.

 

New items are crystals for Hardiness, Resistance, Sniper, Magical Efficiency, and Luck. These need to be used after skill points and trainers if you want to reach the maximum.

 

The first character, the meat shield, should aim on getting parry as soon as possible. I would recommend getting the column of melee weapons, hardiness, and parry as soon as possible to 10 in each. This will give you 30% parry against melee and missile attacks, but not magic attacks. The trait parry mastery can be gotten twice to make it 36% parry before items that add more. A late game trainer can give you two more levels for 42%. Shields and a few items increase parry.

 

Being able to avoid getting hit makes a big difference and will keep the meat shield alive to protect the rest of the party. In outdoor encounters this may be the time to buff the party and start a strong attack.

 

Fighters

 

A melee fighter with a sword should then get quick action and dual wielding. The use of a second sword drops your to hit chance by 15 to 19%. Each level of dual wielding reduces the penalty by 2% and decreases the damage penalty. The traits Ambidexterous and Dual Weapon Mastery also reduce the penalty.

 

A pole weapon fighter will do more damage per blow than a melee weapon fighter, but will never get the extra attack that will more than make up for lower damage per blow of a dual wielding sword fighter. Instead there is a cleaving attack chance for adjacent monsters.

 

A range attacker should probably go with bows, gymnastics, and sniper at the start. Thrown weapons do more damage because they 1 to 4 points of damage per level compared to a bow's 1 to 3 points per level. However there are a limited number of thrown weapons in the game especially the better ones. Gymnastics gives you a 10% chance per level of getting extra action points in a round, Sniper gives you a 5% chance per level of getting a bonus shot. It's easy to get three shots a round on different targets.

 

So while a range fighter will do less damage per shot than a melee fighter there will be a chance of getting in extra shots per round and being able to direct them at different targets which you can't do with dual wielding.

 

Hardiness increases per level:

-- 3% armor

-- 3% magic resistance

-- 3% fire resistance

-- 3% cold resistance

-- 1% poison resistance

-- 1% acid resistance

 

All combat skills: melee weapons, pole weapons, bows, and throw weapons, count as 1 level towards battle disciplines. You need 5 levels of combat skills to get the lowest battle disciplines and 20 for the highest.

 

Spell Casters

 

You only need a maximum of 19 in mage or priest spells to be able to cast all of them. After that intelligence is the main way to improve damage and to hit chance.

 

Concentrate on either damage avoidance with parry or increasing action points using gymnastics. Combine an increased action point item with gymnastics and you can get two actions a round. Add a haste at level 3 and/or a speed potions/elixirs or scrolls to get battle frenzy and haste for the chance of three attacks a round. The Haste spell can reduce action point cost from 9 to 5 on either the first or second action.

 

Getting spellcraft and resistance is the way to protect your spell caster from damage. Spellcraft only increases the damage by 2% per level. Resistance increases the resistances by 3% per level for all hostile magic, damage and curses. Since you will have lighter armor on your mage this becomes very important. You can get as good armor and resistances as a fighter, but not until late in the game.

 

For mages get the sword mage trait to wear bulky armor that reduces your to hit chance so you can have higher physical armor and resistance. You start out being able to wear -5% to hit chance bulky armor. Items that increase your to hit chance can counter bulky armor penalties.

 

To read spell books to get level 3 you will need arcane lore. Some spell books only count the arcane lore in the party and not the adjustment for sage lore trait. The total maximum arcane lore is 28 and can be split up in the party, however 15 will get almost all of them. Vahnatai Lore counts as arcane lore for almost all spell books.

 

Other Abilities

 

In this game the total for all player characters is used for arcane lore to learn spells from books, nature lore to open caches and sometimes get past obstacles, tool use to open doors, containers, and remove traps, and first aid to restore health and spell energy after combat. In this version the total amount in the party is used so you can spread it around so there is no need to put all the tool use in one character.

 

For Tool Use you need 10 to finish the game and 18 to open the highest level door with Tinker's Gloves giving +1.

 

For Arcane Lore the highest is 28 with 15 giving you almost all spell books for level 3.  For the highest without Sage Lore trait you need 17, but can use Vahnatai Lore.

 

For Nature Lore the highest is 15 with Forager's Boots giving +1 and the Utility Ring giving +2.

 

Traits

 

Traits become available depending upon your abilities and level. So the strength trait needs two levels of melee and/or pole weapons, dexterity needs two levels of bows and/or thrown weapons, intelligence needs two levels of mage and/or priest spells.

 

Make sure you get all three Health traits to get a bonus percentage of your total health. After 100 health that extra 5% is better than more endurance and the other two still add a bit more.

 

Mages and priests should also get the three Mana traits to increase maximum spell energy after 100 spell energy. Also it appears that they sometimes give immunity to mental attacks, but I haven't seen in always happening.

 

Backstab is useful if you fight in a group or with summoned pets adjacent to a target.

 

Sword mage allows mages to still cast spells in bulky armor and each level negates 5% to the to hit chance penalty. You start at being able to cast with a -5% penalty armor. This helps because some of the best armor is -20% to hit chance.

 

Negotiator is available when your character is higher level and gets you 10% more money on items you sell. Money isn't that tight in this depressed economy so if you plan to use trainers or buy spells, consider getting it. There are lots of expensive things in the game like buying a house. 

 

Job Board Delivery missions start out paying little, but the later towns pay 510 coins or more and can be quite significant.  Don't neglect picking up minor items since there enough of them to toss into the junk bag and add up to several thousand coins.

 

 

Fighting and Spells

 

Be sure that you can do all of the four main damage types in your party: physical, fire, cold, and energy. There are some monsters that are almost or completely immune to at least one type and sometimes with high resistances to more than one. It's not how much damage you can do, but how much penetrates.

 

Early in the game, daze is very powerful in keeping monsters from attacking. The most important tactic is to keep from being swarmed. So anything that can reduce that is helpful. Get second level Daze for the chance to ensnare monsters to keep them away from you. There are other spells like third level Icy Rain that immobilize for a few rounds. Howl of Terror is supposed to work on higher level monsters, but you need more than level 1 and some are immune.

 

Indoors take advantage of terrain. Doorways are you best friends since if you can force an enemy to stop in the doorway the rest of the monsters on the other side will usually stand idly by while you can attack the monster and lob area effect spells into the room. Move your characters adjacent to the door on either side, but not in line of sight of monsters in the room. Then when you kill the monster usually the next one will run up and get stuck in the door. This forms a conga line of death (Knights of the Dinner Table reference).

 

Advance slowly in new areas so you can encounter just one monster at the edge of a group. Then buff and hit the space bar to see if you go into combat mode when the monster sees you. Back off and lure that monster to its death, then repeat until their numbers are reduced.

 

Overlapping area attacks are effective in killing quickly on normal difficulty. Even on harder difficulties taking out the monsters quickly is helpful.

 

Combining spells can help avoid damage. Daze at level 2 also can ensnare monsters so they can only move one space before stopping. Add Call the Storm to knockback ensnared monsters and melee attacking monsters won't be able to reach you until the ensnaring wears off.

 

Level 3 versions of some spells are very useful. Healing spells give regeneration, Icy Rain immobilized foes, Daze can stun them, and others have bonus percentage damage added to original damage.

 

The mage spell Blink acts like the Avadon Shadowwalker ability Shadowstep to ensnare nearby monsters while you move to a new location. This allows repositioning the mage so his attack spells is more effective. For instance using the cone Arcane Blow on a clump of monsters.

 

If you can before a fight, then buff the party with haste (at level 3 there is a chance of battle frenzy for bonus action points), war chant to hit better (at level 3 there is a chance of spine shield), and protection (at level 3 this is a chance of regeneration). When you first see a monster there is usually time before combat starts to cast one buff before going into combat mode.

 

Remember the old human saying:

 

"He who fights and runs away, lives to run another day."

-- Worf, Star Trek: The Next Generation, "Encounter at Farpoint" novelization by David Gerrold

 

Moving away from a swarm of monsters may keep the farthest ones from attacking. Just creep up to lure them away one by one to their deaths instead of yours. In almost all encounters you can come back later, so picking them off instead of charging in to fight can work to your advantage.

 

Also outdoors when the monsters are tougher this can give you a round to buff if your party goes first. In the demo area you can just daze and slaughter the easier monsters.

 

Playing on Torment Difficulty

 

Steelward and spellward cast before entering a dungeon or leaving town will counteract some of the penalty.

 

Parry is more important since that isn't affected by game difficulty. It only works against melee and missile attacks, but not magic.

 

Health should be much higher than normal difficulty so have more endurance. This will also reduce acid and poison.

 

When all else fails, come back a few levels higher than you would on normal difficulty.

 

 

Singleton - Or Who Needs a Full Party

 

A single character now goes up only as fast as a party of four. After level 40 it's wisdom crystals to get significant experience.

 

When creating the character get bows (two levels), mage spells (two levels), and priest spells (one level) at the start. This will let you fight, cast daze on monster swarms, and heal yourself. As you level up you can choose what type of character you want. 

 

I went with mage spells from the start to get Pool of Fire at level 2 as soon as possible. This allows you to do area effect damage. Tool use for unlocking doors and traps can wait since you need less money for one character. However you can also switch over to Anama and still finish using Call the Storm instead. The main thing is to use summoned monsters and area effect spells.

 

Use the trainers to get abilities especially Nature Lore and Arcane Lore.  

 

Tool use will help you get more loot and deal with some hidden switches that let you into certain places. Use the nimble fingers trait to get two levels. Tinker gloves will give you one more. You need level 5 to get through the Agate Tower and level 10 to complete the game.

 

The priest/tank is probably the easiest build since you can use heavier armor when daze isn't effective. Priest spells use up more spell energy than mage attack spells, but the heavier armor will reduce damage and you can use spells to block damage. Reduce damage enough and you won't need to heal as often and you won't need to use speed potions for fights.

 

Mage spells will require swordmage trait so you still can wear bulky armor. However using bolt of fire and icy rain will use less spell energy and give you more choices when attacking. Eventually you will probably want some mage spells with dispel barrier.

 

Get to 15 combat disciplines using trainers and skill points so you can get Adrenaline Rush. Those extra attacks in the first round are very useful. 

 

Endurance is even more important since damage won't spread out to other characters. You need health and quickly to survive.

 

The worst things for singletons are the mental attacks of stun and terror. You will at some point fail them and if you don't have enough health then all you can do is watch as you slowly die. At least with terror you have a chance of fleeing your attackers.

 

After switching over to magic as your main attack, increase intelligence to hit better and do more damage. You will find magic is your range attack. Pick the one that does the most penetrating damage. Magic can also let you deal with swarms and you will face them in the final fights where you can't waste time fighting them one by one.

 

For some boss fights near the end you will need to be tricky. Speed consumables will give extra action points to move into better positions to maximize damage to the most monsters and/or move to a place where fewer monsters can attack you. Blink is another option to move away and the target where yo were.

 

Anama

 

There isn't any problem finishing the game even as a singleton. The main differences are priest spells use more spell energy and you won't be able to access areas behind level 2 and 3 magical barriers. So you will miss a few nice named items and wisdom crystals.

 

You can get some free first level Priest spells in Shayder on the Isle of Bigail. This is the only place to get Divine Fire at level 3.

 

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I take it that my plan to play the game on Torment with a party of two close-combat fighters with extra points in Dexterity for missile weapons and Intelligence for resistances (and maybe a few points in Priest Spells and/or Mage Spells), a polearm-wielding cleric with a good helping of Strength and finally one standard mage may be a bit foolhardy?

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Another thing to keep in mind is that on Hard or Torment levels, any spells cast will affect everyone in the target zone.  A cone of lightning spray cast from the rear can (& probably will) hit your frontline guys too.  A misaimed zone of Daze can knock out your fighter right when you really need him. Etc.  It's a game played on a well defined grid & not in real time, iow you have time to place your spell right where you want it, use it.

 

(and a very minor early game point - if you're going to use food to recover hit points in dungeons, if possible stick to a vegan diet of bread/mushrooms/fruit.  Meat/fish actually have value & can be sold for a little bit of cash)

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29 minutes ago, Minion said:

I take it that my plan to play the game on Torment with a party of two close-combat fighters with extra points in Dexterity for missile weapons and Intelligence for resistances (and maybe a few points in Priest Spells and/or Mage Spells), a polearm-wielding cleric with a good helping of Strength and finally one standard mage may be a bit foolhardy?

Torment difficulty, at least early in the game, encourages concentrating on attack attributes to hit and do more damage. Intelligence for resistances doesn't really work since it's capped at 90%.

 

Priest spells for healing and curing aren't bad since you can use them as needed in a fight or afterwards. However a priest will do more damage with spells than a weapon.

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TriRodent: I noticed that in the tutorial when I dazed my two fighters, and they remained so during the subsequent training montage. And thanks for the food tip, it seems my party will go green for the sake of those precious spells and skills.

 

Randomizer: Don't resistances act as a flat chance to resist a certain effect? If they do, even a 50/50 chance to avoid being dazed, charmed or confused seems like a good thing.

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Resistance skill is better for curse resistance. Putting points into Intelligence for mental effect resistance doesn't really help.

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This is now pinned. Could you add links to the other Avernum 3 guides to the main article? I don't want to pin every Avernum 3 guide, but I definitely want people to be able to find them.

 

EDIT: Sorry, I didn't see the main set of links was already pinned.

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5 hours ago, Randomizer said:

A single character now goes up only as fast as a party of four. After level 40 it's wisdom crystals to get significant experience.

So, are you saying that a singleton gets the same amount of combat and quest experience any party member in a full party of four - that is, they level up at the same rate? If so, that is a big difference from A1 and A2. What level did you finish the game at in your singleton playthroughs?

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That's right, you no longer go up as fast as other Avernum games. It's like Avadon.

 

I finished a singleton play through at level 42 and I think it's possible to make 43, but you don't need it that high.  However you do need higher levels for the Filth Factory and Castle Troglo than a party of 4 just to do more damage.

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Random -- I see that most of this guide is literally identical to the previous two guides.  Can you point out what parts have changed for those of us who are familiar with them already?

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Biggest changes are:

 

Crystals that can give points to certain skills - Hardiness, Sniper, Resistance, Magical Efficienc,y and Luck.

 

No place to make Wisdom Crystals and Invulnerability Potions/Elixirs.

 

Shields now give parry.

 

Almost impossible to geta character higher than level 43 to reach level cap.

 

No shortage of money thanks to Job Board Deliveries.

 

Blessings to armor/weapons in metal box near lever makes armor value increase and/or weapon do 5 or 6 levels more damage.

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40 minutes ago, Randomizer said:

Blessings to armor/weapons in metal box near lever makes armor value increase and/or weapon do 5 or 6 levels more damage.

 

To piggyback on that the blessings are the same no matter where you apply them (A3 iirc gave you different blessings at different locations - cold resistance at one, +'x' to hit at another, etc)

 

****

 

Spineridge tends to have the best paying jobs (1500ish gp on average but doesn't seem to reload the board as fast as others)

 

No reward for chasing goblins near Malloc ... well other than the satisfaction of self appointed monster whomping that is

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The blessings seem to be the same. However for an armor with 2% it increases to 6% whereas for 34% it only goes to 46%.

 

Job Board deliveries seem to reload one new job per game day.

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1 hour ago, Randomizer said:

Blessings to armor/weapons in metal box near lever makes armor value increase and/or weapon do 5 or 6 levels more damage.

Can the blessings be stacked or is it one per item?

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Blessings are one per item and there are a limited number of times you can do it, once at Portal Fortress and twice else where. There are a dozen places to do it.

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Both, but if you wait until you have decent named items you can improve the ones you would normally keep for the end and have 85 to 90% armor and resistances for even a party of 4. 

 

Blessing boxes are at:

Portal Fortress

Tower of Magi

Friendly, Happy Spiders

Sharamik (2 places in town)

Concealed Tunnel

Greendale

Upper Golem Factory (2 places)

Blackcrag Fortress

Ovdipur

Wyvern Pass

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Are any of the attributes different? Poison is one-shotting me on torment with no endurance, but it may have always been like that.

Edited by Brood_Star

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15 hours ago, Randomizer said:

Playing on Torment Difficulty

 

As Brocktree said about Avernum 6, there is a 36% penalty in physical armor and resistances so maximize them as quickly as possible especial for your meat shield with armor. Steelward and spellward cast before entering a dungeon or leaving town will counteract some of the penalty.

 

 

I think this was investigated and found to be a misunderstanding: Torment actually doubles all damage received before resistances are applied, which caused some glitches in how resistance calculations were displayed. In any case, though, the end result is that on Torment you can expect to take a lot more damage.

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Indeed it was:

 

http://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/21188-torment-armor-penalty-may-not-exist/

 

It's a display bug.  Torment does not penalize armor or resistances at all, it just hands you more damage.  This is an important distinction -- if it were really the subtractive penalty, small amounts of armor wouldn't matter at all, which is not the case.

 

A quick google search shows that this misunderstanding has propagated and shows up on, e.g., the steam forums as well.  Please stop spreading it, folks.

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Randomizer, given the addition of AOE friendly fire (including from summon abilities) on higher game difficulties, which summons - either regular or Simulacra - did you find most useful?

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Summon Shade was the most useful for me because I usually did cold attacks and they don't suffer from mental effects like daze and terror.

 

I never had as much luck with most regular summons after the early part of the game since they didn't hit that often. Other players might have had better luck. I didn't get the ones I wanted with Capture Soul.

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I used summoning a bunch with my various playthroughs, however they were there mainly to be additional meat shields/distractions for the assorted monsters to pay attention to.  I really didn't expect them to do too much fighting wise (when my mage got Arcane Summon, those tended to help a bit but even then they were mainly there for distraction purposes).  Frontline guys had their mage ability high enough for Minor Summon by mid game & the Mage & Priest in the back (with energy available) would do the higher level Mage/Priest summoning.  They were mainly summoned though for town/dungeon fights & not outdoor encounters (especially when a boss fight was dumb enough to let you run in in combat mode, cast a spell or two, & 'then' talk to you/pick a fight)

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Can you have more than 1 arcane + 1 priest-based summoned creature at a time?? I thought these games had moved away from more than the 2 maximum creatures. I ask b/c it sounded like TriRodent had up to 3 summons at a time.

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1 per character - all four of my guys have at least some mage spell capability.  Any combo of 4 mage summons, 4 priest or anything in between

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