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I just did some testing to find out how trait bonuses change as you gain levels, and it turns out the level 1 bonuses are a little bit misleading. There are basically three tracks:

 

(1) Weak: +1 point every 10 levels, starting at level 0

(2) Medium: +1 point every 6 levels, starting at level 0 with 1 additional point

(3) Strong: +1 point every 4 levels, starting at level 0

 

Most bonuses follow the medium track; the only weak bonuses are to First Aid (Nimble Fingers), Gymnastics (Nephil), and Magical Efficiency (Natural Mage). There are also only three strong bonuses, and they are all from Divinely Touched!

 

The main significance of this is that Divinely Touched is much better than it looks. For the first 15 levels it isn't any better than the other traits. But at level 32, it seems that a Divinely Touched character will have +9 bonuses to Blademaster, Sharpshooter, and Magery. Elite Warriors, Natural Mages, and so on at the same level will have just a respectable +6 bonus. That's the equivalent of a MASSIVE number of skill points, especially if you're buying those skills anyway. Hmm, another reason not to take Fast on Feet smile

 

For non-skill-based bonuses, the only one that shows up on the character sheet is the Slith bonus to Resist Fire. This is a flat 10% that never goes up -- not a very good bonus at all. I haven't been able to substantiate the defensive bonus claims of Divinely Touched, Fast on Feet, Thick Skin, or Good Constitution, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

 

Q: Has anyone observed how these bonuses interact with the 30 point limit that reportedly applies to some (or all?) buyable skills like Tool Use?

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30 is the max allowable amount in all stat categories. If you buy level 31, the Train screen will let you do it, but then it reverts to 30. So, I imagine if you got 30 in a skill like Tool Use, any level-based bonus thereafter would not stick either. 30 is the limit no matter where the points came from.

 

Nice work. Keep it up! I'm liking Divinely Touched for all my PC's all the more.

 

I'm wondering what else besides Sharpshooter the Deadeye trait actually adds to bow ability—is it really worth it to give an archer, or will Divinely Touched add more with it's more quickly ramping up Sharpshooter?

 

Nimble Fingers seems pretty weak, and I have abandoned using it as a Trait.

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I doubt Sharpshooter adds anything else. It's priced at 10%, whereas Elite W, N Mage and Pure S are 15% with another medium bonus or small bonus + ability.

 

N Mage + Pure S seems entirely worse than either of those + D Touched. Both the manual and Synergy's testing suggest that _ Spells, Spellcraft and Magery have equal effects on spell power, and Efficiency is pretty bad. Also, don't forget D Touched + Sharpshooter, which could easily replace one of the DT+EWs.

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You mean Deadeye, rather than Sharpshooter, right? Though they might as well be synonymous if Sharpshooter is all Deadeye gives you. Its description could certainly be fulfilled by Sharpshooter alone (more likely to hit and hit harder).

 

Again, why use Deadeye when Divinely Touched gives you Sharpshooter, and advances its bonus levels at a faster rate? Might as well make an Elite Warrior or another Natural Mage out of an intended archer. I make mine a second mage and only make one true meat shield fighter.

 

It's exceedingly annoying at this point having only two nephil graphics though one can change their color with the Appearance button in the training window. Personally, I think the races as PC's look silly. I'd rather have many humans to choose from and more traits (like Nimbleness) to assign, and be able to assign however many I want. I am forced to go through a whole game now with walking cats or lizards just to optimize my game. This is racial biasing! (Humans have no special abilities or advantages).

 

I vote for humans having "Intelligence" bonuses, and therefore making ideal magicians...at the very least.

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Originally written by Delicious Vlish:
Slith characters had a bonus to Int a long time ago, as I seem to recall.
If by "a long time ago" you mean "in the Exile series", you're correct. :p

I really don't get why so many people have the impression that Sliths are stupid just because they're large, strong and often uncivilised. Everything about the game canon says otherwise.
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Originally written by Synergy:
It's exceedingly annoying at this point having only two nephil graphics though one can change their color with the Appearance button in the training window. Personally, I think the races as PC's look silly. I'd rather have many humans to choose from and more traits (like Nimbleness) to assign, and be able to assign however many I want.
It's a good point. You have 4 character slots to fill. Two of the three races you can choose from, only have 2 graphics.

There's skimping, then there's skimping.

edit: Tagging score: 1/3. frown
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Well, I just assembled a new party of four Divinely Touched nephils. Stomper is my Elite Warrior. Striker is my Natural Mage archer. Slinker is my Natural Mage thief. And Padfoot is my Pure Spirit priest. Each nephil has a total XP penalty of -55%! Thank God for the color choices in the initial SP setup screen. I made them different colors so I can at least tell them apart visually.

 

Even the A4 manual says that sliths are magically talented. Yet, the game offers no magical bonus to being a slith. Tsk tsk. Rather than saying humans are magically more adept than, say, sliths, I still think giving them Intelligence bonuses and/or Tool Use bonuses (due to our ten nimble fingers) might be appropriate.

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Or, hey, just give humans 6 skill points per level instead of 5 to represent greater versatility.

 

Actually, if one did that, one would probably have to improve the other races' bonuses a fair bit to compensate.

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1. Deadeye, yeah. Whee, I'm tired.

 

I would never use Deadeye instead of Divinely Touched. Use it IN ADDITION to DT. The effects are cumulative. That combination will give you +15 to Sharpshooter at level 32. There are certainly arguments to be made in favor of EW or NM ahead of it. I'm using it, though; here's why:

 

I'm running a party of a tank, an archer, a priest, and a mage, somewhat along the lines of what Vlish is doing. (I keep starting over with revised character plans based on new data about the game engine, so I haven't gotten very far... need to stop doing that smile

 

Having a second character who is primarily a melee fighter makes the tank much less of an effective defense, unless I also make the second character a tank -- a melee fighter has to be in close range to be useful, after all. And if I make a second tank, my offensive ability drops a little bit, without my ability to defend really improving. Also, since enemies on Torment have so much HP, it's helpful to have all my allies concentrate their fire on one enemy; this is slightly easier to do with only one melee-range attacker.

 

A third mage would be tempting, but increasing my magic reserves by 50% seems less useful to me than having a consistently strong supporting attacker I can use without having to worry about conserving MP. Plus, somebody said there are some things archery is the best offense against. It increases my options.

 

2. I think the reason people think Sliths are stupid is because the vast majority of the Sliths you encounter are hostile, and at least half of the friendly ones are grunting laborers with limited English vocabulary who react to you the same way that every single serf/refugee/child/etc. extra in Ex/Av does, by acting vaguely confused and pointing at their leader.

 

3. And I feel your frustration over the 2 icon choices. I feel it a LOT.

 

Although the skills (and traits, and races) systems in all of Jeff's games are extremely well-implemented, I have never really liked the design. (Exceptions: I like the 'collective skill' design of mage lore, and I loved the spell circles in Nethergate.) While Jeff's games are superbly well-balanced on the whole, that is not as true of his skill systems. Exile, for example, had five skills that were almost completely useless (HP, Bows, Throwing, Poison, Item Lore) and several that were overpowered (20 Luck made you immortal). The XP "penalty" of traits (and of extra creatures in Geneforge) has been broken from the beginning, in Exile II.

 

From a Positive Play Experience oriented point of view, having characters with distinct and unique abilities is good, as it helps ensure that all characters will be useful and fulfill some kind of useful role for the party. In other words: classes and specialization are good. Specialization fosters discussions about "I found it helpful to have these abilities; I used my Valkyrie to cast support spells freeing up my Priest's SP for combat" rather than these all-out optimization projects of ours, and squinting at the screen to figure out whether to pump Spellcraft or Magery first, etc. I certainly don't HAVE to make a party of four bow-toting Nephils just because it's optimal -- but it doesn't HAVE to be optimal, either! While the systems have gotten more balanced and focused -- the switch to four PCs in Av1 reflects this -- they have also gotten a lot more removed from reality: what the heck is the difference (in terms of what you are practicing) between Spellcraft and Magery? Quick Action vs. Quick Strike? Please.

 

--slarty

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Originally written by Delicious Vlish:
Having four Divinely Touched Nephils... That's one heck of a batch of kittens.

Either that, or somebody has forgotten all about role playing and has become utterly munchkin.

Personally, I like nimble fingers. Free first aid and tool use. What's not to like?
In practice, Nimble Fingers is good for about a +3 bonus to each. The First Aid bonus is small, and the Tool Use bonus... well, raising Tool Use is something you're mostly going to be doing early in the game, since level-15 traps start showing up as early as Formello and Unlock Doors takes over for doors later in the game. So you don't really get the full benefit of the Tool Use bonuses as your level increases.
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I had my fun role-playing my first two times through. Now it's a challenge to assemble the most potent and effective party possible. I'm rather pleased everyone's XP penalty is identical after giving each PC exactly what I wanted him to have. I really really wish we could assign three or unlimited traits to PC's. I'd give Nimble Fingers to the thief and Deadeye to the Archer, Fast on Feet to the fighter, and Natural Mage to the priest so he could cast a few mage spells in armor to boot.

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Ah, but tool use gives you +2 to tool use to start, plus a point every few levels. So I can start out of the gate with 8 points invested, which raises it to 10, which allows me to open all kinds of things. By the time I reach Fort Draco, it's up to 12 usually... Allowing me to open up all kinds of doors there. And I can easily gain a couple of levels before Formello... Usually, by Formello, it's 15, and I have only added maybe a point or two. It's a set it and forget it sort of skill. Which is nice really.

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I seem to also be afflicted with the dreaded "Have new information, must make new party" syndrome. I'm REALLY tired of everything up through Formello at this point.

 

Maybe I should just make two humans and two kitties as I would much more naturally prefer, or one slith, one human, except it seems like a slith's talents go to waste if you don't give him a pole. I don't find fire much of an issue in A4 either. I can't see why you'd want a slith unless you make him a pole-fighter.

 

A nephil melee fighter seems good because (A) I give some bow skills to everyone and (B) Dexterity is the most central skill for a good meat shield.

 

What's your specific party makeup (with races) at this point, Slarty? I agree with the only one fighter up front idea and have been following that model for my last several experiments. I agree one good archer is very useful, which is also my second PC. But you make him exclusively a powerful archer, rather than combining with Mage or anything else? Giving a nephil Divinely Touched and Deadeye as a focused archer does sound very tempting.

 

It sounds like your priest is a priest/mage? This means that you can't encumber him in heavy armor if you follow your own advice that Natural Mage and Pure Spirit combined are rather a waste. This works if you resolve to garb your priest in robes or leather armor only. I assume you make your mage your thief?

 

Actually, Vlish or anyone else working on effective party contruction, from all we have been learning the last couple of weeks, what is your ideal party construct (with races) at this point? (Not necessarily what you are currently using).

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Well, it has been my own conclusion that Nephils are, in fact, as a race, grossly overpowered. Gymnastics is turning out to be one of those uber powered sleeper skills that somehow seemed to fly under the radar during the beta... And I don't think much can be done about it now. Not that Nephils get much of it, but every last point helps and they do get it for free. They also gain free levels in archery, which is rapidly proving to be the most reliable physical skill in the game. (For many reasons, how parry works, how damage is boosted, and that you can punish foes with physical damage and not worry about charm or ripost effects) For a mere 10% exp penalty, which really isn't a penalty at all, you are having your cake and eating it too, with some extra scoops of ice cream.

 

The only thing that is really a downside to them is the horrid graphic issue... There are only two, and one of them looks like poo. Sorry, but the nephil in the breastplate graphic is so poorly done that I simply can not stand to look at it. And changing colours turns his fur odd shades of green, purple, or blue, causing him to look even worse... It's bloody awful.

 

I really hate to say this, because I am a big fan of this game and most of Jeff's work... But like Geneforge III, this game feels only half done and then rushed out. Need I remind any one of the super pixilated GIII boats... BLARGH!

 

And really, the Sliths got shafted, all things considered.

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Here's what I'm currently running, with some explanation I left out before. I suspect my opinions may change by the time I finish -- unlike the rest of you, I have the disadvantage of not having seen anything past Fort Draco!

 

Thing -- Nephil, Divinely Touched, Elite Warrior

Human Torch -- Nephil, Divinely Touched, Deadeye

Invisible Girl -- Nephil, Divinely Touched, Pure Spirit

Mr. Fantastic -- Nephil, Divinely Touched, Natural Mage

 

(Hey... I had to explain those creepy spandex outfits somehow! Poo is right.)

 

I have restricted my skill point placement to relatively few abilities, sacrificing skills that make little difference early on in order to get more out of trainers later. I have probably done this more than is practical, given the always high cost of trainers... does anyone have any more information about who teaches what where for how much? I am assuming, of course, that there is no 300gp/point Silverlocke cheating factory in this game...

 

Either way it doesn't really hurt me. Priests, for example, don't really need high spell power early. So I also concentrated First Aid and both Lore skills in Invisible Girl -- they are too useful to ignore, but that way I can buy them later for the others. Mr. Fantastic, of course, got Tool Use; like Vlish I like to ignore that skill so I just gave him 12 from the start. As Nephils, both casters have a passable enough bow attack to get us through the easy early levels. Bolt of Fire doesn't fry things by itself, but it doesn't need to with bow support from the rest of the team.

 

Human Torch (I look forward to giving him a flaming bow, if that's one of the "elemental bows" I keep hearing about) is freest to spend his points; I pump Bows and Dex and then start on Sharpshooter. Once I get that up a bit, I have been saving up his skill points -- he already has a fantastic attack for the early area, and I'm not sure if I'll want to pump it right away, or wait for the Cotra trainer and get him some other skills.

 

Thing gets a bunch of Quick Action, then Dex and Str and Gymnastics as soon as it becomes available. I've found that I don't really need to buy any Melee skill, given the Blademaster bonuses from both of his traits. His most important function is defensive; by ignoring Melee I improve his defense and also open up the possibility of training it later. We'll see if that lasts.

 

Depending on the location of trainers and $ availability, and my patience, and some point the skills will spread out; everyone gets at least a level of priest to get more benefit from first aid, the archer will probably get a little more magic invested in him, Thing will pick up Melee and the advanced fighting skills, the mages will share some tricks and pump their magic stats.

 

As for the mage/priest armor issue: I thought about giving my priest Natural Mage over Pure Spirit, but after skimming the item script, encumbrance seems to be much rarer than I expected. Most of the best helms, shields, boots, and gauntlets don't have any; for armor, the spellcasting bonus armors aren't encumbering, and the two weaker Quicksilver armors, which I suspect my mages will end up wearing, are both usable as well. (No amount of protection is going to make me pass up natural 10 AP. OK, almost no amount...)

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All this overreliance on divinely touched seems to make the game too easy. I didn't use any traits on the game I played and everything worked out just fine. All a matter of preference I suppose, but four divinely touched PCs seems a bit cheap.

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I have probably done this more than is practical, given the always high cost of trainers... does anyone have any more information about who teaches what where for how much?
In general, expect to pay 2000 gold to train in a skill, give or take a thousand or so. Skills you can train in include Melee Weapons, Pole Weapons, Bows, Thrown Missiles, Sharpshooter, Spellcraft, Magery, Nature Lore, Arcane Lore, Quick Strike and maybe a couple of others I've forgotten. Of these, it's definitely feasible to wait on Spellcraft, Magery and Quick Strike, and maybe on Nature Lore and Arcane Lore too. (It's not so useful to do so with the lores, since the first two points cost so little anyway, so the cost/benefit ratio is less impressive.)

You can train Nature Lore and Arcane Lore in Formello, if you're so inclined. For Spellcraft and Magery, wait until Cotra. (A word of warning -- don't buy any mage spells in Cotra until you've done the quest for the guy who teaches them. He'll give you a discount afterwards, and offer you training as well.) For Quick Strike, you'll be waiting a long time -- the trainer is in Almaria.

Quote:
I am assuming, of course, that there is no 300gp/point Silverlocke cheating factory in this game...
Nope. If you save up herbs throughout the whole game, you can get a large but finite number of skill potions made for you near the end. Or so I've heard; I'm west of Fort Remote now and still haven't found an alchemist who makes knowledge brews.
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Waiting to buy Pole and Melee is pointless. You'll need to give those skills to the appropriate characters to get far enough to buy them. A few points for primarily ranged characters is okay, but then you'll almost never get any benefit because those characters are staying away for ranged combat.

 

Thrown weapons are simply not worth training. Bows are better.

 

It's quite possible to wait and buy very cheap Bows and Sharpshooter, and I recommend doing so.

 

Waiting on Spellcraft is a bit tough but quite possible. Waiting on Magery is easy. I haven't wanted to try to get through the beginning with barely competent mages and priests to buy those skills in Cotra, but I suppose it's (barely) possible if you make the most of Natural Mage and Pure Spirit.

 

Nature Lore and Arcane Lore are so cheap in skill pionts that I've never bothered buying them with coins. The coins are better spent on more expensive skills and spells.

 

—Alorael, who has the same waiting for quest advice for archery. In Camp Samuels you can get Sharpshooter for so little that it's almost a bug.

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Originally written by Xeno's Paragua:
Waiting on Spellcraft is a bit tough but quite possible. Waiting on Magery is easy. I haven't wanted to try to get through the beginning with barely competent mages and priests to buy those skills in Cotra, but I suppose it's (barely) possible if you make the most of Natural Mage and Pure Spirit.
Ah. See, I don't have any pure spellcasters in my party -- my priests are both archer/priests and my mage was a mage/thief, so I had so many other things to pour skill points into that I didn't even want to put skill points into Spellcraft until some time after Cotra. If you had a pure spellcaster, I can see how you might run out of other skills to usefully raise before then.
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It's a trade, though. If you start with archer/spellcasters, you can't buy archery for them in Camp Samuels.

 

Tool Use would make sense, though.

 

[edit: capitalization]

 

—Alorael, who has an urge now to try to reach Cotra as fast as possible without ever putting skill points into any skills for his casters. Painful? Why yes. It'll definitely require Natural Mage and Pure Spirit. But think of the stories! Move over, Hapless!

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Based on the trainer prices I dug up, I'm changing my strategy. I'm going to avoid as many trainable skills as possible, instead relying on trait bonuses with Str and Dex for weapon damage. For the tank this will be relatively easy, since Strength, Dex, and Gymnastics are all untrainable. The mages can start training pretty soon, just after Cotra, and since the Spells skills aren't trainable I'll just diversify those a bit earlier. And picking up Luck earlier is probably a good idea anyway.

 

I'm less sure what to do about the archer's archery -- can I get by on traits? At level 6 I'll have 3 bows and 5 sharpshooter... maybe pumping dex alone will be sufficient. The other question is Lore and First Aid, which are worse values...

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Originally written by Thuryl:
Nope. If you save up herbs throughout the whole game, you can get a large but finite number of skill potions made for you near the end. Or so I've heard; I'm west of Fort Remote now and still haven't found an alchemist who makes knowledge brews.
You need to get through the Abyss first, he's in the section south of Khoth's Lair; look for some stairs to cross the river. Before he will help you, you need to dispense with an eyebeast.
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I've been making some notes on locations of Spellbooks, Trainers, etc. to better plan this sort of thing out.

 

Formello: Sage Townshend in the NE of town will train (expensive):

 

Arcane Lore for 1400

Spellcraft for 2800.

 

These are both worth waiting for, because the first spellbook you hit is under Potionmaster Hrank's shop in Fort Draco and is easy to go back to. So, I have decided to buy my first two levels of each of these for my PC's.

 

Hacking through the undead and Motrax Lair fights, etc. without some of the skills you can't buy till Silvar/Cotra would be a pain. I'm thinking Bows and Melee in particular, though if you are all Divinely Touched nephil, it would probably work tolerably—I am usually able to take a skeleton out with four arrows or less.

 

The placement of many skills trainers seem so far down the line from when any competent player would have already trained at least two levels in them, that I was really wondering what Jeff was thinking when he placed them. If you don't know where they are ahead of time, they are largely unuseful when you come upon them, as they were in my first game. This is especially true for the first half of the game or so. Late trainers tend to offer skills you actually are still deficient in.

 

In Silvar, Captain Call in the NE trains (only when the shade is not present) (expensive):

 

Melee or Pole Weapons for 2100

Bows for 1680

Hardiness

Defense

Quick Action for 2100

 

I could see holding off on bows for 3 out of 4 PC's, especially if nephils, but maybe not my designated archer. Vlish was explaining some time back that dexterity and other skills become more useful for an archer later on than mere Bows skill anyway. If you wait for the Bows training in Camp Samuels, it's around halfway through the game, though once past the Formello barrier, I suppose one could make a beeline there, assuming you can fulfill the quest to enable that training...which might not be easy with current skill levels. Sharpshooter would be worth waiting that long for so cheaply.

 

In Cotra, Cecil the Mage will train you after fulfilling his request (average!):

 

Mage Spells through Lightning Spray

Arcane Lore 1000

First Aid 800

Spellcraft 2000

Magery 1500

 

FA is not worth holding off on entirely, in my opinion. Considering that 1 point from each of 4 PC's is all it takes to get a decent FA return going, is it really that much to invest up front? It's one point per PC, not worth much for anything else. I would invest some FA at the start either minimally in all four or 4-5 levels in one. I seem to recall bumping FA up to about 4-5 per PC by the end of my first game, and thinking that seemed like plenty.

 

Nature Lore...I don't remember who trains that, but it's even more intolerable to do without throughout the early parts of the game in the name of saving a couple SP's. I think NL gets up to 8-10 needed throughout the E. Gallery. Who remembers who/where trains NL? Putting 8-10 NL on just one PC is inefficient to get that far, considering you need only 4-5 NL per PC by the end of the game to open all the caches but about 2-3 you can live without. I don't know about anyone else, but I sure don't want to go run over all the old terrain looking for caches about 1/3 through the game. Bleah. I just wish some of these trainers were somewhere more appropriate and reasonable, like Formello.

 

My notes only go through the E. Gallery so far, so I don't know the specifics for most things after that. Knowledge Brews become possible about 3-4 significant tasks/challenges before the very end of the game, so don't count on them for anything other than your final beefing up for the endgame, essentially.

 

...

 

I think having Divinely Touched nephils is reasonable if you intend on playing the entire game through on Torment. This game is no walk through the park. Combat is challenging, and defensive skills and bow skills are useful, if not vital.

 

EDIT: Thurly, I don't think you can get NL in Formello, or am I missing something?

 

I do think slith's got short-changed here, which is too bad, because I'd normally like to have at least one. And I think both nephil graphics are rather weak at best. There were at least three of them in BoA, weren't there? One of them looked pretty evil, which might be fitting for a Mage.

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Originally written by Synergy:
EDIT: Thurly, I don't think you can get NL in Formello, or am I missing something?
Nah, I'm probably mistaken. I remembered there was a trainer somewhere in the early game who taught both Nature Lore and Arcane Lore, and assumed that it was the sage in Formello.

Oh, and I remember there being exactly four graphics for both Nephilim and Sliths in BoA -- just the right amount for an all-nephil or all-slith party.
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Originally written by Thuryl:
I remembered there was a trainer somewhere in the early game who taught both Nature Lore and Arcane Lore, and assumed that it was the sage in Formello.
Walner in Duvno if I'm not mistaken

(And if I am mistaken, (not Walner in not Duvno) or (Walner in not Duvno) or (not Walner in Duvno) )
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OK, I’m about 2/3 through the Eastern Gallery with my Divinely-Touched kitty squad. I’m wondering how Slarty and Vlish are doing with their latest parties, or anyone else experimenting with party construction.

 

I have to say, these kitties are kicking butt, even on Torment. They are all at Level 13 at present, and getting better (single digit) XP than less advantaged previous parties were getting at this point in the game. I’m getting 3-4 points per chitrach per PC.

 

I held off on buying nearly all skills purchaseable through the E. Gallery except a little First Aid and Nature Lore for one to two PCs, just enough to get me through. I gave my designated archer a heapload of Bow Skill and Dexterity. He already is trainable in Gymnastics and Sharpshooter, though I am holding off on training any Sharpshooter till I can get him to Fort Samuels, which I should do right now, come to think of it. I should be strong enough to win the right to cheap bow skills!

 

As soon as I got to Formello, I bought Arcane Lore from Sage Townshend and ran back to Fort Draco to read the spellbook under the city. There is also one upstairs in Formello. The Sharpshooter skill from Divinely Touched and free bow skills for nephils means that all four of my PC’s have been doing very nicely with their bows...taking out skeletons or nephils with 2-4 hits. They are now able to take out a chitrach with 3-4 bow hits alone, very good for conserving magic on long underground runs.

 

My main archer is getting 30+ per hit, and is neck and neck with my melee fighter in damage per strike, except my fighter gets upper 20’s Quick Action double-strikes as I did invest QA in him from the beginning (One could wait on QA too). I held off buying any actual melee skill till I got him to Silvar, where I started giving my fighter Defense, Hardiness, and Melee. So, it is quite possible to get this far on Torment and do very well without investing points in these trainable skills. I will be going after the Emerald Chestguard soon. We’ll see how it goes this time. I had trouble last time.

 

Everyone has 6 Magery already. One can certainly hold off on Spellcraft till Cotra.

 

So, to recap for anyone following this approach:

 

Give your fighter Quick Action, but let his Blademaster from Divinely Touched keep him hitting. Pump up his Strength and Dexterity to get him Gymnastics in the meantime. Buy Melee (or Pole) as soon as you can get into the E. Gallery and down to Silvar. Soon to follow should be Defense, so you can get Parry trainable on your fighter along with Gymnastics, though I suppose one could hold off quite a while on Parry if you want to buy it first after killing the Silvar Shade instead. I already have three Parry from Elite Warrior bonuses.

 

Dish out 2-4 points of First Aid up front...it’s cheap. It’s not a big deal to spend the points, but it is very convenient for not sapping SP in particular on a long run. Also dish out a few points of Nature Lore, maybe one on each PC and wind up with 3-4 on one PC which is how much you will be giving out by the late game anyway per PC. The E. Gallery needs 10 Nature Lore, but run to Fort Duvno first and buy Nature Lore on your way in to the E. Gallery.

 

Give Bow skill only to a designated archer, but wait till Fort Samuels for Bows for the others, and Sharpshooter for all. I’m thinking I will give my archer some more Priest Skills before long, at least up through Repel Spirit and Smite. He already has 12 Bows and 9 Sharpshooter! It’s insane. Or I could give him some melee skills.

 

Anyone else got an interesting update?

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Synergy, you and I are following almost exactly the same game plan! It's almost as if we were discussing this before we started playing... heh. I am just around Draco at the moment, and I'll probably progress more slowly since the maps are all new to me.

 

I have to say, I am really astonished by how powerful First Aid is. I only have 6 points and yet my SP get refilled at a very pleasing pace.

 

Oh yeah, I made a new party with 68 points of First Aid as a test, and didn't get any more effect than usual from rats... so it seems there's a creature-specific cap. That would have been a real sad skill to be broken, eh?

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I've started a new game with a slightly different party build. I'll see how it goes.

 

My question is how often you're going to find yourself broke, or what you're skimping on to afford skills. You're looking at tens of thousands of coins spent on skills. Does that mean buying no spells, selling all your potions, or what?

 

—Alorael, who has only just started and just reached Fort Draco himself. So far everything has died with remarkable speed, but it's always the Eastern Gallery that starts inflicting pain. Having piles of skilled archers (none with any points actuall spent on archery) seems to make a huge difference, though. Everything not only dies, it dies from a distance.

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This degree of training requires extreme fiscal efficiency. Steal everything you can, including the two or three permissible thefts under people's eyes in each zone (choose the most pricey items you can). I pick up everything worth 20 coins or more (which means I get 5 coins back). I also sell anything off I am not really going to need or use, like when I upgrade armor. All those magic rings and necklaces really aren't that useful once upgraded, and even when I hoarded them, I almost never found myself changing them out for a certain kind of battle. Most of them really don't make that much difference compared to your overall armor and resistances.

 

One can save more by getting Arcane Lore in Cotra instead of Formello, though it's a bit annoying waiting that long. It may mean going back to Motrax's cave to read a spellbook later, etc. I like selling off virtually all scrolls and wands and potions except energy and invulnerability potions.

 

I almost never buy armor or gear, except to grab a better bow when I find one. I buy the Ratskin Shawl from Swampwalker Hurking as it is useful for a very long time, and sometimes a woven robe for a magician from the clothing guy at Formello.

 

I just got my Bows/Sharpshooter from Fort Samuels...getting by the Ogre assassins was a bit of a chore, as I accidentally ran into them instead of sneaking up on them. At this point, there really is nothing much more to buy for quite a while. One will make repeated trips to Silvar to train up as more money comes in, but there is a long haul through the E. Gallery, Mertis, and the Honeycomb and beyond before any other training becomes available. The only other cost is spells, and one can even skimp on those in the meantime or exclude ones not used.

 

First Aid is really quite nice, which is why I couldn't start a game with none at all, especially when it costs 1 SP. I assume you know that you get more and more FA returns the more you kill before leaving combat mode. One rat won't return much, but ten rats or one boss creature would. It becomes kind of a fun challenge to see how long you can run through tunnels or towns in combat mode killing hordes in your path, before finally coming out of combat to see a massive return on your health and spell points.

 

It might be interesting to find out with some testing how much First Aid is practical or optimal. I brought my FA up to 4-5 per PC in previous games, but even 2-3 points each does quite decently. I get the impression that the pooled skills are all designed to have about 16-18 points total—either necessarily or optimally: Nature Lore, Arcane Lore, and First Aid.

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*facepalm* I can't believe I forgot this before!

 

The answer to the financing problem is LUCK. Luck, luck, luck. Okay, it's a very partial answer. But bringing your luck up to 4 or 5 will net a dramatic increase in the number of enemies that drop treasure. Lots of enemies drop jewelry. Since luck is fairly useful in general, it's not a trainable skill, and you're not really in a skill crunch before the Eastern Gallery, it's easy to pick it up early on.

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You know, it strikes me as being stupid to give a character a trait that includes magery, and then not give them any mage or priest spells at all.

 

Really... All that magery really adds up, and just a few points in to mage skills or priest skills would pay off. Smite can easily top out at 100 damage with a little work.

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Slarty, how did you figure out the Luck connection? Are you sure about this?

 

Vlish, I agree about Magery. Everyone Divinely Touched could do nicely with some amount of magical ability. All my PC's have at least one Level of priesting ability, and if I bring my bowman up to Smite level, then I'll have two decent priests and two mages, all of which are very handy. It can be very nice to have two PC's able to cast Repel Spirit or Smite at times. My bowman is already so maxed at his bow abilities I have to figure out something else to do with him shortly. How high do you think Sharpshooter is worth pumping? His is already at ten with more free bonus levels to come. I've been pumping his Gymnastics lately, but he's already getting up there in that too.

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Well, I happened to raise a whole bunch of luck at once, and noticed I was suddenly getting more items. Then I recalled that luck had a huge impact on item drops in Geneforge, and voila. Since the item and creature scripting appears to be lifted unchanged from Geneforge, it makes sense that's the same. So I'm pretty sure.

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Makes sense to me. So the question I now have, not having played Geneforge, is what else might Luck figure into more prominently like this?

 

Seems like Jeff should have added one more of those little text tips that pop up at the bottom of the screen when loading a game: "Be sure to give your PC's some Luck. This will help them find treasure on the mangled carcasses of their dripping, slaughtered victims."

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Okay, time to add luck to my party. I've been neglecting it.

 

Cotra is an excellent place to add two points of Priest to fighters, but I still didn't get much use out of it. I found myself shooting arrows more than spells and letting my real casters heal more often.

 

—Alorael, who will need to rethink his item hauling strategies if he has to lug much more stuff around. His strength will no longer be sufficient.

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Hmm... a good way of... uh... overcoming the benefits of divinely touched nephils is to use Hawk King's editor right after you start the game. That way you can already plan exactly what you'll be doing with most of your skill points.

 

I have just cleared the Monastery/Grindstone area, and I already know I'll have a "mean, lean" nephil melee meat shield, an nephil archer/priest (what the hell, I'll get 19 levels of sharpshooter for free, why in the world would I waste skill points in bows?) attacking first and three times every round (priest up to smite), a hedge wizard (mage up to slow) slith equipped with The Big Poke, and my sexy human mage/thief/archer.

 

Oh, the power, the power!!

 

RAmpaGE.

 

Edit: You can also use the editor after you have started. You'll still be better prepared to use the skill points coming your way.

 

On luck: yeah, I've also noticed that you get more items with more luck. I got an emerald from the goblins locked up under Fort Monastery the first two times I killed them, but not in the third, when I neglected luck. The only other benefit I know of luck is the increase in your resistancies, wich is *really* useful in itself.

 

On items: I pick up anything that will give me more than 1 coin. Actually, I mostly pick anything with monetary value.

Strength is not a problem. I give 3-4 to mages and 4-5 to archers and warriors. That's all they'll ever need for their equipment. I always clear the entire area BEFORE I start picking up items. Once I'm done, I backtrack picking everything up, not having to worry about the encumberance, since I won't have any more fights. If I have to enter another area, I just drop everything at the beginning of it and clear it.

 

There must be a point where you won't be able to do that, but there are none as far as the end of the eastern gallery.

 

My PCs will have bad backs in their old age, but they won't mind. Not with an harem available to massage them.

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1. I am quickly concluding that the worst thing about Deadeye is that it ONLY penalizes 10% rather than 15%. Now my archer goes up levels ahead of everyone else, thereby reducing the amount of experience everyone else gets! Very annoying.

 

2. Luck has a very small effect, but it has a very small effect on a number of different things. It definitely affects hostile effect resistance and item drops. I'm pretty sure it affects hitting, dodging, and damage as well. (If past games are any guide, Luck will give +1% where most skills give +5%.) I imagine it affects saving throws for charm and such, and there are probably other effects. So it's a very good value, it's just unfocused.

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Slarty, your Deadeye archer...Divinely Touched nephil or something prior to the kitty experiments? My Deadeye Divinely Touched archer is penalized 50%, and the other kitties are 55%. All are level 15 together. Why is yours off so much?

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Quote:
Originally by Thuryl: Oh, and I remember there being exactly four graphics for both Nephilim and Sliths in BoA -- just the right amount for an all-nephil or all-slith party.
Actually, A2 and A3 have four slith and nephil graphics. BoA has five, but that fifth one looks distinctly different than the others.

Dikiyoba wonders why all NPC nephil are all brown or yellow, while three nephil graphics are gray.
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