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how many points for each (agent, shaper, guardian, etc) is enough? i would like to know specifically for geneforge 4 but all other points in each game is appreciated :) looking for the major stats like str, dex, end, int, all weapons, magic, battle, shaping, leader, luck, mech.

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In GForge games it completely depends on your play style. When I play with a Shaper, I pump intelligence a lot, to get many and high tier creations. Moderate blessing magic to support them and a little battle magic to throw a spell although I miss a lot. I do not invest heavily in Shaper skills BTW. Putting a few skill points and keeping a set of equipment that boosts my shaping skills for when I need to make more. I rely a lot on leveling my creations. However my playstyle is "load if you lose a creation" mostly, so I can level my creations far easier than load-skimpy players.

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A couple things to consider.

 

In the earlier games (Geneforge 1 & 2, and possibly 3) there is a "soft cap" on bonuses you gain from stat increases. After 10, you start getting diminishing returns. After level 20 in a stat, the bonuses you gain from upgrading it are almost useless. It's usually a good idea to select a few stats to boost a great deal (for example, a Shaping class may want to buff intelligence, magic Shaping, and mechanics up to high levels, while a melee class will find it worth his while to buff up parry and quick action). Level 20 in a skill is usually a good ending point for the game. I say magic Shaping in particular because it generally has the best creations (Vlish... just... yeah...).

 

At the top of the "Geneforge Series" forum board, there are "strategy central" posts for each Geneforge game. I believe that all of them include links to posts on optimizing builds, which will help you decide in which skills to invest. However, here's a breakdown of the stats.

 

Attributes: 

 

Strength: A very useful stat for melee classes, as it greatly increases your hitting power and your chance to hit. However, you shouldn't invest into it for carrying capacity. In general, you'll find enough strength items (like the talisman of might) that if you are a class who suffers from low strength, you'll be able to shore it up without point investment.

 

Dexterity: The dump stat for everyone. It increases your dodge chance, initiative, and skill with missile weapons, but...

A. Basically everyone who plays unmodded Geneforge doesn't use missile weapons enough that it'd matter, and it's more expensive than the actual skill,

B. Other, cheaper skills give you initiative, and

C. In the later games especially, the dodge chance really doesn't help.

 

Intelligence: A very important skill. All classes, pretty much, will want to invest a couple points into this, at the very least. The essence it provides is necessary for both Shaping classes and magic heavy classes (who often depend on mental magic) and lets warrior classes shore up their combat with some meat shields or fire support.

 

Endurance: Overall, less important than most. If you have low endurance, you'll probably die a lot, but unless you tend to do a lot of solo combat (as a warrior or agent class, for example), you won't need to invest much.

 

Combat skills: 
Parry is useful for all classes if you can obtain it from, say, a trainer. Same with quick action. Melee weapons is probably the only skill that warrior classes should invest in here, since melee weapons tend to eclipse ranged weapons except in certain minmaxed torment builds.

 

Shaping skills:

Battle Shaping is consistently bad in most games. Even with rotghroths, some of the most solid creations in the series, it performs poorly next to its neighbors. Its one redeeming feature is war tralls, which are solid ranged combatants. I would argue, though, that they are only worth it in Geneforge 5, where you can get one very early on in the game. Magic Shaping tends to sweep the floor, especially in Geneforge 1-3. You ask why? Vlish. As our dear Slarty put it, Vlish would, if story reflected gameplay, overrun the Ashen Isles. In Geneforge 4, wingbolts are introduced, which are exceptionally powerful creations that also have a melee attack which parallels that of Vlish. Fire creations are also a solid choice, but fire Shaping is more expensive to invest in, and it doesn't have very good second or fourth tier creations; drakons also, unfortunately, tend to be far too late-game to be of much use.

 

Summary: Magic Shaping is usually your best choice here.

 

Miscellaneous Skills:

 

Leadership: Useful in special encounters, and in persuading trainers in opposing factions to help you (reputation checks add or subtract your leadership from reputation for Shapers and rebels, respectively). A useful example is with Mayor Kirk in Geneforge 4; a small amount of leadership nets you a free point in luck. Leadership encounters also almost always give you XP in later games, making it useful for maximizing your level. You should never need more than 12 leadership.

 

Mechanics: Very useful after Geneforge 1. Being able to get XP from disarming huge fields of mines and the likes is extremely useful. Again, more than 12 should never be needed, unless you REALLY REALLY need to save living tools or something.

 

Luck: Useful in a number of ways. Increases several resistances, initiative, dodge chance, and influences item drop luck. It also helps you out in special encounters. Since you can typically get a few points (you can purchase your way to level 30 in luck in Geneforge 1 especially) for free, investing just a couple levels in it will help you out a decent amount later in the game, but it's not something to heavily invest in. In special encounters, I don't believe anything needs more than 4, although the ones I can remember only need level 2.

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4 hours ago, TheKian said:

A couple things to consider.

 

In the earlier games (Geneforge 1 & 2, and possibly 3) there is a "soft cap" on bonuses you gain from stat increases. After 10, you start getting diminishing returns.

 

Outside of G1, you get diminishing returns the whole time, because the price keeps going up.  Yes, there is a steeper drop-off at 10 and 20.

 

This 10-cap exists for all skills in G1, and for a few in G4; the others drop off at different points in between.  (I can never remember if it existed for anything in G5, but you can probably find that info on SS.)

 

 

4 hours ago, TheKian said:

Endurance: Overall, less important than most. If you have low endurance, you'll probably die a lot, but unless you tend to do a lot of solo combat (as a warrior or agent class, for example), you won't need to invest much.

 

And even then the survival benefits are fairly tiny compared to other skills, like Parry.

 

 

4 hours ago, TheKian said:

Combat skills: 
Parry is useful for all classes if you can obtain it from, say, a trainer. Same with quick action. Melee weapons is probably the only skill that warrior classes should invest in here, since melee weapons tend to eclipse ranged weapons except in certain minmaxed torment builds.

 

I assume you mean "only skill besides Parry and Quick Action."  Quick Action is crucial for melee characters.

 

 

4 hours ago, TheKian said:

Shaping skills:

Magic Shaping tends to sweep the floor, especially in Geneforge 1-3. You ask why? Vlish.

 

Though Vlish are still very good in G1, they are not head and shoulders above other creations in that particular game; a Magic Shaping build will likely use Artila as well, and Fire Shaping is pretty OK in G1 as well.

 

 

4 hours ago, TheKian said:

Luck: Useful in a number of ways. Increases several resistances, initiative, dodge chance, and influences item drop luck. It also helps you out in special encounters. Since you can typically get a few points (you can purchase your way to level 30 in luck in Geneforge 1 especially) for free, investing just a couple levels in it will help you out a decent amount later in the game, but it's not something to heavily invest in. In special encounters, I don't believe anything needs more than 4, although the ones I can remember only need level 2.

 

Luck does not affect item drops.  This has been confirmed by the developer at least for G4 and G5, and in G2-3 there has been zero evidence suggesting otherwise.  G1 is less certain, but my guess at this point is that Luck doesn't have that function there, either (if only because I wouldn't expect Jeff to go out of his way to change that, once it was coded into the engine.)

 

Luck affecting item drops is an urban legend that needs die.

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4 hours ago, Bronze Ankh said:

Outside of G1, you get diminishing returns the whole time, because the price keeps going up.  Yes, there is a steeper drop-off at 10 and 20.

 

This 10-cap exists for all skills in G1, and for a few in G4; the others drop off at different points in between.  (I can never remember if it existed for anything in G5, but you can probably find that info on SS.)

All skills in G1 use the 10-cap except Int.

In G2-4 It only exists for the shaping skills.

 

Tested and not affected by the 10-cap in G2 are Str, Dex, Int, End, Melee, Missile,Parry, Battle Magic. Some of the others are a bit hard to test so I'll leave it at that for now.

Edited by Nim
Better wording
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I thought that ranged combat is actually better than melee even in unmoded GF4-5 and Especially in GF3 that you need 5 action points to attack. A melee combatant needs to get close which could well mean it will not have AP to hit. If you go melee, you need to invest in endurance quite early because you don't have good armor to soak damage. Yes, melee weapons are better than ranged weapons, but ranged combat has a great advantage IMO that you don't need to be there. 

 

I also respectfully disagree about battle creations. As a Shaper class, Clawbugs once they have poison are very good and wingbolts in GF5 are not as good as in GF4. The cost is horrendous. A Wingbolt costs far more essence than a rot and I think it costs more than a war trall. A war trall does a little less damage and has a bazillion more hp. 

Battle Alphas in GF3-5 were disappointing. Rots were good but I didn't use them. Drayks are good but expensive. Thahds are good enough in early GF4-5 for their tiny cost. But again it depends on your play style.

With Thands I played it Shaper-like; Made one, bumped dexterity so it could hit, had it punch an enemy to soak attacks. If it survived the battle, absorbed.  

If you're a dishonorable fellow, clawbugs are also good one-shot creations; Hide and send out two temporary clawbugs to poison a few enemies before they die horribly. Then the poison would kill the enemies in GF5 because it lasts for a long time. 

Edited by alhoon
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Eh? Are you sure? The text says they need dexterity to hit and I saw the hit chances increase by 5% for every point of dex (by level or essence).

About the damage, I don't care if the Thahd would do a lot or a little damage. Hitting something in melee means that something (I use that against rots) will hit the Thahd (And probably kill it) so it won't cover with the nasty DOT one of my "real" creations.

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2 hours ago, Nim said:

The 10-cap does not exist for Int in G1. It only exists for the shaping skills in G2-4.

 

Are you sure about this?  I know it doesn't affect HP, SP, and Essence calculations (and should have specified that) but AFAIK it does affect the PC's Int (and Str and Dex) where they are used in damage formulas.

 

I am quite sure it DOES affect shaping skills in G1.

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1 hour ago, alhoon said:

Eh? Are you sure? The text says they need dexterity to hit and I saw the hit chances increase by 5% for every point of dex (by level or essence).

 

The entire Geneforge series has that tooltip, and it's wrong in every game.  Dexterity does not affect attack power or accuracy for your creations, ever, not even for ranged attacks.  Instead, Strength affects attack power and accuracy for all creation attacks.  Yes, that is true in every game of the series.

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6 minutes ago, Bronze Ankh said:

Are you sure about this?  I know it doesn't affect HP, SP, and Essence calculations (and should have specified that) but AFAIK it does affect the PC's Int (and Str and Dex) where they are used in damage formulas.

It does affect HP calcs in G1 tho (unless I'm misunderstanding you). I'm really not sure how we could test the effect of those specific points of STR/INT/DEX on damage formulas with the very high amount of variance involved.

 

I am quite sure it DOES affect shaping skills in G1.

My bad. Of course it affects shaping in G1 too. I'll edit it.

 

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1 minute ago, Nim said:

It does affect HP calcs in G1 tho (unless I'm misunderstanding you). I'm really not sure how we could test the effect of those specific points of STR/INT/DEX on damage formulas with the very high amount of variance involved.

 

The 10-cap does not affect HP calcs in G1.

 

The damage formulas are well-established.  Str/Int/Dex all contribute to the attack bonus, which determines number of dice and also affects to-hit at +5% per point.  So, you just check displayed hit chances, obviously in a situation where you are not near a cap... just like you did with that G2 fyora.

 

I assumed that was how you tested all those stats in G2, anyway.  If not, how did you test those?

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15 minutes ago, Bronze Ankh said:

 

The 10-cap does not affect HP calcs in G1.

You don't get HPs at 11/13/15 etc. Endurance in G1.

 

15 minutes ago, Bronze Ankh said:

The damage formulas are well-established.  Str/Int/Dex all contribute to the attack bonus, which determines number of dice and also affects to-hit at +5% per point.  So, you just check displayed hit chances, obviously in a situation where you are not near a cap... just like you did with that G2 fyora.

 

I assumed that was how you tested all those stats in G2, anyway.  If not, how did you test those?

Tired sorry. Yeah that's obviously how I tested it, various attacks vs. high level enemies. Get hit for parry, shaping skills are simple obv. END and INT see the HP/SP/EP and resists.

Those I haven't done yet: QA simply find smth fast and mess with QA+luck+dex , Mental should be easy to test, enough spells that have a to-hit, blessing prob duration ?, healing I have no idea, mech and leadership should be irrelevant, luck to hit i think ?

 

Where exactly does INT contribute to damage tho ? It doesn't for spells, those are spell+school+spellcraft right ? Neither for creations (strength). Crystals/wands I thought were missiles ?

 

Edited by Nim
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37 minutes ago, Bronze Ankh said:

 

The entire Geneforge series has that tooltip, and it's wrong in every game.  Dexterity does not affect attack power or accuracy for your creations, ever, not even for ranged attacks.  Instead, Strength affects attack power and accuracy for all creation attacks.  Yes, that is true in every game of the series.

 

O_O

That should have really be corrected at some point. :( I believed the toolkit. Really unprofessional if you ask my opinion. In GF3, I have been dumping a lot of points for Greta and Alwan to dexterity so they can hit easier. What a freaking waste...

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Now you lost me... so my GF3 dex-increased Greta is OK?

 

And what about my Vlish? (that I haven't upgraded anyway) Would they hit better if I give them dex? Not that it matters at my point in the game, since they hit very well, unlike the GF2 vlish that were missing all the time. I am thinking later if I bring forth a temporary vlish and want to boost its to hit probability.

Dex for spell or Str for ranged attack?

Edited by alhoon
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Honestly, it's rarely worth it to raise creation stats beyond the 2 Int needed for manual control, anyway. The added essence cost is too high and the added stats pale in comparison to what creations get just for gaining levels; in most games you'll end up with something that's worse than a higher-tier creation for the same cost.

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To get back to the topic, and avoid future disastrous builds: Is investing in Shaping skills worth it if you're not a Shaper-strong class? I don't mean 2-3 skill points, I mean buying up and up since your creations are leveling up.

 

Item-wise, since "+X dex to creations" doesn't affect hit chance, just the chance to get hit and initiative... is "+X strength" to creations the most important Shaper-supporting items in the game?

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There isn't a hard and fast answer to that first question.  It depends how you want to play.  Usually people don't do that, because if you want to run creations, a shaper will simply do it better; the whole attraction of playing an agent or servile in any game, or a guardian in G2, is having just one character.  (Guardians also can't support their creations as effectively early on due to the expense of boosting their magic skills and their SP.)

 

Because the mechanics behind creations are so strong, however, it is totally legit to, for example, run an agent who also brings along a handful of creations, even though shaping skills are expensive for agents.  This is especially true in G3 where a relatively small investment in Int and shaping can get you very serviceable vlish, and then you can go to town on Mental Magic or whatever.  It's not quite optimal, but it can be a strong build and is definitely playable.

 

In G5, that particular combo is harder to argue due to the existence of the Sorceress.  And mixing melee or missile and creations seems especially pointless, since all melee and missile do is cause damage, and creations are so much better at that; you're strictly better off mixing them with spells instead.

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Playing solo? In most\all GF games I've seen there are things that raise your Shaping a bit that come in about early mid-game. Enough to make tier 3 creations in GF4-5. Even if you buy just a couple of points of int (or get an item) you would have enough essence by level 15-20 to have at least a solid tier 2 creation, vlish for ranged combat, clawbug for the poison, with a lot of essence to spare for your spells. So... while I haven't tried it, I guess an agent or infiltrator could spare the essence to have a trusty Vlish or clawbug with them permanently.  

 

I also think the Agents\Infiltrators would have to buy up their int at the early or mid-game to have energy for their spells, but never having played one I don't know.

 

As for Serviles... Meh. Fighting first, Shaping last. The complete opposite of what I like. My preferences are Shaping > Magic > fighting. Of course, you can do a good deal of shaping without being top in Shaping, so Sorceress (that I haven't played) would also be possible for me. However, I frankly prefer my creations to do the heavy lifting and my character doing the leadership \ mechanics stuff, although I go Leadership > mechanics.

 

I find it strange that Agents don't start a bit better than the rest in Leadership \ mechanics though. They're supposed to be the diplomats and saboteurs. They start with 2/2 while Shapers start with 1/2 and warriors with 3/2.

Since warriors get 3/2, the I think Agents should have started with 2/3 or even 3/3

Edited by alhoon
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1 hour ago, alhoon said:

is "+X strength" to creations the most important Shaper-supporting items in the game?

Those are bugged in most if not all Geneforges.

 

Edit: Looks like it was fixed for G5.

Edited by Nim
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5 hours ago, alhoon said:

Playing solo? In most\all GF games I've seen there are things that raise your Shaping a bit that come in about early mid-game. Enough to make tier 3 creations in GF4-5. Even if you buy just a couple of points of int (or get an item) you would have enough essence by level 15-20 to have at least a solid tier 2 creation, vlish for ranged combat, clawbug for the poison, with a lot of essence to spare for your spells. So... while I haven't tried it, I guess an agent or infiltrator could spare the essence to have a trusty Vlish or clawbug with them permanently.

 

You can certainly do this, but there are advantages to a solo build: some effective tactical options are only feasible for a solo character, especially in the early games (because they're so effective that they were made difficult or impossible to pull off later in the series).

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Spoiler
23 minutes ago, Lilith said:

 

You can certainly do this, but there are advantages to a solo build: some effective tactical options are only feasible for a solo character, especially in the early games (because they're so effective that they were made difficult or impossible to pull off later in the series).

 

 

Really? Like what? The Original poster asked for builds, so discussing builds and strategies is certainly on topic aside of interesting.

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There's an Agent build in Geneforge 1 that revolves entirely around hit-and-run tactics: hasting yourself, attacking with powerful battle magic, and then running away out of sight of the enemy before the end of your turn. The Geneforge 1 enemy AI is dumb enough that as long as you have terrain to hide behind, you can often pick off entire enemy groups this way without ever taking a hit. Having creations will interfere with it because the more units you're controlling, the harder it is to manage everyone and get out of sight before any enemies take a turn. It doesn't really work at all in later games, since haste and movement both work differently.

 

There's also a Geneforge 2 Guardian build revolving around massive investment in Parry where creations would be pointless at best and a liability at worst: you're basically invincible and you reflect damage back on enemies that attack you, so being attacked more just means you win fights faster. Parry was never quite so game-breakingly powerful in other games in the series, even though it's always good.

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On 7/4/2017 at 9:14 AM, alhoon said:

Well, Greta and Alwan don't have a cost. :)

 

On 7/4/2017 at 9:57 AM, The fly in Keoghtom's ointment said:

Greta and Alwan are not creations.

 

Technically, the game considers all your party members to be creations - Alwan and Greta count toward the creation type cap, for example. All creatures added to your party take no essence to upgrade (at least in G3/4; I've never bothered with the ones in Geneforge 2); this includes creations you recruit, like Greenfang in the first chapter of G4, or Mehken in G5's first chapter. If you have one for long enough, actually, you should be able to max out its stat investments (it gets 2 skill points on each level up), which is probably the only reason to ever take along creatures.

 

Of course, skill point investment usually isn't worth it in normal creations, which is the main point of this all.

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14 minutes ago, TheKian said:

Technically, the game considers all your party members to be creations

 

I'm not sure what makes you think this.  There actually is an internal marker as to whether each PC/NPC is a creation or not.  Creations have it, humans don't.

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5 minutes ago, The fly in Keoghtom's ointment said:

 

I'm not sure what makes you think this.  There actually is an internal marker as to whether each PC/NPC is a creation or not.  Creations have it, humans don't.

 

22 minutes ago, TheKian said:

Alwan and Greta count toward the creation type cap, for example

 

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That is admittedly weird, but all that means is that the game doesn't distinguish between creation and noncreation PCs for some elements of gameplay.  It doesn't make a lot of sense, but since when do artificial party size limits (or unit type limits) ever make sense in CRPGs?

 

There are technical ways in which the game clearly does not consider your party members to be creations.  So it knows the difference.  Not acting based on that difference for one or two mechanics is not the same thing as flatly "considering them to be creations."

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Regardless of their creature type (no creation) but still game-y controlled like and behaving like creations... to increase Greta's hit chance, I have to increase her strength, right?

 

PS. items that increase str and con etc for creations in your party also add it to humans in your party, at least in later games. The description should be saying "Party members" admittedly, but compared that dexterity doesn't add to hit chance the misnaming of "party members" to "creations" isn't a big one.

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11 hours ago, Nim said:

Dex also has some impact on initiative.

 

Mind, it is seldom a good idea to actually put points into a creations stats with the exception of 2 Int. It's just too expensive.

So when I make a creation I should just put the two pips in Intelligence and nothing else? Won't their stats be really low? 

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Nope, because they raise with levels. Depending on the Geneforge game you play your creations level at different rate, but they all level.

 

Mind you, it may be tempting to put 1 dot in a low-level creation's strength now that I know it raises damage AND to hit. After all, for Vlish it's like 2 essence, just two essence for a +1 str. But then again, that 2 essence is two cures or war blessing and I usually cut it quite low with my essence at low levels, leaving 10-15 available so that 2 essence would actually be felt. Later on? Well later on I have high tier creations and upgrading them costs a ton.  

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