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Shaper builds, leveling, and trainers [spoiler-friendly thread]


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Questions:
1) How do I spend skill points in the demo in a way that won’t interfere with my play-through when the full game comes out?

2) Are trainers limited to an absolute number of trainings, or do they limit training to a certain attribute number above your character’s baseline?
3) Will fighting/killing the inutile bandit camp in the demo significantly interfere with my ability to play through the "brand new plot line" included as a stretch goal for GF-M?


I have a question for those who have finished the game already or at least played through most of the campaign. In the original games (especially on higher difficulty levels) it often seemed helpful, after applying some initial stat points to creation levels, to dump skill points into leadership and mechanics to progress through middle portions of the game, gaining XP without combat, and then as those abilities granted access to gold, trainers, and infiltrator items that increased leadership and mechanics even more, one could simultaneously use skill points gained from new levels to level up shaping and other combat skills, gaining XP from the battles one would have fought without the benefit of leadership and mechanics.

 

If you did any shaping at all, but especially if you played a shaper, I’m wondering if it was also your experience in GF-M that you found it useful to hit certain “thresholds” in leadership and mechanics, and/or if you held off leveling up one or 2 of the shaping schools to focus on leadership and mechanics until they were at certain levels (I seem to remember pushing for mechanics to 6, 9, 10, 11, then up to say 17 with infiltrator gear)? Or did you spread out skill point spend pretty evenly?

Part of my reason for asking is I’m playing the heck out of the demo and I think I’m going to take on the inutile camp, bit by bit, just to pass the time until he main game comes out. I could invest in magic shaping to create searing artilas or exploding thahds for the fight, but I don’t want to do so and find out (as soon as the game opens up to the full map) that I needed to have reserved those skill points for mechanics and leadership. 

 

Edit: A great example of what I’m talking about would be Elrah’s keep. You can’t access the keep in the GF-M demo. What if Elrah has a trainer that can improve Essence Mastery, but I can only use that trainer to buy 2 levels above the base level? Then if I’ve already spent skill points on essence mastery in the demo... I’ve “lost” that gain I could’ve had by carefully saving gold, and on Torment I’d restart the game/go back to a much earlier save to avoid “losing” those attribute points I could buy with gold (saving precious skill points). In some previous versions of Geneforge, a trainer could only train twice above your base attributes, and if you had already leveled up those attributes you lost the ability to train.

 

Even if only tangentially related to this topic, please feel free to discuss any and all attempts to “power level” in GF-M. One of my favorite things about indie RPGs like these is finding ways to leverage the math/make the game mechanics tilt to your favor to make it through difficulty modes like Torment as if they were normal/hard difficulty (it is actually part of the ‘role-playing’ for me. Playing torment really is ‘realistic’ as I’m this weak know-nothing student, but if through careful application of build points I can “grow” my weak character into someone who can make it through the story then it feels more plausible... as plausible as any CRPG can be anyway!).

Edited by Felix_Felicis
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  • Felix_Felicis changed the title to Shaper builds, leveling, and trainers [spoiler-friendly thread]

There aren't the large number of trainers that existed in previous games. So spend skill points however you want. There are only 3 trainers that provide one level each without the restriction that you haven't used skill points to already train. There are also fewer infiltrator items for Leadership and Mechanics that don't appear until the middle areas.

 

There are several successful character builds that you can use. Meaning they will work on torment difficulty without too many problems.

 

For Shapers, focusing on Fire or Magic creations will work with cryoas or searing artilas instead of the more expensive essence creations. Just raise Essence Mastery and the Shaping skill so you have eventually 4 or 5 powerful creations. Meaning you give them almost all the optional abilities and al 5 levels in the top row when making your creation. Battle creations have the problem that they don't have range attacks and melee is dangerous.

 

I just completed a missile Guardian without any creations. It wasn't easy in places, but now that the evasion bug is fixed, it is possible to do it without needing creations for shields.

 

I need to go back and try a solo Agent to see if going through the game in a different order will work better. They start off a bit weaker if you rely more on spells than weapons.

 

Getting Leadership and Mechanics to certain levels early in the game gets you the experience so you can level up quicker at the start before you hit the plateau in the middle game. For instance Leadership 4 lets you get the Vakkiri canister and help from Seerla in Watchhill as well as a few other minor experience in the demo. Then go back and raise Mechanics to unlock doors and containers for experience and loot. You could instead put the skill points into your class attack skills and just fight better and go up a little slower at the start. it will balance out since you will get more experience points for quests and kills being a lower level. 

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1. Do NOT put any skill points into anything that you start with a zero skill level in it until after you clear out The Tombs (& western Southbridge - leadership & mechanics excepted as you do kind of need them early on to make things easier)

 

2.  As Randomizer said, there really aren't trainers to spend money on (however the ones there are...tend to drain your bank acct...)

 

3. Clearing out the camp - Do you mean wiping out the friendly village east of Ellrath's Keep (I didn't play the demo)?  Wiping out the bandits that are bothering them is a good thing (although you get more xp from talking the out of bothering the village at the cost of a couple of 'early in the game decent' consumables.  I never wiped out the village (considering them rogues) so I don't know how it would impact things later on.

 

Leadership is a good place to put early skill points into as it will make things easier/give you options.  There are many places where you can take the leadership route, go back & get your xp/reward and then go wipe out those you were sent to wipe out in the first place (such as the afore mentioned bandits, or the bandits in Bandit Woods

 

Mechanics is good for a few early for the easier chests/switches for easy xp.  Buy living tools from everyone you can as, by opening chests/doors whenever you find them, easy xp early in the game (generally not worth using more than 1-2 per door/chest so if you run into those that need more, come back later with better mechanics (iirc, 14 is the most you need towards the end game so don't go too crazy pumping the skill points).

 

If you really want to game the game ... don't read any books as you're going through but make a note of where they are (or save before reading to be able to reload).  The books that explain various functions of the game will give you 25xp each for reading them.  If you don't read them originally but save them for near the end game when xp is harder to come by... (some books however don't give xp & do have good information (or even skills) so you 'do' want to read them as you come across them)

 

I usually kept (after the first level or three) between 5-10 skill points unspent & available if I suddenly needed to pump 'x' up a bit (such as getting the leadership option somewhere, or needing to bump up say battle magic to cast a better spell).

 

Air burst is a game changer once you can get to it... (especially running a solo battle magic Agent)

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To clarify - Once you use the leadership option, you can no longer get experience from killing them. Some places you don't get experience for killing them anyway.

 

Airshock is super powerful because you get extra range from centering the circular area effect at maximum range. It lets you hit fixed monsters like turrets and pylons with no retaliation. The stun effect may let you do the same to others. It has the highest energy damage of all spells.

 

Mechanics doesn't need to be over 12 unless you want to avoid some combats. 14 is the maximum for traps and using power spirals.

 

"1. Do NOT put any skill points into anything that you start with a zero skill level in it until after you clear out The Tombs (& western Southbridge - leadership & mechanics excepted as you do kind of need them early on to make things easier)"

 

unless Jeff changed it again:

Southbridge is Missile Weapons and Spellcraft

Sealed Labs is Leadership, Mechanics, Stealth, and Missile Weapons

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14 minutes ago, TriRodent said:

1. Do NOT put any skill points into anything that you start with a zero skill level in it until after you clear out The Tombs (& western Southbridge - leadership & mechanics excepted as you do kind of need them early on to make things easier)

 

2 minutes ago, Randomizer said:

unless Jeff changed it again:

Southbridge is Missile Weapons and Spellcraft

Sealed Labs is Leadership, Mechanics, Stealth, and Missile Weapons

Thank you - this is exactly what I was curious about. Do you know if these possible buffs raise you from any level (as low as zero) to a predetermined level (say 1, 2, or 3)? Or do they raise your level in that attribute by a certain number of points as long as your level is below a certain threshold? I think it would be possible to get to to the tombs without improving mechanics, to capitalize off any mech buff given in the Tombs. Can you be more specific (is it safe to raise mech to 1 or 2, or will I lose out on bonuses if I do even a small increase)?

Follow-up: In Ruined School, the servant mind will upgrade Spellcraft and Leadership by 1 each if your leadership is 4. I take this to mean it might be better to clear The Tombs and Western Southbridge in case a shade/item/entity can increase my spellcraft from starting 0 to 1 or 2. Then I could go back to the servant mind and activate that buff. Since Spellcraft is both expensive with regard to skill points and pretty useful, I might replay the demo to work towards a save where I've cleared everything without activating that bonus from the servant mind. However, if it's a flat increase of 1 point as long as Spellcraft is below a certain threshold (say, 2 or 3), then I don't need to worry about optimizing.
 

25 minutes ago, TriRodent said:

3. Clearing out the camp - Do you mean wiping out the friendly village east of Ellrath's Keep (I didn't play the demo)?  Wiping out the bandits that are bothering them is a good thing (although you get more xp from talking the out of bothering the village at the cost of a couple of 'early in the game decent' consumables.  I never wiped out the village (considering them rogues) so I don't know how it would impact things later on.


I did just mean killing the inutile in Bandit Woods directly north of Vakkiri. It seemed like the best XP was to convince them to leave with leadership (again, 3 or 4), to collect the XP rewards from Vakkiri, then circle back and kill the bandits for XP and gold from selling their items. However the XP and gold from killing the inutile after negotiating a shaky truce are minimal (i.e. no quest XP, only the XP from combat itself), so if there's any reason to leave them alive (for future progression of any quest-line involving the inutile for example) then clearing out their camp would be a mistake.

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Ruined School requires leadership 5 to raise only spellcraft +1.

 

It is better to wait until western Southbridge if you don't start with spellcraft. getting a level from a sarcophagus (coffin) only works if you are a zero. The only reason I know which one gave what was Jeff changed it during beta testing from th way it worked in the original game.

 

Mechanics isn't until the Sealed Lab and that is really far into the game and past lots of areas where mechanics is needed,

 

There is no benefit in not killing the inutile in the Bandit Woods except avoiding a fight that you might not win. If you are lucky you might get a steel sword drop for a guardian.

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17 minutes ago, Felix_Felicis said:

Thank you - this is exactly what I was curious about. Do you know if these possible buffs raise you from any level (as low as zero) to a predetermined level (say 1, 2, or 3)? Or do they raise your level in that attribute by a certain number of points as long as your level is below a certain threshold? I think it would be possible to get to to the tombs without improving mechanics, to capitalize off any mech buff given in the Tombs. Can you be more specific (is it safe to raise mech to 1 or 2, or will I lose out on bonuses if I do even a small increase)?

 

When you're at The Tombs, any/every skill that's at zero will get raised to one (I think, I just started up a new shaper to test a couple of things & did 'not' get any melee or stealth skill points even after going through all the assorted coffins).  You only get a skill boost if those skills are at zero (Jeff said that it was to give everyone a base level in everything without having to spend expensive skill points in things that you're weak in).  If your starting build (shaper, agent, guardian) has a point in 'x' from the very beginning, go ahead and build that skill if you want to as you will not get anything further while at The Tombs (even if you don't do any training before getting there), only those that start & get there with zero.

 

In the latest beta (which is the release version...probably) I did not get the spellcraft at the school until I went to the Tombs and got the point there.  Then I went back & got the school's point.  You 'might' be ok getting it ... but you might not so it's easier just to backtrack a bit.

 

24 minutes ago, Felix_Felicis said:

I did just mean killing the inutile in Bandit Woods directly north of Vakkiri.

 

Ah, ok.  The confusion is because there is an actual Inutile village just east of E's Keep,  those are just generic bandits.  Yes, you only get the quest xp once depending on how you resolve the situation.  I think you get more with the leadership route.  Leaving them alive or not shouldn't matter as they're just run of the mill bandits/cannon fodder who don't have a long life expectancy to begin with (as what's his name in Vakkiri seems to plan on wiping them out after feeding them for a little bit, once he gathers up a bit stronger force).  However you can get to the majority of their loot without fighting them if you look around a bit.

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2 minutes ago, Randomizer said:

Mechanics isn't until the Sealed Lab

 

You can get a point of Mechanics in Pentil & in the Hill of Jars (I think) from a book & canister.  Those aren't worth avoiding as, you should be above zero by then anyway & using them shouldn't change the skill points needed for the next level.

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5 minutes ago, TriRodent said:

However you can get to the majority of their loot without fighting them if you look around a bit.

 

I have done that... and thank you 😉

 

One more thing... Since I'm going to replay a (bit to backtrack before I got Leadership and Spellccraft from the servant mind) there's something else I might change. One thing I liked about the original Geneforge was that it didn't seem to matter if you used a lot of canisters or none. In GF1-M there's already a servile in Vakkiri who can give you a mirror that shows how "affected" you are. If my first play through will be relatively pro-shaper do I need to be pretty cautious about how many canisters I use to achieve a decent ending for that faction?

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55 minutes ago, Randomizer said:

Sealed Labs is Leadership, Mechanics, Stealth, and Missile Weapons

 

Is that in place of the knowledge at the Tombs?  Because I got missile weapons at the tombs but did not get melee (or stealth, leadership & mechanics were already trained in).  However there's the free melee point in Pentil from browsing the library so... (and mechanics too for that matter)

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3 minutes ago, Felix_Felicis said:

One more thing... Since I'm going to replay a (bit to backtrack before I got Leadership and Spellccraft from the servant mind) there's something else I might change. One thing I liked about the original Geneforge was that it didn't seem to matter if you used a lot of canisters or none. In GF1-M there's already a servile in Vakkiri who can give you a mirror that shows how "affected" you are. If my first play through will be relatively pro-shaper do I need to be pretty cautious about how many canisters I use to achieve a decent ending for that faction?

 

I don't believe that there's a penalty for using canisters in GF1M, mainly because that's the only way to get a lot of different skills/creations (no trainers for the most part as we know them through Avernum).  There 'are' places where a popup announces that the changes done to you make you angry/short tempered/uncomfortable/etc) but I don't think it impacts gameplay (such as taking away discussion options).

 

That's not to say however that you should use every canister that you run across ... Apropos of nothing in particular, if there are spells you know that you'll never use or creations that you'll never make, you may not want to use them...just remember/write down where they are...

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I got fro the Tombs:

Quick Action, Evasionm  Blessing Magic, Mental Magic, Battle Shaping, Magic Shaping,  and Healing Craft

 

Jeff may have changed them and I didn't see some because my characters already had them. I mostly ran agents and guardians at the end.

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That does sound like skills where I'd expect a guardian or agent to start with 0. I think I'll clean up as much of the demo as possible without increasing leadership, mechanics, or spellcraft and see if I can pick those up in the Tombs (which I reckon is the same general area as western Southbridge based on conversation above).

 

While we're talking about not doing things in the demo that hurt your later play-through... any reason to hold onto rubies, gold rings, or other 'valuable' items that it seems at first glance are best sold for gold? I heard crafting was changed and I know there's a cool pair of gauntlets/bracers out there, but I hope I also get to craft a cool ring at some point in the game 😏

Edited by Felix_Felicis
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49 minutes ago, Felix_Felicis said:

any reason to hold onto rubies, gold rings, or other 'valuable' items that it seems at first glance are best sold for gold?

 

Not really, they can all be sold.  However, while there are stores/merchants all over the place, I never really found much to buy (other than the living tools or, very early game, shaper records which could be converted to xp (& a little gold to offset the cost)).

 

I would collect everything with value but then would tend to hoard it.  I had little piles of pods/spores/wands, & wearable items, & various types of thorns, & 'everything else' with value scattered all over Vakkiri.  At one point I had over 700 of the little blue crystals in a heaping mound (there may have been some pylon farming going on there...)

 

Towards the end game, even with the piles of goodies, I usually had around 10k in gp in my pocket (my pants would fall down in combat a lot, literally embarrassing)

 

*** Random tip that just came to mind.  If you want to enter a zone from a particular direction (say to enter a town next to the merchants) & the little arrow showing you how your are going to enter isn't at the right spot, click on the green zone symbol & it will move around to those other zone entrances. ***

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1 hour ago, TriRodent said:

*** Random tip that just came to mind.  If you want to enter a zone from a particular direction (say to enter a town next to the merchants) & the little arrow showing you how your are going to enter isn't at the right spot, click on the green zone symbol & it will move around to those other zone entrances. ***

Thank you! I'm used to clicking past the zone then clicking it after having clicked "past" it in a given direction to access the zone from the side I want. It's nice to know I can still modify the direction I enter from just by clicking it repeatedly. I hadn't tried that and thought the feature of being able to enter from whichever angle I pleased had been removed.

Sounds good about selling items. I thought I was getting less gold for selling things than I remembered, if it's 1/8 instead of 1/4 that math checks out pretty well. Guess I'll have to get used to using the junk bag and hoarding things in stacks of 8.

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4 hours ago, Randomizer said:

I got fro the Tombs:

Quick Action, Evasion, Blessing Magic, Mental Magic, Battle Shaping, Magic Shaping,  and Healing Craft

 

Jeff may have changed them and I didn't see some because my characters already had them. I mostly ran agents and guardians at the end.

 

I don't believe those were changed, my notes match those exactly from the most recent build.

 

Weirdly enough, there are also tombs in the Inner Crypt, which appear to be Mental Magic and Battle Magic. Not sure what the point of those are since if you have 0 of those skills by the time you're in that zone, you probably already have your build figured out.

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16 minutes ago, Felix_Felicis said:

I'm used to clicking past the zone then clicking it after having clicked "past" it in a given direction to access the zone from the side I want. It's nice to know I can still modify the direction I enter from just by clicking it repeatedly. I hadn't tried that and thought the feature of being able to enter from whichever angle I pleased had been removed.

 

I was complaining to Jeff about just that.  I got a very short email back "Did you click on the button again...?"

 

"Uh, no .... hey, look at that.... sigh"

 

7 minutes ago, Mechalibur said:

Weirdly enough, there are also tombs in the Inner Crypt, which appear to be Mental Magic and Battle Magic. Not sure what the point of those are since if you have 0 of those skills by the time you're in that zone, you probably already have your build figured out.

 

I'd have to check but I think that you got those two in addition to the ones from The Tombs.  Of course I was running a solo Agent at the time & one point improvement in those skills didn't impact things all 'that' much by that point.  Or perhaps because I was running an Agent & didn't get any points at The Tombs, it gave me them there.  Shrug, by that point it really doesn't matter as it's time for the end game.  Sort of an extra reward for clearing out a bonus level dungeon I guess.

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Well you don't get a bonus unless you have 0 in the skill, so the Mental Magic sarcophagus in Inner Crypt doesn't even stack with the Tombs one. The Battle Magic tomb can only affect a guardian with 0 in battle magic, who probably is past of the point of trying to shift into a build that uses battle magic. An agent wouldn't get any benefit from them.

Edited by Mechalibur
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It does sound like a pretty strong buff for non-shaper characters, to get bonuses in Battle and Magic shaping if they're at 0, when the shaper starts with them at 1 (but other "expensive" combat skills for the shaper being zero). If the skills shapers start with at 0 don't get buffed for the shapers, would put them at a decent Skill Point disadvantage for their builds. I guess I'll find out with my build - keeping all skills that start at zero at 0 through The Tombs - whether they get buffed or not.

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