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Progression Advice


Ircher
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I am sure the forums have gotten plenty of posts like this in the past, but most of them focused more on starting builds and not so much on progression. (Also, it is excuse for this board to be active once more.) Anyway, I would like some guidance on how to further advance my specific party.

 

Here were their starting stats:

 

Maverick - Level 1 Human Custom Pure Spirit Elite Warrior

22 HP / 15 SP

2 STR, 2 DEX, 2 INT, 2 END

0 MEW, 0 POW, 0 BOW, 0 THR, 0 QA

0 MSP, 3 PSP, 0 ARL, 0 SPE

0 HRD, 0 DEF, 0 TLU, 0 NAL, 0 AID, 0 LUC

2 PRR, 2 BLM, 2 MEF

71 Unspent Skill Points

 

William - Level 1 Human Custom Nimble Fingers Deadeye

22 HP

2 STR, 2 DEX, 2 INT, 2 END

0 MEW, 0 POW, 0 BOW, 0 THR, 0 QA

0 MSP, 0 PSP, 0 ARL, 0 SPE

0 HRD, 0 DEF, 5 TLU, 0 NAL, 1 AID, 0 LUC

2 SHP

71 Unspent Skill Points

 

Isaiah - Level 1 Human Custom Frail Natural Mage

22 HP / 15 SP

2 STR, 2 DEX, 2 INT, 2 END

0 MEW, 0 POW, 0 BOW, 0 THR, 0 QA

5 MSP, 5 PSP, 0 ARL, 0 SPE

0 HRD, 0 DEF, 0 TLU, 0 NAL, 0 AID, 0 LUC

1 MEF

35 Unspent Skill Points

 

Leah - Level 1 Human Custom Strong Will Pure Spirit

22 HP / 15 SP

2 STR, 2 DEX, 2 INT, 2 END

0 MEW, 0 POW, 0 BOW, 0 THR, 0 QA

0 MSP, 5 PSP, 0 ARL, 0 SPE

0 HRD, 0 DEF, 0 TLU, 0 NAL, 0 AID, 0 LUC

2 MEF

62 Unspent Skill Points

 

Here are their current stats (without gear equipped but including points from trainers and traits).

 

Maverick - Level 14 Human Custom Pure Spirit Elite Warrior

65 HP / 41 SP

6 STR, 3 DEX, 2 INT, 6 END

4 MEW, 0 POW, 0 BOW, 0 THR, 3 QA

0 MSP, 6 PSP, 0 ARL, 0 SPE

2 HRD, 2 DEF, 0 TLU, 3 NAL, 3 AID, 1 LUC

3 PRR, 3 BLM, 4 MEF

46 Unspent Skill Points

 

William - Level 15 Human Custom Nimble Fingers Deadeye

44 HP / 43 SP

5 STR, 7 DEX, 2 INT, 3 END

0 MEW, 0 POW, 8 BOW, 0 THR, 0 QA

0 MSP, 1 PSP, 0 ARL, 0 SPE

2 HRD, 0 DEF, 10 TLU, 0 NAL, 2 AID, 0 LUC

4 SHP

41 Unspent Skill Points

 

Isaiah - Level 17 Human Custom Frail Natural Mage

38 HP / 83 SP

2 STR, 2 DEX, 4 INT, 2 END

0 MEW, 0 POW, 0 BOW, 0 THR, 0 QA

14 MSP, 11 PSP, 3 ARL, 0 SPE

0 HRD, 0 DEF, 0 TLU, 0 NAL, 1 AID, 0 LUC

2 MEF

2 Unspent Skill Points

 

Leah - Level 15 Human Custom Strong Will Pure Spirit

36 HP / 123 SP

2 STR, 2 DEX, 7 INT, 2 END

0 MEW, 0 POW, 0 BOW, 0 THR, 0 QA

1 MSP, 14 PSP, 3 ARL, 0 SPE

0 HRD, 0 DEF, 0 TLU, 0 NAL, 0 AID, 0 LUC

4 MEF

44 Unspent Skill Points

 

Some things many of you will notice immediately is that most of my characters have a ton of unused skill points, and I did not pick optimal traits for my characters. The latter was intentional; I think it's pretty boring to pick the same traits every time; the character building is arguably one of the most fun parts of the game. As for the former, I always found it weird that most of the character development is done upfront rather than gradually like in most of Jeff's newer games and in the Geneforge series. (The latter has some upfront choices, but it is far less than in Avernum.) Thus, I was very conservative with the initial skill point allocation and only trained what was absolutely needed for the start. I then spent between 5-10 skill points with each level up. I plan to keep that up, but I'm not strictly opposed to using up all my unspent skill points.

 

As to the party composition itself, the roles are pretty basic. Maverick is my tank who is also good with a blade. William is a thief/archer hybrid. I kind of did mess William up. I didn't realize I should've put the tool use on my mage, and by the time I learned that, I was already a few hours in. Isaiah is mainly a mage, but he has substantial skill in priest spells as well. He has to stay out of trouble though; he dies immediately from pretty much anything that is not poison or acid. Leah is my primary priest. She has a point in mage spells because Smite was very expensive early game so I thought giving her Firebolt would be useful. That seems to have been a poor choice as she does about as much damage with a bow, and energy is more plentiful.

 

Overall, the party has done pretty well so far. (Please note: I am playing on Normal difficulty.) I've managed to sneak past Almaria without too much difficulty, and I have explored the vast Great Caves. I've managed to make it as far as Fort Saffron. I've also done the first shade-related mission (the one where you get the essence from the shade in Blosk). I am however stuck on the sulfurous flats mission. That mission feels like it is more difficult than it needs to be. The party works really well against single targets, but it struggles with scripted ambushes.

 

One thing I am considering is adding enough mage spell to William to cast Unlock Doors, but that seems a bit expensive. Being able to unlock every door isn't a high priority, but it would be nice. On the other hand, I would prefer not to miss anything major due to a locked door (such as a spellbook or really strong weapon.) Another thing I am wondering is how I should build up Leah. She already has some mage skill, so it would seem logical to give her a secondary role as a mage, but my party could use a second tank. As I mentioned, ambushes are a weak point of this party. I think a second tank may help balance things out. I am also trying to decide which skills to leave to trainers; originally, it was going to be "pretty much everything", but in hindsight, that's a really bad idea. I am thinking I will just train the lore skills and hardiness normally though I might try waiting on the others.

 

Anyway, this is a lot of words just to request some advice as to how to proceed with building my party. Also, if you have any tips for the sulfurous flats, those would be appreciated as well. I have already destroyed the pylons, but the wyrmskins are deadly considering I haven't figured out how to get only one of them to attack me at a time. 

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The thief/mage combination is only n that one game, so don't feel bad about it. 

 

While Jeff has reduced the effectiveness of it, parry is still a skill for tanks since it works against all single target attacks. Anything that will block all damage is helpful.

 

Hardiness to reduce damage is also useful. Think of all those monsters you fight that get another attack because they have a sliver of health.

 

You want enough dexterity and quick action in your lead character so the party can go first.

 

The Sulfurous Flats is hard and you probably skipped some side quests that might give you a few levels. Position helps to keep any monsters from getting to you.

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All those unspent skill points give you some intriguing possibilities. Maverick has 6 levels of Priest spells?  If you bump that up another four (?) that will give him fire rain (or whatever the AOE priest fire spell is called) which would be nice to toss out a couple of times before everyone closes in on him for his melee duties.  I like to give my first player enough magic spell levels to be able to immediately upon entering combat cast haste on everyone.  However with all the priest investment in Maverick, that could easily shift over to Billy.  Having extra turns to dump AOE spells onto the baddies is rarely a dumb move.  I'm assuming that the lack of available skill points for Isiah is because his Magic & Priest spell levels are high.  That's fine, but the next few available skill points should probably go towards endurance.  I don't think I'd try to make Leah a secondary tank.  With only 36 hp she'll use most of the skill points just in endurance without putting them elsewhere to make her useful in that capacity.  Perhaps get her Magic spells up to the point where she can cast acid which is good for chewing up the opposition over time.

 

Right now I'd work on giving the party the initiative in fights/rounds/getting them faster & with more action points (find equipment for that too - most of the mercuric armor reduces strength so an occasional point there for those who wear it is a good idea (mercuric leather on Isiah & Leah would be good as being in the back, they shouldn't be getting hit all that much to begin with)).  The faster you can hit with strong AOE spells, the less you'll have to fight up close & personal.  A point or two for everyone in quick action shouldn't be 'that' expensive for the initial points & that will help with initiative.

 

Also, by focusing on AOE spells, you can stand far back & hit a wyrmskin from the edge of that rather than the closer bow range.  You might/probably can draw them in one or two at a time that way & they should be easier to tackle/focus on them to hit them hard.  Plus if you're nibbling them down from a distance, you should rarely get ambushed by a mob any longer.

 

Good luck

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