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GF1: The madman's challenge?


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So, I am aware that there are people that have finished the pacifist route, without directly making a single attack or their creations making a single attack. It can be done. The game takes that into account and there are avenues to do that. 

However, has anyone done the opposite? I.e. butcher everything everywhere. No dialogue. No "I will return after the Geneforge and wipe out serviles 10 levels below me." Nope. Total war, attack everything. Not a single ally. If he/she/it tries to speak you, you attack it. 
Is it possible to do it? Yes, I know it is technically possible to walk to the Sholai, cut them down and GTFO. But is it possible to do fight everything from the get-go? I.e. practically not finishing any quest, losing a ton of rewards and all but go on a complete rampage... and actually be good enough to beat the Sholai and get out. 

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30 minutes ago, alhoon said:

So, I am aware that there are people that have finished the pacifist route, without directly making a single attack or their creations making a single attack. It can be done. The game takes that into account and there are avenues to do that. 

However, has anyone done the opposite? I.e. butcher everything everywhere. No dialogue. No "I will return after the Geneforge and wipe out serviles 10 levels below me." Nope. Total war, attack everything. Not a single ally. If he/she/it tries to speak you, you attack it. 
Is it possible to do it? Yes, I know it is technically possible to walk to the Sholai, cut them down and GTFO. But is it possible to do fight everything from the get-go? I.e. practically not finishing any quest, losing a ton of rewards and all but go on a complete rampage... and actually be good enough to beat the Sholai and get out. 

I think I did something similar when the first GF came out. Will probably try in mutagen since there's more stuff added

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Interesting since you miss lots of experience and loot from quests. You don't miss out from the shops that much. You will go up faster since you level to the zones will be lower.


Depending on the game difficulty it might be hard at the start since you have to fight creations way above your starting level and you need the servant mind in the second zone to let you past a locked door into the game. There are a few other places where you won't be able to pass if you kill servant minds.

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2 hours ago, Randomizer said:

you need the servant mind in the second zone to let you past a locked door into the game. There are a few other places where you won't be able to pass if you kill servant minds.

In some of the starting areas that you meet those Serviles way above your level, I think you can run through, leaving perhaps a creation back here or there to kite them away from you, till you are powerful enough to return and kill them - the "goal" of this is not to kill everything on first sight but to turn every zone hostile as soon as possible. 


Some areas being locked is OK, but what you say, about the servant mind in the 2nd zone I think ... clicks. I am not sure you can attack that Servant mind before the discussion finishes and it opens the door. But if you can turn it hostile and that results in you being locked out, then it means that it is indeed impossible to finish the game as a murderous lunatic. Not hard, impossible. 

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Geez, Shapers will just let anyone become an apprentice these days!


I think the viability depends on how strict the rules are about aggroing everything, because Vakkiri has a narrow entrance and no matter which way you want to exit the town, you're going to be going through several guards. Summoning a few creations to block while you escape is probably impractical.


On torment, the guards have 310 hp and do about 50 raw damage per attack. They're armed with batons, so they can't really be kited. If you immediately have to turn the zone hostile, I can't really think of any realistic way to get out of there alive.

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You might be able to win a war of attrition by staying at the entrance and send creations in to fight the guards until they are all dead. Then retreat to the essence pool in the previous zone to recharge and repeat. It will be extremely slow since unless you have a big essence pool to maximize the creations, you won't have enough creations to kill a guard and they will heal even in combat.

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Okay, I tried this on torment and the best I did was killing one weaker servile at Vakkiri. Having a maxed out fyora and a weaker one doesn't damage the guards that quickly. Even in the early fyora fights you are missing some attacks with the 5% fumble. Basically you do 10% damage a round against the guards and they all converge as the zone is hostile.


Maybe with more weaker ones you can last long enough to take some out and retreat.

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I was not talking about Torment, but yes, turning a zone hostile on entrance was what I had in mind. If one can't go through even the first zone that is impossible. 

However, if the parameters changed to "go through the zone without turning it hostile but you can't talk to anyone"... is it possible to get out of Vakiri? Or you have to talk to people if the zone is not hostile? I don't remember whether there are people that automatically draw you to a dialogue if you approach them in Vakiri.

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You have to initiate conversation with the serviles in Vakkiri, so you could just go through and fight in another zone util you are strong enough to fight the guards. 


I don't know if you will be strong enough to head north and reach the abandoned school, but you should be able to do Watchhill.


Slarty said it doesn't count unless you can do it on torment difficulty. Of course that was on advice for Geneforge 3. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 9/3/2023 at 2:49 PM, Randomizer said:

Then you have no easy way to recharge essence since you might not have a clear path to an essence pool or safe town.


Turns out this doesn't matter. I aggroed Vakkiri, but it still counts as cleared on the map, so you can walk to the Abandoned Vale as much as you like.


Even if you don't want to make use of that, there's a pool in Crag Hills, which isn't too difficult to get to.

Edited by Mechalibur
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I decided to actually give this challenge a shot with the following conditions:


1. You must turn a zone hostile by the time you leave it. In other words, anyone who is friendly (name in green) should be turned hostile. Hitting one friendly unit usually accomplishes this.

2. If you've turned friendly units hostile in a zone, you may not fast travel through that zone until everyone hostile is killed.

3. You may not initiate dialogue with NPCs. Servant Minds are ok (and mandatory, otherwise you can't leave Abandoned Vale) as are any objects that initiate a dialogue window when interacted with. If dialogue is initiated by the NPC you may respond how you want, however you may not increase your Leadership score - it must stay at 0.

4. No exploits, which includes restarting combat to get extra attacks in (basically don't do this: https://spiderwebforums.ipbhost.com/topic/26709-missile-guardian-on-torment-without-canisters/)

5. You may not have friendly units help you in combat - so no pulling thahds to the awakened guards (before you aggro them) in Watchhill for example.

6. Kill everything possible before leaving Sucia.


Everything else is permitted, including Stealth and Mechanics. Here's how it's going so far:


Crumbling Docks/Abandoned Vale


Started the run as a Shaper. Pretty straightforward tutorial area. After learning shaping, I made a starting team of 2 fyora, both with Innate Haste. Used the level up to get 2 points in mechanics and 1 point in Essence Mastery and Endurance. I picked those points in mechanics so I could open the room that has 4 Icy Crystals, which are really nice in the early game and I knew I wouldn't be able to come back here for a while. Immediately went insane from canisters and murdered Timo for looking at me weird.




Ran through town without talking with anyone, although I grabbed some supplies when I could get away with it. Went through the storehouse and killed the artila. I have to be careful with my hp and creation's hp until I can get access to an essence pool. After getting my grubby mitts on what I could, I headed to the east exit, initiated combat, had my shaper throw a firebolt, turning the whole town hostile, then had my fyora leave the zone.


I decided to go east since I need to get to an essence pool ASAP. Going North would likely be fatal as well since I'd be sandwiched between a hostile Vakkiri and the Dry Wastes. Might be possible to get past that with stealth, but I didn't want to spend any points there just yet. It's a shame to miss Daze, but I'll have to manage.




Unlike when I usually play shaper, I tried to take hits instead of my creations getting hit. I have a handful of food items and healing pods but I can't use those on fyora, so it's actually better than I get hit. In general though, I tried to kill the thahds here one by one. I could typically get 2 full rounds of attacks before they close into melee range, so most of the enemies died without being able to get a hit in. The Spawner is a lot more tricky than single thahds, but I was able to take it down by spamming the Icy Crystals I picked up in the Crumbling Docks. I levelled up after killing it - I put 3 points in Mechanics since I'd need them shortly.


Before leaving I attacked Seerula who is much easier than the Awakened Guards in the south. She managed to kill a fyora, but dropped an essence pod which made up for the lost essence from shaping a replacement. I double checked that this aggroed the guards to Ellrah's Keep as well (it did), then traveled north.


Crag Valley


It's pretty easy to take down the Spawner in Crag Valley. There are only a few low level creatures that need to be killed on the path to the spawning pool, and once you're there, you only need 3 mechanics to explode the Spawner without a fight. Now that I had an essence pool, I could be a lot more reckless with my creations, and I went around killing every remaining creation on the map. I got super lucky and Bent Tooth made an appearance, so I got his special ring!


I didn't want to kill Dern and Forney just yet, so I waited by the east exit for Forney to separate from his friend and approach us. I hit him with a fireball, then ran, which aggros both of them. 


Hill of Jars


Nothing really to mention since I had 5 mechanics. I made sure to destroy the regular turrets since it's a little extra XP you wouldn't get for just disabling them. Other than that, I cleaned the place of living tools, disabled the mines, grabbed the canisters, and talked to the Servant Mind. 0 leadership means I don't get to learn about Trajkov's name, but I don't need to learn things, just kill things.




I shaped a Thahd for some frontline support. It has noticeably more hp than fyoras in addition to a bit of armor. The stunning attack is also pretty useful in the early game. I made a bunch of back and forth trips to Spiral Burrow, and killed enough roamers to level up and get the Searer skill, which I'm sure will be instrumental. I went back to Crag Valley and murdered Dern and Forney one at a time by waiting at the end of Forney's patrol route. Poison helps a lot with damage since it's %hp based, but it will get even stronger when I can upgrade it to deal acid damage.

Edited by Mechalibur
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6 hours ago, Mechalibur said:

Immediately went insane from canisters and murdered Timo for looking at me weird.



What difficulty are you playing at? 


I am really glad you do this and for the one - by - one AAR. 


6 hours ago, Mechalibur said:

you only need 3 mechanics to explode the Spawner without a fight

Huh? Are you sure? Well, I should have guessed. 


6 hours ago, Mechalibur said:

I don't need to learn things, just kill things.

I wish I could give you a thumbs-up again... 

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I'm doing it on Normal. The biggest obstacle I can think of on higher difficulties is that the thahds gain a leap attack and have a bit more hp, which makes it a lot harder to take down even a single one without it dealing some damage back. It's probably still possible, especially if you're patient with reloads, but I just want to see how far I can take this on normal for now.

2 hours ago, alhoon said:


Huh? Are you sure? Well, I should have guessed. 


Yeah, the power spiral in the back room can be detonated with 3 mechanics. Saves a lot of trouble since fighting spawners sucks early on (and I used most of my Icy Crystals on the Watchhill spwaner).

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Small update for Psychopath the Shaper


Spiral Burrow


Adding a Thahd to my party helped a lot here, due to being a lot bulkier than my fyoras. It also helps that none of the monsters here really resist stun, giving extra effectiveness to the stunning punch. There are a lot of roamers here, though, so it still takes a while to clear them out, and I go back to the Crag Valley essence pool as needed. Eventually I get to Warp, who doesn't realize my brain is already too damaged for it to control. The Thahd is super useful here, tanking the 5 charmed thahd reinforcements, letting my kill the vlish with poison and fyora fire support.


I meet Control Four, who I learn has been commanding the roamers to kill Vakkiri serviles. That's my job now, so I tell Control Four its services are no longer needed and it is forced to shut down.


Thorny Fen


I ponder a bit about my challenge - I need to make sure all friendlies in a zone are hostile before leaving. But does that count Sleet? She only shows up when you trigger a specific event, so she's not technically part of the map until I get to that point. I decide to err on the side of carnage and trigger the event in one go. There are quite a few roamers here, so it's actually a bit tricky clearing a path to sleet without retreating, but I manage with the help of a few healing pods. Eventually I get to Sleet and save her from a roamer just in the nick of time to kill her myself.


With Sleet dead, I can retreat to the essence pool to recover, and I eventually clear out the zone, including the storeroom. I end at level 5 - the lack of quest XP hurts a bit, but since XP is scaled to current level, I'm not too far behind.

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Update 3


Pentil Plains


Chesh and his Obeyer friends are at the start of the zone and they're overjoyed to see a Shaper who will save them from the Rogues. This quickly turns to abject terror. Chesh has 4 baton-armed serviles with him that aren't too tough, while Chesh himself is outfitted with a Tranquil Baton that hits like a truck for this point in the game and inflicts terror. Thankfully he aims at Psychopath first, who resist the terror and returns with a Searer. The Thahd tanks most of the baton hits and stuns Chesh, letting us kill him before he can get another shot in. The fight drains most of my essence, so I take a quick trip back to Crag Valley (I will probably spent a cumulative hour going to and from Crag Valley by the time I'm done) to recover.


On the next trip, I clear out the roaming thahds, then try to break the entrenched group of 5 siege thahds and 5 siege artilas. I manage to clear out the frontline thahds, but the combined damage from the artilas wipe out my creations, and I'm forced to retreat. At Crag Valley, I summon 2 Roamers (courtesy of the Spiral Burrow canister) along with another thahd. Roamers have very high damage dice with their ranged attack, and their hardiness passive gives them pretty good resistances. With this extra firepower I'm able to break through the encampment without much trouble.


Pentil Woods


Oh man this zone sucks. Thankfully there aren't any friendly units I have to rush over to kill, but the vlish themselves are a massive pain. They call for help as soon as they're attacked and the terror vlish can cause my creations to be useless for 4 turns, although thankfully I picked up Cure Affliction which works on fear and doesn't take up a whole turn. If they hit Psychopath, there's at least a 75% chance to resist terror, but if he doesn't resist, it's pretty much a game over right there. My first foray goes disastrously, and I decide to ditch the thahd (he'll be useless in the next zone anyway) for another Roamer. This gives me enough concentrated ranged firepower to take down a vlish in a single round. If I manually initiate combat before it notices me, this can let me murder an isolated terror vlish without it calling for help or terrorizing one of my units. It doesn't always work out that way all the time due to miss chances, but the strategy works well enough to clear out all the vlish before having to go back for energy.


A room in the north is full of mines, but has an incredibly essential canister. With no regard for the welfare of my creations, I charge my roamers through the mines to set them off and grab the Create Artila canister. Immediately, I dump 2 points in Magic Shaping for 3 total to get me access to the Charged Artila. These little guys are extremely fragile, but have innate acid on their attacks and can get Innate Haste as well. I replace one of my Roamers with an Artila. Normally you'd get them earlier in the game, but my rules make it impractical to visit the Ruined School at this point. I leave the spawner and underground level alone for now, as I don't think I have enough power to push through them.


The Tombs


Pyroroamers are pretty easy to snipe down and their chain reactions tend to be more damaging to themselves than me, so clearing them out isn't much of an issue. There is a friendly servile here, so I seek him out immediately. Hiley is only level 1, and will die in a single hit, but the 3 ghosts are significantly more difficult, so I add a little extra damage with a fiery wand I picked up. Consumables don't scale with level, so it's perfectly fine to use them liberally in the beginning of the game. It's probably a good idea to mention at this point: friendly units typically don't give any XP for killing them! Jeff probably did this to encourage people not to indiscriminately slaughter townsfolk for a power boost, but that's not enough to stop me.


Anyway, the real challenge in this zone is the Thahd Shades. Holy crap I hate them. They have an AoE stun attack that can also does around 75% of my creations' health. I have to initiate combat with my unit spread out so they can't all get stunned simultaneously. I end up using a dose of curing spores to clear stun at one point. After grabbing the Tomb Amulet, I'm able to open up the sarcophagi and get a point in Quick Action and Evasion, which is a nice little bonus. I barely manage to hit level 6 by the time I'm done, which is quite a bit lower than I'm used to by this point.


Not entirely sure where to go next. Probably Pentil to steal some junk (I won't be able to go back for a while though since it is chock full of high level guards), then maybe Thorny Woods or Southbridge. I forget how tough the Sholai are in Southbridge since I usually use leadership to bypass them. Hopefully they aren't too bad.

Edited by Mechalibur
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11 hours ago, Randomizer said:

Sholai aren't as bad if you can daze or stun them so you only fight one at a time. With creations, I timed it with creation attack and then daze so they miss their attacks.


They have decent stun resist, and I actually don't have Daze yet. Normally I pick it up pretty early in Bandit Woods, but that wasn't an option here because I'd be flanked between a hostile Vakkiri and the Dry Wastes (which I can't really stealth through because the rules state I'd have to kill the high level Sholai at their campsite first). Thankfully I get Daze at the end of this update.


Update 4




With a fully ranged party, the turrets here aren't really an obstacle as long as I'm careful. The Clawbugs are a bit tougher to take down, but all things considered they don't hit that hard. The Sholai on the other side are my first introduction to an enemy type I'm sure I'm going to hate for the rest of the run. There are only two, but they're both fairly bulky and hit very hard. Sholai have an AoE bladestorm, melee and ranged attacks, and a leap, which makes it a bit unpredictable to figure out where they're going to attack. I put Psychopath in front after buffing with Shield and wear them down with Acid and roamer spit. Wrack, a spell I almost never cast, is somewhat useful, lowering their accuracy and making them skip a few turns. It's close, but I manage to take them down.


The remaining Tombs give me Missile Weapons and Spellcraft +1. I also learn how to make Clawbugs which I might bring out if I need a tanky creation for the frontline. For now I'm sticking with the Roamer/Searing Artila team. I tried going to Thorny Woods next, but the level 10 friendly serviles were a bit tough to hit, so I reloaded and instead went to...


Stone Circle


I probably should have come here later, but I decided to go ahead and clear out the Vlish/Roamer patrols. I use wrack and Icy Crystals to make them more manageable while my creations focus down the roamers one at a time. Thankfully this is the second zone with an essence pool, so I can return here instead of Crag Valley whenever I need to recharge. Not much else to say at this point - I grab the bone baton but leave the ghosts alone for now since they're pretty annoying. I end up at level 7.




Elder Rydell welcomes me with open arms, but I completely ignore him, go into his bedroom and take all his stuff. There are a lot of nice goodies in Pentil, but it takes a few living tools to get everything I want. Lots of good stuff here, Magic Shaping +1, Create Roamer, Carnelian Gloves, Girdle of Strength. Weirdly enough, attacking one guard doesn't turn the whole zone hostile, I had to hit two before I could leave. I guess Obeyers are just a little more lenient toward slaughtering their own people than the other factions. Pentil is chock full of level 10 guards, so I probably won't be returning here for a while.


The Siege of Vakkiri


I'm feeling more confident in my ability to take down the Vakkiri guards. They're level 6, but have significantly more hp than most enemies of that level, and there are 4 of them by the east exit. Still, because acid damage is % based, I'm able to whittle them down while Psychopath provides healing, eventually clearing a way through the north exit and slaughtering the town. In case anyone's wondering, you don't get the War Blessing canister if you kill Dreet. Oh well.


Bandit Woods/Ruined School


These zones are full of level 1 and 2 enemies, so there's not much to say here, other than I wonder if the bandits know they don't have anyone left to rob any more. They demand my money or my life, but I take both of theirs instead. I usually end up friendly with the bandits, so I'm surprised to learn one of them has a Coated Cloak. It's a nice pickup since I was just using a regular cloak up until this point. I finally get Daze which is a staple spell that I was really feeling the loss of.


Ruined School is also a breeze, but gets me 3 nice canisters: Create Artila, Agility +1, and Searer. Normally getting extra ranks in battle magic skills just gives you another damage die (a d3 in Searer's case), but Searer is special in that the second rank also upgrades the Poison to Acid, which is a great bonus. I'm too stupid to get the Spellcraft bonus from the servant mind, but that's okay.

Edited by Mechalibur
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Update 5


Did some miscellaneous stuff like killing the Spawner in Pentil Woods and the shades in Stone Circle. I make a weird decision for a shaper and put a point in Missile Weapons. This lets me use Poison Batons which are quite a bit stronger than firebolt and I have some ammo saved up. It also lets me inflict poison which, while not being as strong as acid, stacks with it and is still welcome. After that it's off to...


Ellhrah's Keep


So by the rules of my challenge, I could just take everything I can get away with then whack a guard and run away. But I wanted to see how far I could push it with a level 7 character, 2 roamers, and a searing artila. There are 3 major obstacles to killing Ellhrah in his keep:


Regular Guards: Level 7 with a whopping 294hp. They deal moderate damage with their batons but aren't especially threatening. Biggest issue is that massive wad of hp.


Ellhrah's Guards: Level 12 with... 150hp? Wait, why do they have less hp than the generic guards? For some reason Jeff gave generic guards way too much hp for their level. Eh, whatever. They hit harder, but they go down easier and there are 5 of them in Ellhrah's room.


Ellhrah himself: Level 12 with 626 hp. He can Mass Energize and Overload


So how do we deal with this? The trick is to go into the private storerooms where you're not allowed to be. After standing in front of the guard there, he eventually calls for the alarm (he's incredibly incompetent however, and it takes about a minute of him staring at me for this to happen. I easily could have grabbed a bunch of stuff and ran if I wanted to). When the alarm is called, Ellhrah and his personal guards make their way to my location. However, their placement in the room in staggered, and the guards arrive first, one after another. A combination of spray crystals, daze, and roamer spit takes them down. My Searing Artila goes down, but I'm quickly able to make a backup and use essence pods to make up the difference. Ellhrah himself is an absolute beast, and can one shot any of my creations when buffed up, and take me down to about 20% hp with his baton. His Overcharge buff is his biggest weakness though. It boosts his damage immensely, but deals damage equivalent to (and stacking with) acid each turn. After he overloads, I discipline wand + daze in a single turn to get 2 chances to stun him each turn. Eventually the acid from my artila and his overcharge damage bring him down. At that point all I need to do is loop around the side and fight a few generic guards and shop keepers and I'm home free.


Thorny Woods


I put this off because there are 2 groups of "friendly" serviles, both of which are pretty tricky at my level. The first problem is Obeyer Demel and his trained Fyoras. They're all level 12 so my accuracy is pretty crap, but there's enough of them that my team is pretty susceptible to dying. I have to use a spray crystal, fiery wand, and some healing spores to get through it, but I eventually push through with one of my roamers dying. I replace it with a Clawbug, although I end up pretty disappointed in it. We eventually reach Ezog. He and his cronies are a much more manageable level 7, but there are a lot of them. They thought they would die at the hands of the Obeyers, but instead they got the honor of being slain by a Shaper (an insane shaper apprentice, to be fair, but still a shaper!)


Pentil East


The guards here are much easier than in Pentil proper. I even get to slay their Awakened prisoner Sorkin who I think was the last living Awakened at this point. Not much to say about this zone, there are 3 spawners but they have fairly low hp for spawners at this point in the game and the cryoa patrols are pretty weak. Managed to reach level 8 by the time I wiped up the spawners.


I think I'm at the point where things are going to be pretty breezy until I have to start fighting Sholai. We'll see, though.

Edited by Mechalibur
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Yeah, it's actually been great for keeping my living tools stocked up. There are quite a few laying around in various shops that I normally wouldn't steal, but in this playthrough I don't give a damn.


Update 6


Nothing too exciting here, just clearing some more zones out. I replace my Clawbug with a Cryoa and make sure it has the frost breath and aura. Lots of fights going forward will have multiple enemies, so having good AoE damage is essential. I'm pretty happy with my earlier decision to get missile weapons up - 4 skill points isn't too big of an investment, and the venom baton is noticeably stronger than firebolt at this point in the game. Unlike the originals, accuracy isn't dependent on your stats, so even though shapers are weak in weapons, they aren't any less likely to hit with them.




With no Sholai, and a baton to take out the spores, there isn't really much to stop me here. I, of course, murder Lahnee and grab all the stuff in their store.


Buried Cells


Buron is yet another level 1 servile shopkeeper that has committed the grand crime of existing. There are some nice items in his shop which I scoop up. Psychopath is strangely fond of Servant Minds and gives Cell One some nutrients in exchange for future violence against the spectral vlish in the zone. The most notable pickup here is the Essence Lance canister, which gives me an AoE battle spell. Speed is also very welcome, and I grab another rank in Blessings Magic to cast it.


Inutile Village


Not satisfied with killing 2 servile shopkeepers, Psychopath makes a detour to the Inutile Village to go on a fresh rampage. With Brea Dawn dead, I'm free to loot her collection of gems which includes a few Airshock Crystals, one of the best consumable attack items in the game. Fun fact - she drops her key if you murder her, so you don't have to do her quest to stop the bandits to get it. Naturally I murder the bandits, too.


The 2 battle betas at the east exit recognize my key and turn friendly, which means I have to take them out by the rules of the challenge. Perhaps they didn't notice the key was covered in blood. The battle betas hit like a truck and have a stupid amount of hp, but concentrated acid and mental debuffs takes them out without too much of an issue.


Quiet Marshes


The Vlish + Roamer patrols are a pain in the ass and if they all decide to attack the same target, it's probably dead. Thankfully Daze can make them more manageable, but there are still quite a few patrols to push through. I can't leave the zone until I kill Clois, who is actually level 12 instead of 1 like most other non-guard serviles. Still, she's a lone servile, so it's not too much of a struggle to overpower her. To my delight, Clois drops a Shaper Robe on death, which I had no idea about! It's a really great pickup for this stage in the game. There's also an Infused Robe that you can get in this zone, which I might equip in situations where I need to be a lot tankier, but for now I'm sticking with the Shaper Robe.


Crystal Burrow


I love this zone with the tiny little creations the Bulging Thahds explode into. Nothing too tough here as long as I'm careful. The best part is I finally get a canister of Create Vlish so I shape one to join the team. My essence is high enough now that I think I can maintain 4 creations at a time.

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There's at least one essence pool available in Crag Valley. Essence pods should be saved for combat replacements of creations so you don't lose damage you've done if you have to break off a fight.


At this point th e problem is you start having more areas with high heath and damaging Sholai and serviles. You really need to specialize in a single creation group to keep up with them in damage.


Good luck!

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2 hours ago, alhoon said:

How do you recharge essence, if I may ask? Having murdered an entire village makes it friendly again and you can rest there? Or you travel aaaall the way to a pool and charge there? 


Murdering the village does not make it friendly, unfortunately. That's why I had to rush to the pool in Crag Valley. Lately I go to Stone Circle for recharging since it has both types of pools and is a little closer to the entry zone.

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Update 7


Forgot to mention, I hit level 9 at the end of the last update.


The Junkyard


This is a decent place to get some XP. The vlish are high enough level and you fight them individually. The two serviles in the junkyard are both level 1 pushovers, but I'm surprised to learn that Proof will drop his key on death, letting me fully loot their workshop. Sadly none of the loot is especially noteworthy.


Servile Outpost


So, normally in this zone, after talking to the leader of the outpost, it comes under attack by waves of rogue creations. I beat them to the punch by slaughtering the outpost myself. Sadly this is a pretty bad tradeoff since the serviles don't give any XP. Oh well. I also get lucky and find the Charged Artila, although I think I prefer the Shaper Robes to the Artila Jerkin (2 free points in battle magic isn't bad, but +1 level to all my creations is better).


Kazg Ruins


This one's a bit rough. There are two "friendly" serviles at the end of the zone, so I need to do this all in one go in order to turn them hostile before leaving. The patrols consist of level 10-12 serviles and the captains frequently have spray batons for AoE damage or Tranquil batons for terrify. Thankfully their mental resist isn't too good, and I'm able to use daze to keep them under control. Eventually I reach the end of the patrols and Rosen lets me know Gnorrel has allowed me into Kazg as long as I don't cause any trouble. I immediately cause some trouble and attack him and the merchant Arth.


A weird bug happens when Rosen is aggroed. There was a single remaining patrol that turned friendly when I talked to Rosen, then when I attacked him, only one of them turned hostile. So the serviles started attacking each other until another turn passed and they were all properly marked as hostile. Weird. Of note in this zone is the Essence Shield canister. That buff can pretty much double the effective hp of my creations (or myself), which makes it phenomenal against some of the game's tougher encounters.


Ascended Labs


...Why did I do this? Ascended Labs is full of nasty encounters made worse by the fact that I'm attacking the few NPCs that are supposed to be friendly. After clearing the area around Ascended Sessina, I get ready to plan my assault. Sessina has a fire wave AoE and essence lances, which makes him capable of dealing significant damage to multiple creations at a time. His friend Mica also carries a Spray Baton, so it's absolutely imperative I spread my team out. Essence Shield gives me a reasonable buffer, and we're able to overpower the two serviles with raw damage and acid. After that, killing the Drake Godiva is relatively simple. I go upstairs and find out that killing Sessina has opened up all the locked doors! That lets me take the Helix Bracer, Gloves of Feisty Slapping, and Create Cockatrice. If I made a cockatrice now it would have a control score of 16, so I'm gonna pass.


Even though I managed to bypass the cockatrice fight, it goes against the spirit of the run to ignore another encounter, so I go through the map's northern gauntlet. The patrols are pretty strong, consisting of battle betas, clawbugs that can take two turns per round, and searing artilas that spread acid everywhere. My Vlish makes sure everyone is buffed ahead of time, then we spray down the enemies with as much AoE as possible, and just barely manage to beat both patrols with my creations still alive. The Cockatrice itself is fairly difficult, having an AoE attack that inflicts terrify and 4 battle alphas that join the fight partway through. Thankfully Curing Spores work against the AoE terrify, but the alphas still manage to take down almost all my creations before I finally finish them. Phew. By the time I'm done with this zone, I've hit level 10!




I'm excited to power up the Helix Bracer, and go to the pool in Pentil Woods and clear out all the vlish there. Then I come to a horrible realization - you can't use the pools if you don't talk to Valyrria. Argh! This means I'll never be able to power it up, and it's essentially useless. Guess I'll keep the Carnelian Gloves.

Edited by Mechalibur
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14 hours ago, Mechalibur said:

killing the Drake Godiva is relatively simple

Really?! IIRC Godiva is level 20 so to take it down at level 9 it is exceptional to say the least. 


PS, because it has to be said: Godiva said it best about the rogues and creations and pushed me towards the Takers instead of the Awakened. Not that I could actually turn on the Awakened. 

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Update 8


Servile Warren


This zone is pretty good for XP since the guardian turrets are level 9 and they aren't too threatening. I greet Greeter Nine with immediate death, then take out the roamers and turrets. I figure I might as well give mind nutrients to the servant mind here to learn about the Geneforge, which gives 100XP. Since I can't put any points in Leadership, I can't get the servant mind to unlock the Mass Energize canister, which sucks because that's a phenomenal spell. I also don't have the entry baton yet, so no ornks. Darn.


Kazg Plains


I tested this zone out two updates ago before realizing I should come back later. Fun fact, you can get free passage from Amena Blade if you killed Ellhrah, even if never got the quest to do so. The biggest problem here are the servile champions hanging out by the entrance to Kazg. They don't have insane hp, thankfully, but they can use Mass Energize, Thorn Baton Spray, and do an AoE bladestorm thingy. I prepare for this zone by dismissing my normal summons and summon 5 pyroroamers. I put on an essence shield and run toward the serviles, putting them together in a blob. Then my roamers run forward while Psychopath backs up. One brave servile spray batons the pyroroamers, which puts everyone at critical hp. After that, it's just a matter of wiping them up with consumables and essence lance.


Tribal Woods


I immediately threaten the tribal serviles and have to take out all infinity plus one of them. As soon as they're aggroed, the serviles file out of their village one by one to attack me near the zone's entrance. It's a slog and I have to be careful with positioning due to their AoE attacks, but I eventually manage to wipe them out and clear out the village. I get a Roamer canister for my trouble. I ignore the spawners for now since the serviles were such a pain in the butt.

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Update 9


Tribal Woods (Part 2)


The spawners here are way easier than I remember. They don't have that much hp and even though there's 4 of them, if you fight at the edge of their range, only 2 will be active at a time. Probably should have just cleared out the zone in the last update.




I grab whatever I can and go through Tovio's books in his tower by sneaking past the guard. The Terror canister is pretty nice, but the other two canisters are locked behind joining the Takers or killing Gnorrel. There's not much else here of note, so I whack a servile to turn everyone hostile, then run away.


Holding Two


I was only a few XP away from another level up, so taking care of the Charge Fyoras and Bore gets me to level 11! The rest of the zone is basically a mechanics check. I don't have quite enough to disable the southern turrets, but they're all super close together and vulnerable to a cavalcade of AoE spells. There's a servant mind here, but I don't have enough leadership to wake him up, so I leave him to sleep. I think Psychopath has a soft spot for servant minds (and nothing else).




It's finally time to teach Rydell a lesson. The Pentil guards are level 10 and have over 300 hp each, which means I really need to accelerate my damage with copious amounts of acid. Rydell himself also has a Wand of Succor and Wand of Terrify which he is happy to use in the fight against me. He's surrounded by 6 guards and will also use Mass Energize to give them Haste, Protection, and Bless, which can result in a massive amount of damage if they get lucky with the haste turns.


I end up having to make 3 trips to kill Rydell, killing a few guards each time. Curing Spores are great as a countermeasure to his terrify, and I use some Terror of my own to keep as many of the guards off me as possible. Eventually the leader of the Obeyers falls and his last words are "Why Shaper? We tried so hard. We tried... I'm sorry..." which is really pretty sad. Psycopath is unmoved, of course. He also drops his key, but I already manually unlocked everything I wanted the first time I was here.


At this point I need to think about the best way to go forward. Every single option will put me through the path of the Sholai at this point.

Dry Wastes - The clawbugs here are nasty and there's a sizable group of Sholai. The only zone it would unlock for me is Western Wastes which is even worse

Barrens Research - I have the cockatrice feather, so I'm allowed in even though I murdered Sessina. The zone has a lot of Brigands/guards, which I'd rather not deal with, and I'm definitely not ready for the bunker.

Diarazad - Stealth Sholai are awful. Still, there aren't any friendlies in this zone, so I can kill stuff at my own pace. I'd still rather come back at a higher level.

Wooded Valley - Has a huge group of Sholai, although I'm not sure if I can even fight them if I murder Sniff who guards the door. I'll have to think about this one.

Guarded Bridge - One of the most heavily defended maps in the game with high level Sholai. Definitely not.

Refugee Camp - Another Sholai camp. This one has the enemies spaced out more than some other groups, but there are loads of them I'd have to deal with.

Icy Tunnels - The last Sholai camp in my traversable zones. This one is pretty tricky but I might be able to manage, and it would open the way to the mines.


I end up going with the last option.


Icy Tunnels


I immediately head off to the Sholai camp in the Southeast. There's actually a pretty diverse group of Sholai here ranging from level 7 to 13, with Scouts, Mages, and Guards. I put up an Essence Shield and try to shield my creations from taking too much damage, but the Sholai have a knockback attack that makes it difficult to stay in formation. Thankfully I'm able to keep a few dazed with my Discipline Wand (I'm using this thing way more than I ever did), keep my creations healed up, and wear down the Sholai with my creations' attacks. The Sholai Mages don't arrive until nearly everyone is dead already, and they're squishier than the guards, so they don't end up being too much of a threat. This makes me optimistic for some of the other Sholai groups later in the game.


I then heal up and clear out the rest of this zone. The ambushes are kind of annoying, but until you fight the boss, you're mostly just fighting groups of 3 at a time which isn't so bad. This also has the essence/hp flowers that stop me from having to retreat to an essence pool. The priest at the end is fairly high level and has some nasty spells, but the specters with it aren't especially bulky, and they get taking down with our area of effect spells. All in all they were easier to deal with than the Sholai, and I get a permanent +1 Quick Action for my trouble, which is decent if not especially amazing.

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1 hour ago, Mechalibur said:

Eventually the leader of the Obeyers falls and his last words are "Why Shaper? We tried so hard. We tried... I'm sorry..." which is really pretty sad.


THIS (And his book showing his greatest ambition is for a Shaper to pet him on the head and tell him he did well) is why I can't stand the Shapers and the Obeyers. After a century of neglect, after ideological differences led the Obeyers to fight and kill Serviles in the name of the bygone Shapers, a Shaper comes up and kills the Obeyers. 

And "We tried. I am sorry." is what Rydell says as he is being butchered. 



1 hour ago, Mechalibur said:

Guarded Bridge - One of the most heavily defended maps in the game with high level Sholai. Definitely not.



Edited by alhoon
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6 hours ago, Mechalibur said:

The Sholai in Guarded Bridge are a bit too sturdy for the pyroroamer bomb strategy. I'll probably wait until I have Dominate or Glaahks to take that zone on - the best strategy in my experience is to use their strength against them with control effects.

When I did it, I did it with Pyroroamers. I don't remember the exact strategy but it took a lot of load-and-saves. I remember trying to position the pyroroamers to activate properly so I could "divide" the Sholai. Also, I didn't use only Pyroroamers. I had more creations as back-up. 

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All right, back from my vacation. Update 10.


Underground River


This is a pretty easy zone to get through. Turrets tend to be one of the easiest enemies to deal with and many of them are place in a way where I can take them out one at a time. Of note, this is the only place in the entire challenge that I can actually spend money, since the servant mind here is a glorified vending machine. That being said I'm not particularly interested in the items. The Guardian Cloak would be decent, but I'm about to get a much better cloak, so I don't bother and just clear the zone out.


Eastern Mine


I absorb all my creations to make this a bit faster, put on my infused robe, and just charge through the path with the fewest number of pylons. On normal mode, I can take about 5-6 hits from pylons before dying, and they'll often use their non-stunning spray attack twice in a row, letting me slip through.


Mine Core


I use mechanics to slip through the door that leads to the Servant Mind. When entering combat mode at the right time, you can cut a corner to avoid being in the line of sight of any of the pylons. I feed the servant mind the nutrients I looted from Kazg, then have him disable the defenses, letting me explore the rest of the mines in relative peace. There's an essence pool that I can charge up with my mechanics, and I use that to resummon my army and take out the rogue glaahks. Since my creations are all ranged, the glaahks here aren't a big deal to take out, and I grab some nice Tinkerer Gloves for a handy +2 mechanics.


Northern Mine


There are 3 amazing things in this zone: a canister of Create Glaahk, Danette's Cloak, and the Entry Baton. The biggest obstacle are the two battle alphas that patrol the northern room. Thankfully they're pretty easy to engage one on one and wear down their massive hundreds of hp with acid. I lose an artila fighting them, but there's an essence pool in the previous zone to fix any mishaps. I use it to resummon my army and replace a roamer with an Ur-Glaahk. I'm running at a lot less essence than normal, but the Ur-Glaahk is probably the most powerful creation in the game with easy access to charm and AoE stun, while also being quite tanky to boot.


West Mines


I have the servant mind disable the defenses here, then go on a rampage against the rogues. The zone is incredibly easy this way and rewards me with the phenomenal Airshock spell. By the time all of the mines are cleared out, I'm level 12.


At this point in the game, I think I have all the tools needed to take on virtually any zone. Going forward I'm probably going to gloss over a lot more details.

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I'm gonna quickly go through zones now. The run is at the point where the challenge itself doesn't matter too much anymore since I hit a sufficient level and can force my way through most encounters with charm, acid, and airshock.


Update 11


Refugee Cave


There are way fewer Sholai than I remember here and it was pretty easy to force my way through, using charmed Sholai to tank. Killing Mascha gets me the key to her room automatically which is nice. You get a sholai lesson from one of her books, which I think means no matter how many people you kill, you always have the chance to get enough Sholai knowledge to talk to Trajkov.


Dock Ruins


Nothing really of note here. Roamers are old news, and a single battle alpha doesn't threaten me.


Eastern Docks


Pylons are always a pain to deal with, so I take a stealth path from the north to disable them, loot the facility, then deal with the Glaahk patrols one by one. I murder Don Jonz, then head upstairs. You'd think 3 fully trained Shapers could take on a single apprentice, but Thackerzod, Arixy, and Kevin are defeated without too much issue. Kevin kept spamming Mass Energize instead of attacking for some reason.


East Kazg


Kurit would normally offer some canisters in exchange for coin, and it turns out murder is not an acceptable alternative payment. The canisters permanently remain closed. The servile Vleel warns me that I'm not allowed to exit east, which is kind of funny because that's how I entered the zone. He and the nearby serviles are level 13, but thankfully don't have the bloated hp that a lot of guard enemies have. Charm and area damage get me through the fight with only losing a single creation. The facility in the south gets me Battle Shaping +1 but I'm not using any battle creations, so it's kind of a waste (I guess it lowers control levels. Meh).


Wooded Valley


I'm dismayed to find out that there doesn't appear to be any way to get past the locked door behind Sniff. This might mean Astrov and his Sholai rebels are going to be the only characters that survive the Great Sucia Massacre. Good for them.


Peaceful Vale


Dorian and the artilas aren't a problem at all, but Syros is a much tougher opponent. Surprisingly his hp isn't very high, but he's level 20 which means my accuracy, even with bless, is absolute garbage. I start the fight by spreading everyone out before initiating combat (I want to limit the damage of his breath), and then just hope I can get a few hits in. It takes a while due to the accuracy issues, but I'm eventually able to land some acid on him and get in enough direct hits that he goes down, although he managed to take down almost all my creations with him. He drops quicksilver boots which are pretty nice - I put them on. Unfortunately the doors he normally lets you access in exchange for skill points don't open and are forever locked to me.


Free Place


I think this is the first time I've ever fought Aitch before, because he's way sturdier than a remember and gets 2 actions per round. I take him out by applying acid then charming him. While he's charmed he just stands still and waits for the acid to kill him. Easy peasy. The rest of the zone isn't really notable. I gain a canister of Battle Alpha, but they aren't particularly useful compared to Glaahks, who do more damage, have better abilities, and even resist more damage. The only advantage alphas have is their hp pool, but it doesn't make up for all the other shortcomings.

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15 hours ago, Mechalibur said:

You'd think 3 fully trained Shapers could take on a single apprentice, but Thackerzod, Arixy, and Kevin are defeated without too much issue.


How??? At level 12?  Without access to much of training? 

I wouldn't dare attack them and they annoy me to no end. These guys are the reason that the Takers are right. Sure, the Awakened are more moral but the Takers are more right. 

15 hours ago, Mechalibur said:

I'm dismayed to find out that there doesn't appear to be any way to get past the locked door behind Sniff.

I remember passing that locked door without joining the Takers. I don't remember how and I had a lot of leadership. Also, I couldn't do much past it as I wasn't a taker. I think I was either warned to leave or was attacked on sight. 


15 hours ago, Mechalibur said:

Syros is a much tougher opponent

Oh, THAAAAT is the level 20 drayk... As for the things he gives in exchange of skill points, to be honest I wasn't enthused. 


15 hours ago, Mechalibur said:

he only advantage alphas have is their hp pool

They jump in melee. Which is a good way to use them as a temp meat shield, IIRC. Throw one underleveled Alpha in the midst of the Sholai to do some damage and then soak up attacks. 

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The 3 shapers are actually pretty easy. They don't really do much - Thackerzod and Arixy just toss out a few weak spells like firebolt and searer, Kevin just spammed mass energize each turn, which is a lot of buffs, but it meant he wasn't attacking. There's a battle alpha as soon as you come up, but it dies pretty fast and it takes the rest of the shapers 2 turns to reach you.


Regarding battle alphas... they aren't useless, but I'd rather have a glaahk mind control a sholai and have it tank for me. Or shoot out a shockwave and stun a bunch of them.

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Too bad you can't do something like this in Geneforge 4. Imagine instead of the rebels immediately capturing you at the beginning of the game, you get exiled instead and you run into General Crowley early and you can do a full Shaper playthrough right from the start. Definitely not as much freedom in 4.

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On 10/12/2023 at 4:31 PM, Vinlie said:

Too bad you can't do something like this in Geneforge 4. Imagine instead of the rebels immediately capturing you at the beginning of the game, you get exiled instead and you run into General Crowley early and you can do a full Shaper playthrough right from the start. Definitely not as much freedom in 4.

The rebels do not "Capture you" at the beginning of the game. You are a farmer that willingly joins the rebellion along with your friends. Then you see the Shapers killing your friends as you madly run to escape the horrors they unleashed on you. 

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Update 12


I'm level 13 by the end of this update. I forget if it happened in this update or partway through the last update.


Barren's Research


The serviles let me into their encampment after seeing my cockatrice feather and immediately regret it when I start tearing them open. I'm grateful the guards here don't have inflated hp values like they do in a lot of zones. Ascended Alonzo on the otherhand is an absolute power-house and managed to take out most of my creations before I finally take him out. He has high hp combined with a cure spell, so I have to keep re-applying acid if I want it to stick. He also has the explosive boils abilities that pyroroamers have. Weird. He drops Charge Vestments which I equip. I miss the shaping bonus on the shaper robes, but I think the extra defense and magic damage is slightly more useful.


Killing him drops the Bunker key, although I'm not ready for that zone yet. It also seems to cause Yu-La to despawn for some reason, maybe she ran away? The only other notable NPC here is Eroc, who has very high stats and hits like a truck. I talk to Mind Swanwick who gives me the first quest I've ever received since starting the game! I guess I'll get the cockatrice research documents and give them to him when I finally make it to the Geneforge.


Power Station


I deal with the fyora-pocalypse then take out the annoying drayk. Sadly I'm out of mind nutrients so I can't do anything with the Servant Mind here.


Power Core


Oh boy, a zone full of environmental damage. I decide to unsummon everything and just power through this solo since keep everyone's hp up is too much of a hassle, and Psychopath has pretty good energy resist by himself. The shades here aren't too tough, so I power through them with essence lances and make my way around the zone. There's a Guardian Claymore here that's a bit irrelevant since I'm not getting 8 melee weapon skill this playthrough. What is important is the Create Drayk canister. I'm finally able to make all the creations in the game, and I shape one to replace my roamer.


The Hill


I'd like to nominate this for "Most Forgettable Zone" in the game. The only notable treasure is a Charge Vestment, but I already picked one up from Alonzo. No canisters, no interesting enemies, just a gauntlet of spawners.


The Arena


I encounter a battle beta who doesn't like fighting. Too bad for him I love it. This zone is pretty simple as long as you unlock the rooms one at a time, although one of the special Volatile Thahds that drops a reaper baton actually shoots reapers at you in-battle. I never noticed that before. I can't do anything with Janus due to my leadership deficiency.

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So, how does that "turn Sucia to an island devoid of any sentience except servant-minds" goes?  

I was also thinking, 50-100 years later someone else may come to Sucia to find only ruins and overgrown areas, someone thinking the Shapers probably never set foot there only to suddenly encounter servant minds, some of which may remember one lone Shaper. 

Further investigation and piecing together what the Servant minds have to say and what they will find in broken labs would  lead them to believe that the cannisters turn Shapers completely bonkers. 

Edited by alhoon
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8 hours ago, Mechalibur said:

"Clearly barring wasn't enough, we need to burn the island to the ground"


Although, naturally I'm going to try to end by using the Geneforge, so I think the Shaper Council is going to have bigger issues than an investigation into Sucia.

Nobody told you not to. 

They didn't have the chance. 🤣


Also, how do you plan to use the geneforge? I doubt you will find out about the gloves.  I don't know if they can be found / used without that knowledge. 

Edited by alhoon
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18 hours ago, alhoon said:

Also, how do you plan to use the geneforge? I doubt you will find out about the gloves.  I don't know if they can be found / used without that knowledge. 


I'm not sure off-hand, but I think you can read the instructions on how to use the Geneforge even if you attack Trajkov instead of talking to him. I guess we'll see. Anyway, updates have been slow due to work, but here's the next one.


Update 13


Ancient Crypt


I figure it's time I start advancing through the wastes part of the map, and this one has a decent amount of XP from the high level ghosts. The first and last parts are fairly simple, just disable the crystals to stop the mines and turrets from going off. The ghosts, on the other hand, deal fairly high damage and can teleport, making them a bit annoying to fight without Essence Shield. Thankfully they're not immune to stun, so my Ur-glaahk can keep them crowd controlled with its stun wave. The biggest issue are the level 18 Crypt Guardians. They don't have too much hp, but they can deal around 100 damage per hit and enrage themselves. They're also not immune to stun, but due to their high level, accuracy is a coin flip against them - I make sure to keep everyone blessed to minimize the miss chance. There's a Girdle of Leadership here which I immediately burn since I'm not allowed to have more than 0 leadership. Finishing the zone gets me enough XP to hit level 14


Dry Wastes


I think I'm finally able to take out the Sholai here, so it's time to give this zone a shot. The clawbugs are a nuisance at worst. The support pylon is a little annoying, but I can lure most of the clawbugs away from it, then force through it with all my creations. They have 0 armor, so my baton does a surprising amount of damage despite me being a weakling shaper.


Zinaida and her sholai are the bigger threat in this zone. They're only level 11-12, but they have hp in the 300-400 range and can hit fairly hard, with 2 of them being mages. My strategy is to keep at least one sholai dominated at all times so the sholai will focus themselves down while my creations attack from a distance. It works pretty well, and Psychopath provides support with Spray Crystals and Airshock. Unlike a lot of friendly NPCs, these guys actually give XP when killed. Nice!


Patrolled Dell


The Sholai patrols are pretty tame. The enemies are all standard without extra hp, so the typical strategies work against them. Gayev and Borkin on the other hand are a pretty formidable duo, being a high level sholai warrior and mage respectively. I try to keep Borkin stunned due to his lower resist, and keep all my creations except an Essence Shielded Ur-Glaahk in the back. I'm able to wear them down with acid, and luckily the Create Drayk canister they block opens up when they die. A lot of optional canisters that you can get with a leadership are locked out if you kill the NPC, so I'm glad this one isn't the same. Sofya on the other hand is pretty easy since she's by herself. She has a Shielding Knife on her, which could be useful for a Shaper if only it didn't require 3 melee skills. I have 1 right now, and I don't think it's worth 9 points to get to level 3...


Winding Road


More Sholai - same story. There are also 2 "friendly" serviles that I have to kill. They normally give a quest to kill a battle beta, if you kill them first they never open the path to it, so I guess that battle beta gets to live. This is another zone with essence pools, so I get to take my time killing everything and staying at good essence/hp. Trepelev isn't too bad after I distract him by dominating his clawbug guards. The servile cultists in the east have some annoying AoE damage, but they aren't especially hard to kill. This zone has a Symbiotic Cloak - a reasonable pick over Danette's Cloak if you aren't running much of an essence buffer. There's also a canister of Dominate which means I don't have to rely solely on my Ur-Glaahk any more. Even better, my version doesn't have a cooldown. It's hard to overstate just how powerful dominate is in this game.


Guarded Bridge


I've had access to this zone for a while, but the sholai blocking it (and their 4 reaper turrets!) are pretty tough, and I wanted to go through the Mines anyway. This time, however, I have Airshock and Dominate which absolutely decimates the Sholai. The turrets deal massive damage, but mostly attack whatever is closest, which in this case happens to be dominated Sholai. I like to think the river also makes for convenient body disposal. No good loot, alas.

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Update 14 - more slaughtering!


Patrolled Bridge


The first few sholai are pretty easy - they patrol the map one-by-one, so they can be picked off fairly easily. That leaves a bridge with Sofya and an Augmented Sholai who are much meaner than their unaugmented brothers and sisters. Thankfully they're mental resist is low, and I dominate one, causing the reaper turrets to do all the work for me. Unlike the other bridge, this one has a few goodies for clearing out, a canister of Create Roamer and Battle Shaping. Unfortunately I've kind of graduated past those by this point.


Sealed Lab


The Sholai at the front aren't even worth mentioning. The actual specters inside the lab are pretty nasty, though. The Guardians will use Mass Energize to give everyone Bless, Shield, and Haste, and have a leaping stun attack that deals decent damage. The Agents have a really painful stunning wave that will damage and stun in a cone as well as Searer for bonus acid damage. The spectral shapers aren't so bad, they just seem to have a fire cone attack that hurts quite a bit, but doesn't stun or anything. And of course, being spirits, they are immune to all mental effects (although stun and acid are still fair game)


The stun vulnerability means my best bet is to use my Glaahk's shockwave and my own airshock to keep as many units stunned as possible, while my drayk and artila keep the damage up. Tek and Zavor aren't too bad with these strategies in mind, and I dispatch them without too much trouble, although Tek makes me split up my forces by having reinforcements attack from behind me. I equip Zavor's band due to no other good rings by this point, and while I'd like Tek's dagger for the defensive stats, you need too much melee skill for it to be practical. I get enough XP from the shades here to hit level 15.


South Workshop


Normally this map is pretty easy thanks to the pylons, but I figure if I turn them friendly, the challenge requires me to kill them afterward, so I keep them neutral so they aren't attacking me or the shades (which are the same as the enemies in the Sealed Lab). The shades ambush you by spawning in different corners of the room. This is pretty annoying, but one thing that really helps is staying in combat mode the whole time - it gets you basically an extra round of fighting before the enemies get to go. I make sure to prioritize the Agents with my stun attacks to prevent getting blindsided. There's one extremely good canister here that will make life easier going forward: Mass Restore. Finally I've got AoE healing for my army and don't need to rely on healing spores! The servant mind here is unhelpful due to my non-existent leadership, so I take his nutrient goo and ignore him.


Corata isn't too bad, even without the pylons helping me. Everything he summons is vulnerable to stun, so between the Shockwaves, Airshock spells, and airshock crystals, I don't allow his minions to take many actions. Fun fact: enemies get +40% stun resist after recovering from stun (and +40% mental resist after recovering from dominate, although that's not relevant here), so I can't keep Corata stunlocked, but his minions die fast enough that it's not too much of a concern.


(after getting the nutrient paste, I give it to the servant mind in the Power Station for some more loot, including another level in Mass Restore)




Time to eliminate the last bastion of serviles. The servile champions are actually pretty spread out, so with sufficient mind control, I'm able to keep them fighting each other as they slowly pour in, instead of hitting my creations. Gnorrel's chambers have a bit deadlier enemies, with Eko Blade in particular having a lot of hp and damage. All the takers have 65% stun resist as well, making that an unreliable tool. It's nothing acid can't solve, however, and by keeping two of the takers dominated at any given time, I can deal most of the damage I need from a distance, only taking occasional shots from stray spray batons.


Gnorrel dies from one of her dominated lackeys and drops the keys to her backroom. Arixy would be proud (if she wasn't dead). I get an extra level in Vlish and Speed. Eh. Eko Blade has a Shaped Breastplate, which I suppose could be nice if I need the high armor.

Edited by Mechalibur
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