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I went with using human spellcasters in my first game while beta testing, before finding out how powerful battle disciplines could be in increasing spell damage.

 

Humans are almost useless for parties. Non-humans (nephils and sliths) gain at least 5 combat levels in their respective fighting skills over the course of the game. With 20 combat levels needed to get all the battle disciplines, this is a huge bonus to gaining battle disciplines for any character.

 

I went with all characters having divine touch, fighters having elite warrior, and mage with natural mage, and the priest having pure spirit. The experience penalty means that I'll be around 30th level at the end.

 

I found having all nephils as a party works great. A slith pole weapon fighter is okay because of the higher health, but he finishes up 2 levels lower than the rest. I placed the tool use with a priest and the mage had some priest spells so with items he could reach 8th level to do mass heal. You really need 2 characters with unshackle mind (level 6) for the times one spellcaster is dazed/terrorized/charmed.

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My party is pretty much Randomizers. 2x Elite Warrior/Divinely Touched, one a nephil with swords and one a slith with spears. Natural Mage/Divinely Touched nephilim acting as mages and priests. It's my standard party and it still works its magic.

 

—Alorael, who has found that the slith becomes irritating when bumps in nephil speed from their bonus skills make him move at odd times in turn order. An all nephil party is easier to manage.

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I haven't opened the game yet, but I read the readme. And one thing jumped out at me:

 

Divine Retribution has been weakened. Not nerfed, but weakened. It now does only 1-4 per level instead of 1-6, meaning that priests cannot compete with wizards for damage output in the late game (unless something resists both ice and energy). That's as it should be, I think. But I wonder what Ephesos will think.

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Divine retribution is still better when the targets are spread out. By the end of the game a divine touched spellcaster can do decent damage with any attack spell.

 

Jeff really improved the mage spells so arcane blow is better. The mage summons are better than the priest summons except that you can't use mind effect spells against shades. Jeff nerfed shades after much player abuse.

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For some reason I never particularly went for Divinely Touched. Not that I think it doesn't work - just that I think it's almost like cheating.

 

So my party:

* Human, Berzerker, Elite Warrior, something else worth about 8% XP penalty (Sword melee fighter)

* Nephil, Rogue, Elite Warrior, Nimble Fingers (Archer and Lockpick)

* 2x Pure Spirit/Natural Mage Hedge Wizard (with subsequent specialisation in Priest and Mage)

 

It's not really about full optimisation - but it's hardly a challenge party. Maybe I'm pretending to role-play a bit. I'd probably go all Nephil if I wanted to push the limits but, where would the fun be in that? And I've never really liked Sliths. Towards the end I found the Flaming Sword to be a better bet giving higher damage than any pole weapon I'd found (provided you had a swap weapon for fire resistant monsters).

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"Does the flaming sword actually do bonus flame damage in this game?"

 

It does all flame damage. This is a huge improvement in some situations. If you find that it's hitting for no damage against a fire lizard, switch weapons.

 

- Jeff Vogel

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Yes, this is another interesting and fun change to the game. Some swords now cause a specific elemental kind of damage (and no physical damage at all!) It means you may wish to keep several swords for your melee fighter, and switch them out depending on the foe. I had three main swords I was using by the end of the game.

 

A lot of formerly powerful, exploitable aspects have been nerfed and equalized for this game. Ephesos will not be able to rely on Divine Retribution with such relish here, alas. Torment games are very aptly named now. A torment singleton may be nearly impossible, unless you choose to avoid numerous areas in the game. And even then...

 

EDIT: And, oh, yes, my original point. My main party for this game was much like Alorael's and Randomizer's, except I used a human melee fighter (which I would not do again, I'd use a nephil). I used a slith pole fighter. Earlier in the game and in the beta-testing, I found the slith to be very vulnerable, but Jeff beefed up sliths with more health subsequently (and possibly some other strengths?) I was lobbying for them to be tougher, more resistant to poison and acid too. Not sure if those were touched at all.

 

Anyway, by mid and later game, my slith was able to be as armored as my human fighter, despite the lack of a shield, and it was doing 50%-100% more damage with the awesome Slith Bloodspear than my melee man was ever able to deliver. The Slith Bloodspear is the king of all weapons in this game. It made the slith well worth it, thankfully, or I'd wind up with a party of four kitties. I mean, I like cats, but I don't want to be a cat. :p

 

-S-

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Quote:
Originally written by Synergy:
Earlier in the game and in the beta-testing, I found the slith to be very vulnerable, but Jeff beefed up sliths with more health subsequently (and possibly some other strengths?) I was lobbying for them to be tougher, more resistant to poison and acid too. Not sure if those were touched at all.
Must have missed that change. Good to hear they can now take it as well as dish it out. That was a frequent complaint of mine - a Slith pole user is no good if he is dead. Was the change retroactive? Maybe that is why I missed it.

What are the stats on the Bloodspear? I ended up with the Slith Warspear and a few others - but not the Bloodspear, must have missed it somewhere. Although I still like the Flaming Sword.
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Quote:
Party creation question Is Endurance worth bothering with ? is so what level would you recommend at the start
Endurance is needed, but at the start it only adds a point of health. It mainly increases the resistance to poison and acid. By 10th level you see several point increases in health. Give to your fighters first and the spellcasters starting about 10th level.

Quote:
What are the stats on the Bloodspear?
The Slith Bloodspear does 14-56 damage, +10% fire resistance, +5% to hit. You take it off the Slith Chief Gleth-Sssin the main level of Khora-Vysss (expert area of chapter 3).
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Originally written by Randomizer:
You take it off the Slith Chief Gleth-Sssin the main level of Khora-Vysss (expert area of chapter 3).
Ahh. Didn't get around to backtracking.

Mind you, it's only got two extra levels on the Slith Warspear, and I wouldn't think that would account for a 50-100% improvement over the Flaming Sword. It was my impression the Flaming Sword was doing more than the Warspear against non-fire resistant foes. What does the maths say?
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The Flaming Sword does 1-3 per level, and slith spears do 1-4, so unless an enemy resists physical damage at at least 20% (and doesn't resist fire), the spears will do more damage.

 

That said, isn't the Jade Halberd better than the Bloodspear? It does 2 levels of damage less, about 5 damage per hit, but it still does the acid...

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If you are real careful you can get the Slith Bloodspear even in torment before doing the main fight for chapter 3 *heh, heh*. I wouldn't try to do the last fight there against the Slith Horror to get that really nice Warmaster Helm until the middle of chapter 4.

 

I never bothered switching pole weapons once I got it. Too many splitters that are little affected by acid and it's just easier to keep the same weapon.

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Quote:
Originally written by Prick Against the Kicks:
The Flaming Sword does 1-3 per level, and slith spears do 1-4, so unless an enemy resists physical damage at at least 20% (and doesn't resist fire), the spears will do more damage.
It would seem to be my experience that a lot of monsters resist physical to at least 20%, and typically more.
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This is quite true. I went through the defs file earlier and came up with the following list of creature groups with noticeable physical resistance:

 

ogres

giants

undead

sentinels

lizards

bats

wolves

slimes

vahnatai

golems

wyrms

hounds

chitrachs

fungi

drakes

pylons

 

Except for drakes and golems, none of those groups resist fire.

 

This is, alas, yet another argument against melee. If a 1-3 flaming sword beats a 1-4 halberd so often, then so do spells. Fire and ice resistances are less common and magic resistance (acid spray, lightning spray, arcane blow) is very rare.

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I will make one argument for "melee" although it isn't really in favour of melee as such:

 

You need a 'sponge' that attracts attacks and melees with monsters to stop them doing area effect attacks. If that sponge happens to beat on the monsters he is next to then that is a bonus. But you really do need to close to melee range with a lot of monsters to prevent them frying your brains out with a nasty area effect attack. My lead melee character is called Brick for this reason - sort of like an armoured sponge.

 

Finally, I would like to add that my first party for Avernum 5 was actually the default party. I would think that 50% (?) of people are going to play that way and the game really needs to be playable for that party. You can go all Divinely Touched later, but if Jeff has done his job right - the game should be fun for that party. Munchkiness can be saved for later.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I generally use a party of:

1 heavy-armored tank with light mage and priest spells

1 heavy-armored priest with light tanking

1 medium-armored mage with light archery, and

1 lightly-armored archer with good tool use.

 

All-human, especially in this game, as, to put it the way a stereotypical Imperial would, "the Empire does not employ cats and lizards to fill its mighty ranks."

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Nalyd uses an all-Slith party of two fighters, both using pole weapons, a mage, and a priest. One warrior is only a fighter (no non-combat skills). The other fighter (significantly weaker) takes all of the Tool Use, Nature Lore, First Aid, etc. for the party. The mage and priest are both purely damage-dealers.

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Quote:
Originally written by Thoughts in Chaos:
The other fighter (significantly weaker) takes all of the Tool Use, Nature Lore, First Aid, etc. for the party.
Why would you concentrate all the Nature Lore and First Aid in one character? That makes it much more expensive. You only need to use a few points to get level 2 or 3 for every character which is significantly less than getting to level 12 for one character.
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