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The Insidious Infiltrator


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Herein lie the unraveling tales of an Infiltrator's peril and progress in a new undertaking from start to finish on Torment. I did something like this for a singleton’s adventures in A4. This will also make it easier to document stats along the way so you Servile-worshipping folk can compare to your heart's content chapter by chapter.


NOW: New and Improved with Smell-o-Vision, Quintosonic Sound Enhancement...or at least some pretty pictures.


This game is following the optimizing plan along the lines of what Slarty put together (I was about to create something like this myself, but happily he obliged first.)


My Infiltrator is Valeta, in case you're wondering, named after the feisty daughter of Prince Valiant, a comic strip I loved as a youth. Val will intoxicate herself fully on all canisters in this game, and will steal all she can get away with. Her loyalty is to herself, though she is not without compassion and loves to help out when it serves her interests. If she really had her way, she’d always stick up for the underdog. Truth is, Val thinks both factions are nuts and is loathe to truly cast her lot with either side.


CHAPTER ONE — Sneaky, Geeky, and Lethal


During the instructional section, I give Valeta 5 Leadership and 6 Mechanics, also bringing Strength and Endurance up to 4. I touch nothing else. As I was suggesting here , there is significant advantage to pumping Mechanics and Leadership right off the bat, even to the seeming neglect of other important things. Val is tough enough to endure just fine with little else than a couple more bumps to her Strength through Chapter One. Higher Mech at the start means fewer living tools used from the get-go and more Xperience Points and loot for buying spells. Boosting Mechanics right away enables Val to repair the pylon upstairs, which is worth around 100 XP alone. Val doesn't do this till after killing the nearby worm however. She doesn't really want any help with her kills.




Val does everything inside Southforge Citadel possible before venturing out: she opens Burkle's locked door, calms the fussy fyora, disarms all the mines for the bafflingly unable minetender and then turns them off with the spore controller for max points, turns in the petulant pilferer Capt. Zak is all in a twitter about, and she questions Miranda, being sure to get the hint about the Shaper camp location to the south.


While she's upstairs by the cells, she methodically steals the bronze sword in the locker. It's the best weapon she will have for some time and it sure beats a knife or buying some over-priced rusty trinket downstairs. Speaking of downstairs, there she steals some Shaper Equipment, the most expensive thing she can find, and that’s not much now, is it? She gets the chainmail from the locked room behind the shopkeeper. With 6 Mechanics already, it takes one whole Living Tool to appropriate, oh my. She is well-armed and well-defended right out the door. Thank you, Mechanics.


Val is going solo whenever possible, which will be darn near always. She will not take Shaila's shady artila along for the ride or even make one Cryoa—she'd have had to invest expensive points into Fire Shaping to do that. Her strength is her sword and her sorcery to back it up offensively and defensively. She speaks softly and carries a big stick—along with a satchelful of sorcerific shrapnel.


Val goes back to the Rebel Base Docks where she opens the boxes in the SE for some more XP, a good Polar Fur cloak, and some loot. One box costs one whole more Living Tool. Val buys herself all spells upstairs except Searer and Mental Barrier. She'll have plenty of cash to buy Spellcraft and Augmentation from that lousy, grouchy Burkes soon enough, but we want the basic magics now for optimal battling and replenishing.


Val clears out the Citadel Gates entirely, then has Archibald send out the Thahds to patrol the vacant roads for some XP that sacrifices us nothing. Level ups are going toward 6 Leadership and 8 Mechanics before anything else. When she hits 8 Mechanics, she helps herself to the Spidersilk Robe behind the shop in Southforge Citadel. Next, we add some more Strength to keep up with increased armor load, and some spare points boosting our deliciously cheap magic here and there along with one more level of Intelligence. I am selling all spores and pods except healing, speed, and essence pods. I sell all wands for now. I keep battle crystals for occasional use. I am not buying Living Tools or anything else till Chapter Two.


Val clears Shardfield entirely, then asks Dinitia to "help out" patrolling the area. I wouldn't want her to weasel in on my XP now. I let Tycho go and soon have already collected my reward from Crowley down south. Now that we have 8 Mechanics, Val clears out the Boiling Mudpits which also gives us another level up for some Strength we want before fighting Shaila's many critters. Val uses lots of Daze, hack, hack, hack, repeat. Val convinces Shaila's pet Thahd to leave her alone, then kills the dolt for dual XP. Val clears out the Forsaken Docks entirely before Shaila is going to get there. Lots of Daze used here. Val is sure to pick up the Vat Chitin on the body in the west here. She will be wanting to protect herself with that in the nasty acidy Dumping Pits a bit later.


After much more Daze-happy fighting Shaila's creations, Val faces the maniacal mistress herself. Due to our lovely Leadership abilities, we don't even have to fight Shaila. We convince her to leave and escort her off the already vacant docks. We won't be making any crystals or wands in this game. Sell that Artila Eye!


We inform Crowley of our good deed, but not yet Greta. If we do that and leave Southforge again, two of our quest-givers will depart and we will be unable to collect reward. So first, Val works west now through the bridges, manages to kill both Battle Alphas with some Ice Crystals and acid and hacking. Val buys her first level of Spellcraft and Augmentation from Burkes in Chickweed Bridge. Yeah, same to you pal...you don't know it, hotshot, but your days are numbered.




We get the Vat Shoes and Other Cool Stuff™ like the Student's Belt killing the drayk, using our first speed pod to facilitate success. Val carves a path to the Therile Colony and promptly intimidates that petty tyrant Thell, sells some of her stuff to that Deathcaps Mushroom hog, before catching him checking on his stash and happily being forced to dispatch him because he has such a hot little temper, tsk tsk. I actually die here for virtually the first time in this game, mostly because I get careless with timing my moves. It takes a pretty precise kind of sequence as a singleton here to take out the surly sorceror. Sorry Val!


I steal the nearby Venom Baton and get the Dumping Pits mission, then zip back to Southforge to collect my rewards for the two finished quests. Ah, Steel Broadsword, how do I love thee? Let me count the flays. We bother now to tell Greta about the Shaper camp nearby and Shaila's, er, resolution, getting the final Caravan Quest. Val forgets to buy the rest of Searer before Burkles departs. Darn it, Val! At least we can go get the free canister for it in Cairn Gates, where we are heading next.


But first Val makes a little run through Spirefield to get the Nimble Belt from the spectre in the graveyard...not that we plan to use it. Mr. Spectre is a nasty little task for a singleton, but haste and hack work well enough, though she took some significant damage in the process. She thoughtfully escorts the caravan through Sinkhole Bridge and Spirefield, being sure to kill every roamer herself.


Now, with the final stage set at the Cairn Gates, Val leaves the caravan in place near the entrance and runs up to meet the Drakons at the field projectors. With 6 Leadership at this point, it is easy to talk them into turning off the projectors for extra XP. While we're at it, we run up and Daze Lethos and his pathetic little critters into oblivion and snap up his tasty Girdle of Insight. Oh, and the lovely Shaper Boots on the body to the NE. Clearing out the rest is no sweat and then we can send the caravan through. And everywhere we go, we open everything with minimal fuss, never using more than one Living Tool at a time, if any. Ah, the canisters, the canistersssss, my preciousssss.




Val heads off to buy the second levels of Spellcraft and Augmentation and then promptly turns in Burkes to Crowley to pay off a little personal debt. The nerve of some people. She buys one exorbitant level of Speed in the Therile Colony, then worms her way through the Dumping Pits in order to get cheaper spells, loot, and XP. She goes through in battle mode the whole way, augmented and essence shielded to open the chest in the toxic zone. Those nasty palm tree things are the tough thing for a singleton, especially the first one which takes you within reach of the second if you opt to melee it out of existence. The first gets a couple ice crystals. After that, it’s careful hiding behind pillars and stepping out to deliver one ice spray and one sword stroke and never give them the option of getting their own two-stroke shot in, or to suck up one of those buds which is worth good XP to kill. Val is sure to collect the Blood Poison and other goodies on her way out.


Through the Cairn Gates and on to greener pastures in the Ilya Province for the upcoming Chapter Two.


Val's stats at the end of Chapter One. Note that I have not touched Combat Skills or Shaping Skills at all. Combat Skills will be trained in early Chapter Three before any Skill Point use upon them.




Val's Abilities at the end of Chapter One. No Shaping Skills were purchased, nor was Mental Barrier nor Searer. All these came from canisters. Normally I would have bought two levels of Searer after finishing with Burke's training, but I forgot before Burkle left with the caravan.




Val's gear at the end of Chapter One:


Coated Cloak

Spidersilk Robe

Girdle of Insight

Steel Broadsword

Shielding Band

Stability Bauble

Steel Shield

Shaped Gauntlets

Swamp Pants

Shaped Boots


I did not score either a Thahdskin Tunic nor a Fyoraskin Cloak during all of Chapter One. mad


Look up stats on gear if interested here.


Note that no stats are altered yet by gear except: Luck +1 from Lucky Charm.




The exploits of Val, the Intrepid Infiltrator, are to be continued. Inquiries, observations, comments, complaints, snide remarks, wagering, predictions, disgust, and sheer utter indifference welcome. Inane musings not welcome.



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I was quite surprised to hear that you bought Strength and Endurance right away, after our last discussion. Why do you need 6 Strength anyway? I see how much you favor heavy, high armor % armor. But why? Remember that the armor % shown on the status screen is higher than the reduction you will actually get, since the percentages are multiplied together and not added when they are applied. I'd take the Carnelian Gloves any day.

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I'd have reduced the strength and put it into intelligence myself. A little lower armor and higher battle magic to attack with spells especially firebolt or burning spray after seeing what didn't get dazed. If you augment and then get in the face of a drayk it will usually only get the weaker melee attack for about 50 damage instead of the stronger missle attack of 170+.


Did you try the battle alpha and glaahk at the Shaper camp? I found them easier to kill them I expected with my base stats shock trooper and a cryoa before meeting Crowley. Blessed and a 2 icy crystals followed by a discipline wand got each. If you position yourself properly only one at a time will attack.

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The armor you see the Infiltrator wearing here is pretty temporary, and a bit unusually heavy for how I usually gear up. I was using the Gloves of Succor in Chapter Two after the Shaped Gauntlets here for a little while. I was using the Vat Shoes for a good part of Chapter One. I used the heavier gear here to counter the rather lightweight Spidersilk Tunic. I didn't have enough Strength here to be wearing heavier body armor.


I will be adding no more Strength or Endurance for the rest of the game. I could have done without either if I really felt it was critical to pump the Intelligence, but the build is so successful anyway, I can indulge a little. I wouldn't have added the Strength if I'd gotten the Thahdskin Tunic. Some of Chapter Two is done and will be posted next. You can see the direction of progression in this regard.


I haven't delved into the nasty part of the Shaper Camp yet. I could try that before leaving Chapter Two and kill the Glaahk in Southforge for sure.



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CHAPTER TWO: Part One — Green Fields, Red Pools


Valeta is feeling pretty good after a relatively painless romp through Chapter One, but needs some more props before getting too far into Chapter Two where the heat gets turned up. We also forgot to get her Leadership up to 7 here to get the blue spore baton from Shaper Rutenberg in the Eastside Checkpoint. A little fussing around in the Secured Crossroads and Sandros Mines soon earns us the points to do exactly that and loot out the NW shack. We also send Sandria back to Rutenberg with our boosted Leadership. We are going for +120 reputation in order to score the third Shaper reward in Rivergate Keep. While we are in the Secured Crossroads, we permit the mad cultist to run offscreen, because he brings back four of his ilk, which means more gleeful XP ingestion.


We make a little run through Dillame to get all quested up: re-quested? We also tell Barbaro at the inn that we’re not so enthralled with either side’s insanity and she sends us up to see Drewry the Trakovite, whose normally 3 Living Tools-requiring door is now unlocked to us. We smash his canister to get the quest to go see Shorass much later in this game. We get +1 Luck by lying and telling the mayor what a great job he is doing. We steal the lovely steel breastplate next door while we’re in the neighborhood. We’ll be needing that about now.


We steal three research books from Fackler’s room in the Inn, once again being grateful for our high Mechanics. We also steal the two books right from under his nose. We get two thefts in Dillame. These are most profitable, because they give good money AND XP. We sell five of Fackler’s own books back to him along with the paltry few we have accumulated by our own hard work so far. There’s really nothing too useful to do inside Rivergate Keep just yet, so we don’t bother venturing in at present, but we’ll be back soon. We're not using many Living Tools for all this, but we're buying all available at this point.


Meanwhile, heading south, down in the Sandros Mine, our slinky Val schmoozes the head spectre in the main mine area to let us pass freely, giving us some nice XP while turning the zone green in a heartbeat (well, at least WE have one.) The presence of a heart does not prevent us from sending all the spectres back to the grave from whence they came one by one however. It’s nice that with the ill-entrusted permission to pass, they don’t all go hostile on Val at once, as she hacks them to bits one at a time.


Our first Puresteel is found here, and now it is time to summon our first throwaway creations to face the nasty Parasitic Shade guarding the anvil. A couple of Fyoras and a Thahd give Valeta just enough buffer time to safely whittle away at the spectre while hasted, before it turns its icy slowing wrath upon her, after rather discouragingly quickly dispatching all three of her weak and lame creations. Considering they all died in battle, she didn’t have to share any XP with them, though. Val kills the Parasitic Shade just as three other summoned spectres arrive at her side to be shattered by our steel. Her HP were low, but she prevailed. We have secured the anvil.


We like to store all our anvil ingredients right inside the mouth of the mine. Our spare goods, which are mostly just acid and submission thorns at the moment, lie at the mouth of Southforge Citadel where Val returns often for refreshment.


Now it’s down to pay our friend Uchitelle a little visit, first clearing out all the mines and looting the NE shack, then killing the Spawner in the SW with more Daze and hack before getting and fulfilling both of Uchitelle’s quests on the spot and cashing in on some more spells (thanks to Leadership) and rewards. We don’t like backtracking any more than necessary, which is why we like scouring the mine and smacking around the Spawner first.


We are grateful for the rewards our hard work and high Leadership afford us at this juncture. Heal was becoming much needed, as Minor Heal just wasn’t cutting it. Essence Shield is a welcome addition as well. Sneaky Valeta purloins all research books and Living Tools and other valuable gear lying around in back rooms in the house of Uchitelle, waiting for the pesky Servile to wander carelessly out of sight. She also scores his dusty Jade Band, which she will put to good use now for some time. She buys the Runed Amethyst from Uchitelle and runs back to the anvil to acid-tip her sword and enhance the other odd piece or two of gear with Blessing Crystals. We don’t care much for those Runed Gems. Not very useful. We sell those. Blessing Crystals are pretty lame too, in a game where most foes don’t go hand-to-hand. We use those only on stuff that we’re not going to be using much longer, then start selling them as a rule.


Now we feel a bit bigger and bolder. We’ve already secured the, er, Secured Crossroads, so let’s go invoke some mayhem with the mad cultists in the Circle of the Drayk. I forgot how fluidly Miss Sneakypants cuts through the Circle with her potent Daze-ability and hasted sword. She clears out the entire cloister in three forays. One: take out the eastern serviles. Two: go down the center and dispatch the drayk. We died here again, mostly by being a bit careless not to run right up to him upon first entering combat. His breath is brutal, but his bite is bearable. Val augments and essence-shields in any zone in which she is going to face significant combat. She hastes when needed, but isn’t afraid to just absorb some damage in lieu of the odd minor haste. She has that casual, indifferent air about her. After dividing the drayk into pieces and helping herself to some Purified Essence and other goodies, Val helps Reiner escape, being sure to make all kills herself. Third foray involves mopping up all the rest of the lunatics. More Daze and hack with the odd use of Ice Spray or Essence Lances for fun. Val boosts her Healing Craft with the newly-requisitioned Physician’s Charm.


We pay a little Visit to Rivergate Keep now, mostly just to pilfer our second bit of Puresteel and get some quests on record. We turn in Drewry already. We’re done with him, and he is doomed either way. We may as well profit, and we’re headed pro-Shaper for a while now overall. Alwan’s lockboxes in the NE will have to wait a bit longer however. We need +12 Mechanics for those and three other key locked boxes here and there.


Val whips through the Swarmed Woods, clearing most of it out first, then employing Blackrabbit to “help” for the extra XP when he finally runs into the Ilya Safehouse where we too, finally arrive. The most useful thing to do here presently is loot Pirik’s private quarters in the NW and get a bit of reward from Ossissess for killing the mad drayk. That and get two canisters from Gibbons for our Puresteel.


So, next it’s up through Dillame Fields as quickly as possible, twisting Zakary’s arm into letting us into his back room for free for more loot and canisters first. Up to kill the crazy fyora guarding the stairway to Purity Workshop B where FINALLY we get our !@&**!!! Fyoraskin Cloak. Which I already knew I’d get, because you always do with this one critter. We go through the heating pad zones of the Workshop first and score the Tinker Gloves. We have been sure to be at 10 Mechanics at this point, and Tinker makes 12. We make it to the essence pools where we Augment and buff and prepare fully for an assault on the swarm of Vlish and roamers and clawbugs next door, right after running through the furnace to the NW corner for some goodies.


We spend a couple Living Tools opening the door between the two zones and do a lot of Daze and hack through the door till everything that moves is still. We head north to the nasty acid roamers and do more of the same. Now we clean out all the nice anvil goodies: Demon’s Bile, Mandrake Tincture, etc. We return to the SW corner of the heating pad areas after turning off Zone D to get the Ivory Skull tucked away there. We are happy to receive Mouawad’s Skein of Wisdom reward for bringing her the Heart of the Kiln. We feel all the wiser for it. Oh, and richer too.


And now that we are at Mechanics +12 with our Tinker Gloves, it’s also time to take care of some unfinished business. While in the Keep, we lift the goodies from Alwan’s Wingbolt-guarded chests along with his Lodestone Greaves and Shaped Boots,




then acquire the Infiltrator Tunic from the trapped locker in Dillame on the way out, acquire the Girdle of Genius from the trapped chest in Burkle’s back room upstairs in Southforge, and appropriate a few more tasty things from Uchitelle’s pesky lockbox for final good measure, including our first Reaper thorns (long before they can be put to any use) our first Madness Gem, and a Blessed upgrade to our admittedly wimpy and outworn necklace. Now there is nothing that remains unopened to us once again. We are the masters of our domain.


Now it is time for one particularly audacious and rewarding move. We work our way past the piddling Ilya West Road, saving the fleeing loyalists in the process, to the Turabi Gates. Lovely but deadly Val goes into haste/stealth mode, slipping all the way through the mouth of the gate from the south




to the Essence-Infused Skin securely locked far back in the SW portal room.




It costs even us—with our potent Mechanical ability of +13 now—FIVE Living Tools to secure our prize. Of course we are swimming in Living Tools as well as cash now, so what’s the big deal? Val is so good, she manages to do this even after raising the alarm on the way in. She engages no combat at all.


Greedy Valeta scurries off with devlish glee to forge, at last...the Gloves of Savagery!




Oh the joy of power-providing illicit gain. Never mind that technically she hasn’t found the recipe for these little finger-huggers just yet. We have our sources in the world, and our sources inform us how to make these maniacal mittens, and where our ingredients are to be found.




She has just become really rather dangerous in combat without having lifted a finger to raise her combat points personally yet. That and she can carry anything available at this point, including the Lodestone Greaves she scored from Alwan’s room in Rivergate Keep on her last visit. All this bulky gear isn’t slowing her down any. She is an Infiltrator, and she can go anywhere with little fear or hindrance.


And she is going to some scary places shortly: the subterranean lairs of the three Shapers and the infested ruins above them.


But first she decides to do a little more preparation here by cleaning out the Swamp Crossroads bandits (and picking up Spine Shield, hooray) and donning the warm an’ comfy Clover Boots she has earned. I guess that bandit leader wasn't so lucky after all, huh? They go so nicely with her Fyoraskin Cloak and Clawbug Carapace shield. Now, at her leisure, she cleans out the other three corners of the Turabi Gates zone, scoring the slightly gratifying Clawbug Charm in the process. Spine Shield is useful when surrounded by a dozen Clawbugs and one or two elude your Daze spells.


Next she carves a beeline path through Rocky Point,




getting an acid baton, and then dipping down into the Warded Seacaves because she really really wants that Oozing Sword down there about now. Might as well pick up those flattering Silk Pantaloons while she’s down there too. Once in her greedy little mitts, it’s off for a quick christening of the Oozing Sword with Cursing power on the anvil.


What you see below is everything we possess presently. I am mostly merciless in dumping stuff I really don't need.




Valeta is currently sporting:


Fyoraskin Cloak with Poison/Acid resistance enhancment

Steel Breastplate

Girdle of Genius

Oozing Sword with Curse enhancement

Jade Band

Blessed Necklace

Clawbug Carapace

Gloves of Savagery

Lodestone Greaves

Clover Boots


Optional gear:


Tinker Gloves

Infiltrator Tunic

Fine Silk Pantaloons.


Shaped gear is for later forging.


Val's stats at present, about two-thirds through Chapter Two.




Chapter Two to be continued.



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Excuse me if I'm missing something, but when you said that you would pump skills into combat, you mean only into quick action right? Maybe a little parry, but everything else is useless for the infiltrator that isn't preset for combat expecially with the new action system. You also seem to be not very strong in magic which is the infiltrator's strength, not the strength that you have invested in.

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I'll buy two levels of Parry in Chapter 3 because I can. I won't invest Skill Points in it. I really won't need to train any in Melee either, considering how high that gets with gear alone, so I'll settle for the two levels I can also train. Yeah, training will only be in Quick Action to get that to a tasty level. I don't think I've fired a single shot by baton yet this game, either.


Magic is going up now and will continue to do so. All I have to invest in for quite some time now is Magic and Intelligence.



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Thanks! Well, for what it's worth, this should be my last game of GF4 for a long time. I thought I'd do something fun, and possibly even useful with it. I was mostly curious to see if all my assertions and prior experience of the Infiltrator play out in contrast to my experience as a Servile more recently.



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When training in chapter 3, you might want missle weapons as well since that helps with hitting for missle spells I think and with the battle crystals. When I ran the path to the Forgotten One I mostly used swarm crystals and then healed up at the end of the round. I didn't need help from creations even though I had to wait until chapter 4.


I like how in the zones over the bunkers you can pick off the creations one by one with the passage bracelet keeping all the others calm.

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Originally written by Synergy67:
I will be adding no more Strength or Endurance for the rest of the game. I could have done without either if I really felt it was critical to pump the Intelligence, but the build is so successful anyway, I can indulge a little.
Your last build ended up with 18 strength at the end. Totally unnecessary! You had +10 from items, and you don't need nearly that much to wear the best stuff, so I'm just curious why you're willing to sink so many skill points there. Endurance, too. 12 or 14 of those points were just getting you up to the Str and HP that a Servile starts with -- more than enough to make up the difference in magic skill costs.

There is also the question of why you are pumping Dex at all. Given your investment in magic, missile weapons aren't going to be too critical, and at any rate I'd expect you to get more mileage out of an extra point in Battle Magic.

Your Int is perhaps higher than I'd expect, too. What exactly are you spending 230 essence on in every zone?
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Strength bumping is all about keeping up with being able to wear my gear. My gear will be getting heavier still. I don't remember what's going to boost my Strength through free gear next, but it's quite a ways off I believe, and before too much longer, I'm going to be wearing a Shaped Breastplate. I think my current amount of Strength may not wind up being excessive for how I like to play—heavily armored and unencumbered. Eventually, with +3 from the Talisman of Might, etc., I will have excessive Strength levels. Meanwhile, through the rest of the game, I can wear the gear I want.


Endurance I almost never used to bump up more than one for nearly any build I atttempted, and I thought I'd indulge myself a couple levels early on to have a little more buffer. Could I have done without it? Surely. I won't be adding to it any further either.


Dexterity I added a couple points very early, because I don't like going near to last in a battle round, basically. I won't be adding more to it either.


Intelligence may seem excessive at present, but I burn a lot of energy on Augmentation, Essence Armor, Steel Skin, and Spine Shield when ramping up for a showdown. I will also be wanting the occasional one or two creations at my side. I like having enough energy left to cast some significant spells in such cases, though I will try to avoid making creations, unless I deem it absolutely necessary.


One of my Intelligence is from the Skein of Wisdom and two are from the Girdle of Genius. That means my base Intelligence is +6, hardly an excessive investment for someone whose primary tool is magic. I've added three levels since the beginning. Also, I like having some legs to my magic when going off on jaunts, especially in Chapter Three going after Monarch and coming up next here tackling the bunkers. I wind up not having to rely continually on Essence Pods.


This build and game is not meant to be an example of perfect point pinching or as some kind of contest. I'm having fun the way I like to play, even if not perfectly optimized according to certain strategies. I'm affording myself some minor indulgences and buffers, mostly early on here. My first Infiltrator, as you recall, wound up at Level 39. This one here is going to Level 44 or just shy of it. That's like five more levels worth of points I get to indulge myself with.


I will buy two levels of Missles in Aziraph Rebel Camp, because I can afford it, and I do occasionally use crystals, and I may even use a baton yet in this game. I am pondering when to attempt the fearsome foursome (fivesome really) in the back of Sandros Mine. What is a killer as a singleton are the Soulreaper Twins: up to four hits a turn and each hit slows! I did everything but the Southern Sentinel solo on my first Infiltrator game during beta testing. That was a bit of an insane, exacting chore in places. I am giving myself more leeway for some creations if and where necessary here. Still, I'm inclined to try it solo first, sometime in Chapter Three.



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You're right, I think, that we have fundamentally different approaches to this, even with the same build. I would never think about "indulging" so impulsively with a commodity as precious as skill points. No doubt my optimizing seems equally compulsive to you.


I do question however the use of wearing such heavy equipment. You just don't get a very good return out of it, if you have to pump strength in order to wear it. Because all the defensive multipliers stack by multiplication, the actual damage reduction is not tremendous; since Endurance gives such good returns now (for an Infiltrator, it's twice what it used to be for an Agent IIRC) that seems a much better defensive investment.


If there were no good light armor, that would be one thing, but there is great light armor that gives you bonuses in other areas.

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I guess I don't find Skill Points as precious in this game as you do. I find the game too easy overall on Torment as it is. My challenges here will be in a very few situations where being a singleton is a great disadvantage, usually because of slowing or stunning. Having some "extra" HP, armor, and energy to deal with these situations is worth it to me. If I felt full optimization was essential for my success, I'd be going that more strict route. I'm sure it could be fun to attempt too.


So, what are you saying...you'd have put all the SP in question so far into magic? They'd all be nearly topped out at 9 instead of 7 right now. Then what would you invest in? There's no reason to go past 10 with magic levels, is there?




P.S. - Slarty, would you be willing to do a little demo math on how armor accumulation works again? Maybe with the gear I have at present or something. I remember it from A4, but it would be interesting to see the actual difference. Also, do you think Venom Chainmail [Rocky Point-Alexandros (Buy 700g) - +16% Armor / +15% Stun Resistance / — -5% Hit Change / +10 Damage Shield] is worthwhile for its 10 Damage Shield?

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CHAPTER TWO: Part Two - The Setup Before the Betrayal


Val may not be perfect in every way, but she likes herself as she is just fine. After a night’s rest, she is ready to take on the Shaper underworld of the Barrier Zone. But first, she returns to Rocky Point to help out Zorin’s rebels stuck there. It takes her four attempts to make sure absolutely no one dies in the ambush. She enjoys casting Spine Shield on the whole company and watching the clawbugs and alphas pummeling themselves upon the rebels. Zorin’s a bit too enthusiastic though. He always runs up into the thick of it and needs a little help to stay alive.




Val clears some goodies, including the Shielding Trinket, out of the Electrified Field on her way to explore the West Barrier Zone. She notes that she does 109 Ice Spray Damage against a Submission Turret there, enough to take it out in one burst. Still, she bumps up her Battle Magic next level up which takes place down in Eliza’s Bunker. We don’t have the Infiltrator Cloak yet, but our Leadership of 8 (+1 by the Tunic if necessary: it wasn’t) is sufficient to encourage her to help us help Moseh. She fixes Eliza’s energy supply and then goes to deal with the Brutal Thahd in the acidy workshop in the SW. A little overkill buffing and Regeneration means Val gains more HP per turn than she loses to the Thahd, his acid, or the noxious atmosphere. It’s just too easy. That Thahd is actually worse when you are not a singleton. Eliza is compliant and ready to help now.




Let’s pay Thornton a visit now. Helping Shaftoe is always more work. It’s been a while since I’ve faced Mystithus as a singleton. Let’s see how Val handles that Vlishy sprite this time. Well, first thing, we bump into big, lunky, deranged Krazo before we are ready. Val speeds, steels, spines, and blesses before Krazo, who is not the zippiest brick in the yard, bothers to attack. It takes two turns hasted to finish him: three essence orbs attacks and a stroke from the Oozing Blade are sufficient to bring Krazo at last to sanity. It takes us one Living Tool at 13 Mechanics to get the Volcanic Fetish, which we will put to good use at a later point when we want to make a drayk or drakon or two.


It certainly is advantageous to be able to roam about these two towns unmolested with that handy bracelet we were given in the Keep. My first Infiltrator was pro-rebel and had to hustle through in stealth and hack mode to get at the various goodies in town. Killing anything in Thornton or the West Barrier Zone is a colossal bore, as Jeff endowed the creations there with insane hit points with the intention that they were not be taken on and killed at all, but truly a barrier.


Mystithus and his four shadows take two attempts to subdue, because i botched the first attempt with a few misstrokes. The second time, spray crystals for revealing the Real Mccoy, Ice Spray, Lightning Aura, a few acid baton shots and a couple sword strokes finish him off and I still had half my hit points. The Inifiltrator Cloak is now mine for a total of10 Leadership and 14 Mechanics where necessary.




Time to dart below and see what our temporary buddy Shaftoe wants.




To be continued...



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Originally written by Synergy67:
So, what are you saying...you'd have put all the SP in question so far into magic? They'd all be nearly topped out at 9 instead of 7 right now. Then what would you invest in? There's no reason to go past 10 with magic levels, is there?
Magic doesn't have a soft cap at 10 like shaping does, so pumping battle magic into the teens is a viable option.
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CHAPTER TWO: Part Three — Visiting Three Shapers (continued)


Shaftoe wants me take care of a Rogue Servant Mind of his, which is vexing him greatly. Val obliges. Three shots of Ice Spray put the belligerent brain on ice before it even has a chance to respond. Which is good, because bad things begin to happen when it responds.




We’ve already thoughtfully snuffed Krazo and Mystithus up above in Thornton, so Shaftoe is now happy to help me restore Moseh. He also thoughtfully opens up three new areas in his bunker and I score some goodies, including a steel spine. Val meanders next door, and with Leadership of 10 (thank you Infiltrator Tunic and Cloak,) is able to talk Moseh into foregoing a big dramatic battle and to be repaired. Too bad. I miss that big dramatic battle.




While poking around in Moseh’s Bunker, we are sure to collect the loot in the southwest, as well as venture into the vat room to pick up the Gruesome Charm.




NOW I remember why I like to add some Endurance in my games. Endurance goes down two levels when you use this charm. Endurance is back to its original three now. It would look downright scary at 1, though I know it’s been done.


Val pokes around the power controls area of Moseh's Bunker.




We pop up out of the earth in a pillbox in the Eastern Barrier Zone surrounded by a sea of blackness.




This is uncharted territory, so we’ll have to carve a path back to civilization. Ice Spray is doing a lovely job of taking out turrets and clawbugs with one strike.




Though this pesky Spinecore stubbornly took two hits to capitulate, to my chagrin. I’ll be boosting that Battle Magic more shortly.




To be continued...




P.S. - Thanks, Thurly. So then, I will have some fun pumping Battle Magic for a while and see how insanely potent Valeta can become. I've never had it higher than around 9 or 10. It's not intuitive, knowing how Jeff structured caps and things, after all.

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CHAPTER TWO: Part Four — Padding the Valeta Retirement Fund


Time to cash in on our hard work, and it’s been a long run since our last reward. First, we head to pay Gretchen a visit in Dillame to sell her the 16 Melted Sands we have accumulated from scavenging the Barrier Zone and below. Five of them give us three spores in reward, Ten Melted Sands give us an Artila’s eye and Blessing Crystal. We rightly protest the lameness of these rewards, and she gives us something actually useful: a Tinker’s Bauble. Our Mechanics is now effectively 15 upon demand.




We swing by Lilly the rebel spy down at the docks and inform her we helped Zorin’s rebels at Rocky Point, if only to get that quest off our list. What we don’t tell her is that we are about to hand her grouchy tookus over to Captain Kane in Rivergate Keep. Which is precisely what we do next. Because we turned in Drewry earlier, we get some coin and the Guardian Stone necklace. Mouawad (who seems concerned about the janitorial work in the hall) and her two War Trall goons are lurking in the corridor, so we hit her up for two more rewards for all our seeming faithful labors for the Shaper cause. We get 1500 more coins, a Thirsting Knife, and the Ring of Eye’s Purity.




We inform General Alwan of our help repairing Moseh and are given another chunk of change and a Shaped Breastplate. While in the Keep, just for fun and the spare XP, we decide to attempt to take out the two pet Wingbolts in Alwan’s bedroom. Hasted, Val steps around the corner and delivers three Ice Spray Crystals and one Ice Spray of her own with her two remaining AP. That’s one move and four attacks in one turn with the new AP system in this case.


In another attempt, which I used to capture the picture, some of our ice crystals missed and the Wingbolt got a shot off on us. Perhaps Slarty can see why I like a little bit of Endurance buffer. With two less Endurance, I would not have survived. The Wingbolt died next turn however.




We can now trap the remaining Wingbolt in the corner and have it bite instead of fry us, so we just take him out at our leisure with the sword. 29 XP apiece for these.




On our way out, we take advantage of the expanded offerings and irresistible discounts offered by Shaper Duncan:




Now that we are done with the Shapers for a while, it’s time to make the Rebels think we like them again. We are not quite done with the three Shapers in the underworld.


To be continued...



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CHAPTER TWO: Part Five — Undoing What We Did (T is for Treachery)


Valeta returns to the Barrier Zone bunkers and first gives the shaft to Shaftoe. Getting fully buffed up at his essence pool, Val finds Shaftoe is really quite easy to take out. Spine Shield permits him to do a lot of his own work to kill himself, as does charming the Servant Golem he summons.




In about three or four rounds, it’s all over. He never gets a chance to emanate his energy wave of death.




I forgot about his Guardian Claymore sword he drops, with its boost to Strength! I’ll be carrying this around for quite a while.




I think Slarty’s right that I could have skipped boosting at least two Strength earlier, or really, all of it, if I wanted to play very cautiously, and chose to make do with lighter armor. If I were to do this again, I’d go that route, and push it as far as I could, especially now that I understand magic can pump up past ten. If anything though, I expect this to demonstrate all the more how potent the Infiltrator can be with her magic a good bit higher than I had it the first go ‘round.


Meanwhile, while Shaftoe was a breeze, taking out his three Servant Minds is a bit tricky. Charming the odd Thahd and Cyroa on the way in, it seems best to stay at far range from the creation-generating brains and rapid fire them with Ice Spray while we have a charmed creation or two come along to add some damage. If the Mind gets a chance to crank out two Glaahks or Kyshakks, it’s pretty much curtains, unless we want to run away and come back again later. It takes Val about three attempts to run through and take out all three Minds. Three to four bursts of ice is all they can take.




We are done with Shaftoe’s Bunker. We already gleaned all the goods earlier. I believe we have an unscheduled appointment with Eliza next, while we are in the neighborhood. Let’s drop in and say, “Hi!” shall we? We sneak by and first turn off her four power pylons before getting in her face.


Eliza is tougher than Shaftoe.




This ensuing catfight involves infernal Inferno Wyrms with Aura of Flames attacks, and it appears immune to all our best efforts at Charming and Dazing. The Unstable Thahds she summons are easy enough to Charm (Dominate) though. Eliza has a nasty acid attack, unless we are right next to her. But at that point, she succumbs to some hammering as readily as anyone else. Especially when she Spine Shields half her own damage upon herself while Val is busy with Thahds and Wyrms.




Ooh, yes, the lovely Agent Cloak she drops. We’ll be taking that now.




The other two areas of Eliza’s Bunker magically unlock when Eliza dies. We are sure to run across the hot coals in the NE corridors to get at the Deep Focus Orb we’ll be wanting much later to make some Shapemaster Boots. There’s some other decent loot tucked away here and there. We decide to do a good deed and find new homes for her trinkets.


Moseh is untouchable, now that we helped repair him. We’ll leave him be and...leave.


To be continued...



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Synergy - to get past the Soul Twins as a singleton you need the spells from chapter 3. First slip just north of the pile of skulls out of their attack range and finish with a haste or mass energize. Then move one step forward and hit each with essence shackles to even up the game. I found a pair of swarm crystals followed by a healing spell for myself kept me healthy enough to finish them off. You may need another endurance point for more health or remove the gruesome charm for this encounter.


You pretty much need major heal for the old golem. Spine shield actually does more damage to him than you usually do,


I found having a pair of channelers in chapter 3 to be awesome since each add +7 to spellcraft, Firebolts were doing 150+ and the other spells were over 200. Since you start getting no experience on kills here there isn't a point in running singleton too much.

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As Thuryl mentioned, there is no 10-cap on magic. Actually, I don't think there is a 10-cap left on anything except shaping skill, and Jeff mentioned that that 10-cap was unintentional.


I have no idea how Damage Shield works. I do wish I did. I imagine it either affects the numbers by subtraction (raw, like Vampiric Touch) or has a small effect on all damage separate from regular resistance-based reduction.


Okay, here's a sample armor calculation. I am making up the equipment numbers, it doesn't seem worthwhile to look up real ones. Say we are wearing:


34% armor

12% shield

6% gauntlets

6% hat

5% ring

4% boots

2% belt


This adds up to a total of 69%, which will display on the status screen. The actual damage taken is 66% x 88% and so on, which comes out to about 46%. Protective spells seem to reduce damage by about half (again this is based more on my memory of A4), so with buffs, damage taken will be about 23% of max.


Now let's pretend we have much lighter armor:


12% armor

8% shield

3% gauntlets

3% hat

0% ring non-armorous

3% boots

2% belt


(...they don't have hats in geneforge, huh. Well, that's why this is a demo smile )


This adds up to a displayed total of 31%, less than half the armor of the above equipment. The actual damage taken is about 72%, so with buffs you end up taking 36%. That's an extra 50% damage. Not insignificant, however


1) If the heavier equipment requires multiple points of Strength, multiple points of Endurance will get you WAY more ability to take blows


2) more importantly, you get an extra 1/2 damage against physical attacks, but take a negligible amount extra from magic, fire, ice, etc., and nothing extra from poison, acid, or mental attacks. So you can endure thahds and drayks better, but are not much hardier against cryodrayks or wingbolts.




In other news... I have been thinking about your whole approach and I am starting to think you may be right that the Infiltrator is as good as the Servile. However, the Infiltrator makes a worse Servile. The problem is that due to your rather zealous promotion of her and my ordinal orientation, we've been looking at two classes doing the same build rather than doing two different builds with different strengths.


Essentially, the Servile IS better with the numbers, but spells can trump numbers, just like creations can.


Incidentally, is there anyone here who doubts that the missing sixth class, the Magic strong Combat weak one, would undoubtedly be the best class by a mile unless its essence score was unexpectedly nerfed?

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I think I read that Jeff didn't like the missing class as a glass cannon. However since it is easy to add a little to endurance it isn't that weak and I ran an effective endurance 1 lifecrafter through the betas to near the end. Having an effective endurance of 4 with the gruesome charm gives plenty of health at the end with augmentation and essence armor. A few powerful creations and that class would have been even nastier than what we have now.


Spells are deadly at the end. A mass madness with high spellcraft can turn most of your enemies into allies. Two aura of flames will destroy all the wingbolts on the screen. Two essence orbs will almost destroy war tralls. With elemental cloak, steel skin, and protection (I think that is a 25% reduction in damage) you can withstand half a dozen kyshakks and most other attackers to finish them in the next round.

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Thanks for doing the math, Slarty. So, wait, you showed the product, but what is the formula for these armor totals, and how did you extrapolate that to how much damage is taken? I want to understand it enough to do my own calculations.


I'm not sure I get how you mean that our Servile and Infiltrator are trying to be the same build. Both have the same two top strengths, yes, but in reverse order, of course. I'm focusing and relying more on magic with the Infiltrator, and when I played with a Servile, I focused more on being a tank who could take a lot of abuse and get into the thick of anything with melee. And both need to and can do both decently, to say the least.




CHAPTER TWO: Part Six — Let’s Get Out Of Here Already


There are just a couple more loose ends to tie up before wrapping up Chapter Two and moving on to the Burwood Province. First, back in the Dillame Fields, it is time to forcibly extricate the 31st Regiment from their comfortable camp.




Val slips in and takes out the three turrets first, each with one ice blast, dazes everyone else, and picks them all off one by one at leisure. It’s sickeningly easy, really. We came here to improve our reputation with the Rebels...and to help ourselves to the Spellcraft +1 canister hidden nearby. Look carefully!




Val returns to the Ilya Safehouse to report on Moseh, Eliza, and Shaftoe, and receive the MIndwarp Seal and Runed Jade Necklace for her trouble. She dons the necklace right away—another level of Spellcraft. We deliver our third Puresteel ring to Gibbons and improve our Group Heal with a newly-forged canister. Darnor is entirely unimpressed with our doings for the rebels, and says we don’t even deserve a hot dinner. We can’t argue with him there.


We slip back upstairs in Southforge and kill the imprisoned Glaahk for its precious eye we will want to put to good use much later. It is very easy to dispatch with an Ice Spray and Firebolt. We put the Maddened Servile prisoner out of his misery while we are at it. Oh, and for good measure, we head south and take out the Glaahk and Alpha at the Shaper Camp. Venturing any further results in a few too many visitors with very nasty poison batons, and even nastier Rodhizons, so we’ll go no further just now.




We’re tough, but not nearly that tough yet. Even charming two of these soliders per turn isn’t enough to keep up with the inflow and damage delivered. We’ll come back here and the Sandros MIne later. Speaking of which, we pay a visit to the anvil and use a Runed Onyx from Eliza’s Bunker on our Claymore sword to give it slowing effect.


And before we know it, we are heading north through the Western Rise with the papers General Alwan gave us.


On to Chapter Three!








Val’s Gear (we’ve left some anvil ingredients at the anvil):


Agent Cloak (+1 Battle Magic / +1 Mental Magic / +1 Blessing Magic / +1 Spellcraft)

Shaped Breastplate

Girdle of Genius (+2 Intelligence)

Guardian Claymore (with Slowing enhancement) (+2 Strength / +2 Quick Action)

Ring of Eye’s Purity (+3 Battle Magic / +3% Energy Preservation)

Runed Jade Necklace (+1 Spellcraft)

Clawbug Carapace (+1 Quick Action)

Gloves of Savagery (with Damage Attacker enhancement)

(+2 Strength / +2 Melee / +4 Quick Action)

Lodestone Greaves (-1 Dex / +4 Levels Damage In Combat)

Clover Boots (+3 Luck)


Alternate Gear:


Infiltrator’s Cloak (+1 Leadership / +1 Mechanics / +1 Stealth)

Infiltrator’s Tunic (+1 Leadership / +1 Mechanics / +1 Stealth)

Tinker Gloves (+2 Mechanics)

Tinker Bauble (+1 Mechanics)

Volcanic Fetish (+1 Battle Magic)

Mindwarp Seal (+2 Mental Magic)




Boost Battle Magic and Mental Magic more for strong attacks and Dazing/Charming.


Buy 2 levels of each Combat skill in Aziraph Rebel Camp, then add a few more levels of Quick Action.


Possibly raise Missle Skills if we start missing with spells too much.


Strength! Strength! Strength! Just kidding.


I'm open to suggestions and other considerations if you think I'm neglecting something or making a mistake.


QUESTION: +4 Levels Damage In Combat which the Lodestone Greaves are currently giving me..this would be like adding 4 to Melee or Missle Skills, yes?


To be continued...



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This is the point I tried to make earlier, that simply comparing numbers can be very misleading because different builds play so differently. It's really more like comparing apples and oranges. It is indeed easy to conclude that Serviles make better Serviles than Infiltrators, and vice versa. This, though, is not the point.


Add that to the fact that a small advantage is actually huge if it is sitting right at the game's challenge level. Killing everything with one shot, versus not quite killing anything, is a big difference, but it can be caused by a couple of points. In effect, those couple of points are worth mucho; but it's hard to tell in advance which two points they may be. Which of your points are the tipping points can even depend on where all your other points have been distributed. Whereas massive overkill is worth nothing, and pitiful failure is really no worse than just barely failing, and so many of your skill points may be practically wasted, despite giving good effects on paper.


Then there are different definitions of optimality. Do you prefer a character who requires fewer save loads when aggressively pushing the envelope to attack enemies who aren't supposed to be takeable yet? Or is it more important to you to have an untouchable character who can stroll through the game according to schedule with no chance of dying at all? Do you mind if your build requires you to resort to tedious measures to defeat some opponents? Do you get upset if your creations die?


Different answers to these questions make different builds better. I think the Infiltrator can be as good a build as any, though a different kind. In fact to me that is the real definition of how good a class is: does it make the game different without making it frustratingly hard?

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Originally written by Randomizer:
I found having a pair of channelers in chapter 3 to be awesome since each add +7 to spellcraft, Firebolts were doing 150+ and the other spells were over 200. Since you start getting no experience on kills here there isn't a point in running singleton too much.
Thanks, yeah, I'll be hiring those two, and the three Mechanics for a total Mechanics ability of 30, when I go through the Fens. It will continue to put to the test the solo Infiltrator as fighter (and caretaker) and the power of magic over anything else, because everyone else in the party will be worthless as a fighter...though those Servile Mechanics have surprisingly potent punches.

I usually wind up taking on the Sandros Mine back area after wrapping Moseh, when I have a singleton. I had a very tough time beating the twins with my first Infiltrator, because Jeff hadn't corrected or placed spell descriptions, and I didn't realize that Essence Shackles was a slowing spell. I actually pulled if off after numerous attempts without it, though, barely.



EDIT: Very good points, and well said, SoT. And to clarify, if necessary, my assertion about the Infiltrator is not that it is the best class. What I am enjoying so much about GF4 is that it genuinely gives at least three great, varied choices how to play. I have enjoyed playing all of the classes (though I never played a Warrior game all the way through,) and especially the main three. My initial comment on the Infiltrator was that it was my experience that she was more capable, versatile, fun, satisfying, and potent in experience than the Servile was for me, and I attribute this to the benefits of stronger magic and more essence to do things with. It translates into many of the idiosyncratic things you allude to, such as how often you run out of essence in a fight, etc.
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Thanks. I am having a lot of fun reading this. I am not sure if it was mentioned, but I have found wrack to be a very useful spell. No exact numbers, but from general observation it seems that the damage increases about 1.5 times. Very nice when fighting 1-on-1, such as versus Eliza or Shaftoe.


By the way, I do not remember how, but when playing the infiltrator the areas around Eliza and Shaftoe turned against me, while the two were still friendly. It was rather ironic that the glaahks and kyshaks (sorry if I mispelled these) sent by the minds to hunt me were actually slaughtered by Shaftoe while I rested around the corner delivering a final blow when I managed.

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QUESTION: +4 Levels Damage In Combat which the Lodestone Greaves are currently giving me..this would be like adding 4 to Melee or Missle Skills, yes?
If I remember from my own experience they show up in melee weapons only on the statistics page. You can check quickly by taking the off and on again. Not too many items that help missle weapons except dexterity items like footgear and belts and the farsight plate reward.

I'd go with spellcraft for increased damage and intelligence since later on in the game the powerful spells burn through spell energy even though you have plenty of essence available. I hated wasting an essence pod just to get one more mass madness or aura of flames.
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"+X Levels of damage" basically gives you the same damage bonus you would get from +X Melee Weapons, +X Missile Weapons, and +X Battle Magic, but not the to-hit bonus you would get for those +X's.


As for the armor formula: there is no formula. As I have been saying repeatedly, it's just layered multiplication!


If you wear one piece of 40% armor, you take 60% damage.


If you wear one piece of 20% armor, you take 80% damage.


If you wear both, you take 80% of 60% damage, which is 48% damage. The stat screen however will display 60% armor, which is totally and completely bogus.

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Not only is it bogus, it's ambiguous. The same sums of percentages can give different products.


EDIT: This is not nearly as big an effect as I thought, once you have a few pieces of armor that add up to anything decent. So just adding them up is maybe not so crazy as a rule of thumb; just don't think of the total as a true percentage. It's just a sort of 'armor level', and it has a built-in soft cap effect.

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Random — the bonus from the Lodestone Greaves does not show up in the stats, which is why I wanted to be sure I understood what they imply they are doing.


Eigen — Yes, Wrack has become one of my best friends, and Essence Shackles too once I get it. Mental Magic is so effective and so much fun. In any significant battle, once hasted, usually the first thing I do is Curse and Slow a challenging foe. I also just realized that the Runed Onyx crystal gives my sword Slowing power. That's a fairly useful enhancement to a sword if you ask me.




To put the armor function into easy to understand terms, the first piece of armor blocks whatever percentage of damage that it is rated at. The second piece blocks its percentage rating of any remaining unblocked damage left over from the first.


Let's say we have three pieces of random armor rated at 10% each.


Armor 1 protects me from 10% of damage: I take 90 damage out of 100.


So we have 90 damage still coming at us now.


Armor 2 protects me from 10% of that 90 damage (since 10 of the original 100 has already been absorbed by Armor 1 and no longer "exists.") 10% of 90 = 9. So, Armor 2 protects me from 9 more of the total original damage, but that's 10% of the actual damage it gets hit with (so to speak.)


Now we have 81 damage still hitting us.


Armor 3 protects me from 10% of that 81, which = 8.1.


I take 81 damage minus 8.1 damage = 73 damage.


Actual Damage = .9 x .9 x .9 = .73 ( .27 is blocked.)


Our actual armor rating is the difference of the actual damage from 100%. In the above case it is 100%-73% = 27% (not 30%.) It seems we have to calculate damage, not protection, in order to extrapolate armor protection.


So, to put it purely conceptually, it means that each piece of armor blocks only its percentage of the total remaining damage left over from the other pieces of armor, and not its percentage of the total damage. I never really paid attention to thinking this system through back with A4 when Jeff first mentioned how he was going to do it. So I've processed it here finally to get a grip how it works and why the math works the way it does. I need to see some of this conceptual stuff in sentence form to get it sometimes, and I bet I'm not alone.


If my chestplate blocks 50% of damage and my shield blocks 50% of damage, the shield will block 50% of the remaining 50% of damage I take after the chestplate does its job, for a total of 75% damage blocked.


So, this suggests it is beneficial to have one piece of gear with a nice high percentage of protection, and the ratings of the lesser gear are much less important after your best one. It's better to have one chestplate blocking 60% damage and four other pieces of gear blocking 10% each (=26% damage getting through,) than five pieces of gear each blocking 20% (=33% damage getting through.) This might make an argument for being able to wear the most protective piece of body armor possible, but then being able to skimp on all the rest to much less detriment.


To make this more dramatic, one piece of 90% armor plus one piece of 10% armor = 91% of damage blocked.


Ten pieces of 10% armor block 65% of damage.


Though, as it has been said, all this doesn't add up to all that huge a difference in actual application in the game, especially in the face of how often one simply takes physical damage in the first place. If I play one more game, I'll try minimizing the Infiltrator's Strength and garb and see how different it seems in actual combat, with even stronger magic to compensate.



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Originally written by Everything Remains To Be Done:

Incidentally, is there anyone here who doubts that the missing sixth class, the Magic strong Combat weak one, would undoubtedly be the best class by a mile unless its essence score was unexpectedly nerfed?
Magic/Shaping combo? Thats just unfair, unless they nerf just about everything about that character, and force you to play torment. I've heard that magic is the best for GF 4, and creations should be better than melee, if the damage multipliers are as messed as I've seen. Getting the best of both realms, plenty of essence and spell energy due to the insane increases in intelligence. It should force you be killed in one hit by just about everything. Frailer than any character class ever in the GF series, not that it would matter, because of your creations shield.
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When I was testing the beta looking through the five class types available, I was looking for a Magic/Shaper type and noticed it was the one missing. I had really wanted to play that character, realizing it would do exactly what I would most like a character to do with the way GF4 works.


I do think it would be ridiculously powerful. It seems kind of stupid having the Lifecrafter be Shaper/Magic, when being a stronger Shaper than anything else really isn't hardly any advantage at all. It's like you can nearly ignore the Shaping placement in any build, and only go with the remaining trait or traits to determine the character's real strength


Lifecrafter = medium magician with higher essence for magic and shaping.


Infiltrator = strong magician/medium melee with decent essence for magic and shaping.


Servile = strong melee/medium magician with so-so essence for magic and shaping.




P.S. — GoodCanisters, just delete all your text in the redundant post and say [accidental double-post.] Free up some pixels!

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CHAPTER THREE: Part One — Why Does It Always Rain When I Go Camping?


So here we are in the Aziraph Shaper Camp Gamma in the heart of the fenland. We get quests from General Crowley and Miranda to rescue Khyryk and contact the Shaper spy Archibald in Rebel Camp Aziraph. We work on helping the refugee Mizerah with her undertandable wish to leave. We promise to help Zinser find his lost Serviles. We steal 60 coins worth of guarded loot and we steal everything not nailed down on the sly to sell it promptly back to Sergeant Sabrina...and, what the heck, raid her shop and lockers while we are at it. Shaper Danell takes pity on our muddy, corrupted, sorry self and grants us a boon of Spellcraft +1. It’s at 5 now, without having invested a single Skill Point into it yet.




We resist the tempting Slightly Expensive Spells and Shaping offered here for the moment. We can do better in Rebel Camp Aziraph on spell prices with a little errand-running. I will want Wingbolt Shaping eventually, but I want to exercise my cashflow elsewhere first.





Meanwhile, let’s run back to Ilya Province and pick up the rest of our stored goods and head up the Eastern Rise this time. We can pass with impunity on either route.




Ice Spray continues to do wonders at taking out a number of critters with one hit. But I still want more.




Here we find what happens, perhaps, when bored mines are left alone to breed uncontrollably. Getting through this cluster gives us two canisters.




We go mental on the bandit camp found inexplicably hiding behind all the field projectors.




And finally we arrive in more marshes...the Golem’s Fen. We scoot through for now, keeping to the east and scuttle on up to the Rebel Camp Aziraph. We get Greta’s parallel quests involving Khyryk and Monarch and get Jared’s quest to recover some supplies from his workshop. We buy a canister from him to Shape a Drayk...just in case I decide I want a pet at some point.


Most importantly, we train with Archibald in all four combat skills. Eh, Parry isn’t that useful, but I will have no shortage of cash in this game. I can afford it. I’ll be turning him in to the Rebels as a Shaper spy before too long, so it’s best to take advantage of what he offers before anything else.




I don’t want to buy any magic spells until I have done Jared’s quest. We get Ellsworth’s quest to contact the Rebel spy Vecsey back in Camp Gamma. We kill some rats in the NW and sell the Polished Shield. It’s not so useful for this Infiltrator.


OK, we’ve got LOTS to do now. Let’s get to it.



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CHAPTER THREE: Part Two — Le Golem’s Fin


Presently, Valeta is feeling insanely powerful. She sweeps around The Golem’s Fen taking out all the mines along with the encountered Clawbugs and Vlish who succumb all too readily to Daze and Ice and steel.




She careens boldly into the workshop at the center and deactivates the two power pylons around the Oozing Sentinel golem after dispatching a couple of spawned impediments outside the door.




Next turn, she runs down next to the Spawner and casts Wrack on the golem, who has not yet moved. Next round, she redlines the Spawner with two sword strokes. Quick Action of 10, with never investing any Skill Points into it yet, is paying off.


The golem finally wakes up and runs down, slugging Val for more damage upon himself than Val. We dearly love our Spine Shield, plus the spines we affixed onto our already Savage Gloves. The first Spawned Worm chips off the Golem and we charm it with our wit and good looks. Subsequently, each turn the charmed worm kills the next worm to chip off the ol’ golem.




We hit the Golem two or three times till it crumbles. We mop up the remaining worms with Daze and a few close-up views of the soles of our boots. The charmed worm comes to its senses exactly at the moment nothing else remains alive. Too late. It is all over so quickly.


We collect the Essence-Infused Iron the Spawner dropped, which we will be using later to make the Legs of the Tyrant, but those will have to wait until we can get to the Blood Poison tucked away in the Western Morass in Chapter Four, because we used the first available dose of Blood Poison to make our lovely, lethal gloves. We are happy enough with our choice.


NEXT: Hey, How Come This Hole Below the Fen Isn’t Full of Water?



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CHAPTER THREE: Part Three — Something Smells Down Here


So, we’re feeling pretty cocky, but it’s time to put our mettle (and metal) to the test in the Wrecked Labs, now that the threat of the Golem’s Fen has been eliminated. I like the boggy, Willow-tree lined spiral path to the foreboding trap door. The piles of rock suggest illicit excavation here.




It’s been a long time since I ventured down into this creepy, abandoned place all alone. Val doesn’t spook easily, but this will be a slightly unnerving challenge. Or not. Let’s find out. I’m getting the chills just a little as I enter. We poke around a bit. Here comes the towering, lumbering Maddened Rotghroth. Totally freaked me out the first time I encountered it.




Our first attempt will be to stand and fight, as I just acquired Essence Shackles from the canister in the golem’s workshop. We curse and slow the rotghroth. It does nothing its next turn and Val unleashes 153 points of magical damage from her first dose of Lightning Aura. A tiny amount of the white line below the rot retreats. Rut-roh, Raggy. This thing’s tough, all right. 147 points of damage with her second jolt. Now we get the dialog box that the rot has emerged and we have a powerful urge to flee. That’s not entirely untrue, but the rot just stands there again and roars a challenge.




Two more rounds of Lightning Aura are doing very noticeable cumulative damage by now. The rot takes 66 damage from the after-effect in between turns...and it still just stands there dying from a distance.




The fifth Lightning hit on the rot redlines him. Your fetid bony behind is toast now! But wait, we MISS our next attack. We may need some more missle skill, and meanwhile, we might take some damage yet. But the rot just stands there taking another 66 points of lingering magical damage.


And again, the maddened rotghroth roars a challenge.


Some challenge. Slow ‘N’ Stinky seems to have failed to notice the challenges I have been roaring at him all along to the tune of 300 HP per turn. To drive our point home, we run up and confidently deliver the lethal blow by swordpoint. Pee-yew. We shouldn’t have done that. It will take a week to remove this stench. How the mighty have fallen. “He who hesitates is lost.” Thank you Essence Shackles. This rot fang will come in handy toward making a Talisman of Might and three Mental Focus Charms later on. Rot-brain also drops one of those nearly worthless Radiance-bane items which promptly go to coin.


This is just too easy. Let’s go on a leisurely stroll through the labs now, shall we? We switch four pieces of gear to make us as convincing and tinkery as possible. The Burning Turrets submit to Val’s irresistibly lulling presence, which doesn’t stop her from casually dispatching them one by one. Oh, now that was funny. The first turret was tougher than expected. When Val failed to chop and blast it into oblivion in one turn, the other two friendly turrets turned on their injured mate and acided it out of existence. Thanks guys, but I wanted those XP! Oh, nevermind. There are no XP to be had at this point. The third turret helps me take out the second. It is up to me alone to take out the third. Two blasts of Ice Spray aren’t quite sufficient. We’ll be boosting Battle Magic further yet.


Two sword strokes put the Rogue Drayk out of its misery. We continue to loot with leisure. We have 53 Living Tools. Shall we use one to open this door? Wellllll....okayyyyy. Three more turrets we have cajoled. Let’s swap out some gear this time and add in the additional point in Spellcraft we just picked up with Crystal-Woven Chain we found, and see if this enables our Ice Spray to dispatch a turret in two hits. Hmm, it works one time, not quite the other. We take a bit of nasty acid damage but are soon healed up nicely enough. There are no more foes to face down here. Just some more “shopping” to finish.


We pass a lovely patch of living health and essence plants, but we really don’t need their services at all. As we open the locker that contains Purified Essence, we gain a level to bring us to 31. What shall we spend our SP on, my Precious? Spellcraft and Battle Magic both cost 4 at the moment. This is a no-brainer.


We take some tolerable damage getting past mines to the Mass Energize canister. Normally a great boon, this isn’t at all useful to us at the moment, but we, the canister-crazed, are ever happy to indulge. We emerge into the final room of the lab on our circuit through. We repair the pylons, which does nothing for us at this point, but just in case there’s another rotting guest lurking under a pile of rocks somewhere, we might as well get them going again. We’re thoughtful like that when we get the chance. We also, much more usefully, help ourselves to our second dose of Create Drayk, conveniently waiting here for us in another entrancingly glowing green canister. One more of these, and we’ll have Cryodrayks at our beck and call. We are very ice-friendly. Valeta’s father, Prince Valiant, originated from the somewhat frigid realms of Thule, after all. Ice runs in her blood.




Because we prudently left some 24 spaces free in our inventory after killing the disappointly unchallenging rot, we managed to drag everything out to the stairway in one trip. But it wlll take two trips to haul all our loot out of here entirely. We got all kinds of useful and lucrative stuff down here, but four items are reserved for Jared, because it will be far more profitable to surrender them to him.




By the way...I seem to do this every time I’m down here. I miss the three boxes in this room here. Be sure not to overlook the three chests on the west wall. One of them contains the gold bar you’ll be wanting.




Interesting. A second attempt at the rot—just for fun—reaps the exact same results! My sixth hit with Lightning Aura misses, and a seventh hit with pretty much anything kills it. Again it roars two challenges, but never gets the chance to attack when first hampered with Wrack and Essence Shackles.


So, Val decides to try out the Crystal-Woven Chain for a while for its boost to Spellcraft, and see if she notices any ill effect to her survival rate due to lessened armor. She slinks happily back to the rebel camp to bring Jared his requested items...even if we are just a little irritated to surrender the rather precious Demon Bile in particular. The Singing Rapier reward Jared gives us is decent for its bonus to QA and Parry, but it pales pathetically to what the Claymore already offers us. Valeta’s Father owned a blade called The Singing Sword.


Oh, now we’re talking. Look at what else our little errand to the Wrecked Labs earned us:




We glut ourselves on all the spells we can stomach and have a piddling 3500 coins left. I believe there are a few even tastier spells available to us only from Danell down in the Shaper Camp Gamma. We’ll be wanting those too. And the ability to summon Wingbolts. Time to head out for some more "find, kill, loot,and repeat."


NEXT: Monarch Better Fly



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Originally written by Schrodinger:
It's easy to miss the explanation for the bandit camp- check the nearby chest for a second agate. Apparently they stole it from someone.
Oh, yeah, I don't always notice that box, though now that you mention it, I remember finding that agate before.

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Valeta No. 1, hereafter known as Valeta Purple is cooling her heels after her encounter with the rotghroth. Meanwhile, I have been experimenting with her light blue twin sister Valeta. Valeta Blue has just mopped up Chapter One. Valeta Blue was curious to find out what would happen if she focused heavily on Battle Magic and did not touch whole entire other categories of skills unlike her purple twin.


I gave her 8 Mechanics and 5 Leadership at the start, touching nothing else. With this kind of Mechanical ability off the bat, she used less Living Tools than ever, which means more money for other stuff all through the game. After that, I started pumping Battle Magic and got Leadership to 6 to get Spellcraft and Augmentation from Burkes. She's following the same strategy/reputation route as Valeta Purple.


At the end of Chapter One, she wound up with the following stats. I added one Spellcraft after Burkes. All else has been Magic skills, Mechanics and Leadership. She has felt pretty vulnerable, but workable. She feels more like the glass cannon a Lifecrafter tends to be. She died a lot more often if she took a hit. Her magic is notably more useful — even fireball has a decent punch. Searer has been doing a good job of taking out most normal critters with one strike at this point except for Spinecores and Plated Artilas. Now we have Ice Spray and we are about to become much more powerful in Chapter Two. Ice Spray is way chill.




A bit of gold and XP listed here were from doing much of the Eastern Checkpoint zone before remembering to stop and take stats, but not enough to have changed a level.




Stats affected by gear:


Carnelian Gloves: Battle Magic +1

Girdle of Insight: Intelligence +1

Lucky Dice: Luck +1


I will post another report on Valeta Blue here after Chapter Two. If I am pleased with the results of this fiercely aggressive, but fairly wimpily defensive version of the Infiltrator, I will continue on with Valeta Blue instead of Valeta Purple.



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At the end of Chapter 2, Valeta Blue still feels wimpy and difficult to defend if she really gets into the thick of it. While Daze and Dominate work well much of the time, it is not hard to kill her, even all buffed up. Her magic is quite punchy, but not overwhelming. There are still numerous foes who take two hits of Ice Spray, Searer, or Lightning Aura to crumple. Clawbugs, Vlish, Rats, etc. are easy to wipe out with one dose of Fireball hitting at up to 120 per shot.


I did note that killing Shaftoe, his three minds, and Eliza felt easier and faster this time. I made a couple runs on the Shaper Camp near Southforge and killed a few soldiers and a wizard, before giving up to come back later when I'm stronger. I made the stealth run on the Turabi Gate to make the Gloves of Savagery. I'm killing and cleaning out everything appropriate, as usual.


I am focusing heavily on Battle Magic and to a lesser degree, Mental Magic—or Spellcraft when it's been cheaper. I have added no combat stats or Strength. I added one level of Intelligence. Even with the Gloves of Savagery and Guardian Claymore, I still can't wear very heavy armor, and that's the one difference I can really feel defensively in this build. I look forward to some more Strength to wear a good breastplate eventually. This +14 Spidersilk Robe isn't cutting it too well for survivability as a singleton in dicey situations. I'll be switching out to the Fibrous Breastplate once I beat the Golem in the Golem's Fen.




Gear affecting Stats:


Agent Cloak: +1 all three magics / +1 Spellcraft

Girdle of Genius: +2 Intelligence

Guardian Claymore: +2 Strength /+2 Quick Action

Ring of Eye's Purity: +3 Battle Magic

Runed Jade Necklace: +1 Spellcraft

Clawbug Carapace: +1 Quick Action

Gloves of Savagery: +2 Strength / +2 Quick Action / +4 Melee

Lodestone Greaves: -1 Dexterity

Nimble Sandals: +2 Dexterity


Lucky Charm: +1 Luck

Physician's Charm: +1 Healing Craft

Skein of Wisdom: +1 Intelligence

Gruesome Charm: -2 Endurance / +2 Intelligence / +2 Dexterity




Soon I will be caught up to Valeta Purple. I will probably continue with Valeta Blue.



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You might be able to do the rest of Sandros Mines after getting all the spells from the two camps in the Fens. The Shapers trueweave is a little better armor without the weight of the better armors. You'll probably need a kyshakk for the old golem to suck up damage but it should be doable.

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As it happens, I'm working on the four challenges in the Sandros Mine right now, having finished all of Chapter Three. The Imprisoned Soul was a piece of cake. Kill did 410 damage to him. It took two or three hits to kill him.


The Soulreaper Twins were kind of a pain. I was set on doing them solo, and it took about five or six attempts getting Essence Shackles to properly slow both of them, so I had a chance to whittle them down simultaneously with Essence Orbs. Regenerate was Val's salvation here. It took about four or five hits with Essence Orbs to finish them, and one more round would have finished me. I was redlined.


The Golem...meh, I tried a couple times solo, but I don't think there's any way. He hastes himself so readily, even slowed. I will need a meat shield like a Kyshakk. I'll finish the mine and then post some end stats and descriptors for Chapter Three.



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The Soul twins were the only use I every really had for swarm crystals instead of using essence orbs. The old golem I have only fought as a single character using a servile with all the buffs and some extra endurance to have the 400+ health to survive at the end. I had to spine shield myself and after the second golem form I think all I cast was major heal, major healing pod, major heal. He made the Forgotten one look easy.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've gotten busy, but still plan to finish this game. Due to having played last over a week ago, I'm not recalling all the noteworthy details for this segment I might have otherwise.


Val Blue has finished Chapter Three competently enough. She had no problem taking out Monarch or the Spawner, due to her ferocious magic capabilities. I have been investing almost exclusively magic into her for quite a while now, except for the bought battle skills in Rebel Camp Aziraph. Check out her ridiculous Battle Magic ability and Spellcraft. Fireball, Searer, and Ice Spray continue to pack plenty wallop. Killing the Maddened Rotghroth (again) in the Wrecked Lab was really almost too easy. It never had a chance to do much before a few hasted rounds of Lightning Aura cooked it.


She's not especially useful in melee (mainly due to magic just being all the more potent by contrast,) but can put it to decent use when necessary or when it delivers a death blow without expending spell energy.


At the end of Chapter Three, Val went back to the Sandros Mine and took out the rest of the baddies. The only tough one was the Golem. She took one Kyshakk in tow to do the last two challenges. She and the Kyshakk were able to do so much damage to the Golem in at least one round, that it crumbled down two forms on the next turn.


I still haven't invested Strength, so she's wearing Shaper Trueweave mostly, though I have some plate armor in case of emergency—haven't used it yet though.


I am planning on focusing on making magic as insanely powerful as possible and seeing how this works. She's become, not a magically gifted swordfighter, as my initial Infilitrator runs exploited, but a fearsome magician who has some decent defense and offense ability as a backup.


Note also that Val only gained four levels in Chapter Three after nearly four times that much each in Chapters One and Two. She did everything possible according to the optimizing path. There's just not as much to do in Chapter Three for gaining XP. She didn't dawdle in the fens racking up extra kill points.






Val’s Gear:


Agent Cloak (+1 Battle Magic / +1 Mental Magic / +1 Blessing Magic / +1 Spellcraft)

Shaper Trueweave

Girdle of Genius (+2 Intelligence)

Guardian Claymore (with Slowing enhancement) (+2 Strength / +2 Quick Action)

Ring of Eye’s Purity (+3 Battle Magic / +3% Energy Preservation)

Runed Jade Necklace (+1 Spellcraft)

Clawbug Carapace (+1 Quick Action)

Gloves of Savagery (with Damage Attacker enhancement)

(+2 Strength / +2 Melee / +4 Quick Action)

Lodestone Greaves (-1 Dexterity / +4 Levels Damage In Combat)

Nimble Sandals (+2 Dexterity)


Alternate Gear:


Infiltrator’s Cloak (+1 Leadership / +1 Mechanics / +1 Stealth)

Infiltrator’s Tunic (+1 Leadership / +1 Mechanics / +1 Stealth)

Tinker Gloves (+2 Mechanics)

Tinker Bauble (+1 Mechanics)

Volcanic Fetish (+1 Battle Magic)

Mindwarp Seal (+2 Mental Magic)

Talisman of Might (+4 Strength)




Lucky Dice (+1 Luck)

Physician's Charm (+1 Healing Craft)

Skein of Wisdom (+1 Intelligence)

Gruesome Charm (-1 Endurance/+2 Dexterity/+2 Intelligence)

Mental Focus Charm (+1 Spellcraft)


To optimize carrying capacity, we jettisoned the charms which add paltry resistances. They make so little difference, really.


Anyone have any suggestions how (and why) you'd continue building her over the remaining two chapters?



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