Pillars of Eternity: The White March - Part 1 Walkthrough, Hints and Tips for PC Games.

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 Pillars of Eternity: The White March - Part 1

Pillars of Eternity: The White March - Part 1

Pillars of Eternity Tips and Strategies                                    v1.27

Table of Contents                                                            !~-

To jump to a section, just "find in page" the code to the right of a section.
Inline references exclude the starting "!", so remember to add that in yourself.
What's new?                 !wha-

How to use this guide       !how-

Order of operations         !ord-
    Stacking effects            !ord,sta-

Combat mechanics            !com-
    Action times                !com,act-
    Weapon choices              !com,wea-
    Damage modifiers            !com,dam-
    Stacking defenses           !com,sta-
    Engagement                  !com,eng-
    Interrupt                   !com,int-
    DR                          !com,dr-
    Attack styles               !com,att-
    Targeting                   !com,tar-

Casting mechanics           !spe-
    Targeting                   !spe,tar-
    Timings                     !spe,tim-
    Jumps                       !spe,jum-
    Bounce spells               !spe,bou-
    Accuracy                    !spe,acc-
    Spell mastery               !spe,spe-
    Out of combat spells        !spe,out-

Path of the Damned          !pat-
    High-level Scaling          !pat,hig-

Afflictions                 !aff-

Stats                       !sta-

Skills                      !ski-

Talents?!                   !tal-

Races                       !rac-

Quickie on classes          !qui-

More on classes             !mor-
    Barbarian                   !mor,bar-
    Chanter                     !mor,cha-
    Cipher                      !mor,cip-
    Druid                       !mor,dru-
    Fighter                     !mor,fig-
    Monk                        !mor,mon-
    Paladin                     !mor,pal-
    Priest                      !mor,pri-
    Ranger                      !mor,ran-
    Rogue                       !mor,rog-
    Wizard                      !mor,wiz-

Itemization                 !ite-
    Universal weapons           !ite,uni-
    Very low recovery           !ite,ver-
    Soulbound                   !ite,sou-
    Weapons and Categories      !ite,wea-

Traps                       !tra-
    Accuracy (and trap bug)     !tra,acc-

Drugs                       !dru-

Troublesome foes            !tro-

Tips for soloing the game   !tip-
    Special troublesome foes    !tip,spe-

Appendix                    !app-
    Special thanks              !app,spe-
    Version history             !app,ver-
    All works                   !app,all-


What's new?                                                                !wha-
FYI, if you've read this guide before and are curious whenever a version number
changes what exactly happened, I always keep a comprehensive list of what I've
updated in section app,ver-.  Just ctrl-f (or apple-f or "find in page" to
section app,ver- (prefixed with an exclamation mark; I don't put the exclamation
mark here so you don't end up here when actually trying to get to where you're


How to use this guide                                                      !how-
This guide is a random grab bag of tips, strategies, and math-heavy analysis.
Pillars of Eternity is too large of a game for me to do a comprehensive guide,
so instead this is just a grab bag of non-obvious information with a special eye
towards Path of the Damned difficulty.  In other words, this guide is an almanac
of sorts; something I myself use as a reference in case I need to refresh my

If you don't want to get too overwhelmed by math, you should skip the "Order of
Operations," "Combat Mechanics," "Spell Mechanics," etc. sections and jump
straight to the "Stats" part of the guide; you can always come back later.

If you have any questions or comments, send me an email to the following address
WITHOUT the underscores (which are just there to prevent automatic parsers from
grabbing my email):

Note that this guide looks best if you used a monospace font like Courier
(Windows) or Menlo (Mac OS X).


Order of operations                                                        !ord-
One thing to note, because it comes up again and again in the game, is how
the game combines different modifiers.

Fairly consistently, all modifiers for a given mechanic are first summed and
then the result is treated as a multiplier for that mechanic.  Even when the
game's text says a modifier is "1.5x damage" it is actually treated internally
as a +.5 adjustment to the damage multiplier.

Some examples:
    1.2x reload speed (Gunner)  =  .20 to reload speed multiplier
    -40% recovery speed (armor) = -.40 to attack speed multiplier
    1.5x damage (sneak attack)  =  .50 to damage multiplier
    1.5x damage (critical hit)  =  .50 to damage multiplier
    +30% damage (20 might)      =  .30 to damage multiplier
    +15% damage ("fine" item)   =  .15 to damage multiplier
    +20% damage (sabres*)       =  .20 to damage multiplier

Note that this is a _general_ rule.  When it comes to attack speeds, there are
some exceptions that result in purely _multiplicative_ combinations.  See
section com,act- for more.  But as an example, non-armor attack speed bonuses
are true coefficients:

    .85x attack speed (dazed)   = .85x coefficient
    1.5x attack speed ("haste") = 1.5x coefficient

So if you had a character equipped with breastplate affected by both dazed and
Deleterious Alacrity of Motion, your final attack speed multiplier would be:

    -.40 breastplate + (.85 dazed * 1.5 haste - 1) = -.275 modifier

instead of multiplying all those together to get:

    1 base * .6 breastplate * .85 dazed * 1.5 haste = .765x attack speed [no!]

Similarly, a character with 15 might using a superb sabre would have:

    1 base + .15 might + .45 superb + .20 sabre* = 1.8x damage

instead of multiplying some combination of them together.

The fact that all modifiers for a mechanic are summed has some important
gameplay ramifications, especially for damage modifiers and sneak attack.  See
section com,dam- for more.

* Sabres used to have a high base damage.  As a slight nerf in 3.04, this higher
base damage was replaced with a normal base damage and a +20% damage
enchantment.  The reason why this is a nerf has everything to do with how the
game handles damage modifiers.  When the sabre had a higher base damage, all
damage modifiers worked off that base damage.  With the lower base damage and a
damage enchant, all damage modifiers work off that lower base damage and stack
additively with the damage bonus.  In effect, previously the higher damage was
_multiplicative_ with other damage modifiers, now it is _additive_.  The net
effect of this, for example, is that sabres are no longer almost clearly the
best weapon for rogues, since you went from essentially:

    1.2 base * (1 + .5 sneak attack) = 1.8x damage


    1 base * (1 + .2 sabre damage + .5 sneak attack) = 1.7x damage

On the whole this is a great change since it keeps the sabre's uniqueness while
also allowing for more mid-to-late-game weapon diversity for min-maxers.

Stacking effects                                                       !ord,sta-

Pillars of Eternity tries to avoid degenerate stat-buffing, so one way it
accomplishes this is using D&D style stacking rules.  That means that if you
have multiple bonuses (or penalties) to a single stat only the highest is used,
_unless_ they come from different "categories."  The categories of stat mods
    Racial bonuses/penalties
    Spell/Ability/Consumable bonuses/penalties
    Equipment bonuses/penalties
    Resting bonuses
    Survival bonuses
    Brothel bonuses

So let's say you have Zealous Endurance aura, cast Armor of Faith, have a +1
survival bonus, drank some beer, drank some mead, then what you end up with is:
    Zealous Endurance (suppressed, by Armor of Faith because both are
        in the same category of spell/ability/item bonuses)
    Armor of Faith (+4 DR)
    Survival bonus (+1 DR, its own survival category) 
    Beer (suppressed by Armor of Faith)
    Mead (suppressed by Armor of Faith)
for a total of +5 DR instead of +10 if all bonuses were added up.

Note that when it comes to spells/abilities, stat adjustments appear to stack
some of the time.  For example, cipher Psychovampiric Shield's -10 resolve will
stack with other sources of resolve.  The stat adjustments for dazed and
sickened stack.  For afflictions, it might be that as long as a given affliction
does not explicitly override another (like petrify does to prone), effects might

Note also that stacking rules also apply to regenerative healing.  A Potion of
Regeneration, a druid regeneration spell, and a barbarian's Savage Defiance will
suppress each other, and not necessarily in an order that you will find
particularly advantageous - stacking rules may prefer the longest-duration
effect, even if the per-tick magnitude is weaker.

Finally, passive bonuses from talents/abilities appear to stack.  An example:
the lesser sneak attack that a priest of Skaen can get (+.2 damage) stacks with
the cross-class sneak attack (+.15 damage).


Combat mechanics                                                           !com-
Action times                                                           !com,act-

There are four phases to each action:  three primary phases and one idle phase.
There is an attack phase (the time spent actually performing an attack or
ability), a recovery phase (during which your character is just standing around
waiting for their next action), and a reload phase (for firearms, crossbows, and
arbalests).  There is also a hard-and-fast idle phase that acts as a "breath"
your character takes after an action.

Most actions (abilities, attacks, and spells) have an attack phase and a
recovery phase.  Some abilities like Marked Prey are specially designed to have
no recovery phase, but these are the exception rather than the rule.  Firearms,
crossbows, and arbalests add a reload phase to the normal attack.  All actions
have an idle phase after the action and before recovery.

The combination of how long your characters spend in attack, idle, recovery, and
sometimes reload phases determines how quickly they can complete one
attack/ability and move on to the next.  These phases are influenced by
different modifiers.  Note that reload phases only acts as a delay for
additional weapon-based attacks or abilities; you can switch to casting a spell
without waiting for a reload phase to finish.

The rest of this section gets pretty math-heavy, so the quick summary is:
    1.  Dexterity adjusts all primary phases (including attack and reload).
    2.  Reload times are adjusted by reload modifiers.
    3.  "Attack speed" and recovery modifiers both just adjust the
        recovery phase.
    4.  A large category of effects that improve attack speed are a separate
        multiplicative category (even though most modifiers in the game are

To understand how different phases are timed, we create a model for Pillars of
Eternity where phases are made up of "frames" and characters advance through 30
frames per second by default. So, if in an example you are attacking with a
weapon that has 30 frames for action and 75 frames for recovery, you will spend
1 second on the actual action to attack and 2.5 seconds to recover before you
can do anything else.

Dexterity and reload speed modifiers increase the frames you advance per second.
For example, if you have enough dexterity for +100% action speed (roughly 43
dexterity) then instead of your character advancing 30 frames per second, they
advance 60 frames/second.  Put another way, each frame used to take 1/30th of a
second, and now they take 1/60th of a second.

More generally, to compute the final time spent in a phase after adjusted for
dexterity, divide the base time by (1 plus your dexterity modifier).  For
example, if you have a weapon that takes 1 second to attack and 2 seconds to
recover, if you have 15 Dexterity (+15% action speed), the final time spent is:

    1s attack   / 1.15 dex_bonus = 0.87s attack
    .2s idle    / 1.15 dex_bonus = 0.17s idle
    2s recovery / 1.15 dex_bonus = 1.74s recovery
                                   2.78s total (net -.42s reduction)

Reload speed modifiers work similarly (and multiply with dexterity
improvements).  So with Gunner (1.2x reload speed) on a 4s reload weapon:

    4s reload / 1.2 gunner = 3.33s reload (net -.67s reduction)

Attack speed/recovery speed modifiers are different and a little more
complicated.  There are two broad categories of modifiers, one that largely
affects armor penalties (we'll call this "armor mods"), and another that
encompasses everything else (we'll call this "speed mods").  Armor mods are:
    * your armor's actual penalty
    * any reduction from Armored Grace (fighter talent)
    * any improvement from the highest of: the durgan armor enchant
        (White March-only), Pilferer's Grip Gloves (White March-only)
Armor mods are _additive_ and cannot reduce your armor penalty past 0.

Anything else you see are speed mods and are _multiplicative_ with each other,
save for speed mods in the last bullet point:
    * .8x coefficient for Vulnerable Attack
    * .8x coefficient for Penetrating Shot
    * 1.2x coefficient for Sure-Handed Ila (chanter effect)
    * .8x coefficient for Vicious Aim (ranger effect)
    * 1.2x coefficient for Two-Weapon Style
    * All other miscelleneous attack speed improvements:  Blizzard, Bloodlust,
    Cautious Attack, the durgan weapon enchant, Gauntlets of Swift Action,
    the "speed" weapon enchant, and spell tongue's special speed effect are
    stackable multipliers.
    * All other effects not mentioned above (Deleterious Alacrity of Motion,
    Svef, etc) suppress each other and only the highest among them is used.

To get your base adjustment to your recovery time, multiply all speed mod
coefficients together, subtract 1, and reduce your net armor adjustment by it.
For example, if you had Vulnerable Attack, Two-Weapon Style, and were wearin
Breastplate (-40% attack speed).

    .4 breastplate - (.8 vulnerable * 1.2 twoweapon - 1)
        = .4 - (.96 - 1)
        = .4 - (-.04)
        = .4 + .04
        = .44

After this, if you are not dual-wielding and you are doing a weapon-based
action, you add an additional +.5 penalty.  If you are wielding a shield and it
has a durgan enchantment on it, that penalty is instead +.35.  (This ironically
means that a shield-bearer with a durgan-enchanted shield can attack faster
than someone wielding just a single weapon.)

You then take your base _attack_ time and either extend or reduce it by a factor
equal to twice this above number; then you divide by a "global recovery
coefficient" of 1.2 to get your recovery time, e.g.

    1s attack * (1 + 2 * .44) / 1.2 recoverycoeff
        = 1s attack * (1.88)  / 1.2 recoverycoeff
        = 1.567s recover (+.667s from breastplate, +.067s from other mods,
                          .833s base)

Note that with bare fists (human or spiritshifted) or if this is a shield
bash attack, you are always considered to be dual-wielding, even though esp
with fists you are not actually alternating between two weapons.

After this is computed, your recovery phase is adjusted by dexterity as other
phases are.  Note that it is impossible for your total recovery phase to be
reduced below 0s (earlier versions of this guide and even designer Josh Sawyer
erroneously suggested so).  In practice, you don't need a lot to get down to
zero recovery.  For example, dual-wielding while under the effects of
Deleterious Alacrity of Motion and either wearing clothes or being naked
will do the trick:

    1s attack * (1 + 2 * (0 naked - (1.5 haste - 1)))
        = 1s attack * (1 + 2 * -.5)
        = 1s attack * (1 - 1)
        = 0s recover

At that point, the little yellow bar for your recovery phase encompasses just
your idle phase, and your recovery is optimally minimal.

                        SIDEBAR - "Hey this is all confusing!"
                        Doesn't this seem all weird?  Those percentages for your
                        armor seem to correspond to anything "real"!  I mean,
                        sure, the literal numbers are plugged into a formula,
                        but it's hard to see how wearing Brigandine gives you
                        "-50% attack speed".

                        I think it all boils down to that "global recovery
                        coefficient."  Without the global recovery coefficient,
                        if you consider an "attack" to be your combined
                        attack+recovery phase, then by default a dual-wielded
                        weapon with a 1s attack will have a total 2s "total
                        attack."  If you equip Brigandine, then while that -50%
                        penalty will double your recovery time, the effect on
                        your "total attack" is to increase to 3s, which is
                        _actually_ a 50% increase from before.

                        My best guess is that at some point during development,
                        Obsidian wanted to make combat "feel snappier," so they
                        added this global recovery coefficient to shorten all
                        recovery time.   But the net effect of this is that all
                        percentage modifiers actually _overstate_ their effect
                        on your "total attack," especially when not
                        dual-wielding.  Moreover, because your recovery can
                        never be reduced below 0s, there is definitely a
                        point where additional attack speed improvements provide
                        _no_ improvement to your "total attack."

Putting it all together, consider the following scenario:  you have a
hypothetical gun that has an attack speed of 1s; reload times of 2s; you have
15 dex, plate armor, are dazed (x.85 attack speed), have the gunner talent
(1.2x reload speed), and are buffed by chanter's reload speed chant
(1.2x ranged attack speed, 1.2x reload speed).

    First the non-dex stuff:
    1s attack (unaffected) =                            1s attack
    0.2s idle (unaffected) =                            .2s idle
    1s attack * (1 + 2 * (.5 not2w + .5 plate - (.85 daz * 1.2 chnt - 1))) / 1.2
        = 1s * (1 + 2 * (1 - .02)) / 1.2
        = 1s * (1 + 2 * .98) / 1.2
        = 1s * 2.96 / 1.2
        = 2.47 =                                        2.47s recover*
    2s reload / (1 + sum_of_reload)
        = 2s / (1 + (.2 gunner + .2 chant))
        = 2s / 1.4 =                                    1.43s reload

    Then apply the dexterity bonus:
    1s   attack   / 1.15 dex_bonus = 0.87s attack
    .2s  idle     / 1.15 dex_bonus = 0.17s idle
    2.53s recover / 1.15 dex_bonus = 2.20s recover
    1.43s reload  / 1.15 dex_bonus = 1.24s reload
                                     4.48s total time
                                     (net -.68s reduction)

* Of the 2.47s recover time, +.83s is from not dual-wielding, +.83s is from
wearing plate armor, and -.033s is the net effect of being dazed but having the
chanter attack speed bonus.  Your base recovery is .83s.
(Fractions do not add up to the total due to rounding.)

As to what all this means in terms of min-maxing, here are some take aways.

1.  Attack/recovery speed bonuses benefit from increasing returns.  Similarly,
attack/recovery speed penalties benefit from diminishing effects.  In other
words, going from +80% attack speed to +100% attack speed provides a much
greater net reduction as a percentage of your total action time than going from
no attack speed change to a +20% attack speed change, even though both are the
same absolute differences.  Likewise, wearing -50% plate is not that much worse
than -45% mail, whereas -5% priest robes is comparatively much worse than 0%
simple clothing.

2.  As a result, characters who want to be fast should _really_ try to avoid any
armor or attack speed penalties, while characters who are already putting on
heavier armor won't be hurt too much by going all the way to plate armor.  This
also means that effects like Deleterious Alacrity of Motion (1.5x attack speed)
are most effective on characters who are already pretty fast.

3.  The way dexterity and reloading modifiers adjust your rate at going through
frames means that changes to dexterity/reload times are effectively linear
returns:  each point gives you as much benefit as the preceding point.  In
short, everyone benefits or is hurt equally from dexterity or reload mods:  e.g.
a -5 dexterity debuff is going to mean roughly 15% slower attacks from everyone,
regardless of how fast or slow they were originally going.

4.  Since time spent in reload phase is not penalized by armor, using reloading
weapons reduces the negative impact that armor penalties have on your
characters.  Conversely, this fact also means that reloading weapons mitigate
the positive impact of things like Deleterious Alacrity of Motion.

5.  Because your character _must_ go through the appropriate recovery phase
before moving on to another action, you should ponder giving your casters fast
weapons (or even dual-wielding).  If you equip slow weapons, you run the risk
that when you urgently need a spell your caster is stuck in a long recovery
phase from the previous physical attack.  (I suspect many players may run into
this trap when they try to give Durance an arquebus and find that all of a
sudden he is terrible at trying to cast spells in an emergency.)

6.  Finally, don't make the mistake I initially made and think that dexterity's
action speed bonuses can cancel out an equivalent armor penalty.  It doesn't
work that way.  The latter makes your recovery slower, the former makes your
entire action time faster.

Weapon choices                                                         !com,wea-

Fast melee weapons have 20 attack frames (remember 30 frames is 1 second of
normal game time).  All other melee weapons have 30 attack frames.

Remember that recovery time is dependent on attack frames.  With the "global
recovery coefficient," another way to think of recovery is that your base
recovery is 16.67 frames for fast weapons and 25 frames for other weapons and
that this number is also a "50% baseline."  Which means that not-dual-wielding
(a 50% penalty) will add an additional 16.67/25 frames; similarly brigandine
(also a 50% penalty) will add an additional 16.67/25 frames, whereas leather
(a 30% penalty) instead adds only 5/7.5 frames.

Remember too that fists and shield bashing are always considered
"dual-wielding" so you don't get the 50% penalty on their recovery phases.

Also remember that attack speed adjustments are multiplicative, so you have
to multiply them together before coming to a final additional adjustment.

In addition to attacking faster while dual-wielding, you end up alternating
between the two weapons:  if you are naked and have a fast and slow melee weapon
A and B, you spend 20 attack frames to attack with A, recover for 16.67 frames,
then attack for 30 frames with B, then recover for 25 frames, then go back to A.

Ranged weapons are a little different.  Fast ranged weapons have 30 attack
frames, and all other ranged weapons have 45 attack frames.  Reloading weapons
have the following amount of reloading frames:

    Crossbow        100 reload frames
    Pistol          150 reload frames
    Blunderbuss     150 reload frames
    Arbalest        180 reload frames
    Arquebus        200 reload frames

Note that due to how the game engine handles reloading, true numbers will vary
a bit plus or minus 5-6 frames.

Note that a consequence of these high reload frame numbers, the Gunner talent
can be a _massive_ improvement in your action time.  A 1.2x reload speed
modifier on a pistol using the equation from the previous section will result

    150 reload_frames / (1 + .2 gunner) = 125 reload_frames

which is 25 fewer reload frames, almost a _full second_ off of your entire
action time.

Anyway, when considering weapon choices, if all you care about is damage
throughput, then here's a ranking of the top highest damage rate ranged weapons
(when considering the average DR of enemies):

    Top 5 ranged weapons (with special weapons for reference)
         (Llengrath's Blunt Wisdom [wizard])
         (Rot Skull [druid])
         (Caedebald's Blackbow [wizard])
         (Kakaloth's Minor Blight [wizard])
        War Bow

Note that certain circumstances can change this ordering.
    1.  If you have low or no recovery penalty, then the War Bow catapults past
        all the reloading weapons, though the Gunner talent still helps
        these reloaders edge out War Bow.
    2.  Blunderbuss catapults to the top if you have something like Expose
        Vulnerabilities to negate more than its standard DR penetration.  This
        is because the blunderbuss fires 6 projectiles; any DR adjustment
        effectively has a six-fold effect on its damage output.
    3.  The Blast talent for the Wizard makes the implements much better in
        crowded situations (especially with Penetrating Blast).  The Deadly
        Implement talent can also help, at the cost of health.
    4.  Unfortunately the Hunting Bow doesn't get much love, though with some
        help from DR reduction spells and such it can be a decent performer.

Note that for this list and lists to come the damage ranking also roughly
corresponds to how good the weapon is at focus generation.  Note that as of
White March II, Carow Golan no longer provides a flat per hit bonus to focus, so
the blunderbuss is no longer exploitively good with Carow Golan.

    Top 5 one-handed melee (with special weapons for reference)
         (Shapeshift [druid])
         (Fists [monk])
        Dagger/Rapier/Club (3-way tie)

There's less damage variation amongst one-handed melee weapons than ranged
weapons.  The stiletto stands out because it is both fast and has DR
penetration.  The speed and accuracy bonus for the dagger, rapier, and club
helps out a bit.  The sabre's special trait is doing more damage, which is nice.

    Top 5 two-handed melee (with special weapons for reference)
         (Spirit Lance [wizard])
         (Firebrand [druid])
         (Concelhaut's Quarterstaff, Llengrath's Warding Staff [wizard])
        Tie for all other weapons

There's even less variation among two-handed melee weapons.  The Estoc is
special because it features DR penetration instead of reach or dual damage
types which is what other two-handed melee weapons have.

Note that in all of the above lists, the special weapons completely out-trump
normal weapons, even if they can never be upgraded.  The level 1 wizard spell
Concelhaut's Quarterstaff, for example, is twice as good as an Estoc; that
margin can shrink with upgrades/enchants to your Estoc, but will never
completely close.

Damage modifiers                                                       !com,dam-

All attack rolls get translated into a number, with the usual range being
between 1 and 100.  What value you get determines whether you miss (15 or less),
graze at 0.5x damage/effect (16-50), hit at full (51-100), or crit at 1.5x
damage/effect (101 or more).

Importantly, as alluded to in section ord-, these damage modifications are
treated like any other damage modifiers.  That means a graze is not actually
half damage, but rather a -.5 damage modifier (and a crit is a +.5 modifier).

That may not appear to make much of a difference, but let's consider the case
of a rogue's sneak attack.  A rogue's sneak attack does 1.5x damage.  This is
also a damage modifier, specifically +.5.  Combined with how the above works,
this means that a grazing sneak attack will actually do normal damage!

    -.5 graze + .5 sneak_attack = 1x damage modifier
    and NOT 1.5x halved for .75x damage modifier

Unfortunately, this also means that a critical sneak attack will do less damage
than expected (2x damage instead of 2.25x damage).

However, this fact means that if you can add damage modifiers to your
characters, you actually diminish the importance of accuracy!  Sure, having a
low enough accuracy where you miss a lot is still going to be bad, but you
basically mitigate the downsides to grazes at the expense of crits.  In truth,
on Path of the Damned difficulty, enemy deflections are so high that crits are
fairly rare anyway, so the mitigation of grazes more than balances out that
loss.  Example talents that add damage modifiers are Two-Handed Weapon Style and
Savage Attack; these are both available to all classes.  Don't forget that might
is a critical source of damage modifiers:  characters with high might will
mitigate the impact of grazes, whereas characters with low might will find
themselves dispropotionately punished.

The upshot is that characters who can increase their damage modifier, especially
those with access to sneak attack (rogue, priest of Skaen, a hunter pet) can
greatly increase their damage throughput by significantly increasing their graze

Stacking defenses                                                      !com,sta-

All defenses have _increasing_ returns; each additional point is worth more than
the point before.

This is because as a defense rises in number and the attacker's miss range
increases, each additional point taken away from the attacker's hit range is a
greater proportion of the remaining hit range.  In other words, reducing the
attacker's net hit range from 1-100 to 2-100 is a 1% reduction in hit range.
Reducing the attacker's net hit range from 99-100 to 100-100 is a 50% reduction
in hit range.

In case you're having trouble understanding how that is increasing returns,
imagine you have either 97, 98, 99, or 100 deflection against someone with 15

    97 deflection:  only a 3% chance for attacker to graze
    98 deflection:  only a 2% chance for attacker to graze (this is a 50%
        increase in your "effective" health)
    99 deflection:  only a 1% chance for attacker to graze (this is a 100%
        increase in your "effective" health)
    100 deflection: attacker always misses (this is an infinite% improvement
        in your "effective" health!)

Note how with each increasing point, the net effect on your survivability keeps
getting better, until you reach the point where the attacker always misses and
you have infinite survival, whereas the point before you still had finite
survivability.  Most players who have played the game before probably have
experienced this reality with Eder who will most likely be outfitted with (Wary)
Defender, a large shield, and Weapon and Shield specialization, helping his
deflection skyrocket to hardy levels.

Now, with all this information, it's important to note that of all your
defenses, deflection is probably the most important for characters up front
in combat.  There are two main reasons why:

    1. Due to increasing returns, you get the most benefit from stacking a
       single defense instead of spreading yourself across several defenses.
    2. Despite the presence of enemy priests/druids/ciphers/wizards, the
       most common and deadliest attacks are inevitably deflection-targetting;
       creatures like Crystal Eater spiders or Xaurip Skirmishers have powerful
       on-hit afflictions that must first hit your deflection before they can
       trigger their petrify/paralyze/etc effects.

As such, where possible favor deflection over other defenses; like if you're
considering getting a Ring of Deflection or a Ring of Protection, you should
save your cash for the former.

However, for your non-melee characters, you may plan on almost never getting
hit and may have commensurately low deflection.  In such a case, piling on
deflection for them may be a relative waste (the flipside to diminishing returns
is increasing losses, so it would be hard to dig your way out of a deep hole).
However, they may still have decent other defenses, so in those cases your
efforts may be better spent beefing up specific other defenses.  For example,
Fampyrs will always target their dominate effects on a caster, so it might make
sense to stack nothing but will defense for your valuable casters.

Engagement                                                             !com,eng-

Engagement is a critical part of combat in Pillars of Eternity.  Briefly, most
characters can "engage" one enemy; to engage an enemy, the following must be

    1.  The character has a melee weapon and is either attacking or waiting to
        attack with the weapon.  An "attack" in this case is either the normal
        auto-attack or an ability that uses an attack or full attack.
    2.  The character is at melee range with a foe.
    3.  The character is not at their maximum engagement.  Most
        characters/enemies can only engage one adversary at a time, though
        certain talents/creatures/abilities allow for greater engagement.
    4.  The character's target has not very recently broken engagement with this

If all the above are true, engagement occurs; if the adversary was moving, they
immediately stop moving.  This is also true for your characters, unless you
disable the "character stops moving on engagement" option (I recommend you don't
disable it if you prefer the tactical challenge).  Note that some enemies will
eagerly and repeatedly break engagement to go after more vulnerable characters.

Note that a consequence of #1 is that if a melee character tried to do
something other than a basic attack or attack ability (like use a scroll or use
an item ability), they stop any of their own active engagements.

Once engaged, any attempt by the adversary to break engagement by moving away
triggers a disengagement attack from your character, which is a normal attack
made with a +5 accuracy bonus.  The disengagement attack can potentially be
brutal; it's possible that it will interrupt the adversary, which will allow the
character to run up and re-engage the adversary.

Note that in many melee combat cases, engagement is mutual; both the character
and their adversary will be engaging each other.

Some effects can immediately (albeit temporarily) break engagement; see section
aff- for details on what afflictions can break engagement.

Interrupt                                                              !com,int-

Concentration and interrupt are probably afterthoughts for most people, but
carefully considered both have a very significant impact on combat.

Basically, any time any effect successfully connects with a target, a
behind-the-scenes interrupt roll is made.  It is very much like a normal hit
attempt, except instead of using your accuracy and the target's deflection, it
uses your interrupt and the target's concentration.  If the result of the roll
plus the interrupt is greater than or equal to the concentration and the target
is not already interrupted, they become interrupted for a duration equal to the
interrupt duration of the effect.

If the effect was a graze or critical hit, you get a flat -25 penalty or +25
bonus, respectively, to the interrupt roll.

Interrupt is influenced by perception and starts at 0, whereas concentration is
influenced by resolve and starts at 75.  This means for a character with 10
perception attacking a character with 10 resolve, each successful hit has a 25%
chance to interrupt.  In this same example, a critical hit has a 50% chance to
interrupt.  Meanwhile, a graze has a 0% chance to interrupt.

When a character is interrupted, if they were in the attack phase (including
trying to use a potion or scroll), the entire phase is lost, and they need to
start over again.  This can be particularly punishing for slow spells, which
take many seconds to cast and can be prone to repeat interruptions.  This also
means that if you plan on having tanks consume potions or read scrolls while on
the front line, you should boost their resolve so that they actually have a
chance to use their item without being interrupted.

If a character was casting a spell, _sometimes_ they forget that they were even
trying to cast that spell when interrupted; it gets cleared from their action
queue.  It's not always consistent, but you should be aware of this, both on
defense and also when dealing with enemy casters.  Fortunately, this also
can impact enemies, so it's a double-edged sword.

While it rarely makes sense to actually go out of your way to try to interrupt
specific enemies, it does make sense to have a long-term party or character
strategy geared around interrupts.  While interrupts are subtle, increasing
your interrupt rate can have a quantifiable impact on your survivability and
combat effectiveness.  This can be most noticeable when you have a character who
is able to keep an enemy from doing much thanks to repeated interrupts.

Characters with area of effect abilities are great candidates for having decent
perception and the Interrupting Blows talent; they will be able to potentially
interrupt an entire battlefield's worth of foes in one go.

Similarly, you should put some effort to ensure that your front-line melee
characters have a decent concentration (there's a level 1 priest spell that can
help with this); the worst thing to happen is having an important healing potion

DR                                                                      !com,dr-

Damage reduction (DR) is mostly straightforward.  A character does some damage
and subtract the defender's relevant damage reduction. The main exception is
that damage can never be reduced below 20% of its initial value, no matter how
high the DR is.

The main thing that needs to be addressed is that _some_ effects benefit from a
lower damage reduction.  This DR is reserved for effects that "ride along" other
effects.  The best and most common example is the various "lash" enchantments
for weapons, which do 25% of weapon damage in the given type.  It would be
unfair for this relatively low additional damage to be affected at full strength
by DR.

To compensate, these "ride along" (or "triggered" or "proc") damage effects use
a 25% multiplier for the DR; that is, they only use 1/4 of the value.

Note that environmental hazard effects (like traps or a wizard's wall spells) or
many types of spell effects that do repeated damage (like Chill Fog or various
beam spells), even though often times they do low damage with high repetition,
still use the full DR.

Probably the "easiest" way to tell if some damage uses the 1/4 DR is to check
the combat log.  If an effect does multiple types of damage, but consolidates it
into one combat log entry, BUT only lists one damage type in the log, and you
can hover over that combat log entry and get a tooltip that shows a full damage
equation showing more than one type of damage, then that secondary damage type
not mentioned in the main combat log entry was affected by DR at 1/4 strength.
Sunlance is an example of this. The main combat log will only show pierce
damage, but if you hover over the entry you will see that the damage actually
also has additional burn damage; that additional burn was subjected to 1/4
normal damage reduction.

Attack Styles                                                          !com,att-

Broadly speaking, there are four different "styles" to how you attack with a
weapon.  All carry advantages and disadvantages and have a related talent you
can pick up to reinforce this style.

    Sort of the "standard" approach, the main benefit is that you can equip a
        shield, which lets you optionally trade off between more defense and
        lower accuracy.  A small shield will get you a +8 deflection with no
        accuracy penalty, whereas a large shield can get you a whopping +16
        deflection but with a steep -8 accuracy penalty.  Enchantments on the
        shield can boost the deflection bonus.
    The paired talent is in the defense category and gives you an additional
        +6 deflection when equipping a shield and lets you apply your shield
        deflection bonus to reflex.
    Tanks will love this style, and even squishier characters might like the
        survivability boost it gives.  Because of the increasing returns of
        stacking defenses, the up to +34 defense/reflex bonus from equipping a
        superb large shield can easily help put you in nigh-untouchable range.

    You equip two one-handed weapons, one in your main hand and one in your
        off hand.  The benefit is that this by dual-wielding you reduce the
        base recovery time of your weapons, potentially significantly.  In
        normal cases, this means as much as a 45% damage output increase for
        a naked/clothes character or a 31% damage output increase for a
        brigandine/plate character.  It could mean being able to actually have 
        0 recovery, which can be as much as an 81% damage output increase over
        someone who can't erase the final +50% attack penalty from
    More than just increasing damage output, reduced recovery also is beneficial
        for being more responsive in combat, especially if your character mixes
        attacks with spells or abilities.
    The paired talent gives you a recovery speed bonus of 20%, which is a
        multiplicative coefficient of 1.2x.
    Extremely good with characters suited for high DPS (like rogues) and
        particularly for mixing attacks and spells (like ciphers).

    You have to use a one-handed weapon and leave your off hand slot free of
        shield or weapon.  You give up the defense of a shield or the extra
        damage of dual-wielding, but gain +12 accuracy.
    This is a pretty variable effect that is strongest early on and gradually
        gets weaker.  In the extreme, it could mean an infinite% increase in
        your damage, where you go from missing all the time to grazing once in
        a while.  In the other extreme, it could mean no improvement whatsoever,
        when your accuracy is so high that you already crit all the time.
    More realistically, when your accuracy is equal to the enemy deflection,
        this is up to a ~25% increase in gross damage.  This number shrinks the
        more sources of damage boosts you have like might; but the number also
        grows the higher the enemy DR, since a hit/crit vs a graze/hit become
        more important.  As your accuracy gets lower than deflection, the %
        increase in your net damage climbs superlinearly. As your accuracy gets
        higher than deflection, the % increase in your net damage tapers slowly
        to zero.
    As you can see, one-handed weapon style isn't quite as good as two-weapon
        style, featuring generally less damage boost without the gain in combat
        flexibility thanks to reduced recovery speed.  However, aside from the
        variable effect on damage, one-handed weapon style is great
        for when you're trying to use a weapon or weapon-based ability that has
        a triggered effect, especially one that requires a crit.  For example,
        there are several weapons that can stun on crit. Especially on path of
        the damned, a chance to crit may be vanishingly small or nonexistent
        early on, and that +12 accuracy bonus can mean going from no chance to
        having a big chance.  And the stun effect (which requires a check
        against fortitude) will also benefit from the accuracy bonus.  And even
        later on in the game, when accuracy is high, the additional +12 accuracy
        further increases the likelihood of proccing these crit effects.
    The paired talent gives you a hit-to-crit upgrade chance of 15%, further
        helping this style as the "proc" style. 
    Full list of stunning/prone on crit one-handed weapons:
        Act II:  Cladhaliath (spear) [must respond "I wish to subdue my foes
            with power" and enchant the spear in Lle a Rhemen]
        Act III: Starcaller (flail), Godansthunyr (hammer), We Toki (axe)
    Again, on-hit/crit weapons (which are far more common) still benefit from
        the +12 accuracy, but not as much.
    On odd interaction with the +12 accuracy bonus is that chanter chants,
        despite not obviously being a "weapon-based" ability and using spell
        accuracy will nonetheless benefit from the +12 accuracy bonus from using
        a weapon one-handed.  Don't get carried away, though: spells in general
        do not benefit from this accuracy bonus.  Chants must just live in a
        middle ground between being a spell and being a combat ability.

    Similar to two-weapon style in that you're giving up defense for power.  Two
        handed weapons do significant damage (especially Estocs) and may come
        with increased reach (pikes, quarterstaffs) for extra defense.  It's
        slower than dual-wielding (but not any slower than an average one-handed
        weapon).  The damage throughput can actually be significant, since
        dual-wielding (or any use of single-handed weapons) is much more
        vulnerable to enemy DR than the higher damage numbers of two-handed
    The paired talent gives you a +15% damage modifier when using a two-handed
        weapon.  Particularly great because it helps mitigate the effects of
        grazes (in addition to punching through enemy DR).
    Also good for characters suited for high DPS, like rogues, but not as much
        if they want to be responsive (like ciphers).  Pikes and quarterstaffs
        are a great choice for anyone who wants to do high damage safely.

Lastly, there's ranged weapons, but it's not treated specially as a "style" by
the game.  Despite being two-handed they don't qualify for two-handed weapon

NOTE:  which "hand" you put your weapon in does matter when dual-wielding
Consider the left slot the "main" hand, and the other slot the "off" hand.  Your
character always starts attacking with the main hand.  If your character ever
stops attacking to do something else (quaff a potion, read a scroll, cast a
spell, etc) and then resumes attacking, they will _always_ start over by
attacking with the main hand, no matter where they left off in their attack
cycle before.  This means that the weapon in the main hand will always end up
with more attacks than the off hand, even though the game otherwise treats them
equally (unlike e.g. D&D which penalizes the off hand vs the main hand).  So put
your better weapon, or a weapon that has a special triggered effect, in your
main hand.

Targeting                                                              !com,tar-

Your abilities have various ways of being targeted.  Most common are ones that
just trigger off your attack, have a single target, or have an area of effect.
The target can be modified to be "foe", "friendly", or "allied", which means
that you can only legitimately target/effect enemies ("foe"), anyone with a
green/blue circle under their feet ("friendly"), or only your actual party
members ("allied").  If the target is not modified by any of those terms, than
anyone can be targetted/affected.  Note that sometimes "allied" implicitly means
"party member other than yourself."

Area of effect targetting comes predominantly in two forms:  a simple radius
and a cone.  Cone area of effects list both an angle (for example, 90 degrees
is a quarter-circle) and a range (i.e. 3m means the cone extends out 3m).  These
and any other kind of area effect are increased or decreased by intellect.  With
an intellect higher than 10, you'll see its effects (if you have area of effect
highlighting enabled) as a bright yellow area extending out from either a cone
or central circle that is one of: red (for a normal area of effect), light
green/blue (for "friendly" or "allied" area of effect), or dark yellow (for
"foe" area of effect).  Note that this extended area is _always_ party-friendly.
That is, for normal areas of effect, it functions as if it was a "foe" area
of effect; the fact that it is just a different shade of yellow from normal
foe area of effect targetting is probably intentional.  For foe, friendly, or
allied areas of effect, the intellect-extended area functions the same as the
original area of effect (i.e. foe-only, friendly-only, or allied-only).

Notably intellect increases _total area_, not radius (which it used to do in
earlier versions of the game).  If you remember your geometry, you can hopefully
understand why linking it to radius was a bad idea (hint: area is essentially
the square of radius, so you'd get _extreme_ increasing returns).

Some spells and abilities can get more complicated with targetting, combining
several effects; for example, the priest spell Pillar of Faith combines a single
(unmodified) target with a foe area of effect around it (which can lead to
interesting cases where you can target the center of the spell on a party member
and hit only enemies around them with the secondary effect).  The chanter
invocation White Worms Writhed in the Bellies of the Dead combines a special
cone which then triggers a circular foe area of effect around any corpse.

Notably, confused enemies _can_ selectively count as a friendly target depending
on which confused effect they are suffering from; if they are attacking the 
nearest foe, they briefly become green/blue to you.  Confused enemies under
other effects have their targetting circle merely turn yellow; they still only
count as foes.  Charmed/dominated enemies always count as a friendly target.
In other words, be careful about using friendly abilities (like healing spells)
if you're busy flipping enemy alliances around.

As a special exception to the rules, confused/charmed/dominated allies can still
be targetted by Prayer against Treachery, Prayer against Bewilderment, Suppress
Affliction, and Liberating Exhortation, even though all of these are ostensibly


Spell mechanics                                                            !spe-
Targeting                                                              !spe,tar-

See section com,tar-.  Of note in that section is how targeting against
confused/charmed/dominated targets functions.

Timings                                                                !spe,tim-

Spells have their own recovery timings.  Even though they say things like "fast"
or "slow," it's unrelated to weapon speeds.  For numbers below, recall that
in our model of Pillars's combat, 30 frames corresponds to 1 in-game second.

Fast spells basically cast instantaneously.  You spend roughly 35 frames in
cast, and then recover for 30 frames.  The spell effect itself happens about
halfway through the cast (so the startup delay is only about 15 frames).

Average spells have a 80 frame cast, and then have a 50 frame recovery.  The
spell effect itself occurs about 50 frames into the cast.

Slow spells are _extremely_ slow.  Roughly 130 frames for cast, and 110 frames
for recovery.  The spell effect itself occurs around 120 frames into the cast.

The upshot is that slow spells can be huge liabilities, leaving your caster
vulnerable and waiting for almost 8 seconds (more than 4 for the actual cast)!
If you see an enemy caster trying to cast a slow spell (like a summon), try to
interrupt them to reset their lengthy casting time.

Do note that when it comes to things that affect spell recovery, virtually
everything matters (even speed enchantments on weapons), save for the following
exceptions (and only these exceptions):
    - Two-Weapon Style talent
    - Vulnerable Attack talent
    - Penetrating Shot talent
    - the .5 (or -50%) penalty for not dual-wielding
Even effects that boost ranged attack speed affect some spells, if they involve
some instant-effect ranged attack (Fireball or Fan of Flames, but not Seal of
Warding, Ray of Fire, or Shocking Grasp).

All the above numbers are the "baseline" recovery numbers and represent what
a 50% recovery penalty looks like (so wearing brigandine will extend an
average spell recovery from 50 frames to 100 frames).

Jumps                                                                  !spe,jum-

Another small section to note a special characteristic about jumping spells.
These are spells that have a "jump" in their description.  It appears that
while jumping spells will try to jump to new targets, if this is impossible
(i.e. fewer foes than jump targets) in most cases they _will_ re-jump to
previous targets.  (I say "most cases" because I've never yet seen e.g Mind
Plague or Cleansing Flame jump to a previously affected target when the number
of enemies was low.)

This can result in cases where jump spells actually become better against fewer
foes.  Firebug, for example, is a druid spell that does 40-50 fire damage on a
target and jumps up to eight times.  Decent, but the damage potential gets
limited in large confrontations exceeding eight foes.  However, if you're up
against two tough foes, that firebug will just bounce back and force between the
two foes repeatedly, piling on upwards of ~200 fire damage on both foes.  That's
pretty crazy!  Or take Tayn's Chaotic Orb, which does modest damage and afflicts
a random debuff on foes.  On a bunch of foes, it does modest damage spread
around and everyone gets a random debuffs.  On just two foes, the orb will
bounce back and forth between the two, not just racking up the damage, but
addding extra debuffs on each foe, increasing the likelihood that a catastrophic
debuff (like paralyze or petrify) lands on one of them.

Bounce spells                                                          !spe,bou-

Some spells have a "bounce" mechanic, i.e. they travel in a given direction and
when they hit a solid surface (i.e. a wall or anything that a character cannot
walk through) they deflect off at a reflected angle.

As of 3.04/5, there is a bug (or possible intentional power-boost) with bounce
spells.  After each bounce, the original projectile may _duplicate_, so you
could quickly saturate the screen with bouncing projectiles.  Since it is
unlikely that Obsidian will be releasing another patch (the game is pretty much
end of dev cycle), this is the way these spells are.  This means e.g. Rolling
Flame and Crackling Bolt can become very powerful (if unpredictable) spells,
though after a bounce the projectiles do reduced damage.  It also means some
enemy encounters become much scarier, though frequently the enemy AI targetting
will result in enemy casters doing as much or more damage to their own
companions than to you.

Accuracy                                                               !spe,acc-

Casting using its own accuracy; it's not what you see on your character sheet.
The accuracy you see on your character sheet is one that is based on your
currently equipped weapon.  Instead, your base spellcasting accuracy is:
    your class's base accuracy
    + the standard 3/level above 1
    + any perception bonus/penalty
    + any general (non-weapon) accuracy bonuses (e.g. Gauntlets of Accuracy,
        but not the "fine" enchantment on a weapon)
    - any general (non-weapon) penalties (e.g. shield penalties, but not the
        penalty from Savage Attack)
    + special bonus 1/level

That last one is special and not really explicitly mentioned anywhere.  To
balance fact that weapons and defenses get better as the game goes on thanks to
enchantments, your base spell accuracy gets an additional 1 bonus every level
(including at level 1).  This means that at level 4, your spells have the
equivalent of a "fine" accuracy bonus, at level 8 an "exceptional" accuracy
bonus, etc.

Then, when you cast the spell, you get any special additional bonuses the spell
itself may provide.  The resulting accuracy number is what you see in the
tooltip when you hover over a spell.  Note that for purposes of this
calculation, I believe anything that doesn't rely on a weapon uses this spell
accuracy (so chanter invocations or paladin Sacred Immolation, but not ranger
Wounding Shot or fighter Knock Down).

Note that there are a special class of spells that have "hazard aoe" effects.
I'm not quite sure why they are treated differently from everything else;
the commonality appears to be that these are effects that don't do anything
until someone actively steps on it (like a trap) instead of an effect that just
ticks periodically (like Chill Fog or the priest Symbols).  So someone could run
in and out of a spell like Chill Fog without getting hit, whereas a person is
guaranteed to be hit by a seal or a wall as soon as they step foot in it.  In
addition, persistent hazard effects appear to trigger more frequently than
persistent aoe effects.  My theory is that this is an area of the game that was
supposed to be fleshed out more but was largely abandoned due to time and is
instead a curious historical artifact.

Anyway, the game erroneously lists the accuracy of these hazard effects in their
tooltips as _just_ the sum of your class's base accuracy, the standard 3/level
above 1, and any perception bonus/penalty.  In reality, the hazard effect
appears to correctly use your standard spellcasting base accuracy and adds a +15
bonus to it (even though hazard aoe spells don't list any bonus spell accuracy
in their descriptions). There aren't many hazard spells, but here they are:
    Chanter:  "Rime and Frost Followed the Footfalls of Karth" chant (but
        uses the accuracy of the person dropping the hazard, not the chanter)
    Druid:  Wall of Thorns
    Priest:  Repulsing Seal, Warding Seal, Searing Seal
    Wizard:  Wall of Fire, Wall of Force, Wall of Draining*, Wall of Many Colors
* Unlike other persistent hazard spells, Wall of Draining only triggers every
few seconds, instead of every second.

Note that in early versions of the game (up to about 1.05) hazard spells
erroneously benefitted from the mechanics skill.  This is no longer the case,
though you'll still find erroneous mentions of this synergy around the web
(including formerly in this guide, sorry!).

Spell mastery                                                          !spe,spe-

As of 3.0/White March II, instead of turning entire spell levels into
per-encounter use, spellcasters gain spell mastery.  This lets you choose a
spell (one per spell level up to the 4th spell level in White March II's level
cap) to be able to use once for free during an encounter.

There's an interesting quirk about spells cast through spell mastery.  If cast
outside of combat, and you remain out of combat after the spell resolves, the
spell will be _immediately restored_.  Normally resolving a spell outside of
combat that does not do anything to initiate combat is not terribly useful; but
this trick can be useful for spells that create a persistent aoe or aoe hazard.
In this way, you can cast a mastered spell before combat (possibly while in
stealth), have it immediately restored, then initiate combat some other way,
and be able to re-cast that spell again in combat.  A good example is one of
the priest's seals.  When spell-mastered, you can cast it once as a trap outside
of combat, initiate combat and lure enemies into it, and then use the restored
spell-mastered copy of the spell again.

As for picking spells to be spell-mastered, while this is generally
straightforward for most spellcasters (choose a spell you like to use a lot),
because the wizard has the grimoire mechanic there are a couple strategic
considerations for the wizard.

First, it may be worth selecting a spell that you don't actually use often but
is still useful.  This relieves you of the need to waste a grimoire slot on a
situationally useful spell, or alternatively storing the spell in a backup
grimoire and wasting time in combat to switch to it.  Some good examples:  one
of the deflection-boosting spells, Infuse with Vital Essence, or Arcane

Or, as a variation, if you are managing multiple grimoires, it might be worth
choosing valuable spells from your "main" grimoire.  That way, you can
completely change up the spells in secondary grimoires but still be assured that
you have access to a limited set of spells from your "main" selection.
Out of combat spells                                                   !spe,out-

Not all spells can be used outside of combat.  (Items definitely cannot.)
Specifically, self-buffs, summons, and ally-buffing spells cannot be used out of
combat.  Most purely debuffing spells can work, but charm/dominate effects 
cannot be used out of combat (anymore).  Hazard spells also cannot be used out
of combat, though priest seals are an exception.  The druid and cipher have
several other spells that are excluded for no rhyme or reason other than
balance, such as the druid's storm spells and the cipher's Time Parasite.  

As mentioned elsewhere, for per-encounter spells (i.e. spell mastered spells)
if you manage to cast a spell out of combat and stay out of combat, it is
immediately refreshed.


Path of the Damned                                                         !pat-
In addition to dramatically increasing the enemies you fight, Path of the Damned
modifies the stats of your enemies as follows:

    - accuracy increased by a variable amount, more for higher-level enemies
      (ranging from a ~10% increase to up to 40%)
    - deflection +11 to 13
    - all other defenses +15
    - endurance increased by a variable amount, more for enemies with
      higher endurance to start with (ranging from ~30% increase to up to 50%)

As you can see, not only are enemies much harder to hit, but they hit harder
(more hits and crits) and are much tougher.  Fampyrs, for example, have a
whopping 480 health on Path of the Damned whereas they normally have 326, almost
a 50% increase.

High-level Scaling                                                     !pat,hig-

With the introduction of White March I and II, it's possible to be over-leveled
for certain areas, depending on what order you do parts of the game.  If the
game detects this, you are given the option to turn on high-level scaling.

This scaling functions similarly to Path of the Damned, boosting enemy stats.
However, the scaling appears to be hard to predict.  From what I've seen, enemy
stats (accuracy, deflection, defenses) go up by a variable amount, from 8-30.
There's no seeming pattern; I've seen low-level Animats get closer to the top
end of that range, whereas high-level Spectres get barely anything.

While high-level scaling certainly makes the enemies a little beefier,
high-level scaling won't really make trivial fights less trivial.  Enemy
abilities, for example, don't get any more lethal, e.g. a low-damage Animat
lightning attack will still do a low damage, just a little more likely to hit.


Afflictions                                                                !aff-
What affliction should you use?  Well, if you want...

to sneak attack:
    blinded, flanked, hobbled, paralyzed, petrified, prone, stuck, stunned,
    unconscious, weakened

to reduce deflection:
    [best] blinded, charmed*, flanked, paralyzed, petrified, prone, stuck,
        stunned, unconscious
    [misc] dazed, distracted, frightened, sickened, terrified

to reduce fortitude:
    charmed*, distracted, sickened, weakened

to reduce reflex:
    [best] blinded, charmed*, hobbled, paralyzed, petrified, prone, stuck,
        stunned, unconscious
    [misc] dazed, distracted, frightened, sickened, terrified

to reduce will:
    [best] charmed*, sickened, weakened
    [misc] dazed, distracted, frightened, terrified

to break engagement:
    charmed, confused, distracted (not all foes), dominated, paralyzed,
        petrified, prone, stunned, unconscious

to slow the enemy's movement:
    [best] blinded, weakened
    [misc] hobbled

to reduce enemy accuracy:
    [best] blinded, charmed*, dazed, frightened, terrified
    [misc] stuck

* as of 3.0, charmed no longer breaks as soon as you attack a charmed foe, so
    charmed can these goals in a pinch.

As you can see, fortitude is the hardest defense to lower (a fact aggravated by
the fact that enemies tend to have a high fortitude across the board).  Reflex,
by contrast, is the easiest.  Not only are there many ways to do so, but all
these effects in aggregate are very common, especially blinded and hobbled.

What follows is a full listing of what each affliction does.  Afflictions can be
a bit confusing, since many of them are only slightly different from each other.
I'll list them here and also provide "net" effects (the total effects on stats).
Note that enemies cannot be reduced past 0 in a stat, so all these "net" effects
are "up to":  if an enemy doesn't have enough of a stat to be lowered, they'll
get less of an effect.

Blinded [allows sneak attack]
    raw:  -25 accuracy, -20 deflection/reflex, -4 perception, -2 move
    net:  -29 accuracy, -20 deflection, -28 reflex, -12 interrupt, -2 move
    (overrides flanked)

Charmed (breaks engagement)
    raw:  alliance flipped, -25 accuracy, -25 defenses, -.25 attack speed
    net:  (same)

Confused (breaks engagement)
    raw:  every 6 seconds, one of:  stand around, run away, attack ally, behave
    net:  (same)

    * Despite the in-game tooltip, I've never actually seen an enemy "behave
    normally" i.e. attack me.

    raw:  -10 accuracy, -2 dexterity/intellect/perception, -.15 attack speed
    net:  -12 accuracy, -6% action speed, -12% ability area, -10% ability
        duration, -6 interrupt, -8 reflex, -4 will, -.15 attack speed

Distracted (may break engagement)
    raw:  -6 all defenses, -1 to engagement limit
    net:  (same)

Dominated (breaks engagement)
    raw:  alliance flipped
    net:  (same)

Flanked [allows sneak attack]
    raw:  -10 deflection
    net:  (same)
    (overridden by blinded)

    raw:  -10 accuracy, -2 dexterity/resolve
    net:  -10 accuracy, -6% action speed, -6 concentration, -4 reflex, -4 will,
        -2 deflection
    (overridden by terrified)

Hobbled [allows sneak attack]
    raw:  -20 reflex, -1.5 move speed, -2 dexterity
    net:  -24 reflex, -6% action speed, -1.5 move speed

Paralyzed [allows sneak attack] (breaks engagement)
    raw:  no actions, -40 deflection/reflex, dexterity set to 0
    net:  no actions, -40 deflection/reflex, additional -2 reflex per dexterity

Petrified [allows sneak attack] (breaks engagement)
    raw:  no actions, -40 deflection/reflex, dexterity set to 0, x2 damage
    net:  no actions, -40 deflection/reflex, additional -2 reflex per dexterity
        lost, x2 damage taken

Prone [allows sneak attack] (breaks engagement)
    raw:  no actions, -10 deflection/reflex, -2 dexterity, even if duration is
        <1s character will spend at least that much time standing back up again 
    net:  no actions, -10 deflection, -14 reflex, even if duration is <1s
        character will spend at least that much time standing back up again

    raw:  -10 fortitude/will, -1 all stats
    net:  -3% damage/healing, -3% action speed, -3% endurance/health,
        -3 interrupt, -1 accuracy, -6% ability area of effect, -5% ability
        duration, -3 concentration, -14 fortitude, -4 reflex, -14 will,
        -1 deflection

Stuck [allows sneak attack]
    raw:  can't move, -5 accuracy, -20 deflection/reflex, -2 dexterity
    net:  can't move, -5 accuracy, -20 deflection, -24 reflect, -6% action speed

Stunned [allows sneak attack] (breaks engagement)
    raw:  no actions, -30 deflection/reflex, -4 dexterity/intellect/perception
    net:  no actions, -30 deflection, -46 reflex, -8 will

    raw:  -20 accuracy, -4 dexterity/resolve
    net:  -20 accuracy, -12% action speed, -12 concentration, -8 reflex, -8 will

    (overrides frightened)

Unconscious [allows sneak attack] (breaks engagement)
    raw:  no actions, -40 deflection/reflex, dexterity set to 0, even if
        duration is <1s character will spend at least that much time standing
        back up again
    raw:  no actions, -40 deflection/reflex, additional -2 reflex per dexterity
        lost, even if duration is <1s character will spend at least that much
        time standing back up again

Weakened [allows sneak attack]
    raw:  -20 fortitude/will, -2 might/constitution, -2 move speed
    net:  -28 fortitude, -20 will, -6% damage/healing, -6% health/endurance,
        -2 move speed


Stats                                                                      !sta-
    Most important for:  druids and spellcasters focused on damage or healing,
        weapon-lovers, and low to mid-level characters.

    Previous versions of this guide mentioned that might has diminishing
        returns.  That was wrong.  In general, might has linear returns, like
        dexterity.  That is, no matter how many points of might you already
        have, one more might will generally give you +3% damage relative to your
        baseline.  (This is almost tautologically true).
    Might's real strength (pun intended) is in two places:  busting through
        damage reduction and improving damage/healing spells.
    First, because of damage reduction, in practice a point of might may have
        super-linear returns.  In other words, a character with 10 might doing
        10 base damage against someone with 8 DR will do 2 damage.  However,
        with just 1 extra might that character will do 10.3 base damage (yes,
        fractional values are tracked) for a net 2.3 damage, a whopping 15%
        increase over before. So might plays a heavy important role in helping
        all weapon-wielders to punch through damage reduction.
    Plus, as mentioned in section com,dam-, might can also have an outsize
        impact on your damage by mitigating the impact of grazes.  Up against
        a tough high-deflection foe, a disproportionate amount of your attacks
        may be misses or grazes.  With a high might, those grazes will do much
        more damage through two related mechanisms:  one, you start off at a
        lower damage base (.5x instead of 1x) so a flat .03 increase is a larger
        percentage increase; two, this more dramatically boosts your ability
        to punch through enemy DRs on grazes.
    Note that because might is additive with every other damage bonus, it has
        the side effect that its effect gets generally weaker the further along
        the game you go.  That is, at level 1 when might is your only source
        of bonus damage, its effect is dramatic.  At the end of the game, when
        superb weapons become boring trash, might becomes just one source of
        many, so the overall impact is lessened.  This is actually not different
        from earlier D&D games; strength provided a similar static bonus, but
        one that didn't even scale to how much or little damage the base source
        did (almost negating the importance of your weapon choice for
        high-strength characters).  However, it's still worth noting since
        you might still be surprised by this since might lists its effect as a
        percentage.  Note that good sneak attackers start off with a lowered
        importance on might, since a consistent +.5 damage modifier mitigates
        the impact of might.
    Second, to underline the usefulness with spells, might is pretty much the
        only source of increasing (or decreasing) spell damage.  So it is
        virtually always heavily impactful.  Moreover, attacks with weapons are
        infinite, whereas spells are finite, so even though dexterity offers
        linear returns, you might care more about spellcasting _efficiency_
        rather than spellcasting speed.

    Most important for:  monk, tanks
    Can be dumped

    Constitution is important if you are planning on taking damage.  If you
        aren't, such as a gunner or a  caster who sits far back, then you can
        safely ignore constitution.  For my ranged characters, I personally
        don't give a second's thought about stealing a few points here.

    Most important for:  everyone

    Dexterity universally benefits everyone with linear returns.  Each point is
        a further 3% increase in your action speed.  Virtually everything
        you do is improved by a higher action speed.  In fact, point-for-point
        a 3% faster character may be better than a character who merely
        does 3% more for damage and healing, since that means less interruption
        chances or potentially being able to getting in a critical spell or
        attack before the enemy.  Though a similar caveat for spellcasters as
        mentioned above; spellcasters focused on damage or healing may prefer
        the "efficiency" of might more than the faster cast/recovery times.

    Most important for:  offensive characters

    Perception used to be a lame stat, but it has been buffed to provide an
        accuracy bonus (or penalty).  For any class that needs to regularly hit
        the enemy, perception is almost as good as dexterity.  On the other
        hand, classes focused more on party buffs and defense will benefit
    While perception does not offer linear returns like dexterity, high
        perception will offer increasing chance for critical hits, which is
        particularly powerful for duration-based effects.

    Most important for:  casters, barbarians
    Can be dumped by tanks

    Casters benefit here.  Chanters, ciphers, druids, priests, and wizards
        really need all the area of effect and duration they can get.  But other
        characters also have core abilities that rely on duration or area.  For
        example, a monk's Torment's Reach or Swift Strikes benefit from
        intellect, as does a paladin's aura.  However, most notable is the
        barbarian's Carnage which gets a larger area of effect from intellect.
    Fighters and other characters who plan on mostly just soaking up damage
        can safely dump this stat. 

    Most important for:  tanks (kinda)
    Can be dumped

    Can be kind of a loser stat.  You get deflection and you are also slightly
        harder to interrupt.  For tanks who are expected to get a lot of
        attention, both can be useful.  It might even be critical, since having
        an enemy interrupt your tank drinking a potion can ruin your day.  But
        for most other characters the effect is fairly marginal.
    From a role-playing perspective, resolve functions as a sort of "speech"
        skill, so for your main character it's worth putting points into resolve
        if you want to unlock some alternate dialogue options and endings.


Skills                                                                     !ski-
    Reduces how quickly enemies can spot you from stealth.
    Pillars of Eternity is not a stealth game like Dishonored.  Only with
        extremely high stealth skill levels and a dumb enemy will you be able to
        sneak right up to them for an attack.  Instead, Stealth in Pillars of
        Eternity is used for tactical purposes:  scouting out the enemy, getting
        into position, or keeping a few party members in stealth as combat
        begins so they can get in some first strikes unmolested.
    Stealth is by far most important for a rogue focused on backstab, and may
        be only marginally useful for anyone else.  On lower difficulties or
        when trying to solo, there may be opportunities to sneak past fights
        with a sufficiently good stealth, but speaking from a perspective
        focused on path of the damned, party-based play, this usecase is
    There is a case where stealth is useful for sneaking up to enemies and using
        spells/abilities before combat begins.  Only some spells/abilities can
        be used outside of combat, and of those some of them have long enough
        range where you don't need to worry about stealthing up to an enemy.
        The rest, however, can be used tactically with stealth.  For example,
        opening up with a powerful area of effect spell or crowd control spell
        before the fight has even begun can give you an insurmountable

    Frequently used in dialogue/scripted event checks.  Having at least one
        point also unlocks Second Wind, which heals 20 + athletics * 5 endurance
        once per encounter (boosted by might).
    For those curious for history, before 3.0 athletics used to instead give you
        significant protection against combat fatigue and general protection
        against fatigue, but very lopsidedly.  One or two points would all but
        eliminate combat fatigue accumulation, which made it a no-brainer for
        literally all character types to get atleast 2 athletics.  As of 3.0
        fatigue mechanics have been significantly reduced in importance (now
        limited to scripted events or accumulating from knockouts).
    The benefit to athletics is that the heal you get is super fast (read: hard
        to interrupt) and can be substantial.  You get significantly diminishing
        returns for your skill points, though:  the difference between 10 and 11
        athletics is still only a 5 base healing, but a huge number of skill
    Tanks may benefit significantly in tossing almost everything here anyway to
        extract every last healing point.   Other characters prone to getting
        hit may desire just to invest a modest amount and then stop.

    Frequently used in dialogue checks.  You can also cast spells from scrolls
        of level equal to or less than half your current lore.
    Despite the fact that the game generally leans towards giving casters higher
        lore (both in terms of starting skills and also a character like Aloth),
        non-casters benefit the most from having lore.  Spellcasters already
        have lots of spells, so they may not benefit much from investing a lot
        of skill points in lore.  Meanwhile, characters like chanters or rangers
        can surprise everyone and become situtionally powerful casters when
        provided with the right scrolls.  That being said, even casters can
        benefit from scrolls if you load them up with ones that covers something
        that they can't do normally, i.e. loading up a mage with defensive
        spells or a priest with offensive spells.
    If you're the type of person who might want to avoid picking up a priest,
        then having two characters with high lore is _strongly_ recommended so
        that you can cast the various "Prayer against" defense spells.  It is
        hard to understate just how much easier your life is when you can grant
        party immunity to all sorts of different effects.  The second character
        is both for redundancy but also for simultaneous casting (in a battle
        involving ogre druids and menpwgra you might want to start off with both
        a Prayer against Infirmity and a Prayer against Restraint).

    Used to detect traps, pick locks, and provides a +3 accuracy bonus/level
        to set traps.
    If you mainly just want to detect traps and pick locks, you only need one
        character to invest in mechanics.  However if you want to make heavy
        use of traps, then having a bunch of characters invest in mechanics
        can be very useful.  Do note that, as mentioned in section tra,acc-,
        that set traps get _double_ their trap modifier, which generally
        means 2x the listed penalty.  As a result, for traps with a penalty
        greater than -10, you need almost an infeasibly high mechanics to have a
        decent chance of hitting/critting, even considering that traps use the
        hazard accuracy formula and have an innate +15 bonus to accuracy
    However, you can get good mileage with a decent mechanics and either White
        March traps and some of the better low-level traps, like Fan of Flames.
        With a high mechanics (10 or more) and maybe some help from the Coil of
        Resourcefulness you can even get some mileage out of the -15 to -25
        penalty traps.

    Used in some dialogue checks.  Depending on your survival skill, when
        resting with campfire supplies, you can choose one of up to six effects:

        Effect                  Amount (Skill required)
        Damage reduction        +1   (1), +2   (7),  +3   (13), +4   (19)
        Healing received        +20% (2), +40% (8),  +60% (14), +80% (20)
        Movement speed          +1   (3), +2   (9),  +3   (15), +4   (21)
        Accuracy v [type]       +10  (4), +15  (10), +20  (16), +25  (22)
        Consumable Duration     +20% (5), +40% (11), +60% (17)
        Damage v Flanked        +10% (6), +20% (12), +30% (18)
        To get up to 22 survival, you need to spend all skill points on survival
        on a class/background combination to start with 3 (ranger or druid),
        then equip one of three items that provides +2 survival, have one of
        either Skaen or Rymrgand's Boon, then rest at Caed Nua with the +3
        survival bonus.
    You should invest in survival only as much as you need to unlock the effect
        you want.  Dedicated investment can unlock some very powerful effects,
        encouraging opportunistic camping when possible to stack survival
        effects like bonus accuracy or flanking damage on top of resting
        bonuses.  Hard/Path of the Damned's limit of only 2 camping supplies
        may limit the power of survival, but I personally find that burning up
        a camping supply as soon as I enter an area to set my survival bonuses
        along with resting bonuses does not have any negative impact.  (Your
        mileage may vary based on your relative skill with the game.)
    Note that "consumable" includes more than just food and drugs.  Potions with
        durations also have their effects increased.  This can be an extremely
        powerful effect, not only making potions of regeneration more effective
        at healing, but also making short-term buffs more powerful.
    As a historical note, pre-3.0 survival used to just increase the duration of
        consumables by 5% per skill point.  This implementation is much more


Talents?!                                                                  !tal-
Basically just going to cover some talents of particular note.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Cross-class talents used to largely be per-rest (if they weren't passive), which
made them fairly weak.  They've been rebalanced (as of 3.0) to be per-encounter,
so in addition to the ones I call out below, they're all pretty viable and can
lead to some interesting secondary abilities.

Apprentice's Sneak Attack
    Probably the better cross-class talent in any reasonable mixed party.  It
        should be reasonably easy to apply sneak attack-enabling debuff,
        at which point this is a straight-up passive 15% damage bonus for your
    Note that this sneak attack damage stacks additively with any other source
        of sneak attack.  A priest of Skaen can get a 20% sneak attack.  There
        are some "fake" sneak attack bonuses where you get a damage bonus
        against flanked (tier 6 survival bonus most commonly) or against
        flanked/stunned/prone enemies (the "vicious" special weapon
        enchantment); this also stacks additively with them.

Veteran's Recovery
    Great for non-fighters who want to take on a tanking role.  Monks in
        particular will like this.  Chanters who take on a more rough-and-tumble
        role will also like this on top of their chant-based regeneration.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Weapon Focus: [whatever]
    Basically everyone other than maybe a wizard should get this.  Especially on
        Path of the Damned you need all the accuracy you can get away with.
    Note that as of 2.0/White March, there are weapons that have a "universal"
        weapon type.  This includes all weapons summoned from spells and all
        soulbound weapons.  Weapons that are "universal" will benefit from _any_
        Weapon Focus talent, so long as you at least have one (though multiples
        do not stack).  So if you're planning on using a summoned weapon a lot
        or a particular soulbound weapon, don't fret trying to match it with a
        Weapon Focus and instead just choose a Weapon Focus for normal usage.

Interrupting Blows
    Interrupt benefits from increasing returns.  So don't pick up this
        talent if the character making use of this has low perception.  However,
        on a characer with high perception, this can make interrupts quite
    This may be best on a caster or someone who is going to hit a bunch
        of enemies at once, repeatedly.  That can mean more chances to

Penetrating Shot
    What might not be obvious is that the ranged DR bypass also applies to
        spell-like abilities (at the cost of recovery time).  It might not
        actually be worth the extra -20% penalty to recovery time for an extra 5
        damage for most spells, but for spells that hit repeatedly for small
        amounts (like beam spells or area of effect hazards) this can
        dramatically boost a spell's net damage.
    You might seriously want to consider this for everyone who uses ranged
        attacks regularly, as most enemies have some kind of DR.  Slower weapons
        will benefit less since they already do so much damage that getting an
        extra 5 may not be worth the -20% penalty to recovery time.
    The upshot is that you have to make sure the extra 5 damage per attack
        exceeds the 20% increased recovery speed (this will generally be true
        for most cases).

Dangerous Implement
    The extra 25% will make implements better than non-Gunner reloading weapons,
        at the cost of health per strike.  Make sure you only activate this when
        your health is high and only get this on characters who don't plan on
        getting hit much.
    Do note that three generated weapons (Rot Skulls, Kalakoth's Minor Blights,
        and Llengrath's Blunt Wisdom) are implements and appear to fully benefit
        from this effect, making them extremely powerful.
    If you do want the extra damage, don't be too worried about the health loss.
        Treat health as another resource; in a properly managed party, your
        non-melee characters will only ever rarely take enemy damage so this
        lets you arbitrage that "unused" health into extra damage.

    A 1.2x reload speed can be a significant increase in your attack rate with
        reloading weapons.  Anyone planning on using reloading weapons regularly
        should get this.

Beast Slayer/Sanctifier (Wilder Hunter in White March I/II)
    Of all the talents that target specific enemy types, these two are the most
        useful.  Beasts cover a wide array of enemies, including the problematic
        Elder Lion, Elder Wolf, drakes and dragons of all sorts, and the Crystal
        Eater spider.
    Vessels cover similarly problematic enemies:  Dargul, Adra Animat, Death
        Guard, and Fampyr.  Even more so in White March I/II (Algul, Ancient
        Death Guard, summoned/animated weapons, various Battery Guards, not to
        mention the Eyeless).
    The Ghost Hunter talent may appear to be useful since spirits of all sorts
        are the bane of your early game (Phantom, Spectre, Shade, and Cean Gwla
        as well as flame blights of various kinds), but eventually by mid-level
        you should have no problem dealing with these guys.  By contrast, even
        higher level parties will struggle with Crystal Eater spiders, dragons,
        Fampyrs, and swarms of Darguls.
    As of White March I/II, there are a _lot_ of dangerous wilder-types (e.g.
        lagufeths, all the ogres, vithracks, high-level xaurips, etc.), so you
        could consider getting Wilder Hunter as well (getting it early would
        also give you an early boost against Xaurip Skirmisher, Champion, and
        Priests).  However, a caveat is that the effectiveness is limited
        essentially to a single region outside of the main questline; in other
        words, an area that is completely skippable.  Note too that if you don't
        want too much of a challenge in the White March, you could also just
        wait to do the White March at a high level and just skip the "high
        level" upscaling mode.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Cautious Attack
    Useful to give anyone a needed deflection boost since there are only so many
        deflection items to go around.

Superior Deflection/Bear's Fortitude/Snake's Reflexes/Bull's Will
    Because of the importance of stacking defenses (see section com,imp-), if
        you're thinking about one of these, it's more cost-effective to boost
        a strong defense than try to recover a weak defense.  It's
        counter-intuitive, yes, but you'll get more mileage that way.  Also
        instead of these consider one of the talents that offers protection
        agaist a specific attack type, which can benefit any defense.

Hold the Line
    While fighters with Defender are the best tanks, barbarians, monks,
        paladins, and chanters make suitable secondary tanks with this talent.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Fast Runner
    The staple of any attempt at a solo run (especially triple crown solo, I can
        tell you that from personal experience).  Even outside of a solo run,
        this is useful for any character who needs to be mobile for optimal

Fast Switch
    Good for a wizard juggling grimoires.  Even better if you want to juggle
        slow weapons:  if you switch weapons right after an attack phase and
        before the recovery phase kicks in (indicated by a full yellow bar in
        the character's combat tooltip) your character uses the weapon switch
        delay instead of the recovery frames.
    Ordinarily this is not too great; the weapon switch delay is 2 seconds by
        default and unmodified by attack/recovery speed adjustments.  With Fast
        Switch this delay shrinks to .5s, a fraction of normal recovery phases.
        You could fire with a reloading weapon, switch to a second and fire
        again with only a .5s pause in-between instead of a full recovery and
        reload phase.
    This tactic works best with an Island Aumaua since they have an extra weapon
        set.  You could have two reloading weapons to start off a fight with and
        then a third melee or ranged weapon to settle on for the rest of the
        fight.  In some cases, this rapid switch at the start of a fight can be
        enough to kill off a weaker foe.
    Ciphers also benefit disproportionately from doing this kind of trick; this
        burst of damage can give them a decisive surge in focus.
    Note that as of White March there is an item that can further reduce your
        weapon switch time to 0s, allowing micromanagers to remove any recovery
        time from a character.

Arms Bearer
    Gives you an extra weapon set.  Generally not useful except when coupled
        with Fast Switch to quickly plow through reloading weapons at the start
        of a fight.

Scion of Flame/Secrets of Rime/Spirit of Decay/Heart of the Storm
    These all function like their Icewind Dale II equivalents, which give you
        resistance to the element type and a respective 20% damage bonus.  You
        don't need to have a lot of sources of the damage type to benefit, just
        at least one you use a lot.  So a wizard who uses Chill Fog a lot will
        love Secrets of Rime, even if they have a bunch of other non-freeze
        spells they also use.
    Like in Icewind Dale II, these also boost random other sources of damage
        your character does, like the Lash enchantments.


Races                                                                      !rac-
Your characters' race is probably the second most important decision after your
class.  This is because you can respec custom-created characters to change your
talents, and even your stats (though not for premade NPCs), but you can never
change your class or your race.

Fortunately, your race isn't as monumental a decision as your class, but it
behooves paying attention to.  (Nitpick:  in this and most other fantastic RPGs,
they really are "species", not "races."  The fact that in other RPGs you 
occasionally get half-elves or half-dwarves is sort of like how you can mate
a horse and donkey.  What I'm saying is, kids, in real life the difference
between races is arbitrary and pretty much boils down to what skin colors
someone once decided was "different enough," whereas in fantasy designers like
to make all sorts of hard distinctions between races.)

All races come with a net +2 stat bonus.  Because you can adjust your stats 
freely later, this is only relevant if a stat bonus or penalty allows you to
or prevents you from getting an above-normal or below-normal score in a desired

Where significant differentiation occurs is in the racial bonus.

    Bonus:  All humans have the same racial bonus. Once per encounter, when
their endurance drops to or below 50%, for 20s they get a +7 Accuracy and +15%
damage buff.  Unlike all similar 50% endurance racial bonuses, it is important
to underline that this buff is _temporary_, not persistent as long as your
character is at or under 50% endurance (though duration is buffed by intellect).
In addition, this buff only triggers once per encounter.
    The temporary nature of this buff _does_ mean that if you go below 50% and
immediately heal above it, you get to keep the buff until it wears off, whereas
other similar buffs immediately disappear.  There is a slight delay before it
kicks in, and there is no portrait icon, so it might not be obvious when it
    All that being said, the buff effect is fairly powerful for any offensive 
classes, and is probably most powerful for a class like the monk, barbarian, or
even a frontline druid or wizard.  Basically any class that either is a damage
sink or can burst damage to take advantage of the temporary buff.  Because of 
the lack of a portrait icon it can be kind of hard to do the latter, though.

    Bonus:  +20 defense against prone/stun.
    Great all-around bonus for a tank, as prone and stun are fairly common and
prevent your tank from, well, tanking.  Notably though, the stun defense is
pretty important since there are so few ways to protect yourself against stun.
However, for non-tanks this is more situational, since even if you get stunned
it's not necessarily as bad and there are other racial bonuses that are less

    Bonus:  bonus weapon set.
    Only Island Aumauas can get a total of four weapon sets with the Arms Bearer
talent.  Though honestly, bonus weapons sets are pretty esoteric; even with
enemies with damage immunities so long as both your two basic weapon sets
aren't populated with the same damage type, you'll be fine.
    That being said, there is a good situational use for multiple weapon sets.
With reloading weapons, switching right after an attack will substitute your
weapon switch delay for your recovery.  Even this alone means you can speed up
your initial attack rate, since you can swap through several reloading weapons.
With Quick Switch, your weapon switch delay goes down to .5 seconds.  That means
Island Aumauas, more than other races, can do some burst damage at the start of
a fight with a fierce reloading weapon.  They can even have a spare melee weapon
to settle into as backup.

    Bonus:  +15 accuracy against wilder and primordial.
    In the base game, this is a situational bonus.  Wilders do exist, but most
of them won't post a threat to you after a few levels.  More dangerous
primordials exist (Adragans notably), but are fairly infrequent, especially
outside of the Endless Paths of Caed Nua.
    With the expansions, however, there are plenty of wilders, dangerous ones:
lots of lagufeths, ogres, and vithracks.  What was a situational bonus instead
becomes one of the best racials you can get for an offensive character.  For
extra wilder hate, stack on the Wilder Hunter talent.

    Bonus:  +20 defense vs poison and disease.
    Poison and disease are a little more common than you think, being a subtype
of other attacks.  In the expansions, all those annoying lagufeth paralyzes are
also poison so getting a bonus defense against that makes this a bit less
situational.  Still not exactly world-beating, but not bad.

    Bonus:  +10 damage reduction against burn and freeze.
    Makes you pretty hardy against some of the more common elemental damage
types.  Nothing much to say here.

    Bonus:  +5 to accuracy, deflection, and reflex against foes 5m or more
    Extremely powerful effect for casters and ranged attackers for that extra
accuracy.  Also a powerful effect for characters who occasionally moonlight
with a ranged ability while meleeing.  Still powerful for anyone else, because
the bonus defense against ranged foes makes you more resilient against ranged
attacks and spells.  In short, this ability is almost universally good and is
clearly one of the top-tier racial bonuses.

    Bonus:  +10% hit to crit when attacking an enemy targeted by an ally.
    In many parts of the early to mid game on Path of the Damned, enemy defenses
are such that this ability (called Minor Threat) is going to be the only way you
can crit.  So needless to say, very powerful, and fairly unconditional.  In the
neutral case this means that you crit 5% of the time, equal to a normal D&D
critical hit.  In cases where enemy defenses is higher, your crit chance shrinks
(e.g. if you only have a 30% chance to hit, then your crit chance is 3%), but
some crit is better than no crit.  The upshot is that while this ability is
certainly useful, don't think you'll suddenly be able to take on fights you
otherwise couldn't.

    Bonus:  +10 to defenses for several seconds after being targeted by a will
    By far the most powerful application of this ability is in any fight
involving a fear or terror aura.  Both effects target will, and by being a
persistent aura, your orlan essentially permanently has +10 to deflection and
other defenses for the fight.  Absolutely top-tier ability for soloing the game.
Particularly because some of the hardest fights involve a fear/terror aura (all
dragons, Caen Gwlas, and death knights have such auras).
    In a mixed party, you can still get mileage out of this ability even outside
of fear/terror aura fights, but it's best used on a fairly tanky character who
will be subjected to follow-up attacks after the will attack.  Back-of-the-line
characters may not be hit with a follow-up attack before the buff wears off,
wasting the effect.
    Note that this effect triggers even if the will attack misses or if you had
immunity to it.

    Special:  no godlike can wear helmets.  This is the price you pay for racial
bonuses that are a cut above some of the others (though interestingly, not
necessarily as top-tier as the Wood Elf or Wild Orlan).

    Bonus:  +20% damage bonus against enemies at 25% or lower endurance.
    Helps you finish off foes, of great use for offensive characters but closer
to useless for defensive characters and even tanks (who will focus more on
hardiness than punishment).

    Bonus:  +4 DR and retaliate melee with 2 burn vs deflection when <=50%
    Can be a very, very significant defensive boost, very well-suited for tanks
and really anyone who may be on the front lines taking a lot of damage.  The
burn retaliation damage is so low as to barely register, but can still trigger
interrupts.  Overall a top-tier selection for any front-line character.
    Note that unlike the human bonus, this lasts whenever and as long as you
are at or under 50% endurance; there is no duration or per-encounter limit.

    Bonus:  +3 might, +2 constitution, +2 dexterity when <= 50% endurance.
    A decent bonus, useful for virtually anyone who might take some damage.
Even for healers, as the might bonus will make your attempts at healing back
from <=50% endurance that much more effective.  The effects are a bit more
subtle than the fire godlike or a human, but you can't go wrong with this.
    Note that unlike the human bonus, this lasts whenever and as long as you
are at or under 50% endurance; there is no duration or per-encounter limit.

    Bonus:  at 75%, 50%, and 25% endurance once/encounter each, you emit a heal
area that heals all party members (including yourself) for an amount that scales
with your level, starting at 10 at level 1 and maxing out at 40 at level 12.
    _Amazing_ bonus.  This can be enough to keep your party in very good spirits
throughout the vast majority of fights when set up on a frontline character. 
Even on characters who stay in the back, stray hits will cause party-wide
healing.  Easily top-tier for any group situation.  Note that this healing is
boosted (and penalized) by might.  The range on the healing wave is _massive_,
hitting party members almost regardless of where they are in the fight.
    Note:  I previously mentioned that this healing does not affect yourself.
In actuality, it does.  The issue is that the heal to the moon godlike doesn't
appear in the combat log, whereas the area healing to allies does ("Silver
Tide"), which makes it seem like your godlike is excluded from the healing.


Quickie on classes                                                         !qui-
The most important thing to note here is that aside from every other difference,
character classes are tiered into different levels of starting accuracy and
deflection (health and endurance, too, but that's less important for now).

Why is this a big deal?  Well, first of all, most ways to increase accuracy and
deflection are equally available to _all_ characters.  In addition, every time
you level up, you always gain 3 accuracy _and_ deflection, so the net effect of
a level is that you just gain parity with other characters at that level.

That means that any character that possesses an innately higher starting
accuracy or deflection (or possesses character-specific ways to help boost them
innately) has a powerful advantage.

What's also interesting about how the classes are designed is that classes
themselves do not necessarily fall into convenient tiers of accuracy and
deflection based on their traditional RPG role; in fact, there's a bit of a mix
across tiers, yielding some interesting results (notably for the Chanter).

Refer to the below reference table:

    (Tier:)                 Bad!    Low     Med     High    Wow!
    Starting Accuracy               20      25      30      35
    Starting Deflection     10      15      20      25      30

    Class [see note]        Accuracy    Deflection      Spell accuracy*
    Barbarian               Med         Low
    Chanter [1]             Med         High            Med
    Cipher [2]              Med         Med             High/Wow!
    Druid [3]               Low         Med             High
    Fighter                 High        Wow!
    Monk                    High        High
    Paladin                 Med         High
    Priest [2]              Low         Low             High/Wow!
    Ranger                  High        Med
    Rogue  [4]              High        Low
    Wizard [5]              Low         Bad!            High

    * Spell accuracy is what you would generally experience from making heavy
    use of a character's spell-like abilities (which generally feature some sort
    of innate accuracy bonus).  There will sometimes be variation amongst
    spell-likes, but this is what you should generally expect.

Of note is that the low accuracy caster classes _generally_ feature an innate
+10 accuracy bonus on all their spells to bring their spell accuracy up to par
with a fighter (High accuracy); there are some exceptions.  In this way the game
is able to make these classes good at spells but underwhelming at traditional

[1] Chanters are basically the bard class of Pillars of Eternity, except they're
actually better than standard implementations of bard classes.  They have
comparable accuracy to other classes expected to melee (Barbarian, Paladin,
possibly Cipher), a high deflection, and best of all their main ability
(chanting) is completely disconnected from attack/recovery frames.  So you could
just load up on the heaviest armor and basically be a full-on tank for everyone
else.  However, even though their invocations are spell-like, none of them
feature any innate accuracy bonuses, so their net spell accuracy will not be
on-par with actual spell casters.

[2] Ciphers are interesting because they are very caster-like but have a higher
standard accuracy than actual casters.  Unlike chanters (who also have a decent
base accuracy), ciphers also still feature innate accuracy bonuses to their
spell-like powers, a fact that bumps them up to higher spell accuracy.  But
unlike other casters whose innate spell accuracy bonuses serve to just bump them
up to Fighter-level, Ciphers actually possess a collection of powers that gives
them a full +10 bonus on top of their already higher standard accuracy, which
gives them a selection of the most accurate spell-like abilities in the game.
Similarly, priests have nominally low accuracy, but feature many spells who have
an innate +15 bonus, which also puts their spells among the most accurate in the

[3] Druids have a higher deflection than would be expected for a class that
eventually spends all their time casting spells, but this works with the fact
that shapeshfiting involves getting up close and personal.

[4] With high accuracy and low deflection, Rogues are a real glass cannon.  Even
a wizard has more survivability thanks to spells.  In fact, because a rogue is
probably going to give up a shield in favor of dual-wielding or wielding a
two-handed weapon, it makes it even _more_ likely that your deflection will be
at stunningly low levels, making you ripe for enemy critical attacks
(especially on Path of the Damned).  At least a wizard can equip a superb small
shield for +14 deflection and still stay back to cast spells at full power.

[5] Wizards have uniquely bad deflection; they are literally on a tier of their
own.  They sort of make up for this by being the only caster class with many
self-buffs devoted to surviability.

Less important for our purposes, classes also fall into tiers of endurance and

    (Tier:)                 Low         Med         High
    Endurance +per level    36 +12x     42 +14x     48 +16x
    Health multiplier       x4          x5          x6

    Class                   Endurance   Health
    Barbarian               High        High
    Chanter                 Low         Low
    Cipher                  Low         Low
    Druid                   Low         Low
    Fighter                 Med         Med
    Monk                    Med         High
    Paladin                 Med         Med
    Priest                  Low         Low
    Ranger                  Low         Med
    Rogue                   Low         Low
    Wizard                  Low         Low

Note that health doesn't really matter for most battles, it merely acts as a
constraint over multiple fights.  Characters with low health multipliers will
not be able to repeatedly take much damage before needing to rest (or risk
maiming/death).  Notably, the monk and ranger are in a health multiplier tier
higher than their endurance tier, which suggests they are expected to take more
damage than other classes in their endurance tier.


More on classes                                                            !mor-
Barbarian                                                              !mor,bar-

The barbarian has gotten a bit of love and is now a pretty solid class,
regardless of difficulty.  The individual abilities you can pick up on level are
still mostly underwhelming (save for a few standout exceptions, see below); the
bulk of the barbarian's potential comes from Carnage, even if it does come with
a -10 accuracy penalty by default.

As for the questionable barbarian abilities... where to start.  Brute Force is
only minimally helpful (ask yourself how often a foe has lower fortitude than
deflection).  Bloodlust is not likely to trigger; unless you have an unbalanced
party how often is the barbarian going to be the finisher of two foes early on
in the fight?  Blood Thirst can be somewhat useful, but only if you're using
two-handed weapons:  neverminding the infrequency of the barbarian being the
finisher, a waived recovery is only going to matter when that recovery is super
slow, in other words NOT when the barbarian is dual-wielding or brandishing a
one-handed weapon.

That being said, some improvements that the barbarian has gained:  Barbaric Blow
is now per-encounter.  Moreover, a lot of changes as of 3.03:
    - Heart of Fury is also per-encounter.
    - One Stands Alone now grants its melee damage bonus to the barbarian if two
      foes are merely *adjacent* to the barbarian, not in engagement to the
    - Echoing Shout [White March II only] is foe-only.
    - Thick-skinned provides 3 DR, not 2.

In addition, there are still a couple of core abilities that are fantastic.
Frenzy is a solid dps boost.  Dragon Leap is a great way to position your
barbarian against squishy foes (think wizards and priests), enabling your party
to take these dangerous support characters out before they can snowball out of

Moreover, the barbarian has a truly astronomical amount of endurance and
health, being literally on a tier on its own.  Coupled with Savage/Stalwart
Defiance, the barbarian has pretty good durability.  If you want to take a
barbarian out for a spin, I recommend at least using dual-wielding or
single-wielding: if you're going to have a really inaccurate area of effect
attack, you can at least give yourself a lot of chances at it or give yourself a
higher accuracy bonus.

Chanter                                                                !mor,cha-

As mentioned in the quickie guide, a chanter is a very interesting class.  In
many other RPG implementations of a bard, you end up with a class who is
generally kind of mediocre at everything.  Notably, in Advanced Dungeons &
Dragons (via Baldur's Gate I and Icewind Dale I), bards had the "benefit" of
being able to equip chainmail armor and be proficient with any weapon, as if
that was good enough to make them viable for combat.  Spoiler alert:  it wasn't.
(Fortunately, the existence of wands made bards useful until they could cast
more spells, i.e. became more wizard-like.)

The chanter in Pillars is much more capable, and to re-cap the quickie guide
it's due to two things:
    1.  An accuracy and deflection on par with characters actually expected to
        go toe-to-toe.
    2.  The chant ability being completely unaffected by attack/recovery speed

For point 2, while a chanter's health/endurance are caster-tier (36 + 12/level,
x4 health), being able to equip the heaviest of armors with little impact on the
chanter's main ability helps mitigate this squishines.  Not to mention that the
chanter has an upgradeable talent that adds a fighter-like regeneration to all
that chanting (for the entire party, to boot).

Also, the chanter lacks many class-specific talents.  This sounds like a
weakness, but is actually a strength because this means that much of the
chanter's power comes built-in.  This therefore leaves you a lot of flexibility
to customize your chanter based on the common pool of talents.

For example, if you want your chanter to tank you can pick up Weapon and Shield
Style, Cautious Attack, and Superior Deflection and rack up a pretty high
deflection.  Or if you want to do some burst damage you can get Arms Bearer,
Fast Switch, and Gunner and start off every fight with a blitzkrieg of

Note that in more recent versions of the game, intellect actually also lengthens
the linger duration of all chants.  Combined with Brisk Recitation, this means
that you could have more than two chants overlapping, and in fact most of the
chant effects will come from the linger, rather than the direct singing.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The problem with high-level chanters

Chanters are great versatile additions to a party, but suffer from a curious
problem:  the more powerful your party, the less impact a chanter has.  This is
because higher-level chants take longer to sing and higher-level invocations
take more sung chants to use.  Both of these implies that you need a long fight
to really take advantage of the chanter's high-level stuff.  This is in stark
contrast to the _actual_ trend of combat with a high-level party, in which they
are decided fairly quickly.

Notably, however, as of 3.0, Obsidian has mitigated this by adding a feature to
a moderate level chanter that reduces the actual "incantation" time the chanter
spends on any given chant, cutting away up to 50% of the total duration (starts
with -10% chant duration at level 4 and goes down by additional -10% increment
every three levels).  You'll still need to make a choice between whether wanting
high-level invocations or high-level chants for fights late in the game, but now
you'll actually be able to get more than a few level 3+ chants and build up to a
decent invocation in even moderate fights.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A word on chants

As you go about creating your own custom chant sequences, one thing you need
to keep in mind is that while chants are nice, invocations are good.  Really
good.  Like, even level 1 invocations in the late game can be tide-turning-ly
good.  And so while loading up a chant with high-level chants might be nice,
it'll mean that it'll take a _very_ long time to build up enough chants to use
an invocation.

What I'm saying is you really should mix in some level 1 chants.  It'll lower
the average time of each chant in your sequence, and thanks to the linger effect
of each higher-level chant, you won't really miss that much.  And you'll notice
the difference when you're actually able to use an invocation before the battle
is completely over.

Note that as of 2.0/White March, you can no longer "cheese" the chant system by
forcefully changing the songs shortly after triggering the first song's buff;
selecting a chant (or starting combat) now forces a lengthy cooldown on all your

Note, too, that an odd interaction with chants is that they benefit from the
+12 accuracy bonus of using a one-handed weapon on its own, despite using spell
accuracy.  (All of this only applies to offensive chants; defensive chants
obviously do not need accuracy.)  This does not apply to invocations, so chants
just live in some weird world where they are weapon-based, but do not actually
trigger off an attack so weapon-specific accuracy bonuses (like from fine
enchantments or inherent rapier bonuses) do not apply, just the generic
one-handed accuracy bonus.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Healing power!

A chanter can get two talents:  Ancient Memory and then Beloved Spirits.  The
first provides a periodic, small heal every few seconds to anyone listening to
the singing, and the latter boosts the effect of the former.  On its own, it's
a nice subtle boost in combat, but nothing to write home about.

However, with two or more chanters with both talents picked, the healing effect
can be dramatic.  The periodic small heals becomes periodic chunky heals, and
can keep your party perpetually topped up in many cases.  You'll still need to
deal with bursts of damage in other ways (heavy hits from ogres or enemy spell
casters for example), but otherwise this can obviate the need for most forms
of healing.

One of the last bounties in White March II even abuses this against you:  the
deadfire pirates have three chanters, all specced out with the healing talents.
This means your party ends up needing to do a significant amount of damage
quickly and/or having to take out the chanters first.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Chant/invocation highlights

But Reny Daret's Ghost, He Would Not Rest (level 1 invocation)
    A really solid early-mid game summon.  This phantom can stun with each hit
        and gets sneak attack bonuses, to boot.  Even late game you can send in
        a phantom to some otherwise occupied foe and basically stun-lock them.

Thrice Was She Wronged, and Thrice Justly Avenged (level 1 invocation)
    It's implied in the description but not totally clear in the ability
        summary, but this strikes _three_ times for the listed damage.  So
        against enemies with low armor or low shock armor, this can do a
        decent amount of damage.

White Worms Writhed in the Bellies of the Dead (level 1 invocation)
    Did you ever play Diablo II?  If so, do you remember what Corpse Explosion
        was like?  Because this is Corpse Explosion for Pillars of Eternity.
    The targetting is janky and the description unclear, but basically what
        happens is that any corpse in the area of effect _explodes_ in a base
        2m area of effect, doing decent crush damage to any foe nearby.
        Might not sound too great, but by the time you have 3 chants down, you
        could have a lot of corpses around.  Even if the corpses belonged to
        easy Xaurips, they'll still explode for full damage.  You can instantly
        end fights by exploding a bunch of corpses for numerous blasts of ~25
        crush damage.
    The best part is that unlike Diablo II's Corpse Explosion, the corpses are
        still useable for successive invocations, so for long-running fights
        (or if you keep pulling enemies back to the same pile), you can have a
        snowball effect where each successive invocation does dramatically more
    Do note that some enemies do not leave corpses behind, like spirits or
        blights.  Also, there are some quirks with targetting.  First, for some
        reason, the nearest enemy will be highlighted red always; ignore it,
        it's irrelevant.  Second, _most_ of the time what corpses will be
        detonated will be highlighted in red, but this doesn't always happen.
        Third, for some reason, you can't actually try to use this ability while
        your character is in motion (even while the game is paused), even though
        other invocations can be targetted.  Press your key to cancel action
        (default: 'x') and then you should be able to target.

Sure-Handed Ila Knocked Her Arrows With Speed (level 2 chant)
    It's been nerfed to only provide a 1.2x reload bonus, but this is still A+
        for any party that likes ranged weapons, especially reloading ones.

Aefyllath Ues Mith Fyr (level 3 chant)
    It's a 25% additional burn damage, and unlike what the description says it
        is _not_ limited to just weapons.  Damaging spells also appear to gain
        a benefit.  So this could be a significant damage output increase
        for your party, in the right situtations.

The Dragon Thrashed, the Dragon Wailed (level 3 chant)
    This chant got heavily nerfed.  It used to do an insane amount of damage
        (60 burn _and_ slash over its duration), now it merely does a modest
        amount of damage (10 burn and slash every three seconds).  It is still
        good, just not the broken room-clearer from earlier versions.

All chants above level 3 [White March only]
    ...suffer from the same problem.  Yes, they're _good_ but they take a long
        time to sing and aren't _that_ much better than level 3 chants.  At this
        point you're so powerful that many fights can be over very quickly, so
        by mixing in level 4 chants you're actually significantly reducing the
        likelihood of ever using invocations.  Note that the chant time
        reduction really helps out, but still don't go crazy with high-level
        chants in your songs.

All invocations above level 2
    ...are basically awesome.  But they kind of have to be since you need a
        whopping 5 chants to get there (which will be more than the length of
        many trash fights by this level).

Cipher                                                                 !mor,cip-

The cipher is definitely one of the most interesting classes in the game, both
in terms of flavor and mechanics.  Here I'll focus on the mechanics.

Basically every other caster is "rest-limited."  Other casters may have some per
encounter abilities, but the majority of their powers are limited to per rest,
so you have to strategically mete out your spells.  (Note that this is not
strictly true for chanters, but their invocations are too infrequent to count.)

By contrast, the cipher is "rate-limited."  The cipher has infinite use of their
abilities per rest.  The constraint on casting is instead based on what their
focus generation rate permits, focus being their resource for using powers.

This reliance on focus does have the interesting effect where without careful
consideration cipher powers are invariably obsoleted.  "True" casters get more
spells per rest, translating into more spells per fight.  But because a cipher
is rate-limited, the cipher will only cast a few powers in a given fight.  As
such, if you naively select powers, each new level-up will render more powers
obsolete since you only have time to use the "best" few in any given fight.
Strategies to deal with this will follow in a sub-section below.

Interestingly, whereas other casters are independent from weapons, a cipher's
focus generation is intimately tied with weapon usage:  35% of damage dealt is
turned into focus.  Therefore, being able to choose the right weapon is an
important skill to have with ciphers.

Melee weapons are by far the best choice for focus generation, having both fast
attacks and high damage throughput.  In particular, the stiletto, estoc, and
sabre are particularly good choices.  The stiletto is good due to a combination
of high speed and DR penetration.  The estoc combines a two-handed weapon's
lumbering damage with DR penetration.  And the sabre features high base damage.

When using one-handed melee weapons, dual-wielding is best.  However, if you
need extra survivability, you can still get decent focus while wielding a small
shield.  On Path of the Damned you may even consider forgoing the shield in
favor of the accuracy bonus of just wielding a single one-handed weapon:  due to
rounding, grazes generate insignificant amounts of focus.

Keep in mind though that ciphers are going to be squishy at melee.  While a
cipher has both medium-tier deflection and accuracy, you can't put heavy armor
on a cipher without jeopardizing their ability usage.  A high resolve may help
avoid interruptions, but the upshot is that especially on Path of the Damned a
cipher has difficulty going toe-to-toe with foes.  Good tanking skills and
mid-level powers can help here.  You can also try brandishing a two-handed
weapon with reach (pike, quarterstaff) and hiding behind someone more

But ranged weapons can therefore be a good choice; in return for lower focus
generation you get increased safety.  Reloading weapons are on average the best
but can net you very "bursty" focus generation.  This is because their
high-damage hits can generate a lot of focus, but their low accuracy and slow
attack rates can mean dry stretches due to a series of misses and grazes
back-to-back.  So if you prefer consistency in your ranged focus generation, war
bows are the best choice.

Apart from weapons, you should consider dropping cash for drugs.  Carow Golan
gives you a +.2 focus gain multiplier bonus, which stacks with Draining Whip's
+.33 bonus.  This significantly increases your focus generation with all cipher
builds.  Less directly, Svef increases your attack speed and Goldrot Chew
increases your might, both of which can aid focus generation.  The withdrawal
effects can be severe, but the effects generally worth it.

A steady supply of Carow Galon can first be found at either the Scrivener's
Dormitory or if you get on House Doemenel's good side.  Svef can be obtained by
taking the less-charitable path in Purnisc's quest.  Goldrot Chew is obtainable
in various places, including the Scrivener's Dormintory.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Talents of particular note

Basically every cipher should have Draining Whip (+.33 to focus gain multiplier)
and Biting Whip (+.2 to soul whip's damage multiplier).  Both help your cipher
gain focus, albeit Biting Whip does so by making your cipher do more damage.

Remember, focus gain bonuses are added together before being multiplied against
the base 35% rate.  So if you have Draining Whip and are under the effects of
Carow Golan, your focus generation would be:

    35% base * (1 + .33 draining_whip + .2 carow)
    = 35% base * 1.53
    = 53.55% of weapon damage

The Greater Focus talent is not too useful; only when you're doing a Carow Golan
with a lot of other stacking items will you skirt close to your cipher's maximum
focus.  However, the talent does bump up your starting focus but only by 2-3
(depending on rounding).

Psychic Backlash (and its follow-up, Brutal Backlash) is better than you might
think.  First, despite what the in-game tooltip says, it is _not_ limited to
once/encounter.  It appears to trigger almost limitlessly, though there may
be an internal cooldown of sorts.  The abilities are particularly awesome
against fear/terrify auras.  Psychic/Brutal Backlash will trigger with each
"pulse" of the aura, meaning many chances to stun or deal raw damage.  Combine
with a way to counter the accuracy penalties of the frightened or terrified
afflictions, and the cipher can almost stunlock some of the most frightful
enemies in the game.  Brutal Backlash doing raw damage could mean that the
cipher can be MVP against high-DR dragons!  Picking up two talents to accomplish
all this is fairly expensive, so be prepared to make this investment if you want
to be able to pull all this off.

Apart from the above, consider accuracy boosting talents to help your cipher
land consistent hits for better focus generation:  choose a Weapon Focus ASAP
and consider something like Marksman.  Improvements to attack rate also help,
so Gunner or Two-Weapon Style are good choices depending on your weapons of

Moreover, for firearm/crossbow-based ciphers you should consider making the
expensive investment of getting both Fast Switch and Arms Bearer to quickly
cycle through weapons at the start of a fight to generate a lot of up-front

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Picking powers

Your cipher will typically have only 3 powers per level, so you must be very
deliberate in your choices.  Of note, make sure you are diversifying what
defenses your powers attack.

For example, if you only choose reflex-targeting powers you will have a blind
spot against reflex-resistant enemies.  In particular, on Path of the Damned,
many enemies have reliably high fortitude defenses, so you should refrain from
piling on too many fortitude-attacking powers.

Also as mentioned before, rate-limited casting poses the risk that your cipher
will essentially obsolete their powers with each new level.  This
defense-targeting diversification can help make sure you have a full set of
useful powers.

But to further prevent power-obsoletion, try selecting situationally useful
powers.  However fun it may be to get every damage power, that doesn't do
you any good if you're not using 90% of them.  Instead, think of your power
selection as trying to find the rock, paper, scissors for all sorts of different
situations.  You can still have an ability or two that you just want to spam
over and over, but at least you'll have your bases covered.

Note that there's nothing stopping you from picking a power from a lower level,
so it's not inconceivable to bypass higher-level power for lower level ones,
especially when choosing an area of needed diversity (or if you just need
cheaper powers).

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Power highlights

Antipathetic Field (level 1)
    The in-game description for this power is confusing and misleading.  Here's
        how it actually works:  you choose an enemy to be an anchor.  You then
        project a beam that inflicts corrode damage per second for 6 seconds to
        everyone between you and the anchor, including any allies.  In addition,
        you gain a buff for 12 seconds that increases all beam damage you deal
        by 20% which happens to also improve this power's beam.  Also, in case
        it isn't clear, this 12 second buff duration is modified by Intellect,
        whereas the beam is not; so the beam buff could far outlast the beam
    Anyway, if you can get master the party-unfriendly targetting, this power is
        _lethal_.  You'll even annihilate foes on Path of the Damned.  Moreover,
        the beam damage buff means you can combo this into Ectopsychic Echo
        (level 3 power), Ray of Fire (level 2 scroll), or even both for
        incredible damage.
    Also noteworthy:  for a beam, this power has super long range, so you can
        sweep an entire battlefield with proper positioning.

Mental Binding (level 2)
    This is a powerful paralyze effect, with an area of effect stuck to boot.
        Unfortunately in White March/2.0 this got nerfed a bit, so it's no
        longer a fast spell and the paralyze duration is shorter, but it's
        still very powerful, probably the most cost-effective and versatile
        power a cipher can pick.

Psychovampiric Shield (level 2)
    Melee ciphers will enjoy the +25 deflection while simultaneously reducing
        the enemy's by up to 10.  The enemy is easier to interrupt, to boot.
        All that might be pretty modest on its own, though.  Note that the +25
        is a buff in 3.0 from the original +10, making the cipher have
        impressive deflection.
    More importantly, -10 resolve translates into up to -20 will, which gives
        this power a niche late-game use for lowering enemy will defenses.
        When you really need to land a paralyze or confuse, you can cheaply use
        this on top of standard will-reducing afflictions like weakened or

Recall Agony (level 2)
    Yet-another-confusing-description-for-a-power.  While an enemy is afflicted
        with Recall Agony, every three seconds they will take an amount of raw
        damage equal to 30% of all damage taken in the past three seconds.
        Unlike the wounding enchantment on items, this is based off damage done
        _after_ damage reduction has taken place.
    The long-run effect is that this boosts party damage by 30% against an
        enemy.  As such, it is most effective against tough foes that you're
        likely to focus on, and when they are in good health (to maximize the
        damage you get out of this).

Ectopsychic Echo (level 3)
    Another semi-confusing description; this power projects a beam from you to
        an anchor, this time an ally.  The resultant beam inflicts crush damage
        every second for 10 seconds on foes only.
    This power is devastating on its own, but it can be apocalyptic if you
        precede it with an Antipathetic Field for the +20% beam damage buff.
        As an example, a cipher with a buffed Ectopyschic Echo can pretty much
        take care of the final boss fight on their own, even at modest levels.
    Note that your anchor must be a _true_ ally.  Confused, charmed, and
        dominated enemies don't count even though their targetting circles turn
        friendly.  Summons do count as allies, so if you're having positioning
        problems you can just summon a creature behind enemy lines.

Pain Link (level 3)
    Sort of the reverse of Recall Agony.  Every three seconds, the affected
        ally will emanate an effect that inflits raw damage to all nearby
        enemies equal to 1/4 of the damage they recieved since the last tick.
        Similar to Recall Agony and unlike similar wounding effects on weapons,
        the raw damage is based on _post_ damage reduction damage.
    When surrounded by multiple foes, this can be a huge multiplier on damage.
        For example, when surrounded by four enemies, Pain Block means that
        100% of all damage done to the affected ally is reflected back out
        (since 25% of damage recieved multiplied by four foes is 100%).
    You might want to put this on your tank, but this power is only good if
        the ally is actually taking damage, so a charater with really high
        deflection is a poor target.  Instead prefer characters who may not
        have high deflection (though high DR is still a good idea so that they
        can survive more than a few attacks).

Pain Block (level 4)
    This power won't fit well into every cipher playstyle; it basically lets
        your cipher fill an emergency assist role.  The damage reduction bonus
        is significant, even on Path of the Damned.  The healing is modest but
        in combination with said DR bonus buys your ally massive breathing room.
        Even ranger pets can become immovable objects with the help of Pain

Wild Leech (level 4)
    Useful for every cipher but best picked up for a cipher who can make use of
        any stat bonus.  In other words, a ranged cipher may not benefit much
        from constitution or resolve, but a melee cipher could use the extra
        health and deflection those provide.
    If by luck you drain an undesirable stat, you still remove that same stat
        from the enemy.  This at the very least means up to -20 to one of
        their defenses along with varying additional effects.  For example, -10
        Resolve will also make the enemy vulnerable to interrupt and give -10
    Note that if the foe you Wild Leeched dies, your Wild Leech buff immediately
        wears off.  So prefer Wild Leeching enemies who are going to be around
        for a bit.
    This power features a +10 innate accuracy bonus; combined with the cipher's
        medium-tier accuracy, this power is in the club of most-accurate spells.

Borrowed Instinct (level 5)
    May obviate the need for Wild Leech altogether.  This power drains a
        guaranteed bunch of enemy stats (-8 Intellect/Perception) and guarantees
        a sweet set of +20 to accuracy and defense bonuses.  For more power, you
        could always have both Wild Leech and this going at the same time for a
        superhuman cipher.  Unlike Wild Leech, Borrowed Instinct will still buff
        your cipher even if the enemy you drained dies, so feel free to target a
        weak foe with this power.

Detonate (level 5)
    The power's description is a little confusing. What the power does is do a
        decent amount of raw damage to one enemy.  If the enemy would be knocked
        out or at low endurance afterwards, the enemy is instantly killed and
        all targets nearby take a similar amount of raw damage.
    This is a modest power that can help bump up the cipher's damage rate,
        especially against DR-heavy foes.  The party-unfriendly area of effect
        makes this hard to use in the heat of combat as nearly-dead foes tend to
        be near your allies.  However, the damage can be worth hurting your own
        allies, especially if it means taking out a bunch of low-endurance but
        problematic foes in one go.

Whispers of Treason/Puppet Master/Ringleader (levels 1, 3, 5)
    All these powers are notable for three very big reasons.  First, these all
        have +10 accuracy bonuses, making them members of the club of
        most-accurate spells.
    Second, these powers are the only true sources of charm/dominate available
        to playable classes.  While druids and chanters can charm, the former
        only targets beasts and the latter can only do so intermittently.
        And neither of those are dominate effects.
    Third and most importantly, taking complete control over enemies is very
        powerful, much more powerful than simply confusing them.
    It used to be that these powers were balanced out by being very slow and
        limited range/duration.  But as of 3.0, while Ringleader is still slow,
        e.g. Whispers of Treason and Puppet Master are fast, long duration, and
        Puppet Master has decent range!  Enjoy the buff.
    Moreover, as of 3.0/White March II, dominated enemies are no longer so very
        touchy about being hit by your attacks.  So you can now use these powers
        without worrying about accidentally hitting your new friends with a
        spell like Fireball.

Amplified Wave (level 6)
    A great power.  Even though this power targets fortitude, the area of effect
        is nice (albeit nerfed in 3.0), so you'll still affect lots of enemies.
    Because this also does a decent amount of damage, you could instantly win
        fights against swarms of lower-level creatures like Xaurips or Shadows.

Disintegration (level 6)
    This power is incredibly powerful.  With modest Might and Intellect the base
        raw damage is by itself lethal to many enemies in the game.  In fact,
        this ability may just be overkill.  You may be better off against many
        moderate foes using the cheaper, faster, and longer-ranged Soul

Mind Plague (level 6)
    Most accurate confuse effect in the game.  The confusion duration got
        drastically nerfed in 3.0, but it's still paired with a dazed affliction
        for good measure.  Moreover, this power has a jump mechanic that lets it
        afflict really far-flung enemies.  Counterbalancing these strengths is
        the fact that the projectile and jump are _very_ slow.  The jump is also
        unpredictable, since each new target really depends on where the
        currently confused target wanders; it may end prematurely if it fails to
        affect the preceding jump target.

Time Parasite (level 7) [White March only]
    A nice buff, depending on the cipher.  Nothing like Mind Plague in terms of
        mass disable, somewhat slowing down a bunch of enemies while boosting
        the cipher's speed.  The duration bonus for the cipher's own personal
        speed boost stacks with each jump, so the cipher could have a *very*
        long speed boost, far exceeding a wizard's Deleterious Alacrity of
    Ciphers with reloading weapons won't benefit as much from the speed boost
        (due to reload times), but melee ciphers will really like this ability.

Defensive Mindweb (level 8) [White March II only]
    An easy-to-overlook ability.  Your cipher creates an aura around them; all
        allies within the aura use the _best_ defense available.
    Remember how I mentioned when stacking defenses it's best to specialize due
        to increasing returns?  (See section com,sta-.)  Well this power
        magnifies the effect.  If you have a nigh-untouchable tank (let's say
        Eder) in your party, and you create a Defensive Mindweb that includes
        them, _everyone_ becomes just as deflection-tanky as your main tank.
        Same goes with all your other defenses.  Your party can become virtually
        untouchable with this in place.
    The fact that this is implemented as an aura centered on the cipher is a
        double-edged sword.  It does mean that to fully benefit, everyone has to
        stay close to cipher.  On the other hand, it does mean that if someone
        was out of position at the time was cast, they can run in later and
        still share defenses.

Reaping Knives (level 8) [White March II only]
    An ally gains a set of dual-wield daggers that do 15-20 base raw damage,
        albeit with no accuracy bonus.  Every time these reaping knives do
        damage, 30% of damage done is gained as focus for the cipher.  Note that
        this applies to _any_ damage done using this weapon, so e.g. a monk
        using Torment's Reach will grant additional focus based on its
        additional damage.
    In any reasonable-length fight, it is highly worth getting your cipher's
        focus up to 80 asap and using this on a melee character (the trick of
        using reloading weapons and fast switch at the start of a fight is
        highly recommended).  Yeah, it's expensive, but you'll get back that 80
        focus very quickly and then some.  Plus, even though the weapon
        themselves lack any real pizazz (e.g. no accuracy bonus at a time where
        exceptional weapons have become boring), in hard fights the fact that
        they do raw damage dramatically ups their usefulness.  For example, the
        bog dragon Gafonercos has 34 DR, which means these daggers will
        effectively be doing atleast 49-54 damage!

Druid                                                                  !mor,dru-

I consider the druid a very unintuitive class.

On paper, the druid's focus is mass crowd control via area damage.  In fact, all
of a druid's spell levels are chock full of spells targeting different defenses
or using different damage types.  In this way, the druid's spellcasting is a
little bit of a game of rock, paper, scissors.

However, mixed in with this mass damage capability are a grab bag of other
idiosyncratic capabilities; I say idiosyncratic because the druid isn't
particularly good at them.  A druid can heal, though nowhere near like a priest.
A druid can buff and debuff, but weakly.  Moreover, while the druid has a low
health/endurance and low-tier accuracy, the druid is expected to go toe-to-toe
against enemies with regularity, thanks to a medium-tier deflection and a
per-encounter shapeshift that yields a very damaging dual-wielded melee weapon.

The upshot is that ironically, even though a druid's focus is on mass damage,
these idiosyncratic extra capabilities are what defines the druid.  This fact is
most noticeable on Path of the Damned, where dramatically boosted enemy stats
diminishes the impact of any given damage spell.  So, a druid's continued
effectiveness is based on how well you can weave these idiosyncracies together
into a cohesive whole.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
On shapeshifting

Shapeshifting is a high-risk, high-reward endeavor.  Normally a druid should
probably stay back and plunk at enemies, but to really get good mileage out of
the druid you should be prepared to identify good opportunities to charge a
shapeshifted druid headfirst into melee.

A good opportunity is when you have a solid tank who is keeping a foe occupied,
and when you're reasonably certain that that foe is not going to turn around any
time soon.  In addition, it would be best if there aren't a lot of other foes
nearby, or risk your druid getting suddenly swarmed if e.g. your tank gets
knocked prone.

A druid's shapeshifted claws are effectively a dual-wield melee weapon that
strikes as an average-speed weapon (30 attack frames, 30 recovery frames) with a
DR penetration of 5.  As of 3.0 it actually gets better as you level up,
starting at 16-25 damage per hit with no accuracy bonus and maxing out at a
whopping 32-50 damage per hit with a +20 accuracy bonus at level 16.  These are
by far the best one-handed melee weapons in the game.  The damage gets even
better if you pick up a Wildstrike talent (and pick up a Greater Wildstrike

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Spell highlights

Note that most of the druid's damage spells will not get a mention, not because
they are necessarily not of note, but because each spell level is generally
filled with a gamut of different spells that target different defenses or use a
different damage type.  Thus, each damage spell generally fulfills a different
niche.  Only particularly notable damage spells get called out below.

Nature's Vigor/Nature's Balm/Moonwell/Garden of Life (levels 1, 3, 4, 6)
    These spells are a druid's healing repertoire.  They can actually heal more
        than equivalent-level priest spells, but they all do so as a slow
        regeneration effect over time.  So they won't help you in emergencies,
        but with proactive use can enable your druid to keep your party hale and
    Note that aside from Garden of Life all these healing spells have very
        limited range and area.  In fact, Nature's Vigor and Balm just affects a
        close area around the druid.  So remember to consider the time spent
        moving your druid around when being proactive about healing.
    Remember that all regeneration effects suppress each other, so be careful
        about trying to stack these with each other or with other regenerative

Firebrand (level 2)
    Creates a two-handed sword that does 20-30 burn damage vs deflection, has
        +.5 to crit damage multiplier, and has damaging 3 (for an additional +4
        accuracy and +45% damage modifier).
    It lacks the reach and accuracy and extra effects that make wizard melee
        magical weapons particularly notable, but even grazing with such a steep
        damage level is pretty nice.  That being said, now that druid claws get
        better as you level, you should generally _always_ prefer using
        spiritshift before using Firebrand.

Woodskin (level 2)
    The damage reduction bump is huge but limited in its applicability,
        benefiting only Pierce, Slash, Burn, and Shock.  Keep an eye out for
        what weapons the enemy has and if there are any casters around.
    Some tips:
        * Non-implement ranged weapons invariably do pierce damage.  If you see
          a lot of archers, use Woodskin.
        * Spears are definitely piercing and look obvious when used by an
          enemy; Xaurips love spears.
        * Animats, Adra Beetles, and Will o' Wisps love using shock damage.
        * Enemy wizards and high-level priests/druids are prone to using fire
          and shock damage.

Beetle Shell (level 3)
    Similar to a priest's Withdraw spell, with a couple differences in
    First, enemies can still attack the encased ally.  This can be a good
        thing:  casting Withdraw on a tank is a risky move because any enemy
        formerly attacking the tank immediately moves on to another target.
    Second, Beetle Shell neither provides nor permits any healing to the encased
        ally.  So this power is not useful to save an almost-dead ally who is
        swarmed by foes: you won't be able to heal them until the enemies break
        through the shell to deliver thefinishing blow.
    That being said, Beetle Shell is a good breathing-room spell.  Like the
        druid's healing spells this is something you have to use proactively.

Embrace the Earth-Talon (level 5)
    A notable damage spell because it also petrifies foes.  The area of effect
        is limited and the damage less than other comparable spells at this
        level, but petrification is a powerful affliction.

Garden of Life (level 6)
    A rather confusing targetting/description.  Here's how it works: you target
        a corpse left behind by an enemy.  That corpse creates a healing effect
        for all your party members in the area.  Importantly, all other corpses
        within that area _also_ emit their own healing circles, which may also
        target even more corpses.
    What this means is that in any big fight that has advanced enough a bit to
        leave a couple corpses on the ground, this spell can provide
        unparalleled healing, especially since the healing is _periodic_.  (The
        original description mentioned a 30s duration; the new description in
        2.0/3.0 does not mention this duration, but it may be safe to assume
        that this is still the case.)

Rot Skulls (level 6)
    The ranged weapon this spell creates is either the most or second most
        damaging ranged weapon in the game, depending on enemy DR.  It's like a
        wand (30 attack frames, 60 recovery frames) that does 22-32 damage with
        a +10 accuracy bonus and and a 1.25m aoe that inflicts 52 corrode damage
        over 10 seconds at a +10 accuracy bonus vs reflex.
    To really maximize the damage, you're going to have to change up where
        you're targetting, or else the corrode damage won't get its full
        potential (simply being refreshed).  On the other hand, this corrode
        damage fits in better with late game play, where you are more likely to
        be casting spells a lot instead of just attacking.  So if you attack,
        then cast a spell or two, then attack again, you'll get good mileage out
        of the debuff.

Conjure Lesser/(Normal)/Greater Blight (levels 2, 4, 6)
    In many ways this trifecta of spells is equivalent to a cipher's suite of
        mind control spells.  Like the cipher's mind control spells they carry
        the risk of having very limited range and very slow cast time.  But also
        analogously, these spells generate powerful allies to aid you in combat.

Returning Storm/Relentless Storm (levels 3, 5)
    AKA "stunlock spells."  Returning Storm only targets one enemy at a time,
        while Relentless Storm hits all enemies in the area.  Both spells follow
        a medium-sized area centered on your druid, so you'll have to make sure
        your druid is positioned close enough to enemies without risking danger.
    On the other hand, this might be a good spell to use before shapeshifting,
        since while shapeshifted you'll be going up close and personal anyway.
    Note:  Returning Storm does not feature any innate accuracy bonus.

Nature's Bounty (level 7) [White March only]
    Generates items in all available quick slots, which kind of encourages you
        to play inefficiently and deliberately leave party members
        under-equipped in their quick slots.
    Still, the item you get in unoccupied quick slots is super good.  Since this
        spell is fast, you could open with this and have all your party members
        down a Nature's Bounty while the fight is still opening and continue the
        rest of the fight with significant combat bonuses.

Fighter                                                                !mor,fig-

A fighter is THE tanking class, bar none.  High-tier accuracy and deflection,
solid endurance/health, automatic endurance regeneration, and most importantly
the Defender modal ability:  it gives you lots of extra melee engagement.

Of course, you could also build a fighter who can dish out some consistent
damage, but if you only have one fighter you should definitely make them the
party tank.

Not much else to say here.  If tank, get Defender, Wary Defender, Constant
Recovery and some other defensive talents/abilities.  If not tank, get Weapon
Specialization, Weapon Mastery, etc.

Do note that as of 2.0/White March, there are "universal" weapon types.  As
mentioned elsewhere, this means that _any_ Weapon Focus talent can be used to
give you an accuracy bonus with them.  This also applies to a Fighter's Weapon
Specialization and Weapon Mastery; so long as you have _any_ one of these
talents, it will apply to "universal" weapons (though multiples do not stack).
For a fighter, this simply means that regardless of where you put your
Focus/Specialization/Mastery talents, you can use soulbound weapons at full
effect since they are universal.

Monk                                                                   !mor,mon-

Taking a naive approach to the monk will result in a bit of a problematic class.
Many of a monk's abilities are powered by wounds, but wounds are only generated
by taking damage.  Unfortunately, relying on taking damage results in the monk
being very squishy.  In fact, regularly taking damage on Path of the Damned is

A better approach for your monk is to treat wounds and wound-powered abilities
as _incidental_; just an extra that occasionally occurs in the course of combat.
This means you should gear your monk up mostly like any other tank-like.  This
will minimize how many wounds you get, but at least your monk will be alive.

What this means is that in a significant fraction of fights, your monk will
barely create any wounds.  So it may seem like you're missing out on the
character's power.  But another perspective is that if your monk doesn't
generate wounds, the fight is an _easy_ fight, so you don't _need_ the wounds.

For hard fights, your monk will still generate lots of wounds (especially on
Path of the Damned), only now that you have your monk reasonably tanked-out
(for example, by wearing armor of breastplate or higher) your monk actually has
a chance of survival.

Given the above, there's really two strategies for monk ability selection.
Either choose abilities that only need a minimum amount of wounds to be
effective (efficiency), or choose abilities that use a lot of wounds to be
effective (burst damage or "burstiness").  The former will let your monk do
stuff in easier fights (though not the easiest fights), but you may find it
harder to spend all of their wounds in harder fights.  The latter will mean your
monk won't be able to do anything special in easier fights, but will save most
of their output for harder fights.

Perhaps not coincidentally, at character creation your monk is presented with
this strategic choice when choosing your first monk ability.  Swift Strikes
represents the path of efficiency.  Torment's Reach represents the path of
burstiness.  Swift Strikes is a temporary attack speed buff, but the buff is
relatively long-lived which means one wound can go a long way.  On the other
hand, in a fight where you get lots of wounds, you'll find that Swift Strikes
doesn't provide a good enough "sink" for spending all your wounds.  That's where
Torment's Reach excels.  If you're just getting a single wound periodically,
Torment's Reach's effectiveness is low.  But if you're in the type of fight
where a single enemy attack can suddenly generate 10 wounds, you'll be able to
lay waste to your foes.

You can fill out the "efficiency" strategy by picking up Turning Wheel and/or
Iron Wheel.  Both passively translate accumulated wounds into extra damage or
extra DR, respectively.  So not being able to spend all your accumulated wounds
quickly enough won't be the end of the world.  There are also lots of abilities
that don't rely on wounds to be useful, which can be used to complement this

The "burst" strategy can be augmented by picking up the more expensive spenders.
For example, if you haven't played against high-level enemy monks before, you
should know that Force of Anguish (cost: 2 wounds) is an amazing way to knock
enemies out of the fight, literally (since it both knocks a target very far back
in addition to potentially knocking them prone for a _long_ time).  Essentially,
the more expensive spenders just piles in on the burstiness:  on easier fights
you're even less likely to use the more expensive stuff, but on harder fights
where you are taking in a lot of damage, you'll be able to really let loose.

Note that you don't _have_ to go one strategy or the other.  You can mix and
match.  But you may find your monk is most effective if you do specialize in one
strategy or the other.

Note, too, that if you're willing, you can manually give your monks lots of
wounds by taking advantage of the many wizard, priest, and druid damage spells
that have indiscriminate targetting to hurt both your enemy _and_ your monk.
Other classes may also have similar indiscriminate abilities, but none of them
have as wide a selection at-will as these casters.  Plus, you can slightly
"combo" this trick by having your monk pick up Rooting Pain, which has the monk
explode for damage when gaining a wound.  If you drop a spell like the
priest's Pillar of Holy Fire on the monk when the monk is surrounded, not only
will you do lots of damage to all enemies near the monk, but if the monk
suddenly gains 10 wounds, that monk will also explode 10 times.  This can be
enough burst damage to clear the area around the monk, in addition to providing
the monk with ample ammunition to power their abilities against other foes.

Regardless of what you do, virtually every monk should pick up Lesser Wounds.
In any situation and in either strategy, whenever your monk eventually does take
damage, Lesser Wounds increases the likelihood that you get a meaningful amount
of wounds out of it.

Paladin                                                                !mor,pal-

The paladin is an interesting class.  After receiving some buffs in a patch,
they are a reasonable tank that fills some various support roles in keeping your
party hale and hearty.  They won't be able to deal out damage like a barbarian
or monk, and they certainly can't withstand damage like a fighter, but they
nonetheless help keep your party going just the same.

Their main benefit is one of several auras that project a party buff in a modest
area.  This is the main argument for favoring Intelligence for a paladin,
so as to increase the likelihood your allies are protected by an aura.  Zealous
Focus or Zealous Endurance are both good, either boosting your damage output or
decreasing your damage intake.  On Path of the Damned, Zealous Endurance might
be a better choice, especially now that it has been buffed to potentially
convert incoming Hits to Grazes.

Zealous Charge can also be an interesting choice, but its effects are
much more subtle.  Most of the time combat is fairly static thanks to
engagement, so at first blush solely having a boost to move speed is
underwhelming.  However, faster movement means two important things:  your tanks
can get into proper position much faster; and your squishy characters can likely
outrun any foes approaching them.  The two combined means your tanks can quickly
intercept foes (and the disengagement defense bonus helps repositioning be less
painful) and your squishier characters stay safe.  So while the benefits of
Zealous Charge are indirect, properly used this can give you a significant boost
in your party's net survivability.  The fact that you can also use the
accelerated movement to kite enemies is a nice side bonus.

Along with auras, the Paladin gets access to "exhortations," or mostly
per-encounter single-ally buffs that feature no recovery time.  Liberating
Exhortation is probably the best, acting as a Suppress Affliction for one ally
for quite a long time, albeit that it suppresses Suppress Affliction.  (In fact,
a character under the effects of Liberating Exhortation is effectively immune to
Suppress Affliction; the only way to remove any new debuffs is to use Liberating
Exhoration again.)  The main downside is that while Liberating Exhortation is
active afflictions do not lose their duration, so when Liberating Exhortation
wears off afflictions resume with whatever duration they previously had (whereas
with Suppress Affliction the duration timers continue underneath).

As for other exhortations, Reinforcing Exhortation can help an off-tank be
briefly untouchable.  Hastening Exhortation can help a party member dish out
afflictions or damage faster (as of 3.0 it is a +20% multiplicative attack speed
buff); unfortunately this is the one exhortation that is per-rest instead of
per-encounter.  Note too that it is in a weaker category of attack speed buffs
subject to suppression; among other things it is suppressed by Deletrious
Alacrity of Motion.  Reviving Exhortation is only useful if you aren't trying to
go for a 0-knockout game, but its enormous and rapid revive can quickly swing
the tide of battle, especially since its downside (endurance loss in the future)
has been reduced since earlier versions of the game.

Note that because exhortations have no recovery, Hastening, Reinforcing, and
Liberating Exhortation can be spammed at the start of the fight to quickly buff
your party (though to get mileage out of spamming Liberating Exhortation you
need to either be a Darcozzi Paladini or Goldpact Knight for the special
Liberating Exhortation talents).

The paladin also has access to some miscellaneous abilities.  Lay on Hands is
actually a fairly decent single-target heal; nothing like what a druid, priest,
or even cipher can do in total but it can help fill in the gaps in party health.
Sworn Enemy is like the ranger's Marked Prey ability except it's permanent until
end of combat _and_ comes with an accuracy bonus.  Flames of Devotion isn't too
great on Path of the Damned due to high enemy health, but is a nonetheless
welcome damage boost when you need that extra umph to take out a problematic
foe.  Sworn Enemy, as of 3.0, is now a per-encounter ability and lasts the
entire fight, so is a great utility way to boost your paladin's combat prowess
against one tough foe.

Note, too, that while a paladin doesn't have the raw hardiness of a fighter,
Faith and Conviction with proper dispositions can get a paladin's base
deflection higher, in addition to astronomically high other defenses.  This can
actually be fairly important for a Frozen Crown Solo/The Ultimate achievement
run, which requires intense focus on avoiding potentially game-ending attacks

As a final note, Righteous Soul gives you a bonus against various afflictions
and also reduces the duration of frightened, terrified, disease, and poison by 5
seconds.  That five second duration shortening might seem subtle but can have
outsize effects against abilities that repeatedly apply short-duration effects.
Notably, Lagufeths' paralyze effect is technically a poison effect on their
Blowdart ability, which means with this ability paladins become amazing at
tanking Lagufeths, effectively becoming immune to their repeat paralyze.
Something similar happens to fear auras, since it is a relatively short duration
frighten affliction that is applied periodically.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As alluded, during character creation you can select a paladin order.  In
addition to providing flavor for your character, several gameplay mechanics
revolve around your choice.  One, how well you adhere to your favored/disfavored
dispositions influences the paladin's strength (see next subsection).  Second,
your paladin order gives you access to two different talents.  Some of these can
have transformative effects on the paladin as a class, as elaborated below.

    Bleak Walkers
        - add bonus corrode damage to Flames of Devotion
        - when paladin finishes an enemy, nearby enemies become fightened*

    Darcozzi Paladini
        - add accuracy buff to Liberating Exhortation
        - Flames of Devotion also creates a weak Flame Shield on the paladin

    Frermas mes Canc Suolias (Pallegina only)
        - Flames of Devotion temporarly increases nearby ally attack speed*
        - Sworn Enemy also launches damaging projectiles at the target

    Goldpact Knights
        - add defense bonus vs charm/confuse/dominate to Liberating Exhortation
        - add extra fire damage-over-time to Flames of Devotion

    Kind Wayfarers
        - when paladin finishes an enemy, nearby allies are healed*
        - Flames of Devotion heals nearby allies*

    Shieldbearers of St. Elcga
        - add deflection buff to Lay on Hands
        - Flames of Devotion temporarily buffs nearby allies' deflection*

    * the area of these effects is roughly 4m, boosted by intelligence

Talents that boost Flames of Devotion damage work well with an arquebus or some
other slow ranged weapon as an opening attack to maximize the effect of the
bonus damage.  Darcozzi Paladini can turn the specialized Liberating
Exhortation into a general-purpose accuracy buff (that casts at instant speed
with no recovery).  Shieldbearers can turn the somewhat bursty Flames of
Devotion into a nice party buff.  Kind Wayfarers make the paladin into a more
heal-tastic class.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Each potential paladin order has a couple favored and disfavored dispositions.
More than just for atmosphere (role-playing), the dispositions provide tactical
advantage (roll-playing).  They influence the strength of Faith and Conviction
for your main character.  (Faith and Conviction is a paladin passive that grants
+4/+8 deflection/other defenses.)

In your party reputations, add up the total value of all favored dispositions
(each capped at 3) and then subtract the total value of all disfavored
dispositions (each also capped at 3).  Call the result your "disposition score."
Faith and Conviction gets an additional +.8 deflection and +1.6 other defenses
for each point of your disposition score, even if your disposition score is
negative (at which point you lose deflection and other defenses).  If you have a
fraction, truncate it (round down if a positive number, round up if a negative

For example, say you are a Bleak Walker.  Favored dispositions are aggressive
and cruel.  Disfavored are diplomatic and benevolent.  Let's say your party
reputations are:
    Aggressive 3
    Cruel 3
    Benevolent 1
Your disposition score is (3 + 3) - 1 = 5.  That means Faith and Conviction
gains an additional bonus of +4 deflection and +8 other defenses.  As you can
see, sticking with your order's approved behaviors can significantly boost an
already good paladin ability, contributing up to half of the total effect.

You could potentially pick up the Untroubled Faith talent if you're having
trouble staying away from disfavored dispositions, but it's more effective to
just pay attention to what you're doing.

Note that this only applies to your _main character_.  Paladins who are not your
main character instead gain +1 deflection/+2 other defenses every fifth level.

Priest                                                                 !mor,pri-

Standard-fare role-playing game priest.  Lots of heals, lots of buffs, some
debuffs, and a few damaging spells.  Unlike other RPGs where the priest also had
better combat prowess than his peers, the priest in Pillars of Eternity is
almost as squishy as a wizard.

There are a couple quirks with a priest, though.  First is that after choosing a
deity, you can pick up a related talent that gives you a special ability and a
+10 accuracy bonus in two weapons.  That +10 accuracy bonus effectively bumps
the priest's base accuracy up to high-tier for physical combat; you can still
get a Weapon Focus to further augment those numbers.

The second quirk is that a priest has several "trap" spells.  Over time, they
have become less trap-like as various nerfs have hit, but they are still trap-
like in that you can cast them out of combat and the seals persist until
triggered (or you cast another seal).  Note that choosing one of these trap
spells for spell mastery may be a good idea; the way spell mastery casts work
you can actually cast a seal outside of combat and still have that "free" spell
mastery copy available for when combat begins (see section spe- for more info).
Note that a nerf I missed (at around 1.05), is that priest seals stopped
benefiting from mechanics skill (as part of a general trap nerf around that 
time), so you don't need to (and shouldn't rely on) investing in mechanics to
give your seals a huge boost in accuracy.  However, you can set both a trap and
a seal, so you can be a double-trapper with a good mechanics investment.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Holy Radiance and Interdiction

These are the priest's defining per encounter spells (though you have to get a
talent to use Interdiction).  There are many talents to upgrade these and shape
them to your needs.  Most of them are quite good, though Brilliant Radiance is
probably the only definite loser; the extra damage it provides is minute in any
real fight, especially on Path of the Damned.  If you're going the path of
Interdiction, I strongly recommend Painful Interdiction; weakening is a powerful
debuff to have:  the lowered fortitude/will is good on its own, and it also
enables sneak attack.

It bears repeating: what makes Holy Radiance and Interdiction particularly great
is that they are per-encounter spells.  This means per-encounter healing,
debuffing, or (against vessels) significant area of effect damage.  Especially
now that as of White March II your low-level spells no longer become per
encounter (replaced by the more limited "Spell Mastery" system, see section
spe-), Holy Radiance and Interdiction remain meaningful throughout the entire
game.  For a main character priest, Holy Radiance in particular becomes one of
the best heals and anti-vessel spells in the game (see below section on
disposition for more discussion).

Some non-obvious aspects of a couple of these talents: 
1.  Empowered Interdiction's accuracy bonus only applies to the dazing effect,
    not the additional weakening effect from Painful Interdiction. 
2.  Despite Aggrandizing Radiance's description, the -75% healing penalty only
    applies to the healing done to yourself.  So it will still be effective at
    healing your party members, you are basically trading in some healing for
    yourself in lieu of a fairly decent (if a little short-lived) buff.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Choosing a deity is more than just a role-playing experience, it can
fundamentally alter how you play your priest due to the deity-specific talent it
unlocks down the road:

                +10 Accuracy            Special Ability
    Berath      Mace, Great Sword       Lesser Concelahut's Corrosive Siphon
    Eothas      Flail, Morning Star     Hope Eternal
    Magran      Sword, Arquebus         Burst of Summer Flame
    Skaen       Stiletto, Club          adds a 1.2x Sneak Attack
    Wael        Quarterstaff, Rod       Lesser Arkemyr's Dazzling Lights

Skaen is most notable here.  First, the two weapon bonuses fall into the same
Weapon Focus category (Ruffian), making it easy for you to further upgrade both.
Second, the added sneak attack significantly improves a priest's combat damage
throughput (see section com,dam- for more info on damage modifiers).  Plus, this
mini-sneak attack stacks with the Apprentice's Sneak Attack cross-class talent 
for a total of 1.35x sneak attack, giving the priest a very nice damage boost.
In fact, by becoming a high-tier accuracy, low-tier deflection class with sneak
attack, a priest of Skaen basically becomes a mini-rogue, giving up some of the
pure damage of the rogue in exchange for better "traps" and a wide array of
survivability-boosting spells. 

Magran and Wael both unlock a high-tier accuracy with a ranged weapon, which
will significantly boost the priest's ability to safely plunk away for damage.
Wael also unlocks high-tier accuracy with the quarterstaff, a weapon with reach.
It's tough to say which deity is better; the arquebus has better damage
throughput but its lengthy recovery frames means that you could be caught with
your pants down when an emergency heal is needed.  Wael's weapon choices are a
bit more versatile, and the quarterstaff offers a safer way to do modest melee
damage, but neither the quarterstaff or rod are going to be as good at burst
damage as an arquebus.

The other two options aren't too great.  If you want melee you're better off
with Skaen, and they don't offer any ranged boost.  Berath and Eothas are mainly
useful to pick up for fun/role-playing purposes.

Of course, if you don't plan on taking advantage of the deity-specific talent,
then pick whatever deity you want.

Note that as of 2.0/White March, there are "universal" weapon types, which
benefit from _any_ Weapon Focus.  For the priest in particular, any of the above
deity-specific +10 weapon accuracy talents _also_ applies to universal weapons,
which means that regardless of what diety you follow if you pick up the
diety-specific talent you will have some very good accuracy with soulbound
weapons (which are universal).

As of White March II, your choice of deity unlocks a variant of a level 8 spell.
All variants follow the same pattern:  a ground-based persistent aoe  effect
that does 15-25 damage of a diety-themed type against an arbitrary defense, plus
an additional effect that targets either foes or allies in the area.

                Damage/Defense          Extra effect
    Berath      Corrode vs Fortitude    Weakened vs Fortitude
    Eothas      Burn vs Reflex          +20 all defenses for allies
    Magran      Burn vs Will            Blinded vs Will
    Skaen       Pierce vs Deflection    Hobbled vs Reflex
    Wael        Freeze vs Fortitude     +30 vs Confused, Charmed, Dominated for

The symbol spell comes so late in the game that it's not really worth going out
of your way choosing a deity for (unlike the weapon/perk stuff above).  For
discussion on specific notable variants, see the spell highlights section below.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Each potential deity has a couple favored and disfavored dispositions.  More
than just role-playing, the dispositions influence the strength of Holy
Radiance, but only for your main character.

In your party reputations, add up the total value of all favored dispositions
(each capped at 3) and then subtract the total value of all disfavored
dispositions (each also capped at 3).  Call the result your "disposition score."
Holy Radiance gains bonuses per disposition score...
    to healing:  +3 base, +1 per every 3 levels after 1 (level 4, 7, etc.)
    to vessels:  +5 base, +2.2 per every 3 levels after 1 (level 4, 7, etc.)
Notably, the healing bonuses are not affected by might.  However, the vessel
damage bonus _is_ affected by both might and intellect (since a longer duration
increases the total damage).

As a concrete example, say you follow Wael.  Favored dispositions are deceptive
and clever.  Disfavored are honest and rational.  Let's say your party
reputations are:
    Clever 4
    Deceptive 3
    Honest 1
    Rational 1
Your disposition score is (3 + 3) - (1 + 1) = 4.  Let's say you're
level 5 and have 20 intellect.  Holy Radiance heals:
    15 + 5 (base effect, +5 for level 4)
     + (3 + 1 [base bonus, +1 for level 4]) * 4 (disposition score)
     = 35 total
Against vessels, Holy Radiance burns for:
    30 + 5 (base effect, plus +5 for level 4)
     + (5 + 2.2 [base bonus, +1 for level 4]) * 4 (disposition score)
     = 63.8 at base duration 3s
     * 1.5 (intellect increases duration by 50%)
     = 95.7 total
Again, if your character had a might other than 10, only the base healing effect
would get influenced by might, not the bonus.

As you can see, a maxed out favorable disposition can contribute a significant
share of Holy Radiance's healing and vessel damage.  So it pays to stay in
character.  In fact, for a suitably in-character main character priest, the Holy
Radiance healing and vessel damage becomes _significant_, whereas e.g. Durance's
Holy Radiance remains fairly marginal.

You could potentially pick up the Untroubled Faith talent if you're having
trouble staying away from disfavored dispositions, but it's more effective to
just pay attention to what you're doing.

Again, remember that this only applies to your _main character_.  Priests who
are not your main character will stay with the default Holy Radiance effect.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Quick note on elemental damage

If you want to give your priest an elemental damage focus, unlike the druid or
wizard you don't have much variety.  Iconic Projection provides one source of
cold damage (an additional one is reserved for high-level Wael priests).
Warding Seal provides shock damage (so does Spark the Souls of the Righteous,
but the damage doesn't count as coming from the priest).  There are no normal
corrode sources, just two as a consequence of being a Berathian:  a per rest
ability and a high-level spell.  There are, however, plenty of fire sources,
including amongst the highest spell levels unlocked by White March and White
March II, and including an extra per rest abilility unlocked by picking Magran,
plus symbols unlocked by either Magran or Eothas.  So Scion of Flame might be
the only relevant elemental damage talent (unless you're doing something
specific with the other damage types).

If you don't want to focus on an elemental type, that's fine too.  The priest
offers plenty of support and debuff spells that can obviate the need to focus on
doing significant damage.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Spell highlights

Halt (level 1)
    Actually a pretty good spell.  Targets will at +15 for a stuck affliction
        that even on a graze has a lengthy duration.  Casts at fast speed.
        Very versatile.  Can be used to nab enemies trying to disengage from
        your frontlines, or to allow an ally to flee from pursuit.  Can be used
        for some lengthy sneak attack setup.  Also can be used just for the nice
        deflection penalty stuck inflicts.

Withdraw (level 1)
    This spell is an amazing way to instantly protect a party member.  The
        protection is almost absolute; enemies will just move off to another
        target.  Moreover, this spell also heals the withdrawn ally, so if the
        effect wears off while the fight is still going, your ally will be in
        good shape to resume.
    There are certain rare situations where damage will still get through to a
        withdrawn ally.  Pre-existing debuffs that deal raw damage can still
        kill your ally, though frequently the healing will counteract this.

Suppress Affliction (level 2)
    While it won't grant immunity to effects in the way that the "Prayer
        against" spells do, this will cure _everything_ in one go, including
        effects that aren't preventable via the "Prayer against" spells.
    Note that this is suppressed by Liberating Exhortation; trying to use this
        on someone already affected by Liberating Exhortation will result in
        this effect being _immediately_ suppressed, so it is no good for trying
        to clear up afflictions landed on someone who has recently been hit with
        that exhortation.
    Note, too, that as of 3.0 Suppress Affliction was nerfed a bit to have a
        shorter duration.  A consequence of this is that it is very possible
        that Suppress Affliction will expire before the underlying afflictions
        themselves expire, which means your characters will become re-afflicted
        by those suspended debuffs until you follow up with another Suppress
        Affliction or the remaining duration runs out.

Repulsing Seal (level 2)
    The first of three "trap" spells the priest has, and quite the way to kick
        it off.  Instead of doing damage, which becomes a little less important
        on Path of the Damned, this inflicts prone on anyone near the triggering
        point.  This is a hazard spell, so it carries a high +15 hidden bonus
        and uses your spell accuracy (not what is listed on the tooltip), so it
        is not uncommon to crit enemies with this, resulting in very
        lengthy crowd control.
    Note that as of 3.0/White March II, the duration has been reduced, so this
        is no longer obscenely good, though it is still quite good.

Holy Power (level 2)
    The aura range on this spell is _extremely_ small.  Treat this as
        essentially a melee-related self-buff that just happens to help out
        allies who are right next to the priest.

Iconic Projection (level 2)
    There's almost no reason to bother with the same-spell-level Restore
        Endurance.  This spell heals more, will generally have a more
        advantageous area of effect, and will also damage enemies in the
        process.  The main advantage the same-spell-level Restore Endurance
        offers it that you could also heal the priest if needed.

Consecrated Ground (level 2)
    This spell is basically a required spell for any hard fight.  The repeated
        healing in an area will basically keep your entire party up and healthy
        in even the direst of circumstances.
    The only "concern" is that because this will let party members fight in
        dangerous situations for a lot longer then they really should, you run
        the risk that your squishier allies may avoid low endurance only to run
        into low health, a far worse situation.

Pillar of Faith (level 3)
    Can be a potentially powerful area of effect prone.  Sure the prone effect
        targets fortitude, but it does so at +15, which is at a wow!-tier
        accuracy.  It also has a large base duration, which means even grazes
        are notable.
    A tricky aspect of this spell is that the actual target does _not_ get
        affected by the prone, simply being hit with damage vs reflex.
        Moreover, the spell needs to at least graze the main target for the
        prone area of effect to occur at all.  This may require some tricky
        targetting: in a group of enemies, line up the main target on someone
        with lower reflex even if it may not be optimal area of effect.
    If all else fails, you _can_ actually target an ally with this spell.
        They'll take damage, but the prone aoe is still a foe-only aoe, so in
        this way if you have someone surrounded by enemies and can take the hit
        (or is a monk and would benefit from the hit) it might be worth
        targetting your ally.  Though in such a case, you might just consider a
        Repulsing Seal instead.

Warding Seal (level 3)
    The second of three "trap" spells the priest has and arguably the weakest.
        The damage can be significant on lower difficulties, but on higher
        difficulties you probably want to go with one of the other trap spells,
        both of which feature a (potentially powerful) debuff.  As a hazard
        spell it does feature a high +15 bonus on top of your spell accuracy
        (not what is shown on the tooltip), making this a wow!-tier accuracy

Searing Seal (level 4)
    The last of the "trap" spells; it does less damage than Warding Seal but
        features both a much larger area and range than either Repulsing or
        Warding Seal and has a blind debuff.  Similar to Repulsing Seal, it has
        a high +15 bonus and uses your spell accuracy (instead of what is shown
        on the tooltip) so the wow!-tier accuracy is quite nice.

Devotions of the Faithful (level 4)
    Truly an insane buff/debuff packaged into one convenient spell:  the +20
        accuracy for allies and -20 accuracy for enemies on its own would make
        this spell A+.  The fact that it also boosts ally Might while
        diminishing enemy Might is frosting on the cake.  The major downside is
        the limited range.

Salvation of Time (level 5)
    This spell increases the duration of all friendly buffs by a flat 10
        seconds.  As a result, it heavily benefits buffs that are ordinarily
        very short, such as a wizard's Eldritch Aim or the druid's various
        regenerative heals.  However, for this spell to be truly worthwhile to
        cast, you need to have a lot of buffs on a lot of party members.

Restore Minor/Light/Moderate/Major/Critical Endurance (levels 1-5)
    All these spells are fast-casting ways to get your party members back to
        tip-top shape.  The only thing to be concerned about is to make sure
        that you're not too reliant on them:  while a priest can be nothing more
        than just a heal-monkey, you're better off keeping your party members
        stocked with potions for periodic heals.  This way, your priest can
        spend their time casting more proactive spells, and you can save busting
        out these spells for emergencies, like when a party member is
        knocked prone while trying to quaff a healing potion.

Cleansing Flame (level 6)
    Lagufeths love to wreck you with this.  In your hands, it's not quite as
        wrecking, since enemies are less likely to be carrying buffs worth
        burning away.  Still good though.  To really get mileage out of this
        spell, pair with another class good at applying damage-over-time
        effects:  think druid, but the chanter also has a powerful
        damage-over-time chant, and the cipher has a collection of
        damage-over-time powers.  Cleansing Flame will do more than its stated
        damage by accelerating how frequently those other damage-over-time
        effects trigger.
    Note that Cleansing Flame is listed as jumping to foes, but it only does so
        at the _end_ of the spell's effect on an enemy, whereas most other
        spells jump as soon as they begin to affect an enemy.  Note, too, that
        this jumping appears to be tracked independently of whatever enemy you
        targetted; if an enemy dies before the spell has a chance to jump, it
        will still jump a short while later if there is a viable target.  This
        has a confusing effect:  after you cast Cleaning Flame, it will be
        blacked out on your spell bar as "already activated", even if it missed
        the first target.  It will only come back after all the jumps are

Crowns for the Faithful (level 6)
    Features a whopping +6 intellect bonus that will make any and all casters
        (and possibly barbarians and paladins) extremely happy.  Also has a
        ginormous Resolve bonus, making even tanks extremely happy due to the
        massive concentration/deflection boost.

Spark the Souls of the Righteous (level 6)
    The game keeps a lot of the mechanics of this fairly hidden.  What it
        appears to do is that all affected party members gain an aura that
        periodically zaps foes within ~1.25m (think Holy Power or Nature's
        Terror radius, possibly boosted by intellect though it's unclear)
        for ~15-20 shock damage.  Notably, each ally's aura are independent:  if
        an enemy is within range of several allies, it will get struck by all
        their auras.  Moreover, in addition to being unconditional (i.e. the
        shock damage _always_ hits), the shock damage actually appears to take
        on attack characteristics of the character it's on, such as might, sneak
        attack, and even wildstrike.  The shock damage is however fully affected
        by DR.
    As you can probably tell, this spell works great in either heavy melee
        engagements (where a lot of enemies will be affected by different ally
        auras) or against one or a few tough foes (where many allies might be
        overlapping their auras on a single enemy).  The middle case, where you
        have a few allies engaging up close with a few enemies, may be a bit
        less power than you might expect from a sixth level spell.
    Note that since pets can also be affected by this, you can theoretically
        summon a horde of allies and fry your enemies to death with many
        overlapping auras.  A chanter's batch of 3 skeletons from their level 1
        invocation can still be relevant late game when they each carry a shock
        aura around them.

Prayer against Fear/Infirmity/Restraint/Bewilderment/Imprisonment/Treachery
        (levels 1-6)
    As of 3.0/White March II, each of these spells instantly cure you of and
        grant immunity to two related effects.  This is a significant
        improvement over their original incarnations (which provided a defense
        bonus and reduced the duration of active effects), and can be a great
        way to shut down repetitive enemy debuffs.  For example, Prayer against
        Fear in a battle against a fear-aura-using Death Knight or Dragon is no
        longer a futile strategy.
    In fact, these abilities are so drastically improved from their original
        incarnations that having a priest in your party can obsolete
        abilities/drugs available to other characters!  Chanters suffer the most
        in the comparison, since they have several chants/invocations devoted to
        preventing/mitigating debuffs that are nowhere near as powerful and
        readily available as these prayer against spells.
    If you're having trouble keeping track of when to use these spells ahead of
        time, here are some quick tips:
            Prayer against Fear:  anyone with a fear aura (e.g. drakes, dragons,
                death knights)
            Prayer against Infirmity:  spiders, menpwgra, high-level barbarians,
            Prayer against Restraint:  druids and ogre druids, menpwgra,
            Prayer against Bewilderment:  mages, priests, dank spores, vithrak
            Prayer against Imprisonment:  battery sirens, high-level mages,
                high-level druids, crystal eater spiders, adragans, darguls
            Prayer against Treachery:  swamp spores, fampyrs, high-level vithrak
        These are just rough guidelines; optimally you should pay close to
        attention in _any_ fight to be able to proactively use the appropriate
        Prayer Against spell.

Storm of Fire (level 7) [White March only]
    The priest has had plenty of hints throughout earlier spell levels that they
        could be a decent damage dealer (Divine Mark, Pillar of Faith, Warding
        Seal, Searing Seal, Shining Beacon, Pillar of Holy Fire).  But it's
        really here that they reach their potential.  Massive amounts of total
        damage, and boosting with it Scion of Flame will also affect many of the
        other aforementioned spells.

Hand of Weal and Woe (level 8) [White March II only]
    If you've read through the cipher section you know how powerful beam spells
        can be.  This is no exception.  Solid damage, for one.  But it also
        _heals_ allies in the beam, and quite rapidly.  Moreover, you can target
        either a foe or an ally, granting you tactical flexibility.
        Unfortunately, this doesn't quite have the range of a cipher beam, but
        the effect is worth the risk of getting closer to your enemies.  Plus,
        the targetting flexibility means you can choose a nearby ally and then
        run that ally around to maximize the beam's effect.

Symbol of Berath/Eothas/Magran/Skaen/Wael [White March II only]
    Of the variants, Berath and Magran probably have the best.  Their additional
        effect is a powerful debuff, either weakened (Berath) or blind (Magran).
        Wael might be the worst.  +30 vs Confuse/Charm/Dominate isn't bad, but
        when you _really_ want to prevent those effects +30 isn't as good as the
        guaranteed immunity of the level 6 spell Prayer Against Treachery or
        level 4 spell Prayer Against Bewilderment.  Add that to the fact that
        enemies inclined to confuse/charm/dominate you tend to do so at a
        distance behind enemy lines, which means you might have to choose
        between doing damage or protecting your allies when casting the symbol.
    Note that while in the abstract Skaen's hobbled debuff is probably the
        weakest effect of the non-Wael symbols it actually synergizes well with
        Skaen's other benefits to the priest, since hobbled grants sneak attack.
        (So do weakened and blind, but neither Berath or Magran priests get a
        sneak attack.)

Ranger                                                                 !mor,ran-

The ranger is suited for single-target damage.  The ranger also gets a pet which
can help add to the class's total damage output.  This pet can also play
tactical roles, such as running interference by engaging potential threats or
helping to provide flanking afflictions for your melee party members.

The ranger is not the easiest of classes to play; the pet is absolutely crucial
for the ranger's damage output.  This is in part because you get a "grief"
debuff that cripples your ranger's accuracy when your pet gets knocked out.  But
despite this importance, the pet is very fragile.  So moreso than the rogue
you'll need to do a lot of micromanagement to make sure everybody's positioning
is spot-on.

In return for this micromanagement, you get a class with high-tier accuracy (and
medium-tier deflection) along with a bunch of class-specific abilities to help
you generate a ridiculous amount of damage primarily with ranged weapons.  You
can also try and opt for melee while using your pet as a flank-assist, but I
would recommend the ranged approach for a start.  For a more experienced player,
you could get of mileage out of wearing little armor, equipping a weapon with
reach (pike or quarterstaff) and using your pet to tank/engage while you do
significant damage.  A lot of abilities are still ranged-specific, but there are
quite a few (even despite their name) that function with any weapon, such as
Swift Aim or Wounding Shot; regardless, you may find yourself picking up alot of
stuff that focus on your pet due to some limited selection.

Note that your pet shares the same endurance as your ranger.  So if you were
contemplating dumping Constitution because you planned on keeping your distance
all the time, be aware that this will also negatively impact your pet's

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Choosing and caring for your pet

Different pets feature innate abilities that either improves their survivability
or their offenses.  The exception is the wolf who gets a damage bonus (a buff
as of 3.0) and has an additional move speed bonus.

Either focus on survivability or offense is suitable; just choose whichever fits
your preferred playstyle.  If you're using the pet as a tank while you melee,
the bear or antelope might be the clear choice though, thanks to higher DR or
higher defenses, respectively.

The ranger gets a lot of different talents that improve the pet.  Given how weak
the ranger's pet is both in terms of survivability and damage, you might be
dubious of the benefit of pet talents.  And while they shouldn't be your first
choice, you should definitely get a couple pet talents.  Like I said, pets will
contribute a significant share of the ranger's total damage output, and their
ability to continue to run interference is greatly improved by improved

Of note is Merciless Companion, which grants your pet a 1.3x sneak attack.  As
alluded to in section com,dam-, sneak attack disproportionately improves your
pet's overall damage output by increasing how effective their grazes are.
You'll have to pay attention to flanking and other afflictions to make sure
you're getting sneak attack opportunities, but it can be worth it.  Of note, the
stag's carnage effect is improved by the Merciless Companion sneak attack as

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Talents/Abilities of note

Driving Flight (ability)
    The number one reason to go for a ranged weapon ranger.  The +1 bounce can
        dramatically up your damage output so long as you're targetting the
        right enemy:  choose enemies closer to the front who have multiple
        enemies behind them.
    Does not work well with Stalker's Link, however, since this ability requires
        you to adjust your targetting to maximize the ability to bounce, while
        your pet won't have the same freedom.

Merciless Companion (talent)
    See above section about the 1.3x pet sneak attack.

Resilient Companion (talent)
    Can be a good way to ensure your pet lasts longer in fights.  This won't
        make it a true tank, but will mean that dedicated attention is a bit
        easier to shrug off.

Stalker's Link (ability)
    The accuracy bonus from attacking the same target as your pet can be pretty
        significant, but it necessitates you are very good at positioning and
        keeping your pet alive.  In other words, this ability is no good if your
        pet is always getting knocked out quickly or if you can't position your
        pet to attack the same foes as your ranger.

Swift Aim (ability)
    If you like firearms or reloading weapons, you should definitely get Swift
        Aim.  The reload speed increase is a _massive_ increase to your attack
        rate with reloading weapons, far out-pacing the accuracy penalty
        inflicted by this modal ability.
    This is still pretty good for melee use, but the benefit isn't quite as good
        compared to the accuracy penalty unless you're using a slow (read:
        two-handed) weapon.

Twinned Arrows (ability) [White March only]
    Notable because it significantly ups the damage capability of the Hunting
        Bow and War Bow by doubling the projectiles you shoot.  Almost makes you
        wonder why one would ever bother with one of the reloading ranged weapon

Vicious Aim (ability)
    The alternative to Swift Aim, the reduced rate of fire and reload speed
        mostly cancels out the ranged damage increase, so you're mainly getting
        the accuracy bonus out of this.  Though for hunting bows and implements
        translating their attack speed into higher damage can help compensate
        for their vulnerability to damage reduction.

Rogue                                                                  !mor,rog-

This class is a true glass cannon.  The rogue is very fragile, having both
low-tier deflection and endurance.  However, with a cooperative party the rogue
can dish out unmatched single-target damage.

The key to making this work is sneak attack.  As a 1.5x multiplier, this
actually acts a +.5 damage modifier (see section com,dam-).  In addition to
making your normal attacks more damaging, it also makes your grazes twice as

Triggering sneak attack requires that the rogue's target has one or more of the
following afflictions:
In addition, any attack within the first 2 seconds of combat is a sneak attack.
A _normal_ attack made from any invisibility is an automatic sneak attack.

Of these, flanked is the easiest to do at-will; it requires you to have an enemy
engaged by a foe on opposite sides, as defined by a 180 arc in front and behind
them.  Note that some enemies need more than two engaged foes before they can
get flanked.

All other debuffs require some source ability.  The rogue can trigger a few
via Blinding, Crippling, Fearsome, and Withering Strike.  Wizards and ciphers
are kings at afflicting abilities; druids and priests (especially with Painful
Interdiction) have some; everyone else may have an ability or two.

For sneak attack purposes you don't need more than one of these afflictions.
But the Deathblows talent--which is amazing for your damage output--requires two
or more sneak attack afflictions on the target.  Having a wizard or cipher in
your party is very helpful in these situations.

Unfortunately, like I said before the rogue is very squishy.  You should make
sure your tanking skills are A+.  You should also pick up some of the rogue's
survival abilities as soon as possible.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ability/talent highlights

Backstab (level 2 talent)
    Works from stealth or invisibility and gives you a huge damage boost, even
        on top of sneak attack (remember, they stack additively, not
        multiplicatively). Because DR is applied after all damage modifications
        have taken place, this can make you do many, many more times damage than
        what your post-DR damage typically can be.  Example: if you ordinarily
        would hit for 9 against someone with 6 DR, you'd only do 3 damage.  With
        backstab (+1.5 damage modifier) and sneak attack (further +.5), you'd do
        21 damage instead, equivallent to 7 normal attacks or 3-ish sneak
    Best way to pull this off without suiciding your rogue is to stealth the
        rogue, let your other party members start combat and pull enemies back,
        while you tell your rogue to backstab the enemy that's going to be the
        closest.  It appears you have a window of about ~2s to finish your
        backstab after being unstealthed, so even if you get revealed
        prematurely you can still get a backstab off.  With higher stealth
        skills, you might be able to spend more time getting close to a squishy
        target in the back.

Deathblows (level 11 ability)
    Strongly recommended.  On enemies with two or more sneak attack afflictions,
        you get a +1 damage modifier.  A lot of this power is that this
        basically negates the importance of accuracy; a graze will still do 1.5x

Deep Wounds (level 5 ability)
    Ticks for some small raw damage every three seconds.  It doesn't stack with
        itself (merely refreshing), so fast attacks aren't too great.  However!
        This may be a buggy interaction, but because pillars is at
        end-of-dev-cycle Obsidian isn't going to be patching this:  it is
        possible to apply Deep Wounds on different enemies.  When
        you then attack an enemy with Deep Wounds to refresh it, the attack
        refreshes the Deep Wounds on _all_ affected enemies.  The time remaining
        on these other enemies will be kind of broken (depending on how long
        you went before refreshing, it'll refresh to ~10 seconds but count down
        _very_ quickly), but they will still be taking raw damage every few
        seconds sure enough.
    Basically a strong way to power up a hunting bow combined with
        clothes/nakedness.  Attack up to three or four enemies, then just keep
        refreshing Deep Wounds on the third/fourth enemy.  You'll have several
        enemies constantly ticking for raw damage every few seconds.
        (Theoretically you could nab more enemies with a fast melee weapon, but
        with a ranged weapon you don't have to move to acquire other targets.)
    Otherwise, combine this with a really slow weapon, like a reloading weapon
        of some sort.  That way, the fact that the Deep Wounds doesn't stack is
        less painful, and you get to really maximize it due to how long it takes
        for you to have a follow-up attack.

Dirty Fighting (level 3 ability)
    Works best if you have a weapon with an enhanced crit damage multiplier.
        Still great otherwise, though the impact of sneak attack and Deathblows
        will reduce how beneficial this is.

Escape (level 3 ability)
    A good survival move.  If your rogue's target suddenly turns away from the
        party tank, you can activate Escape to leap to safety.

Finishing Blow/Devastating Blow (level 5 ability, plus talent)
    A confusing/misleading description for an ability.  This has a +50% additive
        damage bonus that is always effective, and then there is an additional
        multiplicative bonus for the entire ability damage dealt if the enemy
        has less than 50% endurance:  an additional 3% per 1% below 50%, so up
        to an additional +150% damage bonus (yes, the ability is wrong; you get
        way more than +50% additional damage based on enemy health; the bad 
        ability description has been a known bug since 1.05).  In practice,
        an enemy at that low endurance is already dead, so your multiplier
        will likely vary from 1x to 1.75x.
    Devastating Blow is also a confusing talent.  The +2% damage bonus it says
        is actually a modification to the _scaling_ factor, so that instead of
        getting an additional 3% per 1% endurance below 50%, you get 3 + 2 or
        5% per 1% endurance below 50%.  In practice, this means you will get
        a multiplier that likely varies from 1x to 2.5x.
    Because the ability has a damage multiplier for enemies at low health,
        you _really_ want to only use this ability for an enemy that is at
        "Badly Injured" or "Near Death" (the former kicks in at <50% endurance,
        the latter kicks in at <25% endurance).  Otherwise, you get an attack
        that is not better than a backstab (other than having no range limit).

Persistent Distraction (level 9 ability) [White March II only]
    When the rogue adds flanking to an enemy, reduces their defenses but also
        reduces the foe's engagement limit by one.  Not coincidentally, most
        enemies in the game only have an engagement limit of one.  Can be a
        potential life saver in letting your squishier allies flee from danger.

Sap (level 13 ability) [White March only]
    A must-have:  a per-encounter set of stuns.  What more needs to be said?

Shadowing Beyond (talent)
    Both an excellent survival move but also a critical way to get your rogue to
        solo the game.  Once invisible, you can simply run away until combat
    Even if you're not solo-ing Shadowing Beyond enables an extra backstab and
        an extra sneak attack.  Though be warned:  I've noticed that if I try
        to do an ability (like Crippling Strke) from invisibility, I don't get
        any bonuses on it, but if I do a normal attack I'll get both sneak
        attack and backstab bonus.  It may be a periodic bug or may be an
        inherent limitation of Shadowing Beyond.

Vicious Fighting (talent)
    A must-have if you also picked up Dirty Fighting.

Wizard                                                                 !mor,wiz-

The wizard is a very versatile spellcaster.  The class features all sorts of
debuffs, damaging spells, as well as several niche spells:  a summon,
temporary magical weapons, or even offensive/defensive self-buffs.

The cost for all of this is the grimoire gameplay mechanic.  While the wizard
has more spell diversity than any other caster, only 4 spells of any given
spell level are accessible at a time.  For the wizard to access more spells in
combat requires that you swap out grimoires, which comes with an expensive
10-second block on spellcasting.  (At least the delay is unaffected by armor

Prudent spell selection can help out a ton here.  If you keep your grimoires
focused on particular combat scenarios, you can pre-emptively switch to an
appropriate grimoire based on information gleaned from scouting or simply by
what enemy you see at the edge of your fog war.  For example, you might load up
on debuffs most of the time, but have an alternate grimoire dedicated to
knocking out/protecting against casters for when you see an archmage in an enemy
party.  Or you might load up on fire/corrode damage types in one grimoire and
have a backup for cold/shock in cases where the resistances favor it.

Or you could just have a couple of core spells per spell level that you dedicate
yourself to using and never worry about being able to cast any other spell.
This is perfectly viable, though this may be a self-imposed nerf since one of
the wizard's advantages versus other caster classes is spell diversity.

Note that you can slightly "cheese" the grimoire switch delay by queueing up a
spell and immediately switching grimoires; your wizard will continue to cast the
spell even though all their spellcasting icons are blocked out for the grimoire
switch.  With Fast Switch, you can effectively reduce the grimoire switch time
to a few seconds by doing this approach:  the first ~3 seconds of the delay will
be used up casting the spell (for an average-speed spell), so your wizard will
only have to wait ~3 more seconds to resume casting.

Note, too, that having a decent supply of potions or a decent lore skill can be
helpful, since while your wizard is busy waiting for the grimoire switch delay
to wear off you can drink potions or read scrolls (or have a spell-generated
weapon to attack with; basically anything to compensate for the lost time and
anything better than a wizard's normally shoddy physical attack).

Apart from this, the wizard features a very useful per encounter ability:
Arcane Assault, which you actually get two of per fight.  Its raw damage means
it scales well with how far you are into the game:  when up against high DR
Animats the effective damage dealt by Arcane Assault goes up.  And to boot,
because Arcane Assault also dazes, you effectively have free debuffs to use per

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Talent selection

The wizard features several class-specific talents.  Arcane Veil gives you +50
deflection for a short while (and can be upgraded to offer a total of +75).
While as of 2.0 firearms do properly ignore the Arcane Veil defense, you can
largely ignore this as relatively few enemies are equipped with firearms and you
can try to just keep your wizard out of their reach (since firearms have lower
range than other ranged weapons).  For most wizards you're better off saving
the talents for something else and just staying out of danger.  Wizards inclined
to toe-to-toe might benefit from Arcane Veil as a temporary oh-shit when your
melee target turns around from attacking the party tank.

Grimoire Slam promises to be a fast per-encounter survival move by knocking
enemies back, but truth be told you should be a lot more proactive than waiting
for them to come to your wizard.  If your wizard is not capable of melee
engagement, then you should be using other party members' engagement to halt
foes in their tracks before they make their way to the wizard.  (Yes, I know
some enemies willfully disengage to attack squishies and still others can
teleport, but still!)

Blast and Penetrating Blast are a fun couple of talents that augments the
wizard's implements to inflict area of effect damage.  This can enable your
wizard to maintain some steam even when you're not willing or able to cast
spells.  If you do go down this path, you might consider the Dangerous Implement
talent.  Sure the wizard is squishy, but most of the time you should not be
getting hit, so you can arbitrage that health into extra damage.  The only thing
to be aware of is that as the game goes on your wizrad will be spending less and
less time attacking and more time casting.

You should consider focusing on a damage type and picking up the appropriate
talent (like Scion of Flame).  You can do multiple damage types; the wizard has
a variety of spells for each damage type.  Which and how many you choose boils
down to your play style and how many talents you want to pick up for
damage-boosting purposes.

If you plan on using the generated weapons a lot, it's important to note that as
of 2.0/White March, all summoned weapons are of "universal" type, which means
that regardless of their base type so long as you have _any_ Weapon Focus, you
will get the accuracy bonus, so you do not need to select a different Weapon
Focus talent for each summoned weapon you plan on using.  However, other
specific talents like Dangerous Implement still only work for e.g. summoned
wands, instead of applying universally.  If you're somehow playing a pre-2.0
version of the game, the above is not true and you will need the right Weapon
Focus talents to boost summoned weapons.  It is worth noting that a wizard's
summoned weapons have such a huge innate accuracy bonus that you can be
successful even without a Weapon Focus.

Lastly, Fast Switch is worth considering if you plan on switching grimoires a
lot.  6 seconds is still a long time to wait so you shouldn't get into the habit
of switching grimoires too much in battle, but it will help take the sting out
of doing it on occasion.  If you do the "cheese" grimoire strategy from above,
Fast Switch roughly cuts down your grimoire switch time by ~57% (from ~7 seconds
to ~3 seconds).  Plus, Fast Switch can be used to reduce the recovery time of
all your spells (for further discussion, see section tal-).

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Deflection Stacking

If you're interested in becoming a spellsword of sorts, i.e. going toe-to-toe
with spell backup, you'll need to keep in mind a few things.

The wizard boasts a lot of spells and abilities that allow for deflection to be
buffed.  However, most of these do not stack, so you won't be able to
necessarily boost your deflection to high levels.

Namely, the level 1-3 spells suppress each other:  only the highest of Wizard's
Double, Mirror Image, and Llengrath's Displaced Image will ever be used.  This
means that, ironically, for pure deflection purposes the level 1 spell Wizard's
Double will be the best.

Arcane/Hardened Veil and Llengrath's Warding Staff act separately from the
level 1-3 spells.  This means that if, for example, your wizard casts Wizard's
Double and uses Hardened Veil, your wizard will get a whopping +115 deflection

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Spells of note

Note that as of the White March expansions, there are a few unique spells that
can *only* be pulled from enemy grimoires.  A couple of these are hidden on the
map (Ninagauth's Black Pages), another couple comes from defeating
Concelhaut and looting his grimoire, and quite a few comes from defeating
Llengrath (White March II only).

Chill Fog (level 1)
    This level 1 spell is ACES:  the damage and blind debuff repeats every
        few seconds.  So long as you're careful with your targeting, this can be
        a significant way to swing every fight. Early on, this spell can clear
        all enemies by itself.
    And while you may think the indiscriminate area of effect is a minus,
        consider this: you can drop this on confused foes and still damage them;
        foe-only spells ignore confused enemies.

Concelhaut's Parasitic Staff (level 1)
    Creates a 20-30 base damage quarterstaff with an exception enchantment (+8
        accuracy and additional +30% damage modifier) and has an effect that
        converts 20% of damage to endurance.  It's a pretty great weapon, but to
        take advantage of it you need to deal with the wizard's general
        squishiness.  Make sure your targets are well-occupied with a tank and
        consider keeping a spell or two in reserve for survivability purposes.
    Fortunately, this weapon (like normal quarterstaffs) has reach, which means
        you can sit safely behind a tank while using this weapon.
    Early on the accuracy bonus helps you almost get on par with a fighter, but
        in the end--because you can never upgrade this weapon--you'll still lag
        behind significantly.  Fortunately, the damage of this weapon is so high
        that even grazes are reasonably powerful.

Eldritch Aim (level 1)
    Early on, getting a +15 accuracy bonus for such a short duration is almost a
        waste.  Later on, you will have enough spells such that you can afford
        to spend a level 1 spell periodically for the accuracy boost.  It
        becomes a great way to help make sure your spells land against hard
        enemies and crit against moderate enemies.  A potentially great
        candidate for spell mastery.

Slicken (level 1)
    Probably the most powerful spell a wizard can ever learn.  An area of effect
        prone is useful in many ways; it can interrupt spells being cast by
        enemies, it can save allies who are in danger, it can prime enemies for
        reflex-targetting attacks, etc. etc.
    This spell's game-long power makes it a great candidate for spell mastery.

Wizard's Double (level 1)
    The deflection bonus is huge; at +40 it's the second-highest a wizard has
        access to.  In case it isn't clear from the description, the double/buff
        _only_ goes away if your character is either hit or critically hit;
        grazes do not dispel it.  As such, the higher your deflection, the more
        powerful this becomes, as this spell becomes less a short-term buff into
        a more permanent buff.
    As a consequence, this is a pretty powerful effect in potion form, since you
        can have your high-deflection tanks quaff it.

Bewildering Spectacle (level 2)
    Confusion is an awesome affliction to have in your repertoire, and this is a
        solid way to apply it.  Has been nerfed as of 3.0 to have a pretty low
        duration, but it is still a good way to get some momentary relief.

Binding Web (level 2)
    As of 3.0/White March II significantly buffed.  Now afflicts Stuck instead
        of Hobbled, and does so at a +10 (instead of a -5, albeit it now targets
        Fortitude instead of Reflex).  Can be a great way to set up enemies for
        a barrage of Reflex-targetting damage spells, in addition to applying
        some positional control.

Necrotic Lance (level 2)
    A solid ranged damage spell, even if it targets Fortitude.  The main aspect
        of note is that the debuff effect is a "secondary" or "triggered"
        effect, so it is in fact subject to only 1/4 normal DR.

Fetid Caress (level 2)
    Wizards lose out here versus ciphers.  Sure you get a paralyze effect, but
        this spell strikes the much-harder fortitude defense while a cipher's
        Mental Binding attacks will.  Moreover, this spell has a weird area of
        effect sicken, which will most likely just hit your guys since you'll
        probably want to paralyze a scary foe who's engaged with you.
    That being said, paralyze is still awesome, so this is still a great spell.

Merciless Gaze (level 2)
    Like Eldritch Aim, this spell is probably not worth it early on when you
        have very few level 2 spells.  Later on, though, this is a great way to
        get your spells to crit.
    The way these sorts of abilites work is that once you land a hit, you have
        an x% chance of it instead being converted to a crit (where x is the
        sum of all these +% hits to crit effects).  +15% may not sound like
        much, but over the very long duration and with area of effect abilities
        you can get many extra critical hits.

Miasma of Dull-Mindedness (level 2)
    I used to really like this spell.  As of 3.0/White March II, the duration
        for this spell has been reduced and the effect size has been shrunk, but
        it still offers a stackable way to reduce enemy defenses, especially for

Mirrored Image (level 2)
    Grants you a +25 deflection bonus that goes down 5 per hit or critical hit;
        grazes don't knock off the bonus.  The spell wears off either when the
        deflection goes down to 0 or the spell duration expires as normal.
        Won't help you if you're getting some serious enemy attention:  the
        wizard has bad-tier deflection so half of this buff just helps to
        compensate for that.  However, if you stack on a bunch of other
        deflection buffs this can help you get to astronomical levels.
    Even without doing that kind of deflection-stacking, this debuff can help
        you get out of melee engagement and survive the disengagement attack in
        the process.
    Note that this effect is most useful as a potion on your tank.  Since your
        tanks already have high deflection, this effect would make them nigh
        untouchable, which in turn strengthens this effect by making it less
        likely that you'll get successive -5 reductions to the buff.

Deleterious Alacrity of Motion (level 3)
    Sure it costs you endurance, but as I've said to this effect in other
        places, a wizard should not be getting much attention most of the time,
        so that endurance is going to waste.  This spell lets you convert a bit
        of endurance into a _really_ powerful effect:  the move speed is nice,
        but the 1.5x attack speed is great!
    And in case it isn't clear, because spells are also affected by recovery
        mechanics, this also speeds up how quickly you can cast spells!  In
        fact, a naked wizard with this buff will have _no_ recovery time to
        worry about.
    Do note that if your wizard is using firearms or some such, much of the
        attack speed bonus is mitigated by the lengthy reloading times of these
        weapons.  Also note that this suppresses a paladin's Hastening
        Exhortation, so don't think you can double up.

Expose Vulnerabilities (level 3)
    An incredibly useful debuff; this will dramatically increase your party's
        net damage by lowering the deflection and damage reduction of enemies.
        The concentration debuff helps a bit, too, in that the enemies will
        spend more time recovering from interrupts.

Llengrath's Displaced Image (level 3)
    This has been buffed to provide +50% hit to graze conversion for both
        deflection and reflex in addition to the big bonus to those defenses.
        Like Mirrored Image, this spell won't help you against sustained focus,
        but can be stacked with other deflection bonuses to make you
        nigh-untouchable.  The hit to graze conversion is nice for general
        emergency survivability purposes.
    The potion version only offers the deflection/reflex buff, but like Mirrored
        Image you'll find it quite useful on your characters who already have
        lots of deflection (your tanks).

Kalakoth's Minor Blights (level 3)
    This generates a wand-like weapon (30 attack frames) that deals 18-26 damage
        of a random type (fire, shock, corrode, freeze) with a +20 accuracy
        bonus and a minor area of effect.
    This does a whole lot of damage and due to its duration can work best when
        you're running low on spells and want to maintain your damage
        throughput.  Unfortunately, later on in the game you won't be running
        low on spells much.

Confusion (level 4)
    Like Bewildering Spectacle except for longer and in a wider area of effect.
        What more could you ask for?

Essential Phantom (level 4)
    Decent summon; notably it deals shock damage at range and in an area of
        effect.  Obviously not great against enemies who are shock immune.

Llengrath's Mental Shield (level 4, UNIQUE spell) [White March II only]
    Unfortunately comes rather late in the game to be too useful, but this spell
        is notable because it may be the only effect in the game available to
        players that lets you shrug off stuns.  This will prevent _two_ stuns
        after cast, which can be a game changer in conflicts involving e.g.
        enemy relentless storms.

Minor/Major Grimoire Imprint (level 4, level 8)
    As of 2.03/White March, this spell _rocks_.  You target a druid, wizard, or
        priest-type character (even an ally); then three random spells from
        their spellcast pool, up to spell level 3 (or 7 for the Major version),
        appear in your action bar.  For the duration of the effect or until your
        target dies, these bonus spells can be used an _unlimited_ number of
    While the power of this spell is potentially a bit random, just being able
        to get unlimited casting is itself pretty great.  Targeting e.g. a
        priest and getting unlimited castings of a spell like Iconic Projection
        is just icing on the cake.
    Note that even if you're in a fight without a viable enemy target, you can
        cast this on a party member, e.g. a friendly druid or priest.
    Note too that as of 3.0ish, there is a bug (or a nerf) that means that when
        using this against a wizard-type enemy, you do _not_ steal any spells
        that you already know.  This means that you should either limit using
        this against druid or priest-types (still a very powerful effect) or
        deliberately keep your grimoire relatively empty by not learning many
        spells beyond what you can get from level up (at least for spell levels
        1-3 for Minor Grimoire Imprint and spell levels 1-7 for Major Grimoire

Ninagauth's Death Ray (level 4, UNIQUE spell) [White March only]
    UNIQUE:  only available from Ninagauth's Black Pages.
    A souped up Ray of Fire; deals raw damage instead of burn and targets
        fortitude instead of reflex.  Ignore what the game says about it not
        hurting allies:  it totally does.  But if you can get the targetting
        right, the raw damage circumvents all beams' weakness:  being
        disproportionately affected by damage reduction.  Fortitude may be a
        harder defense to target than reflex, but you'll be doing much more
        damage overall by virtue of the raw damage.  To help out, try sickening
        or weakening the enemies first.

Ninagauth's Shadowflame (level 4, UNIQUE spell) [White March only]
    UNIQUE:  only available from Ninagauth's Black Pages.
    Basically like fireball, except does freeze damage and _paralyzes_ as well.
        Trumps almost anything else available at this spell-level, albeit the
        paralyze targets fortitude and the closest competitor at this spell
        level, Confusion, targets will.

Wall of Flame (level 4)
    The damage is pretty low.  In fact, so low that on many enemies, the damage
        is only useful because it determines the minimum 20% threshold below
        which it cannot be further decreased.
    Can be fairly effective with a decent interrupt and/or when you have a
        strong front-line established, either via a choke point or a mess of
        melee engagement.

Call to Slumber (level 5)
    Slicken on steroids:  the duration is super-long.  No longer completely
        obsoleted by Slicken since you no longer get all level 1 spells as
        per-encounter (replaced by the Spell Mastery mechanic).
    Note that as of 2.03/White March, Call to Slumber actually uses an
        "unconscious" affliction instead of the previous "prone" affliction.
        This is a double-edged sword:  unconscious is more powerful than prone,
        but enemies that were vulnerable to prone may be immune to unconscious
        (such as undead of all types).

Citzal's Spirit Lance (level 5)
    Creates a 20-30 base damage pike with a +15 accuracy bonus, a +20%
        attack speed buff, a superb enchantment (for an additional +12
        accuracy and a +45% additional damage modifier) and a small area of
    This is by far the most powerful melee weapon available in the game;  the
        inherent +15 accuracy bonus helps the wizard get up to fighter levels
        and more, and this weapon separately has all sorts of great enchantments
        that would be the envy of any melee attacker.
    Just keep in mind that you need to make sure that your wizard's only going
        for targets that are preoccupied with other allies and that you have a
        lot of backup survival spells.  Fortunately, this weapon (like regular
        pikes) has reach, so you can have your wizard stand safely behind a tank
        while attacking away.

Llengrath's Safeguard (level 5)
    Creates a passive buff that triggers if you're at 50% or lower endurance.
        When triggered, enemies nearby are knocked away and knocked prone, for a
        long time, albeit at a +10 v fortitude.
    Best way to use this is actually when your wizard is already at 50% or lower
        endurance; the buff will trigger immediately so this acts as a fantastic
        escape hatch.  Using it in the "intended" way (i.e. as a contingency) is
        more of a waste, because there's the likelihood that it'll never trigger
        at which point you just wasted a high-level spell cast.

Ninagauth's Bitter Mooring (level 5)
    Your target becomes an anchor for a beam; the beam does a lot of freeze
        damage per second to everyone it touches, including the anchor.
        Notably, this spell also afflicts everyone hit with stuck.  This can
        both keep a bunch of foes at bay as well as set them up for reflex-based
    For a beam spell, this has significant range and deals significant
        per-second damage, comparable to a cipher's beam spell.
    The only downside is that this ability targets fortitude, which is a pretty
        strong defense for most enemies.

Wall of Force (level 5)
    Does ever so slightly more damage than Wall of Flame, but similarly against
        any non-trivial enemy the damage gets dwarfed by damage resistence so is
        only useful as a guide for what the 20% minimum is.
    Hobbles enemies so it can synergize with reflex-targetting abilities.  Is
        party-friendly so you can use this with a bit more abandon than Wall of
    As with Wall of Flame, to increase usability, combine with effects that
        reduce enemy DR or lower reflexes (which will increase crit chances
        which will naturally help this punch through enemey DR).

Arkemyr's Capricious Hex (level 6)
    Randomly applies one of three increasingly useful afflictions to all foes in
        the area:  dazed, sickened, or paralyzed.  Paralyzed is by far the best,
        though the duration has been reduced in 3.0 (6 seconds).  The other
        effects are 10 seconds for daze and 12 seconds for sicken.
    To make up for the fact that most of this spell's power comes from an effect
        that only has a 1/3 chance of occuring on a foe, this spell has a _huge_
        area of effect.  In dense battles, it might be worth using this just to
        afflict everyone in sight with something, and some of them will get
        paralyzed in the process.

Citzal's Martial Power (level 6)
    You have to be pretty willing to commit to normal attacks to use this.  In
        truth, this might be useful when you're running low on spells coupled
        with a good generated weapon, but by this point you're not going to be
        low on spells often.  Plus, disabling spellcasting means you're going to
        lose out on all the survivability spells you'll need when going
        toe-to-toe.  May still be useful just for ranged weapon purposes, where
        you're pretty safe anyway.

Gaze of the Adragon (level 6)
    A little too good.  You have to deal with the fact that it targets
        fortitude and in a limited area, but in return it gives you one of few
        sources of petrification available to players for a lengthy duration.

Llengrath's Blunt Wisdom (level 6, UNIQUE spell) [White March II only]
    Creates a rod that deals 24-34 raw damage in a 2.5m area of effect after a
        small delay, with a +20 accuracy vs reflex.  The raw damage is quite
        nice, the fact that that it targets the easily-debuffed reflex is also
        nice, all such that this is essentially strictly better than Kalakoth's
        Minor Blights, despite the weird delay between the projectile landing
        and exploding.
    Combine with Dangerous Implement for extra fun.

Minoletta's Precisely Piercing Burst (level 6)
    The damage is huge with a party-friendly area of effect (albeit centered on
        you), and it casts very quickly.  You could easily just spam this a few
        times and win most trash fights.

Delayed Fireball (level 7) [White March only]
    Like Fireball, but tons more damage but also has a five second delay before
        it triggers.  The delay can be handy when coupled with Pull of Eora to
        get enemies in range or if you need some time to get allies out of
        range, but in a lot of cases it acts as a downside that you have to work

Llengrath's Siphoning Image (level 7, UNIQUE spell) [White March II only]
    A souped up version of Llengrath's Displaced Image, providing a bigger
        deflection bonus of +40, in addition to providing debuffs and minor
        damage against foes targetting the caster.  Unfortunately, this effect
        might not be _that_ good to be worth a precious level 7 spellcast.

Llengrath's Warding Staff (level 7) [White March only]
    Creates a magical staff; it has standard base damage (14-20), has a superb
        enchantment (for +12 accuracy and +45% additional damage modifier), and
        has reach.  In addition, it has several defensive tricks:  it bestows
        +25 deflection and each hit pushes enemies 2.5m away and hobbles for
        5s (vs fortitude).
    Unlike other melee weapons, wizards who don't actually want to get into the
        mix of things may benefit from this, since the ability to repel enemies
        repeatedly (in addition to the nice deflection bonus) will do aces for
        your survivability.  Though arguably, you shouldn't be letting enemies
        get this close to begin with.
    For added protection, this weapon (like regular quarterstaffs) has reach, so
        you can stand behind tanks while knocking enemies away.
    For sheer damage purposes however you're better off with Citzal's Spirit

Caedebald's Blackbow (level 8) [White March II only]
    Creates a magical war bow.  It deals 20-30 base corrode damage, has a superb
        enchantment (for +12 accuracy and a +45% additional damage modifier),
        and terrifies for 4 sec vs will.  The projectile also jumps to one
        nearby foe (within 12m).
    For doing as much damage as possible, you still should prefer Citzal's
        Spirit Lance (it has speed and better area of effect damage).  However,
        this does do damage at range.  It will still get outperformed by
        Kalakoth's Minor Blights if enemies are grouped up together densely, but
        this will do better against slightly more spaced out foes or tougher
        foes (in which the terrify effect will be helpful).

Llengrath's Dread Haze (level 8, UNIQUE spell) [White March II only]
    Lengthy sickened debuff and masks health/endurance.  This may be a spell
        that exists _only_ to be used by an enemy (Llengrath) to annoy you; it's
        unclear to me whether masking health/endurance actually hinders AI
        opponents from knowing when to e.g. heal.  In fact, for your own party
        members, certain AI scripts will still behave correctly even when
        health/endurance is masked:  notably, the barbarian's aggressive AI
        script will still know when to use Second Wind or Savage Defiance even
        when the barbarian is amidst a Frenzy (with masked health/endurance).
    In short, more testing needs to be done on whether or not this spell does
        anything useful beyond its sickened debuff.  Nevermind that absent extra
        effects, masking health/endurance info of enemies is also a hindrance to
        _you_ the player, since it prevents you from making tactical decisions
        (trying to finish off an almost dead foe, for example).  If it is just
        effectively the sickened debuff, even if lengthy, hardly makes this
        spell worth its level 8 slot.

Wall of Many Colors (level 8) [White March II only]
    Probably the most powerful spell in the game.  Each effect has an equal
        chance of occuring, but importantly--as a hazard spell--the wall
        triggers its effect _every second_.  This means that an enemy walking
        through the wall or standing in it for more than a couple seconds
        will almost assuredly accumulate a fatal combination of afflictions and 


Itemization                                                                !ite-
Not much to say here aside from what has already been covered in earlier
sections, except to focus on different kinds of enchantments that you can get
for your weapons.

Just to highlight a few that deserve explanation or highlighting:  reach, speed,
disorienting, and weapon change recovery.

    Disorienting is an effect that triggers a -5 to all defenses debuff for a
short duration on any enemy that you at least graze.  The duration is affected
by intellect.  As of White March II, the effect no longer stacks with itself, so
Scon Mica's Roar is no longer particularly better than any other disorienting

    Quarterstaffs and pikes innately have a greater reach than other weapons.
The effect is that their melee range is large enough that you can stand behind
another party member and still attack an enemy.  This is actually a fairly
powerful effect.  At the very least, it means your squishier characters can
engage with melee weapons with relative safety, especially since two-handed
melee weapons tend to out-damage ranged weapons. 
    More importantly, this means that even your designed-for-melee characters
can get away with wearing less armor than normal if they can hide behind a
sturdy tank.  Less armor penalty means higher damage throughput.
    Do note that it's not all sunshine and roses.  Some enemies also have reach,
so sometimes what may seem "safe" is not actually safe, since while standing
behind a tank you can still get clobbered with melee attacks.  Ogres are a good
example of an enemy with significant melee range.

    Speed is a 1.2x attack speed boost which.  This is a _multiplicative_ bonus,
so can combine well with whatever attack speed boosts you can find (remember
that this is still additive with armor-related buffs).  This is one of few ways
in the game that you can persistently improve your recovery speed (even with 
spell casting!), so you should generally prize this on weapons.  This has less
of an impact on reloading weapons since the act of reloading is so long that
speed makes up less of a bonus, but the effect is still good to have.

    These uniforms are unlocked by a merchant in Anslog's Compass in the
Deadfire Pack DLC.  Most notable about them is their special enchantment that
grants a whopping +20 deflection.  This basically enables non-shield bearers
to be virtually as tanky (equivalent to a superb small shield).  In addition,
because the deflection is an enchantment, it should stack with shield deflection
bonuses, making tanky characters all the tankier.  The only restriction is the
limited enchantment potential for these exceptional-enchanted light armors, as
they are already at 12/14 when you get them.  The existence of these items
should open up some more avenues for soloers, I think, which rely heavily on
being able to stack deflection.

    Exactly one weapon in the game features a bonus to your weapon change
recovery:  the belt "Coil of Resourcefulness."  It reduces it by one second.
This may sound like a modest boost, but coupled with the Fast Switch talent,
this will reduce your weapon switch recovery to 0 seconds.  This means that with
good timing, you can cancel out the recovery of _any_ action.  In fact, because
the actual "attack" (or spell cast) of an attack phase is triggered partway
through the actual attack phase, you can get _better than 0_ recovery for your
actions (just switch weapons right at the moment an attack or spell is
unleased).  To really benefit you need significant micromanagement skill, but it
effectively obviates the concern for recovery and weapon attack speeds.

    Wounding is a trait that comes up on a few items (off the top of my head,
there's Persistence, a hunting bow, and Drawn In Spring, a dagger).  It has the
effect of doing 25% raw damage inflicted over 5s.  What is not obvious is that
this 25% number is based off your damage _before_ damage reduction is taken into
account (even immunities!).  So if you hit for 12 gross damage and DR reduced
that to the minimum (2.4), the wounding effect will do 3 raw damage over five
seconds.  The wound can stack as much as it needs to; successive wounds don't do
anything silly like either only resetting the duration of the existing wound, or
setting the existing wound to a new damage value.  (In the enemy tooltip, when
the duration of the wound runs out, it'll reset to the remaining duration of the
next-closest-to-running-out wound.)
    The net effect of this is that wounding can make up a _significant_ (even
majority) share of the damage you do with the weapon.  It even lets you damage
enemies who are immune to the damage type of your weapon!  (And because the
wound does raw damage, a wounding weapon is _guaranteed_ to always hurt its
foe.)  In fact, the sheer utility of wounding makes wounding weapons a strong
choice for a solo run.

Universal weapons                                                      !ite,uni-

As mentioned in various other sections, in 2.0/White March there is a new
"universal" type of weapon.  All summoned weapons and soulbound weapons are
considered "universal."

When a weapon is universal, it means that _any_ of the following talents will
apply to it, regardless of its base type:
    Weapon Focus
    Weapon Specialization
    Weapon Mastery
    priest's diety-specific +10 accuracy talents

It appears the main aim of this change was to ensure that despite there only
being a handful of soulbound weapons in the game, any character with any weapon
selection would be able to use the soulbound weapons at full strength.  So a
Priest of Skaen with the deity talent and Weapon Focus: Ruffian will get +16
accuracy with their weapons of choice, but they will also get that +16 accuracy
with universal weapons.  (This actually makes priests _very_ good with soulbound

The side effect of this change is that it is now much easier to use summoned
weapons at full effect.  Before the change, summoned weapons acted like every
other weapon: you needed the specific talents to improve them, which could
potentially be a waste of a talent if your normal (non-summoned) weapons of
choice were in a different category.  Now you just need _any_ talent to buff the
power of your summoned weapons.  This can be particularly useful for a druid,
since with one Weapon Focus talent they will get a buff to their normal weapons
of choice, their shapeshifted form, their two summoned weapons (nominally base
types of a Great Sword and a Wand), and any soulbound weapons.
Very low recovery                                                      !ite,ver-

Because of increasing returns, it can be worth trying to maximize attack speed
(conversely, minimize recover penalty).  There are several notable sources to
increase speed:

    1.5x:  *Deleterious Alacrity of Motion (wizard, potions)
    1.5x:  *Time Parasite (cipher)
    1.33x: *Frenzy (barbarian)
    1.25x: *Potion of Power (potion)
    1.25x: *Outlander's Frenzy (talent)
    1.2x:  Bloodlust (barbarian)
    1.2x:  Speed enchantments (weapons, Citzal's Spirit Lance)
    1.2x:  Two-Weapon Style (talent)
    1.15x: durgan enchant on weapons (White March-only)
    -.2:   Armored Grace (fighter)
    -.15:  durgan enchant on armor (White March-only)
    -.15:  durgan enchant on shields (White March-only)

In addition, by dual-wielding, you remove the +.5 default penalty applied to

* Most multiplicative attack speed modifications do not stack.  These are no
exception; only the highest of the starred effects will be used.  These are
listed because they are particularly powerful than others.

If you're willing to go naked/clothes-only (or invest in durgan armor enchants
and/or Armored Grace) while dual-wielding, it's not that hard to get to zero
recovery.  Time Parasite or Deleterious Alacrity of Motion will get you there.
With Two-Weapon Style, you can even pick up some additional armor penalty
and still have zero recovery.

Non-dual-wielding weapons is quite a bit harder.  You can still easily get your
armor penalty down to zero if you're willing to wear lighter armor, especially
as a fighter. But you then have to overpower the +.5 default non-dual-wield
penalty and then have an additional +.5 to counter the remaining "baseline"
recovery.  You basically have to combine some of the multiplicative bonuses
until you get a coefficient larger than 2.  (See com,act- for the math behind

A barbarian can combine a speed-enchanted weapon with Deleterious Alacrity
of Motion and Bloodlust to get a 1.5 * 1.2 * 1.2 = 2.16x multiplier, which is
enough to get to 0 recovery, even with a little armor penalty.  Other characters
will have a rougher time.  Most other characters will be able to at-most combine
a weapon with a Speed enchantment and Deleterious Alacrity of Motion, which is
a 1.8x multiplier.  It's pretty close, and with a durgan-enchanted shield you
can get an effective 1.95x multiplier (ironic that you can attack faster than
someone without a shield, but eh).

Regardless of how you do it, greatly reduced recovery time is powerful.  If you
want an easy demonstration of how powerful this could be, grab a wizard
with Citzal's Spirit Lance (which comes with a 20% speed enchantment).  Give
them just some clothing and a normal quarterstaff to wear.  Try fighting with
out any buffs and see how fast the wizard attacks.  Then try boosting the wizard
with Deleterious Alacrity of Motion and Citzal's Spirit Lance.  Try attacking
again.  Observe the dramatically increased throughput.

Soulbound                                                              !ite,sou-

With all expansions, there are quite a few soulbound weapons in the game.  They
can be game-changingly powerful but also mostly limited in who can use them,
that it's worth highlighting what they are, who can use them, and any
particularly notable ones.  Note that because soulbound weapons are universal,
their specific type is not relevant for purposes of weapon focus and such.  Note
also that all proc chances are solely on hit or crit, not graze.

Name                    | Type          | Who? and Variations?

[White March I]
Greenstone Staff[1]     | Quarterstaff  | Druid, Monk, Wizard
    ...Corpse guarded by spirits in southwest Longwatch Falls
                        |               |
The Grey Sleeper        | Estoc         | Anyone
    ...Cursed sword guarded by spirits northeast Longwatch Falls
                        |               |
Gyrd Haewanes Stenes[2] | Scepter       | Druid[3], Priest, Wizard
    ...for securing your stronghold     |
                        |               |
Nightshroud             | Mace          | Priest, Rogue the mines under Durgan's Battery
                        |               |
St. Ydwen's Redeemer[4] | 2h sword      | Barbarian, Fighter, Paladin
    ...dropped by Urthal near Galvino's House at Durgan's Battery
                        |               |
Stormcaller             | Hunting bow   | Chanter, Cipher, Ranger piece found on tower outside Durgan's Battery, the other
    found off injured Winter Wolf in Russetwood

[White March II]
Abydon's Hammer[4]      | 2h hammer     | Anyone
    ...part of the main White March II quest
                        |               |
Dragon's Maw Shield     | Shield        | Barbarian, Fighter a Skuldrak in the west tower of Durgan's Battery
                        |               |
Ryona's Breastplate     | Breastplate   | Chanter, Monk, Paladin
    ...corpse on west side of Whitestone Hollow
                        |               |
Steadfast               | Sword         | Anyone
    ...reward for resolving the Iron Flail problem
                        |               |
Twin Sting              | Crossbow      | Cipher[5], Ranger, Rogue from new vendor that appears in White March II in Stalwart
                        |               |
The Unlabored Blade[6]  | Dagger        | Anyone
    ...reward for helping someone forge in quest Iron and Flame

[Deadfire Pack] (all in Anslog's Compass)
Belt of the Royal       | Belt          | Anyone
  Deadfire Cannoneer    |               |
                        |               |
Company Captain's Cap[7]| Helmet        | Anyone
                        |               |
One-Eyed Molina's       | Arbalest      | Chanter, Cipher, Druid, Ranger, Wizard
  Gold-Fingered         |               |
  Spike-Finger          |               |
                        |               |
War Club of the Mataru  | Club          | Barbarian, Fighter, Monk, Paladin,
                        |               | Priest, Rogue

1.  Greenstone Staff is a solid defensive staff; at second rank you get two
    castings of Beetle Shell per rest, which can be a lifesaver.  Monks in
    particular at rank three unlock a small (5%) chance to petrify on a
    hit/crit, which is nonetheless powerful if rare.
2.  GHS is notable because it has a fairly unique level of "accurate" (so
    accurate that it also does some bonus damage).  It also can dominate on a
    hit/crit (rank 2), which can be particularly great for a wizard who may be
    suited up with Blast and therefore doing a lot of attacks with a scepter.
3.  Druid's get a very particular ability with GHS at rank 3, the ability to
    restore their spiritshift.  It's a very high chance per hit (20%), so to get
    mileage out of this ability, you really need to spiritshift early and
    aggressively thereafter.  Best suited for druids who spend most of their
    time spiritshifted and attacking instead of casting spells.
4.  St. Ydwen's Redeemer has a 25% chance to completely annihilate vessels on
    hit at its initial rank, and honestly this is one of the most powerful
    abilities in the game.  It can trivialize some of the harder fights
    (including the final boss fight) since a lot of the harder enemies in the
    game are vessels.  If you're doing a solo, White March-inclusive run, I
    recommend going your way to get this and keeping it in your inventory for
    fights involving vessels (if you're the right class).  Do note that the
    dwarves at the end of White March I (the "Fragments of (name)"), while they
    are vessels, and they'll trigger the instant-death effect, are actually
    _immune_ to the instant-death effect.  They are the only vessels in this
    game with the immunity; even Concelhaut will be slain by this weapon's
5.  At rank 3, Twin Sting generates an additional 3 focus for a cipher.
    Notably, Twin Sting fires _twice_ before needing a reload, so all combined
    this can be the best ranged focus generator for a cipher.  (It is still
    possible to generate a huge amount of focus by keeping another powerful
    ranged weapon and using fast switch to switch to Twin Sting after firing
    with the other.)
6.  The Unlabored Blade gets steadily crappier as it ranks up, until at the
    final level becoming one of the best one-handed weapons in the game (mythic
    enchantment, Speed, 3% Firebug proc chance, and two per rest spells).
    Fortunately it is fairly easy to advance (just keep doing damage).
7.  The confuse effect that the cap triggers on being hit also applies to allies
    affecting the character with friendly spells.  This is likely a bug, but
    given how unlikely it is for there to be further bug fixes for pillars this
    far from release, consider it a counterbalance to how powerful the effect
    is against enemies.

Weapons and Categories                                                 !ite,wea-

This is just a collection of the different weapon focus/specialization
categories, what weapons fall into them, and what is "special" about each
weapon.  I just find that I keep needing to look this up, so I'm consolidating
it here.

Unless otherwise stated, the following base rules apply:
  - All fast melee weapons do 9-13 damage and have .35s interrupt.
  - All average melee weapons do 11-16 damage and have .5s interrupt.
  - All two-handed melee weapons are slow, do 14-20 damage, and have .75s

Weapon category
    Name            Speed       Damage type(s)  Special

    Flail           Fast        Crush           +30% graze->hit
    Pollaxe         Slow        Slash/Crush     2h
    Estoc           Slow        Slash           5 DR bypass+2h
    Wand            Fast        Pierce/Slash    Ranged, 2h, 9-14 dmg
    War Bow         Average     Pierce          Ranged, 2h, 13-20 dmg

    Battle axe      Average     Slash           +.5 crit dmg
    Sword           Average     Slash/Pierce
    Morning Star    Slow        Crush           +.25s interrupt
    Crossbow        Slow        Pierce          Ranged, 2h, reloading, 18-26 dmg

    Dagger          Fast        Slash           +5 Accuracy
    Rapier          Fast        Pierce          +5 Accuracy
    Mace            Average     Crush           3 DR bypass
    Scepter         Fast        Crush/Slash     Ranged, 2h, 9-14 dmg
    Rod             Average     Pierce/Slash    Ranged, 2h, 11-16 dmg

    Hatchet         Fast        Slash           +5 Deflection
    Spear           Fast        Pierce          +5 Accuracy
    Quarterstaff    Slow        Crush           Reach, 2h
    Hunting Bow     Fast        Pierce          Ranged, 2h, 10-15 dmg
    Unarmed         Fast        Crush           Always dual-wield speed

    Sabre           Average     Slash           +20% damage
    Stiletto        Fast        Pierce          3 DR bypass
    Club            Fast        Crush           +5 Accuracy
    Pistol          Very slow   Pierce          [Gun], 22-30 dmg
    Blunderbuss     Very slow   Pierce          [Gun], 6 shots of 6-9 dmg

    War Hammer      Average     Crush/Pierce
    Great Sword     Slow        Slash/Pierce    2h
    Pike            Slow        Pierce          Reach, 2h
    Arbalest        Very Slow   Pierce          Prone on crit, less crit dmg,
                                                    reloading, 22-32 dmg
    Arquebus        Very Slow   Pierce          [Gun], 24-36 dmg

All guns have DR bypass (6 normally, 4 for blunderbuss), are reloading, and
have a -.3 crit damage multiplier.


Traps                                                                      !tra-
Traps are an idiosyncratic bunch.  You get them either from disarming existing
traps or by paying close to an arm and a leg from an appropriate vendor.

The first thing to clarify is that _each_ character can set _one_ trap at a
time.  One person cannot set many traps, but across an entire party you can have
six traps; if you have priests you can have one seal per priest in addition to
the trap limit, which offers additional trapping potential.

The second thing to clarify is that traps have a special accuracy formula
(see below section) and currently has a bug where their modifier applies twice,
which generally means extremely inaccurate traps.  (Note that earlier versions
of this section speculated that traps have some sort of "environmental factor"
that determines their accuracy; this was wrong.)

The third thing to clarify is that you can no longer stack traps on top of each
other.  If you set a trap where the boundary overlaps another trap, the original
trap will be disarmed and returned to your inventory.  (If the disarmed trap is
a priest spell, you simply lose the spell.)

The final thing to clarify is that if you're used to traps from Baldur's Gate:
Enhanced Edition, Baldur's Gate 2 (vanilla or enhanced), or Icewind Dale:
Enhanced Edition, you're in for a downer.  (Most) feasible traps in Pillars of
Eternity are not the room-clearing machines from those games.  They can _kind_
of approximate the effect if all six of your party members have some decent
mechanics skill, but it's hard to sustain the cashflow needed to have six
dedicated trappers (though you can still do this for particularly hard fights).

So there are really a few ways to use traps:
    - Save up your traps for a big fight, at which point all six of your party
      members lay them down in a cluster to channel enemies through.
    - Use one or two traps periodically as you fight, treating them as a free
      spell of sorts at the start of the fight that doesn't cost an action.
    - Lay a defensive trap in front of relatively immobile party members, to
      head off any foes seeking to engage them.  Traps like Boiling Spray and
      Gaze of the Adragon trap are ideal for their extra effects; the priest
      Repulsing Seal also serves this role.  Killing Bolt also works
      defensively; its significant single-target damage can knock out a foe who
      tries to engage a squishy party member.

In general, I don't think any approach is necessarily better than the others.
If you have a steady supply of cash, a hybrid of the first two may work:  use
your cheaper traps from your best mechanics member (or two) for modest fights,
but then bust out all the big guns from all your party members when a big fight
is brewing.

Because of the accuracy bug, only really low-level traps (ones with -5 to -10
penalty) are feasible up until the mid-game, where a talented trapper (with
10 mechanics or higher) can get some feasible use out of -15 to -25 accuracy
traps.  Of the low-level traps, Fan of Flames is probably the best, doing
decent area of effect damage and thanks to a low accuracy penalty will, with
high mechanics, be able to crit for decent damage later on.  Of the mid-level
traps, Poison Dart (for the weaken debuff), Bounding Missiles & Concussive
Missiles (many hit attempts), and Pestilent Cloud (repetitive damage and
unconcious affliction) are the best.

That being said, aside from Pestilent Cloud, all the White March traps
are quite powerful and _can_ be the room-clearers we remember from the old
Infinity Engine games.  This is both due to their powerful effect size and also
the fact that all of them (aside from Pestilent Cloud) have at least a +10
trap modifier, which is also doubled to result in super-accurate traps.
A few Wilting Wind and Freezing Rake traps could end the fight from the
get-go, and will leave foes weakened if they survive the onslaught.  It's
actually a bit of a headscratcher why traps in the main game are so
underwhelming compared to traps available in the expansion areas, even at
comparable price points.

Note:  Gaze of the Adragon, despite a steep accuracy penalty, may still be 
worth using.  Petrify is such a powerful effect that even a graze can be
absolutely devastating against a foe.

Accuracy (and the trap bug)                                            !tra,acc-

Traps use the hazard accuracy formula from spellcasting (see section spe,acc-).
Yes, this does mean that they also get the +1/level special accuracy bonus and
yes, this does mean that classes with inherently higher accuracy will be better
at trapping.  But traps add some extra modifiers:

    Trap Accuracy = Hazard Accuracy
                    + 3 * Mechanics
                    + Cord of Resourcefulness
                    + Trap Accuracy Modifier

Mechanics offers +3 accuracy per point.  Cord of Resourcefulness is a unique
item that grants +15 trap accuracy to its wielder.  And the trap accuracy
modifier is what you see in the tooltip/description of the trap.

So in theory, on a level 16 monk with 12 perception and 5 Mechanics using a
Sunlance Trap, your trap accuracy would be:

    30          base
    + 2         perception bonus
    + 3 * 15    standard accuracy bonus
    + 1 * 16    standard spell accuracy bonus
    + 15        standard hazard accuracy bonus
    + 3 * 5     mechanics bonus
    + -40       sunlance modifier

I say "in theory" because as of 3.04/3.05 (and possibly going as far back as
1.05), there is a _very major_ bug that applies that trap modifier a second
time.  So in reality your accuracy is:

    30          base
    + 2         perception bonus
    + 3 * 15    standard accuracy bonus
    + 1 * 16    standard spell accuracy bonus
    + 15        standard hazard accuracy bonus
    + 3 * 5     mechanics bonus
    + -40       sunlance modifier
    + -40       BUGGY DUPLICATE

Yeah, an astonishingly low 43 accuracy.  Keep in mind this is on a level 16,
high-tier accuracy character, who would probably have ~100 normal weapon
accuracy.  83 would have been passable; 43 means that even against low-level
enemies the trap stands a good chance of missing altogether.

This bug has the major ramification that low-level/easy-to-disarm traps are
actually going to be much better than high-level/harder-to-disarm traps, simply
because having that penalty being applied twice is _extremely_ detrimental the
larger that number gets (if defenses have increasing returns [see section
com,sta-], then the corrollary is that accuracy penalties also have increasing
returns).  A lowly Dart Trap (-5 listed penalty, -10 actual) will consistently
outperform a high-level Sunlance Trap (-40 listed penalty, -80 actual).  I would
only use traps with an accuracy penalty no larger than -10 and sell the rest.
Do note that any traps with bonuses (ones in White March) are even better
than they appear, because the bonuses are also doubled.  Moreover, the game must
be unable to display trap modifiers greater than +10, since Freezing Rake and
Infestation of Spiders actually have +20 and +33 trap modifiers (doubled again
to be +40 and +66 respectively).

Note that oddly enough, Poison Dart Traps have a +11 bonus, instead of a -15
(or -30) penalty, making them significantly better than other traps at their

If you believe all this is a major gameplay bug (as I do), then please
register/sign-in to the official Obsidian forums and comment on or like the bug
I filed for this issue:

If that link is broken, let me know and I'll fix it.  Because Pillars of
Eternity is essentially at the end of its dev cycle, the likelihood that this
gets addressed is pretty low, but trying is better than not trying.  In the
meantime, stick to white march traps and low-level vanilla traps and sell the


Drugs                                                                      !dru-
Drugs have been overhauled pretty intensely since the original release of
Pillars of Eternity.  As of 3.0, they all last a long time (600s, increasable
with survival camping bonuses), come with some fairly powerful and situational
effects, but at the end of 600s will give you a "crash" effect that penalizes a
suite of stats until you either rest or take another drug of the same kind.

Let's go into detail what each drug does and how to best use it.  All effects
last for 600s, and all crashes start after 600s and last until you take the same
drug again or rest.

    Effects:  +3 perception, +25 defense against Ground attacks, -2 dexterity
    Blacsonn Crash:  -2 dexterity, -3 might
        Even ignoring the defense against Ground attacks, you're still up a stat
    point, so this might be barely worth it just for extra perception.  "Ground"
    attacks are a classifier for a bunch of different type of attacks; if you go
    through your own spells/abilities, you'll see some of them annotated as
    "Ground."  Common examples used by enemies are various priest seals, Binding
    Web, Tanglefoot, various other druid spells, Slicken and Slicken-style
    effects, etc.  Not terribly common, but when you're up against anyone who
    has access to priest or druid spells (which includes Pwgras and Ogre Druids)
    in addition to spiders or ice beetles, it might be worth chugging Blacsonn
    for extra protection.

    Effects:  +20% focus gain, +10 deflection, +20 reflex, -4 intellect
    Carow Golan Crash:  -5 might
        A dream for a cipher; the focus gain certainly outweighs the massive hit
    on the intellect.  Also a dream for tanky types, and they don't even care
    about the intellect hit for the most part.  Unfortunately, the crash is
    pretty severe for either of those, so keep a steady supply or blow through
    camping supplies.

    Effects:  +3 might, +1 move speed, -2 perception
    Goldrot Chew Crash:  -4 dexterity
        A modest but easily generalizable drug.  The extra damage/healing and
    move speed is useful for most people, and may mostly outweigh the -2
    accuracy penalty you get.  Support casters--especially druids--may benefit
    the most, since the accuracy penalty won't hurt much and the extra mobility
    may help getting into position.

GRAVESTEP [White March II only]
    Effects:  +25% of hits converted to crits, -20% maximum endurance
    Gravestep Crash:  -20 deflection/reflex, -25 accuracy, -2 move speed,
            -4 perception
        An _amazing_ drug for anyone even vaguely on the offense.  The sheer
    extra offense will easily outweigh the huge hit to your endurance, so long
    as you aren't in a fight that is on the razor's edge of feasibility and you
    need that extra bit of endurance.  Unfortunately, the crash is the most
    severe of any of the drugs, so pay close attention to the duration because
    the worst thing is to enter a fight without knowing that you're about to get
    hit with such immense penalties.  More than any other drug, this one will
    really have you desperately trying to keep chasing the white rabbit.

    Effects:  +10% max endurance, +25 defense against poison/disease, -4 resolve
    Ripple Sponge Crash:  -1 move speed
        Poison and disease are actually more common than you think; like
    "Ground" attacks they are a subtype of various attacks.  Notably Lagufeth
    paralyze attacks, all spider/beetle effects, and most special primordial
    attacks are either poison or disease, so this is a good situational drug to
    have in those cases.  Even outside of these cases, various druid spells are
    poison/disease.  Unfortunately, the crash is unusually severe for being a
    specialty drug.

    Effects:  immune to Confused, +40 v Charmed, +20 v Dominated, -5 perception
    Snowcap Crash:  -2 intellect/constitution
        The most specialty drug you can get, useful for fighting Adragans,
    Vithracks, Dank/Swamp Spores, and Fampyrs.  You _can_ get some mileage out
    of this against mages and ciphers, but this case is so uncommon it's not
    worth the -5 perception.  The other challenge this drug faces is that a
    sufficient lore or a decent priest completely obsoletes this drug (thanks
    to Prayer Against Bewilderment or Prayer Against Treachery) without the
    steep downside.

    Effects:  +15% attack speed, +.5 move speed, -4 resolve
    Svef Crash:  -6 resolve
        Good for most offensive characters, bonus to attack speed is nice to
    have for pretty much everyone.  The penalty to resolve means tank-like
    characters will want to avoid this, but on the plus side it means the crash
    is largely ignorable; if you didn't care about -4 resolve to begin with, a
    -6 resolve is not going to be that much worse (albeit with no other

    Effects:  immune to Fightened/Sickened, +25 v Terrified/Weakened, -10%
        attack speed
    Whiteleaf Crash:  -15% max endurance
        Good against dragons, death dragons, Caen Gwlas (who have fear or
    terrify auras), and then to a lesser degree barbarians (they can have a
    sickening aura), and then to a really lesser degree priests, druids, and
    wizards (particularly lower-level casters who will prefer using these types
    of debuffs instead of high-level damaging spells).  Unfortunately, like
    Snowcap, the main benefit (immunity to fear and defense against terrify) can
    be made obsolete with a decent lore or priest.  If you have neither then,
    it's definitely worth saving up on this; it makes the aforementioned fights
    much easier.


Troublesome foes                                                           !tro-
    You'll face one at the bottom of Caed Nua, and she's rough.  Super high
        defenses, is accompanied by Delemgans and a swarm of Xaurips, and has
        both a brutal breath and wing attack that can wipe out your entire party
        in one hit.
    The three most important things you need:
        1.  A source of paralyze (Scrolls of Paralyze work well, as does a
            cipher's Mental Binding).
        2.  Lots of afflictions to reduce will defenses.  Examples include:
            - spells/abilities that directly target intellect or resolve, like:
                o Miasma of Dull-Mindedness (wizard)
                o Arkemyr's Wondrous Torment (wizard)
                o Psychovampiric Shield (cipher)
                o Borrowed Instinct (cipher)
            - any weapon with Disorienting (-5 defenses on hit)
            - any spell or ability that can weaken or sicken that also targets
            will, like:
                o Empowered Interdiction (priest)
                o Secret Horrors (cipher)
        3.  Lots of buffs to help with accuracy.  Examples include:
            - Scrolls of Valor
            - Devotions of the Faithful (priest)
            - Blessing (priest)
    You could also make the fight significantly easier by also having sources of
        confusion.  Scrolls of Confusion work for this purpose, and both the
        wizard and cipher have multiple sources of confusion.
    You need all this because you effectively need to keep the Adra Dragon
        permanently disabled throughout the entire fight or else she *will*
        knock out much of your party in one go with either her breath or wing
        attack.  While it's possible to recover from this with revive effects,
        it can be ruinous and for myself--I always play for a zero-knockout
        challenge--a non-starter.
    From the start, you should have buff accuracy as much as you can in the
        first second or so and then use paralyze or confuse on the dragon.  If
        the debuff misses, just keep trying:  you don't need to reload the 
        game until the breath attack occurs.  Confusion at the start is
        preferable, because then the dragon has a high likelihood of using her
        breath attack on her allies, which can be a huge life-saver for you.
        At the very least, the annoying Delemgan will focus their attacks on
        the dragon.
    After you get an initial confuse or paralyze to land, the rest of the fight
        should be spent carefully monitoring the remaining duration of the
        respective affliction:  you never want the dragon to be not-confused or
        not-paralyzed for more than a second.  IMPORTANT DANGER:  there's a bug
        (as of 1.06) where if you use multiple Scrolls of Paralyze, it is
        possible that the dragon will become prematurely "unstuck" and be able
        to act, despite a paralyze debuff with active time remaining.  As such,
        _never_ use another paralyze effect on the dragon until the previous
        one has expired.
    Once you have the initial paralyze or confuse, use everything you have to
        bring down the dragon's will to approachable levels.  This will make it
        easier for future paralyze and confuses to hit.
    While doing that, you need to send off a tank to the bottom-right to deal
        with the swarms of Xaurips that are incoming.  Some powerful spells can
        clear them all out pretty quickly (Scrolls of Maelstrom help).  Don't
        let them stick around for too long; the skirmishers can paralyze and the
        priests can wreak havoc if left unmaintained for too long.  Confusion
        effects here can give you a lot of breathing room.  The Adragans will
        cast Relentless Storm, so try to eliminate them quickly or else you'll
        find your party being repeatedly stunned.  Having a character who is a
        solid single-target damage dealer will be able to make quick work of
        them.  Adragans also pose the danger that they can petrify your allies,
        so try to keep some form of Suppress Affliction or Prayer against
        Imprisonment handy.
    The rest of the battle should be a slow, pause-filled crawl of struggling to
        to keep the dragon frozen disabled while eliminating all the extra foes
        with enough efficiency that you can then focus all your attention on the
        dragon before all your ways of disabling/reducing will run out.

ALPINE DRAGON [White March only]
    In many ways similar to the Adra Dragon fight, except that you have a lot
        more additional foes to worry about.  Moreover, the Alpine Dragon is a
        lot more aggressive with breath attacks and area of effect attacks.
        Moreover, the additional foes appear almost instantly at the start of
        the fight, so you have less time to freely debuff the dragon.
    What worked well for me is to have a really tough tank run up to the dragon
        with the explicit intention of turning the dragon around and pointed
        away from the rest of your party, so that the breath/area of effect
        attacks aren't wiping you out.  Stock this tank up with healing potions
        so they can be relatively self-sufficient against the repeated breath
    Focus on wiping out all the additional foes, then when you have some
        breathing room set out and try to debuff the dragon as much as you can,
        as you would with the Adra Dragon.

    These guys have two really annoying characteristics:
        1.  They can petrify on hit.
        2.  They can cast Ninagauth's Freezing Pillar.
    Both of these things are awful.  Petrification can knock you out a tank
        pretty quickly.  Ninagauth's Freezing Pillar can wipe everyone out
        pretty quickly, and it also hobbles everyone, making it harder to
    When fighting these guys, a few things will go a long way to making things
        go your way.  Keep several casts of Suppress Affliction handy (priest,
        paladin, or spellbind item).  These can make sure your tank(s) stay
        unpetrified.  Prayers against Restraint and Imprisonment are useful,
        thanks to the immunity to hobble and petrification, respectively.
    It also helps to have fast ways to interrupt enemies.  Ranged attackers with
        high interrupt can be used to try and disrupt Crystal Eaters who want to
        cast Freezing Pillar.  There tends to be a huge window of opportunity
        since they take a while to walk to where they want to cast it.  Aside
        from that, you can also try to keep fast-ish casting spells like Slicken
        or Mental Binding to try and stop the cast before it can happen.  Melee
        interrupts don't work because Crystal Eaters will try to cast Freezing
        Pillar at range.
    Finally, for when Freezing Pillars do hit your party, make sure you're
        fighting in an area with lots of movement room.  If necessary, fallback
        the moment combat begins to escape narrow hallways in favor of larger
        open areas.  This way you can maneuver your party members out of the
        area of an active Freezing Pillars instead of letting them wrack up an
        extreme amount of damage.
    Consider Prayer against Restraint and Imprisonment (scroll or otherwise)
        when fighting these guys.  

    Dank Spores have the tedious ability to confuse members of your party at
        will off a ranged attack.  As such, for your sanity's sake, start off
        every fight by backing away and trying to pull any Sporelings away from
        the Dank Spore so you can handle them separately.
    Then, when the Sporelings are gone, reveal as few Dank Spores as possible
        (only one if you can) and try to engage it at range.  In a couple areas
        the designers perversely put devastating traps near Dank Spores, so
        unless you've been able to de-trap them either before or during the
        fight, you should not chance the potential instant knockout.
    Disabling afflictions go a long way here.  If you can keep a Dank Spore in
        perpetual lockdown due to successive uses of paralyze or prone, this can
        prevent it from confusing important party members away.
    Snowcap is a good preventative drug, granting complete immunity to Dank
        Spore confuse effects.  Prayer against Bewilderment also works.  Swamp
        Spores can dominate, and while Snowcap provides a decent bonus against,
        only Prayer against Treachery can protect you fully.

DEATH GUARD, ANCIENT [White March only]
    Tough as nails, but the worst part about them is the combination of their
        fear aura and their use of Clear Out.  The first will make it even
        harder to affect them, the latter can quickly knock your entire party
        prone, at which point these guys will take you out at their leisure.
    Best solution is to actually run in with a tank and confront them ahead of
        your party.  That way, at least if they Clear Out your tank, the rest of
        your party is unaffected.
    At the very least keep anyone with Suppress Affliction-type effects away so
        you can try to pull your party out of prone as fast as possible.

    Annoyingly, Fampyrs tend to be surrounded by paralyzing Darguls.  But the
        worst part of fighting a Fampyr is their ability to dominate a member of
        your party.  In fact, invariably a Fampyr will dominate a caster
        (generally a wizard or cipher) right at the start of the fight.  Even if
        you try to keep your caster far away, a Fampyr will either seek them out
        and hit them with their sinfully long range or just target the next
    As such, if you want to minimize how disruptive the domination is, you need
        to cast something like Prayer against Treachery or Circle of Protection
        _right_ at the start of the fight; the former is better since it grants
        guaranteed immunity.  Suppress Affliction and Liberating Exhortation are
        also your friends here.
    If you are starved for Prayer against Treachery (which will grant you
        immunity), Snowcap will fill in a pinch, dramatically boosting your
        defense against the domination.  You may still get affected, but at
        least it will be more likely to be a graze.

    Lagufeths are powerful because they frequently show up in a mixed group, and
        they have very synergistic and powerful abilities:

        Many Lagufeths can paralyze.
        Sidewinders are very effective at exploiting their sneak attack,
            such as on any party members paralyzed from above.
        Broodmothers are high-level priests; they can become tough as nails by
            using Minor Avatar and they do not hesitate to use healing spells.
            Left unchecked, they will using Cleansing Flame, which can do a
            brutal amount of damage to party members over time (in addition to
            negating your buffs).

    Even though White March can be accessed at level 5-6, especially on Path of
        the Damned you can find yourself getting your ass handed back to you by
        hordes of Lagufeths.
    The main trick to dealing with Lagufeths is to divide and conquer.  Most
        important is at the start of the fight pulling back, to try and pull the
        more melee-oriented Lagufeths and Broodmothers away from any Lagufeth
        Sidewinders that may be around.  Sidewinders can easily make short work
        of a single tank with their sneak attacks and are frequently positioned
        well behind melee, making them hard to deal with.
    Further still, try to further isolate Broodmothers away.  If you've never
        dealt with Cleansing Flame before, you're in for a rude surprise.  It
        eats away at your buffs and does a huge amount of damage over time.  The
        most effective remedy is Suppress Affliction or Liberating Exhortation;
        there are effectively no healing spells or items that can outpace the
        damage a non-graze Cleansing Flame can do.  And forget about druid
        heals; not only will their regenerative effects be heavily outpaced by
        the damage dealt, Cleansing Flame will actually shorten how long they
    Anyway, you do not want to be dealing with Cleansing Flames being tossed
        around while Lagufeths are paralyzing the party members capable of
        healing or using Suppress Affliction-type effects.
    When isolated, Lagufeths are generally weak; Sidewinders in particular go
        down pretty quickly.  Even Broodmothers go down relatively quickly; when
        they're busy trying to heal themselves, they don't have much time to
        wreak havoc on your party.
    If dividing and conquering is not feasible for some reason, then rely
        heavily on crowd-control effects.  The wizard and the cipher have
        several ways to disable a group of foes at once; Slicken and Amplified
        Wave are particularly great.  Prioritize knocking out/killing
        Sidewinders, then go for Broodmothers or other Lagufeths based on your
        crowd control picture.  In other words, Broodmothers with Minor Avatar
        are likely to avoid crowd control, so you should focus on them; whereas
        if you happen to catch a Broodmother off-guard pre-avatar form, then all
        their heals can't do much if you're killing their comrades while they
        are out of commission.
    Lastly, scrolls of Protection against Imprisonment or the spell itself
        (available at priest level 9) can be used at the start of the fight to
        negate the impact of the paralyze darts that Lagufeth love to use.  A
        paladin with Righteous Soul can be a very effective tank/blowdart sink.
        The priest spell Litany against Minor Inflictions can be used to 
        selectively wipe out many of the afflictions Lagufeths use to try and
        trigger sneak attacks as well (blinded, hobbled, and paralyzed).

    Some people say this is the hardest fight in the game, but honestly I had
        more of a trouble with the Radiant Spore fight.  (First successful
        attempt against the Radiant Spore was finished literally with all but
        two of my characters knocked out, and those last two characters had less
        than 20 endurance left and all items/abilities exhausted.)
    Anyway, Llengrath is a powerful archmage.  Gafornercos is a full-on Adra
        Dragon-type dragon, while Turisulfus is a souped-up Drake.  There's a
        bunch of smaller allies, notably high-level Xaurips and an additional
    Your highest priority should be dispatching this additional mage, disabling
        the main three bosses, and positioning the dragons so that their breath
        attacks (which Gafonercos loves to do at will) are not hitting your
        entire party at once.
    I highly recommend going into this fight with a priest in tow.  There's just
        so much utility to be had from one in this fight that can't be
        replicated by any other defensive class.
    Fortunately for you, the fight starts off in a wide open area some distance
        away from the enemies.  You should run as far south as you can ASAP
        (aided by boots of speed or Zealous Charge if possible) and use the time
        to prepare:
            - Prayer against Fear on your party (otherwise you'll be hit by
              double fear auras)
            - Try to summon any pets (as distraction/to help take out additional
            - If you have a priest, buff yourself up to the gills, in priority
                1.  Devotions of the Faithful, for the accuracy bonus.  Cast
                this again later when you can catch a few enemies in the area of
                effect to penalize their accuracy/might.
                2.  Watchful Guardian, if you're not going for a 0 knockout
                3.  Minor Avatar, to boost heals, any damage spells, and
                duration of other buffs.
                4.  Crowns for the Faithful, for the defense boost but also the
                intellect area of effect boost.
            - If you have a druid, start off with a Nature's Bounty and have
              everyone quaff one before doing anything else.  While you'll be
              "wasting" the healing of the potion, the other effects are great
              to have to start.
    Use a character that can evade/ignore engagement to jump straight towards
        the other mage (I believe he's a "Bog Apprentice") and work on knocking
        him down before he can do much damage.  A barbarian, monk, or a tough
        rogue can work here.
    If possible, use a tank to engage Gafonercos and point him away from your
        party (or move your party away from Gafonercos's front).  Do the same
        with Turisulfus.  Importantly, try to keep them all engaged near each
        other and near Llengrath.  This will make it so that you can
        disable/damage them all at once.
    Use a druid or wizard (or possibly a priest) to try to disable the dragons
        and Llengrath.  Notably, they can be knocked prone or stunned.  Proper
        positioning (and help from Crowns of the Faithful) will let you be
        efficient with your spell casts.  Alternate between damaging spells and
        disabling spells.  Because Gafonercos has such a huge DR, prefer spells
        with high damage numbers or raw damage.  For example, Venombloom does
        modest raw damage per tick, but thanks to a high DR does high effective
        damage per tick.  Same thing with Malignant Cloud.  In a pinch, a monk
        with Force of Anguish can disable dragons thanks to the powerful prone
        effect, but it will knock dragons around, making it harder to keep them
        grouped together.
    When possible try to debuff the dragon/archmage you're working on.  It will
        help other disables and damage spells land.
    All the while, keep your party healed through accidental corrode breaths and
        incidental hits from all the additional foes.  (Hopefully that ally you
        sent off to dispatch the apprentice was successful and is now
        successfully taking on other adds, right?)  If you're not going for a
        0-knockout challenge, a priest with Resurrection is clutch from
        recovering from accidental knockouts, since it'll also provide massive
        healing to everyone nearby.
    For reference, my first attempt I was able to lock down the
        dragons/Llengrath with a druid casting Tornados and Overwhelming Waves,
        and the bulk of the damage was done by a combination of:  a Minor
        Avatar-ed priest casting Rain of Fire and Pillar of Holy Fire, a monk
        with cipher Reaping Knives, and a cipher getting off a lucky
        Disintegrate or two.

RADIANT SPORE (and TENTACLES) [White March II only]
    The hardest part of this fight are the tentacles, which will throw
        highly-damaging rocks at you and are quite good at focus-firing their
        efforts one character at a time, almost ensuring quick knockouts.
        Unlike the tentacles in the fight with the Kraken, these don't teleport
        next to you and split their effort, being content to let the many
        Vithracks tank you while they tear you apart.
    Best solution is to throw up a lot of trash pets to soak up a lot of damage
        from the tentacles while you dispatch the Vithracks as fast as you can.
        A character class that can move rapidly behind enemy lines is highly
        recommended:  barbarian (Wild Sprint, Dragon Leap), monk
        (Flagellant's Path), or a brave melee character with Escape (two
        different capes provide 1/encounter).  You can jump straight to a
        tentacle and start trying to take it out.  Though only pursue this
        strategy if you have good defenses; the thrown rocks target fortitude so
        there's not much you can do in the way of protection.
    Tentacles are resistant to crowd control but are notably vulnerable to
        prone.  Use any prone-inducing effects you can; druids, wizards, and
        monks have very powerful sources of prone.  A priest with Repulsing Seal
        can work in a pinch.  Fighters don't qualify because their knock down
        duration is too short.


Tips for soloing the game                                                  !tip-
I've successfully gotten the Triple Crown Solo achievement (beat the base game
solo, on Path of the Damned, Trial of Iron, and Expert Mode) and have--as of Dec
2016--gotten The Ultimate achievement (beat all of PoE, including WM1 and 2,
including all dragons and bosses, on Path of the Damned, Trial of Iron, Expert
Mode, while solo).  So, I feel qualified to offer a hodgepodge of tips:

* Kiting is your absolute friend.  "Kiting" means approaching a group of enemies
    close enough to start combat, and then fleeing until most of them give up.
    Then you use a ranged weapon to attack one of them before combat resets,
    then when they give chase again, flee until they give up, and then rinse and
    repeat until they die.
        For this to work, you must be faster than your enemies; nearly all
    enemies will not give up unless it is absolutely impossible for them to
    catch up (running at equal speed counts for their purposes of "catching
    up").  The Fast Runner talent becomes necessary, but is not sufficient.
    Chanters have a chant that further increases movement speed, monks have Long
    Stride (level 3), and paladins have Zealous Charge (level 3).  Other classes
    may be non-viable, or at least struggle until Boots of Speed can be found
    (earliest consistent source is in Russetwood in White March part I, which
    may be long past the viability of some other classes).
        Some enemies have a higher base movement speed (wolves run faster,
    higher level monks can run fast, some paladins have zealous charge, and
    higher level barbarians will use sprint at you), so always strive to be
    moving as fast as you can.
        Some enemies will never give up the chase, no matter what.  Some
    bounties are like this, and there are still other enemies who just
    arbitrarily won't give up when pursuing you.
* Wild Orlan or Wood Elf may be the only viable races.  Wood Elf gives you a +5
    bonus to accuracy, deflection, defenses against targets 5m or more away,
    which can help with a chanter or with kiting.  Wild Orlan gives you +10
    deflection every time you are hit with a will attack, which notably means
    against any enemy with a fear aura you have a perpetual +10 deflection
* Enemies also have a health stat, which is several times their endurance.  In
    normal gameplay, this never matters since once all the enemies are knocked
    out, they are killed (presumably you go around giving them all the
    coup-de-grace afterwards).  However, the health factor is important because
    especially early on you may not be able to outdamage regenerating enemies's
    health regeneration.  But you _will_ eventually kill them (after a tedious
    amount of time) because you'll still be whittling away their health, so even
    if they're consistently at full endurance, you'll eventually start seeing
    them going down from Barely Injured to Injured to etc. until death.
        This health aspect is also important if there's an enemy that is too
    fast to consistently kite.  You may be able to outrun them enough to
    de-aggro them, but they may run away too quickly to be able to attack them
    again before combat resets.  The consolation is that any initial ranged
    attack to start combat _will_ eventually whittle away through their health
    until their automatic end-of-combat endurance regeneration is no longer
* You must either stack on as much deflection as possible, or find ways to avoid
    damage.  If you're good at kiting into a 1-on-1 having sufficiently high
    damage output and health (barbarian) may be viable.  It used to be that
    chanters were an amazing choice for solo-ing, because they could run around
    until they could use invocations to summon permanent allies.  Unfortunately,
    their summon invocations now only last a short amount of time, so chanters
    are no longer as good, though leaving on their speed chant and running
    around means they can keep summoning more.
        Save up for those items you can get that will summon allies.  You can
    never have too many.  It's worth heavily investing in mechanics so that you
    can go to the Vailian Embassy and get the Obsidian Lamp Figure, which 
    summons three shades.  You need 7 mechanics.  It is one of the best summons
    for the entire length of the game.
        The wurm summon is terrible post-summon nerf (which caps all summons to
    20 seconds).  Their attack speed is so slow that they can't get many attacks
    off before they disappear.  Plus, being ranged they cannot engage enemies
    for you, which is a crucial element of defense for a solo run.
* Once an enemy starts casting a spell, their targetting is fixed.  This doesn't
    mean much if it's a single-target spell, but for area-of-effect spells it
    means that you can run away from wherever you were standing when the enemy
    started casting a spell and completely dodge the effect.  Some spells (like
    fireball) have a fast cast time and give you very little opportunity to
* Corners and doorways are your friends.  If you can limit how many enemies can
    engage you at one time, this can make up for situations where you are unable
    to kite.
* Some enemies of different species (human vs others, ice trolls vs lagufeths)
    seem to hate each other.  A semi-high-risk strategy is to kite one group of
    enemies into another; with any luck they'll start attacking each other and
    you can keep running and just wait for them to kill each other (you'll even
    gain bestiary experience for their deaths, even though you didn't do the
* Overlevel as much as possible.  This means aggressively doing all the fetch
    quests in Act II.
* A decent stealth (5-6) is highly recommended early on because it lets you
    sneak around nasty fights.
* A decent lore (6-8) will let you use powerful scrolls, such as paralyze or
    confusion.  They've been nerfed, but they're still good.
* The earliest "critical point" is Caed Nua, which forces you to engage in an
    unavoidable fight with a bunch of spirits, and then deal with Maerwald with
    little kiting room.  This is basically the sieve that will filter out
    non-viable characters from viable ones; you should do all other Act I quests
    (including Raedric's Hold, which involves a really tedious boss fight with
    Raedric) before attempting Caed Nua.
        The spirits can be dealt with by sneaking to the door near the warden
    (stealth 5+ is absolutely required for this to work).   The warden will talk
    to you, which unstealths you.  Immediately run towards the stairs.  If
    you're fast enough you can deaggro some of the spirits and fight just a
    subset.  Use scrolls/items/etc to deal with them.  This basically boils
    down to dumb luck, essentially.  Save-scumming can remove some of the tedium
    of starting over repeatedly when things go south.
        You need mechanics 4 so you can unlock the door to Maerwald without
    having to clear the first level of Caed Nua.  Two ways to deal with
    Maerwald.  First, clear out the room with the beetles, unlock the door, and
    then after you aggro Maerwald, run to the spiders to aggro spiders, then run
    to the beetle room and summon an ally or block the doorway so only one
    spider can get to you, and then let Maerwald, his blights, and the spiders
    duke it out.  Second, block the doorway after you unlock Maerwald so you
    only have to deal with one blight at a time.  Whenever you see Maerwald
    starting to cast a spell, run around (even at the risk of disengagement
    attacks) so that you don't get hit by spells.
* Even though Potions of Wizard's Double are level 1, they can be much better
    than higher-level potions because they do not have a duration; they last
    until you get hit or crit.  With a high enough deflection, the additional
    +40 boost from Wizards Double will make it so that it is impossible for
    enemies to do anything other than miss or graze, which is huge.  Other
    potions and effects may not last long enough to complete a single fight,
    which may span many many minutes (even up to an hour).
* Every last point of every stat matters, especially deflection.  One character
    level's worth of deflection can mean the difference between someone who can
    never hit you when you have a Wizard's Double, or someone who has a 3%
    chance of hitting you.  3% doesn't sound like much, but because fights last
    so long when going solo, 3% basically means that it's almost guaranteed to
    happen in a fight that lasts longer than a minute and a half, and still
    likely in a fight that lasts half that.  (It's a little more complicated
    than that; assuming one guy with an average melee weapon strikes once per
    three seconds, the necessary time to get an expected value of one hit is
    ~100 seconds.  Also, at a 3% chance of a hit, after only 23 hits it is more
    likely than not that the enemy will have hit you once.  That's a surefire
    way to blow through Wizard's Double potions.)
* Respec often.  After the early part of the game, you'll start finding yourself
    more flush with cash than you know what to do with.  Aggressively respec
    your character to adapt to new situations, even if it means blowing some
    cash just to go all-in on mechanics just to unlock a critical door or chest,
    or even to pick up some specific perks just to deal with one fight.
* Rest often.  Don't push your luck with fights.  Sure it burns a lot of time,
    but it's better than having to start all over when you get into an
    impossible situation.
* For Trial of Iron, save often, even though this means you quit your current
    game.  What this means is that if things go south, you can quit your current
    game and then load from that last save.  This won't save you if your last
    save was in an awkward situation (the game occasionally autosaves on your
    behalf, such as when you get uncovered while taking a stealthy approach in
    Raedric's Hold), but can otherwise protect you from mistakes or straight-out
* If you're touching White March content, get St. Ydwen's Redeemer and keep it
    in reserve for fighting hard vessels (which includes Eyeless and the two
    towering titans in the final fight).
* Remember that at the end of the White March II, you either need 19
    constitution or Iverra's Diving Helmet to survive the ending.
* For Trial of Iron, don't be afraid to fail.  I burned through six attempts
    before my seventh went all the way and got Triple Crown Solo.  Learn
    something from each failure and you'll find that with each passing attempt
    you'll go exponentially further.
* In Expert Mode, you don't have unrestricted access to your stash, so make sure
    you keep extra weapons and armor in your inventory, in case you need to
    switch out.  You never know when you'll need to switch Blaidh Golan's
    stun/knock-down resistance with Aru-Bakr's +10 defense against ranged, and
    you don't want to have to burn a set of camping supplies to do so.
* Be patient.  Some fights (especially boss fights) may take many, many minutes
    (up to an hour, sometimes more).  Becoming impatient and doing something
    rash in an effort to speed things up may spell disaster.
* Be patient!  If everything is coming together, you'll have a sense of
    "inevitability."  I.E. all fights start seeming the same and becoming highly
    predictable.  But this doesn't change the fact that solo-ing the game is a
    slow and tedious process, especially if you're doing Frozen Triple Crown
    Solo (which includes White March content) or the Ultimate (which includes
    all dragons/bosses as well).  Start up an alternate, normal game of PoE to
    break the tedium or to reward yourself.  Play a different game altogether.
    Remember, when everything is coming together, it's "inevitable," so the rest
    is just the patience and willpower to see it through.

My build that I took all the way to The Ultiamte is an orlan paladin, with maxed
out resolve, maxed out dispositions for max deflection bonus, and zealous
charge.  Every last deflection and defense and resolve boosting item you can
get, and get every last deflection boosting talent (sword and shield style,
cautious attack, superior deflection, deep faith), and you'll need to constantly
juggle enchantments and item crafting.  Things get smoother at level 13 when you
can get the paladin's fire aura; while it damages the paladin it makes many
fights dramatically easier/faster (and means in many cases you don't have to
kite; just run into the mob at once and turn it on).

My first successful build was a chanter, one that focused on lots of kiting and
lots of summoning.  I don't know how viable this class is anymore after the
nerfs to summons, but after a while you can just rely on The Dragon Thrashed,
The Dragon Wailed (lots of burn and slash damage) and lots of running around to
kill enemies.  Regardless, the only way to viably take down the final boss fight
revolved around summoning an endless parade of ogres while hiding behind a
pillar to at least lose enemy attention (even if they can't be de-aggroed).
Fortunately, this last part is unaffected by the summon nerfs, because these
ogres would die so very quickly that they never got more than a chance to
attempt one attack (which meant that after almost an hour, this "inevitability"
paid off and killed everyone).  I documented my efforts at, which has other tips and specific strategies, some
of which may be outdated now, but some of which may still be useful (if that URL
is broken, let me know).

Special troublesome foes                                               !tip,spe-

    The one and only fearsome primordial-type enemy in the game.  By far their
        most terrifying ability is to petrify at will, which they will attempt
        every 20-30 seconds or so.  One successful graze or hit in a mixed fight
        is enough to spell the end of a solo run, especially on Trial of Iron.
        But even aside from this, they have the ability to cast Moonwells, also
        at will (about every 20-30 seconds or so) and heal themselves and nearby
        allies with a Nature's Balm, also at will (about every 20-30 seconds).
    These abilities combined means that a couple of them in a group fight can
        make enemies close to impossible to kill (due to multiple Moonwells
        healing everyone).  It also means that fights against them run the risk
        of becoming inevitably fatal for you, due to their repeat petrifies.
    The best way to do deal with them is with extreme prejudice.  When you can,
        kite them away or kite other enemies away so you never have to fight
        Adragans in mixed company.  When that's impossible, devote all your
        resources to taking out the Adragans _first_.  They will inevitably cast
        Moonwell and/or Nature's Balm, so your recourse is to kill them as fast
        as possible (even if this means respeccing into things like Primal Bane
        and Savage Attack before a fight).  Sometimes you should even respec to
        have 10 Lore so that you can craft and use scrolls of Prayer against
        Imprisonment along with a decent intelligence, so that you can keep a
        petrify immunity throughout the fight.
    The only except to this "kill Adragans first" rule is in the fight with the
        Adra Dragon, because the Xaurip High Priests in the fight appear to have
        infinite spells, so only in this case should you kill the high priests
        first (before all their dire blessings, holy powers, pillars of faith,
        and restore endurance runs amok) and then focus on the Adragans.
    Adragans appear to cluster near the lower levels of Caed Nua and in outdoor
        areas of Act 3.  So keep that in mind as you wander around/respec your

    Can be a major turning point for a solo run.  These gals have tremendous
        amounts of health, high defenses/DR, a strong health regeneration, and a
        high accuracy.  They can also paralyze at will, though you can dodge
        this pretty easily if you have a high movement speed (it's a cone spell,
        so if you move after it's locked on, it'll miss you completely).
    At a level that you would first encounter them (assuming hitting White March
        between levels 8-12), you are basically relying strongly on summoned
        enemies to do enough damage to them to actually outperform their health
        regeneration.  If you can't, take solace in the fact that you "only"
        have to do ~1500 damage to exhaust their health, and with a Wizard's
        Double potion, and a lot of running around to avoid the paralyze blast
        (which also does a significant amount of damage) you might actually be
        able to last long enough to do this much damage.  Of course, if there
        are other enemies still around, you're pretty much boned.

    The worst part about the Eyeless is that they have a Ray of Fire-style
        attack that does an immense amount of damage with each tick.  Even with
        a high level defensive setup, you could easily be massacred by this,
        since it targets reflex (which is harder to boost up to high levels
        compared to deflection).  Be prepared to flee.

   Turisulfus is by far the most dangerous part of this fight, since they have
        a ranged corrode attack that is hard to dodge (targets reflex, not
        deflection) and does an immense amount of damage.  So put all your
        attention at taking him out first.
    After that, you can pretty might kite Gafonercos around (he moves very
        slowly) and work on everyone else.  As long as you have high enough
        other defenses to shrug off most of the other spells being tossed,
        you can whittle everyone else down (and Llengrath is pretty squishy
        after you survive her onslaught of spells, though she appears to have
        infinite use of Form of the Helpless Beast, which can be problematic
        if you're trying to outrun Gafonercos).


Appendix                                                                   !app-
Special thanks                                                         !app,spe-

To all the hard-working nerds on the Pillars of Eternity forums who have helped
dig up all sorts of information on the mechanics of action speed.

To all the kickstarters and Obsidian for bringing PoE to life.

And my wife for putting up with my nerding out when I got my backer's cloth map
in the mail.

Version history                                                        !app,ver-

2017/11/23 v1.27
    Thanks to Robert for pointing out several of the math mistakes below.
    ord-:  math mistake on sabres.
    com,act-:  sign flip math mistake.
    spe,out-:  new section.
    aff-:  fixed math mistakes for hobbled and stunned.
    sta-:  might is not diminishing returns.
    tal-:  Dangerous Implement affects generated weapons.
    mor,wiz-:  Llengrath's Safeguard is not uncontested.
    mor,wiz-:  special call out for Llengrath's Blunt Wisdom + Dangerous
        Implement, more explicit note about delay.
    ite-:  wounds mistake 25% of 12 is not 4.
    ite-:  adding deadfire pack uniforms.
    ite,sou-:  adding deadfire pack soulbound items.
    ite,wea-:  adding damage numbers for ranged weapons.

2017/09/18 v1.26
    Random typo fixes.
    com,att- com,wea-:  typo fixes, clarification on fists and shield bash.
    spe,tim-:  more details about spell timings, what effects them.
    rac-:  fix for Hearth Orlan bonus.
    mor,dru-:  reminder note about healing stacking.
    mor,dru-:  changing Firebrand to have separate damage and damage modifier
        due to be clearer for stacking rules.
    mor,pal-:  clarification about hastening exhortation stacking, typo
    mor,rog-:  Deep Wounds interactions.
    mor,rog-:  clean up, modified note about Persistent Distraction.
    mor,rog-:  Finishing/Devastating Blow notes.
    mor,wiz-:  toning down praise for Bewildering Spectacle.
    mor,wiz-:  changing Concelhaut's Parasitic Staff, Citzal's Spirit Lance,
        Caedebald's Black Bow, and Llengrath's Warding Staff to list the base
        damage separately from damage modifiers to be clearer for stacking
    mor,wiz-:  add'l notes for the wall spells.
    ite-:  more on speed, more on weapon change recovery.
    ite,uni-:  priest note.
    ite,wea-:  new section.

2017/08/18 v1.25
    ord-:  some new findings on multipliers.
    ord,sta-:  more nuance to stacking rules.
    ski-:  survival bonus also affects potion duration.
    com,act- com,wea-: complete revamp based on updated data.
    ite,ver-:  updated to be correct with stacking and updated data.
    tra,acc-:  Poison Dart Trap buggy accuracy (moreso).

2017/04/17 v1.24
    ord,sta-:  fixing stackign rules.
    aff-:  fixed Sickened to be -10 fortitude/will, not -20. 
    rac-:  fixed erroneous mention of not affecting self.

2017/04/17 v1.23 (pulled)
    General grammar/spelling fixes.
    com,att-:  updating single weapon style.
    spe,spe-:  clarifying spell re-use works with any persistent aoe spells,
        not just hazards.
    pat,hig-:  new section.
    rac-:  Wood Elf bonus was nerfed to +5 reflex, not +5 all defenses.  Still
        good, though.
    rac-:  Nature Godlike's attribute bonus is only might, constitution, and
    rac-:  Moon Godlike _does_ heal self.
    mor,cip-:  Psychic/Brutal Backlash triggers more than once/encounter,
        extremely good in fear/terrify aura situations.
    mor,pri-:  guidelines for when to use the various Prayer Against spells.
    mor,pri-:  adding Halt as a notable spell.
    mor,ran-:  wolf also gets bonus damage.
    mor,ran-:  antelope also good for tanking.
    mor,wiz-:  added UNIQUE labels for some Llengrath stuff.
    tra-:  special call out for Gaze of the Adragan trap.

2017/01/23 v1.22
    General grammar/spelling fixes.
    ord,sta-:  new section.
    com,wea-:  clarifying that the dual-wielding speed bonus is a base
    spe,acc-:  higher-level wizard walls are in fact hazards.
    spe,bou-:  new subsection.
    ski-:  stealth useful for opening combat with non-combat-only abilities.
    rac-:  new section.
    mor,cip-:  adjusted note about Recall Agony, note about Pain Link.
    mor,pri-:  added note about Aggrandizing Radiance.
    mor,wiz-:  added note for Delayed Fireball and Wall of Many Colors.
    aff-:  flanked overridden by blinded.

2016/12/28 v1.21
    General grammar/spelling fixes.
    tal-:  notes about stacking sneak attack damage sources.
    ski-:  fixing erroneous note in Mechanics skill that traps have an
        environmental factor.
    mor,cha-:  Aefyllath Ues Mith Fyr applies to non-weapons, too.
    mor,cha-:  Dragon Thrashed got nerfed.
    mor,pal-:  debuffs do not lose duration while Liberating Exhortation is
    mor,pri-:  note that skaen's sneak attack can stack with the Apprentice's
        Sneak Attack talent.
    mor,pri-:  clarifying that the seals are not hazard spells, but simply
        persistent aoe spells.
    mor,wiz-:  Grimoire Imprint spells are bugged (nerfed?).
    tra-:  changing trap recommendations in light of the bug.
    tra,acc-:  trap bonuses are buggily doubled, too.

2016/12/22 v1.20
    wha-:  new small section to help people know what's been updated.
    ord- com,dam- sta-:  so, so wrong.  might is not multiplicative.
    ord-:  note about sabre damage bonus.
    com,tim- com,spe- spe-:  moving into new major section spe-.
    spe-:  new section for spell mechanics, adding accuracy info.
    com,wea-:  revising numbers to be accurate to latest information.
    sta-:  re-wrote might section.
    com,dam-:  might as a source of damage modification, re-write.  Fix hit
    com,dua-:  changed to com,att- to more generally discuss attack styles.
    com,int-:  more on spellcasting.
    com,sta-:  revising a bit to note about how to beef up other defenses.
    com,tar- spe,tar-:  new section
    aff-:  moving to before the Stats section so that all the math/dense stuff
        is grouped up and easily jumped past.
    aff-:  reorganizing so useful stuff is up first.
    aff-:  blinding doesn't break engagement, adding distracted, charmed no
        longer breaks upon a hit, time spent standing up is now baked into
        prone/unconscious durations.
    ski-:  new section
    mor,cha-:  section on chanter healing.
    mor,cha-:  chants recieve bonus from one-handed style.
    mor,pri-:  at some point (probably 1.05) priest seals stopped benefitting
        from mechanics.
    mor,rog-:  more on rogue sneak attack and backstab.
    ite,sou-:  The Unlabored Blade was nerfed to 3% firebug chance.
    tra,acc-:  new section to talk about accuracy and the major trap bug.
    tro-:  more details about preventative measures, adding note about Swamp
    tip,spe-:  adding more about the special fights.

2016/12/05 v1.19
    ord- com,dam- sta-:  clarifying might is multiplicative, benefit to sneak
    mor,ran-:  more on melee approach.
    mor,rog-:  more, adding note on Backstab.
    ite,sou-:  St. Ydwen's Redeemer doesn't work against the "Fragments of XXX"
    tip-:  updating with completion of The Ultimate.
    tip,spe-:  added Eyeless.
    tro-:  cleaning up obsolete remarks.
    tro-:  clarifying tentacles in radiant spore target fortitude.

2016/12/01 v1.18
    mor,dru-:  typo fixes.
    mor,pal-:  Sworn Enemy fix, Faith and Conviction fix.
    ite-:  sorting, adding wounding.
    dru-:  new section
    tro-:  moving around
    tip-:  level fixes, more tips.
    tip,spe-:  new subsection

2016/11/29 v1.17
    Miscellaneous clarifications, typo fixes, etc.
    com,tim-:  new subsection.
    com,int-:  interrupt also resets casting.
    mor,cha-:  intellect extends linger duration, details about Brisk
    mor,cha-:  fix for White Worms [etc].
    mor,cha-:  note about Thrice [etc].
    mor,ran-:  notes about melee approach.
    mor,wiz-:  note about Necrotic Lance.
    ite,sou-:  new section.
    tip-:  new section.

2016/11/08 v1.16
    mor,pal-:  note about Righteous Soul.
    mor,pri-:  correcting Holy Radiance damage.
    tro-:  adding note about Righteous Soul to Lagufeth.

2016/06/14 v1.15
    General grammatical and spelling fixes.
    com,dua-:  new section.
    com,spe-:  new section.
    mor,bar-:  revising section.
    mor,cip-:  adding Reaping Knives and Defensive Mindweb.
    mor,dru-:  adding Firebrand.
    mor,dru-:  druid claws get better over time
    mor,dru-:  adding more details about Rot Skull; no longer best ranged
        weapon, possibly trumped by Llengrath's Blunt Wisdom.
    mor,pal-:  more discussion of Faith and Conviction.
    mor,pri-:  note about Pillar of Faith.
    mor,pri-:  discussion about seals and spell-mastery.
    mor,pri-:  discussion about symbols.
    mor,pri-:  more notes on Prayer against... spells.
    mor,wiz-:  all magical weapons clarified to note that damage bonuses are
        already accounted for in the listed damage.
    mor,wiz-:  adding Llengrath's Mental Shield,Siphoning Image, Blunt Wisdom,
        and Dread Haze to spells of note.
    tro-:  adding Llengrath and friends.
    tro-:  adding Radiant Spore.
    spe-:  quirk about spells and spell-mastery.
    tra-:  note about trap accuracy and quality of traps.

2016/06/07 v1.14
    General grammatical and spelling fixes.
    mor,cha-:  reduced chanting is up to 50% in White March II.
    mor,cip-:  removing obsolete note about Borrowed Instinct not stacking.
    mor,cip-:  Disintegration's description is no longer confusing, so cleaning
        up clarification note.
    mor,cip-:  Mind Plague got nerfed.
    mor,cip-:  Amplified Wave got nerfed.
    mor,dru-:  adding Embrace the Earth-Talon.
    mor,dru-:  adding Garden of Life.
    mor,pal-:  Hastening Exhortation was nerfed.
    mor,pal-:  Sworn Enemy now per encounter.
    mor,pri-:  correcting calculation for disposition score.
    mor,pri-:  adding Pillar of Faith.
    mor,pri-:  Cleansing Flame note.
    mor,pri-:  Spark the Souls of the Righteous note.
    mor,wiz-:  Gaze of the Adragon is not the only petrification source.
    mor,wiz-:  Call to Slumber not obsoleted by Slicken anymore.
    mor,wiz-:  Arkemyr's Capricious Hex was nerfed.
    tro-:  adjusting Fampyr notes to include Snowcap, and also the various
        spells are now hard counters.
    tro-:  Prayer Against now a much harder counter to Lagufeths.
    ite,ver-:  Hastening Exhortation was nerfed.
    tra-:  traps no longer have oddly high accuracy (most of the time) and can
        not be stacked on top of each other.
    tra-:  Repulsing Seal also makes for a good defensive trap.
    tra-:  adding mentions of Killing Bolt trap.

2016/05/31 v1.13
    General grammatical and spelling fixes.
    mor,cip-:  focus generation is now 35% of damage.
    mor,cip-:  Psychovampiric Shield now bestows +25 deflection.
    mor,dru-:  druid claws now have +8 accuracy.
    mor,mon-:  re-doing monk section.
    mor,pri-:  disposition is not capped at +-3.
    mor,wiz-:  fixing reference to encounter spells for Eldritch Aim and
    mor,wiz-:  clarifying Mirrored Image only gets knocked away by hits and
        critical hits.
    ite,ver-:  Svef and Vielo Vidorio suppress interaction.

2016/05/24 v1.12
    General grammatical and spelling fixes.
    mor,dru-:  note on lack of spell highlights for damage spells.
    mor,pri-:  note on elemental damage.
    mor,pri-:  adding Cleansing Flame to notable spells.
    mor,pri-:  adding Hand of Weal and Woe to notable spells.

2016/05/23 v1.11
    General grammatical and spelling fixes.
    mor,cip-:  dominate no longer dissipates as soon as an enemy is hit.
    mor,pal-:  adding disposition effects on Faith and Conviction.
    mor,pri-:  Suppress Affliction effective against charm/dominate.
    mor,pri-:  adding disposition effects on Holy Radiance.

2016/05/22 v1.10
    General grammatical and spelling fixes.
    Due to changes to drugs in White March 2, changing references to various
        drug effects where no longer relevant, e.g. Blacsonn and Carow Golan.
    tal-:  Wilder Hunter a possible option.
    qui-:  many priest spells also feature an accuracy bonus to "Wow!" levels.
    mor,cha-:  some notes about chant time reduction.
    mor,cip-:  the charm/dominate spells are not all slow now.
    mor,dru-:  Woodskin now also covers Slash.
    mor,pal-:  adding new Pallegina-only talents.
    mor,pri-:  lack of per-encounter spells makes Holy Radiance and Interdiction
        stay good.
    mor,pri-:  modifying notes on Suppress Affliction and Prayer Against spells
        now that the latter grant immunity.
    mor,pri-:  removing bug note about Suppress Affliction.
    mor,pri-:  Repulsing Seal was nerfed.
    mor,ran-:  adding Twinned Arrows.
    mor,rog-:  adding Persistent Distraction.
    mor,wiz-:  Binding Web was buffed.
    mor,wiz-:  adding Caedebald's Blackbow.
    spe-:  realized I never created this section.
    ite-:  disorienting no longer stacks with itself.
    ite,ver-:  adding Svef and Vielo Vidorio.

2016/02/18 v1.9
    General grammatical and spelling fixes.
    mor,cha-:  3.0/White March II change to chant time.
    mor,wiz-:  killing grimoire switch time by potions and scrolls.
    mor,wiz-:  removing mention of per-encounter spells.
    mor,wiz-:  Miasma of Dull-Mindedness got nerfed.
    mor,wiz-:  adding note about Essential Phantom's damage type and aoe.
    mor,wiz-:  details for Llengrath's Warding Staff.
    mor,wiz-:  spell mastery discussion.

2016/01/12 v1.8
    General grammatical and spelling fixes.
    com,dr-:  new section
    pat-:  new section
    mor,cha-:  adding note about choosing between high-level invocations and
        high-level chants
    mor,pal-:  Hastening Exhortation suppresses Deleterious Alacrity of Motion
    mor,pal-:  Liberating Exhortation suppresses Suppress Affliction
    mor,pri-:  Suppress Affliction doesn't help vs Fampyrs.
    mor,pri-:  Prayer against Treachery doesn't help vs Fampyrs.
    mor,pri-:  Suppress Affliction suppressed by Liberating Exhortation
    mor,pri-:  adding Storm of Fire
    mor,wiz-:  Deletrious Alacrity of Motion suppresses Hastening Exhortation
    mor,wiz-:  adding wall spells to discuss their mechanics
    mor,wiz-:  adding Llengrath's Safeguard
    tra-:  discussion on the value of traps that do repeated damage
    ite,ver-:  new section

2015/01/02 v1.7 (minor)
    General grammatical and spelling fixes.
    aff-:  adding unconscious affliction
    mor,wiz-:  note for Ninagauth's Death Ray
    mor,wiz-:  Call to Slumber does unconscious affliction
    mor,wiz-:  comparison note for Ninagauth's Bitter Mooring to cipher beam
    mor,wiz-:  removing Tayn's Choatic Orb as a spell of note

2015/12/31 v1.6
    General grammatical and spelling fixes.
    com,int-:  new section
    sta-:  importance of resolve
    qui-:  chanters no longer have deflection on par with a fighter
    mor,cha-:  removing obsolete notes about "cheating" the chants
    mor,pal-:  normalizing area of effects for intelligence
    mor,pri-:  removing obsolete note about inaccurate normal traps
    mor,wiz-:  revising Minor Grimoire Imprint
    tro-:  adding Lagufeths

2015/12/28 v1.5
    General grammatical and spelling fixes.
    com,eng-:  new section
    tal-:  adding note about "universal" weapon type
    qui-:  updating Fighter's new higher deflection
    mor,dru-:  adding note about "universal" weapon type
    mor,fig-:  adding note about "universal" weapon type
    mor,pal-:  extended discussion on Zealous Charge
    mor,pal-:  info on area of effect for certain effects
    mor,pri-:  adding note about "universal" weapon type
    mor,wiz-:  fixing Merciless Gaze number
    mor,wiz-:  removing reference to Singed Grimoire
    mor,wiz-:  note about "universal" weapon type
    mor,wiz-:  notes about reach for wizard's summoned melee weapons
    mor,wiz-:  adding bug note about Withdraw
    ite-:  section about reach
    ite,uni-:  new section
    tra-:  new section

2015/10/26 v1.4
    General grammatical and syntax fixes.
    sta-:  some revisions to notes
    tal-:  some revisions to notes, especially for Fast Switch
    mor,bar-:  corrections about Carnage, more notes
    mor,cha-:  note about high-level problem, some notes.
    mor,cip-:  note adjustment for Borrowed Instrinct
    tro-:  note adjustment for Adra/Alpine Dragons.
    ite-:  formatting adjustment

2015/10/20 v1.3
    mor,cha-:  removing stuff about force-switching chants
    mor,pal-:  adding notes about paladin orders
    mor,wiz-:  corrections about how deflection stacks

2015/09/30 v1.2
    More stuff for White March/2.0.
    mor,cha-:  section about the high-level power curve.
    mor,cha-:  adding note about level 4 chants.
    mor,cip-:  revising note about power limitations.
    mor,cip-:  Wild Leech revision due to perception buff.
    mor,pri-:  domination/charm appear to be addressed by Suppress Affliction
        and Prayer against Treachery.
    mor,rog-:  highlighting Sap.
    mor,wiz-:  note for Llengrath's Warding taff.
    mor,wiz-:  note for Ninagauth's Shadowflame.
    sta-:  revising notes about perception.

2015/09/28 v1.1
    Minor updates for White March/2.0:
    tal-:  adding notes for a couple cross-class talents.s
    mor,cip-:  revised note about Mental Binding.
    mor,cip-:  adding Time Parasite.
    mor,dru-:  adding Nature's Bounty.
    mor,pal-:  adding more about exhortations.
    mor,wiz-:  adding note about unique spells.
    sta-:  updating note about perception.
    tro-:  adding note for Alpine Dragon.
    tro-:  adding note for Ancient Death Guard.
    ite-:  adding note about Coil of Resourcefulness.

2015/08/07 v1.0
    Adding Adra Dragon to troublesome foes
    New sections:  sta- and aff- and ite- and app,all-.
    tal-:  adding note for Interrupting Blows.
    mor,cip-:  Psychovampiric Shield note.

2015/08/01 v0.9
    Adding troublesome foes section.
    qui-:  monk is on its on endurance/health tier, fighter/paladin are on a
        slightly lower tier.
    mor,cip-:  adding extra note to Amplified Wave.
    not,cip-:  adding note for Disintegration.
    mor,pri- mor,cip-:  Borrowed Instinct and Devotions of the Faithful clash
        only on the accuracy buff.
    mor,pri-:  Suppress Affliction does not target enemies (d'oh).

2015/07/15 v0.8
    Initial incomplete version submitted.

All works                                                              !app,all-

1999 Mode Guide (Bioshock Infinite)
Clash in the Clouds Guide (Bioshock Infinite:  Clash in the Clouds DLC)
Heart of Fury Guide (Icewind Dale 2)
Party Creation Guide (Baldur's Gate)
Party Creation Guide (Baldur's Gate:  Enhanced Edition)
Mechanics and Character-Building Guide (Dragon Age: Inquisition)
Populous II Guide (Populous II)
Thief Guide (Baldur's Gate 2)
Ultimate Analysis (System Shock 2)
Ultimate Oblivion FAQ (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion)


The Stinger
Thaos:  "Have your friends proven a worthy distraction from the pain of

Hiravias:  "Ostracism?  Is that the name for the groin rash your mother
    gave me?"


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