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  1. #1

    Need some advice for a (not to come anytime soon) ironman run of the game

    Hey fellow pathfinders :)

    After more than 400 hours into the game (!) and plenty of early restarts, I just defeated Vordakai. I'm playing on custom settings (no death door, normal crits & enemy stat & difficulty, damage = 1). My current party is relatively sturdy with some good damage output and near perfect skill coverage. All in all, most fights are relatively easy. I've got a party wipe from time to time mainly because I've been careless or because I didn't know what was coming to me and didn't prepare for the fight. I'd say that the only fight that required luck to be won so far was the fight against 3 demons in Vordakai's tomb. Apart from that one (which I would certainly skip if playing ironman), all of the fight seem to be very close to 100% winnable with enough skill, the proper party and preparation.

    Also, while I have the feeling that my party is okish, there's still much room for improvement and it's frustating at times to be playing with a (much) less than perfect party. I'll probably play to the end with this party, tho, since a) The game is really enjoyable b) Considering how challenging this game is (contrarily to PoE1&2 or DOS2, for instance), I wouldn't dare going on ironman prior to making a full (non ironman) run.

    Still, I've started thinking about what an ironman party could look like. This is what I've come to for now:

    Tank: Pala3/Sorc1/MonkSF1/DD8/SD or EK 7
    Should be a really good AC tank with skyhigh saves (pumping CHA)
    Stats: 8+4 (from DD)/16+2 (aasimar)/12+2 (from DD)/11+2 (from DD --> combat expertise)/7/17+2 (aasimar)
    (that's a 20 points build)
    EK is probably a better option than SD: More buffing capability, and some high level wiz buffs are really good for a tank (cloack of dreams, for instance)

    Off tank: Inquisitor (either pure or with 1-4 Thug levels)
    Dazzling display is great at low-mid levels but seems to lose its effectiveness after level 10. Not that you can't succeed (by a large marning) at the intimidate checks, but most ennemies seem to be either immune to fear or to have a flat-footed AC nearly identical to their normal AC (which renders the shaken affect almost useless for rogues)
    The main reason I included an inquisitor in the team is the perception/persuasion(intimidate) bonus. If I let go dazzling display (because it loses too much of its effectiveness at high levels), a pure rogue might be doing equality well when it comes to perception, provided it's not a KM...

    Dps:

    - One ranged vivisectionist. Shatter defenses works for ranged, right ?

    - One melee (either pure KM or vivi4/KM12, or even rogue instead of KM is perception is needed; also some non dagger weapons are nice)
    Shatter defenses isn't as great as I thought it would be: Most of the time, this dps will be flanking with one of the tanks.

    - One Rogue 1/Wiz3/AT, for those ennemies with high AC and ridiculous touch AC.
    Edit: Or possibly Wiz5/Rogue1/Wiz6/AT to gain access to haste on level 5. Not sure it's worth it, tho, since it should be possible to use scrolls for the few times you really need haste at level 5.

    Last slot:

    Probably Cleric (liberation domain+?) with some reach weapon but since the inquisitor and the pure vivisectionist provide some cleric spells, it may be doable to go with another class.

    Edit: Paladin (ranged ?) seems also good as last slot. Can take care of the healing (to some extend) and makes a good candidate for MC. Not many skills, tho.

    Also, I'm still really unsure which toon should be the MC.

    I'm not really tempted to have one of the melee chars as MC, even tho the tank should be really sturdy (finger of death, roll 1 and boom! game over; also, at least until level 12 and possibly after, one crit from one of the toughest monsters and you're dead), but still that char needs to be able to solo a soul eater. Maybe the Rogue/Wiz/AT, provided I do some kiting ?

    I probably will be playing on the same difficulty setting (no death door, normal crits & enemy stat & difficulty, damage = 1).


    Anyway. That's really an early draft but I'd like to try ironman some day, so I'm welcoming any comment that could help improve/clarify the above setup.

    Note: I don't want to rely on builds that are clearly broken because of bugs, like EA1/Wiz+AT or SS+Duelist for instance because a) It's bug abuse! b) It will likely be fixed some day ;) .
    Last edited by Matt; 11-19-2018 at 11:40 AM. Reason: typos and more details

  2. #2
    why Liberation domain for Cleric?

    it seems that the best cleric is Ecclesitheurge with Weather (for lightning) + Animal (for Smilodon), but I'm open to suggestions :)

  3. #3
    Senior Member HenriHakl's Avatar
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    I think you should strongly consider a less-than-6 party too. With the XP options available you could accelerate the levels of a smaller party.

    A 6 man party can expect to finish at levels 16 maybe 17. But a smaller party could be up to level 20.

  4. #4
    @Mirrinor: Liberation was for the level 8 power (removes difficult terrain and fear effects in a radius; it doesn't work against the "cowering" [no actions] status that some daemons - and maybe others - can inflict, tho). Thanks for the suggestion, Ecclesitheurge is strong indeed, but the more I think about it, the more I'm tempted to replace that cleric with a ranged MC paladin (pure). Pros: good healing, good survivability, a bit more dps, very good buff against evil bosses. Cons: reduced skillset for the MC.

    @HenriHaki: I've considered a less than 6 party (played IWD2 with a 3 man party long time ago), however:

    a) Removing anyone in this 6 man party would seriously weaken it.
    b) You need roughly 3 times as much experience to reach level 20 than what you need for level 17. I don't know how experience is calculated (never played Pathfinder before) but I have some doubts: Would removing 1 member really translate in that much more experience ? Can you provide some details please ?

  5. #5
    Senior Member HenriHakl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    @HenriHaki: I've considered a less than 6 party (played IWD2 with a 3 man party long time ago), however:

    a) Removing anyone in this 6 man party would seriously weaken it.
    b) You need roughly 3 times as much experience to reach level 20 than what you need for level 17. I don't know how experience is calculated (never played Pathfinder before) but I have some doubts: Would removing 1 member really translate in that much more experience ? Can you provide some details please ?
    I can't give exact numbers - but there is a two-fold consideration for XP (as far as I know):

    * with the appropriate option under difficulty checked, XP earned is given only to active party members (not companions and mercenaries currently inactive). This option also scales the XP given to the party's size. I do not know if it a linear scaling (but I would guess so) - probably having a half the party (3) would double the XP

    * however, Pathfinder also scales XP based on the effective party level and adjusts the effective CR of an encounter (and thus the XP earned) based on that. That is a long-winded way of saying that a smaller party is rewarded more XP for accomplishing the same thing.

    This final point may have been a factor in my second playthrough where I was still sharing XP across everybody, but played most of the game with a party of 4. The most obvious effect for me was that I finished mid level 16 in first playthrough and mid level 17 on second playthrough.

  6. #6
    I like small parties, and in some games (PoE, DOS2EE come to mind) this can be relatively easy to set up. However, as I said before, I don't really see who I could remove from the party without seriously weakening it. A possible option would be to have a pool of 6-7 chars but to only use a selection of 4 at any given time. But even that may not prove so easy.

    Would you be willing to share what your party setup was when you went with only 4, please ? Also, what difficulty where you playing, did you have some very tough fights, do you think it could have worked on ironman without requiring too much luck ?

  7. #7
    Senior Member HenriHakl's Avatar
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    I played a pure rogue, and my mainstay party consisted of companions: Valerie, Amiri, and Harrim. The last spot was technically open-ended, Linzi and Jubilost also frequently replaced Harrim.

    This was on normal difficulty. I wouldn't say that any fights were particularly noteworthy for being hard (or to be more accurate, none of the fights were hard because there were only four people in the party).

    With the exception of Tartuk & Hargulka. I had a hard time against those two.

    I don't think you need to be overly concerned with having the "perfect" party. You don't need to cover all the skills. You don't need to have arcane or divine magic. Being able to reliably hit on attacks and deal good damage while mitigating or avoiding being hit yourself is sufficient in the vast majority of cases.

    A theoretical "best minimal" party in my opinion would be a 3 man party: paladin, monk (sensei), and cleric (abadar: nobility domain). The sensei would be on maximum Wisdom and offer combat control along with bard-like inspire courage. The cleric (particularly nobility domain in Kingmaker) would be a buffer and combat focused.

  8. #8
    Hmmm... not sure how this 3 man party would fare on my difficulty settings.

    The fight at the end of the bloom would be far from trivial, I'd guess. Also, those several fights in Vordakai's tomb where you meet 1 (or even sometimes 2) big cyclops (I'm not talking about the "normal" ones, but about the huge version of them) would probably be somewhat difficult.

    About covering all the skills, I was thinking about athletics, mobility and the like. I'm clearly not going to cover all possible classes in one single party (I'm not bringing in a druid, for instance, nor a ranger) but the way I see it, I would need 2 tanks (or at the very least one tank and one off tank), 1 dps (preferably 2), 1 heal, and 1 character capable of dealing touch damage. That's 5-6 characters. Of course, one char may be able to fill several roles (paladin for off tanking and healing ?) so maybe 4 (wo)man party is doable. Only 3 won't be easy, tho.

    Also, I don't really like the idea of "Death's door" or reducing criticals, so going with those isn't an option. On the other side, I don't plan to tackle Hard or Unfair.

  9. #9
    Senior Member HenriHakl's Avatar
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    In my experience you only need 1 tank; coupled with some tactical positioning in combat. As long as the tank tanks hard enough.

    Here is a screenshot of Valerie, at level 8. This excludes another +2 to AC if I had manually used barkskin and used Valerie's camp special ability.



    AC that high is untouchable by the vast majority of enemies throughout most of the game. Valerie is then only troubled by spells and AOE effects. So with Valerie tanking that hard you just need somebody else to bring the DPS.

  10. #10
    Senior Member No One of Consequence's Avatar
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    How do you get 49 ac with Valerie at level 8? Could you tell us every element you give her, please? I'm level 12 and I have only about 44 I think.

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