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Old March 16, 2018, 15:27   #1
Join Date: Mar 2018
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Bantz is on a distinguished road
Couple of thoughts from a new player.

Really loving this game, finding it incredibly addictive. Still trying to get the game going with a smith build (Dwarf), but it's rough going. The two most successful builds I've had were for an archer (who died when she ran out of arrows) and a smith who lucked into some decent equipment and invested a lot of points into melee/evasion.

Some thoughts and questions.

1. Why does the Power ability reduce likelihood of critical hits? Are the bonus damage sides really that powerful?

2. I notice there are a couple of specific options for building specific weapons like Polearm Mastery and Impale. What are the odds we could get something for axes and/or hammers and/or the more oddball weapons like quarterstaffs and scepters?

3a. Typical stats for Naugrim (Nogrod) are 2/3/5/2, invest 3/3 in melee/evasion, 7 into smithing, put the rest of the XP into unlocking Armorsmith, Enchantment, and Expertise. Sometimes I'll unlock Weaponsmith, too, as early game success for me seems to rely on getting a weapon on Gondolin. Suggestions on how to improve this?

3b. My typical lifespan as a Naugrim is: respawn, die within about 10 minutes, reroll a couple more times until I can get to the forge at 100 ft. Any suggestions for survival early on?

4. What items should I be building at the first forge? Typically, I'll go for shield of deflection and some decent leather armor/boots.

5. Are axes worth it with axe proficiency? I'm not sure the +1 Naugrim receive is worth the penalty they receive to attack rolls otherwise.

6. What melee abilities are best early on? I've been doing Charge for certain as the bonus to-hit and damage seem to work out quite well. Zone of Control is good but I have a difficult time tricking enemies into moving adjacent.
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Old March 16, 2018, 16:36   #2
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1. Bonus damage sides are rather powerful, particularly on weapons which roll a lot by default. +damage sides is one of the most sought after abilities on smithed rings and gauntlets. The true purpose of reducing critical hits, though, is to make the ability powerful when you reliably roll 4dx by virtue of your weapon being heavy, rather than when you roll 4dx by virtue of using a light weapon with criticals. It locks you into an early, though not immutable decision on the type of weapon you will be using.

2. Most of those weapons are already intended to be interesting by virtue of their stats or the egos they come with (scepters in particular), though adding some sort of Cleave ability (maybe 25% sharpness when using axes?) could make axes more interesting to use.

3b. If you go up the stairs at 50 ft, it puts you back at 50 ft, but this time with a forge, which makes the initial forge room easier to handle. Aside from that, even early game, tactical behavior is necessary.

4. Play around with various things and see what works. I have had a lot of fun with +2 shields of deflection myself, and on a smith, making your first item smithing gloves is generally worthwhile. You could also go with Jeweller instead of Weaponsmith, there's some good stuff there.

5. Axes are often worth it irrespective of proficiency. A battle axe is basically like a bastard sword, except with +1 damage side, -1 attack, and -1 evasion. This is essentially a tradeoff between +1 STR and +1 DEX and I think the values there are essentially equal. I will use whichever has a better ego, weight, or has +1 attack or damage side or whatever. As a dwarf that is +1 damage side -1 evasion, which is worth it unless the sword is particularly good. As a dwarf I would also happily use a greataxe over a greatsword, though I'm not usually a huge fan of the giant weapons. The critical issue is that there is no longsword equivalent for axes, and that there are no mithril axes. If your stats are weighted for longswords, use those I suppose. But don't count out the extent to which a couple extra damage can get multiplied when it's what drives you over enemy protection.

6. Zone of Control works best on mobile characters who are fighting several enemies in a room, probably using dodging/flanking. Notably, there are a couple situations where you can get a flank on one monster, away from the others, and have the one you just hit trigger Zone of Control on itself. Further observation of AI behavior in rooms should help you recognize these patterns. Aside from that, a lot of the abilities are simply not significantly better than an investment in melee or evasion would be.
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Old March 17, 2018, 02:26   #3
Join Date: Mar 2016
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So I note from a couple of giveaways (Impale and Expertise in the skills list) that this is Sil-Q; this needs a small correction then to Philip's advice on going upstairs at 50 feet, as the forge will implacably remain at 100 feet. On the bright side in Sil-Q guaranteed forges also exist at 500 feet and 900 feet.

My own thoughts on your questions:

1) Can't really improve on Philip's answer. I'll note that +Damage sides is better than +Strength in most circumstances because +Strength is useless on light weapons.

2) Axes and hammers benefit from the new Anticipate skill, which does a lot to negate their accuracy disadvantages. Quarterstaffs are good with Parry, though the weak damage tells against them in the late game.

3a) So I just made a quick run down to 100 with a Naugrim statted as you suggest. The first important question for me would be "what are you making?". After making Gloves of the Forge +2, and investing another point to reach 14 smithing, I could make two of Gloves of Strength +1, a Mail Corslet of Resilience (+1 Con) or Boots of Nimbleness (+1 Dex). This is undoubtedly mid-to-late-game quality gear, but it requires a high investment and you'll need to survive with quite low Melee and Evasion for a longish while.

Without spending on Gloves of the Forge, at +11, the best bang for your buck from Expertise is probably Boots of Speed and Helm of Brilliance. Little else that low in Armoursmithing really benefits from Expertise except in the turn count.

(I note that at 11-12, you can really go to town making Stealth gear: a Robe of Stealth +3 is 11, Boots +2 are 10, a Cloak +2 is 12. +7 Stealth is substantial).

There are many many other possibilities.

A lower investment, giving you 1800 XP to spend elsewhere, would be just Armoursmith and Enchantment; that gives you a Mail Corslet of Venom's End, Round Shield of Nogrod, and a Helm of Clarity; this blanks a wide array of nasty effects and provides 4-13 protection. Alternatively a Mail Corslet of Protection, a 1d4 Round Shield of Frost and Greaves of Free Action gives you 4-16 protection along with protection from fire and free action.

I would be tempted to spend on 3 Melee and Evasion as you have been doing, and keep much of your XP floating until you reach the forge, spending it if it looks like you'll get into trouble. Even if you reach it with just 600 XP to grab Armoursmith, you'll have 7 points to spend, which gets you decent studded leather [-1, 1d6], a [+1, 1d3] round shield and [+1, 1d1] boots, and you can save your second skill for a future forge when you're in better shape.

3b) will help a bit, but here's more specific advice on the very early levels.

Pick up daggers, spears and throwing axes so you can weaken foes at range.
Fight in corridors, don't get surrounded. If you're going to be surrounded, retreat to a corridor.
If there are lots of enemies in a room, go the other way unless you have to cross it to find the stairs.
Getting some kind of armour aids survivability a lot. Search skeletons.
Closed doors block the wolves, birds and spiders you'll meet on the early levels.
Antidote is a common early potion drop. Murky brown potions are always Orcish Liquor and can heal you.
'S' puts you into stealth mode. If you stick close to the walls and stay in stealth mode, even with 2 Dex and no points in Stealth, many enemies won't even notice you're there.

4) I guess I mostly answered this in response to 3a). There are many different approaches.

5) Philip's answer says it all really.

6) Power is popular with quite a few skilled players. Finesse works well with Subtlety, but this is strongest for Stealth builds. Knock Back I don't personally find useful but some players love it. Polearm Mastery does combo with Focused attack in Perception, but I think it might benefit from a buff. (Proficiency gives +1, so Mastery should surely give +2). Charge is quite good with many dice weapons. Follow-through is not that strong, but opens up Opportunist in Stealth, which is both strong itself and opens up Rapid Attack.

In general though it's often good to invest in skills sparingly until adding more Melee and Evasion gets expensive.
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Old March 17, 2018, 14:46   #4
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I did a little experimental run down to 500' based on the Expertise build I discussed in the last post; hopefully it gives you some ideas.
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Old March 19, 2018, 17:30   #5
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What is the best way to proceed with stealth? I have been experimenting with it (crafting stealth items) but I frequently run into situations where NPCs notice me and force me into combat, killing me (fast movers like wolves) or where I can't move along a tunnel because an NPC is blocking the way.
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Old March 19, 2018, 22:24   #6
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Originally Posted by Bantz View Post
What is the best way to proceed with stealth? I have been experimenting with it (crafting stealth items) but I frequently run into situations where NPCs notice me and force me into combat, killing me (fast movers like wolves) or where I can't move along a tunnel because an NPC is blocking the way.
There are generally two main threads to stealth builds: songs, chiefly Silence and Lorien, which can be used without reinforcement for a pacifist victory, and stabbing with Assassination and Subtlety. Song of Lorien puts enemies back to sleep, Assassination takes selected enemies out.

In either case it is hugely advantageous to have Listen so you can plan ahead and avoid being trapped.

I posted a number of thoughts on stealth/pacifist runs here:
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