She Guides My Pen

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Horses fly without wings and conquer without swords. He usually knows when you're happy, He usually knows when you're sad And he always knows when you have carrots. In riding a horse, we borrow his freedom. Horses love freedom. The weariest old work horse will roll on the ground or break into a lumbering gallop when he is turned loose into the open.

A horse is the projection of peoples' dreams about themselves - strong, powerful, beautiful, graceful, spirited - he gives us escape from our mundane world. It's not enough for a man to know how to ride, he must know how to fall. Horse sense is the thing a horse has that keeps him from betting on people. There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man. The early morning sun was generous with its warmth. In this case the block is an unqualified positive, since it's free, but the 5 healing is minimally effective even at low levels and unnoticeable at higher levels.

The MP boost is a better bonus because max energy levels are lower overall, but again at high levels makes little impact. Still, if you have a Hunter or Ninja who already took the Rich Kid player, the only other option with a good Senses boost is the Goth. And the Goth is lame. The Goth herself, especially, is aware of this. It's why she's so macabre all the time. Also a decent choice for the specialists. And shrugging off 1 condition per turn is pretty good, although sometimes a little superfluous.

The conditions that are consistently annoying are Confuse and Stun and Rage. Weakness hobbles your fighters, especially the builds focused on Criticals, but makes no difference to the casters. The other conditions can work well when you inflict them, but the enemy versions are almost invariably weak very low damage per turn , and so you'll barely even notice them. So, in effect, conditions are a real threat only about half the time - at least as far as your party is concerned.

The beauty here is that the Surfer can shake off Stun, and the only other way to do that is with a Cleric if you're lucky enough to have him Purge you before your turn. Shaking off Poison 4 is pretty pointless though, and if you do have that Cleric purging maybe Surfer isn't the best way to go. One place where he shines though is with the Barbarian, for a specific build, as it removes the Rage he generates each time you attack with his skill, meaning you can use the skill every turn.

We'll see about that later. Well, actually, not so extraordinary. Time for a little blurb about gold in this game. At the start, it's scarce, and there are several temptations out of your reach. However, by the end of a full playthrough, you'll have a couple to several thousand gold depending on how profligate you've been , which carries over to your next game, so, long story short, any gold boost items or abilities are kind of a waste of space.

Me, personally, I bought the 10' gold package, twice, completely unnecessarily, just because I want to support the game. So you might think: "Ooooo, yay! However, this is the only player with 3 in Senses. If Critical and Initiative are what you're going for, ain't nothin' better. Paired with the Ninja Elf you get the highest possible Senses score, you know, for all those resistance rolls and maxed out Criticals.

Something to consider. So, seriously, this guy rocks. Especially with the Knight and Druid more on that later. Clearly a fighter 2 Body , but that 1 point in Mind makes him just that much better if you want a fighter who's blasting away with skills all day - like the Warrior and Paladin and skill-intense Barbarian, or not like the Monk and dumb as a post Barbarian. The Knight's kind of in the middle ground on this one.

But that ability, that beautiful ability, which lets him ignore the armor penalties on your energy. So the Knight, for example, who benefits most from good armor, would have almost only half his MP if you pair him with any other player. Muy significativo, this is. Which, again, means more skill-time for your fighters. But also means that you can tough up your, say, Warlock with righteous armor if you're willing to sacrifice a couple points in Mind.

Compared to a Warlock with the higher Mind value and no or light armor, the armored Warlock will have less energy Mind determines energy levels , but he'll be much tougher - that's the trade off. The Druid in particular benefits from this if you build him up as a frenzied bear, giving him the protection he desperately needs without reducing the energy he needs to maul monsters twice each turn.

Let me put it this way: I have never played a game without the Rocker. You've already had a taste of my Goth hate, so no surprises coming. The attribute boosts 2 Senses, 1 Mind are of course fine for any specialist. The point in Mind is nice for MP, but unlike the fighters you don't have a plethora of health as a specialist, so the Cheerleader's Body point is more appealing. The only exception is if this is one of your first characters on your first play-through. Her special ability negates some of the frustrations of the learning curve, saving you gold while you feel out new encounters.

The amount of gold this saves, depending on the player, is small but significant early on, and when you are flooded with gold a character reset is cheap and painless. Another one of those "never played a game without him" players. The obvious choice for any of your casters Cleric, Mage, Warlock, Psion with the 3 in Mind, which ensures they'll have enough MP to blanket the world of Paperos in spells. The extra trinket slot is delicious, no matter how you slice it, but also tempts one with some interesting choices. Say you want a Barbarian who, in addition to his Stunning hammer, has each of the four trinkets that give a condition Rage, Fire, Poison and Wound.

And say you have a Paladin as well who goes around causing Weaken all the time and the Game Room item Weapon Rack that lets you cause Sudden Death with 6 instead of 7 conditions. So that every time the Barbarian scores a crit, he causes Sudden Death. More useful than you might think. The 1 point in each attribute makes him the obvious choice for any Swiss gamers, yet not so clear on how to use him. But basically, he's good enough to be any character.

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The real question is, what's with his ability? Does that help? What's the point? The point is, the best weapons and armor in the game are ones you craft yourself. And there's no special secret quest, you just have better and better items available to you as you level up. This is actually pretty important since you'll be spreading the glory to the whole team. So long as you can afford all the upgrades. Okay, so two things. Three actually. First is, you have to buy this guy crazy Europeans!

No biggie, fine. Second, attributes are a little off, as he's clearly magic oriented 2 Mind , but your weak magey guys are hardly ever going to be hitting anything. Still, more HP with that 1 Body point although more Threat too - booo! Like the Goth, you might want him because his attributes are the best option if you've got, say, a slew of casters in your team. But and here's my third point , his ability is not actually as awesome as it sounds.

What with the XP scaling, what it means is that your Exchange Student will consistently be 1 level above everyone else. At level 5, this is moderately important. At level 20 you really can't tell the difference. So, not awful, but also not a clear reason to bring him. Leave him in the game room with the Goth, I say, so they can exchange existential love poems and kiss violently behind the pinball machine. And for our final entry, a welcome third lady friend. On that, while it's a little disappointing that there are only 3 girl players in this game, that's actually not very realistic.

Lady role-players are about as rare as chartreuse winged unicorns with golden fiber manes and super-heated plasma tails - so really it's nice they put any girls in here at all. So her attributes are rather welcome for the magic lovers, as she's only the third player with more than one point in Mind 2.

And with the Senses boost 1 she's a natural fit for one of the specialist classes with a build that focuses on the specialist version of spells, which most of their efficient builds do. Her skill is actually pretty good, but you have to know how to use it. What it does is fill up the details in your Bestiary twice as fast.

I'd rather get in to the Bestiary later, but I do need to get in to it here just to explain what her skill actually brings to the table:. Basically the Bestiary lets you know more about your opponents, such as their attributes and vulnerabilities, which can actually be really helpful if you take the time to research it all like a proper Bookworm so you know what abilities to use on them most effectively and stuff like that.

Meaning, you're gonna level the skills you're gonna level, and every so often an enemy will take more damage from them, but at least this way you'll know which of your skills will be most effective in any particular fight. So you get to know the baddies better by slaughtering them in large numbers.

Isn't that nice? Whatever happened to a friendly conversation over a cup of tea? Without the Bookworm it takes 28 kills to learn all there is to know about a beast. With her it's half, obviously. I think the idea there is that if you have your game room set up so that you can plop 7 monsters on the field per fight, it's only 4 or 2 full fights and you're there. Most of my teams need other perks though, but still at 5 per battle that's only 6 or 3 fights and you'll know all there is to know. Unless of course it's a Large or X-Large beast, who still need 28 or 14 kills, which can then get pretty tedious as you can't fit too many on the field at once - nor can you necessarily handle 3 XL beasts at once, depending.

And then there are the few beasts that you can't set up fights with, like Cave Bats that are only in the Nearby Cave, meaning you have to wander through that cave until you find enough of those bats - so that's a little annoying too. Worse still are the few monsters you only encounter once or twice, like Brass Beetles, and they never show up in quests or random encounters again. The good news is that, with the last update, there are 3 new caves with 3 levels each, and each of those corresponding to a range of levels of monsters.

All the monsters outside of bosses and certain special encounters - neither of which show up in the bestiary anyway. For the low and high end ones, you'll find them pretty easily. But the mid range ones, of which there are just way too many, you may well have to wander through those caves, over and over, trying to find those doppelgangers or swamp bandits that you only encountered once or twice by following the story. A kind of lame trick you can use, in particular with doppelgangers since they change to something else on their first turn and then the kill is for whatever it changed into , is to kill as many as you can once you find a room with them in it, then escape the fight.

They might bop you on the way out with a single hit, then down a potion or two if you need to and go back into the same room. You'll encounter another group of monsters often not the one s your looking for , but it's better than wandering through all the traps and empty rooms on the one level those elusive beasts you're hunting are found. Which can be helpful with the low level enemies. But even with the Bookworm you'll have to set up battles to kill enough of some of them to get the bonus.

If you just follow the story you'll be moving on to higher level beasties before you fill out each entry. But again, while the damage boost ultimately is just a nice gesture, knowing more about them helps your gameplay if you let it and it's also just fun to know, I think. More concretely, there's a series of quests later on at lvl 25 that involve filling out the Bestiary, up at the Laboratory, which leads to some fairly challenging group boss fights and you'll need that Doppelganger entry filled to get the second and third fights , so there's that.

But by the end of a full playthrough - which gets you to about level 45 now - where you just follow the story without stopping for extra slaughtering time, you'll only get about halfway through the Bestiary entries for almost all the critters without her. With the Bookworm, again just following quest to quest, most of them will be complete. That's the difference. So, your choice of race has the least impact of your 3 choices.

Nevertheless, it's a choice, you need to make it, so let me break it down, with the obligatory rating i. I will say part of the fun is just what they look like. A Cheerleader with a thick beard just makes me chuckle. Your basic combat class. He gets a Body point or two, with the right Game Room item and 2 damage reduction. The body point gives you another point of damage, another point in Threat which you're only going to want with a fighter anyway , and a boost to HP.

I haven't figured out the exact formula for what each point of Body contributes, and it does change slightly depending on which class you are, but it roughly translates to a level's worth of HP per Body point per level. So, to be clear, an extra body point when you level up to 12 will give you about 12 extra HP, then about 31 extra HP at level 31 - not to be obtuse about it.

Which makes it valuable through the game. Unlike the damage reduction, which is huge at level 1, pretty nice at level 8, and hardly noticeable at level 20 and beyond. Don't let the 20 extra MP fool you, this is your specialist class. The extra MP is like the Dwarf's damage reduction, less and less significant as you gain levels. The point or two in Senses then is the main reason to go elf unless you just want your Mage to feel good about himself for the first few levels. Senses, however, only affects Critical and Initiative. Critical can be important, depending on your overall strategy, which means it can also be largely or wholly irrelevant if you have a different strategy.

Initiative is nice, always nice to strike first, but not really clutch in battles. Well, with the exception of the Hunter and the Thief, who can actually make good use of Initiative. I'll just come out and say it, this is your best choice most bang for your buck , for any class with the possible exception of the "pure Rage" Barbarian.

Yes, your Warrior will strike a little less hard, have a little less resilience, but he'll be more skillful and have more energy to use those skills. The point or two in Mind is like Body, giving around 1 level's worth of extra MP per point per level. There's no analog to the Damage and Threat boosts, though. But MP is important. In fact, if you don't have that Cleric in your party constantly refilling your MP, you're never gonna really feel like you have enough MP unless you happen to be a juju-swapping Monk - especially in dungeons.

But still this is going to be better than your elf's MP boost in the long run actually, not even that long - you'll make up those 20 MP by about level 6 , and then you get that extra skill point. It's not game changing, but very nice. So here's where it gets complicated and more fun. Each of the classes has four skills, one or two sometimes three of which are passive. This is a fine place to note that skills get an extra boost every 3 levels, so that's the multiple of which most of your skills especially secondary skills are going to be.

I'm also going to give each class an overall rating. This isn't just an average of what their skills are, but an overall opinion based on what they can do, how many different things they can do, and how it all compares to their peers. I'm not going to mention the Class attribute boosts, as that's not what you're basing your decision on.

You're basing your decision on what, exactly, can that new Warlock you just unlocked do. You choose your player and race based on what supports that. That said, most classes have a single target high damage attack, a group target lower damage attack, and then other stuff that makes them unique. Let's see what they're all packing:. Oh boy, is it hard to not take this guy along in any party. He's your quintessential support character. He's the one you bring along to keep everyone healthy and peppy enough to keep slugging away for hours on end. No resurrecting, interestingly, but then again Phoenix Feather.

He does have a damage skill, which is a mixed bag, but there's basically one right way to play this guy, which is the only reason I ever don't bring him 'cause I have ADD, OCD, and a short attention span and I like some flippin' variety, dangit. Actually, there is a sound tactical reason not to bring him if you just don't mind using potions fairly regularly and want to maximize your damage potential. Nothing quite like building a team that blasts through almost everything in one or two turns. This lets you restore energy to your compadres, but passively, meaning it happens automatically when you use any of your active skills.

Now, you could make a build without this skill, but really, why would you? This by far the best way to restore MP. The Knight is good for this too, but his skill is only a third as powerful and unlike the Cleric he won't be casting it every turn he does have to strike out with a noble yawp now and then. The Mage and Monk skills are only for their own selves, and there's the Cheerleader Thief when she gets hit, and the Game Room blocking thing for individuals, but they're pretty weak.

Your Cleric is definitely the premier energy boosting specialist. Trick is, seeing as this is passive, you require another active skill for this one to kick in. So which one to choose? Note: This skill does not regenerate the Cleric's MP, which is why you're going to have to rely on MP regenerating Trinkets preferably , or potions, or good old fashioned rest from time to time. While this is a good and effective skill, it's the least useful of his 3 active skills. The AI in this game is not clever or perhaps just not ruthless enough to focus all damage on one character to wipe them out which is what you'll mostly be doing to the enemy.

So the problem with the skill is that it's major overkill healing up to HP max except for the rare times when a Troll gets a crit on you or a few of the boss fights. But that's what your potions are for. If there were twice as many skill points to throw around this would be a great backup skill for those rare huge hits. But there aren't.

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So really, it's a waste, and the other two active skills are better options. Ah, to gloriously be purged of all your sins, through every combat. To live the dream. As far as healing, this is going to be plenty, almost all the time. Because of the aforementioned dispersal of damage you'll mostly be encountering, even just getting this to level 3 10 heal is enough to pretty much carry you through about level 15 or so. Likewise level 6 will carry you through to level 25 or so, allowing you to focus on leveling Radiance throughout.

Max this out and you're healing 80 HP for everyone, every turn. Hard to kill that team. What makes this SAKA instead of just great is that you also remove conditions from everyone including the Cleric. Even Stun if the turn order is right, although that part won't apply to the Cleric. If you really want a condition-impervious team you could make your Cleric a Surfer, making him almost certainly immune to Stun, but the absence of a Mind boost will be felt.

Better off just giving your Cleric the Stun immunity item if this is important to you. At level 3 you'll be dispelling 2 conditions for the team, which is usually plenty for a bit there as conditions don't stack up much in the beginning. Later on, with Dragons and Jesters and conditions flying at you all the time, you'll probably need all those 9 conditions removed from your whole team with this skill maxed.

This is the obvious active skill choice. So, depending on the situation, this can be pretty devastating. But it does have significant limitations. The glory here is that even at relatively low levels, you can do massive damage with this. If it does hit with all three bolts, this is the highest unmodified single target damage in the game. But you might have noticed those zeros.

The drawback here is that it's all based on resistance rolls. Even low level bosses seem to resist everything you throw at them almost all the time. So you could easily cast this and cause zero damage. Meaning you'll be looking for the lowest level enemies on the screen and cast this on them, often with a one hit well, technically 3 hit kill. Which is fine, someone has to mop up the dregs. Except of course if your target is stunned. Stunned critters lack the ability to resist anything, so if you can time it right like, ideally, with a bomb-crazed Ninja stunning the field all the time then this will electrically boogaloo your victim to a charred crisp in the most glorious way the game allows for a spell for a single target Thanks, Ekitchi, for educating us about this in the comments.

One way to try and counter the frequent resisting of this skill is to pour all your points in this from the get go. This is a solid strategy for many Classes actually , but only makes a difference for the first half of the game or so as that's when having this skill at high level can overcome the relatively weak resistances of your enemies and even bosses. By the time you're level 25 or so, it's back to focusing on weaklings, and even so, using your Cleric purely offensively like this is kind of fun but can often make for an unbalanced team and really isn't the best use of him i.

But still, you can legitimately level this a little once you have Radiance and Purge up to a level you're happy with, this is then a good third skill to use when you want your MP but don't need no HP. I'll admit, I have a soft spot for Paladins. For when you wanna play support, but still be someone you'd hate to meet in a dark alley. Although it wouldn't be that dark, because Paladins have a tendency to wear shiny things, have shiny skills, and just be shiny in general.

This game doesn't stray far from the norm, and the Paladin is your basic support tank - although more tank than support. So I'm realizing I might have lied back when I said there were no bad skills. Or, perhaps, just misspoke. This skill, its stats that is, is actually okay. You're just never going to use it.

It lets you use energy as health and, when that happens, makes you hurt enemies that attack you for up to 80 damage, which is respectable, if you were foolish enough to max this skill out , and that as many times as you get hit in a turn which, assuming you can survive it, can get up to damage easy. With a Jock Dwarf your MP will be almost only half of your HP, but if you go with a Rocker Human, they'll be almost equal - so just 1 point in this and then you've come close do doubling the damage you can take, and in the process maybe get one or several free attacks.

That's the glass half full perspective. The glass half empty perspective is that, in order for this skill to kick in and allow you to damage anything that attacks you, your health needs to be all gone. So you haven't made yourself twice as tough, you've made yourself slightly to significantly - if you're that Dwarf Jock less tough lower MP than HP max no matter what , and the stuff that's keeping you alive your MP is also what you need to use to effectively attack back.

So then even with a Cleric and a Knight spending their time regenerating your MP as fast as they can, you'll still need either MP potions thereby wasting a turn doing that , or just have to give up and accept some regular healing to stay in the fight, rendering your investment in this skill pointless.

This is what you call a lose-lose situation. So while you might be tempted to put just 1 point here so you have a backup HP reserve, you're much better off using Lay on Hands as a defensive skill and just not let your HP get to zero which is what everyone else is doing anyway. This is your high damage single target smashing skill. It's a slightly weaker version of the Warrior's version of this: Power Lunge high Damage and Threat increase.

Plus his skill reaches the back row. But, we're not talking about the Warrior here, are we? Well yes, this is where your party choices come in. So if you do want a Paladin, you're not really going to want to bring him for this.

You're going to want him for the next two skills. In no gaming universe ever created does the Paladin not have this skill. It's what makes him a Paladin. The hand that kills can also heal, sayeth Aragorn, and all that. This is essentially like the Cleric's Restoration skill. It's a little weaker It actually heals the same amount of total HP per cast since, as an added and pretty original bonus, the Paladin heals himself at the same time for half of what the other guy gets.

So he can heal HP with this skill maxed out, with an added HP for himself, or HP combined if he wants to be extra greedy. In fact I'd say this skill is better than Restoration great instead of good after all as it splits up the good vibes. And as mentioned before, you are very rarely going to need all of that HP heal on one adventurer. It can also be worse, where the Paladin needs no healing and your Barbarian is near death and only gets brought up to half health. But most of the time, this is better. You are for sure bringing this to the party if you brave the world of Paperos without a Cleric, and even if you have one, this is a great secondary skill to fill in the healing gap for the occasional high damage ur mewling little weak Mage gets.

More to the point, if you max out the upcoming SAKA skill - like you should - this skill is a better balance than leveling up Guiding Strike, which is going to be weaker than Smite even for a single target for the first 10 levels or so. Okay, so maybe you're asking yourself why this is SAKA. Weakness my friend. Glorious Weakness is the answer. Conditions, you might have heard, are useless in this game. This is very not true. They serve several functions, and they sometimes suck, and I'll get into that later. They are susceptible to resistance rolls, so your Bosses will often just laugh this off.

But most of the time the majority of the group in any battle is gonna get hit with this. And this is the only character that can cause group Weakness, and the only way at all other than weapon crits and the Warlock's 1-inchance-of-this-condition skill. But unlike Wound or Poison or Fire that require high levels just to be useful , Weakness is very useful right out of the gate.

It reduces attack damage by half and prevents critical hits. So a Paladin spamming this skill makes your fights pretty dang easy. You will, in effect, feel twice as powerful as they struggle to make a dent in your armor. And I haven't even gotten into the Monk's skill, the Thief's skill, the Druid's skill, Criticals and Sudden Death and how all that works together. Use this skill, or don't bother with the Paladin. This guy, is good. Your trouble is going to be more what skills you can stand to leave un-leveled rather than which ones you want. He's your best all-round fighter and unmodified damage dealer.

He's also not terribly complex. He doesn't work in Criticals or Initiative or Conditions mostly or subtlety. This is for sure good, but a few things keep it from greatness. What's awesome and unique about it is that you get a free attack with it, every time you get hit. Well, not exactly every time, not even close, hence the loss of awesome.

See, it's based on your Senses attribute. Meaning you need to roll higher well, lower technically than your Senses. Your standard Jock Dwarf Warrior starts out with 4 senses. And unless you get some items for it, that's where it's gonna stay for the whole game. Now, if you wanna get crazy and have a Rich Kid Elf Warrior, your senses will be 8 or 9, thanks to the new game room item , which you can boost, conceivably, to 14 by the very end of the game, which means riposte will work almost 3 out of 4 times. At the end of the game. About half the time before that, and by committing to this you're not as strong or tough as, well, you aught to be.

Worth the sacrifice to your all-around damage-itude? I don't think so, but I'm not playing your game. So if you're going for the giant-silverback-gorilla-stomping-through-the-jungle look, pair with Power Lunge and enjoy the agro. But still, even so, it's nice to see it in action, it's "free", and putting 3 points in it is doable with just about any build. Remember that Paladin skill that causes Weakness? Okay, it's not really anything like that skill - not sure why I mentioned it. But this is a fine skill, yet there are better stunning options out there like the Ninja or Mage and, more importantly, if you level this you're not leveling Power Lunge or Cleave, which is what you should be doing.

Also less attractive as a 3 point skill because they can resist this, and at level 3 it's only -2 to their roll. That and at low levels it's hardly better than a normal attack. So, if you love stunning things and you want this skill, probably better to commit all the way and skip Power Lunge. Don't skip this skill. After 2 or 3 hits, they're hardly going to see the other players unless there's a Knight in the mix and hit only you. If you have Riposte and the added Threat that comes with it, all the better.


The fact that you can hit the back row with this as well is just sweet delicious blood-flavored icing on your death-dealing cake. Lovely word. Very straightforward. One tactical element that needs to be mentioned here is that as your team hacks away at the edges of the front row, you'll gain access to the edges of the back row.

If you strike that back row enemy with Cleave, even though you can't actually directly target those other back row guys, It'll still get the whole back row. There are some better group damage skills out there, but this one can be a good compliment to those. A lovely combo is with the Mage's Lightning, which is the only other row damaging skill in the game direct damage at least - the Druid's skill can, occasionally, fail completely , so you can then blast your way through the game one row at a time.

And in fact what makes this SAKA instead of just great is because it's weapon based. Meaning you can score criticals. Not bad. If you get the game room item that lets you have 7 creatures in a fight instead of 5 the Go game , 4 of those will be in front and you can maximize this skill. Riposte pairs well with this so you have at least some Threat boost, or you could level Power Lunge as well so you're more versatile. Either way, any team will be lucky to have you.

This will be your first unlockable character. Early on. So early on that he can easily end up as your 4th or 5th player even on your first playthrough. And his other skills aren't too shabby either. So if Sudden Death sounds like a lovely way to vaporize your enemies to you, put 1 point in this. This is just so that his attacks add wound on a critical hit.

In fact, this is what makes the Ninja the Sudden Death dealer of choice, since any other Class needs to be paired with the normally non-fighter Lab Rat player to get 5 Conditions in one attack. Now, if you want the wounding itself to actually make a difference, you really aughta max out this skill which gives you Wound Wound, along with burn and poison, always has a value.

Wound 1, Burn 24 - the number denoting the base damage it causes each turn the affliction lasts. The beauty of it is that it can stack, and Shadow Chain can make this devastating - adding up to 96 Wound in just one turn. If all three hits are criticals which is less likely as you'll only have enough skill points for this and Shadow Chain, with little to nothing left for Vanish and the condition isn't entirely purged at the start of the target's next turn - which mitigates the awesomeness level here. But Wound that Caveman a couple times and he will literally bleed out.

Yet, while good, this skill is a clear 4th place compared to the others. So, all that considered, if you want to skip this skill, you wouldn't be wrong in doing so. So here's a cool one that can be devastating with the right build. It's good if you want to just put 1 point in it. It turns on automatically at the start of battle, makes you a little less threatening and gives a little boost to critical. See, it's all about the criticals.

This, right here, used to be how you got the highest possible critical chance in the game. The Knight has changed that, and while I'm very impressed with him for that, I'm a little miffed he's dethroned the Ninja here. The Ninja is still the king of Criticals though, and you're about to find out why. And your chances of getting hit are as low as programmingly possible because you're gonna have Threat, which is ridiculous. Bunch of dudes can raise their Threat here; the Ninja is the only weirdo who has even thought of going negative with it.

Do note that your Threat will never get below 1, unless you Take Cover. If you do get hit, by a group attack like Lightning or something, you waste a turn switching the skill on again, and that can be annoying. But that's pretty rare, as most often you'll be slicing your enemies into cubes before that happens anyway. Which is only the third of it because your 3 attacks with the Shadow Chain skill each have the same chance. Which means that you're statistically more likely to score a critical hit on every attack than not - with the not wholly unlikely chance of 3 critical hits.

This, it goes without saying, is pretty fracking badass. But really that's just a gimmick that you won't be using, probably ever, as it would require everyone else to Take Cover in a turn as if they were, like, sitting down by a tree as a group, pulling out a pipe and sharing it among the four of them while they lay out a picnic, at which point they glance over at the Knight facing 5 Ice Trolls, telling him: "You got this, man". The only caveat here is that if you level this and Shadow Chain, you've got nothing left for stunning with your Smoke Bomb. Good thing you can play through this game more than once!

So, using this skill in combination with Vanish is, I believe, well established as super awesome as well as kick ass. Without it, it's still pretty great. It's up to you how to split points between this and Smoke Bomb, but this is your single-target-blasting skill. Whatever your critical chance, you still get the 3 shots at it, which is a good thing.

That's nice. Okay, that's terrific - unparalleled, percentage wise. The Warrior or Barbarian are likely still going to get better single attack damage because of their high Body attribute, and this does also mean damage reduction applies to Shadow Chain three times instead of once, but this skill is easily on par with those.

So unless you go with the slice and dice critical beast mentioned above, this is gonna be your bread and butter skill. It does reasonable-ish damage 49 max to the target, but most importantly stuns everyone on the field if you have the game room thingy that makes "adjacent" skills hit all enemies - I maybe should have mentioned that before. After a resist roll, of course, which is the only reason this skill isn't profoundly godlike. But stun, once inflicted, cannot be recovered from: the turn is always lost.

The Ninja will always have at least decent initiative, so you're likely to be one of the first to strike, and it's not uncommon to go through a regular battle this way without the beasties getting even one shot off. Plus there's some glorious synergy with the Thief's Barrage of Knives skill. Hard to resist, this one. So, you're not gonna be Conan the Barbarian here.

I mean, you are - in fact when you unlock this class you're fighting what looks exactly like Ahhnold's Conan, plus some Terminator shades. It's very much that kind of game. But that dude is crazy. He's got like 4 extra skills your barbarian doesn't have and he gets 2 attacks each turn, for some reason. One of the toughest battles in the pre-dragon game, actually. So you're not that barbarian. You're more like Thrud the Barbarian. And if you get that reference, then you grew up with me in the 80s. Take the Warrior, strip him down to one active skill and make him a regenerating critical powerhouse and, voila.

The Barbarian is unique in that his skills are mostly passive, which are all valuable and usable at any level unlike skills that cause conditions on enemies for example, which you want to max out to be effective. So it's pretty much a given you're going to max out his one active attack skill, but then you have free reign to spread the points around his 3 support skills. Really the only class you can build in this Sort of unexpected since this guy is all about the Rage.

But however you build this guy, he's going to kick some major behind. And the front. The front too. He's gonna kick that too, 'cause he's enraged after all. So there are two ways to use this skill, one which is really effective and one which pretty much makes your Barbarian immortal. This skill gives him a boost to his attributes when, and only when, he's enraged. Sounds pretty good, but in fact it's spectacular. The HP boost is kinda weird, actually, as when you get to higher levels you'll think your Barbarian just sliced his arteries open and lost most of his blood as he enrages, but really it's just that his max HP went up.

Way up. At level 40, that's about 40 x 32 more potential HP. Which is about 3 times his normal. But don't be tempted to try and fill that up with healing, at least other players healing him, because as soon as he loses his rage he goes back to his normal but still substantial HP. However, there's no logical build with the Barbarian that doesn't include that one active skill, Frenzied Strike, which is the thing that gets you enraged, so really if you're doing the Anger Management thing you have two ways of going about it: First is the great way which is to respect the Barbarian's innate dullness and try to keep up the Rage as long as possible, in the process using as little MP as possible.

This is the build that makes the Cleric not welcome in your party, at least one that's purging conditions every turn. But the only advantage to this option is how it makes your Barbarian sip MP.

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Option 2, the SAKA way, has you make your Barbarian a Surfer, ideally, or failing that invite that Cleric to purge purge purge, and also maybe be a Rocker or Hipster or something that'll bring that Mind up so he can shake off the Rage a little better. Because the synergy here is amazing. See, Frenzied strike makes you heal yourself in addition to enraging you, for HP at best. And, remember, when you enrage your max HP goes up astronomically.

But really you only need to get this skill up to mid-level to take advantage of this magical healing loophole. Because, in effect, this means that when you can use the active skill every turn, you have a HP buffer. The enemies need to do more than that much damage to actually bring your non-enraged HP down at all. And even if they manage that, they need to do it every turn or Thrud here will just keep healing back up to maximum. The only thing to fear then is running out of MP.

Which won't likely be an issue if that Cleric is at your back, and even if he isn't, one regular 75MP potion gets you back in the fight for a few turns. While the next two passive skills are good, you could skip them easily and just focus on this one. And it would be unwise not to put any points in this one at all. So, unlike the above opus to one skill, this will be brief.

There is nothing wrong with this skill, it adds health and damage reduction. Were you to max it out, you would be nigh unkillable. To be specific, that's extra health and 9 damage reduction at skill level Problem is, it's unnecessary. You're plenty tough enough anyway, and you need your points for the 3 or 2 other skills. That said, if you want to put just 6 points in this it'll give you damage reduction like medium armor 4 and a fair amount of health 52 , and you can afford that much. This skill is the "critical powerhouse" part. To maximize this concept you do need to devote the rest of your points in Anger Management, but even without it this is an awesome skill.

There is absolutely no reason not to put at least the 1 point in this. Your crit chance will be half of what it could be - or less, but there's still a chance and it'll be lovely to watch when it does happen. There's this little goat head that swipes across the enemy's noggin' and it feels like Christmas every time. But instead of a Threat boost and a long reach, you get to be enraged and heal for, ultimately, a ton of HP, to be exact.

I've actually kind of spoiled the reveal on this skill having explained the healing magic you can get with it back in Anger Management, but suffice it to say that, no matter your build, this skill is likely gonna be your priority. Ahh the mage. The third archetype. Your glass cannon, your bedazzling spectacle, the guy that - deep down - you really want to be because, let's face it, Gandalf is the shiznit.

Can you defeat a Balrog? Didn't think so. But here you can pretend you can, and this mage is everything you'd expect. Multiple paths to glorious magical carnage - all of his skills are great, although Lightning outperforms by a scosh. He's got the most versatile tool box and every skill is worth bringing to the fight. I'd say he's got the highest replay value - I've never leveled him the same way twice. I did do one playthrough without him, just once, and at the end I felt hollow inside, like the magic was missing from my life.

Which it was. So what's he got? While the energy regeneration here is lovely, really it's the damage boost that makes it great. You can benefit from this any number of ways: focus on this and one attack skill to get the highest magic damage imaginable, or spread out your points between all four skills and maximize the damage bonus you get here. All good options. I will say though that, after about level 30 or so, your Mage is going to have such a large MP reserve that regen doesn't have that much of an impact. You could even get through the average dungeon without it.

The damage bonus remains awesome though. So this is his single target skill. I think I've already established the general superiority of Stun as a condition, and in addition to some very good damage at max level , you'll stun your hapless victim as well. After the obligatory resistance roll of course. Thing is, unlike the other two stunning skills, the Warrior's pommel and the Ninja's bomb, the stun is kind of just a bonus to the excellent damage you'll get out of this, especially if you boost it with Arcane Flow for an unparalleled grand total of Damage.

Thing is, both Fireball and Lightning are perfectly serviceable even against single targets, so if you're looking to be hyper efficient you'll likely invest in one of those and your boosting skill. You can also, perfectly validly, spread your skill points out evenly among all of the Mage's skills. Like I said before, highly versatile. I played a mage, tiptoeing at the back of my party, holding in my mind a few magic missiles, a couple of mirror image spells, and 1 very precious fireball.

Soon enough this gelatinous cube shows up, literally sucks the weapons off of our Ranger and Fighter and starts digesting them the weapons, not the warriors - yet , when I decide it's time to bring out the big guns. One fireball, and it's toasted jelly on the floor. Fireball is, well, what mages are all about. I don't know a game where the mage type doesn't have this, and with good reason.

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Now, if you look at the damage, here in this game, you may well be disappointed at first. Even leveled to 24, the skill only does 56 to the target, and no direct damage to the group. But Burn baby Burn, is what makes this great. The Burn is proportional, so 32 maxed out, and it stacks, and gets harder to resist every 3 levels. So what this means is that you are literally going to torch all the weaklings facing you to ash.

After 3 hits, they're burning for 96 damage. This is all great, but starts looking even better combined with the Thief's Barrage of Knives, or a group that lays on the conditions so you're getting a Sudden Death once every battle or two. As an added bonus, there is no initial resistance roll against this there never is against Burn , although they get one at the start of their turn. This might have you wondering, at this point, about how many resistance rolls your average condition gets in the game, and that it might be unfair, and I'll get in to that later.

For the evil lord in all of us. And really, the only way this is not going to go your way is if you haven't been paying enough attention to your evil apprentice's feelings. Seriously, decades of ultimate obedience and then his son shows up for, like, a day, and poof - he turns to mush.

You just can't find good evil help these days. So, remember that Cleave skill? This is that, but better. You can hit the back row, and maxed out you're doing damage. Which is pretty close to that from Frostbite, all things considered, except it's going to hit up to 4 creepies at once. Which is points of damage in one go, and the only other skill that consistently gets up in to those numbers is Barrage of Knives. So, as nice as it is to set everyone on the field of battle on fire, this is your better all-round damage skill.

Oh the mysterious Warlock! What vile secrets is he hiding up his threadbare sleeves? Can he summon demons? Control the dead? Bring that Thief who's just been sliced in half back to life? The answers are: Yes, no, and kind of. And "kind of" is a pretty good way of thinking about this guy. He's kind of awesome. Kind of sucks. Kind of disappointing, ultimately. But maybe that's my fault. I think Warlock, I think a dude in armor black as night perched gloriously on top of a mound of corpses and fending off an army of vile beasts all by himself with those corpses of the fallen and, for some reason, intense lime green living mist at his command.

This guy is more like that guy's apprentice. Like, the apprentice who just barely qualified and keeps being disappointing. The only skill that really shines is Touch of Blight, and it's almost just like Frostbite, and so you'll be asking yourself "why didn't I just bring the Mage in the first place? Do you? Perhaps this is a curse shared with the Exchange Student, because both that player and this class require nothing more from you to unlock than a paltry sum of gold.

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But there's still some good here, and while his stats are mostly lackluster, he's fun to play and can do things no other class can. While I do love the name of this skill, it'll about as useless to you as the Paladin's Armor of Faith, which is kind of the mirror image of this skill. Run out of energy? Use your health instead! This, already, sounds like a not so great idea. What makes this decent is that you regain up to 24 energy when this does happen. And trust me, you are going to need all of them for his 3 other skills if you want him to measure up to his teammates.

Just 1 point here though, and you have a backup energy reserve, so that you could do. Although you could put 1 point into this and use life transfer on yourself which basically makes the skill free. So this is that lime green mist skill I was talking about. And it's pretty great. It hits any row, and the damage is equivalent to the Mage's Frostbite. Therefore the best damage maxed magic is going to do to a single target in this game.

Although the Mage can boost his with Arcane Flow - just saying One good aspect though is that unlike any other skill but the Hunter's and Burn from anyone , there is no resistance roll to what you inflict. It still means that, other than Stun, they get to roll at the start of their turn, but it's better than nothing. But anyway, instead of just Stun, this skill inflicts any 1 of the 7 conditions in the game. Including Stun, so 1 time out of 7 this is, in fact, the Frostbite skill although better, 'cause the Stun can't be resisted.

It used to be the only way of inflicting the Confuse condition. They fixed that now with the Eyeglass, kind of, which takes a weapon slot though and you can't upgrade it so using it reduces Damage and Threat and Critical a lot. Too much I say. This is all a little lame, I think, as confuse is a great and fun condition to inflict, and you're only going to inflict it And that's the downside of this skill. While it's always good to inflict a condition, it can be pretty inconsequential too.

If you inflict Burn, Poison or Wound with this, it's at level 1 point every 3 levels of the skill. And 8 Burn doesn't stack up to much. Rage is a little pointless to inflict as for the most part they just straight attack you anyway. So about half the time this inflicts a condition that's actually worth inflicting. I'll take Frostbite over that, thank you, even with the resistance roll. And don't bring this thinking it'll help with Sudden Death. You need to know what condition you're inflicting so you can line them all up - this skill is almost worse than nothing in that respect.

Still, the Warlock is worth bringing just for the damage this skill can inflict. But if you're in to the Warlock for the fun of his abilities, regardless of how effective they are n't , then it's his next two skills you'll be groovin' on. Steal some life! Feel better! So, along with the Paladin and the Cleric obviously , this is the only class that has a heal skill.

The Knight has a kind of ancillary healing effect to one of his skills, but it's pretty weak. And the Monk has a healing loophole, but that's just for his own self. Thing is, Life Transfer is just a little too weak. At max level, you can heal for 32 HP per enemy. Which means, if you have seven opponents on the field, you can heal for HP - which is a lot but still less than the Paladin or Cleric skills.

This also translates to overall damage, and that's pretty darn good.

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