I'm stuck...at character creation

Discussion in 'Dungeons of Dredmor General' started by Kneller, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. Kneller

    Kneller Member

    I'm new to the game, figuring this would be a good foray into RLs. I'm trying not to cheat and read build guides, but I am reading the wiki to get a better idea of what the skills actually do. The problem I'm having is that most of the skills I read about, I want. They all just seem so fun to play. I'm trying to limit my choices by going with a "theme", but this just has me jumping from one theme to another when I see a skill I want that doesn't fit that theme but will fit another. I've gone from a Viking, to a cat burglar, to an assassin, to a duelist, you see where this is going.

    Can anyone give me some advice to help narrow down my choices? Thanks.
  2. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    Keep in mind that you are likely to die a lot, regardless, so it's ok to try things that you don't think will work, if you think it will be fun, or if it fits your playstyle. But if you want to give yourself a better chance at survival, at least through the early game, I recommend a heavily-armored melee build to start with (move on to mage or hybrid or crafter or whatever else sounds like it would be fun).

    For your very first game:
    1. Decide if you want to dual-wield or use a shield (or two -- yes you can go unarmed and use 2 shields).
    2. a) If you go the dual-wield route, you might want to choose a weapons skill, such as axes, mace, sword, daggers, staves, or polearms. Also throw in Mater of arms for some defense.
    2. b) If you don't want to go dual wield, I recommend either not picking a weapon at all (there's no penalty to use a weapon you don't have the skill for, but there is a penalty to dual-wield without the dual-wield skill), or select Unarmed Combat. UC is mostly a defensive skill. Instead of MAster of ARms, you have the option of picking Shield Mastery, whether you take UC or not.
    3. Fill in your remaining skills with things that will give you more damage, attacks, heals, trap affinity, and/or a pet.

    Don't worry if a skill is not a warrior skill -- you aren't building a warrior per se. You are simply building a character with good damage and survivability -- that can be achieved with a wide variety of skills.

    Anyway, here is one (of many) possible builds that fits in with this theme:

    Master of Arms
    Dual Wield
    Berserk Rage
    Fungal Arts
    Thrown Weapons

    It's a nice, safe, simply build, that has damage, awesome utility skills from Burglary, some healing and a pet from Fungal Arts, and some ranged damage to soften up harder monsters.

    But as I said, there are so many different viable builds -- so if this sounds too boring for you, try something else.
  3. sam12six

    sam12six Member

    While it is standard practice to recommend that new players start with simple bashers, if asked, I'd recommend starting with rogue skills in this game. I'd also recommend playing on going rogue from the get-go. The reason is that it's much harder but teaches you good game strategy.

    My observation is that most who start with a double mace wielding berserker find themselves stuck on level 5 with spellcasters that they can't catch resurrecting everybody they kill. This is because the gaming strategy they've learned (run up and bash enemies over the head) is less effective when you've got a dozen enemies running away from you while hitting you with spells and resurrecting the melee enemies you've already dealt with.

    If you have the patience (and just the fact that you'd rather learn how to play the game than read build and strategy guides says you probably do), going with mostly rogue skills teaches you how to eek out a living with little offense and makes you a better judge of when to keep fighting and when to run.

    Anyway, for easy starts, here's some skill combos that contribute:

    Armed Warriors: Weapon skill, Berzerker, Dual wield, Armsmaster + a way to heal (I like Big game hunter for the free experience and tons of food).

    Unarmed Warriors: Unarmed, Shield bearer, Berzerker, Big game hunter (the healing from food is not as quick as some other methods, but it's a warrior skill)

    Mage: Promethian, Blood Magic and/or Ley lines, Golemancy and anything else

    Up close Rogue: Daggers, Assassin, Fungal Arts, piracy, burglary

    Distance Rogue: Rogue scientist (IMO, the most powerful single skill in the game - you can ride the activations from this skill down to about DL6), Tinkering, burglary

    For tougher starts:

    Warrior up close: it's tough to imagine a difficult start - maybe take killer vegan with no ranged offense at all.

    Rogue distance: With the RNG, anything is possible, but it is impossible in practice to rely completely on throwing or archery as your only offense before about DL4.

    Warrior distance: Doesn't exist if you don't count extended attacks from melee weapons or the other superskill Clockwork knight.

    Mage: Vampirism with no ranged attack (and there's no mage weapon skill) or don't rely on pets at all


    Eventually, you'll probably end up playing hybrids because the pure class skills are a little limiting if you care about ONLY choosing skills from one archetype. As an example, warriors get no trap sight from any of there skills (if I recall correctly). This means that until you're fortunate enough to find some equipment that boosts it, you're going to run into every trap.

    As for playstyle, as you experiment, always remember - "You can't take it with you"

    When in doubt, doubt - not almost sure you're going to die, start burning through consumables. A million healing potions won't help you if you're buried with them because you were such a miser you refused to "waste" one.
  4. Kneller

    Kneller Member

    Well, I definitely want to do something rogueish. I've always liked utility classes. I also want to be able to contend with the mobs, though. I was thinking of going with some kind of warrior/rogue theme, but picking one kind of magic, just so I can make use of my mana (maybe psionics?)

    As for dual-wield vs. unarmed and dual shield, I think I'd prefer dual-wield because wielding two shields seems conceptually absurd. I wouldn't mind weapon and shield, but it doesn't seem very rogue-ish to me. Also, do you still counter if you dodge/block and attack? I get the feeling that you have to get hit (and take damage) in order to counter.

    I didn't know about the running mages, but the tutorial had me wanting some kind of teleport if only for exploration purposes. I guess it would come in handy there as well.

    So, taking all this into consideration, I'm starting to think this for a build:

    Daggers (seems pretty defensively oriented)
    Dual wield (to counter the melee power weakness of daggers)
    Unarmed (also defensively oriented)
    Archery (seems like a good ranged option for staying out of trouble)
    Artful Dodger (for the early teleport, nimbleness, and dodge chance)
    Burglary (for the picks and invisibility, and eventual really good teleport)
    Perception (for the loot, eye lasers)
    Tinkerer (for traps, disabling and crafting)
    Assassination (for the poison and damage bonuses)
    Fungal Arts (it just looks fun)

    Granted, I have 2 too many skills, but that's pretty good considering I was trying to narrow it down from everything. :) I'm not sure what to cut, though. I'm guessing I should cut Archery, since it's not a primary attack option. Or, I could go Unarmed (cutting Daggers and Dual Wield) for the defense and still keep the Archery. I assume Unarmed still works with Assassination. Fungal Arts doesn't really fit, either, but it really looks like a lot of fun, so I'm hesitant to cut it. Is this the start of a decent build? And which two skills do you recommend cutting and why? Thanks.
  5. sam12six

    sam12six Member

    Unless I'm running a random character, EVERY character I run includes Tinkering and Perception.

    Tinkering lets you make crossbows and more dangerous bolts for them, plus gives you experience and money from gathering up traps and selling them to Brax. Early when you have almost no offensive power, the traps can soften your enemies and you can finish them with your pitiful melee attack.

    Perception gives you loot to fuel crafting and healing items, plus money, more trap sight and a wider field of view. With a stealthy character, with 2 or 3 points in perception, you can stand at maximum range and plink away at a monster with a crossbow and it won't even know you're there. It'll just shuffle around until you kill it.

    If you go with Unarmed, you may want to keep archery. I never do because it seems too easy, but since Unarmed damage stacks with archery and you can wield tomes that also stack, you can get a good bit of extra oomph out of it. If it doesn't stack anymore, someone correct that - like I said, I never play both a ranged skill and the Unarmed skill.

    Counter, Block and Dodge are mutually exclusive. If you dodge, you can't counter or block the same attack. If you block, you can't counter. If you fail to either dodge or block, you might counter. In other words, if you're really set on being a counter specialist, you don't want your dodge or block sky high. Most people prefer block because it's easier to max and works well with heavy armor. I like counter builds myself because it seems cooler.

    Of the skills you listed, Fungal is probably the luxury. While shrooms are nice, only for a throwing based character would I consider the skill anything like necessary (because you can generate puffballs to throw instead of spending all of your money buying every softball in the vending machines).

    The only other skill I'd consider if you want archery to be a big part of your offense (and you probably will because as you get deeper into the dungeon, you run into more and more enemies you can't handle toe-to-toe) is Rogue Scientist. It generates alchemical ooze from blobbies and other squishy enemies. With 1 point in alchemy (which you get free for putting 4 points in Rogue Scientist) you can turn that ooze into plastic. Basically, this gives you unlimited bolts. The only problem with Rogue Scientist is that it's damned tempting to use it as your primary offense, but if you can avoid the temptation, it gives you the ability to move objects around and break breakable walls.

    If you're only going 1 magic skill with a mostly rogue, I'd go Psionics. The first spell is nice for a week character because if a monster is kicking your butt, you can put it to sleep and run away as you vow to return for your revenge when you're stronger. The second spell moves objects and breaks walls. The 3rd is the healing spell that's good for recovery after a tough fight, but not that great for healing during the battle itself. One thing I'd sometimes do is: say I open the door and see that it's a monster zoo. I'd slam the door in the faces of my enemies and go back through the area I've explored and seed areas with healing crystals. That way, even if I'm being chased by a mob of enemies, I can pick up 12 hit points just from running through a third of my healing field. If there's space, I can turn around and run through another section to heal more.

    The main reason I use the Archery skill is the bolts you start with. The poison ones can act like a trap when you're facing a single enemy - you shoot him once then walk around letting him pass through the cloud of poison until he dies or you can take him out with one wooden bolt. If a named monster shows up before I've leveled anything, the fire bolts are a lifesaver. Between those two types of bolts, getting to level 2 is virtually guaranteed unless the RNG truly hates you.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
  6. ElJefe

    ElJefe Member

    unarmed seems to stack with archery. I have a Railgun xbow i made, it is an artifact! always! so it has some really cool stat randoms. I took tinkering, xbow, perception, burglary, fleshsmithing, Big Game Hunter, Unarmed.

    It isnt that strong and i dont know why. I waited till level 6+goggles on tinkering to make bolts. I had enough always from purchases and making the bolt machines on runes. I am on level 7but my killing power is weakening in melee. I wish i had another warrior skill, or a dodge skill or a counter skill. Something is missing from the build. At range, my character is insanely lethal though.

    I am building my guy to hopefully kill the higher levels and saving my bolts and creating them to kill later on. I think my build is lacking in damage though, up close at least it is.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
  7. sam12six

    sam12six Member

    I've found that there's a point with a rogue heavy archer where I have to just abandon melee altogether and go pure rogue. In hand-to-hand, you're suffering from the fact that you don't have the stats and skills of a warrior to make melee feasible. Worse, to even try to stay competitive, you're probably wearing armor that reduces your sneakiness and nimbleness. That means you're a gimped rogue and a gimped warrior. When I hit that point, I just bite the bullet and switch to all light armor and avoid melee like the plague it is.

    The fun part, though, of running a really sneaky character is that you can hit a monster and piss him off then run with him chasing you and after 3 steps he'll just start wandering around because he's forgotten you exist. The other good thing is that since you don't need to worry about physical threats, you can choose all gear that improves your damage output with a bow. As far as bolt supply, I always have Rogue scientist in my archer builds so I've never had a shortage once I start going exclusively ranged (which is usually around DL4-5). If you're hurting for bolt material, you may need to set the world on fire with bombs and traps until Perception is kind enough to give you a big stack of metal.
  8. Kneller

    Kneller Member

    So, basically, you're saying that one eventually has to go pure warrior/rogue/wizard to survive later on?
  9. ElJefe

    ElJefe Member

    my guy just died on level 10. some sort of plague clouds stacked and i couldnt heal fast enough. and i was concentrating on offense and didnt get my vanish spell from burglary (which is hard to get to be honest when you are preparing a complex build)

    all in all the combo was awesome. I do want to try it again and then again im afraid i wont get clockwork bolt thrower and railgun recipes again.... they were key. I had 44+ pierce at level 10. was one shotting some tank monsters.
  10. Haldurson

    Haldurson Member

    Thrown is MUCH better than archery for melee builds, because melee bonuses will affect thrown weapons but not crossbow bolts (their bonuses come from the bow itself, which makes archery better for those who don't receive much bonuses, like mages).

    No you don't need to go pure anything to win. I've beaten the game on going rogue with permadeath with all sorts of builds, including novelty builds (like pure crafting -- take every crafting skill, and fill in the gaps only with skills that help with crafting, like perception, clockwork knight, or Rogue Scientist). I've beaten the game with random skills, granted only on DM so far, but still. I've nearly beat the game with no inventory at all, other than the tool bar and lutefisk cube, and no use of the pocket dimension (was a challenge, but I did make it to Dredmor. With better luck, and more potions, etc. than can fit on the 10-slot tool bar, I would probably have won: http://steamcommunity.com/groups/dodcr/discussions/0/792923684091178203/

    /edit BTW, that build was chosen specifically for that challenge, but it turned out to work fairly well. I made a build around Vampirism because I knew I wouldn't need food anyway, which opens up toolbar skills for other items like thrown weapons, potions, etc.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
  11. sam12six

    sam12six Member

    No, just that if you only have one real source of offense you need to maximize it.

    This is another factor that makes rogues more difficult because there's no good armor designed to make their lives better. There are mage armors that increase magic power. Heavy armors increase block, which dovetails nicely with lots of warrior skills because they often give lots of block. Both of their skillsets also directly improve their primary damage dealing method. For archery based rogues, there's really nothing specifically designed to improve it's damage output.

    Because of this, armors that provide a little offensive boost (things like stiletto boots and cybercones) are the best way to improve your offense without gimping your rogue stats. Since these items provide negligible :armor_asorb: and :resist_piercing:, the only way to survive deep level melee is to get close to maxing dodge or counter. Unless you get a lot of help from the RNG, that's a very tall order with the skills you already had to choose to make archery viable as the primary attack.

    Damn! With all this talk, I'm going to have to start an new pure archer without Rogue scientist...
  12. Kneller

    Kneller Member

    I like this. How would you build this?
  13. sam12six

    sam12six Member

    Taking lots of rogue skills does it naturally. It's just that if you wear heavy armor it lowers your stealth directly or by lowering stats that increase stealth.

    People who play only one style say that sneakiness is pointless, but after playing a rogue for a while, it's shocking how everything notices you. I find it funny that I can walk up to a monster and beat it over the head until it explodes into a puddle of pulp while his buddy 2 steps away doesn't realize I'm there.
  14. Kneller

    Kneller Member

    Yeah, I'm liking my rogue, but I'm thinking of doing some fine tuning. Right now, I have:

    Artful Dodger
    Fungal Arts

    but was thinking of swapping out Fungal Arts (and maybe even Assassination) for something that complements the other skills a little better. I know people have recommended Rogue Scientist, and I read up on it in the Wiki, but I can't figure out how it fits in with the rest. Maybe Archaeology for the rogue bonuses and artifact recycling? Or, Archery for the bolt recovery and combat stats? Any thoughts? Thanks.
  15. sam12six

    sam12six Member

    Since your main offense is a warrior skill, I'd just abandon the idea of super stealth. It really doesn't help that much for a guy who doesn't do his business from a distance. If you go that route, I'd keep Assassin and trade out Artful dodge for Shieldbearer. Wearing heavy armors will keep your dodge from getting reliably high but actually help your block to do so.

    Unless you want it purely for flavor, I wouldn't add archer to this build because it's set up to be mostly a melee fighter. Archery's combat bonuses are negligible considering that the effect of tinkering's better bows and bolts plus the damage added from Unarmed are better than what archery brings to the table.

    Rogue Scientist is a super skill. Taking it to the next-to-last level gives you several offensive activations, 2 free points of Tinkering and 2 free points of Alchemy; not to mention the free alchemical ooze. The only thing it doesn't give is nice stat bonuses, but for a skill that gives you lots of individual monster hurt and an aoe attack that can affect 1/4 of a zoo + alchemy, giving good stats would be extra overkill on what's already an insanely powerful skill.
  16. Kneller

    Kneller Member

    So, then how do you build a distance fighter? I've read that archery isn't a viable primary attack due to ammo issues, and throwing isn't good for a non-warrior due to the melee damage element. Magic? With a bunch of rogue skills, magic power is going to really suffer.
  17. ElJefe

    ElJefe Member

    ugh, the non love of archery. The bonus to crits and dodge reduction are so key to maximizing the build. The 45%+ bolt recovery makes you able to begin to use this over half the time and not run out of bolts. I didnt max it as my guy died, but the knockback, the passives, all of that plus +6 for pierce is great. it isnt just +6 to pierce, it crits and doubles and also, after armour absorption, every+pierce damage you have really shines.
    tinkering + archery + perception = wow!
  18. sam12six

    sam12six Member

    Oh, I love archery plenty. Almost all my runs that aren't random include the skill. That said, Unarmed and Tinkering both offer more archery offense and bonuses than Archery.

    Archery VS Unarmed

    Archery gets +6 :resist_piercing:, +6 :crit: and +16 :edr:
    It Procs a knockback occasionally and you effectively get 45% more bolts when maxed (oh yeah, fleshbore proc)

    Unarmed gets +4 :dmg_crushing:, +4 :dmg_piercing:, +4:dmg_aethereal:, +6 :crit: and +18:edr: - so it adds twice the raw damage to archery attacks (that also apply to melee attacks), plus lots of defensive stats I didn't list.

    Bottom line: Unarmed is a better archery skill than Archery and it's just as good a melee skill.

    Archery VS Tinkering

    Tinkering adds no direct damage to archery attacks (oh wait, wasn't there a gaudy baubling thing?). It does allow you to have early bows that do more damage without relying too much on the RNG. It also offsets that extra recovery by allowing you to make more and deadlier bolts. On top of this, you get boatloads of :trap_sense: and :trap_level: that give experience and allow you to convert traps to offense or money. Also bombs.

    Bottoms line: Tinkering is just as good an archery skill as Archery and gives you a ton of other perks.

    So what I was saying wasn't that archery is useless, just that with a character that already has Unarmed and Tinkering, Archery won't add much (mostly because you've got more important places to put level-up points, so it won't get maxed for a very long time)

    It's not viable as a primary attack before about DL3 unless you also have rogue scientist (or get incredibly lucky with perception - the problem with relying only on perception is that the metals are probably going to be needed to make better bows and it drops such a variety of things that actually getting something you can convert to bolts is far less likely, whereas EVERY alchemical ooze dropped equals half a plastic ingot). If you don't have rogue scientist and have put points in perception, it becomes viable around DL5. Until you get a decent bolt recovery rate and have a pretty strong bow, using bolts to fight everything is a waste.

    You have Assassination, which is a melee skill. Yeah, it adds a little :crit:, but it's a melee skill.
    You have Dodge, which is a melee skill. Yeah, it adds a 2 step teleport and a teleport that will get you killed, but it's a melee skill because (I'm pretty sure) it doesn't affect magic attacks and you're the only actual archer in the game.

    To convert your build into a pure archer (after DL3 or so), I'd switch out Assassination for Rogue scientist (and never put a point into it - it's purely for ooze).

    I'd also switch Uncanny dodge for Paranormal investigator. You'd lose the small teleport and the suicide teleport, but you'd gain a couple of ways to fight your only distance threat (spell casters) - you can pop the first skill, which acts like armor against magic or Skepticism, which changes them to melee monsters or (if you're lucky) materials to craft bolts.

    Keep in mind, it's my opinion that these skills fit a ranged build better and the game is easy enough that you don't have to be completely efficient in skill choices to win, so I'm not saying what you should do, just what I would do. It's all personal preference. As I mentioned, I ALWAYS have tinkering because I hate traps - I mean, really, really hate traps. Even stepping on an easy hit curse trap pisses me off!! People who play with nothing but warrior skills obviously aren't as bothered by this as I am.

    I'd recommend taking a build and playing it until you either die or win, then choosing another build and trying again. If you try to build the absolutely perfect character, you'll drive yourself nuts and end up quitting and restarting a thousand times.
  19. Kneller

    Kneller Member

    Ok, so how about:

    Rogue Scientist
    Paranormal Investigator

    I'm not going for perfect, I'm going for viable and to be able to do what I'm trying to do. Also, I didn't know that Assassination is melee-only. I thought it might work for everything.
  20. sam12six

    sam12six Member

    That's got everything an archer might need. You have bolt/bow materials coming in from Rogue scientist and Perception. Offense, knockback and defense from Unarmed. Paranormal lets you deal with spellcasters, gives you crafting recipes to be sure you get powerful bows and tinker goggles to use them - plus lets you open zoos from a distance (once you've unlocked the door in the first place) to use bombs without inviting a mob to charge you and the Alchemy to convert all that ooze into plastic. Burglary lets you escape and Tinkering lets you deal with all traps.

    My goal when starting a new archer is to not fire a single bolt (except the poison ampule bolts you start with) until level 3. Until then, I play as a sissy fighter wearing the heaviest armor and swinging the biggest chunk of metal I can find. Level 3-4 is where not being set up for melee starts to catch up. At that point, ditch the heavy armor and weapon and rock double tomes as you snipe the bad guys.

    The stats of assassin help both melee and ranged, but I'm pretty sure the procs are only up close activations. Lots of things don't proc using bows: most tomes don't (but the little red cookbook does, which is nice for carnivores). Since Assassination's main draw is that stun/sleep effect, giving you extra free attacks, it's for a melee specialist (though it does help in the early going when you're doing a lot of meleeing anyway...