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I think it depends on the enemy faced. Obviously orcs are too big and have too much armour (as well as being immune to knock-backs) for crossbows/impalers to be much use most of the time in melee (although, having said that, they are great for taking out of your pocket to finish them off after a devastating-but-not-quite-fatal swing for your first 6 action points … which also allows the damage bonus from Killing Frenzy to keep going). If the enemy includes several necromancers or goblin shamans or overseers (or even just common ambushers), arming such characters with 3 crossbows/impalers means that they get more attempts to kill the bastards off early (I also give other characters extra crossbows for these battles). I also find 3 crossbows/impalers to be highly effective against raiders, since you can smash their shield with the great-hammer/sword and then impale them with a bolt (+50% damage thanks to Close-Combat Archer) and finish them off (if a comrade hasn’t already done so) on your next turn. Also, if most of the other company members are bearing shields and forming shieldwalls, you can carelessly fire bolts through melee throngs and, if they hit anything, it’ll almost certainly be an enemy …
I had become scornful of the usefulness of the shield skills, but then they added new content and I started looting lots of exotic shields with special attributes, but these precious gems became imperiled against orcs and so I started to see sudden worth in the Deflect perk (and then, with specially protective shields and a large core who all have the ability to form lots of communal shieldwalls while also wearing heavy armour, Shield Expert becomes worthy as well).
I think, for shield builds, it’s best to use the Utility tree first, since that gives you the durability to keep forming shieldwalls while wearing heavy armour, and the tier-1 perks allow you to carry/utilize reserve shields before taking Deflect from the Defence tree. Then you can take any two of Colossus, Battle Forged and Shield Expert, followed by Hold Out, and either Sundering Strikes or the the other tier-1 Defence perk for the final pick (a warhammer in reserve, and/or a special looted sword that’s over 100% effective against armour, probably makes Sundering Strikes not necessary).
Oh, and as for Puncture (and Nimble), I’m planning (before the perk tree is overhauled later this month) to build some nimble “daggermasters” with Defence perks down to Return Favour, and Offence perks including Push the Advantage and Fast Adaptation, and zero Utility perks. The combination of Return Favour, Push the Advantage and Fast Adaptation makes use of the Puncture skill seem mouthwatering …
Sellswords are pretty good choices for this role.
Sellswords are perfect for the role! They start with higher melee and ranged skill, and higher melee and ranged defence. They tend to have average max fatigue, but they usually start with several ready-made perks and level-ups, so that they can be instantly brawny and have all their skills increased to elite levels. With that taken care of, all of their newly acquired perks (which come thick and fast, thanks to the amount of damage dealt) can be picked from the offensive tree. They can be armed with 2-3 crossbows (or, better still, Spiked Impalers), along with a greatsword and a two-handed hammer or axe and perhaps (once they’ve gone berserk) a warbrand for applying a finishing touch with those 4 extra action points (bows/impalers can achieve the same end more efficiently, but maybe a warbrand is good for grueling fights where you’re locked in melee and have already fired all your bows and need an extra hit chance and two strikes per turn to finish off a foe). You’re spoiled for choice with the offensive perks. With lethal ranged weapons in reserve that cost minimal fatigue to fire, the combination of Close-Combat Archer and Killing Frenzy guarantees greatly enhanced damage with at least one weapon. But, for those occasions when an AoE attack misses all opponents, Fast Adaptation means you can take an impaler out of your pocket and be almost guaranteed to kill/wound/repel one of the bastards (and potentially make one or two of the others shit their pants). In fact, the impaler is a pretty good defensive weapon …
For example, a defensive brother using a shield, redundant against orc warrior and young orc does a good job at cleaving shield too. Good against arrow? Nay, those goblins will snipe your archer to death and won’t bother with him. Protect your archer against arrow? Plenty of time my archer die directly behide a shield-wall, guessing there no extra bonus to protect your archer except for block penalty. So why bother with shield perks? Maybe someone can prove me wrong.
If a lot of your company have been taken to tier 2 of the utility tree, so that they can wear heavy armour and carry heavy shields and form lots of shieldwalls and use Bags&Belts + Quick-Handedness to instantly replace a broken shield or (depending on the enemy faced) swap a kite for a heater, then the shield-based tier 1 defence perks suddenly seem worthwhile (especially Deflect against orcs). By that point, some of them will even be capable of carrying around one of those massive, heavy, semi-indestructible orcish shields. Sometimes, you can loot special rare orcish shields that have even more durability and/or offer more defence (with potentially greater or lesser fatigue). Combine that with Deflect and the shield is almost indestructible and would zap all the energy of any gang of orcs that did smash it (and you’d still have one or two durable back-ups).
2-hander weapons can certainly be effective in the right context. I bought a sellsword with good all-round attack and defence skills and 3-4 ready-made level-ups. So I immediately gave him utility perks so that he could wear lots of heavy armour and carry lots of weapons in reserve, and then started making him more destructive with offensive perks. Now, at level 11 with no defensive perks, his melee and ranged skill are both c. 75 and his melee and ranged defence are both c. 25. I often just throw him right into the middle of the melee. He might receive a few scratches, but then he (aided by Bloody Harvest and perhaps some shield-smashing from comrades) performs a vicious swing with a greatsword or 2-handed hammer, which is bound to kill or severely wound at least one of those bastards. Then he still has 3 action points and can quick-handedly take out a Spiked Impaler that only costs 2 action points to fire. His offensive perks include both Close-Combat Archer (+50% damage with ranged weapons from 1-2 tiles at any time) and Killing Frenzy (+50% damage with any weapon after a kill), which means that this initial shot is either going to do (at least) 200% of normal damage or is going to kill someone off so that he’ll be able to do at least 200% damage on his next turn. And he still has another couple of impalers hidden in his pockets …
Fighting goblins is often very hard when all/most of your company is on tier-1 perks only. Once many/most of them are beyond that, it gets fairly easy to fight standard goblin parties, but ones with bastard shamans can still slaughter level-11 veterans if you aren’t adequately careful/lucky.
Things that make it easy/easier to fight goblins:
– Melee fighters with quick hands and lots of max fatigue, who can afford to form repeated shieldwalls with a kite while advancing, and who can instantly switch to a heater after closing on those net-bearing bastards who are backed up by jagged pikes (or who can form a shieldwall with a heater before closing on one of those bastards forming a spearwall)
– Crossbowmen with good armour, high initiative, the dodge perk and lots of extra crossbows in reserve, who can move forwards and shoot twice per turn at shamans, overseers, ambushers and bastard net-bearers (or bastard spearwall-formers), while remaining less likely to receive hits or serious damage when it’s not their turn
– Nimble swordmasters can be surprisingly effective against goblins, despite their vulnerability to arrows and nets, since they can (a) casually move through the melee without being hit, so that they can corner those unsuspecting ambusher bastards, and (b) use Riposte to exact vengeance against those wolf-riding bastards who cheat by using three attacks per turn
– If one of your high-level crossbowmen has the Berserk perk and manages to kill a bastard goblin, he can use his well-earned extra action points to fatally injure another, and then finish the bastard off on his next turn, etc. etc., so that he keeps gaining an extra attack per turn
On “a few”:
They’re using “a” to say 1, and “a few” to mean 2-3 or 2-4 or something like that. The reason for this is simple:
To leave you guessing how many bandit leaders / necromancers / orc warriors you’re fighting exactly.
If they said “a couple” and THEN said “a few,” it’d mean you’d have a more precise knowledge of how many enemies you’re fighting. A little mystery goes a long way in making you reconsider your attack (such as is that “a few” Necromancers 2 or 3?), which I personally think is a good thing.
This was aimed at an entirely different post. I agree it would be a good idea to keep you guessing and on your toes. My point, however, it that it is always 2 and never 3 or 4, and thus all uncertainty is eliminated after a short spell of play.
That’s not what I was getting at. It’s not specific to bandits. I could be “a few direwolves” or “a few withered vampires” or “a few necromancers” or “a few” of anything else. “A few” means more than one, and usually more than two, but the term always indicates just two when used by the unseen scouts in this game. So maybe it should just say “a couple” instead? But I’d have thought that the use of an unspecific term, like “a few”, would indicate a varying range and not always just one exact number.
That kind of thing is very rare and random. I once had someone lose the dastard trait (starting at wavering morale) after getting his fifth perk or so, but it didn’t happen the other times a waverer got that far.
I’m going to rename my next recruit as Sir Michael Starr.
There are orcs and goblins and zombies and direwolves and withered vampires …
Why not have some females, for fuck’s sake?
Maybe the real thing lacking from “endgame” is any obvious incentive to break a contract? If you already have a full company, all on (or close to) level 11, and enough crowns to buy whatever you want (but only if you make room for it by selling off some of your precious loot), you only take contracts on to start with because they save you the time and boredom of having to find some stronghold to attack. But if things happened to make you want to break a contract …
I don’t think there should be “impossible” enemies, since that would make your efforts futile. And the mere promise of great riches hidden within a package is not a good incentive once you’re already over-laden with loot and riches.
But what if you became caught up in an internal struggle between the townsfolk and the nobles of an allied town? What if the peasants asked you to protect them against other mercenaries who had taken pay from a noble house to act as bandits? What if some “stronghold” a noble house had paid you to raze turned out to be occupied by some semi-starved dissenting faction? What if you were paid to rescue some noble’s daughter from bandits but she then revealed to you the horrors of her home life and begged you to protect her from it?
I might be the only person who isn’t desperate for horses in the game.
I was going to take Ernst down the utility tree to give him Brawny and Weaponmaster, but I gave into temptation and gave him Return Favour followed by Push the Advantage. He now has a cleaver and marches into melee with the intention of being surrounded, and then uses Return the Favour. Once someone is stunned, his high melee skill and the +20 chance from Push the Advantage easily overcome the -10% chance of Decapitate. I’m going to give him a warhammer, as well. His fatigue isn’t that important, since he can generally afford to wait turns to replenish energy while surrounded on all sides. But scale armour would indeed now be a bit too fatiguing for him. Still, the possibility of being suddenly expired by a lucky orcish strike makes it more exciting …
Incidentally, I did have one guy in scale armour+helm, with 40+ melee defence (not Nimble) and over 90 hit points, who was one-shotted by that double-headed, two-handed orcish axe.
im still trying to figure out why i should be breaking shields instead of dealing damage.
A new recruit (who doesn’t need to deal that much damage to get to the next level-up) can smash shields from a safer distance while more experienced fighters (who need to deal lots of damage to get to their next level-up) will have a much better hit chance and will therefore be able to wield more destructive weapons. If they happen to miss or fail to finish of their foes, the longaxe-wielders get a chance to finish them off on ensuing turns. Or: level-11 veterans who no longer gain experience points can smash the shields and the ones who are still gaining can grab the glory (but the veterans with their high skills can still do a lot of damage as and when required). Or: if you have good enough defences and the tier-2 utility perks that reduce/replenish max fatigue, it’s not all that fatiguing to smash shields and then patiently work away at your enemies’ armour and hit points over many turns. The cumulative damage is the same.
New items all look great, even though they dont really fit into my strategy. The 1 handed spear in particular seems very very pricey for what it offers. It costs like military grade weapon, but doesnt really match their power, mixed feelings.
But hey. its definitely a step in right direction. We need more content, even more items and specially more enemy variations (different types of enemies within same factions).
Yeah, the other new weapons are mostly great, but the spear’s a disappointment: astronomically more expensive; only does an extra 2.5 damage versus the boar spear; only as effective versus armour as the boar one was before; also a little more fatiguing to use. Better to save the money for a magical sword that’s unusually effective against armour.
The War-Bow’s not too exiting, either. It’s just a modest linear upgrade from the hunting one, but there’s nothing to make it as appealing as a crossbow. With the War-Bow you can (if you hit) do an average of 72 damage (not very effective against armour) to an enemy once per turn, with a +10% chance to hit so long as you don’t move at all. With the new (much cheaper) light crossbow, you can (if you hit) do an average of 40 damage (much more effective against armour) to an enemy TWICE per turn, with a +20% chance to hit, and you can move before or between shots and shoot the same enemy or two different ones, and/or prime yourself for your next turn. No contest.
I think the new 2-tile Long-Axe is going to take away any purpose of the Fighting Axe, since the latter is c. 3 times more expensive and is not able to smash a standard shield in a single turn without wasting a perk on Crusher. My new companies are going to have a lot of quick-handers armed with longaxes, pikes, crossbows and back-up swords and shields.