Part 126: Survivor skills
Special Skill - Survivor : Sneak
- Being a Survivor is viable, but stealth is not very useful in most cases. Sneaking is the survivors special move, you crouch down and your stamina starts draining. Survivors are the only class that can interact with things when near-invisible.
But sneaking has difficulties. You can't sneak in the presence of light (which includes daylight), enemies often turn around as you try and sneak up on them (thankfully, the "backstab" skill doesn't care if the enemy sees you). Even if you attack an enemy while sneaking, other enemies can hear the fight and come anyway. If you do manage to sneak to an enemy facing away, they won't turn around, letting you chip at their health until dead. But those times are rare.
Special Move: Sneak
Path of the Thief (red)
Lockpick - Initial skill for Female Survivor
- Lockpicking is one of the most important skills in the game for treasure hunters. You need a set of lockpicks to use this skill, and it costs magic to use (which means you can't use it where magic is prohibited). The thing that makes lockpicking in this game different from the norm is that you cannot fail to pick a lock the same or lower rank as what you've learned. You can only fail to pick a lock if it's a higher rank than your skill. Because of this, you only lose a lockpick if you succeed in picking a lock, never if you fail. Up to two free skill points in this are available later, and there is an equivalent item to the Skeleton Key from the Elder Scrolls series which you can get through an optional quest.
- This lets you apply poison to a weapon. Strength of the poison depends on the size of the bottle you use. The rank of the skill tells you how many charges you get per bottle, from 10 to 50 (bottle size doesn't matter). Poison doesn't affect the undead at all, but against living things it hits them many many times a second - enough to one-shot a lot of enemies, like orcs.
This skill is extra-effective combined with a weapon which has the broken Freeze enchantment, so the enemy is not only unable to attack or move, but they're also getting poisoned as well.
- It lets you place traps. There are three kinds of traps:
1) Trail bombs (trails of exploding powder)
2) Spider mines (home in on enemies who trigger them)
3) Death Scorpions - cages containing scorpions. These wander around and attack enemies. You can get them to follow you with the Aura of Command skill.
The first two traps are okay, doing 20 damage per rank each, but the Death Scorpion trap is obscene, at least in version 1.34 and earlier. The rank of your Deadly Gift skill determines the level of the Scorpion. Higher level things are harder to hit by lower level things. Rank 1 starts at level 100 and goes up 100 levels per point. The player can't get anywhere near level 100. Monsters can barely hit them, and they almost never get destroyed. Personally, I think that an extra 0 was added onto the level, the scorpions should have been level 10 up to 50. Version 1.40 has changed something to make these less overpowered. I don't know what exactly, though.
Assassin's Kiss (Passive) - Initial skill for Male Survivor
- This survivor skill gives a chance for a dagger strike to do double damage. If it connects it gives a "BACKSTAB!" message, although thankfully, you don't actually need to be behind the target for this to happen. Rank 1 you have a 10% chance, Rank 5 it's a 50% chance for double damage with daggers. It's a must-have skill for those who want to use daggers, and daggers are indeed a viable weapon at all stages in the game. There are only two unique daggers in the game, but both are awesome.
- You can try and rob NPC's of level 6 * Pickpocket Rank. You can't pickpocket enemies of Rank 31 or higher, so don't try, it'll fail each time. Getting caught is not a good thing, obviously. I never use this skill because most NPC's have nothing worth stealing, skill points are better spent elsewhere. I can't tell you much about how this skill works because I don't use it. I think it works on the same pass/fail check as lockpicking does - if you have a high enough rank for the target NPC, it always succeeds, but I'd have to do research to conform details on how it works.
Elven Stamina (Passive)
- Stamina consumption is only 80/60/40/20/0 percent of the normal rate. I'm not sure if this applies to running, or to all abilities that consume stamina, like the special moves, but for Warriors and sneak-focused Survivors, this skill is an excellent choice, if only because you can save all your stamina for attacking.
- This is a poor-man's version of the Survivor's sneak skill. Survivors should NEVER take this; it's only for the other classes. And it's not that effective, either, interacting with anything cancels the sneaking, unlike the actual sneaking skill, and it doesn't work when there's light out, like the sun. Or torches. Points only reduce the stamina consumption from 5 down to 1. For actual invisibility, get Fade from Sight instead.
Evade Trap (Passive)
- Detect and disarm traps of level (Skill Rank). Click on the red area to disarm the trap. Traps are very rare in this game, and while they hurt a lot, this might not be a great use of skill points. You could already have cleared some areas with these kind of traps before you had the ability to see them through this skill.
Path of Lore (blue)
- This is one of those must-have skills for all characters - ESPECIALLY wizards, because mana potions are horribly inefficient. Rank 1 lets you mix two potions together, which lets you make Restoration potions, which is pretty much all you should be drinking. Rank 2 (available at player level 9) lets you make combine small flasks with from herbs and mushrooms in the world to make small potions. Ranks 3 and 4 increase the size of the potions you can make (you'll have to have the appropriate sized flask). One free point in Alchemy is available late in the game, but Alchemy is not worth boosting past rank 4, because Rank 5 just lets you supersize potions you already have if you find a rare Augmentor plant somewhere in the wilderness (It doesn't help that plants, including the Augmentor do not regrow).
Know Creature (Passive)
- Useful for mages and players who don't want to memorize the vulnerabilities of everything in the game. Picking the right elemental attack to target a weakness can save you a lot of mana.
Each rank lets you identify attributes for targets of Skill Level * 10, so even if you have 4 points into Know Creature, you can't even see the level of a creature of level 41+. Rank 1 lets you see the level and exact current hit points of the target, Rank 2 lets you see how hard it hits and how well it's armored. Rank 3 lets you see the offence and defense numbers of the target, Rank 4 shows your chance to hit, as well as the hearing and sight range of the target. Rank 5 shows the resistances of the target. The third and fourth points aren't very useful, but we'll be maxing this to see the resistances. It works on everything, enemies and allies alike. If you want to steal from an NPC shopkeeper, knowing their sight range is handy. It'll take until level 19 to max this.
Identify (Passive) - Initial skill for Female Survivor
- You'll want 2-3 points into this to save yourself some gold, and keep any magic items with this on it. One free point is available from completing the Merchant's Guild quest. Keep any items you find with +1 Identify, and you can save yourself spending skill points.
Magic items have an ID level of from 1 to 5. Usually, that number corresponds to the number of magic modifiers it has. ID 1 has 1 magic modifier, ID 4 has 4 magic modifiers. ID 5 usually means 5 attributes, but some Super-Unique items (which are always Item Rank 5) can have up to 10 magic modifiers.
ID 1 is almost always only found on rings and amulets. The majority of the magical items which drop are ID 2 or 3, so there's little need to invest heavily into Identify. ID 4 and 5 are rare, obviously, but random drops do happen. The ID quality of an item only affects the number of modifiers, not the power of the modifiers. Charm quality is rare on random drops, but is essentially guaranteed on uniques and super-uniques. There is an exception, sometimes very rarely a magical item item appears with no magic modifiers at all.
- The target loses 20/40/60/80/100 percent of their sight radius for 5/5/10/10/15 seconds. This skill is somewhat useful on ranged enemies, not so much on melee ones (at least not until it's maxed out). It ignores spiritual resistance, which is great... until some of the bosses use it on YOU, and that is big trouble. A decently useful skill.
True Sight (Passive)
- This lets you see invisible beings and counteracts the "Blind" status effect. Unfortunately, there is only one regularly encountered enemy who turns invisible, and they're not a serious threat at all. Some bosses can Blind you, which can be a big problem sometimes, but spending precious skill points just for four boss fights might not be the best investment.
- This spell is pretty useful for Mages, especially in the late-game. At Rank 1, the afflicted enemy loses 5% offense, 5% defense, and all Resistances (Fire, Lightning, Poison, Spiritual) are lowered by 5% for 5 seconds. At Rank 5, the target loses 15% offence and defense and all resistances are lowered by 25% for 15 seconds. The spell can be repeatedly cast on a target, but the 25% lowering applies to current resistances, a target with 100 resistance would have 75% after 1 cast, 56% after a second cast, and 42% after a third cast. The reductions to offence and defence make this useful for melee and ranged fighters.
- Disguises you as a dead entity for 10-50 seconds. First available at level 24, points can be put in every 4 levels after that.
The description of this skill is as follows: "Allows you to possess the body of a slain enemy for a short period of time. To use the skill, make the skill your active skill, and right click on a dead body and you will find that you are suddenly walking around like the enemy you've just slain, picking up all of his abilities. Your own body becomes soulless and will drop dead. To leave the enemies body, right click on your own body."
Well, that description is wrong. You don't get any of the enemies abilities. Your own body does not fall dead. This really is a disguise spell, and when it wears off, you regain your normal appearance. If you die while disguised, you remain disguised until the spell wears off, at which point you're stuck in control of a dead body. You can still open your inventory and allocate skill points, but you are still dead and can't get up.
Skin of Poison
- This is like Poison Weapon except without the weapon. When an enemy hits you, they get poisoned. Interesting idea, but you generally don't want to get hit at all. As you get better at the skill, each bottle of poison you use gives you more charges of poison, from 10 to 50 (non-cumulative, you need to wait for it to wear off before applying more). This is more suited to a warrior than a survivor, because typical survivors defence rapidly increases, so they get hit less and less often.
Path of Talents (green)
- This skill essentially converts your mana to gold and potions. For 24/26/28/30/32 magic, you can summon a low/mediocre/medium/high/very high quality gift from the heavens. Theoretically, I think this means you can get magical items. In reality, it's just basically gold and potions. This skill is not broken, it's not even worthwhile. You need to be level 24 to put the first point in, and by then you're already rich. Skill points will be far more precious to you than gold.
In the endgame, however, if you have an insane amount of time on your hands, you could theoretically use this to keep getting money so you can buy Gold Charms as the merchant's inventory refreshes, but they cost anywhere from 50,000 to 90,000 gold each.
With Rank 5 Heaven's Gift and 2054 mana to play with, I was able to get approximately 19,000 gold worth of stuff from 64 casts. You can use it to make money, but it'll take ages - not counting the time you spend refreshing the merchant's inventories looking for something useful. At that point of the game, you're almost certainly super-buffed and don't need the extra buffing anyway, so...
- Gain extra experience. RPG Veterans tend to avoid these kinds of skills for good reason. They suck compared to actual useful skills, and this is no exception. It first becomes available at level 6, but you can't max it until level 30. You get a bonus of 2% to all experience per rank (max of 10). Since enemies don't respawn, this would be helpful, right? No. The Larian DD forums did research and determined that you'd gain only 1 extra level by game's end. So you'd spend 5 precious skill points to gain an extra 5 attribute points, which isn't worth it. On the other hand, if you find a "+1 Wisdom" attribute on a magic item which is otherwise worth using, then you may as well keep it. Just don't put real points into Wisdom or cripple your character with 5 pieces of "+1 Wisdom" gear that offers little else.
Ranger Sight (Passive)
- It's like Elven Sight, except it only gives you one extra sight range per point. Since you can use skills from any class, this is useless unless A) you've maxed Elven Sight, B) are swimming in extra skill points, and C) you want to shoot things that are 20+ units off the screen. Also, you need to wait longer than Elven sight to put your first point in, and you'll need to be at a MUCH higher level to max it out than Elven Sight. So yeah, this is stupid skill design. You'll never have enough skill points, ever, to make this seem like a worthwhile investment, and I should know, finding at least 70 free skill points in the game.
Trader's Tongue (Passive) - Initial skill for Male Survivor
- Through slick talking, you are able to persuade merchants to offer you better prices. From the description, I think this might only apply to buying, not selling. Prices decrease 5% per rank up to 25%. Two free points are available, which I will both get in updates which aren't part of the narrative. I won't be putting any more points into it other then the free ones - and I wasn't even planning to get one of the free ones because it costs you 3000 gold to learn that "free" skill. It would take so long for the additional 5% discount to pay for itself that it's just not worth it.
The skill points are better spent elsewhere. I'm not sure it even works properly, I think it might only work if the merchant's disposition is below a certain value, because I have two items with +1 to Trader's Tongue, and it doesn't seem to lower the prices when I wear them. Your reputation and disposition with the merchant probably has more to do with the price than Trader's Tongue.
Magic Barrier (Passive)
- This passive skill adds 5% to all your resistances per rank up to 25%. It's of questionable value since not a lot of regular enemies use elemental attacks. And later, Gold Charms give 40% to specific resistances, so if you have charm slots free, you can patch vulnerabilities there. There are far, far better ways to spend skill points then this, so only use it if you really need to.
- Charm lets you charm a hostile enemy, causing them to attack each other instead of you. At Rank 1, it lasts for 5 seconds, and affects enemies with spiritual resistance below 5. At Rank 5, it lasts for 25 seconds and affects enemies with spiritual resistance below 25. Each time you use it on an enemy, they resist it more - their spiritual resistance goes up by 10 each time you cast it on them, so you only can Charm them a certain amount of times before it no longer works. Bosses are immune.
Aura of Command
- This spell lets 1 to 5 summoned creatures follow you. Note that I said summoned creatures, not "creatures that YOU have summoned". You can steal enemy summons for yourself, or bring some of your own with you.
The Death Knight is an obvious choice, except that Aura of Command makes it lose its red lightning attack for some reason. It also works well with the Death Scorpion traps from the Deadly Gift skill.
It's most useful for turning enemy summons to your side, thus removing a thorn from your side and firmly planting it in your enemy's side.
Survivor's Instinct (Passive)
- This gives you the ability to regenerate your health. Slowly. Points decrease the interval between regeneration boosts. The healing factor is really very slow and useless. Only put points in if you can't afford potions and you like standing around a lot. I hope you have a book to read if you try healing from almost dead with this skill.
Class-based Combat Strategies
Survivors are excellent at defense, but they're not good at dealing damage or hitting things. Their best survival tactic is to use their relative silence and sneaking ability to hit-and-sneak to limit the number of foes they face at once, and use their high defense to avoid taking many hits from the enemies they do engage. Bows make an excellent choice as well since Survivors can use their Special Move sneak off to a different position and resume shooting (repeat). That is most effective at night, I'm not sure if it even works in full daylight, though. Pumping agility also works well for them in melee combat, because they get the highest defensive bonus from Agility, so they won't be taking many hits at all, so much so that the game had to give an artificial limit of a 19% chance to get hit, regardless of Agility.
The Survivor skill set is generally unfocused, with a smattering of different types of abilities, a large number of which are useful for all character types. All the thief-type skills are here, but combat wise, the only strategy it really claims as its own is detecting and deploying traps, and the use of daggers and poison as weapons.
It sometimes seems like it was the dumping ground for some skills which there wasn't room for in the other builds. Even so, the Survivor skill set was limited to only 24 skills, with the other 8 reserved for the Divine Skills.