Goat's Mutant Sorcerer Guide

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This is a crosspost from my post on the Player's Corner Forums found Here

So you want to be a mutant?

Preface

At level 82 I fixskilled my sorcerer to swing a lance. It has been fun, and sometimes people ask about it, so here's a guide. I can't tell you from experience that this works before 82. You'll have to ask Caelric (Takhooshi) about that. You could also ask Xoryl, but he followed a substantially more physical training path (e.g. 1.5x spells, .5x MoC) and got frustrated with it in his early 40s.

Before reading this, read Whirlin's sorcerer guide. I'm not going to go into detail much on stuff he has already covered - he already said it well enough. Take special note of his section on why not to do weapon training. It is accurate, but has one major assumption that differs from this guide. He runs his calculations with the assumption that you won't get outside spells from scrolls. However, scroll infusion makes it practical to use a lot of scroll spells every hunt. Without Whirlin's assumption, swinging is immensely more practical.

You might also read my two previous posts on my own training choices and experiences, which include advice on specific high-level hunting grounds.

Overview

This guide assumes 2.0x spell training, and as such, isn't really describing a "mutant" build in a strict sense of the word. That is, you're living within the bounds of what gemstone's designers want to support, and they've laid out the world to let you successfully hunt like-level creatures from 0 to 100. A true mutant build would be something like 1.5x spells and .5x Harness Power. That might be technically doable, but you'd probably struggle to ward creatures successfully, while still not being able to rely entirely on your physical skills to get the job done. Instead of a true mutant, consider this a guide a way to make a sorcerer with a lot of hunting options - you'll still be able to hunt with a runestaff just about everywhere, but you'll have the option of swinging, too.

Of course, at 2.0x spells, your casting strength (CS) will be lower than normal pure sorcerers. If you're going for maximum killing power, forget the weapons. Train 3x in spell research. With a lot of effort, using a weapon is occasionally more efficient than being a normal pure, but for the most part, this path is only for people who think it's fun to be different and poke around at the edges of GemStone's design.

To make swinging work, you'll want a great big scroll collection. This will be an enormous pain to manage if you don't write scripts. I have scripts to easily find and stow scrolls in multiple packs that weigh just less than my phasing limit. I have scripts to help with the recharging process. I have a script that find/invoke/cast/stow a scroll, and a script that defines different lists of spells, that calls that last script to spell me up for a particular hunting area or situation. That makes it all quite manageable. The good news is you'll start out not needing them, and then gradually add to your collection as you are able to work with higher level scrolls, and you can gradually add to your script collection along with it. (I might upload mine someday, but they're specific to my character and fragile. Don't get your hopes up.)

When swinging, my most common hunting strategy is to disable with a spell, then swing to kill. Most commonly, that means using Limb Disruption (708), aimed at a leg. Having your enemy on the ground and stunned makes up for a lot the attack strength (AS) different between me and squares.

Oh, and one more thing - you can do all kinds of crazy stuff with 15m exp, but in this guide I'm focusing what you do before you have tons of TPs to spare.

Which race?

Pick based on what kind of character you want to play, of course, but also know what you're getting yourself into. All stats normal sorcerers care about still matter, but for swingers, Agility (AGI), Dexterity (DEX), and Strength (STR) bonuses get increased importance. AGI and DEX are important for swinging big weapons in 5 seconds. STR is important for swinging AS.

Dark elves have a big CS boost, and they also have +15 AGIDEX and no strength penalty, so they're still a very strong option. Elf, burghal gnome, and halfling all have better AGIDEX, though halflings and burghals have a -15 STR penalty to consider.

Of course, the other capped swinging sorcerer I know about is a half-krolvin. You can probably make any race work if you really want to.

Which weapon?

Polearm Weapons - 14/3 per rank

This is what I've chosen. If you're paying the 14/3 for pole arms, you're going to be swinging two-handed. You don't want to pay 13/0 for Shield Use. If you really really want a shield, train edged or blunt. Pole arms have two "best" weapon types - naginata and lance. Naginatas have a base RT of 6, so you can swing them in 5 seconds even at very low levels. At higher levels, they will become attractive for two-target mstrikes. Naginatas have great AvD values, but their damage factors (DF) aren't that great. Lances have solid AvDs too, though less impressive against light armor. They have the best DF profile in game, more or less. The problem is their 9 second base RT. You'll need your AGI bonus + DEX bonus to be 53 in order to swing it in 5 seconds. Mstrike is much less attractive with a lance - you're unlikely to get below 10 RT on two swings (or 11, depending on your race). That eliminates a lot of the point. I would recommend starting with a naginata and then switching to a lance at higher levels (and/or with a bunch of AGI and DEX enhancives).

Ranged Weapons - 14/3 per rank

This is perhaps the most practical choice. Ranged DS is usually quite a bit lower than normal physical DS, so you don't need as much AS to land a decent shot. Also, perception is the secondary AS skill for ranged, rather than combat maneuvers. 2x Perception costs 0/9 compared to 12/8 for ranks of Combat Maneuvers (CM). Furthermore, if you get a 6x bow with ebladed arrows, you are effectively firing a 10x weapon, and for 10% or less of the cost of a real 10x weapon. I haven't tried this simply because dealing with arrows seems like a pain.

Two-handed Weapons (THW) - 14/3 per rank

There's a lot to commend two-handed weapons. They give you access to a claidhmore, which can be fun - they have 40 points of critical weighting. That's 4 times as much as heavily sought-after heavily crit-weighted weapons. However, If you want a claid with better than a +12 enchant, you'll going to be spending a lot - 8 figures, at least. Since your AS will already be low, this is a tough trade-off. Their damage factor is not quite as high as lances', but they have a base RT of 8 seconds compared to 9 seconds with a lance.

Mauls are popular among squares, but they are popular specifically because you can guarantee a kill with a sufficiently high end roll and a shot to the head (on crittable critters). Ambush is required to aim two-handed weapons decently (along with combat maneuvers), and it costs 15/14 per rank, so I don't expect many sorcerers to benefit from that. (Note that with 101 ranks combat maneuvers and no ambush, against a like-level foe, you'll successfully aim for the head roughly 30% of the time with a naginata, and somewhat less with a lance. I understand two-handed weapons can be a bit easier.)

One cute option with THW is that you can actually swing your runestaff. Runestaves are terrible, terrible weapons, but it could nice to finish off a critter that you know is almost dead, or just to have something fun to show off to your hunting buddies.

One-handed edged/blunt with shield use - 6/2 per rank + 12/0 per rank

These skills are way cheaper than two-handed weapons, but if you train in them, you'll want to train in shields as well. Those two skills together are effectively 2/0 more expensive per level than THW/Pole/Ranged. One-handed weapons figure to be easier to aim or mstrike than two-handed ones, but again, I don't expect people to be spending a ton on ambush or MoC before cap. A shield will improve your DS, but with my giant scroll collection, I'm usually not that worried about my DS. Admittedly I could use more DS against vvrael destroyers, but I also appreciate killing them as quickly as possible with my high-DF lance.

Brawling with shield use - 10/2 per rank + 12/0 per rank

Brawling is already practiced by a few sorcerers (mostly, but not exclusively, after cap), though generally not for physical offense. With an open right hand, you can't get disarmed, and you can channel 702 for extra damage. Brawlers will generally train in shield use as well. I don't know much at all about brawling offensively as a sorcerer. Someone want to fill me in?

Two-weapon combat - 12/12 per rank, plus edged/blunt training

Too expensive. Probably not gonna work. I think Taakhooshi started out as TWC and Caelric switched him to THW after finding it not so great.

Thrown - 9/3 per rank, plus edged/blunt training, plus shield training

Get yourself a self-returner and go hurling. 30m silver ought to get you headed in the right direction. Thrown DSes are real low, which is nice, but you probably want a shield for DS, as well as edged or blunt for parry DS, too. Seems like a very post-cap thing.

Training

I'm going to assume a polearm build the rest of the way, because it's what I know.

Must-haves

  • 2x spell research
  • 1x harness power
  • 1x pole arm
  • 2x Arcane Symbols up to 150 ranks
  • 1.5x Magic Item user up to 100 ranks
  • ~30 ranks of physical fitness, to max out health
  • 8 ranks of armor use (double leather)
  • 24 ranks of spiritual mana control
  • 24 ranks of elemental mana control

That's 33 PTP and 47 MTP at level 0, gradually shifting down to 18 PTP and 31 MTP by level 75.

Skew your spell training away from MnS and towards MnE. MnE gets you +25 AS from 425, and an additional +1 AS for every two ranks after that. Go for 20 ranks of MnS as you need DS, and then keep MnE at 2/3 * your level up to cap. Put the rest in sorcerer spells. That gets you to 114/67/20 at cap, with one more 0/16 spell in the circle of your choice (it won't up your CS).

Note that the AS/MIU training really is a core part of the build. With scrolls found normally within the treasure system, you can get:

  • +70 physical AS
  • +65 bolt AS (some of it at the cost of physical AS)
  • +127 physical DS, 137/152 bolt DS depending on the bolt (elemental or not)
  • More TD than you'll ever need, except in invasions - then you'll be glad it's there.
  • Enough maneuver defense to make a difference (blurs, prayer, mobility)

That 70 AS closes a substantial percentage of the gap between you and pures/semis, and the DS will help make up for your leather armor and complete lack of redux.

The mana control ranks get you 100% efficiency on infusing _most_ scrolls (no mana lost). There's also the basic ability to send and receive mana to/from other characters.

You can potentially get by on less than 1x HP at later levels, but you'll probably find it worth it to stick to 1x.

Strongly recommended

  • 1x physical fitness
  • 2x spell aim
  • combat maneuvers as you stop training in other skills. I was at 70 ranks at cap.

Not including combat maneuvers, this is an extra 13 PTP/4 MTP per level, which makes 50 PTP / 50 MTP at low levels, and you'll only have about 44 PTP / 44 MTP to start with if you're set for perfect stats at cap. You'll have to do some prioritizing at first. The good news, of course, is that you can push your TPs around however you like for your first 30 days. You might skip AS, MIU, EMC, SMC, or armor use early on, until your stats improve or you're ready to slow down on some other skill.

PF is your biggest factor in avoiding standard maneuver rolls, and those are a pure's biggest vulnerability, so it's worth spending the points.

2x spell aim is helpful in a lot of ways, but for swinging, the main use is aiming limb disruption at a specific limb with no CS penalty (or a low penalty, if up-hunting). I have tried 708ing without aiming, and being able to target a leg was much more effective overall. Blowing off a hand or arm just doesn't drop a creature's DS like making it fall over, and if you blow off a right arm it may turtle. (That said, sometimes you *do* want to take off the right arm instead of a leg, because it neaturalizes more threats.) Besides 708, focused implosion can be very useful, and I used focused maelstrom semi-regularly around levels 25 to 50. Bolting is handy, maybe not in day-to-day hunting, but certainly in invasions.

Combat maneuvers ranks are expensive - 12/8 per train, and it takes 2 ranks of it for one measly point of AS. Still, you'll need all the AS you can get, and learning CMANs is quite helpful. At 42 ranks, can have 3 ranks of disarm (+45 disarm defense) and 3 ranks of cdefense (+9 to all CMAN defense). This won't keep you from being disarmed, but it will make them miss sometimes, and reduce your disarm roundtime substantially when they hit. You may also choose to shift into feint at some point, which becomes somewhat useful offensively with 4 ranks, and sometimes even with just 3.

Options

  • Perception - helps with maneuvers and getting into places (broken lands, wehntoph, etc.) I dropped to 0 ranks once I no longer needed to get into places. 740 can help somewhat with this - as long as you can search out your opening once, you can sense a pattern inside.
  • Armor use - 20 ranks for LBP, 110 ranks (requires enhancives) for brig. Take a look at the damage factors for soft leather vs scale on a bunch of different weapons. There's not much of a difference. You're mainly wearing scale for the crit divisor. I think it's more important to have low spell failure.
  • Multi-Opponent Combat - 5 ranks is already rather nice to improve splash on 111/713/720, and reduce force-on-force a bit. If you're swinging, you get the added benefit of a two-target mstrike. That said, with a lance, it doesn't make much sense. With 53-67 AGIDEX, you swing once in 5 seconds, or twice in 10. If you opt for a naginata instead of a lance, this could be a really nice option.
  • Demonology - 12 ranks lets you phase 16 pound containers. Two lockable 15 pound containers should hold your whole scroll collection, as well as your lance (when you hunt with your runestaff). I haven't gone further than that since going mutant.
  • Necromancy - I'd say animating is slightly nicer for a mutant, because you'll already be lowering critter DS for yourself, and that makes animate more effective as well. But for the most part, train or don't train in this for the same reasons as a normal sorcerer.

Air lore - 48 ranks (672 PTP) gets you 2-second swings with haste. Haste is incredibly useful, but a pain to use regularly, since it only lasts a minute. It's up to you if you want to emphasize it that much.

Scroll Collection

  • Offense: 211, 215, 307, 509, 606, 1605
  • Defense from scrolls that generally last a while and are easy to infuse and are broadly useful: 202, 303, 310, 503, 507, 509, 601, 905, 1204, 1601.
  • More defense: 219, 313, 508, 602, 613, 618, 911, 913, 1119, 1208, 1215, 1712

Other stuff you may want to have around: 506, 1711, 511, 1701, 207

You'll want to pick and choose based on your defensive needs, spellburst, the attacks from the critters you're hunting, etc.