Tsalim's two-handed empath guide

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Originally posted by SALIM 17 August 2008

Pros and Cons

Cons: You will be behind other empaths in terms of magical and "fun to have" skills. If you truly dedicate your character to heavy weapons you'll be training in fewer expensive skills rather than many of the normal empathic skills. I'd also say that in terms of uberness you'll fall behind spell casting empaths, so if you want to make an uber empath of dooooom it won't be for you.

Pros: Fun, and it is a whole lot of fun. Roleplay, training a marshal empath opens up quite a few role-play options. Ease of play, once you learn the basic hunting tactics involved with large weapons character advancement isn't difficult. In fact prior to level 20 using a claidhmore is far easier than attempting to hunt with spells. Did I mention fun?

Race Selection

Think carefully before choosing one of the hardier races simply for the extra attack strength (AS) because they are slow, too slow for my taste. I'd personally recommend one of the elven varieties, either dark, half, pure, or sylvan, but playing a halfling or a gnome would work too. The only problems with the latter two will be their negative Strength bonuses and I do not recommend them if you haven't played a small race before.

SOAPBOX

Please, please read (or reread) the race and culture documentations prior to deciding on a race, and pick one that you'd be comfortable role-playing. My biggest pet peeve is PCs who do totally disregard the impact their race has on their personality. Culture should be much more integral to the character than profession.

How to Train

The only character crippling mistakes you could make when training an empath would be to not train in either Harness Power, Physical Fitness or Empath Base spells. If you train in those three skills and nothing else you can reach the level cap as a pure healer. You don't even need to be fully trained in any of them, sad isn't it?

But this guide isn't about general empath training, you want to learn how to beat the snot out of your foes with a great big sword which means the first skill you'll need is Two-Handed Weapons.

Keeping in mind that you're still going to be mechanically playing an empath you can't neglect the professions core training. 2x spells, 1x PT, and 1x-1 harness power. 1x-1 is my term for not training past your actual level in harness power because the rate of return, 1 mana, is not worth the TP investment.

You'll also see that I recommend 1x PT forever instead of stopping once you reach your max HP like a lot of healers do. PT not only increases health points it also increases stamina which you'll be using a good bit. PT also helps to reduce the amount of climbing and swimming needed, increases HP regeneration (which I admit is unnecessary for empaths) and also helps avoid or reduce the severity of some maneuver attacks. All and all it is a great skill for minimal cost that empaths pay.

Spells

Which spells when? That's easy, 1x empath, or close to it. Just make sure to get Intensity (1130) at 30. In the major circle you'll need Bravery (211) at 11 and Heroism (215) at 15 then stop training in it for a while. In the minor circle you'll want Spirit Defense (103) ASAP and then once you get 215, start working towards Lesser Shroud (120). After that you'll know what spells you want to focus on. Just a hint, teleportation spells aren't a big deal because you'll be too busy knocking your enemies hearts out of their back to worry about rescues. Besides you'll get to those spells eventually, no rush.

Armor

Armor: The heavier the better, your empath is going to get hit. Get 15 ranks ASAP and wear leather breastplate, it'll work just fine until around level 48 when it's time to migrate skills around so that you have 50 ranks and can wear chain mail. My empath is in torso chain now and I'm looking forward to when I'll be able to move up to double chain.

Combat Maneuvers

Combat Maneuvers (CMAN): Train as much as possible without sacrificing the previous skills, eventually you'll want to be fully trained in it both for the added AS as well as access to CMAN skills.

Feint and Disarm Weapon are the most popular but with the recent change that prevents multiple feints in order to stack RT and stance pushdowns feint has lost most of its previous luster. Another option is dirtkick because unlike other CMAN skills it can be used effectively from defensive. Whichever you choose three ranks of one skill so that it'll be useful in like level combat and then get three ranks of another. After that you'll know if you want to get more ranks in one, both, or learn another cman skill.

Multi Opponent Combat

Multi Opponent Combat: Get 5 ranks so that you can hit a pair of foes for now but I'm sure you'll want to bump that up to 30 for focused strikes later, much later.

Okay, that's the basic build and it'll leave you with training points left over to flesh out your character. I recommend the following skills in no particular order.

Magical Skills

Spiritual Mana Control: Get up to 30 ranks when you have spare MTPs to be able to share with other empaths and help increase your mana regeneration.

Mental Mana Control: Reduces the thresholds for critical wounds when casting Bone Shatter (1106) and increases mana regeneration, train in it when you have spare MTPs

Magic Item Use and Arcane Symbols: Get 20 ranks or so of each when you have spare MTPs.

Spell Aiming: 2x it or forget it. If you have a high Dexterity bonus (which you should) then 1x can be useful for tossing an occasional aimed spell. I started out with spell aiming and enjoyed using it but have since traded it for more armor and CM.

First Aid

First Aid: I personally think that all empaths should 2x this skill but training less or not at all isn't going to kill you. 3x is definitely overkill for a heavy weapon user in my book, but I think its overkill for a casting empath too. Combat wise first aid no longer increases the chance of an instant kill with bone shatter (1106).

Lores

Without spell aiming I can't think of a single lore that I'd recommend training in until far past level 50 except for Spiritual Lore, Blessings. Blessing lore is good train in it as much as possible but not at the expense of your other skills.

The way that Mental Lore, Manipulation affects Bone Shatter (1106) has now been changed. No longer does it determine the damage caused by the spell, instead it has taken the place of First Aid in increasing the frequency of instant kills. What that means to a heavy weapon user is that you can forget about training in manipulation lore for bone shatter because we don't use it as a killing spell but primarily as a set up spell in order to render a foe more vulnerable to a weapon strike.

Don't train in Mental Lore, Transformation to reduce healing roundtimes. It's an utter waste of good training points because your round times will decrease as you gain levels.

Perception

Perception: This isn't way down here because I think it's unimportant, it's actually a good skill to have in moderation. I recommend training in it every other level.

Statistics

Done with skills, now time to wrap it up with Statistics

Without getting to in depth there are a few basics to keep in mind. You'll need a combined Agility and Dexterity bonus of 38 in order to swing a claidhmore in 5 seconds. That doesn't mean that you'll need a 38 right out of the box, I'd shoot for it at level 10 or so because claidhmores are just that cool. Strength is a slow grower so place it high, over 90. Wisdom and influence are important because they determine your starting mana and they give double points but they grow so fast that I'd put them somewhere around 70, maybe lower. Discipline is generally considered a good stat to tank but I placed mine high in order to mitigate that horrid elven penalty and because once mental magic is released it is slated to determine mental TD.

Level 0 Stats for Tsalim, Elf Empath

  • Strength (STR): 93
  • Constitution (CON): 88
  • Dexterity (DEX): 86
  • Agility (AGI): 70
  • Discipline (DIS): 73
  • Aura (AUR): 62
  • Logic (LOG): 20
  • Intuition (INT): 39
  • Wisdom (WIS): 65
  • Influence (INF): 64

Good luck and feel free to ask questions.

Salim