ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

Cath's Big F-ing Guide series - Part 1 : Inscriptions
Page 1 of 1

Author:  Cathbald [ Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Cath's Big F-ing Guide series - Part 1 : Inscriptions

Hey kid, wanna buy a… inscription? 8) Inscriptions are a huge part of ToME gameplay and something that tends to be very overlooked by new players. Considering that most of the starting insc are REALLY bad, it is not surprising that many have a hard time when first playing the game. I’ll dare say buying the proper inscs after trollmire will do more for you than buying that sweet T3 armor/weapon.

This is the first part of a series of guide I intend to write. It aims to be a strong base for new players and food for thought for experienced ones. We have 2 inscription guides already but I disagree a lot with one of them and a bit with the other :P And one of them isn’t even updated to 1.5 so who knows if it’ll be when 1.6 hit ^^

Here is the link to the second part, zone and zone order!
And here is the link to the third part, prodigies!

Inscriptions are separated into two categories : infusions and runes. Infusions are natural, and as such can’t be used by undead (can still be used while using a lantern/belt of undeath, thankfully). Runes are magical, can’t be used by antimagic characters, and are considered spells, which means they can be silenced/disrupted by antimagic forces. I’m not gonna talk about injectors/salves, because the only time I use those is when playing a tinker in EoR, which I haven’t done in a while, so I’m not in the best position to talk about them and they don’t play the same anyway.
Like equipment, inscriptions can have ego. If so, they will have a green name instead of a white one, and will scale on a stat. All insc have a base value for cd, power, duration, etc… depending on the insc. If the rune has an ego, one or several of those value will become better as the stat they scale on is improved.
Another important part of inscriptions is saturation. When you use an infusion, you gain a debuff that gives your infusions longer cd. Same for runes when you use runes. That debuff is called saturation.

Infusion ranking :
- A : I will always use one
- B : I will use one depending on circumstances
- C : I can use one in edge cases
- D : nope, joke inscription

List of infusions :

Let’s start with the starter ones.

  1. Regen (B, A if fungus) : regen infusion take a turn to use and heal you over 5 turns. cd goes from 12 to 17, with the exception of the starter which is 10cd. The starting one is still bad because over the duration, it only gives 60 health. Even early you can find some 200+ regen in shops with a little luck. Regen is good at keeping your life full. It is best used BEFORE going below 60-70% HP so it can keep healing you to full for 5 turns. Big problem is taking a turn, which I really don’t like in a defensive inscription. It has a huge synergy with fungus though, obviously.

  2. Heal (A) : instant heal + clear a poison + clear a wound. cd goes from 7 to 13. Heals for less than regen. I love this infusion and consider it clearly underrated by a lot of people. The double clear is huge because poisons are so common in the game and come with harsh side effect (reduced heal mod, pin, sleep(!), talent fail chance, …). Wounds are less so but cleansing a cripple, for instance, is a huge boon as well. The low cd means you can and should spam it, cd is the most important part here. I often use it to cleanse even if I massively overheal in the process, the “damage prevention” is not to be underestimated.

  3. Wild (physical : A early B late, mental : B, magical : D) : wild instantly cleanses a random status of a specific type (dual wild clear only one random status, not one of each type) and cross tier effects of the same type. They also give all res for a few turns after, those values can become huge late game. cd goes from 12 to 17. cd is the most important part of the wild. The more often you can cleanse the less in trouble you are. Because of that the starting one will serve you for a long while. The dual phys/mental is nice to save an insc slot, but I often find myself wishing I had a pure mental one, because the most important phys status can be covered with immunities and the most important mental status can’t. And so you end up trying to cleanse hex/inner demons/sleep while under 4 poisons and a slow and suddenly that phys/mental doesn’t seem so good anymore compared to a pure mental. Magical is way less important because you can just walk away for the duration of most magical effects (can’t walk away easily from sleep/pin/confuse/etc… on the other hand) and are generally less threatening.

  4. Heroism (A+) : yeah it’s that good. Heroism gives a lot of die_at and increases stats for a big number of turns. It’s instant. If it deactivates while you have less than 1 HP, you’ll be healed back to 1HP (or whatever die_at you have without heroism). It’s a great way to increase your survivability and damage all in one. The longer duration/shorter cd the better. cd goes from 21 to 28, duration from 7 to 13(or thereabout). You can chain 2 of those to permanently be under the effect.

  5. Movement (A+) : Instant, you gain a good amount of movement speed for 1-2 turns (as long as you don’t do anything other than moving) and 100% resistance to stun/pin/daze/freeze for 4 to 8 turns. cd goes from 13 to 21. You’re looking for the best uptime for the stun res, longer buff or shorter cd are both good. I used to run two but would only do that if I had 5 insc slots.

  6. Sun infusion (D) : takes a turn, illuminate the area, can blind and reduce the stealth power of the NPC inside. It’s really bad, so I can’t even tell you the cd or what scales, sorry. Fun thing though, you probably hate when rogues use this and you’re blinded, and you try to cleanse it but cleanse the illumination. Well don’t be, they also blinded and revealed all their friends around so you might take less damage than you would have otherwise!

  7. Insidious poison (C-) : takes a turn, deals damage to an enemy over a few turns and reduce their healing. Also cleanses a magical effect. I’ll be honest I have used this one 2 or 3 times, very early. It messed up vitality on an early mob and gave me ranged damage once or twice, and also helped with the start of EoR on non tinkers. Still, you shouldn’t ever find yourself using that.

    Special infusion :
  8. Primal infusion (C) : cleanses one of phys/mental/magical effect at random and gives affinity for all damage. The randomness is a downside, the cd isn’t as low as a wild can have, the affinity is nice but scales on con. There is just no reason to use this over a wild, unless maybe you want to play with affinity. I don’t know the value at high con. Would only use as Ogre and 6th inscription, or a class with high con and no status problem.

  9. Wild growth (D) : gives armor/hardiness, pins and deals damage in AoE. It could be good to keep melee enemies away and deal some damage if you have high mindpower..., but it takes a turn to use, effectively killing what little defensive benefit it has. There are better defenses and infusions are not there to help with damage. Would only use if ogre and as 6th inscription.

List of runes :

Let’s start with the starter ones.

  1. Shield rune (A if undead, C otherwise) : instant, shield for the next X turns. Why I am not a fan of shielding : I might want to betray an escort, shield prevents that; it has a longer cd than regen; it can not be fully used up (similar to overheal but worse, even if I overheal I am guaranteed SOME heal out of it first); it can be silenced on a class that otherwise doesn’t care about silence; and it can be disrupted by antimagic equipment. On undead you’ll run 1 or 2 anyway because it’s the only “health” rune.

  2. Phase door (C early, B+ late) : underrated rune, this gives a lot of defensive buffs. Takes a turn to use, teleports you to a random spot in close range and gives defense/all res/reduced incoming debuff duration. This is called the “Out Of Phase” (OOP) buff. You can gain some OOP buff on gear too, and they’re supposed to stack with PD rune. In practice, there exists a cap on merge that doesn’t exist for either separately. If you use PD rune with OOP gear, you can’t get more than 60 def/40% all res/50% reduced debuff duration. If I use 5 inscriptions this will almost always be my 5th so I don’t have 5 infusions, reducing saturation issues. Better on classes who don’t care where they land, it’s nice to open the fight with and then cast whenever it’s off cd. Also useful to get out when surrounded but this is NOT an escape rune.

  3. Heat beam (A if undead, D otherwise) : instant, deal damage in a line and cleanse a phys debuff. Longer cd than wild, deals poor damage and doesn’t even cleanse cross tier effect. No reason to use if not undead. IMPORTANT : if you use biting gale or acid wave, this rune goes on 1cd. This means, even though stun can’t put this on cd, you can be unable to clear stun because you decided to clear a confuse the turn before you got stunned. This also means you can’t clear two debuffs in a turn.

  4. Biting gale (A if undead, C otherwise) : instant, deal damage, wet and try to freeze in a cone, and cleanse a mental debuff. Wet + freeze is really nice, for cleansing it’s inferior to a wild, it doesn’t cleanse cross tier and can’t cleanse a silence since it’ll be unavailable while silenced! IMPORTANT : if you use heat beam or acid wave, this rune goes on 1cd, see above

  5. Acid wave (B if undead, C otherwise) : instant, deals damage, disarm, and cleanse a magical debuff. Disarm is a really nice effect against weapon classes and not to be underestimated. Not as good as the first two cleanses since magical effects are usually less of a problem anyway (see wild). Also doesn’t cleanse cross tier and puts the other two on 1cd, see above.

  6. Lightning (B if chronomancer, C otherwise) : instant, deals damage and for the next x turns, the first instance of damage you take each turn is totally avoided and you tp randomly to an adjacent tile. This is good on chronomancers because it also cleanses a debuff and you don’t care too much about being moved one tile. The main issue is that this is not reliable, it can block a tiny hit then, since it has been used for this turn already, let through the big hit that kills you. It’s also not reliable against AoE -you can avoid the damage, get tp’d in a square where the damage hasn’t been resolved yet and take the damage anyway. I know what I’m talking about I one-shotted myself with chill of the tomb through a lightning rune once :(

  7. Teleport rune (D) : Teleport you randomly, minimum 15 tiles away. Why this is bad : you don’t know where you’ll end up! The only reason to use this is because you’re in trouble and reliable escapes are down for whatever reason. This means you’re REALLY in trouble, and tp might very well put you in another shitty position, where mobs will take a free turn since you used yours to tp. Arguably this is better in normal because if you’re fleeing a rare there isn’t much chance you’ll end up next to another rare since they’re so few. This is still a very bad habit to take though.

  8. Controlled phase door (C if undead, D otherwise) : This is better than tp but massively inferior to phase door. Better than tp because you know where you’ll end up and range is good enough to escape, worse than normal phase door because you don’t get the crazy awesome buff that go with it. There is no reason to use it if not undead since then you can get a movement infusion.

  9. Vision rune (D) : I legit had to check tometips to not say bullshit on this one, that’s how much I pay attention to it. Not instant, reveal the surrounding area and reveal stealth/invis. Also gives telepathy to humanoids. Why is it bad? Plenty of items have track/telepathy/arcane eye on them already. Inscriptions are a way more valuable slot that you need to help you in combat.

  10. Invisibility (D) : Thank god I checked tometips just before, I would have forgotten this one otherwise. Not instant, you become invisible for a few turns, which reduces your damage by 40% and might make mobs miss you. Of course they can still get lucky when aiming, use AoE, have invisibility detection. And if one mob sees you he’ll tell the others. Not reliable. Gimps your damage. Pass.

  11. Manasurge (B for mana classes, D otherwise) : Gives mana and mana regen boost for a few turns, not instant. I would not drop it on AM or alch, drop it on shadowblade and necro. AB probably want to keep it for a while, SW doesn’t start with one and never take it.

    Special runes :
  12. Reflection shield (A for undead, B otherwise) : like a shield rune except it reflects the damage and scales better with stats (always scale on mag). Good for MAG users.

  13. Rune of the rift (C) : Deals damage and removes the target for 4 turns. Good to get a breather in 1v1. Bad if the target resist it.

Other :
Taint of telepathy (D) : not a rune but still arcane. Gives telepathy all and mindpower at the cost of mind save for a few turns. Bad, see vision rune.

Standard setup :
I will ALWAYS use at least 4 inscriptions, if I try to use only 3 I freeze while trying to decide what to skip. I almost always get 4th insc with first cat point, definitely get it with the second otherwise.

Non undead :
Usual setup is Movement/Heroism/Heal/[Wild or PD] depending on the need for cleanse.

A notable exception would be solip/ooze/wyrmic where I’d use a regen over the heal. Solip want the constant regen to not lose global speed and likes to take antimagic/fungus, wyrmic has fungus base, ooze is almost immune to poison and wounds already and take fungus too.
Another would be AM and AB, they’d rather take shielding than heal because of Aegis, same for Corruptor and Reaver because of boneshield, those 4 classes do not want to take HP damage, usually if they do they have misplayed already.
For the 5th insc you have a lot of liberty. 2nd heroism/movement for constant uptime is really nice, the one you didn’t take as 4th between wild/PD, a second wild even. Having at least one rune among the 5 is nice for saturation, as I said before, so shield becomes better too.

Undead :
Shield/PD/Biting gale is core. 4th is choice between heat beam, second shield, second PD. I usually don’t take 5 on undead due to rune being so much worse than infusion, so whatever for 5th.

This concludes the first part of the series. I hope this guide was useful to you, I aim to keep it up to date through the 1.6 inscription rework and beyond. Any advice for better presentation, different opinion and constructive discussion is always welcome. I feel like this needs more color, seems pretty bland :? I would be happy to explain my choices more in detail if anyone want. Good luck to all :D

Thanks to Orange for re-reading this, please send all bad english complaints to him :p

Author:  TinyReaver [ Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cath's Big F-ing Guide series - Part 1 : Inscriptions


Author:  pingpongalong [ Wed Mar 21, 2018 3:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cath's Big F-ing Guide series - Part 1 : Inscriptions

Great guide, though the lack of info about injectors is a bit disappointing, particularly when it comes to their use as undead races. Being able to remove multiple effects at once and the flexibility of choosing between physical, mental, and magical can be really nice.

Author:  Cathbald [ Wed Mar 21, 2018 7:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Cath's Big F-ing Guide series - Part 1 : Inscriptions

Yes, salves/injectors are stupidly powerful.
They also work with device mastery to be EXTRA broken.

That reason, plus the fact that I don't like using them in AoA for "lore" reasons is why I don't use them.

Unstoppable force salve is 10 stars out of 5 though (and can be on constantly), the cleanse one are just stupid as they give affinity on top of cleansing several debuff, healing salve is bad. Look for low cd first, potency second (on injectors). There, guide done.
Hum, and 1 point to insc because at least they're available while sleeping unlike injectors

Author:  CrazyJ [ Thu Aug 02, 2018 7:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cath's Big F-ing Guide series - Part 1 : Inscriptions

One thing I think you missed is that Rune of the Rift lowers paradox by 25. So for paradox mages it's a useful tool to control their paradox level. Also a paradox mage can chain together Rune of the Rift with Skip Time to keep a single opponent out of action.

Author:  Cathbald [ Sun Aug 05, 2018 9:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cath's Big F-ing Guide series - Part 1 : Inscriptions

True, i didn't mention it does that because i actually forgot. But using an insc slot for resource management is a bad idea when that resource isn't affected by enemies (whereas manasurge is useful right after being manaclashed) and that resource is so easy to manage, and 25 is not a big number. If there was an insc that restored 200 stam and time skipped someone, i'd never use it either, those resources (sadly) do not really require management.

Author:  CrazyJ [ Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cath's Big F-ing Guide series - Part 1 : Inscriptions

Fair enough. I actually just won with an unusual Doomelf Paradox Mage build where I only unlocked the stasis and light trees and used rune of the rift to help control my paradox level. But had I simply unlocked the flux tree instead I probably would have done a better job of handling paradox on top of other things.

Still, the rune does pretty good single target damage and didn't appear to waste a turn if your target made their save, I think. It might have been interesting to try the rune of the rift with an ogre, assuming it would harder for opponents to resist as well as them getting better damage. But otherwise it does seem there are better things to spend cat. points for PM's, and probably most other spellpower heavy classes for that matter.

Author:  Cathbald [ Mon Nov 26, 2018 8:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cath's Big F-ing Guide series - Part 1 : Inscriptions

I realised I didn't update this when I found out wild growth took a turn to use.

It's now done and I hate wild growth for ever making me believe it could be good.

Author:  Snarvid [ Sun Dec 02, 2018 2:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cath's Big F-ing Guide series - Part 1 : Inscriptions

If you weren't talking injectors because they're OP I might get booted out of the joint for this, but shield runes are A class for Possessors due to their healing restriction.

Author:  Cathbald [ Sun Dec 02, 2018 4:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Cath's Big F-ing Guide series - Part 1 : Inscriptions

I didn't even think of possessor, but I'll add a mention

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group