ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

Everything about ToME
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2019 4:35 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:43 am
Posts: 3
version 1.5.10.

My first win, on normal roguelike: ... f4393b93fa
Should note it took me only 6 games to get my first win.

My second win, on nightmare roguelike: ... 7f6dedba6f
4 games to get this win, not counting my doomed attempts at skeleton archmage. I am already a skilled roguelike player from Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup. But I'm new to ToME, so the low number of deaths before a win shows that this character build is quite viable and not too complicated.

Both are dwarf berserkers, both taking the Never Stop Running (NSR) and ICCTW prodigies.

Never Stop Running is a prodigy that can be activated instantly as a sustain. When active, every step you take is instant, and costs 12 stamina. Enemies can literally do nothing to you while you are walking this way. You can step around projectiles, which hold still as you walk. You feel invulnerable because, for a short time, you are.

What can Never Stop Running be used for, with the appropriate build?
  • Fearless Cleave is a Berserker ability that at 5/5 takes a step forward and cleaves 3 squares in front of you for 195% damage, at the cost of 16 stamina. It has no cooldown! Most berserkers can't use Fearless Cleave to its full potential, because they aren't in a position to step forward with it. With NSR you can Fearless Cleave every single turn as long as you have the stamina to step back with NSR and Fearless Cleave forward. All those turns you were spending just bumping with your talents on cooldown, now you are spending them dealing double damage. This alone is an incredible power. By comparison, I believe ICCTW typically increases damage by around 20%. NSR almost doubles your damage, as long as you still have stamina and a square to back up to! (It more than doubles your damage in the case where you are cleaving through multiple enemies). So, by taking NSR you are not really sacrificing damage. The opposite, maybe.
  • Trivialize orc patrols, provided you have stamina: just activate NSR and walk to the exit. Done. The orcs don't even get one turn. (Which is good, because often one turn is enough for them to hit you with status effects that prevent you from leaving the level).
  • Obviously, if you get hit hard, you can just walk away and around a corner. No problem. This doesn't work if you are pinned or dazed, but fortunately Dwarf Berserkers are very resistant to those effects.
  • Don't be shy! Approach mages and say "hi." Preferred way to say "hi" is a battleaxe to the face. You can usually one-shot them. Literally, you see a mage offscreen, and exactly one turn later you are adjacent to him and he is already dead. Not many other classes can do that.
  • An anecdote, about clearing the Vor Pride entry, with the 3 high pyromancers/cryomancers in a line to the south, 3 high pyromancers/cryomancers in a line to the north, and 1 rare high pyromancer in the center. This is a very dangerous and scary entry. It almost killed one of my earlier characters. Anyway, with NSR. Turn 0: enter Vor Pride, activate my instant buffs (NSR + heroism + blinding speed + resilience of the dwarves). Turn 0.65: I am adjacent to the 3 mages to the south, having fearless cleaved them, and all three are dead. Turn 1.3: I am adjacent to the 3 mages to the north, having fearless cleaved them, and 2/3 are dead. Turn 1.95: I finish off the third mage to the north, I'm still at full health, and it's time to fight the rare. The turn numbering is because Blinding Speed grants 54% extra speed.
  • NSR + Fearless Cleave your way through a horde of mostly harmless mooks, remaining at full stamina and health the whole time while hitting 2 or 3 at a time. Not really game changing but it's a nice feeling.
  • Elandar was a huge pain in my second game, but I would have been dead without NSR. In the first few turns I got him to around 15% health, no problem, and then he started kiting me. Every time I would hit him, he would immediately walk backwards at about 300% walking speed or phase door himself or me! Plus he was invisible and it was a new puzzle every turn to figure out where he was. It was a challenge to get close enough to hit him even with NSR (and Rush, and my movement rune), because he was moving so much my stamina was running out and my other motion abilities were on cooldown. He also was occasionally hitting me for half my health. In the middle of the fight I was forced to run away to a disused corner of the battlefield and regen up to full health/stamina, which allowed me to come back and finish him off. I can't imagine what it would be like without NSR. I would probably just be dead, unable to reach or hit him, and also unable to reach that disused corner to regen. NSR saved my life in that fight, no doubt about it.
  • Bravely run away from level 110 forge giants in vaults in the High Peaks. They have a fiery area effect over a huge range that constantly removes your buffs as long as you're standing in it. I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) that this will remove your movement infusion, making it useless for running away from them. I know it will remove your regen infusion. But it can't remove NSR. This was significant in saving my life at one point, when the forge giant had filled like 20 tiles behind me with his area effect, which was dealing me 70 damage/turn and disabling my regen, in addition to the damage the giant himself was dealing. NSR got me out alive.

Anyway, enough hype. It's time for my build.

For generic points, these are some approximate priorities. Assign points roughly in the order indicated. It's also possible my memory of what I did was a bit foggy, so use your judgment.
3/5 heavy armor so you can wear plate. 1/5 resilience of the dwarves. 1/5 stoneskin, 1/5 Vitality. 5/5 Unflinching Resolve so you don't get locked down. 1/5 Daunting Presence. 2/5 Stoneskin.
Put points into Weapons Mastery, Combat Accuracy, and maybe Thick Skin while you're waiting for Power is Money, which you should prioritize to 5/5 to help prevent bad statuses. Except don't upgrade each point until you have enough gold to hit the bonus limit from the previous upgrade.
1/5 Stone walking. It's rarely needed but occasionally a life saver to get around enemies that have blocked you in.
1/5 Adrenaline Surge. Don't bother upgrading this more than that even though I did. You don't need it except maybe to activate Unstoppable in a dire situation, and for that you only need 1/5 Adrenaline Surge. The attack power bonus is actually useless because it gets stepped down. Also, it cannot be used to power NSR. 2/5 Daunting Presence.
1/5 Heightened Senses (actually maybe you should put a point here earlier... unless you get it from an escort). 1/5 Device Mastery, 1/5 Track, 1/5 Danger Sense. I would suggest getting a couple more points in Danger Sense if you have them, because of the reduced chance of critical hits and the extra save chance, which seems more worthwhile than most other things.
5/5 Thick Skin, 5/5 Combat Accuracy, 5/5 Weapons Accuracy, 5/5 Heavy Armor Training. Also somewhere in there you can put a point or two more in Vitality.
5/5 Vitality, 5/5 Daunting Presence

For class-specific points, these are the priorities:
1/5 on everything except for the Combat Veteran stuff. (Let the points pile up if you can't use them to get something to 1/5). 5/5 Berserker Rage. 2/5 Stunning Blow.
5/5 Blinding Speed. Blinding Speed increases your speed and therefore your damage by 54%, which makes it more worthwhile than most other things. Often I don't use it early on because of the stamina cost but it's nice to know it's there if I need it.
A few spare points in Shattering Blow, Perfect Strike, and Execution to help you fight bosses and invisible/evasive enemies.
2/5 or 3/5 Fearless Cleave if you feel that you're already using it a lot. (Note that even without NSR, you can Fearless Cleave to attack multiple adjacent enemies for reduced damage).
3/5 Relentless Fury if you ever find yourself running low on stamina.
When you hit level 20, buy the Bloodthirst school and at some point put 1/5 in each.
5/5 Relentless Fury.
Probably some time after you get NSR at level 30, put 1 point in each of the Combat Veteran stuff, and 3/5 or 4/5 in Unending Frenzy. This gives you stamina on each kill, and is what lets you use NSR+Fearless Cleave non-stop to clear a large group of enemies without stopping. Also by level 30 you should have 5/5 Fearless Cleave.
Eventually, as you see fit and in no particular order: 5/5 Shattering Blow, 4/5 Perfect Strike, 5/5 Execution, 5/5 Mortal Terror, 5/5 Bloodbath, 5/5 Bloody Butcher, 3/5 War Shout, 3/5 Stunning Blow.
4/5 Unstoppable. Some people talk a lot about relying on Unstoppable all the time, but I have not seen the need for it at least on Normal or Nightmare. It's just a panic button, one that should be pressed last. Heroism and a Shielding Rune should be pressed before that, or you can walk away with NSR or a movement infusion, and you may have other panic buttons too.

Just to sum up, the most important things to maximize your use of NSR are: NSR (obviously), 5/5 Fearless Cleave, 5/5 Relentless Fury, 3/5 or 4/5 Unending Frenzy.

Stat points: at first put it all in Str and Con. You might at some point put a few into Will to increase your stamina reserve if you are running dry. I put 9 points into Will, which gives 22.5 max Stamina, which is okay. After that - mostly Cunning for the crit chance which has good synergy with the Bloodthirst school, a little Dex.

Runes and infusions: you probably want the Bloodthirst school at level 20, so at level 10 and 36 you get inscription slots. I like to run a shielding rune, a movement infusion, two regen infusions, and a heroism infusion. Two regens are a controversial choice, but I like them because they allow me to just keep on fighting for a long time without having to retreat, and plus they counteract the continual loss of HP from Berserker Rage. If you get hit super hard, turn on your shielding rune first (or Heroism), your regen rune second, and then maybe think about how to get out of the fight, because you can't afford to get hit super hard again while your shield is on cooldown. If you are getting hit normally, just make sure one of the regens is constantly on to stay near full health.

A Healing rune to replace one of the regen runes is also an option, because of how it works instantly. I eventually did that on my second character; not sure if it was a good decision or not. It depends on how good your regen runes and your healing rune are. If you already have a shielding rune or Heroism up and are at low health, it's better to regen than heal, because you do have a couple safe turns and the regen is going to help you more in the long run. On the other hand, if your shielding rune and Heroism are both on cooldown, and your health is low enough that you're worried about getting one-shotted, the heal is better.

Another option is two shielding runes and one regen rune, in case you find good shielding runes but don't find good regen or healing runes. This isn't as good but you might have to work with it.

The absence of any Wild infusions is also controversial, but works because you have a billion physical/mental/spell save from 5/5 Power is Money, and 5/5 Unflinching Resolve to mitigate most effects that do get through. I find Wild Infusions are unreliable. I would rather have 1000+ HP from a regen rune than like a 30% chance of removing a bad status effect (30% because the status effect may be for a category your Wild Infusion doesn't remove, or you may have more than one status effect in that category so the Wild Infusion removes the wrong one).

Items: Just look for generally good items, especially items that apply debuffs to enemies. Also look for items that grant abilities to leap over enemies that have boxed you in. Boots of Disengagement, which let you leap away from an enemy over other enemies, are very nice just to hold in your inventory even if you don't wear them, because they can be swapped to and used in the middle of a fight after only waiting about three turns. That saved me once. I'm not sure why Boots of Disengagement allowed that quick swap and usage, when most other items do not, but that's the way it is. Wrap of Stone is an amazing unique cloak I found in my second game, which casts Stone Wall to surround myself with walls for 4 turns. Just the thing to get a little breathing room when in trouble (and I can also use Stone Walk to get out of it early, if I want).

Your second prodigy after Never Stop Running should be I Can Carry the World.

Notes on using NSR: At first it will be annoying, because you will use it in a fight, then forget to disable it, then autoexplore, which will cause you to have 0 stamina when you find an enemy. Just get in the habit of hitting the key for NSR before the fight, then hitting the key to disable NSR after everything is dead, before hitting z. It stops being a problem.

Also you want to make sure you deactivate NSR before going to the world map. Otherwise your stamina will be stuck at 0 on the world map.

You want to conserve stamina for NSR, so you may use a movement infusion or Rush to get into a fight, then activate NSR during the fight or to get out of it. Do not activate a movement infusion while NSR is also active: it will still cost 12 stamina for every square you pass. You can Rush while NSR is active, though, which saves some stamina compared to NSR-walking the same distance.

Don't move with the mouse unless you're in some boss fight where you really want to go slow and examine everything. The keyboard is way more convenient for this character, especially when you're constantly moving back with NSR and forward again to Fearless Cleave. I use the yuhjklbn motion keys from Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. You may prefer the numpad. You can also change your key bindings so some of your talent hotkeys are qwerty keys for the left hand, which are easier to press.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 5:36 pm 
Low Yeek

Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:24 am
Posts: 6
It's a very interesting post, the Berserker guide I've seen always recommend one point wonder for Fearless Cleave, I never realized this talent could be so powerful. By the way, you didn't mention how many point you put into Death Dance, the talent right next to Fearless Cleave under the Berserker's Two-handed assault tree, I assume it means 1/5? But it seems like a very good damage output, what's wrong with it in your opinion ?

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