"Weapon in hand and sheathed in flame, a Doombringer is a terrifying force in combat. Doombringers are engines of war, cleaving and burning their way through entire armies."
Doombringer! It's a class with both a great aesthetic and fun gameplay. Doombringers are weapon-swinging, flame-wreathed, doom-bringing (hah) vessels of demonic power, and while I know the picture in my head is a little exaggerated from what can be seen on the screen, I think it's a great concept for a class that plays like the flavor text makes it sound. I'm no master player, but I've certainly put enough time into working out how to play Doombringer that I think I can give advice on the subject, and the only other full guide I've really seen seems to be from a while ago, so I figured I may as well throw something down, if only to celebrate the win with a character I've been working on for a while now. It's a bit of a read, but I tried to make it skimmable for those who just want to look at numbers and move on, and in-depth for those who want the information. If there's anything I missed, let me know and I'll try to add something about it if it's an important point, and feel free to ask for clarifications or justifications.
Link to my winner, for a bit of build proof and in case there's something on the page you'd like to check: https://te4.org/characters/217315/tome/ ... 529d6f6c69
~ Disclaimers ~
- Disclaimer The First: As I said, I'm no master player (I'm working on it.), I don't play madness/roguelike every run, etcetera etcetera. I've seen the admonishment that others get for posting guides, and I'd just like to politely ask that we refrain from opening up that argument again. I think there's more constructive things to talk about than that, and I don't feel like doing it. My counterpoints are as follows: Players that good aren't the intended audience for guides like this, because if they're as good at the game as they say they are, they don't need rundowns of how classes work. Guides for/by more advanced players are optimized for higher levels of the game, and likewise, this guide will be more geared towards people playing at lower difficulty. The 'ideal build' for higher difficulties isn't necessary on lower ones, and I think it makes the game a bit more enjoyable to have some wiggle room in how you make your character, for RP or player reasons, since, after all, this is a game that's meant to be fun. It isn't like there's a flood of guides to choose from; as I said, the primary one I see for this class is from a while ago. And, finally, if my guide is really so offensively bad and terrible that it gives one the urge to comment thusly, feel free to write a better one, I don't mind. I'll be sticking to this, and I'll probably just actually copy-paste it if someone tries to bring the issue up anyways, so you may as well not waste the energy!
- Disclaimer The Second: This is, of course, just a guide! Feel free to change things up, ignore parts you disagree with, and customize to your liking. I've tried my best to include a bit of information on alternate choices and recommendations gathered from all the runs and experimenting it took me to get my build fully designed, so hopefully even if you want to make a different choice here and there you won't be going in totally blind. Otherwise, this obviously isn't the only way to win with a Doombringer, so feel free to discuss my choices with me if you'd like. Let's just be nice about it though, shall we?
- Disclaimer The Third: I'm a writer outside of the forums here, so there's a lot of words and detail in this guide. I tried to add some bits into the formatting so that the detail was skippable if desired, but let me know if there's something further I should add to make it easier.
~ Index ~
3. Class Talents
4. Generic Talents
6. Category Points
~ 1. Race ~
For my build, I picked Cornac, and it's the class I would recommend. It allows you to unlock both your locked class trees at level 10, which lets you get your abilities faster, obviously. It also has no XP penalty, which lets you level up at a decent pace. The earlygame weakness of the Doombringer is definitely a shallow ability pool, so I'd say that's a plus. Endgame, you should end up with all your trees and inscription slots unlocked with one category point to spare. You can use it to boost a tree (even though that's usually not too ideal), or unlock an escort tree or something like the trees you get off the Heart Of The Sandworm Queen, which is what I did.
If this does not appeal, an alternate choice would be Shalore, for the global speed boost and debuff removal. I prefer Cornac because of the extra life rating and lack of XP penalty or hit to strength at start, but Shalore would work just fine as well for those who don't anticipate finding a use for the extra category point you get on a Cornac. Halfling may be good as well; Halfling racials don't need much point investment and can get you a decent amount of extra crit chance. Otherwise, you could probably make it work fine on other races if you tweaked things a little, so go for it if that's what you'd like to do.
In Short: I chose and like Cornac, Shalore would be a decent alternate pick, Halfling as a third choice, otherwise race is mostly preference, choose what you like.
~ 2. Stats ~
Your primary stats are Magic and Strength. Max them first. I usually get STR up to 20 with my first few levels to unlock talents, bring magic up to the same number, and then bring them up evenly (2 points in MAG and 1 in STR one level, 1 in MAG and 2 in STR the next). That should keep things roughly on pace to unlock all talents as they become available by level. If you want to minmax, the one that ends up with an extra point before you even it out the next level should match your weapon choice. MAG for staff-build and STR for 2-handed build. After those two are maxed, max Cunning for critical chance. You should end up with some extra points after CUN is maxed. I put a bit of mine into each of the three remaining talents, Willpower for some extra Stamina (until I felt I had a comfortable amount), Constitution for a little extra healmod before the gains dropped off (very little), and Dexterity for primarily accuracy (whatever is left over from the other two, should be more than CON and closeish to WIL).
In Short: Max STR and MAG first, together. Max CUN after that. Put leftover points into WIL for more stamina, CON for a little healmod, and DEX for accuracy as desired.
~ 3. Class Talents ~
Technique / Combat Techniques (x1.10)
( 1/5, 1/5, 1/5, 5/5 )
Rush - Put 1 point in right at the start, it makes the early game a lot easier. If you like it or use it a lot, it's a good candidate for more points at your discretion. I found that I used it early on before I got more of my talents, but that I engaged in different ways later on, or didn't really benefit from anything more than the use of it at 1 point when I did use it. It has to stay if you want Blinding Speed, and I did use it occasionally later on to close a gap or reposition a little.
Precise Strikes - You have to put a point into it if you want Blinding Speed. I never used it, and didn't have it on my hotbar. You end up with enough accuracy and crit chance elsewhere, and the attack speed reduction seems like too much of a tradeoff since Doombringer works well when doing a lot of burst damage.
Perfect Strike - It has no downside, but I didn't find myself using it very much, and there are better places to put points. If you minmax, feel free to keep activating it, I didn't even have it on my hotbar. Put the point in if you want Blinding Speed.
Blinding Speed - Most of the reason for investing in the tree. Max it out if you can. Global speed is a very good thing. Pop it at the right times during fights (I usually went for just before I started using all my attack talents) and it makes the fights faster against normal mobs and lets you get in some extra burst on bosses and other tough stuff. I played both with and without it, but I found it was a very helpful tool. It's possible to do fine without using it, but I'd say it's worth the investment if you have no quarrel with it.
Technique / Combat Veteran (x1.30)
( 0/5, 0/5, 0/5, 0/5 ) - I didn't use it, but I'm including it for those who might want to. If you do, I'd recommend ( 1/5, 1/5, 1/5, 1/5 ).
Quick Recovery - Passive stamina regen. A single point might make resting more bearable on a slow computer, but it's not going to make any difference in fights.
Fast Metabolism - Passive life regen. About the same situation as with the previous talent.
Spell Shield - Passive spell save. It's alright, but there are better places for points.
Unending Frenzy - If you invest in this tree, it should be for this talent. It gives you some stamina sustain in fights, and should let your stamina recover about on par with your vim as you kill things. It's not really necessary since Doombringer works best by doing damage fast enough to keep fights short, and Surge Of Power can give you emergency stamina if you really need it.
Corruption / Shadowflame (x1.30)
( 1/5, 1/5, 0/5, 0/5 ) - For those who would like to use Flame Of Urh'Rok, I'd recommend ( 1/5, 1/5, 5/5, 0/5 ).
Wraithform - A great escape talent. I put 1 of my starting points into it. It allows you to walk through walls, which can be an easy way to get away from an enemy, and you can also wait the effect out while inside a wall (out of reach) to teleport randomly. For a single point, I think that's not a bad value. If you see yourself using it for more than escaping, more points in it would be fine, but I think they go better elsewhere. This does not count as a demon form for the purposes of healing from Fearscape flames.
Darkfire - One of your options for aoe. I put a single point into it, but in that state it's a lot more useful in the early game before you get other options. A couple points into it to let it scale would be fine if you like, maybe a 3/5, but it's not strictly necessary and it's the weaker of your aoe options since it can hurt you. Leave it at 0 if you don't want the rest of the tree for sure and won't use it early game, and if you do/will, just put the 1 point in.
Flame Of Urh'Rok - Unfortunately, this one is the subject of a visual bug. It's a good talent, but the bug bothers me, so I didn't use it. It's not necessary, but +15% global speed as a sustain isn't bad at all. If you don't mind the visuals, I'd say wait until lategame when you can afford the drop in maximum vim, then max it if you want it and leave it on all the time. Aside from the global speed, it lets you heal from your talents that lay down Fearscape flames without having to activate another talent, which is an alright effect. If it were not bugged, I would strongly consider changing the build a little to utilize it.
Fearscape - While it can be good in terms of taking a boss or other enemy somewhere where you have an advantage (through use of demon form), I find that the cost and vim draining makes it feel a little overkill in terms of the cost/benefit ratio. I'd say put a single point in it if you think the effect is cool or fun to use, otherwise you'll probably get more for the vim you spend if you spend your vim on your other talents, and it's best to leave it at 0.
Corruption / Brutality (x1.30)
( 5/5, 4/5, 3/5, 0/5 )
Draining Assault - One of your main talents. One of the three to max early. Not only is it better than just two bumps with your weapon at high level, you gain some life, and on top of that, it's your source for a quick burst of vim if you run out during a fight. It's also good to finish enemies off with to keep your vim topped up. Really, it's good anytime after you've used some vim, and technically even before that point. I'd say this is basically essential, to be invested in early and used often.
Fiery Grasp - A pin, and a silence at level 4. 1 point in the early game, 3 more when you get the chance. It's got a bit of range, and it allows you to grab a caster or other annoying enemy when your other talents are on cooldown or you need them to not approach for a second. Lategame, it's possible to just kill a weak enemy (like a caster) with it, so it's another ranged talent for flexibility. I like the silence effect in case I need it, and it's good to use on bosses or other powerful monsters with silenceable talents, or just on things that are trying to run away.
Reckless Strike - It's a strong attack that ignores armor and resistances. Great for things with 100% fire resist, as one of your two talents that can break through that naturally, and good burst damage otherwise. You do take some damage from it, but it will never be more than 30% of your current health. Therefore, it's a good emergency tactic to kill something that's killing you a little too fast, or to add some burst onto stronger enemies. I didn't use it much for mobs, and mostly used it on stronger enemies or those with resists. You could get away with 1 point in it, but if you find extras for it it hits harder. Try to either use it before/during a healing talent or at the end of an engagement when the self-damage won't matter, and said damage shouldn't be an issue.
Share The Pain - Good in theory, but less good in reality. The chance to proc is low with few points and doesn't even max out at 50%, and the small bit of extra damage isn't going to help when you're putting out enough to make it unnecessary with other talents that do damage guaranteed. It's ok, but not needed, so you can save the points for something else.
Corruption / Torture (x1.30)
( 5/5, 5/5, 5/5, 0/5 )
Incinerating Blows - The second of the three talents you want to max early on. This is going to be a decent chunk of your aoe, and it's passive. It does a good amount of damage, and in later portions of the game when I had the spellpower to scale it up, I found that a couple firebursts from enemies I was killing would kill numbers of surrounding enemies on their own without me having to touch said enemies. It also has a stun chance on top of that. There's not really too much to say about it; it's good, it's always working without your input, and it even looks cool.
Abduction - Another very good talent. Like Draining Assault, this is one you're going to want to use all the time. Any sort of priority target, you hit it with Abduction, and if it survives (in lategame it usually doesn't), it's right next to you so that you can finish it off. I also use it to pull bosses towards me when I'm ready to engage, or just pick off a slightly annoying mob in a group to kill first. It works well pretty much everywhere. Go for 3 points as soon as is reasonable, since you get a huge bump in range at that level, and then toss in an extra 2 when possible for a little more range and a bit more damage.
Fiery Torment - This is your main talent for dealing with things that resist fire. Pop a Fiery Torment on them and use burst talents until they die, it's usually that easy. It's also a good talent to use against anything you suspect you'll be fighting for longer than a few turns. Putting it on early in the fight will make them take more fire damage up front (since the hit to resistance can go into the negative, which just means they take that much extra damage instead of that much less), and when the effect expires a portion of the damage dealt to the victim while active will be tossed in as a little bonus. Max it out as it's convenient. It's not the highest priority, but remembering to put a point in it every so often between other things will aid you greatly (and get rid of Luminous Horrors).
Eternal Suffering - Another sustain that looks good but isn't really very good. Fights with Doombringers are usually short enough that effect length isn't going to matter all that much. It also has a negative synergy with Fiery Torment, since it will keep the extra ending damage from coming to fruition. It also isn't really needed, so there's no need to put points into it.
Corruption / Heart Of Fire (x1.20)
( 5/5, 1/5, 1/5, 5/5 )
Burning Sacrifice - This is the third of the three talents that you want to max early. Gives you free hits midfight and some extra Incinerating Blows procs that are stronger than the usual ones. It doesn't really act as much besides a companion to Incinerating Blows, so there isn't a lot of unique information to give about it. You could get away with less points in it if you really were desperate to save some, but I think it's worth the investment.
Fiery Aegis - A good talent, but I only put 1 point in because I find things die too fast for the shield to matter. By the time you have enough enemies burning for it to be a decent strength, things are going to start dying, and the next think you know the fight is over. I used it sometimes, occasionally on bosses where I could hit the boss and a couple adds with a burn and get an ok shield, but you're going to see more situations where it's going to be a good idea to use it...right about when everything dies and the fight is over anyways. Gotta put a point in it to get the rest of the tree, and you may as well use it in those situations where it's good.
Devouring Flames - Similarly to the previous talent, it's good, but it requires enemies to stay alive for a few turns to really have a big effect, and they usually just don't. It's passive, and it gives you a bit of extra burns, health, and vim. Acceptable use of a single point, and lets you move on in the tree.
Blazing Rebirth - A great heal, but it has to be used carefully. You take the damage you heal over a certain amount of turns, with some shared to burning enemies if any are around. I find it's best used as a backup heal when all your other options are exhausted or otherwise unavailable. Then you get a few turns to get another heal up to balance out the damage. Not much use as a primary heal, but makes a great emergency talent. If you'd like to use it, go for at least a few points to help slow down the damage return to make it more useful. 3 is probably your minimum, I brought it up to 5 because I had extra points. More useful in endgame when things can take you down to almost no health pretty quickly if something goes wrong, so no need to worry about getting it early.
Corruption / Wrath (x1.30) [LOCKED]
( 5/5, 1/5, 5/5, 5/5 )
Obliterating Smash - A great combat talent, and one I know I used just about every fight. It does a bit more damage than a normal strike, and, at talent level 5 and above (which you should get with 4 points due to the mastery multiplier), reduces armor and saves on the targets. Lategame, pop a buff or two, obliterating smash to start a fight, and if the room isn't cleared it's easy enough to pick off whatever is left. Since you're going to be using it a lot, maxing it is worth it, with 4 points being the minimum for people who want to be economical about point usage for whatever reason.
Detonating Charge - It's another Rush, but slightly different. You can't target just a square on the ground like with Rush, it's necessary to actually charge an enemy. There's also the matter of the knockback effect, though, with the single point I put into the talent, I didn't even really notice it being a help or a hindrance. 1 point is fine, for the same reasons as Rush. It gives you a little bit of mobility, and you don't need much more out of it.
Voracious Blade - Free, guaranteed crits on kill with an extra bit of crit multiplier on top is a great talent for a class that wants to go for lots of crits lategame. You also gain extra vim per kill, which is nice for keeping your resources up. Since it's going to always be activating, I maxed it to get the maximum benefit. It's even good on bosses or similar if there's any weak enemies around to kill real quick. I even used that trick during the final fight, with the portal spawns.
Destroyer - If you don't use Flame Of Urh'Rok, this here is going to be your demon form for the purposes of taking advantage of Fearscape flames. I'd suggest maxing it, because it's one of those things that if you use you'll want to use a lot, so you may as well use at the best it can be. It makes you a little stronger and improves your talents, so it's a good thing to activate just before you initiate. Notably, it gives you faster cooldowns on Draining Assault, turns your Obliterating Smash into a nigh inescapable wedge of death, adds some extra attacks to your Abduction, and even gives a bit of a bonus to Incinerating Blows. Essentially, it makes all the things you'll be using in a fight just about every time better by a significant margin, so what's not to like?
Corruption / Fearfire (x1.10) [LOCKED]
( 3/5, 5/5, 1/5, 0/5 )
Fearscape Shift - This is what I used as my primary initiation tool, with Destroyer activated before it in most cases. I ended up with 3 points in it, though it could very well be fine to max if you can find the extra 2 for it. The range can be artifically extended past whatever usual point the talent level gives you by beginning with a Rush to a point closer to the enemies, and then following up with Fearscape Shift, if you need a bit more distance.
Cauterize Spirit - Detrimental effect removal with a cost, similar to Blazing Rebirth but with debuffs. I'd recommend care be taken, especially when dealing with a pile of negative effects, since it is rather easy to stack up enough damage that you can't outheal it. I maxed it out to lessen the damage given, but you can take points out of it if you don't feel you'll use it much or have alternate means of removing effects. 3 or 4 out of 5 should work just about as well.
Infernal Breath - Another aoe talent. Since my preference clearly lies with Obliterating Smash as my activated aoe, I didn't put much into this one, but I can see it being more useful on a Flame Of Urh'Rok build or for someone who wants to not make a few allocation choices I did. Even with just the 1 point, it worked fine for filling halls and small spaces with fire, or as a finishing move to kill some almost-dead enemy that was trying to run away or otherwise causing an issue when no other talents are available for that. A decent talent, but certainly optional.
Maw Of Urh'Rok - It's cool and fun to use, but I find I didn't really need to drag enemies closer to me in most cases, so I didn't use it in this build. On other runs, I found it to be pretty effective, though at a fairly high sustain cost, so better in the lategame of course. The only issue is that it will also drag enemies you might not want to approach you as fast as possible towards you. I found that I had enough tools to get next to enemies or get them next to me, or at least close enough to kill, without this talent, so I'd say it's usable but not necessary.
~ 4. Generic Talents ~
Technique / Combat Training (x1.30)
( 3/5, 5/5, 0/5, 3/5, 0/5, 0/5 ) - This is for a staff build. For a 2-handed build, go with ( 3/5, 5/5, 0/5, 3/5, 5/5, 0/5 ).
Thick Skin - Some resist all, pretty easy to see why that's good. I went with 3/5 to save some generics for other places, since Doombringer is a little starved for them, but if you want more here, it's easy enough to justify, even though the numbers fall off just a bit. Since you won't be putting points into CON, use the 'keep CON boosting items and put them on before allocating levelup points to meet the requirements for the talent then take them off afterwards' trick to get points into this talent. Put the points in when you have enough equipment and it's convenient.
Armor Training - You should be wearing heavy armor, and massive armor is a fine candidate for Doombringer. While I did not end up with a set of massive armor in the end due to poor luck with artifacts and randarts in that department, I still wore heavy armor the whole game. Max this, for lots of extra benefits on the armor that you should be wearing anyways. Go for 3 points relatively early so you can actually wear any good sets of massive armor you find, and add the last 2 as it becomes convenient.
Light Armor Training - No reason to put points into this, since you shouldn't be wearing light armor. Skip it. The only exception I might entertain is a case where you plan to wear the Molten Skin artifact light armor and nothing else, since I found myself wishing it was a heavy armor so I could get proper use out of it, but unless you have one in your items vault and specifically want to wear it and nothing else, I suggest heavy armor instead.
Combat Accuracy - More accuracy. Makes your talents hit and if you're using a staff gives you some bonus damage. I put 1 point in right at the start to help with the early game, then the other 2 as convenience allowed. If you find extra points, it's fine to max out, especially if you are using a staff, but you don't strictly need to.
Weapons Mastery - Don't put points into it if you're using a staff, max it if you're using a 2-handed weapon. It's your standard weapon mastery stuff, nothing out of the ordinary.
Dagger Mastery - You shouldn't be using daggers. In fact, you can't, because almost every class talent requires a 2-handed weapon or 2-handed staff to work at all. Don't put points here.
Cunning / Survival (x1.10)
( 0/5, 0/5, 0/5, 0/5 ) - I find it's best to just get points here from escorts if you really want them. Doombringers have lots of places to put generic points, so you need to be economical to a degree.
Heightened Senses - A point in this skill can be chosen as a reward from a Thief escort. I ended up taking a point in this, but it's pretty optional, and can be swapped for another reward if you like. The talent does what it says on the tin; I personally enjoy the stealth/invisibility detection myself, since using my aoe talents on those enemies to find where they've gone isn't always ideal.
Device Mastery - A point in this skill can be chosen as a reward from a Thief escort. I did not take a point as a reward. If you get use out of the effect, it's a potential, but I'd say Heightened Senses and Track are better options since you aren't guaranteed to get enough escorts to get everything.
Track - A point in this skill can be chosen as a reward from a Thief escort. I chose a point in this as a reward. It's also fairly straightforward; it allows you to see enemies. Fearscape Shift can also do this in a pinch if you prefer a different reward, but it's a secondary effect and somewhat inferior, so if you like this talent and get the chance, I'd recommend taking it as an escort reward.
Danger Sense - I don't really use this, but you can if you'd like to. You can't get a point in this from escorts, so it probably isn't worth the investment to get all the way through the tree considering you have a lot of probably better places to put points.
Corruption / Hexes (x1.10)
( 1/5, 1/5, 1/5, 1/5 ) - Investment depends on how much you plan to use them. If you don't have extra trees to spend the points in and want to use Hexes, I'd recommend something like ( 1/5, 5/5, 3/5, 1/5 ).
Pacification Hex - The effect is alright, but it's not the best hex in the tree if you're only going for a single one. Good for debuffing groups to give yourself a bit of a break, but usually a Doombringer will not have a problem with a group. A single point lets you get to the better hexes if you decide to use the tree.
Burning Hex - This is arguably the best hex, and would be my first choice for investing more points in if I had them. The damage is pretty secondary, but 20 turns of your enemies having increased cooldowns on their talents is great, especially for bosses and uniques. This is the one I used the most, so if you prefer to only spec into one hex, 3 points in this and 0 in the two after it in the tree is a valid choice.
Empathic Hex - This would be my second choice for best hex. It's a bit of damage mirroring, and like Burning Hex it's good to cast on tough enemies to give you a bit of an edge. If you want to use hexes more, give this one a few points as a runner-up to Burning Hex.
Domination Hex - While I enjoy effects that allow me to control enemies, with all the passive aoe a Doombringer has, you're more than likely to hit whatever you cast the hex on right after you cast it, ruining the effect. I used it to stop powerful enemies from hitting me for a few turns while I healed or ran, without attacking, for the most part. I'd say it's not much more useful than that, so it's very skippable in favor of Burning Hex or using the point somewhere else.
Corruption / Demonic Strength (x1.30)
( 5/5, 5/5, 5/5, 5/5 )
Dismember - Worth at least 1 point, since you're going to be building your crit chance up in the late game anyways (and the rest of the tree is good), so the effects will be useful. Voracious Blade also lets you make good use of this talent. I maxed it out for the extra crit chance, though if you want to keep it to 3 points or so it will work just as well. Best to get points in as convenient; it's not your best generic, but it's still good.
Surge Of Power - Useful for a couple of reasons, and absolutely worth the 5 points. It's an instant heal, and also gives you some stamina back, which can be useful if you run out in the middle of the fight. I probably don't need to explain why those things are good, especially with decent values attached to them. Get a couple points in it early and just keep putting them in when you can. I used it a decent amount when I needed stamina or my inscriptions were on cooldown, and it's saved me from both health and stamina related problems plenty of times.
Demonic Blood - More maximum vim is good to have, since it allows you to have a good pool while still using sustains. The passive damage bonus is great too, and the spellpower is fine as well. It's not a complicated talent, but it's absolutely worth maxing out. If you're hurting for points, taking 1 or 2 from it is probably acceptable, despite not being something I'd really suggest.
Abyssal Shield - One of the sustains I strongly suggest using. More armor, and flat damage reduction at a vim cost that is, quite frankly, negligible enough that I don't think I ever even noticed it as a drain on my resources. Since you're going to have it on all the time, max it out as soon as is reasonable for you to take as much advantage as you can from the effects. It's fairly cheap as a sustain goes as well, and easily covered by investment into Demonic Blood.
Corruption / Oppression (x1.20)
( 5/5, 1/5, 1/5, 1/5 ) - Similar to Hexes, investment depends on how much you'd like to use the talents. If you have no extra trees and want to put your points here, I'd recommend something like ( 5/5, 1/5, 3/5, 5/5 ).
Horrifying Blows - This is the other sustain I strongly suggest using. Since you're going to have it on all the time if you want to use it, max it out as soon as is reasonable to take advantage of all the effects. It reduces the damage done by things you hit and slows them down a little. Since you're going to hit things anyways, it's essentially a bit of free debuffing. I usually try to max it early just so I'm getting all the effects, since I start the game with it active. If you don't want to invest in the rest of the tree, I'd still suggest you just max this talent and leave all the other ones untouched.
Mass Hysteria - Not too useful, but you need to put a point into it to get the rest of the tree, and it can be good when used before Fearfeast to quickly create some extra fear stacks to consume. This is, in fact, probably the ideal way to use Fearfeast.
Fearfeast - Not a reliable heal, but can be useful against groups to get a little HP and some scraps of a turn to go with your speed buffs. If you want to use it, I'd suggest using Mass Hysteria first to generate some more fear stacks to consume. Putting a single point into it to get to the rest of the tree and not using it much if at all is also acceptable if you're wanting to use the final talent.
Hope Wanes - A very good effect to use on stronger enemies. Most weaker ones won't survive the 8 hits necessary to get enough fear stacks, and if they do they probably won't have enough HP to be relevant, but bosses and uniques can certainly take those hits and still be around. Upon use, this talent shuts down the target for a few turns. The effect also ignores saves and immunities, so if you use it, that shutdown happens for sure. Even with the single point, you get two turns of free reign on a powerful enemy, which is a good time to use a heal or apply buffs/debuffs, or just for two free turns of attacks or a small head start if you want to run. If you have extra generic points lying around, this is a strong candidate for them, especially if you want to use it as much as you can.
Spell / Staff Combat (x1.20 - x1.30) [STAFF BUILD ONLY]
( 1/5, 5/5, 0/5, 0/5 ) - Can be obtained from the Angolwen staff shop for 100 gold to reveal the category as locked, 500 gold to unlock it, and 750 gold to increase the mastery level. At the end of this, if you did not unlock the tree from an outside source, you will have x1.20 mastery, and if you did, you will have x1.30 mastery. If you find an Alchemist escort and take a reward within the tree, you'll make it to x1.30 mastery. It's not necessary to find the escort, but I usually save my money and start buying the category around the time I'm doing Sandworm Lair to give it a chance to appear.
Channel Staff - Doombringers do not have passive mana regen, so there isn't much of a reason to use this talent. Put a single point in it to get to Staff Mastery. I personally never used it, because to make it worth using, you'd have to find mana regeneration and invest more points in it.
Staff Mastery - If you're using a staff, this is your mastery. It's also pretty much the only reason you paid for this tree. Max it. It's a weapon mastery, and it does what it says it does.
Defensive Posture - Might be alright, since you don't care about maximum mana on a Doombringer, but isn't really worth the points when there are many better things to invest them in. Skip it.
Blunt Thrust - Similarly to Channel staff, you don't have any mana regen, and the point cost is too heavy to be able to use the talent, so it's best to skip it.
~ 5. Prodigies ~
In terms of prodigies, I would suggest a choice of two from Cauterize, Arcane Might, and Pain Enhancement System. I usually choose between Cauterize and Arcane Might for my first prodigy, and get Pain Enhancement System as the second, but any combination of the three would work fine.
Cauterize is easy to meet the requirements for as a Doombringer, and it saves you from death. I find that when I get decently lucky with my rotation of heals on a particular run, it isn't needed as much, so if you have a good range of healing skills by the time you're able to get a prodigy it may be better to favor the other two over Cauterize.
Arcane Might adds an extra magic modifier to your weapons, which is good for both a staff and 2-handed Doombringer as you'll be maxing MAG either way. It also adds more bonuses based on spellpower and spell critical chance, which you should have plenty of, having invested heavily into MAG.
Pain Enhancement System is relatively easy to meet the requirements for on a Doombringer (I usually get the required achievement without special effort before earning my second prodigy point), and you'll be going for crit chance so it will be easy to activate. Since you're maxing STR, you'll also be getting a lot of benefit from it.
Arcane Might and Pain Enhancement System are similar in that they both will be giving you some extra damage, but the choice between them does matter somewhat. The difference is that Arcane might is active all the time and only gives a damage boost, while Pain Enhancement System activates on crit (you shouldn't have any trouble activating it by the time you get it), and boosts your stats, which will give you a wider range of benefits. Arcane Might will give you more than Pain Enhancement System from a pure damage perspective, but Pain Enhancement System will give you some other bonuses. Both are going to be good, and if you're not taking both, the choice is really down to a preference between just damage or damage and some other things as well.
Alternate choices that I was able to qualify for without specific effort that seem potentially useful on a Doombringer would be Flexible Combat, I Can Carry The World, Aether Permeation, and Eye Of The Tiger. While I personally prefer the three I suggested, there are definitely some different options should you like to choose them.
In Short: Cauterize, Arcane Might, and Pain Enhancement system are probably your best options. Take Cauterize and your preference of the other two if you want to make the defensive choice, take Arcane Might and Pain Enhancement System if you want to improve your offence.
~ 6. Category Points ~
Cornac - When you get your first point (combined with the starting point you will have two), unlock Wrath and Fearfire. I used my next one to unlock an escort tree, but otherwise, unlock the additional inscription slots when you have all your trees. Without unlocking an escort/optional tree, you should have one extra category point after using the Wyrm Bile that will be leftover. If you have a point left, choose your favorite of any of the trees you have several maxed skills in to boost the mastery of. I would say Torture, Wrath, and Demonic Strength are probably the best options. If you'd prefer to take a tree, Harmony is all but guaranteed to be given to you, and the second skill within it, Elemental Harmony, will allow you to give yourself a temporary global speed bonus by hitting yourself with one of your talents that do fire damage. Infernal Breath also burns the square you're standing on, so it's a good way to do this outside of demon form without moving. Otherwise, Fearscape Shift will do as well. You can also use One With Nature to reduce your infusion cooldowns, making it so you can heal more often.
Non-Cornac - Unlock Wrath with your first point, then Fearfire, then your two additional inscription slots. Wrath has the talents that are more useful to get quicker, so it's the better first choice. If you want both inscription slots, you aren't going to be able to get an extra tree, but presumably if you're not playing a Cornac you're playing something with a racial tree you'll want to put the points into anyways.
In Short: Unlock Wrath, then Fearfire. Cornac gets them at the same time. If you're Cornac, use your next point to unlock an extra tree you got access to, if not, skip this part. Then unlock your two additional inscription slots.
~ 7. Escorts ~
There are some escorts you'll be happier to see on Doombringer than others, and I'll go over those below. If a particular escort is not on this list, it's pretty much safe to assume you just want to take your pick of stat bonuses. The one exception to this is the Tinker escort, which is basically entirely up to preference in terms of what you take.
Alchemist - If you're using a staff, great! If not, ignore this section and choose the bonus to MAG. Staff users want to take any of the rewards involving the Staff Combat tree. If you haven't begun unlocking it from Angolwen yet, you'll save 100 gold and be able to reach x1.3 mastery. If you've already started on it, choosing Staff Mastery saves you a generic point.
Anorithil - The Celestial / Light tree is really helpful to have. If you're a Cornac, you'll have an extra point to spend on it. I mentioned an extra tree in some earlier portions of the guide; this is the one I was primarily thinking of, and what I used my spare category point on. I ended up with it at ( 3/5, 1/5, 1/5, 3/5 ). The heal from Healing Light will scale up if you stack healmod, and while the middle two talents aren't great, Bathe In Light can be used to heal friendly units and extend your shields, and Barrier can give you a weak shield to engage with, which is technically better than nothing. Even though I favored other skills over it, I still found use of it with just one point. Providence removes negative effects, which is always useful.
Loremaster - Disarm is usable on a Doombringer, and it's an effect that can cause trouble for some enemies and isn't really resisted much. I took it and used it a few times, but it's probably up to how one feels personally on whether to take it or the stats.
Sun Paladin - A rank in Chant Of Fortitude will give you some extra HP for an essentially free sustain, so it's an alright pick. Not necessary, but health is health.
Thief - This is where you can get some points in Survival. Pick whichever you like best. If you aren't sure, ask yourself how much you dislike invisible enemies. If it's not enough to bother you, go with Track, and if it is, go with Heightened Senses.
Warrior - For Cornacs who don't get an Anorithil escort, Conditioning can be an acceptable second choice. Vitality and Unflinching Resolve are probably the only two talents worth putting points into, though. If you aren't going to use the tree, taking one point in Vitality or Unflinching Resolve will give you a small benefit either way, but if you think it's too little, just go for the STR.
~ 8. Inscriptions ~
Everyone has their own preference of rotation, so if you have a system you prefer to use, feel free to just use that. My only advice would be to consider having something that restores health in there, since Doombringer does not have too many healing talents. My personal loadout was a Regeneration infusion, Healing infusion, and Shielding rune in my first three slots. For my unlocked slots, I got a Heroism infusion first, and then a Movement infusion. I used the Regeneration and Healing to (of course) restore health, the Shielding and Heroism as start-of-combat buffs, and the Movement as an escape. If you prefer a Teleport or Phase Door as your escape, you can use those, and if you'd like to use a Wild I'd say it should replace the Shielding.
In Short: Use whatever you like to use if you have a usual loadout. I used Regeneration, Healing, Shielding, Heroism, Movement as mine.
~ 9. Equipment ~
Equipment is heavily dependent on RNG, so I'll just go over some general things and mention some specific artifacts that I find particularly stand out as good for a Doombringer. For weapon choice, you're looking at a staff or a 2-handed weapon. For staves I usually end up going with the best randart tier 5 staff I can get. You're mainly looking for a high base power value, a good number on the changes damage stat (which you should switch to fire), and anything else that's good for melee or defensive purposes. Mana-related bonuses are basically useless, so don't focus on those. In terms of 2-handed weapons, I do prefer greatswords myself, but I imagine you can choose as you like. These will be a bit easier to pick for, just choose whatever is going to be giving you a good damage output and some extra effects. Aside from the regular things you want to be going for in every case, like resistances, stats, immunities, and such, you wanna build up a decent amount of armor and armor hardiness on your Doombringer, since fatigue won't be too much of an issue, which is usually solved by a set of massive armor. More specifically, you're going to want to look for some boosts to fire damage. I usually find these on rings or cloth hats most commonly, but I believe they can show up in a few other places as well, and I remember seeing some gloves with good bonuses, so keep an eye out. If you use a staff, remember to use Command Staff and select fire (I usually choose vile fire for flavor). You'll also want some fire resistance penetration if you can get it. This is a little harder to find in my experience, but very worth it to have. Otherwise, if you get something good that has a reduction to spell cooldown, keep in mind that a lot of your talents are technically spells. I found great survivability in choosing some pieces of equipment with healmod to make sure I got more out of what little healing I had. Crit chance is good, physical damage is good, and boosts to most sorts of speed are welcome. Boosts to your primary three resources (Life, Stamina, and Vim) are also helpful in the early game, though once you have more by endgame they're less of a priority.
Honorable Mentions (Artifacts):
Dethblyd - If you're playing a 2-handed Doombringer, this is probably the single best weapon to find. All the bonuses are great for a Doombringer, it does plenty of damage, has a good on hit effect, and some talent masteries and cooldowns. It's really made for a Doombringer, and it shows. A very lovely sword.
Crown Of Burning Pain - A great boost to fire damage, and it's a guaranteed drop if you get the event that spawns Shasshhiy'Kaish, which has a pretty high chance of happening. I even got it twice on the run I linked in this guide, which is clearly a bug but funny nonetheless. It's probably not a full-stop best-in-slot like Dethblyd, but for something you can get on just about every run, it's a good item to have. I don't know if I just really like Shasshhiy'Kaish, but I end up wearing this every Doombringer run. My favorite hat.
Tarrasca - Probably my favorite massive armor to have. It's nothing complicated, just a lot of armor and a slow effect you can use on yourself for extra damage reduction.
Will Of Ul'Gruth - Another item seemingly made for Doombringers. It gives you some bonus damage and bonus resistance penetration, which is great just by itself. It also has decent stats for a pair of gloves, and gives you a second Obliterating Smash, which is great to have. It lets your Obliterating Smash destroy walls too, which, while not being too useful, is certainly fun.
Latafyn - Probably your second choice on a 2-handed build, after Dethblyd. It's themed around fire damage, and has an interesting usable effect. Another lovely sword.
Rune Of Reflection - While it doesn't always scale great into the lategame, I love finding it on a Doombringer, and I'll use it for as long as I possibly can. Since you're going to be getting up close and personal a lot, there will be plenty of damage to reflect. If you get it, it's a shield with a little less shielding that gives you some damage output instead.
~ 10. Strategy ~
A general overview of what I do and how I use my talents at different stages of the game. I did not include givens like improving gear and doing all the dungeons; this is stuff I do specifically as a Doombringer.
Early-Game: My starting point allocation on Cornac is usually 1 in Rush, 1 in Wraithform, 1 in Draining Assault, 2 in Incinerating Blows, and 1 in Burning Sacrifice, 1 in Combat Accuracy, 1 in Pacification Hex, 1 in Dismember, and 2 in Horrifying Blows. If you aren't playing Cornac, you should just be able to replace the 2's with 1's and be fine. I put my stat points into STR so that I can get the next few talents quickly, and then just even out MAG with it and keep them fairly steady. After getting through the starting dungeon, I usually begin my run with a quick shopping trip. I go look through the towns for a good set of inscriptions (Healing, Regeneration, Shield), since Doombringer is fragile early-game, and get into Angolwen if I can already. If I'm going to be using a staff build, I will buy or save for the best yew (tier 3) staff available in Angolwen, or just buy the cheapest one I can if I haven't gotten into Angolwen yet until I can do so. I'll also usually check for a fire damage ring or other good bit of equipment, and keep it in mind for purchasing after the first few dungeons. On a staff build, I find it's best to try and save as much money as possible from the early dungeons in order to get the Staff Combat tree as soon as I can. As I level, I focus on unlocking new skills first and then on levelling talents in order of usefulness (see the sections on talents to get an idea of that). This is the point when the Doombringer has the toughest/least fun time, since you have to wait a little to get a lot of the gamechanging talents. I'd say things usually start getting more solid around level 10, and once you're getting to around 20 you should be feeling a lot better. Early on, you're mostly going to be using Abduction once you get it and then engaging with Rush and bumping until more options open up.
Mid-Game: At some point during the mid-game, you should have all your talents unlocked, and then it's just a matter of adding more points into your best talents in a fairly even spread. You should start feeling more powerful by this point, especially with a few lucky drops. If your damage output isn't enough to be killing most things fairly quickly, and if you aren't wiping out groups super fast, you should consider looking at what skills you're investing in or your equipment, because something is probably wrong. I usually do optional dungeons for extra XP and drops since Doombringer is strong enough to take them on, Temporal Rift and all. Dark Crypt is usually only a problem if you get it right at the lowest possible level. Once you get off the ground, stuff is usually pretty easy, just keep lookin' for those good drops and remember to check your shops when they get new stock. Doombringer has a pretty slow start but once you get things going you get pretty powerful pretty fast, so there aren't too many specifics to worry about. Once you've got more talents going, you'll start to fall into starting fights with Destroyer and Blinding Speed, then moving in with Fearscape, using Obliterating Smash, and picking off what's left with the rest of your ranged talents.
Late-Game: If you make it to the late game, you're usually good. There aren't many special considerations I can think of off the top of my head, aside from the fact that the naga dungeon is somewhat biased against you. I find that it usually ends up with me being more annoyed that I'm not killing the nagas in one talent usage than actually being at risk of dying, though. This is the fun bit. Just be careful around bosses and uniques that won't die in one hit, and things should be a breeze. Provided the enemies in the final fight behave a little, you should win no problem. My vague flowchart (minus situational talents) for talent usage is usually to bump/Draining Assault or use Abduction for single enemies, for groups I pop Destroyer, Heroism, and Blinding Speed, engage with Fearscape Shift if needed, and Obliterating smash, then pick off whatever's left with ranged talents or bumps. For any fight that might last more than a few turns, I'll usually throw down some hexes first. For bosses, uniques, or anything that might otherwise be a problem (like Luminous Horrors), I debuff with Burning Hex at least, pop my buffs, engage or use Abduction based on context, use Fiery Torment, Fiery Grasp, and then just use talents and a couple bumps, Reckless Strike as a finisher or when I have nothing left and need the damage.
This guide did end up being pretty long once I got everything down, but hopefully the information will be helpful! I know I like guides that are extra comprehensive, just in case I need that information. In any case, I hope this guide helps out anyone who wants to try Doombringer or is having trouble. I really enjoy playing ToME, and the community has been pretty good to me so far, so hopefully I can give something back with this mess of words, and continue to give back in the future as I improve and find more things to write about. Thanks for reading my guide, and good luck on your Doombringer!