ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

Everything about ToME
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:44 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 168
Post One: Table of Contents and Thanks
(You Are Here.)

Thanks to many helpful people in these forums, including but not limited to fiske for originally pointing out Projection's synergy with Psionic Minion and giving me a whole new appreciation of its potential, Erenion for testing out many additional weird Projection edge-cases I hadn't even thought of, and Micbran for getting me started with Battle Psionics after many early game fails. My conversation partners in other Possessor threads also helped clarify my thinking about this class significantly, and helped me bridge the gap between "WTF, Possessor?" and Possessor being my favorite class to date. Finally, 64legos All Tinker recipes spreadsheet was hugely useful in letting me spend points on Tinkers for only what I need.

Post two: Overview
1. 3 Insane Builds, TL:DR Edition
2. A Note on Terminology
3. Why Play Tinker Possessor, According to Timmy, Johnny, and Spike
4. Why this Guide is exhaustingly long but still not exhaustive
5. My Insane Wins

Post three: Possession Mechanics
1. Who Can You Possess?
2. Host Skills and You
a. Choosing Your Skills
b. Free Skills
c. Using Your Host's Weapon Skills
3. Other Host Properties
4. Antimagic
5. Leaving a Host

Post Four: Build Discussion
1. Decide Goal, then Choose stats
2. Races
3. Category Points
4. Inscription Choices
5. Prodigies
6. Weapon Loadout
7. Host Loadout
8. Class Skills
9. Generic Skills
10. Escorts
11. Getting Started and Piloting Notes

Post Five: Gear and Tinkers
1. Gear
2. Tinkers

Post Six: The Possessor's Bestiary - A Discussion of Host Body Properties
1. General Host Discussion
2. Hosts with the Most - Prodigies and Hosts


Last edited by Snarvid on Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:56 pm, edited 6 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:45 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 168
Overview

1. 3 Insane Builds, TL:DR Version

For all, your skill priorities are: Possess to 4, Self Persistence to 3, then max out Improved Form and Full Control, splashing Psychic Blows to 1/1/1/1 asap along the way. Then build out Psychic Blows to at least 1/1/4/3 and try to get Body Snatcher to 4/1/4/1 before going 3/1/5 in Solipsism. (If you're not playing on Insane and drowning NPCs, you might float some points into Psionic Disruption first, to get skill-based damage while your weapon damage is still terrible).

Choose race:

Cornac. Inscription ->Body Snatcher->Tinkers->Psionic Mastery->Deep Horror.
After skill unlocks, Str>Will>Cun>Dex. Prodigies: Superpower, Flexible Combat.
Ignore all other weapon trees, focus only on Psychic Blows, wield ranged weapon offhand.
Pros: Strongest start, fast level advancement, earlier access to all cat points means tinker schematics are completed earlier, lots of free generics, Deep Horror access.
Cons: Less powerful endgame. Some awkward levels where you have more than 4 class points that you're saving for Deep Horror but you haven't unlocked it yet.

Ogre. Inscription->Body Snatcher->Tinkers->Psionic Mastery. After skill unlocks, Str>Will>Magic>Cun. Prodigies: Arcane Might, Flexible Combat. After Psychic Blows, build Battle Psionics or Solipsism. Wield 2 hander+shield before Battle Psionics + good mindstar shows up, then 2 hander+mindstar.
Pros: Most possible weapon skills from hosts due to ability to combine two-handed weapon with an offhand, strong inscriptions from racials. Interesting ability to stick Psionic Disruption stacks on Psychic Blows AoE and Retaliation means Shockstar is often landing on max stacks.
Cons: Generics are tight if you want 5 points Mindstar mastery, lowered power from Ogrewielding

Shalore: Inscription->Body Snatcher->Tinkers->Psionic Mastery. After skill unlocks, Str>Will=Mag>Cun. Prodigies: PES, Arcane Might. Learn Psychic Blows first, possibly dipping into Battle Psionics after Solipsism to get 1/1/1/5
Pros: Highest global speed boost, great ability to stretch PES, Psionic Block, Grace, and host buffs with Timeless, best synergy with Magic stat.
Cons: Racial bonuses not truly apparent until around level 30.

There are lots of other options, of course, but the TL:DR section is exactly the wrong place to discuss them.

2. A Note on Terminology

I refer to the bodies you have available from your Possess ability as "hosts" and the body you chose during character creation as your "base form."

3. Why Play Tinker Possessor? Timmy, Johnny, & Spike Answer

Why play a Tinker Possessor? Let's ask the 3 Magic the Gathering psychographic profiles.

Timmy loves Possessors because he enjoys powerful characters, and Possessors have access to the best of everything within their extradimensional Pokemortuary. The highest potential stats, the most Prodigies, the most hitpoints, the most high-level skills. The only way that a Possessor could get more awesome is if they jumped into a body of an overpowered greater multi-hued wyrm from the Room of Death, got another +70 in net stats, strapped rockets onto their taloned feet, and carried laser-firing crystals on their sword OMG DO IT ALREADY!

Johnny loves Possessors because of the interaction between a fixed set of tools (Possessor skills) and a rotating set of abilities (host skills) provides new and interesting windows for deeply exploring different playstyles. Finding just the right body and Tinkering it up just so is when Johnny is happiest. There's a ton of replayability in making progressively stranger niche-exploring characters - taking Vital Shot and running a Mindslayer host so you can triple-wielding Steamguns? It's not about optimizing effectiveness as such, it's about doing something new and interesting as hard as you can.

Spike loves winning on the hardest difficulties. He plays Possessors because they're confirmed S class, and given that Possessors have relatively few good generics he'd be taking Tinkers even if all they had was Grounding Strap and Razor Edge.

(Counterpoint: Why not play a Possessor? Because for the most part your hosts can't heal, and that changes the game on a fundamental level. Possessors therefore require a high degree of vigilance, in that a few turns of poor play can permanently remove your favorite host from the game. And they'll never have the option to fully customize the toolset of one of their host's classes, having instead to run with whatever the host had. Finally, they are very confusing to learn, enough so that the game warns you about it in their description. This guide is an attempt to remedy the last of these issues.)

4. Why this Guide is exhaustingly long but still not exhaustive

When thinking about pretty much every other class in the game, creating your character is kinda like building a vehicle from scratch to take you to a destination. Figure out how you're going to deal with the obstacles on your path, build towards those capabilities, fix it when it breaks down, refuel it when it's out of gas, get better at driving/piloting it, and hopefully you finally get there. A class guide, therefore, is something like a parts listing, building instructions, and driving instructions.

Playing a Possessor is still a little bit like that (as you still have two viable weapon trees to build out), but it's a lot more like deciding to get to your destination by hijacking whatever vehicles you come across, driving them until they crash, run out of gas, or you just see another one you want more. Because of this, it's hard to write up a concise set of instructions as to how you'll get from point A to point B, or how to drive every possible vehicle. The challenge, the fun, and the build diversity of the Possessor come from choosing how much you want to focus on boosting your innate melee abilities vs. your host abilities, and which, if any, of the latter you want to specialize in. There probably isn't a "right" answer to most of these questions, or at least not a singular one that will satisfy Tommy, Johnny, and Spike equally. Nonetheless, I'm writing up what I've learned in a couple Insane victories on Possessors, as a guide to playing a Possessor, mixed with a manual on how Possessors actually work, and an appendix about what monsters make good hosts.

5. My Insane Wins

This guide is built for Insane, based on lessons learned there. It should work on Normal as well, with the notable exception that Possession Mastery is weaker on Normal because of a lack of randBosses.

Ogre https://te4.org/characters/4806/tome/8c ... 9ff8f05250
Shalore https://te4.org/characters/4806/tome/90 ... 5e371b7010

My Shalore beat the game with 0 deaths, but he managed to die during a weird edge-case in Projection testing (NB: don't go into Fearscape while a Projection).

I've gotten a Cornac to 50 in Nightmare and 48 on Insane before the games fell apart due to bugs in mods, I feel like I "get" them without having won with one. Insane Cornac: https://te4.org/characters/4806/tome/cf ... 831d28c3a8

I'm pretty happy with my Cornac and Shalore builds, I would do Ogre quite differently now. Ogre also came first, so the greater number of deaths should be attributed to my playing learning curve as well as the many build mistakes there (PES is not great on Ogres, 4 points wasted in over-commitment to Solipsism and Self-Persistence that could have gone into Psychic Crush) rather than the idea that Ogres aren't good Possessors.


Last edited by Snarvid on Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:40 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:45 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
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Possession Mechanics

I'm not attempting to explain absolutely everything here, as the tooltips explain certain aspects perfectly well (for example - hosts don't heal HP outside of Cannibalize, period). But where there is an important piece that is not in the tooltips, I will try to paraphrase the tooltip for context and then include the relevant additional information.

1. Who can you Possess?
- You can only possess creatures up to a certain rank - elite at Possession effective talent level 3, unique or rare at 5, boss at 7. There is a rank of creature called an elite boss, occupied by important story characters like the Master or the leaders of the Prides, that is too highly ranked to be possessed regardless of investment.
- There are also mechanically odd creatures that are immune to possession without being elite bosses, such as Grgglck the Devouring Darkness.
- You can only possess certain kinds of creatures, according to your starting race and what you've unlocked. You can learn to possess 8 different creature types at full points in Possession, 9 with the additional mastery point, and up to 10 possible with a Mastery Amulet (more may actually be possible, I've not found an amulet with more than 0.34 mastery bonus). If you equip a Mastery amulet that raises your maximum number of types learned, learn another type, then unequip it, you will still have learned that creature type, and the tooltip will say "you can do that -1 more times."
- You cannot possess a summoned creature. This includes permanently summoned creatures from the creature Summon skill.
- If you try to possess a creature that, for whatever reason, you can't, you won't use a turn or put Possess on cooldown, and you will get a message telling you why.
- I have never had Possess fail due to insufficient Mindpower, even when using it as a level 4 character against a level 40+ Last Hope boss on Madness. I think it is possible for orcs to clear it using their Pride of the Orcs racial ability.

2. Host Skills and You
a. Choosing your skills
- When you first assume the form of the creature, you gain all its passive skills for free, and get to pick the active and sustained talents that are unlocked, up to the number of talents allowed by your Full Control skill. Leveling up Full Control later will not increase the number of talents you have - once you use a body it will never be able to learn additional talents. However, leveling up Improved Form later will allow you to increase the level at which the skills you learned from your host function, up to the maximum level possessed by the host.
- The "6+" bit at the end of Full Control means that for every full point starting at 6 you unlock another talent. So you get another talent learned at 6.0, another at 7.0, and so on. 8 talents appears to be a hardcap, or, at least, 9.2 mastery still only grants 8 talents.
- The one case I've found where you can reselect your skills is as follows - if you have improved your Full Control skill through an item and unequip it, then pick a character whose body you have assumed in the past with the bonus in place (thus having fewer talents available), you will get to re-pick your talents. Presumably, though, if you do so you'll permanently be stuck with one fewer skill than your max, so not worth it.
- It is critical to understanding Possessors to know that any skills learned from a host are additive with your preexisting skills. If you and the host share a skill (most commonly, racial skills, Combat training skills, or Survival skills) then the maximum level you can learn from your host (determined by Improved Form) is added to your existing skill level. This can give very high levels of Weapon Mastery or Device Mastery, and for some racial skills can have profound impact.
- One collorary of the additive nature of original + host skill is that, if you complete an escort quest and your combined base+host skill level in the skill you wish to learn from your escort is 5 or greater, then you will not be able to choose an escort reward to increase that skill, even if you have fewer than 5 points committed to the skill in your base form.

b. Free Skills
Certain active or passive host skills grant additional skills for free. Some of these are not handled in an obvious fashion by the game engine.

Skills you will need to manually add to the bar each time you assume the form:
- Create Minions gives Necromantic Aura (though it tends to be very low level unless the host has an additional passive making it larger).
- Any Mindslayer-exclusive skill gives Telekinetic Grasp and Beyond the Flesh.
- Chronomancers get Spacetime Tuning.

Certain passive skills grant sustains that you will not need to add manually to the bar. You *can* choose these sustains on the talent selection screen but will gain them regardless of whether or not you do so (so therefore, choose something else):
- The Exotic Munitions passive grants alternative ammo types (poison, piercing, incendiary).
- Chant Acolyte grants with Chants, and Hymn Acolyte grants Hymns
- Vile Poisons grants additional poison types {I think this belongs here, will confirm}

Finally, Solipsist hosts with Thought Form grant it up to the rank they know without selecting it, although you cannot choose it. These will be automatically added to the skill bar. Paradox Mages with Temporal Mines work similarly.

c. Using Your Host's Weapon Skills
Many weapon-based skills are greyed out unless you are wielding the appropriate weapon type, so if you're not fully conversant with the game you may wish to check the wiki before choosing your talents. If you remember, you can right-click on a creature to see their talents before killing them, many of which have obvious talent tree titles like "Two-handed maiming" or the like, but the tree headings disappear on the selection screen. (Note that the Battle Psionics one-hander + mindstar allows all dual-wielding skills, two handed staves counts as two handers, one handed staves count as one handers, and two-handed steamsaws count as two handers, dual wielding, shields, and steamsaws.)

3. Other Host Properties - resistances, resources, race, size
- When you assume the form of a host, you get full bars of all resources save for life and psi.
- Most host bodies have a natural regeneration rate for the resources they use, even if this resource does not naturally regenerate for PC's of the host's class. (This is hugely important for some classes, we'll get back to this later). A weirdly high number of hosts also have a Steam regeneration rate (even if they don't have any steam skills), as well as an air regeneration rate, so taking on a body may be a solution to water-breathing.
- The race choice on your character sheet doesn't change to match that of your host body, even though it does on mouse over. Most notably, this means that if you learn the Retch skill off a Ghoul body, it will still hurt you. I suspect this also means that Ghoul Possessors still get Psi healing off Retch when in non-Undead bodies, but have yet to confirm it.
- You switch to the size of your host body, which is most important for determining your Ogrewielding penalty. Items and Prodigies with size bonuses are overridden in this process, although if there are any sustains or actives that increase size I suspect they would still work if activated once in body.
- Stat, resistance, and attack property-wise, it's not clear to me what determines your stats before you have levels in Self Persistence and Improved Form. However, as your goal is to improve these as soon as possible, it shouldn't be an issue for long, at which point you're adding a Self Persistence determined percent of your own stats to an Improved Form percent of your host's stats, generally resulting in stats better than either base or host form.

4. Antimagic and Hosts
- Hosts, particularly but not exclusively those found in Ziguranth patrols, may have the Antimagic tag on them. When in an antimagic body you lose access to runes, spell-based racial powers, spells learned from escorts, and triggered abilities from arcane items (although note that if you're sustaining a Chant it won't deactivate). However, as equipping your gear happens in your actual body and cannot be changed once you're in a host, I've not noticed any problem with the passive buffs of arcane items. (I do tend to use dual Shielding runes, however, so my experience in Antimagic bodies is limited).
- Likewise, if you become an Antimagic follower, you will not be able to use any spell abilities from your hosts. Given this, and that Fungus will not be particularly useful for a Possessor, I haven't bothered trying Antimagic on one. I generally find that most spells aren't that useful for damage as a possessor outside of Arcane Combat, but spell-based control effects (Ice Storm), clones (most commonly, Forgery of Haze), gap closers, and defenses certainly are.

5. Leaving a Host
- If you deactivate Assume Form, it takes a turn and you return to your base form with an 18 turn (or rather, 17, since activating Assume Form takes a turn) cooldown before you can assume a new body. If you're doing this voluntarily, rather than because you decided to leave the body right before you got killed, I strongly recommend hitting Track to look for local enemies first (and even that won't always save you from teleporting Water Demons or Orcish spellcasters.)
- If you are in a host that gets killed, you suffer 15% main body damage and 50% movement reduction/60% damage reduction for 6 turns. It's worth noting that this effect is classified as "other" rather than physical, mental, or magical, and therefore can't be removed by infusions or salves that target particular types of debuffs. You're almost certainly suffering the Solipsism debuff as well, which greatly slows you down. However, if you can survive until you get to act again, you can jump into a new form immediately - getting your host killed does *not* put Assume form on cooldown.


Last edited by Snarvid on Sun Jul 02, 2017 12:54 am, edited 9 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:45 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
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The Build Discussion

1. Decide Your Overall Goal, Then Choose Your Stats.

Every Possessor has a core competence in melee, which benefits from Physical Power. Do you want to focus only on that, or do you want to further focus on Mindpower or Spellpower in order to better use certain host abilities? This choice determines your stats, and then you can build the rest of your character from there.

Possessors need Willpower to give them Psi, which functions as extra hitpoints, fuels their skills, and pads their reservoir to keep them out of the Solipsism debuff. You're maxing it without exception, which will also give you a decent start on Mindpower.

Almost all Possessors will also want to max Strength, as their baseline competence outside of host skills is in hitting things with either one-hander+Mindstar or two-hander. It is *possible* to use either of these, and relatively easy to use two-handers, via Magic stat, if you want to run a staff build, otherwise you're taking Strength as your secondary stat. (NB: Staff Possessor is not a recommended beginner choice.)

For your third stat, you can choose whatever you want, but the big two are Cunning and Magic. Cunning gives crit chance, a bit more Mindpower and Mental Save, a lot of Steampower, and improves Track radius. It also improves accuracy when using a host Mindslayer's Beyond the Flesh ability and Stealth when in a Rogue-type host. Magic gives Spellpower, spell save, opens up the very powerful Arcane Might Prodigy, boosts certain racial skills (most notably Grace of the Eternals), and works well with Temporal Guardian hosts due to Strength of Purpose. If it plays into your decision at all, I've found Mindslayers significantly more common than Temporal Wardens (possibly just due to the fact that all saw and blade horrors have Mindslayer skills, but I think it's more than that alone).

For your fourth stat - if you went Magic for third you can go Cunning, if you went Cunning third go Dex unless your gear suggests otherwise (since you won't really care about Magic much if you're not running Arcane Might, but Dex's accuracy bonuses on weapons and crit reduction are always welcome).

Again, niche exceptions exist. Taking Dex third would probably benefit a Possessor who intended to primarily inhabit ranged bodies.

2. Races

In addition to the standard "everyone starts with the ability to possess humanoids and animals", each race starts with a third type (presumably based on prevalent monster types in their starting zone).

Doomelf: Demon
Dwarves: Horror
Humans: Giant
Ogres, Shaloren: Immovable
Thaloren: Elemental
Undead: Undead
Yeek: Insect

In terms of overall racial power, the top choices are Cornac, Ogre, and Shalore, although their power curves vary over the course of the game. Yeek is also well worth looking at, and Ghoul, while below any of these, is probably as good as it ever gets.

Cornac are a great race for learning Possessors. Their extra category point and talent points smooth out the early game, they advance relatively fast, and they have the best ability to afford the Deep Horror tree (which is in no way necessary, but good to try) or an additional Escort tree beyond Tinkers. As I recommend Tinkers for your 3rd category point, Cornac usually will get Tinkers 16 levels earlier than other races, which gives you a huge leg-up on making sure you have the right Tinkers in place when you need them (sometimes when you take them at 36 there is one or two critical Tinkers you just can't seem to find and have to choose whether you want to run Farportals before going to High Peak or do without). Their extra generic points, combined with lack of a racial skill tree, means they can go very deep into the Tinker trees and still have plenty of points for Device Mastery, Danger Sense, and the like. Are probably not as strong at 50 as Ogres or Shaloren, but have a fast and smooth road there, and are still plenty strong at 50.

Ogres are the best at combining class and host weapon-specific abilities. The distinctive Possessor Ogrewielding setup is a main-hand two-handed weapon and a mindstar in their off-hand, giving them simultaneous access to Battle Psionics, Psychic Blows, and any host body dual wielding or two-hander talents. (Most notably, this allows Psionic Disruption stacks to build off your Psychic Blows skills, which does decent damage and greatly increases the potency of Shockstar's stun/daze, and causes you not to lose access to Force Shield on the turns that you use Shockstar or Psionic Block. It also means that host sustains that require a two-hander, such as Berserker, can be sustained while activating Battle Psionics abilities.) Another option is to run a two-hander and a shield, for extra defense and to allow Psychic Blows and your host's shield skills to work together. Their relatively light racial skill requirements (1/5/1/1) allow them good access to Tinkers (and possibly keep points open for Psiblades skill to improve their Mindstar Mastery), their relevant racial skills show up fairly early in the game, and their benefits with Inscriptions are always welcome. Probably the best-rounded mix of early and late game strength.

Shalore only really come into their own around level 30, and have tighter generics from Tinkers + their heavier racial commitment, but Timeless offers extremely powerful combos with certain host abilities (particularly when you start getting bodies with Prodigies of their own). Grace of the Eternals + Timeless is probably the best way to leverage PES for a Solipsist, which is both hugely valuable (in that your hosts might potentially benefit from any stat) and also a bit of a nonbo without Grace (in that PES raises your max but not current Psi, therefore knocking you out of Clarity and closer to your Solipsism threshold). Magic of the Eternals lets you short Cunning a bit and still maintain great crit chance, which makes Str>Will=Mag>Cun viable, which in turn opens up the possibility of Magic based Prodigies, Rune of Reflection, and strengthens Grace of the Eternals. A very different flavor of Possessor - maybe not a good choice to learn the class on, but well worth trying, and possibly the strongest endgame.

Yeek are surprisingly good Possessors, perhaps their strongest class due to Possessor's ability to bypass their inherent fragility. Their speed bonuses stack nicely with Clarity and make patrol dodging much easier, Dominant Will is an instant speed control/kill all game, and Wayist is very potent and offers a reliable corner-snipe-esque option. For downsides, Yeek don't get the advantage of an initial Last Hope drowning party (and can't start-scum to guarantee bosses there either), and this can make Insane a harder start for them. If you can get the ball rolling, Yeeks effectively get Tinkers much earlier than Ogres or Shalore (in terms of how many dungeons are left to progress through and find schematics after they hit level 36), which is going to make finding must-have Tinkers both earlier and more likely. Their start is weaker than a Cornac's, and their end not as strong as an Ogre or Shalore, but they likely end up slightly stronger than a Cornac (in part because their activated talents are instant-speed). Edit: Recent discussions about Projection have made me less confident in my placement of Yeek below the other three, as doubling up on Yeek's high-cooldown racial talents in a single combat seems quite strong if practiced ruthlessly.

If you always wanted to play a Ghoul but couldn't make them work for you, Possessor is also arguably the best class for them. Undead resistances are solid (albeit slightly discounted by self-persistence), their lack of infusions hurt less here than in other classes (I never used a regeneration or heroism infusion on my whole Shalore run), their speed penalty should vanish entirely with enough investment in Full Control (leaving Ghoulish Leap as a mobility tool with +speed), they should still heal Psi in their Retch regardless of form (or, at least, I took damage in it while in a Ghoul body, so I'm guessing the converse would also hold), their stat boosts are certainly welcome, and high level Gnaw is fairly punchy with adequate Con behind it (which your hosts will often help with). However, their difficult start on Insane (no drowning + Speed penalty), heavy racial generic commitment (at least 1/5/1/5), and lack of movement infusions (prior to Rocket Boots) probably still make them markedly worse than many other races, just better than their norm.

I don't have enough experience with the other races as Possessors rank them, but they don't have anything obvious that lets them outcompete Cornac, Ogre, Shalore, or Yeek. Of the remaining races, the one I am least confident about my assessment of is Dwarf, as I haven't played much with them since their update. Dwarf has a potential speciality in preserving hosts as long as possible, due to their recently enhanced durability and synergy between Power is Money and Dismissal. Danger Sense's x2 save effect may give a second chance to Dismissal, which in conjunction with Dwarves' high saves, high armor, and Stoneskin's ability to ignore melee hits may make them very tough indeed. Might compete well with endgame Cornac and Yeek, but has a tough, non-drowning start on Insane. (Although their access to this starting area also grants them access to an additional backup guardian, the Abomination.)

3. Category Points
Recommended Insane category point progression:

Inscription, Body Snatcher, Tinkers, Possession Mastery. Cornac can grab Deep Horror, a fifth Inscription, or an Escort Category unlock for their last choice.

Alternative Cornac build 1: if you start-scum a strong boss in Last Hope: Possession Mastery comes first, other order the same, so you can kill the boss for experience without losing its body - you'll probably have to drown at least all the other rares in Last Hope, and possibly Derth, to get to Possession 5. You'll want to wait on actually assuming the bosses form until level 15 when you've capped the number of talents available for the near future. Then Inscription at 10, Body Snatcher 20, Tinker 36, Deep Horror or Inscription Wyrm. You're probably going to have to float or reserve some generics in order to be ready for Tinker, 36 is a long time to wait without a racial tree.

Alternative Cornac build 2: Inscription, Body Snatcher, Tinkers, Deep Horror, Possession Mastery. While there are at least 4 bosses you'll miss out on Possessing if you go this route, getting Deep Horror to play with at 36 is solid and will avoid you having levels where you're reserving the gained class points to spend later once Deep Horror is unlocked.

Commentary: As this is the Tinker Possessor guide, I prefer to get Tinkers relatively early on in order to avoid missing out on critical schematics (sometimes Grounding Strap just doesn't want to show up...). If you don't have Embers, you could move up the normal fourth pick and then grab either another Inscription, Deep Horror, or Light (if you went Magic), but I don't think any of these options are competitive with Tinkers.

Some players would prefer to invert the order of Possession Mastery and Body Snatcher. Possession Mastery does let you possess bosses and is great fun, but boss bodies are much better when they can be healed, and generally having 12-14 sets of 3 bodies apiece choose from provides much higher error tolerance than 4 bodies, even if very high quality. I also find that, while I will miss out on some bosses by leaving Possession Mastery to Wyrm Bile, if I hit the Corrupted Wyrm first I will be able to get all the other backup guardians, and that's typically the first time there are lots of must-have boss bodies. However, what's efficient and what's fun are not always the same thing, so don't let me squash your good time.

Note that while leaving Possession Mastery for last does give you the option to skip Possession Mastery in favor of another Inscription slot for any race if you can get a good mastery item, there are still benefits from very high mastery, especially on Insane where enemies are likely to have extremely high talent levels (and therefore benefit from higher levels of Improved Control). See Amulet discussion under Gear for details.

4. Inscription choices

In another example of Possessor weirdness, you can, and arguably should, play a Possessor without using either Heroism or Regeneration infusions. Heroism's use is predicated on "boost stats & survive, then heal later," while Possessors have stats that would make other classes weep already and can't heal easily. They also have Solipsism, which means that if they take too much damage they are going to be really slow, making them less likely to survive. And Regeneration infusions, although a decent way to recover missing Psi, are inefficient (in that you're only healing Psi with them, and this is discounted by your Solipsism skill), cost a turn to use, and can't heal damage done to host health.

I have seen different Insane Vault winners make different choices here, but I find that if I can get 2 good shielding inscriptions then dual Shield, Movement, and Physical Wild is a great starting selection that will carry you through the game until you can make salves. As long as you don't invest significantly in Solipsism early, you won't take much Psi damage from hits that do get past your shields, and the shields will keep your bodies in play much longer than otherwise. Shields, especially Rune of Reflection on a Magic build (sometimes for sale, so check your shops), also interact beautifully with the Force Shield skill - you're hitting an enemy on your turn, their hits are being soaked or reflected by your shields, and you're retaliating against them. Before you get salves and can cure magical diseases and the like, double shields can also help wait out damage that could otherwise devastate your hosts or kill your fragile base form. Finally, Sun Paladin hosts can offer Weapon of Light, Arcane Blade hosts can offer the Shielding sustain, and Anorithil escorts can teach the Bathe in Light skill, all great ways of extending the durability and/or duration of your shields.

If you find that dual shield inscriptions aren't working for you, you'll need to pump Solipsism and improve your ability regenerate Psi. While Regeneration infusion is one option, you can also try to rely on Fungal Web to heal back missing Psi when you use a Salve. You can then choose Healing Salve (for huge Psi healing at the cost of a turn) or Pain Suppressor Salve (for a very short cooldown, Damage Resistance, and instant speed with a relatively smaller heal).

Endgame, with enough gap closers (I quite like the Ruthless Grip gloves and Rocket Boots) I tend to run dual shields and dual injectors, especially if I'm running Ogre or Shalore (as there is a weird effect that happens with your ability to accelerate Injector cooldowns). Other races can consider whether they need another gap closer in Movement Infusion or want to be able to use "optional" salves like Healing or Pain Suppression as well as saving one for status removal.

A final word on dual-Shielding rune PES Shalore: I ran shield+Rune of Reflection all game with my Shalore and it worked great. While initially I would simply trigger one shield when the other one wore off, once I got PES I switched to: Trigger shield, gap close (possibly with Movement Infusion, for lingering free action), land a hit to trigger PES. Then cancel existing damage shield, trigger Rune of Reflection, Grace of the Eternals, Psionic Block (if it wouldn't cancel a needed sustain), any instant-speed host abilities (e.g. Rampage, GWF), and then Timeless. The first shield lets you close the distance and get PES going without risking damage to your host, the Rune of Reflection gets a big capacity boost from PES and a duration boost from Timeless, and PES-enhanced Grace more than compensates for the weakening of Clarity from PES. Later on if you get a fast enough Injector and Fungal Web you can throw a Pain Suppressor Salve into the mix after PES and before Timeless and Timeless will cool it down most of the way for you - this gives a little more damage reduction and Fungal Web improves your Clarity bonus.

5. Prodigies

There are five main Prodigies worth considering on a "normal" Possessor: Arcane Might, Flexible Combat, I Can Carry the World, Pain Enhancement System (PES), and Superpower. Of these, Superpower, PES, and Flexible Combat appear to be unavailable from hosts, so grab 2 of these if you're trying to get stack as many Prodigies as possible. (See Post 6, under Hosts with the Most, for more details on which hosts have Prodigies.)

Arcane Might is a beast, and is often the Prodigy to beat for any melee class (and typically, for pure damage, it can't be beaten if a class can afford to max out Magic). It adds 50% Magic as damage (slightly better than Superpower), crit bonuses (1/4 of total Spellcrit, ignore the word "bonus" in the description), and a huge amount of physical power (at 80 standing Spellpower, converting that back into raw and adding it to your Physical Power is the equivalent of an item that reads "+200 Physical Power"). It does rely on a stat that Possessors don't inherently need, however, and some part of the crit bonus it adds it will lose again by pushing Magic instead of Cunning. Combines extremely well with PES on a Shalore (as Arcane Might helps initiate PES and PES pushes Magic), and fairly well with Flexible Combat or Superpower on any race (where Superpower helps boost Mindpower to compensate for lower Cunning). I Can Carry the World is probably fine as well - no obvious synergies, just a metric ton of damage.

Flexible Combat gives a 60% chance of an additional modestly damaging melee attack, and unlocking gauntlets on-hit properties provides a great toolbox of many proccable skills. PES synergizes reasonably well due to the broad number of stats involved in gauntlet damage, but Arcane Might and Superpower buff damage directly and will typically yield better results (especially as some of the most powerful gauntlet procs trigger additional mainhand weapon attacks, so these two improve Flexible Combat both directly and indirectly). If I understand the mechanisms correctly then weapons with additional hits, such as Sawrd and Razorlock, will provide bonus chances to proc Flexible combat, but dual wielding will not.

I Can Carry the World gives a massive Strength boost and a handful of quality of life improvements. +50 strength is very nice with the typical 120% strength modifier on most two-handers (with the Self-persistence discount, it will usually fall somewhere around +40-42, which with a two-hander should improve your weapon damage by about as much as 100 Magic under Arcane Might or 125 Willpower under Superpower) and the large physical power boost is welcome as well (although it will generally fall far short of Arcane Might's, which will make up some of the damage difference). The additional carrying capacity lets you carry around many different full outfits for different hosts without needing to return to the Fortress, and removing fatigue entirely helps you conserve many resources, most notably Psi (which in turn keeps you at higher levels of Clarity for longer).

Pain Enhancement System requires building your crit chance a bit more intentionally than you otherwise might, but can deliver extremely high boosts to all non-Strength stats for Possessors, particularly because many hosts deliver very large bonuses to Strength. Depending on host, your character may be able to leverage benefits from almost any stat, but it combines particularly well with Superpower or Arcane Might. It should probably be limited to Shalore (and therefore Arcane Might>Superpower) for 2 reasons. First, it has limited uptime, but Timeless will help this significantly by increasing duration and reducing cooldown. Second, PES increases your possible Psi but not your current Psi, thus reducing your Clarity speed bonus - however, at the same time it does so it boosts your Magic and Dexterity, thus giving back speed with Grace of the Eternals, resulting in a net gain of global speed.

Superpower is simple and good. More weapon damage, based off a stat you're maxing on any Possessor build, and more Mindpower, based off a stat you're maxing on almost all Possessor builds. Mindpower isn't that important to most good Possessor abilities, but many hosts benefit from Mindpower, and Yeek like it for Dominant Will. Combines well with Flexible Combat, I Can Carry the World (for +50 strength, which here adds up to some very hard hits and another +30 raw Mindpower), and Arcane Might. I'm not sure if Mind Steal can be saved against or not - if so, Cornac Deep Horrors have a reason to choose Superpower over Arcane Might.

Besides there, there are many, many more Prodigies that you could work into specialist builds, but if you're working on one of those you don't need this guide. (Legacy of the Naloren might be particularly valuable if you were intending to use Mindslayer bodies extensively in order to wield both Sawrd and the Trident - note that some bodies also have Exotic Weapon mastery, although I'm not sure it exists on Mindslayers).

Swift Hands does essentially nothing for Possessors, due to their inability to switch gear while in a host. Bloodspring, Fungal Blood, and Cauterize probably aren't worth using.

6. Weapon Loadouts
Possessors can't change their gear while in a host, so what you carry in your main and alt set is all you've got access to until switching back to your main form. This makes picking your loadout fairly important.

Of your 3 choices for Possessor native weapon skills (2-hander, 1 hand+mindstar, 2 mindstars), 2 handers are easily the strongest weapons and have your only real source of AoEs. If you want to get the most out of Possessors, you're running Psychic Blows.

I really want Psionic Menace, the dual mindstars style, to be good. It isn't. You can use it if you want, but mindstars are pretty bad early game and Psionic Menace's skill-based damage doesn't scale well late game. I strongly recommend against it.

So should you use Battle Psionics? Weapon + mindstar gives you access to host dual-wielding skills, Shockstar is a nice stun with an AoE daze, and Psionic Block is your own Leaves Tide, but there's a handful of downsides. First, it costs class points, and maximizing damage with Mindstars costs generics put into Psiblades (which improves Mindstars even without activating the talent). Second, unless you're an Ogre you're going to have to switch out of 2-hander in order to use these talents, and if you do you put any host sustained talents that require a two-hander on cooldown and lose access to Force Shield for the round. (If you are an Ogre, you still have to consider whether you're better off with two-hander+shield.) Third, many of the hosts you find will have some sort of ranged skills, and the ability to instant-switch from ranged to melee by using a Psychic Blows skill means you may be better served from shooting from a distance and letting the enemy close the gap for you. I generally think non-Ogres do fine without using Battle Psionics and that it's well worth using for an Ogre, YMMV.

For your ranged weapon choices - if your host has ranged weapon skills and you chose them, use whatever allows you to use your weapon skills. If not, and you've got steam regen on your host of choice, then weapon quality being equal I recommend dual steamguns. The damage is good, and you've got more chances to proc whatever horrible stuff your ammo delivers. Thunderclap Coating is good for keepaway, while Crystal Edge does great damage. (Remember that you can turn non-artifact slings into Steamguns.)

Finally, if you happen to find one, or are willing to Vault for them, 2-handed Steamsaws give simultaneous access to two-hander, shield, dual weapon, and steamsaw skills. This can open up a lot of different host skill choices while still being compatible with Psychic Blows.

7. Host Loadout
For a discussion of specific properties of different hosts, go down to post six. This is about how to decide what to choose for your limited number of kinds of creatures you can possess.

All Possessors start with humanoid and animal, and a racially-determined pick. Generally speaking, I think everyone will want to add Demon, Dragon, Horror, and Undead to their starting picks - each of these categories has good representation through many different zones (including the final zone that you cannot leave without completing) and relatively powerful skill choices and/or stats.

What to do with your remaining 2-3 types is up to you. If you wanted the broadest, most consistent quality picks I'd recommend Giant, Elemental, and either Vermin or Insect (Vermin are very well represented and offer a permanent Burrow-like ability on some hosts, flying Insects have some very high global speed boosts to offer). However, once you've got a really solid base of forms to pick from and are closing in on the endgame you may wish to reserve a form type in case you find a really great particular boss or unique. Note, however, that almost all Immovable hosts (except Treants) are in fact immobile, so avoid those.

You might also choose Spiderkin. Spiderkin are spread throughout the game with okay consistency (more in the Temporal Anomaly), but there's an entire zone in the East which is almost entirely populated with high-level Spiderkin, some of which have Prodigies (Lucky Day, Endless Woes) and skills (Webs of Fate) which are hard to find on other creatures. At that point you've probably got an entirely full extradimensional stash of bodies and are only tossing bodies when you destroy one or find something better, so even if you only find 1-2 you want that's potentially your best value.

8. Skills

Solipsism 1/0/0/0 early, 3/1/5/0 core

Solipsism kinda sucks early, but you're stuck with it. (It's also awkward to talk about a skill, a category, and a debuff with the same name, but there you are.)

The Solipsism skill offers you bonus durability and a faster way to regenerate Psi in exchange for giving you a new failure mode, the Solipsism debuff. People who use Regeneration infusions will want to invest more in this skill early, protecting their hosts with their Psi. I find this still opens me up to being nickeled-and-dimed to death by small encounters, while Shielding runes can protect you fairly comprehensively from this sort of thing. Even if you're going double Shielding, though, it's still worth investing a couple extra points after you've got your Possession and weapon skills built.

Balance is a 1-pointer. You are likely to have better Mental saves than other types, particularly if you're a Yeek, but this just isn't a priority you care to spend class points on.

Clarity is very cool and worth maxing, but it means that spending Psi, triggering PES, or getting hit slows you down. It does help a lot with first contact (letting you go before an enemy, and thus having a chance to shield and/or kill them first) and with navigating around patrols on the map.

Dismissal is generally regarded as not a priority on Insane, as some of the damage spikes you take will be too high to Dismiss. However, a Dwarf or Yeek Possessor may get additional value here, and while big damage spikes may be beyond the ability of Dismissal to save against it should still help against the nickel-and-diming (particularly if Danger Sense allows a reroll, which isn't clear to me).

Possession 4/2/5/5 ASAP, 5/3/5/5 once you invest a point in Possession Mastery (or earlier, if you want another type), 5/5/5/5 luxury.

This is what you came here for. Don't stint.

Possess gains duration every level, with 6 turns at level 1, adding +2 duration at levels 2 and 4 and +1 otherwise, ending up at 12 (Mastery adds another +1) . You also gain an additional type of creature to possess with every point invested, and again another with a Mastery point. But as it needs an effective talent level of 7 to possess a boss, unless you find a mastery item quite early you're maxing this, and even if you do it may be worth a class point to learn another creature type.

Self Persistence scales weirdly. The first point gives 34% retention of your own stats, the second another 35% (sum of 69%), the third another 8% (sum 77%), the fourth 4% (sum 81%) and the fifth 2% (sum 83%). With three points invested and a Mastery point you've got 79%, then 82% at four and 84% at five. Endgame, a percent may be a stat point or more for some stats, and you don't want your resistances dropping too much (particularly stun resist), but 3 is an efficient breakpoint once you've put your category point into Possession Mastery (where 60% of points invested gets you 94% of the benefits).

Improved Form scales higher than Self-Persistence and also caps the maximum level of talents you can learn from your hosts, the first is good but the latter pretty much demands maximum point investment. First point gets you 56% stats and talent level 1, second 80% stats and talent level 2, third 87% stats and talent level 3, fourth 90% stats and talent level 5, and last is 92% stats and talent level 6. With a mastery point, full investment goes to 93% stats and talent level 7, and with 9.2 mastery you can learn talents up to level 9 (presumably talent level 8 at 8.0 mastery, but can't confirm). When you consider that you're choosing from 7 active or sustained talents endgame before a mastery amulet and also getting all passives for free, there is no more efficient deal in the game than maxing this and Full Control (spend 10 class points, get up to 49 points of skills before considering passives).

Full Control begins with a default of 2 host talents before any levels are applied, and as mentioned in Post 2 the "6+" bit at the end of Full Control means that for every full point starting at 6 you unlock another talent, maxing out with 8 talents at 8.0 (or at least I've had up to 9.2 effective talent level and only got 8 talents).

Psychic Blows 1/1/1/1 ASAP, 1/1/3/3 early, 3/5/4/4 core, 5/5/5/5 luxury if skipping Battle Psionics.

Note that all these skills convert your weapon damage to mind damage, although addon damage (such as that from gauntlets or weapon tinkers) remain in whatever form they originally came in.

Psychic Crush has a nice low cooldown, hits a single target reasonably hard (from 156% weapon damage at level 1 to 200% at level 5), and points invested improve damage, chance to make a psychic imprint of the target, and duration of the imprint. The percentage increase drops slightly with every point, but it's still good enough to invest in all the way to 5 points if you can spare the points. The duration starts at 2 and increases by a round per point for the most part, +2 at 3 points invested.

Force Shield is amazing. Its retaliation strike can proc all sorts of great effects (and I believe it's not capped at once per turn, despite the tooltip), evasion is always nice (7% at first point, another +2% for every additional points), and capping incoming damage isn't bad (although once you're reasonably far along and are using only rares and bosses, you won't generally feel that comforted by capping incoming damage at only 70% of your 3-10k healthbar). While the final damage on retaliation isn't that great, it's worth noting that, in relation to its starting position, it scales quite well - 40% weapon damage at 1 point goes to 66% at 5 points, which is a 65% increase in damage, a much larger percentage increase than any of the other Psychic Blows skills.

Unleashed Mind and Seismic Mind both start at radius 3, the former a burst around you, the latter a cone in one direction, and the most important thing that scales with points invested is their radius, which gets +1 per class point up to 4 (which gives radius 6) and then no additional radius at 5. I recommend leaving both at 4 for maximum radius, as they provide a mix of AoE and medium-ranged capacity that you otherwise lack outside of host skills. Unleashed Mind increases the duration of any Psychic Imprint in its radius (5 turns at 1, +1 turn at 3 and 5, +2 turns at 2 and 4), while Seismic Mind blows up any Psychic Imprints in it's AoE for a trivial amount of physical damage in radius 1 (so try to avoid doing so). Unleashed Mind does slightly more damage (it starts at 146% to Seismic's 131%), but both are right around 200% weapon damage at 5 points invested.

Battle Psionics 0 non-Ogre core and final Deep Horror Cornac, 4/2/1/5 core for Ogre with two-hander + offhand mindstar, 4/4/1/5 luxury Ogre, 1/1/1/5 non-Ogre non-Cornac core for Psionic Block.

Psionic Disruption gives nice bonuses to mindstar mindpower and critical chance (note that, as the first point gives 61% more of these stats, the number is a bonus rather than a multiplier). As I generally recommend using this only on Ogres, a nice way to offset Ogrewielding mindpower loss. You also get to apply stacks of Psionic Disruption, which do modest DoT, starting with 2 stacks at levels 1&2 and adding another stack apiece at levels 3 and 4. Given that Ogrewielding allows you to apply these stacks off AoEs or Force Shield retaliation, being able to pile up more of them is somewhat worthwhile for a passive damage boost (endgame, will break down to something like 40 points of damage per turn per stack for 5 turns) and definitely worthwhile for increasing the duration of the status effects on Shockstar.

Shockstar can do solid single-target damage with an endgame mindstar and points invested in Psiblade (don't turn it on, you're grabbing it for the Mastery bonuses), but its main purpose is to stun the target and daze enemies around it. Starts off with radius 1, gains +1 radius at 2, 3, and 4 points, and duration 7, +3 at 2 points, +1 at 3 and 4, so 2 is a very strong efficiency breakpoint but anywhere 2-4 is worthwhile (and 4 brings you to radius 4 and duration 12). While the stun/daze durations seem very high for this skill, they are downgraded for every Psionic Disruption stack short of 4 you have. It appears that what happens is that you first add a stack for hitting the target and then it calculates the stun duration, as triggering Shockstar when the opponent already has 3 stacks will go the full listed duration (2 stacks prior to Shockstar gives about 75% duration, 1 stack prior gives about 50% duration, and 0 stacks prior gives about 25% duration). With a cooldown of 15 and a max stun duration of 12, you've got extremely good stun uptime.

Dazzling Lights is fine at one point, as the range for the damaging component never changes and you don't care about blinding that much. Also note that the melee attack requires successful blinding, and many higher level enemies may be resistant or immune, so check immunities before you use. AFAIK, one of the few times that you use Mindpower as a Possessor.

Psionic Block is your upgrade to Leaves Tide - spend a turn to gain a chance to block all incoming damage and retaliate. Good on anyone, very good on Shalore who can extend its duration with Timeless (but not its cooldown, which is fixed). Worth going out to the end of the tree just to grab, even if you have no intention of ever attacking with one-hander + mindstar.

Psionic Menace 0 core, 0 luxury.
As mentioned before - dual mindstars is terrible for damage early, and these skills are terrible for damage late. A two-hander bump attack or a ranged weapon shot is a significantly better use of a turn than these skills, and doesn't use up Psi and cost you your Clarity bonus.

Body Snatcher 4-5/1/4/1 core, 5/2/4/1-5 luxury

You start with a free point in Bodies Reserve, holding 4 bodies. +3 at 2 & 4 points, +2 at 3 and 5. You certainly don't need more than 4 points in bodies reserve, but if you're like me and enjoy collecting for its own sake, you'll take it anyway. Note that Bodies Reserve does not grant more than 14 bodies regardless of a Mastery amulet - although its tooltip says 15 is possible, you won't have the option to use Possess when at 14 bodies.

Psionic Minion and Cannibalize work fine at 1 point - whenever you're thinking about ditching a body, consider tossing it out as a Minion or Cannibalizing it first. If you like Psionic Minion and/or want to monkey around with Projection summons, 2 points of Psionic Minion will get its duration longer than Projection's cooldown. Cannibalize is probably more important to max out if you're not going dual-shield, as your bodies will accumulate more wear-and-tear in smaller battles.

Psionic Duplication 4 is enough to get 3 copies of rare+ enemies, which is what you're probably filling your Reserve with anyway. If you have a Mastery Amulet you may consider a 5th point, if the Mastery bonus is high enough it is possible to get 4 high-tier bodies per Possess (I did so with +0.34 bonus mastery).

Deep Horror Core 0, Cornac 4/1/4/0
Mind Steal is great fun once you've unlocked the ability to target specific enemy abilities, which comes at effective talent level 5. Being able to remove powerful activated abilities from opponents is extremely useful, and allows easier access to certain otherwise hard to get talent combinations (Continuous Butchery + GWF, for example).

Spectral Dash is very, very bad, basically never worth the turn. It does give solid Psi recovery (it's about 18 per point invested) which, if combined with max Solipsism skill, could stretch your durability out a bit, but I'd rather bump attack 90%+ of the time, because dead enemies are the best enemies.

Writhing Psionic Mass gives a nice mix of defenses and status clears, and is instant speed. By the time you get it status clears are not as important and you should have a significant variety of options, but they still have value. 4 points upgrades you from 1 physical or mental effect removed to 2 and gives you the maximum defense boost duration of 5 (up from 3 at level 1).

Ominous Form is a cool concept that never quite emerges as a viable talent. You can't use it when you're already in a form, and so therefore you kinda never want to use it because if you're standing within range 2 of an enemy and you are not in a host, something has already gone horribly wrong. It is also fairly expensive (Psi 50) which, if your host has been killed out from under you, might be more than you can afford. Finally, it's very hard outside of Timeless to make its duration > Assume Form's cooldown, and Shalore aren't in a great position category-point wise to afford buying this. While it's thematically interesting and might rarely serve as a disaster-level panic button, you'll get more value out of putting the points towards survivability improvements (even Dismissal or Cannibalize) to try to avoid getting your host killed in the first place rather than investing in a low-probability, last-ditch, temporary reprieve.

9. Generic Skills

Combat Training Thick Skin 3-5, Heavy Armor 3-5, Weapon Mastery 5 Accuracy 3-5. Note that any or all of these may be present on your host and therefore points invested may be less efficient than they appear e.g. Taking Thick Skin from 3->5 may in practice be more like increasing it from 7->9, with greater levels typically leading to greater diminishing returns. More Weapon Mastery, however, is always great no matter how many points you have in it, and as you choose gear before Assuming a form you will want at least 3 Heavy Armor.

Ravenous Mind 1/1-3/0/0 core, up to 1-2/5/5/0 luxury
Sadist gives you bonus mindpower, which isn't too valuable on the base Possessor chassis but has good uses in some hosts. 1 or 2 points for efficiency.

Channel Pain reduces incoming damage and inflicts a fraction of it on a nearby injured enemy. The amount of damage blocked does not increase with investment, but the cost to do so is reduced (which effectively prevents "damage" to your Psi) and the damage suffered by the enemy increases.

Radiate Agony offers another way to reduce incoming damage, but this one takes a turn to use. Psionic Block is strictly better - same cost, same duration, retaliation damage, no need to have injured enemies, inability of opponents to clear it with status clears, affects you so radius irrelevant, higher defense % (although radiate removes a % of damage and Psionic Block has a % chance to completely block each instance of incoming damage) - but Radiate isn't bad at 2-3 points (2 gets radius 4, 3 gets radius 5) removing 1/4 to 1/3rd of incoming damage.

Torture Mind might be better on lower difficulties, but on Insane knocking out a small number enemy talents at random isn't usually a good use of a turn. I suggest trying to kill them instead.

Mentalism 1/2/1/0-1

Psychometry's gains are very weak. 1 and done.

Mental Shielding is pretty good at 2 points - instant speed, usable while asleep (unlike a Water Salve), and in early game lets you run movement - shield - shield - phys wild and still be able to clear mental effects. Starts with clearing 1 mental effect at level 1, goes to 3 mental effects at two points invested - you'll almost never need more than that.

Projection, while not a great scouting tool due to the possibility of taking damage, has some non-obvious uses making it well worth a 1 point investment. A Projected copy cannot use activated items, but otherwise is a copy of you but not you - the skill specifics mean that your body will share damage inflicted on the projection (although Cannibalize healing will NOT heal your original body), if your projection uses bodies or talents then when you return to your actual body (at end of skill or by clicking on the "your character" icon on the top of the screen, it's the one without a duration number) you won't have used them. Some interesting applications for this:
- Projection -> information talent (e.g. Track) to allow you to assess your surroundings twice as often.
- While *you* cannot do damage without Mind Link, your summons can do so perfectly well. Natively, therefore, Psionic Minion allows you to summon a boss-level minion an infinite number of times (so, Projection -> Rune of Reflection -> Movement boost to destination -> Psionic Minion works great as a combat opener).
- Any host summoning skill also works. The aptly named "Summon" skill (seen on bandit lords, certain large spiders, ghouls, vampires, the Sandworm Queen) is especially strong out-of-combat, as it summons permanent allies. The strength of this effect is balanced by long-term (500 turn) Summoning Destabilization driving up the cooldown of the skill, but Projection lets the Summoning Destabilization vanish with your projection. Shalore are particularly good at this, as Timeless resets Summon nearly instantly (if you're speed boosted there may still be a turn to wait). Summon only requires one open space near your projection and any additional minions will appear in the nearest available space, potentially allowing you to fill entire dungeons with summons without waiting thousands of extra turns.
- Tinker summons (Toxic Cannister, Fatal Attractor, Voltaic Sentry) also work at full power, and Tinker status effects (Flash Powder, Itching Powder) also work fine. The Weapon Automation: One Handed Tinker also works, and ends up duplicating the one-handed melee weapon in the process.
- Summoner hosts with Frantic Summoning are especially valuable for their ability to create a huge army quickly, and with a Projection you can do it twice in a row (although be careful about Projecting within LOS of enemies if your opponents have AoEs)
- Yeek and Thalore racial summons are instant speed and work great, as does Yeek's Dominant Will.
Projection has many additional potential uses that aren't discussed here - the skill is interesting enough that it now has its own thread in Spoilers, from which many of the above are drawn.

Mind Link seems like it's trying to turn Projection into Ambuscade, but the fact that damage hits your body makes it markedly more dangerous. May still be worth splashing a point so that you can potentially assassinate a single dangerous enemy by blowing all your best attacks and then dropping your projection, but doing so is probably only practical with significant global/attack speed boosts, greater point investment in Projection, and a weapon with Mind damage conversion (Psychic Blows gives you good Mind damage skills to begin with, but you'll want to leverage host skills as well).

Survival 1/1/1/0 early and core, up to 1/5/1/5 luxury.

Heightened Senses is fine at 1, and you'll often get more off hosts.

Device Mastery also stacks with hosts, but for some items you want as many uses as you can possibly get and stretching their efficiency further is really valuable. Egg-Sac, Rod of Spydric Poison, Nexus of the Way, Ruthless Grip among others are all really happy to have this maxed.

Track is amazing, doubly so for Possessors who need to know when it's safe to switch bodies, but if you've got any kind of Cunning even 1 point covers a huge area.

Danger Sense I'm still not 100% sure of how it works {does it give a second Dismissal save?} but it seems like a reasonable defensive boost for Cornacs with too many points on their hands, and I can't recall ever seeing it on a host so you're not likely to get it for free.

Chemistry 3/1/1 core. Optional: 3 Chemistry for Alchemist's Helper and Winterchill Edge, 2 Explosives for more ammo types, Ablative Armor.
Physics 3/2/1 core. Optional: 4 Smithing for Crystal Edge, 2 Electricity for White Light Emitter, Shocking Edge, and Deflection Field.

As some schematics require both Chemistry and Physics levels, we're considering them together. This is my recommended minimum investment of points needed to grab a variety of generally useful Tinkers for all slots. See 64legos' excellent Tinker spreadsheet if you want to see what you're getting specifically.

Worth noting that Unstoppable Force Salve, though still welcome for its monster save bonuses, doesn't have quite the same punch here as on some other classes, as you can't stack healing factor sky high and regeneration tank everything with a Possessor in the way you can with, say, a Demonologist or a Sun Paladin.

10. Escorts
The most important Possessor-specific rule for escorts is that, if due to your host you have 5 or more levels in a skill, then you won't be able to learn additional ranks from an Escort, even if you natively have fewer than 5 levels. So you may want to arrange things such that you can be in your own body when your escort hits the teleportation circle, although that can be quite risky. This is most notable on the thief escort, as on high difficulties many enemies have high levels of Device Mastery and Heightened Senses.

It says that Ogres can't betray escorts in the Wiki, but I thought I remembered doing so while not packing any Runes. Have played a lot of Oozemancer lately, though, so I could be confused.

Alchemist - Meh. +2 Magic.

Anorithil - If you're a Cornac, investing in Magic, and not planning on going Deep Horror, unlocking Light may be worthwhile. If you're invested in Magic and don't have a category point to spare, Bathe in Light is pretty good. Even without being able to heal your hosts, being able to top up Psi, heal subsequent followers, and generate a shield are all valuable tricks. Otherwise, +2 Cunning.

Loremaster - Disarm is great. It does a % of weapon damage, scales of Physical Power, and really screws over enemy weapon users.

Seer - Vision is okay if you want to get a lay of the land to combine with Track's information on enemy position. Premonition is also okay but nothing special. +2 Magic is probably best.

Sun Paladin - The wiki is out of date on what chants do. Grab Chant of Fortress for armor, hardiness, phys resist, and phys save.

Temporal Explorer - Never had the chance to get one as a Possessor, but my guess is +2 Magic.

Thief - Device Mastery.

Tinker - Where learned craft, followed by Last Engineer Standing.

Warrior - Not sure if Vitality would trigger Psi regen, +2 Strength always good. Exotic Weapons for Legacy of the Naloren, if you like.

11. Piloting Notes

Random tips, in no particular order.

All things being equal, while you're still developing your Full Control skill, you should prefer using bodies with fewer talents that you want earlier in hopes that you can delay assuming the form of a better body until you've got more talents you can learn. You should also prefer using bodies you've already used before, for the same reason. Knowing when to switch to a new body is most difficult risk/reward question of the early game - do you try to eke out a little more time in a preferred body that has taken significant damage, or do you replace it with a healthy one you like less?

Typically I open the battle with AoEs to thin the herd and Psychic Crush the toughest thing left standing. Shalore can consider a slightly different rotation than normal, as Psychic Crush's 6 turn cooldown (5 after the turn it's used) means that Timeless can fully reset it, so it can be worth saving Unleashed Mind for after dual Psychic Crush to maximize the duration of 2 possible clones.

Consider a ranged weapon to make the early game go easier. Simply having Rush on a host, a Movement Infusion, and a solid ranged weapon can trivialize much of the T1 zones, and obviously moreso if your host has Master Marksman or equivalent passive bonus. Another option is to grab a Mindslayer body and use Beyond the Flesh to dual-wield ranged weapons, which will often result in markedly better results given your statline or ammo type (particularly, ammo with chance to daze at end of turn can do a decent dazelock when used with Beyond the Flesh).

The drowning start - I refer to this a lot, the standard form is "restart until you get a Last Hope with a boss spawn, swap positions with rare/unique/boss NPCS until they're in the water, then they drown, you get XP and steal their stuff." The Possessor form is "clear an area near the water, either by walking commons out of LOS and out of hearing, or by drowning them. Then, one at a time, walk over a rare/unique/boss and, when they are about to die (usually ~25% life bar left unless Blurred Mortality or similar skill is in effect), hit them with Possess, get XP, a host, and stuff." You may choose to wait on killing a boss NPC until you can Possess them, use the alternative Cornac build for early boss possession, take the XP and ignore the body, or start-scum for a Unique instead of a Boss.

Get in the habit of switching back to your base form before you leave a level (after hitting Track to make sure there's no lurkers left). You might gain a character level, and you may want to switch your gear.


Last edited by Snarvid on Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:04 am, edited 25 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:46 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
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Gear and Tinkers

1. Gear
As each body comes with different attributes (most notably for gearing, resistances vary widely, and obvious weapon skills can vary considerably), it's hard to come up with a one-size fits all gearing solution. However, a few items are particularly valuable for many Possessor builds.

a. Weapons are so important for Possessors that I'm breaking down the category into the relevant subcategories rather than lumping all weapons together.

Two handers: Two-handers have some of the best options in the game, of which Sawrd is generally thought of as the the strongest, but most of the two-hander artifacts are great so there's no point listing essentially all the tier 4-5 twohanders as usable. I'm partial to Dream Malleus for Projection/Thought Forged, Skysmasher for burst 2 AoE and a gap closer, and Blighted Maul for huge AoE damage and debuffs, and I usually keep one or more around even after I find Sawrd for use with Beyond the Flesh.

Two handed steamsaws: Two handed steamsaws require steam generation to use effectively, and Steamsaw Mastery is separate from weapon mastery. However, as mentioned earlier, a two-handed steamsaw counts as a two-hander, dual wielding, a shield, and a steamsaw, so it opens up a huge number of weapon skill choices from different hosts. (An Ogre wielding one of these with a Mindstar offhand has a huge number of weapons skills available, but Ogrewielding already makes you pretty versatile and it likely messes up the dual-wielding inherent in a two-handed steamsaw. Much better for non-Ogres.) Razorlock is a tier 5 two-handed steamsaw that grants +2 attacks with full proc power. Ramroller does better basic damage, gives a slight speed boost, and boosts your damage after moving. Ramroller is pretty fun, but Razorlock's damage is competitive with Sawrd (particularly with a high-proc damage tinker, like Crystal Edge). If you've got access to Continuous Butchery, especially on a Shalore whose Grace of the Eternals and Timeless synergize very well with Continuous Butchery, Razorlock is the highest damage option I've found for a Possessor.

*Sidebar*: Sawrd vs Razorlock testing: With otherwise identical buffs on my Shalore Possessor, 10 turns of Continuous Butchery Razorlock bump attacks gave me ~54k damage/turn average on a training dummy, compared to ~12k/turn for just bump attacks with Sawrd or Razorlock. Ramroller hit about 16k/turn under the same conditions. On a different host with combined weapon mastery of 14 and Berserker 7.0, Sawrd hit ~14.5k, so other hosts can give Sawrd a better showing than the host used in my example, but I haven't found a way to get it in the range Timeless + Continuous Butchery.

One handed weapons: I rarely use these in combat, as I mainly combine mindstars with two-handers on a Ogre. My recommendation is to look for utility skills on your one-hander, such as Grinder (for Blindside on being hit) or Thunderclap (for a melee crit at range) that you can use while you're temporarily switched over to trigger Psionic Block.

Mindstars: Generic egos that work well for you - clarity for bonus Psi, horrifying for bonus mind damage. But mostly you're either using specific artifact Mindstars or using an offhand shield instead:
- Nexus of the Way is an easy best-in-slot for its ability - with high Device Mastery from host and innate skills, you can use it several times in a row, which is very strong for an instant speed summon.
- Amethyst of Sanctuary is pretty good defensively, given how much you crave additional durability, but it costs an action and therefore is nowhere near as strong.
- Eyal's Will is worth considering if you're just going to switch it in for Psionic Block->Slime Wave and then swap back to 2 hander, but arcane disruption is generally not worth wearing full time as an Ogre.
- Core of the Forge *MIGHT* synergize with Dream Malleus, haven't tested with both on same Ogre, but in any case gives nice damage boosts and resistance penetration, and a weird damaging opener that sometimes blocks LOS and approach lines.
- Eye of the Wyrm has a fun shifting AoE cone that scales with Mindpower, so can be a good opener if you're running Superpower.
- Bloomsoul does poor damage, but IIRC it's an instant speed heal, which has some utility for a Possessor looking to top up Psi.

Ranged: Ranged attacks have only one native synergy with Possessors (i.e. Ability to swap from ranged to melee at instant speed), but are still pretty good on a tinker possessor. Clarity lets you kite, ranged helps mitigate melee damage (especially with Thunderclap Coating), and you might as well use some of those ammo upgrades you learned. You can pick up a large variety of ranged skills from your hosts, and in particular Temporal Warden, Gunslinger, and Archer hosts have some very nasty options. Note that the stat requirements for equipping are much easier to meet with PES, and Temporal Warden's Strength of Purpose is much stronger with Magic stat investment and/or PES.

b. Shield: Ogre only unless you want to give up all your Possessor melee skills. Black Wall is very good, but anything high tier is worth considering. There's probably a Galvanic Retributor build that uses a shield with Retaliation on block combined with that tinker, but I haven't tried it so cannot report on results.

c. Armor: Any massive armor is worth looking at for the default build, such as Plate of the Blackened Mind (with its included Dominate melee attack) or Black Plate (physical power boost, synergy with other Black items, Link of Pain for doubling up your AoE damage onto a tough enemy, and combos beautifully with Continuous Butchery in the final battle). Alternative builds, such as those looking to run stealth, may find light or cloth options compelling, but it's hard to recommend anything but massive armor on the basic Possessor. Special Note: Tarrasca is normally awesome, but given that you're trying to keep a speed bonus on Possessors via Clarity it's more of a panic button (gives you very good protection if you fall into Solipsism) than something you want to rely on.

d. Feet: Unbreakable Greaves for armor, Steam Powered Boots for steam generation without an implant, Boots of the Hunter for solid stun resistance and movement boost. For randarts, Rush is a great quality, while Blinks or Disengages are decent. Black Boots are good if you're investing in the set, otherwise meh on their own.

e.Hands: Ruthless Grip is fantastic for gap-closing (I routinely get x3 in a row without needing recharge due to Device Mastery stacking), and it's pretty fun for pulling enemies through their own non-instant projectiles - the bonus damage on melee isn't great, but not bad either. Steam-Powered Gauntlets, Will of Ul'Gruth, Dakhtun's Gauntlets, Hands of the World Shaper all help with damage significantly. Spellhunt Remnants have good utility for the final fight for Flexible Combatants.

f. Head: My favorite would be the Nimbus of Enlightenment, but I trigger a lot of errors while wearing it so have stopped doing so.

Beyond that, I don't have a clear favorite. Eastern Wood Hat, Omniscience, Steam Powered Helm, Black Crown, Kroltar's Helm, all fine, none required.

g. Cloak: Lots of interesting choices here. Wrap of Stone is very good at providing you cooldown time and space, while Jetpack offers great mobility. Radiance and Guise of the Hated basically tell you which forms to use them with.

h. Ring: Mnemonic is solid. However, I'm looking to complete stun resistance before that, and after that proccing damage and status effects on melee hit, +physical and mind damage and penetration, and boosting stats may still be more important.

i. Amulet: By a huge margin, the best amulets for Possessors give talent mastery bonuses to the Possession tree. With a category point and 5/5 in each, Possess allows you to learn 9 creature types, Self Persistence caps at 84% of your own stats, Improved Form caps at 93% of host stats and talents up to level 7, and Full Control grants 7 host talents. With another .34 mastery from an amulet (not the only amount possible, just the one I have), Possess allows you to learn 10 creature types, Self Persistence caps at 85%, Improved Form caps at 95% host stats and talent level up to level 9, and Full Control grants 8 host talents. You're unlikely to find anything else as useful as +2 to most stats, +2 host talent level max, and +1 host talent.

j. Belt: Emblem of Evasion is solid defense, and Lightning Catcher can offer even more stat boosts as well as a healthy boost to stun resistance.

2. Tinkers:

As mentioned above, 64legos has made a very handy guide to what Tinkers do and what skill levels you need to reach them.

a. Weapon: If running PES, you'll often be running Razor Edge until your crit rate gets past 100%, as the benefit of reliable crits is just too high. If running Sawrd, I also usually run Razor Edge - I think the armor penetration helps more with multiple smaller hits, and while it loses proc damage the crit bonus works just fine.

For non-PES users of non-Sawrd weapons, it's worth considering what you need more - armor penetration, raw damage, or crit rating. You can stick with Razor Edge for AP and crit, but Acid Groove has a moderate direct damage effect and corrodes armor, while Crystal Edge does a significant amount of bonus damage and increases crit multiplier. If you can throw one more generic point into Electricity, you can get the White Light Emitter, which boosts Crystal Edge damage a bit (may not be worth it for you, but on Razorlock, where you're landing multiple Crystal Edge procs in a round, a 20% bonus to light damage can add up). One downside of Crystal Edge that it heals luminous and radiant horrors, so you definitely want to avoid light damage in your alt-weapon slot.

Winterchill Edge for damage+slow, or Shocking Edge for damage+resource destruction are also worthwhile options. I've not tried Incendiary Groove due to its high entry cost.

b. Shield. Only one choice, Galvanic Retributor with electric retaliation damage on your shield and on-block electrical radius attack. Potentially worthwhile if a shield host lets you block more often, but Electricity 4 is steep.

c. Armor: Early on Spike Attachment or Armour Reinforcement are solid - I tend to prefer the former for its retaliation damage and superior armor boost, preferring to find armor hardiness through skills. Crystal Plating is available at Smithing 3 and is quite good at high tiers, if a little hard to find the gems for. Ablative Armor offers equivalent armor boost to Spike Attachment but with a very large critical ignore chance (roughly equivalent to the crit ignore from 120 points of Dex).

At tier 5, I tend to favor Crystal Plating if I'm not working some host-specific tanking plan, as +10 to all stats breaks down into the following benefits: +10 to all stats for weapon damage purposes, +18 Encumbrance, +10 raw physical & spell power, +11 raw mindpower, +7 physical/spell/mental saves, 3.5 defense and ranged defense, +10 accuracy, +3% shrug off crits, +32.5 hit points, +50 Mana, +25 Stamina, +25 Psi, +3% crit chance. That's a lot of stuff.

d. Feet: Kinetic Stabilizers when facing lots of Corruptors (invaluable in the Melinda's Crypt), and for lack of steam. If you've got any kind of steam generation, Rocket Boots are very, very good. Edge-case Stealth builds can consider Moss Treads, but note you cannot stealth in heavy body armor.

e. Hands: Iron Grip for disarm immunity and lack of Steam cost, if your host doesn't have steam. If it does, there are a lot of really valuable options: Spring Grapple for a gap closer, Toxic Cannister for AoE poison, corner sniping, and a defacto-taunt, Fatal Attactor with an actual taunt (works great with other summons/Ambuscade/Forgery of Haze - Attractor pulls aggro, then other summons are closest to target and likely to keep their ire), and lots of status effects (blind, talent failure chance).

I'm not a big fan of Voltaic Sentry - it's fine, but Toxic Cannister is often more damaging and cheaper to access, if requiring a little distance to use effectively. Note that if you're able to control enemy movement by any means from your hosts (Gravity Well, Ice Walls, Dream Forge walls, Solidify Air, etc) then forcing enemies to stay within Toxic Cannister's AoE can be quite damaging.

f. Head: Worth noting that for Steamsaws , Headlamp is more efficient than Mental Stimulator for improving your crit chance - tier 5 Headlamp gives +25 accuracy, and steamsaws give 0.2 crit/accuracy, for a total of +5% crit, while tier 5 Mental Stimulator gives +10 Cunning, which gives 0.3 crit/point, for a total of +3% crit. Mental Stimulator also gives bonus mental saves, while Headlamp gives light, so you've got combat vs utility to balance as well, and other weapons offer different benefits, it's just that steamsaws convert directly into crit.

Focus Lens can have applications in spotting hidden or invisible creatures, but Heightened Senses is pretty common on hosts so it shouldn't be much of an issue for you.

g. Cloak: Grounding Strap is da best.

h. Belt: Back support is surprisingly useful, as Fatigue eats up Psi faster and Psi counts as both healthbar and the source of a global speed boost for you. Fungal Web helps you heal back missing Psi, and is particularly useful when used with instant speed salves (i.e. Not healing) for healing the "damage" done to your Psi pool via PES before popping Timeless on a Shalore. Deflector Shield is a decent defense bonus. Alchemist's Helper can really help boost host-specific damage types (e.g. Flame on an Arcane Blade/Doombringer combo). Thunder Grenade is only good if your host and you have both pushed Cunning fairly high, otherwise the Stun won't stick.


Last edited by Snarvid on Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:54 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:46 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 168
The Possessor's Bestiary

For every other class in the game, enemies are obstacles, sources of loot, and sources of experience. For you, they're all that, and also your main source of power. Here's what we know about them.

1. General Host Discussion
All creatures have a base type - for some this is a class (e.g. a bandit has Rogue skills) and for some a racial (higher, shalore) or monster type (vampire, dragon, etc). Rares, uniques, and bosses may have one or more additional classes at random - it's worth looking out for certain extremely high value combinations (Arcane Blade + Sawbutcher, to name an example from my last playthrough) whose DPR or durability potential is truly impressive. After the name of a host I'll list parenthetically list any weapon type that its skills are dependent on.

This list will probably forever be incomplete, since I'm not going to write about every creature type in the game in full detail. Also, for horrors, demons, and elementals I'm putting their type first, and I'll probably misspell some of them.

Alchemist (staff, alchemist gems in ammo slot): Probably the worst class for Possessors. You cannot make a golem or alchemist gems, so you're only able to use alchemist gems you find on bodies. Also, Bombs aren't that stellar an ability - they're fine, but nothing special.

Anorithil: Circles offer interesting status effects and control, and Corona is potentially quite strong, but I generally find spell-based offense a bit lacking on Possessors and Anorithil's are not known for their utility magic.

Arcane Blade (any, but a two-hander has better proc rates than dual or weapon+shield): Very powerful damage boosts. At minimum, always take Arcane Combat and one of the spells it can proc. Flame seems to be present at acceptable levels much more often than Earthen Missiles, and one of these two seems optimal. Be aware that Force Shield and your AoEs can trigger Arcane Combat, which is very strong. If you're running shields, Shielding is a high priority pick, and Fiery Hands or Shock Hands is a decent sustained DPR boost.

Archer (sling or bow): Often drawing from the Archery Training, Archery Prowess, Reflexes, Munitions, Archers do what they say they do - shoot things with arrows or slings. Steady Shot is one of the few commonly available tools to mark targets available from hosts, and many other host skills require or benefit from a mark, so take Steady Shot if you're dipping into Archery skills (and possibly wear gloves granting an additional use).

Bees!: And hornet swarms, hummerhorns, midges and other flying insects stuff. Can be fragile, and basic Poison Bite skill is pretty bad, but global speed of 200% and attack speed 125% (the latter bees only) is nothing to sneeze at.

Berserker (two-handed): Their love for you is like a truck. Unstoppable is normally amazing on Berserker but not at all good on Possessors due to their inability to heal. Berserker Rage and Shattering Impact are solid upgrades, but note that swapping out a two-hander will put Rage {and Impact? Check on Massok} on cooldown. Battle Call and Rush are nice gap closers, and anything in Two-Handed Assault is worth using. Shattering Shout's projectile shatter is amusing. Juggernaut is decent protection at instant speed, a nice combo with Timeless. All around solid without being amazing.

Brawler (gauntlet): To be honest, I've never bothered taking brawler specific unarmed skills. Some of their passives are nice, so if you find a brawler/something you want hybrid the brawler component isn't strictly useless. My guess is that Unarmed Mastery still improves Flexible Combat attacks even if you're armed, which could be a solid upgrade. Exploit Weakness is probably a good deal for fights against very tough opponents, considering that it should proc off your Psychic Blows AoEs and Force Shield's retaliation to stack up serious physical resist debuffs.

Bulwark (shields): good source of shield-based skills, and therefore generally only useful for Ogres, although if your host has good steam regen, you can get good effects with a two-handed steamsaw. My belief is that shield-strikes with a steamsaw do full steamsaw damage, which would make something like Shield Slam or Assault fairly intense with Razorlock. Rush is good as always.

Corruptor: Bone Shields are fantastic for durability, and Bone Grab is a nice gap closer. Rarely, some Corruptors have Fearscape and Flames of Urh'Rok, which if they're packing serious Vim regen can be very nice. Their disease skills are fine both nothing special.

Do NOT side with the Grand Corruptor if you're hoping to steal his body. He turns from a badass boss into a fairly bland unique. His boss version does have both Fearscape and Flames or Urh'Rock, but no innate Vim regen.

Cursed: A nice, simple-to-use host, many of whom are packing the excellent passive resistance skill Relentless. Gloom is terrific - good passive control, serves to help generate Hate, and can be enhanced by up to 3 more passive skills (Dismay, Weakness, and Sanctuary) whose benefits don't cost you skill choices. Stalk helps against single tough enemies, and Rampage is a great gap closer and DPR upgrade. You often have the choice of several different high damage attacks like Slash or Dominate - these are certainly worthy but in my experience tend to show up late in a fight due to low hate at the beginning, which is fine. {I haven't checked if Unnatural Body heals Psi on kill and weakens general Psi regen, but it should}. The only ability of theirs I don't recommend is Mark Prey, as you will be leaving your cursed form semi-regularly and that will negate the cumulative bonus.

Demonologists (Shield): Bind Demon is not available through possession, which is a huge loss but understandable. Many of their skills require shields to work. Osmotic Shield heals you when damaged, which kinda works but not well. If it's mixed with another spellcasting class, or your have Arcane Might, Hardened Core is very good. All in all, pretty disappointing.

Doomed: Call Shadows is relatively common, and on higher difficulties it isn't rare for it to be maxed out. I personally do not find Shadows without Shadow Warriors or Shadow Mages to be particularly impressive, so tend not to possess Doomed unless one or more of these talents are present (IIRC Adiba the Undying has the full set), but if they are definitely take Feed as well. Merge also shows up now and then, and may be worth taking, and definitely grab any with Deflection (which I've seen) and Unseen Force (which I have not). Devour Life does not heal Possessor bodies - while it notes that its healing cannot be reduced, Possessor rules take precedence.

Dragons: Good stats, okay skills, sometimes weirdly lacking Equilibrium regen despite having it as their resource. Wing Buffet is found on many dragon bodies, which gives you a passive physical power and accuracy bonus as well as a decent melee cone AoE to complement your own core abilities. IIRC, storm wyrms may have Lightning Speed, which is well worth grabbing. Breath weapons are okay, and those with status-effect riders (Lightning, Sand, Ice) can be worth grabbing if you're running Superpower and have good Mindpower on account.

Elemental, Fire:

Elemental, Shivgoroth:

Elemental, Teluvorta: Have some good temporal resists, combined movement/attack teleports, and frequently have Reality Smearing. This last is quite useful for durability.

Ghouls: Really great host race now that you only inherit superior speeds from your hosts. Good resists and Ghoulish Leap are the stars here, the latter being a gap closer with an included speed boost that stacks with either Blinding Speed or Grace of the Eternals (which supersede, rather than stack, with each other). Gnaw is pretty fun when you can find it at high levels (particularly with PES for absolutely devastating attribute damage, although note that spawned Ghoul minions are not permanent) and the Ghoul passive itself means you're likely to have pretty good stats. Ignore Retch, as non-Undead Possessors still take damage - when you mouse over your character it shows you to be a Ghoul, but when you right-click investigate you're still listed as your base race, apparently it's the latter that determines response to Retch.

Gunslinger (steamguns): In my opinion, the strongest of the ranged classes. The lack of need to mark your targets meaning it's easier to one-shot, the powerful effects of double shot and strafe, and great sustains like Agile Gunner and Automated Cloak Tesselation that help you whether you're wielding guns or not make it a fun change of pace from melee smashing everything. Also worth noting that Cloaking Device allows for a taste of Stealth gameplay while wearing heavy armor.

Horrors: I'm just listing them all here, rather than by their specific type. I know that makes me Horror-ist, I'm fine with that.
- Bone Horrors have all Corruption/Bone skills, including the excellent Bone Shield and Bone Grab. Also Throw Bones, which isn't great but is ranged, has a low cooldown, and scales to Strength, and Skullcracker, which is fun.
- Luminous and radiant horrors have multiple Light skills and attacks. Their high light affinity is worth relatively little on a Possessor, due to their inability to heal health.
- Nightmare horrors often (always?) have gloom, Nightmare, Waking Nightmare, and Inner Demons, and a permanent ability to walk through walls. They also tend to have very high Hate Regeneration that overcomes the natural decay.
- Umbral Horrors often (always?) have Call Shadows, Shadow Warriors, Focus Shadows, Blindside, and some garbage-y Cursed Darkness abilities. Blindside is pretty good.

Hornet Swarm, Hummerhorn: See Bees!

Midge Swarms: See Bees!

Mindslayers: Telekinetic Grasp and Beyond the Flesh come standard if you learn any Mindslayers skills, although you have to manually attach them to the bar. They also usually have a significant natural Psi regeneration rate, which is great for helping keep your Clarity speed bonus high. Shields are among their best skills for a Possessor - shields recover Psi when they block incoming damage, and Solipsism directs incoming damage to Psi, so the two in combination provide excellent durability boosts. Other good skills include Telekinetic Smash, any of the Strikes, and Skate, which along with Clarity can serve as a sort of permanent gap-closer. PES wielders can benefit from Augmentation.

Necromancers: PC Necromancers build race or Prodigy selection around maintaining access to souls, but you get it natively. Feel free to giggle at them about this, and about the fact that your Psychic Blows AoEs are innately allied friendly. In addition to meaning that you will always have the ability to Create Minions and strike from behind them, it also allows you to turn off your aura to kill your minions when you create spellcasters and don't want them following you and shooting you through the butt. You can also find Assemble (make minions into Bone Golems) with Sacrifice (kill Bone Golem to profoundly cap incoming damage), which is an excellent defensive combo, or Forgery of Haze (make another you, which is bonkers good) on some Necros, and Impending Doom does both solid damage and squashes regen. Phase Door at high levels is a versatile mobility tool, capable of moving either you or an enemy with reasonably good accuracy.

Oozemancer (mindstars): Always antimagic, which has significant downsides discussed in Post 2. With those accepted, look for Oozemancers with Living Mucus and Acid Splash, as it's a great snipe-and-run power. Mitosis provides pretty good defenses.

Paradox Mage: Due to the "Paradox regeneration" that the game applies to most Paradox mages, it can be hard to keep your paradox high enough to have any significant Spellpower without tuning your Paradox very high. If you can land it, Rethread with Braided Lifelines is a great prep for Unleashed Mind and Seismic Mind. Energy Decomposition and Reality Smearing are good defensively, particularly in conjunction with Temporal Fugue (& Reflection Rune, if you can get it), and Time Shield is quite good (and stacks with your other shields rather than replacing them, so if you're a Shalore you should activate Time Shield along with another shield before hitting Timeless).

Psyshot: Pretty fun, if you've got a good Mindstar and steamgun combo - not as damaging as Gunslingers, but better utility. Gestalt + steam powers can help you replenish Psi and stay out of Solipsism, Mechanical Arms are great for punching people trying to close into melee, and occasionally you'll get Solidify Air, which is great control and combos very nicely with Toxic Cannister. Nightmare and Inner Demons, or Automated Cloak Tesselation, are also very nice abilities. Especially good if you manage to find the artifact steamgun "Thoughtcaster."

Rogue (dual-weapon): You can never learn trap skills {rogue's tools?}. The dual weapon focus means Ogres with two-hander and mindstar will benefit most. Throwing knives skills carry Psionic Disruption debuff, as do spammy attacks like Flurry, which is very strong early on for damage. Stealth requires avoiding heavy or massive armor, which greatly limits its usefulness for most Possessors (although Death's Embrace is pretty good for light armor), but offers potentially interesting high-damage edge-case builds, as rogues only wish they could drop a 6 radius AoE out of Stealth.

Sawbutcher (steamsaws): Tend to come with high Steam regeneration. Very powerful skills like Furnace, Continuous Butchery, Grinding Shields make this a great choice if you've got access to a two-handed Steamsaw (so you don't have to give up your Psychic Blows skills). I've never seen a host with Saw Wheels, so you won't get the full Sawbutcher experience, but you're also packing several AoEs and a global speed boost from Clarity that Sawbutchers natively lack. On that note - Continuous Butchery seems to break if you hit other creatures with one of your AoEs, so focus fire while that's up.

Shadowblade (dual-weapon): Shadow Combat is a decent damage boost than can be stretched a little further with Black Light Emitter. Stealth is stealth - see Rogue discussion. Phase Door or Teleport make solid gap closers. Rarely, Ambuscade shows up, which is well worth grabbing - you control your copy but it has a copy of all your skills (but cannot use your item powers), meaning you can go in, trigger all your best abilities, then resume your own body and still have them all ready to use. (I have yet to test if you can Ambuscade within a Projection or vice versa)

Skeleton - some have Bone Armor, which does take a turn but can be a pretty beefy shield. Besides that, fine but not as good as Ghouls.

Solipsists: One thing worth thinking about is the consequences of stacking your Solipsism skill super high - not that you can't risk it, just definitely a thing to take into account. With that in mind, Thought-Forms are pretty fun to have, and semi-frequently you'll get the excellent boss-killing Nightmare/Inner Demons combo (better with Superpower). Some forms also have a natural Feedback regeneration rate, which can be pretty nice with Mind Storm.

Spiderkin: I haven't really tracked the different kinds of spiders, so there's kinda just 3 in my mind - shiaak (sp?) the spiderpeople, time spiders, and regular spiders. Time spiders often have Webs of Fate, which is quite good.

Summoners: Very powerful early game when you have few bodies you need to carefully protect, so having summons take point is great. Rare or Unique Thalore wilders of Shatur are particularly nice for their Rimebark summons, which are hugely powerful early on. Midgame there's a pretty significant drop in their power, but late they can come back into their own when splashed into another class, as some have Frantic Summoning and Grand Arrival (which works particularly well in conjunction with advance scouting and Projection, as you can spam all your summons from your Projection, pop back into your body, and then do it again). These are particularly good for Shalore Possessors, as PES will lower your Solipsism and Grand Arriving a Turtle has a pretty significant heal attached. Warhound's physical resistance reduction can also be very strong.

Sun Paladin (Shield, Two-Hander): Weapon of Light works great with shield runes (although if your speed bonus gets high enough, and you launch enough Force Shield retaliations, it can definitely explode), and Wave of Power, though rare to find, is a great ranged tool to add to a weapon-damaged based class. Weapon on Wrath, also rare, is great on Possessors - given the very high health pools available on hosts, walking around with 300-400 hp missing is no big deal, but will greatly increase your damage output. Path of the Sun is a solid gap closer that combos interestingly with abilities that reward movement (Steam Powered Boots for Steam generation, Ramroller, etc). Shield of Light is pretty decent - healing for Psi recovery is still valuable, but it doesn't actually reduce incoming damage - but the free shield bash is nice {might also work with steamsaws, if so very powerful}.

Temporal Warden (dual-wield, bow): Time Shield is strong and helpful, and the rare Temporal Hounds skill with bow skills allowing you to shoot through allies gives a solid boost to the ranged playstyle. Typically you're more interested in the bow skills than the melee skills - a nice effect is that many Warden bow skills instant-switch to ranged, which works well. The melee skills can be very nice if you're running Battle Psionics and/or two-handed steamsaw, and Dimensional Step can be pretty good as a gap closer or escape tool. While it is often nice at range, Strength of Purpose is a bummer here for melee - unless you're running Magic and/or PES, you'll likely come out behind on damage in swapping Magic for Strength, and will miss out also on Weapon Mastery stacking.

Treats: Good decent stats, tough, no basic skills

Vampire: Forgery of Haze, Phantasmal Shield, Blur Sight, Blurred Mortality, and Vampiric Gift are fairly common abilities among Vampires. Forgery of Haze is obviously the prize here, as having another version of yourself, even slightly debuffed, is a huge DPR bonus and damage sink.

Wolves: Howl, as far as I can tell, isn't helpful for you. White Wolves have Icy Skin and possibly Ice Claw, which are pretty decent.

Worm mass: Multiply seems to be a one time skill that creates a low level worm, not a copy of you.

Wyrmic (two-hander): Aiming for skills with a weapon damage %, rather damage scaling off Mindpower, is going to be your best bet here. Burrow, Static Field, and Lightning Speed are standout non-weapon skills.

2. Hosts with the Most: Uniques and Bosses with Prodigies

I'm assuming all bosses and fixed uniques with Prodigies always have the same Prodigies each playthrough. Note also that Prodigies don't appear to stack, so (for example) besides a tantalizing (2) next to Arcane Might taking control of a host with it while you already have it does not add anything. Note that these bosses may have additional classes at high difficulty levels, I'm just listing what I understand to be their fixed class affinity.

Activated Prodigies have to be selected as if they were skills, and will show their level as 1.0.

Aluin the Fallen (Humanoid Boss, Sun Paladin/Cursed): Arcane Might, Irresistible Sun

Massok the Dragonslayer (Humanoid Orc Boss, Berserker): Massive Blow.

Ninandra, the Great Weaver (Spiderkin Unique): Lucky Day

Protector Myssil (Humanoid Boss, Antimagic): Tricky Defenses, Draconic Will, Spell Feedback, Unbreakable Will

Slasul (Humanoid Boss, Cryomancer): Arcane Might, Corrupted Shell, Draconic Body, Draconic Will, I Can Carry the World, Massive Blow.

Snaproot (Giant? Boss): Massive Blow, You Shall Be My Weapon. Also has the fun Throw Boulder talent and a boatload of HP.

Snow Giant Champion Uniques (Giant Unique): Giant Leap

Ukllmswwik the Wise (Dragon Boss): Bloodspring, Draconic Body, Draconic Will, Spell Feedback, Spine of the World, Unbreakable Will.

Warmaster Gnarg (Humanoid Orc Boss, Berserker): Giant Leap, Windblade


Last edited by Snarvid on Wed Jun 28, 2017 8:03 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:11 pm 
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One thing to note: Projection basically uses a copy of your character, so you can stand outside of a wall/room, use projection activate a shielding rune, walk through the wall, summon your minion and then cancel projection. Your original body will be in the state you left it, meaning rune not on cooldown, and body still available for use.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:46 am 
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Thalore

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 168
Interesting. Thanks for the tip. Will include when I am back at my computer and can confirm.

More things to confirm with Projection:
- If your body shares a health total with your projection, does that mean that Cannibalize in your projection will heal your core body?
- Am curious about caps on Necro minions w/ Projection, as well as if this would let you slowly spawn an infinite army with ghoul/vampire/bandit Summon without having to deal with Summoning Destabilization.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:27 pm 
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I think I tested cannibalize before and did not receive healing to my current form, but would need to check again. I believe in general only received damage is shared between projection and self.

I didn't think to try summoning abilities to see if they stuck around. Multiply would be another interesting one to try.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 2:13 pm 
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Thalore

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 168
I have updated the Projection entry, going from just about my shortest skill summary to the longest. It's like a whole additional mini-game in the game!

It works with Summon, and is pretty funny (especially with a Shalore, who can do Summon -> Timeless -> Summon). As long as you have one open space the rest will fill in at the edges, meaning you can potentially fill an entire dungeon and your summons will eventually find all enemies that aren't behind doors. Not the fastest way to do it, obviously, but conceptually entertaining.

You can also make and use Tinkers, but not items, from within a Projection. (I'm not making a tinker from in there, because I don't want the game to explode.). The tinker hand summons that do damage still do it (although something like Saw Projector doesn't because it's direct from you) and the status effects (such as Flash Powder) also work.

Sadly, my Shalore Possessor incurred his first death trying the following:
- In Grand Corruptor body, make Projection, pull enemy into Fearscape. (Which, btw, doesn't do damage to opponent because the floor damage is from you)
- Projection duration wears off
- Bam! I'm dead and in Eidolon plane.
- Did not lose a Grand Corruptor body on base form, though.
- My original body is still standing in the location I Projected from, blocking my ability to get back to the training dummy room unless I teleport past it/me.
- My original body still counts as me, in that it changes hit points when I change forms, if I hit it we both take damage, as I turn on and off sustains it does so simultaneously, and I can't Possess it.

While technically a bug, it's so far out on the edge of things that would happen in the game I don't think it's worth reporting. Maybe it might point to other vulnerabilities in the game, though.

Multiply and Forgery of Haze both seem worth testing. Would the Forgery do 0 damage, as a copy of your projection, or is its effect based on your normal form, and therefore full? Could be extremely powerful - using a vampire host, track & locate your target, project, shield up, speed up, run in as projection, drop a psionic minion of the same body you're using (potentially capable of its own Forgery), drop a Forgery, Summon, Timeless, Summon, cancel projection, run in, drop another Forgery. That is some bonkers summoning power.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 12:39 pm 
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Sher'Tul Godslayer

Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:16 pm
Posts: 2245
Wow. This is an amazing guide, congratulations. One of the very best here.

I still find personally possessors too much management for my style, so I don't think I'll try them again.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2017 3:34 pm 
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Thalore

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 168
jenx wrote:
Wow. This is an amazing guide, congratulations. One of the very best here.

I still find personally possessors too much management for my style, so I don't think I'll try them again.


Thanks so much for the kind words.

If you can make yourself try them again sometime, I'd give it a try, if only because when you stop playing Possessors and go back to a regular class you'll be like "What witchcraft is this?!?" when your character heals on rest. It's really made me appreciate that ability.


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