ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:44 am 
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Spiderkin

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 566
This guide is out of date for 1.6, and although partially updated for 1.6 it will not be updated further. The most important difference in 1.6 from a Possessor-specific perspective is the Adept Prodigy - take it at 25. Enjoy!

Post One: Hyperlinked 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, Visage for clarifying Dismissal’s (lack of) interaction with Danger Sense, 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. 4 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
6. Suggested Addons

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. Magic, Antimagic, and Hosts
5. Leaving a Host

Post Four: Build Discussion
1. 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 Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:18 pm, edited 30 times in total.

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

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 566
Overview

1. 4 Insane Builds, TL:DR Version

For all, your skill priorities are: float points into Psionic Disruption and Shockstar to give skill based damage in the early game (you'll take them out later if you don't want Psionic Block), Possess to 4, Self Persistence to 3, then max out Improved Form and Full Control, pulling points out of Battle Psionics as desired and splashing Psychic Blows to 1/1/1/1 as soon as Unleashed/Seismic Mind are available. Then build out Psychic Blows to at least 1/1/4/3 and try to get Body Snatcher to 4/1/4/1. 2/1/5 in Solipsism is next for all but Ogres, who want Battle Psionics 5/1/1/5 at this point.

For all, your categories are Inscription->Body Snatcher->Tinkers->Inscription/Escort/Hexes

For hosts, irrespective of its class type the strongest monster type is usually a Saw Horror, due to their massive boost to attack speed and innate ability to TK grasp additional weapons for stat buffs. Bone Giants get an honorable mention as a base type due to their very large damage shield helping preserve their bodies, high level Corruptors often pack Bone Shield, which also significantly boosts durability, and higher versions of Vampires often have Forgery of Haze, which gives you the game's best minion (another you). Early game, Summoners are very good at keeping their bodies undamaged, but fade later on.

Choose Race:

Yeek. Stat priority: skill unlocks, then Str>Will>Magic or Cun. Prodigies: Adept, then Superpower or Arcane Might.
Pros: Very fast advancement (racial xp bonus, two extra dungeons), Dominant Will can carry you through most normal encounters early game and is useful throughout, Wayists are very strong, global speed is always good, Insect is fine starting choice due to many flying insects having very high global speed.
Cons: Rock-bottom original body HP makes having a host killed even more dangerous than usual. Racial powers are very good but don't combo with your host talents in the way that Frenzy, Ogrewielding, or Timeless will.

Drem. Stat priority: skill unlocks, then Str>Will>Magic or Cun. Prodigies: Adept, then Superpower or Arcane Might.
Pros: Very good throughout the game. Frenzy is amazing from level 1-50 for both letting you switch forms quickly, double hitting with each of your Psychic Blows AoEs, and your projection game, while From Below It Devours serves as both gap-closer and bodyguard. "Horror" is probably the best racial starting host type.
Cons: Shalore *might* be stronger endgame in the right host...? Much slower advancement compared to Yeek, their main competitor for best Possessor.

Ogre. After skill unlocks, Str>Will>Magic>Cun. Prodigies: Adept, then Arcane Might, Superpower, or Legacy of the Naloren. Go 1 in everything under both psychic blows and Battle Psionics, then build your Psychic Blows AoEs. 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. Starts with a solid Shielding Rune.
Cons: Generics are tight if you want 5 points Mindstar mastery, lowered power from Ogrewielding, unimpressive starting choice of "immobile" as host type, racial bonuses aren't super impressive in the early game.

Shalore: After skill unlocks, Str>Will=Mag>Cun. Prodigies: Adept, then PES or Arcane Might.
Pros: Highest temporary 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, unimpressive starting choice of "immobile" as host type.

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. His ideal host is a Saw Horror Sawbutcher wielding Razorlock.

(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 handful of 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.

Finally, it's worth noting that any DLC that adds a new race, class, or monster type changes the Possessor, so this guide may lag behind from time to time despite its length.

5. My Insane Wins

This guide is built for Insane, based on lessons learned there. It should work on Normal as well, but Possessors want higher difficulty modes increased number and power of rare+ enemies and are therefore weaker on lower difficulty modes.

The below wins were in 1.5, and do not reflect the changes in 1.6. They should not be used as templates for 1.6 characters, and the Ogre in particular wasn't well tuned for 1.5 either. My 1.6 runs with Yeek Possessors have shown incredible promise, but my most successful one fell apart due to a corrupted save and that makes me not want to play until it's fixed.

Ogre https://te4.org/characters/4806/tome/8c ... 9ff8f05250
Shalore https://te4.org/characters/4806/tome/90 ... 5e371b7010
Drem https://te4.org/characters/217488/tome/ ... 1423fde83e

6. Suggested Addons
This is a guide for Possessors using Tinkers. You can rely on luck of the draw or save-scumming, but I just use Select First Escort. It does what it says, is quite stable, and I think is a good choice for “I really want to get Tinkers but don’t think I should be able to choose absolutely every Escort I get or have to spend somewhere between 5 minutes and an hour save-scumming.”

Zizzo’s Possessor Tweaks mod provides helpful additional information while playing a Possessor, I think it’s a pretty good tool for lowering the skill floor of the class. I don’t share Zizzo’s opinion that Possessors need any buffs (such as letting their host bodies regenerate to full health), so I do not favor of the “Proper Possession” mod, but I’m not the boss of you.


Last edited by Snarvid on Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:07 pm, edited 40 times in total.

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

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

This section is essentially trying to be a manual for how Possessors work. 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 or Adept, 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, as well as creatures you’ve hit with Dominant Will (although you can certainly use Possess on them and then hit them with Dominant Will afterwards).
- 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 - speed, resistances, resources, race, size
-The most important non-talent property of hosts is speed, which you inherit if it's better than yours after getting effective talent level 5 in Full Control. Some hosts have bonuses to global speed (typically flying insects have about 200% global speed), others have bonuses to attack speed (notably Saw and Blade Horrors, with 500% and 400% respectively). These can make a host wildly more effective than just its talents or class might appear - in particular, since global speed increases the energy you get per turn and attack speed divides the energy cost of bump attacks and weapon techniques (but not weapon-based spells or mind powers), these combine multiplicatively rather than additively, meaning that with Clarity and a Saw Horror body you can bang out 7-8 bump attacks in a single round. This is, obviously, bonkers powerful.
- 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. Magic, Antimagic and Hosts
- If you have at least 10 spell talent levels on your host body and you reduce the Grand Corruptor to 50% life, he will attempt to convince you to attack Zigur, and if you do so you will gain access to the locked Hexes tree as per usual
- 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). Under the current Zigur rules, you can enter Zigur if you have the Antimagic tag on your host, even if you also have Runes or other spells - this should let you unlock Fungus if you desire, although it's of quite limited utility for a Possessor.
- 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.

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 Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:32 pm, edited 16 times in total.

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

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

1. Stats - requirements and choices

Possessors need Willpower to give them Psi, which functions as extra hitpoints, fuels their skills, helps host psi and wild-gifts, 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, your choice is between two are Cunning and Magic, which is mostly determined by whether you want the Arcane Might Prodigy - if you do, take Magic, if not, take Cunning. Cunning gives crit chance, a bit more Mindpower and Mental Save, a lot of Steampower, and improves Track radius - if you take that and Superpower for your second Prodigy, you'll do particularly well with Tinker, Wilder, Doomed, and Psionic hosts (especially if you also grab the Superpower prodigy, and it's also worth noting that Psionic hosts tend to have high natural Psi regeneration rates, which can be helpful with Solipsism). 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 for spellcaster hosts, spell save, opens up the very powerful Arcane Might Prodigy (which will in turn boost melee damage and Physical power), boosts certain racial skills, and works well with Temporal Guardian hosts due to Strength of Purpose.

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

In terms of overall racial power, the top choices are Yeek, Drem, Ogre, and Shalore, although their power curves vary over the course of the game - I think Yeek and Drem have the strongest early game while still packing competitively strong late games, Ogre is somewhere in the middle, and Shalore have most of their power concentrated in max ranks of their last racial ability. The number in parentheses after the race is my recommended core racial skill investment.

Yeek (1/1/5/5). Their racial skills got a significant boost in 1.6, while Possessor's core gameplay mechanic cancels out Yeek's main weakness (poor hp) so it's quite possible that Yeek are the best Possessors and Possessors are the best Yeeks. Yeek's access to two additional T1 dungeons and fast XP advancement give them a real leg-up in hitting critical power milestones before dungeons get too hard - they typically get to 25 (and therefore boss possession via the Adept Prodigy) halfway through the T2 dungeons. If you're feeling confident you can hit up the Sandworm Lair as your first T2 dungeon, to give you the chance to get all the remaining T2 bosses (since you may not want Vermin but will definitely want all the other boss types). Dominant Will's improvements make it a reliable instant-kill and meat-shield provider, and it will see a lot of use preventing small encounters from nickle-and-diming your bodies to death. It's also great all game for snagging elites, minions of enemies like thoughtforms, bloated oozes, Alchemist golems, and Worms that Walk, and it helps you level and gear up even faster by carving through particular shapes of vault, adventurer/zigur parties, and weird pedestals. Wayist is a powerful mid-range instant speed summon (as well as a defacto corner-snipe, which Possessors lack in their non-host toolbox), with the Mindslayers having excellent stats with high level talent and Willpower (which benefits from your core stats + your host boosts), and it's extremely useful to put bodies between you and your opponent when you have as much trouble healing as Possessors do (particularly because your Psychic Blows AoEs are party friendly).

Drem (1/1/1/5). Amazing combo. Each of their racial abilities (you'll want to go at least 1/1/1/5) has good synergies with Possessor play. Frenzy has nearly endless applications, but among the most important is that it lets you/your Projection hit Frenzy and Assume Form x2 to switch forms without waiting for an 18 turn cooldown. This is huge, and can really change the way Possessors play. It also lets your Projection use double Psionic Minion, lets you hit x2 Seismic Mind/Unleashed Mind to start combat with a huge burst of AoE damage, and lets you double up on important skills from your hosts. It's worth noting that Frenzy really benefits from speed boosts to fit in more uses of high-cooldown abilities during its duration, so look for hosts/items that will help with that. Spikeskin is a nice touch of extra damage to speed enemies into Sadism range, and the resistances are always welcome. Faceless is fine at 1, but even that has mild synergies with Balance and Dismissal. And From Below it Devours is a great tank to protect your hard-to-heal hosts and pull/clump enemies up for your Psychic Blows AoEs, as well as a great response to stealth enemies.

Ogres (1/5/1/1). Ogres are the best at combining class and host weapon-specific abilities due to their ability to wield a two-handed weapon and a mindstar simultaneously, giving them simultaneous access to Battle Psionics, Psychic Blows, and any host body dual wielding or two-hander talents. Among other benefits, this allows Psionic Disruption stacks to build off Psychic Blows skills (including Force Shield retaliation), giving them a DoT effect on all their attacks that also enhances Shockstar. A good mix of early and late game strength, and feels really distinct from other Possessor types.

Shalore (5/5/1/5) only really come into their own with a significant investment in Timeless, which is more of an issue given the slower start in 1.6. However, if they can reach the late game they are potentially the strongest possible Possessor as well as having lots of interesting experimental options. 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).

Cornac used to be a very solid Possessor, but I think they've been significantly downgraded by the Adept Prodigy making their core competency (early access to boss possession) available much more broadly, and while their extra Inscription slot at level 1 is nice it is not as helpful at getting through your early game as many other racial abilities. If you want to go Deep Horror they can still get 5 inscriptions and do that, and if you're willing to Vault or mod your game in order to guarantee access to the Fanged Collar/Parasite race I think there is an excellent Deep Horror Parasite build here, but I'll leave to the reader's discretion. If you aren't as impressed as I am by the Adept Prodigy and would prefer to run Arcane Might and Superpower simultaneously, Cornac is still a good choice. Finally, purists can decide to invest in both the Adept Prodigy AND a mastery point in Possession for your last category point - while the most important breakpoint (boss possession) is yours with just one or the other of these, you can still get an additional Possession host type and another point of maximum talent level learned from hosts by doing so (9 points, so maximum EFT on host skills of 11.7).

Undead and Krog are non-starters in my opinion - Undead cannot use infusions or Wild-Gifts, Krog cannot use magic or runes, and I don't see the point in playing Possessor while significantly restricting the talents you can learn from your hosts. Skeleton is a bit tempting for the high-caliber innate Damage Shield, while Ghoul will allow you to ditch your speed penalty under Full Control and just use Ghoulish Leap as a gap closer and speed boost, so there is some potential value here if you're willing to significantly restrict what you can learn from hosts, but in my opinion they are not worth it.

3. Category Points
Assuming you're taking Adept (and therefore do not need a category point for Possession Mastery), my recommended Insane category point progression is: Inscription, Body Snatcher, Tinkers, and either Inscription, an Escort Tree of your choice, or Hexes. In the current build, many enemies have deeply stacked defenses that can make them almost impossible to kill - Burning Hex provides one potential form of counterplay to this, in that it greatly increases the cooldown of talents used while Hexed, possibly providing you a long enough window between heals to kill your enemy, and it also is a broader form of debuff than the standard Harmony options.

4. Inscription choices

In another example of Possessor weirdness, Possessors don't like Heroism or Regeneration infusions. Heroism's is all about surviving and healing later, which hosts can't do, and their Solipsism debuff really rewards them not getting damaged at all. 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.

Early game I recommend 2 shielding inscriptions, Movement or Blink, and Physical Wild. Along with Mental Shielding this gives you good status clears, and Shields keep your bodies in play much longer than otherwise available while also giving you some additional protection against the many DoTs you'll encounter along the way (most characters can afford to wait out DoTs outside of combat, but hosts lack of healing means you're faced with either leaving a host and being vulnerable or absorbing permanent damage from those long duration magical diseases you don't have a clear for). Late game I recommend dual salves, dual shields, and a Movement infusion, although given how variable lategame gear is those recommendations are not set in stone.

5. Prodigies

The new prodigy, Adept, is in my opinion nearly a must-have for Possessors (although Cornac can get away without it). The additional 0.3 mastery to all talents is extremely important because it lets you Possess bosses at level 25, letting you grab bosses as early as T2 dungeons while leaving your third category point available for Tinkers - this smooth flow of access is important because both bosses killed without Possessing & dungeons run without Tinkers (and therefore without blueprint drops) are non-recoverable resources if you miss out on them initially. It also gives you an additional max host talent level and talent learned per host over and above that provided by investing a category point in possession mastery (the difference between mastery's 7.5 skill and Adept's 8.0 matters for certain breakpoints), and the 0.3 mastery bonus to host skills can take them over the maximum level limit determined by Improved Form (so with Improved Form giving you max 8 levels in host skills + 1.3 mastery in that host skill, you have an effective max host talent level of 10.4). It provides broad bonuses to your other talents, including minor damage boosts on all your activated skills, 9% more damage from Weapon Mastery at talent level 5 (although in game you’ll like have more Weapon Mastery than 5 due it stacking with your host's skill), +8 Accuracy at talent level 3, another +7% charm cooldown at max Device Mastery, another +5% max speed bonus from Clarity, and small-to-medium bonuses to a handful of other talents (notably, summons seem to benefit significantly from mastery). Special shoutout to Ogres, whose simultaneous use of Psychic Blows and Battle Psionics lets them grab even more benefits from Adept.

There are *probably* four Prodigies that are in tight competition for your second Prodigy on a "normal" Possessor: Arcane Might, Superpower, I Can Carry the World, and Flexible Combat.

- Arcane Might is a beast, the Prodigy to beat for any melee class (and for raw damage output it typically can't be beaten if a class can afford to max out Magic). 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.
- Superpower is simple and good, and lets you focus on Cunning instead of Magic for your third stat. 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.
- ICCTW works well and requires almost nothing out of you to get good mileage. A bucket of extra damage off any Strength weapon is always good, fatigue elimination can help many of your hosts, and if you're going to carry different weapon loadouts for different hosts than the encumbrance boost is always welcome. The size bonus is overridden by your host size so it’s a non-factor.
- Flexible Combat is the "one of these things is not like the others" 2nd Prodigy choice here - all three of the preceding increase the stats feeding into your weapon damage, this does not. Despite the nerf to its proc rate (originally down to 30%, currently sitting at 50% proc), it is still potentially pretty powerful when combined with the choice of gauntlets available at 42 that proc things like GWF, Obliterating Strike, Displacement Shield, or dispel magic. Less raw damage, but there can be significant value in getting a whole additional toolbox of options for your character - given how 1.6 is shaping up, this flexibility may be more valuable than ramming additional raw damage into nigh-impenetrable defenses.

The knock-on implications of the Prodigies and the stats you're maxing for them means Arcane Might wielders will have more Physical Power and Spellpower, while Cunning + Superpower means you'll have both higher Steampower and Mindpower, and Cunning + ICCTW will give you Steam and maximum Physical Power, any of which will impact the benefits you get from different hosts. Flexible Combat characters max Cunning but get no additional edge here.

If you get a third Prodigy from Writhing Ring of the Hunter, you've got a lot more flexibility, but I would particularly consider these additional Prodigies: Pain Enhancement System, Legacy of the Naloren, and Giant Leap.

Legacy of the Naloren reliably delivers a very powerful weapon around the time that you're hitting the appropriate level for your second prodigy. Its Combat Training buff stacks nicely with Adept, it gives lots of cool procs on hit (nice with your AoEs), and it hits like a truck. It does require advance planning to float your generics in Weapon Mastery (since you'll want to reinvest in Exotic Weapons later), and you might get lucky and find a comparable weapon, but its reliability and excellent all around performance are plausibly worth it for a third Prodigy. It is worth noting, however, that since you add host passive ranks to your own the normal advantage of having much higher caps on Exotic Weapons than one Weapon Mastery may not be as decisive, depending on your host (since Exotic Weapon Mastery is significantly more rare than Weapon Mastery).

Pain Enhancement System is really just for Shalore, for 2 reasons. First, PES 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. While other races could use Bloodcaller to help offset this, it's just not as important as some of the other options.

Giant Leap gives you a gap closer with radius 1 200% weapon damage at instant speed. It's quite a strong way to open a combat, particularly for a Yeek whose racial talents are also instant speed but have fairly modest range, and whose global speed boosts will usually let them cleanly land a followup Psychic Crush or Unleashed Mind before the opponent gets to go - the battlefield will often change quite significantly in the time between your getting line of sight on your opponents and them getting their first action.

Note that Swift Hands does essentially nothing for Possessors, due to their inability to switch gear while in a host. YSBMW’s use varies wildly with host body size.

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.

What about Battle Psionics? Early game, the stacking Psionic Disruption buff is your best single target damage so you need it. Later is a tougher call. 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, but I do often go 1/1/1/5 just for Psionic Block. For Ogres, it's combo-defining to use Battle Psionics at the same time as Psychic Blows.

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, and if you take Adept you'll end up with 6 more choices after these initial ones. Generally speaking, I think everyone will want Demon, Dragon, Horror, and Undead - 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. Horror, IMO, has the game's strongest hosts due to Blade and Saw Horrors having massively increased attack speed.

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.

One final note for Ogres, raised by Funkymoses - it’s worth considering the typical size of host bodies, as Ogrewielding works best in large bodies. In particular, Insect hosts tend to be smaller than most, which will increase your penalties.

8. Skills

Solipsism 1/0/0/0 early, 2/1/5/0 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 prefer shield runes early, and with Adept you can probably get away with just 2 points in Solipsism.

Balance is a 1-pointer. You are likely to have better Mental saves than other types, particularly if you're a Yeek or Drem, 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 a bad investment on Insane - the damage spikes that matter will be too high to Dismiss, you've got better choices for luxury, and just taking it raises your Solipsism threshold, so you could be spending class talent points for a net negative.

Possession 4/2/5/5 ASAP, 5/3/5/5 once you have Adept

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 along with Adept 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%). Three is a good break point.

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 demands full 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 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.
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, 5/2-3/4/1-5 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, and 3 still gives a nice (22 turns, IIRC?). 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 1/2/1-2/0-1

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 small 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, although “Summon” no longer works (Projections no longer revive the skill).
- 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). Drem have an extra wrinkle available here if you care to fuss enough to use it, although you'll need to invest a little more in Projection for duration - with a Summoner host in storage, Track->Project->Shielding->Movement infusion as usual, then speed to destination, drop From Below, then Frenzy, Psionic Minion, Assume Form x2, Psionic Minion, then unleash as many Summoner skills as you have time for.
- Drem/Thalore/Yeek racial summons 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. It’s really strong. Some consider it an exploit. If this bothers you, know that Possessors on Insane have no need of it in order to complete the base game.

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, Lightbringer's Wand 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 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.

The one escort recommendation from 1.5 I'm still confident in (besides Tinker, which is core to this guide) is grabbing Disarm from Loremaster. Disarm is exceptionally useful against tough melee enemies.

I'm erasing the rest of this section until I have a better sense of how escorts have changed under 1.6 - the increase from +2 to a stat to +5, as well as changes to what skills are available, means the old recommendations are outdated.

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?

Consider a ranged weapon to make the early game go easier. Mobility options from hosts and/or Movement Infusions 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. An advanced 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 - refers to an outdated technique available in earlier versions of the game but no longer present in 1.6. It worked as follows: 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 variant of this 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." Given that there used to be rares, uniques, and bosses hanging out in last Hope in the 20-30th level range, this made Possessor starts incredibly easy.

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. If you wait for the normal "look through the stuff I got while transitioning to a new level, keep/equip the good and transmute the rest" option and you're in a host body (as you should be) you won't be able to equip new gear.


Last edited by Snarvid on Sat Nov 23, 2019 2:46 am, edited 80 times in total.

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

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. Special Drem/Dwarf note: The Crude Iron Axe of Kroll is fantastic as a Tk wielded weapon, even if you don’t activate Beyond the Flesh, because it provides both members of the Dwarf subtype 100% Stun & Knockback resist, as well as small Dex and Con bonuses.

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 probably still best in slot due to its easy access to Wayist - 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.
- Seeds of the Black Tree is solid, and superb with Mechanical Arms
- 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 (and Drem can use it with a well-timed Frenzy 2 turns before the Wall expires to safely change shape and then still have a turn of Frenzy left when the wall drops), 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, but stun resistance is king. Bloodcaller can also be worth equipping, despite your bodies inability to heal - Possessors can crank out very high damage and high level bodies can absorb large amounts of punishment, but Solipsism and Clarity mean that your core resource is tied closely to your global speed. Topping off your psi bar is always a solid choice, and makes PES back into a viable prodigy.

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.

k. Misc/Activated Items: There are lots of good ones, but it's worth noting again here that your ability to stack Device Mastery between yourself and your host can lead to repeated uses of activated items such as Rod of Spydric Poison, Lightbringer's Wand, Blade Rift, and so on. Likewise, items that depend on your stats to determine their effect may have stronger abilities here than on other character's, due to Possessor's ability to deeply stack stat bonuses.

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 Sun Jun 17, 2018 2:51 pm, edited 12 times in total.

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

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 566
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.

Cultist of Entropy: For whatever reason, hosts lose their Entropic Gift skill when copied, which makes most of their offense a non-starter. They also often want you to be wearing Light Armor for Void Stars, which also isn't generally a good idea, and they don't have an Insanity regen rate by default. Generally, not a good option.

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.

Doombringer (two-hander): Incinerating Blows is a passive (and therefore free) and it synergizes beautifully with Unleashed/Seismic Mind. Several good gap closers and solid weapon based damage make this an easy recommend.

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.

Drem: Are currently still using the Dwarf racial skill tree (late May 2018) rather than the Drem tree.

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.

Entropic Rip: Does have an innate Insanity generation, but tends to share a lot of Cultist of Entropy skills which are still bad for Possessors for all reasons previously discussed. I've seen them with Zero Point Energy without Pierce the Veil, which is pointless, and you can't use Reality Fracture if you don't have enemies in LOS.

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.
- Blade and Saw Horrors are simply gamebreakingly good. Each is a Mindslayer with some unique skills involving clouds of saws and blades. *They also have an appallingly fast 400-500% attack speed, which, in conjunction with Beyond the Flesh, makes them insanely powerful in melee, and in conjunction with their Implosion skill debuffing enemy speed by 50% they can have some of the highest comparative APR in the game when fighting tough, single bosses.* Note that based on their high melee speed, you may lose more damage by activating Beyond the Flesh than you gain, but it can still be worth it to grasp a weapon for its passive boosts even if you aren't going to wield it (I recommend sticking a Crystal Edge on whatever you choose in order to also raise your crit multiplier).
- 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. Grasp can be a particularly important skill for Possessors, as it's the only way you have to change any of your equipment while you've Assumed a host - e.g. swapping in the Black Spike to your TK slot when you encounter an enemy with >100% resist is a handy option. Mindslayers also usually have a significant natural Psi regeneration rate, which is great for helping keep your Clarity speed bonus high. Their psionic 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, although I usually only ever find it on the Blood Master.

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, and literally doubly so for Drem) 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: A top-tier melee Ogre choice due to Mechanical Arm's offhand mindstar requirement allowing it to work with the Ogre's Two-hander + offhand mindstar combo, and your Mechanical Arms will trigger Psionic Disruption stacks. For others, still pretty fun if you've got a good Mindstar and steamgun combo for your offhand set - 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. Expose Weakness, as always, is a standout.

Sawbutcher (steamsaws): Tend to come with high Steam regeneration, but not always. 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.

Scourge Dragons: Drakes and Wyrms give you access to the Wyrmic's Scourge Drake tree in conjunction with innate Insanity generation. All the Scourge Drake skills have their place, but Tentacled Wings is a standout, huge cone of weapon damage with accompanying pull.

Searing Horrors: The biggest and baddest of the light-based horrors. Have a Summon skill that creates permanent luminous horror allies (currently bugged to create one friendly horror and 2 enemies, will be good once fixed) as well as the Irresistible Sun prodigy and the always useful Providence. Also packing the Body of Fire sustain, in case you wanted to passively spam slow moving but party-friendly fire bolts.

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. With Adept you can get very high talent levels that make your summons quite strong, so while they drop off a bit mid game they remain viable all the way through, especially for a Cunning/Superpower build. Grand Arrival is particularly good.

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.

Writhing Ones (one-hander): Not a great class for copying, as their resource generation wants you to have weapon loadouts that are not synergistic with your core weapon competencies, and you can't copy their Friend of the Worm tree. I haven't tested Ogrewielding to see whether you'll shift to one-handed and free up the tentacle slot after Assuming Form.

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, and the Scourging Wyrm tree has a useful AoE weapon damage + pull skill.

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

Champion of Urh'Rok (Demon Unique): Massive Blow, Spell Feedback

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

Searing Horrors (Horror Unique): Irresistible Sun

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 Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:50 am, edited 15 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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Spiderkin

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 566
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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Spiderkin

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
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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: 2263
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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MADNESS rocks


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

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
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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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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:29 am 
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Wayist

Joined: Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:04 pm
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Excellent guide. Just picked up an insane/roguelike win, my first, with this class, which is insanely overpowered. A couple of notes from my playthrough:

1. Blade and Saw horrors are bonkers because they have 400 and 500% attack speed, respectively. I carried a rare from the Lake of Nur all the way through High Peak so I could bring him out occasionally and grind someone's face. With Clarity and an on-hit slow you're getting 10 bump attacks in before the opponent can do anything at all.

2. Indomitable will clear the my-body-died stun. Had a couple halfling elites from an Ambush that were handy during T2 because you could pop into one of them and keep going without the debuff. If you find Crown of Command this might be a reason to use it.

3. The prevalence of randbosses on insane made me prefer possession mastery first; a second shield is nice but being able to grab the worst things in the T1 dungeons more than made up for it.

4. I didn't want to turn on Beyond the Flesh much because nobody has Frenzied Focus and I didn't want the 60% nerf that you can't get rid of. But if you telekinetically grasp something you do get its on-wield effects. Tirakai's Maul is a nice find because you can get the imbue properties of a gem and the bonus stuff the maul gives you... although eventually I just started using it because it's fun.

5. I was an ogre. If you're an ogre skip insects and vermin because many of them are small and exacerbate your ogrewielding penalty. Also you're stuck with immovable so you're short options relative to other races. This does let you get Snaproot, who is bonkers.

6. It's game over once you get up to four points in Psionic Duplication. Picking up 3 copies of anything really good blows up the tension of permanent HP loss and turns the rest of the game into a faceroll. That skill should be removed and replaced with anything else.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 18, 2018 3:21 pm 
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Spiderkin

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
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I put your note in for Ogre on size issues with body choice in the relevant section. Vermin covers the various giant worms, so may not be a problem, but insect is worth calling out as a bad choice for Ogrewielders.

Will have to try various clears for my-body-died malus, I try not to have it happen in the first place so it’s harder to check. That Indomitable works on it is interesting, as it’s supposed to be a stun/daze/pin clear - this points to possible other clears (RP?) that I haven’t thought of.

Not sure on the optimal use of Beyond the Flesh, I sometimes get lost in a deep bench of nested mechanics (e.g. when weapon properties modify your character overall and when they apply only to the attacks of a given weapon). Do agree that being limited to 60% of your will and cunning is a loss, particularly if you’re not running PES. On the other hand, I could imagine that the right list of +damage, +res pen, and +crit multiplier could be worth it, and some weapon special abilities are extremely good to have even if they aren’t your main weapon (Skysmasher, Murderblade). I believe (but, again, am never sure) that crit multiplier is generic and applies to everything, not just the attacks of a particular weapon, and if that is so having another Crystal Edge should help defray the stat cap a bit (so that, say, running Eksatin’s Ultimatum or Mercy with a Crystal Edge would bump your overall crit mult up by 40%, while Blighted Maul would drive it up 55%).


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PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2018 12:15 am 
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Spiderkin

Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 12:42 pm
Posts: 566
Will have to test more extensively, but on a first look Drem seem to be an extremely strong race for Possessors.

- Frenzy has lots of applications on the Possessor. It allows you to cancel Assume Form and immediately assume another without delay, it should work very well with Projection (double Psionic Minion), and obviously there are hosts with very powerful abilities that are worth doubling up on. Also, you can do double Psychic Crush followed by double Unleashed Mind in order to get multiple high-duration psychic images in addition to a bunch of melee damage.
- Possessors appreciate additional summons and not getting hit, Drem's summon helps with both.


Last edited by Snarvid on Mon May 28, 2018 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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