ToME: the Tales of Maj'Eyal

Everything about ToME
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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 6:46 am 

Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2014 4:00 pm
Posts: 905
After dying to spike damage on a bunch of other characters recently, I was in the mood to play something extremely tanky. I also wanted to explore the combination of Brawler unarmed talents with the Writhing One's tentacle. The result is this build: the Repugnant Pugilist, so named because it's an reanimated, worm-filled, rotting corpse that punches and tentacle-gropes everything around it while having the resilience of a psionically-enhanced mutant cockroach.

Here's a link to my winning character. I used Arcane Combat in this version of the build because I wanted to test how much damage this setup could generate. If you don't want to use Arcane Combat, it's totally viable to play this as a pure melee build. In fact, I didn't start using Arcane Combat until after getting Wyrm Bile because other things are higher priority to unlock. For pure melee, you would skip Technique/Magical Combat and Spell/Stone, then unlock Technique/Grappling and another category of your choice. You'll have less damage, but better defense and control compared to the spell proc version.

Shoutout to Tradewind_Rider and Unmaker for tanky ghoul theorycrafting and cctobias for the OG unarmed + Arcane Combat build.

Defensive Overview
Ghoul resilience is a key part of the defense for this build. Ghouls can't take more than 50% of their maximum life from a single damage source, so the goal is to minimize our max life and acquire alternative sources of effective life. The "perfect ghoul" would have only 2 max life and a large amount of negative life, and thereby never take more than 1 damage per hit; of course, this isn't really possible. The best option we have is Solipsism, which will cut our life progression in half while also giving us an second healthbar (psi) that doesn't count for resilience calculations. Plus 5/5 Solipsism gives up to ~22% damage reduction and Clarity gives a passive speed bonus that more than cancels out the ghoul speed penalty. Beyond that, we can stack negative life on items to increase our total effective health pool without actually raising maximum life.

Infestation from Corruption/Rot provides very reliable damage reduction and healing because taking a hit for 15+% of your maximum life is quite common after your max life has been cut in half by Solipsism. Psionic/Feedback, Blood Splash from Corruption/Vile Life, Open Palm Block, and Shielding/Shatter runes all provide further sources of damage reduction and healing. Eventually you can use The Untouchable armor as well, gaining a damage shield everytime you take 20+% of your max life as damage (which, again, will be fairly common). The build also uses Axe Kick, Pestilent Blight, and melee procs from items to disable enemies and reduce their ability to deal damage.

Offensive Overview
Each regular unarmed attack will also trigger a tentacle offhand attack, so for 1 category point and 5 class points, we can basically double our unarmed damage. It's very difficult to keep track of exactly what's happening with all these hits, so I can't say definitively how tentacle hits interacts with Flexible Combat, although the latter is obviously worth taking on an unarmed build. What I can say is that after taking Flexible Combat, less than half of my total attacks are tentacle attacks, so either tentacle attacks don't trigger Flex attacks or maybe vice versa. The other Demented/Tentacles talents don't really work with the build, so I skipped them. Lash Out can't be used at all while unarmed and Constrict would lower our overall damage. Tendrils Eruption could be useful, but you'd have to waste a point to get there so I skipped it too.

Unarmed + tentacle probably has the highest Arcane Combat proc rate in the game currently because it can generate more average hits per turn than dual-wielding, yet it has no proc penalty. For reference, in a brief test against the training dummy I got 11 melee attacks and 10 Arcane Combat procs from Double Strike, the basic talent that normally does 2 punches. I got 25 melee attacks and 17 Arcane Combat procs from a Combination Kick with 5 combo points. Keep in mind some of these hits are from gloves procs, so performance will vary based on equipment. I didn't run 1000 tests and cherry-pick the highest numbers; I just used the talents a couple times and added up the hits, so these numbers may not be representative of the average. I killed Elandar in 2 turns (Spinning Backhand -> Axe Kick) after stripping buffs with Rune of Dissipation; I think I killed Argoniel in 4 turns, but I don't remember exactly because I had to remove some status effects and such in the middle of the fight. Suffice to say, this build can do a lot of damage.

Build Overview
In its current form, the build will only work properly as a Ghoul. You could keep the core concept and swap out some of the categories if you wanted to play another race.

Cunning > Willpower > Magic > Dexterity

You'll need to wield a gem with Beyond the Flesh to help meet some stat requirements. I also recommend saving +Dex items for unlocking Flexible Combat and Brawler talents.

Armour of Shadows or Cauterize
Flexible Combat

Demented/Tentacles: 2/0/0/0 early, 5/0+/0+/0 core
Technique/Pugilism: 1/1/4/1 early, 4/1/4/4 core
Technique/Unarmed Discipline: 1/2/1/0 early, 5/2+/2+/1 core
Technique/Magical Combat: 5/1/1+/1+ core
Spell/Stone: 1/1/1/3 early, 5/1/1/3+ core
Psionic/Solipsism: 2/1/3/0 early, 5/1/5/0 core
Corruption/Rot: 3/1/0/0 early, 4/1/4/1 core

Undead/Ghoul: 1/3+/1+/0 early and core
Techniques/Combat Training: 0+/1/1+/2+/0+/0 early and core
Technique/Unarmed Training: 2/0+/0/0 early, 5/0+/0+/0+ core
Psionic/Finer Energy Manipulations: 1+/1/1/5 early and core
Psionic/Feedback: 1+/2+/1+/2+ core
Corruption/Vile Life: 5/1+/1/1+ core
Spell/Staff Combat: 1/2+/0/0 core

There will be several class and generic points left over to distribute as you like. For instance, I left Light Armour Training at 1/5 because I got Chant of Fortress from an escort, but if you didn't get that escort you'd want additional points there for armor hardiness. I went 5/5 in Thick Skin, but you could put those points elsewhere if you want. I also went 5/5 in Vile Transplant, but I didn't use it that often so it's down to preference whether to leave it at 1/5.

I didn't think it was worth training the higher talents in Technique/Unarmed Training. Heightened Reflexes seems like it would get canceled by spell procs and Beyond the Flesh auto-attacks, so that doesn't seem worth investment. This build doesn't stack Strength, so you only get about 10 or 11 flat damage reduction from Striking Stance at endgame and it doesn't seem worth raising Reflex Defense to scale that. Crit shrug is nice, but we already have a damage cap from ghoul resilience so it's less of a concern than for a typical build.

Category Unlocks
Level 1:
Technique/Unarmed Discipline
Technique/Unarmed Training
Psionic/Finer Energy Manipulations
+1 inscription
Level 10:
Level 20:
Level 34:
Wyrm Bile:
Technique/Magical Combat

Spell/Staff Combat can be purchased from a shop in Angolwen. Corruption/Vile Life is unlocked for free after eating the Corrupted Heart of the Sandworm Queen; you must corrupt the heart on the altar near the Grand Corruptor in the Mark of the Spellblaze. You can also unlock Corruption/Hexes for free by helping the Grand Corruptor destroy Zigur; I didn't invest any points there, but you could if you prefer.

During the early game, you'll want a Shielding rune and 2x Shatter Afflictions, plus another of your choice--maybe Blink or another Shielding. Before fighting the Master, you'll want to swap your 4th inscription for Rune of Dissipation. This is the setup I used throughout the game (replacing Shielding with Rune of Reflection once I found it), but you could also consider Stormshield if you find a good one.

Brawler talents don't work in massive armor, so you'll need to wear heavy or light armor. Your best-in-slot endgame armor is The Untouchable so you can leave Heavy Armour Training at 1/5, but you'll want to wear heavy armor in the early game. I wore the Spider-Silk Robe of Spydre and then Worm Nest when I found them. I didn't find The Untouchable until level 50, but it's only a T3 artifact so you may find it earlier.

Obviously your hands need to be empty for unarmed combat, but your telekinetic slot should have either a 2h melee weapon or a staff. A 2h melee weapon is definitely the way to go during the first half of the game. I eventually switched to staff, but I think it's equally viable to keep using a melee weapon because they get better procs. A staff will generally give more overall damage and spell crit, but melee weapons can get great procs like projection, elemental explosion, cripple, etc. I used a tentacle blightspawn staff with a chance to proc Netherblast on spell hit, but from my testing this only seems to trigger once per turn even when I'm getting 20+ hits from Earthen Missiles, so it's not worth prioritizing over other stats.

Flat added melee damage from items like Summertide Phial is very strong for at least the first half of the game because you'll be doing at least 4 melee attacks (unarmed + tentacle, TK weapon + tentacle) per turn, and often many more from talents, procs, Flexible Combat, etc. Leather gloves are ideal for the increased attack speed, but ultimately you want to use whatever has the best procs. I ended up using metal gloves at endgame because I found a T5 pair with 3 greater egos that let me craft the ones I'm wearing on my character sheet. Cripple, Dominate, and Disarm are all excellent glove procs because they deal another melee attack. Reduced cooldown for Double Strike is also really good because it gives you more average hits over time and helps with combo point generation.

Most fights are over before you run out of mana, but against antimagic enemies it can become an issue. Your melee damage is still enough to kill things, but you can end fights a lot faster if you have mana. Having a wizard hat with mana regen and mana gained on hit is a good idea and I wore one at endgame, but even better is to get 100% spell crit (or close) and at least +4 mana on spell crit. Earthen Missiles 5/5 counts as 3 spell casts and all can crit individually, so +4 mana on spell crit will refund the mana cost. I kept the Lost Staff of Archmage Tarelion on weapon swap because it has +12 mana on spell crit.

In general, you want to stack the following stats: psi, negative life, healing modifier, status immunities, armor, accuracy, spellpower, crit chance (physical and spell), physical damage/penetration, and resistances/affinities.

PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2020 7:43 pm 

Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:32 am
Posts: 98
Cool build. I ran something similar except I used Incinerating Blows and Weapon Folding/Manifold as my on hit procs. You have a lot of different damage types going on in this case, but taking Temporal Form and focusing on temporal damage helps a lot with that. I also didn't go ghoul to use the resilience. I was Cornac and did Spacetime Weaving + Meta and Invigorate to keep the procs off cooldown (passive cooldowns are effected) and have great mobility and use OOP bonus to stay at the resistance cap pretty much all the time late game. Plus with Disperse Magic you don't need to spend an inscription on the rune of dissipation.

Do leather gloves actually attack faster now? I think in 1.5 they said they did but didn't.

Also, does Ghoulish Resilience trigger before or after Solipsism converts damage to psi? If it triggers before, then you benefit from the -4 life per level, if not, you just get the speed from Clarity and some DR. I assume before? But would be good to check.

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