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DURANCE, M HUMAN PRIEST OF MAGRAN
Why He's Included and How to Use Him
Worshipping a Goddess of Fire and War, and displaying a disturbing mixture of religious fanaticism and sociopathy, Durance is certainly a welcome addition to an evil party.
Durance's key role is to buff the party up at the start of combat, apply debuffs to the enemies when needed, and heal party members again when needed. He does have a few offensive spells that can be quite potent in the right situations.
He can also participate in melee combat on occasion, although he should leave the heavy lifting to other members of the evil party. However, his high Resolve score and his ability to use Swords with a very high Accuracy bonus can allow him to hit monsters on the flanks after he's finished casting his spells.
He can be recruited near the Statue of Magran at #8 in Magran's Fork.
Athletics: This skill is important for any character on harder settings. It helps any character go longer between camping, which is especially crucial during the Hard or Path of the Damned settings. It also provides bonus Health and Endurance.
Lore: Priests get a +2 bonus to this skill, which makes them a natural for it. Durance becomes the go to character for when I want to use scrolls in combat.
2nd Level - Weapon and Shield Style: This talent is imperative if I want him to perform in an off-tank role.
4th Level - Interdiction: A once per Encounter ability that allows Durance to inflict Daze over a very wide area-of-effect, and it affects only enemies. Can be very useful, especially during the early parts of the game.
6th Level - Superior Deflection: Provides a +5 bonus to Deflection, which is sensible for any character that relies on a shield.
8th Level - Weapon Finesse (Soldier): Provides an Accuracy bonus with Arquebuses (and other weapons). I initially selected Weapon Finesse (Noble) during level-up, since it allowed me to use Spelltongue as an interim weapon. But I retrained and changed the Talent to this one during the level-up. It will now allow him to apply a +6 Accuracy bonus to both Pliambo per Casitas, as well as Steadfast as a soulbound weapon.
10th Level - Painful Interdiction: It adds the Weakened affliction to the Interdiction power, in addition to the Daze effect. The point for my purposes is that Weakened means a -20 penalty the Fortitude Defense for enemies, and that in turn will help Maneha take advantage of her Brute Force ability.
12th Level - Empowered Interdiction: It adds a +10 Accuracy bonus to the Interdiction power.
14th Level - Inspired Flame: Adds hefty +10 bonuses to both his Arquebus and his sword as well.
16th Level - Brilliant Radiance: The Holy Radiance power will now not only replenish Endurance for party members, but will also inflict a small amount of Burning Damage on all enemies within the radius. Vessels will take a subsantial amount of damage from the power now.
9th Level - Withdraw: Withdraw packs a lot of punch for a 1st-level spell, since it can completely protect a severely wounded character from all harm and allow that character to basically get back to 100%.
11th Level - Consecrated Ground: It's really a no-brainer, being able to in every fight invoke a power that will passively recoup Endurance for 20+ seconds.
13th Level - Circle of Protection: It basically now allows him to add +15 to all defenses for 10+ seconds each Encounter. With its short duration, it will be the last of the buffs that I cast each fight.
15th Level - Devotions for the Faithful: It allows him, each fight, to generate a long-lasting aura that provides the party with bonuses to Might and Accuracy, while imposing Might and Accuracy penalties on all enemies within the radius.
Steadfast: Looted from Adaryc in the Command Post of the Iron Flail Fort. Benefits of the sword will include a +1 bonus to Resolve that stacks and thus helps Durance in his role as off-tank, as well as immunity to the Afraid and Terrified afflictions. A benefit specific to Priests will be a 15% chance of casting Sunlance on the target upon a successful hit. Another key benefit specific to Durance is that his Weapon Focus (Soldier) and Inspired Flame talents together allow him to wield the blade with a whopping +16 bonus to Accuracy.
Little Savior Looted from the Adra Dragon's treasure hoard at #6 in the 15th level of Endless Paths. It definitely helps with his role as off-tank. Although he can't use the defense bonuses upon Stunning or Prone in the same way the good party can, the +5 Defense aura still benefits his party as a whole.
Pliambo per Casitas Looted from Captain Muarumi after pursuing the bounty on him. He'll be able to fire it with a hefty +16 bonus once he has both the Weapon Focus (Soldier) and Inspired Flame talents. Some people certainly enjoy builds that are centred around the use of firearms, although that requires extensive investment in talents like Gunner and other abilities (e.g. Chanter's Sure-Handed Ila Nocked Her Arrows with Speed) and/or items (e.g. Gauntlets of Swift Action) to overcome what amounts to a horrendous reload time. An equally valid approach is to treat a firearm as a first strike weapon before moving on to other combat actions. And this gun certainly makes a great first strike weapon before he initiates his buff spells. Its debuff powers can leave its target quite exposed to follow up attacks. I enhance it with two Refined Durgan Iron Ingots. I add the Wilder Slaying and Burning Lash enchantments to it as well.
Helm of Darksee Purchased from Derwn in the Hearthsong Market. Items that provide a bonus to Perception are rare, and more so ones from the helmet slot. This provides Durance with his Perception bonus, while freeing up his other slots for different items that I have in mind for him.
Vengiatta Rugia Looted from the Adra Dragon's treasure hoard at #6 in the 15th level of Endless Paths. If you want an armor that provides a balance between fast-spellcasting and being able to meaningfully participate in melee combat, then this is as good a choice as any. It is a light Padded Armor, it inflicts Retaliation on anybody who Hits or even Grazes its wearer, and it also offers a small amount of bonus damage against Flanked targets. And that is what off-tanks often do, swoop in from the side against a Flanked target after the combat positions have settled. I added the +2 Intellect enchantment to it to increase the area of effect and duration of his spells. I also add the Durgan Iron enchantment with the point of reducing his Armor Speed Penalty, and thus increase the speed with which he casts spells in succession.
Ring of Deflection: Obtained after killing Two-Tone Weaxel at #15 on the second floor of the Goose and Fox. The ring with its bonus to Deflection is a perfectly sensible item for him to have as an off-tank.
Ring of Overseering: Obtained from a chest at #10 on the second floor of the Black Hound Inn in Gilded Vale, as an item from the "Gilded Vale - Inn Second Floor" section of the Random Drop List. A lot of Durance's spells have radius areas of affect, whether it is healing spells, buffs, debuffs, or even the odd offensive spell in his repertoire. It is obviously in his interest to expand the area of effect to the extent possible.
Girdle of Maegfolc Might: Looted from the Leaden Key assassins at #18 in Stormwall Gorge. The +3 to Might will increase the power of his healing spells, the damage from those few offensive spells that he does cast, as well as his damage during melee combat.
Viettro's Formal Footwear: In a crate at #21 in Whitestone Hollow. The +3 Lore bonus will help him with invoking spells from scrolls. The +4 bonus to Dexterity will all at once help him cast spells faster, especially during his extended buff sequences, attack with his sword faster, and reload his arquebus faster.