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Pillars of Eternity Video-Based Walkthrough by David Milward



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Characters - Watcher Protagonists:   Alliria  |  Zakara
Joinable Companions for Good Party:   Kana  |  Sagani  |  Grieving Mother  |  Hiravias  |  Devil of Caroc
Joinable Companions for Evil Party:   Aloth  |  Eder  |  Durance  |  Zahua  |  Maneha


Grieving Mother

Why She's Included and How to Use Her

As a Cipher, she has some Powers that can inflict damage, and buff either herself or her comrades. Where she really shines is through the use of Powers that either debuff enemies to make them vulnerable to harm, or incapacitate them altogether, albeit temporarily.

The natural question for a Cipher is how to build up Focus as quickly as possible. My preference is for a two-handed weapon that provides alternative sources of damage (e.g. Slashing or Piercing), both to maximize damage per blow but also to improve the chances of getting past a target's Damage Reduction.


She can be found at #15 in Dyrford Village.

Personal Quest

Dream and Memory



Athletics: This skill is important for any character on harder settings, even squishy spellcasters. It helps any character go longer between resting, which is especially crucial during the Hard or Path of the Damned settings. It also provides bonus Health and Endurance.

Survival: She if frequently engaged in melee combat, so this makes sense as well.


2nd Level - Draining Whip: Increases the amount of focus she will gain when she lands melee or ranged attacks.

4th Level - Biting Whip: Increases the amount of damage she inflicts with either melee or ranged attacks. Biting Whip and Draining Whip together are essential for any Cipher.

6th Level - Greater Focus: It raises maximum Focus by +10.

8th Level - Two-Handed Style: With the obvious point of increasing her damage with a two-handed sword.

10th Level - Savage Attack: It is a modal ability that increases her Damage by 20%, but at the expense of a -5 penalty to Accuracy. The more Damage on each hit, the more Focus she gains with each hit.

12th Level - Apprentice's Sneak Attack: She can set up her targets for its use either by positioning herself behind them, or using Phantom Foes beforehand. And again, it's all about maximizing the Focus she acquires with each blow she strikes.

14th Level - Weapon Focus: Soldier: In order to increase her Accuracy with her two-handed sword

16th Level - Gunner: She also selects the Gunner talent in order to increase somewhat the speed with which she can reload her Arbalest.


1st Level:

  • Whisper of Treason - She starts off with this one, and I can't change it.

  • Mind Wave - She also starts with this one, but it may have its uses depending on the situation. It strikes the initial target for damage, while it may also knock targets Prone in a cone behind the initial target.

  • 2nd Level:

  • Eyestrike - Can blind enemies within a small radius. Certainly useful when party members and enemies are fighting each other in tight clusters. Can also be used to prime up its targets for sneak attacks or even Death Blows by the Devil or Caroc.

  • 3rd Level:

  • Phantom Foes - This is one of the reasons why a Cipher and a Rogue make an awesome tag team together. I lead off almost every fight with this, with the result that the Devil or Caroc is ready to start landing sneak attacks immediately. Find another condition to afflict the monsters with, and let the Death Blows begin. One that note ...

  • Mental Binding - Can Paralyze the initial target, and leave nearby targets Stuck. An enemy suffering from either condition is vulnerable to Sneak Attacks. It can make a good follow up to Phantom Foes for obvious reasons.

  • 4th Level:

  • Mind Blades - An option if I want her to inflict damage on multiple foes at range.

  • 5th Level:

  • Ectopsychic Echo - If there's a line of foes between the Cipher and an ally, this power will cause multiple hits of damage on that line of enemies for the duration. It can really add up. It becomes even more deadly if those same enemies are suffering from Combusting Wounds on account of Sagani's Ring of Searing Flames.

  • Puppet Master - One of the best ways to win particularly intense fights is to sow dissension in their ranks. Using this on a target in their midst not only has that target attack its former comrades for you, but will also convince your other enemies to devote their attention to attacking it instead of you.

  • 6th Level:

  • Soul Ignition - Inflicts Burning Damage over time on its targets, which in turn primes them up for hefty damage from Sagani's pet, Ituumak.

  • 7th Level:

  • Silent Scream - It inflicts damage on a single target and Stuns it, while inflicting Raw damage to all enemies within a 2.5m radius of the initial target. Can be useful in that it can both lock down an especially dangerous target, while inflicting area-of-effect damage on nearby enemies at the same time.

  • Going Between - Gives an ally 25% chances of reducing Critical Hits to Hits, Hits to Grazes, and Grazes to Misses. This can be a useful power for Alliria in particular, whose resiliency is not based on avoiding damage.

  • 8th Level:

  • Body Attunement - Gives the Cipher the option of increasing her Damage Reduction at the expense of an enemy's Damage Reduction, which can be really useful in particularly intense melee combats.

  • 9th Level:

  • Detonate - Inflicts Raw Damage on a single-target, and a lesser amount of Crushing Damage on targets within a small surrounding radius.

  • Borrowed Instinct - Provides an option to ramp of all of her Defenses by +20 if she needs it during a particularly intense fight.

  • 10th Level:

  • Ringleader - It will Dominate its initial target, while also acting as a mass-Charm power on all other enemies within a certain radius of the initial target. It can be really useful during fights against a LOT of enemies, but it also becomes important during a scripted interaction at the climax of the White March expansion, part 2.

  • 11th Level:

  • Disintegrate - It inflicts hefty Raw Damage on a single target at a distance, and it is arguably the best ranged single-target damage ability.

  • Amplified Wave - It will knock multiple enemies Prone over a very large area. In fact, if she can recoup her Focus fast enough with her melee attacks, she can virtually keep the enemy horde locked down and helpless. That it renders the enemies vulnerable to Sneak Attacks is an added bonus.

  • 12th Level:

  • Mind Plague - It can hit multiple foes with both Daze and Confusion, severely impairing their ability to fight back.

  • 13th Level:

  • Time Parasite - Provides an option to slow down enemies Attack Speed while speeding up her own at the same time. Can be very useful in prolonged battles against masses of enemies.

  • Stasis Shield - Allows for the temporary removal of one enemy from the battle, which cannot be harmed while the power lasts. Can be useful for temporarily removing one particularly annoying enemy, or spellcaster, from the picture and allowing the party to deal with the easier mooks.

  • 14th Level:

  • Pain Link - If an ally is hit for damage, enemies close to that ally also take 25% of that damage. Alliria is often a good candidate to use it. The damage caused by Pain Link will also trigger Combusting Wounds.

  • 15 Level:

  • Defensive Mindweb - There's a well known trick to make this Power extremely effective. A character needs to equip both a shield and another item, each of which provides +50 bonuses to all Defenses, when the character is either knocked Prone or Stunned. The bonuses will stack together since one of the items is a shield. Now you need to inflict a self-stun on that character. The Priest's Withdrawal spell is one example. The example I use in my party is for Hiravias to use a Beetle Shell spell on Kana, who has the needed items equipped. Once that's in place, Grieving Mother casts Defensive Mindweb while everyone is tightly packed around Kana to put everyone's Defenses through the roof for at least 30 seconds. Can be really useful in boss fights against Dragons and other tough bosses.

  • Reaping Knives - If I have a battle where I'm wanting to use a LOT of Powers in rapid succession, or want to recoup Focus very quickly after using Powers, I can use this on Alliria so that she effectively becomes a Focus-generating battery for Grieving Mother. Another plus is that the blades themselves inflict Raw Damage.

  • 16th Level:

  • Tactical Meld - Select an ally with it, and you'll enjoy the same Accuracy bonus as the ally against the same target being attacked by that ally. Can be useful in conjunction with Alliria's use of Sworn Enemy on the target.
  • Inventory

    Tidefall: Found in a hidden niche at #8 in the Searing Falls cave. The best option for a Cipher to build up Focus is through the use a of a two-handed weapon that inflicts more than one kind of damage (e.g. both Piercing and Slashing) in case she runs into a foe that's resistant to one of those types of damage. The ability to recoup Endurance with each hit (and the more damage the better) helps make her less vulnerable as a damage-dealer that isn't using a shield. The Wounding power makes the weapon even deadlier. I add the Burning Lash enchantment, partly because it fits the location I found it and the backstory. I added the Spirit Slaying enchantment. The idea is that spirits can often teleport to try and reach Sagani, so Grieving Mother will often act as a rearguard on those occasions.

    Arbalest's Wrecker: Looted from a hidden sac at #10 in the 10th level of Endless Paths. It will benefit from her Weapon Focus: Soldier talent. The key perk is the ability to Stun a single target, especially an enemy spellcaster, at a distance.

    Garodh's Chorus: A reward for completing the Garodh's Chorus task. She'll often get struck in combat since she doesn't have great Deflection, so Retaliation comes into play quite often. If Sagani puts Combusting Flames into play, so much the better. The bonus to Might will enhance the damage from her melee blows, as well as the damage for some of her Cipher powers.

    Talisman of the Unconquerable: Looted from an urn at #19 at Durgan's Battery. Its +2 bonus to Intellect and its bonus to Focus gain, both while Endurance remains above 50%, makes it perfect for a Cipher.

    Sanguine Plate: A reward for The Forgotten task. The bonus to Survival is nifty since it enhances her resting bonuses when camping outdoors or in dungeons. The real point is that it will activate Frenzy for her when she gets Critically Hit, which will happen often. The Constitution bonus from Frenzy will improve her resiliency, while the bonuses to Attack Speed and Might will increase her fighting power. I add the Exceptional Quality enchantment (+4 Damage Reduction) to it, and that's as far as I can go for what I have in mind. I next place the +2 Perception enchantment and +3 Crushing-Proofed enchantments on it. Lastly, I added the Durgan Iron enchantment to it for the reduction of Critical Hits to Hits, and more importantly the reduction of the Armor Speed Penalty.

    Gauntlets of Swift Action: Obtained as a random item from the "Elm's Reach - Blood Sands Hidden Room" section of the Random Drop List. The faster she attacks the more quickly she can build up focus, and the more quickly she can use her Powers when she does have enough focus.

    Ring of Thorns: Looted from Tanoss at #7 in Cragholdt. The key benefit is the +3 bonus to Dexterity, which will increase the speed with which she can make melee attacks to build up Focus, and the speed with which she can get off her Powers once she has enough focus. The defensive bonuses are sugar on top.

    Ring of Overseeing: Obtained as a random item from the "Gilded Vale - Inn Second Floor" section of the random drop list. The obvious intention is to expend the area of effect on her Cipher powers.

    Blunting Belt: Obtained from a chest at #8 in Lord Raedric's Dungeons, as an item from the "Raedric Keep - Dungeons - Lower Chest" section of the random drop list. Her combat style is more reliant on Damage Reduction instead of Deflection, so this item makes perfect sense.

    Shod-In-Faith: Purchased from Dunstan at #16 in Crucible Keep. I've built her around using two-handed weapons in order to maximize her Focus build up with each blow. Doing so comes with the risk of a low Deflection score. However, I can take the edge off of that drawback by equipping her with these boots, which will activate Consecrated Ground when she's struck with a Critical Hit (once per Encounter). The fact that her Deflection will be low will make the triggering of Consecrated Ground a very frequent occurrence, improving not just her own resiliency but the rest of the party as well.

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