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I’m halfway through season 1 and I’m kind of disappointed. I was hoping it would not go the way of Ergo Proxy and GITS: Stand Alone Complex at its worst, but here we are with 5 minute monologues where they talk about the nature of human will while namedropping authors and philosophers. “There’s a quote by Kierkegaard I like” Yeah? Fuck off with that shit.

Psycho-pass so far is a mediocre police show with entry-level philosophy strewn throughout it.

Now, I like the setting and I like the characters (generally) but the show wants to be so fucking smart only they have no idea how to convey ideas without having someone talk about it in a quiet room. Good shows weave the themes into the narrative, like Chobits where all the sub-plots are different perspectives on the shows basic question; Can you love a robot? It doesn’t even have answers, instead letting the viewer decide for herself. Ergo Proxy and Psycho-Pass don’t do that shit, it’s quite clear that the world presented in Psycho-Pass is at best tolerable but is actually killing humanity by taking all freedom of choice from them, basically making them into robots. They have this stupid little interview where a character makes the case that we’re already cyborgs because of all the technology we’re using. Yeah, no shit? That idea is old as hell.

So that’s my main gripe. Had it been a passing comment about how much technology we use and how we’re almost robots already, that would have been fine. You could have smiled and thought “Yeah that’s true.” But no, they commit 5-10 minutes to this and just keep using examples like the viewer didn’t get it 30 seconds in. Like they’re talking about revolutionary concepts that’s so far above the average mind that they have to explain it sloooowly and carefully.

The first showdown between Akane and Mikashima could have been half the length but he keeps fucking droning about free will and people living like cattle because of the Sybyl system. Yeah we get it, freedom is better and it’s an authorithan dystopia with clear parallells to todays society. Whoop-de-fucking-do, you’re only the five thousandth person to tell such a story.

The writers go on like the shit they’re doing here is original when it’s anything but. It’s Minority Report, the novel was written in 1956. Psycho-Pass is a fun spin on the same setting but that’s it. It’s also cool to have the villain be the guy who tries to end the broken system instead of the protagonist but… I’m like a broken record here. All the concepts presented in Psyco-Pass is old hat and they don’t even do the ideas justice because they discuss it on such a basic level that it gets embarrasing. Let the viewers think for themselves.

AND ANOTHER THING!
Mikashima is one of the most boring villains I’ve seen. He’s supposed to be Professor Moriarty (They even have a goddamn Sherlock Holmes scene where a guy reads Akane through visual clues) but he has that idiotic shonen village smirk like he’s always smarter and better than everyone else. That “Oh I’m so bored I’ll just become a villain” personality that I’ve seen in almost every anime goddamn ever.
The worst part is that we’re just supposed to buy that he’s super-smart and charismatic yet when he gets the chance he holds speeches and recites literature like some pretentious college freshman who just discovered fine art. He’s a trite (see, I know fancy words too) cardboard villain who can cheat the system “just because”. Deus Ex Machina sure is a sign of great writing huh?

The main reason that I’m so pissed off is that I’m fresh off Paranoia Agent which I liked a whole lot. It was obtuse as hell sometimes but that’s fine, not everything has to be explained or make sense. It had themes about hearsay and the collective sub-conscious but was still mostly about different people going through rough times. It’s well-made, has a killer intro and a distinctive visual style. Compared to that Psycho-Pass is just so bland and uninteresting. It’s like going from seeing Chobits (Yeah I love that show) to checking out Angelic Layer. I did just that. *shudder*

And anime can do this kind of show better, like Texhnolyze or the first five episodes of Ergo Proxy. Strange but intriguing, with its own style and some really great tension. This is just so bland.

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Hey, I’m glad you’ve checked out this guide of mine and I think you’ll find what you’re looking for, if you’re looking for lots of builds that is!

  • TL:DR
    If you’re looking for the “best” possible all-around build, here it is;

    The Commando

    This build has every single important perk if you care about crafting, huge endurance and you can even pick up stuff like Bloody Mess, Sneak and Chemist once you find a few bobbleheads.

    S – 3
    P – 1
    E – 9
    C – 6
    I – 6
    A – 2
    L – 1+1

    Important perks – Armorer, Locksmith, Local Leader, Gun Nut, Scrapper, Science, Commando, Scrounger
    (Take Gun Nut, Commando, Perception, Perception, Locksmith, Locksmith, Armorer, Local Leader early on.)

    I’ll get more into each combat perk later on and why Commando is the best for survival.

So, the actual guide starts here.
When I plan out a new character the first thing I decide on is which combat perk/s I will use. The difference in playstyle is pretty huge and I genereally prefer only having one as each weapon perk has methods for all ranges. So, I will talk about one weapon perk at a time and then list a couple of builds. And first out is Gunslinger.

NOTE: I have played most of these though if it’s a VATS-heavy build I probably haven’t gotten past 20-25 with it. I don’t find VATS very enjoyable except for taking out mirelurks and ghouls. I realise how powerful VATS-builds are but that’s partly why I get bored. There’s rarely any challenges when you can kill most things before they can hit back.

Gunslinger

Gunslinger is both the best and worst all-around weapon perk depending on how you build around it. It’s a fine choice as a back-up weapon if you’re a rifleman but I prefer just using a shotgun. The upside is of course the low weight of all handguns and their low AP-cost.

Though overall, if you’re not playing with the Deliverer Gunslinger is the least impressive weapon perk I’d say, considering it only increases the range of your weapons. Disarming is nice but irrelevant against mirelurks and deathclaws…

  • The Professional

    Probably the most OP build in the game, Deliverer-based Gunslinger spends every combat inside the VATS-menu until everything is dead. The one downside is that you can’t afford neither high Int nor any Charisma, so crafting is out. In fact, if you’re gonna hang out with the Railroad mostly you can even skip Int entirely and go for Idiot Savant, freeing up two points for either Charisma (Lone Wanderer) or just more Endurance.

    S – 1
    P – 1
    E – 4
    C – 1 (alt.3)
    I  – 3 (alt.1)
    A – 9+1
    L – 9

    Important perks – (Lone Wanderer), Gunslinger, Sneak, Mister Sandman, Ninja, Gun Fu, (Idiot Savant), Better Criticals, Critical Banker, Grim Reaper’s Sprint, Four Leaf Clover, (Ricochet)

    The biggest issue here is of course defense. With no Strong Back/Local Leader, constantly repairing a Power Armor might not be feasible and no Armorer means you can’t modify it anyway. Kellog’s Outfit is probably your best bet until you’ve found good legendarys. And you won’t have much free perk points for other things since around 30 points is the bare minimum to max out the luck and agility perks.

    But still, the build clears rooms in a single AP-bar so defense might be that important. Word of warning though, unless you think VATS is the best thing ever you will get bored pretty quickly. I couldn’t make it past level 20 before tiring of this build.

  • Kellog Reborn

    Kellog’s Pistol is possibly the best weapon in the game, so it would be shameful to not base a build around it. The problem is that you need at least Gun Nut 3 to get the interesting mods and .44 is rare and expensive ammo. The work-around is using Righteous Authority as back-up. Any Relentless gun you find is of course just gravy (Kellogs Gun is a .44 revolver with the Relentless legendary mod).

    S – 3
    P – 1
    E – 4+1
    C – 6
    I – 6
    A – 1
    L – 7

    Important perks – Armorer, Local Leader, Gun Nut, Hacker, Scrapper, Science, Better Criticals, Critical Banker

    (You can skip one point in Luck, get Aqua-Boy and just swim the whole way to the Luck bobblehead. Put the point in Int (Chemist, Robotics Expert) or just another Endurance.)

    This might look like a shittier Deliverer build but at least you can build and modify anything, making you way less of a glasscannon, especially early on. Also, Robotics Expert is fucking fantastic once you’ve beaten the Mechanist quest-line. It’s also really low on needed perks so you can branch out to more charisma or get heavy gunner to crit-snipe with a missile launcher. Getting some more agility to pick up Action Boy is of course also a good idea.

  • The Sharpshooter

    Concentrated Fire is one of the most awkwardly placed perks in the game, or maybe most awkwardly designed. Same difference. In any case it’s probably meant for a sniper build only rifles take a lot of AP to use. The rest of the perception tree is certainly meant for rifleman. But what about handguns? Most handguns barely uses any AP and gets increased range with levels. The problem is that beyond 9 starting perception we also need some agility as well as a bit of luck to be able to take a lot of shots per VATS meter and also get some use out of all those shots. So we’re VERY low on stat-points which means no crafting unless we’re gonna run 1 endurance (we are not). So my idea is this:

    S1
    P9
    E6
    C1
    I1
    A4+1
    L6

    Important perks – Pickpocket, Awareness, Locksmith, Demolition Expert, Night Person, Penetrator, Concentrated Fire, V.A.N.S, Gunslinger, Sneak, Action Boy, Scrounger, Idiot Savant, Better Ctiticals, Critical Banker

    We’re looking at 15 perception with +5% chance to hit in VATS without any gear. Playing this should be all about spamming the VATS-button until you see a target and then just kill it. I can’t promise you that you’ll be able to kill anything at any range but it sure looks like it. A big problem here though is that the truly good rank of Concentrated Fire can’t be taken until level 50! Until then you’re just a handgun VATS-sniper. That might not be something to scoff at but still, level 50 is a lot of work to get the build truly going. I’ve made over 30 characters and I think 2 has gotten past 50 as the game gets too easy long before that. I’d imagine that it’s one of the best builds in the game at that point however.(I put in pickpocket for the hell of it, you have 15 perception so it’d feel a like a waste to skip it. Pickpocket is of course a fucking hassle on survival so I’m not sure how much use you’ll get out of it.

    Same thing with Demolition Expert, though I’d imagine a missile launcher with huge hit-chance is pretty handy (it’d be awesome is what I’m saying))

Iron Fist

Iron Fist is obviously the manliest of the combat perks, irrelevant of gender really. Punching deathclaws with your iron-clad fist is goddamn hilarious and it’s quite easy to acquire the perks best weapon early on (Go to Swans Pond with 10+ mines and put them on the edge of the pond. Aggro him while sitting behind a corner and shoot him in the face with whatever gun you have handy).

The downside is the lack of variety in weapons. Big Leagues has three basic types of weapons while Iron Fist just has the one. There is slight variety in movesets but generally the Furious Powerfist is the best weapon you will have for most of the game, unless you’re extremely lucky and get a Mighty Deathclaw or something…

You can of course also modify your power armor and literally punch things, but you need Blacksmith 3 before it gets any good, so knuckles and power fist it is until then. This of course makes power armor less impressive for iron fist unless we’re going for Pain Train. So at least making different builds is easy!

Final notes: All these builds play sort of similar. Hand-to-hand has pretty much the worst range in the game so you have to count for that. Blitz is the easiest way around that of course, but power armor or simply running between covers works almost as well, for zero perk points.

  • The Dirty Wastelander

    Named after the drink, this is a Iron Fist crit build with some mild thematics. Think scruffy hair, a wifebeater and a broken nose. Rude and constantly fucking swearing. He also downs hard liquor like it’s water and injects all the drugs he can find.

    S – 4
    P – 1
    E – 5
    C – 7
    I – 1
    A – 3+1
    L – 7

    Important perks – Iron Fist, Armorer, Blacksmith, Attack Dog/Lone Wanderer, Cap Collector, Local Leader, Party Boy, Action Boy (Need a level or bobblehead), Idiot Savant, Better Criticals, Critical Banker, (Grim Reapers Sprint)

    Chemist would have been nice but you need some AP if you’re gonna do a crit build and endurance if you’re melee. I recommend focusing a bit on the settlements since you want bars everywhere, preferably the expensive ones as you need a ton of nuka cola and whisky for all your Dirty Wastelanders. If you can’t quite remember, it’s a drink that gives you 3 Strength, 1 Charisma and -1 Intelligence. Now Party Boy doubles this and adds 3 Luck so that’s 6 Strength and 3 Luck! With Party Boy rank 2 you should always have a supply of booze on you, remember to have a beer before each fight!

    And that’s it really, you can go Power Armor later on since you have armorer but during the early game you’ll want to pick up some metal armor asap. Keep your gear up to date, sell all ammo so you can afford more booze and make a ton of psychobuff.

  • The Pain Train

    Coming up with a name for each build is hard, ok? This is one of the few builds I’ve leveled past 50, I usually get bored around 35 since you by then know whether the build works and there’s nothing left to test. Well, Pain Train with a sprinting punch never gets old. This build barely uses any VATS except for finishing stuff off and doesn’t care about crits or sneaking either. It’s just a straight punching build and it is glorious!

    S – 9
    P – 1
    E – 9
    C – 1
    I – 6+1
    A – 1
    L – 1

    Important perks – Iron Fist, Armorer, Blacksmith, Strong Back, Hacker, Scrapper, Science, Robotics Expert(1), Nuclear Physicist

    The awkward thing about the build is that it wants to craft but doesn’t have the stat points to afford Local Leader, so you’re gonna have to pick up strong back and haul as much as possible to one spot. Eventually you get vertibird access which makes it slightly less awful. Settlement crafting is out of the question, all that stuff goes to your power armor.

    Now as you can see you don’t have 10 strength from the start so you need to pick up the bobblehead. Get the intelligence one as well sooner rather than later, the library is a lot easier if you do it as soon as you reach Diamond City. Once you can get Pain Train you should get your T-60 armor from the Brotherhood of Steel. The earlier models don’t have enough structure for your sorry build, you need T-60 or X-01. There’s not much else to say. You’re a walking tank who punches things to death and you can make make your own murder-bot with a laser gatling-arm. What more do you want!?

  • The Quarterback

    Hey, at least I tried right? The third Iron Fist build will of course be a Blitz build. I’ve played Blitz once, I got bored around level 15 because of how crazy op it was. I also absolutely love dashing strikes, it feels so much better than just teleporting back and forth. Obviously Iron Fist can be switched for Big Leagues if you want but if you’re going for really high levels Iron Fist is probably better as you should start pumping luck after every other perk is maxed (Paralyzing anything is VERY powerful). It’s also easier to find the right mods for fistweapons as there aren’t very many of them.

    S – 9
    P – 1
    E – 5+1
    C – 1
    I – 1
    A – 9
    L – 1

    Important perks – Iron Fist, (Armorer, Blacksmith, Strong Back), Rooted, Sneak, Action Boy, Ninja, Blitz

    Armorer, Blacksmith and Strong Back can be taken if you’re fine with hauling everything to specific settlements. The problem is that you don’t have science or robotics expert so you can make a pack-mule so I’d actually forgo crafting entirely.

    The 9 strength might look a bit weird but Rooted gives you +50% melee damage when standing still, VATS counts as standing still and Blitz makes you teleport in VATS. Rooted Blitzed sneak attacks is something you can pull off around level 5. If this is something you’ll never get tired of this build is for you, but as I said I like dashing attacks and moving around mid-combat. Melee-VATS is BORING. :( The build is still incredibly good as you can just wait around a corner for your AP to fill up, pop out and kill something with your massive AP bar and then go hide again. Like a fucking pussy. *grumble grumble*

Heavy Gunner

There aren’t very many heavy weapons, they all weigh a ton and ammo isn’t very easy to come by. In other words Heavy Gunner is really awkward in survival. And it certainly doesn’t help that it’s the weapon perk that requires the highest stat. On the upside Strong Back is just one point away so you’re gonna have to pick that up no matter the build.

The upside of heavy weapons is that they’re awesome. Missile launcher is absolutely bonkers though you need Demolition Expert as well to max out the damage. There’s of course the mini nukes and we also have the Cryolator, probably the most powerful mid-range weapon in the game. And then there’s the Laser Gatling. Though it comes late it’s possibly the best all-around weapon in the whole game and ammo is cheap as dirt. AND you can get an absurdly good one from the Brotherhood of Steel.

So all in all, Heavy Gunner is perfectly playable though has some clear drawbacks, so I don’t recommend any of these builds before you have a clear grasp of the game. That is, if you’re playing survival. If you’re on normal, go nuts with these!

  • The Big Banger

    This is the heavy gunner build that I’ve personally played the most, it uses a missile launcher, the Broadsider and the Cryolator foremost since none of them requires any Gun Nut to mod. Missile launcher CAN use Gun Nut and Science but none of the mods increases damage so a single-shot without a scope is good enough.

    Note that I played this on the old survival mode, crafting is as usual a bigger hassle when you can’t fast travel. The build is a blast to play as you can take out entire groups of super mutants with one missile, trick mirelurks with mines and slaughter raiders with the Cryolator.

    S – 6
    P – 4
    E – 6+1
    C – 1
    I – 1
    A – 5
    L – 5

    Important perks – Heavy Gunner, Strong Back, Locksmith, Demolition Expert, Aquagirl, Action Girl, Idiot Savant

    I’m specifiying Locksmith and Aquagirl because they both help you pick up weapons. You need Master lockpicking for the Cryolator and Aquagirl lets you swim to the castle  to pick up a missile launcher and a flamethrower. The basic flamethrower is kind of shitty but it works indoors against raiders. Make sure to pick up the Broadsider as well, it’s like a mid-range missile launcher. Arturo in Diamond city sells cannon balls once you’ve acquired the weapon. Also Myrna and Arturo sells ammo for the Cryolator, though it’s really expensive (Grape mentats are your friend).

    You can if you want switch your luck for 5 intelligence instead, pick up the bobblehead and get Armorer, Gun Nut and Science. This makes you able to mod stuff like the harpoon gun, fat man and gatling laser. Lots more perks though and slower levels. Really, the only thing the build NEEDS is 5 strength and 4 perception (you get the bobblehead early remember). You can go 6 charisma/intelligence to be able to mod stuff instead or even higher luck if you want to be a missile sniper. The point is just maxing out the missile launcher damage as it is absolutely insane.

  • The Laser Surgeon

    This is actually the build I’m most curious about right now, I came up with the idea very recently and have high hopes for it.

    As the name implies it’s a crit Gatling Laser build which of course is a problem, you need Science 3 (level 28) to start modding it and you need to pretty much beat the main story to get the best version of it. We’re also rather short on stat points so you need to put in some levels and find some bobbleheads. All in all, this build requires a lot of time to just get going but it should be oh so worth it!

    S – 5
    P – 1
    E – 3+1
    C – 6
    I – 6
    A – 1
    L – 6

    Important perks – Armorer, Heavy Gunner, Strong Back, Local Leader, Gun Nut, Hacker, Scrapper, Science, Chemist, Robotics Expert, Nuclear Physicist, Scrounger, Better Criticals, Critical Banker

    So yeah. You need the strength, intelligence and luck bobbleheads and two levels in intelligence to just access all these perks. So what’s the actual point of the build? Overdrive is a chem that gives you a 25% chance to crit with any attack and gatling laser is the only heavy weapon with a boost to critical damage. Gatling laser isn’t all that good in VATS so you don’t really need Critical Banker even. Maxed out it deals really respectable damage, especially for its cheap ammo source (fusion cores (and we have Nuclear Physicist)). With Overdrive the damage should skyrocket and with rank 4 chemist Overdrive should have a 24 minute duration, so you can more or less have it up non-stop.

    Before you get ahold of the Final Judgement you should use whatever critical boosted weapon you can find. Getting a point or two in Gunslinger or Rifleman could be needed, the build can use Kellogs Gun for instance or Righteous Authority. If you’re gonna use the latter I recommend getting Aquagirl or a Hazmat Suit (Becky Fallon in Diamond City sells one) and swim to the Luck bobblehead asap.

  • Meat Grinder Joe

    The first thing I wanted to play in Fallout 4 – and this was before it had actually released –  was a Basher. What a glorious perk! To beat your enemies to death with the butt of your rifle or with a bayonet! I ran around with a double-barrel shotgun hitting raiders in the face and then blasting what was left. Alas, it was my first build and therefore sucked. Basher being a shitty perk didn’t help either.

    I’ve tried coming up with a working Basher build but it’s just so awkwardly placed in the tree. 8 strength for a perk that supports a rifleman or commando playstyle? Ugh. So that’s my stupid anecdote about the coolest but shittiest perk in the game. So have I found a working basher build? Hell yes! It turns out that if you have a minigun – a weapon I’ve never cared about – and put a shredder mod on it – a mod I’ve misunderstood the whole time – you get the best melee weapon in the game. You attack by wearing a power armor and removing all your 5mm ammo so you can hold the fire button and spin the barrel without shooting and without spending any AP. Now you get several hits per second and the basher perk lets you crit and cripple opponents at high levels.

    The silly thing is that the shredder damage doesn’t scale with heavy gunner, it scales with basher but heavy gunner gives you a chance to stagger things, so heavy gunner is still recommended and keeps this build in the right part of the guide…

    If you can bother get a harpoon gun as backup. Far Harbor should be a great place for this build anyway with all its crazy wildlife.

    S – 8
    P – 1
    E – 8
    C – 1
    I – 3
    A – 1
    L – 6

    Important perks – Armorer, Heavy Gunner, Strong Back, Basher, Gun Nut, Better Criticals

    That’s not many recommended perks which gives us some leeway for variations. You can for instance drop some endurance and get more intelligence for Scrapper and Science or more perception so you can have Demolitions Expert for better missile launcher damage. I just like having massive endurance if I’m gonna be a non-VATS melee build on survival.

    You can also get Rifleman/Commando and Big Leagues and mod a handmade rifle in Nuka-World. The melee damage shouldn’t be anywhere close but the handmade rifle is a fantastic all-around weapon.

Big Leagues

(It’s kind of awkward to make up more melee builds as there’s pretty much Blitz, crit or tank. You can switch any of the Iron Fist builds for Big Leagues without issues.)

Anyway, there’s a ton of different melee weapons out there that can be categorised in three “weight classes”. There’s knives, one-handed weapons and two-handed weapons. The move-set between a pool cue and a super sledge isn’t very different but there’s of course a big difference between a combat knife and a pipe.

Then again, there’s no special perks for using the different weapons so you just wield whatever’s best for the movement. The best weapon out there is probably the super sledge and the unique variant Atom’s Judgement. There’s also Kremvh’s Tooth, a fantastic one-handed blade. Funnily enough the Super Sledge is the best stealth-weapon while one-handed weapons are better suited for combat. The reason is simply speed and the fact that the bleed on Kremvh’s Tooth stacks. You can get stuck mid-animation with a super sledge while a mirelurk charges you. You always want to be able to block. But on to the builds.

  • Guardian of the Commonwealth

    No guide is complete without a tank melee-build. This is a slight variation that uses power armor as soon as possible, meaning once you’ve cleared concord you live in that iron coffin. Wearing a power armor increases your strength to 10 so we actually don’t need more than 4 if we’re gonna wear it all the time. This also frees up a LOT of weight.I made this build because I got so tired of having to slowly work myself out of the top left corner. Survival is confined as hell at times because everything deals such an insane amount of damage. Even with a upgraded T-45 power armor a mirelurk hunter can still kill you in a few hits, so without power armor they turn you into paste in two seconds flat. It’s actually the character I’m playing right now and I’ve turned it into a settlement-machine. Thanks to the power armor I can access way more camps way earlier which is great when you need to repair your crappy T-45 all the time. The build is also optimised for Atom’s Judgement. It’s a fun change of playstyle after a sniper.

    S – 4
    P – 1
    E – 6+1
    C – 6
    I – 9
    A – 1
    L – 1

    Important perks – Big Leagues, Armorer, Blacksmith, Cap Collector, Local Leader, Hacker, Scrapper, Science, Chemist, Robotics Expert, Nuclear Physicist

    I love Local Leader with Robotics Expert! I actually picked Local Leader at level 6 and started grabbing all the settlements in the top left. With the power armor and Preston around you can grab pretty much all the junk and convert it to settlements. I place cheap bars eveywhere and a power armor station and medic here and there. Also pick Nuclear Physicist at lvl 4 or 5 and then increase it whenever you can. And look up where the fusion cores are early on. Running out is hard but it doesn’t hurt to have some to spare.

    Otherwise the build is simply a non-VATS melee build. The best weapon early on is a baseball bat as it can be modified with both blacksmith and science. This build really is for the crazy crafters out there. You can if you want remove one point in strength and put it into agility for commando or use rifleman for long distance engagements. I’ll probably get Heavy Weapons at some point instead.

  • Jack the Ripper

    Morbid name I guess but it fits a knife-build. Yes, this is a stealth VATS non-Blitz melee build, the shittiest of the melee builds. Before you have at least 5-6 of the stealth-manuals melee sneaking is awful. And wearing leather armor  on survival for its low weight is dangerous as hell. I’m also skipping crafting since you can pick up Pickman’s Blade and Kremvh’s Tooth instead. This leaves us with a LOT of points to spare so we might as well get some luck perks. I’ve tried leveling this build but I’m not very fond of it as it lacks all the things I like, like crafting, settlements and not dying all the time. I’m exaggerating but you need a seriously high level to become effective with this build. It’s probably great at that point but it’s really awful early on.

    S – 2
    P – 1
    E – 4+1
    C – 3
    I – 1
    A – 7
    L – 9

    Important perks – Big Leagues, Toughness, Lifegiver Aquaboy, Lone Wanderer, Sneak, Mister Sandman, Action Boy, Moving Target, Ninja, Bloody Mess, Idiot Savant, Better Criticals, Critical Banker, Grim Reapers Sprint, Four-Leaf Clover

    Knives have extremely low AP-cost so with Pickmans Blade you can stack ridiculous amounts of bleed and proc Four-Leaf Clover constantly. The strategy for most fights is trying to sneak the most powerful enemy and take him out with Ninja. If the other enemies don’t notice you, repeat. Once they see you stick to cover and rush one at a time with a VATS-combo. You can of course make this a Blitz build by just removing Lone Wanderer but where’s your sense of thematics, man? You’re a anti-social serial killer, not a jumpy ninja.

  • Sorry, five melee builds are plenty!

Rifleman

Rifleman is probably the “best” weapons perk. Rifles have high damage, the longest range and penetrates armor. The backside is that the best rifles all use rare ammo and that the weapons weigh a ton. You also need at least one rifle and one shotgun most of the time since a bolt-action rifle or a laser musket is pretty awful against a horde of ghouls. The combat rifle is a kind of compromise since ammo is plenty and damage is high-ish. Rifleman is also nice in that you don’t need any stat points to access it since you get the Perception bobblehead so early. They also have a huge amount of variation so making builds is thankfully easy!

  • Black Ops

    The sole survivor is actually a former black ops soldier, the lawyer plaque you see early on is just her way of adapting to civilian life. But all that training sure is a big help in the wasteland.This build focuses on long-distance rifles and mines to tactically remove hostiles from any location. It has a bit of everything really, the usual Armorer/Local Leader/Science for example but also ninja and action girl. I don’t care for VATS-sniper so this is my personal take on the playstyle.

    S – 3
    P – 4
    E – 3+1
    C – 6
    I – 5
    A – 6
    L – 1

    Important perks – Armorer, Locksmith, Demolition Expert, Cap Collector, Local Leader, Gun Nut, Hacker, Scrapper, Science, Sneak, Action Girl, Ninja

    As usual you need the intelligence and perception bobblehead. You also need to spend one point in agility to access ninja. You could remove one point from endurance but you’re low enough as it is already. The recommended playstyle is finding a vantage point and using a silenced sniper rifle while putting down some mines  where enemies might try to reach you. As you can build and modify any gun or armor you have a huge variety of guns to pick from. A standard laser rifle can be turned into a really powerful sniper for instance, though not silenced. Having a shotgun as backup is also recommended. A lightly modded double barrel-shotgun is plenty against ghouls and most mirelurks and doesn’t weigh as much as a maxed out combat shotgun.

    Also a robot is a great addition to this build. They draw tons of aggro, so much that I’ve seen enemies sprint right past me while I’m sneaking to attack Ada. By ordering your bot to charge camps while you’re sitting on top of a roof, you can get stealth-damage indefinitely if you’re careful.

    I don’t use VATS for much in this build except against close targets as I always have big scopes on my guns. It can be nice to fire a shot and then immediately going to VATS to fire another couple of shots. Works very well with a bolt-action rifle for instance. Speaking of a bolt-action rifles, the .308 pipe-gun is a terrific sniper and only requires Gun Nut 2 for a silencer. Once you have Gun Nut 3 you can go get Tinker Tom Special. Also like I mentioned any laser rifle can be modified into a fantastic long range-weapon.

  • The Marksman

    This is the opposite of the former build, a VATS-Luck rifle build. Instead of recon scopes you should put Reflex Sights on them as they lower the AP cost instead of increasing it. You also want short stocks and short barrels if you want to max out AP usage. Using all this might be overkill so experiment a bit to find the best set-up for your gun and playstyle.

    You get increased VATS hit chance from the sniper perk and McCready (who gives you a fancy +25% chance to hit heads in VATS. He’s in the side-room in the bar in Goodneighbour) instead of scopes. If you want to go crazy with it there’s Awareness, Night Person and V.A.N.S for a lot of extra hit chance. This is a very powerful build but takes a while to get going, it also lacks Local Leader which is a bummer if you’re playing survival un-modded.

    S – 3
    P – 7+1
    E – 1
    C – 1
    I – 3
    A – 7
    L – 6

    Important perks – Armorer, Rifleman, Awareness(rank 2), Demolition Expert, Night Person, Sniper, Penetrator, Toughness, (Lone Wanderer), V.A.N.S(rank 2), Gun Nut, Sneak, Action Boy, Ninja, (Quick Hands(rank 3)), Better Criticals, Critical Banker

    One endurance? Ouch. You can simplify this build by just removing 2 from strength and intelligence and get 5 endurance, Cap Collector and Idiot Savant instead. Cap Collector is because you now have to search the weapon shops in Diamond City and Goodneighbour for the parts you need, and one charisma means shitty prices. Another way to get around your low health is to equip a power armor, the T-60 you get from the Brotherhood of Steel is great but on the other hand the T-45 is very easy to repair, it just has sub-par structure.

    Anyway, once you have all these perks you should have pretty insane hit-rate on peoples faces and a shit-ton of AP. You can also hit heads through walls and fusion cores through power armor. Auto-critted headshots through walls is kind of disgusting to be honest! You just need to wait until around level 30 until you can do all this.

  • The Paladin

    This was the first character I finished the game with so I have high praises for it. It’s just a charisma build with power armor really, but I like the simplicity and the high charisma perks are a lot of fun. Nothing beats hiding behind a wall and telling super mutants through your scope to shoot their pals. You’ll love this build when you manage to incite your first legendary enemy. He’ll tear through an entire camp by himself!

    S – 2
    P – 1
    E – 5+1
    C – 10
    I – 8
    A – 1
    L – 1

    Important perks – Armorer, Rifleman, Cap Collector, Black Widow, Animal Friend, Local Leader, Inspirational, Wasteland Whisperer, Intimidation, Gun Nut, Hacker, Scrapper, Science, Chemist, Robotics Expert, Nuclear Physicist

    The playstyle is centered around semi-automatic rifles with short scopes. Early on a heavily modded .38 pipe-rifle is fine. Then you want a Combat Rifle, a Assault Rifle and eventually the Handmade rifle. With perception and agility this low VATS is only for when stuff gets into your melee-range. Having a double-barrel shotgun is as always great backup for this.

    Try inciting as much stuff as possible before engaging any camp, you should be able to convert a few at least which usually means complete chaos, especially if you managed to grab a high one (or a legendary mob even because dude, they are sick as balls once they go berserk). Also inciting enemies indoors means they go back and attack their pals further inside the building. Win-win, except for the guy you just incited.

    Now you really want as many bobbleheads as possible for this but the strength, perception and intelligence ones are most important thankfully. The others can get your perks like Locksmith, Sneaking and Bloody Mess if you’re so inclined, but you have a lot of perks to cover anyway, so no hurries.

    Also, don’t bother with the intimidation perks until you can pick level 2 in them. Being able to calm stuff down is handy I guess but since your level certainly isn’t high early on, you should focus on crafting and settlements instead to build a strong base. Level three in Animal Friend, Wasteland Whisperer and Intimidation is barely worth it as inciting stuff is the best use of these perks, but intimidation at least helps with speech checks. You can even skip Animal Friend completely as it’s rarely that useful. I guess you can make radstags kill each other? It’s definitely better in the DLC areas so maybe wait until you go there.

    With 10 charisma you can also always ask for more money from whatever mission you’re doing, netting you a lot of extra cash and some bonus xp. Take McCready or a robot with you since they don’t care about your mercenary ways. 10 charisma also means clearing almost any speech check, especially since you have Black Widow (playing a girl is better as a heavy charisma builds as most NPC’s are dudes), have Intimidation AND should be wearing a suit, glasses and hat beneath your power armor.

    The build isn’t itself a powerhouse exactly but making your enemies kill each other is VERY powerful and also fun as hell. You can of course use Commando or Gunslinger instead, especially Commando uses similar weapons but shotguns with Rifleman is a great complement against the one weakness of this build, ghouls. A auto-shotgun drains too much AP for the builds measly 1 agility and most ghouls die in one shot anyway.

Commando

I think that for survival mode, Commando is the by far best all-around weapon perk. Automatic weapons have the highest DPS over long fights and they’re great in all ranges except extreme long-range which means you only need one rifle, saving you a lot of weight. They’re also the weapons best suited for sitting in mid-range behind cover, meaning they’re the best weapon in-doors (they don’t explode either). And if you can carry it a automatic combat shotgun is one of the most ridiculous weapons in the game. It’s simply hard to wrong with Commando. The one downside is the amount of ammo you need but Scrounger or building weapon stores with Local Leader takes care of that. Also most guns and rifles can be modded with a automatic reciever which means you’ll have the highest chance of all perks to get a useful Legendary.

  • The Commando

    Reposting the build from the top.

    This build has every single important perk if you care about crafting, huge endurance and you can even pick up stuff like Bloody Mess, Sneak and Chemist once you find a few bobbleheads.

    S – 3
    P – 1
    E – 9
    C – 6
    I – 6
    A – 2
    L – 1+1

    Important perks – Armorer, Locksmith, Local Leader, Gun Nut, Scrapper, Science, Commando, Scrounger
    (Take Gun Nut, Commando, Perception, Perception, Locksmith, Locksmith, Armorer, Local Leader early on.)

    In a way this build has the bare necessities for survival. Huge endurance and all the crafting perks. It also has great use out of all the bobbleheads (except maybe Charisma) so it’s a real late-game build. And thanks to having Armorer and Science you can deck out a power armor whenever you like, might as well wait until you have at least a T60 though.

    Now this is one of those builds that barely uses VATS and isn’t much for sneaking. You just find cover and spray until everything is dead. It’s great fun and makes Fallout 4 feel like an actual shooter, more so than any other build I’d say. Thanks to the constant use of cover and all that health surviving without a power armor is also really feasible, so you can find crazy legendarys instead. And unlike Rifleman you usually only need one weapon and you can often mod whatever your best legendary is for the moment.

    Side note: I think you should pick Local Leader around level 8 or even earlier, depending on how much crystal you find. The earlier you put down those  signal towers the faster you’ll get big settlements you can deck out with stores and farms for adhesive and food production. You usually make at least a few hundred xp just getting a signal tower up and putting down some beds and mutfruit trees which really helps on survival, you NEED those early levels to stop dying from errant molotovs and shotgun blasts.

  • The Feral Scientist

    This is cool build that I’ve modified from someone elses idea that solves the age-old question – “What the fuck is Nerd Rage good for?” For the longest time my answer was – “Not much…” It’s a decent perk at best, sort of a bonus when you’ve already picked the highest intelligence perks. But not here, here it’s on almost all the time and when it’s not you should probably take some jet until it gets going.

    S1
    P1
    E8+1
    C6
    I9
    A2
    L1

    Important perks – Toughness, Lifegiver, Ghoulish, Local Leader, Gun Nut, Hacker, Scrapper, Science, Chemist, Nuclear Physicist, Nerd Rage!, Commando

    I made this a commando build because I think automatics with big magazines are the best when you’re in slow-motion. I also got ghoulish because I liked the thematic and wanted high endurance anyway.

    The idea is to have so much rads that your remaining health is just above 20%. Any damage you take procs Nerd Rage! and you’re good to go. Of course having 20%  of your health remaining is dangerous as hell so you want as much defense and health as possible. I’d get the strength bobblehead and pick up Armorer once you can find a decent set of power armor. I’d also skip this strategy until level 12-15 at least so you can get decent health. This is also the reason I’m forgoing 10 intelligence from the start as setting this up early will just make for the most frustrating playthrough you’ve ever experienced.

    I don’t know if this is all that good before you hit 50 as Nerd Rage!’s best level is attained then. Healing a little bit every time you kill something means you will proc Nerd Rage! constantly in all fights. It seems like a pretty good build before 50 and a fantastic one after. Not finding out myself, but it was a great idea which is why I’m sharing it here.

  • Trench Foot

    Trench foot is a really awful afflcition that the soldiers in WW1 got from living in shitty, damp bunkers and trenches. Your feet basically rots while still attached.

    The build is not meant to have the smelliest feet but rather be a infantry-style character, wielding a machine gun with a bayonet attached. The build should be great at all ranges except ultra long-range and can make use of the handmade rifle’s highest bayonet. In fact the build is based around the hope that the handmade rifle’s last bayonet isn’t a piece of shit…

    S8
    P4
    E4+1
    C6
    I3
    A2
    L1

    Important perks – Big Leagues, Armorer, Blacksmith, Heavy Gunner, Strong Back, Steady Aim, Basher, (Rooted), Demolition Expert, Aquaboy, Local Leader, Medic, Gun Nut, Commando, (Sneak)

    As infantry you should be able to traverse and endure any condition. Through contaminated water, through a hail of gunfire or through a blighted wasteland. You should be able to do upkeep on your guns and you should respect and help the locals. You’re also able to use almost any weapon, from knives to heavy machine guns (miniguns).

    You’re always approaching by stealth, taking out what you can with a combat knife and dispersing the rest of the enemies with your machine gun. If the resistance is too heavy call in some artillery or use a missile launcher if there’s no artillery close enough. Indoors a silenced machine pistol and your knife is plenty for most enemies, though grenades might be needed for open areas. Always try to use the best tools for the situation. And don’t forget your bayonet, it’s great for taking out feral ghouls and stopping mirelurks in their tracks.

Miscellaneous builds

Here I put other strange builds that focuses on specific non-weapon perks, or just thematics builds.

  • Dook Nookem!?

    (Hilarious video by a guy with the same idea! It just lacks scantily clad women :( )

    This is the most ridiculous build I’ve ever come up with. Make the buffest guy you can with a crew cut. Get ALL the weapon perks, Scrounger and Strong Back. No crafting obviously. Also a scantily clad lady is a must, so one of the female companions in a red dress or a bikini if you can use mods. And get her a combat or assault rifle! Hail to the king baby!

    S – 6
    P – 4
    E – 8+1
    C – 2
    I – 1
    A – 2
    L – 5

    Important perks – Iron Fist, Big Leagues, Heavy Gunner, Strong Back, (Steady Aim), Rifleman, Demolition Expert, Toughness, Lifegiver, Chem Resistant, (Solar Powered), Lady Killer, Gunslinger, Commando, Scrounger, Bloody Mess

    Wearing armor is obviously non-thematic but suicidal on survival, so try getting armor that covers as little as possible. Leather should be fine as well as some synth-armor. Then just go nuts with whatever weapon you can find! Also try be nice to ladies and always use sarcasm with men. If you want party boy so you can decrease strength by 1 and endurance by 3 and then get charisma to 6. Then you just need the bobblehead. I don’t recommend this for survival though as Duke Nukem would never care about settlements when he can shoot raiders instead so the charisma points are sort of wasted beyond 2. Hell you can skip Lady Killer until later and just max out endurance instead. Other variations is getting Basher since it’s technically a weapon perk. Just lower endurance or charisma by 1.

    Again, the whole point is just emulating mr Nukems ways. No silly sneaking and only your biggest gun is good enough. Keep spraying and never slow down!

  • Ducky the drunken cannibal

    This is stolen from a reddit build-thread but it’s so amazing I just have to share it. The idea is playing a complete idiot who stumbles through the wasteland, high as balls and always drunk. It has no weapon perks AND no crafting. It still has scrounger so you just use whatever ammo you have on hand.

    S – 1
    P – 1
    E – 10
    C – 7
    I – 1
    A – 4+1
    L – 4

    Important perks – Toughness, Lifegiver, Aquaboy, Cannibal, Ghoulish, Solar Powered, Lone Wanderer, Local Leader, Party Boy, Mister Sandman, Action Boy, Scrounger, Bloody Mess, Idiot Savant

    You should get Aquaboy as soon as possible, if you can stomach it grab it first and swim to the luck bobblehead before going to Concord. That way you can pick up Idiot Savant on level 3. Local Leader is actually really important as you need happy settlements. They’re an extra source of food after all. You can cure Dark Craving at a doctor as well if you want to play Far Harbor or something. A companion isn’t recommended as everyone but robots and Strong dislike it when you eat people (I thought this game was a judgement-free zone :(). Lone Wanderer is probably better than Strong but if you want his extra weight and big green muscles skip it. He’s in the super mutant building right outside Goodneighbour.

    Playing a cannibal on survival of course isn’t easy. You have to manage settlement happiness (they get sad when someone suddenly dies and has bits eaten off them), know what enemies inhabits what areas and traveling far means having to find people to eat all the time. Also no crafting means shitty defense and your damage will be pretty low, though hopefully it’s offset by all the ammo you find. Try using automatics mostly as their dps is usually the highest. You also have decent agility with Action Boy so hiding and using VATS is probably a good idea a lot of the time. I haven’t gotten around to playing this yet but it seems fun as hell!

  • The Scavver

    The idea for this was how absurd it is that a housewife quickly becomes the most skilled and dangerous individual in the whole Commonwealth wasteland. So I wanted a build that sort of explained why.

    Luck is of course the first answer. The Lone Survivor is ridiculously lucky just to survive the cryofreeze, and then just happens to come across all these important individuals and situations. Now, she (mine’s always a she!) is of course the main character in a game so I’ve accepted it long ago. It’s still really silly though.

    The other reason is just how healthy she is. Everyone in the wasteland must eventually die of cancer. We’re talking a 40 year life expectancy or something (I pulled that number out of my ass). The point is she hasn’t been affected by any of the MANY detrimental effects of the wasteland so she should be fit as a fiddle, hence 10 Endurance. So…

    S – 1
    P – 1
    E – 10
    C – 1
    I – 1
    A – 1
    L – 10

    Important perks – (Toughness, Lifegiver), Solar Powered, Every single Luck perk!
    The last four points (with You’re SPECIAL!) can be put into Perception for Locksmith/Explosives, Charisma for Lone Wanderer or Agility for Sneak/Action Girl.

    You’re not allowed to craft anything except maybe a Calibrated Pipegun. You’re only wearing stuff you’ve found lying around or that you’ve picked from corpses. And skip the Minutemen and settlements, you’re going to find your son goddamnit!

    Now how bad is this build really?
    Not very to be honest. Luck is a very powerful stat, it’s pretty much the only one where all the perks are useful. And 10 Endurance means you’re not dying from errant molotovs early on and once you’ve got some levels your health will skyrocket. It’s actually kind of fun to check bodies and chests for better stuff. I found a fantastic 10mm gun around level 12 and I can’t remember any non-legendary drops I’ve ever found except that one gun, and it made my fucking day! No settlement crafting means no powerleveling but Idiot Savant still means you’re getting levels, so your gear isn’t that shitty since you’re always finding more of it. You can also pick up more weapon perks and really use ANY gun you find.

    If you’re sick of having to haul stuff back to camps all the time, maybe try this out.

  • Mad Bomber

    Another pretty advanced build, this is explosives only. The drawbacks are pretty huge but it DOES work if you know what you’re doing. Sneaking around is very important and getting a pistol with a recon scope helps a lot for several reasons. You can see where all the enemies are located and you can use it to shoot your own grenades mid-air. We’re also picking up armor crafting so we can have shadowed leather with explosives protection. The worst part will be running into wild animals so Animal Friend can actually be a good investment. Ghouls will also be pretty awful at times but scouting and preparation is 101 for this build.

    S – 3
    P – 4
    E – 4+1
    C – 6
    I – 5
    A – 3
    L – 2

    Important perks – Armorer, Pickpocket, Locksmith, Demolition Expert, Toughness, Lifegiver, Aquagirl, Cap Collector, Black Widow, Lone Wanderer, Animal Friend, Local Leader, Hacker, Scrapper, Science, (Gunslinger), Sneak, Bloody Mess

    I’m getting Gunslinger because it increases range and therefore accuracy, but you don’t need it before rank 2. You can of course pick it anyway to make Concord easier… I’m also going Black Widow/Lone Wanderer/Bloody Mess for maximum freakin explosion damage. Even your molotovs should be pretty fearsome with all those perks. We are low on stat-points however so we need the intelligence, perception and luck-bobbles but thankfully they’re really easy to acquire.

    You could remove Lone Wanderer and get Inspirational instead as it lets you throw grenades on your companion without worries. Works well with tanky robots, Strong or just any companion with Power Armor. That screws with sneaking on the other hand so Lone Wanderer is the safer bet. But if you want Inspirational, get the Cha bobblehead and/or remove a point or two from Endurance.

    Local Leader is VERY important for this build. Brahmin produces fertilizer, which is used for most explosive recipes which means you want as many camps as possible full of Brahmin. Hell, you should probably plant carrots to make Brahmin cages even. You can also have Weapon Stores to buy even more explosives and missiles.

    Also Sneak and infiltration-manuals are really important for this build. You want muffled armor as well as getting seen before you’ve prepared your mines is a catastrophe. You can’t fight a horde of ghouls or mirelurks with a handgun. Remember that you have science so you can mod laser and plasma weapons just fine. Doing the first Brotherhood-quest early to get a institute-gun is a good idea. I’m saying institute-gun instead of Righteous Authority because they’re much easier to modify, and RA is a luck-weapon anyway.

    Now if you see a bunch of ghouls or lurks approaching, try sprinting the other way and putting down a mine in front of you, preferably after rounding a corner. Then prepare a molotov and throw it as soon as they round the corner. Later you can have cryo-mines for this purpose as well as shooting cryo-grenades midair when a yao-guai spots you. And finally, at level 38 (Sneak 5) you can just run when spotted by dangerous melee enemies and crouch to make them lose you. This might be a hassle indoors but in worst case you can just exit the location and go hide.

    Does all of this seems like needless gimping just to play explosives-only? Absolutely, but survival is generally too easy anyway…

That’s all for now, if you’ve read all of it through kudos to you, I hope you’ve found a build or two to play. I’m gonna start working on a perk-guide next, rating each and talking about what they’re good for. I’ll link it here so if you care, bookmark and check in later. :)

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Talisman has never been a balanced game and it’s never been meant to I believe, though the difference in power levels is a bit ridicilous at times.
I’ve bought every expansion to fourth edition on release so far and have played easily over a hundred games. During this time I’ve tried to analyze what makes a character powerful and my answer so far has been this:

The biggest advantage a character can have is one that helps him get started. Talisman can be very slow sometimes, with you constantly losing fights and never getting stats from board encounters. All the expansions have of course helped with this so some characters who used to be absolute junkers have become playable with later expansions. And so this list is for playing with all the boards and pretty much all the cards (I’ve removed some of the worst cards as they just make the game drag out. I realise some like the extreme randomness and swinginess of Talisman and while I certainly haven’t removed it (as you really can’t), I’ve lessened it somewhat.)

Anyway, on to the list.

God Tier

These character are so powerful that they’ve won almost every game they’ve ever been in. Their advantages are just too big even in comparison to the next tier that we’ve just banned these.

Warlock
Dragon Priestess
Doomsayer

Notes: Doomsayer gets more and more powerful the more players there are and since I always play with four or more he’s simply too good. He’s probably the least powerful of these three but he won all four games he was in so we just banned him.
Dragon Priestess is crazy for two reasons. The first is of course that she can boost her prayers by a huge amount by just getting ahold of some followers *cough* City *cough* but there’s also the fact that she has a whopping 5 fate with evil starting alignment. She can just walk up to the graveyard and fill up five fate! Again she has won pretty much every game she has been in. We banned her to my frustration as she’s my favourite character.
Warlock is just stupid. He draws three spells per turn when he’s gotten one measly craft and he can pick up free cards from the purchase deck. He also starts in the middle which is always overpowered, but we’ve houseruled that all such characters start on the sentinel instead. If you don’t, he’s possibly the best character in the game. (Dragon Priestess also starts in the middle, go figure)

High Tier

These characters all have ways to get ahead early on and also probably some way to stay ahead. They often win as they don’t need luck to get going, they will always eventually get powerful.

Sprite
Prophetess
Conjurer
Fire Wizard
Leywalker
Minotaur
Troll
Barbarian

Note: You probably noticed that’s a lot of spellslingers. Always having spells is a huge advantage. There’s also a lot of character with a 5 in Craft or Strength which also makes a huge difference. The troll has crazy longevity, you can pretty much go farm the dungeon from the go. Same with the minotaur and barbarian. Conjurer, Leywalker and Prophetess just has big control over the game and Fire Wizard very quickly becomes a powerhouse who wins every fight he’s in.
I don’t consider any of these character overpowered, they’re just designed in a way to make up for bad luck which is huge in Talisman.

Mid Tier

All these characters snowballs once they get going but they all need som luck to get going. Again, some of these characters can be extremely powerful and quickly win the game IF you’re lucky, but they can also be Priest-levels of suckiness if you never win any fights. They are all good characters who have a decent chance to win, they’re just not as good as the above ones.

Mutant
Dervish
Dark Cultist
Alchemist
Gypsy
Swashbuckler
Assassin
Druid
Leprechaun
Bounty Hunter

Notes: I know some people consider Dark Cultist top tier but her 1 fate and crappy 3/3 start makes her subject to the whims of destiny. Same thing with Swashbuckler and Dervish. If you get some good equipment they’re both top-tier but if you don’t get any drops and no gold, you’re stuck. Alchemist is of course able to buy some of the most powerful equipment in the game early on if you have city expansion but even having a flail and a ring isn’t as good as the trolls natural abilities. You can also lose your gear at which point you have no abilities whatsoever.

Low Tier

These  characters can definitely be fun to play but they don’t have powerful advantages that lets them get ahead. There’s some characters with weird but mediocre abilities here, characters with powerful but too specific abilities as well as some all-around decent ones. Hell, I love the Vampiress and Tavern Maid but neither have any abilities that lets them get ahead or stay ahead.

Dragon Rider
Possessed
Jin Blooded
Warrior
Amazon
Tinkerer
Cat Burglar
Scout
Totem Warrior
Ancient Oak
Warlord
Spider Queen
Ogre Chieftain
Dragon Hunter
Tavern Maid
Ascendant Divine
Sage
Rogue
Scavenger
Philosopher
Gladiator
Valkyrie
Minstrel
Nomad
Vampiress
Cleric
Elf

Trash Tier

These characters are just generally awful. We’ve removed most of them them from the character pile because noone ever plays them anymore. They’ve pretty much never won and neither are they much fun to play. They’re dump characters in all ways, either they’re just straight up weak or their abilities look good on paper but rarely comes into play in practice or like with the Chivalric Knight just aren’t worth using. There’s incidentally a lot of the starting characters here which is indicative of some serious power creep.

Priest
Wizard
Knight
Ghoul
Dwarf
Dread Knight
Vampire Hunter
Spy
Grave Robber
Elementalist
Highlander
Chivalric Knight
Thief
Black Knight

Final notes: We always play with hidden ending which makes the Dwarfs abilities crappy. If you know there’s Hand of Doom or Thieves Guild or something he’s a powerhouse, but drawing Dragon King with 7 Craft means you just wasted 10+ turns, which can be two-three stats if you’re lucky.
I also want to like the Grave Robber and Spy since they have fun abilities but alas, they rarely are of any use.
Special shoutout goes to Dread Knight for being the possibly worst character in the game. He’s the Monk, an already mediocre character, only worse and he has shitty starting stats…

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I’m really bored so firing up a new project I probably won’t get far with, namely talking about monsters.

The Hybrid Sentinel is a really nice choice in a lot of instances. They have decent movement, a black defense die, flies and deals a lot of damage to most non-warriors.
Act 1 sentinels are best with four players. The red sentinel has Fire Breath but their dice ensures you’re at the mercy of dumb luck. I’ve had encounters where I didn’t roll a single surge on the red one.
The overlord class that fits them best is Magus because of Unholy Ritual, maxing your chances of pulling cards that gives free surges.

In act 2 they get significantly less interesting with 4 players. One more health, an extra brown defense die and a useless surge effect. Rolling two surges with Blue+Red is theoretically possible but only happens once in a blue moon.
The red act 2 sentinel on the other hand adds a yellow die to his attack. Suddenly surges are almost guaranteed, making it one of the games most powerful monsters. If you’re playing with only two heros I’d suggest using them as often as possible.

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The problem with the Spiritspeaker is apparent at every skill-tier; They’re all over the freakin place. Drain Spirit is a attack that also heals a little bit but you have to deal damage and the starting weapon is crap. So you might check out Healing Rain instead only to realise it’s freakin expensive, especially for a one. Augur Grisom is the only hero that can really keep it up with Stoneskin and Healing Rain. And then there’s Shared Pain that’s another awkward attack you really need a better weapon for. Granted, it’s pretty good, especially so with say the remade Andira Runehand, if you get a decent ranged weapon. You should probably pick up one of these but sadly there’s not much synergy with the 2’s.

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The problem with Tempest is of course that you need at least 4 willpower to make it worthwhile. Avric Albright has 4 and Rendiel has 5 among the non-conversion-characters. The other problem is that it has zero synergy with the ones. Tempest is sort of a combination of all the ones so if you’re buying it you should be spamming it.

Cloud of Mist is actually really good but has similar applications as Stoneskin. Of course, they stack but you need healing as well. So Drain Spirit or Healing Rain? In any case your stamina cost is getting really high if you’re spamming all these and if you’re not, why did you buy them?
Nature’s Bounty is also really decent but the OL can decide to simply not hit you if you have it. So a good carrier skill.
The 2’s are simply very specialised. They’re great with certain characters (Augur Grisom with Cloud of Mist, Ashrian with Nature’s Bounty) but none of them are exactly the Whirlwind of healers.

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The reason that all the other skills are so awkward is probably that the 3’s are amazing. Note that Ancestor Spirits have been corrected to work on ALL targets. You can Drain Spirit and poison an entire enemy group or have Tempest heal 2 health plus 1 stamina or make it poison everything within 3 spaces. It has crazy synergy with pretty much all the other skills.
Vigor is also really powerful but really recquires a weapon with BYY or BYG or similar. Drain Spirit/Shared Pain, Vigor AND Ancestral Spirits is of course overkill, but in the fun overlord-tears-his-hair way.

All in all, the Spiritspeaker is really awkward before getting a decent ranged weapon and a couple experience points since none of the skills has any synergy with the starting skill or weapon. Ashrian is probably the best Spiritspeaker since she’s useful without any skills at all. But Augur Grisom and Serena are good as well thanks to their big stamina pools and Okaluk and Rakash makes for a great late-game one. So plan for it, don’t pick a Skirmisher and a Wildlander with a Spiritspeaker, get at least one, prefferably two classes that are good from the go and have good one-pointers like Knight and Runemaster.

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So you’ve decided to play a Treasure Hunter, the first quest is finished and you’re asking: should I buy one of the 1’s?
The short answer is yes, always. The real question is which one and that depends on your character.
Survey is really nice if your character has a ability or feat based on search tokens like Thaiden Mistpeak and of course Silhouette. The +1 stamina is always nice as well. Survey combos well with Lure of Fortune, enabling you to simply remove unwanted search card.

Gold Rush is for the really dedicated searcher, with four players it’s ten extra movement points per encounter and sometimes more. 5 speed is still recommended since it’s a bit of a snowballing card, you have to get it going first. There’s also movement feats like that of Tomble Burrowell and Tinashi the Wanderer that helps. Gold Rush works well with Guard the Spoils since you’re on your own a lot and Finders Keepers since it makes you a damage monster once the tokens are picked up.

Finally there’s Dungeoneer that’s obviously for the aggressive scouts like Bogran the Shadow and Laurel of Bloodwood. The downside of Dungeoneer is that you need a ranged weapon for it to work well but once you do, Tatianna is another good choice for the skill.
Dungeoneer works best as a complement to one of the other set-ups. Buying it after Gold Rush makes you a real Nathan Drake, stealkng treasure and shooting baddies at the same time. Combining it with Survey and Lure of Fortune makes your actions very cost-effective. In any case, wait with buying it until you’ve got a bow.

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Why would anyone ever buy Upper Hand? It’s so shitty they had to add stats to it and it’s still not worth it unless…, no it’s never worth it!
Without the stats it would have been a acceptable 1. Unless you’re going for Makeshift Trap dumping your traps for extra damage BEFORE rolling is awful. The stalker gets an extra damage for standing next to a trap and if you remove it no-one can claim it’s still there… So it’s for those other traps that you’ve placed earlier and have no use for now. How often does that happen? Once per encounter at most since you’re usually placing one per turn. With Makeshift trap it might be worth it with four players but it’s still three, maybe four extra damage on one attack for two stamina. Treasure Hunters Finders Keepers would do 3/4 extra dmg per attack for 1S in a similar situation.

Compare to Ambush, an extra attack for 1S during the OL’s turn. This is always useful and you’re not discarding anything.

You might argue one big attack can be great, well poo on that. Exploit gets you an extra green die and lets you weaken enemies for 1S. Same class, one exp and a better attack. Taking down big mobs is not the scouts job unless you’re a Bounty Hunter. You’re supposed to hit the small, ranged mobs so your warrior doesn’t have to waste attacks on them.
Simply, your traps are the bane of rats, goblins and bandits, not enormous bipedal sharks. Pick up Ambush, you’ll thank me (your OL will not).

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