Sacred 2:The Art of Character design: Volume 1- The Horse Dryad

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The Art of Character design: Volume 1- The Horse Dryad

By chattius


The beginning - first thoughts about a horse rider

In sacred1 our oldest daughter liked to play characters riding a horse. Now she and our second daughter hoped to play horse characters in sacred2 too.

But sadly: You can't use combat arts or buffs on a horse.

So nearly everyone who tried a horse-character had the same thoughts: melee combat with the only weapon which allows some area damage: polearms. I had a little challenge with friends to do a horse-soldier lan party half a year ago, because we didn't want overpowered solo-characters when we planed party-play. So i was running some tests with characters i had already to see what would affect horse combat arts:

Ancient Magic, Intelligence, Combat Discipline, Concentration and most important Riding.

I said okay, horse combat arts are spells, if i want the most out of them i should add riding to a character which is designed as a caster, my choose was the dryad. There are only 3 classes with ancient magic and the dryad was the best compromise between defense and good intelligence. She played nice, but i noticed the way too long regeneration times horse-ca's have. They are about 4-6 times longer than listed. So i left the character on the harddisc, mainly as a testbed if i would get some new ideas. While playing around with my mainly alchemy builds i designed an all aspect dryad which i planed for testing all possible dryad guides, or at least most of them.

So for example i boosted the attack value and attack speed of a single staff with alchemy and used acute mind to boost its damage. Just like the dualwield-int-staff-build from viper, but only one staff, but with a shield. I had to sacrifice some defensive stuff for multi-aspect, so i wanted at least a shield.

And sure as hell, i tried a horse with this build too, no riding skill, but i was able to kill a whole group with a single charge in gold: Unmount, turn on Acute Mind, mount and charge into the group. While Acute Mind still up, i used my still int-boosted staff to kill some stranglers.

I showed it to my daughter, and she started a Pferdeflüsterin (german for female horse whisperer). The character got the name because unmount, acute mind, mount looked like speaking with the horse. But because of the extreme long regeneration times none of our family liked to play the character more than an hour. It was just not enough fun. It was okay for 15-20 minutes, but the idea had the weakness that you had 30 seconds of nothing everytime you killed a group, while waiting for the horse-ca to regenerate.

So today, while posting in a thread about my all aspect dryad in the german forum i got an idea: Why not use long lasting combat arts in the time the horse-ca's regenerate.


Designing the character

Skills

We start with the skills a horse-ca using dryad should have:

Riding, Ancient Magic

Since we have traders and a smith in our family character pool, we will use alchemy to unlock riding. From my melee-elf i know that i can kill a boss with alchemy and a life leech shuriken alone. So we are at 3 skills now.

Now add some defense. The character will have no buffs while on the horse and she has to unmount to turn on acute mind. So she will be fragile as soon as she unmounts for a while. So first after unmounting will be creating a dust devil. We will modify if for shorter cooldown, lasting longer and doing damage. To modify it and to more damage with it while shortening its regeneration time we need tactic lore and hunter focus. Both skills are also needed to do weapon damage. So we are at 5 skills now.

We want acute mind to boost our damage for horse-ca, dust devil and the staff. Also we have to use barkskin if fighting indoors. So nature focus will be our 6th skill and nature lore our 7th because it helps boosting our intelligence.

We need some defense, with dust evil already doing evasion and considering shield lore to be better than reflexes anyway:shield lore will be our 8th and armour lore our 9th skill.

That leaves 1 skill: concentration, constitution, reflexes, ... I will take none of them. I will do voodoo focus.

So this results in 2 tactics, 3 alchemy, 5 hunter, 8 shield, 12 riding, 18 armour, 25 nature focus, 35 ancient magic, 50 voodoo focus and 65 nature lore.

Attributes

Every point will be put into vitality, till i know that the character is robust. There is no need for an attribute to boost weapon damage, since we use an int-based staff. Acute mind will give enough intelligence for all our needs. Stamina would be an option, but devil has a cool down and horse-ca's regeneration times are bugged anyway.

What is not covered?

Enemies doing magic attacks. I hope that horses with block combat arts scaling with riding will solve this.

The playstyle

we unmount while our horse-ca regenerates

we build a fortified camp: dust-devil and 2-3 totems

we turn on acute mind

we mount

we charge the closest group while acute mind is up

we do a half-circle gathering some enemies and lead them into our fort

we unmount

we do acute mind to kill them with our now again boosted stationary weapons

we mount

we search a place for our next fort ... repeat

So far the idea. We use the regeneration time of the horse-ca's to kill with long lasting ca's. May even try to spread disease quicker when riding.

The combat arts:

We will have enough points to modify all nature and hunter combat arts. Voodoo focus will be brought to 75 for its mastery. This allows us to modify 3 voodoo arts. My choose would be Totem, Black Curse and Viperish Disease.

How to charge:

Charge builds a small aura in front of the horse. While charge is active (my record is 14 seconds) it will damage and stun an opponent. The aura vanishes if you fail to find free terrain to continue charging. So the trick is to use the keys and not the mouse. With the 'W' for forward and 'S' for backwards keys it is way easier to keep on charging. Hard to describe, you have to try it out.

At fixed camera:

Bring the enemies on north-position of the screen.

Aim for a point above them.

Short before reaching the point press the backwards key, if you are south of the group, press forwards again. You can do 4-5 runs through a big group this way. Somehow each target can only be hit once while charge is active. But with acute mind on most are one-hits anyway.

At turning camera:

Pressing backwards will make you charging in a circle, because the camera tried to follow the backwards movement. My daughter managed to use this, but with my bad eye i prefer the fixed camera.

Final Words

The character will be played by my daughters. The purpose of this build is: To make horses useful, but not frustrating. It should be able to kill with different combat arts. For example doing nature indoors while hunting/voodoo/riding outside. So they can discuss with their friends/classmates about dryads but won't have to try out each build for dryads on their own.

So if you exspected a thread about a powerful uber-character: sorry, this character is mainly for fun. At least i think so. But my just for fun melee-elf without a weapon skill is hardcore 162 now and my just for fun all-aspect hardcore dryad us 141. And their playtime:experience ratio is not much away from special designed characters from friends.




Originally published at DarkMattersfor review and discussion.

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