First build help?

Hello! I'm getting ready to possibly attend my first event in about a decade, and first Alliance event. I love the changes to Dark Elves (much more fun to do the makeup!), and I'm pretty set on who I want to be, just not sure the best mechanics to build around to achieve it. I'm awaiting local plot to confirm my backstory but I figured I could hammer out the basics. I've built a crossbow which I'm confident has a good chance to pass, and my next priorities are "throw more things at people" and "survive."

Looking at adept vs spellsword, and while I feel like spellsword is more smooth, Evade and Dodge seem like more fun and useful to build towards. Are those worth it more than the given durability of spellsword? I don't think I'll have more than a couple points of armor. I also know I want lots of pins/slows/disarms to keep stuff away without investing in melee, but don't really know which school is best for straight up raw utility?

I'm also considering Craftsman (sailor) and/or merchant to fit my backstory, and get money guaranteed. I'm not going to do every mod, in fact I'll probably be pretty lazy. Are these generally worth it for someone who is into hanging out more than fighting?


So, my typical advice is that you decide the one thing it's most important for you to do for a while. Is it throw spells? Heal? Assassin type? Heavy fighter? Whatever it is, just go with the pure version of that for at least a few levels. You'll get more bang for your buck that way, and our sliding-class feature makes it really easy to switch to a hybrid class later down the road.

As far as schools go, Celestial is your boom school. Earth is your healing school. Both of them tend to share the major utility stuff. Celestial has some better defense to it. Earth gets debuffs though.

Ain't never nothin' wrong with a rank or two of craftsmans. It's even extra helpful if you ever decide to pick up any crafting.


You're probably going to be better off with a Stealth-skill focus, either as a Scout, Adept, or pure Rogue. Since you can't use Parry with a crossbow, your defensive options as Fighter are somewhat limited. Getting access to Evades and Dodges depends entirely on how much XP you've spent on Stealth skills, so focusing on those skills will get them for you.

Almost all Stealth skills that require you to attack "from behind" can be done from any angle using a ranged weapon, so you're not at a real disadvantage there. Weapon Proficiency does more damage for bows than Backstab does, though, so that's something to consider.

Stealth-y things to throw:
Throwing Weapons! While these will work just fine with Martial skills too, the main point here is that if your crossbow gets disarmed, shattered, or left behind in the tavern, you've still got something you can throw your weapon skills with.
Traps! Create Trap 3 grants the use of trap globes, which will let you Slow, Shatter, or Silence.
Alchemy! Alchemy 3 grants the use of gas globes, which have all sorts of useful poisonous effects. You can also apply poisons to your crossbow bolts and throwing weapons, or enhance their damage with vorpal coatings.

Scholarly things to throw:
Whether you go with Celestial or Earth magic, you'll have access to binding magic and command magic, which are great for control. Earth magic has curses like Weakness, Paralysis, and Doom, which will all typically ruin someone's day. Celestial has Prison, and if you like throwing damaging spells around, there's plenty of that.

Remember that more different kinds of things to throw means different colored packets to keep track of. You probably don't want three separate sacks of blue, orange, and spell packets to keep track of. If you only want to handle one type of packet at a time, then figure out which Stealth and Martial skills you can effectively use with your crossbow, focus on those, and apply poison to your bolts for extra effects. If you still want to pick up spells, you could potentially focus entirely on beneficial effects to use on yourself or allies, meaning you wouldn't need to throw your spell packets.

Edit: As for Craftsman, these skills sometimes come up in Denver, either on cards you can find out around the site, during in-between game actions (IBGAs), or occasionally during mods. The more crafting-y types of craftsman skills like Gemcutter or Woodworker are used in the local crafting system, though the dedicated crafting skills like Alchemy and Create Trap have a heavier focus there so far since they're more common.
Great things to consider! I think the most off-putting thing about starting stealth first is the only thing to pick up to get to the evades and dodges is either alchemy (meh) or back-attacks and backstabs. Even as a straight up rogue, I'd have to sink soooo much into just those (and one sleep and one slow) and that really sounds boring compared to casting.

Alchemy seems to need a lot of XP to do the same things as casting. If I went full alchemist artisan, the absolute max I could do is 6 ranks for 30 production, which is kind of underwhelming? At most, 6 weak potions? One blast for 25 is the first damage that can be thrown. So steep!

A rogue would be going in with 20 shots, 5 back attacks, 2 backstabs, and maybe a thrown weapon or something. That's a lot of pumping up damage per packet potentially, but really reliant on one type of damage and one weapon being able to be hit.

Meanwhile as an adept, I could walk in with 20 shots, 1 back attack, and 9 spells (4-3-2). I'd be primed to push down to advanced spells, or moving down to stealth and getting enhanced strikes on the way to evades/dodges. Plus this gives more to do if bolts are resisted. Either healing or tossing magic damage instead. I just see the comment about picking one and switching come up a lot, but in this particular case as a magic archer it seems logical to avoid that line of thought. Unless I'm mistaken about something?


Spell heavy adept is a good choice as adepts get low-level spells at the same price as a scholar. I recommend Earth magic for your first game, because even when you run out of spells and bolts you can still use First Aid and Healing Arts without limit (Read Magic is limited by scroll availability).

Edit: If you go Spellsword for the first game you can drop the back attack for one rank of blacksmith, allowing you to craft a few more bolts and refit armor without limit.
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In the short game, as a new player, Adept is fun. I currently play a earth adept myself, and enjoy it quite a bit. United Blow has been pretty good for me as a staff fighter. Long game, I see a lot more people going spellsword. Personally, I think it really depends on how you play. I am not a great fighter up front, and even before 2.0 rebuilds and play tests, tended towards going after fights by getting behind things.


I play an Elf/Spellsword/longbow Archer.

I started my character off as a Fighter and slid into Spellsword. Pure class first is the way to go, in my mind. Build milestones are important when building a hybrid class.

For instance, I built my Fighter to 4 Profs with defenses then picked up earth magic. I am currently working on a 5 column topping out with 3 9th level spells. Then back to fighter stuff.

Now this character was built 1.3 so I may have had a diffrent build plan under 2.0 but a plan none the less.

Do not sleep on RP stuff such as Craftsman skills. It helps flesh out a character and sometimes plot will reward you for your XP sacrifice.

I hope some of this might help.


Minnesota Staff
I am currently a higher level adept and let me tell you it’s an absolute blast, united blow is a very fun ability if that’s the way you want to go!


I am currently a higher level adept and let me tell you it’s an absolute blast, united blow is a very fun ability if that’s the way you want to go!

My spell selection is like...70% used in United Blow now.
Aha well that's good to know. The theme I seem to see is if you want to play a combat-focused hybrid go combat first, but if you want to be a caster with some fight, I've not really seen a reason to start scholar. I really want binds and pins to keep baddies away, but if UB is that great I may invest that direction earlier. And it's a ton of XP to sink into archery, even with half-off, for a scholar, so it would take a ton of spells to recoup that, meanwhile I can dip down at any point and start getting back attacks and up that damage.


oh, traps also count as rogue skills... and you need 3 ranks to throw trap globes.


It looks like I'm a little late to this convo, but I'll throw in my 2 copper anyway.

My primary character is a Celestial Spellsword with a Longbow. (I had a short sword for a while as well due to some RP choices but with the 2.0 switchover I dropped that.) I was a Spellsword (well, Templar) from Day 1, and I didn't ever feel like starting on a hybrid class was the wrong choice. Then again, I NPC'ed (and PC'ed) a LOT my first few years, so I was able to flesh out both the martial and magical sides of my card quickly.

Some things to consider:

What will your primary source of damage be?

If you're thinking Archery, you'll definitely want to go Spellsword rather than Adept because "prof and a half" adds up fast. In this case, Celestial or Earth isn't as important because most of the "tricks" and survival spells are the same. My elf doesn't memorize any Evocation, with the exception of a single first level Evocation Bolt for the "infinite Undead Spellshield popper."

If you're thinking spells, I'd consider Celestial Adept, but at that point, just go Celestial scholar who happens to carry a crossbow. You'll miss out on the Dodges and Evades, but that just means you should memorize more Weapon Shields and Spell Shields. (tangent: as the saying goes, "There are five spells at 5th level, and the incant for all of them is 'I protect you with a Spell Shield.'")

Are you deadset on using a crossbow over a longbow?

Being able to block incoming strikes is phenomenal and has saved my elf's life many, many times just by giving me a few more seconds to disengage. That's been way more valuable than the extra point of damage. Then again, do what makes you happy, and if your character concept wouldn't be the same with a longbow, go with a crossbow.

What combat scenario would you least like to find yourself in?

- I'm out of stuff to do: prioritize Martial skills, because you can always restock your quivers after the present battle (or during, if you're near your cabin!).
- I can't affect that enemy: prioritize spells. That offers just so much versatility.
- That enemy is gonna wreck me: prioritize Stealth skills, because Dodges are really good.