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Version: 1.15 | Updated: 02/26/19

Magran's Fires

Magran's Fires are extra challenges you can enable for a given run. You can flip on as many as you want, and your only reward for doing them is a little check-mark over the god constellation that represents the challenge. To flip them on you have to click on the little demon head that is under the main menu (yeah, it's stupidly hard to find). This section is a quick overview of the different challenges and what to keep in mind when doing them.

Abydon: all weapons and armor slowly degrade (i.e. get an increasing -15% damage, -4 ACC, -1 PEN debuff or -1 AR debuff) as you deal damage or take damage and need to be repaired or else after accumulating a few stacks will become broken. Creates a huge money sink and also acts as a combat nerf because you'll want to carry in a lot of spare equipment, even if they are of worse enchantment quality than your best unique stuff, because even repeatedly repairing Fine-level gear adds up (and repeatedly repairing Exceptional or higher gear can be ruinous). Has the side effect of making monk fists, Monastic Unarmed Order, shapeshifting, and summoned weapons extremely good because they auto-scale and never need to be repaired. In the end I found this challenge rather tedious, because as you get later in the game and fights get longer you might have to do repairs and item swapping after every fight which is just not a fun experience.

Berath: fights don't end until you finish off all enemies (which might include enemies that you might not expected to have been a part of the fight), and if you get knocked out you have 10 seconds to revive before permadeath kicks in. Not a bad challenge; really serves as a "no knockout" challenge early on which becomes a little more forgiving once you have sources of revive. Berath has odd interactions with some game mechanics and can ironically make it much easier to take out big bosses by using Gouging Strike or Brand Enemy to perma-debuff them with a DoT, and then using things like Withdraw, invisibility, etc to de-aggro the enemies but combat will still be going (and thus the DoTs will still be doing damage). Not exactly an exciting way to take out bosses and megabosses, but it works. (Note: this doesn't work on Hauani O Whe due to its merge/split mechanic.)

Eothas: gives you a strict time limit to accomplish each part of the critical path (main quest). You only have 3 days, 26 hours to finish Port Maje. You have 25 days to complete Hasongo. You have 26 days to complete Ashen Maw, and a similar amount of time to get to Ukaizo. This essentially limits your ability to explore, and really discourages you from searching abandoned settlements or burial grounds out on the world map. The time constraint is tight for the first act, but a little looser for successive acts (though not loose enough to go off and do all the DLC, at least until the final act). You can save some time and level up a bit by frontloading all the Nekataka quests in Act II (before going to Hasongo) since it only costs you a couple hours to go from district to district (versus days to travel on the map). This challenge also has the effect of requiring you to be much more deliberate about resting.

Galawain: all beasts in the game gain one of ten random permanent buffs, determined at the start of the game (so you can't save/reload an area if you don't like what you get). How it works mechanically is that beasts are grouped up into "batches" per an encounter or area, and an identical buff is generated for the entire batch in one go; this can result in an entire area of beasts with the same buff if they were all designed as the same "batch." This can make certain buffs more punishing than others depending on how big the batches are; Volatile or Bullish is not bad on a single lone beast, but on an army of spiders or wurms can be brutal. Anyway, the ten buffs are:

  • Vampiric: beast converts damage they do into health (I believe 15%).
  • Reflecting: a portion of damage a beast recieves is done back to the attacker. (I don't know the exact number, possibly also 15%.)
  • Unstoppable: cannot be interrupted or affected with afflictions (other debuffs and manual flanking still work).
  • Exalted: permanently gain a random tier three inspiration. Permanent really means permanent. You can't counter it by applying a matching affliction. Nor can you suppress it with Arcane Suppression. (Though I have had an encounter or two where the inspiration has buggily gone away somehow.) Note that Brilliant is not that bad relative to other inspirations because most beasts already have infinite uses of their abilities that are only constrained by AI scripting so the resource generation effect of Brilliant effectively does nothing.
  • Vengeful: every time an ally dies they gain a stacking +1 PL buff also called "Vengeful." Note that as far as I can tell, beast basic attacks don't get any PL scaling, so on a good number of beasts the stacking vengeful buff might have at most minimal effect.
  • Accelerated: attack action speed bonus.
  • Bullish: all attacks interrupt and push back on hit.
  • Hardened: much higher AR and health.
  • Prowling: at the start of an encounter and every time this beast kills something they go invisible until they attack.
  • Volatile: upon death a fireball is launched at their corpse and does significant damage.

This Magran's Fire really adds a lot of challenge to beast-related encounters. Because many bosses (and one megaboss) in the game are also beasts, this can significantly amp up the difficulty of those fights as well, possibly requiring you to come back at a much higher level, mix up your strategy, or in Belranga's case be rendered impossible. Because you can't force the game to re-randomize buffs once you start playing with this challenge, you are taking a roll of the dice with this challenge. I personally definitely enjoy this challenge on PotD with upscaling in concert with other challenges, but cannot offer a strong general recommendation due to how random of an outcome you can get from this; you really have to be willing to roll with the punches here and accept that sometimes your strategies just won't work anymore (such as a sneak-attack-heavy focus or a tactician build against an entire map of Unstoppable enemies).

Hylea: Vela follows you around; she is pretty weak. In combat, she will alternatingly cower in fear or wander around. If she dies, it's game over. Most enemies won't actively seek her out, though a common case of enemies doing so is when rogue-types are reduced below a certain health level: they generally have an AI script where they use Escape or Shadowing Beyond and target the weakest party member, who will be Vela. Personally had a lot of fun with this challenge though not exactly something that I would use all the time. Requires you to stock up on Withdraw or Beetle Shell effects or some such. (Note: 4.0 and 4.1 had a bug with Vela not properly scaling with your character, making this challenge obscenely hard. This was fixed in 4.1.2.)

Magran: can no longer pause combat. You can slow time, but that's it. I really, really, really hate this challenge, because the entire point of me playing Deadfire is to play a real-time-with-pause game (or with the new beta turn-based mode doing that as well). This challenge is mostly a test at how good you are at creating AI scripts and/or how effectively you can do a pacifist run. Note that in turn-based mode I find this challenge much more acceptable; it gives you 10 seconds to complete each player turn (before it automatically ends your turn). Really forces you to think fast about your moves (sometimes while the enemies are playing out their turns), and makes you only spend time staring at abilities or numbers in advance of a fight. While it's not for everyone, after having flipped this on for turn-based mode I personally can't imagine flipping it off.

Ondra: storms on the world map move much faster, and some become much bigger. In addition, enemy ships move much faster on both the world map and in combat. Makes you pay more attention to where you're traveling on the world map (whereas without Ondra's challenge on it is trivial to avoid storms and enemy ships), and makes early ship bounty hunting a little less of an easy source of cash, due to how quickly enemy ships in combat can close distance with or flee from you. Mostly a challenge simultaneously subtle and interesting enough that I personally would always flip this on, just to make world map exploration a little more interactive and challenging.

Rymrgand: food ingredients now decay after some time. Most prepared foods decay after 1 day. Some raw materials decay after 3, less valuable ones decay after 7 days. Hardtack, water, and all alcohol decays after 14 days. This challenge acts as a money sink (though not as severe as Abydon) because you have to keep restocking food for yourself and for your ship crew and it adds up. Also has the effect of acting as a constraint on rests, because every time you rest you advance enough time that could cause food to decay, and if you have racked up some nice resting bonuses, you don't have to lose them by resting again because you might not have the food or ingredients to recreate those resting bonuses. Alcohol becomes much more valuable because they provide decent resting bonuses on their own but also keep for a long time. Salt, spices, sugar, and oil don't decay and become a good thing to stock up on so you can put together incidental foods as you pick up ingredients during your travels. Prioritizing speed on your ship can help you travel from place to place while reducing what foods you buy end up decaying. Corpse-eaters may find this challenge extra challenging since it becomes virtually impossible to make Forbidden Flesh Pie, but you can still make Corpse Loaf which only requires Vessel Flesh (doesn't decay, unlike kith meat) and Eggs (three day decay), which while not quite as good as Forbidden Flesh Pie still gives you the essential +2 corpse-eater PL. I personally really like this challenge due to all the new things it requires you to care about while not being too annoying about it.

Skaen: at night and indoors you have significantly reduced fog of war vision. Torches, the special sabre-torch, and Xoti's Lantern all provide a little bit of extra vision for the character who equips them (though not completely canceling out the reduction). Quite a fun challenge: really makes you care about something you may never have given consideration to before, and can really surprise you out of nowhere when you see arrows and spells being flung from the darkness because you decided to put away your torch for something else. Note that torches use club proficiency, so with the weapon modal you can use torches to debuff will in a pinch (though not recommended to use them for general attacking purposes to their extreme weakness by late game). It is a little odd that to sneak in dungeons or at night you would be holding a torch (otherwise enemies can start detecting you well before you can spot them) but ehm that's RPG logic for ya.

Wael: replaces most numbers in the game with question marks. It's probably easier just to list what you can see:

  • Item stack/usage counts (e.g. you can see that you have 3 potions in a stack).
  • General health levels on your portrait or in the combat tooltips above everyone's heads (e.g. the floating red health bars or red fill-in on your portrait).
  • Your base stats and skills (but not derived stats or effective skill level in encounter checks).

That's pretty much it. You can't even see how much gold you have or how much experience you get from doing something. Note that you can still sort of infer some things: all basic armor follows a HIGH-low-low AR pattern, so if you see armor that has a note for slash and corrode, you can infer that the slash and corrode AR is lower than the normal AR. Similarly, while you can't see how much anything costs, you still get an arrow in the trade screen indicating which direction the money is going, so you can still tell if you are making money or losing money (just not how much). In practice this challenge requires a lot of metagaming knowledge; the hardest part on PotD+upscaling is simply not having an indicator of how you are doing in terms of PEN vs AR. But metagaming knowledge can help you here (for example, all risen-type enemies are immune to pierce, vessel constructs have a weakness to shock). Note that combined with other challenges Wael can be extremely mystifying: with Eothas challenge you have no idea how much time you have left; with Abydon you might be unable to adequately tell whether or not you can afford to repair your gear without ruining yourself. Ondra can also be extremely punishing since unlike normal combat, ship combat doesn't give you a helpful red bar to indicate your relative ship status and there's less visual indication about positioning compared to normal combat so you might literally have no idea how well you are doing, a fact made worse by the faster movement and aggressiveness of enemy ships.

Woedica: turns the per-encounter system into per-rest: most resources do not replenish at the end of the fight and you can only use prepared foods to rest. I'm sure this made some people real happy, but to me it just really messes up some of the game balance: ciphers, chanters, tacticians, and blood mages become extremely good due to their ability to regenerate their class resource at will; monks come a close second. Blood mages in particular their static health regeneration will work even outside combat, whereas other similar healing effects (fighter Constant Recovery, chanter chants) do not which means blood mages are all that much stronger. Be real careful about combining this challenge with Rymrgand, because most prepared foods would then expire after 1 day, which could easily mean you getting stuck out exploring without the ability to replenish your resources.