What do you need help on? Cancel X
Next  
Close X FAQ/Walkthrough
by chris-williams

Table of Contents

BOOKMARK
Jump to:
Would you recommend this Guide? Yes No Hide
Send Skip Hide

FAQ/Walkthrough by chris-williams

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 08/28/17

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Character Creation
    1. Stats
    2. Classes
    3. Skills
    4. Abilities
    5. Focus
    6. Descriptors
    7. Leveling Up
    8. Sample Builds
  3. Companions
    1. Aligern
    2. Callistege
    3. Erritis
    4. Matkina
    5. Oom
    6. Rhin
    7. Adult Rhin
    8. Tybir
    9. Companion Affinity
  4. Game Basics
    1. Tides
    2. Numenera
    3. Meres
    4. Combat
    5. The Calm
    6. Resting
    7. Using the Walkthrough
  5. Walkthrough: Sagus Cliffs
    1. Prologue
    2. Resonance Chamber
    3. Reef of the Fallen World
    4. Circus Minor
    5. Government Square
    6. The Order of Truth
    7. Cliff's Edge
    8. The Underbelly
    9. The Fifth Eye Tavern
    10. Caravanserai
  6. Circus Minor Sidequests
    1. Stay Of Execution
    2. Borrowed and Lost
    3. Beleazar and the Beast
    4. The Sorrow's Prey
    5. Beloved Slave
    6. Disciples of the Changing God
  7. The Order of Truth Sidequests
    1. The Anechoic Lazaret
  8. Cliff's Edge Sidequests
    1. Wayward Son
    2. Wayward Daughter
    3. Hidden Enemy
    4. Flawed Simulacrum
  9. Underbelly Sidequests
    1. Shaky Foundations
    2. Circles In Red
    3. Foreman's Brood
  10. Fifth Eye Tavern Sidequests
    1. Ashen Imitation
    2. Eyes of the Adversary
    3. A Call to War
  11. Caravanserai Sidequests
    1. One True Love
    2. The Airship Thief
  12. Calm Sidequests
    1. A Wrested Mind
    2. Infestation
  13. Walkthrough - Valley of Dead Heroes
    1. Valley of Dead Heroes
    2. The Necropolis
  14. Valley of Dead Heroes Sidequests
    1. The Caretakers' Riddle
    2. Endless Horror
    3. Phoenix's Wisdom
    4. Severed Child
  15. Walkthrough - Miel Avest
  16. Walkthrough - The Bloom
    1. Memovira's Courtyard
    2. The Vast Interior
    3. Chiurgeon Slump
    4. The Old Slave Block
    5. Little Nihliesh
    6. The Bloom Heart
  17. Memovira's Courtyard Sidequests
    1. Twice the Trouble
    2. Preservation of Beauty
    3. Freedman
    4. Rumblings of Discontent
  18. Vast Interior Sidequests
    1. Anathema
    2. Marooned on an Alien Shore
    3. A Hilt Without a Blade
  19. The Old Slave Block Sidequests
    1. What the Winds Took
  20. Little Nihliesh Sidequests
    1. The Newborn Maw
    2. Familiar Skies
    3. Covetous Hearts
  21. Walkthrough - The Endgame
    1. Memovira's Fortress
    2. Endless Battle Fathom
    3. Specter's Fathom
    4. First's Fathom / The Broken Fathom
    5. The Deepest Fathom
  22. Companion Sidequests
    1. Aligern: The Empty Cage
    2. Erritis: The Lost Shepherd
    3. Oom: Servant of the Tides
    4. Tybir: Broken Hearts
  23. References
    1. Melee Weapons
    2. Ranged Weapons
    3. Off-hand Items
    4. Armour
    5. Cloaks
    6. Companion Armour
    7. Companion Cloaks
    8. Ornaments
    9. Bonded Items
    10. Oddities
    11. Consumables
    12. Cyphers
    13. Trophies
  24. Copyright and Acknowledgements

Introduction

Torment: Tides of Numenera (TToN) is an isometric, party-based RPG. The inspiration, evident from the name, is "Planescape Torment", a Black Isle RPG from 1999, famed for being text-heavy, literate, deeply philosophical and practically the only RPG where the soft attributes of Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma were more important than Strength, Dexterity and Constitution. Given the earlier game's reputation among RPG fans (including the author of this guide), TToN has some pretty big shoes to fill.

Does it succeed in its aims? Overall, yes. The game world is novel and interesting, the premise is intriguing and the devotion to providing multiple non-violent paths to solving any given situation is nothing short of admirable. There are some minuses: the game is pretty enough but character models are rough; the near total lack of voice-acting is jarring in 2017; compared to similar games from Bioware and Obsidian, there is little humour to be found; the loading screens are obnoxious; and there are some ugly bugs to be found, ones that break sidequests and others that force restarts. For its genre, the game is notably short at around forty hours or so. However, this is more down to lack of combat than lack of content.

As with its predecessor, you will do a lot of reading so it's a good job that the quality of writing is high. The world that Inxile have built is immersive and credible with attention paid to politics, philosophy, geography and history. There is enough familiarity for the world to be recognizable and enough strangeness for it to be refreshing. We don't have to suspend belief too far because this isn't a world that works by magic. Rather it is a world that works by technology sufficiently advanced to be indistinguishable from magic by the people living in it.

The plot has you take on the mantle of the Last Castoff, the most recent of many, discarded by an enigmatic figure called the Changing God, a man who has transcended mortality by transferring his consciousness from body to body in a cycle that has lasted for centuries. In turn, his many castoffs are near-immortal themselves but pursued by a terrible nemesis, an implacable being that will not stop until they are all destroyed. Although the premise is unoriginal, the plot develops in unpredictable ways and the combination of fantasy, hard sci-fi and cosmic horror is one of the game's triumphs.

This isn't a game for everyone since the gratification is far from instant. I would imagine that most people who want to play it already know that they do because they loved Baldur's Gate and Icewind Dale back in the day. If that describes you, you will find plenty in TToN to enjoy.

Character Creation

Your first task is to select a gender. This makes no more than a small difference to how the game plays out so choose what you like. A short way into the game, you will be asked to create your character. Your character is defined by her class (e.g. "Glaive") and a descriptor (e.g. "Rugged Glaive"). Somewhat later, you will be asked to choose a focus which will define your character fully (e.g. "Rugged Glaive Who Breathes Shadows").

Stats

The Ninth World RPG system that Torment is built on uses character stats in a different way to any other RPG that I've come across. You have values for Might, Speed and Intellect. Rather than being scores, however, they are pools much like your HP pool, and you expend points from these pools to increase your chances to succeed in tasks, whether that is stealing a small item or walloping a reprobate with your greatsword. The game calls spending points from your pools effort. For example, the chance of passing a given Persuasion check (which is an Intellect-based task) is a base 30%. If you spend 1 point of effort, your chance will go up to 50% but after making the attempt, your Intellect pool will have gone down by 1. There is a cap to how many points of effort you can spend at a time. Initially, this is 2 but will go up as the game progresses. When a pool is empty, you are unable to expend any more effort using that pool and must take your chances as you find them. Like HP, your Might, Speed and Intellect pools are refilled when you rest. There are also healing consumables that restore a few points at a time.

Your stat points also feed secondary characteristics. Every 2 points in Might adds 1 to your HP, every 2 points in Speed adds 5% to Evasion and every 2 points in Intellect adds 5% to Willpower. If an enemy tries to hit you with a physical attack, your Evasion percentage is used as a to-hit modifier. If an enemy attacks you with an esotery (magic by another name), your Willpower percentage is the modifier. Since most of your HP will come from leveling up, the bonuses from high Speed and Intellect are rather greater.

Edge

Edge points give you free points of effort. For example, if you have 1 Intellect Edge, all Intellect checks are made as though 1 point of effort had been expended without reducing your Intellect pool. You will be able to allocate Edge points as you level up.

Armor + Resistance

These scores are primarily derived from your equipment, although they can be increased by your initial choice of Descriptor and passive abilities. Your Armor score is subtracted from physical attacks while your Resistance score is subtracted from non-physical sources.

Classes

There are three classes available to you: Glaive, Jack and Nano. If you think of these as synonyms for "fighter", "rogue" and "mage", you're pretty much there.

Glaive

Overview
  • Can train in weapons
  • More HP than any other class
  • Can wield any weapons without penalty
  • Can wear medium armour without penalty and heavy armour via a focus ability.

When creating your character, you need to choose whether you are going to wield two-handed melee weapons, ranged weapons or a single-handed weapon and shield. The reason for this is that the choice determines your primary stat. All two-handed melee weapons are Might based while the best one-handed weapons and all ranged weapons are Speed-based. Check the item tables at the end of this guide along with the ability tables in this section before making your choice. Even though you're a fighter at heart, this is still a game where you'll be making of lot of checks against Intellect so you will want to place points there as well. Edge points should be placed into your primary stat with a few points added to Intellect for situations like Anamnesis checks that only you can make.

When selecting weapon abilities take points in Melee Weapons or Ranged Weapons first since you will receive the bonus regardless of what type of weapon you're using. Use the higher tiers to specialize. Note that taking the Wrathful descriptor allows you to start out trained in Heavy Weapons.

Concentration is as useful for Glaives as it is for other classes as is Anamnesis. Might-based Glaives should train in Intimidation and Smashing while Speed-based Glaives might select Stealth and Quick Fingers. Since mastery of the battlefield is why you choose to play a Glaive in the first place, you may want to place points in Initiative and Running earlier than other classes.

Statistics
PoolsM:6 S:6 I:5 +2
HP25 + 7 per Tier
Skills1 weapon skill per Tier + 1 "athletic" skill at Tier 1
AbilitiesOpportunist, Practiced in Armor + 1; +1 per Tier

Jack

Overview
  • More skilled than any other class
  • Medium HP
  • Can wield light and medium weapons without penalty
  • Can gain the ability to wear medium armour without penalty

When creating your character you can choose an ability that you will give you a defensive boost when wearing light armour or one that will allow you to wear medium armour. Unlike the other classes, you are not restricted in your choice of starting skill. Since you can't take weapon training, you'll start off using light weapons although you can switch to medium Speed-based weapons as you level up your Speed Edge.

You won't have too much use for a Might pool but will spend plenty of Speed points, particularly if you choose to be stealthy. Diplomatic and other Intellect-based skills will require a healthy Intellect pool. You'll want to split your Edge points between Speed and Intellect as well. I wouldn't recommend putting too many points into combat skills at first since a Glaive does combat better. Prefer, instead, an approach that solves problems without resorting to violence.

Statistics
PoolsM:5 S:5 I:5 +4
HP23 + 6 per Tier
Skills1 non-weapon skill per Tier
AbilitiesFlex Skill + 2; + 1 per Tier

Nano

Overview
  • More abilities than any other class
  • Unique interaction with the world through Scan Surface Thoughts ability
  • Fewer HP than any other class
  • Can only wield light weapons without penalty
  • Can only wear medium armour without penalty via a focus ability

Nanos have three progressively more powerful damage abilities: Onslaught, Flash and Maelstrom. You can build your Nano for a support role if you like, but that's what Aligern is for. You won't be using a weapon often, but be aware that there are two light weapons in the game that draw from your Intellect pool.

A well-built Nano only needs Intellect and all your Edge points you should go into Intellect as well. Focus on becoming trained in the knowledge skills. You don't really need specialization because your Intellect Edge will take care of the checks. Your starting lore skill should optimally be Lore: Mystical because you can buy a bonded item early on that gives you training in the other two lore skills and I would take a point in Anamnesis at your first opportunity. As with the Jack class, branch out into combat skills around Tier 3.

Most bonded items make Esotery attacks more powerful so wear the ones that reward effort the most such as the Scholarch's Archive and the Psychic Focus. Eventually, you'll be able to one-shot enemies with your humble Onslaught spell!

Statistics
PoolsM:5 S:5 I:7 +2
HP21 + 5 per Tier
Skills1 Lore skill at Tier 1
AbilitiesConcentration Increase, Cypher Limit Increase, Onslaught + 2; + 2 per Tier

Skills

Skills are one of several ways through which you interact with the Ninth World. The primary benefit of skills training is a percentage boost to checks made against them. There are four levels of training: Inability (-15%), Novice (0%), Trained (+15%) and Specialized (+30%). Inabilities are typically received through your initial choice of Descriptor, although bonded items may inflict penalties that reduce training level below Novice. It is possible to achieve a training level higher than Specialized through items. For example, being Specialized in Stealth and equipping the Sylph Cord bonded item will give you +45% on Stealth checks.

Certain skills are almost exclusively used in combat (although there are one or two checks against Initiative outside combat). Stealth is OK; it confers Hidden which prevents enemies from targeting you. However, it only becomes weaponized if you take the Breathes Shadow focus. If you do fight, it's better to go first but there's no point going first if you're not able to reach enemies. This makes a point of training in Initiative and Running better than two points of training in Initiative. Combat skills are not that important at first since most early fights are easily avoidable. They become more useful later in the game when enemies start becoming tougher.

Weapon skills are unique to Glaives, although companions may have levels as well. The Melee Weapons skill affects all melee weapons, regardless of weight while the Ranged Weapons skill does the same for ranged weapons. Light, Medium and Heavy Weapons skills affect all weapons of that weight category regardless of whether they're melee weapons or ranged.

Speech skills are the ones you'll use in most interactions with characters in the game world. Persuasion and Deception are extremely useful throughout the game. Intimidation becomes more and more important as the game progresses, although never essential. One of your companions, Tybir, starts out Specialized in Persuasion and Deception so you can lean on him during the early parts of the game. Be aware that Persuasion / Deception checks are made using your Intellect pool while most Intimidation checks are against Might.

Skills that I class as knowledge skills are also used for observation, revealing details in the game world that were previously hidden. These details are always interesting and occasionally provide paths for solving quests that would otherwise be closed to you. Note that the Last Castoff needs to be trained in a given knowledge skill to receive the benefits. Only the Last Castoff can take training in Anamnesis and since this skill is key to many interactions with the world, I would class it as essential. Healing boosts the effect of items and abilities is highly desirable on at least one party member.

The final category of skills are the miscellaneous ones. Cypher Use increases the number of cyphers you can carry without penalty and is as useful as you find cyphers to be. Concentration governs the number of bonded items that you can wear without penalty. Since these are generally very good (for example, providing training levels in other skills), any points you place in Concentration are worthwhile.

Do not take points in Concentration if playing a Nano. You will automatically become specialized at Tier 4.

Because the bonus is fixed rather than proportional to character level, Endurance is OK but works best on a Nano, since they have fewer overall HP than other character classes. Quick Fingers provides alternate paths and loot and is essential on one party member. Smashing is frequently a valid alternative to using your head. Tidal Affinity is a skill unique to the Last Castoff. It is taught by one NPC near the start of the game and one NPC near the end. It is used to bend the world to your will in certain interactions.

NameInabilityTrainedSpecialized
Combat skills
InitiativeGenerally go lastFrequently go firstGenerally go first
RunningPenalty to movement speed in combatBoost to movement speed in combatBig boost to movement speed in combat
Stealth-15% chance of success+15%+30%
Weapon skills
Heavy Weapons-15% on attacks+15%+30%
Light Weapons-15% on attacks+15%+30%
Medium Weapons-15% on attacks+15%+30%
Melee Weapons-15% on attacks+15%+30%
Ranged Weapons-15% on attacks+15%+30%
Speech skills
Deception-15% on skill checks+15%+30%
Intimidation-15% on skill checks+15%+30%
Persuasion-15% on skill checks+15%+30%
Knowledge Skills
Anamnesis-15% on skill checks+15%+30%
Healing-2 HP healed when using items / abilities+5 HP healed+10 HP healed
Lore: Machinery-15% on skill checks+15%+30%
Lore: Mystical-15% on skill checks+15%+30%
Lore: Natural-15% on skill checks+15%+30%
Perception-15% on skill checks+15%+30%
Miscellaneous skills
ConcentrationOne bonded item slot is unusableNo penalties from item in first slotNo penalties from items in either slot
Cypher UseCarry 1 less cypher without penaltyCarry 1 moreCarry 2 more
Endurance-2 HP+5 HP+10 HP
Quick Fingers-15% on skill checks+15%+30%
Smashing-15% on skill checks+15%+30%
Tidal AffinityN/ACan carry out some Tidal Surge interactionsCan carry out all Tidal Surge interactions

Free Skills

Certain skills should not be taken to Specialized on level up (and particularly not on starting out) since you can obtain training either through cyphers with permanent effects, interactions with certain individuals, interactions with the environment or quest rewards. Cyphers can be used by any character, but implants, special abilities, quest rewards, etc. can only be applied to the Last Castoff. Bonded items may also confer training levels in skills, as can one or two other items, but since you only have a very limited number of equipment slots, I'm not including them here. The following table shows which skills you can obtain and, roughly, the order in which you can obtain them.

SkillRequirements
Quick FingersPrestidigitator cypher (found in Circus Minor)
PerceptionHave the Artificial Eyeball implant fitted by Jernaugh
Lore: MachineryPossible reward from Silver for reading 50 tomb inscriptions
EnduranceChoi's Balm ability
IntimidationInifere's Madness ability
ConcentrationEmbrace the All cypher (sold by Ioxu)
Lore: AnyEssence of Knowledge cypher (sold by Sheen)
Lore: MachinerySolve the Ancient Spirit Cube puzzle

Abilities

Abilities are grouped according to the tiers at which they are unlocked. They become progressively more powerful up to Tier 4. At tiers 5 and 6, abilities from other classes become available.

Certain abilities can have their to-hit chance boosted by taking points in training that ability instead of improving a skill. This indicated by a "Y" in the "Levels" column. Active abilities require points from one of your pools. When applying Edge to to your to-hit chance, the point cost is subtracted from your Edge to arrive at a hit chance. For example, if you are using the Tier 2 Nano ability, Flash, that has a cost of 2 Intellect, the effects of Intellect Edge are as follows:

EdgeCostTo-hit
020
200
40+40%

Because of this interaction, you may get more oomph out of using a lower tier ability like Flash rather than a higher tier ability like Maelstrom. This is because your Edge might give the lesser ability 100% chance to hit, which is the secret to doing big damage.

Glaive abilities

Glaive characters receive Opportunist and Practiced in Armor at Tier 1 together with an additional ability. On each subsequent tier, the Glaive character can choose one ability.

NameLevelsCostVersusEffectTargetRangeConsumes
Tier 1
HookN/A1 MightN/APulls target towards youCharacterMediumMovement
OpportunistN/AN/AN/AEnd turn. Attack first enemy that comes into range at +15%SelfN/AAction
Practiced In ArmorN/AN/AN/AReduces penalties from wearing medium / heavy armour by one levelN/AN/AN/A
Skilled With DefenseN/AN/AN/A+10% Evasion, +10% WillpowerN/AN/AN/A
TauntN/A1 IntellectN/AInflicts CompelledEnemyMediumMovement
Unfailing PrecisionN/AN/AN/A+10% critical chance on weapon attacksN/AN/AN/A
Tier 2
Elbow GreaseN/AN/AN/A+5% bonus per point of effort spent on Quick Fingers / Smashing tasksN/AN/AN/A
Fell SwoopY2 SpeedEvasionAttack all enemies in an arc in front of youConeImmediateAction
PierceY2 SpeedEvasionAttack all enemies in a line in front of youConeWeaponAction
Vindictive CombatantN/AN/AN/A+2 damage against targets with positive fettlesN/AN/AN/A
War CryN/A2 IntellectN/AInflicts Compelled on enemies in rangeAreaSelfMovement
Tier 3
BrawlerN/AN/AN/AIgnore Flanked fettle when surrounded by enemiesN/AN/AN/A
ShockwaveY3 MightEvasionDeals weapon damage and knocks down all enemies in rangeEnemyImmediateAction
Successive AttackN/AN/AN/AAfter killing an enemy, make another attack against an enemy in rangeN/AN/AN/A
Tier 4
Drink to the DregsN/AN/AN/A+1 max effort on attacksN/AN/AN/A
Limits of Human CapacityN/A2 Might
2 Speed
2 Intellect
N/A+25% movement speed, +5 Initiative, +1 Max Effort, +15% on all tasks until next sleepSelfN/AAction
Pinning ReactionN/AN/AN/ASuccessful Opportunist and Counterattack attacks end the enemy's turnN/AN/AN/A
Tier 5
Mind ControlY4 IntellectWillpowerInflict Controlled on the target for 3 rounds; 2 uses per dayEnemyMediumAction
Press AdvantageN/AN/AN/A+30% critical chance against enemies with negative fettlesN/AN/AN/A
Tier 6
ResourcefulN/AN/AN/A+1 training level in Cypher UseN/AN/AN/A
VirtuosoN/AN/AN/A+1 max effort on non-combat tasksN/AN/AN/A

Compared to the other classes, Glaives have few standout abilities. Hook can be useful but you need a clear line to an enemy for it work. Opportunist gives you something to do if you can't reach enemies on your first turn. Skilled With Defense and Unfailing Precision are both good passives. Taunt should be avoided since it is obsoleted by a Tier 2 ability. War Cry is good on a Glaive who Masters Defense since it combos well with Counterattack, at least if you have high Evasion. Fell Swoop and Pierce are for Speed builds. I never got much benefit from Fell Swoop (the AOE is quite small) but you might get more mileage out of Pierce. All of the Tier 3 abilities are excellent. Although Shockwave only works on a Might build, the area of effect is quite large and Knocked Down is a good status to inflict. Brawler is a great defensive ability on any character and Successive Attack is particularly good on a ranged build (but be aware that it doesn't trigger off itself). Limits of Human Capacity is equivalent to a level of training in all skills and is awesome. Unfortunately, neither of the other Tier 4 abilities is great. Press Advantage is the best from Tiers 5 and 6 but the others don't really add much.

Jack abilities

Jack characters receive Flex Skill and two additional Tier 1 abilities on character creation. On gaining each subsequent tier, the Jack character can choose one ability.

NameLevelsCostVersusEffectTargetRangeConsumes
Tier 1
Flex SkillN/AN/AN/A+1 training level in an exploration, conversation or lore skill of choice until next restN/AN/AN/A
Hedge MagicN/A2 IntellectN/AAutomatically succeed in the next Quick Fingers or Smashing taskSelfN/AN/A
Infuse WeaponY1 SpeedEvasionYour weapon does a specific non-physical damage type and inflicts a negative fettleEnemyN/AAction
Practiced In ArmorN/AN/AN/AReduces penalties from wearing medium / heavy armour by one levelN/AN/AN/A
Sucker PunchY1 SpeedEvasion+3 damage, inflict Dazed for 1 round if target is affected by any negative fettlesEnemyN/AAction
Trained Without ArmorN/AN/AN/A+10% Evasion, +10% Willpower when wearing light armour or no armourN/AN/AN/A
Tier 2
CharmN/A3 IntellectN/AAutomatically succeed in the next Persuasion, Deception or Intimidation taskSelfN/AN/A
Illusory WarriorN/A2 IntellectN/ASummon construct to flank enemiesPointMediumAction
ResourcefulN/AN/AN/A+1 training level in Cypher UseN/AN/AN/A
Warp DashY2 SpeedWillpowerTeleport to point and deal 1/+1/+8 transdimensional damage to enemies and inflict HobbledAreaMediumMovement
Tier 3
Annelidic AttackY2 SpeedEvasionDeals weapon damage +3. Heals 50% of damage done if target has a negative fettleEnemyN/AAction
Cypher Limit IncreaseN/AN/AN/A+1 Cypher limitN/AN/AN/A
Lucky CombatantN/AN/AN/A+15% on attacksN/AN/AN/A
Myalgic DustY3 IntellectWillpowerDeals 3/+1/+5 physical damage and inflicts Dazed for 2 roundsConeN/AAction
Versatile EffortN/AN/AN/A+5% for each point of Effort to applied to Flex Skill checksN/AN/AN/A
Tier 4
Press AdvantageN/AN/AN/A+30% critical chance against enemies with negative fettlesN/AN/AN/A
Scatter BombY4 SpeedWillpowerDeals 4/+1/+7 energy damage to enemies in area around caster
Any enemies with negative fettles are pushed away
AreaSelfAction
VirtuosoN/AN/AN/A+1 max effort on non-combat tasksN/AN/AN/A
Tier 5
BrawlerN/AN/AN/AIgnore Flanked fettle when surrounded by enemiesN/AN/AN/A
Plague SpiritsN/AN/AN/ACritical hits inflict DisruptedN/AN/AN/A
Tier 6
Drink to the DregsN/AN/AN/A+1 max effort on attacksN/AN/AN/A
Mind ControlY4 IntellectWillpowerInflict Controlled on the target for 3 rounds; 2 uses per dayEnemyMediumAction

At Tier 1, you will choose between Trained Without Armor and Practiced In Armor. The former provides short-term gain but, if you look at the item tables, you'll see that medium armour is much better than light armour in the long term. Hedge Magic and Charm can be useful when you know that a crucial check is coming up. Warp Dash at Tier 2 is one of the best abilities of any class full stop. Being an Esotery, it gets big boosts from equipping bonded items and, even better, consumes Movement allowing you, in effect, to attack twice a turn. Warp Dash also synergises with higher tier abilities that are boosted by status ailments, such as Annelidic Attack, Scatter Bomb and Press Advantage. Both Tier 5 abilities are are pretty decent but the Tier 6 ones are not so good.

Nano abilities

Nano characters receive Concentration Increase, Cypher Limit Increase, Onslaught and two additional Tier 1 abilities at character creation. On gaining each subsequent tier, the Nano can choose another two abilities.

NameLevelsCostVersusEffectTargetRangeConsumes
Tier 1
AdaptationY1 IntellectN/ABestow Protected on allies, +2 Armor / +1 Resistance per tierAreaShortAction
Concentration IncreaseN/AN/AN/A+1 training level in ConcentrationN/AN/AN/A
Cypher Limit IncreaseN/AN/AN/A+1 cypher limitN/AN/AN/A
InnervateN/A1 IntellectN/AHeals 6 health and removes all negative fettlesAllyMediumAction
OnslaughtY1 IntellectWillpower5/+1/+6 damage of a chosen type + inflict fettleEnemyMediumAction
Quantum StepN/A1 IntellectN/ATeleport one ally to a point within rangeAllyMediumMovement
ResourcefulN/AN/AN/A+1 training level in Cypher UseN/AN/AN/A
Scan Surface ThoughtsN/AN/AN/ARead thoughts during conversationN/AN/AN/A
Tier 2
Datasphere LinkN/AN/AN/A+1 training level in Lore: Machinery, Lore: Mystical and Lore: NaturalN/AN/AN/A
EnergizeN/A2 IntellectN/AConvert allies' damage type to chosen typeAreaMediumAction
Entropic FieldY2 IntellectWillpowerInflicts -2 Armor, -1 Resistance per tier for 3 roundsConeSelfAction
FlashY2 IntellectWillpower8/+1/+6 physical damageAreaMediumAction
Mind BarrierN/AN/AN/A+1 Intellect Pool, +1 ArmorN/AN/AN/A
Targeting EyeN/AN/AN/A+15% on Esotery attacksN/AN/AN/A
Tier 3
Cypher Limit IncreaseN/AN/AN/A+1 Cypher limitN/AN/AN/A
Gravity ManipulationY3 IntellectWillpowerPushes or pulls all creatures in rangeAreaMediumAction
Incite ActionN/A3 IntellectN/AEnable ally with enemies in weapon range to attackAllyMediumAction
Scanning ArrayN/AN/AN/A+5% bonus per point of effort applied to Lore and Perception tasksN/AN/AN/A
Unstoppable ForceN/AN/AN/A+2 damage to Esotery attacksN/AN/AN/A
Tier 4
Animate BalefireN/A4 IntellectN/ASummons a construct to fight on your sidePointMediumAction
Concentration IncreaseN/AN/AN/A+1 training level in ConcentrationN/AN/AN/A
MaelstromY4 IntellectWillpowerDeal 2 of each type of damage (12 total) /+1/+4AreaMediumAction
Mind ControlY4 IntellectWillpowerInflict Controlled on the target for 3 rounds; 2 uses per dayEnemyMediumAction
Plague SpiritsN/AN/AN/ACritical hits inflict DisruptedN/AN/AN/A
Tier 5
Hedge MagicN/A2 IntellectN/AAutomatically succeed in next Quick Fingers or Smashing taskSelfN/AN/A
Successive AttackN/AN/AN/AAfter killing an enemy, make another attack against an enemy in rangeN/AN/AN/A
Tier 6
CharmN/A3 IntellectN/AAutomatically succeed in next Persuasion, Deception or Intimidation taskSelfN/AN/A
Scatter BombY4 SpeedWillpowerDeals 4/+1/+7 energy damage to enemies in area around caster
Any enemies with negative fettles are pushed away
SelfN/AAction

Adaptation starts out good and gets better as you level up. Scan Surface Thoughts is the quintessential Nano ability, giving you a unique perspective on the game. I'd be inclined to skip Innervate since you have at least one companion who is designed as a support mage from the outset. Focus, instead, on nuking opponents and boosting your interactions with the world. Datasphere Link at Tier 2 is tempting, but Scanning Array at Tier 3 is better. Instead, take Flash which is a party-friendly area attack along with Targeting Eye which is like a level in training for all your offensive abilities. I like Unstoppable Force as a pure damage boost since I can't really see why you'd take Incite Action - if a melee attacker is better than your Nano character, you're building him wrong. Maelstrom is tempting at Tier 4, but using it without killing your own party members can be problematic. Tier 5 and 6 abilities are garbage, pure and simple. Successive attack sounds good but only allows you to attack with your weapon which will be a lot less damaging than your abilities.

The construct summoned by Animate Balefire draws enemy aggro and has the following stats:

HPArmorResistanceEvasionWillpower
400070%70%

Special abilities

These are unlocked by completing various quests.

NameCostEffectTargetRangeRequirements
Artaglio's CunningN/ANearby allies gain +5 Initiative, +15% Willpower,
+10% on Persuasion tasks, +20% damage
N/AN/ABring Artaglio to the Calm and form a bond
Catena IntelligenceN/A+1 max effort on Intellect tasksN/AN/AAbsorb the Catena Intelligence and form a bond
Choi's BalmN/A+1 training level in Endurance, +2 Might, +2 IntellectN/AN/AComplete Severed Child and form a bond with Choi
Clear MindN/A+1 Might, +1 Speed, +1 IntellectN/AN/AComplete Infestation
inifere's MadnessN/A+1 Might Edge, +1 training level in Intimidation, -1 IntellectN/AN/AConvince Inifere to commit suicide and form a bond
Nychthemeron DefenseN/AInflict random fettle on melee attackersN/AN/ABring the nychthemeron to the Calm and form a bond
Seria's PeaceN/A+1 Might, +1 Speed, +1 IntellectN/AN/AComplete The Sorrow's Prey and form a bond with Seria
Summon Corpuscular Maw6 IntellectDoes what it says on the tinPointMediumBe appointed the new Memovira

Focus

You will select a focus after completing the Fallen To Earth quest. Your Focus will grant you various passive and active abilities as you level up.

Brandishes a Silver Tongue

NameTierCostVersusEffectTargetRangeConsumes
Natural Charisma1N/AN/A+1 max effort for Persuasion, Deception and Intimidation checksN/AN/AN/A
Dealmaker2N/AN/A+5% to price when selling items, -5% when buyingN/AN/AN/A
Inspiring Presence2N/AN/ABestow Inspired on nearby alliesN/AN/AN/A
Sow Dismay33 IntellectWillpowerInflict Demoralized on nearby enemies for 3 roundsAreaSelfAction
Invigorating Conversation4N/AN/ACritical success in Persuasion, Deception and Intimidation checks refills Intellect poolN/AN/AN/A

Natural Charisma allows you to expend more effort but doesn't make speech checks any easier. Dealmaker won't make a noticeable difference. Inspiring Presence is OK'ish, I guess. Demoralized is a nasty fettle but not as nasty as "dead" meaning that there's probably something better you can do with your action phase than use Sow Dismay. You may get some benefit from Invigorating Conversation from time to time, but not very much since by the time you reach Tier 4, you're using Edge for most checks rather than spending points from your pools.

Breathes Shadow

NameTierCostEffectTargetConsumes
Nocturnal1N/A+5% on Quick Fingers, Deception and Perception tasksN/AN/A
Surprise Attack1N/A+10% on attacks, +3 damage when Hidden or enemy is BlindedN/AN/A
Singularity Spike2N/A+2 relativistic damage to all attacksN/AN/A
Ambush3N/A+15% on attacks, convert all damage to relativistic when Hidden or enemy is BlindedN/AN/A
Event Horizon44 SpeedBecome invisible for 3 rounds; actions do not break visibilitySelfAction

This is an excellent offence-oriented Focus for both Jack and Speed-based Glaive characters. Nocturnal is a handy bonus and Surprise Attack is a decent damage boost if you meet the conditions. Singularity Spike is basically free damage. Ambush allows you to bypass all enemy resistances while Event Horizon turns you into a sneak attacking killing machine.

Master's Defense

NameTierEffectConsumes
Counterattack1End turn. Whenever an attack against you misses, make a basic attack against that enemy if in rangeAction
Shield Master1+10% Evasion when an item is equipped in the offhand slotN/A
Armor Expert2Reduces armour penalties by 1 rank, +2 ArmorN/A
Resilient2Regain 30% of effort spent when failing a non-combat taskN/A
Interpose3End turn. Take the effects of any attack made against an ally in range in their placeAction
Bounceback4Melee attackers are shoved backN/A

Breathes Shadow is better but this isn't terrible. I quite like it on a Nano character since Armor Expert allows you to wear Living Exuvia without penalty. Shield Master and Resilient are somewhat useful. Interpose is a terrible ability, however, and I can't see how Bounceback wouldn't make Counterattack useless.

Descriptors

You'll take a Descriptor as the last step in character creation. They come with benefits and penalties, although the benefits are generally greater.

NameBenefitsPenalties
Cautious+1 Perception, +1 Stealth-1 Initiative
Charming+1 Persuasion, +1 Deception-1 Intellect, -15% Willpower
Clever+2 Intellect, +15% Willpower, +1 Deception-1 Lore: Machinery, -1 Lore: Mystical
Graceful+2 Speed, +1 Quick Fingers-1 Smashing
Intelligent+2 Intellect, +1 Anamnesis-1 Concentration
Learned+1 Healing, +1 Lore: Machinery, +1 Lore: Natural-1 Deception, -1 Persuasion
Mechanical+1 Concentration, +1 Lore: Machinery-1 Deception
Mystical+1 Cypher Use, +1 Lore: Mystical-1 Intimidation
Observant+1 Concentration, +1 Perception-1 Running
Rugged+2 Resistance, +1 Endurance, +1 Lore: Natural-1 Deception, -1 Lore: Machinery
Slick+1 Persuasion, +1 Quick Fingers-1 Endurance
Stealthy+1 Deception, +1 Light Weapons, +1 Stealth-1 Initiative, -1 Running
Strong+3 Might, +1 Endurance, +1 Intimidation-2 Intellect, -1 Quick Fingers
Strong-willed+15% Willpower, +1 Concentration, +1 Intimidation-1 Lore: Machinery, -1 Perception
Swift+2 Speed, +1 Running-1 Stealth
Tough+1 Armor, +1 Resistance, +1 Endurance-15% Evasion
Wrathful+1 Heavy Weapons, +1 Intimidation, +1 Smashing-1 Concentration, -1 Stealth

Cautious is OK, although an inability in Initiative will make combat less fun. You can get a point in Perception for a few shins early in the game too. Persuasion and Deception are two of the better skills to have so the benefits of Charming will be good for the entire game whereas the penalties become less significant the further into the game you go. Clever may seem good on a Jack character, but inabilities in two Lore skills significantly reduce the usefulness of Flex Skill. If you're not playing a Might-based character, Smashing can be taken care of by companions making Graceful a solid choice. Although Anamnesis is one of the best skills in the game, so is Concentration. This means that Intelligent is basically +2 Intellect which is not that great long term. Learned and Mystical are both excellent descriptors for a Nano character. if you take Learned, you'll be leaning heavily on Tybir for speech checks. Place a couple of points of Edge into Willpower and the penalties go away but the benefits remain. Mystical trades Intimidation for Cypher Use which is a pretty good deal. Mechanical is not so good since the point in Concentration will end up wasted on a Nano character. Observant is OK, although I don't like the inability in Running. There may not be too much combat, but hobbling yourself (literally in this case!) feels disadvantageous. Rugged is an interesting choice since points in Resistance aren't easy to come by and Endurance is an OK skill to have. Slick is quite good, although you can get a free point in Quick Fingers in the first two hours. Stealthy is not great since Stealth is a combat skill but the inabilities in two other combat skills will make you kinda useless in a fight. The weapon training sounds good but as a Jack, you'll want to progress eventually towards medium weapons meaning you're unlikely to see long term benefit. Strong is tempting for a Glaive, but that point in Intimidation is less useful than it might otherwise be since a fair number of checks are made against Intellect rather than Might. Strong-willed is very good on a Glaive, since you may not be gaining too much Willpower when you level up. Trading one useful skill for another useful skill means that Swift is basically 2 points of Speed, which you won't notice in the long run. Tough isn't bad at all since you should be able to make up for the Evasion penalty in time while the increased toughness is good for the entire game. Wrathful is tempting for a Glaive, although I really don't like the inability in Concentration. Note that it is an awful choice for a Jack or Nano since you'll simply end up unskilled in Heavy Weapons with no way to improve it.

Recommendations

GlaiveStrong, Strong-willed, Tough
JackCharming, Graceful, Slick, Tough
NanoCharming, Learned, Mystical, Rugged, Tough

Leveling Up

Starting from Level 1, Tier 0 you will level up every time you earn 180XP. When you have leveled up four times, you will go up a Tier. Experience points are gained from following the main quest (up to 100XP for every significant milestone), completing sidequests (25XP - 40XP) and gaining significant insights through conversation or interaction with the environment (typically 2 or 3XP). In most cases, you will not earn additional XP from combat.

Within a tier, gaining a level gives you one of the following options:

  • Add 2 points to your stat pools
  • Add 1 point to Might, Speed or Intellect Edge
  • Add 1 point to the maximum amount of effort you can expend on a given task
  • Select a new skill, improve an existing skill or improve an existing ability

You can only choose each option once per tier, i.e. you can only increase your stats once per tier, not every level. If you've already increased your stats, that option will be disabled the next time you level up.

When you go up a tier you will gain the tier-up bonuses for your class and the pool of abilities that you can choose from will increase. You will also gain new focus abilities.

Sample Builds

Strong-willed Glaive Who Masters Defense

The Strong-willed descriptor synergises well with a Might build. The Masters Defense focus allows you to wear heavy armour without penalty and Counterattack works best on a Glaive since a Glaive character can draw aggro.

Abilities
Tier 1Opportunist, Practiced In Armor, Skill With Defense
Tier 2Elbow Grease, Taunt
Tier 3Brawler, Shockwave, Successive Attack
Tier 4Limits of Human Capacity

A Might build will be using two-handed melee weapons so Skill With Defense is taken to offset not being able to use a shield. Taunt is there to draw aggro. Shockwave should be taken at Tier 3 since this is the best offensive ability in the Glaive's arsenal. Limits of Human Capacity is a must on any Glaive character. At Tiers 5 and 6, take the other two Tier 3 abilities since they are better than any other option.

Observant Glaive Who Breathes Shadows

Observant is taken to get a point in Concentration without wasting a point in Intimidation. The Running inability can be overcome at character creation since that is among the Glaive's starting skill selection. Breathes Shadows works best on a Speed build since you'll be able to use Event Horizon for free by the time you get it (rather than half your Speed pool if you've not taken points in Speed Edge).

Abilities (Speed)
Tier 1Opportunist, Practiced In Armor, Unfailing Precision
Tier 2Elbow Grease, Piercing
Tier 3Brawler, Successive Attack
Tier 4Limits of Human Capacity
Tier 5Press Advantage

If creating a melee warrior, replace Piercing at Tier 2 with Fell Swoop (or Skill With Defense). Successive Attack is a particularly good on a ranged build since the ability to attack at range helps ensure that another enemy is available when you kill one. Take Limits of Human Capacity at Tier 4. Brawler and Press Advantage are both good choices at Tiers 5 and 6.

Slick Jack Who Breathes Shadows

Slick trades 2 HP for 2 essential skills, which is pretty good. The Breathes Shadows Focus is the mailed fist in the velvet glove.

Abilities
Tier 1Flex Skill, Infuse Weapon, Practiced In Armor
Tier 2Warp Dash
Tier 3Annelidic Attack, Cypher Limit Increase, Lucky Combatant
Tier 4Press Advantage
Tier 5Brawler

Infuse Weapon can be useful against armoured opponents but will become less useful as you progress through the game. Practiced In Armor is preferred to Trained Without Armor because, in the long run, medium armour is way better and the bonuses provided by Trained Without Armor will rapidly become insignificant compared to the bonuses from your Speed and Intellect pools. Initially, Warp Dash is just a means of getting around with a little extra thrown in. However, it is an Esotery which means that its damage can be boosted greatly by bonded items. Even better, it consumes your movement phase, effectively giving you the ability to attack twice. Annelidic Attack makes a good combo with Warp Dash, allowing you to steal HP from your enemies. Lucky Combatant is like a level of training in all weapon types - what's not to like? Press Advantage at Tier 4 also has great synergy with Warp Dash. Either Tier 5 ability is good: the ability to ignore the Flanked fettle is hard to pass up while Plague Spirits synergizes with Press Advantage