Maze: Bloody Fortress
Purpose: Farming Lich King fragments, in this case — though really this plan will work like gangbusters for any damn thing you want to do in Bloody Fortress.
Mainball: Alchemist — You can’t Vosebarker without Alchemist main, straight up. OK, here’s how we’re going to break Bloody Fortress: Alchemist gains a Quenching Essence at random 20% of the time when you pick up a piece of gear. Bloody Fortress rains gear down on you like a cow pissing on a flat rock. I seriously had enough Quenching Essences to craft the almighty Vosebarker’s Cloak by F11, at which point all I had to do to clear floors was punch faces until about F65.
Linkball 1: Blacksmith — You want to punch faces? Blacksmith will help you punch faces. You have 10 gear slots, so Blacksmith is basically a +30 Attack bonus and then a +15% Attack bonus on top of that. It’s enough to help even a panty-waist caster like Alchemist keep facepunching deep into the Maze. I walked into the F30 boss with an unbuffed Attack of 119 and a Power of 48 and I had caster base stats. That’s the power of Blacksmith.
Linkball 2: Gladiator — Most of the time, you’re going to want to punch the monsters to death one by one as you reveal them, and we’re going to be dealing double damage a significant percentage of the time anyway, so Gladiator’s attack bonus will come in hugely handy. (There’s some flexibility here — I did a few of my runs with Swordsman and it worked just fine, and Holy Warrior is solid here, too, as the +15 Defense will let your Vosebarker’s Cloak take you an extra 5-7 floors, which is bigger than it sounds. And of course free healing is nice.)
Venture Title: Holy Blacksmith — You’ll be investing your EP in Venture titles for the first bit, even though you’re Magic main, so get used to the idea. Holy Blacksmith is also 100% vital to the Vosebarkerening, so that’s a thing.
Magic Title: Mage of Destruction — After freely punching faces down to about F65 and then carefully punching faces for another 15 floors, you’ll have a mountain of Fireballs saved up from Alchemist’s transcription. Mage of Destruction saves you a lot of time, mana, and Fireballs by turning about a quarter of yours into much more significant Armageddons.
Melee Title: Hell God of War — You’ve got Fire Master, and you’ll be getting big bonuses to Fire Magic from Faith and the equipment Faith gives you, so turning your facepunching into epically destructive spellcasting is everything you want and more.
Artifact: Adventurer’s Harp — to make paying for all that Venture title stuff slightly less painful. You’ll be replacing it soon. 😀
Potion: Glacier Silver Reagent — A vastly underestimated potion, this will double the effect of your Red and Blue bottles picked up from the dungeon floor, which means you don’t even have to worry about whatever damage sneaks through your Vosebarker’s Cloak, as it’ll heal up without any real effort on your part. Also, the extra mana will help your MP pool keep up with your Fireball pool well past F100.
Important Gear Choices: You’re going to craft a ton of six-star equipment, and after the Vosebarker’s Cloak, you can really craft whatever you need when you need it. I suggest an early Air Book so you have plenty of Timestills, Electrostatic Fields, and Disrupting Rays to deal with the later bosses, and you will definitely need a Great Druid’s Cloak by F70. After that, anything goes — but don’t stress about the melee side of things, as you’ll be building the entire Realm of the Dead suit as you go down anyway.
Important Faith Choices: Mono-Eye Tyrant 11 –> Hectoria 10 –> (Lich 15) –> Hectoria 20 –> Mono-Eye Tyrant 20 –> Heinhardt 20 –> Victoria 20 –> Lich 20. Taking Mono-Eye Tyrant first gives you more Magic Item Find, which means more chances for Alchemist to spawn Quenching Essences. It also gives you more Defense, which again, Vosebarker’s Cloak loves, and leaves you with a Tyrant’s Belt for maximum face damage at level 20.
Taking Hectoria 10 next gives us a very important -50% to the Manticore’s Roar effect, which is the single biggest weakness in your Vosebarker’s Cloak plan between F40 and F65. Also, carrying a Torch around for +30 Magic Item Find isn’t a bad thing at all.
Then, if it’s on your agenda, take a short break to get to level 15 Lich King so you can get the obtaining/farming Lich King part done. Also, more Magic Item Find. 🙂
The last 10 levels of Hectoria eliminate the Roar effect entirely, so we have no concerns about hurting Manticore any longer, and give us a nice boost to Power and Fire Magic for our nukey-nukey Hell God of War/Mage of Destruction battleplan. Then the last 10 levels of Mono-Eye Tyrant give us more Magic Item Discovery again and terminate with a huge +12 Attack bonus and 15% to double damage. (Stacks with Giant’s Eye and Giant’s Bones should you feel the need.)
Then just power down Heinhardt next because the Black Armor helps keep with the facepunching longer, then Victoria to finish up the set, then finish up Lich King, just cause you can. 🙂
The Setup: Start by one-starring your way to Holy Blacksmith. At the rate you gain Quenching Essences in Bloody Fortress, you’ll almost certainly have enough to craft Vosebarker’s Cloak before you have enough EP to reach Holy Blacksmith. From the moment you craft that (typically circa F15) until about F65, you literally only have to worry about four things:
- Not punching a Spikey Skeleton,
- Not spending too much time on fire,
- Being very careful about how you kill Manticores (and to a lesser degree Cyclops), and
- Dealing with the Boss.
So, compared to a normal Bloody Fortress run, basically nothing. Being immune to counterattacks means you’re immune Lich’s (non-floor) fire, Demon of the Abyss’ curse, Manticore’s poison, and Cyclops’ Thump ability. This is as close as it comes to speedrunning Bloody Fortress, folks. 🙂
So, once you have that under wraps, it’s time for the fun to begin.
The Fundown: First, snag your other two stars of Treasure Seeker: you need to be able to avoid enemies until you want to touch them. Then, snag all three stars of Magic Apprentice, Black Mage, Wizard, and Fire Master in that order. You don’t need no Melee titles, you’ve got Vosebarker’s Cloak! It doesn’t matter how many times you have to punch something in the face to kill it, because it can’t hurt you! 🙂
Including the F30 boss! 😀
Once you’ve maxxed out Fire Master, you can go back and take one star in Novice Warrior, then three stars in Warrior, one star each of Magic Warrior and Dragon Warrior, and finally all three Power stars of Hell God of War. “Power?” you say. “Don’t you mean HP for the Meteor trigger?” Hell no, I mean Power for the boost to Meteor Shower. Meteor Shower is going to be your primary boss-killing tool, and you’re going to want that sh*t crunk up. (Also, until you get your Hectoria faith up to 18, you’re going to want to minimize the chance that you accidentally Meteor Shower a Manticore.)
Then backfill your Warrior and non-Holy Blacksmith Venture titles, then your Hell God’s HP and Attack stars, then take Mage of Destruction and max out Power, MP, and HP, in that order. Finally, you can take your Holy Blacksmith stars just for sh*ts and g*ggles. (Feel free, by the way, to use Quenching Essences just for the 20% reduction to counterattacks — you’ll have plenty!)
Your goal should be to PoE just around where your Vosebarker’s Cloak isn’t protecting you consistently anymore (F59 or F69, generally), so you can go back down again for maximum super-safe EP gain.
If you’re having troubles getting to the point where you can take Holy Blacksmith, keep in mind the Giant set and the Manticore set can both be worn at the same time, and with both suits on you gain 13 HP per kill and have a 33% chance to deal double damage, which should keep you quite safe.
Floor Strategy is as complex as you might think:
- Kill ranged enemies without revealing any non-ranged enemies.
- Reveal non-enemy tiles until you have 5 or more things to do that aren’t ‘reveal a new tile.’
- Reveal an enemy.
- If it’s an Anti-Magic Demon and you’re low on HP or might otherwise need to cast a spell to get through the floor, either cast those spells first and then kill it, or go reveal a different enemy.
- If it’s a Spiky Skeleton, nuke it to death or use a Curse to make it impotent.
- Kill it. If it was a Lich, do your 5 ‘other things’ to let the Fire pass, then reveal 5 more things to do and start at 3.
“Kill it” should mean facepunching until at least F70, a mix of facepunching and non-Fire-element nukes through F80, and basically Fireballing everything that moves from F80 until you decide to quit.
Boss Strategy seems like it might be hard without the use of 1st level spells, but of course it’s not really. Save your Meteor Swarms for F70+; take out the F30 boss by punching it as it can’t hurt you with Vosebarker’s Cloak on. For F40/50/60, take him out using Electrostatic Field + Holy Bolts, Gravity, and Implosion, with Icicles and Hexes to keep him from attacking. If you have to chance it, it can be worth it to punch him (while stunned, of course) to get a free Meteor Swarm out of it.
For F70/80/90/100, go ahead and use your Meteor Swarms liberally. With the damage boost from the full Realm of the Dead set, a magic book (Sage’s Diary if you have it boosted up to 12% or 15% all-spell-effect boost), and Ring of Ash, plus the bonuses from Hell God of War, I was able to kill the F100 boss with 4 Meteor Swarms (all cast under both Electrostatic Field and Disrupting Ray).
On my most recent run, I used this build to test exactly what Faith level was required to get Lich King frags. I encountered the broken statue at Faith 11, s/l30’d it away, went up a Faith level, encountered it again at 12, s/l30’d it away, and repeated every Faith level until I finally succeeded at Faith 15…which by my good luck happened to be at F101. 😀
Here’s what I looked like at the end:
…and that’s after sacrificing an entire trio of Vosebarker’s Equipment as well as some Melee Master’s Gloves and a Pharaoh’s Mask (source of those two silly souls) to one of the Evil God statues, and you don’t see the Air Book, Water Book, Fire Book, and (unused) Istantine I was carrying around so I could make sure I had all the spells I needed when I needed them.
I’m almost disappointed at this point that I don’t have anything left to do in Bloody Fortress anymore. This was far and away the funnest running I’ve done since…well, like two weeks ago. God damn I love this game. 😀
WAIT! I forgot! I got Creator!
I do have one more thing to do in Bloody Fortress!
/scampers off to go Peter-hunting