Stag Lord proving very difficult

Go figure a boss being difficult but there you have it LOL. I will try to get my questions/info out without any specific spoiler info.

So far we have attempted this just a few times and we were totally out classed - if we don’t join up with some allies that get us through the gate without combat by the time we get “inside” we are already pretty much stripped of most of our arsenal and would need to rest to recoup them (which I don’t think is possible).

Now my party may not be ideal - for instance I decided to allow my party members to be auto leveled in this first run through thinking I might learn something from the choices made vs trying to mold the characters myself with an unfamiliar system.

Team is composed of - PC- Magus - Eldritch Archer, Hammir -Cleric, Amiri, Barbarian, Lindzi Bard, Tristian - Ecclesitheurge, (all level 4) and Octavia - Wizard 2/rogue 1 (level 3).

I have my doubts as to whether we could find enough experience to level up another notch before doing this battle (and not miss the deadline of 37 days) - the only quests still showing are the second Amiri test and moon radishes.

We don’t have that many useful options for buffing and staying alive - our general game plan has been to enlarge Amiri and have Tristian buff her with good, while Hammir debuffs with Bane and Lindzi casts Inspire Courage followed by Heroism and maybe remove fear. Meanwhile Octavia and PC are shooting and/or casting offensively and the clerics add any buffs and healing they can while Hammir is a secondary tank and Tristian is alternating crossbow with healing as needed. Wash rinse and repeat as long as options and hit points remain on the plus side.

We used quite a bit of diplomacy getting to this point with very little fighting in the kobold - mite area. It just feels like I got here too early in our adventure but one thing does occur to me and thats a general lack of magical gear - almost all the armor slot items we came across ended up on the PC because they were most useful there generally so almost all other characters are in normal armor with almost no other armor slots filled. We do have some masterwork +1 weapons and those who can handle a shield have one but we dont have the kind of gold needed to upgrade to the best items at any trader (we currently have some items stashed at Olegs and I am carrying about 5000 gold.

One oddity was a bracer +1 who no one in the party would put on and I cannot figure out why (all said someone else could use it more).

So any suggestions and or comments welcome - no plot spoilers please - Thx

It’s been a while since I played through that part, so I can’t comment too much on your gear. When it comes to those bracers though - are they Bracers of Armor +1? If so, those provide an armor bonus but will not stack if the character is already wearing armor. So characters like Amiri and Harrim won’t get anything since their armor provides a better bonus, but Tristian - who cannot wear armor - and Octavia - who can wear armor but shouldn’t - will get good use out of them.

To help with the Stag Lord’s fort while avoiding plot spoilers, here are a few tips. First, you do not want to go through the main gate with your allies - this will take you straight into the final fight, but you want to do a few other things first. There is another way to get into the fort without using the gate if you can explore. Second, you need to be careful when fighting some of the random bandit groups inside - when you kill all but one of them, the last one will try to run for an alarm that will spawn the Stag Lord and stop you from finding all of his allies. The various small groups of bandits and some of the Stag Lord’s powerful lieutenants and allies are spread throughout the fort and will join him in battle - but if you find and deal with them beforehand, then the final fight with the Stag Lord will be much easier. Some of them will also have magical gear that you can grab as well.

You should be able to rest in the Stag Lord’s fort - I remember doing so. If there’s a problem like too many enemies nearby or something, then just leave to the world map and rest there - enemies should not respawn.

37 days stills gives you a decent amount of time, but you’re right that there’s not really any opportunities to level up - you’ve done most if not all of the quests you can right now. If you do want some more experience and possibly some gear, make sure that you explored everywhere around the Old Sycamore - that includes the above ground area, the underground areas that belong to both the Mites and the Kobolds, and the caverns beneath the level with the mites and kobolds.

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Thanks for the tips! Re: the bracers that sounds correct but I’m pretty sure I tried to equip them to both Octavia and Tristian and neither accepted them. I’ll look at that again.

I think I will reload a former save and recheck the Old Sycamore areas before making another attempt. Thanks again!

Ooops looks like I put this in the wrong place maybe someone can move it to the proper category…

How…
anyway
I suggest Hold person, hideous laughing, and lots of web… which may require backtracking and respeccing.

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I chose auto-level for companions from the difficulty modification area when I started the game so I have no control over what spells and/or class options they choose and once chosen it cant be changed (I suspected at the time I might regret it later but there is always the option to restart LOL.)

Here is what i usually do:

I enter the compound through the wall (in the northwestern area is a spot where this is possible). Then i carefully clear out all the groups in the compound - thereby removing 3 difficult enemies for the end fight.

When i start the fight, i make sure my melees are already on the wooden platform, where the Stag Lord will spawn, so they can immidiately melee him. That usually does the trick.

Also, i am usually lvl5 when i start this fight. So you might wanna spend a few days moving around (dont do ratnook hill yet, that will very likely prove to be too difficult).

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Actually, there should be a guy in Olegs trading post that let you reset the levels for your companions and your main hero. The first 3 are for free, then it will cost money.

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You also probably chose the option where only characters in the party gain experience, instead of all characers, which explains why Octavia is only level 3.
Which means that the rest of the party have more experience than average, and level 4 is the minimum to confront the Stag Lord. So, I think you missed quite a few encounters on the map (they’re not necessary quests, you just go the all possible areas. Always save before entering them, some are very hard if you’re not prepared, even harder than the Stag Lord). I am always level 5 when I confront the Stag Lord, and I spread XP to all members of the party equally.

The Stag Lord himself

He is much easier when you enter then sneakally and either ally yourself with of kill off group by group most of his minions.

In my last try, I managed to do just that, and he was with only 3 or 4 minor allies, all of his lieutenants were aither with me or dead. And I was on his platform when the cutscene began, so when he transported there, he was alone against my party, and my allies took care of his minions. It was a quick slaughter (the previous fights were more difficult)

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One of the most important ways to make the fight easier is to take out each group of bandits at the Stag Lord’s Fort individually, especially the ones to the immediate right and left of the main building itself. Do this without instigating the boss fight, leave to fully rest, then come back and the fight will be significantly easier, though still difficult.

All of the tips below could be considered spoilers so don’t read them if that matters to you!

  • If you talked to Svetlana in the inn at Oleg’s Trading Post before going to Thorn Ford (the place where you rescue Jhod Kavken) and you’re also a Good-aligned character, you can convince Kressle and her gang to walk away without a fight. Later on, you’ll meet them right outside the Stag Lord’s Fort and they’ll assist you in the fight.

  • Also in Thorn Ford, right under the tree house where Kressle and her gang are hanging out, there’s a stash that you can search and, if you pass a Perception check, you can find the Stag Lord’s Wine. If you then pass a Lore (Nature) check, you can poison it and he’ll be debuffed when you fight him.

  • If you sneak into the Stag Lord’s Fort from the breach in the northwestern side of the wall, Akiros Insmort will be next to the stable by himself. If you talk to him, you can pass either a Diplomacy, Intimidate, or Lore (Religion) check to convince him to join your side and he’ll assist you in the fight.

  • If you sneak up to the cage with the Owlbear in it and pass a Lore (Nature) check, you can convince it to join your side and it’ll assist you during the fight.

  • Auchs and Rovan will be in the northeastern corner of the Fort and are the biggest threats besides the Stag Lord himself. You can’t convince them to join your side but you should still try to take them out before the fight actually begins so you’re not fighting all three at once.

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Your party really could use some work. Setting aside tactics, character level, spell usage, etc., that party will be a drag for the entire game. At lower difficulty levels, it’s doable. But it will always be underpowered. Here are some general guidelines about party composition:

(1) You need 1 (and really should have 2) frontliners who have good armor class. Or you need a lot of summons or animal companions to tank for you.

(2) You need 1 full arcane caster (and a half caster extra for buffs is ideal). An arcane trickster sort of counts…

(3) You need 1 full divine caster.

(4) Optional (but nice to have) characteristics are a 2nd line reach weapon user, an archer, a source of aoe damage, a source of crowd control, etc.

Your party doesn’t have a frontline. Amiri is not a tank (default barbarians provide no meaningful AC bonuses and can’t wear heavy armor), and although there are some ways to build her into an off tank by splashing multiple classes, auto leveling won’t get you there and she still won’t be a tank. Similarly, Harrim is not a tank (clerics, even in heavy armor and with a shield don’t have the AC that you want). That’s a problem. The best solution (using companions) is to add Valerie. If you’re interested is using mercenaries, I can give you some pointers on that too.

You have 2 full divine casters. The second caster doesn’t add much to the party beyond the first. Pick your favorite among Tristan and Harrim, and cut the other to make space for Valerie.

Having an Eldritch archer and a bard and an arcane trickster is too heavy on arcane imo. I’d probably cut 1 to make room for another frontline character. Normally, I’d cut the archer and keep the bard, because their early access to spells and their party wide
Buffs are amazing, but that’s not an option. Instead, I’d cut Linzi and build a custom merc who can help Valerie tank on the front line. Amiri can sit behind them, enlarged or with a reach weapon, and smack things.

Linzi is probably the most useful of all the premade NPC’s in the game. The buffing power of a bard is pretty much unmatched in this game. I would strongly advice against cutting her.

Normally,I’d agree. Bard’s are phenomenal half-casters and I include one in every party. However, he’s already running an Eldritch Archer and an Arcane Trickster. Ideally, he’d cut the Eldritch archer and keep Linzi, but that isn’t an option because the archer is the player character. The archer and trickster will be able to cover most of the important buffs, ie size buffs, haste, blur/displacement, and
Heroism (admittedly delayed to spell level 3 vs a bard’s lvl 2), with the exception good hope (which probably is the bard’s best spell) and competence buff from bard’s song. I think giving that up on normal to have a solid 2nd tank is worthwhile, but maybe he can roll with just Valerie. That’s always risky, though. One straggler gets through your back lines or Valerie misses a will save and the front line is gone.

I agree with your reasoning.

It is still a major flaw of Pathfinder:Kingmaker that it forces you to take a Tank/Off-Tank as main character unless you want to use mercenaries or completely skill one of your NPC into a new direction. Reongar and Nok-Nok can both make good off-tanks, but i refuse to use Evil characters in my parties^^

It does not force you to anything. There are a few optimized options that are overall better than others to have an easier way throughout the game, especially in harder difficulties, but this is not “forcing you” to do anything. It would be your choice to play this way or that way, have an easier time or not, playing in hard mode or easy mode. Not all classes are equal, that is true ; not all class/race combination are equal, also true ; not all spells are equally useful, sure ; but not all situations you are confronted with are the same either You still have to adapt, to think about your actions and your choices, even though those choices won’t all have the same impact on the story and the way you will play and react to the game.

It is not a flaw in my opinion, it is a wealth, a wealth of choices to adapt to a lot of play styles. Of course, there is a hard learning curve to master those choices, but you can enjoy the game without learning all the ropes, just choose the lesser difficulties.

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I think it’s widely accepted that a well-built, six-person party will have a two person front-line, each with solid armor class. This game really only supplies one front-liner–Valerie–and she’s a bit counterintuitive in how she’s built with her high charisma and without any hints suggesting that a player ought to invest in the dazzling display feats. While that doesn’t “force” the player to build a front line tank, the player cannot achieve a well-built, conventional party unless they build a tank. While it’s absolutely to beat the game with carefully planned builds that adapt to this, it’s unlikely that a first playthrough player will know that when building their characters and it’s probably not the best design to require players to build edge-case parties. Put differently, the companions should include 2 front-line tanks, 1 full arcane caster, 1 full divine caster and a bard in every game. That gives the player character substantial freedom to play whatever they want because, regardless of their choice, the companions can fill the gaps.

Your tank does not have to be a perfect tank, so Harrim can fit the bill as a secondary tank behind Valery. Some players even claim to have made a great tank of him.

Owlcats did make a choice not a lot of game designers have made recently : they decided to make a video game of a very complex pnp game, to give a lot of choices to the players (never in a video game did we have such a staggering amount of ability combos, as far as I know) and to make the game quite difficult in normal mode. Maybe Owlcats did not advertise enough about that fact.
The PnP game is not always balanced, there are some cheesy ways to build characters, and useless classes (mostly designed to fill a RP niche, or aimed at NPCs) and that was overall conveyed to the video game. Casual gamers will necessarily be a bit lost in all those choices, especially because normal is quite hard. I’ll grant you that. Pathfinder is Heaven for min/maxers, and if you are one, the game will be a bath in the sun for the most part. Some players have even soloed the whole game in the hardest mode possible.

For most players, the Pathfinder rules are doubly punishing, because you don’t understand how to best build your character, and because you don’t understand how to easily hurt your enemies quickly enough, so you expand your resources more quickly against weaker mobs.

I agree to all that. What I don’t agree with is that the best way, or the easiest way, is in any way “forced”. It’s just the easisest way. Another way is to learn how to play your character to the best of its abilities. It is a harder way, you may die a lot, you may get bored of it and stop playing the game (it actually was one of the secondary reasons I stopped playing), you may want to play with a different character, but it will still be your choice, among a whole lot of possible choices. You can finish the game in normal mode with a less-than-perfect non-tank Sorcerer. It may not be a conventionnal party, but it will be your party.

To force has a strong meaning of not leaving a choice. We have plenty of choices even if they are not all equal. But making all choices equal would take away the very meaning of having a choice.

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