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    Battle Mechanics/Skills FAQ by bcks

    Version: 1.00 | Updated: 03/13/06 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Summoner Battle Mechanics FAQ v1.00
    ===================================
    
    I. Table of contents
    
    I. Table of contents
    II. Author Statements
    III. All Character Skills
    IV. Magic Related Character Skills
    V. Evasion Character Skills
    VI. Weapon Skills
    VII. Class Specific Skills
    VIII. Aimed Attack and Status Effects
    IX. Combat Skills and Character Balance
    X. Chain Progression (how to learn chain attacks)
    XI. Chain and Related Character Skills
    XII. Backstab
    XIII. Example of Skill Point Distribution
    XIV. Examples of Derived Strategies
    XV. Why Debasser? (SPOILERS)
    ===================================
    
    II. Author statements
    
    A) The vast majority of the Summoner game is in a battle.  The purpose
    of this FAQ is to explain things that effect battle mechanics to aid
    in the individual player's development of more effective battle
    tactics.
    
    B) Skill point distribution makes a huge difference in how effective a
    battle tactic is.  Instead of dictating skill distribution, this FAQ
    gives you reasons WHY you should or should not put skill points into a
    skill.  It further explores the effects and use of skills.  This
    information will help prioritizing skill point distribution.
    
    C) This FAQ is not intended as a 'cook-book' guide for skill point
    distribution.  I will include some of my personal examples and try to
    clearly distinguish between fact and personal style.  With this
    information I hope that you can develop your own battle strategies.  I
    hope that if you decide to use part of my style, then you will try and
    figure out WHY I use it.
    
    D) This is not specifically an entrance level FAQ.  I will TRY to
    minimize the spoilers and the complexity of the subject manor,
    allowing more people to use this resource.  However, in order to cover
    battle mechanics in detail, I must sometimes use big words or more
    complex phrases.  I will try to also include a more basic explanation
    and/or examples to make you understand.  For more basic or quest
    related information please consult your instruction manual or another
    FAQ.
    
    E) Note that there are three versions of this game: ps2 single player,
    pc single player, and pc multi player.  Basic and quest related
    material are the primary differences in these versions.  I will try to
    make it obvious when there are differences in battle mechanics based
    on game version.  This will allow ps2 and pc players of this game to
    benefit from the common battle mechanics system, unique to the game
    Summoner.  I apologize for any differences I unintentionally leave
    out. (Some of the comments designated as single player are due to low
    level concerns and hint possible low-level multi player strategies.)
    
    F) I ask that you wait till after you read the entire FAQ to comment.
    This is my first FAQ.  I would appreciate specifics in any feedback,
    especially for all negative comments.
    
    
    This entire document is (C) [March 8, 2006] [Kevin Hays]. All
    trademarks are property of their respective owners. No section of this
    guide can be used without my permission. This includes, but is not
    limited to posting on your website, making links to my guide,
    including parts of my guide in your own, or making reference to any
    material contained within.
    
    All the sites mentioned below have permission to do the above. Please
    email me at [Griffenz007@yahoo.com] to enquire about gaining
    permission to use this document.
    
    [tkodarkshadow.tripod.com, www.gamefaqs.com]
    
    - Thanks to Michael Sarich for this Copyright -
    
    
    ===================================
    
    III. All Character Skills
    
    A) Skill acquisition  As characters gain levels they gain new skills,
    differing in single player and multi player versions of the game.
    
    B) Skill points (#/level) - It is highly unlikely to have a base level
    of 10 in all skill points in the single player game.  Only 2 or 3
    Skill points are gained for each level.  This makes skill point
    selection critical.
    
    1) Becoming levels 2-6 characters gain 2 points per level.
    2) Becoming levels 7-19 characters gain 3 points per level.
    3) Becoming levels 20-75 characters gain 2 points per level.
      
    C) Skill points can be saved until better skills open up. This is very
    important in skills that simply give access to spells or gear like:
    fire, ice, energy, dark, holy, heal, appraise, picklock, and heavy
    arms.  Skill levels can't be raised higher then the character level.
    A level 5 character can't have a level 6 heal skill.  I recommend
    saving points that do not give you a spell until later.  This gives
    you the chance to change your mind for free.
    
    Example:
    In single player, Joseph gains access to the skills of parry at level
    6, holy at level 7, heavy arms at level 8, and fire at level 9.
    
    Here is how I plan ahead:  I need 6 points for fire at level 9.  This
    means that levels 8 and 9 skill points are to be used toward fire.  I
    need 2-3 points for heavy arms at level 8.  This means that most of
    level 7 skill points will go toward heavy arms.  I will give 2 points
    to holy.  That means that one of the level 6 skill points will have to
    be saved.  I will save both of the level 5 skill points to give to
    heal at level 6.
    
    Here is how I place points for Joseph at levels 2-9 in the single
    player game. (This +number is what you gain at each of these levels.)
    Levels 2-4:  spent on only heal and dodge. (+2/level*3levels = +6
    points)
    Level 5:  are both saved for heal at level 6. (+2 points)
    Level 6:  two to heal and one to dodge or parry with 1 left. (+2
    points)
    Level 7:  two to holy, 2 are leftover for heavy arms. (+3 points)
    Level 8:  two to heavy arms, 3 leftover for fire. (+3 points)
    Level 9:  six to fire and all points are spent. (+3 points)
    Notice that at level 5 I saved two points, at level 6 I saved one
    point, at level 7 I saved two points, and at level 8 I saved three
    points.  Here are the spells I gain with Joseph at each level: 1-heal,
    2-cure, 4-regenerate, 6-resurect, 7-bless and protection, 8- none, 9-
    All fire spells except inferno.  Later I will explain why you never
    need inferno.
    
    Reasons behind this strategy
    -Uses Dodge, healing, holy, and fire spells instead of sword skills to
    do most of the killing.
    -This prevents wasting skill points in sword skills and allows total
    investment into blunt skills at a later time.
    -Blunt weapons have the best one-handed weapons and in my opinion the
    best weapon in the game.  The three blunt weapons I use in single
    player are War Club (Heavy Arms 1), Flanged Mace (Heavy Arms 3), and
    Debasser (Heavy Arms 6).
    
    ===================================
    
    IV. Magic Related Character Skills
    
    A) Spell strength  The level of the character that casts a spell
    determines the strength of that spell.  All spells that target foes
    receive penalties based on the foe.  These penalties adjust hit rate
    and/or damage.
    
    B) Spell skill levels  These levels only open up new spells at
    predetermined times, differing on ps2 and pc versions of the game.
    SKILL LEVEL DOES NOT INCREASE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF YOUR SPELLS.
    
    C) Damage spells  Damage spells use magic to reduce a foes HP.  The
    damage spells are:  all fire spells, lightning, icicle, and blizzard.
    Damage spells are divided into projectile, and area effect, and enemy
    only groups, based on AI response and effective range concerns.
    Enemies and characters can be immune to damage spells of a type and
    all damage spells based on type resistances and magic resistances of
    100% or more.
    
    1) The area effect spells are Blizzard and Fire Wall.  Area effect
    spells do not target anything in particular.  The enemy AI will only
    attack you if they detect your presence by other means, due to the
    fact that these spells neither target nor alert the attention of the
    AI.
    
    2) The projectile spells are:  Fire Arrow, Fire Ball, Meteor,
    Lightning, and Icicle.  These spells are targeted upon the enemy,
    causing the enemy AI to register the attack.
    
    3) Inferno is the only enemy only skill in the game.  This skill emits
    a weak amount of fire damage within a radius around the caster for the
    overly expensive cost of 20 AP.  I can think of no way that this spell
    can become as useful as any of the other fire spells.
    
    D) Effect spells  All spells that do not lower a foes HP are effect
    spells.  These are the only spells that work on targets with 100% or
    greater magic resistance.  Some bosses are immune to some or all
    status effects.  The effect spells are:  all dark spells, all holy
    spells, all healing spells, all energy spells excluding lightning, Ice
    Sleep, Freeze, and Ice Coffin.  I max healing spells with Joseph and
    Rosalind.  Dark spells are discussed in the next section.
    
    1) Ice effect spells  Ice effect spells all do the same thing with
    different casting costs, accuracy, and limitations.  These spells
    occupy an enemy, giving you number superiority.
    
    a) Ice coffin skill would only be useful in emergencies if it didn't
    have the high casting cost, casting delay, annoying effect, and
    pathetic accuracy.  THE USE OF ICE COFFIN SCROLLS IS MORE EFFECTIVE
    THEN THE SPELL.
    
    b) The Ice coffin effect is much better on your party members then the
    foes.  The foes receive no damage, but your party members do.
    
    c) Ice Sleep has the best accuracy but when the foe takes any damage
    the effect is removed.
    
    d) Freeze has moderate accuracy but the effect does not wear out when
    damage is taken.
    
    2) Faith  All characters start with a base magic resistance of 2% per
    character level.  Faith completely ignores all other sources of magic
    resistance and is defined by the next statement.  If magic resistance
    is less then (4%)*(casters level), then magic resistance
    =(4%)*(casters level).
    
    Example:  If a level 25 Joseph casts faith, then all party members
    have at least 100% magic resistance.  (4%)*(25)= 100%
    
    3) Protect  All characters start with a base protection of 1 per
    character level.  The spell protection gives a base protection rating
    of 5*(caster character level).  Equipment is then added to the base
    protection rating to give the total protection rating.
    
    4) Curse  A cursed character will receive more damages from both
    magical and physical sources.  There is no 'detectable' change in
    protection rating. The curse equation for magic resistance is (-
    4%)*(caster level)+1%.
    
    Example:  A level 25 Joseph casts curse on a foe, reducing its magic
    resistance by 99%.  (-4%)*(25)+1% = -100%+1% = -99% added to the
    monsters base magic resistance.
    
    E) Magic Resistances (effect on spell damage)  All damage type spells
    have 100% hit rate, within there effective range.  Magic resistance
    reduces the damage of a spell.  Individual fire, ice, and energy
    resistances further reduce that specific type of damage.  Magic
    resistance does not simply add to an individual resistance to give the
    total resistance to that spell type.  If a magic resistance or a
    specific type resistance reaches 100%, then no damages are taken from
    that type.
    
    Example:  Assuming Joseph does 100 base damage with his fire arrow
    spell.  He casts this spell at a monster with 50% magic resistance and
    50% fire resistance.  Joseph's fire arrow spell will do 25 points of
    damage.  The base damage is first reduced by 50%, with the magic
    resistance, to 50 damage.  That damage is then further reduced by 50%,
    with the fire resistance, to 25 damage.
    
    1) Sources of magic resistance  There are several sources of magic
    resistance.  Note that the holy spell Faith does not stack with magic
    resistance, but the holy spell Curse does stack with magic resistance.
    These are the status effects discussed in steps d and f above.
    
    a) Character level - All things in the game of Summoner gain 2% magic
    resistance per level.
    
    b) Magic resistance SKILL  Your controllable characters can boost
    their base magic resistance by 5% per point.  This skill has a maximum
    point value of 10, but can be further increased with items that ADD TO
    THE SKILL to greater then 10, with constant results.
    
    c) Character screen magic resistance items  This does not refer to
    the items that add to the skill of magic resistance.  There are items
    that add 10% per point to all the resistances listed in your character
    screen under resistances.  These specific physical and elemental
    resistances are fire, ice, energy, magic, slashing, piercing, and
    blunt.
    
    d) Individual boost  Some monsters and bosses have individual boosts
    to magic resistance and/or specific physical and/or elemental
    resistances.
    
    ===================================
    
    V. Evasion Character Skills
    
    A) Evasion skills are skills that reduce the chances of getting hit.
    These skills are Dodge, Parry, Dark status effect spells, Sneak, and
    Hide.
    
    B) Primary methods  Dodge and Parry are the primary methods of
    evasion.  Primarily, the game's AI has only 2 foes lock onto a single
    character.  This allows dodge and parry a chance to prevent physical
    damage from both foes.
    
    1) Dodge - Dodge has a chance of avoiding ONE attack from all
    directions.  All other melee, still within melee range, will not be
    avoided by the same dodge.  After dodging one attack you have to
    recover before dodging another.  This skill has a maximum base level
    of 10.  In my experience, dodge's effect is dependent upon the
    monsters type and level you are facing.  I would say that in single
    player dodge of greater then 10 does not have great benefit.  There
    are several items that can boost dodge to or above 10.
    
    2) Parry  Parry has a chance of using the character's weapon to
    deflect incoming blows.  This skill ONLY affects the target that
    character is facing.  This skill is required to be used before there
    is a chance of the counter attack skill to activate.
    
    3) Disabling primary evasion  There are several conditions that
    affect the primary methods for evasion.  These conditions turn off
    your characters ability to dodge and parry.
    
    a) Battle mode  If a character is not in battle mode it can't dodge
    or parry. (multi player is always in battle mode)
    
    b) Movement  If a character is moving it can't dodge or parry.  If
    they are hit while moving they may suffer from the slow status effect.
    WARNING, in single player the AI automatically moves your characters
    to 90-degree positions around the target.
    
    c) Active skills  While a character casts a spell, trips, kicks,
    pushes, sneaks, or hides they can't dodge or parry.
    
    C) Stealth  Sneak and hide are by far the most difficult and least
    reliable methods for evasion.  In the hands of an experience player,
    they can be fun.  These skills rely upon moments of opportunity that
    are rarely available.  These skills can be nearly replicated by the
    experienced operation of the game controls.
    
    D) Dark  Dark spells mostly work around the idea of evasion.
    1) Blind reduces the hit rate of foe. (evades physical)
    2) Silence prevents casting a spell. (evades spells)
    3) Death instantly kills the foe. (You can't be hit by what is already
    dead.)
    
    4) Invisibility  I saved the best for last.  This spell does more
    then what sneak and hide do at the cost of AP instead of skill points.
    Death and Invisibility are like fine wine, they only get better with
    level.  At lower levels they are hardly worth the cost you put into
    them.
    a) Invisibility decreases the range at which a foe can detect you.
    b) Invisibility has a chance to reduce damage to ZERO.
    c) Pre-level 50  Used to sneak up on foes, undetected with ranged
    attacks, and to add protection versus strong foes.
    d) Level 50 and on  Makes party member undetectable, unless it
    attacks one of the RARE bosses that can detect through invisibility.
    e) Note that knockdown resets detection.
    
    ===================================
    
    VI. Weapon Skills
    
    A) Goals of this section
    1) Explain what weapon skills do
    2) Classify weapons based on their damage types.
    3) Discuss the pros and cons of each damage type.
    4) Discuss the pros and cons of each weapon type.
    5) Talk about Heavy Arms requirements.
    
    B) Each weapon has a skill to improve the hit rate of that weapon and
    required to equip the item.  I further add heavy arms to that category
    based on its requirement to use many weapons and armors.
    
    1) I recommend level 10 in only one weapon skill per character for
    single player.
    2) The choice of weapon type should be based on what you will be able
    to find and the type of damage those weapons do.
    3) Gear can compensate for poor skill choices and proper skill choices
    can compensate for weaker gear.
    
    C) Piercing type damage  This is the most common and weakest overall
    damage type among weapons.  One-handed swords, daggers, and bows deal
    this damage.
    
    1) This is Fleces only option.
    2) Backstab makes daggers deal more damage then any other weapon type
    in the game.  This is only due to the skills ability to overcome the
    most pathetic damage type in the game.
    3) The enemies that look like the first boss in the game are exception
    to the rule.  They are weakest to piercing and strongest versus blunt.
    These enemies are so pathetic it doesn't matter.
    
    D) Slashing type damage  This damage type is more available at later
    points in the game.  The slashing weapons are two-handed swords and
    axes.  While there is a world of difference between the pathetic
    piercing damage and the titanic slashing damage, there is far less a
    difference in slashing and blunt damage types.
    
    E) Blunt type damage  Staves and blunt weapons are blunt type damage.
    Only very weak enemies in the game are stronger to blunt then the
    other two damage types.
    
    F) Blunt - These weapon allows the use of the earth shaker chain
    skill.  The best one-handed weapons are blunt, allowing the use of a
    shield.  These weapons are among the fastest weapons.
    
    G) Axes  These weapons are slashing type damage.  Axes tend to be
    stronger but slower then most weapons.  No axe in the game is faster
    then 0.83 speed.  Axes allow the use of Axe spin chain attack.
    
    H) Sword  This weapon choice is ideal for learning how to play the
    game.  Once you know how to get past the very early portions of the
    game, this weapon choice is only for Flece.
    
    1) I suggest using this for about 5-60 minutes and then make a new
    file or reload for a blunt only Joseph.
    2) As soon as you get the feel for how to kill and survive in the
    game, this skill is crap.
    
    I) Staves  These weapons are only for multiplayer.  There aren't many
    good staves and the single player Rosalind AI is pathetic without a
    bow.  Even in multi player this skill is a low priority.
    
    J) Bows  this skill is always a low priority.  Using a bow only has a
    high impact versus two bosses that you NEVER miss.  This is just
    another thing to fool around with.
    
    K) Heavy arms  This skill allows you to 'EQUIP' heavier armor and
    weapons.
    
    1) Casters never get this skill.
    2) Heavy arms of 7 will equip the best armors in the game for Joseph
    and Jekhar.
    3) Heavy arms of 6 will equip all armors for Flece.
    4) Heavy arms of greater then those numbers are only required to equip
    a select few weapons.
    
    L) Before you pick your weapon type, think about all the above and
    what weapons you get throughout the game. (In doing this I find that,
    in single player, Blunt is the best weapon type for Joseph and
    Jekhar.)
    
    ===================================
    
    VII. Class Specific Skills
    
    A) These are skills that are only used by one character class.  These
    skills are Summon, Access, Appraise, Pick Lock, and Backstab.
    
    B) Joseph  Summon is a skill that speeds up getting summons.  In
    single player you increase ring power at a faster rate.  In multi
    player you gain summons at an earlier level.  YOU CAN GET ALL THE
    SUMMONS IN THE GAME WITH LEVEL 1 SUMMON SKILL.
    
    C) Rosalind  Assess skill is very helpful in making FAQ's and
    learning resistances and such the first time you go through the game.
    Once you know all the monsters attributes it becomes pointless.
    
    D) Flece  Backstab I will talk about on its own later.  I excluded
    Aimed attack from this section because I will talk about it later.  In
    multi player all locks are picked and all items are identified.  For
    single player it is required to invest many skill points into the
    Appraise and Pick Lock skills if you don't want to miss out on items.
    
    1) Item drops are locked with a random amount of Pick Lock skill,
    ranging from 0-10.
    a) The Shadow Gauntlets boost Pick Lock by 1.  The Thief's ring boosts
    Pick Lock by 3 points.
    
    2) Level 10 appraise is required to identify all quest items and the
    strongest gear.
    a) The Thief's Gauntlets boost Appraise by 1.
    
    ===================================
    
    VIII. Aimed Attack and Status Effects
    
    A) Flece is not the only character that can cause status effects with
    physical attacks.  Flece is the only character with a skill that
    increases the chance that these status effects are inflicted.
    
    B) Once a status effect is inflicted, the same source can't inflict
    again.  Further plus effects simply indicate that the status effect
    time remaining has been reset.
    
    C) The status effects from physical sources are:  slow, cripple, dark,
    silence, and poison.
    
    D) There are four causes of physical status effects.
    
    1) Traps  This is in single player only.
    2) Chain attacks  Flece and Joseph have physical status effect chain
    attacks.
    3) Movement  The fact that this causes slow is covered in the evasion
    character skills section.
    4) Poison Weapons  The one-handed Katar and two-handed Reaver Katana
    have the added effect of adding the poison status effect.
    
    ===================================
    
    IX. Combat Skills and Character Balance
    
    A) In my opinion skill sets were designed in the attempt to make each
    character class the same overall strength as the others.  Each
    character was designed to be ideal to fulfill a certain role.  This is
    how I interpret the vast differences in combat skills for the
    character classes.
    
    B) Critical Hit is only available to Jekhar and Rosalind.  Critical
    Hit has a chance to make all physical damages twice as much.  The only
    negative to this skill is that you kill things faster, making it take
    more monsters to learn chain techniques.
    
    C) Counter attack is available to everyone except Rosalind.  I find
    counter attack annoying with the thief, due to conflicting with the
    activation of skills like TRIP, KICK, and push.  Counter attack is a
    very powerful attack, ignoring the enemies' parry and dodge abilities.
    
    D) Aimed attack was discussed in the previous section.  Aimed attack
    and kick help Flece with piercing immune enemies that death is not
    effective against.
    
    E) All character classes have the ability to knockdown the enemy.
    
    1) Flece and Rosalind have the active skill trip.
    2) Jekhar and Flece have chain attacks that add knockdown.
    3) The Debasser is a blunt weapon that adds knockdown and can be
    equipped by Joseph and/or Jekhar.
    4) Some of Joseph's summons have knockdown chains.
    5) Note that all active skills are also chain skills and are discussed
    in the next two sections.
    
    ===================================
    
    X. Chain Progression (how to learn chain attacks)
    
    A) This section describes the order in which chains are learned.  Each
    character has a maximum of 10 chain attacks.  There are four first-
    generation; three second-generation; and three third-generation chain
    attacks.  Using all original chains, except added blow, a certain
    number of times will learn a second chain.  The use of the original
    and the new chain both add to learn the third and final chain.  The
    second chain learns faster then the original chain when learning the
    final chain.
    
    Example:  This example is for both Joseph and Flece.  Desperation
    learns Stamina Burst.  Both Desperation and Stamina Burst learns
    Silence.  Stamina Burst ALONE will learn Silence faster then
    Desperation ALONE.  The fastest way to learn Silence is by using BOTH
    Stamina Burst and Desperation.
    
    B) Joseph
    1) Added Blow -> None
    2) Desperation -> Stamina Burst -> Silence
    3) Confusion -> Revitalize -> Burning Hands
    4) Push -> Mind Drain -> Life Leach
    
    C) Flece
    1) Added Blow -> None
    2) Kick -> Mug -> Trip
    3) Leg Swipe -> Arm Slice -> Blindness Stab
    4) Desperation -> Stamina Burst -> Silence
    
    D) Rosalind
    1) Added Blow -> None
    2) Shocking Grasp -> Burning Hands -> Icy Touch
    3) Bless -> Revitalize -> Prayer
    4) Confusion -> Stamina Burst -> Mind Drain
    
    E) Jekhar
    1) Added Blow -> None
    2) Kick -> Axe Spin -> Earth Shaker
    3) Mend -> Steel Skin -> Overpower
    4) Desperation -> Sacrifice -> Life Leach
    
    ===================================
    
    XI. Chain and Related Character Skills
    
    A) The effects of chain attacks - The instruction manual calls the
    combat system in this game a hybrid system.  This means that your
    character's speed compared to the foe's speed sets up who hits first
    and how many each gets before the next gets a hit in.  The only other
    way to increase this number of hits you do per monster hit is to use
    chain attacks.
    
    B) The difficulty of chain attacks  When the character you control
    initiates an attack there is an infinity sign above that players head.
    (This symbol looks like a sideways 8) The time that this symbol
    appears above your characters head is the window of opportunity.
    
    1) During this time you can activate a chain attack by hitting the
    chain attack button.
    2) Each time you successfully do a chain attack the next one will have
    a smaller window of opportunity.
    3) The double attack skill increases the window of opportunity.
    When the push chain or activated skill hits a target it increase the
    window of opportunity.
    
    C) Types of chain attacks  There are three types of chain attacks:
    those that are also activated abilities, those that are spells, and
    those that are standard chains.
    
    1) Activated abilities chains are push, kick, and trip.  These chains
    can also be activated outside of chain attack with the cost of AP.
    Each of these skills have a base skill level from 1 to 10.  In single
    player trip is the only cost effective activated chain skill.  Kick is
    only useful if you do not have other party members to compensate for
    certain foes.  That means kick can be a useful skill in multi player.
    
    2) The spell chains are mend, stone skin, overpower, bless,
    revitalize, and prayer.  These chains take longer to perform and have
    different timing then all other chains.  These chains disable the
    primary method of defense, leaving the character open to attack.
    These chains should primarily be performed to gain access to new
    chains or when another character distracts the foe.
    
    3) Standard chains are all other chains.  Only two standard chains are
    not totally explained by the game text.
    
    a) Any weapon can be used to learn Axe-spin, but is only useable by
    axe type weapons.  This attack hits enemy 360 degrees around Jekhar
    and ignores all immunities.
    
    b) Any weapon can be used to learn Earth-shaker, but is only useable
    by blunt type weapons. (Axes are the only way to use axe-spin and are
    therefore the fastest way to learn this skill.) Earth-shaker does no
    damage but knockdowns all vulnerable monsters in a radius around
    Jekhar.
    
    ===================================
    
    XII. Backstab
    
    A) The vast majority of all damages that Flece can do are piercing
    damages.  The skill backstab is the most powerful attack in the game,
    even though it has the damage type that most monsters in the game have
    high resistance to.  That is the reason this skill is so important and
    devastating.  If I could put more then 10 points into this skill I
    would.
    
    B) METHODS OF BACKSTABING  Flece must place her dagger directly
    behind the back of the foe she intends to backstab.  This requires
    something else to set up that condition.  Any one or even better all
    of the following tricks can be used in combination with backstab to
    kill in one hit.
    
    
    1) Distraction  Another character can distract the enemy as Flece
    positions herself for the attack.  This is the first available method
    for backstab.
    
    2) Knockdown effect  Chain attacks, activated abilities, summons, and
    weapons can add the knockdown effect to the enemy.  This allows a
    significant damage bonus, sorely needed to make one hit kills at early
    stages of the game.
    
    3) Sleep or Freeze spells may be used to hold the foe stationary while
    Flece deals the fatal blow.  Rosalind and the Blue Imp are the only
    characters that have these spells, noting that the blue imp sleep is
    much less effective then Rosalind's sleep.
    
    4) An undetected approach from behind likely leads to a one hit kill.
    Sneak may be used to accomplish this.  Manual control of the character
    to walk slower can approximate and increase the effective use of
    sneak.  Invisibility can also be used, especially at higher levels.
    
    5) When a caster is attacked during the casting process the damage is
    increased significantly.  This may lead to a one-hit-kill.
    
    C) Damage considerations  Backstab is physical piercing damage.  As
    such it is subject to several damage modifiers.
    
    1) ANGLE OF ATTACK  There is a 'sweet spot' directly behind the back
    of the foe.  This does not always mean opposite of the way the foe is
    looking.  Some foe shift slightly sideways in the way they stand,
    leading to a shift in optimal backstab location.  A slight shift to
    the left or right can have a modifier as large as 6X THE BACKSTAB
    DAMAGE.
    Your knife should be placed perpendicular to the plane of the target's
    back.
    
    2) DETECTION  Here are the reasons why a foe might not detect you:
    knocked down, approached from behind, casting a spell, asleep, and
    frozen.  Notice that these cover almost all of the ways to get a one
    hit kill.  Casting a spell is only a temporary loss of detection.
    This effect is identical to when a shark attacks, closing its eyes.
    
    3) Weapon  the base damage of the weapon has a considerable effect on
    backstab and all other damages that weapon does.
    
    4) Backstab skill level  This should be obvious.  A level 1 backstab
    is only slightly stronger then a normal attack.  MAX OUT BACKSTAB AND
    USE AT LEAST ONE RING THAT GIVES BONUSE TO BACKSTAB.
    
    5) Empowered status  This is huge.  An onslaught ring or AP boosting
    ring are the only things better then a second ring of slaying.
    
    6) Character level  While your character's level may affect damages,
    the difference between your level and the monster level has a HUGE
    effect on backstab and any other damage.
    
    7) Height affects all physical damages by a percentage of the base
    damage.  Backstab has a lot of other modifiers that add a larger
    percentage to the base damage.
    
    8) NEGATIVE ENEMY MODIFYERS
    
    a) Monsters protection rating reduces the base damage your physical
    attacks by a number. [this is most important early]
    
    b) Monster type resistances, such as piercing in the case of backstab,
    reduces the total damage of that type by a percentage. [This can make
    backstab do nothing versus some foes.]
    
    D) There are several issues that must be overcome, when using this
    skill.
    
    1) Piercing Immune  Use backstab on other targets in the group to
    minimize the negative impact.
    
    2) Detection  If ANY of your party members are detected, backstab
    will then do considerably less damage.  All other damage modifiers
    become all that much more important to kill the foe in one hit.
    
    3) Knockdown Immune foes  There are only two ways to backstab these
    foes, unless they are casters and then there are three.
    
    a) Approach from behind slowly and backstab undetected or lure them
    out with another target and then backstab them to death.
    b) The lure method may take more then one backstab until all other
    damage modifiers are increased to compensate for the lack of stealth.
    c) Versus casters you may wait till the moment of the spell casting to
    quickly get into position and backstab.
    
    4) AP considerations  Backstab is a huge burden on the low AP thief
    character.  Here are ways to help reduce the burden on the thief's AP.
    
    a) Use of backstab to primarily gain upper hand.  Once you outnumber
    the monsters you can use others to finish off the foes to share the AP
    cost.
    b) Target AP cost effective foes first to reduce the total AP required
    to use to gain a numbers advantage.
    c) Use other characters to occupy and add vulnerability to backstab.
    ICE SLEEP AND FREEZE ARE PERFECT FOR THIS TASK!!!
    d) Backstab also can be used to simply reduce the HP of some of the
    targets such that a hit or two can kill with another character.
    
    5) ITEMS - You may also use ITEMS that boost AP without increasing the
    number of times it takes for backstab to kill the foes you are
    fighting.
    
    a) A small increase in max AP is NEVER worth having to use five extra
    AP each time you kill with backstab.
    b) With backstab in mind here are the items I would use with the thief
    and when.  These items will help you kill faster with backstab.
    
    1b) Non-backstab swords - These should be used when fighting piercing
    immune foes or prior to cost effective use of backstab.
    2b) Bows  these should only be used against two bosses in the game or
    when wanting to just keep Flece out of the way.  Backstab makes these
    absolutely useless for anything else.
    3b) Strongest Available dagger  This weapon should be used any time
    not already covered.
    4b) Armour/leggings/gloves  This selection depends upon how many
    points you are willing to spend into heavy arms.
    5b) Heavy arms of 6 gives you access to all of the protective gear a
    thief can use.  Any points beyond heavy arms 3 are due to specific
    items you want to have access to.  I recommend at least 4 to use the
    Spring-steel boots.
    6b) Keep in mind that the protection spell ignores what gear you wear
    and that all gear contributes less then the protection spell toward
    the total protection.
    
    7b) I like to use the Haramaki to boost speed and the Black Hand to
    boost backstab.  Boots of stealth may be added to the list.  These
    armors are selected based on offence and all are available at a heavy
    arms level of 3 or less.  With this setup you can also use the Katar
    and all her best daggers.
    [ Assumption - This setup is under the idea that all piercing immune
    foes will only be killed by other party members.]
    
    8b) The amulet is mostly up to what you have.  Speed, HP/AP boost,
    auto regenerate, or skill bonuses are all at your disposal.
    
    9b) While using backstab, rings with a thief are basically set in
    stone.  The only pre-effective-backstab rings give Hp boots.  This is
    due to how easy it is to get AP boosting rings and rings of slaying.
    Here are the ideal backstab combos for different parts of the game.
    
         -2 AP boosting rings.
         -2 rings of slaying.
         -1 ring of slaying and one AP boosting ring. [if having AP issues
    or before getting second ring of slaying.]
         -1 ring of slaying and one onslaught ring.
    
    10b) Pick Lock and Appraise considerations  You don't have to have
    items that add to appraise and picklock on all of the time.  Switch to
    those items whenever there is a need for those skills.
    
    ===================================
    
    XIII. Example of Skill Point Distribution
    
    A) This section will show proper skill point selection.  The next
    section will tell how these choices of skill points make the party
    better at killing.
    
    B) These next four examples are from my most recent single player
    game.  This is just prior to advancing the game to at specific point
    in time.
    
    1) Joseph
    Level 20 (203,323exp)
    Base HP=456 AP=58
    Dodge = 7
    Heal = 10
    Parry = 9
    Holy = 3
    Heavy Arms = 6
    Fire = 7
    Blunt = 10
    Dark = 2
    Counter attack = 6
    All other skills = 1
    
    2) Flece
    Level 20 (203,385exp)
    Base HP=350 AP=48, After items HP=410
    Pick Lock = 9
    Dodge = 7
    Sword Weapons = 10
    Backstab = 10
    Heavy Arms = 6
    Appraise = 9
    Trip = 4
    All other skills are at original levels
    Note that over the next three levels I will max out trip.
    
    3) Rosalind
    Level 20 (201,872exp)
    Base HP=260 AP=59, After Items HP=290 AP=69
    Heal = 10
    Energy = 10
    Magic Resist = 3 (don't remember putting points into)
    Dark = 2
    Fire = 7
    Holy = 7
    Ice = 7
    Critical Hit = 9
    All other skills are at original levels
    
    4) Jekhar
    Level 20 (204,537exp)
    Base HP=608 AP=33
    Dodge = 4
    Heavy Arms = 6
    Parry = 7
    Blunt = 10
    Counter Attack = 10
    Critical Hit = 10
    Heal = 4
    All other skills at original levels
    
    C) These next two examples are from the best area in the game to
    increase the rate at which experience is gained.  Note that I will not
    spend any more skill points until I further advance the story.  The
    other two party members are still level 20.
    
    1) Joseph
    Level 27 (807,073exp), 5 extra skill points to distribute.
    Base HP=512 AP=65, after items AP=75
    Dodge = 7
    Heal = 10
    Parry = 10 (items +3)
    Holy = 10
    Heavy Arms = 7
    Fire = 7
    Blunt Weapons = 10
    Dark = 2
    Counter Attack = 6 (items +3)
    All other skills are at one.
    
    2) Flece
    Level 27 (855,807exp), 6 extra skill points to distribute.
    Base HP=392 AP=55, After my item choices can be HP=422 AP=65
    Pick Lock = 9 (items can give +3 or +6)
    Dodge = 7
    Sword Weapons = 10
    Backstab = 10 (After my item choices +3 or +6)
    Heavy Arms = 7
    Appraise = 9 (items can give +1)
    Trip = 10
    Dark = 2
    All other skills are at original levels.
    
    ===================================
    
    XIV. Examples of Derived Strategies
    
    A) Here is the order of priorities when it comes to selecting skill
    point distribution:  defense, magic offence, physical offence, and
    activated abilities.
    1) This means that at low levels I will concentrate on defense.
    2) As my level increases magic and physical offence becomes more
    dominate.
    3) At a certain point in the game Backstab becomes the fastest means
    killing almost all foes.  I have already explained how in my Backstab
    section.
    
    B) This portion is only for levels 2-9.  This is an example of how to
    prioritize skills for Joseph in single player. (This +number is what
    you gain at each of these levels.)
    
    Levels 2-4:  spent on only Heal and Dodge. (+6 points)
    Level 5:  are both saved for Heal at level 6. (+2 points)
    Level 6:  two to Heal and one to Dodge or Parry with 1 left. (+2
    points)
    Level 7:  two to Holy, 2 are leftover for Heavy Arms. (+3 points)
    Level 8:  two to Heavy Arms, 3 leftover for fire. (+3 points)
    Level 9:  six to fire and all points are spent. (+3 points)
    
    Note Number of skill points saved at each level.
    Levels 2-4 none saved
    Level 5 two points saved
    Level 6 one point saved
    Level 7 two points saved
    Level 8 three points saved
    Level 9 none saved
    
    Note Spells Gained access to at each level.
    Level 1:  Heal
    Level 2:  Cure
    Level 3:  none
    Level 4:  Regenerate
    Level 5:  none
    Level 6:  Resurrect
    Level 7:  Bless and Protection
    Level 8:  none
    Level 9:  Fire Arrow, Fire Ball, Meteor Storm, and Fire Wall.
    
    C) This portion is for levels 10-20.  This is an example of how to
    prioritize skills for Joseph in single player.
    
    1) I suggest first boost blunt to 10, then Heavy Arms to 6, and then
    finally do steps below.
    2) After blunt is level 10 all other weapon skills are useless.
    
    3) There are no negatives to boosting Healing to 10, Holy to 7, Dodge
    to 7, and Parry to 10.  I recommend doing some of these skills like
    show in examples in the last section.
    
    4) When you have extra points, Heavy Arms of 7, Counter Attack around
    5, and Dark to 2 is nice.
    
    5) About 5 points spent on counter attack are useful at these levels.
    Joseph is a hybrid character, being half caster half warrior.  This
    skill is strictly a warrior skill and is more useful with a smaller
    party.
    a) A good rule of thumb is that Counter Attack should never be more
    then half of what Parry is until Parry is a base of level 10.
    
    6) Silence (Dark level 2) just gives you the option to deal with mages
    in a different way and is only one skill point.  Mages can easily be
    obliterated without silence, if you know how.
    
    7) Faith (Holy level 7), at early stages of the game, is mostly a
    boost to the effectiveness of Meteor Storm.  If Rosalind is about the
    same level she can be used at early stages of the game to cast this
    spell.  If Joseph is level 25 or more and Rosalind is only about 20,
    then Joseph's Faith is to be used until Rosalind is at least level 25.
    
    8) Heavy Arms of 7 is needed, depending on how far you are in the
    storyline, for best armors.
    
    D) This portion is for levels 20-75.  This is an example of how to
    prioritize skills for Joseph primarily in single player.  Note that at
    higher levels there is no difference between single player and multi
    player.
    
    1) Heavy Arms of 7 is needed for best armors.
    2) Finish anything you haven't in the step above.
    3) About level 20 or so Curse (level 10 Holy) starts to prove it is
    worth the 20AP casting cost.  Consider leveling this one up.
         a) Combo  Freeze/distraction, Curse, and Fire spell.
    
    4) In the upper 20s Death (level 10 Dark) starts to be worth the 20AP
    casting cost, if you first curse foe.
         a) Combo  Sleep/Freeze/distraction, Curse, and Fire spell and/or
    Death.
    
    5) Once you are level 25 Faith (level 7 Holy) makes Magic Resist less
    useful.
    
    6) Here is the order in which you should max out the remaining skills,
    based on usefulness.  The ones that are not listed are not useful at
    all.
    
    a) Summon (MULTI PLAYER ONLY) This skill reduces the required level to
    get your summons.  The Wrath is GODLY-OVERPOWERED!!! in multi player.
    This summon has a high level requirement in multi player, assuming a
    Summon skill of level 1.
    b) Counter Attack
    c) Other Weapon if want option.
         -Single player  Summoner = blunt with some magic.
         -Multi player  Summoner = Magic and Summon with some sword.
    
    d) Magic Resist
    Prior to level 25 in multiplayer this skill is much more useful then
    summons, if you are able to get the warding necklace from a foe like
    the Jade Temple mages. That amulet gives 20% magic resistance.
    
    e) Dodge
    f) Double Attack
    g) Bow Weapons
    h) Push
    i) Summon (SINGLE PLAYER ONLY) - Joseph can easily have all summons
    with level 1 Summon skill in the low 20s.
         -All rings give you access to one summon just by having them.
         -The second level ring of darkness summon you get from a side
    quest.
         -All other rings give you a level 2 summon at a ring power of
    60,000.
    
    ===================================
    
    XV. Why a Debasser? (SPOILERS)
    A) My choice of a Debasser, for Joseph and Jekhar, is typical.  Here
    are my reasons why.
    1) Covered in the weapon section of this FAQ, blunt weapons have damage
    type, speed, and one-handed features superior to any other weapon type.
    2) Covered in the combat skills and character balance section, the
    Debasser is shown as a means of knocking down the enemy.
    3) Covered in the Backstab section, Backstab is shown to quickly kill
    of enemies.  This means that your party will soon outnumber the
    enemies.  As soon as you outnumber the enemies, you will win no matter
    how much damage you do.  This makes the speed, knockdown effect, and
    one-handed ability much bigger concerns then any minor damage bonus.
    4) Covered in the chain and related skills section, Earth-shaker is the
    best chain in the game.  This chain requires the use of a blunt weapon.
    This chain knocks down all nearby enemies, not immune to knockdown.
    5) Blunt weapons are one of the best weapon types to learn chains with,
    due to their speed.  The more speed you have, the more chains you can
    do.
    6) You gain access to the best blunt weapons early in the game.  Joseph
    has to level up to use blunt weapons, but you can buy a war club as
    soon as you get to Lenele.  The Flanged Mace is from shops after
    Khosani.  After the tower you can buy the Debasser and the Scutum
    shield from a random desert battle shop, long before any comparable
    swords.
    7) As soon as you exit the tower you are in the best area in the game
    to level up your party.  Joseph has one hand, making the Debasser
    perfect again.

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