Skills & Specializations
To know, how much points you need in every attribute or skill, you need too check, what kind of equipment you want to wield in the endgame. Most items and spells have requierements you need to meet, if you want to use them. You will want to watch out as well for important/usefull abilities, that will be only unlocked if you go deep enough into a skill tree. Make sure you get all these points. Once thats done you can decide where to dump your remaining karma: Increase damage output (quickness for firearms, strength for melee, Willpower for Spells, etc) or your toughness (body, Dodge, etc).
I will now list some of the more important levels in the different Skill-trees (imho ofc):
- Ranged Combat: 6 if you want to play with revolvers, since it unlocks the warhawk; 8 for the top weapons of every specialization (except for the minigun, which needs 3 in Ranged Combat and level 7 in strength).
- Pistols: 5 for all Revolver-Skills; 7 for Chainshot; 9 for Disarm.
- Rifles: 3 for Auto-fire; 7 for Headshot.
- Shotguns: 6 for Shred Armor.
- SMGs: 5 for Flush Target.
- Close Combat: 6 gives defensive bonus; 8 gives access to the best close-combat weapons.
- Melee: 1 to have thurst as an Attack for adepts once Chi-Onslaugt and Chi-Fokus are used; 8 for Disarm.
- Unarmed: 5 for Ripp Armor; 8 for Disarm.
- Throwing Weapons: 5 for awesome 1AP grenades; 6 for Spread-Throw.
- Biotech: 2 too see enemy HP
- Decking: 6 for Mark Target III; 7 for the best deck (Excalibur).
- Drone Control: 4 for having 2 drones; 7 for the best drones.
- Drone Combat: 6 for +1AP; 9 for +2AP.
- Spellcasting: 5 for Healing Wounds II and Weaken Armor III; 6 for Aim III; 7 for Powerbolt IV; 8 for all the high-end spells (Elemtal spells with fire-, lightning- or acid-effects will still need up to 4 Intelligence, Petrify and Confusion will need 4 Charisma)
- Chi-Casting: 2 for magic resistance and spellbookslot (cheap magic-protection for every build); 5 for Martial Defense I and Counterstrike; 6 for Chi-Onslaught; 9 for Pain Resistance; 10 for Martial Defense II (only reachable for dwarves).
- Conjuring: 2 AirBarrier; 6 for Fire Barrier and Haste III; 8 for Hellfire Barrier and Haste IV
- Spirit Summoning: 3 for Totem (cheap bonus spell for everybody); 5 for 2 local spirits; 6 for the best item-spirits.
So now you know how much Karma you have and what Skills you want. Next you need to know how much Karma this will cost you. The math is easy: Each new level costs the same ammount of Karma as the new level.
I will list here the total cost for each skill level (attributes cost the same -1):
- Lvl 1: 1
- Lvl 2: 3
- Lvl 3: 6
- Lvl 4: 10
- Lvl 5: 15
- Lvl 6: 21
- Lvl 7: 28
- Lvl 8: 36
- Lvl 9: 45
- Lvl 10: 55
- Lvl 11: 66
- Lvl 12: 78
- Lvl 13: 91
- Lvl 14: 105
- Lvl 15: 120
- Lvl 16: 136
- Lvl 17: 153
Writing this down seems trivial, but to me it has always been helpfull to see the numbers, so I can easily add them up.
Cyberware, Outfits and Maxima
Outfits are extremly important when planning your Runner in Dragonfall, because they can give great boni to your attributes and skills.
Since the cost for higher levels of attributes, skills & specializations keeps increasing it is often usefull to gain the last needed levels with equipment and/or Cyberware.
Example: A full Rigger.
If you want to maximize the use of your drones you need Drone-Control on level 7 and Drone Combat on level 9. To get Drone Combat on level 9, you first need to raise Drone Control to level 9, and before you can do this, Intelligence must be 9 as well. This adds up to a Karma-cost of 134 (44+45+45). But if you plan to wear the Victory Industrious Coverall you will gain a bonus of +1 to all three stats. So you only need them on level 8, which means you only need 107 (35+36+36) Karma. This saves you 27 Karma, enough to bring an other attribute to level 7!
An interesting point considering bonus points is, that you dont need to take care of prequesites. The example above works as well with the Golden Boy outfit, which only gives the bonus on Drone-Combat, but not the boni on Int and DroneCtrl - but you still will get the +2AP bonus from Drone-Combat level 9! Another example would be the small goody of biotech 2 (so you can see enemies health) + Pain Editor for casters: You dont need the Int anymore once you got Biotech and can get an additional point for the much more important Willpower attribut. The only drawback of these boni is, that modified attributes/skills dont count as modified when upgrading a skill/specialization that depends on them with karma: If you buy cyberware that increases your Intelligence form 8 to 9 (Cerebral Booster, Enzephalon) you still cant upgrade your Drone Control above level 8. You would first need to raise your Intelligence to level 9 with karma.
Another benefit of boni from outfits and cyberware is, that these boni are not bound by racial restrictions. It is possible for a human to reach Quickness level 11, by first raising it to level 9 (the maximum for humans) and then increasing it by installing 2 Cybelegs (+1 to Quick each).
But be careful: A stat can never overpass the highest racial limit (17 Body, 11 Quickness, 15 Strength, 12 Charisma, 9 Intelligence, 11 Willpower).
The maximum for Armor is 10 (so dont take the Kevlar-lined trench coat if you got Mystic Armor - the Prototype combat suit is strictly better in that case).
The highest-tier Outfits in the Endgame are:
- Camouflaged full suit: 8 Armor, +1 Close Combat, +1 Ranged Combat, +1 Dodge
- Kevlar-lined trench coat: 9 Armor, +1 Body
- Prototype combat suit: 8 Armor, +1 to all attributes
- Matrix Echo: 8 Armor, +1 Intelligence, +1 Decking, +1 ESP
- Golden Boy: 6 Armor, +1 Decking, +1 Drone Combat
- Victory industrious coverall: 8 Armor, +1 Intelligence, +1 Drone Control, +1 Drone Combat
- Sorcerer's Robes: 6 Armor, +1 Willpower, +1 Charisma, +1 Spellcasting
- Totem Coat: 6 Armor, +1 Spellcasting, +1 Spirit Control, +1 Conjuring
- Street monk outfit: 7 Armor, +1 Willpower, +1 Dodge, +1 Move-Speed
Guns, Totems and Spirits
Last but not least I want to talk about a few things, that have "hidden" or less well known percs.
Slapdash Pistol: This weapon can be bought only during the mission at Gesundbrunnen. If you just look at its stats, it seems underwhelming and very expensive. But if correctly used its actually a pretty nice weapon. The hidden feature of the Slapdash is, that it will ALWAYS crit on targest, that are not in cover. AND it will have a much higher (random) crit-multiplier - giving it pretty good damage as long as you can ensure, that the enemy is not in cover. It works nice with weapons that can flush targets out of cover (close combat, AssaultRifles/Minigun with Autofire, SMGs). Another thing that it has nice synergies with is the huntsman totem: the multiplier works on the bonus-damage as well, allowing you some absurd high crits.
SMGs: SMGs are considered the worst weapons in the game, because of their low damage. But you can build interesting things around them. For starters they work nice with spirits and drones, since they allow you to flush enemys out of cover, so that your pets can make short work of them. For the same reasons it works nice with the slapdash (as said above). Another point about SMGs is that they do 2 Attacks with one AP. This gives interesting synergies with everything that increases your damage per attack: the Huntsman totem, everything that reduces armor on the target (armor-reduction gets twice as effective - but on the other hand you could say that armor was twice as effective against SMGs to begin with...).
Vindicator Minigun: This weapon works quite different then most weapons: It uses the Rifle Specialization to determine crit-chance, but it dosent need any points in Rifle to be able to fire in Burst Fire or Full Auto. It only needs 3 levels in Ranged Combat, but a wooping 7 lvls in Strength as prequesits. It deals AE damage like a shotgun.
Salvette Guardian, Ruger Thunderbolt and Enfield AS-7 have a burst mode, making them much stronger then their pure stats would suggest.
While Spellcasting and Conjuring can be heavily crippled by Cyberware, Spirit-summoning isnt affected at all by Essence-loss (yeah, its against the fluff, but you can abuse it). The same is true for Totems, which act like spells otherwise.
Spirit Control hinders Spirits from breaking free, but there are other methods: If you summon a spirit behint enemy lines it will usually attack the nearest enemy, once it breaks free. Another nice trick is the creator totem, which allows you to keep a spirit under control as long as it stays in you vicinity. This works as well for spirits summoned by other Chars! So you can get Dietrich and Pummelo in your team and make them summon spirits which then only have to stay close to you while you spam creator to hinder them from breaking away. But seriously: If you do that, dont forget to cast the totem every time you can - or you can get into serious trouble...
Laser Designator's hit-chance works like a firearm, so dont use it, if you dont have any points in Quickness and/or Ranged Combat.
Close-Combat Weapons and Throwing Weapons add your strength to their base damage... just in case you didnt know.
While Drones can not be affected by Buffing-spells, they work very well with Debuffs (Laser Designator, Shred Armor, flush out of cover, etc) aaaaaand the buffs of totems! Yep. Eagle-Totem works GREAT with Drones.
The lvl 5 Chi-Casting ability Counterstrike seems underwhelming, but you should know, that it ignores the AP-cost of the choosen attack (not sure about cooldowns) and is not at all limited to Close-Combat attacks. This means you can combine it for example with the Minigun in Full Auto... Come at me Bro!
Revolvers seem to be only weak weapons in the middle field of pistols, but the stats of the Warhawk are actually amazing ("Do you feel lucky, Punk?") - the drawback is only that they cant use the more advanced skills. That makes them perfect main weapons for Runners, who invested most their Karma somewhere else and now need a cheap but effective weapon (6 Quick, 6 RangeCombat, 5 Pistols: 20+21+15 = 56 karma).
This is all that comes to mind right now, hope you found something that helps you.
And remember: Save ammunition, keep your back clear, and never, NEVER deal with a dragon.