Disciples give you access to magical auras, and these can give benefits to your entire group.
Disciples are tricky to build, because you have to accept one basic truth; you make sacrifices in building your character for the good of the team. With the possible exception of healing, you will never see a personal return on your investment in your auras; and, if you aren’t planning to spend points on auras, you really shouldn’t bother making a disciple. If you invest 9 character points into evade (for instance), you are going to give yourself and all of your allies a +5 character point investment into evade when you have that aura active. You are inherently weaker in order to make your team inherently stronger, and your abilities are inherently more valuable the more allies you have. However, this doesn’t mean that disciples cannot be effective and fun characters, but it does mean you have to really strategize as you build. Here are some suggestions:
• Auras. Your first aura should be healing; you are a member of the only archetype in the game that has the ability to heal, and your team is going to need that. Keeping your healing at your level is not a bad idea; this allows you to restore 10% of your team’s total wounds every turn you take; this is significant. Beyond healing, you should consider one other aura, and you need decide which aura you’re going to take, and make sure the rest of the team knows! If you invest in evade +4, you have allowed every member of your team to have 4 CPs in evade (a +3 rating to any ally with no evade at all) when your aura is up. That’s pretty solid, and will be a big help; however, if one member of your team invests in evade heavily and has evade +8 (20 CPs), your +4 bonus is completely lost on that hero; he gets no benefit at all from your aura. Conversely, if he stopped at +7 (16 CPs), he has just freed up 4 CPs to spend elsewhere, still gets a +8 rating when your aura is up, and still is superior in this ability. Don’t bother with more than two or three auras; since you can only have 1 up at a time anyway, you will either run healing (if your team needs it) or an ability-based aura (either to enhance an attack or defensive ability).
• Arms. Auras are built under the assumption that while your aura is up, you are still doing something else; that something else is probably attacking with a weapon. Where you tailor this depends (as so much does for a disciple) on the needs of your team. If you are teamed up with two fighters, it makes a great deal of sense to minimize your armor and melee weapons, putting as many points into missile weapons as you can. Conversely, if you are the fighter for your team (the other heroes are magicians and scouts), you are going to be expected to go toe-to-toe with adversaries; you’ll need melee and armor to do that.
• Aspect: As with fighters, you cannot afford to completely dismiss aspect, unless one of your auras is invulnerability, in which case you might be better off just letting that ability cover this.
• Evade falls into the same category; put points here unless this is one of your primary auras, in which case you want to strategize your investment to get maximum returns when your aura is up.
• Intuition is not a place you can skimp. Getting to activate your auras before others act, or heal others before they take their turn, can turn the tide of a battle, or allow an ally to get one more attack in. You want to be in a position to call the shots during a scene and be proactive, and winning sequence (through your high intuition) positions you to do that.
• Might and precision, unfortunately, become the place where many disciples have to make some sacrifices, and this is why many disciples end up as mediocre combatants; you simply don’t have enough points to be great here. You can connect auras to attack abilities like precision and might, but you often struggle to see huge returns here; most heroes have already made a big CP investment into precision or might as their attack ability (or just don’t need it at all), and the bump they get from your aura may be marginal. You can go from a mediocre to good combatant with auras, but your team could suffer. As with arms, pick the ability (between precision and might) that best supports your team, and invest there. Even a modest +3 rating in one of these gives you a fair chance against most foes, allowing you to strike with some consistency.
• Resolve is vital for you; being able to double up a turn to pulse healing one extra time or being able to add your precision to your whole team’s evade aura for 1 turn are incredibly valuable ways to spend resolve; furthermore, you should consider picking up leadership linked to resolve; since you are already built to support the team, it falls to you to coordinate their efforts, and this would be a small investment to really make you integral to the team’s success.
• Applications. You just aren’t going to have a ton of extra points to invest here. Disciples tend to already spread themselves thin, and putting 2 CPs into an application linked to a below-average ability just doesn’t make a lot of sense (with the possible exception of leadership, which I’ve already discussed). Applications help to round characters out, but you are already pretty well-rounded through your auras.
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