I recently started playing Wildermyth again – it is a game I have revisited multiple times since I played it for the first time at the beginning of this year. There’s a lot I love about Wildermyth but in previous articles I have primarily focused on my appreciation for the game’s narrative qualities. So I thought it would be fun to spend some time reflecting on some of my favorite builds from across my many campaigns. I’ll be covering builds for all three class types in the game, and I’ll be sticking to combinations I’ve actually had the opportunity to use – while you could certainly use legacy points to fish for “optimal” builds, I find much of the joy of Wildermyth comes from making the best of the unique combination of abilities, transformations, and gear that you discover with each adventure. With all that out of the way, let’s start with the burliest of the character types: the warriors!
Warriors are the tanks and melee combat specialists of Wildermyth, with many abilities that help to increase damage and armor. Their core ability is “Guardian,” which allows them to enter a state in which they will attack a single opponent that steps into their range of attack. Many warrior abilities power up Guardian in meaningful ways, allowing it to activate in additional circumstances or increases its functionality or number of attacks. Of course, warriors can be offensive powerhouses too with the right abilities, and some of my favorite warrior builds focus on mitigating what I consider to be the warrior’s biggest weaknesses: their slow movement and lack of long-ranged abilities.
Build #2: The Best Offense is a Good Defense (Malla Fuller)
Malla Fuller is a character from my most recent run, an “All the Bones of Summer” campaign. She’s the warrior daughter of a mystic named Naralla, who in a previous “Eluna and the Moth” campaign was one of the two magical sisters. So Malla had a storied family and a lot of legacy to carry on her shoulders. Malla’s build is focused on two primary abilities: Engage and Backslam. The Engage ability is an action that draws aggro towards Malla in exchange for giving her a boost to armor. Backslam is an attack action that does damage based on the character’s armor value rather than the power of their weapon. So at its simplest, Malla’s strategy is to use Engage to increase her armor value and then use Backslam to use that increased armor value to deal big damage to the opponent. This becomes significantly more effective when using Engage+, an enhanced version that not only engages a ranged target but also automatically engages every enemy adjacent to Malla. It also increases the armor value per engaged foe to +2. It was not uncommon for Malla to be able to use engage in order to get +6 armor using this technique, and that means +6 damage to the power of her Backslam. When Backslam is also upgraded, she can fling the target into a second foe and do half damage to them as well. Not only would Malla be able to get most of the enemies nearby to focus on her, but she could then use the armor boost to take out two of them in the process. It’s a pretty satisfying combo to pull off, but it does have some drawbacks. Backslam can only be used every other turn, so Malla couldn’t use this strategy every single round. It is also dependent on having a high number of enemies to Engage and for their positioning to be ideal as well. Finally, it doesn’t really counteract my biggest complaint about warriors, which is their slowness when it comes to moving along the battlefield. In fact, this build encourages Malla to wear heavy armor that lowered her speed in order to have the highest armor value possible for her attack. So while this build was a fun one, it isn’t nearly my favorite for the warrior archetype.
Build #1: Look Before You Leap (Maylop Proudchild)
Maylop Proudchild was the childhood friend of the Athen Fenspear, a man whose family was purported to have the blood of dragonslayers. At a fighting tournament, Athen confessed his love to Maylop, and the two men were soon thrown into a war that would last a generation. Wielding the staff he earned in his tournament victory, Maylop went on to train with the Warless Order and even overcame Winterlock before helping his husband to slay a dragon. Maylop became one of my favorite warriors because he found multiple solutions to the speed problem which so plagues this class. One piece of the solution was Zealous Leap, an ability that allows to warrior to jump a short distance as a swift action once every other turn – or once per turn when fully upgraded. If Maylop couldn’t quite reach a foe, that extra jump would often do the trick. Of course, sometime he truly could not reach within the bounds of his turn, but that problem was solved by the combination of the Paladin and Sentinel abilities. Units with Paladin automatically enter the Guardian state when they end their turn with a move action, while Sentinel upgrades Guardian so that the unit jumps two tiles away, expanding the range which they are defending during the turn. This meant that if Maylop couldn’t get into the heat of battle with Zealous Leap, he could move his maximum distance and then throw up a Sentinel which would allow him to leap over and intercept an enemy trying to move in against him or his allies. The visual of Maylop leaping to and fro about the battlefield was a sight to behold, and he almost never spent a turn wasting his energy or not accomplishing anything because no foe could escape his reach for long.
Stealth archer is often my preferred approach in fantasy RPGs – it’s how I play Elder Scrolls in the world of video games but it is also my preferred character build in fantasy tabletop RPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons or Dungeon World. So you can imagine I was quite happy to get a good look at the hunter in Wildermyth, a class dedicated to using stealth and long ranged attacks to deal with enemies. Hunters have the Silkstep ability by default, allowing them to move a couple of spaces while entering a stealth state called greyplane. In greyplane, attacks from the hunter ignore enemy armor, allowing them to deal damage even to foes who are heavily protected. Hunters can unlock other abilities that help them enter greyplane more often, and they have a lot of tricks up their sleeves such as utilizing poison, fire, or flashbangs in tandem with their archery. And woe to those who neglect the melee hunter, whose dagger does double damage when receiving a flanking bonus! As much as I love this class, they do have some weaknesses. They struggle more than the other classes to achieve a high damage potential without very particular builds, and they are also arguably the squishiest characters – warriors have heavy physical defense and mystics have heavy magical defense, but hunters are reliant on their dodging abilities to protect them. Once hit can mean serious trouble, which is why maintaining stealth is so important.
Build #2: Burn Baby Burn (Quana)
Quana’s mother Piora was cursed as a child, and that terrible curse led Piora to seek out an exiled wisewoman to find the cure. Unfortunately for the Yondering Lands, the wisewoman was the very person who cast the curse, and she used Piora to escape from her flesh prison and reveal herself as Vulta the Sunswallower. When a much older Piora set out to defeat the Sunswallower once and for all, she was accompanied by her two daughters, Stilla and Quana. Quana was the hunter of the set, and during her younger years battles against the Morthagi and the Thrixl had sharpened her to face Vulta’s hordes. Quana’s power came from fire thanks to her Ember Arrows – units with this ability deal extra damage, shred armor, and set their opponents on fire as long as they themselves are adjacent to a fire when they shoot. Ember Arrows is the best tool I have found for increasing firepower on my hunters (ha, firepower), as it scales directly with potency and with the right accessories can easily deal an extra 5 damage on top of the power of the bow itself. When Ember Arrows is upgraded, Quana can use a swift action to launch herself towards a fire that is just out of reach to make sure she is getting the benefits of her ability. Quana also had Ambush, another great hunter ability for increasing damage potential. Ambush is essentially the ranged variant of the warrior’s Guardian ability, allowing the hunter to make a reactionary shot against foes within a specified range. However, unlike Guardian, that reaction shot does increased damage compared to normal, and if it doesn’t get a chance to go off during the enemy phase, the hunter can still fire that prepared shot – with the damage boost! – at the beginning of the next turn. Ambush is already powerful on its own, but then stack on the power from Ember Arrows and you can see how Quana became such a powerhouse; the extra damage from her prepared shot and her flames combined made Quana one of the most damage-dealing hunters I have ever run. The main weakness of this build is the reliance on fire – if there’s no fire on the field and you don’t have a character on the team who can make the flames for you, this hunter won’t be performing at their full potential compared to someone whose build is less situational.
Build #1: Don’t You Know That I’m Toxic? (Kralylle Wasttow)
When the Morthagi, artificial abominations made of metal and bone, began to run amok in the Yondering Lands, Kralylle the hunter rose to the occasion. During the course of her journey she discovered that a weapon she carried on her person, the Dagger of Oldwane, was in fact a cursed object which needed to be cast away. Kralylle was never the kind of person to discard a useful tool just because of its origin, so she determined to utilize its powers for good. This cost her humanity, but gave her great power, as Oldwane’s dagger is a key part of this build. While I’ve primarily emphasized class abilities so far, the toxic build I’m about to describe benefits from the transformation quality Skeletal Arm (R), which passively grants +2 potency to the unit along with some other benefits. This is important because potency is the stat which influences the power of the Quellingmoss ability. Quellingmoss adds poison to a hunter’s repertoire, allowing their attacks to passively inflict poison as well as giving them a poison grenade that inflicts poison to a group of enemies in an area all at once. The way poison works in Wildermyth, it does damage equal to the poison value to the target every single turn prior to the target’s action. This means a foe whose poison exceeds their current health is dead in all but name – as soon as their turn starts, they’ll fall to poison before they can move or cause harm. Poison also stacks and gets bigger over time if you continue to inflict it, so if you deal 5 poison on turn 1 the foe will take 5 damage, and then if you deal 5 more poison on turn 2 the foe will take 10 damage. The ability to stack poison ranks combined with the fact that the Quellingmoss grenade can be used twice a turn as long as you stand still means that with good potency, a hunter can easily inflict deadly stacks of poison on a whole slew of enemies at once. Since poison also ignores armor and warding, it’s a great way to deal with foes who are really tricky to defeat with conventional attacks, and it’s great against bosses with larger health meters. Kralylle also had the benefit of Long Reach, an ability not locked to hunters that gives +1 range to the unit’s abilities. She could lob poison grenades at an increased distance, and those grenades were more effective because of the potency boost granted by her dagger, allowing her to tear through enemy groups or to bring down large armored foes like wardrobes without even breaking a sweat. Poison is busted in Wildermyth, and Kralylle’s transformation allowed her to become a particularly dangerous wielder of poison compared to other hunters I have run. (Side note on this one: any potency-increasing weapon – such as the bone bow – can essentially accomplish this same effect, but Kralylle was the character where I truly realized the power of poison, so I wanted to spotlight her for this build!)
I have a confession: I’m not a big fan of magicians. The wizard archetype in most fantasy games really does not work for me. Magic tends to be tied to a limited resource like MP or a certain number of spells per day, requiring you to conserve that resource for big battles and preventing you from wielding the magician’s full power until you really need it. Thankfully, the magic system in Wildermyth is one of the most fun systems I have experienced in an RPG. Mystics have the power to Interfuse with objects in the environment and then use those objects to cast spells based on the nature of the object. From flinging flames to launching vines to shattering dressers, the mystic can turn the environment against their foes in order to do serious physical or magical damage depending on the resources available to them. Mystic improvements tend to focus on expanding their list of interfusions, making them particularly powerful when interfusing with a specific type of object, or grant them other beneficial magical abilities to bring to bear. Mystics are physically frail and do struggle to perform in arenas where there is nothing nearby to interfuse with, but the best mystic builds come up with clever solutions to a lack of resources.
Build #2: Obligatory Battlemage Build (Jaymy Fuller)
Remember Malla, the armored warrior from back at the beginning of the article? Jaymy is her aunt, and her journey got its start facing off against the thrixl in the “Eluna and the Moth” campaign. Jaymy’s adventures led her to develop a pair of beautiful moth wings and eventually, the discovery that she was part of an order of guardians who watched over the Yondering Lands after death. Jaymy functions a little differently than other mystics by using her magical power in tandem with weapons in order to fight on the front lines. She does this primarily through her Vigorflow ability, which increases her physical attack power while interfused with objects. With Vigorflow+ active, she gains +3 strength and +1 speed per interfused object, significantly boosting the power of her attacks in melee as well as the territory she can cover. This combines particularly well with Openmind, which expands the total number of interfusion targets she can maintain, as well as a relic she carries in her offhand called the Thnarrs Accordica. With the ability to interfuse up to five times, Jaymy’s damage increases by a whopping 15 and her speed by 5, making her a devil with a blade on the battlefield. As if that wasn’t enough, Jaymy also has the power of Indignance on her side, allowing her to deal true damage based on her potency to targets that she walks past. True damage ignores armor, and while the actual damage value of Indignance is usually somewhat low, it has really useful applications on the battlefield. Some weak enemies like Horned Children are easily cleared out by Indignance, and enemies with a protective ability like the Haunt’s Specterstep have their protection removed when hit by Indignance. This allows Jaymy to run up to these units and clear their protection, then take them out with her wicked blade. Plus it isn’t as if Jaymy isn’t capable of using interfusions for their normal purposes – she can make a ranged attack with an interfused object just like any other mystic if she needs to! That said, her interfusions are weaker as a result of focusing on melee combat, and her strategy is dependent on having things to interfuse with without providing any kind of way for her to make items if she needs them. Despite the weaknesses, this has been one of my favorite builds because it shattered my expectations – I would have never expected a melee wizard to be a viable choice, but Jaymy showed it works and works well.
Build #1: Botanist (Piora)
Apparently my theme with mystics is “characters related to people I’ve already mentioned.” Remember Quana, the hunter with fiery arrows? Her mother, Piora, has been one of my favorite mystics in my Wildermyth journey. As soon as Piora encountered Vulta the Sunswallower I knew I wanted to save her for the game’s sixth campaign, and bringing her and her family along for that journey was a blast. Not just because of the narrative payoff, but because Piora’s abilities as a mystic are some of my favorites. You see, most mystics are reliant on the objects within the environment to be able to use their abilities, but this wasn’t the case with Piora. Thanks to Arches, anytime Piora had nothing to work with, she could summon a whole tree out of the ground and pin an opponent in place with it. The interfused tree could then be used for a splinterblast attack or, thanks to her Naturalist+ ability, as a teleport point to move Piora or one of her allies to a new location with treecall. Naturalist+ also unlocks the roots and shoots interfusion that allowed Piora to create plants on the field, which she could then interfuse with in order to make attacks. Naturalist also grants vinewrench, a particularly powerful plant interfusion that can be activated by the roots and shoots plants. In other words, where other mystics are dependent on the map to give them objects to work with and may have access to weaker interfusions if their specialty objects aren’t available, Piora could create them herself at any time, guaranteeing that no matter how sparse the map, she would have tools available to enable her to use her most powerful abilities. Factor in that those abilities not only do big damage but can also be used to trap foes, move them into weaker positions, or move allies around the field as well, and Piora is sealed as a dangerous and versatile mystic who can control the battlefield with the power of her plants.
These are just a few of the cool builds I have been able to experience over the course of my time with Wildermyth. I’ve got a ton of other characters in my legacy, plenty of whom are just as special as these. But I’ve enjoyed highlighting some particular mechanical combinations that I found deeply enjoyable. If you’ve played Wildermyth as well, I’d be curious to hear from you some of your own favorite combinations you’ve discovered during your adventures in the Yondering Lands!