2. Vambrace: Cold Soul General hints and tips

I already talked about the costumes/endings on page 1, so I'll talk mostly about the combat and other things here. You start with just the main character named Evelia Lyric (who I will refer to as Lyric from now on), who has bad stats in everything to start and can hire 3 more characters for a max of 4. Lyric is required at all times, the other 3 can be changed out as you wish. Here are the stats everyone has.

  • Health - Their HP. When it hits zero, hired party members die and the relic they had equipped is gone. If Lyric dies, you are sent back to town, and progress in the dungeon is lost, but you keep everything you have and her relic is not lost. Party members that are not dead will still be in your party when you respawn. Note that anything you did in the final area (where the boss is) usually stays intact, so if you opened a door previously with a key, you don't need to again. However, you will need to go through the entire dungeon again to get there.
  • Vigor - This is basically their...stamina I guess. As you go through rooms in the dungeon you lose vigor, and you can also lose it from random events or from enemy attacks, though the latter is rare. As with health, if a hired party member hits zero, they die forever. If Lyric hits zero, she is returned to town.
  • Combat - How much damage they do. If an attack says "does combat damage to 2 enemies" and their combat is 2, they will do 2 damage to both enemies. Note that true damage is not based on the combat stat and does a set amount of damage.
  • Sleight - This is the dice roll for successfully opening boxes/chests, and the higher it is the better chance of good loot you'll have.
  • Mercantile - Basically when you talk to a merchant, your character with the highest Mercantile score rolls a dice, and that dictates the merchant's inventory. The higher it is the better chance they'll have good stuff for sale. This is mostly important for the rarer things they sell. If you get a low roll, they will only have basic stuff.
  • Awareness - This decides turn-order in combat, and is also the dice roll for avoiding traps.
  • Overwatch - This is the dice roll for camping. The higher it is, the better chance you successfully heal health/vigor, and it also dictates how much you get. A successful Overwatch with 5 points in Overwatch will give 5 health or vigor for example.

Each class has set values for each stat. Lyric also has set values, but Lyric gets perk points throughout the game that can be used on any stat you like. The max perk points you can put into one ability is 2. Hired members do not get perk points or power-up in any way. At the start, you will use hired members for the lack of any useful skills Lyric has. Once you have perk points you can customize Lyric to fill any role you want, basically.

In combat, you have 4 characters and the enemy side has as many as 4. Combat is turn-based, with turns dictated by each ally and enemy's Awareness stat. Battles always take place with your party on the left side. The far-right slot is slot 1, the one left of that is slot 2, and so on. Enemies will always be on the right side. The far-left slot is slot 1 the next one going right is slot 2, and so on. So basically it looks like this.

----Ally////Enemy----

4 3 2 1////1 2 3 4

Every class has 4 skills. Most classes have 2 possible skills for the second slot, and which one a certain hireable member has is random. Lyrics are always the same. Formation is important because of how skills work, which I'll talk about now. As for these diagrams, If an ally is in an X position, they can't use that type of attack. If an enemy is in an X position, the attack cannot be used on them.

-----Ally////Enemy-----
X X O O////O O X X

Close range - You can only use these skills if the character using them is in the first or second slot, and it only hits the first enemy, or the enemy right behind him (if there is one).

-----Ally////Enemy-----
O O O O////O O X X

Mid-range - You can use this attack from any slot, but it only hits the first two slots, just like close range.

-----Ally////Enemy-----
O O O O////O O O O

Long-range - Long-range attacks can be used in any slot and hits any slot. Essentially, it has no ranged limitations at all.

Note that close and mid-range attacks only hit the first slot that has an enemy, and the SLOT behind it. So if an enemy is in the first slot, you can only hit him, or the enemy right behind him in slot 2. If slot 2 is empty and there is an enemy in slot 3, you will NOT be able to the enemy in slot 3. You would need to kill the enemy in the first slot. Then close/mid can target slots 3 and 4. Skills either do set damage, combat damage, or true damage. Set damage is always the same no matter what. Combat damage is their combat stat, true damage always hits (AKA not blocked or mitigated). The only counter to true damage is guarding (have a green shield on their portrait), which reduces the damage to zero. Aside from the basic attack that costs nothing, each character has 2 skills that cost focus and the ability to guard. Focus is earned by attacking, guarding and blocking an attack, or dodging an attack.

All characters have one relic slot you can put a relic in, and is the only sort of customization for hired members. They usually boost 2 stats and decrease one. The higher tier ones do not have a negative stat. There are also relics that are specific to a class and do specific things. They usually boost stats the class likes and changes one of their combat skills.

The strategy I settled on, which comes partly from this thread involves leveling Mercantile, Awareness, and Combat for Lyric. A high Merchantile means you will see good relics and a lot of healing items in the shop often, so instead of farming materials to make good stuff and healing items, you can just sell materials you get for money (hellion in this game) and buy the relics/healing items you want. I did it after maxing Awareness, Overwatch, and Combat in my first playthrough and found the former much easier. A lot of materials are drops from enemies or chests you might not see, so you could do a loot run and not get what you need. If you're just buying stuff outright from the shop this is no longer a concern. Crafting items unlock as you play the game, whereas the shop can have the best relics in the second chapter if you get lucky enough with a Mercantile roll.

I used a different party though. To start I used a Fusilier, Dragoon, and Fencer. Here's how my party as arranged.

Dragoon - Goes in slot 1. His 3rd skill taunts 3 enemies and lowers their combat by 1. The Dragoon's red relic (rarest one) allows his taunt to affect all 4 enemies and lowers their combat by 2. Incredibly strong and should be an instant purchase and equip. We will keep him throughout the game. Ideally, you want the Dragoon with the pray ability, so he can heal himself if need be. You may never need to use it, but if you do end up in a situation where you need it, it's nice to have. I used it once in playthrough 1, never used it in playthrough 2.

Fencer - Goes in slot 2. The Fencer has the only long-range stun in the game as her 3rd skill, which basically means you can stun the boss first turn every single time. Most bosses are in the 3rd and 4th slot, so the other stuns can't reach them until you kill the frontline. She also has a high Sleight, which helps with looting. While we don't use materials to craft, we do sell them, so the more we get the better. She will also be our Overwatch character, though her stat is an average 3. We will keep her throughout the game. The long-range stun is too strong.

Lyric - She goes in spot 3. She needs to be in spot 3 because the Fencer's basic attack is close-range, while Lyric's is mid-ranged. So the Fencer would not be able to attack in slot 3. Lyric's main use is her 3rd attack, which does 4 true damage to both close-range enemies. Her 2nd attack is a long-range basic attack, though I rarely used it. Every once in a while you'll want to finish off a long-range enemy though, like a healer.

Fusilier - He will be in slot 4. The Fusilier's 2nd skill is either covering shot or rally, and rally is the preferred one. It heals 1 HP for everyone and boosts their combat by 1 for 2 turns, which is super good. The healing especially can help you make it through a dungeon. His 3rd skill is a long-range shot that does 6 true damage. His Awareness is 4, so even without an Awareness relic, he will avoid most traps until Lyric can get her Awareness to 5.

The general flow of combat is using the Fusilier's Rally, having the Dragoon taunt, the Fencer uses her regular attack, and Lyric uses either her regular attack or her flourish, depending on the enemy party. If it'll only hit one enemy, for example, it would be a waste. If they are guarding (green shield) it would also be a waste. After the first round, everyone uses regular attacks until the enemies die. Note that if you have someone low on focus, you can kill all but one enemy and have everyone guard aside from the one with no focus, and have them attack to help build it up.

Something you'll get before your first district is the geistometer. This shows your terror. As you go through the dungeon or fight battles, your terror goes up. If it gets above the line, the event in every room is overridden with a fight, needless to say, you don't want that. Recovering health/vigor at camp also increases terror a small amount. Each time you finish a region in a dungeon, terror goes down quite a bit. For this reason, you just want to take the shortest path to the exit every time.

I'll talk about it more as I go through the walkthrough, but for perk points, I use the first on Lyric's Awareness, the next two on Mercantile, then the next on Awareness. At this point, the Fusilier will have a lower Awareness than Lyric, so we replace him with a Blood Mage. Blood Mages have a stun (though it is mid-ranged and not long-ranged like our Fencer) which means you can now stun a boss twice, it makes boss fights super easy. After Awareness and Mercantile are maxed, we max combat next. The last point doesn't matter much, I put it in Vigor. She has a low Vigor, but at that point, you should have more than enough healing items to heal vigor if need be.

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