Divinity: Original Sin Character Builds, Customization and Progression Guide

By   /   Jul 10, 2014

Divinity: Original Sin brings back the old times of turn-based strategic RPGs, and with it a familiar kind of in-depth character development system. It’s not shameful to admit that the flexibility and open end world offered by the system can be a bit overwhelming in the start, and it takes a good amount of time to become accustomed to the entire setup.

Sadly, such turn-based RPGs are very unforgiving and demand technical and tactical prowess from the player, and a large part of your tactics and technicality is determined by what kind of character you have developed.

Divinity: Original Sin Character Builds

This is an in-depth guide for those looking to build a proper party with well-developed character. We’ll go over the basics and then advance towards how one can create a party of 2 or 4 characters to form a team the works as a single integrated unit during battle.

Creating Your Character

At the character creation screen, you’ll be seeing a guy and girl with the names Roderick and Scarlett, with an option for the type of class underneath. There are quite a few ‘classes’ to choose from, but you shouldn’t let this selective option fool you.

There is no real kind of class in Divinity. What you choose right now only determines a limited amount of initial abilities (which you can customize immediately after choosing the class) and the gear you start off with.

At most, this will only affect your gameplay and progression for the first hour.

Once you start leveling and investing points according to your own preferences, you’ll notice how your character shapes up and may actually be vastly different from the starting ‘class’ you chose. So, you could actually choose a Knight in the beginning, and after a few hours make him/her into a hardcore Wizard.

This allows a lot of depth as far as building your character is concerned. However, it’s never too bad to have an initial precursor and foundation to work with, so you should try and choose your class according to what you plan to go with.

Remember, the real ‘class’ is actually in your head; if you plan to play a Tank, choose a class with gear and initial Abilties/Attributes that would better suit a tanking role. If you wish to play an elemental magic character, head for the Wizard, who is already setup to excel at using spells.

Once you have chosen your character, things tend to open up for you. You’ll be given a chance to customize the preset in almost every way possible, except for the innate Attributes and the gear you start with.

Starter Character Customization

It doesn’t stop at just you selecting your character. Once you’ve selected your class, you’ll be presented with the overview.

On the left side you’ll be shown a summary of the stats and abilities, whereas on the right it’s purely about your appearance. Since this is a guide that focuses on the former, we’ll leave it up to you to decide how your character looks.

If you wish to take control of things yourself and customize almost everything (except gear) yourself, click the Customize button and you’ll be presented with the Attributes & Starting Skills on the right, and Abilities & Talents on the left.

Let’s deal with these two individually.

Abilities

Abilities are divided into several categories. A lot of people actually confuse Skills as Abilities – the two might mean the same thing in other games, but in Divinity Abilities is the master set that comprises of various sub-sets, of which one is the Skills.

Weapons
The Weapons set of Abilities includes masteries in different kinds of weapons. These are categorized as Bows, Crossbows, Single-handed, and Two-Handed. You’ll want to invest at least one point in one of these for now to give you damage boost.

It’s an attractive idea to play a Wizard who wields a sword, but weapons in general are Attributes specific, in which case you should at least be investing points according to your Attributes and which weapon you start off with.

Dexterity allows one to use Bows and Crossbows better, while Strength will determine how good of a sword/mace you can use. Intelligence mostly deals with two-handed staffs and scepters.

Defense
In Defense, you have the option of leveling Armor Specialist, Body Building, Shield Specialist, and Willpower. For tanks the best choice is Body Building, which will reduce the effects of knockdowns, bleeds, cripples, and similar physical status ailments.

The most obvious choice for a player planning to build a Wizard is Willpower, as it aids in reduce the effects of arcane status ailments, such as Slow, Pertrified, Stun, and etcetera.

Armor Specialist is great for those players looking to utilize Heavy Armor, as it’ll decrease the movement penalty, whereas Shield Specialist is obviously suited if you plan to wield one.

Skill
This is the heart of the entire Abilities system, as it is, along with Attributes, what truly determines the ‘class’ of the character you will play. There are an abundance of skills to choose from, but first you must specialize in specific categories. At the start you’ll have two skills you can invest in, and later on you’ll gain points to put additional.

Each skill is actually not a skill, but a category of skills. The category you invest in will be unlocked, and whenever you find skill-books during the game you will be able to learn skills from that category. The following are the skill categories – I won’t be listing the skills themselves (not here at least), since they are fairly easy to understand and are in huge abundance.

Aerothourge – Command the powerful element of Air by conjuring Tornados, utilizing lightning bolts, and creating electric shields around yourself.

Expert Marksman – Though mostly associated with dealing damage from distance with the Bow and Crossobw, the Expert Marksman tree also consists of defensive skills that would help in curing different effects like Poison, Bleeding, and other physical ailments.

Geomancer – A specialist in the use of earthen magic, the Geomancer can summon creatures to fight next to him, or control the grounds beneath him to grant him upper hand by initiating deadly Earthquakes.

Hydrosophist – The Curer, and also the lord of the seas. The Hydrosophist is an expert in utilizing the power of Water element, using Ice Shards for offense while providing assistance with blessing cures and regeneration.

Man-at-Arms – The expert tree for those who fight in close quarters, wielding weapons of steel and utilizing their strength and courage to fight foes and feel the spill of their blood on this faces.

Pyrokinetic – The name of the tree suggests that it needs little introduction. The Pyrokinetic are masters of the Fire element, using it to burn down their foes with destructive burst damage.

Scoundrel – They may not have the strength or the wizardry, but those utilizing the trickery provided by the Scoundrel tree will prevail at using daggers and venoms to stealthily do away with their foes.

Witchcraft – Had it not been used by the heroes, Witchcraft would be deemed as pure evil. The macabre arts that are used in this skill-set are controversial yet effective, nullifying the most potent of elemental spells, and crippling the most fearsome of warriors.

Personality
Personality abilities include Bartering, Charisma, Leadership, and Lucky Charm. This is more of a utility and helps more outside of battle than it does inside.

Bartering will help in haggling with traders, Charisma aids in charming people with your conversations and actions, Leadership will give boosts to party members that can see your character, and Lucky Charm improves your chances of finding special treasure and also improves your offensive rating.

I’ll let you decide which one you want to choose for your character once you’ve played a good part of the game.

Craftsmanship
Craftsmanship is a big part of most modern RPG games, and Divinity is no exception. Craftsmanship abilities include Blacksmithing, Crafting, Loremaster, and Telekinesis.

Blacksmithing is probably the most useful of the lot, as it allows you to repair your own items, a trait that will almost always prove useful to some extent. Crafting will allow you to craft items like food and potions – if you enjoy that kind of crafting, you might want to give it a try.

Loremaster allows you to better identify things, meaning it’s pretty useless for most part of the game, while Telekinesis allows you to move objects with the power of your mind – attractive but not entirely essential.

Obviously, Blacksmithing should get the thumbs up as the best choice of the lot, though it’s advisable to start investing in any kind of Craftsmanship ability only after your character is beginning to shape up into what you would like (basically meaning as late as possible).

Nasty Deeds
Nasty Deeds involve Rogue-like tricks, consisting of Lockpicking, Pickpocketing, and Sneaking. Investing points in any of these will simply increase your chances while performance the tasks. Honestly most of this is completely useless, as Locks can be destroyed with enough Strength, and pickpocketing is hardly ever rewarding.

Talents

Next to the Abilities tab is another one named Talents. Talents are essential like permanent passive buffs or ‘advantages’ that you can have for your character. At the start, you’ll only have access to a couple of Talent points. Once you progress, a new Talent can be selected at level 3, and then every four levels thereafter.

It’s not just that simple however; some Talents have specific requirements that need to be met. Some talents will require a specific amount of points in a certain Attribute, while others will require specific Abilities selected.

Below is a list of all the Talents of the game along with their game description:

All Skilled Up
Gives two extra Ability Points to spend.

Anaconda
Increases your damage with crushing weapons by 10%.

Arrow Recovery
Gives you a 20% chance to recover a special arrow after shooting it.

Back-Stabber
Allows a character to back-stab with daggers and knives.

Bigger and Better
Gives you 1 extra Attribute Point to spend.

Bully
Gives you 50% extra damage against opponents that are slowed, crippled or knocked down.

Comeback Kid
When an opponent lands the blow that should kill you, you will stay alive with 1 health as long as you had more than 1 left.

Courageous
Grants you immunity to fear but you can no longer flee from combat.

Demon
Chance to burn an opponent who strikes with a melee weapon but takes a 25% penalty to Water Resistance.

Elemental Affinity
Lowers the Action Point cost of spells by 1 when standing in a surface of the same element.

Elemental Ranger
Arrows may inflict bonus elemental damage depending on the surface on which your target is standing.

Escapist
Allows you to flee combat even when enemies are right next to you.

Far Out Man
Increases the range of spells and scrolls by 2m.

Five-Star Diner
Doubles the effects of food.

Glass Cannon
Doubles your recovery AP but your total vitality is decreased by 50% (including the bonus from Lone Wolf).

Guerilla
Doubles your attack damage while sneaking.

Headstrong
Grants you a 20% bonus against being Frozen, Stunned, Petrified and Knocked Down.

Ice King
Chance to chill an opponent who strikes with a melee weapon but takes a 25% penalty to Fire Resistance.

Know-it-All
Decreases everyone’s attitude towards you by 20 but gives you 1 extra point in Intelligence.

Leech
Heals you when standing in blood.

Light Stepper
Gives you a +2 Perception bonus for detecting traps and secrets.

Lightning Rod
Makes you immune to Stun.

Lone Wolf
A character with Lone Wolf can no longer have a companion but receives a 80% bonus to base vitality, 2 bonus to Recovery and maximum Action Points and an extra ability point on level up.

Morning Person
When resurrected, you revive to full health.

My Precious
Every time you hit or get hit, your gear has a 50% chance of not losing durability.

Opportunist
Grants you the ability to perform attacks of opportunity.

Packmule
Increases the amount of weight you can carry.

Pet Pal
Allows you to talk to animals.

Picture of Health
Gives you 5% × Man-at-arms extra Vitality.

Politician
Grants 2 bonus points in Charisma but you lose a point in Intelligence.

Quickdraw
Reduces 1 AP from the cost of using ranged weapons.

Scientist
Grants a bonus point in Blacksmithing and in Crafting.

Sidestep
Gives you 10% extra chance to evade hits.

Sidewinder
Removes your defense penalty when flanked.

Speedcreeper
Move at normal speed while sneaking.

Stand Your Ground
You cannot be knocked down.

Stench
Decreases everyone’s attitude towards you by 25, but melee opponents will find you less attractive in combat.

Swift Footed
Grants you a 20% movement bonus.

Thick Skin
Gives you 5 extra base armor + Man-at-arms × 2.

Voluble Mage
Gives you immunity to Muted.

Walk it Off
Reduces all status duration by 1 turn. This also affects positive statuses.

Weather the Storm
Grants you a 10% × Man-at-arms extra Magic Resistance.

Weatherproof
Immune to environmental effects.

What a Rush
Increases recovery and maximum Action Points by 2 when health is below 30%.

Zombie
Lets you heal from poison but causes damage from regular healing.

Attributes

Attributes in Divinity follow the same philosophy as many other RPGs and strategy games, passively determining the statistical structure of a character.

When you create a player, you are given 5 points to spend on leveling the attributes. Which attribute you choose to invest in and how much is completely up to you. Note that the attributes will innately have a specific amount of varying points already in them – these points are directly determined by class you initially chose.

For example, the Wizard will have the highest amount of native Intelligence, with average Constitution and Speed, and low Strength.

Here are the Attributes in the game:

Strength
Strength is the essential attribute for most Knights and characters that are looking to utilize Strength-based weapons. It determines your chance to hit with strength-based gear, and determines how much you can lift, how much can be carried, and attack speed.

Dexterity
Dexterity stat determines your effectiveness when using gear that is based on this stat. Rogues would innately utilize this stat more than other character types.

Intelligence
Intelligence determines how many points you gain per level, as well as the usage of AP for your skills. Intelligence greatly boosts the damage output of Elemental spells, which is why it is the core attribute for Wizards.

Constitution
Constitution is directly related to the amount of vitality your character has. It also determines the amount of AP you recover per turn.

Speed
The name of the attribute speaks out for itself. Speed also determines the amount of AP a hero starts off with.

Perception
This attribute determines a character’s critical hit chance, and also the accuracy of long-ranged physical attacks.

Building Your Character

Create a Balanced Party

Now that you’ve become accustomed to the entire system of character development in Divinity: Original Sin, it’s time to develop your character into whatever you want. It’s important to note that you aren’t going to be playing with one character only – you’ll have a party of 4 at most, with two of your regular characters (heroes) and two NPCs.

How the NPCs are developed is something we’re going to save for later in this guide, but mentioning them was important, the reason being that they can specialize and play specific roles just like yourself.

Because of this, you want to create a ‘team’. You shouldn’t just be focusing on your main two characters by making them ‘jacks of all trades’ to deal with each and every hurdle. Divinity is a very classical strategic RPG game, and those who have played the likes of Boulder’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights will know that such titles are unforgiving to mistakes.

Because of this, it doesn’t actually hurt to specialize. There is no hard-and-fast method of ‘specializing’ – the only thing you have to do is create a character that follows a specific role.

For example, you could have Roderick be an elemental type of attacking wizard, staying behind a tanking Scarlett, while accompanied by one healer and one high-damage melee NPC. This will give you a balanced party that works together as a unit, rather than having one excessively overpowered character and one character that can do a bit of everything but nothing too special.

Of course, this isn’t all too necessary, but it helps in providing stability to your team, and there are so many skills and Abilities available that you shouldn’t ever need to equip a single specific skill on multiple characters in your party.

Prioritize Specific Attributes

You have six stats to look after but you’ll only get one Attribute point per level. You will want to start investing in a manner that facilitates the kind of character you are planning to build. Here’s a few tips for you if you’re confused about which kind of Attribute point you should be looking to invest in:

Wizard/Ranged Healer
If you’re building a character that utilizes Aerothourge, Geomancer, Hydrosophist, Pyrokinetic, and/or Witchcraft abilities, you should be looking to invest in Intelligence and
Speed.

Intelligence empowers all damage from elemental and magical skills, while also reducing the AP cost of your skills. Speed is useful for Wizards because in general they are weaker than tanks, wearing Intelligence-based armor (light armor).

Generally, I would spend 3 points in Intelligence, 1 point in Speed, and 1 point in Constitution in the span of 5 level-ups.

Note that most healers are actually Hydrosophist, as the ability contains some of the more essential healing skills.

Tank
For those building a tanky melee fighter who uses the Man-at-Arms ability as their primary, the best option is to invest in Strength, Perception, and Constitution.

Strength will enhance the effectiveness of all Man-at-Arms skills, Perception will grant you good initiative (essential for Tanks to move upfront), and Constitution should allow you to build plenty of health and defense.

I would spend 2 points in Strength, 2 Points in Constitution, and 1 point in Perception in the span of 5 level-ups.

Ranger/Rogue
If you prefer a bow/crossbow or daggers over a staff or sword, and prefer the Expert Marksman Ability, you’ll want to prioritize Dexterity and Speed.

Dexterity will improve your character’s performance with a Bow & Arrow, and also better utilize the skills in the Expert Marksman tree. Speed is absolute must-have for all Rangers, as you’ll need to move about to both avoid melee foes and to get into position for proper ranged attacks.

I would spend 3 points in Dexterity, 1 in Speed, and 1 in Perception to be a quick initiator.

Of course, these are just a handful ways out of many possible ones to build up your character, but they should generally give you a good idea of how to go about when investing your Attribute points.

Traits

Traits are strange little statistical bonuses that completely depend (and also develop) the personality of your character. How your conversations go about and what you do determine your traits. Basically, they are arranged in opposing manners, so depending on what you do you will earn a specific trait or the exact opposite of it.

For example, if you’re kind in your conversations you’ll get the Compassionate trait instead of the Heartless one. Compassionate and Heartless are basically two opposite sides of the same ‘trait’ coin. Compassionate will grant you additional Crit Chance while Heartless will increase your chance to hit while backstabbing.

Here’s the complete list of traits:

  • Pragmatic (Crafting) <——–> Romantic (Lucky Charm)
  • Egotistical (Reputation) <——–> Altruistic (Bartering)
  • Independent (Willpower) <——–> Obedient (Willpower from Leadership)
  • Righteous (Leadership) <——–> Renegade (Pickpocketing)
  • Bold (Initiative) <——–> Cautious (Sneaking)
  • Spiritual (Fear Immunity) <——–> Materialistic (Loremaster)
  • Compassionate (Crit Chance) <——–> Heartless (Backstab Hit Chance)
  • Forgiving (Curse Immunity) <——–> Vindictive (+Hit on Attack of Opportunity)
  • Blunt (Charm Immunity) <——–> Considerate (Charisma)

The abilities in the bracket are the ones you will get a boost to if you acquire that specific trait.

While one may not be entirely conscious of the decisions made during conversations and actions, you should always have these traits in the back of your mind. Making decisions that favor those that suit your character’s build are preferable than those that won’t, even if it means being a bit morally questionable.

Choosing the Right Talents
As you progress onwards, you’ll unlock more Talents till a point comes when you’ll have more options than needed. At this point, you want to prioritize certain talents over others.

While those utility buff Talents like Sidewinder and Speedcreeper seem attractive, the best ones are actually those that add to the skills you are using. These talents should be prioritized over any other, since they will give you the most direct passive advantage possible.

The second best Talents are those that add points to Abilities. They may seem very simplistic, but they can do worlds of good and allow you to build/finalize your character much faster than otherwise.

Example Character Builds

In order to understand all that we’ve written down, here’s a detailed Sample Build for you to take ideas from. Note that by ‘Build’ we are actually referring to a party of 4, with two main heroes and two NPCs.

Roderick

Attributes

  • Intelligence, Speed

Talents

  • Bigger and Better, All Skilled Up, Far Out Man, Lonewolf

Abilities

  • Weapons: Two Handed
  • Defense: Willpower
  • Skills: Aerothourge 5, Pyokinetic 5, Geomancer 3, Hydrosophist 5
  • Craftsmanship: Blacksmithing, Crafting

Traits

  • Pragmatic (Crafting)<——–>Romantic (Lucky Charm)
  • Egotistical (Reputation)<——–>Altruistic (Bartering)
  • Independent (Willpower)<——–>Obedient (Willpower from Leadership)
  • Righteous (Leadership)<——–>Renegade (Pickpocketing)
  • Bold (Initiative)<——–>Cautious (Sneaking)
  • Spiritual (Fear Immunity)<——–>Materialistic (Loremaster)
  • Compassionate (Crit Chance)<——–>Heartless (Backstab Hit Chance)
  • Forgiving (Curse Immunity)<——–>Vindictive (+Hit on Attack of Opportunity)
  • Blunt (Charm Immunity)<——–>Considerate (Charisma)

Note: Bold show which ones you should be opting for.

Assuming Roderick is your front-man, he’ll be the leader and the main damage dealer. Far Out Man will allow you to attack from a distance, while Lonewolf should give you a large buff, though you won’t be able to summon.

Your main attacks will come from Aerothourge and Pyrokinetic skills, whereas Geomancer is primarily used for the Oil skill that can combine very well with Pyrokinetic, and Hydrosophist and lightning skills combine to electrocute enemies.

Scarlett

Attributes

  • Dexterity, Perception, Speed

Talents

  • Quickdraw, Light Stepper, All Skilled Up, Arrow Recovery

Abilities

  • Weapons: Bows/Crossbows
  • Defense: Armor Specialist
  • Skills: Expert Marksman 5, Scoundrel 5
  • Personality: Lucky Charm, Charisma, Leadership
  • Craftsmanship: Telekinesis
  • Nasty Deeds: Sneaking

Traits

  • Pragmatic (Crafting)<——–>Romantic (Lucky Charm)
  • Egotistical (Reputation)<——–>Altruistic (Bartering)
  • Independent (Willpower)<——–>Obedient (Willpower from Leadership)
  • Righteous (Leadership)<——–>Renegade (Pickpocketing)
  • Bold (Initiative)<——–>Cautious (Sneaking)
  • Spiritual (Fear Immunity)<——–>Materialistic (Loremaster)
  • Compassionate (Crit Chance)<——–>Heartless (Backstab Hit Chance)
  • Forgiving (Curse Immunity)<——–>Vindictive (+Hit on AoO)
  • Blunt (Charm Immunity)<——–>Considerate (Charisma)

Note: Bold show which ones you should be opting for.

Having two ‘Leadership’ characters may sound counter-productive, but the reason we’re giving Scarlett so much Leadership is because it aids in initiatives. Having a ranged character initiate is one of the best ways to gain an early advantage, as you will be able to get the character into position and also attack them before foes have a chance to get close.

NPC – Madora

Madora is a Knight and an excellent tanking melee character found at King Crab Tavern in Cyseal. Use her as your main tanking option and add lots to her Strength and Conception. Sadly, Madora doesn’t utilize a shield, so make sure that Roderick is giving her Shields through his Aerothourge skills while she tanks.

NPC – Jahan

Jahan is a Healer who you can utilize after finding him in the Library in Cyseal. Jahan’s Intelligence Attribute needs to be brought to a good level as quickly as possible, and you should utilize his Hydrosophist cures to make him the primary healer in your party.

Keep him behind the rest, but make sure that his spells can almost always reach the likes of Madora and Scarlett (as a Wizard, Rodderick should heal himself as often as possible with the Hydrosophist skills).

Don’t forget to share your own character builds and how you have customized your party by commenting below!

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