Well, I just finished the game, the regular way and the special way. I checked my stats before I went for the special way, figuring I must have missed some stuff while going through, but no... I found every single secret in the game. I did have to look up solutions for a few of the puzzles, and unintentionally read a few secrets that way, but I would have likely found them anyway as they were mostly just switches on the wall.
I couldn't help but noticed that ... you don't really need spellcasters in this game.
No, not really. The first game was the same way; the mages just don't really offer much in combat. My Archmage idea is mostly for flavor. I like
mages, dang it. Sadly, he's probably going to be stuck using his energy mostly for light and forcefields, heh.
Even more sadly, every spell that I considered critical in the play though that I just completed can be cast from an item, and all that those require is a few levels in Concentration, which is a decent skill for a fighter anyway since it lets you use special attacks more often (except for a certain shield's active effect; that requires skill in an element).
For the second one, I've heard the dagger exists, which harms air elementals. I haven't found it yet, so it might be a problem for no-caster parties (if you ask me it was so stupid to make the air elemental susceptible to only one stupid spell (which is no good for anything else) and a very special weapon (when you actually have no hint they they can harm those silly piles of leaves, or do you have a hint?), while other elementals can be hit by anything; I was dispatching fire elementals with my ... bow and broadhead arrows... something is really wrong in the heads of the developers (the logical circuits are mostly missing?), but the game is still awesome and enjoyable and keeps you coming back to play).
Yes, there's a dagger. As I recall, it's not particularly hidden. The hard part is figuring out the clue to get in to the area to begin with. The description on the dagger says something about it passing though things and leaving living flesh untouched, which is the clue that it can be used on elementals. And yeah, the air elementals in particular didn't really fit with the lore for the rest of the game, IMO. The air elementals really should have been hurt by earth spells, at the very least, but no. Dispel (which can be cast from an item) and the dagger only.
While playing two alchemists technically can be more beneficial (more stat potions), that would be quite dull, plus your front-liners will not have much HP (don't tell me you are going to brew the VIT potions only). Making them all rattlings would definitely help with a random attribute per level feat. Definitely an option, but I'm old school and want DIFFERENT characters in my party (not only by skill set, but by professions, races and perks. :)
I've started my all Alchemist party. I went with a headhunter/+armour trait Minotaur (Str focus) and an Insectoid (Dex focus) with the racial and general armour traits for my front line and a +elements/aggressive lizardman with alchemy/missiles (instead of throwing, making him a Dex focus as well) and human archmage for my back. I strongly considered Ratlings, to get even more stats, but given the randomness of them and that I felt that other racial bonuses were going to be worth more (especially since I'll have stat potions flowing out of my ears fairly soon anyway), I decided against that.
I didn't play too much with them yet, but did rush the XP pendant from the watery gold key area, and a flower that is in the northern area of the lake. I then went back and finished up the first area (I held off on secrets and treasures until I had the XP pendant) and now need to move on to Twigroot Forest and go through it properly. I forgot until just now as I was typing this that there was also a flower in that gold key room, so I need to hurry up and get another key and return there before they multiply, so I can have 4 flowers for the second multiplying time.
I don't plan on making Vitality potions. My goal is to boost their damage instead, making my party a glass cannon. Ideally, I'll avoid getting hit at all and the lack of HP in the front line won't matter... and if the front line does die, well, I'll have tons of necro potions anyway! ;-)