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I find that any bonuses gained upon lvl up are very odd... Extra health and mana especially, but even skill points. So far my Healer character not only is the best melee damager but she has more HP than the meat shields, though the thief has most. And these characters are not even the ones with the highest Health stat.

What if anything determines these lvl up gains?
(sheesh, no replies thus far?)

If you notice, there's two 'stages' to your levelup. As far as I have been able to deduce, the first screen (with all your weapon skills) is based off your DEX stat, while the latter (with your 'smart' skills) is based off your INT stat.
So the higher DEX/INT your character has, the more points they get to throw into that area in question.
This is unfortunately not true. I just picked up this game and made 4 elves with the exact same attributes (17 str, 20 dex, 20 int, 14 will, 3 health). This started all of them off with 3 HP, 20 MP. I also set the game to Hard.

They each had different skills but acrobatics was held by 3 of them and the 4th was a shield user.
I started all them off with a full set of leather armor, minus the 3rd guy who had a pair of fur boots because he had to pick up a bastard sword for Theros. I needed to do this since Theros would be doing most of the early killing, because my party had to dodge until level-up since they only had 3 HP.

Upon spawning I picked Theros up and switched his equipment with the 3rd guy. So now my 3rd guy had a broadsword, medium shield, chain armor everywhere except for a pair of leather boots while Theros was using the third guy's leather armor, 2h bastard sword and fur boots. The other 3 had pretty much the same 4 pieces of leather armor and some extra weapons I got from creation to sell early.

I saved right before my party hit level 2 and I reloaded after every leveling, noting down my level-up points. Each time, I got random, different numbers in both combat and non-combat skills for all 4 guys and there was never any pattern I could recognize. Many times the member who used spells the most got the lowest Mana increase for instance, often times the shield/heavy armor wearer would get less health than the non-shield wearers etc.

I also thought that maybe the level-up points were split between HP/MP increase points and combat/non-combat increase points, so I added them all up and they were never equal. In fact, on one occasion one of my dudes got way more points than all the other guys, while most of them had 10 HP and 25 mana, he had a a whopping 21 HP and 39 mana, and he got a ton of skill points in both categories as well, above 17 anyway, while the rest lagging way behind.

Changing the difficulty didn't seem to help either. Although the manual says you get the most points when leveling if playing on EASY, I frequently got some of the worst totals per character while doing this (if we assume that 20 dex and 20 int would/should give you 40 points in total for both combat and non-combat skills, which is obviously not the case) I was frequently getting on EASY around 20 points in total per character instead of 40 or at least 30 something.

So TL;DR: leveling up is random/unknown and/or most likely uses some sort of archaic D&D RNG system, difficulty doesn't seem to matter much, you can reload right before you level to get better point spreads.
Post edited May 22, 2017 by yasagani
This is absolutely true.

Easily verifiable for anyone. Take a Dwarf, dump her Dex all the way down to 2. On first level up, you'll never get more than 2-4 physical skill points, exactly 2 most of the time.

Now I don't know if it evens out over the course of the game. There might be some balancing going on behind the scenes, not unlike some other RPG's where HP gains are supposedly random, but they're regularly adjusted for a character's race, class and level.

2 suggestions:

Do take a Dwarf and dump her Dex all the way down to 2. Max Int, Con and Str instead. Now, what you do is you crank one combat skill all the way up to max, that is 75. Put a few points in spellcasting too so she can profit from her high Int right away. From now on, put your measly phys skill points into that weapon, but invest massively in spellcasting on levelup. So your Dwarf is going to develop from massive warhorse to spellcaster over the course of the game. Her performance with weapons will start dropping at some point, but that's what she can throw debuffs at enemies for, plus you can buff her accuracy magically as well.

The opposite is a little harder but still potentially useful. You can't dump Int all the way to the fucking ground (let's say 2 for those dumb Rapacians) if you want to cast at all because Int governs your mana gains per level. You can put it pretty low for a support caster though. You could e.g. take a Goreaux and dump his Int to their racial min (5). That could leave you with a 19 Dex, 20 Wil, 16 Con and 14 Str. Not bad, as a 14 Str gets you in the max damage range of the rapier for example, and you could make him use Feint on enemies in combat. Alternatively, 14 Str is also the requirement for the heaviest gun. In this case I'd also put weapon skill relatively high and spellcasting relatively low though.

I personally wouldn't play on max difficulty btw, or even Hard. You're just going to fail most of the time at whatever you're doing. Using skills, trying to debuff enemies, trying to make your own saving throws, not to mention just hitting things. It's an exercise in futility. Better challenge yourself with some limited reloading or stuff.