A Beginner's Guide to Venetica's Mental Skills Edit
As a roleplaying game, one of the more interesting elements is to try different combinations of Physical and Mental Skills and try out how this influences Scarlett's strength and ability to win the game.
This strategy guide is aimed at the newcomer who does not plan on multiple playthroughs. This guide gives tips what Mental Skills (or necromantic powers) are useful, although the influence of the author's personal preferences cannot be excluded. Analysis of the mental skills is particular interesting when we consider that many physical (weapons) skills and mental (necromantic) skills have similar effects.
Broadly, the majority of the mental skills can be grouped in two categories: Skills that inflict damage, and skills that slow the enemy down. Several other skills exist that cannot be easily categorized. Those "special purpose" skills are often those bestowed upon Scarlett by Benedict.
All physical and mental skills combined require 1130 Skill Points, which she reaches at a hypothetical Skill Level of 57 -- hypothetical, because Scarlett would need almost 1.9 million XP to reach this level, and it is doubtful that there are enough quests and BGs in the entire game to accrue that many XP. Realistically, she can reach Level 36 or slightly higher at the end of the game, which would allow her to "purchase" about two thirds of all physical and mental skills combined.
It is up to the player to put emphasis on physical skills, mental skills, or a mix of both. To understand the actual price of each skill, let's first estimate at what stage of the game Scarlett may have attained which level. Note that the levels given are somewhat arbitrary and can deviate from one playthrough to the next.
|Point in Game||Skill Level|| Skill Points |
| Likely spent for |
| Available for |
|Leaving San Pasquale for Venice||5||100||60||40|
|Mistress of Assassins defeated||9||180||80||100|
|Getting aboard the Claw||23||460||280||180|
|Early in the Poison Quest||30||600||350||250|
|Reaching the Palace||35||700||?||?|
It is clear that the flexibility to assign Skill Points increases, and it is impossible to estimate the points spent on physical skills (indicated by '?').
Skills That Inflict Damage Edit
Similar to the weapons skills, mental skills that inflict damage have a base damage that increases with the level of mastery. For example, the four levels of Blood Toll (see below) have 38, 57, 85, and 128 base damage points, respectively. As Scarlett's Mental Energy increases with each Skill Level, the actual inflicted damage also increases:
where is the skill's base damage and is Scarlett's Mental Energy attribute. With the additional Attribute Points, the player can further emphasize the strength of the mental skills.
Raven's Wrath: This is the first Skill that Scarlett has access to. She can learn it from Edmundo at the start of the Water Gateway maze. Raven's Wrath has a fairly short casting and cooldown time, which means that it can be used repeatedly in quick succession. The damage level is modest (40 base damage at the lowest level, and up to 100 base damage at the highest level), but Scarlett's opponents are not very high in Health Points either. In fact, Raven's Wrath affects Grippers well enough that Scarlett can keep her distance. Moreover, nearby enemies also sustain some damage, and Raven's Wrath can be used effectively against small groups of enemies.
For quite some time, Raven's Wrath will be the only offensive skill available, and this includes Physical Skills, i.e., combinations of weapons skills with necromantic power. During the Water Gateway chapter and in the early stages of exploring Venice, this skill is very useful, and it is worth spending 30 or 40 Skill Points to reach level 3 or 4. At later stages of the game, this skill will be replaced by the dramatically more powerful Plague or Venomous Eclipse.
Blood Toll and Blood Vortex: These two necromantic powers become available with the second Twilight Circle, i.e., after Scarlett has used the Gateway Idol in the Temple of the Outer City. The most likely teacher for these skills is Nox. The unique feature of these skills is that they are vampiric, meaning, the damage inflicted is added to Scarlett's Health Points. Blood Toll and Vortex therefore give Scarlett the ability to heal rapidly without the need to rest or consume food. This feature is only found elsewhere when Scarlett uses the Imperial Sword of Blood or the Hammer of Truth.
Learning one level of Blood Toll is mandatory to complete the game, because either Blood Toll or Blood Vortex are necessary to complete the Nightwatch Troubles Quest, and Blood Toll is a prerequisite for Blood Vortex. In addition, the prerequisite Ancestral Horror must be learned with at least one level. To reach the Inner City, therefore, at least 20 Skill Points must be spent to acquire the Blood Toll skill.
The Blood Vortex is particularly useful against Flying Beasts, although these can alternatively be taken down one by one with sword strikes as they attack -- often at the expense of Scarlett's health, though.
Later in the game, both Blood Toll and Blood Vortex lose their importance. First of all, these powers are comparatively weak (slightly stronger than Raven's Wrath). Second, their long cooldown time of 20s limits their use. Third, the abundant availability of Health Potions and, eventually, the Ring of Life significantly reduces the need to use the vampiric spells. It is definitely worth learning Blood Toll at Level 2 or 3 for quick health regeneration in the early chapters. Blood Vortex can be omitted -- or it should be learned at the highest level. Low levels of mastery cause insufficient damage, which makes this skill with its long cooldown time impractical.
The Plague: Although the Plague becomes available fairly late in the game, it belongs to the third Twilight circle, which becomes accessible after Scarlett uses the Gateway Idol in the Arsenal District's Chapel (and thus receives The Whisper from Benedict). The Plague is one of the more damaging mental skills with base damage ranging from 60 points to 182 points (maximum in Level 4). It inflicts roughly 50% more damage than the Raven's Wrath. The strength of the Plague, much like the other spells that inflict damage, is that it can be cast at some distance from the enemy. The Plague can be used, for example, to soften up a stronger enemy before going toe to toe with the sword. The Plague has a short cooldown time (2.5s, like Raven's Wrath) and can be repeated fairly quickly. Its mental energy use is modest. The Plague affects multiple enemies in a tight group. If the enemies are more spread out, one usually bears the brunt of the attack, and the others are less affected.
The cost for this skill is modest, because it has only one prerequisite, Deadly Attraction, and the highest level can therefore be reached with 50 Skill Points.
On the other hand, the Plague is not exceedingly damaging, and there is little incentive in building up this skill if the player has invested in the devastating Venomous Eclipse. However, this skill is a prerequisite for the Scream of Death.
Venomous Eclipse: This is Venetica's second most deadly skill, although with a caveat -- it does not work instantly, but extends over some time. Casting a Venomous Eclipse inflicts modest instant damage, but it continues to inflict the same amount of damage every second over a level-dependent amount of time. With increasing level of mastery, not only does the base damage increase (30 base damage points to 65 base damage points over four levels), but so does the duration. A base damage of 65 might sound puny, but the total damage is actually 1430 base damage points when the Eclipse fades after 21 seconds. Add to this Scarlett's increasing Mental Energy, many of the strongest enemies at the intermediate and late stage of the game can be burned up with one cast of the spell. In fact, Grippers, Baka Beasts, and Marauders can be vanquished with one Venomous Eclipse, and even Juma Warriors and Necromancers get close to zero health. For those, a double dose of the Eclipse is recommended, or some additional "help" with the Deadly Injection can solve the problem. (Note: Deadly Injection works in a similar fashion, but is much weaker; however, it is also more frugal with Mental Energy).
Venomous Eclipse throws the enemy to the ground making them vulnerable to conventional attacks. One strategy is to cast the spell and then relentlessly attack with a regular weapon until it's over or, if the opponent manages to land a blow, to just recede and let the spell work its magic.
On the flip side is the high cost (Wasted Years, Enduring Passage, and Echoes of Twilight are prerequisites) and the high demand in Mental Energy -- two spells can all but drain Scarlett's Mental Energy. However, when cast with Zamazar's Wrath of the East equipped, the Mental Energy can be restored quickly. In fact, a good strategy is to cast the spell from a distance and then keep even more distance until the spell has finished its work. Note that the Venomous Eclipse can be cast across the Canals in the Arsenal District, which allows to keep a safe barrier between Scarlett and the Rogue Masters or -- later -- the Necromancers.
The Venomous Eclipse becomes available after Scarlett conquers the Old Cathedral and visits its Gateway Idol, thereby opening up the fourth Twilight circle. Interestingly, this usually happens before the third Twilight circle opens up. With three prerequisites, the highest level of the Venomous Eclipse costs 70 Skill points. However, at least the Enduring Passage is useful, and the Echoes of Twilight might also be a good investment.
Burst to Life: When Scarlett exits the Passage with a Burst to Life (rather than letting the Passage expire), it creates a damage field around Scarlett that hits any nearby opponent. Burst to Life is powerful, with up to 327 base damage points. This means that all but the strongest opponents perish instantly or at least take a significant hit to their health. Moreover, multiple nearby enemies are affected. Finally, consumption of Mental Energy is low compared to the damage inflicted. It appears, however, that the damage cannot be doubled with Deadly Silence.
Burst to Life has two disadvantages. First, the damage field is relatively small. This means that Scarlett needs to get close to the enemy or enemies for maximum effect and is therefore immediately open for retaliation. Second, unless it is accurately timed (and combined with Enduring Passage!), the escape route via the Passage is unavailable. As a consequence, especially with multiple enemies nearby, Scarlett risks getting hacked to pieces. Also, using this spell against a Raging Ghost is a really bad idea.
Burst to Life opens up after the Africa quest and a visit to the Gateway Idol in the sacred caverns. It has no further prerequisites.
Raise the Fallen: Raise the Fallen is the second and last skill within the fifth Twilight Circle, and Burst to Life is its prerequisite. Raise the Fallen does not inflict damage directly. Instead, this spell brings one fallen enemy back to life, but he (it?) now fights on Scarlett's side. The health bar above the zombie slowly empties, as if it takes damage by the passage of time alone, and the zombie expires after 90 seconds -- or earlier if involved in a fight. The zombie tries (usually with very little success) to follow Scarlett. More often than not, it looks like trying to exercise by running in place.
Although a risen zombie can inflict some damage, the main value lies in the diversion it creates by distracting the still-living enemies. This is certainly a skill that is fun to experiment with, but I wouldn't risk my life for it.
Final Judgment: This is arguably the most deadly skill in all of Venetica. It is not much of a judgment, but it is certainly final -- and instantly so, irrespective of the enemy's strength. Death appears, and the enemy disappears (figuratively, that is). The only downside that tempers the enthusiasm for this skill is that it has a cooldown period of 120 seconds. It has to be used judiciously, because if you miss the target, the skill won't be ready for what in this game is forever.
Final Judgment is available at the very end of the game, after Scarlett used the Gateway Idol in the Palace Gardens. It is absolutely worth saving 10 Skill points to learn the single level of this skill, because it becomes extremely useful against Victor's Raging Ghosts in the final battle.
(Note: Even the Final Judgment appears to use the regular damage system, and it appears to have around 3000 base damage points. This is more than sufficient to eliminate even the strongest opponents with Scarlett's increased Mental Power at the end of the game)
Skills that Slow the Enemy Down Edit
Four mental skills exist that hamper the enemy's ability to strike, because either the enemy is slowed down or paralyzed, or Scarlett speeds up relative to the world around her. Casting these skills can give her an advantage as she can hit the enemy without much fear of retaliation. It should be noted that a parallel skill exists, the Twilight Rift with the Moonblade, which causes a decent slowdown and is particularly effective against Lectors.
Ancestral Horror: Paralyzes a human enemy for a few seconds, sometimes. Sometimes the enemy wakes up from the nightmare and reacts, usually with a blocking move. Since this skill needs to be learned anyway to get access to the Blood Toll, Scarlett may as well use it. Paralyze Rogues when you go XP hunting. Make the Persian Mercenaries see the error of their ways while you show them how to really wield an axe. Ancestral Horror affects multiple nearby enemies, which is also quite helpful. Needless to say, Beasts and Bosses are immune to this skill.
Scream of Death: This is the last skill in the third Twilight circle and requires the Plague and Deadly Attraction as prerequisites. The Scream of Death is more successful in paralyzing opponents than Ancestral Horror; it has, however, a comparatively long casting time of almost 3s, during which Scarlett is vulnerable. To be successful, Scarlett needs to be quite close to the enemy, but then the enemy can reach her and place a blow during the casting of the spell. Exact timing is required. Overall, using this skill is risky.
Wasted Years: I wonder why this is not called Wasted Skill Points. There has been no discernible effect on the enemies (or the slowdown is so little that it is barely noticeable). It has to be learned to reach the important Enduring Passage and the devastating Venomous Eclipse. However, trying to use it leads to a Wasted Skillbar Slot.
Echoes of Twilight: Arguably the best of the slow-down skills. Inside the Passage, Scarlett moves at a faster speed relative to the world of the living. When she exits from the Passage by using the Echoes rather than letting the Passage expire, the world around her retains its slow-motion pace for a few seconds (duration is level-dependent). Enemies are slowed down to about 50% of their normal speed -- interesting to watch a Rogue raise his sword in freeze-frame speed.
The Echoes of Twilight compete with an exit from the Passage by direct attack, provided that Scarlett knows Deadly Silence. The doubling of the hit points by Deadly Silence is valuable; against multiple opponents, the Echoes may be more useful.
Using Echoes of Twilight is a great strategy to complete the Rogue Games quest, because it allows Scarlett to move with considerable speed, even if detected and pursued: Go close to the parcel inside the Passage, then exit via the Echoes. Grab the parcel and make a beeline for the deck hatch.
Special Skills Edit
Raven's Eye: Throughout the game world, stationary Ravens are positioned near locations that are important, yet somewhat hidden. With the Raven's Eye skill, Scarlett can get some hints of what she should be looking for. For example, there is a treasure chest in the Outer City that can only reached via a Nexus Portal. A Raven nearby reveals the existence of the chest.
After a few playthroughs the player will most likely know what the Ravens reveal. While the one level of mastery is probably worth the 10 Skill Points initially, more experienced players will save the Skill Points for something else.
Deadly Attraction: One of the more unusual skills, and most likely with limited use. It is a prerequisite when Scarlett wants to learn the Plague. When you use this on an enemy who is (yet) unaware of you, he will most certainly get quite annoyed and charge. Perhaps one use is to pull individual enemies away from a cluster -- this works when Deadly Attraction is cast from the Passage. Lead the enemy around a corner and perform a surprise attack from within the Passage (with Deadly Silence for an added bonus).
Enduring Passage: This passive skill allows you to remain inside The Passage for an extended time (up to 35 seconds). Very useful to fight Raging Ghosts, also useful to position yourself to attack a group of enemies, for example, via the Hurricane physical skill. At its highest level of mastery, the duration of the Passage coincides with the cooldown time, and Scarlett can dive into the Twilight World with only brief moments of resurfacing.
Mental Defiance: This is an active skill of only one level of mastery that protects Scarlett against necromantic attacks. With no casting time and no cooldown time, Scarlett can very rapidly shield herself and drop the shield -- repeatedly if needed, as this spell costs very little Mental Energy. On the downside, Scarlett is immobilized during this spell and cannot perform any attacks, mental or physical. This leaves her vulnerable to physical attacks.
If the player already invested in the Enduring Passage (highly recommended) and the Echoes of Twilight (recommended), the additional cost of 10 Skill points is not high. Mental Defiance is extremely helpful during the final battle to ward off Victor's spells.
After several playthroughs, it appears that I initially strongly rely on Raven's Wrath, then acquire both Blood Toll and Vortex. While I build up the Moonblade and Sword skills very heavily, I also invest in all skills of the fourth Twilight circle, most importantly in the Venomous Eclipse -- even before going aboard the Claw. With the Venomous Eclipse at Level 4, there is no incentive to invest in the third Twilight Circle, and I usually skip these skills entirely in favor of (at that stage) stronger hammer and spear skills. In addition, I skip the skills of the fifth Twilight circle, but I always leave 10 Skill Points for the very last to learn the Final Judgment. Of course, this is my personal style, and -- as mentioned initially -- experimenting with different skill combinations is a lot of fun.