Inclination dictates the AI behavior of a Pawn both in and out of combat; vocation and inclination settings should be the first criteria used in pawn selection as these determine the tactics pawns will use in battle. Managing Inclination is critical to maintaining an effective Main Pawn. Not all inclinations 'fit' well with all vocations, so it is advisable to experiment and then tailor your pawn's AI settings to obtain the behavior that suits you, the player, best.
Main Pawns' inclinations are initially decided by answering the different questions available during their creation. Inclinations can also be modified by using the Knowledge Chair found at Inns and Rest Camps, or directly and most efficiently by using the Elixirs available from Johnathan (proprietor of the Rift Shop), located at The Encampment inside the tent housing a Rift Stone.
Pawns start off the game as a blank slate; once they approach forty to sixty hours of active play, the inclination tables harden or stabilize into a recognizable 'person', such as it is, and the pawn is far less likely to shift inclinations as quickly as it did at the beginning of the game.
Arisen, beware: Use the Neutralizing Elixir, and all of that is wiped away as if it never existed.
The actions that affect your pawn's inclinations are:
- The fighting style of the Arisen:
- Do you shoot from afar first and ask questions later?
- Leroy Jenkins?
- Slaughter the little ones first and then go for the Big Bad?
- Sneak up to climb an unaware enemy?
- The battle orders the Arisen issues (D-pad pawn commands);
- And the fighting style of the pawns hired by the Arisen, since these, too, are driven by their own inclinations.
Every time the game makes a movement for your pawn in response to an external stimuli, an inclination in your pawn's table shifts in terms of importance or intensity by a very small amount. Over time, your pawn will grow to mirror your behaviors.
However, not everyone wants a carbon copy of themselves as a party member.
The Main Pawn's inclinations are initially set by answering a series of questions available at the time of creation. The results of choosing a particular answer are displayed on a graph. Although this graph is inaccessible once the Pawn is created, the effects remain in play and fluctuate with respect to the actions of the Pawn's Arisen throughout the Pawn's existence.
Pawn Inclinations are dynamic and constantly change according to the actions of the Arisen, which means there is no effective method to permanently lock them to one setting. By maintaining a consistent style of play, the Arisen can foster consistent Inclinations for the Main Pawn. The pawn AI is, in essence, monkey-see monkey-do, so a pawn can be 'trained' by the Arisen by matching vocation with the pawn and modeling behavior/actions they wish the pawn to perform. While effective, this takes longer than simply manipulating the inclinations directly. Training is extremely useful to show a pawn how to perform a very specific action, e.g., showing a Ranger how to jump and terminate the move with a Heavy attack, as this combo is a simple form of the Strider's Brain Splitter skill, or teaching a dagger-wielding pawn to use Instant Reset effectively.
Keep in mind that pawn inclinations are the method by which a pawn's AI learns moves and acquires battle behaviors. If it were not dynamic, pawns could not be taught nor would they grow to be effective, efficient killers.
The inclination of the Main Pawn may be adjusted using Elixirs that are purchased from Johnathan. Elixirs are purchased using Rift Crystals rather than Gold. Each Elixir is named after the inclination which it bestows upon the Pawn; one "Scather's Elixir" changes the pawn's secondary inclination to "Scather," "Utilitarian's Elixir" changes the pawn's secondary inclination to "Utilitarian," and so on. Inclination Elixirs can only be used by the Arisen on the Main Pawn and they are stored in the "Tools" section of the inventory page.
Elixir usage does not ever affect rented pawns.
Under most circumstances when an Inclination Elixir is used, the Main Pawn's secondary inclination is changed. However, if the Arisen drinks a potion with the same name as their Main Pawn's current secondary inclination, that inclination becomes the new primary inclination; the former primary inclination becomes the new secondary inclination.
Players with Main Pawns with listed primary and secondary inclination may check which one is the third-highest using the Knowledge Chair. When the secondary inclination question appears, one choice will be the Main Pawn's secondary inclination, while the other choice is the Pawn's tertiary inclination.
A single Elixir will change the pawn's primary inclination only if the pawn has no primary inclination listed, i.e. immediately after a Neutralizing Elixir has been used. No inclinations listed means all of the inclinations have the same value of order and intensity; one primary and no secondary means only one inclination is stronger in intensity and primacy than all the others. It is very common for the Knowledge Chair to ask a series of questions in order to sort the primacy of inclinations when these values are the same.
An example of Pawn Inclination changing due to Elixir usage:
- Main Pawn is a Guardian (primary) and Acquisitor (secondary)
- Arisen uses an Acquisitor's Elixir
- Main Pawn Inclination is now Acquisitor (primary) and Guardian (secondary)
- Arisen uses a Medicant's Elixir
- Main Pawn Inclination is now Acquisitor (primary) and Medicant (secondary); Guardian has been pushed to the tertiary position.
How to use three Elixirs to customize pawn inclination:
- Drink two of the same elixir consecutively to change the Pawn's primary inclination
- After primary inclination is set: drink one elixir to change the Pawn's secondary inclination
How to customize pawn inclination using the Neutralizing Elixir:
- Use the Neutralizing Elixir
- Use the elixir players wish to have as their Main Pawn's secondary inclination
- Use the elixir players wish to have as their Main Pawn's primary inclination
Note: the Neutralizing Elixir will erase all learned behavior from the main pawn, resetting it back to the way tit was at the beginning of the game-- highly impressionable and more likely to spontaneously switch inclinations, and the pawn will go through that 40-60 hour "stupid" period again. Use with extreme caution.
Behavior Adjustment Over TimeEdit
The Main Pawn's Inclination is also modified over time by the Arisen's behavior/playstyle and can also by modified by using the "Help", "Come" and "Go" Analog Pawn commands.
According to the Bradygames Signature Series Guide the behavior is modified accordingly; keep in mind that these descriptions are very simplistic:
- Scather: Enter battles with enemies as they appear. Use the "Go!" command in battle.
- Medicant: Prioritize safety by healing your hero or removing their status ailments. Using the left D-pad out of battle encourages this inclination.
- Mitigator: Bring down weak targets first.
- Challenger: Focus on long-range attackers and enemies with support abilities.
- Utilitarian: Use support skills and enchantments. Use the left D-pad command in battle.
- Guardian: Use the right D-pad command 'Help' and 'Come' commands often, avoid using 'Go'.
- Nexus: Revive your pawns often.
- Pioneer: Use the 'Go' command when you're not in combat.
- Acquisitor: Pick up items.
Different types of InclinationsEdit
(I)tem: The item's in-game description.
(G)uide: Description from Bradygames Signature Series Guide.
(O)pinion: Personal experience using pawns with the associated Inclination as Primary/Secondary.
I: Realigns a pawn's inclination that he might readily pursue the strongest foes.
G: Tends to rush into battles headfirst against strong enemies.
O: Engages the strongest foes first, seems to do as the descriptions says. Increases climbing. Not desirable on caster pawns, as it positions them too close to the most powerful enemy in a mob, thereby increasing spell interruption due to incoming damage or death.
I: Realigns a pawn's inclination that he might fight with heed to Health and Stamina.
G: Heals often and avoids direct combat.
O: Useful for a Mage pawn with Curative Magic (Anodyne/Halidom), as they tend to heal/cure the Arisen and other Pawns more often than without Medicant as Primary. Medicant's position in the first three positions determines the frequency of healing; a Medicant-primary Mage will interrupt offensive spells to heal while a Medicant secondary or tertiary will not.
I: Realigns a pawn's inclination that he might first wipe out the least dangerous of any group.
G: Attacks weak enemies first.
O: The pawn chooses the weakest foes as primary targets, which helps with crowd control and helps a caster pawn choose spells with greater areas of effect for crowd mop-up.
I: Realigns a pawn's inclination that he might go after foes wielding ranged weapons or magicks.
G: Attacks ranged enemies first.
O: The pawn prioritizes ranged attackers and magic-using foes above others.
I: Realigns a pawn's inclination that he might focus on strategies to give his allies advantages.
G: Uses a wide array of skills.
O1: Non-casters will align their actions to assist the entire party, including the use of group curatives to support the Arisen. With the exception of Sorcerers, Utilitarian-primary is best on pawns with 100% (or very close to 100%) Bestiary knowledge, as then their tactics are deliberately chosen to work best with their party member pawns as a team. Utilitarian-prime pawns do not work as well with non-utilitarian primes in the party, again, other than Sorcerers.
One of the pawns 'calls' the tactic, then the other two in the team comply. Truly precision teamwork is best utilized when pawns have complimentary rather than matching inclinations, e.g., Utilitarian/Challenger, Utilitarian/Scather and Utilitarian/Mitigator. Such a team is fearsomely, smoothly efficient at decimating enemies in Bitterblack Isle.
Non-utilitarian prime pawns do not respond efficiently to the tactic call. A sole Utilitarian-prime in a party of non-primes will not be able to synch its tactics with the others.
O2:This also influences Fighter and Warrior pawns to grab enemies, more so than without. Sorcerer pawns will be more likely to join in Group Spell casting with this primary inclination.
O3:Very useful for a Mage Pawn with Boons or Spellscreen as they tend to buff the Arisen and other pawns much more than without it. With Medicant as Primary, they will often not cast Boons at all, due to the stronger desire to heal even slightly hurt party members. (Utilitarian = Boons, Medicant = Healing). If the Arisen doesn't want their Sorcerer or Mage to buff while battle commences, ask for the buff in advance by pressing once on the left d-pad, which is a different command with different consequences from the right d-pad button.
(Left d-pad encourages Medicant inclination when out of battle, Utilitarian when in battle.)
I: Realigns a pawn's inclination that he might act to keep the Arisen from danger above all else.
G: Protects the Arisen first and foremost.
O: Sets the pawn to act passively and stay near the Arisen. Many pawns have Guardian, and are usually useless when rented as they do not actively participate in combat, nor do they engage distant foes. Most rented Guardians will stand beside the Arisen with weapon drawn, doing nothing, unless the Arisen is in close proximity to an enemy.
O2: This can be handy for a melee-based Arisen and Pawn combo because the Pawn will stick by the player, watching the Arisen's back as they actively engage enemies. However, while playing as Sorcerer/Magic Archer/Ranger or any range vocation avoid pawns with this set as primary or even secondary behavior; a Sorcerer or Mystic Knight who hires a Fighter or Warrior with Shield Drum or War Cry will have that pawn actively drawing foes to the Arisen, which is highly detrimental to successful spell-casting.
I: Realigns a pawn's inclination that he might make his fellow pawns' safety his highest priority
G: Supports other pawns in the party.
O: Similar to Guardian except the Pawn lingers around other pawns as opposed to the Arisen. Will occasionally stand passively next to other pawns.
O2: Set as Secondary, Nexus can be tolerable as the pawn will aid the other pawns ONLY when needed and can even carry other pawns that have forfeited back to the player.
I: Realigns a pawn's inclination that he might ever travel far and wide to seek out new locations.
G: Scouts away from the party.
O: Useful for pawns with Acquisitor as a primary, this allows them to travel further away from the Arisen, usually outside out of combat. With Acquisitor, they'll go out of their way to pick up loot scattered about, usually curatives and materials, regardless of distance to the Arisen, in or out of combat. This does not affect their ability to follow during travel. Con: Pioneers can and will engage enemies before the player decides to engage.
I: Realigns a pawn's inclination that he might seek out and collect hidden items, even during battle.
G: Gathers items frequently.
O: Affects the Pawn's behavior in regards to picking up items both in combat and outside of combat. During combat a pawn will seek out items dropped by monsters, such as tusks from a Cyclops. Outside of combat, a Pawn will be much more eager to pickup items on the ground nearby. Acquisitor is a great way to farm, as AcquisitorPawns will pick up every thing in sight for the player to sell. It has the added benefit of allowing pawns to pick up and use curatives on the Arisen, and they will use them automatically to remove status effects or use Stamina items when in combat. Con: the pawn will interrupt battle to pick up or retrieve loot; when coupled with Pioneer, this pawn may actually disappear from the party and/or field of battle into areas out of the Arisen's line-of-sight to collect loot.
Determining Your Pawn's Current InclinationsEdit
Pawn Inclination can be checked in the "Status" section of the pause menu and is listed under the "Profile" heading. Only the Primary and Secondary Inclinations appear in this list, the rest are hidden from the player's view. Notwithstanding this, the Tertiary Inclination can be determined by using a Knowledge Chair. The Arisen will be asked for a preference between two Inclinations. Whichever of the two is chosen will be listed as the Secondary Inclination in the Profile section of the Status Menu, and the other one becomes the Tertiary Inclination.
If many Inclinations are close in importance on the internal table, then several preferences may be asked of the Arisen in one session at the Knowledge Chair. If only one or no inclinations are displayed in the pawn's Profile, then the vanished ones have the same value in intensity and importance; this absolutely does not mean that the pawn has NO inclinations or only one.
Also keep in mind that just because the player cannot see the rest of the inclinations beyond the pair on the profile and the third in the first Knowledge Chair question does not mean fourth through ninth inclinations don't exist! It is the first three and a hint of the fourth that affect the pawn's behavior in battle. By ordering them in terms of intensity and primacy, the player can fine tune the main pawn into a useful, effective fighting companion tailored both for its vocation and the player's preferred manner of play.
Setting Your Pawn's Inclinations in DetailEdit
The pawn AI views its most recent stimuli as the most important. Therefore, by listing the most important inclination last and the least important first, and then manipulating the intensity of each inclination from weakest to strongest via the number of Elixirs, the pawn is less likely to spontaneously shift its inclinations.
The Formula: 3 Quaternary Elixirs; 5 Tertiary Elixirs; 7 Secondary Elixirs; 9 Primary Elixirs
Example: The Arisen wishes to set their main pawn, a Sorcerer, as a Utilitarian/Challenger/Mitigator/Medicant. The Arisen then applies, in this order:
(these are applied by the player placing them in the Arisen's personal inventory and then Using them)
This can be done as often as the player pleases. Or not.
Eventually you will grow accustomed to your pawn behaving in a certain way. If that's off, for any reason, look to your pawn's inclinations. Note that you can set only the first two or three if you so desire, or if that's what you can afford this time. If you're happy with the results, that's what counts.
"My pawn keeps turning into Nexus! Ick!"
- This is primarily caused by the need to heal and/or revive pawns. Change your healing protocols while in battle to help them self-maintain with curatives, because whatever method/system you're using now is not enough. Pawns can and will instantly use curatives to heal themselves and any party member, if given the opportunity. The problem can be aggravated by the main pawn healing other party members using group curatives. Nexus can be effectively avoided in intense battle by removing group curatives from the main pawn's use-- giving group curatives only to rented pawns will have no effect on the main pawn's inclinations.
- Use the left d-pad command, before battle, to set buffs in advance. This will eventually promote Medicant out of battle and Utilitarian while in battle. If someone in the party is less than 50% health, it will be addressed by a pawn automatically by spell or use of a group curative. Asking for buffs in advance is also useful to get your caster pawns directly into action in a fight since they won't have the need to cast a buff prior to getting down to business.
"My pawn keeps turning into a Guardian!" ::gag::
- Do not EVER let yourself be steadied by a pawn after running out of stamina. Eat a Mushroom first! Just one will do!
- Do not use the RIGHT d-pad command.
- Do NOT use the "Come!" command.
- Don't hire Guardian pawns. Ever. They act like Guardians, and your pawn learns Guardian behaviors from them!
"My pawn loots instead of fights in battle, and even says 'Never mind the monsters, I'll get the loot!'"
- Get rid of Acquisitor. You do this by pushing any unwanted inclination down below the four you actually want.
"My caster pawn rushes right up into the boss monster's face and gets interrupted or killed before casting a spell!" "My caster pawn climbs enemies! ARRRRGH!"
- Get rid of Scather; Utilitarian in prime positions a caster pawn within reach of the Arisen, but away from the boss in the mob. Challenger and Mitigator also encourage a caster pawn to use its AoE spells for crowd control.
"My Sorcerer doesn't automatically spell-sync even though my hired Sorcerer has the exact same spells!"
- Utilitarian/Challenger/Mitigator is the one set of inclinations that causes perfect swim-team-style spell synching when pawns have the same spell list. This does not work as well with Challenger/Utilitarian/Mitigator... and Scathers follow their own weird.
"I want my Ranger to shoot from a distance like a sniper, but it keeps rushing in to climb monsters instead!"
- Get rid of Scather. Scather also can cause a Ranger to pace a small mob of enemies with daggers drawn, doing nothing, and also can cause the Ranger to dodge-roll excessively instead of actually using its weapons. The Scather command encourages a pawn to get within very close range to attack the strongest boss directly, and that confuses the Ranger AI as its best bow attacks are performed from a distance of at least 10 meters away from an enemy.
"I want my Strider to climb enemies and hurt them up close and personal!"
- Scather/Challenger/Pioneer or Scather/Challenger/Mitigator.
- Scather/Challenger/Pioneer, a slightly more cautious version is Scather/Challenger/Mitigator. You can also tell the pawn to address the small fry while you go for the boss monster by Mitigator/Challenger/Scather. This pawn is a bit more prudent than the true Leroy Jenkins.
"My Mage interrupts spells to heal, all the time! I want it to finish the spell first!"
- The position of Medicant within the first four positions determines how often a Mage will heal. Experiment to find out which one suits you best; if your pawn's a pure support Mage, then one of the first two positions are fine, but if this is a fighting Mage, then push Medicant down into tertiary or quaternary or the pawn will interrupt spell incantation to heal.