I do have some experience with some Imbuement skills, based on playing Shiba, my semi-sorta Mystic Knight. Here's a preliminary evaluation, based on my experience so far.
Very Often UsefulThese are Imbuments I find myself using the most, and that I'm moving toward thinking that just about every Mystic Knight should have.
- Arching Shot - Arching shot eliminates penalties for cover that isn't overhead cover. Allies standing between the Mystic Knight and target are cover. It is amazingly worth 1FP to be able to make an attack from a bad position and not have to worry about missing the target and accidentally clobbering an ally instead. The -2 to the target's defense is just a happy bonus at that point.
- Guided Weapon - Removing the range penalties for a ranged attack is huge. Shiba uses a bow as his primary ranged weapon, and while he's no where near as good a shot at close range as the delving band's scout, Shiba is a better shot past about 50 yards. This might be less useful for short ranged Mystic Knights (axe throwers, for instance) but 1 FP for an effective +5 to hit at 15 yards is a good deal.
- Penetrating Strike - Armor Divisors are a good thing.
- Telescoping Weapon - I almost didn't take this for Shiba, but I'm glad I accidentally did and didn't fix the mistake. In any game with a lot of detailed combat, the ability to extend or retract reach by 2 hexes is amazing. With this and the Sacrificial Parry perk, I can also defend for allies within 4-5 yards, which means I can defend the relative squishes without needing to be close enough to invite area effect attacks.
- Widen Shield - Shiba doesn't use this because he has an artifact shield that blocks area attacks, but if he didn't have that shield, this would be his most commonly used defensive imbuement. Usually, the only way to defend against an area attack is a Retreat, and if the defender is deep within the area attack, there might not be a safe place to retreat. Widen Shield lets the defender block instead, without having to give up precious ground. Any Mystic Knight with a shield should take this imbument.
Sometimes UsefulThese are Imbuements that I've used, but not nearly as much as I'd hoped I would.
- Annihilating Weapon - It took literally 10 sessions before I had a chance to use this. It isn't useful if most of your foes are attacking unarmed. However, the ability to literally disarm karatekas and other "armed" unarmed attackers is just great, as well as forcing mooks to dodge instead of using their superior parry and having their weapons destroyed.
- Bank Shot - I can see how this would be useful, but Arching Shot is more generally useful in my opinion. If I had to go for one or the other, I'd go with Arching Shot.
- Far Shot - Archers and crossbowmen generally have plenty of range and don't need this enhancement. Thrown weapon users often have limited weapon ranges, and multiplying a thrown axe range by 2 or 5 is pretty useful, especially when combined with Guided Shot to remove the ranged penalties.
- Ghostly Weapon - This is a lifesaver if there are a lot of insubstantial foes, and not useful otherwise. I still wish I had taken it.
- Scattershot -1d of fragmentation damage is too little against anyone with armor; 2d of fragmentation damage occurs in a 10 yard radius and means that you might accidentally hit friendlies. The couple of times I've used it, the bad guys were too scattered for it to be effective. However, as a fight opener against a bunch of clustered enemies at range, fragmentation damage is amazing so this imbuement is worth the investment.
- Multishot - Any high skill ranged attacker (like a Scout/Mystic Archer) should definitely take this imbuement and turn all their attacks into machine guns. My character only has Bow-14 so I haven't picked this up yet.
- Shockwave and Conic Blast - Area effect damage is amazing against diffuse foes, but the melee version of Shockwave can hit allies so it's less useful. The rapid fall-off in damage makes Shockwave ineffective against foes that are more than a yard or so apart; Conic Blast is hard to make wide enough to hit more than a single line of foes. But still, area effect damage for 1FP beats anything that the wizard has to offer.
Seems Like They Should Be Useful but Aren'tThese imbuments have been disappointments in my experience.
- Blinding Defense - Blinding defense has two problems: the Obscure affects the user when used against melee attacks, and either way, it only lasts until the user's next turn. I spent 10 sessions waiting to use this against a missile weapon, and when I finally got a chance to do so, I was next in the initiative order and the blindness ended immediately.
- Vampiric Weapon - My character has good enough defenses that he almost never gets hurt, so I haven't had a chance to use this much. If I had another +5 skill and a couple levels of Energy Reserve, recovering spent ER would be useful but I don't. I'd have done better to spend the points that I spent on this on Bank Shot or Ghostly Weapon.
- Project Blow - With the short half-damage range, long recovery time, and a ruling from my GM that I can't use Ranged only imbuements on it, Project Blow tends to come a poor second to Telescoping Blow. There's usually a decent target within 4 yards, so Project Blow only extends my effective reach by +6 yards.