The survivor's Curse skill can not be resisted, so that is the one to use. The mage's Withering Curse will not effect stronger opponents, since their spiritual resistance will be too high. Also, Curse can be very quickly cast multiple times, which has a cumulative effect and greatly helps any followup elemental attack; I don't think you can do with this with Withering Curse.

Early in the game you will have to rely on random drops or container contents for scorpion traps (the other 2 types will probably be more available). George in Aleroth sometimes has traps.
Once you leave Aleroth and get to Ars Magicana (far to the east), there is a black market dealer there who is fairly good for survivor supplies. North of there, in Verdistis, there is a trader in the Ducal inn cellar that also carries survivor supplies. Blake in Ars Magicana and Mpenzak in Verdistis also sometimes have traps.

Any NPC can have traps (though the ones I mentioned above have a better chance). NPC inventories get reset after about 10-15 minutes real time (depending on the NPC), so you can check whenever you stash loot at your base or need to get potions, etc.

If you quick save before running your mouse over an item/chest/merchant or hitting the alt key, you can identify the item or trade with the merchant, then quick load to get different stats or inventory. This can be done repeatedly to get the best stats or specific bonuses on an item (save after finding good candidates) or looking for specific items (such as spell books or charms) from merchants. Don't waste too much time with this, though, it really isn't necessary to get the best possible equipment.

Stop investing in strength when you have no more equipment you really want to use that has a strength requirement that you can not meet, and when you don't frequently become encumbered carrying enough traps and a moderate amount of loot.
I'd expect this amount to be around 50-60 or so (at least for equipment requirements). If you don't want to wear heavy plate armour, etc and use Aura of Command on a scorpion or two (so don't need to carry a ton of traps with you), then you may not need as much strength. If you like looting, or carrying around extra traps, you may need more strength. It really depends on your playing style.

Being able to Sneak directly in front of opponents is handy. I wonder if that works with Embrace Shadows, etc? Was it night or daytime?

'quick question' my [nocando]!

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