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Weapon Proficencies and the Kensai/Mage

So here as usual to ask to more experienced guys same tips!

I'm building my dual classes fighter and then dual class him in BG2 ee in a plain mage.

I'm want to ask you 2 things:

- When dual class him? Level 6/9/13? Remember that i usually play with party so if dual class at level 13 will be good only metagaming hard and without having party members this will be not my favourite choice

- What proficencies take? I see someone write to get 3x dual weapons (and this is okey) and then 5x GM for Katanas (but i checked all the possible katanas in games SOD, TOB and they are pretty weak and only +3), my friend tell me to put 3x in flail for use flail of ages +5 and 2x in scimitar for use Belm as second weapon for the extra attack.

What do you think its best? :D

Comments

  • FenghoangFenghoang Member Posts: 160
    edited February 2013
    Dualing at 9 is the sweet spot between downtime, caster levels, and fighter levels IMO. I would only dual at 13 if I'm soloing. That said, if you don't mind meta-ing a bit, you can dump everyone out of your party and mass learn scrolls, turn in saved quests, etc. I personally don't find that enjoyable, doesn't really make sense from an RP perspective, and you're depriving your party of the XP you're soaking up.

    For weapons, just pick whatever you like IMO. Katanas are pretty much OP until ToB when you run into things that you need a +4 or better to hit. Scimitars/longswords are solid all-around choices. FotA is the king of DPS - just note that it prevents haste. However, you can swap to an alt weapon, haste, and then swap back and it won't remove haste. Maces, hammers, halberds, and axes are also solid choices. Staves are good in ToB. You can't really go wrong with any of em TBH - just pick what your NPCs aren't specialized in.

    Personally, I usually pick Katanas because of style points and because it fits the theme of a Kensai more. Also, the bonus spells and AC from Dakkon's Zerth Blade is pretty nice early in SoA. By the time ToB rolls around, I would have 2 or 3 pips in Scimitars or Longsword, as well.

    If you want to purely power-game, your friend's recommendation is a good one. Crom Faeyr as an offhand is the other power-game choice.

    Also, you only need one point in Scimitar to negate the non-proficiency penalty. You won't be hitting with your off-hand much so investing in it isn't required. Points into it will only boost your THAC0/Dmg for 1 swing a round (2 with Imp Haste) - which you might not even land because Belm is only a +2.

    Post edited by Fenghoang on
    Zeratul
  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    I think if you don't want the time out from dualing at 13 then best to just go berserker.

  • ZeratulZeratul Member Posts: 575
    @Wowo i can think about it! But why you say that? There is same thinking that make berserker kit better than kensai kit about dual classing to level 9? I want go as kensai for maximized my damage output when i use the ability "Kai" thing that don't is possible with a berserker and its enrage ability that grant to me indeed great bonus but not so much damage output than a kensai.

    @Fenghoang First! Thank you very much for your big reply and great tips!

    So you say that dualing at level 9 can be a viable option for a player that want keep his party :D Yep me too think that katanas are weapons more "kensai oriented" but without a solid +5 i think i can have problems in defeat Tob enemies.

    Also i am a bit intrigued about using Crom Faeyr for the giant strenght, but maybe is better go to Belm as you say for the extra attack and put only 1 profi points into scimitar and keep the other points to flails for use flail of ages :D o if you think that using Crom Faeyr is a better damage output than belm i will go as crom faeyr :D


  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    Since you're dualling to Mage, you'll then be spending a lot of time standing at the back and casting rather than rushing into melee. Therefore you want a ranged weapon option. Therefore your proficiencies should be Axe and/or Dagger because that's the only way to give a Kensai any ranged attack.

    I'd dual at level 7, i.e. as soon as you've got the extra 1/2 attack. I don't think it's worth waiting until level 9 - by dualling at level 7, you won't get grandmastery in your chosen weapon until level 12 rather than level 9, but getting to level 12 doesn't take long in BG2, and you can still reach maximum level as a Mage, whereas dualling at level 9 reduces your endgame Mage level by 1. On the other hand, if you want really powerful physical combat as well as being a Mage, then hold on all the way until level 13 to get the second extra 1/2 attack, but of course that'll cost you a long downtime waiting to regain your Kensai abilities.

  • ZeratulZeratul Member Posts: 575
    @Gallowglass yes i have in mind to make a more melee combact oriented fighter than a mage, i mean make some mirror image, stoneskin and run into the fight :D

    So i think its important reach level 13 :( but trying to come back at level 13 when dual classing its so much a pain also having a party? Or i can still become usefull before ending the SOD ?

  • FenghoangFenghoang Member Posts: 160
    edited February 2013
    I'm of the opinion that a Kensai should use swords, because it's in his name. So if it wasn't Katana, I'll pick Scimitar or Longswords... The scimitars in BG look like falchions or dao anyway, so it still fit the Asian theme of the kit.

    Generally, I think the attack per round bonus from swords like Belm outweigh the Str gain of Crom Faeyr. But I think Crom Faeyr pulls ahead in ToB, because it can actually hit things as opposed to Belm's +2 enchantment. IIRC, Crom Faeyr hits as a +5, but I might be wrong (it also has a +5 electrical dmg that isn't listed in the item description). TBH, I don't think the difference is enough to lose sleep on. Also from an aesthetic perspective, I think dualing a flail + a hammer makes more sense than a flail + a sword. That'll just look awkward =P

    Berserker is a great alternative because they can wear the Gauntlet of Weapon Spec (Dmg/THAC0 bonus and +0.5 APR in ToB), as well as useful immunities with their rage (you'll get 3-4 depending on the lvl you dual at). You'll also have an easier time during your downtime. I have a slight preference for Kensai, though, because I like their passive +3 DMG/THAC0, -2 AC, and it frees up the Gauntlet for someone else in your party that needs it more like Jaheira.

    Also, for the grand scheme of things, Kai doesn't actually add as much damage as you think it does. It's duration is pretty damn short (it was either a round or 10 secs... forgot which), you only get 3-4 uses, and most of your damage comes from weapon prof, weapon enchantment, and strength. On average, it would only add 2.5 dmg per swing with FotA.

    Post edited by Fenghoang on
    Zeratul
  • ZeratulZeratul Member Posts: 575
    @Fenghoang this tips really shines! Thank you very much! you help me to make a great leap of knowledge in "making a dual class fighter/mage"

    I have almost all the elements to make my choice i think i will go as dualling with flail + crom faeyr for increase my chance to hitting enemies immune to non +5 weapons in TOB.

    I'm am not sure to 100% if go as berserker or kensai (also because if you tell me that Kai isn't so much OP as i were thinking. BTW Berserker rage ability how much last before ending?) and if dual to level 9 or level 13, i want make a more combact oriented dual class so i think dualling to level 13 its the best option i have in my hand.
    I hope that keeping my party with me don't hurt too much my gaming experience in SOD.

  • TheCoffeeGodTheCoffeeGod Member Posts: 618
    edited February 2013
    Fenghoang said:

    IIRC, CF hits as a +5, but I might be wrong (it also has a +5 electrical dmg that isn't listed in the item description).

    Unless vanilla SoA + ToB has changed since I installed & patched it a few years back, CF has an enchantment of 3 not 5.


    -edit-

    -lol-
    I just realized you might be talking about Crom Faeyr instead of Celestal Fury, in which case, you'd be correct.
    My bad if you are.


  • FenghoangFenghoang Member Posts: 160
    Zeratul said:

    @Gallowglass yes i have in mind to make a more melee combact oriented fighter than a mage, i mean make some mirror image, stoneskin and run into the fight :D

    So i think its important reach level 13 :( but trying to come back at level 13 when dual classing its so much a pain also having a party? Or i can still become usefull before ending the SOD ?

    Don't forget Tenser's. Makes your THAC0 the equivalent of a Fighter (dependant on mage level), boosts to AC, and doubles your HP.

    Also, Barkskin from a Druid or Ranger would help alleviate AC issues. Their other level 2 spells mostly suck anyway...

    Level 9 is for the extra +1 Dmg/THAC0 from Kensai kit, extra rage for berserker, extra HP, better base THAC0, and an extra weapon PIP (mages are REALLY starved on weapon PIPs). If you're importing, you'll probably start off with 161K XP from BG1 anyway. I think it's worth it.

    Like I said earlier, if you want to dual at 13, it'll require some metagaming. You need save quest turn-ins and buy/save tons of spell scrolls. Dump your NPCs, turn in the quests and learn/unlearn/repeat your spell scrolls. Note that if you're romancing Jaheira, this will end the romance (unless you happen to time it when she leaves for the Harper stronghold). Needless to say, it's a hassle, it doesn't make sense from an RP perspective, and you'll deprive your party of the XP you gain.

    You do get better base THAC0, I think one more weapon PIP, +1 dmg, +0.5 APR, 1 more use of your kit skill, etc. The better base THAC0 is irrelevant with Tenser's, the +1 dmg is marginal, and you will spend a lot longer time as a single class fighter as opposed to your hybrid class. You will also be a lower level caster for most of the game (less spells a day, lower spell levels, less powerful spells, etc.) until you hit 20 on your mage.

  • FenghoangFenghoang Member Posts: 160
    edited February 2013

    Fenghoang said:

    IIRC, CF hits as a +5, but I might be wrong (it also has a +5 electrical dmg that isn't listed in the item description).

    Unless vanilla SoA + ToB has changed since I installed & patched it a few years back, CF has an enchantment of 3 not 5.


    -edit-

    -lol-
    I just realized you might be talking about Crom Faeyr instead of Celestal Fury, in which case, you'd be correct.
    My bad if you are.


    Indeed I was. In hindsight, I shoulda known my lazy abbreviation would cause confusion... I'm gonna fix it... XD


    @Zeratul Berserker Rage lasts for 1 Turn (60 seconds)

    Zeratul
  • ZeratulZeratul Member Posts: 575
    @Fenghoang Okey with all your analisys at least i know that i DON'T want metagaming so much about dual classing level 13 :p

    This make me about clear on:

    - Dual classing at level 9
    - Proficencies to +3/4 Flail +1 to Axe

    This let me only with my question about Berserker or Kensai. But i will think about it their pro and cons.

    I'm really tempted to go as berserker but losing kai ability its really bad and also losing the extra Ac that i will need as mage (but not so much, basically, because my best armor will be stoneskin and mirrored image)

    Oh and when i import in SOD my characters of bg ee i must dual classing immediately right? :D

  • FenghoangFenghoang Member Posts: 160
    Now that I think about it, I can't for the life of me remember how BG2 handles imported char XP. It's either they keep your max 161K XP it's from TotSC/BGEE or it downlevels you to 89K XP. I've been using BGtutu for too long...

    In either case, you need to level up your Fighter to lvl 9 first, which is 250K XP. You should reach it around the time you finish Irenicus' dungeon if you start off at 161K XP. Then you D/C. Buy as many spells as you like to speed up the progress, but I think I usually gain enough XP from just finishing one of the stronghold quests (i.e. de'Arnise's Keep) to regain my fighter levels.

    Zeratul
  • FenghoangFenghoang Member Posts: 160
    Zeratul said:

    @Fenghoang Okey with all your analisys at least i know that i DON'T want metagaming so much about dual classing level 13 :p

    This make me about clear on:

    - Dual classing at level 9
    - Proficencies to +3/4 Flail +1 to Axe

    This let me only with my question about Berserker or Kensai. But i will think about it their pro and cons.

    I'm really tempted to go as berserker but losing kai ability its really bad and also losing the extra Ac that i will need as mage (but not so much, basically, because my best armor will be stoneskin and mirrored image)

    Oh and when i import in SOD my characters of bg ee i must dual classing immediately right? :D

    For weapon proficiencies, max out your mainhand weapon type ASAP, 2 in Two-Weapon Style, and the rest in your offhand weapon type. Getting 3 PIPs (Mastery) in your offhand weapon type is better than putting another a 3rd PIP into Two-Weapon Style because you get +Dmg as well as +To Hit.

  • TheCoffeeGodTheCoffeeGod Member Posts: 618
    edited February 2013
    Fenghoang said:

    Now that I think about it, I can't for the life of me remember how BG2 handles imported char XP. It's either they keep your max 161K XP it's from TotSC/BGEE or it downlevels you to 89K XP. I've been using BGtutu for too long...

    In either case, you need to level up your Fighter to lvl 9 first, which is 250K XP. You should reach it around the time you finish Irenicus' dungeon if you start off at 161K XP. Then you D/C. Buy as many spells as you like to speed up the progress, but I think I usually gain enough XP from just finishing one of the stronghold quests (i.e. de'Arnise's Keep) to regain my fighter levels.

    I haven't done it in forever, but I'm pretty sure you keep the 161k on TotSC imported characters.
    New characters (if you wanted to take advantage of the new class kits) started at 89k as well as chatacters that were imported from BG without TotSC.
    They basically did it as a "perk" for those that bought the Expansion

    I'm also pretty sure since EE uses the BGII engine, plus the TotSC XP Cap, we're probably going to be keeping the 161k import in BGIIEE.
    We might even get the 161k on new characters as well, but that'll depend on if they want to change that or not.


    Post edited by TheCoffeeGod on
    Fenghoang
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,087
    Don't dual a fighter in BG2 at any level other than 13. The 1/2 APR you gain at that level will be among the biggest damage boosts you can get. Yes, it sucks that you'll have a lot of downtime, but it'll be in the early/mid-game and can be regained quickly if you know what you are doing, even with a full party.

    When going for weapon proficiency, make getting to grandmastery with your main hand a priority, then put at least 2 pips in Two-Weapon Fighting (to remove the MH penalty), then get your off hand proficiency, and the 3rd pip in TWF last.

    The best weapon in the unmodded game is Flail of the Ages+5 (flail), by far. Another excellent weapon is Celestial Fury+3 (katana; stuns). Other very solid choices are Foebane+5 (bastard sword; lots of damage/healing), Angurvadal+5 (long sword; 22 STR and fire damage) and Axe of the Unyielding+5 (axe; vorpal hits and good stat bonuses). Your off-hand should be either Belm+2 or Kundane+2 for the +1 Attack per Round bonus. APR is the biggest gain in damage you can get, especially once you have access to Improved Haste. The damage from your offhand is almost irrelevant, the +APR bonus will add an extra MAIN-HAND attack!

  • ZeratulZeratul Member Posts: 575
    @Lord_Tansheron okey so APR its the biggest damage output i can achieve! So this means:

    Kensai --> level 13 --> 2 PIP in two weapon style --> 5 PIP with Flail --> 1 PIP axe

    But what can i do for fast leveling for get my ability of kensai back with a full party? Keeping quest for make exp, learn all scrolls for fast exp, there are others ways? :D

  • ScytheKnightScytheKnight Member Posts: 220
    There is another strong argument for katanas as a Kensai/Mage in Dakkon's Zirth Blade from the bonus merchant inside the adventurer's emporium(adventure mart? I dunno, been too long since i played, the big store in the copper coronet). A reasonably good katana that also boost spell casting.

    I'm not too sure about ToB since I've never been able to finish it... but Celestial Fury + Dakkon's Zirth Blade is a fucking monster combo through SoA.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,087
    You pretty much said it; save the turn-ins of those quests that grant individual XP, learn every scroll you can, plan your questing to include high-XP areas after you dual. You can also "grind" by repeatedly resting in a dungeon and hope for random encounters.

    Either way, there will be downtime; but you won't be useless by any means. A mage, even a lower level one, will still be able to do a lot of things. With the scrolls you learn alone you will reach level 4 or 5, so you don't even start as a gimp.

    I often make parties with several dual-classed characters and without any XP tricks I will regain my levels shortly before or inside Spellhold. I've never had any trouble with the dual-classing downtime.

  • ZeratulZeratul Member Posts: 575
    @ScytheKnight Yep Celestial + Dakkon its The Combo! But they are not +5 weapons so in Tob there are certain enemies that are immune to these weapons :(

    @Lord_Tansheron Well you are raising my hope to bring my dual classed kensai at level 13! I will then for sure try that and i agree with you that a mage also if low level is still a good element in the party.

  • ScytheKnightScytheKnight Member Posts: 220
    edited February 2013
    @Zeratul perhaps, but on the other hand you are dueling to a mage... I mean it's not like if you can't chop them to pieces you're helpless or anything...

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,087
    Keep in mind that when using CF+DZB, you will likely not reach maximum APR. Imo the extra spells from DZB are less of a damage gain than an extra 1 APR you'd get from Belm/Kundane in off-hand, not to mention the extra stuns from CF that would give you.

  • ZeratulZeratul Member Posts: 575
    edited February 2013
    @ScytheKnight yep true! :D I think that waiting a bit before get back Kensai ability its not so bad, while i have a mage in hand ;)

    @Lord_Tansheron This means so that can be better using CF + Belm for the Extra stuns? But these stuns can affect every creature or have some saving trowhs?

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,087
    The CF stun does allow for a saving throw, yes. It affects anything that can be stunned at all (dragons, for example, are naturally immune to stun afaik). The stun also penetrates things like Stoneskin.

    Still, even without the stun, the extra damage from the additional attack alone should be better than the DZB bonus spells.

    A Kensai->Mage is powerful not because it can cast a lot of offensive spells, but because it's a strong melee fighter that uses magic to become nigh-indestructible. Additional lvl1-4 spells aren't going to do much to help that. The spells that really matter are lvl6+. You do get an extra use of Stoneskin, true, but even that isn't exactly a crucial factor given how many lvl4 spells you can cast fairly quickly.

  • ZeratulZeratul Member Posts: 575
    @Lord_Tansheron so for build a good melee Kensai/Mage how many intelligence set as starting value in Bg ee? 16 for reach the 17 with tome of intelligence or 18 for get to 19 and have a 95% chance of learning spells and no limit to spells that you can learn?

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,087
    Higher is always better, of course. You want STR/DEX/CON at 18 at all costs. INT is nice to have a lot of, but you can always drink potions before you write scrolls to prevent failure. If you have the points then sure, max INT as well. WIS and CHA are nearly irrelevant. WIS helps with Wish in BG2 but I found no real need to use that spell a lot with my K->M and if I do, I can always chug a potion beforehand.

  • GallowglassGallowglass Member Posts: 3,356
    In the SoA part of BG2, Celestial Fury +3 is a wonderful weapon (arguably the best there is at that stage) and Dakkon's Zerth Blade +2 is also very good. However, when you get to the ToB part, the usefulness of katana proficiency fades somewhat because +2/+3 is inadequate for most of the main opponents in ToB, you need +4/+5 weapons for your main-hand. (There's one +4 katana in ToB, but its side-effects aren't very advantageous, and there's no +5 katana.) Therefore, even though katana is a natural roleplaying choice for a kensai, I don't reckon it's a wise decision by the end. (Unless Overhaul decides to introduce some better katanas for ToB, or decides to make Celestial Fury upgradeable ... but at the moment we can only assume that they'll leave things as they are.)

    Scimitar is more useful in ToB because the Spectral Brand +5 becomes available.

    You'll certainly want someone in your party wielding the Flail of the Ages +5, a terrific weapon, but it doesn't have to be Charname, and (IMO) a kensai seems more natural wielding a bladed weapon rather than a blunt. Similarly, you'll want someone who can use Crom Faeyr +5 (an excellent warhammer), but again it doesn't have to be Charname. Long sword and bastard sword are solid options for main-hand, but I reckon the Axe of the Unyielding +5 is excellent, and there are good Axes available for the earlier stages as well.

    You'll only have enough proficiency points for expertise in two weapons, so I'd probably go with Axe (for Axe of the Unyielding +5 as a main-hand option and Azuredge +3 as a thrown weapon to give a ranged option) and Scimitar (for Spectral Brand +5 as a main-hand option and Belm +2 as your off-hand weapon). But other combinations are also credible, it's your call, the only problem is that you have to choose right from the start and stick to your plan throughout because there aren't enough proficiency points to change track later.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,087
    edited February 2013
    RP concerns aside, Flail of Ages is definitely the best weapon in the game. I agree on the katana problem; CF+3 is amazing in SoA, but in ToB it gets a lot worse and the other katanas aren't especially good.

    My personal ranking of main-hand weapons (unmodded game):

    Flail of Ages+5
    Axe of the Unyielding+5
    Angurvadal+5
    Spectral Brand+5
    Foebane+5

    AotU+5 obviously diminishes in value against enemies that are immune to vorpal hits. In the vanilla game, though, that list is very short - you can decapitate even dragons.

    For off-hands, Belm and Kundane rule supreme. Even though their damage is very low, the +1 APR they add is such a major increase that they beat any other alternative. An exception are fights where survival is more important than damage - in that case, equip whatever off-hand gives you the right immunities to survive whatever the fight throws at you. (A Kensai->Thief can also use Scarlet Ninja-to, which is better than both Belm and Kundane.)

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