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Question about my Fighter/Illusionist

So, after a few false starts, I've decided to try going through the entire Baldur's Gate Saga a go. Lurked a bit, mainly to decide if I wanted to go with a dual-class or multiclass character. Eventually decided on Multiclass, mainly because I want to be a spellcasting butt-kicker from the get-go. Went with a gnome, because of the kit, the saving throws, and the fact that a green beard isn't really out of place on one. Specializing in wielding hammers, 'cause I've heard that there are some good ones in both games.

Anyway, a lot of the time, I see people advocating dual-wielding as the way to go. I wanted to try going with the single-weapon style, because I like the AC benefits early on and because I'll admit I'm a sucker for the "weapon in one hand and spell in the other" mental image of the character. Will that weaken my character unnecessarily?

Thanks in advance for the responses.

dstoltzfus
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Comments

  • BrudeBrude Member Posts: 560
    Dual wield will eventually be your best bet for melee damage -- but only well into the second game.

    I wouldn't recommend it for BG:EE. To make best use of dual wield, you need 2-3 pips in "Two Weapon Fighting" and a decent base thac0. (In the first game, your base thac0 will be too high to effectively offset the penalty to your offhand.)

    As a fighter multi, you'll eventually have plenty of pips, but it's a bit rough at the start. You can still invest one in "Single Weapon" for the first game without too much worry but bear in mind that you probably won't be using that skill to much in the second game.

    An alternative is to get proficient in a ranged weapon as range rules BG:EE. (This is part of the hassle in this series. Ranged weapons are borderline OP in the first game, but much less important in the second).

    jackjackBlackraven
  • Tad_Has_A_Cold_OliveTad_Has_A_Cold_Olive Member Posts: 183
    So would starting with something like a pip in Single Weapon Style, a pip in Longbows, and 2 pips in Warhammers work out pretty well then?

  • BrudeBrude Member Posts: 560
    Depends on your play style (I wouldn't bother with "Single Weapon" on a character I knew was mostly going to be at range for the first game).

    Another option is to choose a range prof that allows you to carry a shield (slings, daggers, axes). You'll still be able to cast spells, and you'll get the AC benefit without spending additional proficiency points.

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,981
    edited April 2014
    You'll get to pick 3 more proficiencies (on top of the 4 you get at the start) between the start of BGEE and when you hit 500,000 total experience in BG2EE.

    So starting out with * Single Weapon Style ** Warhammers * Longbow (or shortbow) would be fine. You'd still have enough to take ** in two-weapon style in BGEE and even give yourself a proficiency point in something like a speed weapon (or take another point in bows) once you've played a bit into BG2EE (when you start getting access to speed weapons). Either way warhammers are useful enough that I wouldn't worry about it.

    lolienjackjack
  • SweetMagooMagoodleSweetMagooMagoodle Member Posts: 40
    Don't forget staves... my fighter illusionist went two handed weapon proficiency for the whole saga, mostly for two handed swords and staves. Staff of the magi and the the ram in BG2ee and TOB are a lot of fun, and I enjoyed the free action bonus of the spider's bane in BGEE. I thought it would be a bit ridiculous for a gnome, but I went with it.

    SionIV
  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,686

    Don't forget staves... my fighter illusionist went two handed weapon proficiency for the whole saga, mostly for two handed swords and staves. Staff of the magi and the the ram in BG2ee and TOB are a lot of fun, and I enjoyed the free action bonus of the spider's bane in BGEE. I thought it would be a bit ridiculous for a gnome, but I went with it.

    Spider's bane is great on a F/M (same with ring of free action) because you can throw down a web or two in the middle of the battle field and you wont' be affected by it.

  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,248
    IMO a single pip in single-weapon style is much more valuable in the beginning of BGEE than a third pip in two-weapon style ever is. You double your crit range and lower your armor class. It also integrates perfectly with a ranged weapon, which rule supreme in BGEE.

    badbromanceronaldoBrudeDreadKhan
  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,686
    jackjack said:

    IMO a single pip in single-weapon style is much more valuable in the beginning of BGEE than a third pip in two-weapon style ever is. You double your crit range and lower your armor class. It also integrates perfectly with a ranged weapon, which rule supreme in BGEE.

    But unless it's for roleplay, Single-weapon style is gimping your character. There is absolutely no reason to take it when you can just grab a shield instead. Two weapon style will benefit you later on in the game.

    meagloth
  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,273
    @Tad_Has_A_Cold_Olive: you could also invest in axes or daggers because those weapon classes include both melee and ranged options. In BG1 you'll use them often for ranged attacks, and if you have high DEX and high STR your attacks will often hit and deal good damage. In BG2 you'll use your axe or dagger more often in melee (when not casting spells). Of the two, axes would be the better choice from a powergaming perspective I think, but maybe you'd feel daggers go better with your gnome. Either way, you'd invest in a weapon that's great throughout the trilogy both ranged and melee (better than hammers imo), and it would leave you enough skillpoints to invest in other proficiencies you find interesting. For example, you could have two pips in axes, one in single weapon style and one in two weapon style at the beginning of BG1. During the game you get two more pips to spend. You could invest both of them in two weapon style, to become a good dual wielder already in BG1, or spend only one pip in two weapon style and one in another weapon. You'd have flexibility to use one weapon, two weapons or equip a shield.

    The only case to which the above doesn't apply would be a decision to predominantly use 2h weapons. In that case you'd be better off investing one skillpoint in 2h weapon style and the remaining five in bows, staves, 2h swords.

  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,248
    SionIV said:

    jackjack said:

    IMO a single pip in single-weapon style is much more valuable in the beginning of BGEE than a third pip in two-weapon style ever is. You double your crit range and lower your armor class. It also integrates perfectly with a ranged weapon, which rule supreme in BGEE.

    But unless it's for roleplay, Single-weapon style is gimping your character. There is absolutely no reason to take it when you can just grab a shield instead. Two weapon style will benefit you later on in the game.
    Except you can't use a shield and a ranged weapon without tedious micromanagement. And the third pip in TWS only affects your offhand Thac0, which will only ever get 1 APR, (max 2 under Improved Haste). And Thac0 is not going to be a problem for a Fighter/Illusionist.

    badbromanceTJ_Hooker
  • Tad_Has_A_Cold_OliveTad_Has_A_Cold_Olive Member Posts: 183
    So I'm definitely getting the impression that dual-wielding is stronger than single handing (which, I suppose, makes sense. Defensive vs. Offensive bonuses and all that).

    I guess my biggest question is how big the disparity is. Single-weapon style doubles the amount of crits I do, so how does that measure up to the extra attack that dual-wielding gives me?

  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,273
    edited April 2014

    Single-weapon style doubles the amount of crits I do, so how does that measure up to the extra attack that dual-wielding gives me?

    It doesn't really measure up, especially not if you have a good 'buffing weapon' in your offhand, for example one that increases STR or one that gives an extra APR, and a good damage weapon in your main hand.
    The double damage you deal on a crit (and only on a crit) with single weapon style is offset by the extra attack or, in case of a speed weapon in the offhand, extra 2 attacks.
    You could use a speed weapon in you main hand, single weapon style, as well, but those aren't the most damaging weapons (and have the disadvantage of not going beyoind +2 enchantment for a Fighter/Mage, which means that various foes will be immune to them).

    Besides the damage issue, having an offhand weapon can also be advantageous defensively, because many weapons have nice equipped defensive effects (such as immunities) that make them less useful for a mainhand damage weapon, but perfect in the offhand.

    It would be different if you played a backstabber. Those do benefit a lot from (a pip in) single weapon style fighting.

    elminster
  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 15,981
    edited April 2014
    I would say single weapon style is best put towards if you are a low level, non-swashbuckler thief (two-handed also would work). Otherwise its just not worth it.

    Brude
  • Tad_Has_A_Cold_OliveTad_Has_A_Cold_Olive Member Posts: 183
    So maybe don't worry about Two-Weapon fighting in the early game and just focus on getting proficient and/or specializing with a few weapons, and pick up the two-weapon pips as I go along? Or maybe do something like specialize in throwing weapons rather than bows and arrows.

    I do have to admit that I love being able to switch between melee and ranged weapons on the fly, but from what I understand, longbows become less useful as I get further along in the game.

    jackjackBlackraven
  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,248
    edited April 2014
    Yeah TWS is best built toward, no need to rush it. You can get to that second pip toward the end of the first game, which is in plenty of time.

    Post edited by jackjack on
    Blackraven
  • Tad_Has_A_Cold_OliveTad_Has_A_Cold_Olive Member Posts: 183
    Thanks for all the replies, everyone! Think I'll probably start with Hammers and Axes, then. Though, one more question in that regard: when can I pick up a magic throwing axe? No need to get specific, just knowing the chapter will do.

    jackjack
  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,273
    Well if you're playing BGEE, you can get Beruel's Retort (enchanted throwing axes +1) in Beregost, so from Chapter 2 onwards. A returning Throwing Axe +2 will become available in Chapter 6.

    jackjack
  • mumumomomumumomo Member Posts: 635
    I disagree with the fact that dual wielding is a late bloomer.

    As a matter of fact,
    - at level 1, a FM with 2* in DW and 2* in whatever weapon you want will have 2.5 APR VS 1.5 APR for single weapon.
    - The THACO (assuming 18/51 STR) would be 17 for the main hand and 21 for the off hand.
    - Against an AC4 monster (reasonnably low for BG1), that would result in a 33% increase in damage output (VS 5% for the double critical range from single weapon).
    - Even against a AC of 0, the damage increase would be 15%.
    - Below AC 0, it become worse (+66% from -3)


    As a FM is would probably do either
    - 2* in axes or long swords or scimitars
    - 1* in dual wielding
    - 1* in bow

    at level 3 i would put a second pip in DW and never go back.

    The only point of single weapon (over DW or using a shield) as explained by elminster and jackjack are :
    - for single class thieves (even then i could argue that a staff with 2H weapon PIP is better)
    - to avoid swapping weapons between range and melee (here a throwing weapon + shield would be better as would be a 2 hander with 2H PIP)

    Anyhow, as stated by SionIV, the FM is anyway so powerful than taking a PIP in single weapon will not gimp you in a significative way

  • SirK8SirK8 Member Posts: 527
    @Tad_Has_A_Cold_Olive‌ - if this will be your first ever play through Baldur's Gate, my advice is ignore any advice regarding character optimization and pick your proficiencies based solely on your character concept (avoid all spoilers too!). The game can be played and beat with a sub optimal character, and the most fun you will have with this game is just playing it and discovering it instead of trying to plan your entire run.

    Now, if you have played through before, then you may ignore that advice I just gave ;) cause I fully understand the desire to have things go a specific way on subsequent play throughs.

    mumumomojackjackBlackraven
  • Tad_Has_A_Cold_OliveTad_Has_A_Cold_Olive Member Posts: 183
    I ended up putting 1 pip in dual wielding, 2 in hammers, and 1 in axes. Right now, Aleck the Fighter/Illusionist is using a Shield, but I intend to switch him over to 2 weapons once I get that 2 pips in two-weapon fighting. And maybe getting him some bracers to keep his AC low.

    jackjackBlackravenluskan
  • mumumomomumumomo Member Posts: 635
    AC bracers are not very good in BGEE (the best ones are AC6 bracers IIRC)

    I would advise you to use spells or other items :

    Early game :
    - shield spell (level 1). Sets your AC to 4 (2 against missile which is very nice for some parts of the game). The duration is sufficient for 1-2 fights. Also protects from magic missile (very nice against some mages).
    - armor spell (level 1). Sets your ACto 6. Very long duration (enough for 1 whole map). I prefer shield however since the granted bonus is much better and i can live with the shorter duration
    - blur (level 2) grants an additionnal bonus of 3. I think mirror image is a better pick though
    - shield amulet : 10 charges (50 if you sell and buy back), as per the shield spell. Cheap item, available in the nashkel festival.

    Later-on :
    - the armor spells of level 3 and 4 are not bad but i think better picks exist at these levels.
    - robe of the archmagi : sets your AC to 5 (plus some other minor bonus). very expensive thoug (like 20k gold). Available in high edge.

    Using some basic items (+1 ring) and 18 dex you will reach :
    AC 0 for robe of the archmagi. Enough for most basic fights
    AC -1 for shield amulet (-3 against missiles). To use for harder fights (especially against lots of range attackers)

    It's not great but, combined with mirror image and (later on) stoneskin it will be more than enough for almost anything in the game. For the few remaining fights a potion of defense will do.

    Blackravenluskan
  • CorvinoCorvino Member Posts: 2,269
    Keep an eye out for a scroll of Stoneskin too. It's a level 4 spell so you should be able to cast it before the end of the game. Mirror Image + Stoneskin will keep you alive better than any armor.

    A shield is a good idea early on, when Armor Class is more important. I don't expect you'll be using one halfway through BG1 though, and definitely not in BG2 where two-weapon style is definitely king.

    Blackravenjackjack
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    In bg1, singlehand proficiency isnt garbage, but its not ideal for every class. It is ideal for a class that cant use shields... ie kensai (survivability is better than worrying about uber damage at lvl 1), backstabbing thieves, and arguably useful for stalkers, for backstabbing only. Heck, late game swp has a use if you are wielding an extremely good 1h weapon and have gww. Imp haste is more convinient, but fota cant be rushed!

    Especially at low levels, against an opponent with decent ac, swp is preferred, since the main benefit of dw is that extra crit possibility, which swp grants anyways. 2 ac isnt nothing early, but becomes meaningless i
    later in bg2.

    jackjack
  • mumumomomumumomo Member Posts: 635
    if you are using a single hand weapon with no shield/no dual, you'd probably better use a 2 hander anyway.

    Also even at level 1, a mere 1-2 AC will help your kensai survivability a lot less than killing things before they can hit you.

    elminster
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    The counter i can think of for the fota is that its quite possibly better than 2h options, and since you cant haste with the +5 version, the crit on 19 is solidly useful right through tob. I totally agree 2 points of ac early are huge for kensai, but a f/i cant even gm, so he has proficiency to burn if he wants.

    I happen to love 2h, but fota is better than the +6 weapons. Needs gww though, to hell with belm!

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Stupid edit button not clicking... anyways, i strongly disagree that a lvl 1 kensai, which can be dropped by a couple arrows from hobgobs doesnt want more ac. Let me guess, you favour dwing at lvl 1? Cuz thats a terrible thing until you get st least boots of avoidance and shield amulet. More missing AND getting hit more? Perfect for a newbie!

  • mumumomomumumomo Member Posts: 635

    "i strongly disagree that a lvl 1 kensai, which can be dropped by a couple arrows from hobgobs doesnt want more ac"

    Getting 2 extra AC will do what? you will get an AC of 4. You will still get slaughtered by any range-attacker. The key is to use crowd control : the wand of sleep is available from the start and will work very nicely against all early range-attackers..
    Later on, range attackers are not a problem anymore thanks to shielding amulet, elven bane girdle and the boots of avoidance which will anyway make you unhittable(unless for crits).

    "Let me guess, you favour dwing at lvl 1?"
    For the record, i successfully completed a no-reload solo kensai run (without abusing basilisks or grinding). So no, you cannot really say that i favor dying.

    "More missing AND getting hit more?"
    Both wrong :
    - The THACO with a 2-hander wil be exactly the same. Even the crit range will be the same.
    Actually since you can get a+3 staff very early in the game, you will hit more with a 2 hander.
    - Against range attackers, your extra AC will count only prior getting the shield amulet/elven bane. And anyway the extra 2 will not be enough to be safely relied upon
    - Against melee, the extra range from the 2 handers will allow for melee kiting which is a much better defense than AC.

    Regarding FOA :
    - you will get the fully upgraded FOA for 3 fights at best. Before that, the 2-handers (staff of ram, ravager) are better.
    - the 19 crit is also obtained on 2 handers.

  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,273
    @mumumomo, I think @DreadKhan meant dualwielding (not dying) where he wrote "dwing". A point could be made that at level 1 with bad AC anything that helps improve one's AC (including a shield) ought to be at least taken into consideration.

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