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Barbarian-ish Fighter/Transmuter with unlikely party of four (spoilers)

LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
This is going to be a mercifully limited playthrough journal commentary-wise, I plan to just hit a few highlights.

I set out to try give myself a bit more challenge so I figured I'd try SCS with a party of three companion NPCs that I don't often use and are not regarded as particularly powerful. And I wanted to try a Fighter/Mage build that is a bit unusual. Anyway, here is the party:

Hector, human CN Barbarian 3/Transmuter
Tiax
Rasaad
Safana as Swashbuckler

image
As you can see I made some edits made via EE Keeper. I won't bore folks with the details of a few missteps that I made, but I learned in a slightly roundabout way that the way to get a dual-class Barbarian/Specialist Mage is to 1) start with Fighter, 2) dual to Mage, 3) via EE Keeper assign the Mage specialty kit (here Transmuter), 4) use EE Keeper to add the Barbarian Rage innate ability.

Hector is a hulking warrior who wields a haldberd. As I'm playing him, more than half of his spell slots must be filled with Alteration spells--which I'm pleased to find are (at least for me) really fun for a meleeing Mage.

Oh, and Hector loves his cat familiar. He uses her to scout just about constantly. Haven't yet had the cat try pickpocketing, but tonight I'll see how that goes.

I'm just having some powergaming fun for this run, so I'm metagaming and reloading at will.

Hector and Tiax went straight to the bassilisk map in order to level Hector to just shy of Fighter 3/Transmuter 4.

It's a shame that Color Spray doesn't scale to opponents, because it is so darned cool. I'm going to miss using it when enemies start to consistently save against it:

image
And the Alteration spell Strength is seeing a lot of use as well right now.

So this is a motley bunch, and I am very pleased thus far with the unusual chemistry of this party. The personalities seem to contrast one another well. Tiax and Rasaad adventuring alongside one another is... just special.

In terms of utility they complement one another rather well also. Tiax is a little badass! I mean I know from Cleric/Thieves; but especially with his Summon Ghast ability the little guy is really proving a much stronger contributor than I remember. I'm going to be fascinated to see how well Safana performs as Swashy. I just added her to the party, but so far so good. This is the first time I'm using Rasaad as a Sun Soul Monk. So that's kind of an interesting departure as well. I'm looking forward to when he gets Stunning Fist.

Anyway, I'll just post anything that seems noteworthy about the battles, or otherwise seems worth mentioning. About the only thing to note thus far is the SCS sirines weren't as hard as I expected. I did have to wait out some of their charms on some of the party, but no one was really in any serious danger. And I had Tiax just sneak into the pirate cave and steal the treasure, rather than have the party try to take out the flesh golems.

Post edited by Lemernis on
BlackravenCrevsDaakFinaLfrontjackjacklunarSCARY_WIZARDGoturalJuliusBorisovloliendstoltzfus
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Comments

  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,277
    Fantastic! Love the Color SPray, reminds me of my run where my party consisted of Mages who could only cst from their school. Color Spray was my Transmuter's spell of choice :)
    I did cause al lot of friendly fire though....

    jackjackJuliusBorisovlolien
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    The nice thing about this build is the character has a lot HP. He can tank. So he's on point in a wedge formation at the start of a battle. He unleashes the fan of colors a couple of times and then goes to town with the Chelsea Crusher. Same as Sleep, the casting time is 1. So the other party members don't have to avoid melee for long.

    jackjackBlackravenJuliusBorisovlolien
  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,686
    edited May 2014
    1.) EEKeeper
    2.) Load save
    3.) Select Character
    4.) Innate
    5.) Kit
    6.) Pick Berserker and change From level to level depending on how many rages you want him to have.
    7.) Profit

    You now have a fighter with the berserker rage. If you pick from 1 to 10 you'll sit on 3 (3?) rages etc. Figure out at what level the berserker gets additional rages and pick the one you want.

    JuliusBorisovloliendstoltzfus
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    @Lemernis I think barb is a lot more interesting than berserker. Did you add the movement speed, backstab immunity and extra HP as well? These things are what make the barb so awesome in BP2, IMO.

    jackjackJuliusBorisovloliendstoltzfus
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited May 2014
    Thanks @SionIV, and by the way I look forward to using your guide to Polymorph Self. :-)

    Re: this type of build you can only select one kit, though. So for a dual-class Fighter/Mage, when you assign the mage specialization kit that will undo Berserker or Barbarian, changing the starting class to Fighter.

    Do you happen to know where the Berserk innate ability is found within EE Keeper? I see only Minsc's there.

    I would imagine that just one Barbarian Rage is all a Barbarian would get by level three, no?

    SionIVJuliusBorisovlolien
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited May 2014

    @Lemernis I think barb is a lot more interesting than berserker. Did you add the movement speed, backstab immunity and extra HP as well? These things are what make the barb so awesome in BP2, IMO.

    No, I didn't add those things from the Barbarian kit, and thanks! Instructions please? :-)

    Hector dualed at Fighter 3, so it should be consistent with that, i.e., that's as high as the Barbarian features should go for him.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited May 2014
    Actually while we're at it, Safana is now Swashbuckler level 5, and all I did for her was change her thieving skill distribution points based on a mock build. I'm probably missing Swashy features for her as well! So I would appreciate direction on what to add for her via EE Keeper also!

  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    edited May 2014
    You can do it easiest by making a level 1 (or 3 or whatever) barbarian and copying the affects:

    image


    I would guess the 0x00B0 is movement speed and the AC one is backstab immunity, but I'm not sure. You can adjust HP in the abilities screen, so just add 3*2 = 6 HP if you're using maximum rolls.

    barb.jpg 152.9K
    SionIVJuliusBorisovlolien
  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,686
    Lemernis said:

    Thanks @SionIV, and by the way I look forward to using your guide to Polymorph Self. :-)

    Re: this type of build you can only select one kit, though. So for a dual-class Fighter/Mage, when you assign the mage specialization kit that will undo Berserker or Barbarian, changing the starting class to Fighter.

    Do you happen to know where the Berserk innate ability is found within EE Keeper? I see only Minsc's there.

    I would imagine that just one Barbarian Rage is all a Barbarian would get by level three, no?

    When you go into the Kit section of Innate abilities you can add as many as you want. Pick the Berserker kit and chose from level 1 to 10 and you'll get 3x berserker rage. You can also add more kits there, so it won't replace the other one.

    If you only want the berserker enrage you'll find it on Innate abilities at the bottom of the list under End Spell.

    Draw Upon Holy Might
    End slayer change
    End slayer change
    End spell
    ->Enrage <-
    Find Familiar
    Flaming Fists

    -----------------------------

    The 0x00B0 is the movement speed as @FinneousPJ mentioned. The only problem with doing a multi-class Barbarian/something is that you'll have to manually upgrade the HP points as you'll always end up with a fighters 1D10 instead of the barbarian 1D12.

    JuliusBorisov
  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,686
    Lemernis said:

    Actually while we're at it, Safana is now Swashbuckler level 5, and all I did for her was change her thieving skill distribution points based on a mock build. I'm probably missing Swashy features for her as well! So I would appreciate direction on what to add for her via EE Keeper also!

    When it comes to complicated classes that have damage modifiers based on levels like the swashbuckler i always end up remaking them from level 0, to get everything that the class have. So for Safana that would mean.

    1.) Put her level to 0
    2.) She'll level up to 1 in the game and gain all the swashbuckler abilities.
    3.) Level her up to the level she should be.
    4.) Adjust HP/ Proficiency points/ Thieving skills.

    This way she'll have all the abilities of a swashbuckler.

    It's the same if you create a T/M and want a swashbuckler then go into EEKeeper and change the thief level to 0, it'll level up to 1 automatically in the game and give you all the abilities of the kit. You just have to change the HP/Proficiency points/ Thieving skills and you're ready for the game.

    With classes like Barbarian that only have one or two special abilities that don't increase with level, you can create a low level barbarian and copy the affect abilities. Just remember you won't get the 10%/15%/20% resistance unless you manually copy that as well.

    jackjackJuliusBorisovlolien
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited May 2014

    You can do it easiest by making a level 1 (or 3 or whatever) barbarian and copying the affects:

    image


    I would guess the 0x00B0 is movement speed and the AC one is backstab immunity, but I'm not sure. You can adjust HP in the abilities screen, so just add 3*2 = 6 HP if you're using maximum rolls.
    Thanks! Interestingly, for the Barbarian 3 mockup I made the first line with the movement speed was there under Affects; but the line you showed there for AC wasn't there. So maybe he has the backstab immunity from something embedded in the first line?

    Edit: Guess not. I just tested by having Tiax backstab him and he is not immune.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    SionIV said:

    Lemernis said:

    1.) Put her level to 0
    2.) She'll level up to 1 in the game and gain all the swashbuckler abilities.
    3.) Level her up to the level she should be.
    4.) Adjust HP/ Proficiency points/ Thieving skills.

    This way she'll have all the abilities of a swashbuckler.

    Thanks, that makes total sense!

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited May 2014
    Actually, if there is no Barbarian immunity to backstab that somewhat balances out the fact that this character gained 3 pips in Halberd, whereas a Barbarian may not exceed 2 pips per weapon. I believe he'll get one more at level 6 as well as Transmuter, and because he's a Fighter he can then High-Master (++++) in Halberd. So it's more than fair that he doesn't get that one Barbarian feature.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
    FinneousPJlolien
  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,277
    @Lemernis, if you don't mind the hassle, you could also set you character to a level 0 singleclass Barbarian (with 4000 XP). Set your saves to those of a level 1 (human) warrior: 13/15/14/16/16, your Thac0 to 20, and your HP to only 1. Eliminate any weapon proficiencies.
    Save, and open your edited game. Your character will automoatically level up to level 3, where you can pick 5 proficiencies (4 starting profs plus 1 for reaching level 3), your Thac0 will be adjusted as well as your saves, and you get all the innate feats of the Barbarian (including increased movement speed, immunity to backstab etc). Dual your character to mage. Save this game and open it in EEKeeper. There you reduce his HP by one (the single hitpoint you gave him at level 0) and in the XP bar you give your character the XP he had accumulated as a mage. Save and open your edited savegame, where you will level up as a Mage. You'll now have a proper Barbarian->Mage.
    The same can be done with Safana, kitting her as a level 0 Swashbuckler.

    FinneousPJJuliusBorisovlolien
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited May 2014
    @Blackraven, thanks, I'm going to do it with Safana but I don't really see a need for it here for Hector. I'd prefer having High Mastery as a Fighter for him, honestly. As it stands the Barbarian Rage ability and slightly faster movement are plenty to provide the flavor of the Barbarian kit. And now that I remember that you can't get more than 2 pips per weapons prof as a Barbarian, a full-fledged Barbarian/Transmuter isn't really what I would want. If I were going to move any further definitively one direction or the other I'd remove the Barbarian Rage, few extra XP, and movement speed increase and be content with vanilla Fighter.

    IIRC, there aren't that many situations in SCS that you have to worry about getting backstabbed. I do recall a few, although it's been a very long time since I played with it installed.

    BlackravenjackjackJuliusBorisovlolien
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    As to Shocking Grasp, a spell that I maybe tried once when the game first came out, there's no reason to use it with this guy (or arguably for anyone to use it ever under any circumstances whatsoever ;-P). Hector delivers more damage from his halberd. And among the Alteration spells Burning Hands causes superior damage after caster level 3.

    loliendstoltzfus
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited May 2014
    Thinking beyond this game already, I'm really liking this version of F/M a lot and I'm considering it for a BG2 run (probably just SoA). I'd start a fresh BG2 game and begin with Fighter 7 (again going with two-handed weapon and halberd) and dual immediately to Mage, then assigning the Transmuter kit. I might use EE Keeper there as well to add the Barbarian Rage plus movement speed. But for my taste he's really fine as just a Fighter, honestly.

    I might have to go with a five person party. Ideally I want a four person crew that is fairly offbeat, but I have to balance that with wanting to check out the new NPCs. And there's the problem of having both thieving and healing for such a party concept in SoA.

    I have yet to play BG2EE beyond a bit of beta testing that RL demands interrupted back when. I think again Rasaad would accompany Hector, since I'll enjoy seeing Rasaad truly come into his own in SoA. Beyond that I'll probably use Dorn, Hexxat (Clara), and... since I need healer and have used Cernd a fair bit in the past... Aerie. (Neera will have to wait for another run.) For Thieving skills I have used Imoen, Nalia, Yoshimo and Jan a lot, so it will definitely be Hexxat.

    However I'm ambivalent about using Aerie because I want to increase the challenge by having a Fighter/Transmuter cast mainly from the Alteration school--and ideally I'd like for him to be the only arcane caster. For Hector I have been filling each spell level in his spellbook with at least 50% Alteration spells; and he must have more than half of his entire spellbook devoted to Alteration spells. And of course as a Transmuter he cannot cast Abjuration spells (except for Spellstrike which is from both the Abjuration and Alteration schools).

    That RP rule that I've been following would be interesting to follow in BG2 because the Alteration spells from level 6 and up include:

    Disintegrate
    Flesh to Stone
    Improved Haste
    Stone to Flesh
    Tenser's Transformation
    Ruby Ray of Reversal
    Sphere of Chaos
    Shapechange
    Spellstrike
    Time Stop

    Now, he can still cast from other schools other than Alteration (excluding his opposition school), but he can only fill his spellbook with less than half of those spells. If I add another arcane caster (Aerie) who can cast Abjuration spells and freely use all the other schools then that will sort of dilute such a challenge a bit. But I need a healer, and I've used Jaheira, Anomen, and Cernd a lot. Aerie I think I've used only once in all these years.

    If the banter between Dorn and either Aerie or Anomen is particularly fun, that might help me choose. Don't spoil me completely of course!

    Post edited by Lemernis on
    CrevsDaakjackjacklolien
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited May 2014
    After of bit of testing this build out in BG2, with the goal to Grand Master in Halberd in mind, I'm not really sure whether I could want to

    a) start a BG2EE game with Fighter 7 and dual immediately to Mage/assign Transmuter kit; then gain 90,000 XP as Transmuter to get the Fighter skills back

    b) replay a BGEE game but dual at Fighter level 6 (32,000 XP) and gain 60,000 XP to get the Fighter skills back; then import the character into BG2EE

    c) just import the current BGEE character Fighter 3/Transmuter into BG2EE and accept High Mastery (++++) from Fighter 3/Transmuter 6 until finally gaining another pip at Transmuter 12 (would take around 615,000 XP if he's, say, Fighter 3/Transmuter 9 when imported into SoA).

    I really think option (b) is not one I will take, though. So I'd have to weigh option (a), i.e., starting at Transmuter 1 at the beginning of SoA and however long it takes to get 90,000 XP, versus option (c), i.e., enjoying the character with High Mastery (++++) and a full battery of spells until he eventually reaches Transmuter level 12 to achieve Grand Mastery (+++++).

    But after plotting it out along the different possible directions, I don't think it's a difficult decision after all. I would go with option (c). I think I could live with Fighter skills at level 3. With all the buffs and using Tenser's and whatnot, he'll still be a total beast.

    Note: I never realized that High Mastery and Grand Mastery both confer + 2 to hit. Grand Mastery merely increases weapon speed according to the (original game's) manual.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
    FinneousPJCrevsDaaklolien
  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,277
    Lemernis said:

    With all the buffs and using Tenser's and whatnot, he'll still be a total beast.

    I hope so for you. Not sure how great you character will be with SCS.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    edited May 2014
    @Blackraven At least for now he's cruising along with no problems in BGEE SCS (well, still in chapter 3 at least). However the enemy spellcaster routines in BG2EE SCS are more difficult for sure.

    Is the self-imposed spellcasting rules for the character the main problem that you foresee? (I.e., more than half the spells must be from the Alteration school; and of course he cannot cast Abjuration spells as a Transmuter.)

    Or is it that he won't be strong enough as a Fighter 3? I mean, the base thac0 of 18 presents a bit of a challenge, I recognize. But with Tenser's he'll be equivalent to a Fighter at his Transmuter level. Granted, that spell lasts only for 1 round per Transmuter level, though. I can't recall if I can set that up in Sequencers or not...

    With Improved Haste he'll have double the APR (even just at Transmuter 9 that'll put him at 6 APR)...

    He will of course use the Wave Halberd +4 (eventually). I'm not sure what wearable items will reduce thac0 further... It's been quite a while since I played BG2.

    Actually, both High Mastery and Grand Mastery confer +2 to hit. Grand Mastery simply increases the weapon speed (which it has never been clear to me whether that has a meaningful result in combat, i.e., does greater weapon speed actually result in beating the opponent to the punch?).

    Anyone know if there a continued thac0 reduction in the Transmuter level progression, however gradual?

    Post edited by Lemernis on
    CrevsDaak
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,264
    Actually what the most recent discussion of such a character for BG2 SCS highlights for me is how truly godlike a maximized character is in SoA and ToB. It is truly epic level play (befitting a Bhaalspawn I guess). A Fighter 13/Mage basically destroys anything before him, SCS or no. But I wonder if it will actually be more fun to meet the challenge of figuring out how to make this character succeed given his base thac0 of 18.

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