Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Categories

Neverwinter Nights: Enhanced Edition has been announced! Visit nwn.beamdog.com to pre-order, apply for the Head Start and check for details. NWN:EE FAQ is available.
Soundtracks for BG:EE, SoD, BG2:EE, IWD:EE, PST:EE are now available in the Beamdog store.
Attention, new and old users! Please read the new rules of conduct for the forums, and we hope you enjoy your stay!

A couple of questions going into a new playthrough

I have a huge problem of being afflicted with restart-itis. Started so many times and yet the furthest I got is Spellhold. So I want to get everything right this time around and do my research carefully so I can't convince myself down the line that I've made a mistake and go for yet another restart.

Q1) Which party set-up?

This question has gotten me stuck for the past month or so. I just can't seem to make up my mind on it. All party set-ups will start off as 4-man party to leave space for Imoen and Mr. ToB as they become available to join.

Party 1
- F/T charname
- Jaheira
- Keldorn
- Aerie

Melee heavy party utilizing three APR offhands (Scarlet Ninja-To, Belm and Kundane). The issue here is that I'm not a big fan of playing a thief. It's sort of a necessary evil to not having to bring Jan along. Being able to wield SNT is nice but it's still a rather plain and boring class with no spells or special powers or bonuses.

Party 2
- F/M charname
- Jaheira
- Anomen
- Jan

Balancing some spellpower with melee. The issue with this one is Anomen. He's a rather poorly built F/C dual. He can reach 3.5 APR at most. Even then he depends on buffs to be good and a pure cleric for the most part seems redundant. But not having a cleric seems like a bad idea.

Party 3
- Barbarian or Cavalier charname
- Jaheira
- Aerie
- Jan

Caster heavy party with not much melee power. I rather like the idea of Barbarian or Cavalier because they both get access to % damage reduction, 25 STR, and some nifty immunities. But the problem is, this party becomes way too reliant on charname and Jaheira for damage without chewing through memorized spells.

Q2) Why NOT Crom Faeyr as main-hand?

I keep reading EVERYWHERE that Crom is an off-hand. Yet from what I can tell, it's one of the harder hitting main hands, dealing 10-16 and 25 STR bonus. For comparison, Angurvadal deals 8-18 but only 22 STR bonus; AotU is 6-13 with a save-allowed vorpal and a nifty regen. Club of Detonation and Stormstar can potentially outdamage but on a 5% chance. FoA +5 hits like a freight train but prevents you from using IH for 9.5-10 APR. Foebane seems to be the only worthy contender because of the drain (which I hear is bugged atm?).

...and all of these are only comparable when fully upgraded in ToB. Up until then, CF outdamages them all, except Club of Detonation when it procs. I mean, I just can't see what folks have against wielding this in their main hand. It's a blunt weapon, which I hear doesn't have enemies resisting it. It gives a valuable 25 STR to classes that can't achieve it naturally a.k.a. every class not named Paladin, Cleric, and Barbarian. Yes it uses up two strength items but unless you like running a full fighter party, that's hardly an issue. There are still enough STR items go around to cover for 3-4 fighters.

So what's the problem with it as a MH?

Blackraven

Comments

  • AnonymousHeroAnonymousHero Member Posts: 82
    Regarding CF: In the off hand it still confers 25 STR to your main hand attack - of which you'll get many more than the off hand (1 APR max). The main reason for preferring another weapon in the main hand would be more "special effects" (slow, vorpal, elemental damage, etc.) or if the weapon gives better base damage (before STR bonus). That said, I don't think the CF is worth it (even in the off hand) at all except for special circumstances like golem-smiting. You're usually better off with IH + Blem/Kundane/Scarlet Ninja-to in the off hand and a "special effects" weapon in the main hand (FoA+3, FoA+4, or whatever).
    JuliusBorisov
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,059
    Actually CF does in fact deal quite a lot of damage. CF + Belm/Kundane/SNT is a pretty good combo, as the 25 STR is nothing to sneeze at. Even if you already have 19 STR to begin with, going to 25 will give you +4 THAC0 and +7 damage - that is a LOT, particularly with an extra attack from the proper OH. It gets even better if you're at lower STR (18 STR = +6/+12, 18/51-75 STR = +5/+11 for example).

    If I remember correctly, CF used to have an erroneous description at some point listing a damage that was lower than what it actually did - that may be the source of the misconception that CF is supposedly not a particularly damaging weapon in and of itself. Description might be fixed in EE? Can't tell myself, too many mods on my setup...

    The actual argument about CF is the one you mentioned, i.e. the loss of other STR-enhancing items. For that, you have to do the math. If it turns out that putting those two items on your party members will net you more overall damage output, then you may want to use something else instead of CF. If not, perfectly alright to put on the Crom and go to town. As you mentioned, lots of characters can already reach high STR (or aren't fighters anyway) so choose whatever goes best with your individual party setup.
    BlackravenJuliusBorisov
  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,017
    edited October 2014
    Taking into account that you'll be taking Mr TOB along, you could fill one more spot for the SoA portion with a fifth member. You say you like party 3, but fear to be insufficiently beefy in melee, but if you add someone like Keldorn, Minsc, Mazzy, Anomen or Valygar in SoA only to replace him by the big S in ToB, your party all of a sudden doesn't look so weak anymore.
    having said that Party 1 appeals the most to me. Magic rules the world in BG2, and that party looks very capable of dealing with it. I can already see Keldorn dispelling wizards's carefully put up protections, Jaheira neutralizing them with her Insect spells, and your hidden F/T one-hit-chunking them with vicious backstabs... but I'm a bit biased, I've always wanted to do an anti-magic run with a band of hardhitting wizard killers, and Jaheira and Keldorn would certainly be in it.

    As to your second question, CF makes sense in the main hand with a low damage speed weapon in the off hand, like @Lord_Tansheron said.
    However, in many cases offhand is preferable. Its main benefit is the STR bonus, but you get that whether you wield it in the main or in the off hand, so the main hand weapon also benefits from the 25 STR. With a weapon like the Flail of Ages which does extra elemental damage (useful to disrupt casters) and has a wonderful Slow effect every three hits (33% chance of Slow iirc) wou will want to hit as many times per round as possible. Look at it like this: would you prefer to have 3 APR with the Flail of Ages with 25 STR thanks to CF in the off hand, or have the CF in the main hand and only have one attack with the off-hand Flail of Ages? This is just an example, there are many weapons that have nasty offensive abilities that you'll want to impose on your enemies as often as possible (think of the Celestial Fury with its stunning effect, Axe of the Unyielding with its vorpal effect, Mace of Disruption for its insta-kill effect against undead, or even that Club that deals poison damage, Blackblood I think it's called).
    JLeeJuliusBorisov
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,059

    However, in many cases offhand is preferable. Its main benefit is the STR bonus, but you get that whether you wield it in the main or in the off hand, so the main hand weapon also benefits from the 25 STR. With a weapon like the Flail of Ages which does extra elemental damage (useful to disrupt casters) and has a wonderful Slow effect every three hits (33% chance of Slow iirc) wou will want to hit as many times per round as possible. Look at it like this: would you prefer to have 3 APR with the Flail of Ages with 25 STR thanks to CF in the off hand, or have the CF in the main hand and only have one attack with the off-hand Flail of Ages? This is just an example, there are many weapons that have nasty offensive abilities that you'll want to impose on your enemies as often as possible (think of the Celestial Fury with its stunning effect, Axe of the Unyielding with its vorpal effect, Mace of Disruption for its insta-kill effect against undead, or even that Club that deals poison damage, Blackblood I think it's called).

    While you are having the right idea in principle, your examples are flawed. There is basically no reason to ever NOT be using a +APR weapon in the offhand; well, no reason except that you CAN'T, either because they're a forbidden weapon type to your class or because you are using them on someone else :P Since the main reason for not being able to use an APR weapon is that you're a cleric, CF is a moot point anyway as you can easily get to 25 STR via DuHM.

    That leaves only the situation of you already using all 2 (3 with a rogue) APR weapons somewhere else. Now, you're also saying that there are better MHs with their on-hit effects etc. - and you are correct. However, you naturally want to use THOSE together with +APR offhands also, to get more on-hit bonuses. So, we're left in a situation where you're already using 2 (3) APR offhands AND 2 (3) good main hands. How many of those are there, really? FotA is the obvious choice, as it's the best weapon in the unmodded game (the +5 version anyway). You also mentioned CF - which is a decent weapon due to the stun, but deals fairly poor damage compared to other choices, and is only +3 enchantment, which can be trouble in ToB against certain bosses (particularly with difficulty mods). There's also Angurvadal, which is great but comes with its own STR bonuses, rendering CF less effective. That essentially leaves Club of Detonation and Foebane - and I do agree that you may want to put CF into your OH if you're using those. Keep in mind though that Foebane is pretty much the only good Bastard Sword in the game...

    BUT!

    The big argument, as has already been mentioned, is that many of those weapons are from ToB - while CF can be acquired as soon as you leave the Underdark. I don't think there is a weapon that can compete with CF in terms of damage in SoA, is there? Heck, CF may even be better than most un-upgraded versions of the ToB weapons, giving it an even longer life span. That is a fairly significant argument when planning around proficiencies!

    Note: you mentioned some other weapons, but they're fairly narrow in their use. You don't need Grandmaster for Mace of Disruption, just slap it on as needed and screw the pips. No other good maces anyway and it's horrible vs. non-undead. Axe of the Unyielding is available only in mid-ToB and has the same issue of there being no other good axes at all (save for Azuredge, which is the same as the MoDis) - not to mention that most relevant mobs are immune to the vorpal hits anyway, and what do you care if you kill those random trash mobs in one hit instead of two. Always keep in mind that when you're going for efficient damage output, that's what matters - things like Blackblood etc. are nice effects you can make use of at times, but are usually not worth the loss of damage overall. And if they're situationally useful, you can just swap them in at low proficiency and deal with it.

    That's what it all comes down to, really, proficiency points - in particular, fighter proficiency points as they are the only ones who can actually invest lots of pips. It's easy to have a wide variety of proficiencies as a Paladin, or Cleric, or Thief - having two weapons at Grandmaster already takes a while for a fighter, particularly if you also want a weapon style. You probably want to be efficient about it, and that means decent choices at most stages of the game. War Hammers aren't amazing, but they're alright; certainly better than some of the alternatives. Can't all be Flail of the Ages, but you can also do a lot better than Bastard Swords, too :P

    Anyway, TL;DR: plan around what you have, or plan on having. Take into account WHEN you'll have it, and what you'll do in the meantime. Use your fighter proficiency points efficiently. There are scenarios where you want to put CF in your OH, there are scenarios where you want it as a MH, and there are scenarios where you don't even want to assemble it. Choose wisely, do the math, and plan ahead!
  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,017
    edited October 2014
    @Lord_Tansheron, I wasn't arguing against speed weapons in the off hand. On the contrary, I explicitly stated that if you have one of the game's speed weapons equipped, it will generally make sense to wield CF in the main hand.
    This is because Belm and Kundane are relatively low damage weapons, even compared to CF whose 2d4 +3 isn't that impressive nor is its very situationally useful offensive effect; the Thac0 +5 is nice though.
    With the Scarlett Ninja-To, available for Thieves with UAI, it can however be argued that that weapon deserves to be wielded in the main hand with CF in the off hand, due to the blade's poison damage (unless enemies save against it almost all the time, which is something I would have to test).

    But my point was simply to explain to OP why most people rightly hold that CF is often best used in the off hand. As I said, this is because there are various weapons throughout the game with deadlier offensive effects than CF. You say you


    don't think there is a weapon that can compete with CF in terms of damage in SoA, is there? Heck, CF may even be better than most un-upgraded versions of the ToB weapons, giving it an even longer life span.

    While this is true, it is also true that various weapons throughout the game will indeed be more damaging or otherwise more effective than CF will ever be, if you use them with CF in the off-hand. Examples are the weapons I mentioned in my previous post.

    I agree with you btw that careful planning of proficiency points is important if you want to be as effective a fighter as possible. E.g. someone who only intends to use CF in the off hand needn't go beyond proficiency (one *), and is better off saving pips for other profciencies.
    JuliusBorisov
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,059
    edited October 2014

    compared to CF whose 2d4 +3 isn't that impressive nor is its very situationally useful offensive effect; the Thac0 +5 is nice though.

    This appears to be the source of confusion. I believe that CF's actual damage is 2d4+3+1d4 electrical, or 6-15. That's decent already and comparable to a katana/2h sword +5, while being blunt (best damage type) and having an elemental component (pierces Stone Skin/physical damage resistance). As I said, I believe that some versions of BG came with an erroneous description of CF's damage. That's base damage, obviously, not counting the HUGE STR bonus which increases CF's average damage by well over 50% in most cases, not to mention the THAC0 - a bonus that, naturally, scales very well with increased APR.

    With the Scarlett Ninja-To, available for Thieves with UAI, it can however be argued that that weapon deserves to be wielded in the main hand with CF in the off hand, due to the blade's poison damage (unless enemies save against it almost all the time, which is something I would have to test).

    Dual-wielding APR weapons is usually not a good idea, due to the 5 APR hard cap. You can theoretically stay below it depending on your fighter level and type of GM (mods differ there), but in any case it's very likely to be less overall damage gain than you would get from slapping the second +APR onto another character. Of course, as always there is no blanket solution and exact gain values vary with your individual setup.

    But my point was simply to explain to OP why most people rightly hold that CF is often best used in the off hand.

    Understood! And MY point was to explain why that is probably incorrect, and where the misconception about CF being a bad MH comes from (see above ) :P

    It is also true that various weapons throughout the game will indeed be more damaging or otherwise more effective than CF will ever be, if you use them with CF in the off-hand. Examples are the weapons I mentioned in my previous post.

    Again, that is a matter of math. What ends up better depends on the setup, but I wager that going with AwesomeWeaponX + CF is worse than AWX + APR and CF + APR on another character - assuming, as I said earlier, that you have the right characters/APR weapons available for use (but most "balanced" parties tend to). You really can't look at things on an isolated per-character basis (unless you play solo) because you really should have everyone fighting all the time, and your overall output is what matters in the end, not individual characters' performance.

    I agree with you btw that careful planning of proficiency points is important if you want to be as effective a fighter as possible. E.g. someone who only intends to use CF in the off hand needn't go beyond proficiency (one *), and is better off saving pips for other profciencies.

    Absolutely, yes. But that again is why CF is attractive, because it's an "endgame" weapon that is available fairly early (mid-SoA). In fact, it may be the ONLY one, unless you count un-upgraded Carsomyr and FotA (which you very well might, they are really good). This may entice you to willingly make a trade-off of having a slightly-less-than-optimal weapon for a much longer part of the game, resulting in an overall net gain of damage/time.

    But yeah, as always: Do. The. Math! Check and double check, because one thing may be amazing or it may be meh, all depending on the setup you go with.
    Blackraven
  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,673
    Celestial Fury is nice, but it's not what people make it out to be. There are quite a few weapons out there that are more powerful and you can get earlier, and sometimes even Easier. FoA being one of them.
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,059
    For clarification, CF = Crom Faeyr in this case, and not Celestial Fury. Not sure which you meant, but to clarify in any case for other readers.

    That being said I completely agree. Celestial Fury is overrated, and while undoubtedly powerful in its own way is really just not dealing enough damage. Stuns are great - kills are greater. I think the only time I routinely use Celestial Fury is to stun-lock the Chromatic Demon in WK, and even that's not really needed.
    SionIV
  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,017
    edited October 2014
    @Lord_Tansheron: I'll agree with you (and never disputed) that, combined with a speed weapon in the off hand, CF will be an excellent main hand weapon especially taking into account the extra electricity damage I wasn't aware of.
    I also hold, however, that if for some reason or other - for example: party set-up (having a Swashbuckler, Jaheira and Haer'Dalis using speed weapons), or playing with a mod like Item Randomization like I do - CF is to be combined with a non-speed weapon, there's a likelihood that the other weapon is an "AwesomeWeaponX" as you call it and that its awesome effects are on-hit effects unlike CF's STR boost which is an equipped effect. In those cases CF is better wielded in the off hand.
    JuliusBorisov
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,059
    We can definitely agree on that. Individual circumstances should always trump blanket statements. There's definitely times where you'll want to OH a CF - but don't be afraid to use it in the MH if the situation calls for it. Which one of those is the majority of cases should be difficult to determine given the wide range of setups with mods etc., but to relegate CF to OH status the party probably needs to be fairly fighter-heavy (proper fighters, not Paladin/Ranger). Not sure how often that is the case, but 3+ fighters sounds like a lot for most people.
  • SionIVSionIV Member Posts: 2,673
    Ah sorry i read somewhere that you could get it early and then i figured out it was Celestial Fury as Crom Faeyr is very late.
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,059
    "Very late" is relative. It's after the Underdark to be sure, which may be fairly late in SoA (or not, depending on how quickly you go there) but is not that late if you include ToB. CF is a weapon that can compete even with upgraded ToB weapons though, and out of all those it is BY FAR the earliest you can get - except Club of Detonation, if you allow ToB upgrades in SoA via mods. So in terms of "endgame weapons", it can be gotten quite early indeed.
Sign In or Register to comment.