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Sheilds for Front Liners & Archers Effectiveness

Hi Guys

I've downloaded the EE version and I'm currently making a balanced six person party (after reading lots of advise from this forum). My questions that I'd like feedback on from experienced players are:

I'm planning on having a pally (two hander) and a dwarf fighter (duel weilding). I know using sheilds for my two warriors will certianly lower their AC values, but does that compensate for the reduced damage?. So another example could be, should I be duel weilding my pally with long swords rarther than a two hander for example? - or would the damage they recieve be to great?

The other question is around the effectiveness of archers, and to be specific for my last team slot, I was thinking about an elven archer kit, ideally to focus on casters to break up their spell casting. But is that a good use of a party slot?, I was also thinking about that slot being a bard (but I'm unsure I like a caster standing around simply singing all the time to be honest).

As a general point by party so far is:

Human pally (two hander) - maybe duel weild long swords?
Dwarf fighter beszerker (duel weild axes/hammers)
Halfling fighter/thief - shortbow and dagger
Human mage
Human cleric flail/mace and sheild
The last slot is the debate over a dedicated archer or possibly bard.


  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    So, early game you may want to use a shield. Your party members can be pretty breakable at that point and every protection that you can muster will probably be of benefit. This shouldn't prevent your characters from focusing on two handed damage in the long run, but just make sure that you CAN manage a shield and a weapon of proficiency. Certainly your cavalier should be able to do that. And your Dwarf as well.

    Archery, again particularly in early game, is absolutely essential. There are so many places where you have the choice of either you drawing them in or them drawing you in. Archery helps with the former and prevents the latter. As far as your group is concerned, I think that either an archer or a bard would be fine. Given your interest in having multiple casters, I'd lean towards the Bard, but only just.

  • moody_magemoody_mage Member Posts: 2,052
    Couple of answers.

    Archers will rip all things up. Ranged combat is very effective in IWD.
    Pale Justice (Holy Avenger) is a longsword in IWD
    Carry a shield anyway - if you find yourself getting whacked in a specific instance you can turtle up if need be.

  • moody_magemoody_mage Member Posts: 2,052
    The only problem I have with that is when enemies need to roll a 20 to actually hit you then they will do so with tiresome regularity which means you get hit regardless of your AC value.

  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 2,262
    the answer clearly is no because an offhand weapon can also offer you protections and better ones at that. namely, damage resistance.

  • macomeaumacomeau Member Posts: 80
    Give your Paladin longswords rather than two-handed. The two best swords in the game are both longswords: Pale Justice and Longsword of Action. Pale Justice is +7 against evil creatures. The latter gives a bonus attack per round, which should help with your 'enough damage' worries. And there are at least two Longswords of Action, maybe three (maybe more), in the game. The Paladin could go with sword and shield or dual wield, depending on situation. You can do two pips in longsword and two in dual-wielding right at character creation. The sword and shield proficiency is more marginally useful.

    Personally, I'd rather have the Bard and the Archer, but drop the straight Mage. If you really want a Mage, the Archer is probably more useful than the Bard's buffs in general combat. They'll get to 5 attacks per round pretty quickly. Get a high-powered longbow (Messenger of Sseth or Hammer) on them and they'll mow enemies down. Messenger has a really low speed factor and Hammer is a +4 bow. Messenger comes pretty early in the game, too.

  • kaldonkaldon Member Posts: 4
    Hi guys, thanks for your insight and sharing your experiences. I'm going to take the long swords on the paladin and keep a sheild for the pally/fighter in case things get tough but with an aim to duel weild if their armour/gear is good enough. It sounds like the archer is a great class to have, I'm kinda surprised that a mage isn't really needed and can be replaced with a braid, there was me thinking a mage was almost an essential class for any party.

  • moody_magemoody_mage Member Posts: 2,052
    A mage is essential in BG2, mainly for dealing with other mages and their protections. That's not the case in IWD.

  • AmardarialAmardarial Member Posts: 270
    Mages in IWD are just walking buffs, CC, AoE dmg for fodder..nothing more...

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Depending on your goals and build, there sre some pretty competetive shields. There was a decent Strength boosting shield, and serveral that gave very substantial defensive buffs. The Defender Warhammer MIGHT edge these out, but no other defending weapon is directly competetive.

    Imo, Fighters with GM that have a Cleric casting Righteous Wrath are pretty much at the Apr cap with one weapon can use a shield at less opportunity cost.

  • kaldonkaldon Member Posts: 4
    Ok, I did play bg2 a long time ago, I kinda remembered spells like haste/slow, fireball and confusion, but ok if they aren't really 'needed' I'll give the Baird a try, never used one. I take it you get them to cast song spells first, then turn on their singing while they stand about looking good:)?

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859

    Mages in IWD are just walking buffs, CC, AoE dmg for fodder..nothing more...

    What, should they fetch a banana as well?

  • macomeaumacomeau Member Posts: 80
    @kaldon Also remember that Bards can cast most wizard spells. Their progression is a little slower, they won't have quite as many slots, and they won't get 9th level spells (and no 8th until level 29), but they can probably do most of what you need in Icewind Dale. Sometimes that may mean taking a break from a song mid-fight, but that's not really a deal-breaker.

  • moody_magemoody_mage Member Posts: 2,052
    Also due to a quirk in casting power bards can actually be more effective at casting spells. A 10th level bard casts a 10d6 fireball the same as a 10th level wizard, however getting a bard to that level is much easier than getting a wizard there.

  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    Yeah Bards are really quite effective as spell casters. Even if their spells per level and total spells levels are less; they level up so much faster!

  • superliminaldudesuperliminaldude Member Posts: 27
    The Archer kit is fantastic. Quite early on my archer was sitting at 5-10 lower thaco than the rest of my party and, due the the Messenger of Sseth+grandmastery had 5 apr. It just shredded through everything, only running into difficulty with running out of arrows too quickly.

    Bards are great as well, and I think they can get up to eighth level spells in this game. I took a sorcerer but aside from bombing enemies early on it hasn't been that useful. Forget the mage and get a bard. I don't know if bard songs stack but if they do I'd get two, one Skald and one Vanilla.

  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,248
  • superliminaldudesuperliminaldude Member Posts: 27
    jackjack said:

    Bard Songs stack :D

    O.M.G. I may need to start a new run.

  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 2,262
    yeah two bards seem to be stronger than a bard and a mage which is ridiculous. trueclass bard + skald or two skalds sound pretty optimal. you don't need a lot of spells anyway and high level spells don't have that much utility in the game.

    any warrior (single, dual or multi) + paladin (prolly cavalier) + fighter/cleric + sorcerer (dragon disciple) + bard (skald) + bard (skald or trueclass) might actually be an optimal party.

  • SpungiSpungi Member Posts: 216
    I have a hafling undead hunter (I use tweaks) rocking - 20 ac atm with shield, killing fine and can take almost any beating... Good fun:D

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,140
    jackjack said:

    Bard Songs stack :D

    Although, it's worth to mention @Gotural‌ 's comment that multiple songs of the same type - a Skald's song, the War Chant of Sith don't stack in IWDEE.

  • by_the_swordby_the_sword Member Posts: 42
    I played a party with an archer in it. She would use stealth and scout entire levels, then pick off choice targets. I gave her boots of speed and she would fire at enemies while luring them into ambushes that I set with the rest of the party. Most times she would kill any creature with arrows, long before the rest of the party could touch it.

    No spellcaster was safe. With her ridiculously low THAC0 and her numerous attacks per round (even before getting the Sseth's revenge longbow), she could take out most mage types and seriously hurt clerics.

    She kept a couple of potions of invisibility on her in case she got surrounded and it usually helped. Quaff a potion, get away from the crowd a safe distance away... And then the arrows of death would fly once more.

    A lot of people talk about soloing the game with a Sorcerer, but I would take an archer any day of the week.

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