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Wondering about a Berserker/Mage run

Tad_Has_A_Cold_OliveTad_Has_A_Cold_Olive Member Posts: 183
So, I've stalled on my Fighter/Illusionist run, mainly because I underestimated just how much XP it takes to level up as you progress in BG2. So, I've been thinking of starting over. Still going with a general warrior-wizard build, because it's awesome.

My current plan is to start as a Berserker and dual to mage at levels 7-9 (not sure which yet). My initial weapon pips are going to be: Quarterstaff ++, Longbow +, and Two-Handed Style +. My fighter levels will be spent getting Quarterstaff to either High or Grand Mastery.

Does this plan sound viable? I know that dual-wielding is supposed to be the strongest way to go with a Fighter/Mage, but I like being able to seamlessly switch between melee and ranged weapons (and longbows served me well in BG before). I also like the idea of being a staff-wielding badass. They're not the best 2-handed weapons, but am I gimping myself too much by focusing on them?

And finally, is starting as a Berserker instead of a Kensei okay? I know that Kensei's are supposed to be the best kit to dual out of, but I think starting with no armor and no spells to mitigate that is a little... harsh. Plus I like the idea of going around in elven chain. It just seems to fit the warrior-wizard aesthetic so well!
BlackravenJuliusBorisov

Comments

  • CaptRoryCaptRory Member Posts: 1,660
    I think you're fine. You should probably go up to Grandmastery in staves and put minimal points into other things. Like, Staves ***** 2-Handed Style * Longbow *. That'll put you around level 13 I think (never been too keen on dual classing so someone else will know better). When you switch to mage you can kick everyone but your Love Interest out of the party and learn spells to get a few really fast levels.
    BlackravenJuliusBorisov
  • hisplshispls Member Posts: 166
    Bows are somewhat less powerful in BG2 (they're still useful, but they won't carry you through the whole game like in BG1), but staff has a couple powerful options, one is arguably one of the best weapons available in the series so IMO a fine choice. Actually having a good bowman and some pips in bows (someone might chime in on this but I think shortbows are slightly better in BG2) can very well pull you through a couple difficult spots since it's somewhat easy to find +4 and +5 arrows... useful for hitting some enemies that need high enchantment to damage.


    Berserker has the berserk ability that gives him immunity from many of the most troublesome enemy attacks so it should be a very strong choice. Armor is pretty irrelevant once you come into stoneskin and other mage defensive buffs anyway, and if you have 7 or 9 levels worth of Fighter HP you shouldn't have much trouble keeping your "1st level" mage alive.

    To decide which level to switch over at, just read the kit description to see when bonuses and extra uses of kit abilities kick in. Also consider at what level you stop gaining max HP, the tradeoff is the earlier you cross over the faster you'll see mage 9th level and HLA but switching too early may leave you with a rather mediocre fighter who you'll mostly just use as a mage.....at which point you totally might as well have just been a straight mage.

    Lastly, I really hate taking specialist mage. I find there is no spell school I really want to give up having the option to use and not being able to memorize those spells is just robbing me of XP.
    Blackraven
  • HeindrichHeindrich Member, Moderator Posts: 2,959

    So, I've stalled on my Fighter/Illusionist run, mainly because I underestimated just how much XP it takes to level up as you progress in BG2.

    If you haven't played BG2 before, you should know that you get experience much faster than in BG1.

    Your build is very much viable, in fact more than viable, as Berserker=>Mage is one of the strongest class combos out there, arguably stronger than Kensai/Mage over the course of the entire BG1 to ToB playthrough. If you want to go Bow+Staff for roleplay reasons, go for it. :smile:

    As others have pointed out however, bows lose some of their effectiveness in BG2, also I personally think it's a bit of a shame not using a fighter/mage type character for frontline duty, because he is going to be the most effective tank in the party in BG2. Bows are obviously ranged weapons and even the quarterstaff can be used in the second rank behind a friendly combatant.

    As for when to begin the dual-class process... lv9 is generally the optimal point because you get a proficiency point on lv9, and those are precious once you become a mage (only one every 6 levels, also the 2 points you get during the process cannot be assigned to any fighting styles or fighter weapons). Some people wait until lv13 to max out APR and create the "ultimate character", but it would leave him crippled for most of SoA.
    Blackraven
  • CaptRoryCaptRory Member Posts: 1,660
    The reason I didn't mention the bow thing is that between magic and grandmastery in staves I doubt any ranged weapon would get much use once he hits BG2; he only needs something to get him through the first game. If he's shooting his bow much in the second game he's probably doing something wrong regardless of whether it is Firetooth or Gesen or whatever,
    Blackraven
  • GoturalGotural Member Posts: 1,229
    edited March 2015
    The Fighter/Illusionist Gnome is more powerful than the Fighter dual into Mage.

    It's your choice if you prefer a more magic oriented character, but overall, and especially if you take BG1 and ToB into account, the multi is stronger.
    Post edited by Gotural on
    BlackravenJuliusBorisov
  • CaptRoryCaptRory Member Posts: 1,660
    You can't take a kit though unless you cheat one in with EE Keeper. Plus he might not want to multi-class~ But you make a valid point.
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,455
    @CaptRory What do you mean? Gnomes are illusionist by default.
  • CaptRoryCaptRory Member Posts: 1,660
    @FinneousPJ But if you don't want to be an illusionist, or you'd rather be a X or Y you're going to have to edit things.
  • Tad_Has_A_Cold_OliveTad_Has_A_Cold_Olive Member Posts: 183
    Thanks for the insight, folks!
    JuliusBorisovCaptRory
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 5,349
    @hispls and @heindric has already said most of what I think as well, but one thing noone has mentioned in this thread yet:


    And finally, is starting as a Berserker instead of a Kensei okay? I know that Kensei's are supposed to be the best kit to dual out of, but I think starting with no armor and no spells to mitigate that is a little... harsh. Plus I like the idea of going around in elven chain. It just seems to fit the warrior-wizard aesthetic so well!

    Kensai's can't use bows, so if you want a bow the zerker is indeed the better choice (tho still limited to 1 star). I'd go with short bows or xbows myself though, probably xbows. In BG1 you will have many party members fighting for the best ranged items, and using one on your own char with only one prof point instead of giving the best long/short bows to kivan/coran/imoen is a waste IMHO. Less NPC's use xbows, so I would give myself that and then use the army schythe for an added APR.

    Also, MC vs DC has been debated numerous times and both are strong enough to dominate both BG, BG2 and ToB, so no need to change your setup. Both of these chars you have will be more than adequate.

    So, my final advice would be to make the dual from zerker to mage at level 7, that way you are level 8 mage very early (just memorize scrolls) and you will still have enough pips to GM in staves. Going to 9 is not much more cumbersome, so do that if you wish. OR you could just stick to the gnome char of yours since F/I are strong and the added spells per level from specialist mage can be worth it, (as well as shorty saves ofc).

    Have fun,
    Cheers//Skat.
  • Gschab2022Gschab2022 Member Posts: 1
    Gotural wrote: »
    The Fighter/Illusionist Gnome is more powerful than the Fighter dual into Mage.

    It's your choice if you prefer a more magic oriented character, but overall, and especially if you take BG1 and ToB into account, the multi is stronger.

    The berserker mage is the most powerful because all though you have more spell slots you as a fighter/illusionist you miss out on some really really good spells like horrid wilting and skull trap
  • WoebegoneWoebegone Member Posts: 15
    Playing a Berserker in BG1 was an absolute breeze. AC matters more in BG1, and heavy armor and a shield was my norm. I didn't bother with a ranged weapon because you can't specialize, but my melee weapon was axes so.... Nothing wrong with using a Staff/bow combo in BG1 though. Will still smash foes nicely.....just might need an extra healing potion now and again.
    The Fighter/Illusionist was also fairly tough when he wore armor, but I stayed ranged and used spells more often. They were both good.

    At the xp cap for BG2, a Fighter Illusionist will be 14/14, and the Berserker/Mage will be 9/17. Hard to say which is 'better'. A lot depends on your companions and the difficulty level+mods. I enjoyed both runs on SCS+Tactical. The Berserker was nice against Liches and the earlier level 9 spells in TOB were really nice. The Fighter/Illusionist was a better melee damage dealer while being an equal tank, although against some opponents needed more micro-management. They were both among the most powerful characters I've played through a trilogy run.
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