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HoF mode with a (mostly) level 1 party - ten observations through the Vale

So, diving right in after a few party rolling sessions, I am proceeding with the following party, which has now completed the Vale:
F/Cl half orc
Monk human
F/M/T elf
F/D half elf
F/M/Cl half elf
Sorc human

The F/Cl, F/M/T and F/D are admittedly imports from two other earlier runs, and have about 20-40K xp each more than the others.

I have completed HoF with a level 1 party before, prior to IWDEE. Here are my observations.

1) now that Chromatic Orb doesn't stun undead, a mage's 1st lvl spells do not have a game-changing (or OP, if you choose) option.
2) A druid is still one's best bet for sustained spell damage, which is important against undead immune to normal weapons, especially in the absence of stun.
3) The web + free action tactic is more important than ever.
4) Running up to spellcasters through their entourage and hacking your way through still doesn't work.
5) Sorc's access to crowd control spells = party saviour.
6) Invisibility and tactics are friends.
7) Monster saves seem to be improved.
8) Zone of sweet air is a much-needed spell, since Stinking Cloud is so quick to cast.
9) I'm not impressed with the F/M/Cl so far.
10) Well, my level 8 monk gets crushed against spellcasters, so why don't I buff him up and use him to melee a single skeleton archer, he should be able to handle tha- ouch. Ouch. Crap, I guess I'm reloading...



  • reedmilfamreedmilfam Member Posts: 2,808
    Aerich said:

    10) Well, my level 8 monk gets crushed against spellcasters, so why don't I buff him up and use him to melee a single skeleton archer, he should be able to handle tha- ouch. Ouch. Crap, I guess I'm reloading...

    Monks suck until Level 9...

  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    edited April 2015
    Grease is game changing early on. Especially with Web having a smaller radius. Grease is practically a second layer of whatever movement stopping spell you have.

    Druid's are better early game (Chapter 1) Once Sorc's get access to L5 (Cloudkill) and L6 (Death Fog) they catch up. Then L8 has Incendiary Cloud which is level or level/2 D4 damage per round. CK is available in Chapter 2 so itdoesn't go to waste in an undead filled area. It also helps that CK doesn't hurt stuff from Animate Dead.

  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 110
    @reedmilfam, what does the monk get at lvl 9 that turns the tide? Fists as +1 weapons, a touch more damage and another 1/2 attack? I think there is incremental improvement, but there is so much to improve upon...

    @Zyzzogeton I agree that Grease is the best of the rest, but it is a secondary debilitator once you get to Kuldahar and get Web; prior to that, yes it's excellent. It's a nice spell that helps against tough melee monsters, but it doesn't do anything to make them easier to hit or to stop them hitting you when you get into melee with them, which is where Chromatic Orb and Web are clearly superior.

    I am looking forward to getting out of the undead areas for a little while.

  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    Actually it does. Keeps enemies from moving out of Web/Stinking Cloud without using up a use of those spells.

    Web is fairly small so it's pretty easy for an enemy to move out of it. Plus early on when Web/Stinking Cloud is pretty much an auto cast for any combat, Grease can substitute for a 3rd or even 2nd use of Web. I've seen enemies break free from a double layer of Web.

    I find ranged weapons a safer solution until maybe Chapter 3, and even then I'm still paying close attention if enemies target party members. Less damage (especially vs Skeletons) but practically no reloads.

    Chapter 4 is the time when I really don't care who enemies target. I mean I still send in summons first from time to time but don't care if enemies switch to party members. Chapter 5 is when I just drop summons altogether, except for Creeping Doom but that's for damage not tanking.

  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 110
    Well, maybe I'll have to make more use of Grease in that manner - I hadn't really looked at it from the spell efficiency perspective, possibly because I've got three characters who can (and do) cast Web. It's still arguably not as good as a perma-stun ;)

  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    edited April 2015
    In a true level 1 game, you would only have 1 character + Sorcerers for the first 2 Chapters. Or 3.

    Since there's only 1 scroll of Web up until later on. So two non Sorc Arcane characters + 1 Sorc, would have one person pretty much delegated to Grease. You don't even get Web (except with Sorcs) in the Prologue, while you can still choose Grease for non-Bards.

    Post edited by Zyzzogeton on
  • PetrolPetrol Member Posts: 34
    edited April 2015
    Agree with the druid, the shaman is the best at the beggining because of the spirit pet.

    The spikes (witch can be sent many times) plus grease and web (from the mage) is a great combo.

    Animate dead to tank and range is a great combo too.

    The monk sucks, a barbarian is much better if you need a speedy toon.

    My first level 1 party : dwarven, zerk, swash, skald, shaman, archer
    Easy to play, the only difficult part was the 3rd level in dragon eye, when you enter and are attacked by a bunch of undeads.

  • brunardobrunardo Member Posts: 514
    starting a HOF level one playthrough with my monk Minsc (imported his voice, works well with a monk actually and even more hilarious as leader) and the IWD NPC party mod with R/C, UNdead Hunter, Skald, F/D, and F/M/T...good tips as will be needing every bit of it on HOF!

  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 110
    Use crowd control spells and summons as much as possible. Pump up the AC of one character (UH or R/C by preference). Your monk should never go into melee combat in the early game unless it can hit and not be targeted - e.g. the monsters have already targeted your summons or tank. Your monk can hit from behind the tank, and should do that.

    Use missile weapons as much as possible, but make sure that if there are multiple archers against you, that they are not missiling you to death. Either focus fire with your party if there are 1-2 of them, or use Charm or summons etc to give them something else to shoot at.

    Good early spells are Charm Person, Grease, Entangle, Hold Person, Chromatic Orb (one caster hits level 5), Web, Call Lightning, and especially Animate Dead.

  • PetrolPetrol Member Posts: 34
    edited May 2015
    HoF mod with level 1 team is not really interesting. It looks like a challenge but it's not because the party quickly level 10, and must often sleep.
    I don't like to sleep after each fight but instead make an entire level with what I have.

    The manual says for HoF a level 13 is recommended. I based on that, ie level 13 fighter, and gave 1,250,000 exp (cheat code) to each of my toons.

    The difference with a team beggining level 1: hardly any, until facing the yetis, the game is easy, then it's the same.
    Advantage : no nervous breakdown in orc cave, I can use the high-level capacities earlier, the strategy remains the same.
    The basic game is frustrating because you cannot use high-level spells before the near end.

    Facing yxunomei: the level 1 is level 11, the level 13 party, is level 14.
    For exemple, the zerk has 9 hp more , 5 pip in 2 handed Sword as much as the zerk begginning level 1, the same apr, and the same Taco.

    In fact the real challenge is: core rules with 1rst roll stat without + - and without hp max.

    Or playing with a theme, my party level 13 HoF, consists only of half orc:
    Barbarian, zerk, kensai, fighter / thief, tempus, fighter with a longbow (myrmidon from frosty journey mod kit).
    No mage, no druid, no bard, an interesting challenge.

    Post edited by Petrol on
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,189
    The problem with HoF is that it only affects HP, and not the AI. Once you figure out how enemies react, it's comically easy to control combat flow, and then it just becomes a game of "how quickly can I plow through 10.000 hitpoints worth of bodies".

    What IWD desperately needs is a SCS-type mod, i.e. TTT. Playing BG2's Nightmare Mode (which is essentially a carbon copy of HoF) with SCS etc. is a VERY different experience from IWD's HoF.

  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    In fact the real challenge is: core rules with 1rst roll stat without + - and without hp max.
    You're overestimating what stats can do.

    The biggest problem will probably be Mages with around 10 INT making it a chore to learn spells. Even then it's just a matter of saving up scrolls then just buying Potions of Genius for scribing sessions.

    Well maybe minimum STR on Fighters might matter. 9 STR. Never bothered paying attention as to what weapons a 10 STR character can equip, but there's still probably a few.

    Really it's the same game except taking a few extra rounds because Fighters won't have STR bonuses.

    Even the HP thing isn't an issue. Not hard to ensure your characters don't get hit or even get attacked in the first place.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,189
    Never really got the whole idea behind choosing your class and THEN rolling stats. It's not like someone would ever go "Gee, I know I can't lift a loaf of bread with these twig arms of mine, but I've decided I'll become a Berserker so BY THE GODS THAT'S WHAT I'LL BE!". A world with death around every corner is not the place for false ambition, one would think.

  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    @Lord_Tansheron It's supposed to be the other way. I guess they decided to dumb it down, so that people wouldn't be struggling with stat requirements.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,189
    It would certainly make a lot more sense the other way round. "Hm. Me got arms the size of tree trunks. Me think scribing scrolls not the best plan, rather tear people in half with thumb and forefinger. Yeah."

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    Personally, I always thought it was odd that you have to roll your stats, but you get to choose your race. I mean, if I'm born wimpy, maybe I'll never be Conan, but if I really want to be strong I can exercise a lot and make at least some progress. If I'm born an elf, no amount of effort is gonna get me closer to being a dwarf. At least not without magic a lot more powerful than what I'd need to become stronger.

    But yeah, rolling stats after choosing your class is kind of weird. Like choosing your race, though, I think it's there because people want a fun game more than they want a simulation. Whether it helps towards that goal is another debate entirely, of course.

  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    edited May 2015
    So if someone wanted a Paladin with okay stats they'd need to reroll a 1/8 chance to get Human then have to reroll stats for the next to useless 17 CHA and completely useless 13 WIS?

    If the game made these character aspects a huge deal (and I'm not talking about negligible dialogue changes) then maybe a random character makeup might matter but at some point you're just introducing pointless button presses.

  • brunardobrunardo Member Posts: 514
    Thanks for the advice guys, I think @Lord_Tansheron and @Petrol youre right, I just finished the orc caves and plowing through everything with ease. Maybe the Vales and Yxunomei will put up more challenge but this party is power gamey especially after all the upgraded gear I brought over from first playthrough...the stats are from level it off a bit sice IWD NPC pack is determined already but theyre still pretty good and anything lacking ive juiced up i.e several gauntlets of ogre power.

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