Howdy, Stranger!

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


New Premium Module: Tyrants of the Moonsea! Read More
Attention, new and old users! Please read the new rules of conduct for the forums, and we hope you enjoy your stay!

Starting Icewind Dale 2 for first time

bardothellobardothello Member Posts: 7
Played through bg1ee and bg2ee, then played through icewind dale 1 ee, and now am looking at icewind dale 2. It seems to play totally differently, not to mention the (understandably) uglier ui. Are there any tips that anyone would suggest for a player who is coming from these other games?



  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,811
    Calling IWD2 players (that are known to me): @OlvynChuru and @elminster , as well as @Genryu , @BelgarathMTH and @SapphireIce101

  • bardothellobardothello Member Posts: 7
    I found this which definitely helps a bit in regards to 2nd and 3rd edition rulesets:

    Still, any other tips would be appreciated :)

  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 2,434
    The experience system in IWD2 is really weird. I believe the amount of experience you get from killing enemies is based on the average level of your party, and is then divided among your party members. Thus, the total experience received by a party of six level 10 characters for beating an enemy will actually be more than the total experience received by a party of one level 11 character (the level 11 character will still probably get more experience than any one of the six, though). I should also mention that there are two ways to sort of abuse the IWD2 experience system:

    1. If your characters have enough experience to level up, you don't have to level them up right away. Instead, you can keep them at low level for a while so that they get more experience for killing enemies. Don't view this as cheese tactic; it's a very fair thing to do, since it makes your characters weaker in the short term but stronger in the long term.

    2. If you're soloing and you've reached a point where you're so high level that enemies don't give any experience at all (yes, that's possible if you are much higher level than the enemies), one thing you can do is create a new level 1 character (you can create new level 1 characters at any point in the game), so that your party's average level is much lower, and thus your powerful character will get more experience.

    If you use a party of six without doing any tricks to gain more experience, I think your characters will end up at around level 15 by the end of the game. One last thing I should note is that quest experience isn't affected by level.

  • bardothellobardothello Member Posts: 7
    I read some things about the experience system but nothing was as clear as what you just said. Thanks

  • DragonspearDragonspear Member Posts: 1,826

    I haven't played IWD2 recently, but before BGEE, it was usually my IE game of choice, due to requiring the fewest mods to play.

    A few pieces of advice:

    Pay attention to differences in attribute points and what scales based upon your class and other classes that you may want to multiclass with.

    For example: A Bard 11/Sorcerer 19 provides a lot of unique power in IWD2. You get your final bard song at level 11, and level 19 will allow you to cast up to level 9 spells for your sorcerer (the highest you can cast). Add that to the character being able to just max Cha at level 1 and and then continuing to pump it, leads to a nice character synergy.

    This, obviously is just one example. But explore and play around. Another character I enjoy is a Ranger/Rogue (on top of my usual paladins). I enjoy it because the 3e flexibility allows for a lot of replay value, if you don't feel a need to min/max everything.

    Oh and as usual in most IE games, spread out your weapon and skill proficiency.

  • TyranusTyranus Member Posts: 268
    Since you're a new player to IWD2, you may not be interested in powergaming and maximizing your party to stomp HoF mode. That being said, unlike BG where one Cleric can get the job done, 2 Clerics in your party will help SOOOOO much in the long haul.

    Any 6 player party I roll is always (shamelessly stolen from the's Perfect Party walkthought years ago)...

    Dwarf Fighter 4/Barbarian
    Dwarf Fighter 4/Cleric
    Human Cleric/Paladin 1 (@ approx. lvl 18, when you get a certain something)
    Drow Rogue 1/Wizard
    Human Sorcerer
    Asimaar Sorcerer

    Magic was king in Baldur's Gate 2, which I'm sure that you are aware of. The same is somewhat true with IWD2, magic remains king, but summons are the queen. From the moment you gain access to them, throw out as many Undead Summons and Shades (after level 18ish) that you can for every map. They are very powerful and, in many instances, the only way you can deal with very large and complex fights.

    Tanking is also far more involved in IWD2 than it was in BG2. The AI is slightly better at identifying that focusing the squishy sorcerers is a good idea, so you'll need to be able to have good positioning before you enter any fights.

    For the most part, if you know what you're doing in any of the other IE games, IWD2 should be fairly intuitive. Scout often, lob fireballs from the fog of war, and quicksave every time you blink.

  • Ancalagon44Ancalagon44 Member Posts: 252
    You can get into a lot of depth in Icewind Dale 2, with multiclassing and all of that. Personally, I'd avoid multiclassing if I were you. Its just much simpler to make a party of 6 pure class characters. If you do that, you can approach the game similar to how you would approach Baldurs Gate.

    There is only one exception to this, as you will see below:

    So, I would create the following party (attribute to focus on in brackets):
    Aasimar Paladin (Strength, and it will be helpful to have some points in charisma if you can)
    Half-Orc Barbarian (Strength, constitution and dexterity)
    Dwarven Fighter (Strength, constitution and dexterity)
    Dwarven Cleric of Tempus (can use axes just FYI) (Strength, constitution and wisdom)
    Human Sorcerer (charisma)
    Tiefling Rogue 2/Wizard (dexterity and intelligence)

    A note on the last one. Its not generally worth bringing a separate rogue or thief along. Wizards generally have loads of skill points and so they can easily put the necessary skill points into the thieving skills.

    Also, magic is simpler in IWD2 than IWD or BG.

    Why? Wisdom, intelligence and charisma are your casting ability scores. Wisdom matters to druids and clerics, intelligence matters to wizards and charisma matters to sorcerers and bards. The higher your spell casting statistic for your casting class, the better you are at casting. Its that simple.

    Want to make a better wizard? Give him high intelligence. Want to make a better sorcerer? Give him high charisma.

    That's all you need to know.

  • BillyYankBillyYank Member Posts: 2,769
    I need to stop reading this thread. I don't have time for another game, and you guys are really making me want to buy IWD2.

  • Jaheiras_WitnessJaheiras_Witness Member Posts: 563
    I have recently installed IWD2 too after having it sat on my shelf for years. I just wanted to muck around with character creation in the 3E system. I have to say I'm loving it so far. Only been messing around in Targos with various character builds, but initial impressions are very good. The graphics are a bit on the crappy side and look a bit clunky. I also find potions a bit annoying when they just say "Effect of Cat's Grace spell" which means I have to look at the manual to find out what it does. And in one instance, I accidentally managed to hit a mercenary with Flaming Oil, which caused all the NPCs in Targos to go hostile, including the commander when he respawned after the battle. And when I killed him it was game over because he's essential to the quest :(.

    As usual I'm only interested in solo no reload. After messing around with various builds, I think my first proper attempt will be with a Human Rogue 5 / Fighter 4 / Sorcerer. That should cover the bases and give me some firepower. My stats will be:

    STR 10
    DEX 10
    CON 18
    INT 10
    WIS 10
    CHA 18

    Is that a good build for a solo attempt with no prior experience outside Targos? Any general (non spoiler) advice?

  • Ancalagon44Ancalagon44 Member Posts: 252
    edited November 2015
    Personally, I'd take 2 levels of rogue, 1 paladin level and then sorcerer levels. Drop the fighter levels.

    Why? With those stats, you won't be any good in combat, even with buffs. I'd rely on summons and spells to do the job instead. A Paladin allows you to use your charisma modifier to boost your saving throws. So, your character, will immediately receive +4 to all of your saving throws. And, if you boost your charisma, that number will increase.

    I'd also rather have higher dexterity than constitution. Your HP and fortitude saving throws will suffer, but dex is more useful. It boosts armor class, your reflex saving throw, and many thieving skills.

    I don't know if you want to min-max your stats, but if you do, I'd consider dropping Wisdom to 3 and dropping strength to 7. Reason being, you can get the strong back feat to increase your carrying capacity as well as the Bull's strength spell to increase your strength. Wisdom benefits will saves but not much else. Not much use to a sorcerer. Having higher intelligence allows you more skill points, which will be quite useful to a solo player.

    Top spell picks:
    Level 1 - Sleep, Chromatic Orb, Shield
    Level 2 - Cat's Grace, Mirror image, Horror, Eagle's Splendour, Bull's Strength
    Level 3 - Slow, Fireball, Ghost armor, haste
    Level 4 - Stoneskin, emotion:hope, malison
    Level 5 - Chaos, Sunfire, animate dead
    Level 6 - Mass Haste
    Level 7 - Mordenkainen's sword, finger of death can be useful

    You get summoning spells starting from level 4 that create shadow monsters. These get more powerful as you level up, and the difference between the spells of various levels is the amount of hitpoints that the monsters receive. Pick one spell level that you won't need many castings of, and choose that summoning spell. I can't remember what the names of the summoning spells are, something like shadow conjuration. Anyway, those are probably the best summoning spell in the game. Later on, you will be able to summon demons entirely under your control.

    Summon a few monsters then cast Emotion:Hope and Mass Haste on them!

    Also take the Spell Focus: Necromancy feats - then use Wail of the Banshee. Especially if you cast Malison first, its pretty lethal.

    Don't bother with the spell penetration feats.

    At every 4th level, you will receive an extra ability score. I'd put it into charisma, because it will make your spells more difficult to resist and allow you to cast more spells per day.

    Pick the strong back feat as mentioned above, and also invest at least 10 skill points into spellcraft so that you will be able to pick the elemental damage feats, such as spirit of flame.

    I'd recommend the following stats:
    Str 7
    Con 14
    Dex 18
    Int 16
    Wis 3
    Chr 18

  • Jaheiras_WitnessJaheiras_Witness Member Posts: 563
    Thank you for such a detailed response :)

    I'm looking to do a roleplay playthrough so Paladin is just out, no way am I willing to play a goody-goody idiot. Otherwise yes, the boost to saving throws from CHA would have been great.

    I was thinking Fighter levels to get the weapon and armour feats for free. I know the armour feats are unnecessary but the weapon feats would be good so I don't have to waste feats on various weapons that I find. I have no idea what the good weapons are in IWD2, nor do I want to know, so taking Fighter levels will allow me to use any good weapon I come across, which is preferable to the very limited weapons a Rogue can use.

    I checked the spell progession tables and the extra spells a Sorcerer can cast after level 21 are very few, so I figured using 9 levels on other classes would be better than a few extra spells. That said, am I correct in thinking that unlike 2E, spell power is not capped at level 20 in 3E? Which would mean a level 27 sorcerer would cast more powerful spells than a level 21 sorcerer? In that case there is a good argument to minimise levels in other classes and focus more on sorcerer levels.

    Fighter 4 was to get weapon specialisation and Rogue 5 was for skill points in Rogue class skills (as well as avoiding XP penalty). You make a very good point regarding INT, ideally I would have higher INT for the extra skill points (but unfortunately you cannot have everything).

    DEX vs CON is a fine consideration. I was thinking survivability is king, but you can do that in both ways: DEX to avoid damage and for Reflex saving throws, or CON to be able to take more damage and for Fortitude saving throws. I don't really have enough experience to assess which is the better route, so your advice on DEX is much appreciated.

    I don't want to min-max too much for roleplaying reasons. WIS is my best shot for a dump stat, but I was concerned about Will saving throws since even in the early fights in Targos I've faced things like Hold Person and Dire Charm; it just seems to me that failing a Will saving throw could easily be game over whereas failing Reflex or Fortitude might just lead to damage? So do I really want a big negative modifier to my Will saving throws in the early game?

    Thanks for the advice on the spells and feats, I will look at those carefully.

    As an alternative, if I want to play a capable fighter as well as mage rather than rely purely on spells, do you think the following would work?

    Human Rogue 3 / Fighter 4 / Wizard

    STR: 18
    DEX: 18
    CON: 10
    INT: 18
    WIS: 6
    CHA: 6

    I'm envisaging a stealthy, hard hitting fighter with a two handed sword who uses spells for defences, to boost his melee skills and for summons. The high STR should mean good damage (bolstered further with Bull's Strength), the DEX will give me great thieving skills and make maximum use of the Evasion ability, and the high INT will give me lots of skill points as well as synergy with Wizard rather than Sorcerer. I can take a small penalty to Will (and cancel it out quickly with Iron Will and Luck of Heroes) and I can compensate the CHA penalty by putting points into Bluff / Diplomacy / Intimidate.

    The big weakness is the lack of HPs and probably low APR; I can compensate for the former with defensive spells like Mirror Image and Stoneskin, and the latter with Haste. What do you think?

  • Ancalagon44Ancalagon44 Member Posts: 252
    Regarding fighters and weapon proficiencies, you only need one level of any warrior class to be proficient with any weapon you come across. In other words, a single level of fighter, paladin, barbarian or ranger will allow you to use any weapon you come across without penalties. Any class can take the weapon focus feat, which is like a weapon proficiency from BG2. But it only grants you +1 to hit - no extra damage and no extra attacks. Taking 4 or more levels of fighter allows you take the weapon specialization feat (three ranks in one weapon), which gives you +2 to damage on top of your +1 to hit from weapon focus. Again, no extra attacks.

    The only way to gain extra attacks are haste, special equipment that grants extra attacks, and levelling up. When you level up and your base attack bonus improves, for every 5 base attack bonus, you can get an extra attack. So, an example, a level 5 fighter might have a +5 BAB. At level 6, he gets +6 BAB, and one extra attack per round which is at 5 less than his current maximum. Thus, he will have one attack at +6 and one at +1. If he gains another 5 levels, he has one attack at +11, one at +6, and one at +1. Note that you still add your various modifiers to your attack, such as your strength modifier, emotion:hope etc.

    Doing a solo no reload run without min maxing and with focusing on RP is going to be very, very hard. I wish you luck. If you want to do that, I'd make a character that didn't engage in melee combat. Its just too dangerous. You end up having to sacrifice either Dex or Con, and the lack of either one is a death sentence for a solo character in melee.

    I like your Wizard character, only thing to bear in mind is that you will spend a lot of the game without any spells higher than level 5 to cast. You could consider Drow as your race for this character - male Drow have wizard as their Favoured class.

    What about a Cleric instead? A Lawful Neutral Female Drow Monk 1/Fighter 1/Cleric X would be a very powerful character. Clerics and Druids get level 9 spells in this game by the way, although not many. Monks add their wisdom modifier to their armor class as long as they are wearing no armor (including shields). This means that, properly setup, a monk will reach the highest AC possible in the game. Its not possible to reach high AC when using traditional armor in Icewind Dale 2.

    I've had characters with armor class in the high 60's in Heart of Fury mode, and some people manage AC in the high 70's. Only possible unarmored.

  • Jaheiras_WitnessJaheiras_Witness Member Posts: 563
    Thanks again for the comments. After masses of indecision I changed my mind on the Paladin front and decided to roleplay a good guy - Human Rogue 3, Ranger 2, Paladin 2, Sorcerer x, stats as follows:

    STR 10
    DEX 18
    CON 14
    INT 14
    WIS 3
    CHA 17

    It's a little on the mix-max side, albeit I might be able to roleplay the WIS 3 as wistfulness, naivity and idealism above realism.I wanted max CON but also wanted lots of skill points to cover the full plethora of bases I need (disable device, search, open locks, hide, move silently, knowledge, alchemy, spellcraft, concentration and diplomacy - so pretty much all of them!). So instead had to split CON bonus with INT bonus. Overall I'm happy with that character though.

    Just cleared Targos docks and so far I'm 1/1/1 Rogue / Ranger / Sorcerer in that order. Took Dash and Dodge as original feats and Weapon Finesse at level 3 (dual wielding short swords). Selected Chromatic Orb and Mage Armour as my original spells, they seemed like the best early picks. We'll see how it goes :)

  • Jaheiras_WitnessJaheiras_Witness Member Posts: 563
    Quick question: what is the caster level for scrolls in IWD2? As in if I cast a spell from a scroll, what level will the spell be cast as (for the purposes of duration, damage etc)?

    Is it like BG2 where all scrolls are cast at level 10? Or is it cast at the character's mage / sorcerer level? Or total level? What if a Rogue casts it via Use Magic Item?

  • NifftNifft Member Posts: 1,065
    My favorite IWD2 party is a group of four who cover all the roles:

    Cleric of Bane or Tempus or Talos or Lathander or Ilmater - heavy-armor mace tank; female Drow is a fine choice. 18 Str and no Intelligence on this one -- all she needs is Concentration. If you want to multi-class, a fun combo is Barbarian 1 / Cleric X: fast movement, Rage (also take Extra Rage), and better weapon selection. Half-Orc is a pretty natural fit. The other way to go is Paladin 1 or 2 / Cleric X (especially nice on an Aasimar).

    Druid - sword tank; Deep Gnome is a fun choice, but almost any race is fine. Needs 14 Str and would like 14 Dex; high Con is nice, but 18+ Wisdom is what you need. 12 Int (or 10 Int + Human) allows for max ranks in Concentration, Spellcraft and Survival -- and the Spellcraft ranks are really nice for the elemental feats which make your [Fire] spells burn hotter. No need for Charisma.

    Rogue 1 / Wizard X - either Tiefling or male Drow. If you become so high level that you can't find any more scrolls, consider taking a second level of Rogue, or just not leveling up for a while. This character can cover Alchemy and Knowledge Arcana in addition to Rogue skills, which will not be maxed but which will be sufficient in combo with Tymora's Melody as played by the Bard. Don't put any points in the stealth skills, you won't need them.

    Bard X / Fighter 4 - dedicated archer. You want Lingering Song at level 1. The way I usually do this character is Bard 2 / Fighter 1 / Bard to 11 for War Chant / Fighter to 4 for Weapon Spec (bows) / more Bard. Usually has enough skill points to cover Concentration, Spellcraft, and Diplomacy. (Fighter levels can be useful for Intimidation ranks.) Unfortunately this character can't use a bow until level 3, but that's not a big deal -- just use a heavy crossbow for the first 2 levels. For race, Human is a good fit, but a Dwarf could be interesting as well.

    - - -

    Another fun party for role-play for pure Evil:

    - Dreadmistress - Female Drow Cleric of Bane
    - Magelord - Male Drow Rogue 1 / Wizard X
    - Slave Boy - Deep Gnome Monk
    - Slave Girl - Deep Gnome Monk

    (Don't let the slaves have any of the good equipment.)

  • Ancalagon44Ancalagon44 Member Posts: 252

    Regarding what level scrolls and wands are cast at, I don't know to be honest. I suspect they are cast at a fixed level, but it may depend on the particular item.

    Interested to hear how your character turns out. With such a low strength score, I recommend Horror, Bull's Strength and Cat's Grace as your second level spell picks. Horror is great for disabling enemies, and the other two boost your combat stats.

    Why Ranger levels? For the dual wielding?

  • Jaheiras_WitnessJaheiras_Witness Member Posts: 563
    After messing around solo without great success, I thought I'd now try a party playthrough with 3 characters as follows.

    1) Human Rogue 2 / Ranger 1 / Sorcerer x
    STR 10
    DEX 10
    CON 18
    INT 16
    WIS 4
    CHA 18

    2) Svirfneblin Rogue 3 / Fighter 4 / Illusionist x
    STR 12
    DEX 20
    CON 18
    INT 18
    WIS 5
    CHA 1

    3) Drow Monk 1 / Cleric x
    STR 18
    DEX 20
    CON 14
    INT 5
    WIS 18
    CHA 5

    My theory is to use the Sorcerer (who is the party leader) just to buff up the other 2 characters and let them go to work. The Svirf is the scout, tank and thief and will use sword and shield with Expertise to be as untouchable as possible. Later she will use her Illusionist spells for self buffing and free up the Sorcerer to focus more on offence. The Drow is the bulldozer (but also with good AC to minimise damage) - she will use a mix of buffing and crowd control spells and then wade in to kill stuff as quickly as possible.

    Is that a good party? I like it on paper but don't really know how effective it will be. What domain is best for the Cleric? I was thinking Ilmater for some nasty offensive spells but everyone seems to rave about Bane. I'm also concerned about early levelling, with XP shared 3 ways and 2 characters with high ECL penalties, is this party going to be rather weak in the early going? I could conceivably have level 2/3 characters going into Chapter 1 just when I have got used to being level 7 at the end of the Prologue. A couple of lucky hits from Orc Warriors could easily kill my characters, no?

  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,017
    I share your thoughts surrounding the early levels and suspect that you will have a challenging time getting past them. A smaller party AND level adjustment means that you are going to get one-shotted a lot unless you are very careful.

    I don't play around much with power character concepts but I also suspect that you are going to need more meat shielding in the group unless you go quite heavily into summoning, and early.

    Either way, if that is the group you want, why not try? If it is going to go south, it should happen quite quickly and then you haven't wasted a bunch of time and can simply restart/rethink your choices (or not if you get through it). Let us know.

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 14,093
    IWD2 heavily favors spellcasters and single classed characters. Spell progression is spectacular, and due to the huge hordes of critters throughout the game, AoE spells are especially effective. Spell Focus is great fun. Note that Druids gain a lot from SF: Transmutation, as their best damage spells and disablers belong to that school.

    Multi classing tends to only benefit Heart of Fury builds and tanks. In normal mode, when you only hit level 16-18 by the end, every extra secondary class costs a lot of spell power. And even in HoF mode with strong XP management, you don't hit 30 until late in the game. Adding 4 fighter levels to get that extra +2 damage with one weapon type costs 2 spell levels. That's the difference between Fireball and Sunfire, Sunfire and Delayed Blast Fireball, DBFB and Meteor Swarm. It's usually more fun to play with the bigger, flashier spells.

  • NifftNifft Member Posts: 1,065

    1) Human Rogue 2 / Ranger 1 / Sorcerer x

    2) Svirfneblin Rogue 3 / Fighter 4 / Illusionist x

    3) Drow Monk 1 / Cleric x

    My theory is to use the Sorcerer (who is the party leader) just to buff up the other 2 characters and let them go to work. The Svirf is the scout, tank and thief and will use sword and shield with Expertise to be as untouchable as possible. Later she will use her Illusionist spells for self buffing and free up the Sorcerer to focus more on offence. The Drow is the bulldozer (but also with good AC to minimise damage) - she will use a mix of buffing and crowd control spells and then wade in to kill stuff as quickly as possible.

    Is that a good party? I like it on paper but don't really know how effective it will be. What domain is best for the Cleric? I was thinking Ilmater for some nasty offensive spells but everyone seems to rave about Bane. I'm also concerned about early levelling, with XP shared 3 ways and 2 characters with high ECL penalties, is this party going to be rather weak in the early going? I could conceivably have level 2/3 characters going into Chapter 1 just when I have got used to being level 7 at the end of the Prologue. A couple of lucky hits from Orc Warriors could easily kill my characters, no?

    (1) is overly complex, has little synergy, and delays spell access for no benefit. Suggest either straight Sorcerer, or Barbarian 1 / Sorcerer X for some extra hit points and a boost to running away speed. But mostly straight Sorcerer, since faster spell access is better than anything else you could get. Human or Strongheart Halfling are good races; or a Wild Elf for bow proficiency (and the sexy Wild Elf portrait); or a Drow of either sex because you're not multi-classing so who cares; or a Lawful Good Aasimar and eventually you will dip into Paladin once you have all the spells you want, which will be after level 30 or so.

    (2) has poor race/class synergy and will bloom late, but the basic idea of Rogue 1 / Wizard X is a good idea. You could do Rogue 1 / Wizard X with a Drow or Tiefling and get better racial synergy (lower LA and higher Intelligence bonus).

    (3) is a fine build. Take at least one level of Cleric first, preferably 5 or 6 for Animate Dead. For Domain powers, I like Lathander, Oghma, or Bane (depending on your morality).

    - - -

    If your goal is to level up fast, then I suggest a Sorcerer instead of a Wizard -- not both. A party of 3 is perfectly well served by having one or the other. Having another tank will help more, I think.

    Druids perform very well in this game. A Svirfneblin Druid retains her +4 AC even when using Wild Shape, and Mage Armor applies to Wild Shape as well.

    Another fun multi-class character idea is a Rogue / Barbarian. Load up on Str + Con, have Dex 14 or so for Chain armor, and mix in Rogue levels whenever your key skills fall behind (Find Traps & Open Locks). Don't bother with stealth. If you have a high enough Int and Cha, this character could be your party face. Somewhat plausible as a Half-Orc; very plausible as a Halfling (regular or Ghostwise).

Sign In or Register to comment.