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Gnome Illusionist/Thief

yksimaltyksimalt Member Posts: 115
Hello,

I while back I created a Paladin (undead Hunter) and was lucky enough to roll a 95. The plan was to set out from start and play through BGEE, SoD, and BG2EE.

Unfortunately, I found myself in SoD having lost connection to CHARNAME, feeling he was too empty and single-minded in his view of the world.

Thus I yesterday created a more jovial and slightly mischievous Gnome Illusionist/Thief, and was lucky enough to roll a 92.

He has just left Nashkel mines (no previous Power-levelling) and is at an early stage of his adventures.

Having never played the race nor the profession combination I would appreciate ideas and tips around how to develop him.

I gave him Darts and Crossbow thinking to use him in ranged combat, but I was also thinking about perhaps making him more stealthy for backstab purposes.

Any tips on which spells to focus on at this stage, and then which ones later on?

Also, I have heard references to "shorty saves", and am curious as to what that means.


Many thanks in advance.

/A.






















Post edited by yksimalt on
OrlonKronsteenAerakar

Comments

  • DetectiveMittensDetectiveMittens Member Posts: 234
    Shorty saves are constitution based bonuses that Gnomes, Halflings and Dwarves recieve. Gnomes get the short straw because they only get wands and spell saving throws while the other two races get an additional bonus to saving throws against death. CON 14-17 is +4, CON 18 is a +5 bonus.

    Darts and Crossbows are both viable choices in to progress through the entire campaign. With great items such as the army scythe in BG1 (and darts of wounding and stunning). Acid Biter (Returning dart +2) in SOD. And the Firetooth +4 (store outside watchers keep) and the crimson dart +3 (First level of watchers keep) are both relatively easy to obtain (one for a small fortune). Other than that you may want to invest a couple of points in quarterstaff for the staff of the magi which counts as a +5 weapon to hit, but firetooth will be able to handle most things.

    Illusionist/Thief is very strong imho as I have a fondness for Jan Jansen in BG2 - regarding how to play them. Play the character as the main spell caster in the party.

    OrlonKronsteenAerakar
  • yksimaltyksimalt Member Posts: 115
    Hi,

    thx for the tips.

    I didn't know about those specific darts, although I knew about the Army Scythe in Beregost.

    Any gain in going for scimitars and backstab combined with spells?

    /A.

  • alceryesalceryes Member Posts: 362
    edited July 2016
    yksimalt said:

    Hi,

    thx for the tips.

    I didn't know about those specific darts, although I knew about the Army Scythe in Beregost.

    Any gain in going for scimitars and backstab combined with spells?

    /A.

    Though some don't like the idea of 'backstabbing' with a six foot stick, quarterstaff backstabs are some of the best. It's blunt damage (best damage type in BG), you can crit more and do more damage with a pip in two-handed weapon fighting, and there are SEVERAL spectacular quarterstaffs in BGI and BGII (not sure about SoD).

    OrlonKronsteenAerakar
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 603
    If it were me, I'd use him in the early stages as a standard mage and a thief who focuses on locks and traps. I'd use standard spells, e.g. sleep, identify, magic missile, web, acid arrows, fireballs, confusion, etc.. I'd also start working on his pick-pocket skills. After that, I'd focus on setting traps and detecting illusions. I'd go for stealth skills last since you can already achieve stealth with spells.

    In the beginning ranged weapons are the right choice - no need to get him anywhere near the front lines. I'd keep him at the back, casting spells and using ranged weapons. In fact, I'd keep him mostly in the back for the rest of the game, but that's just my play style.

    Moving into higher levels I'd add defensive spells (mirror image, stoneskin, etc.), too. Then I'd keep adding crowd control and offensive spells (e.g. cloudkill, chaos). Now, if you want to get into backstabbing, you can eventually use the Tenser's transformation spell to boost your thaco. With this, a strength item (or spell), and invisibility your gnome can become a beast.

    I'd still recommend having a pure mage of some sort in the party, as he/she will get access to the higher level spells sooner.

    Aerakar
  • yksimaltyksimalt Member Posts: 115
    Thanks for the input.

    What about the many Undead in BG2EE, are they equally damaged by the + 4 and + 3 darts mentioned above? Are all of them returning darts?

    In general I have usually played "stay behind" type of characters in the past, such as mages or rangers, as well as thieves with crossbow.

    I find I enjoy the game better and can remain at the helicopter perspective when watching combat, instead of following CHARNAME in the middle of the fray when being surrounded by a multitude of foes.

    /A.


  • alceryesalceryes Member Posts: 362
    yksimalt said:

    Thanks for the input.

    What about the many Undead in BG2EE, are they equally damaged by the + 4 and + 3 darts mentioned above? Are all of them returning darts?

    In general I have usually played "stay behind" type of characters in the past, such as mages or rangers, as well as thieves with crossbow.

    I find I enjoy the game better and can remain at the helicopter perspective when watching combat, instead of following CHARNAME in the middle of the fray when being surrounded by a multitude of foes.

    /A.

    You're not going to find the +3/+4 darts in BGI, they're too powerful. I *think* BGI only has +1 darts and none of them are returning. BGII has a returning +3 dart but I'm not sure when you get it.

    I enjoy wading into battle. One of these days I need to make a 'sit back and direct' cleric/mage or something like that. I'm sure it's fun.

  • DetectiveMittensDetectiveMittens Member Posts: 234
    Just to re-interject: (for clarification)
    Firetooth +4 is a crossbow you can find in a store *outside* watcher's keep. In BG2:EE

    Crimson Dart +3 (Returning Dart) you can find near the end of the first floor of watcher's keep. Also BG2:EE.

    For BG1:EE you have the option of: Darts of Wounding, Darts of Stunning (You can buy from sorcerous sundries or find scatter around) and a variety of +1 darts available from Thalantyr in highhedge (acid or fire damage e.t.c)

    In SOD you can obtain the Acid Biter +2 (Returning Dart +2) relatively early on - which is additionally carried into BG2:EE - from Jayes Store (I think) at Night in waukeens promenade. This will be available if you import your save from SOD to BG2EE.

    Alternatively you can also pick up the Cloak of the Star's which is capable of producing Darts +5! which only last 24 hours but you can store them in the ammo-belt or a bag of holding to stop them from despawning from your inventory on rest (so you can produce a nice surplus for the few encounters you need a +5 bonus.

    Thus concludes the brief history of darts.

    FinnTheHuman
  • dockaboomskidockaboomski Member Posts: 435
    Now if only Str adjustments applied to darts...

    DetectiveMittens
  • yksimaltyksimalt Member Posts: 115
    Ah, ok, Firetooth is a Crossbow.

    A few more questions:

    What type of foes require a +5 weapon?

    Are those foes immune to weapons with less damage bonus?

    If you have a +4 Crossbow and a +1 bolt, is that equal to +5 weapon?

    /A.

  • alceryesalceryes Member Posts: 362
    edited July 2016
    yksimalt said:

    Ah, ok, Firetooth is a Crossbow.

    A few more questions:

    What type of foes require a +5 weapon?

    Are those foes immune to weapons with less damage bonus?

    If you have a +4 Crossbow and a +1 bolt, is that equal to +5 weapon?

    /A.

    Not sure (haven't played much BGII) but from what I've heard it's only about 5 or 6 enemies. Sorry, you're looking for types.

    Yes, if you are not this tall (+5 or greater) you can not ride this ride (damage the opponent). Also, note that it's not the damage bonus but the to-hit bonus (THAC0) that is used (or is it the enchantment bonus?).

    No, the bonus of the projectile and launcher DO NOT stack when determining resistance bypass. Firetooth is a special case it that it can fire bolts that you add to the quiver OR fire it's own self-created bolts.
    Also, I *think* (someone else can confirm) that only the bonus of the projectile is considered when determining resistance bypass. i.e. If you have a +3 longbow and are firing +1 arrows at a creature that requires a +2 or greater weapon to hit it won't get through because only the +1 arrow is considered when determining the resistance bypass.

    Post edited by alceryes on
    FinneousPJ
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,265
    @alceryes Yes the rating of the ammo is considered as that is what hits the opponent.

  • yksimaltyksimalt Member Posts: 115
    I see. Thanks all for the clarifications.

    Well, my Gnome is doing well, just cleared the upper levels of Durlag's Tower and the basement with the Guardians.

    He stuck with Darts as his main weapon of choice, but I think I will add a crossbow later on since there are plenty of enhanced bolts throughout the Tower to pick up.

    For some reason Montaron seems to have 2 Points in using Sling. I never noticed that before. Is that his default value?

    /A.



  • LordVemLordVem Member Posts: 28
    Yeah he starts with 2 pips short sword and 2 pips sling.

  • yksimaltyksimalt Member Posts: 115
    I would call that an odd choice.

    For him throwing daggers seem more appropriate, or crossbow.

    He is sinister enough, and a sling seems a bit too "druidy".

    /A.

  • KuronaKurona Member Posts: 854
    Montaron is a halfling and slings are their cultural weapon, so to speak.

    Grum
  • yksimaltyksimalt Member Posts: 115
    He is probably not from friendly Gullykin, though... ;)

  • chimericchimeric Member Posts: 1,163
    edited July 2016
    I believe that in the original BG he had points in Crossbow instead, which was both more useful and more sensible for him... Beamdog.

    As for a gnome illusionist/thief, I once played a Chaotic Evil type who loved warping the idea of reality in his companions and corrupting everything he touched. I think he was a little insane. For skills, he focused on lock-picking from early on, as Imoen was there to take care of traps. Eventually I was going to boost his stealth and make him a scout and backstabber with the Dagger of Venom, falling on the party's tanks for support when discovered.

    And paladins - they don't have to be empty-headed buffoons, they don't.

    Post edited by chimeric on
  • FrancoisFrancois Member Posts: 452
    I made a solo run of BG2 once with a gnome Illusionist thief. Very fun and powerful. I suggest running a reduced party to really make the most of your versatility.

    Once you get boots of speed it's very easy to do hit and run backstabs. For melee, I suggest scimitars & single weapon when you get to BG2. Belm gives an extra attack, doubling your chances at backstabs.


  • yksimaltyksimalt Member Posts: 115
    edited August 2016
    Hello,

    thanks for the tip. I am curious of making him a "backstabber" as well, parallell to using him with ranged ability, such as darts.

    Please forgive my ignorance. What is "Belm"?

    /A.

  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 1,945
    Belm is a +2 scimitar in BG2 that gives an extra attack per round.

    I'm not sure what @Francois meant by "doubling your chances at backstabs," though.

  • yksimaltyksimalt Member Posts: 115
    edited August 2016
    Thanks for the answer.

    Me neither.

    Once you attack and miss or hit, you go from unseen to seen, correct, when hidden?

    /A.

  • yksimaltyksimalt Member Posts: 115
    edited August 2016
    Hello,

    small side-track from the original topic:

    The Gnome had a familiar (a cat).

    A bit useful when scouting, but other than that it was down to micro-managing to keep the poor pet alive.

    First time trying to use a familiar, but for me the pain of it clearly outweighed the benefit.

    Going through Durlag's lower levels, I suddenly realized the cat was gone, and I had lost the darn CON stat point.

    Dunno where or when, and no save files available that is worth the trouble of going back into time before the tower.

    What good is a pet in the game? (I tried it out for the roleplay but obviously failed miserably...) ;)

    /A.







  • FrancoisFrancois Member Posts: 452
    joluv said:

    I'm not sure what @Francois meant by "doubling your chances at backstabs," though.

    It is because if you miss while hiding in shadows you do not become immediately visible (but not the case for invisibility spell I think). This gives you a second chance with your second attack.

    About the familiar, the main benefit is that it gives you a bonus to your own hit point. You can talk to him and tell him to get in your inventory so it doesn't get killed.

  • yksimaltyksimalt Member Posts: 115
    edited August 2016
    The bonus hit points were 8 I believe. Is that considered "that" much, weighed against the hassle of bringing the pet along?

    I wish I would have known about the trick of putting the pet amongst my gear, that would probably have increased its average life expectancy...

    /A.

    Post edited by yksimalt on
  • ConjurerDragonConjurerDragon Member Posts: 96
    edited August 2016
    yksimalt said:

    The bonus hit points were 8 I believe. Is that considered "that" much, weighed against the hassle of bringing the pet along?.../

    When a wimpy Wizard starts the game with only 4 Hit Points then adding 8 triples his chances to survive. And depending on what familiar it can add a lot of utility too at the start of the game.


  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 8,018
    The bonus increases in BG2 as well. A familiar allowed my F/M/T to have the most hitpoints out of all the npcs in my party.

  • yksimaltyksimalt Member Posts: 115
    Hello,

    Possibly, if one is aware of the hit points increase, and aims to optimize such aspects of the game, one also knows how to level quickly, finding the right gear etc to boost each character and so on.

    Or do you mean that the familar is used just like that, a quick hit points boost early game, and then once one has levelled sufficiently the pet has lost its purpose?

    I was thinking more in terms of the pet being able to reach areas where CHARNAME can't, or perhaps has an innate resistance/immunity that can be used in the game (e.g. against petrification).

    One of the things that still draws me back to the game is my limited knowledge of items etc that increases your power radically.

    I just found a +3 two-handed sword, I think in Durlag's tower, and neither of my characters are specialized or has proficiency in two-handed swords.

    The sword looks really nice though, and I might try to use one of my NPCs to wield it when levelling (putting points).

    /A.





  • LordVemLordVem Member Posts: 28
    Francois said:

    joluv said:

    I'm not sure what @Francois meant by "doubling your chances at backstabs," though.

    It is because if you miss while hiding in shadows you do not become immediately visible (but not the case for invisibility spell I think). This gives you a second chance with your second attack
    This is untrue. The game puts in animations for attacks that do not actually occur. This is a purely cosmetic thing. If you attack and do not reappear from stealth, it wasnt a real attack.

    joluv
  • ConjurerDragonConjurerDragon Member Posts: 96
    LordVem said:

    Francois said:

    joluv said:

    I'm not sure what @Francois meant by "doubling your chances at backstabs," though.

    It is because if you miss while hiding in shadows you do not become immediately visible (but not the case for invisibility spell I think). This gives you a second chance with your second attack
    This is untrue. The game puts in animations for attacks that do not actually occur. This is a purely cosmetic thing. If you attack and do not reappear from stealth, it wasnt a real attack.

    You can however disable that. In the options click the "Disable cosmetic attacks" button and you will only see attack animations of real attacks.

    LordVem
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