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Combat tactics and strategies?

Hi all,

I was wondering about what tactics/strategies everyone uses during BG. It's always interesting to learn what others are doing and go, "hey, why didn't I think of that?"

For me, I have a few key strategies I use against enemies.

Archers - my party has four archers, so when I see enemies I just start blasting away until they reach my front line. I try to have my two tanks fight with melee weapons while my elf fighter and thief continue to blast away with arrows. This is probably a common strategy among gamers.

Choke Points - These are great. Find a narrow area where there is only room for one or two of your PCs (doorways are great for this, or outside natural narrow places). Have them block here, keeping the rest of the party safely behind them. This way, your two front liners only have to fight one or two creatures at a time. This works well when you have a large mob coming after you. While the foes are blocked battling your tanks, your archers or other PCs with missile weapons can blast away, while the front liners take care of the rest.

Flanking - I like to engage a foe with one character, then flank with the others. I will have another PC come up behind the foe, and if there are any more available PCs, they will flank from the sides. I don't think this gives any bonuses, but I have noticed that the foe usually stays focused on his first PC, so the others on the sides and/or back can chop away with impunity.

Doors - I have used this trick in BG1, BG2, and Icewind Dale, so I can't recall if it works in BG1. When faced with many enemies, I will have all my PCs wait in a room, while one PC stands off to the side right near the door. If you time it right, and the monsters are spread out a little, you can let a few of them in and then have your PC shut the door, thus blocking all the other monsters. They are unable to open doors. I think Siege of Dragonspear changed this though, because I tried this on that game and the monsters just opened the doors up.
With this tactic, you can take on the foes a few at a time instead of all at once.

Magic - Grease, grease, grease. This spell is so underrated! I love to use this to keep enemies at bay so I can pepper them with missile weapons while they plod along. Grease combined with Stinking Cloud and Web will usually render most if not all the foes incapacitated. Then a nice Fireball or two mops up the resistance. Bless and Doom are also good buffs. Animate Dead and the Monster Summoning spells come in handy when you need a little more muscle.

Withdrawing - This is probably a no brainer, but if my party is in a bad spot, I will have them retreat. I use Boots of Speed on all my PCs, so they can usually outrun their foes. This helps them reposition themselves, get healing, or use missile weapons.

Fighting spellcasters - This is probably a no-brainer, but I pick out spellcasters right away and start blasting them with missile weapons or spells to disrupt their casting. My cleric will use Hold Person and Silence 15' Radius to try to immobilize the spellcasters. Sometimes a straightforward charge works wonders as well. The spellcaster may get a spell or two off, but then has to contend with some beefy tanks right in his or her face.

Spread out - This works well when you are facing an enemy spellcaster. Have your characters spread out as far as they can, so they won't all get nailed by an area effect or a fireball.

Scouting - I usually send my thief and one of my tanks to scout ahead, the thief using his Find Traps ability. This way if you run into something, you will have an idea of what you're facing without your entire party blundering into some huge fight. The scouts can race back to the party and you'll have a little extra time to prepare.

Taking out missile weapons - When faced with foes where some have melee and some have missile weapons, take out the ones with missile weapons first. Otherwise while you're in melee, you're getting blasted with arrows or whatnot.

Some of these might be "duh!" tactics, but I just wanted to share my tactics and see what others are doing!

mf2112JuliusBorisovgorgonzolaRiderathockmah2

Comments

  • SirBundlesofJoy_1912SirBundlesofJoy_1912 Member Posts: 57
    edited September 2016
    Another trick to use with a cleric or druid is to stay behind a PC who is battling an enemy, and buff him with healing spells while he is fighting. Said healer could also do this with multiple PCs, just running back and forth healing PCs during the heat of battle. That way the fighting PCs don't have to stop or run away to chug a healing potion.

    This works especially well combined with the Choke Point option. You can have one or two tanks slashing away while they're being healed from behind, so they remain strong enough to prevail!

    Post edited by SirBundlesofJoy_1912 on
    mf2112JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 16,755
    @semiticgod is known for unusual and innovative combat tactics and strategies, so I summon thee.

    SirBundlesofJoy_1912semiticgodmf2112Ardul
  • IglosnofIglosnof Member Posts: 119
    Web + arrows is my favorite by far.

    SirBundlesofJoy_1912mf2112JuliusBorisov
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 2,813
    Charm spells are usually underestimated by beginners, but they're tremendously powerful throughout the game. In BG2 feeblemind is one of my favorite spells ever.

    mf2112JuliusBorisovgorgonzolaSirBundlesofJoy_1912
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 11,286

    @semiticgod is known for unusual and innovative combat tactics and strategies, so I summon thee.

    I actually know precious little about BG1. I've played through BGTutu twice, once with SCS, and I've had various runs that ended before the Cloakwood Mines. Out of the local veterans, I'm probably the worst BG1 player by far. I don't even know where to find that Ring of Wizardry, or where to get a Potion of Clarity or Mirrored Eyes to farm Sirines or Basilisks.

    It actually takes time to think of new tactics. I spend more time in Near Infinity looking at game files and running numbers in Excel than playing the game. I start with something that looks weird and then try to figure out how to exploit it. A good example would be Fire Seeds: when I realized that on-hit effects would apply to area-effect weapons like Fire Seeds, flashers, Arrows of Detonation, and the Scorcher Ammunition and Frag Grenades--and therefore would bypass weapon immunities and spell protections, due to how projectiles work--I asked myself what the best on-hit effects would be, and the answer was Poison Weapon and Wizard Slayer spell failure. That was the whole basis of my Fire Seed run in the "Maybe this time" no-reload thread, one of the easiest playthroughs I've ever had of BG2. I also tend to focus on spells and items that don't require much investment (Fire Seeds are available very early in BG2).

    Or, there's one thing I call the PWWP strategy, or Provoke, Withdraw, Weaken, and Pounce. Enemy spellcasters don't have the AI to set priorities, so you can bait a mage into wasting its best spells by approaching it with well-buffed characters or cheap, disposable summons and then repeatedly retreating. The enemy will activate its stronger defenses and throw out its stronger attacks first, but the enemy can't make much use of them if you're always on the retreat, refusing to engage them. All the while, you use those rounds to strengthen your defenses and finally pounce on the enemy when it is weak and drained.

    You can also neutralize enemy archers by rushing them with a melee character, forcing them to switch to a melee weapon to avoid suffering penalties for using a ranged weapon at close range. It's the inverse of the common "kiting" strategy, in which you continually run from a melee-oriented enemy, turning around just long enough to hit it with a ranged weapon.

    mf2112JuliusBorisovgorgonzolaSirBundlesofJoy_1912
  • alceryesalceryes Member Posts: 362
    edited September 2016
    Some great strategies here. Just to add my 2¢.

    Archers (especially the class) are over-the-top powerful in BG1 and stay strong throughout the series. Having an eighteen strength and a composite longbow just wreaks things in BG1!

    Tactical retreat (kiting)
    Not only will it get a wounded character out of harms way but, if done properly, it keeps the pursuer(s) aggro'd on the PC in retreat, giving other characters a free hit or two as the enemy walks by.

    Boots and belts
    Whether you're out 'clubbing' or trying to avoid getting clubbed, the whiffs just keep on rolling when equipped with these wonderful fashion accessories!

    Pièce de résistance
    95% of BG1 can be handled with sleep and/or animate dead [drops mic].

    Post edited by alceryes on
    DJKajuruSirBundlesofJoy_1912JuliusBorisov
  • namarienamarie Member Posts: 52
    edited September 2016
    Against spellcasters, I usually give Dorn the Bracers of Archery and Composite longbow +1 and have him fire Poisoned Piercing Arrows, most of them won't even get to cast a single spell...

    In the same vein, Invisible thief with maxed out detect illusion, armed with a Dagger of Venom is also very deadly to mages who prebuff (I don't think any Mage uses Stoneskin in BG1, so Mirror Image is usually their only defense against backstabs). I have done this with my 19 Str (from potion) Fighter/Thief Charname. What did you say about my feeble skills again Davaeorn?

    SirBundlesofJoy_1912
  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    Some of my most enjoyable BG1 runs have involved 2 thieves (multi, dual or single class) scouting and tag team backstabbing enemies, it's very easy to get decent stealth if you combine available items with naturally occurring shadows and a few points of investment.

    Often the biggest priority for me is to get 1 character with super low AC. Ankheg plate, gauntlets of dexterity, +1 large shield and a ring of protection will give any character -6 AC which will protect any character from almost any enemy in the early game.

    A common strategy that I use is to pay for a few points of reputation at a temple and then get the rest of the points via quests to get to 20 rep as quickly as possible (or 18 for an evil party) and then buy lots of nice gear with the sweet discount. Then I get up to the bandit camp and find an innocent to kill (Drizzt makes a good target) to drop down to 10 to gain Horror on level ups and keep my rep low until I finish Cloakwood (for 2*Horror) before boosting it up again in the later chapters (for cheap deals in BG and 2*DUHM).

    Loldrup
  • JDowJDow Member Posts: 56
    My two cents worth:

    Once in combat, you can't change your armour, but you can interchange other things between characters: Girdles, Boots, etc.

    There are a few things it's easy to identify about your opponent. One of this things is which of your characters they're attacking (it tells you in the dialogue box - although it's normally the closest of your characters to the opponent anyway); another is the weapon they're carrying (it's visible, and unlike armour easy to identify).

    If you're being attacked by a character with a B. sword for example, you know you're going to face a slashing attack. Therefore, when combat begins, why not make sure your attacked character is wearing the Golden Girdle (-3 AC vs. slashing) rather than, for example, the Girdle of Bluntness (-4 AC vs. blunt weapons). And, if they're not wearing the right girdle pause the game and shift them around. -3 or -4 AC is a big deal.

    To handle one of the weirder weapons... if you're going to clear out the Gnoll Stronghold, for example, you'll see they all have Halberds. Halberds uniquely do slashing or piercing damage, whichever it's easiest to hit with. Therefore, if you have a fighter who's wearing Plate Mail (0 AC against slashing and 3 AC against piercing), put the Girdle of Piercing (giving a straight 0 AC) to remove the armours weakness against Halberds. Again, -3 AC is quite a big deal.

    Loldrup
  • yksimaltyksimalt Member Posts: 115
    RP wise, it is a funny, picturing CHARNAME removing and interchanging belts, helmets and rings during combat, like some kind of sleight-of-hand show-man...

  • JDowJDow Member Posts: 56
    Yep, yksimalt, you're not wrong ;). I can imagine a warrior throwing a weapon to another soldier (as you see in movies), but unbuckling a belt or taking shoes off does seem a bit of a stretch :).

  • AriusArius Member Posts: 92
    web from the mage and the mage and the spidersbane one toon and ring of free action on another and let those 2 chop away while the rest makes the mobs into pin cushions.

  • islandkingislandking Member Posts: 426


    area-effect weapons like Fire Seeds, flashers, Arrows of Detonation, and the Scorcher Ammunition and Frag Grenades--and therefore would bypass weapon immunities and spell protections, due to how projectiles work--I asked myself what the best on-hit effects would be, and the answer was Poison Weapon and Wizard Slayer spell failure. That was the whole basis of my Fire Seed run in the "Maybe this time" no-reload thread, one of the easiest playthroughs I've ever had of BG2. I also tend to focus on spells and items that don't require much investment (Fire Seeds are available very early in BG2).

    Can you elaborate how this "fire seed" strategy works? Thanks.

  • WillScarlettWillScarlett Member Posts: 35
    Reviving old thread.

    Fighters' guard ability is underrated. Keeps them from chasing fleeing enemies, establishes an intelligent formation to prevent spreading your party thin, and lets your archers have a few free shots before enemies can engage.

    Grond0Blackraven
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 663
    I have my protagonist, always some Ranger or F/T (focusing on stealth first) variant do scouting and "shoot and scoot", which is have a single enemy just at the edge of sight, turn off hiding by activating a weapon hotkey, wait for it to pop up again, fire an arrow when I CAN rehide, and then move JUST out of sight, and hide again. Perfectly done the enemy doesn't even react to getting shot, and often barely moves.

    I generally rarely move the main party group far from the starting point on the map until the map has been fully explored and all hostiles have been kited to the main group, if they even make it that far before being cut down by arrows or possibly backstabs when weakened and alone. I'll then move the group around, talk to non-hostiles, do quest actions, or move to another area, or whatever.

    If anything does make it to the main group, they're all using ranged weapons to start with, even mages. If anything still makes it to melee, then it goes to conventional hacking and slashing.

    This results in my protagonist getting 95%+ of the kills and combat exp.

    In areas where I suspect or know of traps, I'll have him lead, with some Thief (Imoen most likely) detecting, and inch the pair of them up in a staggered formation. If he sees a monster detected, he pulls it back. If the searching thief finds a trap, he edges up to the trap and makes sure there's no hostiles lurking before the trap Thief disarms it.

    The most recent example of this I can think of is Nashkel mine, where there's traps on bridges, with kobolds just across the way. My Ranger would generally 1-shot the kobolds when positioned such that I would only "wake" one at a time, and when clear I'd have Imoen disarm the traps.

    Or, there's one thing I call the PWWP strategy, or Provoke, Withdraw, Weaken, and Pounce. Enemy spellcasters don't have the AI to set priorities, so you can bait a mage into wasting its best spells by approaching it with well-buffed characters or cheap, disposable summons and then repeatedly retreating. The enemy will activate its stronger defenses and throw out its stronger attacks first, but the enemy can't make much use of them if you're always on the retreat, refusing to engage them. All the while, you use those rounds to strengthen your defenses and finally pounce on the enemy when it is weak and drained.

    You can also neutralize enemy archers by rushing them with a melee character, forcing them to switch to a melee weapon to avoid suffering penalties for using a ranged weapon at close range. It's the inverse of the common "kiting" strategy, in which you continually run from a melee-oriented enemy, turning around just long enough to hit it with a ranged weapon.

    Like my above, stay at the edge of sight, as soon as the mage starts casting, duck out of range and hide. Caster wastes the spell.

    Grond0sarevok57
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 4,805
    @sarevok57 , No Chaotic Commands on your cleric's spell list? How do you deal with enemy disablers and crowd control spells?

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 3,944

    @sarevok57 , No Chaotic Commands on your cleric's spell list? How do you deal with enemy disablers and crowd control spells?

    first of all i make my team a bunch of BAWSSes heh heh

    but realistically i either:

    a. go after the disablers first before they can get off their whacky spells
    b. if i have berserkers in the party then gg
    c. i focus on keeping my saving throws good and even them out with my 3 melee nitz guys
    d. im pretty darn quick on the draw when it comes to spell casting and usually i can get my disablers off before they can, hence stopping them from getting me
    e. sometimes disabling spells land, but usually it's only on the one holmes up front, still have 2 melee'ers left, and by that time all of my disabling spells have been fired off and the baddies are stuck in place while i wave my willy at them and making funny faces
    f. in SoA, once i get mass invisibility, its over, with that spell plus the items i use, my top 3 guys will have their save vs spell/death at 0 or lower, hence they won't be failing any save
    e. when fighting things like the most despicable illithid i will either use mass invisibility and if i dont have that, then use invisible stalkers ( which are the most powerful summon against mind flayers ) and if i dont have that spell then i will resort down to the skellies
    g. or have 3 dwarves/gnerms as the melee chums and gg as well
    h. if fight is going awry from enemy disablers, press the mystical "L" key on the keyboard ;) ( although i don't use that key as often as it might sound )

    thespace
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 4,805
    I'd still at least keep a Chaotic Commands on the main character, since any status effect spell that lands on Charname is usually a game over. (I play minimal reload, and consider any reload to be a bitter defeat.)

    Dragonspearbrunardo
  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 3,944

    I'd still at least keep a Chaotic Commands on the main character, since any status effect spell that lands on Charname is usually a game over. (I play minimal reload, and consider any reload to be a bitter defeat.)

    i dont mind pressing that reload button, as i said, im a lazy gamer, i base my decisions more on luck than meta game these days heh :)

    thespace
  • brunardobrunardo Member Posts: 508
    Glad to hear I play a similar style @sarevok57 and admit it can take awhile micromanaging certain classes like blade...got some good tips though I can use thanks again!

    sarevok57
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