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Balancing a party of 4?

I like running IWD with a party of five. A typical setup would be:

1) Fighter/Druid*
2) Paladin
3) Fighter/Thief*
4) Cleric/Mage*
5) Sorcerer


Now, obviously there's some flexibility here. I might swap (2) out for a Fighter, and (3,4) might be Ranger/Cleric* or Mage/Thief*, depending on my mood.

I'm finding it hard to make a satisfactory party of four. I'd like to make an old school single class "specialist" party, i.e.

1) Fighter
2) Cleric
3) Thief
4) Mage

Now, the question is, would the cleric be 'tanky' enough? How effective a healer is it going to be whilst having mobs beating it? Is a single-classed thief an effective damage dealer? Also, the mage is going to be pretty useless at low levels unless armed with a sling. Should I pop a druid in there somewhere for better offensive + healing capability? Swap the fighter out for a paladin? More left-field suggestions?



  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,722
    I think a druid offers more in IWD than a cleric (a druid there has so many interesting spells), if you can back up the turn undead skill.

    So I would swap a Fighter for an Undead Hunter, and a Cleric for a Druid.

    A single-classed thief is so-so in terms of an effective damage dealer, but you can always make a Swashbuckler, which will be excellent in this regard.

  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 588
    edited December 2016
    I've succeeded in going through the main game with a party of four, all single classed (Trueclass Fighter, Cleric, and thief, and the mage was a gnome, so no arcane necromancy). Haven't succeeded in doing Heart of Winter yet.

    Give your mage Sleep as one of their starting spells, you'll need the CC on the way to Kuldahar. Don't neglect the scrolls that Pomab's got stashed upstairs. With a spec mage you have enough spell slots ton do the valley in two passes while only resting in Kuldahar and after one of the Goblin-Infested maps. Just make a bee-line for Kuldahar and then come back for cleanup. If you have your own druid you don't need to backtrack for the Ogre EXP.

    I ended up relying on that 2% chance of instakill from the Snow Maiden's Reaver for Belhifet (on a character who only had 1 APR with it!) due to poor weapon planning. The faster levelups are counteracted by lower damage output in the boss battles.

  • KilivitzKilivitz Member Posts: 1,459
    edited December 2016
    I found single-classed Thieves to be a waste of XP in IWD.

    Mind you that I pretty much don't use traps or backstabbing so for me, Thieves end up being merely lockpickers/trap disablers and then scouts. The exception could be the Swashbuckler but then again a Fighter/Thief might be more effective and versatile.

    Last time I finished the game, by early/mid HoW I had a Shadowdancer with way more skill points and weapon proficiencies than I needed. And that was a full party of 6.

    So if you're adamant about the single-classed group (one of my favorite setups, by the way), I would recommend a Half-Orc Thief (you don't really need the extra skill points from DEX 19 or being a shorty) or Swashbuckler (so they pack a little more punch), if you're using kits and won't miss backstabbing.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,450
    This sounds like an interesting challenge. I'd like to try it on core rules with a classic fighter-cleric-thief-mage party, no kits, no sorcerer, and no multi-classing, on core rules. I think it can be done.

  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 588
    If you're doing Kitless Core Rules, you may as well play it in IWD Classic since weapon distribution is balanced for IWD Classic's proficiencies.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,450
    edited December 2016
    @Pakota, hmm, that's a thought. I made a party for the challenge just now, but I did give my cleric the Tyr kit. Other than that I have a kitless paladin, the cleric of Tyr, a pure kitless thief, and a generalist mage.

    I really don't want to play without EE graphics and interface, so I guess the proficiency system will add to the challenge. Maybe I'll try to use Tweaks to change the weapons to the BG1 system.

    EDIT: The version of Tweaks I can find for IWD doesn't have the component to change the proficiency system. Plus, I'm not a fan of modding, and I know Tweaks can mess up the item strings on the current version of BG when the weapon proficiencies are changed.

    Maybe I'll just Keeper in some pips if I run into weapons problems. My pally took two ** in longsword and one * in axes, plus * in darts just to have a one-handed ranged weapon, thief is * shortbow and *short sword, mage is *sling. The cleric is the potential problem - *warhammer and *sling. He's supposed to have "blunt weapons" that include mace and staff, so if I can't find a good warhammer quickly enough, I may need to Keeper him a pip in mace. Flail is a separate proficiency anyway, originally "spiked weapons".

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 19,722
    @BelgarathMTH I've used myself (if you remember/know), works fine with IWDEE, has a component to make proficiency system as it was in the vanilla game.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,450
    edited December 2016
    @JuliusBorisov , Sigh, I just installed the beta, and changed the weapon proficiency system. It doesn't play nice with EE Keeper. All the new proficiencies come up in Keeper as "...No Text...", and the old proficiencies are still on the list, with shifted places.

    This is why I don't like modding. I'll have to reroll my party and delete the messed up save. I guess it's worth it if I can get my IWD original weapon proficiency system.

    Now I have to decide if I want to risk corrupting my BG install. Is the beta supposed to work without corrupting strings in a fully up to date SoD installation?

    EDIT: Just went in to reroll, and the mod didn't replace the proficiency system correctly. Now my game is really messed up, and I may have to uninstall and reinstall. I'll try "BG1 proficiencies" instead of "IWD proficiencies" first and see if that works.

    EDIT2: The "BG1 proficiencies without weapon styles" worked, and I was able to use Keeper to repair my earlier save. So at least I can play IWD with the old proficiencies.

    I tried installing "BG1 proficiencies with weapon styles" onto Siege of Dragonspear, and it still corrupts all the weapon description strings. I had to uninstall and do a clean reinstall of my game. (Uninstalling Tweaks through Weidu does not correct the corrupted weapon strings once the damage is done.) I should have known better.

    This has been a frustrating afternoon, and the tech issues have taken up what little time I had to play. Modding is not for me.

    Post edited by BelgarathMTH on
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,466

    Now I have to decide if I want to risk corrupting my BG install.

    Make a backup of your game folder before doing that kind of thing! Then a simple delete/move of a folder gets you back to square one.

    This has been a frustrating afternoon, and the tech issues have taken up what little time I had to play. Modding is not for me.

    Admittedly there is a learning curve to using Weidu mods. But once you get comfortable with them, it's fairly bulletproof. You get to know which pitfalls to avoid (e.g. savegames/modding mod-stream, and out-of-order reinstalls). In the course of writing and testing my mods, I install/uninstall/reinstall thingsdozens of times, and it almost never corrupts anything.

    Quick plug: if you're interested in a similar take on reducing the number of weapon proficiencies, my Scales of Balance mod has a "proficiency category collapse" component that makes the system somewhere in between BG2 and IWD. (It combines spears+halberds; katanas+scimitars; daggers+darts; clubs+maces; and long bows+short bows.) It's probably been tested more recently than Tweaks Anthology, and specifically tested on IWDEE. You can find it in the General Modding forum.

  • oakheartoakheart Member Posts: 35
    Thanks for all the feedback and discussion so far.

    I agree that druids are much more versatile than clerics, although I'd miss Turn Undead, and some melee hardiness. The half-orc thief is a good idea too.

  • inethineth Member Posts: 572
    The problem with Turn Undead in IWD, is that the undead monster levels that you encounter always seem to be one step ahead of you.

    I.e. when you arrive in the Vale of Shadows, your cleric's TU level is high enough to repell some of the skeletons, but not make them explode.

    Then by the time your TU level is high enough to explode simple skeletons, you don't really meat simple skeletons anymore, but more high-level undead which you can at that point repell but not explode. And so on.

    PS: @JuliusBorisov is right that Druids are great in IWD. In particular, they have more useful and interesting spells than they do in BG2. But unless you multiclass with Fighter, they're not very good at going into melee.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,466
    I must say, when the skeletons in the Vale come at you in waves of 10+, and I'm only 2nd/3rd level, TU allowing me to handle them a could at a time can be invaluable, even if they don't chunk. (I did a 6-druid run once and the Vale was brutal.)

  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,716
    edited December 2016
    1) Undead Hunter

    2) Archer

    3) Shapeshifter

    4) Mage/Thief

    If you want a Party of 5, trade the Mage/Thief for a Cleric/Thief and add a Skald.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,450
    For anyone who's interested, I just got my IWD:EE install to use IWD original weapon proficiencies. My problem was that I didn't remember that original IWD was not the same as BG1 - it was already moving toward BG2 style by complicating the proficiencies (in ways that I find total nonsense - you can swing a mace but you can't swing a club? You can thrust a spear but you can't thrust a halberd? You can shoot a longbow but you can't shoot a shortbow?).

    So, I have my four-member-pure-class party run going with paladin-cleric-thief-generalist mage.

    I'm about halfway through Vale of Shadows, no reloads yet, though I got my mage killed to a critical hit from a skeleton and had to pay my entire savings of 400 gold to raise him.

    I'm thinking about starting a thread for "four member pure class party challenge". I wonder where I should post it if I do?

    I also started a BG run today in original BG (GoG, grey stone interface, no pausing on inventory screen) where I collected my paladin, Branwen, Imoen, and Garrick. (Garrick because I don't want a specialist, and if I did it would be an invoker, but Dynaheir comes with Minsc, and I don't want to cheese-split any pairs.) So I think Garrick is my only available straight class "generalist mage" available in BG1.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,466

    total nonsense - you can swing a mace but you can't swing a club? You can thrust a spear but you can't thrust a halberd? You can shoot a longbow but you can't shoot a shortbow?

    Sorry to repeat, but you would definitely like how my mod handles proficiencies... those are three of the changes it makes. Great minds think alike! :wink:

    (The other changes are, scimitars + katanas = "curved swords" proficiency; darts are merged into the daggers proficiency; and bastard swords+2-hand swords = "greatswords" proficiency, for extra 1-handed/2-handed flexibility)

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