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Aerie or Neera?

2

Comments

  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 2,295
    @thacobell, I too misread it as Nalia actually and that would have been my vote, but since the OP asks about Neera vs Aerie, I'd say Aerie. This is because I don't like wildmages at all and the whole Neera character, voice-set, "quirkyness" etc just bores the hell out me. To me there is a difference between a character and a caricature; Aerie is in the former category and Neera in the latter.

    Single class mages rule though and I agree completely with @somesort's posts. Back in the day I pretty much always used multiclass characters like Aerie and Jan, usually both in the same party, because I preferred the versatility they gave but nowadays I tend to favour more single class NPCs instead. At the end of the day, levels equals power. But if you like me also suffer from restartitis then using MCs doesn't matter as much since you will most likely start all over again before the level-difference between a MC and a SC NPC is noticable :)
    tbone1ThacoBell
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,065
    Just finished a run with Aerie, cleric 24/mage 19.

    You know the most annoying thing?
    Clicking through lists and lists of spells trying to find the one you want.

    Of course the answer is to not memorise so many, especially the ones you haven't used for chapters and chapters...bbbuttttt......you might (in some parrallel universe which is never going to happen) need a slow poison when you have run out of the thirty or so potions.
    tbone1
  • AttalusAttalus Member Posts: 146
    Personally, even though Aerie is "the most versatile character in the game," as somebody said, she is too fragile; emotionally, she needs too much reassurance (I ran her out of my party my first fun through of EE along with several items I missed) and physically, she gets killed way too often. I prefer Neera since she is funny and spunky and pretty tough if you watch out for her, and Immy when you get her back cause, well, like somebody said, you can't have too many mages (except in the cursed portal maze in Watcher's Keep. And Nalia. Heck, I have never gotten through a game without Nalia.
  • islandkingislandking Member Posts: 359
    @SomeSort
    Agreed, except a few things...

    Silence has -5 ST penalty while Glitter doesn’t, I’d say Silence and Web are more in similarity against spellcasters.

    Even with 100%+ fire resistance, Fireball still interrupts characters’ actions, Holy Smite doesn’t.

    Aerie gains 3 natural AC bonus compared to Edwin, which makes her stoneskins and mirror images less
    likely to get hit, plus her superior equipment, cleric buffs, last resort Sanctuary>rebuff back to feet strategy, there’s a reason people choose her to be a potential tanker not Edwin.

    As a party buffer, Aerie can do it in both cleric and mage way, it’s hardly a comparison for Edwin’s Improved Haste slots to begin with.

    Your Lvl1-Lvl7 list already shows how Aerie can do things Edwin can’t, that IS versatility.

    Lastly, the exp hunger for Aerie can be further savored by a SoD import, or even by quest & tactic mods, which yield more exp, in which cases high level scaling kicks in: all Edwin gets is an extra 8th slot meantime Aerie’ll eventually have two 9th slots, four 8th slots, three cleric 7th and seven 6th cleric spells plus both HLA trees. So I’d say she’s pretty versatile in those situations as well.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,588
    I don't fully understand why people bring up exp requirements as a point for/against certain npcs. There is far more content in any of the bg games than there is exp. Its quite easy to hit the original SoA cap by the Underdark.
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 609
    ThacoBell said:

    I don't fully understand why people bring up exp requirements as a point for/against certain npcs. There is far more content in any of the bg games than there is exp. Its quite easy to hit the original SoA cap by the Underdark.

    This is sort of true, but I compare NPCs and classes by power per XP. One of the issues with Aerie is that, as a multi-class, her level progression is slow. As a cleric (225k/level) and mage (375k/level), she needs 600k to level up, vs 375k for a straight mage. Now, I will defend Aerie, because she is awesome and potentially the best NPC for certain choices of Charname and party, but I cannot ignore that slow progression just as I can't ignore how Jaheira needs massive xp to level up as a multi-class Druid.
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761

    @SomeSort
    Agreed, except a few things...

    Silence has -5 ST penalty while Glitter doesn’t, I’d say Silence and Web are more in similarity against spellcasters.

    Even with 100%+ fire resistance, Fireball still interrupts characters’ actions, Holy Smite doesn’t.

    Aerie gains 3 natural AC bonus compared to Edwin, which makes her stoneskins and mirror images less
    likely to get hit, plus her superior equipment, cleric buffs, last resort Sanctuary>rebuff back to feet strategy, there’s a reason people choose her to be a potential tanker not Edwin.

    As a party buffer, Aerie can do it in both cleric and mage way, it’s hardly a comparison for Edwin’s Improved Haste slots to begin with.

    Your Lvl1-Lvl7 list already shows how Aerie can do things Edwin can’t, that IS versatility.

    Lastly, the exp hunger for Aerie can be further savored by a SoD import, or even by quest & tactic mods, which yield more exp, in which cases high level scaling kicks in: all Edwin gets is an extra 8th slot meantime Aerie’ll eventually have two 9th slots, four 8th slots, three cleric 7th and seven 6th cleric spells plus both HLA trees. So I’d say she’s pretty versatile in those situations as well.

    I never meant to say that things like Glitterdust or Protection from Fire + Fireball were direct replacements for Silence and Holy Smite, only that they're somewhat adjacent in usage and therefore viable substitutes. If you have a character who has both Silence *AND* Glitterdust, there will be some situations where Silence is optimal and they choose that, and there will be some situations where Glitterdust is optimal and they choose that.

    If you have a character that has only Silence *OR* Glitterdust, they'll be forced to use that all of the time including in situations where it would be otherwise suboptimal, resulting in a loss of power. But the overall effect is close enough that it's not a huge loss of power. Having the ability to use Holy Smite would make a pure mage better, but it's not a tremendous loss if they're forced to rely on PfF and Fireball, instead. (And PfF/Fireball offers advantages, too-- more damage, potential healing, and the interruption usually doesn't make a big difference on the types of characters likely to be engaged at melee range, anyway.)

    Aerie can do party-friendly AoE damage *better* than Edwin (provided you don't have any evil NPCs in your party and you haven't unlocked ADHW). But Edwin can still do party-friendly AoE damage. Versatility is the ability to do something different, not the ability to do the same thing slightly better.

    A lot of versatility talk ignores opportunity costs. Aerie can be a great buffer and Aerie can be a great tank. But she can't be both a great buffer *AND* a great tank, because her most powerful buff spell (Improved Haste) directly competes with her most powerful tank spell (Protection from Magic Weapons), and ideally she'd want multiple casts of either to really excel in either role, and she needs more than 4m experience before she gets more than two level 6 spell slots.

    Edwin is a better tank than Aerie despite Aerie's better AC, better equipment selection, and full suite of Cleric self-buffs simply because he gets access to level 6 spell slots faster and will have 5+ more of them for most of the game, and all a character needs to be an unkillable tank late-game is Protection from Magic Weapons.

    Edwin at least has an argument as a better party buffer than Aerie, because it's a question of whether you'd rather have PfE10' and Chaotic Commands plus one Improved Haste, or whether you'd rather have 4+ Improved Hastes. Given how good Improved Haste is, (by far the best buff in the game), a substantial percentage of the time the answer is going to be the latter. (And, of course, there'll be times like the Mind Flayer dungeon where the answer is obviously the former.)

    Even with a SoD import and a bunch of XP-adding mods, you have to get to 6m+ XP in the first place before Aerie finally starts to catch up with Edwin in terms of arcane spellpower. (All of Siege of Dragonspear only gets you ~300k closer to that goal.) And even when she catches up, Edwin doesn't "just" get one extra 8th-level spell slot. He also gets his three extra spells at every level thanks to his specialist school and his cheating amulet.

    At XP cap, Aerie has two level 9 spells. Edwin has seven. That's two extra Time Stops/Improved Alacrity combos, plus a Planetar, plus five extra ADHWs, plus four extra Improved Hastes or PfMWs, plus three extra Breaches, and so on down the line, and that whole advantage gets multiplied well beyond that by five extra Project Images. And the result of that insane spell-slot advantage is that Edwin can do more different things at once than Aerie. He can be a party buffer *AND* a tank *AND* a damage-dealer *AND* a summoner *AND* a mage-killer without having to reconfigure his spellbook after every battle.

    I just really don't see Aerie as more versatile than Edwin at all, regardless of how many more spells are in her spellbook. Which doesn't make Aerie a *bad* NPC at all. Comparison to Edwin is super unfair because Edwin is the most broken NPC in the game and everyone looks terrible next to him. But I do think it's useful to pump the brakes on the "raw number of spells in the spellbook = versatility" argument.

    Hell, at the extreme opposite end of the spectrum, no character has fewer spells in his spellbook than a sorcerer, but I'd argue that the ability to switch tactics on the fly instead of memorizing spells and therefore precommiting to a strategy when resting makes the sorcerer one of the most versatile spellcasters in the game, not one of the least. (Provided you don't bork the spell selections.)

    You could drop a well-built sorcerer into any situation blind and he'd have a great chance of walking out of it alive. Like Edwin, a sorcerer is able to simultaneously exist as buffer, debuffer, damage dealer, disabler, summoner, tank, and wizard slayer, depending on what the situation calls for, with no metaknowledge necessary. That's some crazy versatility.
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    ThacoBell said:

    I don't fully understand why people bring up exp requirements as a point for/against certain npcs. There is far more content in any of the bg games than there is exp. Its quite easy to hit the original SoA cap by the Underdark.

    Experience requirements are relevant, in my opinion, because it's not just a question of *IF* an NPC gets something, but of *WHEN* an NPC gets something. As a super-extreme example, imagine I modded a kit that's basically a Fallen Paladin, but when it kills the Ravager it absorbs its essence and gains access to every spell and ability in the entire series.

    Is this a versatile character? On the one hand, it can eventually do literally everything in the entire game. On the other hand, it can only do so for the final battle, and spends the entire rest of the game as the single most-gimped, least-versatile character class around.

    Aerie gains the ability to put Gate into a Chain Contingency and summon three demons at once. She gains the ability to do a regular contingency with "HP < 25%: Heal". These are cool abilities! But she doesn't gain either of them until she has 6m experience. When I do full-party playthroughs of SoA and ToB, I usually end with somewhere between 6m and 7m XP, which means Aerie is not gaining either of these abilities until literally the very end of the game.

    Even for the lower-level stuff... Aerie needs 3m experience to get level 7 spells, as opposed to pureclass mages who need 1.5m experience. Sure, she's still going to unlock those level 7 spells during SoA, but it's the difference between having those level 7 spells available when doing the harder Chapter 2 quests + Spellhold + the Underdark and not unlocking them until you're returning to the surface, (which is about where I'm hitting SoA level cap unless I spend a lot of time in Watcher's Keep before leaving for Spellhold, which I try to avoid).

    Depending on how you figure something as arbitrary as "percent of the game", a pure mage could spend an extra 33% of the game with level 8 spells and an extra 50% of the game with level 9 spells compared to a multiclass mage. That matters. When I'm halfway through ToB and I've cleared Watcher's Keep and I'm getting ready to square off against Demogorgon and Aerie still doesn't have her Chain Contingency, I definitely feel that power loss as a player. That's a key aspect of her so-called versatility that I still don't have access to.

    (Aerie's problem in particular is exacerbated by the fact that you really have to save Watcher's Keep until the end of the game if you want to fully explore her romance, just because you need a way to kill some time while waiting for the last bits to trigger. This is less of a problem for me because I find that aspect of her romance horrible and offputting, so I always avoid it :).)
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,588
    Maybe I don't find exp levels relevant because 90% if the spells I cast are level 4 and below.
    Attalus
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 248
    edited April 10
    SomeSort said:

    He also gets his three extra spells at every level thanks to his specialist school and his cheating amulet.

    Comparison to Edwin is super unfair because Edwin is the most broken NPC in the game and everyone looks terrible next to him.

    *Copies amulet, changes flavortext and makes usable by any mage*.

    What now, Mr. cheaty? :smiley:

    When gameplay decisions come down to which NPC has a piece of hereditary gear as a reason for having that NPC be THE choice, it is my opinion that that gear is OP and either needs nerfing or to be available to anyone, thus removing that NPC from being a requirement.

    Sure, Edwin, 9/11 of the vanilla natively BG2 NPCs, and I'm guessing some of the Beamdog NPCs came with NPC-specific gear, but none of them have anything even remotely like Edwin's amulet. Nalia's family ring is probably the next best, being a +2 AC/Save ring with a ring of fire resistance combo'ed in. Everyone else's gear will eventually be replaced, though honorable mention to Keldorn and Valygar's armor, they can last a long while.

    My personal answer is "take Tashia for spell quantity, and some X/Mage (Imoen/Nalia/Aerie) for spell variety".
  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 260
    I think the reason people claim Aerie's more flexible than even Edwin comes down to a few key Priest spells: Remove Paralysis, Death Ward, Chaotic Commands, Free Action and Raise Dead are the main ones for me. Oh, and Invisibility detection, but that's Edwin's kit for you. :tongue: Each one does something that a pure mage is either gambling on, can't get, or can't be given to party members (Dispel magic is the attempt at Remove Paralysis, Improved Invisibility is a "please don't target me with Disintegration," and the like, Spell Immunity:Enchantment doesn't cover things like Umber Hulk confusion, and can't be given to party members, Free Action doesn't have a mage counterpart, and Raise Dead is, well, impossible.) All this comes from the Cleric side, while still giving some presence with her Mage side. All in all, I'd say that Aerie's a much better choice in terms of defensive flexibility for the rest of her team, while Edwin and to address the original topic Neera are much more offensively flexible.

    For those of you that prefer offensive arcane play, Edwin and Neera are going to be more your style, whereas if you're like me that prefers physical damage as the main source and all other magics supporting that, Aerie is better.
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,065

    SomeSort said:

    He also gets his three extra spells at every level thanks to his specialist school and his cheating amulet.

    Comparison to Edwin is super unfair because Edwin is the most broken NPC in the game and everyone looks terrible next to him.

    *Copies amulet, changes flavortext and makes usable by any mage*.

    What now, Mr. cheaty? :smiley:

    When gameplay decisions come down to which NPC has a piece of hereditary gear as a reason for having that NPC be THE choice, it is my opinion that that gear is OP and either needs nerfing or to be available to anyone, thus removing that NPC from being a requirement.

    Sure, Edwin, 9/11 of the vanilla natively BG2 NPCs, and I'm guessing some of the Beamdog NPCs came with NPC-specific gear, but none of them have anything even remotely like Edwin's amulet. Nalia's family ring is probably the next best, being a +2 AC/Save ring with a ring of fire resistance combo'ed in. Everyone else's gear will eventually be replaced, though honorable mention to Keldorn and Valygar's armor, they can last a long while.

    My personal answer is "take Tashia for spell quantity, and some X/Mage (Imoen/Nalia/Aerie) for spell variety".
    Edwin's stats aren't very good, you have to use a few unique items to keep him alive for a start off.
    And story/RPG wise, his stats make sense.
    You can't have this group that everybody "oohs and aars" about because they are so sinister/powerful and hated for being powerful, and then have a representative who shows nothing of the sort.

    OK the game uses the amulet to achieve that. But a RWofT should be a better spellcaster, by a considerable margin, than some randomer who has had some magical training, like charname/Aerie/Nalia/Imoen ect.

    It's the equivalent of an Oxbridge Grad versus somebody who attanded evening classes.
    Why would anyone bother if the end result wasn't somebody much more advanced in the field they spent years studying?
    How is that cheating?



  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761

    SomeSort said:

    He also gets his three extra spells at every level thanks to his specialist school and his cheating amulet.

    Comparison to Edwin is super unfair because Edwin is the most broken NPC in the game and everyone looks terrible next to him.

    *Copies amulet, changes flavortext and makes usable by any mage*.

    What now, Mr. cheaty? :smiley:

    When gameplay decisions come down to which NPC has a piece of hereditary gear as a reason for having that NPC be THE choice, it is my opinion that that gear is OP and either needs nerfing or to be available to anyone, thus removing that NPC from being a requirement.

    Sure, Edwin, 9/11 of the vanilla natively BG2 NPCs, and I'm guessing some of the Beamdog NPCs came with NPC-specific gear, but none of them have anything even remotely like Edwin's amulet. Nalia's family ring is probably the next best, being a +2 AC/Save ring with a ring of fire resistance combo'ed in. Everyone else's gear will eventually be replaced, though honorable mention to Keldorn and Valygar's armor, they can last a long while.

    My personal answer is "take Tashia for spell quantity, and some X/Mage (Imoen/Nalia/Aerie) for spell variety".
    As I understand it, there was an actual "Red Wizard" kit in PnP that got extra spells per level, so the amulet was originally a means of mimicking that. But adding that, *PLUS* the conjuration specialty, *PLUS* doubling the potency of the amulet between BG1 and BG2... yeah, it's overkill. Edwin is ridiculous. Not only is no NPC as good as Edwin is, you can't even really roll a Charname who is as good as Edwin is. (Maybe a Sorcerer; Edwin will still get more casts per day even than a sorcerer, but I still like that flexibility they have.)

    Also, in terms of NPC-specific gear, Jan's armor is far and away the second-best piece, though Jan himself can't take full advantage of it. Damage reduction stacks, and if certain classes could access that armor, they'd become immune to physical damage.

    Valygar's armor used to be equippable by multiclass mages and it allowed spellcasting, making it one of the best armors in the game. (For that matter, Keldorn's armor used to be equippable by Monks, making their early-game much easier.)

    Even restricted only to Valygar, it's a pretty sweet suit. It's a +3 set of Chain Mail that also carries charm immunity and 25% fire/acid/magic damage resistance, which doesn't seem that amazing, but Stalkers aren't supposed to be able to wear Chain Mail at all. An equivalent suit of Studded Leather would have to be +5. If you aren't giving Valygar the Shadow Dragon Scale, he'll probably be wearing his own armor for a good long time.
    ThacoBell
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 248
    SomeSort said:

    As I understand it, there was an actual "Red Wizard" kit in PnP that got extra spells per level, so the amulet was originally a means of mimicking that. But adding that, *PLUS* the conjuration specialty, *PLUS* doubling the potency of the amulet between BG1 and BG2... yeah, it's overkill. Edwin is ridiculous. Not only is no NPC as good as Edwin is, you can't even really roll a Charname who is as good as Edwin is. (Maybe a Sorcerer; Edwin will still get more casts per day even than a sorcerer, but I still like that flexibility they have.)

    Which would have been fine in BG1 because they didn't have kits, plus it wasn't quite so OP only having up to L5 spells.

    Edwin's stats aren't very good, you have to use a few unique items to keep him alive for a start off.
    And story/RPG wise, his stats make sense.
    You can't have this group that everybody "oohs and aars" about because they are so sinister/powerful and hated for being powerful, and then have a representative who shows nothing of the sort.

    OK the game uses the amulet to achieve that. But a RWofT should be a better spellcaster, by a considerable margin, than some randomer who has had some magical training, like charname/Aerie/Nalia/Imoen ect.

    How is that cheating?

    I've done some digging and found the Red Wizard of Thay kit. (Spellbound Campaign Guide)

    Edwin doesn't meet kit requirements of 14 Cha (and 14 Int).

    It does grant +2 spells/day, provided those spells are of the Wizard's specialty. Also they get +2 saves against spells of that specialty, and enemies take -2 to saves against spells from the wizard's specialty. Although re-reading the text makes me believe it is supposed to be +2 spells/day in their specialization rather than +1/day of non-Red Wizards.

    In which case, Edwin's amulet should be +1 spells/level instead of +2. He is cheating by stacking, not overlapping.
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,065
    @Quickblade

    Ok so Edwin is cheating, so what?
    Does that in anyway clash with how the NPC is portrayed?
    Hell, I'd expect that NPC to cheat.
    It's even portrayed in game that the amulet is dodgy with the reaction if you try and remove it. Could also have the properties of boosting charisma that doesn't show up anywhere.
    You know, RPG.

    Get rid of any individual traits/cheats/quirks only available to NPC so the game is "fair".
    And boring...and ceases to be an RPG.

    The player has a clear choice, take the NPC that "cheats" or don't.
    That's all that is ever needed.

    The most ridiculous suggestion is to allow any NPC to have the same properties without any RPG reasons for them.
    How bland do you want to make the game?

    And if you are simply taking NPC because of their capabilities, you are not playing RPG.
    Seriously, you'd take an NPC along for what they can do even if you dislike the character?
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,588
    Edwin is offended that you think his medallion that he never takes off is the source of his superior spellcasting. Throw yourselves at his feet and beg for mercy, lest he fireball you in your sleep.
  • AttalusAttalus Member Posts: 146
    ThacoBell said:

    Edwin is offended that you think his medallion that he never takes off is the source of his superior spellcasting. Throw yourselves at his feet and beg for mercy, lest he fireball you in your sleep.

    Sumbeech would have to get into my party first ;)

  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761

    I've done some digging and found the Red Wizard of Thay kit. (Spellbound Campaign Guide)

    Edwin doesn't meet kit requirements of 14 Cha (and 14 Int).

    It does grant +2 spells/day, provided those spells are of the Wizard's specialty. Also they get +2 saves against spells of that specialty, and enemies take -2 to saves against spells from the wizard's specialty. Although re-reading the text makes me believe it is supposed to be +2 spells/day in their specialization rather than +1/day of non-Red Wizards.

    In which case, Edwin's amulet should be +1 spells/level instead of +2. He is cheating by stacking, not overlapping.

    In BG1, when he was first created, his amulet did exactly that. +1 spell per level from his amulet, +1 from his specialization, total of +2.

    In BG2, the BG1 NPCs who carried over all saw a boost to make them more in line with the overall higher quality of the BG2 NPCs. Jahiera got +3 dex, which is huge since DEX is probably the most important stat, (among potential tanks, only Mazzy's DEX is naturally higher).

    Minsc got +1 Dex and +1 Con, which is more useful than earth-shattering. Viconia got +3 Wisdom and, more importantly, +15% extra magic resistance, (which doesn't make much sense that she's getting *more* resistant to magic the longer she's on the surface, but I'll take it).

    Imoen got... well, Imoen got nothing in SoA, but they were planning on killing her off anyway. She does get some special abilities in ToB.

    Edwin got +1 str and +1 wis, but both only went from 9 to 10, not even enough to get a bonus. (He does gain an extra 20 pounds of carrying capacity and he loses a -10 lore penalty, for whatever that's worth.) Instead, Edwin's bonus was an extra +1 spell per level on his amulet, taking him above the intended Red Wizard kit design and making him... a cheater, just like most of the other NPCs.

    We can argue about whether Edwin really needed another power upgrade, (he didn't), or whether he's balanced against the other NPCs, (he's not), but upgrades were being handed out already, so I'd imagine that's why Edwin got one, too. I'd have liked it a lot better story-wise if it unlocked after completing his Nether Scroll quest instead of right when you grabbed him, but... *shrug*. It is what it is.
    ThacoBell
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 248

    Get rid of any individual traits/cheats/quirks only available to NPC so the game is "fair".
    And boring...and ceases to be an RPG.

    Fair does not equal boring. Chess is basically fair. (although it could be argued that having the starting move makes it unfair). Most games and sports are essentially fair where rules are equally applicable. They don't start with one person getting 3 moves free at the start.
    The player has a clear choice, take the NPC that "cheats" or don't.
    That's all that is ever needed.

    The most ridiculous suggestion is to allow any NPC to have the same properties without any RPG reasons for them.
    How bland do you want to make the game?

    And if you are simply taking NPC because of their capabilities, you are not playing RPG.
    Seriously, you'd take an NPC along for what they can do even if you dislike the character?
    And likewise, the player has the choice of modding Edwin to follow the rules. Although I don't. Because truthfully, Edwin's bonus slots are not a factor for me, because again, I don't take him because I'm Always Neutral Good. Also because until this thread, I didn't even realize he was cheating.

    I do enjoy taking him for awhile though, for his banters with the party. But once he's bantered and quested out, he gets the boot, can't interfere with his Destiny.

    The fact I go for about 30 mods aimed at rule standardizations, bugfixes, and then mods adding more content say I like to eat my cake and have it too.
  • islandkingislandking Member Posts: 359
    @SomeSort
    There’s no “best” buff in the game, every buff serves its own purpose, even lvl1-lvl2 ones, especially in cleric’s case, and they stack, which matters. Improved Haste is great for damaging boosting for fighter types, but it serves very limited functions for spellcasters, with the exception of Disaster Blade. If you want to quicken the spellcasters’ steps, simply drink an oil of speed, or cast a lvl3 haste (Aoe saves time/round)

    There’s no “close” comparison when it comes to party buff, as Aerie is definitely a better party buffer than Edwin. Take lvl4 Protection from Evil for instance, not only it’s long lasting, it’s also a Aoe which buffs the entire party “plus” all summons in one round. Sure Edwin can cast it from scrolls but so can Aerie if she desperately need more arcane castings. In fact, the whole cleric spells vs. mages spells thing is unfair for Aerie, as she’s able to do BOTH, the comparison is in fact, quite the boo for Edwin because he simply CAN’T.

    The late availability of lvl8-lvl9 slots for Aerie can be further mended by importing a 1.25m xp character in which case she’ll start with accordingly. To some people, it’s cheating, and so do some others, who consider Edwin’s amulet both cheating and gamebreaking. Slots number issue indeed MATTERS, but less if you choose to rest often or have spare scrolls, it’s more a personal taste thing than an overpower point of view.

    All in all, Aerie is trading lv8-lv9 time gap and their slot numbers for the whole cleric spells AND the potential to combine both trees compared to Edwin, more than a fair trade if you ask me…
    It’s all back to the original, classic phrase: Aerie’s generally considered more versatile because she’s access to both cleric and mage spells, as simple as that.
    ThacoBell
  • islandkingislandking Member Posts: 359
    @SomeSort
    By high-level scaling I mean as a pure mage, Edwin only "get" an extra 8th slot at lvl28, then spend the rest of his levels, which is 1.25m XP for nothing but hp gain, just to be clear.
  • ZaghoulZaghoul Member Posts: 1,041
    I wouldn't take Neera again for love nor money, ended too many no-reload runs for me (she's had her chances). I don't fancy getting turned to stone again with a wild surge. With that said, I sometimes take her for her quests, but then I have her ditch all her spells(as a requirement, I says to her). MAYBE, ifin I slapped the Jester's ring and Bracers of Binding on her it might be safer (plus full riot gear +5).
  • AttalusAttalus Member Posts: 146
    Personally, I have taken Neera (and Nalia and Immie) through twice, not had this problem and find her charming. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
    Papa_LouAyiekie
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761

    @SomeSort
    There’s no “best” buff in the game, every buff serves its own purpose, even lvl1-lvl2 ones, especially in cleric’s case, and they stack, which matters. Improved Haste is great for damaging boosting for fighter types, but it serves very limited functions for spellcasters, with the exception of Disaster Blade. If you want to quicken the spellcasters’ steps, simply drink an oil of speed, or cast a lvl3 haste (Aoe saves time/round)

    There’s no “close” comparison when it comes to party buff, as Aerie is definitely a better party buffer than Edwin. Take lvl4 Protection from Evil for instance, not only it’s long lasting, it’s also a Aoe which buffs the entire party “plus” all summons in one round. Sure Edwin can cast it from scrolls but so can Aerie if she desperately need more arcane castings. In fact, the whole cleric spells vs. mages spells thing is unfair for Aerie, as she’s able to do BOTH, the comparison is in fact, quite the boo for Edwin because he simply CAN’T.

    The late availability of lvl8-lvl9 slots for Aerie can be further mended by importing a 1.25m xp character in which case she’ll start with accordingly. To some people, it’s cheating, and so do some others, who consider Edwin’s amulet both cheating and gamebreaking. Slots number issue indeed MATTERS, but less if you choose to rest often or have spare scrolls, it’s more a personal taste thing than an overpower point of view.

    All in all, Aerie is trading lv8-lv9 time gap and their slot numbers for the whole cleric spells AND the potential to combine both trees compared to Edwin, more than a fair trade if you ask me…
    It’s all back to the original, classic phrase: Aerie’s generally considered more versatile because she’s access to both cleric and mage spells, as simple as that.

    There's absolutely a "best" buff, and that buff is Improved Haste. Every buff is situationally useful, but the situation where Improved Haste is useful is "I'd like to double my physical damage output", which is pretty much every situation in the game. There are situations where Chaotic Commands is more useful, but even in those situations Improved Haste is going to be a top-3 buff. And there are likewise situations where Chaotic Commands is completely useless, which is never the case for Improved Haste.

    Protection from Evil 10' is a great spell. It lasts forever and gives a useful bonus (+2 AC, +2 saves against evil creatures, which is most of them). But it's not as good as doubled APR. Some spells are naturally just better than others, and Improved Haste is the king of the buffs.

    (No-reload is a different animal, and I'm totally open to the argument that Chaotic Commands / Death Ward are better in that environment. But I'm talking about typical BG2 play with typical BG2 party composition.)

    In a typical BG2 environment, a party buffed solely by Edwin will do better in most encounters than a party buffed solely by Aerie, at least once Edwin hits level 12 and gets access to Improved Haste. Obviously this is just my opinion, but the fact that an argument could even be made shows that Aerie isn't categorically better as a buffer.

    Beyond that, yes, you can "fix" Aerie's XP problem by cheating her in more XP. You could fix it even more by using Shadowkeeper or console commands! And you could also make it so Edwin's amulet could be equipped by anyone and give that to her, and then she'd be even better, still! But in a vanilla BG2 runthrough with no cheats, mods, or exploits, the "6m XP for level 9 spells" problem is a pretty severe one for Aerie.

    At the end of the day, Aerie gets access to spells that Edwin doesn't have, (Cleric spells), and until very late in the game, Edwin gets access to spells Aerie doesn't have (level 7 / 8 / 9 arcane spells). How many times have people said that you can't have Aerie as your primary mage? If she's so versatile, why *can't* she be your primary mage? Because there are so many things she can't do that a pure mage could!

    I actually did a 4-person party runthrough where Aerie was my primary mage. It was me (Archer), Jahiera, Aerie, and Haer'Dalis. (I also added Mr. ToB when I got to that point.) My thinking at the time was that two half-mages would add up to equal one full mage.

    And even with scroll scribe abuse, (including stealing every scroll in Arcana Archives, kicking out Jahiera and Haer'Dalis, erasing my entire spellbook, and re-scribing it... twice), and a 4-person party, Aerie didn't get level 9 spells until after I'd fully cleared out Saradush and Watcher's Keep. I spent the entire run frustrated at all of the things that Aerie couldn't do.

    (And even after getting my level 9 spell, it was only one spell slot, which means still no Time Stop + Improved Alacrity or Shapechange, low probabilities of Wish resting, etc.)

    To anyone who takes her versatility as gospel, try bringing her along in a 6-person party as your primary arcane spellcaster, (no Imoen, no Neera, no Nalia, no Edwin), and see how she does.
    AttalusSkatan
  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 260
    Oh, yeah, no doubt that Aerie doesn't replace having a single-class arcane caster in terms of blasting or tricks, though she's pretty capable until reaching Spellhold and reclaiming Imoen as I normally do in my playthroughs. :tongue: I'd actually argue that Improved Invisibility is the top non-self buff in the game; -4 to all saves, immunity to single-target spells, +-4 buff to THAC0 and AC depending on how you're counting it... Improved Haste actually falls off a bit once your warriors get to Greater Whirlwind, and is pretty useless to any non-Fighter types with a few exceptions like Blades and Swashbucklers. Haste is actually equal to Improved Haste for any character stuck at 1 APR, and a very minor boost to Thieves using bows or throwing daggers (4 APR vs 3 APR isn't exactly the biggest difference for a level 6 vs a level 3 spell.)

    I guess with my playstyle, I use Aerie as a support character and I rarely use offensive mages: as such, the arcane spells I really want for most of the game are Improved Invisibility, Invisibility, Haste, Magic Missile or Chromatic Orb, (quick spell interruption), some sort of invisibility detection, maybe a few summoning spells, Breach, Death spell later on, and so on and so forth. Lategame is a different beast, sure, but since I haven't gotten past SoA in a no-reload so far I'll cross that bridge when I get there. :tongue:
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    Neverused said:

    Oh, yeah, no doubt that Aerie doesn't replace having a single-class arcane caster in terms of blasting or tricks, though she's pretty capable until reaching Spellhold and reclaiming Imoen as I normally do in my playthroughs. :tongue: I'd actually argue that Improved Invisibility is the top non-self buff in the game; -4 to all saves, immunity to single-target spells, +-4 buff to THAC0 and AC depending on how you're counting it... Improved Haste actually falls off a bit once your warriors get to Greater Whirlwind, and is pretty useless to any non-Fighter types with a few exceptions like Blades and Swashbucklers. Haste is actually equal to Improved Haste for any character stuck at 1 APR, and a very minor boost to Thieves using bows or throwing daggers (4 APR vs 3 APR isn't exactly the biggest difference for a level 6 vs a level 3 spell.)

    I guess with my playstyle, I use Aerie as a support character and I rarely use offensive mages: as such, the arcane spells I really want for most of the game are Improved Invisibility, Invisibility, Haste, Magic Missile or Chromatic Orb, (quick spell interruption), some sort of invisibility detection, maybe a few summoning spells, Breach, Death spell later on, and so on and so forth. Lategame is a different beast, sure, but since I haven't gotten past SoA in a no-reload so far I'll cross that bridge when I get there. :tongue:

    Improved Invisibility is another solid choice for "best buff", provided you can keep it up. Too many mages have True Sight for me to rely on it as a party buff; my mage loves it with Spell Immunity: Divination, though, and it completely breaks some otherwise tough battles.

    Improved Haste is still useful after you get HLAs, because you can do IH + Critical Strike instead of having to do Greater Whirlwind. (It also lasts a lot longer.) Also, unless you have multiple bow-users, typically any thief is going to be running Tuigan Shortbow, where IH boosts them to 6 attacks vs. 4 for regular Haste, a 50% increase. (But really, Hasting / Improved Hasting your thieves is going to be a pretty minor boost either way. 2 Improved Hastes on a pair of fighters trumps a 6-person regular haste most of the time, because it puts more extra attacks where they do the most good.)
    Neverused
  • LabyrinthodontLabyrinthodont Member Posts: 16
    edited April 12
    For the record, I actually took to the idea of letting Imoen retire after her soul is rescued from Bodhi. I forget who suggested it. I think I'll leave her with Nalia in D'Arnise, which I believe I can obtain as a Barbarian. Not a bad place to leave your rescued sister.

    I'm also feeling a four person party, partially because I've heard barbarians really come into their own at higher levels. Partially just because I'm tired of large parties. In a smaller party, Aerie will be indispensable due to her versatility. It seems she would also benefit a lot from fast leveling in a smaller party. So I'm set on MC, Minsc, and Aerie. Still not sure of the fourth person. Could still be Neera, could be Keldorn or Haer'Dalis. Thoughts?

    Thanks for all the input so far.
  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 260
    Two IH's are also 2 level 6 spells, so I hope it's better than a single level 3: Regular Haste's just for the poor man AKA me that's not running a pure-class mage (or can't 100% scribe the spell because Item Revisions removes potions of genius and mind focusing.) Fair point about Critical Strike, as I said, I don't get into ToB all that often.

    @Labyrinthodont : I'd add Jan as your last in that setup, as you don't have a Thief for locks and traps, and while he's another multi-class Mage and thus still lower level spells, those extra spells can help pretty significantly. Hexxat conflicts with Aerie, you already said you aren't using Immy, and Nalia's a pretty bad thief. Your other option's in ToB, dualing Sarevok into Thief, but that seems a tad extreme and late in the game.
  • Yulaw9460Yulaw9460 Member Posts: 441
    Attalus said:

    and physically, she gets killed way too often.

    I had that problem too, once. Then I stopped putting her in danger.
    ThacoBell
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