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bg2 run with weaker parties

CvijetaCvijeta Member Posts: 158
I currently roleplay with weaker party. All my party members are casters, how to beat this game with Jaheira, Aerie, Nalia and protagonist bard.... Maybe I add Viconia or Anomen or Jan or Haer-Dalis.
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Comments

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,818
    I don't think there IS a weak party. Literally every npc in BG2 can be gamebreaking if used the right way. Charname bards are especially ridiculous. For a weak party, I would recommend 6 player made characters with deliberately low stats and maybe personal restrictions.
    tbone1OrlonKronsteenproghead3createaccount
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 762
    @ThacoBell makes a good point; even Cernd can be useful. I recently did a run as a FMT with Aerie, Nalia (before heading to spellhold), and Imoen. On paper, it wasn't an OP group -- the FMT was the best tank unless Aerie was kept hyperbuffed, and splitting XP three ways didn't help, either -- but it was great fun.
    OrlonKronsteen
  • proghead3proghead3 Member Posts: 62
    edited April 12
    I too agree that pretty much all the characters are useful if properly geared and specced. Let me give an explanation of my 5 weakest party members.

    First is Viconia. Anomen absolutely blows her out of the water. She pretty much needs a strength belt, her constitution is trash, she gets only one attack per round with poor thaco, and she requires reputation management. Her dexterity is nice, but Anomen can just use gauntlets to rectify his score. Her MR is largely pointless because you will have death ward and chaotic commands on at all times anyways (or you should).

    Next is Aerie. Her HP total is sooo bad. I feel Cleric/Mage is underrated by new players and overrated by veterans. I really dislike splitting XP for caster class. If you ignore EE content, you barely will get 6m XP and a 9th level mage spell with Aerie. Also her cleric level is low so her turn undead is useless and her duration spells wear off too quickly. Yeah you can do some tricks with her by sequencing cleric spells, but her downsides are too severe.

    Haer'Dalis is OP in the late game because of broken rogue HLAs, but you will suffer early on because of his garbage HP and thaco.

    Jaheria is actually really good to start but is one of the weakest characters late. The ridiculous Druid leveling progression lets even a multiclass get quick access to summon fire elemental which trivializes a lot of chapter 2 content. Later on her weapon restrictions and the slow leveling of later Druid levels make her relative weak late game. Also her best weapon, Spectral Brand, is not a guaranteed drop, which is a killer for me (no reload player).

    Naila, would be my final character. I figured you'd want a thief, so here's the worst one. :) If you already have another thief, she actually outperforms Imoen.

    I would not include Cernd in the worst party (maybe him and Valygar would be in the worst personality party). If you treat him as a full caster he is actually pretty useful. I didn't consider EE characters because I don't consider them part of the game.
    tbone1
  • proghead3proghead3 Member Posts: 62
    edited April 12
    Yes that was a little harsh. He's just a bit boring. He's a good dude though, even if I don't bring him along for the long haul, I'll release him with the Celestial Fury because he deserves it. :)
    tbone1Blackraven
  • ArtonaArtona Member Posts: 557
    edited April 12
    @SomeSort is right, it's not about NPCs, but a team. You can try party exclusively fighter party, that could be pretty rough - create four paladines and go on crusading against vile magic and dishonourable thieves. ;)
    Aerakarjackjackleeux
  • CvijetaCvijeta Member Posts: 158
    You got me all wrong. I would like tips and tricks how to survive with current party since I'm underpowered. If you can solo this game with a sorcerer, I want to know how to finish this game with four caster or five casters.
    DJKajuru
  • proghead3proghead3 Member Posts: 62
    @SomeSort I find your critiques of my "worst characters" somewhat bizarre. Which is fine, you're entitled to your opinions. First off, I prefaced my comments by saying all the characters are serviceable, so we're splitting hairs to begin with.

    Your initially explanation as to why Viconia is good is that she can control vampires summoned by limited wish. lol, I mean, come on, that had me laughing. I often use Viconia and Anomen together and it's not unusual for Anomen to have 6-7x the kill count by endgame. Yeah he needs the dexterity gauntlets, but killing enemies at a 3x faster rate (a conservative lower bound) tends to mitigate damage better than 4 AC points. And, as I explained, her MR is completely pointless as death ward and chaotic commands will be on all your characters at all times.

    Yeah Jaheria can be very good, but again, pretty much all the BG2 characters are. We're faced with an embarrassment of riches, and she, by my estimation, is a bit worse off than other PCs, particularly in the late game. Also the club of detonation is a rough one to build, that ring of fire resistance is tough to give up.

    Again, with Nalia, she is the worst thief in the game, that was the point I was making. Is she serviceable? Yeah, all the characters are.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,818
    Cvijeta said:

    You got me all wrong. I would like tips and tricks how to survive with current party since I'm underpowered. If you can solo this game with a sorcerer, I want to know how to finish this game with four caster or five casters.

    Thats kind of my point though. You have some of the most powerful NPCs in your party. That many casters will take different tactics than a "balanced" party, but you are far from "underpowered". I don't run a lot of casters in my games, but summons will probably be important to soak up enemy attention/damage. Invisibility is your friend as well.
    Unionhack
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 277
    SomeSort said:

    If I were to rank NPCs in BG2, I'd say:
    Edwin
    Nalia
    Imoen (2nd if you rush Spellhold)
    Keldorn
    Korgan
    Jahiera
    Mr. ToB
    Anomen
    Mazzy (assuming you get her at level 8)
    Haer'Dalis
    Valygar
    Aerie (higher in small parties)
    Viconia
    Jan
    Minsc
    Yoshimo
    Cernd

    /popcorn at that impressive wall 'o text.
  • proghead3proghead3 Member Posts: 62
    Let's just agree to disagree then, I have a very specific approach to the game which serves me well, but is clearly different than yours and consequently we're going to value NPCs differently.
  • ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 370
    @SomeSort You can consider thieves underpowered... until they get HLA. UAI, Spike Trap and Time Stop Trap hardly are weak abilities... And I'm not even talking about about Mislead backstabbing cheese.

    In ToB, the power of Jan is really high. No way in hell he's weaker than Valygar. I agree about Yoshimo though, because without mods, he'll never get to HLA. Considering that, he should be classed as the weakest NPC.

    Other than that, pretty awesome analysis of the NPCs. I personnaly think that, at the end of the day, playstyle defines which NPCs are the best, though.
    AerakarBlackravenjackjackSouplesse
  • ybducuybducu Member Posts: 11
    edited April 14
    Can't resist commenting on power levels of npcs :)
    Imo Haer'Dalis is the most powerful npc in the game. (after pure mages :| )
    - He's a blade, which makes him a faster leveling F/M
    - He's a bard so he levels faster than a mage, so till level 20 he'll be your most powerful caster.
    - His dispel magic will get more powerful past level 20 so is only second to the Inquisitor.
    - He's insanely good throughout the whole game. Something 'power gamers' sometimes overlook. Your theoretical endgame optimized build might not be that effective for about 75% of the time your run actually takes.
    - Defensive spin gives -10 ac. No really, let that sink in... + mage defenses. Together with his fast leveling he's practically the best tank throughout the game.
    - Offensive spin adds 1 apr and does max damage. That's almost as good as a fighter with twice the apr doing on average half that damage. (ok not really, there are damage modifiers that don't get doubled. But still, let's say 2/3 as good :D )
    - He's the best lich killer the soonest. He has spell immunity and good melee abilities.
    - He gets thief hlas, so now you have a kai-ed, simulacrum-ed, black blade of disaster wielding monstrosity in a single fastest leveling class. Oh and also he has spike traps :p
    - He gets the enhanced bardsong hla, which damage contribution alone is almost good enough to justify bringing him to just stand and sing and do nothing else. Now you do it on a simulacrum and have the blade wreaking havoc like listed above.. And in the original game you can have a choir of them :)
    ArctodussemiticgodAerakarlamaros
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    Arctodus said:

    @SomeSort You can consider thieves underpowered... until they get HLA. UAI, Spike Trap and Time Stop Trap hardly are weak abilities... And I'm not even talking about about Mislead backstabbing cheese.

    In ToB, the power of Jan is really high. No way in hell he's weaker than Valygar. I agree about Yoshimo though, because without mods, he'll never get to HLA. Considering that, he should be classed as the weakest NPC.

    Other than that, pretty awesome analysis of the NPCs. I personnaly think that, at the end of the day, playstyle defines which NPCs are the best, though.

    For sure. There are no "bad" NPCs other than Cernd, (who has the worst stats of any NPC in the game *and* arguably the worst kit in the game). But even Cernd is totally playable and fills a role as the only pure-class druid in the game. (He'd just be a lot better if he got bonuses from something other than Wisdom and he was an Avenger or Totemic Druid, instead.)

    Thieves are a tough one for me. You kind of have to ignore find traps and locks for a minute because you really need some way of dealing with those, which means you're kind of locked into bringing some flavor of thief along. They're one of the most "necessary" classes, but that doesn't necessarily make them one of the best.

    If you're really abusing their traps, they're arguably the strongest class in the game. Insane damage delivered risk-free that is nearly impossible to resist or avoid. Just ludicrously good. But on the other hand, if you're not abusing traps... they're probably the worst class in the game, unless they have some fighter levels to them, too.

    M/T is probably the class that benefits the least from UAI, since you've already got access to the best armors and weapons, so it's really just an upgrade at helm and possibly gloves. Mislead backstabs are fun, but he doesn't really have the THACO or APR to do much with them, meaning even without Mislead Valygar is probably a better backstabber.

    Eventually he gets high-level mage stuff, and high-level mage stuff is the most powerful stuff, (aside possibly from traps), but it's a long time to unlock it, which makes him more of a late bloomer / better in small parties kind of guy, (much like Aerie).

    But I can totally see him being higher, even as high as 4th overall if you really go to town with those spike traps.
    Arctodus
  • ybducuybducu Member Posts: 11
    Keep in mind we were talking about in game NPCs so comparing him to Barbarians and F/Ms is not really fair. Also, again only considering in game NPCs, black blade of disaster with the Blade's kai-like ability is especially effective because of the weapon's huge damage range. And his lagging thac0 is easily remedied by tenser's and strength spells/belt. Also he has fire shields which contribute to his overall damage output when meleeing. And like you also mentioned, the hla bardsong on a clone does not only boost the Blade's own numbers but also does of his meleeing team mates, which easily puts the Blade's total damage contribution per round on par with a pure fighter, if not above.

    But yeah, solo before HLAs he won't reach the damage numbers of a pure grandmaster fighter and I also agree he needs more micro. For me though it's fun and rewarding using all his abilities.
    lamaros
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    ybducu said:

    Keep in mind we were talking about in game NPCs so comparing him to Barbarians and F/Ms is not really fair. Also, again only considering in game NPCs, black blade of disaster with the Blade's kai-like ability is especially effective because of the weapon's huge damage range. And his lagging thac0 is easily remedied by tenser's and strength spells/belt. Also he has fire shields which contribute to his overall damage output when meleeing. And like you also mentioned, the hla bardsong on a clone does not only boost the Blade's own numbers but also does of his meleeing team mates, which easily puts the Blade's total damage contribution per round on par with a pure fighter, if not above.

    But yeah, solo before HLAs he won't reach the damage numbers of a pure grandmaster fighter and I also agree he needs more micro. For me though it's fun and rewarding using all his abilities.

    Black Blade of Disaster is just another great example of how if you're really willing to put in a lot of effort, Haer'Dalis can shine. BBoD is a level 9 spell, which means he can't cast it naturally. I think there are maybe four scrolls available in the game, not enough to actually use it as a long-term strategy unless you're abusing Simulacrum. But Simulacrum is a level 8 spell, so HD can't cast that naturally either, which means you need Vhailor's Helm, (and UAI to equip Vhailor's Helm).

    Now sure, you can trigger Vhailor's to summon a clone, have him use a BBoD scroll and activate Offensive Spin, and as a result you get a character that gets an average of +11 damage per attack. But that's a lot of work! And crucially it also uses up your Vhailor's Helm, which could otherwise be put to use somewhere else, and it's not even really better than triggering Vhailor's and having the clone pop a Time Stop scroll, instead.

    Compare to someone like Korgan, where "using him to his full potential" is basically "equip Axe of Unyielding and Crom Faeyr, attack. If you want more damage, trigger your Vhailor clone and have him attack, too. If you see something with status effects, pop Berserk."

    If you want to turn, say, Minsc into a defensive tank, it's "put Defender of Easthaven in your off-hand, cast Armor of Faith, activate Hardiness, tank". All of that gets you more than a turn with 90% physical damage reduction, and you'll have plenty of Hardinesses to go around.

    You talk about using Strength belts and Tenser's to fix HD's THACO, but neither of those is a solution. Warriors cap out at 0 THACO, but Bards cap out at 10 THACO. 22 strength, the best you can get from a belt, gives a +4 THACO bonus, which still leaves HD six points behind a comparable fighter in ToB. (And this assumes the fighter doesn't get any +THACO bonus from strength, which is a bad assumption.)

    Sure, Tenser's can solve that THACO problem, but Tenser's introduces a whole host of problems of its own. Not only does it lock you out of spellcasting for its duration, it also locks you out of your offensive and defensive spins, (unless this behavior was changed in a recent patch). No bueno.

    Fire Shields can contribute to damage output, but only if Haer'Dalis is getting hit, which (a) should be rare while in tank mode, and (b) isn't really sustainable given HD's low hitpoints. Now, of course, there are workarounds for this, too; Stoneskins, most crucially. Of course, Fireshield and Stoneskin both compete for level 4 spell slots, so... again, micromanagement.

    HLA traps are potentially game-breaking and the HLA bardsong is good enough that even if you brought HD and kept him in the back singing the whole time he'd be a very solid contributor to your overall party. But as for the rest of it... like I said, you get out what you put in.

    An optimally-played Haer'Dalis might be on par with an optimally-played Korgan or Jahiera, but it's a lot easier to play Korgan and Jahiera optimally than it is to play Haer'Dalis optimally.
    Arctodus
  • ybducuybducu Member Posts: 11
    edited April 17
    Well sure Korgan and Minsc are awesome. I never said they weren't. I just think the potential of Haer'Dalis is sometimes overlooked.
    One point I'd like to stress again though is not his "abuse" as you call it of hla enabled tactics but his very strong performance throughout the entirety of SoA and ToB. I think that's horrendously overlooked in general and what makes him for me one of the, if not the most powerful in game NPC.
    Edit
    One more thing. You made a point about micro, but in any diffuclity/mods setting where this entire discussion about power rankings becomes relevant I'd argue you kinda need to micro everybody.
    Post edited by ybducu on
    ThacoBelllamaros
  • ybducuybducu Member Posts: 11
    edited April 17
    heh it's kinda weird, people seem emotionally invested in not liking HD. Not accusing you of that SomeSet, but I've read some old gamefaq forum posts where people thought it was not 'manly' to like him :p As in it's manly you like your ac number to go down by an item and your thac0 to go down because of your manly class... This game brings out a lot of weird emotions. :P
  • NuinNuin Member Posts: 389
    edited April 17
    It's rarely that. You'll find just as many other weird reasons for why people won't play certain NPCs.
    HD gets a lot of flak because he doesn't fit the traditional party - tank, damage dealer, support. He's a little bit of everything, and he mostly only fits parties that are built on synergy more than roles.

    In practice his THAC0 is always somewhere near other NPCs' thanks to level scaling and spells (especially if you go Melf's Minute Meteors + Offensive Spin, the blade's signature combo) and you'll have plenty of ways to further decrease that by late game (for example, HD is the ultimate recipient of Potions of Heroism/Power, since warriors already get 0 base THAC0 by epic levels). His magic is always going to be useful (strongest nukes early on, best utility with stuff like early access to Skeleton Warriors by mid-game and you can't have too many buffs/debuffs when other casters finally catch up with to his casting level by end-game). He can pick pockets, steal items and use most class-specific items like wands from the outset, which in practice means MUCH smoother sailing from early-mid game. He gives you bonus XP from scribing scrolls, and finally there's a lot of other specific setups you can do with him.

    Unfortunately, none of those things say "best tank" or "best support" or "best damage dealer", which for a lot of players seem to be what the "best party" is made of. Even if you argue that best is subjective, it's hard to connect HD with any one of these roles.
    In the end he usually gets shoved in the sidelines except for people who like to get a bit more creative with party composition. The stigma that comes with micromanagement doesn't help much.
    Fact is he does fine even with limited micromanagement, at lower difficulties you can just slap on basic buffs like Stoneskin and spam those Offensive Spins and at higher difficulties you generally DON'T want anyone to be hit by anything anyway.
    ArctodusThacoBelllamaros
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    ybducu said:

    heh it's kinda weird, people seem emotionally invested in not liking HD. Not accusing you of that SomeSet, but I've read some old gamefaq forum posts where people thought it was not 'manly' to like him :p As in it's manly you like your ac number to go down by an item and your thac0 to go down because of your manly class... This game brings out a lot of weird emotions. :P

    I know you weren't accusing me of it, but I don't dislike him at all. I think his romance with Aerie is substantially better than charname's, I think he's very well-written and like how cogent and consistent his philosophy is, he's well-voiced, has some interesting interactions.

    I'm just trying to rate him as objectively as possible on a power scale. In fact, he wound up just one slot behind my favorite NPC in the game, and one slot ahead of another personal favorite. On the other end, Imoen and Keldorn, who I don't really care for, came in 3rd and 4th. I like Nalia in SoA but am not a fan of hers in ToB, and she came in second.

    It's just, you know, single-class mages are ludicrously powerful in SoA/ToB. And Inquisitors with their broken dispels and steady stream of true sights make the game substantially easier.

    Blades, on the other hand, are *potentially* powerful throughout the saga, but it requires a ton of work to play them to their full potential, compared to a much more straightforward NPC like Keldorn, Korgan, Jahiera, Anomen, etc, where it's largely just a matter of gearing them up and activating their abilities in response to very specific situational triggers.

    But from the moment you get him until the final moment of the saga, I kind of feel like Haer'Dalis is very potent defensively (with a lot of finesse and finagling and general work) and decent offensively (but never on par with the real heavy-hitters), with a bit of general utility thrown in for good measure. It's a pretty good package that left him ranked one spot behind the exact median of NPCs, which I feel is pretty fair, (obviously, given that I ranked him there in the first place :wink: ).
    Arctodusleeux
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 2,818
    Bards seem to be second most unfairly maligned class in these games.
    Arctodus
  • lamaroslamaros Member Posts: 139
    One thing about Bards generally that I think a lot of people don't value is their ability to read scrolls and use wands, potions, and other items that might be restricted to others. I often end games with a huge amount of money and potions and wands I never use. Having a bard use these things up all the time and spending extra cast to keep stocked with these things makes them very useful with low effort - and frees up mages to do the things a Bard can't do.

    The other things about Bards, and Blades in particular, is that yeah, much of the time they don't do much of anything. But much of the time they don't need to. When things do need to be tough they usually have enough tools to fix a problem of any sort though, be it becoming an exceptional tank, doing spell damage or spell defense strippers, or self buffing and smashing out quick damage.

    They literally can be jack of all trades, and when they put the effort to it, a very very good jack.

    There will be very few instances when HD or a CHARNAME bard can't do something useful, but there will be many situations when other characters just twiddle their thumbs.

    And they will do it from level 1 right through to the end of the game. Unlike every other class that curves in or out of peak usefulness.

    The main problem I have with HD is playing a CHARNAME Blade is so much fun that I often don't see need for him...
    ThacoBellArctodus
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 303
    HD is lower on the list for me but Viconia is fairly high on my list. Imoen, Nalia, and Aerie are all about middle of the list for various factors. I put Yoshimo at the bottom because you can't keep him all the way through and I personally put Jan almost as low as Yoshimo because he has several flaws on top of several things that I just don't like about him. Cernd I put higher than a lot of people because I likely use him differently from what a lot of others do.
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 762
    Jan is comedy gold. One banter that he has with Viconia never fails to make me laugh. Plus the illusionist/thief combo rawcs and his flashers are dashed useful.
    ThacoBell
  • NuinNuin Member Posts: 389
    Jan is an acquired taste, that's the main problem with him. His humor can also come off as crass and convoluted depending on context. It's incredibly damaging to the character when you first hear his stories while frustrated with something, for example.
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