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Yet another 'help me with my party composition' topic.

For my first playthrough I came up with this party:
Undead Hunter
Half-elf female Skald or bard
Elf sorcerer
Half-elf fighter/druid
Gnome thief/illusionist
Dwarf fighter/cleric

Firstly arcane casters: I remember from original IWD that scrolls were really scarce, is that also the case for EE?
If so, should I scrape the mage and stick to bard and sorc only?
As for bards: skald seems to be superior, is that right?
Having played most IE games I am familiar with mechanics, spells etc. so I'm comfortable with more 'advanced' party setups. I'm aiming for party that won't have problems with any enemy. I also want to experience as much class/race restricted content as possible.

Any advice is appreciated :).

Comments

  • WesboiWesboi Member Posts: 338
    I would skip the thief/illusion and go for F/T. Just depends how far you want to take that party or if u plan on HoF mode too.
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    Scrolls are scarce, but there is enough to support both a mage and a bard. You'll only be getting one copy of some key spells, so you'll need to make some choices, but you'll have enough to give both characters plenty of spells worth casting at every level.

    The bigger question is whether you "need" three arcane casters. There aren't very many mage battles, and magic suffers a bit in IWD due to the sheer volume of foes you're going to want to kill between rest periods. A sorcerer and a bard should already be more than enough to handle all of your arcane needs.

    Regarding Skald vs. Bard: neither one is really "superior", per se. The Skald's battle song is the best in-combat boost in the game, but the vanilla bard makes up for that with versatility. Tymora's Melody gives +3 saves and the +1 luck also reduces incoming magic damage; it's a big boost against enemy spellcasters. Siren's Yearning basically lets you turn your bard into a pseudo-Jester at will, disabling enemies on a failed save; it will make a big difference in battles against a large swarm of enemies.

    The biggest selling point of the Vanilla Bard, however, is the War Chant of Sith. Its in-battle bonus is inferior to the Skald's, but it gives every party member regen which means you can sing it for a massive boost *BETWEEN* battles. Once your bard hits level 11, your party will be able to heal to full before every encounter, which is a huge deal in a War-of-Attrition type game like IWD. (Also notable that level 11 comes a *lot* sooner than level 15, which is when the Skald song upgrades. Level 15 takes 5x as much XP.)

    If I'm playing Heart of Winter and planning on resting a ton, (which means a lot of backtracking to safe areas and can be a little bit painstaking), then I'd prefer the Skald for the raw combat boost. In lower difficulties, I prefer the Vanilla bard for the massive quality of life improvement.

    Having two divine casters reduces the advantage of the Vanilla Bard somewhat, since you can just cast all the heals. On the other hand, having a Vanilla Bard lets you replace all of your healing spells with offensive spells on your divine casters, which is especially great on your druid. (Or the Vanilla Bard would let you drop the Cleric and replace him with something else, if you want.)

    Speaking of Quality of Life improvements, having a single ubertank to run ahead and draw enemy aggro before your party engages will make a big difference in how long you can go before resting. The cheesy way to make an Ubertank is to roll a Dwarven Defender, because IWD gear wasn't balanced for classes that get innate damage resistance; it's totally possible, (trivial even), to become 100% immune to certain damage types.

    The less cheesy way to make an uber-tank is to roll a Neutral Good Halfling or Gnome. There's a helmet that gives +3 AC that's only usable by those races. There's a belt that gives +3 AC that's only usable by good characters. There's an early chest that drops either a +2 shield that can't be used by Lawful characters or a +3 shield that can't be used by Chaotic characters. (Neutral Good characters can use either, so you're RNG-proof.)

    If you specialize in axes, there's a guaranteed-drop Axe that gives +2 AC, to boot. Other weapon types are better end-game so I wouldn't go all the way to Grandmastery, but Axes are a pretty solid starter weapon and since dual-wielding isn't as great in IWD as it is in BG2, you should have points to spare early.

    Between all that gear, it's easy to get awesome AC early on, and of course the shorty races also get their saving bonus for high constitution.

    If I'm tweaking everything and going for powergaming goodness, I might go more:

    Tank:
    Gnome Berserker

    Fighter-types:
    Half-elf Fighter/Druid
    Half-orc Fighter/Thief
    Human Undead Hunter or Elf Archer

    Casters:
    Half-elf Bard
    Elf Sorcerer

    It's going to feel a bit light on healing until your bard hits level 11, (use potions), but after that it'll be smooth sailing. There's some Paladin-only content you lose if you choose the Archer, but it's pretty minimal, (IIRC there's an interjection that gets added in a dialogue to the effect of "did you steal that from my dresser? Some Paladin you are"). There's also a really good Paladin-only longsword... but there are also really, really good long bows that you wouldn't want to go to waste, either.

    From a powergaming perspective, Archers will blow most everything else out of the water. Just be sure to bring lots of arrows. (Or install a quality-of-life mod that increases stack sizes or adds an unlimited quiver.)

    As another alternative, you can replace your Berserker with a Gnome Fighter/Illusionist. Wear heavy armor in the early game and choose spells that cast before battle, (Strength, Invisibility, etc.) In the long run, you can combine a pair of Bracers that give AC2, a mage robe that gives a +2 AC bonus, and a Cloak of Protection +3 to actually wind up with AC equal to or better than any armor-wearer, and it won't even disable spellcasting. Plus: Stoneskins.
  • WesboiWesboi Member Posts: 338
    You could just make a cleric/ranger to free up an extra slot so u can bypass having a druid and a cleric, then add a monk. Monks are always fun to have around.
    Luke93
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    Wesboi said:

    You could just make a cleric/ranger to free up an extra slot so u can bypass having a druid and a cleric, then add a monk. Monks are always fun to have around.

    Though it's worth noting that Cleric/Rangers don't get druid shapeshifts, (the Water Elemental shift is pretty rad), you'll miss a little bit of druid-specific content (nothing major), and they don't get access to the full list of druid spells unless you edit the .ini file. Also, Druids become immune to poison, which is handy (party-friendly cloudkills!), and eventually even become immune to fatigue, which is amazing, (cast ALL the Hastes!)

    On the plus side of the ledger, Cleric/Rangers can wield morning stars instead of scimitars, which is a nice upgrade, and their racial enemy can also be a solid boost. They can also turn undead, though a multiclass Cleric in a party of 6 isn't going to be high enough level to do it on a first playthrough.
  • TerhidTerhid Member Posts: 7
    @SomeSort Thanks for in-depth comment, you convinced me to use vanilla bard, passive regeneration might make this game much more pleasant to play.
    As for archer/paladin choice I still remember getting that sword when I first played IWD and not being able to use it, so I'm sticking to paladin :p.
    AFAIK cleric/rangers are actually not bugged in IWD like in BG, so you're just getting a small subset of druid spells and not having played druid yet in 2E DnD, I want to try it out.
    Gnome fighter/illusionist is always a good idea, but what about gnomish fighter/thief and keeping dwarven fighter/cleric?


  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    Terhid said:

    @SomeSort Thanks for in-depth comment, you convinced me to use vanilla bard, passive regeneration might make this game much more pleasant to play.
    As for archer/paladin choice I still remember getting that sword when I first played IWD and not being able to use it, so I'm sticking to paladin :p.
    AFAIK cleric/rangers are actually not bugged in IWD like in BG, so you're just getting a small subset of druid spells and not having played druid yet in 2E DnD, I want to try it out.
    Gnome fighter/illusionist is always a good idea, but what about gnomish fighter/thief and keeping dwarven fighter/cleric?

    When Beamdog patched the Cleric/Ranger so that it only got appropriate druid spells, (rather than all of them), they also set it up so you can add a line of text to the .ini file to restore the original behavior. So if you wanted to do a Ranger/Cleric that got all druid spells, that's still something you can easily do.

    (But like I said, there are other cool things about actual druids than just the spells, so I still prefer a Fighter/Druid.)
  • Tad_Has_A_Cold_OliveTad_Has_A_Cold_Olive Member Posts: 175
    Terhid said:

    @SomeSort Thanks for in-depth comment, you convinced me to use vanilla bard, passive regeneration might make this game much more pleasant to play.
    As for archer/paladin choice I still remember getting that sword when I first played IWD and not being able to use it, so I'm sticking to paladin :p.
    AFAIK cleric/rangers are actually not bugged in IWD like in BG, so you're just getting a small subset of druid spells and not having played druid yet in 2E DnD, I want to try it out.
    Gnome fighter/illusionist is always a good idea, but what about gnomish fighter/thief and keeping dwarven fighter/cleric?


    Gnomish Fighter/Thief should be just fine, since they can wear that excellent helmet you can buy in Kuldahar to make up the AC that you lose by needing to wear leather/studded leather/elven chainmail armor to use thief skills.
  • ElendarElendar Member Posts: 805
    Just go with this party instead:

    Fighter/Mage/Cleric
    Fighter/Mage/Cleric
    Fighter/Mage/Cleric
    Fighter/Mage/Cleric
    Fighter/Mage/Cleric
    Fighter/Mage/Thief



    lol.
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