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Weak NPCs in BG2 - Shadow of Amn?

245

Comments

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 1,842
    edited July 4
    Clerics have offensive capability as well. The combination of magic resistance and harm can take down even boss creatures >:).
    ThacoBellLoldrupsemiticgod
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 330
    yeah. very little (something in SCS aside possibly) is immune to harm. This is probably why certain things like SCS went "this high level spell that I can rest cheese is far too powerful! We need to nerf it considerably!" and turned it into a set damage spell more akin to it's later edition counterparts.
    Loldrup
  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 1,222
    edited July 5
    I'm a cleric-hater too. Always struggled to play as one and never was able to go beyond Nashkel while doing so.

    Too long battles with a low APR and a not-so-nice Thac0 (I know it's the second best, but thieves have high dex and can abuse ranged attacks so its Thac0 overcomes a priest's one).

    Too short buffs. Need tons of buffs to properly set up for a battle.

    Summoned skeletons are too weak (good only to soak spells). Another summon comes way too late.

    I think that that priest spells are lame - especially when you first play as a Wizard or as a Druid (with IWDfication). And the original kits are awful IMHO.

    The only reason I bring a priest along is to heal and restore. They mostly watch the battles while the real heroes do the job. And tend to get rid of it as soon as I get means to regenerate.

    Maybe playing from BG2 onwards things get better, but if you play BG and not start from Candlekeep you are just playing wrong.

    Loldrup
  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 937
    Also, keep in mind that clerics often have the best saving throws. All that divine favor thingy.

    Oh, and they level quicker than fighters and mages, so you get enhanced Thac0, more spells, and improved saving throws quicker.
    LoldrupThacoBellsemiticgod
  • batoorbatoor Member Posts: 512
    edited July 5
    Well command is very good to control fights in early bg1, so I wouldn't say clerics are bad at lower levels.
    LoldrupThacoBellDreadKhansemiticgod
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 330
    Hold Person can be pretty strong in BG1 too. specially on people clumped close together because there is a chance it will actually hold more than one person under those conditions.
    LoldrupThacoBellDreadKhansemiticgod
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 1,842
    I agree that clerics get less progression once you hit HLAs than other classes. However, at BG1 levels PC clerics are not just OK, but exceptionally good:
    - decent HPs and heavy armor mean they can tank if you want even without buffing.
    - using DUHM gives them very high damage using a sling if you prefer to keep them back.
    - doom and command are useful spells against single enemies; hold person against small groups and chant & bless against larger groups.
    - silence can be abused to prevent many potential enemies from even fighting in the first place and the huge saving throw adjustment makes it also very useful against spellcasters.
    - CLW allows you to avoid resting if you dislike doing that.
    - sanctuary gives you the option of progressing through the game with virtually no fighting at all.
    - animate dead provides superb summons - great from lower levels right through until late in BG2. If you buff several skeletons up with things like strength of one, chant and bless there's very little in the unmodded game that can stand against them (if you're in a party with a mage you can of course make your skeletons even more vicious).
    LoldrupThacoBellMirandel
  • batoorbatoor Member Posts: 512
    edited July 5
    A minor frustration I had with silence 15 radius is that if it hits your any of your npcs or player character, it effectively gags them.. Therefore skipping over any potential party banter/interjection. At least that happened with me once, I haven't tried reproducing it many times though.
    Loldrup
  • karnor00karnor00 Member Posts: 643
    Personally I find that single class clerics okay but look much worse when compared to multi class fighter/clerics.

    The single class cleric levels faster, but they already have their best spells by level 14 and after that they gain very little power.

    The multi alternative will never really stop growing and level 14 as a multi can still be reached reasonably early (compared to a Mage multi class who needs to get all the way to level 18 which is a lot more xp).
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,035
    karnor00 said:

    Personally I find that single class clerics okay but look much worse when compared to multi class fighter/clerics.

    The single class cleric levels faster, but they already have their best spells by level 14 and after that they gain very little power.

    The multi alternative will never really stop growing and level 14 as a multi can still be reached reasonably early (compared to a Mage multi class who needs to get all the way to level 18 which is a lot more xp).

    Multiclasses are the ONE time where I will a say a certain playstyle is better than others. Multiclasses get so many benefits with so little downsides that they are effectively stronger than single classes.
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    edited July 5
    ThacoBell said:

    Wisdom is the ONLY stat that matters for Cernd, since Shapeshifting sets stats to a static value, so nothing is lost there. In fact the special shapeshift is useful throughout SoA, once ToB hits, your still a Druid, so sling spells away with no downsides. All the Druid kits specialties get less useful as the game goes on and they all reach relative parity by ToB.

    Really? Clerics the worst class? Any class that can buff itself to the point of being basically unkillable is super strong. Don't forget, you can turn liches for an instakill at high levels. Far too many people focus on DPS to the exclusion of anything else.

    Dex matters for unshifted AC, which matters for avoiding spell disruption. (So does the ability to wear armor.) It also boosts ranged THACO when in caster mode. Strength matters for carrying capacity, (meh, and offset by the fact that he doesn't need to lug around any armor, anyway). It's also super-useful if you want to stay in Caster Mode and throw daggers between spells. Constitution matters for HP, and as of recent EE patches, shapeshifting no longer boosts it.

    18 Wisdom results in 2 extra 1st, 2 extra 2nd, 1 extra 3rd, and 1 extra 4th level spell. I feel pretty comfortable saying that level 1 and level 2 druid spells are garbage and those extra slots will pretty much always go unused. Level 3 spells aren't quite as terrible, but you're still probably not going to be using it much unless you're outdoors and able to use Call Lightning.

    The 4th level spell is really nice for an extra Call Woodland Beings, though at some point you have far more of those than you would ever want or need, anyway. 5th-level spell slots are where it's at for a druid, but Cernd wouldn't get any of those unless he could get to 21 Wisdom, which I believe isn't possible for an NPC.

    Cernd's wisdom bonus is nice enough, but I'd trade 18 wisdom and 9 dex for 18 dex and 9 wisdom.

    The other druid specialties never get replaced. Totemic Animals provide net positive value through the end of ToB. Statistically, they're about on par with Fire Elementals, meaning they're basically extra 5th or 6th level spell slots. Web, Improved Invisibility, and Chaos remain valuable spells through the end of the saga, and the former two occur at levels where high-level Druids aren't really going to have viable alternatives. Even Chain Lightning gives the druid his only real reliable party-friendly direct-damage spell.

    But shapeshifts? There reaches a point in the saga where using Cernd's kit ability actually leaves the party in a worse position than if you hadn't used it.

    And I never said Clerics were the worst class, I said they were the worst class *at high levels*, which is an important modifier. They have by a good margin the lowest damage output, and while buffs are nice, they aren't really getting any nice buffs after Chaotic Commands. There is very little a level 30 cleric offers over a level 15 cleric. (Okay, they can turn liches. How many liches are there in the game?)

    I mean, sure, they're still a strong class. You can beat the game as a solo cleric if you're so inclined. But being a strong class does not preclude also being the *least strong* class. And if you're going to disagree, you're going to have to say which classes you think Clerics are better than at high levels.
    Skatan
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    batoor said:

    Well command is very good to control fights in early bg1, so I wouldn't say clerics are bad at lower levels.

    Neither would I. The original quote was just the opposite: "pureclass Clerics are probably the weakest class in the game at high levels."

    Clerics are the bee's knees in BG1 when almost no one has any APR anyway, decent HP are impossible to come by, the ability to wear heavy armor/shields/helmets is OP, and stuff like Command, Silence, and Hold are virtual "I win" buttons.
    Skatan
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,035
    @SomeSort The greater werewolf form is at worst on par with fire elementals as well. And Cernd's strength only affects throwing daggers for ranged damage. As for armor, why are you letting take hits in caster mode in the first place? He should be nowhere near getting hit. All of Cernd's "problems" are non-issues of you pay any attention to him in combat. As a caster/fighter hybrid, he requires some micro to properly perform.
    Skatan
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 330
    much of what your complaining about for Cernd can be fixed with a single item. The Gauntlet's of Dexterity. Or one of the many strength enhancing items (I don't understand how you guys don't have enough of these laying around. I always do.)

    Doom and Armour of Faith are still useful. Those are level 1 spells. Though doom isn't nearly as potent as it is in BG1 sadly. it still can have some effect. Armour of Faith gets to a point where it lasts quite a while and can cut down 25% of incoming damage. A nice strong buff just before going into shape changed form to melee.

    Barkskin is a level 2 spell druids have and it's another option if your worried more about AC to cast with Cernd and the more levels you got up to a certain extent the lower AC it grants. Even if it stops at say ac1 that means that Cernd is still carrying around instant full plate mail in his pocket that has no weight or restrictions on use other than a spell slot you claim you don't use anyway.

    At level 3 summon insects is still useful. Some may look at it and see only pitiful damage. Forgetting that it's a -2 thaco and AC debuff which can make some of those burlier targets a little easier to hit and it casts with a -4 to save. And it still has a chance to interrupt spellcasters even if it's not a full interrupt. Sometimes it's not about shutting down all of their spell casting. But just enough to give you the edge.

    At level 4 there is the poison spell. It's range is relatively short at only 15 feet. But it does huge damage on a failed poison save. It would take a little more work to get it affective at high level with debuff's first but it can pack some fairly strong damage if it works. 8d8+6/r lasting for a turn. So if it hits and they don't cleanse it your looking at 60 damage on top of the initial like 30 damage. now admittedly I don't remember how much stuff is even poison immune at the end game level. But midgame I don't remember a lot that isn't like undead or a liche that is and it's a spell you can actually start BG2 with even at the 89kxp level.
    ThacoBell
  • WrathofreccaWrathofrecca Member Posts: 60
    All I know is Viconia chills in the back doing nothing most games. She heals, and buffs, and cures, and removes hold, and sometimes dispels, and never has any room for offensive spells, or very rarely, and even if I bring a druid and a cleric, the cleric still has to spend spell slots on contingency plans, unless I feel like abusing rest for 1 fight, and there are very few fights where I find that to be necessary.

    And this isn't the BG1 forums and while that's a valid point, and I believe clerics are the bees knees in BG1, I'm still not convinced on BG2. Coming up I'll try a BG2 run with a cleric in offensive casting mode and a spare druid on or cleric on heal duty and see how I feel. I guess my biggest complaint is that 2 mages just accomplish more. They greater malison and slow/glitter dust, they lower resist, breach and pierce magic and they do it all in a relatively small window. 1 mage always feels slow on important fights like Firkraag where I want all his magic resist gone in 2 rounds so I can start pummeling him on round 3. I also still need to account for any clutter spells that go off and if those lower resists don't fire quick enough, the cleric's offensive spell collection does literally nothing on any important boss fight.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,035
    @Wrathofrecca Clerics are the kings of buffs not damage. They get some good damage spells yes, but they're main role is keeping the party alive. Druids are the more offensive divine casters.
    Also, "All I know is Viconia chills in the back doing nothing most games. She heals, and buffs, and cures, and removes hold, and sometimes dispels", thats not "nothing". She is keeping the party alive. Heck you can buff up a single kit cleric to go toe to toe with a dragon.
    semiticgod
  • fatelessfateless Member Posts: 330
    That's just how you use her. I stick a Gauntlets of Ogre Power or better on her. Some strong plate mail and other items and wade her in as backup to my tanks with a good war hammer or mace, occasionally even the flail of Ages or Crom Faeyr. I also don't buff for every single fight usually.

    Another use for a high level viconia is turning all of Bodhi's vampires against her with turn undead. Bodhi herself is immune to it.
    ThacoBell
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    ThacoBell said:

    @SomeSort The greater werewolf form is at worst on par with fire elementals as well.

    Agreed! Unfortunately, it blocks out spellcasting, while the Totemic animals and fire elementals don't. (In fact, their best use is arguably to give you space for spellcasting.) Also, the absolute maximum number you can get is one per rest period, so either rest a ton or resign yourself to only having it available for a small fraction of your total encounters.
    And Cernd's strength only affects throwing daggers for ranged damage.
    Daggers and slings. AKA "literally every ranged weapon he's capable of using".
    As for armor, why are you letting take hits in caster mode in the first place? He should be nowhere near getting hit. All of Cernd's "problems" are non-issues of you pay any attention to him in combat. As a caster/fighter hybrid, he requires some micro to properly perform.
    That's true, I never considered "just don't let the enemy hit me" as a strategy before. I'll give that one a go on my next playthrough.

    (More seriously: ambushes, archers, Nature's Beauty gone wrong, attempted use of Harm spell, AI-altering spells affecting my tanks, AI-altering spells affecting the enemy and altering their targeting priorities, LoB difficulty discouraging face-tanking, enemy AI-enhancing mods, operator error, etc.)
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    fateless said:

    much of what your complaining about for Cernd can be fixed with a single item. The Gauntlet's of Dexterity. Or one of the many strength enhancing items (I don't understand how you guys don't have enough of these laying around. I always do.)

    Gauntlets of Dexterity on Cernd is a terrible idea. Not only does it take them out of (/off of) the hands of Keldorn/Anomen/Korgan, but the lack of armor means Cernd is especially reliant on bracers to boost his AC. Gauntlets of Dexterity result in an AC three points worse than the AC3 Bracers.

    Eventually you get enough strength-boosting items, but it can take a while. You're only going to have 2 strength-boosting items for most of SoA. Cernd is pretty low on the priority list, especially since he'll (theoretically) be spending some of his time shifted, anyway.

    I mean, I'm not saying Cernd is unplayable or anything. I like him. I'd wager I use him more than most BG2 players. I just did a trio run with a Dwarven Defender, Cernd, and Jan (another character I have ranked quite low), and it was a blast.

    But there's not a character in the game who is unplayable. Even in a game where no one is bad, someone is going to be least-good. And that someone is Cernd.
    MirandelsemiticgodQuartz
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,035
    Nah, there isn't enough disparity between the npcs for there to be a single worst.
  • WrathofreccaWrathofrecca Member Posts: 60
    edited July 6
    Eh, I disagree with least good. A base class druid's job is not to use ranged weapons like slings or thrown weapons. I do not rely on or even bother giving the low dps ammo related weapons. Cernd's job is to accrue a massive amount of spells very quickly, and to go werewolf half way through fights when he's done casting spells. If anything back in the vanilla days of BG2 I made a werewolf of like 9 characters I tried out and I found the werewolf, which granted had godlike stat rolls, to be by far the most beginner friendly. Cernd gains enough spells to have ironbark up at all times while still being able to throw out whatever he wants. And unlocking lvl 7 druid spells is probably his highlight. Those lvl 7 spells outshine mages and clerics and can carry a group for quite awhile early game. And if you luck out, or reload the game, and shoot for a max HD elemental summon, it will just crush. I remember on my werewolf play through I got one and it soloed the entire level.

    Anyhow, back to clerics. They're boring and I never said they don't heal or buff or cure, they do, but that's all they do. But reading all the posts on BG1 I get it now. Clerics had their place and back in BG1 when no one had armor or saves they were probably gods. Too bad in BG2 the spell system didn't keep up. I just remember my clerics being useless on dragon fights, lich fights (I tend to do them early), and key bosses like Demogorgon specifically comes to mind.



    Question, how does a cleric solo a dragon? What difficulty?
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,035
    @Wrathofrecca "They're boring and I never said they don't heal or buff or cure, they do, but that's all they do." Go play the games without healing, buffing, or curing once and let me know how that goes. You're also forgetting a key part of the cleric kit. After the cleric buffs themself, then they smash. Clerics are very effective in melee.
    semiticgod
  • WrathofreccaWrathofrecca Member Posts: 60
    On what difficulty? On insane or LoB you can't use Viconia offensively because she could get one or two shot. Hell even on core rules you have to be careful what you let her fight because a hasted golem will trash a hoe.
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,035
    Viconia is squishier than most clerics because of her low con.

  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 2,384
    Interesting discussion here, though a bit centralized around Cernd. It's also funny that no matter which class someone says is the worst, there will always rise a stout defender of that said class saying the the former guy just don't know how to play it correctly, heh..

    I'd say the weakest chars are Yoshi, Minsc and Wilson.

    Yoshi is pureclass thief thus weaker than all other classes. BH can be good but it takes some time before you can use his traps to their best effect. In the end he's still just a thief.
    Minsc are somewhat weaker than other NPCs competing for the slot since he will always have less APR than then ie Korgan or Mazzy or less good abilities than Keldorn or Dorn. Or even Rasaad or Valygar.
    Wilson is a fighter w/o the benefits of an actual fighter, meaning you can't equip him to off-set the disdvantages. He's the least good NPC in the game IMHO.

    And I shouldn't have to say this, but since there seem to be some confusion around this in the thread, I'll better be crystal clear: The ranking is NPC vs NPC, this does not mean that Wilson is weak, it means he is weaker then other characters competing with the same set of skills for the same slot in a party.

    And yeah, as a final note, Cernd is far, far stronger than any of the three I mention above. Sure, Minsc will have more kills if you give him all the best equipment and put him in the front with FoA and DoE etc, but if you rely on AC to keep Cernd alive when he has iron skins and other protections, then there are indeed improvements in your playstyle you can do. I often play with both Jaheira and Cernd and when you do that you realize the disadvantages of the F/D vs the pureclass D, but the combo of them both spawning insects etc is so ridiculously effective that it makes mages almost not necessary (but only almost :P)
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,035
    @Skatan you're comparing Minsc to pureclass fighters though. Fighters are better able to specialize in weapons so in using 1 or 2 weapons, yes they will get more dps. Minsc is a generalist, he gets more weapons to be good at cost of making any one weapon amazing, he is adaptable. If you want say Korgan or Mazzy to have that same adaptablility in using a variety of weapons, they lose their advantage over MInsc. In this scenario Minsc is probably stronger because of the few divine spells he can use to buff himself.

    As for Yoshimo, well, single class thieves are amazing. They just require more thinking ahead and micro. Traps outright trump most encounters in the game, and their utility is only rivaled by multiclasses and bards. In general I would say that the more micro an NPC requires, the powerful they are.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,394
    Yoshimo is legitimately solid if he can get trap setting. BH traps sre strong. Thieves are weaker if vanills I agree, but the three kits are fine for soloing even.

    Imho, the casters go sorc, wizard, bard, druid, cleric, pal, ranger. Arcane even has better buffs, though does miss out on Mindblank. Clerics are awesome in BG1, not so much in the sequel.
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    ThacoBell said:

    Go play the games without healing, buffing, or curing once and let me know how that goes. You're also forgetting a key part of the cleric kit. After the cleric buffs themself, then they smash. Clerics are very effective in melee.

    You can heal/buff/cure just fine without a single cleric in your party. Rod of Resurrection, potions, Improved Haste, fighter self-buffs, etc. Really the thing you're going to be missing most is Chaotic Commands and maybe Remove Paralysis.

    Also, other than the Priest of Lathander, single-class Clerics are not very effective in melee. All the damage/THACO/HP buffs in the world can't offset that locked-in-at-1 APR. Even Thieves get access to Belm/Kundane/SNT/Fire Tooth to help themselves out in that department.
    semiticgod
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761
    Skatan said:

    Yoshi is pureclass thief thus weaker than all other classes. BH can be good but it takes some time before you can use his traps to their best effect. In the end he's still just a thief.

    Thieves require truly epic levels of micromanagement to shine, but if you're willing to give it to them, they're better than every other class in the game except for Mages/Sorcerers. (One could even make the argument that they're better than mages/sorcs.)

    With rest-spamming, Traps are universal damage that can trivialize nearly every encounter in the game. At higher levels with Use Any Item they're essentially sorcerers-- use Vhailor's Helm to spawn a clone with your three favorite spell scrolls in his quick item slots and then go to town. Time Trap + Vhailor's Helm + Shapechange > Mind Flayer Form is just as much cheesy goodness for a thief as it is for a mage.

    Also, Hide in Shadows + Cloak of Non-detection is the most reliable / undetectable form of invisibility in the game, and Detect Illusions is a free passive True Sight.

    (FWIW, I usually rank pure-class thieves quite low as well just because I believe you can get 90% of the results with 10% of the effort with other classes.)

    As for Cernd... again, I love single-classed Druids, but they're basically mages with five good spells. Now, those five good spells are really, really good, but... they can only go so far.
    ThacoBellsemiticgod
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 761

    Question, how does a cleric solo a dragon? What difficulty?

    Magic Resistance + Harm.
    ThacoBellsemiticgod
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