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Best damage sponge: barbarian vs dwarven defender

I'm not sure what the numbers look like as you get higher in levels.

Please compare/contrast, and list optimal equipment.

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Comments

  • KloroxKlorox Member Posts: 810

    The numbers:

    Dwarven Defenders get +5% physical damage resistance at levels 5, 10, 15, and 20, for a total of 20% base physical damage resistance.

    Barbarians get get +10% physical damage resistance at level 11 and another +5% at levels 15 and 19, for a total of 20% base physical damage resistance.

    At level 1, Dwarven Defenders can use Defensive Stance to increase their physical damage resistance by 50%. At level 20, both Dwarven Defenders and Barbarians can use Hardiness to increase their resistances by 40% (which does not stack with Defensive Stance).

    Defensive Stance grants +2 to saving throws and cuts movement rate in half for 10 rounds.

    Barbarian rage grants +4 Strength and Constitution, -2 AC, a +2 bonus to save vs. spell, and immunities to nearly all disablers for 5 rounds.

    Both classes get 1d12 HP per level.

    Both classes can use the Defender of Easthaven, which you can purchase from Joluv in the Copper Coronet in BG2, to increase their resistances by 20%. Most people use this weapon in the off hand.

    The comparison:

    Dwarven Defenders are better at absorbing physical damage at virtually every stage of the game. At level 1, they can reach 50% damage resistance while the Barbarian is at 0%. At the end of the trilogy, Dwarven Defenders can hit 90% compared to the Barbarian's 80% (both require the Defender of Easthaven).

    However, Barbarians get some important immunities from their rage ability, on top of a higher movement rate that can help them tank a little better for the party (Dwarven Defenders cannot easily chase down and distract an enemy who decides to target your mage). Until midway through BG2, Barbarians will be much better at handling mages and other critters who use disablers, because you won't be able to achieve subzero saving throws until you get higher levels and better equipment.

    Barbarians also usually deal more damage, as their rage ability can boost their STR by 4. This advantage lasts for all of BG1, all of Siege of Dragonspear, and most of Shadows of Amn, until you can forge Crom Faeyr very late in the game, at which point their damage output is more or less even. Defensive Stance also obviates the need for Hardiness, which means a Dwarven Defender will have a few more Greater Whirlwind Attacks than a Barbarian. Still, a Barbarian will normally have better damage output even then, as it can dual-wield the Flail of Ages +5 with the Defender of Easthaven instead of using Crom Faeyr with the Defender of Easthaven (naturally, you can go without the flail, but the damage resistance it grants is very useful).

    On average, Barbarians will deal more damage and resist more spells, while Dwarven Defenders will soak up more damage. Their respective advantages grow and shrink here and there, but not by much--at least, not if you compare it to the druid/cleric divide, whose strengths and weaknesses vary dramatically over time.

    Equipment choices:

    Generally speaking, a Dwarven Defender and a Barbarian will have much the same equipment choices. A Dwarven Defender will probably specialize in hammers, using Ashideena in BG1, the +3 hammer in SoD, and eventually the Dwarven Thrower and Crom Faeyr in BG2. A Barbarian's optimal choices could vary, but like Dwarven Defenders, they are nearly always best off using the Defender of Easthaven in the off hand once you're midway through SoA.

    Dwarven Defenders will probably use nonmagical full plate mail so they can use rings/amulets/cloaks of protection. Barbarians will probably use splint mail in BG1 and SoD before moving to nonmagical studded leather and the Bracers of Defense AC 3 midway through SoA.
    Thanks so very much. I really appreciate that amazing comparison.

    Question: why non-magical studded and not a different armor type?

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,510
    @Klorox: Nonmagical because it allows you to use a Ring of Protection +1 or whatever, and studded leather because of its additional AC bonuses:

    Studded leather grants +1 AC vs. piercing and missile weapons, and +2 vs. slashing weapons.

    Chain mail grants +2 AC vs. slashing weapons, but a -2 penalty vs. crushing weapons.

    Splint mail grants +1 AC vs. piercing and missile weapons, and +2 vs. crushing weapons.

    If you're using Bracers of Defense AC 3, the base AC bonuses of these armor types don't matter, but the secondary bonuses make studded leather better against slashing weapons, and splint mail better against crushing weapons.

    deltagoStummvonBordwehrJuliusBorisovmonico
  • KloroxKlorox Member Posts: 810
    Thank you very much.

    I'm mostly looking at solo. It sounds like the barbarian rage is a better defense for lots of spells.

    I think my best bet would be to play a dwarf for the saving throws and a 20 CON in BGI, because regeneration helps a ton.

    I like he idea of donning that human flesh +5, so I think I'll be evil.

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member Posts: 14,510
    Dwarves are indeed considered the optimal choice for solo fighters. Compared to halflings, they get a crucial bonus to STR; compared to gnomes, they get bonuses to saves vs. death; compared to other races, they get bonuses to saves vs. spell; and the maximum 17 DEX isn't very meaningful when the Gauntlets of Dexterity will last you all the way to the end of BG1, when you can use the DEX tome to bump it up to 18 (and you won't get any higher AC from DEX until you hit 21).

    The Human Flesh will prevent you from using rings of protection and such, but you can still use the Ring of Earth Control, Ring of Gaxx, and Cloak of the Sewers to improve your AC.

    If you're playing with SCS and its Improved Shapeshifting component, Fighter/Druids also make excellent damage sponges, as Earth Elemental Tokens grant +50% physical damage resistance, which stacks with Hardiness for 90% total (or 100%, with Armor of Faith). But Fighter/Druids have much weaker immunities and saving throws in BG1.

    StummvonBordwehrJuliusBorisov
  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,378

    Dwarves are indeed considered the optimal choice for solo fighters. Compared to halflings, they get a crucial bonus to STR; compared to gnomes, they get bonuses to saves vs. death; compared to other races, they get bonuses to saves vs. spell; and the maximum 17 DEX isn't very meaningful when the Gauntlets of Dexterity will last you all the way to the end of BG1, when you can use the DEX tome to bump it up to 18 (and you won't get any higher AC from DEX until you hit 21).

    The Human Flesh will prevent you from using rings of protection and such, but you can still use the Ring of Earth Control, Ring of Gaxx, and Cloak of the Sewers to improve your AC.

    If you're playing with SCS and its Improved Shapeshifting component, Fighter/Druids also make excellent damage sponges, as Earth Elemental Tokens grant +50% physical damage resistance, which stacks with Hardiness for 90% total (or 100%, with Armor of Faith). But Fighter/Druids have much weaker immunities and saving throws in BG1.

    the human flesh offers a +4 to all saves, so items of protection aren't really necessary, but at the same time @Klorox your dwarf might not need that saving throw bonus because the 2 most crucial saves in the BG series is: save vs death and save vs spell, and at level 17 your save vs death will be 0 and your save vs spell will be 1 ( if your CON is 18 or higher ) and with the ring of gaxx and the amulet you start off with in ToB that is a +3 bonus to all saves so you will pretty much always make your save on those 2 saves ( even more so with the shield of the order +4 )

    KloroxStummvonBordwehrsemiticgodJuliusBorisov
  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 909
    sarevok57 said:

    Dwarves are indeed considered the optimal choice for solo fighters. Compared to halflings, they get a crucial bonus to STR; compared to gnomes, they get bonuses to saves vs. death; compared to other races, they get bonuses to saves vs. spell; and the maximum 17 DEX isn't very meaningful when the Gauntlets of Dexterity will last you all the way to the end of BG1, when you can use the DEX tome to bump it up to 18 (and you won't get any higher AC from DEX until you hit 21).

    The Human Flesh will prevent you from using rings of protection and such, but you can still use the Ring of Earth Control, Ring of Gaxx, and Cloak of the Sewers to improve your AC.

    If you're playing with SCS and its Improved Shapeshifting component, Fighter/Druids also make excellent damage sponges, as Earth Elemental Tokens grant +50% physical damage resistance, which stacks with Hardiness for 90% total (or 100%, with Armor of Faith). But Fighter/Druids have much weaker immunities and saving throws in BG1.

    the human flesh offers a +4 to all saves, so items of protection aren't really necessary, but at the same time @Klorox your dwarf might not need that saving throw bonus because the 2 most crucial saves in the BG series is: save vs death and save vs spell, and at level 17 your save vs death will be 0 and your save vs spell will be 1 ( if your CON is 18 or higher ) and with the ring of gaxx and the amulet you start off with in ToB that is a +3 bonus to all saves so you will pretty much always make your save on those 2 saves ( even more so with the shield of the order +4 )

    I would agree with @semiticgod on the dwarves.

    Only halforcs and dwarves can roll up 19 con. After bg 1 you will be at 20 con which gives you natural regeneration, which is handy in bg 1 and early bg2. After MoLtM you will get 21 con for extra HP. Other races can only get 19 con in bg 1, and 20 after MoLtM (of I roll up another race I only take 17 in com...) In my eyes the 20 con in bg 1 is a bonus worth the consideration.

    Only halforcs can get a 19 str when they start, dwarves only 18 + exceptional. But after the tome, they will 20 and 19 respectivly. If exceptional str is maxed out - only 1 dmg point will be the difference between them. After MoLtM and DoMT they will be 22 and 21 respectivly. When the +4 rage bonus to str and con is taken into account the odds are evened out.

    At even odds the dwarf will have the shorty saving throws to better its run - when not raging. And the benefit of the lucky boots and helmet of dumathion in Sod + BG2 to boot (so to speak).

    So of your considering a barbarian, I would choose a dwarf.

    JuliusBorisov
  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 2,300
    Alesia_BH said:

    G3's Free Action Protects Against Stun

    bad, no good chee-z tweak

    a further tweak that prevents Free Action from cancelling movement rate bonuses.

    good, logical tweak

    100% breakage

    recommended.

    just my 5c. sorry everyone for being totally irrelevant B)

    Kurona
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    100% breakage

    recommended.

    Check the SCS read me to see where David got the idea for the breakage component ;)

    Best,

    A.

    EDIT: So you don't have to search...

    "However (as Alesia_BH pointed out to me on the Bioware boards) it's not exactly unrealistic that glass bottles get smashed in the heat of battle. So you can choose any of six different rules for what fraction of potions are recoverable."

    EDIT 2: Off topic! Sorry! Back to defenders and barbarians, dwarves an halflings!

    KuronaYgramulbob_vengJuliusBorisov
  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,100
    Always a dwarf. And...if evil it gets crazy.

    Con (19) base (20) from tome (21) from Lum (23) from Hell and (25) from Helm of Dumathoin.
    Crom Faeyr then gives Str (25)
    You'll be at Dex (18)

    With that the barbarian loses some of its rage appeal. And...93% physical resistance as a dwarven defender?

    Also let's no forget Bhaalspawn powers pushing up Str and Con as well, until the underdark. And by then you almost have Crom.

    JuliusBorisovStummvonBordwehrsemiticgodmonico
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited September 2017
    Note that the merits mentioned above, save the base con bonus and the availability of a +2 versus +1 con bonus via Dumathion, apply to halflings as well as dwarves, including access to Crom.

    Assuming use of Crom, the question comes down to whether a player prefers stun and slow immunity, at will, without clouding aura, via Arvoreen or the additional 1, possibly 2 con points available to dwarves. In the general case, there is room for reasonable people to disagree on that point.

    If the issue is damage sponge capacity in particular, then, yes, of course, there is reason to value the extra base con point and to assume use of Dumathion, thus an additional 1 point difference between dwarves and halflings. However, given my knowledge of Klorox's gaming history, I suspect that the true thrust of his question was survivability in a solo, possible no reload context, and under those circumstance, immunities are often more valuable than stat bumps.

    I'd suggest that individual players should keep their playing-style, install, and gaming objectives in mind and render an informed judgement, in light of their circumstances- without deferring to one perspective or another.

    (I'll note that I've completed a SCS/Ascension solo no reload with a halfling barbarian. I'm currently 2/3rds of the way through an SCS/Ascension solo no reload with a halfling pure fighter. In both cases, the Sword of Arvoreen saw regular use. I've yet to attempt an SCS/Ascension solo no reload with a dwarven warrior. If and when I do, I'll let others know if I conclude that the additional con points do -unexpectedly to my eye, given my install and playing style- enhance survivability more so that access to Arvoreen)

    In any case, I hope you'll share your adventure with us, Klorox- irrespective of the race and class you choose. Once again, it's good to see you!

    Best,

    A.

    Post edited by Alesia_BH on
    JuliusBorisovStummvonBordwehrsemiticgod
  • KloroxKlorox Member Posts: 810
    Alesia_BH said:

    Note that the merits mentioned above, save the base con bonus and the availability of a +2 versus +1 con bonus via Dumathion, apply to halflings as well as dwarves, including access to Crom.

    The question comes down to whether a player prefers stun and slow immunity at will, without clouding aura via Arvoreen or the additional 1, possibly 2 con points. In the general case, there is room for reasonable people to disagree on that point.

    If the issue is damage sponge capacity in particular, then, yes, of course, there is reason to value the extra base con point and to assume use of Dumathion, thus an additional 1 point difference between dwarves and halflings. However, given my knowledge of Klorox's gaming history, I suspect that the true thrust of his question was survivability in a solo, possible no reload context, and under those circumstance, immunities are often more valuable than stat bumps.

    I'd suggest that individual players should keep their play-style, install, and gaming objectives in mind and render an informed judgement, in light of their circumstance- without deferring to one perspective or another.

    (I'll note that I've completed a SCS/Ascension solo no reload with a halfling Barbarian. I'm currently 2/3rds of the way through an SCS/Ascension solo no reload with a halfling pure fighter. In both cases, the Sword of Arvoreen saw regular use. I've yet to attempt an SCS/Ascension solo no reload with a dwarven warrior. If and when I do, I'll let others know whether the additional con points do -unexpectedly to my eye- enhance survivability more so that access to Arvoreen)

    In any case, I hope you'll share your adventure with us, Klorox- irrespective of the race and class you choose. Once again, it's good to see you!

    Best,

    A.

    Good to see you too! I'm surprised I've left an impression on anybody around here! Thank you!

    I'm soloing, no reloads, on the hardest settings the iPhone will allow me. This means no super tough mods or anything.

    So far I've made it into BGII, about to ship off to spellhold, with a LE (I want the human skin armor) dwarf barbarian.

    I'm not sure I understand the benefit of a halfling over a dwarf. Is there a special item I'm unaware of?

    I know they get the same saving throw bonus, but I'm in love with that easy 20 CON in BG1. You save so many potions with it, even if you only rest when you really need to.

    StummvonBordwehr
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited September 2017
    Klorox said:



    I'm not sure I understand the benefit of a halfling over a dwarf. Is there a special item I'm unaware of?

    The Sword of Arvoreen, Mazzy Fentan's personal short sword. It is usable by all halflings, not just Mazzy.

    If confers immunity to stun and slow, both of which are valuable, though especially stun.

    Best,

    A.

    Btw. Are you the Klorox from the Bioware forums, or are you a different Klorox? If you are the latter, rather than the former, then apologies for the confusion. It's good to meet you!

    Btw II. If you are no reloading, consider sharing your adventure in the No Reload Challenge thread. We'd love to grow the family!

    JuliusBorisovYgramul
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    Alesia_BH said:

    Klorox said:



    I'm not sure I understand the benefit of a halfling over a dwarf. Is there a special item I'm unaware of?

    The Sword of Arvoreen, Mazzy Fentan's personal short sword. It is usable by all halflings, not just Mazzy.
    EE has fixed this feature

  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited September 2017


    EE has fixed this feature

    Interesting. Can others confirm that? As of v1.3, EE had not changed Arvoreen.

    If Arvoreen has been changed in subsequent versions, I'll note that I'm not convinced that this is a fix, rather than a tweak. Unlike the other NPC personal items, the Sword of Arvoreen's description had explicitly stated that it is usable by halflings, not just the relevant NPC. Developer intent seems clear. As of v 1.3



    Best,

    A.

    semiticgod
  • KloroxKlorox Member Posts: 810
    Alesia_BH said:

    Klorox said:



    I'm not sure I understand the benefit of a halfling over a dwarf. Is there a special item I'm unaware of?

    The Sword of Arvoreen, Mazzy Fentan's personal short sword. It is usable by all halflings, not just Mazzy.

    If confers immunity to stun and slow, both of which are valuable, though especially stun.

    Best,

    A.

    Btw. Are you the Klorox from the Bioware forums, or are you a different Klorox? If you are the latter, rather than the former, then apologies for the confusion. It's good to meet you!

    Btw II. If you are no reloading, consider sharing your adventure in the No Reload Challenge thread. We'd love to grow the family!
    Same Klorox.

    Alesia_BHJuliusBorisovsemiticgod
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited September 2017
    Klorox said:


    Same Klorox.

    Awesome! Then how come you were surprised that I remember you? Of course I remember you! :)

    Best,

    A.

    JuliusBorisovKloroxsemiticgod
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 21,131
    Alesia_BH said:


    EE has fixed this feature

    Interesting. Can others confirm that. As of v1.3, it had not changed Arvoreen.

    If Arvoreen has been changed in subsequent versions, I'll note that I'm not convinced that this is a fix, rather than a tweak. Unlike the other NPC personal items, the Sword of Arvoreen's description had explicitly stated that it is usable by halflings, not just the relevant NPC. Developer intent seems clear. As of v 1.3



    Best,

    A.
    Can confirm. It's still (2.3) usable by halflings. The description still says "this short sword may only be used by halflings."

    The NearInfinity shows it's usable by:

    - Fightes
    - Thieves
    - Fighter-Thieves
    - Halflings

    Alesia_BHStummvonBordwehrGrond0semiticgod
  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    That's what I suspected. Thanks!

    semiticgod
  • FinneousPJFinneousPJ Member Posts: 6,456
    Oh, I thought it worked liked all the npc items

  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    Noppers. It's different by intent.

    Thank you of your perspective, nonetheless!

    Best,

    A.

  • KloroxKlorox Member Posts: 810
    That immunity is pretty darn good.

    I might have to roll up a halfling now.

  • tbone1tbone1 Member Posts: 1,996
    Klorox said:

    That immunity is pretty darn good.

    I might have to roll up a halfling now.

    A halfling fighter is a great RP run, particularly if you can headcanon your interactions with Montaron, Alonr, and Mazzy

    Grum
  • KloroxKlorox Member Posts: 810
    Although Hold and Stun are terrible conditions, doesn't barbarian rage protect against it?

  • Alesia_BHAlesia_BH Member Posts: 463
    edited September 2017
    Klorox said:

    Although Hold and Stun are terrible conditions, doesn't barbarian rage protect against it?

    Yes, Rage will protect against stun.

    As mentioned earlier, though, there is a tactically relevant distinction between immunity via item and immunity via limited duration spell equivalent action. It's nice to have both available.

    Best,

    A.

    Btw, note that Arvoreen will not protect against Hold

    semiticgodJuliusBorisov
  • KloroxKlorox Member Posts: 810
    Wait, the description doesn't say barbarian can use it. Is this an oversight?

  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 537
    edited September 2017
    Klorox said:

    Wait, the description doesn't say barbarian can use it. Is this an oversight?

    Barbarians are a fighter kit in the enhanced editions, so when it says "Fighters can use it", this includes barbarians as well (though barbarians don't behave like a fighter kit in some ways - it seems like they can't dual class, for example) - of course, I haven't tested if they really can use the sword, but in theory, they should be able to.

    semiticgodJuliusBorisov
  • KloroxKlorox Member Posts: 810
    Enuhal said:

    Klorox said:

    Wait, the description doesn't say barbarian can use it. Is this an oversight?

    Barbarians are a fighter kit in the enhanced editions, so when it says "Fighters can use it", this includes barbarians as well (though barbarians don't behave like a fighter kit in some ways - it seems like they can't dual class, for example) - of course, I haven't tested if they really can use the sword, but in theory, they should be able to.
    Alright, I'll give it a shot.

    Stinks having a STR below 18. LOL.

    StummvonBordwehrJuliusBorisov
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 537
    Just FYI, I just tested to make sure if barbarians can in fact use the sword, and the answer is yes:

    semiticgodJuliusBorisov
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