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Powerful Skald group

I just finished a run with a caster heavy group, so I decided to go the other way this time. I've put together a really powerful all physical damage group with a Skald.

I'm running:
GW: Skald - stats not really that important
Jaheira - (main tank with Shield and Club+1 to be replaced with Yeslick once I get him)
Minsc - Dual Wielding Maces & situational use of Spiderbane
Kivan - Using Composite Longbow+1 and dual wielding longswords (Varsicona & The Harrower)
Coran - Using The Dead Shot


For Minsc I put his level 3 pip into Maces and his level 6 one to max out Two Weapon Style.
For Kivan both pips went into Longswords. He's mostly an archer but in some situations dual wields longswords.

Coran is just an archer. I used Imoen up to Beregost just to get The Stupifier then dumped her and went without a thief until I got Coran.

I wasn't planning to replace Jaheira with Yeslick, but I forgot how bad her spell selection is and with Yeslick I'll be able to pump up the damage more with Chant and Skeletons, etc.

I'm going into the Mines now, Haven't entered yet. This group is brutal.

I did use a mod to remove the range on the Bard song because the way the song is implemented in the latest patch it's range is almost useless. Removing the range is a little much, but it was the easiest resolution I could find and I still play as if there is a range. I don't just sit my Bard in a corner of the map or anything.

But basically, Skald song + Haste + Bless + Chant will = massive damage. Not that you really needed it, but if you add in summons it makes it really crazy.

I'm playing on Hard.

Comments

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 151
    edited September 24
    Almost finished with this group and it's the most brutal group I've ever run though. Not necessarily the most fun, but certainly the most brutal.

    I put 2 pips into Single Weapon Style for Yeslick, which is the first time I tried that and it's very effective. Definitely increased his damage a bit more. I also got the Big Fisted Belt for him which makes him quite formidable.

    This is the first time I've played a Skald and I can see that they make a quite powerful additions to a group. I think clearly you should never ever attack one a Skald, it's not worth it, so really they don't need any weapons (though I gave mine a cross bow just in case) and barely need armor as it's pretty easy to keep them out of harms way.

    Mostly I just had him casting buffs prior to big fights and not doing much else. I kept Remove Fear and Dispell Magic loaded just in case, etc. but I think I only needed to use them once. Mostly it was about Haste and situational protection spells.

    The Rassad quest line is worth it for a group like this one. The +STR belt when on Yeslick of course.

    Kivan was mostly an archer, but I'd have him dual wield longswords against enemies resistant to missiles.

    Overall I'd say Skald has to be the most powerful Bard (until of course the HLA song makes all the songs equal). I'm not a fan of Blades, and I'd say this Skald added WAY more to the party than a Blade could even dream of.

    Post edited by malachi151 on
    sarevok57Jyk7BelgarathMTH
  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 151
    Just finished the game on Hard, with no losses in my group. I dumped Rassad after completing his quest. I didn't do the werewolf island or the basement of Durlag's Tower, so I went into the final fight well below max levels. My Skald was only level 8 and all my other chars were level 6 or 7.

    I was super impressed with this group though, by far the most powerful I've run through.

    With the Bard Song on, but prior to potions and other buffs, at the end:
    Yeslick had -8 AC, THAC0 of 7, damage of 16-19
    Minsc had -7 AC, THAC0 of 5/7, damage of 16-21 for both weapons
    Kivan had THAC0 of 4, damage of 8-13 with normal arrows
    Coran had THAC0 of 2, damage of 10-15 with normal arrows

    At the end Coran was only fighter level 6, so Kivan was still outpacing him in kills due to higher APR. Going into the final fight, fully buffed, the THAC0s where mostly -5 lower, so Coran was at -3, Minsc was at 0/2, etc.

    I could have gotten even lower AC on Yeslick, but I gave all the Balduran gear to Minsc since he ended up drawing a lot of the fire most of the time. I also had Boots of the Cheetah on Minsc for many fights where I didn't buff with Haste so getting his AC as low as I could was helpful.

    AerakarJyk7BelgarathMTHGusinda
  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 151
    I was gonna try LoB, but chickened out, it's just too crazy and not worth the time IMO. But I started a new Insane level game to try maxing this theme even more and it seems to be pretty good.

    My starting party is:

    PC : Skald
    Ajantis : Tank
    Kivan: Archer
    Minsc: Archer
    Will add - Coran: Archer

    I kept Imoen long enough for her to go into Thunderhammer's shop and steal the +1 Bastard Sword for Ajantis while Ajantis wasn't watching. She was able to do this at level 1 with a potion of perception. Took multiple tries but it worked with 45 Open Locks.

    I got and sold the Ring of Wizardry since there will be no one that can wear it. Used that money to buy Large Shield +1 and Composite Longbow +1 for Kivan.

    I also gave a bow to Ajantis, who starts with Longbow +.

    BTW I put + in Darts and Longbows for the Skald, and have been using darts. At this point I'll probably never attack with him again, but early on the Darts were very helpful.

    Basically run around with everyone on bows with the Skald song on annihilating everything. Switch Ajantis to Bastard sword as needed. Once I got the Gauntlets of Dex, Ajantis was already at -8 AC with the Skald song on (And Ankheg Armor). They killed Greywolf as a level 3/4 party without taking any damage, which I've not seen before. Ajantis tanked him straight up, no kiting or other weird tactics. Did use Prot from Evil for an effective -10 AC (actually -13 against Slashing).

    This is going to be a pure archery/Web abuse group. Once I get Web from Mulahey it's going to be absurd. Not sure if I'll play this all the way out or not. I'll either quit once I see how overpowered the group is, or play through everything including Durlag's Tower and the Werewolf Island.

    The hardest thing will be dealing with stuff immune to missiles of course. For that I'm going to be putting 2 pips into Longswords for Kivan to dual wield, and 1 pip into Longbows and 1 pip into Maces for Minsc so he'll use either a bow or DW Maces. Ajantis will switch back and fourth between Sword & Shield and Spiderbane mostly, with occasional bow use as well.

    Tomes of CHA, CON & STR will go to Ajantis. Tome of DEX will go to Minsc, with INT and WIS going to the Skald.

    This is pretty much the most powerfully abusive NPC group I could some up with for BG1.

    Jyk7Skatan
  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 151
    edited October 4
    Well I've had to do two reloads so far. One was when I was still level one and Ajantis got killed by a High Hedge Knoll. The second was today when I was cocky and went to the 5th floor of the Iron Throne without any pre-buffs and quickly got my PC one-shot by Flamestrike.

    The thing about that fight is that when you come out at the top of the stairs your guys are all facing the wrong way and my PC who is usually at the back was instead closest to the enemies and so drew the fire.

    I went again with some pre-buffs and it was all good.

    This has been a fun run. Ajantis' AC is down to -11, and will get to -12 (with Skald buff) once I get the shield from DT. He still gets hit, but pretty much only on 20s. I think the Greater Werewolf will still be able to hit him and probably the Black Knight at the bottom of DT. But I'm not sure they'll be able to hit him when he has Prot from Evil on (except on 20s of course). It may depends on having the right belts on etc.

    I'm using Spiderbane less than I expected. I do use it sometimes, but it's still better to put everyone on bows when using Web so I can still use wands of Lightening and Fireball, etc.

    When I have all 4 guys on Bows is hilarious. Hardly anything can get close to them. But also using this group I change up the gearing of my front liners more often than in prior groups.

    Ajantis mostly uses Bastard Sword & Shield now, sometimes Longbow (now Composite Longbow since I gave him the Tome of STR), and sometimes Spiderbane.

    Minsc is usually using a Composite Longbow, but sometimes dual wields maces and sometimes goes with mace and shield, and once I get the +3 Two-Handed Sword from DT he may use that some.

    Kivan has been a beast. He definitely tops the leader-board on kills. He's on the Composite Longbow +1 about 95% of the time, but when needed he dual wields Longswords. He has been an MVP in many of the harder fights against missile resistant enemies. He'll get the flaming Longsword from DT, which will be key in the fight against the Greater Werewolf. Kivan was critical in the Degrodel fight. Ajantis was able to tank everyone and never got hit, but Kivan did most of the actual killing.

    Coran is Coran. Archery only and essential thieving skills.

    PC sits back singing songs and casting the occasional spell.

    The Greater Werewolf should go down hard, harder than with any other group I've had. My plan is Ajantis will use the Sword of Balduran, Minsc will use Kondar, Kivan will use the Flaming Longsword, and Coran will use the Silver Dagger. Should be easy. Now that I think about it, I should have put Coran's level 6 pip into Daggers since it's mostly useless, but I put it into Single Weapon Style in case I ever want to backstab with him.

    Jyk7SkatanGusinda
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 2,589
    Hello. Nice summary you've written. Just a comment from my side, if you ever want to test the maximum power of the skald, combine it with an evil team and test that. Having Dorn, Shar'teel and Kagain in melee with Coran and whoever else you want (Baeloth for a lot of hastes or Edwin) + charname skald will steamroll everything. The skald of course isn't even needed but if you want to see real power, the evil NPCs are really strong.
    Cheers!

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 151
    edited October 5
    I'm not so sure any evil party would be better. Good has the best archers, and IMO, in BG1, the best partners for Skalds are archers. It's all about APR, and archers have the highest APR. Dual wielding is also good, but archers are better because they can bring more damage to bare faster.

    The thing about the party I have is every NPC has at least ++ in longbows. Sorcerers aren't generally worth having along because most of the time they will be using a sling or maybe darts but with relatively low THAC0. However once you get MMM if you abuse that a lot then that can be good since the Skald bonus applied to MMM.

    Dorn doesn't dual wield, so he's not ideal for a Skald partner. Shar-teel is good, but Minsc and Kivan are better. The Rangers eventually get Bless also, though it's not until late in the game, but still.

    I just did the 4 Warders fight and it was over before I even knew it started and all I did was use a potion of Heroism on Ajantis and Haste on the party. It literally took like 3 seconds. I had Ajantis tanking all the other NPCs on bows. They were all hitting for an average of about 14 base damage (plus more from Acid & Fire arrows) at 4 APR. I don't think there was a single miss.

    Ajantis, Minsc, and Khalid are the only tankable NPCs that also make good archers. Dorn can be an archer too, but he's not as good as the "good" archers and he's not a great tank. Kivan and Mincs are the only NPCs that can both be good archers and also dual wield since they are Rangers. This makes them the ideal partners for a Skald because they have the highest APR in both ranged and melee combat.

    Kagain is a good tank, but he can't effectively use either a high APR ranged weapon or Spiderbane, so he doesn't fit into a group using Web. Shar-teel can dual wield, but she can't both use bows and dual wield, so again she doesn't fit with Web.

    Nah, I think the group I've got is about the best you can do in BG1 with the NPCs. Archery is just dominant in BG1 and all the best archers are good. Coran, Kivan & Khalid are the best archers, followed by Minsc and Shar-teel if you configure her just right, but it takes a long time to absolutely max her archery ability, while Minsc is a good archer by level 3 who can also use a Two-Handed Sword or dual wield Maces.

    I do think they should have made Coran Chaotic Neutral actually.

    And the nice thing about Ajantis is that he can use Longbows, Sword & Shield & Two Handers & he has Prot from Evil and some healing ability for a group with no Cleric.

    I'm not sure if I like my first group better or this current one. The nice thing about the first group is it's got Yeslick for Bless and Chant, which adds a lot of damage with Haste and stacked with the Skald buff. But that group wasn't as Web friendly. Not that you really need Web, but Web just really adds icing on the cake in terms of totally dominating fights. Also the first group leaves you without a good tank until you get Yeslick. You can use Minsc as your early tank, but Ajantis is available right out of the gate.

    The thought with this group is that for Insane or LoB you have a single super-tank with very low AC and also Web both as means to ensure that you will take as little damage as possible. Because on Insane you really can't take very many hits, so it's all about maximizing the damage you can do without putting anyone in harms way, which is why archers and Web are so good.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 4,463
    edited October 5
    @malachi151 , I'm also a fan of the skald class. The bonuses are a huge deal at BG1 levels. I find the EE nerf to song range to be very irritating, but I can usually deal with it by managing positioning carefully. When I play a skald under the EE short range song rules, the game becomes keeping him positioned to keep the bonuses on everybody. I guess that's sort of okay, because I don't do anything else but sing when I play the class. There's nothing else I could do that contributes as much to the party. Those bonuses are just too good.

    I've learned that the secret of the Iron Throne battle is to split the party as a workaround to the reverse-positioning-on-area-entry bug. (I consider it a bug, anyway.) There's also the fact that the top of the stairs is a bottle neck that the bad pathfinding in the game can't deal with. Just having six people stuck at the top of the stairs stumbling all over each other trying to get into the room is more dangerous than the actual fight.

    I send my tanks upstairs alone, buffed with magic resistance potions, and let them get into the room and establish aggro, while my archers and casters wait downstairs. Then, I bring the rest of the party upstairs.

    If someone has Spider's Bane and some means of spell and/or fire resistance, the fight can usually be ended pretty quickly with Web and Fireballs. (Web+Fireballs+Spider's Bane is my favorite combo strategy and usually ends most "hard" fights in the unmodded game pretty quickly.)

    Skatan
  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 151
    Yeah, all true. I am using a mod that removes the range on Bard songs. Totally removing the range is a bit overkill, but it was the simplest mod to implement. But honestly I just play it as if he still need to be close to the group. I always keep by Bard right amongst everyone else, it's just that the EE implementation is too glitchy so totally removing the range works best. Even with that he still inexplicably stops singing sometimes and I don't notice and it's like WTF!

    It's an important buff because I rely on it to keep Ajantis mostly unhittable. When the buff is not on he definitely gets hit more. I'm on the 3rd level of DT now and the buff is needed at all times. Most stuff down there has a THAC0 of 7 to 5, which is enough to hit even with an AC of -12 and if your AC is only -10 or -9, well you'll be taking lots of hits.

    I was able to have Ajantis straight up tank the Greater Wyverns with AC of -11 plus the belt of crushing protection. But he was still taking 1 or 2 hits per fight. And all it takes is 2 to kill him if you don't heal in between. I did cheese one fight and change into Kiel's Helm and use the Goblet, then switch back to the Helm of Balduran :p Guess I could have just cast Resist Fear but but I didn't think about it.

    I've found that casting short spells like Magic Missile and Glitter Dust from time to time can be done without losing the song buff.

    BelgarathMTH
  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 151
    edited October 6
    I just straight up beat the Demon Knight in the 4th level. I didn't break the mirror. Just walked up to him with Ajantis and started slashing while everyone else shot him with arrows. Ajantis never landed a blow, but with Haste on all the archers using +2 arrows he went down fast. He landed one blow on Ajantis after stunning him.

    Now off to fight the demon and the werewolves...

    tbone1
  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 151
    Just finished off the werewolves. Took til the end of the island for everyone to reach max level. All that's left now is the final battle with Sarevok.

    The whole time on WW island Ajantis only got hit once on a natural 20 roll, so -12 AC was quite effective.

    The GW went down pretty easy, with Ajantis using Kondar and Kivan using the Flaming Sword and the Silver Dagger. Everyone else just stood around. I had Minsc using the +3 Two Hander against the werewolves. I did make sure to buy two full stacks of +1 & +2 arrows before going so my archers were able to do major damage against the basic werewolves.

    Overall Kivan still has over 35% of the kills even in the latest chapter. He always leads, then it's a tossup between Minsc and Coran. The only reason I think Coran lags behind Kivan is because, for one he never melees, and also he was at fighter level 6 for a long time while Kivan was at 7 with an additional 1/2 attack.

    I also straight up beat the demon in Ulgoth's Beard, mostly with archery. Ajantis got hit by him one time right before he died, and I had forgotten to use Haste or Prot from Evil. I had already killed the followers using fireballs.

    I did have to re-load the fight that happens right when you enter Ulgoth's Beard with the dagger because the Assassins chunked Coran and Kivan. I re-did it and gave them invis potions and used Mirror Image on my PC and they killed Minsc, but I was able to resurrect him. There was just no way to do that fight without a death.

    In the second fight with the cult I was able to get a Detect Invis off in time to prevent any backstabs so that went much better.

    But yeah, Ajantis with -12 AC is pretty much invulnerable...

    Grum
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 4,463
    Sarevok will be able to hit AC -12 often enough to kill Ajantis, especially if you can't remove his Haste in time, so I wouldn't underestimate him.

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 151
    edited October 8
    Yeah, just finished the game. You are right, Sarevok did kill Ajantis. Hit him 2 times in a row right at the beginning, but everyone else finished him off. Ajantis got all of his buffs removed by Semaj right away, then Sarevok smacked him down.

    I wish you could review the battle log when the game ends, that's always annoyed me. I know Kivan got the killing blow with Longwords, but most of the damage was done with arrows. Minsc and Kivan were switching back and fourth between bows and dual wielding. I threw a Resilient Sphere on Tazok to just get him out of the way.

    For the battle prior to the final battle I just Hasted everyone, threw a web followed at Greater Malison and it was pretty much over with Ajantis on Spiderbane and everyone else on bows.

    This was my first Insane level game, but it didn't feel much different because I hardly ever got hit. I think all told in the whole game, once I got past about level 3, my guys only took about 10 or 15 hits until the final battle. Either Ajantis was able to tank without getting hit or Web was keeping everything locked down.

    BelgarathMTH
  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 373
    I've found that with my own testing with the Skald that while buffing THAC0 and armor is great, it's mostly helpful for small mobs and large physical damage. If you only take Warriors, at least in BG2, you start running out of tactical answer to stuff like PFMW or Mantle if you don't have proper responses. In BG1, it works well because green scrolls and the greenstone amulet and stuff like the One Gift Lost exist, but sometimes in BG2 Cernd works better in a Skald group than, say, Valygar.

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 151
    Yeah, this was definitely a BG1 group. I wouldn't try the same group in BG2. I haven't tried a Skald in BG2 yet. In BG2 I've tended to go for Wizard heavy groups.

  • GrumGrum Member Posts: 2,050
    A great BG1 group. The only thing more power-gamey that I could think of would be:

    * Skald Charname with wands of monster summoning
    * Kivan (Longbow of Marksmanship, bracers of archery)
    * Coran (+1 Composite Longbow, gauntlets of weapon skill)
    * Imoen (Protector of the Dryads, gauntlets of weapon expertise)
    * Jaheira (Sling +3, belt of str 19, gauntlets of dexterity 18)
    * Khalid (Returning throwing axe +2, gauntlets of strength 18/00)

    Skald summons monsters to keep enemies busy and/or casts an AOE spell. He can do this while his song lingers. The rest of the party opens up with buffed missile fire. While the enemies chew threw the summons, you have 5 missile shots coming in. Jaheira and Khalid use their strength for damage, and at 19 & 18/00 that is pretty darn good. Both of them also stand in front of the archers, and can switch to melee if the enemy gets through the summons.

    The rest of the archers do just that...shoot an ungodly number of arrows.

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