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A tale of two Kensai

So I have been trying out Kensai and I went for two different builds and have run both up to Baldur's Gate so far. Totally different experiences based on the builds. Both done on Hard level.

One is a Dwarf wielding Scimitars, the other is a Half-Orc wielding Daggers.

The Dwarf of course was planned to get Drizzit's Scimitars. This proved to be a major pain and led to a less than ideal start. Scimitars are a hard to come by. I got 2 in Candle Keep, but one broke in the Naskel Mines. I also had a Ninjato on hand thankfully. Fora party I took Imoen (dualed at 5), Jaheria (for the Barkskin and tanking), and Kivan.

The whole beginning of this was the most complicated and sub-optimal start I've ever had, due to not having magic weapons until so late in the game. Once Cloakwood opened up I got Rasheed's Talon from there, then ran over to Durlag's Tower (without Coran and Imoen was a level 4 Mage with no thief skills). I got the other Scimitar, then went back and got Coran and did his quest. I also got the boots of speed while we were in the area.

Then I took the group to meet Drizzit. Killing him was fairly easy with potions and +2 arrows on Coran and Kivan with the wand of summoning.

That also finally put my Kensai at level 6. All of the sudden he went from sub-par to pretty awsome. Now he has the best weapons in the game, boots of speed, +3 in Scimitars and Dual Wielding and is a killing machine. But man getting there was the most laborious start I've ever had.

In contrast, the Half-Orc Kensai started with ++ in Daggers and Dual Wielding. I wanted to get enough points to get 19/18/19 in Str, Dex and Con, with whatever in the other stats, but I quickly rolled a 93, so was luckily able to start with 18 Charisma as well. This made the start even easier since you get a +1 dagger in Candlekeep if you have 18 Charisma.

This was one of the easiest starts I've ever had. Throwing Daggers hit for 10-12 right out of the gate at 2 APR, and the +1 Dagger combined with strength made for excellent beginning THAC0. For this I took only Imoen and Minsc (dual wielding Maces). I was really worried about immunity and resistance to piercing, but concluded that instead of wasting points on Longswords or War Hammers for the occasional issue, I'll be able to just use slashing or blunt weapons as needed without any pips in them, and that worked true enough, letting me put +++ in Daggers and Dual Wielding. No one uses Longswords, so I have Varsecona on hand for Jellies and Minsc with Maces takes care of Skeletons well enough that I just use Daggers on them.

Granted I know what I'm doing, but honestly, this Kensai has been perhaps the easiest and most powerful char I've run at low levels. I think technically a Berserker would be better at the low levels, but this has still been a super breeze. The throwing daggers are brutal, and anything they can't hit is easy enough to take down with the Dagger of Venom and Heart of the Golem.

Now I just have to decide which of these to run through the rest of the way. I may take both to SoD and then decide. I've gotten several chars that far and am deciding what I want to take into ToB.

I like the Dwarf idea. My plan is to put 3 pips into several different weapons. I'm thinking Scimitars of course, and Axes and War Hammers. I could stick with those and pump in more pips or also go for something like Longswords, to save other good weapons for other Chars. But I'm also considering going into Flails for Defender of Easthaven. Hard decisions....

For the throwing Kensai I'd of course be putting 5 pips into Daggers, and probably pips into War Hammers and Katanas and/or Longswords.

I'll have to wait and see, but two very different play-throughs for the class so far...



  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 6,802
    Kensai is by far my FAVORITE fighter kit. It is a real challenge in BG1 though.

  • batoorbatoor Member Posts: 610
    edited October 2017
    ThacoBell said:

    Kensai is by far my FAVORITE fighter kit. It is a real challenge in BG1 though.

    I used a Kensai as a frontliner and 5 party members with missile weapons^^ Not the best setup but fun. It's a bit rough until you get armor spells. Once you get spirit armor though, the kensai is nearly is as good as any fighter.

    Dwarf kensai was not fun, but a Half-orc kensai was nice.

    Besides it's still easier than rolling a monk through BG1.

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    I've done a Monk with only Imoen up to level 7 and it was no fun at all. The Monk essentially had zero benefits at all at those levels. At least a Kensai has some benefits and can dual wield.

    I'd say that even playing on Hard I found the Kensai to be pretty good, even early on. I mean, there is no real advantage until you hit level 3, but level 3 is a pretty big bump and from that point on I found it pretty solid. And getting to level 3 is easy. I usually just do the Candlekeep quests, Marl, and then save Melicamp and pretty much gets you there if you are solo or have only 1 party member. If not then the Spiders and Silke will usually do it.

    The hardest part about the Dwarf start was the weapon choice really. If I had taken Longswords it would have been a much easier start. But going Kensai / Scimitar is basically choosing a late blooming class with no early access to a good weapon on top of it. But once you get Drizzit's weapons it's a total game changer. Even getting the two Talons is a huge boost.

    Honestly as long as you have a proper tank and make sure the tank engages first, I found not wearing armor to be mostly a non-issue (with 19 CON)...

  • batoorbatoor Member Posts: 610
    edited October 2017
    I did a monk through BGT ages back, he was mostly just moral support from the side in the BG1 portion. And against Sarevok he was useless. This was before I started using darts and slings as much though, so I guess you can make him somewhat functional, but it's very hard to make monks not suck until BG2 IMO.

    Yeah, I found the STR advantage from Half-orc better and a big help early in the game..That's usually why I prefer that race. The dwarf is eventually evens out with the STR tome and gains superiority through shorty saves, but that's very late in the game.

    Mostly though I can't roleplay a dwarf kensai or a shorty race for kensai overall. It's just my thing, sorry shorty lovers^^

  • OUT51D3ROUT51D3R Member Posts: 20
    edited October 2017
    I ran a dagger berserker through BGEE and SOD. One important thing to note: there are no +3 daggers in either BGEE or SOD, and the final boss of SOD requires +3 weapons to hit.

    Otherwise, daggers are awesome.

  • DevardKrownDevardKrown Member Posts: 418
    edited October 2017
    OUT51D3R said:

    I ran a dagger berserker through BGEE and SOD. One important thing to note: there are no +3 daggers in either BGEE or SOD, and the final boss of SOD requires +3 weapons to hit.

    Otherwise, daggers are awesome.

    Enchant weapons from mage fixes that , making weapons hit like +3 (no attack bonus though)

    @malachi151 Half-Orcs are just mental as any Fighter or Fighter/X.
    19 Strength out the Box makes even a butter knife into a murder machine, and with 19 start con all you gotta do is toss around 900g in the friendly arm and get bucklys buckler and you are set up for free overland travel/resting HP regeneration.

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    I've been moving these two along, and am focusing more on the Half-Orc for now.

    I've been wishy-washy about how exactly to do his build, but I think I'm going to go for 5 pips in Daggers with 2 pips in Katanas, Longswords and Bastard swords.

    Doing this gives a lot of flexibility at the cost of half an attack per round. I'm not totally sold on this approach, but it seems good.

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