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...