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Dwarf Kensai Thrower...

I've been playing several variants of Kensai lately and have decided on my favorite. Now it's not the most appropriate in terms of RP, and doesn't really feel like a "Kensai", but man are they powerful and fun. N

Now pure Kensai IMO are vastly underrated in general. I've not found the lack of armor to be that big of a deal, as long as you're not trying to solo. And they are really the only fighters that really continue to scale and build, apart from Archers. Jaheria is a great partner for them for the Barkskin as well and if done right, Jaheria can be a great tank in BG1 and 2.

So anyway, the final build on this guys is basically: Daggers, Axes, and War Hammers.

This guy is great both in melee and at range, which is why I like them, because I like characters I can play either in melee or at range depending on the situation.

Now, the way I did it was going 3 pips in dual wielding and 3 pips in Daggers in BG1. I'm not sure that's really the best way to go. I think it was clearly the best way to go for BG1, but if you are planning ahead, maybe other approaches are better. There aren't great daggers early in BG2.

Now the best earliest throwing weapon you get in BG2 as far as I know is the Dwarven Thrower. But there are no throwing hammers in BG1.

So, you could do something like not going into two weapon style in BG1 at all, however I've always played Kensai with two weapon style, so that's a little iffy for me, but it makes sense.

If you don't go for two weapon style then you could put three pips in daggers and 3 pips in War Hammers in prep for the thrower, or you could put 3 pips in Daggers, 2 pips in Axes and 1 pip in War Hammers, knowing that when you hit 9 in BG2 you can put another pip in War Hammers. I think this is the best approach.

The thing about Kensai is that you don't really need a lot of pips in a weapon to be good with them. Indeed, even by level 9 you can use pretty much any weapon respectably, even with no pips in it.

The thing is that Daggers are far and away the best weapon for BG1, and ultimately they are the best throwing weapons for BG2 as well, but in BG2 there will be times when Axes and Hammers are very useful, either thrown or in melee.

IMO the way to go is to first get 3 pips each in Daggers, then 2 each in Axes and Hammers, and then start working on dual wielding. This also has the nice advantage of giving you piercing, slashing, and blunt type weapons for further opportunities for situational damage maximization.

Once you have 2 pips in dual wielding then get your third pips in Axes and Hammers, then get your third pip in dual wielding, then go for 5 pips in Daggers.

IMO, this is the single best pure "Fighter" character there is. You have ultimate melee and ranged damage, you deliver all types of damage (missile, piercing, slashing, blunt), with Tomes you have regeneration, you have high saving throws, etc. This build has it all and it has variety.

Comments

  • bleusteelbleusteel Member Posts: 524
    Boomerang Dagger is only available in BG1 with a mod, right?

  • GrumGrum Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 2,100
    If you play this (and any dwarf build is highly encouraged) reward yourself with the Big Metal Unit. But up until then...


    (1) Dual Wield. With Defender of Easthaven in your offhand (15% physical resistance, +1 AC)
    (2) Wear Helm of Balduran (+1 AC), Ring of Gaxx (+2 AC), Ring of Earth Control (+1 AC), Cloak of the Sewers (+1 AC), wooden horse amulet (+2 AC)
    (3) Have the shield amulet around (sell it and rebuy it for an insane amount of charges). Gives AC4. Or have a druid in the party to cast barkskin on your kensai.


    On top of that, I'd personally use throwing axes.

    In BG1 you get a +2 returning throwing axe. So...
    Lvl 1: Axe ** Two Weapon Fighting **
    Lvl 3: Axe *** Two Weapon Fighting **
    Lvl 6: Axe **** Two Weapon Fighting **

    Then BG2 comes around. Get Hangard's Axe right away.

    Lvl 9: Axe ***** Two Weapon Fighting **
    Lvl 12: Axe ***** Flails * Two Weapon Fighting **
    Lvl 15: Axe ***** Flails * Two Weapon Fighting ***

    Etc. Around this time, you should have a nice +3 Axe or two (such as Frost Reaver) with the defender of easthaven in your off hand. So you can quite readily switch to close combat, especially with all of the equipment listed above.

    ToB comes around. Get K'logarath +4 (Axe returns to the wielder's hand instantly after an attack is made.
    With each successful hit, target must save vs. death or be knocked down and take 2D6 extra damage.)

    Now switch back to throwing your axe around. This is an axe so powerful that Deurgar clans have gone to war over it.

    Also carry around the Axe of the Unyiedling (+1 AC,) in your mainhand. So if you do get into close combat, you have as much AC as dwarvenly possible. With Barkskin and all of the above? Your kensai will be ripping through enemies in no time.



    Aerakarlolien
  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 513
    i will add that as a Kensai you probably don't need to waste points on more than 1 pip in 2 weapon fighting, the Kensai bonuses rapidly add up and once you have used the Str book in BG to get 19 (or 20 for half orc) it'll be very easy to hit anything even with the offhand -'ves from only 1 pip.

    Regarding AC then my best tip would be to buy/steal/loot all the Potions of Defense, stoneform and Invulnerability and attempt to use them when you have clusters of fights so each use has more than 1 fight. Most of the early SoA encounters will struggle to hit a Kensai with 15-20 dex and a Potion charge, they will need to crit to hit.

    Use the Stoneform potions 1st as they are the worst due to the -3 dex penalty. You should be looking at:

    AC 0 -potion
    -2 Kensai bonus
    -2 lets say 16 dex (19 - 3 from potion)
    -1 Ring of protection
    So AC -5 with just a stoneform potion and the ring of prot +1 you find in Irenicus' dungeon. Stoneform and Invulnerability potions last 1 hour, but they also give a bonus to saving throws, Potion of defense lasts 2 hrs but has no save bonus. AC will drop to -7 using the better potions.

    You should be able to get the Ioun Stone from under the graveyard pretty easily which will protect you from crits (+1 thac0 and 10% more HP's), later on you can upgrade to a ring +2 from when you hand over your 15k and using a scroll of Prot.Undead should enable you to get the Ring of Gaxx, add in the Cloak of the Sewers and you're down to AC -9 with a Stoneform and -11 with Defense/Invulnerability.

    In my experience there's a metric ton of particularly Potions of Invulnerability available, many of the encounters which involve mercenaries such as Neera's quest to rescue the Wild Mages will result in a large number of Invulnerability, Oil of Speed and Medium healing potions. However you may need to be cute with strategy so that you can kill the majority before they swig the potions and deny you getting them yourself.

    Even if you don't rely on looted potions there's a potion vendor in Bridge District, the fence in the sewers and several other merchants who will sell at least some potions along with other useful equipment. Another useful potion that offsets the offhand penalties is the potion of Heroism, of which there are also many available throughout the game. This gives you 10% extra HP's and 10% better thac0 and lasts 2 hrs.

    A Kensai cannot wear Helm, Chest or gloves, but Ioun Stones are OK for the head slot, the gloves are not usually a problem as the best gloves for fighters are from so deep in Watchers Keep that you are unlikely to be able to grab them early enough to matter anyway, by the time you get that far your Kensai bonuses will be so immense they will overshadow the gloves anyway. AC potions obviously make up for the lack of chest armour, but you are susceptible to dispel magic BIG TIME haha.

    Regarding the mentioned Boomerang Dagger then @bleusteel this is attained from the Limited Wish quest, so you'd need a Mage in the party to, at least, cast it from a scroll, although if you are not against "save-scumming" for positive outcomes you can scribe it to Neera and abuse her Nahal's level 1 spell until you get a successful casting.

    Regarding the Axe's i would add Azure Edge if you are a good aligned bhaalspawn, it's beyond epic for blapping undead and easily attainable early on.

    AerakarNoobacca
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 7,004
    edited October 2017
    Borek said:

    Regarding the mentioned Boomerang Dagger then @bleusteel this is attained from the Limited Wish quest, so you'd need a Mage in the party to, at least, cast it from a scroll, although if you are not against "save-scumming" for positive outcomes you can scribe it to Neera and abuse her Nahal's level 1 spell until you get a successful casting.

    Unless you're restricted by RP considerations it's far faster just to kill Captain Dennis to get the dagger.

    Edit: @bleusteel, yes the Boomerang Dagger is BG2 only. You can though get an infinite supply of throwing daggers from the skeletons at High Hedge in BG1 and with stacks of 40 allowed in the EE you don't have to go back to collect more very often even playing solo.

    bleusteelAerakarStummvonBordwehr
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 5,342
    Grond0 said:

    Borek said:

    Regarding the mentioned Boomerang Dagger then @bleusteel this is attained from the Limited Wish quest, so you'd need a Mage in the party to, at least, cast it from a scroll, although if you are not against "save-scumming" for positive outcomes you can scribe it to Neera and abuse her Nahal's level 1 spell until you get a successful casting.

    Unless you're restricted by RP considerations it's far faster just to kill Captain Dennis to get the dagger.

    Edit: @bleusteel, yes the Boomerang Dagger is BG2 only. You can though get an infinite supply of throwing daggers from the skeletons at High Hedge in BG1 and with stacks of 40 allowed in the EE you don't have to go back to collect more very often even playing solo.
    ^- QFT. IMHO it's the easiest and best throwing weapon for a ranged kensai in early BG2. The boring part is that you won't replace it for a looooong time (firetooth +3), though you can of course swap in axes in between etc. The miniscule added damage (D6 vs D4) from a throwing axe vs the +1 APR from the dagger weighs heavily in favour of daggers IMO. If throwing axes or warhammers would have had slashing and crushing damage respectively also when thrown, it would have been a whole different story though. But they don't, so max dagger GM asap and then choose another weapon category, whatever you fancy.

    Personally I would probably use staffs as a weapon swap since they offer singlehanded options (staff mace+2) and can be dual wielded while still being of greater range which let your kensai attack out of range of most of the enemies, so you can attack, back of a bit, attack again, etc without being hit if you are low on health or just want to not waste HP in melee. Either that or go for a weapon with stunning like ie Celestial Fury so you can stun your opponent, then retreat and continue to throw daggers. Or add in darts and use darts of stunning and switch back to daggers once enemy fails their save etc. Switching between throwing daggers, throwing axes and throwing warhammer doesn't really add that much value though of course it is super cool to be an expert in all three areas. I guess it comes down to preference, RP and other subjective opinions.

    AerakarFenghoang
  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    Right, well, being that it's a Dwarf, the Axes and Hammers fit for RP, and Daggers as well since the throwing daggers are said to have been developed with the help of Dwarves. Also daggers are sensible for a Dwarf, whereas a Katana seems silly for one.

    Also, the purpose of the Axes and Hammers is not just for throwing, those are great options for your melee weapons. You get Frostreaver early on, as a great melee weapon. The Dwarven Thrower is your best ranged option for things that require +3 until you get Firetooth and you have Azuredge when going against undead, so the options help out. Also Pixieprick is a good dagger, and somewhat similar to Celestial Fury. It's not as good, but it does help reduce the damage you take as a Kensai.

    For melee you'll likely end up with Axe of the Unyielding and Crom Faeyr or you could go for Runehammer when against undead.

    Aerakar
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 5,342
    I misread your OP as being about mainly ranged with melee as support.

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    Yeah, it is throwing with melee support. I end up doing about 50/50 throwing vs melee, however once you get GWW things tip more in favor of throwing, but there are always the cases where enemies are either immune or resistant to missiles or they require +4/5 weapons to hit, in which case you have to melee them.

    Actually, for melee, Firetooth + Crom Fayer is awesome, though perhaps an exploit. Still, the extra APR with CF is pretty powerful as long as +3 is all you need.

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 5,342


    Actually, for melee, Firetooth + Crom Fayer is awesome, though perhaps an exploit. Still, the extra APR with CF is pretty powerful as long as +3 is all you need.

    What's the max damage (non-crit) per dagger with the 25 STR and bonuses from kensai?

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    Well at level 15-17 it's 27-33 damage at 4.5 APR (melee of course) with 3 pips, and you basically hit on everything except 1s. With more pips and levels you get into the 30+ range for minimum damage, and if you undo the GM nerf you are at 5 APR. With that you can forget GWW and just go for CS with Imp Haste :p (I'm not there yet).

    Kai + Imp Haste is actually better than GWW anyway.

    Skatan
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Huh, you must still be on the old game, bgee unnerfs GM standard. I really was disapointed by vanilla BG2 GM, like the devs wanted nobody to ever run a fighter!

    GWW is very good if you're using only 1 weapon, as you get 10 attacks with it. Its very strong with the finished FotA actually, or SotR. Imp Crit/Haste needs to use speed weapons for maximum effect, so you'll have a suboptimal attack.

    SkatanAerakar
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 5,342
    @malachi151, @Dreadkhan is right, GM was fixed ages ago. What version are you playing?

    You should reach 4 APR with thrown daggers:
    Base: APR2
    7+13 levels: APR3
    Specialization + GM: APR4

    So in melee you should reach 5 with an off-hand weapon equipped.

    Fenghoang
  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    Haha, I've just never gotten 5 pips because I thought it wasn't needed :p I guess I need to re-evaluate some things :)

    Anyway, yeah, the way I play the Kensia thrower is I use throwing most of the time, but use melee on boss fights and any fight where missile or +3 weapons aren't good enough.

    By doing that it keeps my Kensai out of harms way most of the time so he's at full health mostly and ready for the big fights.

    And yeah I'll get GWW anyway, even though Imp Haste will get 10 APR without it with Firetooth, because it is good when throwing and also because you don't need Imp Haste for it so it's just more times you can hit high APR and of course ultimately I'll be using Axes or Hammers in melee. My point was just that not getting Celestial Fury isn't a big deal for a Kensai, because really Firetooth is a great melee weapon, and IMO it is perhaps the best +3 melee weapon given its 2 APR status (which I'm sure if I consider an exploit or not).

    Now the question is, do I get 5 pips in Axes or Hammers, Daggers is a given... Probably Axes.

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 5,342
    I'd say warhammers since they are crushing damage. Axes are cooler though!

    StummvonBordwehrAerakar
  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    I've been going back and fourth between a Dwarf thrower and a Half-Orc thrower/Sword smith (Daggers, Katanas/Longswords/Bastard Swords (using Belm in the off hand until I get Hindoo's Doom))

    The Dwarf is better mainly because of the saving throws. Also having +4 throwing weapons is nice.

    What I've noticed is that pure Kensai are awesome powerhouses, and great fun to play, but the biggest problem is they tend (at least how I'm dong it) to be vulnerable to mind control spells, which is why the Dwarf is better.

    The biggest problem really is having them confused or mind controlled and having them turn on my own team, cause it doesn't take long for them to slaughter everyone :p

    The lack of helms, bracers, shields and armor hurts most in reducing the amount of magic protections they can equip, but then on top of that, since they aren't a front liner, even stuff I could put on them I tend not to because I put it on my front liners, like the Cloak of Spell Turning, etc.

    I've found that the Dwarf's extra saving throws helps a good bit in this regard, though it not fail safe either.

    AerakarGrum
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Potions can help vs spells, but iirc the selection is better in BG1 is actually better...

    Have you considered a gnome, or even halfling? Better dex helps throwing, sticking with daggers and axes I suppose, and they get that phat save bonus vs spells. Both can hit 19 cons in BG1, and for the halfer there are strength potions and items, while the gnome can get 19 str in BG1.

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    Nah, Dwarf is best. There are no races with better saving throws than Dwarves.

    The Dwarf Dex doesn't matter at all. Maybe it matters a tiny bit on levels 1 and 2, but beyond that it makes no difference because as a Kensai your THAC0 is so low (good) that the little extra you get from 19 vs 17 Dex doesn't matter, and once you get the Tome of Dex the difference between 18 and 20 is I think only 1 THAC0.

    1 THAC0 means nothing when, by level 15 your THAC0 with Firetooth will be like -5 or something with 18 Dex. The difference between -5 and -6 is not important.

    The 19 STR and 20 CON, however are big deals. Eventually STR won't matter once you use Crom Feyr or STR Belts, but it can be a while until you get those.

    The others can work, but I think they have no advantage over Dwarf, certainly not with Tomes involved. The 20 CON is a big deal for Kensai because they tend to take more damage than other classes, so being able to regen is very helpful.

    Grum
  • unavailableunavailable Member Posts: 265
    edited November 2017
    pure kensai is definitely a force of nature. Give them grand mastery in the crom, those gauntlet things from watchers keep and eventually they will have a damage range from mid to high 40s for as long as kai is active. Combine kai with improved haste and finish the last 4 seconds of kai with critical strike for 90 damage crits. I wouldn't bother putting points in weapon.

    Two weapon style is a waste of pips for kensai. In BG1 the kensai isn't good enough to be worth micro managing in melee, and by BG2 the kensai can dual wield as effectively as any other fighter kit without pips.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859

    Nah, Dwarf is best. There are no races with better saving throws than Dwarves.

    The Dwarf Dex doesn't matter at all. Maybe it matters a tiny bit on levels 1 and 2, but beyond that it makes no difference because as a Kensai your THAC0 is so low (good) that the little extra you get from 19 vs 17 Dex doesn't matter, and once you get the Tome of Dex the difference between 18 and 20 is I think only 1 THAC0.

    1 THAC0 means nothing when, by level 15 your THAC0 with Firetooth will be like -5 or something with 18 Dex. The difference between -5 and -6 is not important.

    The 19 STR and 20 CON, however are big deals. Eventually STR won't matter once you use Crom Feyr or STR Belts, but it can be a while until you get those.

    The others can work, but I think they have no advantage over Dwarf, certainly not with Tomes involved. The 20 CON is a big deal for Kensai because they tend to take more damage than other classes, so being able to regen is very helpful.

    Halflings match dwarf saves after 1 cons, which is available in both BG1 and 2.

    Iirc, 19 and 20 are 1 point of damage. I find that tiny, especially vs 18 to 19. The wait for a str buffing item isn't nothing in BG1 I agree, which hurts a halfer, but there are some str potions for battles that matter imho.

    20 cons iirc gives regen, but its so slow I personally don't bother with it.

    Anyways, I think we play differently... I find BG1 rougher for kensai, so I'd like the early +2 THAC0 for throwing with a halfer over dwarf, but I can't see why it wouldn't be viable to use a dwarf.

  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    I'm never going to solo with a pure kensai, so that's not a concern for me. I think I'd rather just use Mazzy than care about using the sword myself, especially since it's not that good, except basically against Mind Flayers. (As a note, I cleared the Mind Flayer area by putting Imp Haste and Chaotic Commands on my Kensai and turning him loose by himself wielding Belm and Fire Tooth in a mix of ranged and melee mode).

    But having 17 STR for most of BG1 and 18/ until you can get the 19 STR Belt in BG2, (which you then can't give to Jaheria or Keldorn) is less than ideal. And all you get for that is +1 THAC0 to ranged (which is useless because you're THAC0 will be so low that you'll hit on everything except 1s once you get past level 6 or so, and of course you get a 4 THAC0 penalty to melee, which does hurt) and the ability to use a +2 sword, which has an effect that can be replicated and more with Chaotic Commands.

    I don't see any upside to Halfling. But to each their own. The ranged THAC0 benefit is meaningless. The loss of damage until you can get STR belts is significant. Having to take the STR belts yourself instead of give them to party members is not good. The sword of Avoreen not that good, plus you have to take it away from Mazzy. This may be okay if you don't plan on using Mazzy, but if you're going to use Mazzy then taking her sword is a lateral move that doesn't benefit the group.

    StummvonBordwehrGrum
  • ArctodusArctodus Member Posts: 996
    edited November 2017
    For a fighter, halfling's 17 max strength seems to be a non issue for me. Between the various strength potions and the two casting of DUHM you can get as Bhaalspawn power, you can always have 19+ strength in pretty much every important fight in the game. Heck, in a team, you also can also have a mage cast Strength on your character if you want to fight with a good 18/50 score.

    Strength is probably the easiest stat to boost in the BG saga. This is why Alesia_BH said it's pretty much down to choosing between Sword of Arvoreen and some regen. Sword of Arvoreen might be a slightly better choice, but mostly for solo play, because in a team, you'll have access to so much resources that any of those shorty will be good because of the bonus to saving throws.

    JuliusBorisovThacoBellAerakar
  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    I've gone over this a few times, re-doing chars using EEKeeper and re-playing parts of the game, etc.

    I've come to the conclusion, that while almost any build and play-style will work, the optimal play-style if you want to be a thrower is to focus on being a thrower.

    In that case, the way to go is 4 pips in daggers and 2 pips in axes in BG1, then max out dagger at level 9 and max out Axes after that. That gives you 5 pips into Axes when you hit 18, which, depending on how you like to play, is a good time to take on Kangaxx using Azuredge.

    After that you can put 2 pips into dual wielding and start making more use of melee. I still like going into War Hammers after that from an RP perspective, though really any weapon you want would be fine.

    At that point Firetooth and K'logarath will be your main ranged weapons with Axe of the Unyielding as a powerful melee option when needed and whatever you want for the off-hand.

    Borek
  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 513
    Axes are not too bad in BG2, you get Azure Edge (must be good) and Stonefire as soon as you complete the CC quests, doable straight out of the dungeon, Frostweaver is also relatively easy to get coming from 1 of the easier stronghold quests, added bonus is it's fighter stronghold. There's the throwing axe +2 from the sewers, although it can be a tough fight to get it. That's 2 x +3 Axes with elemental damage for troll killing, a +3 undead killing thrown axe and a +2 standard throwing axe, all of which are probably easier to get than throwing daggers and decently enchanted daggers. If i do a solo Kensai > late dualclass run then i much prefer axes, melee range is generally speaking a potion-sink for a Kensai.

    Skatan
  • malachi151malachi151 Member Posts: 152
    There is no question that daggers are the best weapon for throwing. You can get the Boomerang Dagger basically as soon as you get our of the dungeon, before even going to CC if you want.

    Between the Boomerang Dagger and Azuredge that's all you need until you get Firetooth, because pretty much the only enemies that require +3 or +4 to hit in SoA are undead and Azuredge can hit those. Even when you get K'logarath in ToB, Firetooth is better due to the APR, but K'logarath is still very nice and will hit anything that Firetooth can't.

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