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Fighting/Backstabbing with Mage/Thiefs?

Do you use characters like Jan or Imoen to backstab or melee, or do you just use them as regular Mages who can also open locks, disarm traps and set traps?
Aerakar

Comments

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 3,410
    I personally use the latter. But you can set up some delicious cheese to get infinite consequence free backstabs.
    AerakarOrlonKronsteen
  • unavailableunavailable Member Posts: 204
    I use rogues for loot and detect illusion, bards for traps and kensai for damage. The minimum damage of rogues is pretty bad, so i try not to depend on that.
    DJKajuru
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 2,567
    You could surely use them for backstabing by casting strength+haste+lots of invisibility spells (don't forget stoneskin for that extra bit of safety) , but it's not the best tactic for them - perhaps in smaller party they'd have to assume that role of backstaber, though.
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,502
    Jan yes, Imoen no generally. Imoen misses too easily imho.
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 2,193
    If you like the smell of cheese you can cast mislead well away from the fight and, depending on the opponent, lock that in with spell immunity. That then allows you to try continual backstabs - the bonus of +4 for attacking from invisible helps with the relatively poor thief THAC0.
    ThacoBell
  • Rik_KirtaniyaRik_Kirtaniya Member Posts: 52
    edited November 14
    Jan starts with most of his thieving skill points in open locks, pick pockets, detect traps and detect illusion. However, since he is a multi-class thief, he can reach to the 5x back-stab multiplier limit, which Imoen can't. A second level spell slot can conveniently be dedicated to "Strength" spell and that lasts long enough for a fight (1 turn/level). So, investing all of Jan's skill points in Move Silently/Hide in Shadows as he levels up is a good idea (since his other thieving abilities are already more or less saturated). And that makes Jan versatile. He might not be your regular assassin, but in this way he can use back-stab effectively, which is an added bonus to his arcane and traps-locks-illusions skills.

    And as already said, back-stabbing with Mislead on can be extremely devastating, and other than Imoen who has a poor back-stab multiplier, or a Mage/Thief protagonist, only Jan has this option. I once took out Mae'Var and his goons with Jan alone, using this strategy. [Whether you think it's cheesy or not is entirely up to you, I'm not going to say anything on that, except that it's good. B) ]

    Melee is an entirely different story. You'd need Stoneskin, Strength, Haste, Fireshield, Blur, Mirror Image, PFMW (that lasts only 4 rounds) to be effective at all and survive with that small pool of hit points. Better do it with a Fighter/Mage. And in my opinion, consistent melee with Imoen and Jan is not a very good idea. Just back-stab, run away, and sling your spells from the safety of the back-lines.

    That's all I have to say. Sorry for the long post.
    ThacoBellAerakarPokota
  • PantalionPantalion Member Posts: 1,641
    My 7 Con (at best, he started at 6 and sacced Con for the dream sequence before getting it back with Lum's) was well into melee against trash mobs by late SoA with the help of strength boosting gear, Kundane and Belm. He ended up with Crom Faeyr (he was with Imoen, Neera, Aerie, Jan and Rasaad, if I recall, so not much competition for it) and pasted plenty of face because who needs proficiency when you have 25 Strength.

    But yeah, melee is not a dangerous place for the mage unless something is immune to both fire and ice. Even in BG an I/T can get 2 level 4 spells. Mirror Image + Stoneskin + Fireshield means your attacker will need five hits to completely pierce through your wards, which is 10D8+20 damage.
    In BG2 a quick PfMW with your shields up will kill most fast hitting fighter types during those 4 rounds, and having a middling AC is fine, since you want them to hit you and die faster, and you can be dropping spells or attacking at the same time with zero restrictions since the damage is free. And by cap you can use Projected Image to do it for you with zero actual risk and far fewer actual spells.
    recklessheartAerakar
  • recklessheartrecklessheart Member Posts: 649
    Pantalion said:

    My 7 Con (at best, he started at 6 and sacced Con for the dream sequence before getting it back with Lum's) was well into melee against trash mobs by late SoA with the help of strength boosting gear, Kundane and Belm.

    ...

    But yeah, melee is not a dangerous place for the mage unless something is immune to both fire and ice.

    I concur with prior posts that dispute the efficiency of a melee Thief/Mage build, but agree with @Pantalion insofar as saying that HP is really not an issue. By the time I've reached Shadows of Amn I don't track HP at all except to satisfy my curiosity about who is 'doing the best' in that department. A Thief/Mage will be fine to survive in melee given that their arcane class elements are geared towards acknowledging their time spent in melee. The 1 APR is the primary grievance you will have, and their damage output is sadly mitigated by that silly rule.
  • PantalionPantalion Member Posts: 1,641

    Pantalion said:

    My 7 Con (at best, he started at 6 and sacced Con for the dream sequence before getting it back with Lum's) was well into melee against trash mobs by late SoA with the help of strength boosting gear, Kundane and Belm.

    ...

    But yeah, melee is not a dangerous place for the mage unless something is immune to both fire and ice.

    I concur with prior posts that dispute the efficiency of a melee Thief/Mage build, but agree with @Pantalion insofar as saying that HP is really not an issue. By the time I've reached Shadows of Amn I don't track HP at all except to satisfy my curiosity about who is 'doing the best' in that department. A Thief/Mage will be fine to survive in melee given that their arcane class elements are geared towards acknowledging their time spent in melee. The 1 APR is the primary grievance you will have, and their damage output is sadly mitigated by that silly rule.
    Well, outside of the 4D8+8 damage per round against everything hitting you in melee:

    1 APR +1 wielding Belm +1 wielding Crom Faeyr +1/2 wearing gauntlets.

    7/2 APR
    x2 iHaste

    7 APR / round at +14 damage per hit.

    Of course, now there's the Dagger thing, it's more optimal to stick with Firetooth and a strength belt instead. Assuming you didn't start at 18 Strength in BG1, Tome, Lums, and Evil up to 22 natural Strength at least.

    1 APR +1 wielding Firetooth +2 wielding Belm + 1/2 wearing gauntlets.

    9/2 APR
    x2 iHaste

    9 APR / round.

    THAC0 3, 8 for the offhand Belm. Hits for 2D4+3+1D2+10 for the 7 main hand hits without Tenser's or Improved Invisibility, though THAC0 is irrelevant once you hit them with a stun.

    Before then, there's always Polymorph Self, especially in conjunction with Web.
    AerakarThacoBell
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,502
    THAC0 of 3 seems low for high level enemies imho.
  • PantalionPantalion Member Posts: 1,641
    DreadKhan said:

    THAC0 of 3 seems low for high level enemies imho.

    As I said, THAC0 is irrelevant, the Mage/Thief has access to various stun effects, which means any hits are automatic strikes. But at -1 THAC0 with Imp. Inv. isn't bad, since AC in ToB isn't actually all that bad.

    Demogorgon: -16
    Melissan: -12
    Silver Dragon: -12
    Draconis: -10
    Balthazar: -14

    And if something needs a +4 weapon to hit, you should be using Black Blade of Disaster, dropping to 3 base APR with Belm and with the +5 and Grand Mastery that the spell imparts +3 that's -6 THAC0.

    And still not using Tenser's, which is +2 to hit and damage and gives, I believe, up to an extra -9 to THAC0 by setting THAC0 progression to a Fighter (which is 1 at CL 20), meaning either -12 THAC0 at 9 APR or 6 APR at -17 THAC0 with the +6 sword of annihilation.
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