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Caster to Fighter Dual Class

I used to play the original games when they came out ages ago and recently bought the enhanced edition. I always used to play fighter => mage or cleric dual classes. This time I want to try playing a fighter with some spells instead of a caster with some fighting ability. But in practice it seems really awkward.

Your hitpoints seem to be strictly determined by your first class. Thus if you are a 9th level wizard and choose to dual over to fighter you get 36 hitpoints from wizard, but you don't get any additional hitpoints from fighter for the first nine levels. (And since fighters get d10 hp only through level 9 that really, really hurts.) Is this intentional?

Second the weapons restrictions of the previous class still seem to apply even when the class is inactive. If my PC dual classes from druid to fighter I still have to deal with druid weapons restrictions even while the druid class is inactive. I had counted on using scimitars in the later game when my druid class reactivated and I had Belm and the Spectral Brand, but holy heck is it going to be a pain in the early game with only druid weapons and no druid spells.

I would really like to play a high level fighter with some utility spells. Is it possible to do this without gimping my character?



  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 505
    Maybe try to dual early(lvl3?) from specialized mage and you can use wands, all scrolls, some mage only items. Yes you wont be so great spellcaster, but the wands ad scroll are huge to use.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 362
    I think your best bet would be not dualing at all but instead opting for a multiclass fighter/mage. You wouldn't generally memorize a lot of damage-dealing spells with that kind of character because of their relatively low caster level, but that would fit your narrative of a front-line combatant who mainly casts utility spells rather than laying down skull traps or (later) horrid wiltings.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 574
    I think Mage -> fighter duals are best done at level 2, in BG1.

    You get the ability to cast from scrolls and use wands, with only minimal loss of fighter abilities. You lose 2 levels of fighter hitpoints but it's offset by the ability to summon a familiar. If you're so inclined you can even memorize a couple out of combat spells like protection from petrification, to use when it's safe to take off your armor.

  • NuinNuin Member Posts: 400
    edited August 2018

    I think Mage -> fighter duals are best done at level 2, in BG1.

    Indeed. I know a guy who used to do just that so he can cheese through a lot of fights with Wand of Lightning spammage + Protection from Lightning/Electricity.
    What the OP is describing though is really some kind of fighter/x or ranger/cleric multiclass of some sort, or even a Blade bard if you decide to skip the utility in favor of just fighting stuff head on. A paladin also actually counts (specifically any non-Inquisitor version, which can all cast buffs like Draw Upon Holy Might and Armor of Faith), and the Stalker.

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 4,199
    edited August 2018
    Both the restrictions you refer to are intentional, so as others have said you might want to consider an early dual if you want to make the game easy. However, don't be put off from the concept if you like it - a later caster to fighter dual is certainly possible. If you're thinking of dualling relatively early in BG2, then why not stack up some quest rewards before that by not quite completing some of them. That can give you a flying start with the dualled fighter.

  • CicatrixCicatrix Member Posts: 4
    I played for many hours tonight and got my druid/fighter dual up to druid 12/fighter 13 after soloing the druid, thief, and fighter quests. (I had a druid 12 from Siege of Dragonspear.) It wasn't quite as bad as I expected as I had forgotten that you get two +2 scimitars during the druid quest. Once you get five attacks per round with Belm and Rashad's Talon you don't miss the other fighter weapons, though I do miss the 21 hp I gave up.

    At this point I feel golden. (No level 7 druid spells is annoying but I only really need ironskins, armor of faith, buffs and debuffs.) But soloing with a fighter using (non-magical) scimitars early in SoA just isn't very fun. Going fighter to druid requires massively less xp. (Druid 12 is 300,000 while fighter 12 is 1,000,000!) Fighter to mage allows you to gain xp from scrolls and offers lots of more options and exploits for solo players. Taking a hp penalty on top of a more difficult progression path feels like adding insult to injury.

  • borntodieborntodie Member Posts: 126
    edited August 2018
    I'm with JSaving, you might want to consider multiclass, especially for cleric or druid.
    A low level dual is also interesting. That is also very effective if you want a thief with 100% trap disarming/detection and nothing else: can be done with a level 3 dual Thief->[other class]

  • CicatrixCicatrix Member Posts: 4
    I finished my campaign tonight. I am glad I tried this, but my advice to anyone as foolish as me who thinks this might be a good idea is to avoid doing this.

    Fighter 9 gives you five pips in one weapon, good enough THAC0 until the tough battles in ToB and great hitpoints before you dual into a caster. You end up as a full-strength caster with good toughness and melee ability. Going the other way results in a character with both weaker melee ability and worse spellcasting that you would the other way.

    In short if you want to play a melee character with some spells then choose a ranger or paladin.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 9,823
    Remember that a mage dual gets a tiny portable hp factory familiar, so that can make up the difference, for a few levels at least.

    Plus, having the defense of some spells should make you more durable so you can afford to have a bit lower total hp.

    I would try a specialist, and dual at level 5. That gets you two 3rd-level spells, and a bunch of lower-level ones like MI, Blur, Strength, etc. Plenty of utility to be had from those spells to make up for the slightly fewer hp.

  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 3,629
    I've tried a few of these, just for fun and for trying new variations, and for the long run (since this is posted in BG2 forum and not BG1 forum) I would propose reaching level 8 as mage for a level 4 spell slot for stoneskin. This will be valuable and, to some degree better, than druid. The druid will offer nymps summoning for healing and many other great spells, but the lower levels of druid spells are mostly redundant.
    A mage level 8 offers wands, 4 levels of spells, mage robes, SotM, casting from scrolls, scroll reading for EXP (even for levels you can't cast from), knock, invisibility, blur, mirror images, shield, etc etc..
    The other option I prefer is specialist mage and dualing at level 2. Familiar, wands, scroll-casting, and very little loss of HP. Essentially it's a fighter that can use wands and scrolls. Also, lower level dualing means lower need for INT which opens up for less rolling/cheating for higher stat points in STR/DEX/CON. A plain berserker might be better under rage effects, but you get the versatility from casting fireballs, clouds, summons, fear, sleep etc from the many wands available even if you leave all your scrolls untouched (which you shouldn't, of course).

    I don't see the need to compare this to the 'hybrid' caster classes like paladin, ranger etc, because if you want to play on of those, then just play one of those instead. The only other quirky kind of dual similar to the above is going Cleric of Lathander to Fighter for the boon of lathander, but due to less options for wands etc, I consider this very niche and I've never actually tried it outside of theorycrafting.

  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 2,203
    edited September 2018
    lvl 2 illusionist > fighter is a reasonable choice because he gets spook with a -3 save penalty which is pretty devastating actually.

    i've tried avenger > fighter and he was great. chromatic orb spamming was cool. that spell is really fun when you have TONS of it (with the avenger) and can cast one every round and do other useful things meanwhile.

  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 3,629
    Does a specialist mage minus save penalty on rolls also apply to bhaal spawn powers; example, a necromancer level 2 casting the bhaal spawn power Horror? I've played around a little bit with specialist mage->Cleric duals for the mage's minus to saves on cleric spells, but never tried it on bhaal spawn powers.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 1,730
    edited September 2018
    Skatan said:

    The only other quirky kind of dual similar to the above is going Cleric of Lathander to Fighter for the boon of lathander

    this would probably be my only pick if i have to dual from caster to fighter.
    and i would dual at lev 11, even if the downtime is quite long and even saving quest rewards and making your party mages learn the not essentials scrolls during your downtime, kicking everyone but the mage so only you and him share the xp, you probably have to be babysitted by your party.
    but after the dual is complete (675k + 1M = 1.675M xp, that is a lot) you have a really interesting fighter if you use the cleric spells mainly to buff.

    let's see what you got:
    2 daily uses of the boon, so immunity to level drain, +1 hit/damage/saving throws and +1 apr.
    GM in a weapon and 3 pips in DW (FoA and DoE that helps as you have a reduced hp pool) and enough pips to specialize in sling and mace (of destruction :) ). as you level up the fighter once more you have 4 APR, 4.5 in endgame with the best bracers.
    1 lev 6 cleric spell casting (blade barer, a friendly fire elemental, harm (with the thac0 to actually hit the foe) or wonderus recall, my best pick as it gives to you 2 righteous magic casting/day)
    outstanding fighting bonuses as you can boost your str +6, dex and con +3, long lasting kai and 11 more hp, many times/day, up to 4 if you pick wonderus recall.
    turning undead, not a strong one, but you can probably turn some minor foe and even scare a lich if you are lucky.
    some very useful clerical spells as you basically need only the lev 2 and 5 slots to have the buffs i told before.

    such character is not a tank, even if he can tank as he have some damage reduction (DoE + Armor of Faith) and improved CON and DEX help survive. not a tank but a glorious damage dealer that can easily can reach 25 STR without draining the party of the best STR enhancing items, thing that is a huge bonus in itslef.
    best used with viconia or aerie in the party as even if he is a decent level cleric he must use too much of his spell repertoire to self buff.

    as i hate long downtimes i did never try it, but on paper it seems to be really interesting, probably the only dual from caster into fighter that is worth at a relatively high level.
    the dual can also be done at 9, much faster, but you can fully buff only once a day while at 11 you can do it 4 times, 2 of them using also the boon. still dualing at 9 can be interesting as you have a valuable fighter that can partially buff himself for few battles and fully buff himself for the dungeon boss. lev 9 is the minimum required to have righteous magic and give the same +6 str + 3 CON and DEX like dualing at 11 gives.

  • ArchGhostArchGhost Member Posts: 23
    Cicatrix said:

    I would really like to play a high level fighter with some utility spells. Is it possible to do this without gimping my character?

    Fighter/mage or Fighter/ illusionist multi - best overall option for offense, eventually.

    Mage > dual Fighter at earliest level (2) - there's no point in going higher mage on this dual unless you're gonna level Mage over 10, as all scrolls cast at level 10. Daulling as early as possible still lets you use all scrolls and wands, and gives you the most fighter levels at the most important stage, 1-9. This is of course, endgame thinking though.

    Any other combination is just gonna be pathetic in caster level, give up too much fighting power for mage levels (which seems to be what you value here, strong fighter), or still be the Low fighter/ High mage dual you don't want to play.

    or, after UAI, any fighter/thief variant. Even a pure swashy is okay, they make good tanks and ranged attackers then, and spellbuffed through scrolls makes them even better.

    Also I don't know if this was fixed in the EE, but you can abuse the potion swap thingy to self-cast any scroll anyway, if all you wanna do is self-buff.

    Unfortunately due to leveling curves and the HP mechanic, it's almost never worth it to dual into fighter, always better to dual from it (2 examples being Priest of Lathander and Swashbuckler, which pretty much only trade HP for utility) because the end result is a weaker spellcaster and a weaker frontliner, very few exceptions. and their reverse combos get a ton of mileage out of fighter kits, HP, and grandmastery, especially if you fix GM (unnerf it to BG1). It gets even worse when you consider Thaco progression at low levels...

    Fighter may be frontloaded but that's the way it's supposed to be...if you want to add power to a character with fighter, you almost always give up more by dualling into them.

  • CicatrixCicatrix Member Posts: 4
    ArchGhost said:

    Cicatrix said:

    Any other combination is just gonna be pathetic in caster level, give up too much fighting power for mage levels (which seems to be what you value here, strong fighter), or still be the Low fighter/ High mage dual you don't want to play.

    To be clear, I LOVE fighter dualed into wizard. But I wanted to try something different. Thus trying druid dual classed into fighter instead of fighter into a caster. I've never done a druid PC or a caster turned into a fighter, so I wanted to try both.

    But it just isn't worth it. Why bother playing something that is both less powerful and less fun?

  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 577
    Druid into fighter is probably the worst combo, unless it’s an incredibly late dual. I could potentially see Shapeshifter into Fighter at 13 and attempting to abuse the GWW form... but that’s unlocking sometime in ToB and probably not worth it. The other combo I’ve seen bandied about is waiting for 3m exp on the druid and getting the greater elemental shapeshifts, but at that point you might as well just multiclass.

    But still pushing for Mage(3) into Fighter as an effective Fighter that has a few utility spells. There’s a number of good level 2 spells that are caster-level agnostic: Knock, Invisibility (pretty major one in my opinion), glitterdust, horror, web, resist fear, stinking cloud... for 2.5k experience and an average of 6 HP you can have two of these per rest. The next break point is level 7, giving up 24 more HP for two stoneskins per day. This... might actually be worth it, now that I look at it: a single hit from anything in the lategame is going to be more than 24 damage anyways, so after the first hit things might equalize.

    So Abjurer (3) -> Fighter or Enchanter (7) -> Fighter would be my answers here.

  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 2,203
    druid 9 has 2x iron skins, he has 2 more pips, and sacrifices an average of 9 hp; costs 30k more, and has druid restrictions (which are not bad imo)

    he can cast insect plague, so if you have a powerful mage in the party, it's much better to have a insect-plague casting druid alongside him, than a lvl 7 mage that has few spell slots and doesn't add new utility

  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 577
    Ehh... Sacrificing bows (Arrows of dispelling, detonation), every anti-undead weapon (Azuredge, Mace of Disruption, Daystar, Runehammer), immunity weapons (Lilaarcor, Peridaan, Equalizer, Spider's Bane) and general utility weapons (Ilbratha, Flail of the Ages, Namarra, Crom Fraeyr) is too painful for my taste. Druids also only get Wand of the Heavens instead of the Fire, Frost, Lightning, Monster Summoning, Paralysis, Fear, Cloudkill armory that Mages can get ahold of.

    In terms of HP, assuming the baseline is a Fighter with 19 CON, a mage loses 9 HP at level 1 and 6 HP for every level after, so loses 45 HP by level 7 BUT is recompensed by Familiar health: it's a loss of 39 HP in BG1, 33 HP in BG2, and 21 HP in ToB. Sidenote: Mage(3) actually GAINS HP in ToB compared with a pure fighter thanks to a familiar.
    A Druid loses 5 HP at level 1 and 4 HP for every level after, so a Druid (9) loses 37 HP, with no Familiar to back it up. The Mage actually ends up healthier than the Druid thanks to its Familiar after SoA, and is short by only 2 HP on average before then.

    Insect Plague is good, but I don't fancy all the above losses to be able to cast it twice (at the expense of no Ironskins), no matter how good the spell is. It's telling that I prefer the F/D Multi more, especially because I think the F/D is the worst multi in the game. :tongue:

  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 2,203
    okay, good analysis. avenger is a lot better, and i've only tried avenger > fighter. worked g-reat.

  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 577
    Heh, I've also tried Avenger > Fighter in a bid to abuse the Sword Spider Shapeshift. It worked for awhile, and then fell off hardcore mid SoA. I think I tried to spec back into GM in a ranged weapon? Regardless, it was pretty fun... But definitely not optimal.

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