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SoA blunt backstabbers

Two things. First, my math could be wrong here, feel free to correct me. Second, I'm leaving staff of striking out of the mix due to it's limited charges (and I'm not really into recharging through merchants).

I know that the Staff of the Ram is the end game goal, but until that point, cleric/thieves (and, in my case, Stalker/Clerics) need to use other gear. For SoA, I've read that the Staff of Ryn is the way to go, but I'm wondering if that is really the case. I'm talking about Blackblood. Consider that there is only 1 point difference in their base damage (that which can be multiplied by the backstab). However, the black blood also throws in 3 points of acid damage. So, until a backstab multiplier reaches x4 or greater, they are actually pretty comparable. Even after that point you're only losing on (backstab multiplier - 3) points of damage. Meanwhile, in regular combat, the Blackblood outdoes the Staff of Rynn in raw damage (not to mention you have a shield with it and kill trolls).

(I think) The only thing left to take into consideration is crits. With 2H weapon style, you will crit more than you would with blackblood and shield (but the same amount with Blackblood and single weapon style).

If you could only take one melee for a cleric/thief (or stalker/cleric), is Blackblood your best bet for blunts in SoA?

(Also, say "blackblood your best bet for blunts" 5 times fast if you can)



  • _Nightfall__Nightfall_ Member Posts: 137
    Blackblood is so close as to be the same as Staff of Rynn though the speed factor is slower. My favorite class and favorite weapon type for that class though that will probably not be the popular response. I don’t even like the Staff of the Ram because I am not fond of chasing bad guys down, and I have had them slide into some weird positions. Ring of the Ram is a wonderful tool for a C/T but you choose when and where it happens, SotR is random. With everything available to a C/T many mages can be chunked with Shillelagh or Flameblade and okay, why does no one ever talk about Flameblade against mages with PFMW and Stone Skins? Blackblood is solid and suuuper easy to acquire. Simmy Sister uses BBoD and I use a club pretty much defines a huge part of the game for me.

  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 416
    Does speed factor matter much for backstabs? I mean, you're basically invisible until the hit comes off, so who cares how long it takes?

    I've never thought about backstaffing with shillelagh, but is it worth it? It's a spell slot where you could have had a sanctuary and a backstab that does (on average) one more point of damage than a vanilla staff.

    And what about flameblade? Most of its damage is elemental so I wouldn't think it would factor for a backstab. Or, do you just mean that the elemental damage is significant enough that, if you hit every round, stoneskin/PFMW doesn't block the elemental damage so you can constantly disrupt spellcasting?

    I'd be curious to hear more about Cleric/Thieves (google doesn't give much). I'm having a lot of fun playing the Stalker/Cleric (the Davaeorn fight was super easy with just him and an invisible Imoen) and suspect that a Cleric/Thief solo will give me that much more of what I'm enjoying here. It's my top choice for my next run.

  • _Nightfall__Nightfall_ Member Posts: 137
    Speed factor comes into play when using stealth to backstab mostly I think, the thief can become visible before the hit lands for some of the slower weapons. It doesn’t happen often but it does happen.

    If I didn’t want to put a pip in staff early shillelagh and flameblade has gotten me through until I finished Trademeet and gotten a decent club. I have been working on a 5 member poverty run, one character that I tried was a C/T and I was able to use those two spells to pretty good effect. I ended up changing the party around to drop that though for a conjurer dualed to thief, enchanted weapon works much better and as there is not a weapon option that works for a c/t to backstab with I wanted a more consistent backstabber.

    Yeah, flameblade is not the best for backstabbing but it is an option. It is a non magical weapon with decent elemental damage though and I use it a lot against mages. It works best with a high number of attacks so after UAI with Belm or Kundane in the off hand, F/M/C with Robe of Vecna and Amulet of Power casts flameblade instantly and has enough attacks to take down a mage quickly. Fighter/Druids and fighter/clerics can take good advantage of it as well. Going back to my poverty run, with the Shaman casting IP and beserker>cleric attacking with flameblade have made mages a complete non-issue so far.

    I love cleric/thief solo, there are so many different things to play around with. Ring of the Ram and HLA traps are fun for setting them up and knocking them down. Three firestorms in chain contingency(or simmy casting combinations of firestorms and incendiary cloud), high fire resistance with any combination + fireshield red, DoE + Armor of Faith + Jan’s Adventurewear eats up many ToB enemies, including the Ravager, while the little damage taken is healed almost instantly. It can be an incredible fighter, backstabber, trapper and has the ability to cast almost every spell in the game. I used to love bards for their versatility until I stumbled on this gem of a character.

  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 416
    @_Nightfall_ :

    I didn't know that about backstab and speed factors. It hasn't been an issue for me yet, but I'll keep an eye out for it.

    I haven't yet come up with a plan to deal with stoneskin mages. I was going to try a dispel magic outside the fog of war (banking on being overleveled for success), but I can't think of how to get a backstab off if they actually have skins.

    Traps. This is what I feel like my Stalker/Cleric is missing. I'm almost tempted to scrap it and start the Cleric/Thief instead. However, I'm pretty far into a sibling only run with it and it's still a good time.

    As for the C/T and spells. I presume you're using a simulacrum (from Vhailor's helm) to use spell scrolls without consuming them? If that's the case, don't you only get a one shot of this before having to rest? Is there another way to conserve consumables? With that in mind, I would keep a scroll case on hand with one of each scroll that I would be using, but that would limit me to 20 scrolls. Seems like a lot, but that space would fill up quick. What are the must haves?

    I'm already planning ahead for a C/T run. I know that the only options are gnomes and half-orcs. Which is the way to go? Better saves or better strength and possible regen (with 19 con+tome in BG1)? Also, score-wise, I don't tank scores to min-max (i.e. never played a char with a stat, even charisma, of 3). I also don't sit and roll for an hour. I figure, considering the low requirements for the class, a roll of 85 is only slightly optimistic. How would one spread the points?

  • butteredsoulbutteredsoul Member Posts: 109
    Blackblood was my F/Th main weapon until the +4 scimitar class weapons started showing up. I was very happy with it.

  • _Nightfall__Nightfall_ Member Posts: 137
    edited September 2018
    I don’t use Staff of the Magi but I believe that it dispels on hit. I do know that it doesn’t work for backstab. There are enough aoe options to take out a herd of mages though and I use Robe of Vecna so flameblade casts quick. I actually rarely remove a mages protections.

    Spells that I collect every one that I can find:
    Spirit Armor*
    Stoneskin*-It doesn’t give max skins but it does give 5 I think
    Both Fireshields*-Red can be gotten through the Staff of Fire though
    Wizard Eye*-Simmy, BBoD, Mislead and Wizard Eye is a lot of fun
    Sunfire*-Even without Harm+Sunfire I make use of anything in the game that ignores magic resistance
    Shadow Door
    Spell Immunity*
    Spell Shield
    All sequencers and contingencies
    Tenser’s Transformation*
    Improved Haste*
    Protection from Magic Energy
    Protection from Magic Weapons*
    Improved Mantle and Absolute Immunity*
    Project Image
    2 Limited Wish and All Wish
    Mordy Sword
    Delayed Blast Fireball-Stupid Liches*
    Incendiary Cloud*
    Time Stop-I honestly don’t remember ever using the spell but sometimes traps are inconvenient so I collect them
    Spell Trap
    * I keep some with me at all times
    Those work with my play style though I have never come close to using even half of them. None of these are NEEDED but they make things easier. I usually fill one scroll case just for the Mel fight and leave it in the pocket plane until the end so I don’t accidentally use a spell I want to use for her. Yeah, I usually have 2 scroll cases on me at all times.

    I like to use the Gnome but then I need to keep a wisdom potion on me if I want to use a wish spell before Hell Trials or The Machine of Lum the Mad. I don’t do BG anymore, probably should at least once just to get the pants for BMU, I need to find out if my memory has gone wonky about something. I don’t get minimal stats either, so I am not sure how to max both strength and constitution. Gnomes tend to roll better for whatever reason and upper 80’s are normal to get under one hundred rolls, the one I am currently running actually has 90. St-16, Dex-18, Con-16, Intel-11, Wis-17, Cha-12. 11 Intelligence is my norm if I can for any character, I dislike having my brain sucked out of my ear hole from just a couple of hits from a squishy head. Even ignoring all strength boosting equipments, buffing stats is what clerics do. Gnomes get a constitutional, did I spell that right?, bonus to saves but I just don’t know how to get all the stats I would like so some stats have to suffer. Because of the ring and belt available right away I will usually cut strength and charisma if I have to but I never go below 8 on any stat.

    All of that is just me, the versatility of the character allows for many play styles. Most fights for me start with a backstab or RotR a bad guy into a pre placed time trap and regular trap then let the fun begin.

    Post edited by _Nightfall_ on
  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 416
    edited September 2018
    Ok, so funsies, I loaded up a BGEE game just to build a char and got a 92 within the first half dozen rolls. I actually have points to waste with this one. I went with a gnome. the biggest draw for the orc was the 19 con (and with 20 he would have regen), but in EE I can do 18 on a gnome, get the book for 19, then the shield at FAI (+1 Con) to regen when I need to.

    Skills-wise, I'm a little torn. I want to focus on stealth for backstabs from the get go. I want locks to rob everyone blind, I want do to traps because I'll be dungeon crawling in Nashkel pretty quickly. I want set traps because traps are awesome. the only thing I'm totally fine with putting off for now is detect illusion.

    What do you do with c/t skills in the early game?

    edit: I was going to ask how you deal with inventory management (especially hard for a solo) with all the scrolls, but then I realize, by the time you have UAI, you probably also have a bag of holding, huh?

  • _Nightfall__Nightfall_ Member Posts: 137
    I get UAI usually in the Sphere or either dragon lair depending on the order I do things. Always at least 3 HLAs before taking on Bohdi. Inventory management is a pain until I get a bag of holding and when I head out to the Asylum I get irritated at all of the stuff that I need to leave behind. Staff of Air works great with Skellies, Staff of Fire is great period, simmy helm, shield of harmony, wands and the list goes on and on. Thank god a gem bag can hold all of my jewelry or I would be in trouble.

    Because I start in SoA I get 100 in traps and 100 in locks and then work on traps till 100 and then it is all stealth.

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 3,942
    dont forget the staff-mace or staff-spear

    staff-mace comes in at 2d4+2 damage ( which is solid for a one handed weapon )
    staff-spear comes in at 1d8+3 damage ( which is more than staff of the rynn ) and also remember if you go two handed weapon style you also get a +1 to damage bonus as well

    both of these can be found in bg1 and bg2

  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 416
    I start almost all my games in BG1 (partly for the tomes, partly for a complete story). I think it's a bit easier for something like this if you start in BG2 because you can pump the necessary skills up to respectable levels right from the jump.

    That being said, for a fresh level 1, I'd be most inclined to spread it around stealth for early survivability. However, If I dump everything into locks to start, I can walk out of CK with over 1000gp worth of loot (that star sapphire gem on the second floor of the inn). I know I'll eventually be swimming in money with this character, but the beginning is always rough, and most of my gear will be bought (shadow armor, the +3 staff in UB, a wand of sleep, potions, etc.).

    I figure once I'm out in the world, I can wander around a bit to gain a few levels and pad stealth and find traps some more. But, for the start, I need to figure out how I want to leave CK and how I plan to survive Tarnesh.

    @sarevok57 I forgot about the damage bonus for 2H weapon, but I wonder if it applies to the staff-mace (I doubt it, since even though it's qstaffs, it's listed as a 1-h weapon). I think this puts staves way ahead for me, though. Even with the +3 from UB, that's 5-10 damage, while the best club (the +2) is only 3-8.

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 3,942
    nah, the two handed weapon style doesnt apply to the staff mace, but in bg1, you can stealth your way all the way to durlag's tower to the top floor and pick pocket the staff-spear from the succubus up there it has one less to hit than the +3 staff at ulgoth's beard, but it does 1d8+3 damage as apposed to 1d6+3

    so 1 less to hit, 2 more to damage

  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 416
    What about the whole "blunt weapons are better than piercing weapons" debate. In other words, enemies tend to have better AC vs. piercing over crushing. The staff spear will average out 1 more damage, but will overall hit less, yeah?

    Also, what about these starting thief skills for BG1? Dump it all into locks so I can clean out CK? Or split it among stealth so I can passably backstab?

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 3,942
    ah, so the staff-spear is piercing, interesting, the only problem with that is, i believe jellies will be immune to your damage ( something that you can take care of with the quartstaff +3 ) and the only armor where piercing will be a problem over crushing is full plate mail, which only 2 enemies in the entirety of bg 1 wear ( holmes in the bandit camp and durlage troll killer ) well i guess tamoko as well so thats 3

    chainmail you get +2 to hit with crushing

    splintmail you get -2 to hit with crushing and -1 to hit with piercing

    so up to you on what armor types you may be worried about

    and when it comes to thief skills, i guess it depends on what size party? if you are going to use the shadow armor and boots of stealth ( which are just south of beregost ) that is a nice boost to your stealth skills

    if it's a solo run i wouldn't be too worried about open lock and clearing out candlekeep since you can sell the ring of wizardry for a healthy 9000 and the ankheg platemail for 4250? both of which you can get for free with extreme ease, plus the rings of protection +1 ( first one from the area where you meet elminster for the first time and the second one from completing the "roe quest" with the 2 ogrillions south of beregost) all of the important locks and traps can be done away with, with potions of thievery and such ( i believe the "storekeep" dude in the durlag's tower map has some of them ) plus i think thalantyr has a couple perception potions, and you can get a potion of master thievery in one of the big circus tents in naskiel carnival if you kill/pick pocket the guy that comes up to and steals 125 gold? and disappears forever ( if you get him hostile instead, he will never attack back and he will drop a potion of healing/potion of master thievery and potion of agility )

  • _Nightfall__Nightfall_ Member Posts: 137
    Started another C/T run. First time that I have ever had two of the same class going at once but I am using Staves this time and I might keep on going with it. Used my money after leaving Mr I`s fun house to buy thieving potion, invisibility potions and Staff of Striking. Got lucky and only had to reload once to steal the Ring of the Ram (invisibility is much more important so only bought one thief one). Did some easy quests like bridge quest and druid`s grove (no killing required) to level up to get a level 5 spell. Went back and walked around the city until the slavers found me, Invisibility walk away, cast skellies, walk back in slaughter them all, grab loot, sell loot and left the big city again for Trademeet. Yay, I still have 2 invisibility potions! Guzzal one and go in to introduce the back of the Djinn`s head to the the Staff, he didn't like it in case you are wondering. At which point it dawns on me that I should have rested to actually memorize the Righteous Magic that I had worked so hard for. Grr! Luckily RotR takes him out before I get turned into a shish kabob. Complete the Trademeet quest for the rest of the loot I need to buy Blackblood. And...

    Well that was a lot of needless words to show you this. Um... Sorry.

    That really is a substantial difference in backstab damage. I have been using clubs for so long I had forgotten how much damage the SoS could do. I will continue to use it alternating with Blackblood, at least until I get UAI, and most definitely not after time traps. A good club plus Belm off hand with improved haste, some HLA traps and abilities turns an C/T into walking, er, running massacre.

    Oh, almost forgot, a cleric gets the Staff Spear now in the butler golem`s room in the very beginning of SoA. Not sure if that would be the same importing from BG but I would think that it is.

  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 416
    I feel like the SoS is an unfair comparison, being a charged item. At 18 Charisma (easy with the ring) and 20 rep, you figure that's 1625gp? every time you have to re-buy it, and even then it's only good for 24 BS before needing to work out a recharge. I know you have a lot of money as a solo, but it's still costing about 68gp a backstab. I'm probably passing on it on my own run because I want to keep carried inventory down to the essentials. Gem Bag, Scroll Case, Potion Case...

    I think a fairer comparison for that point of the game would probably be the Staff of Rynn (5-10 base). With that being said, aside from the couple fights that need a +4, I'm guessing the winner would be blackblood since you have the flexibility of a shield/belm.

    I'm probably going to start this run myself in Tutu, not EE (long story short, have no idea when a sale is going to happen and it probably won't prior to starting this run), so that may have some minor changes. I'd really rather do EE though, if only for better stacks of ammo and container capacity. I feel like inventory space is at a premium here.

    I've heard a lot of talk about the Ring of the Ram (and Vhailor's Helm) being particularly handy for C/Ts. I'm not sure why, though. I mean, the abilities are great, but they are also once per rest items. Is the general strategy to rest a million times throughout the game to keep these items recharged for regular use?

    You seem pretty experienced with this build, though. What I'm looking for in a solo is something that isn't necessarily powerful, but not weak, you just need to think out a fight. I figure Warriors and Wizards are all smash and grab, would you say that the C/T is the most strategic class option?

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,862
    @_Nightfall_ The item you get is based off your proficiencies. Its not class based. Of course, condisdering the weapons available to casters, its probably gonna be the staff spear anyway.

  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 416
    I didn't think of the staff spear, though I think it might slightly balance in favor of the Staff of Rynn. The staff-spear's max damage is 1 higher, but the average is the same, meanwhile Rynn gets an extra +2 to hit. Additionally, Rynn is blunt over staff-spear's piercing (which comes into play now and again).

    In terms of a if-you-could-only-take-one-melee-weapon-to-Spellhold situation (i.e to conserve inventory space), I would think the face off would be Blackblood vs. Rynn with Blackblood coming out a nose ahead due to versatility (troll killing, shield use, etc.)

    My current run is a gnome stalker/cleric. I feel like when I do a C/T run, the hit to both APR and THAC0 is going to hurt a little.

  • _Nightfall__Nightfall_ Member Posts: 137
    I don’t use it all of the time, usually just in the beginning of the fight against an enemy that I don’t want to have to account for later in the fight. Sewer party is a perfect example, I want the mage gone fast, well that is most battles, but I can scout that in Sanctuary and there is more than enough room to set traps and run around corners to hide in shadows as long as the mage is gone. This particular time I used it a little more because the original plan was to just get the screen shots, and it had been so long since I’ve used it I was having fun. It doesn’t cost very much really. Inventory management is a pain sometimes until I get a bag of holding. The character can handle most things in the game with very little need of items or recharging but it requires much more resting and I would not want to try to no reload. The staff mace is also a good alternative that can be used with a shield and max damage multipliers should be the same as rynn and the minimum is still good. When it really counts Righteous Magic should be used and max multipliers are all that matter. I do prefer a club but if someone wants the most powerful thing...

    I don’t use the one ofs for every fight. I rest as much as needed because I don’t like to reload, but it is still not that often. The character can be played in a way that it is a really good fighter and can bull it’s way through most minor encounters like a fighter type. Heck, Armor of Faith, 3rd level Pro Fire, Fireshield Red and Fire Elemental from Staff of Fire, Club of Detonation with Belm in the off hand, wade in with my hotheaded buddy and have fun. (ToB you really want to tank for the elementals when you can though) Maybe use one of the three improved haste charges, from Ring of Kangaxx or throw a preemptive Firestorm onto the playground. OR armor to the max, draw all the fire and let a flock of summons do the damage. Through most of the game the Staff of Arundel and Holy Symbol of Lathander are available and usable. Equip them memorize a Deva, two Aerial Servants(or one and one Wonderous Recall for two Skellies) and a Chaotic Commands; rest, cast Servants(Servant and Skellies then Recal), cast Commands, cast Deva; remove the used spells from the memorized spell list(very important step!) exchange the ring and staff for a good ring and weapon = a nice little squad of skull stompers and a good buff that will help for a long time for free.

    Most strategic option? I don’t know but it is way up there. Bard is a strategic solo character, a lot of the thief builds are also. Or maybe it is just my play style. I love it because there are so many ways to play it and I keep finding more, and yep, it makes me think my way through the game. Lol, maybe that is because my thinking apparatus is subpar. Hope not!

  • _Nightfall__Nightfall_ Member Posts: 137
    ThacoBell said:

    @_Nightfall_ The item you get is based off your proficiencies. Its not class based. Of course, condisdering the weapons available to casters, its probably gonna be the staff spear anyway.

    Good to know. Thank you.

  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 512

    ThacoBell said:

    @_Nightfall_ The item you get is based off your proficiencies. Its not class based. Of course, condisdering the weapons available to casters, its probably gonna be the staff spear anyway.

    Good to know. Thank you.
    Worth noting that if you play an imported game from SOD then the weapon will possibly change based on what you have equipped at the time.

  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 416
    edited September 2018
    As much as I love one-shotting mages, eating up an inventory slot is a hard pill for me to swallow on a solo. However, I can see the value of making the SoS the ONE special item I carry along. As a solo, it's not long before you hit L12 and can have pips in Slings, staves, clubs, 2H and single weapon style.

    But then I wonder if I would be making the same exception for something like Vhailor's helm. Actually, this might pair well with the SoS because then your simmy could do the SoS backstab and it doesn't cost a charge.

    Ok, so these are the TWO special items I'll drag along outside of my every day gear. So, this has me thinking this loadout pre-spellhold:

    Helm: Balduran?
    Neck: Seldarine
    Armor: Shadow scale (or if you're waiting until after SH, orc leather?)
    Boots: Speed
    Gauntlets: Weapon expertise
    Cloak: Non-detection
    Belt: I'll have 19 strength already so maybe inertial barrier? Not sure...Or, just sub in a strength belt you pick up on the way?
    Rings: Whatever, keeping extras in a gem bag
    Shield: Harmony (might use balduran just for the beholders, but might try just doing it the hard way), edit: is harmony even worth it for a gnome, you start out with great saves that only get better, are there better resistances from shields?)
    Melee: Blackblood
    Sling: Everard probably, maybe sling of seeking

    so that's one slot each for gem, potion, and scroll case, 2 more for the helm and staff, which leaves what, only 11 for looting? Man, that hurts.

    I considered a bard, but I feel like they really shine with a party and are just nerfed for a solo. PP and Bard song seem like kind of a waste to me.

    The resting thing kinda bugs me. I mean, I get it strategy-wise, but it seems so wasteful and kinda breaks immersion when it takes 3 in-game days or something to clear out a map.

    Post edited by Kneller on
  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 512
    just give yourself a bag of holding or load up a mod that adds them...i recommend the bottomless bag of holding tweak also lol

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 1,730
    better speed factor is useful when
    1 the target is moving, and the increased reach of staves helps also in such case.
    2 the target's protections has been dispelled and you need to backstab him fast before he puts on a new stoneskin/pfmw
    3 assassination is used, speed and reach make more hits possible on multiple targets to maximize the assassination effect

    staff of striking gives 25 high damage backstabs if you are not into sell it to recharge it ( but imho a tief is a tricky one and i don't have rp problems in him selling and stealing it once from each fence, so 100 backstabs that are more than enough until you get the sotr that make it obsolete).
    with the nera quest you can get a second sos with less charges so even without recharging it there are enough charges to 1 shot kill every enemy that really needs it and is not immune to backstab. ryn takes care of the other enemies.

  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 416
    Borek said:

    just give yourself a bag of holding or load up a mod that adds them...i recommend the bottomless bag of holding tweak also lol

    I'm planning to do this run in a non-cheaty way. If the EE series goes on sale before I start this run, I read I can get a bag of holding somewhere in SoD (still leaves me high and dry for BG1, though).

  • _Nightfall__Nightfall_ Member Posts: 137
    I have played through the game so many times that I needed a shortcut to help move things along so I would Console in a bag19 or bag18, forget which at the moment, at the beginning of SoA. It is a grab bag for characters begun in ToB and it is filled with mid level goodies, important things I used were, the bag obviously, boots of speed, sandthief ring, one or two +2 weapons and a armor. There is nothing game breaking in there except FoA and it can be gotten super early anyway. Then I would give myself 400,000 xp. I would sell the rest of the equipment and be set up nicely. It really wasn’t much but doing that I could do a 100% complete solo run minus npc quests, from the beginning of SoA to the end of ToB, in about eight hours real time. It allowed me to try many different characters and play styles.

    I miss being able to do that.

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