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Is it worth giving up backstabs for a swashie?

I'm thinking ahead to my solo gnome C/T run and am considering keepering it to a Halfling Cleric/Swashbuckler. It fits with the concept (the cleric side reveres Tymora), but I'm hesitant to give up backstabs. Technically, it won't change the tactics much. I can still pop in and out of shadows to make "sneak attacks", I just won't get the backstab bonus. And while a good argument is that backstabs are pretty irrelevant by ToB, they are all pretty handy all along the way. What do you think?

Is it worth giving up backstabs for a swashie? 18 votes

Gnome Cleric/Thief
61%
StefanOPermidion_Starktypo_tillyJuliusBorisovDaevelonsemiticgodSkatanDhariushockmah2Zaghoulborntodie 11 votes
Halfling Cleric/Swashbuckler
38%
ThacoBell_Nightfall_Dordledumwho_is_danielAerakarStummvonBordwehrBorek 7 votes

Comments

  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 488
    Halfling Cleric/Swashbuckler
    The Swashie is very nice, the bonus to hit, dam and AC are amazing, the ability to learn Whirlwind (sadly not greater) is also fantastic, gives you a way to bypass the normal APR issues on the class combo.

    Durmir46semiticgod
  • borntodieborntodie Member Posts: 125
    edited September 8
    Gnome Cleric/Thief
    It is a matter of playing style. Sneak attacks hardly help without a backstab bonus. Swashbuckler is only a good choice if you don't care about sneaking and you want to be an in-your-face fighter with trap detection/placement skills. I suspect you might have more fun with your original plan. If you want more melee power, I recommend C/F/T.

    It also has the drawback of being illegal. o:)

    sarevok57
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,365
    Halfling Cleric/Swashbuckler
    I voted Swashie simply because its my personal favorite thief build. But it really depends on what you want to do. SNeaky backstab with spell support, or unstopppable melee fighter.

  • CvijetaCvijeta Member Posts: 308
    could you even do halfing dual class?

  • _Nightfall__Nightfall_ Member Posts: 124
    Halfling Cleric/Swashbuckler
    Well, that sounds like a wonderful combination. It would be a powerful mele character that I would love to try. I have done that as a dual but multi word be waaaaaay better. Think of all the HLAs. I seem to recall that swashbuckler doesn’t get assassination, that would be be just crazy.

  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 416
    I started thinking about sacrificing backstab for a kit that fit the concept and character with a little more melee power. I started playing this gnome C/T, am level 4/4 (spread all of my skill points between HS and MS) with 18 strength, and am getting a little tired of missing 4 out of 5 backstabs, then having to run away, re-stealth, get behind the mobs only to probably miss again. And, when I do backstab, more often than not, the damage I do is within the damage range of the weapon for a normal attack. Most of my backstabs have been 5-7 damage. I'm not looking to be OP, but the gameplay is getting repetitive. I figure, it will pay off a little more when I can regularly use traps, but now that my stealth is at a respectable level, my next priority is find traps and open locks.

  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 624
    Halfling Cleric/Swashbuckler
    Love the concept and RP potential of your Halfling, so go for the swashbuckler!

    ThacoBell
  • smeagolheartsmeagolheart Member Posts: 6,197
    edited September 9
    Cvijeta said:

    could you even do halfing dual class?

    no

    You can multiclass as Halfling Cleric-Thief or use an "illegal*" character to get the kit probably.

    *hey it's your game, play how ya want.

    ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,365
    Halfling Cleric/Swashbuckler
    Cvijeta said:

    could you even do halfing dual class?

    That's what mods are for! :D

  • StefanOStefanO Member Posts: 309
    Gnome Cleric/Thief
    ThacoBell said:

    Cvijeta said:

    could you even do halfing dual class?

    That's what mods are for! :D
    Or EEKeeper. o:)

    ThacoBell
  • _Nightfall__Nightfall_ Member Posts: 124
    Halfling Cleric/Swashbuckler
    I know this sounds stupid but isn’t that why dual and multi class are separate and different? How much is enough? If we console in everything does it matter in the least what we do? I enjoyed the romance mods, and I I understand SCS, but why take away every chalange in the game? For me power gaming got incredibly old incredibly quick, and boring. I am not a gamer, except for this game, is being uber powerful normal in all games? I guess that what I am asking is why play if the outcome is preordained? Why be godlike when it takes away from the challenge of being human? Probably a pathetic question.

  • borntodieborntodie Member Posts: 125
    Gnome Cleric/Thief

    For me power gaming got incredibly old incredibly quick, and boring. I am not a gamer, except for this game, is being uber powerful normal in all games?

    In every online community of gamers I have seen, they were divided about this.

    On the one hand are ultra hardcore gamers who insist you didn't really win unless you were permantly blinded, doomed and walking on one toe.
    On the other hand, you have the gamers who keep asking the game developers to remove the restriction that you can't cast in heavy armor while dual wielding twohanded weapons, because hey, if you don't like it you don't have to do it, right?

    And all sorts of positions in the middle.

    @Kneller Sorry to hear that your backstabs are dealing so little damage, I don't know why you're getting that. Stealth attacks are difficult for a low level character, in any case. Stealth skills take time to build up to useful levels. One option is to rely on a potion of invisibility against tougher enemies. And ranged attacks, always good in BG1.

    gorgonzolaThacoBell
  • DhariusDharius Member Posts: 214
    edited September 9
    Gnome Cleric/Thief
    Well, I voted for the gnome for 2 reasons:
    * Backstab can solve the problem of a nasty enemy spellcaster lurking ahead, before it's even begun, and
    * Keepering a halfling cleric/swashy is cheating, m'kay... :)

  • DhariusDharius Member Posts: 214
    edited September 9
    Gnome Cleric/Thief
    Also, 1/2 orc cleric/thieves are brilliant - personally I'd rather have a C/T with high strength than, say, intelligence, and I think 1/2 orcs can start with 18 wisdom, which gnomes can't.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 1,703
    as @borntodie told backstab skill takes time to build up, and also thaco do.
    if the C/T is missing 4 backstabs every 5 probably you are not playing him in the right way, a cleric has spells to rise his stats, so his thaco and str, as well as spells to lower enemy's ac. now you are at a low level but there will be a point where you will be able to hit with fighter's thaco, 25str that gives other 7 thaco bonus points, and will have a decent backstab multiplier.
    as solo you will gain levels really fast and from a certain point up to the end of soa you will be a backstab king, backstab can be also useful in tob even if many creatures are immune.

    the Cleric/Swashbuckler will be stronger in early bg1 and also in tob, mainly for the ww attacks.

    it really boils on your playstyle and preference, i like backstabbing and don't mind if i have to buff my clerics to have them mlee ready so i would go C/T, but both the choices are equally viable and equally strong if played in the right way. this is the reason i don't vote, my C/T vote would be perfect for my playstyle and preference but maybe sub optimal for yours...

  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 416
    I would think that backstabs will only get worse (in terms of hit %). As levels progress the THAC0 gap gets greater, even more so for a mulitclass.

    Playstyle-wise, I love backstabs. With an oil of speed, my Stalker/Cleric took out the two mages outside of cloakwood without taking a scratch and without a reload. But a situation with a squishier character whiffing backstabs is not a fun prospect.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,365
    Halfling Cleric/Swashbuckler
    @_Nightfall_ People enjoy games in different ways. I'm not a fan of super hard games in particular. I don't really have the time to put in the practice to clear them. I like to have race restrictions removed, as it leads to interesting characters, and not just overpowered ones.

  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 624
    Halfling Cleric/Swashbuckler
    I like some of the race restrictions from P&P AD&D on which the game is based, e.g. paladins or monks only human, but some of the restrictions are BG only for some reason, i.e. only gnome or 1/2 orc cleric thieves. I'm not sure why C/Ts were not made available to all demi-human races like F/Ts are.

  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 416
    As a total aside, this play is becoming progressively less fun. Not so much for the backstabbing, but I think ditching Imoen really sucked the fun out of a solo. I've never done it before. The most stripped down party prior has been a siblings only run. I brought her as far as the FAI (to leave her safely with K&J), and the guilt trip she drops when you boot her from the party has haunted me ever since. I don't think this character is going to make it to BG2, if only from the guilt.

    Permidion_Stark
  • DhariusDharius Member Posts: 214
    Gnome Cleric/Thief
    I find it very hard to turn my back on Imoen too when I play, usually I don't. That's partly because she has excellent stats and class choices and works with all types of party. :)

    ThacoBellAerakar
  • KnellerKneller Member Posts: 416
    Yeah, I tried the swash/cleric, but I found that I missed that first backstab kicking off a battle feeling, even if I miss the backstab itself. So, I'm splitting the difference and going with a halfling cleric/thief (all vanilla). Halfling works better for me regarding a Tymora follower, though the nerfed strength and wisdom max stings a little. So it goes.

    gorgonzola_Nightfall_AerakarJuliusBorisov
  • DordledumDordledum Member Posts: 152
    Halfling Cleric/Swashbuckler
    I voted for the swashy, because I like em, but then I realized it was an illegal build, so please change my vote.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,559
    In my experience, its awful to backstab without gear at low levels, unless you're a half-orc.

    Note, getting a +2 weapon (or better, +3), and gauntlets of specialization help a ton. Either sws or ths is a big buff too. If you can stand the loss of the shield, quarterstaff and ths is very strong together for backstab. With the +3 staff, gauntlets and ths, thats +6 damage that gets multiplied, and +4 to hit. Very deadly with x3 vs mages anyways.

    Regarding swashbuckler, I love using shortbows or darts with them, but they melee very well compared to a fighter, and a Keepered cleric multi eventually has a very good THAC0, and good buffs to melee pretty well. Kinda sucky weapon choices though for a swashie/cleric.

    gorgonzolaAerakar
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 3,533
    edited September 22
    Gnome Cleric/Thief
    Playing swashie without +APR weapons is a bust for me, and since Cleric prohibits you from using bladed weapons, that's a no-go. So in this case, you might as well keep the BS from playing pure C/T and more slowly cultivate your char's ability to BS consistently.

    Buffing pre-BS every fight is tedious and boring, so stating that you can buff your cleric to do good BS is true of course, but it's not true unless you rest a alot to replenish your spells. Even with the +4 THAC0 from attacking from stealth, I find all backstabbing close to useless without fighter-levels. Waiting 'til you get the best boons from cleric (ie righteous magic) takes some time. The combo of DUHM and RM etc is of course great.

    Maybe a bit conflicting info here, hehe.. but I still think C/T is the better choice this time. just my 2 cents.

    gorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 1,703
    holy power gives the thac0 of a fighter of the same level, and str 18.00, with a single lev 4 spell the C/T is back stab ready. you can add RM to boost str and have maxed dmg roll, that is really useful with backstabs. both the spells have a long duration as you level up, duhm lasts less and backstab wise the str bonus damage is not multiplied and the bonus thaco not needed in most of the cases, it is really useful on top of the other buffs in the fight after the back stab. if the staff is the weapon chosen to backstab there is a +4 one right at the beginning of soa.

    buffing before each (hard) battle is the way of the cleric, but to be effective usually 1 or 2 spells are more than enough. there is no reason to go full buff every time, is something that is only needed against the hardest bosses, so there are enough spells to have a C/T running, probably he will run out of buffs at the same time your mages do and your low CON npcs start to get fatigued. this if you make good use of the time the C/T is buffed, haste him after exploring, cast those 1 or 2 spells needed to make him backstab ready and clear a whole group of enemies with hit and run tactics, luring them in places when you can backstab them again. don't waste precious time to loot or open containers, you have only 1 round/level duration of the buff and only preparation, planning, use of terrain features (low light points where you can run to hide again with almost 100% chance of success) let you squeeze the maximum from the buffs.
    if you want to backstab without buffing a F/T is the way to go, even if when buffed the C/T is superior to the F/T.

    SkatanAerakar
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 3,533
    Gnome Cleric/Thief
    @gorgonzola is correct. I re-read what I wrote above and see the flaws in my writing. I just meant that I, personally, don't like to have to cast a couple of spells every fight, but of course with a cleric that's the MO for bigger/harder fights. My comment about buffing for all fights is "tedious and boring" was a response to the OP's concern that he missed 4 out of 5 backstabs due to the low THAC0.

    There's a difference between BG1 and BG2 that should not be underestimated either, the clerics THAC0 progress in batches so for every new 'level' of THAC0, the base hit change from stealth will increase a lot so that you don't have to always use HP, RM, DUHM etc to hit common thugs etc.

    Anyways, I'm not really adding anything more of value, so I'll stop talking now :)

    gorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 1,703
    @Skatan
    you are right when you talk of differences between bg1 and 2, duhm lasts 10 rounds, but the buff is level depending and not so strong in bg1, RM and holy power last 1 round/level so if in soa and even more in tob they last long is not so in bg1, and also the str bonus of RM is level dependent.
    about not buffed thac0 the cleric's one is the best not fighter one, but it increases in 2 point steps and a cleric progresses slower than a thief so at some points of the game the cleric one is the one prevailing, in other moments the thief one does, but as multi the not buffed C/T has less thac0 than a pure class thief and is only marginally better than let's say jan.
    after you return from the asylum you can have crom fyer, that is a help when the thief has to backstab something with ac and does not want to buff, as the +7 thac0 make him hit and the not multiplied +14 dmg help in keeping the backstab effective even if a low dmg roll is made, but the C/M has to backstab with a club as is the only 1 hand weapon that both thief and cleric can use, so that can backstab. i am not sure about the special staff mace, a thief can use it but i am not sure that can be used to backstab, as a staff should, but as a mace should not. having 100% fire resistance, easy for a cleric, club of detonation is the perfect backstabbing weapon at high levels.
    this can be tested, but now i can not do it.
    crom can be given back to the regular user after the backstab as is better used by someone with good apr and if needed the C/T can go 25 str with spells. in soa the CT can use the 2 armors that give hide in shadow bonus and the ring sold by the special merchant in ribald's store as well as boots of speed, so giving him crom he can scout, set traps, backstab, lure enemies into the traps and backstab again.
    divide et impera, like the old romans told. there are many situations where a C/T can soften strong groups of enemies, killing their mages and taking the others one by one, without using a single spell. shield of reflection let him escape after the backstab without ranged damage, and it works also against flame and acid arrow spells.
    if a player likes those rogue tactics a C/M in soa can make some difficult battles and areas easy, while adding generic clerical and thieving utility to the party. if a player does not like those tactics, hates to buff, and for the areas and enemies where back stabbing is not an option the C/T has to buff, and does not want to master the art of using traps probably C/M is not the best class to use...

    Skatan
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 3,533
    edited September 24
    Gnome Cleric/Thief

    @Skatan

    about not buffed thac0 the cleric's one is the best not fighter one, but it increases in 2 point steps and a cleric progresses slower than a thief so at some points of the game the cleric one is the one prevailing, in other moments the thief one does, but as multi the not buffed C/T has less thac0 than a pure class thief and is only marginally better than let's say jan.

    i am not sure about the special staff mace, a thief can use it but i am not sure that can be used to backstab, as a staff should, but as a mace should not. having 100% fire resistance, easy for a cleric, club of detonation is the perfect backstabbing weapon at high levels.
    this can be tested, but now i can not do it.

    Copied two parts I will respond to. I know cutting quotes might be seen as aggressive, but that's not my intention FYI. I just thought these were most interesting to talk further about.

    About the first point, that is what the OP was talking about (if I understood that correctly). Both C and T, either multiclassed or singleclassed, do not have a great THAC0. I see time and time again people talk about Clerics having the second best THAC0 after fighter, and yes that is true, but it's still not good enough to hit consistently without boosting your STR to increase your THAC0 (or DEX for slings). This is because a fighter gains THAC0 every level but also get exceptional STR and THAC0 from pips (another +3 on Mastery!) Same for thieves, their THAC0 is pretty crap and without the option of adding pips for higher THAC0 without splicing in fighter, they have to rely on temporary buffs, usually potions in their case or items (or both). EDIT: reaching 19 STR is doable in BG1, or 20 if halforc, and that's probably what you have to do if you want to BS with a C/T. Starting with anything other than 18 STR will make you extremely dependent on items and/or spells for hitting even kobolds consistently.

    About the second point, I just want to mention that you can BS with the staffmace +2. It's the best BS weapon in BG1 according to me since it allows you to wear a shield, buckler or offhand weapon at the same time (if you like me prefer to not have to switch weapons a lot). The +3 qstaff gives another THAC0 though so for all non-fighter backstabbers, ie the C/T, the qstaff +3 is probably better since it's better to hit with less damage than it is to miss with potentially higher damage. The staffmace's 2D4 base die +2 is really, really good for BG1 and it's not bad for BG2 early game either.

    One last note, I might be a bit stupid (I've only had 2 coffee so far, so I'm at about 50% brain capacity), but it seems you might have messed up the "C/T" vs "C/M" in your last section @gorgonzola. Or maybe you didn't and I just need more coffee :)

    gorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 1,703
    Skatan said:



    One last note, I might be a bit stupid (I've only had 2 coffee so far, so I'm at about 50% brain capacity), but it seems you might have messed up the "C/T" vs "C/M" in your last section @gorgonzola. Or maybe you didn't and I just need more coffee :)

    was surely me needing more coffee, i will edit my previous post replacing C/M with the correct and intended C/T :).

    i agree with almost all you told in the last post, in bg1 every toon that is not also fighter has problems with backstab and the C/T, at least until late bg1, has to play more as a utility character. let's say that playing a C/T is an investment for later. starting with high str is surely worth, not only to hit better in bg1, but also to be able in bg2 to push the STR to high values earlier without spoiling the party of str enhancers. at level 18 a 19str cleric, if my math is not wrong, can push str to 25 with DuHM only or with RM only and at lower levels combining the 2 spells.




    Skatan
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