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How to get the most out of an F/M/T?

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Comments

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 194
    Any fighter/mage combination is a superior defensive melee combatant to any single-class fighter, because you have defensive spells. The addition of thief allows you to avoid selecting some of the poorer NPC choices in the game.

    You raise the point that I have been making, however. The combination of F/M/T becomes very powerful in combat in the very final stages of game. Despite what many people seem to think, this is not an MMORPG in which building the character to his final stage is the entire point. You will not play for months or years at the level cap. The end-game constitutes 2 or 3 hours of an 80-100 hour saga. Up until those final few hours of gameplay, the F/M/T is not as effective, and noticeably so, as a F/M or a M/T.

    Here are some reasons why. You will never have access to stoneskins or improved invisibility in BG1 unless you remove the level cap (which is a cheat). If you are playing with a full party, you will not get much beyond level 13 as a mage in the SoA content. That limits you to two 6th-level spells as compared to a single-class sorcerer or specialist mage who could reach as far as level 19 and have access to 9th/level spells and the ability to take full advantage of improved alacrity and basically automatically defeat Irenicus, even on SCS. F/M/T defensive spells are casually dismissed by remove magic or dispel magic from any enemy. This is critically important if playing SCS, because mages, especially those that are prebuffed, will consistently begin battles with dispel magic or remove magic, and there is not point at all in buffing your characters with underleveled casters. There is nothing more satisfying than watching the Chessboard queen waste her first round trying to dispel my 10th-level bard buffs and failing, wasting her first, and probably her only, action.

    Furthermore, your saving throws will be 2 points or more lower through the saga than a single-class or 2-class multi-class, and this is often much more important than any other consideration. All the class synergisms and special tricks in the world are meaningless if your character is wandering around confused.

  • SimulacreSimulacre Member Posts: 79
    edited October 7
    I was merely answering your argument saying that the F/M/T is great because you don't have to put up with a companion thief in your party, allowing you to get the best characters only..

    But M/T ARE one of the best companions. So what gives ?

    I also don't really get your last argument about saving throws. There are spells and invulnerabilites given by items to help you with confusion and effects alike. I fail to see how this can be more important than synergism with Jan.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 256
    edited October 7

    The problem is not that we are overlooking that an FMT can do all these things, but that more focused classes can do these things better, so what is the benefit of being an adequate-rather-than-great fighter, and mage, and thief? What unique gameplay is unlocked by having simultaneous access to all of those abilities?

    As noted, for solo play, having access to all those abilities can make you a beast, but in a party there is (almost) always someone better placed to cover each speciality, so how do you shine?

    It is completely correct that FMTs have a higher THAC0 than single or double-classed fighters, fewer thief points than single or double-classed thieves, and slower access to high-level spells than single or double-classed mages. But the synergies between F, M, and T nevertheless make FMTs stronger overall than their component parts. Melee effectiveness rises rather than falls when fighter is combined with mage due to caster-only buffs and the ability to, when needed, breach mage defenses. Backstabs and store-looting are more not less useful when thief is combined with fighter and mage due to higher per-hit damage and the broader array of items usable by CHARNAME. And the "bang for the buck" from defensive spells are more not less valuable when mage is combined with thief and fighter. That's the main unique gameplay that is unlocked by having simultaneous access to F, M, and T in the same character.

    The one area where FMTs definitely don't shine is the ability to cast dragon's breath, horrid wilting, etc. But, I'd argue you really shouldn't be using a multiclassed mage of any type for those spells due to their lower caster level, so if that's the role you need filled, it's probably best to go with a sorcerer or specialist wizard rather than any of the multiclassed options discussed in this thread.

    Post edited by jsaving on
  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 194
    Simulacre said:

    I was merely answering your argument saying that the F/M/T is great because you don't have to put up with a companion thief in your party, allowing you to get the best characters only..

    But M/T ARE one of the best companions. So what gives ?

    I also don't really get your last argument about saving throws. There are spells and invulnerabilites given by items to help you with confusion and effects alike. I fail to see how this can be more important than synergism with Jan.

    M/Ts have higher caster levels and more mage spells than F/M/Ts. They are typically only 1 level behind a single-class caster. This is why I preferred my M/T to my F/M/T. He was not noticeably less capable than a single-class mage or thief. The F/M/T was noticeably less capable. The addition of the third class makes the level difference and division of experience points hurt much more.

    I have not played vanilla in 15 years, and do not remember much of how the scripts function in vanilla. In SCS, casters in SoA will not target characters who with spells to which they have invulnerability: not often, at any rate. They will remove these invulnerabilities first in such a way as to take full advantage of their spellbooks. In BG1, they will dispel your buffs first, and the amulet of mind shield is easily dispelled if used on a lower-level character. In my last playthrough (last week) of BG1, I found it to be practically worthless until I reached 9th level. It was dispelled in almost every battle. The same holds in SoA. In mid-game SoA they will first take down your mage buffs, such as SI:Abjuration, often with a quick-cast spell trigger. Then they often follow this up with an AOE Remove magic, taking down buffs across your party if you are grouped, often including such buffs as Chaotic Commands (especially if it is from Jaheira or Aerie, who also lag a caster level or two behind Viconia: one of the reasons I have a high opinion of Viconia). Caster level is the best defense against this tactic to maximize the probability that nothing goes horribly awry. It may not be as flashy, plodding through battles with single-classed characters who lack powerful synergism, but it is often the more sure path to victory. The same can be said for solo Charnames.

  • GoturalGotural Member Posts: 1,219
    edited October 8
    To my mind F/M/T are vastly superior to any kind of Fighter => Mage dual, Thief => Mage Dual, F/T, M/T, Bards or M/C. The only close contenders are F/M and F/M/C.

    What I'm going to say apply to a Bhaalspawn F/M/T, it's slightly different in a multiplayer scenario.

    In this post I'm going to explain why F/M/T are amazingly good, I could then compare them to other classes combination in another big post if you want.

    So bear in mind that most of what I'm going to say apply to F/M and F/M/C aswell.

    Right from the start in Candlekeep you can put 60 points in Open Lock to open the chest upstairs in the inn, which is easy to do as an Elf with 19 Dex, to obtain the star sapphire in order to have a lot of gold, enough to buy your armor, multiple ranged and melee weapons in case one of them break, a tower shield if you get ambushed by bandits, a helmet, plenty of ammo, etc.
    You also get to start with 2 spells as a Mage, of course you are going to take Sleep and Find Familiar.
    Thanks to Find Familiar, you are already going to have more HP than a single class Fighter (you should have atleast 15 HP depending on your mod setup).
    With Sleep, you can trivialize about 40% of the BG:EE content, enough for any class/race or any party composition to get enough gold/xp to wreck through the game.
    And thanks to the Fighter class, you have good APR, THAC0 and damage with specialization.

    I advice you to take 2 pips in daggers, because throwing daggers are very good. You can equip them with a tower shield, you can get a +1 dagger in Candlekeep and they do very good damage from range at the start. Plus later in the game you can use the Dagger of Venom and the Silver Dagger.

    You could also pick Longbow of course, but I feel like it is a bit wasted after BG:EE, but honestly your choice of weapon is not important as long as you have at least 2 pips in dual wielding and 2 pips in a weapon with which you can backstab from BG2:EE and onward.

    At level 1, F/M/T are kings.

    You can then do the Shoal encounter, the Melicamp quest and other very easy little quests thanks to the Sleep spell to get your first few levels in 5-15 minutes of play time. At this point you are free to recruit other NPCs or not. You can start to buy the Wand of Sleep to trivialize the game even more, you also can get the Ring of Wizardry to either get a huge amount of gold or to cast the Sleep spell a few more times per day.

    At this point of the game, the F/M/T should already be able to cast level 2 spells, which means he can cast Web, which is the equivalent of Sleep for the other 60% of the game. Seriously casting Web multiple times is so awesome in BG1 it will solve any situation or any fights combined with some ranged weaponry or some Fireballs.

    Fireballs which are super easy to get because you can cast Sleep to kill every Ankhegs north of the FAI and get a lot of experience and the Wand of Fire.

    At this point really, you already have all the keys to do every encounters in a SCS setup, all provided by the F/M/T, solo or in a party (other classes could do it too, in this part I'm only speaking about the F/M/T). With your high Dex (20 with the tome), Elf bonuses, the good Bhaalspawn power Draw Upon Holy Might, Potions of Mind Focusing or Potions of Master Thievery you can easily unlock and disarm everything in BG1 while having enough point to increase a fair bit either Stealth or Detect Illusion.

    And later on in the first game even in a full party you can send your F/M/T alone and kill everything with some Web spells + Fireballs from the wand or Arrows of Detonation, you can run super fast with the Boots of the Cheetah to hide in a corner every round if needed to disengage, break enemy spellcasting, reset fights, etc.
    Or you can also fight toe to toe with everything with a combination of buffs, potions and equipment (Drizzt's scimitar, Helm of Balduran, Cloak of Balduran, Ring of Protection +2, Robe of the Archimagi, etc).



    I won't say anything about SoD, but note that you will be able to get to level 8/8/9, which means getting your 0.5 APR from Fighter level 7, Stoneskin and Spirit Armor spells, etc. F/M/T become even more powerful at this point.



    In BG2:EE you start as a powerhouse because you can do everything at the same time. At 405,000 XP for example, a F/M/T will be level 8/9/9 while his single classes counterparts are level 9, 11 and 11. At this point of the game, Mages are casting level 5 spells and so is the F/M/T, at this point of the game Fighters have only 1 level over the F/M/T.

    At this point of the game, a F/M/T is as high level in his Mage and Thief classes than a single class Fighter is in his Fighter class, this is crazy. (at 480,000 xp, a F/M/T is a level 10 Thief, at 480,000 xp, a Paladin or a Ranger is only level 9!)

    I agree that I'm showing here the best experience breakpoints for the F/M/T and that it's slightly exaggerated, but my point is that in the 150,000 - 500,000 xp area, F/M/T become gods amoung men.

    Then the experience curve becomes linear instead of quadratic. The power difference between F/M/T and other classes diminishes a bit, but the F/M/T is still in my opinion the most powerful character if played correctly. Having access to level 5 spells, and soon level 6 spells, the F/M/T has access to the spells that matter.

    If you are playing solo, you should soon enough get HLAs in Chapter 2. If playing with a full party, you will get to level 6 spells soon enough instead but another Mage can casts on you Spirit Armor, Improved Invisibility and Improved Haste if you lack the spell slots.

    Protection from Evil + Blur + Mirror Image + Stoneskin + Spirit Armor + Improved Invisibility (or Shadow Door) + Spell Immunity : Abjuration and you are going to be impervious to everything that will try to physically harm you. It will give you enough Armor Class to deal with most of BG2:EE (Blur gives -3, Improved Invisibility gives -4, Spirit Armor sets base AC to 1 like a Full Plate, Protection from Evil gives -2, with Dexterity alone you will literally have -12 AC after the first Irenicus cutscene completely naked with no equipment and with more items and spells a few hours into the game you can get to a point where even Firkraag won't be able to hit you).

    Your damage is amazing, with great THAC0 and damage, you only need to cast Mislead to deal the most damage of any classes in the game, and your Mage can casts Improved Haste on you. And this is not even needed, Baldur's Gate was not balanced around 10 APR Fighters and such. Firkraag for example only have 184 HP without mods, a Fighter with 10 APR and only 19 damage average per strike can kill it in a single round. Damage is overrated in Baldur's Gate. But if needed, use Mislead + Improved Haste and some traps and you can instantly kill mostly everything.

    And your saves are excellent too, with a base save vs death and spell of 8 at 1M XP, you can get saves vs death at 3 only with only Blur and Improved Invisibility with no items and only 2 spells, saves vs spells at 0 with Spirit Armor added to the mix (once again, with zero items).

    And you are an amazing Thief! At level 10, with only the skill points provided by the class, you have 40+9*25=265 skill points without counting base skill points, Dexterity or the Elf race. It's enough to get to 100 in both Open Locks and Find Traps and have 65 points left to do what you want. And I don't advice to go for 100 in OL/FT, 90 should be enough with a Draw Upon Holy Might spell from the Bhaalspawn power if needed.

    At this point your progression starts to slow down, but honestly it doesn't matter, you are already too powerful. As I said before, with spells up to level 6 you can get pretty much invincible and do godlike damage. If you are in a party and have only access to level 5-6 spells for a while, you will lack the spell slots to Secret Word / Ruby Ray of Reversal / Breach / etc the enemy spellcasters, true, but you have other party members for that. As powerful as the F/M/T can be he won't be able to break the enemy's protections as easily as Edwin and he won't be able to summon the Skeletons Warriors that Viconia is going to throw against the Mind Flayers or Beholders, I admit. These are the only areas where the F/M/T is not going to be a god.

    Finally comes ToB, F/M/T have access to Assassination, Time Traps, UAI, Greater Evasion, Greater Whirlwind Attack, level 8 spells. You will be able to get to something like -10 in every saves, -30 AC, 10 APR with backstabs during Time Traps, etc.

    A note on Time Traps, you can put 7 of them, stack them one on another and they will all trigger one by one automatically. Each trap stops time for 10 secs, which means that if you put 7 Time Traps you can get 70 secs of Time Stop at the start of a fight. More than enough time to murder everything that isn't outright immune to Time Stop.

    But honestly, nearly every characters become so powerful in ToB that being as powerful as the F/M/T isn't needed.

    Post edited by Gotural on
  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 194
    edited October 7
    Lol... I think that we play the game in very different ways and that you miss the point. Nearly everything that you mention can be done by a F/M, only better, because they have more mage and fighter levels. Up until you can cast mislead for extra backstab attacks. Do you see? One F/M and one M/T (i.e. Jan or Imoen) are superior at everything to your F/M/T and any companion you choose. I have made no mention of Sorcerer or mage/cleric. However, I will observe that your mighty armor class can be achieved by a Sorcerer, single-class mage, or 2-class mage, in BG1, and the sorcerer will burst for better damage than you, because he will be throwing MMMs, at 5 attacks per round naturally, effectively making spell-casting by enemy mages impossible for 2 rounds.

    You cannot kill everything instantly because the game has scripts that, if allowed to function, will take action to oppose you. You will not be "insta-killing" any mages with Improved Mantle, for example, in SoA, and almost every mage in SCS will immediately cast improved mantle. You are going to have to remove this, and your F/M/T is not going to be able to remove this, because said mage will also have SI:Abjuration, Spellshield, and other defenses. After 4 rounds of flailing helplessly at the mage, I assure you that you will dead, and not "insta-killing" anything anymore. Whereas a Sorcerer or 2-class Mage will be able to remove this, and then all that is needed is 1 attack.

    I know that F/M/T's are all the "rage" right now. I have played one. I like the class, but it is not the end-all, be-all of Baldur's Gate, and I think that from the beginning of the saga, there are other classes that are more powerful if the game is played realistically and tactically, without exploiting the AI and overly exploiting metagame knowledge.

  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,334
    @Gotural thanks for the no-spoiler info on SoD, that was the perfect level of using public info to make the needed points without leaking anything :)

    I have quite a bit to absorb there. The early-game for FMT seemed to rely on a lot of meta to boost xp out of the 1/1/1 zone asap while playing solo before recruiting a party. Likewise, your use of wands is a great benefit in solo play, but I can easily spread those wands around other casters when I have a party, where they might be more appropriate if my PC is not distracted trying to do magic along with everything else? IIUC though, we do gain the ability to use wands in armor? That could be a big selling point, although removing armor for spell casting (and thievery) gets old really fast!

    I'm afraid I don't buy the "6th level spells are close" argument either - you need 2,250,000 xp to get there, at which point a single-class mage is getting their first 8th level spell. You are giving up a lot of progress here, and you will need over 1 million more xp for the next mage level (by which point you are into HLAs and single-classes have level 9 spells), and another million more for 7th level spells. If 5th level spells are enough to make you a powerhouse in combo with fighter and thief levels though, fair enough. I think this point leans more towards the Blade Bard that others have suggested though.

    Still plenty for me to chew on though, thanks again for taking time for such a detailed reply.

  • GoturalGotural Member Posts: 1,219
    @Aurorus As I said, many things I wrote apply to Mages in general, and it is true that F/M for example can do nearly everything a F/M/T can do. My previous post was not aimed at comparing the F/M/T to other classes, my goal was to show that the F/M/T is incredibly potent and can deal with anything the game can throw at you. But I could write another huge wall of text to compare the F/M/T to the other classes if you want. At some point they are stronger, at some point they are weaker, but overall when you sum up all the different parts of the game, it is my opinion that F/M/T are the strongest class overall.

    Concerning the F/M + M/T (Jan or Imoen), I think a F/M/T + Edwin would be a lot better.

    And of course, when I'm writing about killing some enemies instantly, I'm speaking about either non-mages enemies or mages after you strip them of their protections. At the beggining of BG2:EE in a full party, your F/M/T casting Secret Word is going to be amazing at dispelling Spell Shield, Spell Turning, etc while your main mage will usually casts Breach. High level spells are overrated in general, to break a Spell Shield or a Spell Deflection spell, you don't need high level magic. Using a Secret Word (3rd lvl) or a Spell Strike (9th level) makes no difference. And many Mages can be backstabbed and killed before they even turn hostile or before their prebuffing script from SCS activates. This is where scouting with stealth is I think another great option of the F/M/T (You can scout with other classes, but a Sorcerer or a F/M cannot backstab).

    @GreenWarlock Thanks! Concerning the beggining of BG:EE, I mostly can't be arsed to recruit a full party right from the start anymore, it's just a chore. Whatever class I play nowaday I'm just going to get to level 3 in 10 minutes solo then recruiting the NPCs I want.
    Wands can be used in armor, and they can only be used by Mages classes (some Wands can be used by more classes, like the Wand of Magic Missile). (There are also divine Wands, I'm not speaking about them here)
    When I play a F/M/T (or F/M, F/M/C, etc) I get the Robe of the Archimagi as soon as possible then I don't use armor anymore.

    The more spellcasters you have, the better. What is important to remember is that being a single class character or a triple class character, you are still only allowed one spell / special ability / potion per round, and this is in my opinion the main thing that is overlooked in many discussions. In BG1:EE, a character able to use the Wand of Fire is a great asset to a team, regardless of his class or level. In BG2:EE, a character casting Ruby Ray of Reversal is not casting Greater Malison, Web or anything else in the same round. There is always an opportunity cost when you cast something. And that's why, to my mind, F/M(/X) in general are always superior to anything else, because if you micro them you can in the same round cast a potent spell, and attack your enemies.

    My point is that there is always a low level spell that the F/M/T will be able to cast in a full party that is going to be the optimal spell to use at this exact moment.

    Even in ToB you should continue to use Web, Slow, Haste, Greater Malison, Secret Word, Cloudkill and of course Breach which are low level spells. And let's not forget the Wand of Spell Striking which is really really good.

    Concerning the 6th level spells, when I play a full party, I used to get HLAs in the Underdark without SoD (starting BG2:EE with 161,000 xp), so now that you can start BG2:EE with 500,000 xp, that you don't need 3M but 2M25 for them and that you are not forced to play a 6 man party all the time, I think 6th level spells are "close". But anyway like I said, if you are playing a full party, you will have another Mage able to cast Improved Haste on you while you are still limited to 5th level spells and who will be able to casts a few Breach while you only have the spell slot for Spell Immunity : Abjuration. Once again I'm not trying to convince you that your F/M/T is going to be your main spellcaster if a full party run, just that it is more than enough and that someone will have to cast spells like Slow, Haste, Greater Malison, etc in your party. It can be a single class Mage or a triple class one, it doesn't matter.

    And yes, it is my opinion that level 5 spells (6 is better though) are enough to turn a F/M(/X) into a powerhouse.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 194
    edited October 8
    And many Mages can be backstabbed and killed before they even turn hostile or before their prebuffing script from SCS activates. This is where scouting with stealth is I think another great option of the F/M/T (You can scout with other classes, but a Sorcerer or a F/M cannot backstab).


    This is exactly what I mean. You and I play the game in very different ways... lol. The only time that I would do this is if I was specifically tasked to assasinate the mage (two quests in the whole game) and even then, I would only do it if playing evil. I would not have bothered to select the option to allow mages and priests to prebuff if my intent was to prevent it at every opportunity. To each his own, which is one of the beauties of Baldur's Gate. It allows people to enjoy the game as they please.

    Post edited by Aurorus on
  • GoturalGotural Member Posts: 1,219
    My take on this from a roleplaying point of view is that the player can prebuff because he scouts the area and the enemies before fighting them. SCS does the same for the enemies, they can "scout" your party coming to them and prebuff accordingly, but what if they scout a 5 man party, 5 rooms further so they think they have a lot of time and suddenly someone slits their throat? I mean if you don't use your backstabbers to ambush the enemy Mages, when do you use backstabs?

    This is an honest question as starting a fight by backstabbing is generally considered a fair strategy while backstabbing during a fight, thanks to Mislead for example, is considered by many as cheesy.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 194
    edited October 8
    Gotural said:

    My take on this from a roleplaying point of view is that the player can prebuff because he scouts the area and the enemies before fighting them. SCS does the same for the enemies, they can "scout" your party coming to them and prebuff accordingly, but what if they scout a 5 man party, 5 rooms further so they think they have a lot of time and suddenly someone slits their throat? I mean if you don't use your backstabbers to ambush the enemy Mages, when do you use backstabs?

    This is an honest question as starting a fight by backstabbing is generally considered a fair strategy while backstabbing during a fight, thanks to Mislead for example, is considered by many as cheesy.


    Would you backstab Viconia from stealth? She is standing in a hostile area. Shar Teel? Yoshima? And so on. This is using metagame knowledge as to who is friend or foe. Furthermore, someone who goes around randomly backstabbing people not demonstrating obvious hostile intent is a psychopathic murderer, and even Xzar would not travel with such a person. He travels only with Montaron because they are bound to a higher authority.

    What is more, Stoneskin and the like have a 9-hour duration. No mage who has survived to 7th level would be standing around without at least stoneskins engaged. The major purpose of the spell in AD&D and in 3.5 was to give mages long-term protection so that a mage was not automatically dead at the first sign of a rogue or assassin. This is why SCS gives you option to choose between long-term and short-term prebuffs. Long-term prebuffs are realistic, even for a group taken by surprise.

    I will give you an example of how I game the situation.
    My bard, who I am playing now, joined with Montaron and Xzar to meet Khalid and Jaheira at the Friendly Arm Inn yesterday. Montaron was scouting ahead in stealth and did move to the doorway of the inn, behind Tarnesh in stealth. I waited, however, until Tarnesh turned hostile and his SCS scripts engaged before giving Montaron an order to attack. In this particular instance, Montaron hit Tarnesh through the Mirror Images and killed him. If he had not, however, it should have been fine. He would have drawn out at least one sleep spell. Xzar a second and probably used up Tarnesh's magic missiles as well, because he would have gotten off 2 Larloch's minor drains on Tarnesh.


    Of course, I just killed my own familiar with a lightning bolt in the most freak thing I have seen in ages, so what do I know... lol.

    Post edited by Aurorus on
  • GoturalGotural Member Posts: 1,219
    You are right about this, it is a well-argued justification.

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