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Tips for my party, please!

DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,098
Hi everyone!

I'm currently playing with the NPC mods for IWD and was wondering if you could help me a bit with your tactics and tips because of two things: (1) The party is short on tanks and serious damage dealers and (2) I nerfed the NPC's atributes to a maximum of 85 total score for each , for personal balance reasons. Right now we're in Kuldahar with aproximatelly 5000 XP each.

The party is :
Party Leader is half elf bard : Str 11 Dx 17 Con 10 Int 16 Wis 15 Cha 17 , profs Staff , Sling , Longsword. I intend to have her use that Bardic Harp which gives extra spells , so no two handed weapons for her.

Turald (Dwarf Fighter/Cleric) : Str 17 Dx 11 Con 17 Int 12 Wis 16 Cha 12 , profs Flail ** War Hammer * Sword and Shielf * . He's the best tank so far.

Korin (Elf Ranger) : Str 13 Dx 17 Con 14 Int 15 Wis 14 Cha 10 , profs Longbow ** Longsword * Dagger * Spear * 2weapon **

Teri (Half Elf Swashbuckler) : Str 12 Dx 18 Con 15 Int 14 Wis 10 Cha 13 , profs short sword * crossbow * two weapon fight *

Dusky (Half Orc Cleric/Thief) : Str 17 Dx 16 Con 16 Int 10 Wis 15 Cha 09 , profs club * , staff *

Severn (Human Bard) : Str 14 Dx 16 Con 16 Int 13 Wis 11 Cha 15 , profs Axe * , Short Sword * , Longbow *

I know I have two bards and two thieves ! But I really wanted my protagonist to be a bard while seeing Severn and Teri's relationship flourish (I've never played these mods past Vale of Shadows) .I believe that two bards can somehow compensate the lack of mages (Spells from level 1-4 , at least) .

What I'm worried about is tanking and damage dealing from those who aren't tanks. IWD is a game where you face hordes, so the average 1-8 dmg from non-specialized bows / slings / crossbows might not help much .

Suggestions, please?


  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 604
    The leading IWD guide recommends five FMCs and one FMT. I recommend two sorcerers, a fighter/druid, a ranger/cleric, a FMT, and whatever you want for CHARNAME. If you wanted to tweak your party, I'd switch Korin to a ranger/cleric, Teri to a FMT and Severn to a sorcerer (all of which I believe you can do when you set up IWDNPC).

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,098
    edited January 21
    jsaving said:

    The leading IWD guide recommends five FMCs and one FMT. I recommend two sorcerers, a fighter/druid, a ranger/cleric, a FMT, and whatever you want for CHARNAME. If you wanted to tweak your party, I'd switch Korin to a ranger/cleric, Teri to a FMT and Severn to a sorcerer (all of which I believe you can do when you set up IWDNPC).

    Thank you for your help @jsaving , but I was hoping for ways to optmize those characters as they already are. Swashbuckler and cleric/thief tactics, for example.

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 4,646
    edited January 22
    well, you have some options, so lets see what we got here:

    First Idea:

    you could go, 1 melee, 5 ranged, preferably anyone who is going melee has no excuse to have less than 17 dex, and the only character you have that is "suitable" for that is a swashbuckler and unfortunately it takes quite a while before a swashbuckler can really stand their own in melee, so you could throw your dwarf fighter/cleric in melee, give the holmes all the best AC gear, and have everyone else go missile weapons, with that being said, arrows are great for beginning game, but as you progress the throwing axe +2 is the best ranged weapon being +2 and "infinite" ammo is awesome, then once you get to the severed hand you can buy infinite bullets +2, no such luck with arrows and bolts or even darts, so some future consideration is advised

    if your ranger is just ranger, you could throw that holmes into melee as well, since your ranger has a decent DEX and can wear heavy armor, only problem is, that low STR is going to hurt until you reach chapter 6 and grab the belt that sets your STR to 19

    next you have 2 bards ( lol? :) ) anyway you are going to want to have one of them singing 24/7 especially for that song that gives the regen and resistances no excuse for that bard to do anything else, and i guess that other bard can be more caster/item usage orientated? problem with bards is that they aren't all that great in melee, especially if they are just a bare bones bard, 2 is really overkill on the bard scale, but it is what it is, just make sure someone is singing them awesome bard songs, hell if you want, you can have one bard sing one song and have your other bard sing a different one


    what would i personally do if i had these chaps on my team?:

    party leader - half-elf bard:

    with the garbage STR and CON melee combat is going to be a straight up no-no, can't land a hit or deal damage, and can't survive a hit either with no HP bonus, even though the DEX is dobable it still won't be enough to get killer ACs based on armor selection allowance, and it will take time before you can start casting all the buff spells to be "invincible" in melee but the problem still exists: can't hit or deal damage, so it looks like the bard will have to go in the back with the rest of the ranged chums taking advantage of that higher DEX, luckily bards can use any weapon except composite bows ( which you don't have the STR for anyway ) so you can always give your bard a longbow for those multi attack hits, and then maybe eventually use the throwing axe +2? also, if you are going to give the item that gives extra spells, i would suggest making this your "main caster" bard since your other bard will be no doubt singing ( unless both of you are going to do that ) someone will need to casts spells eventually so i suggest all the best "spell slot" items go to this character to help bump it up

    dwarf fighter/cleric:

    oi, that mind bogginly low DEX really hurts, and only having 17 STR is also a bruiser because now it is almost imperative to cast DuHM EVERY single battle just to be useful, and it won't be until level 12 in your cleric level before you will even start getting an AC bonus from DuHM which won't be happening until at least sometime deep into HoW, but luckily there is a belt of STR in chapter 6 which the holmes will direly need, which helps pump up DuHM, luckily as well, for blunt weapons ( especially the flails and morning stars ) they get a lot of love in IWD so those would be the weapons of choice especially if you can get morningstar +4 defender, absolutely amazing weapon, and also you can grab a pair of mits of DEX in TotLM as well if ya know where to look, so that will help AC wise, but other than that memorize all the spells that increase your effectiveness for battle, because your dwarf will definitely need it

    elf ranger:

    well here we actually have some options, if you really need some more melee back up, a ranger can do pretty good since they can wear heavy armor and your ranger has good DEX, only problem is that the ranger has low STR so your ranger might struggle a bit with those heavier armors and he will HAVE to be the one who wears the 19 STR belt if you have this guy in melee ( if you luck out you might get that ring that only dwarves can wear and give it to your fighter/cleric since it sets STR to 19 or gives +1 i forget which one ) anyway, if you do go in melee i suggest shield and longsword, longsword of action +4 more than makes up for 2 weapon fighting and shields in IWD are amazing with their added resistances, if you want to go ranged then its up to you which is preferred with these things to note: there are longbowS that give extra attacks per round, all crossbows have default bonuses to hit and damage which stack when they are magical, there is infinite bullets +2 at the severed hand as long as the shop keep dude stays there, there is a throwing axe +2 in dragon's eye ( and i believe the gloomfrost from the dwarf holmes ) if that tickles your fancy, its up to you what you prefer when it comes to ranged weaponry

    half elf swashbuckler:

    well, this CHAR has 18 DEX, which is good, but 12 STR is trash ( at least for melee sake ) and 15 CON really hurts, that is 10 less HP than someone with 16 CON at level 10, and if you want to even think about going into melee with swashies, you need all the HP you can muster, with that said, realistically unless you get an item to increase your STR to 19 ( which may be impossible if the 2 above characters are already fighting for it ) then there is no point going into melee, fortunately TotLM and HoW has a pair or 2 of mits of ogre STR but again this is end game stuff so thats a little late, so it looks like you will be going ranged mostly with this character, which might not be too shabby since you already have the decent DEX for hitting, and the bonus to hit/to damage every 5 levels, this could work out quite nicely, again, doesn't really matter what you choose for ranged weapons it's totally up to you

    half orc thief/cleric:

    very interesting class combination to bad the stats dont make this holmes viable for melee combat, unless just like your figther/cleric you will HAVE to cast DuHM EVERY battle to make this guy useful in melee combat, luckily holmes here can wear platemail but then that disables your thief skills making it pretty much pointless in having the thief side ( unless you are just doing it strictly for the lerz ) and based on weapon choices morningstars/flails are the best option with warhammer only being good if you get the defender ones, but for ease of use, i would keep this guy in the back row, being the healer and just firing away with a sling, buddy is only going to get 1 attack per round ( without aid at least ) do that is another reason melee isn't looking so hot, so ranged with sling, set everything to healing type magic ( and maybe some animate deads for the extra kick in the pants, and you should be good to go )

    human bard:

    and here we are with another bard ( the lols continues ) this many bards is overkill but lets see what we got: first of all this CHAR is going to be your 24/7 singer, this character basically has no purpose but to motivate the comrades in battle with songs of yesteryear and the such, in IWD the bard songs are way more potent than they are in the BG series so you will definitely being doing that, it might require some micromanaging but this is the cost of making interesting teams of this caliber, so since this bard is going to do nothing but singing i would: never give this chap offensive spells since you will never cast them, if you are having some conflicting INT with your bards in terms of learning spells i guess you could give the defensive party buffing spells to this one and the rest to your top bard and have this bard cast defensive buffing spells before singing, but that is up to you, realistically there is enough potions of INT that you can have one bard learn all the spells but i digress, with that being said, i would aim to make this CHAR to have good AC ( best AC items go to the melee chums but this CHAR takes a close 2nd place ) since the purpose of this CHAR is to sing and finds their way to baddies in melee you want to make sure you don't get hit, so having a melee weapon with a buckler would help ( longswords, axes and morningstars have weapons with AC bonuses attached to them ) so one of those weapons would be a good choice

    Other thoughts:

    with this team composition you are going to have to do some mirco managing and a lot of spell preping/buffing to make this guys viable in combat, but with that said they will still be able to succeed in combat, this team is just obviously not a power gaming group, so don't expect these chums to just be "released and sit back and watch them wreck shop" they are going to need some baby sitting through out the campaign(s) but it will for sure give an interesting playing experience and perhaps will help with strategies and tactics for future runs :)

    Post edited by sarevok57 on
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 674
    My opinion is to change one bard to skald. The to hit bonuses and ac is handy for any party, either for fighters or summons.
    Another is not to use single class thief and you dont need 2 thieves. Dual at 6 to smthing else or multiclass it. You dont need thieving skill on the long run, other than open locks, find traps, maybe detect illusion. Your bard can do the pockets.
    So either use only cleric/thief and replace swashbuckler with a paladin or fighter/druid. Or dual the swasbuckler later and use smthing else not the cleric/thief.

  • AaezilAaezil Member Posts: 166
    Change the swashbuckler into a tanky melee class or 1 of the bards, really

  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 674
    Maybe change the ranger class to some more tanky one, or use an archer to more dmg. My recommended party is if you devoted to 2 bards are:
    -Berserker or undead hunter or ranger/cleric
    -Cleric/thief or fighter/mage/thief or fighter/thief or dual swashbuckler(6)/fighter

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,098
    hey @sarevok57 !

    Thank you so much for your thorough explanation of what can be made of those characters. I focus on buffing and, although you did not mention it, I realised that for the harder battles I can invest on potions ! Also, my bard can cast "strength" , that should also help. The swashbuckler is already level six , so both her and the ranger can help on close combat as long as the enemy is not aiming at them. I'm still considering my options with the cleric/thief , but so far I can have him use a sling (his strength helps increase the damage a bit) .

    @Danacm @Aaezil I appreciate your suggestions , I know that having only one tank doesn't help as much as it should , but I have challenged myself to try them the way they are. Should I get frustrated by it, then I'll surely try a new party combination.

  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 110
    edited January 22
    The party composition is less than optimal or even 'arguably-optimal', but in my view, tactics and spell usage are the keys that allow success in the game. Sarevok hit most of my thoughts on the usage of each character, so I won't repeat.

    In my view, with two bards and iffy tanks, your party will benefit more than most from summons. With two clerics, you will have ample castings of animate dead, which really helps you at least do damage from ranged without taking too much melee damage. If the skeletons are taking the pain, do you really care if it takes a few extra rounds to knock down the monsters? Later on, Aerial Servants will do fierce damage as well as avoiding much damage due to being immune to normal weapons. You will have some trouble with fights on entry because you can't lead with summons, but there are ways to manage. In a pinch, you can enter in stealth/sanctuary/invisibility, find a nice corner from which to summon, and proceed. I noticed that most characters have some personal way to hide, and the bards can get by with invisibility, so this tactic will even work before you get Invisibility 10' Radius. Said invisibility spell is also worthy of note since it allows resting without interruption, which is of benefit to a party that will rely so much on spells.

    You should also play around with formations. If you are buffing one character to be the target, you want that character to be targeted - it needs to be in front, and should always move forward a little upon entry to encourage the monsters to do just that. One of the triangle formations tends to work best.

    Bards - one should always be singing! Three Heroes until you get Tymora's Melody, Tymora's Melody until you get War Chant. With War Chant, you can also reduce your resting/waiting time a little by using a strategy of rotating tanks - e.g. use a tank until it needs to heal, then have it hang back and switch that role to a different character while the first spells or shoots. You can substantially increase your efficiency this way by reducing down time, which also reduces pressure on spells to rebuff or heal. You must also take advantage of pickpocketing to give you early access to useful items, and buy the Horn of Valhalla as early as possible. I recommend using the horn to summon the berserkers near or around or in front of your tank wherever possible, which should help its survivability.

    In terms of spell tactics, you have to think about using spells to increase your tanks' survivability in ways other than just buffing. You may need to spend more spells than a more optimized party to, e.g., cast Hold Person around your tank to freeze some melee attackers - other useful spells for this purpose are Glitterdust, Confusion, Chaos, Chromatic Orb, Emotion:Hopelessness, Symbol: Hopelessness, etc., all the way up to Power Word:Blind. Protection from Fire and Fireball is a favourite of mine, as is Free Action (spell, potion or items) and Web/Grease/Entangle. Disabled creatures are easier to hit or may even be auto-hit, which is a boon to a party with iffy ranged attackers (read: less than max Dex and no fighter class). At higher levels, spells like Shield of Lathander and Mantle will give significant survivability for short durations.

    Edit: I should also mention that Sanctuary/Invisibility can also be cast by or on the tank if it's taking too much damage, as a way to avoid character death - the tank may want to carry your invisibility potions for this purpose as well, since potion-drinking isn't disruptable. If you've got one tank and summons leading the way and the tank goes invisible the monsters will all switch targets to the next available, being your summons.

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,098
    @Aerich @sarevok57

    Vale of Shadows and Temple of the Forgotten God were doable , but that's not where IWD's challenges start . I won't get cocky heheh.

    So , I'm on my way to Dragon's eye. I'm bringing potions of speed , giant strength , invisibility , heroism and invulnerability (and dozens of healing ones). The bards have Horn of Valhalla and Harp of extra spell slots. In other words, I am as prepared as my money could let me be .

    I remember Dragon's eye having four very difficult battles. Level 1 Entrance (The lizards attack you and you can't kite them, and they hit hard) , Level 2 trolls and spiders (It's a lot of them , even with a powerful party they're hard) , Level 3 Cold Wights (Also a mob that attacks you at the entrance, and cant be hurt by normal missiles) and the Yuanti mages at level 4 (they have powerful spells such as feeblemind) .

    I can't haste the party yet (bards can cast 3rd level spells at level 7 or 8) , but I'll have the dwarf drink the potion of speed for each of these battles along with invulnerability, agility and giant strength potions , that will make him tough and tankable . I'll also make use of Web and be at narrow corridors whenever it's possible, and will stock up on healing spells and sanctuary (a couple of boosts as well, bu0t at their current level they dont last long) and have the party get invisible/hidden in shadows/sanctuared) whenever it seems more effective to do so (My invisibility potions are limited).

    So the challenge continues . It's funny how much of a cakewalk this party would be at BG1/BG2 (with lots of magical missiles ,wands and magical armors).

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 4,646
    did you pick pocket the denizens of kuldahar? especially arundel, orrick and potion gnome dude? ( actually now that i think of it i think those are the only ones who have good stuff ) they have some stellar items that can really help you on your quest ( if im not mistaken you will need at least 70 in PP to get all the items )

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,098
    sarevok57 said:

    did you pick pocket the denizens of kuldahar? especially arundel, orrick and potion gnome dude? ( actually now that i think of it i think those are the only ones who have good stuff ) they have some stellar items that can really help you on your quest ( if im not mistaken you will need at least 70 in PP to get all the items )

    I forgot :/

  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 110
    Go back and do it! FYI, Web doesn't work on Lizardmen. Grease helps, but it's not the same. You will want the rings against the casters though. Glitterdust, Recitation, Hold Person, Slow...

    I think for DE lvl 1 in particular, you need to get summons going quickly on entry and focus on disabling then killing the enemies attacking your tank in particular. It can be a tall task. DE lvl 3 is what Web is made for. PfFire on tank (+ potion or item if you want complete immunity), 3-4 Webs, and Fireball/Necklace of Missiles does the job - at least for non-HoF.

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,098
    @Aerich I went back and did it . Got 2 rings of free action, 1 necklace of missiles and some potions. s2

    Now I can chaaarge

  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,611

    I made an IWD with a Bard and no Wizard once. You'll lose some firepower, but it is doable.

    Just to make you aware, DoF has a component for Dusky.

  • dok0zhivagodok0zhivago Member Posts: 82
    Raduziel said:


    I made an IWD with a Bard and no Wizard once. You'll lose some firepower, but it is doable.

    Just to make you aware, DoF has a component for Dusky.

    Same here, my first playthrough of Vanilla version was with Bard as the only arcane caster.
    My first playthrough of the EE version was with Jester and F/M, no single class Mage or Sorcerer.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 604
    IWD's mage battles are so dumbed-down compared to BG2 that you don't really need an arcane caster in the party. You do need someone who can summon creatures, though.

  • dok0zhivagodok0zhivago Member Posts: 82
    jsaving said:

    IWD's mage battles are so dumbed-down compared to BG2 that you don't really need an arcane caster in the party. You do need someone who can summon creatures, though.

    Avenger 😃

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 604
    Yes indeed, a great choice! :)

  • FallFromGraceFallFromGrace Member Posts: 6
    I liked Skald as my only arcane caster and didn't really felt the need for more arcane magic. Skald with his buffs+control (and then singing), cleric with his buffs + utility spells like dispel magic made my pally (draw upon as "rage ability"), barbarian and archer deadly as hell - I pretty much only had buffs and utility spells memorized ony my support staff and circled buffs to avoid resting too much - also cycled spells of my hard hitters. Didn't play on HoF diff as majority of people here so my experience might differ from yours.

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