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Min/maxing a Wild Mage

Hi All,

I've been playing BG1/2 on and off for years now but have always role-played rather than power-gamed. When I saw the announcement for BG3, I decided to do another play-through (starting from BG:EE) and got a fantastic roll of 99 on an Elf Wild Mage. Being my highest ever role, I decided I would try and power-game this time on a high difficulty but I soon realised that I was quite clueless on a few points - specifically:
  1. Starting stat distribution: after maxing INT (18) and DEX (19), 15 in Con (+1 from tome), what stats are most important? I assume wisdom of about 16 (with tomes taking it to 18) for Wish in BG2? Is there any merit in maxing strength?
  2. Proficiency: I usually just take a pip in darts for mages - is this optimal given that I could max my strength?
  3. Starting spells: thinking Magic Missile but very open to all suggestions.
  4. Playing as chaotic good, what would you consider to be an optimal party composition? Coran and Imoen seem to be good choices? I would also consider an evil play-through if there is a better composition.
  5. Items: as this is my first time playing a Wild Mage, what items should I be trying to obtain in particular?
  6. Spells: level 1 aside, what spells in particular should I be looking to pick up?

Any other tips or advice to min/max my run would be very welcome.


  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 5,139
    Welcome Zeltaa - hope you get lucky with your wild surges :p.

    A few points to note:
    1. Strength is useful even for a mage - particularly as in the EE slings get bonus damage for strength. With a 99 you should just be able to drop charisma a bit (you can always boost that using friends) and have other stats high.
    2. Darts are a reasonable option for a mage, but with high strength I think slings are better. Apart from the damage one benefit of the sling is its longer range - meaning you're less likely to get sucked into combat. You might also want to consider daggers - they get 2 APR and also get strength damage, but they're more expensive to buy, a bit more hassle to use and don't get the same THAC0 benefit as slings (where you can double up benefits from using both a magic sling and magic ammunition).
    3. For the start of BG1 sleep is incredibly powerful. Blindness will also make some fights trivial early on. Find familiar gives you some bonus HPs, plus the possibility of using your familiar for some tasks (beware though as they are easily killed). Armor gives you a long-lasting AC benefit, while shield gives you a bigger (but shorter) benefit. Grease is fun to use against enemies without missile attacks, but you do need to be careful not to get stuck in it yourself.
    4. If you're power gaming then alignment is not of great importance, but you do need to beware of conflicts between some party members (like Edwin and Dynaheir). You might want to consider using the new EE NPCs if you've not tried them before - it could be amusing to pick up Neera and have 2 wild mages in the party ...
    5. In a party your particular equipment is not that important. However, in BG1 wands are extremely powerful and give you options to make a contribution without risking a wild surge.
    6. I like invisibility myself, which gives you lots of tactical options for scouting, travel, invisibly blocking enemies etc. Web is another incredibly powerful spell, though like grease you need to be careful about getting stuck in it. Haste gives a party a big boost, while at higher levels you can get hold of improved invisibility and spirit armor to greatly enhance any character's defenses (you can also get stoneskin to help your own, but that's not easy to get hold of in BG1).

  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 902
    edited June 11
    1. Sounds good. Str does not need maxing as long as it is decent for carrying capacity (more important it you are solo). Depending on my mood I like a bit more Wis (Lore) or Cha (because I don't want to play an ogre). EDIT: remember that you need sacrifice a stat point (Con, Dex, Int or Wis?) in Spellhold and one more Dex point in the Hell trials.
    2. IIRC if you max Strength you might want to take slings. But this was only implemented by some versions of BG and not others. Not sure whether they get strength boni right now.
    3. Bad idea, you find that scroll a lot, and it is pretty useless at Level 1. I would suggest picking 2 of those three spells: Sleep, Blindness and Find Familiar. Find Familiar is the rarest one, though there is a guaranteed place to find it in Chapter 3. Still, the extra HP are useful earlier on.
    4. There are just so many options. I would pick mostly NPCs you did not use before. If you want to have a pretty chaotic but good team: Imoen, Coran, Alora, Minsc. Dynaheir either endure for Minsc's sake, or drop her for Garrick or Kivan.
    5. Mages are not that reliant on items. You should get Robe of the Archmagi at some point (High Hedge). Ring of Wizardry is a must. Metaspell amulet is nice, as is Ring of Protection + 2. Stock up on Wands of Fire and Frost.
    6. For the first game. Level 2: Web, Mirror Image. Level 3: Haste, Slow, Inv 10' (if you can get it), Melf Minute Meteors. Level 4: Emotion, Malison, Stoneskin, Imp. Invisibility. Level 5: Chaos, Cloudkill, maybe Feeblemind. There are other great spells, but those are enough to carry you through the game.

    Are you playing SoD? That would add a few items to 5.

    Post edited by Ammar on
  • ZeltaaZeltaa Member Posts: 2
    Ammar wrote: »
      Are you playing SoD? That would add a few items to 5.
    Thanks for your insight! Yes, I plan on playing SoD in between BG1 and BG2. I also plan on playing the ToB expansion, if that makes any difference to the answer you already provided.

  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 902
    Zeltaa wrote: »
    Ammar wrote: »
      Are you playing SoD? That would add a few items to 5.
    Thanks for your insight! Yes, I plan on playing SoD in between BG1 and BG2. I also plan on playing the ToB expansion, if that makes any difference to the answer you already provided.

    OK, then some more thoughts on items.

    SoD has a returning dart which is very useful for Mages. There is a Wizard Hat, which is great because it slightly improved your casting speed. Also, there is a robe that gives you the availability to cast Spell Sequencer once per day (you don't get that spell until BG 2 otherwise).

    In BG 2 all the best items for mages are before ToB, in the SoA section: Amulet of Power, Robe of Vecna, Staff of Magi. There are some interesting Wild Mage items if you do the Neera quests, but they do not compete in terms of power with the items mentioned before.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,799
    edited June 11
    Daggers are heavily underrated throwing weapons for a mage, who will likely not be an elite combatant anyways, so the no magic option isn't a big problem, as you can cast spells. Daggers IIRC still get 2 apr and get the str bonus, making them a generally superior choice to darts (if you have 18 str), though if you plan to give your mage the gauntlets of weapon expertise (I've totally done this actually), darts start looking really good again, as they have 3 apr vs 2.

    3 * 2 = 6 damage from 3 dart hits. Note, 3 smaller attacks is generally better than 2 bigger ones in my experience.

    2 * 2.5 + 4 = 9 damage from 2 dagger hits.

    Darts however can manage 3 * 2 + 3 (+1 darts) + 6 (Gauntlets of Expertise) = 15 damage, vs 13 damage for non-magic daggers with the gauntlets, and lets not forget darts have some very, very good magic versions, either offering extra damage or stun/poison, which make these very effective weapons.

    The other big positive of daggers is that a mage can technically use a +1 dagger in melee in a pinch, while the dart user is functionally helpless in melee, hitting even low AC targets only on a 1 until they can get a 2nd pip. Also, darts have short throwing range IIRC, so you're more likely to get caught up in melee, or the odd fireball, which you're likely ill equipped to survive.

    SoD is a very fun game actually, would strongly recommend darts if you'll just give the gauntlets to your mage. You can pump dex a bit in SoD iirc, so you might even get enough for another bonus.

    Slings IMHO are a questionable choice, but they have long range and can still do one good hit a round, so they aren't awful, and a +2 bullet in a +3 sling is a nasty set up actually, but I'd definitely not use the Gauntlets with a slinger mage.

    Edit: In BG1, if you have gore turned off I think Frost wands won't destroy loot. If you find this works, they can be a big help if your wild mage gets stuck in melee, as they can deal out a big hit fairly quickly, possibly ending a fight.

    Wands of Fear are more useful than you'd think, but you really want to double or triple up for best effects. I've tripled up and shut down a ton of what would be tough fights otherwise. This will require Chaos to do in BG2 I'd say, as the save penalty becomes very necessary. Paralysis can be a good trick vs enemy mages, locking them down before they can even fight back. They've also won me tough fights very easily.

  • DragonKingDragonKing Member Posts: 1,472
    Grond0 wrote: »
    it could be amusing to pick up Neera and have 2 wild mages in the party ...

    I can confirm the sheer epicness of this, especially when you purposely don't use any shielding

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