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Torn between three Charnames. Please help me make up my mind!

I am completely torn between three Charnames and I can't, for the life of me, choose which one to settle on. I'm basically doing three concurrent playthroughs - I'm around level 5 in each - yet the constant switching between characters and replaying the same areas is seriously starting to bug me. I also know that I simply don't have the time to take them all through the trilogy. I need to choose one and play on and forget about the rest.

The Charnames are:

1. Henry III - Human, Lawful Good, Inquisitor
2. Samwise - Human, Chaotic Good. Stalker, rolled with the intent of dualing to Cleric at level 13
3. Rollo - Half-Orc Cleric/Thief, Chaotic Good

My rationale for each of them is as follows:

1. My first ever Charname, back in 2000, was a paladin, and I haven't played a paladin since. So going through the trilogy with a Paladin charname has serious nostalgia value for me. Also, playing an Inquisitor would allow me to discharge Keldorn in SoA and avoid the massive guilt trip that follows keeping the man from his family. Having an Inquisitor would also greatly help with SCS mage battles. On the flip side, Inquisitors are kind of straightforward, and I am afraid of getting bored.
2. I'm absolutely fascinated with the idea of a Stalker > Cleric dual-class. A backstabbing warrior-priest with both cleric and druidic spells ! (And yes, I have manually unnerfed R/C spellcasting.) Dualing at 13, I'd get max APR, Stalker spells and x3 backstab, augmented to x4 with Stalker gauntlets made available in BG2 by the Unofficial item pack mod. My only gripe with this build is that it suffers massively from the "waiting to start living syndrome" - it would take me 2,850,000XP to even unlock the full class, which is mid-to-late SoA. Also, I'm not 100% sure if backstab is worth the missed warrior HLAs.
3. Thief/Cleric is something I've always dismissed outright. However, after having Tiax and Glint in my parties, I've become very interested in the class. A powergamey half-orc priest backstabbing people with a quarterstaff does seem to hold up - at least in the first game. My biggest concern is mid-to-late SoA and endgame viability.


Any thoughts and feedback would be much appreciated!

JuliusBorisovgorgonzolaRAM021Aerakar

Comments

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 823
    I'd go for the cleric/thief.

    It's basically your stalker idea without all the hassle of dual classing. You'll have less APR and no Druid Spells but that's a small price to pay for a gameplay experience that's fun start to finish.

    gorgonzolaAerakarJuliusBorisov
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,395
    edited July 10
    Play in multi-mode and use all three at the same time!

    Edit: If you make the Cleric/Thief your Charname you can get a familiar once you choose the Use Any Item HLA (CG gets you a fairy dragon with a once a day free Invisiblity 10' Radius)...

    gorgonzolaRAM021JuliusBorisov
  • BalladBallad Member Posts: 173
    Skatan wrote: »
    If you are already modding, then perhaps some keepering won't offend you? I'd go with a keepered stalker/cleric multiclass. Just change in EEkeeper and keep on playing, you don't even have to restart the character.

    Inquisitors are amazing, but straight forward bashers. GWW with Carsomyr is of course amazing as always.
    C/Ts are cool, but for me I tend to get a bit too frustrated with the lacking APR. A cheated Priest of Lathander/Thief multi would solve this issue (Boon of Lathander), but that's cheating again.

    Yupp, I love eekeepering my characters, hehe.. I know not everyone likes that, but I love to play "snowflakes" ;)

    BG Ethics is such an interesting topic of conversation. I don't mind modding in items from BG1 and SoD because they're technically "in the game" and I've already "earned" them. Hence, I don't consider it cheating. I also don't mind enabling full R/C spellcasting, since it was a feature in the original game that got disabled in a Beamdog patch. However, to EE-Keeper my Charname into a kitted multiclass... I know there's nothing "wrong" with it, but I somehow just can't. It would feel like cheating to me, even when it's most definitely not. If I were to run a Stalker/Cleric multi, I would most likely get uncomfortable midway through and just remake my character as a vanilla ranger/cleric. :neutral: Yes, it makes zero sense, even to me.

    SkatanJuliusBorisovArvia
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    Play in multi-mode and use all three at the same time!

    Agreed, with Aerie for more divine power and secondary mage.
    And Neera or Nalia and Imoen as main mage, a place left for the quest NPCs.
    To have 3 toons with 25 Str is a really strong option.

  • PsicoVicPsicoVic Member Posts: 199
    edited July 11
    This are my personal preferences, but all those three builds are interesting.

    Cleric-thief. They are fun to use from the start.

    If you want to see a very good inquisitor in action you already have Keldorn. Also inquisitors´ habs are very good at bg2 but marginally useful in bg1. I´d go for the versatility of cavalier or the solid UH for the whole game,but this is my preference.

    Stalker cleric is nice, but basically you are leveling the build the whole game and you do not play the character until tob. You are also restricted to leather armor, staffs and clubs but you gain... backstab and haste? If you want to see how the build fares you can dual Valygar (wink wink). You will have a strong character in the end, so it is viable.

    AerakarJuliusBorisov
  • RAM021RAM021 Member Posts: 393
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,301
    Ballad wrote: »

    BG Ethics is such an interesting topic of conversation. I don't mind modding in items from BG1 and SoD because they're technically "in the game" and I've already "earned" them. Hence, I don't consider it cheating. I also don't mind enabling full R/C spellcasting, since it was a feature in the original game that got disabled in a Beamdog patch. However, to EE-Keeper my Charname into a kitted multiclass... I know there's nothing "wrong" with it, but I somehow just can't. It would feel like cheating to me, even when it's most definitely not. If I were to run a Stalker/Cleric multi, I would most likely get uncomfortable midway through and just remake my character as a vanilla ranger/cleric. :neutral: Yes, it makes zero sense, even to me.

    Hehe, personal taste and distaste is of course subjective :) Of course you should follow your own heart in this. I'm similar with keepering NPCs, I do it and play for an hour or three, then feel bad about it and reroll which of course doesn't make much sense either.

    JuliusBorisovgorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    edited July 11
    PsicoVic wrote: »
    Stalker cleric is nice, but basically you are leveling the build the whole game and you do not play the character until tob. You are also restricted to leather armor, staffs and clubs but you gain... backstab and haste?

    He gains free pips in DW so potentially at the end GM in flail and sling or staff for stabs, 25 str at will, same thac0 as a fighter of the cleric level end game, a long lasting kai useful for stabs and mlee and twice the cleric levels hp buff, that combined with aof and doe works better then few ac better to tank end game.
    It is true that duals have the down time, but it is true for all the dual, this particular one is no weak at all and if correctly used strong and fun to play, less point and click then a pure strong fighter Korgan like, but with much more tactical options as combines the apr of a ranger, the offensive buffs of a cleric and the backstab of a thief, and for the last one the maxed damage and str bonus, even if the last is not multiplyed and the much better thac0 make the stalker cleric more reliable and almost as effective as a dedicated high level thief.

    JuliusBorisovSkatanRAM021
  • SikorskySikorsky Member Posts: 366
    edited July 12
    Another idea might be to complete BG1 with all 3, and then import them into the same party for SoD and BGII:EE.

    Or you could do something like that:
    Play as Half-Orc Thief/Cleric
    Take Keldorn so you have your Inquisitor
    And make a little twist to Valygar - change his Wisdom to 17 so he can dual to Cleric.

    This way is better because the other two characters aren't min-maxed(it's a + for me) and they are "alive" - have interactions within the game.

    P.S. Valygar WIS twist isn't cheating or game breaking by all means because if you go with the pre-generated character you will probably set his stats way higher then Corthalas.

    P.S.2. If you add Mazzy to the team she will eventually make Valygar her squire so it will make sense to transit to cleric since Mazzy is very divine-oriented and she can have an impact on his decision.

    gorgonzolaJuliusBorisovPsicoVicRAM021
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    i usually don't give to my self generated characters more then average stats and when i change the stats of the npcs i min max them to make the dual-multi combo legal, but keeping the original total stats value.

    to have self generated characters with very good stats is not the only way to go, i don't do it, but to do it or to change the npc stats make them better is not wrong. by the way some npcs like hexxatt or sarevok have already super stats, but to use them is not game breaking, as to use npcs with low stats is perfectly viable, a stalker->cleric valigar is stronger then the vanilla one for the dual class, a few more points in stats don't make all that difference.

    but to use existing npcs instead of self generated clones of them is a good idea.

    JuliusBorisovRAM021
  • SikorskySikorsky Member Posts: 366
    I don't know how advanced are you in BG story and how many times did you finish BG II, but from my experience, if you go through the trilogy with a team like that:
    CN Half-Orc C/T
    Keldorn
    Valygar
    Mazzy
    Yoshimo/Imoen
    Korgan
    You gonna have a lot of satisfying banters, because these characters go very well with each other.

    RAM021Aerakar
  • BalladBallad Member Posts: 173
    Thanks for all the suggestions guys! I don't think I could play a party of 3 Charnames, but I did like the idea of replicating them with SoA NPCs.

    I ran some tests on the Stalker/Cleric in BG2 and ended up disqualifying him. Dualing at 13, the class unlocks one level short of HLA's, which is pitiful. The 3x/4x backstab on a 6 base THAC0 class simply pales in comparison to thieves' Assassination and warriors' GWW. As cool as the build seems on paper, it is outclassed by both the Ranger/Cleric multi and the Thief/Cleric multi, the former being a vastly better frontliner and the latter a vastly better backstabber.

    ...not to mention that a pure Stalker is really lame in BG1 - essentially a slower leveling fighter in studded leather. The 2x backstab is, at most, cute.

    I'm currently playing my Inquisitor while having Tiax in my party, so I'm getting my Thief/Cleric itch met. And in SoD, I can get Glint.

    Not sure if this is the Charname I end up taking through the saga - Inquisitors are, after all, one trick ponies - but right now, smiting enemies with Spider's Bane is fun enough.

    Balrog99
  • DapiferDapifer Member Posts: 5
    edited July 15
    I am extremely partial to Knight/Paladin type of characters.


    So, sight unseen, I am castign my vote for Inquisitor.

    All hail Henry III!

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    edited July 15
    Ballad wrote: »
    I ran some tests on the Stalker/Cleric in BG2 and ended up disqualifying him. Dualing at 13, the class unlocks one level short of HLA's, which is pitiful. The 3x/4x backstab on a 6 base THAC0 class simply pales in comparison to thieves' Assassination and warriors' GWW. As cool as the build seems on paper, it is outclassed by both the Ranger/Cleric multi and the Thief/Cleric multi, the former being a vastly better frontliner and the latter a vastly better backstabber.
    a stalker->C dualed at 13 and DW has 3.5apr, 7 improved hasted.
    surely the HLA are his weak point as he gets only the cleric ones, while the multi get them from both classes, and the cleric's HLA are not the best ones.

    you are true telling that he is not as good as a TC as backstabber, and that the multi RC is a better frontliner, but the point is not that he is supposed to be better then them in what they do best, but that he can cover both the roles.
    at the cost of being a dual, so of having a down time, but if someone want to go for a dual at 13 this cost can not be avoided. i personally would not go for such high level dual for a trilogy, maybe i can try to do it for a bg2 only run using some fast leveling strategies to minimize the down time.

    when the down time is over he will have a phase where he is actually a better frontliner then a multi RC as he will progress faster in his cleric levels, so will have better thac0 when needed and better buffs, as he will reach lev 20 cleric much faster then a dual. lev 20 mean 0 base thac0 once buffed
    having only 3 apr less then the multi using GWW. if backed by a mage that cast on him invisibility spells and/or using potions he can backstab 2 times round, and land some other regular hits in the process (using the staff of the ram he has 2.5 apr, so with the backup of a high level mage's PI can do in ideal situations up to 5 stabs round), with really good thac0, 25 str and maxed damage roll. This protected by the ironskins.
    it needs the right tactics, but as a frontliner he can be really strong, in a different way then a multi FC or RC.

    compared to a TC multi he looses as single backstab damage, not necessarily as dmg/round, and lacks the thief HLAs, like assassination, but the TC will have worst thac0, less apr, and will have to be played in a very different way, can not be a frontliner. By the way imho assassination does not shine with a low apr toon like the TC, while for a FT or FMT can be a killer HLA.

    i think that the stalker(13)->C is a strong combo, not the strongest in the game, but also the 2 we are comparing to it are not so, it needs some tactics to shine, combining the mlee power and the stabs in the same battle, thing that needs planning, battlefield control and some micromanaging, so can be very interesting for someone, but can not be the way some other players have their fun.
    So if it don't suit your style your decision to don't play it is fine.

    but imo is not outclassed, it is just different, a little more difficult to play and needing more micromanagement and some arcane support, but in its own way is just as powerful.


  • BalladBallad Member Posts: 173
    @gorgonzola Hey, I agree with everything you say. The points you've listed are the reason I got interested in the Stalker/Cleric dual in the first place. It is definitely not a weak character - not a powergamey one - but definitely strong enough, not to mention interesting. Yes, a T/C is primarily a backstabber and would be played very differently. However, I fail to see how a Stalker/Cleric would have better THAC0 at any point, given that Priest THAC0 caps at 6. In my test runs, I had a R/C multi and a S/C dual side by side, and they both had a base THAC0 of 6 at 2,850,000XP. The R/C multi would eventually reach a base THAC0 of 0 at the exp cap, whereas the S/C would stay at 6 for all eternity.

    Of course you could buff up with Holy Power / Champion's Strength - but these buffs also set your strength at 18/00 iirc, which would actually be a debuff to a tomed/lummed Charname.

    Anyway, these are minor drawbacks. The S/C is a supremely interesting, not to mention cool, build. The real question is - is it worth the wait? For me, the answer was no.

  • PsicoVicPsicoVic Member Posts: 199
    edited July 15
    It´s a "jack of all trades, master of none" kind of deal with stalker-clerics IMHO.You can fulfill several roles, but normally you have better options.

    The one main function of backstabbing when I play is to kill one target in one turn (mainly mages before they put their chain contingencies/ tattoos of power on or clerics) and the stalker SA multiplicator simply does not do the job in my experience.
    A multi f-c or R-c has better hlas, ac and combat prowess.
    A dual f-c has better weapon proficiency, armor, weapon choices, etc
    A ranger-cleric also lacks in HLA but is more solid in combat and has a better weapon and armor choices. Also, you probably have more levels in cleric because you really do not want to wait until lvl 13 to dual-class.
    An archer-cleric has similar disadvantages, but the kit gives some abilities that you cannot get with another build (You can get backstab and haste easily with other builds and equipment).

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 823
    Ballad wrote: »

    Of course you could buff up with Holy Power / Champion's Strength - but these buffs also set your strength at 18/00 iirc, which would actually be a debuff to a tomed/lummed Charname.

    You can use Holy Power as a starting point, then buff from there.

    Say you have 19 strength. You cast Holy Power, now you have 18/00 strength, but a fighter's Thac0 and extra hitpoints. You cast Draw Upon Holy Might and now you have 20+ Strength in addition to the Fighter's Thac0, extra hitpoints, and some boosts to your Dexterity and Constitution. You cast Righteous Magic and now you have 22+ strength and deal Max Damage in addition to the previously mentioned boosts.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,596
    edited July 16
    @Ballad, @Chronicler gave you the answer.
    And as the dual will reach faster high levels of cleric as after the dual all the xp goes in that class he will reach faster cleric 20, so thac0 0 when correctly buffed, then the multi that split the xp, and having more cleric levels has more memorized buffs to use each day.
    By the way the best not buffed cleric thac0 is 8, not 6.

    The only change i would do to @Chronicler buffing sequence is to cast duhm as last spell, because it expires faster, same effect, but 1 more round buffed, long battles has to be cast again in battle, but is a cheap and fast spell so it is not a problem.
    Never use champions strength. Always cast hp as first one.

    About HP and RM their duration and str boost are level depending, this and the better buffed thac0 make the dual better mlee until the multi reaches cleric 20 in end game, the buffed dual has better thac0, better str and also get earlier the special cleric ring that gives +1 str, boost that stack with the spells str boost, while the other items boost are overwritten.

    Only with the correct buffing procedure the dual is effective and superior to the multi until late game, when the multi finally reaches levels around 20.

    EDIT:
    the multi RC gets lev 20 cleric (maxed combat buffs= 0 thac0, 25 str str and 40 more hit points) at 5.4Mxp and gets natural not buffed thac0 0 at 7.2M xp.
    the dual stalker13->C gets lev 20 cleric at 3.7M xp and buffed is as good as the 5.4Mxp multi and better then the not buffed 7.2M xp multi, that share the same thac0, but lacks of str and hp boost from the buff.

    Post edited by gorgonzola on
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,799
    The debuffing effect doesn't really matter in my experience, with an extremist option, a Swashbuckler 25 (26? I got 2 HLAs, taking UAI and Whirlwind to take down bosses with something like the Staff of Ram or Carsomyr, which I used unproficient and still hit often) to Cleric dual. Very odd playing cleric that doesn't suffer from a low THAC0 due to massive bonuses, and these stack with the cleric buffs, of which he likely bothers with 3 or 4 in my experience, with more as needed though, in order to have a stratospheric THAC0, 25 strength, significant resistances enough to at least compare well to hardiness, coupled with lots of bonus HP, enough to give me crazy HP totals, and I think you deal max damage, fwiw. I dual wielded speed weapons as a cleric, as a specialist, very trippy experience, but even as a pure cleric I didn't find the character was dead weight, since he actually keeps UAI when dualed!! So, he can DW the FotA and the scarlet ninja to, for 2 good apr with a hard hitting weapon. He can save True Sight slots, can set traps, can pickpocket by the end, can stealth very well, and can if desired use heavy armour or the Robe of Vecna for faster cleric spells... he's your PC, sometimes you need to shine! A weird build, I ended up having to dual from thief right in the middle of the golem fight in the Underdark, where I needed to sneak out with the damned eggs! So I had to get lucky with the Rod of Smiting. Ugh.

    So, long story short, Swashbuckler Cleric dual (or multi if you manage it) is a very strong build, but you really want to get UAI before dualing, so you can keep using speed weapons. If you can finaggle the multi-class version, it's very good too, but it isn't going to be specialized in Scimitars, which will sink your off hand THAC0 into the gutter for sure, but maybe not at higher levels, with crazy swashbuckler bonuses. You'd get access to lots of WWs, and would be a truly prodigious fighter actually, arguably a lot better than a pure fighter I'd say, hitting almost as hard as a Kensai.

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