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Kensai Solo -- Strategy Help please

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  • WatchForWolvesWatchForWolves Member Posts: 168
    Mythdracon wrote: »
    What other strategies should I use?

    You should play a multi Fighter/Thief instead.

    Not only multis beat duals in every conceivable scenario, you also get all the abilities from the get-go and a smoother progression.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,666
    edited August 5
    Mythdracon wrote: »
    Re: daggers, I've been resisting them mostly because I like the visuals of a kensai-mage speedily chopping up enemies with long blades (fits the samurai type, even if actual samurai had splint armor, notably). Same with maces and flails
    a kensai has only 2 options as ranged weapon, returning axe and dagger. a ranged option for a solo fighter and caster is super useful.
    the ret. daggers roll a bastard sword like damage, add str bonus, firetooth adds elemental damage useful to disrupt and they give +1 apr. this is the real reason to use them.
    as side effect they can be used as MH mlee weapon retaining all the characteristics, so a lev 13 kensage GM in them with belm/kundane in the OH has 5 apr, 10 if improved hasted.

    for the flail it is imo the best weapon in bg2, as you can get it early, carry his power trough the whole game being one of the most damaging weapons in end tob, and the slowing effect, with a percentage of happening (30%for the upgraded one if i am not wrong) but no save, is super strong, even the end game bosses are not immune afaik.
    in tob FoA and crom give 4 apr (GM needed) and 25 str, improved hasted it is 112 dmg round only from the str bonus, on a really damaging weapon and with the added damage of GM, you will cut trough the (slowed) enemies like a knife with butter.

    but the game can be won with every weapon, i succesfully used katana with kensage, strong in soa but still viable in tob, and also long sword has good weapons trough all the game.
    Mythdracon wrote: »

    I was also tempted to put a third pip in two-weapon style for flexibility. Some times I've had to use Arbane +2 (short sword, which I have no pips in) to avoid the Hold spells mages cast against me
    other examples are the flail that gives damage reduction, the mace that protect from level draining, the hammer that gives 25 str and on and over. to be free to chose any OH weapon without having to be proficient is really important for a solo run.
    Mythdracon wrote: »

    I understand berserkers are better strength wise against liches, etc, but I prefer kensais because I like the theme more, and also because one of the male CHARNAME voices sort of fits for a stereotypical stern Japanese samurai male.......................
    Do berserkers tear down enemies as quickly as kensai do?.............even if it's frustrating to occasionally have to reload from the lack of armor (shield amulet can only get you so far sometimes).
    berseker rage is more defense oriented, but the berseker can use the gauntlets for more thac0, damage and with the best ones +1/2 apr. he can also use armor, even if it prevent casting, and shield.
    kensai is more attack oriented. both are really good and strong.
    as the dual is complete and you have acquired the robe of vecna you will no more need the amulet as the robe gives decent AC and you have spells to defend you, both boosting the ac (blurr, improved invisibility) or absorbing/negating damage (stoneskin, mirror images and pfmw), so the kensai mage is not a super strong glass cannon, has a lot of tanking capability, end game is a really strong mage and has a decent mlee and ranged (with daggers :) ) capability.
    Mythdracon wrote: »
    Let's discuss specifics on pips--what builds did you guys have for your kensai-mages/kensai-thieves/kensai at the start of the game, and which pips did you use early? Long Sword pips (3) made sense for me since Varscona +2 is in Irenicus' dungeon early, and the rest I put in two-weapon except for one pip in scimitars. On the other hand, if by TOB there will be enough pips to go around
    a lev 13 kensage has at best 13 pips, not infinite ones. for me the best use is 5 in each of 2 weapons and 3 in DW. 5 pips give 1/2apr more, more thac0 and dmg. you can get a good flail in early soa and have jan steal for you a returning dagger early.
    this is why my suggestion in 5 pips in flail, 5 in dagger and 3 in DW. i would go early for specialization in both the weapons, then 3 pips in DW then work to get GM in the weapon styles.
    this is for a solo run, as i have always played kensage in a party i used different choices as i always look for the better overall optimization, and usually i give the flail to my cleric, minsc or to a multi FM.

    there are many other alternatives, kensai thief is really strong, but need more then 4Mxp to get so, as before 3M tief xp and UAI is really limited in what he can equip to defend himself, no armor, no bracers and no robes, possible to solo it but very challenging.
    the multi are also strong and fun to play, both FM and FT continue to improve as fighters and get fighter HLA and the other class HLA, the FM is not as powerful as caster as the duial late game, but fight better as he reach 0 natural thac0 and gets GWW, CS and Hardness.
    still the dual you are playing is strong, interesting and with the trick of saving some quest reward (doing the quest but not the final dialogue that trigger the quest XP, and scribing/erasing scrolls you have almost no down time, very useful for a solo run.
    so continue on your route, maybe changing the weapon proficiencies, and have fun.
    you can try the multi class or even the triple class FMT, that is ideal for a solo run covering 3 roles (but without getting the lev 9 arcane spells if the xp cap is not removed) in the future.

    have fun! :)




  • MythdraconMythdracon Member Posts: 187
    edited August 6
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    but the game can be won with every weapon, i succesfully used katana with kensage, strong in soa but still viable in tob, and also long sword has good weapons trough all the game.
    Huh. Which katanas did you use in TOB?
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    still the dual you are playing is strong, interesting and with the trick of saving some quest reward (doing the quest but not the final dialogue that trigger the quest XP, and scribing/erasing scrolls you have almost no down time, very useful for a solo run.
    so continue on your route, maybe changing the weapon proficiencies, and have fun.
    you can try the multi class or even the triple class FMT, that is ideal for a solo run covering 3 roles (but without getting the lev 9 arcane spells if the xp cap is not removed) in the future.
    How many weapon proficiencies can you change? And how many weapon proficiencies does a kensai-mage get if he dualled at 13 and reached, say Level 27? I'm trying to carefully allocate my weapon pips without wasting any. And I don't want to use mods to fix any mistakes I make with proficiency selection either. It feels...wrong somehow, even if save scumming doesn't for me since I find BGII tricky. XD
    jmerry wrote: »
    A brief explanation of backstabbing:
    In order to backstab, the following conditions must be satisfied:
    - You're currently invisible. Both skill-based stealth and spell-based invisibility work here.
    - You're behind the enemy. This can be a bit fuzzy.
    - You're wielding a melee weapon that a single-class thief can use in your main hand. Weapons enabled by UAI such as the Staff of the Magi or the Ninjato of the Scarlet Brotherhood don't qualify, but weapons of the right type restricted to a single character (i.e., the Corthala Family Blade) do. Natural weapons of shapeshifted forms also work; a mage/thief can Polymorph Self or Shapechange into a hard-hitting form such as an ogre or golem and backstab that way.
    - You have a class with a backstab multiplier.
    - You hit with a melee attack. Since this attack gets a +4 bonus to hit for you being invisible, it has a pretty good chance to hit. The attack breaks invisibility, so you'll have to reestablish it somehow before you can backstab again.
    Interesting--had no idea golems could backstab! How utterly weird! Are there any videos of that on YouTube?

    I've been using Valygar wrong the whole time it seems--I have never had any character backstab, and I don't think the scripts for NPCs in the game (via the "Customize" -> "Script" button in the character sheet) actually do backstabbing well, so I've always found the concept mystifying.

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,718
    A Kensai starts with 4 pips. Gets one every 3 levels after that, so 4 more by level 13. A mage starts with one (can't be sling or dart due to Kensai) gets one more at level 6 then loses the one at level 12 (again Kensai prevents missile weapons so no pips can be allocated) and gets to use the ones at levels 18 and 24. That makes 12 total pips - including one in dagger and one in quarterstaff. Remember to not put any of the pips in quarterstaff or dagger as a Kensai or you'll lose the mage pips (they don't stack). If you choose TWF you have to put in two pips to make it worthwhile (3 is gravy but not needed) That leaves 6 pips to play with. Grandmastering quarterstaff or dagger is out but you can add a pip to one later if you want to make it more viable. So you can either grandmaster one weapon with what's left and add a pip to staff or dagger, or increase your versatility by forgoing GM and picking two or three weapons to specialize in. Skipping TWF and putting a pip in 2-Handed Weapons is also an option that gives you one more pip to play with (but GM in quarterstaff wouldn't be possible unless you sacrifice another low-level mage pip).

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,666
    I used celestial fury and hindos doom when needed MH with crom OH for 25 str.
    @Balrog99 gave you the formula to find yourself the pips at every level. But with the trick of leveling up the mage to 14 immediately there is no pip loss.

    Balrog99
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,666
    well...
    my simulacrum was also using BBoD (cast from scroll) and crom in the OH, not that it was really needed as the K->M was not soloing and had a pretty strong party, but it can be helpful for you.

  • MythdraconMythdracon Member Posts: 187
    edited August 8
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    I used celestial fury and hindos doom when needed MH with crom OH for 25 str.
    @Balrog99 gave you the formula to find yourself the pips at every level. But with the trick of leveling up the mage to 14 immediately there is no pip loss.

    Thanks--what's MH? :O And what are the benefits of Simulacrum? I'm not familiar with it--isn't it like Mirror Image?
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    A Kensai starts with 4 pips. Gets one every 3 levels after that, so 4 more by level 13. A mage starts with one (can't be sling or dart due to Kensai) gets one more at level 6 then loses the one at level 12 (again Kensai prevents missile weapons so no pips can be allocated) and gets to use the ones at levels 18 and 24. That makes 12 total pips - including one in dagger and one in quarterstaff. Remember to not put any of the pips in quarterstaff or dagger as a Kensai or you'll lose the mage pips (they don't stack). If you choose TWF you have to put in two pips to make it worthwhile (3 is gravy but not needed) That leaves 6 pips to play with. Grandmastering quarterstaff or dagger is out but you can add a pip to one later if you want to make it more viable. So you can either grandmaster one weapon with what's left and add a pip to staff or dagger, or increase your versatility by forgoing GM and picking two or three weapons to specialize in. Skipping TWF and putting a pip in 2-Handed Weapons is also an option that gives you one more pip to play with (but GM in quarterstaff wouldn't be possible unless you sacrifice another low-level mage pip).
    Ah, so only 6? I unfortunately spread some pips between Flail, Scimitar, and Long Sword already, so I guess GM is out....

  • ElysianEchoesElysianEchoes Member Posts: 416
    MH = Main hand.
    Simulicrum creates a clone of the caster. The clone is level drained, however, to ~ 60% of caster's level. So a level 20 wizard could create a level 12 clone. The clone is not an illusion, and is created with all the worn equipment and quick slot items of the caster.

    Death spell / death fog won't destroy the clone like it would a summon. True sight won't dispel the clone like it would a projected image.

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,718
    Mythdracon wrote: »
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    I used celestial fury and hindos doom when needed MH with crom OH for 25 str.
    @Balrog99 gave you the formula to find yourself the pips at every level. But with the trick of leveling up the mage to 14 immediately there is no pip loss.

    Thanks--what's MH? :O And what are the benefits of Simulacrum? I'm not familiar with it--isn't it like Mirror Image?
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    A Kensai starts with 4 pips. Gets one every 3 levels after that, so 4 more by level 13. A mage starts with one (can't be sling or dart due to Kensai) gets one more at level 6 then loses the one at level 12 (again Kensai prevents missile weapons so no pips can be allocated) and gets to use the ones at levels 18 and 24. That makes 12 total pips - including one in dagger and one in quarterstaff. Remember to not put any of the pips in quarterstaff or dagger as a Kensai or you'll lose the mage pips (they don't stack). If you choose TWF you have to put in two pips to make it worthwhile (3 is gravy but not needed) That leaves 6 pips to play with. Grandmastering quarterstaff or dagger is out but you can add a pip to one later if you want to make it more viable. So you can either grandmaster one weapon with what's left and add a pip to staff or dagger, or increase your versatility by forgoing GM and picking two or three weapons to specialize in. Skipping TWF and putting a pip in 2-Handed Weapons is also an option that gives you one more pip to play with (but GM in quarterstaff wouldn't be possible unless you sacrifice another low-level mage pip).
    Ah, so only 6? I unfortunately spread some pips between Flail, Scimitar, and Long Sword already, so I guess GM is out....

    For soloing I prefer not Grandmastering anyway. In a party it's nice to be super-specialized because somebody else can wield the other cool weapons, but when you're by yourself you don't have that luxury. Flails, longswords and scimitars are very strong picks. You might want to add a piercing weapon (shortsword or dagger) and either warhammer (for Crom Faer) or bastard sword (for Foebane) to round things out.

  • MythdraconMythdracon Member Posts: 187
    Wow, Simulacrum seems ridic powerful. I regret not using it in prior playthroughs, but I will use it in this one! :)

    I guess for soloing it makes sense to be flexible. But I guess the question is whether I can beat Jon Irenicus alone--it was so much easier to have a party with Jan laying traps at Irenicus' feet to instantly defeat him. XD

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,666
    Simulacrum is very powerful, even if the EE one gives you no control on which spells the caster has memorized are retained.
    The only spell that destroy it is dispell magic, his quick slots can be equipped with rare scrolls or charged items without consuming them. So he can equip a black blade of disaster even before your charname is able to cast it every time you summon him.

    Projected Image is a not level drained clone, that keeps all the arcane power of the caster, but can not physically attack, is destroyed also by true sight and freezes the caster.
    So for a soloer is very useful as you can cast many spells at the cost of a sigle lev 7 one, but it need some planning as to have charname freezed in a solo is dangerous.

    Following the proficiency path i suggested you could have GM in mlee and ranged, but you cal live without it. I use lev 9 duals so i have a worst thac0 to compensate late game. Versatility is good, enyoy it.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,666
    You can easily beat Jon without traps, dont worry :)
    It is one of the best battles of the game, why to ruin it with an effortless victory without an actual fight... ;)

  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 397
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    You can easily beat Jon without traps, dont worry :)
    It is one of the best battles of the game, why to ruin it with an effortless victory without an actual fight... ;)

    To rub it in Irenicus' face how all of his magic is impotent against a spunky 20-something girl's collection of pointy sticks, of course. ;)

    Balrog99gorgonzolaMythdracon
  • Silver_ArrowSilver_Arrow Member Posts: 12
    So much has been said here already, I dont even have anything to add to that, apart from my own preferences.

    When doing dual into mage I kinda dont like doing kensage and even berserker/mage althought its very rewarding. I just do fighter 9 / mage and im the happiest person ever, i dont find level 13 to be a good choice for f/m dual classing, and Im also a bow lover.

    As for kensai, if I play this class, then I go with kensai 13/thief althought it does bring some pain into the game...

    Bg1 = pain
    SoA until level 13 = pleasure
    thief = pain pain...set traps, set traps... 13/14 = pleasure.. More pleasure
    getting HLAs, UAI = total pleasure

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,718
    So much has been said here already, I dont even have anything to add to that, apart from my own preferences.

    When doing dual into mage I kinda dont like doing kensage and even berserker/mage althought its very rewarding. I just do fighter 9 / mage and im the happiest person ever, i dont find level 13 to be a good choice for f/m dual classing, and Im also a bow lover.

    As for kensai, if I play this class, then I go with kensai 13/thief althought it does bring some pain into the game...

    Bg1 = pain
    SoA until level 13 = pleasure
    thief = pain pain...set traps, set traps... 13/14 = pleasure.. More pleasure
    getting HLAs, UAI = total pleasure

    You can Grandmaster in bows or crossbows that way too! There aren't any NPC's that excel in those so it's pretty unique if that's an objective of your build...

    Silver_Arrow
  • Silver_ArrowSilver_Arrow Member Posts: 12
    Balrog99 wrote: »

    You can Grandmaster in bows or crossbows that way too! There aren't any NPC's that excel in those so it's pretty unique if that's an objective of your build...

    Thats what I was saying ^^ thats why I go pure fighter 9/mage.


    Balrog99
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,718
    Balrog99 wrote: »

    You can Grandmaster in bows or crossbows that way too! There aren't any NPC's that excel in those so it's pretty unique if that's an objective of your build...

    Thats what I was saying ^^ thats why I go pure fighter 9/mage.


    I should have guessed that from your handle... :)

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