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Which flavour mage should I choose?

Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,207
I have always been a bit rubbish at using magic in Baldur's Gate and my player characters have generally been paladins who walk up to enemies and whack them in the face or thieves who sneak up on enemies and stab them in the back. However, I have decided that it is time to try to get my head around the magic system and so I am planning to do a run with a mage as my PC. But what flavour of mage should I choose?

My character is going to be human, I will be playing with a small party (just me and Imoen most of the time - other companions to be recruited when needed). Also, because I like to rely on the abilities of my characters rather than the items they acquire, I will be imposing a 'no consumables' rule on myself: no potions (except antidotes), no scrolls (except for scribing) and no wands (or necklaces of missiles etc). This means I will need to be able to cast Protection from Petrification in case in run into a basilisk - so being a Transumter is out.

I will be using the Ring of Wizardry.

So what do you recommend? Straight mage? Specialist mage? Sorcerer?

Post edited by Permidion_Stark on
SkatanAerakar
«1

Comments

  • Silver_ArrowSilver_Arrow Member Posts: 12
    edited August 14
    SORCERER - because you already have a mage as Imoen, along with some thieving skills. In case of a need for a specific spell, she can always memorize it prior to combat. As for your own character you will be able to be more aggressive as a sorcerer, so you will have a destructionist PC and utilitarian Imoen.

    Otherwise, if you go with 2 mages, they will be fighting for spells in their books and of course you will give preference to yourself, so you will end up with one good mage and another one living on left-overs.

    BUT, I advise you to study best spells for sorc, a bit. Im sure you can find out more on the forum, somewhere. Perhaps someone will write them for you here. I might also do it, but bit later.

    Permidion_Stark
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,207
    @Silver_Arrow
    I'm starting in BG1 so Imoen will be a thief at the start. I may dual her later but I will probably keep her as a thief at least until I get to SoD (assuming I survive that long and don't succumb to restartitis).

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 589
    edited August 14
    As long as you're familiar with the ruleset, sorcerers are better than mages in BG because of the versatility their casting system provides, no need to choose between identify and sleep at low levels, no need to guess how often you'll need mirror image versus acid arrow a bit later, and no need to wonder whether you'll need more fireballs or dispel magics later still.

    In a tabletop game the sorcerer's limited spellbook would be a significant issue, but that barely matters in a game like BG except in rare instances (and in those you can simply purchase the occasional scroll).

    Post edited by jsaving on
    sarevok57Quartz
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,066
    I wouldn't pick sorcerer without reading a spell selection guide first or it can get frustrating. For example, web is one hell of a useful spell throughout BG1/SoD but in SoA you'll realize that it gets less useful and in ToB you'll rely on better stuff. When playing sorcerer it's nice to have stuff you can use all the way to the end.

    You know what? My suggestion is fighter 2 dualed to mage. That way you can try all possible spells and fire arrows or bolts when you're outta spells.

  • Silver_ArrowSilver_Arrow Member Posts: 12
    DJKajuru wrote: »
    I wouldn't pick sorcerer without reading a spell selection guide first or it can get frustrating. For example, web is one hell of a useful spell throughout BG1/SoD but in SoA you'll realize that it gets less useful and in ToB you'll rely on better stuff. When playing sorcerer it's nice to have stuff you can use all the way to the end.

    You know what? My suggestion is fighter 2 dualed to mage. That way you can try all possible spells and fire arrows or bolts when you're outta spells.

    Yeah, but the thing is - it doesnt matter. If you count every good bg1 spell that is no longer so good anymore in bg2 then you might aswell start the game from bg2 =) or not play sorcerer at all...
    Im just saying that experience of a playthrough can be a good one throughout the entire saga, no matter if you pick a web or not.

    In bg2 you will have higher level spells and you wont be bothered if you have web or not as long as you have blur and mirror image, resist fear.
    Acid arrow would still be picked in bg1 anyway. The rest is whatever...
    Knock for solo, glitterdust, invisibility are good, but can live without them.

    I dont think its going to be such a disaster if you pick web, enjoy using it in bg1 and then just move on to other spells =)

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,066
    edited August 14
    DJKajuru wrote: »
    I wouldn't pick sorcerer without reading a spell selection guide first or it can get frustrating. For example, web is one hell of a useful spell throughout BG1/SoD but in SoA you'll realize that it gets less useful and in ToB you'll rely on better stuff. When playing sorcerer it's nice to have stuff you can use all the way to the end.

    You know what? My suggestion is fighter 2 dualed to mage. That way you can try all possible spells and fire arrows or bolts when you're outta spells.

    Yeah, but the thing is - it doesnt matter. If you count every good bg1 spell that is no longer so good anymore in bg2 then you might aswell start the game from bg2 =) or not play sorcerer at all...
    Im just saying that experience of a playthrough can be a good one throughout the entire saga, no matter if you pick a web or not.

    In bg2 you will have higher level spells and you wont be bothered if you have web or not as long as you have blur and mirror image, resist fear.
    Acid arrow would still be picked in bg1 anyway. The rest is whatever...
    Knock for solo, glitterdust, invisibility are good, but can live without them.

    I dont think its going to be such a disaster if you pick web, enjoy using it in bg1 and then just move on to other spells =)

    Well, I mentioned reading a sorcerer spell selection guide first because it helps beginers feel happier with playing a sorcerer. In my opinion it does matter since optimizing your character may or may not be part of one's fun.

    Quartz
  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 476
    I always, ALWAYS play a generalist mage in D&D games, because I can't stand not knowing any spells. ("Gotta collect 'em all!") That said, if you're familiar with the games and what you'll face, you probably would have an easier time as a Sorcerer or a Specialist Mage (probably Conjurer, since the biggest spells you lose out on are Identify and True Sight, which you can counter by bringing a divine spellcaster and using a Thief or Bard for their high Lore skills).

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,891
    I like chocolate myself. Although butterscotch is pretty good too... :p

    Dharius
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,207
    Thanks for the replies everyone. Before I asked I assumed that everyone would recommend a specialist mage of some type but it seems that there is a lot of love for sorcerers. I'm still mulling things over so anymore input is much appreciated.

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,891
    edited August 14
    Enchanter is fun. You can be an elf, if you like the extra dexterity and sleep immunity, and the -2 save penalty inflicted on your foes affect some of the best crowd-control & disabling spells in the game (sleep, confusion, chaos, hold-person, dire charm, feeblemind, etc...). I don't recommend it for solos only because you lose the sequencer and contingency type spells. The damage evocation spells can easily be replaced by wands...

    Edit: In BGEE there is Xan, though and he's already an Enchanter. The best specialist mages are alteady covered with Xan, Dynaheir, Neera, Quayle and Xzar.

    Aerakar
  • SandkatzeSandkatze Member Posts: 34
    edited August 14
    hm...
    it seems to me, that some poeple are missing your points

    My character is going to be human, I will be playing with a small party (just me and Imoen most of the time - other companions to be recruited when needed). Also, because I like to rely on the abilities of my characters rather than the items they acquire, I will be imposing a 'no consumables' rule on myself: no potions (except antidotes), no scrolls (except for scribing) and no wands (or necklaces of missiles etc). This means I will need to be able to cast Protection from Petrification in case in run into a basilisk - so being a Transumter is out.

    I will be using the Ring of Wizardry.

    So what do you recommend? Straight mage? Specialist mage? Sorcerer?

    poster above for example.

    as i see it with these restrictions the only possible way would be a mage. no specialist, no sorcerer etc.
    you can use almost all spells and the ones you can't use, are the ones which are specialised. for that you've got the spare NPC's which you're using like underwear, if i understand that correctly.

    SkatanPermidion_Stark
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,595
    Generalist mage or sorcerer, I'd reckon. Personally I don't like sorcerers since they are too good and have almost no drawbacks (IMHO they shouldn't be allowed to pick so many spells per spell level to even it out). A generalist mage is good enough and can tackle any situation.

    I have to say though, that imposing a no-wand run the first time you play mage is brave. It will take time until you have enough spell slots to be able to both buff yourself, debuff/disable enemies and still have slots left to actually damage enemies. Standing around plinking with a sling and waiting for a roll20 can be tedious after a while (for me, after about 1 minute then I restart, hehe). Sure, Imoen can do decent damage with a bow and arrows of acid, but it will take some time until you can afford a decent chunk of those. It's your choice of course, I'm just merely giving my POV.

    Remember to pick another alignment than Imoen so you're not fighting over the robe of the archmagi if/when you dual her to mage. Evil is probably easiest to get (kill Baeloth at level 5), but maybe you don't want to play evil. Playing only two mages most of the time means you actually have to lower your AC a bit for all those arrows making that robe important (plus boots and belt). If you have a tank, that is a non-issue (at least on vanilla). Kobold commandos critting you is always an interresting experience when you have low HP and no helmet :)

    A rabbit familiar can help you find traps if you dual Imoen and just run around with 2 mages, though I rarely use them myself so not sure how valid its low Find Traps skill is in practice.

    Permidion_StarkjsavingAerakar
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,207
    Sandkatze wrote: »
    as i see it with these restrictions the only possible way would be a mage. no specialist, no sorcerer etc.
    you can use almost all spells and the ones you can't use, are the ones which are specialised. for that you've got the spare NPC's which you're using like underwear, if i understand that correctly.

    Yes, basically I want to learn how to use magic effectively in the games. In BG1 it seems to me you can pretty much get by without really knowing what you are doing but by the time you get to BG2 and the high level magic starts flying around I don't have a clue what is going on so I just get Jaheira to cast insect plague and hope for the best.

    I plan to do as much as I can with just Imoen and me but I will probably team up with Kagain or Kivan when there is fighting to be done.
    Skatan wrote: »
    Remember to pick another alignment than Imoen so you're not fighting over the robe of the archmagi if/when you dual her to mage. Evil is probably easiest to get (kill Baeloth at level 5), but maybe you don't want to play evil. Playing only two mages most of the time means you actually have to lower your AC a bit for all those arrows making that robe important (plus boots and belt). If you have a tank, that is a non-issue (at least on vanilla). Kobold commandos critting you is always an interresting experience when you have low HP and no helmet :)

    A rabbit familiar can help you find traps if you dual Imoen and just run around with 2 mages, though I rarely use them myself so not sure how valid its low Find Traps skill is in practice.

    That's good advice on the question of alignment. I was planning to be Neutral Good or Chaotic Good so I could have a Pseudo Dragon or a Fairy Dragon as my familiar. I can't face being Neutral and wandering round with a rabbit because for some reason that just seems silly. To be honest I am in two minds about whether to take a familiar at all. It always feels to me like a way of cheating yourself some extra hit points.

  • SandkatzeSandkatze Member Posts: 34
    at least in vanilla, for spells with range, you've got no range indicator.
    skull trap for example. activated at a range of 20 ft for a radius of 30 ft. but you don't see anything, no circles or other indicators. what you see would be the dmg numbers in your log but thats all, which makes it hard to remember where you have set your trap.
    for web you see at least a "wave" for indicating it's range.

    another problem are spells which are double edged swords, like dispel magic.
    you're all buffed up and then you got an enemy where you need to use this spell and poof, all your buffs are gone. in mid battle a real headache.
    don't know if its intended or a positioning problem though.

    multiple situations with multiple solutions.
    an ogre mage who's invisible, a "purge" sure is great, but not so much when imoen is on standby in stealth for a backstab.
    or a lightning bolt in a dungeon. it bounces on walls, for multiple targets sure it's great, not so much though if you're in it's way...

  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,207
    I had my first go last night. I thought I would go with a straight Mage. Instantly regretted it because having only one spell really is very frustrating. However, I headed to the Friendly Arm Inn with Imoen in tow. The fight with Tarnesh didn't last long. I cast Sleep. It had no effect. Schoolboy error on my part - I'd forgotten Sleep doesn't work on creatures with 4 or more hit dice.

    Still, it was meant to be a learning experience. Back to Candlekeep to roll a new character ...

    Balrog99SkatanAerakarQuartz
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,891
    I had my first go last night. I thought I would go with a straight Mage. Instantly regretted it because having only one spell really is very frustrating. However, I headed to the Friendly Arm Inn with Imoen in tow. The fight with Tarnesh didn't last long. I cast Sleep. It had no effect. Schoolboy error on my part - I'd forgotten Sleep doesn't work on creatures with 4 or more hit dice.

    Still, it was meant to be a learning experience. Back to Candlekeep to roll a new character ...

    An imp would've saved you from Tarnesh. Those little familiars are more than just a few bonus hit-points when you're low level!

    Permidion_StarkAerakar
  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 476
    Don't be afraid to lure Tarnesh over to a couple of the FAI guards before he can start talking to you. The guards will help you attack him after he goes hostile, and their added attacks can mean the difference between stripping off his Mirror Images so you can interrupt his spells, or an untimely death. ;)

  • masteralephmasteraleph Member Posts: 53
    I’m late to the party, but just to throw in an alternative- if you’re really planning on only 2 characters, maybe a gnome Illusionist/Cleric multiclass?

    Balrog99sarevok57Quartz
  • SandkatzeSandkatze Member Posts: 34
    edited August 16
    another way to handle him could be to have the dagger +1 (the one you get for bolt delivery at charisma 18 in candlekeep) equiped on Imoen and let her use it with backstab.

    Or recruit Viconia and / or Kivan as helpers and dismiss them afterwards.

  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,207
    Thanks for all the replies and suggestions. I've rolled a new character. This time I have opted for an elven mage/thief because I've come to the conclusion that I am not temperamentally suited to being a straight mage. I am about to set off from Candlekeep with Imoen and a fairy dragon at my side.

    Balrog99sarevok57AerakarQuartz
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 589
    Great choice with solid synergies between the two classes. If you decide you need a bit more melee heft, a half-elf fighter/mage/thief would give you better DPS without losing a whole lot in the casting department.

    Permidion_Stark
  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,207
    jsaving wrote: »
    Great choice with solid synergies between the two classes. If you decide you need a bit more melee heft, a half-elf fighter/mage/thief would give you better DPS without losing a whole lot in the casting department.

    I did wonder about doing that but I was worried that I would basically end up playing as a fighter and forget the whole mage bit. I also figure I would level very slowly.

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,891
    edited August 18
    jsaving wrote: »
    Great choice with solid synergies between the two classes. If you decide you need a bit more melee heft, a half-elf fighter/mage/thief would give you better DPS without losing a whole lot in the casting department.

    I did wonder about doing that but I was worried that I would basically end up playing as a fighter and forget the whole mage bit. I also figure I would level very slowly.

    You would indeed level very slowly but since you have three classes with different xp level requirements it doesn't seem so bad. As a solo Charmame it's by the far the best to take all the way through ToB. You get a ridiculous number of HLA's! With a party it's more lackluster since you seem more like a support character. Somebody will always be better than you at what you're doing (except maybe thief skills depending on your party). I'd go elf rather than half-elf though for the extra dexterity, thief bonuses, charm/sleep reaistance and bow/sword bonuses.

    Post edited by Balrog99 on
    Permidion_StarkAerakar
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,851
    Early caster levels are very much aided imho by being an elf and picking darts. 19 dex means you actually can hit stuff.

    I think Dragon Disciple is nice, as a less powerful sorcerer. Can elves be DDs?

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 263
    Yes, elves can be DDs. There's something to be said for picking half-elf over elf as a DD, because of the Con-boosting class abilities. A half-elf can reach 20 Con and regeneration in BG1 (level 5), while an elf will have to wait until well into BG2 (level 15).

    ChroniclerBalrog99Quartz
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,891
    jmerry wrote: »
    Yes, elves can be DDs. There's something to be said for picking half-elf over elf as a DD, because of the Con-boosting class abilities. A half-elf can reach 20 Con and regeneration in BG1 (level 5), while an elf will have to wait until well into BG2 (level 15).

    And a human DD gets the cool wizard beard (if that matters to you).

    Permidion_StarkSkatansarevok57Aerakar
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 589
    edited August 19
    I did wonder about doing that but I was worried that I would basically end up playing as a fighter and forget the whole mage bit. I also figure I would level very slowly.
    MT ends BG1 as a mage7/thief8. FMT ends BG1 as a fighter6/mage6/thief7. Both are very solid options though the FMT gives you more melee staying power after a backstab.

    Post edited by jsaving on
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,851
    A FMT is usually a fair bit better at BS, getting spec and better THAC0.

    I rarely find regen necessary on a sorcerer, and much prefer a slightly better out of the gate dart user. Still not what one would call good, but vs casters that aren't using uninterruptible spells a dart throwing elf is actually quite effective. Tarnesh being a breeze is a rare treat I find.

    sarevok57Aerakar
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