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Tip for 2nd weapon proficiency kensai/thief

DordledumDordledum Member Posts: 220
I got 5 pips in longswords and 3 in 2 weapon fighting on my lawful evil Kensai/Thief.

Really don't know what to choose for the other slots. Any tips? And why?

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Comments

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,911
    Dagger or axe to have a ranged option with the returning ones, depending on the kensai levels and party composition hammer to use crom with OH, as for low level duals in ToB you can need a thac0 boost, short sword or scimitar to use a +1apr OH weapon.
    Late game the KT lack of fighter HLA (GWW) and his base thac0 will be the rogue one, that even with GM and kensai bonus is not good as a true fighter thac0.
    Other weapons like flail are welcome, and some enemies are immune to slashing, but imho it is less important then a ranged option (until HLA KT is a glass cannon) and apr or thac0 boost, depending on the particular enemy.

    DordledumAerakarilduderino
  • DaevelonDaevelon Member Posts: 582
    For backstabbing purposes i advice to put some pips in staves, the Staff of Ram is amazing for that.

    Aerakar
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 622
    Staves, katanas, daggers, and longswords are all solid choices for a kensai/thief.

    Aerakargorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,911
    @monico , even if i agree with most of what you tell it seems that the OP has already 5 pips in long sword and 3 in DW style and ask for the remaining pips.
    also we have no clue if he is starting in bg2 or want to play the whole saga.

    by the way to run a KT in soa only imho can have a sense, but to do the whole saga it can be done , but is a quite weak choice as you have to choose between an early dual, where the kensay bonuses are very low compared to the restrictions, no armor helm and braciers until 3M xp in thief, so breseker or unkitted fighter is a better choice or a dual at a higher level, that make the first 2 games harder and takes forever as the xp gain is not linear (a couple of soa quests give about the same xp as the whole bg1).

    jsavingilduderinomonicoSirBaldur
  • monicomonico Member Posts: 190
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    @monico , even if i agree with most of what you tell it seems that the OP has already 5 pips in long sword and 3 in DW style and ask for the remaining pips.
    also we have no clue if he is starting in bg2 or want to play the whole saga.

    by the way to run a KT in soa only imho can have a sense, but to do the whole saga it can be done , but is a quite weak choice as you have to choose between an early dual, where the kensay bonuses are very low compared to the restrictions, no armor helm and braciers until 3M xp in thief, so breseker or unkitted fighter is a better choice or a dual at a higher level, that make the first 2 games harder and takes forever as the xp gain is not linear (a couple of soa quests give about the same xp as the whole bg1).

    I agree, I did digress a little with the comparisons ^^ I am running a kensai (casual play with a party, elven kensai specialized in Longswords) and got a bit overenthousiastic xD

    Your point about duals is also true if doing a trilogy run. Although, on my part, I tend to skip SoD often, and soloing BG1 as a Kensai is actually quite fun and powerful.
    Otherwise, I agree that dualing a Kensai at lvl7 (to gain levels back in BG1) does not make much sense. Sometimes my calculations get the better of me and I forget about basic utility :smiley:

    gorgonzola
  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 335
    My favourites for the class combo are staff and dagger, dagger gives a great ranged options (I think marginally better that axe overall, although in BG the only returning throwing item is an axe) whilst staff gives the best backstabs.

    This also gives two types of weapon damage, it is especially nice to have crushing damage from staff. As a kensai you won’t want to go front rank until you get the UAI ability as a thief and a staff user can attack well from behind a tank. The endgame dagger that makes you invisible sometimes also gives options for repeated backstabs. The firetooth dagger can do very high damage per round at range.

    As you can GM unlike multi classes and single class rangers and paladins you actually don’t have too many pips to spare if you go 5*. As you have invested in swords I would go staff if you want to get up close and back stab sometimes and dagger if you want to sit at range more. I would probably go staff but it is close.

    monicogorgonzolaAerakar
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 379
    To give an idea of what that staff reach does for you - when I built a staff-using kensai 13/thief dual, I basically never used the Shield Amulet. I bought the ten-charge one in BG1 and didn't exhaust it, then didn't use a single charge of the one you find in BG2. AC really doesn't matter when you're not being targeted - initially because you're behind the front lines, later because you're always starting the battle stealthed.

    On the other hand, if you're already going with longswords and two-weapon fighting primary, don't go with the staff. Instead, think about what off-hand weapons you're going to pair with that long sword. Is it a speed weapon? Short swords or scimitars/ninja-tos. A defensive weapon? Axes (Axe of the Unyielding), bastard swords (Purifier), or flails (Defender of Easthaven). A ranged option (on the switch rather than the off hand)? Daggers. Or you can just pick whatever other particular weapon you're interested in. The off-hand weapon will practically never backstab, so you don't need to pick based on that.

    monicogorgonzolaDordledumAerakar
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 622
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    by the way to run a KT in soa only imho can have a sense, but to do the whole saga it can be done , but is a quite weak choice as you have to choose between an early dual, where the kensay bonuses are very low compared to the restrictions, no armor helm and braciers until 3M xp in thief, so breseker or unkitted fighter is a better choice or a dual at a higher level, that make the first 2 games harder and takes forever as the xp gain is not linear (a couple of soa quests give about the same xp as the whole bg1).
    Whether kensai/thief is a good idea depends a lot on how much of the saga you plan to play and whether you focus mainly on the strongest possible endgame character, the highest possible THAC0 or the most generally fun-to-play character over the course of the saga. Dual is best in the middle part of the saga where you're able to fill two roles (fighter and thief) and aren't yet losing out on fighter HLAs. However multi is better for the first and last parts of the saga and is also much more fun to play as you don't have any of the "dual-class downtime" you mention.

    Yes you can dual early rather than late, but by losing out on the extra half an attack at fighter level 13 you (further) weaken the case for going kensai/thief rather than multi fighter/thief. Moreover multi enables you to be half-orc which means you can start with a 19 strength, which doesn't matter in SoD/BG2 but is a significant quality-of-life boost for BG1 (yes there is a strength tome but you don't get it until late).

    For those reasons I think @gorgonzola is exactly right, kensai/thief is a better choice for an SoA-only run than for a full-saga run. However this does not in any way mean kensai/thief is "weak," it is plenty strong though arguably not the strongest or most useful fighter/thief option overall.

    gorgonzolamonicoSirBaldurAerakar
  • DordledumDordledum Member Posts: 220
    edited October 22
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    @monico , even if i agree with most of what you tell it seems that the OP has already 5 pips in long sword and 3 in DW style and ask for the remaining pips.
    also we have no clue if he is starting in bg2 or want to play the whole saga.

    True that! Just to elaborate:

    I have played BG1 and SoD with this character and just started SoA. I dualled quite early, at lvl 9. Now Kensai9/Thief11

    My abilitie scores are now quite ridiculous:

    STR 19
    DEX 19
    CON 19
    INT 16
    WIS 10
    CHA 19

    I got the following profs:

    Longswords: ***** (from kensai levels)
    Dual-wielding: *** (from kensai levels)
    Dagger: * (from thief levels)
    Scimitars/etc.: * (from thief levels)
    Short Sword: * (from thief levels)

    I think that's all, might be another one (that would be Katanas probably) with one pip in it from my thief levels (not at my pc at the moment).

    From the posts above, I surmise investing more pips in scimitars is the best way to go, maybe putting 1 in war hammers for Crom Faer.

    gorgonzolamonico
  • monicomonico Member Posts: 190
    edited October 22
    Dordledum wrote: »
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    @monico , even if i agree with most of what you tell it seems that the OP has already 5 pips in long sword and 3 in DW style and ask for the remaining pips.
    also we have no clue if he is starting in bg2 or want to play the whole saga.

    True that! Just to elaborate:

    I have played BG1 and SoD with this character and just started SoA. I dualled quite early, at lvl 9. Now Kensai9/Thief11

    My abilitie scores are now quite ridiculous:

    STR 19
    DEX 19
    CON 19
    INT 16
    WIS 10
    CHA 19

    I got the following profs:

    Longswords: ***** (from kensai levels)
    Dual-wielding: *** (from kensai levels)
    Dagger: * (from thief levels)
    Scimitars/etc.: * (from thief levels)
    Short Sword: * (from thief levels)

    I think that's all, might be another one (that would be Katanas probably) with one pip in it from my thief levels (not at my pc at the moment).

    From the posts above, I surmise investing more pips in scimitars is the best way to go, maybe putting 1 in war hammers for Crom Faer.

    Indeed, given your build, I'd strongly suggest you put that pip you will get at lvl12 into scimitars, for dual-wielding whatever Longsword you have in main hand with Belm in 2nd hand or later Scarlet Ninjato.

    By the way, which longswords are you using ? There are lots of them, it is probably the most versatile weapon proficiency, and you can't go wrong with that.

    EDIT : might change my previous comment: do you play solo or with a party ? If solo, you might instead want to go for a blunt weapon proficiency to hit those clay golems and the like.

    gorgonzolaDordledum
  • DordledumDordledum Member Posts: 220
    I'm playing casually at core difficulty with a full party :smile:

    My current longswords aren't that epic yet, I just started BG2, I only got Angurvardal (sp? the flame longsword +1) and Varscona.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,911
    edited October 22
    @Dordledum
    it seems to me that your choice is good.
    somehow having both short sword and scimitar is redundant, as you surely want to equip long sword in the MH, but you really had not other choices without delaying leveling some thief levels as you can not put more then 1 pip as thief and hammer is not allowed.
    and in every case is not bad as some short swords are worth to use for their passive effects in some battles, like the arbane for the immunity to hold, and belm is more damaging when it is not needed and SNT is even better.

    now you have to make the best use of the remaining pip and imo you have 4 options, your play style should tell you which is better.
    1. 2nd pip in dagger for 1/2 apr more ranged.
    2. pip in katana (celestial fury), but as OH weapon it will hit only 1 time/round, so will stun much more enemies then when is used MH and as MH is far better to use the weapon you are GM into i would not go for it. because a +1 apr weapon or crom and 25 str seem to me better.
    3. pip in staff to pull out mega stabs with the staff of the ram, that you can get quite early in soa if you can go trough some levels of WK and beat the dragon. you don't need the upgraded version to justify the choice, the +10dmg from the +4 one multiplied is already 50 more granted damages.
    4. pip in hammer for crom. late game your thac0 will be sub optimal as thieves top it at 10, what can keep you competitive is GM and a good str bonus, crom give +7 thac0, and the +14 dmg on every attack make somehow for the lost apr weapon.
    it is also true that with the best belt and SNT OH you loose only part of the str bonus from crom.

    so at the end i would go for option 1 if you use ranged tactics often and option 3 if you stab often.

    EDIT: i was ninjaed by 2 posts.
    indeed a second pip in scimitar is also an option. so now you have 3 choices.

    about the long swords i agree that are the most versatile, i suggest you to collect the better ones and use the one that best suit the particular battle. you will have one that make you immune to fear and give double damage against dragons, one really powerful against undeads and on and over, up to the really good ones you will find later. the upgraded angurvadal make you immune to level drain, blackrazor is crazy strong, the answerer lower enemy ac and mr and on and over...

    the only thing i am sure of is that you are going to have a lot of fun... :)

    Dordledum
  • DaevelonDaevelon Member Posts: 582
    Dordledum wrote: »
    I'm playing casually at core difficulty with a full party :smile:

    I only got Angurvardal (sp? the flame longsword +1)

    The Burning Earth, Angurvadal is the best long sword in BG2 !

    Dordledumgorgonzolamonico
  • DordledumDordledum Member Posts: 220
    edited October 22
    Cool, I haven't done the math, so not sure when the level cap kicks in and how many pips I still have to choose. I will proceed to ToB (doing the full saga with an evil mainchar for the first time)

    Guess I'll take the 2nd scimitar pip at lvl 12 and later invest some in warhammers for late game thac0 goodness. I'm actually neither a backstabber nor a ranged player. Just a (secondary) DPS dealer.

    Edit: just to be clear: I just play EE/no mods

    gorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,911
    Dordledum wrote: »
    Cool, I haven't done the math, so not sure when the level cap kicks in and how many pips I still have to choose.
    i use this page as reference
    https://pihwiki.bgforge.net/Baldur's_Gate:_Progression_Charts

  • DaevelonDaevelon Member Posts: 582
    Dordledum wrote: »
    I will proceed to ToB (doing the full saga with an evil mainchar for the first time)

    i'm playing a kensai/thief too, but good. Let's fight for supremacy!

    gorgonzolaAerakar
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,911
    edited October 22
    Daevelon wrote: »
    Angurvadal is the best long sword in BG2 !
    i agree, but still i find that in some battles other swords are better, it is very annoying to have charname run away in fear and against some enemies to lower their AC and MR is crazy good as then the mages spells are no more repelled and even the party members with bad thac0 hit a lot more enemies that would other way save the to hit roll.

    probably being in the situation of the OP i would equip angurvadal in most of the situations, but ready to switch to an other sword as soon as the particular situation request it.


    Dordledum wrote: »
    I'm actually neither a backstabber nor a ranged player.
    to open a fight with a massive stab that kill a mage (if needed breached a split second before by your mage) or take away lets say 80-100hp from a strong fighter is one of the strong tactics a thief can pull out.

    i love to stab, and i clear whole dungeons with my thief only, but even using a KT as flanker to open the battle with a good stab is really a rewarding habit ;)

    EDIT: one other advantage of having a pip in staves is that with UAI you will be allowed to use the staff of the magi, dispell on hit is crazy strong and works also trough stoneskin. also your mage can use it, but has he the thac0 to actually hit? is wise to send him near the enemies? way better if a KT do the trick...

    monicoDordledumilduderinoAerakar
  • monicomonico Member Posts: 190
    edited October 22
    Dordledum wrote: »
    I'm playing casually at core difficulty with a full party :smile:

    My current longswords aren't that epic yet, I just started BG2, I only got Angurvardal (sp? the flame longsword +1) and Varscona.

    @Daevelon already corrected the name of your flame longsword (Burning Earth), which looks cool but is not that good.

    For early and good longswords, there are two very nice ones:
    - Blade of roses+3 (2d4 base damage instead of 1d8, better average damage), available for purchase very early in the slums district once a relatively easy quest is done ;
    - Namarra +2 (actually does 1d8 +4 instead of 1d8+2 damage), for even better average backstabs, plus has a nice special ability (silence 15' radius, the bane of spellcasters), also easily obtainable from Chapter 2.

    At some point you'll want to to grab an awesome longsword in the Gate district, very very good against undead (you do have to fight a powerful undead beforehand though to get it).

    And there are many more, for almost every situation.

    EDIT : ah, I see you don't fancy backstabs. It's a shame, they allow for good strategical relief. But these weapons are good anyway, and will make a good addition to your arsenal (Namarra more so I guess)

    DaevelonDordledumgorgonzola
  • DaevelonDaevelon Member Posts: 582
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    to open a fight with a massive stab that kill a mage (if needed breached a split second before by your mage) or take away lets say 80-100hp from a strong fighter is one of the strong tactics a thief can pull out.

    i love to stab, and i clear whole dungeons with my thief only, but even using a KT as flanker to open the battle with a good stab is really a rewarding habit ;)

    EDIT: one other advantage of having a pip in staves is that with UAI you will be allowed to use the staff of the magi, dispell on hit is crazy strong and works also trough stoneskin. also your mage can use it, but has he the thac0 to actually hit? is wise to send him near the enemies? way better if a KT do the trick...

    Backstab is great with kensai characters, let's remember the bonus damage from the kit is multiplied!

    monicogorgonzola
  • monicomonico Member Posts: 190
    edited October 22
    Daevelon wrote: »
    Backstab is great with kensai characters, let's remember the bonus damage from the kit is multiplied!

    And "Kai" allows for maximum backstab damage. You're sure to chunk one enemy of your choice at the start of any fight.

    EDIT : @Dordledum , just so you know, your 19STR kensai(9)/thief (11) under Kai will do:
    [(8+4 (Namarra) + 3 (kensai) + 5 (pips))x4]+7 (str) = 87 damage on a backstab, 107 damage once you get x5 backstabs (lvl13).

    DaevelonDordledumgorgonzola
  • DordledumDordledum Member Posts: 220
    Let's invest some points in hide/move silently then and try that backstabbing :)

    Daevelongorgonzolamonico
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,911
    monico wrote: »
    @Dordledum , just so you know, your 19STR kensai(9)/thief (11) under Kai will do:
    [(8+4 (Namarra) + 3 (kensai) + 5 (pips))x4]+7 (str) = 87 damage on a backstab, 107 damage once you get x5 backstabs (lvl13).
    thing that put it at an advantage compared to the staff of the ram +4, with only a pip in staves, but not to the +6 version that can be obtained only mid ToB.

    so, while with even number of pips the SoTR is always at advantage for this particular build maybe to spend a pip on it is not worth, if not to use the staff of the magi, that can not stab, but is really useful to dispell the enemies. SoTM is also the tool to disappear after the stab so the enemies focus on your tanks, but there is no need to spend pips for that, to equip it is enough, but is good to know it.

    is also worth to tell to someone that is a novice back stabber that not all the enemies can be stabbed, dragons, some other monsters and some bosses are immune, still it is really strong and useful in many many battles.

    monico
  • monicomonico Member Posts: 190
    True, IIRC, there are a handful of enemies immune to backstab:
    - golems
    - oozes/jellies (not sure though, I vaguely remember a thief landing a backstab on some jellies in a recent run, I was surprised, but did not pursue the research)
    - beholders
    - dragons

    I think demons and those wraithes that can see through invisiblity are immune to backstab too. Or maybe it is just that since they see through invisibility, you cannot actually land a backstab (the same goes for kuo toa, liches, and some endgame bosses).

    Although for liches and wandering horrors (if i got the name right), protection from undead could bypass their ability to see through invisibility and allow for backstabs.

  • DaevelonDaevelon Member Posts: 582
    monico wrote: »
    Although for liches and wandering horrors (if i got the name right), protection from undead could bypass their ability to see through invisibility and allow for backstabs.

    Or just wearing the Cloak of Non-detection; it's available from the very first beginning of SoA

  • monicomonico Member Posts: 190
    Daevelon wrote: »
    monico wrote: »
    Although for liches and wandering horrors (if i got the name right), protection from undead could bypass their ability to see through invisibility and allow for backstabs.

    Or just wearing the Cloak of Non-detection; it's available from the very first beginning of SoA

    the cloak is indeed nice for a stealthed thief/ranger, since the cloak is non-dispellable (the spell is crappy though, since any invisibility purge spell also dispels Non Detection).

    But it does not prevent monsters who can see through invisibility to spot you.

    Now, I'm not sure how Sanctuary falls into that "see through invisibility" stuff. If it uses a different OPcode, then it might just be possible to backstab demons, kuotoans and the like who can see through invisibility but not through sanctuary. Unless they also are immune to backstabs, on top of their invisibility-immunity.

    Daevelon
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,911
    If i am not wrong is not possible to stab from sanctuary.
    When the thief reaches high levels and can use the assassination HLA it is not effective against foe immune to stab, but very powerful in other situations, . Dw firetooth and snt and improved haste up to 10 stabs in a round are possible, without even hiding.
    Bait a bunch of fighters, monks or drows with some summon and kill them on in no time, before they even react.

    monico
  • monicomonico Member Posts: 190
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    If i am not wrong is not possible to stab from sanctuary.
    When the thief reaches high levels and can use the assassination HLA it is not effective against foe immune to stab, but very powerful in other situations, . Dw firetooth and snt and improved haste up to 10 stabs in a round are possible, without even hiding.
    Bait a bunch of fighters, monks or drows with some summon and kill them on in no time, before they even react.

    my current cleric/thief solo insane poverty no reload run definitely disagrees with you. Sanctuary allows for backstabs.

    gorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,911
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