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New player, fighter->mage dual classing plan and other things

UncleSporkyUncleSporky Member Posts: 68
Hello, I'm playing this game on the Nintendo Switch and this is my first time playing through it. Sorry to pollute the boards with yet another noob asking for advice topic. :p

I've previously played through Planescape Torment (non-enhanced but with resolution mod) and a little bit of Icewind Dale. Excited to finally play through the entirety of the Baldur's Gate saga. I want to transfer this character all the way through everything.

Following various bits of advice I've seen online, and because I like the sound of it, I'm going to play a fighter->mage dual class. I'm ok with being bog standard, it still sounds fun. I was INCREDIBLY lucky to get a great roll without having to try very long at all, I think the total may have been 88, and when I bumped strength up to 18 I saw that magical 18/00 and was shocked. This was like less than 10 minutes of trying.

I've invested 2 pips into longswords and 2 pips into two weapon fighting.

From what I understand, if I dual to mage at fighter level 7, I'll be at 4 pips in longswords. Then I will have to wait until mage level 12 to achieve grand mastery with 5 pips. Alternatively, I can be cheesy and wait at mage level 5 until I have enough XP to go immediately to mage level 8, at which time I can spend the point from mage level 6 on grand mastery.


1. Is what I wrote above correct, will it work? Should I try to save up my XP to be able to do this?

2. What should I spend my level 1 mage proficiency point on? I could go with slings and make that my ranged weapon of choice, I heard they're actually awesome with high strength. However I will eventually be a mage slinging spells instead of stones so maybe that's not worth it. If not that, dagger or quarterstaff? And should I eventually go on to invest further in whichever weapon I choose?

3. After grand mastering longswords, should my next focus be grand mastering two weapon fighting? Seems to make sense to me.

Other questions:

4. I want to dual Imoen to mage at 6. This should get her Find Traps to 95 (35+25+25+10) and Open Locks to 90 (25+25+25+15) which should be enough for just about anything, correct? Obviously I'll need a second thief to cover the time she spends catching up again, which is fine, just wanted to make sure I understand the thief skill system correctly. Any thoughts on her weapon proficiencies if I do this?

5. Is there a cap on how much a single container in the world can store? Can I fill one dresser drawer with literally everything in the game if I wanted to? So far I haven't hit a cap. I'm using Joia's house as my storage room right now.



  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 379
    edited October 28
    If you're going all the way through the saga, I'd recommend waiting to dual-class your character until early BG2. It's easy to pile up a lot of noncombat XP and rush through the dual-class downtime that way. Otherwise, you'll have to rely on your party members for a good while - and your fighter aspect isn't going to be worth much later on.

    When to dual-class:
    Level 7: Completes at mage level 8, 64K + 90K XP. Barely within the cap for BG1 without SoD. And no, waiting to gain that second mage proficiency point until you have enough XP to complete the dual won't let you take grand mastery; there's a secondary cap there that blocks you. A character must be at least level 3 in the active class to take a third dot, level 6 for a fourth dot, and level 9 for a fifth dot.

    Level 9: Completes at mage level 10, 250K + 250K XP. Exactly at the SoD cap, or early in BG2. You can be a grandmaster in your chosen weapon right away, you get all of the fighter HD, and your THAC0 is slightly better than a pure mage even in the long run. If you dismiss the rest of your party temporarily, just filling your spellbook (in BG2) can get you that 250K XP as a mage.

    Level 13: Completes at mage level 14, 1250K + 1500K XP. The last fighter bonus attack, enough THAC0 to fight effectively in the late game, and an improved save vs. death (base 5, while a pure mage can only reach 8). But, unless you cheese it with a ton of stolen scrolls, it's a lot of downtime and you'll be several levels behind in the late game.

    As for weapon proficiencies... mage proficiencies come extremely slowly. You're best off putting enough proficiency points into your chosen weapons and styles as a fighter, rather than waiting to do that as a mage later. Your plan basically does that; just remember that you won't get enough points to master a second weapon, ever.

    Low-level mage proficiencies: Your dual-class character, whether a protagonist or Imoen, probably isn't going to be using these weapons much later on. Choose them for utility now, not utility later. An overview, from a BG1 (EE) perspective:
    Dagger: Both melee and ranged options are available, with throwing daggers having two attacks per round and gaining bonus damage from strength. Sadly, there are no magical throwing daggers in BG1 (without SoD). The best melee dagger is the dagger of venom, which can be purchased in Beregost. Several more +2 daggers are available as well.
    Dart: A pure ranged option, with no melee fallback. They get three attacks per round, but do very little damage, at 1d3 with no strength bonus. That is, unless you spend a lot of gold buying elemental darts at High Hedge. 1d3+1 damage, and another 1d6 elemental damage on a failed save...
    Quarterstaff: The pure melee option. Staves have long reach, which allows you to take part in melee without getting hit much in return. You can buy a +3 staff in Ulgoth's Beard, and can find several +2 staves during your adventure.
    Sling: Another pure ranged option. One attack per round, with 1d4+1 base damage per bullet. They gain the strength bonus to damage, so your high-strength fighter/mage will do well with them. You'll have to buy your ammo in BG1, but there is at least magic ammo available unlike the dagger option.

    Even if you choose a ranged weapon as your primary, keep a melee weapon equipped in your other quickslot. Melee attacks against a character with a ranged weapon equipped get +4 to hit and +4 to damage, while ranged attacks against a foe in melee range get a penalty to hit (-4? I'm not sure exactly how much). You don't want to be on the wrong side of those bonuses and penalties, so switch to your melee weapon when an enemy closes on you, even if you're not proficient.

    How much can a container store? There's no limit I'm aware of.

    Oh, right, that skill plan for Imoen. Looks good to me; dual-classing at level 6 is probably the best time for a typical BG1 run. I might move a few more points into trapfinding; failing to disarm a trap can hurt you, while failing to pick a lock just means you need to try again (and maybe drink a potion to improve your skills). There are some places where other thief skills like stealth or pickpocketing are useful, but you can always recruit other thieves for that.

    Post edited by jmerry on
  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Member Posts: 68
    Looking at XP tables it looks like a Fighter 9 dualed to Mage will not quite be able to reach Mage level 31 with a cap of 8 million, just one level short of max possible Mage level. I'm sure at that level though missing just one would be no big deal at all.

    Good to know about the second proficiency cap. Sounds like if I dualed at 7 and saved up Mage levels until 8, I would be able to put the third dot into two weapon fighting, and then grand master longswords at 12, so still nothing wasted in the long run.

    Why do you have to buy sling ammo in BG1? Do no stores sell it in BG2? Or do you mean there isn't any magic sling ammo in BG2?

    And another unrelated question:

    If I'm going around collecting all available companions and depositing them at the Friendly Arm Inn, is the engine totally ok with that? Adding another 20 characters milling around in an already populated area?

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 379
    Why do you have to buy sling ammo in BG1? Because there just isn't very much of it to find out in the wild. No enemies use slings, and you'll only find a few caches of the stuff in chests. In BG2, by contrast, you pick up tons of the stuff killing enemies and looting chests. There's still plenty of it you can buy, but you don't absolutely have to just to get by.
    I'm sure at that level though missing just one would be no big deal at all.
    The difference between mage level 30 and mage level 31 is ... one hit point. No new spell slots, no new high-level abilities because you've got them all already.

  • monicomonico Member Posts: 190
    @jmerry perfectly addressed all your questions.

    Just a quick note about daggers as secondary weapons: the throwing daggers as a base 2 APR. But that base 2 APR also works when you use a returning throwing dagger in melee (only magical ones, and only in BG2 since there are none in BG1/SoD). Plus, the returning daggers from BG2 have enhanced damage (2d4 + enchantment, instead of the regular 1d4)

    Although, seeing your build, equipping a longsword with 5 proficiency points is still better than a dagger with 1 proficiency point (since 5 pips also adds an attack per round compared to only 1 pip, plus all the other benefits).

    I just thought it might be worth noting, you could try a build making use of this.

    For example:
    - lvl7 fighter : 4* in longsword / 2* in TWF (the third proficiency point in two weapon fighting is not that important)
    - dual lvl1 mage: 1* in dagger
    - delay leveling past lvl5 mage to put a 2* in dagger
    - lvl12 mage : 3* in dagger (and so on, ending at lvl24 with 5* in both weapons, but that's a long way down the road, you'll need 5,25mil XP as a mage, which you probably won't even hit if you play with a full party).

    you'd still lose 0,5 APR between 3* and 5*, but you more than make up for it with the extra base APR from the throwing dagger.

    The big advantage of longswords over the (returning) dagger is its versality. There are a ton of magical longswords, each with their situational advantages (some better against undead, other against dragons, some with good defensive abilities, others with great offensive bonus, and so on).

    On the other hand, there are only 2 returning daggers: one (returning dagger +2) available really early in BG2 (although you have to look for it, it is in a hidden quest), the other one (returning dagger +3, with +1 fire damage on top, great against spellcasters as it interrupts them even through stoneskins and the like) can be bought from a merchant you meet during the main quest (chapter 5), but quite late depending on how long you spend in chapters 2 & 3.

    I guess my point is: you can switch between daggers/longswords depending on your needs.

    If you want high APR damage, grab your dagger in your mainhand, cast improved haste, and hack your enemies with your 8 APR (2 from dagger + 0,5 from lvl7 + 0,5 from 2 pips + 1 from your second weapon)*2 (imp haste).
    Off course, dual wielding longswords under improved haste would still grant you 7 APR, which is already a lot.
    And off course, you will also have a (very good) ranged weapon at the ready when in need.

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