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Wizard Slayer Thief

I'm starting a new illusionist/fighter run and I plan a smaller party with Neera, Anomen and a thief. I dont want to micro manage an other mage so I thought about making a custom thief.
My last couple of runs were with a thief variation so I got fed up with backstabs and I haven't used a strong ranged character for a long time which is why I decided to make a wizard slayer who duals (probably level 9, not sure if 7 is too early) to thief and uses exclusively ranged weapons.
There are a couple of options when it comes to weapon proficiencies and what to grandmaster in. High apr is obviously important because of the WS effect on every hit, so darts and probably short bows have an advantage. On the other hand there is also a strength bonus for slings and throwing axes/hammers.
I'm not sure if I got it right but I tried to write out some pros and cons:
1. Slings - lower apr, higher damage, +4 bullets eventually available, can wear shield.
2. Short bows - tuigan, no +4 arrows.
3. Darts - high apr, crimson dart, no strength bonus, can wear shield.
4. Axes - azuredge, higher damage, lower apr(?), have to get closer to shoot, have an melee option when enemy near, +4 axe lategame.
5. Hammers - same as axes, the brick (neera quest), dwarven thrower.

Do you have any thoughts?


  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,918
    There's a +4 short bow available by the time you need +4 arrows.

    Darts, like axes, have a low range.

    The dwarven thrower is not available (must be human to dual). You may find the extra wild surge chance caused by the brick (for the PC as well as Neera) to be annoying.

    High APR is certainly useful against mages, but the rest of your party is pretty well placed to deal with those anyway. The amount of damage may therefore be more relevant (though high APR also helps a lot there, with weapon proficiency bonuses being added to base damage).

    As the WS is dualling, he won't get GWWs, which means slings are less attractive than they would otherwise be, but with GM you will still get up to a respectable 5 APR using improved haste.

  • kaja8kaja8 Member Posts: 45
    So basically non of the options is particularly good?
    The max 5 apr with slings doesn't sound very intriguing and the fact that darts have a lower range is a bummer I didn't know about. Darts sounded interesting because of the high apr and the fact that I dont have to worry about ammunition once I go to first floor of WK.
    I would be able to use the dwarven thrower once I get UAI and the only need for it that I can think of right now are the yaga shura fire giants.
    In a 4 player party I will probably be able to GM in 2 weapons so I could go with bows and axes. What is the max apr I could get when having GM in those weapons?
    I'm not sure if I undestood it correctly but isn't there an issuse with not having +4arrows available in the game?

  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 540
    Just get the Firetooth crossbow and tuigan.. combined you'll have access to any element and other kinds of nice ammo to suit any situation.. and they're both very easy to get early in bg2

    For bg1 you'd have the army scythe crossbow which is also very nice.

  • kaja8kaja8 Member Posts: 45
    Thank you for your detailed answer, you helped me a lot.
    As I can GM in more than one weapon I'm going to take one with high apr and the other with a higher damage output.

    Just one more question, you mentioned the reflection shield working on the ravager? The shield that reflects missiles? I haven't heard that one before. Aren't the ravager and bone blades doing melee damage?

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,918
    The bone blades will try to melee, but the Ravager will use a ranged attack unless you close in on him. That means it's easy for a solo character to just run round the room - avoiding the bone blades while reflecting missiles from the Ravager. With your party though, you're likely to be better off by putting up a mordy sword as a target, allowing you to shoot or use spells (after reducing magic resistance with Pierce Shield). None of the enemies can hurt that, but the Ravager can propel it away, so try to put it in a position where the bone blades won't turn to you if the mordy sword gets displaced.

    An alternative strategy for the Ravager ( which I don't bother with but might be more suitable with a party) is to place summons or party characters where the force field will descend to block the entrance. That stops the force field from activating, meaning you've got a much bigger area to move the Ravager around in.

  • kaja8kaja8 Member Posts: 45
    Using mordy swords is the tactic I used the last couple of times but I'll definitely try the reflection shield thing.
    Again, thank you so much for taking your time to answer in such detail.

  • kaja8kaja8 Member Posts: 45
    Thanks for the input but it came a bit too late.
    I dualed at level 9 and right now I'm at thief level 11.
    I got 5* in darts, 1* in shortbows, 1* in daggers and 4* in axes.
    I thought axes should be my heavy hitting weapon, not comparing the damage output with daggers. The plan was to use the crimson dart and the +3 throwing axe from bodhis quest by chapter 3. If I calculated correctly there are 7 pips left so I wont be able to do everything you adviced. I'm not sure how efficient it would be to invest too much in daggers, now that I almost have GM in axes. I'm now probably going to finish axes, put 2* in two weapon fighting, 1* in scimitar and the rest in daggers. Or I could forget about scimitars and go GM in daggers, as the OH won't hit often anyways.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    whn we are talking of returning daggers they roll a 2d4 damage, +2 for the boomerang one and +3 +1d2 fire for firetooth, and they give +1 apr, both ranged and MH mlee, while an axe has base damage of 1d8, so on average 0.5 less then a returning dagger, and don't add apr.
    they both str bonus, ranged only the increased damage part, not the thac0 bonus.
    so probably early game the returning daggers are better weapons, you must stick to the boomerang one for some chapters, but in those chapters very few enemies need more then +2 weapons to be hit and even if is a little less damaging then the +3 axes with elemental damage mlee the more apr let it make more damage in the round anyway. also you can pickpocket the boomerang dagger almost at the beginning of chap 2, and by the way doing it is still possible to play the related quest later, even if the final reward is already in your hand...
    the axe becomes very strong later as in ToB there is a super powerful one.

    the OH should hit often, if you help her to hit. a good str from items adds thac0 to both hands, as well as some gauntlets. but if a +1 apr weapon is equipped in the OH even if it misses all the times is an advantage as you will anyway hit once more with the MH, that is the one that equips the best weapon you have.

    the next pips imo should be 1 in axes to get GM, 1 in daggers as you are already a machine gun with darts, but they have low damage and don't use str bonus for damage, and then you have other 5 pips to spend.
    or you can use the axe as damaging ranged weapon for a little less damage and have one more pip for other things.
    consider that you don't have proficiency in crushing weapons and few enemies can be hit only by crushing damage, but anomen can do it, so it is not a problem, and that if you want to dual weld as lev 9 fighter you probably need 3 pips in that style, without pips and with only 9 levels in fighter you have massive reduction of the OH thac0, -8, this is the main reason why it does not hit often, and you have also some reduction of the MH thac0.
    so i would, at your place, plan to get as soon as possible 2 pips in DW, right after the one in axe, and in the long run also the 3rd one. and i would also try to have a pip in hammer as in ToB the crom hammer will be very useful if welded OH, as it gives 25 str, that is a +7 thac0 bonus and +14 damage bonus, on every hit, also the ones from the MH.
    as early dual fighter, even with GM, you will really need that extra thac0 to hit the ToB enemies that have a good AC.

    so my suggestion is
    2W style
    2W style
    dagger *
    2W style
    whatever you like*

    *optional choices, you can also get earlier the 3rd 2Wstyle and spend the last 2 pips in whatever you want, maybe staff as the SoTM dispell on hit.

  • kaja8kaja8 Member Posts: 45
    You made me think a bit, that's good. Thank you.

  • Djasko_AmsterdamDjasko_Amsterdam Member Posts: 47
    With such a small party you can easily opt to dual at 13 or even 15 to get a nice magicresistance value, just for the extra half attack fighter thac0. Rogue levels fast so you can regain wizardslayer pretty quickly.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    dualing at 13 is 2.13M xp to complete the dual and 0.88M xp of down time, at 15 the values are 3.7M and 1.32M.
    surely it can be done, even more extreme duals have been done.
    a smaller party helps in dualing faster, but in a 4 people party as the quest rewards are fixed anyway you probably gain xp only 1.3x faster then in a 6 people one, if all the xp would work as the kills one it would have been 1.5x faster.
    and the more the party is smaller and the later a dual is begun the more the down time is harsh as you have to start as lev 1 thief further in the game.
    usually to have it work some tricks are used, like saving the quest rewards for the down time, thing that does not affect the gameplay unless you dual in an area where you can not access to those rewards, like from when you reach the isle to when you find your way out of the underground, other ones affect the gameplay, like saving for the down time the easy quests so having to fight the harder ones earlier.
    so it is not always desirable for everyone to do high level duals, some players seem to appreciate it a lot, others hate it or simply think that it is simply not worth it, the cons are more then the pros.
    here the pros are basically some more thac0, +1/2 apr and some more MR, while in the cons also reaching later UAI getting rid of the WS equipment limitation is important. and for the dual at 15 you get UAI only at 4.75M xp, while let's say at 9 you get it at 3.25M xp, it is the difference of getting it right before the final battle with irenicus in a 4 people party or mid ToB.

    the choice is completely subjective, i would never do it, but if @kaja8 likes the idea there is nothing wrong in doing it.

  • kaja8kaja8 Member Posts: 45
    For my last run I did a kensai dual to thief and i did dual at level 13. I saved some quest rewards, even removed some npcs before receiving the reward exp. It took a long time but it was manageable. I wouldn't do that with a WS because i want to get to UAI as soon as possible. I dualed at level 9.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited April 2020
    kaja8 wrote: »
    even removed some npcs before receiving the reward exp.
    the reward xp is a set value, if for a quest 100k xp are given every party member get 100k, weather the party is a solo or a 6 people party.
    is the xp from the kills and from learning spells and doing other things like disarming a trap that has a certain amount that is divided and each party member gets only his share of it.
    so if killing that dragon is worth 60k a a solo gets it all, in a party of 3 each one gets 20 and in a complete one each one only 10.

    so if you want to speed a dual kick temporarily some comrade when you fight minor battles (as for the main ones they have to baby sit you), when your mages learn spells and when you deal with any other possible source of xp ( i surely know at least 2 of them that are potentially infinite and don't rely on exploits like the one on the saradush wall), but never when you collect a quest reward, as then the only result is to negate to them xp without yourself getting a single xp point more.


  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,655
    Some quest rewards are per member, some are lump sum. For example, reporting your success in solving the bridge district murders is 45K lump-sum, while solving the Lilarcor riddle is 18K per party member. It's the sort of thing to keep track of and look up when it's relevant; I've got a tab in my info spreadsheet with a bunch of quest reward data.

    But when you're going for a late dual like this, the real big play is scroll XP. Temporarily remove all but one arcanist companion, and have them scribe and erase your stockpiled scrolls repeatedly.

    One triumph of planning I've pulled off before:
    - Step 1: Shoplift all the scrolls. You'll need all the scroll cases plus a bunch of inventory space to carry them.
    - Step 2: Go to Spellhold. Time the XP rewards so that the reward just after meeting Imoen gets you to 1.25 million XP and fighter level 13.
    - Step 3: Dual-class to thief.
    - Step 4: Scribe all the gathered scrolls, split between Imoen and any other party arcanists. Erase what you need to use them all.
    - Step 5: Level up to 14 in one go, spending the three new proficiency dots as if you were a fighter. Also level up the mages by smaller amounts.
    - Step 6: Go forth and tackle chapters 4 and 5 as a fully-functional dual class.

    The drawback of this play? There are only enough scrolls for one giant leap forward, so you can't use that scroll XP earlier on. My current run shoplifted and scribed on day 1, so that they hit 1250K XP before recruiting the rest of the party or doing any major quests.

    In the unmodded game, there are just over 2 million XP worth of scrolls that can be shoplifted in act 2 - and that includes unlocking the Trademeet merchants and the Red Wizards. Merchants you can reach before doing any quests come to 1634K XP. There's another 910K worth from scrolls you can buy in act 2, if you're prepared to spend 185K gold (before charisma/rep discounts) for them.

  • kaja8kaja8 Member Posts: 45
    @gorgonzola as @jmerry said, some quest rewards are a big sum of exp that is then divided between the npcs. Only for thoese rewards would I remove some npcs to level up quicker.

    @jmerryi did that a few times when dualing very late but now i play mostly on my phone and deleting every spell so i can learn it again is a bit tiring. On the phone everyghing takes a bit more time.

    With the above mentioned tactic of removing npcs and shoplifting scrolls i reached thief level 14 just as i arrived on the pirate island (4man party).

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    Probably 2 of the reasons why i hate so much late duals are that i never scribe and erase scrolls to get xp, self given rule, i am not assuming that is a wrong thing to do for everybody and that i never stack thieving potions of the same kind, also self given rule, so until i have a thief with some serious pick pocket skill as base to steal every single scroll is quite risky as there is a check every single one you steal.

    but i agree that the scrolls can be a big help to dual late.
    even if i prefer, when i want to farm some more xp then usual, to use the flesh to stone and stone to flesh strategy with the dragons, and i don't allow myself to feeblemind the dragon if not after having petrified him at least 10 times, or i use the limited wish repeatable choice to be protected from undeads with a low wis as it summons each time more then 50k xp of vampires.

    to turn to stone a dragon is not difficult, to do it other 9 times, without shielding the party with summons as he is 1hp and a summon can land an hit and ruin the game, is a serious task, so i have no problem if it is well rewarded. and only doing it 10 times i can prove myself that the party can do it at will, so only then i allow myself to feeblemind him as my gaming time is not infinite and repeating the same thing too long becomes anyway boring.

    at least those ways i feel that i have actually earned the xp, while quaffing enough thieving potions even nalia can stole everything from every shop ( even if then is better to sell and steal a valuable wand to a fence, or maybe an item with high price like the RoV, to farm a lot of cash and then buy the scrolls as you have to steal less times, every RoV sold is worth many low level scrolls). there is no risk in stealing if enough thieving potions are used and in scribing and erasing scrolls, mechanic that should work to let your mage learn new more useful spells even if his limit is reached.

  • kaja8kaja8 Member Posts: 45
    I agree withyou. It gets boring really quick, soi onlyuse those tactics when dualing at level 13 or higher.

    Once your cleric is an high enough level the trick with the limited wish spell and vampires also becomes easy 50k exp.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    and with a mage that can cast wish and limited wish, using his projected image to spam wish to reload the spells then using the cursed scroll that lowers wis then a limited wish scroll on the clone you can repeat it all day long (the limited wish scroll is needed as the clone becomes not able to cast the limited wish from the spellbook for some reason, even if afaik wis should not affect arcane spellcasting).

  • kaja8kaja8 Member Posts: 45
    At one point it's just easier to add exp in eekeeper haha.

  • MartinWMartinW Member Posts: 46
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    Probably 2 of the reasons why i hate so much late duals are that i never scribe and erase scrolls to get xp, self given rule, i am not assuming that is a wrong thing to do for everybody and that i never stack thieving potions of the same kind, also self given rule, so until i have a thief with some serious pick pocket skill as base to steal every single scroll is quite risky as there is a check every single one you steal.
    I agree with this self-limitations, but you have nice Hexxat who we help to get our paws on bag of holding, and if recruited at 1.25M she can instantly go to pickpocket 240+ and help you with everything you need from Athkatla without bothering with precise timings when to rob and so on ^^
    Oddly enough she doesn't even care about reputation 20.

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