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Best class and party for "Flail of Ages"

ConwanConwan Member Posts: 29
Hi, playing through Baldur's Gate 2 as part of my first playthrough. Was playing as a Halfling Fighter/Thief until I stumbled on a problem: I really love the Flail of Ages, but you can't backstab with it.

So I'm wondering if I should go as a fighter (berserker) class instead to focus on grandmastering the flail and dual wield it with the Defender of the Easthaven to get a bulky, yet powerful tank. Apparently fighter is the best class to start with anyway.

Team I want to take contains 5 members so far, and I don't know what to take as option six. Mazzy looks good as pseudo cleric, but if my Charname is already a fighter she seems superfluous.

Team:

- Fighter Charname
- Imoen
- Minsc
- Jaheira
- Aerie
- ?

So the two question:

- Best class for using the Flail of Ages?
- Best final option in this team? Or should I switch someone else?

Comments

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 848
    1. Any melee class or cleric can benefit from the FoA. You can build a berserker around it for ultimate effect (grand mastery) or give it to a paladin or ranger. Fighter/clerics are also great candidates. I sometimes give it to Viconia. It will elevate any character that uses it. Even Aerie can benefit from it.
    2. If this is your first play through, I'd try different NPCs as to see who you like. You can keep your current 5 person team and try other NPCs as you meet them to experience their quests and personalities. You may find one you want to keep for your whole run, or cycle them out when their quests are done. Players often keep the sixth slot open to rotate in different NPCs and get all the quests.

    gorgonzola
  • ConwanConwan Member Posts: 29
    1. Jesus... And to think you can get it so early. I practically stumbled unto it by just travelling around the starting city. Probably will stick to Berserker then, since Aerie and Jaheira are already my healers/supporters.
    2. Smart plan, actually. This set-up seems fairly balanced already (unless I'm not considering something), but it does require a fighter for proper tanking imo. So yeah, may stick to this and going through personal quests and whatnot. Thanks for the advice. :smile:

  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 540
    There's no reason to not specialize Minsc with flails.. if you're gonna keep him anyway, then have him dual wield FoA and.. whatever else. Defender, Crom Faeyr, Axe of the Unyielding, and so on and so forth.

    gorgonzola
  • ConwanConwan Member Posts: 29
    What would I give to my PC then? Or what class would be suitable for him? Also, I've read that Minsc can be good for liches if you focus on his mace and get Mace of Disruption.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 1,013
    edited April 2020
    On a fighter/thief you'd ordinarily be pairing CF with Kundane/Belm as CF works just fine for backstabbing and like FotA has an on-hit effect. Then you'd go FotA/Crom or FotA/Defender on a fighter/cleric or possibly Minsc (who would have the extra option of pairing FotA with Kundane/Belm).

    But even if you wanted to generally use FotA/Defender on a FT, you could still have a backstab-eligible weapon in your second weapon slot for occasional use. That does require a bit more micro but isn't such a big deal that you should start over as a fighter instead.

    When I do run-throughs as a FT, my main question usually isn't why I didn't go fighter but why I didn't opt for a FMT as mage buffs have incredible synergies with the fighter class while spells like invisibility greatly help thievery by letting you backstab in the middle of combat while also raising freeing up enough thief points to safely pickpocket your way through the Copper Coronet.

    Post edited by jsaving on
    gorgonzola
  • LammasLammas Member Posts: 188
    I guess the FoA questions are rather answered already but these caught my eye. Maybe a bit off-topic here but I thought I'd say these anyway:

    Out of the warrior types I'd consider rangers and paladins more new player friendly than fighters to be honest but the most important thing would be that you play what you actually want to / enjoy playing. Fighters can achieve grand mastery on weapons while the other warrior types only get specialization but on the other hand you don't spend most of the game getting better at only one weapon type that you might not even find enjoyable weapons for. Rangers and Paladins are basically forced to pick multiple options as you can't go beyond 2 pips. Rangers also get 2 pips in 2W-style for free. Kind of a moot point for you as you already know what you want to wield but just kinda felt like saying that.

    Also I notice you mentioned healers. Clerics aren't really exactly the classic healer types in these games. Healing spells are slow and usually not overly effective. They have their place but I'd suggest also taking a look at the other spells they have to offer. Clerics (and fighter-druids) can also wield plates and have second best hitpoints behind warrior types so they are decent frontliners, especially so with buffs.

    As for the final party member, I see you're gunning for a good/neutral party? Keldorn and Mazzy are both strong picks, although they would give you yet another warrior type in your party. I'd probably stick Haer'Dalis into that line up if you want to make it 6 but a 5 man party is perfectly good and allows you to juggle other NPCs for their quests.

    gorgonzola
  • AerieAerie Member Posts: 226
    I think the best class to use the FOA is a fighter or fighter/cleric, because a fighter can grandmaster flails.


    If you are asking who is the *best person* to use the Flail of Ages, it is obviously myself. I am the best person and personality in the entire series after all.

  • ConwanConwan Member Posts: 29
    edited April 2020
    @jsaving That was originally the plan, but then I came across the FoA while playing the game and I fell in love with it. I tried to go with trying to get a flail and a backstabber, but I feel that I'm taking away the CF from another character (like Minsc or Imoen) and I generally just go for stealth flail attacks. I could just as easily run an FM and do that with invisibility spells.

    Hm... There's an idea...

    @Lammas Huh... I keep reading that Rangers aren't that great compared to fighters. From what I read they're weird fighter/thief/cleric hybrids that kinda have that bard problem going for them: too generalist, not specialist in anything.

    Also, Minsc is already a ranger, so another would feel pointless.

    And I generally try to combine clerics a bit, seeing as I have both Jaheira and Aerie. Aerie is my healer, who usually casts spells after a battle is over (relying on dem potions during combat) whereas with Jaheira I try to focus on sabotage spells like Dispel Magic and Insect Plague. I did notice that healing isn't the same as most places, but I do usually end a battle with a fair chunk of damage and at that point it's handy to have a couple of heal spells lying around.

    @Aerie Not gonna lie, Aerie is a big reason why I wanted to play Halfling F/T over Dwarf Defender. Finding out Charname can't romance her as a dwarf was a kick in the groin, as dwarves are generally my favourite race.

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 848
    A counter opinion on rangers: they're fine! Are they the most powerful class? Nope. Are they as well implemented for utility in BG as they are in pen and paper? Nope. But, they are solid warriors with the benefit of two free proficiency points in dual wielding. That's nothing to sneeze at. They also get to pick a special enemy, against which they get +4 to hit and damage throughout the game. While the usefulness of this bonus is situational, it can come in really handy against some of the most powerful enemies in the game - if you choose wisely. As for not getting grand mastery, depending on how you look at it, this can be liberating. It frees you up to use a wide variety of weapons, which can be handy situationally and keep the game interesting, instead of focusing on one type for the whole game. So rangers aren't bad at all. Like you say, though, you've got Minsc (who is indeed a fine candidate for the FoA).

    gorgonzolaRAM021
  • LammasLammas Member Posts: 188
    they are solid warriors with the benefit of two free proficiency points in dual wielding. That's nothing to sneeze at. They also get to pick a special enemy, against which they get +4 to hit and damage throughout the game. While the usefulness of this bonus is situational, it can come in really handy against some of the most powerful enemies in the game - if you choose wisely. As for not getting grand mastery, depending on how you look at it, this can be liberating. It frees you up to use a wide variety of weapons, which can be handy situationally and keep the game interesting, instead of focusing on one type for the whole game.

    This is exactly what I mean. I pointed rangers out because of the comment that fighters would make the best characters for new players. I just feel like rangers and paladins are way better for new players because they are forced into having more weapon variety and it's not like not getting grand mastery means they're horrible warriors.
    Conwan wrote: »
    @Lammas Huh... I keep reading that Rangers aren't that great compared to fighters. From what I read they're weird fighter/thief/cleric hybrids that kinda have that bard problem going for them: too generalist, not specialist in anything.

    Also, Minsc is already a ranger, so another would feel pointless.
    Not really. You're basically just looking at the difference of grand mastery vs specialization which really isn't that bad. They still get warrior types health and to hit bonuses as well as extra attack from higher levels. A basekit ranger you can even don into a heavy plate armor if you so wish.

    I'm not trying to tell you to pick one, just the comment that fighter was the best character for a new player caught my eye.

    p.s. Bards are awesome

    OrlonKronsteenRAM021
  • ConwanConwan Member Posts: 29
    edited April 2020
    I'd pick a bard if halflings allowed you to have one. Why a cheery folk that loves tales isn't allowed a class like a bard is beyond me... Then again, halflings really seem limited in terms of classes, so there's that.

    But how do you use cleric spells then? And is there any point to stealth beyond a "peekaboo" without any backstab damage?

    As for the proficiencies, that's a fair point. From what I gather the grandmastery is mostly useful for the 0.5 APR it gives you. A naturally 4 attacks/turn with dual wield without Belm or Kundane looks like nothing to sneeze at.

    Then again, is there any point to a Ranger when you've got a magnificent stallion that is Minsc? :P

    gorgonzola
  • ConwanConwan Member Posts: 29
    @Lammas Maybe a second question: is there any strong difference between Fighter/Cleric and Ranger/Cleric? From what I gather the latter seems to be better in all ways, with access to stealth, low level druid spells and a bonus to one enemy. The only disadvantage seems to be the strongholds, which don't seem to be as popular. Am I missing something there? Cuz if not I may go Ranger/Cleric and give that a try.

  • LammasLammas Member Posts: 188
    Multi-class? Rangers do have slower level progression than fighters but other than that they do win in my books. I quite like the ranger stronghold too. The moondog is a nice reward.

    https://baldursgate.fandom.com/wiki/Experience_Tables

    The differences are bigger if we are talking of dual classes with kits e.g. comparing berserker-cleric to an archer-cleric.

  • ConwanConwan Member Posts: 29
    edited April 2020
    I may give it a try then. Make you happy. ;)

    Edit: Holy crap, just got a 98 stat roll. That's the highest stat roll I've gotten so far.

    1616mf0ad653.png

    OrlonKronsteenRAM021
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    edited April 2020
    the best thing of FoA is not that is an high enchanted weapon that does a lot of damage, that has 3 elemental damages that go trough the enemy mages stoneskins (but not trough their spells that protects them from magical weapons) disrupting their spell casting, things that are awesome, but that it has a percentage chance to slow the enemy with no save allowed, so is effective also late game when the enemies have very good saving throws.
    give the hammer to someone with enough attacks/round and you are almost sure that in the firsto or second round of the battle the enemy will be slowed, with halved movement and attacks and double time to cast spells. this and
    the fact that it can be upgraded up to +5 in ToB
    make it one of the very best weapons in the game.
    but the more attacks the welder has the better it is.
    Conwan wrote: »
    playing as a Halfling Fighter/Thief
    I really love the Flail of Ages, but you can't backstab with it.
    this imo is a completely not existing problem, a multi can not go past specialization so has a lot of pips to invest in weapons. it is possible to have specialization in flail and in the chosen stabbing weapon, 3 pips in DW and 1 pip in the style useful for the stabbing weapon as well as a pip for the OH weapon quite early.

    by the way the best stabbing weapons in bg2, strange as it can seem, are the staves by far. You can buy pretty soon a +4 one, the staff of ryn, and the +4 damage gets multiplied (only the damage due to str bonus and the added poison or elemental damages of a weapon are added but not multiplied), you can have also soon a staff with charges, that you can charge again selling and buying it again as long as it has at least a charge left (or you can sell it to a fence and steal it for free ;) ), the staff of striking that can grant you spectacular stabbings.
    later you can find a staff that works like the staff of striking, but without consuming charges
    the staff of the ram that you will loot in watcher keep
    so a pip in 2Hweapon is very useful as you get critical hits (multiplied double damage) also rolling 19 to hit, making the chance a 10% one instead of 5% one (the to hit roll is on a 20 facets dice).

    also to play a thief is super fun, and a multi FT can do all the things a real thief can do, also using traps in a creative way is an art, while he is also a very competent fighter. he and minsc will have the same attacks number.


    Conwan wrote: »
    And I generally try to combine clerics a bit, seeing as I have both Jaheira and Aerie. Aerie is my healer, who usually casts spells after a battle is over (relying on dem potions during combat) whereas with Jaheira I try to focus on sabotage spells like Dispel Magic and Insect Plague.
    i completely agree with who told that they are both much more then healers.
    jaheira is a very competent fighter, in the game you will find a good main hand weapon and a speed weapon to weld OH for her, i don't want to spoil you where, so she can have a lot of attacks, she will have the druid's ironskin spell to make her a super tank and her insect spells are the best antimage spells in the game. at high levels she will also have really powerful summons, the fire elemental (always friendly, while a mage has to do a mental fight with him and has the chance that it turns hostile) and later the super powerful elemental prince.

    about aerie....
    take a look here
    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/47354/superaerie-power-tactics-for-the-c-m-spoilers
    you will be amazed about what that little elf girl can do, she is possibly the most powerful npc after neera. but in disguise, she can cast combos of arcane and divine spells that no other npc can use and she can buff herself, once she gain some levels, to hit harder then a fighter, even if with less apr, but she can DW and improve haste herself for 4 apr and have later a simulacrum fighting at her side for 8 total apr, while being almost invulnerable thanks to her arcane protections, and spell immunity makes you sure that she can not be debuffed or her simulacrum dispelled if a mage or dragon is around.

    to heal the regeneration items, the potions and the wand that resurrects, but also that heals at distance without casting time, also it can be recharged in the same way of the staff of striking, are more then enough, to memorize some healing spell is not wrong, but it is far from being the main task of the divine casters.

    so i would say resume your original FT charname, you will have fun with him and a party with a real thief is a much better one, then give to him or minsc the FoA, but give him also a good staff that he will use to stab (you must switch to staff before hiding, after switch weapon breaks it, but if you forget to do it you can then do it from the inventory page, not the quick slots in the main one, preserving the invisibility).

    learn how to stab, learn how to spot the enemies not spotted and lay trap carpets then lure them into the traps and you will have a lot of fun, with a charname that can start every fight with a big stab then can keep fighting or go to hide to stab again according to the particular situation.

    FT is maybe not the strongest combo, even if is very strong, but is the one that probably is most fun to play.
    and as gnome you can romance aerie, so a fighter, a thief, a mage and a cleric in the couple, you will be the most powerful duo in faerun, you can even drop all the other npcs and beat easily the game as a couple of lovers, not that it is needed, but you really can.

    ConwanRAM021
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