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What weapons & styles should I put pips in for a Kensai/Thief?

What is the best backstabbing weapon? (I'm also thinking of getting dagger for throwing daggers.)


  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 779
    Quarterstaff, ironically. Staff of Rhynn can be purchased early and is arguably one of the best backstabbing weapons until ToB where you get the staff of the Ram. One of the few +4 weapons you can get early in BG2. Two-handed weapon style is slightly better for damage than single weapon style. Crushing damage means maximum damage and avoiding immunity against a greater number of enemy types.

    There are of course other great options as well -- long swords, katanas, and even daggers.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 755
    On a kensai-thief dual, you've got enough damage bonus to make any melee thief weapon work well for backstabbing. I usually prefer going for katanas, long swords, scimitars, or staves, but it's not like the other options are bad. You could even switch your magical throwing dagger to melee mode and use that.

    I wrote up an overview of the backstab options here.

  • JQuailmanJQuailman Member Posts: 30
    edited June 2
    You might want to just do a fighter/thief multi. It’ll give you more freedom in assigning pips from SOA to TOB. But I would just do quarterstaffs and get as many pips as you can before you dual.

  • 20884322088432 Member Posts: 160
    JQuailman wrote: »
    You might want to just do a fighter/thief multi. It’ll give you more freedom in assigning pips from SOA to TOB. But I would just do quarterstaffs and get as many pips as you can before you dual.

    What is the maximum level I should get to before I dual?

  • JQuailmanJQuailman Member Posts: 30
    I was suggesting multi class over dual. I don’t know enough of the dual intricacies to comment on what level. I’m starting to realize BG2 was made for multiclassing and I’ll never dual again....

  • JQuailmanJQuailman Member Posts: 30
    But from what I’ve seen it’s typically 9 or 13. Depends on what you want out of them and how much patience you have in waiting for the first class to kick back in.

  • 20884322088432 Member Posts: 160
    edited June 2
    JQuailman wrote: »
    But from what I’ve seen it’s typically 9 or 13. Depends on what you want out of them and how much patience you have in waiting for the first class to kick back in.

    What level do I get my last pip as a kensai? And patience isn't an issue, also there is no experience cap.

  • masteralephmasteraleph Member Posts: 86
    9 will allow you grandmasters in one weapon (with two pips from character creation left over). You get another at 12 and then 1/2 an attack per round at 13, but xp difference is quite substantial. A level 9 fighter/level 10 thief needs 410k xp, while a 13 fighter/14 thief needs 2.13m xp.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,621
    you can use those tables's_Gate:_Progression_Charts
    there you can see not only the xp needed to reach each level, but how the proficiency pips are given, the thac0 you have (for the kensai add the kit bonus to it) and other useful things.

    about the level you should dual it is tricky to answer as from dual from other kits or an un kitted fighter the answer is usually 9, that is the sweet spot to have high HP, decent thac0 and a short down time/more time you play the completed dual/earlier reaching of the second class HLA.
    or 13, better thac0 and +1/2 apr.

    but imo for the kensai it is more complicated as some kit bonuses, kai number, damage bonus and so on, are level depending, dualing too early means that you don't get enough from the kit to be worth it, doing it later it means that you are a glass cannon for a very long time as you need UAI as thief to get rid of the kit limitation and equip the armor and items that a kensai can not use.
    at 13 it means 1.25M as fighter and 3M as thief, so 4,5M total that is mid tob in a 6 people party, you suffer for the 80% of the game to be very strong in the remaining 20% or probably even less as the xp gain is not linear. it is worth it? the answer is completely subjective.
    any way dualing from 9 your fighter thac0 will be 12, overridden by the thief 19 one that is 11 and you will end with 10 that a thief reaches at lev 21.
    dualing at 134 your fighter thac0 is 8 that is better then the thac0 a thief can reach.

    to this you must add the kit bonus, +1 (-1) thac0 every 4 levels, so the dual at 13 benefits more of it, and the GM bonuses, that a multi can not get as he can not go past specialization.
    So the dual at 13 will have a thac0 very close to a dual FT, 1/2 more apr, the dual at 9 will have a somehow worst thac0 compared to a multi and the same apr, GM balances not getting the lev 13 bonus, but will complete the dual much earlier, 410k instead of 2.13M and will get uai more then 1M xp earlier.

    the dual lacks of the kit bonuses, so no granted high damage stabs as he has no kai, but has no down time, does not need UAI to equip an armor and has access to both the HLA pools, starting from 3M xp.
    i personally have no doubt about it, for me multi every day of the week, while i like the dual kensai mage as i can use the arcane spells instead of an armor, the robe of archmage or vecna to get some ac, that spells like blurr or improved invisibility can improve further if i don't want to go to the stoneskin route and even at lev 9 he hits well for most of the game. while in the end is a super powerful mage that can also go mlee, side by side with his simulacrum.

    but as every one has his own taste and priorities there is people that likes both the kensai thief at 9 and 13, there is even who delays the dual even more, thing that probably has sense only soloing or in very small parties when you can get more xp then in a complete party.

    use the tables i linked and make your own choice as 9, 13 and 17 (for even more kit bonuses and better thac0) are viable alternatives as well as the multi FT, that can also be of a race with shorty bonuses that make him a better thief.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 755
    I don't see the kit limitations as being a huge deal for a kensai-thief before UAI. After all, AC doesn't matter if the enemy isn't attacking you because you're invisible. If you're playing a backstabber well, your strike and retreat style is already protecting you from retaliation.

    All that no-armor rule really does to you is prevent you from playing as a front-line melee combatant like other fighter/thieves can if they really want to. It forces you into the role that you're the unequalled master of instead.

    After UAI, the kensai-thief dual is flat out better than a vanilla fighter-thief dual, with bonuses to both attack and defense and no equipment restrictions.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,621
    edited June 3
    compared to the FT dual the KT is only marginally better at stabbing, if stabbing is the main thing he does as he gets some more damage from the kit bonuses, that depend on the level you dual at, can be +3 or +4 so 15 or 20 more damage each stab, that is not bad, don't get me wrong, and he has only a very limited number of kai to use each day, and each kai is very short, unlike the same result from the CT righteous magic, that can last many rounds.
    So the KT will have very few high damage stabs each day and the rest of the stabs only marginally more damaging, while remains a glass cannon until at best 3.25M xp, at worst 4.5M xp or even later if you push to very high level duals.

    compared to the multi FT he will have surely a better stab, he gets earlier a good multiplier, he has the GM damage bonus and the kit one and some kai, but at the price to have to deal with down time, that is a quick thing dualing at 9, but much longer doing it at 13, and has to wait a long time before getting UAI, that the multi does not need so badly.
    then the KT will have the advantages you tell about, but the multi can reach a better Thac0, as can go to the fighter base Thac0 of 0, and can use the fighter HLA pool, GWW and the rest, as well as the rogue ones.
    As most bosses and hard enemies like the dragons can not be stabbed and stabbing, super powerful in early and mid game, becomes less strong end game if is better to have a toon with some more ac and dmg or one with better thac0, GWW, hardiness and CS is really a matter of play style and player preference.

    the limitations are surely there, like the advantages, I personally don't need a granted huge damage stab from my thief as when i send him to stab he usually is able to perform multiple stabs using speed and every corner to hide again and kill even enemies that need 4 or 5 stabs to die, like it happens with my charname FMT when i play chateau irenicus with tactics mod and he has only 3x multiplier, but has to kill enemies with 5 or even 10 levels more then him. And I like my FT, dual or multi, be able to also go mlee when stabbing is not an option, very small areas, enemies immune and so on. so for me the limitations of the KT are very apparent, even if i see how for players that have no problem to suffer earlier to have a strong build later, or simply have a different style from mine the advantages of the KT can weight more then the limitations.

    for me kensage and multi FT or FMT work the best, but for others it can be completely different.

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,084
    edited June 5
    Grandmaster with daggers, daggers and more daggers. The poison throwing daggers will never be used more effectively than with your Kensai/thief, not to mention the mundane ones and Boomerang Dagger (once you pickpocket it). Put the rest of your pips in single-weapon fighting for backstabs and then 2-weapon fighting just for grins later. Just think of the flair of turning the tiniest of blades into weapons of mass destruction!

    Edit: Probably want to take a pip or two in staves for those pesky skeletons though...

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,621
    the poison throwing daggers are in a too limited number to spam them, so can be useful only for some specific battles, and for those battles usually also a not kensai with lev 13 has enough apr to make good use of them, late game a multi has even better thac0. if you spam poisoned daggers with high apr you use them all very fast.

    also the dagger of the star is a good weapon for who wants to have a thief that uses dagger as let you hit also enemies that need more then +3 weapons, stabbing you have a chance to go invisible for free and land a second stab, even if only 5% before you upgrade it and 15% after.

    If spending pips in dagger imo is a very good choice, boomerang and firetooth are good ranged weapons for a kensai and can be used mlee MH while OH a speed weapon, belm/kindane and later SNT, is also used.
    so you get 5 attacks even without lev 13 and with lev 13, GM and the best gauntlets you get 4 apr without DW, but a staff, striking, that a thief can recharge for free, and then ram, is a better option to stab, even using kai with the 2D4 of boomerang it gives more damaging stabs and is way better if you have to stab but you don't want to spend a kai to do it.
    Dualing at 9 a K->T gets 7 pips from the fighter class and up to 11 other pips from the thief, plenty enough to reach GM both in staff and dagger, to have some pips in DW and some in 2Hweapon and 1Hweapon styles to double the chance of crits.
    Doing this he has ranged attacks covered, but never hitting the +4 needing enemies, has at least 2 options mlee, very high apr with dagger or long reach and high alpha with staff, and has the best weapon to stab, that can do impressive damage if used with kai, but very good one if without the kai.
    and he can hit with piercing or crushing damage so no enemy is immune.
    and as UAI is there the SoTM is also very strong to dispel on hit if used by a thief with good thac0 and apr that can then quaff an invisibility potion or use the charge of a ring and stab the mage.

    dagger and staff is a good build for both the dual and the multi and is often my choice when i play the FMT.

  • 20884322088432 Member Posts: 160
    gorgonzola wrote: »
    the poison throwing daggers are in a too limited number to spam them, so can be useful only for some specific battles, and for those battles usually also a not kensai with lev 13 has enough apr to make good use of them, late game a multi has even better thac0. if you spam poisoned daggers with high apr you use them all very fast

    I have a mod that gives has throwing weapons be recoverable 100% of the time they hit the enemy.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 755
    While poisoned throwing daggers are rare, they come in packs of two and have a positive resale value. That means that you can "farm" them by buying and reselling for a theoretically unlimited quantity. You're only limited by the stack limit of 40 and inventory space.
    Their other weakness - they're not magical. Anything that has protection from normal weapons, any mage that puts up protection from normal missiles, and they're useless.

  • DonaldDonald Member Posts: 4
    Do a Google search on Kensai/Thief.

    Best backstabbing weapon is Katana.

    Dual at 14.

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 502
    Staves and daggers works really well, great backstabbing, powerful weapons, different damage types and powerful ranged options

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