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Fighter > Mage Dual and Grand Mastery

I cleared most of BG1 in my current playthrough (only the 2 higher lvl zones of the expansion left and am about to resume the story at chapter 4 I think I currently am) with a party that is heavy on magic users for once. I played mages and sorcerers, a bit of a Blade and a bit of a Kensai/Mage a long time ago but never tried F/M Multi and Berserker>Mage Dual. I have one of each in my party and wanted to see how well they do compared to each other for the whole series (Dual will remain a Berserker for all of BG1, dual planned at 9 as most people suggest although I plan on playing SoD between BG1 and 2).

Many people were saying that F/M gains extra attacks from higher lvl Fighter (over Dual lvl 9 Fighter) but that lvl 9 Dual Fighter gets grand mastery that sort of offsets this.

I'm guessing this is only if you go with a 2h build? I realized a bit late that if I dual at 9, I will not be able to reach my 5 pts for grand mastery in my single weapon of choice (axes) as I have put 3 points into Dual Wield (unless I use EE Keeper to cheat it). I think that I read that weapon mastery points will just select the class that has the most of them (which would mean that I'd never gain more points after I switch to Mage as Dual) or did I misunderstand this and I'll eventually get a point from it as a Mage to put the 5th in there? Is it only possible if I abuse the bug to stay at lvl 1 mage until I have enough XP to reactivate Fighter (in order to save up that weapon point)?

I'm quite confused about this. I also have a Shadowdancer that I plan on Dualing to Fighter at lvl 10 (for 2nd charge of his special ability) and I think that I have to be careful not to put any point into a weapon that I would put points in while I'll lvl the Fighter side as those single points would get erased if I remember well?

Comments

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 850
    Neo wrote: »
    Many people were saying that F/M gains extra attacks from higher lvl Fighter (over Dual lvl 9 Fighter) but that lvl 9 Dual Fighter gets grand mastery that sort of offsets this.
    At 3 million XP, your characters begin to gain high-level abilities (HLAs) in the classes they are improving. Fighters for example can choose HLAs like greater whirlwind attack, which sets your APR to 10, and critical strike, which keeps your APR where it is but causes each attack to automatically crit. Which one of those is "better" depends on a lot of factors and has provoked a lot of discussion over the years, but either way it's fair to say you gain melee DPS power-ups by being a higher level fighter.

    If you are a multiclass FM then you can access fighter HLAs because you are still leveling up as a fighter. However, dual-class FMs can't because they elected to stop improving as a fighter when they dualed.

    There is nothing wrong with dualing and it can give you a very powerful character, but it is easy to mess up if you don't know what you are doing and it is not clear to me the sacrifices are worth it for new players since you don't end up with a character that is unambiguously stronger than a FM multi would have been. However the way you are doing it is great, with a multi and a dual in the same party you will be able to see for yourself the pros and cons of each approach to gauge which works best with your playstyle. Best wishes and good luck!

    gorgonzolaGrond0Neo
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,621
    edited June 3
    for a dual at lev 9 imo is better to get GM then 3 pips in DW, you get +1/2 apr, more damage and thac0 with the MH and only a marginally lower thac0 with the OH.

    a dual F9->M is pretty fast to do, while the F13 one has a much longer down time. The problem of F9->M is that F9 has 12 thac0 and never will get better from his mage levels as mage caps at 13.
    even with GM, good weapon and every item that can give thac0 bonus end game he will miss a lot more then before as he start to face enemies with really good ac. but at that point he is almost as good casting as a single class mage, having only 250K xp less in the mage class, almost nothing end game.
    so if early he is a quite strong fighter that can use his arcane spells both to negate the damage or to make his ac very low in end game he is a super powerful caster, with many lev 9 spells, that retains some mlee power, is surely useful to clear out fast the minor helpers and can also hit, but not so often the very well armored bosses.

    the multi as told has fighter HLA, but also can bring his natural thac0 to 0, that with specialization, the best weapons and the same thac0 enhancing items let him hit the end game enemies much more often, with CS every time even if not with double damage if the enemy uses some form of helmet so is immune to crits.
    but any way every hit under CS is rolled 20 so completely ignores AC and always hit.
    but the multi, if not gnome, will never get more then 2 lev 9 spells, so end game remains a strong fighter with very good protections, SI to avoid to be dispelled and self buffing as does not depend from an other mage to be hasted or get some other protections (fear, elemental damages).

    they are both very strong but the more you progress trough bg2 the more they have to be played in a very different way, one shifting to be more a caster, the other remaining a fighter that can cast but at best a good secondary mage.
    they both can use the SoTM to dispel on hit, it is as good as carsomyr for the purpose, so if possible i would put at least one pip in staff, it can be one of the ones you choose in the down time for the dual.
    and they don't overlap at all, a party with both is a very strong party in almost each phase of the game, while the dual somehow overlaps with a dedicated main mage as end game you have 2 toons capable of casting many high level spells and use improved alacrity, but you have only a single robe of vecna.
    even if one can use the robe and improved alacrity and the other can use CC, so 2 high level mages can any way get an impressive magic firepower.

    Grond0Neo
  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 124
    Thanks for the replies, it makes it clearer. This means that without having to cheat, once my Berserker>Mage hits lvl 12 mage, he should get the extra point to get grandmaster for his axes (but he'll be pretty much limited to only using 1 single weapon type).

    As for jsaving comments, they're good advices. I've played through the whole series multiple times though (last I checked, Steam was saying I had about 500h in both BG1 and BG2 and that doesn't count vanilla BG1 when I was a teenager and when I played while working up North and had no internet connection so I'm possibly somewhere around 600-700h BG1+SoD, 550h BG2 on top of IWD). I'm playing with SCS on Tactical (only played with SCS through 1 BG1 playthrough and a part of SoD so far before this). It's just that there are soooo many character combinasion/possibilities that despite all of this, there are still many that I've never even played or barely touched. I've had some more "standard" setups a few times in the past (balanced with 2-3 melee, healer, sorcerer, thief), some heavy physical low magic using party (Wizard Slayer, F/T, Darkmoon Monk, Archer, Shaman, Inquisitor (Keldorn)), etc.

    Many characters that start out very strong in BG1 turn out much weaker later on at higher lvls in BG2 and vice versa. My previous group had some classes in there that were great for BG1 (Stalker) but I was losing interest through SoD knowing I didn't have much exciting to look forward to with BG2.

    So I restarted and I made the entire party. F/M (Charname), Berserker (dual to mage at 9), Shadowdancer (dual to fighter at 10 I think), Priest of Tempus, Specialist mage (Invoker), Sorcerer. I found it too bad when I often had 1 sorcerer as main offensive caster and was forced to only pick the "must have" spells and was quite limited (especially with SCS and all of the anti-caster defense spells I'll need). This setup makes sure I can have my sorcerer as a strong offensive caster with my most used spells and that the Invoker can cover all of the rest, at least in BG1. The F/M was quite weak early BG1 but now he's catching up and being decent with Drizzt's scimetars. I'm building him mostly with defensive melee combat spells since my other 2 mages can cover the other types of spells. The Berserker was very useful and needed early BG1 as a solid melee frontline, it's too bad that he'll become bad at melee later on but mages get strong later on in BG2 so that will give me even more options and tools that way I guess (I just hope I won't get stomped by enemies that are magic resistant as a F/M and Shadowdancer>Fighter probably won't be quite as strong as the pure fighters I've been used to having in the past or at least not until much later on).

    I think the Duals are allowing my party to have a solid fighter and an ok thief to cover those in BG1 and then transition into something that can be better for me for combat at later levels. I always was skeptical of the fighter duals into mages if I end up not really using their fighter kits later on but I think I overlooked the fact that it gives me a good fighter for BG1 if I play through BG1/SoD/BG2. The downtime may suck during SoD though... but I think my other 4 strong party members should be able to carry my 2 duals through.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,621
    i am not sure that your choice is so sound for the end game.
    there you will have only a proper fighter with HLA and fighter's Thac0 and a F9 dual, that even with GM will have sub optimal thac0, but at least has apr and the cleric, that can buff for good str and thac0, but lacks of apr. so a relatively weak front line against those good ac enemies you find in ToB.
    and you will have basically 3 main arcane casters, 3 people with a lot of lev 8 and 9 slots and on top of them charname, that is also arcane caster and will have other 2 lev 9 slots.

    if your intention is to have a party with very high magic power at the cost of physical power it is a perfect party, as you have also a full cleric and a full thief, but if you want a balanced party the more the game progresses and the more the dual becomes a caster more then a physical damage dealer the more the party becomes weak mlee.
    at the end of the game, supposing that you reach the xp cap you will have only a toon using 4M xp for a fighter class and an other using 0.25M xp, so 4.25M / 48M (total party xp), less then 1/10 of the whole xp you will get will be used to improve a fighter class.
    are you aware of that or are fooled by the fact that now the berseker is still a strong fighter, as is the one that has more xp in a fighter class and is kitted?
    and do you really need to spend 27.75M xp / 48M for arcane casting, do you really need 3 and 1/2 mages?

  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 124
    edited June 5
    I'll see, it's because I've done several balanced parties in the past and one that had almost no spell casters (but I did not have SCS installed when I did it which would probably have made it a ton harder if not impossible for my physical party although I had Keldorn to strip mage defenses and then the party was just obliterating everything with brute strength for about 99% of the game). My parties often tended to be a bit heavy on melee though with 1 pure fighter, a paldin, a 3rd type of melee, 1 mage/sorcerer, 1 healer (Cleric or Shaman) and often a 6th as an other sort of melee (stalker, monk, etc.) leaving me with only 2, sometimes 3 casters in the back. Many people keep on saying how pure fighters are weak.

    There were maybe 3 big things I wanted with my current caster heavy party.

    1- Be able to use all of those other shiny spells that I wanted to use left and right but could never afford to pick and use because I was too limited by many "must-have" spells by usually only having 1 arcane caster in my group. With the Sorcerer being more free to skip many of the spells like Breach, I can have him focus on a more offensive setup while the Invoker covers all of the other utilities and other key spells that I may not need to spam as much. This also allows my Fighter/Mage multi to be able to focus 100% on using his limited few spells on the melee and defensive centric ones (I'd like to see his full potential as a melee fighter).

    2- I wanted to compare the F/M to the Berserker>Mage dual for a full serie. I was much more curious about the F/M though and I'm afraid the Dual might turn out like some sort of 5th wheel later on as just being a 3rd weaker mage with more hp. He does have high strength roll (I custom made each party member so they all have strong stats) but I'm well aware that he'll probably miss most attacks late game and not be a viable front line anymore. Him granting me a solid pure fighter for BG1 is very helpful with SCS making it much harder so I guess he can sort of be a frontline for about half of the series before having to sit in the backline and act more as a mage later on (mages normally are stronger later in BG2 anyways). I'll have to see if I struggle a lot with high magic resistance mobs such as Iron Golems and so on with this setup. All I see that he would have as an advantage later in BG2 over my other mages is more hp (not that important for mages normally even though it can help a bit) and Berserk which can be strong to resist CCs.

    3- I wanted to try a Shadowdancer and I usually try to fit in a thief somewhere in my party. I just dislike that thieves are so weak at combat in general. So I thought I could try a Shadowdancer to cover the traps/unlocks and then dual him into a Fighter (thinking about lvl 10 to get the 2nd charge of his unique time stop type of ability but I don't know if it's a bad idea cause this means I'll end up with no thief at all in my party until he hits lvl 11 with Figther if I'm not mistaken). The sort of timestop is nice and stealth in plain sight as well but ultimately, it mostly saves me invisibility potions/spells/charges that could do the same for the hide in plain sight. He could eventually get decent THAC0 and melee damage from the Dual later on I think and be able to do some soso backstabs and have cool mobility. However, wearing leather armor and having much less hp due to lvling as a thief until lvl 10, I'm not so sure how good and capable he will be in melee later on.

    The Priest is because I usually want one to have a bit of healing (even though I end up hoarding healing potions to save them for when I absolutely need them and those times are rare) and last time, I had a Cleric/Thief so his spell progression was quite slower. I thought I could try to use more priest spells this time around.

    Overall, I'm skeptical about the F/M Multi being that amazing as a frontline fighter as some people claim he is until I reach late BG2/ToB (he's decent so far in BG1 chapter 5 but that's partly because I cleared everything else on the map and he has crazy gear with Drizzt +3 scimetars). My F/T in a previous playthrough sure turned out quite strong very late game but it took him forever to get a reasonable THAC0 compared to my pure fighters. I could consider dropping the Berserker>Mage dual out if needed later on and either create an other character for BG2 or simply grab a NPC (I have to kick one from the party when I want to grab a NPC to do their quests and get extra rewards/XP anyways in BG2). I'm also not sure I'm sold on the Shadowdancer yet. If thieves' THAC0 wasn't so bad, I would possibly keep him as a pure thief. I'm not sure what to do about this one to be honest.

    I enjoy casters and fighters but I often feel "forced" to add in a thief and a cleric in the bunch (or at least as a multi). Only the fighter/thief wasn't too bad so far out of everything I've tried and it only became truly good at the end of the series. As for the Cleric, sometimes I get rid of this by doing a C/T multi. It's not too bad by the end of BG1 but it ends up slowing down my Cleric progression quite a bit.

    I'm happy with the F/M, Sorc, Invoker combo so far. Priest of Tempus is ok (can melee in BG1). Unsure about my Berserker>Mage dual but he's very handy as a pure Berserker for BG1. Unsure about the Shadowdancer/Fighter and the more I think about the downtime + playing through Siege of Dragonspear with most likely no Thief and early BG2, the more I'm hesitant about him in this group setup.

    Post edited by Neo on
    gorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,621
    your FM multi will be often only 1 level less then a pure fighter until mid SoA, and obviously will not get more then specialization, so he will have only a slightly worst thac0.
    but he will be able to tank better with his spells, also before stoneskin, as ie he can cast blur, mirror images and then equip an armor, the images will take some of the damage and blur+armor give a good ac.
    in my experience the multi is almost as good as a pure fighter, i him much more slow to progress and less powerful then a pure mage.
    if as fighter he will miss just a little more often as mage will be way back compared to a pure mage, that cast his first lev 8 spell at 2.25M (mid SoA, probably in the underdark) and his first lev 9 at 3M, possibly in time for the last SoA battle. for the multi it is 4.5M, so somewhere in ToB and 6M, that is right before facing the last bosses. But as he has not to be the main mage it is not a problem, it is just to say that imo is the mage part that suffers more being multiclass.

    the dual from berseker will hit also late game, just send him to clear the helpers if possible, not to fight the boss with very good ac, and will be almost as good as the other mages, late game most of the time at the same level or 1 level back, with a slot less as is not specialist or sorcerer, but late game the mages have a lot of slots, even more if you have 3 of them.
    for him in some situations, like vs good ac bosses, the tensor transformation can be an interesting option as long as he protects himself before using it and sets up also a contingency as it doubles his HP and gives him a good thac0, he has already good apr.

    i don't think that is wise to dual the thief, playing from bg and doing it at 10 it is 220k xp to complete the dual, too long imo. it is true that the thief's thac0 can not compare to the one of the fighters, but a thief is not meant to fight as a fighter, stabs and traps are his weapons.
    and if someone don't want/like to stab swash->F is a possible way to go, dual at 6 or 7 is fast, and you trade some hp for +2 thac0 and ac and a basic imoen like thieving function, the down time is only 64k or 125k, much more manageable.


    Neo
  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 124
    edited June 6
    It is true that the traps are very strong with Thief HLAs. However, the THAC0 is so bad (maybe I'm just too used to running pure classes like fighters, paladins, monk, archer that it skews my view on what is "good THAC0") that I find a pure thief can barely even land backstabs (and Shadowdancer has weaker backstab damage although he could retry more often without the need of consumables for stealth in combat). So I find it a bit annoying to have a character that is basically dead weight until HLAs for anything else than unlocking chests and disarming traps. I could go with Knock spells and maybe have summons step over traps to disarm some of them but I find it hard to skip out on this (especially with how much XP you get from that in BG2). Also the Shadowdancer doesn't even have traps at HLAs if I'm not mistaken (he doesn't have the regular ones either), he has other abilities like some sort of maze and self copy I think but I've never played with it and am not sure how great they'd be if he's already weak in fights.

    I mostly wanted to try out fighter variations by taking advantage of some unique abilities from thief kits but I didn't really think about how long the downtime would be with no other thief in my party (I thought at first that it'd go faster to reactivate since Thief levels faster but then I remembered it's not about the XP amount but rather getting 1 more lvl into the 2nd class to reactivate the Thief abilities). So I was curious about Shadowdancer and Swashbuckler which I both never played. So far, only the F/T I've done before turned out to be reliable for a whole series for thief utility and a solid dmg dealer late game.

    I was curious about wizard slayer into thief dual (to get around the restrictions) so maybe I can replace my Shadowdancer with one of those for BG2 or keep the Shadowdancer as a pure thief the whole series long (but I think he'll be quite weak in combat) or try an assassin that I was curious about (but skeptical about how good it really is). I think that I read that only the higher THAC0 is of each class is used as a Dual which would mean that a Fighter kit > Thief Dual would also end up with a weak THAC0...

    Post edited by Neo on
    gorgonzola
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 850
    Wizard slayer into thief dual is not bad once you hit 3 million XP. The problem is that the wizard slayer's signature class feature barely matters, because if you can't penetrate a mage's defenses then you don't apply a miscast penalty but if you can then you'll kill him before the miscast penalty matters. Berserker/mage or kensai/mage will virtually always be a better choice if you're wanting to dual.

    The main problem with shadowdancer is that you're weaker than FMT/MT at low levels and vastly weaker than FMT/MT once HLAs come into play. It's a fun class RP-wise but not at all worth it power-wise, in my view at least.

    Neogorgonzola
  • lollerslollers Member Posts: 19
    edited June 6
    jsaving wrote: »
    Wizard slayer into thief dual is not bad once you hit 3 million XP. The problem is that the wizard slayer's signature class feature barely matters, because if you can't penetrate a mage's defenses then you don't apply a miscast penalty but if you can then you'll kill him before the miscast penalty matters. Berserker/mage or kensai/mage will virtually always be a better choice if you're wanting to dual.

    The main problem with shadowdancer is that you're weaker than FMT/MT at low levels and vastly weaker than FMT/MT once HLAs come into play. It's a fun class RP-wise but not at all worth it power-wise, in my view at least.

    Wizard slayer is the best in BG1, which is why you pick it and then dual class it to something else. Cleric is the one that best compensates for the meager magical outfitting of the wizard slayer and makes far more sense to me than dual to thief
    I have never understood people who pick any of the fighters to dual class into thief purely because they have no effective means of survival, especially in the epic levels. They aren't going to be able to get through everything with traps and invisibility potions, and they don't have the damage resistance and thac0 to compete in the really tough battles. A wizard slayer dualed to cleric buffed up to the heavens and with grand mastery in flails and warhammers will actually hit harder than anything and be able to take a hit.

    Neogorgonzola
  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 124
    I only played a Wizard slayer through the entire series once and I wasn't using SCS back then so he only finally gained ok magic resistance near the end of ToB which came in way too late for my tastes. I was indeed a bit disappointed in him overall as I was running a physical heavy party (Darkmoon Monk which was horrible through BG1 but basically a god mid/late BG2 on unmodded core rules, Wizard Slayer, Archer, Fighter/Thief, Shaman, Keldorn (Inquisitor)). Most of the time, he was indeed incapable of landing a single hit onto enemy casters because they had magic defenses up (it was only partially useful against enemy Clerics at best). So I had to strip their buffs with the inquisitor anyways and then the miscast was useless because as you mentioned, the caster would normally explode under 2 seconds anyways without his defenses up (oh and I remember my Shaman was using the druid insect spells which also was much more reliable and useful than my Wizard Slayer passive).

    I only read that I could make some fire seeds with my Shaman to have my wizard slayer throw which did AOE dmg and applied the miscast onto multiple targets. I did use it a few times for fun but I mostly wanted to use him as a melee. SCS seems to make Wizard Slayers gain their bonuses a bit more gradually (at least the magic resistance) and I think it changed the debuff as well a bit. I'm mostly curious because some people have mentioned bypassing their gear restriction (which hurts them a lot) by having Use Any Item (thief HLA).

    Thanks for the Wizard Slayer/Cleric suggestion. I have never tried a fighter/cleric yet (each time I have a cleric, it's only to cover the basic Cleric spells by buffing and healing the party as I feel forced to do it, I have never used it to power up a melee character yet (I had Anomen tank my first BG2 playthrough, that's about it).

  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 461
    There are many ways to use a wizard slayer, and i guess it depends on what you want.

    If i were gonna dual class to cleric, i'd pick Berserker any day of the week.. simply because their Berserk makes you immune to damn near everything, and covers immunes the cleric can't give.


    In any case, using a ranged weapon on WS is fantastic as you just take out Tuigan or whatever and pelt any and all casters you see, clerics, druids, mages.. makes no difference, hit'em a few times and you're golden. Absolutely fantastic in BG1 and BG2 Underdark.. less fantastic vs liches and "bosses" but then nothing really competes with Protection against Undead or Prot Magic scrolls.. or whatever Mage combo you can come up with.

    I recently learned though, that WS magic resistance stacks with Carsomyr and that makes things quite interesting. Let's say you go to 15 WS before dual, that's 65% once you get your Thief HLA.
    +5 from WK, +10 from Hell, + 10 from necklace, + 10 from Gaxx.. that's 100% magic resistance and quite easily attainable in SoA if you do a bit of solo for xp.


    I am in the process of making a WS->Thief now.. one that'll be a bit more "RP" friendly and not have godlike stats, but actually roll them.. and i suspect i'll use ranged weapons.. and possibly staff for melee and glorious backstabs.. or just total cheese and run around with a Carsomyr/Staff of Magi combo..

    Neo
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,233
    Khyron wrote: »
    In any case, using a ranged weapon on WS is fantastic as you just take out Tuigan or whatever and pelt any and all casters you see, clerics, druids, mages.. makes no difference, hit'em a few times and you're golden. Absolutely fantastic in BG1 and BG2 Underdark.. less fantastic vs liches and "bosses" but then nothing really competes with Protection against Undead or Prot Magic scrolls.. or whatever Mage combo you can come up with.

    You can shoot anything of course, but the WS spell failure effect only applies to arcane spells in the unmodded game. That does feel a bit harsh given that spell failure applied by spells or other means affects all casters, but perhaps the original developers considered the WS ability would otherwise be overpowered (though it also doesn't apply to special abilities and force-cast spells, so even quite a lot of arcane-type spells are unaffected).

    Neo
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 850
    I don't personally see wizard slayer as being a great choice in any part of the BG saga, mainly because their miscast magic ability so rarely matters. In BG1 there are too few casters for their miscast magic ability to be relevant. In BG2 you'd think it would matter a lot more due to the large number of mage enemies, but in practice this turns out not to be the case because you can't actually apply the penalty to enemies unless you are successfully penetrating their defenses, yet if you are able to penetrate their defenses then it does not matter whether you are applying a debuff because they'll be killed before they can do more casting anyway.

    Don't get me wrong, fighter/X duals are always strong, but I do think the berserker's condition immunity nearly always makes them the better choice. If you wanted to go WS anyway, I'd argue mage is by far the best dual to take because you can eventually offset the lack of berserker immunities by casting spell immunity. Some people suggest thief because UAI at least wipes out WS item restrictions, but I don't think that is the main problem with WS and hence don't see it as a great choice, though it is probably still better than WS/cleric which lacks both immunities and the prospect of eventual ring/bracer wearing.

    Neo
  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 461
    Grond0 wrote: »

    You can shoot anything of course, but the WS spell failure effect only applies to arcane spells in the unmodded game.

    Huh.. that really is shit then. I was sure it'd affect clerics as well.
    Well if that's the case then i guess WS kind of does suck for everything but stacking magic resistance.
    Though i guess there's always the chance of getting 1 arrow hit before the mage can spelltrigger/sequence defenses.. and in cluster fights you can hit peripheral mages etc, but we're really starting to touch fringe benefits here and not actual strengths.

    However.. as my char idea was to have primarily ranged combat + traps and a few backstabs, then i suppose WS->Thief or a multiclass is better than true class and berserker isn't even an option due to pips placement.

    Kinda makes an Archer kit more attractive but i'd be losing traps.. oh well..

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,621
    any fighter into cleric dual is strong as from the fighter class you get weapon pips, up to GM and 1/2 or 1 more apr if you dual at 7 or 13 and from the cleric spells you get good thac0, even a F2->C can have a natural 0 thac0 as long as he reaches 21 cleric, and other buffs, like high str and more hp and ac.

    i agree that starting from berseker is the best defensive option as rage and cleric spells protect from many things, but also a not kitted fighter as anomen can be very strong, until his buffs are dispelled, up to the last tob battle.
    Neo wrote: »
    It is true that the traps are very strong with Thief HLAs. However, the THAC0 is so bad (maybe I'm just too used to running pure classes like fighters, paladins, monk, archer that it skews my view on what is "good THAC0") that I find a pure thief can barely even land backstabs
    traps are very strong also before the HLA ones, using them wisely can make dangerous enemies like beholders and mind flyers much easier, can slain dragons and vampires. This without abusing of spawn points or still blue enemies, they can be used with any enemy that try to follow you and chase you, in every area big enough to set them outside the sight range of the enemy (technically it is the one of your thief, but RP wise is the enemy that must not see you when you set the trap).

    about pure thieves and Thac0 i am not used to play a lot of pure fighters, i rarely have a pure fighter in my party, but also i play mostly with small parties and i try to use effective leveling strategies, like soloing part of bg2, without claiming the quests reward, to level up fast charname so when i recruit the helpers they come at higher level and they also will get the quests rewards.
    so my play style makes my evaluation different from yours, my toons hit often not because they are fighers, but because they are over leveled, so my thieves hit probably more often then yours, even if i don't have any expectation that they can do meaningful damage, mlee or ranged, just fighting.

    but if i greatly prefer to use multi as thieves, they can be jan or some custom CT, FT or FMT, the reason is that those multi, but jan, can actually have good thac0, the ones with fighter inside also apr, and also fight and stab enemies with good ac.

    any way the role of a pure thief is not to do damage fighting like a fighter, it is to make you rich so you can have all the best gear early, it is to prepare the enemies with traps, taking out big chunks of their hp before they even touch your fighters, it is to stab them as your fighters keep them occupied or sometimes just stab them and clear whole areas by themselves stabbing, running away, hiding again and repeating.

    to say that a thief, or a mage, sucks because he has no fighter like thac0 is like to say that fighters suck as they can not stab, set traps and cast spells ;)


  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 124
    Ah, it has been a while since I played that game with WS and I did not have SCS so it probably wasn't working to apply the miscast onto Clerics then. As for now, since I'm playing with SCS, even in BG1, 99% of the enemy spell casters pre-cast protection from missiles which makes it so a ranged WS could never land a shot onto them anyways I think (I think it also counts basic magic arrows as normal missiles with SCS if I'm not mistaken) unless I use stronger magic arrows and the stronger casters will also normally have protection from magic weapon (that's on top of stoneskin and mirror images, shield, etc.). Basically, the only option is to have a caster that can take out their defenses and then the mages die in 2-3 seconds normally or be able to somehow wait for their defenses to run out and come back in (some of those defenses last 1-2h so it'd take forever with this approach). That's BG1... where casters are significantly inferior to the ones in BG2.

    However, I obviously understand that not everyone plays with SCS and in the unmodded game, WS using ranged weapon does sound like a strong idea for BG1 at least. It's just that even in unmodded BG2, I remember that Insect Plague was way more reliable and I often couldn't land those hits until I could strip enemy defenses (in which case they would normally die fast as mentioned above). It obviously all depends on what party setup you have.

    I'm still curious about it though so I may look into possibilities once I hit BG2 if I change my party setup. I guess I could maybe go with Berserker>Cleric dual instead of Berserker>Mage but I'm still unsure I see what would make him so good for melee over pure berserker or berserker>mage (berserker>mage having many strong defenses or tenser transformation). I can think of things like DHUM but later on, since I only have my F/M as "true melee", it's inevitable that my Berserker will end up with items that increases his str to very high levels already (if not to 25) making all of those Cleric stats buffing spells less and less appealing (and I don't remember their higher level spells as being particularly powerful in general).

    gorgonzola
  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 461
    hurr durr.. clerics are awesome.

    Make all hits do maximum damage, though i suppose on a 1D6 like most their weapons are, that'd not much if a spectrum to maximize but they also got loads of immunities and protections and so on..

    Armor of faith + easthaven is a nice juicy 45% physical resistance (though a multiclass and get fighter Hardiness for a total of 85% resistance is just ludicrous and let's you facetank firegiants for fun)

    All these are great tactics, but my absolute favorite with strong melee clerics is using bladewall and/or globe of blades.. hehehe it'll just shred stuff so hard.

    In an unmodded game, you can defeat almost the entire game by using bladewall + sanctuary and then just walk up to them and chunk the bastards without even starting proper combat, they just stand around and get gibbed.

    Neogorgonzola
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 850
    Well, FM is the game's strongest character with the possible exception of FMT so you are setting a really high bar in wondering whether berserker/cleric would be even better than berserker/mage. But there are some benefits to a berserker/cleric dual. Clerics do have strong offensive buffs but their pitiful APR doesn't allow them to properly leverage those spells in the way a berserker/cleric can. That combination will certainly make berserker/clerics situationally better than pure berserkers at pure DPS along with providing much more versatility.

    Neogorgonzola
  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 124
    Thanks for the Cleric spells suggestions, I'll look into them (I don't know cleric spells as well as arcane ones since I almost always used my clerics mostly as supports). As for the berserker>mage vs the berserker>cleric, it's only because my team already has strong spellcasters (FM, Priest of Tempus, Sorcerer, Invoker, Shadowdancer, Berserker>(mage?)) so the berserker>mage dual will eventually turn more into sort of a 3rd full arcane caster if I don't count the FM (that could cover the few spells the Invoker can't have like Greater Malisson if I skip it on the Sorcerer) and it might leave me weak on melee/physical damage vs certain enemies that are very resistant to magic. I could summon skeletons but I don't know if it'll be enough. Someone wrote that Berserker>Cleric could turn into a very strong melee fighter (and I can haste him with the other party members even though I understand he'd be a few APR short to be able to reach 10 probably).

  • KhyronKhyron Member Posts: 461
    Most of what you write is correct, though at the very end i kinda fall off the wagon so to speak..

    Yeah, you won't get gww on a dualed fighter cleric.. but.. well i dunno, these kind of things with 10APR for like a couple of rounds, spending much HLA.. it just seems like people put way too much emphasis on that.

    It might also be me being lazy, but i always build my char/party to handle 99% of all fights mostly unbuffed, unprepared. Maybe toss on some chaotic commands, and let mages-type chars autocast stoneskins on rest etc.. but i think i'd be bored and quit the game long before even getting to the asylum if all of these preparations and considerations had to be taken.

    In my point of view, a char/party that can't deal with "trash mobs" and minor bossfights without buffing, pre-casting and setting up sequencers and contingencies at every corner is really quite unplayable and 1000% immersionbreaking.. belongs in the blackpits or IWD which is just a combat simulator with a sprinkle of narration.

    That said.. i do understand that some people feel a need to use SCS and LoB difficulty, but the experience just felt bizarre when i tried it.

    Neogorgonzola
  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 124
    edited June 6
    I know what you mean about how tedious all of the pre-buffing can get. That's why one of my full runs was with that almost full physical party I mentioned before. However, with BG1 SCS, most fights don't require too much pre-buffing and I don't need it for regular mobs. You can still steamroll about 75% of baldur's Gate 1 SCS by just throwing Sleep AOE onto packs of mobs and collecting free XP... (until about 1/3rd or 1/4th of the game left where enemies are too high level for that spell to work anymore but you still have plenty more like Glitterdust, Slow, wands of fear, etc. etc.).

    About GWW, I did play with it before since I liked 2h weapons and it was strong on my Monk as well. However, it seems many people say reaching 5 APR with 2 weapons and then raising it to 10 with improved haste is stronger in general (in which case you take the critical strike HLA instead even though it won't work on every single enemy the way GWW would). Maybe BG2 SCS will require insane amount of pre-buffing, I'll have to see but I would expect to be able to handle most regular encounters without needing to do that still.

    I enjoyed not having to waste time always buffing with a bunch of spells with the low magic user party but on the other hand, the gameplay itself was also more boring by basically just removing caster defenses with Inquisitor and then melee clicking enemies almost from start to finish of the series (with a few occasional harder fights like the last one in ToB). Having a lot of different spells to use gives me more to look forward to and adds more flavor to the game and more tactics I can use but I do have to spend more time buffing my party and debuffing enemies at the start of encounters.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 850
    edited June 6
    Yes, the case would be strongest for CS when you already have high APR, whereas if you are two-handing Carsomyr then GWW would be a nearly automatic pick for you. In the middle would be something like a FotA/Crom setup where your main hand has an on-hit effect and your off-hand weapon doesn't grant an extra attack, though I personally would lean toward GWW in that case.

    Neo
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,621
    Neo wrote: »
    Thanks for the Cleric spells suggestions, I'll look into them (I don't know cleric spells as well as arcane ones since I almost always used my clerics mostly as supports)

    Khyron wrote: »
    Make all hits do maximum damage, though i suppose on a 1D6 like most their weapons are, that'd not much if a spectrum to maximize but they also got loads of immunities and protections and so on..

    Armor of faith + easthaven is a nice juicy 45% physical resistance (though a multiclass and get fighter Hardiness for a total of 85% resistance is just ludicrous and let's you facetank firegiants for fun)

    All these are great tactics, but my absolute favorite with strong melee clerics is using bladewall and/or globe of blades.. hehehe it'll just shred stuff so hard.
    this is a good use of the cleric spells to buff for mlee.
    i add only a combo: holy power (always as first) , righteous magic and duhm (or you can swap them as long as you cast them after HP it is fine)
    HP: gives you thac0 of a fighter of the same level of your cleric one, so it is similar to tensor in that. gives you 1 hp/level and SET str (overriding you natural one or the one from the belts).
    RM: maximum damage every hit, an other hp/level and some str points, level depending, that stack with the str set by HP as long RM comes after.
    DUHM: increases str (stacks in the same way RM does), dex, so ac and ranged thac0, and con, so even more hp.
    the final result compared to tensor, that doubles the hp, is less hp increase, but the damage reduction a cleric can get balances it, gives the better thac0 (as the berseker->C is already grand master but reaches 25 str, so +7 thac0 bonus), gives always maxed dmg roll, that is not game breaking, and mainly lets you cast while you are buffed, while a mage under tensor can not cast. but the mage can use SI to avoid to be dispelled while the cleric can be dispelled and as he needs more spells to buff it can be a problem, some caution has to be adopted.
    as long as he goes full buff and is not dispelled a Berseker->C with GM will have decent apr, but not super as he can not use +1apr weapons, high alpha (25 str + GM + kai like effect), a buff in hp and damage reduction to make that hp last longer, capability to cast and possibly some blade spell to deal some more damage.
    surely to buff a cleric for fighting mlee needs more spells and time, if a player hates to buff it is not the best chance for him.
    but...
    Khyron wrote: »

    In my point of view, a char/party that can't deal with "trash mobs" and minor bossfights without buffing, pre-casting and setting up sequencers and contingencies at every corner is really quite unplayable and 1000% immersionbreaking..
    imo it is not the case for a Berseker->C as not buffed or with some minor buff, like duhm, super fast to cast, his cleric thac0, the best not fighter like in the game, his GM and the good crushing weapons that there are in the game make him effective also late game vs trash mobs. he really only needs to buff for the boss fights.
    end game the cleric thac0 can go as low as 8, add GM and the str from a good belt and duhm and you get enough thac0 and damage to fight minor battles without problem.
    end game as he gets also the ring (+1 str that stacks) and get more str from RM he can reach 25 str also without casting DUHM, so can use it for the battles where he don't want to go full buff, and starting from a good belt and with the ring also here he reaches 25 str.

    as i don't play scs i don't know how hard is to keep him far from dispel magic there, but as long as his buffs are on a F->C is pretty powerful and when not buffed is better then a F->M as the cleric thac0 is better and he has spells like DUHM for partial buffs, while the F->M has to use tensor, at the price of loosing the ability to cast, but lacks of other ways to improve his thac0, that unless is a late dual in the end game will be not so good.

  • lollerslollers Member Posts: 19
    Can wizard slayers miscast magic using melfs minute meteors? I think that wizards in general are awesome, and those things they throw are too.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,193
    edited June 9
    lollers wrote: »
    Can wizard slayers miscast magic using melfs minute meteors? I think that wizards in general are awesome, and those things they throw are too.
    I believe so. And as someone already mentioned, depending on your game setup, WS->Druid can also use Fire Seeds to apply it, and because these hit an area you can use them to hit things you normally couldn't by targeting something else that's close to it. Shuts down Liches in no time flat.

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