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Dwarven Shadowdancer?

Has anyone had fun playing a dwarven shadowdancer? I have never played this class, but in some testing it seems fun and quite different. I'm quite well-versed in playing all the other thiefly variants. I tend to like dwarven thieves because of the savings throws, 19 strength in BG, and the strong skill bonuses to offset the racial dexterity cap. This being a melee thief, it seems the 17 max dex should not be such an issue, especially since trapping is not possible.

Also, what are the general recommended weapon proficiencies? I was thinking longsword (Varscona), shortbow, SWS, dagger (Venom) in BG, then building out TWF and eventually scimitar in late BG2 (I use the RR mod so my thieves may get 3 pips in TWF). Shortbow and dagger would be the ranged options as needed.

I could add quarterstaff also for a blunt, but not sure if needed given the different tactical approach of this class. It seems to me this class is not about big bodacious backstabs, but more about multiple on-hit effects/elemental damage from the constant HiS lower damage backstabs

Any feedback/advice/wisdom appreciated!

Comments

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 755
    With how much you're putting into one-handed weapons, why not clubs as the blunt option? Not that it's critical; the golems out there that you want blunt damage for are immune to backstabs, so you'll probably leave them for other party members anyway.

    I strongly recommend playing with another thief in the party, so that your protagonist can afford to crank up stealth immediately. Going even beyond 100/100 stealth is a good idea here - you want to be able to not just hide in plain sight, but hide in broad daylight consistently.

    One trick to using a shadowdancer: it's all about patience. Despite the stealth timer, there's a way to stab and then hide immediately; if you take an action such as selecting a weapon or switching to trap detection mode that ends hiding mode without immediately breaking stealth, you start that timer. Wait for it to expire and make the hide button active, then strike.

    I can't say much more than this, since I've never seriously run a shadowdancer myself.

    AerakarJuliusBorisov
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 850
    edited June 8
    Much better to go FMT or MT and use the invisibility spell (or even scrolls/wands) to hide in plain sight without needing to put a single point in stealth skills. Plus shadowdancer can't use thief trap HLAs which are the main reason to play a thief in ToB, whereas mage gives you a vast increase in versatility compared to a singleclass thief.

    But I agree that shadowdancer is fun and different despite being much weaker than the alternative!

    Post edited by jsaving on
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 755
    Invisibility spell: casting time 2, interruptible, subject to the general "aura" timer. Invisibility potion: instant, subject to the general "aura" timer. Hide in Plain Sight: instant, subject only to the stealth timer that is independent of "aura".

    No, you can't duplicate the power of HiPS with any other class. Invisibility magic is not a perfect substitute for nonmagical stealth; while a mage/thief can get off a few backstabs each day with it, they can't do stunts like clearing entire areas with backstabs. And while shadowdancers don't get HLA traps, they do get their own unique HLAs.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 850
    edited June 8
    It is a fair point for sure that if you're only looking to turn invisible as many times a day as possible then shadowdancer would be the best choice.

    Post edited by jsaving on
  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 696
    Thanks @jmerry and @jsaving for the feedback. I have never played this class other than in limited testing in Chateau Irenicus and it looks like a definite change of pace. I tested an Elf and a Dwarf both.

    I've read comments from others on the forum and it seems like Shadowdancer is not everyone's cup of tea due to the needed micromanagement. There seems to be a power curve fall off in ToB also because of no traps (but other fun HLAs instead). From the playthroughs I have read it seems the class is a good escape artist when in trouble (obviously with HiPs and Shadowstep!).

    I have been using the stealth timer trick and it really helps. In fact I felt a bit overpowered using HiPS with this approach.

    On backstabbing weapons, any reasons to focus on certain weapons other than what other thief variants use?

    JuliusBorisov
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,601
    Aerakar wrote: »
    On backstabbing weapons, any reasons to focus on certain weapons other than what other thief variants use?

    I can't recommend enough this mod - https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/76631/mod-siege-of-dragonspear-2-baldurs-gate2-ee-item-upgrade-v1-1-0-released/p1 . You will get a nifty club (thieves-specific) imported from SoD into BG2 which you'll be able to upgrade further. It will provide the much-needed change of the usual route with backstabbing weapons.

    AerakarThacoBell
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 5,080
    If you're already in BG2 rather than 1, this advice might come too late but in BG1 I tend to favor xbows for charnames instead of bows since there are more (at least more often used by me) NPCs who can use the good bows and the only time I give away the xbow of speed is when I use Garrick. So bolts of biting and lightning are my main usage on charnames, especially biting.

    I'd invest all points in stealth and not waste a single point in any other thief skill, since reliable stealth is alfa and omega for SDs (I do the same for Assassins). I'd probably use another mage, unless solo but I've never tried SD solo, for everything else.

    Your Thac0 will suck and pure rogues miss even with attacks from stealth, so I'd go with the best choice of THAC0 enchantments depending on NPCs, but probably staffs because in BG1 to 2 there's always an easy high-enchanted quarterstaff available and you could use a staffmace and buckler when/if needed. For example in BG1 to reach 20 CON for some mid-map regeneration. Leftover points would be daggers for the APR "cheese" in BG2 with fire tooth since the standard APR weapons usually can find their way into NPC hands, like belm for jaheira and kundane for Haer'dalis.

    APR weapons tend to have lower enchantments than other weapons, but as you say the scimitar category have excellent choices. But it's better to hit rare than to miss often, so the few times I've played pure rogues I tend to not bother with APR so much. Admittedly though, I've never installed the RR mod which might change this.

    And I totally agree on the choice of the master race dwarf.

    AerakarJuliusBorisov
  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 696
    Thanks @Skatan for the great feedback. This will be a small party and minimum reload run so I can learn the class.

    In the end I did go with crossbow - he is a dwarf after all! - and added quarterstaff/THS and short sword. Short sword is not a bad choice with RR mod as it adds/enhances the weapon type in both games. I will add 3 pips in TWF in BG2 (RR mod) and later add scimitar so he can dual-wield decently and have increased combat utility later in the game. All points will go in stealth and later detect illusion until those are maxed.

    The detect illusion stealth timer trick is really key to making shadowdancer effective, in my opinion. He suffered tremendously in close quarters combat until I figured that out. There is a lot more micromanagement with the backstabbing-centric approach, but it is something new!

    ilduderinoSkatan
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 850
    Which takes us all the way back to your first post:
    Aerakar wrote: »
    Has anyone had fun playing a dwarven shadowdancer?
    Whether the extra micromanagement will remain fun over the course of the game is something no one but you will be able to answer, but best wishes and good luck on your run-through!

    Aerakar
  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 696
    Frankly @jsaving not sure yet. For now am enjoying a new approach to the game, but I am afraid it may grow tiring over time. I struggle with completing run-throughs so will have to wait and see.

    I will say that the 'thief' feel is different than all other thieves. I have never played a thief without traps before.

    Skatan
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,782
    I'm coming into this a little late, but I've done a Dwarven Shadowdancer before. Its a lot of fun until you get to ToB and a distressing number of enemies are immune to backstab. I went with clubs.

    SkatanAerakarmonico
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