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How do you best use a C/T?

I have run into some issues with Maeri, my C/T, in the party I'm playing now. Her base THAC0 is 15, which isn't great, and she only gets bonuses for her weapon proficiency and from the +2 hammer itself. Which means that in most battles, she is swinging and missing a lot. I do generally have her use DUHM before going into battle, which definitely helps, but she is still having issues.
Enough that it concerns me to do the druid grove quest, as I'm not sure she could beat Faldorn in one on one combat.

I'm also worried about trying to do Rasaad's quest, which I would normally do at this point, because Rasaad is pointless still, and for reasons I can't fathom, rather than Rasaad doing the quest, the PC does it instead. In the past, my mage/sorcerer PCs could summon creatures to help with that one room and remain invisible until the shadows were weakened enough. (Though, depending on level, her turn undead might mitigate that problem)

Part of the issue is that she is a multi-class, and only just now a level 9 cleric (while Imoen just hit level 11 mage), but surely there is some way to get her melee skills up to par? Or, am I just playing her character wrong? (Can you even backstab with a hammer?)

Comments

  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 2,669
    You can't backstab with a hammer normally, but you CAN backstab with Spiritual Hammer! Spiritual Hammer isn't flagged as being unusable by thieves, so it can be used to backstab.

    OrlonKronsteenJuliusBorisov
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 949
    Cleric/thief is great for flavor but doesn't have the APR or THAC0 to properly leverage cleric buffs like DuHM. I did one saga run-through with a C/T and enjoyed it for what it was, but if you are looking for fighter/cleric-caliber melee DPS on a sustained basis then you're not going to find it in a C/T.

    OrlonKronsteenThacoBellwhalewereJuliusBorisov
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 890
    Oh, I knew early on that she would never be the party's main tank. That is what Sirene and Jaheira (and in BG2, Isra) were for.

    However, there are several points in SoD and BG2 where the PC is specifically chosen for challenges, and a C/T seems to be at a real disadvantage. I specifically skipped SoD on this run for that reason - I wasn't sure a C/T would be up for that one fight after the siege where it is "one on one".

    Also, there are times when it would be nice to allow a heavily injured party member to retreat for a moment for healing without letting up on the battle. THIS is where I had hoped Maeri would be able to tank briefly with buffs. She would only have to last long enough to give the primary tanks a breather.

    As it is, she can absorb enough damage to give Sirene or Jaheira a break, but it's really just a holding action, as she can't sustain the damage output while they are busy elsewhere.

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 814
    Why would a C/T be fighting Faldorn in the druid challenge? Is that from a mod?

    As for tanking, yeah, that's rough. Things should get easier when you have access to level 6 spells. Blade barrier is an obvious help with tanking. The heal spell is great, too, because you'll be able to keep Sirene and/or Jaheira in battle while you fully restore them. Until then, I guess it's the best armour you can get and DUHM, Protection from Evil, Defensive Harmony, etc... And hope those spells don't get dispelled.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 890
    You know, I've had the multiple strongholds mod installed for so long that I don't actually remember how the vanilla resolution to the druid attacks on Trademeet worked. In general, my PC has always had to fight her in the temple to resolve that quest - not Jaheira.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,105
    The vanilla resolution is that a druid has to fight her. If you don't have a druid in the party, Cernd shows up to do it for you. Turning into a werewolf and attacking is generally good enough to win that fight.

    ThacoBell
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 890
    I'm beginning to have my doubts. I did Rasaad's quest, and one more, my PC had to fight in his stead. (Could someone explain why Beamdog decided to design Rasaad's quest in such a way that Rasaad doesn't actually have to be present, and even if he is, the PC does all the tests?)

    My C/T wasn't able hit the invisible stalkers. At all. Her AC was high enough that she could run around quite a while, but she never did a single HP of damage - even with Holy Smite. I was able to get past that fight with potions of explosion and fire breathing, but it exhausted the party's supply of them.

    I am really wondering if I want to continue with this party, because this is getting ridiculous.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,105
    You couldn't hurt those invisible stalkers with Holy Smite because they're neutral. Other than that ... 64 HP, AC 0, 30 MR, level 8.

  • whalewerewhalewere Member Posts: 14
    edited September 28
    I'll keep it short because otherwise it turns a bit rambly, but I say stick with it, and experiment more with more spells. In particular, Holy Power should fix your THAC0 problems somewhat. Whenever you get the chance to set up a backstab, go for it--Cleric/Thieves buffed with (Holy Power and...) Righteous Magic have incredible damage output. And good on you for actually using those Potions of Explosion, I always just forget about them.

    My first SCS run was with a Cleric/Thief and it was a lot of fun, so I'm a bit biased in their favour.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 949
    edited September 29
    Most people go with cleric/thief multis either because they want to consolidate two "unwanted but necessary" roles into a single character or because they want a quarterstaff-wielding backstabber and figure a cleric/thief might ably fill that role. I don't find the reasoning to be especially compelling in either case, though.

    What you don't want to do is treat your cleric/thief as a solid front-liner. Their APR is so low that you just can't get a whole lot of mileage out of clerical melee buffs. And while with a singleclass cleric you might accept marginal melee DPS in exchange for top-tier turning/dispelling, a multiclassed cleric won't be anywhere near top-tier at either one of those things.

    I'd suggest either downsizing what you are expecting this character to do or else rerolling as FMT, who much more successfully combines utility/convenience with melee prowess.

    Post edited by jsaving on
  • QuickbladeQuickblade Member Posts: 948
    jsaving wrote: »
    Most people go with cleric/thief multis either because they want to consolidate two "unwanted but necessary" roles into a single character or because they want a quarterstaff-wielding backstabber and figure a cleric/thief might ably fill that role. I don't find the reasoning to be especially compelling in either case, though.

    What you don't want to do is treat your cleric/thief as a utility guy who can also make a solid contribution to your frontline. Their APR is so low that you just can't get a whole lot of mileage out of clerical melee buffs. And while with a singleclass cleric you might accept marginal melee DPS in exchange for top-tier turning/dispelling, a multiclassed cleric won't be anywhere near top-tier at either one of those things.

    I'd suggest either downsizing what you are expecting this character to do or else rerolling as FMT, who much more successfully combines utility/convenience with melee prowess.

    This does get thrown out the window with Spell Revisions, there's at least 2 Cleric spells and at least Tenser's Transformation that give extra fighter attacks as well as fighter THAC0 to Clerics and Mages and any variation thereof (except for ones that do have fighter in their multi class).

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 890
    I would be perfectly fine with her being a utility member, were there not several situations where the PC is required to fight one on one. I actually prefer the idea of a party being a team where everyone brings something to the table.

    I may just bail at ToB on this game, since I'm not sure the one on one fight in Sendai's Enclave will go well.

  • whalewerewhalewere Member Posts: 14
    edited September 28
    That fight should be trivial. Sorry, what spells are you using currently?

    Edit: incidentally, you can backstab with a quarterstaff.

  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,012
    Some good insights already posted here. If I were to go with this build, I'd probably go sling + shield and quarterstaff for melee. I don't actually think backstabs are that strong from a powergaming perspective. They can be a ton of fun. Thief gives you access to the weapon style proficiency as well. So even with one pip, two-handed style and the strong available quarterstaves can pack a punch. Especially when the backstab multiplier climbs.

    As well, slings can compensate for a low Thaco character. I would actually focus this character on that. There are some really great early slings in BG2 -- A +5 at the Copper Coronet. And plenty of + bullets out in the world. The low APR means that you're better off using your attack as a way to snipe spell casters, rather than worrying about damage. i.e. More Viconia style than Anomen style.

    In terms of one on one fights, you'll just have to get a little clever. Take the time to read through the various cleric protection spells. At higher levels you'll get great summons too. Aerial servant is a boss. The use any item feat will help mitigate some of the multi's weakness in ToB. Heck you can even use the Staff of Magi for on demand invisibility. The high level traps will be very strong as well. Mage scrolls and wands, etc.

    I don't think ToB will be that tough. One benefit of having the main character be a cleric is that you only need to keep that character alive in battle. You can overcome everything else except permadeaths.

    JuliusBorisov
  • SelerelSelerel Member Posts: 18
    If you're really thinking of disbanding your current party, but are still interested in the C/T idea...consider a Swashbuckler>Cleric.

    That is if you are not tied to backstabbing and would be OK with a dual. At a level 10 dual, you'd have thief skills back at less than 1m exp, so the majority of SOA would be spent as a functional multi. I'm not sure if you're playing through the whole saga or just BG2, but it would basically be dualing to Cleric right at the start of Siege of Dragonspear and regaining thief skills after being in Athkatla for a couple days (more or less)--can always use Glint in SOD for any C/T needs...

    I'd recommend dual wield clubs here, there are not that many other options. +++ in two-weapon style, ++ in clubs, plus the extra attack from the offhand and +3 to THAC0, AC, and dmg from being a swashbuckler.

    You're still not near the fighter APR but it will definitely help with DPS. Plus your cleric spells and turn undead will scale much more nicely at higher levels.

    But yeah as mentioned, no backstab with this build, so you'd have to function more as a utility thief (and you won't be a grand master in EVERY thief utility)

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 890
    I'm beginning to think that perhaps I was a bit hasty. The frustration was borne from having what should have been a trivial encounter with some invisible stalkers go horribly awry. Seriously, that test should have been a cakewalk, but my C/T couldn't touch them.

    However, they are now in De'Arnise hold clearing out the trolls, and that is going a lot better. I switched Mazzy out in favor of Tashia, as the party definitely needed more arcane casting power. I will definitely miss Mazzy, but having only one arcane caster was leaving the party vulnerable. With two arcane casters, the trolls have ceased to be a problem. Though the tactics are certainly questionable.

    Imoen casts invisibility on two party members (usually Sarah and Jaheira), who stand in the door. Sirene uses a two-handed sword to go after the trolls, but the party has it setup like a funnel - only one troll can attack at a time. Maeri periodically buffs and heals Sirene, while Imoen and Tashia supply the needed fire to actually kill the trolls. It has gone astoundingly well.

    I am a little concerned about Sirene being the only real tank, but the party spent everything they had to get the Plate of Balduran. The Helm of Balduran came in during the import, and because she was wearing them in the final BG1 save, I gave her the Cloak of Balduran and the Guard's Ring +2(*). Her AC is -15 with a long-sword.

    I wanted a challenge, so I'm not going to scrap this party yet. It has definitely forced a rethink on my normal game, which is a good thing. This party has become all about supporting Sirene, and occasionally, Sarah and Jaheira, as tanks.

    (*) At the beginning of my BG2 games, I reset any NPC companion from BG1 who didn't wake up in the dungeon with the belongings they had in the final BG1 save. This means Imoen and Jaheira got nothing, while Sirene got her armor and weapons back. Because the party had never met Tashia or Sarah before, they were left as-is.

    whalewere
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 949
    edited September 29
    In trying to salvage a cleric/thief into the best character you can make, swash/cleric is one way to go. You give up high-level thief traps, which for some people is the main saving grace of carrying a C/T to 3 million XP, as well as backstab, which for some people is the main reason to tolerate a C/T in the party at low levels. In exchange you recover high-powered turning/dispelling, which some people appreciate, and gain some melee DPS, though unfortunately you don't receive an extra 1/2 an attack from the second pip you can place in weapons (which might be clubs although you could also go with flails or maces since you can't backstab).

    Which raises the question, what are you actually wanting to get out of your cleric/thief that couldn't be done more effectively some other way? If your main goal is traps/locks, you've got Nalia/Imoen/Jan for that. If your main goal is casting restoration and raise dead, Jaheira can handle raising and with a stack of cheaply bought restoration scrolls can handle level drain as well. If your main goal is backstabbing with a quarterstaff and then surviving the resulting melee, a FMT will have a lot more survivability and will also bring more utility to the table.

    But maybe you just like the idea of a cleric/thief eviscerating Melissan with spike traps and want the full range of clerical buffs in the meantime. In that case a cleric/thief multi can make sense, though I wonder if you wouldn't be better off with a Priest of Lathander dualed to thief. PoL would at least give you blade-like melee DPS for brief intervals, and while you would surrender the possibility of high-powered turning/dispelling, going multi C/T surrenders that anyway so this wouldn't be an extra sacrifice you'd have to make.

    Post edited by jsaving on
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 890
    Oddly enough, the primary goal was to break out of my usual mold; which is to have my sorcerer/mage PC cast summons while the party stands around polishing their armor, then cleaning up whatever is left. I wanted to try a party where the PC had to support other NPCs in battle.

    I went with a C/T so that I could focus Imoen on magic and blow out her thief skills on hiding in shadows and pickpocket before she dualed. Which, for BG1, meant that my PC had to take on the role of trap and lock master. (I didn't want to dedicate a third slot to a pure-class thief)

    In BG1, this worked brilliantly. Imoen was able to snag Algernon's cloak on the first try easy-peasy, while Maeri cleaned out the traps in Durlag's Tower with nary a hitch. Seriously, she made DT a cakewalk all the way down to the sub-basement with her trap ability.

    I'm also looking forward to the UAI HLA, so that she can also pick up those bard items and actually use them. Every time I play, the party gets a full set of bard gear that no one can use. Or any of the other class-specific items that generally get sold or stuffed in a stronghold.

    As an aside, Maeri is a multi-class Priest of Lathander / Thief (I set her up in EEKeeper). I'm still exploring her spells and abilities, as in the past, Jaheira was the only "cleric" in the party.

    whalewere
  • SelerelSelerel Member Posts: 18
    I actually checked this out recently, as a Swashbuckler>Cleric you are able to specialize (++) in weapons available to thief, e.g. clubs, but the weapons that are brought over from the cleric side like warhammers, you can only get to proficient (+). So that's +1 THAC0 and +2 damage, but yeah no extra 1/2 APR...so there is a slight advantage in using thief weapons, depending of course on what other weapons are available.

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,432
    edited September 30
    Unless you're trying a solo, which a C/T should be able to do with ease using traps and summonings along with interesting spells like Sanctuary, you're probably better off with a different class. The things a C/T can do solo just won't be used in a party and you'll wind up being a support character. For ToB, keep in mind that if you keep every mage scroll you find, once you take Use Any Item you'll pretty much become a Cleric/Mage/Thief.

    WarChiefZeke
  • WarChiefZekeWarChiefZeke Member Posts: 2,385
    I'm basic. I use buffing spells to up my stats and use Sanctuary to turn invisible, than I backstab with a quarterstaff. Then I use Sanctuary to hide and I do it again. And again. Sometimes I will use Animate Dead and send them in as a distraction.

    Just imagine someone sneaking up on a heavily armored figure and poking them really hard in the back with a stick. That's me. It works, trust me.

    Balrog99
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 890
    I'm going to try to push through to the end with this party. I generally start a character in Candlekeep and play them through to the end. The only time I abort is when it is clear that the character is going to suck so badly that playing through will feel painful.

    Also, I had forgotten about Sanctuary. I usually only use it as a safety backup for when my cleric is in bad shape and needs a break.

    Balrog99whalewereDinoDin
  • JQuailmanJQuailman Member Posts: 36
    I made one just so I have a thief inSOA-TOB run. APR will always suck but has all the divine you need and can backstab and UAI towards the end of SOA

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