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How do you deal with backstabbing thieves?

I know, I know, I play on SCS Insane with everything turned on, so I only have myself to blame, but...How do you normally deal with thieves who seem to have infinite supply of potions of invisibility and infinite backstabbing multiplier? A notable encounter is the improved Chapter 5 final battle, where you have to fight a group of 8 enemies or so, 2 strong mages, at least 2 backstabbing thieves, a priest, 2 fighters and a shapeshifter. I haven't been able to find a way to beat this other than, climbing down the stairs and dealing with groups of 3 or 4 of them at a time. If I go full frontal on them, half of my party gets gibbed.

The problem isn't so much in mages (well, being slowed and confused doesn't help either, but I can deal with them), but in the thieves. Each of them gulps a potion of invisibility every round, backstabs for gazillion damage, and then repeat the same process. I have True Seeing on my druid, but that actually isn't of much help because, from what I understand, True Sight/Seeing is basically an equivalent of Detect Illusion once per round for one turn. So, you reveal the invisible creatures once per round. If they take a potion of invisibility after that, you cannot see them until True Seeing triggers in the next round, which gives them six seconds to do backstab. Invisibility Purge is utterly useless, as it has a casting time of 8, which means I only get to see them at the end of the round and have around 0.5 second to kill them before they go invisible again in the next round. Detect Invisibility/Illusion are faster, but still they take a few seconds - perfectly enough time for their thief to perform the backstab. The only way I can see to reliably deal with them is to turn on True Seeing on a druid, do Invisibility purge with him once per round and do Detect Illusion on the mage. But this is devoting two characters just for detecting the invisible thieves, so the other 6 enemies can tear me another one.

So, general question - how do you usually deal with backstabbing theives?

i should say that my party is CHARNAME (avenger), Kivan (Archer), Ajantis (Undead Hunter), Alora (Assasin), Yeslick (still fighter/cleric) and Xan (Illusionist). I obviously used NPC Customisation part of SCS to assign kits to the NPCs when they join me...


  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 871
    The best way I've found to deal with not only invisible backstabbers (with or without the Potions for NPCs component installed), but most threats in the game, is to use invisibility myself as a defensive measure. It's funny how SCS (in tandem with low or no reload runs) can completely change how you value spells. For me, the biggest shift happens at level three: whereas I used to wait with fervent anticipation for skull trap, improved invisibility 10' is now the spell I want more than anything. It is basically the crux of my entire play-throughs now. I have not made it to TOB with SCS yet, but invisibility 10' is still the most important spell in my inventory right into late SOA.

    The problem with this spell is that scrolls are only available as random drops in BG1. That means you either hope for luck, recruit Baeloth into your party, or bring your own sorcerer along. But let's look at the end of chapter 5 fight...

    Here's how I do it (* without the tougher battle tactical component installed, so not sure how that would play out in your setup). I make all of my characters invisible before entering the Iron Throne building. I climb all the way to the top floor and walk right past all the baddies. I set up my party in the room at the bottom of the screen. I then saturate the room with AOE spells: web, cloudkill, stinking cloud, greater malison, chaos, confusion... you name it. Then I fireball and skull trap the crap out of them along with arrows of detonation. I keep other invisibility potions/rings/spells on hand in case things go wrong so I can disappear again. Some may consider this cheese, but in my experience it's less cumbersome than luring them down the stairs to the lower level. I used to use that strategy but found character movement and pathfinding too tedious.

    The other thing to do is keep your mages buffed with stoneskin (hopefully you have it by that fight) so they can survive a few backstabs. Not a bad idea to drop into invisibility again after each spell salvo if you have the means to do so. I also toss confusion or chaos spells around near my own party in case any baddies have gotten through. And true seeing still helps, too, even though it is frustrating waiting each round. It's better than nothing.

    In BG2 I travel everywhere while invisible. Everywhere.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,439
    For that battle in particular, a simple volley of fireballs can reliably kill off the backstabbers. Necklaces, wands, potions - one shot from everybody, and you cut the group in half before they can do anything.

    Detect Invisibility works well in general. It's also available from items - the bastard sword Albruin (Dorn's quest) in BGEE and several items in BG2EE.

    There are also defensive measures you can take. Equip melee weapons to reduce vulnerability, have your mages under Stoneskin, have whoever's being targeted walk around. The first, especially, is something any party can do - that +4 damage for attacking someone with a ranged weapon in melee, multiplied by the backstab, is very nasty.
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 7,269
    Play a barbarian. They are immune to backstabs!
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 22,134
    This is why I so much like Detect Invisibility on thieves, especially fighter/thieves. It works quickly, reliably and without any limits on the number of use. For SCS, that thieving ability is one of the most important. Not sure Alora as an Assassin in your setup has it, though.

    I also like to play battles fairly and don't use the tactic @OrlonKronsteen described. I go into the room and then, constantly pausing, react to what is happening. Detect Invisibility spells are needed (they are a must have on my mages in SCS) so that you could use at least one of them by demand any round. Crowd-controlling enemy thieves is a good tactic: thieves usually have "meh" saves: so Horror, Confusion, Chaos, Emotion can solve the issue for you.

    Also, while constantly pausing, pay the utmost attention to which party members are being attacked by these thieves: try not to make your mages vulnerable (eg. without Mirror Image, Stoneskin, etc).
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 871
    I also like to play battles fairly and don't use the tactic @OrlonKronsteen described.

    You are a better man than me, good sir. :)

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 22,134
    Nah, just like the extra challenge. I think this battle shows the maximum SCS in BG1 can provide and I enjoy overcoming the challenge.
  • SirBatinceSirBatince Member Posts: 879
    A little off-topic, but would anyone have a link to SCS for 1.3 by any chance? BG2 aswell and 1.4 for IWD
  • CloutierCloutier Member Posts: 228
    Confusion and chaos are your friends
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