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The Old School Bards - A Fighter/Druid Guide

TomRenethTomReneth Member Posts: 12
Reading up on some 1st Edition D&D rules and classes, the old Bard was a class that interested me greatly. So in the interest of that, here is a guide on the Fighter/Druid multi- and dual class. This guide is meant to be usable for anyone who wants to play this combination of classes (or use Jaheira), but the roleplaying advice will be leaning more towards the Bardic side of things. It'll be more clear what I am on about in a moment.

This guide assumed you change from a Fighter to a Druid if you dual class. I haven't tried the other way around, but spellcasting tends to scale better than pure stats into higher levels, especially in Throne of Bhaal. This is even more so the case with Fighter > Druids/Clerics than most other combos, since Druids and Clerics generally have the 2nd highest stats in the game and loses much less on that front compared to capping their spellcasting early.

I will describe bonuses with a + and count upwards, while describing penalties as - and count downwards. I know the THAC0 system displays things differently, but this is also written for people who are less familiar with the 2e system. So if I say a Weapon Specialization gives +1 accuracy, I mean it modifies your THAC0 by -1 on your character sheet, which is a 1 point bonus to your chance to land a hit.


Important note: The spell list for Druids in Icewind Dale EE is very different from BGEE, so the Fighter/Druid combo will play differently in that game. There are also fewer reliable guides for what spells are in the game at any given point, so I will add a section for the Icewind Dale spell selection when I've had a chance to look over and try out the spells in that game.


Fighter/Druids as Bards - Background from 1st Edition

This might seem like a strange combo for a bardic character, because ever since 2nd Edition, the Bard class has been tied primarily to Arcane magic and usually works as a pre-made multiclass between Rogue/Thief and Wizard/Mage. Back in the very old days of D&D, this was not the case.

Bards were the first Prestige Class in some ways, requiring the player to fulfill certain requirements before advancing into it. You had to be a human or half-elf* and start your adventure as a Fighter. After reaching Fighter level 5, but before reaching level 9, you had to dual class into a Thief. As a Thief, you had to reach minimum level 5 and maximum level 9. This is because Fighter level 9 (Lord) and Thief level 10 (Master Thief) were milestones that came with certain perks and obligations that would prevent the character from being accepted for Bard training.

*I am not sure how half-elves are supposed to do this, since only humans can dual class. Do they start as a multiclass Fighter/Thief or are they allowed to cirumvent the rules if they declare ahead of time they plan to be a Bard?

Once you had both Fighter and Thief at the levels you needed, you would seek out Druid training and it is at this point you would become a Bard, not a Druid. Unlike the dual class mechanics we are used to in BGEE, however, it seems you automatically got full access to your Fighter and Thief at Bard level 1.

Bards cast Druid spells as a Druid of equal level up to level 12, at which point the Bard stops advancing as a Druid, but still gains stats according to their class. Then, at level 23 (3 mill. exp), you would finally reach Druid level 13. Bards could not reach 14th level as a Druid, which prevents them from becoming Great Druids or Archdruids. In return, they have significantly greater abilities outside of their casting due to their Fighter and Thief levels.

Ordinarily the stats required to go through these three classes would be 15 Str and 17 in Dex, Wis and Cha. Declaring yourself to be on a quest to become a Bard at character creation, however, seems to change the rules slightly. You needed 15 in Str, Dex, Wis and Cha, 12 Int and finally 10 Con. Certainly not something you'd expect to ever roll in a tabletop setting, but a lot more manageable than having three stats at 17. And the non-linear progression of stats in the early additions likely made DMs more willing to let you begin with the stat requirements already in place.


Adapting into Baldur's Gate

We cannot play Fighter/Thief/Druids in Baldur's Gate, but we can do the next best thing; Fighter/Druids, both as a multi- and dual class. Multiclass Fighter/Druids are required to be half-elves, while the dual class demands that you play a human.

Playing this character also has the added benefit of more closely resembling later edition Bards in terms of gameplay, especially 3rd Edition Bards and the College of Valor or Swords from 5th Edition. They are more martially inclined than 2e Bards and have a specialized spell list combining support, utility and offense. They can also cast in any type of armor.


Character Creation

Race: Human, half-elf
Alignment: Must be True Neutral
Dual class requirements: 15 Str, 17 Wis & Cha

Rolling for stats on a Fighter/Druid dual class is painful, as you have so many stats to care about. However, I find that Str doesn't really need to be above 15 and Con is easily compensated for by a Potion of Fortitude when you absolutely need it. I'd go for 15 Str, 17 Wis and 17 Cha, then prioritize Dex and after that Con. The inherent strength of a Fighter/Druid tend to compensate for less than ideal stats and equipment will take care of the rest.


Fighter/Druid Features and Restrictions

Generally the Fighter/Druid will get all abilities associated with the level they have in each of their classes, but there are some things to keep in mind for the specific combo of Fighter and Druid. Druids are in the Priest class group, which usually comes with a "mythos" restriction on certain types of equipment that the Fighter class cannot override. Druids have limitations for weapons and armor, but these are not fully enforced when mixing with Fighter.

- Can use any type of armor, shield and helmet without specific class requirements (Melodic Chain +3 is a Bard only chin, for example), as long as both classes are active. This bypasses normal Druid restrictions.
- Can use daggers, scimitars, clubs, quarterstaffs, slings, spears and darts. This keeps Druid restrictions.
- Gain access to Specialized (2 slots. Multiclass) or Grandmaster (5 slots. Dual class) ranks in Druid weapons. The multiclass uses a compromise between Fighter and Druid restrictions.
- Gain full access to all ranks in fighting styles.


Multiclass versus dual class

Multiclass characters will play more like martial characters with good spellcasting, while the dual class will play more like a "true" mix of the two. Here are some specific differences between the two:


Multiclass:
- Gets the best of Fighter or Druid stats (apart from HP) for their lvl. THAC0, saves etc.
- Can put 2 points into any weapon type available to Druids
- Can reach max rank in any fighting style
- Gets both Fighter and Druid HLAs
- Has no downtime after dual classing to get back Fighter abilities
- Must play as half-elf, giving a 30% resistance to certain enchantment spells.
- Progression from Druid lvl 13-15 is extremely slow because of split experience. The multiclass reaches Druid lvl 15 at 6 million total character experience, which is towards the end of the ToB.
- Doesn’t get 7th lvl spells until 3 mill. exp.


Dual class:
- Can put 5 points into any weapon type available to Druids once they regain their Fighter abilities
- Can reach max rank in any fighting style
- Get pure Druid stats apart from HP gained as a Fighter
- Only gets Druid HLAs
- Gets access to Fighter class kits (Berserker, Kensai, Wizard Slayer)
- Has downtime before getting back Fighter abilities when changing class
- Gets faster spell progression, totaling at 7 more spell slots and much higher caster level
- Must play as human, who have no racial bonuses
- Less downtime between Druid lvl 13 and 15. Will reach lvl 15 in early ToB or maybe even late BG2.
- Gets their first 7th lvl spell at 1.5 mill. exp. in their Druid class (plus however much you spent on Fighter beforehand)


Who is the better fighter or caster?


It might seem intuitively obvious that the multiclass will fight better, while the dual class will be better with spells and the latter is certainly true. Earlier access to high level spells, a higher caster level and more spell slots ultimately makes the dual class much better at the Druid side of things. One can, however, argue that the dual class is also competitive with the multiclass as a martial character, at least with a sufficient number of FIghter levels. Bear with me.

There are 2 primary things separating the martial abilities of the multi- and dual class: HP gains and total THAC0 score. Because both classes has access to the same equipment and stats, we don't need to compare them.


Between Weapon Specialization (+1) and innate values (+20), the multiclass will eventually reach a base accuracy of +21. The dual class gets Weapon Mastery (+3), a lower innate value (+14) for a total of +17 to hit. This is a very small difference in terms of BG2, seeing as even +10 classes (Thief, Bard) can be equipped to get a reliable accuracy.

Multiclasses will reach +17 accuracy at 4.5 mil. exp. and +21 at 6.5 mil. exp. Dual classes will reach +17 at 4.15 mil. exp., The multi- and dual classes will have very similar numbers before going into epic levels (3+ mil. exp.), sitting at +12 and +11 respectively, while a 4 point difference will not make much of a difference in the epic levels. Ultimately, a multiclass Fighter/Druid will never have a significant lead on a dual classed one in terms of THAC0.

Furthermore, Grandmastery gives 3 additional points of damage and 3 additional points to weapon speed compared to Specialization, meaning the dual class will hit slightly harder and faster. Assuming Fighter 7 -> Druid, both classes will have 2.5 APR base when including weapon proficiencies.


HP gains on multiclasses always confused me, but it seems to give you your HP dice for each class divided by 2, rounded down and then your highest Con modifier once for each level. If that is confusing, I'm with you and I can do little more than to offer a practical example from the first game: Jaheira and Khalid. If someone can show the actual calculations, I would appreciate that.

Jaheira is a Fighter/Druid multiclass with 17 Con or a +3 modifier. Khalid is a pure class Fighter who also has 17 Con. They have fairly similar starting values for their HP, but over the course of the first game you will see Khalid skyrocket his HP numbers compared to Jaheira. much more than one would expect the average between a d10 and d8 to result in. In short? Multiclasses seem to sacrifice a fair bit of their HP progression to get the best of all the other stats from their classes.

Dual class HP gain is fairly straight forward. You get to increase your HP by your class' Hit Dice (d10 for Fighters, d8 for Druids) one time for each time to reach a new level. If you have already reached level 3 as a Fighter, you will not gain HP on your 3rd level as a Druid. Let's take an example character:

Fighter 7 -> Druid 9
This character would have gotten HP as a Fighter, d10+(full Con*), from levels 1-7. While they are leveling as a Druid, they would get no HP at Druid levels 1-7, but would get a d8+(restricted Con*) for Druid level 8 and 9. So the final HP value for this character would be:
7(d10 + full Con) + 2(d8 + restricted Con).
Assuming a Con of 17, that would look like this:
7d10 + 21 + 2d8 + 4 or between 34 and 111 depending on rolls. Or just 111 if you have max HP gains turned on.

*Martial characters (Fighter, Ranger, Paladin) get full benefit of their Con modifier, while non-martial characters can only get at most +2 bonus from Con.

In short, the dual class variant can have HP numbers much closer to an actual Fighter for the first portion of their character progression, depending on how high they decide to go with their Fighter class. After level 9, HP gains change to a fixed value and the multiclass seem to begin to close the gap.

Between THAC0 and HP gains, the multi- and dual class seem to be fairly similar in their abilities as martial characters up until the multiclass gets Fighter High Level Abilities (HLAs). But when said abilities come into play, the dual class skyrockets their caster abilities, so it arguably doesn't matter much.

Both classes are fun and very good, but I would give the edge to the dual class for who scales best into the higher levels.


Dual class specifics

I will repeat the requirements for changing from a Fighter to a Druid:
You must be human
You must have an alignment of True Neutral
You must have 15 Strength
You must have 17 Wisdom AND Charisma
You must be at least level 2

Dual classes temporarily "loses" the abilities of their original class when they change into their new class and regain said abilities (updated with the restrictions of the new class combo) when their new class is one level higher than the level of their first class was when they changed.

This means that if you change when you're at Fighter level 7, you need to reach Druid level 8 before you get your Fighter abilities back. Dual classing at low level means you get your original class back quickly, but gain less from it overall. Making the change late means you get more out of the original class, but a longer downtime overall.

Your HP remains unchanged from dual classing until getting your old abilities back. For example, if I have 50 HP as a 7th level Fighter, I will stay at 50 HP until I reach level 8 as a Druid, at which point I begin to gain HP as a Druid going forward.


When to dual class

There are many levels worth considering if one wants to play a dual class Fighter/Druid. Here are some milestones:
- Fighter lvl 3: 3d10 Hit Dice, +1 weapon proficiency point.
- Fighter lvl 7: 7d10 Hit Dice, +2 weapon proficiency points, +½ ARP. The latest you can dual within the BG1 experience cap.
- Fighter lvl 9: 9d10 Hit Dice, +3 weapon proficiency points, +½ ARP.
- Fighter lvl 13: 9d10 Hit Dice, +4 weapon proficiency points, +1 ARP. Reaching Druid lvl 14 takes a lot of exp, so this is often not worth it.

For Fighter/Druid, I recommend changing at Fighter level 7. This allows you to both regain your Fighter abilities within the BG1 exp. cap (161k) and reach 5th level spells (Druid level 9), while also getting almost all of your Fighter Hit Dice and +½ APR.

Fighter 7 -> Druid 8 is a great combo because it takes 64k exp to get to Fighter 7 and 60k exp to get to Druid 8. This means you can have the full benefit at only 124k exp. That leaves 30k experience to reach Druid 9 and get 5th level spells in late BG1 or early Siege of Dragonspear/BG2, depending on which you take your character into.


Fighter Kits

Dual classed characters can use a class variant or kit for their first class, which for the Fighter/Druid means we can use the Berserker, Kensai and Wizard Slayer kits. Barbarians and Dwarven Defenders cannot dual class.

Berserker - A clear upgrade on the regular Fighter. You lose the ability to put more than 1 rank into slings, but in return you get Rage, which is one of the strongest innate abilities in the game, easily on par with many of the Fighters HLAs. It makes you immune to a number of control effects and other nasty debuffs that only become more useful the higher level you get. Highly recommended!

Kensai - The Kensai is amazing for dual classing... into Mage and Thief. They sacrifice their ability to wear armor, armored bracers and helmets, which undermines the primary benefit of combining Fighter with a divine caster; no armor restrictions for your magic. Recommended only for people looking for a challenge.

Wizard Slayer - You sacrifice a lot of equipment for some additional magic resistance and applying a debuff on casters when hitting them. I'd say it has better synergy with Druid than Kensai, but still only recommended for those looking for an unconventional build.

Unkitted Fighter - No drawbacks, no extra benefits. You can't go wrong with this one, but Berserker is undeniably stronger.

Ranking the kits for Fighter/Druid:
Berserker: SSS
Unkitted: A
Wizard Slayer: C
Kensai: F


Shapeshifting

I generally recommend Fighter/Druids to stay away from this. You're limited to normal Druid monster forms, which are somewhat underwhelming already in BG1, especially since you need to reach Druid level 7 to get them. By the time you get them, you will likely be more fearsome on your own, and you'll only get more powerful from here.

Continued in next post.

Post edited by TomReneth on
Aerakar

Comments

  • TomRenethTomReneth Member Posts: 12
    edited May 8
    Druid Spells (Baldur's Gate 1&2 Enhanced Edition)

    Now we're getting into the fun stuff. Here I will break down my view on each of the spells available to Druids.

    One of the nice things about casting as a Druid is that we automatically get all our spells whenever we unlock spell slots to use them with, which is much more convenient than what most arcane casters have to deal with. It also makes it easier to get the spells you want across your party as a whole, since there is less competition for each spell scroll.


    Level 1 spells

    Armor of Faith - Get a damage resistance based on your lvl, from 5% to 25%. This is amazing for a spellsword type, but takes a little while before it comes into its own. You should always have this up in SoD and later for tougher fights.

    Armor of Faith scales with caster lvl like this:
    1-4: 5%
    5-9: 10%
    10-14: 15%
    15-19: 20%
    20+: 25%

    Bless - +1 THAC0, dmg and morale. Just a passable buff spell that Druids are more likely to use than Clerics, because Clerics often have more important spells to use. Always worth having one up before starting a fight, since it stacks with most other buffs, but never bother to reapply it during a fight. It can double as a ‘Bardic Inspiration’ for roleplaying purposes.

    Cure Light Wounds - Heal 8 HP. Take as many as you need early on, but it is very limited in usefulness as HP numbers go up.

    Detect Evil - Virtually useless. Reveals if creatures are of evil alignment in the visual range of the caster. I think they can save or otherwise resist it.

    Doom - Reduces the targets THAC0 and saves by 2. Really useful against powerful enemies later on, but for BG1 there are very few enemies with high enough saves to make it worthwhile. This becomes stronger as more powerful enemies become more common.

    Entangle - Druid only spell. AoE effect that attempts to root enemies in place. Can be useful, but does not prevent the target from attacking or casting spells, so the best targets are melee heavy groups. Can be effectively combined with Grease and Web to make a zone where enemies have to constantly make saves to move, which will let spells like Cloudkill wipe small armies if need be.

    Shillelagh - Summons a club that does 2d4 damage and is maybe counted as magical. This is useless on every Druid and Cleric, no matter what. Single classed Druids and Clerics don’t want to go in melee, while multi- and dual classed ones have much better attacks with their regular weapons. Even single classed Druids and Clerics have better attacks, come to think of it.


    Level 2 spells

    Barkskin - Gives a friendly target a lvl based AC value. Can be useful for Kensai/Druids, but otherwise it is a poor option because Druids have access to much better armor in the Ankheg Plate. And Fighter/Druids have access to all armors in the game. It has a fairly short duration, making it risky to rely on.

    Charm Person or Mammal - Druid only. Charm isn’t great, because it has a low inherent spell DC, but can be useful in the right situations. This version can be used on both humanoids and most animals, making it marginally better than normal, and it has very few other spells to compete with. Nice for roleplaying and harkens back to the Bards from D&D 1st Edition. There is also a lot of funny dialogue available from Charmed characters.

    Find Traps - Lets the Druid see traps. A useful bit of utility to help out the party Thief, though it sadly doesn’t let you disarm them.

    Flame Blade - Summons a weak sword of fire. Only useful if you need to finish off downed trolls and don’t have anything else to use. Otherwise it runs into the same problems as Shillelagh.

    Goodberry - Druid only. Meme tier spell. Creates 5 berries that restore 1 HP each. Never, ever spend spell slots on this in BGEE. If you want a game where Goodberry is a nice spell, try Solasta: Crown of the Magister.

    Know Alignment - Somehow an even less useful Detect Evil. Reveals the specific alignment of a single creature, if they don’t resist it.

    Resist Fire and Cold - A decent option, giving you 50% resistance against fire and cold, but has a short duration that makes it hard to use.

    Slow Poison - Mandatory on every team. It cures poison and poison can wipe a party. At lvl 15, Druids become immune to poison, but it is still worth having a couple of these to save your party members.


    Level 3 spells

    Call Lightning - Druid only. Summon a lightning bolt from the skies to kill your foes. Strikes hard and potentially multiple times. It’s awesome, but can’t be used inside or in dungeons.

    Cure Disease - Not as important as Slow Poison, but you should probably have a couple of these in your party.

    Cure Medium Wounds - A slightly stronger healing spell. Take it if you need it, but it scales poorly into higher lvls.

    Dispel Magic - Better used by Clerics, because it depends on caster lvl. Will also affect your party members, so beware.

    Hold Animal - Druid only. Very few animals are worth reserving a 3rd lvl spell slot for, even early on.

    Invisibility Purge - Reveals invisible enemies. A poor man’s True Seeing, which you’ll get as a 5th lvl spell. It does, however, also reveal Thieves using their “Hide” ability.

    Miscast Magic - Gives the target a high chance to fail casting a spell. Would be useful, if Druids didn’t get a much better version later in this list.

    Protection from Fire - Immunity to fire damage for a long time. Great spell; fire damage is common.

    Rigid Thinking - Single target Confusion effect. Powerful, but has a lot of competition as a 3rd lvl spell and suffers from being single target, when these spells are best when AoE.

    Strength of One - AoE Str buff, setting it to 18/75. This is amazing for BG1, when Str boosting gear is rare and few companions have good Str. Note: Str boosts the dmg of slings. It is less useful for BG2, when Str items are much more common and base stats are higher. Can be combined with the wizard spell ‘Strength’ for a perfect 18/00 score.

    Summon Insects - Druid only. Summon a bunch of bugs to attack an enemy, dealing a minor amount of dmg every 2 seconds and giving them a high chance to miscast spells. Each bug bite can also interrupt casting, so any caster under this effect is basically out of the fight. It also eats through Stoneskins and possibly Mirror Images. This is an amazing spell.

    Zone of Sweet Air - Jaheira and Cernd only. Dispels ‘cloud’ and ‘fog’ spells. Really useful.


    Level 4 spells

    Animal Summoning I - Too little, too late. Also pointless because of the next spell.

    Call Woodland Beings (CWB) - Druid only. Summon a nymph to aid the party. The nymph has a load of powerful control spells and even the 5th level Mass Cure and even Confusion, which is normally a 7th lvl spell for Druids. The nymph has a total of 10 spells prepared, making this simply amazing value, seeing as you only need to spend a single 4th level spell slot on it yourself.

    Cause Serious Wounds - A decently powerful melee spell. Pointless on a Fighter/Druid because your melee attacks are stronger.

    Cloak of Fear - Fear spell centered on the caster. Not terrible, but CWB is better for crowd control.

    Cure Serious Wounds - CWB has an AoE heal on top of her other spells, so why not use that instead?

    Death Ward - Makes you immune against certain ‘death’ spells and effects. A must in any high lvl party.

    Defensive Harmony - +2 AC to the whole party is neat, but hardly worth taking over CWB at this lvl and AC will eventually become borderline irrelevant. Would be stronger if Druids had more spells to stack AC, like Wizards do, and if it lasted longer than 6 rounds. 5 rounds/lvl would make it more appealing.

    Farsight - Reveals part of the map. My suggestion? Just have someone with boots of speed scout instead of wasting another casting of CWB on this. It can, however, be used to direct summons at range, so it has situational usage.

    Negative Plane Protection - Protects against lvl drain and the like. Really useful to have in the higher lvls, but it has a very short duration, so beware.

    Neutralize Poison - Slow Poison, Cure Disease and Cure Light Wounds rolled up into a single spell. You usually want a couple of these, but they are rarely a priority over CWB and Death Ward.

    Poison - A strong single target DoT, but does not have a good save DC and targets who make their save aren’t affected at all. A lot of enemies are also immune to poison, like most undead, constructs and (possibly) spiders. You’ll get more out of CWB.

    Protection from Lightning - Immunity to shock damage for a decent duration. Can be very useful, but shock isn’t nearly as common as fire. 1 or 2 is usually enough across a party.


    Level 5 spells

    Animal Summoning II - Same as the first one; just use CWB instead. Getting a caster is infinitely more worth your spellslots.

    Cause Critical Wounds - Same as Cause Serious Wounds.

    Chaotic Commands - Gives the target immunity to a load of control effects. Mandatory on all parties at higher levels.

    Cure Critical Wounds - Same as all the previous Cure spells; take those you need, but they scale poorly.

    Insect Plague - Druid only. Did you use Summon Insect to completely trounce a few casters, but thought ‘Aww shucks, I wish it was even stronger’? Then you’re in luck, because Insect Plague is Summon Insects, but as an AoE and can cause fear. To say this spell is amazing is an understatement.

    Iron Skins - Druid only. This is Stoneskin for Druids, though with a longer cast time making it harder to reapply during a fight. Makes you immune to up to 10 physical attacks and has an amazing 12 hour duration. The best way to use it is arguably to go with Iron Skins until they run out, then switch to Armor of Faith for its faster casting time.

    Magic Resistance - Set the target’s magic resistance to 2x(Druid lvl)% to a maximum of 40%. Useful if you have less than 40% magic resistance. Can be used offensively against enemies with higher than 40% magic resistance to lower it.

    Mass Cure - AoE healing spell. It’s alright, but it comes for free on CWB, so you probably use that instead and spend your 5th level spell slots on more important things.

    Pixie Dust - Druid only. AoE invisibility for the party. Lasts an amazing 24 hours unless broken, making it great for scouting or running away.

    True Seeing - Automatically dispel enemy illusions 1/round for 1 turn. A nice buff that removes annoying spells like Mirror Image.


    Level 6 spells

    Summon Animal III - You know the drill by now; just don’t.

    Conjure Animals - This one is buffed in Icewind Dale, I believe, but in the BG games it seems mostly useless.

    Conjure Fire Elemental - Druid only. Summons a fire elemental to battle your enemies. The elemental can be lvl 12, 16 or 24, chosen at random. If you want a 6th lvl spellslot to go to summoning, use this one.

    Dolorous Decay - Druid only. Slows the target. Forces the target to save or take poison dmg on top of that. It’s alright; slow without save can be a very powerful effect.

    Fire Seeds - Druid only. Gives you 4 ‘seeds’ to throw at the enemy, doing 2d8 save/half fire dmg in a small AoE. To say we have better uses for 6th lvl spellslots would be an understatement.

    Harm - Absolutely broken. Can put nearly any creature to 1 HP if a successful melee attack is used, regardless of their HP. Fighter/Druids and Fighter/Clerics have great THAC0, making this very reliable. Some creatures are immune, I believe.

    Heal - Completely restores the HP of the target. Have several of these ready in your party.

    Physical Mirror - Redirects missiles back at the attacker. Can be useful, but has a lot of competition for 6th lvl spells.

    Wondrous Recall - Do you want more spellslots? Wondrous Recall restores 2 spellslots up to 5th lvl when cast. May or may not be worth giving up a Fire Elemental, Heal or Harm for, depending on preference. I usally have a few ready when I pass Druid lvl 15, because it is really useful to regain stuff like Armor of Faith, Protection from Fire, Call Woodland Beings, Chaotic Commands, Insect Plague and Iron Skins.


    Level 7 spells

    Confusion - AoE Confusion with a save penalty. It’s alright in a vacuum, but comes in very late and has a lot of competition. Wizards get this as a 4th lvl spell and CWB has one use of this, letting Druids indirectly cast it (and more) as a 4th lvl spell.

    Conjure Earth Elemental - Druid only. Works the same as Fire Elemental, but this one has some real competition. May be worth it before HLAs, but not after.

    Creeping Doom - Druid only. What do I even say at this point? It does more dmg, more often, can cause fear every round and it is cast as a massive AoE. It competes with HLAs and it is still one of the absolute best spells for Druids. It is one of the most powerful spells in the entire game, since it completely and utterly shuts down most casters.

    Earthquake - AoE damage that comes in 3 waves. Just use Creeping Doom instead.

    Fire Storm - Fire dmg AoE with no save. Sounds great, but fire is commonly resisted. Creeping Doom is better.

    Nature’s Beauty - Druid only. Anyone within range of the Druid when it is cast must make a save or simply die. If they make their save, they are blinded. Completely demolishes trash mobs, but most bosses won’t care.

    Regeneration - A powerful heal over time. Has serious competition from HLAs and Heal though.

    Shield of the Archons - Protects the caster from hostile spells up to half the caster’s lvl. Useful spell protection, which Druids have very little access to.


    High Level Ability Spells
    Druids get HLAs that act as uniquely powerful 7th level spells, meaning they often out compete them.

    Aura of Flaming Death
    Increases fire resistance by 90%, AC by 4 and anyone who strikes the caster takes fire dmg. Amazing for Fighter/Druids, who always benefit from a boost to AC and an automatic retaliation against attackers. Due to the Druid eventually getting innate elemental resistances, this makes you outright immune to fire and you will even heal from fire damage later.

    Elemental Summoning / Greater Elemental Summoning
    Summon super strong elementals to fight for the party. Makes Conjure Earth Elemental pointless. Greater Elemental Summoning summons an Elemental Prince, which I think comes with melee attacks that dispel magic.

    Elemental Transformation (Fire / Earth)
    Can turn into a lvl 24 elemental. Fighter/Druids typically fight better in their humanoid forms.

    Energy Blades
    Do you want to attack 9 times per round at range with +10 THAC0 and 1d4+5 missile + 1d10 shock damage per hit? Then Energy Blades is for you. It is not a priority for Fighter/Druids though, because you probably have 4 APR with an avg dmg around 20 without any buffs by the time you get this, so the Energy Blades are less important than some other HLAs. Fantastic for ranged combat though, which is a less than ideal point for Fighter/Druids, but this is primarily a melee character.

    Globe of Blades
    Supposedly deals 10d10 damage to anyone within melee range of the Druid. Hard to get to work right, so it might be good? Aura of Flaming Death is generally more reliable and has better secondary effects. But if you know how to get it to trigger properly, it’ll shred just about anything trying to melee you.

    Implosion
    Does 10d10 fire and 10d10 blunt dmg to a single target with a save for half. Also holds the target for 1/round without a save. This is amazing, but usually better used by more caster oriented Clerics and Druids, because casting on the frontlines often leads to being interrupted.

    Mass Raise Dead
    The best heal in the game, bar none. Not only does it return fallen party members to life, but it also heals all party members for 3d10+(1 x caster lvl) HP after a short delay.

    Note: The latest patch seems to remove the healing effect from this HLA, at least on party members that weren’t raised from the dead. This reduces its usefulness greatly.

    Storm of Vengeance
    Enemy only AoE that does 1d6 shock, fire and acid damage each round for 3 rounds and can poison on the first round. This is very underwhelming for spending a 7th lvl spellslot, let alone an HLA.

    Summon Deva / Fallen Deva
    The Deva is a weaker Planetar that comes with passable stats and some useful support spells, but cannot be summoned at the same time as a Wizard’s Planetar or other Deva.


    Deva versus Elemental Prince (Greater Elemental Summoning)
    The Deva seems to be a bit weaker as a warrior, but is a useful support caster. Its main drawback is that it cannot be up at the same time as the Wizards’ Planetars, who are simply the best summons in the entire game.

    The Elemental Princes are better as warriors than the Deva, but have few spells. Their main draw is that they can be up at the same time as Planetars.


    Fighter High Level Abilities

    The Fighter/Druid multiclass will get access to Fighter HLAs as well as Druid ones, so here is my view on them.

    Power Attack / Critical Strike
    Amazing melee ability, the latter giving you nat 20 on all attack rolls for 1 round.

    Smite
    Limited usefulness, due to knockback and Critical Strike (which has to be picked first) being better.

    Deathblow / Greater Deathblow
    Instantly slays opponents below lvl 10 / 12. Borderline useless by the time you get them, since you'll be hitting hard and fast.

    Whirlwind / Greater Whirlwind
    Sets APR to 10 for 1 round. Can be powerful, but dual wielding + Improved haste + critical strike is much, much better.

    War Cry
    A fear spell centered on the Fighter. Useless, as it comes with no penalty to save at a point where most enemies are either thrash mobs easily dispatched or have great saves, if they're not immune to fear entirely.

    Hardiness
    Increases physical damage resistance by 40%. Amazing on the frontlines. Stacks with Armor of Faith for 65% physical resistance.

    Resist Magic
    Does the same as the spell ‘Magic Resistance’. Kinda pointless on a Fighter/Druid because you have access to a spell that does the same, or it is at least not a priority over stocking up on Critical Strike and Hardiness.

    Of the Fighter HLAs, I think the most important ones are Hardiness and Critical Strike. Greater Whirlwind Attack is good in a party without anyone to cast Improved Haste, but that is admittedly an unlikely situation as that is a 6th level Arcane spell. Time Stop + GWW is obviously not available to a Fighter/Druid, only Fighter/Mages.


    Weapons and Proficiencies

    When it comes to equipment, I think it is largely insuitive when it comes to what you wear. Very few items aren't straight forward to understand for a Fighter/Druid, which mostly comes down to "which boosts my stats the most?" I will make special mention of the boots of speed though. The increased movement makes being a melee character just so much more convenient.

    For weapons, however, there is a bit more to consider, especially for the dual class because they have to spend more of their proficiency points towards a single weapon style and can usually only Grandmaster two types. So how to pick the right ones? I'll just go over the benefits for each of them.

    Daggers - This is a really, really good pick for Fighter/Druids, surprisingly enough. Thrown daggers have 2 APR and use Str for damage, making them better than slings, and there are at least a two Returning Throwing Daggers (infinite ammo) in BG2. It is also easy to get +3 and +4 daggers in BG2. In BG1, the Dagger of Venom +2 is a solid weapon.

    Scimitars - This is a weapon type any Fighter/Druid who dual wields is highly recommended to pick up, because one of the three best off-hand weapons in the game is a Scimitar of Speed+2; Belm. 'Speed' weapons increase APR by 1 with your mainhand when equipped, which is really strong. The only +4 scimitar Druids can use, however, is not a guaranteed drop, so you might want to make the safe bet and go daggers or clubs for your primary weapons instead.

    Clubs - I'm not a big fan of clubs personally, but it is an alright weapon type. I usually let Jaheira use them.

    Quarterstaffs - If you're not going to dual wield, staffs are a solid pick. They have the easiest access to +3 and +4 items in BG2 and there are some really powerful staffs to be found in general.

    Spears - Another 2-handed option. A solid alternative to staffs, but it is a little harder to find the really powerful items.

    Darts - Never seemed like a good option to me. 3 base APR sounds great, but I don't think it uses Str for damage, making it stricktly inferior to throwing daggers. If someone knows of a great dart weapon to use, let me know.

    Slings - Str to damage, but only 1 APR and you compete with Clerics and Mages for the good ones. I would recommend daggers instead for ranged attacks. There is a +5 sling with infinite ammo available though.

    Post edited by TomReneth on
    Aerakar
  • TomRenethTomReneth Member Posts: 12
    edited May 8
    Here are some ideas for those who are interested in these old school Bards. Or want to play a Bardic character more similar to how the class developed after 2nd Edition. These are just that; ideas. If you've got your own, feel free to share them!


    Beginnings

    So your Gorion’s Ward is a 1st lvl Fighter about to leave Candlekeep and set out on their journey across the Sword Coast. But how did they become a wandering Bard in the old school sense? Where did they get their druidic influences?

    Gorion the Storyteller
    Gorion is repeatedly described in your characters autogenerated background as sharing numerous stories of heroic warriors, cunning rogues and powerful mages, and for being a great sage. The player can easily have gotten the love of storytelling and lore from him.

    The only problem here is that both the Fighter and Druid classes have low inherent Lore scores (+1/lvl), though this is partially compensated for by having a minimum value of 17 Wisdom, which gives +8. You will not be identifying a lot of powerful equipment on your own, but you’ll have an alright score eventually.

    Bardic Training
    For the multiclass, your character likely already has began their bardic studies in some way, working to combine magical and martial abilities under the tutelage of Gorion and others within Candlekeep. For dual classes, however, there might be more thought required to drive the narrative.

    For good or neutral parties, the easiest place to seek Druidic training would be with Jaheira, one of the canonical companions for the first game. She is a half-elven Fighter/Druid multiclass and a member of the Harpers, an organization known to have many members who are Bards. Jaheira, being a Fighter/Druid, also fits well for someone who can teach Gorion’s Ward to combine these disciplines effectively.

    Later in the game, you meet another Druid; Faldorn. She is a Shadow Druid, so I would argue she does not fit very well for a teacher. There are no other Druid companions in BG1.

    If you’re not looking to use either of these companions, you can also look to the actual Bard companions in the games; Garrick, Eldoth and Haer’Dalis. They use arcane magic and are Bards in the 2nd Edition sense, so this isn’t the best option, but it does work.


    Being a Bard
    You’ve now transitioned from a Fighter to a Druid and into a proper dual classed Fighter/Druid. Or you were a multiclassed Fighter/Druid already leaving Candlekeep. So what now?

    Loremaster
    You’re a wandering storyteller and loremaster caught up in a story beyond what you could have foreseen, pushed beyond your limits by the constant threats you face. Your interest as a Bard must sadly take the second row compared to your mastery of spell and steel, but there is no denying that you will be exposed to lore that few mortals could imagine existing at all, let alone the firsthand accounts you can turn into stories, plays, songs and poems.

    Blades (College of Swords) or Skalds (College of Valor)
    Blades are more combat oriented Bard, and this class was reintroduced into D&D in the 5th Edition with the College of Swords. Skalds are also flavored as more oriented towards being warriors and is known as the College of Valor in 5e.

    Both of these are perfect fits for the sort of flavor the Fighter/Druid Bard can go for, seeing as they both fit very well with the way a Fighter/Druid plays. Haer’dalis is a Blade companion in BG2 and Voghlin is a Skald companion in Siege of Dragonspear. Both can have had an effect on how Gorion’s Ward approaches being a Bard, which fits perfectly with the constant challenges they face.

    I would say the multiclass fits best for the Skald as they will achieve a broader mastery of weapons and martial skills. The dual class fits perfectly for being Blades, seeing as they can reach Grandmastery in weapons like scimitars and daggers, but won’t have as much diversity due to Grandmastery requiring more proficiency points.

    Stronghold
    Bards were not able to become Archdruids or Great Druids, so I would recommend using the Fighter Stronghold in BG2 as opposed to working with the Druid Grove on those grounds, if you want a stronghold at all.


    Post edited by TomReneth on
  • TomRenethTomReneth Member Posts: 12
    Reserved for Icewind Dale spells

  • masteralephmasteraleph Member Posts: 153
    An important note regarding proficiency pips- Baldurs Gate won't let you achieve Grandmastery without being level 9 in your active class. It is possible to achieve Grandmastery in BG1 with a Fighter 7->Druid 9, but it requires spending some time at a lower level and then jumping straight up to 9. As a Fighter 7, you have 6 total pips, with a maximum of High Mastery in one weapon, which will let you have 2 pips in something else.

    When you dual class to Druid, you get 2 pips to assign; if you put them in weapons/styles you already have, they will not stack when you reach level 8 (or 9). From there, you're safe through Level 3. If you level up to 4, you will have to assign a pip to another weapon/style, because Druids can only get 1 pip in anything. If you level up to 8 (and your Fighter half wakes up again), you'll be able to assign that pip only up to High Mastery. On the other hand, if you level up to Druid 3, and then wait to level up until you have enough XP for Druid 9, you can level up then and assign 2 pips to whatever you want, stacking them however you want, even finishing Grandmastery. If that's too long to wait, you can level up to Druid 7, then wait for Druid 9 and level up straight to there- your 4th level pip will probably go to waste, but your 8th level pip can be assigned anywhere, even finishing Grandmastery.

    It's worth noting that Druids get their pips at multiples of 4. Level 4 and 8 come relatively quickly and as noted are achievable in BG1, level 12 isn't *too* much longer into BG2 (or even SoD if you dualled at 7), but level 16 requires 3.15m xp in Druid- ironically, 20 comes only 600k xp higher! Regardless, if grandmastery is important to you and getting it prior to midway through SoD or early in BG2 is significant, holding at Druid 3 (for 2 pips with full distribution) or 7 (for 1 pip with full distribution) is worth it.

    Balrog99AerakarTomReneth
  • DhariusDharius Member Posts: 475
    Fighter/thieves are also good approximations of First Ed. Bards, especially when they get UAI

    Aerakar
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