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Party setup thread no. 2ˆ357

wavingbugwavingbug Member Posts: 58
Hello,

I am just in the process of reading the manual and rolling dice to create my IWD party. I scanned through similar threads here regarding party setup und what bugged me was that most of the suggestions came down to picking fighter/x over pure/kitted classes. Which is kind of lame. I know the advantages of way lower THAC0 and being more versatile in combat, but for some reason I dislike it, when overly done.

So I know I want the following classes in my party:

* Paladin
* Druid
* Cleric
* Bard
* Thief
* Mage

The thing now is that I do not want to dual or multi class them. I only want to use their kits because I find them really interesting for the most part.

A general concern is that I only have one fighter class, the paladin. Are pure/kitted druids and clerics viable on the front line if it is not avoidable? Druids can shape shift and clerics can use heavy armor and buff themselves up. That sounds like melee combat should be viable for them if needed.

Also classes that are considered non-fighters have higher THAC0 and can only put a single point in weapon proficiencies. Will I be able to reliably hit my targets then later on? That is especially concerning for the druid, cleric and thief, because they are not considered fighters but they still should be able to do it to some extend, as the druid can shape shift, the cleric has buffs to make them more viable and the thief has high dex. to which makes him viable archer in theory.

So here is what I decided on (or not) so far regarding the class/kit and their weapon proficiencies:

Paladin/Cavalier, ++ Two-handed swords, ++ Two-handed weapon style
> I am pretty sure I am set on that kit and wep. prof.

Druid/Unkitted? +Staves?
> To be honest the kits do not sound very convincing. I really want to shape shift so Totemic and Shapeshifter is too limiting in that department. Avenger sounds fun but the extra spells and forms don't seem to add much to the class. Do their abilities somehow affect their power when shape shifted? E. g. does higher const. also mean that the druid has more HP when shape shifted?

Cleric/Lathander, +Hammers, +Slings (Dwarf)
> I like that the cleric can buff themselves up a little with Boon of Lathander (it should even stack I read). And their immunity to level drain and the Hold Undead ability sounds nice as there are a lot of undead in the game.

Bard/Unkitted, +Crossbows/+Darts, +Daggers?
> I think the wide variety of bard songs make the unkitted bard the best choice. Are there any good crossbows, darts or throwing daggers in the game? What should I pick first? It is not that important I guess as playing a bard song makes it impossible to act anyway. And if I want them to do something other than play a song they will most likely have to cast a spell anyway

Thief/Bounty Hunter, +Short Swords, +Short Bows
> This kit sounds so nice in theory. I really like sneaking around and setting up traps. The bounty hunter gets less points in thievery but I did read it is sufficient anyway. But how does their focus on traps restrict the rest of their thievery skills? Do I get enough points to actually stealth/backstab here and there and will I be able to reliably open locks and find traps? I will ignore pick pocketing, as the bard can do that as well. I hope I can reach 100 in Open Locks, Set and Find Traps as soon as possible.
In combat I want to use the Bounty Hunter as archer. Is that viable?
Perhaps I could also go with an Elf as race because of the bonuses in long swords and bows.

Mage/Illusionist, +Darts? (Gnome)
> I am not really experienced when it comes to mages, but choosing a mage specialization will give you more spell slots right? So the question now is what should I choose? Illusionist sounds fun, but do I miss out on a lot of useful spells not being able to use Necromancy? What weapon prof. are useful?


Thanks for your time and help :)


TLDR

I dislike Fighter/X classes and prefer pure classes or kits. That's what I have so far:

Paladin/Cavalier
Druid (unkitted)
Cleric/Lathander
Thief/Bounty Hunter
Bard (unkitted)
Mage/Illusionist

Is that any good? Am I lacking something? Too many/few melees/ranged/casters?

Thanks

Post edited by wavingbug on

Comments

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,656
    IWD is beatable with any class/party composition, and in fact, when people make parties that are more or less "non standard" it could make their game all the more interesting

    in reality you only really need;

    1 char to go into melee and hold their own
    1 divine char to do some healing
    1 rogue to do traps/locks and perhaps some scouting
    1 arcane type to cast some crowd control or buff spells

    anything more than that is just icing on the cake

    i've also had play throughs where i just had one guy in melee and the other 5 guys used missile weapons and it was perfectly fine

    when it comes to if your other non-warrior classes can hit baddies, you shouldn't have to worry because, i believe for the most part most enemies in IWD have crappy AC anyway ( except for perhaps last bosses and such )

  • ThoriumThorium Member Posts: 20
    edited May 7
    I think the general idea is fine, because the game tends to become a bit too easy if one uses power-play classes too much.

    However, my biggest concern about your party is the lack of melee warrior-type characters. Clerics are almost as good tanks as warriors, but their THAC0 and especially attacks per round is worse. Single-class druids on the other hand cannot use metal armor or shield, so their AC will not be very good unless buffed with spells. And they have same THAC0 and APR issues as clerics. So, as a solution I would consider changing either druid, cleric or thief to a fighter multi-class variant of the same class.

    Some thoughts about individual characters:

    Cavalier: sounds fine and paladins have many unique abilities. Other popular weapon choices are longswords (there are plenty of them in the game) and blunt weapons like morningstars/flails.

    Druid: all kinds of druids are fun to play, so this character is a good choice. I think Staff would be a good pick since with one-handed weapons like clubs or scimitars there won't be many non-metal shields available. I am not very familiar with shapeshifting mechanics, so cannot help with that.

    Cleric: this is also a solid character that can be in frontline, but won't deal nearly as much damage as cavalier.

    Bard: yes, unkitted bard is better than kitted ones. I would take longbow proficiency in the start, because they have 2 attacks per round and deal damage reasonably well. You could take crossbow proficiency later if you find a good crossbow (some of them are random drops). Throwing daggers are quite costly to use and I think there is only one magical throwing dagger in the game, so I would skip them. Darts are an interesting choice since they have high APR (3 per round), but deal low damage. There are magical darts in the game though.

    Thief: single-class thief (any kit) is probably the underdog character class of the game. I have never played a Bounty Hunter though: their traps sound interesting, but not very powerful when compared to mage spells like Skull Trap. Thieving skill distribution can be somewhat problematic for bounty hunter since you would need to raise 5 skills (set traps, find traps, open lock, move silently and hide in shadows).

    Unfortunately also THAC0 of a thief is bad enough that backstabs will miss frustratingly too often. If you want to use backstabbing effectively, I would recommend mixing fighter class in some way. But as archers even single-class thieves serve reasonably well.

    Illusionist: it is fine to pick a specialist mage since you have another arcane spell caster in your party. In my opinion the most important magic schools are Evocation, Conjuration and Transmutation. Illusionist has access to all of these, so I think it is perfectly fine to leave Necromancy and Abjuration spells for the bard. Maybe darts could be a good choice for this character?

    As a conclusion, I like your idea about the party and it sounds fun to play :) I think the easiest way to power up the party without breaking the theme too much would be to change the bounty hunter to a fighter/thief multi-class (that is also available for all non-human races).

  • wavingbugwavingbug Member Posts: 58
    Thank you for your replies.

    After playing for a bit I found some things in my party setup (Cavalier, Priest Lathander, Druid, Bounty Hunter, Bard, Illusionist) that bugged me. I did some changes:

    Cavalier is nice, as expected. I always had a Paladin as leader in BG so no surprises here.

    I always viewed Clerics as melee characters on the front line. Just like Paladins, but more focused on spells. The Priest of Lathander really had serious problems hitting anything at all (Strength 16) without buffs. So I thought it is sensible to multi to Fighter/Cleric. I just felt that it really is not worth it to pick a pure cleric. In the end a pure Cleric gets maybe one level more than a Fighter/Cleric and the Kit abilities just are not as good as the hit points, THAC0 and damage you get from the fighter levels. I wish kitted clerics had more going for them.

    What I did not notice about the druid is that shape shifting is only available at level 5. That seriously sucks. Because after casting my three spells my druid basically was reduced to throwing pebbles at anything but enemies or standing around idle. I changed that to Fighter/Druid. I know that with level 5 that I could play the druid like I imagined but I really want the class to be useful from the get go, even when I am done casting the spells I know.

    The Bard is not doing much right now, but I have arcane spell slots available already, the bard songs seem to be fine and the ranged attacks hit okay. Hopefully there are some good darts later in the game (like Darts of Stunning/Poison in BG). I see the versatility already although she is idle/singing most of the time right now. But it does not feel as bad as the pure Druid, so okay.

    The traps of the Bounty Hunter were really powerful, instantly killing multiple enemies at once. But it was really tedious setting them up. It failed most of the time. One time I had to reload 15 times and killed myself three times trying to set a trap. That sucks. Fun in theory and I know it will get better later, but again, it sucks to wait until you have the necessary skills when the whole class/kit is evolving around that concept (similar to the problem I had with my druid/shape shifting).

    I switched the Bounty Hunter for an Elf Ranger-Stalker with ++Long Swords, ++Long Bows, ++Two Weapon Style and really like that! Sneaking into a group and taking out casters works really well. And other than that the ranged attacks are really strong.

    Because I lacked a thief now I changed the Illusionist to Thief/Illusionist and really like that. Kind of reminds me of Imoen in BG when I dualed her to Thief/Mage. I had the feeling that 50 % of Durlag's Tower was just me controlling her to do Thief/Mage stuff. Super versatile and I do not expect less here.

    So my group setup now is:

    Paladin-Cavalier
    Fighter/Cleric
    Figher/Druid
    Ranger-Stalker
    Bard
    Thief/Illusionist

    I guess this became more of a standard group but starting out with a group like that for the first playthrough is okay I guess. Everybody is useful right from the start, without having to wait for a few levels for them to be able to do what I intended them to do.

    sarevok57
  • wavingbugwavingbug Member Posts: 58
    sarevok57 wrote: »
    i've also had play throughs where i just had one guy in melee and the other 5 guys used missile weapons and it was perfectly fine

    That reminds me of my first Baldur's Gate playthrough :)

    sarevok57
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 1,037
    edited May 7
    The game is winnable with any party but there are a couple of issues I'd want to be aware of if I were in the OP's shoes.

    One is that flails and longswords are generally the game's most plentiful and effective weapons, and I'm not seeing a whole lot of party members who would likely be using them.

    Another is that one warrior may be too few. Divine casters are pretty good tank-wise but their DPS is pitiful compared to warriors, which may be acceptable if you use your front-line to hold enemies in place but won't be otherwise.

    A third issue is that thieves are less valuable in IWD than BG2 due to a combination of fewer pickpocketing opportunities, 0 XP from locks/traps, 0 HLAs, and the prevalence of backstab-immune enemies.

    A final issue is that IWD's monsters, mage battles, and general tactics are much more dumbed-down than BG2 which means you will typically be casting the same few spells over and over again. That gives sorcerers a significant edge over wizards, which is magnified by IWD's sparse selection of scrolls (which can be overcome if you have the experience to game the system but poses real problems for new-ish players who have 2+ characters trying to build their arcane spellbooks).

  • wavingbugwavingbug Member Posts: 58
    edited May 7
    jsaving wrote: »
    IWD's sparse selection of scrolls

    I am already feeling that. No luck so far getting a blind scroll. We'll see how that turns out. I guess I will just split the tasks between my casters. One has the crowd control spells the other damaging spells or something. Depending on what scrolls I come across.
    jsaving wrote: »
    Another is that one warrior may be too few.

    I replaced the Thief-Bounty Hunter for a Ranger-Stalker. So there is one warrior more in the group now (If by warrior you did not refer to a fighter class that can achieve grand mastery with a weapon type). Should there be any short comings, I am sure I can figure something out to make it work :) So far the altered group setup is working good, but I am just beginning my adventure.

    My playstyle in Baldur's Gate usually has been very fighter centric with casters only there to breach defenses or use crowd control. Very rarerly I used damaging spells. So it never did use a wide variety of spells anyway. My impulse is of course to do the same here. I wonder whether this works as good in IWD as it works in BG.

    In case you missed it @jsaving my altered group setup is now:

    Paladin-Cavalier
    Fighter/Cleric
    Figher/Druid
    Ranger-Stalker
    Bard
    Thief/Illusionist

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,964
    My $0.02 worth of advice:
    Love Cavaliers, no issues there
    Bard is an excellent choice as well

    You originally said you didn't want the multi-class fighter types though so thought I'd give some advice in that regard.

    Instead of F/C you could start with a Berserker and dual-class to Cleric at level three. You need to start as a human of course, and you'd need at least 16 Str and 17 Wis. This gives you a decent THAC0 and allows grandmastery in any weapon a cleric can use (I'd go with flail myself and work towards mace GM after that).

    I think you'll like the Avenger druid kit once you get a few levels. The web spell plus sword-spider shape is pretty cool. Throwing in Chromatic Orb and Chaos spells is also pretty nice.

    Backstabbing is a royal pain in IWD so I'd go with a Swashbuckler and ignore backstabbing. Swashie bonus damage on shortbow makes for a nice sniper type character. 3 pips in dual-wield and two pips in a thief weapon is another handy perk. Go with longsword and make him/her an elf for an extra bonus to hit with your bow and swords.

    For the wizard, go with sorcerer instead. You won't regret it and all of the spell scrolls can go to the bard then.

    Have the bard cast Find Familiar instead of your sorcerer. It'll add a few points in case you ever need to enter melee. Sorcerers should never be in melee, so they don't need those hp's.

  • wavingbugwavingbug Member Posts: 58
    edited May 8
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    Backstabbing is a royal pain in IWD so I'd go with a Swashbuckler and ignore backstabbing


    So Stalker is a bad choice for IWD? To be honest I mainly used him as an archer and took out mages occasionally. Scouting seems to be pretty useful too in order to be able to prepare properly for an encounter. Why exactly is backstabbing not working too well in IWD? In BG2 Valygar has been always one of my companions and I found his sneaking/backstabbing very valuable. Once discovered after a backstab attempt he was not as fragile as thiefs I had the feeling.
    I could also enable 3E Sneak Attacks if backstabbing is not worth it later on. The improved stealth of the Stalker still will be useful to plan ahead and I could just position him for his attacks as secondary fighter. I just like the Stalker I guess :P

    Regarding replacing the Thief/Illusionist with a Sorcerer: I know about the scarcity of scrolls in IWD but having 2 arcane casters, I like the idea of just specializing them with specific scrolls, sharing only the most basic ones, like Magic Missiles, Identify and so on.

    The suggestion with having a Berserker/Cleric sounds really tempting. Having a Cleric with Grand Mastery in a specific weapon sounds really powerful. Is it always the case that you can achieve GM in a wep. prof. when you dual from fighter to cleric? I just looked up the table for weapon proficiency, THAC0 and extra attacks/round for Fighters. The only thing they get at level 3 is +1 wep. prof. Is that the reason you recommend to dual at level 3, or are there any other?

    Also when dual classing into a cleric, even with some Berserker levels I will only be able to use weapons Clerics can use right? So mostly blunt weapons?


    Thanks for all your tips folks

    Post edited by wavingbug on
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,964
    edited May 8
    In IWD you're mostly fighting large groups of enemies. Unless you're using potions of invisibility you're going to get only one backstab before you're mobbed and surrounded.

    I recommended level 3 for the dual because you wanted to use single class and that's low enough to be close to a pure cleric. You can switch at level 2 but for just a few thousand xp more that extra weapon proficiency is worth it. Levels 7, 9 or 13 are the more power-gamey switch times. Level 7 is extra 1/2 apr, 9 is grandmastery b4 dual + max fighter hp, and 13 is another 1/2 apr.

  • wavingbugwavingbug Member Posts: 58
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    In IWD you're mostly fighting large groups of enemies. Unless you're using potions of invisibility you're going to get only one backstab before you're mobbed and surrounded.

    Yea I noticed that. Perhaps it is better to switch to Sneak Attacks instead of Backstab then, because it requires less setup. Otherwise I guess I could just send my Ranger in after the tanks got the mobs busy.

    Balrog99
  • alice_ashpoolalice_ashpool Member Posts: 241
    edited May 8
    Some ideas on Backstab:

    1. Stalker, like you are using. You need to be willing to either micro-manage pulling back OoLoS or engage fully in melee after that initial backstab.

    2. Fighter/thief multi and dual. Same as above really.

    3. Shadowdancer -> Fighter dual. The good stuff. I love this thing so much. With single weapon style, the katana that gives 19-20 crit range, Tymora's melody and Chant this beast should be criting backstabs on a roll of 15-20. With grandmastery and endless stealth in combat, so long as you micromanage you can be a one (wo)man wrecking machine.

    4. Turn on 3e sneak attack and just flank. I'm not particularly familiar with this but it works.

    ---

    Overall, imo, your initial party was pretty good as a single class party, though as you seem to have found out it isn't the strongest. Your additions with things like F/C and F/D are some of the most powerful multi/duals in the game so obviously they are going to make things easier. Likewise, if you replace your illusionist with a sorc you are defiantly going towards the power-game end of things, though Sorc gets around so many issues of scroll availibility.

    Bountyhunters are great in IWD, situationally. They are simultaneously encounter winners through their traps, but also in combat they can often feel like a third wheel as everyone else is dishing out pain. The viability and destruction wrought by their traps cannot be overstated.

    For single class druids, totemic druids and avengers are both very good single classes though both play differently. There are additional powerful shapeshifter forms in IWD compared to BG which Totemic and Shapeshifter worn't have access to, though interestingly, Shapeshifter, because it has Werewolf form from level 1 will have a tendency to rip through early mobs, then will become a back row druidic caster for much of the rest of the game until a brief melee-power spike with GWW form. Not particularly recommended.

    A note on fighters - you have no classes which can achieve Grand Mastery. This is more powerful than BG grand mastery as the 5th pip will give an additional 1apr on top of everything else. It is pretty Savage and makes 5apr base very attainable.

    Unkitted bards own in every way in iwd. I usually just have the bard spend the whole time singing either tymora's or war hant of the sith, when they are not casting spells. I think my last run the bard had about 3 kills for the whole thing but was still invaluable.

    My last full party run was:
    Bard
    Fighter/Druid
    Archer
    Shadowdancer -> Fighter
    Bounty Hunter
    Sorcerer

    Which I would put in the a top third for ease, despite having no cleric.

    Post edited by alice_ashpool on
    wavingbug
  • wavingbugwavingbug Member Posts: 58
    edited May 9
    ...
    Likewise, if you replace your illusionist with a sorc you are defiantly going towards the power-game end of things, though Sorc gets around so many issues of scroll availibility.
    ...
    A note on fighters - you have no classes which can achieve Grand Mastery. This is more powerful than BG grand mastery as the 5th pip will give an additional 1apr on top of everything else. It is pretty Savage and makes 5apr base very attainable.
    ...

    Hey, thanks, that has been very helpful. I guess starting over a few times to figure out what party is working best for you is just the nature of games like IWD that offer so many possibilities.

    I think I will actually replace the Illusionist with a Sorcerer, so my Bard can copy all the spells to the spell book or just cast them from the scroll. I did not notice how competent the bard is as a spell caster. He even got more spells than my Mage because he is leveling way faster. Together with the bard songs and the addition of support spells that were not available in BG (like Cat's Grace) he is a really powerful support character.

    I just read on the Wiki that the Sorcerer has the Dragon Disciple class kit. There are not any disadvantages listened and it the fire breath sounds like a useful spell especially in the beginning on top to the addition to armor class (mistakes happen) and fire resistance (I can stand in my own fire balls). Are there any reasons not to always pick that kit?

    Regarding grand mastery I think I will level a fighter to 9 to get +++++Staves and ++Two-handed Weapon Style and then dual class to Druid. I'd need 375,000 Exp. to get my fighter skills back. Coming from Baldur's Gate 1 this sounds like a lot! Is this even viable? I don't want to spend the majority of the game waiting for the moment I reach Figher 9/Druid 10.

    I skimmed through the old vanilla manual for IWD just to see the differences and noticed that, in contrast to IWD:EE there were no class kits at all. I honestly though of building a vanilla group now for my first playthrough just to match the experience more closely and switch to class kits on a second run on higher difficulty.

    I guess my vanilla setup would be very similar, just unkitted:

    Paladin
    Fighter/Cleric Multi
    Fighter 9/Druid Dual
    Ranger
    Bard
    Thief/Illusionist Multi or Thief 7/Mage Dual

    I am just undecided whether to dual or multi the thief. I honestly would take the thief levels just for Open Locks and Find Traps. I could get both to 100 reaching level 7 as human. Afterwards I could progress as Mage. What would be preferable here?

    Thanks a lot

    EDIT: I just noticed the stat requirements to dual from Fighter to Druid. 15 Str, 17 Wis and 17 Cha (and being True Neutral) is really hard to roll considering that you want decent Str, Dex and Con as a Fighter too. Meh!

    Post edited by wavingbug on
  • OldSkullOldSkull Member Posts: 6
    Hi everyone,

    I'm just nearing my playthrough of IWD:EE about 20 years after by last play of IWD1. I decided to take on HoF from the beginning, so this way a real pain in the begginning (and first group of goblins remain top 3 hardest battles I had), even some restart to have more EXP.
    But that's not important. What is important that I have some thought here on what I did great and what could be done better.

    Generally party in HoF needs:
    - cleric (obvious) with raise dead (unless you like reloading game after victorious battle)
    - someone to summon help (best are Sorceror, Druid and Shaman, as Mage might not get scrolls in time. Cleric has Animate dead, which is fine early, but not sufficient)
    - tank to get attention of mobs until casters summon help
    - someone for buffs/debuffs (although this can be split to two casters, like cleric and mage)
    - someone to deliver damage and kill enemies. If possible also hunt down enemy spell casters.
    - someone to open locks and disarm traps (you can try to bash or knock locks and just trigger traps with tank, but this is not ideal and I'm not sure if you won't loose some good stuff doing that)

    My choice was:
    1. Human Fighter (9)-> Cleric - great tank with enough AC to not get hit too often even in HoF with buffs. And when hit with damage resistance (level 1 spell), later with entropy shield (+6AC) and regeneration. You can have around -24AC when needed, try to hit that :D. Almost immortal :D when needing damage. When needed he has same THAC0 as fightert with only maybe 0.5 attack less (thanks to F9 and Grandmastery). Fighter9 means that we lose only one level of cleric for 90% of game, which is almost nothing. When not swinging mace it is a good buff-support. Only backsides are need of casting lots of buffs and weak ranged weapons.
    2. Elven Sorcerer - great caster, in hardest fight she delivered like 80% of total damage. Great thing is that no scrolls are needed, so Skull trap, Fireball, improved invisibility all summons and emotions can be cast as soon level is reached. Only thing I would change is race: extra dexterity was pretty useless, as there was no AC bonus, and Sorceror barely hits anything at all. At the same time resurrection is needed, because Raise Dead doesn't work on Elves. Half-elfis probably better.
    3. Elven Archer (Ranger kit) - this is a killer. At the moment he gets bow with extra attack he delivers the most damage (except Sorcerer), much more than melee fighter. He is great spellcaster sniper and later has few nice spells, including best single target spells: Storm and Static charge, but first one can be used in maybe 20% of locations, in the end game also some nice summon and can act as a few rounds tank. Generally this class is totally OP, it has im my party all the time 33-35% of all kill exp. He has TRAC0 of like -20 or lower in the end, so he hits almost every time everything. Due to that you might consider different race, but he doesn't die very often. Only backside? For one Archer you need two full backpacks of arrow :( in HoF you can get container for arrows, which might be possible at the similar time you get bow with extra attack. I did not found any bottomless quiver of arrows, so I assume that it doesn't exist in IWD.
    4. Half-Orc Bounty-Hunter (Thief) - in HoF recon is very important. Additionally special snare in the beggining nicely softens enemies, then mid-game can trap parts of the group in Otiluke sphere. Finally he has "Mass Maze" thrown trap, that is impossible to save. Maze is great, because time is random and based on intelligence, so large group of enemies will reemerge within several rounds and even turns, so we are not fighting 20 (or even 5, but very strong ones) at a time, but separated to 5-10 small groups, esily killing most of them before their friends return. Great choice, I think also OP, but less. There is room to make him better: I made him half-orc so that he could do some help in melee (thieves cannot have STR 18/xx, so 19 is >> 18), which is kind of useful, but looking on whole game maybe it would be better to use Elf (for extra TRAC0 with bows). Hard to tell now, maybe 80% time elf is better and 20% HO is better. With HalfOrc DEX is not the issue since Cat's Grace spell lasts for hours.
    5. Gnome cleric-illusionist - plan was that Single class Wizzard will not get scrolls fast enough (which happened even with multiclass) and since one cleric was fighting, other was very useful. Wizard part of this one was quite bad, early Fireball was nice, some buffs also (when finally found) but lack of skull trap and very few higher level spells was a huge problem. On the good side, this wizard can walk between enemies due to high AC (shield and defender helm) and both divine and arcane protection spells. So not bad, but there is a room for improvement for these functions.
    6. Half-Orc Fighter - this one was meant to be the melee damage dealer and tank. As dmg dealr good, as tank bad late game due to low AC. Generally best strategy would be to go for dual wielding 50% of game and 1H+shield for the rest. After getting +1 APR sword really difference after giving him a shield was 0.5APR (from 5 to 9/2).

    If playing HoF only, you will have max level with most of them within the Trials of Luremaster (going there just after getting all badges), so I don't see a reason to have many Multi-classed. In fact multicalss fighter is weak, beacause of lack of APRs (only 2 stars in weapons) and being few levels behind. For dual classing I found that Berserkers are not optimal as battles where their bonus matter, last so long, that their penalty also matters. And being possible to do more attacks with ranged from behind of summons is quite useful.
    For everyone I would suggest 1, 2 (maybe HE instead of Elf) and 3.
    For thief: IWD is not meant for backstabbing with your thief would get minced, invisibility potions are rare. On the other hand reckon is very important if don't want to load every 10 minutes. Therefore you can use some multiclass thief also, I just found that mass-otiluke and mass-maze are very powerful and even if this has low kill count, he makes fights a lot easier.
    What I would change is that I would go for second Sorceror (I use simulacrum a lot due to that need). Having two sorcerers these can be both Dragon disciples, because loss of one spell cast won't hurt at all and DD is much more tanky with much higher AC and much more HP. This would also allow more easily for using tactic Prot from magical energy on everyone + lots of skulls and Horrid Wiltings everywhere. And also I would go for second Humen F9-Cleric, with different weapons.
    For someone who doesn't want Bounty hunter probably a better choice would be Thief-Cleric (Sanctuary can be also used for recon) - would be also much better fighter. I would not recommend Thief-Mage as scrolls are a huge problems as well as need of memorizing useless spells. I would rather not recommend taking second Archer, as you need to carry lot's of arrows.

    To get containers (bag of holding and arrows-belt) and some better spells I went to Heart of Winter very early - this was very scary, I only survived due to summons, but getting few nice things in exchange of lots of time lost on reloads and very hard fights wasn't worth it. Probably I should go there after finishing museum.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 1,037
    edited May 9
    wavingbug wrote: »
    I just read on the Wiki that the Sorcerer has the Dragon Disciple class kit. There are not any disadvantages listened and it the fire breath sounds like a useful spell especially in the beginning on top to the addition to armor class (mistakes happen) and fire resistance (I can stand in my own fire balls). Are there any reasons not to always pick that kit?
    At each spell level, dragon disciples can cast 1 fewer spell per day. Basically the opposite of being a specialist mage, which gives you an extra spell per day at each spell level.
    wavingbug wrote: »
    EDIT: I just noticed the stat requirements to dual from Fighter to Druid. 15 Str, 17 Wis and 17 Cha (and being True Neutral) is really hard to roll considering that you want decent Str, Dex and Con as a Fighter too. Meh!
    Dualing can give you a powerful character, but the benefits are greatest in games like BG2 where you can expect to rack up 5-10 million XP over the course of the game. For a first run-through the hassles probably aren't worth it, though YMMV and there is nothing wrong with dualing if you so choose.

  • wavingbugwavingbug Member Posts: 58
    edited May 9
    @OldSkull Thanks for sharing your experience.

    I think in principle our party setups aren't that different from each other. I just don't have a dedicated caster like your have (Sorcerer) but instead opted for Thief/Illusionist with some additional spells provided by my Bard. I will scribe all supportive spells in my Bard book, with the exception of a few I cast very often or that are similar but add up in order to buff my group faster. The bard is such a good supporter.

    Bounty hunter has been my first choice too but setting traps reliably (without reloading all the time) has been such a chore, I could not take it. But in Bounty Hunters rock. Yoshimo has been my favorite companion in BG but he has a higher level when he joins your group, so he fails less setting traps.

    I will dual class my Fighter at level 9 like you do for grand mastery in staves. Instead of a Cleric I will choose Druid. Iron Skins should make him a remarkable tank too I think. It is just a bit of an adjustment, because I temporarily have one healer less in my party.

    The rest is pretty much the same. My dedicated melee fighter is a Paladin. I never could stand pure fighters because of the very few abilities they have.

    As for backstabbing being problematic because it exposes your Thief; I think I would move my fighters in first to distract the enemy group and backstab targets I need to kill fast mid combat. Furthermore I hope that the invisibility spells and other defensive spells my Illusionist has access to will make it harder for enemies to kill her too quickly should something go wrong.
    jsaving wrote: »
    At each spell level, dragon disciples can cast 1 fewer spell per day. Basically the opposite of being a specialist mage, which gives you an extra spell per day at each spell level.

    Yea, I noticed that too. Either I am blind or this is not mentioned in the Icewind Dale Wiki at all. One of the reasons I stick to the BG Wiki as most of it applies to IWD too and there are always many helpful comments.
    jsaving wrote: »
    Dualing can give you a powerful character, but the benefits are greatest in games like BG2 where you can expect to rack up 5-10 million XP over the course of the game. For a first run-through the hassles probably aren't worth it, though YMMV and there is nothing wrong with dualing if you so choose.

    I'd need 250,000 XP for Fighter 9 and 125,000 XP for Druid 10, 375,000 XP total. I read somewhere that I should expect to get approx. 2,500,000 XP per character so I would trade 10 % of experience for the Druid class for Grand Mastery in staves and all the other benefits of having 9 Figher levels., losing probably only one Druid level. I think that is okay.

    I know that the experience you need for each level is not linear, so for later levels you need way more experience as for lower levels. But on the other hand you also get more experience the further you progress in the game. So that should mean that gaining levels at some point should feel linear, regarding to the time spent on a level (probably at least for the majority/middle part of the game). So, should it take me 50 hours to complete the game (made up number) I spend 15 % of that time (375,000/2,500,000) with an "incomplete" character. Thats 7.5 hours. I think that the threshold of what is being okay for me. I just hope I don't miss Druid spells early in the game too much. Conclusion is that my cleric will have memorized way more healing spells than usual and my other casters will have to compensate for that memorizing more supportive spells, if neccesssary.

    Post edited by wavingbug on
  • alice_ashpoolalice_ashpool Member Posts: 241
    edited May 9
    If you play the main campaign on core difficulty before the expansions you will only have around 1,500,000XP per character in a 6 person party, by the end. The Heart of Winter expansion is comparatively short and just throws XP at you in the style of 400,000XP for talking to someone. It is... something I guess. So unless you do the expansions in the middle of the core campaign, which imo breaks the rest of the core campaign something terrible you will only gain that last 1M XP/character very rapidly in the last few hours of the expansion(s)

  • wavingbugwavingbug Member Posts: 58
    If you play the main campaign on core difficulty before the expansions you will only have around 1,500,000XP per character in a 6 person party, by the end. The Heart of Winter expansion is comparatively short and just throws XP at you in the style of 400,000XP for talking to someone. It is... something I guess. So unless you do the expansions in the middle of the core campaign, which imo breaks the rest of the core campaign something terrible you will only gain that last 1M XP/character very rapidly in the last few hours of the expansion(s)

    So do you think dualing the Fighter to Druid at level 9 is viable considering the length of the game?

  • OldSkullOldSkull Member Posts: 6
    @wavingbug , I played Bounty hunter by not inreasing open locks skill for very long time - instead I used several times spell named "Knock". It's not Baldurs Gate, where lots of locked chests/doors can be in single location close to each other. I started with getting around 90% set traps ability, then disarm, then both stealh skill to around 100%, then finally open locks. All 90% abilities went to 100% when using Cats Grace.

    @jsaving
    Dualing Fighter at 9 means that:
    - you lose 250 000 exp, so for most second classes meant 1 or less levels for 80-90% of game. With Multiclass you lose much more, maybe even 4-8 levels, which for spellcasters is a lot. It's also a lot for your TRAC0, because you will be only a little ahead of pure class Cleric.
    - you gain lots of HP
    - you gain some of APR bonus (only more is on F13 I think, which is too much EXP, in fact 4-5 levels + lots of waiting to regain Fighter) plus you have Grandmastery - which mean that you will be probably much better Fighter than Multiclass.
    - of course if you don't intend to play HoF it's completely different matter, you will wait quite long to regain your fighter. In that case multiclass Dwarf might be a lot better. Also without HoF it might be useful to take Berserker, as you will benefit from his rage much more and penalty will be maybe acceptable

    In decision whether to go F9->C(x) or F9->D(x) one needs to answer the question what is more needed. Druid is great summoner + has few self "survavility" spells like his version of Stone Skin, but is much worse in party support and debuff. In my opinion Druid is much better alone, but Cleric is much better in party. It might be interesting to try both of then in Party. Don't know if it's optimal, but definitely would be fun.


    From other things: can someone explain to me why so many people like Bards? As I see they can do a lot of things, but none at good level. They are weak rouges, weak casters, weak warriors and even weak supporters (If I compare cleric spells vs bard songs). Cleric can cast his no save buff+debuff spells, can inrease APR + can do much more and still fight very well for 1round/level with Fighter Traco and lots of shielding. I really don't get the point of using bards.

    Other things: is there any viable way to use debuffs that require saving throw without penalty? I tried in the beggining lvl1 debuffs and these sometimes worked, because these were still low level monsters. But mid and late game even with Greater Malison and Doom on few enemies, even Wail of Banshee would not kill more than 10% of enemies in group. I ended up using only no save debuffs (cleric is great) and damage spells on my enemies. In HoF I believe monters have huge bonus to saving throws causing that they only are affected on roll of 20/20 or maybe not at all.

  • alice_ashpoolalice_ashpool Member Posts: 241
    wavingbug wrote: »
    So do you think dualing the Fighter to Druid at level 9 is viable considering the length of the game?

    Should be fine, but bear in mind that you will need something like 750,000XP total for the party to reactivate at level 10, so there will be plenty of down time. I have a bias towards lower dualing, but that is just personal preference so I can't tell you where you would be in the game with that dual. I guess play it and see.

  • OldSkullOldSkull Member Posts: 6
    A note on how overpowered Archer Ranger kit is. I did recently a final fight in HoF diffculty. I did it without resting after entering the final tower, so it's a bit biased, but nonetheless (without spoilers): my spellcasters were masacred, I could only cast spells that have very low casting time before begin interrupted. My thief tried to disarm traps (failing completely, I think it's designed this way), so he also soon died. My warriors (Fighter and F->C) managed to kill about 25% of guards and do small harm to other.
    Then (being completely alone) my archer killed 75% of guards and the Big Bad Boss. Alone, only summoning some creatures so that not to chase boss.
    Archer is completely OP, only thing is that it's better not to use any +3 arrows before final fight.

    I could repeat the battle, prepare much better, so that other character would kill 50% of enemies, but finally it would be probably up to Archer to be most important warrior.


    @wavingbug Back to dualing: it's always on what you need. Any fighter level unlocks possibility of Grandmastery (which is great). I would say that in Normal difficulty it's better to dual at level 7, as you will already have 1.5APR. 64k EXP is not that much loss, and to regain fighter abilities you only need I think 60k, so 360k exp for a party - which is quite reasonable. This 1 extra weapon proficiency and few HP I don't is worth having a penalty for 1/4 of the game. You will use Grandmastery at the same moment in time (more-less), but have fighter much sooner.
    Grandmastery is really worth going for dual class.

  • wavingbugwavingbug Member Posts: 58
    OldSkull wrote: »
    You will use Grandmastery at the same moment in time (more-less), but have fighter much sooner.
    Grandmastery is really worth going for dual class.

    I cannot follow that last sentence. A fighter can achieve grand mastery at level 9 soonest. So when I dual before that, like at level 7, and have ++++Staves I will not be able to put the fifth point to achive GM into Staves as Druid, because Druids can only put one point in a Weapon Prof. and the active class determines where and how many points you can put into somewhere. I read somewhere that it is possible, or has been possible, but it was supposed to be a bug or something that got exploited and that it is agains the rules.

    Or do you just mean that the benefits of GM plus two Fighter levels, over having only 4 points are not worth it, because of the additional time you spend as Fighter before dualing?

  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 872
    True, in the base game archer is fine and strong. Not much in expansion.
    I had a warrior party, archer, fighter/thief, fighter, paladin and skald that was one of my easiest runs in iwd, but the in the very end my dwarven fighter kills equal to my elven archer.

  • OldSkullOldSkull Member Posts: 6
    @wavingbug I don't know if it's a bug, but I was able to put from 1 to 5 stars in slings for my F(9)->C(x) after transition to Cleric (as F9 I had 5 stars in maces). I think that game counts that regaining Fighter abilities means also that you can get Grandmastery. It might be a bug, but it is how it works now.

    @Danacm Archer is bad on enemies with high piercing resistance or ones that require magical weapons (due to low quantities of magic arrows - you just cannot use these on normal enemies). In expansion HoW Archer was very good on Undead Maidens (attacking out of their howling range). In TotL great against enemy casters (literally saving the day), including teleporting ones. Archer scores less kills for sure (Cleric was better due to fantastic mace you can buy in TotL that has a chance on Instant kill of undeads), but still very powerful.

  • wavingbugwavingbug Member Posts: 58
    edited May 14
    OldSkull wrote: »
    @wavingbug I don't know if it's a bug, but I was able to put from 1 to 5 stars in slings for my F(9)->C(x) after transition to Cleric (as F9 I had 5 stars in maces). I think that game counts that regaining Fighter abilities means also that you can get Grandmastery. It might be a bug, but it is how it works now.

    Ah I did not know. To be honest the rules for weapon proficiency points in regards to dual/multi classing are still not clear to me.

    What I meant was that, I think that you could dual at level 7 with only 4 points in any weapon proficiency, then dual class. And before leveling up, you could just save all the experience points for all the levels to regain the abilities of your first class. If you then leveled up, you were able to assign a fifth weapon prof. point, which should not be possible with only 7 fighter levels.
    You already had 9 fighter levels so this most likely does not apply to your case.

  • alice_ashpoolalice_ashpool Member Posts: 241
    edited May 14
    wavingbug wrote: »
    What I meant was that, I think that you could dual at level 7 with only 4 points in any weapon proficiency, then dual class. And before leveling up, you could just save all the experience points for all the levels to regain the abilities of your first class. If you then leveled up, you were able to assign a fifth weapon prof. point, which should not be possible with only 7 fighter levels.
    You already had 9 fighter levels so this most likely does not apply to your case.

    Yep, with a dual class you can level squat until you have enough XP to regain your original class in one single level up, then any proficiency points you gain during that multi-level up can be assigned as if you were the first class. So a fighter (9) -> mage could dual, assign the level 1 proficiency point as a mage, then squat to 250,000XP to be able to spend the 2nd point as a fighter, such as a Grandmastery pip. its one of the advantages of dualclass rather than multiclass (which has different advantages)

  • wavingbugwavingbug Member Posts: 58
    wavingbug wrote: »
    What I meant was that, I think that you could dual at level 7 with only 4 points in any weapon proficiency, then dual class. And before leveling up, you could just save all the experience points for all the levels to regain the abilities of your first class. If you then leveled up, you were able to assign a fifth weapon prof. point, which should not be possible with only 7 fighter levels.
    You already had 9 fighter levels so this most likely does not apply to your case.

    Yep, with a dual class you can level squat until you have enough XP to regain your original class in one single level up, then any proficiency points you gain during that multi-level up can be assigned as if you were the first class. So a fighter (9) -> mage could dual, assign the level 1 proficiency point as a mage, then squat to 250,000XP to be able to spend the 2nd point as a fighter, such as a Grandmastery pip. its one of the advantages of dualclass rather than multiclass (which has different advantages)

    But is that a bug or not? I read here somewhere that it should not be allowed. So even if you regain the abilities of your first class (fighter in this case) you can only spend points according to the limits of your active class (mage for example). So assigning that fifth point with mage as active class should not be possible.

  • wavingbugwavingbug Member Posts: 58
    edited May 15
    To conclude this thread, this is the party I ended up with. I created it with with a few constraints though.

    As kits were not allowed in the original game, I decided to not use them, but only classes that were available back then too. I remember from BG1:EE that kits made some encounters trivial and I wanted to avoid that for my first playthrough. So no kits.

    I also did not want to roll a bazillion times to get perfect stats and I did not want to min-max too, so I went with only reasonable stats. I usually did not roll for more than a minute (except for the fighter/druid dual). I settled for those ability minimums (with some exceptions) for classes where the ability mattered:

    * Str. 17: +1 damage, -1 THAC0
    * Dex. 16: -2 AC, -1 ranged THAC0
    * Con. 16: +2 bonus HP (with max. HP on level up enabled that is good enough)
    * Int. 18 to learn level 9 spells
    * Wis. 18 for extra priest spell slots
    * Cha. whatever is the minimum, but not lower than 10.

    Paladin
    Str 17, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 17
    ++Long Sword, ++Flail/Morning Star

    I am a paladin and that's okay! I went with two points in weapons that do crushing damage right away, because of all the skeletons at the beginning of the game.


    Fighter/Cleric Multi
    Str 17, Dex 16, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 10
    ++War Hammer, ++Sling

    Because she is a dwarf and also a fighter I raised Con. to 18 for -5 saving throw bonus.


    Fighter 7/Druid Dual
    Str 17, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 17, Cha 17
    ++Quarter Staff, ++Two-handed Weapon Style

    That was the only one rolling for felt like an eternity. Because of the minimum 15 Str. and 17 Wis./Cha. to be able to dual class from fighter to druid. I also needed decent fighter abilities on top of that and aimed for 93 which is really hard to get for fighters. Took me an hour of rolling. The most I've ever done.
    I decided to dual at level 7 instead of level 9 to get back my fighter abilities earlier. Fighter level 9 enables grand mastery (5 points) but compared to high mastery (4 points) you only get an extra 1/2 attack and +1 damage. I always found landing attacks in the first place is more important and grand mastery does not increase your THAC0. Fighter level 6 gives you a fourth point for high mastery which adds +1 damage (compared to 3 point mastery) and fighter level 7 an extra 1/2 attack per round. I think it's fine to dual after that, to have more time to enjoy all my abilities. Plus I only lose the HP rolls for two fighter levels as opposed to dualing even earlier than 7. (You get 1D12 plus Con. bonus per level until level 9. Afterwards it's just a flat HP increase) I think that's the sweet spot.



    Ranger
    Str 17, Dex 19, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10
    ++Longbow, ++Short Sword, ++Two-weapon Style

    I maxed Dex. for -3 ranged THAC0 because I use him mainly as archer and scout. The racial bonus for elves adds another -1 so he rarely misses with a bow. He has the most kills by far in the group and is my favorite character because he is so reliable in every regard. The scouting also enables me to prepare for what lies ahead. Thanks to him there are rarely any surprises.


    Thief/Illusionist Multi
    Str 12, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 18, Wis 10, Cha 10
    +Dagger, +Crossbow

    I try not to get him too involved into combat so the saving throw bonus from higher Con. did not matter too much. Str. is irrelevant too, because I don't plan on backstabbing. When there is nothing to cast I just go with ranged attacks. For that and also a bonus to thieving skills I maxed Dex. I settled for 18 Int. because it's unlikely that I need to learn more than 18 spells per level and it enables me to learn 9th level spells (although I am not even sure I reach Illusionist level 18 to get a 9th level spell slot).


    Bard
    Str 10, Dex 16, Con 16, Int 16, Wis 15, Cha 15
    +Dagger, +Dart

    Bards cannot learn spells higher than 6th level so Int. is only important for scribing and memorizing spells. I think 16 is good for that. She learns all the necromancy spells the Thief/Illusionist cannot learn and, complementing her bard songs, mainly learns buffs, group support spells or spells that you can use very often in general (like Blind). I had some left over points I put in Wis. for the lore bonus.


    So that's it. I am at chapter 3 now and the party works pretty smooth. I think there has not been a single encounter that was really difficult and I never had the feeling that the group is lacking in some way. I just have the feeling that mobs in general hit more often and harder than in BG but that's managable.

    Thank you all for all the helpful advice :)

    Post edited by wavingbug on
    Thorium
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