Skip to content

What’s a good level to dual-class from Shadowdancer to Mage?

NimranNimran Member Posts: 4,875
I want to try an evil thief/mage run, and I picked a shadowdancer to start with. Does anyone have any advice on when I should dual-class?
Aerakar

Comments

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,439
    edited October 2021
    A shadowdancer dual is probably going to want to take advantage of backstabs. After all, that's what you do with Hide in Plain Sight. Keeping that in mind, the key breakpoints are levels 5, 9, and 13.

    A level 5 or 6 dual completes in BG1. You start with 30/25 stealth at Dex 18, and have 110 discretionary skill points to work with at level 5, or 130 at level 6. Not quite enough for 100% stealth on its own, but equipment bonuses can get you there. You'll have mage level 9 by the BG1 level cap, matching a pure mage. Only 2x backstabs, but it's still some pretty powerful stuff added on to a full-power mage.

    If you started in BG1, don't dual at level 9; you won't get your thief skills back in that game. On the other hand, dual-classing at level 10 or 11 very early in BG2 works well. The thief experience investment will cost you between zero and one mage levels in the long run, and scroll XP can get your thief skills back in no time at all. If you're starting fresh in BG2, then a level 9 dual in the starting dungeon is a possibility.
    Discretionary skill points: 190 at level 9, 210 at level 10, 230 at level 11. Enough for 100% stealth and a slight investment into something else.

    Finally, the level 13 dual. 660K thief XP, then 1500K mage XP to complete the dual. You give up about two levels of mage development, but get 4x backstabs and 270 skill points to invest. And if you're into shoplifting scrolls and scribing/erasing, you still have the option of rushing past the downtime all at once - which will also put you ahead of your party instead of behind them.

    Oh, and one last note. Shapeshifting combined with backstabs can be very powerful - ogre form in particular deals a massive 4d6+1 base damage. If you're planning to use this, going beyond 100/100 stealth can be useful, as the ogre and iron golem forms only have 9 dexterity.
    NimranYigorAerakarlolien
  • Christian79Christian79 Member Posts: 28
    Won´t the Thaco be real crap if not dualed very late?
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,439
    Your THAC0 will be garbage even if you dual very late. Unless you're invisible and striking in melee, because then you get +4 to hit and negate Dex bonuses on top of that.
    You could, theoretically, dual at thief level 21 and reach mage level 24. That gains you 3 points of THAC0 over an early dual, when you finally complete it at 6.92 million XP. And it doesn't boost your saves at all. Not worth it; if you want a high thief level, play the multiclass instead.
  • Christian79Christian79 Member Posts: 28
    So, kind of a challenge run. I see.
  • masteralephmasteraleph Member Posts: 194
    Just a note- if you're playing through SoD, you can get to Thief 9/Mage 11. But it does mean refraining from taking level 10 of Thief during BG1 (which you'd get to at 160k xp)
  • NimranNimran Member Posts: 4,875
    edited October 2021
    I’ve decided to go to level 13 in thief. The 4x backstab and extra thief skill points are more valuable to me for this run than a few spell slots. The reason I don’t do multi is because I don’t want to keep gaining levels in thief when I’ve already gotten most of the good stuff. I believe the THAC0 issue can also be offset somewhat by a belt of giant strength, once I get one.

    As a side note, I got really lucky when rolling the stats for this character. Got a 93, accidentally hit the back button, then got a 93 again. :grin: I feel like I owe it to the universe to play this character now, regardless of how challenging it might be.
    StummvonBordwehrAerakarlolien
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,439
    Nimran wrote: »
    ... more valuable to me for this run than a few spell slots.
    In the very long run ... the difference between a level 29 mage and a level 31 mage is two hit points, zero spell slots, and zero HLAs. It's only the intermediate stages that the level 13 dual costs you anything at all meaningful.

    Thieves and mages get the two worst THAC0 progressions in the game; it's not surprising that a combination of the two would have trouble hitting things when fighting fair. Which is why you don't fight fair. Backstabs get huge bonuses to hit, after all.

    On that back button thing ... that wasn't luck. If you hit the "back" button while rolling and then hit "abilities" again, it gives you what you had rather than anything new. Shadowdancers also have some relatively high stat requirements (15 Dex), so they get significantly better chances at high rolls than a basic thief.
    StummvonBordwehrYigorNimranlolien
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 7,048
    jmerry wrote: »
    Nimran wrote: »
    ... more valuable to me for this run than a few spell slots.
    In the very long run ... the difference between a level 29 mage and a level 31 mage is two hit points, zero spell slots, and zero HLAs. It's only the intermediate stages that the level 13 dual costs you anything at all meaningful.

    It's easy to miss that a mage gains no more spell slots after level 28 (without an XP cap remover). The minor additional HPs, single extra weapon proficiency and slightly better chances with dispel/remove magic are a pretty low benefit for the last 3 mage levels. If you're interested in the final character and willing to accept the longer road to get there, then dualling relatively late into a mage is a good bargain.
    Yigor
  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,875
    also, if you are worried about your to hit roll you can always use tensor's transformation, you won't be able to cast spells afterwards, but you can always back stab with the black blade of disaster if need be
  • Christian79Christian79 Member Posts: 28
    I find that spell very awkward on casters that usually rely on spells for protection.
Sign In or Register to comment.