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Why Shar-Teel is Arguably the Best NPC in BG1

HaHaCharadeHaHaCharade Member Posts: 1,644
There's a lot of posts already on Shar-Teel if you want to take a look historically on this board. A lot of folks likely pass on recruiting this gruff, evil dame during most playthroughs, if not putting her to the sword first.

But she shouldn't be ignored. She's one of the best NPCs for a morally ambiguous party, without question. If she's done right. And by done right, I mean dual-classing properly.

Shar-Teel can obtain grand-mastery in a weapon in BG:EE - that weapon being Longsword or Dagger. You simply have to dual-class her at level 6 Fighter, to make her a 6/9 Fighter Thief. This makes her a highly effective companion - imo one of the best in the game.

Be warned - This will take a LONG time for her to do. But it's fun, you tend to cap on EXP quickly anyway in this game, so why not? I've included the steps below to get Grand Mastery in Longsword or Dagger with Shar-Teel (your choice) --


1) Obtain Level 6 Fighter


2) Begin Dual-Class to Thief - As a Thief you get Two initial Weapon Pips. Do NOT pick Long Sword or Dagger for her initial selections. Choose two completely different weapons. If you choose Long Sword or Dagger, on the initial Thief Dual, it'll mess up Grand Mastery. Trust me here. I personally choose either Crossbow or Bow (she's a great secondary archer), and also a melee weapon. Which one? For me - Scimitar. You get a great +3 one from Drizzt she can use for a long time as a nice primary weapon that she can still backstab with, and even dual-wield with. These will be EXTRA weps she gets, APART from her Grandmastery wep. Cool huh?


3) Once you hit Level 3 Thief -- After leveling up for third level thief as normal (hitting level up button, getting HP for that level), you must no longer complete level up for any levels after that. That's right, just leave that little "+ sign" on her portrait for the long haul. She's done until completing her dual class. If you complete any level up after 3 before completing the dual class, you'll not be able to get Grandmastery. So level up normally to 3 thief, then stop.


4) Once you hit 110,000 XP as a Thief, now you can take the huge leap from Level 3 Thief to Level 9! Your Dual-Class is complete!


5) Enjoy your 5 pips in Longsword or Dagger, and all your other stuff!


What do these choices above mean?... Chosing to Dual her to Fighter at 6 sacrifices the extra attack a Level 7 fighter gains, but this is nulified by the extra attack per round (APR) gained by obtaining Grandmastery in a weapon. She also gains a Back Stab Multiplier, taking her to x4. She is an absolutely lethal character when dual-classed properly, and without question is the best Thief combination in the game. Imoen can't compare - and if you are playing evil, with choices like Edwin/Baeloth - you don't need another mage anyway. You already have the two best in the game.

So what weapon do you choose? I tend to do Longswords and equip her with Varscona and The Burning Earth . Other people like Daggers and equip her with the OP Dagger of Venom and a Heart of the Golem. It's really a personal preference thing. More damage up front (long swords) vs quicker attacks and a prospect for poison (daggers).

So there you are! Give her some +4 Mithril Chain to make her a backstab machine, and watch her shine -- in combat or in assassin mode. :)

Comments

  • MelicampMelicamp Member Posts: 243
    This is AMAZING !

    I am going to try this on my next playthrough !

    Thanks!
  • HaHaCharadeHaHaCharade Member Posts: 1,644
    edited October 2022
    Melicamp wrote: »
    This is AMAZING !

    I am going to try this on my next playthrough !

    Thanks!

    I had help with this solution on this board, and a lot of trial and error to get it right.
    Enjoy!
  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 1,326
    Shar-Teel actually kills a hobgoblin by backstabbing him in the comic too, so you could actually consider her Fighter/Thief dual-classing as somewhat canonical. ;)
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 3,868
    I've done this build more than once. Both times, she ended up first in the party in kill XP - ahead of my protagonists. She has, among other things, taken out Karoug in a single round with no help - backstab with the Burning Earth sword, follow up with a normal hit.

    One thing to watch out for - Shar-Teel's combat script doesn't know how to use thief abilities. Unless you mod it, she won't be able to automatically hide or automatically search for traps.
    Also, I highly recommend taking at least one other thief with you if you build Shar-Teel this way. Her stealth focus means that she's not going to be very good at the traditional dungeoneering skills of Open Locks and Find Traps. Having multiple thieves to split the skill focus between makes things a lot easier to handle.
  • lroumenlroumen Member Posts: 2,508
    I expect by then you have the shadow armor and the boots of stealth. You should have points for other skills.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 3,868
    edited October 2022
    Some points. And Shar-Teel is human with only 17 dexterity, which isn't a lot of bonus points. She starts at 15/10, so she needs 175 points between skill investments and gear to reach 100/100. You have 240 skill points by the end of the game, and that's not enough to master the essential dungeoneering skills of OL/FT (which start at 20/5 for her) as well. So you're best off adding another thief and splitting up the skills. Also, boots of speed are really useful on a backstabber, because getting to your targets or getting out of the danger zone after a stab matters a lot. Skill investments from the two full runs I've used her in:

    Wee Cant Spell:
    - Magpie (halfling F/T protagonist with 19 starting Dex): Open Locks, Find Traps, Set Traps.
    - Shar-Teel: Hide in Shadows, Move Silently, Detect Illusion

    Dorn It:
    - Montaron: Open Locks, Find Traps, stealth
    - Shar-Teel: Hide in Shadows, Move Silently, Set Traps

    And both times, I've chosen to give the stealth boots to the other thief. Because sometimes I want to start a fight with two backstabs. Better to boost the less stealthy character than to have the more stealthy character rely on them.
    I often have multiple thieves in other runs as well; when I don't have such a focused backstabber, I'm more likely to split skills differently. Why not have one thief that can open locks and a different thief that can find traps?
    Post edited by jmerry on
  • HaHaCharadeHaHaCharade Member Posts: 1,644
    edited October 2022
    jmerry wrote: »
    I've done this build more than once. Both times, she ended up first in the party in kill XP - ahead of my protagonists. She has, among other things, taken out Karoug in a single round with no help - backstab with the Burning Earth sword, follow up with a normal hit.

    One thing to watch out for - Shar-Teel's combat script doesn't know how to use thief abilities. Unless you mod it, she won't be able to automatically hide or automatically search for traps.
    Also, I highly recommend taking at least one other thief with you if you build Shar-Teel this way. Her stealth focus means that she's not going to be very good at the traditional dungeoneering skills of Open Locks and Find Traps. Having multiple thieves to split the skill focus between makes things a lot easier to handle.

    I was able to get her at 9th level thief to

    95 Find Traps
    90 Move Silently
    95 Set Traps.

    This is before the tome increase to 18 on Dex (which I use on her... I know, blasphemy right? Most use it on your main for BG2 import but whatever works)... which I think will max those three out.

    Open locks on a Thief is pointless in most parties. Especially with multiple 19 strength characters in the party to force... 95% of locks I'd say (Dorn, Kagain with Big Fisted Belt, etc). And the knock spell for the 5% that can't be forced.

    With maxed Move Silently but a lower Hide in Shadows, she isn't absolutely perfect on stealth, but she can still hide pretty darn easily and effectively. Also couple that with Baeloth and Invis 10' Radius with multiple castings a day, she's pretty stealthy. Set Traps is a guilty pleasure... and pretty cheesy.

    Shar-Teel is my only party thief. Though, I also leveled up Imoen to 100 on Pick Pocket. I park her outside like Baldur's Gate, run through pick pocketing everyone when needed then ditch her for Shar-Teel again lol.
  • HaHaCharadeHaHaCharade Member Posts: 1,644
    lroumen wrote: »
    I expect by then you have the shadow armor and the boots of stealth. You should have points for other skills.

    Right, I have no issues dungeoneering with her, at all.
  • HaHaCharadeHaHaCharade Member Posts: 1,644
    Zaxares wrote: »
    Shar-Teel actually kills a hobgoblin by backstabbing him in the comic too, so you could actually consider her Fighter/Thief dual-classing as somewhat canonical. ;)

    haha nice!
  • lroumenlroumen Member Posts: 2,508
    Generally I only have one dedicated thief for all roles with all the bonus gear. Speed I then get from potions or spells. It rarely gets debuffed in bg1
  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 1,378
    I did the level 7 dual, and didnt level up after thief level 3…. The down time was a bummer, but she sure shined when she GM’ed in swords and had the extra 1/2 apr
  • HaHaCharadeHaHaCharade Member Posts: 1,644
    I did the level 7 dual, and didnt level up after thief level 3…. The down time was a bummer, but she sure shined when she GM’ed in swords and had the extra 1/2 apr

    Are you saying you dualed her at 7 and got GM? That's not doable. Or did you mean to put 6? See following, I've also tested this multiple times -- Yes the downtime is brutal, but its worth it lol.

    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/64190/shar-teel-dual-class-question-grandmastery-no-longer-obtainable
  • DhariusDharius Member Posts: 657
    edited March 21
    Totally agree with the OP on this thread - that's EXACTLY how I play Shar Teel in BGEE, except the bit about holding off levelling up which I consider to be a bit impractical.

    Will always have her in the party unless I'm running a strictly non evil party, and always with Imoen as a back up thief.

    Just for your reference, my MVPs for BGEE are Kagain and Shar Teel, and for BG2EE it's got to be Aerie, Cernd and Haer Dalis (I'm not kidding, it's how you play them).
    Post edited by Dharius on
  • ber5nie5ber5nie5 Member Posts: 429
    I'll have to remember this the next time I do an evil party. >:)
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,588
    I'm just gonna disagree that dualing her at level six is a good idea. 110,000 XP on a character in a standard run means you're unlocking her dual probably somewhere around the Tales of the Sword Coast content, after having basically cleared almost the entirety of the base game. Sure, she'll be great for finishing of Durlag's Tower or Balduran's Isle, whichever you didn't do first, but that and the final dungeon are it. This is a bad plan, imo, and will result in an un-fun run for most players, despite the seeming power-game bonuses.

    Moreover the issue with dualing a thief is that you're going to have to find a way to juggle another thief into the party and then perhaps out of it. I simply think this results in being forced to some suboptimal play for much of the adventure and a generally not fun experience for most players.

    If you're going to dual her, much better to do so early. But I actually think it's simply bad to dual her, and most players will have more fun with her as a single-class fighter, and as a frontline tank honestly. If you're tired of using Kagain on the frontlines, Shar-Teel is a wonderful replacement. Give her the dagger of venom ASAP, and a shield. Ignore those wasted pips in longsword and two-weapon style. She will still be extremely effective.

    The dagger of venom's weapons speed (zero) will more than compensate for your lack of pips in dagger. Though you will be able to boost her to three by the game's end. Moreover, dagger focus allows you to have a decent ranged option as well. Throwing daggers get an extra attack per round and add strength bonuses. They're an outstanding early game weapon and even midgame. But the ranged is just situational, you will still mostly rely on sending her into melee. Key is that she will be striking very fast, as soon as she closes the distance in melee, all the time with the dagger. Giving you a chance to apply poison against critical caster targets. Kagain often has to wait a bit after closing the distance, due to the axe's much higher weapon speed. Players will find this highly useful for shutting down dangerous enemies. And while the dagger has a saving throw, very few enemies are immune to poison damage in the game, and poison pierces through many caster defenses that otherwise block regular attacks. Shar-Teel will also have a good option for the very difficult Karoug fight.

    Lastly, the difference between the protection of plate mail and the protection from the +3 studded leather is immense in BG1. Full plate plus a +2 protection item is a huge step above thief options.

    Keep it simple with her and she will be a clutch member of your party from early levels to the very end of the game. Personally, I think there are far better thief options, especially for an evil party. I've cited Kagain alot here, and don't mean to say that you have to replace Kagain with her, but her best role is the same role as Kagain. However, both can work together in a party, giving you an unstoppable front line.
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,588
    Just going to add that the game has a wide, wide variety of thief options. Especially once you enter the city. The game does NOT have many single class fighters.
  • DhariusDharius Member Posts: 657
    edited March 22
    What I like best (although ALL versions of Shar Teel are good regardless):

    Dual at 6
    Kill Drizzt (obviously)
    Get 2 or 3 pips in Scimitars when Thief levels are maximised
    Max Shar Teel out on Stealth and Pick Pockets while Immy (or another Thief) concentrates on OL/FT
    Wear Drizzt's mail and dual wield his scimitars, because it's cool (admittedly she can only use Frostbrand, owing to being CE, but improvise with Rashad's Talon or get the Alignment Change Helm in time)

    Job done :) Not the best build but ultimately the most satisfying, especially the bit about Drizzt.
    Post edited by Dharius on
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 3,868
    DinoDin wrote: »
    I'm just gonna disagree that dualing her at level six is a good idea. 110,000 XP on a character in a standard run means you're unlocking her dual probably somewhere around the Tales of the Sword Coast content, after having basically cleared almost the entirety of the base game. Sure, she'll be great for finishing of Durlag's Tower or Balduran's Isle, whichever you didn't do first, but that and the final dungeon are it.

    So, some actual data from two runs I did using this build:

    "Wee Cant Spell" (SCS, patch 2.5, no spellcasting in the party)
    Fighter level 6: immediately after joining; I picked up 32K XP including killing Drizzt before recruiting a party.
    Stall at thief level 3: during the basilisk hunt, done with that two-member party. Then I continued on to Durlag's Tower to hunt ghasts, avoiding the battle horrors with stealth (Protagonist was a fighter/thief multiclass). 23K thief XP on Shar-Teel before I recruited a third for the party. (Side note: that was a female protagonist, using a certain cursed belt to enable the recruitment. Then she paid for a Remove Curse at a temple.)
    Thief level 7, enabling 3x backstabs with +4*3 damage from 4-dot longsword proficiency: during the chapter 1/2 wilderness exploration, clearing out the western maps. That also let me push her to 100/100 stealth as well. At this point, she's already extremely powerful as a backstabber, but a little weaker in straight-up melee combat with only 1.5 main-hand APR.
    Thief level 9, completing the build with grand mastery and 4x backstabs: early chapter 5, as I was doing the just-unlocked Rasaad questline.
    So she was at full power for the bulk of chapter 5 and beyond. The big city, all of the TotSC content except the tower part of Durlag's Tower, and the chapter 6 and 7 plots.

    "Dorn It" (minimal mods, patch 2.6, evil run with Dorn as protagonist)
    Fighter level 6: immediately after joining. Dorn killed the basilisks solo for his early XP, and I put together the whole party before any serious leveling after 32K.
    Stall at thief level 3: wilderness clearing. She actually leveled up off Melicamp's wolf.
    Thief level 7: wilderness clearing, now in the tougher areas to the east. The Red Wizards in the Wood of Sharp Teeth provided that final XP.
    Thief level 9: late chapter 5, while clearing the ice island. There were a few minor quests in the city, plus the Helm/Cloak/Degrodel sequence, the sewers, and the Iron Throne building left. Plus all of chapter 6 and 7, the dungeons of Durlag's Tower, and the werewolf island.
    DinoDin wrote: »
    ... Giving you a chance to apply poison against critical caster targets. ...
    Just watch out - you can't poison anyone with mirror images or stoneskin up. So the standard caster defenses that they basically always open with do block the dagger's effect. And since a mage without those defenses is extremely squishy against basically any weapon attacks, there's not much point in the specialized weapon.
    Dagger warrior build: walk up to the enemy mage in plain sight, waste several attacks with no chance of poison taking down mirror images, then finally deliver the crippling blow with poison that prevents the mage from casting anything else.
    Backstabber build: sneak up to the enemy mage, backstab for 31-52 damage immediately (Varscona + 4 dots longsword + Legacy of the Masters gauntlets = 1d8+8 slashing, 3x multiplier, additional +3 damage from strength and +1 cold damage). They can't cast anything if they're dead.

    You know, why not? Here's a detailed comparison. Assume 100K total XP, so fairly late but not endgame. In particular, the backstab build doesn't have that extremely powerful final level.

    Dagger warrior: level 7. Relevant gear: helmet, full plate, +1 protection item, Legacy of the Masters, Dagger of Venom +2, Heart of the Golem +2. 3 dots dagger, 2 dots dual-wield. No other buffs active.
    That's 2 APR main-hand at THAC0 6 and 1 APR off-hand at THAC0 10. All attacks deal 1d4+10 piercing damage, and the main-hand attacks deal 1 DPS poison (for 15 seconds) on a failed save. Both weapons have speed zero, so her initiative is best possible, but enemies will be in range to attack her slightly before she's in range to attack them due to the low range.
    Defensively, she has AC -3 versus crushing, -7 versus slashing, and -6 versus piercing and missile. 17 + 5d10 HP, an expected value of 53 HP - fairly low for a front-liner, due to the lack of CON bonus. Saves 9 vs death, 12 vs spell.

    Longsword backstabber: level 6 -> 7. Relevant gear: helmet, shadow armor, Legacy of the Masters, Varscona, generic +1 longsword. 4 dots longsword, 2 dots dual-wield. No other buffs active.
    That's 1.5 APR main-hand at THAC0 7 and 1 APR off-hand at THAC0 12. Main-hand attacks deal 1d8+11 slashing damage plus 1 cold, and off-hand attacks deal 1d8+10 slashing. Speed factor 3 in the main-hand and 4 in the off-hand, so you'll be a little slower on initiative sometimes.
    Backstab attacks improve from 15.5 average damage to 41.5, or 53.5 if the enemy is holding a ranged weapon.THAC0 improves to 3, or -1 if the enemy is holding a ranged weapon, and the attack also ignores the enemy's DEX modifier to AC.
    Defensively, she has AC 1 versus crushing, -1 versus slashing, and 0 versus piercing and missile. 17 + 4d10 + 1d6 HP, for about 50 average HP. Saves 11 versus death, 13 versus spell.

    The pure warrior is quite a bit better in a straight fight. Especially on the defense, with slightly better saves and much better AC. But as soon as you start backstabbing, it all changes. That initial stab has a good shot of killing an important target, and even if it doesn't it's basically a full round worth of damage in one attack. Then you have a choice - stay in the fight, or fall back and hide again for another stab? Either might make sense based on the situation, and this mitigates the defensive weakness of the backstab build - you just duck out when the enemies are too scary. And increase the burden on your actual tank characters, but that's the game.
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,588
    The problem with dualing Shar-Teel, especially late, is the thief juggle you'll have to do. It's the same issue you'll run into if you dual Imoen at a higher level. Playing through the game practically (i.e. no cheese, no party meta gaming to juice XP), makes it difficult to really maximize any dual-classed thief as well as your party.

    It's a bit complicated to explain, but anyone who has done multiple replays, again, without severe metagaming, should be able to intuit the issue. You need to carry a temporary thief while Shar-Teel doesn't have the thief scores you need. Either you keep that secondary thief after Shar-Teel gets sufficiently high level, or you switch to some other character.

    So in the instance of keeping the secondary thief, you're effectively gimping your overall party in order to get this supposedly awesome Shar-Teel. In the instance of swapping that redundant thief out for another NPC, you're recruiting someone at 32k experience, and they'll under-leveled relative to the rest of your party.

    Now sure, you can work around all this stuff with shrinking your party size and taking on certain juicy XP areas, but there's lots you can do to eradicate the game's difficulty in a non-RP kind of way. Again, practically speaking, I think most players will have fun dualing her as early as possible, if they're going to do that route.

    Another reason why Shar-Teel is good as a pure fighter is that she frees up the dexterity gloves, which many other frontline tanks basically require. This not only allows her access to some pretty good glove alternatives, either the strength gloves or Legacy of the Masters, but it allows you to have either a second beefy tank. Dorn with the dex gloves does great on the frontlines with her.

    Secondly, access to plate mail is just generally a huge boon in BG1. It's different in BG2 and SoD, but the overall protection setups are enormously better for any character that can wear plate versus anything lesser. And there's so many copies of full plate that you're not hogging a precious item. There's only one top level thief armor. If you're giving this up, there ought to be a good reason, and I just can't find one given the other companion thieves in the game.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 3,868
    DinoDin wrote: »
    The problem with dualing Shar-Teel, especially late, is the thief juggle you'll have to do ... You need to carry a temporary thief while Shar-Teel doesn't have the thief scores you need. Either you keep that secondary thief after Shar-Teel gets sufficiently high level, or you switch to some other character.
    Which is why my comparison was between the pure warrior and the backstab specialist builds, not a comparison of Shar-Teel as a fighter->thief and another thief. Both of those runs I mentioned had another thief in the party full-time; the protagonist (halfling fighter/thief) in one, and Montaron in the other. And that other thief was the one that invested in disarming traps and picking locks.

    If you dual-class Shar-Teel, you're not doing it to have a utility thief that's also a fighter. You're doing it for a combat specialist that can dish out devastating bursts of damage, and the party slot for a utility thief that deals with dungeon hazards is still open. Shar-Teel still gets some of that utility, but it's really just scouting plus whatever skill she invests in for her last couple levels after picking up enough stealth.

    In general, I don't have a problem bringing multiple thieves along in BG1. That just means you can specialize them in different directions and make more thief skills useful among your party. Everyone can use some stealth, but you only need one thief that's good at picking locks, one that's good at disarming traps, one that's good at spotting illusions, one that's good at picking pockets...

    (Oh, and fighter/thieves have more options in their top tier armor than pure thieves. Full plate for ones that lean more on the fighter side and mostly use their skills outside of combat, Drizzt's armor for the cheesy folk that kill him.)
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,588
    edited March 28
    If power gaming is the ability to rip thru much of the game's content with both speed and leisure -- really the whole point of metagaming these builds -- I never understood undercutting that with strategies that require constant item swap, etc. And essentially results in slowing you down, adding some tedious repetitive micromanagement. If you end up doing the same thing as a player that has to play cautious because they have a gimped build, of what use was all the powergaming?

    Again just some general thoughts here, not trying to single any one person out. Anyone can play how they like and I fully get experimenting. But it's worth noting the costs (slow, tedious, repetitive clicking) of these "powergame" strategies being aired.
  • CashDiverCashDiver Member Posts: 7
    jmerry wrote: »
    One thing to watch out for - Shar-Teel's combat script doesn't know how to use thief abilities. Unless you mod it, she won't be able to automatically hide or automatically search for traps.
    How would you mod it? Is there a way to let Shar-Teel hide or search for traps automatically with advanced AI script?
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 3,868
    I have a tweak for that in my collection - "Slightly Improved Combat AI". Basically, it goes through all the NPC combat scripts and the generic PC version of "Advanced AI", deletes any existing scripting for Find Traps/Hide/Sing/Dance/Turn Undead, and inserts my version of how to automatically use those abilities if you have them. All NPCs get all the scripting regardless of class, and the trigger conditions are slightly smarter - sing even when not in combat if you're a non-Jester bard, use Turn Undead when at least one vulnerable undead is near rather than requiring an absolute swarm, hide even when enemies are close if you're a Shadowdancer.

    In this case, the vanilla SHARTC combat script Shar-Teel uses is built for a pure fighter and doesn't have the thief blocks at all. My tweak adds those in.
  • WarChiefZekeWarChiefZeke Member Posts: 2,653
    edited July 5
    If I am playing a full, involved BG run like I am now, I always take the time to dual-class the BG1 companions who can do so. Safana into Thief/Mage, Shar-Teel into Fighter/Thief, and sometimes Xzar into Necromancer/Cleric. Imoen too, of course.

    Of these, Shar-Teel is the most immediately useful, and certainly the most powerful. It's worth finding a way to bring her along into Siege of Dragonspear just to see her shine. Although I go for the dual-class as soon as I get her, it's less overall power, but I hate waiting.

  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,588
    Another reason backstabbing as a strategy is bad, is that you're giving up your spellcast/item usage turns while maintaining stealth. Exception to this is using invisibility potions or items, and, to a lesser extent spells from others. I actually think a thief relying on these is better than a thief investing in stealth. Just a broad point, but applies to Shar-Teel if you make her a thief.

    But I also think it's a better argument to leave her as a fighter. In the hardest, endgame battles, you're going to want to take advantage of your "attacks" and your "spell-item use" slots in the first three combat rounds. It's harder to do that if you're maintaining hide in shadows. Just a point in favor of Shar-Teel's power as a fighter, imo.
    If I am playing a full, involved BG run like I am now, I always take the time to dual-class the BG1 companions who can do so. Safana into Thief/Mage, Shar-Teel into Fighter/Thief, and sometimes Xzar into Necromancer/Cleric. Imoen too, of course.

    Of these, Shar-Teel is the most immediately useful, and certainly the most powerful. It's worth finding a way to bring her along into Siege of Dragonspear just to see her shine. Although I go for the dual-class as soon as I get her, it's less overall power, but I hate waiting.

    Well said advice. For Shar-Teel and for all the dual-able characters. I think for BG1, dualing early is very much the way to go, you will end up feeling like you have a more powerful party for most of the game. The endgame tradeoff will be negligible.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 3,868
    DinoDin wrote: »
    Another reason backstabbing as a strategy is bad, is that you're giving up your spellcast/item usage turns while maintaining stealth.
    So you'd rather have Shar-Teel be a trueclass fighter, with no spells or innate abilities whatsoever. The ability to drink a potion every round is that important to you? Buff potions last long enough that you drink whatever you're going to use outside of combat, which mostly just leaves healing/antidote potions that you drink in response to getting hurt.

    And skill-based hiding doesn't impede that sort of item use at all. Stealth has its own timers, entirely separate from the aura timer. You won't get hurt very often when you're invisible; after all, the enemy can't attack you if they can't see you. And when you do get hurt, (usually when you're visible) you can drink that potion immediately, just like a pure fighter. Or hide and then drink the potion - that doesn't break invisibility, though it does knock you out of the "stealth" state so you have to re-hide or get revealed in a round or so.

    Well, OK, there's one item use mode that's generally incompatible with backstab tactics - the fireball volley. If you're opening combat with a bunch of potion/necklace/wand fireballs, that breaks any invisibility you have going and you don't want any of your own people in the blast radius (unless they're fire-immune). But that isn't going to differentiate between various sorts of fighters, thieves, and fighter/thieves; they're all equally capable of contributing, unless they're wizard slayers.

    This whole thing about "a item/ability each round" is almost entirely a non-factor. Neither pure fighters nor backstabbers are stressed there, at BG1 levels. Both styles of martial character have their aura free to drink healing potions as needed pretty much all the time.

    The resource a backstabber does tax is player attention. Ducking in and out of combat to establish stealth or hit high-priority targets, moving separately from the rest of the party - that's something you have to pay attention to all the time, unlike a front-line warrior that you can basically just leave on autopilot.
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,588
    By the end games, even your fighters are rocking gear with spell-like abilities, not to mention the strength of potions of explosions. Yes for the final dozen or so boss fights in the game, you can absolutely make great usage of Shar-Teel's "spell" turns to phenomenal effect.
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,588
    edited July 9
    Even the simple usage of a wand of magic missiles, to score a timely interrupt on a faraway caster, I'd argue, is a better usage of Shar-Teel's action economy than investing in stealth and thus sacrificing everything to this. And building your party with this strategy in mind, imo, will give most players a better "power game" type experience. Keep in mind all the other little sacrifices being made to get there -- dual down time, loss of high AC armor, fewer HP and on.

    Not saying you can't make her into the uber Thief/Fighter, it's an option. But, as I said above, the game has few single class fighters, none really with her combo of base STR and Dex.

    Plenty of other backstabby thief candidates. Take my recommendation and you get no dual down time, a beefier character, and one that will do more than pull their weight in the late game given all gear you can spread out.

    Two further points on the action economy. Because the realtime combat has a "use it or lose it" style with the turns, the best strategies often involve planting your party members at a certain spot and then cycling back and forth with each character between attacks and spellcasts, attempting to maximize what you can. Most veteran players are already intuitively doing this, I imagine. At least for the first couple or so rounds of combat. Strategies that involve moving your characters around the battlefield are suboptimal. You're giving away turns!

    Secondly, it's always good to have some "spellcasts" available. You can't always predict how combat will go down, and so sometimes it's good to have the emergency ability to cast something from a protection scroll or, as I said above, a timely magic missile for an interrupt attempt. And so there's not actually an issue with Shar-Teel being a single class fighter. You're not losing anything.
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