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Weapon proficiency choices for assassins

gregorsamsagregorsamsa Member Posts: 24
What weapon proficiency do you guys use for assassins?

My thought is that there are two approaches here.

Big(ish) damage, but slower weapon - long sword, crossbow
vs

Small damage, but fast weapon - dagger, darts

The first can take advantage of a big juicy backstab multiplier, while the second can take advantage of more APR and therefore more poison hits.

Also do you prefer single weapon style or two weapon style

(I should also note that I’m planning on playing with the rogue rebalancing mod which allows for 3 slots in 2weapon style)

Comments

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 3,850
    Does your mod setup also tinker with backstab multipliers based on weapon type? Because in the base game, weapons with a high base damage like long swords and staves are the best for backstabbing, and daggers are the worst. The more damage you have before that multiplier, the better.
  • gregorsamsagregorsamsa Member Posts: 24
    jmerry wrote: »
    Does your mod setup also tinker with backstab multipliers based on weapon type? Because in the base game, weapons with a high base damage like long swords and staves are the best for backstabbing, and daggers are the worst. The more damage you have before that multiplier, the better.

    There's no mention of any tinker or anything like that. Just wondering if that initial burst damage is better or faster attacks because of the poison
  • GoreshallGoreshall Member Posts: 1
    I’m mid play through (just left BG at the start of SoD) with an assassin that I plan on dualing to mage at level 10.

    I went with short sword and darts at creation. There’s a +2 short sword right at the start of the game and then you can pick up the assassin short sword at the end of the game, to take with you to SoD. Darts because of the apr (poison spread) and nice options in BG1.

    Then I picked up 1 handed fighting when I got my first level up proficiency point. I plan on adding daggers (for firetooth in BG2) when I’ll be dualing and then finally quarterstaff and 2 handed fighting (for endgame) if I get any more points.

    I put all my thief skills into hide/move/detect illusion and took Coran in BG1 for traps/locks and will keep Safana for SoD. Might make a F/T to take with me into BG2 for locks and stuff.

    I like having hide even with the mage component as it just adds more versatility in general. Invis ring in Ulgoth’s is a pretty nice item.

    Enjoy your run! Assassin is fun.
  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 1,038
    edited March 2023
    Here is an informative (relatively) recent thread on assassins:

    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/82771/full-saga-eet-run-with-assassin#latest

    Bothe SWS and THS improve the critical range, but THS adds damage versus the AC bonus from SWS. Make sure you use these depending upon the weapon type you prefer.

    Quarterstaff is always a good choice and with THS this tends to give the best consistent damage backstabbing. In BG 1 you have the +3 staff available for purchase at Ulgoth's Beard and then can find the staff of striking deep in Durlag's Tower. If you know what you are doing, you can also sneak into the top of Durlag's (4th level) and steal the staff spear for a free +2 option. There is also an early +1 staff from Silke. In the next game you can buy 2 staffs of striking and the +4 staff as soon as you have the gold and these will see you through the staff of the ram during TOB.

    Darts are excellent for BG, but shortbow IMO is better in BG2, although dart is still decent enough and a good choice. If you play through Siege you can also import a +2 acid dart available at the start until you can go get the Crimson Dart. Crossbow is also good, but especially in BG2 with Firetooth having such a high THACO bonus.

    Short sword and long sword are both good in BG1, esp. if you play an elf. Easy +2 weapons. But DoV is the best choice for BG1 for single handed weapons due to high saving throws on most opponents.

    Weapon speed is important at low levels and when you have few attacks. Dagger is good, but short sword is also ok there. Longsword as you note is slow but you trade speed for more damage. But the +3 staff with THS is zero speed, same as the dagger, plus you have double reach. One downfall with dagger is you have to be right on top of the enemy to attack. With staff you can often strike and retreat without suffering an attack.

    I have played a lot with RR mod. The TWF is great for thieves, but I generally use it in BG2 when I have more pips. I find 1 pip not worth it, and I always wait for 2 pips before I use TWF. I find two short swords useful since you get a speed weapon in BG2. Short swords are a good choice in BG2, more so than in BG1 without mods. These days though I tend to wait until late BG2 to use TWF and instead use more THS or SWS for juicy backstabs and wider weaponry proficiencies.
    Post edited by Aerakar on
  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 1,377
    I fully agree with Aerakar.
    Especially the part about the longer reach of the staff. The ability to hit from second row - guarded by summons or your team - really is something to consider. A thief should not be a front row fighter, and a weapon that works without the need to face your opponent in arms length is the way to do it.
  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 1,038
    By the way @gregorsamsa and @Goreshall I am now playing an elven assassin and in BG went with long sword for the racial bonus and short bows also. Good racial synergy with the class and Varscona is such a great thematic weapon with the cold damage. Then I added SWS at level 4 and quarterstaff at level 8. I'll add THS at level 12 during Siege and then think about scimitar and katana in the next game.

    I usually play minimum reload with a small party these days, so TWF is not a priority for me with this Charname, even with RR mod giving that option. If I was solo, I would add TWF much sooner for more versatility and probably go with short swords, especially with RR mod making that proficiency so appealing in both games. But short sword backstabs I find underwhelming, even with the RR mod, and now lean more towards higher damage weapons with assassins/thieves, e.g. quarterstaffs, long swords in BG and then adding on scimitars, katanas in BG2. I find the higher damage die to be worth the slightly higher weapon speed trade-off.

    That being said, quarterstaff remains the best of both worlds: low speed and great backstab damage.
  • gregorsamsagregorsamsa Member Posts: 24
    I went all mathhammer on the assassin build and determined that the fighter/thief is all around better, even with the rogue rebalancing mod. The 15 points per level vs F/T, not to mention his THAC0 and dmg bonus makes him a better backstabber, better melee combatant, better ranged fighter (can use longbows) and just better all around thief
  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 1,038
    @gregorsamsa no argument from me that the F/T is stronger on the power curve! Getting two sets of HLAs is nice indeed as are the consistent backstabs and martial prowess. Which race did you choose? I've played multi-class elves, dwarves, and halflings and enjoyed them all.

    Assassin is quite thematic and fun but is clearly not the most powerful class or even the most powerful thief in my opinion (which I think goes to bounty hunter and those traps). I still love assassins and play them regularly regardless. I find the limitations challenging and to be the main draw of the class. And there is something about those 7x backstabs that I cannot resist :wink:
  • gregorsamsagregorsamsa Member Posts: 24
    Aerakar wrote: »
    @gregorsamsa no argument from me that the F/T is stronger on the power curve! Getting two sets of HLAs is nice indeed as are the consistent backstabs and martial prowess. Which race did you choose? I've played multi-class elves, dwarves, and halflings and enjoyed them all.

    Assassin is quite thematic and fun but is clearly not the most powerful class or even the most powerful thief in my opinion (which I think goes to bounty hunter and those traps). I still love assassins and play them regularly regardless. I find the limitations challenging and to be the main draw of the class. And there is something about those 7x backstabs that I cannot resist :wink:


    yeah there's something really satisfying about backstabbing but it means that you definitely need to have 2 thieves in the party, at least

    I'm still deciding which class to go with, but the shorty classes with those sweet saving throws are really tempting
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 905
    Really missing the old 'like' button with this thread.
  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 1,038
    (Like)
  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 1,377
    (agree)
  • gregorsamsagregorsamsa Member Posts: 24
    edited March 2023
    So the calculation is as follows. Human fighter (no bonuses to thieving abilities) regardless of kit takes 250k xp to reach level 9. Dual at level 9 to thief is an additional 110k, for a total of 360k xp. At this point the F/T has 240 thief points.

    A shorty assassin (gnome, halfing, dwarf) with 360k xp is level 11 and has 165 points, + 85 from his race for a total of 250 points.

    A multi-class "shorty" fighter/thief takes the same xp (360k) / 2 for 180k xp and is a level 8 fighter, level 10 thief. He has a total of 375 skill points for all his thieving needs.

    At level 21 (2.4 mill xp) the assassin will finally get x7 backstab. He will have 400 skill points at his disposal. The shorty multiclass, being level 15, will have 500 points, and the human dual classed thief will be at level 19 in thief and have 600 points.

    So, it seems that the assassin will generally have less thieving abilities and, therefore, be a worse thief. Obviously, his THAC0 will be worse. The human will be a better thief, but a worse fighter. And the multiclass shorty will be a decent thief, and a better fighter than the human. Both the human and the multiclass will be backstabbing at 5x while the assassin will be backstabbing 7x.

    I'm too lazy to do the THAC0 math ;P
    But let's assume that the assassin's is the worst and multiclass shorty is the best. Assassin will less reliably backstab, but will do so magnificently. The multiclasses won't have as great a backstab but will do so more reliably

    So, of course, at level 21 400 thief points is enough for the assassin to max hide in shadows, move silently, find traps, open locks, and have a decent detect illusion and/or set traps. However, for most of the game you will need a 2nd thief. The fighter/thief multiclass will be your only thief, and the human multiclass will be reliant on another thief until he reaches lvl9 which isn't too long
  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 1,038
    Yes, with an assassin (and to a lesser extent a bounty hunter and a shadow dancer) in BG1 and early BG2 it is best to run with a second utility thief if running a party. I have more fun focusing those thieves on stealth and traps and points are limited so not enough to do everything. By mid SoA you have enough points and skill boosting items to usually take care of everything with one thief. With a F/T you can get by without other thieves, but even with a F/T in early BG I like to run with 2 so my F/T can focus on stealth for those great backstabs in mid-game.

    You mention RR mod. It has a number of skill boosting items that reduce this issue somewhat. With those items and potions, you can actually run an assassin as your only thief, although it is tight and you need those potions!

    I like Montaron or Imoen depending upon mood and party choices. Safana is ok and great for a change of pace, or even Tiax since he rules all. By Seige you have a really great cleric/thief and NPC in Glint who can cover all of your divine and thief utility duties so you can focus on the fun stuff of removing foes.
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