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Can Dorn and Haer'Dalis tank efficiently? (help with evil party)

Hello there!

First of all, I started replaying the game some weeks ago (I used to play it as a kid but it's been years since then) and I know the basics but many things are new to me. I'm playing an evil party with the 'standard' companions that are supposed to be the ideal evil group: PC (mage), Dorn, Korgan, Viconia, Edwin and Hexxat.

The thing is, I'm currently at the Haer'Dalis quest and I plan to add him and remove Korgan, which is my main tank. I know Korgan is probably the best at it but I prefer the rp value and I really like Haer so, here's my main question:

Will I be okay with Dorn and HD as the only frontliners? I've made my research in the forums and read that HD can be an efficient tank with the proper defensive spells and defensive spin, but I remember him being very squishy though. And I know Dorn is more focused on dealing damage than tanking it, but he can wear plate and as a blackguard he is kinda bulky I guess?

I think I won't have much problem at the early stages of the game but I'm more concerned about future encounters with the big bosses. Back when I played the game I never got past spellhold because I tend to get bored of the current party and restart the game again and again lol, so I don't know if I will need a 'true tank' to stand a chance against the final baddies.

So the final party I'd be playing would be: PC mage, Dorn, Haer'Dalis, Viconia, Edwin and Hexxat. Opinions? Any help on how to build them (especially Dorn and HD) will be much appreciated! :smile:

JuliusBorisov

Comments

  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 513
    HD should be fine, lacks some HP's but it will be his spells that keep him safe so shouldn't matter. Dorn has high Str naturally so you can give him the con belt if you want, that helps a bit, he's quite the beast once into HLA realms though, can Summon Deva's, that's basically an extra tank.

    ThacoBell
  • VitorVitor Member Posts: 286
    edited December 2018
    In AD&D 2E a "tank" is a warrior (Fighter, Ranger, Paladin...) that is able to quickly kill anything that get close to him.

    Sure HP and AC are nice for his survivability, but if he can't kill things quickly, he will eventually succumb, swarmed by monsters.


    So, I think you can "tank" properly with Dorn... But not really with Haer'Dalis. Sure, you can make crazy combos with the tiefling, mixturing simulacrum with mislead to sing and have 2 copies to fight or cast spells... But I guess he's better as a 2nd striker.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,562
    Haer'Dakis is one of the better (if not best) tanks in the game. He gets all the necessary mage defensive spells to make him practically immune to damage, and his offensive spin will slaughter any enemies that get close to him.

    Dorn isn't great for tanking. He can get a pretty good AC and can kill enemies quickly, but his low hp and lack of self buffs makes him a dangerous choice. I'd use him exclusively as a second line fighter.

    dunbar
  • AbsolAbsol Member Posts: 7
    Thanks a lot for the advice! :) I'll try that party composition, sending Haer'Dalis in with stone skin/mirror image/immunities, etc so enemies get distracted attacking him while Dorn focuses on damage and the rest of the party burst them from a safe distance.

    I still have a doubt though. As I said I haven't played BG till the end yet but I'm guessing later on there will be enemies who can dispell your protections with stuff like Breach... doesn't it mean that HD will be dead in seconds if they dispell him? Without the magical protections he's just a blade with very little hp.

    Also, (sorry for the probably obvious questions I'm making) Hexxat just died but she didn't resurrect after I rested and my PC has her bag of holding with her coffin. I'm in the planar prison currently doing the HD quest, is it because of the planar prison or bug? She has died once before and that time she respawned instantly after one rest. I'm confused, want my vamp back :(

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,562
    Yeah, any protection can be rendered useless with the right spell. Its a big reason why targeting the mage first is one of the most consistent strategies. This is even true for characters that rely on armor. Stuff like stun or sleep make it useless, as every attack lands automatically.

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,990
    ThacoBell said:

    Yeah, any protection can be rendered useless with the right spell. Its a big reason why targeting the mage first is one of the most consistent strategies. This is even true for characters that rely on armor. Stuff like stun or sleep make it useless, as every attack lands automatically.

    I always kill the mouthy one first. I guess that's usually the mage anyway with the spellcasting...

    ThacoBellDJKajuruArtonaSkatan
  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 696
    Improved Invisibility deals with being targetted by Breach, and Spell Immunity:abjuration and divination stops Dispel Magic and True Seeing respectively. Some variant of spell turning or deflection or Spell Shield might also be necessary to stop Breach, can’t remember if II stops Breach in the vanilla game anymore.

    ThacoBellAbsolJuliusBorisovgorgonzola
  • AbsolAbsol Member Posts: 7
    Thanks @ThacoBell and @Neverused ! I've been using the improved invisibility on Haer'Dalis along with his other defensive spells and doing great for now. I don't have the spell immunities yet though, which level are those spells? 7 or 8?

    And I'll ask again in case anybody knows abut this: is there a bug with Hexxat death and respawn? I thought she is supposed to resurrect automatically after resting if you have her coffin, but last times she didn't. I actually tried resting several times but she remains dead. Do I have to take her coffin out of the bag of holding for it to work when she dies? I would really appreciate some input about this because it's getting kinda annoying :/

  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 696
    Spell Immunity is a 5th level spell.

    I have no clue about Hexxat: I haven’t been able to stand the backstabbing murderess in my party long enough to find out what bugs out...

    Balrog99
  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 513
    Absol said:

    Thanks @ThacoBell and @Neverused ! I've been using the improved invisibility on Haer'Dalis along with his other defensive spells and doing great for now. I don't have the spell immunities yet though, which level are those spells? 7 or 8?

    And I'll ask again in case anybody knows abut this: is there a bug with Hexxat death and respawn? I thought she is supposed to resurrect automatically after resting if you have her coffin, but last times she didn't. I actually tried resting several times but she remains dead. Do I have to take her coffin out of the bag of holding for it to work when she dies? I would really appreciate some input about this because it's getting kinda annoying :/

    Hexxat can get bugged, sometimes the mist form is unable to reach you or gets pushed/moved to a part of the map that can't be be reached. Check the map just in case she's still in mist form, you may need to use the console teleport command if she is somewhere you can't reach.

    ThacoBellAbsolJuliusBorisov
  • GrimjackMVGrimjackMV Member Posts: 68
    edited December 2018
    Hi @ThacoBell (best handle ever, by the way) Great insights on HD. Any chance you could map out how to maximize Dorn if you're looking to include him in your party from BG to BG2?

    ThacoBell
  • brunardobrunardo Member Posts: 510
    Yeah both take some micro management but doable...both better as a back up to korgan...I had all three my last run :)

    ThacoBellgorgonzola
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,562
    I've only used Dorn in a couple playthroughs. I typically just gave him the biggest sword I had and sent him in just behind the tank.

    GrimjackMV
  • AbsolAbsol Member Posts: 7
    Thanks for the help @Borek and yes, after some experiments with Hexxat I figured the problem is about her mist form: if she is too far away from the character holding her coffin when she dies, the mist form seems to get stuck and therefore she never gets to the coffin and can't resurrect after resting.

    So I guess the only 'solution' for this is being careful with her and make sure the person who has her coffin in the inventory stays close if she dies, if not she will be doomed to be a floating cloud of smoke forever. :smile:

  • WrathofreccaWrathofrecca Member Posts: 83
    Most people covered it, HD can tank. Vs high level wizards who use Abi'dalzims you may need to use spell immunity: necromancy because like Viconia if he doesn't magic resist, spells can and will chunk him. You may do better equipping him with a con belt and using ogre gauntlets on him till you lose them. Dorn will have enough points to dual wield Crom Faeyr so after swords spec into dual wield and flails, katanas or axes.

  • WrathofreccaWrathofrecca Member Posts: 83
    Oh, as for Dorn, no he cannot tank well. The time it takes to equip him with a 1hander that does work, combined with the fragility of Constitution belt (vulnerable to dispels) means he can get shredded easily. For a tank you probably just want a pure high Con sponge or HD. Dorn is designed and best at DPS. For your comp my best recommendation is replacing Viconia with Jaheira or Hexxat with Jan or Nalia (although I don't know if she tolerates evil parties so best of luck there).

    @Vitor This is only true for core rules and lower. On any difficulty where NPCs hit harder that strategy becomes extremely dangerous. Golems specifically and some undead come to mind as dangerous chunkers on the higher difficulties.

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,669
    I think Dorn can tank reasonable well. I never play later stages of ToB though, so not sure how he handles ie fire giants and the likes with his relatively low HP. I guess his warrior HLA's make him resilient enough and coupled with some DR, he can probably stay alive quite well. I'd go dual weild or shield with Dorn, and not twohanders, but that's just me. Maybe go for Blackrazor?

    Haer'dalis requires a decent amount of sleep spamming to be truly effective since the low spell slot count of bards make him have to use most of them for a single fight to truly be a good tank (IMHO). His weak THAC0 compared to the warrior classes and lack of ie GWW etc cater for a more defensive role (i'd rather use def.spin than off.spin for the AC boost, though it depends on coontext) which make the old argument "the best defense is a good offense" difficult to manage with him continuously. Sure, you can use ie Tenser's, but you have precious few level 6 spell slots and have to choose carefully.

    it's not the best combo but it will work. There's not too much item overlap between the two, so that's good. I tend to use the belt of CON for both of them, though never at the same playthrough so there you will have to choose one of them.

    JuliusBorisovStummvonBordwehrMirandelgorgonzola
  • AbsolAbsol Member Posts: 7
    edited December 2018
    Hey thanks everyone for the replies, very insightful!

    I gave the con belt to HD and he acts as the main tank, Doing great for now but he still died to one of the instakill spells of a lich though, the one that appears in a sarcophagus in the dungeons while doing the Unseeing Eye quest. HD had spell immunity necromancy so I'm not sure how to counter that?

    For your comp my best recommendation is replacing Viconia with Jaheira or Hexxat with Jan or Nalia (although I don't know if she tolerates evil parties so best of luck there).

    I don't plan to make any changes since I like the current party a lot, but I'm curious why you suggest Jan or Nalia instead of Hexxat? I already have PC wild mage and Edwin, so wouldn't that be a little too many magical users?

    Also I like the fast leveling of Hexxat and the vampi bonuses and want to see her quest/storyline despite most people say she's boring.

  • WrathofreccaWrathofrecca Member Posts: 83
    Hexxat's not boring, she is incredibly awesome but there were ... gaps in her development. Everything is justified when you step back and think about it and I think she's super cool but from a power gaming perspective she's not that strong and you'll quickly forget about her vampire powers which get resisted half the time. It's widely considered a waste in BG2, unlike BG1, to bring a pure thief, much less an unkitted one. Typically you want as many low thaco characters or mages as you can squeeze out.

    You can meet all your thieving needs with Nalia, Imoen or Jan(and potions or spells for the first two) and I dislike Imoen from a power gaming perspective. Nalia gets lvl 9 spells as early as Edwin and Jan gets level 8 spells eventually plus he can detect illusions, gets an extra spell per level being a specialist, and can use the simulacrum helm for early abuse. I prefer Jaheira to Viconia because I don't actively abuse the charm vampire trick although I probably should but that's the only thing that makes Viconia worth taking. She's honestly not that great and Druid spells, even gimped, are miles ahead of priests imo. Jaheira can also melee (and live) while Viconia is made of toilet paper.

    EE really dropped the ball not making Hexxat multiclass or a kit but there is no turning this boat around. Might have also been cool to make her a kit like assassin or whatever the new thief kit is. Also for being a pure thief, they REALLY needed to make her vampire powers strong to offset that. I'm biased but I made the mistake of bringing Viconia, a druid, Hexxat, Edwin, Dorn and Korgan to an evil play through and certain fights were just painful with 3 of them sitting around with sticks up their butt waiting to do stuff, such as demigorgon which was needlessly hard. I may have even decided to lower the difficulty to soak up the exp and move on. Without enough hits per round it's hard breaking through his stoneskin and he's immune to break and dispels so that's your only option. Anyhow, learned my lesson. If you have the chance shadowkeeper her to warrior/thief or make her a kit like bounty hunter.

    Absol
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,562
    I don't think its fair to say that Hexxat is boring, so much as her character is, um, problematic. She could be really interesting conceptually, but the execution misses the mark in my opinion. It also doesn't help that her "race" is implemented inconsistenly with others like her in the game. Her questline is a lot of fun though. Some legit very nice and compact dungeon crawls.

    Absol
  • WrathofreccaWrathofrecca Member Posts: 83
    ThacoBell said:

    She could be really interesting conceptually, but the execution misses the mark in my opinion. It also doesn't help that her "race" is implemented inconsistenly with others like her in the game.

    There is a mode called Valen MOD that lets you add her to your party (Bodhi's hencewoman). If you read any reviews on it, while cool, she ends up soloing the entire game. Having a mechanically identical vampire to NPCs breaks the game and it wasn't designed with this in mind(maybe different on LoB? :). That said I think they failed by making Hexxat a thief but the only way to rain in a vampire is make them unkitted thieves. If she was a multiclass or could dual class then she'd be awesome and more useful.

    ThacoBellAbsol
  • AbsolAbsol Member Posts: 7
    I just finished Hexxat's three quests involving tomb robbing and they were pretty cool, although it's true that you don't get to know much about her story besides that she's working for "L" and she has to steal some ancient relics. I still like her and will keep her in the party (I'm a sucker for vampire fantasy, I can't help it :blush:) but I only wish I could romance her as a male character since I've read that you get to know more of her past and motivations that way. And I know the fact that she's an unkitted thief is a handicap, but I'm not powergaming (I play in the normal difficulty) so I think I can live with it for this playthrough.

    oh and also, she and Viconia had some kind of flirt but they haven't got any more banters yet. Anybody knows if it was for the lols or those 2 can really have a thing if you keep them in the party like Haer'Dalis and Aerie? My character is not romancing Viconia since he already had half-orc action with Dorn and Viconia said she was disgusted or something like that :hushed: so that blocks any chance with her I guess haha.

    ThacoBell
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,669
    Absol said:

    I just finished Hexxat's three quests involving tomb robbing and they were pretty cool, although it's true that you don't get to know much about her story besides that she's working for "L" and she has to steal some ancient relics.

    With just some very rudimentary knowledge of Forgotten Realms, I realized who "L" was after all her quests and banters. It's been a few years since I used her (and actually read the quests, listened to the banters etc), but IIRC you can get enough info without romancing her, because I never have.

    I won't spoil it for you, but it's very easy to just google "L" and Hexxat and find it out if you are curious enough to do so.

    ThacoBell
  • marilithmarilith Member Posts: 25
    dorn and haer dalis are among best fighters in bg2.

    here is my analysis of haer dalis

    https://darksideofrpgs.blogspot.com/2018/12/haerdalis-tiefling-blade-from-baldurs.html

    BorekBanArdAbsol
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,825
    edited January 6
    Absol said:

    Thanks a lot for the advice! :) I'll try that party composition, sending Haer'Dalis in with stone skin/mirror image/immunities, etc so enemies get distracted attacking him while Dorn.............

    the key to use stoneskin to tank physical damage is to stack it with a really good ac, other way it does not last much if more than 1 enemy focus on the tank.
    haer dalis has a wonderful bard only armor that lets him cast while he is protected, but it is not enough. there are spells like blur or improved invisibility that give a further reduction of the ac and the defensive spin gives other -10. he can reach really low ac values if also gear is used, something closer to -20 than to -10, then his stoneskin will last a long long time even with multiple foe hitting him.
    he can also tank mages using the spell immunity and the improved invisibility but this needs a different use of defensive spells.
    the ways to buff him facing the tob oasis, with many fighers, a dragon, that can cast and can fight but has way less apr than the oasis fighters combined or a lich or a mage party like those you have to face if you decide to not buy the licence are completely different. in all those situations haer dalis can tank pretty well if using the needed spells and gear for the particular situation, in some of those situations the correct placement of the party is needed to avoid that he is targfeted by a mage while he is tanking warriors or to avoid that he is pinned to the ground by his defensive spin while he is needed in an other place.

    is true that defense is not enough if there is not some offense at the same time, but also this is covered by a correct party placement, the main role of the tank is to draw on himself the hits of the enemy, if he can also do some damage is better but it is not the main role of a tank, as other toons can deal the damage flanking, fighting from behind the tank with long reach weapons or ranged with arrows bullets and spells. as soon as an enemy focuses on someone that is geared and buffed to do damage that toon has to retreat and the tank has to try to draw again on himself the attention of the enemy. only if the party has control on the battlefield and can decide how to make the enemy move the concept of tank, damage dealer and flanker can have a proper sense. other way is only trying to kill before you are killed in a chaotic situation.

    is true that using spells to tank is spell consuming and that a bard has not too many spells in his spellbook, but we are free to sleep as much as we want and if used properly some spells last a long time. stoneskin lasts all day long if the skins are not consumed and in many fights the ac from gear and if needed from defensive spin are more than enough to protect the skins, only in the most difficult fights things like blur and a really low ac are needed. some summons can also be used as meat shields and some of them are really good, mordy swords are immune to physical damage, skeleton warriors survive to magic attacks and last a long time and lesser summons suck the death spells that would have killed the mordy or skellies and are cheap.
    i rely intensively on spells to tank in my parties, but usually i sleep cause some party member begins to be fatigued, is quite rare that i have to sleep cause my tanks are out of spells to do it.

  • Oswald81Oswald81 Member Posts: 53
    Dorn sucks at tanking? He can use Armour of Faith, Hardiness and Defender of Easthaven which gives him like 85% restiance to damage. I guess you can tank with HD, but its a pain in the ass trying to figure out where to place that defensive spin and then cast protection from magical weapons and protection from magical energy, and from my experience, my tanks tends to run after the guys that beeline for my mages.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 1,044
    Oswald81 said:

    Dorn sucks at tanking? He can use Armour of Faith, Hardiness and Defender of Easthaven which gives him like 85% restiance to damage. I guess you can tank with HD, but its a pain in the ass trying to figure out where to place that defensive spin and then cast protection from magical weapons and protection from magical energy, and from my experience, my tanks tends to run after the guys that beeline for my mages.

    Depending on the choices you make with him, he may lose the ability to cast Armor of Faith, though I hear he gets a cool sword in return.

    At that point he's no different from any fighter that receives no Con bonus, at least as far as tanking is concerned. Though I still think there's more you can do with a fighter like that than a lot of people are saying here.

  • Oswald81Oswald81 Member Posts: 53

    Oswald81 said:

    Dorn sucks at tanking? He can use Armour of Faith, Hardiness and Defender of Easthaven which gives him like 85% restiance to damage. I guess you can tank with HD, but its a pain in the ass trying to figure out where to place that defensive spin and then cast protection from magical weapons and protection from magical energy, and from my experience, my tanks tends to run after the guys that beeline for my mages.

    Depending on the choices you make with him, he may lose the ability to cast Armor of Faith, though I hear he gets a cool sword in return.

    At that point he's no different from any fighter that receives no Con bonus, at least as far as tanking is concerned. Though I still think there's more you can do with a fighter like that than a lot of people are saying here.
    If you want supertank, just make a dwarf fighter/cleric. I just referred to a tankbuilt that is popular with Dorn, Valy and Minsc. Of course a PC will be more powerful.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 1,044
    Oswald81 said:

    Oswald81 said:

    Dorn sucks at tanking? He can use Armour of Faith, Hardiness and Defender of Easthaven which gives him like 85% restiance to damage. I guess you can tank with HD, but its a pain in the ass trying to figure out where to place that defensive spin and then cast protection from magical weapons and protection from magical energy, and from my experience, my tanks tends to run after the guys that beeline for my mages.

    Depending on the choices you make with him, he may lose the ability to cast Armor of Faith, though I hear he gets a cool sword in return.

    At that point he's no different from any fighter that receives no Con bonus, at least as far as tanking is concerned. Though I still think there's more you can do with a fighter like that than a lot of people are saying here.
    If you want supertank, just make a dwarf fighter/cleric. I just referred to a tankbuilt that is popular with Dorn, Valy and Minsc. Of course a PC will be more powerful.
    Even outside of making your player character around it, I feel like the difference between "Can this character tank" and "Is this character good at tanking, relative to the other characters you'd use for that purpose" is lost on some people here.

    He can wear full plate and he's got decent dex. He'll tank in a pinch. There's a belt you can give him to shore up that con for 8 hours a day, and potions of fortitude for if 8 hours isn't enough.

    Borek
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 2,825
    Oswald81 said:

    I guess you can tank with HD, but its a pain in the ass trying to figure out where to place that defensive spin and then cast protection from magical weapons and protection from magical energy, and from my experience, my tanks tends to run after the guys that beeline for my mages.

    when hd reaches 3m xp and the enhanced bard's son he gets the same -10 ac from the song that he gets from the defensive spin, but he can move. sadly in EE is so difficult to use the sing and attack tactic as the way autopause works has been changed, in original is quite easy to do it.
    somehow i agree with you, in EE he is far less useful than in original, and the reason is not that you can no more abuse lame tactics like having some clones far away and in a safe position stacking the chant.
    my original game haer dalis goes mlee while singing, with that -10 ac and other buffs to have it even lower, for loooong lasting stoneskins and mirror images, can tank many tough battles with his daily spells while increasing the whole party dmg output and resilience, and uses pfmw only on some selected instances, in EE i find him only a shadow of what he used to be, almost impossible to sing and attack and a so little aoe for the chant make him far less op that he is in original if used in the proper way. he can still tank, can be the key to kill those vampires in the city at the beginning when you can not cast spells cause the cowed wizards going crazy and can be an useful npc, with high lore, decent pickpocketing, good level depending spells and fighting/tanking capability, but he is surely not as op as the original game one. i probably would not include him in a completely pg run of the game.

    about the tanks running after the guys chasing your mages i would say that with proper positioning of the party you decide who is attacked by every single foe, this gives you tactical superiority and makes many "impossible" battles on modded game relatively easy.
    a fighter or a tank that has to waste useful time to chase enemies is not used at his full potential...
    further more the offensive spin overrides the defensive one allowing hd to relocate and cast an other defensive spin. if the situation calls it, it should not happen but it can happens sometimes also with the best party positioning, the blade can use offensive spin, cast pfmw to have 4 full rounds of impunity while he relocates and shreds some enemies to pieces with his up to 8 apr and a split second before pfmw expires he can again go into defensive spin with the enemies that is supposed to tank pointing at him and not at your mages.

    a dwarven defender is a fantastic tank, but is quite a point and click npc, haer dalis needs a more advanced use and some micromanaging to shine, even if can bring to the game and the party much more than a strong fighter.

    it really depends on player's style and preferences, and by the way i have nothing against who dislikes haer dalis and the playstyle he needs, to say "well, is not my style..." is perfectly fine, to say "he can not do the thing, even if used in a different way than mine" sometimes can be a gross under estimation of the blade capabilities.

    Kurona
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