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Clerics, thieves, and general party composition

So I've been wondering about some good party compositions for later on and keep getting stuck on my thief & cleric spots (and no I don't like cleric/thieves duals or multis so they're out). Playing on core difficulty.

I love dwarf fighter/clerics, but I never really messed around with turn undead before. I brought a party through the vale of shadows and low and behold, that turn undead was fearing about half the mobs I ran into since I had the cleric using turn undead while idle. I got to thinking, I wonder if a plain cleric would be better in the long run for all the dangerous cadaverous undead later on (since instead of fear they would just explode with a higher cleric level), but a plain cleric isn't going to be as good in combat against non-undeads as a fighter/cleric. Also was wondering if dual wielding would be better than 1 handed + shield for this character.

For the thief - backstabbing was nice in bg for taking out that nasty mage or dangerous enemy early on in a tough fight, but in iwd, the monsters come in groups and I don't know if backstab is as useful due to all the swarms of enemies coming at you. Same with traps. I loved setting traps down and luring packs or a tough mob over it to take it out of the fight in bg. Wasn't sure if that was still the case in iwd, or if the traps for the standard thief or bounty hunter were aoe. Due to the "packs" of mobs in iwd, would something like swash/fighter, or swash/mage be better, or the kensai/thief? Reason I didn't mention fighter/thief multi is I used one in bg and loved it, but the HLAs really made it something special. Same for the multi mage/thief.

For my party's tank I was thinking of trying out either a DD or a barbarian (both dwarf for the saves). Not interested in berserker since I played one to death in bg. I know in bg nasty status effects from casters can ruin your day, but how often do those pop up in iwd? I figure the main benefit of the barb over the dd is rage, but loses out on better armor, better defenses, and high mastery with two weapons. Do you lose a lot going with 1 hander & shield versus dual wielding in iwd?

Thoughts?

Comments

  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 110
    Here are my thoughts, although I haven't played on Core for a long time.

    I prefer the F/Cl, or better, R/Cl, multi over a pureclass cleric. That is indeed because I prioritize offensive options - not just with melee weapons but also with slings - over a slightly better turn undead and earlier spell access. That said, a pureclass cleric makes more sense on Core than anywhere else. In my view, a cleric's role is partially as a safeguard, not a melee monster. A pureclass cleric should use a shield, and IMO so should a F/Cl until quite high levels. You can't cast Heal if you're getting hit. If you have two or more divine casters and care to have the second caster do much of the healing, you can make this character a mc or dc with Fighter and dual-wield it, but you will be trading offensive capability for a higher probability of being hit. A shield can mean 4 points of AC + resistances, which I find hard to give up. OTOH, a R/Cl gets two points in dual wield to start, so I will often set up this character as an offensive meleer, meaning it has to be paired with a more defensive tank.

    Swash/fighter or swash/mage is fine. On Core, you want to dc (this setup can't mc) at a fairly low level after maxing out on traps and locks. I wouldn't use a kensai/thief. A thief class needs a ranged weapon, in my experience, as IWD's melee hordes will overwhelm it in melee. Backstab can be fun with a shadowdancer, but for ease of party play I typically use sneak attack for thief characters when they aren't shooting.

    I like the DD over the Barb. Status effects are still fairly frequent, but you can get rings of free action quite quickly and a dwarf will have good saves anyway. If your main tank is a meatshield first, go with DD. You'll do a lot less healing. You lose some offensive punch without dual wielding, but you can do either depending on the situation. Dual wielding gets a lot better after you get a + attack weapon for your offhand, but before then I don't like the tradeoff.

  • MukuMuku Member Posts: 8
    Aerich wrote: »
    Here are my thoughts, although I haven't played on Core for a long time.

    Swash/fighter or swash/mage is fine. On Core, you want to dc (this setup can't mc) at a fairly low level after maxing out on traps and locks. I wouldn't use a kensai/thief. A thief class needs a ranged weapon, in my experience, as IWD's melee hordes will overwhelm it in melee. Backstab can be fun with a shadowdancer, but for ease of party play I typically use sneak attack for thief characters when they aren't shooting.

    I like the DD over the Barb. Status effects are still fairly frequent, but you can get rings of free action quite quickly and a dwarf will have good saves anyway. If your main tank is a meatshield first, go with DD. You'll do a lot less healing. You lose some offensive punch without dual wielding, but you can do either depending on the situation. Dual wielding gets a lot better after you get a + attack weapon for your offhand, but before then I don't like the tradeoff.

    Shadowdancer became my favorite thief kit when the ee versions came out. Backstabbing here and there, and trapping willy-nilly was so much fun. Even more so with the HLA abilities they got. Then the nerf patch came and took away the traps and put a cooldown on the stealth ability and it wasn't nearly as fun. I get the cooldown on stealth but taking away traps was a huge bummer. I really haven't used them since then. Does iwd have a lot of backstab-immune types later on? I can't remember.

    Does the ring of free action work on a DD using defensive stance like it does for a blade using defensive spin?

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 619
    Thief spot - fighter/mage/thief
    Cleric spot - Ranger/cleric, half-orc fighter/cleric, or half-elf fighter/mage/cleric

    Definitely shouldn't consider a cleric/thief in this game. You need a high APR for weapons with on-hit effects and the only way to get that is to be part-fighter. IWD also has a lot of backstab-immune foes so your thief has to be able to dish out serious DPS to be a solid party member.

    Regarding turning, if you are high enough level compared to your foes then yes, they will be destroyed. But on core difficulty that's not going to happen too often, except in situations where you're strong enough to easily win the battle anyway.

  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 110
    I don't do a lot of backstabbing, but I don't recall a ton of backstab-immune types. You can make it work in most areas, but it's so high-maintenance from a gameplay viewpoint. I also tend to play HoF, so the cost-benefit analysis goes against backstab.

    I don't recall any problems with a DD using defensive stance and a ring of free action; I'm not sure I understand the question. The DD's movement rate remains halved and the RoFA still works against enemy immobilizers, afaik.

    I'm not a fan of triple-classing on Core.

  • MukuMuku Member Posts: 8
    Aerich wrote: »

    I don't recall any problems with a DD using defensive stance and a ring of free action; I'm not sure I understand the question. The DD's movement rate remains halved and the RoFA still works against enemy immobilizers, afaik.

    I'm not a fan of triple-classing on Core.

    Question was, does the ring of free action allow the DD to move at normal speed while he is using defensive stance. When you use a blade's defensive spin you can't move and are basically rooted, but with a ring of free action you can move around normally...or at least you could in bgee/bg2ee, haven't tried this in iwdee.

    Yeah I don't like triple-classing either, on any difficulty unless I'm going for some 1-3 character party run or something.

    jsaving wrote: »
    Thief spot - fighter/mage/thief
    Cleric spot - Ranger/cleric, half-orc fighter/cleric, or half-elf fighter/mage/cleric

    Definitely shouldn't consider a cleric/thief in this game. You need a high APR for weapons with on-hit effects and the only way to get that is to be part-fighter. IWD also has a lot of backstab-immune foes so your thief has to be able to dish out serious DPS to be a solid party member.

    Yeah I'm not considering cleric/thief at all. The only one I ever used was Glint in SoD because he was hilarious. What weapon specializations for fighter/thief would you suggest due to all the backstab immunities? A shortbow and dual wielding which weapons?

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 619
    For a fighter/thief I'd say the best melee weapon choices are longswords and flails. (Flails don't work with backstab, for sure, but are very helpful against IWD's numerous slash/pierce resistant enemies.)

  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 110
    **Some potential minor spoilers**

    No, the DD can't move at normal speed - half speed only. I like a FMT on Insane or HoF runs so I get a high contributing party member that also covers the thief skills, but the only time I played one on Core I didn't like it.

    You won't run into backstab immunity all that much. Use sneak attack instead, but play your fighter/thief as primarily an archer, with melee for emergencies or against enemies with high ranged resistances. Sneak attack with a staff shouldn't be ignored for a F/T. If you are willing to forego sneak attack, spears and greatswords can also be good to keep your less-armoured F/T a little more out of harm's way. LS, SS, dagger, axe, two-hander, and some form of bludgeoning weapon damage are all fine, and both dagger and axe have magical returning options as non-random drops. Staff has range but less powerful/frequent weapon drops, flails have some of the best status effects, there are lots of decent hammers and maces, and there's at least one non-random +5 club, which is eligible for sneak attack or backstab.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 619
    Going fighter/mage/thief means you can put 0 points in hide and move silently (invisibility) which is almost enough by itself to be better than a fighter/thief. Add the usual defensive mage buffs (mirror image, stoneskin, etc) and you end up with a much tankier character whose THAC0 isn't much worse than a fighter/thief. Don't get me wrong, fighter/thief is still a very strong choice but the synergies that mage brings to the table are worth considering.

  • RaduzielRaduziel Member Posts: 4,711
    Keep in mind that in IE undead creatures are not immune to backstab.

  • MukuMuku Member Posts: 8
    I usually roll with 4-5 instead of 6 so I start with the 4 "staple" spots, then try to figure out if I'd need two more. So here's what I was thinking so far for party lineup:

    Dwarven defender
    dwarf fighter/cleric or half-elf cleric/ranger
    multi elf fighter/thief or human swash > fighter (not sure what level to dual here)
    human wild mage or elf sorc (or dd, I'm not sure if the dd bonuses outweigh losing a spell per level)

    optional:
    fighter/mage (not sure if the duals are up to par with multi in IWD, if so, berserker or kensai/mage)
    cleric/illusionist (I loved these in bg, are they good in IWD?)


  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 4,735
    on core difficulty you might not have to worry about huge swarms as much, its only when you start playing on hard or insane when you get the really big groups

    on core, you should have no problem getting through the game with any class combination

    also remember for arcane spell casting ( bards and mages ) for the most part there is only one scroll of each spell in the game ( sometimes you luck out and get 2 or 3 copies but they are extremely rare ) so don't go too ham on mage spell learning type casters or else you might not be able to fill up those spell books

    Raduziel
  • oakheartoakheart Member Posts: 35
    I like to have a cleric/mage hanging at the back - they won't be interrupted during casting, and obviously great buffing/healing/summoning/offensive spell capacity. They can even be used for melee in a pinch, with a mage armor spell and a strength buff (or similar) up.

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,129
    I read "Gypsies,thieves , tramps and general party composition. "

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