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IWD EE Party of 4 for Insane and after that HoF

PeekabooPeekaboo Member Posts: 1
Hello,

I am long time BG fan and decided to buy Icewind Dale EE edition. Back in a day... hmmm, way back in a day I beleive I finished it once or twice. Not the EE one, of course, the normal one. But can't remember much stuff from it, really. Nothing actually. I used to play BG2 and went trough the game over 20 times tho.

Anyways, I decided to go for Insane difficulty for starters and to have a party of 4. Once I am done, I will try HoF. I know that multiclass is the way to go, but I just don't like them and never did. So I decided to go for kits (I like kits) and dual classing. So, help me out :)

I decided to go for (and got them to lvls 4-5)

1. Human-Undead Hunter - Longswords, Sword and shield, picked Flails as next weapons to fill the spec
2. Human-Kensai/Mage (will dual at lvl 9) - axes, dual wield. I hope that weapon choice is not idiotic, but I read that many drops are random and realised there is an axe or two guaranteed.
3. Human Swashbuckler/Cleric (dual at lvl 10) - Yeah, yeah, I know. I know I need cleric and I know I need theif. And I don't want gnome (despite getting best helmet in the game) as cleric/ilussionist and then Fighter/Theif as another character. I just don't want them, hehe. Anyways, picked clubs and 2 weapon stlye. But so far at early levels he has bow equipped, to make him somewhat useful. He will be super useful as support later, but what worries me - is he going be useful in combat as well?
4. Half elf-Skald - katanas, daggers, longbow, dual wield. So far doing nothing except playing that pretty powerful song of his.

Right now I am missing the spells, healing and ranged. Now when I write it, looks like I am missing everything. Relying on potions for healing and temples to cure wound once I am done with the quests. So far, so good. I am just cutting trough everything (I guess more exp means fast leveling) and don't have (m)any problems. I guess real challenge would start when dualing my characters.

So, my question(s) would be, as I am not too far in the game and can still restart without too much regret - where is a room for improvement? Is there a better way to pick weapon specs, since many of you know the game and the loot?

And any advice in general is welcome. :)

Comments

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 520
    If you're considering HoF mode for this party, either now or in the future, then the most important characters by far are those who can summon creatures and incapacitate foes. Sorcerers would be at the top of the list followed by fighter/druids (which in your case would be a fighter dualed to druid). Having one skald is also important but you have that covered already.

    Fighter/mage duals are very solid choices for BG1/BG2 but aren't as useful in IWD because there are so few scrolls to find until fairly late in the game. The problem is magnified if you play insane difficulty and especially HoF mode, where you'll level up so quickly that you will frequently gain spell slots without actually having any spells to put in them.

    Having a thief doesn't matter a whole lot in IWD because you can't mine traps/locks for XP like you can in BG1/BG2. Depending on your playstyle, having a thief can still be useful for scouting/backstabbing but if that's what you are thinking, swashbuckler may not be the best kit to choose.

    I would not personally use an all-melee character like an undead hunter in a 4-man party that will eventually be used for a HoF run-through. You might think a high hit point, low AC character would be the right way to go on HoF, but foes are so tough on HoF that you simply can't trade blows with them in melee no matter what your HP/AC totals are. What you can do is hit them after they've been immobilized, but if you're doing that then it doesn't matter that your hit points are high and your AC is low.

    I'd go with fighter/cleric dual, fighter/druid dual, bard, and sorcerer for a 4-man no-multiclassing HoF party. If you were willing to with more people in the party, fifth party member would be a thief/mage dual and sixth party member would be an undead hunter (or half-orc berserker).

  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 108
    I'd think the single classes might max out even before HoF. Honestly, I'd drop the Swash/Cl dual, and add a F/M/T, F/Dr, and R/Cl. Having some multiclasses helps smooth out the duals. Dualing 2 of 4 characters around the same time is a pain.

    Your weapons on 1 and 2 are fine. For a high difficulty game, I'd be inclined to dual #2 later - maybe at lvl 13 or even higher. I don't think #3 will be as good in combat as you hope - which is why I recommended the R/Cl and F/M/T combo. You cover the same classes+ as the Swash/Cl, and have a lot more punch with weapons. You can get #3's Str up no problem, but the APR is a problem. Note that your #3 will always have a 1 APR base, but a high level fighter multiclass with specialization will have a 2.5 base. That's a huge difference in damage. Clubs aren't a great starting option unless you are willing to buy them, or have a druid (Star Metal Cudgel at spell level 4). Mace or even Warhammer is my preference, since you have flails already covered.

  • StromaelStromael Member Posts: 106
    My experience in HoF is that you need Fighter-types. Your Swash->Cleric will start to feel like the weak link, and pretty early on too. As @Aerich explained, it's a simple matter of Attacks Per Round (APR). Another biggie all Fighter->X and non-Fighter duals lose out on is the THAC0. Fighters (single, multi or dualled into) can get it down to 0, allowing them a decent chance of hitting foes; everyone else, I believe, bottoms out at 10. This can be alleviated a little by increasing STR, but really a Swash->Cleric dual later in the game starts to feel like a heavily nerfed version of a Fighter/Cleric.

    Of course this all depends on whether you play Insane or HoF (and are you planning to import the party into HoF fully levelled after taking it through Insane?). You can probably get away with worse APR/THAC0 in Insane; in HoF enemies have just so many HP that it could become an endless boring grind.

    I took a party of 6 with 2 duals through HoF. They both started as Fighters and dualled at 13, to Cleric and Mage. That was an acceptable compromise to me, since APR had capped out (even higher than for a multi, thanks to true grand-mastery) and THAC0 was sufficiently low. Regaining levels was OK, since it happened during a stage where there aren't any seriously unpleasant battles (between Upper Dorn's and mid-Lower Dorn's). However I'm replaying now with a no-duals party, and it's honestly so much better.

    I'd be inclined to agree with @Aerich : throw in a F/Dr (or F(13)->D), Cl/R and F/M/T instead of the Swash->Cl. Alternatively try a Swash->Fighter dual, but be prepared to lament the lack of a Thief for dealing with all the traps, and low HP will be an issue (F/M/T tanks without problems thanks to all the Mage buffs).

    @jsaving also has a point: if you are determined to take a less Fighter-heavy party, then you need a way to make the enemies hittable: disablers like Web, Hold Person, Emotion, etc., will work wonders for you. A Druid gets the crucial Charm spell early which can turn the tide. I'm fairly sure @semiticgod took a non-melee party through HoF, so it can be done.

    However I would disagree with @jsaving on AC. Get your high-HP tank's AC down to < -26, and even the most battle-scarred HoF nasties will have trouble hitting them. In fact constantly re-buffing AC to those numbers was the only way I survived certain battles (Priest-Mages and Fire Giants, *cough cough*).

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 12,963
    I remember doing a HoF with a party that never used summons, but not a no-melee party. Either one is possible, but having strong damage output is very useful in HoF mode, since fights can take a long time.

    @Peekaboo: Your party can get through normal mode and also HoF mode, though it will have a lot of trouble with the latter if you're not using a bunch of summons. Your Undead Hunter will struggle to tank effectively in HoF mode, so you would be pretty heavily dependent on your Kensai/Mage or summoned critters to handle enemy pressure.

    Tanking in HoF will be tough for non-multi-classed characters. It takes strong damage resistances or lots of Mirror Images and Stoneskin spells to tank in HoF mode, unless you really crank up your AC with buffs like Entropy Shield (which only lasts so long).

    You don't really need a thief in HoF mode, since you'll be high enough level to just soak up the damage and get immunities to the disablers. A single-classed Cleric of Lathander would have much better damage output thanks to Boon of Lathander. Alternatively, you could try using a druid as your tank. I don't think this applies for Shapeshifters, Avengers, or Totemic Druids, but unkitted druids in IWD get some very excellent shapeshifting forms that grant high damage resistance. The Water Elemental form, the last one you get at around 3 million XP, has 75% resistance to physical damage! Better still, that stacks with Armor of Faith. A high-level druid can attain immunity to enemy attacks for many rounds, and near-immunity even when Armor of Faith wears off. You might find that boring, though--it's a matter of taste. A Berserker/Druid or Kensai/Druid would be an excellent alternative. Druids also bring a LOT of summoning spells to the table.

    The Swashbuckler/Cleric could deal good damage when using Righteous Wrath of the Faithful (which grants +1 attack per round to targets of the same alignment!), but that might not be quite as true in HoF mode. It will bring Symbol of Hopelessness to the table, though, which can totally neutralize entire groups of enemies if they're not immune to stun.

  • StromaelStromael Member Posts: 106
    I meant a no-Fighters party, my bad. I forgot about the no-summons aspect too.

    My Paladin in my current HoF run is tanking pretty effectively so far. Verbeegs were an issue but now in DE she stacks a bunch of AC buffs and none of the Lizardmen can hit her.

    Fully agreed on Druid late-game tanking. There are also Leather armours with damage resistance, plus Shields, Rings and a Girdle, that can help out the Druid.

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