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Suggestions for starters for a Half Elf Mage/Thief

Obviously I'm going to max out lockpick as quickly as possible (I just love stealin' stuff!), and gonna double up on the bostaff, but wondering what spells y'all consider the best. Thinking armor and something offensive.




  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,881
    Find familiar - pick at start or you can't get until after the Nashkell Mines. Very useful for early survivability (extra hit points and a permanent summon that can be used for kiting enemies while you stick them full of arrows).

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,564
    in bg1 you will only ever need 90 in open locks, 90 can open any locked container in the game

    for traps you technically only need 95 ( there is only 1 trap that requires 100 - the trap before the level 2 ward stone in durlag's tower - although at the same time you can find kiel's shield and increase your dex by 1 for that one trap or use a potion to get by )

    for pick pockets you will only ever need 80 ( although i believe 95 allows you to pick pocket a target's weapon, but there aren't any cool weapons to pick pocket that way ) 80 allows you to pick pocket necklaces and amulets ( and rings? ) 50 allows you to pick pocket other wearables ( like cloaks ) and 30 allows you to pick pocket inventory items, but it seems like only 50 works for that hmm... so anyway, 50,80 or 95, up to you

    if you start with 18 INT and find the tome of INT and rise it to 19 ( or even use potions to raise your INT ) you can learn every spell in the game, so it will be up to you on which spells you find best, for mage/thieves they will only get up to level 4 spells ( and only get 1, unless you were a gnome illusionist/thief than you would have got 2 ) so that is mostly up to you

    offensive wise i like; level 1 - blindness and sleep ( once sleep becomes obsolete go with blindness )
    level 2 - glitterdust, ray of enfeeblement or melf's acid arrow, all great spells for disabling enemies
    level 3 - slow, an absolute killer with that -4 penalty to saves, and flame arrow for a party friendly damaging level 3 spell
    level 4 - either greater malison or emotion hopelessness, both great, but you can only ever have 1, so its up to you

    and also race wise in my opinion elf is better at mage/thief than a half-elf is, an elf can have 1 more DEX which will give you 5 more in all your thief skills, plus you can hit 19 DEX which will give you +1 better to hit with range weapons and even though the max CON is 17, for a mage/thief you only need 16 since mage/thieves dont benefit from higher CON than 16

    so unless its for RP purposes i would go with elf ( or gnome if you want an extra spell per level, plus they can hit 19 INT but can't learn necromancy spells )

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 5,277
    I love thief/mages but I wouldn't have chosen staff myself since their THAC0 is rather weak. I'd rather use shortbow/xbow and use all those sweet arrows/bolts in between spells. But YMMW.

    For spells I like Shield. There's no need to waste precious spell slots on damage spells when there's plenty of wands of fire around. Wand with scorcher is my staple for any non-combat oriented char for half of BG1. I tend to not fireball from out of enemy visibility so therefore use the scorcher much more. The wand's version is also much better than the spell since even saves allows for pretty decent damage output. Find familiar is a given. I usually don't bother with sleep much anymore, but it can be good when playing solo and when you're outnumbered. I like Blindess and Glitterdust and use them both extensively. Bhaal spawn powers can replace certain spell, so Horror is a good spawn power that can be used instead of other CC spells to free up that slot for some defense or utility spells. I agree on Slow, it's amazing. Haste is another of course and there's a reason the classic combo of haste and slow is a classic.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    I agree with Skatan that you don't need to use many damaging spells. Wand of Fire does much of the work. One scorcher off the wand, coupled with 2 arrows, per round is pretty serious damage.

    There is one trick, if you are playing solo, however, that I highly recommend for certain battles. Prepare in advance a Sequencer with 2 scorchers (then rest to get your spells back, esp. stoneskins). If you really need to eliminate a powerful target quickly, the best tactic for most targets is sneak up, backstab, then unleash your 2 sequenced scorchers, cast a magic missile, and fade away. This really piles on the damage, and there are few enemies in BG1 that can survive this onslaught, especially if your backstab hits.

    There are lots and lots of other tricks. Be sure to use invisibility as often as possible. Avoid most fights and remember that often you can use pick pockets to get quest items and important gear, even from hostiles who have something to say before battle (i.e. begin as blue cursor neutral targets). Sneak up, pick pockets, turn invisible, and leave if you get what you need.

  • DaelonDulucDaelonDuluc Member Posts: 15
    You can play solo! Lord knows that's the way I want to do it, or maybe with my mage/sorcerer, but all these others are driving me nuts! Thanks for the info.

  • DaelonDulucDaelonDuluc Member Posts: 15
    I'm gonna try solo. All this micro-managing is driving me nuts!

  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,608
    I'm gonna try solo. All this micro-managing is driving me nuts!

    Playing solo is fun and it can make a lot of the game much easier because you gain levels much quicker and this gives you an advantage in lots of the encounters. However, it helps if you know the game quite well because there are times you are going to run into trouble unless you know what you are up against.

    If you are finding the micro-management aspect of having a party annoying you can get round it a bit by using the simple tactic of having the fighter with the best armour class out front armed with a melee weapon and then equip everyone else with missile weapons. You then send the fighter in to engage the enemy and everyone else showers missiles on them. This is very effective in BG1 and will get you through most encounters.

  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 5,277
    Another way is to drag along party members but keep them mostly at the entry point of the map and clear out areas solo. They will still get exp, but not get in the way. Then ctrl-j them to your location when you are ready to move on, or perhaps open a locked chest/disable trap etc. Maybe not the easiest to RP, but personally I don't care about that anymore. YMMW.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    I'm gonna try solo. All this micro-managing is driving me nuts!

    If you have never played before, I highly recommend playing with a party. It is the way that the game is meant to be played. The encounters and progression of events is designed for party play. Moreover, the NPCs develop a personality, especially if you continue into BG2. One of the major reasons that BG2 is considered one of the best, if not the best, RPG of all time is the character development of the NPCs. Taking Viconia, Imoen, Jaheira, Edwin, and/or Minsc from BG1 all the way through the end of the saga is a rewarding experience. They become like friends and companions.

    I remember, when BG2 first came out, and I had not played BG1 in over a year. Loading up the game for the first time and playing BG2, it was like a reunion with old friends... Still is every time I load up and play a game after a year or two of not playing.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 1,012
    Half-elf MT isn't as strong in BG1 as a gnome IT, who would get an extra spell per level plus shorty saves, or a half-elf FMT who would have substantially higher melee DPS without much of a loss in caster level. But a half-elf MT is still strong enough to solo BG1 if that's what you are looking to do.

  • DaelonDulucDaelonDuluc Member Posts: 15
    I can't play a gnome or a dwarf. Short people got... :)

  • Very_BigSwordVery_BigSword Member Posts: 210
    I can't play a gnome or a dwarf. Short people got... :)

    If it bothers you that much create as a gnome then use EE keeper to change your avatar (not race) to human or elf. Maybe also choose wizard avatar so that your robes will show in game. It is purely cosmetic so no cheating there.

    I quite often do that e.g. Imoen after dual-class or Quayle so the mage robes are visible.

  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 723
    I can't play a gnome or a dwarf. Short people got... :)

    If it bothers you that much create as a gnome then use EE keeper to change your avatar (not race) to human or elf. Maybe also choose wizard avatar so that your robes will show in game. It is purely cosmetic so no cheating there.

    I quite often do that e.g. Imoen after dual-class or Quayle so the mage robes are visible.

    RP as a very tall dwarf or gnome. You were constantly made fun of because you were either too tall or too short and hence never really fit in and thus found solace in magical tomes and experiments. Thievery is your way to get back at all of the haters and finance more magical experiments.

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,881
    edited November 2019
    I can't play a gnome or a dwarf. Short people got... :)

    It doesn't help that the gnome sprite looks totally dorky! Especially the female gnome sprite. They're so goofy looking it's like gnomes' favored class should be 'Jester'...

  • monicomonico Member Posts: 571
    Agree with the above : elven or gnomish M/T would be better (especially gnome, shorty bonus + 1 more spell per level beats Skull Trap & Abi Dalzim, the 2 best necromancy spells, at least for me).

    With much meta-knowledge, it is a very potent class for solo. If you are not that familiar with the game though, I wouldn't recommand it.

    A note on your thief skills (those are some min-max powergaming calculations) :
    - 75 lockpick is enough to pick most locks, even 2 very important ones beneath Candlekeep (they actually need 80 lockpick for 100% chance of opening, but there is a 5% window where you have a 50% chance of opening the chest. So you just have to try a few times and it will open at some point). For the few harder ones (mainly : Durlag's tower), just gulp a potion of thievery, or temporary buff your Dex (potion of Mind Focusing, Draw upon Holy Might).
    - find/disarm traps is the same, I wouldn't go past 80 and just rely on potions/buffs for those rare traps that need more.
    - pickpocket: unless I plan to rely heavily on this skill, I generally don't up it at all (since I don't like to rely on luck, and even with the "required" PP score has a chance to fail). Also note that there are quite a few Potions of Master Thievery available, and they up your PP by 40%. Cumulative with the Potion of Perception (20% to all thieves skills), Potion of Mind Focusing (+3 DEX, so another +15% increase in most thief skills) and DuHM (as a M/T, another +2 DEX increase, hence another +10%). You can pickpocket anything you want with just these buffs.
    Minimum requirements for stealing interesting stuff (outside of shops) : quick item = 50% (mostly thinking of Algernon's cloak who, strangely, is not worn by Algernon but just sitting in his quick item slot) ; ring = 60% (hello Dushaï) ; cloak = 80% (Quenash).

    About spells:
    - Find familiar is useful in early BG1 (apart from the HP gain which is useful anytime anyway). Depending on your alignment, they bring various bonus. For example, the Lawful Neutral ferret has 50% pickpocket, can be useful in some situations. Chaotic Neutral cat has 65% stealth, a nice early scout. They also both come with immunity to petrification, great for tanking basilisks. Lawful Evil imp has Polymorph Self ability, allowing him to transform into a Black Bear for high APR and high damage, or into a Mustard Jelly and rely on its 100% magic resistance to absorb enemy spells.
    - I agree with @sarevok57 's spell picks.
    I tend to rely more on crowd control spells than damaging spells nowadays. Sleep/blindness are great lvl1 crow control spells (sleep becomes obsolete late BG1 and for the remnants of the saga alas), Glitterdust and Web are personal favourites for lvl2, for lvl3 Slow is incredible and Hold is not bad either, at lvl4 Greater Malison is a must to lower enemy saves and making sure your CC spells hit your enemies.

    If you play with a party, a crowd control specialist shines even brighter, allowing your companions to deal better damage without retaliation (or reduced threat at least).

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