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Questions about Bards (Blade)

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  • ithildurnewithildurnew Member Posts: 201
    edited December 2019
    Back on topic of helping OP: Blades can get ridiculously powerful eventually especially with lots of cheese tactics, but they probably take longer to get there than a mage/sorcey or even a fighter/mage, and are VERY micromanagement intensive. It's a good way to get into detailed and complex aspects of gameplay/tactical options but it may not be your cup of tea right now if you're at a stage where you're unaware that you can't change armor during combat.

    Just one thing...
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    You can't cast while I offensive spin in your face.
    A mage that's worth his salt would... not be impressed by offensive spin... especially at the levels where you're talking about things like Spike or Timestop Trap.

    Post edited by ithildurnew on
    NeogorgonzolaGrond0Aerakar
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,070
    Back on topic of helping OP: Blades can get ridiculously powerful eventually especially with lots of cheese tactics, but they probably take longer to get there than a mage/sorcey or even a fighter/mage, and are VERY micromanagement intensive. It's a good way to get into detailed and complex aspects of gameplay/tactical options but it may not be your cup of tea right now if you're at a stage where you're unaware that you can't change armor during combat.

    Just one thing...
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    You can't cast while I offensive spin in your face.
    A mage that's worth his salt would... not be impressed by offensive spin... especially at the levels where you're talking about things like Spike or Timestop Trap.

    Any mage should be worried about guaranteed multiple hits per round. They squishy like wet tissue paper.

    StummvonBordwehr
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,215
    edited December 2019
    contingency and chain contingency.
    they ignore the 1 spell/round limit, trigger on condition, ie on enemy seen or at hp below 50%, even if the mage is unconscious, incapacitated in other ways or even during a TS.
    a simple contingency with hp below 50% as condition and invisibility on self make the mage not targetable by on target spells and physical attacks, as true sight and other spells that can dispel the invisibility even if cast during the ts take effect only after it expires.

    a mage can not be killed by a bard that is using time trap, even if he is so stupid to walk around without having a summon that trigger the trap for him.

    but can be killed by a thief's time trap, or probably more then 1 stacked, as dispel illusions, the thief skill, takes effect during the ts if he uses this protecting strategy.
    putting in the contingency PFMW and having a stoneskin active he is any way safe, as the pfmw avoid that the stoneskin is dispelled with the sotm or carsomyr, that the thief with uai can use.

    still a thief that stacks enough time traps can dispel a mage invisibility, use the 4 apr he has with 2 not enchanted weapons and an improved haste scroll to get rid of the skins and then he can stab the mage, or, with 5 time traps stacked, wait that the pfmw expires.
    the invisibility takes hours to expire this is why is a better protection facing a bard then pfmw.
    no one is really safe in those games, there are strategies to overcome the enemy defenses in almost every case, even with a triple spell immunity divination, abjuration and alteration protection can be dispelled, even if in a quite cheesy way ( at least 2 rror in a cc with enemy seen as condition, as the cc ignores the si divination and let cast rror on an improved invisible mage).

    as i have already told to protect from spike traps is quite simple, luck and mirror images make sure that an image will take the full damage, while the mage walks away not even scratched.

    we can debate about mage protections and blade choices of trying to get rid of them, but please let's do it in the right way, assuming that the mage knows who is going to face and how to use his spells effectively.
    if he ignores it and is ambushed by a spike trap without even suspecting that a bard will try to kill him he will die in no time with a single spike trap, no one tells the opposite...

  • ithildurnewithildurnew Member Posts: 201
    edited December 2019
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    Any mage should be worried about guaranteed multiple hits per round. They squishy like wet tissue paper.

    At the levels we're talking about, most of the time I WANT you to waste your time trying to hurt me with pointy things if I'm a high level mage. In fact, the more APR you have and the harder you hit, the more I want you attacking my mage rather than a target that you can actually hurt.

    I assume you have fought SCS liches?

    Post edited by ithildurnew on
    gorgonzola
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,070
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    Any mage should be worried about guaranteed multiple hits per round. They squishy like wet tissue paper.

    At the levels we're talking about, most of the time I WANT you to waste your time trying to hurt me with pointy things if I'm a high level mage. In fact, the more APR you have and the harder you hit, the more I want you attacking my mage rather than a target that you can actually hurt.

    I assume you have fought SCS liches?

    I'm a bard. I'm not JUST attacking. Its simply the finisher. Nothing like a level 40 dispel or wand of spell striking.

    And yes, I fought my first SCS lich this week. I cast haste, and killed it in about 5 seconds. I assume that's not normal.

    StummvonBordwehr
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,215
    edited December 2019
    whatever level dispel is not effective against a character protected by SI abjuration and a wand can not target who is improved invisible.
    but again player vs player is not possible with the game engine and anyway the most capable player will probably win as his skill count much more then the class he pick for his character.

    when i was arguing that wild mage and sorcerer are at least on the same power level of the blade at high levels (at low levels they are viable, but far from being the most powerful choice) i was talking of using them against the in game enemies, both in vanilla and in modded setups. i don't have much experience with scs, but i have played many times old mods like tactics mod, soulafein mod, with the eclipse battle that was regarded by many as the hardest soa/tob battle, harder then ascension's final tob one, and i tested there blades and sorcerers, that performed well and was very capable and useful to their parties.

    and the in game power, not an impossible even to test power in a pvp situation, is what i suppose is the interest of most of the forums users.
    there had been in the past threads derailing in debates about one class vs an other, with many posts like:
    "i will do this"
    "yes, but i will counter you with that, then..."
    "no, you can't because i will..."
    "do it, but as i...."
    it is completely pointless and it is impossible to prove on the ground which player or class would have prevailed, it is an engine limitation.

    the fact that @ThacoBell 's blade destroyed a lich in 5 seconds is a good sign of how a blade is effective in an actual gaming situation, i could answer that my sorcerers had destroyed the WK demilich in probably less time, dragon breath is the best anti lich spell at high levels, and killed draconis in less then 3 rounds, you can not really go faster there as he has 2 forms and you have to kill both them, but the lizard one lasted no more then thaco's lich.
    some classes and combos are extremely powerful in this game, F->M, F/M or even FMT, each one in his own way, can all destroy dragons and liches in no time and solo the hardest battles, modded or vanilla.

    the real point of the blade is not that is the most powerful of all, is that it is very fun to play, and shine only if the player play him as a blade, then really rooks.
    those that find him as someone that can do many things, but nothing really well probably try to play him as if he was a FM or something other, and as he will have less spells, no access to high level spells and less thac0 and apr obviously he is inferior.
    until the things that only he can do,pick pocketing (that mean all the best gear you can buy very soon) song, uai, traps, defensive rogue hlas and spins kick in, then he is no more an inferior FM, he is something other that share at least the same level of power and usefulness the FM has, but in his own way.

    ithildurnewAerakarStummvonBordwehr
  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 112
    edited December 2019
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    And yes, I fought my first SCS lich this week. I cast haste, and killed it in about 5 seconds. I assume that's not normal.

    I'm curious about this statement. Was your Blade solo? What difficulty was your SCS at? I'm using SCS for the first time (about halfway through BG1, party roughly lvl 6-7 and most of them will cap at lvl 8, Blade being 1 lvl ahead always).

    I'm not sure I get how your solo Blade could kill a SCS BG2 Lich in 5 seconds on his own considering all the defensives SCS casters instantly setup on Tactical difficulty (mid SCS difficulty) and higher and considering that the Liches are supposed to be high lvl (making Dispell Magic and Remove Magic unreliable and most likely fail against a Lich). Haste gives +1 attack per round, with Offensive spin +1 also. Maybe if you dual wield, that's an other +1 and if this offhand has an extra attack (Belm for instance), that's an other attack. So base attack 1+haste+offensive spin+dual wield+extra attack weapon would be 5 attacks per round.

    I can believe that you still managed to kill it fast still but it's the fast defenses stripping that makes me curious. I'm guessing you used Secret Word to get rid of Spell Shield followed by Breach and then activated Offensive Spin and killed it with melee before it had time to cast time stop or something like that?

    I know I've crushed most Liches in 1-2 seconds with my full party on my last playthrough on Core Rules but that was 6 party members (including Keldorn that can reliably use Dispell Magic at twice his level) and it was without SCS (so casters were a lot weaker and dispells don't work the same).

    Post edited by Neo on
  • ithildurnewithildurnew Member Posts: 201
    edited December 2019
    @Neo 'in 5 about seconds' is probably not the whole story, doesn't lend much weight to anyone's argument.

    Secret Word won't work on Liches as they're immune to spells lower than level 6. SCS does have an optional component that allows liches and rakshasa to be effected by Breach; possible that he installed SCS with easiest settings, i.e. didn't have SI:Abj up, modded Breach to take down PfMW/Stoneskin. Still doesn't account for the myriad of other defenses SCS liches generally feature normally; either he left out a bunch of details, or cheesed it (attack with Mace of Disruption with Improved Haste/Flurry before going red/scripts kick in), etc.

    SCS's contingencies/combos are slightly random so as to provide variety and be more realistic, i.e. different casters might prepare different combos for that day just like players, rather than ALWAYS the most optimal combo. It's possible he just got very, very lucky one time after multiple reloads.

    @gorgonzola, good points, nice summary of the whole 'this class vs that class' argument.

    Post edited by ithildurnew on
    gorgonzolaNeo
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,215
    @Neo also in bg2 often blades are build for high apr equipping speed weapons both MH and OH, giving them 4 apr, in the original belm and kundane was used, scarlet ninja to (monk only) after UAI. in EE is possible to DW (MH only) the throwing weapons, and firetooth +3 + SNT is a very powerful combo that hit hard and with elemental and poison damage added.
    this give 5 apr hasted or with the offensive spin and 8 apr if improved hasted in the settings that make the improved version double the attacks, hitting all the enemies but a bunch of bosses and demiliches that need +4 or more.

    and the scope of this post is beyond guessing how @ThacoBell defeated the lich so fast, he will anyway probably tell it to us, it is an information that can not be missed in a thread about how to build and use a blade, even if most of the bg2 players giv it for granted for who has more bg experience and is beginning with bg2 or the new players can be less obvious.

    Neo
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,070
    @Neo @ithildurnew No, party of six. The whole fight was literally, "I cast haste and killed the lich wiht autoattacks." It was quite literally less than 10 seconds of combat. I play on Improved. It was the lich in the city gates and my only completed quest was the slavers in the slums. The only reason I can think of why that happened was if a lich's spellbook is randomized like mages' are.

    gorgonzolaAerakarNeo
  • ithildurnewithildurnew Member Posts: 201
    edited December 2019
    Ok, that makes sense. Improved setting in v32 of SCS generally means the only thing mages have up will be stoneskin. i.e. It's not much better than vanilla core game; definitely doable to cream a lich in a round or 2 (though odd that it didn't throw up ANY contingencies or triggers with PfMW). I've never played SCS below Hardcore settings (not bragging, I just don't see the fun in seeing a lvl 20-30+ ultimate baddie fold like a tin can the way they do in unmodded game) so I couldn't fathom it being legitimately possible.

  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 112
    Since it's my 1st time with SCS, I set it to Tactical (no extra damage and health for enemies I think but better AI, defensives going up fast for casters, etc.). Doing fine so far (Sleep spell is broken OP for most of BG1..) but I did have a few fights already that were on par or harder than the hardest BG2/ToB fights I've had on Core Rules lol. Those ultra intelligent wolves near the temple crushed my lvl 1-2 party. The vampiric wolves required magical weapons to damage and I only had 2-3 of those and wasn't proficient with them. I went back at lvl 3 and pulled it off but it was still hard with the wolf tagging each of my party members one after the other to paralyze them all and kept on biting my cleric to interrupt his heals every time she would try to save someone paralyzed from death haha. I may try the harder difficulties (Hardcore and Insane) for SCS if I manage this series playthrough and still find it too easy but I thought going from unmodded to hardest SCS might be too big of a difficulty gap and I should probably try to learn the proper ways to deal with SCS casters first on mid difficulty (Tactical). It's already quite different from my BG2/ToB previous playthrough with a physical dmg party where 95%+ of the caster fights went on like this:

    Caster sets up defenses, Keldorn casts dispell magic, caster goes invis, Keldorn casts True Sight, party proceeds to explode the enemy caster in 1-2 seconds (on top of Wizard Slayer debuff and unmodded unnerfed Insect swarms being just overkill). Quite different this time around with no inquisitor and SCS : P

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,070
    @ithildurnew SOMETHING had to have gone wrong though. That lich put up less of a fight than in vanilla, and regular mages have been popping up contingencies out the butt.

  • ithildurnewithildurnew Member Posts: 201
    edited December 2019
    Yep, SCS makes it a very different ballgame, even at lower settings due to more intelligent targetting/spell/ability useage.
    The higher level mages start to become a serious, serious problem due to sequencers (which are legally uninterruptable just as they are for players) which they use to throw up defenses when their initial defenses are down. At the highest difficulties they are prebuffed with short duration buffs (either some or all, depending on Hardcore or Insane and whether they ambushed you). The result is that they are very difficult to hurt for some time unless you manage to peel away their protections, and in the meantime they are doing some nasty things to you. Having Keldorn in the group helps a ton, but first you need to peel off SI:Abjuration, and there's the risk of dispelling friendlies.
    Even Tarnish at the Friendly Arm Inn can becomes an unpleasant surprise if you're not careful (though this is true even in vanilla for brand new players). Silke is actually a surprisingly high level charcter for early BG; SCS will allow her to use her abilities to full potential, which can make for a very tough fight that early in the game.

    SCS liches with Hardcore or Insane AI and prebuffs are properly scary, as they should be; SCS adds an extra touch of nastiness to the Crooked Crane lich (that prevents a certain obvious cheese trick) - an unprepared level 8 party straight out of Irenicus' dungeon generally will be in for a nasty surprise.

  • ithildurnewithildurnew Member Posts: 201
    edited December 2019
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    @ithildurnew SOMETHING had to have gone wrong though. That lich put up less of a fight than in vanilla, and regular mages have been popping up contingencies out the butt.

    Yeah, I don't know what to tell you without seeing your combat log; hopefully it's a fluke and not a bug. Nice thing about SCS version 32 is, if you realize the lower difficulty settings are not challenging enough, you can adjust various difficulty elements without having to reinstall anything.

    Back on topic, I am considering a Blade for next run, but with Rogue Rebalancing mod (Avenger's mods are pretty much standard for my installs; there's a reason why he ended up being asked to help on the EE games), which brings some flavorful changes that bring the class a bit closer to pnp rules. The biggest downside is no access to Enhanced Bardsong HLA (which to be fair, addresses the fact eventually vanilla Blade has no real disadvantage compared to base Bard).
    From RR's Readme file:

    Blade

    Blades now automatically start with maximum proficiency (3 points) in Two Weapon Fighting style as described in the 2E AD&D "Complete Bard's Handbook" supplement. They also get a new special ability called "Weapons Display" once for every 10 experience levels (starting with one use at level 1). However, Blades no longer gain access to the "Enhanced Bard Song" HLA. They can now pick the Whirlwind HLA instead. The updated kit description reads as follows:

    BLADE: The Blade is an expert fighter and adventurer whose bardic acting abilities make him appear more intimidating and fearsome. If there is a showy way to wield or perform with a weapon, a Blade knows how to do it better than anyone. Blades often perform amazing displays of skill and control as they whirl various weapons about their bodies with deadly precision. The weapons of a Blade are always kept in perfect condition and highly polished for maximum effect during a battle or a performance. Blades regularly train and perform with weapons in both hands eventually developing complete ambidexterity.

    Advantages:
    - May use the Offensive Spin and Defensive Spin abilities once per day per 4 levels
    - May use the Weapons Display ability once per day per 10 levels
    - Obtains maximum proficiency in two weapon fighting style at first level
    - Can acquire the Whirlwind ability at higher levels

    Disadvantages:
    - Only has one-half normal Lore value
    - Only has one-half Pick Pockets percentage
    - Battlesong does not improve with levels
    - Cannot acquire the Enhanced Battlesong ability
    - Cannot acquire the Lingering Song ability

    Offensive Spin:
    This ability lasts for 24 seconds granting the Blade +2 bonus to hit and damage and an extra attack. All of the Blade's attacks do maximum damage for the duration.

    Defensive Spin:
    This ability lasts for 24 seconds and grants the Blade a +1 bonus to Armor Class per each level of experience, up to a maximum of 10. The Blade cannot move away from the initial spot while performing a Defensive Spin.

    Weapons Display:
    By whirling a melee weapon about his body a Blade can affect the morale and courage of others. Such a display of skill, precision, and deadly grace lowers opponents' morale (enemies must save vs. spell to avoid morale failure) and simultaneously inspires allies, granting a +1 bonus to their attack rolls. The display must occur for a full round without interruption. During this time, any successful attack upon the Blade or failed saving throw by the Blade disrupts the display. Weapons Display is an extraordinary (non-magical) ability, therefore it completely ignores any magic resistance of the subject creatures. Undead, Constructs, Slimes, Animals and Demonic creatures are completely unaffected by the Weapons Display. Furthermore, the ability cannot affect creatures whose total Hit Dice exceed the Blade's current level and creatures with more than 20 Hit Dice are completely unaffected. The effectiveness and the duration of this ability improve as the Blade gains more levels. The bonus granted to the attack rolls of allies and the saving throw penalty for the enemies increase by one point per ten experience levels of the Blade. The effects of Weapons Display last for one round per each level of the Blade.

    Post edited by ithildurnew on
    AerakarZaghoul
  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 112
    I just realized, I was looking forward to getting the HLA traps on my Blade at high level since I'll have no thief in my party (only a dual thief/cleric unless I keep it a multi-class) but blades can't put points into "Set Trap" so does this mean that the HLA traps will automatically fail or he can still set them up reliably?

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 689
    Logically what you are saying is right, but fortunately for you BioWare didn't do it that way.

    Neo
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,215
    the hla traps are not subjected to the set traps skill, both for thieves and bards, you never fail setting them.

    NeoThacoBell
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,215
    edited December 2019
    so have your bard cast simulacrum with the helm, then your mage cast on the clone power word blind, and the clone will be able to drop 6 spike traps while really close to the enemies, right in their faces i would say...
    then reload and fight in a fair way, because no enemy can survive to it and traps bypass every defense the enemies use.

    EDIT: i have posted this stinky piece of cheese, that is well known if done at lower levels with a thief, i only configured it here for a high levels situation, using the clone does not to actually blind a party member, the power word has no save so as long as MR items (gaxx ring, carsomyr) are not equipped the tactics always works, spike traps are always successful and do huge damage to almost every not friendly, to show how the blade can be flexible.
    and to point out that if there is a class that is entitled to use cheese in the game it is the bard, as its high lore and flexibility, and its creativity, after all a bard is an artist, make somehow credible that he devises and uses not conventional tactics.
    and this particular piece of cheese does not use any exploit, uses only the game mechanics as are intended to work, the reduced sight range of a blinded person is intended as well as the fact that the sight range of the one that set the trap is used to see if enemies are around (other way it would be possible to blind enemies and set traps near them...).

    up to the players to use such ways or refrain, but the bard, the master of lore, is also somehow the master of cheese.
    and gorgonzola likes cheese (did you guess it by his name?) so likes blades very much :D .

    Post edited by gorgonzola on
    NeoGrond0
  • ithildurnewithildurnew Member Posts: 201
    edited December 2019
    Classic heavy duty cheese. There's plenty of cheese possibilities in this game, but I just can't bring myself to do things on that level of ridiculum; it's probably part of the reason why I've never used a Thief/Bard class for very long - a lot of their tricks are fun for giggles once or twice, eventually feels too silly. That sort of thing doesn't say 'this is a powerful class ability' so much as 'kind of broken, do not use'.

    gorgonzola
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,215
    edited December 2019
    @ithildurnew i was editing my previous post as you posted.
    there i explained why what for other classes is stretching the game to something that it is not supposed to be for the bards somehow has a RP reason to be done.

    and you can agree with me or not, i already told that is up to the player to use such ways or not.
    i personally never used the blind and set traps trick outside experimentation, reloading after and winning the battle in other ways, even if for me someone that uses it to solve a situation he is not able to solve in other way does nothing wrong.

    but as i gave reasons why the bard can stretch the game rules more then the other classes i still think that it is relevant when we are taking of the blade, its power and what he can do in the game.

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