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Advice for a fellow thief !

Hello everyone, I wanted to ask for some advice on how to make a more lethal thief in BG2. Love the game but I'd like to have a character that is at least more lethal and with a higher kill count than say... Minsc. This was not an issue in BG1 but it's happened a bit in my first playthrough of BG2. A couple of notes as well:

- Use Aerie to cast invisibility on me, such that I can backstab with Peridan. I like this tactic but you really gotta focus to get a good backstab.

- I am using the Tuigan Bow, I haven't found any other because I think I was too worried about Imoen to do other sidequests, thinking I might do those afterwards.

I will also ask this question since I'd rather not create a whole topic for it: are there ways in BG1 and BG2 to edit the importable characters ? I think I might've "exported" too much and now I have three copies of my characters when I want to play BG1.

Slight issues but if anyone can help, thanks in advance.



  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,663
    I've played a few backstabbers. Some advice for filling that role:
    - Stealth skills are key, and benefit from being over 100. A thief with 100 HiS/100 MS can basically always hide when they're in an actual shadow, while a thief with 200 HiS/200 MS can basically always hide even in broad daylight.
    - Hiding has a timer; after you break stealth, you'll have to wait a round before you can hide again. Also, unless you're a Shadowdancer, you can't hide anywhere in sight of an enemy. For advanced players, there's a loophole in that timer - if you issue an order that cancels the "hide" command such as selecting a weapon to force-attack, that starts the timer without making you visible right away. A Shadowdancer can take advantage of this to hide instantly after striking.
    - In a backstab, almost all physical damage is multiplied; among the sources you're likely to have, only strength bonuses and on-hit effects aren't. You multiply the weapon's listed damage, equipment bonuses such as gauntlets of weapon specialization, kit bonuses, specialization bonuses, and two-handed style. To optimize backstab damage, look for weapons with high physical damage. For example, Peridan does 1d8 + 2 damage. You could do better (while still using a longsword) by switching to Namarra (1d8 + 4). Because the specialization bonuses get multiplied, fighter-thief dual classes can achieve the strongest stabs.
    - Since you're using invisibility spells already, don't forget potions. Many thief-type enemies carry invisibilty potions, and killing them fast enough lets you loot them. There are also a few items that give you daily invisibility castings.
    - Don't have your backstabber be the only thief in the party. You'll want a backstabber to hide all the time, and that means they're not searching for traps. Having another thief around to cover traps and locks frees up your stabber to be maximally effective in combat.
    - Set your backstabber's AI to not attack automatically. You don't want them choosing a target and attacking before you're ready, and a little micromanagement in choosing targets is a small price to pay. They're not going to be staying in melee anyway, unless they're a fighter/thief or Stalker.
    - The single most important piece of equipment for a backstabber? Boots of Speed. Once you stab, you almost certainly want to retreat. Even if the enemy you stabbed is dead, they've probably got friends you want to avoid.
    - Don't be afraid to send your backstabber out alone to pick off enemies without your party's support. If done right, they won't have any real chance to retaliate - while they would if you brought the party up to give them targets.

    The Tuigan Bow? I'd rate that as the third-best bow in the game, behind Tansheron's (available in Trademeet after dealing with their problem) and the Gesen bow (available in chapter 6). It's certainly a fine choice for ranged support; just make sure you've got enough good arrows. Of course, you'll probably want to give it to Imoen once you rescue her.

    When transferring characters from BG1 to BG2, you should be importing from a save in most cases; look for the "Final Save ..." file for that character's party. The alternative is to export a character, which creates a file that can then be imported from. Those files live in the "characters" folder, which should be in the same directory as the "save" folder. If you have some extra copies of characters there, you can just delete those files. There is no way to edit or remove them from inside the game.

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,904
    If you prefer a ranged specialist thief you can go with a Swashbuckler. With the combat bonuses they get they can turn the Tuigan Bow into a machine-gun. Put a couple pips in daggers and go to town with the poison theowing daggers for even more ranged fun! Make sure he/she has high strength for the throwing daggers, strength bonuses DO apply to those. You can ignore stealth for the early game since they can't backstab. Those skill points can then be used to focus on set traps and detect illusion earlier than a back-stabbing thief.

  • Highwayman667Highwayman667 Member Posts: 4
    Thank you friend. Excellent pieces of advice to take into account. I'll be sure to let Imoen wait the next time so I can be better prepared and not let Minsc and Boo have the greater share of the glory !

    As for the saves issue. The thing is that I go into the pregenerated characters section and I get three of the same individual, I'm pretty sure I exported more than necessary but I was just wondering if there was a way to crop that list a little bit. I've erased all char files except the one I want but I think the cloud saves from GOG keep making them repair... not really sure though.

    One last question as well (better to take advantage of this topic instead of making a new one) but how high is the level cap for Dragonspear ? Because I was thinking of starting a new playthrough on BG1 but I'm aware you can't get more than 161000 exp points per playthrough, so I was wondering if perhaps it was a better idea to do Dragonspear first or if the level cap was indeed at level 12...ish

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,663
    Siege of Dragonspear raises the XP cap to 500K, which would indeed be level 12 on a pure thief. Consider it another BG1 expansion - if you've got it, you play the SoD campaign starting immediately after killing Sarevok.

  • jeanindubjeanindub Member Posts: 8
    edited April 2020
    Just one thing to add (almost everything s been said) :
    you don't need to initiate the fight with your backstab. Show up your tank then backstab after. Or you can play a Stalker that can stay in the fight longer.

    For the glory you just need a lot of damage, a mix of :
    - high number of attacks per round (4 or 5 points proficiency, so with warrior classes)
    - high damage (Strength and weapon and critical hit on 19)

    You don't need Invisibility because you have Stealth and it's exactly the same but for free. (I have doubts now ^^). Improved Invisibility is useful for defense. But you need damage bonuses (Strength, Strength of One, ...) and attack speed (haste, greater haste, ...) if you stay in the fight after backstab.

    For a bow, you need to chose. You cant backstab then use a bow; you optimise for melee damage with the backstab, so you can't really be better with a bow after and you re already in the melee so ...

    That was my 2 cents ^^

    Edit :
    Use the script that makes your Thief always trying to Hide in Shadows. So he s always ready.
    And you can actually play with low stats on Hiding and Move Silently (~70/80), it juste takes more time to get ready and anyway Backstabbing is always prepared so ...

    Post edited by jeanindub on
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    jmerry wrote: »
    I've played a few backstabbers. Some advice for filling that role:
    I agree with almost everything you told, i want to add only a couple of tips, as stabbing thieves are my favorite class to play, not the most powerful, but the one that brings me more fun, and that has its own power anyway.
    1. boots of speed are not only useful to run away after stabbing, are very useful to reach the position to stab before the hide in shadows effect expires. an experienced thief should not really rely on potions or invisibility spells to stab, even if, having more then 1 apr, he can use them to stab a second time in the round. go there hidden and hasted (2apr), stab, quaff the potion and repeat.
    2. an experienced thief not only can stab in the right moment when all the party is fighting, ie wait that your mage breaches the enemy stoneskin and immediately stab him before he has the time to put on a new one, an experienced thief is a master of correct timing and positioning, but he can clear whole areas alone in most situations, i will explain how later.
    3. where you hide is crucial, not all the points of a dungeon share the same light amount, when you have still few points in HiS and MS you can hide pretty all the times in the points of the map with less light, while you often fail in other places with more light, this is also true when later you hide in the open and not at noon, you have some places where there is the shadow of a building when near sunset or sunrise, go there and probably you will succeed to hide when in direct sun light you will fail. every respectable thief is a master in finding the places where to hide in a reliable way and in planning his tactic accordingly.
    4. if you have enough speed you can do multiple stabs to a fighter much stronger then you if you take in account all that i had already told. stab him, lure him away from his helpers, turn a corner where you know that there is the right light to hide and in the split second that the corner prevent him from seeing hide (you have again to use well the timing as you have to pass the corner when the chance to hide is active again, so maybe you had delayed the first stab few seconds just for that purpose). he will stop right next the place you has activated the hide in shadows, so you have a second free stab. With 2 corners and right timing you can basically stab an hypothetical fighter with 1000 hp to death without taking a single hit yourself.
    5. hiding is not only useful to stab, is really useful to make the enemy mages loose every spell that is on target and not an aoe. just appear at the limit of his sight area, throw him an arrow to draw his attention, and maybe to waste one of his stoneskin, then as soon as he begins to cast a spell at you a quick step back and hide. his spell will fizzle and is lost. you can deplete whole mate spell books this way as you also erode their stoneskin in the process, but be very reactive, you don't want to be hit by an aoe spell and get webbed or burnt alive, speed is the key to avoid to get caught in the aoe if the spell is of that type, so step back, hide and then run away fast, you have a full round to realize what kind of spell was cast before you can hide again any way.
    6. with the previous 5 points and using the divide and conquer strategy should be obvious how a thief can often clear whole areas and dungeons alone.

    last thing a thief is not only stabbing, is also using the traps. and spotting.
    the HLA spike traps are really powerful, but also the regular ones are so, if you play a bounty hunter even more. and please don't use the traps in a cheesy way that adds no fun at all to the game. like placing traps near still blue future enemies on near known enemy spawn points, no fun in doing it.
    but spotting the enemies, maybe a bunch of very dangerous beholders and gauths, then planning a route you want them to follow while they try to chase you and laying a carpet of traps then luring them into them is one of the most satisfying things a respectable thief can do in his adventuring. probably if some beholder finally reaches the party is so low on health that they can take him down ranged before he can even react.

    i hope that this few hints can be useful to you my fellow thief, there is so much to tell, but those are imo the base of the reason why thieves rule, why are so powerful and why are so fun to play.
    almost every other toon will only dream about matching the kill rate of a thief if the player want to boost it and knows how to do, at least until in mid ToB where the power of stabbing is greatly reduced and the hla traps become the main thief weapon.

    and the tugian bow, powerful as it is, is not a proper thief weapon, surely if mazzy is not also in the party he can use it, he should use it unless the enemy has an AC that make better to use a bow that adds some more points to the thac0, but i don't see a so great damage output difference it the thief uses the bow or remains idle at the end of the day, whenever is possible he has something way more useful then using a bow or fighting in a normal way.
    unless he is some sort of dual or multi FT or a stalker, then he can also be effective in the regular fighting.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,678
    jeanindub wrote: »
    Use the script that makes your Thief always trying to Hide in Shadows.
    sometimes i do it, while i never use the script that makes him stab automatically, stabbing is an art that is too complex to have a script taking care of it.
    but anyway i find better to run the thief with no scripts as sometimes he can decide to hide when his task is to find traps or other problems can happen.
    when i use the script i usually disable completely the AI as soon as the enemy is sighted or if i want to scout and explore a dungeon, but walking trough the areas it can be somehow useful to have the script on.
    and yes i am a micro manager, but i think also that thieves can only shine with a fair amount of micro managing, how to use the battle ground, the correct timing and positioning and to decide which of their tools is the better to use in a given situation requires at least as much knowledge of the game mechanics as playing a mage requires a deep knowledge of the arcane magic system.

  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,419
    Aside from backstabbing, hit run tactics, and trap setting, tactical ammo is the way to go for an efficient thief. Use acid/cold/flame arrows to disrupt spellcasters through stoneskins. Use poison arrows and darts of wounding on suspectible targets like mages with low poison saving throws, as well. Dart of stunning can work wonders on enemies, you can stun lock them with enough darts. Dispel arrows are extremely valuable and efficient to breach an enemy spell caster.

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