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Can an Elf Kensai use longbows?

Basically that. I'm building my character for BG2:EE and am between an elf and a gnome for a Kensai/Mage build.

The Illusionist tempts me, but I'd like to use Vampiric Touch in melee when in need, and being proficient with the longbow would make me go for the elven path.

Comments

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,009
    No.

    The only way for a kensai to ever use bows is if they have the "Use Any Item" high-level ability from the rogue list. A kensai-mage dual class won't have the option to take that ability.
    While a kensai-thief dual class can use a bow after they get UAI, they still can't have any proficiency in it.

    Also, non-humans can't dual-class.

    sanwabloThacoBell
  • sanwablosanwablo Member Posts: 18
    Cheers, @jmerry!

    Does that mean that with an elf I could only play a Fighter/Mage?

  • sanwablosanwablo Member Posts: 18
    Also: can I multi-class later in the game or only when creating my character?

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,009
    Indeed, elves can be fighter/mage multiclasses. That combination is restricted to elves, half-elves, and gnomes, with illusionist gnomes being the only way to have a kit as a multiclass.

    Incidentally, if you're building for BG2, don't go with longbows. There are three shortbows in the game (Tuigan, Tansheron's, Gesen) that are all significantly better than any longbow - the first one gets an extra attack each round, and the latter two deal more damage per hit.

    sanwabloThacoBelliosfrustration
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 933
    Gnome fighter/illusionist is the game's strongest character in my opinion and would be a great choice for someone who isn't too familiar with the ruleset.

    sanwablo
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,279
    edited June 20
    sanwablo wrote: »
    Cheers, @jmerry!

    Does that mean that with an elf I could only play a Fighter/Mage?

    Elves can be of nearly all single classes (except paladin, bard, monk,druid and sorcerer) and can be of fighter/mage, fighter/thief, mage/thief and fighter/mage/thief multiclass.

    P.s: Any multiclass that has a fighter combination can use longbows . If you're going with a single class then the Fighter (except kensai kit) and Ranger can use Longbows.

    sanwabloThacoBell
  • sanwablosanwablo Member Posts: 18
    edited June 20
    Wow, good tip! I'll go ahead with shortbows then.

    Post edited by sanwablo on
  • sanwablosanwablo Member Posts: 18
    edited June 20
    @jsaving Are the elf's boni with weapons outweighed by the gnome's extra spells?

    Seeing some spells like "Blindness" were classed under Illusion back in the day, it's not so terrible to give up Necromancy.

    Aside: I struggle with the idea of a gnome wielding a longsword with one hand :/ Is that a core AD&D rule? In 3e, that wasn't possible, thus reducing the melee damage dealt by small characters.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 933
    Yes, the gnome's extra spells are much more valuable than elven weapon bonuses. Gnomes also receive "shorty" save bonuses which make them more durable than an elven fighter/illusionist.

    iosfrustrationsanwablo
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,009
    There are no size-based differences in weapon usability in the BG series. A gnome can wield a halberd just fine.

    Relevant racial bonuses:

    Half-Elf: 30% resistance to charm and sleep effects.

    Elf: 90% resistance to charm and sleep. +1 to hit with longbows, shortbows, long swords, and short swords. +1 Dex, -1 Con.

    Gnome: +1 Int, -1 Wis. Saves vs. spell and vs. wand improved by 2 to 5, depending on Con.

    The gnome's bonus to saves versus spell is far, far more valuable than anything else on that list.

    On the value of being an illusionist - the main perk of being a specialist mage is the +1 spell slot per spell level. That's especially useful at low character level, or for spell levels you've just reached, but it's always a big deal. Illusionists don't gain much from the tougher saves in their school - there's Blindness and Spook at 1st level, Deafness at 2nd level, and nothing else. On the other hand, they also aren't giving up anything critical. While there are powerful mage necromancy spells, the only effect that's really exclusive to necromancy is the weak healing of the two drain spells. Everything else has substitutes.

    sanwabloAerakarDJKajuru
  • iosfrustrationiosfrustration Member Posts: 136
    jsaving wrote: »
    Yes, the gnome's extra spells are much more valuable than elven weapon bonuses. Gnomes also receive "shorty" save bonuses which make them more durable than an elven fighter/illusionist.

    True story this, especially those sweet, sweet HLAs that cast from 9th level spell slots. There are a lot of good 9th level spells. Specialist mage getting TWO 9th level slots right off the bat instead of the normal one is an enormous power bump.

    There are a couple of nice spells that the illusionist does give up. Spell Trap, ADHW and animate dead are some of the “best” at what they do. there are slightly less good substitutes to all of them, but these are the ones I miss a bit

    jsavingsanwablo
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 933
    Skull trap hurts at mid-levels as well since it is exempt from the normal 10d6 damage cap for fireball and the like. This isn't nearly enough to put an elven fighter/mage above a gnome fighter/illusionist, but it's probably worth mentioning.

    iosfrustrationsanwablo
  • sanwablosanwablo Member Posts: 18
    edited June 21
    Thank you so much for all the advice! It's been a while since I played IWD:EE and campaigned to have the original German VO added to BG2:EE, and I'm glad to know the community here is still thriving.

    One last question: what are the main pros and cons for playing a gnome Fighter/Illusionist vs. human Kensai/Mage?

    Thanks for your time!

    StummvonBordwehr
  • Djasko_AmsterdamDjasko_Amsterdam Member Posts: 47
    edited June 22
    sanwablo wrote: »
    Thank you so much for all the advice! It's been a while since I played IWD:EE and campaigned to have the original German VO added to BG2:EE, and I'm glad to know the community here is still thriving.

    One last question: what are the main pros and cons for playing a gnome Fighter/Illusionist vs. human Kensai/Mage?

    Thanks for your time!

    A non-kensai fighter/mage of any class or race is extremely powerful as a tank... if you have a party then its no big deal to remove your armor and buff up, put it back on and go into fights. You may not be able to cast, but you're practically untouchable.

    I've gone through IWD and BG with a gnome fight/illu as a tank and its... overpowered, seriously. Even if you get dispelled, you have your armor, your shield andddd.. your helmet.

    Your saves are real good obviously, tho not as good as that of a dwarf or halfling, they occupy 1st place together until a dwarf gets another point in Constitution to make it a 20, making the dwarf superior in everything except reflexes. The gnome lacks in saves vs death, methinks, but beats any other race regardless...

    human Kensai/Mage...
    pros: can cast during combat, can wear mage robes, whereas a kensai shouldnt be able to wear anything normally. If you dual with thief you wont be wearing leathers. Low thac0, so you land a lot of hits.
    cons: downtime when you dual class. No helmets, you're crittable. No shields, but there are weapons with defensive stats.

    Personally speaking, i dont need my tank to hit anything, got others for that...

    sanwablo
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 933
    edited June 28
    sanwablo wrote: »
    One last question: what are the main pros and cons for playing a gnome Fighter/Illusionist vs. human Kensai/Mage?
    A gnome fighter/illusionist continues to advance both classes the entire game and can mix-and-match abilities as she sees fit. At low levels in BG1, that means you can cast sleep and render your foes defenseless before dispatching them with longswords or flails. At mid-levels, that means you are able to cast mage buffs like stoneskin and PFMW to render yourself basically invulnerable. And at high levels, that means you are able to select HLAs from the super-strong fighter list as well as the mage list, meaning you can take greater whirlwind attack or critical strike if you so choose.

    A human kensai/mage cannot mix-and-match abilities at either low or mid levels, advancing first as a single-class fighter and next as a single-class mage (who happens to have a lot of hit points). At mid-levels, when you eventually recover your fighter abilities, you play very similarly to a fighter/illusionist multi (minus shorty saves and the extra spell per level of course). At high levels, you gain 9th level spells much sooner than a FI but can't take GWW and other fighter HLAs because you chose to stop your fighter advancement.

    Gnome FI and human KM are two of the strongest options in the game and you won't go wrong with either one. But my opinion is that the gnome is more fun to play because she doesn't go through a prolonged period of only being able to access one set of class features. For that reason I usually base my decision on whether the MC is going to be my primary mage or whether I'll have Imoen, Nalia, and/or Edwin in the party. If the former then you really need to go KM, but if not then FI will generally be the better option (though a half-elf fighter/mage/thief may be better still depending on your party composition).

    Post edited by jsaving on
    sanwabloAerakar
  • sanwablosanwablo Member Posts: 18
    I've been trying this build for a week now and can confirm that "Shield", "Mirror Image" and "Stone Skin" on top of a regular armor, helmet and shield are a killer combo. Well, actually not "killer" but rather an "all-proof" combo.

    What other spells do you use to buff up the Fighter/Illusionist in battle?

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 626
    Blur and fireshield are nice

    DJKajuruThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 11,414
    When I first played BG2 as a kid, I didn't know what most of the buff spells did. I knew what mirror image, haste, and protection from evil did. But I DID love to layer both fireshield spells for the cool purple flames! I assumed that meant I was extra safe.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    Mirror Image and Stoneskin are probably the most important ones when tanking. Augment as needed with Spell Immunity or Protection from Magic Weapons, though not many enemies will easily tear through a geared character using MI/SS. Blur and other AC improving spells can be nice, and if you have a free moment why not.

    Obviously you can use specific protection spells against certain elements etc. as needed.

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