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What's the big deal about Kagain?

lemarin83lemarin83 Member Posts: 9
Never understood the hype surrounding the guy. I don't think I ever completed the game with the guy since I have severe doubts about his worth:

- Yes, he has the 20 constitution and, as a result, high hit points. However, they are not THAT much higher than a, for example, high level Khalid.
- He has not one, but TWO fighter-relevant stats that suck. His dex is terrible, and his strength is weak as well. All the other pure fighter-class npcs have onle one Stat that sucks (Ajantis dex, Kivan con, Dorn con, Khalid strength). That means that he would need both dex AND strength support, things that many other npcs need as well.
- His axe proficiency is also not ideal, you don't get a +2 axe until baldur's gate, and this axe is weaker than, for example, Varscona, which you can get more or less from the start.
- For these reasons, I don't understand why he constantly gets picked as the best fighter. I personally think that Khalid is MUCH more efficient than Kagain. Now, I am not saying that he is useless, he can be a very efficient character with the right gear, as can be every npc. Just don't get why people praise him so much.

Comments

  • RedRodentRedRodent Member Posts: 78
    While I'm sure others have more insight on this, I think a major part is that his main weakness can be easily remedied by slapping the Gauntlets of Dexterity on him. Suddenly you've got a mean meat-shield who can tank better than any other single kit-fighter. 16 strenght is also not weak by any meaning of the word, it's just not fantastic. If you want someone to occupy the bad guys while the rest of your party is handling things from a distance, Kagain is your guy.

    monicoThacoBellJuliusBorisovAerakar
  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,292
    for an evil team he is great, especially if paired up with shar-teel, once you give kagain the mits of DEX he is the pinnacle of dwarven defense, with great HP, great AC and great saves, and to make up for that lack luster STR you have shar-teel, who comes with great DEX so you can give her the mits of ogre power and they make a great combo

    plus you can't have shar-teel and dorn on the same team since they will eventually fight one another, and even though dorn has way to good STR his con is crap and 16 DEX to be honest isn't actually that great, especially for someone who is wielding a two handed weapon

    in bg1, AC is very important, if you can hit around -8 or -9 without buffs, and using the girdle of bluntness and full plate mail basically 99% of the enemies in bg1 won't even be able to hit you, so when kagain hits that AC with gloves of DEX he is pretty much "invincible"

    and to be honest, i dont understand the type around ajantis, to be honest, all of his 3 top ability scores kind of suck, first off; 17 STR is pretty garbage to be honest, that is only +1 to hit/ to damage, if he at least had 18/01 STR which would give him +2 more to damage you could in theory give him the STR tome to make him way better, plus his DEX is also crap, so if he is in your team with melee he HAS to wear the gloves of DEX or else his AC is going to be garbage, and 16 CON, that is also not that impressive, that is only +2 HP per level, vs kagain who gets +5 and regeneration on top AND if you are crazy enough you can give kagain the tome of CON to make it so he gets +6 HP per level and make his regeneration faster

    actually now that i think of it, kagain is better than ajantis in every way; for STR ajantis at default gets +1 more to hit over kagain but because kagain can get 4 points in a weapon as apposed to ajantis' 2, kagain will have better to hit and to damage over all, and thats even if ajantis is using drizzt's scimitar with 2 points

    dex wise, they are both in the same boat, they both have crap DEX so gloves of DEX are going to be used on them if they are going into melee, although in theory, since kagain is a bit more stocky you could give him the gloves of ogre power instead since he can actually take a beating before going down, but i would only do that if dorn was on the team, if not, then shar-teel really benefits well from using the ogre power mits

    and then CON, its no contest, thanks to ajantis starting at level 2, he is 4 HP below maximum at default with max HP being 92 ( 100 with a tome ) while kagain you can get a level 1 and he can hit 120 HP ( 128 with a tome ) so on average his HP will be way higher if you dont use max HP on level ups, and plus because of kagain's big CON, he gets regeneration, albeit not useful in combat, but when traveling between areas its nice to see his HP refill back to max, or even exploring maps you will gradually see his HP return, no such luck with ajantis

    plus even though paladins get +2 to all saves, dwarves ( especially high CON dwarves ) get outrageous saving throw bonuses to the most useful saves ( save vs death/spell ) in fact i believe its a +5 bonus which is way better than a paladin

    so with that, ajantis can't even compare with kagain, unless of coarse you are playing a good aligned team then ajantis is only better because you can have max REP, but then again kagain is made for an evil aligned team, and he is a great fit for one, anytime i play evil play throughs, he is always on my team

    ilduderinoSkatanJuliusBorisovAerakar
  • lemarin83lemarin83 Member Posts: 9
    Pretty solid points, Sarevok... I can see your point. Maybe I'm just angry that everybody disses poor Khalid, whom I love. :D

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 620
    edited July 5
    Khalid is often underrated, his morale (why many diss him) is similar to many others (I guess his quotes when running are more memorable, like Garrick, and often he is being relied on to tank when he folds), he makes a great archer, a good tank (slightly higher dex would be nice as if you use him Jaheira is in greater need of the dex gauntlets) and with a strength item his worst physical stat is papered over.

    Similarly Kagain’s stat flaws are easily rectified with items and he has shorty saves. He is very easily made into a great tank (with a constitution better than you can get as the PC at this stage), high HP at low levels is very nice when a stiff wind can kill you. He also auto heals at a slow rate due to his high con so can heal when travelling between areas which means you can use the healing spells on others.

    I agree about Ajantis, I took him on my first playthrough as the only paladin and it felt like I was carrying him. If you have low dex you really need to bring more to the party. If I am running a good team I will want Yeslick who needs the dex gauntlets too and he brings a lot more (he is great with the gauntlets and the big fisted belt, his int is already low). 17 strength looks good but doesn’t actually do much. His con is not bad at least and archery is so powerful in BG that he does sort of ok with a bow. Retrofitting him with a kit in the EEs might have marginally improved him.

    RedRodentsarevok57
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 915
    My perspective: I've played BG1 recently as a no-reload challenge run. I had an evil themed party and Kagain was essential to it. I was a shaman.

    The key with Kagain isn't that he's the best fighter, but that he's the best tank, as others have said. The second point is that Kagain is the perfect piece to have in what is the strongest baseline combat strategy -- one tank to draw fire and five other characters to use ranged weapons or spells. Alternatively, some of those five could use two handers right behind Kagain.

    His ability to hit with the axe doesn't actually matter--at all. In fact, I'd actually suggest folks boost sword and shield style with him. That extra 10% and eventually 20% increase to enemy miss rates is potentially huge. Especially since ranged weapons are some of the more dangerous encounters in BG1 -- Hobgoblins with poison, kobolds commandos, black talon bandits, etc. Consider for example that if you're raising their needed hit roll from say 17 to 19, you are cutting in half their ability to land a hit. And if almost all of the hits are being targeted at Kagain...

    I'll also say that I think you're underrating the axe proficiency. In my experience it allows a bit more efficiency and versatility with Kagain, as he can use throwing axes when the circumstance calls for it, with no dropoff in damage. For example -- web, entangle or grease. If you do want to focus instead on maximizing damage with Kagain, axe is one of the few proficiencies where you get a ranged and melee option off the same pip investment. And, unlike daggers, one where there are magical ranged options.

    Lastly, his regeneration provided a critical efficiency for my run in early BG1. You're often strapped for cash for a long time on this kind of playthrough, and rely heavily on things like buying healing potions. Kagain's regen helps a lot and especially if you can plan your exploration so that you win a tough fight and then travel to a new map and boom, he's back at full.

    sarevok57ThacoBell
  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,292
    lemarin83 wrote: »
    Pretty solid points, Sarevok... I can see your point. Maybe I'm just angry that everybody disses poor Khalid, whom I love. :D

    yeah, i find that a bit strange actually, since i play good runs most of the time, i bring khalid on at least 70+ % of those runs ( and let jaheira bite the dust lewlz ) with the mits of ogre power and the longsword +2 he becomes a really well rounded melee character, or if you choose to go range, he can deal out some decent damage and get some decent to hit with the longbow of marksmanship if need be

    maybe people aren't much of a fan of him because he sounds like a weeny? and he does like to lose morale quickly to i suppose

    Pokota
  • monicomonico Member Posts: 564
    edited July 6
    To answer OP's preconception, I wasn't under the impression that everyone describes him as the best fighter NPC overall. To me, that would actually be Shar-Teel (at least pre-EE) despite her bad CON (notably because of her ability to dual into fighter), although Kagain is indeed an impressive tank.

    Comparing Kagain to the other vanilla NPCs, Kagain is maybe not impressive all around, but neither are most of the other NPCs. He's the best at what he does (tanking), and is quite effective outside all around:

    - Strength-wise: sure 16 is not high (only +1 damage), but he still ranks #5 STR-wise (still better than Khalid's 15 STR), behind Minsc (18/93), Shar-Teel (18/53), Kivan (18/12 so that he can use composite bows, although that also allows him to be a decent frontliner) and Ajantis (17). Keep in mind though that anything below 18/51 (+2 thac0) is barely noticeable, since thac0 is the most important factor in BG1. And what he lacks in STR, he can make-up with proficiency points above 3 (+2 thac0 compared to 2 pips), putting him on par with Minsc thac0-wise. Only Shar-Teel and Khalid can do the same (hence why Shar-Teel is a personal favourite).
    Also remember that there are many ways to buff up STR (potions, spells like Strengh or Strength-of-one).

    - DEX-wise: yup, 12 DEX sucks. No penalty, sure, but that's bad, especially as a tanker. Remember though that other fighters rarely have "that" good DEX anyway (with the notable exception again of Shar-Teel's 17 DEX). Here, Khalid's 16 DEX (-2 AC) shines compared to Kagain, that's true. But you can just give the Dex gloves to Kagain and he gets -4 AC, outperforming Khalid again. Although that prevents Kagain from using other gloves that could boost his thac0/damage.
    By the end of BG1, you can get him as low as -10 AC unbuffed (Full Plate Armor + DEX gauntlets + The Guard's Ring + Balduran's Helmet + Balduran's Cloak + Large Shield+2), even lower with potions/spells, or against specific damage type.

    - CON-wise: now, on that point, there's no contest, Kagain is the best. At lvl cap, that's up to 120 HP. Comparatively, Minsc only has up to 88 HP, and Khalid (second best HP-wise) has 104 max HP.
    But the CON benefits are not only the HP, but also the natural regeneration (useful in BG1 with the very long travel times) and the +5 saving throws against Death, Wands and Spells (the saves against Death & Spells representing 99% of the saving throws used in the game).
    At level cap, that means Kagain will have saving throws of 5 against Death & 8 against spells. Adding to that Balduran's Helmet (+1 ST), the Ring of protection +2 (+2 ST), eventually the Amulet of Spell Warding from Dorn's questline (+2 ST vs Spell) and Balduran's Cloak (+1 ST), and with a Potion of Invulnerability (AC set to 0, +5 ST), you can resist any spell or poison thrown at you.

    Don't underestimate the power of good saving throws, especially on your tank: send Kagain ahead, have all enemies, fighters or spellcasters, focus on him, while the rest of your party flanks them or kite them from behind Kagain.
    Sure, Kagain will probably not kill the whole group of enemies alone, but neither will the whole group of enemies focusing on him manage to kill Kagain rapidly.

    Now, the best Kagain would be a kitted Kagain: he would be the perfect Dwarven Defender, and if I ever play with him in the future, I'll definitely give him the kit via EE Keeper.

    Grond0JuliusBorisov
  • Djasko_AmsterdamDjasko_Amsterdam Member Posts: 47
    If youve made your party properly, strength shouldnt be an issue as there are spells to get you the 18 strength. Ajantis is used as a kensai... safely micromanaged. Start your fights with a longbow and move in after the mobs have surrounded your tank. Use a twohanded sword to start mowing enemies down.

  • WarChiefZekeWarChiefZeke Member Posts: 2,145
    edited July 6
    Both his strength and his dexterity can be buffed in multiple, easy ways from items to druid spells to potions. Persistent constitution is harder to buff and very convenient, especially for people who aren't experts and tend to take hits.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 788
    I know this is a thread about Kagain, but I'd like to point out that Khalid is a solid party member even in vanilla because of his archery skills. He is not, I repeat NOT, a tank. He folds like a cheap suit on the front line. However, he can absolutely wreck it from the rear.

    With mods, you can turn him into a F/M, and he is fantastic in that role. This may be the first play through where I actually keep him in the party.

    RedRodentDinoDin
  • monicomonico Member Posts: 564
    edited July 6
    Maurvir wrote: »
    I know this is a thread about Kagain, but I'd like to point out that Khalid is a solid party member even in vanilla because of his archery skills. He is not, I repeat NOT, a tank. He folds like a cheap suit on the front line. However, he can absolutely wreck it from the rear.

    Yup, Khalid is actually a better archer than Kivan-the-Archer. [EDIT: actually, they're equal, I forgot that Khalid can't put a 4th pip in Longbows since he starts with only 1]

    Depending on if you value more thac0 or damage, the best archers would be either Coran (thac0-wise) or Shar-Teel (damage-wise), but Khalid is not far from either.

    EDIT: Here's the number crunching (I realized I made a mistake about Khalid being better than Kivan, they are actually equal because Khalid can't put 4 pips in Longbows) :
    Not taking into account any potions/spell enhancement, and taking the NPC's basic stats into account only, the best bows are:
    - the composite longbow+1 (18 STR needed) for -2 thac0/+3 dmg
    - the Dead Shot longbow for -2 thac0/+2 dmg
    - the Protector of the Dryads shortbow for -2 thac0/+2 dmg

    Here are the comparison of the 4 best archer NPCs (Kivan, Coran, Khalid & Shar-Teel)

    Kivan, lvl8 ranger, Composite Longbow+1, 2 proficiencies in longbows + Elf racial bonus = 7 thac0 / +5 dmg

    Coran, lvl7/8 F/T, Dead Shot longbow, 3 pips in longbows (his own little tweak) + Elf = 4 thac0 / +5 damage

    Khalid, lvl8 fighter, Dead Shot +2, 3 pips in longbows = 7 thac0 / +5 damage

    Shar-Teel, Fighter 7 > Thief 8, Composite Longbow+2, 4 pips (2 from fighter lvl3 & 6, and 2 from thief lvls 4 and 8 : which actually means you have to stop leveling her up as a thief at lvl3 until she can go all the way to lvl8 at once, so you can spend those 2 pips in Longbows) = 7 thac0 / +7 damage

    That is before enhancements from arrows, gloves (I suggest Legacy of the Masters over the Bracers of Archery), other gear and spells.

    Skatan
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 5,129
    Most good points have already been said, but I think Mastery+ in axes and the plethora of excellent axes available in BG1 is a perfect weapon category for a tank/fighter. Getting a +1 is one of the easiest weapon categories by using the magic throwing axe in melee, then you have bala's and a +2 etc. Plenty of choices throughout the game.

    Also, comparing Kagain with Khalid is kinda a moot point (IMHO) because I would guess most ppl don't choose between the two due to alignments, so they aren't actively competing for the same spot.

    JuliusBorisovmonico
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 915
    edited July 6
    Maurvir wrote: »
    I know this is a thread about Kagain, but I'd like to point out that Khalid is a solid party member even in vanilla because of his archery skills. He is not, I repeat NOT, a tank. He folds like a cheap suit on the front line. However, he can absolutely wreck it from the rear.

    With mods, you can turn him into a F/M, and he is fantastic in that role. This may be the first play through where I actually keep him in the party.

    I agree. I play un-modded, but even with Khalid and Jaheira, I tend to make her the tank, not him. He's one of the best longbow NPC's in the game, and that's a very powerful weapon class.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 11,396
    @Maurvir "I know this is a thread about Kagain, but I'd like to point out that Khalid is a solid party member even in vanilla because of his archery skills. He is not, I repeat NOT, a tank. He folds like a cheap suit on the front line. However, he can absolutely wreck it from the rear."

    What? Nonsense. Khalid is a great tank. Good dex, good con, useable attack. Its easy to get his AC way low with minimal effort.

    Skatanilduderinomonico
  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 620
    edited July 7
    With items (big fisted belt and dex gauntlets) Kagain can become the best fighter (Yeslick is improvable in the same way though). The dex gauntlets are available immediately and he is an awesome tank from then on. I don’t think anyone can compete with his combo of high saves, high hp, regeneration and hitting up close and at range with axes.

    The game gives three of the best ranged options to a good party (C, K and K) but the evil party seems to have the edge otherwise.

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 620
    edited July 7
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    @Maurvir "I know this is a thread about Kagain, but I'd like to point out that Khalid is a solid party member even in vanilla because of his archery skills. He is not, I repeat NOT, a tank. He folds like a cheap suit on the front line. However, he can absolutely wreck it from the rear."

    What? Nonsense. Khalid is a great tank. Good dex, good con, useable attack. Its easy to get his AC way low with minimal effort.

    Khalid’s morale break is actually the same as many others (including Kagain’s and Jaheira’s from memory, who don’t get the same negative consideration). I just think they don’t say such memorable things when they run and if Khalid is specced as a frontliner you may well notice it more than on others, because your frontline has just crumbled.

    ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 11,396
    @ilduderino I never knew of Khalid's reputation as a runner until I made an account here. All my charname's have had 16+ CHA, which helps with morale failure.

    ilduderinoPokotaBelgarathMTH
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 833
    Is Khalid's morale is really different ? What is in the game file ?

  • ilduderinoilduderino Member Posts: 620
    edited July 8
    Danacm wrote: »
    Is Khalid's morale is really different ? What is in the game file ?

    It is covered in this guide. The Kagain section says he breaks at the same point as Khalid, Eldoth and Garrick. Apparently Jaheira’s morale is actually slightly better than their’s. Kagain may also attack your party on breaking.

    https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=183524786

    Danacm
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 833
    ilduderino wrote: »
    Danacm wrote: »
    Is Khalid's morale is really different ? What is in the game file ?

    It is covered in this guide. The Kagain section says he breaks at the same point as Khalid, Eldoth and Garrick. Apparently Jaheira’s morale is actually slightly better than their’s. Kagain may also attack your party on breaking.

    https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=183524786

    I saw that guide before but didnt remember it, thanks :)
    Are there any game file evidence that high charisma leader helps morale checks ?

    ilduderino
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