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Max backstabbing weapons for dual-wielding Fighter/Thief (spoilers)

LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
Okay, so I'm reading that a dual-wielding Fighter/Thief's backstab applies the backstab multiplier only to the faster of the two weapons. Presumably the slower of the two weapons damage is also added, though. (Please advise if this is incorrect.)

(Edit - Note to self: next time before posting something this elaborate take time to test premise in CLUA Console! Reportedly this info about the faster of the two dual-wielded weapons scoring the hit in BG:EE was incorrect. I have not confirmed either way, though. The computer I play BG:EE with is being serviced.)

So if you're seeking to max backstab damage, it looks like you want to find the fastest weapon that does the most damage. (Edit: Reportedly this is not the case.)

For reference sake, here is the BG:EE table for weapons.

Bear in mind that a Thief can only backstab with Club, Dagger, Long Sword, Short Sword, Scimitar, Wakizashi, Ninjato, Katana, and Staff. Staff is of course a two-handed weapon however, so it can't be dual-wielded.

In terms of speed these are the normal weapons:

Speed Factor 2
Dagger

Speed Factor 3
Short Sword
Wakizashi

Speed Factor 4
Club
Ninjato
Katana

Speed Factor 5
Long Sword
Scimitar

and for reference sake here is a reference for the vanilla BG1 weapons, and here is the list of the new content enchanted items in BG:EE (contains spoilers).

Some enchanted weapons are faster than their normal versions:

Dagger of Venom has a speed factor of 0 (rather than 2). THAC0 +3, damage 3-6 with up to 15 additional poison damage (6 poison damage per round).

Longtooth Dagger + 2 has a speed factor of 0 (rather than 2). THAC0 +2, damage 3-8.

Short Sword of Backstabbing +3 has a speed factor of 0 (rather than 3). THAC0 +3, damage 4-9.

The Whistler Short Sword +2 has a speed factor of 1 (rather than 3). THAC0 +2, damage 3-8.

Drizzt's Scimtars +3 both have a speed factor of 2 (rather than 5). THAC0 +3, damage 4-11.

Wakizashi +1 has a speed factor of 2 (rather than 3). THAC0 +1, damage 2-9.

Varscona Long Sword + 2 has a speed factor of 3 (rather than 4). THAC0 +2, damage 3-10.

Katana + 1 has a speed factor of 3 (rather than 4). THAC0 +1, damage 2-11.

Rashad's Talon Scimitar +2 has a speed factor of 3 (rather than 4). THAC0 +2, damage 3-10.

Ninjato + 1 has a speed factor of 3 (rather than 4). THAC0 +1, damage 2-9.


And although the new enchanted clubs aren't faster than normal clubs, here they are for reference sake:

Club +1 has a speed factor of 4. THAC0 +1, damage 2-7.

Night Club +1 has a speed factor of 4. THAC0 +1, damage 2-7,

Mighty Oak +2 has a speed factor of 4. THAC0 +2, damage 3-8.


Anyway, what would your weapons prof choices be for a dual-wielding Fighter/Thief?

Post edited by Lemernis on
Bhryaen
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Comments

  • lDanielHolmlDanielHolm Member Posts: 225
    Lemernis said:

    Okay, so I'm reading that a dual-wielding Fighter/Thief's backstab applies the backstab multiplier only to the faster of the two weapons. Presumably the slower of the two weapons damage is also added, though. (Please advise if this is incorrect.)

    It's incorrect. Backstabbing is a single attack made with your main-hand weapon. Weapon speed does not, as far as I am aware, affect this.

    TJ_Hooker
  • IkMarcIkMarc Member Posts: 552
    Drizzt's scimitars by far for metagaming. For cool backstabs I would still advice quarterstaffs though.

    NifftSCARY_WIZARD
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited February 2013
    @lDanielHolm Okay, thanks for enlightening if the premise is incorrect. Someone had posted to that effect recently and I haven't used this class yet in BG:EE.

  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    Your premise is incorrect.

    I think you are imagining BG works like some MMOs, and off hand weapon damage is added to your main attack.

    This is not the case, it is resolved as a completly seperate attack with it's own to hit roll (which may be resolved before your main hand attack if the off hand weapon is faster).

    Backstab can only happen on the first attack out of stealth, whichever hand that might be.

    Oxford_GuySCARY_WIZARD
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited February 2013
    @Fardragon For that premise I'm restating what I read in a post on this subject some time back. I actually have no idea if it is true or not. (I have yet to try a dual-wielder F/T in BG:EE.) Thanks for establishing fact from fiction!

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    Okay, so a dual-wielded backstab is a single attack from the main hand... and no changes made to this in BG:EE?

    Is APR a factor?

  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    edited February 2013
    No, a backstab is a single attack from whichever weapon you attack with first from stealth.

    Since you can only ever have one FIRST attack, APR is not a factor. You will still get you additional attacks in that round, but they won't be backstabs*.

    *If you somehow re-stealth mid-round, such as someone casting invisibility on you, you MAY be able to have an additional backstab, I'm not sure.

  • AranthysAranthys Member Posts: 721
    APR isn't a factor.
    No change was done there.
    Either you go for the +3 staff for the highest damage (1d6+3 +1 from specialization) or you go for the shortsword of backstabbing +3 (1d6 + 3 damage) for ease of use and better speed factor
    Note that the best backstab weapon in BG1 is the staff of striking, but that it has charges, so you can't use it recklessly.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,200
    The best weapon for backstabbing is without a doubt the Staff of Striking.

    Staves in general are a good choice, because as said earlier, APR and Speed Factor don't really matter, and neither do offhands. 2h Specialization has the benefit of double the chance for a critical strike, too, and a critical backstab is the most damage you will ever do.

    While it's true that Staff of Striking has limited charges, you can just as well use the regular Staff+3 (which can be acquired very early in the game). It deals more damage than pretty much anything save for Drizzt's Scimitars, all the while retaining the double-crit from 2h Specialization (provided you have put two pips into it). For those few tough enemies you really want to DESTROY with a backstab, you can spend a charge on your Staff of Striking. Watch those chunks fly! :D

    In BG2 staves are even better, since the best staff in the game (Staff of the Ram+6) is not only the best weapon to backstab with, but one of the most damaging weapons in the game, period. Of course, that also means that all the really hard enemies are immune to backstabs... :(

    It's a little weird that thieves do so well with staves of all things. You'd expect daggers and the likes to get some sort of backstab bonus, but I guess knocking someone over the head is just so much more effective.

    SCARY_WIZARDLateralus
  • Oxford_GuyOxford_Guy Member Posts: 3,729
    edited February 2013
    Lemernis said:

    Okay, so a dual-wielded backstab is a single attack from the main hand... and no changes made to this in BG:EE?

    Is APR a factor?

    You can backstab with the off-hand if that's faster, if you read all the previous posts carefully you'll see I'm not the only one saying this... I agree with what @Fardragon said.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,200
    It seems that APR is not a factor, provided you become visible after your attack. Now, there are cases where you in fact do not, the most insidious being abuse of Mislead in BG2.

    Speed factor matters when dual-wielding; the lower the speed factor, the sooner in a round the weapon strikes. If your offhand has a lower speed factor than your main hand, it should strike first, i.e. be the backstab-attack. This is likely not something you want happening, as offhand attacks often carry penalties (to THAC0, damage, or both). Thus, if you are dual-wielding, make sure the lower speed factor weapon is in your main hand! Or just unequip your offhand briefly.

    Other than for dual-wielding, I don't see speed factor being too relevant. A quicker strike is of course nice for various reasons, but there aren't really any extremely unwieldy weapons that you could backstab with anyway.

    Another thing of note: the Assassination HLA in BG2/ToB treats every attack as a backstab for one round. Using that ability, APR becomes *extremely* important! But that's really the only time.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited February 2013
    @Lord_Tansheron Okay, lol, I knew I read it somewhere. Thanks.

    This is something you've verified via attack rolls?

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited February 2013
    If two dual-wielding Fighter opponents with identical stats slog it out, I wonder of the one wielding markedly faster weapons wins most of the time.

    Another case where I wonder if speed factor makes a difference is with ranged weapons to disrupt spellcasters. For example, hurling darts (speed factor 2) versus a heavy crossbow (speed factor 10) should make a difference that will show up in the game.

  • TJ_HookerTJ_Hooker Member Posts: 2,438
    @Oxford_Guy I just tested it out with with a thief dual wielding a longsword and a dagger. As far as I could tell, the backstab was always with the mainhand weapon, regardless of which weapon was in which hand.

    Erg
  • ChippyChippy Member Posts: 241
    Has this changed from BG2 then? I remember equipping a bastard sword in the off hand for certain battles and having to count backstabs with the main before then next failed. E.g. @ 4APR I had 3 with a longsword then the bastard sword would fail before it rotated back to the longsword.

    TJ_Hooker
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,200
    Lemernis said:

    If two dual-wielding Fighter opponents with identical stats slog it out, I wonder of the one wielding markedly faster weapons wins most of the time.

    BG doesn't work like more "modern" games - having a fast weapon doesn't mean you attack more often, it just means you strike first in a round. You still only attack the same, fixed number of times within that round. That is what APR governs, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the speed factor.

    In your example, yes, the fighter with the faster weapon would win more often on average, assuming everything else is equal. When they are both down to the last HP, the faster weapon will strike and kill the other guy before he has a chance to hit back with his slower weapon. Note that the difference in speed has to be high enough to compensate for the delay between the hit and the HP getting subtracted, though of course it would be 0 in an ideal environment.
    Lemernis said:

    Another case where I wonder if speed factor makes a difference is with ranged weapons to disrupt spellcasters. For example, hurling darts (speed factor 2) versus a heavy crossbow (speed factor 10) should make a difference that will show up in the game.

    There are several instances where speed factor matters, yours is one of the more common examples. I was simply saying that for backstabbing, speed factor is largely irrelevant outside of the cases I mentioned. But since we're dealing with a specialized case here (backstab), many things will have a different relevance than they would have in general combat.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    edited February 2013
    @Lord_Tansheron Thanks, I've always been curious about how this is actually implemented.

    The manual states:
    Personal Initiative Rounds

    In Baldur’s Gate, to allow for the real-time based combat and movement, each character and monster is on an independent personal initiative round, which is six seconds long. Within the personal initiative round, all of the rules of the AD&D game are used, including speed factors for weapons and casting time for spells. For higher-level characters who can attack more than once per round with a given weapon, the speed factor of the weapon determines when exactly in the six second round the attacks will occur.

    Speed Factor

    Speed factors are numbers between 1 and 10 indicating one-tenth and ten-tenths of a round respectively for a character that can attack once per round with a weapon.

  • billyjeanbillyjean Member Posts: 18
    nice thread :)

    I would strongly advise against short swords for bg1 because by the time you aquire the sword of backstabbing you have completed 99% of the game.


    SCARY_WIZARDEudaemonium
  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    Crit backstabs are the best, staff of striking all the way. It's actually really cheap to recharge the staff back to 25 charges, about 2500 GP iirc with 10 rep and 20 charisma so might as well put it to good use.

    With this approach a rogue can solo most dungeons going forward to scout for traps and then leading mobs back to the party but using each corner or bend for a backstab means that not many mobs actually see the party.

    I was a convert upon hitting the demon knight for backstabs from my 2 rogues totaling 80 or so damage making that fight a breeze, it's possible that I ended up chunking him.

    SCARY_WIZARD
  • RhymeRhyme Member Posts: 190
    Well sure, the sword of backstabbing comes late in the game. But there's a +2 short sword that you can get before you even set foot in the Nashkel mines. It's not like there's anything really spectacular about the +3 version (unless they changed it, and I didn't get the memo).

  • KaigenKaigen Member Posts: 1,567
    billyjean said:

    nice thread :)

    I would strongly advise against short swords for bg1 because by the time you aquire the sword of backstabbing you have completed 99% of the game.

    True. On the other hand, you can get a Short Sword +2 pretty early in the game, so it's not exactly a terrible choice, just not as awesome as some others.

    Oxford_Guy
  • FenghoangFenghoang Member Posts: 160
    edited February 2013
    billyjean said:

    nice thread :)

    I would strongly advise against short swords for bg1 because by the time you aquire the sword of backstabbing you have completed 99% of the game.


    Similar problem with Staves in BG2. Staff of the Ram is amazing, but it's fairly deep in Watcher's Keep (drops off the dragon on the 4th level IIRC). So you'll probably have trouble getting it early in the game - though it is possible. If you get it too late (like around ToB), then many of your enemies would be immune to backstab. You, also, can't upgrade it to +6 til halfway through ToB, and the alternative staff options are pretty meh in comparison to some of the other weapon types. The knockback is a little annoying, too, IMO. With that said, it's the best backstab weapon in the game and a solid DPS option.

    For BG1, Staff of Striking is easily the best backstabbing weapon, but like the others have mentioned, it has charges (25 I think?). Like @Wowo said, you can recharge it by selling it to a vendor and buying it back, but it doesn't really make sense from a RP/logical perspective and you might consider it a little cheesy. Like the Staff of the Ram, it's buried deep in the expansion dungeon (5th level of Durlag's Tower), so getting it early enough for it to matter might be a struggle.

    As far as Weapon Speed Factor goes, it's benefits are mostly marginal, but there is one notable advantage of having a fast weapon. In the case that you miss your backstab, you'll still have a little time before you become revealed. Within that time frame, you can run out of sight and restealth without being caught - especially if you have Boots of Speed.

    Honestly, if BG2 is in the equation, I'll probably stick with Longswords and Scimitars/Ninja-to/Wakizashi. Plenty of options, solid damage, and offhanding Belm/Scarlet Ninja-to is amazing for auto-attacking (you will out DPS Staff of the Ram if you have good strength). Drizzt's scimitars are the next best thing after Staff of Striking. Daggers are great for BG1 if you don't care about maximum possible backstab damage, because Dagger of Venom's poison would kill just about anything you don't instagib. Katana is a good option in BG2, as well.

  • FafnirFafnir Member Posts: 232
    Rhyme said:

    Well sure, the sword of backstabbing comes late in the game. But there's a +2 short sword that you can get before you even set foot in the Nashkel mines. It's not like there's anything really spectacular about the +3 version (unless they changed it, and I didn't get the memo).

    Varscona comes just as early as the Whistling Sword, but I suppose the difference is probably minimal in practice.

  • AranthysAranthys Member Posts: 721
    I recently did a solo run of a Berzerker 3 dualled to thief 9.
    I managed to get Grandmaster in staves.

    Using the +3 staff, at max level, my backstabs were doing an average of 60-70 damage at x4.

    Damage-wise, you get :
    1d6 + 3 from the staff
    +2 from your gloves
    +5 from your specialization (HUGE bonus, basically doubles your damage)
    +1 from the 2h specialisation.

    That's 1d6 + 11 getting multiplied.
    Then you have the strength bonus (That isn't multiplied, unfortunately)

    Average damage without strength damage is 58
    With some potions, and a lucky roll, I had crits for 150.

    I managed to get my unbuffed thaco down to about 5-6 or so, made the game a breeze with the boots of speed.

    Basically, I chunked pretty much every creature I fought.
    And I could still switch the +hide shadow thief studded leather I was using for a full plate and a +2 ring to get down to AC -7 when backstab wasn't the best available option.

    grisbossk
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,309
    One of my favorite character builds of all times has been a half-orc cleric-thief who wields the quarterstaff. With the half-orc's massive Strength and the cleric buffs the damage this guy doled out with Aule's staff +3 and eventually the Staff of Striking was really impressive. When I continued into BG2 with him (via BGT) then of course he eventually got the Staff of the Ram. By the end of the game (pretty much all of ToB? it's been so long) enemies were immune to backstab. But then I shifted the tactical focus over to spellcasting and melee, so it was still alright. (It's the same issue for any thief build.)

  • RhymeRhyme Member Posts: 190
    Fafnir said:


    Varscona comes just as early as the Whistling Sword, but I suppose the difference is probably minimal in practice.

    I wasn't necessarily advocating short swords as a weapon choice. Just refuting the idea that they aren't a valid option because the best one isn't available until late. Truth be told, the difference between the SS+2 and Varscona is probably greater than the difference between the SS+2 and the SS+3.

  • AHFAHF Member Posts: 1,376
    Why wouldn't you use the +2 longsword (with cold damage) over any of the short swords? I am not sure I follow the logic on that. I can get behind using the dagger of venom which incapacitates spellcasters but there isn't any such advantage for BG1 shortswords and the longsword is available before the mines so you have it for almost the entire game.

    FenghoangErg
  • TJ_HookerTJ_Hooker Member Posts: 2,438
    AHF said:

    Why wouldn't you use the +2 longsword (with cold damage) over any of the short swords? I am not sure I follow the logic on that. I can get behind using the dagger of venom which incapacitates spellcasters but there isn't any such advantage for BG1 shortswords and the longsword is available before the mines so you have it for almost the entire game.

    While the average damage of a shortsword +3 is the same as the average damage of a longsword +2 (ignoring the cold damage), the shortsword has a lower speed factor and, more importantly, a higher minimum damage, which can help avoid those frustrating backstabs where you do pitiful damage. That being said, I don't think the difference is that significant, and would maybe go with the longsword myself.

  • RhymeRhyme Member Posts: 190
    For some people, it's a RP thing. Short swords are more stabby than long swords (though I don't think short swords are really very stabby either, honestly).

    For others, it's because that long sword is more in demand by the other members of your party. Gotta spread those top end items around.

    TJ_HookerEudaemonium
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