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Thief build/strategy help?

I'm about to enter a four player co-op run with three friends (no NPCs), and it looks like I'm going to be the thief.

I've never played a thief before, and I'm sure if I go into it blind I'll just play it as a second-rate fighter, so I was wondering if you folks could share some character building and strategy tips with me?

1) About how many points should I sink into Open Locks and Disarm Traps? (Instead of the fun stuff, I mean :D )
2) When combat cometh, how exactly does one play a thief to full effect?
3) Any builds in particular I should have my eye on? (I admit, I'm strongly tempted to roll a Halfling Shadow Dancer but I'm worried that after I won't have enough points left over to tangle with traps and locks.)
4) ... And any other advice you'd care to share?

Thanks.

Comments

  • vreishvreish Member Posts: 28
    edited August 2014
    Thanks to both of you. I've been crunching the skills based on your advice, and I'm no longer as concerned as I was. But would someone mind giving me a rundown on the rules for attacking from stealth? (Looked through the wikis, couldn't find it somehow.) The Shadow Dancer gets zero backstab for a long time, but there must be some other advantage for attacking out of the shadows, right? (I'm now mostly weighing the value of the Shadow Dancer's hide in plain sight versus the Assassin's amazing backstab.)

    EDIT: Oh, and if you have any opinion as to weapon prof. I'd love to hear that as well ... but that's a secondary thing for now, as it should depend on which kit I land on.

  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,472
    Well for successful backstabs your character needs to be hidden in shadows first of all. (In the text window a message appears eacht time you attempt to hide: 'Hide in shadows succeeded' or 'failed'.) In the second place you need to be behind your target to get the multiplied backstab damage. Frontal or lateral attacks may connect but won't do multiplied backstab damage. Thirdly, your target needs to be susceptible to backstab; a Stoneskinned mage won't be hurt by your backstab (though poison will eat through the Stoneskin very effectively).

    I thought that the latest patch gives the Shadowdancer a x2 damage at lower levels, like other Thieves, after which his backstab multiplier increases more slowly than that of plain Thieves, Assassins and Bounty Hunters. Either way at lower levels the benefit of Hide in Plain Sight isn't the amount of damage you can deal with each backstab, but rather the number of backstabs you can land one after another.

    As to weapon profs, all depends on what proficiencies your companions are going to take.
    If you could go Long Swords and claim the Varscona for your Assassin or Shadowdancer early that would be nice. If you can't get the Varscona sword (because one of your melee characters is already going to use it), you could go straight for Daggers, and try to get as much gold asap so that you can buy the wonderful Dagger of Venom. Your second weapon slot would have to be a ranged weapon. For an Assassin I'd say Darts: the only ranged weapon that gives three attacks per round, using your Poison Weapon on them them = mass destruction. For a Shadow Dancer you'd probably be best served with a Short Bow in terms of ranged damage output.
    Other options to consider sooner or later could be Short Swords for the Short Sword of Backstabbing, Single Weapon Style to double the odds of getting critical backstabs, and Clubs or Staves so that you have a blunt weapon as well to attack (and backstab) with. Blunt weapons are good because most enemies have little or no crushing resistance (unlike piercing/slashing resistances). Of the two Staves are better, but there are good clubs as well. (Should you go with Staves than you could consider placing a pip in Two Weapon Fighting at some point, to double your odds of critical backstabs with Staves.

    vreishJuliusBorisovAerakar
  • vreishvreish Member Posts: 28
    Thanks, I've got my character all mapped out up to level five now. You were a huge help.

  • SouthpawSouthpaw Member Posts: 2,026
    Basics/Skills
    - for BGEE, I was able to open most of the locks at around 65-70 % (helps if you are playing a kit that gets less points per level, don't need to invest 100%)
    - majority of traps are also around 75%, except the ones at the very end of the first game. If you plan on visiting Durlag's Tower, get 100%
    - be wary, that you don't need to raise your skill up to 100%. 90% is enough if you don't have points to spare. Why?
    1) Kiel's Buckler, attainable at the Friendly Arm Inn gives +1 Dexterity (=+5%)
    2) You will get the Dex tome in BG (another +5%)


    Since the multi-classes were quite covered already, I'd lay out simple tips for the kits
    NOTE: you can of course get a kitless Thief, but I'd advise against it.

    Assassin
    - get a bow and poison your arrows. you won't have much points to spare in BGEE, but once you get to hide in shadows at least a little bit, your fighting plan is:
    - backstab someone
    - run away and start pelting them with arrows. if wishing to, run around the corner, creep back and backstab again.
    - poison is your friend

    Bounty Hunter
    - works better for solo, unless you can coordinate your group to utilize traps.
    - scout ahead, set traps, lure your enemies into them, set traps and set some more traps.
    - apart from that, just use your bow. occasional backstab isn't bad, but not necessary.

    Swashbuckler
    - basically a fragile fighter at lower levels.
    - get long swords or scimitars and start with 2 pips in them + a buckler. when you get to 2 pips in two weapon fighting, you can grab another weapon.
    - an usable combo for starters would be using knives (normal for melee, throwing for ranged), but your damage will be even lower (1d4 for knives)
    - invest more into locks, traps and stealth. you will have most thieving points per level, so you will be arguably the best thief of the lot.
    - don't tank. try to use other things, amulets, wands, potions of flaming oil, traps...

    Shadow Dancer
    - hide in shadows
    - backstab
    - disappear or run and hide in shadows again
    - backstab
    ... (don't forget to invest in thieving skills)

    JLeeelementjackjackJuliusBorisov
  • ElrandirElrandir Member Posts: 1,664
    @Southpaw‌ You're thinking of Buckley's Buckler, which provides a +1 to CON. Kiel's Buckler is found in Durlag's Tower.

    As for weapon proficiencies, never underestimate the lowly dagger. I like to start my thieves with dagger and single weapon style. If you have 18 CHA then you can get a +1 dagger for 1 gp before leaving Candlekeep, and you've got your ranged weapon set too. Between throwing daggers and the vast number of effective melee daggers, you're technically set for the entire first game. Not to mention, the single weapon style will help keep you more defended for the early game when you're quite squishy.

    JuliusBorisov
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Daggers also have a nice dagger +2 early, also nice. The Dag of Ven is a beast, but better for a fighter.

    Halflings and Elves male excellent thieves in BG1, due to high dex and free points. The Elf gets that +1 to hit with swords and bows, very useful. Halflings just get the sling. :/ However, Halfers make superb fighter thieves, due to highdex and mega boni to thief skills.

    Another option for a combatative rogue, esp swashie is a halforc for 19 str. No backstab, but you'll be doing good damage every hit. An Elf swashbuckler is better with a bow though, and a better thief than a halforc.

    I wouldnt run a multi thief if you're the only thief in multiplayer, as you would want to BS with that guy.

    I would recommend an elf swashie bow user.

    JuliusBorisov
  • windspinwindspin Member Posts: 20
    In my single player run, with a party, I am using a Dwarven fighter/thief as my main character.

    Lockpick, Detect Traps, which they have a higher innate bonus for. As far as combat approach and gear though I am built very much like Kagain. In fact, the two dwarves are my front line. Heavy armor, helmet, large shields. I don't have a freaking clue why but my fighter/thief gets a couple of self-heals, as well. I couldn't say why - I am rather new. Thief innate?

    I am simply in love with this character. No backstabbing since he is helping to form a wall between the mobs and Dynaheir, who has a measley 12 HP. SCS snipers will punish me for any positioning errors.

    Enjoy your toons! Your friends will be glad that you go lockpicking and steal extra weapons, spell scrolls, and potions from houses! Also when you are knocking up a big joint like Beregost you are looking at an experience gain too.

    JuliusBorisov
  • SouthpawSouthpaw Member Posts: 2,026
    Elrandir said:

    @Southpaw‌ You're thinking of Buckley's Buckler, which provides a +1 to CON. Kiel's Buckler is found in Durlag's Tower.

    As for weapon proficiencies, never underestimate the lowly dagger. I like to start my thieves with dagger and single weapon style. If you have 18 CHA then you can get a +1 dagger for 1 gp before leaving Candlekeep, and you've got your ranged weapon set too. Between throwing daggers and the vast number of effective melee daggers, you're technically set for the entire first game. Not to mention, the single weapon style will help keep you more defended for the early game when you're quite squishy.

    Err...yes! Sorry, they somehow melted in my head.
    First the Buckley's Buckler for -1 to AC and +1 to Con (if you aren't power-gaming and already have Con at 16+) and then replace it with Kiel's Buckler.

    And yes again, dagger is good. Especially because it can be used for melee and for ranged too. Especially in BGEE.
    However, 1d4 is still less than 1d8 (Longswords or Scimitars) or even 1d10 (katanas, quarterstaffs. Even when I hate the idea of backstabbing with a 2m pole), there are no magical or at least poisoned throwing daggers in BGEE and you can get much better weapons that surpass the lowly dagger also quite early.
    That saying, for any other thief, Dagger is good for starters. For Swashbucklers - less so.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Much better than daggers early?? Dude, Dagger of Venom is WAY better than Varscona. Also, not many multiplayer parties will let a thief use Varscona. I agree the DoV excels for warriors with extra attacks, but its still a heck of a weapon. Nothing better that thieves can use pretty much. Poison via BS, then run away, hide and return to BS again. Poison slows folks down.

  • SouthpawSouthpaw Member Posts: 2,026
    Yes, Dagger of Venom is great. Especially for those pesky mages. Usually the best weapon for a Thief in BGEE.
    Except a Swashbuckler, but even he can use it with Potions of Invisibility to wear down any really tough opponent - it makes up for his non-existing back-stab.
    (I actually used this tactic to kill the dude with the annoying Arrows of Detonation in Undercity right before Sarevok WITH A BLOODY MONK!)

    jackjackElrandir
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