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[HoF Mode]Party setup...

...from the beginning. Never played this on the original IWD that i played with core rules.

Undead Hunter Long Sword and Single Weapon Style
Archer Longbow or Crossbow
Sorcerer since the lack of scroll for wizard
Beserker 7° --> Cleric X Dual Wield Flails/Morning Star
Fighter 7° --> Druid X Spear
Swashbuckler 6° --> Fighter X Dual Wield Long Sword since is way better than F/T multi and it covers 100 in OpenL and Traps. With let's say 4.000.000xp a Swash 6/Fighter 23 vs Fighter/Thief 16/19 has 9/2 apr vs 7/2 and a thaco with a normal weapon of -5/-3 vs 1/3 and 132hp vs 118hp

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Comments

  • Manveru123Manveru123 Member Posts: 52
    You're going to get destroyed with such a melee heavy group. Remember everything has tons of HP, deals a lot of damage and you're usually fighting against big groups.

    semiticgod
  • AbelAbel Member Posts: 740
    You need Clerics from start to summon Skelettons and you need two.
    I don't think it's a good idea to dual-class in IWD, but you'll tell us if it worked for you!

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161
    HoF is primarily about two things: tanking, and damage output. As @Manveru123‌ said, you will be facing HUGE packs of mobs with VERY high HP - I'm talking things like up to 20+ monsters with 200+ HP each.

    That means that you will need to think very hard about your damage output, and your damage mitigation. Obviously you can't just have hits flying left and right because that'll wear you down before the fight is over, so you need some sort of tanking and/or control. Your Berserker->Cleric should do fine there, Clerics have some very powerful buff spells both for themselves and the party to make tanking easier.

    The second part is damage output. You need to be able to deal enough damage if you don't want to get overwhelmed, and I believe that both the Paladin and the Sorcerer aren't too well suited for that. Paladins, unlike Fighters, do not get Grand Mastery, which in IWD is even better than in BG and comes with a whopping 3/2 APR (i.e. +1 APR over Paladins with their Specialization). Furthermore, the only compelling reason to actually roll a Paladin is Pale Justice, which you only get very late in the game - but the earlier parts actually tend to be more challenging, because you have less tools available to deal with things.
    The Sorcerer has a similar problem, and the added issue of spell damage being exceptionally bad in HoF. No surprise given that everything has literal tons of XP, and spells are bursty by nature (limited availability, 1/round cap). The buffs and debuffs a mage offers are good to have to be sure, but if you're going for just a buff machine maybe something like a Bard would be better suited, as they also come with a passive group buff (Skalds in particular come to mind).

    The spell problem also affects druids to an extent, as their spells are quite offensive in nature (pun!). They have some nice defensive buffs to be sure, but given the huge numbers of enemies Iron Skins (like Stoneskin) is worse than it is in BG.

    Archer is fine, it's one of my favorite classes. It's a bit annoying that sooooo many enemies have missile resistance in IWD, but even through that Archers deal a lot of damage. There's also a very, very good bow available fairly early in the game, though there is a noticeable lack of enchanted ammunition for the plethora of enemies that require magical weapons to hit (I hear there is a Quiver of Plenty+1 in HoW though). Still, having reliable, high ranged damage is a godsend in HoF, and one of the main reasons why enemy casters are a complete joke (much unlike BG, though in part thanks to SCS pre-buffs which we may eventually see in IWD also).

    I also quite like your Swashbuckler->Fighter. I did my first HoF with a F/T, and I really did not end up using anything other than Find Traps or Pick Locks (did pick the Rings of Free Action, but those can be done without fairly easily, or picked by a Bard or whatever). There are a lot of annoying traps in almost every dungeon, and the last thing you need while fighting is less room to maneuver. Having a thief is great, having one that also deals some extra damage is even better. I would consider dualing at 7 for Evasion though; while not amazingly useful it can be gained very cheaply given HoF XP.

    AbelKenjiShikao
  • VesimasVesimas Member Posts: 42
    Ok read all and i forgot that i need an healer at the start at the game :D Let's say that i'm not touching the Archer and the Swash/Fighter and i'm adding a Bard or Skald for buff with spell and song since i understand that is "useless" in HoF doing damage with spell, i have 3 spots left

    Beserker 7° dual to Druid
    Fighter/Cleric multi
    Dwarven Defender (for the undead hunter)

    or

    Totemic Druid
    Beserker 7° dual to Cleric
    Dwarven Defender (for the undead hunter)

    What do you think?

  • Manveru123Manveru123 Member Posts: 52
    @Lord_Tansheron You're underestimating Druids and Sorcs. These two classes work great together. I barely use any offensive spells in HoF (unless there's literally nothing else to do or I set up a huge AoE burst), but the buffs, debuffs and summons they provide are invaluable. My Bard is generally chilling in the back and singing, leaving most of the actual arcane spellcasting to the sorc (although being able to cast two Webs at the beginning of an encounter is very nice).

    @Vesimas I love Totemic Druid for HoF and I'll always strongly recommend him, so I'd take option two if I had to choose.

    RAM021
  • AbelAbel Member Posts: 740
    @Manveru123 Why would you recommend Druids? I don't see any amazing spells that would justify picking them over Clerics.
    I didn't think about the Totemic Druid summons in HoF. Immunity to Normal Weapons at level 10 is quite nice indeed.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161
    @Manveru123‌ The question is, at what point are you overloading on buffs/debuffs? Sure buffs are nice, but in the end, so is extra damage. You need less CC if you kill things more quickly, etc. Of course, there is no question that buffs and debuffs are valuable - just how much, and from where? I really, really dislike having people sit around and do nothing, and at least a Bard can sing while doing nothing, whereas a Sorc... pelts things with a sling for 5 damage every now and then? Not sure if like. It's not as though you stand there chain-casting, can't a Bard take care of the occasional Web, Glitterdust and whatnot?

  • KenjiKenji Member Posts: 249
    edited November 2014
    Having Sorcerers is actually better than having a mage in prologue and chapter 1 since the spells are fairly limited in the beginning.

    I started HoF mode with 6 level1 characters, it took a fair bit of kiting and I dual-classed my cleric earlier than usual but it was still doable. If you have done all the side quests and killed the goblins, your party members should reach level4 before entering the cave in prologue. (Even the dual-classed characters)

    Once you have Animate Dead from your cleric things turn from hard to easy, tbh. Sorcerers should take glitterdust as soon as its available. Otherwise, just use a character with high dexterity (my fighter dual thief in splintmail) and good AC to kite the monsters until your party members kill it with ranged weapons.

    The hardest part was in the orc cave where the first mob of orcs would jump on you soon as you aggress one of them. At the time my dual-classed cleric was not level5 and had no access to animate dead yet, so it took a fairly bit of kiting and glitterdusting/color-spraying as well as map transitioning (Make sure to have the squishiest characters go out first, not all at once, or the orcs will follow and immediately attack the nearest character) to get the job done.

    Well, that's how I approached prologue, things were easy afterwards even with my not-so-min/maxed party. I'm actually interested in what others have came up with.

    Shikao
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161
    @Kenji My strategies were fairly similar, lots of kiting (two ranged guys in my group, F/M and Archer), lots of using terrain to my advantage, including zoning in and out.

    Still, the caster issue I think remains. I'm not advocating Mage over Sorcerer as a single class, but rather F->M or F/M, i.e. a mage that can also deal proper physical damage as a means of sustained, efficient throughput. That's what I feel Sorcerers lack, despite their undeniable utility. It just feels to me that too much utility ends up inefficient, which is why I'm loath to have a "stand-around-doing-nothing" character.

  • AbelAbel Member Posts: 740
    edited November 2014
    I agree with you @Lord_Tansheron in general. But this is IWD, not BG hence why I think the Sorcerer gets more value there. Just think about a single spell: Improved Haste. You get it at level 12 and it basically says: take your Fighter and multiply it by 2.
    The only scroll for this spell is found
    on Edion, who is in HoW.

    Just an example that shows how versatile this class is in this particular setting. Yes, it's sad you can't warriorise it, but you get more summons, more debuffs! And the joy of waiting for that 30D6 Skull Trap! You can't refuse that :) !

  • Manveru123Manveru123 Member Posts: 52
    edited November 2014
    Abel said:

    @Manveru123 Why would you recommend Druids? I don't see any amazing spells that would justify picking them over Clerics.
    I didn't think about the Totemic Druid summons in HoF. Immunity to Normal Weapons at level 10 is quite nice indeed.

    Because Totemic Druid is awesome. Has summons from level 1, and those summons have additional abilities (snake has a very powerful poison which I managed to hit a skeleton with for some reason, wolf stuns etc). You mentioned the immunity yourself. And even excluding this special ability.. Animate Dead is cool, but so are Bombardier Beetles and elemental :) Honestly my only character with cleric spells is an Archer and I don't miss the actual cleric at all.

    @Lord_Tansheron Sorc always has something to do. If he's not casting buffs, debuffs or summons for some reason, that's the time to fling offensive spells. You will have a lot of spell casts quite early on so you literally never run out in a single battle. Not to mention that there's nothing I'd rather use in his spot honestly. Another melee? Nope, it's already crowded with two plus summons. It's not just about casting a Web and flinging rocks: sorc spams the spells all the time.

    RAM021
  • KenjiKenji Member Posts: 249
    edited November 2014
    @Lord_Tansheron‌
    I agree, sorcerers definitely lack the necessary sustained damage when compared to fighter dual mages. At this point it depends entirely on the players, whether to have access to spells fairly early in game or trade such utility for a better character throughout the duration of the game.

    All my characters are not completely min/maxed (not 18/18/18 on str/dex/con and 3 on charisma, that is) and I even had a bard in my playthrough. At the end of the day I just wanted to have a more challenging playthrough with weaker characters (while still good enough to be able to do the contents) since I'm sure the currently HoF mode is not as challenging as one would imagine.

    But yes, provided the player's party can get past the early phase of leveling, fighter dual mage is definitely a better choice over sorcerer.

    @Manveru123‌
    Thing is there are times when my sorcerer would run out of spells after a couple of skirmishes. Sure, I can always setup the party to rest, but there are times when physical damage is required (a cluster of wraith spiders in dragons eye, for one), one would hope a sorcerer could have done more than getting his spells resisted.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161

    You will have a lot of spell casts quite early on so you literally never run out in a single battle. Not to mention that there's nothing I'd rather use in his spot honestly. Another melee? Nope, it's already crowded with two plus summons. It's not just about casting a Web and flinging rocks: sorc spams the spells all the time.

    Ok this I just cannot believe. Fights can easily take several minutes, that's up to what, 30 rounds or so? How exactly do you not have downtime with a Sorcerer there? And what offensive spells actually have an impact on 200+ HP mobs? Those 5d4 Magic Missiles? Please. The 30d6 Skull Trap is basically the only type of spell that has a noticeable impact on mob HP, and that takes foreeeeever to get to.

    All that being said, the Improved Haste argument is VERY real. I thought I just got unlucky not finding it earlier, but it seems it really is in a most unfortunate location to be having a scroll-scribing mage around. Perhaps I do need to revisit the whole Sorcerer thing, and adjust party size upwards to compensate. Should buff the Skald I'm planning to take also...

  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    edited November 2014
    A Sorc's main job in HoF is casting buff/debuff spells long before they become available as scrolls.

    Damage spells are cute, but even Skull Trap deals a pathetic amount of damage compared to enemy HP until late, late game. On the other hand having Emotion: Courage in Chapter 1 (thanks to HoF's greatly increased XP gains) means all your Fighters are now doing +3 damage on each attack.

    Then when Emotion: Hope comes along, that's +5 damage total. For each attack your party makes.

    RAM021CrevsDaak
  • RAM021RAM021 Member Posts: 393

    You will have a lot of spell casts quite early on so you literally never run out in a single battle. Not to mention that there's nothing I'd rather use in his spot honestly. Another melee? Nope, it's already crowded with two plus summons. It's not just about casting a Web and flinging rocks: sorc spams the spells all the time.

    Ok this I just cannot believe. Fights can easily take several minutes, that's up to what, 30 rounds or so? How exactly do you not have downtime with a Sorcerer there? And what offensive spells actually have an impact on 200+ HP mobs? Those 5d4 Magic Missiles? Please. The 30d6 Skull Trap is basically the only type of spell that has a noticeable impact on mob HP, and that takes foreeeeever to get to.
    Whether you believe or not does not change the fact that it is what it is. Not every offensive spell need be damage dealing; indeed, debuffs and crowd control are the keys to HoF.

    As for the damage itself, asking what the point of 5d4 Magic Missiles are, is like wondering what a 1d8+10 longsword accomplishes... ALL damage is cumulative and thus ANY damage is worthwhile.

    AbelKloroxCrevsDaak
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,161
    RAM021 said:

    Whether you believe or not does not change the fact that it is what it is. Not every offensive spell need be damage dealing; indeed, debuffs and crowd control are the keys to HoF.

    As for the damage itself, asking what the point of 5d4 Magic Missiles are, is like wondering what a 1d8+10 longsword accomplishes... ALL damage is cumulative and thus ANY damage is worthwhile.

    Ok let me ask in another way: how do you substantiate your claim of "spamming spells all the time" when the fight has more rounds than you have spells in your repertoire, and that's assuming all your spells actually have a use all the time and you don't end up with a level you can't use up reasonably.

    As for the MM, sure, all damage is worthwhile. No denying that. The question, however, is a very different one: if the Sorcerer, given the low damage potential, is in itself worthwhile. And then all of a sudden it's 1 MM per round versus that 1d8 long sword multiple times per round and all day every day until the end of time. Don't run out of weapon swings. Do run out of spells.

    And yes I do realize that there are lots of buffs and debuffs. That just brings me back to my original question of when the cutoff point is reached for buffs, i.e. beyond which points more buffs are not as effective as more actual damage output (made-up example to illustrate: +1 damage buff to 5 party members vs. a different party member that deals 6 damage = net +1 foregoing the buff).

    Abel
  • RAM021RAM021 Member Posts: 393
    First since it is not my claim, it seems disingenuous to request me to substantiate it especially given that you have not done anything other than state that combat can take 30 rounds...

    Nevertheless, a Sorc10 would be roughly sufficient to do so with 26 spell slots of various powers up to and including 5th. Not every spell will be accomplished in a single round due to cast times and the requirements of positioning.

    You did not deny it, you merely dismissed the damage as irrelevant. Sure, a lone Magic Missile is not so impressive compared to multiple sword swings, but by the time that sword is swung multiple times per round (we will take that to be greater than 1.5 APR) there is also more than 1 missile. Of course, let us not forget that there would obviously be other more damaging spells to use in this comparison by then as well. Finally, providing you have enough spells to make it through the combat, then it really does not matter - and 30 rounds was your number.

    The original assertion indicates that more than two melees is a crowd. As such the implication seems to be that over buffing is a consideration which is why there exists crowd control, summoning and debuffing spells as well. Once all of those are also cast, then the Sorc could switch to pure damage. Rest & repeat.

    Abel
  • Ancalagon44Ancalagon44 Member Posts: 252
    The thing is, when you factor in buffs, you aren't talking about +1 or +2 damage, but, at high levels, often double or triple damage. Remember, another very important part of buffs is avoiding taking damage. No point in having a party that can dish out the damage if they are dead in HoF mode in 5 seconds flat.

    A lot of the best buffs are self cast only, such as Stoneskin, Mirror Image, Armor of Faith and Entropy Shield. With dual classing and multi classing, you get a warrior that is 90% as effective as a pure class warrior, but also brings buffing, healing and debuffing to the table. I make as many of my characters spellcasters as possible.

    Heck, there is one spell that literally doubles the damage output of whoever it is cast on - Improved Haste. Double the attacks per round and I think it gives you an AC bonus too. Add to that +5 to damage from Emotion: Hope and Emotion: Courage, plus Draw Upon Holy Might, plus Righteous Magic, and you have killing machines.

    There is just no way that a party of 6 fighters could compete in damage output and survivability with a party of dual and multiclassed fighters and spellcasters.

    Abel
  • B4nJ0B4nJ0 Member Posts: 93
    edited November 2014
    Ok for my 1st HoF run (atm at around 2m exp for pc) I tried the following:

    F/C half orc - morning star, maces - Dual and s/s
    Bers9>Cleric -War hammer - Dual
    Ken9>Druid - Daggers - Dual
    Assa7>Fighter - Crossbow and shortbow
    Archer Elf - longbow
    Sorc Elf - Fling

    F/C: For my 1st run I didn't want to reroll any character mid way, so I went for 1 multi to have heals lvl 1.

    K/D: this is an experiment since I would like to try it in BG2 has well with spell rework, too bad both scimitars and clubs are horrible in IWD but I hope to make it works no matter what.

    A/F: I wanted a 2nd ranged and the utility for disarm/find traps. Assassins Still gain +1Thaco/dmg with ranged plus poison.

    Sorc: This is the slop, IMO, of the group. Pure utility is meh but this little girl had all the buffs in early/mid game to make things easier.

    Bards will be better buffer in the end (same buffs but better lvl progress and song) and f/m will do from little to good dps (k/m or ranged f/m) but the run will be way more painfull midgame.


    As I said, in my 1st run I choiced to never change any person that I had from the beginning BUT I'm thinking that the best idea for HoF can be to make a party with 3 duals and 1 archer, plus 2 supports for early / midgame (multi f/c and sorc). When you regain your lvls just create two new people to add in the mix over the supports and you can go for the optimal party, since the 1.5m exp gap will be very easy to mitigate due to the insane exp income of HoF, requiring minimal sitting has well.


    Given the swap when the 2 lvl 9 dual classed would have regained the lvl, I'm quite corious to try out the following (and I'm quite sure it will be my 2nd run set up)

    Bers9>C War hammer - Dual and s/s
    Bers9>C Morning Star - Dual and s/s OR F/C if you don't want to change any person mid run
    Ken9>D Daggers - Dual
    Ken9>M Long Swords - Dual
    Ass7>F Crossbows and Shortbows
    Archer Longbow

    Anyway, quite happy with my set up so far!


    Edit: on the set up, I think that @Lord_Tansheron philosophy is right. HoF is way more easy if you can optimize the Damage output. My party is still sub optimal: missing those sweet longswords of + atk since no one can use them, I got 1 pure utility toon in the form of sorc and 1 dual classed that will never have GM... but the duals and the archer are shining and making the game quite fast no matter what.

    DPS is the way to go, not mass summoning. In fact I used summon basically only vs goblins couz I was still low lvl and naked, vs scarabs and has a "wall" while resting in corners inside dng.


    ps: assa7>F can also cover 95disarm/95find thx to the dex buff from mage (up to 20dex) and the magical belt with 10/5 bonus from the shop ;)

    Post edited by B4nJ0 on
  • AbelAbel Member Posts: 740
    It looks solid. A bit similar to the party I want to go with:

    Cleric/Ranger
    Berserker(7)>Cleric
    Fighter/Mage/Thief (I don't want to dual/bi-class Mage or Thief)
    Sorcerer
    Archer
    Skald

    I'm still hesitating about shields. Maybe the C/R will wear one even if it means not using the base '2 Weapons' proficiency.
    I think they will all be Neutral Good for Righteous Wrath of the Faithful.
    I don't think I'll make a Gnomish F/M/T since both Abjuration and Necromancy spells wouldn't be available.
    I'd given a try to Druid but it comes 7th.
    IWD can accommodate two Mages at best, so I'm good with one and a half (Bard).

  • Manveru123Manveru123 Member Posts: 52
    Mass summoning is only for tanking, not damage output. Your characters don't do any dps when they're dead.

    RAM021jackjack
  • B4nJ0B4nJ0 Member Posts: 93
    edited November 2014
    That's true and sometimes you have to go for it, but they damage you has well since even in this 3 men melee set up some of this guys went afk if I summoned. Just what I wanted to say is that I don't see the point to have a man that focus into summoning if lvl 3 evoke ud is just godly for that use.. Aka Totemic Druid is an horrible idea overall IMO

  • Manveru123Manveru123 Member Posts: 52
    You don't "focus" a character into summoning, you simply give your caster summoning spells. There is nothing stopping you from giving that character other spells too, you're actually supposed to do so ;p Spirit beasts and elemental have innate free action, meaning they can dance in the Web while you safely dispatch the enemies. Makes this easy the moment you get your rings of free action from Kuldahar.

    RAM021jackjack
  • VesimasVesimas Member Posts: 42
    edited November 2014
    Ok almost decide the setup. I think i'm going to try this:

    Archer
    Sorceror
    Swash 6°/Fighter
    Beserker 7°/Druid
    Fighter/Cleric

    I think the sixth member will be a Bard, trying to decide if a normal Bard or a Skald


    EDIT: during the normal game at what level do you suggest to interrupt the campaign to do HoW and TotL?

    Post edited by Vesimas on
  • B4nJ0B4nJ0 Member Posts: 93
    edited November 2014
    About the Bers>Dudu Imo you can dual it at 9 for GM, Druids regain levels way faster then a cleric. I dualed both the kendudu and the bercleric at the same time (9).

    Cleric was a bit of pain to relevel but the druid, instead, just needed 125k exp and that's nothing in HoF giving her a lot of time to shine due to GM+Kensai lvls ;)

    ps: I would not suggest a Bard AND a sorcerer due to very LOW damage output.Has a true "support" I'm still unsure what is better between F/M/T, Sorc or Bard but 2 of them is a waste of damage. Also if you want to go the bard way go for skald since you will want the damage song over anything else.

    Btw sorc 1st run is the way to go. The main problem with spellcaster is that you will gain lvls too fast in a contest w/out any scroll to learn. Sorc will be a 0 damage toon but will make early/midgame way more easy making him a perfect choice while you learn how to play the HoF mode.

    edit: Swash/figher will be melee or ranged or both?

  • VesimasVesimas Member Posts: 42
    edited November 2014
    Swash/Fighter will dual wield long sword

    Edit: forgot about the levelling of the druid so maybe it's better to do a Kensai 9 --> Druid

  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    edited November 2014
    Is there are a reason you're not going for Swash 7 to take advantage of the Evasion Thief ability?

    Also Fighter/Druids gain Grand Mastery at Druid Level 8 if you don't dual them at 9.

    Fighter 1, 2 pips in one weapon
    Fighter 3, 3 pips in one weapon
    Fighter 7, 4 pips in one weapon
    Dual to Druid
    Druid 8, Fighter reactivates, Druid gets 1 proficiency, 5 pips in one weapon


    So there's really no point other than minor HP bonuses to dual at 9.

    RAM021jackjack
  • VesimasVesimas Member Posts: 42
    I'm near the end :D I created 5pc, still need to decide the last one.

    Kensai 7/Druid with spear and 2h weapon style (18/74 13 16 10 17 17)
    Swash 7/Fighter with long sword and 2 weapon style ( 18 18 18 10 13 10 )
    Fighter/Cleric with flail and 2 weapon style (19 15 19 10 16 10)
    Archer with longbow/crossbow (14 19 17 10 18 15)
    Sorcerer (10 19 16 16 12 15)

  • luskanluskan Member Posts: 269
    Kensai/Druid with 13 Dex is really going to hurt. I know rolling for a Druid dual is painful, but you need all of the early A/C you can get. You can always lower Int if need be.

    I build my sorcs with 18 Wis for the Wish spells. Take it from Int.

    RAM021Abel
  • ZyzzogetonZyzzogeton Member Posts: 526
    edited November 2014
    Liberally use summons in the early game. The AI in the game is very exploitable.

    I had a F/T with no armor melee during Chapter 1 because I was too lazy to buy studded leather armor and forgot to put on platemail back on after trap duty and opening locks.

    It never got hit because enemies were all concerned with the stuff my F/C summoned with Animate Dead. If I saw an enemy target my F/T or a summon beside it about to die I just had it run back wait a few seconds for the enemy to retarget to a summon then send the F/T back in.

    RAM021
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