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sorcerinsorcerin Member Posts: 58
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Post edited by sorcerin on
Abel

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  • grogersongrogerson Member Posts: 116
    I just finished a run on Insane HoF (note that HoF mode is *not* linked to the difficulty so an Easy HoF game is possible). I found I needed a mage, specifically for Time Stop, Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting, Death Cloud, Breach, Incendiary Cloud, Improved Haste and a few other powerful spells, especially in the expansions.

    Party makeup:
    Dwarven Defender
    Cleric of Lathander
    Sun Soul Monk
    Swashbuckler (thief)
    Stalker (ranger)
    Sorcerer

    A Dwarven Defender buffed with Improved Haste and Regeneration can plant himself with Defensive Stance and hold most enemies at bay while the rest of the party takes them out. And they have the HP of a barbarian with the chance of a 19 constitution at the very start without the armor or weapon limitations (four points in hammer and ax is invaluable).

    The Sorcerer may not have the number or diversity of spells of a mage, but he makes up for it in what he can cast. If he has six different fifth level spells he can cast, he can cast whichever fifth level spell he wants, not just what he has memorized.

    Bards are good back-up mages, can identify almost anything, and their songs are very powerful, especially regeneration and resistance to sound attacks. Avoid any kit that limits or removes their songs. Their ability to pick pockets frees up your thief to put more effort into other skills. I generally play with one in the party, but for beta-testing I was requested to run the party above.

    My recommendation is have a cleric, mage, thief and bard in the party with your front line fighters. You'll want two front liners in HoF mode.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    I'd suggest reconsidering dual class characters. At the end of the day you just have to ask how much time you want to spend endlessly hacking away at trash mobs. Anything that speeds it up will make the run more fun, or at least that's my theory.

    Grandmastery+kensei gives:
    +4 attack, +6 damage, +1 APR

    Vs whatever racial bonuses you can muster (mostly irrelevant - cleric duals get to 25 strength anyway, no other race has a big impact).

    There really is no contest.

    I'm going with:
    Kensei (9)/Cleric
    Kensei (9)/Druid
    Kensei (9)/Mage
    Swashbuckler (10)/Mage
    Priest of Lathander/Fighter
    Skald

    I don't think that there's quite enough fast/action weapons in the game to get everyone to 5 APR but it'll be close.

    Some questions/alternatives remain for me:
    - Assassin instead of the Swashbuckler
    - Cleric or fighter instead of Mage for the thief dual
    - Not sure when to dual the cleric
    - May dual the kensei/Mage at 13 due to a lack of APR weapons

    But overall I'm excited to see the party develop and already they are proving capable of mowing through enemies quite effectively.

    Wasted xp isn't an argument as anything over fighter 13 is a wasted level up and even 13 is a waste in most circumstances as you can get to the APR cap without it very easily. Having a higher level caster at any given point in the game on the other hand is preferable and this team gives that hopefully when it's needed.



    JuliusBorisov
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    HoF isn't nearly as difficult as people think, it very quickly becomes not a "can I beat this?" scenario but simply an exercise in efficiency, to get through those thousands of HP packs in a timely fashion.

    Personally, I've come to love the tank/spank style of fighting, as most monsters are very straightforward in their scripts and will just keep attacking the first thing they saw (if they can get to it). That means you can reliably concentrate incoming damage on your tank, which can be an actual character or summoned monsters (their HP scales up with HoF, except for Totemic Druid spirit beasts). Unlike BG2, there is very little incidental damage on the rest of your party, meaning you can actually maximize offensive capabilities and not worry too much about defenses on your damage dealers.

    There's also a number of very powerful buff spells available in IWD that you do not find in BG, namely the cleric prayers (Prayer, Recitation, Righteous Wrath of the Faithful) and the mage emotions (Emotion: Courage, Emotion: Hope). They really are quite incredible, so I highly recommend being able to cast both types. Note however that scrolls are at a premium in IWD and not readily available, so Sorcerers shoot up in value (particularly considering the high XP in HoF).

    For damage however, spells aren't that efficient. You only get good output on high enemy numbers - which you do find in IWD; but you are at a constant risk of running out of the actually efficient spells, and given that resting has a very high chance of ambush in IWD you quickly fall behind in output as a caster. I very much prefer weapon damage in the game, particularly crushing type damage as you constantly face skeletal undead that have piercing/missile resistance, and often slashing resistance as well.

    That being said, I also do like having an Archer around, if simply for the reason of completely trivializing any sort of spellcaster. Without SCS-style pre-buffs, you can literally stop enemy casters from ever getting off a single spell. Even bosses like Yxunomei can be completely locked down by a single Archer and never get to cast anything. Archers also do great damage on regular mobs, though the high incidence of piercing resistance can get a little annoying at times. Pick Long Bows by the way, as you're guaranteed to get a VERY good one fairly early in the game (Chapter 2).

    Lastly, with the high XP rewards in HoF you can definitely do a lot of dual-classing, or even multi-classing if you like, though Grand Mastery does give 3/2 APR in IWD (more than in BG) and multi-class fighters cannot reach that. That's also a reason not to dual at lvl 13, as the 1/2 APR you get at that level as a fighter is essentially wasted if you use a +1 APR weapon (and there are many in the game).

    My personal party is currently this:

    Berserker 7 -> Cleric (tank + buffs)
    Swashbuckler 6 -> Fighter (damage + traps/locks 100)
    Kensai 9 -> Cleric (damage + buffs)
    Archer (damage)
    Sorcerer (buffs/debuffs, CC/summons)
    Skald (singing buffs only, no actual attacking; occasional casting buff/debuff/CC)

    Abelcognoscentus
  • sorcerinsorcerin Member Posts: 58
    edited January 27
    .

    Post edited by sorcerin on
    Abel
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    edited November 2014
    sorcerin said:

    I get what you all are saying about dual-classing. I agree that dual-classing is optimal. For me, the issue is whether it is so optimal (over a similar multi-class) that the tedious downtime is worth the time investment.

    Keep in mind that with HoF XP you will regain levels VERY quickly. Like insanely quickly. My Swashbuckler 6->Fighter for example usually duals in the orc cave, and regains before Vale - that's BARELY into Chapter 1. Even the Berserker 7->Cleric regains very soon, and the only one lagging behind is the Kensai 9, but even that is easily done by around mid Dragon's Eye (Chapter 2). The downtime really is quite small in the grand scheme of things, and during a period where things are easy to deal with anyway.

    It's of course an ENTIRELY different matter in non-HoF games.
    sorcerin said:

    2. It seems like the Emotion and other similar buffs are the reason to have an arcane caster. Can't the bard cast these (I'm pretty sure the scrolls are available from Orrick) then go back to singing?

    The scrolls become available fairly late (after Dragon's Eye?), but in principle yes. For HoF I prefer a Sorcerer for the simple reason that the higher XP means your spells scale directly with XP, whereas scrolls scale with game progression - i.e. you do not get spells any faster in HoF with a scribing mage, because you don't get to the point where you find the scrolls any faster, even if you already have the required spell levels available.
    sorcerin said:

    Other points taken from this thread: Archer is almost mandatory, druid not necessary, skald trumps vanilla bard for damage output, ranger/cleric not more optimal than a fighter/cleric.

    I can agree with all of this :)

    Abel
  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,473
    So based on this post, i have seen people say they have played HoF mode and beaten it? ( and i mean all the way to the end) so my question is, how did you beat belhifet on HoF mode on insane? i can never get him down to injured, barely injured is the best i can do, now granted i did start with a team at level 1 in HoF mode, so i dont have the pleasure of having a well equiped team to start, but i was able to get through the whole game like that, and this really stumps me because i've been playing these games ever since they came out ( although this is the first time i ever attempted HoF mode and played the whole game on this setting, usually i just got bored of it and never got to chapter 2 on HoF )

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    Do you have all the good equipment from HoW etc.? It shouldn't be that hard of a fight when you're wielding +4 weapons and have high level spells etc.

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,473
    +2 weapons, (although one character has a +3 weapon) and i have written every spell found on the way there, including all the added SoA spells, and i am just getting rocked

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    You should have better weapons than +2, really. You can get +2 weapons by like Chapter 3, at the end of the game they should be significantly better.

    What is your XP value like?

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,473
    well the reasons why i kept the +2 weapons are because they give me AC bonuses and resistances against damage, and my experience is just under 3.9 million

    jackjack
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    I'm not sure about Bel's resitances, but you might not be able to even hit him with +2 weapons. Also, since damage seems to be the problem for you, perhaps you should focus more on that instead of defenses when choosing your weapons, and try to take care of protections via spells etc.

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,473
    well spells are a little hard to use against him, because as soon as the fight starts, all your buffs get dispelled, and the first spell he casts on you is remove magic, but yeah, i might need +3 weapons or higher to hit him, which kinda sucks because that makes missile ammo completely redundant against him

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    My advice would be to analyze the fight step by step and plan ahead. You know he'll dispel you, so you wait for that, then buff, etc. Without mods like SCS, most fights are fairly simply scripted and it's not that hard to figure out what is going to happen. Then it just becomes a matter of having the right answer available.

    Keep trying! I'm sure you can do it.

  • sorcerinsorcerin Member Posts: 58
    edited January 27
    .

    Post edited by sorcerin on
  • kensaikensai Member Posts: 228
    sarevok57 said:

    well spells are a little hard to use against him, because as soon as the fight starts, all your buffs get dispelled, and the first spell he casts on you is remove magic, but yeah, i might need +3 weapons or higher to hit him, which kinda sucks because that makes missile ammo completely redundant against him

    So, are you kill him? Did mission success? I just face him and this scripted dispell and then fear hurts a little. :D

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    sorcerin said:

    1. Can you explain why you dual your berserker at level 7 rather than level 9? (Level 9 would give extra +2 THAC0, better HP, and get you to GM before dualing, thus reducing the likelihood of screwing up the pips.)

    Clerics get a pip at 8, meaning you get GM exactly as you regain Berserker (which is the first time you can get GM in that dual anyway). That's also faster than you would be with a B9. B9 needs 250k XP, B7/C8 needs 174k total (64+110). The few extra HP are not as important as you think, considering my plan is AC-based tanking and not damage reduction. Having earlier/higher level cleric spells on the other hand is quite handy. The THAC0 difference is almost irrelevant, THAC0/AC progression is much more reasonable in IWD than it is in ToB, AND you get a truckload of THAC0-enhancing buffs you don't have in BG (plus you're at 25 STR easily, giving +7 THAC0 alone).
    sorcerin said:

    2. Also, why dual the Swashbuckler at level 6 instead of level 7, when you get evasion? (I get that traps + locks = 100 at level 6, but is evasion not worth the extra time in class?)

    I considered this, but I can't actually remember any time that Evasion would have done anything for me whatsoever. What effects are there that you actually encounter? Do you have an example? Casters are trivial to interrupt in IWD without SCS-style buffs, they never get a spell off with an Archer in the party. At best there's like 1 or 2 fights where Evasion MIGHT matter and then only like once or twice IF you manage to activate it. Sounds like a waste of XP to me, minute as though it may be.
    sorcerin said:

    3. I'm trying to work the weapon proficiency points math, and it seems very easy to waste points on weapons you won't use because of how dual-classing works.

    True. Something you just have to live with, I guess. There's not a whole lot of weapon switching going on though so let wasted pips be wasted what do you care. You'll still get quick GM and styles, and what do you really need more? No special tactic from me, just waste away and shrug it off.
    sorcerin said:

    4. It seems like many powerful weapons are not guaranteed to drop. You might get a flail +4 or a hammer +4. If I dual class and spend pips getting GM in flails, and the hammer +4 drops, didn't I just waste all those pips?

    Yes, you did. Which is why the random drop for different weapon types is horrible for powergaming. I usually just give myself whatever weapon I want to drop in the relevant spot and accept that as the price of optimization (could also chain reloads if you don't want to "cheat", but keep in mind loot is set when the area is first loaded so you'll have to reload from there and redo all the in-between bits; seems like a waste of time to me so I just EEK the stuff in). I just fundamentally disagree with the idea of making me proactively spend my pips in advance and then giving me some completely different weapon type randomly. Chance that you cannot properly game with is not my cup of tea (and the cost of keeping options open is simply too high in a 3/2 APR GM world).

  • jimmysdabestcopjimmysdabestcop Member Posts: 74
    I dualed my swashbuckler over at level 5 with the Thieving belt from first town he was 100 for Locks and Traps. Evasion at 7 isn't really needed almost no one will cast any spells to actually evade. Dual Wield Longswords. GM in longswords and Longbow, 3 pips in two weapons.

    Makes a strong fighter but basically only member who cant self buff. So sometimes that is annoying.

    I went with:
    Dwarven Defender
    Fighter 7 --- Cleric
    Fighter 7 --- Druid
    Swash 5 --- Fighter
    Elven Archer
    Sorcerer

    The Archer destroys things. Had the lowest Thaco and the most attacks per round quicker than anyone else. If only there was a quiver +1/+2 in the game he The Archer would probably be the best character by far.

    Really enjoyed the Dwarven Defender in HOF he basically is 100% resistant to everything. Normal mode I would probably go Berserker instead.

    Sorcerer because of Spell management is so much easier. And you can sell those scrolls early game which makes you earn money quicker than normal.

    enjoyed Druid/Cleric both have plenty of self and group buffs and the Druids summons are great in HOF.

    Think if I had to do it over I might go some kind Thief/Cleric for ultimate support character. And Kensai -- Mage. Mage basically just for self buffs. Then keep the rest.

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,473
    kensai said:

    sarevok57 said:

    well spells are a little hard to use against him, because as soon as the fight starts, all your buffs get dispelled, and the first spell he casts on you is remove magic, but yeah, i might need +3 weapons or higher to hit him, which kinda sucks because that makes missile ammo completely redundant against him

    So, are you kill him? Did mission success? I just face him and this scripted dispell and then fear hurts a little. :D
    I restarted my game and made a new team, only one person had a +3 weapon and you need +3 weapons to take him out (which is really dumb because that makes it so your missile weapons are useless, you not make it so you only need magical weapons and give him 90% missile resistance?) anyway, I turned off HoF mode for that round and im going to beat the whole game and then do HoF mode with an adequate team (even without HoF the last boss was still outrageously difficult, can't image how awful it is on HoF because the only way to take this clown out is cheese) and in all honesty I found HoF mode starting with a level 1 team kind of boring, it was fun in the start, but enemies having so many outrageous HP just drags it out waaaaaaaaay too much, but we will see what that is like once I have an appropriate team for the difficulty

  • sorcerinsorcerin Member Posts: 58
    edited January 27
    .

    Post edited by sorcerin on
    JuliusBorisov
  • kensaikensai Member Posts: 228
    edited November 2014
    sorcerin said:

    It seems to me that an Archer might be useless on the Belifet fight, due to lack of +3 arrows. (Not sure if white dragon has similar immunity.) Any way around this, or just put the archer on the golems?

    While I'm not an archer fan, and haven't one in my party, maybe this will help you:

    Does arrows of piercing work? They should be +4 Thac0 as description says, maybe they'll pierce his immunity?
    You can find them in watchtower in Lower Dorn's Deep.

    Also I can upload here a component from Spells Revisions, a revisioned Enchanted Weapon. As description says:
    "Enchanted Weapon - each and every type of +3 weapon can be created (including arrows, bolts and bullets) "
    Guess it makes a game easier for an archer.

    It's interesting to know, what happens if you cast protection from normal missiles on Belhifet. Spell doesn't protect against +1 arrows and higher, maybe it overlaps it's innate immunity?

  • jimmysdabestcopjimmysdabestcop Member Posts: 74
    Would Called Shot work? Not sure what his STR is but if you could drop it to zero he would die.

    jackjack
  • AudacesAudaces Member Posts: 56
    There's a lot of Arrows of Piercing in the Watchtower (around 200 if you're quick enough). They do work against Belhifet and in my normal run it was the archer that took him down. And it took about 5 rounds or so...

    jackjackAbel
  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    sarevok57 said:

    kensai said:

    sarevok57 said:

    well spells are a little hard to use against him, because as soon as the fight starts, all your buffs get dispelled, and the first spell he casts on you is remove magic, but yeah, i might need +3 weapons or higher to hit him, which kinda sucks because that makes missile ammo completely redundant against him

    So, are you kill him? Did mission success? I just face him and this scripted dispell and then fear hurts a little. :D
    I restarted my game and made a new team, only one person had a +3 weapon and you need +3 weapons to take him out (which is really dumb because that makes it so your missile weapons are useless, you not make it so you only need magical weapons and give him 90% missile resistance?) anyway, I turned off HoF mode for that round and im going to beat the whole game and then do HoF mode with an adequate team (even without HoF the last boss was still outrageously difficult, can't image how awful it is on HoF because the only way to take this clown out is cheese) and in all honesty I found HoF mode starting with a level 1 team kind of boring, it was fun in the start, but enemies having so many outrageous HP just drags it out waaaaaaaaay too much, but we will see what that is like once I have an appropriate team for the difficulty

    I considered this when designing my HoF level 1 party and settled on throwing out any ideas of theme and just stick pretty close to "optimal" within the parameters of my own enjoyment.

    Now, having 5 characters dual wielding with 8 to 10 APR means that, even with inflated HP, enemies really don't last long.

    In fact, I can be a bit lazy now and just roll with skald song, barkskin and entropic shield and move through levels at a very comfortable pace popping DUHM occasionally as party damage is just so high. Can go at least 8 turns without resting if I need to buff everyone, much longer if I don't buff as much.

  • grogersongrogerson Member Posts: 116
    I'll amend now what I said earlier about Insane/HoF mode and starting at first level. I've created a veteran party with one dualing to mage at the start. I've just reached Dragon's Eye with the mage leveling twice in
    Easthaven, twice in the orc caves, once in the Kuldahar Valley, Kuldahar itself, the Vale of Shadows, Kresselack's Tomb, and the Temple of the Forgotten God. That makes him 10th level before entering Dragon's Eye.

    I now believe it's possible to start characters on Insane/HoF, but the battles will be very unpleasant and tricky, especially when there's large numbers of enemies as happens twice in the orc caves and once in Kresselack's tomb. Leveling up won't be the problem, magical weapons to deal with the Shadows and Imbued Wights, weak clerical turning and healing ability and higher level spells for mages and bards will be.

    For those who like such a challenge, be my guest. I'll still with veterans.

    jackjack
  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    grogerson said:

    I'll amend now what I said earlier about Insane/HoF mode and starting at first level. I've created a veteran party with one dualing to mage at the start. I've just reached Dragon's Eye with the mage leveling twice in
    Easthaven, twice in the orc caves, once in the Kuldahar Valley, Kuldahar itself, the Vale of Shadows, Kresselack's Tomb, and the Temple of the Forgotten God. That makes him 10th level before entering Dragon's Eye.

    I now believe it's possible to start characters on Insane/HoF, but the battles will be very unpleasant and tricky, especially when there's large numbers of enemies as happens twice in the orc caves and once in Kresselack's tomb. Leveling up won't be the problem, magical weapons to deal with the Shadows and Imbued Wights, weak clerical turning and healing ability and higher level spells for mages and bards will be.

    For those who like such a challenge, be my guest. I'll still with veterans.

    I started with a pure cleric and by the time I got to those fights I already had animate dead and could just let the summons tank.

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