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Ideal 4 Person Party

Below is the 4 person party I used on insane difficulty and Heart of Fury mode once I got a decent level. It is well balanced, except for a lack of thieving skills, which really doesn't matter much; simply tank or ignore the traps and use knock on anything locked. You can get to the 8 million experience cap with a party of four with one full play through (IWD + HOF), but you will have to do Heart of Fury mode for a good chunk of it. I would like to hear your thoughts on this or what you did for a smaller party.

Human Inquisitor - The true Wizard Slayer. The Inquisitor is so good at demolishing wizard, cleric, and thief defenses and elusiveness that it actually allows you to skip placing your sorcerer spell slots into breach, true sight, and other spells that are aimed at cutting down wizard defenses. Like all Paladins, the Inquisitor is also a balanced warrior that does well in both melee and ranged combat.

Human Berserker / Cleric - The ultimate melee warrior and tank, although the B/C takes a while to reach maximum potential, once fully dual-classed it's amazing how much punishment this guy can take. Cleric spells are so good in IWD compared to BG2 and allow you to get amazingly good defenses that far exceed the potential of any Barbarian or Dwarven Defender as well as great offense and saves. I dual - wielded him in morning star / flails.

Elf Archer - Pure DPS, basically a ranged form of the Kensai. Very few things in IWD require magical weapons to hit them (even the end boss), and if they do +2 is sufficient (undead), so you'll rarely be in a situation where you have to go into melee mode. The Archer also gets access to Druid spells. I focused on longbow for the extra attack per round.

Elf Sorcerer - Great for support, control, and damage...whatever you want. Be sure to get the level two Knock spell because you don't have a thief.

General Strategy:
Ranged attack is king. Summon fodder, send out your enraged B/C, and let the other party members pelt them from afar. Haste, and later Improved Haste is essential as it essentially doubles your physical DPS, general pre-combat buffing is also recommended for Heart of Fury mode.

For a party of three I would ditch the Inquisitor and just rely on the B/Cs and Mage's Dispel magic. You'll also probably want to pickup spell thrust, breach, and a few other similar spells with your sorcerer. Going Kensai / Mage instead of Sorcerer wouldn't be a bad idea either.


JuliusBorisov

Comments

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 18,897
    I would change the Inquisitor with a Blackguard. There're no many enemy casters in IWD. Stacking Poison in an Impoved Haste buff is simply overkill.

    Other choices are very powerful.

    Shikaokensaijackjack
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,094
    Sorcerer, Archer, B->C I'm totally on board with. Very useful, very powerful.

    Inquisitor, not so much. There are really only VERY few casters in IWD, and they are stupidly easy to keep locked down with your Archer since they lack any sort of SCS-style pre-buffs. There's also practically no invisible enemies, making the Inquisitor's True Sight all but useless. So, with Dispel and True Sight marginalized, all you're left with is a Paladin that can't cast cleric spells - which are VERY good in IWD.

    I would definitely go with a different kit of Paladin, either Blackguard as @bengoshi suggested, or, if you prefer to be good-aligned, Undead Hunter or Cavalier. That is, if you actually want to go with a paladin; personally I don't think that they are better than another Fighter->Cleric (Berserker or Kensai), largely because of the whopping 3/2 APR you gain from Grand Mastery in IWD, but also because of more/faster cleric spells.

    I tried a 4-person party on my first HoF playthrough as well, and it worked alright. But now that I've switched to 6 for my second, I'm pretty convinced that it's actually not optimal in IWD to go with 4 people (unlike BG, where I do believe smaller = better). There are some tremendously powerful buff effects you can stack, and since enemy HP don't scale with party size more members = more damage; enough more to offset the lower individual XP.

    JuliusBorisovAbel
  • QueegonQueegon Member Posts: 361
    I went with 6 into HoF, where two are standing outside of battle, so you could say it's just four adventurers (sharing XP).
    2 uber-tanks, 2 ranged, and 2 buffs that can go ranged in a pinch. Also EEKeeper. :)

    Barbarian
    Dwarven Defender/Cleric
    Archer crossbow
    Fighter/Assassin longbow
    Bard sling
    Skald shortbow

    Because stacking songs is amazing.

    jackjack
  • MrGoodkatMrGoodkat Member Posts: 167
    edited November 2014
    Here's mine:

    Half-Elf Cleric/Ranger: Takes care of all the priest stuff and can fight. Blunt weapons + TWF

    Elf Fighter/Thief: Takes care of all the thief stuff and can fight. Longswords + TWF

    Elf Archer: Kills everything. Longbows, gonna have GM crossbow too at some point.

    Elf Sorcerer: Casts Improved Haste on my archer so that he can kill even more stuff even faster.

    I'm on my first run with this party right now on 'Insane' difficulty, no HoF.

    How are you dealing with traps? Some of them are quite nasty.

  • jigglefloydjigglefloyd Member Posts: 21
    edited November 2014
    @‌Lord_Tansheron and @bengoshi

    I agree that the Inquisitor is the weakest link due to the shortage of spell casters in the game, but some of them are pretty difficult (e.g. Malevon, the 4 mages that protect Marketh) and in order to deal with them efficiently you'll need to get a lucky remove magic off or save anti-magic defense scrolls for these situations so you don't have to waste sorcerer spell slots on them, that would probably be smarter. I remember the last time I played this game and these mages gave me a hard time, this time I wiped these mages completely thanks to the Dispel Magic.

    I do agree though that the Blackguard would certainly offer more consistent benefit due to the aura of despair and poison, not to mention the priest spells that the Inquisitor has to sacrifice. Another Kensai Cleric or Berserker Cleric would be nice but I prefer diversity.

    @MrGoodkat - "How are you dealing with traps? Some of them are quite nasty."

    I usually just tank them like a man, but if you want to be smart about it cast the cleric spell Find Traps and summon fodder to trigger them. I never actually bothered with this, but I would imagine fodder can trigger the traps.

    @‌Lord_Tansheron

    I agree that a 6 person party is more efficient but I wanted more of a challenge and I tire of microing six characters sometimes. I was honestly thinking of just doing three but I figured that a lot of experience would go to waste if I did that. If I did do six I would most definitely throw in a Skald, swap the Inquisitor with a Blackguard, and for the 6th maybe throw in a Monk or Berserker Druid or Fighter / Thief of some kind.

  • SeldarSeldar Member Posts: 422
    edited November 2014
    I did with 3 guys

    One half-orc Fighter (level max at the end of HoW)
    One Half-orc dual-class Fighter/cleric to heal the group/buff
    One half-elf Fighter/thief/mage

    and that was the easiest party I ever done in Icewind Dale

  • MrGoodkatMrGoodkat Member Posts: 167



    @MrGoodkat - "How are you dealing with traps? Some of them are quite nasty."

    I usually just tank them like a man, but if you want to be smart about it cast the cleric spell Find Traps and summon fodder to trigger them. I never actually bothered with this, but I would imagine fodder can trigger the traps.

    Tanking them like a man usually kills you if we're talking about the same traps ;D And anything other than just detecting and removing them is usually too much of a fuzz for me. I also dislike tons of resting so I usually try to take as little damage as possible in fights.

    To each his own I guess ^^

  • FallenAasimonFallenAasimon Member Posts: 28
    Guys, what do you think of this party?

    - Elf Shadowdancer
    - Human Paladin (no kit)
    - Half-Elf Bard
    - Dwarf Priest of Lathander

    This is the party me and some friends are hopeful to run in case the multiplayer works.
    Also, how does a Priest of Lathander compare offensively to a Fighter/Cleric?



  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,399
    My ideal 4-member party is straight fighter, cleric, thief, and mage. But I don't think that's what you meant by "ideal".

    I think it's what IWD is balanced for, though.

    I'm currently running undead hunter, priest of Lathander, thief, and skald, but I'm thinking about restarting with actual pure classes, because the kits are taking away a lot of the challenge, especially the undead hunter combined with the skald.

    JuliusBorisov
  • jigglefloydjigglefloyd Member Posts: 21
    edited November 2014
    @MrGoodkat‌

    When you have a party of four you usually have to give up something. The thief honestly offers nothing but proficient physical combat and thief skills; backstabbing or sneak attacking is ok, but you'll only get off one or two per fight, which may last minutes. Regarding my build above, if I wanted a thief I could replace the Inquisitor or Blackguard with a Fighter/Thief of some kind. I could also remove the sorcerer for a mage / thief of some kind.

  • jigglefloydjigglefloyd Member Posts: 21

    Guys, what do you think of this party?

    - Elf Shadowdancer
    - Human Paladin (no kit)
    - Half-Elf Bard
    - Dwarf Priest of Lathander

    This is the party me and some friends are hopeful to run in case the multiplayer works.
    Also, how does a Priest of Lathander compare offensively to a Fighter/Cleric?


    A pure cleric cannot specialize let alone get grand mastery in any weapon which is what you lose if you go pure, but they're better at fighting than any other non-fighter class as they get access to Draw Upon Holy Might, Righteous Magic, and Holy Power. They also make very good tanks due to their heavy armor / shields proficiency and other caster only defensive buffs. Going Pure gives you fast spell progression but you get so much more if you get 9 levels of a Berserker or Kensai then switch over to cleric. Multi-class cleric is also better because you can at least get specialization and better base THAC0. Even a Cleric Thief or Cleric Mage would offer more than a pure cleric.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,399
    edited November 2014
    @FallenAasimon‌ , I love your party idea. It will handle the game on core rules just fine.

    As usual, there is a disconnect over the definition of "ideal party" between the "powergamers" and the "roleplayers".

    Both approaches are valid - just do what you find intriguing and fun.

    The main thing the pure cleric of Lathander would get over the multi-class fighter/cleric would be the Hold Undead spell plus a level or two higher Turn Undead ability, plus very rare castings of the Boon of Lathander to increase melee power for a very short time. If powergaming is your thing, then definitely the fighter-cleric is superior.

    Philhelm
  • jigglefloydjigglefloyd Member Posts: 21
    @BelgarathMTH‌

    I completely respect the roleplayer ideal. I have always been a power gamer but I usually mod my game so it's more difficult and play HoF mode whenever possible so it's actually a challenge.

  • Manveru123Manveru123 Member Posts: 52


    I tried a 4-person party on my first HoF playthrough as well, and it worked alright. But now that I've switched to 6 for my second, I'm pretty convinced that it's actually not optimal in IWD to go with 4 people (unlike BG, where I do believe smaller = better). There are some tremendously powerful buff effects you can stack, and since enemy HP don't scale with party size more members = more damage; enough more to offset the lower individual XP.

    Isn't the access to stronger spells faster (if for example you have a Sorc in a 4 man party) good enough reason to play with 4? I remember that in IWD2 it was generally better to stick to 4-man group in lvl1 HoF runs because of this (having some spells earlier was a godsend).

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    I found in IWD2 if you were good at using (or abusing) the DC system, you could very easily shut down most mobs via magic. A Cleric of Bane at high level's Mass Dominate was incredibly powerful. You can't easily make your spells harder to save against in 2nd Ed, and 1 Sorcerer can't deal enough damage via spells to matter in HoF. 6 Sorcerers sure could do damage, but that'd not be a fun run.

    For a pure tank, Dwarven Defender is pretty hard to scratch if equipped right. Cast Regenerate on him and he can tank any swarm without getting out of Barely Injured range. However, the F to C is probably almost as tough and much harder hitting. And a FM is perhaps literally not getting scratched due to buffs, but thats high management.

    A thief is nice though. Not sure if I'd wanna run without. Maybe dual out a swashie, the bonus' aren't bad, and your thief skills will be solid. If you replace the Inquisitor with a Swash to Mage, you can use speed weapons and Tensers to good effect. In the original party, he could DW Longswords of Action nobody else needs, and Righteous Wrath sets him to 5 apr. Not a bad utility character.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,094

    Isn't the access to stronger spells faster (if for example you have a Sorc in a 4 man party) good enough reason to play with 4?

    In my opinion, no. You're using the Sorcerer mainly for buffs anyway since spell damage isn't very efficient in HoF - and to get the most value out of buffs, you actually need people to make use of those buffs. I'd actually consider cutting a Sorcerer from a 4-person party, since they don't contribute enough damage in that scenario over another "proper" damage dealer. But they do shine in a 6-person party, when at least 4 other people get full value from the buffs.

    I can't say how things were in IWD2 as I've never played it. But it's safe to assume that things vary considerably between games, between BG and IWD there's also several wildly different strategies that work better in one vs. the other.

  • Manveru123Manveru123 Member Posts: 52
    Fair enough. It is a different D&D system after all.

  • billygreatbillygreat Member Posts: 66
    Fighter/mage/cleric
    Fighter/mage/cleric
    Fighter/mage/cleric
    Fighter/mage/thief

  • MrGoodkatMrGoodkat Member Posts: 167

    Fighter/mage/cleric
    Fighter/mage/cleric
    Fighter/mage/cleric
    Fighter/mage/thief

    Too little XP
    Too little XP
    Too little XP
    Too little XP

    Just kidding... =) Seriously though, I think F/M/Ts and F/M/Cs are best utilized in solo or duo runs.

    jackjack
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,094
    edited November 2014
    There really is no need for all that utility, not to mention that multiples mages is just asking for trouble with the dearth of scrolls to scribe (there's only one Improved Haste scroll in the entire game, for example, and that spell is 90% of why you want an arcane caster).

    If I really wanted to only take 4 people, I'd probably consider something like

    B7->C
    K9->C
    K9->M
    Archer

    You could swap the Kensais for Berserkers if you're not confident in your tanking, but in my experience it's not hard to keep mobs focused on the tank, and there is very little incidental damage that cares about AC. Not having a thief is annoying, but thief is more a convenience than a necessity anyway.

    It's also possible that a Blackguard could be used instead of the K9->C, I still need to test just how good it is.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859

    Fair enough. It is a different D&D system after all.

    Don't take everything he says as gospel @Manveru123‌ but its true 1 Sorcerer isn't going to be using AoE damage to do much. You need to use that as either your primary damage source, or leave it alone in HoF mode. Realisticly, you really can't do any strategy unless you go all out. Any dilution is where you get inefficient. AoE magic damage is far and away the most efficient way to fight mobs, provided you have multiple casters dropping big spells. Like 4 or 5. Bigger the mobs, the better spell damage gets, the less efficient damage dealers get. Caster parties probably will want to use summons vs lone powerhouse enemies. Try buffing those summons!

    Regarding Sorcerer Buffs in HoF, they are often single target. And they have not too many. Use a Sorcerer in a small party to lock down enemies. Chaos, Web, Hopelessness, etc are your bread and butter. Improved Haste and summons are nice too, but Clerics have nice buffs and little else to cast. Then again, Righteous Wrath is better the more it can affect, so tiny party makes Imp Haste more competetive.

    Running x3 FMC is silly, just run x3 FC duals. Much better.

  • B4nJ0B4nJ0 Member Posts: 92
    edited November 2014
    Even if not ideal, Im trying this party set up:

    Ber7>cleric
    ken13>druid
    f/m/t
    Sun monk

    Ken at 13 is painfull but she is a staff master so I wanted to Maximize atk/round and Ber/cleric is a must have.

    I went for fmt couz I wanted an utility ranged toon that can be able to go melee later on. If u dont mind losing thieving skIlls u can go ken9> mage (2 weapon fighting) or fighter 7>mage (longbow)

    Monk is just an esperiment since they are useless in bg saga but MAYBE they can do fine in a low magic game like iwd, also because u will miss improved haste for a long time w/out a sorc. He's an ok kiter and scouter at least.

    I have found that is very good to have 2 melee with long range (fist count as 2 hand weapon plus kensai is a staff user) couz u can fight in small places like np leaving the cleric tank the whole thing.

    Anyway 6 man parties are way better in Hof, imo at least ,)

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