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Importance of items

TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 6,802
This discussion was created from comments split from: 12 Bandit ambush.

JuliusBorisov

Comments

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058

    @Tresset: very sweet info. Not only re avoiding the early 12 Bandit encounter but also because it is a fine story-element to add between Nashkel Mines and Bandit Camp while Imoen is gaining levels as a Mage. A bonus of 600GP at that point, when Robes of the Archmage are a prime objective, is always a good thing and it can be an interesting battle.

    Plus it really gets Kivan stoked in my campaigns.

    The Cloakwood ambush with Wyverns, Ettercaps and Spiders is much easier to survive with an early purchase of Wand of the Heavens from Ulgoth's Beard Inn.

    Robes of AM are about the last thing I purchase ... Just cast shield?

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,027
    I think it depends how often you rest. If you rest often, Shield lasts long enough and you don't miss a spell slot or two spent on it. If you rest only rarely, Shield's duration is too short to be up all the time, and the spell slot is valuable for additional castings of other spells (primarily Sleep), so persistent defenses like the Robes of the Archmagi become quite strong. Now, I'm not trying to say one way is better than the other, but the way people choose the play the game can have a big impact on what items are the most valuable.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    Jarrakul said:

    I think it depends how often you rest. If you rest often, Shield lasts long enough and you don't miss a spell slot or two spent on it. If you rest only rarely, Shield's duration is too short to be up all the time, and the spell slot is valuable for additional castings of other spells (primarily Sleep), so persistent defenses like the Robes of the Archmagi become quite strong. Now, I'm not trying to say one way is better than the other, but the way people choose the play the game can have a big impact on what items are the most valuable.

    I rest as little as possible unless I'm playing no-reload as I like to use all of my spells rather than just recycling the best ones.

    I still think good archmagi robes are the lowest priority expensive item around. Almost all of the time it is sufficient to simply keep the wizard at the back of the party out of harms way. In the instances that he does get attacked like in an ambush you can have a single use of shield though bracers of defense+evasive items will keep him safe anyway.

    If you compare the benefit of the AC for a character that shouldn't get attacked often anyway to buying an item like Dagger of Venom, Army Scythe or the Ring of Gaxx I just don't see any contest.

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,027
    Honestly, I'm generally inclined to agree with you. If your party has someone who can make good use of the Dagger of Venom or the Army Scythe, and if doesn't have a fighter/mage (the only mage character who can make good use of both the AC and the now-free bracer slot), the weapons are definitely better. But a lot of parties don't have a good use for the Army Scythe, and many parties don't have a great use for the Dagger of Venom (if giving it to a traps/locks thief is the best you can do, you're not getting the full potential out of it). So I can see why the Robes of the Archmagi would end up pretty high priority in many playthroughs.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    Jarrakul said:

    Honestly, I'm generally inclined to agree with you. If your party has someone who can make good use of the Dagger of Venom or the Army Scythe, and if doesn't have a fighter/mage (the only mage character who can make good use of both the AC and the now-free bracer slot), the weapons are definitely better. But a lot of parties don't have a good use for the Army Scythe, and many parties don't have a great use for the Dagger of Venom (if giving it to a traps/locks thief is the best you can do, you're not getting the full potential out of it). So I can see why the Robes of the Archmagi would end up pretty high priority in many playthroughs.

    Keep agreeing with me, it will make things better ;)

    Higher priority than what? Your reasoning seems to be that if there is no other expensive item to buy and you your protagonist is a specific class and alignment combination (as no NPC is a FM and there are neutral and evil robes available) then the robes are good to buy ... Which is perfectly true.

    The list of items that I'd prefer to buy first is quite long though and includes picks from Ulgoth's Beard, High Hedge, Beregost and even Nashkel.

    And thieves are incredibly powerful in BG1 and not just for locks and traps (what other class can kill Drizzt at level 1 in an efficient method?).

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,027
    Wowo said:

    Higher priority than what? Your reasoning seems to be that if there is no other expensive item to buy and you your protagonist is a specific class and alignment combination (as no NPC is a FM and there are neutral and evil robes available) then the robes are good to buy ... Which is perfectly true.

    Not quite. My argument is "or", not "and". If *either* you don't have a good use for a couple specific items, *or* your main character is a fighter/mage, it makes sense to prioritize the robes. Also, the findable neutral robes tend to take more effort than just buying them, so we're not only talking good-aligned characters here. Good point that evil F/Ms won't want to, though.
    The list of items that I'd prefer to buy first is quite long though and includes picks from Ulgoth's Beard, High Hedge, Beregost and even Nashkel.
    I'd be interested to see the list. Because honestly, I can't think of much other than the Dagger of Venom that a) adds a lot of utility to the party, and b) isn't more easily found than bought. Maybe the Shadow Armor? Even that seems about the same priority as the robes, unless you're running a fighter/thief. The Claw of Kazgaroth? The penalty to death saves and the fact that it's cursed means that it's a dangerous prospect to use in Cloakwood, and by the time you finish that you're generally rolling in money so it doesn't make much difference. Maybe if you're doing a ton of exploring before Cloakwood, it might be worth buying early.
    And thieves are incredibly powerful in BG1 and not just for locks and traps (what other class can kill Drizzt at level 1 in an efficient method?).
    You and I may have different definitions of "efficient", but that's not really my point. My point is that a thief focused on find traps and open locks (which may very well be the only thief a party has in BG1) makes poor use of the Dagger of Venom. A more stealth/backstab focused thief makes excellent use of it, but that's a specific build. I'll readily grant that a party with a stealth/backstab thief has good use for the Dagger of Venom, and should probably prioritize it over the robe (although probably not as much as a party with a dagger fighter, since the Dagger of Venom is powerful in direct proportion to the wielder's number of attacks with it).

  • lroumenlroumen Member Posts: 1,525
    Shar-Teel + dagger of venom + dualwield + potentially dualed to a thief is kind of what you mean right?

    I think to survive a bandit ambush one needs to run as fast as possible.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    Jarrakul said:

    Wowo said:

    Higher priority than what? Your reasoning seems to be that if there is no other expensive item to buy and you your protagonist is a specific class and alignment combination (as no NPC is a FM and there are neutral and evil robes available) then the robes are good to buy ... Which is perfectly true.

    Not quite. My argument is "or", not "and". If *either* you don't have a good use for a couple specific items, *or* your main character is a fighter/mage, it makes sense to prioritize the robes. Also, the findable neutral robes tend to take more effort than just buying them, so we're not only talking good-aligned characters here. Good point that evil F/Ms won't want to, though.
    The list of items that I'd prefer to buy first is quite long though and includes picks from Ulgoth's Beard, High Hedge, Beregost and even Nashkel.
    I'd be interested to see the list. Because honestly, I can't think of much other than the Dagger of Venom that a) adds a lot of utility to the party, and b) isn't more easily found than bought. Maybe the Shadow Armor? Even that seems about the same priority as the robes, unless you're running a fighter/thief. The Claw of Kazgaroth? The penalty to death saves and the fact that it's cursed means that it's a dangerous prospect to use in Cloakwood, and by the time you finish that you're generally rolling in money so it doesn't make much difference. Maybe if you're doing a ton of exploring before Cloakwood, it might be worth buying early.
    And thieves are incredibly powerful in BG1 and not just for locks and traps (what other class can kill Drizzt at level 1 in an efficient method?).
    You and I may have different definitions of "efficient", but that's not really my point. My point is that a thief focused on find traps and open locks (which may very well be the only thief a party has in BG1) makes poor use of the Dagger of Venom. A more stealth/backstab focused thief makes excellent use of it, but that's a specific build. I'll readily grant that a party with a stealth/backstab thief has good use for the Dagger of Venom, and should probably prioritize it over the robe (although probably not as much as a party with a dagger fighter, since the Dagger of Venom is powerful in direct proportion to the wielder's number of attacks with it).

    Claw - definitely, it's one of the best items in the game
    Shadow Armour - definitely, it let's a thief with 0 points in stealth, well, stealth (when combined with boots)
    Dagger of Venom - definitely, as above, any thief should be steal thing and backstabbing
    Army Scythe - should have someone with this as heaps of good ammo
    Large Shield +1 - (just to backup my mentioning of Nashkel)
    Wands - because win
    Greenstone Amulet
    Cloak of Displacement
    +3 Staff - don't always have someone that can use this but ...
    Amulet of Protection +1
    Composite Longbow +1
    Necklace of Fireballs
    Shield Amulet - perfect replacement for the robes in the short term

    Probably the only expensive item that the Rones trump for me is the Sandthief Ring.

    Perhaps it's a play style thing as well? 1 shield spell is plenty even though I only rarely rest as most of the time micromanagement and positioning is enough to keep the wizard out of harms way. In the event that he is targeted there are spells and consumables for those rare occurrences. A fighter/Mage for instance would usually stick to ranged weapons for most of BG1.

    Another thing to consider is that if you are a wizard protagonist you would generally be better off with a neutral or evil alignment to maximise the use of the familiar.

    Neutral Magi robe is pretty accessible with a wand of paralysation.


  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,027
    That is interesting, as I don't really bother buying most of those. I've said my views on the Claw, the Shadow Armor, the Dagger of Venom, and the Army Scythe (except to add that the Army Scythe isn't really something I deliberately try to make room for in my party composition, so it gets left out a lot). Other than that, I don't really put a high priority on any of those. Sometimes the composite longbow +1, but usually only if I have more than one longbow archer (the Longbow of Marksmanship is roughly as good). I don't mean to say that I don't think any of those are useful (especially the wands, which are of course amazing), but honestly I've never had a problem just looting what I need.

    I also don't really like killing non-hostile NPCs just because I want their loot. That seems problematic to me unless I'm playing a remarkably homicidal character, in which case (ironically) I'm probably just taking the robe from Daevorn. But honestly, even if I am playing evil, I'm pretty inclined to just buy it. Even with the wand of paralysis, the amount of money involved is insubstantial quite quickly.

    All in all, I honestly do find, quite often, that the Robes of the Archmagi are the most useful expensive item that isn't easily replaced by loot.

  • WowoWowo Member Posts: 2,058
    Jarrakul said:

    That is interesting, as I don't really bother buying most of those. I've said my views on the Claw, the Shadow Armor, the Dagger of Venom, and the Army Scythe (except to add that the Army Scythe isn't really something I deliberately try to make room for in my party composition, so it gets left out a lot). Other than that, I don't really put a high priority on any of those. Sometimes the composite longbow +1, but usually only if I have more than one longbow archer (the Longbow of Marksmanship is roughly as good). I don't mean to say that I don't think any of those are useful (especially the wands, which are of course amazing), but honestly I've never had a problem just looting what I need.

    I also don't really like killing non-hostile NPCs just because I want their loot. That seems problematic to me unless I'm playing a remarkably homicidal character, in which case (ironically) I'm probably just taking the robe from Daevorn. But honestly, even if I am playing evil, I'm pretty inclined to just buy it. Even with the wand of paralysis, the amount of money involved is insubstantial quite quickly.

    All in all, I honestly do find, quite often, that the Robes of the Archmagi are the most useful expensive item that isn't easily replaced by loot.

    Maybe if we are to continue the conversation in a constructive direction we need to look at the types of benefits that the items offer.

    The list above is a mixed bag but generally offer some combination of:
    - offensive power
    - bonus AC for front line fighters
    - missile defence
    - immunity or significant bonuses to disablers

    The AM robes on the other hand primarily offer AC for a character that shouldn't be attacked anyway.

    The 4 points above can make a massive difference to what encounters the party can complete or what encounters will drain significant resources.

    Consider that 12 Bandit Ambush. By the time you can afford the AM robes this encounter won't be a threat anymore but if instead the focus is on missile defense items like Cloak of Displacement, Claw and Shield Amulet then the encounter stops being a threat much sooner (especially when combined with looted items like Boots of Avoidance and Elfs Bane).

    Other encounters are similar. The sooner that you can take on the Sirines and Flesh Golems, Ankhegs or Durlags Tower the sooner that you get the powerful items associated with the encounters and the main determinant of a parties success in these encounters is some combination of the ability to take them down quickly, immunity to abilities and enough AC to tank their attacks.

    I'm sure that it would be easier to agree to disagree but where's the fun in that?

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,027
    Again, the problem isn't that I categorically disagree with you about what sorts of things are valuable. I do dislike the Claw of Kazgoroth when there are a lot of spiders/ettercaps/wyverns around, but that's about it. Otherwise, I agree that prioritizing things like offensive power and missile defense is more important than the AM robes. I just tend to find these things not-substantially-bolstered by throwing money at it. There's plenty of good items for offense, missile defense, and immunities just lying around. Yes, there are a few that I'll pick up from stores eventually, but there are enough lootable that it hardly becomes a priority in the early game. I've covered weapon use, but let's talk missile defense. Missile defense is really good against a lot of enemies. The thing is, though, if you're careful you don't usually need more than one character to tank the archers. Almost everything in the early game (and by the late game money is irrelevant) will need a 20 to hit that character with only minimal investment in missile defense. Investing further seems redundant.

    I will grant that the Greenstone Amulet is quite strong in certain encounters (particularly against sirines), although I'd hardly call it necessary, even for a no-reloads run. Still, I can understand why you might prioritize it.

    Now, with regards to encounters such as the 12 bandit ambush, I actually think situations like this are a prime example of when the robes are useful. Your mages are being targeted, and basically they just have to live long enough to fire off a disabler or a mirror image. Persistent AC that doesn't take a casting action is really helpful, here. Now, you note that this particular ambush tends to be pretty trivial by the time you can afford the AM robes, and I agree. The thing is, this particular encounter tends to be pretty trivial by the time you can afford anything at all. By the time you're 2nd or 3rd level, your mages are only likely to die in this encounter if they get crit in the first couple seconds. No item in the game can stop that from happening. And if you decide to take a stroll through basilisk territory (and from a powergaming prospective, why wouldn't you?), you will be 2nd or 3rd level before you have enough money for anything expensive.

  • lroumenlroumen Member Posts: 1,525
    edited April 2015
    I don't know about all of those items. Whereas they are useful, that is a huge wish list and soo many items drop that i rarely buy more than 2 of them. It's mostly fluff you don't really need anyway and I wouldn't know where to get that much good early game.

    From a role playing perspective it just makes a lot of sense to buy and carry a potion of invisibility. Maybe keep a potion of explosions in the pack as well (easy to encounter before you get the necklace or wand or scroll that do the same thing).

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