So, diving right in after a few party rolling sessions, I am proceeding with the following party, which has now completed the Vale:
F/Cl half orc
F/D half elf
F/M/Cl half elf
The F/Cl, F/M/T and F/D are admittedly imports from two other earlier runs, and have about 20-40K xp each more than the others.
I have completed HoF with a level 1 party before, prior to IWDEE. Here are my observations.
1) now that Chromatic Orb doesn't stun undead, a mage's 1st lvl spells do not have a game-changing (or OP, if you choose) option.
2) A druid is still one's best bet for sustained spell damage, which is important against undead immune to normal weapons, especially in the absence of stun.
3) The web + free action tactic is more important than ever.
4) Running up to spellcasters through their entourage and hacking your way through still doesn't work.
5) Sorc's access to crowd control spells = party saviour.
6) Invisibility and tactics are friends.
7) Monster saves seem to be improved.
8) Zone of sweet air is a much-needed spell, since Stinking Cloud is so quick to cast.
9) I'm not impressed with the F/M/Cl so far.
10) Well, my level 8 monk gets crushed against spellcasters, so why don't I buff him up and use him to melee a single skeleton archer, he should be able to handle tha- ouch. Ouch. Crap, I guess I'm reloading...