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  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    FrdNwsm said:

    Damage done is almost comparable also

    Yeah, well, no. Just no. The static damage modifier, let alone the THAC0 bonus, makes Kensai deal more damage by a SIGNIFICANT margin. Heck, people choose Kensai to dual at lower levels just for a few measly extra points, and that only goes completely out of control if you stay pure and get to higher levels. Also: Kai.

    That being said it is absolutely an understandable argument to opt for Berserk protections over damage. I personally prefer the steamroller approach of kill-first-don't-bother-asking-questions, but that is just that: a personal preference.

    procco
  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    I'm not sure the THAC0 bonuses make much different at TOB levels, but the damage bonus does put the kensai ~9 points per hit above the berserker at level cap (keeping in mind that the kensai can't use gauntlets of weapon expertise). That's quite a lot. At the endgame, I absolutely agree that the choice is basically between kensai damage and berserker immunities.

    On the other hand, that's at the end of the saga. In the beginning, the berserker meets or exceeds the kensai's damage, and has armor class, crit immunity, and ranged weapons that don't weight a ton over the kensai. So I'd argue the berserker wins out over the saga as a whole, and the kensai merely catches up towards the end.

    On the third hand, the kensai is particularly awesome. That counts for more than people often give credit for.

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    edited July 2015
    Jarrakul said:

    I'm not sure the THAC0 bonuses make much different at TOB levels. At the endgame, I absolutely agree that the choice is basically between kensai damage and berserker immunities....

    In the beginning, the berserker meets or exceeds the kensai's damage, and has armor class, crit immunity, ... So I'd argue the berserker wins out over the saga as a whole, and the kensai merely catches up towards the end.

    On the third hand, the kensai is particularly awesome. That counts for more than people often give credit for.



    Well, I'm looking at it from the standpoint of starting from scratch in BG1, so yes, I agree with you. Or is it you agree with me? Whatever. Also, right now, when berserk my THACO is -15. That's with "only" a +4 weapon and unmodifed strength; well, ok, natural strength is 20 but still ... I could raise it higher with fire giant strength potion bounuses and a +6 weapon. What point becomes overkill? Isn't -20 the maximum you can get?

    Post edited by FrdNwsm on
  • ArunsunArunsun Member Posts: 1,583
    As a level 21 Kensai which is the level when you get your second HLA and another +1 to hit damage etc... as kensai, you will deal an additionnal 7damage per attack, meaning that if you use whirlwind or greater whirlwind, you will deal an additionnal 70 damage compared to a berserker (let s say 50 if the berserker is using rage)

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    edited July 2015
    Arunsun said:

    As a level 21 Kensai which is the level when you get your second HLA and another +1 to hit damage etc... as kensai, you will deal an additionnal 7damage per attack, meaning that if you use whirlwind or greater whirlwind, you will deal an additionnal 70 damage compared to a berserker (let s say 50 if the berserker is using rage)


    Ah; that's an interesting way of illustrating the difference. I didn't consider an extra 6 or 7 damage per attack to be meaningful, but mutliplying it by 10 via whirlwind certainly does make it seem significant. And of course I am always using rage; I'm up to 7x a day now. What can I say? MC has anger management problems. :smiley:

    Mind you, there is still the problem of getting to that lofty position. "Between the opening and the end game, the Gods have placed the middle game." A quote originally referring to chess, but also appropriate here.

    Post edited by FrdNwsm on
  • YannirYannir Member Posts: 595
    The difference between kensai and berserker is mostly a difference in play-style, so it's pointless to argue over which one is better. It's also wrong to say that one is simply better than the other. Kensai beats with damage, but the berserker is a better defender. That makes their roles in the party a bit different. Kensai is not meant to be "a tank", but a damage dealer.

    PS. The kensai in my picture is wielding a single one-handed weapon. I opted for a bit of defense since they can't use shields either. Having a two-hander or 2 one-handed weapons would increase the damage further.

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    edited July 2015
    "Kensai beats with damage, but the berserker is a better defender"

    Which, right there, is a very odd sounding statement. One does not associate the classical Norse berserker ("bare sark") with defense :wink:

    YannirJarrakul
  • YannirYannir Member Posts: 595
    @FrdNwsm Yeah, I think so too. I actually think berserkers should have some armor limitations in the same way as barbarians do. Rage should also be tied to level in the same way DUHM is. Therefore, it would increase AC by improving DEX.

    Kensais should also be able to use light armor. I mean, they are a warrior, they would know that not wearing any armor is a remarkably stupid thing to do. Especially not wearing a helmet. To balance the class, they should have the same HP progression as thieves do.

  • ArunsunArunsun Member Posts: 1,583
    Yeah I ve always found this total armor restriction not to be that smart, even roleplay-wise
    I mean, ok they need to move quickly, but a leather armor would let them do that just as well as their clothes

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    edited July 2015
    The idea behind the Kensai is a sort of warrior ascetic, someone intent on becoming one with their weapon to the greatest degree possible. As such, they allow nothing to come between them and their weapon, including armor and gloves; to them, it is more of a hindrance than a benefit.

    This would imply that they use their weapon as well as their unencumbered agility to defend themselves, dodging and parrying gracefully as they spin slaughter and dance death - which would, by all logic, imply a fantastically low AC because they don't get hit.

    However, the core issue here is that AC in D&D is a gross misrepresentation by its very conception. You do not wear armor so you don't get hit, you wear it BECAUSE you get hit, to mitigate the damage. It would follow that high AC would reduce incoming damage, however in D&D's logic it translates simply to not getting hit AT ALL the more AC you pile up - which is exactly the opposite of what would happen to someone stacking armor upon armor in real life, slowing and weighing them down.

    It's just another example of a cool RP concept that translates poorly into the D&D rules. But it's the rules and mechanics that are to blame, not the concept of the Kensai. Considering there are many fantastic feats achievable in the world of D&D, having a fighter so skilled they dive in and through a hailstorm of blades is not too far-fetched - but them getting hit considerably more than a walking colossus of steel plate three times their weight sort of is.

    YannirJarrakul
  • YannirYannir Member Posts: 595
    Unless you think of AC as reducing hits to the body. That way, if you get hit to your armor and no damage is incurred, you're not hit per se.

    A common mistake people make is thinking of Kensai as a D&D-version of samurai. It isn't that. Kensai is more like a shaolin monk. If you wanted to make a samurai, a paladin wielding a katana is a lot closer.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    Yannir said:

    Unless you think of AC as reducing hits to the body. That way, if you get hit to your armor and no damage is incurred, you're not hit per se.

    But that isn't at all how armor works. It prevents LETHAL hits, and it MITIGATES damage - it doesn't just negate it. Have you ever been hit by something while wearing plate armor? It still hurts, it still bruises, it still slows you down and can even injure you somewhat. It's not AT ALL you strolling into battle and shrugging off anything and everything as though you never got hit. That is a gross misrepresentation, and that's not even going into the whole encumbrance/slow-down thing.

  • YannirYannir Member Posts: 595
    Those bruises and injuries are what Hit Points are for. Armor also induces the chance for glancing blows. Ofc it hurts if you stand still and somebody hits you squarely in the chest or arm. When you move around, facing an opponent, it's uncommon that your opponent hits you with the right angle and appropriate force.

    PS. We're seriously veering away from the topic here.

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    Yannir said:

    Those bruises and injuries are what Hit Points are for.

    But that is EXACTLY my point. Armor should MITIGATE, not negate - with good AC, a lethal hit would turn into just a few HP lost, the fewer the better the AC. However that is not the case, as AC negates any and all effects of a hit as though nothing whatsoever happened; which is exactly how a Kensai would be expected to fight, avoiding or deflecting blows through skill and agility. By that logic, a Kensai should be harder to hit with attacks (meaning better AC) though you could say that if they do get hit, they would take more damage, which also explains the no-helmet thing as a critical hit is supposed to be devastating against a lightly/non-armored opponent.

    But yeah you're right, this isn't what this thread is about. Let's leave it at that so we don't derail to infinity.

  • YannirYannir Member Posts: 595
    @Lord_Tansheron I'm glad we could resolve this with an agreement.. :wink:

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    Heh, I also play in a live MMORPG; there we do have something similar to what you are mentioning. Warrior types specialize in heavy armor, which doesn't stop you from getting hit, but does reduce the damage rank of the impact. Death by attrition rather than a single devastating hit. Damage also depends on the weapon you get hit with; daggers bounce off full plate while heavy hammer type weapons can give you a pounding. At the opposite end of the spectrum are our monks, who wear no armor. The difference is a skill called "dodge" which measures exactly that; how well you can avoid blows. Monks can train extensively in that while warriors can't.

    However, I also want to get back to actual training questions for ToB. I can train in a new HLA, and am wondering about getting power strike and critical hit, vs more greater whirlwinds. GW certainly seems effective; how would guaranteed critical hits compare? Assume I will have improved haste in effect, since I have items that give me this 3x a day.

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    It depends on a number of factors. Notably, what weapons you're using and whether the enemy has a helmet. Allow me to explain.

    GWW sets your attacks per round to 10, regardless of how many attacks you usually get, and regardless of other increases including Improved Haste. That means it's strongest in the hands of characters who have a small number of powerful attacks. A high level paladin with a two-handed sword may only get 2.5 attacks per round normally, so GWW is quadrupling her damage output. But this doesn't stack with Improved Haste, so it's really only doubling her damage output in many situations. Meanwhile, a high level fighter dual-wielding a grandmastered longsword and a speed offhand will get 5 attacks per round (the cap, before IH and GWW). GWW will still double his damage output, but since it doesn't stack with IH, it's not really helping at all.

    Next, let's look at Critical Strike. CS makes all your attacks 20s. That seems like a straightforward doubling of your damage, but it's a bit more complicated than that for two reasons. First, it's impossible to miss with CS. Missing isn't really a big deal for most high-level fighters, but it at least negates the chance that they'll roll a 1. So that's a bit more than double damage in practice. But then there's the other issue. Helmets make you immune to crits, and while not all enemies wear helmets, a lot do. In this case, the small increase in damage due to always hitting is the only increase you get. So against these enemies, CS is pretty terrible. On the other hand, CS stacks with Improved Haste, meaning that it can reach astronomical damage output in the hands of characters like our fighter, above. The paladin doesn't care much about the difference between 10 attacks at normal damage and 5 attacks at double damage, but the fighter can get 10 attacks at double damage if he uses CS. Assuming, again, that his target doesn't have a helmet.

    All in all, I lean towards more CSs these days, for the synergy with IH, but I still like to take a GWW or two, especially on two-handed warriors.

    FinneousPJBlucher
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    I usually reserve GWW for characters who can't reach high APR naturally, like Ranger/Paladins etc. With those who do get to high APR, I prefer Improved Haste + Critical Strike over GWW. Even against helmeted targets, not missing will add noticeable damage - particularly if you're not a pure Fighter and therefore a bit lower on the THAC0. Also many bosses in ToB do in fact have very good AC, and hitting them guaranteed is not to be trifled with.

  • ArunsunArunsun Member Posts: 1,583
    There is one particular fight in Black pits 2 which you cannot win as a warrior without using critical strike

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    edited July 2015
    So the only thing that constitutes a critical hit is hitting something in the head? Chopping it's leg off isn't considered critical? How odd.

    This brings up a host of questions in my mind. How do you know if something's head is protected? OK, you can look at what it drops and see if there's any helmets among the equipment, but what other creatures are immune? How about constructs, like golems? They aren't alive at all, so one could question whether they have a functioning head as such. How about demons, undead, or insubstantial beings like those wretched devil shades?

    Or something like fire giants. They don't seem to drop helmets, or any sort of armor, but you could argue that since they are so tall, you can't actually reach the head with a melee weapon. What about dragons; large, bulky, heavily protected with scales.

    There should be a list somewhere so that you can choose which attack mode is more effective.

  • ArunsunArunsun Member Posts: 1,583
    Basically I find critical strike not to be reliable, I usually pick 5 hardiness, 3 critical strike, and the rest are whirlwind

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    A good rule of thumb is that if it's humanoid and there's a helmet on its model, it has a helmet. Otherwise it doesn't. That's not accurate in 100% of cases, but it's reasonably close. Kind of like how if something's red, it's probably immune to fire, but there are a few things that are immune to fire and aren't red.

    And yes, apparently all critical hits in BG are hits to the head. Which implies that the rest of the human body has fewer weaknesses than your average slime. Baldur's Gate is weird.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,808
    After playing a solo Archer, I've decided it's best not to use fighter HLAs to maximize damage. Instead, I use them to provide versatility to a class that's usually a one-trick pony.

    Power Attack is fantastic at disabling enemies, stunning any target for 2 rounds on a failed save vs. death at -4, bypassing MR and all spell protections. And it applies to every hit for 2 rounds: you can combine it with Fire Seeds and Improved Haste or Whirlwind Attack to stun a whole group of enemies, and there's almost no chance they'll make their saves. Two rounds is often all it takes to neutralize an enemy. Power Attack is especially excellent at taking down mages, as their saves vs. death are usually very high.

    I seldom use Critical Strike. If a character has fighter HLAs, he or she is already going to be hitting almost all the time. It does, however, guarantee big damage on certain characters, and it allows you to make hits even when using weapons you're not proficient in, against low AC critters. It also empowers backstabs, dealing 10x damage in one blow. It has a little more use in no-reload runs, if you want to negate the influence of luck on your success.

    Greater Whirlwind Attack is for breaking down Stoneskins or compounding on-hit effects. Wizard Slayer spell failure, the Answerer's AC and MR penalties, FoA's slow effect, and the Silver Sword's vorpal strikes all benefit from extra APR. It also lets a fighter get maximum APR in a weapon he or she has no proficiencies in. If you've got a fighter specializing in spears and want to take down an enemy with a poor save vs. spell, use GWW and switch to Celestial Fury. If your fighter specializes in katanas and you want to disable an enemy with a bad save vs. death, activate GWW and switch to Ixil's Spike.

    Hardiness dramatically boosts your fighter's survivability, effectively increasing your damage potential in the process. A fighter that lives 40% longer is doing 40% more damage before he or she croaks, and needs that much less attention from the rest of the party to keep him or her alive.

    Greater Deathblow won't work against the toughest enemies of BG2, but it will remove a lot of problematic critters. Mind Flayers are completely vulnerable to it, as are many drow.

    Usually, if a fighter fails against an enemy, it's not because he or she is doing too little damage. Your fighters are already doing enough damage--if they aren't strong enough to handle an encounter, damage potential is probably not what's holding them back.

    Jarrakul
  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    It's true, the value of utility skills should not be underestimated. Deathblow can decimate several annoying enemy types, as you rightly mentioned; but similarly, several problematic enemies aren't actually crit-immune, too (Beholders for example) and can be nicely dispatched by CS.

    I think a lot of the choice also has to do with your party makeup and difficulty setting. On Nightmare Mode for example, extra damage is not at all as superfluous as it can be on regular, while things contingent on level/hit dice (like Greater Deathblow) become a lot less useful (or even completely useless).

    semiticgoddess
  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    edited July 2015
    "a lot of the choice also has to do with your party makeup and difficulty setting"

    Two different parties, being run simultaneously. Parallel Universes, perhaps?
    The good:evil dichotomy :smile:

    But relatively similar composition, with the same MC as the linchpin. Setting is hard.
    My setting meter only goes up one more spot, to "insane"; what's "nightmare" mode? A mod?

    Anyway, let me see if I get this straight. MC right now has 5/2 attacks. Using GW makes this irrelevant, yielding 10 attacks per. Using IH without GW bumps the attacks up to 5. THACO in either case stays the same.

    If instead of my halberd I use IH and, say, star mace +5 and flail of ages, I get 10 attacks/round but the THACO is a lot worse because I have zero training in either dual wielding or blunt weapons.

    If I then invoke CS, I still get the 10 attacks, but each one is treated as if I rolled a natural 20, despite my lack of the appropriate skill training? Can't miss, and all critical hits if target head is unprotected? Sounds pretty sweet, if true.

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    Kind of. You'll only get 10 APR with IH if you have 5 APR without it, which takes a certain amount of effort. If you try equipping the Storm Star and the Flail of Ages, you'll find you don't have that. In fact you should have... 3 APR, I think. 1 base, 1 from dual-wield, and 1 from fighter levels. So in fact you'd only be looking at 6 APR with IH, which probably isn't worth it compared to your halberd's 5 APR and presumably higher damage. You'd need different proficiencies and the use of certain specific magic items to get to 5 base APR with dual-wielding.

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    edited July 2015
    Interesting; my calculations were totally off then. OK, how about dual wielding katanas? I have two +3 katanas, but I also have 1 pip in katana use skill, as well as the bracers of weapon expertise. I can use that instead of the bracers of blinding strike, since the Ring of Gaxx also has IH. What's the APR then? 8?

  • ArunsunArunsun Member Posts: 1,583
    Jarrakul: you forgot proficiencies in your calculation. Actually a warrior with grandmastery in his mainhand weapon, dual wielding, would have 4APR.

    To get 5APR (without IH, to get 10 with IH) you have but 2 solutions:
    1st, wielding a weapon that add one APR: Kundane, Belm or Scarlet ninja-to (this one is usable by monks or thieves with UAI so a fighter/thief could use that). You can wield them in offhand and still get the additional apr for your mainhand
    2nd having a priest of lathander as a PC and cast boon of lathander. Note that you can cast several on the same person

  • Lord_TansheronLord_Tansheron Member Posts: 4,198
    edited July 2015
    APR breakdown:

    Any character: 1 APR base
    Fighter/Ranger/Paladin lvl 7+: 1.5 APR base
    Fighter/Ranger/Paladin lvl 13+: 2 APR base

    ** in weapon: +0.5 APR
    ***** in weapon: +0.5 APR on top, so +1 APR total

    Dual-wielding: +1 APR (offhand)

    That will put a lvl13+ Fighter with two weapons at 4 APR (2 base + 1 Grand Mastery + 1 offhand).

    Note that the offhand weapon will be capped at 1 APR. Any +APR you gain will be added as attacks with the main hand.
    EXCEPTION: due to how Improved Haste works, you will end up with 2 offhand APR instead of 1; it essentially crams two rounds into one for your attacks. This to my knowledge is the only effect that gives extra offhand APR.

    Base APR are capped at 5. Temporary effects can increase this further, but you cannot get more than 5 APR passively.

    @Arunsun already listed the ways of increasing APR. One thing to add are the Gauntlets of Extraordinary Specialization, which add +0.5 APR and can get you very close to the cap, to 4.5 APR.

    (Note: in IWD:EE, Grand Mastery adds another +0.5 APR, for a total of +1.5 at *****; this is also an option for BG2 with the BG2Tweaks mod).

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,029
    Arunsun said:

    Jarrakul: you forgot proficiencies in your calculation. Actually a warrior with grandmastery in his mainhand weapon, dual wielding, would have 4APR.

    This is true, but I was responding to a case where FrdNwsm mentioned having no proficiency with the weapons in question. So 3 APR is correct for that situation.

    @Frdnwsm, the first proficiency point doesn't effect APR (only the second a fifth do). Nor do the gauntlets of weapon expertise, although as Lord_Tansheron notes, there is another pair of gauntlets that do increase APR. So you'd have the same APR with the katana as with the mace/flail combo.

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