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Viable Concept? How Do I Build It?

Hello all,

I am looking at picking up this game this weekend, but I want to know if a build I have in mind is even possible and could be successfully made. So this build in concept is basically a highly evasive human character who specializes in two handed weapons. This character wont use magic in the slightest. Purely a weapon fighting character. I thought about a pure kensai because it kind of seemed up my alley, but sounds like he is too squishy, and once you get to mind flayers I guess he isn't all that great. I do want to rely more on evasion than AC. Preference towards light armor. I will rock heavy armor too, no problem though. I would also like to be able to fight head on with enemies. Close to what a tank might. I'm looking for a build that is similar to this. I feel confident there isn't a build that fits all I want into it. I'd love to get some feedback and assistance in this. Thank you.

Comments

  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 3,034
    edited June 2017
    Uh... AC kinda is evasion. Unless you're talking about literal evading (i.e. hit and run) in which case two-handed weapons are a really bad choice because of their slow speed factor... in other words what you're after is kind of contradictory to game mechanics...

    I mean, you can try Swashbuckler/Fighter for a melee character with high damage output while wearing light armor, but I doubt that's 100% what you're after...

  • BridenfeltBridenfelt Member Posts: 4

    Uh... AC kinda is evasion. Unless you're talking about literal evading (i.e. hit and run) in which case two-handed weapons are a really bad choice because of their slow speed factor... in other words what you're after is kind of contradictory to game mechanics...

    I mean, you can try Swashbuckler/Fighter for a melee character with high damage output while wearing light armor, but I doubt that's 100% what you're after...

    In my mind I always thought that evasion was more like how well your character dodges and AC was the amount of damage defended based upon your armor. Im also not looking for a hit and run. I want to constantly be in the fight backing up only when I need to heal.

  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 3,034
    edited June 2017
    Yeah. If you want to dodge, you need AC. That's what it does. Unfortunately, the fact is that heavy armor provides more AC in general and means better damage avoidance as a result. Stupid? Yeah, a lot of things about it are. That's why they introduced Dexterity-based AC caps for heavy armor in 3e so light armor wasn't just utterly garbage.

    Swashbucklers can sort of make AC-tanking without full plate work because they innately gain AC from their kit bonuses. You can try for a Swashbuckler 10 -> Fighter dual-class for the +2 bonus to AC and to hit/damage and then gain weapon and armor options from fighter. But don't expect AC to help much in ToB where enemy THAC0 progression far outscales non-scaling AC.

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 736
    Any kind of fighter should do: fighter, berserker, paladin, barbarian, ranger... Evasiveness can be equated to a high dexterity, so you'll want that. In terms of BG mechanics, the dexterity bonus will be added to the armour class value. Then you'll want to pick a two-handed weapon to use.

  • BridenfeltBridenfelt Member Posts: 4

    Yeah. If you want to dodge, you need AC. That's what it does. Unfortunately, the fact is that heavy armor provides more AC in general and means better damage avoidance as a result. Stupid? Yeah, a lot of things about it are. That's why they introduced Dexterity-based AC caps for heavy armor in 3e so light armor wasn't just utterly garbage.

    Swashbucklers can sort of make AC-tanking without full plate work because they innately gain AC from their kit bonuses. You can try for a Swashbuckler 10 -> Fighter dual-class for the +2 bonus to AC and to hit/damage and then gain weapon and armor options from fighter. But don't expect AC to help much in ToB where enemy THAC0 progression far outscales non-scaling AC.

    Im really new to Baldurs Gate, so forgive my ignorance lol, but what is THAC0 progression?

  • AionZAionZ Member Posts: 3,034

    Yeah. If you want to dodge, you need AC. That's what it does. Unfortunately, the fact is that heavy armor provides more AC in general and means better damage avoidance as a result. Stupid? Yeah, a lot of things about it are. That's why they introduced Dexterity-based AC caps for heavy armor in 3e so light armor wasn't just utterly garbage.

    Swashbucklers can sort of make AC-tanking without full plate work because they innately gain AC from their kit bonuses. You can try for a Swashbuckler 10 -> Fighter dual-class for the +2 bonus to AC and to hit/damage and then gain weapon and armor options from fighter. But don't expect AC to help much in ToB where enemy THAC0 progression far outscales non-scaling AC.

    Im really new to Baldurs Gate, so forgive my ignorance lol, but what is THAC0 progression?
    THAC0 = To Hit Armor Class (of) 0. There's a bit of math involved, but basically it's your overall odds of hitting your opponent, and it's better when the number is lower. THAC0 progression just means your THAC0 decreases as you level up, with some classes (and kits) decreasing faster than others.

  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 689
    Unlike a lot of games, AC in Baldur's Gate combines evasiveness with physical protection. In other words, when an enemy fails to get past your AC, it's assumed that a fraction of those blows are misses while the rest actually hit you but fail to do any damage. For this reason, wanting an "evasive" character in Baldur's Gate is the same thing as wanting a low-AC character.

    Some people wish the system weren't so abstract, and would prefer a stricter separation of agility and physical protection. But that's the system we have in BG/BG2.

    If you want a character who wears little armor, wields a two-handed sword and has enough melee staying power to stand toe-to-toe with enemies, then you're probably looking at a kensai or perhaps a berserker or barbarian. If you're willing to take advantage of loopholes in the rules, you can even get 5 stars in two-handed weapons as a kensai, dual to thief, then eventually wear AC2 bracers once you gain the use any item ability.

  • BridenfeltBridenfelt Member Posts: 4
    jsaving said:

    Unlike a lot of games, AC in Baldur's Gate combines evasiveness with physical protection. In other words, when an enemy fails to get past your AC, it's assumed that a fraction of those blows are misses while the rest actually hit you but fail to do any damage. For this reason, wanting an "evasive" character in Baldur's Gate is the same thing as wanting a low-AC character.

    Some people wish the system weren't so abstract, and would prefer a stricter separation of agility and physical protection. But that's the system we have in BG/BG2.

    If you want a character who wears little armor, wields a two-handed sword and has enough melee staying power to stand toe-to-toe with enemies, then you're probably looking at a kensai or perhaps a berserker or barbarian. If you're willing to take advantage of loopholes in the rules, you can even get 5 stars in two-handed weapons as a kensai, dual to thief, then eventually wear AC2 bracers once you gain the use any item ability.

    Is a pure kensai all that good though? Ive read a few negatives about using that class in BG1 and that its just as bad in BG2 early game. To boot, can that dual class with anything other than mage? I have no interest in using magic whatsoever. Ill have party members for that.

  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 2,433
    Kensai in Baldur's Gate 1 are boring.

    The main advantage of the kensai kit is that it gets +1 to hit and damage per 3 levels. However, the max level for a kensai in Baldur's Gate 1 is 8, so they can only get a maximum of +2 to hit and damage. This is nothing special because a regular fighter could equip the Gauntlets of Weapon Expertise (which a kensai cannot wear) and get combat bonuses that are almost as good (+1 to hit and +2 damage). Thus, all a kensai really gets in comparison to a regular fighter is a +1 bonus to hit and some Speed Factor bonuses, but that hardly compensates for the inability to wear any armor.

    In Baldur's Gate 2, on the other hand, kensai are awesome. Since the level cap for a kensai in Baldur's Gate 2 is 40, they can get up to +13 to hit and damage, bonuses that a regular fighter cannot possibly compete with.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 10,061
    Kensai are awesome and all the naysayers are wrong. It is a bit of an atypical class however, and I personally wouldn't recommend it for a first time run through.

  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 2,142
    Welcome to the forum. :)

    I think perhaps the concept you have doesn't work so well.
    If you want to sit on the front line, handing out damage and being able to sustain damage, you need to wear heavy armour.

    Think of it like in real life, front line troops don't have so much room to maneuver and then add in a heavy two handed sword. Nobody under those conditions is going to be evasive. They are going to stand toe to toe and slug it out.

    In the game, you run up to six characters, all of them need some management. So how do you do all the other things needed to be done while you concentrate on your charname because they can't withstand a lot of pressure?
    The game doesn't understand that the character is evasive, it will simply hit the closest enemy and in return, the enemy will hit you.

    High dexterity is the closest you can get to making the concept work. And then if you think of "dexterity" do you think of somebody weilding a heavy, cumbersome sword or using two lighter swords and striking quickly and ducking and diving?

    And in BG, ranged attacks rule supreme. So a character who is evasive?
    Well I'd imagine them backing off and getting a bow out.

  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 2,433
    I have an idea.

    If you want to have a character who has good AC due to actually being evasive rather than just due to heavy armor, play a Swashbuckler. Swashbucklers start with an AC bonus and get additional AC bonuses every 5 levels. At level 40, their AC is decreased by 9. In terms of flavor, these AC boosts are more due to dodging or at least parrying than due to armor. The only two-handed weapons a Swashbuckler can wield are quarterstaves, though.

    UnderstandMouseMagicThacoBell
  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 859

    Uh... AC kinda is evasion. Unless you're talking about literal evading (i.e. hit and run) in which case two-handed weapons are a really bad choice because of their slow speed factor... in other words what you're after is kind of contradictory to game mechanics...

    Except for Quarterstaves! Base speed factor of 4, with a -1 bonus for every enchantment level, (e.g. Quarterstaff +2 = 2 speed factor).

    Basically, speed factor is the delay before the attack lands. The lower it is, the earlier in the round you'll get your attack off, which is good. 2-handed weapons also have a little bit of extra reach compared to 1-handed weapons, and Kensai get an additional speed factor bonus innate to the class.

    If you wanted, you could create a Quarterstaff Kensai that you set to attack an enemy, had it walk forward and swing pretty much immediately, and then you have it run a few steps back from the enemy again before the enemy can retaliate. It's a ton of micromanagement, but if you were determined, you could literally play the entire game without ever getting hit in melee.

    ThacoBell
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 5,742
    edited June 2017
    You might want to look at a blade to see if that fits your concept. That class has mage spells, but you don't have to use them and the defensive spin option is the best answer you'll get (at least in BG1) to being able to melee without getting hit despite wearing light armour and not using spells. You will find, however, that even if opponents require a natural 20 to hit, that will happen regularly - so you'll be pretty fragile in the front line. It would be easier to play if you accepted one of your party NPCs (like Kagain) will act as the tank, while you melee from just behind (taking advantage of the longer reach of your weapon).

  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 513
    For this game series for the most part you either get hit or missed, if you get hit then it is usually for full damage although there are a few abilities, spells and items that may reduce damage. So the posters that said AC is what you want are correct, also correct is that by and large the heavier the armour the better the AC from it, but there are some classes that gain special abilities, spells etc to improve AC.

    I will also point out that the general assumption for the game is that you start with your "main" character which you roll up and pick class, race etc, but you then recruit up to 5 additional party members during the game. Obviously this has a huge impact on the game because who you recruit along the way, if anyone, can mitigate and/or enhance your main character's weak/strong points. Note that whilst you have the option to recruit party members you do not have to do so, many players enjoy playing "solo", although as a general rule you will want to have access to a Thief for trap detecting/removal plus opening locked doors.

    Regarding weapons then there's a few things to bear in mind, 2h weapons do have a slight advantage in their range, but since you can only use 1 of them, obviously, you may find the lesser number of attacks compared to dual-wielding and, sometimes, the lesser number and type of immunities and/or special abilities can be a drawback. In the 1st game it is unlikely to be a problem as most weapons are relatively standard in so far as they are just +1/2/3 versions of a basic weapon, but in SoD if you play it, or BG2 you will start to gather up weapons with a variety of special abilities and immunities. In fact some "end game" weapons are so fantastic that it is worth considering these weapons when you make your character at the start of the 1st game.

    Regarding powerful 2h weapons then there are certainly some fantastic options available, if you are a Mage, Mage multi or dual class, or have a thief who unlocks the use any item special ability (unlocked when you gain more than 3 million Experience during BG2/3 as a thief) then you can use Staff of the Magi, this adds +2 to AC, it will make you INVISIBLE when you equip it, has an insane spell absorption special ability that negates spells cast on you (limited use) and every time it hits an enemy it casts dispel magic, which will remove any defensive spells on the enemy UNLESS the enemy is protected from magic weapons, which prevent it working. The drawback is this staff is only obtained after one of the hardest fights in the game.

    For 2h Swords then the best around requires you to be a paladin, or a thief multi/dual class with use any item. It can be upgraded in the final game to be a +6 magical weapon, which is the strongest possible bonus and every hit casts dispel magic (like the above staff), it also grants you +50% magic resistance which is insane. Obviously the restrictions on who can use it are annoying though, but you can get a Paladin recruit if you want during BG2 that can use it.

    There's also a decent variety of strong 2h swords, Halberds, spears, staffs available throughout the game, but it is generally assumed that, with a few exceptions, you'll do more over-all damage and have better immunity and special ability access by dual-wielding. The difference is not THAT large though and by the time you get to the end of the game you will likely have so many weapon proficiences that you can probably mix and match 2h and dual-wield as you desire.

    Now, regarding a character that doesn't use magic, but can be evasive, you may want to look at a fighter/thief multi class, a Kensai that you later change to a thief via the dual-class option (bonus of this is you get to be grandmaster in weapon skills AND can eventually unlock Use any item which completely removes all the Kensai negatives!). As mentioned then Swashbuckler is a decent thief class that is a bit more tank-like than your basic thief, also worth noting that Assassin and Shadow-dancer have their good points. Assassin can apply poison (even to missile weapons) and it can make short work of many BG1 enemies, although the further through the game series you get the more enemies tend to be immune. Shadowdancer is the only thief class that can hide in shadows when in line of sight from enemies, which makes for some awesome back-stabbing shenanigans.

  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 11,468
    Why is single-class Swashbuckler (with a quarterstaff) not the answer?

    ThacoBellAerakar
  • ArunsunArunsun Member Posts: 1,581
    edited June 2017
    AC is both evasion and armor tanking in D&D, at least in the 2.5 (Baldur's Gate) and 3.5 (NWN) rulesets. I do not know the other rulesets.

    And while 3.5 allows you to really emphasize on one or the other (because one restrict the other, you can get high amounts on both but not at the same time), 2.5 doesn't allow that, so you just pile up evasion and armors and shield. The closest thing to a guy that uses evasion is a monk. Alternatively a swashbuckler or a blade use that as well to a more limited extent.

    But these are all kits based on speed and two-weapons - rightfully so, because you expect them to be fast, while you do not expect a two-handers to be fast.

    Your build doesn't fit these conventions, so I see no way of doing that. Except maybe with a Kensai, but it would still require either potions or magic to make it match your wishes.


    The only build that's close to what you want somehow would be a shadowdancer, maybe dualled to warrior at some point, with a quarterstaff. But a quarterstaff's the only two-handed weapon you have access to as a shadowdancer.
    A shadowdancer is very evasive, thanks to hide in plain sight, and you can either play is as a guerilla fighter (harassing with backstab into run, hide into backstab...) or a more plain fighter if you dual it to a fighter at some point.

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