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Help a Noob out -Warning: First Post-

-Warning: 1st Post-
Hello! I'm very new and inexperienced to the world of dungeons & dragons and older PC RPGs/CRPGs in general and could really use some help understanding how these games play. My only experience with RPGs in the past have been either action-oriented, standard turn-based, or strategic. So, in this case, i'm not completely new to RPGs, just RPGs like Icewind Dale.
Now, after buying Icewind Dale 1 and 2 (among other classic CRPGs), I couldn't help but feel excited to experience what I've heard from other fans of the series/genre and reviewers that rave about these masterpieces. However, upon trying these games out for myself, I realize that I don't have a clue about what I'm doing. I've only played table top D&D maybe two or three times, so I'm still very new and unfamiliar with its mechanics in games of its kind. I'm not sure how my party should look (when it comes to composition. my first attempt at Icewind Dale I made a Barbarian, Dwarven Defender, Dragon Disciple, Bard, Wizard Slayer, and Priest of Tempus, all either chaotic neutral or evil in some way. After my first encounter with enemies, 3 of my party members died in about 5 seconds rofl). I'm just not exactly sure how i should be playing these games, and was hoping to reach out and ask for some help/tips. I've somewhat recently developed a real interest and fascination with classic RPG/CRPGs and D&D and general and would like to break into this world, if possible.
So, yeah, any help at all is appreciated, please forgive my noobishness in all of this. I just really want to understand these games and how to play them, and have a good time in this rich universe. Thanks for your time!



  • ElendarElendar Member Posts: 831

    Definitely should remake your party.. New players should not play sorcerers/dragon disciples until they are very familiar with the arcane magic system in these games.

    Some level 1 cleric spells which you should select at the beginning are things like Doom, Bless, and Command, though you may want to just choose one of those and go with healing spells for most slots.

    With a druid, entangle is a fantastic spell that will hold your enemies in place if they fail their saving throw, so that you can pick them off in smaller groups. And they have healing spells.

    Some good level 1 arcane spells: Sleep. Will put a group of enemies to sleep so your melee fighters can just rush in and bash them one at a time. Wont work against undead and higher level enemies, but at lower levels when your characters are still fragile it is a great spell. Identify will save you money so that you don't have to use storekeepers, but a Bard has a high Lore skill, which lets them identify items without needing a spell. Magic Missile or Chromatic Orb are good offensive spells, though both are stronger when your characters are higher level.

    The party I would recommend you to make for your first run is:

    Undead Hunter (Paladin kit, Humans only) Put weapon points into Longswords and a blunt weapon of your choice (maces, warhammers, flails). Longswords for sure though, special paladin only weapon is a longsword. ;) As you level up you may want to eventually put points into two-weapon style.

    Fighter/Druid (multiclass, half-elves and humans only) Druids have a very limited weapon selection, but they can use scimitars and clubs which is what I would recommend for them. Again points into two weapon style as you level up.

    Fighter/Cleric (multiclass, half-elves, humans, dwarves, gnomes). Clerics have limited weapon selection, they can only use blunt weapons, so I would recommend maces and warhammers. Put a shield on him and he should be a tough tank and be able to heal the party.


    Dwarven Defender (Fighter Kit, dwarves only) Very powerful tank, if you make one of these you definitely want him up in the front to be the first character monsters see (and therefore the one they attack). They can only use Axes and Warhammers, I'd suggest putting as many points as you can into one of these. Give him a bunch of resistance items, like boots and such that raise resistance to fire/acid/cold etc and he'll be a very tough cookie. Also put the best shields you find on him.

    FIghter/Thief (multiclass, no racial restrictions, recommend a gnome for a special helmet that is sold in Kuldahar). This character will end up needing a lot of points in Open Locks and Find Traps (at least 80-90 in each) before you want to utilize a lot of his other skills though you want to boost stealth too. He wont be able to wear heavy armor and still use his thieving abilities, but he will make an excellent archer, I'd recommend putting 2 points into Longbows and then into some melee weapon. When he gets higher level his stealth skills should be sufficient to do any scouting you need and then do a backstab attack on an enemy for tremendous damage. He could also be a great dual wielder , but I like to use One Weapon Style with my fighter/thieves since it boosts their armor class that way, making them able to stand up to monsters better when they do engage in melee.

    Bard (vanilla, no kit, humans/half elves only) The bard character is supposed to be the "Jack of All Trades" kind of deal. He automatically gains points in pick pockets, so you'll be able to rob some valuable items from townspeople with him. He naturally has a high Lore, which allows him to identify magical items which will save you gold and allow you to use items immediately upon finding them. Recommend putting a point in longbows or shortbows and use any other points in whatever you feel like. They wont be nearly as good an archer as a fighter/thief but they will do decently. The best thing about a bard is that they level up very quickly and will be able to cast mage spells at a higher spell level then your mage is likely to be at this point. They wont be able to wear armor while casting spells... except for a certain elven chain mail found in the game, which is actually quite powerful.

    Fighter/Mage (multiclass, humans/half-elves/elves/gnomes, gnome recommended because its the only one that can be a specialist mage in this multiclass. Wont be able to cast spells from Necromancy field, but your bard will be able to cover those and he'll get an extra spell slot per spell level) This character could make a good archer which will be nice at the beginning of the game, and when he levels up and you have the right combination of mage spells he can be very tanky so could easily surivive in melee combat. Weapons pretty much up to whatever you want to use.. Maybe Bastard Swords since no one else is using them and Longbows. If you chose the Dwarven Defender, then you should go with the Cleric/Mage


    Cleric/Mage (multiclass, half-elves/gnomes. Gnome recommended, same reason as fighter/mage above). Very versatile character that will have loads and loads of spells and could still be halfway decent with weapons, though will only be able to use blunt weapons and cannot cast mage spells with armor on. Would go with slings on this character and eventually use a combination of cleric and mage spells for his defense and to buff the party, not to mention occasionally tossing area of effect damage spells.

  • WesboiWesboi Member Posts: 403
    edited September 2017
    For core rules I would stick with this

    1 dwarven defender
    2 druid
    3 bard
    4 sorcerer (due to spell progression In iwd is different to bg)
    5 fighter
    6 cleric/thief

  • wsnavigatorwsnavigator Member Posts: 17
    Started a game with a party, found the party is not good enough, thinking of building a new party? Welcome to the club :) The IwD and BG games are like that, there is a learning curve.

    It is normal for new players to find it difficult to keep their party alive. There are a lot of things you can do to make your party more powerful:
    * As a start, when creating characters try rolling high stats - it is easy to roll 85+, and with a little patience 90 or more.
    * When picking classes, avoid exotics like Wizard Slayer. Also avoid dual- and multi-classing. Keep it simple - plain Fighters, Clerics, Thieves, and so on are good enough.
    * About the number of characters, have at least 2 fighters with different weapon specializations, one longbow shooter, a thief, and a bard or wizard. You could also start with 3 or 4 characters, they would be easier to manage, and would gain levels faster.
    * When you start the game, lower the difficult in the options to Easy.
    * During a battle, when characters start losing health use healing potions instead of healing spells. The former work much faster.

    Following these guidelines, at certain point you would find it is so easy that it actually is not funny. Then you would start a new game, with a new party, with new classes, avoiding one or more of the guidelines above. Later, you could find yourself playing a single character at the highest difficulty ... That's the charm of these games, you can replay them in many different ways.

    Just a hint, if you are new to the Forgotten Realms, try playing first IwD - it is easy and straightforward. BG games are for people who are more familiar with the Forgotten Realms's history and specifics.

  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 997

    Just a hint, if you are new to the Forgotten Realms, try playing first IwD - it is easy and straightforward. BG games are for people who are more familiar with the Forgotten Realms's history and specifics.

    I agree with @Permidion_Stark here, BG1 is easier for a first time player than IWD. You create only one character, the prologue is filled with tutorial NPCs that explain how the game - including combat - works, the pace is much slower and areas not as densely populated by monsters. You don't really need to know lore specifics either, the relevant parts are integrated into the plot well enough, imo.

  • Permidion_StarkPermidion_Stark Member Posts: 4,406
    Another technique that can help you survive in the early stages of IWD is to temporarily remove party members. This can be useful if you are entering a cave or a crypt and you find your party is instantly surrounded, making it hard to protect more vulnerable party members like mages and thieves. You can ask these characters to leave the party so that they will wait outside while your better-protected characters go in and carve a path through the enemy. Once the coast is clear you can go back outside and re-recruit the ones you left behind. The amount of EXP they will miss out on is minimal (most IWD experience is quest related) and it makes the fights much easier if you are concentrating on attacking the enemy rather than trying to defend your own comrades.

  • SquirgSquirg Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the advice everyone! Really appreciate it! I think I'll give Baldur's Gate 1 a try first to learn the ropes and see how I do there! Then, later on, i'll revisit Icewind Dale and hopefully know what I'm doing (at least a little bit more lol) Any more tips/advice are appreciated! Thanks again.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,496
    Here's a basic tip I haven't seen mentioned: Any character who cannot wear a helmet who engages in melee combat is going to get critical hit to death sooner or later. As a rule, any character not wearing a helmet should never, ever engage in melee. Keep them in the back using spells and ranged weapons. Try to use chokepoints and arrange your party during combat such that the armored and helmeted combatants can block the enemy away from the "squishies".

    If your front line breaks and your "squishies" get attacked, they need to try to run or escape, or you need a crowd control spell (Horror, Confusion, Chaos, etc.) ASAP.

  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 997
    edited October 2017
    There is one important difference between these two games to keep in mind: in IWD you lose if your entire party gets killed, in BG1 it's game over (and reload ;) ) if your main character dies. This is because of story reasons and is later explained in the game. Party NPCs on the other hand can be resurrected at temples for money, which means they are, ahem, more expendable in combat. The only exception to that is if their portrait disappears from the sidebar - this means they have been 'chunked", that is, their mortal remains are destroyed and they can't be resurrected.

    Some classes in BG1 are easier to play and some harder, but the only one I'd not recommend to a first time player are again: a sorcerer or a dragon disciple. You need a good grasp of the magic system for them. Paladins and rangers need to watch out for their reputation (goes up if you do good, goes down if you do evil), because if it's get too low, they lose their paladin/ranger status and become fallen. Other than this, @BelgarathMTH gave good advice - if your main character is rather squishy, keep them away from the frontline. Also, don't be afraid to experiment with different party compositions, there are plenty of NPCs for hire in BG1.

    edit: On topic of more difficult classes: If playing a wild mage or with a wild mage in the party, keep plenty of saves. As hilarious as they can be, wild surges are also occasionally very buggy.

  • wsnavigatorwsnavigator Member Posts: 17
    chimaera said:

    I agree with @Permidion_Stark here, BG1 is easier for a first time player than IWD. You create only one character, the prologue is filled with tutorial NPCs that explain how the game - including combat - works, the pace is much slower and areas not as densely populated by monsters. You don't really need to know lore specifics either, the relevant parts are integrated into the plot well enough, imo.

    Cannot disagree more :) These games are quite different and their target audiences are different too. Those who prefer a simple linear plot, simple maps, and spending your time mostly in battles should play IwD. Those who prefer exploring the Forgotten realms, chatting with a lot of NPCs on lot of topics, following many plot lines, and sometimes fighting should play BG.

    Having a simple tutorial in the beginning of BG can be safely ignored as an advantage. Reading the manuals is what matters when one wants to understand how these two games should be played.

    Anyway, this is a topic for another thread, and probably for another section of the forum.

  • RedrakeRedrake Member Posts: 423
    I started by IE gaming days in 2001 with IWD1. I then moved to also IWD2 in 2003. I only touched BG1 in 2004.
    IWD1 is amazingly well balanced for a beginner. Yes, many people are scared of the idea that having 6 characters can be confusing. But remember, pause button is your best friend.

    Read the manual, disregard the naysayers, build a party and go on adventuring. Is what I did on my first run through the game. I had (IWD without HoW back then) a party formed out of a male paladin, a human fighter, a half-elf fighter, an elf ranged fighter, a half-elf bard and a human conjurer. As you can well imagine, I had huge issues with traps and no healing (I discounted the effect of traps, as from what I read in the manual the bard was also a rogue). I still managed to finish the game on normal difficulty.

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