(Long intro, just some background that is not really relevant to my questions. Can skip, just thought I'd explain a bit)
Being a huge fan of the original games, I finally picked up the enhanced editions during the Steam sale. So far I'm glad I did, the quick-loot and the ability to switch between two handed weapons and sword and shield/two weapons alone make the game much more friendly to play.
Having always played good aligned mages in the originals, I want to try something different. Playing psychotic evil never really appealed to me, nor did it seem to make sense storywise. So the Blackguard was out, interesting as the class may be otherwise. Not really interested in thieves (save maybe the shadowdancer), monks seem interestingly different from the other classes. Because I was going to play evil I made a Dark Moon Monk. As I found as early as the first dream sequence, it seems doable to roleplay a guy that starts out neutral but slowly grows into the evil role; "As you stare at the murderer of your foster father, one thought coalesces in your mind: you will have such power as this. Whatever it takes, you will have all that he does, and more."
That makes the headcanon work for me; my character is a physically gifted guy who trained endlessly with monks because he found it interesting and challenging, not necessarily to prepare for combat. He found he has an affinity for the shadows and investigated that, even if he doesn't fully buy into the church of Shar he learned from their teachings. He loved Gorion and wants to avenge him. To do that he needs power, that may come at a cost he's willing to pay. (I'm just hoping the writing allows me keep this headcanon going).
's guide "I punch Dopplegangers" I managed to get through the first few levels with relative ease. Having cleared the Nashkel Mines and most of the southern areas I'm now at level 4, have an AC that is pretty much the same as that of everyone else in my party, the best ranged thac0, stealth should become possible now that I have some items to help out whit that, and I am also capable of doing melee (carefully). Even though it's still early game, I think its an interesting character to play with.
Okay, intro over. Now for the actual questions;
1. Do you get more uses of your special abilities, other than Frozen Fist? I'm guessing not, which seems like a bit of a shame. Won't the illusion spells just get dispelled the second you enter combat against a capable mage?
2. Does Frozen Fist only work when you're unarmed? What happens when you're wielding a weapon in your off hand but nothing in your main?
3. Is the Claw of Kazgaroth worth getting? It's bloody expensive for what seems like something only moderately better than a regular ring of protection, yet I've seen it mentioned a few times. Am I underestimating how much the save bonuses help?
4. Originally I was planning to have mostly the canon party, Imoen, Jaheira, Khalid, and rotate some some of the evil and neutral companions in the other spots just to get a taste of them while still having the BG2 start make sense. I intended to keep Viconia and Edwin out of my party because you'll meet them in the next game anyway, and it seemed a bit too convenient that they just happen to show up in Amn as well (not having been kidnapped). Because I'm playing with Spell Revisions (and Item Revisions), I found Jaheira is not as great at healing during combat. So I went and got Viconia anyway. Since I also have SCS installed I'm expecting the mage battles to become rather challenging. I'm planning on dualing Imoen, but is one mage going to be enough for the later battles? Or should I go and get Edwin too? Part of me wants to get him into a party with Alora, supposedly it shows a nicer side of him.
5. Speaking of Edwin, can you get him to join even if you rescue Dynaheir first (again to make the BG2 story work)?
6. Is Dorn worth keeping on, both from a story and a gameplay perspective? So far he does tonnes of damage in combat, but is also much more vulnerable than I'd like. He'd be my pick to get the boot if I have to pick up Edwin. From a roleplay perspective, his powerful entrance made him intriguing to my character, his quest for vengeance relatable. But if he's going to be a completely unlikeable bastard in this game or the next (or worse, someone that steals my spotlight
), he'll have to go.
7. Rasaad; I heard there are some good items for my monk in his BG2 quest. Is there anything really worth getting in his BG1 quest (items or story), or can I leave him for a future neutral or good playthrough?
8. Jumping ahead all the way to ToB; the monk's HLA's. The regular fighter HLA's are fine I suppose, but with the limited uses of his other special abilities I'm worried he'll start to feel like any other fighter, with maybe even fewer options than most. Would you recommend using a mod that adds some different HLA's? Like Monk Overhaul (if that still works), Subtledoctor's Refinements, or anything else?