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  • Re: Revisiting IWD:EE HoF

    Any of these parties will get the job done, but I'd offer these observations.

    1 - Scrolls are not exactly plentiful in IWD so sorcerers are a much better choice than dual-class mages, unless you worry that sorcerers violate the low-magic "intent" of the devs.

    2 - The kind of intricate mage battles you may remember from BG2 are few and far between in IWD, which makes berserkers less useful than they are in BG2. (Doesn't make them "bad" by any means, only less useful.)

    3 - For HoF mode, you'll be relying fairly heavily on stunning effects due to massively increased monster hit-point pools, and likely relying more heavily on summons as well since they benefit from the increase. This lessens the usefulness of melee-only characters in IWD (though judging by your party compositions you seem to already know this).

    4 - Opinions are divided on whether druids or clerics are more useful in IWD. Clerics generally have a better selection of melee weapons in IWD and their turning ability is actually fairly useful given the large number of undead in the game. On the other hand, druid summons really come into their own in HoF mode. Bottom line is, you won't go wrong either way.

    5 - As a side effect of scrolls being so sparsely distributed, going with 2-3 mages (or bards) will sometimes mean you'll level up without having any spells to put in your new slots. As a result, you'll want to think carefully about which characters memorize which scrolls (and whether you want to replace any of your mages/bards with sorcerers).
  • Re: Musings about Classes & Playstyles [Newbie Perspective]

    F/M vs F/M/T: A Fighter/Mage can theoretically reach the full potential of both classes, assuming there's enough experience in one playthrough for a full party. I rarely ever use backstabbing anyway, so Find Traps and Open Locks should cover my basic needs for a thief. I don't think it's worth sacrificing my character's progression (by making a F/M/T triple class) just for these two thief skills.
    Thief gives you far, far more than two thief skills. His HLA traps are among the strongest weapons available to any class and his UAI ability gives you a much better set of usable equipment than you'd otherwise have. At lower levels, pickpocket gives you whatever items you like from the Copper Coronet without slowing your march toward 15K gold. And at mid levels, perhaps your gameplay style doesn't mesh well with extensive scouting followed by a selective backstab, but if you just cast invisibility on yourself and charge with the rest of your party, you can still get backstab damage on the first attack which is often enough to defeat the target.

    Besides, in almost no sense can FM reach the full potential of the mage class. Sure, an FM can eventually cast his first 9th level spell toward the end of Throne of Bhaal, but his damage-per-spell will be much lower than a singleclass mage and in fact will have been substantially lower than a singleclass mage from the moment BG2 begins. The good news is that FMs aren't generally casting the spells a pure mage would use, but are instead mainly using buffs like stoneskin that don't depend on caster level. Basically, you should think about FMs (and FMTs for that matter) as being nigh-invulnerable fighter kits rather than as substitutes for a pure mage. If you do that, and then play them that way, you'll likely find them to be among the strongest choices in the game.
  • Re: Musings about Classes & Playstyles [Newbie Perspective]

    Fighter/Mage/Thief is an odd choice of character, imho. From what I've researched, F/M/T is a versatile, powerful multiclass early on, but falls short in the mid to long run. It takes too long to have a decent amount of spells to cast, meaning you won't be a very good mage for most of the early and mid content. You miss on the better upper level spells, too. Maybe I'm not seeing it for what it really is, but to me F/M/T is not a very good choice of character.
    I had the same impression at first glance but playing a FMT changed my mind completely. It might seem like FMT can't compare to M in terms of casting and you would be right about that. However, FT is among the strongest melee/utility classes in the game and adding mage provides a huge amount of extra survivability (stoneskin, mirror image, etc) as well as freeing up a fair number of thief points (because invisibility can substitute for your two stealth skills).
  • Re: Is the Axe of the Jester an actual worthy weapon?

    Each time you use it, there is a chance you'll get various types of bonus damage, the best of which is 5-50 magic damage. It can also temporarily raise or lower INT/WIS/AC, and can also lower (but not raise) DEX, CON, and LUCK.
  • Re: Most Powerful 4 Man Groups

    Dsimpson and Haeveron regard FMs and FMTs as the game's strongest characters and I think they're right in that assessment. This is often counterintuitive to people who haven't tried those mixes because you can't get time stop (or in the case of FM get it late) and can't wear armor, but mage buffs have such great synergies with fighters that the deficiencies are more than offset by the advantages.

    Other very strong characters are cleric/rangers (though less so now that they get fewer druid spells), half-orc fighter/thieves or fighter/clerics, inquisitors, and as others have mentioned sorcerers and bards. You won't go wrong picking any of them.

    There are also a couple of joinable NPCs that are worth mentioning because of the special features they have. Jaheira, for example, can not only wear heavy armor (which only FDs can do) but is also able to cast some cleric-only spells like raise dead and zone of sweet air, making her the most versatile druid character in the game. And Edwin gets, essentially, the spells per day of a sorcerer while being able to access the much broader spellbook of a mage, making him the best arcane caster in the game (if you can put up with what some regard as his grating personality).