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Old 08-20-2004, 03:44 AM   #1
Spiff
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Due to a general dissatisfaction with one of the characters in my party, I am going to replace her. I was hoping to get some feedback on a couple of character choices and some clarification on the dual classing rules.

I am thinking of a dual class fighter druid, a dual class fighter mage or a multi class fighter mage. How do the armor and weapon restrictions work for the dual classes characters? Will the druid or mage be able to wear any armor and use any weapon? Will they be able to cast spells and use special abilities while doing so? I’d hate to level up a fighter who mastered great swords only to find he couldn’t use them as a mage or druid.

Besides the rate at which they level, is there much difference between a dual and multi classed fighter mage? The multi class character would probably be elven and have some nice perks for it, but would level as a mage slower. Anybody have any thoughts on dual versus multi class fighter mages?
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Old 08-20-2004, 04:28 AM   #2
Aerich
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Ah, the everlasting question of dual vs multi. Here goes. I'm taking it from the top and trying to organize my thoughts coherently (not easy at this time of night), so forgive me if I tell you things you already know.

Dual class characters, once they dual over, lose all the abilities of their first class until their second class exceeds the level of their first class. So a fighter[9] dualed to mage won't be able to wear armor or use a longbow until mage level reaches 10.

There are differences between what you are allowed to do as a dual-class mage and as a dual-class druid. A dual class mage gets all the abilities of their former class when their mage level exceeds the level of their first class. They can wear armor (but not cast spells in it, o' course) and use all weapons, although new weapon proficiencies I believe are limited to what a mage can naturally learn. So if you want mastery in great swords, you'd better get it before you dual.

For druids, it's different. Anything that duals over to a priest must still abide by the tenets of the faith. That means they cannot use weapons not normally allowed. No bows, even if the former fighter allotted proficiency points to them. D/C druids can wear any armor, though. AFAIK, D/C druids can also cast their priest spells in any armor, even if normal druids couldn't wear it.

Differences between a dual and multi fighter/mage? Quite a few. The biggest one is that a dual class F/M can reach grandmastery in melee weapons (5 stars) and/or master in bows (3 stars), while a multi class cannot get more than specialization (2 stars) in either. So in terms of fighting effectiveness, a dual class will eventually be better.

The second difference is quite simple, and I'm sure you've thought about it. You will not have that character available to cast spells or to melee for a significant length of game time. If you can put up with that (e.g. you have other spellcasters/fighters that can cover those duties), then dual is ok.

Another advantage of dual classing, if you have fighter as your first class, is that you will gain massive HP. Dual class characters, unless they start as a mage or a thief, will always have more HP than their M/C counterparts. Then once you dual over (say at lvl 9), you should have anywhere from 90-126 HP with your starting mage.

Your D/C beginner mage will have to be carried for a little while, but your stronger counterparts + higher XP enemies means that you mage will soon gain a respectable level. D/C eventually ends up being more efficient, because the XP is only going toward one level at a time.

The big bonus for M/C is that all skills are available at all times. You want a mage, you got it. You want a fighter, you got it. Your weakling mage starts out tougher, and can rely on the fighter side to do something useful in battle instead of casting one spell and getting out of the way. M/C is the way to go for versatility, D/C is the way to go for end-game power.

One of the drawbacks of D/C is the scores needed to get a "good" character. Prime requisites of the first class must be at least 15, and must be at least 17 for the second class. That means a D/C druid needs minimum 15 Str, 17 Wis, and 17 Cha. Doesn't look hard, right? But if you want a decent Dex and Con, all of a sudden it looks like you need a monster roll just to be fairly adequate in the abilities that aren't prime requisites. This isn't as bad for a mage, though, as Wisdom and Charisma can be bled a bit to increase the other scores.

In sum, all of the options you contemplate are good. The fighter/druid and fighter/mage dual or multi-class characters are all extremely powerful. Take a good look at the pros and cons, and decide which one you want.

[ 08-20-2004, 04:32 AM: Message edited by: Aerich ]
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Old 08-20-2004, 01:49 PM   #3
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Thanks for the dual class equipment rules. They seem pretty odd but that's the way they are I suppose. One other question though, how do shields figure in? Can dual class mages cast spells while holding one? I assume a druid would be able to use any shield and still have access to their spells and abilities.

I was leaning towards one of the dual class combos but wanted to see if the multi class fighter mage had any big advantages I hadn't though of. The low HP is a pretty big disadvantage though. I have a fighter mage thief right now and am thinking their HP is too low.

I guess I just have to decide between the dual classed druid or mage now. The weapon restrictions for the druid are a definate con. I'm already passing up a lot of neat equpiment because my party has so many weapon restrictions already.
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Old 08-20-2004, 02:24 PM   #4
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Shields, hmmm. You got me on that one. I think d/c mages can cast while holding one, but I'm not sure. I usually use bows with my split-class mages.

The F/M's HP aren't all that low. It works out to (10+4 = 14 /2) 7 HP + Con bonus for each time you level in both classes. It will be worse for a F/M/T, because the breakdown is (10+4+6 = 20/3 = 6.66 max hp) for every time you level in all three classes. It actually turns out to be less, because the Con bonus and the HP are divided by three and rounded down whenever you level in a single class. So when the fighter levels (assuming a Con bonus of +3), it is 10/3 + 3/3 HP. 4 HP gain for a fighter level. Get two HP for mage level, and 3 for a thief level. 9 total, where a normal fighter would get 13. But the major difference is that a F/M/T will take about 2.5 times longer than a regular fighter to gain a full level. Ouch.
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Old 08-20-2004, 02:27 PM   #5
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What's your party, Spiff? Do you have a druid already? More than one mage? A lack of good archers?
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Old 08-20-2004, 03:19 PM   #6
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Yeah, the leveling for the fighter mage thief is a bit slow, but I needed a character to fill in both the mage and theif roles while still having some fighting skills and weapon choices.

Anyways, this is my party currently:

1) Human Paladin(25), one of two main tanks, large swords+shield or bow

2) Human Fighter(13)/Cleric(25), other main tank, mastered maces but uses fast flail+shield.

3) Half-Elf Cleric(19)/Ranger(16), tries to be a front line fighter but AC doesn't let him. Uses both flail and sling, but flail more often than not.

4) Half-Elf Fighter(18)/Druid(18), scimitar and sling, favors the sling and spells mainly, but recently has been on the front lines taking advantage of the elemental forms.

5) Half-Elf Fighter(14)/Mage(14)/Thief(17), short swords, great swords and bow. Main scout and trap dummy, backstabs with the short sword when scouting but otherwise uses bow and spells. Has a back up great sword which she uses when out of arrows.

6) Half-Elf Bard(30), either sings, casts or shoots a crossbow or bow. The spells are pretty good, but I don't like the bard songs. Will be replacing this character since she can't level anymore and I wasn't all that happy with her.

So I already have both arcane and druidic spells, but the party seems a bit heavy on the bludgeoning weapons. That is what half the pary uses for the most part. Adding in a druid who's ranged weapon would be a sling would just add to that, so I'm leaning towards adding a second fighter/mage. That would allow me to use a bow or crossbow and some of the neat axes I've found.

The party doesn't seem short on anything. If I had to add one more thing it would probably be another good ranged attacker. I keep finding myself putting the first four characters in melee and leaving the bard and mage out to either cast spells or shoot. However the bard doesn't do much shooting with that one attack a round on the crossbow, so she ends up singing more often than not. That just leaves one character splitting their time between shooting and casting. Not too bad, but another archer would be nice.

I'm currently going through lower dorn's deep and have already completed the expansion, been playing on insane for the exp boost too.
How close am I to the end of the game? If I don't have that much further to go (not much more exp to earn and chance to level someone new) I might just keep this party and then mix them up for a HoF game.
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Old 08-20-2004, 04:40 PM   #7
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Keep the party. Once you get the six badges (four in lower dorns, one in upper dorns, one in Wyrm's Tooth), you are done except for three fights.

I would NOT dump any member of your party for a first level character, or for a 10th lvl character, for that matter. If you want another bowman, try keeping your paladin back. You really don't need to hack your way through with 4 tanks. I generally manage with two, some times one + summons.

You do have everything with that party.

If you're getting restless, it's probably because it's not much of a challenge anymore.
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Old 08-20-2004, 06:59 PM   #8
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Heh, after coming back from the expansion it was easier. Maybe I should have taken a break in the middle of the expansion to play through more of the main story, now I know for next time. I still have to be careful though, I got a few characters killed by tarnished sentries because I got a bit over confident.

I'm sure I don't need four tanks to beat the game, but I like it that way [img]smile.gif[/img] I played through IWD2 with a very mage/sorc heavy party. Horrid Wilted and Bansheed everything. I thought I'd play through IWD with more of a melee approach.
The ranged characters are useful for keeping enemy casters under control and softening up enemies a little before my tanks get to them. Once the tanks are all buffed with spells like Emotion Hope and Courage, Barkskin, Holy Might, Recitation, Prot from Evil and others they charge in swinging.
Seems that I rarely use summons, most of the spells I use are to help the tanks out. Things like Web, Entangle or Spike Stones slow down the enemy, especially after they’ve been hit with a malison and recitation. I do cheat and use spells like Skull Trap and Horrid Wilting to speed things along, but I usually try to rely on the tanks to get me through most situations.
I know this strategy doesn’t push the party to their full potential, but it is still fun for me. I’ll probably end up playing a little more intelligently when I go through again on HoF mode, start using a larger variety of spells and tactics, but until then I’ll keep relying on my tanks.

I didn't realize I was so close to the end of the game though. I think I will just keep the party as it and change a few classes around for HoF mode. Maybe swap the bard for a dualed fighter mage and the multi class fighter druid for a dual class fighter druid. Might consider changing the ranger/cleric out for something else too...
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Old 08-30-2004, 07:57 PM   #9
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Spiff,

Quote:
Originally posted by Aerich:
Dual class characters, once they dual over, lose all the abilities of their first class until their second class exceeds the level of their first class. So a fighter[9] dualed to mage won't be able to wear armor or use a longbow until mage level reaches 10.
Agreed.
Quote:
There are differences between what you are allowed to do as a dual-class mage and as a dual-class druid. A dual class mage gets all the abilities of their former class when their mage level exceeds the level of their first class. They can wear armor (but not cast spells in it, o' course) and use all weapons, although new weapon proficiencies I believe are limited to what a mage can naturally learn. So if you want mastery in great swords, you'd better get it before you dual.
For example, a DC Fighter/Mage can NOT use long bow. (EDIT: Wrong!! He can use long bow. See messages that follow.) However, a build like this is excellent for making a "battle mage:" a Fighter that can doff armor before a fight; cast blur and mirror image on himself; summon help; don armor; and wade in, wielding a shield, and long sword with "5-star" proficiency and something like 4 ApR!!
Quote:
For druids, it's different. Anything that duals over to a priest must still abide by the tenets of the faith. That means they cannot use weapons not normally allowed. No bows, even if the former fighter alloted proficiency points to them. D/C druids can wear any armor, though. AFAIK, D/C druids can also cast their priest spells in any armor, even if normal druids couldn't wear it.
Yes, IIRC, this is all true. No bows for characters containing Druids. My Fighter[10]/Druid is armored to the hilt, including (IIRC) shield, and can still cast spells.
Quote:
Differences between a dual and multi fighter/mage? Quite a few. The biggest one is that a dual class F/M can reach grandmastery in melee weapons (5 stars) and/or master in bows (3 stars), while a multi class cannot get more than specialization (2 stars) in either. So in terms of fighting effectiveness, a dual class will eventually be better.

Another advantage of dual classing, if you have fighter as your first class, is that you will gain massive HP. Dual class characters, unless they start as a mage or a thief, will always have more HP than their M/C counterparts. Then once you dual over (say at lvl 9), you should have anywhere from 90-126 HP with your starting mage.
And here, in the above two paragraphs, Aerich has identified the PRIMO reasons for doing DC Fighter/Anything instead of MC: By starting a DC character as a Fighter, you get to stack proficiency points AND you get mondo big HP. Even a DC Fighter[3]/Mage is a big step up from a mage. My DC Fighter[10]/Druid[18] has 164 HP and, IIRC, 3-star in slings and 4-star in (whatever class scimitar is)!! This is a VERY POWERFUL reason for picking DC over MC.
Quote:

The second difference is quite simple, and I'm sure you've thought about it. You will not have that character available to cast spells or to melee for a significant length of game time. If you can put up with that (e.g. you have other spellcasters/fighters that can cover those duties), then dual is ok.
Yes. You need to look at the party as a whole, and PLAN your DCs so that you always have a viable party in the mid game.

Another point it seems Aerich hinted at, is that the DC characters work better for harder/longer games, where you get plenty of game time to enjoy your finely crafted character.
Quote:
Your D/C beginner mage will have to be carried for a little while, but your stronger counterparts + higher XP enemies means that you mage will soon gain a respectable level. D/C eventually ends up being more efficient, because the XP is only going toward one level at a time.
Again, Aerich makes and excellent point: When you DC in mid game, you are missing your Fighter skills for a only a very short time, since your new mage seems to gain a level about every other fight!
Quote:
The big bonus for M/C is that all skills are available at all times. You want a mage, you got it. You want a fighter, you got it. Your weakling mage starts out tougher, and can rely on the fighter side to do something useful in battle instead of casting one spell and getting out of the way. M/C is the way to go for versatility, D/C is the way to go for end-game power.
True, but the character seems to stagnate at about level [10]/[10]. For me, the only bonus to doing MC is that it takes a non-human character, thus giving me the opportunity to add a race with infravision to my mostly DC party.
Quote:
One of the drawbacks of D/C is the scores needed to get a "good" character. Prime requisites of the first class must be at least 15, and must be at least 17 for the second class. That means a D/C druid needs minimum 15 Str, 17 Wis, and 17 Cha. Doesn't look hard, right? But if you want a decent Dex and Con, all of a sudden it looks like you need a monster roll just to be fairly adequate in the abilities that aren't prime requisites. This isn't as bad for a mage, though, as Wisdom and Charisma can be bled a bit to increase the other scores.
Agreed, again: The DC Fighter/Druid is very tough to roll (you need a minimum roll in the low 90's), and even with a high roll, you better know exactly how to allocate those points, to avoid nasty surprises later on. I do not remember enough to say athoritatively if Aerich's numbers are good, but do remember that this is a very tricky endeavor. There are several good threads on this subject; including one where Dundee Slaytern and others accepted my invitation to give lots of instruction in the formulation of my DC F/D, mentioned above. Don't get me wrong, I *LOVE* my DC F/D!! but this is because I planned him well and was patient AT THE ROLL, stacked proficiency points in the right weapons, and had the patience to keep him as Fighter for a long time. Now that he is F[10]/D[18], in TotLM, the only thing I would have done differently is put the one extra point into DEX instead of STR, and waited to DC at F[12] or even F[13].

I also agree with Aerich on keeping your party, now that you are so near the end. It **IS** an excellent party, and much more solid than most in one significant way that may only become apparent to you in the final battle.

In summary, well-planned DC characters are typically significantly more powerful than MC builds with the same expo, because they can stack PP higher and take advantage of Fighter HP bonuses for high CON in the first 10 levels. Their disadvantages are: they lose a large skill set for a large portion of the game IF they DC at a high level AND the game is short (e.g. a standard difficulty IWD game with no expansions); they become a liability to the party for a short window in the mid-game; and they must be Human. In my book, the advantages of DC far outweigh the disadvantages; and the only characters I don't DC are those that are restricted to single class (e.g., Paladin and Bard) and the non-human character that the party must take in order to have infravision in the party. (This latter character I typically MC.)

I am saddened to see that you want to drop the Bard, when your party seems so-o-o tailored for one. And I see the problem: Your Bard is not singing!! Isn't your Bard at level 11, yet? Then she should virtually ALWAYS be singing War Chant. Having the Chant active is like having ALL of your party **AND** ALL of your summons simultaneously under the permanent influence of Potion of Regeneration **AND** Potion of Serpent Scales **AND** Potion of +2 THAC0 **AND** Potion of +10 resistance to Virtually All Physical Attacks (made those last two names up, but not the effects). Wow!!! For a physical party like yours this is an AMAZING boost to their lethality and survivability. This song is so overpowered that Black Isle watered it down considerably for IWD2. Meanwhile, enjoy.

(Slight Dragon's Eye and TotLM Spoilers coming....)

I'll bet you didn't buy the very expensive Bardic Horn of Vahalla, in Kuldahar, either, did you? Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! There is a VERY good reason why this Bard-only instrument costs so much: This spell *R*O*C*K*S*!! Example: on DE1, my Bard blew the horn at the entrance, in the face of all those lizard guys, and got a lucky draw of 5 Berserkers. With lots of party support and by judicious baiting of enemies to lure the Berserkers onward (you can not directly control Berserkers) my party cleared the ENTIRE first floor, except the spider alcove and the lizard king's chamber, in one big fight, with the Berserkers getting most of the kills. The last Berserker fell almost simultaneously with the last lizard. It was awesome to see those guys flying into a pile of 7 lizards; and with each Berserker getting in about 4 ApR, virtually every round was punctuated with the screen rocking from a critical hit and chunks of lizard dude bouncing off the ceiling and cave walls! There were not many corpses left lying about, because Berserkers hit HARD and most of the lizards met their demise by exploding into chunks! Of all the choice moments I've had in IWD/HoW/TotLM, this is my signature IWD memory: my party with 5 Berserkers turning an entire floor of lizardmen into hamburger in DE1.

Berserkers are summons on stiff steroids + crack! And with the Chant... well, although I will try, they are almost beyond description.

My party is curently in TotLM. Just met a meanie who could transport members of the party away from the fight AND summon some tough undead help. No problem: My Bard blew the horn and then reverted back to War Chant; and the Berserkers started doing the Flying-Ginsu-Blade thing to the summons while my very physical party whaled away on the boss. Yeah, the party members got transported away, sometimes into locked rooms, but eventually strolled back to rejoin the fray, meanwhile, the Berserkers were "chunkifying with extreme prejudice" anything this guy summoned up and sometimes taking a swipe at him. (Remember: this is TotLM. I've had the Horn since Vale of Shadows!) This 9-round fight was designed to be a challenge, but was amazingly easy. No buffs, no curses, no fireballs, no ice storms, no entangle, no other area effect spells, just the Bard singing "La la la la la," to the party and her Beserkers while they pounded the opposition into jelly. When the big guy went down there was still one Berserker left, screaming for someone else to kill, and the rest of my party had hardly a scratch.

So, Bards are like hurricanes: You can't directly see their true power; but, with the right party (and you, my friend, have a party seeminigly tailored for a Bard) you can easily see their powerful effects. IF a Bard could do NOTHING else besides sing the War Chant, she would be assured of a place in my fighter-heavy party: The spells and Bardic Horn are just gravy. Her ability to use weapons is a red herring: don't let her even touch that +4 THAC0 cross-bow!! Don't let her do anything but SING (and cast an occasional spell)! (To verify this, try saving just before a big fight. Reload and fight several times with your Bard using weapons, then fight the same battle several times with the Bard singing War Chant. Take notes on each fight and compare how many rounds the fights last and what condition your guys are in at the end of each fight. With your party, I think you will clearly see the advantage of singing. For your Fighter mixes that are MCed rather than DCed: they are lacking some of the high-octane THAC0 performance that a DC character with grand mastery could provide. In this case, the +2 THAC0 and -2 AC from the War Chant is even more important! ---> SING!!))

That's why my signature says...
--------------------
What's a party,
without a song?
Bards ROCK!
Party On!!


[ 09-07-2004, 02:34 PM: Message edited by: NobleNick ]
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Old 08-31-2004, 12:05 AM   #10
Aerich
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I knew as soon as I saw Spiff's bard-unhappy post that NobleNick would have something to say about that; after all, he drives the Bard bandwagon.

For good reason. The bard is the ULTIMATE 6th character. It's not one you'd typically build a party around (like, say, a paladin or a fighter/druid), but it is support par excellence. The bard takes pressure off of everyone - pickpockets to supplement the thief, spells to supplement the mages, and War Chant to supplement the clerics AND the warriors. The other songs may save your party's bacon at certain areas of the game. Also, the Horn of Valhalla essentially removes the necessity of memorizing low-to-mid level summonings.

Back on topic - D/C is the way to go for powerhouse games. M/C is for interest value and ease of gameplay (in the start to mid-game, and as NobleNick pointed out specifically, in shorter games). I like the demi-humans, especially gnome multiclass ?/illusionists. They can use interesting items that cannot be used by humans (Helm of the Trusted Defender), and get different dialogue options. Plus, some of the portraits are just so darned cool.

NobleNick - just one minor thing: you said above that a D/C fighter/mage cannot use a longbow. Are you sure about that? It's been a while since I've played one, but I'm fairly certain that I could. It was in my pre-HoW days, though. Does that make a difference?

[ 08-31-2004, 12:07 AM: Message edited by: Aerich ]
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