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Bards with Wands: an uber solo recipe

Discussion in 'Baldur's Gate (Classic)' started by Har, Apr 1, 2005.

  1. Har Gems: 1/31
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    I've been reading these forums for some time now, and have learned much. I feel like giving something in return; I want to explain a specific strategy I bumped into recently, which turns the ordinary bard in BG1 into a true juggernaut of destruction.

    I found some references to parts of this strategy on the forums, so I'm sure some of you have known about this. For everybody with limited knowledge of combining bards and wands; you might want to read on..

    I love soloing bards in BG2. The Melodic Chain is great: like a cleric, it lets you combine magic and tanking during the same fight, which really adds depth to a solo run.

    Soloing bards in BG1 doesn't give this extra dimension, as there is no casting-allowed armor, forcing the bard to either behave mage or fighter-like during a fight.

    While pondering about this loss of depth, I realised two conditions of the game which could help out:

    * Bards can use wands while wearing armor.
    * Wands can be recharged as often as needed.

    What if you combine these two, and start using wands as your normal way of casting in-fight spells ? So instead of saving your wands for those "special moments", you use them liberally, using them as you would normally cast your offensive spells ?

    I did some test-runs so see how this could work, resulting in the following strategy:


    Offensive spells: Wands

    My bard's quick-slots are permanently filled with three wands: Monster Summoning, Stun, Fireball. I use these as though I'd have a spellbook filled with the corresponding spells, and use them whenever I feel like it. I have tried other wands, but these seem like the most effective ones. Whenever a wand gets close to empty, I recharge it immediately.

    Defensive spells: Spellbook

    As a bard, I can cast spells in the normal way. But my spellbook only has pre-fight buffs like Prot/Evil, Mirror Image and Resist fear. Not a Magic Missile or Stinking Cloud in sight. Before a big battle, I take off my armour, buff up, then put my armour back on. It is the only use I have for my spellbook, but buffing is always a plus.

    General presence: Fighter-style

    My weapons, armor, items and abilities are all there to fight, and fight as hard as a bard can be: Fighter-like stats, Long Sword+2, Chain+2 and anything else that can help me bash into a single enemy while being attacked myself, just like a fighter.


    Since the wands can be used while wearing armor, and can be used continuously without any real limits, and my normal spells can buff up the tough gear I am carrying, this bard has turned out to be a totally uber-tank blasting magic like there's no tommorow.

    I don't even bother with small fish anymore; one or two Monster Summons take down any low to mid-level threat. Stun is great for those boss-like figures, which I then hack to bits using my top weapons and buffs. Fireball really softens up any group. And don't worry if you hit your own Summons with it; just call in some more!

    You might think there are two problems with this strategy. First off, the high "burn-rate". Using the Wand of Monster summons costs about 170 coins a pop; the others aren't much cheaper. So using them all the time costs quite a lot of money.

    But when soloing, you have a lot of money. Whole loads of it. I haven't had a solo-run where money wasn't gushing over. And as a bard, you can pickpocket Algeron's cloak, and cast Friends, giving a hefty discount on these purchases (later on, a bard might even be able to steal them back). Just work on your Reputation, and sell all valuables and magic items you run into; financing this strategy is easy.

    The second problem is actually getting these wands. This, again, turns out to be pretty easy. Here is a short walkthrough to get them. Note that I didn't pick them up in succession, doing various quests in between, but I did use this order:


    * First get the Wand of Paralyzation; by using a trick, you can easily pick this up at level 1. Get the Potion of Speed from Imoen, and the Potion of Invisibility from Jaheira. Hike to the Lighthouse; when close to, but out of range of the Sirines, drink both potions. Sneak in all the way to the container in the cave. Once you grab the contents, everybody will attack, but Speed will let you outrun them all; just run all the way back to Beregost. You get CON+1 and the excellent Cloak of the Wolf as a bonus.

    This Wand gives you Stun, which is super against one-on-one bosses like Greywolf (Sword+2), Meilum (Gauntlets of Weapon Expertise) and good experience/money givers like Bassilus and Taugosz. Getting this wand early is easy and gives a real kick-start to the run.

    * The Wand of Monster Summoning is next; you'll need to fight three Ghasts to get it. Buy a Potion of Freedom from High Hedge to neutralize their Holds. A buffed-up bard can then tackle these foul beasts quite early on. You might even try stunning them, or run past them and use the Wand of Summons on the spot.

    This Wand is totally uber, and is the main staple of this strategy. Once you get this one, you are close to invincible. It doesn't just give you fodder; it gives you a continuous flow of fodder, as you can keep using it again and again in a fight.

    * The Wand of Fireball is last; you can find one in the Ankheg cave. How to beat the Ankheg's ? Summons from the Wand ofcourse! Just make sure you always have a couple of summons in front of you, and no Ankheg will get a scratch on you.

    This wand is a nice addition, and can wipe out tons of weaker enemies in one or two shots. Or tons of tougher enemies in six or seven shots. Remember, unlike memorized spells, a recharged wand gives almost unlimited numbers of spells in a fight.


    This bard gets real uber real fast; the last test-run I did, my bard ended with all three wands fully recharged, Sword+2, Chain+2, Gauntlets of weapon Expertise, Ring/Fire, Girdle of Bluntness, Boots of Avoidance, a Rep of 20, and wiped out the bandit camp including the main tent in under 3 minutes, without losing a since hitpoint. When I reached that point in the game, my bard was just level 6 and I hadn't done a reload once. By picking and choosing the right fights in the beginning, my bard was never in any serious danger.

    This bard will probably be very boring for a whole run-through, but if you are looking for a cheap thrill, or want to see a character which is almost unbeatable from the get-go, then you might like to give this bard a spin..
     
  2. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Um, I'm obviously missing something, but when all of the charges in my wand are gone, the wand disappears. How would one "recharge" a wand?

    Also, I have played bards in BG1, and even without armor, it's not that bad. I agree wand usage is a must, but with a decent pair of bracers and a RoP, you can get a pretty good AC (1 is attainable fairly early on). I also use a bow as my primary weapon to take out an enemy or two from a distance, before switching over to either a halberd or quarterstaff.
     
  3. Enagonios Gems: 31/31
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    Although I've never used this tactic myself as I think its OVERLY-CHEESY :p ;) I've heard that if you sell a wand to Thalantyr at High Hedge and buy that wand back you have nigh-unlimited charges. Or was that 100. Well, same thing in BG imo.
     
  4. raptor Gems: 16/31
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    Yes wand charging. When you get wands they are of various number of charges, selling it to a shop, and buying it back again "refresh" it and adds max charges, iirc 65536 (or was it 65535, dependent upon if 0 is counted as a own or not.) Since the price is per number of charges expect this t cost lots of lots of lots of gold, iirc i had to pay 18000gold to get a wand of frost back, for a rep 10 cha 19 wizard.

    Sugested idea for this idea, If you use the Dark Side of the Swoard coast mod, replace the paralysation with the Etin's Wand, it stuns or holds (dont recal) but gives no save, and i do belive it bypassed magicresistance as well. also have a chance of poisoning. I took down almost all bosses in the game with that wand. including the green dragon in the DarkSide mod.

    Good idea though, Bards can be very allrounded. They can even keep track with a wizard when it comes to spellcasting until wizard hit level 5.

    Sugestion for improvement, Wizard level 2 or 3, then dual clas to fighter. Once you hit level 3 or 4 Fighter you get all the wizard abilities back, including ability to use wands. You also get some weapon specialisation and bigger armor.
     
  5. Har Gems: 1/31
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    Yes, sorry about not being clear on this: you can sell a wand in High Hedge, then buy it back. The wand you buy back has 100 charges, regardless of the charges left when selling it. It's quite expensive though; at rep 20 + chr 25, I was paying around 17000 per wand.

    Raptor: the Wizard-to-Fighter suggestion sounds interresting indeed, especially when doing it at lvl 2 or 3. At those levels, the hand-to-hand advantages of a bard are small (everybody is weak at those levels), and it is very easy to get a fighter to lvl 3 or 4.

    You will miss out on some buffs, as there is no further spell-progression, but buffing isn't that big an issue with these characters anyway. The loss of spell-progression would have serious effects at higher levels, but I doubt many would take such a character much further than lvl 8 without getting bored with it anyway. Before getting there, they can be big fun though..
     
  6. raptor Gems: 16/31
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    Hmm, i thought a charged wand had more charges, never bothered to check that much. Even 100 charges is much more than i ever use through a game.

    The only reason i thought level 3 might be interesting was to get mirror image and invisibility. A specialist mage level 2 will still have 3 spells at level 1 per day. More than enough to some common identify and friends. And in a emergency a few Blindness spells (a level 1 mage can easilly kill some highlevels such as Firebead with blindness and a sling.) And since you only planned to use the fighter part of Bard anyways (save wand use) the fighter himself would probablly do better.

    On another note, Drizzt's Chainmail can use some spells while equiped. I dont recal just what spells, but i think every spell marked white worked, and red failed dont recal about the blue ones. if so they could make the bard even better with same setup. If he could cast white + blue spells, and the wands for offensive.
     
  7. Har Gems: 1/31
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    Yes, 100 charges practically means unlimited; even if you would run out of them (which is indeed very unlikely), by that time you would have more than enough coin for a recharge anyway.

    Mirror Image alone does indeed make it worth considering going for level 3. Personally, I rarely use Invisible, but the "poor man's Stone Skin" really helps: it was the primary pre-fight buff I had. I also used Resist Fear for some specific fights, btw.

    I just realised a problem with this "Mage to Fighter dual-class"-strategy; I don't think you can use the wands while the mage-class is dormant, so while working up to level 3/4 as a fighter, the game would be just like a standard solo-run. That's perfectly do-able, but would dampen the "cheap thrill"-effect.

    The bard gets the Stun-wand at level 1, and can use it to get most of the great gear, experience and recharge-money (Greywolf, Meilum, Bassilus, bounty hunters) from that moment on with no trouble. This essentially means the bard not only gets uber fast, but has an easy ride getting there.

    Drizzt's Chainmail sounds interresting indeed.. I never tackled him, and wasn't aware his armor gave (some) casting-abilities; this is a very good tip! Do you (or anybody else) by any chance have a way of getting the armor as a low-level solo bard ?
     
  8. raptor Gems: 16/31
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    The most common way to play the Dance of Drizzt: archers, and 3 wands of monster summoning. :)

    Alternativelly, if you are willing to sacrifice a character, give one person bootsof speed (or haste) and trick him up to one of the "edges" in the little water up north. If done right hes stuck and you can stand on the island shooting arrows for as long as you want.

    If you want to test, its easier to just CLUAConsole it in. CHAN06.ITM, or gatekeeper or whatever.


    About the wizard/fighter build, yes i am aware he cant use wands while leveling up as fighter. Just save some of the easy quest experience for that time so you level up fast. Also main reason to go for level 2 wizard and then go Fighter.

    Not to mention you could use Algernons Cloack. Most large enemies fall to that charm effect. I cannot even remember last time i did not use that cloack on Mulahey to make him squat hes own forces to oh so much dust.
     
  9. Har Gems: 1/31
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    I just had a go at Drizzt using an old save: you right, he means business. I'm not sure if 3 wands would really be enough..

    The trip was worthwhile though: my bard pickpocketed his Frostbrand. That means a Scimitar+3 with 50% fire res without any fighting. Your tip just upgraded the main weapon...

    I agree about the F/M: Mirror Image is good, but the gap without the wands would have to be as short as possible. There isn't that much easy experience around (although, if I remember correctly, Mellicamp gives like 5000..).

    I only recently became aware of the charm-spell using the Cloak. Is there actually a limit to it? I did some tests on it, and it just kept on going. If it is indeed (near) limitless, it would be a very worthy addition to the offensive "spellbook". I'm sure Gnarl and Hairtooth, or Krumm and Caldo would agree.
     
  10. raptor Gems: 16/31
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    "I just had a go at Drizzt using an old save: you right, he means business. I'm not sure if 3 wands would really be enough.."

    Hehehee.... then try the other tactic i offered. I sacrifised Garrick to lure drizzt to the exact right position on the shore up north. Once there i let Drizzt hack him to pieces. When he tried to get the next member of my team (placed on the island in middle of water) he couldnt reach and just stood at the shore looking at the incoming misslefire (my own elf ranger + kivan + coran (i only did this to see if i could, i loaded back afterwards :) )). Btw, i had 4 characters on my team, and i almost ran out of arrows before drizzt died, so stock up.

    "The trip was worthwhile though: my bard pickpocketed his Frostbrand. That means a Scimitar+3 with 50% fire res without any fighting. Your tip just upgraded the main weapon..."

    Try to pickpocket him once more, then replace the main weapon again.

    "There isn't that much easy experience around"

    If you pick BOW's and skill as fast as posible in that, pick up the composite longbow +1 in Beregost, lots of lots of arrows. And take Mr. Korax for a walk among the Bassilisks (hes immune to petrification, so as long as he walks in cirecles around them, he wont die). Thats some free XP.

    "I only recently became aware of the charm-spell using the Cloak. Is there actually a limit to it?"

    Someone else on teh board said it had 65535 charges, and once it hit 0 it starts again at 65535. So it really should be infinite.


    Heh, sorry for having to quote you, but it made it easier to read.
     
  11. Har Gems: 1/31
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    I'll save the Drizzt-encounter for later; temporarily dragging a character along during a solo-run always feels "unpure" to me, even if it means getting rid of Garrick. I'll definately try this with a party-run though; that sword and armor sounds very, very interresting.

    Alas, pickpocketing Drizzt more than once results in a "no more items" message, so I doubt I can get my hands on that Scimitar+5 for now. Frostbrand is great though; not just for the +3, but combined with the Ring/Fire res, you end up with 90% fire-resistance. Really helpfull when you're throwing around Fireballs left and right.

    The Bassilisks-area is indeed a good exp-giver. Note that I personally don't bother with Korax; he's just too slow for my taste. I just buy a Mirrored Eyes-potion from High Hedge and handle them myself.

    Even if the cloak wouldn't roll over, 65K is close enough to unlimited (are there actually that many characters in the game?). So my "spellbook" now also contains Charm, and it is proving to be very effective..

    I'm currently doing new test-runs, trying to find the shortest/easiest path to "uber-godhood" using the bard (the M/F would certainly work too; for me, the bard just feels nicer). If I find the time, I'll whip up a walkthrough-like thingy from the results.
     
  12. raptor Gems: 16/31
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    For a pure "fun reason" i would have picked bard over M/F as well :) Bard is one of the coolest classes in the game.
     
  13. Klorox

    Klorox Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai-mĂȘnu! Veteran

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    How do you deal with traps?
     
  14. raptor Gems: 16/31
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    I'd say mirror image, but that is mainly becose i know where most trapps are, and how lethal most of them are.
     
  15. Felinoid

    Felinoid Who did the what now? ★ SPS Account Holder

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    There's an easier way to get Drizzt where you want him. :evil: He will automatically attack any gnolls he can see, so you can lure him up to the edge of the lake with a trail of charmed or summoned gnolls. Then all of your characters can shoot at him from the island.
     
  16. The Magpie

    The Magpie Balance, in all things Veteran

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    @Fellinoid:

    Which is fine ... until enhanced pathfinding kicks in and leads him to you. To pull off the island trick, you need to ensure that your path nodes are set as low as possible. IIRC, <200 should suffice, but YMMV, as they say. With these caveats, this is pretty much the only way a solo character can nail Drizzt.
     
  17. Felinoid

    Felinoid Who did the what now? ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Unless, of course, you use the summoned-monsters-out-of-sight-range trick. One time I snuck up on a hobgoblin, used Algernon's cloak, and sent the hob after Drizzt while I high-tailed it out of there. It took him the *entire night* (game time) to kill Drizzt.
     
  18. Elwyn De'Liam Gems: 5/31
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    @Magpie

    I never changed the default pathfinding, so it never happened to me...

    I tried that solo bard, and it really got very powerful (and very boring) very quickly. By using the wand of monster summoning, i was lucky enough to get two groups of Hobgoblins, so by summoning them on the island they helped me take drizzt in five minutes...
     
  19. Killjoy Gems: 8/31
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    For the record, the wand of paralyzation was deactivated in the latest non-TOTSC patch. It's completely useless and doesn't even work on kobolds. Solo bards should instead rely on invisibilty and web.
     
  20. Klorox

    Klorox Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai-mĂȘnu! Veteran

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    This is awesome! After reading this, and the blade guide (BGII and TOB) I think I want to give a solo bard (or maybe just a really small party) a shot at the entire game!

    on edit:

    With a solo Bard, did you kill that elf in CandleKeep (the guy who sends you to find him a scroll of identify)? I've read that this is an ulta-cheesey way to gain a ton of XP, and he'll still show up in that southern town to send you on that book-quest.

    I think you take a -4 hit to your Rep though.

    ON EDIT: I think this is on-par with Scythesong's Guide to Blades (BGII), and if it's cleaned up, should be added to the Sorcerer's Place Hint/Download section.

    [ July 12, 2005, 07:07: Message edited by: Klorox ]
     
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