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Few questions about character building

Discussion in 'Icewind Dale 2' started by Resto, Aug 20, 2021.

  1. Resto Gems: 1/31
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    Hello. English is not my native language but I hope I'm comprehensible enough :)
    Last time I played Icewind Dale series years ago, back when the games were still relatively new. I want to play it again but I have a few questions.

    1) Specialist wizard and multiclassing into another caster.
    At first I thought that forbidden schools are supposed to be blocked for the whole character. Yet, levels of cleric allow to freely take spells from forbidden schools. Levels of bard, on the other hand, do not. OK, specialization prohibitions apply only to arcane magic, make sen... - aaand sorcerer ignore them too. So, specialist scholl prohibations apply only to his own spelllist and bard's? Why specifically bard? It feels really random.
    2) Does a specialist count as wizard in regards of favourite class? Logically he should but google brings contradictory answers.
    3) I vaguely remember skills in this game being much less useful than in other 3.0/3.5 CRPGs, to the point I regreted not dumping INT for everyone but rogue/wizard/team speaker. Is that indeed so?
    4) Is it just me or duergar's ECL+2 is really unwarranted? They seem to be not much better than other dwarves and way worse than drow.
     
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    This was a bug they never fixed.
    Yes.
    Animal empathy can be useful in the beginning during the palasade battle and the whole Shangarne adventure, but it drops off dramatically in usefulness afterwards.
    Wilderness Lore is truly useful once in the Wandering Forest (and if you don't have somebody with this skill you probably will need a walk-through as it becomes a "Guide dang it" moment). Otherwise it doesn't do much more than give flavor text (which you might like). I think it provides an alternate way to get some good dialog options, but there are other ways to get those same options by having your party face have high mental stats (INT, WIS, CHA).
    Hide in the Shadows and Move Silently can be useful on occasion for the whole party, but unless everyone has it you're better off ignoring it except for your backstabbing rogue who scouts. There are a couple parts where it can help, but you can usually horde the invisibility potions instead, and later have the wizard memorize invisibility 10' radius.
    Yeah, it should have been ECL+1.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2022
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    Your face character (team speaker) does not need INT. Speaking is influenced by Charisma, though sometimes some additional dialog options may become available with high Wisdom or Intelligence. If you know the game (or have a walkthrough), you can have your high INT character open these conversations. E.g., Viera has an extra 'service' dialog if your INT is 14.

    Many min-max parties have 3-5 characters with 3 INT. I don't recommend doing the same for CHA though, because unless you are extremely meticulous, an NPC will talk to a random member of your party, and this is especially true in IWD2. And backing out of conversations is not always recommended if you want the best outcomes. Your Int/Wis characters will also want some Cha for the above reason if you want extra dialog options. Apart from that, even CHA and WIS are not very useful. [Priests need WIS of course.]

    Don't think of them as separate entities. Bards, sorcs and wizards are all 1 entity -- arcane casters. Druids, Clerics, Rangers, Paladins are another entity - divine casters. I'm not specifically addressing your question about overlapping/opposing spell schools, but thinking about them as two groups of casters may help understand the programmers' intentions (whether they were correctly implemented or not is a different story).
     
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    You kind of contradicted yourself and proved my point.
    There are times when having 14 INT or WIS on the face helps with dialog. 75% of the time you only need CHA, but 10% of the time you need high WIS and 10% high INT. Probably 5% of the time you need something else, but it is more like 1% instead of 5% since they often overlap with INT or WIS. Example would be talking to the guy in the werewolf village. If you have high wilderness lore or high INT you get additional dialog options and the chance to shop for some decent items.
    Which is also why I said that Wilderness lore is great for flavor text, but only is truly needed in the Wandering Forest.
     
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    Well, the idea was not to contradict anyone... you or myself. The original question indicated that the player MIGHT be bumping up INT for face characters, so I only wanted to point out that face characters primarily use CHA not INT. I believe we are generally in agreement, or at least I would like to advocate so.
     
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    Ideally the face would have 16 CHA, 14 INT, 14 WIS, and take a point of CHA at levels 4 and 8 as well as equipping that +2 CHA item in Targos.
    The problem is that there aren't any classes that benefit from those three stats. Furthermore thieves and Bards are the only ones that get all the "social" skills you want for a face of Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Bluff as class skills.
    Bards benefit from CHA and INT for skills as they are second only to rogues and also can mix it up so probably need some physical stats since they are essentially fighter/thief/sorcerers (or maybe paladin/thief/sorcerer since they get Cure spells). Clerics benefit from WIS primarily, and CHA for turning, and don't get much in skills. They also could use more physical stats. Druids don't get much benefit from CHA, and INT is a distant second to WIS. Again they need physical. Sorcerers don't get much benefit from WIS and INT above 10 is not really needed since they only really need concentration and spellcraft. Paladins have good reason not to make your face because they often refuse rewards, and they only benefit from WIS and CHA like clerics and need physical stats more than clerics as they are essentially fighter/clerics. Rangers are the same as fighter/druids. Thieves need INT and DEX. Monks also refuse rewards, and need WIS, CON, STR, and DEX so INT and CHA are by necessity dump stats. Especially CHA since a monk/thief can be powerful and thus needs INT. Fighters need STR, CON, and DEX.
     
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    I know that talking skills use charisma. It's just "IWD2team speaker=bard or sorcerer" for me. Bard can use INT to be a better skillmonkey. Face!Sorcerer needs INT just to be able to increase multiple skills - he only have 1 skillpoint per level.

    Um, I think you misunderstood my question. Or I was not as comprehensible as I hoped.
    Normally, the opposed scholl(s) of specialist wizard is forever blocked. In IWD2 a single level of any other caster class (does not matter if it arcane or divine) unblock them - so, say, a transmuter with a single level of sorcerer, cleric or druid can freely learn Abjuration/Necromancy spells from scrolls while keeping his specialist stuff.
    Bard is the only exception - instead of unlocking blocked school(s) for wizard, bard himself is affected by them. Like, transmuter/bard lose access to both Abjuration/Necromancy scrolls AND blocked from taking such spells on leveling up as bard.
    This whole "unblocking" mechanic is weird and exploit-ish by itself if you ask me, but bard being a unique exeption to it makes it even weirder. Can it be related to bard getting spells only from second level (as cantrips are unimplemented) as apposed to first?
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2022
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    That's only if you have INT less than 10.
    That's due to the way the INT modifier works. The baseline is 10, and sorcerers get 2 skill points per level. However, there is a table in the manual (included on the CD or can be downloaded from Sorcerer's place) on page 134 "Character ability scores". You'll note that there is a negative modifier for scores below ten. You add the modifier to the number of skill points per level, with an absolute minimum of 1.
    So Every class except the bard and the rogue would only get 1 skill per level with 3 INT, and only the rogue would get more than 1 per level at 1 INT.
     
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    Um, I know how modifiers work but thanks anyway :)
    Yes, normally in D&D3.0/3.5 sorcerer have 2+INTmod skillpoints per level. Every class get atleast 2 skillpoints with 10-11 INT (zero mod). A character gets x4 of this number on the first level.
    In Icewind Dale 2, on the other hand, Fighter, Paladin, Cleric, Wizard and Sorcerer get only 1+INTmod skillpoints. Barbarian/Druid/Ranger/Monk/Bard get 2+INTmod. Rogue get 4+INTmod. They all correctly get x4 of this number at the first level.
    Thus:
    a) Non-human Bard with 3 INT/Rogue with 1 INT get just ONE skillpoint per level and no more.
    b) Sorcerer MUST either have 12+ INT or being a human if he wants to have both maxed Concentraition skill and some Spellcraft for elemental feats. He needs even more INT if he is the team-speaker as he will need some points in the speaking skills.
    c) Bard also need INT if he wants to be a proper jack-of-all-trades and utilize both his high CHA and Bardic Knowledge.
     
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    Was this changed in EE? I know that in my version which came on CD-ROM 18 years ago I've looked at the .2DA file and modified it at one point to play around with skills, and by default it does follow the rules in the manual with barbarians, fighters, sorcerers, and wizards getting 2, bards getting 6, and rogues getting 8, with all others getting 4.
    It's possible one of your mods changed it. Look in your override folder for a SKILLPTS.2DA file.
    That is NOT normal, you're only getting half the skill points, and even less with bards.
    P.S. I need to look it up which classes get more skill points, I think I made am mistake in that list.
     
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    Hmmm, I haven't done enough research to be able to answer. Sorry about that. But I've just started a new party, so maybe I'll report back on my findings by trying to replicate what you are observing.

    I will be trying to replicate the behavior in IWD2, so anything introduced in EE wouldn't apply, since IWD2 never got an EE :( Let's see, I might even create bards of a few different races in IWDEE to see the differences.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2022
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    There is no EE of Icewind Dale 2.
    I do not use mods and I'm pretty sure that IWD2 always had this weird skillpoint thing. In fact, I remember 10+ years old discussion about how weird it is.
    Than again, if you are 100% sure that you always got normal D&D 3.0 amount...

    About your list - I think Paladin gets 2 points in D&D3.0, while both Barbarian and Bard both get 4. Bard get 6 only in 3.5.

    Please check the amount of skillpoints your 10 INT non-human characters get per level. Thanks.
     
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    Here's what I got in IWD2... the only mod/patch I have installed separately is Mindchild's DLL patch, and in that patch, the only settings enabled are for Cheats and Sneak Attack. Not that any of it will affect how these characters level up, but just for full disclosure.
    • Human Bard (10, Dex 18, 10, 10, 10, Cha 18):
      • L1: 10 Skill Points, 2 Feats
      • L2: 3 Skill Points, 2 Spells
    • Moon Elf Bard (10, Dex 20, 8, 10, 10, Cha 18):
      • L1: 8 Skill Points, 1 Feat
      • L2: 2 Skill Points, 2 Spells
    • Human Rogue (10, Dex 18, Con 18, 10, 10, 10):
      • L1: 18 Skill Points, 2 Feats
      • L2: 5 Skill Points
    • Moon Elf Rogue (10, Dex 20, Con 16, 10, 10, 10):
      • L1: 16 Skill Points, 1 Feat
      • L2: 4 Skill Points
    • Moon Elf Fighter (Str 18, 12, Con 16, 10, 10, 10):
      • L1: 4 Skill Points, 2 Feats
      • L2: 1 Skill Point, 1 Feat
     
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    Thank you!
    So Bard gets only 2 skill points, Fighter gets only one etc. And IWD2 indeed generally gives only half of normal D&D 3.0 amount of skill points. Maybe devs thought it would make INT more useful? Still, it's pretty much useless for anyone but casters (bard including) and rogue, unlike in tabletop or NWN1/2.
    I must say, I don't like how having animal-like intelligence of 3 is not just alright, but optimal for like half of classes. Or more than half, in case of humans.
    Than again, in current 5th edition INT is even more useless - only Wizard, some specific subclasses and Artificier (whom a lot of people seem to dislike) have any use for it.
     
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    Yep, INT is a dump stat and I don't like it at 3 either. Same for WIS. It is even more useless in games that give you hordes and hordes of gear that can bump up your skills.

    If you don't want a party that's statistically dumb, you can create a regular party with some of your characters with INT 3, WIS 3. Then use Dale Keeper II to bump up your stats to 9 (-1) or 10. EE Keeper for IWDEE. Of course, there's no real harm in playing with a 3-3 character, it just feels dirty!

    My current party doesn't have a bard, but I'll play around with one separately to multiclass or dual class her and see how she behaves. But I suspect I will only confirm what you have already explained. :)

    A separate note on where INT is useful: In Baldur's Gate (especially BG2), having high INT is very useful because mindflayers drain 5 points of INT per hit. If you have 11 INT, you can withstand 2 hits. So, if possible, all front-liners (at least anyone who will go into melee with a mindflayer) must have at least 11 INT or be super buffed so that their hits never connect -- and you won't always be able to control who a mindflayer attacks (could be your back-line cleric). Of course, you can steal potions that increase your INT for a period, but having innate INT is useful. 3 in BG2 means you are a one-shot kill for those ugly creatures, but that is a problem only if all 6 party members are created and not recruited. :D
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2022
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    13 Int is the underdark dwarf discount so I just use a +1 ring or hat on my 12 int sorcerer, he sells a +1 staff if you don't have those
     
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    What "underdark dwarf discount"? Also a +1 staff isn't that special. There are several +1 staves available in Targos, including one you can take from the traitor whose name starts with P that collaborated with the goblins to attack, and from one of the goblin leaders in the palisade battle.
    Depending on the RNG you might pick one up as loot between then and the ice temple, and I'm pretty sure at least one of the priestesses of Auril has an enchanted staff that you can put to better use.
    I think a generic +1 staff is available in several of the stores you can optionally get access to between Targos and the Ice temple, depending on your party and your choices.
     
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    I believe he is talking about a +1 INT staff, not a +1 enchantment staff, to get INT up to 13 if you need it. You can get a 20% discount from Heggr Splitsteel for his goods and he will pay you 20% more for your goods.

    A side note for any new player reading this thread, +Stat items don't stack, just like most other things. Equipping the hat, ring and staff will net you only +1 INT. Another side note, Mage Staff +1 gives you +1 INT, an Iron Banded Staff gives you +3 INT.

    Yep, I can confirm the weird behavior.
    • Started two characters, Transmuter 1 and Bard 1 just to see if the starting character made any difference. At this point, the TM is unable to cast Horror from a scroll (necromancy) or memorize it, but the bard is able to cast it.
    • At level up, they became TM1/Bard1 and Bard1/TM1. They are both unable to memorize Horror, but they are both able to cast it from a scroll.
    • At next level, they became TM1/Bard2 and Bard2/TM1 (which is essentially the same thing -- as I said, just wanted to see if the starting character made any difference). Received a selection of spells to learn as part of the bard level-up. Both unable to learn Protection from Evil (abjuration). Still able to cast Horror from scroll, unable to memorize it.
    • Next level: TM1/Bard2/Sorc1 and Bard2/TM1/Sorc1. Now everything is available to them. They were able to learn PfromEvil from the spell selection, as well as learn Horror from scroll.
    In a separate experiment, I leveled up Bard1 to Bard2 and learnt PfromEvil. At next level, Bard2/TM1 is still able to cast PfromEvil. :-)

    Especially since Bard/TM are able to cast Horror from a scroll but not able to memorize it, I am inclined to suggest that this is a bug that never got fixed. I can't think of any reason why this would be a design choice.
     
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    drow wizard paladins are interesting as the cera sumat
    (main hand Brutal Impact) gives you max spell resistance while also unlocking spell restrictions and the base martial weapon feats

    fewer per day spell casts than sorcerers so keep a copy of tensers memorised for when you run out of spells
     
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    It is possible that I have a mod installed that makes proper AD&D skill points, I just don't recall installing much beyond the g3 tweaks, "Ammo Belts and Bottomless Bags", and the "bonus & collector's edition merchants." If the tweaks had an option to make the number of skill points you get correspond to the AD&D rules, then that's probably why I'm getting confused. I haven't installed a mod in at least 5 years.
     
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