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Help with mage team

Discussion in 'BG2: Throne of Bhaal (Classic)' started by damedog, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. damedog Gems: 15/31
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    On my first full play-through I went very tank heavy with not a lot of magic, and so this time I want as little fighter classes as possible and as much magic as I can get without getting squished by the harder fights. My team consists so far of Charname F/M, Keldorn, Anomen, Edwin, Haer'dalis, Yoshimo (later Imoen). So far my strategy has revolved mostly around clogging the area with summons and throwing flame arrows and minute meteors everywhere. Any advice for awesome mage spells and combos?
     
  2. hannibal555 Gems: 9/31
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    Summons work til the end.
    Spider Spawn is one of the best of the early ones. Animate Dead is great when caster level is 15.
    Usually it suffices to haste your summons and steamroll the enemies.
    Use your other spell arsenal for the boss fights. At least for me this is the least tedious strategy.
    Other than that there are some really broken spells like Project Image and Alacrity/Timestop or Wish.
    By awesome, do you mean the broken ones or just some good/fun combos? ;)
     
  3. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    For "little fighter classes" as possible you have a pretty heavy group....

    One of the funnest combos for a spell caster is used with Aerie -- if you put Doom and Chromatic Orb in a sequencer you kill dragons.
     
  4. Xyx Gems: 5/31
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    Fighter/Mage, Keldorn and Anomen doesn't sound very squishy to me. The Fighter/Mage alone is such an uber tank that you don't really need anything else.

    But won't Keldorn and Edwin fight?

    Certainly, though it depends on playstyle and circumstance. I play conservatively, and my spell selection tends to shift a little as the party levels up and certain tactics become obsolete.

    A mage can only cast one spell/use one item every 6 seconds regardless of casting time, and I prefer to keep my options open in a fight rather than cast minor buffs. For instance, I hate it when half my party gets panicked and I have to wait 4 more seconds before I can cast Remove Fear because I just cast Blur (and all the while everyone's running out of the Remove Fear area like headless chickens.) I like to play as if I didn't know exactly what was behind every door, so I avoid buffs unless they last several fights or are sufficiently awesome.

    I like keeping my options open, but I also prefer quality over variety. After running through the game several times, I noticed that I simply didn't use some seemingly awesome spells enough for them to warrant a slot. Another problem with configuring spellbooks is that there is no even distribution of awesome spells; it's often either feast or famine.

    Some spells are essential for soloers or extremely awkward parties, but with your party there are no particular areas that need shoring up. You're free to concentrate on the good stuff.

    I list several spells as "honorable mentions"; these are definitely good, and many people will recommend them, but I think other spells are even better.

    Level 1
    • 6+ Magic Missile: OK against everything, good against mages. You can never go wrong with Magic Missile.
    • Honorable mention: Identify: Get the Glasses of Identification.
    • Honorable mention: Chromatic Orb: The +6 save bonus kind of ruins it.
    • Honorable mention: Friends: Can get you a discount at stores, but I can't be bothered.

    Level 2
    • 1+ Mirror Image: Minor buff, but good enough. Like a backup Stoneskin. Also protects against fireballs.
    • 1-2 Remove Fear: Have everyone memorize at least one. Lasts a good while and takes care of the entire party at once, so it can be used proactively as well as reactively.
    • Honorable mention: Knock: Immy can pick just about all locks.
    • Honorable mention: Blur: Minor buff for a Fighter/Mage.

    Level 3
    • 0 or 3 Skull Trap: Load into Spell Sequencer.
    • 0+ Haste: Good party buff.
    • 0+ Melf's Minute Meteors: Great against everything. Be careful about using them up close; they're ranged weapons, and you suffer some pretty horrendous penalties if you use a ranged weapon in melee. If your Fighter/Mage is a Kensai, the meteors get the Kensai bonus. I no longer have Eddie memorize this when he gets the Staff of the Magi, since I prefer him invisible and he's not that good with them anyway.
    • 0+ Flame Arrow: Alternative to Skull Trap. Skull Trap is a better opener (which is why I prefer it in sequencers), but Flame Arrow is better once the party is engaged in melee.

    Level 4 (this is a "feast" level; too much good stuff)
    • 3+ Stoneskin: Essential for the Fighter/Mage, great for the rest.
    • 0-1 Minor Sequencer: Load with 2 x Magic Missile.
    • 0-1 Improved Invisibility: OK buff for the Fighter/Mage.
    • 0-3 Farsight: Great for sending in armies of high-level summons and clones.
    • Honorable mention: Improved Invisibility: Minor buff for the Fighter/Mage.
    • Honorable mention: Spider Spawn: Decent summon spell, but by the time you have slots to spare it's not that great anymore.
    • Honorable mention: Polymorph Self: There are some extremely specific uses for this spell, but usually it just sits there.
    • Honorable mention: Wizard Eye: Can explore, but can also be killed. I prefer Farsight.

    Level 5
    • 1+ Breach: Don't rely on Keldorn to debuff enemy mages; he'd also wipe all your precious buffs, and you should save his dispels for emergencies that you can't otherwise take care of, like when people get held, stunned or charmed.
    • 0-3 Lower Resistance: Load into Spell Trigger. You won't need it often; there are very few magic resistant enemies that a combination of tanks, summons and Melf's Minute Meteors won't take care of. It's nice to have one or two available to your Project Images, though.
    • 0-1 Spell Immunity: Makes Project Images immune to True Sight. If you time it right, you can cast Project Image or Simulacrum right into enemy True Sight and have the clone cast Spell Immunity before the True Sight kills it.

    Level 6 (another "feast" level)
    • 1 Contingency: Load with Stoneskin at 50% hit points, later with Protection from Magical Weapons.
    • 0-2 Protection from Magical Weapons: Almost complete invulnerability for four rounds. Good later in the game, when Stoneskin alone no longer cuts it, especially for the Fighter/Mage.
    • 0+ Improved Haste: Short-lived buff for tanks, but a very good one.
    • 1+ Summon Nishruu: If you run into an enemy mage, back off out of sight and send in a single Nishruu. If they don't kill it with Death Spell or Remove Magic, it'll probably deplete all their good spells.
    • Honorable mention: Tenser's Transformation: OK buff for the Fighter/Mage.
    • Honorable mention: Mislead: OK buff for Bards (the decoy can sing) and Thief/Mages (backstab, backstab, backstab!)

    Level 7
    • n x Project Image: Best spell in the game. It copies your entire spellbook and all the items in your quickslots. Save your Time Stop scrolls for exactly this purpose! A single Project Image can win most fights on its own. It helps if you have the Staff of the Magi; you'll be invisible and far less likely to lose the image to a stray arrow.
    • 1 Spell Sequencer: Load with 3 x Skull Trap. Wins many fights instantly.
    • Honorable mention: Limited Wish: Cast it three times; to the Glasses of Identification, the Full Plate +2 and the scroll that starts the gong adventure. After that, you can get rid of it, though don't underestimate the cannon fodder applications of the "horde to overrun my enemies!"
    • Honorable mention: Mass Invisibility: Minor buff for the whole party.
    • Honorable mention: Mordekainen's Sword: Very good tanking summon, but it's no Project Image.

    Level 8
    • 0+ Simulacrum: Like Project Image, but can fight and doesn't get the good spells. Great for the Fighter/Mage, OK for Immy, but redundant for Eddie. He can't fight anyway, and should load up on Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wiltings for his many Project Images instead.
    • 0-1 Spell Trigger: Load with 3 x Lower Resistance and save it for special occasions. Fighter/Mage can load it with a buff cocktail like Improved Haste + Protection from Magical Weapons + Tenser's Transformation.
    • 0+ Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting: Have Eddie's and Immy's Project Images spam this.

    Level 9
    • 1 Chain Contingency: You could get cute with all kinds of buffs (and probably should for the Fighter/Mage), but for Eddie/Immy just set it to "See Enemy" and load with 3 x Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting. Do not cast in advance, unless you're about to rest anyway. You don't need to, since you can even cast it in the middle of casting another spell. Mind that it's way glitchy if Project Images cast it.
    • 0-1 Improved Alacrity: Have Eddie's Project Image unload half its spellbook before the first Time Stop scroll wears off. Not as good without the Robe of Vecna.
    • 1+ Summon (Dark) Planetar: Best summon ever. Can cast Remove Fear, Globe of Blades, Heal, Restoration and Insect Plague. Don't bother with other spells; her sword deals more damage. Project Images can summon several at once.
    • Honorable mention: Dragon's Breath: Huge damage, knockback, ignores magic resistance.
    • Honorable mention: Time Stop: Why cast it when your Project Image can read a scroll?

    Phew. Do you need any advice on Cleric or Druid spells?

    Aerie sure is great. If you want to get a taste of a spellcasting heavy party, you probably shouldn't miss out on the opportunity to load 2 x Hold Person into a Minor Sequencer, 3 x Holy Smite into a Spell Sequencer, 3 x Bolt of Glory into a Spell Trigger, and Greater Restoration (plus whatever else the situation requires) into a Chain Contingency.

    Only 1 in 6 tries, unfortunately.
     
    Montresor, damedog and hannibal555 like this.
  5. hannibal555 Gems: 9/31
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    A good summary there, Xyx.

    Though me personally, I restrain myself from using Project Image, it's fun but just too unbalanced.
     
  6. damedog Gems: 15/31
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    Compared to my last game they are very squishy, especially to someone who is still learning the game. Last time I played I had 4 full time tanks and one multi-classed one. Anomen will be replaced by Aerie though because I completely forgot about her until she was mentioned for some reason.

    Project image seems to be way overpowered. I can just imagine having all my mages with multiple images spamming dragons breath/horrid wiltings.

    Yes. :p
     
  7. Montresor

    Montresor Mostly Harmless Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Strangely, no. Keldorn will fight Viconia because she is drow, and if Anomen fails his test he will eventually attack Keldorn. Edwin will end up fighting Minsc. But they both tolerate each other and everyone else.
     
  8. damedog Gems: 15/31
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    I played with Keldorn and Viconia together once and they never fought. Viconia said something mean to him, he threatened her or something, and she apologized and they never spoke again. I've never had any party conflicts, thankfully.
     
  9. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    If you finish the game early enough (minimum number of rests I guess?) you won't have to worry about NPCs fighting each other.

    It being a save or death combo, 1 in 6 against an ancient red actually seems a pretty unfair number.

    Both conjure image spells (simulacrum, project image) are gamebreaking, just depends on context. Lots of ways to break the game with them.
     
  10. Xyx Gems: 5/31
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    Alright, Cleric...

    Clerics have no super spells like Wizards, and they have a lot of very bad spells, but there's still a lot of good stuff in there.

    Level 1
    • 2-3 Remove Fear: Same as Resist Fear for Wizards, except cheaper. Lasts long. Cast whenever you expect mages/liches (Symbol, Fear), dragons (dragon fear) or demons.
    • 3+ Cure Light Wounds: Cheapest healing available. Lots of clicking if you're not using an AI script to heal, though.
    • Honorable mention: Doom: Minor debuff.
    • Honorable mention: Sanctuary: Practically identical to Invisibility, but a little cheaper.

    Level 2
    • 2+ Draw Upon Holy Might: Minor buff, levels up nicely.
    • 2+ Hold Person: Doesn't work on monsters but it's absolutely devastating on humanoids. Anyone failing their save can be ignored until you can kill them at your leisure.
    • 1 Slow Poison: Occasionally nice to have. A timely cure can save several healing spells.
    • Honorable mention: Chant: Minor party buff.

    Level 3
    • 0-6 Animate Dead: Summons one or two lowly Skeletons at first (cannon fodder, OK-ish versus mages because they're mindless - immune to fear, stun, charm, etcetera), but once Anomen hits level 15 this spell summons an awesome Skeleton Warrior. Good fighters and almost entirely magic resistant. One of those can clear out a room by itself. They become less impressive later on, but you'll have spell slots aplenty.
    • 3+ Holy Smite: Party friendly fireball! Just keep Eddie out of it (and any Evil Fighter/Mages you may have.)
    • Honorable mention: Cure Medium Wounds: Healing is always good, but Skeleton Warriors and party friendly fireballs are better.

    Level 4 (nothing awesome, but several decent spells)
    • 0+ Cure Serious Wounds: Healing is always good, though this heals only 3 points more than Cure Medium Wounds.
    • 0+ Farsight: Same as for Wizards, but the competition for Clerical spell slots is not nearly as fierce.
    • 1+ Protection from Evil 10' Radius: Decent party buff. Minor effect, but covers the entire party and might last several fights.
    • Honorable mention: Death Ward: Lasts long, but only protects one person and you rarely know when you'll need it.
    • Honorable mention: Free Action: Good buff but specific and does not last long.
    • Honorable mention: Holy Power: Minor buff.
    • Honorable mention: Negative Plane Protection: Good buff but specific and very short duration.

    Level 5 (nothing awesome once again, but lots of decent spells)
    • 1+ Chaotic Commands: Lasts long, protects against several incredibly annoying effects. A single person with this and good AC can clear out an entire Mind Flayer hive alone. Cast whenever you expect mages, devils, Umber Hulks, or anything else that stuns, charms or confuses.
    • Mass Cure: More economic than the Cure Wounds spells if you have two or more wounded people.
    • Honorable mention: Cure Critical Wounds: More efficient on a single target, but Mass Cure is usually far better.
    • Honorable mention: Flame Strike: Damaging, but a Wand of the Heavens does something comparable and cannot be disrupted.
    • Honorable mention: Raise Dead: Just by a Rod of Resurrection and occasionally recharge it by selling it and buying it back (best done at the Copper Coronet, because of the discount.)
    • Honorable mention: True Seeing: Great spell, but Keldorn already takes care of this. Wipes mirror images and all kinds of invisibility.
    • Honorable mention: Righteous Magic: Minor buff.
    • Honorable mention: Magic Resistance: Fun to cast on a highly resistant target, since it sets their magic resistance to the new value. I never got around to actually doing this.

    Level 6
    • 1+ Aerial Servant: Good summon. Lasts long, hits hard.
    • 0+ Heal: Best healing spell. Note that the Rod of Resurrection can also be used on living people, so Heal is essentially a Rod of Resurrection charge that does not cost 600-800 gold.
    • 1+ Wondrous Recall: Very flexible, good for getting back whatever you've been needing most. Will give you back level 5 or lower spells. It'll replenish the two highest spells up to level 5.
    • Honorable mention: Blade Barrier: Effective but too much of a liability for my tastes. There's a cheesy combo with Sanctuary; cast both and send your Cleric in alone. Enemies will just stand there while they get turned into sushi.
    • Honorable mention: Bolt of Glory: Ignores magic resistance, so it's OK versus demons, but you don't meet many of those. It's overkill on undead since you could probably just turn them.
    • Honorable mention: False Dawn: More anti-undead stuff. Good against the occasional lich if you can't turn them yet.
    • Honorable mention: Harm: Cleric THAC0 tends to fall just short of the mark for the things you'd really like to hit with this.

    Level 7 (including high level abilities)
    • 1+ Greater Restoration: If you have Throne of Bhaal installed, this functions as Mass Heal, and it's quick to cast.
    • 0+ Implosion: High damage, ignores magic resistance, and holds the target in place without a save (though almost everything worth casting this on is immune to that effect...)
    • 1+ Summon Deva: Best Clerical summon. Good fighter, and has a couple of decent spells as well, most notably Globe of Blades and Haste. Immune to Death Spell.
    • Honorable mention: Gate: Nasty demon, but it requires you to cast Protection from Evil 10' Radius first, or it'll attack the party instead.
    • Honorable mention: Resurrection: Again, just use the Rod.

    And Druids...

    Mostly the same as Clerics, but there are notable differences. Slightly more polarized too; more bad spells but some really good ones too.

    Level 1
    • 3+ Cure Light Wounds
    • Honorable Mention: Doom

    Level 2 (a true "famine" level)
    • 6+ Slow Poison
    • The other spells all suck.

    Level 3 (another "famine" level, though not as bad as level 2)
    • 6+ Cure Medium Wounds: Healing is healing.
    • Honorable mention: Call Lightning: Awesome on paper, but I've yet to use it. Most fights are indoors. Even the Elemental Plane of Air and the Planar Prison are "indoors".

    Level 4
    • 1-6 Call Woodland Beings: The Nymph can cast Mass Cure (a level 5 spell) and a ton of enchantments (most notably Domination, Hold Monster and Confusion), all for the cheap cost of a level 4 spell. Plus she's cannon fodder once she's done. I often summon these just for the Mass Cure. The Nymph doesn't cut it in the really big fights.
    • 0-3 Farsight: As per Wizard. By the time you get Project Image, Devas and Planetars, you can phase out Call Woodland Beings for Farsight.
    • Honorable mention: Cure Serious Wounds: The Mass Cure from the Nymph is better.
    • Honorable mention: Death Ward.

    Level 5
    • 1+ Iron Skins: It's Stoneskin for Druids!
    • 1+ Insect Plague: Makes mage battles a joke. Any mage covered in bugs will be unable to cast spells unless they cheat (which they do, on occasion.) The swarm is slow, but once it hits it spreads to a large area and doesn't affect your party. For these reasons it's often expedient to target your own tank. Since it's an area spell, nothing short of a lich's innate immunity to level 1-5 spells will stop it.
    • Honorable mention: Chaotic Commands: Insect Plague is better.
    • Honorable mention: True Seeing.

    Level 6
    • 0+ Conjure Fire Elemental: Hits hard, lasts long.
    • 1+ Wondrous Recall: Get back those awesome level 5 spells!
    • Honorable mention: Heal.

    Level 7
    • 1+ Nature's Beauty: Even if it doesn't instakill, it still blinds everything in a huge area, no save. Few creatures are immune (mostly just undead, certainly not dragons.)
    • 1+ Greater Elemental Summoning: The ultimate Druidic summon. Immune to Death Spell. The princes of Air and Fire both have a spell that deals quick damage to a single target.
    The problem with level 7 Druid spells is that you only get one spell slot until you hit 3 million Experience (which means 6 million for multiclass Druids like Jaheira.)

    Also... some general advice:
    • The following awesome area spells affect only enemies: Holy Smite (unless you're Evil), Insect Plague, Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting, and Dragon's Breath.
    • Spell Deflection/Turning/Trap will not stop area spells. You can generally ignore these spells. I never memorize any Spell Thrust/Ruby Ray of Reversal/Khelben's Warding Whip/Spellstrike stuff. There are Wands of Spell Striking in Watcher's Keep if you really need it (but I never used them for anything but Breach.)
    • If you really want to see how good a mage-heavy party is, abuse the hell out of Project Image! It's ridiculous, though you can only have one image per mage at a time.
     
  11. Yoshimo's Heart Gems: 13/31
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    One thing to remember is that no matter what (unless it is scripted otherwise) you always have a 5% chance to fail a saving throw. I always like to have one chromatic orb memorized in the event that I have used everything else and I just need luck to win (and that is the only real hope). I have had that chromatic orb kill firekragg (boy I was surprised) when I was desperate. However more than one outside of a minor sequencer is more than you need.
     
  12. Xyx Gems: 5/31
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    Wait... sorry, I totally got the numbers wrong... it's more like 1 in 60; 65% magic resistance and a modified save of 2+. Rather low expected value; any 60 spells would probably kill the thing, too (Magic Missiles certainly would.) The save really does ruin it. Plus you can't just try again on the next turn.

    But, yes, you can get lucky with Chromatic Orb. People do win the lottery.

    Simulacrum much less so, despite it being the higher level spell. You either need to be a dual-classed Fighter/Mage (see below) or have awesome quickslot items for it to shine.

    Dual-class Mages have higher level simmies. A Fighter 7/Mage 24 produces a Fighter 7/Mage 16 Simulacrum that is able to cast Simulacrum itself, producing... a Fighter 7/Mage 18! However, despite it being a higher level Mage, it does not have level 8 spells anymore, and no equipment, so it would suck. With a bit of work, one Fighter/Mage can create 4 Simulacra, 5 Project Images and 6 Misleads, though only 2 can attack, only 2 have quickslot items and the Misleads can't do much of anything at all.
     
  13. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    I found Charm Person or Mammal to be quite useful. It turns an enemy (a tanks is the best choice as they are the least likely to save) into canon fodder that you want to get killed before the spell ends. Turn that fighter against his mage/priest backup. If he is killed, no loss, they wasted their spells killing their own man. If he wins, he's most likely severly weakened and much easier to take out, and you don't have to deal with his buddies anymore. You might even be able to use him against the next group of enemies. A win/win situation.

    Barkskin is also useful for most of SoA, and Chant is an additional buff/debuff that can tilt the odds in your favor in a tough fight. Resist fire is useful if your mage uses the wands of fireball or fire spells. Cast it on your tank along with the ring of fire resistance, or the red dragon armor (or several other fire resistance items) and then let the mage unload his fireballs without worrying about hitting the tank.
     
  14. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    You never go below a 1 in 20 chance to do anything in BG2, unless you count both SR and saves. But Chromatic Orb ignores spell resistance.

    There's the Bard or Wild Mage's simulacrum.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2012
  15. Xyx Gems: 5/31
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    Some important spells that I forgot:

    Wizard level 1
    • Honorable Mention: Find Familiar: Scribe the scroll for 1000 Experience, cast it once, then erase it.

    Wizard level 6
    • Honorable Mention: Pierce Magic: A more expensive alternative to Lower Resistance for those select few nasty bosses that are immune to Lower Resistance. (*cough*Demogorgon*cough*) Deliver by means of Spell Trigger or Chain Contingency.

    Wizard level 8
    • 0-1 Power Word: Blind: Pwns spellcasters, including liches. Just stay out of melee range and they won't be able to see you. You still have to get past magic resistance, few creatures have a script that has them move to the main character when they don't see him/her, but nothing (that I know of) is immune to this, so it's usually game over for the target. It's also an area spell (tiny area), meaning it conveniently ignores Spell Turning and Spell Trap.

    Wizard level 9
    • Honorable Mention: Imprisonment: No can defend! No save, ignores magic resistance. Unfortunately, no get Experience or loot either. Only critters who speak a line when they are defeated are immune (which, unfortunately, includes pretty much all of the bosses, and that Bhaalspawn Chinchilla.)

    You are quite right. I completely forgot that it also charmed people.

    Good for Kensai, I'll admit, but others should just get the Armor spell, the Bracers of Defense AC3, or some actual armor.

    You should count both if they apply both, and Chromatic Orb's instakill does not ignore magic resistance if you install the Fixpack or the Baldurdash fixes (and I wouldn't dare play the game without.)
     
  16. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    At mage level 4 I recommend "Emotion", the spell is party friendly, has a huge area of effect and if enemies fail their save at -2 they are totally helpless.
     
  17. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    It also goes ignores certain basic protections like Mirror Image. Finally, there's Glitterdust. Great if you use difficulty mods.
     
  18. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    Guys, don't forget that mages should always use a Contingency for protection.
    Practice safe hex.
     
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