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Kensai/Mage vs. Archer

Discussion in 'Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition' started by vid icarus, May 30, 2013.

  1. vid icarus Gems: 1/31
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    Ok, I just started playing BGEE, and it has been many moons since I have played a Baldur's Gate. I have been doing research on classes and was looking for some input. I know it is strictly a matter of personal taste, and the two classes I listed aren't very similar, but I was just wondering if anyone had some advice about picking one or the other. I usually play archers in RPGs, but I recall that casters are a lot of fun in BG. I'm wondering if the archer might be too passive, which is why I thought Kensai/Mage dual class might be more hands on and exciting. Thoughts?

    Ps, I will probably port this character to BG2EE whenever that comes out.
     
  2. damedog Gems: 15/31
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    Finally, a thread about DnD games on a DnD games board!

    Kensai/Mage will be more powerful in the end game, but for the most part will be stuck as one class or the other. Archers won't be as powerful in the end game, but for most of the game an archer will be a lot stronger. I would personally say archer since a kensai in the early game is rather squishy and not worth the meager benefits gained in the early levels, but that's just me.
     
  3. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    For BG, an Archer is much more powerful. Give your PC a longbow and the relevant proficiencies and (s)he will be picking off enemies before they can get even close. In BG2 an archer is much less powerful, but still quite good with the right arrows.
     
  4. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    If you plan to have a Ken/Mage in BG2EE, he will probably be a Kensai only in BGEE, correct? Concerning BGEE, Archers are a lot more powerful than a Kensai.
     
  5. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Archers are a lot more convenient in BG than a Kensai, too. Kensai can't wear armor, but also can't use ranged weapons unless they have a melee component. Mostly I end up giving them throwing axes for ranged weaponry, but they're heavy and you can't carry a lot with you. Melee is where the Kensai shines, but they're also very vulnerable, especially in BG.
     
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    Thanks for the thoughtful responses! Sounds like archer has the most votes, so I will probably roll with that.
     
  7. 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're referring to the archer kit then it will remain powerful even in BG2. +1 to hit and damage every 3 levels can do that to you. Combined with Called Shot that's a total of +13 damage per hit at level 34, which is massive for a ranged character. They are basically the equivalent of two-handed weapons fighters at higher levels, except they never have to reposition constantly in order to heal up/switch targets. For the most part they just stand there and use their abilities/attack.
     
  8. omnigodly Gems: 17/31
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    Kensai is a lot of fun, requires a lot less management than Archer. You'll be carrying tons and tons of arrows and probably not much else until ToB gives you an ammo pouch :)

    Kensai can hit -10 AC or better in BGEE depending on if you really want him to tank or not (I use either yeslick or Kagain and bring up my PC kensai for devestation).
     
  9. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    I was reading this before I realized I'd clicked on the wrong forum and that this was for the new "enhanced" edition.
    I've only got the original BG1 and BG2 on CDs.
    How do you make a kensai with -10AC without having a party member buff them, or is this only possible in the new version?

    I've even made my own mod where I changed the bag of holding you get at the start of ToB to include all the unique items you can collect in SoA (no generic "longsword +2", only the weapons with unique abilities, such as the longsword +1 +3 vs shapeshifters, and any named weapons or armor). Even with that mod that lets you equip more than one magic item, I can't get AC lower than -6 for a pure kensai without buffing.

    I don't consider buffing a viable option for your AC needs when exploring a large dungeon. The only exception would be the long-lasting spell mage armor, but it and stoneskin are the only ones with a long enough duration. It's fine for boss fights, but if you cast most buffs upon entering an area, it will wear off long before you reach the tough boss fight, and I don't like to rest after every skirmish.
    Part of that is from my P&P days as well as games with time limits like Might and Magic II or Magic Candle. I learned to try to tackle the dungeon in one go, then rest. Especially in P&P, where if you attacked a dungeon, then retreated to rest, you'd have alerted the enemy who would fortify the entrance for your return.

    Back to the OP's question.
    I think a Kensai would be a real glass cannon in BG1. There aren't a lot of AC items he can use. I think only a ring of protection +1 and later a +2 are the only things. You can't use any armor, and the helm of balduron is out too. The same goes for bracers used by mages.
    If you plan to take the character into BG2, then you would NOT want to dual him before level 13, and you can't get that high in BG1. So you're playing a vulnerable glass cannon for the entire game.
    If you aren't planning on importing to BG2, then you can consider using the mage spells to compensate for your lack of AC in the second half of the game.
    On the other hand, BG1 shows "liner fighters, quadratic wizards", and an archer is much easier to play in BG1. In BG1, archers are VERY powerful, and even plain rangers specialized in bows pack quite a punch (plain fighters with 5 pips in bows worked even better in the original which lacked kits).
     
  10. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    There is also Drizzt's Defender Sword(+2 AC?), ** in single weapon style (+2 AC). There are a few new items in BG:EE. Off-hand I am not remembering any being AC enhancing though. You can have a max Dex bonus of +4 to AC, even with 20 Dex as an Elf. You're Base AC would be AC 7 from class abilities by end of game at best. With RoP+1, that is a combined AC(-2). Must be including buffs.
     
  11. Paracelsi

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

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    There are many ways to improve your AC in BG1, even if you don't play EE:

    -you can reduce your base AC to 4 with the Shield Amulet, sold in Elfsong Tavern
    -bonus AC at character creation (2 AC for Kensai)
    -bonus 5 AC with base dex + attribute point book + Draw Upon Holy Might
    -bonus 2 AC Drizzt's sword Defender
    -bonus 2 AC Ring of Protection+2
    -bonus 3 AC against Slashing/Crushing damage with belts, bonus of up to 9 AC against ranged weapons with cloak/boots

    Personally, even if I could assemble all of the above items ASAP I'd never have my Kensai tank in BG1. Tanking in BG1 is risky and requires you to constantly reposition the tank so everyone else remains safe. The last thing I'd want is for my Kensai to get hit by 2+ critical hits from Kobolds using flaming arrows, or for him to constantly be running around trying to defend people when he should be just standing still and killing off mobs one by one.
     
  12. SlickRCBD Gems: 24/31
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    Somebody's got to do the tanking, or you have to at least summon something every fight. The summons are pretty weak for decoy/tanking purposes in the original BG1. Once the fodder is gone, the enemy will charge and close the distance before you can kill them all. Wands of monster summoning are too expensive to recharge (by selling it with 1 charge left and buying it back) for you to use one every battle.

    You can't rely on Entangle, Grease, and Web unless you rest after every skirmish and even that is unreliable and sometimes impossible (especially in places like the Firewine ruins).
     
  13. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    You don't need a tank in every battle. Only the tough battles. Once 3rd level mage spells are gained the need for a tank becomes smaller and smaller. Having a Sorcerer in your party kicks ass in BG:EE.
     
  14. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Sure, you could give your Kensai all the good items to make him a pretty decent tank, but anyone able to wear heavy armor and tower shields will be a better tank, especially by the time you get all the stuff needed for the Kensai.

    Tanks are handy to have, mostly because kiting an opponent can get rather tedious. A tank with low enough AC can pretty much avoid getting hit at all from the normal enemies. For the tougher enemies, the 2nd level cleric spell Hold Person does wonders.

    Frankly, I find a Kensai more micro management than an Archer, especially in BG and even more so if you want the Kensai to melee. An Archer you can just put anywhere and let him fire arrows. A melee Kensai you will always have to either manually control so that he doesn't go charging after any enemy that comes into view - which would negate the bonus of having your ranged guys pelting them while they come into melee range. Or you need to change his weapons all the time.
     
  15. Enagonios Gems: 31/31
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    I found the kensage to be a bit of a pain even in the early stages of BG2 and you're already at around level 8 then...

    Doing my 1st runthrough of BG:EE with the Archer and he is killing it. Chose Hobgoblins as my racial enemy considering how many of them there are in this game. Apart from "named" hobs, he's pretty much a one-shot = one-kill even with the elites.

    I send Khalid and Dorn in to draw the aggro and keep the enemies at a distance then he just picks them off, pew! pew!
     
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