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Powergaming TNO (minor spoilers)

Discussion in 'Planescape: Torment (Classic)' started by Klorox, Nov 18, 2008.

  1. Klorox

    Klorox Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai-mênu! Veteran

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    Before we even get started, I know that powergaming is not needed in any RPG to have a great time, probably even moreso in PS:T.

    Anyway, I got to thinking, what would be the most powerful NO somebody could create? What would his starting stats be? What classes would he choose?

    Well, the simple part is the classes, early on anyway (mainly for a very solid Hit Point base).

    There's no reason not to go to level 6 as a Fighter. After that, you should obviously choose level 7 in the class you'd like to concentrate on, and then switch back to Fighter until level 9. Level 10 should be in the Thief class. After that, you're pretty safe sticking with the class you'd like to concentrate on for the remainder of the game. If you're really into an extra 1/2 attack per round, go to level 13 as a Fighter. Just make sure you take level 12 in your chosen profession, since this is the second "power-up."

    On to the statistics:

    It's great to have a 18 Strength, so that when it gets boosted by an item or certain circumstances in the game, it can jump to 19 STR, skipping over those annoying percentile STR points. This is just a point-saving thing though: if you don't plan on whacking things with a weapon, STR isn't worth too much.

    Dexterity pretty much loses it's appeal after 18, so I'd personally aim for that to be the end point. I've noticed a 13 DEX helping quite a bit early on for some minor XP bonuses.

    Constitution is very tricky: The extra HP and faster regeneration rate make a high CON very appealing, but dying in this game is only an annoyance, since you always get back up! It's a very good idea to start with a 14 CON though. You start the game with 10 more HP than you would with a 9 CON. And this little bonus is not granted if you boost your CON to 14 later.

    Intelligence is a great stat. It helps in quite a few conversations. If you want to be a Mage, you really need to aim for a 19 INT, since you won't be limited by the number of spells you can scribe in your book. On the other hand, you have a long way to go before ever worrying about that, so it can still start off fairly low.

    With stats, Wisdom rules. There's no reason for both the powergamer and the guy looking to get the most story out of this game to not start with an 18 WIS. This stat adds to XP, meaning you go up in levels faster. And leveling up faster means more stats! It also means the most recovered memories, so there's more story that way as well as more XP. Minor spoiler: If you don't plan on playing (primarily) a Mage, boost this by 1 at your first level-up. If you are playing a Mage, you don't need to worry. I say this because there's a great item available late in the game that grants a +2 to CHA at the cost of -1 to WIS. You get +7 WIS through the game, so a starting 18 will lead to 25.

    Charisma. I like CHA, a lot. It's probably the second most important stat. It opens up a lot of conversation options (very important in quite a few places), and lowers prices in all the shops (which means more stat boosting tattoos earlier!).

    Alignment: From what I can tell, you get a lot more in this game from playing a Lawful Good type. You get some better items, and you get better stat bumps (from both items and conversations).

    Class choice: Personally, I'd concentrate either on Fighter or Mage. Mage is probably a bit more powerful, and you'll almost definitely get more out of the story (since you'll be looking for a higher INT). Fighters will just kick serious butt in combat. They get the most fun weapons to play with. It's almost universally accepted (at least from all I've read, as well as personal experience) that Thieves aren't all that great. BTW, one of the best, and definitely the most versatile stat boosting item in the game requires 12 levels of Mage.

    Faction choices: If you're concentrating on Mage, I'd suggest joining the Dustmen first, then the Godsmen, and finally the Sensates. Sensates have a neat little bonus that allows them to give 1-10 HP of their own to heal a party member once a day. Since TNO regenerates, it's like having an extra Cure Light Wounds spell handy.

    If you're going with a Fighter build, I'd suggest going with the Dustmen, then the Sensates, and finally the Godsmen. The only reason for this is that the Godsmen have some really awesome weapons available fairly early in the game, and only Godsmen can use them.

    Well, that's about it for now. I'd love to get some feedback, and if anybody has a list of the stats needed for the highest stat checks in the game we can pretty much wrap this baby up!
     
  2. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    Since you can just fight respawning enemies until you've enough to maximize all classes and get all stats to 25 only two things matter besides starting with at least 14 con: That you're extremely lawful when using Vhailor's axe so you can get +3 bonus to damage and in which order you take the levels, especially which class reaches level 7 and 12 first.

    The mage bonuses are useless, the thief's luck bonus is quite good but the extra attack and damage for grandmastery makes the fighter bonus better although the thief tattoo is the most useful of all three.

    So you get the most powerful character if you reach level 10 as thief and all other levels as fighter first.
     
  3. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Ho hum.

    Double ho triple hum.

    The mage bonuses do a few minor things during the game, like getting you better rewards from Ravel and a few other NPCs. Normally I would agree that they're not worth it, compared to getting the 5-point specialisation.

    However, getting both bonuses as a Mage also allows you to use the Ancient Scroll. And that is worth giving up the specialisation bonuses, especially if you use the scroll to create the Ring of Thex (one of the best items in the game).

    Regarding alignment, there is one massive advantage to having a Lawful Good TNO: being able to use the two Tears, for a total of +2 to Con. Being able to use Celestial Fire is also a plus, but that's not such a big deal because characters of any alignment can use the Entropic Blade instead. That said, Celestial Fire is the superior weapon.

    Klorox, I'm with you on almost all your reasoning for stats and level progression. However, I'm not so sure about those 10 HP you get if you start with 14 Con. Why are you unable to get them again? I'm pretty sure PST works like all the other IE games, so if you increase Con at any time you get the bonus applied to all previous levels gained. I'm also not so convinced by starting with a very high Charisma if playing a Mage, as multiple castings of Friends are cumulative and you can always cast the spell a couple of times before shopping.
     
  4. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    With 14 con you start with 30 HP, with 9 con only with 20 HP. Since you don't get more HP with 14 instead of 9 con according to AD&D rules, you won't get a single HP for raising con from 9 to 14 later.

    Ravel's mage bonus is mainly more XP which is useless from the powergaming POV, as well as stat boosts since you can gain levels very easily.

    I remember being able to use the ancient scroll although my NO took the fighter specialisation bonuses.
    The ring from the scroll is nice but not earthshaking compared to other rings like Deionarra's improved wedding ring or the random drop ring you can get in Undersigil once you returned.
     
  5. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Weird. I didn't know about this, as I usually assume the game's giving me the correct amount of HP. These extra 10 HP seem to contradict the rules, I wonder where they came from.

    I've never managed to get that ring in Undersigil in any of my playthroughs, even after spending some time trying to.
     
  6. Qwinn Gems: 3/31
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    Yes, you can see on the character creation screen that you get more HP for every starting point of CON, and you do not get them for adding CON later on. Yes, it does contradict the manual.

    You do not need to specialize as a mage to get or use the ancient scroll.

    I've tried the fighter specialization, and the 5 proficiencies -is- nice, but next game I'm going as mage. Why? Because I prefer actually playing the game as a mage, and specializing in anything else means not being able to use the specialization tattoos.

    As far as being "useless", well, that's true -if- you plan on doing something as mind-drudgingly boring as powerlevelling till you have 25 in all stats. If you're not going to go that insane, though, then the mage bonuses are better in that it gives you 4 total stat points (3 INT, 1 WIS) rather than 3 for fighter (2 STR, 1 CON).

    Qwinn
     
  7. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    Powerlevelling works very fast if you know how and where to do it. Just tell your party members to wait and have a little fun in Undersigil or in the easy Modron Cube level if you're wimpy. You're not really powergaming if you don't spend time for it.

    If you refuse fighting respawns and take stat points you have to judge quality you should take a thief. You gain 5 thief levels including stat boosts faster than 3 mage levels, alone for the XP you get for opening the sphere near the end makes a difference of at least 3 stat points.

    Thief isn't a weak class to choose. The one hour PST speedrun was easily done with a thief, although the player didn't bother specialising or reaching level 7 as fighter (he could have gotten +1 to hit and +2 to damage and doubled his number of attacks per round within a few minutes) and spent 6 stat points from levelling up to raise str from 18 to 19.

    The thief's stealth and backstab are very powerful, in order to clear Undersigil with a low level party you can just have powerful Annah or yourself as thief solo while having the wimps (the rest of your party) hide in the corner.

    If XP isn't unlimited you get the best character if you start with 6 fighter levels for the HP and take thief levels afterwards (you can switch to mage to do the mage only stuff with Dak'kon or other NPCs any time). After getting the level 12 bonus it might be worth spending additional 32,000 XP to get the extra half attack for fighter level 7, waiting until you get the fighter XP from Vhailor's axe teaching takes a long time.

    For dialogue option powergaming pacifists this build is also better than the popular mage builds. You level and gain stat points faster, better stats mean better dialogue options. The "friends" spell can be used as with a mage, just ask Dak'kon and Annah to switch classes on the few occasions you need this spell. The luck bonus you get for thief level 12 even makes this spell better.
     
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  8. Qwinn Gems: 3/31
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    Just sayin', in the version 3.0 of my fixpack (hopefully out later this month) thief will become slightly more attractive. Most locks in the game were set to trivial difficulty. I went through every lock individually and gave them reasonable values which will require more than a mage with 9 strength to bash open. Taking time to maximize Annah's (or your own) lockpick skill when you get her will yield commensurate rewards (or rather, -not- doing so will mean you won't get to open everything you used to be able to).

    Anyways, though, that's not why I'm posting. I'm posting to explain what "luck" does. As far as I know, it's not very significant. In some actions, like for example bashing a chest open or picking a lock, you get a bonus 2-9% random roll. Luck affects that in that that roll can't be less than your luck score. So if you have 3 luck, for example, then really that bonus is 3-9%. If you could get 5 luck, than that bonus would never be less than 5%. Note, clearly, that luck doesn't therefore do anything until you have 3 luck (because 2 is already the minimum). Is it even possible to get +3 luck in the game? Maybe, though I'm not sure how, and it would probably require wearing otherwise substandard tattoos to do so.

    At any rate, in all of those actions where that 2-9% roll comes into play that I know of, you can attempt them as often as you like. So really, it won't help you open or do anything you couldn't do before, it may (1 in a 100 times) let you pass a roll that you would've failed, but that you could pass with a good roll on your very next attempt. So I wouldn't put much value on it.

    If someone knows of any further benefits to having +luck in the game, do let me know, please. I'd be curious to hear of it, and it might impact later decisions regarding my Fixpack/other mods.

    Qwinn
     
  9. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG] In Icewind Dale 2, Luck is a very powerful boost to the DICE ROLLS, giving better results with hits, spellcasting, damage, and skill checks. it is even rumoured that it increases critical threat range, and disables critical misses.
    Are you saying that it works differently in PS:T? :oBecause as you describe it, luck is so pathetic, it's barely worth mentioning....
     
  10. Minstrel Wandering Gems: 2/31
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    'Tis somewhat ironic dear friends, but it seems that the most sheer power in PST comes from melee development...

    High-Dex thieves can perform impressive backstabs, but don't have the sheer power of THAC0 or consistent damage output...

    High-Int mages can cast many wonderful spells, 'tis true, but eventually run out of spells...and there are precious few places in the game to safely rest and re-memorize...

    The best stats for survivability seem to be Con first (in the high 20s gets you a very, very nice regeneration rate), then Str (in the high 20s, any class is powerful in combat, but fighters are a true terror!). Even with high Dex, TNO cannot really achieve a powerful AC (unless currently a mage...and you probably don't want to be wading into battle as a mage!), so having strong regen seems like a better investment...
     
  11. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    About luck: It's easy to get more than 3 luck. +3 for 25 wis, +1 from the thief specialisation bonus and the tattoo for Trias redemption also grants +1 luck IIRC.

    I think what you wrote about luck is wrong, Qwinn. It is far more powerful. All your rolls are increased by one if possible. If you use the punch dagger which does 3d6 damage the damage output with +1 luck increases from 3-18 to 6-18, from 10,5 to 13 average (3 * (2+3+4+5+6+6) : 6 = 13). The chance to hit is also increased. Similar things also apply to spells like friends or strength and probably to offensive combat spells (I never needed them) too.

    The traditional AD&D bard song does exactly one thing: It increases luck by one. This is considered powerful enough for having this party member sing instead of attack during combat.
     
  12. Klorox

    Klorox Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai-mênu! Veteran

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    First off, let me say that I first found out about the 14 CON thing from reading kmonster's post. And after reading his pro-Thief posts, I feel as though I have to thank him again... I'll be giving a Thief a try sometime!

    I think the Mage tattoo is pretty nice. Doubling all 1st and 2nd level spells is nothing to sneeze at.

    I thought the scroll required 12 levels of Mage, not a NO that has necessarily gotten the level bonuses of a level 7 and 12 Mage (then again, my only NO that got that far in the game was a Mage specialist).

    EDIT: Nevermind, Quinn already said that.

    Thanks for all the great replies everybody.

    One thing: I'd really love to find out the minimum stats needed to pass all the hardest checks in the game. Does anybody know this, or know where it can be found?

    TIA

    One more sidenote: Is a 19 INT really all that essential for a Mage? I originally thought it would be, but after actually playing a NO mage, I never actually cast more than 5 or 6 spells of any given level, so what difference does it make if I can memorize all these spells or not? If PS:T follows the AD&D 2e manual to the letter, all you need is a 9 INT to be a great Mage, where you can memorize up to 6 spells per level (BTW, I'm pretty sure the game does NOT use the INT 18 requirement to cast 9th level spells... but I'd love confirmation of that).
     
  13. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    Int is not really needed in PST, even for a mage. If you want to upgrade Dak'kon or scribe more spells you can just eat those rat talismans for raising int as high as you want for about an hour, +1 int costs only 45 GP with the friends spell.
    I don't think the mage tattoos are that great, you only get a few low level spells which aren't more effective than physical combat.

    Dan Simpson's PST walkthrough includes for which values which stats are checked, a few required stats are missing and a few stat checks are wrong (you don't need int for Martha to look inside you for example), but it's the best the source for this.

    I tested a little in the mortuary with a character with good wis, only the two dustman guards on the ground floor will sound alarm if you talk to them, to avoid this you need 13 dex (for killing) or 12 cha (for bluffing). But there's also the option to run away when they want to talk to you or you can just kill both (only those two, not Soego) and having the giant skeletons kill you afterwards. When you return no one will be hostile anymore and you can do whatever you want undisturbed.

    There's only one check for more than 18 int in the game, but with 21 wisdom you'll succeed anyway.
    You get an extra option for the last conversation in the game with 24+ wis and one with 24+ cha, but the other checks ask for far lower values. If you have high wisdom Nordom's upgrade checks are the hardest for the other stats.
     
  14. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    Yeah I think I messed up on that one. I never had a level 12 mage that didn't also get the specialisation bonuses, hence my assumption that the bonuses were needed to use the Scroll.

    Technically, according to the 2E manual you would need and Int of 19 to cast level 9 spells, but PST (like all other IE games) doesn't implement this, so you can always do what kmonster suggested and use the rats to increase it temporarily to memorise spells and during dialogue. However I find this distracting because there are quite a few dialogues that require relatively good Int, and since I don't have them memorised I would forget to increase my Int before them and miss out on a lot.
     
  15. Montresor

    Montresor Mostly Harmless Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder

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    Just to clarify, you also need an Intelligence of 18 to use the Ancient Scroll.

    And you have to be a mage at the time (if you're not playing a mage, just make sure to have Dak'kon and eventually Annah in your party, or save the scroll for when you can get to the proper trainers;)).
     
  16. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    The int based options which do matter aren't "only one chance" options, you've hundreds of opportunities for learning spells from Dak'kon and Ignus and upgrading Nordom.
     
  17. Klorox

    Klorox Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai-mênu! Veteran

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    It's 18 actually, but now I'm just splitting hairs. :p

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 2 minutes and 17 seconds later... ----------

    I'm sorry, but could I just ask you what you meant here? Thanks dude!
     
  18. Ziad

    Ziad I speak in rebuses Veteran

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    You're right, it is 18. Was it in 3E (or 3.5) that you need 19, or did I just make the number up?
     
  19. Klorox

    Klorox Baruk Khazad! Khazad ai-mênu! Veteran

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    In 3e it was 19.

    kmonster: I'm not convinced about Thief being the best class. Including the "Master Tattoos" and all other bonuses (level 7 and 12), the faster advancement of the Thief, Backstabbing, and the better HP, THAC0, and Grandmastery of the Fighter.

    I think the Fighter's bonuses outweigh the Thief ones, even with the Luck bonus added in.

    Tentatively, I'm thinking the most powerful TNO is primarily a Fighter, with an INT that can be boosted to 18, and has at least 12 Mage levels. The only spells that really matter for this character are Strength, Blood Bridge, Armor and Friends.

    I think I'd start with a 12 INT, 13 DEX, 18 WIS and 14 CON.
     
  20. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    Whats the best combination depends on what you want. The thief build is powerful, allows the fastest play and has the highest attributes at the end.
    It gets more HP than the fighter build since you get the con bonus for the high levels too, thac0 will be perfect with strength, weapon and luck bonus.
    If you want to do as much damage per round as possible take the fighter specialisations and at least 13 fighter levels, if you want as many spell animations as possible play mage.

    For a real power build you need 25 strength (damage) and 25 con (invulnerability), dex, int and cha don't add power.

    When you have high wisdom and the other stats are good enough to get the options for Nordom, your stats are good enough for the other dialogues in the game too.
     
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