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SoA party planning advice (Monk + 3 NPCs) ...?

Discussion in 'BG2: Throne of Bhaal (Classic)' started by Ineth, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. Montresor

    Montresor Mostly Harmless Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder

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    All quests in and around Athkatla can wait until you've saved Imoen. Some of the NPC quests are timed so you'll want to do them before setting after Immy, or you may have three or four NPCs bugging you to do their quests as soon as you're back in Amn.

    You'll run into Vampires occasionally if you go out at night in Athkatla. You can always talk your way out of fighting them, so long as you haven't sided with the Shadow Thieves. Of course, if you INSIST on saving their victims or tell them you are associated with the Shadow Thieves, they WILL attack you. ;)
     
  2. 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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    You will be going in and out of town. You will run into vampires (it's part of the game). Very few things in the game are timed -- basically you can take as long as you want to rescue Imoen, do the quests in the city for however long you want, or just wander around aimlessly -- it won't coulse any bad effects. There are some quests that are timed though and party member complain (and may leave) if you don't do their quests.

    But don't worry about a timeline to follow to beat the game ... the main bad guy is very patient. After returning from the underdark you'll be led to believe there is a timeline -- but there's not.

    Your main objectives in the second chapter is getting enough money to rescue Imoen, getting enough experience to survive rescuing Imoen (12th level is good enough), and getting some cool items along the way. You should explore and be curious about the town and surrounding areas. Keep an eye out for items particularly good against undead ... there are vampires about.
     
  3. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    I'll say not too big of a deal, with the caveat that you don't wait until the rest of your party is 20th level before setting off to get her. When you reunite with Imoen, her level gets bumped to 13. So assuming the rest of your party is of similar level, Imoen will slot right in. The fact that she's dual classed means virtually nothing. It's only around 100,000 XPs, and given that you're going to be earning MILLIONS of XPs, it's a drop in the bucket, and those are well spent XPs anyway, because it's invaluable to have a thief in the party just for locks and traps.

    Edwin does have more spells, but that's because he comes equipped with an un-removable amulet that grants him a bonus 2 spells per level. Imoen's intelligence is 17 compared to Edwin's 18, but the only in-game difference that makes is that Imoen has a slightly lower chance (like 5% less) to scribe a spell into a spell book from a scroll than Edwin. There's no spell you can cast with Edwin that you wouldn't be able to cast with Imoen, although there are a few spells Imoen can cast that Edwin can't.

    I won't spoiler anything, but Imoen is such an integral part of the story line that for me, it just feels wrong to not have her in the party, especially so on your first playthrough. She is the most important character in the whole story after the PC and Irenicus. You're missing out on more by NOT bringing Imoen with you than bringing her.

    I will point out that there isn't any harm in taking BOTH Ediwn and Imoen, unless you're dead set on keeping to your 4 character limit.

    I'd say you absolutely should do so.

    I'd say that should just be targeted around who you actually want in your party. For example, if you want Edwin, you have to go to the thieves guild. If you want Mazzy, you have to go to Imnesvale (sp?) and complete a decent potion of the quests there to pick up the relevant character. OTOH, if you decide to go with a party of PC, Jaheira, Yoshimo, and Korgan, all of them can be picked up before completing a single major quest. With a 4 person party, you'll be earning more XPs relative to a 6 person party. (Well the XPs are the same, but they're only split 4 ways, so it will feel like more.) You won't have to do much at all before getting to around level 12 and getting Imoen.

    EDIT: It actually might be more instructive to tell you what areas to avoid early on. I would NOT decide to go to the Windspear Hills or do the Cult of the Unseeing Eye quest straight out of the opening dungeon. Those two quests are balls hard with an ill-equipped low level 4-person party. As far as picking up Edwin and/or Mazzy, neither of those two quests are that hard. There's only one difficult fight in getting Edwin, and the hardest fight with Mazzy is entirely optional (trust me, you'll know what I mean when you get there), and there's nothing preventing you from coming back later and doing the optional part once your party is a bit more up for the challenge.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2012
  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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    Immy's 17 Int allows for less spells to be added to her spellbook per level. Edwin has 18 Int, he can have more spells in his book. There are mods/config options to eliminate this feature of the game...

    It doesn't matter when you go for Imoen. If you choose to do so earlier in the game, the Underdark quests will immediately beef up your magic items that you are lacking from ignoring the City/Wilderness quests.

    As for the Vampires, Azuredge is a nice, early game purchase. Negative Plane Protection and Azuredge usually is all you need. Hold Undead isn't bad either, I always choose it when making a mage PC. Plus, frequently getting attacked by Vamps is part of the fun!:D
     
  5. Yoshimo's Heart Gems: 13/31
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    I would say the opposite. Smaller parties need to have each character to be more versatile since each one has to carry more jobs than a larger party. THe fact that Imoen can fully do all the important aspects of two classes means that she can cover two spots rather than just one (mage/thief). Edwin can only do one job (mage). He does get a few more spells per day but that just means he can cast more but he does not bring more jobs to the table like Imoen will. By bringing Imoen you open a slot for a new character with a different job such as the desired archer character who will be very hard to add if we take edwin (unless you want to go without the XP and stuff you get from having a thief). Imoens ability to use bows also helps her utility as it keeps her a bit more relevant when she is not casting spells than Edwin.

    I would say that since he has ToB installed that int matters little since if you need space in your spell book you can just erase a spell.
     
  6. 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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    Azuredge is an axe ... someone non-evil will need proficiency in order to use it (Minsc or Mazzy may be a better choice than Korgan but you'll need to give them proficiency). Can druids cast negative plane protection?
     
  7. 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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    Good Question T2. It's been so long since I played the vanilla game, I don't really know...
     
  8. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Or you can just drink a potion of genius, which allows for unlimited scribing of spells. Most shops sell them and they are cheap.

    Druids cannot cast NPP, but if you have Korgan you don't need NPP, because he is immune to level drain while berserking. And you do get the amulet with NPP on it, presuming you side with the Thieves Guild (the job with Mook IIRC), so at least one of your characters will be immune regardless.
     
  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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    Hypothetically if you already have a thief then you don't need Imoen's skills and Edwin's extra 3 spells per level makes him a much better spellcaster, especially once you consider that NPCs in a 4-member party will be gaining levels significantly faster (Edwin gains three higher level spells slots faster). It would be different if the PC wasn't a monk and we were not referring to BG2 NPCs.
    Also note that Imoen's presence only helps ease not having a thief. Traps are extremely powerful in BG2 (flat out OP if you have no self control). Edwin + a true thief (like Jansen or Yoshimo) can easily be a better combo than most of Imoen + someone else, story value notwithstanding. Except perhaps Keldorn and Haer Dalis. Anyway the sheer amount of extra high level magic missiles a powerleveled Edwin could cast would be staggering, and Imoen can't use a bow + weapons like the Staff of the Magi/Staff of the Ram all at the same time.

    Practically speaking though, let's not forget that Imoen is actually missing for half the game (so the argument on extra XP/thieving for early/mid game doesn't really work) and Edwin will be a lot more powerful by the time you save her.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2012
  10. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    It's technically only 2 spell slots per level. For whatever reason, Imoen gain spells as if she were specialist, even though she isn't - as soon as she gains the ability to cast spells from a new spell level, she gets two, whereas most general class mages get one. Edwin gets one for being a specialist, and then two more from wearing his amulet.

    Now there's no argument that Edwin is the better mage. In fact, with a 4-person party, it is quite likely that he will be a few levels higher than Imoen upon re-acquiring Imoen, and without Edwin you'll have to do without a mage until you get to Imoen. To me, that's the better pro-con analysis: If you do NOT take Edwin, can you effectively get to Spellhold w/o a mage in the party?

    That's also true, but rather moot. Since there is no combination of characters that have been suggested that calls for the inclusion of a true thief, he's going to be doing without any type of traps once he gets to Spellhold anyway.

    All I know is I wouldn't go through the game without someone to disarm traps and pick locks. I guess you could get around locks by having Edwin memorize a ton of Knock spells, but there's no way to get around traps. And even though Imoen won't gain the XPs from the traps Yoshimo disarms before you find her, you're still giving up hundreds of thousands of XPs, just considering what Imoen would take care of from Spellhold onward (especially if you put off a lot of the Chapter 2 optional quests until after you return from Spellhold). And don't forget that if you go and get Imoen quickly, it's really not the mid-point of the game.

    While Edwin definitely will have more spells available to him, there's nothing he's going to be able to cast the Imoen can't. As I see it, if you are insistent on keeping Mazzy and maintaining a 4-person party, you're gimping yourself one way or the other. The question becomes do you take Edwin and forfeit having a thief from Spellhold onward, or do you take Imoen and forfeit having any type of mage until you get to Spellhold. Neither are optimal positions IMO.
     
  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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    I was under the impression that Mazzy and Edwin were the ones competing for the same spot, and he was swapping Yoshimo for Imoen once he got to Spellhold. This was why I thought comparing Imoen to Edwin before he even got her back wasn't practical. The rest is hypothetical.

    Once he got back to Amn he mentioedn he probably wouldn't need Edwin anymore, so he was probably going to swap him for Mazzy. So I pointed out that among other things one also needs to consider that once you got Imoen, Edwin will probably be significantly more powerful (with a better spell book). IMO at this point Imoen's main selling point is her importance to the storyline (along with the fact that she doesn't seem to share the odd psychology of most other NPCs). At this point it might be best if he simply brought them both, as you suggested. Easier RP-wise and from a powergaming perspective (more spellcasting, lots of extra XP from scroll scribing).
     
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2012
  12. Yoshimo's Heart Gems: 13/31
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    You could use Jan Jansen instead and just trade him out for Yoshimo just to go to spellhold (and then pick up Imoen). There are not that many fights between and most are avoidable.
     
  13. Gregorovitch Gems: 2/31
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    IMO you definitely need a thief (choice of Jan/Imoen/Yosh/Nalia) becasue a) lots of XP disabling traps and opening locks and b) Knock and Find Traps take up too much room in spell books and are a big pain resting all the time just to deal with traps/locks.

    The big decision for your game is whether to rescue Imoen early or late. This has a huge impact on your game since there is a serious problem with the calculation of her level when you rescue her.

    If you get her as soon as you can there should be no problem - she will have 400k XP/Lvl 11 and so be about the same as the rest of y0our party.

    If you don't get her early (for example because you want to recruit a character found outside the city like Mazzy) it's better to pretty much complete the Chapter 2 quests before you attempt the rescue to get your party to as high a level as possible.

    The problem is the weird rule applied to setting Immy's level: AFAIK (and I've just played through SoA/ToB again on original disks with regular patches, don't know of mods affect this) if the average level of all members of your party is 14 or better when you rescue her she comes back to you with 1.2m XP/Lvl 13, otherwise she stays at 400k/Lvl 11.

    The problem is dual/multi-classed party members reduce the average level because the program counts each class and level separately therefore if you have say Jaheera, Jan, or Nalia etc in your party it is more or less impossible to meet the criteria for a Lvl 13 Immy.

    So in my game I was IIRC Lvl 14 or 15 when I rescued Immy but because I had Nalia, Jaheira, and Anomen with me she came in at lvl 11. Since I had completed all Ch 2 quests, I was not prepared to accept Immy three levels below par, I wanted Immy in the party for the story and there was no trick I could find that would fix this problem in game I set her to 1.2m XP with SK (which is dead easy). I personally had no compunction about this since the calculation is patently flawed IMO.

    So if you plan to play with Immy in your party and you don't like the idea of altering her XP with SK you need to be aware of this since it argues you should go get her ASAP. Otherwise i would complete all of Ch 2 so you're well beyond lvl 14 equivalents for your party members (check total XP etc) before you go so you don't feel guilty about fixing her if necessary.
     
  14. 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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    I personallly believe Yoshimo has such a key role in the game that you lose out on an extremely memorable aspect of the game if you do not take him to rescue Imoen.
     
  15. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

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

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    Oh - OK. Perhaps I misinterpreted his position. I thought he was trying to decide between Edwin and Imoen. IMO, of the options presented, Mazzy is the least essential of the group. With a 4 person party, you need some characters to assume multiple roles. Jaheira is a tank and a healer. Imoen is a servicable thief and a mage. Mazzy is really good at bows, but she doesn't really do much of anything else. With strength buffs, she could tank, but he already has two such characters, and he doesn't really need a 3rd. So my suggestion would be to ditch her. I think a party of PC monk, Jaheira, Edwin and Yoshimo/Imoen is the much better option - I just didn't think that was up for debate.

    That's true, but the only real monkey wrench is Nalia, because of her low thief level being averaged in. Anomen isn't too bad because his fighter level is 9, and he's already a level 10 cleric when you find him, and clerics level relatively quickly. Even Jan isn't that bad, because the thief experience required to hit the next level doesn't really ramp up until the higher levels. Even Jaheira isn't too bad because of the relatively quicker druid leveling at lower levels.

    But with his party, the only multi-class he's considering is Jaheira. Monks level like clerics - pretty fast. And with a 4-person party, you won't have any problems with Edwin either. Jaheira may not be level 14 as a fighter, but she should be at least that as a druid. I think an average level of 14 is definitely attainable even without doing much of Chapter 2, but only because we're talking a 4-person party.

    Yeah, there's that too. I seriously doubt most people in their first play through didn't have Yoshimo with them. The only scenario I could envision is if the PC was a thief - at least dual or multi-classed.
     
  16. Gregorovitch Gems: 2/31
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    I'm pretty sure Jaheira levels pretty much one for one fighter/druid wise at this stage, so when I got to Imoen I had about 1.6m, maybe 1.7m XP and she had about 750k in each of her classes - i think she was lvl 12 in each.

    So to counter that you would need 4 levels above 14 from other characters to meet the criteria. OK, with the OP's proposed party of Monk, Yosh, Edwin and Jaheira only Jaheira is multi/dual so you would need Monk and Edwin to provide those extra levels, although I accept 4 char party will substantially increase XP across the board beyond my figures.

    So you may be right, but i wouldn't bet my game on it if I didn't want to fix it with SK if necessary.
     
  17. Ineth

    Ineth Instigator Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Hi again!

    Sorry for the absence - I unexpectedly lost my Internet connection for almost 2 week.

    I have been playing lots of BG2 in that time though with my Monk protagonist. Here's what I've done so far (and the NPCs I had in my party at the time):

    Code:
     * Irenicus dungeon                 [Imoen, Jaheira, Minsc, Yoshimo]
    
     * Circus                           [Jaheira, Minsc, Yoshimo, Aerie]
     * Copper Coronet slaves            [Jaheira, Yoshimo]
     * Slums district sewers & slavers  [Jaheira, Yoshimo]
     * Xzar/Harpers quest               [Jaheira, Yoshimo]
     * Nalia's castle                   [Jaheira, Yoshimo, Nalia]
     * Mae'Var guild                    [Jaheira, Yoshimo]
     * Jaheira's curse                  [Jaheira, Yoshimo, Edwin]
     * Bridge district murders          [Jaheira, Yoshimo, Edwin]
     * Trademeet, Druid Grove           [Jaheira, Yoshimo, Edwin, Werewolf-Cernd]
     * Korgan & Edwin quests            [Jaheira, Yoshimo, Edwin, Korgan]
     * "Buried alive" quest             [Jaheira, Yoshimo, Edwin, Korgan]
    
     * Working for Aran Linvail         [Jaheira, Yoshimo, Edwin, Korgan]
     * Confronting Bodhi                [Jaheira, Yoshimo, Edwin, Korgan]
    
     * Pirate City                      [Jaheira, Yoshimo, Edwin, Korgan]
     * Spellhold                        [Jaheira, Edwin, Korgan, Imoen]
     * Sahuagin City                    [Jaheira, Korgan, Imoen]
    
     * All Underdark areas              [Jaheira, Korgan, Imoen]
    
     * Elven forest areas               [Jaheira, Korgan, Imoen]
     * Restore Yoshimo's Soul           [Jaheira, Korgan, Imoen]
    So far it worked out pretty smoothly story-wise... usually one thing just led to another... :)

    As for combat, doing the slave quests at the beginning of Chapter 2 with only 3 party members (none of whom was a good tank, and none of whom could cast Arcane spells) was a little tough. It did lead me to experiment with a more dynamic combat style, though, than what I was used to from IWD2: Rather than letting each party member stick with a fixed combat role all the time (e.g. tank / archer / decoy / offensive spellcaster etc.), all three of them had to do their fair share of both melee and missile combat, with different lineups based on the situation, and quite a bit of hit & run and one character spontaneously taking over for another who got badly wounded, etc.
    It also led me to appreciate the thief's backstab ability (setting traps is also nice I guess, but I completely forgot about it in almost all situations where I could have used it effectively, until after the respective battle was already over :rolleyes:).

    Anyways, although that was a nice experiment, it did feel good finally having a fourth party member, especially one who could cast fireball... :D

    In Nalia's castle, I experienced another "interesting challenge", when I met an Iron Golem whom NONE of my party members could hurt with any of their weapons. It took some desperate trial & error until I found that the Fire Elemental which Jaheira had just learned to summon, could hurt him. (Although it was itself pretty fragile, so I needed to convince the Golem to keep focusing his attacks on the party members instead).

    As for Korgan, I was thinking of only taking him on that quest he wanted to do and then dropping him again, but I just could not let him go after seeing what a formidable vampire slayer (and warrior in general) he was thanks to his berserker rage.
    Also, I thought it would be a shame if those powerful enchanted axes and hammers I had found would go to waste... :cool:
    Later, with the Cloak or Mirroring, he also turned out to be a formidable Beholder slayer.

    Ditching Edwin (after getting Imoen back and successfully escaping from Spellhold) was a tough decision, since a) I kind of liked him, and b) he got three (!!) additional spell slots per level compared to Imoen, and was roughly one full level ahead of her in terms of XP. But, well, she's supposed to be my sister, and I also needed a thief. And taking two mages seemed pretty wasteful, considering I did not even have a Priest.
    Also, it was really nice to see how fast the party leveled up afterwards in Chapter 5 due to having only four members.

    The Monk also started to become a good front-line warrior in that chapter.
    (Thanks @T2Bruno for the tip regarding the Underwater city, btw.)

    What I'm missing most in the party now, is a Priest.

    And I also found that at this point in the game Jaheira doesn't really add nearly as much to combat situations as the other party members, neither through spellcasting (most of her spells are lame) nor by swinging clubs or slings.
    I could dump Jaheira in favor of Viconia now, and if it were any other party member I just might, but it's Jaheira... and I happen to like her (personality- and story-wise), and the protagonist is romancing her, so she has to stay.
    I'm considering changing her class with ShadowKeeper though, if that's even possible (although it would be a big departure from my "no cheats" resolution, so I'm not sure yet).

    Anyways, thanks again everybody for all the useful advice and explanations in this thread, it does help me play the game more confidently and relaxed.
     
  18. 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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    2 Mages are great in my opinion. I would of kept Edwin. I usually have 3 mage-types in my Parties. I like to have my PC have some type of mage casting ability( either Pure mage or Bard..), Imoen/Jan/Nalia and a Modded NPC F/M, like Ninafer, Tyris Flare, Xan, Cassius or Soulafein. That means 3 Mirror Images up, 3 Stoneskins up, 3 Blurs up, 3 Fireballs casted pre-combat plus a plethora of spells at my disposal. At higher levels, Mages become VERY effective in this game... once you have Spell Sequencers and Contingencies going, you can deal out a TON of damage instantly at the start of a battle, eliminating the toughest of your foes. It is one of the most satisfying parts of the game!:D
     
  19. Gregorovitch Gems: 2/31
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    Jaheira is IMO a really solid front line fighter and support spell caster/healer. The key is is to get her strength up with ogre gauntlets or belt or some such (IIRC she's 15 STR naturally, and that limits her damage). With either scimitar or spear and 18/00 or 19 STR she suddenly takes lumps out them and she'll do 15-20 dmg per shot with a sling to boot especially if you find that sling that adds a strength modifier. Her Insect Plague spell is particularly effective and the bears she summons are brutes.
     
  20. 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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    I'd say you're probably not using Jaheira to her max abilities. She's probably not going to be a deadly as your monk or Korgan but she can really tank well. You should get the dwarven thrower for Korgan if you don't have it.

    Items: She really needs a strength enhancing device. Make sure she has the best armor you can find. Give her boots of speed, you should have a couple pairs by now and your monk can't use them.

    Spells: As already mentioned Insect Plaque (not cast directly at a spell caster, but someone close), Iron Skins, and Summon Fire Elemental. These three spells make her really dominant in most fights.

    Weapons: Sling of Seeking (adds strength bonuses); dual wield the Blackblood club and the Belm scimitar; for a two handed weapon use the Impaler spear.

    Sling of Seeking - purchase in Copper Coronet
    Blackblood - purchase in Trademeet
    Belm - in the tower in Druid Grove (great quest for Jaheira to be with you)
    Impaler - underwater city booty
    Gauntlets of Ogre Power - planar sphere
    Girdle of Giant Strength (there are three) - (1) purchase from Adventurer's Mart, (2) obtain from the Kuo-Toa dungeon, and (3) in elf city.
    Dwarven Thrower - Trademeet
     
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