Strong Natural Rolled 5 PC parties (and many other questions)

Discussion in 'The Temple of Elemental Evil' started by Anthropoid, Jan 13, 2015.

Remove all ads!
  1. Anthropoid

    Anthropoid Established Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have been back to this game for a week or two now and I'm reminded of what impressed me so much back when I discovered it a year or two ago: the dynamics of the tactical combat are exquisite, and the subtleties of character design and party orchestration fascinating.

    So I've been "relearning" the game. Rolled up a cheaty-seven PC party (using the Advanced buy point glitch) and got bored when I was cutting through the lower levels of the Moathouse at level 3. I feel like I've played enough that I have a reasonably high level of understanding of the game and can consider doing something more challenging.

    Specifically what I had in mind was to try to do a complete playthrough using only a 5 PC party (the max in the vanilla game) all of which were rolled legit, i.e., no exploits in assigning points, etc. Its not so much that I feel guilty about "cheating," but it will feel more rewarding to learn the game deeply enough that I can make it through with a smaller and less artificially buffed party.

    So I have already tried this once, and the entire party met with a horrid ending! It is really quite remarkable how small things can make such a big difference. The party I was using:

    1. Molly Sevant, NG Human Female Bard S 15; D 17; C 12; I 14; W 13; Ch 17. Rerolls: 12
    Feats: Magical Affinity, Negotiator
    Skills buffed: Appraise, Bluff, Gather Info, Move Silently, Perform, Tumble, Use Magical Device
    At 2nd level she took Cure Light and Tasha's. The plan was to build what I understand is a pretty standard bard: expert at using scrolls, wands and crafting magical items, acts as a party buff (music and healing) and reasonably competent at melee and ranged combat though a bit squishy. If she had survived I probably would have taken Weapon Finesse for her next Feat

    2. Anders Blokker, NG Human Male Fighter S 17; D 16; C 16; I 14; W 12; Ch 15. Rerolls: 64
    Feats: Power Attack, Cleave, Combat Reflexes
    Skills buffed: Appraise, Bluff, Heal, Intimidate, Tumble (only reason I added points to appraise on this toon is . . . I have been spending some time building up a "pool" of "legal" rolled toons. He wasn't specifically rolled to work with any particular party and he had a few extra points after I allocated to the ones I felt he really could use . . .
    Pretty much your standard fighter, either charge in swinging or move out front and set to Ready or Total Defense, and let the hacking and slashing begin. I made sure he had at least 13 in Int (to be able to get some of those melee feats that require it, and also that he had reasonable dexterity and charisma (for dodging, tumbling, AC and Feints.

    I found him to be pretty effective, though when the rest of the party had been either wounded or stricken down by skeletons at Emridy Meadow and the party was retreating back to Hommlet, he couldn't seem to hold his own against two Owl bears who surprised us on the road ;) (note to self: include a toon with higher survival in party!)

    3. Bragul Singhtox Half-Orc Male Barbarian S 19; D 17; C 15; I 16; W 13; Ch 12. Rerolls: 16
    Feats: Combat Reflexes
    Skills buffed: Bluff, Heal, Intimidate, Listen, Move Silently, Sleight of Hand, Survival (4), Tumble.

    I'm pretty sure this guy had my groups highest survival skill (5 at level 1 and 6 at level 2) and that didn't really seem to be adequate as I was getting quite a few random encounters where I had no choice to avoid and then it started in a tactically rather bad situation.

    4. Jorgen Atten S 15; D 12; C 14; I 13; W 18; Ch 14. Rerolls: 6
    Feats: Alertness and Skill focus (Listen)
    Skills buffed: Concentration, Heal, Listen, Spot, Survival (1+4 =5).
    Obviously what I was doing with this guy was trying to make him the parties "AWACS" early warning person. However, I'm not sure if I was doing it right, cause I found the party to be flat-footed more often than not. I'll finish describing my toons and their history and then compile all my questions below . . .

    5. Vizrine, Human male Wizard S 16; D 16; C 13; I 18; W 13; Ch 9. Rerolls: 1
    Feats: Point blank shot, Precise Shot
    Skills buffed: Concentration, Heal, Move Silently, Search, Spellcraft, Tumble, Use Magic Device
    The tactic with this toon was: keep one Mage Armor scroll scribed up for those pinch situations, but otherwise stay behind the others and lob Magic Missiles and bolts.

    So, overall a pretty solid though not OP party. Certainly not as gimped as if you use the point buyer or whatever your first random rolls are, but not artificially overpowered either.

    Compared to play with eight artificially overpowered toons, I found the game to be quite a bit more challenging with this group! In particular I found that having only two dedicated melee toons (plus the cleric) made encounters more challenging.

    Once they arrived in Hommlet, they did a few of the community service and Fedex quests, enough to get up around 800 skill points. Next they went and took on the toads, and this is where I noticed that things were a bit more "tight" in encounters. Nobody was knocked out, but I found myself retreating to Hommlet to spend gold to stay at the Inn another night (still didn't have enough currency to gamble with Furnok).

    Next I figured I'd take on the spiders at the Deklo grove and here is where I committed my first reload. I had initially set everyone to sneak before leaving for Deklo, but got into a random encounter with four skeletons (which was pretty close tbh) and then went back to Hommlet to sell that junk. When I left next time I forgot to set each toon to sneak and when we arrived we were just totally mauled by the spiders. I called it a "human error" and reloaced and re-approached with all toons in sneak mode and was able to win the battle.

    Next thing I did was take on the guards in the Moathouse courtyard and this was a VERY close call. By the time it was over, the barbarian and cleric were both out cold, the fighter had like 2 hp left and the mage and bard were killing off the last couple brigands with crossbows! Good times though as it was fun to have to try and use the party in the most tactically optimal way.

    At this point they levelled up to 2 and had accumulated enough gear/gold that it was time to gamble with Furnok and get my free housing voucher at the Welcome Wench. That was when I noticed Zert was in town and decided: ah what the heck, and just went ahead and recruited him and Furnok.

    It was then that I realized the Lamellar armor I bought for my fighter and cleric in the Shop Map might not have been optimum? My fighter had a Dex of 16 = +3. In the armor screen it said:

    +10 Initial
    +3 Dex (bonus reduced by Item or Tool: Lamellar Armor)
    +5 Armor
    +1 Shield
    --
    AC: 19

    The numbers seemed to add up but I was a bit puzzled by that "bonus reduced" part in the line for Dexterity.

    After recruiting Furnok and Zert and selling off gear, I headed up to Emridy, just to scout the perimeter, and kill a few of the skeletons in preparation for the battle with the skeleton priest on a followup trip. I was shocked when a group of about 6 or 7 skeletons just nearly owned my party: Zert was killed in virtually one blow by a lucky critical from a long spear, Furnok was down to -4 but stabilized, the Magic User was unconscious, and the rest of my part was pretty badly beaten up. Even after expending all my healing spells (though not the scrolls, which I guess was foolish to hoard instead of using them) the remaining party of Bard, Fighter, Babarian Cleric were not all fully healed.

    And that is when the Owlbears ambushed me on the road back to Hommlet and very quickly dispatched the whole group. Wow! What a fantastic game engine! When a tactical AI opponent can take down a reasonably competent player (who made some poor operational decisions) with a pretty solid group THAT is what I call GOOD GAMING!

    So here I am, back in the new game window and wondering "What should I do differently?"

    Any suggestions?

    This is a wall of text, so in the interest of getting a few helpful responses let me summarize a few basic questions in reference to all the above detail:

    1. Any suggestions on how to tweak my toon builds to be more effective?

    2. How to avoid surprise encounters? I had a toon with a high Listen and Spot (the cleric with 18 Wis, the skill focus Listen and total scores of: Listen 11 and Spot 7, but it didn't seem to make much difference. He was wearing Lamellar armor; maybe that is it? Does an "antenna" toon needs to also be silent and stealthy? Or maybe he needs to be out in front?

    3. What do you consider to be a decent Survival skill to be able to navigate around the map during the first few levels? 5 or 6 didn't seem to be adequate as I repeatedly had encounters that I had no chance to avoid, and more than once started with very bad tactical situations. Also, does the random engine refer to party level, or party number or what when determining what you face? I was surprised to see Owl Bears at Level 2.

    4. Referring to the Fighter (Str 17 Dex 16), Cleric (Str 15 Dex 12) and Babarian (Str 19 Dex 17) and with the feats I described above, what armor would you suggest for each? Brabarian leather seemed to be pretty good for the Half-Orc barb, but I don't think Lamellar was necessarily the best choice for the other two?

    5. Maces for everyone? One thing I noticed in that last encounter with the Emridy skeletons, bladed weapons are MUCH less effective against them. In past plays I had gone to the effort of stocking up on light maces and slings for everyone in the party who could use such items. But in this case, I overlooked that little detail. Do you guys make a habit of insuring that all party members who can use crushing damage weapons are duly equipped when going into areas where you know there will be skeletons?

    6. Is there a way to flee when you find your party caught in a nearly unwinnable encounter?

    7. Is there a way to share toons with others, like a place to upload the character files or something?
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2015
  2. Anthropoid

    Anthropoid Established Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    Another question:

    8. Would there be any point in a Cleric taking Spell Focus (Abjuration)? The descriptions of these do not seem to mention getting an additional spell slot for spells of that school, but I notice with a Wizard, that specializing in Evocation allows me to have more Magic Missile, etc.

    I would guess it works that way with the cleric and druid classes too? Obviously the saving throw + benefit won't matter for healing spells, but I suppose there are abjuration spells it will impact?

    ADDIT: one more!

    9. What really is the difference between the Mersenne Twister and the original random number generators? Only anecdotal thing I can note is that the Mersenne gives generally lower numbers and/or requires more rerolls to get a "decent" set of numbers.

    Am I right that the "Quick and Dirty" could be called "More Generous" and the Mersenne "Less Lucky?"
     
  3. Gehennis

    Gehennis Established Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    15
    If I may offer a few suggestions?

    1- Let your wizard or cleric craft for you- your bard should be focusing on skills that make him/her a better bard, not a half decent craft person. I usually have my bards focus on Charm and AOE spells like Glitterdust or Grease. Use them for crowd control and to buff your party via song or spell..

    2- Get Improved Initiative (and Tumble) for all characters- I can't recall if it actually gives you a better shot at avoiding being caught flat footed but even if you are you should still act before most of the enemies that attack you...

    3- As far as your Survival checks I'd say give them to characters for which that skill would seem to be part of their character, i.e. druid, ranger or barbarian. IIRC Wisdom plays into Survival checks so maybe give your barbarian a higher Wisdom? Once it hits 7+ you should be OK...

    4- When in the starting shop I usually go with scale or chain for the fighters and clerics as well as a wooden shield- if I have a barbarian I look at druid armor (I think they can wear it and it might have a better AC than barbarian armor)...

    5- The moat house is a good place to get maces for everyone except your mage- let them use a quarterstaff (I take it that was character #5 as I don't see a name or character class listed?). And if character #5 is a mage you don't need to raise their Use Magic Skill- they can do that automatically because of their class. Have your bard raise their Use Magic skill so that they can use wands and scrolls more readily...

    6- Not that I know of, sorry...

    7- Sorry- can't help you with that one either...

    8- Depending on your cleric's alignment I would take Improved Turning instead- makes Emridy Meadows an almost total walkover...

    9- Not much of a difference from what I've seen...

    I haven't played the NC 8.1.0 yet but unless they've changed the first moat house encounter with the bandits you can avoid them
    by heading into the tower where the spider is- usually an easier fight and you get a place to safely rest and save before taking on the rest of the moat house
    . Good luck...
     
  4. Anthropoid

    Anthropoid Established Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks Gehennis! Some good suggestions.
     
  5. Goshi3156

    Goshi3156 Dire Badger

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    2
    1. As Gehennis mentioned, for the bard, a true caster is generally a better choice for crafting. Spell Focus (Enchantment) is a really powerful feat for Bards as their best spells (Hideous Laughter, Confusion and the Charm series) are all in that school.

    For your melee characters, pure Fighter actually isn't really all that hot. I'd recommend multiclassing once you reach either 4th level for Weapon Specialization or 12th for Greater Weapon Specialization. A Half-Orc Fighter4/Barbarian16 is a champ in melee.

    I would strongly suggest that you avoid feats that boost skills (Like Alertness or Negotiator), as the boosts from them aren't enough to justify losing a precious feat slot.

    As for the death by Owlbears? I wouldn't take it too hard. Random encounters are silly like this. NPCs actually boost the party's average level which means you will encounter stronger monsters in the random skirmishes. Always save before switching areas.

    5. I'd make it a habit to carry some kind of blunt damaging weapon. Later on you'll fight oozes which will split if hit with a slashing or piercing weapon. You can change weapons in the middle of combat, take advantage of it.
     
  6. Anthropoid

    Anthropoid Established Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks a lot Yoshi! More good advice.

    I think I'm back to rolling some more toons. Too bad there isn't a GUI to edit toons as I'm happy with the set or toons as far as abiliites, species, sex, and generally class, but would like to maybe adjust some of their feats. I suppose the console can suffice. I know you can add feats via the console but wonder if you can delete them too?
     
  7. Anthropoid

    Anthropoid Established Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've been fiddling with a few spells that I didn't have much experience with, trying to figure out what seems to work well.

    1. Is there an effective way to use "Ghoul Touch?" And how do you insure that when you hit after charging the mage with the effect that it strikes the enemy? They only option I can see is the standard attack (left-click) but it doesn't seem to work if you have a weapon in hand, and it doesn't even seem to work all the time when weapon is not in hand. The fact that it sickens everyone except the caster in a pretty large area, combined with the fact that you have to cast it, have hands empty and then hit (meaning it takes two rounds to make use if it seems; unless you charge it up prior to an engagement and then send the wizard in ahead by him/herself) makes it problematic

    Then I get the purple haze following me around for hours . . . that must be some kind of bug?

    I thought that casting mage armor, longstrider, barkskins and invisibility on my Wizard, then have him cast Ghoul touch and sneak up and attack the Giant might be viable. Having used it now a bit against hobgoblins and stuff, I don't think it is up to snuff.

    2. The Druid spell Tree shape: sounds interesting, then you use it and realize . . . you've got to stay motionless for it to stay in effect!? LAME!

    3. What armor do you recommend for a bard? I had generally done fine with the brown leather armor (the one that looks fancy) plus a buckler, and even seemed to be doing okay with Barbarian + a buckler but now I seem to be getting more frequent spell failures when I'm casting slightly higher level spells (level 1 or 2).

    4. Soften Earth and Stone: I used this one on a group of two lizard men and a giant lizard. It did seem to keep two of them in place for a couple rounds anyway. Is that basically what it does? Sort of a weaker, smaller area entangle or web type thing? One thing I've realized with the entangle and web spell, you've GOT to have some decent ranged damage capability or it is just a waste of time. Plus they do not seem to work that predictable, critters get loose a lot.

    5. Gust of Wind: this just seems to be useless, at least from a general combat standpoint. I've hit goblins and kobolds with it and it didn't even seem to faze them.

    I am increasingly led to the same conclusion I always have been: the two most generally useful and dependable Wizard spells (for a level 2 or 4 caster) are mage armor and magic missile. I know the higher level ones (lightning bolt, fireball, etc.) are killer but I'm trying to figure out optimum ways to make use of the crappy level 1 and 2 spells.

    After having a 22 hp fighter (Zert) killed in virtually one blow with a long spear, I'm leaning toward equipping my Druid, Sorceror and Wizard with those. Apparently they are in their basic proficient sets. Seems like a pretty effective weapon and the Druid can still supplement AC with a buckler. I was thinking about getting some focus and/or specializtion in those for later levels.

    As far as I can tell, the best Level 2 Druid spells are barkskin and Summon Nature's ally. A Druid with a companion and a summoned nature's ally and a longspear can presumably operate pretty effectively by staying behind her animal friends and striking with the spear.

    It is too bad the Multi-classing thing slows down spell-casters so badly, cause any caster like a Druid, Wizard or Sorceror, with high Dex and reasonable Str, who starts out as a fighter who gets maybe 4 levels of fighter (to have power attack, cleave, weapon focus and weapons specialization longspear, maybe dodge and mobility, would seem to be a pretty effective general purpose death dealer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  8. Gehennis

    Gehennis Established Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2012
    Messages:
    685
    Likes Received:
    15
    1- I've never used Ghoul Touch but IIRC it plays off your BAB so having a high Dex would help in that regard...

    2- Tree Shape (And some other spells) have no real use in this game- never learn them.

    3- Any of the elven chains you find should work, as well as a mitheral chain shirt. Until you can get either of those items masterwork studded leather would be my suggestion...

    4- Another spell I've never used- it mainly seems to be a good offensive spell against earth elementals...

    5- Gust of Wind I believe is used for dispersing cloud type AOE spells. As for useful 2nd level spells I like Scorching Ray, Tasha's Hideous Laughter (and LOVE Glitterdust) for wizards and for druids any of the spells that improve a stat i.e. Bulls Strength, Cat's Grace, etc.

    6- If your druid were elven you would have bow and long sword as racial weapon proficiencies for free (something to think about for next time) but Weapon Proficiency: Long Spear is great for them. For wizards/sorcerers I like to get them masterwork crossbows ASAP and have them get Point Blank Shot eventually. Just my opinion but the only spell casting folks that should be involved in melee combat are druids and clerics- wizards and sorcerers should stay FAR from melee when possible and if not, that's what your spells are for- Blur, Shield, Invisibility, Stoneskin. If you can't make them miss, survive the hit- it's a lot better than wearing armor that creates a chance at spell failure. Really, between rings of protection and bracers of protection wizards/sorcerers can have nearly as good an AC as the most heavily armored fighter... P.S. this link has some good info in it, even if all the things don't apply to TOEE- http://www.d20pfsrd.com/
     
  9. Goshi3156

    Goshi3156 Dire Badger

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    2
    1. You CAN cast Ghoul Touch and Discharge it the same turn, the GUI is lying (And wrong).

    Sneaking up on targets is a good use of the spell, but I wouldn't use it on Giants. It requires a Fort save, and Giants generally have a high bonus for it. It actually isn't a very good spell (It is in PnP though), I only use it because... its fun =/

    4. Does wonders on Earth Elementals. Its a decent way to crowd control in indoor areas (Where Entangle can't be used), but you'd be better off using Spike Growth/Stones.

    5. It can cause small targets (Like Goblins or Halflings) to fall prone. I'm pretty sure this can remove the various cloud like effects as well.

    As for 2nd level spells arcane spells:
    Scorching Ray - Crap damage early on, but does a decent amount as your levels get higher.
    Glitterdust - AoE blind is amazing. Use it, love it.
    Tasha's Hideous Laughter - Great way to incapacitate a dangerous target. It can also be used to set up AoOs.
    Protection from Arrows - Useful in the Lareth fight (55% of the enemies are archers) and the Temple Tower. If you're playng the NC version, two of the most dangerous enemies are archers actually.
    Mirror Image - Fantastic self-protection against non-magical attacks. Possibly the best in the game.
    Web - One of the best spells for keeping targets in place. Unlike the Infinity Engine games though, fire spells will dispel it however.

    And 1st level spells:
    Ray of Enfeeblement - A lifesaver in most of early game. Toss it and watch dangerous targets either struggle to hit your characters, or deal considerably less damage. This spell can stack as well.
    Grease - Causes enemies to fall prone. This is pretty great on those undead enemies in Emridy Meadows.
    Obscuring Mist - Using nothing but casters? This spell is a powerful way to cut down on the damage you take. Be careful though, as fire based spells will dispel it.
    Sleep - Trivializes a large deal of early game. Its useless once you're done with the Moathouse however.
    Enlarge Person - This spell can turn your Fighter into a large death zone. Especially powerful when used on polearm user and if you have the Combat Reflexes feat.


    As for Druids, I'm pretty sure Flame Blade isn't in this game, so their 2nd level spells are pretty lacking outside of Barkskin and their summons. As for weapons, until you can Forge your own, the Shillelagh spell is actually their strongest weapon (Unless you're an elf with the Holy Longsword from Meleny) for most of early game. A Druid with Longstrider and Shillelagh can make really short work of those skeletons in Emridy Meadows.
     
  10. Anthropoid

    Anthropoid Established Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    Shillelagh enchants her weapon but only if it is a quarterstaff, eh? Meh, I've never liked staffs and after playing several hours with a wizard and sorcerer using them I'm no more impressed. I guess she could use one though . . .

    I cannot seem to get rid of that stupid purple cloud from the Ghoul touch following my Wizard around . . . some kind of bug resulting from having "not used it right" (I think I cast it, then hit with my staff instead of doing "what I was supposed to do" which apparently was to move in close, cast it, then move in slightly closer [enough to touch] THEN reselect it from the radial menu to get it to discharge . . . sheeze).

    I still don't seem to have managed to get it to discharge on a critter on which it works so maybe when I do it will cause the cloud around my Wizard to dissipate and he won't stink of death any more :p

    I don't know about Scorching Ray but I've found that Ray of Frost is utter crap. The fact that you have to get a "to hit" roll with it is utter crap. Utter CRAP I tell you! Its magic! Why should I have to "hit" them!? Same with Acid splash = already weakish spell that is completely ineffective against foes against which it should work perfectly well, about half the time.

    Don't know if your memory of ray of enfeeble is from PnP or from playing ToEE, but I seem to recall that it too suffers from that "to hit" problem.

    Grease, yes absolutely a decent spell . . . except that many opponents you face in 1st and 2nd level seem to quite easily shake it off after a round or two. It rarely seems to actually keep them down for the count unless they are complete weaklings who you wouldn't need to keep at bay anyway.

    Tasha's I have used, and yes I agree it is good. Except when your whole tactical plan is built around it working and the said baddy shrugs it off with a saving throw. I've followed your advice to get "Spell Focus (Enchantment)" for my 3rd level bard (soon to be level 4 and I'm considering getting a level in something else here soonish, maybe after her next feat which I believe is at level 4? That does seem to help. Mindless critters like ticks and lizards don't seem to shrug off her "Flare" spells quite so often. Anyway, I always get Tasha's as even when it isn't buffed by the feat it is good enough when it works that it is magical.

    Glitterdust and Mirror Image I haven't used yet, but will check them out.

    Sleep I'm sure if you are a higher level caster, is pretty heinous, but if you are like 2nd or 3rd level (whatever the 1st level you can cast it is) and do not have a feat to buff it, again, it seems to be shrugged off pretty often. It certainly didn't work on Mr. Hill Giant and his pet bear at least once.

    I remember using Enlarge Person on a fighter type standing in the doorway of the bandit bosses' hideout in the Moathouse once when I played the game a year or more ago. I was amazed at how effective it was.

    I've reached some conclusions about Troika:

    1. They don't like, or at least do not regard as being very effective ranged weapons. (I think they just overlooked smacking down Magic Missile with their nerf hammer, the only reliable and at least somewhat effective ranged spell I've found in the game, apart from Fireball which comes with all kinds of constraints and limitations given it is a fricking magical napalm bomb that you buddies often do not appreciate your lobbing into their midst . . . still when I say "reliable and effective" consistently doing an average of 2.5 hp of damage per missile THAT is what I mean)

    2. Either very big or very small are very strong in their conception of martial combat. I had a little halfling rogue chick I leveled up pretty high when I played this game before. It got to the point where it was almost pointless for anyone else to even bother unsheathing her sword. She would bounce around the battlefield like a hockey puck, offing armor clad deamons and devils with her Siamang like it was a handheld guillotine. I like that being small and being big are factors, but I think they are both OP. If a small critter is going to be harder to hit and find it easier to hit big critters, then it should also take more damage when it IS hit by a big critter and a big critter should take less damage when it is hit by a small critter, and strength should have proportional minimim and maximum adjustable values based on size . . . without those, the big/small nerfs/perks as they stand in the game just create farcical dynamics with 2.5ft tall level 9 killing machine rogues, etc.

    3. I'm sure I could think of something else to grumble about if I thought about it more . . .

    ADDIT: @Gehennis, ah missed your post . . . Can Bards' wear chainmail by default. I thought they were only proficient in light? Ah, maybe the elven counts as light will check that out once I rob the Giant.

    Re: Arcane types and melee, I agree: keeping them out of melee is ideal. However, with a group of only 5 toons, unless you have four other melee types, keeping the Wizard/Sorcerer out of melee is not always a predictable and controllable endeavour. I've noticed comparing playing with a 7 PC (with a Bard, Wizard, Cleric, two fighters and Barb) group versus a 5 PC (Bard, Barb, Druid, Sorcerer, Wizard [yes too arcane types, I LOVE MAGIC MISSILES!!]) that baddies are often skirting around and coming at one of my squishier types. And that is even WITH the Jackal as Animal Companion. Actually it is not as bad as I make it out to be, but being "ready" for melee seems to be advisable for the arcane types in the smaller groups, and if you are going to be "ready" for it, you might as well always be ready for it, and reasonably good at it. Humanoid types in particular seem to like to tumble right past the Barb and Druid and go straight for the Wizard or Sorceror, interesting that.

    The interesting thing about armor is, it isn't really THAT powerful. Consider full plate. What is it +5 with a possible Dex bonus of what? +1 or is it +0? That is nearly the same as having an 18 Dexterity isn't it!? If you have a clumsy fighter (say Dex of 10) Wearing Chainmail then all else equal, they have the same AC as a nimble Mage (Dex 18) wearning nothing!

    It is very true that magic users are weak in the hp department though. However, the fact that some of the feats and a Mage Armor spell can make them damn hard to hit . . . I'm not so sure that our mutual aversion to putting Magic users in the front line is really necessarily so logical.

    I've been tempted to try out some 'experimental playthroughs' just to see how they work out:

    1. Roll up a set of toons with reasonable stats and stats distributed so as to be good for a classic party configuration (Fighter, Rogue, Cleric, Mage, Etc) but then level 1 make them ALL fighters. Get enough levels in fighter that they all have Power Attack, Cleave and one or two other feats that make melee and AoO so powerful, then switch most of them to the class that would be favored by their strongest stat.

    2. Do the same thing for a group of "starting barbs."

    4. Same thing for a group of staring Rogues.

    5. Same thing for a group of starting Bards.

    The backstory for each of these could be that, all five of these jokers in each group were all refugees from some common former group, deserter soldiers, exiled tribesmen, a band of thieves of betrayed their clan, a group from a traveling circus who decided the pay was crap and the bearded lady was a tramp, that sort of thing ;)

    Could be interesting, particular to repeat that experiment with the same five sets of stats, but with early levels homogenized differently.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  11. Goshi3156

    Goshi3156 Dire Badger

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    2
    No in ToEE it actually creates a new weapon in your inventory which is a +1 quarterstaff with 2d6(20x2) for its damage.

    As for the lingering cloud glitch. If Jaroo can't remove it (With the spell permanency fix) then you'll probably need to reload an earlier file to get rid of it.


    Oh wow, you did a massive edit. Alright lets see...

    1. Ranged is very effective, it just starts slow. High level archers are THE most dangerous enemy for a reason late game. As for Magic Missile, it was never nerfed, its exactly what its like in PnP. I mean, its a 1st level, its not even supposed to be strong in the first place. The higher level spells are ridiculous and makes melee pale in comparison. They can outright instantly kill an enemy with Finger of Death, or deal colossal damage with Horrid Wilting, or call forth Elder Elementals which are tough to kill and deal loads of damage, or even turn an enemy into a permanent ally with Dominate Person.

    Pure melee dominates early game, there's no changing that. But mid game and beyond, casters become far better. A Fighter can't match the versatility of a Wizard or Cleric.

    2. Size actually does affect damage, specifically the damage dice you use for your weapons.

    3. Keeping casters out of melee is easy. I mean, you have spells like Web or Entangle for a reason. Or you can have your melee scout ahead, draw aggro from the enemies and bring them to a choke point where your casters are waiting. I never bother with Mage Armor, unless you have a Monk, its a waste of a spell slot.

    Finally here is one last option if neither of the two work. If you know an enemy is going to go bedlam on your arcane caster, use Ready vs. Approach. If they trigger it, Defensively Cast Hold Person or Ghoul Touch or whichever debilitating spell you want.

    Of course, even then, its shouldn't be an issue. Mirror Image flat-out makes you immune to melee anyway.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  12. Daryk

    Daryk Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,104
    Likes Received:
    22
    Goshi is exactly right about archers... have you purchased any composite longbows built for strength? I usually roll with five archers (all multi-classed) and one melee character (with a reach weapon).

    Another first level spell to take advantage of is Protection From Evil. It's almost necessary against creatures that cause fear or cast charm spells.

    Gehennis' link is to the Pathfinder SRD, the next evolution of the rules after D&D 3.5 (that TOEE implements). That SRD is here: http://www.d20srd.org/.
     
  13. Anthropoid

    Anthropoid Established Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks dudes! I'm learning a lot about 3.5 D&D and this game from you guys.

    I did do a start up with five fighters and they did deal with the early enemies pretty effectively. They also spent long stints at the Inn to heal up :)

    I made five toons and used the names, portraits and voices that I have come to use as standard for my toon types (all human):

    I. A female bard, high Cha, high Dex. "Molly __"
    II. A male fighter, high Str, high Cons, highish Dex, at least 13 Int. "Anders ___"
    III. A male cleric, high Wis, high Cons, highish Str. "Jorgen ___"
    IV. A male ranger/rogue, high Wis, high Dex, reasonably high Int "Viktor ___"
    V. A male wizard, high Int, high Dex, reasonably high Cons "Vizrine of ___"

    Instead of these five archetypes playing their typical roles from the start, they all started as fighters. I gave the would-be bard and Wizard longspears and bucklers and got the leather for the female off the thief in the NG start. The would-be cleric I gave scale male and a longsword (Lwf Good and Heironeous [I think?] worshipper, mace wielding clerics get so boring . . .) and wooden shield. The would be ranger I gave a shortsword and leather armor and the fighter a Greatsword and no armor (he had 18 Dex). They had ACs ranging from 15 to 18 and HP ranging from 11 to 14. I also gave them all longbows (which are pretty clearly the best ranged weapon type).

    For Feats, I gave them all Dodge, Mobility and Improved Initiative.

    They dealt with the toads pretty handily, easier in fact than having any weakling spellcasters along I'd say. They totally mopped up the bandits in the courtyard, they were barely scratched by the kobolds at Welkwood. During some randoms, they did have a couple close calls where someone got knocked out or several were lowish in HP, but by returning to the Inn and spending long stints (made sure not to spend too much in ShopMap so I'd have enough to catch Furnok right away) the lack of a healer wasn't an issue. They seemed to all reach level two surprirsingly fast too. I don't think I had bothered with any of the Hommlet Community service quests, and they hit Level two without even taking on the Deklo spiders, the Moat Tower spider, or even entering the Moathouse, just a few randoms, the outside of the Moathouse, one batch of skeletons at the north side of Emridy and the first wave of kobolds at Welk and bam level 2.

    it was frankly kind of nice to have a team of FIGHTERS, all able to move where they wanted and dodge enemies with impunity, and all able to mete out damage pretty effectively.

    The one party role for which I think having a level of fighter in is an utter waste is the Ranger/Rogue role. I think I'll redo with that guy starting as a Ranger (survival is important) and get to about Level 4 ranger then do Rogue . . . or I don't know maybe I'll do Rogue and then Ranger (Sneak attack is useful . . .)

    From doing that I can see that, the real benefit of a fighter is (and fill in any details I leave out):

    1. Few more hp per dice, at least for some of the classes.
    2. Weapon proficiencies that they wouldn't otherwise have, or would have to use a feat to get (not an issue for a cleric of Heironeous who only wants to use a longsword, but the longbow is a perk, not sure if a bard can use a longspear or not, but again, all the other weapons opened up is a perk)
    3. Feats that they otherwise wouldn't be able to access? (that one I'm not sure about)
    4. An additional feat every level instead of at 3rd, 6th, etc., but that is only of benefit if you take at least two levels of fighter in a row.
    5. I suppose some of the saving throws tables might be better by including a level or two of fighter?

    This gained at the expense of:
    A. Fewer skill points, and less diversity in cheap skill points for the group.
    B. No spells for a level 1 party, which frankly was almost completely irrelevant. I think it might even remain irrelevant until at least 3rd level, maybe 5th.

    Can you guys name one encounter prior to obligatory level 5 in this game that you will definitely struggle to finish without a spellcaster?

    The hill giant and the skeleton priest might be kinda tough, Lareth maybe kinda tough. But every other encounter I can think of the effects of a spellcaster are really just "nice to haves" and not essentials. The spellcasters are there to level up so that you have them for when they are really necessary, at higher levels.

    Thing is, by simply patrolling the countryside, you can take as long as you want to face the "Level 3" interior encounters so delaying the onset of spellcasters is not really an issue. If you could endure the tedium of just going back and forth between locations, or camping indefinitely you could level up all you want before you even go inside any of the actual encounter sites.
     
  14. Daryk

    Daryk Veteran Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2012
    Messages:
    1,104
    Likes Received:
    22
    Early on, I pretty much use spell casters for loot identification. I start with a 1st level elven Rogue (for the social skills to do the Hommlet quests... they're essentially free XP), a 1st level half-orc Barbarian (my melee character with a reach weapon), two elven Rangers and two Fighters (one elf, one human). At 2nd level, the two Fighters switch to Wizard (Diviner, the elf) and Cleric (Heironeous, the human) while everybody else takes a level of Fighter.

    The Rangers and Rogue keep their Fighter levels within one level of their primary class (until 20th for the Rogue, where she takes 11th level Rogue for the extra Sneak Attack die). I've found the Ranger/Fighters to be the most effective archers in the game. A single-classed Fighter might compare, but having Ranger class skills (i.e. Hide, Move Silently, Spot, Search, etc.) more than makes up for the three feats. The auxiliary spell casting isn't bad either.

    The half-orc takes at least two levels of Barbarian (for Uncanny Dodge) with the rest as Fighter for the feats.

    The Wizard gets to 8th level, then switches back to Fighter through 20th. This gets him where he can craft Shock and Frost weapons, and all the Wondrous Items that matter (Helm of Reading Magic, Greater Bracers of Archery, Vests of Escape, stat boosters), and still gets him to +16 BAB at 20th.

    The Cleric switches back to Fighter after 12 levels of Cleric (with Law and Good domains). This is high enough to craft the single most important item in the game (yes, more important than Scather): the Periapt of Wound Closure. I've only found one in the game without crafting. This gets her to +17 BAB at 20th level, and access to Greater Weapon Focus. The Cleric usually lags the others the most, as Holy Axiomatic weapons are expensive in terms of XP, as is adding +3 to those weapons when she gets to 9th level Cleric.
     
  15. Goshi3156

    Goshi3156 Dire Badger

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2011
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    2
    I can't imagine Lareth being beaten without Stinking Cloud or Glitterdust. Without any casters, the fight really just boils down to luck... with the odds heavily against your favor.

    The Moathouse Ambush, if you can trigger it, shouldn't even be challenging. The fight is designed against casters... which you don't even have.

    As for the Hill Giant, yeah for sure. Without Web or Entangle, there's nothing stopping the Giant from smashing your heads. Without Charm Animal, that bear is going to be a problem as well.

    Skeleton Priest, I don't even use any spells for him. Just make sure you're using blunt weapons. Take out the Priest first so he doesn't use Death Knell, in case you have casualties.

    The Assassin, can be beaten without a spell caster... it would possibly easier since you don't need to defend a spell caster.

    After that it really depends on which order you do things. Normally I go to Emerdys Run next. The battle is really easy if you Web/Entangle the Lizardmen and Sea Hag and pick them off with ranged attacks. The Behemoth Frog is not a threat when he's on his own. Without Web or Entangle I can imagine the fight to be around the same level as Lareth. Unlike Lareth though, this isn't necessary for progression so it won't matter.

    I don't think this fight appears until you're level 5 anyway though. But just in case you feel the suicidal urge to do early, the Nulb Ambush is impossible without a spell caster. The Sorceress casts Greater Invisibility as soon as the fight starts, which makes her nigh impossible to touch with melee attacks. She also uses Confusion, and since Fighters have crappy Will saves, it'll definitely wreck you.

    The first floor encounters in the Temple shouldn't be anything special. Avoid the Harpy encounter though. Their song will most likely work since again, Fighters have bad Will saves. The Bugbears might be a problem too since they'll buff themselves, which will put them a level above your Fighters.

    That's about everything before hitting level 5... to be honest. I'd be more concerned about the later encounters especially if you don't plan on multiclassing until level 5. Your casters will be very behind in spell progression, also you will have no way to defend yourself from enemy spell casters. The Fire Temple is going to be miserable.
     
Our Host!