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

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

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  1. Anthropoid

    Anthropoid Established Member

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    Okay my latest incarnation which I think I'm pretty happy with; although we shall see about how things progress, I like to play Dead is Dead, so if I lose most of the party and have to resort to NPCs I'd consider it a "failed experiment" even if I did mange to keep grinding along.

    As before all fighters except Viktor a Ranger (their stats are from a "semi-cheaty" method: random roll then use the advanced exploit with the min points available, that to me tends to produce strong but not ridiculously strong toons, i.e., two 18s, a 17 maybe a 15 and nothing below 10).

    Everyone took Improved Initiative, Dodge and Mobility for their starting feats. Right there I'd say I'm off to a good start, given what I've observed about the combat dynamics of the melee part of the game, i.e., moving around is VERY valuable though if you are not good at it also very dangerous. An aside . . . one of the things I was always impressed with in this game, it takes the combat down to the level of a boxing match, angle of attack, flanking, etc., are all clearly important. Only other game that comes close to that that I can think of are Jagged Alliance (which is so good with that one big mod that I cannot remember the name of) and Forge of Freedom (American Civil War game you guys probably haven't played) . . . The ranger just took Improved Initiative and Dodge.

    Bard-to-be and Wizard-to-be: long spear & bucklers no armor. Cleric-to-be longsword scale mail and shield (he has lowest Dex at about 13), Fighter Greatsword no armor (18 Dex), Ranger short sword no armor (also 18 Dex). Everyone longbows. I distributed their skills as if they were already in their chosen eventual path (e.g., ranger maxed survival, listen, search, spot, etc.)

    Did the Hommlet community quests this time, except didn't have the Intimidatory power to sway the Capt so left it. Headed to Moathouse with about 600 or 700 points I guess. The toads was a bit close. The fighter got knocked out and the bard-to-be was swallowed at least once and down to 1hp (weird how mobs will just get totally focused on one toon . . . every single one of those frogs wanted to attack that female toon, which allowed me to keep flanking and reflanking them and charging and recharging them . . . damn those tactics are effective!). I think the fighter was down -5hp!

    Next we sold off the bit of gear we had pilfered around Hommlet, etc., and used the high spot toon to gamble Furnok and get our free housing voucher. It was a 19 day furlong to get everyone up to health and then it was off to Welkwood!

    The first wave of Kobolds was no sweat. The second wave caused a couple scratches, and it was hear I got a tad bit cheeky . . . I probably should spoiler this stuff . . .

    ACTUALLY: when we get the time, we ALL might want to go back through our posts and spoiler anything that could spoil it for a new player, else maybe we could get a Moderator to rename the thread with a bit *WARNING! Spoilers!* included?

    I normally find the goblins are not a problem if you use the tunnel and do the outer chamber in the mauseoleum first, then approach the goblins from the main entrance to the mausouleum. If you approach from the starting point, something about the way they spawn out and the positioning of blocked map elements tends to favor their swarm tactics and they can give you a bit more of a run for your money. This time, since I had done so well slaughtering the outside kobolds, I just decided to get right to it and approach from direct south. Well something went just slightly wrong and it caused a domino effect that led to one of the most epic battles I've had with this game, all my toons survived and all were conscious but no one had more than 5 hp and two of them had 1hp left!

    Basically, the fighter charged ahead and got hemmed in from behind, next thing I know he gets hit a couple lucky hits and he's down to like 3hp and surrounded. Worse, everyone else starts taking hits too! I had to hold in there long enough to kill this one goblin that was blocking his escape and then everyone rang for it back to the west southwest. I wasn't sure what I hoped to accomplish, cause it was clearly already a lost battle, virtually everyone was below 25% hp and there were like 10 or 11 goblins left to kill.

    I retreated the spear users so they were aligned and as far back as possible then turned them back to face the oncoming zerg swarm of goblins. The ranger (with his bow in hand) retreated a bit further back). The fighter got lucky and managed to break out of the 3/4 circle of goblins surrounding him and get back to the rest of the party with a hit point to spare. The cleric-to-be was a bit off on his own near a house and as he retreated got smacked a couple more times bringing HIM down to 1 hp as well! :no:

    It was really looking like a goner for my little party of fighters. Next round the spear users set to Ready on Approach and the Fighter retreated in between them and set to Total defense the ranger made it behind them but when the cleric-to-be tried to get behind them he couldn't quite make it (and have any left for Total Defense) so once again he wound up slightly off by himself but at least on Total defense.

    Six or seven goblins proceeded to surround the cleric-to-be this time, and for the next 4 or 5 rounds, somehow amazing, thanks to dodge, scale mail, shield and Total Defense, NONE of them managed to hit him.

    I don't know if you guys have noticed but taking a five-foot step away when wielding a reach weapon certainly seems to make hitting more likely, that and taking the risk of moving around BEHIND an opponent that is facing a friendly in melee is definitely MUCH more effective. Using these two mobility tactics, along with little mini-charges (which I understand gives a +3 to hit) I proceeded to slaughter the goblins that surrounded the would be cleric and managed to win a fight which had very quickly gone very badly against me.

    A squad of fighters all with dodge, improved initiative and all but one with mobility, combined with effective use of the radial menu melee tactics is what made the difference and it is here where I think that a toon having some basic "fighter" skills might just make all the difference in many fights in this game. If I had had even one less fighter, I might have had a toon die here and I don't think I had the cash to resurrect him/her, even after I sold all that kobold and goblin crap.

    That battle was a LOT of fun! :)

    So after miraculously snatching victory from the multiple, gnashing little jaws of goblin defeat, everybody leveled up :yes:

    It was at this point I checked out the in game "manual" a bit more and gained a bit more clarity about the merits of fighters. It seems that with respect to feats (and with the issue of species [sic "race"] differences in starting number of feats aside) fighters "get more feats." (Wizards also get a _bit_ more than other classes but not nearly as many).

    All characters get one feat at start, one at 3rd level and one at every 3rd level after that (6th, 9th 12th, etc.). A human gets a bonus feat at start and a fighter gets yet another at start (but only from the "fighter bonus feat pool" the ones like "Weapon focus"). In addition, fighter gets to double dip from this pool of bonus feats (which I understand are accessible to other classes, depending on other prerequisites, but simply that fighters get them IN ADDITION to the normal feat every five levels) every second level (2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, etc.). I assume this means that the fighter gets a bonus feat for every second level in FIGHTER class, not every second LEVEL.

    Based on this, I decided that everyone who was a fighter would take a 2nd level in fighter. The bard-to-be and wizard-to-be both took Weapon focus longspear (power attack might have made more sense I dunno), the 18, 18, 18 Greatsword wielding fighter took Combat Reflexes, the cleric-to-be of Heironeous took Longsword focus and the Ranger didn't get a feat at 2nd level, but he did take 2 weapon fighting.

    At level three, I will have:

    Molly, Fighter 2 / Bard 1 (Dodge, Mobility, Imp Init, Longspear focus, Spell focus-Enchant)
    Anders, Fighter 3 (Dodge, Mobility, Imp Init, Combat Reflexes, Power Attack)
    Jorgen Fighter 2 / Cleric 1 (Dodge, Mobility, Imp Init, Longsword focus, ??? Imp Turning?)
    Viktor Ranger 2 / Rogue 1 (Dodge, Mobility, 2 Weapon fighting, ?Imp Init?)
    Vizrine Fighter 2 / Wizard 1 (Dodge, Mobility, Imp Init, Longspear focus, Spell focus-Evocation)

    From there on the bard, fighter, cleric and wizard will level up in their chosen class (though the fighter may take a level or two of Barbarian if I notice it would be beneficial). Of course this is all very intricate and emergent stuff and I'm learnig as I go but I think that is something like my ideal party . . . or one ideal.

    My questions:

    1. 2 weapon fighting: any real difference in using say: (a) two short-swords vs (b) a short-sword and a dagger, vs. say (c) a longsword + smaller weapon, etc.? I have the vague understanding that the weapon needs to be "light" for the toon's size (as a shortsword is for a human, but a longsword is not) in order to get the full benefit from the two-weapon fighting track?

    2. Given all this, what feat should I take for the Fighter 2 / Cleric 1 when he reaches 3rd level? Spell focus Conjuration (will that somehow buff his healing? Improved Turning? The latter is what I'd lean toward.

    3. The Ranger / Rogue. I see both of those classes as being "utility" classes, which have gradually emergent benefits of extreme potency (as you guys are pointing out, the extreme effectiveness of ranged weapons at high levels, and as I'm aware from past play with a 20 Dex halfling rogue, the incredible benefits of the rogue's special combat feats). Rangers provide a solid basis to avoid and/or survive random encounters (and maybe you can do something with "Track??" such as actually go after certain encounters?) they have the Feature that gives either free 2weapon or free archery feats, they get the druid spells at middle levels and they get the favored enemies (I chose Giant for him with the Emridy Giant in mind for not too far in the future).

    Given this, what would you guys recommend for my Ranger / Rogue? His tats are
    Str 17
    Dex 18
    Cons 16
    Int 13
    Wis 18
    Cha 11
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  2. Gehennis

    Gehennis Established Member

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    To hit on Goshi3156's point, if you're that set on having wizard/fighter multiclass characters, I'd really get the wizard levels in first and the fighter levels in later- at least until you can cast 3rd level spells (Fireball and Stinking Cloud will save your rear in just about any major encounter. Heck, I've had the balor and Zuggtmov fail against Stinking Cloud. Learn it ASAP). As for tough combats before hitting level 5 w/o spell casters, the tower fight at the temple could be dangerous as the bandits there have several mages that make good use of their spells. As for your questions:

    1- From having used a TWF ranger in the past the only real difference in weapon types is the penalty to hit with the off-hand weapon, IIRC the more similar they are the less of a difference in the penalty. Of course, Improved TWF lessens that penalty...

    2- Spell Focus Conjuration would be great for your druid as that would increase the Strength and Con of your summons. For the cleric I'd say Improved Turning would be better.

    3- For your ranger/rogue his skill points per level are hurt by his low Int- if you make another I'd consider switching his Con and Int scores. Track is a skill that has little use in TOEE (even in the NC mod I believe)- personally I always try to have several characters that have a maxed Heal skill- never know when you might have to stop a character from going into negative numbers and bleeding to death. Quick Change(?) would be a great feat for him as he could switch between melee and missile weapons w/o it costing a full turn action, if I remember the description of the feat correctly...
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2015
  3. Anthropoid

    Anthropoid Established Member

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    Thanks Gehennis. Good advice on the Int/Con thing. I tend to go for Con on a ranger probably for some reason long lost in the history of AD&D where Rangers needed some minimum Cons for some such.

    I really like 3.5. The Skills and Feats system strikes me as more like Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (well, the old version of it I used to play), except combat is less lethal which is welcome. I'm intrigued by this "Pathfinder" thing. So this is the latest incarnation of D&D rules?

    You know with modern cyber chat devices, I bet you could almost run a D&D campaign complete by webcam, hah!

    As for the 2h weapons. I did a bit of checking. With two short-swords (this is with only the intro skill) he is +3 in both hands. With two daggers +3 both hands (meaning clearly the shortswords are better). With a longsword and shortsword +3 both hands (a bit more of a complex issue, but if he takes a weapon specialization clearly to sh swords better than one). With two longswords his total aggregate to hit bonus go down to +1 and +1 secondary hand.

    This tells me that the engine somehow calculates not just the individual weapon size but the total size. Nice system it seems.

    ADDIT! Its day 158 of my five adventurer's career in the Flaneass! The Welkwood Bog is cleared of the foul abomination which infested it, and Hommlet is a much more harmonious happy place. Through their myriad trials and tribulations (and a number of days of free lodging at the Welcome Wench which I anticipat the proprietor NEVER would have expected) they have attained Level 3! Yippee!

    I like these toons. For the first time since I started back into playing it I feel a real attachment to them. I can believe in them. They started off as a group of common soldiers, deserters from some misbegotten military misadventure far enough away that they may never have to face any consequences for having banded together to flee in the middle of the night. They are all now veteran soldiers, competent as a team and as individual fighters; resilient, strong, quick, accurate, deadly (sort of). And now they have embarked on each of their respective dreams (Bard, Wizard, Cleric, Rogue, and one guy who just loves playing the Fighter).
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
  4. Daryk

    Daryk Veteran Member

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    For your straight Fighter, you want Cleave and Great Cleave as fast as you can get them. Your goblin fight would have gone much differently if he'd had Power Attack and Cleave to go along with Combat Reflexes.
     
  5. Anthropoid

    Anthropoid Established Member

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    @Daryk: Yep! Will do. I think he'll be able to get Cleave at Level 4.

    They've made it out the back entrance of the Moat house. Level 4 seems a long way off, but between piddling at the various mobs left in the Moathouse, randoms, perhaps some social quests back in Hommlet and a bit of skeleton bashing at Emridy, I should be able to get to Level 4.

    I've got to be thinking about my strategy for the Lareth and Giant fights at Level 4 or 5 . . . More info on that later.

    ---
    Holy crap! :dizzy: I just noticed that the owner of that Hypertext D20 site is my old buddy from Elementary and High School who _I_ first got into playing D&D back in the 1980s! (well Gus, got me in to it, but Jans I and quickly surpassed Gus in D&D immersion . . . I can remember many a long weekend of eating gigantic jars of Kimchee and slaying monsters.

    "Velkom to Ravenloft! . . . FAG!"

    *No Smiley for Jaw hitting Floor!*
     
  6. Goshi3156

    Goshi3156 Dire Badger

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    I'm actually using a Ranger/Rogue in my current playthrough. He's currently looking this:

    Human Rogue4/Ranger2
    Alignment: Lawful Neutral
    Favored Enemy: Goblinoid

    STR 14
    DEX 18
    CON 12
    INT 14
    WIS 8
    CHA 12

    Progression:
    Rogue1 - Dodge, Improved Initiative, Trapfinding
    Ranger1 - Track
    Ranger2 - Two Weapon Fighting Style, Weapon Finesse
    Rogue2 - Evasion
    Rogue3 - Trap Sense
    Rogue4 - Uncanny Dodge, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Kukri)

    I value the Rogue levels more than Ranger since you get higher Sneak Attack damage and Rangers don't really offer much beyond the Combat Style. Kukris are for the crit rate which is pretty amazing if you make a Keen version of them or get Improved Critical (Keeping in mind, they don't stack). Before Kukris though, I casted Eagle's Splendor on him (My diplomat is female =/) so I could get the Holy Longsword +1 from Meleny. Ideally you would swap the WIS and CHA values around. His Will save is atrocious.

    You can pick Archery style and make an archer out of him. I just prefer TWF, since it makes the best use of Sneak Attack IMO.

    As for further building this character. What had in mind was:
    Rogue5
    Rogue6
    Rogue7 - Weapon Focus (Kukri)
    Ranger3 - Endurance
    Ranger4 - Animal Companion
    Ranger5 - Favored Enemy: Humanoid (Human), Improved Initiative
    Ranger6 - Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
    Rogue8 - Improved Uncanny Dodge
    Rogue9 - Greater Two-Weapon Fighting
    Rogue10 - Opportunist
    Rogue11
    Rogue12 - Combat Reflexes
    Rogue13 - Improved Evasion
    Rogue14

    Maybe swap around when I get Ranger levels I dunno. The extra levels of Ranger are only so I don't need to spend a feat on Improved Two-Weapon Fighting. I'd probably need to recalc his BAB at level 9 too, if he can get Greater Two-Weapon Fighting, that's gonna be way better than Weapon Focus.

    Only the off-hand matters. Longsword + Short Sword is the way to go for early game.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
  7. Daryk

    Daryk Veteran Member

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    Goshi, don't forget Crippling Strike... STR damage helps when you're facing larger opponents.

    As for Sneak Attack with archery vs. TWF, I'm more than happy with always getting the first round of fire (with Rapid Shot FTW). If I needed more, Glitterdust or Improved Invisibility would do the trick.
     
  8. Goshi3156

    Goshi3156 Dire Badger

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    B-but Improved Evasion means he can stand in place drawing all enemies while my casters toss Fireballs, Flame Strikes, Firestorms, Delayed Blast Fireballs, Meteor Swarms, and anything else related fire, without him taking any damage D=

    Crippling Strike is really great on archer Rogues though. There's no denying that.
     
  9. Dreamteam

    Dreamteam Member

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    Don't know if anyone mentioned this above, but both Elven Chain and Mithral Shirt are considered light armor in ToEE, so the Bard can wear either of those and not worry about spell failure. Also the Wooden Elven Shield is 0% spell failure, so ideal for a Bard as well. Give him Meleny's holy Longsword, and your Bard is good to go as a front-liner. All you need to filch the suit of Eleven Chain in Emridy Meadows is a Ring of Invisibility. Hmm... I wonder where you could get one of those ;)

    Also, Two-Handed Weapon is imo definitely superior to Two-Weapon Fighting. IN ToEE 2-handed weapons do 150% damage, and Great Sword or Scythe do 2d6 x 150%, so more damage than 2 single-handed weapons. Plus you don't get the to-Hit penalty associated with Two-Weapon Fighting. Just my opinion. :yes:
     
  10. Daryk

    Daryk Veteran Member

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    You don't actually have to be invisible to swipe the loot at Emridy Meadows. A Cloak and/or Boots of Elvenkind are more than sufficient, especially at night.

    Goshi: There's no difference between a successful saving throw for Evasion or Improved Evasion (i.e. no damage at all). Hedrack's Boots and a boosted DEX will easily keep you out of trouble.
     
  11. Gehennis

    Gehennis Established Member

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    I didn't always follow the same approach to playing this game (a lot depends on my party's alignment) so it came as a surprise to me when I encountered the ettin on temple level 3 after handily defeating the trolls and getting their keys. Fortunately I had an archer rogue with Crippling Strike, and after he let loose with his last arrow the ettin was reduced to 6 HP. It's a really, really great feat to learn...:thumbsup:
     
  12. Anthropoid

    Anthropoid Established Member

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    Just got owned by the bandits in the back of the Temple. I think it is called the Temple Tower or something. It is the one with the sentinel outside. Either I suck at this game, or I went to the wrong place, or you guys who say "I just go straight to the temple, it has the best xp and npcs to recruit" are crazy. :p

    What portion of the Temple is "safe" for a level 5 party, which is what I'm just about at, and I've finished virtually every quest I had available to me in Hommlet (well, I did leave a few of the more social oriented ones unfinished).

    That silence spell is just like being pinned down in a prison rape scene. Nothing you can do. The brigand men-at-arms are tough enough that I think going in that place must be intended for about a level 8 party, not level fivish, plus Otis and Serena.
     
  13. Goshi3156

    Goshi3156 Dire Badger

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    The first floor, don't go to the Tower. Normally I don't deal with it until level 6 when my Sorc gets Fireball. Tears the enemy team apart.

    Silence is a pain but generally my casters Will saves are high enough to overcome it. Only my Wiz got affected in this playthrough.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2015
  14. Vexagar

    Vexagar Member

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    Some spells only require somatic (body) or verbal (voice) components to cast, not both. Admittedly there are few in ToEE, and I can't remember which atm.

    There are metamagic feats to cast without each respectively, perhaps a Silent Spell dispel magic would be a possible counter to this situation?

    PS or Ready vs Spell and a trusty ranged attacker
     
  15. Gehennis

    Gehennis Established Member

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    It's possible at 5th level but you really need to be prepared- and a bit lucky. Bless, Enlarge Person, Sonic Burst, Magic Missile, Glitterdust, Grease, Web and reach weapons can all make the fight doable but careful tactics are needed as well. Ready vs Spell is a must tactic and a scroll of Charm Person would also help as well. Like I said- tough, but doable...
     
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