Friday, February 8, 2013

Icewind Dale 2 - Revisited (Part 1 - Party Creation)

Back to IWD2!
I realized that even after playing Icewind Dale 2 to death, I have never completed it fully. There might be reasons for that; I might be busy, the party I created was not fun at a certain point, certain characters felt useless at a certain point that I want to recreate a new party...etc.

With the help of the awesome JUPP guide, I'm attempting to return back to IWD2, and possibly even clear the infamous Heart of Fury mode. The goal of the party is simple: it must be able to clear HoF (requires min-maxing), leveling from 1-30 must be reasonable and lastly I must be fun playing the party. I will be running a 4-man party, because I realized that 6 people can get difficult to control and is quite overkill sometimes to the point that it gets boring. Leveling 6 specialized characters is also really boring. I played enough PnP DnD to the point that so I really want each character to be 'self-sufficient'.

JUPP helped a lot in that process. Most of the characters suggested in the guide are min-maxed to the max, are really versatile and theoretically fun to play from 1-30. After thinking for a long time, it really seems that no matter how much I try to deviate, my characters will eventually 'become' one of his characters. In the end, my party composition is the only thing different; the characters in the party ended up being one of those in the guide. It makes sense; the game has only so many viable classes for certain roles as well as races. If I were to make a tank with 70+AC, there's only so many ways I can do it, so I simply choose the way I think I would enjoy.

Here is the party I'm planning out:
1) Deep Gnome 1 Rogue/1 Monk/28 Dreadmaster of Bane
This is the tank of the party and also the 1st character in the melee party of the JUPP guide.  Pretty straightforward. I love clerics a lot so from the start I had a 30 cleric planned out for tanker. 1 Monk is to convert WIS to AC and 1 Rogue is to get the crazy headband that gives generic AC. JUPP only finished the build when it educated me that Dreadmasters get quests that increase WIS. Cool, I always wanted to play an evil cleric.

Problem with this character is that it has 3 classes and none of them are favored classes of the Deep Gnome race. Dipping 1 level into monk will incur the 20% experience penalty. However, it shouldn't happen until I reach HoF since clerics can wear heavy armor and I don't think my WIS will be that much higher than the best heavy armor in normal mode at that point of time.

2) Tiefling 2 Rogue/14 Druid/14 Bard
This looks like a really fun build. It's purpose is to do EVERYTHING out of combat. I am not sure if I can build this character as a scout; it does have druid levels as well as bard levels so it has a wide range of spells to it's disposal. I have to wait and see how that turns out. For now, it's there just to provide Barkskin and cover bard songs. I might even level Use Magic Device so that I can use more objects with this character.

I am wondering if early levels are going to be hard though. This character is running on really low STR and DEX stats so lockpicking is going to be difficult unless the Druid part gets Shapeshifting. Even then, I would need to level Druid up together with Bard because it will incur the 20% experience penalty, so shapeshifting will not be in the equation until character level 10 or so.

3) Assimar 1 Paladin/29 Sorc

Main arcane spellcaster. Really straightforward and effective build. However, it has to cover some utility spells since it is the MAIN arcane spellcaster after all. Thankfully, I have 29 levels for that, so I will have more spells learnt eventually, just need to pick the right one. Assimar is just there to prevent experience penalty.

4) Drow Stormlord of Talos 17/4 Fighter/4 Barbarian/5 Sorcerer
Main damage dealer of the party. This is also another character from JUPP, which I really like because of how versatile she is. She's the substitute cleric, offloading work from the 1st character, and also the main healer, as her alignment is Lawful neutral so she can spontaneously cast cure spells if needed. She can nuke from her Talos specialization, and with 18 STR + Draw Upon Holy Might + Rage and other cleric buffs, she's gonna do tons of damage.

Currently I'm not thinking about adding a fifth member. This party looks theoretically strong and fun to play from level 1-30 as it is. I'll keep posting how I do in each chapter and arcs with this party as I find time to keep playing. Once everything is over, I'll plan to eventually post this as a guide along with all the other posts for others to read.

Hopefully this party is good enough for me to enjoy throughout the game till HoF =)


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