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Thief Guide by C.LE
Version: 2.91 | Updated: 08/08/2013
Highest Rated FAQ
======================================================================= C h r i s L e e ' s T h i e f G u i d e v 2.91 ======================================================================= ======================================================================= The officially latest (as well as latest, official) version of this FAQ/Guide can be found at www.gamefaqs.com. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= Table of Contents ----------------------------------------------------------------------- A word on navigation: to jump to a specific section, simply use the 'FIND' command (CTRL-F) and type in the 5 letter key next to the section (doing only the 3 numbers within the brackets will probably send you to a random section of the guide). ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 0. Pre-introduction: Why am I still updating this guide?  1. Introduction and Contact Info (aka what the hell is this?)  2. Basic Thief Skills/Abilities  3. High Level Skills/Abilities  4. Kits  a. Vanilla Thief  i. Fighter/Thief  ii. Thief/Mage  iii.Cleric/Thief  iv. Fighter/Mage/Thief  b. Multi-class Variants  i. Berserker  ii. Kensai  iii.Wizard Slayer  iv. Specialized Cleric  c. Assassin  d. Swashbuckler  e. Bounty Hunter  5. The Secret of Traps  a. Normal Traps  b. Bounty Hunter Traps  6. Stronghold  7. Tactics  a. Backstabbing Notes  b. Trapping Notes  c. Hiding Notes  8. Items of Note  a. Weapons  b. Armor  c. Accessories  9. The Solo Challenge  10. Miscellany [A00] a. THAC0 Tables [A10] b. Backstab Growth [A20] c. Saving throw Tables [A30] d. HP Growth Tables [A40] e. Backstab Analysis [A50] 11. Final Notes [B00] a. Conclusion/Special Thanks [B10] b. My Works [B20] c. Appendix [B30] d. Legal Disclaimer [B40] e. History [B50] ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 0. Pre-introduction: Why am I still updating this guide?  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- (POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT.) Baldur's Gate II is now an incredibly old game by entertainment standards. I remember reading the manual back in early 10th grade; that was over 3 years ago. Since then, many other games have come out, and even an expansion for Baldur's Gate II has come out. And many people have moved onto other games, like Diablo II (also still going strong after all these years) or Unreal Tournament 2004. Yet, here I am, in front of my computer, still typing out stuff and information for a game that is probably already forgotten by the short memory of our gaming society. Why? I think I can finally say it. For years, Final Fantasy VII and Civilization II duked it out in my mind as the best game ever made. But now, three years after Baldur's Gate II and six years after Baldur's Gate started it all (as of this writing), I finally can conclude it: the Baldur's Gate Saga is the best game ever made. Because it is one game. Baldur's Gate II is not a sequel. Fallout II is a sequel. Warcraft III is a sequel. Quake III is a sequel. Baldur's Gate II is a continuation, it is just one massive expansion pack for the original Baldur's Gate. And Throne of Bhaal another one on top of it. (I'm not forgetting Tales of the Sword Coast, that was a nice diversion.) And as one game, I have spent more time playing it, replaying it, studying, and enjoying it more than any other game. Final Fantasy VII once held the record for most number of replays, and it probably still does (I lost count), but Baldur's Gate has the highest quality of replay. Even after the umpteenth time I've watched Jon Irenicus scream in pain, the umpteenth time I saw Sarevok fall down dead, the umpteenth time I saw the final epilogue in Throne of Bhaal, the game continues to challenge me and give me a breadth of experience that no other game has been able to. Final Fantasy VII, I've mastered. The Civilization games I understand through and through and can work through the game mechanics on instinct. But even knowing all the rules and the tactics of Baldur's Gate, an early Lich battle continues to make my heart pound, seeing a mage cast "Wail of the Banshee" continues to make me scream in delightful frustration, and watching Minsc get charmed by a dryad in the original Baldur's Gate never ceases to make me cry in pain. Yet, Baldur's Gate is massive, epic, and at the same time, individual, never forgetting the player in the midst of a grander and grander story. Even as the realms seem to be ready to implode, your character is always in control of his destiny, always ready to choose good or evil, and for that, Baldur's Gate has achieved an existential triumph over almost every other game created. No other game has made the choice to not ascend into deityhood a choice well-respected, and a rest and reward well-deserved. Even six years after it began, I still find myself drawn back to the game. It might not boast the latest in vertex-weighted technology, but the artwork is still expansive and beautiful. It might not offer support for 5.1 surround sound systems, but the music still stirs. But above all, the game has achieved a gameplay that, while first ingrained into the workings of Dungeons and Dragons, has eventually achieved independence and superiority to the system that spawned it. Even six years after the story and quests began, I still find myself drawn into the city of Baldur's Gate, I still find myself eager to smash into Candlekeep again, I still find myself ready to destroy Irenicus, and still always await the final epilogue. Because I will always return to this game, because this is the game that for the rest of my life will define all other games, because this is THE epic, and furthermore because it is a game with near-infinite possibilites, this guide will continue to recieve its occasional updates. I think it is the best tribute I can make to the men and women who labored so long to give us such a fine product. And for you, the reader, if you managed to read through all my ramblings, I hope you enjoy the work I put into this guide, because I myself enjoyed every second of it. Nothing more needs to be said, only to go and play the game once more. -2004, Chris Lee ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 1. Introduction and Contact Info (aka what the hell is this?)  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- So you gaze upon this guide/FAQ, and you wonder, "What's the point of this guide?" Well, the point of this guide, oh so curious one, is that while there may be loads of general literature (walkthroughs, DSimpson's excellent Class FAQ), there are very few FAQs for Baldur's Gate II/Throne of Bhaal that actually focus specifically on a given character class. Why would this even be a necessity? Arguably, some classes do not need so much detailed investigation. In fact, if this were Baldur's Gate 1 and I chose the Fighter class, I'd probably have all of 2 pages to write about it. However, this is Shadows of Amn with many items, many tactics, many unique party members, many enemies, and furthermore, with Throne of Bhaal's high level abilities and uber-items, almost every class explodes in potential. So then why the thief? First, I love thieves (especially 3rd ed D&D variant Rogues). Screw you if you hate them. Second, the average player uses rogues to the extent of Jan/Imoen/Nalia disarming and detecting traps, MAYBE occasionally pickpocketting a Ring of Regeneration or some other decent item. Which is a pity since Rogues are potentially the most versatile and powerful class in the game. What? Rogues? Powerful? You might never have thought that, especially since Jan and Yoshimo do a damn good job of getting themselves killed in combat. My goal with this FAQ is to hopefully illuminate the wondrous possibilites of a thief, to clear misconceptions, and to hopefully show some inadequacies of current opinion on the thief. (Note: While DSimpson's aforementioned Class FAQ is a good read, I do have some issues with it. Nevertheless, if you haven't taken a look at it, I recommend you do; it's a good piece of work.) By the way, much kudos goes to DSimpson's excellent guides (whom I will occasionally mention), since it really is his work that has inspired me to do this. Self-plug: I take pride in the fact that I appear to be one of VERY few people (heck, I haven't seen any other guides...) that have actually taken the time to study how Traps evolve and behave. If you need some new insight into traps that no one else seems to know, head right on over to section 5! A word on e-mail: If you have an issue to discuss, e-mail me with subject heading "THIEF FAQ : " followed by whatever your topic is. This allows me to parse through my e-mail easier. The e-mail address is: email@example.com *WITHOUT THE UNDERSCORES* (the underscores are there to prevent internet parsing software from grabbing my correct e-mail address for spam purposes). So, the correct e-mail address should read as 8 alphabetical characters followed by "@uchicago.edu". ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 2. Basic Thief Skills/Abilities  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- So, in order to start convincing how amazingly powerful the thief is, I'll have to start by taking a look at the thief's abilities, that is, the seven increasable skills that are the hallmark of the thief: Pick Pockets Detect Traps Pick Locks Move Silently Hide in Shadows Detect Illusions Set Trap And also Backstab Note that atleast in BG2, the maximum for Thief Skills seems to be 250. Pick Pockets - Unfortunately, this skill has been given a bad rap throughout BGII: SA/ToB. After all, what good is improving this when you can rarely get a good payoff, and when you do, you can always prepare for it by drinking 2-10 Potions of Master Thievery? While Pick Pockets should rarely ever be a first priority, this skill is still immensely useful in that Potions of Master Thievery aren't infinite in quantity, and that a high enough Pick Pockets will give you the freedom to steal freely without being item-dependent. In case you don't think the payoff is worth it (aside from Ribald and some other rare stealing opportunities), try stealing a bit from Nobles and soldiers of sorts. Sometimes the individual payoff can be quite significant (a high-level scroll perhaps), and regardless, the tiny payoffs add-up. Of course, you'll need to buff up this skill quite a bit before you can steal so freely. Keep in mind that wearing armor of any kind penalizes your pick pocket score (although it doesn't show up on the character sheet). Also, some items that you can try to steal from stores incur greater penalties, I believe. (Full Plate Armor is harder than a Gem). Also, while in SoA most good stores won't let you steal, in ToB, much more stores, relatively, with great items you want, will allow you to steal from them. Find Traps - Perhaps the single most useful ability that the thief possesses. Ironically, depending on how you play, you may not want to put a single point in this skill. The reason being, Bioware realized that not all players would choose a thief as their main character, and considering how many traps there are in the game (overwhelmingly more than in BG1 or even IWD) created many thief dual classed NPCs, along with the Bounty Hunter Yoshimo, that specialize in detecting and disarming traps. So, if you play with Imoen/Nalia/Jan/Yoshimo, you may not want to have your own character be redundant... I'm not exactly sure how detecting traps works on a mathematical meta-game level, but traps atleast have a minimum threshold before being able to be detected. (So you can theoretically program a script to always detect traps even if you aren't a thief, and they would just have 0 Find Traps and would be able to detect any traps that have a threshold of 0.) You definitely do have incentive to go beyond 100 since the higher it is, the better you can meet the threshold, and the faster you will generally be able to detect traps. Open Locks - Another very important ability, important enough that it may not be possible to beat many quests without an adequate thief (or many potions that increase strength so bashing is possible). Example: the final door in the Windspear Hills quest is locked. An 18 Strength player cannot bash it open. Again, though, you may never need to increase this skill for the same reason as Find Traps. There are very few "difficult" locks and traps in BG2, although the thief guildhall with all the locked doors and vaults will give you an idea on how difficulty "varies." The way BG works is that you have undisputed lockpick/disarm trap rolls, meaning unlike pickpocketing or detecting traps/illusions (where every time you try it/every turn its activated you have a % chance of success), the lockpick/disarm works on a threshold. That is, a certain lock or trap has a certain requirement, and if you don't have atleast that level, no matter how many times you try, you won't be able to crack it (otherwise all locks would be able to be picked with 1% lockpick skill with constant clicking), but if you do have that level, you crack it instantly. There are only two really hard traps I can think of in BG2, and one is in Neb's room, the other is in the Sahuagin city. In BG2:ToB there are far more difficult traps, so you do want to get disarming and lockpicking up to a decent level. Move Silently - Contributes to your ability to sneak. Each point of Move Silently improves the chance that you can Stealth successfully by .5%. Trying to hide in broad daylight outside of shadows halves your Move Silently/Hide in Shadows scores. Trying to hide indoors that is well lit reduces your Move Silently/Hide in Shadow scores by 1/3. Move Silently also allegedly increases the time it takes from you "breaking" stealth to actually becoming visible, making a point in Move Silently strictly better than Hide in Shadows. Finally, despite what the game manual says, armor does not actually penalize your stealth chance. Because light provides such massive penalties to your ability to sneak, you have a strong incentive to boost this past 100%. Note however that you will always have a 1% chance to fail, and values that are too high (strictly speaking, a total value greater than 255) will cause you to have extremely low chance to sneak (internally, the number wraps around to 0 because BG2 uses a 1-byte character to store the data). Hide in Shadows - Contributes to your ability to sneak. Each point of Hide in Shadows improves the chance that you can Stealth successfully by .5%. Trying to hide in broad daylight outside of shadows halves your Move Silently/Hide in Shadows scores. Trying to hide indoors that is well lit reduces your Move Silently/Hide in Shadow scores by 1/3. Finally, despite what the game manual says, armor does not actually penalize your stealth chance. Because light provides such massive penalties to your ability to sneak, you have a strong incentive to boost this past 100%. Note however that you will always have a 1% chance to fail, and values that are too high (strictly speaking, a total value greater than 255) will cause you to have extremely low chance to sneak (internally, the number wraps around to 0 because BG2 uses a 1-byte character to store the data). "Sneak" (the combined effect of Move Silently and Hide in Shadows) - There's a nice perk to hiding: it's the same as being invisible. Meaning you get an attack bonus when attacking visible guys, and they have a penalty when striking you (yes, some enemies can see through invisibility, two big examples in Shadows of Amn include all sorts of Demons and the Vampiric Mists that you'll see scattered throughout the game). Plus, if an enemy was in the process of casting a spell, and you moved out of visible range and hid, the spell is cancelled if it was targetting you, since spells can't target invisible characters (so the annoyance that you had to deal with when enemies Shadow Door'ed their mages also applies to them). Hiding is slightly different from actual invisibility in that it can combine with non-detection (cloaks, amulets, or spell) and avoid True-Sight and other such spells, while Invisibility (even when wearing a Cloak of Non-detection) dissipates quickly. Detect Illusions - Perhaps the most overlooked ability in Baldur's Gate II. This acts as a True Sight that your thief can activate by selecting "Find Traps" as a modal action. If you're going to use this, you probably want to go all the way as fast as you can, since generally you want to dispel illusions as fast as possible (although the circus illusions are harmless and leaving a Detect Illusions at 10% on for a few rounds doesn't hurt you any). In some respects, a high level Detect Illusions is even better than True Sight, since it doesn't wipe out your own illusions and since you essentially have an infinite use of it. So what are illusions? The really annoying spells, fortunately for a high level Detect Illusions: Mirror Image, (Improved) Invisibility (which also includes Shadow Door, Invisibility 10' Radius, etc.), Mislead (yes!), Simulacrum (woah!), Project Image (holy crap!), and Blur. Also, the werewolves and shadows in the Circus Tent are illusions, but the clones in Irenicus's dungeon are not (though they seem like Simulacra of your characters). The only problem is that it takes a while to "activate" after selecting "Find Traps." Fortunately, this doesn't really translate into anything but a shorter casting cost of a True Sight. Set Traps - Perhaps the most abused ability in Baldur's Gate II. Yes, I'm sure by now you've delighted in setting a 100 traps to wipe out a Diseased Gibberling (seven after Throne of Bhaal). Fortunately for gameplay purposes, the seven trap per area limit now sort of forces players into using traps into actual devious uses, although the average player does nothing more than use them to advance-eliminate Dragons and Liches and other large, initially neutral (or initially not present) creatures. However, should you choose to learn how to, Traps can be used in a much more active role, which also helps make the thief insanely powerful. If you want to know in detail how Traps work (damage, special abilities, etc.), head on over to section 5. You won't believe how powerful these can be, especially since Bioware never ever released information on them, and since most people who write guides DON'T KNOW THEMSELVES how Traps specifically function. It's important to note that you cannot set a Trap if enemies are within your thief's visible range (as oppossed to party's visible range, an important distinction). For setting traps, you have no reason to go beyond a skill of 100. You may notice yourself fail on occasion, but this is due to a critical failure, not because of inadequate skill level. Backstab - I'm sure the average player has never bothered to use it, except once or twice with Valygar as a novelty. However, consider that a normal thief will obtain 5x backstab (equivalent to 5 attacks... well, almost), and that an assassin will obtain 7x backstab (insane!). Beware though, contrary to popular literature, being hidden or invisible wears off with the first attack, not after the first round, meaning you will only get one backstab a round. Note: strength modifiers to damage only apply AFTER the damage has been multiplied. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 3. High Level Skills/Abilities  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- With Throne of Bhaal came the High Level abilities, skills obtained upon a level up that will surely strike fear in the hearts of many. But will they? Have a look: Alchemy Assassination (or Whirlwind Attack) Avoid Death Evasion Greater Evasion (needs Evasion) Scribe Scrolls (needs Use Any Item) Set Exploding Trap Set Spike Trap Set Time Trap Use Any Item Alchemy - Once per day, randomly creates a potion from the following list: Master Thievery, Perception, Extra Healing, Superior Healing, Regeneration, Antidote, Speed, Frost Giant Strength (that only rogues can use). Unfortunately, of the eight options, Master Thievery, Perception, and Antidote are really duds. By now, your thieving skills are high enough that you don't need further enhancement by potions, and also most poisons won't really do much to your characters. Still, that means a greater than 50% chance of getting something good (especially with Superior Healing and Frost Giant Strength). Assassination - Every attack in the next round is enhanced by the backstab modifier. Awesomely good, especially when combined with Haste or something like Belm, which means extra backstabs. This makes the thief an even better character, since if their hit-and-fade attacks fail, they can still have some offensive muscle. Don't think that Assassination makes backstabbing obsolete. Backstabbing still has the advantage of giving you an attack bonus and also essentially keeps you invulnerable until you actually do make your attack. Note, however, that since Swashbucklers can't backstab at all, they instead get... Whirlwind Attack - Gets 10 attacks next round, but at penalty of -4 to THAC0. Awesomely good, in some ways better than Assassination (since it's potentially 10x when getting one normal attack a round), but in some ways weaker (-4 to THAC0 and not as much an advantage when using weapons with more than one attack). Nevertheless, combined with a Swashbuckler's other benefits, this effeciently replaces Assassination as the thief's offensive kicker for high level abilities. Avoid Death - +20 HP and for 5 rounds gets a +5 bonus to Save vs. Death and becomes immune to Death Magic. This is a great way to buy time for the thief. Especially if you are paying attention to the message box in the bottom of the screen and you see something like "Mage - Finger of Death: You" and you activate this ability. Or if a fireball goes off with your weak character in its grasp, you can try and activate it before the flames reach him. Evasion - +4 bonus to AC, +2 bonus to saving throws for 3 rounds. Hmm... honestly, this isn't too great of a high-level ability. This is more useful in that it lets you get Greater Evasion, but otherwise +4 AC and +2 saving throws for 3 rounds just isn't that great. Greater Evasion (needs Evasion) - +6 bonus to AC, +3 bonus to saving throws, +2 to movement, and immunity to normal missiles for 5 rounds. This is a far more useful ability since your character to do some intense hit-and-fade attacks, since now, even without Boots of Speed or Haste, you can outpace enemies and prevent yourself from being stopped by stray attacks so you can live/hide and strike again. Scribe Scrolls (needs Use Any Item) - Once per day creates a scroll randomly from the list: Magic Missile, Haste, Fireball, Dispel Magic, Dire Charm, Invisibility, Cone of Cold, Monster Summoning II, Monster Summoning III. This is a joke ability. Unless you've really been skimping magic, your mages should easily be able to cover any spell needs. Your thief is better off shooting arrows, hitting-and-fading, tossing traps, and generally making life hell in a strategic, non-magic way. Set Exploding Trap - This trap explodes like a fireball, dealing 10d6 damage (Save vs. Spells for half) and propels victims away (like a Dragon's Wing Buffet), regardless of save. Generally, expect this to do 5d6 damage since in ToB, enemies will generally be able to save quite frequently. Its greatest asset is that it will propel victims away, which means it buys you time to hide, set more traps, or deal with enemies in discarded groups. This is a highly tactical trap. By the way, since the game isn't very explicit about this, Exploding Trap is party-friendly. Set Spike Trap - This trap deals 20d6 damage to whatever enemies activate it (no save). Generally the cheese trap that most players love to exploit to hell. Nevertheless, it does have its wonderful tactical advantages, aside from just piling them up in front of a stationary dragon, then laughing as they all activate and chunk the dragon to floating bits of meat. This is a highly aggressive trap. Set Time Trap - Activates a Time Stop for 10 seconds. This, like Exploding Trap, is highly tactical, but for different reasons. Exploding Trap buys you temporary time and deals some damage, but Time Trap gives you a massive initiative bonus. There is a difference. Time Trap can allow your thief to prepare more traps, but also get in better position, maybe down some potions, or even Assassinate/Backstab (since all attacks in Time Stop are automatic successes). Use Any Item - Removes item restrictions for the thief. This is perhaps one of the strongest high level abilities at the thief's disposal; this allows anything (from the Helm of Balduran to Fortress Shield +3) to be used by the thief. This makes your thief much more useful than many other characters for this reason. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 4. Kits  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- While DSimpson did a great job in his Class FAQ, since he worked on every single class offered in BGII:SA/ToB, he had to sacrifice some detail and analysis. I intend to, by specialization, to give some greater depth to the various options offered by the thief classes. I mark positive analyses with a '+', a negative with a '-', and neutral assessments with a '='. I don't give letter grades since they tend to oversimplify issues. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 4a. Vanilla Thief  Abilities: Thief Skills (25 points a level to distribute). Backstabbing capability. Restrictions: Can only wear up to Studded Leather Armor and Bucklers. Can only use Short Swords, Long Swords, Katanas, Daggers, Short Bows, Scimitar/Wakizashi/Ninja-to, Darts, and Light Crossbows. Cannot be of Lawful Good alignment. +Contrary to what DSimpson writes, the Vanilla Thief has credibility on its own; its kits do not make it obsolete (like what the Cleric's kits do for the Cleric itself, for example). That is because every kit has a sacrifice that is critical in many ways for a given style of play. For someone who wants the general experience of a thief, this is the best choice. =Being restricted to only using Bucklers is pretty bad, since magical bucklers are severely limited; in fact there's only one in the game. (For more on this see Items of Note - Armor and Final Notes - History.) In some respects, Single Weapon Proficiency is actually better than equipping an actual buckler, even the magical one (since in addition to the -1 AC of SWP that also applies against missile weapons headed your way, which normal bucklers won't protect against, you now critically hit twice as often: 19-20 as oppossed to just 20). By the way, thieves are great for dual-classing, as opposed to multi-classing. On one end, you want to increase a few specific abilities to maximum success then completely change over to a mage or a fighter, on the other, you want to get some magical/fighter perks before going completely as a thief. Because multi/dual-classed thieves function much differently than just normal thieves, I'll mention some of the more particular ones. ....................................................................... i. Fighter/Thief  Abilities: Can specialize in any weapon. Can wear any armor, but can't use thief skills when wearing anything beyond studded leather. +Specialization is massively good. +1 to-hit, +2 damage! Extra attack! That extra attack doesn't mean much for backstabbing (you lose stealth after the first attack), but for Improved Invisibility or Assassination, you sneak in good extra hits. +You get extra HP. Woo! This makes your thief a bit more durable in combat, useful if he messed up setting a trap or missed a backstab. =The armor bonus isn't that great at first glance, since if you wear full plate, then you essentially have a fighter with less health and less weapon ability. The reason you're a thief is for the thief skills anyway, right? You're VERY much better off starting off as a fighter and dualling to a thief, since if you multiclass, your thief skills progress VERY slowly. Since you probably only want to use a few weapons, stay a fighter long enough to max out potential HP and get specialized in those weapons. A fighter/thief is good if you want to do more backstabbing damage or you want a utility thief that can also survive in combat. But, in the latter case, a Swashbuckler is almost completely better in every way. ....................................................................... ii. Mage/Thief  Abilities: Spellcasting. +Magic = good. Plus, being part thief, the mage/thief gets the amazing extra perk of being able to wear elven chain mail (although you probably would rather opt for the Robe of Vecna). -You lose HP. At least you still have more HP than a pure mage. -If you multiclass, your spell development will be INCREDIBLY behind pure mages. Early on this doesn't mean much, but when you start getting level 8 and 9 scrolls without being able to memorize them (whereas Edwin, Imoen, and Nalia have no problem), it gets very frustrating and your relative power level drops. A mage/thief is a combination geared more at traps and passive work, like detecting illusions or setting traps. Which ever way you do it (dual or multi), a mage/thief will be generally very poor at backstab or aggressive hit-and-fade work, since HP will be generally much lower. Note that even your mage/thief will be comparatively weaker, spell-wise, to your magic counhterparts, being a thief could more than make up for it. You can use Melf's Minute Meteors to much better effect (lower THAC0), equip decent weapons (like Gesen's Short Bow or one of many different other better-than-sling bows and corssbows), and do stuff like hide (which makes spellcasting a nice surprise). If you multi-class, you'll get slower development, but you'll have the potential of having Time Stop traps (combines well with a flurry of Spell Triggers) or other fun stuff (Use Any Item, Avoid Death, Greater Evasion, the last two being particularly useful for a part mage). If you dual-class, you can get what you need in one and max out the other. ....................................................................... iii.Cleric/Thief  Abilities: Clerical spellcasting. Turn Undead., Restrictions: Can only use clerical weapons. +Magic = good. Although, clerical magic doesn't mesh as well with a thief as normal magic. Although with clerical magic, you can wear that Grandmaster's Armor and still toss out spells. +You gain a piddling extra HP. +You have better THAC0 in the long run. Although, because the way a cleric's THAC0 develops, in the short term, it might seem like you have crap THAC0. +You can turn undead. Combined with a thief's ability to Hide, you can Hide for one turn, then immediately activate Turn Undead. Just as you go visible, you should do a Turn and either destroy/scare lots of the baddies, or gain control of some of them (depending on alignment). Otherwise, it can give your thief a last resort protection if Vampires are relentless pursuing it after a messed up backstab or something to that effect. =You can't use normal thief weapons. On the one hand, this means being able to use a whole slew of generally more-damage weapons, but on the other, alot of thief-good weapons are now forever lost. A cleric/thief is interesting, to say the least. It gives the thief alot more versatility (such as being able to pump himself up via magic), but it doesn't particularly complement the thief's abilities or make up for any shortcomings. It might be nice to have Time Stop traps with some clerical spells, and I suppose a Use Any Item goes far into making weapons better. Still, a backstabbing thief buffed with a Righteous Magic means absolute destruction. (Righteous Magic increases strength, HP, AND deals maximum damage on each hit... ouch!) ....................................................................... iv. Fighter/Mage/Thief  Abilities: Can specialize in any weapon. Spellcasting. Can wear any armor, but can't cast spells when wearing non-elven metal armor, and can't use thieving abilities when wearing anything past Studded Leather. +Here's a fun equation - Magic+Fighting+Thieving = Supertank. Out of all the thief variants, this is perhaps the most capable of soloing the game by itself. Your hide-in-shadows fail? Your stoneskin takes care of that. Piddling backstab damage? Tenser's Transformation takes care of that. =Here's a not-so-fun equation - 2 950 000 / 3 = 983 333. Do you know what that is? That's the Pre-Throne of Bhaal level cap divided by the three classes that'll be splitting the experience. Do you realize how LOW of a cap that is? Your Fighter/Mage/Thief levels will be, respectively, 11/12/14. Sure, you'll be able to cast spells, but only up to level 5. Sure, you can use thieving abilities, but you'll actually have LESS theiving points to use than the highly crippled Assassin. Then again, why bother with putting points into Hide in Shadows when you have numerous casts of (Improved) Invisibility and Shadow Door at your disposal? Why bother with Detect Illusions when you have Oracle? The Fighter/Mage/Thief lacks a lot in relative power. The Fighter/ Thief elements don't make up for the fact that the mage is never going to be able to cast powerful spells. The Fighter/Mage elements don't make up for the fact that the thief will be missing out on LOTS of abilities. The Mage/Thief elements don't make up for the fact the fighter will be severely crippled in THAC0 and AC. Still, with a loss in absolute power, it gains versatility, which in some ways far outweights any penalty from the low levels. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 4b. Multi-class Variants  If you're a human, you have the possibility of starting off the game as a more specialized variant of Fighter, Cleric, or Wizard and then dual over to a thief later. I mentioned before that it's perhaps even better to dual-class over multi-class, since you can either start off with a Fighter set and get the proficiencies you want then switch over, or start off with a Thief set and get the abilities you want then switch over. So, here are just some quick analysis on how the various fighter/cleric variants function and when you probably want to switch over. Specialized Mages aren't different enough from normal Wizards to warrant their own section. ....................................................................... i. Berserker  Abilities: May use Enrage ability once per day per 4 levels. While enraged: +2 to hit, +2 damage, -2 AC. The berserker at this time is immune to charm, hold, fear, maze, imprisonment, stun and sleep. He also gains 15 hit points while enraged. These hit points are temporary, and are taken away at the end of his berserk spree, possibly killing the berserker. Enrage also makes him immune to level drain. Restrictions: Becomes winded after berserking. While he's winded, he receives -2 to hit, -2 to damage and a +2 penalty to AC. Cannot specialize in ranged weapons. Cannot be of Lawful alignment. I'm not quite sure why you would want to do this. Enrage isn't very synergestic with the Thief's abilities. In a pinch it's a nice boost to your backstab abilities, but it's very temporary and you're left with a nasty side effect when it wears off. Plus, if you're not going for backstabbing, then you lose out on the ability to specialize in Short Bows, which just stinks for little gain. ....................................................................... ii. Kensai  Abilities: +1 To-Hit and +1 Damage bonus per 3 levels. -2 bonus to AC. -1 bonus to Speed Factor per 4 levels. May use Kai once per day per 4 levels, starting with one use at level 1. Lasts 10 seconds and causes max damage to be inflicted with weapons. Restrictions: Cannot use missile weapons. Cannot wear armor. Cannot wear gauntlets or bracers. Cannot be of Chaotic alignment. The Kensai makes actually a strong backstabbing thief. The fact that the Kensai has almost no recourse of improving AC is offset by the fact that the backstabbing thief will have both higher HP and the ability to go invisible (via Hide in Shadows). The bonus to THAC0 and Damage is exceptionally good for improving the thief's ability to pull off a devastating backstab. Especially considering the damage bonus is multiplied by the backstab multiplier as well. The bonus to AC doesn't really do too much, other than pair well with a shield to cut down on missile weapon damage. The bonus to Speed Factor is actually most beneficial for a backstabber. With even a -2 bonus, you can start using the more damaging (but slower) long swords to greater effect for backstabbing. With a -3 bonus, you can also branch out to other weapons, like Katanas, Quarterstaves, and War Hammers, that ordinarily would be terribly difficult to use with backstabbing. Kai is simply amazing with backstab. It'd require expert timing: activate Kai, hide, and then you have 4 seconds to land a strike. (The first 6 seconds are eaten up since you have to wait a full round before your next round begins and you can hide.) However, when you do land a strike, you'll probably slay most anything with a single hit. There are two levels at which point you'd probably want to dual over, depending on your tastes. If you dual over at level 8, you get a nice 10 + 7d10 amount of HP (not counting constitution bonuses), you get a +2 To-Hit and +2 Damage, -2 to Speed Factor, and three uses of Kai. Plus, you get a headstart on your thief building. Alternatively, you can dual over at level 12. You'll get +4 To-Hit and +4 Damage, -3 to Speed Factor, and four uses of Kai. This will maximize the benefit you can get out of the Kensai, since you'll also be getting the full 9 hit die worth of d10 HP. But be warned! Your thief, while guaranteed to regain his fighter abilities, may have trouble reaching high levels, especially if you have a 6-person party. ....................................................................... iii.Wizard Slayer  Abilities: Every successful hit adds a cumulative 10% spell failure. 2% magic resistance per level. At level 20, magic resistance gain rate is 5% per every 2 levels. Restrictions: Cannot use magical items (aside from weapons and armor). This class is bad news. For you. The thief has almost nothing to gain from this class. Sure, you gain magic resistance, but the thief, unlike the fighter, has a really huge dependence on magical items, like Boots of Speed, Rings of Protection/Invisibility, and even Potions of Speed/Invisibility. If somehow you don't need these items, well, a Swashbuckler is almost better than a Wizard Slayer in every single way. When you dual over, you'll most likely have a piddling amount of resistance, say 20% or so. Not worth it. ....................................................................... iv. Specialized Cleric  Abilities: (Depending on alignment; first ability is useable once per day per 10 levels, starting at level 1 with one use, second ability is usable once per day per 5 levels, starting at level 1 with one use.) Good - Boon of Lathander, Hold Undead Neutral - Seeking Sword, True Sight Evil - Storm Shield, Lightning Bolt Out of all these options, Neutral is the worst. True Sight is redundant with Detect Illusions. Seeking Sword has limited application to the thief since rarely do you want a thief to go out and tank it with enemies (and you won't be a Swashbuckler to give you any THAC0 bonuses or the like). Good and Evil are both somewhat tied in terms of quality. Boon of Lathander gives you +1 To-Hit, +1 to Damage, +1 to Saves, an extra attack, and immunity to level-drain. The extra attack combines well with a bow or other ranged weapon, and the bonus To-Hit and Damage mesh well with a backstabber. Combined with some of the buffer spells the Cleric has, and your Cleric/Thief will be able to hold his own quite easily. Immunity to level-drain is almost meaningless for a backstabber/trapper, but for all other thief variants, it saves a lot of headaches. However, Hold Undead isn't terribly great. While there are lots of Undead out there, there are only a few nasty enough to warrant a Hold Undead (really vicious Vampires, for example). Similarly, Lightning Bolt may be pretty good early on and will give the Thief something to do during pitched battles where he or she can't really backstab or lay traps, but enemies start making their saves very well later on, so the general usefulness of being able to cast it starts getting pretty bad. Storm Shield gives you immunity to fire, cold, lightning, and missile weapons for a good amount of time (1 round per level). The only problem is (like all specialized protective spells), it's very hard to judge when an enemy will use fire, cold, or lightning. This can be certainly useful when you're about to encounter Salamanders or Elementals, but in general, enemy mages will be flinging Magic Missiles, Fingers of Death, and Domination more than Cone of Cold or Chain Lightning. Still, the immunity to missile weapons is seriously useful for any thief that works on distance or creating distance (backstabbers, trappers, ranged attackers). Lightning Bolt gives the thief a last-stand weapon or something else to do to help the party out. With careful aim, you can hit an enemy twice with it, sometimes even more. No matter what you choose, dual over at level 11. This will maximize Clerical benefit; you get two uses of your first ability, three uses of your second ability, and can cast up to level 5 spells. Anything more and you start reducing the effectiveness of your thief for little gain. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 4b. Assassin  Abilities: Backstab x6 at level 17. Backstab x7 at level 21. Bonus +1 to THAC0 and Damage. Can coat weapon in poison, meaning that in the next 24 seconds, any hits will cause 6 damage to be dealt over 6 seconds for 30 seconds, Save vs. Death to 6 total damage over 6 seconds. In addition, the effect strengthens as the Assassin gains levels: At 10th level, this changes to 30 damage over 14 seconds (Save for 6 damage over 2 seconds). So, it's roughly twice as fast, damage-wise. At 15th level, this changes to 42 over 14 seconds (Save for 12 damage over 4 seconds). So, it's roughly three times as fast as normal poison, in addition to being more damaging. In addition, the enemy must Save vs. Death or be slowed for 30 seconds. << NOTE - The poison effect is actually different than listed in the manual and in most guides. It's not significant enough to warrant a separate section, like Traps. I have taken a look at the actual script files as verification. >> Restrictions: Can only be Chaotic Neutral or Evil alignment. Only 15 points a level to distribute for Thief skills. =This is pretty much the class for people who wants to go hardcore with hit-and-fade attacks and backstabbing. The 15 points a level essentially forces you to focus only on Hide in Shadows, Move Silently, and perhaps one other skill. +Even without x6 and x7 backstabbing capability, the Assassin is always a better damage dealer, since the +1 Damage bonus gets magnified by the multipliers. Meaning at first it deals out +3 damage per backstab, +4 once you get 4x, and onward, so all other things being equal, if both an Assassin and a Thief had a 5x backstab, the Assassin would still be doing +5 more damage on average. +Backstab x7 is simply crazy. That's essentially seven attacks in one round. Combined with something like Belm (which gives you 2 attacks a round) and Assassination, that's potentially 14 attacks worth of damage. =Poison is extraneous, sorta. It really doesn't have much to add to the overall backstabbing experience, especially since enemies are quite adept at making their saving throws. Nevertheless, when you're in a situation when you can't hit-and-fade (ambushed, forced encounter, out of invisibility rings/potions, small area), Poisoning your arrows makes the Assassin an actually capable force. =Being CN isn't that bad, and being Evil means you can choose freely your path at the end of the game without worrying about spiritual consequences. However, this does mean that certain good spells like Holy Word and Holy Smite no longer will be effective or will need quite a bit more micromanagement. On the other hand, the occasional use of Unholy Blight by the enemy will be completely useless on you. -Having only 15 points per level will REALLY hurt you early on. Eventually, by level 23, you'll have some more breathing room, but this will essentially force you to rely on someone like Jan or Imoen to do the trap work for you. And the lock work. And pick pocketting. Perhaps those damn illusions, too. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 4b. Swashbuckler  Abilities: +1 to AC. An additional +1 to AC every 5 levels. Bonus +1 THAC0 and Damage every 5 levels. Can specialize in any thief weapon. Can obtain three proficiency points in two weapon fighting. Can obtain Whirlwind Attack as a high level ability. Restrictions: Cannot backstab. Does not gain the extra 1/2 attack by specialization. Cannot obtain Assassination as a high level ability. +This class combines the fighter and the thief into one, non-exp-splitting combination, and even improves upon it. Of course, he still can't wear Full Plate Mail (and even with Use Any Item, won't be able to use thief abilities, but maybe you won't need to), and he won't attack any more often than a normal thief, just beetter. +The AC bonuses keep on applying far up to level 40, meaning that your Base AC by the end of the game will by 1 (-9 AC). Combined with Shadow Dragon Leather (AC 1), then Dex 18 (-4 AC), you will have a potential AC of -12. That's before items like Ring of Gaxx or Cloak of the Sewers (+1 AC). So even if the thief can't use Full Plate Mail, he'll be able to more than compensate for that. +The Bonus THAC0, while not making the thief like a fighter, brings him atleast into the range of a Cleric's THAC0. The damage bonus is absolutely nice. =While it is true that the thief can get three points in two weapon fighting and can specialize in any thief weapon, keep in mind the thief is a thief and will have very few precious proficiency points. Meaning you will be able to use very few weapons if you actually choose to specialize in some. Considering the Celestial Fury is not really the end-all be-all weapon after ToB, this is bad. =Whirlwind Attack is a replacement for Assassination. In some respects this is good (potentially more damage, considering the damage bonuses that stack up), in some ways bad (Assassination is more flexible since a thief could potentially have three attacks, two from weapon, one from haste, so could actually result in 15x normal attacks, 21x if an Assassin). Though, Whirlwind Attack is better for spell disruption and getting rid of Mirror Images/Stoneskins. =Backstabbing is out. Meaning for someone like me, this means the Swashbuckler is almost out of the picture. For some people, the additional fighting prowess of the Swashbuckler makes up for it, but for me, backstabbing ultimately becomes a much more powerful tool. Perhaps by the end of this guide, you will realize that perhaps this
should be a massive '-' instead of a '='. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 4c. Bounty Hunter  Abilities: +15 to Set Traps ability Can lay Special Traps. Gained at the same rate as normal traps, and they have the following abilities depending on character level (not cumulative): 1st: Deals out damage and slows if Save vs. Spell failed. 11th: Deals out damage and holds if Save vs. Spell failed. 16th: Encloses target in Otiluke's Resilient Sphere if Save vs. Spell failed (no actual damage). 21st: Mazes the target (no Save, no magic resistance allowed, but no actual damage). << NOTE - If you want more detail on how these Special Traps work, head on over to section 5. I'm just quoting the in-game information here, which is actually misleading and in some ways, completely incorrect. >> Restrictions: Only 20 points a level to distribute on thief abilities. =This is definitely a class geared towards trap-laying. While not quite as extremely exclusive as the Assassin, the reduced number of thieving points makes this more specialized than a Vanilla thief. +++The Special Traps are supergreat (contrary to some opinion). First, they are the only traps that can be THROWN. Whereas all other traps your character has to walk to that point and set it, your character will simply throw a Special Trap to the location. Meaning potentially you have a mechanical fireball at your hands. Furthermore, Special Traps evolve as do your normal Traps. At first, your Special Traps will be your offensive weapon while your plain Traps serve as a last-stand tactical weapon (Special Traps start off by doing around twice normal Trap damage). However, around level 12, your normal Traps gain a very nice poisoning ability, where they persist their damage (of a completely different nature than the initial strike) for several rounds, making them more offensive, while your Special Traps start becoming more tactical (being able to Hold), while still being slightly on par with your normal Traps, damage-wise. Now, you may be wondering why the hell you want to go beyond that; your Special Traps no longer deal actual damage starting at level 16. Well, you don't need them to; at this point your normal Traps have plenty of kick. Your Special Traps become immense tactical weapons. About to be overwhelmed by enemies or about to go into a tough fight? Toss a Special Trap and watch the fighting force get cut into a smaller chunk. I don't think it can be overemphasized how much easier a battle becomes when you can deal with enemies in smaller groups. In addition, because you can actually THROW a Special Trap, this works great as a pre-emptive move; sort of like a projectile, area of effect Sphere. At level 21, the Special Trap becomes the most compelling argument for soloing a Bounty Hunter through the game. Your Special Trap will become your most valuable asset. Why? First, almost NOTHING can resist being Mazed by this trap. No Saving Throw, no magic resistence, not even game-important characters can resist it. In fact, it is actually possible to slightly break game scripting by using this trap; for example: <<SPOILER - when you're in Hell at the end of BGII:SoA, if you set a Special Trap before opening the doors, it will activate and actually Maze the normally invulnerably scripted Irenicus. This results in somewhat comic amusement as your characters walk up to an empty battle field, wait, have Irenicus reappear when Maze ends (no longer casting his scripted spell), and wait awkwardly for a minute before scripting reactivates and he goes directly into dialogue (completely skipping all spell effects). - END SPOILER>> In fact, only VERY hugely game important characters seem to be able to resist this effect; the Demogorgon is the only enemy I've encountered that will consistently resist being Mazed (and he can also resist the Time Stop effect of Time Traps). In addition, Mazing is a much greater tactical advantage than Sphering enemies. Why? Even if you Sphere the battle group in half, the other half will all unsphere at the same time (unless you planted another Special Trap out of their visible range). But Mazing will take out all in-range enemies and return them based on their intelligence (like the actual spell). It is uncommon for enemies to share identical intelligences in one battle encounter; it is further uncommon that you will see identical dice rolls for the randomly generated durations. This means you can take a huge battle crowd (like the Northern Tunnels in Sendai's Lair if you just run through till the end and let thirty some odd dwarves and Orogs follow in hot pursuit), and reduce it to small skirmishes of two or so enemies at a time. In addition, because enemies are effectively no longer there, you can take the time you bought to Hide your thieves, set more Traps (Spike, Exploding, Normal, whatever), or just better prepare your characters for battle. Or, completely run away and live to fight another day. Another side bonus is that in skirmishes mixed with mages, the mages will generally have the highest intelligences, meaning they will generally be the first to reappear... alone, without support. Meaning their toughness becomes greatly reduced. Of course, there is no actual damage that it does, but it still becomes the ultimate support ability in the entire game. Combined with some smart tactics (elaborated on later), your Bounty Hunter can end up taking the lion's share in experience value and kills. =The 20 points per level hurts you a bit (not nearly as much as the Assassin's 15 per level), but this is slightly offset by the fact that you start off with +15 in Traps, so if you so choose, you can afford to divert some extra points elsewhere. The Assassin, by contrast, has no such bonus to their Hide in Shadows or Move Silently abilities, so has to focus more on them. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 5. The Secret of Traps  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- One thing that severely irritated me about Baldur's Gate II was the plethora of information hiding in certain areas. Like, the game never telling you what exactly Minsc's Berserk does for him (does it also give him the +2 THAC0 and Damage, +2 bonus to AC that Enrage does for Berserkers?). The big thing, though, is the fact that there is VERY little documentation on the thief traps (save for the higher level ones which are actually fully explained). So little documentation, in fact, that I had to hunker down and read through the actual trap scripting files to determine what they actually do. So, enjoy the product of my hard work! ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 5a. Normal Traps  First thing to know: you gain the ability to set a Trap once per day per every five levels. So, one use at level 1, two uses at level 6, and so on. You'd think such a simple thing like this Bioware would actually tell you. Second thing to know: every time you get an increased use of a trap, the trap also becomes more powerful. So, without further ado... Level 1 Trap: Doesn't exist, since you start off higher than level 6. Level 6 Trap: Deals 2d8+5 damage to any enemies within the area of effect of the Trap when it goes off. This is non-magical damage so Magic Resistence can't stop it (as is the same for all initial damage of later Traps). Level 11 Trap: Deals 2d8+5 damage to any enemies within the area of effect of the Trap when it goes off. In addition, for the next three rounds, it deals 2d6 poison damage per round (hence resistence or vulnerability to poison also affects the damage). In addition, this extra damage also disrupts spell casting (like Melf's Acid Arrow). Level 16 Trap: Deals 3d8+5 damage plus 4d8+2 fire damage to any enemies within the area of effect of the Trap when it goes off. Like poison, any vulnerability or resistence to fire also effects the extra damage. Level 21 Trap: Deals 3d8+5 damage plus 20 poison damage to any enemies within the area of effect of the Trap when it goes off. Plus, enemies must Save vs Death with a +4 bonus or die instantly. Again, the poison damage can be reduced or increased according to resistence/vulnerability. Note that in Shadows of Amn pre-seven Trap restriction (which is pre-ToB and I believe pre-patch), damage per trap is about half listed, rounding down. My hypothesis is that after Bioware put the Trap limit per area, they beefed up the damages to still keep their power level up. Interestingly, pre-patch and pre-ToB, the Save to avoid instant death was harder since enemies weren't given a bonus. As you can see, normal traps do rock incredibly. Unfortunately, the instant death effect at level 21, thanks to the bonus to save and the general late time you get the trap, is more just frosting than actual meat since most enemies will actually make the save. A Greater Malison, however, will go far into making it effective. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 5b. Special Traps  Even though the game seems to tell you what they do, there's still quite a bit it doesn't tell you. Like normal Traps, you can use them once per day per every five levels starting with one use at level 1. Level 1 Special Trap: Doesn't exist, since you start off higher than level 6. Level 6 Special Trap: Deals 3d8+5 damage to any enemies within the area of effect of the Special Trap when it goes off. In addition, enemies must Save vs. Spells with a -4 penalty or be slowed for 5 rounds. (Like normal Traps, the initial damage is non-magical.) Level 11 Special Trap: Deals 4d8+5 damage to any enemies within the area of effect of the Special Trap when it goes off. In addition, humanoid enemies must Save vs. Spells with a -1 penalty or be held for 5 rounds. Level 16 Special Trap: All enemies within the area of effect when the Special Trap goes off must Save vs. Spells or be affected as Otiluke's Resilient Sphere for 7 rounds. Level 21 Special Trap: All enemies within the area of effect, regardless of Magic Resistence, are Mazed as the spell of the same name (except Spell Trap and the like cannot stop it from occuring). The Maze lasts according to intelligence, as according to the actual spell. What the game (and apparently every single FAQ and guide ever written) doesn't tell you is that enemies actually recieve penalties to their Saves for slowing and holding. Ironically, you will notice more enemies succumbing to the effects of the Sphere effect despite the fact that there is no penalty to the Save. That is because, again the game doesn't tell you this, the hold effect of a level 11 Trap is based on Hold Person, meaning non-humanoid creatures cannot be held, so there are alot more valid targets for Sphere to work on than the Hold effect. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 6. Stronghold  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- The thief has perhaps the most advantageous stronghold of any class. I don't mean to say "the best," since that is a very arguable point, but rather that it is advantageous for the following reasons: it is easy to obtain, it has the most convenience (subjective, but this is based on the fact that things you want you'll obtain by doing this), and it is the most profitable. This is the easiest to obtain by the sheer fact that you can walk out of Irenicus's dungeon, head to the Docks, and proceed to the do the quests. There are only two tricky battles, one in Rayic Gethras's home, the other when you take down the entirety of Mae'Var's guildhall. For the most part, though, the quests involved are fetch and carry. This has the most convenience mainly because you can get a decent weapon for the thief, loads of cash, and Edwin, hands down the best mage in the game. Of course this is subjective, and relative to some of the other stronghold quests, the payoff isn't that great (although I DO think Edwin rules over Carsomyr +5). The most profitable? Here we go with some basic math... First, when you start managing the stronghold DO NOT BE A COWARD AND KEEP YOUR THIEVES AT LOW RISK. Doing so means they will BARELY be able to cover average quota, meaning you are gaining almost no benefit from managing the stronghold. What is average quota? Well, after the first four weeks (which are preset), it's a 50% chance of 500 gold, 20% chance of 300, 20% chance of 900, and 10% chance of 1000 gold. So, expected value would be sum of all (chance * value), or (.5 * 500) + (.2 * 300) + (.2 * 900) + (.1 * 1000) or 600 gold per 7 days. Second, if you keep all your thieves at high risk, (choices 1,2,1) then the payoff/failure is like this: Hanz - Success 50% of 900 Gold, Failure 50% of -100 Gold, expected average yield of 400 Gold. Goshan - Success 50% of 750 Gold, Failure 50% of -200 Gold, expected average yield of 275 Gold. Kretor - Success 50% of 1000 Gold, Failure 50% of -50 Gold, expected average yield of 475 Gold. Morsa - Success 50% of 750 Gold, Failure 50% of -250 Gold, expected average yield of 250 Gold. Varia - Success 50% of 800 Gold, Failure 50% of -300 Gold, expected average yield of 250 Gold. So, in a typical half-tenday period, you will accumulate 400+ 275+475+250+250 Gold or 1650 Gold. But of course, you have to subtract the quota from your yield. But, there's an interesting catch. The Thief Stonghold is the only one that yields gold on a 5-day basis. Interestingly, Renal only comes for the money every 7 days. So in one week, you are actually going to earn 1.4 times your average yield (since you have those extra two days). So, then your expected yield over a 7 day period would be 1650*1.4 - 600. Which is an average yield of 1710 Gold per 7 days. Compare this with the other money makers: the Fighter and Bard strongholds. On the surface, the Bard's seems immensely profitable, since, with an optimal performance, you begin earning 1800 Gold, then 100 less Gold with each successive week until it reaches a steady 500 Gold per week. However, this is ignoring the fact that you have to invest MUCH time and 10,000 Gold in the first place. Meaning you have to wait 7 entire weeks (1800 + 1700 + ... + 1200) until you can recoup the gold you invested in the first place. In the meantime, the Thief Stronghold has been earning an average of 1710 Gold per week, meaning the Bard Stronghold can never catch up since it only continues to decrease in yield (1100, then 1000, etc.). The Fighter Stronghold produces a consistent 500 Gold, but it's true money-making abilities come in the fact that you can continuously tax your people to get 1000 Gold instantly (it seems up to about 10 or so times). The problem, though, is that they will eventually revolt. However, you can prevent this from happening by choosing options, in your miniquests, that will make them happy. Unfortunately, this usually involves putting in money. Especially when you have to pay off the Blackmailers (which can potentially offset you 1000 Gold) or repair the dikes (which, unless you want a revolt, will offset you 5000 Gold for the farms, then 2000 for the actual dikes). Furthermore, taxing your people is finite; after all the miniquests, you can't push your people just to make them happy at a later date. So in the end, you have a much narrower profit margin than a Thief Stronghold (while Bards get the shaft). In short, Thief Strongholds are awesomeness, especially when you consider how little relative work goes into obtaining them. By the way, DSimpson has some excellent and more complete thieving charts on his FAQ, but you needn't really need to know anymore than what I've given you. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 7. Tactics  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 7a. Backstabbing Notes  If you're going the Swashbuckler route, you'll probably want to skip this entire part, since it won't apply to you. Unless you want to use the piddlingly weak Jan to backstab your enemies to doom. Backstabbing will actually become your most powerful weapon, regardless of whether you are an Assassin or not. First, it is important to note that you actually DO have to be relatively behind your enemy before a backstab registers (unlike pre-patch BGI). Second, you do get a +4 attack bonus for being invisible as you attack. Third, you will not unhide/uninvisify until you actually make your attack or an entire round passes. So if you made a mistake, you still have time to run out of the enemy's view and re-hide. By the way, that sums up your strategy with backstabbing: running and rehiding. If you really want to abuse it, you will probably want to learn to love the F6 key, as this is the shortcut for Hide in Shadows/Move Silently. Now, you may first be discouraged because enemies will run at the same rate as you, sometimes even faster. That's why you should learn to love your surrounding geography and your party. As long as the enemy isn't within your THIEF's visual range (an important distinction), it is assumed that the enemy can't see your thief, and thus the thief can Hide to his heart's content. That means your first best friend will be the surrounding geography. Corners will become one of your best friends, as you can simply go a bit past a corner so that the enemies are no longer in your visual range, then hide and backstab again. Doorjambs also are great; there is generally a sweetspot where you can stand beyond the door where enemies can't see you from a certain angle. Hide away. Your party members and/or summons can also pitch in. While your thief is fading (retreating), your party members and/or summons can move in to stop the enemy from advancing. Simply keep moving your thief back until they are no longer "visible" according to thief. You maystill be able to see the enemy, but this will be because of your other party members, who are closer. It may be a bit difficult at first to estimate when it's good to hide again; it's about equivalent to the radius of a fireball that your thief can see. Then, move back in, backstab the enemy, and fade again outside of the enemy range while your party members keep them from following. At first, your thief is ideally suited for taking out enemy mages and clerics. This is because they tend to have lower HP and higher ACs than the rest of the group. Also because they have the tendency to cast True Sight when you're in range, and you won't have Non-detection as early as you would like. Of course, I use "taking out" loosely, since you probably won't be dealing that much damage. At most, you do some initially damaging action so that either a) the cleric is forced to waste the next few rounds healing or True Sighting or b) the mage is forced to waste the next round doing True Sight and potentially waste an allied cleric's round by having him heal the mage. Thieves are also good targets simply because they are terribly annoying (Bioware stocks most of them with invisibility potions, and some have insanely high attacks per round so that they can backstab you eagerly if you give them a chance). Later on in the game, enemy thieves will actually be Detecting Illusions when a hidden you is around (the earliest moment is in the Underdark when you're first ambushed by a mixed enemy party after Adalon turns you into Drow). This generally makes them higher priority if you don't have Non-detection or you had to down an Invisibility potion or use the Invisibility effect of a ring or another item, since Non-detection doesn't combine with those. Much later in the game, when you obtain quintuple backstabbing, things become immensely wonderful for your thief (and things keep getting better for the Assassin). Combined with a decent weapon, you can now effectively take out most mages in one good backstab, and many creatures you can bring to badly injured or nearly dead (if not outright killing them) with a good hit. When deciding between weapons, always give preference to one with a higher enchantment and a lower speed factor. Thus, you actually would probably want to use a Cutthroat +4 or a Yamato +4 over the Celestial Fury +3. Why? First, Cutthroat and Yamato both have higher minimum damages, which is more important for a backstabber than a high maximum damage. Second, both have an additional +1 bonus to THAC0. This is immensely useful, as you want every possible modifier helping you to hit an enemy. Third, in the case of the Yamato, it has a lower speed factor. Meaning, with a Celestial Fury, you will end up waiting for a bit before attacking. This is precious time that can be lost if the enemy turns around (foiling backstab) or moves (making it harder for you to land a hit, since you now have to follow the enemy around). A lower speed factor means quicker hit-and-fades. Unfortunately, not all that is gold glitters (yeah I know it's the other way around, but bear with me). There are a few enemies that can't be backstabbed. Beholder-types and Golem-types all cannot be backstabbed. In addition, any enemy that can see through Hiding (more on that later) cannot be backstabbed: Demons (not Imps and Quasits, I mean like Pit Fiends and Cacofiends), Vampiric Mists, and Demon Knights. Kuo-Toas are an exception: while they can see through your Hiding abilities, they CAN be backstabbed, although this generally requires a diversion so that a Kuo-Toa is too busy attacking a party member or a summon to turn around. In Throne of Bhaal, the number of enemies that can't be backstabbed increases a bit: Flaming Skull, Fell Cat, Bone Fiend, and basically almost anything that looks incredibly demonish (eg Marilith, Demogorgon). Sometimes it may be also VERY difficult to determine the orientation of a creature; you may wonder, "Am I behind or in front of him?" This generally becomes an issue when a creature is unconcious and lying down. In this case, simply attack from the direction of where their head is (if they're humanoid): this is their "back." One more note (elaborated more on the Items of Note section), Boots of Speed will become your best friend. When you have these, you hardly have to worry about geography since you can just outrun most enemies and hide when you've escaped their gaze. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 7b. Trapping Notes  Ah, the finer art of trapping. There are two types of trapping: tactical and bombardment. Bombardment is basically the cheese of laying tons of traps (or five post-ToB) in front of a vicious enemy (Dragons, Liches, etc.) then waiting for said enemy to go hostile. Boom! No more enemy. This is perhaps the most commonly used method of trapping, and takes the least advantage of traps. Tactical is what I shall be discussing, a much more active element of trapping. If you're not a Bounty Hunter, poor you, since they have such awesome trapping abilities they could rock the game and then some. Nevertheless, with conventional Traps, your best bet would be to use them as fall-back devices. Generally, you want them as support for backstabbing or blitzing a mage towards the enemy to let off a spell and then pulling him back. The enemy (angered by being stabbed or fazed by a spell) will follow and run into the trap. In combination with backstabbing, you'll find this terribly useful since traps force enemies into a "damage" animation, where they stop moving so that they can look hurt. This buys you precious time to leave their sight and Hide away, return and stab some more. In addition, level 11 Traps are useful anti-Golem devices, especially in Firkraag's Dungeon or the Golem Sanctuary in the De'Arnise Hold. Simply lay one down and lure a Golem (especially Adamantine ones) into it; the initial damage won't do too much, but the poison will lay waste. Furthermore, with mages, liches, and clerics, if you can preemptively trap them, the poisoning effect will prevent them from spellcasting for the next three rounds. Combined with the Bounty Hunter's Special Traps, trapping takes on a wildly new dimension. Generally, you can use the throwing capability of his Special Traps as a "bait" of sorts to get enemies to walk towards your Bounty Hunter in a group. Hopefully you've laid a conventional Trap for them to wander straight into. When the Bounty Hunter reaches level 16, the two uses sort of become distinct. Generally you can use conventional Traps with conventional tactics, and the tactical use of his Special Trap is distinct from that. However, when he reaches level 21, they both merge in a beautiful way. The Mazing Traps can clear the enemies out of an area long enough for the Bounty Hunter to lay a few traps in anticipation of the enemy's return. Here alot of tactics come into play. First, you can either lay down a whole lot in one chunk (bombardment, effectively), but this is only really effective if you've Mazed one or two really tough enemies. Second, you can lay down one trap and hide, so that you damage the enemies and are primed for backstabbing, or for fading away and tossing another Maze Trap. Third, if you remember where the enemies were before you Mazed them all (generally by advance scouting), you can systematically place conventional Traps in certain areas so that you can anticipate how enemies will return and maximize damage. For example, say in a large room, there are two mages to the left, a thief to the center, and two Orcs to the right. You might place a Trap in the far left, one slightly off center to the right, and one or two in the upper or lower right corners of the room. Why? The mages are generally going to be the first to return, possibly at the same time, so they will both be getting the trap to the left, and hopefully you've hidden in the meanwhile so that you can knock them out quickly. When the thief returns (since he probably has moderate intelligence), he gets the one slightly off center (and hopefully this one was out of range of the mages, so it didn't activate with their return). When the Orcs (being dumb, they are probably last) return, they get the furthest right Traps, which hopefully weren't activated by the thief. Even if you were completely wrong with your estimations of when they'll return, hopefully the traps will beplaced such that even if by statistical chance the Orcs return first and Mages last, there will still be a trap left unused to deal with the Mages. A good tactic you can use: if a battle is pretty tough, run your Bounty Hunter out of every enemy's range, then toss a Special Trap. If you aim it right, you can Maze a vast majority of the enemies and greatly simplify your life. This is useful for battles you can't prepare for (like when being ambushed). When you get the higher end Traps, possibilites explode. For a non-Bounty Hunter, this slightly expands tactical possibilites since an Exploding Trap or a Time Trap goes far in Tactics, and a Spike Trap makes Trap-baiting (and yes, bombardment) more effective. For Bounty Hunters, this becomes a field day, as their Maze Traps can now be supported by a myriad of ways. Whereas a Bounty Hunter might find need of conventional Traps (since Mazing doesn't need to be done nearly as often as normal trapping), Exploding, Time, and Spike Traps wipe away the need. Exploding ones are a sort of cross between conventional Traps and Maze traps, best if you expect multiple enemies to return at once, since you can knock them out of your sight and set another or simply Hide. Time ones can buy you time when enemies appear to Assassinate or backstab to your heart's content, especially with mages, before they have a chance to reestablish their defenses. Spikes make excellent gifts for returning Golems and super-warriors. With a Bounty Hunter, ordinarily tough battles like the Final Guardians in Watcher's Keep, can become greatly simplified with a few well-thrown Maze-effect Special Traps. Final note: if you are out of sight of enemies, set a Trap that activates and hits enemies (generally by means of throwing a Special Trap) and damages them, you can avoid them coming after you by immediately Hiding. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 7c. Hiding Notes  Hiding will often be a life-saver for a thief, even for the unconventional Swashbuckler. Moreso than just because you can pass by enemies simply waiting there, but also because you can completely avoid spells and consequently empty out enemy spellcasters' memories. How? Let's say your hiding "accidentally" wore off in the middle of a spellcasting group (hopefully you have Boots of Speed or are hasted in some way). Then all those casters begin casting spells at you. That's when you run out of their sight and Hide again. Suddenly, all their spells have no targets, so they dissipate harmlessly. (Doesn't work if they finish casting and a projectile is on your way, although you do have enhanced Saves for being invisible.) This is great for messing with a Lich, if you have the running room, since you can get them to waste their most powerful spells (doesn't work for Time Stop or Wail of the Banshee for an obvious reason: doesn't directly target your thief). However, there are a few important notes, generally in tandem with backstabbing, that you probably want to know. There are some enemies that can actually "see" through all sorts of Hiding, whether (Improved) Invisibility or even a Non-detection Hiding. This means that while True Sight might not reveal you, or Detect Illusions fail to dispel your hidden quality, these enemies will still know where you are and attack you appropriately. Generally, these enemies make sense to have these abilities, since they are generally very much not of the material plane and probably can percieve whatever plane you phase slightly into when becoming invisible (or are just really perceptive in seeing your hiding spots). Demons (not Imps or Quasits, but the big ones), Vampiric Mists (interestingly, ONLY these types of Mists; all other Mists can't see you if you're hidden in any way), Demon Knights (there are only three instances you meet them; the Cambion in Irenicus's dungeon, the Cambion in the Planar Prison of the Bard Stronghold quest, and the ones you summon in the Kuo-Toa area in the Underdark), and, interestingly, lowly Kuo-Toas. So this means that Demons will gleefully Paralyze you, Demon Knights will happily dismember you, and Kuo-Toas will... uh... miss while attacking you, all while you may be thinking you can get into position for a backstab. Generally, these creatures can't be backstabbed as well, but in the case of Kuo-Toas, it's possible, but you have to distract them so they don't keep turning around. Vampires, while they can't see, will act on their AI script as if you were visible but just couldn't touch you (like Protection from Undead). Meaning, normally they just stand their waiting for arrival of prey, but instead they wander around aimlessly and randomly. This can make trapping and backstabbing VERY tricky as they are quick and very random in their movements. Plus, they might accidentally head to your party members who are waiting a bit back from where you came. However, if you're playing into ToB, the number of enemies that can see through your Hiding grows massively. Here's a somewhat comprehensive listing: Skeleton Mage, Skeleton Cleric, Fire Troll, Flaming Skull, Fell Cat, Bone Fiend, Ogremach, any Elemental Prince, Hive Mother, the really powerful Mists (like Demon Mist), and that chicken at the beginning of the Marching Mountains that casts spells at you. In addition, powered-up, unique versions of normal creatures may be able to see through your hiding. For example, some of the Final Guardians in Watcher's Keep are variants of Drow or Nymphs, but they can still see through your hiding. In general, if they look tough and have a specific name, they may be able to see through your invisibility. Note that quite a bit of these you can still backstab (like the Elemental Princes or the Final Guardians), you just need to now distract them in some way (or use a Time Trap...). Also, in ToB, the game seems intent on preventing you from preemptively Hiding (I guess to prevent backstabbing the main enemy into death in the first round or two of combat). In SoA, you could generally have another party member initiate dialogue while your main character (or other thief) Hides, then wait for combat to begin. Many times in ToB, no matter who talks to initiate the scripted sequence to battle, the game generally resets modal abilites (toggle-able abilities, of which Hide in Shadows is one). This means that even Hiding beforehand won't allow you to surprise the enemy as you intended. But fortunately... You'll find plenty of Rings of Invisibility (called the Sandthief Rings, but more often slanged by gamers as Sandman rings). These are once-a-day items that, while taking a few seconds to activate, work just as well as Potions of Invisibility (with the same caveat that Non-detection has no effect). Furthermore, Ring of Gaxx has its own Sandthief ability built in, so you can afford to upgrade without fear of losing backstab potential. It seems in SoA that Potions of Invisibility are in very limited supply. Very few people sell them, and most enemies will use them before you can kill them. However, three notable enemies you want to make a point of killing quickly: the Rune Assassins in the Bridge District Tanner quest carry quite a bit of invisibility potions. If you can somehow kill them quickly, you can reap the benefits. In the Guarded Compound of the Temple District (where you get the Celestial Fury), on the second floor, there is a thief in the battle (starts off right to your right when you appear). If you can kill her quickly, you get 10 Potions of Invisilibility. Finally, in Delosar's Inn (Bridge District), one of the people you CAN fight (the angry adventuring group) is a thief. Kill him quickly and you can get some invisibility potions. In ToB, the potions are a dime a dozen. Not only do most storekeepers carry about five (sometimes more), but you'll frequently encounter thief-type enemies that by now, you can dispatch quickly; these thieves will have leftover invisibility potions. I've said it before, but it bears repeating. Hide in Shadows and Move Silently work together. The way the game determines your ability to successfully "stealth" is simply by averaging the two scores (so effectively a point in Hide in Shadows or Move Silently yields a .5% stealth chance). The game rechecks this score every round. However, trying to sneak (or stay hidden) in broad daylight outside of shadows yields a penalty that halves your stealth chance. Trying to sneak (or stay hidden) indoors in a brightly lit area yields a penalty of 1/3. "Daylight" is classified as anytime starting the moment the game clock reads "Hour 6" and ending right before it reads "Hour 22." Moverover, Move Silently increases the time it takes for you to become visible after breaking stealth. Given that aside from this both Move Silently and Hide in Shadows function identically, Move Silently is strictly better for investing in points. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 8. Items of Note  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- OK, this is basically where I describe pretty significant items in a thief's life. I'll name them, where can get them, for whom they're appropriate (Assassins have different priorities than Swashbucklers), and why they're significant. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 8a. Weapons  Belm, Scimitar +2 Where: The first you'll find in an abandoned tower in the Druid Grove, next to where you get the head of the Rakshasa the Djinnis in Trademeet are after. Whom: Good for all, although Assassins and backstabbing Bounty Hunters in particular will probably use this quite a bit longer than Swashbucklers. Why: For all involved, this gives you an extra attack. This means extra killing power for Swashbucklers. But more importantly for Assassins and Bounty Hunters, it has a speed factor of 0, and will probably be the first one you can obtain. Also, for the non-fighting thief variants, the extra attack provides some much needed muscle to allow the thief to be a bit independent of fighter/cleric support. Plus, if you want to keep it for that long, the two attacks mesh well with Assassinate (since it applies backstab to EACH attack in one round). Celestial Fury, Katana +3 Where: Second floor of the Guarded Compound in the Temple District, off of one of the corpses you'll create after a battle. Whom: Good for all, especially for Swashbucklers, less so for backstabbers, almost not at all for Thief/Mages. Why: It's Celestial Fury, probably THE most famous weapon in BGII: SoA. Fighter types will love the two awesome effects of the weapon - a possibility to stun, and maybe 10 more damage. Plus, you can activate two spell-like abilities and mess with the enemy. Backstabbers will probably use it through the Underdark when Belm becomes a bit useless and until Cutthroat +4. In fact, Backstabbers may not even want it once they can do enough damage to not need Belm's extra attack - they can just opt for Short Sword of Backstabbing, since it may not be worth a proficiency point just for this weapon. Usuno's Blade +4 - BGII: ToB only Where: First floor of Watcher's Keep, off the thief statue. Whom: Good for all, but especially backstabbers. Why: A solid all around weapon. Like Yamato +4, only instead of a +1 AC, you get a 10% chance to do +2-20 electrical damage. It's up to your playstyle on which you prefer (better defense or a chance at some extra damage), but the main thing to keep in mind is the 0 speed factor. Special thanks to Sri for pointing this out! Short Sword of Backstabbing +3 Where: As a reward after completing the Thief Stronghold quest. Whom: Mainly backstabbers, although figher-type will see some use of it. Why: 0 speed factor, +3 enhancement. Mainly useful when a backstabber doesn't need the extra attack Belm offers to survive. Cutthroat, Short Sword +4 Where: In Bodhi's coffin in Chapter 6. Whom: Probably backstabbers; fighter-types will probably want to supplement their Celestial Fury with a more vicious weapon (like Equalizer or Blackrazor). Why: While it has 1 speed factor, it has a +4 enhancement. For backstabbers, the +4 enhancement is more important than Celestial Fury's other abilities, since it means a greater chance to hit, more minimum damage (so you don't do piddling backstab damage), and it also means you can hurt Kangaxx and backstab Mages who've cast Improved Mantle (which tends to become annoyingly frequent at this point in the game). For BGII: SoA, this is the best weapon backstabbers can own. Yamato, Scimitar +4 - BGII: ToB only Where: Tavern owner in The City Under Siege(tm) of BGII: ToB Whom: Anyone will enjoy this, but especially backstabbers. why: Like Cutthroat, except 0 speed factor, +1 AC bonus, and d8 instead of d6 damage. This is almost a backstabber's wet dream. Swashbucklers and fighter types may find better swords/weapons soon. Short Sword of Mask +4/+5 - BGII: ToB only Where: One of the people selling items at the beginning of Watcher's Keep. You can find the Heart of the Damned (to upgrade it to +5 level) in Sendai's Lair. Whom: There are plenty better weapons for fighter types, but for backstabbers, this is a glorious weapon. Why: At the +4 level, you may not want to opt for it, since it doesn't have the AC bonus of Yamato, but it does have a 15% chance to entangle the target. At the +5 level, this is a great hit-and-fade weapon, since not only is it a +5 enhancement (mega backstab damage!) but also, entangling the enemy prevents them from following (making it easier to run and hide). The level drain is a neat additional effect that'll make it harder for them to hurt others, and it's useful against enemy mages and clerics since it'll wipe out their more powerful spells. Dagger of the Star +4/+5 - BGII: ToB only Where: The +4 version you can find off the Demi-Lich in Watcher's Keep. You can upgrade it to +5 with five Star Sapphires and Cespenar's good work. Whom: Mainly backstabbers. Why: Despite its lower damage, this may actually trump the Short Sword of Mask. Why? Well, it only deals 1 less average damage (which means a difference of 5 for 5x backstab, 7 for 7x) and makes up for it with lots of goodie abilities, although ONLY after you've upgraded it. Then, the 15% chance of invisibility is a HUGE boon, maybe better than 15% chance to entangle, since it means you can potentially backstab immediately, with possible minor movement so that you're behind the enemy again. In addition, it can potentially deal 2d8 damage of various elements (1d8 fire, 1d8 electrical) but only 5% of the time. When you factor this into the average damage, then it is only .55 behind the Sword of Mask (although this extra damage isn't amplified by backstab). Still, that extra 1 damage can be very valuable and mean the difference between an insta-kill or a "Badly Injured" hit. Furthermore, Entangling has the side effect bonus of making it very hard for melee creatures to harm the rest of your party. Plus, level draining activates much more often (three times more often) than the elemental damage, and is potentially more beneficial an effect for your party, since it reduces severity of spell casters and fighters alike. Also, mages with Stoneskin can still be level-drained to the point of uselessness, so it's really a coinflip for backstabbers. For fighter types, though, many better-suited swords exist. Angurvadal, Long Sword +4/+5 - BGII: ToB only Where: You can find Angurvadal +4 off one the Gith Captain on the floor of Watcher's Keep with the machine by Lum the Mad. You can find the Liquid Mercury to upgrade it in Sendai's Lair. Whom: Backstabbers and fighter-types. Why: Backstabbers are actually better off with a Belt of Fire Giant Strength and a Short Sword of Mask +5, since then you still have the bonus of Entangling or Level draining; you only lose about 5 backstab damage from Angurvadal +5. Still, this is one of the VERY few non-Short Sword or non-Dagger weapons that have 0 Speed Factor. For Fighter-types, this is a very good weapon to have, since it also prevents that annoying Level Drain from happening to you (Backstabbers, ideally, can avoid this from happening). Spectral Brand, Scimitar +4/+5 - BGII: ToB only Where: Within the Watcher's Keep, the imp who likes to gamble has it. You can upgrade it with the Skull of the Lich found in the Lich's room in Sendai's Lair. Whom: Anyone can enjoy it, but potential solo-ers high priority. why: A speed factor of 1, which is somewhat passable for backstabbers, but the real attraction is having a mini-Mordenkainen's Sword effect; that is, an independent sword that'll act for 4 rounds. For mage-types, this means that you have an independent sword that can keep baddies busy while you fling spells around. For fighter-types, this means an extra hand while fighting tough enemies (especially when trying to disrupt enemy mages or eat through their Stoneskins). For backstabbers (and particularly potential solo-ers), this means an extra hand in keeping the enemy busy while you retreat to backstab again. Thanks to Superdroideka for pointing it out. Tuigan Short Bow +1 Where: In the Copper Coronet, during the quest to either free the Hendak and the slaves (in the back room near the arena) or punish them, you can fight a Beastmaster (on the right side of the arena). You can salvage this bow off his body. whom: A supplementary weapon for backstabbers, especially for Assassins. Why: The advantage that this has over the Short Bow of Gesen +4 (see below) is that the Tuigan Short Bow fires three shots a round. It's also technically available as soon as you leave Irenicus's dungeon since you are forced to go to the slums anyway. More importantly for Assassins, their poison affects all attacks in the following 24 seconds, which translates into 12 attacks with a Tuigan (versus 8 with a normal bow, 4 with a normal crossbow or melee weapon), each poisoning the enemy. Very effective way to make sure every single enemy on screen is suffering under the continual HP drain of poison. The Tuigan, by the way, is also good for spell disruption, thanks to its massive rate of fire. Short Bow of Gesen +4 Where: You find the shaft in a crate during the Tanner Quest in the Bridge District. You find the bow strings in the asylum (the part where you have to find Mithril Tokens). Whom: A supplementary weapon for backstabbers and a main one for magically inclined thieves. Why: For thief/mages, this is a good main weapon since it has a massive enchantment, grants +20% electrical resistance (for those damn lightning bolts), and has very powerful arrows (essentially +2 arrows that do lightning damage). For backstabbers, this is a good weapon when backstabbing can't work too well, such as against swarms of Kuo-Toas or creatures that are annoyingly hard to get away from or when Sandman rings are exhausted. Staff of the Magi +1, counts as +5 Where: Off the body of one of the super-mages in the area you can only access with a Rouge Stone in the Bridge District. Whom: A great supplementary weapon for very interesting backstab possibilities. Only the mage variety of thieves need apply. why: You'll never ever need to worry about having to Hide ever again. why? If you ever become visible, simply tap the weapon in the weapon quickslot and you'll immediately go invisible again, with no delay, unlike using a Potion of Invisibility or a Sandthief Ring. This means you can immediately hide after a backstab and get into position for a second backstab. Plus, you get a whole slew of extra abilities along with it (like Dispelling). NOTE: YOU MUST BE A MAGE/THIEF OR HAVE "USE ANY ITEM" BEFORE YOU CAN USE THIS AT ALL, MUCH LESS IN AN EFFECTIVE WAY. Special thanks to Skidi Wili for pointing this weapon out. Staff of the Ram +4/+6 - BGII: ToB only Where: You have to kill the red dragon Saladrex in Watcher's Keep. Whom: A great supplementary weapon for interesting backstab possibilities. Why: One special thing about these staves is that they have a massive bonus to damage. Specifically, 1d6+10 for +4 level, and 1d6+12 +1d4 piercing for +6 level. The base damage (not the extra piercing damage for +6 level) gets multiplied by the backstab multiplier! That means even for just a +4, you can get an average of about 65 damage per strike! This final damage doesn't even include potential strength bonuses from say a Girdle of Fire Giant Strength or damage bonuses from two-handed weapon specialization. NOTE: YOU MUST BE ATLEAST A CLERIC/THIEF OR HAVE "USE ANY ITEM" BEFORE YOU CAN USE THIS IN ANY EFFECTIVE WAY. Special thanks to Skidi Wili for pointing this weapon out. Staff of Striking Where: You can buy it from several locations, the quickest one being the Temple of Lathander. Whom: A great supplementary weapon for super backstabbing. Why: If you don't have Throne of Bhaal or haven't gotten to it yet, this will hold you over pretty well. While because it lacks significant magical enhancement (no THAC0 modifiers, no way to hit Kangaxx, etc.) you won't be as effective a backstabber, it's sheer raw damage is amazing: 1d6+9. Unfortunately, it uses charges per strike, although you can recharge the staff by selling it to a store and then repurchasing it (and unlike most other chargeable items, it doesn't become ridiculously expensive to buy back). It has a max capacity of 25 charges, but will have 5 when initially purchased. Special thanks to John B. Sprague for pointing this weapon out. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 8b. Armor  Mask of King Strohm (Helmet) Where: Inside the massive dungeon at Windspear Hills, you'll need to assemble this in order to make a creature called the Guardian visible. Each part is guarded by a different djinni. Whom: Any non-fighter or non-cleric variant. Why: This, while operating exactly like a helmet in preventing critical hits, is actually equippable by all classes, meaning the poor, sub-armored thief can get some defense against the critical hits of enemies, which can generally be devastating to the thief's low hit points. However, once you get Use Any Item (in Throne of Bhaal), this item become completely obsolete since the thief can then equip any one of the amazing helms at will. Special thanks to Gegengheist for reminding me about this. Buckler +1 (Buckler) Where: In Mae'Var's guild, on the second floor, you'll see a myriad of doors and safes, each progressively harder for a thief to crack open (and the safes are progressively more intensely trapped). In the last safe, you'll find the rare, unique, magic buckler.
Whom: Anyone who goes the Sword and Shield route, probably more magical variants of thieves. Why: This is the only magical shield a thief'll be able to use. It gives you an additional -1 AC (not against missile weapons, though) over simply using Single Weapon Proficiency, and at the cost of not being able to critically hit more often, you can get Sword and Shield proficiency and get an additional -2 AC against missile weapons (which does end up sort of negating the downside of a buckler). So, for a thief who might not need to worry about extra critical hits (thief/mages) or one who worries more about avoiding arrows for survival than hitting for damage (backstabbers), this might be an important pick up. Special thanks to Gegengheist for finding this singular buckler. The Night's Gift +5 (Leather Armor) Where: Reward for completing the Umar Quest (talk to the Mayor). Whom: Really for anyone; particularly of benefit to backstabbers. Magical types won't need this. why: 3 AC, but also +20% to Stealth. Even if you're not using stealth at all (Swashbucklers, Fighter types), the AC is pretty good for a thief and for this point in the game. But if you've already gotten this, then you should probably have... Shadow Dragon Scales (Leather Armor) Where: Get the scales for killing the Black Dragon in the Temple Ruins of the Umar Hills Quest, have Cromwell make it. Whom: Anyone except magical types. Why: 1 AC (the lowest thief armor in SoA), +50% resist Acid. The Acid isn't important, since that type of damage is rare (in the form of either certain Dragon Breath or Melf's Acid Arrow). The 1 AC is VERY enjoyable for all types of thieves, save for the mage variety. Bladesinger Chain +4 / Aslyerfund Elven Chain +5 - Aslyerfund Elven Chain +5 is BGII: ToB only Where: You get the Bladesinger quite late in SoA, in Suldanessellar to be exact. You can upgrade it quite quickly, though, as the magic store in the City Under Siege(tm) sells Protection from Normal Weapons and you probably already have 40,000 Gold on hand. Whom: Magical types and fighter types mainly, but backstabbers probably not Why: Low AC (1, then 0) is very good for Thief/Mages, plus it also grants immunity to normal weapons (a somewhat good plus for magical types to avoid damage) once upgraded. The reason why backstabbers may not want it is because there is another piece of armor that, while not as low in AC, has another very good benefit. Grandmaster's Armor +6 (Leather Armor) - BGII: ToB only Where: Off the corpse of Gromnir Il-Khan. Whom: Mainly backstabbers. Fighter types who haven't upgraded their Bladesinger, maybe. Why: Also a 1 AC, but it's main reason why it surpasses Shadow or White Dragon Scales and Aslyerfund for backstabbers is that it acts like a Boots of Speed. Meaning, for backstabbers, they can replace the Boots of Speed with Boots of Avoidance or Boots of Stealth/Elvenkind or something like that. Plus, being leather armor, it has less Stealth- related penalties than Elven Chainmail. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 8c. Accessories  Cloak of Non-detection Where: Off the wizard (who's familiar is Pooky) in the aggressive party you CAN fight on the second floor of the Den of the Seven Vales. Whom: Backstabbers and maybe trappers/magical types who appreciate the need to Hide. Why: This becomes THE most important item, since this will let you laugh in the face of True Sight, Detect Illusions, and the like. Note that this will not apply when using spell-based Invisibility, only when you Hide in Shadows. NOTE - Thanks to Edward for pointing out that this *will* work with the Staff of the Magi. Merry backstabbing! Ring of Invisibility Where: Multiple places, earliest is off the thief in the aggressive party you CAN fight on the second floor of the Den of the Seven Vales. Whom: Mainly backstabbers and probably trappers. Why: When you're too enclosed to run and Hide, you want to activate this. Very useful since you will occasionally find yourself surrounded, nearly dead, or in some awkward social situation (you wish). Ring of Gaxx Where: Off Kangaxx the Demi-Lich. Whom: EVERYONE!!! But especially backstabbers. Why: Everyone loves it. But backstabbers can especially abuse the invisibility function while still recieving the myriad of other effects. Boots of Speed Where: Multiple places (enough to supply your entire party with them by the time you get out of the City Under Siege(tm) in ToB). Earliest is off a thief in the Planar Prison of the Bard's Stronghold quest. Also, when buying something with Mithril Tokens, only spend 15; you'll get Boots of Speed which is better than the armor you get for 20. Whom: EVERYONE!!! But especially backstabbers and trappers. Why: Backstabbers can abuse it for hit and fade attacks, and trappers can use it to better bait and lure enemies. Bracers of Weapon Skill/Expertise Where: Skill you find in the Bard Stronghold quest, Expertise you find in Chapter 6 when clearing out Bodhi's lair (it's in the room of spikes). Whom: Magical types need not apply. why: For Backstabbers, Expertise means +2 damage multiplied by backstab modifier. For fighter types, it just means goodness. Belt of Inertial Barrier Where: One of the merchants in Trademeet after you've become their Hero (so if you do the evil way, you can't get this). Whom: Backstabbers, trappers, and magical types Why: Magical types and trappers will generally find themselves fighting from a distance, so missile weapons will be your main plague. So, getting 25% damage resistant to missile weapons, and 50% to magical missiles will save your skin quite a bit. For backstabbers, one of the most annoying things is that when you're trying to fade away from a backstab, missile weapons will pepper you. This will go far in saving your butt. Boots of Avoidance Where: On one of the goons in the Buried Alive quest (where you have to hunt down a guy dressed completely in red). Note that the goons will never turn hostile until you actually attack them, otherwise they'll just run away and off the area. Whom: Backstabbers, trappers, and magical types Why: Generally, only backstabbers and trappers can afford to use this, after they've made their Boots of Speed obsolete with the Grandmaster's Armor. For similar reasons as the Belt of Inertial Barrier, the +5 AC bonus vs missile weapons will go far in making missile weapons harmless. Very useful for backstabbers, since even with the belt, the damage incurred while fading away will cause them to stop and do their "pain" animation, which will make it harder to run away from enemies. Girdle of Fire Giant Strength - BGII: ToB only Where: In the Marching Mountains temple. Whom: Backstabbers and fighter-types (may include Trappers) Why: This will make Backstabbers have huge amounts of power, since 22 Strength means a nice +4 bonus to THAC0 and a solid +10 bonus to damage (but this isn't applied until after backstab modifiers have kicked in). For fighters, well, it's always nice to have super-duper damage. Note that this will make Angurvadal +5 obsolete, or vice versa (both give 22 Strength). Gauntlets of Extraordinary Specialization - BGII: ToB only Where: Off one of the Final Guardians in Watcher's Keep. Whom: Fighter-types or anyone with a decent THAC0 and Assassination. Why: Fighter-types obviously benefit from the extra 1/2 attack bonus over Gauntlets of Weapon Expertise, but anyone with Assassination also gets a huge plus since that extra 1/2 attack gets modified by backstab modifiers as well. NOTE: YOU MUST HAVE EITHER BE PART FIGHTER (like a Fighter/Thief) OR HAVE "USE ANY ITEM" TO USE THESE GAUNTLETS. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 9. The Solo Challenge  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- NOTE: It's been a while, and it looks like I'll never do this. Fortunately, someone else has beaten me to it at gamefaqs, so you should check out their work instead! Once upon a time, there existed a game called Final Fantasy Tactics. It was a tactical game with a wonderful and delightful battle system. It was just too easy, though. So, a group of dedicated GameFAQs forumers decided to create for themselves various challenges to make the game difficult and extend its lifetime, and thus was spawned two big challenges: the Straight Character Challenge (whereby every member of your attack force had to be the same class) and the Solo Straight Character Challenge (whereby you could only use the protagonist). Now, the entirety of BG2 (including ToB) is by no means an easy game. And the only successful solo venture of which I was aware was the mage Elmonster (you can find his journal at www.BaldurDash.org, which also has numerous fixpacks which are a must download for anyone who loves the Baldur's Gate game). I had only heard brief mention of a Paladin solo, but seen no actual reports. Now, after FFT's SSCC (as the latter challenge is known), I began to wonder what other classes could successfully solo BG2? Naturally, the thief came up to mind. But the thief lacks a lot of things the mage has that allowed him to solo the entirety the game. Most of the thief's power is conditional; it relies on backstabbing and traps, not on the brute force power of a Horrid Wilting cast in the midst of a swarm of Drow. In fact, I would venture to say that Throne of Bhaal is all but impossible for the thief thanks to the final battle (whereby the final enemy can see through your hiding and, with no one else to divert her attention, impossible to backstab, in addition to being immune to the Time Trap and the Bounty Hunter's Maze Trap). But nevertheless, I propose trying to solo at the very least the length of Shadows of Amn with a single thief. I expect to undertake this challenge myself, but I will only be using the Bounty Hunter. I'd like to encourage anyone daring enough to try other variants (the Thief/Mage should be relatively easy, the Kensai/Thief could be interesting, and the Assassin seems suicidally difficult). I don't know how long it'll take, but I'll eventually put up a small adventure walkthrough of sorts should my Bounty Hunter quest prove successful. But for starters, here's how I plan on doing it: -Getting a Cloak of Non-detection ASAP. -Getting potions/rings of invisibility ASAP. -Minimal sidequest action for the essential treasures (thief stronghold); should hit a high EXP since I'm not splitting anyway. -Throughout the main storyline abuse Hide in Shadow and Sphere/Maze Traps not for tactical purposes, but to avoid as much combat as possible. Limit fights to significant ones and relatively easy ones that will boost my experience level. -Lots and lots of rest to refresh traps. -And since I'm principled and high-minded - avoid any sort of bombardment tactic with traps; this essentially means that all dragons are now impossible to defeat. Some battles will be particularly difficult, and I'm already thinking about how I would go successfully pulling them off; most of these are battles that will probably occur before I have Maze Traps or Sphere Traps. Probably a huge reliance on Potions of Speed (for additional speed in fading away after a backstab) and the various Strength potions (for extra damage). But off the top of my head: -The battle to get a Cloak of Non-detection. -The final battle of the Thief's Stronghold. -The Bodhi battle 1 (no allies to help me there) -Final Irenicus battle (don't even know if the Slayer form is backstabbable; definitely is Maze-able, though). ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 10. Miscellany [A00] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- The following are tables that will basically judge the relative strength of varying thief variants. Atypical of such tables, I won't list them on a per-level basis, but rather on an experience basis. For benchmark, I'll use the individual experience levels necessary to obtain each level of a normal thief, and compare them to what other thief variants have at those experience levels. Note that for my multi-class variants, I'm assuming a pure multiclass. Your mileage will vary if you dual-class, since you can dual-class whenever you feel like it. Just know that after you dual-class, your secondary class bestows no HP/THAC0 benefit until you exceed your primary class's level, at which point you gain HP/THAC0 at the rate of your secondary class. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Note that for space-saving purposes, I'll use scientific notation when necessary to denote experience points. If you're unfamiliar, something like 1.54e6 translates to 1.54 * 10^6 or 1 540 000 experience points. Abbreviations in use: Exp = experience, T = Thief, F = Fighter, M = Mage, C = Cleric, AND * = Any Class. I start with 89 000 experience points even though the experience level that translates to for a thief is 8, which is 70 000 experience, because since EVERYONE begins out with 89 000, that translates to different power levels for all variants. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 10a.THAC0 Tables [A10] NOTE: This table itself only shows up to the Shadows of Amn experience cap, see below for Throne of Bhaal information. Exp : T : F/T : M/T : C/T : F/*/T 89 000 : 17 : 14 : 16 : 18 : 15 110 000 : 16 : 14 : 16 : 16 : 14 160 000 : 16 : 13 : 17 : 16 : 14 220 000 : 15 : 13 : 16 : 16 : 13 440 000 : 15 : 12 : 15 : 16 : 12 660 000 : 14 : 11 : 15 : 16 : 12 880 000 : 14 : 11 : 15 : 16 : 11 1.10e6 : 13 : 10 : 15 : 14 : 11 1.32e6 : 13 : 10 : 14 : 14 : 11 1.54e6 : 12 : 9 : 14 : 14 : 10 1.76e6 : 12 : 9 : 14 : 14 : 10 1.98e6 : 11 : 9 : 14 : 14 : 10 2.20e6 : *11 : 8 : 13 : 14 : 10 2.42e6 : 11 : 8 : 13 : 12 : 9 2.64e6 : 11 : 7 : 13 : 12 : 9 2.86e6 : 11 : 7 : 13 : 12 : 9 a b c d * This is the best that this variant can obtain; no further natural improvement is possible. (a) Maxes out at 0 THAC0 at 6.00e6 experience (b) Maxes out at 11 THAC0 at 4.40e6 experience (c) Maxes out at 8 THAC0 at 4.45e6 experience (d) Maxes out at 2 THAC0 at 8.00e6 experience (max Throne of Bhaal cap); good luck getting that high without going mad from boredom. At first blush, it may seem like the Thief and the Mage/Thief variants do the worst in terms of THAC0, but for all but the Fighter/Thief, it may take a *very* long amount of exp-grinding in Throne of Bhaal to do better than the straight out Thief. Note that you could probably do better with some dual-classing. Goin up to level 20 fighter and then dual-classing into a thief may cripple you severely for a while, but you'll get 0 THAC0 and all your thieving abilities online at 5.20e6 experience, instead of 6.00e6 experience for a multi-class Fighter/Thief. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 10b.Backstab Growth [A20] Exp : T : */T : */*/T 89 000 : x3 : X3 : X3 110 000 : x4 : X3 : X3 160 000 : x4 : X3 : X3 220 000 : x4 : X4 : X3 440 000 : x4 : X4 : x4 660 000 : x5 : X4 : x4 880 000 : x5 : X4 : x4 1.10e6 : x5 : X4 : x4 1.32e6 : x5 : *X5 : x4 1.54e6 : *x5/6 : X5 : x4 1.76e6 : x5/6 : X5 : x4 1.98e6 : x5/6 : X5 : *x5 2.20e6 : x5/6 : X5 : x5 2.42e6 : x5/*7 : X5 : x5 2.64e6 : x5/7 : X5 : x5 2.86e6 : x5/7 : X5 : x5 In conclusion, all thief variants will eventually be able to max out their backstab within Shadows of Amn, although the plain thief, as expected, as a huge early-growth advantage. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 10c.Saving Throw Tables [A30] I really hate guides that have a section "under construction." Quite hypocritically, this section is under construction. I was about to type it up until I realized I have no idea how saving throws develop in a multi-class environment. Sometime by summer of 2005, this section should have some meat, and the only reason why I have this section now is so that you, the reader, knows that I care about you and like teasing you with information to come. 2009 Update: I officially have no idea how these work. I thought it worked like THAC0, where the best class gets the benefits, but that's not correct. So, if anyone has info here, give me a holler. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 10d.HP Growth Tables [A40] These tables are for Average HP. That is, it takes the average value of each HP roll (save for the first, which is always at maximum). I always play at normal difficulty, so my HP rolls are never maximized, so in case you have a similar play preference, these tables are for you. There are two tables for the average section, one with no constitution modifiers and one with a constitution of 18, to help show the difference between what non-fighter variants can get as oppossed to fighter variants. If you play with Max HP, then you simply need to exaggerate the differences to get an idea of the relative power levels; furthermore, any class that has higher HP than the normal thief will continue to have higher HP for a much longer time (even though the thief meets up with and exceeds some classes on an average HP basis) since the initial difference is greater. There is currently an unfixed bug (whether by BioWare patches or by BaldurDash.org/Gibberling3's bugfixes) that gives the protagonist extra HP on creation, given certain conditions. It generally translates to an extra die of HP. If, like me, you're a purist and don't want the extra HP, you can either Shadowkeep it out or do the following: create a multi-class character, go through the creation process until the end, then click cancel/start over, then create a character normally and you won't get the erroneous HP. Exp : T : F/T : M/T : C/T : F/M/T : F/C/T 89 000 : 30.5 : 35 : 24.5 : 31.5 : 25.5 : 33.5 110 000 : 34 : 35 : 24.5 : 34 : 27.5 : 35.5 160 000 : 37.5 : 40 : 28 : 36 : 30 : 37 220 000 : 39.5 : 42 : 31.5 : 40.5 : 34.5 : 42.5 440 000 : 41.5 : 48 : 36 : 43.5 : 40 : 48 660 000 : 43.5 : 51 : 37.5 : 46 : 42.5 : 50.5 880 000 : 45.5 : 52 : 39.5 : 47 : 45.5 : 54.5 1.10e6 : 47.5 : 54 : 39.5 : 48 : 45.5 : 54.5 1.32e6 : 49.5 : 55 : 40.5 : 49 : 47.5 : 55.5 1.54e6 : 51.5 : 57 : 41.5 : 50 : 48.5 : 57.5 1.76e6 : 53.5 : 58 : 42.5 : 51 : 48.5 : 57.5 1.98e6 : 55.5 : 58 : 42.5 : 52 : 49.5 : 58.5 2.20e6 : 57.5 : 61 : 43.5 : 53 : 49.5 : 59.5 2.42e6 : 59.5 : 61 : 44.5 : 54 : 51.5 : 60.5 2.64e6 : 61.5 : 64 : 45.5 : 55 : 52.5 : 61.5 2.86e6 : 63.5 : 64 : 45.5 : 56 : 52.5 : 62.5 This time with CON 18... Exp : T : F/T : M/T : C/T : F/M/T : F/C/T 89 000 : 46.5 : 54 : 37.5 : 44.5 : 41.5 : 50.5 110 000 : 52 : 54 : 37.5 : 51 : 44.5 : 53.5 160 000 : 57.5 : 62 : 43 : 54 : 49 : 56 220 000 : 59.5 : 65 : 48.5 : 58.5 : 56.5 : 64.5 440 000 : 61.5 : 74 : 55 : 62.5 : 66 : 73 660 000 : 63.5 : 79 : 57.5 : 65 : 69.5 : 76.5 880 000 : 65.5 : 80 : 59.5 : 66 : 74.5 : 82.5 1.10e6 : 67.5 : 82 : 59.5 : 67 : 74.5 : 82.5 1.32e6 : 69.5 : 83 : 60.5 : 68 : 76.5 : 83.5 1.54e6 : 71.5 : 85 : 61.5 : 69 : 77.5 : 85.5 1.76e6 : 73.5 : 86 : 62.5 : 70 : 77.5 : 85.5 1.98e6 : 75.5 : 86 : 62.5 : 71 : 78.5 : 86.5 2.20e6 : 77.5 : 89 : 63.5 : 72 : 78.5 : 87.5 2.42e6 : 79.5 : 89 : 64.5 : 73 : 80.5 : 88.5 2.64e6 : 81.5 : 92 : 65.5 : 74 : 81.5 : 89.5 2.86e6 : 83.5 : 92 : 65.5 : 75 : 81.5 : 90.5 An interesting observation: in terms of long-term HP growth, the normal thief has the best prospects. While other variants may have a good early growth, anything beyond Shadows of Amn (Throne of Bhaal), their consistent rate of 2 HP gain eventually surpasses the much slower HP, if larger, gain that multiclasses enjoy (or suffer). ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 10e.Backstab Analysis [A50] So what if you really want to know the best way to squeeze every iota of efficiency out of backstabbing? Well, courtesty of John B. Sprague, I present to you a relatively math-easy explanation that a Kensai/Thief is more adept at this than the Assassin. "Looking at how backstab damage is calculated is revealing. Basically, every damage modifier except for STR bonus damage gets multiplied. You can express it as an equation as follows: BSD = ((WR + WDB + WPB + WSB + CB) * BSM) + SDB where: BSD = total backstab damage WR = weapon roll (e.g., 1 to 6 for a short sword) WDB = weapon damage bonus (e.g. 4 for a +4 sword) WPB = weapon proficiency bonus (i.e., damage bonus from specialization) WSB = weapon style bonus (i.e., bonus damage from weapon style) CB = class bonus (i.e., any +DMG from class/kit) BSM = backstab modifier SDB = strength damage bonus For great, consistent backstabbing, you want to achieve the highest minimum damage possible so that the smallest possible hit (WR = 1) still results in considerable, crippling damage. So how do you crank up that minimum damage? I think the Kensai/Thief dual-class takes the cake. Obviously, the further you develop the Kensai before dualling the better, but I for one hate waiting forever to be a fully realized dual class, so I'd dual at 9. The significant stats this nets you for backstabbing: -2 to speed factor, +3 THAC0, +3 damage, and 3 uses of Kai. As for weapon proficiencies: both single weapon style and two handed weapon style give you critical hits on 19 and 20, so they are equal on that count; but, two handed style *also* gives you +1 minimum damage. Since the only thief-usable (i.e., backstab-enabled) two handed weapon type is the quarter staff, I decided on grand mastery in quarter staves. I developed to grand mastery because that fifth star nets you an extra +1 minimum damage (for a total of +3). So, with the layout decided, let's see how our Kensai/Thief stacks up against the assassin. I'm going to assume quarter staff use/two handed style for the assassin as well for an apples to apples comparison (giving the assassin the benefit of that extra +1 from the two handed style). In both cases, I'll assume use of the Staff of Rynn +4 that Ribald sells. I'll assume 19 STR for both. So, the assassin's variables are: WR = 1 (we're calculating min damage) WDB = 4 (+4 Staff of Rynn) WPB = 0 (no specialization) WSB = 1 (two handed weapon style) CB = 1 (assassins get +1 hit and damage) BSM = 7 (7x backstab at lvl 21) SDB = 7 (19 STR belt) BSD = ((1 + 4 + 0 + 1 + 1) * 7) + 7 BSD = 56 min at level 21 How about max? BSD = ((6 + 4 + 0 + 1 + 1) * 7) + 7 BSD = 91 at level 21 So, our level 21 assassin does 56 to 91, with an average of 73.5. What about our lvl 9 Kensai turned thief? WR = 1 (min damage) WDB = 4 (+4 Staff of Rynn) WPB = 3 (grandmastery yields +3 damage) WSB = 1 (two handed weapon style) CB = 3 (lvl 9 Kensai gets +3 hit and damage) BSM = 5 (regular thief tops out at 5x backstab) SDB = 7 (19 STR belt) BSD = ((1 + 4 + 3 + 1 + 3) * 5) + 7 BSD = 67 min at 910,000 XP for 9/13 Kensai/Thief And max: BSD = ((6 + 4 + 3 + 1 + 3) * 5) + 7 BSD = 92 max at 910,000 XP for 9/13 Kensai/Thief So, our lowly 9/10 K/T does 67 to 92 damage, with an average of 79.5. What conclusions can we draw here? The Kensai/Thief has a higher minimum damage (which is very desirable), and a higher average, with a comparable (yet still higher) max. Furthermore, he is fully realized at 910,000 XP, compared to the assassin's 2.42 million! And there are more benefits as well: -Better THAC0 due to Kensai bonus and grand mastery -More thief points! (thieflvl * 25) + 20 vs. the assassin's (thieflvl * 15) + 40 -Kai! When you positively have to have that fantastic backstab, the Kensai can do max damage at will, 3 times a day -If your victim survives your brutal opening attack, you have two attacks per round to the assassin's one (and those attacks can be boosted by the same Kai that maxed your opening attack) I'd like to note in closing that a high level assassin dualled to a fighter can achieve even more fantastic backstabs than the Kensai/Thief I have described here, but a 16/17 or 21/22 Assassin/Fighter takes a *very* long time to realize, and furthermore are only possible in the expansion. Lastly, there are gloves available very late in the game that will up the assassin's minimum damage and put him back on top... but what fun is it being the best for so short a space of time? The Kensai/Thief rocks from shortly after emerging from Irenicus's dungeon! And besides, if the absolute max at any price was the goal, you could develop a Kensai to 12 or 13 before dualling. But I want power *now*, dagnabbit! So go go Kensai/Thief!" EDITOR'S NOTE: Don't forget, though, that the Assassin enjoys some abilities that may be worth more to you than a pure high backstab (since backstabbing is not always possible or effective), namely Use Poison. So one can still not say that a Kensai/Thief is strictly better than an Assassin. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 11. Final Notes [B00] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 11a.Conclusion/Special Thanks [B10] So hopefully by now, at the end of this guide, you now understand how trully powerful and wonderful a thief can be. And if you don't get that, then atleast I hope you have gained greater insight into the wonders of trapping, backstabbing, hiding, and the like. Now what the hell are you waiting for? Get back to playing! Kudos go out to DSimpson (for his excellent guides) and to the TeamBG people. Without DSimpson, I never would've felt compelled to try to write something as awesome as his. Without TeamBG, I never would have figured how to open up .spl files for Baldur's Gate 2 and learn how those damn Traps actually work. PlanetBG.com also gets kudos since their singular description of the Assassin's Poison Weapon effect (it's different from every other guide on the internet) made me curious as to see if they were onto something. Which led me to opening up .spl files and realizing they were mostly correct (meaning almost everyone else is wrong). Thanks also goes to Gegengheist, Skidi Wili, and Superdroideka, as they have helped contribute information to the guide. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 11b.My Works [B20] 1999 Mode Guide (Bioshock Infinite) Clash in the Clouds Guide (Bioshock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds DLC) Heart of Fury Guide (Icewind Dale 2) Party Creation Guide (Baldur's Gate) Party Creation Guide (Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition) Populous II Guide (Populous II) Thief Guide (Baldur's Gate 2) Ultimate Analysis (System Shock 2) Ultimate Oblivion FAQ (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion) ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 11c.Appendix [B30] Over the course of the guide, I reference a few things that you might have never heard of. BaldurDash.org - www.baldurdash.org - It contains FixPacks and Text fixes for both Shadows of Amn and Throne of Bhaal that fix numerous minor and major bugs that have been confirmed (but have been left unaddressed) by BioWare. In fact, unless you download either the Shadows of Amn or Throne of Bhaal FixPack, you will NOT be able to backstab anything while equipped with Boots of Speed. ShadowKeeper - http://www.mud-master.com/shadowkeeper - It is a saved-game editor. Many people use it to cheat (give themselves free items or unlimited strongholds), but I use it to fix the extra HP bug if I forget to do the proper steps during character creation. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 11d.Legal Disclaimer [B40] I am not affiliated with Bioware/Black Isle/Interplay in any way, and any information I provide should be treated as third party information. Therefore, Bioware/Black Isle/Interplay cannot be held responsible for any misuse of information provided herein, and I cannot give a full guarantee that the information provided herein is 100% accurate. Therefore, no party, that is, Bioware/Black Isle/Interplay/Me, cannot be held responsible for any problems that may result in the misuse of information or use of faulty information; the best reparation that can be made in the latter case would be for me to correct the faulty information so that it is accurate. In addition, you (the party reading this) are free to distribute this work freely on the internet and in any other media as long as credit is given to the original author (Chris Lee). ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 11e.History [B50] 08/08/13: v2.91 completed (minor) - Updating My Works section. 01/28/13: v2.9 completed - Updating with Hide in Shadows/Move Silently mechanics. - Adding extra stuff to "my works" sections. 07/26/12: v2.88 completed - Added Usuno's Blade +4 to Weapons of Note. 10/27/11: v2.87 completed - Added "my works" section. 9/20/11: v2.86 completed - Changed Spectral Brand to scimitar (thanks again Edward!). 9/16/11: v2.85 completed - Minor addendum to Cloak of Non-Detection (thanks Edward)! - Changed solo challenge from "TODO" to "NEVER WILL" and added mention of the other guy's extensive solo guide. 3/8/09: v2.8 completed - Fixed THAC0 tables. - Expanded a bit on Cleric/Thief dual-classing. 9/1/06: v2.7 completed - It appears that someone else has gotten a solo-challenge up. Whattdya know. - Removed Fighter/Cleric/Thief (my bad). - If you've submitted tips into me since March, apologies (my mail went kaput), so I haven't updated them. 3/9/06: v2.6 completed - Finished the Berserker section. - Fixed a few errors with some of the restrictions in multiclasses. - I swear to GOD I'll get to info about the solo-challenge at some point (maybe when I graduate). 12/17/04: v2.5 completed - Minor change to the introduction. - Added a backstab analysis, courtesty of John B. Sprague. - New weapon added to items of note. - Added extra information to Skills. - Gave myself an extended deadline for finishing the tables and doing the solo challenge; stupid schoolwork... - TO BE ADDED SOON: Solo challenging stories from thief/mage Aust. 9/9/04: v2.1 completed - Added extra note in HP Growth Tables section. - Completed HP Growth Tables for Shadows of Amn experience, fixed a few erroneous calculations. - Added "Appendix" in the Final Notes section. - Added more information on multi-classes (specifically dual- classing). 9/7/04: v2.0 completed - That's right, a COMPLETE jump in version number!! Big changes. - Added two new sections (Solo Challenge, Miscellany). - Expanded several sections. - Fixed some grammatical/syntax issues. - Revamped the method of jumping through text. The jumble of letters such as KV4, which while based intuitively (first letter of section, first letter of the subsection, number of the section), started to prove less than optimal with the two new sections, so a more intuitive system was used (first number designates section number in hexadecimal, second number designates subsection, third number designates sub-subsection). 8/12/04: v1.6 completed - Added two new items: Mask of King Strohm (thanks again, ever- diligent Gegengheist) and the Tuigan Short Bow +1. 8/2/04: v1.57 completed - Made a slight change in to the Assassin section; not only is the poison about three times faster at level 15, it's also more damaging. 7/28/04: v1.55 completed - It's actually just "Buckler +1" and not "Clandestine Buckler," thanks again Gegengheist. 7/27/04: v1.5 completed - Made significant grammaer/syntax fixes. - Added two big extra equipment notes. - Gave credit for the past equipment note edit and these two current ones. Thanks Skidi Wili and Gegengheist. 7/26/04: v1.4 completed - Added a new section, "Pre-introduction." - Some forthcoming edits... 6/20/04: v1.3 completed - Added some extra equipment notes. - Expanded the Vanilla Thief section to include some multiclasses. 12/31/03: v1.25 completed. - Fixed some various minor typographical errors. - Added some extra minor details. - Did some studies with the Assassin's script files (thanks again TeamBG for your software!) and corrected the class description to match the reality. 12/29/03: v1.2 completed. - Fixed some GROSS factual errors that I overlooked in the initial release of the FAQ. Quite embarassing as it seems my brain must have stopped functioning. Exploding Trap does NOT harm allies, for one. Two extra days for earning money in the Stronghold means 1.4 times expected yield, not 1.2. - Added some corrections to various areas (like typos). - Corrected some minor errors throughout the guide as well as adding some detail. - Added Angurvadal, Girdle of Fire Giant Strength, and Gauntlets of Extraordinary Specialization to Items of Note. 12/27/03: v1.0 completed. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= The Stinger ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Spectator: Oh, Captain, my Captain! Captain Egeissag: Eh? Why do you address me as such, beholder? You have a most peculiar attitude... I shall have to report it to the mistress soon. Spectator: Oh, never mind that. I always wanted to say that, and there you go getting all upset. =======================================================================