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About the Author Solution Updates
GUIDE TO CREATING YOUR PARTY
In this section,
I’m going to offer some comments and/or perspectives on the
creation of the heroes (or villains) that will make up your adventuring
band. A number of issues will be considered; the contrast between
powergaming and roleplaying, the Non-Player Characters available
to join your party, how to analyze multi-classing in the game, and
then some final thoughts on planning out your team.
debate that often rages in the Sorcerer’s Place forums centers
around the mutually exclusive concepts of powergaming and roleplaying.
Roleplaying concerns itself with the literary merit of the course
of the game taken by the player. Can the actions, and dialogues,
of the characters be plausibly tied in with the game world that
provides the backdrop, and with the game’s plot? Powergaming
at its purest is the drive to maximize the power of your characters
without questioning whether it makes literary sense for your characters.
An example of this is slaughtering an entire village for the experience
points and treasure and then moving on to the next level. That is,
after you’ve just saved them through your quests. Indulging
in one method of play will usually be at the expense of the other.
In some measure,
my conduct of the game will reflect powergaming. Before you condemn
this out of hand, the point behind a walkthrough is to help the
reader succeed at the game. What better way to do that than to speak
the language of powergaming? On the other hand, I’m only willing
to take it so far. You may notice points where I stop myself short
because an action that would increase my power or experience points
just doesn’t make sense for a band of heroes out to save the
NPCs of Temple of Elemental Evil
admonish any player reading this to dispense with the idea of letting
a NPC sign on board. The NPCs are high-maintenance, both figuratively
and literally. They usually have rather mediocre ability scores.
The biggest drawback is that most (if not all of them) take a certain
portion of the loot for themselves. The effects this has on your
progress far exceeds what they provide in return. A well thought
out party of five created characters suffices. Forget about the
as some of you will undoubtedly want to examine the NPCs on your
own, and because some of them are connected with certain quests,
here is a detailed list of NPCs.
in Temple of Elemental Evil
when I wrote my Icewind Dale 2 walkthrough, I’m now assuming
everybody is familiar with how 3rd Edition multi-classing works.
I’ll now describe what I think are some important concepts
to consider when deciding whether to multi-class your character
or keep him or her single-classed.
Strain on ability scores
this I mean whether you can emphasize spending your points on certain
ability scores so that it benefits all the classes of the character.
A good example of this is that Paladin, Fighter, and Barbarian classes
go well together since they all depend on Strength and Constitution.
Another viable option could be Bard and Sorcerer, since Charisma
and Dexterity benefit both classes.
the other hand, if one class depends on certain ability scores while
another class relies upon other ability scores, it could lead to
spreading your points out so that the resulting character doesn’t
have a lot going for him or her. This is something that I learned
the hard way. The first time I played Icewind Dale 2, I created
a Druid with one level of Rogue. I figured that since both use leather
armor, it works. The problem is, I had to put a premium on both
Wisdom and Intelligence. This in turn meant that I had to neglect
the physical development of the character. Suffice to say, that
was quite a painful experience.
What equipment can the classes use?
Can both classes
use the same equipment? If they can’t, does it affect the
usefulness of that character?
Druid, and Rogue pose little if any conflict as far as equipment
is concerned. They can all wear leather armor effectively. They
can also all use by and large the same weaponry. Likewise, Fighter
and Paladin together presents no encumbrance since both can use
any weapon and wear plate armor.
On the other
hand, trying to mix Paladin or Fighter levels with an arcane class
(i.e. Wizard or Sorcerer) presents an obvious problem. Heavy Armors
that would commend themselves such as plate mail will impose significant
chances of arcane spellcasting failure, often as high as 30 to 40%.
The typical scenario is that equipment suitable for such a class
mix (i.e. specially enchanted Elven Chainmail) cannot be found until
late in the game.
The ‘focus’ of a class
Does not advancing
with singular dedication to one class impair your character’s
performance in that class? How much so? Well, that depends.
A lot depends
on what abilities your character would gain if he had advanced in
one single class, and lost by multi-classing. The best example is
probably the Monk. Suppose you do a 50/50 split between a Monk and
another class. Come 20th level, the character cannot strike for
1d20 damage, cannot use Quivering Palm, and doesn’t have Spell
Resistance. Some would say that these are some of the very reasons
for playing a Monk in the first place.
On the other
hand, the whole reason for multi-classing is to gain different abilities
from another class. So you really have to ask yourself, ‘Are
the abilities of a class I have sacrificed made up for by the abilities
I have acquired in another class?’ It’s all cost/benefit
analysis. There are additional factors that I think can help in
the cost/benefit analysis.
One is that
you don’t have to do 50/50 as per the 2nd edition rules. You
can add as many or as few levels of another class as you like. For
example, if you like Barbarians, you can add on a few Fighter levels
to augment his prowess with bonus combat feats.
is that if the party already has a character who advances rapidly
in a single class, having another character multi-class with that
same class becomes more bearable. For example, if you already have
a single class wizard, then a fighter/wizard or fighter/sorcerer
who can defend himself with spells like Stoneskin and Mirror Image
can still be a good idea.
skills do you want a character to use? Do you want to develop skills
from both classes? It must be borne in mind that if you advance
a level in one class, spending one of your skill points on a cross-class
skill will only improve your rank in that skill by ½. I’ll
give an example. Suppose that you advance a level as a Fighter,
and want to improve your Sleight of Hand because that character
is also your party Rogue. It is deemed to be a ‘cross-class’
skill at the time you are advancing a level as a Fighter. Spending
a skill point will only improve your rank in Sleight of Hand by
½. The chart on page 71 of the manual outlines what counts
as ‘class skills’ and ‘cross class skills’
for each class. In conclusion, you must be alive to the possibility
that multi-classing can impose substantial restraints on skills
that you may want to have that character develop.
It can however
be mitigated with a few measures. One is that certain classes just
don’t depend on skills to be effective, or at least much less
so than say a Rogue. Suppose you have a Human character combine
Cleric and Fighter levels. Humans always get two skill points each
level. You could also say to yourself that this character doesn’t
really need anything besides the Concentration skill (or maybe Heal
as well). So with each level, you always advance a rank in Concentration
whilst not worrying about anything else.
is that other characters in the party may use those same skills
just as well, or even better, or more conveniently. If you have
a Rogue for example, and want to multi-class it with something else,
it may be just as well to have the party Monk or Ranger develop
the Hide and Move Silently skills. This leaves the Rogue free to
hone his other thieving skills.
is that the skill may be a ‘class skill’ for both classes.
For example, the Ranger and the Druid can both freely develop Survival
and Planning Out Your Party
The most important
concept behind a successful party is this: how well do they work
together as a team? Try thinking of your party in terms of roles.
What role is a given character going to play in your band? Some
- Somebody who’s going to stand toe to toe in physical confrontations
with the opposition. Ideally, the tank will not only be able to
cut the monsters down to size, but will also interject himself between
the monsters and a more vulnerable party member and survive the
blows that follow.
- Somebody who not only heals the wounds of the party members, but
also removes the various maledictions that can inflict her comrades.
Caster - Somebody who torches, or debilitates, the opposition
with spells - preferably from afar.
- Somebody who bolsters the party’s defences, or combat abilities,
with spells. In Dungeons and Dragons rules, classes that fill the
Healer role also come with spells that fulfil the Buffer role.
- Somebody to bypass the traps, locks, etc. that get in the way
of treasure or making it to the next level.
- Somebody who discovers useful information that allows the party
to progress through the game world. This can involve a variety of
methods. The role can be performed by a scout with the appropriate
skills. It can also be performed by a spellcaster with divination
Creator - With the implementation of feats like Craft Wondrous
Items and Craft Wands, etc., this is a role specific to Temple of
Elemental Evil. Who in your party will create the magic items you
consider this list as exhaustive. It is simply meant to encourage
you to think about what it is you want each of your characters to
accomplish for the party.
you create a party member, always contemplate how that character
will mesh with his or her mates. Does that character have shortcomings
or gaps that can be filled by another character, or vice versa?
Will certain skills or feats be provided by another character? And
so on. It is well worth it to take the time to plan out your party
in advance before launching ToEE for the first time. What follows
is just such a plan that I put into motion.
Ideal Neutral Good Party
now follows is a detailed description of each party member that
I took through the adventure. The members of my party are as follows;
Sir Tirion – the Paladin/Fighter,
Ferofist – my Dwarven Cleric, Alliria
– the Druid, Valarian – an
Elven Rogue/Wizard, and Lanatir –
the Sorcerer. You’ll notice that I took the time to roll some
fairly high stats for them, the first hint of power-gaming. But
hey, your party is supposed to be composed of individuals who stand
above the rest and thus carry the burden of saving the world (e.g.
For each party
member, the following will be provided:
A description of why that character is included. This will include
discussions of what kind of role(s) the character is going to perform,
and why a certain class is selected for the character. Where multi-class
characters are concerned, I will discuss why I chose the particular
arrangement for that character. Where appropriate, I’ll also
discuss why I chose one class over another.
Every 4th level, a character is allowed to add +1 to one of his
ability scores. I will explain the choices I made for a character,
and the rationale behind that choice.
The skills that the character develops and why. As with any other
section, explanations of why alternatives weren’t selected
will be provided when appropriate.
The feats that are chosen by a character and why.
Where appropriate, I’ll also explain the spell selections
for a certain character.