1. SPS Accounts:
    Do you find yourself coming back time after time? Do you appreciate the ongoing hard work to keep this community focused and successful in its mission? Please consider supporting us by upgrading to an SPS Account. Besides the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from supporting a good cause, you'll also get a significant number of ever-expanding perks and benefits on the site and the forums. Click here to find out more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
You are currently viewing Boards o' Magick as a guest, but you can register an account here. Registration is fast, easy and free. Once registered you will have access to search the forums, create and respond to threads, PM other members, upload screenshots and access many other features unavailable to guests.

BoM cultivates a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We have been aiming for quality over quantity with our forums from their inception, and believe that this distinction is truly tangible and valued by our members. We'd love to have you join us today!

(If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us. If you've forgotten your username or password, click here.)

Disablers and mage's melee weapons

Discussion in 'BG2: Shadows of Amn (Classic)' started by SlickRCBD, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. SlickRCBD Gems: 23/31
    Latest gem: Black Opal


    Resourceful Veteran

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,590
    Media:
    16
    Likes Received:
    67
    Gender:
    Male
    I've often seen it said over and over again that "mages shouldn't be in melee" or that "mages + melee = dead mages".
    While that is true, there are times when I have my mage attack the enemy with his staff or dagger.

    Specifically, when I use a disabling spell that renders some of the enemy helpless. Spells like Ghoul Touch, Hold Person, Sleep, Power Word:Stun, the wand of paralization, and anything else that stuns or paralyzes the target for more than one round without creating hazards like Stinking Cloud or Web.

    When that happens, I like to have my front and second line characters shift to drawing the attention of the other still active enmies, and have my mage move in on the nearest helpless enemy and start wailing away at them with his melee weapon.

    I do something similar with Stinking Cloud or Web, only have my mage start using the less damaging ranged attacks such as his sling, throwing daggers, or darts. Using the least enchanted missile that will damage the target (usually the unenchanted ones) to conserve the more valuable weapons for targets that the to-hit bonuses are useful for.

    Does anybody else adopt this tactic of conserving spells and missiles by having the mage finish off helpless targets while the rest of the party focuses on the active ones?
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2014
  2. Yoshimo's Heart Gems: 12/31
    Latest gem: Moonstone


    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    487
    Likes Received:
    16
    Gender:
    Male
    I may have a mage finish off a target but honestly I stick with missile weapons such as the sling or darts (bows with those that can use them too). There just isnt a reason to use a melee weapon with a straight mage in general. Unless I am forgetting something...
     
  3. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Messages:
    2,388
    Media:
    33
    Likes Received:
    129
    Gender:
    Male
    When you have the staff of magi, the dispell on hit can be useful. It's also the ultimate hit and run weapon.
     
  4. Yoshimo's Heart Gems: 12/31
    Latest gem: Moonstone


    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2005
    Messages:
    487
    Likes Received:
    16
    Gender:
    Male
    Yep you got me there that is true and I have done that before. Not too often but it is useful at times.
     
  5. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Messages:
    2,388
    Media:
    33
    Likes Received:
    129
    Gender:
    Male
    To answer Slick's original question: It completely depends on the circumstances.

    Normally I would concentrate on the disabled one with all party members, as I find the best tactic is usually to focus on reducing enemy numbers. Less enemies means less getting hit. Unless of course such action would draw more enemy attention (running into a group of enemies), then I would probably try to draw away a few while one or more others are disabled, and split the numbers that way.

    Arrow/bullet/dart conservation is generally not very high on my list. For bullets there are only the sun bullets that have any special property, the rest don't really need preserving. For arrows I will always use plain (though possibly enchanted) arrows unless there's a specific case to use them (I tend to use arrows of biting in BG1 to disrupt spellcasters, but not much else). So again not too much to conserve.
    Darts I don't really use much.
     
  6. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2001
    Messages:
    8,094
    Media:
    88
    Likes Received:
    311
    Gender:
    Male
    My take is keep the squishy spellcasters out of arms reach of enemies, even immobilized ones. I don't save ammo, so they can plunk, shoot, toss, or whatever it is they can do from a nice safe distance.
     
  7. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,090
    Media:
    10
    Likes Received:
    102
    Gender:
    Male
    It's one of those things you mostly tell new players. Some people can get overwhelmed by complexity of the game and the basic "keep squishy casters away from melee combat" tactic may end up not being as obvious to them as the veteran gamer - some forget, some end up prioritizing something else. Reminding them helps.
    It really doesn't apply to experienced gamers. You know the risks, so if for some reason your mage is trying to whack something with his staff then there's probably a very good reason why he's doing it. This is especially true for games like BG2 for which people have devoted countless playthroughs. If I know for a fact that it only takes 2 fireballs (maybe 3, if they make their saves - could always just check the battle log) to bring all enemies in particular fight down to low HP, then after neutralizing all other possible threats I'll probably send my all my guys (casters included) off into melee and save the rest of my spells for my next fight. I don't mind occasionally sending my casters into melee if I'm sure they're in no immediate danger.

    Btw, because paralysis/stun in BG2 comes with massive penalties to both dexterity andAC, most attacks against stunned/paralyzed mobs will be auto-hits. You can dual-wield daggers on a pure mage and he/she will still have a pretty good chance of hitting stunned/paralyzed/held mobs.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2014
  8. SlickRCBD Gems: 23/31
    Latest gem: Black Opal


    Resourceful Veteran

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,590
    Media:
    16
    Likes Received:
    67
    Gender:
    Male
    I thought attacking paralyzed, stunned, or sleeping enemies was an auto-hit unless the attacker rolls a natural 1. Wasn't it in the manual that "helpless enemies can be hit automatically" or am I thinking of a different [A]D&D game? It's been so long since I actually looked at the manuals that I forget which said which, since I know the rules.
    For all I know, I could be thinking of the Gold Box games that got me started on AD&D back in the late '80s.

    Anyways, back to the mages attacking the disabled enemies.
    My thoughts are the ones that are paralyzed, sleeping, or stunned aren't much of a threat. If it is a short term stun for only a round or two, of course, I'll have the entire party try to take him out ASAP with the free hits, but if it is a long lasting spell, that person is no longer an active threat, and I see it being a better use of their time for the people with decent THAC0 and AC to concentrate on taking out the active threat.
    The mage is to continue casting spells as needed, but if he doesn't need to use more spells, I see a good use for his time to go in there and take out those helpless targets. His staff or dagger will do slightly more damage than a dart or sling bullet, and throwing daggers are relatively expensive unless he has the boomerang dagger or firetooth dagger. Letting him approach a helpless enemy is not much of a risk, and doing some good helping to ensure they go down before the spell wears off without drawing others away from taking out the active threats. To my mind, it costs nothing and has a great gain.

    Of course, if the helpless enemy is in the back and I'd have to wade into the melee and put the mage at risk, as opposed to being in the front where the mage can smack him with his staff through the ranks of the front-liners, I'll have the mage use his darts, sling, or even the throwing daggers. It's only when the risk of actually being attacked is minimal that I'll send the mage in. As I said, I let the more melee inclined people like the fighter, paladin, ranger, cleric, and even the druid, bard, and thief concentrate on taking out the active threats while acting as a shield wall, while the mage moves in on a helpless enemy on the fringe and takes him out before the spell wears off.
    * * *
    To DMC and Henkie, I'm replying to the issue of missile conservation in another thread to avoid derailing this one.

    http://www.sorcerers.net/forums/showthread.php?p=805102#post805102
     
  9. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Messages:
    2,388
    Media:
    33
    Likes Received:
    129
    Gender:
    Male
    I'm pretty sure that hitting a paralyzed or stunned opponent is an auto-hit. I don't use these type of spells much, though, except in BG1 / Tutu, as I find that too many enemies just make their saves and/or resist. And if they don't, they're usually not much of a threat.

    I agree with Slick's assessment that in a case where an enemy is paralyzed/stunned, easily reached, the effect is fairly long term, and there are other opponents to take care of, then it would be more efficient to go into melee with the mage, as they usually will be able to do more damage over time with a melee weapon then with a ranged weapon.

    I don't know if there are any spells that really have such a long lasting effect and that are still effective against an enemy at higher levels, though.
     
  10. SlickRCBD Gems: 23/31
    Latest gem: Black Opal


    Resourceful Veteran

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,590
    Media:
    16
    Likes Received:
    67
    Gender:
    Male
    You're right, there aren't that many disabling spells. I can only think of the following:
    • symbol, stun
    • power word, stun
    • [un]holy word
    • hold monster
    • hold undead
    • hold person
    • greater command
    • Bigby's higher level spells
    • Comet
    • Sphere of Chaos
    • Ghoul Touch
    Honorable mention for the Wand of Paralyzation, which is still effective even at higher levels, but doesn't count as a spell.
     
  11. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Messages:
    2,388
    Media:
    33
    Likes Received:
    129
    Gender:
    Male
    You forgot sleep, and I didn't know Ghoul Touch could stun. Reading up on it, apparently Ghoul Touch isn't very effective, so I tend to never use it.

    Sleep and hold person work great in BG1, but hold person is easily resisted in BG2. Hold monster is too marginal for me to have ever used it. Don't know if the power word/symbol stun spells are effective (they should be as high level spells, but one never knows, this is D&D after all).

    Wand of paralisation is great in BG1 and still moderately useful in BG2.
     
  12. SlickRCBD Gems: 23/31
    Latest gem: Black Opal


    Resourceful Veteran

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,590
    Media:
    16
    Likes Received:
    67
    Gender:
    Male
    The problem with the Sleep spell is that sleep is only good for one hit, then they wake up quite angry and will attack the squishy mage with predictable results. It's one thing to use sleep on those gibberings in BG1 that have 2-3HP where there is a better than 50% chance to take them out with one hit from a staff that does 1d6 damage or the magic dagger you pick up in Candlekeep that does 1d4+1 damage (2-5), but quite another to attack anything with more than one hit die. Even the goblins in Irenicus' dungeon are a minor threat to a solo mage using only sleep since you can only get the bracers AC8 late in the dungeon and have nothing at the start beyond a staff or dagger. The advantage is that you can take them on one at a time with a free hit between each goblin and makes it very doable, but expect to take some damage.

    Oh, technically Ghoul Touch doesn't stun. It paralyzes on a failed save. Difference is that there are far more enemies immune to paralysis than stun. I lumped all the spells that paralyze together with the spells that stun. Useful on a fighter/mage, F/M/T, or even C/F/M, but not a mage/thief (horrible THAC0 and bad AC until you get elfin chain) or pure mage (horrible THAC0, horrible AC). It's rather iffy with a C/M like Aerie due to lower THAC0, but on the plus side you can use a shield and elfin chain to improve your AC.
    I actually find it a pretty good spell for a F/M/T who has to rely on low-level spells, but bad for a pure mage unless you know you're going into a situation where he'll be forced into melee like the slavers who turn over Celestial Fury to you (when you pry it from their cold, dead hands ;) ).

    ---------- Added 22 hours, 22 minutes and 48 seconds later... ----------

    Upon rereading this, I should clarify things. I don't mean to disparage Sleep as badly as I did.
    Sleep is a great spell for putting low-level enemies out of action so you can deal with them one at a time. For a first level spell, it is incredible, particularly for a first level character facing other characters with one or less hit die.
    It is even better in P&P since you can administer a coup-de-grace and get extra damage on your free strike.
    The free auto-hit is great too, and they don't get to act until the next combat round (though once you take the free hit, they have their defenses back to normal).

    It just isn't usually safe for a mage to start stabbing a sleeping enemy with his dagger, since they usually have low strength and will only do 1d4 damage, leaving the enemy alive even if they get max damage and potentially being attacked on the next round.
    Sleep is still a great way to take them out of the fight and you can concentrate on the rest of the baddies, or if everyone went down, concentrate on the greatest threats first and work your way down, one at a time.
     
  13. henkie

    henkie Hammertime Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2006
    Messages:
    2,388
    Media:
    33
    Likes Received:
    129
    Gender:
    Male
    I don't know if Sleep functions differently in BG1 and BG2, but I know that in BGTutu (i.e. BG2) enemies don't wake up if you hit them. I cast it on some gnolls yesterday and they just stayed down even if it took multiple hits to take them down. Mind you, it's fairly useless in BG2 because it only affects 4+2 HD creatures (source).

    I know that in NWN they wake up after one hit, unless you're lucky enough that a coupe de grace kills them in one hit.
     
  14. SlickRCBD Gems: 23/31
    Latest gem: Black Opal


    Resourceful Veteran

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    Messages:
    1,590
    Media:
    16
    Likes Received:
    67
    Gender:
    Male
    I could be confusing things with NWN or even an Icewind Dale game. It's been a while since I played. I usually think of the P&P 2nd edition AD&D rules first, though I'm surprised I even remembered it's not an automatic 1-hit KO like in the Gold Box games, which is what got me started on D&D.

    Also, Sleep is indeed almost useless in BG2. One of these times I'm going to go through with a stack of 32,767 or 65,535 Sleep scrolls and cast it on every enemy in the game so I can make a list of who it works on.
    Off hand, I can only think of the goblins in Irenicus' dungeon, the few orcs you meet, most of the animals in Trademeet, Umar and Windspear hills, and associated areas, and the gibberings you meet in that one spot I can't recall.
    I can't think of much else it works on off-hand.

    On the other hand, in BG1 Sleep is invaluable. For the first half to 2/3 of the game it is the most powerful spell hands down. It won't work on the bosses, but that is standard for video games. Color Spray is the second most powerful spell in the first 1/2 to 2/3 of BG1, only because of its limited AoE.

    On the enemies Sleep will work on, it is extremely powerful, which is part of why they limited its effectiveness to the low-level cannon fodder. It is only a first level spell, though sometimes I think it should be allowed to work on those with 5 or more HD with an increasing save bonus for each HD above 5. Don't forget that in P&P, the Coup De Grace combat maneuver is extremely powerful.
     
  15. Paracelsi

    Paracelsi ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,090
    Media:
    10
    Likes Received:
    102
    Gender:
    Male
    I can't confirm whether attacking paralyzed/stunned/held monsters makes your attacks auto-hits. Probably, likely.

    I encounter stunned/paralyzed/held mobs very often in my games, mostly thanks to Call Woodland Beings, traps, and the fact that I like using weapons with disabling effects.

    You also forgot Emotion:Hopelessness, the high level version of Sleep. I don't use it often, but in mage-heavy parties I usually save two or so castings. Great against humanoids, drop Malison in there first and it becomes a solid save or die spell.

    Attacking sleeping targets doesn't wake them up in BG2 yeah, unlike the NWN/IWD games.
     

Share This Page

Sorcerer's Place is an independent project run entirely by fans and for fans. Maintaining Sorcerer's Place and a stable environment for all our hosted sites requires a substantial amount of time and money on a regular basis, so please consider supporting us to keep the site up & running smoothly. Thank you!