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ToB: The HLA's thread.

#1Hamstah_FwendPosted 3/3/2009 2:05:38 AM
From what I remember (and this is wayy back from when ToB was still new), the general consensus on HLA's was that the only ones really worth taking were Greater Whirlwind for fighter-types, Use Any Item for rogues (with maybe Spike Trap and Time Trap tossed in) and Improved Alacrity plus the Planetars for mages.

So what're ToB characters supposed to do with the rest of their HLA picks? >_>
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#2DarthMordechaiPosted 3/3/2009 2:10:53 AM
Critical Strike is far better HLA than Greater Whirlwind for fighters

Greater Whirlwind = 10 Attacks per Round
Critical Strike = Every Attack per Round hits
Dual Wielding + Improved Haste + Critical Strike = 10 Attacks per Round that always hit

I personally love Spike Traps, but they are the cheesiest of the cheese. They can take everything down almost instantly - with 3/4 Spike Traps the last boss of ToB is a joke

For mages, I like the Comet spell you can choose. Party friendly Area of Effect spell which does decent damage and knocks enemies down, buying some time if needed? Yes please. Dragon's Breath is sort of the same, but it's fire damage and lots of things have decent resistance to it making it less effective, but it still is party friendly
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#3starxPosted 3/3/2009 2:11:43 AM
Eh? If you are Fighter type, Greater Whirlwind is not really worth taking,
unless you plan on using 2-handed weapons, and even then...
The skills worth taking as Fighter type are Critical Strike and Hardiness,
Greater Whirlwind isn't really worth it. Pick more Critical Strikes and Hardiness.
As a thief, Assassination is pretty good, but can only be picked once.
If you are a Mage only, then oh well, you are screwed out of your picks.
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#4Hamstah_Fwend(Topic Creator)Posted 3/3/2009 2:20:41 AM
Wow, times sure have changed then. For some reason, back in the day people kept saying that Greater Whirlwind was the only worthwhile HLA.
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#5LatronisPosted 3/3/2009 3:38:24 AM
Nah it's just that more people in general were ignorant back then. Those in the know have always been recommending improved haste critical strike over gww. The greater whirlwind fans were just vocal.

Greater Whirlwind can be decent for 2handed weapons but 6 attacks(from improved haste) with critical strike still results in more damage.

Monks need greater whirlwind. Being immune to improved haste. 10 attacks > 4 criticals.

Only something a tad slower like a crossbow with non physical damage bonus bolts(biting\lightning etc) truly benefits from greater whirlwind over IH\CS

Hardiness is simply great defence when AC isn't. However it eventually lasts a good long while so most people won't need more than 3.

Power Attack is mainly used just as a prereq for critical strike. Smite might aswell be taken it's one time, it's rarely an inferior option to critical strike.

Deathblow is useless in ToB.

Greater Deathblow is only going to kill something that's pretty much dead from critical strike anyway.

Resist Magic is useless basically.

Warcry is merely a fear effect, anything you want effected won't be, and fear isn't an overly effective means of mass debilitation.

Tracking is basically pointless for rangers.

Deva HLA is ok for paladins, but if you have a cleric you should leave it up to them and focus on the combat ones.

Basically an optimized warrior will want to take roughly 3 hardiness(depending on how often you rest) 1 power attack, 1 smite and the rest as critical strike.
#6LatronisPosted 3/3/2009 3:38:36 AM
Traps are cheesy the HLAs especially(particularly for bards) If it doesnt bother you all 3 of them can be used effectively.

Use Any Item might as well be taken, but it ain't that great. Outside of overriding kit restrictions most of the gear you want to use you can anyway(and it still don't allow you to use non thief weapons for backstabs) There are a few decent items worth using though.

Scribe scrolls is pretty meh, same with alchemy and the magic flute, the effects arn't that special and can be accomplished in other ways.

The greater avoid death is ok, but doesn't do too much. The AC bonus ain't that useful late game and the saves arn't a big issue.

Assassination would be ok if it could be taken more than once. And ontop of that there are magical means of accomplishing a similiar effect more often.

As for the casters they'll eventually get everything anyway.

Druids are slightly different having the elemental forms. Without fighter tables they suck though. If you do have fighter tables it can work well. (earth is the better combatant, but fire can be situationally useful) Using a weapon for such is often more effective as the PC but someone like jaheira can use it well if you need to share the better weapons she can use.

Deva is a good summon but planetar is better most of the time.

Elemental summoning can be good if you get lucky otherwise its only used to get access to the greater version(as a druid)

Implosion's biggest problem is single target, that and mages by that stage can potentially do that much damage to every enemy, several times in the round.

Mass raise dead... yeah if you are always losing enough people to justify using this you have bigger problems...

Aura of Flaming death can have it's place for melee based (multi\dual warrior\priests) or mage\clerics working as a meatshield.

Globe of blades can be scary on a meatshield caster or melee character.

Improved Aclarity.. baroqued

Dragon's Breath if you take the time to lower saves and resistance if neccassary it can potentially be the most damaging spell in the game. It has a long animation delay however, so there are times that enemies can actually be out of the area of effect before the damage occurs.

Comet does the same damage save or not as a dragon breath saved againest, it's animation delay is very slight though so it strikes sooner. It does more damage than abi dalzims on a save, and only slightly less than a failed save wilting. Definately one of the better nukes.

Energy Blades... as far as magically created weapons go these are the best. Even as a pure caster.

Planetar... HLA summons are truly treated as called creatures unlike most other summons regardless of description so they are immune to things like death spell. These are one of the best summons you can get, even if you can only have 1 out at a time(legitimately anyway).

Storm of Vengence, the damage is meh, but the instant death effect can take out weaker mobs very quickly.

Improved Bard Song.. Removes some disadvantages of the Blade combared to skald, only slighlty better than 20+ skald song. Any attacker(including backstabbers) will love it's bonuses, and something like Vhailor's helm can let you double up the effects since they stack(or have the real bard do something else while singing). Every meatshield bard(such as haer dalis) should take it and singing between drawing attention.

Did i forget anything?


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Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.
If you die then you'll have lived a slightly less meaningful existence than those around you who did play bg1/2.
#7RequiemPosted 3/3/2009 4:34:56 AM
I suppose just the fact that deciding what HLA is "best" has a lot to do with your party make up (and I suppose whether or not you're soloing), what mod you're using, etc etc.

You know, the standard disclaimer.

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#8HeWhoMatesWithDuckPosted 3/3/2009 8:34:27 AM
Some addition to Latronis' posts

Here's a little comparison between Comet and Dragon's Breath:
DRAGON'S BREATH
- Party-friendly
- Does 20D10 fire damage, save vs. breath for half
- Knocks enemies back when they fail aforementioned save
- Ignores magic resistance
COMET
- Party-friendly
- Does 10D10 (presumably) fire damage, no save
- Knocks enemies back, no save (but some enemies are immune)
- Stuns knocked back enemies for 1D4 rounds on a failed save vs. paralyzation
- Does not ignore magic resistance

Also a side note on Greater Deathblow, it's fairly effective in those you vs. lots of enemies fights ToB has several of. The orcs in WK and the Oasis fight come to mind. Especially archers will make good use of it, and then especially with area-effect missiles like arrows of detonation or Fire Seeds (cleric spell, but can be passed to other party members).

Greater Elemental Summoning is powerful but only lasts 1 turn.

Implosion ignores magic resistance and doesn't grant a save for the hold effect.

And you forgot Evasion and Greater Evasion for rogues, the former has pretty sub-par effects but the latter works nicely in emergency situations though you'll often have cheaper alternatives to get your rogue to safety.

And the extra spell slots are cool.

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#9The_Pig_Posted 3/3/2009 12:10:26 PM
For some reason, back in the day people kept saying that Greater Whirlwind was the only worthwhile HLA.


Improved Haste is so much better.

Whirlwind only lasts 1 round. Improved Haste lasts 1 round per caster level. Whirlwind at level 20 will therefore last 1 round while Improved Haste lasts 20 rounds. A fighter can easily get 3 attacks per round if single wielding (4 if dual wielding and 5 if dual wielding with Belm or Kundane in the off-hand). Since Improved Haste actually doubles the number of attacks per round, this is far more effective than Whirlwind in the long run.

Also, Hardiness is a very good HLA for pure fighters, but not necessarily fighter/mages. Once you get to epic levels, no enemy is going to miss you on anything except a critical miss. So resisting damage becomes more valuable than AC. This is why Hardiness is great. Hardiness also stacks with barbarian's innate resistance and also stacks with a fighter/cleric's Armor of the Faith. This can get you 60% resistance and 65% resistance respectively. That is a very handy thing to have. Fighter/mages however don't really need Hardiness since they get spells like Mirror Image, Stoneskin, and Protection from Magical Weapons.