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I've recently become nostalgic for BG1, so I'm starting a run through the entire trilogy. I've decided on a Cleric/Thief as I've never done it before and it sounds interesting.
Currently debating between:
The Half-orc has nicer starting stats, but those are pretty irrelevant for a cleric in the long-term, as 25 STR is quite easy to manage.
The gnome gets a few nice saving throw bonuses from high constitution (but no HP bonus beyond 16 CON for these classes), and those would be incredibly valuable in BG1. I don't think the -1 WIS really impacts anything significant. Also some minor bonuses to thieving skills based on race, which is nice.
The Assassin dual obviously gets a much more powerful backstab, but I'm not sure how necessary that is. Also misses out on a big portion of traps, as I'd only get 3 HLAs before dualling. I'd likely pick Use Any Item, Assassinate, and one Time Trap. And of course, massive downtime seems rough, especially with plans for a small party in BG 2.
The Lathander dual is interesting because I get a reasonably-lengthed increase in attacks-per-round from Boon of Lathander, plus the full Draw Upon Holy Might that I would need to to go from 19 STR to 25. I would also get nearly the full complement of thief HLAs. The down side is I wouldn't get that much out of the spellcasting powers of the Cleric (Holy Smite, the high-level abilities), which is unfortunate because with the thief's Use Any Item, I could use Robe of Vecna and speed up some of those unusably-slow cleric spells.
Any opinions on which is best?
Between the lot, I'd go with the gnome. The problem with the dual classes (especially at the levels you're planning) is that you're not playing a cleric/thief, you're just playing one for quite a while, then the other for quite a while, and then for the last 10 minutes of the game, you're a cleric/thief.
The gnome gets the shorty bonuses, which will keep you ahead of the saving throw curve, even though you're multi. Maxed out, with 18 con, your saves will be -3, -1, 0, 3, 0. The hit a gnome takes to wisdom is no big deal, especially if you're playing through BG1. Anything more than a wis of 13 is just bonus spells. I wouldn't worry too much about strength. There's enough boosting items in the game, and with Holy Power/RM/DUHM, you won't have problems. Dex is obviously pretty handy, being a thief. Go for a con of 17. You'll get a tome in BG1 to bump it to 18 which is what you need for +5 saves.
I think you're right. Plus, the duals ensure I will be only one of the classes for BG1, plus a very big portion of BG2 (even with a small party).
I did indeed end up choosing the Thief/Cleric dual, with a Gnome. Was able to roll some outrageously high stats for this char in BG1; minimums above 3 in all but one attribute of course helps.
I chose 18 CON because I wanted the full save bonus from the start of BG1. I'm already getting smoked; I died in the second assassination attempt (steps of Friendly Arm inn) about 7 times in a row, as the assassin targeted me with a Magic Missile every single time, which killed me immediately. Had to get lucky to disrupt the spell and finally beat him. Anyways bottom line, I need all the help I can get; I forgot how brutal saves are in this game.
15 INT is great as I will get the +1 tome in BG1 and be able to survive 3 Mind Flayer attacks in BG2.
The Charisma has hurt me so far... I rushed out to try to get Minsc ASAP, and he wouldn't speak to me, due to my low rep (11) and my low CHA. Grabbed Dynaheir and he then joined.
I put all thief points into Open Locks and was able to snag the Star Sapphire in Candlekeep's inn.
Me (Thief/Cleric) - clubs, qstaff
Ajantis (Paladin) - 2H sword
Minsc (Ranger) - dual maces
Imoen (Thief-->Mage) - short bow, dagger
Dynaheir (Mage) - sling, qstaff
My plan is to put Imoen's points entirely into Find Traps, through level 3, at which point she'll have 100. Then I'll dual her to have the least downtime and get her spells up and running as a mage.
I plan to hit 100 Open Locks with my PC, then put the rest into stealth skills for some backstabs.
PP the cloak of Algernon, laugh at every encounter afterward. Though I do admit it does make the game a lot less fun, so even I've stopped using it.
I would've sac'd wisdom down to the minimums (or around 13, there's 3 wisdom tomes in BG1) and dropped int to 10 (11 is really all you need, especially for a hit and fade type like any part thief is), Con at 17 (the +con manual can be gotten stupidly fast...1 sanctuary spell will get you in the cave, loot the chest, and back out effortlessly) and put what ya could spare into charisma.
If you're playing actual BG1, not Tutu or trilogy, don't put more then 35 points in stealth. Boots of stealth and the shadow armor give +50% stealth together.
Charisma is completely useless though, right? In BG2 it only impacts store prices and maybe two other encounters. And in BG1, it actually matters, but only for party leader. Ajantis' paladin discount at 19 CHA is better than Imoen's discount at 24 CHA, and while Minsc won't join me if I'm leader at 3 CHA, he will if Ajantis is leader. So I'd rather have the extra 5 INT and live through one more mind flayer attack, as it's difficult to tell in real-time how many times they've hit you without constantly checking your INT.
As for CON, I didn't remember where the manual was (I've only played the game once before), but I see your point. Actually, I'm pretty bad at knowing cleric spells (part of the reason I'm doing this run), so the Sanctuary trick is interesting to hear.
For a low level cleric spell Sanctuary is quite powerful. Nothing like running through the vampire den and other undead heavy areas with Sanctuary cast and Turn Undead on (Turn Undead does not cancel the invisibility) and watch absolutely everything explode
My friends call me Hadoken because I'm down-right fierce
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Charisma does next to nothing in BG2. You'll find a "ring of 18 charisma" straight out of the starter dungeon and that's more than plenty for price manipulation. If you go all out for 20 reputation, then that plus 18 cha from the ring will give you stellar discounts.
And between those discounts and you being a bloody thief (yes, there is that *special* thief-only discount option as well), charisma ends up worthless, except it looks bad at 3. It's what you'd expect from a mentally challenged goldfish, after all.
Of course, if you're going through BG1 then it will probably climb to 4 before you get to the BG2 part. I suppose that's about par for an above average kobold, which totally means that now everybody will pay attention when your priest holds a mass.