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    Solo Rogue Guide by StevensFAQs

    Version: 1.01 | Updated: 06/10/06 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    *******************************************************************************
    *                                ROGUE SOLO GUIDE                             *
    *******************************************************************************
    
    Copyright 2006 Steven de Rooij
    Version 1.01, last updated 10 june 2006.
    
    
    ===================
    General information
    ===================
    I played Baldur's Gate: Shadows of Amn and the Throne of Bhaal
    expansion with patchlevel 2.6.498 (the latest patch), and the
    Baldurdash FixPack v1.21 installed. I used Core Rules difficulty. If
    you do not have Throne of Bhaal installed, some but not all of the
    information in this guide will still be valid, so use this guide with
    care in that case!
    
    Baldur's Gate II is copyright 2000 by Bioware/Black Isle/Interplay
    BG2: Throne of Bhaal is copyright 2001 by Bioware/Black Isle/Interplay
    
    I am not affiliated with Bioware, Black Isle, Interplay or anyone who
    had anything to do with the creation of this game. The most up-to-date
    version of this guide can be found at www.gamefaqs.com. This guide may
    be reproduced however you like so long as you:
      (1) make no changes,
      (2) do not charge money or anything else for it,
    and, when you decide to make it publicly available, you should also:
      (3) send me email
      (4) make an honest attempt to keep your version up-to-date.
    
    Please send comments, suggestions for improvement or questions to
    Steven de Rooij, email: rooij at cwi dot nl, where you should replace
    the words "at" and "dot" by "@" and ".". Please use the word "faq" in
    the subject of your message. Insightful suggestions will be rewarded
    by honorable mention in the credits section.
    
    
    =============
    Abbreviations
    =============
    I will use the following abbreviations for some lengthy phrases that I
    need to use a lot.
    
    AC    = Armour Class. A lower AC makes you harder to hit.
    THAC0 = To Hit AC 0. A lower THAC0 makes it easier to hit enemies.
    XP    = eXperience Points
    HP    = HitPoints
    MR    = Magic Resistance
    FR    = Fire Resistance
    CR    = Cold Resistance
    AR    = Acid Resistance
    ER    = Electrical Resistance
    MDR   = Magic Damage Resistance
    1H/2H = One handed / Two handed (of weapons)
    STR   = Strength (character attribute)
    DEX   = Dexterity (character attribute)
    CON   = Constitution (character attribute)
    INT   = Intelligence (character attribute)
    WIS   = Wisdom (character attribute)
    CHA   = Charisma (character attribute)
    HLA   = High Level Ability, extra abilities that you obtain as you reach
            very high levels.
    UAI   = Use Any Item, an important HLA.
    GWW   = Greater Whirlwind, an important HLA.
    ToB   = Throne of Bhaal, the expansion to Baldur's Gate II.
    
    
    ===
    FAQ
    ===
    Q: Why read this guide?
    A: It provides information to help you decide whether or not a rogue
       is the character you like to play, and it will make you understand
       the fundamental strengths and weaknesses of such a character.
    
    Q: Is this guide useful if you don't want to solo?
    A: You'd have to read it and judge for yourself. I didn't have larger
       parties in mind when I wrote it, but you might still learn
       something new.
    
    Q: What is so interesting about rogues?
    A: They are very versatile characters who become even more versatile
       when they receive the extremely powerful high level ability Use Any
       Item. They have to apply somewhat more strategy than fighters in
       order to be effective in battle. They have high lore so you won't
       have to use magic or money to identify everything you find.
    
    Q: Where should I find all this brilliant equipment you keep
       mentioning?
    A: Look it up in another guide.
    
    
    ==================
    Character creation
    ==================
    
    Class: bard vs. thief:
    ----------------------
    - Bards and thieves can choose different, interesting kits
    - Thieves have backstabbing and assassination, detect traps, detect
      illusion, stealth, open locks
    - Bards have mage spells up to level 6, higher lore, magic flute, bard
      song
    - Both have pickpocketing, Use Any Item, Greater Evasion and can dual
      wield a little bit
    - Thieves can be multi class or dual class
    - Bards must be human or half elf, thieves can choose a race with good
      racial bonuses (bonuses to thieving abilities and saving throws)
    - Swashbucklers (a thief kit) cannot get Assassination but can get
      Whirlwind
    - Even though with UAI a thief can eventually use any melee weapon, he 
      can only backstab with daggers, katanas, scimitars, long swords,
      short swords, clubs and quarterstaves. He can also become proficient
      in darts, short bows and slings, but will incur penalties for using
      any other weapon.
    
    Race:
    -----
    Bards must choose human or half-elf; the latter is slightly better
    because of the pick pocket bonus and infravision. Thieves on the other
    hand can choose any race. The table below shows each race and its
    associated bonuses. Since a single class thief will receive more than
    enough thieving abilities, your choice should not depend too much on
    bonuses to thieving abilities, but rather on role playing
    considerations, saving throw bonuses and racial effects on attribute
    points. The dwarf, gnome and halfling receive ridiculously high
    bonuses to saving throws, so those are without question the best races
    for a solo character. Dwarf is best since you can give a dwarf 19 CON
    for the bonus to HP.
    
    Skill                Dwarf  Elf(*) Gnome  Half-Elf  Halfling Half-Orc
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    save vs. p/p/d(**)     +5                              +5
    save vs. r/w/s(***)    +5            +5                +5
    save vs. spells        +5            +5                +5
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    STR                                                    -1        +1
    CON                    +1     -1                                 +1
    DEX                    -1     +1                       +1
    INT                                  +1                          -2
    WIS                                  -1                -1
    CHA                    -2                                         
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Pick Pockets                  +5             +10       +5
    Open Locks            +10     -5     +5                +5
    Find/Remove Traps     +15           +10                +5
    Move Silently                 +5     +5               +10
    Hide in Shadows              +10     +5       +5      +15
    Detect Illusion        +5           +10                  
    Set Traps             +10            +5                   
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    (*)   Elves also receive +1 to hit with long bows and long swords,
          and they have 90% resistance to some charm and sleep spells.
    (**)  paralyze/poison/death
    (***) rod/wand/staff
    
    
    About multi/dual classing:
    --------------------------
    If you play solo, a multi or dual class character is much easier to
    play than a pure thief, regardless of which class you choose to
    combine with the thief class. Your thieving abilities will end up high
    enough anyway, and you will have the extra power of a mage, fighter or
    cleric. If you choose to multi or dual class you will have a much
    easier time of it, and you will circumvent lots of the specific
    problems of the rogue that are so hard to cope with otherwise. Below
    is a list of options and a short commentary. However, this guide deals
    with the specific problems of soloing a pure rogue, so in the
    remainder I will assume you are playing single class.
    
    [Multi class]
    - Fighter/Mage/thief:
      this is a very powerful combination that produces a strong fighter
      augmented by all thieving skills, most importantly backstabbing,
      Assassination and UAI (Carsomyr!) AND has support magic. The mage
      reaches reasonably high level, but not enough to be able to memorize
      level 9 spells, so think of this character as a powerful warrior
      with half a mage mixed in.
    - Fighter/thief:
      this is also a powerful combination that produces a strong fighter
      augmented by all thieving skills, most importantly backstabbing,
      Assassination and UAI (Carsomyr!).
    - Mage/thief and cleric/thief: both classes end up quite strong; but
      the classes don't reinforce each other as much as for the
      fighter/thief. Except that UAI cancels the any item restrictions and
      you can protect your thief with protective magics in combat.
    
    [Dual clas]
    - thief -> mage and thief -> cleric:
      this is mostly a mage or cleric with some limited thieving skills
      mixed in for convenience. Reasonable option if you do not have
      another thief in your party. The best thief kit is the
      swashbuckler, mostly for his AC bonus and a much better chance to
      hit with short bows. Not discussed in this guide.
    - mage -> thief and cleric -> thief:
      your item restrictions are overcome by the thief's UAI,
      thieving abilities are supported by spells such as Invisibility,
      Glitterdust, Greater Malison, Doom, Bless, etc. However you'll have 
      low hitpoints and pretty lousy spellcasting abilities. Consider
      playing a bard instead, or multi classing.
    - thief -> fighter: this is a bad idea, unless the thief is a 
      swashbuckler and you are trying to build an AC/THAC0 powerhouse.
    - fighter -> thief:
      this creates a powerful rogue that has more HP, weapon
      specialization, better THAC0, more attacks per round and access to
      more weapons and armour than a regular thief (before UAI). In short:
      do this unless you want a challenge, which is of course what this
      guide is all about! The most useful fighter kit is Kensai, because
      the disadvantages all disappear as soon as you get UAI. Dual at
      level 7 (easiest) or 13 (best) when your number of attacks per round
      have just increased to 3/2 or 2 respectively. You can still use this
      guide with a fighter -> thief, but you will be much more powerful
      and therefore less dependent on careful planning and clever strategy.
    
    Thief Kits:
    -----------
    
    [Swashbuckler]
      Advantages:
      - Bonus +1 to AC.
      - Another +1 to AC for every 5 levels.
      - +1 to hit and damage every 5 levels.
      - May specialize in any weapon that a thief can use (but does not
        receive the extra 1/2 attack per round)
      - May place three stars in two-weapon fighting style proficiency
      - Receives the Whirlwind HLA rather than Assassination
      Disadvantages:
      - No backstab multiplier.
    
    This is a very powerful thief. Although the swashbuckler automatically
    receives great bonuses to THAC0 and damage, THAC0 is still very
    important if you decide to play a swashbuckler, since you will want to
    use Whirlwind attack a LOT. You will also want to dual wield (in order
    to increase your number of attacks per round). This means that the
    fact that you may put three stars in two-weapon fighting is extremely
    important: it reduces the THAC0 penalty from -2 in your main hand and
    -6 in your off hand to 0 in your main hand and -2 in your off hand.
    The ability to specialize in weapons will get you one more bonus:
    THAC0 improves by 1 and damage by 2. The AC bonus will help your
    character survive. Of all thief kits, the swashbuckler is without a
    doubt the best fighter. But you will have to do without backstabbing...
    
    [Assassin]
      Advantages:
      - May coat his weapon in poison once per day per 4 levels. The next
        hit with that weapon will inject the poison into the target,
        dealing out 1 damage per second for 24 seconds (3 damage for the
        first 6 seconds). A saving throw vs. poison limits damage to 12
        total.
      - Bonus +1 to hit and +1 damage.
      - Gets a x7 max backstab (rather than the thieves' normal x5). This
        is gained at level 21.
      Disadvantages:
      - Only 15 points per level to distribute on abilities.
      - Assassins cannot be of Lawful Good alignment
    
    Another attractive thief kit for the backstabbers among us. The THAC0
    and damage bonus is a real relief and while poison weapon will never
    do much damage it does help out in the early game and can be used to
    disrupt spellcasters. Never mind about the 15 thieving skill points
    per level: before you know it your skills will be good enough.
    
    [Bounty Hunter]
      Advantages:
      - +15% to set traps.
      - He can lay special traps (other than the ones that all thieves
        receive). The traps are more powerful than the typical thief trap,
        and the effect varies according to the level. The effects are
        listed below: 
        - 1st: The trap deals out damage and slows the target (if save is
               failed).
        - 11th: The trap holds the target if a save is failed.
        - 16th: The trap erects an Otiluke's Resilient Sphere around the
                target (if a save is failed).
        - 21st: The trap Mazes the target.
      Disadvantages:
      - Gets only 20 to distribute between thief abilities each level.
    
    This is an interesting kit, definitely an improvement over a plain
    thief. The special traps are nice: although much less powerful than
    high level traps such as spike traps, they will help out in the early
    stages of the game, and the Maze trap actually remains useful because
    it will even affect high level monsters. Also the special traps,
    unlike all other traps, can be thrown. An interesting kit for die-hard
    trappers out there. The 20 thief ability points are of course more
    than enough for a single class solo thief.
    
    Bard Kits:
    ----------
    
    [Blade]
      Advantages:
      - May use Offensive Spin and Defensive Spin abilities once per day
        per 4 levels. Offensive Spin lasts 24 seconds, granting the blade
        +2 to hit, +2 to damage, and an extra attack. As well, all of his
        attacks do maximum damage for the duration. Defensive Spin lasts
        24 seconds, roots him to the spot, but gives -1 AC per level of
        experience. This armour class bonus does not go over -10.
      - May place three slots into two-weapon fighting style.
      Disadvantages:
      - Only has one-half normal Lore value.
      - Only has one-half Pick Pockets percentage.
      - Bard Song does not become better with levels.
    
    The fact that you may place three points in two-weapon fighting is
    what makes the blade the best bard class: since you will want to dual
    wield anyway this reduces the THAC0 penalty from -2 in your main hand
    and -6 in your off hand to 0 in your main hand and -2 in your off
    hand; thus your effective THAC0 is already one point lower than skald
    THAC0 even without using the Offensive Spin.
    The Offensive Spin really shines: it helps the bard in all the
    departments where he most needs it and greatly increases melee damage
    output. Also don't underestimate the Defensive Spin in battle:
    although it roots you to the spot, you can still fight and cast
    spells.
    The disadvantages are the least of your worries if you play solo.
    
    [Skald]
      Advantages:
      - +1 to hit and +1 damage with all weapons.
      - The skald's song is different from the typical bard and varies
        with level:
         - 1st: Gives allies +2 to hit, +2 to damage and -2 to AC.
         - 15th: Gives allies +4 to hit, +4 to damage, -4 to AC, and
                 immunity to fear.
         - 20th: Gives allies +4 to hit, +4 to damage, -4 to AC, and
                 immunity to fear, stun and confusion.
      Disadvantages:
      - Pick Pockets ability one-quarter normal.
    
    Since the disadvantage is no real disadvantage (if you must pickpocket
    you can always use Potions of Master Thievery) the skald is clearly
    better than a plain bard. You will need all the THAC0 you can get!
    However the blade is easily the better warrior.
    
    [Jester]
      Advantages:
      - Jester's song does not help allies. Instead, it affects every
        opponent within 30 feet, and they must save vs. magic at +4 once
        per round or be confused.
      Disadvantages:
      - None
    
    Since the jester's bard song is offensive, it can actually be used by
    a solo character. A jester is therefore a better option than a plain
    bard, but it is not a large improvement since enemies will only fail
    their save vs magic while your level is still very low.
    
    
    Attribute distribution:
    -----------------------
    Given a reasonable 85 attribute points, this is how I would distribute
    them:
    
        | bard | thief
    ----+------+-------
    STR |  13  |  18 (-1 for Halflings, +1 for Half-Orcs)
    CON |  10  |  18 (+1 for Dwarves, -1 for Elves)
    DEX |  18  |  18 (+1 for Elves, +1 for Halflings)
    INT |  18  |  10 
    WIS |  11  |  11
    CHA |  15  |  10
    
    Comments. The 15 CHA for the bard is required. If you get just a few
    points more you could get a decent CON at the cost of even worse STR:
    nightmarish during Irenicus' dungeon but soon after you will have STR
    boosting equipment anyway. You will benefit the whole remainder of the
    game because a high CON raises your number of HP. The stats for a
    thief are easier to decide upon: you don't need INT, WIS or CHA. In
    any case, make sure that you have 18 DEX and 11 WIS to be able to
    equip Valygar's armour!
    
    Thieving skills:
    ----------------
    All rogues gain special skills. Bards can only pick pockets and set
    traps (bards receive traps as high level ability). Bards do not need
    to specify how to distribute skill points over their thieving
    abilities, they will automatically become quite good at both pick
    pocketing and trap setting.
    Thieves can learn more skills. They will be very good in all skills
    available to them eventually, but they have to choose in which order
    their skills are developed. This is very important in the initial
    stage of the game, when your character is still lacking in both
    experience and equipment.
    
    Below is a list of skills that a thief can choose from, along with the
    number of points you have to invest for the skill to work somewhere
    near maximum efficiency:
    
    Skill            | Useful max | Priority |
    -----------------+------------+----------+
    Pick pockets     |    100     |    5     |
    Detect traps     |    100     |    1     |
    Open locks       |    100     |    1     |
    Hide in shadows  |    200     |    2     |
    Move silently    |    100     |    4     |
    Detect Illusions |    100     |    3     |
    Set Traps        |    100     |    2     |
    -----------------+------------+----------+
    
    The priority level indicates the recommended order in which to develop
    these skills. For example, I suggest that you postpone putting points
    in pick pockets until you are satisfied with every other skill you
    want to learn. All skills of priorities 1 and 2 are important, and you
    probably will not be able to get them all to decent levels at the
    beginning of the game. The best strategy is probably to initially set
    your detect traps and open locks skills both sufficiently high that
    you can handle all traps and locks you will encounter in Irenicus'
    dungeon. A level of about 70 is probably sufficient, but I did not
    test this. The remaining points can then be distributed over the
    priority 2 skills.
    The reason I assign priority 2 to Set traps is that it provides a
    different way to deal damage, and for a solo rogue the number of ways
    in which you can deal damage is so limited that opening up such extra
    options is very important. For a thief in a larger party the trapping
    skill could be developed later.
    The Detect Illusions skill is also very important to a solo thief,
    since you won't have easy access to spells such as True Sight. Try to
    develop it before meeting Rayic Gethras.
    If you are a swashbuckler you cannot backstab, so you probably won't
    need Hide in Shadows much. I would consider that skill to be of
    priority 4 for a swashbuckler.
    
    Proficiencies:
    --------------
    Thieves can become proficient in darts, short bows, slings, daggers,
    katanas, scimitars, long swords, short swords, clubs and
    quarterstaves. They can also put one point in each fighting style. A
    swashbuckler can specialize in the same weapons and put three points
    in two weapon style. A bard can become proficient in any weapon; a
    blade can put three points in two weapon style. A bard without UAI
    cannot use Composite Longbows, but that is unrelated to
    proficiencies. Once you have UAI you can use Composite Longbows with
    no penalties.
    
    Below is my suggested order in which to assign proficiencies:
    
    - Thief (except swashbuckler):
      Long Sword, Short Bow, Scimitar, Katana, single weapon style, Short
      Sword, Quarterstaff, Dagger, ...
    - Swashbuckler: Two weapon style x3, Long Sword, Scimitar, Scimitar,
      Long Sword, Katana, Katana, ...
    - Bard:
      Two weapon style (x3 for blade), Flail, Short Bow, Scimitar,
      Mace, War Hammer, Axe, Long sword, Quarterstaff, ...
    
    Notice that I recommend giving thieves a point in Single Weapon
    Style. This is good for backstabbers who can improve their THAC0 by
    removing the weapon from their off hand. They then also double their
    chance of scoring a critical hit.
    
    High Level Abilities:
    ---------------------
    The following High Level Abilities are available to rogues:
    
    Use Any Item
    Assassination       (Non-swashbuckler thieves only)
    Whirlwind           (swashbucklers only)
    Set Spike Trap
    Set Time Trap
    Set Exploding Trap
    Evasion
    Greater Evasion
    Enhanced Bard Song  (bards only)
    Magic Flute         (bards only)
    Avoid Death
    Alchemy
    Scribe Scrolls
    
    Recommended order of selecting your 17 HLAs:
    
    Non-swashbuckling
        thief               swashbuckler           bard
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    Use Any Item            Use Any Item           Use Any Item
    Assassination           Set Spike Trap         Set Spike Trap
    Set Spike Trap          Whirlwind              Set Spike Trap
    Set Spike Trap          Set Spike Trap         Evasion
    Evasion                 Whirlwind              Greater Evasion
    Greater Evasion         Evasion                Set Time Trap
    Set Time Trap           Greater Evasion        Set Exploding Trap
    Set Exploding Trap      Set Time Trap          Set Spike Trap
    Set Spike Trap          Set Spike Trap         Set Spike Trap
    Set Spike Trap          Whirlwind              Set Time Trap
    Set Time Trap           Set Spike Trap         Magic Flute
    Set Spike Trap          Whirlwind              Set Spike Trap
    Set Spike Trap          Set Spike Trap         Set Spike Trap
    Set Spike Trap          Whirlwind              Set Spike Trap
    Set Spike Trap          Set Spike Trap         Set Spike Trap
    Set Spike Trap          Whirlwind              Set Spike Trap
    Set Spike Trap          Set Spike Trap         Set Spike Trap
    
    
    ==================
    General discussion
    ==================
    
    Money:
    ------
    Since you will be selling lots of equipment that your character does
    not need, you will soon accumulate lots of money. So, don't worry
    about shop prices (use the Ring of Human Influence only while you are
    still doing your initial shopping in Athkatla). In your first few
    levels, when money is still important, use the following strategy to
    maximize your profits: (1) always wear the Ring of Human Influence
    when buying or selling (2) sell all items of the same type in one go:
    if you split up the items then the shopkeeper will offer you less for
    the second batch. The best way to do this requires a bag of holding,
    which you will not acquire until after money stops being a concern. If
    you always keep everything that is worth selling in a Bag of Holding
    throughout the game you may end up a millionaire (but there is really
    no reason to bother).
    
    Saving throws:
    --------------
    If you are playing solo, being charmed, dominated, turned to stone,
    mazed, imprisoned, petrified, ... means instant death, while being
    frightened, stunned, confused, paralyzed or held are other experiences
    that you probably will not survive.
    You can protect yourself from specific effects using items (of charm
    protection, free action, etc) or by building up generic
    defenses. Generic defenses are magic resistance (MR) and saving
    throws. While both protect against more or less the same attacks, MR
    is better (negates rather than reduces the damage of many spells), but
    saving throws are easier to get to a high level. Look for equipment
    with saving throw bonuses such as: rings/cloaks/amulets of protection,
    the Helm of Balduran, the Ring of Gaxx, good shields, anything.  Check
    your saving throws in the character record every now and then. Saving
    throws are usually more important than AC or resistances! Having low
    saving throws is also very convenient when fighting Mind Flayers or
    Umber Hulks. Keep in mind that you get no saving throws vs. Maze and
    Imprisonment so you'll have to think of another way to avoid those.
    
    Healing:
    --------
    Apart from using a possible Cure Light Wounds special ability and
    healing service at temples, you can recover hitpoints by (1)
    polymorphing into a Troll using the Cloak of the Sewers, (2) by using
    a Ring of Regeneration or a Ring of Gaxx and (3) by casting Draw upon
    Holy Might before resting: this raises your CON which in turn
    increases your regeneration. Over a period of eight hours this will
    allow you to recuperate most if not all your lost hitpoints.
    (Strictly speaking this is a cheat: spell duration is not computed
    correctly.)
    
    Locks:
    ------
    To open locks with a bard, increase your STR to insane levels, and
    force them. For some locks you need maximum STR to have a decent
    chance. Some you will not be able to bash at all, but bashing will
    work for the important ones. The best ways to raise STR are (1) to
    wield Crom Faeyr, (2) if you have UAI you can drink a Potion of
    Somekinda Giant Strength (Roger the Fence in the Temple sewers has
    very good potions), or (3) you can use Draw Upon Holy Might. Try to
    bash the lock about 5-10 times, if that does not help then you might
    as well give up.
    
    Rogues as warriors:
    -------------------
    A rogue fights poorly. Compared to a warrior class the rogue is
    lacking in three very important qualities:
    
     (1) Base THAC0 does not improve beyond 8, while a warrior class
         character's base THAC0 ends at 0. This means that a rogue will
         have a hard time hitting powerful foes even if he works hard to
         improve his THAC0 (see below for tips on how to do this).
     (2) The rogue receives only 1 melee attack per round. A warrior gains
         one extra attacks at level 13, and can specialize in weapons to
         further increase his number of attacks. Also a warrior can use
         GWW to increase his number of attacks per round to 10. None of
         these methods work for the rogue.
     (3) A rogue has worse AC because he cannot wear heavy armour (before
         UAI, a thief can use up to studded leather armour and a bard can
         use up to chainmail but this disables spellcasting).
    
    Luckily there are ways to deal with all three problems, and a
    carefully planned rogue can become a reasonably powerful
    fighter. There are a lot of tricks to improve THAC0 and the number of
    attacks per round, and you will probably need to combine most of the
    following tricks if you want to become an effective warrior at all.
    
    Improving THAC0:
    ----------------
    - Use a weapon with a good bonus to THAC0 (obviously, but for a rogue
      this becomes much more important than for a fighter).
    - Make sure you are proficient in the weapons you wish to use.
    - For monsters that are hard to hit, you may have to remove the weapon
      from your off hand unless you have three proficiency points in two
      weapon style.
    - Wear THAC0 improving equipment: see the equipment section below.
    - The Equalizer's bonuses to THAC0 apply to both hands, so it might
      help to wield the Equalizer in the off hand. Check the bonus on the
      To Hit rolls in the battle text to check whether or not it is
      helping.
    - The Spectral Brand can temporarily raise your THAC0.
    - The swashbuckler, blade and skald kits help improve THAC0 (the blade
      needs to use Offensive Spin to get the bonus). See the Kits section.
    - A bard can cast Tenser's Transformation to get great THAC0 at the cost
      of losing his other spells - very useful in demanding battles. A
      thief with UAI can cast it from a scroll.
    - You can quaff a Potion of Heroism to lower your THAC0 by 1 for 10
      turns (a long time) or a Potion of Power to lower your THAC0 by 2
      for 4 turns (long enough for most battles). These potions are the
      only way to temporarily increase THAC0, so hold on to them if you
      find them!
    - The most important trick is to raise your STR as high as you can!
      The following table lists the relation between STR and your bonus to
      THAC0 and damage:
    
         STR | THAC0 bonus | damage bonus
         ----+-------------+------------
          17 |     1       |      1
          18 |     1       |      2
          19 |     3       |      7
          20 |     3       |      8
          21 |     4       |      9
          22 |     4       |     10
          23 |     5       |     11
          24 |     6       |     12
          25 |     7       |     14
    
      You can increase STR with equipment in many ways, see the Equipment
      section below. You can also increase STR temporarily with Draw
      upon Holy Might if you have that special ability (only at the
      beginning of the game).
    
    Improving your number of attacks per round:
    -------------------------------------------
    - Dual wield. This is especially effective for the swashbuckler and
      the blade, because they are allowed to put three proficiency points
      in two weapon style, but any rogue warrior should dual wield just to
      increase his number of attacks. Completely forget about 2H weapons
      because you will not attack often enough with them, EXCEPT when
      using the Staff of the Magi and of the Ram in a cool backstabbing
      strategy (see the Weapons and Backstabbing sections).
    - Get Belm, Kundane or the Scarlet Ninja-to in your off hand to get an
      extra attack in your main hand! This way, you get two attacks with
      your best weapon rather than one, which doubles your damage output -
      add to that the damage you will occasionally do with your off
      hand. However, thieves can put only one slot in two weapon style, so
      the extra attack in your main hand will be made at a -2 THAC0
      penalty. Also, Belm tends not to hit tough monsters in ToB.
    - Use Haste to get one more attack for a long time, or Improved Haste
      to double your number of attacks for one round. You can drink an Oil
      of Speed to Haste without fatigue.
    - A blade can use Offensive Spin for yet another attack. Other than
      stated in the game text, this can be combined with Improved Haste to
      get 8 attacks per round, each of which does maximal damage. A
      swashbuckler can use Whirlwind for 10 attacks per round.
    
    Improving your AC:
    ------------------
    - Get about 3 instances of the Greater Evasion HLA.
    - Get good armour and/or the Bracers of Defence AC3, see the equipment
      section.
    - You can cast Spirit Shield or Tenser's Transformation, or ignore
      AC altogether and use Stoneskins or Protection from Magic Weapons.
    - A swashbuckler receives a substantial bonus to AC and THAC0.
    
    
    ==================
    Spells and Potions
    ==================
    
    Spells:
    -------
    bards can cast spells up to level 6 and from scrolls. Thieves can also
    cast from scrolls once they obtain UAI. The spells marked (B) or (T)
    are important and/or useful mostly to bards or thieves,
    respectively. The other spells are so useful that if you cannot learn
    them, you should collect as many scrolls you can find for that spell:
    
    Magic Missile                   (B)
    Knock                           (B)
    Skull Trap                      (B)
    Lower Resist                    (B)
    Greater Malison
    Resist Fear                     (B)
    Protection from Fire            (B)
    Breach                          (B)
    Lower Resistance                (B)
    True Sight                      (B)
    Stoneskins
    Tenser's Transformation
    Haste (for Mordekainen's swords)
    Improved Haste
    Mordekainen's Sword
    Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting
    Protection from Magical Weapons
    Spell Immunity
    Mislead                         (T)
    Simulacrum and Project Image
    Shapechange
    Gate
    Time Stop
    
    Scrolls:
    --------
    Find Familiar
      You can consider finding a familiar for more HP, although it will
      probably sit in your backpack occupying valuable space all the
      time.
    
    Protection from Undead
      Very useful against all undead. Only use it if they are not scripted
      to say something to you though (Kangaxx).
    
    Protection from Magic
      This is ideal against powerful magic users, especially in the
      beginning of the game. Also protects against Maze and Imprisonment.
    
    
    Potions:
    --------
    Collect the following potions:
    
    Oil of Speed:
      Useful because of its long duration. Especially useful before you
      have the Boots of Speed, but it also increases your number of
      attacks by 1. This is especially important when using 2H weapons
      (staffs) because then your number of attacks is increased from 1 to
      2, a very significant increase. If you already had more attacks,
      then you should really try to get Improved Haste instead.
    
    Potion of Invisibility:
      Useful mostly to backstabbers. Use it AFTER backstabbing so you
      don't have to run away from your other enemies but can backstab them
      again instead.
    
    Potion of Power / Potion of Heroism:
      These are actually the best potions, because they provide the only
      effective way to temporarily improve THAC0. Their improvement to 
      HP and thieving skills is icing on the cake.
    
    Potion of Master Thievery:
      Useful at the early stages of the game where your thieving skills
      may not have been developed to their maximal potential. For example,
      you may want to drink two Potions of Master Thievery before
      pickpocketing Ribald at the Adventurer's Mart.
    
    
    =========
    Equipment
    =========
    
    Weapons:
    --------
    For different purposes you probably need different weapons, but
    multiple weapons are often useful for the same purpose. I group these
    weapons together so that they don't have to be discussed individually.
    
    It is sensible to keep hold of at least one weapon from each class,
    for specific circumstances. Also, always hang on to the weapon with
    highest enchantment you could find, to kill immune monsters or mages
    who have cast Absolute Immunity type spells. (The upgraded Mace of
    Disruption counts as a +5 weapon and may be the first weapon of that
    high enchantment that you find.)
    
    MAIN HAND
    
    - For bard: Crom Faeyr (War Hammer)
      Sets STR to 25 which raises THAC0 and damage to very high
      levels.
    
    - For bard: (upgraded) Flail of Ages (Flail)
      Does elemental damage that kills Trolls and disrupts
      spellcasters. Also slows its targets: very useful since victims
      don't get a saving throw, so all enemies are affected.
    
    - For bard: upgraded Axe of the Unyielding (Axe)
      This weapon produces a ridiculously high regeneration rate; its
      decapitation effect makes for efficient killing.
    
    - For bard: Dak'kon's Blade
      A good general-purpose weapon that improves your AC and spell
      casting. Probably not very useful at higher levels.
    
    - For bard: Carsomyr
      Carsomyr grants 50% MR; in combination with other equipment you can
      raise this to 100% MR so that you need not worry about magic at all
      anymore. Even if you don't raise MR higher than 50%, it is still a
      mighty bonus. Beyond that, Carsomyr dispels magic with each hit: an
      extremely useful property especially if you have no mages to Dispel
      Magic for you.
    
    - For thief: Celestial Fury
      This is one of the best single handed weapons in SoA. It offers
      great damage and other modifiers. Give it to your thief and use it
      until you reach ToB.
    
    - For thief: upgraded Spectral Brand
      This weapon is very suitable for backstabbing, it grants negative
      plane protection, it can raise your THAC0 by 5 for 3 rounds. As an
      added bonus, you can use it to summon a Spectral Blade which you can
      use as a decoy.
    
    - Upgraded Mace of Disruption or Runehammer
      This is ideal against undead. You can increase the chance that they
      die instantly by casting Greater Malison on them before
      attacking. This is very useful against Greater Mummies for instance.
    
    - Staff of the Magi
      This weapon is more effective against mages than any other. While
      they waste their time casting True Sight or raising defenses, you
      simply clobber them to death with this weapon. Even though you
      cannot use this weapon to backstab, it's Improved Invisibility makes
      it very useful to backstabbers: it gives you the opportunity to run
      away after a backstab. I found it convenient to carry another staff
      to do the actual backstabbing, good ones are the Staff of Rynn and
      the Staff of the Ram. Also see the Backstabbing section. Beyond that
      this weapon grants an AC bonus, a bonus to saving throws and a Spell
      Trap ability. Do not miss it!
    
    OFF HAND
    
    - Belm, Scarlet Ninja-To or Kundane
      These weapons grant an extra attack to the main hand. Very useful to
      a rogue since rogues have so few attacks per round. Only use this
      when your THAC0 is good enough to hit your enemies with your main
      hand and occasionally with your off hand as well. If it isn't,
      switch to one of the other off hand weapons.
    
    - Crom Faeyr (War Hammer)
      Sets STR to 25 which greatly improves the THAC0 and damage of the
      main hand weapon as well. The only way to get STR higher than 25.
    
    - The Equalizer (Long Sword)
      Grants immunity to charm and confusion, but more importantly grants
      to hit and damage bonuses to enemies of particular alignments. These
      bonuses are applied to main hand as well as off hand, which is what
      makes this such a useful off hand weapon. To see if this weapon
      actually helps you, check out the bonus to To Hit rolls in the
      battle text.
    
    BOW
    
    Short bows are quite useful, especially during the early stages. I
    hung on to the Tuigan Bow, Gesen Bow and Darkfire Bow. Tuigan offers
    three attacks per round, which is very useful. The Gesen Bow can be
    used against Adamantite Golems (although it takes a long time to kill
    them with it). And the Darkfire Bow has a good THAC0 bonus, although I
    have to say that I hardly ever used it.
    
    Armour:
    -------
    For the bard the Robe of Vecna is best, since it significantly powers
    up your spell casting while also allowing you to wear a ring or cloak
    of Protection +2. If you need better AC you can use Defensive Spin
    (blade) or Greater Evasion or cast Spirit Armor or Tenser's
    Transformation. Heavier armour is only occasionally useful. By the end
    of ToB enemies will hit you even if your AC is around -20, so by that
    time it is not worth investing in.
    Unfortunately the bard-specific armours are not especially useful:
    Melodic Chain is just not as good as the Robe of Vecna, and Jester's
    Chain disables spellcasting.  Of course, bards should always hang on
    to the armour with the best AC that they can find, for those battles in
    which you don't need spellcasting and AC is still beneficial. The
    Corthala Family Armor and Human Flesh are also very good options.
    
    The following armours provide good protection to a thief without
    disabling stealth. The best is probably the Human Flesh armour, but you
    have to be pretty evil in order to acquire it. Aeger's hide is useful
    and easy to acquire. Once you have UAI, the choice is between two,
    possibly unexpected solutions: if your saving throws need a boost, a
    good option is to use the Robe of the ? Archmagi together with a Ring
    of Protection +2 to get the same AC as with the Aeger's Hide but
    boosting your saving throws by 3 at the cost of a ring slot and
    elemental resistance. Under most circumstances though, the Corthala
    Family Armor is better, and free (if you don't feel bad about
    stripping Valygar). I consider both these options to be better than
    the Shadow Dragon Scale. For optimal AC, you have to wait until Throne
    of Bhaal to obtain the White Dragon Scale.
    
    Armour                AC  Mods
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    White Dragon Scale    -2  50% CR
    Aslyferund             0  free action
    Drow Adamantine Chain  0
    Grandmaster's Armor    1  fast movement (frees up your boots)
    St. Leather of Thorns  1  1d4 thorns damage on each attack
    Shadow Dragon Scale    1  50% AR
    Corthala Family Armor  2  25% to FR, AR and MDR, charm immunity
    Human Flesh            3  saving throws +4, 20% to MR [EVIL!]
    Aeger's Hide           3  15% to FR, CR, AR. Confusion immune.
    Robe of the ? Archmagi 5  +1 to saving throws, +5% MR, can combine
                              with the Ring/Cloak of Protection +2
    Amulet:
    -------
    The bard should use the Amulet of Power. For the thief, the Amulet of
    Seldarine is best. For a thief, the Amulet of Power is only useful to
    protect against level drain. The Amulet of the Master Harper is useful
    to lower AC.
    
    Helmet:
    -------
    Before you get UAI, a good and easy solution is to go get the Pale
    Green IOUN Stone from the spider freak in the Graveyard District
    crypts. Once you do get UAI, don the Helm of Balduran. It is the best
    helmet because all its bonuses are badly needed by any rogue. The Helm
    of Defense is also very good.
    
    Bracers:
    --------
    Best are the Gauntlets of Extraordinary Specialization; before you
    get those you can use the Gauntlets of Weapon Expertise or the
    Gauntlets of Weapon Skill. Alternatively, especially during the early
    game, you may want to improve your AC using the Bracers of Defense AC 3.
    
    Rings:
    ------
    The Ring of Gaxx and Ring of Protection +2 are both very good because
    of their two point bonus to saving throws. The Ring of Fire Control is
    also useful. If you don't have the Baldurdash Fixpack installed, the
    Ring of Earth Control grants an (undocumented and unintentional) bonus
    to saving throws, and can be used together with magical armour.
    
    Shields:
    --------
    Carry the Shield of Balduran with you for encounters with beholders.
    Beyond that, keep hold of all shields with interesting mods for those
    special circumstances in which they may come in handy. (Shield of
    Harmony can be useful.)
    
    Cloak:
    ------
    Cloak of Balduran (if you have imported it from a BG1 game), Cloak of
    Mirroring (there are mods to disable the annoying graphic), Cloak of
    Protection +2, Cloak of Displacement, Cloak of the Sewers (-1 AC and
    polymorph into a troll to regenerate HP)
    
    Boots:
    ------
    Boots of Speed. If you are wearing the Grandmaster's Armor, you get
    the movement rate for free, freeing up your boot slot - nice for a
    thief when he has found the Gargoyle boots for their extremely useful
    Stoneskin ability. But you can also swap your boots and use a better
    suit of armour.
    
    
    ========
    Strategy
    ========
    
    Here is a list of strategies that I found to be especially effective
    during my run through the game. The first few are in fact so effective
    that they become cheesy and not so much fun, so avoid those if you
    feel that way.
    
    Traps:
    ------
    This works for ordinary traps and even more for the traps you receive
    as HLAs. Bards also receive traps als HLAs. Traps are used most
    effectively against single, very powerful opponents, such as: ALL
    dragons in the game, ALL Bhaalspawn (except Sendai), Demogorgon, the
    Ravager and all other pocket plane challenges except the first, the
    Chromatic Demon, etc, etc. The basic idea is to place about four Spike
    Traps; lead the monster there, poof, dead monster. There are a number
    of tips and tricks that can be applied with traps. If the enemy has
    helpers who cannot see through invisibility but the target itself can,
    a good trick is to walk up to them invisible so that only the intended
    victim follows you to your traps. (This works well with TorGal.) In
    the Throne of Bhaal challenges once you enter a challenge room you
    typically don't get the time to set all those traps. You can do it
    anyway by casting either Project Image or Simulacrum. Have your image
    set the traps before you enter the challenge room. If you want to
    defeat Demogorgon with traps, be sure to set them immediately the
    first time you enter his room, because later on you won't have time to
    do it.
    
    Backstabbing and Assassination:
    -------------------------------
    Bards and swashbucklers cannot backstab, so this only pertains to
    plain thieves, assassins and bounty hunters. You can only backstab
    with melee weapons that can be used by single class thieves without
    UAI, namely daggers, katanas, scimitars, long swords, short swords,
    clubs and quarterstaves. Note that you can NOT use bastard swords.
    Some enemies cannot be backstabbed, most notably demons, beholders and
    Bhaalspawn. Almost anything else is vulnerable. Backstabbing is
    especially effective against mages, who tend to have few HP so they'll
    die before they can cast spell protections.
    For targets vulnerable to backstab, the way to proceed depends on
    whether or not they can see through invisibility. If they cannot, then
    the best strategy is to equip the Staff of the Magi in the main hand
    weapon with the Staff of Rynn or the Staff of the Ram as alternate
    main hand weapon. Equip the Staff of the Ram, hide, backstab, then
    reequip the Staff of the Magi to become Improved Invisible. Run out of
    sight of your enemies, switch to the Staff of the Ram, hide again, and
    repeat until all enemies are dead. Note that the Staff of the Magi
    cannot be used to backstab because it cannot be used by a single class
    thief, so you should only attack with it if you want to dispel magical
    protections.
    If your enemies CAN see through invisibility, such as Balthazar's
    monks, Sendai's army or the mercenaries who attack you when you're
    making your way to Amkethran, then you can still backstab them by
    using the Mislead spell. They will attack your image and not notice
    while you chop them all up in quick succession. In this case you can
    use any weapon that is suitable for backstab. Mislead is most
    effective when there are lots of enemies, if there are only few
    targets then you can also use the Assassination HLA to chop them to
    bits in a few hits. Although I found that I didn't use Assassination
    that much.
    
    Simulacrum / Project Image:
    ---------------------------
    You can cast Simulacrum from a scroll or using Vhailor's helm. A
    Simulacrum or Image can set traps for you. A Simulacrum may also act
    as a decoy or actually help you deal melee damage in battle. If you
    find that your Simulacrum or Image is dispelled through a True Sight
    spell, then you can prevent this from happening by equipping a Spell
    Immunity scroll in your quick items. Have your Simulacrum cast it and
    select Immunity: Divination. Add Immunity: Abjuration if your puppet
    is dispelled rather than seen through. Notice that Simulacra and
    Projected Images can cast spells from scrolls for free, so feel free
    to unleash Time Stops, Gate in fiends, cast Abi Dalzim's Horrid
    Wilting a couple of times or summon hordes of Mordekainen's Swords
    (and don't forget to (Improved) Haste those).
    
    Protecting yourself:
    --------------------
    To protect yourself, get an armour that grants good AC such as the
    White Dragon Scales or Shuruppak's Plate. You can combine armour with
    Greater Evasion to get a really good AC. However, in late ToB monsters
    will typically hit you regardless of AC. So if you find that you're
    being hit anyway, switch to an armor that grants good bonuses such as
    the Corthala Family Armor. Beyond AC, you can cast Protection from
    Magic Weapons, Fire Shield or Stoneskins or use the Gargoyle boots. If
    you find that your protections are being dispelled all the time, don't
    hesitate to throw in a few Spell Immunities (Abjuration and Divination
    are usually the schools you want to be safe from) and get decoys such
    as a Simulacrum and/or a couple of Mordekainen's swords if things get
    rough.
    
    
    =================
    Level progression
    =================
    
                         thieves'
    Level   Experience   backstab
    
     1             0       x2
     2          1250
     3          2500
     4          5000         
     5         10000       x3
     6         20000
     7         40000
     8         70000         
     9        110000       x4
    10        160000
    11        220000
    12        440000         
    13        660000       x5
    14        880000
    15       1100000
    16       1320000         
    17       1540000       x6 (assassin only)
    18       1760000
    19       1980000
    20       2200000         
    21       2420000       x7 (assassin only)
    22       2640000
    23       2860000
    24       3080000         
    25       3300000                  
    26       3520000                  
    27       3740000
    28       3960000         
    29       4180000
    30       4400000
    31       4620000
    32       4840000         
    33       5060000
    34       5280000
    35       5300000
    36       5720000         
    37       5940000
    38       6160000
    39       6380000
    40       8000000         
    
    
    =======
    Credits
    =======
    
    - Maurice Beane pointed out that the race bonuses and penalties to
      attribute points were incorrect; I have subsequently tested all of
      them in the character creation screen and it turns out that a number
      of them were different than what was listed in my source. I
      corrected all the numbers for version 1.01.
    
    - Many thanks to the people at the Planetbaldursgate forums
      (http://www.forumplanet.com/planetbaldursgate/) for proofreading
      this guide. Most corrections are due to Nibby, thanks!
    
    

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