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    Thief Guide by C.LE

    Version: 2.91 | Updated: 08/08/13 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

                  C h r i s    L e e ' s
                               T h i e f    G u i d e        v 2.91
      The officially latest (as well as latest, official) version of this 
    FAQ/Guide can be found at www.gamefaqs.com.
    Table of Contents
      A word on navigation: to jump to a specific section, simply use the
    'FIND' command (CTRL-F) and type in the 5 letter key next to the
    section (doing only the 3 numbers within the brackets will probably 
    send you to a random section of the guide).
      0.  Pre-introduction: Why am I still updating this guide?  [000]
      1.  Introduction and Contact Info (aka what the hell is this?)  [100]
      2.  Basic Thief Skills/Abilities  [200]
      3.  High Level Skills/Abilities  [300]
      4.  Kits  [400]
        a.  Vanilla Thief  [410]
          i.  Fighter/Thief  [411]
          ii. Thief/Mage  [412]
          iii.Cleric/Thief  [413]
          iv. Fighter/Mage/Thief  [414]
        b.  Multi-class Variants [420]
          i.  Berserker  [421]
          ii. Kensai  [422]
          iii.Wizard Slayer  [423]
          iv. Specialized Cleric  [424]
        c.  Assassin  [430]
        d.  Swashbuckler  [440]
        e.  Bounty Hunter  [450]
      5.  The Secret of Traps [500]
        a.  Normal Traps [510]
        b.  Bounty Hunter Traps [520]
      6.  Stronghold  [600]
      7.  Tactics  [700]
        a.  Backstabbing Notes [710]
        b.  Trapping Notes [720]
        c.  Hiding Notes [730]
      8.  Items of Note  [800]
        a.  Weapons [810]
        b.  Armor [820]
        c.  Accessories [830]
      9.  The Solo Challenge [900]
      10. Miscellany  [A00]
        a.  THAC0 Tables  [A10]
        b.  Backstab Growth  [A20]
        c.  Saving throw Tables  [A30]
        d.  HP Growth Tables [A40]
        e.  Backstab Analysis [A50]
      11. Final Notes [B00]
        a.  Conclusion/Special Thanks [B10]
        b.  My Works [B20]
        c.  Appendix [B30]
        d.  Legal Disclaimer [B40]
        e.  History [B50]
    0.  Pre-introduction:  Why am I still updating this guide?        [000]
      Baldur's Gate II is now an incredibly old game by entertainment 
    standards.  I remember reading the manual back in early 10th grade;
    that was over 3 years ago.  Since then, many other games have come out,
    and even an expansion for Baldur's Gate II has come out.  And many
    people have moved onto other games, like Diablo II (also still going
    strong after all these years) or Unreal Tournament 2004.
      Yet, here I am, in front of my computer, still typing out stuff and
    information for a game that is probably already forgotten by the short
    memory of our gaming society.  Why?
      I think I can finally say it.  For years, Final Fantasy VII and 
    Civilization II duked it out in my mind as the best game ever made.  
    But now, three years after Baldur's Gate II and six years after 
    Baldur's Gate started it all (as of this writing), I finally can
    conclude it:  the Baldur's Gate Saga is the best game ever made.
      Because it is one game.  Baldur's Gate II is not a sequel.  Fallout
    II is a sequel.  Warcraft III is a sequel.  Quake III is a sequel.
    Baldur's Gate II is a continuation, it is just one massive expansion
    pack for the original Baldur's Gate.  And Throne of Bhaal another one
    on top of it.  (I'm not forgetting Tales of the Sword Coast, that was
    a nice diversion.)
      And as one game, I have spent more time playing it, replaying it,
    studying, and enjoying it more than any other game.  Final Fantasy VII
    once held the record for most number of replays, and it probably
    still does (I lost count), but Baldur's Gate has the highest quality
    of replay.  Even after the umpteenth time I've watched Jon Irenicus
    scream in pain, the umpteenth time I saw Sarevok fall down dead, the
    umpteenth time I saw the final epilogue in Throne of Bhaal, the game
    continues to challenge me and give me a breadth of experience that no
    other game has been able to.  Final Fantasy VII, I've mastered.  The
    Civilization games I understand through and through and can work 
    through the game mechanics on instinct.  But even knowing all the rules
    and the tactics of Baldur's Gate, an early Lich battle continues
    to make my heart pound, seeing a mage cast "Wail of the Banshee" 
    continues to make me scream in delightful frustration, and watching 
    Minsc get charmed by a dryad in the original Baldur's Gate never ceases
    to make me cry in pain.
      Yet, Baldur's Gate is massive, epic, and at the same time, 
    individual, never forgetting the player in the midst of a grander and
    grander story.  Even as the realms seem to be ready to implode, your
    character is always in control of his destiny, always ready to choose
    good or evil, and for that, Baldur's Gate has achieved an existential
    triumph over almost every other game created.  No other game has made
    the choice to not ascend into deityhood a choice well-respected, and
    a rest and reward well-deserved.
      Even six years after it began, I still find myself drawn back to the
    game.  It might not boast the latest in vertex-weighted technology,
    but the artwork is still expansive and beautiful.  It might not offer
    support for 5.1 surround sound systems, but the music still stirs.
    But above all, the game has achieved a gameplay that, while first 
    ingrained into the workings of Dungeons and Dragons, has eventually
    achieved independence and superiority to the system that spawned it.
    Even six years after the story and quests began, I still find myself
    drawn into the city of Baldur's Gate, I still find myself eager to 
    smash into Candlekeep again, I still find myself ready to destroy 
    Irenicus, and still always await the final epilogue.
      Because I will always return to this game, because this is the game
    that for the rest of my life will define all other games, because this
    is THE epic, and furthermore because it is a game with near-infinite
    possibilites, this guide will continue to recieve its occasional
    updates.  I think it is the best tribute I can make to the men and
    women who labored so long to give us such a fine product.  And for you,
    the reader, if you managed to read through all my ramblings, I hope you
    enjoy the work I put into this guide, because I myself enjoyed every 
    second of it.  Nothing more needs to be said, only to go and play the
    game once more.
                                                        -2004, Chris Lee
    1.  Introduction and Contact Info (aka what the hell is this?)    [100]
      So you gaze upon this guide/FAQ, and you wonder, "What's the point of
    this guide?"  Well, the point of this guide, oh so curious one, is that
    while there may be loads of general literature (walkthroughs, 
    DSimpson's excellent Class FAQ), there are very few FAQs for Baldur's
    Gate II/Throne of Bhaal that actually focus specifically on a given 
    character class.
      Why would this even be a necessity?  Arguably, some classes do not
    need so much detailed investigation.  In fact, if this were Baldur's
    Gate 1 and I chose the Fighter class, I'd probably have all of 2 pages
    to write about it.  However, this is Shadows of Amn with many items,
    many tactics, many unique party members, many enemies, and furthermore,
    with Throne of Bhaal's high level abilities and uber-items, almost
    every class explodes in potential.
      So then why the thief?  First, I love thieves (especially 3rd ed 
    D&D variant Rogues).  Screw you if you hate them.  Second, the average 
    player uses rogues to the extent of Jan/Imoen/Nalia disarming and 
    detecting traps, MAYBE occasionally pickpocketting a Ring of 
    Regeneration or some other decent item.  Which is a pity since Rogues 
    are potentially the most versatile and powerful class in the game. 
      What?  Rogues?  Powerful?  You might never have thought that, 
    especially since Jan and Yoshimo do a damn good job of getting 
    themselves killed in combat.  My goal with this FAQ is to hopefully
    illuminate the wondrous possibilites of a thief, to clear
    misconceptions, and to hopefully show some inadequacies of current
    opinion on the thief.  (Note:  While DSimpson's aforementioned Class
    FAQ is a good read, I do have some issues with it.  Nevertheless, if
    you haven't taken a look at it, I recommend you do; it's a good piece
    of work.)
      By the way, much kudos goes to DSimpson's excellent guides (whom I
    will occasionally mention), since it really is his work that has 
    inspired me to do this.
      Self-plug:  I take pride in the fact that I appear to be one of VERY
    few people (heck, I haven't seen any other guides...) that have
    actually taken the time to study how Traps evolve and behave.  If you
    need some new insight into traps that no one else seems to know, head
    right on over to section 5!
      A word on e-mail:  If you have an issue to discuss, e-mail me
    with subject heading "THIEF FAQ : " followed by whatever your topic is.
    This allows me to parse through my e-mail easier.  The e-mail address
    *WITHOUT THE UNDERSCORES* (the underscores are there to prevent 
    internet parsing software from grabbing my correct e-mail address for
    spam purposes).  So, the correct e-mail address should read as 8 
    alphabetical characters followed by "@uchicago.edu".
    2.  Basic Thief Skills/Abilities                                  [200]
      So, in order to start convincing how amazingly powerful the thief
    is, I'll have to start by taking a look at the thief's abilities, that 
    is, the seven increasable skills that are the hallmark of the thief:
        Pick Pockets
        Detect Traps
        Pick Locks
        Move Silently
        Hide in Shadows
        Detect Illusions
        Set Trap
        And also Backstab
      Note that atleast in BG2, the maximum for Thief Skills seems to be 
      Pick Pockets - Unfortunately, this skill has been given a bad rap
    throughout BGII: SA/ToB.  After all, what good is improving this when
    you can rarely get a good payoff, and when you do, you can always
    prepare for it by drinking 2-10 Potions of Master Thievery?  While
    Pick Pockets should rarely ever be a first priority, this skill is
    still immensely useful in that Potions of Master Thievery aren't
    infinite in quantity, and that a high enough Pick Pockets will give
    you the freedom to steal freely without being item-dependent.  In
    case you don't think the payoff is worth it (aside from Ribald and
    some other rare stealing opportunities), try stealing a bit from
    Nobles and soldiers of sorts.  Sometimes the individual payoff can
    be quite significant (a high-level scroll perhaps), and regardless,
    the tiny payoffs add-up.  Of course, you'll need to buff up this skill
    quite a bit before you can steal so freely.  Keep in mind that wearing
    armor of any kind penalizes your pick pocket score (although it doesn't
    show up on the character sheet).  Also, some items that you can try
    to steal from stores incur greater penalties, I believe.  (Full Plate
    Armor is harder than a Gem).
      Also, while in SoA most good stores won't let you steal, in ToB,
    much more stores, relatively, with great items you want, will allow
    you to steal from them.
      Find Traps - Perhaps the single most useful ability that the thief
    possesses.  Ironically, depending on how you play, you may not want to
    put a single point in this skill.  The reason being, Bioware realized
    that not all players would choose a thief as their main character, and
    considering how many traps there are in the game (overwhelmingly more
    than in BG1 or even IWD) created many thief dual classed NPCs, along
    with the Bounty Hunter Yoshimo, that specialize in detecting and 
    disarming traps.  So, if you play with Imoen/Nalia/Jan/Yoshimo, you 
    may not want to have your own character be redundant...
      I'm not exactly sure how detecting traps works on a mathematical
    meta-game level, but traps atleast have a minimum threshold before 
    being able to be detected.  (So you can theoretically program a script
    to always detect traps even if you aren't a thief, and they would just
    have 0 Find Traps and would be able to detect any traps that have
    a threshold of 0.)  You definitely do have incentive to go beyond 100
    since the higher it is, the better you can meet the threshold, and
    the faster you will generally be able to detect traps.
      Open Locks - Another very important ability, important enough that
    it may not be possible to beat many quests without an adequate thief
    (or many potions that increase strength so bashing is possible).
    Example:  the final door in the Windspear Hills quest is locked.  An
    18 Strength player cannot bash it open.  Again, though, you may never
    need to increase this skill for the same reason as Find Traps.
      There are very few "difficult" locks and traps in BG2, although the
    thief guildhall with all the locked doors and vaults will give you an
    idea on how difficulty "varies."  The way BG works is that you have 
    undisputed lockpick/disarm trap rolls, meaning unlike pickpocketing 
    or detecting traps/illusions (where every time you try it/every turn 
    its activated you have a % chance of success), the lockpick/disarm 
    works on a threshold.  That is, a certain lock or trap has a certain
    requirement, and if you don't have atleast that level, no matter how 
    many times you try, you won't be able to crack it (otherwise all 
    locks would be able to be picked with 1% lockpick skill with constant
    clicking), but if you do have that level, you crack it instantly.  
    There are only two really hard traps I can think of in BG2, and one 
    is in Neb's room, the other is in the Sahuagin city.  In BG2:ToB 
    there are far more difficult traps, so you do want to get disarming 
    and lockpicking up to a decent level.
      Move Silently - Contributes to your ability to sneak.  Each point of
    Move Silently improves the chance that you can Stealth successfully by
    .5%.  Trying to hide in broad daylight outside of shadows halves your
    Move Silently/Hide in Shadows scores.  Trying to hide indoors that is
    well lit reduces your Move Silently/Hide in Shadow scores by 1/3.
    Move Silently also allegedly increases the time it takes from you
    "breaking" stealth to actually becoming visible, making a point in
    Move Silently strictly better than Hide in Shadows.  Finally, despite
    what the game manual says, armor does not actually penalize your
    stealth chance.
      Because light provides such massive penalties to your ability to
    sneak, you have a strong incentive to boost this past 100%.  Note
    however that you will always have a 1% chance to fail, and values
    that are too high (strictly speaking, a total value greater than 255)
    will cause you to have extremely low chance to sneak (internally, the
    number wraps around to 0 because BG2 uses a 1-byte character to store
    the data).
      Hide in Shadows - Contributes to your ability to sneak.  Each point
    of Hide in Shadows improves the chance that you can Stealth
    successfully by .5%.  Trying to hide in broad daylight outside of
    shadows halves your Move Silently/Hide in Shadows scores.  Trying to
    hide indoors that is well lit reduces your Move Silently/Hide in
    Shadow scores by 1/3.  Finally, despite what the game manual says,
    armor does not actually penalize your stealth chance.
      Because light provides such massive penalties to your ability to
    sneak, you have a strong incentive to boost this past 100%.  Note
    however that you will always have a 1% chance to fail, and values
    that are too high (strictly speaking, a total value greater than 255)
    will cause you to have extremely low chance to sneak (internally, the
    number wraps around to 0 because BG2 uses a 1-byte character to store
    the data).
      "Sneak" (the combined effect of Move Silently and Hide in Shadows) -
    There's a nice perk to hiding:  it's the same as being invisible.
    Meaning you get an attack bonus when attacking visible guys, and they
    have a penalty when striking you (yes, some enemies can see through
    invisibility, two big examples in Shadows of Amn include all sorts of
    Demons and the Vampiric Mists that you'll see scattered throughout the
    game).  Plus, if an enemy was in the process of casting a spell, and
    you moved out of visible range and hid, the spell is cancelled if it
    was targetting you, since spells can't target invisible characters (so
    the annoyance that you had to deal with when enemies Shadow Door'ed
    their mages also applies to them).
      Hiding is slightly different from actual invisibility in that it
    can combine with non-detection (cloaks, amulets, or spell) and avoid
    True-Sight and other such spells, while Invisibility (even when 
    wearing a Cloak of Non-detection) dissipates quickly.
      Detect Illusions - Perhaps the most overlooked ability in Baldur's 
    Gate II.  This acts as a True Sight that your thief can activate by
    selecting "Find Traps" as a modal action.  If you're going to use
    this, you probably want to go all the way as fast as you can, since
    generally you want to dispel illusions as fast as possible (although
    the circus illusions are harmless and leaving a Detect Illusions at
    10% on for a few rounds doesn't hurt you any).  
      In some respects, a high level Detect Illusions is even better
    than True Sight, since it doesn't wipe out your own illusions and
    since you essentially have an infinite use of it.  
      So what are illusions?  The really annoying spells, fortunately for
    a high level Detect Illusions:  Mirror Image, (Improved) Invisibility
    (which also includes Shadow Door, Invisibility 10' Radius, etc.), 
    Mislead (yes!), Simulacrum (woah!), Project Image (holy crap!), and
    Blur.  Also, the werewolves and shadows in the Circus Tent are 
    illusions, but the clones in Irenicus's dungeon are not (though they
    seem like Simulacra of your characters).
      The only problem is that it takes a while to "activate" after 
    selecting "Find Traps."  Fortunately, this doesn't really 
    translate into anything but a shorter casting cost of a True Sight.
      Set Traps - Perhaps the most abused ability in Baldur's Gate II.
    Yes, I'm sure by now you've delighted in setting a 100 traps to
    wipe out a Diseased Gibberling (seven after Throne of Bhaal).  
    Fortunately for gameplay purposes, the seven trap per area limit now
    sort of forces players into using traps into actual devious uses,
    although the average player does nothing more than use them to
    advance-eliminate Dragons and Liches and other large, initially
    neutral (or initially not present) creatures.  However, should
    you choose to learn how to, Traps can be used in a much more active
    role, which also helps make the thief insanely powerful.
      If you want to know in detail how Traps work (damage, special
    abilities, etc.), head on over to section 5.  You won't believe how
    powerful these can be, especially since Bioware never ever released
    information on them, and since most people who write guides DON'T 
    KNOW THEMSELVES how Traps specifically function.
      It's important to note that you cannot set a Trap if enemies are 
    within your thief's visible range (as oppossed to party's visible
    range, an important distinction).
      For setting traps, you have no reason to go beyond a skill of 100.
    You may notice yourself fail on occasion, but this is due to a critical
    failure, not because of inadequate skill level.
      Backstab - I'm sure the average player has never bothered to use
    it, except once or twice with Valygar as a novelty.  However,
    consider that a normal thief will obtain 5x backstab (equivalent to
    5 attacks... well, almost), and that an assassin will obtain 7x
    backstab (insane!).  Beware though, contrary to popular literature,
    being hidden or invisible wears off with the first attack, not
    after the first round, meaning you will only get one backstab a 
    round.  Note:  strength modifiers to damage only apply AFTER the 
    damage has been multiplied.
    3.  High Level Skills/Abilities                                   [300]
      With Throne of Bhaal came the High Level abilities, skills obtained
    upon a level up that will surely strike fear in the hearts of many.
    But will they?  Have a look:
        Assassination (or Whirlwind Attack)
        Avoid Death
        Greater Evasion (needs Evasion)
        Scribe Scrolls (needs Use Any Item)
        Set Exploding Trap
        Set Spike Trap
        Set Time Trap
        Use Any Item
      Alchemy - Once per day, randomly creates a potion from the following
    list: Master Thievery, Perception, Extra Healing, Superior Healing,
    Regeneration, Antidote, Speed, Frost Giant Strength (that only rogues
    can use).  
      Unfortunately, of the eight options, Master Thievery, Perception,
    and Antidote are really duds.  By now, your thieving skills are high
    enough that you don't need further enhancement by potions, and also
    most poisons won't really do much to your characters.  Still, that
    means a greater than 50% chance of getting something good (especially
    with Superior Healing and Frost Giant Strength).
      Assassination - Every attack in the next round is enhanced by the
    backstab modifier.
      Awesomely good, especially when combined with Haste or something
    like Belm, which means extra backstabs.  This makes the thief an
    even better character, since if their hit-and-fade attacks fail,
    they can still have some offensive muscle.
      Don't think that Assassination makes backstabbing obsolete.  
    Backstabbing still has the advantage of giving you an attack bonus
    and also essentially keeps you invulnerable until you actually do make
    your attack.
      Note, however, that since Swashbucklers can't backstab at all, they
    instead get...
      Whirlwind Attack - Gets 10 attacks next round, but at penalty of -4
    to THAC0.
      Awesomely good, in some ways better than Assassination (since
    it's potentially 10x when getting one normal attack a round), but in
    some ways weaker (-4 to THAC0 and not as much an advantage when
    using weapons with more than one attack).  Nevertheless, combined with
    a Swashbuckler's other benefits, this effeciently replaces
    Assassination as the thief's offensive kicker for high level abilities.
      Avoid Death - +20 HP and for 5 rounds gets a +5 bonus to Save vs. Death
    and becomes immune to Death Magic.
      This is a great way to buy time for the thief.  Especially if you
    are paying attention to the message box in the bottom of the screen and
    you see something like "Mage - Finger of Death: You" and you activate
    this ability.  Or if a fireball goes off with your weak character in
    its grasp, you can try and activate it before the flames reach him.
      Evasion - +4 bonus to AC, +2 bonus to saving throws for 3 rounds.
      Hmm... honestly, this isn't too great of a high-level ability.  This
    is more useful in that it lets you get Greater Evasion, but otherwise
    +4 AC and +2 saving throws for 3 rounds just isn't that great.
      Greater Evasion (needs Evasion) - +6 bonus to AC, +3 bonus to saving 
    throws, +2 to movement, and immunity to normal missiles for 5 rounds.
      This is a far more useful ability since your character to do some
    intense hit-and-fade attacks, since now, even without Boots of Speed
    or Haste, you can outpace enemies and prevent yourself from being
    stopped by stray attacks so you can live/hide and strike again.
      Scribe Scrolls (needs Use Any Item) - Once per day creates a scroll
    randomly from the list:  Magic Missile, Haste, Fireball, Dispel Magic,
    Dire Charm, Invisibility, Cone of Cold, Monster Summoning II, Monster
    Summoning III.
      This is a joke ability.  Unless you've really been skimping magic,
    your mages should easily be able to cover any spell needs.  Your
    thief is better off shooting arrows, hitting-and-fading, tossing 
    traps, and generally making life hell in a strategic, non-magic way.
      Set Exploding Trap - This trap explodes like a fireball, dealing
    10d6 damage (Save vs. Spells for half) and propels victims away
    (like a Dragon's Wing Buffet), regardless of save.
      Generally, expect this to do 5d6 damage since in ToB, enemies will
    generally be able to save quite frequently.  Its greatest asset is
    that it will propel victims away, which means it buys you time to
    hide, set more traps, or deal with enemies in discarded groups.  
    This is a highly tactical trap.
      By the way, since the game isn't very explicit about this, 
    Exploding Trap is party-friendly.
      Set Spike Trap - This trap deals 20d6 damage to whatever enemies
    activate it (no save).
      Generally the cheese trap that most players love to exploit to
    hell.  Nevertheless, it does have its wonderful tactical advantages,
    aside from just piling them up in front of a stationary dragon, then
    laughing as they all activate and chunk the dragon to floating bits
    of meat.  This is a highly aggressive trap.
      Set Time Trap - Activates a Time Stop for 10 seconds.  
      This, like Exploding Trap, is highly tactical, but for different
    reasons.  Exploding Trap buys you temporary time and deals some
    damage, but Time Trap gives you a massive initiative bonus.  
    There is a difference.  Time Trap can allow your thief to prepare
    more traps, but also get in better position, maybe down some potions,
    or even Assassinate/Backstab (since all attacks in Time Stop are
    automatic successes).
      Use Any Item - Removes item restrictions for the thief.
      This is perhaps one of the strongest high level abilities at the
    thief's disposal; this allows anything (from the Helm of Balduran
    to Fortress Shield +3) to be used by the thief.  This makes your
    thief much more useful than many other characters for this reason.
    4.  Kits                                                          [400]
      While DSimpson did a great job in his Class FAQ, since he worked on
    every single class offered in BGII:SA/ToB, he had to sacrifice some
    detail and analysis.  I intend to, by specialization, to give some 
    greater depth to the various options offered by the thief classes.
      I mark positive analyses with a '+', a negative with a '-', and
    neutral assessments with a '='.  I don't give letter grades since they
    tend to oversimplify issues.
    4a. Vanilla Thief                                                 [410]
        Thief Skills (25 points a level to distribute).
        Backstabbing capability.
        Can only wear up to Studded Leather Armor and Bucklers.
        Can only use Short Swords, Long Swords, Katanas, Daggers, Short
          Bows, Scimitar/Wakizashi/Ninja-to, Darts, and Light Crossbows.
        Cannot be of Lawful Good alignment.
      +Contrary to what DSimpson writes, the Vanilla Thief has credibility
    on its own; its kits do not make it obsolete (like what the Cleric's 
    kits do for the Cleric itself, for example).  That is because every kit 
    has a sacrifice that is critical in many ways for a given style of play.
    For someone who wants the general experience of a thief, this is the 
    best choice.
      =Being restricted to only using Bucklers is pretty bad, since magical
    bucklers are severely limited; in fact there's only one in the game.
    (For more on this see Items of Note - Armor and Final Notes - History.)
    In some respects, Single Weapon Proficiency is actually better than 
    equipping an actual buckler, even the magical one (since in addition to
    the -1 AC of SWP that also applies against missile weapons headed your
    way, which normal bucklers won't protect against, you now critically 
    hit twice as often: 19-20 as oppossed to just 20).
      By the way, thieves are great for dual-classing, as opposed to
    multi-classing.  On one end, you want to increase a few specific
    abilities to maximum success then completely change over to a mage
    or a fighter, on the other, you want to get some magical/fighter
    perks before going completely as a thief.
      Because multi/dual-classed thieves function much differently than
    just normal thieves, I'll mention some of the more particular ones.
      i.  Fighter/Thief                                               [411]
          Can specialize in any weapon.
          Can wear any armor, but can't use thief skills when wearing
            anything beyond studded leather.
        +Specialization is massively good.  +1 to-hit, +2 damage!  Extra
      attack!  That extra attack doesn't mean much for backstabbing (you
      lose stealth after the first attack), but for Improved Invisibility
      or Assassination, you sneak in good extra hits.
        +You get extra HP.  Woo!  This makes your thief a bit more 
      durable in combat, useful if he messed up setting a trap or missed a
        =The armor bonus isn't that great at first glance, since if you
      wear full plate, then you essentially have a fighter with less 
      health and less weapon ability.  The reason you're a thief is for
      the thief skills anyway, right?
        You're VERY much better off starting off as a fighter and dualling
      to a thief, since if you multiclass, your thief skills progress VERY
      slowly.  Since you probably only want to use a few weapons, stay a
      fighter long enough to max out potential HP and get specialized in
      those weapons.
        A fighter/thief is good if you want to do more backstabbing damage
      or you want a utility thief that can also survive in combat.  But,
      in the latter case, a Swashbuckler is almost completely better in
      every way.
      ii. Mage/Thief                                                  [412]
        +Magic = good.  Plus, being part thief, the mage/thief gets the
      amazing extra perk of being able to wear elven chain mail (although 
      you probably would rather opt for the Robe of Vecna).
        -You lose HP.  At least you still have more HP than a pure mage.
        -If you multiclass, your spell development will be INCREDIBLY 
      behind pure mages.  Early on this doesn't mean much, but when you
      start getting level 8 and 9 scrolls without being able to memorize
      them (whereas Edwin, Imoen, and Nalia have no problem), it gets very
      frustrating and your relative power level drops.
        A mage/thief is a combination geared more at traps and passive work,
      like detecting illusions or setting traps.  Which ever way you do it
      (dual or multi), a mage/thief will be generally very poor at backstab
      or aggressive hit-and-fade work, since HP will be generally much 
        Note that even your mage/thief will be comparatively weaker,
      spell-wise, to your magic counhterparts, being a thief could more
      than make up for it.  You can use Melf's Minute Meteors to much
      better effect (lower THAC0), equip decent weapons (like Gesen's
      Short Bow or one of many different other better-than-sling bows
      and corssbows), and do stuff like hide (which makes spellcasting a
      nice surprise).  
        If you multi-class, you'll get slower development, but you'll have
      the potential of having Time Stop traps (combines well with a flurry
      of Spell Triggers) or other fun stuff (Use Any Item, Avoid Death,
      Greater Evasion, the last two being particularly useful for a part
      mage).  If you dual-class, you can get what you need in one and max
      out the other.
      iii.Cleric/Thief                                                [413]
          Clerical spellcasting.
          Turn Undead.,
          Can only use clerical weapons.
        +Magic = good.  Although, clerical magic doesn't mesh as well with
      a thief as normal magic.  Although with clerical magic, you can wear
      that Grandmaster's Armor and still toss out spells.
        +You gain a piddling extra HP.
        +You have better THAC0 in the long run.  Although, because the way
      a cleric's THAC0 develops, in the short term, it might seem like you
      have crap THAC0.
        +You can turn undead.  Combined with a thief's ability to Hide,
      you can Hide for one turn, then immediately activate Turn Undead.
      Just as you go visible, you should do a Turn and either destroy/scare
      lots of the baddies, or gain control of some of them (depending on
      alignment).  Otherwise, it can give your thief a last resort protection
      if Vampires are relentless pursuing it after a messed up backstab
      or something to that effect.
        =You can't use normal thief weapons.  On the one hand, this means
      being able to use a whole slew of generally more-damage weapons, but
      on the other, alot of thief-good weapons are now forever lost.
        A cleric/thief is interesting, to say the least.  It gives the
      thief alot more versatility (such as being able to pump himself up
      via magic), but it doesn't particularly complement the thief's 
      abilities or make up for any shortcomings.  It might be nice to have
      Time Stop traps with some clerical spells, and I suppose a Use Any
      Item goes far into making weapons better.
        Still, a backstabbing thief buffed with a Righteous Magic means
      absolute destruction.  (Righteous Magic increases strength, HP, AND
      deals maximum damage on each hit... ouch!)
      iv. Fighter/Mage/Thief                                          [414]
          Can specialize in any weapon.
          Can wear any armor, but can't cast spells when wearing non-elven
            metal armor, and can't use thieving abilities when wearing
            anything past Studded Leather.
        +Here's a fun equation - Magic+Fighting+Thieving = Supertank.  Out
      of all the thief variants, this is perhaps the most capable of
      soloing the game by itself.  Your hide-in-shadows fail?  Your
      stoneskin takes care of that.  Piddling backstab damage?  Tenser's
      Transformation takes care of that.  
        =Here's a not-so-fun equation - 2 950 000 / 3 = 983 333.  Do you
      know what that is?  That's the Pre-Throne of Bhaal level cap divided
      by the three classes that'll be splitting the experience.  Do you
      realize how LOW of a cap that is?  Your Fighter/Mage/Thief levels 
      will be, respectively, 11/12/14.  Sure, you'll be able to cast 
      spells, but only up to level 5.  Sure, you can use thieving
      abilities, but you'll actually have LESS theiving points to use than
      the highly crippled Assassin.
        Then again, why bother with putting points into Hide in Shadows
      when you have numerous casts of (Improved) Invisibility and Shadow
      Door at your disposal?  Why bother with Detect Illusions when you
      have Oracle?
        The Fighter/Mage/Thief lacks a lot in relative power.  The Fighter/
      Thief elements don't make up for the fact that the mage is never
      going to be able to cast powerful spells.  The Fighter/Mage elements
      don't make up for the fact that the thief will be missing out on LOTS
      of abilities.  The Mage/Thief elements don't make up for the fact 
      the fighter will be severely crippled in THAC0 and AC.  Still, with
      a loss in absolute power, it gains versatility, which in some ways
      far outweights any penalty from the low levels. 
    4b. Multi-class Variants                                          [420]
      If you're a human, you have the possibility of starting off the game
    as a more specialized variant of Fighter, Cleric, or Wizard and then
    dual over to a thief later.  I mentioned before that it's perhaps even
    better to dual-class over multi-class, since you can either start off
    with a Fighter set and get the proficiencies you want then switch over,
    or start off with a Thief set and get the abilities you want then
    switch over.  So, here are just some quick analysis on how the various
    fighter/cleric variants function and when you probably want to switch
    over.  Specialized Mages aren't different enough from normal Wizards
    to warrant their own section.
      i.  Berserker                                                   [421]
          May use Enrage ability once per day per 4 levels. While enraged: 
          +2 to hit, +2 damage, -2 AC. The berserker at this time is 
          immune to charm, hold, fear, maze, imprisonment, stun and sleep. 
          He also gains 15 hit points while enraged. These hit points are 
          temporary, and are taken away at the end of his berserk spree, 
          possibly killing the berserker. Enrage also makes him immune 
          to level drain.
          Becomes winded after berserking. While he's winded, he receives 
            -2 to hit, -2 to damage and a +2 penalty to AC.
          Cannot specialize in ranged weapons.
          Cannot be of Lawful alignment.
        I'm not quite sure why you would want to do this.  Enrage isn't
      very synergestic with the Thief's abilities.  In a pinch it's a
      nice boost to your backstab abilities, but it's very temporary and
      you're left with a nasty side effect when it wears off.  Plus, 
      if you're not going for backstabbing, then you lose out on the 
      ability to specialize in Short Bows, which just stinks for little
      ii. Kensai                                                      [422]
          +1 To-Hit and +1 Damage bonus per 3 levels.
          -2 bonus to AC.
          -1 bonus to Speed Factor per 4 levels.
          May use Kai once per day per 4 levels, starting with one use at
            level 1.  Lasts 10 seconds and causes max damage to be
            inflicted with weapons.
          Cannot use missile weapons.
          Cannot wear armor.
          Cannot wear gauntlets or bracers.
          Cannot be of Chaotic alignment.
        The Kensai makes actually a strong backstabbing thief.  The fact
      that the Kensai has almost no recourse of improving AC is offset by
      the fact that the backstabbing thief will have both higher HP and
      the ability to go invisible (via Hide in Shadows).  
        The bonus to THAC0 and Damage is exceptionally good for improving
      the thief's ability to pull off a devastating backstab.  Especially
      considering the damage bonus is multiplied by the backstab multiplier
      as well.  
        The bonus to AC doesn't really do too much, other than pair well
      with a shield to cut down on missile weapon damage.
        The bonus to Speed Factor is actually most beneficial for a 
      backstabber.  With even a -2 bonus, you can start using the more
      damaging (but slower) long swords to greater effect for
      backstabbing.  With a -3 bonus, you can also branch out to other 
      weapons, like Katanas, Quarterstaves, and War Hammers, that 
      ordinarily would be terribly difficult to use with backstabbing.
        Kai is simply amazing with backstab.  It'd require expert timing:
      activate Kai, hide, and then you have 4 seconds to land a strike.
      (The first 6 seconds are eaten up since you have to wait a full round
      before your next round begins and you can hide.)  However, when
      you do land a strike, you'll probably slay most anything with a 
      single hit.
        There are two levels at which point you'd probably want to dual
      over, depending on your tastes.  If you dual over at level 8, you get
      a nice 10 + 7d10 amount of HP (not counting constitution bonuses),
      you get a +2 To-Hit and +2 Damage, -2 to Speed Factor, and three uses
      of Kai.  Plus, you get a headstart on your thief building.
        Alternatively, you can dual over at level 12.  You'll get +4 To-Hit
      and +4 Damage, -3 to Speed Factor, and four uses of Kai.  This will
      maximize the benefit you can get out of the Kensai, since you'll also
      be getting the full 9 hit die worth of d10 HP.  But be warned!  
      Your thief, while guaranteed to regain his fighter abilities, may
      have trouble reaching high levels, especially if you have a 6-person
      iii.Wizard Slayer                                               [423]
          Every successful hit adds a cumulative 10% spell failure.
          2% magic resistance per level.
          At level 20, magic resistance gain rate is 5% per every 2 levels.
          Cannot use magical items (aside from weapons and armor).
        This class is bad news.  For you.  The thief has almost nothing to 
      gain from this class.  Sure, you gain magic resistance, but the
      thief, unlike the fighter, has a really huge dependence on magical
      items, like Boots of Speed, Rings of Protection/Invisibility, and
      even Potions of Speed/Invisibility.  If somehow you don't need
      these items, well, a Swashbuckler is almost better than a Wizard
      Slayer in every single way.  When you dual over, you'll most likely
      have a piddling amount of resistance, say 20% or so.  Not worth it.
      iv. Specialized Cleric                                          [424]
          (Depending on alignment; first ability is useable once per day
            per 10 levels, starting at level 1 with one use, second ability
            is usable once per day per 5 levels, starting at level 1 with
            one use.)
          Good - Boon of Lathander, Hold Undead
          Neutral - Seeking Sword, True Sight
          Evil - Storm Shield, Lightning Bolt
        Out of all these options, Neutral is the worst.  True Sight is
      redundant with Detect Illusions.  Seeking Sword has limited
      application to the thief since rarely do you want a thief to go out
      and tank it with enemies (and you won't be a Swashbuckler to give
      you any THAC0 bonuses or the like).
        Good and Evil are both somewhat tied in terms of quality.  Boon of
      Lathander gives you +1 To-Hit, +1 to Damage, +1 to Saves, an extra 
      attack, and immunity to level-drain.  The extra attack combines well
      with a bow or other ranged weapon, and the bonus To-Hit and Damage 
      mesh well with a backstabber.  Combined with some of the buffer 
      spells the Cleric has, and your Cleric/Thief will be able to hold his
      own quite easily.  Immunity to level-drain is almost meaningless for
      a backstabber/trapper, but for all other thief variants, it saves a
      lot of headaches.  However, Hold Undead isn't terribly great.  While
      there are lots of Undead out there, there are only a few nasty enough
      to warrant a Hold Undead (really vicious Vampires, for example).
        Similarly, Lightning Bolt may be pretty good early on and will
      give the Thief something to do during pitched battles where he or
      she can't really backstab or lay traps, but enemies start making
      their saves very well later on, so the general usefulness of being
      able to cast it starts getting pretty bad.
        Storm Shield gives you immunity to fire, cold, lightning, and 
      missile weapons for a good amount of time (1 round per level).  The
      only problem is (like all specialized protective spells), it's very
      hard to judge when an enemy will use fire, cold, or lightning.
      This can be certainly useful when you're about to encounter
      Salamanders or Elementals, but in general, enemy mages will be
      flinging Magic Missiles, Fingers of Death, and Domination more than
      Cone of Cold or Chain Lightning.  Still, the immunity to missile
      weapons is seriously useful for any thief that works on distance
      or creating distance (backstabbers, trappers, ranged attackers).
      Lightning Bolt gives the thief a last-stand weapon or something else
      to do to help the party out.  With careful aim, you can hit an enemy
      twice with it, sometimes even more.  
        No matter what you choose, dual over at level 11.  This will 
      maximize Clerical benefit; you get two uses of your first ability,
      three uses of your second ability, and can cast up to level 5 spells.
      Anything more and you start reducing the effectiveness of your thief
      for little gain.
    4b. Assassin                                                      [430]
        Backstab x6 at level 17.
        Backstab x7 at level 21.
        Bonus +1 to THAC0 and Damage.
        Can coat weapon in poison, meaning that in the next 24 seconds, any
          hits will cause 6 damage to be dealt over 6 seconds for 30
          seconds, Save vs. Death to 6 total damage over 6 seconds.  In
          addition, the effect strengthens as the Assassin gains levels:
            At 10th level, this changes to 30 damage over 14 seconds (Save
          for 6 damage over 2 seconds).  So, it's roughly twice as fast,
            At 15th level, this changes to 42 over 14 seconds (Save for 
          12 damage over 4 seconds).  So, it's roughly three times as fast
          as normal poison, in addition to being more damaging.  In 
          addition, the enemy must Save vs. Death or be slowed for 30 
          << NOTE - The poison effect is actually different than listed in
          the manual and in most guides.  It's not significant enough to
          warrant a separate section, like Traps.  I have taken a look at
          the actual script files as verification. >>
        Can only be Chaotic Neutral or Evil alignment.
        Only 15 points a level to distribute for Thief skills.
      =This is pretty much the class for people who wants to go hardcore
    with hit-and-fade attacks and backstabbing.  The 15 points a level
    essentially forces you to focus only on Hide in Shadows, Move Silently,
    and perhaps one other skill.
      +Even without x6 and x7 backstabbing capability, the Assassin is
    always a better damage dealer, since the +1 Damage bonus gets magnified
    by the multipliers.  Meaning at first it deals out +3 damage per
    backstab, +4 once you get 4x, and onward, so all other things being
    equal, if both an Assassin and a Thief had a 5x backstab, the Assassin
    would still be doing +5 more damage on average.
      +Backstab x7 is simply crazy.  That's essentially seven attacks in
    one round.  Combined with something like Belm (which gives you 2 
    attacks a round) and Assassination, that's potentially 14 attacks 
    worth of damage.  
      =Poison is extraneous, sorta.  It really doesn't have much to add
    to the overall backstabbing experience, especially since enemies are
    quite adept at making their saving throws.  Nevertheless, when you're
    in a situation when you can't hit-and-fade (ambushed, forced encounter,
    out of invisibility rings/potions, small area), Poisoning your arrows
    makes the Assassin an actually capable force.
      =Being CN isn't that bad, and being Evil means you can choose
    freely your path at the end of the game without worrying about
    spiritual consequences.  However, this does mean that certain good
    spells like Holy Word and Holy Smite no longer will be effective or 
    will need quite a bit more micromanagement.  On the other hand,
    the occasional use of Unholy Blight by the enemy will be completely
    useless on you.
      -Having only 15 points per level will REALLY hurt you early on.  
    Eventually, by level 23, you'll have some more breathing room, but this
    will essentially force you to rely on someone like Jan or Imoen to do
    the trap work for you.  And the lock work.  And pick pocketting.
    Perhaps those damn illusions, too.
    4b. Swashbuckler                                                  [440]
        +1 to AC.
        An additional +1 to AC every 5 levels.
        Bonus +1 THAC0 and Damage every 5 levels.
        Can specialize in any thief weapon.
        Can obtain three proficiency points in two weapon fighting.
        Can obtain Whirlwind Attack as a high level ability.
        Cannot backstab.
        Does not gain the extra 1/2 attack by specialization.
        Cannot obtain Assassination as a high level ability.
      +This class combines the fighter and the thief into one, 
    non-exp-splitting combination, and even improves upon it.  Of course,
    he still can't wear Full Plate Mail (and even with Use Any Item, won't
    be able to use thief abilities, but maybe you won't need to), and he
    won't attack any more often than a normal thief, just beetter.
      +The AC bonuses keep on applying far up to level 40, meaning that
    your Base AC by the end of the game will by 1 (-9 AC).  Combined with 
    Shadow Dragon Leather (AC 1), then Dex 18 (-4 AC), you will have a 
    potential AC of -12.  That's before items like Ring of Gaxx or Cloak
    of the Sewers (+1 AC).  So even if the thief can't use Full Plate Mail,
    he'll be able to more than compensate for that.
      +The Bonus THAC0, while not making the thief like a fighter, brings
    him atleast into the range of a Cleric's THAC0.  The damage bonus
    is absolutely nice.
      =While it is true that the thief can get three points in two weapon
    fighting and can specialize in any thief weapon, keep in mind the thief
    is a thief and will have very few precious proficiency points.
    Meaning you will be able to use very few weapons if you actually choose
    to specialize in some.  Considering the Celestial Fury is not really
    the end-all be-all weapon after ToB, this is bad.
      =Whirlwind Attack is a replacement for Assassination.  In some 
    respects this is good (potentially more damage, considering the damage
    bonuses that stack up), in some ways bad (Assassination is more
    flexible since a thief could potentially have three attacks, two from
    weapon, one from haste, so could actually result in 15x normal attacks,
    21x if an Assassin).  Though, Whirlwind Attack is better for spell
    disruption and getting rid of Mirror Images/Stoneskins.
      =Backstabbing is out.  Meaning for someone like me, this means the
    Swashbuckler is almost out of the picture.  For some people, the 
    additional fighting prowess of the Swashbuckler makes up for it, but
    for me, backstabbing ultimately becomes a much more powerful tool.
    Perhaps by the end of this guide, you will realize that perhaps this
    should be a massive '-' instead of a '='.
    4c. Bounty Hunter                                                 [450]
        +15 to Set Traps ability
        Can lay Special Traps.  Gained at the same rate as normal traps,
          and they have the following abilities depending on character
          level (not cumulative):
          1st:  Deals out damage and slows if Save vs. Spell failed.
          11th: Deals out damage and holds if Save vs. Spell failed.
          16th: Encloses target in Otiluke's Resilient Sphere if Save vs. 
            Spell failed (no actual damage).
          21st: Mazes the target (no Save, no magic resistance allowed,
            but no actual damage).
          << NOTE - If you want more detail on how these Special Traps 
            work, head on over to section 5. I'm just quoting the in-game
            information here, which is actually misleading and 
            in some ways, completely incorrect. >>
        Only 20 points a level to distribute on thief abilities.
      =This is definitely a class geared towards trap-laying.  While not
    quite as extremely exclusive as the Assassin, the reduced number of
    thieving points makes this more specialized than a Vanilla thief.
      +++The Special Traps are supergreat (contrary to some opinion).
    First, they are the only traps that can be THROWN.  Whereas all other
    traps your character has to walk to that point and set it, your
    character will simply throw a Special Trap to the location.  Meaning
    potentially you have a mechanical fireball at your hands.
      Furthermore, Special Traps evolve as do your normal Traps.  At
    first, your Special Traps will be your offensive weapon while your
    plain Traps serve as a last-stand tactical weapon (Special Traps start
    off by doing around twice normal Trap damage).  However, around
    level 12, your normal Traps gain a very nice poisoning ability, where
    they persist their damage (of a completely different nature than the
    initial strike) for several rounds, making them more offensive, while
    your Special Traps start becoming more tactical (being able to Hold),
    while still being slightly on par with your normal Traps, damage-wise.
      Now, you may be wondering why the hell you want to go beyond that;
    your Special Traps no longer deal actual damage starting at level 16.
    Well, you don't need them to; at this point your normal Traps have 
    plenty of kick.  Your Special Traps become immense tactical weapons.
    About to be overwhelmed by enemies or about to go into a tough fight?
    Toss a Special Trap and watch the fighting force get cut into a smaller 
    chunk.  I don't think it can be overemphasized how much easier a battle
    becomes when you can deal with enemies in smaller groups.  In addition,
    because you can actually THROW a Special Trap, this works great as a
    pre-emptive move; sort of like a projectile, area of effect Sphere.
      At level 21, the Special Trap becomes the most compelling argument
    for soloing a Bounty Hunter through the game.  Your Special Trap will
    become your most valuable asset.  Why?  First, almost NOTHING can
    resist being Mazed by this trap.  No Saving Throw, no magic resistence,
    not even game-important characters can resist it.  In fact, it is 
    actually possible to slightly break game scripting by using this trap;
    for example: 
    <<SPOILER - when you're in Hell at the end of BGII:SoA, if you set
    a Special Trap before opening the doors, it will activate and actually
    Maze the normally invulnerably scripted Irenicus.  This results in
    somewhat comic amusement as your characters walk up to an empty battle
    field, wait, have Irenicus reappear when Maze ends (no longer casting
    his scripted spell), and wait awkwardly for a minute before scripting
    reactivates and he goes directly into dialogue (completely skipping
    all spell effects). - END SPOILER>>  
    In fact, only VERY hugely game important characters seem to be able to 
    resist this effect; the Demogorgon is the only enemy I've encountered
    that will consistently resist being Mazed (and he can also resist
    the Time Stop effect of Time Traps).
      In addition, Mazing is a much greater tactical advantage than
    Sphering enemies.  Why?  Even if you Sphere the battle group in half,
    the other half will all unsphere at the same time (unless you planted
    another Special Trap out of their visible range).  But Mazing will take
    out all in-range enemies and return them based on their intelligence
    (like the actual spell).  It is uncommon for enemies to share identical
    intelligences in one battle encounter; it is further uncommon that
    you will see identical dice rolls for the randomly generated durations.
    This means you can take a huge battle crowd (like the Northern Tunnels
    in Sendai's Lair if you just run through till the end and let thirty
    some odd dwarves and Orogs follow in hot pursuit), and reduce it to 
    small skirmishes of two or so enemies at a time.  In addition, because
    enemies are effectively no longer there, you can take the time you 
    bought to Hide your thieves, set more Traps (Spike, Exploding, Normal, 
    whatever), or just better prepare your characters for battle. Or, 
    completely run away and live to fight another day.  
      Another side bonus is that in skirmishes mixed with mages, the mages
    will generally have the highest intelligences, meaning they will
    generally be the first to reappear... alone, without support.  Meaning
    their toughness becomes greatly reduced.
      Of course, there is no actual damage that it does, but it still 
    becomes the ultimate support ability in the entire game.  Combined with
    some smart tactics (elaborated on later), your Bounty Hunter can end
    up taking the lion's share in experience value and kills.
      =The 20 points per level hurts you a bit (not nearly as much as
    the Assassin's 15 per level), but this is slightly offset by the fact
    that you start off with +15 in Traps, so if you so choose, you can 
    afford to divert some extra points elsewhere.  The Assassin, by 
    contrast, has no such bonus to their Hide in Shadows or Move Silently 
    abilities, so has to focus more on them.
    5.  The Secret of Traps                                           [500]
      One thing that severely irritated me about Baldur's Gate II was the
    plethora of information hiding in certain areas.  Like, the game never
    telling you what exactly Minsc's Berserk does for him (does it also
    give him the +2 THAC0 and Damage, +2 bonus to AC that Enrage does for
    Berserkers?).  The big thing, though, is the fact that there is VERY
    little documentation on the thief traps (save for the higher level ones
    which are actually fully explained).  So little documentation, in fact,
    that I had to hunker down and read through the actual trap scripting
    files to determine what they actually do.  So, enjoy the product of
    my hard work!
    5a. Normal Traps                                                  [510]
      First thing to know:  you gain the ability to set a Trap once per
    day per every five levels.  So, one use at level 1, two uses at level
    6, and so on.  You'd think such a simple thing like this Bioware would
    actually tell you.
      Second thing to know:  every time you get an increased use of a trap,
    the trap also becomes more powerful.  So, without further ado...
      Level 1 Trap:  Doesn't exist, since you start off higher than level 6.
      Level 6 Trap:  Deals 2d8+5 damage to any enemies within the area
        of effect of the Trap when it goes off.  This is non-magical damage
        so Magic Resistence can't stop it (as is the same for all initial
        damage of later Traps).
      Level 11 Trap: Deals 2d8+5 damage to any enemies within the area
        of effect of the Trap when it goes off.  In addition, for the next
        three rounds, it deals 2d6 poison damage per round (hence
        resistence or vulnerability to poison also affects the damage).
        In addition, this extra damage also disrupts spell casting (like
        Melf's Acid Arrow).
      Level 16 Trap: Deals 3d8+5 damage plus 4d8+2 fire damage to any
        enemies within the area of effect of the Trap when it goes off.
        Like poison, any vulnerability or resistence to fire also effects
        the extra damage.
      Level 21 Trap: Deals 3d8+5 damage plus 20 poison damage to any
        enemies within the area of effect of the Trap when it goes off.
        Plus, enemies must Save vs Death with a +4 bonus or die instantly.
        Again, the poison damage can be reduced or increased according to
      Note that in Shadows of Amn pre-seven Trap restriction (which is
    pre-ToB and I believe pre-patch), damage per trap is about half listed,
    rounding down.  My hypothesis is that after Bioware put the Trap limit
    per area, they beefed up the damages to still keep their power level
    up.  Interestingly, pre-patch and pre-ToB, the Save to avoid instant
    death was harder since enemies weren't given a bonus.
      As you can see, normal traps do rock incredibly.  Unfortunately, the 
    instant death effect at level 21, thanks to the bonus to save and the 
    general late time you get the trap, is more just frosting than actual 
    meat since most enemies will actually make the save.  A Greater 
    Malison, however, will go far into making it effective.
    5b. Special Traps                                                 [520]
      Even though the game seems to tell you what they do, there's still 
    quite a bit it doesn't tell you.  Like normal Traps, you can use them
    once per day per every five levels starting with one use at level 1.
      Level 1 Special Trap:  Doesn't exist, since you start off higher than
        level 6.
      Level 6 Special Trap:  Deals 3d8+5 damage to any enemies within the
        area of effect of the Special Trap when it goes off.  In addition,
        enemies must Save vs. Spells with a -4 penalty or be slowed for 5
        rounds.  (Like normal Traps, the initial damage is non-magical.)
      Level 11 Special Trap: Deals 4d8+5 damage to any enemies within the
        area of effect of the Special Trap when it goes off.  In addition,
        humanoid enemies must Save vs. Spells with a -1 penalty or be
        held for 5 rounds.
      Level 16 Special Trap: All enemies within the area of effect when
        the Special Trap goes off must Save vs. Spells or be affected as
        Otiluke's Resilient Sphere for 7 rounds.
      Level 21 Special Trap: All enemies within the area of effect,
        regardless of Magic Resistence, are Mazed as the spell of the same
        name (except Spell Trap and the like cannot stop it from occuring).
        The Maze lasts according to intelligence, as according to the
        actual spell.
      What the game (and apparently every single FAQ and guide ever
    written) doesn't tell you is that enemies actually recieve penalties to
    their Saves for slowing and holding.  Ironically, you will notice more
    enemies succumbing to the effects of the Sphere effect despite the fact
    that there is no penalty to the Save.  That is because, again the game
    doesn't tell you this, the hold effect of a level 11 Trap is based on
    Hold Person, meaning non-humanoid creatures cannot be held, so there 
    are alot more valid targets for Sphere to work on than the Hold effect.  
    6.  Stronghold                                                    [600]
      The thief has perhaps the most advantageous stronghold of any class.
    I don't mean to say "the best," since that is a very arguable point,
    but rather that it is advantageous for the following reasons:  it is
    easy to obtain, it has the most convenience (subjective, but this is
    based on the fact that things you want you'll obtain by doing this),
    and it is the most profitable.
      This is the easiest to obtain by the sheer fact that you can walk
    out of Irenicus's dungeon, head to the Docks, and proceed to the do
    the quests.  There are only two tricky battles, one in Rayic Gethras's
    home, the other when you take down the entirety of Mae'Var's guildhall.
    For the most part, though, the quests involved are fetch and carry.
      This has the most convenience mainly because you can get a decent
    weapon for the thief, loads of cash, and Edwin, hands down the best
    mage in the game.  Of course this is subjective, and relative to some
    of the other stronghold quests, the payoff isn't that great (although
    I DO think Edwin rules over Carsomyr +5).
      The most profitable?
      Here we go with some basic math...
      First, when you start managing the stronghold DO NOT BE A COWARD
    AND KEEP YOUR THIEVES AT LOW RISK.  Doing so means they will BARELY be
    able to cover average quota, meaning you are gaining almost no benefit 
    from managing the stronghold.  What is average quota?  Well, after
    the first four weeks (which are preset), it's a 50% chance of 500 gold,
    20% chance of 300, 20% chance of 900, and 10% chance of 1000 gold.
    So, expected value would be sum of all (chance * value), or
    (.5 * 500) + (.2 * 300) + (.2 * 900) + (.1 * 1000) or 600 gold per
    7 days.
      Second, if you keep all your thieves at high risk, (choices 1,2,1)
    then the payoff/failure is like this:
        Hanz - Success 50% of 900 Gold, Failure 50% of -100 Gold, 
          expected average yield of 400 Gold.
        Goshan - Success 50% of 750 Gold, Failure 50% of -200 Gold,
          expected average yield of 275 Gold.
        Kretor - Success 50% of 1000 Gold, Failure 50% of -50 Gold,
          expected average yield of 475 Gold.
        Morsa - Success 50% of 750 Gold, Failure 50% of -250 Gold,
          expected average yield of 250 Gold.
        Varia - Success 50% of 800 Gold, Failure 50% of -300 Gold,
          expected average yield of 250 Gold.
      So, in a typical half-tenday period, you will accumulate 400+
    275+475+250+250 Gold or 1650 Gold.  But of course, you have to
    subtract the quota from your yield.
      But, there's an interesting catch.  The Thief Stonghold is the only
    one that yields gold on a 5-day basis.  Interestingly, Renal only
    comes for the money every 7 days.  So in one week, you are actually
    going to earn 1.4 times your average yield (since you have those
    extra two days).  So, then your expected yield over a 7 day period 
    would be 1650*1.4 - 600.  Which is an average yield of 1710 Gold
    per 7 days.
      Compare this with the other money makers: the Fighter and Bard 
    strongholds.  On the surface, the Bard's seems immensely profitable,
    since, with an optimal performance, you begin earning 1800 Gold, then
    100 less Gold with each successive week until it reaches a steady
    500 Gold per week.  However, this is ignoring the fact that you have
    to invest MUCH time and 10,000 Gold in the first place.  Meaning you
    have to wait 7 entire weeks (1800 + 1700 + ... + 1200) until you can
    recoup the gold you invested in the first place.  In the meantime,
    the Thief Stronghold has been earning an average of 1710 Gold per
    week, meaning the Bard Stronghold can never catch up since it only
    continues to decrease in yield (1100, then 1000, etc.).  
      The Fighter Stronghold produces a consistent 500 Gold, but it's
    true money-making abilities come in the fact that you can continuously
    tax your people to get 1000 Gold instantly (it seems up to about 10
    or so times).  The problem, though, is that they will eventually
    revolt.  However, you can prevent this from happening by choosing
    options, in your miniquests, that will make them happy.  Unfortunately,
    this usually involves putting in money.  Especially when you have to
    pay off the Blackmailers (which can potentially offset you 1000 Gold)
    or repair the dikes (which, unless you want a revolt, will offset you
    5000 Gold for the farms, then 2000 for the actual dikes).  Furthermore,
    taxing your people is finite; after all the miniquests, you can't push
    your people just to make them happy at a later date.  So in the end,
    you have a much narrower profit margin than a Thief Stronghold
    (while Bards get the shaft).
      In short, Thief Strongholds are awesomeness, especially when you 
    consider how little relative work goes into obtaining them. 
      By the way, DSimpson has some excellent and more complete thieving
    charts on his FAQ, but you needn't really need to know anymore than
    what I've given you.
    7.  Tactics                                                       [700]
    7a. Backstabbing Notes                                            [710]
      If you're going the Swashbuckler route, you'll probably want to skip
    this entire part, since it won't apply to you.  Unless you want to use
    the piddlingly weak Jan to backstab your enemies to doom.
      Backstabbing will actually become your most powerful weapon, 
    regardless of whether you are an Assassin or not.  First, it is 
    important to note that you actually DO have to be relatively behind
    your enemy before a backstab registers (unlike pre-patch BGI).  
    Second, you do get a +4 attack bonus for being invisible as you
    attack.  Third, you will not unhide/uninvisify until you actually make
    your attack or an entire round passes.  So if you made a mistake, you
    still have time to run out of the enemy's view and re-hide.
      By the way, that sums up your strategy with backstabbing:  running
    and rehiding.  If you really want to abuse it, you will probably want
    to learn to love the F6 key, as this is the shortcut for Hide in
    Shadows/Move Silently.  Now, you may first be discouraged because
    enemies will run at the same rate as you, sometimes even faster.  That's
    why you should learn to love your surrounding geography and your party.
      As long as the enemy isn't within your THIEF's visual range (an
    important distinction), it is assumed that the enemy can't see your
    thief, and thus the thief can Hide to his heart's content.
      That means your first best friend will be the surrounding geography.
    Corners will become one of your best friends, as you can simply go a
    bit past a corner so that the enemies are no longer in your visual 
    range, then hide and backstab again.  Doorjambs also are great; there
    is generally a sweetspot where you can stand beyond the door where
    enemies can't see you from a certain angle.  Hide away.  
      Your party members and/or summons can also pitch in.  While your
    thief is fading (retreating), your party members and/or summons can
    move in to stop the enemy from advancing.  Simply keep moving your 
    thief back until they are no longer "visible" according to thief.  You 
    maystill be able to see the enemy, but this will be because of your 
    other party members, who are closer.  It may be a bit difficult at 
    first to  estimate when it's good to hide again; it's about equivalent
    to the radius of a fireball that your thief can see.  Then, move back 
    in, backstab the enemy, and fade again outside of the enemy range while
    your party members keep them from following.
      At first, your thief is ideally suited for taking out enemy mages
    and clerics.  This is because they tend to have lower HP and higher
    ACs than the rest of the group.  Also because they have the 
    tendency to cast True Sight when you're in range, and you won't have
    Non-detection as early as you would like.
      Of course, I use "taking out" loosely, since you probably won't
    be dealing that much damage.  At most, you do some initially damaging
    action so that either a) the cleric is forced to waste the next few 
    rounds healing or True Sighting or b) the mage is forced to waste
    the next round doing True Sight and potentially waste an allied
    cleric's round by having him heal the mage.
      Thieves are also good targets simply because they are terribly 
    annoying (Bioware stocks most of them with invisibility potions, and
    some have insanely high attacks per round so that they can backstab
    you eagerly if you give them a chance).  Later on in the game, 
    enemy thieves will actually be Detecting Illusions when a hidden you
    is around (the earliest moment is in the Underdark when you're first
    ambushed by a mixed enemy party after Adalon turns you into Drow).
    This generally makes them higher priority if you don't have 
    Non-detection or you had to down an Invisibility potion or use the
    Invisibility effect of a ring or another item, since Non-detection
    doesn't combine with those.
      Much later in the game, when you obtain quintuple backstabbing,
    things become immensely wonderful for your thief (and things keep
    getting better for the Assassin).  Combined with a decent weapon,
    you can now effectively take out most mages in one good backstab,
    and many creatures you can bring to badly injured or nearly dead
    (if not outright killing them) with a good hit.
      When deciding between weapons, always give preference to one with
    a higher enchantment and a lower speed factor.  Thus, you actually
    would probably want to use a Cutthroat +4 or a Yamato +4 over the
    Celestial Fury +3.  Why?  First, Cutthroat and Yamato both have
    higher minimum damages, which is more important for a backstabber
    than a high maximum damage.  Second, both have an additional +1
    bonus to THAC0.  This is immensely useful, as you want every possible
    modifier helping you to hit an enemy.  Third, in the case of the 
    Yamato, it has a lower speed factor.  Meaning, with a Celestial Fury,
    you will end up waiting for a bit before attacking.  This is precious
    time that can be lost if the enemy turns around (foiling backstab) or
    moves (making it harder for you to land a hit, since you now have to
    follow the enemy around).  A lower speed factor means quicker 
      Unfortunately, not all that is gold glitters (yeah I know it's the
    other way around, but bear with me).  There are a few enemies that
    can't be backstabbed.  Beholder-types and Golem-types all cannot be
    backstabbed.  In addition, any enemy that can see through Hiding
    (more on that later) cannot be backstabbed: Demons (not Imps and
    Quasits, I mean like Pit Fiends and Cacofiends), Vampiric Mists,
    and Demon Knights.  Kuo-Toas are an exception: while they can see
    through your Hiding abilities, they CAN be backstabbed, although
    this generally requires a diversion so that a Kuo-Toa is too busy 
    attacking a party member or a summon to turn around.
      In Throne of Bhaal, the number of enemies that can't be backstabbed
    increases a bit:  Flaming Skull, Fell Cat, Bone Fiend, and basically 
    almost anything that looks incredibly demonish (eg Marilith, 
      Sometimes it may be also VERY difficult to determine the orientation
    of a creature; you may wonder, "Am I behind or in front of him?"  This
    generally becomes an issue when a creature is unconcious and lying
    down.  In this case, simply attack from the direction of where their
    head is (if they're humanoid):  this is their "back."
      One more note (elaborated more on the Items of Note section),
    Boots of Speed will become your best friend.  When you have these,
    you hardly have to worry about geography since you can just outrun
    most enemies and hide when you've escaped their gaze.
    7b. Trapping Notes                                                [720]
      Ah, the finer art of trapping.  There are two types of trapping:
    tactical and bombardment.
      Bombardment is basically the cheese of laying tons of traps (or 
    five post-ToB) in front of a vicious enemy (Dragons, Liches, etc.)
    then waiting for said enemy to go hostile.  Boom!  No more enemy.
    This is perhaps the most commonly used method of trapping, and takes
    the least advantage of traps.
      Tactical is what I shall be discussing, a much more active element
    of trapping.  
      If you're not a Bounty Hunter, poor you, since they have such 
    awesome trapping abilities they could rock the game and then some.
      Nevertheless, with conventional Traps, your best bet would be to use
    them as fall-back devices.  Generally, you want them as support for
    backstabbing or blitzing a mage towards the enemy to let off a spell 
    and then pulling him back.  The enemy (angered by being stabbed or
    fazed by a spell) will follow and run into the trap.  
      In combination with backstabbing, you'll find this terribly useful
    since traps force enemies into a "damage" animation, where they stop
    moving so that they can look hurt.  This buys you precious time to
    leave their sight and Hide away, return and stab some more.
      In addition, level 11 Traps are useful anti-Golem devices, especially
    in Firkraag's Dungeon or the Golem Sanctuary in the De'Arnise Hold.
    Simply lay one down and lure a Golem (especially Adamantine ones) into 
    it; the initial damage won't do too much, but the poison will lay waste.
      Furthermore, with mages, liches, and clerics, if you can preemptively
    trap them, the poisoning effect will prevent them from spellcasting for
    the next three rounds.
      Combined with the Bounty Hunter's Special Traps, trapping takes on
    a wildly new dimension.  Generally, you can use the throwing capability
    of his Special Traps as a "bait" of sorts to get enemies to walk towards
    your Bounty Hunter in a group.  Hopefully you've laid a conventional 
    Trap for them to wander straight into.
      When the Bounty Hunter reaches level 16, the two uses sort of become
    distinct.  Generally you can use conventional Traps with conventional 
    tactics, and the tactical use of his Special Trap is distinct from 
      However, when he reaches level 21, they both merge in a beautiful 
    way. The Mazing Traps can clear the enemies out of an area long enough
    for the Bounty Hunter to lay a few traps in anticipation of the enemy's 
    return. Here alot of tactics come into play.  First, you can either lay 
    down a whole lot in one chunk (bombardment, effectively), but this is 
    only really effective if you've Mazed one or two really tough enemies. 
    Second, you can lay down one trap and hide, so that you damage the 
    enemies and are primed for backstabbing, or for fading away and tossing 
    another Maze Trap.  Third, if you remember where the enemies were 
    before you Mazed them all (generally by advance scouting), you can 
    systematically place conventional Traps in certain areas so that you 
    can anticipate how enemies will return and maximize damage.  For
    example, say in a large room, there are two mages to the left, a thief
    to the center, and two Orcs to the right.  You might place a Trap in 
    the far left, one slightly off center to the right, and one or two in 
    the upper or lower right corners of the room.  Why?  The mages are 
    generally going to be the first to return, possibly at the same time, 
    so they will both be getting the trap to the left, and hopefully 
    you've hidden in the meanwhile so that you can knock them out quickly.
    When the thief returns (since he probably has moderate intelligence),
    he gets the one slightly off center (and hopefully this one was out of
    range of the mages, so it didn't activate with their return).  When
    the Orcs (being dumb, they are probably last) return, they get the 
    furthest right Traps, which hopefully weren't activated by the thief.
    Even if you were completely wrong with your estimations of when they'll
    return, hopefully the traps will beplaced such that even if by 
    statistical chance the Orcs return first and Mages last, there will 
    still be a trap left unused to deal with the Mages.
      A good tactic you can use: if a battle is pretty tough, run your
    Bounty Hunter out of every enemy's range, then toss a Special Trap.
    If you aim it right, you can Maze a vast majority of the enemies and
    greatly simplify your life.  This is useful for battles you can't
    prepare for (like when being ambushed).
      When you get the higher end Traps, possibilites explode.  For a 
    non-Bounty Hunter, this slightly expands tactical possibilites since
    an Exploding Trap or a Time Trap goes far in Tactics, and a Spike Trap
    makes Trap-baiting (and yes, bombardment) more effective.
      For Bounty Hunters, this becomes a field day, as their Maze Traps can
    now be supported by a myriad of ways.  Whereas a Bounty Hunter might
    find need of conventional Traps (since Mazing doesn't need to be done
    nearly as often as normal trapping), Exploding, Time, and Spike Traps
    wipe away the need.  Exploding ones are a sort of cross between
    conventional Traps and Maze traps, best if you expect multiple enemies
    to return at once, since you can knock them out of your sight and set
    another or simply Hide.  Time ones can buy you time when enemies
    appear to Assassinate or backstab to your heart's content, especially
    with mages, before they have a chance to reestablish their defenses.
    Spikes make excellent gifts for returning Golems and super-warriors.
      With a Bounty Hunter, ordinarily tough battles like the Final 
    Guardians in Watcher's Keep, can become greatly simplified with a few
    well-thrown Maze-effect Special Traps.
      Final note:  if you are out of sight of enemies, set a Trap that
    activates and hits enemies (generally by means of throwing a Special
    Trap) and damages them, you can avoid them coming after you by 
    immediately Hiding.
    7c. Hiding Notes                                                  [730]
      Hiding will often be a life-saver for a thief, even for the
    unconventional Swashbuckler.  Moreso than just because you can pass by
    enemies simply waiting there, but also because you can completely
    avoid spells and consequently empty out enemy spellcasters' memories.
    How?  Let's say your hiding "accidentally" wore off in the middle of
    a spellcasting group (hopefully you have Boots of Speed or are hasted
    in some way).  Then all those casters begin casting spells at you.
    That's when you run out of their sight and Hide again.  Suddenly,
    all their spells have no targets, so they dissipate harmlessly.
    (Doesn't work if they finish casting and a projectile is on your way,
    although you do have enhanced Saves for being invisible.)  This is
    great for messing with a Lich, if you have the running room, since 
    you can get them to waste their most powerful spells (doesn't work
    for Time Stop or Wail of the Banshee for an obvious reason: doesn't
    directly target your thief).
      However, there are a few important notes, generally in tandem with
    backstabbing, that you probably want to know.  There are some enemies
    that can actually "see" through all sorts of Hiding, whether
    (Improved) Invisibility or even a Non-detection Hiding.  This means
    that while True Sight might not reveal you, or Detect Illusions fail
    to dispel your hidden quality, these enemies will still know where you
    are and attack you appropriately.  Generally, these enemies make sense
    to have these abilities, since they are generally very much not of
    the material plane and probably can percieve whatever plane you phase
    slightly into when becoming invisible (or are just really perceptive
    in seeing your hiding spots).
      Demons (not Imps or Quasits, but the big ones), Vampiric Mists
    (interestingly, ONLY these types of Mists; all other Mists can't see
    you if you're hidden in any way), Demon Knights (there are only three
    instances you meet them; the Cambion in Irenicus's dungeon, the 
    Cambion in the Planar Prison of the Bard Stronghold quest, and the
    ones you summon in the Kuo-Toa area in the Underdark), and, 
    interestingly, lowly Kuo-Toas.  So this means that Demons will
    gleefully Paralyze you, Demon Knights will happily dismember you,
    and Kuo-Toas will... uh... miss while attacking you, all while you may
    be thinking you can get into position for a backstab.  Generally,
    these creatures can't be backstabbed as well, but in the case of 
    Kuo-Toas, it's possible, but you have to distract them so they don't
    keep turning around.
      Vampires, while they can't see, will act on their AI script as if
    you were visible but just couldn't touch you (like Protection from
    Undead).  Meaning, normally they just stand their waiting for
    arrival of prey, but instead they wander around aimlessly and 
    randomly.  This can make trapping and backstabbing VERY tricky as
    they are quick and very random in their movements.  Plus, they might
    accidentally head to your party members who are waiting a bit back
    from where you came.
      However, if you're playing into ToB, the number of enemies that
    can see through your Hiding grows massively.  Here's a somewhat
    comprehensive listing:  Skeleton Mage, Skeleton Cleric, Fire Troll,
    Flaming Skull, Fell Cat, Bone Fiend, Ogremach, any Elemental Prince,
    Hive Mother, the really powerful Mists (like Demon Mist), and that
    chicken at the beginning of the Marching Mountains that casts spells
    at you.  In addition, powered-up, unique versions of normal creatures
    may be able to see through your hiding.  For example, some of the
    Final Guardians in Watcher's Keep are variants of Drow or Nymphs, but
    they can still see through your hiding.  In general, if they look 
    tough and have a specific name, they may be able to see through your
    invisibility.  Note that quite a bit of these you can still backstab
    (like the Elemental Princes or the Final Guardians), you just need to 
    now distract them in some way (or use a Time Trap...).
      Also, in ToB, the game seems intent on preventing you from 
    preemptively Hiding (I guess to prevent backstabbing the main enemy
    into death in the first round or two of combat).  In SoA, you could
    generally have another party member initiate dialogue while your
    main character (or other thief) Hides, then wait for combat to
    begin.  Many times in ToB, no matter who talks to initiate the
    scripted sequence to battle, the game generally resets modal
    abilites (toggle-able abilities, of which Hide in Shadows is one).
    This means that even Hiding beforehand won't allow you to surprise
    the enemy as you intended.  But fortunately...
      You'll find plenty of Rings of Invisibility (called the Sandthief
    Rings, but more often slanged by gamers as Sandman rings).  These
    are once-a-day items that, while taking a few seconds to activate,
    work just as well as Potions of Invisibility (with the same caveat
    that Non-detection has no effect).  Furthermore, Ring of Gaxx has its
    own Sandthief ability built in, so you can afford to upgrade without
    fear of losing backstab potential.
      It seems in SoA that Potions of Invisibility are in very limited
    supply.  Very few people sell them, and most enemies will use them
    before you can kill them.  However, three notable enemies you want to
    make a point of killing quickly: the Rune Assassins in the Bridge 
    District Tanner quest carry quite a bit of invisibility potions. 
    If you can somehow kill them quickly, you can reap the benefits.
    In the Guarded Compound of the Temple District (where you get the
    Celestial Fury), on the second floor, there is a thief in the battle
    (starts off right to your right when you appear).  If you can kill her
    quickly, you get 10 Potions of Invisilibility.  Finally, in Delosar's
    Inn (Bridge District), one of the people you CAN fight (the angry 
    adventuring group) is a thief.  Kill him quickly and you can get some
    invisibility potions.
      In ToB, the potions are a dime a dozen.  Not only do most 
    storekeepers carry about five (sometimes more), but you'll frequently 
    encounter thief-type enemies that by now, you can dispatch quickly;
    these thieves will have leftover invisibility potions.
      I've said it before, but it bears repeating.  Hide in Shadows and
    Move Silently work together.  The way the game determines your ability
    to successfully "stealth" is simply by averaging the two scores (so
    effectively a point in Hide in Shadows or Move Silently yields a .5%
    stealth chance).  The game rechecks this score every round.  However,
    trying to sneak (or stay hidden) in broad daylight outside of shadows
    yields a penalty that halves your stealth chance.  Trying to sneak (or
    stay hidden) indoors in a brightly lit area yields a penalty of 1/3.
    "Daylight" is classified as anytime starting the moment the game clock
    reads "Hour 6" and ending right before it reads "Hour 22."
      Moverover, Move Silently increases the time it takes for you to
    become visible after breaking stealth.  Given that aside from this
    both Move Silently and Hide in Shadows function identically, Move
    Silently is strictly better for investing in points.
    8.  Items of Note                                                 [800]
      OK, this is basically where I describe pretty significant items in
    a thief's life.  I'll name them, where can get them, for whom they're
    appropriate (Assassins have different priorities than Swashbucklers),
    and why they're significant.
    8a. Weapons                                                       [810]
      Belm, Scimitar +2
        Where: The first you'll find in an abandoned tower in the Druid
    Grove, next to where you get the head of the Rakshasa the Djinnis in
    Trademeet are after.
        Whom:  Good for all, although Assassins and backstabbing Bounty
    Hunters in particular will probably use this quite a bit longer than
        Why:   For all involved, this gives you an extra attack.  This 
    means extra killing power for Swashbucklers.  But more importantly for
    Assassins and Bounty Hunters, it has a speed factor of 0, and will
    probably be the first one you can obtain.  Also, for the non-fighting
    thief variants, the extra attack provides some much needed muscle to
    allow the thief to be a bit independent of fighter/cleric support.
    Plus, if you want to keep it for that long, the two attacks mesh well
    with Assassinate (since it applies backstab to EACH attack in one
      Celestial Fury, Katana +3
        Where: Second floor of the Guarded Compound in the Temple 
    District, off of one of the corpses you'll create after a battle.
        Whom:  Good for all, especially for Swashbucklers, less so for
    backstabbers, almost not at all for Thief/Mages.
        Why:   It's Celestial Fury, probably THE most famous weapon in 
    BGII: SoA.  Fighter types will love the two awesome effects of the
    weapon - a possibility to stun, and maybe 10 more damage.  Plus, you
    can activate two spell-like abilities and mess with the enemy. 
    Backstabbers will probably use it through the Underdark when Belm 
    becomes a bit useless and until Cutthroat +4.  In fact, Backstabbers
    may not even want it once they can do enough damage to not need Belm's
    extra attack - they can just opt for Short Sword of Backstabbing, 
    since it may not be worth a proficiency point just for this weapon.
      Usuno's Blade +4 - BGII: ToB only
        Where: First floor of Watcher's Keep, off the thief statue.
        Whom:  Good for all, but especially backstabbers.
        Why:   A solid all around weapon.  Like Yamato +4, only instead
    of a +1 AC, you get a 10% chance to do +2-20 electrical damage.  It's
    up to your playstyle on which you prefer (better defense or a chance
    at some extra damage), but the main thing to keep in mind is the 0
    speed factor.  Special thanks to Sri for pointing this out!
      Short Sword of Backstabbing +3
        Where: As a reward after completing the Thief Stronghold quest.
        Whom:  Mainly backstabbers, although figher-type will see some
    use of it.
        Why:   0 speed factor, +3 enhancement.  Mainly useful when a 
    backstabber doesn't need the extra attack Belm offers to survive.
      Cutthroat, Short Sword +4
        Where: In Bodhi's coffin in Chapter 6.
        Whom:  Probably backstabbers; fighter-types will probably want
    to supplement their Celestial Fury with a more vicious weapon (like
    Equalizer or Blackrazor).
        Why:   While it has 1 speed factor, it has a +4 enhancement.  For
    backstabbers, the +4 enhancement is more important than Celestial
    Fury's other abilities, since it means a greater chance to hit, more
    minimum damage (so you don't do piddling backstab damage), and it also
    means you can hurt Kangaxx and backstab Mages who've cast Improved
    Mantle (which tends to become annoyingly frequent at this point in
    the game).  For BGII: SoA, this is the best weapon backstabbers can
      Yamato, Scimitar +4 - BGII: ToB only
        Where: Tavern owner in The City Under Siege(tm) of BGII: ToB
        Whom:  Anyone will enjoy this, but especially backstabbers.
        why:   Like Cutthroat, except 0 speed factor, +1 AC bonus, and
    d8 instead of d6 damage.  This is almost a backstabber's wet dream.
    Swashbucklers and fighter types may find better swords/weapons soon.
      Short Sword of Mask +4/+5 - BGII: ToB only
        Where: One of the people selling items at the beginning of 
    Watcher's Keep.  You can find the Heart of the Damned (to upgrade it
    to +5 level) in Sendai's Lair.
        Whom:  There are plenty better weapons for fighter types, but
    for backstabbers, this is a glorious weapon.
        Why:   At the +4 level, you may not want to opt for it, since
    it doesn't have the AC bonus of Yamato, but it does have a 15% chance
    to entangle the target.  At the +5 level, this is a great hit-and-fade
    weapon, since not only is it a +5 enhancement (mega backstab damage!)
    but also, entangling the enemy prevents them from following (making
    it easier to run and hide).  The level drain is a neat additional 
    effect that'll make it harder for them to hurt others, and it's useful
    against enemy mages and clerics since it'll wipe out their more 
    powerful spells.
      Dagger of the Star +4/+5 - BGII: ToB only
        Where: The +4 version you can find off the Demi-Lich in Watcher's
    Keep.  You can upgrade it to +5 with five Star Sapphires and 
    Cespenar's good work.
        Whom:  Mainly backstabbers.
        Why:   Despite its lower damage, this may actually trump the Short
    Sword of Mask.  Why?  Well, it only deals 1 less average damage (which
    means a difference of 5 for 5x backstab, 7 for 7x) and makes up for it
    with lots of goodie abilities, although ONLY after you've upgraded it.
    Then, the 15% chance of invisibility is a HUGE boon, maybe better than
    15% chance to entangle, since it means you can potentially backstab
    immediately, with possible minor movement so that you're behind
    the enemy again.  In addition, it can potentially deal 2d8 damage of 
    various elements (1d8 fire, 1d8 electrical) but only 5% of the time.  
    When you factor this into the average damage, then it is only .55 
    behind the Sword of Mask (although this extra damage isn't amplified by
    backstab).  Still, that extra 1 damage can be very valuable and mean
    the difference between an insta-kill or a "Badly Injured" hit.  
    Furthermore, Entangling has the side effect bonus of making it very 
    hard for melee creatures to harm the rest of your party.  Plus, level 
    draining activates much more often (three times more often) than the 
    elemental damage, and is potentially more beneficial an effect for your
    party, since it reduces severity of spell casters and fighters alike.
    Also, mages with Stoneskin can still be level-drained to the point of
    uselessness, so it's really a coinflip for backstabbers.  For fighter
    types, though, many better-suited swords exist.
      Angurvadal, Long Sword +4/+5 - BGII: ToB only
        Where: You can find Angurvadal +4 off one the Gith Captain on the
    floor of Watcher's Keep with the machine by Lum the Mad.  You can find
    the Liquid Mercury to upgrade it in Sendai's Lair.
        Whom:  Backstabbers and fighter-types.
        Why:   Backstabbers are actually better off with a Belt of Fire
    Giant Strength and a Short Sword of Mask +5, since then you still have
    the bonus of Entangling or Level draining; you only lose about 5 
    backstab damage from Angurvadal +5.  Still, this is one of the VERY few
    non-Short Sword or non-Dagger weapons that have 0 Speed Factor.  For
    Fighter-types, this is a very good weapon to have, since it also prevents
    that annoying Level Drain from happening to you (Backstabbers, ideally,
    can avoid this from happening).
      Spectral Brand, Scimitar +4/+5 - BGII: ToB only
        Where: Within the Watcher's Keep, the imp who likes to gamble has
    it.  You can upgrade it with the Skull of the Lich found in the Lich's 
    room in Sendai's Lair.
        Whom:  Anyone can enjoy it, but potential solo-ers high priority.
        why:   A speed factor of 1, which is somewhat passable for
    backstabbers, but the real attraction is having a mini-Mordenkainen's
    Sword effect; that is, an independent sword that'll act for 4 rounds.
    For mage-types, this means that you have an independent sword that can
    keep baddies busy while you fling spells around.  For fighter-types,
    this means an extra hand while fighting tough enemies (especially
    when trying to disrupt enemy mages or eat through their Stoneskins).
    For backstabbers (and particularly potential solo-ers), this means
    an extra hand in keeping the enemy busy while you retreat to backstab
    again.  Thanks to Superdroideka for pointing it out.
      Tuigan Short Bow +1
        Where: In the Copper Coronet, during the quest to either free the
    Hendak and the slaves (in the back room near the arena) or punish them,
    you can fight a Beastmaster (on the right side of the arena).  You can
    salvage this bow off his body.
        whom:  A supplementary weapon for backstabbers, especially for 
        Why:   The advantage that this has over the Short Bow of Gesen +4
    (see below) is that the Tuigan Short Bow fires three shots a round.  
    It's also technically available as soon as you leave Irenicus's dungeon
    since you are forced to go to the slums anyway.  More importantly for
    Assassins, their poison affects all attacks in the following 24
    seconds, which translates into 12 attacks with a Tuigan (versus 8 with
    a normal bow, 4 with a normal crossbow or melee weapon), each poisoning
    the enemy.  Very effective way to make sure every single enemy on screen
    is suffering under the continual HP drain of poison.  The Tuigan, by the
    way, is also good for spell disruption, thanks to its massive rate of 
      Short Bow of Gesen +4
        Where: You find the shaft in a crate during the Tanner Quest in the
    Bridge District.  You find the bow strings in the asylum (the part 
    where you have to find Mithril Tokens).
        Whom:  A supplementary weapon for backstabbers and a main one for
    magically inclined thieves.
        Why:   For thief/mages, this is a good main weapon since it has a 
    massive enchantment, grants +20% electrical resistance (for those damn
    lightning bolts), and has very powerful arrows (essentially +2 arrows
    that do lightning damage).  For backstabbers, this is a good weapon
    when backstabbing can't work too well, such as against swarms of 
    Kuo-Toas or creatures that are annoyingly hard to get away from or when
    Sandman rings are exhausted.
      Staff of the Magi +1, counts as +5
        Where: Off the body of one of the super-mages in the area you can
    only access with a Rouge Stone in the Bridge District.
        Whom:  A great supplementary weapon for very interesting backstab
    possibilities.  Only the mage variety of thieves need apply.
        why:   You'll never ever need to worry about having to Hide ever
    again.  why?  If you ever become visible, simply tap the weapon in the
    weapon quickslot and you'll immediately go invisible again, with no
    delay, unlike using a Potion of Invisibility or a Sandthief Ring.
    This means you can immediately hide after a backstab and get into
    position for a second backstab.  Plus, you get a whole slew of extra
    abilities along with it (like Dispelling).  NOTE:  YOU MUST BE A
    LESS IN AN EFFECTIVE WAY.  Special thanks to Skidi Wili for pointing
    this weapon out.
      Staff of the Ram +4/+6 - BGII: ToB only
        Where: You have to kill the red dragon Saladrex in Watcher's Keep.
        Whom:  A great supplementary weapon for interesting backstab
        Why:   One special thing about these staves is that they have a 
    massive bonus to damage.  Specifically, 1d6+10 for +4 level, and
    1d6+12 +1d4 piercing for +6 level.  The base damage (not the extra
    piercing damage for +6 level) gets multiplied by the backstab
    multiplier!  That means even for just a +4, you can get an average
    of about 65 damage per strike!  This final damage doesn't even
    include potential strength bonuses from say a Girdle of Fire Giant
    Strength or damage bonuses from two-handed weapon specialization.
    YOU CAN USE THIS IN ANY EFFECTIVE WAY.  Special thanks to Skidi Wili 
    for pointing this weapon out.
      Staff of Striking
         Where: You can buy it from several locations, the quickest one 
    being the Temple of Lathander.
         Whom:  A great supplementary weapon for super backstabbing.
         Why:   If you don't have Throne of Bhaal or haven't gotten to it
    yet, this will hold you over pretty well.  While because it lacks 
    significant magical enhancement (no THAC0 modifiers, no way to hit
    Kangaxx, etc.) you won't be as effective a backstabber, it's sheer
    raw damage is amazing:  1d6+9.  Unfortunately, it uses charges per
    strike, although you can recharge the staff by selling it to a store
    and then repurchasing it (and unlike most other chargeable items, it
    doesn't become ridiculously expensive to buy back).  It has a max
    capacity of 25 charges, but will have 5 when initially purchased. 
    Special thanks to John B. Sprague for pointing this weapon out.
    8b. Armor                                                         [820]
      Mask of King Strohm (Helmet)
        Where: Inside the massive dungeon at Windspear Hills, you'll need
    to assemble this in order to make a creature called the Guardian
    visible.  Each part is guarded by a different djinni.
        Whom:  Any non-fighter or non-cleric variant.
        Why:   This, while operating exactly like a helmet in preventing
    critical hits, is actually equippable by all classes, meaning the poor,
    sub-armored thief can get some defense against the critical hits of
    enemies, which can generally be devastating to the thief's low hit
    points.  However, once you get Use Any Item (in Throne of Bhaal), this
    item become completely obsolete since the thief can then equip any 
    one of the amazing helms at will.  Special thanks to Gegengheist for
    reminding me about this.
      Buckler +1 (Buckler)
        Where: In Mae'Var's guild, on the second floor, you'll see a myriad
    of doors and safes, each progressively harder for a thief to crack
    open (and the safes are progressively more intensely trapped).  In the
    last safe, you'll find the rare, unique, magic buckler.
        Whom:  Anyone who goes the Sword and Shield route, probably more
    magical variants of thieves.
        Why:   This is the only magical shield a thief'll be able to use.
    It gives you an additional -1 AC (not against missile weapons, though)
    over simply using Single Weapon Proficiency, and at the cost of not
    being able to critically hit more often, you can get Sword and Shield
    proficiency and get an additional -2 AC against missile weapons (which
    does end up sort of negating the downside of a buckler).  So, for a
    thief who might not need to worry about extra critical hits 
    (thief/mages) or one who worries more about avoiding arrows for 
    survival than hitting for damage (backstabbers), this might be an 
    important pick up.  Special thanks to Gegengheist for finding this
    singular buckler.
      The Night's Gift +5 (Leather Armor)
        Where: Reward for completing the Umar Quest (talk to the Mayor).
        Whom:  Really for anyone; particularly of benefit to backstabbers.
    Magical types won't need this.
        why:   3 AC, but also +20% to Stealth.  Even if you're not using
    stealth at all (Swashbucklers, Fighter types), the AC is pretty good
    for a thief and for this point in the game.  But if you've already
    gotten this, then you should probably have...
      Shadow Dragon Scales (Leather Armor)
        Where: Get the scales for killing the Black Dragon in the Temple
    Ruins of the Umar Hills Quest, have Cromwell make it.
        Whom:  Anyone except magical types.
        Why:   1 AC (the lowest thief armor in SoA), +50% resist Acid.
    The Acid isn't important, since that type of damage is rare (in the
    form of either certain Dragon Breath or Melf's Acid Arrow).  The 1 AC
    is VERY enjoyable for all types of thieves, save for the mage variety.
      Bladesinger Chain +4 / Aslyerfund Elven Chain +5
          - Aslyerfund Elven Chain +5 is BGII: ToB only
        Where: You get the Bladesinger quite late in SoA, in Suldanessellar
    to be exact.  You can upgrade it quite quickly, though, as the magic
    store in the City Under Siege(tm) sells Protection from Normal Weapons
    and you probably already have 40,000 Gold on hand.
        Whom:  Magical types and fighter types mainly, but backstabbers
    probably not
        Why:   Low AC (1, then 0) is very good for Thief/Mages, plus it
    also grants immunity to normal weapons (a somewhat good plus for 
    magical types to avoid damage) once upgraded.  The reason why 
    backstabbers may not want it is because there is another piece of armor
    that, while not as low in AC, has another very good benefit.
      Grandmaster's Armor +6 (Leather Armor) - BGII: ToB only
        Where: Off the corpse of Gromnir Il-Khan.
        Whom:  Mainly backstabbers.  Fighter types who haven't upgraded
    their Bladesinger, maybe.
        Why:   Also a 1 AC, but it's main reason why it surpasses Shadow
    or White Dragon Scales and Aslyerfund for backstabbers is that it acts
    like a Boots of Speed.  Meaning, for backstabbers, they can replace the
    Boots of Speed with Boots of Avoidance or Boots of Stealth/Elvenkind or 
    something like that.  Plus, being leather armor, it has less Stealth-
    related penalties than Elven Chainmail.
    8c. Accessories                                                   [830]
      Cloak of Non-detection
        Where: Off the wizard (who's familiar is Pooky) in the aggressive
    party you CAN fight on the second floor of the Den of the Seven Vales.
        Whom:  Backstabbers and maybe trappers/magical types who appreciate
    the need to Hide.
        Why:   This becomes THE most important item, since this will let
    you laugh in the face of True Sight, Detect Illusions, and the like.
    Note that this will not apply when using spell-based Invisibility, only
    when you Hide in Shadows. NOTE - Thanks to Edward for pointing out
    that this *will* work with the Staff of the Magi. Merry backstabbing!
      Ring of Invisibility
        Where: Multiple places, earliest is off the thief in the aggressive
    party you CAN fight on the second floor of the Den of the Seven Vales.
        Whom:  Mainly backstabbers and probably trappers.
        Why:   When you're too enclosed to run and Hide, you want to
    activate this.  Very useful since you will occasionally find yourself
    surrounded, nearly dead, or in some awkward social situation (you wish).
      Ring of Gaxx
        Where: Off Kangaxx the Demi-Lich.
        Whom:  EVERYONE!!!  But especially backstabbers.
        Why:   Everyone loves it.  But backstabbers can especially abuse
    the invisibility function while still recieving the myriad of other
      Boots of Speed
        Where: Multiple places (enough to supply your entire party with
    them by the time you get out of the City Under Siege(tm) in ToB).
    Earliest is off a thief in the Planar Prison of the Bard's Stronghold
    quest.  Also, when buying something with Mithril Tokens, only spend 15;
    you'll get Boots of Speed which is better than the armor you get for
        Whom:  EVERYONE!!!  But especially backstabbers and trappers.
        Why:   Backstabbers can abuse it for hit and fade attacks,
    and trappers can use it to better bait and lure enemies.
      Bracers of Weapon Skill/Expertise
        Where: Skill you find in the Bard Stronghold quest, Expertise
    you find in Chapter 6 when clearing out Bodhi's lair (it's in the 
    room of spikes).
        Whom:  Magical types need not apply.
        why:   For Backstabbers, Expertise means +2 damage multiplied by
    backstab modifier.  For fighter types, it just means goodness.
      Belt of Inertial Barrier
        Where: One of the merchants in Trademeet after you've become 
    their Hero (so if you do the evil way, you can't get this).
        Whom:  Backstabbers, trappers, and magical types
        Why:   Magical types and trappers will generally find themselves
    fighting from a distance, so missile weapons will be your main plague.
    So, getting 25% damage resistant to missile weapons, and 50% to
    magical missiles will save your skin quite a bit.  For backstabbers,
    one of the most annoying things is that when you're trying to fade
    away from a backstab, missile weapons will pepper you.  This will
    go far in saving your butt.  
      Boots of Avoidance
        Where: On one of the goons in the Buried Alive quest (where you
    have to hunt down a guy dressed completely in red).  Note that the
    goons will never turn hostile until you actually attack them, 
    otherwise they'll just run away and off the area.
        Whom:  Backstabbers, trappers, and magical types
        Why:   Generally, only backstabbers and trappers can afford to
    use this, after they've made their Boots of Speed obsolete with the
    Grandmaster's Armor.  For similar reasons as the Belt of Inertial
    Barrier, the +5 AC bonus vs missile weapons will go far in making
    missile weapons harmless.  Very useful for backstabbers, since even
    with the belt, the damage incurred while fading away will cause them
    to stop and do their "pain" animation, which will make it harder to
    run away from enemies.
      Girdle of Fire Giant Strength - BGII: ToB only
        Where: In the Marching Mountains temple.
        Whom:  Backstabbers and fighter-types (may include Trappers)
        Why:   This will make Backstabbers have huge amounts of power,
    since 22 Strength means a nice +4 bonus to THAC0 and a solid +10 bonus
    to damage (but this isn't applied until after backstab modifiers have
    kicked in).  For fighters, well, it's always nice to have super-duper
    damage.  Note that this will make Angurvadal +5 obsolete, or vice 
    versa (both give 22 Strength).
      Gauntlets of Extraordinary Specialization - BGII: ToB only
        Where: Off one of the Final Guardians in Watcher's Keep.
        Whom:  Fighter-types or anyone with a decent THAC0 and
        Why:   Fighter-types obviously benefit from the extra 1/2 attack
    bonus over Gauntlets of Weapon Expertise, but anyone with Assassination
    also gets a huge plus since that extra 1/2 attack gets modified by
    backstab modifiers as well.  NOTE: YOU MUST HAVE EITHER BE PART FIGHTER
    9.  The Solo Challenge                                            [900]
      NOTE:  It's been a while, and it looks like I'll never do this.
    Fortunately, someone else has beaten me to it at gamefaqs, so you
    should check out their work instead!
      Once upon a time, there existed a game called Final Fantasy Tactics.
    It was a tactical game with a wonderful and delightful battle system.
    It was just too easy, though.  So, a group of dedicated GameFAQs 
    forumers decided to create for themselves various challenges to make
    the game difficult and extend its lifetime, and thus was spawned two
    big challenges:  the Straight Character Challenge (whereby every member
    of your attack force had to be the same class) and the Solo Straight
    Character Challenge (whereby you could only use the protagonist).
      Now, the entirety of BG2 (including ToB) is by no means an easy game.
    And the only successful solo venture of which I was aware was the mage
    Elmonster (you can find his journal at www.BaldurDash.org, which also
    has numerous fixpacks which are a must download for anyone who loves
    the Baldur's Gate game).  I had only heard brief mention of a Paladin
    solo, but seen no actual reports.  Now, after FFT's SSCC (as the latter
    challenge is known), I began to wonder what other classes could 
    successfully solo BG2?
      Naturally, the thief came up to mind.  But the thief lacks a lot of
    things the mage has that allowed him to solo the entirety the game.
    Most of the thief's power is conditional; it relies on backstabbing
    and traps, not on the brute force power of a Horrid Wilting cast
    in the midst of a swarm of Drow.  In fact, I would venture to say that
    Throne of Bhaal is all but impossible for the thief thanks to the
    final battle (whereby the final enemy can see through your hiding and,
    with no one else to divert her attention, impossible to backstab, in
    addition to being immune to the Time Trap and the Bounty Hunter's
    Maze Trap).
      But nevertheless, I propose trying to solo at the very least 
    the length of Shadows of Amn with a single thief.  I expect to 
    undertake this challenge myself, but I will only be using the Bounty
    Hunter.  I'd like to encourage anyone daring enough to try other
    variants (the Thief/Mage should be relatively easy, the Kensai/Thief
    could be interesting, and the Assassin seems suicidally difficult).
      I don't know how long it'll take, but I'll eventually put up a
    small adventure walkthrough of sorts should my Bounty Hunter quest
    prove successful.
      But for starters, here's how I plan on doing it:
      -Getting a Cloak of Non-detection ASAP.
      -Getting potions/rings of invisibility ASAP.
      -Minimal sidequest action for the essential treasures (thief
    stronghold); should hit a high EXP since I'm not splitting anyway.
      -Throughout the main storyline abuse Hide in Shadow and 
    Sphere/Maze Traps not for tactical purposes, but to avoid as much
    combat as possible.  Limit fights to significant ones and relatively
    easy ones that will boost my experience level.
      -Lots and lots of rest to refresh traps.
      -And since I'm principled and high-minded - avoid any sort of
    bombardment tactic with traps; this essentially means that all
    dragons are now impossible to defeat.
      Some battles will be particularly difficult, and I'm already thinking
    about how I would go successfully pulling them off; most of these are
    battles that will probably occur before I have Maze Traps or Sphere
    Traps.  Probably a huge reliance on Potions of Speed (for additional 
    speed in fading away after a backstab) and the various Strength potions
    (for extra damage).  But off the top of my head:
      -The battle to get a Cloak of Non-detection.
      -The final battle of the Thief's Stronghold.
      -The Bodhi battle 1 (no allies to help me there)
      -Final Irenicus battle (don't even know if the Slayer form is 
    backstabbable; definitely is Maze-able, though).
    10. Miscellany                                                    [A00]
      The following are tables that will basically judge the relative 
    strength of varying thief variants.  Atypical of such tables, I won't
    list them on a per-level basis, but rather on an experience basis.
    For benchmark, I'll use the individual experience levels necessary to
    obtain each level of a normal thief, and compare them to what other
    thief variants have at those experience levels.  Note that for my
    multi-class variants, I'm assuming a pure multiclass.  Your mileage
    will vary if you dual-class, since you can dual-class whenever you
    feel like it.  Just know that after you dual-class, your secondary
    class bestows no HP/THAC0 benefit until you exceed your primary 
    class's level, at which point you gain HP/THAC0 at the rate of your
    secondary class.  Use this knowledge to your advantage.
      Note that for space-saving purposes, I'll use scientific notation
    when necessary to denote experience points.  If you're unfamiliar, 
    something like 1.54e6 translates to 1.54 * 10^6 or 1 540 000 experience
      Abbreviations in use:  Exp = experience, T = Thief, F = Fighter,
    M = Mage, C = Cleric, AND * = Any Class.
      I start with 89 000 experience points even though the experience
    level that translates to for a thief is 8, which is 70 000 experience,
    because since EVERYONE begins out with 89 000, that translates to
    different power levels for all variants.
    10a.THAC0 Tables                                                  [A10]
      NOTE:  This table itself only shows up to the Shadows of Amn
    experience cap, see below for Throne of Bhaal information.
      Exp     :   T :   F/T :   M/T :   C/T :   F/*/T
      89 000  :  17 :    14 :    16 :    18 :      15
      110 000 :  16 :    14 :    16 :    16 :      14
      160 000 :  16 :    13 :    17 :    16 :      14
      220 000 :  15 :    13 :    16 :    16 :      13
      440 000 :  15 :    12 :    15 :    16 :      12
      660 000 :  14 :    11 :    15 :    16 :      12
      880 000 :  14 :    11 :    15 :    16 :      11
      1.10e6  :  13 :    10 :    15 :    14 :      11
      1.32e6  :  13 :    10 :    14 :    14 :      11
      1.54e6  :  12 :     9 :    14 :    14 :      10
      1.76e6  :  12 :     9 :    14 :    14 :      10
      1.98e6  :  11 :     9 :    14 :    14 :      10
      2.20e6  : *11 :     8 :    13 :    14 :      10
      2.42e6  :  11 :     8 :    13 :    12 :       9
      2.64e6  :  11 :     7 :    13 :    12 :       9
      2.86e6  :  11 :     7 :    13 :    12 :       9
                          a       b       c         d
      * This is the best that this variant can obtain; no further natural
    improvement is possible.
      (a) Maxes out at 0 THAC0 at 6.00e6 experience
      (b) Maxes out at 11 THAC0 at 4.40e6 experience
      (c) Maxes out at 8 THAC0 at 4.45e6 experience
      (d) Maxes out at 2 THAC0 at 8.00e6 experience (max Throne of Bhaal
    cap); good luck getting that high without going mad from boredom.
      At first blush, it may seem like the Thief and the Mage/Thief
    variants do the worst in terms of THAC0, but for all but the
    Fighter/Thief, it may take a *very* long amount of exp-grinding in
    Throne of Bhaal to do better than the straight out Thief.  
      Note that you could probably do better with some dual-classing.
    Goin up to level 20 fighter and then dual-classing into a thief may
    cripple you severely for a while, but you'll get 0 THAC0 and all your
    thieving abilities online at 5.20e6 experience, instead of 6.00e6
    experience for a multi-class Fighter/Thief.
    10b.Backstab Growth                                               [A20]
      Exp     :     T :   */T : */*/T
      89 000  :    x3 :    X3 :    X3
      110 000 :    x4 :    X3 :    X3
      160 000 :    x4 :    X3 :    X3
      220 000 :    x4 :    X4 :    X3
      440 000 :    x4 :    X4 :    x4
      660 000 :    x5 :    X4 :    x4
      880 000 :    x5 :    X4 :    x4
      1.10e6  :    x5 :    X4 :    x4
      1.32e6  :    x5 :   *X5 :    x4
      1.54e6  : *x5/6 :    X5 :    x4
      1.76e6  :  x5/6 :    X5 :    x4
      1.98e6  :  x5/6 :    X5 :   *x5
      2.20e6  :  x5/6 :    X5 :    x5
      2.42e6  : x5/*7 :    X5 :    x5
      2.64e6  :  x5/7 :    X5 :    x5
      2.86e6  :  x5/7 :    X5 :    x5
      In conclusion, all thief variants will eventually be able to max out
    their backstab within Shadows of Amn, although the plain thief, as
    expected, as a huge early-growth advantage.
    10c.Saving Throw Tables                                           [A30]
      I really hate guides that have a section "under construction."  Quite
    hypocritically, this section is under construction.  I was about to
    type it up until I realized I have no idea how saving throws develop
    in a multi-class environment.  Sometime by summer of 2005, this
    section should have some meat, and the only reason why I have this
    section now is so that you, the reader, knows that I care about you
    and like teasing you with information to come.
      2009 Update:  I officially have no idea how these work.  I thought
    it worked like THAC0, where the best class gets the benefits, but
    that's not correct.  So, if anyone has info here, give me a holler.
    10d.HP Growth Tables                                              [A40]
      These tables are for Average HP.  That is, it takes the average 
    value of each HP roll (save for the first, which is always at 
    maximum).  I always play at normal difficulty, so my HP rolls are 
    never maximized, so in case you have a similar play preference, these 
    tables are for you.  There are two tables for the average section,
    one with no constitution modifiers and one with a constitution of
    18, to help show the difference between what non-fighter variants
    can get as oppossed to fighter variants.
      If you play with Max HP, then you simply need to exaggerate the
    differences to get an idea of the relative power levels; furthermore, 
    any class that has higher HP than the normal thief will continue to 
    have higher HP for a much longer time (even though the thief meets up 
    with and exceeds some classes on an average HP basis) since the 
    initial difference is greater.
      There is currently an unfixed bug (whether by BioWare patches or by
    BaldurDash.org/Gibberling3's bugfixes) that gives the protagonist
    extra HP on creation, given certain conditions.  It generally
    translates to an extra die of HP.  If, like me, you're a purist and
    don't want the extra HP, you can either Shadowkeep it out or do the
    following:  create a multi-class character, go through the creation
    process until the end, then click cancel/start over, then create a
    character normally and you won't get the erroneous HP.
      Exp     :   T  :   F/T :   M/T :   C/T :   F/M/T :   F/C/T 
      89 000  : 30.5 :    35 :  24.5 :  31.5 :    25.5 :    33.5
      110 000 :   34 :    35 :  24.5 :    34 :    27.5 :    35.5
      160 000 : 37.5 :    40 :    28 :    36 :      30 :      37
      220 000 : 39.5 :    42 :  31.5 :  40.5 :    34.5 :    42.5
      440 000 : 41.5 :    48 :    36 :  43.5 :      40 :      48
      660 000 : 43.5 :    51 :  37.5 :    46 :    42.5 :    50.5
      880 000 : 45.5 :    52 :  39.5 :    47 :    45.5 :    54.5
      1.10e6  : 47.5 :    54 :  39.5 :    48 :    45.5 :    54.5
      1.32e6  : 49.5 :    55 :  40.5 :    49 :    47.5 :    55.5
      1.54e6  : 51.5 :    57 :  41.5 :    50 :    48.5 :    57.5
      1.76e6  : 53.5 :    58 :  42.5 :    51 :    48.5 :    57.5
      1.98e6  : 55.5 :    58 :  42.5 :    52 :    49.5 :    58.5 
      2.20e6  : 57.5 :    61 :  43.5 :    53 :    49.5 :    59.5
      2.42e6  : 59.5 :    61 :  44.5 :    54 :    51.5 :    60.5
      2.64e6  : 61.5 :    64 :  45.5 :    55 :    52.5 :    61.5
      2.86e6  : 63.5 :    64 :  45.5 :    56 :    52.5 :    62.5 
      This time with CON 18...
      Exp     :   T  :   F/T :   M/T :   C/T :   F/M/T :   F/C/T 
      89 000  : 46.5 :    54 :  37.5 :  44.5 :    41.5 :    50.5
      110 000 :   52 :    54 :  37.5 :    51 :    44.5 :    53.5
      160 000 : 57.5 :    62 :    43 :    54 :      49 :      56
      220 000 : 59.5 :    65 :  48.5 :  58.5 :    56.5 :    64.5
      440 000 : 61.5 :    74 :    55 :  62.5 :      66 :      73
      660 000 : 63.5 :    79 :  57.5 :    65 :    69.5 :    76.5
      880 000 : 65.5 :    80 :  59.5 :    66 :    74.5 :    82.5
      1.10e6  : 67.5 :    82 :  59.5 :    67 :    74.5 :    82.5
      1.32e6  : 69.5 :    83 :  60.5 :    68 :    76.5 :    83.5
      1.54e6  : 71.5 :    85 :  61.5 :    69 :    77.5 :    85.5
      1.76e6  : 73.5 :    86 :  62.5 :    70 :    77.5 :    85.5
      1.98e6  : 75.5 :    86 :  62.5 :    71 :    78.5 :    86.5 
      2.20e6  : 77.5 :    89 :  63.5 :    72 :    78.5 :    87.5
      2.42e6  : 79.5 :    89 :  64.5 :    73 :    80.5 :    88.5
      2.64e6  : 81.5 :    92 :  65.5 :    74 :    81.5 :    89.5
      2.86e6  : 83.5 :    92 :  65.5 :    75 :    81.5 :    90.5
      An interesting observation: in terms of long-term HP growth, the 
    normal thief has the best prospects.  While other variants may have
    a good early growth, anything beyond Shadows of Amn (Throne of Bhaal),
    their consistent rate of 2 HP gain eventually surpasses the much slower
    HP, if larger, gain that multiclasses enjoy (or suffer).
    10e.Backstab Analysis                                             [A50]
      So what if you really want to know the best way to squeeze every
    iota of efficiency out of backstabbing?  Well, courtesty of John B.
    Sprague, I present to you a relatively math-easy explanation that a 
    Kensai/Thief is more adept at this than the Assassin.
      "Looking at how backstab damage is calculated is revealing. 
    Basically, every damage modifier except for STR bonus damage gets 
    multiplied.  You can express it as an equation as follows:
    BSD = ((WR + WDB + WPB + WSB + CB) * BSM) + SDB
    BSD = total backstab damage
    WR  = weapon roll (e.g., 1 to 6 for a short sword)
    WDB = weapon damage bonus (e.g. 4 for a +4 sword)
    WPB = weapon proficiency bonus (i.e., damage bonus from 
    WSB = weapon style bonus (i.e., bonus damage from weapon style)
    CB  = class bonus (i.e., any +DMG from class/kit)
    BSM = backstab modifier
    SDB = strength damage bonus
    For great, consistent backstabbing, you want to achieve the highest 
    minimum damage possible so that the smallest possible hit (WR = 1) 
    still results in considerable, crippling damage.  So how do you crank 
    up that minimum damage?
    I think the Kensai/Thief dual-class takes the cake.
      Obviously, the further you develop the Kensai before dualling the 
    better, but I for one hate waiting forever to be a fully realized dual 
    class, so I'd dual at 9.  The significant stats this nets you for 
    backstabbing: -2 to speed factor, +3 THAC0, +3 damage, and 3 uses of 
      As for weapon proficiencies: both single weapon style and two handed 
    weapon style give you critical hits on 19 and 20, so they are equal on 
    that count; but, two handed style *also* gives you +1 minimum damage. 
    Since the only thief-usable (i.e., backstab-enabled) two handed weapon
    type is the quarter staff, I decided on grand mastery in quarter 
    staves.  I developed to grand mastery because that fifth star nets you 
    an extra +1 minimum damage (for a total of +3).
      So, with the layout decided, let's see how our Kensai/Thief stacks 
    up against the assassin.  I'm going to assume quarter staff use/two 
    handed style for the assassin as well for an apples to apples 
    comparison (giving the assassin the benefit of that extra +1 from the 
    two handed style).  In both cases, I'll assume use of the Staff of 
    Rynn +4 that Ribald sells. I'll assume 19 STR for both.
      So, the assassin's variables are:
    WR  = 1 (we're calculating min damage)
    WDB = 4 (+4 Staff of Rynn)
    WPB = 0 (no specialization)
    WSB = 1 (two handed weapon style)
    CB  = 1 (assassins get +1 hit and damage)
    BSM = 7 (7x backstab at lvl 21)
    SDB = 7 (19 STR belt)
    BSD = ((1 + 4 + 0 + 1 + 1) * 7) + 7
    BSD = 56 min at level 21
      How about max?
    BSD = ((6 + 4 + 0 + 1 + 1) * 7) + 7
    BSD = 91 at level 21
      So, our level 21 assassin does 56 to 91, with an average of 73.5.
      What about our lvl 9 Kensai turned thief?
    WR  = 1 (min damage)
    WDB = 4 (+4 Staff of Rynn)
    WPB = 3 (grandmastery yields +3 damage)
    WSB = 1 (two handed weapon style)
    CB  = 3 (lvl 9 Kensai gets +3 hit and damage)
    BSM = 5 (regular thief tops out at 5x backstab)
    SDB = 7 (19 STR belt)
    BSD = ((1 + 4 + 3 + 1 + 3) * 5) + 7
    BSD = 67 min at 910,000 XP for 9/13 Kensai/Thief
    And max:
    BSD = ((6 + 4 + 3 + 1 + 3) * 5) + 7
    BSD = 92 max at 910,000 XP for 9/13 Kensai/Thief
      So, our lowly 9/10 K/T does 67 to 92 damage, with an average of 79.5.
      What conclusions can we draw here?  The Kensai/Thief has a higher 
    minimum damage (which is very desirable), and a higher average, with 
    a comparable (yet still higher) max.  Furthermore, he is fully realized
    at 910,000 XP, compared to the assassin's 2.42 million!
      And there are more benefits as well:
      -Better THAC0 due to Kensai bonus and grand mastery
      -More thief points! (thieflvl * 25) + 20 vs. the assassin's 
    (thieflvl * 15) + 40
      -Kai! When you positively have to have that fantastic backstab, the 
    Kensai can do max damage at will, 3 times a day
      -If your victim survives your brutal opening attack, you have two 
    attacks per round to the assassin's one (and those attacks can be 
    boosted by the same Kai that maxed your opening attack)
      I'd like to note in closing that a high level assassin dualled to a 
    fighter can achieve even more fantastic backstabs than the Kensai/Thief
    I have described here, but a 16/17 or 21/22 Assassin/Fighter takes a 
    *very* long time to realize, and furthermore are only possible in the
      Lastly, there are gloves available very late in the game that will up
    the assassin's minimum damage and put him back on top... but what fun 
    is it being the best for so short a space of time?  The Kensai/Thief 
    rocks from shortly after emerging from Irenicus's dungeon!  And 
    besides, if the absolute max at any price was the goal, you could 
    develop a Kensai to 12 or 13 before dualling. But I want power *now*, 
      So go go Kensai/Thief!"
      EDITOR'S NOTE:  Don't forget, though, that the Assassin enjoys some
    abilities that may be worth more to you than a pure high backstab 
    (since backstabbing is not always possible or effective), namely Use
    Poison.  So one can still not say that a Kensai/Thief is strictly 
    better than an Assassin. 
    11. Final Notes                                                   [B00]
    11a.Conclusion/Special Thanks                                     [B10]
      So hopefully by now, at the end of this guide, you now understand how
    trully powerful and wonderful a thief can be.  And if you don't get
    that, then atleast I hope you have gained greater insight into the
    wonders of trapping, backstabbing, hiding, and the like.  
      Now what the hell are you waiting for?  Get back to playing!
      Kudos go out to DSimpson (for his excellent guides) and to the
    TeamBG people.  Without DSimpson, I never would've felt compelled to
    try to write something as awesome as his.  Without TeamBG, I never
    would have figured how to open up .spl files for Baldur's Gate 2 and 
    learn how those damn Traps actually work.  
      PlanetBG.com also gets kudos since their singular description of 
    the Assassin's Poison Weapon effect (it's different from every other
    guide on the internet) made me curious as to see if they were onto 
    something.  Which led me to opening up .spl files and realizing they
    were mostly correct (meaning almost everyone else is wrong).
      Thanks also goes to Gegengheist, Skidi Wili, and Superdroideka, as
    they have helped contribute information to the guide.
    11b.My Works                                                      [B20]
    1999 Mode Guide (Bioshock Infinite)
    Clash in the Clouds Guide (Bioshock Infinite:  Clash in the Clouds DLC)
    Heart of Fury Guide (Icewind Dale 2)
    Party Creation Guide (Baldur's Gate)
    Party Creation Guide (Baldur's Gate:  Enhanced Edition)
    Populous II Guide (Populous II)
    Thief Guide (Baldur's Gate 2)
    Ultimate Analysis (System Shock 2)
    Ultimate Oblivion FAQ (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion)
    11c.Appendix                                                      [B30]
      Over the course of the guide, I reference a few things that you might
    have never heard of.
      BaldurDash.org - www.baldurdash.org - It contains FixPacks and 
    Text fixes for both Shadows of Amn and Throne of Bhaal that fix
    numerous minor and major bugs that have been confirmed (but have been
    left unaddressed) by BioWare.  In fact, unless you download either the
    Shadows of Amn or Throne of Bhaal FixPack, you will NOT be able to 
    backstab anything while equipped with Boots of Speed.
      ShadowKeeper - http://www.mud-master.com/shadowkeeper - It is a 
    saved-game editor.  Many people use it to cheat (give themselves free
    items or unlimited strongholds), but I use it to fix the extra HP bug
    if I forget to do the proper steps during character creation.
    11d.Legal Disclaimer                                              [B40]
      I am not affiliated with Bioware/Black Isle/Interplay in any way, and
    any information I provide should be treated as third party information.
    Therefore, Bioware/Black Isle/Interplay cannot be held responsible for
    any misuse of information provided herein, and I cannot give a full
    guarantee that the information provided herein is 100% accurate. 
    Therefore, no party, that is, Bioware/Black Isle/Interplay/Me, cannot
    be held responsible for any problems that may result in the misuse of
    information or use of faulty information; the best reparation that can
    be made in the latter case would be for me to correct the faulty 
    information so that it is accurate.
      In addition, you (the party reading this) are free to distribute this
    work freely on the internet and in any other media as long as credit is
    given to the original author (Chris Lee).
    11e.History                                                       [B50]
      08/08/13:  v2.91 completed (minor)
        - Updating My Works section.
      01/28/13:  v2.9 completed
        - Updating with Hide in Shadows/Move Silently mechanics.
        - Adding extra stuff to "my works" sections.
      07/26/12:  v2.88 completed
        - Added Usuno's Blade +4 to Weapons of Note.
      10/27/11:  v2.87 completed
        - Added "my works" section.
      9/20/11:   v2.86 completed
        - Changed Spectral Brand to scimitar (thanks again Edward!).
      9/16/11:   v2.85 completed
        - Minor addendum to Cloak of Non-Detection (thanks Edward)!
        - Changed solo challenge from "TODO" to "NEVER WILL" and added
    mention of the other guy's extensive solo guide.
      3/8/09:    v2.8 completed
        - Fixed THAC0 tables.
        - Expanded a bit on Cleric/Thief dual-classing.
      9/1/06:    v2.7 completed
        - It appears that someone else has gotten a solo-challenge up.  
    Whattdya know.
        - Removed Fighter/Cleric/Thief (my bad).
        - If you've submitted tips into me since March, apologies (my mail
    went kaput), so I haven't updated them.
      3/9/06:    v2.6 completed
        - Finished the Berserker section.
        - Fixed a few errors with some of the restrictions in multiclasses.
        - I swear to GOD I'll get to info about the solo-challenge at some
    point (maybe when I graduate).
      12/17/04:  v2.5 completed
        - Minor change to the introduction.
        - Added a backstab analysis, courtesty of John B. Sprague.
        - New weapon added to items of note.
        - Added extra information to Skills.
        - Gave myself an extended deadline for finishing the tables and
    doing the solo challenge; stupid schoolwork...
        - TO BE ADDED SOON:  Solo challenging stories from thief/mage Aust.
      9/9/04:    v2.1 completed
        - Added extra note in HP Growth Tables section.
        - Completed HP Growth Tables for Shadows of Amn experience, fixed
    a few erroneous calculations.
        - Added "Appendix" in the Final Notes section.
        - Added more information on multi-classes (specifically dual-
      9/7/04:    v2.0 completed
        - That's right, a COMPLETE jump in version number!!  Big changes.
        - Added two new sections (Solo Challenge, Miscellany).
        - Expanded several sections.
        - Fixed some grammatical/syntax issues.
        - Revamped the method of jumping through text. The jumble of 
    letters such as KV4, which while based intuitively (first letter of
    section, first letter of the subsection, number of the section), 
    started to prove less than optimal with the two new sections, so a more
    intuitive system was used (first number designates section number in
    hexadecimal, second number designates subsection, third number 
    designates sub-subsection).
      8/12/04:   v1.6 completed
        - Added two new items:  Mask of King Strohm (thanks again, ever-
    diligent Gegengheist) and the Tuigan Short Bow +1.
      8/2/04:    v1.57 completed
        - Made a slight change in to the Assassin section; not only is the
    poison about three times faster at level 15, it's also more damaging.
      7/28/04:   v1.55 completed
        - It's actually just "Buckler +1" and not "Clandestine Buckler,"
    thanks again Gegengheist.
      7/27/04:   v1.5 completed
        - Made significant grammaer/syntax fixes.
        - Added two big extra equipment notes.
        - Gave credit for the past equipment note edit and these two
    current ones.  Thanks Skidi Wili and Gegengheist.
      7/26/04:   v1.4 completed
        - Added a new section, "Pre-introduction."
        - Some forthcoming edits...
      6/20/04:   v1.3 completed
        - Added some extra equipment notes.
        - Expanded the Vanilla Thief section to include some multiclasses.
      12/31/03:  v1.25 completed.
        - Fixed some various minor typographical errors.
        - Added some extra minor details.
        - Did some studies with the Assassin's script files (thanks again
    TeamBG for your software!) and corrected the class description to 
    match the reality.
      12/29/03:  v1.2 completed.
        - Fixed some GROSS factual errors that I overlooked in the initial
    release of the FAQ.  Quite embarassing as it seems my brain must have 
    stopped functioning.  Exploding Trap does NOT harm allies, for one.  
    Two extra days for earning money in the Stronghold means 1.4 times 
    expected yield, not 1.2.
        - Added some corrections to various areas (like typos).
        - Corrected some minor errors throughout the guide as well as
    adding some detail.
        - Added Angurvadal, Girdle of Fire Giant Strength, and Gauntlets of
    Extraordinary Specialization to Items of Note.
      12/27/03:  v1.0 completed.
    The Stinger
      Spectator:  Oh, Captain, my Captain!
      Captain Egeissag:  Eh?  Why do you address me as such, beholder?  You
        have a most peculiar attitude... I shall have to report it to the
        mistress soon.
      Spectator:  Oh, never mind that.  I always wanted to say that, and
        there you go getting all upset.