Icewind Dale II guide to feats version 1.0.1

by Mike Marshall

This guide describes the effect of each feat, the prerequisites, and how
useful it is based on gameplay experience. I found some feats were more or
less effective than the description suggests, and decided to write a guide
to help other gamers avoid these problems. I hope you find it useful. I
have sorted first by what area of play the feat affects then mainly by the
alphabetical order, but feats that link heavily with each other I have
placed adjacently. If anyone notices a mistake, has suggestions or
disagrees with me, then e-mail me at ihave2manynicknames@hotmail.com, I
have used some abbreviations and technical terms here which I assume
everyone is familiar with, but please contact me if unsure. I am aware
that some feats are in more than 1 section, but that is because I feel
they should be mentioned in both.

The following websites have permission to use this guide:

www.gamefaqs.com

www.neoseekers.com

www.supercheats.com

dlh.net

Spellcasters' feats

Elemental feats
Requires:       can cast 4th level spells, spellcraft of 10+
Benefit:        gives 5 resistance to that element, and 20% increase to
                damage of that element dealt.
These are very useful, a spellcraft of 10 is not that high a requirement
and they can increase the quality of some spells and weapons considerably.
It's is worth taking 2 of these as if you have a low Int then the
requirements are quite steep. Also you are likely to use at least 2 types
of elemental spell regularly, so it's worth taking full advantage unless 
your character needs virtually every feat. The resistance is small on its
own but if you have other increments to increase this then it helps, 
especially for casting area-effect spells on your other characters that
are surrounded.

Aegis of rime
Affects the element, cold. There are several good cold weapons throughout
the game, but not many spells. If you use the spells or virtually only
these weapons, this is worth taking, especially if you're taking another
anyway; the least useful of these feats.

Aqua mortis
Affects acid damage and resistance. There are hardly any effective acid
weapons, but the few spells are brilliant, these few spells can do a lot
of damage anyway and the increase makes it even greater. 3rd best.

Scion of storms
Electrical abilities can be increased greatly by this. There are a few 
good weapons and many good 3rd level+ spells that do electric damage so
this is very useful and vital to a Stormlord of Talos. This is the 2nd 
best elemental feat.

Spirit of flame
Fire, fire, fire. The fire spells are the best area-effect spells you 
get, for both arcane and divine castors, and there are useful weapons 
throughout the game that cause fire damage. The cleric order of Lathander
has many fire spells. This is vital for any spellcaster that attacks in
any way.

Combat casting
Benefit:        +4 concentration when injured
This is a reasonable feat but many people seem to ignore the words, 
"when injured", so this is only useful to castors who get injured 
regularly not otherwise, so the enemy gets the first hit at against a 
noticeably lower concentration. It is useful, but virtually useless for 
arcane castors, unless they're part tanker, so don't give this to your 
wizard or sorcerer. It is very important for clerics however, as they 
are likely to be running up to your tankers to cast healing spells in the 
middle of combat, so are likely to become slightly injured.

Courteous magocracy
Benefit:        Increases diplomacy and spellcraft skills by 2.
If you have a bombardier who is also your diplomat then this is vital,
don't bother otherwise, this is not worth getting if you are only going to
use half the benefit, as +2 is not that significant, even to a character
with low Int.

Discipline
Benefit:        +1 to Will saves and +2 to concentration.
This is useful to all castors, especially arcane. Wizards, sorcerers and 
bards generally have a low Wis and thus a low will S.T., and concentration
is vital for all castors. This gives a small benefit to 2 of the most
vital abilities for castors. This should be taken by any castor, though it
is less important for divine castors.

Spell focus
Benefit:        +2 to DC of S.T. against chosen type of magic. Can be
                taken twice to gain +4 DC.
This is an extremely useful way to make your main type of spell even
better. Certain orders of cleric have one vital type, especially as that
cleric will be chosen by someone who likes that style of play. This is
brilliant but which is all personal choice. I would take 3 or 4 ranks
overall spread over 2 schools. I use very few enchantment spells; over
half used by my wizards and sorcerers are evocation; I find the high level
necromancy spells brilliant; there are several useful spells in the school
transmutation. Morninglords of Lathander require evocation, Stormlords of
Talos use mostly transmutation.

Spell penetration
Benefit:        +2 bonus to beat spell resistance. Can take twice.
Sounds good? It isn't. Enemies either have such a low S.R. that your
castor will get through it, or such a high one that they won't with this,
there are hardly any that this would have a good effect against. All it
does is increase the chances of damaging your own characters when you are
casting an area-effect spell near them. Avoid this feat.

Sub-vocal casting
Benefit:        You can still cast spells when silenced.
This is reasonable, not many enemies actually cast silencing spells, but 
it is very annoying when they do and I prefer to avoid risking the loss of
my spellcasting ability, even though this has only helped me 3 times in
the game, I still like it. It won't be wasted but there are other, more
useful feats.


Combat feats

Ambidexterity
Requires:       15+ Dex
Benefit:        reduces penalty for off-hand weapon by 4.
If you use 2 weapons simultaneously most of the time then this is a vital 
feat. Simple decision.

Two-weapon fighting
Benefit:        reduces penalties for each hand by 2.
Again, depends on how you're using weapons. Simple. Take this before
ambidexterity as then until you get that you can at least use your main
weapon effectively instead of neither.

Armour proficiency
Benefit:        removes penalty for wearing armour untrained.
This is not worth having, classes all get the level of armour they should 
be using anyway, only a druid might want this.

Armoured arcana
Benefit:        reduces casting failure when wearing armour by 5%/point
This is almost vital for arcane castors, as this enables them to use 
increasingly good shields, they shouldn't have 2-H weapons anyway, so 
should boost AC as much as possible.

Blind-fight
Benefit:        removes advantages for invisible enemies when attacking
                you in melee.
This is pretty useless, there are very few invisible foes, and there are
more important things to worry about than their small benefits in melee
attack. Don't bother.

Power attack
Requires:       13+Str
Benefit:        you can move some from your to hit bonus to give an extra
                damage bonus.
This is very useful for tankers when against large numbers of weak 
enemies. It is worth taking for your tanker(s).

Cleave
Requires:       power attack feat. Can take 2 points in this.
Benefit:        if you kill a something then you get an extra attack that
                round as long as you don't move.
The 1st point in this is reasonably helpful, as when you kill an enemy you
can do extra damage to the next one when surrounded, which your tanker is
likely to often be. The 2nd point is useless though as that would require
you to kill another enemy with the 1st cleave, extremely unlikely and
means that you don't need it anyway because they are so weak. 1 point is
worth taking for your main tanker, any more is a waste of a valuable feat.

Expertise
Requires:       13+ Int
Benefit:        to hit bonus can be placed in AC
This is useless to tankers as they will be using power attack instead, 
but this should be taken by your wizard once you get your to hit bonus 
above 3. Don't adjust ability scores to get this though.

Deflect arrows
Requires:       13+Dex
Benefit:        +1 AC against missile weapons.
This feat only works when you have a free hand, so is thus useless for 
any character except monks, who get it free at 2nd level. Other characters
will either be using a 2-H weapon, 2 weapons, or a shield, so this would
have no effect.

Dirty fighting
Requires:       13+ Dex, 2+ BAB
Benefit:        on a critical hit character either blinds or slows
                opponent for 5 rounds unless F.S.T. is made.
This is a poor feat, blindness and slow aren't that useful, and on the
rare critical hits you don't care if they have these effects on them as
they are likely to be dead, almost dead, or resistant to those effects.
Don't bother.

Dodge
Requires:       13+ Dex
Benefit:        +1 AC
This is quite useful as AC is very important, but a +1 bonus is quite
small and this feat should not be taken until you have all the important
feats for the character. A good filler feat though.

Weapon proficiency and specialization
Requires:       4 levels of fighter to take 3rd point
Benefit:        1 point removes penalties, 2 gives +1 to hit, 3 gives +2
                damage
If you don't have 1 point the weapon anyway then, with the exception of 
a bastard sword, you are using the wrong weapon. Equipping a bastard sword
and a 1-H axe will deal a lot of damage with these feats and will lead to
a large amount of damage. The 2nd point is only worth taking on the way to
gain the 3rd, as it gives little significance. A 3rd point makes your main
weapon brilliant. You should have your main tanker with 4 levels of 
fighter, and you get 3 bonus feats with those levels of fighter, so 
maximize in 2 weapons to gain....

Maximized attacks
Requires:       W.S. in 2 weapons, 4 concentration.
Benefit:        all attacks do maximum damage for 10s, can be used once a
                day.
This requirements are steep but your main tanker should take that anyway, 
and this is a great bonus once you get it. This is vital for your main 
tanker, whether dual-wielding or using a 2-H weapon.

Heretic's bane
Requires:       1 level in divine castor class, 4+ BAB
Benefit:        Character gains +1 to hit and +1 damage against enemy
                priests
This is certainly worth getting as there are many priests that you have 
to fight, don't add a mix-in just to get this though. But this is great 
for paladins and tanker oriented clerics and druids.

Heroic inspiration
Requires:       1 level of barbarian, paladin or bard.
Benefit:        When you have less than 1/2 HP character gains +1 to hit,
                +1 damage, and +1 S.T.
This is worth taking for barbarians and paladins, but a bard doesn't have
the HP to make this useful, it only helps during the long battles but is
extremely helpful in them. Not that important, but good filler.

Improved critical
Requires:       8+ BAB
Benefit:        criticals occur on a roll of 1 lower than normal
This is absolutely vital for your tanker, it increases chances of rolling
a critical greatly. This should be taken the moment you can. One of the
best combat feats.

Improved initiative
Benefit:        weapon speed and casting time reduced by 1
This feat doesn't work, it would be good if it did, but it doesn't, the
most useless feat.

Precise shot
Benefit:        reduces close range penalty from -8 to -4.
This is useful for your archer, but not vital as you shouldn't end up
firing from very close.

Rapid shot
Requires:       13+ Dex
Benefit:        1 extra attack/round with ranged weapon. Works at highest
                BAB but the attacks suffer -2 penalty. Doesn't work with
                crossbows.
This is vital for your archer and is the reason not to use crossbows. Wait
until you have at least 2 attacks before taking however.

Shield proficiency
Benefit:        can use a shield without extra penalties
Only rogues. monks, wizards and sorcerers don't get this. You shouldn't
need to take this except possibly for a rogue-wizard combination.

Stunning attack
Requires:       13+ Dex, 13+ Wis, 8+ BAB
Benefit:        Forces enemy to make F.S.T. to avoid being stunned for 1
                round. Stunned opponents lose Dex bonus to AC, and
                attackers get +2 on attack rolls against stunned
                opponents.
This is a monk feat, they get it automatically, and there is little point
giving it to other classes. The damage done is that of an unarmed attack
by that character, so is weak for other classes, and all bonuses gained
through the round are cancelled by the initial reduced damage. It make
monks much better and they get it anyway but has no point for other
classes. Poor.

Weapon finesse
Requires:       1 W.P. in small blade, 1+ BAB
Benefit:        when attacking with 1 small blade you can use Dex modifier
                instead of Str on attack rolls.
This is useless. Attacking with 1 small blade does little damage and if 
you carry a shield then you get its armour check penalty to the attack 
rolls. Avoid.


Saving throw and speaking feats

Bullheaded
Requires:       Human or dwarf
Benefit:        +1 to W.S.T. and +2 to intimidate
This is okay as a final filler feat or is useful for your diplomat. 
Otherwise useless.

Courteous magocracy
Benefit:        +2 to diplomacy and +2 to spellcraft
If you have a bombardier who is also your diplomat then this is vital, 
don't bother otherwise, this is not worth getting if you are only going to
use half the benefit, as +2 is not that significant, even to a character
with low Int. Also okay as a filler for your diplomat.

Discipline
Benefit:        +1 to Will saves and +2 to concentration.
This is useful to all castors, especially arcane. Wizards, sorcerers and
bards generally have a low Wis and thus a low will S.T., and concentration
is vital for all castors. This gives a small benefit to 2 of the most
vital abilities for castors. This should be taken by any castor, though it
is less important for divine castors. It is also useful for tankers,
especially when trying to get maximized attacks.

Great fortitude
Benefit:        +2 to F.S.T.
This is useful for any character with low F.S.T., such as wizards, and,
like all feats that increase S.T., a good filler.

Iron will
Benefit:        +2 to W.S.T.
This is useful for any character with low W.S.T., such as tankers and
wizards, and, like all feats that increase S.T., a good filler.

Lightning reflexes
Benefit:        +2 to R.S.T.
This is useful for any character with low R.S.T., such as priests, and,
like all feats that increase S.T., a good filler.

Luck of Heroes
Requires:       human, aasimar or tiefling
Benefit:        +1 bonus to all S.T.
This is useful to boost S.T. up, is just a good filler feat.

Resist poison
Requires:       gray dwarf or half-orc
Benefit:        +4 to F.S.T. against poison, can only be taken at 1st
                level.
This is useless, you are very rarely attacked with poison and those races
have high Con, and thus high F.S.T. anyway. Avoid.

Snake blood
Requires:       human
Benefit:        +2 to F.S.T against poison and +1 to R.S.T., can only be
                taken at 1st level.
This isn't dreadful as R.S.T. are important, but the bonus to S.T. against
poison is pointless. There are much better fillers available, that you can
take when you are filling in feats. Don't bother.


Class feats

Rogue

Arterial strike
Requires:       1 rogue level, 4+ BAB
Benefit:        can sacrifice 1d6 sneak attack damage to inflict bleeding
                wound that causes damage over many rounds.
This is poor. It is okay against the strongest enemies as then you do more
damage in total, but it doesn't work against most enemies, as you want to
finish them off quickly. Poor filler feat.

Crippling strike
Requires:       10 rogue levels
Benefit:        reduces Str by 1 for every die of sneak attack damage the
                character inflicts.
This is a reasonable feat, as by the time you can get this the Str
reduction will be -5. Not bad but there are better feats.

Envenom weapon
Requires:       8+ alchemy
Benefit:        1st attack with weapon causes F.S.T. or target loses 1d6
                Con. This happens once/round for 10 rounds.
This feat is poor, as the enemies which are strong enough to be worth
damaging over time generally have high S.T., and anything with enough Con
for this to have good effect is certain to. Dreadful.

Hamstring
Requires:       3 rogue levels
Benefit:        character can sacrifice 2d6 sneak attack damage to reduce
                target's movement to 1/2 for 10 rounds
This is another poor rogue feat, reducing enemies movement is unimportant
and of little use. If you really want to then there are spells that do
this to large numbers of enemies instead of a mere 1. The damage loss is
noticeable. Virtually useless.

Improved evasion
Requires:       10 rogue levels
Benefit:        if rogue fails reflex save then (s)he only takes half
                damage.
A brilliant rogue feat, this is almost worth taking 10 levels of rogue
for. This should certainly be taken if you can.

Slippery mind
Requires:       10 rogue levels
Benefit:        if a character fails a W.S.T. then can attempt S.T. again
                1 round later.
This is a reasonable feat, though you should aim to have high enough S.T.
to avoid needing a 2nd try. It does help sometimes, but I would prefer to
boost my S.T. rather than take a 2nd chance.


Barbarian

Extra rage
Benefit:        can use rage 1 extra time a day
This is worth taking, but only at higher levels as generally you should
have enough before a rest. Only if you find that you are regularly resting
to replenish this should you consider this feat. This could be taken to
full once you have greater tireless rage though, as then you'll be using
the rage ability almost every battle.

Heroic inspiration
Benefit:        when you have less than 1/2 HP character gains +1 to hit,
                +1 damage, and +1 S.T.
This is worth taking it only helps during the long battles but is
extremely helpful in them. Not that important, but good filler.


Druid

Extra wild shape
Requires:       3 druid levels
Benefit:        can change shape 1 extra time a day
This is of some use as it saves on healing spells, but shape-shifting
regularly is ineffective for most purposes. This is for personal
preference.

Wild Shape, Boring beetle
Requires:       5 druid levels
Benefit:        can shift into boring beetle
This is a pointless feat, you naturally have much better forms to shift
into and this is worse in almost every way, slower, weaker, not great HP.
Avoid.

Wild shape, Panther
Requires:       5 druid levels
Benefit:        can shift into panther
This is slightly better, the panther is reasonable, but you get a dire
panther later, and you should be taking spell focus and S.T. feats before
this one. Don't bother.

Wild shape, Shambling mound
Requires:       8 druid levels
Benefit:        can shift into shambling mound
This is the only extra shape that can be worth taking. However all the
elemental shifts are much better and spell focus or defensive feats are a
much better investment, as are the elemental feats. Can consider, but
wouldn't advise.


Paladin

Extra smiting
Requires:       2 paladin levels
Benefit:        can use an extra smite evil each day.
Because you need many of your characters to be evil to protect against
blasphemy at the end, this ability is poor. This should be avoided unless
you have no evil characters, which makes the end of the game almost
impossible. If you use the ability you should still have enough anyway.
Avoid.

Extra turning
Requires:       3 paladin levels or 1 cleric level
Benefit:        can turn undead 1 extra time a day
Turn undead is of little use in this game, as most of the undead in this
are ones you have summoned. I wouldn't use the ability anyway, and even if
you do, then you shouldn't need more times. Avoid.

Fiendslayer
Requires:       8 paladin levels, W.F. in large or great swords
Benefit:        gets +1 to hit and +1 damage against chimeras, demons,
                dragons and half-dragons
There are very few of these creatures and the requirements are steep as
paladin levels beyond 3 are of virtually no value. Not worth it.

Heroic inspiration
Benefit:        when you have less than 1/2 HP character gains +1 to hit,
                +1 damage, and +1 S.T.
This is worth taking it only helps during the long battles but is
extremely helpful in them. Not that important, but good filler.


Cleric

Extra turning
Requires:       3 paladin levels or 1 cleric level
Benefit:        can turn undead 1 extra time a day
Turn undead is of little use in this game, as most of the undead in this
are ones you have summoned. I wouldn't use the ability anyway, and even if
you do, then you shouldn't need more times. Avoid.


Bard

Lingering song
Requires:       1 bard level
Benefit:        bard song lasts 2 rounds after bard stops playing
This is vital if you take a bard. It allows the bard to cast quick spells
and have the song effects at the same time. If you can take this then do.


Miscellaneous

Dash
Benefit:        character moves 15% faster than normal.
Barbarians and monks are naturally faster than others, this can be taken
as a filler feat for a tanker or decoy, but has little other use. Don't bother.

Forester
Benefit:        +2 to wilderness lore.
Wilderness lore is only useful in the Fell Wood maze, and that is the only
point in the game. It is the 2nd most useless skill and makes this one of
the most useless feats.

Mercantile background
Requires:       human, aasimar, tiefling, deep gnome, or gray dwarf.
Benefit:        5% store bonus on buying and selling
Money is of little issue in this game, except initially; those that want
to save every penny however can give this to a character only if they are
a human with 18+ Cha, otherwise it is wasted. Deep gnomes and duergar have
Cha penalties which cancels this out anyway so this is useless there. I
wouldn't bother.

Strong back
Benefit:        can carry 50% more weight.
This can be worth taking if you have a character with a Str below 12 who
needs armour. But you should really be aware when creating this character
to give him/her extra Str. Shows bad planning. This only benefits
characters with 10-13 Str, otherwise the increase is small, and 14+ Str
should be plenty. This is poor.

Toughness
Benefit:        +3 HP, can take up to 5 times
This is pretty poor, if you have 14+ Con then HP shouldn't be a serious
issue, and below that is dreadful for all characters. Tankers get hit a
lot so need high HP and F.S.T., so should have high Con anyway. Castors
have low HP and need concentration so should have high Con anyway. 3 HP is
not worth a feat anyway and 15 HP is certainly not worth 5 feats. I would
only consider a feat that gave HP if gave at least 10, otherwise I'd add
in a level or 2 of barbarian.

I have gained most of this information from gaming experience and the
manual, but I tested several points because I saw a mention of them in the
guides by: Jukka Mikkonen, Mike Malone and Kaichern Tee.

This guide is copyright 2005 by Michael Marshall. Icewind Dale is
copyrighted by the companies who developed it. I am not associated in any
way with any company or person involved in the creation of this game. This
may not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private
use. It may not be placed on any website or otherwise distributed publicly
unless you e-mail me a request and recieve a reply giving permission. Use
of this guide on a unpermitted website or as part of any public display is
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