===============================================================================
             C h r i s    L e e ' s

    H e a r t    o f    F u r y,    P o w e r g a m i n g,
                          a n d    B e y o n d                   v 4.3
===============================================================================



===============================================================================
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 or Apple-F) and type in the key next to the section.

Example: if you ever want to navigate back to the Table of Contents, search
for (with an asterisk in front) '---'.

Periodically, you'll find mentions of "find shortcuts" - the asterisk followed
by the three digit number is exactly what they reference, only without the
asterisk.

The pattern behind the shortcut keys is simple: the first three letters of each
section/sub-section or enough letters to be unique, separated by a colon, and
terminated by a dash.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Special Note                        *SPE-

Introduction & Contact Info         *INT-
    (aka What the hell is this?)

What Happens in Heart of Fury?      *WHA-

Basic Heart of Fury Mode Concepts   *BAS-
    1.  AC                              *BAS:AC-
        a. Druid-based AC                   *BAS:AC:DRU-
    2.  Your base attack bonus          *BAS:YOU-
    3.  DR                              *BAS:DR-
    4.  Saving throws                   *BAS:SAV-
    5.  Luck                            *BAS:LUC-
    6.  Damage vs Crowd Control         *BAS:DAM-
    7.  Swords vs Magic                 *BAS:SWO

Building your Party                 *BUI-
    1.  Decoy                           *BUI:DEC-
    2.  Buffers                         *BUI:BUF-
    3.  Crowd Control                   *BUI:CRO-
    4.  Other Roles:  Damage/Healing    *BUI:OTH-
        a.  Maximizing physical damage      *BUI:OTH:MAX-
    5.  Alignments:  Good vs Not Good?  *BUI:ALI-
    6.  Good and Bad Feats              *BUI:GOODANDBADF-
    7.  Good and Bad Skills             *BUI:GOODANDBADS-

Key Racial Breakdown                *KEY-
    1.  Human/Aasimar                   *KEY:HUM-
    2.  Drow                            *KEY:DRO-
    3.  Deep Gnome                      *KEY:DEE-

Class Breakdown                     *CLA-
    1.  Barbarian                       *CLA:BARB-
    2.  Bard                            *CLA:BARD-
    3.  Cleric                          *CLA:CLE-
        a.  Domains                         *CLA:CLE:DOM-
    4.  Druid                           *CLA:DRU-
        a.  Forms                           *CLA:DRU:FOR-
    5.  Fighter                         *CLA:FIG-
    6.  Monk                            *CLA:MON-
    7.  Paladin                         *CLA:PAL-
    8.  Ranger                          *CLA:RAN-
    9.  Rogue                           *CLA:ROG-
    10.  Sorcerer                       *CLA:SOR-
    11.  Wizard                         *CLA:WIZ-

Spells of Note                      *SPE-
    1.  Buffs/Support                   *SPE:BUF-
    2.  Crowd Control                   *SPE:CRO-
    3.  Damage                          *SPE:DAM-
    4.  A Word on Summons               *SPE:AWO-

Gearing Up                          *GEA-
    1.  Which weapon proficiency?       *GEA:WHI-
    2.  Weapons of Note                 *GEA:WEA-
        a.  High-Saving Throw Weapons       *GEA:WEA:HIG-
    3.  Armor of Note                   *GEA:ARM-
    4.  Accessories of Note             *GEA:ACC-

Sample Parties                      *SAM-
    1.  6-person Good Party             *SAM:6PE-
    2.  4-person Good Party             *SAM:4PE-
    3.  2-person Evil Party             *SAM:2PE-
    4.  Playing a Smaller Party         *SAM:PLA-

...and more!                        *AND-
    1.  Important Notes                 *AND:IMP-
    2.  Challenges                      *AND:CHA-

Chapter-by-Chapter Notes            *CHA-
    1.  Prologue                        *CHA:PRO-
    2.  One                             *CHA:ONE-
    3.  Two                             *CHA:TWO-
    4.  Three                           *CHA:THR-
    5.  Four                            *CHA:FOU-
    6.  Five                            *CHA:FIV-
    7.  Six                             *CHA:SIX-

Appendix                            *APP-
    1.  History                         *APP:HIS-
    2.  My works                        *APP:MYW-
===============================================================================



===============================================================================
Special Note                                                              *SPE-
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Aside from a few minor bugs, Icewind Dale II is a remarkably stable game (after
you install the official patch, that is).  Unlike Baldur's Gate or Baldur's
Gate II, you won't find any massive third-party fixpack to address outstanding
issues.

That being said, there *are* still a few minor issues that have been fixed, but
it rarely ever gets publicity, so it behooves you to go to
    http://www.sorcerers.net/Games/IWD2/index_editors.php
and download the "IWD2 Unofficial Item/Spell Patch by Gimble".  Unzip it using
your favorite archiver and toss the files into your IWD2's Override directory.
Most of the issues are minor, but if you want a complete, solid play
experience, it's still pretty good.

The only unfortunate outstanding issue is that Improved Initiative is bugged
and unfortunately cannot be fixed by conventional third-party override methods.
 Though, if someone can make a modified DLL or something to actually fix this,
I'll gladly pay them a significant financial reward (let's put it at 1000
dollars 2012, adjusted for inflation).

If the link above is broken, let me know, and I'll fix it.
===============================================================================




===============================================================================
Introduction & Contact Info (aka What the hell is this?)                  *INT-
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Icewind Dale II, in my opinion, is one of *the* most well-designed games ever
made for the PC.  It is also one of the most challenging, especially when you
finish the game and decide to check off the "Heart of Fury mode" difficulty
option to play again with your victorious party.  However, there's a lack of
good guides out there for this super hard difficulty mode, and the few that are
out there have knowledge gaps, errors, and in some cases it almost seems like
the writers themselves have never even played Heart of Fury (otherwise they
would've noticed that some things they suggest don't work at all).

Enter this guide!  Hopefully you'll find this to be a veritable tome of all
sorts of information for playing through Heart of Fury mode. Plus, I've even
got extra stuff in case you want to challenge yourself even further (think
Final Fantasy Tactics-style self-challenges).

If you want to grab a hold of me, pop me an e-mail with the subject line
beginning "IWD2 FAQ: " and send it to:
    s___i_m__u_l__c__r_a@uchicago.edu
WITHOUT the underscores.  This is just to prevent auto-parsers from nabbing my
e-mail address for SPAM.  So, the final e-mail should be an 8-letter word
followed by @uchicago.edu.
===============================================================================



===============================================================================
What Happens in Heart of Fury?                                            *WHA-
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Courtesy of Ilya Nemetz when you turn on Heart of Fury mode, the following
things happen:

    All enemies get +12 to their challenge rating (i.e. more experience
        yielded).
    All enemies get 3x base health (before constitution bonuses)
    All enemies get +12/13 to their to-hit rolls, though they retain their
        normal difficulty attacks per round information.
    All enemies get +10 to their saving throws.
    All enemies get +10 to all stats, which may improve AC, damage, and health
        on top of above bonuses.
    All enemies do 2x damage.**

** Ilya used various CLUAConsole tricks to check out enemy stats, so these
should be pretty accurate.  By his own admission though, the damage is a "bit"
more complicated than just 2x, and I can confirm that ranged weapons and
spells tend to do unmodified damage.
===============================================================================



===============================================================================
Basic Heart of Fury Mode Concepts                                         *BAS-
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
So, you might *think* you understand how the game works, but just by starting
HOF mode, you'll notice that alot of ways IWD2 played in normal mode just don't
apply anymore!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  AC                                                                 *BAS:AC-

At the end of normal difficulty, you might have some characters sitting
comfortably at 30+ AC.  They get hit on occasion, but nothing they can't
handle.  Then you start fighting goblins in the Prologue on HOF mode and notice
that all of a sudden, these piddling creatures are basically hitting you on
every single strike and hitting you *hard*.

The monsters' base attack bonuses (BAB) drastically ramp up in HOF mode.  As
rechet's Powergaming guide so wonderfully points out, regular monsters' BAB
bonuses (not counting specifically difficult monsters) easily go up to +52 for
the first attack, which means that even with an astronomically high 50 AC,
you'll still be hit 95% of the time by that first attack.  Not to mention that
the normal scaling down of BAB for successive attacks is only by 5, so on a
second attack, that's still a potential maximum of +47, which will still hit
you an oustanding 85% of the time with 50 AC.  (Fortunately though, the number
of attacks a monster gets doesn't seem changed from normal difficulty, so
monsters won't have a ridiculous number of attacks/turn.)

Not to mention that those buggers *hurt* when they hit.  Stoneskin may have
pretty much negated all damage on normal, but in HOF, melee damage skyrockets
(ranged damage doesn't really scale up that much on HOF).  Pathetic little
critters will easily hit you up to 30 damage without critting, and the really
big guys can easily wallop you for 50-60 damage without needing a critical.

However, you *can* take advantage of one specific mechanic to get your AC to
safe levels.  And that's to abuse "generic" AC, which is the only type of AC
bonus that stacks with itself (instead of simply using the highest value).
rechet's guide covers this, but a complete listing of possible sources of
generic AC is as follows:

  Innate:
    Deep Gnome (+4)
    Monk Wisdom Bonus (based on WIS)
    Monk AC Bonus (+1 per 5 monk levels, up to +6)
    Bard Song:  War Chant of the Sith (+2)

  Feats:
    Expertise (up to +5)
    Dodge (+1)
    Deflect Arrows (+1 vs ranged)

  Spells:
    (Mass) Haste (+4)
    Tenser's Transformation (+4)
    Barkskin (up to +5)

  Items:
    bracers: Brazen Bands (normal+collector's edition only, +5)
    bracers: Indomitable Bands (HOF+collector's edition only, +5)
    necklace: Flame Dance Talisman (normal only, +1)
    necklace: Sunfire Talisman (HOF only, +3)
    head: Swing from the Masts (normal only, +1, Rogue only)
    head: Crow's Nest (HOF only, +3, Rogue only)

  Special:
    druid form: Air Elemental (+12)

In addition, you can max out other sources, mainly Dexterity, Armor, and
Deflection (there's also Shield bonus, but using a Shield will cancel out the
best source of generic AC - the Monk Wisdom bonus). For these, these are the
good sources.

  Dexterity:
    Race that has up to 20 starting DEX
    feet: Chimandrae's Slippers (+5 DEX)
    spell: Cat's Grace (+1d4+1)
    spell: Tenser's Transformation (+2d4)
    druid form: Air Elemental (base set to 29)

  Armor:
    Bracers of Armor +4
    spell: Mage Armor (+4)
    spell: Spirit Armor (+6)
    spell: Shield (+7)

  Deflection:
    Farmer's Cloak (+3)
    Ring of Protection +3
    Dagger of Warding (+3)
    Baron Sulo's hook (+3, dagger)
    Various spells (+4)
    spell: Divine Shell (+7)

Note that no specific equippable Armor is mentioned.  That's because if you
really want to max out AC, the highest possible Armor-based AC (+11) is way too
little considering it caps out your Dex-based AC too restrictively, so you're
better off with a high Monk wisdom bonus and a high Dexterity bonus.

There are also a few specific items/events worth mentioning, because these also
help you attain high AC values through Wisdom.

  Wisdom:
    Potion of Holy Transference (+2 WIS, -1 DEX)
    Potion of Clear Purpose (+1 WIS, -2 CON)
    Banite Quest (+2 WIS)*
    Paladin Quest (+1 STR, +1 WIS)**
    Every God Ring (+5 WIS, Paladin/Cleric/Druid only)

  * You get this bonus if you are a Banite Cleric when you clear the
    glen of Undead in Kuldahar.
  ** You get this bonus if you are a Paladin and obtain the Holy
    Avenger sword.

As you can see, there are some pretty strict class requirements that you must
have to get the top AC.  A reasonable selection of sources for AC might be (and
remember, we only really need to shoot for 72, as since at that point monsters
will always hit you on a roll of 20, there's no difference between 73 and
100000 AC most of the time)...

  1 Paladin/15 Monk/1 Rogue/13 Conjurer Drow
      ... with 19 base DEX => 17 base DEX (2 Holy Transference)
                           => 22 final DEX (Chimandrae's Slippers)
      ... with 18 base WIS => 30 base WIS (extra stat point every 4
      levels, 2 Holy Transference, 2 Clear Purpose)
                           => 33 base WIS (2 Paladin Quest)
                           => 38 final WIS (Every God Ring)
  AC:
    10
    +6 (Dexterity)
    +14 (Monk Wisdom)
    +3 (Monk AC)
    +5 (Expertise)
    +5 (Indomitable Bands)
    +3 (Sunfire Talisman)
    +3 (Crow's Nest)
    +3 (Ring of Protection +3/Farmer's Cloak)
    +1 (Dodge)
    +4 (Haste)
    +4 (Mage Armor, up to +7 with Shield if necessary)
    +5 (Barkskin, a party member has to cast this)
    +2 (Bard song, a party member has to sing this)
  Total
    68

That 68 is a bit shy of the ideal 72, but this character has a few options.
Against high BAB monsters, s/he can cast Tenser's Transformation or Shield.
Shield bestows an additional +7 off the bat, and a potential extra off the DEX
bonus from Tenser's Transformation could bumps him/her to 72.  Moreover, thanks
to the Conjurer levels, s/he can cast Improved Invisibility (essentially giving
a flat out 50% chance for monsters to miss even if they do roll a critical or
something, though Blind-Fight Feat helps against this), Blink (a flat 50%
chance for attacks against the character to fail, and Blind-Fight doesn't help
against Blink), Blur (20% chance for attacks to miss, though it's unclear
whether it stacks with Blink or Invisibility), and Mirror Image (essentially a
buffer of 2d4 free "hits" the character can take).

Moreover, other party members can cast spells like Symbol: Pain, Recitation,
Prayer, Chant, and Emotion: Despair;  these spells all penalize enemy attack
rolls and essentially give your character "extra" AC.

As you can see, there is a *bit* of flexibility:  you can use Banite cleric
levels instead of Paladin, you can trade off Wizard/Monk levels in favor of
more Banite levels for Divine Shield, you can use a Deep Gnome, you could even
experiment with using a Druid.  However, it's pretty essentialy that your AC
character have atleast 1 Monk level (for the Wisdom bonus), have some divine
levels, and at least 1 rogue level.  You can *try* and pass off without Wizard
levels and rely on other party members to cast things like Mage Armor, Haste,
and Improved Invisibility, but Mirror Image, Blink, Tenser's Transformation,
and Shield are all self-cast only, so you should have a safely high AC (70+
without worrying about helper spells like Recitation or Emotion: Despair) and
some good healing capabilities if you go that route.

However, this does make clear that for AC to be effective at all in HOF, you
pretty much need to focus all your efforts into a single character.  If you try
to have 2 characters with decent AC, you'll probably end up with 2 characters
with AC in the high 40's - they might as well have 0 AC given how often they'll
end up getting hit.

All is not lost, though, for your non-AC characters.  There are other
mechanisms to keep them safe, which we'll talk about later, though Mirror Image
(already mentioned here) is a pretty universally good protection.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1a.  Druid-based AC                                                *BAS:AC:DRU-

If you refer to section CLA:DRU:FOR-, you'll note that one of the druid's
possible forms (Air Elemental) has a surprising AC (31 total, based off of 22
base and +9 dex from 29 dexterity).  You'll also note that shapeshifting
doesn't lose the Monk wisdom AC bonus, and any buffs cast _after_ shapeshifting
still apply normally.  Moreover, item bonuses to stats stick around.  This
leads to an alternate direction for AC that is based on heavy investment in
Druid levels.  There's not a lot of flexibility, though it's an interesting
direction.  Note that expertise and dodge feat don't help at all.

  24 Druid/5 Monk/1 Dreadmaster of Bane Aasimar
    ...with 20 base WIS => 27 (+7 stat point)
                        => 31 (2 Holy Transference)
                        => 33 (2 Clear Purpose)
                        => 37 (x2 Dreadmaster quest)
                        => 42 (Every God Ring)
    ...with low base DEX => 29 (set from Air Elemental form)
                         => 34 (Chimandrae's Slippers)

  AC:
    22 (base Air Elemental)
    +12 (Dexterity)
    +16 (Monk Wisdom)
    +1 (Monk AC)
    +4 (Haste)
    +4 (Mage Armor)
    +2 (Bard Song)
    +5 (Barkskin, someone else has to cast this; won't work if self-cast before
        shape-shifting)
  Total
    66 AC

The interesting point of this is that it is possible to have virtually no
overlap between a druid-based AC approach and a traditional decoy AC.  Note
that since a druid's physical (strength, dexterity, constitution) stats get
_set_ upon shape-shifting, you can willy-nilly use all those +wisdom potions
and destroy those stats without concern.

Again, while 66 AC is short of the magical number, simply using Ghost Armor (+5
deflection) will put you in shooting range of the holy grail of 72.  Adding
Recitation/Prayer/Symbol: Pain/etc will carry you over, or simply using Spirit
Armor instead of Mage Armor.

The advantage to this is that, with a properly-built evil deep gnome, you can
have two characters with nigh-impregnable ACs, which would not be possible
otherwise.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.  Your base attack bonus                                            *BAS:YOU-

Fortunately, monster AC's don't really go up that much on HOF. Yes, you'll
occasionally run into monsters that are annoyingly hard to hit, but for the
most part, even your pathetic Mages will probably be able to hit atleast twice
a round at level 30.

The basic consequence of this is that in many cases, you can start getting
Power Attack for everyone who can use it and maxing out the value for +5
damage.  Of course, you might not want too many people melee-ing, as it's hard
to protect that many characters.  This also means that you should be less
worried about keeping Rapid Shot on at all times.

It also means that, for the most part, you should start preferring items that
do more damage over items that can hit better.  A good example of this is
Scales of Justice, a special HOF mode Axe that lets you switch into different
"modes" - in one mode you can have +5 accuracy and +5 damage, in another you
can have +10 damage.  In most cases, keeping the +10 damage mode active is
probably the best idea, as you're already probably going to be hitting every
single one of your attacks.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.  DR                                                                 *BAS:DR-

Damage reduction is important.  It was almost abusively good in normal mode
(the spells Iron Skins and Stoneskin pretty much granted you temporary immunity
to attacks).  In HOF, DR gets way worse, since monsters are busy hitting for
ridiculous sums of damage.  But even if monsters are doing upwards of 60 damage
per hit, that 10/+5 DR may not be as good, but it's still a huge chunk of life
you're saving every time you're hit.

Here's a (probably) complete list of sources for DR.  Note that DR has some
funky rules about stacking.  DR listed in the form of "5/+1" doesn't stack with
other similar types of DR.  This means that a character with 10/+2 DR and 5/+1
DR will only have 10 damage negated against an enemy with normal weapons,
instead of 15.  DR in the form of "Slashing resistance" or "Piercing
resistence" *does* stack, and also stacks with "5/+1"-style DR.  This means
that a character with 5/+1 DR and 1/- Slashing resistance will have a total of
6 damage negated from an enemy with a normal slashing weapon.

  Innate:
    Barbarian (1 Slashing/Piercing/Bludgeoning/Missile at 11,
      +additional 1 every 3 levels)
    Monk (20/+1 at level 20)
    Bard Song:  War Chant of the Sith (2/-)***

  Items:
    bracers: Indomitable Bands (HOF+collector's edition only, 10/+2)
    bracers: Bands of Focus (normal only, 5/+1)
    bracers: Bands of the Master (HOF only, 15/+3)
    cloak: Mystra's Cloak (normal only, 5/+1, Wizard only)
    cloak: Mystra's Embrace (HOF only, 10/+2, Wizard only)
    armor: Abishai Hide (normal only, 5/+1)
    armor: Cornugan Hide (HOF only, 10/+2)
    armor: Phaen's Tattered Robes (HOF only, 1 Piercing/Bludgeoning)
    armor: (Imbued) Robe of Absorption (1
      Slashing/Piercing/Bludgeoning)
    shield: Mooncalf's Shield (HOF only, permanent Protection from
      Arrows, in other words essentially 10/+5 against arrows)

  Spells:
    arcane: Stoneskin (10/+5)
    arcane: Iron Body (infinity/+3)*
    arcane: Protection from Arrows (up to 10/+5, only ranged)**
    arcane: Aegis (casts Stoneskin)
    cleric: Shield of Lathander (3/-, only 2 turns)
    cleric: Greater Shield of Lathander (30/-, only 3 turns)
    cleric/ranger: Iron Skins (10 Piercing/Bludgeoning/Slashing,
      doesn't stack with Stoneskin)
    divine: Armor of Faith (1/-)

  * Ostensibly it's suppossed to be 50/+3, but if you look at your character
    record after you cast this spell, you have an arbitrarily large number/+3
    listed as your damage resistance.
  ** Unlike melee, ranged damage in HOF doesn't really scale upwards, so 10/+5
    actually can completely negate ranged damage fairly easily.
  *** The notation for War Chant of the Sith is a bit misleading. While the
    game says "2/-", it really gives you 2 Slashing, 2 Bludgeoning, 2 Piercing,
    and 2 Missile, so it stacks with other such resistance as well as 5/+1
    style damage resistance.

It's important to note that while you'll frequently meet monsters that can beat
+1 DR (as that means they only need a magical weapon to damage you fully), you
start getting far less that can beat +2 and +3 DR (and remember that DR of x/-
is unbreakable).

Looking at the list, it's pretty much the status quo that the best you'll be
able to do is 15/+3 for one character and 10/+2 for several others, plus or
minus a few extra from a Bard song or from other miscellaneous resistances.
It's possible to get a potion gift after Oswald leaves in his airship in
Chapter 3 that may permanently increase your resistances (like giving you
Slashing 1/-), but the potion you get is random from a list and you only get
one per play through, so it's not something to hold out for.

By far, however, the best source of DR is Iron Body.  As a spell, it lasts a
super long time, *actually* grants you complete imperviousness to any attack
that doesn't come from a +3 or better source, and doesn't disappear after a set
amount of attacks or damage has been absorbed (like Iron Skins or Stoneskin).
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4.  Saving Throws                                                     *BAS:SAV-

Monsters get really good at saving throws all of a sudden on HOF. The immediate
effect is that your Fireballs and Lightning Bolts start doing way less damage
on a consistent basis - this even means that they'll be completely useless
against Monk/Rogue type characters that have Evasion/Improved Evasion.  The
secondary effect is that this essentially means that most spells that don't
have an accompanying Spell Focus feat associated with them start sucking.
Hard.  Without a corresponding Spell Focus, you pretty much need to be casting
level 7 and higher spells to have any chance of them sticking, and even then
it's a pretty low success rate.

A good example of this are the low-level Conjuration snares - Web and Stinking
Cloud.  On normal, these were a great way to incapacitate a whole swarm of
incoming enemies while you gleefuly fireball them to oblivion.  On HOF, even in
really early parts of the game, you'll find yourself casting 4-6 layers of
these spells and still see enemies waltz through easily without getting snared
once.  By contrast, Entangle, the level 1 spell druidic snare, stays relatively
effective the entire game, simply because you can do Greater Spell Focus:
Transmutation and effectively make it a level 5 spell compared to a level 3
spell like Stinking Cloud.  That 2 spell level difference may not seem like
much, but in some cases, it could mean the difference between an enemy failing
*only* on a natural 1 (5% chance) or failing on rolls of 3 or lower (15%
chance, or three times as often).

If you do the math, 2 Entangles in this situation mean that the enemy has a 1
in 4 chance per round of being snared by atleast 1 of the 2 instances of the
spell.  To achieve the same effect with Stinking Clouds, you'd need 6 copies of
Stinking Cloud going at once.  The difference grows even starker with Entangle
versus Web in a hypothetical situation where the enemy can roll a 4 or less
with Entangle and still fail. With just *one* Entangle, you have a 20% chance
of ensaring the enemy; with Web, you need 5 copies of the spell going at once
just to match those odds.

Even with the help of Spell Focus feats, enemies still have insanely high
saving throws.  This is where a suite of helper spells kick in. Malison gives a
flat out -2 penalty to enemy saves and is the bread-and-butter of any HOF
spellcasting strategy (short of degeneratively casting nothing but summons).
The cleric spells Recitation, Prayer, and Chant give a -2, -1, and -1
(respectively) penalty to enemy saves.  The advantage of Malison, Recitation,
Prayer, and Chant is that these spells don't let the enemy save against their
effects (though you may see them resisted via Spell Resistance on a rare
occasion).  There's also Emotion: Despair (-2 to saves), but that allows a
saving throw and also may affect allies, so this is something to cast *after*
the other spells.

On the plus side, enemy spell DC's don't seem that much affected by the
difficulty upgrade, especially compared to how much better your gear gets, so
you'll be able to find yourself shrugging off way more spells/damage than
before.

On a side note, items that have effects that allow saving throws generally get
dramatically worse in HOF.  This also includes alot of spells that create
item-like effects (like Lich Touch or Destruction). That's because, for the
most part, monsters need only a 14 to save against these effects, which
generally means that, except against the most vulnerable monsters (like trying
a Fortitude save against skeletons), items only have a 5% chance of actually
triggering their effects (when the enemies roll a natural 1).  Moreover, Spell
Focus feats don't help (so Lich Touch and Mordenkainen's Magic Missiles remain
unaffected by Greater Spell Focus: Necromancy and Evocation, respectively).
However, there are a few very rare exceptions to this general rule, which you
can check out in section GEA:WEA:HIG-.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5.  Luck                                                              *BAS:LUC-

Luck is a mysterious thing.  Most of the time, you won't know about it nor even
really care about its effects.  It's also fairly rare. There are exactly four
sources for luck in IWD2:  the Luck spell (which the Luck potion also uses),
the Bard Song Tymora's Melody (+1 to party), Young Ned's Knucky (+2, HOF only),
and Tymora's Loop (+3, random drop).

What Luck actually does is a bit of a mystery.  There's quite a bit of
misinformation out there, and I've even been mistaken in earlier versions of
this guide.  At the very least, Luck __actually__ alters dice rolls instead of
simply giving them a bonus after the fact - so a Luck of +1 means that a 19
becomes a 20, a 1 becomes a 2, etc. What __kinds__ of dice rolls it affects is
a bit harder to ascertain, but the ones I've managed to test and confirm
follows.

  Luck does (Confirmed):
    Increase base weapon damage
    Increase To-Hit and Critical Threat rolls
    Increase healing effects recieved by the character
    Reduce spell damage recieved by the character

  Luck maybe (Difficult to confirm, hinted at by description):
    Increases skill checks
    Increases Spell Resistance rolls

  Luck definitely doesn't (Confirmed):
    Increase spell damage done by the character
    Increase "extra" weapon damage effects (like the +1d6 fire damage
      on "Flaming" or "Flaming Burst" weapons)
    Increase saving throw rolls

A character's total Luck isn't displayed anywhere, so you just have to
calculate it based on what items/spells/songs are going on.  Suffice it to say
that the earlier mentioned 4 sources are the only places you can get Luck.

Basically, with a bit of Luck, physical damage characters will start having
insane damage output. Imagine this - a guy with a keen axe, with Improved
Critical, with Young Ned's Knucky, Tymora's Melody, and a Luck spell.  This
means that this guy effectively critically hits on a "roll" of atleast 15!
(Though, because the dice are actually being modified by the roll, it'll look
like your character is just rolling lots of 20s instead of actually critically
hitting on a 15.)

Factor in Executioner Eyes, and this guy is pretty much critically hitting on
every other strike.  Not to mention that when equipped with something like a
Great Sword, the guy effectively does maximum damage with each hit (as each d6
in the 2d6 base damage gets shifted up by 6).  The sheer damage output becomes
*insane* at that level.

Just be warned:  Tymora's Loop, in particular, is a fairly rare random drop
(like most completely random drops).  I've played through IWD2 many times, and
the number of times I've found it I can count on one hand.  It is, however,
probably the best single item in the game. If you're lucky enough to get two
(one in normal, one in HOF), praise your lucky stars.  Just imagine - two
Tymora's Loop, Young Ned's Knucky, Tymora's Melody, and Luck is a total of +10
luck.  How insane would that be???
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
6.  Damage vs Crowd Control                                           *BAS:DAM-

Insane damage possibilities aside, one thing you immediately notice about HOF
is that the monsters have more health.  *Alot* more health. Suddenly, measly
orcs are surviving through castings of Meteor Swarm.

In short, when it comes to spells, once you hit HOF, pure damage spells start
becoming much, much less effective and crowd control spells become much, much
more effective.  While you may need to empty out several spell levels worth of
damage to clear out a modest pack of monsters, a single good cast of Symbol:
Hopelessness, Mass Dominate, or Wail of the Banshee will more than do the job
for you.

Crowd control also means you greatly increase your party's survivability.
Especially given the AC pointers in section BAS:AC-, most of your party is
going to be really susceptible to enemies, so even Mirror Images will disappear
quite rapidly under a barrage of never-miss arrows and swarming melee attackers
- this is particularly devastating if those hits also, say, drain levels.
However, if all the enemies are confused or fleeing in horror, for example,
then maybe only one or two enemies will pose a threat at any given time, so not
only will you be able to better protect your fragile characters, you'll also be
able to better focus monster hate on the one or two characters designed to take
it.

NOTE:  The only downside to holding/stunning an enemy is that, while they're
helpless, you can not critically hit them, so you may need to adjust your
targetting strategies to maximize your damage output.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7.  Swords vs Magic                                                   *BAS:SWO-

As a corrollary to the above, as magic-based damage gets worse, weapon-based
damage gets much better.  Your base attack bonus (see BAS:YOU-) becomes
sufficient for hitting monsters. You start maxing out the number of attacks you
can make in a round. Finally, you start getting way better gear, higher stats,
and are better able to push Power Attack to higher levels without affecting
your accuracy.  As such, while a spellcaster may be limited in how much burst
damage they can output before they become an underpowered fighter, a single
melee character with, say, dual Holy Avengers or a Massive Greataxe of Flame +5
can easily output upwards of 200 damage per round without having to worry about
running out of steam.

As a case study - one of my HOF parties contained a brute damage melee
character equipped with Young Ned's Knucky, dual Cera Sumats, Power Attack +5,
Weapon Specialization: Long Sword, and 26 Strength (thanks to the +6 STR belt).
 By herself, she contributed roughly 70% of all kills and all experience earned
by the party - this even though I had other spellcasters who could cast Wail of
the Banshee!  Basically, once she started attacking an enemy, that enemy would
be dead in a few rounds - it was not uncommon for me to see her critical
several times in a row for upwards of 60 total damage per hit.  So while I
could get other spellcasters to burst out area of effect spells that hit for
roughly 100 damage per monster (if I was lucky), this one melee character
provided the sustained reckless damage that keeps the party moving from one
fight to the next without needing to rest.
===============================================================================



===============================================================================
Building your Party                                                       *BUI-
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Time now to take the basic Heart of Fury mode concepts and put them to
action!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Decoy                                                             *BUI:DEC-

One of the most important character concepts that pretty much any HOF party
will need is a Decoy.  That is, a character that can take all sorts of brutish
punishment while other characters focus on slaying the enemy.  There are
several ways you can set up a Decoy: AC, Illusion magic, or Otiluke's Resilient
Sphere.

  AC:
    Refer back to section BAS:AC- and BAS:AC:DRU-.  This is probably the
    stablest way of setting up a Decoy - by having the character be naturally
    extremely hard to hit.  With this kind of set up, you won't really even
    have to worry about fighting a tough monsters like the Guardian, as a
    character with a sufficient AC will be incredibly hard to touch.

  Illusion magic:
    Blink, Blur, and Improved Invisibility all give a character a flat out
    chance to avoid being hit, though Blind-Fight helps against Improved
    Invisibility.  Mirror Image and Minor Mirror Image give the character a
    flat out way to avoid getting hit.  With this route, however, you need to
    heavily prioritize Non-detection, whether the cloak or some other
    item/spell, as otherwise a single dinky Goblin Shaman can ruin your entire
    suite of protections with a single See Invibility.

  Otiluke's Resilient Sphere:
    I would consider this a bit "degenerative", "abusive", and "lame". You can
    cast ORS on your own party members (though you probably want to do this on
    characters with really low Reflex saves), and monsters attacking an
    ORS-protected party member won't notice that none of their attacks are
    doing anything, so they'll keep on uselessly attacking.  NOTE - the
    official patch ostensibly fixes AI scripts to recognize when ORS is being
    used.

In all but the ORS case, you also want a really high Spell Resistance.  This
enables you to fling tons of area of effect spells or recieve high-impact
spells (namely Skull Traps with their uncapped damage) without any worry. Be
warned abou trying to stack up needlessly high levels of resistance, though,
the game caps your Spell Resistance at 50, so there's no point in being a Drow
dual-wielding Light of Cera Sumat and Cera Sumat and having a Holy Aura buff.

  Base Spell Resistance:
    Deep Gnome (11 + Character Level)
    Drow (11 + Character Level)
    Level 13 Monk (10 + Character Level)
    divine spell:  Spell Resistance (12 + Character Level)

  Stackable Spell Resistance Bonuses:
    Potion of Arcane Absorption (permanent +2)*
    Potion of Magic Resistance (permanent +1)*
    arcane/helm spell:  Aegis (+3)
    divine spell:  Holy Aura (+25)
    divine spell:  Greater Shield of Lathander (+40)**
    longsword:  Light of Cera Sumat (+30)
    longsword:  Cera Sumat (+15)
    robe:  Robe of the Evil Archmagi (+1)*

  * The game is a bit confused about the notations here, as the item
  descriptions are as "Magic Resistance 2/-", and other effects listed like
  that (like the ring Cold Steel Reflection) only provide __Magic Damage__
  Resistance.  These are probably bugs in the implementation of these items,
  but fortunately they're bugs in your favor.
  ** It's a great bonus, sure, but it only lasts 3 rounds.

You also need to worry about Will/Fortitude saves.  That's because no matter
how insulated your protections, all you need is for your decoy to get hit by a
single Charm Person or Finger of Death for your entire party to start falling
apart.  Sure, you could probably lose an ancilliary character and resurrect
them mid-fight, but once your decoy is gone, you probably need to hit the
quick-load.  And unlike many other spells, a lot of enchantment (charm) and
similar necromancy spells _ignore spell resistance_.  What this means in
practice is considering the various will-save and fort-save feats, as well as
getting the tattoo from the Red Wizards in the Severed Hand in both normal
and heart of fury mode.  (Special thanks to sir rechet/jukka for point this
fact about those spells out!)

It is possible to go through the game without an actual Decoy (if a bit
significantly more challenging), since all your summons get major buffs in
Heart of Fury mode.  Under this approach, though, you'll need to stock up
*heavily* on the big summons like Shades, Animate Dead, Gate, and Shadow
Conjuration, as the last thing you want to happen is a single enemy to cast
Banishment to completely wipe out your army. (The Yuan-Ti spellcasters in Chult
all have atleast one copy of Dismissal, for example).  Moreover, for later
battles, powerful enemies like Slayer Knights and Apocalyptic Boneguards will
be able to mow through your summons with relative ease, so you definitely want
a ready set of spells to resupply your army.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.  Buffers                                                           *BUI:BUF-

Buff and debuff spells become an important staple for a HOF party. Here's a
quick selection of buff spells that you could apply to your entire party (a
listed spell may only affect one target at a time, but its listing means that
at the very least, you can target multiple party members over several casting).

  Innate:
    paladin: Aura of Courage (level 2)*
    bard: All Bard Songs

  Arcane:
    abjuration: Mind Blank
    conjuration: Mage Armor
    divination: Executioner Eyes
    enchantment: Emotion: Hope
    illusion: (Improved/Mass) Invisibility
    illusion: Invisibility Sphere
    transmutation: (Mass) Haste
    transmutation: Bull's Strength
    transmutation: Cat's Grace
    transmutation: Eagle's Splendor

  Divine (for clerics, unless otherwise listed):
    Bull's Strength
    Champion's Strength
    Exaltation
    Holy Aura
    Magic Circle Against Evil
    Negative Energy Protection
    Prayer
    Recitation
    Remove Fear
    Spell Resistance
    Strength of One
    druid: Aura of Vitality
    druid: Barkskin
    lathander:  Aura of Vitality
    mask: Executioner's Eyes
    oghma: Eagle's Splendor
    oghma: Executioner's Eyes
    paladin: Spell Resistance

  * There appears to be a bug where the Aura doesn't actually do anything for
  your party members. :(

Of these, probably the most important are Barkskin (for the +5 generic AC to
put on your Decoy), the bard song War Chant of the Sith (for the +2 generic AC
and the small boosts for healing), and Recitation/Prayer (not only for the
massive +bonuses to your rolls, but the unpreventable penalties to any enemies
in sight).  Haste actually gets much worse in HOF, as characters that already
have 5 attacks (or 4 attacks with 1 off-hand attack) won't get an extra attack
from the spell.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.  Crowd Control                                                     *BUI:CRO-

You almost assuredly want atleast one character devoted to crowd control, and
the more the merrier, as that means more redundancy and more effects going off
at the same time.  While a good chunk of enemies might resist that first
Emotion: Fear, very few will probably resist two simultaneous ones.

I'll cover this in more detail in the class/spell breakdowns (find shortcuts:
CLA- and SPE:CRO-), but Bards, Druids, Clerics, and Wizards/Sorcerors are very
well put to use trying to exercise crowd control instead of brute damage.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4.  Other Roles:  Damage/Healing                                      *BUI:OTH-

Surprisingly, these roles are much less important than you may think, given
really good representation in the other roles.  With a good decoy and crowd
control, you'll never need more than a couple of Heal spells, and maybe a
Circle of Healing/Mass Heal or two.

Similarly, with really good crowd control, it pretty much doesn't matter how
much damage you can output, you've already won the fight. If all your enemies
are wandering aimlessly confused or they're all frozen from Symbol:
Hopelessness, then it doesn't really matter that you've got two characters with
8 strength trying to hack them down - they're going to go down no matter what.

Of course, it's important to strike a balance.  If your damage output is way
too low, then you run the risk of running into a situation where you may be
running low on spells and the monsters have just gotten pretty lucky saving
against them, whereas if your damage output were a bit higher, they would've
all been dead by now. Similarly, if your healing capabilities are too low, then
you may be stuck in an ugly situation where a monster just got a lucky hit on
your decoy while he was trying to cast Mirror Image.  Suddenly, your decoy's
spell is disrupted, he just lost 60-70 health, the game has just auto-paused
because the decoy is about to die, and you're out of Heals.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4a.  Maximizing Physical Damage                                   *BUI:OTH:MAX-

Let's do a small exercise in maximizing physical damage. rechet did so in his
Powergaming Party Guide (available at gamefaqs), but his analysis is actually
flawed. He presents the following mix as the best build for outputting damage:

  (Half-Orc) 1 Paladin/4 Fighter/7 Cleric/12 Sorcerer/6 Rogue

this is wrong.  I will demonstrate that, contrary to what might be expected,
the best build for outputting damage is in fact:

  (Half-Orc) 25 Cleric/4 Fighter/1 Paladin

We start with a Half-Orc anyway beacuse it's the only race that lets you start
with 20 Strength.  To demonstrate our given class mix, we start with a full 30
cleric and see if we can do better.  Why start with a cleric?  Namely the
spells Draw Upon Holy Might, Prayer, and Holy Power.  Combined, they give an
outstanding +20 damage per strike (+10 strength x1.5 for two-handed, +1 prayer,
+4 holy power).

Just from this base scenario (before I elaborate further), your cleric is up
against the final bosses.  He or she buffs him or her self with Draw Upon Holy
Might, Prayer, and Holy Power and is equipped with Massive Greataxe of Flame +5
in addition to having Power Attack enabled.  This is how the damage would work
out:

   22 (base average damage from weapon)
  +15 (from Strength of 30, x1.5 for two-handed bonus)
  + 4 (from Holy Power)
  + 1 (from Prayer)
  + 5 (from Power Attack)
  ---
   47 per strike, attacks are +41/36/31/26/21 (30 +5 from weapon,
      +10 from Strength, +1 from Prayer, -5 from Power Attack)

Now, couldn't we do better by adding in some other classes?  Short answer is
no.

First, what about adding enough Fighter levels to get Weapon Specialization for
the +2 damage?  Well, the big difference between a Cleric at level 30 and a
Cleric at level 26 is Draw Upon Holy Might gives +10 and +8 to Strength,
respectively. That 2 point difference in Strength is a +1 difference in damage
and to hit.  Unfortunately, our strength is at a threshold where losing 2
strength translates into a loss of -1 hit and -2 damage (due to the 1.5x
multiplier from a two-handed weapon).

Second, what about adding a Paladin level for the +2 Strength per play through?
We could, but it would be a wash anyway.  We'd get +2 strength, but lose -1
strength from Draw Upon Holy Might, for a net +1 Strength, which buys us
literally nothing.

Third, what about combining the two?  A 25 cleric/4 fighter/1 paladin?  We have
a net gain!  We lose -2 Strength from losing 5 levels of cleric, but then gain
+2 Strength from the paladin, but then get an additional +2 damage from
the fighter!

So how does this compare to the original formulation?

Those Sorcerer levels were there for Tenser's Transformation.  Now, the main
benefit is the +2d4 Strength, which stacks on top of other Strength bonuses.
However, on average this is only +5 Strength, and the cost for that is to lose
12 cleric levels, which in and of itself is a loss of +4 Strength from Draw
Upon Holy Might.  Moreover, because of rounding that average extra +1 Strength
from Tenser's Transformation wouldn't actually result in extra damage.  All
this uncertainty and you give up the ability to recast Draw Upon Holy Might and
Holy Power as needed (in case they get dispelled or run out of time, since DUHM
only has a 10 round duration), since Tenser's blocks further spellcasting.  You
wouldn't even be able to cast Tenser's again in case you got a bad roll (and
getting better than a 5 from a 2d4 is actually fairly uncommon, only on 6 out
of 16 possible different rolls of the dice).

What about Rogue levels?  Well, they were there for "sneak attack" damage,
which is absolutely silly.  You sacrifice a lot of attack bonus to do that, and
if you really want that extra sneak attack, you can just use one of many cleric
offensive powers, which is way more than the piddling 3d6 you'd get from 6
levels of Rogue.

This is mostly an illustrative example.  With a bunch of support (i.e. other
characters casting Symbol: Hopelessness, Holy Word, etc), you can use this
character to great success, but on his or her own, he'll probably get destroyed
very rapidly.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5.  Alignments:  Good vs Not Good?                                    *BUI:ALI-

Alignment is probably one of the most important party-wide choices you can
make.  It's generally not a good idea to mix and match, as otherwise you start
picking up more of the costs of being one or the other with less of the
benefits.

  Good:
    Access to (Light of) Cera Sumat swords.
    Ability to cast Holy Word recklessly.*

  Evil:
    Ability to use Neutral/Evil only items, such as
      Bile of the Damned
      Massive Halberd of Hate +4
      Robe of the Evil Archmagi
      Unholy Halberd of Chaos
      Xvimian Fang of Despair
    Immunity to Blasphemy/Unholy Blight.

  * See section SPE:CRO- for a full treatment.

The main argument against mixing and matching is that the alignment specific
spells (Holy Word/Holy Smite, Blasphemy/Unholy Blight) start becoming more
useless for you to use and your party becomes more vulnerable to them.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
6.  Good and Bad Feats                                        *BUI:GOODANDBADF-

I'll only be touching on feats that I think deserve special notice.

Aegis of Rime/Aqua Mortis/Scion of Storms/Spirit of Flame
    It's not immediately obvious, but when the game says "all", it really does
    mean "all", which includes any elemental damage off of magical weapons, for
    example.  Because of this, even if you may never be casting elemental
    damage spells, it may still be worth getting the appropriate feats, as it
    may just be equivalent to getting Weapon Specialization plus some resist.

    An example of this is getting Aegis of Rime while using Halberd of the
    North.  The +20% Cold Damage on the Halberd is almost as good as Weapon
    Specialization and also gives you some cold resist.

Armored Arcana
    There are some really good shields and armor in HOF mode, and you might
    want to seriously consider picking up some feat points here so you can use
    them without spell failure.  Mooncalf's Shield is a good example, as it has
    15% spell failure (exactly the amount that 3 levels of Armored Arcana can
    cancel out) but has a permanent Protection from Arrows, which essentially
    means near immunity to ranged attacks.  Similarly, Milton Sixtoes' Armor of
    Absolute Self has a 15% spell failure but bestows permanent Mind Blank.  Or
    even Cornugan Hide, which has a 20% spell failure rate (so you'll still
    have a low 5%, though luck items will help cancel that out), which bestows
    regenerative abilities and 10/+2 DR.  Just be sure to pick up the proper
    armor/shield proficiency if necessary.

Cleave
    It's much worse on HOF than on normal.  I'm not entirely sure how this
    interacts with the flat 5 attack maximum imposed by the Infinity Engine,
    but at the very least, this means that if you kill an enemy with the first
    attack, that same high attack bonus will get applied to your next attack
    against the next enemy. However, it's never ever worth getting a second
    level of Cleave.

Combat Casting
    Monsters start hitting harder and harder and harder, so this +4 bonus to
    your concentration checks becomes more and more useful, because the worst
    that can happen is getting a crucial spell like Heal or Mirror Image
    interrupted.

Dash
    I think this feat is underrated.  It helps you navigate faster, but more
    importantly, it means characters can outrun enemies or reach other party
    members (like to cast a touch spell like Heal) much faster, which is a
    hard-to-quantify benefit.

Discipline
    A bonus to will saves *and* a bonus to concentration? Great!

Dirty Fighting
    It's a "nice to have", but because enemies can save the effects so well in
    HOF mode, don't expect it to be a game-changer.

Extra Smiting
    Since monsters have way more health in HOF, the extra damage you get out of
    smite evil gets far, far worse.

Extra Turning
    Undead start having enormous amounts of hit die in HOF, so being able to
    turn undead gets worse and worse and worse. Stay away.

Improved Critical
    Every character should get this when they can, no questions about it.

Improved Initiative
    It's bugged, so it actually doesn't do anything.  Stay away!

Lingering Song
    This feat is what makes the Bard one of the best classes in the game.  It's
    also potentially abusive - there's a bug that can let you arbitrarily stack
    any number of Bard songs using this.  Simply turn on a Bard song, then
    click some other action (like a spell or a weapon) to disable it.
    Lingering Song will kick in. Then, click on the Bard song again, and
    repeat.  A second Lingering Song will kick in.  You can do this an
    arbitrary number of times (it helps if the game is paused) and, say, stack
    Tymora's Melody 20 times or use War Chant of the Sith to give all your
    characters 100+ AC (though these effects only last for 2 turns unless you
    keep on doing the Lingering Song trick over and over).  If you enjoy a
    challenge, I would recommend against abusing this.

Mercantile Background
    Stay away!  While on normal you may have had trouble keeping enough money
    to keep your characters fully stocked, in HOF, you'll be *swimming* in
    riches.  After doing the yuan-ti temple, for example, you'll be coming back
    with lots of +5 and +4 weapons that you'll be able to sell for a total of
    upwards of 1.7 million gold.

Power Attack
    If a character is going to be melee-ing, this is undoubtedly one of the
    best feats to pick up, as it's a flat +5 damage in the end game.

Rapid Shot
    See section BAS:YOU- if you need convincing about this.

Spell Focus
    Pretty much every spell caster should be getting the Spell Focuses best
    suited for them.  Enchantment/Transmutation for crowd controllers,
    Necromancy/Evocation for damage dealers.

Spell Penetration
    This may actually be pretty bad depending on your play style.  If you enjoy
    casting area of effect spells at enemies while your decoy keeps them busy,
    then you don't want this, as this just means you increase the chance of
    accidentally clobbering your own party member.  If, on the other hand,
    you're more discreet about spell casting or primarily use spells that don't
    affect party members (like Chaos), then Spell Penetration is a must have to
    help affect tough, high SR enemies--a quirk about IWD2 is that enemies
    either have little to no SR or very high SR.

Subvocal Casting
    Pretty much every caster should use this, though this feat won't help
    prevent bard songs from being silenced.  Also, if you plan on having a
    caster who can use axes, then you won't need this feat for them, as a very
    good axe on normal and a super good axe on HOF bestow permanent immunity to
    silence.

Weapon Specialization
    The only real reason why you want 4 levels of fighter.  +2 damage may not
    sound like much, but that may mean a significant % increase in net damage
    per round, especially for ranged weapons that don't allow for Strength or
    Power Attack bonuses to damage.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7.  Good and Bad Skills                                       *BUI:GOODANDBADS-

I'll only be touching on skills that I think deserve special notice.

Animal Empathy
    I think this is fairly underrated, as its essentially a re-usable, hard to
    resist charm animal.  Unfortunately, animals start getting rarer as the
    game progresses, but you can also use this to charm enemy-summoned animals.

Alchemy
    You really don't need this to be more than 10 or so with a modest
    Intelligence.

Knowledge (Arcana)
    See Alchemy (though you need more like 15 base skill points here).  Also,
    keeping stock of Identify spells helps here alot.

Open Locks
    Most of the locks in the game can be broken open with a strength of 18 and
    a few tries, and you can use a Knock spell for the others, so this isn't a
    terribly vital skill.  Plus, a medium-level Druid makes both Knock and Open
    Locks obsolete, as a Dire Bear can break open every lock in the game
    (though you may have to try a few times for some of them).

Pick Pocket
    Note - previously I mentioned here that you needed a really high Pick
    Pocket score to get access to Young Ned's Knucky.  Truth be told, that was
    an assumption I made, as previously I had always just gibbed him instantly
    using the enablecheatkeys CTRL-Y trick.  (Sorry!)  Upon actually testing
    this out, however, it seems like even with a really high legitimate Pick
    Pocket, while you can (with a 5% chance) steal some gold off him, the
    Knucky itself is virtually impossible to get through this means (I made
    about 50 attempts with a 48 Pick Pocket score, which is 33 plus 7 from
    Dexterity plus 8 from Master Thievery).  In the Gearing Up section (find
    shortcut: GEA-), I mention specifically how to obtain the Knucky, and it
    certainly does not involve picking Jemeliah's pockets.

    In fact, it seems that in HOF mode, pick pocketing becomes __extremely__
    difficult (having puny chances of success with even closed to maxed out
    stats), and as far as I can tell, aside from Jemeliah, no one else gets
    their loot upgraded.

Spellcraft
    I think this is underrated, but you shouldn't really need more than 20
    (including your Intelligence modifier) here.  I personally think that
    getting information on what spells your enemies are casting is really
    helpful, especially when you see something like Gate being cast, so you can
    run in and let off a Holy Word before they finish.
===============================================================================



===============================================================================
Key Racial Breakdown                                                      *KEY-
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
There are a few races that bear special mention for character
creation.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Human/Aasimar                                                     *KEY:HUM-

In my opinion, the human and aasimar human subtype are the best overall races
for your characters to use.

Human
    One extra feat and two skill points at 1st level, an extra skill point per
    level, and any class is favorable for multi-classing. That extra feat helps
    quite a bit with spellcasters who are particularly feat-hungry (for all the
    elemental damage feats and spell focus feats, for example), and those extra
    skill points essentially means that even with a 3 intelligence, you have
    enough skill points to almost max out, say, both Concentration and
    Spellcraft.

    The biggest pay off, however, is the multiclassing bonus. Multiclassing in
    IWD2 (and especially HOF) is really powerful, and letting your favored
    class be whatever is your highest leveled class is *extremely* helpful and
    powerful.  For example, if you want a multiclass Druid/Cleric, you may want
    to get the Druid levels first so you can get a maxed out Barkskin as
    quickly as possible.  But no race offers Druid as a favored class!  Enter
    the human, which means you can get to level 12 Druid and start working on
    the Cleric levels without worrying about an experience penalty.

Aasimar
    The Aasimar is the ultimate sorcerer class.  Thanks to the Aasimar,
    whatever sorcerers you have will have harder to resist spells (and more of
    them) as you'll be able to get a nice 20 charisma for an extra +1 to your
    spell DC's and an extra spell here and there.  Plus, it's always nice to
    have a free fire spell on hand for dousing fallen Trolls.

Extra note - I left this out before, but the tiefling (while not as good as a
straight-out human or aasimar) gets a mention because they get a +2 to
intelligence, so it's something to consider if you just have a straight out
Wizard who doesn't need to multiclass.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.  Drow                                                              *KEY:DRO-

Drow are immensely powerful.  Sure, the effective character level penalty is
pretty steep, but with proper level squatting you'll be maxing out your
experience at level 30 pretty early through HOF anyway.  So why are Drow so
good?

Awesomeness
    Bonus to intelligence.  One of only two races that allows for a 20
    Intelligence, which not only means lots of skills, but really powerful
    Wizard spells.

    Bonus to charisma.  Similar to the aasimar.

    Bonus to will saves.  Makes the Drow really hard to affect with some of the
    tougher, more annoying effects (like Hold Person).

    Free proficiency with Long Swords.  Depending on the character you're
    creating, this is almost like getting a free feat.

    Innate SR.  See section BUI:DEC- on why this is so great.

(Minor) Downsides
    Light blindness isn't *that* bad, since most of the game takes place
    indoors or underground, where it has no effect.

    Penalty to constitution is bad, but with all your other free stats you have
    a net plus of four stat points (though you won't be able to create a Drow
    with 18 Constitution).

However, Drow are extremely limited in multiclassing options, so you'll need
careful planning (and good attention to gender!) to avoid multiclassing
penalties.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.  Deep Gnome                                                        *KEY:DEE-

A race tailor-made for being a decoy.  They get an amazing +4 generic AC bonus,
the ability to cast Mirror Image, Invisibility, and Blur for free once/day, +2
bonus to all saves, innate non-detection, and innate spell resistance.  Wow!

Of course, the major downside is that they have a net penalty to stat points
(+2 to DEX/WIS, -2 STR, -4 CHA for a net of -2), but fortunately the bonuses
they do get matter the most for a high AC (DEX and WIS).  The second major
downside is that they have the steepest effective character level penalty in
the game, so you'll need really good planning with your level squatting and
level ups so that you don't end up really dying for that last level on HOF
mode.  Finally, Deep Gnomes are limited to favoring Illusionists as their
favored class, which fortunately isn't *that* bad as Illusionists make for a
good decoy mage-type, but still requires good planning to avoid steep
multiclassing penalties.
===============================================================================



===============================================================================
Class Breakdown                                                           *CLA-
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is where I take apart each class and discuss their potential for HOF mode.
 I rate their relative merits on a 4 point scale, as described below.

4/4 - Must Have
    You pretty much need a __very__ good reason to not have as many levels of
    this class as possible.

3/4 - Pretty Good
    A definitely positive addition to your party, but this class is not
    absolutely essential for Heart of Fury success.

2/4 - Mediocre or Specialized Use
    The class has a lot of weaknesses, but there may still be some refined use
    case where you would want a few levels of it in your party.

1/4 - Just Plain Bad or Incredibly Specific Specialized Use
    There's almost no reason why you want to touch this class.  Do this maybe
    if you're going for a novelty approach, or just can't part with this class
    concept.  There still may be a remote use for this class, so you may still
    be able to squeeze it in if you want to.

0/4 - Stay Away!
    Absolutely terrible.  There's no saving this class.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Barbarian                                                        *CLA:BARB-

Overall rating:  0/4

Unfortunately, the benefits a barbarian has (a higher hit die, damage
resistanced starting at level 11) get canceled out really quickly by the
enormous increase in damage that monsters do in HOF mode. Moreover, the short
duration of Rage becomes a major pain in the butt, as you may end up going
through an entire day's worth of Rage for just one fight.

Moreover, a barbarian is really bad for multiclassing, as the real pay offs of
the class (namely damage resistance and fatigue-less raging) only occur at the
really high levels.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.  Bard                                                             *CLA:BARD-

Overall rating:  3/4

The Bard has a bunch of things going for it.

First, the bard songs are simply amazing.  I've already mentioned the insane
benefits of both Tymora's Melody and War Chant of the Sith. But Tale of Curran
Strongheart is also handy, as it bestows immunity to fear and can even be an
instant-cast Remove Fear if you take advantage of Lingering Song (simply start
singing it and then immediately do something else to trigger the effect).
Unfortunately, Siren's Yearning has a low Will save DC of 14.  Furthermore, the
regeneration effect of War Chant of the Sith and the enthralling effect of
Siren's Yearning don't trigger while they're lingering, so to get the full
effect of War Chant of the Sith (and any effect from Siren's Yearning at all),
you have to just keep your bard doing nothing but singing.  Still, Lingering
Song is abusively powerful, and you can arbitrarily stack songs.  Turn on Tale
of Curran Strongheart, for example, then immediately switch over to Tymora's
Meldy, and you get instant immunity to fear for 2 rounds as well as a huge,
party-wide Luck/saving throw bonus.

Second, the bard actually makes for a formidable fighter.  While the Base
Attack Bonus progression of a bard is slower than a fighter, in HOF mode, the
difference between a maxed out fighter (+30 BAB) and a maxed out bard (+22 BAB)
is that the fighter will hit all the time and the bard will hit all the time
but maybe every once and a while miss the last attack (both get 5 attacks).
Plus, unlike a pure fighter, a Bard has immediate access to spells like Mirror
Image and Improved Invisibility, thus vastly increasing his survivability over
a normal fighter.

Third, the bard has respectible spell casting abilities.  In addition to the
aforementioned important illusions, the bard also gets helpful spells like
Dominate Person, Mass Haste, Shades, Great Shout, and even Mass Dominate, Power
Word: Blind, and Wail of the Banshee! Unfortunately, because many of these
spells are actually lower spell-leveled compared to a Wizard, enemies will have
an easier time resisting some of them, but this is partially offset by the fact
that charisma-boosting is easier than intelligence-boosting (at the very least
you can just cast Eagle's Splendor on yourself).

Fourth, the bard is great in multiples.  Bard songs stack, so you could have
one bard singing Tymora's Melody and another one War Chant of the Sith.  Or
both singing Tymora's Melody, or both singing Siren's Yearning.  (It almost
seems like having 6 of any given song going at once, while possible, seems
abusive.)

Fifth, there are alot of bard-specific items.  These mainly come in the form of
instruments which you can use like wands, except that they never run out
(although they are limited to being used once/day).  Two really good
instruments, for example, are the Raging Winds horn (which instantly summons
3-6 powerful barbarian warriors) and Sephica's Prayer (which can cast Heal or
Resurrection once/day, though you need atleast 13 Wisdom to use it).  There's
also 2 special instruments that you equip as a shield, the Lyre of Progression
(normal only, +3 STR) and the Lyre of Inner Focus (HOF only, +3 STR, +2 CON).

Finally, the bard multiclasses *extremely* well.  You can just get 5 levels of
bard, enough to pick up Tymora's Melody and some castings of Mirror Image.  You
can get 11 levels of bard, enough to pick up War Chant of the Sith and castings
of Mirror Image/Improved Invisibility. Or you can even go all the way and get
30 levels of Bard to pick up castings of Mass Dominate/Wail of the
Banshee/Power Word: Blind.  The only downside is that no class other than
humans and half-elves can treat the bard as a favored class, so you'll need
some careful planning with multiclassing.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.  Cleric                                                            *CLA:CLE-

Overall rating:  3/4 for one cleric, each additional cleric is a 2/4. Some
domains get higher or lower ratings (see next subsection; find shortcut:
CLA:CLE:DOM-).

Clerics are very versatile.  However, the major problem with clerics is that
multiples tend to get redundant very quickly (which is why I have decreasing
scores for each successive cleric you add to your party).  Moreover, to really
get the most out of a cleric, you really need to focus on a cleric's
competitive advantages, or else the cleric will be outclassed by more focused
classes.  Their competitive advantages are as follows:

    Highest spellcasting stat in the game
        Non-banite clerics are tied with druids in being able to get their
        wisdom up really high, thanks to Every God Ring (best stat boosting
        item in the game), the numerous Wisdom-boosting potions you'll find,
        and the fact that multi-classing to a Paladin will get you a free +1
        Strength/Wisdom per play through.  Banite clerics, however, get even
        more Wisdom goodness, as they get a futher +2 Wisdom per play through.

    Best casters of Symbol: Hopelessness
        This is one of the most powerful spells in the game, and clerics can do
        it better than any other class.  A Drow Banite with an Every God Ring,
        two Potions of Holy Transference, and two Potions of Clear Purpose gets
        a whopping 42 Wisdom in the end game, which is a full +6 extra DC on
        top of the best a Sorcerer would be able to manage.  Not to mention
        that the Banite gets an additional +1 DC from their domain perk since
        Symbol: Hopelessness is a Will-save-based spell.  This means that a
        maximized Drow Banite can cast Symbol:  Hopelessness with a
        mind-numbing spell DC of 35, compared to the (by comparison) paltry 28
        a maximized Sorcerer can do.

    Best healers
        Clerics are the best healers in the game.  Druids have Heal and Mass
        Heal at one higher spell level than Clerics, which means that they get
        fewer castings at lower levels.

    Among the best physical damage
        You may dispute this point by pointing to the Fighter, but any physical
        character can be made better with cleric levels, thanks to spells like
        Draw Upon Holy Might, Champion's Strength, and Holy Power. Holy Power,
        of note, is a full +4 damage per attack for the duration. This also has
        the side effect of making them excellent ranged weapon wielders, as
        weapons like Bows don't get affected by Power Attack, yet Holy Power
        will give them a damage bonus to go along with their higher attacks per
        round and attack rating.

    Many useful spells that don't require saving throws
        Some of this is in the form of spells like Recitation, which have
        global effects, some of this is because they spend a lot of time
        casting spells on themselves and their party members, or because they
        are casting summons.  Point is, you don't need a lot of Spell Focus
        feats to realize their full potential.

As long as you keep in mind all these aspects and spend time accentuating them
instead of working against them, you will find that clerics add a lot to your
party.  Just don't get a Lathander cleric and hope you can accomplish much with
the Meteor Swarm domain spell.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3a.  Domains                                                      *CLA:CLE:DOM-

Choosing a domain is a very important decisiont to make for a cleric, and as
such, a discussion of the good and bad aspects of each deity's domains is
warranted.  Some domains are of particular note and thus will get a rating
bonus or penalty.

Painbearer of Ilmater
    Painbearers can be Lawful Good (thus allowing for a Paladin multi-class).
    They have many useful domain spells (Magic Circle Against Evil, Emotion:
    Hope, Holy Power, Stoneskin, Holy Word, Symbol of Pain).  Furthermore,
    their domain ability "Ilmater's Endurance" (which increases Constitution by
    6 for 1 round/level/day) is quite useful if you plan on getting a
    high-level cleric (to lengthen the duration of the effect), as 6
    constitution at level 30 is equivalent to 90 extra health.

    As a side note, Painbearers do well for multi-classing, as both Monks and
    Paladins have special orders that allow them to mix-and-match with
    Painbearers.

Morninglord of Lathander
    Morninglords can be Lawful Good (thus allowing for a Paladin multi-class).
    Their domain spells are a bit mixed in usefulness, though getting an extra
    Heal and Mass Heal is nothing to sniff at.  Unfortunately, their domain
    abilities are useless, but this is largely made up for by the ability to be
    Lawful Good.

Silverstar of Selune:  -1 Rating (2/4, 1/4 for each other cleric)
    Pretty terrible.  The domain abilities are irrelevant, and, aside from
    Elemental Legion, so are the domain spells.  You can't even be Lawful Good,
    thus also negating one of the main reasons to have a Good-aligned cleric.

Watcher of Helm
    You can still be Lawful Good, but that's pretty much all this domain has
    going for it.  You __do__ get an extra casting of Greater Command out of
    the domain spells.  You also get a casting of Iron Body and Aegis, which
    are more useful for a cleric than a mage, so if you're into using those
    spells, that's a plus.

Lorekeeper of Oghma
    While you can be Good or Evil with this domain, you can't be Lawful Good,
    and you don't get the Banite Quest.  Still, you get free castings of
    Identify (thus releaving you of the need to get Knowledge: Arcana and
    Alchemy), and the domain spells have a few really useful ones (Malison,
    Greater Command, Symbol of Hopelessness though at one less spell level,
    Executioner's Eyes, and Wail of the Banshee) amidst some otherwise useless
    ones. Getting Wail of the Banshee or Executioner's Eyes may even better
    than getting the +2 Strength/Wisdom from the Paladin quest (though the
    Banite bonus is still better).

Dreadmaster of Bane:  +1 Rating (4/4, 3/4 for each other cleric)
    If you're playing evil, you __absolutely__ must have at least one of these
    guys in your party.  They get the benefit of a Banite-specific quest (that
    I've mentioned over and over) that nets you a +2 permanent Wisdom per
    play-through and have arguably the best domain ability in the game (all
    their spells requiring Will saves are at +1 DC).  Not only that, Banites
    have really useful domain spells in the form of Emotion: Despair, Greater
    Command, Gate (available very early on since it's at spell level 7), Power
    Word: Blind, and Mass Dominate.  Banites are well suited to being Decoys
    (due to their insanely high Wisdom scores) and debuffers (due to their
    insanely high DC's).

Battleguard of Tempus:  -1 Rating (2/4, 1/4 for each other cleric)
    Pretty bad.  Relatively useless domain abilities (you can easily get
    Martial Weapon: Axe proficiency just by multi-classing), and all of the
    high-level domain spells are useless on Heart of Fury thanks to really high
    enemy health.  The only consolation is that you can get a special book in
    Targos that lets you cast Champion's Strength for free once/day that only
    Battleguards can use.

Demarch of Mask
    Relatively weak/useless domain abilities, a lack of any Paladin
    multi-classing possibilities, and no Banite quest bonus for Wisdom.  Still,
    these shortcomings are compensated for by a whole slew of useful domain
    spells (Minor Mirror Image, Blur, Mirror Image, Emotion: Despair, Improved
    Invisibility, Shades, Mass Invisibility, Blasphemy, and Executioner's
    Eyes).  The only domain spell level that misses out on something decent is
    the 5th, and even then you still have Shadow Conjuration you could use
    there.

Stormlord of Talos
    No Paladin multi-classing and no Banite quest.  You do get two handy domain
    abilities (5/- electrical resistance and "Destructive Blow", which gives +2
    hit/damage for 1 round/level/day).  Plus, while not much of the domain
    spells are useful, you still end up with some heavy hitters, namely Tremor
    (though only at spell level seven) and Wail of the Banshee.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4.  Druid                                                             *CLA:DRU-

Overall Rating:  3/4

I think the druid gets an unfairly bad rap.  On normal, I'd put the druid as
the best class in the game (a party of six Druids casting Static Charge - which
ignores Spell Resistance - would be brutal), but on HOF, alot of the really
awesome druidic abilities starts getting worse and worse.  First of all, the
really focused, high damage Call Lightning and Static Charge spells start
getting pretty bad since enemies start saving against them pretty regularly.
Second of all, shape shifting becomes worse because your natural attacks start
getting way, way, better.  Third of all, the fact that Heal and Mass Heal are
one spell level higher than on a cleric simply makes the druid worse at
healing.

However, the druid has one remarkable plus:  Barkskin!  This is a really
helpful decoy spell in getting to those high AC numbers.  It lasts a good
amount of time and is relatively easy to recast in battle in case a Dispel
Magic got rid of it.

In addition to that, the druid has a decent array of crowd control spells.
Entangle, Spike Growth, Spike Stones, and Tremor are all very good at crowd
control (Entangle especially since it still slows down enemies that fail their
saves), plus, they're all from Transmutation. That means with 2 feats into
Spell Focus: Transmutation, you've vastly boosted the druid's disabling powers.
 Plus, since the druid's Tremor is a level 9 spell instead of a cleric's level
8, the druid can kick complete butt at knocking down a huge screen full of
enemies (and Tremor affects undead).

When all is said though, that may not be enough to make the druid worth taking
all the way.  Fortunately, though, the druid is perfect for multiclassing.
Simply switch over after 12 levels (for a maxed out Barkskin) or even at some
point later, and you'll retain most of the benefits of the druid while
complementing it with the strengths of another class (or two).

Note:  It's good to point out that once you have a Druid who can shapeshift
into a Dire Bear (which is possible by the level 12 breakpoint), you no longer
need anyone with Open Locks, as with a massive 30 Strength, the shapeshifted
Druid can break open every lock in the game (though will occasionally need
several tries to accomplish it).
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4a.  Forms                                                        *CLA:DRU:FOR-

As druids get higher level, they unlock progressively more shapeshifting forms.
While not strictly useful for heart of fury mode, when trying to _get_ to
heart of fury mode, they can be pretty handy to use.

Note that shape-shifting _sets_ innate strength, dexterity, constitution, and
DR to new values, but then items that boost them take effect.  Armor-enhancing
effects don't work, so you're stuck with the AC of the new form.  If you also
have less attacks than the new form, you gain that number of attacks.  If you
were ensnared (Entangle, Web) then shape-shifting gives you a few seconds where
you are freed from the effects.  You also heal hitpoints equal to your level.
You don't even need to shift back into a human and then back into the animal to
gain the last two benefits, you can just shift again into the same form even.

Note that if you multi-class with a Monk, you get to carry over the Monk wisdom
AC bonus.  While you lose the effects of buffs cast _before_ a shapeshift, you
keep them if cast _after_ a shapeshift.  This has interesting ramifications.

Arctic Boar [level 5]
    15 Str, 10 Dex, 17 Con; 16 AC
    2 attacks, 3d4 dmg, +2 to hit
    Has a chance of goring the enemy ('Gored!') upon a strike; if they fail
    a (low) Fortitude save, they take 1 bleeding damage every round.

    Also has 2 missile/bludgeoning/piercing/slashing DR and 5 cold resist.

Boring Beetle [level 5, feat]
    15 Str, 10 Dex, 10 Con; 17 AC
    1 attack, 5d4 dmg, +2 to hit
    Moves slowly.

Black Panther [level 5, feat]
    18 Str, 10 Dex, 10 Con; 14 AC
    3 attacks, 2d6 dmg, +4 to hit, 19-20/x2 crit
    Has a chance (10%) of doing +2d8 slashing damage.

Winter Wolf [level 7]
    13 Str, 18 Dex, 16 Con; 19 AC (15 base, +4 dex)
    1 attack, 1d6 dmg, +1 to hit
    Has 15 cold resist, but -15 fire resist.  Decently fast movement rate.

Shambling Mount [level 8, feat]
    18 Str, 10 Dex, 10 Con; 20 AC
    2 attacks, 2d8 dmg, +4 to hit
    Has a chance of doing extra bludgeoning damage (apparently three attempts
    at +1d4 with 50% chance each).  Also has a chance of entangling the enemy
    for 1 round.

    Has 20 electric resist, 6 fire resist.  Moves quickly.

Polar Bear [level 9]
    27 Str, 13 Dex, 19 Con; 16 AC (15 base, +1 dex)
    3 attacks, 1d10 dmg, +8 to hit, 19-20/x2 crit

Dire Bear [level 12]
    30 Str, 13 Dex, 19 Con; 18 AC (17 base, +1 dex)
    3 attacks, 2d6 dmg, +10 to hit, 19-20/x2 crit

Dire Panther [level 14]
    24 Str, 21 Dex, 17 Con; 20 AC (15 base, +5 dex)
    3 attacks, 2d6 dmg, +10 to hit, 19-20/x2 crit
    Has a chance (10%) of doing +2d8 slashing damage.

Fire Elemental [level 16]
    20 Str, 10 Dex, 10 Con; 18 AC
    1 attack, 1d8 dmg, +5 to hit, 19-20/x2 crit.
    Has a chance of doing extra fire damage.  Has 20 fire resist, but -15 cold
    resist.

Earth Elemental [level 18]
    20 Str, 10 Dex, 10 Con; 18 AC
    1 attack, 4d8 dmg, +5 to hit, 19-20/x2 crit.

Water Elemental [level 20]
    20 Str, 10 Dex, 10 Con; 18 AC
    1 attack, 4d8 dmg, +5 to hit, 19-20/x2 crit.

Air Elemental [level 22]
    18 Str, 29 Dex, 18 Con; 31 AC (22 base, +9 dex)
    3 attacks, 3d8+6 dmg, +4 to hit, 19-20/x2 crit.
    Moves quickly.  Also that AC is the basis for a druid-based AC build.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5.  Fighter                                                           *CLA:FIG-

Overall Rating:  1/4

The fighter is pretty much good for multiclassing, and that's it. Its main
strength is unlocking Weapon Specialization at level 4.  You also get an insane
number of extra bonus feats (one at level 1, one at level 2, then another at
every other level after), but just the extras you get from getting up to level
4 is way more than you'll probably ever need.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
6.  Monk                                                              *CLA:MON-

Overall Rating:  2/4

The monk is tailor made for being a decoy.  High AC, potentially innate SR, and
even a potential for DR.  Plus, there are several monk-specific items that are
really good, like the Binding Sash of the Black Raven, which gives +2 to attack
rolls and immunity to all sorts of mind-affecting spells.

Interestingly though, the monk is probably not best played like a monk.  In
other words, using just your fists is probably not a good idea.  The reason why
your attack bonus starts getting really high in HOF mode is because you're
equipping weapons that gives you up to +5 (and in some cases even more) to your
attack rolls.  Plus, unlike your fists, weapons will start doing all sorts of
extra things, even if it's as minor as doing fire damage, or doing something as
crazy as trying to cast Flesh to Stone on the target.  Even if your fists can
do 1d20 + 1d6 damage, on average that's only 14 damage, at the cost of having a
much harder time for hitting the enemy.  By contrast, a Power Attack Longsword
+5 will have just as hard of a time hitting the enemy, but do 14.5 damage, but
may also have extra effects that your fists can't do (like a Paladin/Monk will
be able to get +45 SR off of dual-wielded Holy Avengers).  Of course, the
stunning effect is decent and potentially really hard to resist and only
affects fists (though the stun only lasts 1 round), so with a certain set up,
you may want to be using only your fists.

Monks have a devil of a time multiclassing.  You have to choose an order to
even be allowed to gain levels in a monk again after choosing a different
class, but with proper planning you may not need to worry about it.  It's worth
just taking 1 level as a monk just for the WIS bonus, but there are also good
breakpoints at levels 5, 10, 15, and 20 (for varying AC bonuses and DR at level
20) or at 13 (for after getting SR).
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7.  Paladin                                                           *CLA:PAL-

Overall Rating:  2/4

The paladin has three exceedingly awesome points about it.  One, you can use
the amazing Holy Avenger(s).  Two, you can do the Paladin Quest (which is part
of the Holy Avenger thing).  Three, at level 2, you gain a permanent immunity
to fear and grant that immunity to other people within 10 feet.*

The problem, then, is that two out of three of those points can be accomplished
with just 1 level of Paladin, and the remaining point with just 2 levels.  The
paladin's spellcasting, while possessing a few key spells like Draw Upon Holy
Might, Prayer, Recitation, and Holy Power, is otherwise mediocre, lacking the
stuff that makes the Cleric pretty good and versatile.  On top of that, the
Paladin's ability to turn undead is meaningless as turning is fairly useless
already.

That being said, the Paladin does have a couple of other things going for it
that might make it reasonably useful in a certain setup. First, Paladins get a
couple of neat feats - the most important being Fiendslayer, which requires 8
Paladin levels and Weapon Focus in Large Swords.  It gives you +2 hit and
damage against chimeras, demons, dragons, and half-dragons.  These happen to be
the toughest enemy types in the game, and half-dragons, demons, and chimeras in
particular dominate the last chapter of the game, so you effectively get a
better version of Weapon Specialization against a lot of your enemies (Isair
and Madae are demon/half-dragons, by the way).

Second, with a large Charisma (Sorceror/Bard multi-class?) and a decent number
of levels, Lay on Hands effectively becomes another Heal.  With a 30 Charisma,
just 10 Paladin levels would be enough to effectively function as a Heal for
your more fragile characters (it would heal 100 health).

* The Aura effect appears to be bugged in that it doesn't actually do anything
for your party members.  You'll see a symbol on your other party members in
range, but they'll still get feared.

WARNING!  This isn't listed prominently anywhere in the game and really only
known through Core 3e/3.e D&D rules, but Paladins cast spells at half their
normal level (so a level 10 Paladin casts as if they were a level 5 spell
caster).  Do note that Holy Power/Prayer aren't sensitive to spell casting
level (for other than duration), so Paladins do make good use of those spells
regardless (though require a decently high level just to cast them several
times per day).
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
6.  Ranger                                                            *CLA:RAN-

Overall Rating:  1/4

Ah, alas.  Unfortunately, the best part of being a ranger (free Ambidexterity
and free Improved Two-Weapon Fighting when fighting without armor or with light
armor) can be had by just having 1 level of the ranger or by, you know, just
getting the feats manually.  The divine spells suck (nothing like Holy Power
which the Paladin gets). The favored enemy, while potentially really decent
(who wouldn't like +7 to hit/damage against a hard group of monsters?),
requires you to __heavily__ invest in a ranger to be remotely effective.  It
may be worth doing a 20 Ranger/10 arcane caster multiclass, as that way you can
get some defensive illusion spells at your disposal.

As for favored enemy, don't do what alot of online forums and guides tell you
to do and pick Goblin as your first favored enemy.  You can buy a Goblin Slayer
knife in Targos in HOF which instantly gibs any and all goblins, thus rendering
that favored enemy pick useless.

  Favored Enemy Priority:
    Trolls
    Undead
    Yuan-Ti
    Ogres
    Orcs
    Lizard Men
    Giants

Trolls are consistently found throughout the game, save for chapter four and
six, and they're annoyingly resistant to crowd control, especially stunning (in
that they are both immune to Holy Word and while stunned they don't fall over
for you to hit them with fire/acid, so they have an arbitrary amount of health
while held).

Undead are fairly prominent throughout all the chapters and they have an
annoying tendency to have all sorts of crazy damage resistance. Moreover, on
HOF, they are really hard to instantly slay with the various disruption
weapons, and some of them are really good at saving against Control Undead, not
to mention how bad turning undead becomes. Therefore, getting a good favored
enemy bonus against them is probably your best bet, if only just to get as much
of an advantage as you can against the endgame Apocalyptic Boneguards.

Yuan-Ti, while pretty absent for most of the early game, dominate chapter five
ridiculously and are a really annoying bunch of monsters, filled with annoying
spellcasters and SR-backed warriors.

After that, I just listed enemies in my percieved order of decreasing
prevalence.

WARNING!  This isn't listed prominently anywhere in the game and really only
known through Core 3e/3.e D&D rules, but Rangers cast spells at half their
normal level (so a level 10 Ranger casts as if they were a level 5 spell
caster).
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7.  Rogue                                                             *CLA:ROG-

Overall Rating:  0/4, 1/4 if you're really good at micromanagement or you're
creating an AC-based Decoy.

Unfortunately, unlike other Infinity Engine games, you really don't need a
rogue anymore.  A smart wizard can pick up the necessary Search or Disable
Device skills.  Furthermore, sneak attack is much worse on HOF.  The problem is
that there are two main approaches to using sneak attack.  You can use it as
the first strike in a 1 on 1, or you can run around trying to sneak attack as
many enemies as possible.

The problem is that you're basically spending up to 30 levels just to get 15d6
(or an average of 52.5 damage) damage for free the first time you attack an
enemy.  That damage might be significant on normal, but it's basically two or
so free attacks with high level gear, and a much smaller fraction of the
enemy's health.  Thanks to multiclassing, you can do way better than that.

There is, however, one very specific use for a Rogue - Crow's Nest, which is an
item that gives +3 Generic AC and is thus essential for an AC-based Decoy, can
only be equipped by a character with atleast one level of Rogue.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
8.  Sorcerer                                                          *CLA:SOR-

Overall Rating:  4/4

Ah, outstanding!  Arcane spells are ridiculously diverse, powerful, and frankly
you could have a party of nothing but sorcerors and clean up through HOF.
Everything you really need is in arcane magic. Mirror Image, Improved
Invisibility, Chaos, Mass Dominate, Wail of the Banshee, all sorts of summons,
crap loads of damage spells, crap loads of crowd control.  You can even have
all sorts of crazy multiclassing possibilities, you just need to get as many
levels as the highest spell you want to cast, or as many levels as you want to
deal damage, or as many levels as you want your spells to last.

For that matter, I've read some stuff that states that you should generally
never go past level 20 unless you want the extra damage from Skull Trap,
Delayed Blast Fireball, or Horrid Wilting.  The reasoning behind this logic is
that the rate at which you gain new spells dramatically slows down past level
20, so it's only worth if if you're absolutely trying to squeeze the final
amount of damage out of Delayed Blast Fireball.

However, that's a very short-sighted opinion - it overlooks spells that have
durational components.  There are lots of really important spells that get
stronger just from having increased duration.  The best example of this is Mass
Dominate.  At level 20, you get 20 rounds of domination, or 2 minutes worth.
Going all the way to level 30 increases it to 30 rounds of domination, a full
50% increase in time. Think this doesn't matter?  From personal, anecdotal
evidence, the difference is that with only 20 rounds, you might not be able to
have Mass Dominate last long enough to finish a fight, but 30 rounds is enough
to finish a fight and then start picking off the remaining dominated monsters
one at a time.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
9.  Wizard                                                            *CLA:WIZ-

Overall Rating:  3/4

Like a sorcerer, except with some really nice plusses, but also a few big
minuses.

Plusses:  Extra feats.  This can be really helpful since spellcasters have all
sorts of crazy feat needs.  A wizard also uses Intelligence for casting spells,
which means that a wizard is well-suited for getting lots of skill points and
spending them on all sorts of miscellaneous skills, like Search, Diplomacy, or
Knowledge (Arcana). There are also two Wizard-specific items (Mystra's Cloak
and Mystra's Embrace) that are pretty snazzy (see section 2c).

Minuses:  Wizards will always be slightly worse than Sorcerors for casting
spells.  They have less overall spells per day (although they have the
flexibility to choose which spells they are, so you can pick up spells without
worrying about them being too situational or becoming obsolete).  Moreover,
bonuses to Charisma are easier to find than bonuses to Intelligence.  Plus,
you're highly dependent on finding scrolls for your spells.  This means that
while having 1 wizard is really good, once you start having more, you start
splitting a very finite supply of scrolls.  In fact, there are some level 8
spells that you won't normally find on scrolls (like the ubiquitously mentioned
Symbol:  Hopelessness).  You can try to get them as random drops through Battle
Square in the Ice Temple (the higher Battle Square levels can drop higher level
scrolls as a reward for finishing a session), but this is a time consuming and
inconsistent way to deal with a class weakness.

As such, as reflected in my rating, a wizard is just as good, if not better,
than a sorceror at first, but with each extra wizard you add to your party, you
decrease the quality of your wizards.  The bonuses for having extra skills
becomes redundant, and you start splitting the scrolls you find throughout the
game.
===============================================================================



===============================================================================
Spells of Note                                                            *SPE-
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Buffs/Support                                                     *SPE:BUF-

Blur (illusion)
    A flat 20% chance to avoid attacks.  Not completely spectacular on its own,
    but combined with, say, Mirror Image, it can greatly extend a character's
    life.

Draw Upon Holy Might (evocation)
    A great self-buff for a cleric/paladin to use as it gives you a good boost
    to health and damage.  While you may not necessary want a level 30 cleric
    or paladin, having one would allow this spell to grant an outstanding +10
    strength, dexterity, and constitution (which among other things would
    translate into 150 extra health). Unfortunately, the duration is really
    short, but fortunately there's not much else you may want to take at this
    spell level anyway.  Be warned that ability bonuses don't stack.

    Remember that paladins cast this at half-strength, e.g. a level 30 paladin
    casts this as a level 15 cleric.

Eagle's Splendor (transmutation)
    A good early buff spell before you start getting good charisma-boosting
    equipment.  At the very worst, it basically gives Bards/Sorcerors +1 to the
    DC, with a potential max of +3 to DC, in addition to any extra spell
    castings.

Emotion:  Hope (enchantment)
    One of the best buff spells you can get (giving a whopping +2 damage bonus
    in addition to other rolls), the only downside being that it also affects
    enemies if they're in the area of effect, so either cast this before combat
    or with very careful aiming.

Exaltation (abjuration)
    One of a cleric's essential support spells because it's one of very few (I
    think in fact only) ways of getting rid of the effects of Hopelessness,
    which enemies start being able to use against you pretty effectively in the
    endgame.

Holy Aura (abjuration)
    Not as good as it would be in normal as the bonus to AC is pretty useless,
    but the SR resist is very good (especially if you are capable of getting
    your party's SR high enough to start casting spells like Horrid Wilting at
    point-blank range).

Holy Power (evocation)
    Grants a set +4 damage bonus to the caster (both clerics and paladins can
    cast this).  A great way to boost damage, as with 5 attacks, that's an
    extra +20 damage per round.  This is even better if the character is using
    a ranged weapon, as this effectively grants the bonuses of having Power
    Attack, which normally doesn't affect ranged weapons.

Improved Invisibility (illusion)
    One of *the* best buffs you can cast.  It lasts a long time, gives you
    bonus to attack (since the enemy doesn't get their dex bonus to AC), gives
    you 50% chance to evade attacks through concealment, and can get enemies to
    stop attacking you if you cast this while visible and targetted.  The
    downside is that you need a cloak or something that grants Non-detection as
    a simple See Invisibility will dispel this.  Another downside is that until
    the character buffed with this does something to be "visible", you can't
    cast anything on him or her.  Note that for this purpose, you pretty much
    have to be doing something around an enemy, as just casting, say, Mirror
    Image while your party is safe isn't enough to qualify as becoming
    "visible".

Invisibility (illusion)
    Less of a buff like improved invisibility and more of an escape spell.  A
    lot of enemies pounding down on you and you're out of Mirror Images?  Cast
    this and they'll find another target.

Invisibility Sphere (illusion)
    Like invisibility, but good if you're caught off guard and need some
    regroup time for your entire party.  Just be warned that the area of
    effected is *small*, so your party has to be pretty close.

Iron Body (transmutation)
    Gives you arbitrary immunity to physical damage against weapons less than
    +3 (which is pretty much everything until the very end), a suite of other
    protections, a boost to strength, and so-so physical attacks.
    Unfortunately, it shuts down your ability to cast further arcane magic, but
    you won't need to cast them, as whoever is using this becomes a veritable
    tank.  Of course, don't cast this around things like the Slayer Knights of
    Xvim, or else you'll just have a gimped mage/cleric who walks really slowly
    and takes lots of damage from +5 weapons.

Magic Circle Against Evil (abjuration)
    Lasts a super duper long time and, more importantly, lets you use spells
    like Gate and grants you protection from enemies using spells like Gate.
    Just be warned that you need this defense up *before* the various summon
    spells are cast, or else it won't do any good.

Mass Invisibility (illusion)
    Like invisibility sphere, but much more forgiving about the area of effect.
    Good if you just let off a Mass Dominate or some summon spells, as your
    minions will keep on attacking and immediately go visible (so they'll
    become targeted) while the rest of your party remains safely hidden and
    protected.

Mind Blank (abjuration)
    It's so-so protections, but it lasts an entire day, so if you've got
    nothing else to memorize at this spell slot, use it.

Mordenkainen's Sword (evocation)
    Turns your spellcasters into powerhouse attackers.  Moreover, the damage
    they do can effectively bypass all sorts of damage resistance, so your
    spellcasters will probably even be able to outdamage your main damage
    engines in some cases.

Prayer (conjuration)
    I've already mentioned this hundreds of times before, but I'll say it
    again:  +1 to attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws for your party,
    and an unsavable -1 to enemy attack rolls, damage rolls, and saving throws.
    Just be warned that unlike in Baldur's Gate, the enemy actually needs to
    be in range to be affected by the negative effects of prayer.

Recitation (abjuration)
    Very similar to a version of Prayer on crack.  Unlike Prayer, it won't
    affect damage rolls or enemy damage rolls, but it will alter attack rolls
    and saving throws by +2 for you and -2 for enemies.

Resurrection (conjuration)
    I suppose you can go through the game just reloading whenever a party
    member dies, but that ends up making the game *much* more tedious,
    especially in HoF, where all you need is 1 round of bad luck to knock out a
    character.  Plus, unlike in every other Infinite Engine game, not only does
    the battle stay paused while in your inventory screen (unlike Baldur's
    Gate), but you can also equip armor, so resurrecting a character mid-fight
    doesn't mean that they'll just have to stay naked the entire time without
    risking disaster.

Remove Fear (abjuration)
    Fear is probably one of the most common, persistent, and annoying effects
    in the game.  The last thing your party needs is for a stray party member
    to get feared into an unexplored area where they end up waking up a horde
    of powerful monsters.  Fortunately, not only does this cast blazingly fast
    and immediately remove fear, it also bestows temporary immunity to fear.
    Every person capable of casting this should have 1 or 2 copies memorized,
    as you want lots of redundancy in being able to cast this.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.  Crowd Control                                                     *SPE:CRO-

Banishment (abjuration)
    This is effectively a Wail of the Banshee directed at summons. Enemy
    summons, through some quirk of Heart of Fury, tend to be very vulnerable to
    spells, so in some cases, this is much more cost effective at clearing the
    screen of enemies.

Chaos (enchantment)
    Wow!  The massive -4 saving throw penalty is part of the spell and makes it
    essentially equivalent to a level 9 spell.  Confusing your enemies is
    really good, as it makes them just wander around, attack randomly, or just
    stand in place.  It can make the most outmatched battle become trivial to
    deal with.

Confuse (enchantment)
    Like a low-powered version of Chaos.  Not shabby if you want to use this on
    side skirmishes and save Chaos for the big guns.

Control Undead (necromancy)
    Sort of like a small scale Mass Dominate geared strictly for undead
    creatures.  In one critical way, this is actually better than Mass
    Dominate, because the control is triggered __constantly__.  So even if you
    accidentally hit the controlled undead with a Delayed Blast Fireball,
    they'll still remain under your control, whereas creatures hit by mass
    dominate would go hostile just from a web spell.  In this case, you'll see
    undead momentarily flicker red to hostile, but they'll switch back to green
    almost immediately.  This is true even if you're busy attacking a
    controlled undead.

Disintegrate (transmutation)
    An instant death spell that has the amazing benefit of killing undead or
    creatures who may be normally immune to death effects. In the former case,
    not only is handy to have an insta-kill against undead (who normally have
    low fortitude saves anyway), but is *really* useful when you start running
    into super tough undead like Apocalpytic Boneguards (though they have good
    saves).  In the latter, giving yourself an option against creatures like
    the Guardian or Slayer Knights of Xvim is always nice.  The only slight
    problem is that it takes some time for the projectile to hit the target,
    and even after the target is hit, it takes a bit of time for it to fade to
    nothingness.

    It's important to note for all you Baldur's Gate veterans that, unlike in
    those games, Disintegrate-ing an enemy in Icewind Dale II does __not__
    destroy their items.  Any enemy destroyed in this way will simply leave
    their treasures on the ground, so feel free to be reckless in your
    Disintegration.

Dismissal (abjuration)
    One of the quirks about summons in Heart of Fury is that those created by
    enemies retain their normal-difficulty health die information.  Given that,
    Dismissal is 95% of the time an instant-kill spell against enemy summons.
    Only the most powerful summons cast by the most powerful enemies will be
    able to shrug it off.

Dominate Person (enchantment)
    A nice, localized version of Mass Dominate for when you really want to pick
    off a really annoying giant or some such. Fortunately, it also has a
    penalty to save (-2), so you'll have reasonable success with it.

    Moreover, this spell has one amazing distinction over Mass Dominate - it
    can dominate monsters that Mass Dominate would miss.  Slayer Knights of
    Xvim are the best example of this, as they are normally completely ignored
    by Mass Dominate's effects, but are still vulnerable to being individually
    dominated via Dominate Person.  Though, you'll still need Malison,
    Prayer/Recitation to give yourself a shot at breaking past their high Will
    save.

    Contrary to the spell name/description, you can use this to dominate
    non-humans (like animals) as well.

Emotion: Despair (enchantment)
    A super short duration counterbalanced by its amazing penalties it bestows
    on its targets, as very few spells penalize both saving throws and attacks
    (usually one or the other).  The area of effect is a bit limited, though.

Emotion: Fear (enchantment)
    Fear is a pretty good effect to happen - unlike confusion, monsters still
    don't have a chance of continuing to attack you. It's a shame then, that
    fear is pretty much a clerical effect or is limited to Horror, which gives
    enemies an annoying +3 bonus to saves.  Enter this spell.  Not only is it
    not lame unlike Horror, it also can be spell focused for extra
    effectiveness, though the area of effect and duration are pretty limited.

Entangle (transmutation)
    As I've mentioned in section BUI:SAV-, this is like a Web or Stinking Cloud
    which you can make better with spell focus.  Plus, even if enemies make
    their save, they are still slowed by the spell.  The only downside is that
    you can't cast this indoors or underground.

Finger of Death (necromancy)
    Instant death spell that has the benefit, unlike Disintegrate, of having no
    projectile and acting instantly, so no slow fade-to-nothing effects (though
    remember that unlike Disintegrate, Finger of Death does nothing to undead
    and other special creatures).

Great Shout (evocation)
    Its area of effect is pretty useful in cramped fighting quarters, and with
    proper Spell Focus, this spell effectively provides an extra way of
    stunning a huge swatch of creatures for a few rounds.  Plus, it casts
    really quickly, so it can be useful for getting a character out of a bind.

Greater Command (enchantment)
    It casts super quickly, has a wide area, can be spell focused, and
    instantly incapacitates enemies en masse.  Sure, they'll wake up if you hit
    them, but this means you can focus on one enemy at a time.

Hold Monster (enchantment)
    It's not a spectacular spell, but against low will save creatures, this
    stands a good chance of completely stunning them in their tracks.  Because
    you can spell focus this, it's effectively a level 9 spell, which puts it
    as one better than Symbol of Hopelessness, though it doesn't affect more
    than one creature.

Holy Word/Blasphemy (conjuration)
    A high-level cleric spell that has a near-instantaneous casting time and
    instantly stuns all non-good characters within range for 1 round, without
    save or SR checks.  It's very hard to explain to you just how good of an
    effect that is unless you see it yourself.  You can suddenly and
    immediately counter any spells being cast, you can stop the enemy long
    enough to cast buffs and crowd control spells without fear, and if there's
    only a few enemies around, then suddenly you can focus fire all your
    attacks on one enemy at a time (as attacks against a stunned creature
    always hit).

    Holy Word also gets much better the more clerics you have that can shout it
    out.  With just two clerics, you can chain together a series of Holy Words
    so that while one casts it, the other casts a buff spell of some kind.
    Then the other casts it, while the first casts a different buff spell, etc.
     All the while, your other party members are busy laying waste to the
    perpetually stunned enemies.  Needless to say, this also makes for
    effective anti-mage strategies.  You can stun down an enemy mage before he
    or she has the chance to start casting big spells and quickly run in with a
    few melee attackers and dispatch the mage before he or she can recover.

    Holy Word is also great as an escape spell, and not just for the person
    casting it.  Stunned enemies acquire new targets when they snap out of it,
    so simply casting this (at near-instant speed, need I remind you) and then
    moving all endangered, non-Decoy characters away will save you lots of
    reload/Resurrection headaches.

    Blasphemy is a much worse version of Holy Word (since it affects Good
    instead of Evil enemies), but since it also targets neutral enemies, you'll
    still be able to get some mileage out of it.

    Note that there are a few enemies that appear to be susceptible to Holy
    Word/Blasphemy, but actually aren't.  These mainly tend to be Trolls, as
    they'll show as being affected by it, but they'll still move around and
    attack.

Mass Dominate (enchantment)
    A ridiculously powerful spell to no end.  When you use this, one of two
    things tends to happen:  you gain control of nearly all of the creatures on
    screen, or you gain control of a chunk of the creatures on screen.  If you
    convert a portion of the total visible monsters, you can use the controlled
    monsters as cannon fodder and extra damage.  If you manage to convert all
    the monsters in sight, then you can just have them focus fire on each other
    one at a time.

    The only slight caveat is that you have to be careful about casting spells
    on your new minions.  Anything that remotely negatively affects them will
    cause them to go hostile (even something as innocuous as a misplaced web
    spell or Emotion: Despair).  Anything overly beneficial may come back to
    haunt you when the spell wears off (such as hitting all your minions with
    Improved Haste or Mass Heal).

    A good tactic is to cast Malison on enemies as they approach you while at
    the same time casting Mass Dominate, while every other party member does
    nothing (except maybe cast prayer/recitation). Malison will finish first
    before Mass Dominate.  This way, since none of your party members are doing
    anything else, you'll not only convert a huge swath (if not all) of your
    enemies, there's also no chance that you'll accidentally automatically
    break domination with a stray arrow or some such.

    This is a good spell to complement Wail of the Banshee.  Creatures with
    really good fortitude saves very rarely have very good will saves.
    Moreover, there may be many cases in which Wail of the Banshee will have no
    effect, whereas Mass Dominate will.

Power Word: Blind (conjuration)
    Probably the only Power Word spell worth using in HOF mode, simply because
    most of the other ones have no effect if the enemy's health is too high.
    This one, however, not only still has an effect, but a rather useful effect
    too.  Instantly blinding a swath of creatures means that they miss 50% of
    the time (although the Blind-Fight feat will diminish this).  This also has
    the nice bonus of making spellcasters and ranged attackers stand around
    doing nothing, simply because they won't be able to see anything.

Slow (transmutation)
    Even though it's just a level 3 spell, with spell focus, you can still get
    it to hit creatures with some consistency.  The slow walk effect makes it
    easier for your party members to run out of harm's way.  They also have a
    -2 to hit, making them have a harder time hitting your decoy.  Best of all,
    though, is the fact that monsters lose their last attack while slowed.
    This can be as much of a 50% reduction in net damage output (for a monster
    with 2 attacks) and still a 20% damage reduction in the worst case (for a
    monster with 5 attacks).

Symbol of Hopelessness (universal)
    Outstanding!  Hopelessness is great because it's basically like being held
    except things like Freedom of Movement or Remove Paralysis can't deal with
    it.  You can cause an entire screen full of enemies to stand still in their
    tracks, giving you lots of time to just relentlessly beat upon them.

    Note that every once and a while, instead of keeping an enemy in place,
    this spell will instead fear the enemy.  I'm not quite sure what the odds
    of it holding versus fearing are, though.

Symbol of Pain (universal)
    A pretty good debuff spell.  It lasts a really long time and gives an
    outstanding -4 penalty to attack rolls, among other things, which is very
    helpful for decoy characters.  The only problem is that being as its
    universal, you can't take spell focus feats to help make this harder to
    save.

Tremor (transmutation)
    Awesome!  Not only is it a level 8 (or 9 for druids) spell, but it can also
    be spell focused.  It also only affects enemies and does a moderate amount
    of damage in addition to its awesome stunning/knockdown effect.  Plus, it's
    probably one of very few crowd control spells that are effective against
    undead.

Wail of the Banshee (necromancy)
    A powerhouse of a spell.  Any creature without a big fortitude save will
    collapse instantaneously, dead.  In many cases, this is all you need to
    deal with trivial side skirmishes.  It doesn't deal with undead, so you'll
    need an alternate solution for them.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.  Damage                                                            *SPE:DAM-

Since most damage spells are pretty uniform, I'm just going to list the
important damage spells with some notes.

  Spells of note:
    Delayed Blast Fireball
    Chain Lightning
    Horrid Wilting
    Meteor Swarm
    Skull Trap
    Acid Storm
    Cone of Cold
    ... more inconsequential spells afterwards

Delayed Blast Fireball has the best damage potential of any spell, dealing 30d8
damage and having the benefit of being enhanced by the Spirit of Flame feat for
+20% damage.

Chain Lightning gets a high ranking simply because it's one of very, very few
spells safe to use when the enemy has engaged your party in close quarters.

Horrid Wilting has the extra benefit of using fortitude as the saving throw
instead of reflex, which means you can hit enemies with (Improved) Evasion.
There's an extra benefit/caveat in that it doesn't do anything at all to
undead, so if you have some undead summoned, you can cast this recklessly
without worrying about destroying them.

Skull Trap has a really low area of effect, which is both a plus and a minus.
A plus because there's less risk of accidentally hurting one of your own party
members.  A minus because you have to aim with great precision.  In addition,
skull trap only triggers by proximity, so if you miss just a smidgen, the skull
will just float there until something triggers it.  However, it deals a nicely
hard-to-resist slashing damage.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4.  A Word on Summons                                                 *SPE:AWO-

Amongst all the generic Summon Monster and Summon Nature's Ally and the other
similar spells, there are a few that stand out.

Animate Dead
    A cleric gets this as early as their third spell level, and it's a mainstay
    from that moment on.  The Boneguards and Zombie Lords you were summoning in
    normal get appropriate upgrades in Heart of Fury, complete with damage
    resistance.  Zombie Lords are resistant to fire and bludgeoning damage
    (though vulnerable to slashing), and Boneguards are resistant to slashing
    and piercing damage (though vulnerable to fire and bludgeoning).  Plus,
    being undead, they are immune to a bunch of spells that other enemies might
    use against you (like Blasphemy).

    The summons stick around for a super long time (the longest of any spell)
    and, best of all, are immune to Horrid Wilting, so can serve as tanks while
    you blow away any enemy with that nice damage spell.

Gate
    The Gelugon this calls in will remain useful for most of the game, having
    many attacks, extra Frost damage, immunity to basic weapons, a constant
    fear effect, and a super duper long duration.  Just make sure that all your
    party members have Protection from Evil on them, or else the Gelugon will
    turn hostile on you.

    Note - for any of you Baldur's Gate veterans, it's important to note that
    unlike those games, any enemy killed by the demon called in by Gate (and
    other similar Protection From Evil-based summons, like all the (Lesser)
    Planar Allies and weaker demon spells) still grant you experience.  Plus,
    they don't have any annoying area of effect spells that'll make you regret
    calling them in.

Shades
    Brings forth super powerful monsters of all varieties in a slightly weaker,
    shadowy form.  The "weaker" part hardly matters; you're still bringing in
    creatures like gigantic Frost Giants still capable of soaking up and
    dealing lots of damage.
===============================================================================



===============================================================================
Gearing Up                                                                *GEA-
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Which weapon proficiency?                                         *GEA:WHI-

Let's face it, you don't necessarily want to waste a lot of feats picking up
extra weapon proficiencies, so what are some good rules of thumb when it comes
to picking up weapon proficiency?

I personally believe that Martial Weapon: Axe is the best overall one you can
pick up (which is extra great if you can get it for free). There are a lot of
nasty melee axes, both one handed and two.  Plus, the critical threat range is
20/x3, which couples very well with luck bonuses and Improved Critical (far
better than for 19-20/x2 critical weapons).  In fact, one of the most insane
melee weapons is an axe, the Massive Greataxe of Flame +5.  (Unfortunately,
it's a random drop, so good luck getting one.)  In addition to the good melee
options, there are a suite of very good throwing axes for ranged characters and
spellcasters alike.

After that, you'll probably want one melee character get Focus'ed in Bastard
Swords or Polearms.  Pudu's Fiery Blight and Bastard Sword +3: Cold Fire are
easy finds and are both among the best melee weapons you can get (though Pudu's
Fiery Blight is at the end of the game). Halberd of the North is also easily
available in a store in Kuldahar and is also pretty decent.  Plus, choosing
Bastard Swords leaves you open for the possibility of using the primo Miasmic
and Heroism varieties.

After that, Long Swords are probably next.  It opens the possibility for using
the Holy Avengers, and it just so happens that Long Swords are one of the most
common magical weapon types you'll run across, so you'll hardly be short of
options for them.

Things get iffier next.  Maces and Hammers are decent choices after that, but
there's nothing spectacular to write home about, save for some jaw-dropping
completely random drops in the shape of clubs (see the next session for more
details).  Plus, most two-handed options (Polearm aside from the ones I already
mentioned, Great Sword, Quarterstaffs, and two-handed Hammers) aren't
spectacular enough over two-handed axes or simply dual-wielding two one-handed
weapons (unless you have a very, very high strength).

For non-melee characters, Short Swords (which I believe all characters get
anyway) and Bows are the tops, though Axes are still probably generally better,
if only because unlike with bows, you can equip a shield with (most) throwing
axes.  Just keep in mind when creating a character that for throwing weapons,
while Strength provides a damage bonus, Dexterity is still the stat to rely on
for an attack bonus.

In terms of short swords, there are lots of defensive and ranged daggers that
you can put to good use (including the best +Intelligence item in the game,
though good-aligned characters can't use it).  Bows are great if only because
you won't have to sink a ridiculous amount of money just to keep your party
supplied with ammunition (you'd be surprised how quickly you can go through a
quiver of +5 Arrows when you fire 5 per round) thanks to a plethora of Everlast
Arrows.

However, if you only have one character using a Sling, for example, that's not
so bad.  It's only when you have two that you start realizing that no amount of
stocking up in advance will seem to be able to keep your party members armed
with bullets to throw.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.  Weapons of Note                                                   *GEA:WEA-

Note that weapons I readily discuss elsewhere for specific purposes (like for a
Decoy) won't get a re-mention here.

WARNING - I'm not completely familiar with how Icewind Dale 2 randomizes the
loot, but I've added a [??] next to items that I've never found and I vaguely
suspect may be impossible to get, due to oversights in how gear is selected.

"Baron" Sulo's Hook (dagger)
    Both a good decoy support weapon or just a nice weapon for your non-ranged
    weapon wielding casters to use, since it has a litany of nice defenses
    (even if non-decoys won't really enjoy the advantage of +3 deflection AC).
    This is available when you go deeper in to Fell Wood.

Bastard Sword +3: Cold Fire (bastard sword)
    You'll always be able to find this as a set drop, which is good, because
    this gives you a nice staple for any Bastard Sword wielder to brandish.
    It's also one of the better one-handed melee weapons, dealing 1d10 + 3
    damage plus 1d6 cold and 1d6 fire, for an average of 15.5 damage.  The
    elemental versatility also means that you'll be able to take advantage of
    weaknesses pretty well. You'll find this early off one of the enemies in
    the fight against Saablic Tan on __normal__ difficulty.

Bastard Sword of Heroism (bastard sword)
    If you're really lucky to get this random drop, then bastard sword
    proficiency should become something you should consider.  Keen, sure
    striking, 1d10+3 damage, and an insane extra 3d6 slashing damage per hit.

    The earliest I've seen this is in one of the containers after the Tyrannar
    fight at the top of the Cleric Tower in the Severed Hand on __normal__.  On
    Heart of Fury, there's a much greater chance that enemies (starting with
    the Saablic Tan fight) will just randomly drop this.

Big Black Flying-Death (2h throwing axe)
    The only two handed throwing weapon in the game, and in terms of damage
    really lives up to its name.  If you aren't concerned about wearing a
    shield, then this will transform anyone into a significant ranged damage
    force, dealing 1d10+3 damage, plus an additional 1d10 slashing damage, and
    the extra strength bonus associated with two handed weapons.  This HOF
    weapon is available from Gerbash in Kuldahar.

Club of Confusion (club)
    In addition to having solid base damage (1d6+5 and a 99% chance to deal 2d6
    more, for what is essentially 15.5 base damage) and being keen, the best
    part about this weapon is that the 50% chance of confusing the target
    __does not allow for a save__. With a high attack rate, you'll be able to
    make sure that all the enemies you're attacking stay relatively docile
    (though confused enemies being attacked still have a tendency to fight
    back).  You'll find this in the Mage Tower in the Severed Hand.

Club of Dazing +5 (club) [??]
    Not a terribly exciting weapon, except for the fact that it takes a save
    higher than 36 to resist the stunning effect and that it's one of few
    weapons that have a 100% chance to proc this stun effect.  (Some other
    weapons have a less than 100% chance even without mentioning so.)  This
    means that you can easily stunlock an enemy with this weapon, which is just
    nice.

Club of Destiny +5 (club) [??]
    It's just a lowly club, but it still deals a respectable 1d6+5 damage.
    More importantly, it permanently enhances the wielder with Luck, as if Luck
    or a potion of Luck was used on the character.  Thus, it won't stack with
    those other spell or spell-equivalents, but it does mean you won't have to
    keep buffing someone to take advantage of the myriad plusses a luck bonus
    gets.

Club of Freezing Flames +5 (club) [??]
    This gets a special mention because despite being a lowly club, it's one of
    the best melee weapons in the game.  It deals 1d6 + 5 base damage, with an
    additional 2d6 fire and 2d6 frost (both with an extra +10% chance of 1d10
    fire or frost), which comes out to a whopping average of 22.5 before the
    2d10 total extra elemental burst damage chance.  Not even the Bastard Sword
    of Heroism can top that.  In fact, the only reason why the Massive Greataxe
    of Flame beats out this weapon is because you get extra Strength damage off
    of wielding the greataxe with two hands. Unfortunately, this is a random
    drop, but the plus side is that since it's a club, pretty much any melee
    user can pick it up immediately.

Goblin Slayer (dagger)
    One of many great essential items available in Targos, instantly killing
    Goblins will let you breeze through the first chapter easily.  Plus, it
    will keep on being useful as you run into various half-goblin warriors at
    progressively later stages in the game.  This is available off the
    enchantress in Targos.

Golden Heart of <Player Name> (long sword)
    One of the best long swords in the game and it's available the moment you
    start out in Targos in HOF mode (though for a hefty fee).  It's a solid +5
    sword, but also gives +2 Strength/Dexterity, +25 health, constant Haste,
    and constant Freedom of Movement.  Constant Haste not only means you move
    really fast, but means you get the free +4 generic AC bonus without having
    to worry about buffing yourself (unlike the Boots of Speed which just
    doubles your movement rate).  Freedom of Movement means you don't have to
    worry about getting held or stunned.  Moreover, both these effects are good
    enough that you might have used up other item slots for them (like a Ring
    of Freedom of Movement and Boots of Speed), so using this sword effectively
    gives some spare item slots for even better items.

Kegsplitter of Shaengarne Ford (1h axe)
    You can nab this in Targos after killing the goblins, and it's definitely
    an investment to make. Alone, it's not too great, but its special feature
    of "Slays Constructs" means it's a one-hit wonder against Iron Golems.
    Keep it in reserve for just that case.

Halberd of the North
    It's available early on even in __normal__ difficulty off Conlan in
    Kuldahar (and you can get a second in HOF mode), but it's still one of the
    better weapons in the game.  It does a solid 17 average damage per strike
    (5.5 base + 10.5 cold, with a 10% chance for a further 1d10) and is sure
    striking, though it offers no attack bonus.  The combination of sure
    striking and the massive amounts of cold damage makes this a perfect weapon
    for dispatching Isair, as the sure striking does a good job of piercing
    through a lot of his defenses, and Isair has an extra weakness to cold
    damage.

(Light of) Cera Sumat (long sword)
    Both normal and HOF versions require a battle of epic proportions to obtain
    and require a Paladin to equip, but it's well worth it. By far the best one
    handed weapons in the game, they not only output an insane amount of damage
    (Light of Cera Sumat does a whopping 1d8+10 plus +2d6 against evil
    creatures, in addition to a +10 attack bonus), but grant huge spell
    resistance. Unfortunately, unlimited Dispel Magic in IWD2 isn't as great as
    in Baldur's Gate and Baldur's Gate 2, but the other benefits of the two
    Holy Avengers are too great to ignore.  Refer to a walkthrough if you need
    help finding these weapons.

(Various) Maces of Disruption (mace)
    You'll find this in several forms, but for most of the game, they provide
    an excellent answer to undead.  Even in HOF mode, alot of undead have
    terrible fortitude saves, relatively, so a Malison plus Recitation can put
    them back into range of being instantly slain en masse by the disruption
    effect. Even against demons and other outsiders with good fortitude saves,
    having an outright 5% chance to slay the enemy is nothing to be sad about
    (especially against really tough undead like Apocalpytic Boneguards).  The
    earliest one you can get is on normal difficulty, completing rank 6 of the
    Battle Square in the Ice Temple.

Masher (hammer)
    Deals a respectable 1d8+5 damage plus an elemental burst of your choice
    (acid is probably the best overall choice) of 1d6 plus 10% chance of 2d10.
    The best part is that every setting is effectively a double Keen, in which
    case the weapon's base critical threat range to 18-20/x3, which is
    positively ridiculous. Combine with Luck effects and Executioner's Eyes,
    and you can deal jaw-dropping amounts of damage.  This is a random drop.

Massive Greataxe of Flame +5 (2h axe) [??]
    By far probably the most damaging weapon in the game, doing a whopping
    2d12+5, +1d6 fire, with a 10% chance for an additional +1d10 fire.  Plus,
    it's a two-handed weapon so you get the extra strength bonus to damage.
    Unfortunately, as frequently noted, this is a purely random drop, so you
    can easily go many play throughs without seeing this.

Miasmic Bastard Sword (bastard sword)
    It doesn't look terribly exciting off the top, since it only does a base
    1d10 damage and has a bunch of conditionals for its extra effects.
    However, you'll quickly realize (and I note this below), that enemies need
    a high saving throw to resist the "Venom" and "Stunning" effects, so with a
    high base attack bonus and a full five attacks per round, you can disable
    enemies rapidly and keep them under multiple poison effects at once.

Pudu's Fiery Blight (halberd)
    Wow!  It does a solid amount of damage (1d10 + 5 plus 2d6 for an average of
    17.5 plus a 10% chance of 2d10 burst), but more importantly, the stun
    effect is ridiculously hard to resist, so much so that against all but the
    toughest or luckiest of monsters, you can pretty much keep them stunlocked
    while you mercilessly eat away their health.

    In fact, barring two really huge negatives, this would be the hands-down
    best weapon in the game, as the high damage combined with the
    nearly-impossible-to-resist stunning would essentially let a melee
    character with 5 attacks go toe-to-toe with any monster in the game.

    The first negative is that this is available only at the __very__ end of
    the game, after you kill Pudu.  Depending on how you play out the end
    quests, this may mean you still have a few more battles (and still two
    really hard ones coming up), but it definitely minimizes the time you get
    to use this.

    The second, more severe, drawback, is that since this is available at the
    very end of the game, you'll fight quite a bit of monsters that are
    completely immune to the stun effect, namely Slayer Knights of Xvim,
    Apocalpytic Boneguards, Isair, and Madae.

    Still, being able to let one character go one on one with most of the
    enemies in the top-of-the-war-tower battle is one hell of an endgame perk
    for someone who's been dedicatedly investing in Halberd proficiency/focus.

Scales of Balance (1h axe)
    A notable axe simply because you can set it to Power mode to deal 1d8+10
    damage in addition to having a chance (albeit small) to wound the target
    and deal 2 damage per round for the next 10 rounds.  This is probably one
    of the most outright devastating one handed weapons you can easily get.
    This is available from one of the Underdark merchants.

Scimitar:  Blood Trails (large sword)
    If you read the next subsection, you'll note that monsters need to roll a
    30 for their Fortitude saving throw to resist the effects of this weapon.
    You'll also be pleased to note that the effect they're trying to resist is
    a whopping 5 damage/round for 10 round wounding effect (most wounding
    effects are 1 damage/round or 2 damage/round at the most).  With
    Malison/Recitation/Prayer, five attacks/round, and a high attack bonus, you
    can quickly rack up all sorts of insane periodic damage on an enemy, as
    each instance of the 5 damage per round stacks on top of each other!
    Mages, with their lower fortitude saves, will find themselves quickly
    bleeding to death.  Plus, it sure doesn't hurt that this is also sure
    striking (ignoring most damage resistances) and also deals a +1d6 slashing
    damage per strike (though this just makes up for the fact that the base
    weapon damage is a mere 1d6).  This drops off Iyachtu Xvim.

Screaming Axe (1h throwing axe)
    Remarkably good spellcaster support weapon.  Not only does it deal an
    insane amount of damage (1d6+5 and an additional 3d6 slashing), but it
    grants permanent immunity to silence spells while equipped, thus freeing up
    a feat slot from having to take subvocal casting. Just keep in mind that
    you can't get this (or the normal version, which also grants silence
    immunity) until Kuldahar, so you'll have to put up with getting silenced
    until then.  On an amusing note, every time you throw the HOF version, the
    axe will actually shout out things like "Incoming!" and "Gotcha!"  You can
    get this off Gerbash in Kuldahar.

    There's a caveat, though - both this and the normal version of this axe
    __do not__ get a bonus to damage from strength.  At least this means you
    can put this on a character with 6 Strength with no ill effects.

Stormshifter (1h throwing axe)
    Much better, in my opinion, than the normal equivalent (Cloudkiss), but
    only good if you're good at micromanaging. Otherwise, you may find that
    whoever is equipped with this will be hitting your decoy and eating up his
    or her mirror images.  You get this for slaying the mini-boss at the end of
    level 1 of Dragon's Eye.

Throwing Hammer of Thunder +2 (throwing hammer)
    The special distinction of being only one of two magical throwing hammers
    that return (and non-returning throwing hammers are insanely expensive,
    enough so that I think it was a mistake on the part of the developers).  It
    does respectable damage, 1d4+2 plus 1d6 electric, amplified by any Strength
    bonus, but is also one of very few ways to deal bludgeoning damage from
    afar.  Bludgeoning damage is generally very good as very few monsters have
    special resistence against it (unlike Slashing or Piercing damage, for
    example) and many monsters are particularly vulnerable to it (note that
    Slings don't actually do what would be classified as Bludgeoning damage).
    You can find this at various points in the game (some as random drops), but
    you can buy one for sure off the Underdark merchants.

Xvimian Fang of Despair (dagger)
    Good characters can't use it, but it's the best +Intelligence boosting item
    in the game (+4).  Not only that, but having a 20% chance to cast Emotion:
    Despair on a hit and a 5% chance to cast Flesh to Stone on a hit means that
    your spell caster can join the fray and pick off disabled enemies.  Also
    note that, unlike what the game says, it's more a Hopelessness (special
    stun) effect than a Despair (penalty to rolls) effect, which makes it
    better an effect than you'd think.  Too bad it's available so late in the
    game as a drop off an enemy mage (Saablic Tan, right before arriving at the
    Severed Hand).

Ysha's Sting (throwing dagger)
    A returning throwing dagger that is already respectable at 1d4+5 damage,
    but also has the remarkably rare trait of not having a saving throw DC of
    14 for its extra effect.  In fact, it's fairly difficult to resist its
    venom effect, so you'll be spreading enormous of poison around with this
    weapon in tow, just be warned that the poison doesn't stack, it merely
    refreshes with each fresh injection.  This is available in Chult off a
    table in the southwest section in the temple.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2.a  High-Saving Throw Weapons                                    *GEA:WEA:HIG-

I mentioned before that the vast majority of weapons and weapon-like effects
are pretty much useless since they require a measly 14 to save against.  I also
mentioned that there were a few exceptions.  There isn't really a pattern to
them, other than the fact that these are all Heart of Fury-mode-only items.
However, because I think you, my faithful reader, are special and deserving of
my attention, I've gone through a lot of the weapons in the game and tested
them out, just to see which are really worth using.

There are a few gotchas - First, I didn't go through any ranged weapons.
Second, I only tested out weapons that someone might conceivably want to use,
so I didn't test out any normal-mode weapons, nor did I test out lame 1d8+2
weapons with a chance of doing something lame for a saving throw.

How to read the following table:  across from each listed weapon is the
DC/Saving Throw for its special effects.  This is the number that the enemy
must roll with the specified save in order to evade them. Across from that are
any special weapon-specific notes that I had to add.

The way the weapons are sorted may not make much sense (why is the a "club"
grouping separate from the "blunt"?) but that was because I was just going by
what was in DSimpson's item listing, so eh, what are you gonna do.

Finally, if a weapon in a given category isn't listed, it is safe to assume
that the saving throw it needs for its effects is 14 or is so similarly low it
is not worth your efforts anyway.

  [Weapon Name/Category]              [DC/Saving Throw]       [Notes]
  AXES  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Coward's Flight                       n/a                   *1*

  BLUNT WEAPONS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Mace of Stunning Frost Burst          40 Fort
    Stunning Star of Speed                40 Fort

  CLUBS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Belib's Amazing Everlasting Torch     n/a                   *2*
    Club of Dazing +5                     37 Fort
    Club of Confusion                     n/a                   *3*

  DAGGERS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Xvimian Fang of Despair               20 Will/see note      *4*
    Ysha's Sting                          37 Fort               *5*
    Dagger of Closing Arguments           n/a

  FLAILS  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Pustule's Flail of Boils              37 Fort/12 Fort       *6*

  HALBERDS  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Holy Swizarnian Hammer of Lucerne     14 Fort               *7*
    Life's Blood Drinker                  37 Fort               *8*
    Pudu's Fiery Blight                   49 Fort               *9*
  
  STAVES  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Ryomaru's Harmless Tanuki Staff       24 Fort (stun only)  
    
  SWORDS  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    Bastard Sword +2:  Black Adder        24 Fort
    The Black Lamia's Tongue              27 Fort
    Bleeding Short Sword +4               27 Fort
    Charged Short Sword of Wounding +5    40 Fort
    Lolth's Cruel String                  see note              *A*
    Miasmic Bastard Sword                 36 Fort               *B*
    Scimitar:  Blood Trails               30 Fort
    Scimitar+4:  Ichor                    27 Fort

  *1* Neither the Panic or Slow effect on Coward's Flight allows for a save.
  *2* The burning blood effect always hits for 12/round for 3 rounds, and still
    retains its potential for berserking.  As Ilya Nemetz mentions, this
    berserking can shut down enemy casters and make enemies attack each other.
  *3* The confusion effect on Club of Confusion has no save.
  *4* Even though the game says it's an Emotion: Despair effect, the graphics
    and the effects on the enemy mirror that of a Symbol: Hopelessness effect.
    The save listed is for that effect - the Flesh to Stone effect has a
    separate, low Fortitude save (10).
  *5* Ysha's Sting, when used as a melee weapon, has a pathetically low 10 Fort
    save for the same effect. 
  *6* The Venom effect has the higher save; the Contagion/Dolorous Decay
    effect has the lower save.
  *7* While the save sucks on the holy smite effect, it still has a small, if
    piddling, effect even when the enemy saves. Unfortunately, it also seems
    that the holy smite triggers at *way* less than the listed 25% - it seems
    more like 5%.
  *8* The wounding effect on Life's Blood Drinker has the high save, but the
    vampiric effect has a lower 19 Fort save requirement.
  *9* The Lower Resistance effect on Pudu's Fiery Blight, like the spell, has
  	no saving throw.  It's also important to point out that my test creature
  	(Frost Giant), which has a +27 Fortitude Save, could only succeed on a
  	natural 20 to resist the stun (a natural 20 always succeeds).  Suffice it
  	to say that for most enemies the stun will work 95% of the time for most
  	enemies.
  *A* The Cruel Sting has a low 15 Fort save, but the poisoning effect still
    has a minor effect even when the saving throw succeeds (2 damage per second
    for 6 seconds).
  *B* Instead of two saving throws, one for the poison effect and one for the
    stun effect, the Miasmic Bastard Sword has only one save for both - it just
    means that 25% of the time the enemy fails his or her save, he or she also
    gets stunned.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.  Armor of Note                                                     *GEA:ARM-

This is a much smaller list as in HOF, most armor is pretty useless for their
main purpose (AC), and the character with the highest AC won't be using armor.

Barbarian Shield (shield)
    Tied in overall effectiveness with the shield of duergar fortitude in
    boosting health, this one grants +1 Constitution.  This means that a
    character who started with an odd number for their constution stat will get
    30 extra health at the end of the game, twice as much as the duergar
    fortitude shield! Unfortunately, this constitution bonus can be negated by
    using some other item that grants more than +1 to constitution.  Depending
    on the circumstances, though, this can be a really good shield to use.

    Barbarians that you summon using Raging Winds have a chance of leaving this
    shield on their corpse when they die in combat.

Chain of Drakkas' Fury (none)
    Despite the fact that there's a punctuation error in the armor's name, this
    is a nice armor to use for any spellcaster or support attack character.  It
    grants a +3 attack bonus and an extra attack per round (which is useful for
    the Wizard/Sorceror who will only end up with 3 base attacks at level 30).
    This is available off one of the soldiers in the Barracks in the Severed
    Hand.

Cornugan Hide Armor (light armor)
    One of the best DR-granting items since it also combines with a nice
    regeneration effect.  It has 20% arcane spell-casting failure, though, so
    arcane spellcasters with three ranks in armored arcana will still have a 5%
    failure rate.  This is available for completing rank 3 of Battle Square in
    the Ice Temple.

High Master's Robe (robe)
    The best intelligence-boosting item for good characters, giving +3.  It
    also gives +3 Charisma and a (at this point) useless +6 bonus to Alchemy
    and Knowledge (Arcana).  This can be found in a container in the Severed
    Hand.

Milton Sixtoe's Armor of Absolute Self (light armor)
    Permanent mind blank and 15% arcane spell-casting failure rate. Not shabby.
    You find it in the treasury in the temple inside Chult.

Mooncalf's Shield (shield)
    As often mentioned, this shield grants permanent Protection from Arrows,
    which effectively means near-immunity from ranged attacks. Get this in the
    Prologue when Targos gets attacked - normally there's a soldier standing in
    front of a shield display preventing you from getting this, but during the
    attack he'll move (or die).

Shield of Duergar Fortitude (shield)
    One of the best hit-point boosting shield in the game, granting +15 hit
    points.  You get it as a reward for clearing the River Caves of monsters.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4.  Accessories of Note                                               *GEA:ACC-

There are also a lot of accessories mentioned in section 2a (the section on
getting a high AC).

Bile of the Damned (amulet)
    Only non-good characters can use it, but it gives an outstanding +4
    Strength and Wisdom.  Available off Sheemish's special stash after you've
    set free the Aerial Servant inside Orrick's Tower.

Dwarven Ogre (belt)
    Only fighters, barbarians, and rangers can use this, but it grants an
    amazing +6 strength and permanent blur (which is an outright 20% chance to
    evade attacks).  Available off Sheemish's special stash after you've set
    free the Aerial Servant inside Orrick's Tower.

Every God Ring (ring)
    There are lots of copies of this ring (one you can buy, one that drops off
    an enemy, and a final you find in the end game).  Even then, still needs
    special mention because of its outstanding +5 Wisdom bonus.  Only religious
    folk can use it, so keep that in mind if you're using a Monk to power up a
    decoy.  You can find this at various points, but the earliest is buying it
    off Nathaniel in Kuldahar.

High Tyrannar's Band (ring)
    A really good charisma-boosting item (+4), with a side effect of wisdom
    (also +4).  You get it after you slay the mini-boss at the top of the
    Cleric's Tower in the Severed Hand.

Lyre of Inner Focus (instrument/shield)
    An instrument you equip like a shield, bestowing an amazing +3 Strength and
    +2 Constitution. You can get this off of one of the Underdark merchants.

Young Ned's Knucky (amulet)
    Super awesome!  See section BAS:LUC- for more details. Jemeliah, a random
    NPC in the Targos general store, has it on him.  It seems like this is
    virtually impossible to obtain via pick-pocketing, and, in fact, the only
    seemingly legitimate way to obtain this is to cast an instant death spell
    on Jemeliah.

    This is because if Jemeliah dies instantaneously, no one seems to care
    (which doesn't appear to be true of other characters). This means that you
    have to either cast Finger of Death or cast Destruction and then hit him
    with it (though you only have a 5% chance with Destruction due to its low
    save requirement). Disintegrate doesn't work because it takes a while for
    Jemeliah to disappear, and he becomes hostile the moment the Disintegrate
    bubble touches him.

Raging Winds (instrument)
    A super fast way to summon a miniature army.  These berserkers are pretty
    effective on HoF mode (even in the endgame) and are undyingly loyal (so
    don't worry about hitting them with spells by accident).  On an amusing
    note, instead of saying something like "RAAAR" or "FOR TEMPUS", very rarely
    the barbarians will yell "Look at me!  I'm a crazy frothing barbarian!".
    Glad to see Black Isle's sense of humor.  This is available off Beodaewn's
    caravan.

Sephica's Prayer (instrument)
    Gives you the ability to cast heal or resurrection, both once per day.  An
    extra heal and a free resurrection is really useful. Just be warned that
    you need a minimum of 13 wisdom to use this. Available inside a container
    in the Severed Hand.

Tymora's Loop (ring)
    MEGA AWESOME!  See section BAS:LUC- for more details, but unfortunately
    it's a purely random drop.
===============================================================================



===============================================================================
Sample Parties                                                            *SAM-
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  6-person Good Party                                               *SAM:6PE-

This is an all-purpose good-aligned party.  There isn't too much tricky
multiclassing, save for the Decoy.  Properly played, you'll be able to breeze
through all sorts of challenges in HOF mode - this party covers all the
necessary bases while still providing some nice redundancy as well as some
backup strategies.

  Decoy:
    (Lawful Good) Male Drow
      Monk of the Old Order 17
      Paladin of Helm 2
      Rogue 1
      Conjurer 10
    Drow for the SR, the extra stats, and male for the preferred class of
    wizard (for the conjurer levels).  Paladin for the immunity to fear and the
    ability to use an Every God Ring.  Rogue to use Crow's Nest.  Many monk
    levels for lots of AC, conjurer for more AC-boosting effects as well as
    illusion spells like Improved Invisibility and Mirror Image.  You have to
    be really careful about leveling this guy, or else you'll frequently run
    into multiclassing penalties.  (A good tactic would be to level up the
    wizard levels first, get 1 level of Rogue, get 2 levels of Paladin, 1 level
    of Monk, then just level squat and get the remaining 16 levels of Monk in
    one shot).

  Insane damage:
    (Lawful Good) Aasimar
      Fighter 4
      Paladin of Mystra 6
      Diviner 20
    Aasimar for the preferred class of Paladin and the extra stats. Fighter for
    the weapon specialization, extra feats, and Dwarven Ogre belt.  Diviner
    levels to be able to cast all sorts of utility spells (Wail of the Banshee,
    Malison, Executioner's Eyes).  Levels of Paladin of Mystra for dual Holy
    Avengers and extra base attack bonus.

  Support/Healing:
    (Good) Human
      Bard 11
      Morninglord of Lathander 19
    Human for the preferred cleric levels and extra skills.  Bard levels for
    War Chant of Sith and some useful illusion magic. Cleric levels for
    healing.

  Crowd Control:
    (Good) Human
      Enchanter 30
    You get massive skill points and feats for all sorts of support roles.  You
    max out durations for crowd control spells.  Also enables use of the
    Mystra-line of cloaks that bestow DR.

  Support/Healing:
    (Good) Human
      Druid 12
      Painbearer of Ilmater 18
    Druid-style crowd control and Barkskin.  And another cleric character for
    more buffing and chaining together Holy Words.

  Damage:
    (Good) Aasimar
      Sorceror 30
    Aasimar for a higher Charisma, and maxed out Sorceror to max out every
    single damage spell possible.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.  4-person Good Party                                               *SAM:4PE-

This is proof for all you skeptics that you can play with less than 6
characters with good success in HOF mode.  The structure is a bit different
than a 6-person, as you won't have the luxury of free character spaces to have
a dedicated damage spell caster and a dedicated debuff spell caster.  There's
some tricky multiclassing here, especially since some levels you need to
manually gain to help ameliorate severe HOF challenges (your Decoy, for
example, won't have any mage levels for illusion spells until well into HOF).
In addition, two of these characters want a Paladin level early so that they
can benefit from both instances of finishing the Paladin quest (which, in
addition to yielding the Holy Avenger swords, gives +1 Strength and Wisdom).

You'll note that here I'll provide alot more information than on the 6-person
party, as decisions about stats and items become far more important with a
reduced number of characters.

  Decoy/Backup Healing:
    (Lawful Good) Deep Gnome
      Class Levels:
        Monk 1
        Ranger 1
        Paladin 2
        Rogue 1
        Morninglord of Lathander 14,
        Illusionist 11
      Base Stats:  8 Str, 20 Dex, 8 Con, 14 Int, 20 Wis, 4 Cha
      Extra Stats:  All 7 into Wisdom
      Notes:  Drink one Holy Potion of Transference
      Important Items:  Every God Ring, Chimandrae's (Warded) Slippers,
        Crow's Nest, Indomitable Bands, Farmer's Cloak, Sunfire
        Talisman, Light of Cera Sumat, Golden Heart of <Player Name>
    Pretty general decoy.  Lots of AC, plenty of illusion magic (Blink is a
    staple), and extra Heals and Buffs via the cleric levels.

  Insane damage/Support/Healing:
    (Lawful Good) Human
      Class Levels:
        Painbearer of Ilmater 20
        Paladin 1
        Fighter 1
        Sorcerer 8
      Base Stats:  18 Str, 6 Dex, 16 Con, 4 Int, 18 Wis, 14 Cha
      Extra Stats:  All 7 into Wisdom
      Notes:  Drink one Holy Potion of Transference and one Potion of
        Clear Purpose
      Important Items:  Dwarven Ogre, Ned's Lucky Knucky, High
        Tyrannar's Band, some weapon with elemental damage (Club of
        Freezing Flames, Halberd of the North, Massive Greataxe of
        Flame, etc.)
    There are two major reasons that this character is Human.  The first is to
    enable 2 skill points/level even with a sub-10 Intelligence, which means
    the character can max out Concentration and get enough Spellcraft to pick
    up Aegis of Rime and Spirit of Flame (to boost elemental weapon damage).

    The second reason is to let this character multiclass without getting the
    steep -20% experience penalty.  The Fighter level is there to let the
    character wield the Dwarven Ogre, but the Fighter level also means that
    multiclassing gets a little tricky without either a race that supports any
    multiclass (human/half-elf) or a cleric multiclass (female drow).

    Equip this character with a Dwarven Ogre, 18 base Strength for a total of
    26 after Paladin quest bonuses, Prayer, Emotion: Hope, and Holy Power, a
    two-handed weapon, and Luck bonuses, and watch the damage skyrocket to
    enormous levels.

    With all the Wisdom, this character also makes a decent debuffer, having a
    total of 34 in the end game, being able to use Greater Command, Symbol:
    Hopelessness, and even Hold Person to decent effect.

    The Charisma lets the character use important decoy-like spells, and the
    High Tyrannar's band will give you 18, which gives you an oh-so-important
    extra 4th level Sorcerer spell for Improved Invisibility.

  Buffing/Crowd Control/Diplomat
    (Good) Aasimar
      Class Levels:
        Druid 12
        Sorcerer 18
      Base Stats:  8 Str, 14 Dex, 8 Con, 14 Int, 16 Wis, 20 Cha
      Extra Stats:  All 7 into Charisma
      Important Items:  Master's Robe (for the +3 Charisma)
    Going for twelve druid levels off the bat will be __incredibly__ useful, as
    having those druid levels will make your life significantly easier on
    normal (and help you realize why I would rate it the best class on normal
    difficulty).  With proper level squatting, you'll be able to get 18
    Sorcerer levels early on in HOF, and then you can start tossing around Mass
    Dominate, Chaos, Dominate Person, Power Word: Blind, etc.

  Damage/Support/Skills
    (Good) Tiefling
      Class Levels:
        Diviner 19
        Bard 11
      Base Stats:  11 Str, 15 Dex, 14 Con, 20 Int, 4 Wis, 14 Cha
      Extra Stats:  All 7 into Intelligence
      Important Items:  High Master's Robe, Lyre of Progression
    This class has so many skill points you won't know what to do with them
    all.  Anyway, having the mage levels will help in normal, as this character
    is well suited to picking up spells like Disintegrate and Finger of Death
    thanks to all the extra Spell Focus that will come out of the extra feats
    from the Diviner levels.  This class also benefits from reckless abuse of
    Lingering Song.  Put both Tymora's Melody and War Chant of the Sith on your
    toolbar and memorize what function keys they map to; throughout every
    battle, alternate between the two each round.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.  2-person Evil Party                                               *SAM:2PE-

This party will let you reap the rewards of being sinister:  access to some
top-notch items, and the ability to completely shrug off Unholy Blight and
Blasphemy (a perk you don't fully appreciate until you experience it for
yourself).  Plus, because evil clerics can become Banites, you get extra oomph
from that too (as their religious bonus is arguably the best of all clerics,
and they also get the +2 Wisdom per play though thanks to the Banite quest in
the Kuldahar graveyard).

It's my basic theory (that I haven't tested) that you __must__ be evil in Heart
of Fury to do a 2-person party, as the extra Wisdom is essential for AC and
maximizing the chance that your debuffs connect, plus the immunity to Blasphemy
when you only have two characters is __just that important__.

  Decoy/Debuffer
    (Evil) Deep Gnome
      Class Levels:
        Monk 1
        Rogue 1
        Dreadmaster of Bane 20
        Sorcerer 8
      Base Stats:  8 Str, 20 Dex, 10 Con, 14 Int, 20 Wis, 2 Cha
      Extra Stats:  All 7 into Wisdom
      Notes:  Drink both Potions of Holy Transference, one Potion of
        Clear Purpose, both Potions of Arcane Absorption, both potions
        of Magic Resistance
      Important Items:  Bile of the Damned, Chimandrae's (Warded)
        Slippers, Crow's Nest, Indomitable Bands, Farmer's Cloak,
        Sunfire Talisman
    You'll have a sick Wisdom with this class (40 in the end game), which not
    only means an insane Monk AC bonus, but an insane DC as well.  You can
    drink another Potion of Clear Purpose if you really want to and use an
    Every God Ring instead of Bile of the Damned, but then you're giving up a
    precarious amount of health as well as the ability to do any damage at all
    with this class.

  Swiss Army Knife
    (Evil) Male Drow
      Class Levels:
        4 Fighter
        26 Diviner
      Base Stats:  18 Str, 8 Dex, 16 Con, 20 Int, 4 Wis, 6 Cha
      Extra Stats:  6 into Intelligence, 1 into Constitution
      Important Items:  Dwarven Ogre, Ring of Hearty Strength (for the
        +1 Constitution), Xvimian Fang of Despair + some other hawt
        weapon for dual-wielding (Bastard Sword +3: Cold Fire, Bastard
        Sword of Heroism, Club of Confusion, etc.) OR Mooncalf Shield
        for protection from ranged weapons
    This is your all purpose class.  Your other character is there to soak up
    enemy attacks and do some basic buffing/healing/debuffing, but this
    character is all about laying down the heavy stuff - Wail of the Banshee,
    Mass Dominate, Animate Dead, Shades, Dominate Person, Chaos, Slow, etc.

    I chose a Wizard-based mage instead of a Sorcerer simply because of the
    diversity in spells you need.  Since you can learn as many spells as you
    want, this will let you stock up on spells you may only need situationally
    (like Control Undead or Meteor Swarm for those damn jellies).  The biggest
    risk with this class is that you'll run out of some key spell (Wail of the
    Banshee, for example) or misprepare for a fight (got too many Dominate
    Persons when you were expecting Slayer Knights of Xvim, when you end up
    fighting a bunch of lesser creatures and Chaos would've been better).

    This class also needs to be able to melee, because there are just some
    situations where this character needs to get down and dirty, like when
    you've run out of Mordenkainen's Sword. Unfortunately, your base attack
    bonus isn't too great, so you probably shouldn't even use Power Attack.

    This class should also have a lot of back up weapons handy, just to handle
    all the possibilities (fire damage for trolls, disruption weapons,
    Kegsplitter, Goblin Slayer, frost damage for Isair and Madae).
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4.  Playing a Smaller Party                                           *SAM:PLA-

Playing a smaller party introduces new types of challenges to your game play.
By far, the hardest part about having a smaller party is playing the first
parts of normal difficulty!  This is because you'll still need to be level
squatting, but at such low levels, all your characters will be missing any kind
of useful ability for survival.

In fact, you'll note that while going from 6 to 5 characters is only slightly
harder, playing with progressively less characters becomes exponentially more
difficult.  The early game is particularly demanding - whereas smart play can
outmatch the later game with a party that's smaller and still level squatting,
the developers really planned out the first couple of chapters for a party of
six being pushed to their extremes by armies of weak goblins.  To help you
along your way, here are a few pointers.

Use a Deep Gnome Decoy
    It's not as important when you have a party of six or even four, but once
    you get less then that, there's a lot of pressure on you to have a
    character that can withstand lots of enemy attacks while your (much)
    smaller party (all of whom should be squatting at low levels) slowly and
    pathetically whittles down the enemy.  The easiest way to do this is to
    take advantage of the Deep Gnome's +4 natural AC bonus and free casting of
    Mirror Image and Blur.  Both of these go a long way into your decoy's
    survivability without requiring any kind of class- specific abilities.

    In fact, such is the usefulness of the Deep Gnome's innate abilities, that
    your decoy - arguably the most important part of a Heart of Fury mode party
    - can easily stay at extremely low levels (even level 1) much better than
    the rest of your party.

    Note that I don't recommend a druid decoy here since you won't be able to
    do that until the druid gains Air Elemental form.

Get Castings of Fireball
    Level squat, but once you are able to, let a Sorcerer get up to level 6 and
    make sure Fireball is the spell you pick up.  Even if you have other plans
    for this character, you will probably more than likely be able to spare a
    spell slot for Fireball.

    With an extremely small party and with everyone level squatting as much as
    possible, Fireball essentially is what enables you to play the early game
    without having to slam your head through the wall in frustration.  Since a
    smaller party will get more experience (since the same amount is being
    divided amongst fewer characters), you'll even be able to get Fireball
    earlier than larger parties!

    Once you get Fireball, your fortunes change dramatically.  Fights that were
    an exercise in hoping monsters didn't critically hit your decoy too many
    times to overwhelm the Mirror Image now become easily dispatched.  Even
    otherwise impossible fights -- like the drums of the Goblin Warrens's
    outposts -- become fairly easy with a couple of well-aimed Fireballs.

Invest in/Use Potions
    But what do you do when you're still low level to even use Fireball?  This
    is especially problematic when you're fighting the Broken Tusk Clan in
    Shaengarde - with a party of three or less level 1 or level 2 characters,
    the Orc archers will eat you alive very quickly.

    Oswald has some Potion of Explosions and similar potions that you should
    not hesitate to spend money on.  Smaller parties have lower cost
    requirements than larger parties, so you shouldn't worry about blowing a
    significant amount of your net worth on the potions.

Use up Your Scrolls
    If you're advanced enough that you're playing with a reduced number of
    characters, you should already know what spells you need.  You should then
    just use up any and all other scrolls you find - using a scroll of Melf's
    Minute Meteors instead of hording it or memorizing it can make the early
    game a lot easier.

    Side note - there appears to be a bug that can happen where you get stuck
    with 5 attacks/round even after Melf's wears off.  Don't know how this
    can happen, but needless to say, so long as you don't reload the game,
    this is a _very_ useful outcome for you.

Buy a Necklace of Missiles
    You can buy it off Beodaewn's caravan after Oswald crash lands (warning!
    It's expensive). It starts off with 50 charges and in many ways is better
    than just a Fireball (larger explosion, no Reflex save).  With a good use
    of a Decoy and intelligent use of Mirror Images or Entangle/Web/Stinking
    Cloud, this single item will give a lot of success for a long time (I'm
    generally able to make good use of it well into the Underdark).
===============================================================================



===============================================================================
...and more!                                                              *AND-
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Important Notes                                                   *AND:IMP-

This is just a grouping of various random notes and tricks that didn't really
fit in elsewhere.

Beware of Fireshield
    It's not altogether clear to me just how exactly monster scaling works in
    HoF, but it is important to note that, at least for fire shield, enemy
    levels skyrocket.  A good example is fighting the Efreetis in the third
    level of Dragon Eye - hitting one can inflict upwards of 60 damage to the
    poor melee attacker.  In these instances, it behooves you to keep your
    distance or have summons do the dirty work for you.

    Note that Mordenkainen's Sword counts as using a melee weapon, so you'll
    still get hurt severely by the Fireshield.  Mirror Images, though, do block
    the Fireshield damage, so you can mitigate it that way.  (Is there anything
    Mirror Images __can't__ do??)

Caster Levels
    This is related to the above, but enemy levels are __high__ for purposes of
    certain uncapped spell effects.  This won't come into play too often,
    because hopefully you're good at resisting effects.  But I've seen Skull
    Trap do upwards of 170 damage (spelling instant death for my more fragile
    characters), and have had durational effects like Charm last for
    __extremely__ long periods of time.

Collector's Edition
    Having the collector's edition is the only legitimate way to obtain the
    Brazen Bands/Indomitable Bands, which is by far the best source of generic
    AC in the game (a whopping +5).  However, if you aren't blessed with such a
    copy, then you can get around this by using a console command.
        1: You need to switch on the console.  This is a lot easier than in
        previous Infinity Engine games; just open the configuration program and
        switch on "Enable Cheat Console."
        2: While you're in the game itself (before Nym in the Wandering Village
        leaves), press control+tab to bring up the console, then type in:
            ctrlaltdelete:setglobal("IWD2_BONUS_PACK", "GLOBAL", 1)
        and press enter (you need to use all caps for the stuff in the quotes).
         Then Nym will sell the Avarine Decanter.  Buy it, use it (by putting
        it in your quick slot), then, if you want the Brazen/Indomitable Bands,
        simply free the genie instead of using any of his services.

Level squat
    If this isn't a familiar term for you, you should read this section
    carefully - it's rarely ever worth it to immediately level your characters.
     The reason is that the experience monsters give you is based on your
    average party level (rounding down).  Thus, the more readily you level up
    your characters, the less experience they'll be getting.

    In fact, there are only two cases in which you should ever level your
    characters.  The first is when the game has reached such an immense level
    of difficulty that you need to boost one of your characters up to a higher
    level.  The second is you have a character that has some strict
    multiclassing requirements and you need to level them to avoid messing that
    up.

    A good example of the first is when level squatting towards the Ice Temple
    on normal.  Once you reach the ice temple, having someone who can cast
    fireball or someone who can hit one of the Ice Golem Champions with some
    semblence of consistency becomes really important, so you might want to
    level up one of your characters.  A good example of the second is the
    example decoy character in the sample party.  If you've got 10 levels of
    Conjurer and 17 levels of Monk, if you level up 3 times at once (since you
    can't break up levels you gain in one shot), you won't be able to split
    them into 2 Paladin/1 Rogue, so here you need to level up two separate
    times, once to pick up the one level of rogue, and again to pick up 2
    levels of paladin. Another example of the second would be a 11 Bard/19
    Cleric split.  Let's say you've got 9 levels of Cleric, but you've waited
    too long to level up so you've got 12 levels stored up. Because you can't
    split up these levels when you level up, you either have to do 12 levels of
    Bard or another 12 levels of Cleric.  Either way, you've broken your
    character's development.

    A trick about level squatting is that because the game rounds __down__ your
    party's average level, you can try to find "sweet spots", where you're high
    enough level so that the game isn't insanely difficult, but low enough to
    be reaping a vast amount of experience.  So if your 6-member party's total
    level is 35, the game treats your party's average as being 5 (since 35/6 is
    5.83 which rounds down to 5).  Thus, you are pretty much the equivalent of
    a level 6 party (one level will barely make a difference) but reap the
    experience benefits of a level 5 party (which sometimes means as much as
    twice as much experience from some enemies).

    Aggressive level squatting is __essential__.  Ideally, you should max out
    all your characters' development midway through HoF. Otherwise, you may
    find yourself really scrounging for experience for the last few levels, as
    high level characters get piddling experience even against tough HoF
    monsters, which is doubly painful considering how much experience you need
    to level up at those high levels.  Plus, in the case of a character like
    the decoy, every last level counts.  In fact, resist the urge to level up
    your characters after the battle with Isair and Madae at the end of normal.
     If you were able to finish them off while level squatting, you'll more
    than be able to take care of the Prologue and Act I in HoF without
    difficulty and reap some good level-squatting-based experience benefits.

Micromanage
    This is a really important skill.  You've got a million things you need to
    be doing/checking at a given time.  Bard song need a refresh?  Is your
    decoy out of Mirror Images or is Otiluke's Resilient Sphere going to be
    expired soon?  Is that a cleric likely to cast something like Blasphemy or
    a harmless one going to be casting things like Bless?  Do you have any idle
    characters? Hopefully you've trained some of these skills through normal
    difficulty.  If you're struggling to manage 6 characters efficiently, you
    might want to consider dropping down to 5 or 4. The game is still
    definitely possible with such reduced numbers (all you need is atleast one
    decoy and one crowd control/damage character, the extra just helps make the
    game easier).  And, if you're not managing your characters, you're probably
    wasting them anyway.  Or, at the very worst, you can just use characters 5
    and 6 as bards whose sole duty is to go invisible, sit back, and strum some
    songs, thus letting you make better use of your 4 other characters.

Mirror Image generation
    The spell description would have you believe that it's a completely random
    generation of 2-8 (or 2d4, as it was in Baldur's Gate I and Icewind Dale
    I).  It's actually misleading, as it's based on the Baldur's Gate II
    version of the spell, which is dependent on caster level (it's something
    like 1d4 + 1 per so many caster levels).  This means that high level (20+)
    casters will frequently max out their Mirror Images per casting, but lower
    level casters (5-) can get stuck with two.

Outrun your enemies
    Your characters that aren't decoys will probably not be able to last more
    than a round or two going toe-to-toe with even just one enemy.  Given this,
    a combination of Boots of Speed, Dash, and/or Haste is absolutely
    important, as you should immediately run the character to safety before
    casting protective spells.  Your high Concentration skill is only there in
    the case of emergencies - don't expect it to save your life when you're
    trying to let off a crucial Invisibility or Mirror Image - your AC is so
    low that you're going to be probably hit atleast once for loads of damage
    before these finish.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.  Challenges                                                        *AND:CHA-

Well, you've conquered HoF!  What's next?  What about some challenges to make
the game even more difficult and interesting? Plus, these challenges can get
some things that you may have glossed over in earlier playthoughs to become
important.  Since I enjoy playing through IWD2, here are some of my thoughts on
various challenges you can try to pick up, as well as some notes I have on
them.  Be warned that a lot of these are not intended for HoF difficulty,
unless you're insane :).

Here are some ideas for basic rules (things you can mix and match and combine
with some of the bigger challenges):
    No ranged weapons allowed.
    Only two-handed weapons allowed (ranged weapons included).
    No melee weapons allowed.
    Use less characters (5, 4, 3, or even 2 characters).
    No level squatting allowed.
    No spells that fully heal (Heal, Mass Heal, Resurrection).
These are some basics that force you to try alternate tactics.  You may have
not normally decided to use alot of two-handed weapons (of which there are
many) without self-imposing such a rule on your play, and you may be surprised
by how much damage your party is capable of outputting as a result.

Here are some more drastic challenges to try out.

  No multiclassing:
    One of the flaws in 3e D&D is that some characters just plain suck in a
    system of multiclassing.  The ranger is the best example as in virgin 3e,
    there was almost no reason to ever get more than one level in ranger
    (though this is improved somewhat in 3.5e). Moreover, some classes, like
    the Paladin and Ranger, have spellcasting abilities that are made
    irrelevant by just being able to multiclass into something like the cleric.
     By removing your ability to multiclass, though, you may want to use a
    complete Ranger - they get alot of free perks from the start and will pick
    up some spellcasting that isn't made completely obsolete by the ability to
    pick up a few druid levels. Similarly, do you really want yet another
    arcane caster when your ability to heal and go toe-to-toe with tough
    enemies will be severely impacted as a result?

  Party based on a single character type:
    This means creating a party whose classes are completely from the group of
    warriors (barbarian, fighter, paladin, ranger), priests (cleric, druid,
    monk), rogues (thief, bard), or wizards (wizards, sorcerors). These
    groupings are from AD&D times, and is a variant of having a "theme" party.
    Each party-type has their own unique strengths and weaknesses compared to
    other party types, though by far the wizard group has the easiest time at
    higher levels.  The warrior type will have the easiest time early on,
    though they'll start running into some roadblocks mid-to-late game, as
    they'll be heavily reliant on your ability to find good weapons and armor,
    a steady stream of potions, and the need for a high Expertise/Power Attack.
    The priest group will have the best overall strength, being almost as
    capable as fighters early on, backed up by their healing, and having
    immense support spells in the end game, though their killing power will be
    pretty limited.  The rogue group will be heavily reliant on using bards for
    crowd control and immense micromanaging of thieves, but, as I mentioned
    before, bards are nothing if not versatile and immensely powerful (though a
    simple casting of dispel magic from the enemy will probably cripple a
    bard's protections).  The wizard group is by far the most powerful in the
    end (a group of sorcerors can even go into HoF and conquer it), but will
    have *immense* difficulty early on, when fighting things like Ice Golem
    Champions who have high SR and AC and when your spells, by comparison, are
    weak and your summons pathetic.

  Party based on a theme:
    A variant of the above.  Maybe you're a party of tree huggers (druids and
    rangers only), or maybe you're a group of zealous helmites (paladins and
    clerics of helm only). Maybe it's a virulent group of mercenaries dedicated
    to stomping out magic in the world (barbarian, fighters, rogues, and
    monks). This is where your individual creativity and wackiness kicks in.
===============================================================================



===============================================================================
Chapter-by-Chapter Notes                                                  *CHA-
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is where I just jot down some pointers and notes for various parts of your
HOF campaign.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  Prologue                                                          *CHA:PRO-

The Prologue is fairly trivial, especially considering how rough the final
battle with Isair and Madae was at the end of normal.  Just be sure about two
things.  First, if you're level squatting, keep level squatting as the Prologue
is fairly trivial to get through.  Second, get to the various stores ASAP and
stock up on all the great HOF items that you can use (Goblin Slayer,
Kegsplitter of Shaengarne Ford, Golden Heart of <Player Name>, etc).  In fact,
you can get through the ambush with just one character with a high attack bonus
and Goblin Slayer.

If you insisted on creating a Tempus cleric, remember to get Tome of the Lord
of Battles in the locked cabinet in the medical tent.

Be sure to check all the containers in Ulbrec's house, as two of the books are
actually special items (Legends of Icewind Dale and Heart of Winter... do those
sound familiar to you?), and Legends of Icewind Dale lets you cast two
potentially useful spells three times/day (Heart of Winter is bugged in that it
says it lets you cast Power Word: Blindness, but instead casts the much, much
less useful level two spell Blindness).
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.  One                                                               *CHA:ONE-

Shaengarne Ford will be your first test of skills, as you'll find yourself
swamped with massive swarms of orcs.  This is where, if you're not used to HOF
tactics, you'll have a sudden and very steep learning curve.  You have to
heavily emphasize your Decoy (or whatever else you're using for tanking the
enemies) and really start laying out the crowd control and debuffs, as
otherwise you'll find the orcs being able to withstand spells like Meteor Swarm
without budging.

The Horde Fortress should be, comparatively, much easier, even easier than
normal.  The reason is that now you have Goblin Slayer, so now you can just
easily slay those spawning Goblin Worg Riders whenever the drums start playing.
 The Goblin Slayer, in fact, will help you clear through half the Horde
Fortress without needing a break (except maybe a Heal or two), and you're
already used to dealing with Orcs from Shaengarne Ford.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
3.  Two                                                               *CHA:TWO-

Most of this chapter is fairly straightforward, though it's important to note
that all the Ice Golem-type things count as constructs, so the Kegsplitter of
Shaengarne Ford will slay them with one hit (no more struggling with blunt
weapons like on normal!).

Similarly, you may even find the Battle Square on HOF easier than on normal, as
now you have better spells (like Wail of the Banshee) and better skills (like a
high AC if you're a decoy).  Notable ranks to complete are 2 (for Potion of
Holy Transference), 3 (for Cornugan Hide Armor), and 9 (for Wand of Animate
Dead).  If you have a wizard who needs certain level 8 spells, you can try for
them here, too, though it's not too time-effective.

Be sure to buy the Raging Winds off Beodaewn's caravan before you do anything
else to him, as it's an excellent Bard item (see Accessories of Note for more
info, find shortcut: GEA:ACC-).

Remember to revisit where Oswald was after he leaves and you finish the Ice
Temple.  Instead of the crashed Airship, you'll see a note from him as well as
a good, permanent-effect potion of some kind. Hope for a good one (like the
Potion of Arcane Enhancement, which gives a permanent +1 Intelligence and +1
spell resistance).  This also happens on normal difficulty, so remember to
check both both times you play through this section!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
4.  Three                                                             *CHA:THR-

The Wandering Village is pretty straightforward.  Make sure to pick up the
Avarine Decanter off Nim (see the "Important Notes" subsection in section 9) if
you're using an AC-based decoy.

Those butt-hard Will-o'-Wisps from normal are easily slayable in HOF once you
realize that Wail of the Banshee is effective against them.

The Frozen Marshes you'll find to be terribly annoying, as they're filled with
Trolls and Trolls are fairly resilient to most HOF tactics (stunning is
useless, they're immune to Holy Word, not effectively controllable, Wail of the
Banshee is hard to trigger on them).

For the River Caves, a good strategy is to send your Decoy (or some summons and
a character that can go invisible) out first through the initial segment of the
tunnel, while keeping the rest of your party sits back where the ropes drop
them off, along with some protective summons.  This is because, in case you
forgot, Hook Horrors will spawn near the entrance and try to ambush you, and
getting ambushed from all sides can be a recipe for doom on HOF.  This is
because, of course, any character not designed to take physical damage will
easily get overwhelmed and annihilated in a few short rounds.

Hopefully you also have some high-powered fire damage spells or lots of
castings of Disintegrate, as the Ochre Jellies in the lower part of the River
Caves will tear your party apart if you're not careful. These jellies split
into an extra lower health version of itself every time you hit them, and the
only real way to damage them is with fire. If you're careless and just let your
party AI attack recklessly, you'll end up with a screenful (I've accidentally
made upwards of thirty), all of them gleefully hitting your characters for
upwards of sixty damage a pop.  The solution is to either
Malison/Prayer/Recitation them and hit them with Disintegrate, or send in a
Decoy/bunch of summons and fling Meteor Swarm after Meteor Swarm and hope your
front line is able to keep the jellies back.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
5.  Four                                                              *CHA:FOU-

At this point, if you already haven't, you should be earnestly checking all the
containers, as the loot starts to get consistently upgraded (so you'll be
finding progressively more +3/+4/+5 weapons as you get futher into the game,
instead of the boring old Masterwork stuff).

Remember, the Iron Golems guarding the tomb under the Black Raven Monastery can
be dispatched easily with the Kegsplitter of Shaengarne Ford.  Also, be sure to
buy the "How to be an Adventurer (2nd Ed.)" if you're still lagging behind the
full level 30 for your characters, as you should be close to maxing out by now.

Remember those annoying Mind Golems in the Mind Flayer Citadel? Again, the
trusty Kegsplitter of Shaengarne Ford will dispatch them easily.  No more
annoying can't-quicksave-Mind-Fog!

The Underdark merchants feature all sorts of things you need, so be sure to
pick them up (and don't talk to the ones in the lower left of the map unless
you're at full health, as they'll ambush you instead).
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
6.  Five                                                              *CHA:FIV-

If you have a Club of Disruption (or some other Disruption weapon), you'll
still be able to get some use out of it (but unlike normal difficulty, you'll
need to be using Prayer/Recital/Malison here). Make sure to pick up whatever
you need from Nathaniel (like another Every God Ring), Sheemish, and Gerbash.

If you're having a hard time trying to take out all the Yuan-Ti in Chult after
you fail to convince Ojaiha to not attack Kuldahar, try to fight the battle
without removing any of your Initiates Robes and swapping them for your actual
armor.  A good portion of the temple guards will only turn hostile if you
aren't wearing the Initiates Robes, so you can cut down on the number of
enemies that start swamping you by almost a third by doing this.

The Guardian in Chult will hopefully not be too difficult.  You can still try
and Disintegrate him, but you have a microscopic chance in HOF mode.
Hopefully, though, your Decoy will be able to toe-to-toe the dragon.  Note that
if you're relying on summons, you may be in for a hard time, as the Guardian
can basically Dismiss summons at will.

You'll find that in the third level of Dragon's Eye, alot of the Armored
Skeletons have been replaced with Iron Golems, but no problem thanks to your
trusty Kegsplitter.

Similar to the River Caves, you need a copious amount of fire damage, as the
only way I can figure out how to kill all the Mustard Jellies (and Olive
Slimes) is via fire (or many, many, many Disintegrates). By my count, it took
six Meteor Swarms to wipe them all out at once.

The Efreetis will pose a problem for you, as their Fire Shields will do
ridiculous damage to your melee attackers (see "Important Notes" in section 9),
so make sure you have disposable summons at hand or effective ranged attacks.

The Paladin quest is an epic battle, but you've got a few factors in your
favor.  First, your summons are much more effective than on normal (relative to
the enemies).  Second, you've got more defensive spells at your disposal.
Third, Dismissal is just as good as it was on normal.  That being said,
summoning a few Animate Dead before the fight will be really useful as their
HOF-beefed stats can take out Atalaclys the Lost (who spawns at the north end
of the graveyard) fairly quickly.  Stocking up on Dismissals is good because
this will let you annihilate the various summons that Inhein-who-was-Taken will
keep bringing in.  Try to engage the ranged attacker (Jaiger of the Fanged
Season) early, as otherwise he'll be able to pick off your fragile characters
very quickly with his super-accurate arrows (Mirror Images don't do much
against many super accurate arrows per round). Aside from that, try to keep the
three melee guys - Broken Khree the monk, Kaervas Death's Head the dwarf, and
Veddion Kairne the warrior - busy with summons and the like until you have the
other, larger threats dealt with.  With a really good Decoy, you'll be able to
toe-to-toe these guys one at a time.  That being said, Broken Khree is the
easiest as his main strength on normal (AC) is useless against your super high
attack bonuses on HOF mode.  Veddion Kairne should go down next.  Kaervas
Death's Head will be your roughest final guy, as he has enormous damage
resistances.

If you're doing the favor for Nickademus (killing all the demons trapped in the
Ice Temple), be sure to check out the boxes in the lower left room, as one of
the potions there is a Potion of Magic Resistance, which gives the drinker a
permanent +1 to their Spell Resistance.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
7.  Six                                                               *CHA:SIX-

If you're good, you have two really rough fights in this chapter. If you're
evil, you have three somewhat rough fights in this chapter. The two fights in
common are the one on top of the war tower and, of course, the epic final
battle against Isair and Madae.  Evil parties have an additional hard fight
when trying to get the antidote at the top of the cleric's tower.  There's also
a potentially annoying fight against Xvim's avatar.

Getting the Antidote/Top of the Cleric Tower
    If you're good and have two clerics, you can lock down the worst of the
    bosses with Holy Word while casting important defensive spells to make up
    for the fact that you're being ambushed from all sides - though you have to
    make sure you get those Holy Words off fast as Blasphemy and Symbol of
    Hopelessness gets tossed around here.  If you're evil, you're in for a
    rougher fight, as you won't be able to buy yourself recovery time with
    Blasphemy, but fortunately you're also immune to the enemy's Blasphemy,
    though Hopelessness will still potentially annihilate you if you're not
    prepared.

Iyachtu Xvim
    This fight can be pretty easy if you play it right. Simply have someone who
    can cast Improved Invisibility/Mirror Image also equip something that
    bestows Non-detection.  In many cases, Iyachtu Xvim will get stuck casting
    Invisibility Purge over and over and over again, to no effect, all while
    you slowly whittle away his health through his massive resistances.  If you
    don't want to be lame, then refrain from using Non-detection.  That being
    said, the fight becomes much harder, as there's little room for navigation,
    and Iyachtu Xvim will gleefully make any non-AC based solution for a Decoy
    irrelevant.

    Note - it __is__ possible to hit Iyachtu Xvim with Symbol: Hopelessness, so
    keep that open as a viable strategy.  However, he has a +20 Will save even
    after Malison, Prayer, and Recitation.  This is where having a high wisdom
    Cleric comes in handy - a maxed out 30 Charisma Sorcerer has a 35% chance
    of landing it (a DC of 28), while a maxed out 42 Wisdom Banite Cleric has a
    70% chance (a DC of 35).

Top of the War Tower
    Best tactic is to cast Mass Invisibility as soon as you regain control of
    your characters while simultaneously casting (faster cast) summons.  This
    way, your party will go invisible and be hidden from the massive ambush,
    while your summons will keep attacking and lose invisibility, thus causing
    all the enemies to retarget your summons.  This is important as most of the
    enemies in this fight are immune to Holy Word, so you have no time-buyer if
    you're good.  Once you're able to survive the initial ambush, regroup to
    the right side and then start dividing and conquering.  Remember! Slayer
    Knights of Xvim make excellent Dominated pets (and they can also be
    stricken Hopeless).

    Be careful about Blasphemy, as it gets tossed around a bit in this fight.
    Be also careful about Dispel Magic - your party should be able to resist
    it, but a critical failure means you lose a lot of protections.  More
    importantly, it gets cast repeatedly on the enemies, getting rid of all the
    debuffs you've been laying on them.  Make it a point to knock out the mages
    quickly (with Disintegrate).

Isair and Madae
    If you're good, it is imperative to have Mass Invisibility cast before you
    go downstairs from the War Tower fight. Madae will start off the fight with
    a Blasphemy or two, and being invisible from the start will mean that
    enemies won't be able to completely wreck your stunned party.  Madae will
    use Blasphemy several times throughout both parts of the fight, so this is
    one place where being evil really pays off.  Make aggressive use of Mass
    Heals here, as they will not only keep your party alive, but they will also
    keep your Monk allies alive (presumably you saved Ormis Dohor), and they
    are very important tanks, especially since they're all buffed up for Heart
    of Fury mode. Stock up heavily on Dismissals, as Madae loves high level
    summons, and there's a mage to the right of the battle (where you should go
    immediately) that also casts lots of high level summons.  Keep Exaltation
    around, as Madae also loves abusing Symbol of Hopelessness, and Exaltation
    is the only spell that can deal with Hopelessness.

    When you finish the first part of the fight, load up on buffs like Mirror
    Image; Madae starts off the second part of the fight with more Blasphemies,
    so once again, being evil really pays off here. This time around, however,
    the pair is lower on defenses and annoying ability to call in powerful
    summons, so they're "just" surrounded by a pack of Slayer Knights of Xvim.
    Remember that these guys can be disabled with Symbol of Hopelessness or
    with Dominate Person.  The latter will give you some fodder to toss at
    Isair and Madae.

    In both fights, the twins are particularly susceptible to cold damage from
    weapons.  They're vulnerable enough that, combined with their insanely high
    normal damage resistance, the smallish frost damage on weapons like Bastard
    Sword +3: Cold Fire may deal more damage than the base amount.  In
    particular, the Halberd of North and other weapons with Frost Burst deal
    their burst damage independently of the base frost damage, and both
    instances of the damage get beefed up.  Between the two twins, though, I've
    found that Isair is more susceptible to physical damage, though his
    high-level Fireshield (which will deal around 55 damage per hit) makes him
    more painful to go after.

Congratulations!  You've beaten one of the hardest RPGs ever!
===============================================================================



===============================================================================
Appendix                                                                  *APP-
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.  History                                                           *APP:HIS-

2012.08.14 - Version 4.3 completed (minor)
    Updating "My Works" section (APP:MYW).

2012.08.14 - Version 4.2 completed
    Minor change regarding Heart of Fury enemy to-hit bonuses (thanks Ilya!).

2012.07.31 - Version 4.1 completed
    Corrected Heart of Fury enemy changes information (thanks Ilya!).
    Corrected some saves for section GEA:WEA:HIG (thanks Ilya!).
    Added Belib's Amazing Everlasting Torch to GEA:WEA:HIG (thanks Ilya!).
    Added Dagger of Closing Arguments to GEA:WEA:HIG (thanks Ilya!).
    Added Ryomaru's Harmless Tanuki Staff to GEA:WEA:HIG (thanks Ilya!).
    In other news, this update brought to you by Ilya Nemetz.

2011.12.02 - Version 4.0 completed
    Significant re-formatting of short cuts and the like (in line with my new
        BG guide).
    Re-formatting to fit into 80-wide instead of 70-wide.
    Added populous guide to 'my works'.
    Significant re-tooling of some sections (like max damage) thanks to
        contributions from sir rechet.
    Extra note about Painbearer multi-classing.
    Revision of BUI:DEC- to take into account rechet's note to me about charm
        and necromancy ignoring spell resistance.
    Added WHA- to take into account rechet's updated info on HOF mode.
    Added section on druid-based AC.
    Added extra notes for Necklace of Missiles.

2011.10.27 - Version 3.8 completed
    Changed 'other works' to 'my works' and added new guide.

2010.09.05 - Version 3.7 completed
    The scope of the guide has expanded a bit, so it's allow now a
        "Powergaming" guide.
    Added new section (3d.i) discussing maximum physical damage.
    Added new notes in light of 3d.i to Cleric and Paladin sections.
    Random typo/formatting tweaks.

2010.05.03 - Version 3.5 completed
    Removed erroneous note about Mass Dominate affecting Slayer
        Knights of Xvim.
    Added section about playing smaller parties.
    Added extra notes about Paladins.
    Added some copy changes about Rangers.

2009.11.01 - Version 3.4 completed
    Changed find shortcut system to use a shorter, four-key sequence.
    Modified Luck section with new notes.
    Amended Pick Pockets notes.
    Added mention on Spell Resistance cap (50).
    Reworked rating system in class section.
    Expanded Cleric section with info on specific domains.
    Added note about Paladin spellcasting.
    Added special note about Slayer Knight vulnerability to Dominate
        Person.
    Added extra info about Holy Word/Blasphemy.
    Added new section to Spells of Note:  "A Word on Summons"
    Added note about drop rates for Bastard Sword of Heroism.
    Expanded section about Pudu's Fiery Blight.
    Removed redundant information about drop rate for Massive Greataxe
        of Flame +5.
    Added note about where to get Scimitar: Blood Trails.
    Fixed note about where to get Ysha's Sting.
    Added note about where to get a Barbarian Shield.
    Added note about where to get the Shield of Duergar Fortitude.
    Added note about where to get the Raging Winds.
    Fixed where you can find "Baron" Sulu's Hook (mixed it up with
        a different dagger in Chapter 1).
    Greatly expanded Sample Party section.
    Changed 4-person Evil Party to 2-person Evil Party.
    Expanded Important Notes section.
    Added "Caster Levels" and "Mirror Image generation" to Important
        Notes.
    Added notes about Heart of Winter and Legends of Icewind Dale
        to Chapter-by-Chapter guide.
    Added note about upgraded loot in Chapter-by-Chapter guide.
    Added note about Raging Winds in Chapter-by-Chapter guide.
    Added note about Ochre Jellies in Chapter-by-Chapter guide.
    Added note about Mustard Jellies in Chapter-by-Chapter guide.
    Expanded War Tower fight in Chapter-by-Chapter guide.
    Expanded Isair and Madae fight section in Chapter-by-Chapter
        guide.
    Various copy changes.

2009.08.31 - Version 3.1 completed
    Whoops, Destruction actually sucks (creates an item that has a low
        saving throw of 14); that's what you get when you ASSume.
    Added a note about Destruction creating an item-like effect
        in the Saving Throws section.
    Corrected notes about getting Young Ned's Knucky (I'll confess
        that previously I just gibbed him using the cheat keys).
    Added a find shortcut for the Table of Contents.
    Changed a strategic suggesion for Isair and Madae - Invisibility
        is not as effective as Mirror Image in protecting against
        Blasphemy.

2009.08.30 - Version 3.0 completed
    Woooooo new major version!  Complete redo of the formatting
        in the document for better readability.  Also reflects the
        fact that I added a new subsection a couple of versions ago.
    Fixed note about resist potions in the Damage Reduction section.
    Fixed typo about Malison giving -4 to saves instead of -2.
    Removed information in the Luck section concerning spells, as
        luck appears to not affect spells or spell-like effects.
    Moved discussion on Holy Word to Crowd Control section.
    Added note that Aura of Courage is bugged to Buff section.
    Added note about where the Bastard Sword +3: Cold Fire can be
        found.
    Fixed incorrect average damage for Pudu's Fiery Blight (was 15.5,
        should have been 17.5).
    Added note about Oswald's potion in the Chapter-by-Chapter guide.
    Added note about Nim in the Chapter-by-Chapter guide.
    Added note about reducing the number of attackers in Chult in the
        Chapter-by-Chapter guide.
    Added note about Potion of Magic Resistance in the Chapter-by-
        Chapter guide.
    Fixed incorrect find shorcut references.
    Added note in earlier history to indicate why a jump to 2.0 was
        warranted.
    Various minor fixes elsewhere.

2009.08.18 - Version 2.3 completed
    Forgot to mention that the "weapon proficiencies"
        section got some new stuff added.
    Added Pudu's Fiery Blight to items of note.
    Accidentally left out Ysha's Sting from the new weapon saving
        throws section.
    Polished up the weapon saving throws section to have actual
        numbers for everything, have all evil/neutral weapons tested,
        and fixed up the layout.
    Reworked and rerated the cleric section.
    Minor text fixes/changes.

2009.08.17 - Version 2.2 completed
    Added Bastard Sword +3: Cold Fire to items of note.
    Added Club of Confusion to items of note.
    Added Club of Dazing +5 to items of note.
    Added Club of Destiny +5 to items of note.
    Added Club of Freezing Flames +5 to items of note.
    Added Miasmic Bastard sword to items of note.
    Added Scimitar:  Blood Trails to items of note.
    Removed Scimitar of the Soulless from items of note (saving throw
        sux)
    Added new subsection detailing weapon saving throws.
    Minor text changes.

2009.05.03 - Version 2.0 completed
    Woooooo new major version!  New section: "Chapter-by-Chapter
     Notes".
    Added note to Pick Pockets (potions may not actually stack).
    Added note to Symbol of Hopelessness (chance to panic).
    Removed erroneous note on Skull Trap (does not ignore SR).
    Renamed "HOF Tactics and Notes" to "Important Notes".
    Added Farmer's Cloak to the AC deflection section.
    Added notes on where one can find the items of note.
    Expanded Sample Party section.
    Fixed "Collector's Edition" console command.
    Added note to Druid score.
    Added note to Crowd Control notes.

2009.03.22 - Version 1.4 completed
    Fixed Brazen Bands AC bonus from +3 to +5.
    Added note on Collector's Edition to HOF Tactics section.
    Fixed navigation shortcut for armor.
    Added a note on Otiluke's Resilient Sphere for the Decoy section.
    Added a note on summons in the Decoy section.
    Added Banishment and Dismissal to the Crowd Control section.
    Added a "Special Note" section.
    Fixed a few random mistakes.

2009.03.08 - Version 1.3 completed
    Fixed comments about +intelligence to also include Tieflings.
    Added extra notes for Mordenkainen's Sword.
    Reworded commment on Stunning Fist attack for Monk.
    Fixed various typos.

2009.02.21 - Version 1.2 completed
    Added an extra note for "Pick Pocket".
    Elaborated a bit on "Mass Dominate".
    Fixed various typos.

2008.12.22 - Version 1.1 completed
    Fixed some incorrect references to "Ned's Lucky Knuckle".
    Added notes for "Barbarian Shield".
    Fixed various typos.

2008.12.21 - Version 1.0 completed
    Woooooo it's done.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
2.  My works                                                          *APP:MYW-

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)
===============================================================================



===============================================================================
The Stinger
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "I must believe that each generation regrets the passing of centuries-old
monuments and nations that expired just before their coming.  To see the look
in elders' eyes when they speak in reverential tones of ancient cities,
terrible generals, and the change that they affected - it plants a longing in
one's heart for the unnattainable."
        - Maralie Fiddlebender
===============================================================================