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My goal is to have a party which can access all quests/dialogues/as many items as possible, without being too munchkinny. Also, I'd like it to be very playable right from the start. I don't intend to play HoF.

Human Paladin X/Fighter 4 (Longswords)
Half Orc Barbarian X/Fighter 4 (Some twohanded weapon, good suggestions?)
Elf Morning Lord of Lathander (Longbow or Mace/Shield, Support & DPS caster)
Elf Bard (Longbow and I love Bards)
Dwarf Fighter X/Thief X (Dualwielding daggers or shortswords, obligatory trapdisarmer)
Halfling Sorcerer (Crossbow, offensive caster)

Do you have any other suggestions? Am I overlooking something? Should I replace the Sorcerer with a Wizard? Or throw in a Druid somewhere?

Thanks in advance!
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GawainBS: Should I ...
... ask questions like these? No. Play the game *your* way. Don't ask other people how to. It won't be your game, and you'll get far less satisfaction from it. Above all, don't be afraid to have a less than perfect party. Mistakes are part of what makes an RPG an RPG.
Post edited September 18, 2017 by Hickory
Yes, you should ask questions like this. It gives people an opportunity to discuss the game, describe what strategies (in this case party setups) work and what doesn't, and learn more about the game in the process. Perhaps even a veteran of the game can learn new things from a thread like this; I find that I am constantly learning new things about the games I play even when replaying them for the umpteenth time (case in point: I'm replaying Paladin's Quest, a game I played close to its release and many times since then, and I'm still learning more about the game).

I unfortunately haven't actually played this game, so I can't offer you advice, but your priest might need to spend a feat to be proficient with her bow; not sure about the bard.
I don't think it's possible to access all of the dialog options with a single party, since there are some extremely specific ones (off the top of my head I know there's a side-quest that requires a Transmutation specialist Wizard with a high alchemy score). However, you should be able to cover most of the major stuff with the party you have presented there. Covering your combat needs is definitely top priority, and having a Half-Orc Barbarian backed by a Cleric should give your party the backbone to handle the game's more difficult challenges.
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GawainBS: Human Paladin X/Fighter 4 (Longswords)
Looks fine. Just be mindful that Paladins are stretched quite thin in terms of attributes. You need strength for melee, charisma for paladin class features, wisdom for paladin spellcasting, constitution to not die, and your dexterity needs to be at least passable so you don't take an AC penalty. That's 5/6 of your attributes... these guys stretched very thin. You'll probably get more value out of staying single-class Paladin, but there's nothing wrong with taking a few Fighter levels for extra feats.
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GawainBS: Half Orc Barbarian X/Fighter 4 (Some twohanded weapon, good suggestions?)
Probably the strongest melee build possible, which can be very helpful in getting through some of the game's more unforgiving boss battles.

There's not much point in specializing in a specific weapon, and it's usually more advantageous to have 3 or 4 different weapon options available to pick the best one for the battle you're about to enter. Fully-invested weapon specialization is only +1 to hit and +2 damage, and you'll often be able to get better benefits than that by swapping to a more advantageous weapon type. Weapon specialization is more important if you're running a low-damage build where every damage boost counts. Barbarians don't have that problem.

If you do find a weapon that you absolutely love, by all means specialize in it, but there's no need to go into the adventure with the intent to specialize.
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GawainBS: Elf Morning Lord of Lathander (Longbow or Mace/Shield, Support & DPS caster)
Solid; you can never go wrong with a Cleric. You may be stretched a little thin to do both melee and ranged combat, but since that's a secondary role for this character it's not going to be the end of the world if you're a bit below the curve. Just be mindful that longbow attacks don't scale well in IWD2 and can't output damage effectively at higher levels. Still a decent weapon if you want to keep the Cleric in the back.
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GawainBS: Elf Bard (Longbow and I love Bards)
Another solid support character. Same pitfall as the Cleric, be mindful that bow isn't going to be doing much damage at higher levels.
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GawainBS: Dwarf Fighter X/Thief X (Dualwielding daggers or shortswords, obligatory trapdisarmer)
Rogues sadly suck in Icewind Dale 2. Fighter/Rogue is great in most of the 3rd edition games, but IWD2 isn't kind to it. Its combat abilities get nerfed, its non-combat abilities don't get used frequently enough, and the traps in this game are almost without exception easy to disarm so non-rogues can handle the job with the cross-class skill system. I ran a Fighter/Rogue in my first playthrough of IWD2 and was so disappointed with her that I actually ended up restarting. I used a Wizard with cross-class skills to disarm traps and had the barbarian manhandle any locks. I think there was one trap in the entire game that caused me serious trouble with that approach.

Dual-wielding is a bit mediocre in IWD2, but it is doable. Ensure you maximize your strength, since IWD2 is stingy with other forms of bonus damage. Going the dexterity-route may look intuitively appealing, but in practice there's no way to boost your damage so it's like chipping away at an enemy with a nail file. Go the strength route so you can hit hard.
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GawainBS: Halfling Sorcerer (Crossbow, offensive caster)
Sorcerers are great, although I would personally recommend you pick up some battlefield control spells to complement your damage spells. Spells like Web or Stinking Cloud can disrupt the approach of enemies and let you pick them off at your leisure. This is a more useful opening spell than a fireball, since enemies that have taken some damage are still threats to the rest of the party but enemies entangled by magical webs or knocked unconscious by noxious magical gas aren't. This can also be useful for getting enemies to hold still for a clean shot with the fireball ;-)
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Hickory: ask questions like these? No. Play the game *your* way. Don't ask other people how to.
I find it deeply ironic that you're telling him how to play/enjoy his own game here.

Not everyone enjoys going in blind, and a lot of people do like to refine their party in accordance with their preferences. Asking for advice to better tailor your own party to the kind of game you want to enjoy can be "your way" of playing if you so choose.
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dtgreene: your priest might need to spend a feat to be proficient with her bow; not sure about the bard.
Elves get proficiency with bows for free.
Thanks for the replies, except for the first one. That was useless.

Doesn't IWD2 incorporate the Sneak Attack system? I was kind of counting on my Rogue's dualwielding to get some damage from that.
Perhaps a Wizard X/Rogue 2 or 3 would be better, but I know myself: I'm too stingy with spells to make this character useful in generic battles. I only tend to look at spells during the harder fights.
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GawainBS: Doesn't IWD2 incorporate the Sneak Attack system? I was kind of counting on my Rogue's dualwielding to get some damage from that.
It does, but it was massively nerfed. You can only ever sneak attack an enemy in IWD2 once; after you've attacked them, they're immune to further sneak attacks. Also flanking doesn't give you sneak attacks like in other 3rd edition games, so it's very difficult to pull them off.

I had the exact same idea (dual-wield and flank to get lots of sneak attacks) but it literally doesn't work that way in this game :-(
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GawainBS: Perhaps a Wizard X/Rogue 2 or 3 would be better, but I know myself: I'm too stingy with spells to make this character useful in generic battles. I only tend to look at spells during the harder fights.
You don't even need to multiclass Rogue; I found I was able to handle every trap I needed with cross-class skills alone. Remember that disabling traps is an intelligence-based skill, so any Wizard will have a massive bonus there. If you do want to multiclass Rogue, take one level at character creation for maximum skill ranks then immediately multiclass to Wizard and never look back.
Your party is playable well and should be fun.

Give maxed strength to the characters who rely on physical damage, else they'll be under-performing compared to your casters and combat will be very slow since there are lots of monsters with lots of hitpoints in the game.

I played a paladin4/fighter specialized in longswords myself and felt bad about it since for most of the game she didn't use the weapon type she was specialized in so don't specialize too early. Depending on what you want from the paladin site other level distributions like paladin1/fighter (dump wis without feeling bad) or fighter1/paladin (better smite evil) work too.

Cleric and sorcerer are powerful spellcasters and bards only need songs to be powerful.

I prefer pure barbarian over fighter4/barbarian because of the barbarian skills (damage reduction, greater rage), I'd choose an alignment which allows using items not usable by good characters.

For the thief/fighter mix strength is more important than the level distribution, start as thief and take the levels as you wish. A problem with sneak attacking is that enemies tend to attack the closest opponent and with small weapons you have to get very close.
Post edited September 19, 2017 by kmonster
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Hickory: ask questions like these? No. Play the game *your* way. Don't ask other people how to.
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Darvin: I find it deeply ironic that you're telling him how to play/enjoy his own game here.
That's exactly where you're wrong. Talk about irony...
Actually, Hickory's advice is the best advice you can get, not only for games but also for real world. Unfortunately, today the world is full of people who are not doing what they want because people told them they would be more successful in an other job. Do what you want, the way you want. Any other way will be cancer for you for the rest of your life. Look at all the amazing people in the world, Descartes, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Einstein. When they all started, most people were thinking what they were dealing with were rubbish, nonsense, trash.

This is also a serious problem since the age of MMORPGs. In any REAL RPG, you will succeed with what you want.

Still, I am not against those questions. It is never bad to ask questions, as long as you have the capacity to understand the answer.
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GawainBS: My goal is to have a party which can access all quests/dialogues/as many items as possible, without being too munchkinny. Also, I'd like it to be very playable right from the start. I don't intend to play HoF.

Human Paladin X/Fighter 4 (Longswords)
Half Orc Barbarian X/Fighter 4 (Some twohanded weapon, good suggestions?)
Elf Morning Lord of Lathander (Longbow or Mace/Shield, Support & DPS caster)
Elf Bard (Longbow and I love Bards)
Dwarf Fighter X/Thief X (Dualwielding daggers or shortswords, obligatory trapdisarmer)
Halfling Sorcerer (Crossbow, offensive caster)

Do you have any other suggestions? Am I overlooking something? Should I replace the Sorcerer with a Wizard? Or throw in a Druid somewhere?

Thanks in advance!
My party in IWD and its sequel consists of the following:

Paladin or Fighter (party leader)
Fighter (party muscle)
2 Fighter/Clerics (defensive buffs)
Fighter/Thief (rogue skills)
Fighter/Mage (offensive spells)

Some people will ask questions like: Why do you have those for a party? Why 2 clerics while you could have _____?

My answer: Because that's my preferred party. Period.

Want to have 3 fighters and 2 Fighter/Mage/Thieves? Or 2 Paladins, 1 Bard, 1 Cleric and 1 Thief? Doesn't matter!

In the end, what it really matters is that your party is what you really like. Or you could read FAQs for the Strengths/Weaknesses of each class.
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makaikishi: Some people will ask questions like: ... _____?

My answer: Because that's my preferred party. Period.

Want to have 3 fighters and 2 Fighter/Mage/Thieves? Or 2 Paladins, 1 Bard, 1 Cleric and 1 Thief? Doesn't matter!

In the end, what it really matters is that your party is what you really like.
Good answer.
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GawainBS: My goal is to have a party which can access all quests/dialogues/as many items as possible, without being too munchkinny. Also, I'd like it to be very playable right from the start. I don't intend to play HoF.

Human Paladin X/Fighter 4 (Longswords)
Half Orc Barbarian X/Fighter 4 (Some twohanded weapon, good suggestions?)
Elf Morning Lord of Lathander (Longbow or Mace/Shield, Support & DPS caster)
Elf Bard (Longbow and I love Bards)
Dwarf Fighter X/Thief X (Dualwielding daggers or shortswords, obligatory trapdisarmer)
Halfling Sorcerer (Crossbow, offensive caster)

Do you have any other suggestions? Am I overlooking something? Should I replace the Sorcerer with a Wizard? Or throw in a Druid somewhere?

Thanks in advance!
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makaikishi: My party in IWD and its sequel consists of the following:

Paladin or Fighter (party leader)
Fighter (party muscle)
2 Fighter/Clerics (defensive buffs)
Fighter/Thief (rogue skills)
Fighter/Mage (offensive spells)

Some people will ask questions like: Why do you have those for a party? Why 2 clerics while you could have _____?

My answer: Because that's my preferred party. Period.

Want to have 3 fighters and 2 Fighter/Mage/Thieves? Or 2 Paladins, 1 Bard, 1 Cleric and 1 Thief? Doesn't matter!

In the end, what it really matters is that your party is what you really like. Or you could read FAQs for the Strengths/Weaknesses of each class.
Well, that doesn't really answer my question.
I am curious, though: why a Fighter/Mage in IWDII? The semi-3.0 ruleset is hard on caster multiclassses. (As for preference, I fully understand the attractiveness of the concept, but I don't see it being a very useful character in IWDII.)
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Engerek01: Still, I am not against those questions. It is never bad to ask questions, as long as you have the capacity to understand the answer.
Kinda switched sides entirely with that last line. Sharing experiences and ideas is a perfectly human thing. Trying other people's ideas is a necessary part of understanding your own ideas. We are all intellectually-poorer in a vacuum, and the sum of human knowledge is far more than you could ever attain on your own in a million lifetimes. We may be talking about something small and trivial - a game - but the principle still applies. I'm more often on the giving end than the receiving end of advice in these sorts of threads, but I love it when I learn new things from people. I've had very few opportunities to play pen and paper, but I've learned a lot about it by reading other people's experiences. Sure, criticize me for lacking much first-hand experience, but if I sit down to play I know how to make a character that not only looks like what I want, but will actually play the way I want it to.

I also completely disagree with your list of people there. None of them were outcasts or somehow repudiated for their ideas or approach (at least any more than happens to anyone). Gates/Jobs/Musk were entrepreneurs, and they did find the necessary start-up capital for their ventures. The vast majority of start-ups fail, often spectacularly, so the fact that these individuals were able to get anyone at all to fund them is evidence that investors really did believe they had something of value. Descartes was a member of high society and basically started with connections and money. I checked Wikipedia, but I can't find any mention of struggles for recognition (at least any more than you'd expect from a young academic trying to make a name for himself). Einstein got his papers published in academic journals even when he was an unknown working at a patent office. He worked well inside the mainstream of science. He rose out of obscuring because others recognized he had something very meaningful to contribute.

Now, there are some cases where you might want to be cautious about directly following in others footsteps. Ironically, entrepreneurs like Gates/Jobs/Musk are one of them. Companies like Microsoft or Apple or Paypal are products of their time, and succeeded because they had the right idea at the right place at the right time and had the talent to pull it through. However, the factors that made them succeed are unique to their circumstances, and are not reproducable. The "next Bill Gates" will have to do something completely different. Interestingly, though, you don't want to look at the successes: you want to look at the failures. It's a concept known as survivorship bias, where we focus on the successes and thus exclude all the failures. The simplest version of this fallacy is where you get arm-chair analysts who point out similarities between successful companies, and fail to take notice that a lot of unsuccessful companies shared those similarities. You need to look at both successes and failures.

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makaikishi: Some people will ask questions like: Why do you have those for a party? Why 2 clerics while you could have _____?
Clerics are awesome. Heck, you could probably go for all Cleric party without trouble.

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makaikishi: Want to have 3 fighters and 2 Fighter/Mage/Thieves? Or 2 Paladins, 1 Bard, 1 Cleric and 1 Thief? Doesn't matter!
Want to have a strong party that can solve the game's challenges without frustration? Yes, it does matter, and you're being disingenuous to pretend this is just a sandbox where decisions don't have consequences.

A lot of people don't like going into a new game, making decisions they don't understand, and feel like they're being punished later for them. If you like figuring that stuff for yourself, that's fine. Don't knock people who would rather get straight answers from the outset so they know they're walking in with the party they enjoy, not the party they think they might enjoy.

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GawainBS: I am curious, though: why a Fighter/Mage in IWDII?
It's doable, but it's an exercise in masochism. I think he's more talking about IWD1 where Fighter/Mage is an absolutely wicked combo. 3rd edition was not kind to multiclass spellcasters, and at a certain point you simply won't be able to hit things because your attack power has fallen too far behind the curve. It's actually not too bad at low levels, but it just gets worse and worse. Every time you level up you need to choose whether you fall behind 1 caster level or 1/2 a point of base attack bonus (since caster level is typically more valuable than base attack bonus, this makes the choice pretty straightforward), which means you just fall further and further behind over the course of your career until one of the two sides is no longer relevant.

I tried to make it work with a Paladin/Sorcerer in my IWD2 playthrough. It was a huge struggle to keep that multiclass character relevant when there was a Barbarian on the front lines. Good spell usage can take you only so far, and at a certain point it just wasn't worth having her on the front lines anymore, and she started playing like a dedicated spellcaster.
Post edited September 19, 2017 by Darvin
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Engerek01: Still, I am not against those questions. It is never bad to ask questions, as long as you have the capacity to understand the answer.
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Darvin: Kinda switched sides entirely with that last line.
No he didn't. There's a difference between asking questions and seeking approval. The OP already knows, and laid out how he/she wants things but lacks the decision making process to follow through and make it their own. That is the capacity to understand.
Trying other people's ideas is a necessary part of understanding your own ideas.
Only if you don't have the capacity to learn of your own accord -- it's why cheating in exams is such a bad thing. A folly as a process of personal committee is the mark of a flock (follower) mindset. No matter how good the advice given, the game is ultimately not the person's who's playing it when it's devised by committee.
We are all intellectually-poorer in a vacuum
That's not the issue here, and (I think) you know it.
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GawainBS: Well, that doesn't really answer my question.
I think I already did. "Or you could read FAQs for the Strengths/Weaknesses of each class."