Bioware Archive

Bioware Archive V2 => Shadows of Undrentide Official Campaign => Topic started by: Legacy_Guest_Faerunner_* on March 12, 2014, 09:56:18 pm

Title: Should I Play a Ranger or Shifter?
Post by: Legacy_Guest_Faerunner_* on March 12, 2014, 09:56:18 pm


I've never finished SotU and want to do it now, but can't decide between two classes.


1) I love playing elven rangers, and it seems the character will be able to shine in SotU since there's a fair amount of wilderness exploration. Plus, the henchmen don't seem very meaty, and I've played rangers that did well with a sorceror, rogue, or bard companion.


My only issue is rangers have NO social skills, which bothers me since I play for RP and not combat.


2) I've always wanted to try a Half-Elf Shifter. I can play rangers in many other games, but can only play a shifter here. It's going to be difficult though since the class is needlessly complicated and glitchy. On the other hand, there's a form for every combat situation and I can gain new abilities for each form. (Spells, poison, fire damage, natural ranged weapons, etc.) On the other hand, they all have different strengths and weaknesses, and I'll need a list to remember everything.


On the other hand, Shifter start off as druids, who can learn SOME social skills (diplomacy), which would be better for RP.


What do you think?


Title: Should I Play a Ranger or Shifter?
Post by: Legacy_MagicalMaster on March 15, 2014, 07:21:30 pm


Shifters are pretty weak in general (by default) except for very low magic modules -- they don't really have a form for every combat situation, more like they sometimes have a form that makes you immune to a particular type of attack.


However, being a Druid/Shifter will give you access to Persuade.  But only Persuade.


On the flip side, you could do something like a Ranger/Ranger hybrid (though an elf would get an XP penalty unless you kept the levels even) or a Ranger/Purple Dragon Knight hyrbid (avoids the XP penalty) so you could do Persuade dumps every few levels.


So I suppose the question is, how important is being able to Persuade people for RP?  Is it worth the cost of giving up the RP of a pure ranger (better tracking skills, better animal companion)?


Title: Should I Play a Ranger or Shifter?
Post by: Legacy_Guest_Faerunner_* on March 17, 2014, 05:24:35 am


I don't know, you tell me. Are there many situations where social skills would come in handy?


For example, near the start of Act 2 of Neverwinter Nights 2, you get framed for the slaughter of a village and need to gather evidence in your defense, then testify on your behalf in court. Without the social skills, gathering witness testimony and refuting the prosecutor is difficult/not going to happen. There are many other random encounters in the game where having extra social skills of any kind (deplomacy, bluff, taunt, etc.) can help spruce up conversations and encounters with various enemies. It's not required by any means, but it can make it that much more fun, open up minor quests, gain more loot, etc.


Granted, I know there's probably nothing that elaborate in SotU and HotU, but if there are conversations, encounters, quests, etc. where having some points in charisma (at least 12) and at least one social skill would make it that much better, I would hate to miss out by being the socially awkward ranger.


Title: Should I Play a Ranger or Shifter?
Post by: Legacy_MagicalMaster on March 17, 2014, 07:03:44 pm


I don't think there's anything where actual Charisma matters, but there are a few points where having Persuade would make something better outside of simply getting an extra reward.


It's never a problem for the overall plot, though, that would simply be unfair (since it would leave Barbarians/Fighters/Rangers/Sorcerers/Wizards out in the cold which is nearly half of the base classes).  It's also possible to find situations where having Persuade doesn't help -- you need Intimidate or Bluff.  So if you're seriously worried about missing out on that stuff then you'd need a class that has all three social skills as class skills.


I'd simply suggest you play the class that appeals to you more.


Title: Should I Play a Ranger or Shifter?
Post by: Legacy_Guest_Faerunner_* on March 18, 2014, 02:41:44 am




I'm not sure. I've always loved playing rangers, but on the other hand I've always been interested in trying out a shifter because I love the idea of someone who has no form to call their own, who feel a stronger sense of "self" the more they shift because their soul remains constant underneath.


Meh, I might end up just playing a ranger, then maybe again as a shifter if I have another playthrough in me.


Title: Should I Play a Ranger or Shifter?
Post by: Legacy_Jugonshi on March 18, 2014, 03:47:43 am


Shifter is a very technical class. Unless you understand how it works and build your PC carefully, it tend to become real weak. Even if you do, it is never be a stronger class, especially in moderate-to-high magic campaign such as SoU-HotU.


I suggest you to read the following wiki page carefully. And there are two links to user-made shifter guides at the end of this page. I found the second one is very useful.


Regarding ranger, you can always learn some social skills as cross-class skills. Also, some multclass builds such as Ranger/Paladin are effective enough. Your animal companion is a little bit weaker and your spell casting abilities are limited to low level spells. But those warrior classes are not relying much on them anyway. Your PC itself can be a reliable warrior with full-BAB. And you can enjoy using both Ranger specific items and Paladin specific items.


Title: Should I Play a Ranger or Shifter?
Post by: Legacy_Guest_Faerunner_* on March 18, 2014, 06:37:55 am


^ Thank you for the link and advice, but as I said in the other thread, I've read, memorized, and taken notes on dozens of descriptions, builds and testimonies by different people who've played Shifters. I know they're not that powerful, but people who've "cracked the system" (as it were) have said they can be decent if you build them correctly: invest the right stats, feats, abilities, levels, equipment, use the right shape for the right situations, maybe take a few levels in a different class, etc. That's why I've checked them out.


I'm still kind of stuck though because each class has something different to offer. Rangers are stronger in combat, but shifters have social skills. I can and have played rangers in basically every game, but I haven't/can't play a shifter anywhere else because they're pretty much limited to this game. Ranger will be comfortably familiar because I know that class inside and out, while shifter will offer something new, exciting, and challenging. They're pretty tied all across the board.


I'm not that fond of "strength" for its own sake though. I don't play the games for combat, I play for the character interactions. I get through the combat to get to the story. So as long as my character's class is strong enough that I don't get killed every two steps or fail to land more than a 2 hp hit, I'm happy.


As for the ranger, I don't like cross-classing with rangers, unless it's to take levels in wizard to become an arcane archer. In the first placce, I'll always play an elf, so multi-classing in anything but wizard will give an XP dock. (Then again, does a 20% XP dock really hurt in the long run?) In the second place, to be brutally honest, I'm not interested in the classes that offer charisma or conversation skills. I'd also have to take enough levels for them to make a difference, so multiclassing and cross-class skill-picking are out.


I don't know. Like I said. If I miss out on something fun or important because my character is uncouth or uncharismatic, I would be upset. Again, NWN2 had a lot of conversations and encounters where having some sort of conversation skill (even if it was just one like intimidate or diplomacy) could make the conversation more fun or open new dialogue branches. I never actually got a chance to try it out, but I also heard that some romances in NWN1 required you to be charismatic or successful in some conversation skills to even get it started.


Again, I'm not playing just to plow enemies, I'm playing for the story I heard was great. If I miss out on parts of the story because my character is not considered charismatic enough, it'll be really disappointing. 


Title: Should I Play a Ranger or Shifter?
Post by: Legacy_MagicalMaster on March 19, 2014, 08:53:24 pm


20% XP dock is likely 1-2 levels by the end which would potentially be something like -10% HP and -20% damage as a ranger.

You won't miss out on any significant part of the story by lacking Persuade but you might miss out on a side quest or two (or rather, might not be able to complete it as you'd like).

This whole problem is one of the things I hate about DnD -- you shouldn't worry about missing out on a non-class specific quest because you played a fighter versus a paladin.