Author Topic: Dual-wielding Melee Mage  (Read 1529 times)

Legacy_PracticalKat

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Dual-wielding Melee Mage
« on: January 22, 2014, 02:44:30 pm »


               Now that my Bard / Arcane Archer is on her way, I'm planning something completely different: a dual-wielding melee wizard based on Webshaman's notes to his official Melee Mage.  I've put in much the same feats that he suggests, but it would be great to get some advice specific to SoU / HotU.  

I really like being able to melee low-level opponents instead of running in fear from any physical encounter.  Granted, it takes a few levels to get there, but being completely dependent on spells is just too much PT for me.   And Int is high enough that I can get decent levels in cross-class skills, to make things more interesting.

I've done some low-level testing of the strength MM in the OC, and he just blew through things so fast that I stopped at about Level 6 because it was getting boring.   Is there an equivalent to the NWN2 Rod of Preparation, to automate buffing?  That is the biggest downside of this build from a personal enjoyment angle.

Wizard(40), Elf
STR: 10
DEX: 16
CON: 12
WIS: 8
INT: 18 (36)
CHA: 8

Spell School: Illusion

Elf: (Hardiness vs. Enchantments, Keen Sense, Low-light Vision, Skill Affinity: Listen, Skill Affinity: Search, Skill Affinity: Spot, Sleeplessness)

01: Wizard(1): Toughness, {Scribe Scroll}
02: Wizard(2)
03: Wizard(3): Weapon Finesse
04: Wizard(4): INT+1, (INT=19)
05: Wizard(5): Extend Spell
06: Wizard(6): Empower Spell
07: Wizard(7)
08: Wizard(8): INT+1, (INT=20)
09: Wizard(9): Maximize Spell
10: Wizard(10): Quicken Spell
11: Wizard(11)
12: Wizard(12): INT+1, Two-Weapon Fighting, (INT=21)
13: Wizard(13)
14: Wizard(14)
15: Wizard(15): Ambidexterity, Spell Penetration
16: Wizard(16): INT+1, (INT=22)
17: Wizard(17)
18: Wizard(18): Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
19: Wizard(19)
20: Wizard(20): INT+1, Greater Spell Penetration, (INT=23)
21: Wizard(21): Epic Spell Penetration
22: Wizard(22)
23: Wizard(23): Combat Casting
24: Wizard(24): INT+1, Great Intelligence I, (INT=25)
25: Wizard(25)
26: Wizard(26): Great Intelligence II, (INT=26)
27: Wizard(27): Great Intelligence III, (INT=27)
28: Wizard(28): INT+1, (INT=28)
29: Wizard(29): Great Intelligence IV, (INT=29)
30: Wizard(30): Great Intelligence V, (INT=30)
31: Wizard(31)
32: Wizard(32): INT+1, Epic Spell: Epic Mage Armor, (INT=31)
33: Wizard(33): Epic Prowess
34: Wizard(34)
35: Wizard(35): Epic Spell: Epic Warding
36: Wizard(36): INT+1, Great Intelligence VI, (INT=33)
37: Wizard(37)
38: Wizard(38): Great Intelligence VII, (INT=34)
39: Wizard(39): Great Intelligence VIII, (INT=35)
40: Wizard(40): INT+1, (INT=36)

Hitpoints: 240
Skillpoints: 378
Saving Throws (Fortitude/Will/Reflex): 17/21/19
Saving Throw bonuses: Spells: +11, Mind Effects: +2

BAB: 20AB (max, naked): 24 (melee), 24 (ranged)AC (naked/mundane armor/shield only): 17/17

Spell Casting: Wizard(9)Alignment Changes: 0

Appraise 7(20), Concentration 43(44), Discipline 21(21), Heal 27(26), Hide 15(18), Listen 10(11), Lore 27(40), Move Silently 15(18), Search 21(36), Spellcraft 43(56), Tumble 21(24), remaining skillpoints 18
               
               

               


                     Modifié par brendonwp, 22 janvier 2014 - 07:20 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_PracticalKat

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Dual-wielding Melee Mage
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2014, 07:19:51 pm »


               Edit: Sorted out build formatting!
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Empyre65

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Dual-wielding Melee Mage
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2014, 03:54:21 am »


               WebShaman still drops by these forums occasionally. I just saw a post he left 12 dayas ago. If you wait a while, he will likely see the name of this topic and answer.

I do want to warn you about a null-magic zone in the Underdark in HotU. Valen should be of great help there.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_PracticalKat

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Dual-wielding Melee Mage
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2014, 05:11:07 am »


               Empyre, I'll hold on for WS then.  I've heard rumours of that perilous zone.  At least none of the physical stats give negative modifiers, unlike a lot of mage builds that I've seen.  I think she's up to the challenge '<img'>
               
               

               
            

Legacy_PracticalKat

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Dual-wielding Melee Mage
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2014, 05:11:43 am »


               Duplicate post removed
               
               

               


                     Modifié par brendonwp, 24 janvier 2014 - 08:52 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_MagicalMaster

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Dual-wielding Melee Mage
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2014, 11:30:48 pm »


               

brendonwp wrote...

Is there an equivalent to the NWN2 Rod of Preparation, to automate buffing?  That is the biggest downside of this build from a personal enjoyment angle.

Not unless the module implements it, no.

brendonwp wrote...

32: Wizard(32): INT+1, Epic Spell: Epic Mage Armor, (INT=31)

I wouldn't get EMA.  Without full plate, high dex, or some other source of AC (like Monk Wisdom or something) your AC is going to be low enough that you'll be getting hit a lot with or without EMA.  Drop that and Epic Prowess for two more Great Intelligences.

brendonwp wrote...

Appraise 7(20), Concentration 43(44), Discipline 21(21), Heal 27(26), Hide 15(18), Listen 10(11), Lore 27(40), Move Silently 15(18), Search 21(36), Spellcraft 43(56), Tumble 21(24), remaining skillpoints 18

No point in going past 20 Tumble ranks, no benefit.

In general, I question the value of this build -- you're going to have a rough first few levels with no Weapon Finesse and low HP and you can't dual-wield for a while anyway.  It's basically a Strength build except inferior.  I suppose you have 2-3 more AC at very low level where wizard AC matters...but your offense will be terrible relatively speaking as a result.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_MrZork

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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2014, 01:30:06 am »


               A few comments:

1) There is at least one NWN version of the Extended Rod of Fast Buffing. It should work in any module with tag-based scripting enabled. I am not sure if SoU or Sands of Fate (or even HotU) have it enabled by default, but I think Bioware's default x2_mod_def_load enables it and tag-based scripting would not be hard to enable in those modules. There is at least one tutorial on enabling tag-based scripting (google for others) and a recent thread in the scripting forums here may also be useful.

One approach to getting the rod into a module (once tag-based is enabled) is to import the erf into the chapters where you want it available and add it to a couple of the merchants. I would suggest the magic shop in Waterdeep for Chapter 1 and the magic shop in Lith My'athar (Gulhrys' store) for Chapter 2. Another approach is to drop the UTI file and NCS file into your override and then use the console to import the item.

(For some reason, the Rod's creator, loudent, didn't include support for metamagic casting. I added metamagic for my use and the override files for the version with metamagic enabled are available here.)

2) As per Webshaman's suggestion in his MM thread, you should upgrade the Tenser's Transformation spell when possible. I suggest Moskwa's PnP Tenser's Transformation. The Bioware TT is flawed to the point that nearly no one uses it. Moskwa's version does what the spell is supposed to: Provides a short-term buff a that allows a mage to hit something during melee.

3) MM, the OP seems to make it clear that his intent is to make a mage who is able to "melee low-level opponents". Any pure wizard is going to lack the AC to hold up in melee against tough bosses in Sands of Fate (and maybe even the Bioware modules), but a mage can do what is asked for against many low-level opponents. IMO, the +5 dodge AC from EMA is a pretty good bump against those types. Of course, by level 32, this toon will be well into Sands of Fate, and it's possible that the items there will allow him to cap dodge AC without EMA. I recall some very high-AC boots and so on by the second chapter of the module, but I don't recall if a mage would run into the dodge cap there.
               
               

               


                     Modifié par MrZork, 24 janvier 2014 - 01:35 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_PracticalKat

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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2014, 09:07:17 am »


               MM - It's a fun build, not for power play.  I'll use spells against the bosses, but like to melee too for variety.  Unlike the OC, there are no "free" level-ups, so I agree that will be tough until Level 3 and Weapon Finesse.  No worse than a "pure" wizard build though.

Webshaman did a few calculations on the build page I linked, comparing the build to a pure fighter at Level 20.  The results were good, but I suspect this will fall off over the next 20 levels as fighter types add Str or Dex, and this character is stuck with 16 Dex.  Using items I can boost this to 26 Dex but then hit the cap.  I worry more about AB than AC at high levels, but I've never played a mage beyond level 6 so advice is appreciated.

MrZ, thanks for the advice on buffing and TT - this makes the toon playable!  Will shout if I get stuck on the technical bits.  UMD and monk boots will probably also help in melee.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_MrZork

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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2014, 06:57:37 pm »


               You will be fine in SoU, even without Weapon Finesse for the first couple of levels. Really, in my view, the melee mage is best off not engaging in melee for the first few levels anyway since the HP are low enough that a couple bad rolls during a fight can be the end. That's what your crossbow is for and, particularly with the elven senses to help ensure sneakers don't get the drop on you, you can pick opponents off at a distance. The AC bumps at level 1 are nice, but it's once the melee mage gets the ability-boosting spells and some damage resistance that he comes into his own, IMO.

Even later on (and this applies as well with more traditional and STR-based melee toons) many people underestimate the value of softening up low-level opponents (and even the tougher ones if you can hit them) with ranged attacks before they close enough to engage in melee. Getting in one or two shots (and more at higher levels) while that opponent is running to you can be a nice edge. Just get the hot key timing down on the weapon swap and entering stealth mode to avoid AoOs. :-)
               
               

               
            

Legacy_MagicalMaster

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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2014, 07:31:40 pm »


               

MrZork wrote...

Any pure wizard is going to lack the AC to hold up in melee against tough bosses in Sands of Fate (and maybe even the Bioware modules), but a mage can do what is asked for against many low-level opponents.

But against enemies that weak the 5 AC won't matter anyway, that's the thing.  Those enemies will die fast enough, hit softly enough, have low enough AB, and/or won't get through the other defensive spells.  It's like taking a feat which makes you take 50% less damage from attacks which deal 5 damage or less -- the enemies who fall into the category which the feat would affect don't matter at all.

brendonwp wrote...

MM - It's a fun build, not for power play. I'll use spells against the bosses, but like to melee too for variety. Unlike the OC, there are no "free" level-ups, so I agree that will be tough until Level 3 and Weapon Finesse. No worse than a "pure" wizard build though.

Why do you find it more fun than the strength version, if I might ask?

And non-meleeing mage could invest more points in Constitution, for example for 20% more HP at low levels, since it doesn't care about str or dex.

MrZork wrote...

Even later on (and this applies as well with more traditional and STR-based melee toons) many people underestimate the value of softening up low-level opponents (and even the tougher ones if you can hit them) with ranged attacks before they close enough to engage in melee. Getting in one or two shots (and more at higher levels) while that opponent is running to you can be a nice edge. Just get the hot key timing down on the weapon swap and entering stealth mode to avoid AoOs. :-)

Quite the reverse -- most people OVERESTIMATE the benefit of this at higher levels.  Switching to a bow that does 1/3 of the damage per hit and hits 20% as often is immaterial.  Let's say you manage to get two full rounds of attacks off -- this means you'll deal 13%ish of a combat round in melee.  In other words, firing at range for 12 seconds saves you less than a second of melee combat.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Westan Willows

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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2014, 10:11:22 pm »


               Why Illusion?
               
               

               
            

Legacy_MagicalMaster

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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2014, 10:30:04 pm »


               Because except for Mass Haste the school of Enchantment is usually pretty irrelevant, and in many environments Mass Haste is often unneeded.  And you want a school specialization for the extra spell per level.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Westan Willows

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« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2014, 11:37:28 pm »


               I didn't make myself clear. Why that school? Wouldn't a school with more buffs be better? It's not like he can wear armor.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_MagicalMaster

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« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2014, 12:42:49 am »


               I don't think you understand how wizard school specialization works.

http://nwn.wikia.com/wiki/Spell_school
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Westan Willows

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« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2014, 01:39:50 am »


               I'll just stick with Sorc.