Icewind Dale II Guide
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 3.7
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 four letter key
next to the section (doing only the three numbers after the asterisk
will probably send you to a random section of the guide).
Note that 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.
0. Special Note *000
1. Introduction & Contact Info (aka What the hell is this?) *100
2. Basic Heart of Fury Mode Concepts *200
a. AC *210
b. Your base attack bonus *220
c. DR *230
d. Saving throws *240
e. Luck *250
f. Damage vs Crowd Control *260
g. Swords vs Magic *270
3. Building your Party *300
a. Decoy *310
b. Buffers *320
c. Crowd Control *330
d. Other Roles: Damage/Healing *340
i. Maximizing physical damage *341
e. Alignments: Good vs Not Good? *350
f. Good and Bad Feats *360
g. Good and Bad Skills *370
4. Key Racial Breakdown *400
a. Human/Aasimar *410
b. Drow *420
c. Deep Gnome *430
5. Class Breakdown *500
a. Barbarian *510
b. Bard *520
c. Cleric *530
i. Domains *531
d. Druid *540
e. Fighter *550
f. Monk *560
g. Paladin *570
h. Ranger *580
i. Rogue *590
j. Sorcerer *5a0
k. Wizard *5b0
6. Spells of Note *600
a. Buffs/Support *610
b. Crowd Control *620
c. Damage *630
d. A Word on Summons *640
7. Gearing Up *700
a. Which weapon proficiency to take? *710
b. Weapons of Note *720
i. High-Saving Throw Weapons *721
c. Armor of Note *730
d. Accessories of Note *740
8. Sample Parties *800
a. 6-person Good Party *810
b. 4-person Good Party *820
c. 2-person Evil Party *830
d. Playing a Smaller Party *840
9. ...and more! *900
a. Important Notes *910
b. Challenges *920
10. Chapter-by-Chapter Notes *A00
a. Prologue *A10
b. Chapter One *A20
c. Chapter Two *A30
d. Chapter Three *A40
e. Chapter Four *A50
f. Chapter Five *A60
g. Chapter Six *A70
A. Appendix *Z00
a. History *Z10
b. Other works *Z20
0. Special Note *000
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
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 financial
reward (let's say 200 USD).
If the link is broken, let me know, and I'll fix it.
1. Introduction & Contact Info (aka What the hell is this?) *100
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
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:
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.
2. Basic Heart of Fury Mode Concepts *200
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!
2a. AC *210
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
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:
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)
Expertise (up to +5)
Deflect Arrows (+1 vs ranged)
(Mass) Haste (+4)
Tenser's Transformation (+4)
Barkskin (up to +5)
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)
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.
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)
Bracers of Armor +4
spell: Mage Armor (+4)
spell: Spirit Armor (+6)
spell: Shield (+7)
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.
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
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 20 base WIS => 31 base WIS (extra stat point every 4
levels, 2 Holy Transference, 1 Clear Purpose)
=> 33 base WIS (2 Paladin Quest)
=> 38 final WIS (Every God Ring)
+14 (Monk Wisdom)
+3 (Monk AC)
+5 (Indomitable Bands)
+3 (Sunfire Talisman)
+3 (Crow's Nest)
+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)
That 65 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
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
2b. Your base attack bonus *220
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
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
2c. DR *230
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.
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/-)***
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
shield: Mooncalf's Shield (HOF only, permanent Protection from
Arrows, in other words essentially 10/+5 against arrows)
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
*** 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).
2d. Saving Throws *240
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 7ai (find
2e. Luck *250
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
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???
2f. Damage vs Crowd Control *260
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 2a, 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.
2g. Swords vs Magic *270
As a corrollary to the above, as magic-based damage gets worse,
weapon-based damage gets much better. Your base attack bonus (see
section 2b, find shortcut: 220) 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
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.
3. Building your Party *300
Time now to take the basic Heart of Fury mode concepts and put them to
3a. Decoy *310
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.
Refer back to section 2a. 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.
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 is because no matter how good your AC or 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. Fortunately, there are some easy ways
to load up on Spell Resistance. 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
** It's a great bonus, sure, but it only lasts 3 rounds.
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.
3b. Buffers *320
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).
paladin: Aura of Courage (level 2)*
bard: All Bard Songs
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):
Magic Circle Against Evil
Negative Energy Protection
Strength of One
druid: Aura of Vitality
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
3c. Crowd Control *330
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
(sections 5 and 6a, respectively; find shortcuts: 500, 610), but Bards,
Druids, Clerics, and Wizards/Sorcerors are very well put to use trying
to exercise crowd control instead of brute damage.
3d. Other Roles: Damage/Healing *340
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
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5di. Maximizing Physical Damage *341
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) 30 Paladin
First, let's examine why we start with a Half-Orc anyway. The easiest
answer is that it's the only race that lets you start with 20
Second, why use a Paladin? There are multiple parts to the answer to
this question. The first answer is that you get a +1 Strength bonus
per play through, raising the Strength to 22 by the Heart of Fury
endgame. The second answer is that you get access to the spells Draw
Upon Holy Might, Prayer, and Holy Power. The third answer is that you
get access to Fiendslayer, a feat that gives you +2 to hit and +2 to
damage against the endgame toughies.
Just from this base scenario (before I elaborate further), your
Paladin 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)
+16 (from Strength of 32, x1.5 for two-handed bonus)
+ 4 (from Holy Power)
+ 2 (from Fiendslayer)
+ 1 (from Prayer)
+ 5 (from Power Attack)
50 per strike, attacks are +44/39/34/29/24 (30 +5 from weapon,
+11 from Strength, +1 from Prayer, +2 from Fiendslayer,
-5 from Power Attack)
With such a large attack bonus, many of those strikes are essentially
guaranteed to hit, especially when we start adding external buffs to
the mix (Recitation, Emotion: Hope, Bard Songs, Luck, Tymora's Loop,
Young Ned's Knucky). Let's assume for the sake of argument that we
are up against a character with AC 40, reasonable for end game IWD2.
The net damage would be:
.95 * 50 (+44 guaranteed except on 1)
+ .95 * 50 (+39 guaranteed except on 1)
+ .75 * 50 (+34 misses on 1-5)
+ .50 * 50 (+29 misses on 1-10)
+ .25 * 50 (+24 misses on 1-15)
170 average damage per round
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 Paladin at level 30 and a Paladin 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. In
this case, the net damage works out to be (the 26/4 Paladin/Fighter
has 1 less to-hit and 1 more damage than a straight out 30):
.95 * 51 (+43 guaranteed except on 1)
+ .90 * 51 (+38 misses on 1-2)
+ .70 * 51 (+33 misses on 1-6)
+ .45 * 51 (+28 misses on 1-11)
+ .20 * 51 (+24 misses on 1-16)
163.2 average damage per round
As enemy AC goes up, this difference becomes worse. In fact, the
only time having the Fighter levels is better is when you have luck
(to negate critical misses) and are up against an enemy weak enough
such that the fourth attack will always hit, ie so that you have
something like this:
1.00 * 50 1.00 * 51 (enough luck and +hit to always hit)
+1.00 * 50 +1.00 * 51 (enough luck and +hit to always hit)
+1.00 * 50 +1.00 * 51 (enough luck and +hit to always hit)
+1.00 * 50 + .95 * 51 (just enough luck and +hit to miss only 1)
+ .75 * 50 + .70 * 51 (misses on 1-5 or 1-6)
As you can see, this is the break point where +hit no longer has an
advantage, so the 26/4 Paladin/Fighter blend starts to beat out the
Paladin. In addition, the more damage you do (with external buffs
like Emotion: Hope) the break point becomes even more trivial (since
an additional +1 damage becomes less important compared to the 5%
increased chance to miss). And anyway, as you might be able to tell,
being in this such a situation for this break point to matter is
going to be kind of rare in endgame Heart of Fury mode.
Now, what about those Cleric levels? Well, they were only there in
rechet's guide because he wanted Holy Power and, well, we already
solved that with levels of Paladin - plus, those Cleric levels dilute
the high attack bonus that the Paladin gets.
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 Paladin 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 Smite Evil (and get extra Smite Evil via feats) to do
+30 damage per hit, which is way more than the piddling 3d6 you'd get
from 6 levels of Rogue.
Now, of course, this is just an illustrative example. If you were
to actually use a 30 Paladin in Heart of Fury, you'd find that once
the monster you were attacking turned around to counterattack, that
Paladin is going down really fast. Even with a high Lay on Hands and
that 1d10 hit die, 300+ health is going to still go away in just a
round or two of dedicated attacks from an Apocalyptic Boneguard or
Slayer Knight of Xvim. Of course, this was also true of rechet's
build, as Tenser's Transformation blocks any casting of Mirror Image
or Improved Invisibility, for example.
But it is meant to demonstrate that, in the end, with all the
multi-classing and min-maxing opportunities available, you still just
can't beat a good ol' fashioned holy warrior.
3e. Alignments: Good vs Not Good? *350
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.
Access to (Light of) Cera Sumat swords.
Ability to cast Holy Word recklessly.*
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 6b (find shortcut: 620) 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.
3f. Good and Bad Feats *360
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
A bonus to will saves *and* a bonus to concentration? Great!
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.
Since monsters have way more health in HOF, the extra damage you
get out of smite evil gets far, far worse.
Undead start having enormous amounts of hit die in HOF, so being
able to turn undead gets worse and worse and worse. Stay away.
Every character should get this when they can, no questions about
It's bugged, so it actually doesn't do anything. Stay away!
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.
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.
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
See section 2b (find shortcut: 220) if you need convincing about
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.
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.
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.
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.
3g. Good and Bad Skills *370
I'll only be touching on skills that I think deserve special notice.
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
You really don't need this to be more than 10 or so with a modest
See Alchemy (though you need more like 15 base skill points here).
Also, keeping stock of Identify spells helps here alot.
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).
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: 720), I mention specifically how to
obtain the Knucky, and it certainly does not involve picking
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.
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
4. Key Racial Breakdown *400
There are a few races that bear special mention for character
4a. Human/Aasimar *410
In my opinion, the human and aasimar human subtype are the best
overall races for your characters to use.
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
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.
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.
4b. Drow *420
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?
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 3a on why this is so great.
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
4c. Deep Gnome *430
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
5. Class Breakdown *500
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
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
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
0/4 - Stay Away!
Absolutely terrible. There's no saving this class.
5a. Barbarian *510
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
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.
5b. Bard *520
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
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.
5c. Cleric *530
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
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
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
Do note that a high-level Paladin will ultimately be able to out
do the Cleric in damage, since Paladins get all the same
essential spells but also have a higher base attack bonus and
an extra, useful feat (Fiendslayer). But, Clerics are far more
versatile, whereas you generally don't want more than one or
two levels of Paladin.
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.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5c.i. Domains *531
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.
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.
5d. Druid *540
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
5e. Fighter *550
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
5f. Monk *560
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
5g. Paladin *570
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).
Third, thanks to divine spell-casting, the Paladin is better at
brute physical damage than a Cleric. The Paladin has a higher base
attack bonus than a Cleric, which helps make those 4th and 5th
attacks in a round connect with the enemy even with a full-on Power
Attack 5 turned on. As a result, Paladins can deal more outright
physical damage than a Cleric (especially coupled with Fiendslayer),
though they lose out on a lot of the Cleric's flexibility. See 3d.i
(find shortcut: 341) for more details.
* 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.
5h. Ranger *580
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 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
5i. Rogue *590
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.
5j. Sorcerer *5a0
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
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.
5k. Wizard *5b0
Overall Rating: 3/4
Like a sorcerer, except with some really nice plusses, but also a few
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.
6. Spells of Note *600
6a. Buffs/Support *610
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.
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.
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".
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
6b. Crowd Control *620
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
As I've mentioned in section 2d (find shortcut: 240), 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
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
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
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.
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 Mpvement 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.
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.
6c. Damage *630
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
Cone of Cold
... more inconsequntial 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
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
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
6d. A Word on Summons *640
Amongst all the generic Summon Monster and Summon Nature's Ally and
the other similar spells, there are a few that stand out.
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
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
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.
7. Gearing Up *700
7a. Which weapon proficiency to take? *710
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
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
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.
2b. Weapons of Note *720
Note that weapons I readily discuss elsewhere for specific purposes
(like for a Decoy) won't get a re-mention here.
"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 (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.
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
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
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
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
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.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
7b.i. High-Saving Throw Weapons *721
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
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
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 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Club of Dazing +5 37 Fort
Club of Confusion n/a *2*
DAGGERS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Xvimian Fang of Despair 24 Will/see note *3*
Ysha's Sting 37 Fort
FLAILS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Pustule's Flail of Boils 37 Fort *4*
HALBERDS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Holy Swizarnian Hammer of Lucerne 14 Fort *5*
Life's Blood Drinker see note *6*
Pudu's Fiery Blight >46 Fort *7*
SWORDS - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Bastard Sword +2: Black Adder 24 Fort
The Black Lamia's Tongue 27 Fort
Bleeding Short Sword +4 28 Fort
Charged Short Sword of Wounding +5 40 Fort
Lolth's Cruel String see note *8*
Miasmic Bastard Sword 36 Fort *9*
Scimitar: Blood Trails 30 Fort
Scimitar+4: Ichor 27 Fort
*1* Neither the Panic or Slow effect on Coward's Flight allows for a
*2* The confusion effect on Club of Confusion has no save.
*3* 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 not worth
*4* All the extra effects of Pustule's Flail of Boils ride on the
same save as the Venom effect, so you won't see a separate save for
them - you'll just see contagion/dolorous decay occur at their
respective rates if the enemy fails their save.
*5* 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%.
*6* The wounding effect on Life's Blood Drinker has no save, but the
vampiric effect has the typical, low 14 requirement.
*7* 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) - so I have no idea what the DC actually is, but
suffice it to say that for most enemies the stun will work 95% of
*8* Lolth's Cruel Sting has the low 14 save, but the poisoning effect
still has a minor effect even when the saving throw succeeds (2
damage per second for 6 seconds).
*9* 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.
7c. Armor of Note *730
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 grammatical 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
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
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.
7d. Accessories of Note *740
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
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
Young Ned's Knucky (amulet):
Super awesome! See section 2e (find shortcut: 250) 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
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 2e (find shortcut: 250) for more
details, but unfortunately it's a purely random drop.
8. Sample Parties *800
8a. 6-person Good Party *810
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.
(Lawful Good) Male Drow
Monk of the Old Order 17
Paladin of Helm 2
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).
(Lawful Good) Aasimar
Paladin of Mystra 6
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
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.
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.
Painbearer of Ilmater 18
Druid-style crowd control and Barkskin. And another cleric
character for more buffing and chaining together Holy Words.
Aasimar for a higher Charisma, and maxed out Sorceror to max out
every single damage spell possible.
8b. 4-person Good Party *820
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.
(Lawful Good) Deep Gnome
Morninglord of Lathander 14,
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
Pretty general decoy. Lots of AC, plenty of illusion magic (Blink
is a staple), and extra Heals and Buffs via the cleric levels.
(Lawful Good) Human
Painbearer of Ilmater 20
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
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
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
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
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.
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
8c. 2-person Evil Party *830
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__.
(Evil) Deep Gnome
Dreadmaster of Bane 20
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,
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
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
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).
8d. Playing a Smaller Party *840
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-
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
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
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.
Buy a Necklace of Missiles:
You can buy it off Beodaewn's caravan after Oswald crash lands.
It starts off with 40 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, 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).
9. ...and more! *900
9a. Important Notes *910
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
9b. Challenges *920
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
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.
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
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.
10. Chapter-by-Chapter Notes *A00
This is where I just jot down some pointers and notes for various
parts of your HOF campaign.
10a. Prologue *A10
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 , etc). In fact, you can get through the
ambush with just one character with a high attack bonus and Goblin
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).
10b. Chapter One *A20
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.
10c. Chapter Two *A30
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: 740).
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!
10d. Chapter Three *A40
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.
10e. Chapter Four *A50
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
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).
10f. Chapter Five *A60
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
10g. Chapter Six *A70
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
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
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!
A. Appendix *Z00
Aa. History *Z10
2010.09.05 - Version 3.7 completed
The scope of the guide has expanded a bit, so it's allow now a
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
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
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
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
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
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
Added note about Potion of Magic Resistance in the Chapter-by-
Fixed incorrect find shorcut references.
Added note in earlier history to indicate why a jump to 2.0 was
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
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
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
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.
Ab. Other works *Z20
Thief Guide (Baldur's Gate 2)
Ultimate Analysis (System Shock 2)
"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
- Maralie Fiddlebender