AD&D 2nd Edition Party Configuration

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Some friends and I are starting a game using 2nd edition rules. It's been decades since I've played and I'm wondering what type of character to roll based on the existing character classes in the party. So far we have a Warrior (Tank), Mage, Cleric and Thief. All have some version of Evil alignment.

Any thoughts on what would be a good compliment to this party?

Thanks in advance! 
Howdy PacoAllen,

I have moved this thread to Previous Editions General, where it is more on-topic.

Thanks.  

All around helpful simian

Some friends and I are starting a game using 2nd edition rules. It's been decades since I've played and I'm wondering what type of character to roll based on the existing character classes in the party. So far we have a Warrior (Tank), Mage, Cleric and Thief. All have some version of Evil alignment.

Any thoughts on what would be a good compliment to this party?

Thanks in advance! 

So... you have a fighter, a wizard, a cleric, and a thief?  There really isn't anything else needed, though Ranger or Elf Fighter/Wizard or another thief (especially if you're using the Player's Option: Skills & Powers book) are probably your best bets.  Or even another cleric.
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I do, however, have one last lesson on this subject. That last one? The only build in this post that can one-shot average opponents[by dealing twice as much damage as they have HP? I would argue that it is not optimized. Why isn't it optimized? Because it's overkill. Overkill is NOT optimizing. This means that there are portions of this build dedicated to damage which can safely be removed and thrown elsewhere. For example, you probably don't need both Leap Attack AND Headlong Rush at the same time. You could pick up Extra Rage feats for stamina, feats to support AoO effects, feats that work towards potential prestige classes, and so on. However, you could also shift our ability scores around somewhat. I mean, if you're getting results like that with 16 starting Strength, maybe you can lower it to 14, and free up four points to spend somewhere else - perhaps back into Charisma, giving you some oomph for Intimidating Rage or Imperious Command if you want. You can continue to tune this until it deals "enough" damage - and that "enough" does not need to be "100%". It could easily be, say, 80% (leaving the rest to the team), if your DM is the sort who would ban one-hit killers.
Tempest_Stormwind on Character Optimization
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Wow, isn't it amazing how simple characters were to create back in 2ed.  Telling us you have a Fighter (which I assume is your warrior), Wizard, Cleric, and Thief tells us a lot about the group.  It appears the four corners are covered so the questions are:
What level range are we looking at?
What expanded material (Speciality Priests, character kits, Player Option series) are available?
Racial issues (maximum class level) and how they may play out.

There are so many variables so like draco1119 is hinting your choices are really wide open.  I also think that knowing your level is very important because before 11th-12th level multiclass characters can be very attractive but above that they start lagging further and further behind single class characters as long as XP is the same.  I know I really liked my multi-classed elves (F/M, F/T, and even T/M) but specialty priest were often pretty powerful too.
 
I usually recomend the fighter. The fighter is easiest to play and most likely to survive. Perhaps a dwarf for the ability to see in dark?

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

Yeah, my 2nd Ed knowledge is hardly up to scratch... but I would say Mage. In fact, you could probably ditch the Rogue Thief and Fighter and take more Mages. The strength of a team is measured in the number of Mages. You could maybe make the Cleric a Cleric/Mage, in fact (that's how 2nd Ed worked, multiclass and dual-class, right?)
Yeah, my 2nd Ed knowledge is hardly up to scratch... but I would say Mage. In fact, you could probably ditch the Rogue Thief and Fighter and take more Mages. The strength of a team is measured in the number of Mages. You could maybe make the Cleric a Cleric/Mage, in fact (that's how 2nd Ed worked, multiclass and dual-class, right?)

While they were undoubted powerful at high levels Mages in 2ed weren't quite what they became it 3e.  There were no bonus spell slot, SR was absolute, hitpoints were in short supply (but who cares about hit points right?), and we don't know what level this game is taking place.  In 2e your fighters were a lot more useful in comparison to wizards then they became in 3e and there are some things you basically need a Thief to get through.  Also remember that the Thief advanced faster then any other class except the Bard who used the same XP table.

Multi-classing and Dual-classing are two very different things.  Dual classing was only available to humans under certain conditions and had you advance in one class so far, then go all the way back to zero XP to start advancing in another class.  During this time you can't use anything specifically from the first class until your second class is higher level then the first class.  You could even repeat that process at times to get additional classes.  With Multiclassing you take two classes and split your XP between them.  Each class contributed half its normal amount to your hitpoints (assuming two classes) and you picked on class for your Thac0 and each save; you also suffer all of the restrictions to your classes.  The way the XP tables worked you were usually just a level behind a single class character early on (when you need to double your XP to level up) but when flat level advancement kicked in (+Y XP for +1 level) you'd start falling behind.

I'd need to find and look in my old books but I believe that with the XP a Wizard 20 or Cleric 20 would have you'd only be a Cleric15/Wizard15 when multiclassing.  However I believe you could be something like a Cleric6/Wizard7 when your single class team mates are just 8th-level.
 
...and there are some things you basically need a Thief to get through.

Well, it depends, but usually you can just send the Fighter through and have him "disable" the traps with his big, Fighter boots.

Multi-classing and Dual-classing are two very different things.

Yep, that's why I said "multiclassing and dual-classing". Thief -> Mage would work, get yourself a few trap-busting points then invest in spells!

However I believe you could be something like a Cleric6/Wizard7 when your single class team mates are just 8th-level.

I think it would be a bit less than that, but yeah, it's less pronounced at those levels, and having so many spells does kinda make up for it (like a Mystic Theurge, but done right).
Actually if you look at the Xp costs a multi- or Dual class tends to lag behind even with hard to get !6's in ability scores. Thats why it pays to focus in 2 Ed.  And unless your group is good at covering for each other mages last about as long as a New Years resolution.

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

Actually, Dual classing can be a tremendous bargain EXCEPT that you need to spend all that time adventuring without being able to access your earlier stuff.  Dual classing doesn't work so well if you start too late but done early you are probably just a level behind a single class character but with all those benefits you aquired from your first class.

I know starting in Thief before Dual classing as a Wizard can certainly provide a character with skills.  Two of my favorite Baldur's Gate party members start as Theives before Dual classing into Wizard granted I rarely use both at the same time.  Some levels in Fighter can REALLY help a wizard's otherwise low hitpoints and may even provide a potential surprise when it comes to fighting despite being unable to wear armor and cast wizard spells.  Fighter into Cleric can also work to get a character the extra attacks a Fighter gets which  is another potential PB party member.

For a "low level" 2ed game I believe multiclassing (available to everyone except humans) can be a very good option but at higher levels isnt' nearly as useful.  Conversely, dual classing often hurts in the lower levels (you should get a few levels in a class before you jump out because when you do you can't come back) but at higher levels once your second class level exceeds the first you often see some nice bonuses although you may be a level behind.
 
In BG, just being able to use a magic shield and a helmet as a Wizard was worth the paltry 2k XP it cost you.

My memory is always muddied on whether specific BG rules were unique to it or all of 2nd Ed, mind, so I don't like to apply everything I remember from there. Still, dual classing was certain hella powerful if done right. I prefer going into the spellcasting class so you're not stuck with poor, low-level spells at higher levels, but going into Thief had a lot going for it (Fighter -> Thief worked nicely, IIRC) because you were locked out of your old class for less time by far.
As far as the DnD games I've played I think the BG series, especially BGII, were the best.  As far as XP requirement and levelling they followed the 2ed rules pretty closely.  At least they did before they "introduced" all the expanded classes that came later (Sorcerer, Monk, and probably some other things I'm forgetting about).  Dual classing was amazing and I completely agree that when you do it you start with the "tough" class, normally fighter, before going into the "fragile" class.
Dualing to Mage does make you suck for a long time, though. Mages level so slowly. Of course in BG you could speed that up by soloing, but not safely if you dualed late in the game (you're a L1 Mage with a Fighter's HP, but that's it).
Dual classing really does take your "friends" helping you "power level" but as long as you do it before hitting linear growth you should be almost caught up by the time they level up.

I know in BGII:TB you could pick up "your brother" as a Fighter 18 and then if you wanted Dual class him into either Thief or Mage.  I considered that a very bad idea however because while you eventually COULD get him over that level 18 fighter threshold it would take a long time during which you really could use that fighter.
 
in 2E:

The theif should always be a multi-class character. Don't run a straight theif.

because of the way xp works in 2e, having 2 classes generally puts you 1 level behind a single classer, at least until 11+. However, it gets you lots of survivability.

The best mages are fighter-mages, because they are more survivable. They'll be one level behind a straight mage, but oh, so much tougher.

Only fighters can specialize and double specialize. That +3/+3 and extra 1/2 attack is godly. Fighters owned melee in 2E. 

Dual-classing isn't as hard as it seems, because you gain xp so much faster with a higher level party. Getting to f/7 and starting as a wizard, you'll be wiz/8 before the rest of the party hits 9th. 

Healing is not as available in 2E as it is in 3.5. You need hit points, and you need to know when to run. IIRC, there's Faith Healing (CLW that does 8 HP to the faithful), CLW (d8 only), CMW (2d6+2) and CSW (2d8+1) as your options before 9th level. There's no CLW wands, either.

==Aelryinth       
Fighter vs Warblade analysis http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19573526/Analyzing_the_Fighter_vs_The_Warblade The Lockdown F/20 iconic build http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19856162/A_little_Lock_build_for_you
TBH, my (hazy) memory is that even a Fighter 2 -> Mage could be pretty handy. That was, what, 2k XP or something? You're not even a full level behind before long. Of course, you don't gain much either; the HP and so forth lose out to inflation, but you do get shields, helmets, and even, if you want, bows or whatever.

Man, I kinda want to play some 2nd Ed now, actually. 
Being able to use bow in 2ed is AMAZING at low levels.  I mean you got to make TWO attacks, at range, with damage that could drop opponents pretty quickly.  In BG you could have a big group equiped with bows and basically mow down early opponents as quickly as they came into sight.  Eventually that didn't work so well but early on bows with their 2 attacks for everyone was just crazy.

No question that Fight2 had its limitations but you could have gotten percentile STR to go with your Mage and you could use any fighter only magic items the party may happen across.
 
The damage isn't amazing unless you can afford a str bow, have spec and it's magical. D6 per arrow, which was standard, isn't all that. Need that Str bow, and Strength was harder to come by back then. (didn't get first Str bonus, +1 dmg, until 16 str!)

Note that only elven/half-elven f/m-u's could cast in armor.

At high levels, the 70k you spent to be a 7th level fighter is 1/5th of a class level for mages. You'll be the same level as a single-classer.

==Aelryinth      
Fighter vs Warblade analysis http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19573526/Analyzing_the_Fighter_vs_The_Warblade The Lockdown F/20 iconic build http://community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/75882/19856162/A_little_Lock_build_for_you
As I say, I never know if something I remember from BG was BG-specific. IIRC, BG Mages couldn't cast in armour (bar the Elven Chain) full stop. Also, magic arrows were more useful than the bow itself; at low levels, darts were the way to go (three attacks per round, was it?) or throwing daggers if you could afford them, but bows did more damage.
Darts didn't do much damage but ANYONE got to make three attacks each round with them.  And this wasn't 3e's "three attacks but nothing else" but "three attacks plus anything else".
Darts didn't do much damage but ANYONE got to make three attacks each round with them.  And this wasn't 3e's "three attacks but nothing else" but "three attacks plus anything else".


I don't remember it working that way but I don't have books with me.

In general your class choices will be determined very much by your stats.

Having a second fighter, magic user, thief or cleric all work as long as they're not too similar. Adding a Ranger, Paladin, Bard or Druid to the basic 4 also works although I've found that characters that have stats to qualify for those classes tend to outshine characters that only qualify for a basic class.

If you roll high stats you can be awesome in whatever you want. If your highest stat is a 12 it's going to be a lot harder to play anything but a rather unremarkable Fighter or maybe Thief.

I found the Thief the least interesting class, unless you have at least one more character in the party who's a decent sneak, like a Ranger or multi/dual class with Thief. Scouting ahead alone with just d6 hitdice is suicide. Open Lock becomes useless after the Wizard gets Knock, Find/Remove traps often is another deathwish, Pick Pockets and Thieve's Cant and Backstab rarely see any use if ever. Climb Walls is marginally useful. Detect Noise I found the most useful ability most of the time. At high level your attacks and saves also start lagging and melee becomes an unatractive option because of your low hitpoints.

5e should strongly stay away from "I don't like it, so you can't have it either."

 

I once asked the question (in D&D 3.5) "Does a Druid4/Wizard3/ArcaneHierophant1 have Wildshape?". Jesse Decker and Andy Collins: Yes and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Rich Redman and Ed Stark: No and the text is clear and can't be interpreted differently. Skip Williams: Lol, it's worded ambiguously and entirely not how I intended it. (Cust. Serv. Reference# 050815-000323)

IIRC you didn't even need a high Int to be a decent Wizard, since you didn't get bonus spells from it or anything like you do these days. I think there will have been a minimum, though, for you to be able to cast in the first place (the same 10+spell level? I forget)
IIRC you didn't even need a high Int to be a decent Wizard, since you didn't get bonus spells from it or anything like you do these days. I think there will have been a minimum, though, for you to be able to cast in the first place (the same 10+spell level? I forget)



A wizard's intelligence determines the maximum level of spells the wizard can cast, and the number of spells of each level that the wizard can learn. It also determines the chance of success when the wizard tries to learn a new spell.

For example, a wizard with an Intelligence of 15 can learn and cast spells of up to and including 7th level, and can know up to 11 spells of each level. This wizard has a 65% chance to learn a new spell.

So a high intelligence is very valuable to a wizard, but as long as it's in the 14-15 range, you're going to be okay until you get to around 15th level. Most 2nd edition campaigns don't ever get that high, in my experience.

Edit: by the way, the formula is half your Int score (rounded down) = max spell level; with a minimum Int of 9 to be a wizard at all. 
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