Monday, 7 May 2018

Top 10 Best Infinity Engine Two-Handed Swords Greatswords (Baldur's Gate, BG2, Planescape: Torment, Icewind Dale, IWD2)

T O P   T E N  I N F I N I T Y  E N G I N E  
G R E A T  S W O R D S

The two-handed sword is a derivative of the long sword.  Weaponsmiths have always looked for ways to improve existing weapons.  In an effort to improve the long sword, the blade was lengthened.  Eventually, the handle had to be extended and two hands became necessary to properly swing the sword.  The primary function of two-handed swords is cleaving mounted knights and breaking up pike formations. 

The problem with greatswords/two-handed swords is that we forego a shield and dual-wielding. Thus, defense and ApR suffer until we get Hardiness and GWW. Also, with the exception of Carsomyr and Warblades (1d12), katanas match the weapon roll of greatswords (1d10), and are one-handed and backstab-capable. Ergo, that greatsword would want to have some pretty great perks if we are going to wield it (vorpal, level drain, on-hit Dispel etc.)

One largely unknown perk of greatswords (and polearms such as halberds) is their extended reach: wielders of such are able to hit aggro "over" combat unit allies, from a position of safety. Another perk is that we can easily switch between our greatsword and bow (we don't need to unequip our shield or off-hand weapon first).

And yes, there are no greatswords in PS:T (there is only one sword: Dak'kon's Zerth Blade).

1. Holy Avenger: Carsomyr (SW2H10 [+5]SW2H19 [+6], holy avenger: two-handed sword [craft], BG2: SoA/ToB).

◦ THAC0 +5, 1d12 +5 slashing (+10 vs. Chaotic Evil), on-hit Dispel (bugged to be nerfed), Dispel Magic level 15 3/day, +50% MR), Paladin only.
Carsomyr is a weapon of legend, perhaps one of the most powerful blades ever forged on Faerun, though its origin and history is thought purposefully forgotten, such that the sword itself never overshadow the importance of the struggles that must be fought today.  It is infused with the very essence of virtue, and requires as much from any paladin that would hope to wield it.  The evils of the Realms must truly stand aside when this weapon is brought to bear, their magic dispelled with a word, steadfastly resisted with ease.  Carsomyr also harbors a special distaste for the forces of evil and chaos, and such creatures must fear additional damage from its touch in battle.  
◦ THAC0 +6 [1], 1d12 +6 slashing (+12 vs. Chaotic Evil), on-hit Dispel (bugged to be nerfed), Dispel Magic level 15 3/day, +50% MR), Paladin only.
Even a Holy Relic as powerful as Carsomyr is made even greater when combined with the Eye of Tyr.

Pally and Rogue UAI only. Encounter-impacting on-hit Dispel [2], massive +MR [3], and great THAC0 and damage. Top that off with early procurement and I don't see why Carsomyr can't be ranked first and foremost in this grouping.
[1] That +6 will allow you to bypass Absolute Immunity. The only other weapons that can do this are Ixil's, Ravager and Ram (all two-handed weapons: a spear, a halberd and a staff).
[2] Bug-nerfed, but even if it only took down Stoneskin and Ironskin (which it does, among other protections) that alone would be enough.
[3] Note that Carsomyr MR is stackable MR. It does NOT set MR. Also, UAI overcomes an item's alignment restrictions. It literally is Use ANY Item. Thus, (for example) Rogues can wield Carsomyr AND wear Human Flesh Armor for a solid MR 70. Add Amulet of the Seldarine and Ring of Gaxx for 90 MR. From memory, the Selfish Bhaaltear in the SoA finale will then give you 100 MR. There are other MR sources that will let you go beyond 100 (pointless).

2. Two Handed Sword +1: Hammering (UTSWD2B, Great Sword, IWD 1.06). 1D10 +1, on-hit 20% Stun.
(Generic description is generic.)

Fishable random drop in the Temple of the Forgotten God (early-game). Will stun almost anything, even undead. BAD ASS. Maybe TOO bad ass. Which is probably why BIS removed it in the Heart of Winter expansion. Doesn't matter: I dislike HoW and only play 1.06, anyway.

3. Joril's Dagger (WAS2H, two-handed sword, BG2: SoA): THAC0 +3, 1d10 +3 slashing, +1 cold, on-hit 25% save vs. spells three-round Confusion.
Joril was a powerful Frost giant that lived with his clan in the Spine of the World.  His magic dagger was lost when he was killed by a band of adventurers.  Eventually the dagger wound up in the town of Kuldahar where it was reforged so that it could be used as a Two handed sword.

Much like IWD's Longsword of Confusion, this is underrated. You can buy it from Joluv straight out of the blocks. What's so good about Confusion? It's a divide & conquer tactic. Enemies under the effect of Confusion will run about like idiots, attack each other, or just stand there doing nothing. Either way, they're dead meat.

4. Spider's Bane (SW2H06, two-handed sword, BG): THAC0 +2, 1d10 +2, Free Action.
Spider's Bane was originally forged by the dwarves of the Orothiar tribe in Cloakwood.  They created the blade to help foster good will between them and the Grand Dukes of Baldur's Gate.  Wielded by the Grand Dukes for about a century, the sword was eventually lost, ironically in a fight against ettercaps and spiders.  Who wields the blade is now unknown, but its recovery would aid greatly in fighting the current spider infestation that plagues the Cloakwood.

Free Action status is everything in BG. Being able to wade into Web is just so good. Itemized in Cloakwood 2 (Centeol).

5. Winged Blight (ZZR6WB, Great Sword, IWD2): AB +1, Enchantment +1, 2d6 +1 slashing, Bane: +3 Attack Bonus vs Humans and +2d6+3 Damage Bonus vs Humans.
This massive sword, presumably fashioned to be wielded by a person of great strength, is as elegant as it is repulsive.  Though coated in metal, its blade has been reinforced with human bones.  Furthermore its hilt, and accompanying scabbard, have been stylishly made from tanned human flesh and skin. Little is known about the origins of this sword, but Mulhorandi aristocrats have passed its rumor from generation to generation.  According to legend, whenever a human Mulhorandi woman gave birth to a girl after having been forced into slavery, she would, on the night of the first full moon, pray to the ancient pharaoh Tyrish for guidance.  Hearing her prayers, Tyrish would send "floating down from the heavens" this weapon, originally no larger than a stiletto, and the woman would use it to severely disfigure her child.  Once the deed was done, the weapon would enlarge slightly before floating away as gracefully as it had arrived.  These "marked" children, now deemed undesirable by their male overseers, would be allowed to purchase their freedom, thus sparing them the horrors of slavery.  The scars inflicted upon these children - those physical in nature at least - would eventually heal over time.

Found in Chapter 2 on the corpse of the half-dragon boss, Sherincal. The bonuses vs. Humans are excellent because there are hundreds of human foes in IWD2 (barbs, monks, spellcasters, knights, guards etc.) Remember, 1.5x Strength bonus in 3.x.

6. Silver Sword (SW2H15, two-handed sword [craft], BG2: SoA): THAC0 +3, 1d10 +3 slashing, on-hit 25% vorpal on failed save vs. death at -2.
This Vorpal Silver Sword radiates a dark aura when you examine it, and the blade is so finely sharpened it could likely sever a head in a single blow.

Cromwell forge in post-Underdark SoA. Still, it sees a fair bit of use into ToB because the on-hit vorpal is great against the expansion's horde-based encounter design.

7. Lilarcor (SW2H14, two-handed sword, BG2: SoA): THAC0 +3, 1d10 +3 slashing, Imm: Charm & Confusion, "My brother is a +12 Hackmaster!" (talking sword for Minsc).
Lawrence Lilarcor was well known, not for being brave, but as an idiot.  As the tale goes, the boastful Lilarcor left his village at the urging of his friends so that the "great hero" could do battle with a devious Treant.  He walked for days in the dead of winter until, feverish, he found his target and began an epic wrestling match.  Unfortunately (or perhaps luckily), the "Treant" was nothing more than a craggy old normal oak.  His friends had been jesting, not actually expecting that Lilarcor would go fight the fictitiously dangerous tree.  That might have been the end of it, but Lilarcor, not really knowing what a Treant was in the first, didn't realize the truth.  He eventually uprooted the oak and, marching proudly home, he declared himself a hero.  Thus was born a laughing stock of epic proportions, and over time the name of Lilarcor became the sacrificial fool in many tales of "less than brilliance". It is not known whether this enchanted weapon is Lilarcor himself, perhaps imprisoned by an evil mage or some other odd coincidence of fate, but it certainly acts in a manner consistent with his level of competence.  If it is he, he has never bemoaned his captivity.  He might not realize, or care, that he is no longer a human. As a weapon, Lilarcor has its uses, but many a warrior has eventually given it away.  Banter such as "Ouch, that musta hurt", "Oh yeah!  Got 'im good", and "Beware my bite for it might...might...might really hurt or something" is a constant barrage on a warrior's psyche.

The immunities are actually pretty useful vs. spellcasters and the likes of Umber Hulks (De Arnise, Spellhold).

8. Soul Reaver (SW2H08, two-handed sword, BG2: SoA): THAC0 +4, 1d10 +4 slashing, on-hit no-save cumulative THAC0 -2 (duration 20 rounds), not usable by Good.
A social faux pas placed upstart Andor Licon in a duel with Baron Eeirk, heir to a warrior king.  Though they seemed of even skill, Andor grew oddly weaker with each hit of the Baron's family blade.  Panicking, he bade his bodyguards kill Eeirk.  Despite his claims of morality, some noted that the young noble had positioned his men before the duel was even underway, and though he professed disdain for its dark magic, Andor made a tidy fortune off the sale of the evil blade.

Potentially useful against THAC0 lords such as Dragons in post-Underdark SoA and ToB.

9. Gram the Sword of Grief (SW2H17 [basic], SW2H18, [upgraded], two-handed sword [craft], BG2: ToB).

◦ THAC0 +5, 1d10 +5 slashing, on-hit 10% chance of 2d12 poison.
This is one of the many weapons of the great hero Siegfried.  The blade is particularly sharp and well balanced, and in a certain light one can see the faint image of a serpent within the hilt.
◦ THAC0 +5, 1d10 +5 slashing, on-hit 10% chance of 2d12 poison, on-hit Level Drain save vs. death at -5, 5% MR.
Siegfried's fearsome blade is even more powerful with the Heart of the Damned set into its pommel.

Nowhere near as good as Blackrazor, and itemized way too late, but still an excellent ToB wield, especially against bosses.

10. World's Edge (SW2H07, two-handed sword, BG: TotSC): THAC0 +3, 1d10 +3 slashing.
This is a legendary weapon of heroic proportions, especially among the far-northern tribes of barbarians. Champion after champion has wielded this blade against countless enemies, and the blood it has spilled could fill a small sea. History will not admit that such a blade could be forged and each consecutive owner seems to tie its origin to whatever creation myth they believe. The most grandiose of these tales is that of a great chieftain who sailed to the cliffs that supposedly bordered the world. There he reached into the void, and his will shaped the blade from nothing. Whatever the truth, in the right hands this sword is a fearsome thing. 

Delving to the third level of Durlag's Tower just for +1 THAC0 and damage over Spider's Bane? Meh.

It's funny how BG descriptions for +2 and +3 items are way better than BG2 item descriptions (when BG2 items are godly). It's just pure laziness. Mmm... yes. I believe I will add this point to my BG vs. BG2 write-up.


Didn't make the cut because they are either underwhelming, random drops, or just come too late in the campaign to be considered Top 10:

Flame of the North (SW2H12, two-handed sword, BG2: SoA): THAC0 +2, 1d10 +2 slashing (+4 vs. Chaotic Evil), 10% MR.
The title does not refer to the blade itself, but rather to the woman who originally wielded it in the icy hinterlands of Faerun.  Her name was Carerra, and she was a veritable firestorm that swept across arctic trolls and the northern orcish tribes.  She was a hated enemy of many a shaman whose magic often floundered against her fury. After a lifetime of raucous battle, it was old age that eventually claimed her.  The sword was passed to her granddaughter, an adventurer, who presumably brought it to Amn.

What a disappointment. Itemized on the first level of Spellhold. FFS, at least make it +4 vs. general Evil and give it 2 points of fire damage. Joril's Dagger is far superior and comes much earlier...

Psion's Blade (SW2H21, two-handed sword, BG2: ToB): THAC0 +5, 1d10 +5 slashing, Imm: Psionics and Confusion.
Some believe this massive blade to be of Drow origin, though others dispute this claim.  However, all agree this great sword was fashioned with a single purpose... to rid the world of the Illithid. Those who wield the Psion's Blade are immune to the Mind Flayer's psionic attacks.  The bewildering gaze of Umber Hulks, often found serving the Illithid, are similarly rendered harmless.

Solid enchantment, solid damage and great vs. mind-flayers/illithid, but it just doesn't see much use.

Bane (UTSWD4B, two-handed sword, IWD): THAC0 +3, 1d10 +3 slashing, on-hit 25% cumulative no-save Disease, +10% MR.
(Generic description is generic.)

A two-handed version of Cancerous. Random and difficult fish in Upper Dorn's Deep.

• Static Two Handed Sword (UTSWD5A, two-handed sword, IWD): THAC0 +4, 1d10 +4 slashing, on-hit 25% no-save Stun, on-hit 50% 2d3 electrical.

Difficult late-game fish. You will be very happy if you find it because that on-hit Stun is devastating through HoF mode.

Greatsword of the Soulless (00SWDT93, Great Sword, IWD2): AB +5, Enchantment +5, 2d6 + 5 slashing, Vampiric: 2d4 hit points drained from target and temporarily added to wielder (Fortitude save for none) .
The Slayer Knights of Xvim are considered one of the deadliest warriors in any kingdom.  One of the things that makes them so deadly, besides being demon kin, is their skill with their specially forged greatswords; the Greatsword of the Soulless.  Being the common weapon of knights, the primary function of greatswords is cleaving mounted knights and breaking up pike formations. However, in the efficient hands of a Slayer Knight of Xvim, this particular greatsword will cleave through the bodies of their targets, and literally suck out the target's lifeblood.  The Greatsword of the Soulless is the primary weapon of the Slayer Knights of Xvim. 

Some Slayer Knights of Xvim wield these in the finale of the Severed Hand. They are mostly notable as loot since they can be sold in HoF mode for a fortune.

You will notice I don't list many IWD2 weapons. Reason? They are pretty balanced and rarely combat encounter-impacting as a result. BG2 itemization is more interesting whereas IWD2 is more about the builds (consider its multi-classing potential and its feats such as Power Attack, Cleave, Great Cleave, Improved Critical etc.)


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