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First SCS playthrough- Will Try to beat Trilogy Hardcore with a full group on First Try

Years ago, I finished SoA without reloading as a solo MT and realized that solo play was easier than group play (because it is easy to make 1 character buff and often immune to most everything, especially a MT). I put down Baldur´s Gate and did not play again until last month when I bought BG:EE and BGII:EE. I just finished BG with a druid and no reloads (after several failed attempts as I relearned the game) and will start on BGII shortly.

But first, I wanted to do a BG run with the SCS mod, because I had read a lot of interesting threads and comments about the mod. I downloaded the mod, skimmed the design notes briefly, and then had at it for a few hours dying twice to the bounty hunters in the early going. After a few hours though, I felt that I had the gist of the mod and decided I wanted to try to beat BG, without reloading and with a party, on my first full play-through with SCS. Since I would only ever have 1 first playthough with SCS, the pressure was on.

Since SCS pulls few punches, I decided to pull no punches and created the character that I felt was the most powerful in BG. Keep your Kensages, your FMs, your Beserker Clerics, or your MTs (which, as a multiclass Elf, I still feel is the most powerful character one can play). The most powerful character in BG is an Ranger kitted to archer (though I began to rethink this after doing battle with Davaeorn).

This discussion then will contain many SCS spoilers, the strategies (some successful, some failed) that I have used, my thoughts on group-build for SCS, and some roleplaying. If you want to preview the SCS mod, then this will be helpful to you. If you want to be surprised by the changes, as I was by many, then this is probably not a good thread for you.

First, meet the protagonist of this story, a young Elf from Candlekeep, appearing as he was after his adventures through the gnoll stronghold, along the Sword Coast, through the mines of Nashkel, preparing to enter Ulcaster and the Firewine ruins.




  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    After Action Report: Early Game to the Friendly Arm Inn

    Forced to flee Candlekeep in the middle of the night with his foster father, the mage Gorion, after 2 failed attempts on his life by assassins with poisoned blades (one of whom poisoned Aurorus, but by a stroke of luck, he happened to have an antidote on hand that he was taking to his friend Dreppin), Aurorus fled as an armored warrior and his accomplices ambushed and killed his foster father.

    Heading the sage´s final advice, Aurorus headed to the Friendly Arm Inn, accompanied his foster sister, Imoen (a sharp-minded rogue who had followed him in the night) and 2 travelers, Xzar and Montaron whom he met on the road. Aurorus was impressed with both these two. The mage was rather nimble (I like Xzar for his dex bonus, especially in SCS where mages are often targeted by archers- also Xzar can use divination magic, which is very important in SCS; Edwin cannot, which makes Xzar more important that Edwin for an evil party). Montaron, in addition to being a very good dual-class has a 16 constitution and receives a nice short-race save bonus- also very important in SCS). However, they were devoid of manners and Aurorus cared not for their company. He decided he would travel with them only for a short time. Aurorus was also surprised to encounter a bard, Eldoth in the forest, on the way to the inn, but after sharing a drink, Aurorus thought better of his company as he had a plan that seemed to involve blackmailing a nobleman (more on bards later).

    Another assassin awaited Aurorus at the top of the steps to the inn, Tarnesh. Montaron had hidden (as was often hidden) and had preceded the group to the top of the stairs. The three at the base of the steps quickly tried to fan out, but too late, Tarnesh fired off a sleep spell that caught the three. Xzar and Imoen fell asleep, but elves have innate resistance to sleep (yes, it works), and Aurorus let loose at the assassin quickly peeling off 2 off his mirror images; Montaron stabbed at the assassin, removing a third image. Tarnesh fired off a horror spell at the little halfling and set him running in a panic, but with only one image remaining, Aurorus loosed 3 arrows before the assassin could act again, 2 sinking deep into Tarnesh and ending his miserable life.

    At the inn, Aurorus met the friends Gorion had mentioned, Jaheira and Khalid. Aurorus was very impressed with Jaheira who could create her own magic weapon until a better could be found and would eventually get some very good defensive buffs, heals, and summons (i really like the resist fire, Armor of Faith combination). If only some way could be found to boost her dexterity, she would make the perfect front-line combatant. Khalid was far less impressive, but the 2 were inseparable (in SCS, you have the option to make pairs separable. I did not install it, however, as I view it as bad roleplaying). Aurorus decided Khalid was serviceable, however, as an off-tank and a ranged fighter- a hybrid, of sorts. Aurorus had studied the tactics of the elves, while at Candlekeep (when not practicing with his bow), and had determined that the key to success was to remain dispersed, attacking formidable adversaries from multiple directions, presenting multiple threats, and keeping the enemies attention focused on diversions. As a hybrid archer-tank, Aurorus could find a place for Khalid, if only to keep his wife happy.

  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,466
    This is a BG1 run only?
    Good luck!

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    I will probably play through BGII vanilla once or twice first to refresh my memory, since I haven´t played it in 12 years or more, and then try Aurorus through BGII with SCS hardcore, that is, if I complete my BG hardcore run. I still have to prevent the
    murder of the grand dukes and defeat Sarevok, and I am not sure what to expect in the final battle, since I assume SCS makes it more difficult.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    After Action Report: Beregost and Nashkel

    Having agreed to accompany Khalid and Jaheira to Nashkel, Aurorus set off south to Beregost, killing an ogre along the way. Upon arriving in Beregost, Aurorus encountered a young bard who was looking for guards for his companion, Silke. Aurorus took a liking to the young man, and since protection is what a ranger does, Aurorus agreed.

    Silke turned out to be less than honest, however, and rather than bodyguards, she wanted assassins. When Aurorus refused, Silke attacked the surprised party, who were still grouped up and not in a favorable position to begin a battle (I really like the way SCS mods some of the cut-scenes to make an unexpected battle feel like a surprise). The battle opened with Silke prepared to fight with mirror images and stoneskins- a formidable barrier to an inexperienced and unprepared group. They were not without resources, however, and Aurorus, Khalid, and Imoen cut loose with arrows, quickly peeling off images. The 6-8 attacks per round that the archery-heavy group moves quickly through mage defenses. Silke began to cast a spell and was down to 1 image after the initial archery burst. Xzar let loose a Larloch´s Minor Drain and got lucky, hitting Silke instead of her image, and disrupting her spell. Montaron and Jaheira finished off the images and began on the stoneskins. With Khalid and Aurorus getting 3 attacks in the following round and Montaron getting 2, Silke was naked and exposed before her next spell could loose. She fired off a sequencer, becoming invisible and renewing her mirror image. The group fanned out, expecting the worst. She drank a potion of extra healing while invisible and then power-word slept Montaron (a strange choice and the least threatening of any of her assailants). By the time she could act again, her images were gone and she was nearly dead.

    Aurorus decided to leave the company of Montaron and Xzar and offered the young bard a place in the group. He was not sure what challenges lay ahead, but felt that the bard had a lot to offer the group. He had a respectable dexterity and could do sufficient ranged damage with a crossbow (though at only 1 attack per round, it is not a good weapon for SCS- but in a short time, he could learn to use either bows or darts). With the ability to learn quickly and rapidly progress, in a group (where experience and level progression are at a premium) bards offer a great deal, having a spell progression not much slower than wizards for the first 7 levels or so (when viewed in terms of raw experience points rather than levels). Aurorus felt there were no better companions available at this point than Garik (yes that´s right. I think Garik is one of the best early game companions for good or neutral parties- at least until Cloakwood. With Eldoth available in SCS early to evil parties, he also makes a very good early-mid game companion).

    Arriving in Nashkel, after finishing a number of quests in and around Beregost, Aurorus was surprised to meet Quayle, a gnome illusionist-cleric, at a carnival outside of town, (One of the great features of SCS is moving some of the late-game NPCs to areas accessible early game, which opens up many more options for group combinations). Aurorus found the silly gnome to be likeable and possessing a wide array of useable skills, despite his delusions of grandeur. Jaheira, who was quickly becoming the second in command, was not so taken with the gnome and "doubted that his motives were as he claimed." (I was surprised to find Quayle here and was forced to rethink how I wanted to form my group. I always had reservations about dual-classed mage NPCs because of the slow level progression. I like quality over quantity of spells, but with Quayle and Jaheira, I would have access to nearly every spell in the game. I decided that Quayle was just too much of a powerhouse early game to leave on the sidelines). Over Jaheira´s objections, Aurorus offered Quayle a place in the group.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    After Action Report- Around Nashkel and Along the Sword Coast

    After killing a beserker in town who was talking to a rabbit or a hamster he had in his pocket and who attacked Aurorus after he refused to follow a loon into battle (I don´t like Minsc- especially in this group, which had plenty of dps already and I just think ranged dps is far superior to melee dps because it is much less vulnerable to aoe effects and opens up many more tactical opportunities), Aurorus set out west of Nashkel, through a xvart village, assaulted a gnoll stronghold, then returned to Nashkel via the Cloudpeak Mountains, southwest of the village.

    This is the easiest route to follow to start the game if you want to play an "honest" game in my opinion (rather than killing Shoal, stealing Algernon´s cloak, etc.). SCS adds some very well-designed features to these early game encounters. The improved AI allows enemies to call for help. So one cannot inch forward, killing one enemy at a time. Enemies will respond when a nearby enemy is attacked and move to his location. Many rather generic and easy enemies, such as Peter of the North or Zal and Vax ("the fastest dart in the West," receive potions, such as potions of speed, hill giant strength and healing, which make them much more dangerous).

    The only event of much note in these early adventures was when the group encountered several ogre beserkers and hobgoblin elites on a bridge north of the gnoll stronghold. Aurorus scouted the enemies and determined they could be defeated rather than bypassed. The group prepared for battle (with bless, etc.) and Aurorus fired off an arrow at the nearest ogre beserker pulling him toward the group. The ogre went beserk- as per the beserker ability- i.e. immune to everything. Immediately Aurorus knew this was going to be trouble. Jaheira had placed an entangle between the group and the ogre. Aurorus moved behind the entangle, luring the ogre into it, but the ogre moved through it unimpaired. Jaheira began casting doom when the ogre was at maximum visual range from her, but the ogre closed the ground and hit Jaheira, through her ankherg plate, before she could get the spell completed doing 23 damage. Jaheira only had 21 hit points, so she fell on 1 swing. Aurorus returned to town to resurrect Jaheira after the battle and learned that ogre beserkers are not to trifled with in SCS.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    Spotlight- Safana

    While adventuring along the Sword Coast, Aurorus encountered an alluring and probably crazy rogue, Safana, a femme fatale he could not resist. She wanted to search for a lost pirate treasure that she had heard about during her days consorting with pirates, and Aurorus agreed. He had no room for another companion, however, so reluctantly, he said "goodbye," for the moment, to Garik, over Jaheira´s objections. Jaheira seemed to take a liking to the bard. Khalid immediately welcomed the seductive new member, claiming that he had never met a more honorable person. Jaheira spoke volumes with her silence. With Jaheira´s preference for the bard and Khalid´s preference for the lady, Aurorus began to wonder if their marriage was as picturesque as it seemed. Not wanting to press the matter, however, Aurorus said nothing, because he had tremendous respect for the half-elf druid.

    Whatever the case may be, Imoen had expressed a desire to learn magic and Aurorus set her to studying illusions with Quayle, neglecting all her other pursuits. By this time, Imoen could detect illusions flawlessly (I put all her points from levels 2-5 into detect illusions, making it 100%), so the group needed someone who could find and disarm traps. Safana fit the bill perfectly. In addition, Aurorus felt her facility with darts and her single weapon style for stealth attacks fit his strategic designs perfectly.

    Safana is highly underrated as an NPC and is one of the best NPCs available, even if one does not dual-class Imoen, in my opinion. Her rogue skill and weapon specialty points are perfectly placed, and she has a 17 dexterity. With Legacy of the Master gloves (+1 attack +2 damage) and the new +2 scimitar in Cloakwood, her backstabs become lethal. As the only single class rogue (other than Imoen), she can reach x4 backstab damage under the level cap, which is nasty, nasty, nasty. No one, except Charname, if a fighter with a bow, or possibly Khalid, if he puts points into bow (to get to 3 attacks per round at level 7), gets more advantage from Legacy of the Master than Safana, who gets 3 attacks per round with her darts. With the gloves and +1 darts of acid or wounding or stunning, she has the potential to put out over 30 damage a round, tear through mirror images at a frenetic rate, and penetrate stoneskins. Add to this a x4 backstab (and a charm person if her backstab misses) and Safana is a killing machine with panache.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    After Action Report- Nashkel Mines

    With his group set at Khalid, Jaheira, Imoen, Quayle, and Safana, with Garik on the sidelines at Feldeposts, leveled to 5- with halberds as a proficiency and the Chelsey Crusher (which sets attacks to 1 but has +6 damage). He was available to sub in if Aurorus decided he wanted a little more magic support or encoutered problems with fear effects. Aurorus finally set out for the mines of Nashkel. He had been avoiding the mines as he generally preferred the open spaces of the Sword Coast, where his tactics and archery could be used to their best advantage.

    Aurorus expected the worst, but the mines proved anti-climatic, inhabited only by a clan of kobolds, led by their chieftan and a shaman. The chieftan and shaman put up a little resistance, but both quickly fell to a battery of arrows, darts, and command spells. At the bottom of the mines, Aurorus encountered Mulahey, a dark cleric, with a host of skeleton and kobold body guards. Mulahey proved little match for the arrows of Aurorus, who quickly landed 4 arrows, 2 biting until Mulahey was poisoned and then 2 flame arrows to finish off the dark cleric, who was never able to successfully cast a spell. Safana had originally moved in behind Mulahey to backstab him, but with the poison arrows sinking in, she moved on to the kobolds, most of whom were entangled or slept.

    Unfortunately, the clerics, Mulahey, Basillus, and so forth, have not been able to show off their new abilities much as their primary defense, AC, is offset by Aurorus´ very low THAC0. So I can offer little insight into how SCS changes clerics or makes them more challenging.

    SCS improves the Nashkel Mines experience overall, in my opinion. SCS adds some extra kobolds and gives them a chieftain and a shaman, with some modest spell-casting abilities. The chieftan has poison attacks, so he adds a little danger. I cannot say much about the shaman; his images were gone almost immediately, and Safana exploded him with a backstab before he could act. I was worried about the mines, so waited until I had done most of the outdoor stuff. Aurorus and most of the group was level 5 or nearly level 5, which was probably a little much for the mines. In hindsight, I should have entered earlier to get the boots and Mulahey´s ring. I think 3rd level is probably sufficient to handle the challenges of the Mines on SCS.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    After Action Report- Ulcaster

    While in Beregost, investigating the local bandit activity, Aurorus had heard tell of an abandoned mage school, a short journey southeast of the city. He decided, with Imoen abandoning her rogue training to study magic and still very inexperienced (she was only a 3rd level mage), that exploring the old mage school was an experience that would benefit the group. Also, he assumed that an abandoned mage school may have a few useful magic trinket lying about
    (I wanted the wand of fire for Imoen- she already had a wand of missiles and paralysis- so this would give her some firepower until she leveled as a mage).

    Aurorus did not know what to expect and pondered, for a minute, leaving Imoen behind, just for Ulcaster, and taking Garik, but decided Imoen needed to practice her mage skills. Aurorus also thought about leaving Quayle behind but felt that the group would lack sufficient magic without Quayle. (In vanilla, there are some dread wolves in there that are worth a nice chunk of XP to level Imoen. I assumed that they were still there... little did I know). So, he set off to Ulcaster with the 6. Leaving the bard behind was a fateful decision, and one that Aurorus would later regret.

    Outside the mines, the party encountered a skeletal wraith, wielding a flail. Aurorus does not like skeletons. In fact, he has an irrational fear of skeletons and goes to great lengths to avoid them, whenever possible. (If skeletons were a favored enemy option, I would take it, because I hate skeletons, mostly because I rarely have more than 1 or 2 people with crushing weapons. I also hate their darts and daggers. Even before SCS, they had the uncanny ability to appear behind or on the sides of your party and fill your mage with darts, daggers, and arrows before you can even hit the space bar. Now with SCS, they are even worse. With the improved AI, they frequently target the mage, whenever they can see him and keep retreating and scattering whenever you advance, getting addition dart and dagger attacks and leading you into other mobs.)

    Wanting to save many of his spells for the labyrinth below the ruins of the mage school, the group only used a bless spell before engaging the wraith, a serious mistake, as Aurorus greatly underestimated the threat that this dangerous enemy posed. Dropping his bow, and reluctantly pulling out Harrower, a longsword +3 vs. undead, Aurorus, Jaheira, and Khalid advanced on the wraith. The wraith smashed down with his flail on Jaheira, hitting her on the first attack (with a 15, he hit AC -6... this was trouble). The three were able to hit and damage the wraith, however. Immediately, he called upon the power of some dark god; his health was restored and lightning began raining down on the group. On the next round, he hit Jaheira again and lightning also struck her, nearly killing her. She was forced to retreat and begin healing. Aurorus ordered the party to unload everything they had on the wraith... EVERYTHING ASAP.

    He tossed the longsword to Khalid, who was now tanking the wraith and retreated, loading up his bow with acid arrows. Quayle fired off a flame arrow, Imoen loaded up 3 scrolls of magic missile, Safana began unleashing a barrage of acid darts and Aurorus set loose the acid arrows. Khalid was wounded badly, very quickly, getting pounded by the wraith and struck by lightning. Aurorus moved in to tank (this was not good. He did not expect to tank here and only had studded leather equipped- more on this later). Jaheira had much of her health back, but needed one more cure. She also desperately wanted to get Strength of One up, which she decided was a priority over her own health. Aurorus proved to be a better tank than either Khalid or Jaheira. He was wearing Talos´boots (from Mulahey) and the Gift of Peace for 70% lightning resist. He was able to hold on for 2 rounds, while Jaheira drank a potion of a healing, got off a strength of one, and drank a potion of absorption. With the lightning having little effect on Aurorus. The wraith seemed to be able to target whom he willed with it, changing targets to Quayle and then Safana, who were both nearly killed by the bolts.

    Jaheira was now ready for the wraith, with a 18:75 strength, an armor class of -19 against his flail (that´s right... -19... -6 base, -3 vs. crushing from Destroyer of the Hills belt, and -10 from the potion of absorption), and 100% lightning resistance... the kid gloves were off. Nature´s servant awaited the advancing wraith and issued her one-on-one challenge. The rest of the group, except Aurorus, retreated... right into a pack of skeletons... (did I mention that I hate skeletons). Neither Quayle nor Safana were at 100% health and the first volley of daggers and arrows hit Quayle, who had managed a mirror image after getting struck by lightning, but the daggers and arrows quickly stripped him of his images... he ran back toward the wraith, where the next bolt of lightning felled the little gnome. Khalid, who had Harrower moved to engage the skeletons, but they scattered, first targeting Safana with a round a darts and daggers. Safana ducked around a corner, into the ruins to hide, but she was met there by a pack of Kobolds, who were coming to investigate the sounds of battle outside and happily joined the fray. Safana was struck by an arrow, and nearly dead, quickly chugged a potion of invisibility. Quayle had memorized sleep, but was down. There was a scroll in the scroll-case, and Imoen risked the skeletons to grab the scroll case from Quayle´s body. Aurorus moved to engage the kobolds and quickly felled the first two around the corner.

    The situation was now more-or-less stable. Much hinged on Khalid, however, who was badly wounded and never fully recovered from the wraith. He was engaging 5 or 6 skeletons, who were pelting him with daggers and scoring a couple hits every round. He soldiered valiantly, however. Despite his wounds and ignoring the fallen gnome, he kept the skeletons at bay, whittling down their numbers, and keeping them off Imoen. Jaheira was more than a match for the wraith, and after killing the kobolds, Aurorus reloaded the acid arrows and helped Jaheira finish off the master of these dark ceremonies. After the battle, much of the group was badly wounded and exhausted. They decided to heal up in Beregost and return to the ruins the next day.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    After Action Report- Ulcaster Part 2

    The next day, the 6, minus the bard, returned to Ulcaster to explore the labyrinth. They encountered little resistance through much of the labyrinth. (The spiders, wolves, and jellies were all missing when I entered. I think this was a bug, as they spawned when I exited), until scouting ahead, Safana spotted the Wolf of Ulcaster... [spoiler]

    Aurorus was prepared for the worst and not prepared enough. The group used the full range of buffs available- Strength of One, Bless, Chant, Armor of Faith on Jaheira, Remove Fear, Mirror Images and Shields). Jaheira put on the Boots of the North and cast a resist fire-cold as her last buff to set her cold resist to 100, expecting some cold damage. Aurorus had switched to Ankherg armor for this dungeon and left scouting to Safana. He had encountered an ankherg southeast of Beregost, and after killing it, decided that the skin could make an armor similar to that Jaheira had found in field in Beregost. The smith in Beregost was able to work the hide into a 2nd set of ankherg plate.

    The ability to wear the ankherg plate makes archer the most powerful class, or 2nd most powerful, in BGI (stalkers cannot wear the Ankherg armor, by the way). They lose stealth, but gain a heroic AC, enough to tank in a pinch, with a +1 shield and ring of the princes, they can hit AC -6 if needed. And while only able to take 1 rank in melee weapons, they start with 2 ranks in 2-weapon fighting, like all rangers, and get a fighter´s attacks per round. One greatly underestimates the versatility of the archer class if one assumes they only shoot bows. They can still muster 5/2 attacks per round with 2 weapons and have a very good AC. After level 7, they get 3 attacks per round in melee (with 2 weapons), 1/2 attack less than other rangers and for -2 damage (since other rangers can specialize), but still good enough to tank and do some serious damage when needed.

    The battle opened with Safana lurking by the entrance between the group and the Wolf, Khalid holding the position by the door into the hallway, in case trouble should come from that direction, but still able to see the whole room and target the Wolf with his bow. The mages were in the corner behind Aurorus, who could target the whole room and the hallway if need be. Jaheira moved into the view of the Wolf, issuing her now trademark challenge, "Nature´s servant awaits."

    The battle opened with a thunder of damage from Aurorus, hitting the wolf for over 40 points of damage on the opening volley and seriously injuring it. A good backstab from Safana, and it would be all over... just that fast. Unfortunately, Safana missed. The Wolf issued a howl, causing fear... but to no avail... as the group had prepared for this possibility with remove fear, then... the unexpected happened... the Wolf summoned ghouls throughout the room: 2 spawned directly next to Aurorus and one next to Safana, who was now visible; this was trouble. Aurorus quickly moved away from the ghouls, a mistake, as one followed him, and the other set at Quayle. Aurorus was forced to drop his bow and draw sword and shield, not wanting to risk getting paralyzed by the ghoul, who was in melee range. Khalid also had a ghoul on him, so he dropped his bow and pulled sword and shield. The whole plan, to kill the wolf in a massive barrage of damage was now out the window. Safana drank a potion of invisibility, however, and the plan was for her to move in for a 2nd backstab to finish the Wolf.

    Dread wolves began coming down the hall. Just then, the ghoul next to Khalid got extremely lucky and hit Khalid, paralyzing him. Aurorus decided that the Wolf would have to wait for moment and the ghouls became the top priority... an enormous mistake. Jaheira attacked the ghoul that had turned to her after Safana vanished, Aurorus engaged his wolf, and the mages fired off damage spells on the ghoul on them. Khalid was taking damage quickly and seemed certain to fall if help did not arrive immediately. Quayle and Imoen killed the ghoul on them before it could get through their images. Quayle sent a glitterdust over the wolves in the hall and Imoen used a scroll of magic missile on the ghoul on Khalid. Aurorus killed his ghoul quickly and rearmed his bow and decided to try to save Khalid. Safana decided to attack the ghoul on Jaheira (since a lucky shot from this ghoul on Jaheira could spell disaster and Safana was more certain of hitting the ghoul). The dessicated corpse of the ghoul exploded from the backstab and both she and Jaheira could now focus on the Wolf.

    Then... the unexpected happened. The Wolf issued a howl that dispelled magic on the group, removing, above all else, their Remove Fear buff, in addition, the Wolf issued a howl of Greater Malison, reducing all saves by 4. This was a very grave situation indeed. Aurorus decided to sacrifice Khalid and kill the wolf as quickly as possible. More wolves began coming down the hall.... The Wolf had to be killed immediately. Safana drank another potion of invisibility. Aurorus turned on the Wolf with Acid Arrows.

    The next round began with Aurorus hitting the Wolf with the first shot for 15, plus additional acid damage... the Wolf was near death, but regenerating. It let out one final howl and ran out of the room, apparently to try to regenerate its wounds. The howl sent Safana, Imoen, and Quayle running in a panic. Jaheira and Aurorus had drank potions of invulnerability to offset the effects of the greater malison, and both made their saves against the fear. Khalid fell to the blinded wolves, but all the ghouls had been killed. Jaheira moved to engage the wolves who, after tearing through Khalid, were now chasing the mages through the room. Aurorus drank a potion of haste and went after the Wolf to try to finish him off, before he could regenerate.

    He had moved into a corner in the far room, and owing to some terrain glitch, Aurorus could not target him from the doorway and had to move almost adjacent to the Wolf to target him. This gave the Wolf time to issue another howl, which sent Aurorus running. Jaheira was now the only one not panicked. Wolves continued to pour into the room, more than she could handle. She tied up 2 or 3 but the others kept after the mages, pulling down their images and eventually felling both Quayle and Imoen. Safana was invisible still and had run off down the hall. Aurorus followed hasted. The two ran back quite some distance before the fear effects finally ended. Jaheira was alone. Wolves kept coming, now more than 15 dread wolves had surrounded her. She fought her way to the corner, to limit the number of attacks against her. With her back against the wall, she fought bravely, waiting for help to arrive.

    Aurorus and Safana fought through several wolves (which spawned now, but not when we entered.. a glitch) to reach Jaheira just as the Wolf of Ulcaster returned. Aurorus turned and layed into the Wolf, hitting it and putting it near death again. The wolf retreated again, issuing another howl, which sent all 3 in a panic. Safana was now visible, having had to fight through wolves to reach Jaheira, and began to run off with wolves chasing her. They overtook her and felled her a short distance away. Aurorus ran to the other corner, adjacent to Jaheira, where he was surrounded by wolves. All looked lost.

    By the time they regained their composure, they were in adjacent corners of the room, completely filled with dread wolves and both badly wounded. A quick survey of the inventory revealed they had only 6 potions of healing and an elixir of health between them. Aurorus drew sword and shield and began fighting toward Jaheira. They killed a couple wolves between them and eventually met up in Jaheira´s corner. Aurorus was able to move behind Jaheira and when the only wolf adjacent to him turned to attack Jaheira, he saw his opportunity. Down to 2 healing potions total between them, Aurorus drew his bow and behind Jaheira began felling wolves one after another. They cut a path to the door quickly and ran off down the hall, picking up some healing potions off the bodies of Quayle and Safana on the way. When sufficient distance from the Wolf, they turned and killed the horde of dread wolves following them. Aurorus returned in stealth to recover the parties´ gear, making several trips and passing the items to Jaheira.

    Having very nearly killed each other twice, Aurorus and the Wolf both limped away from the battle to lick their wounds, sharing a deep respect for the prowess of the other. Aurorus thought of returning to the ruins with Garik later to exact revenge for Quayle, Imoen, Safana, and Khalid, but the Wolf had won his respect, and he decided to let it be.

    (My impression of Ulcaster in SCS is that it is very difficult for a 4th-6th level party, probably a little over-the-top, but a great challenge for a group. I do not recommend this battle for a hardcore run; best to just sneak in and steal the wand of fire. If one wants to challenge the Wolf, a bard is absolutely essential as the battle is nearly un-winnable without one in SCS.)

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    Spotlight- Jaheira

    Jaheira is certainly in the top 3 available good-neutral NPCs in Baldur´s Gate I: the other 2 being Coran and Yeslick. With gauntlets of dexterity, she tanks better than everyone except Yeslick, who gets a nice short-race saving throw bonus and cleric buffs and protections. Her powerful summons at level 7 (Summon Woodland Creature is just the business...) and her ability to call lightning in the later going of the first few chapters really gives her style points. Yeslick has a nice special ability, so one can debate which is the better of the two, but it is close and can go either way. I prefer Jaheira, though I see why others prefer Yeslick.

    In Baldur´s Gate II, she is simply the best neutral-good tank available. Joining you at first level and staying with you for the entire trilogy, there is no longer-standing companion (Imoen disappears for much of BGII). The close relation that you develop with Jaheira from the very beginning can mature in BGII into one of the most well-developed, well-thought-out, well-written, and well-voice-acted romances in the history of Bioware games- with only Viconia´s romance as comparable. Who can help but be moved as Jaheira struggles with her feelings for her departed husband and for Charname. Jaheira (along with Viconia) is The Romance for many 1st-time BG players, introducing this entire feature to the genre of computer-RPGs. For these reasons, Jaheira shares a place, if not the top place (though Kreia is a really well-thought-out character), among the most memorable NPCs in computer RPG history, along with the likes of Viconia, Kreia (from Star Wars KORII), and Smiling Jack (from Vampire the Masquerade:Bloodlines).

    She has really shined on this play-through with Aurorus. The battle in Ulcaster on SCS was one of the most memorable moments that I have had playing Baldur´s Gate, nearly giving up for dead, but somehow suriving. And of course, fighting side-by-side with the hero was Jaheira.

    Here Jaheira introduces herself to the leader of the Blacktalon mercenary band- it is an encounter he will not soon forget... just as Jaheira herself has left a lasting impression on millions of Baldur´s Gate players over the years.

  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,466
    Aurorus said:

    After Action Report- Ulcaster Part 2

    (My impression of Ulcaster in SCS is that it is very difficult for a 4th-6th level party, probably a little over-the-top, but a great challenge for a group. I do not recommend this battle for a hardcore run; best to just sneak in and steal the wand of fire. If one wants to challenge the Wolf, a bard is absolutely essential as the battle is nearly un-winnable without one in SCS.)

    You did well, epic battle!

  • velehalvelehal Member Posts: 297
    Aurorus said:

    After Action Report- Ulcaster Part 2
    My impression of Ulcaster in SCS is that it is very difficult for a 4th-6th level party, probably a little over-the-top, but a great challenge for a group. I do not recommend this battle for a hardcore run; best to just sneak in and steal the wand of fire. If one wants to challenge the Wolf, a bard is absolutely essential as the battle is nearly un-winnable without one in SCS.

    I think that the wolf is relatively easy but the wraith (or whatever it is) is very difficult.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    After Action Report- Firewine

    While investigating Ulcaster, Aurorus discovered that the halfling village of Gullykin lay just east of the old mage school and just north of an old ruins named Firewine. Aurorus decided to explore these ruins, again to get Imoen more resources and experience. So after healing up from the battle with the Wolf, the band set out to Gullykin, where they discovered that all was not well. The village was plagued by kobolds, just as Nashkel had been. After some investigating, they found that the source of these kobold raids was a local no-good who had a door in his basement linking to the Firewine ruins. When Aurorus confronted the halfling, he disappeared through the secret door. Expecting a trap, Aurorus decided not to follow immediately and instead headed south to the Firewine ruins to try another entrance and catch the kobolds unawares.

    (I was indeed worried that SCS had laid a devious trap for anyone entering through the door in Gullykin, but I also really wanted to get a truckload of fire arrows and hoped that SCS added beaucoup commandos to the Firewine dungeon. Archers are far and away the most expensive characters to play- if you really want to get the most out of them- even more expensive than mages, who need 2 expensive potions for every spell learning session, since they all fail at ridiculous rates with any intelligence below 21).

    So entering by the "front-door," the band proceeded to explore the ruins. I have not done Gullykin from this entrance for 16 years or so and then only did it once, after which I always used the door in Gullykin, so this was fun, relearning the maze, finding the traps (I had long-forgotten where they were)- inching forward, with Aurorus stealthed just behind an invisible Safana, who cleared the traps as Aurorus killed kobolds- felling each, without fail, in one shot. Without incident of note, the group reached the leader of this band of kobolds. [spoiler]

    Aurorus and Safana scouted ahead and found a mage, Lendarn, with 2 Ogrillons flanking him and 4 or 5 kobold commandos in a room nearby, with a clear field of fire to anyone attacking the mage. A short distance away an Ogre Mage also lurked- also with clear vision of Lendarn. This was going to be tricky.

    The plan was to have Quayle move to the back of the room with the kobolds invisible (with his special ability) and start off with a sleep spell on them. Aurorus and Safana would sneak up to the room with the Ogre Mage and quickly peel off his images with darts of wounding and arrows of biting- any hits on the Ogre Mage had the potential to render him ineffective- and it was rare for any caster to survive unimpaired a round of 6 poison attacks, even with mirror images. Once his images were gone, he was dead; Safana would use a potion of invisibilty and backstab, and Aurorus would switch to acid arrows for the big damage- 2 rounds to kill the Ogre Mage. Jaheira would buff herself and Khalid with fire-cold resist and drink a potion of absorption, making her all but immune to elemental damage. Those 2 and Imoen, along with Quayle after his sleep spell would kill the mage, any commandos who survived the sleep, and the ogrillons: with Aurorus and Safana joining in after the Ogre Mage was dead. This would handle every threat and keep the group dispersed to mitigate the problems caused by any AoE effects. We had sufficient resources for every job and one group could support the others if things went amiss in any part of the operation.

    Then the unexpected happened. Aurorus and Safana had returned to the group in the hallway around the corner from the hall leading to the mage to wait for the long-term buff spells to go off before making their stealth run to the ogre mage. As Imoen and Quayle were casting their shields, Lendarn came walking around the corner, all by himself, in clear view of the entire group. Aurorus cut loose with Arrows of Biting, Khalid cut loose with arrows of fire, Safana joined in with darts of wounding, and Jaheira fired off a bullet of electricity from her sling (just to cover all the elemental bases). His images were gone almost immediately and the bullet of electricity disrupted his spell through his stoneskin. He turned and fled toward his minions. Spells were of no use here against him as he had a Minor Globe of Invulnerability.

    Aurorus decided to press the engagement rapidly, remaining in contact with the enemy and pressing him with all haste. Aurorus followed to the corner and got off 2 more arrows of biting, one of which poisoned Lendarn as he slipped around the far corner and out of view. Safana hid in the shadows and followed close after the mage. Khalid dropped his bow and drew sword and shield and charged after Lendarn (I was worried about the commandos and Khalid was unbuffed... if he got feared or confused... I wanted him to be able to draw fire and survive ... so his large shield +1 would offer good protection against the commandos). Jaheira remained behind with the mages and buffed... our reserve force. Lendarn got around the corner and fired off a sequencer of mirror image and invisibility.

    As Khalid was advancing down the hall, the little halfling appeared and backstabbed Khalid, delivering a nasty wound. Khalid drank a potion of healing and tried to move around the halfling, but the ogre mage came around the corner at that moment and the halfling and the ogre mage blocked Khalid´s progress. So he set at the ogre mage with Varscona, his sword (which can disrupt spells through stoneskin with its cold damage), and Aurorus began firing off arrows of biting at the ogre mage. Seeing her husband in peril and needing reserves now, Jaheira ran around the corner, after getting off an Armor of Faith and a Resist Fire-Cold, to join her husband. The ogre mage was falling fast, Aurorus had hit him twice and he was nearly dead, when the poison on Lendarn wore off. He drank a potion of healing and fired off a fireball- point-blank at Khalid, hitting the halfling, Khalid, Jaheira, the ogre mage, the kobold commandos, and the ogrillons: killing the ogre mage, wiping out most of his own minions, and severely damaging Khalid. With the minions gone, Safana set at him with darts of wounding.

    Lendarn wheeled and peeled off a lightning bolt at Safana just as she finished off his images and stoneskins and lodged a deadly poison dart in his chest. The bolt went through Safana, ricocheted off the wall and bounced back into Lendarn, the halfling, Khalid and Jaheira, then down the hall to Aurorus. Safana, hit by the initial bolt, was able to sidestep the ricochet, as was Aurorus. Lendarn, Khalid, and the halfling were not so lucky and both fell. Jaheira was unscathed, having drank a potion of absorption, and so the battle ended, with Lendarn having killed all of his own minions and himself.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    Spotlight- Khalid

    Reviewing my screenshots of the battle in Firewine,
    I see that Safana must have killed Lendarn, because his globe was still up when he cast his lightning bolt and I also see that Imoen used a wand of summoning to surround the mage with enemies just before his fireball, which I had forgotten about, since the fireball and lightning bolt quickly killed everything in the vicinity. It is likely, however, that the summons provoked the mage to destroy everything, so I forgot Imoen´s valuable contribution to this battle.
    However, the real hero of Firewine was Khalid, bravely charging in unbuffed, when the group needed to press the action. He has performed yeoman work on this play-through, supporting Aurorus nicely with his bow and stepping in to support Jaheira when needed with sword and shield. Quick to step to the aid of the ladies, both his wife and Safana, his morale has never faltered in this play-through, despite some terrible hit-point rolls and taking significant damage in several engagements (his hit points are abysmal, averaging a roll of just over 3 per level). His morale improves greatly when in the company of NPCs that he likes, especially Safana, it would seem (but he does also like Garik). He does not do as well with Xan around (at least that was my experience with my druid), but whose morale does not falter a bit in the company of Xan. Below is a screenshot in the aftermath of the battle in Firewine as a testimony to Khalid´s repeated bravery in this playthrough...

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    "I think that the wolf is relatively easy but the wraith (or whatever it is) is very difficult."

    Really, I made a mistake in the battle with the Wolf. I turned my attention to the ghouls, because I was afraid one would paralyze Aurorus, and I thought I had another round or 2 to deal with the Wolf. If Aurorus would have just braved an attack or 2 by the ghoul and kept after the wolf, despite the -6 penalty for shooting a bow in melee and Safana would have made a 2nd backstab attempt on the Wolf, we probably would have killed it; one more good shot would have done it. I just did not expect the dispel magic and greater malison and panicked a bit when hit with those debuffs. As for the wraith, a potion of absorption pretty much nullifies the wraith as it makes a tank immune to his lightning and -10 AC vs. his flail. He was no match for Nature´s Servant after she assessed the threat and buffed appropriately.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    After Action Report - Thayans

    Returning from Firewine, Aurorus had had his fill of dungeons and was eager to return to an environ in which he was more comfortable. After scouting some bailisks east of Beregost, he had the group prepare to defend against gaze attacks. The basilisks were easily defeated after some quick preparations. He also encountered a party of adventurers in the area who tried to goad him into a fight, but taking the higher ground, he refused to give them the battle they sought to provoke.

    I really wanted the belt from the leader of this group, a belt that gives a -3 AC bonus vs. slashing, for Jaheira in the battle against Sarevok, but Aurorus is good and will not do battle without cause. Also the basilisks are a little more challenging in SCS as Mutamin tries to dispel prot. from petrification. The group was widely dispersed, however, and he only hit Imoen with his dispel. She sat out the rest of the map, and the basilisks were easily defeated.

    After defeating the basilisks, the band marched north into the woodlands of Peldvale and Larswood in search of the bandit camp. While exploring an area just south of Peldvale, Safana scouted a group of 4 wizards, wearing red robes on a platform, probably conducting some sort of dark ritual. As he was to cleanse these woods of bandits and defiling the wilds with dark rituals runs counter to Jaheira´s religion, Aurorus decided to challenge these villains.

    Aurorus knew from his past battles with wizards that one was problem enough, but 4 was going to be a real struggle. He had also learned to avoid using all the buffs before the battle since their dispels always wiped away nearly all the groups´s buffs. This time would be different, however. Aurorus expected the wizards to lead off with dispel magic and then their most powerful spells. So the trick would be to get them to waste their initial barrage and their dispel magics. The group began buffing just out of visual range of the wizards, and Safana approached the platform under the cover of stealth, trying out her newly acquired Shadow Armor. The group fanned out and approached the altar from the South, with Quayle on the far left, then Khaild, Imoen, and Jaheira in that order from left-to-right, with Aurorus on the far right.

    Safana´s stealth failed, and she became visible to the wizards without any advance-notice (rare and unexpected). The wizards immediately challenged her and the battle began a little sooner than anticipated, but no serious harm done as she was already behind the 4 when she failed to hide. Safana quickly chugged a potion of magic immunity as all 4 wizards turned and fired off spells on her, each spell fizzling without effect in turn. Safana winked at the Thayans and said "Oh... I feel so sensual" then tore into the nearest Thayan with darts of wounding.

    Quayle was the next to enter the Thayans field of vision and he cast a web into their center. 2 Thayans had minor globes of invulnerability, but 2 did not, and Quayle was hoping to ensnare the 2 that did not. The Thayans were quickly fanning out, however, after their failed first round. 1 cast Melf´s Minute Meteors and began doing battle with Safana and her darts (I marvelled at the AI, as the wizard knew to cast this spell and only the wizard with this spell bothered with Safana any more). One wizard got caught at the edge of the web. The leader of the Thayans lit off after Quayle who began running away to the west: the little gnome leading the most powerful Thayan on a merry chase off into the woods and away from the battle.

    This left 4, Aurorus, Khalid, Jaheira, and Imoen against 2 Thayans, one of whom was stuck in a web: odds much more to Aurorus´ liking. Jaheira cast invisibility purge to do away with the Thayans improved invisibility and Imoen tried a risky gamble, casting charm person on the Thayan in the web. It was a long-shot gamble, but would probably be the decisive move if successful. The Thayan made her save unfortunately. Khalid and Aurorus turned on the other Thayan with arrows of biting, and Khalid poisoned him on the first burst. He summoned some creatures to assist him, but was in serious trouble regardless. The battle could not have started off better (unless Imoen could have charmed the Thayan, which would have pretty much ended the fight right then and there).

    Safana was battling her Thayan to a standstill, both were seriously wounded and taking damage quickly. It came down to whoever scored the next hit would win... unfortunately, the Thayan won, hitting Safana, before she could finish off the Thayan. it helped that the Thayan had 2... that´s right 2... potions of Extra Healing to Safana´s 3 potions of healing. The Thayan left the battle riddled with darts, poisoned, and near death, even after drinking one of her potions of extra healing. Aurorus assumed that she was done for... that is until she drank a 2nd potion of Extra Healing... bad enough fighting 4 wizards but 4 wizards with pockets bursting with potions, better than anything the party had, was seriously difficult.

    The wizard in the web managed to escape the next round (very lucky, 2 saves in a row.. charm then web) and was quickly met by Imoen´s wand of paralyzation and proceeded to make a 3rd save. The dark gods these Thayans worshipped surely looked over them in this battle. With the 1 wizard poisoned, Aurorus and Khalid turned biting arrows on the save machine. One arrow struck home through the images and finally, the Thayan failed a save and was poisoned. Both Thayans fired off sequencers of Mirror Image and Invisibility. Imoen threw Glitterdust at their location.

    Meanwhile, Quayle was heading too far afield and feared encountering wolves or spiders. After leading the Thayan some distance, Quayle went for his special ability invisibility. The Thayan abandoned the chase after summoning some creatures and began returning to the battle along with his new minions with Quayle following at a distance.

    With the poison wearing off the first Thayan, he was able to get off an Acid Arrow at her... how many 2nd level spells did these Thayans have Aurorus wondered... Aurorus and Khalid turned on him, and despite drinking a potion of extra healing (yes he had them too), he was seriously wounded and out of images. Somehow the Thayan with whom Safana was doing battle managed to make her way through the web unimpaired (I never can manage that with any of my toons without Free Action) and joined in the battle: making it 4 on 3, along with some summoned minions. 2 Thayans released a magic missile barrage on Jaheira, seriously injuring her: the third was still poisoned. Aurorus and Khaild killed the one, and Imoen tried to spook the poisoned save machine, who again made her save (that is 4 for 5 on saves; I wish I could do that). Another magic missile barrage from the 2 surviving Thayans felled Jaheira.

    With the battle starting to turn against them and the leader of the Thayans returning, Quayle had to do something, but against the globe of invulnerability, he had few options, so he pulled out his sling and fired at the Thayan to again try to pull him away from the battle. The Thayan hit him with an acid arrow, then a 2nd... Quayle´s time was numbered in seconds... he had few hitpoints (like Khalid, his hitpoint rolls have been abysmal) and with only potions of healing, he could not survive the damage of 2 acid arrows for long.

    Aurorus and Khalid killed a 2nd Thayan, leaving only the save machine. Imoen hit him with a Magic Missile, disrupting his spell. The next round, Aurorus and Khalid killed him as the gnome fell. One Thayan remained. He arrived with a fireball as Aurorus and Khalid loosed biting arrows. Imoen fell to the fireball. Poisoned, the Thayan let off a sequencer of mirror image and invisibility. He returned with a magic missile barrage on Aurorus, but it was his last action as a critical hit from Aurorus with an acid arrow sunk very deep indeed, hitting for nearly 40 points of damage including the acid. The Thayan fell, and the battle was won, though at heavy cost.

    In the image below Aurorus looks up into the falling rain, wondering how a battle that started off so well could have become such a near thing.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    After Action Report- Bandit Camp

    Aurorus and Khalid returned to Beregost to heal up after fending off an attack by assassins en route

    SCS moves 2 of the groups of assassins to random encounters during travel during chapter 3. This was a rather inopportune time for these assassins to appear... but actually not... many times these encounters are plain easier with just Aurorus. At this stage, against these level adversaries, Aurorus is at the point were he is able to kill anyone he wants in 1 round, except buff wizards. He functions best when not worrying about protecting the other members of party and just focusing on the most threatening enemy every time. In this encounter he had both clerics poisoned before they could get a spell off and then killed both rogues in 1 round. Probably worked better this way, not having to worry about the rogues backstabbing a mage... etc..

    After healing up, the band returned to hunting for the bandit lair in the woods east of the Friendly Arm Inn. Having encountered a couple groups of bandits willing to parlay, Aurorus decided to heed the advice of Drizzt and pose as a bandit himself to scout their base from the inside (after having explored the whole of both woods and taking down as many Black Talons as he encountered for their Ice Arrows and scalps).

    Money was starting to become a problem and would continue to remain a problem for the band in the weeks to come. Aurorus is good and does not steal, pick-pocket, or aid thieves or evil-minded people on their quests. He does not permit Safana to steal in his company and did not permit Garik to steal. No good person can ever steal anything and lay claim to the title of good. Stealing is for politicians, bankers, hedge-fund managers, and drug-addicts (all peas in a pod). The problem with being good (and shooting truckloads of enchanted arrows), however, is that honest money is much harder to come by than dishonest money (in Baldur´s Gate as in real life). So Aurorus hunted as many bandits as possible.

    Eventually Aurorus talked his way into the bandit camp. After discerning which tent was Tazok´s, the leader of bandits, Aurorus and company brazenly entered and killed the four friends of the bandits inside. A quick search of the tent revealed documents indicating that the bandits were in league with an outfit in Cloakwood and probably under the command of a group known as the Iron Throne. Exiting the tent, Aurorus found the bandit camp in arms against him and his band. With a web a fireball, some lightning, and some arrows, the whole of the bandit camp fell quickly and easily.

    In the image below, Aurorus, Khalid, and Jaheira share a laugh in the aftermath of the battle at the bandit camp, as Quayle clubs away at a helpless hobgoblin who walked up and shot him with an arrow.


  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    Spotlight Quayle


    Quayle really faded as Aurorus´ travels led him into Cloakwood and Baldur´s Gate. Jaheira´s misgivings (and my misgivings about the multi-class) have been born out. He has leveled too slowly to keep up with the elevating threat level, so his mage spells rarely include what is needed, such as Secret Word or Confusion, and he is often reduced to using scrolls (which a bard is better suited for). This problem is compounded by the fact that he has died at crucial moments missing out on a significant amount of experience (He is now 25K XP behind Aurorus). Partially this is owing to horrid hit point rolls (He is averaging a little over 2 per level... less than a mage despite his D8 for his cleric levels), but bad hit points alone do not excuse his under-performance. His constitution is too low to benefit from the short-save bonus, nullifying one of the primary reasons gnomes are very good. He gains no bonus spells from his wisdom, which makes him a poor choice for cleric and leaves little room for any healing spells, after he handles things like remove fear, command, etc. In retrospect, I should have left him behind and stayed with Garik or recruited Dynaheir (which was my original plan). What´s done is done, however, and for better or worse, Quayle is in it till the end.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    After Action Report- Into the Cloakwood

    With the bandits soundly defeated, the spirits of the group lifted some. The days had been dark since Ulcaster. With the band nearly defeated by the Wolf and then by the Thayans, doubt had begun to creep Aurorus´ mind. He was not certain that he and his compatriots could stand against the challenges of the Sword Coast and their unknown enemy. Dark clouds were gathering in his thoughts, and the world around him had become a reflection of the shadows in his mind. It seemed that it had rained nearly every day since they had encountered Safana along the Sword Coast, and the entirety of the Sword Coast was as a storm. Steeling themselves and huddled under their cloaks, they left Beregost in the middle of night, under a ceaseless rain, for the Friendly Arm Inn and then for Cloakwood.

    Mid-day the following day, they entered the Cloakwood, and as suddenly as it had started, the rain lifted; the sun returned; and their movements were accompanied by the cheerful sounds of the woodlands. Jaheira, who had grown quiet and sullen since the Sword Coast, began playfully bantering with Khalid, teasing him about his stutter, and suggesting that "it would take a sailor to untie his tongue." Khalid returned to complimenting Safana, noting that her company was a "welcome part of this group."

    The passage through the forest was without much incidence of note. They helped the local druids against some hunters who had murdered one of the druids and discovered that a Shadow Druid sect was active in the region and hostile to all outsiders. They encountered some spiders and ettercaps, even a nest of Spiders and ettercaps in league with some sort of bloated spider-tamer(but with Jaheira immune to poison, 2 wands of fire and glitterdust, the spider nest proved little challenge). They met a hunter, searching for Wyverns, whom Aurorus eyed with a certain covetous. He seemed to be a perfect addition to the band (and for a moment Aurorus entertained thoughts of losing Khalid in the night and replacing him with this skilled hunter, but quickly dismissed such thoughts, wondering what evil had spawned such dark thoughts). With plenty of antidote and 2 protection from poison scrolls, they encountered little difficulty with the spiders of Cloakwood, the shadow druids, or the wyverns that the hunter had mentioned, arriving outside the mines after a few days travel.

    SCS adds some nice features to Cloakwood in general, though the forest still lacks much challenge if one is prepared for the web traps and poisons. The spiders will now often try to single-target web the nearest enemy, which holds for about 3 rounds, before attacking. Spiders were Aurorus´ favorite enemy, however, and no spider could hold for more than 1 round against his arrows. With Aurorus and Safana scouting ahead, nothing seemed to survive Aurorus´s arrows and Safana´s backstabs long enough to reach the party. Safana was really developing nicely with Aurorus as the two could move in stealth together and cover one another... Safana backstabbing anything that moved into melee range with Aurorus and Aurorus cutting down anything that Safana could not kill with a backstab.

    The druids do not attack alone any more, but in small groups. They all have kits as well. One is shapechanger and the arch-druid is an avenger, capable of casting a lightning bolt in that small room. He proved a little challenging nearly killing Imoen and Quayle and forcing the party to to flee down the stairs as a lightning bolt began bouncing around the room. The cramped quarters of that battle made it difficult, extra so since the druids summon in animals as well. I thought that we had had several attacks trained on the arch-druid, but I had actually told Khalid and Aurorus to attack another druid, so he got off a nasty spell.


    The shadows in Aurorus´ mind return as Aurorus entertains an idea for a moment of abandoning Khalid to the next enemy they encounter and offering this talented hunter Khalid´s place in the party, but Gorion had trained him well against the enemy of his own heart, and he resisted this temptation as he had resisted all the other dark spirits that haunted his mind and tainted his dreams.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    After Action Report Drassus and the Mine Guardians

    Arriving at the mines, Safana and Aurorus scouted a group of 4, probably guardians: 2 mages, possibly a cleric, and the leader, probably a fighter of some sort. Buffing and fanning out, the band prepared for action. image


    My plan here was similar to the Thayan encounter. I wanted Safana to draw the mages´s attention, while Quayle webbed, hopefully catching the cleric and maybe Drasus. I expected globes of invulnerability and an opening salvo of dispel magics. Drasus moved too quickly for the web, however, and lit off after Imoen straight away. I was surprised by the mages, who both shadow-doored as their opening action, rather than having improved invisibility as a pre-buff. Safana drank a potion of magic resistance first as the mages disappeared and when they failed to reappear the next round, she drank a potion of Free action (I was out of potions of magic immunity... a serious problem that I just discovered as I prepared for this battle). The mages were out of range of a detect invisibility and the cleric (or whatever he is... never seems to be a factor in this battle, so I am never sure) was stuck in the web, so the group turned their attention to Drasus who was on Imoen and relentless. Imoen fled away. Jaheira cast call lightning. Aurorus set at him with bow and acid arrows, and Khalid decided to draw sword and shield and try to get him off Imoen. Quayle tried to command him, but he saved. Imoen fired off a blindness, then ran, but he saved again. Next Quayle tried hold person; save again. Jaheira called lightning a second time on Drasus. Through a hail of arrows. lightning, command, hold person, blindness, Drassus would not be denied his quarry, ignoring Khalid and staying after Imoen, taking down her images, and nearly dead himself, dropped Imoen.

    Meanwhile, the mages returned on the third round. Safana started after the nearest with darts of wounding. Aurorus turned Arrows of Biting on the other. The first mage fired off a dispel magic on Safana, dispelling her free action. She was in the web now, having had to move closer to the mages to get off her dart attacks. She got stuck in the web. The other mage blinded Aurorus. He too failed his save and was blinded. This was not good... not good at all. Khalid turned on the mage nearest Safana with Arrows of Biting and managed to get poison in, disrupting his next spell. Drassus drank a potion of extra healing and was after Quayle now. The mage not poisoned threw a chaos at Khalid, hitting him and Quayle; both failed their saves and began wandering about (We were now 0 for 5 or 6 on saving throws in this battle... meanwhile Drassus was about 6 for 6 on saving throws... outrageous!). He turned and fired off an acid arrow on Safana, who despite her magic resistance, was still stuck in the web (failing another save, failing magic resistance... good grief). We were in serious trouble.

    Jaheira cast a desperation dispel magic near Aurorus, hoping to get someone back in the fight: Aurorus, Khalid, Quayle, anyone... . She dispelled nothing except our own buffs (of course). Dispel Magic is about useless for multi-class characters and of little use for single class characters (though a bard... or single class druid often has sufficient levels to use it with affect I found with my druid on my previous hardcore playthrough. Again I missed Garik and now really wished that I had brought him instead of Quayle).

    As Drassus took down Quayle, Aurorus drank a potion of invisibility and told Jaheira to run for the bridge. A fireball hit Khalid as Jaheira and Aurorus ran for the bridge leading to the camp. The mages began magic missile and acid arrow barrage on Safana, still stuck in the web... beyond outrageous... 4 rounds of failed saves and failed magic resistance (though she did resist for some time against their missiles and acid arrows, using up many of their damaging spells). Drassus chased after Jaheira, who drank a potion of invulnerability, then stone giant strength and turned to challenge him. Nature´s Servant proved too much for a badly wounded Drassus in this one-on-one battle, dispatching him with a thunderous critical- finally one roll in our favor. Aurorus moved in next to Safana and as she fell, he risked the web to get her potion case. He managed to get clear with the potion case (finally a little luck) and ran blindly toward Jaheira as she killed Drassus on the other side of the bridge. The two mages and the cleric followed on.

    Jaheira turned and ran further up the path. Aurorus stopped at the body of Drassus and grabbed his boots equipping them in flourish. Then ran, hasted and blind, up to Jaheira who was drinking potions of healing and casting cure light wounds. Aurorus pulled the potion of magic blocking from the case and swigged it down, removing his blindness. Both drank potions of invulnerability, just as the mages appeared along the trail. With the potion of magic blocking Aurorus set at the mages in whirlwind. Helpless, both fell and the battle was won at great cost. Unfortunately, I had used all the potions that I had hoped to save for Davaeorn. Jaheira and Aurorus left the Cloakwood to heal up and try to find some more potions of magic resistance, immunity, or blocking. Alas, Thalintyr had only 1 potion of magic resistance remaining. Not that it mattered, after paying priests to resurrect everyone a 3rd time, the band was nearly broke again. So with 1 potion of magic resistance, the group would have to brave the Cloakwood mines. Aurorus and Jaheira´s thoughts turned dark again, and the cleansing magic of the Cloakwood was quickly forgotten.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    After Action Report - The Cloakwood Mines

    Regrouped and healed, the group headed into the mines with their meager provision of equipment. The band was running dangerously low on enchanted arrows: especially the Arrows of Biting and Acid Arrows that Aurorus preferred and the stock of potions, especially anti-magic potions. Healing potions had dwindled to 15 or so and the potions of invisibility were nearly gone. Aurorus hoped that clearing the bandits and the mines would open the gates of Baldur, where more provisions could be found, but money, always money; Aurorus never seemed to have enough. (I never experienced this type of problem with money before in this game, and it is one of my lasing impressions of SCS: then again I never used nearly so many enchanted arrows and never bought so many potions. I don´t really use a healer; never have. I keep 1 or 2 CLWs on hand for emergency heals, i.e. when a potion is not enough in 1 round, but mostly I just use potions, and I have used a lot more potions than on a vanilla play-through).

    The group moved through the top level of the mines effortlessly, but on the 2nd level, they found the stairwell down guarded by a host of Blacktalon Elites, guards, and a mage Haleishan, all clustered in a dining room off a kitchen. Safana and Aurorus had scouted the whole level, quickly and silently dispatching the few guards who lingered in the hallways and antechambers. They found that the dining room had 3 entrances. One was the main hallway, which was trapped and Safana had found and disarmed the traps in stealth. A 2nd entrance was a secret door off the kitchen adjacent to the dining room, and a 3rd entrance lay at the end of a row of cells and opened into an adjoining room, guarded by 2 Blacktalon Elites.

    Aurorus decided that the best plan was to try to disable the guards en masse and draw the mage away from them alone as had happened in Firewine. Quayle cast web and Imoen used a scroll of Stinking Cloud from the hallway leading into the kitchen toward the doorway separating the kitchen from the dining room and just out of sight of the guards. The two the ran back toward an intersection in the hall. Aurorus waited at one end of the hall with Safana and Khalid waited near the other end of the hall. For once, the plan worked perfectly. The combination of Stinking Cloud and Web disabled the guards, the wizard´s globe protected him, and he marched alone into the waiting ambush of arrows and darts. One unfortunate event transpired in the battle, however. The cook was caught in the stinking cloud and turned hostile. Khalid targeted her by accident while picking off the guards one-by-one as they emerged from the cloud and the web, killing the innocent cook (we lost 10 points of reputation on this little mishap- dropping Aurorus´reputation to 10).

    The third level of the mines also passed without incident of note. The group encountered another mage, who refused to be lured into the hallway and the waiting ambush, so Aurorus just shot her repeatedly from stealth and then moved quickly away to stealth again and repeat the attack until she died without putting up any resistance. [spoiler]

    The band then arrived at the 4th level of the mines, which they had learned was the abode of Davaeorn, the mage in charge of the facility. The group quickly dispatched guard in an antechamber, and Safana disabled some traps while in stealth in the hall leading to Davaeorn´s quarters. Davaeorn was flanked by 2 Helmed Horrors or Doom Guards (I always forget as they seem basically the same), so this was new, usually they spawn from the last trap. Aurorus was not sure what to expect, so the group buffed as normal. Jaheira drank the last remaining potion of magic resistance. Safana retained possession of the last 2 potions of invisibility. Aurorus and Khalid divided up the remaining Arrows of Biting, which now numbered less than 20.

    Safana and Aurorus crept down into Davaeorn´s quarters and past him into the back of the room. Quayle and Imoen waited around the corner in the guard´s antechamber. Khalid and Jaheira set off down the hall to confront the mage. Davaeorn opened with a sequenced web and stinking cloud into the intersection with Khalid and Jaheira. Both Khalid and Jaheira were trapped (could I get a save or a magic resist... 1 time). The mage then teleported off to the eastern room from the intersection. With the mage away, Safana and Aurorus set at the first Doom Guard. Safana backstabbed, hard, delivering serious damage. Aurorus laid into him with acid arrows and in seconds they felled the first doom guard. The other moved to engage Safana; she drank a potion of invisibility, and Aurorus dropped his bow drawing sword and shield, and drinking a potion of frost giant strength to tank the horror (with his studded leather, not ideal at all). Safana moved in for a backstab; hit again. The horror fell in seconds to Aurorus´ powerful attacks and Safana´s prowess.

    The mage unleashed a fireball into Khalid and Jaheira. Khalid was wounded, but Jaheira emerged unscathed, though still stuck (I was growing increasingly frustrated with people stuck in webs for what seems like eternity when they have 50% magic resistance and begin to wonder if magic resist works on web as intended). He followed up with a lightning bolt, felling Khalid. Jaheira remained unaffected. A group of Blacktalon Elites entered the room from the doorway, just as the mage teleported into the antechamber where Quayle and Imoen were, separated from the rest by the web and cloud. Quayle had failed to scribe remove illusions (the only scroll of it that we had found) into his spell-book some time before. Aurorus had been none too pleased with this failure of the gnome, who claimed to be sooo smart; the inability of Quayle to memorize this spell really hurt in this situation.

    Imoen cast detect invisibility to remove Davaeorn´s improved invisibility, and Quayle cast web from a scroll on the entrance. The Blacktalons cut loose on Imoen, removing her images and scoring one hit on her on their opening salvo. She was able to get off the quickly cast detect invisible, however. Quayle´s web stuck most of the Blacktalons. Imoen targeted Davaeorn with a spell thrust, and Quayle used a wand of fire on the Blacktalons in the doorway. Davaern fired off an acid arrow at Imoen. Quayle cast holy smite on the Talons as 2 got loose and set at Imoen with arrows. Davaeorn put another acid arrow into Imoen, who was in serious trouble now. The next round Imoen fell to the acid arrows and the talons. Quayle fireballed the Talons again killing all but 1. Jaheira finally got loose from the web-cloud and moved after Davaeorn. He teleported off to the western chamber, his bedroom. Aurorus and Safana moved to engage him there, but he cast a teleport field and hid in the corner.

    Another group of Blacktalons entered from the doorway as Jaheira was finishing recasting prot. from fire-cold. Quayle fireballed and Jaheira moved to engage them. Several Talons got loose from the web (a feat that I cannot manage with potions of Invulnerability and Magic Resistance) and loosed arrows on Quayle, removing his images and striking him twice nearly killing him. Jaheira engaged the lead elements of the Talons as Quayle launched a 4th fireball, before falling to the Talons´arrows. Jaheira killed the 2 that had escaped and began engaging the others 1-by-1 as they emerged from the web.

    Another group of Talons entered the room. By this time, Davaeorn´s stinking cloud had dissipated, but the web remained. Jaheira would quickly be overwhelmed by the Talons, so she drank a potion of free action and tried to move to Aurorus and Safana´s position. Wounded, Jaheira managed her way through the web and joined up with Aurorus and Safana. Davaeorn´s web finally dissipated, and a couple Talons headed toward the room where Jaheira, Aurorus, and Safana waited, just out of sight. A couple other Talons headed toward the room with Davaeorn. Jaheira, Aurorus, and Safana made short work of the 2 Talons, and then Aurorus and Safana slid off and hid.

    The teleport field came down as another group of Talons entered and headed directly for Davaeorn´s chambers. Jaheira headed them off as Aurorus and Safana entered the mage´s quarters and set at him with darts of wounding and Arrows of Biting. He fell after several rounds and another stoneskin, but not before the 7 Blacktalon Elites had managed to fell Jaheira, though she took 3 with her. As Davaeorn fell, the remaining Talons ran off, and the mines had been won.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    After Action Report- Into Baldur´s Gate

    Documents uncovered in the mines revealed what Aurorus had expected: a group known as the Iron Throne, centered in Baldur´s Gate, was responsible for much of the carnage along the Sword Coast. With the roads cleared of bandits and open once again for trade, the siege-like atmosphere surrounding the city lifted and the gate of Baldur opened for Aurorus and company. After helping a farmer en route find the body of his son and investigating the concerns of local fishermen (who had a dispute with a priestess of Umberlee, which Aurorus refused to become involved in after learning that both parties were likely up to no good), the band arrived in the city.

    The spirits of the group had seemed to sink to a new low after yet another difficult battle in the mines of Cloakwood. Jaheira declared the city to be a "blight on the landscape" and began feuding with Quayle again almost immediately after entering the city. When Quayle asked Aurorus if he had trained "this chimp to talk," referring to Jaheira, Aurorus nearly threw the little gnome out of the Elfsong Tavern and out of the group.

    Shortly after arriving in the city, Aurorus learned from a noblewoman that a local mage had imprisoned a nymph. Disgusted with this behavior, Aurorus barged into his home and demanded that he free the nymph. After some reasoning, the mage agreed and Aurorus was rewarded with a lock of hair from the nymph. Aurorus also discovered some foul goings on in the sewers of Baldur´s Gate, where he dispatched an Ogre Mage (and Jenkal, the little halfling from Firewine, whom Aurorus thought had died in Lendarn´s fireball) and Ratchild, some king of the kobolds. He also met up with the some sewer-king, who seemed to know something about his enemies, but was very cryptic with his remarks.

    One evening, outside the Elfsong, where Aurorus often stayed, hoping to hear to the song of the elven ghost who, legend had it, haunted this building, a young fellow offered Aurorus 50 GP to hear an offer. Aurorus, a bit naive about the ways of the city, agreed to follow the young man into a rundown building, behind a tavern. There Aurorus discovered a band of thieves whose offer was to hire Aurorus to steal the plans of some mage in the city. Aurorus does not steal and did not take kindly to someone asking him to steal. He flatly refused. The leader of the thieves threatened to kill him if he did not participate in this plan, and again Aurorus refused. Battle ensued between Aurorus, the thieves, and a local wizard who had hired the guild to perform the theft. The wizard went down quickly as the entire group trained their efforts on him. Jaheira opened with an invisibility purge and with the help of all of their detect invisibility scrolls (4 en total), they were able to win the battle without significant difficulty. Aurorus was pleased with the results of this engagement and the performance of the group. They had become masters of controlling visibility on the battlefield, who was visible and who was not. The group could attack from stealth, but enemies could not (very important in SCS, making divination magic a powerful force indeed).

    Aurorus had several other adventures in the city: only two of which were of any note. Two assassins from the Iron Throne had apparently poisoned the group, but one of them, Lothander, was under the influence of a Geas and offered to help Aurorus with a cure if Aurorus would lift his geas. Aurorus discovered that a priestess of Umberlee (up to no-good again it would seem) had the means to lift the geas. He had already agreed to help a priest of Tymora recover the body of his son, who was killed breaking into the Umberlee temple, so Aurorus had no choice but to visit this unholy site. The priestess wanted a tome from the temple of Tymora to lift the geas. Aurorus retrieved this tome (which the good priest freely gave Aurorus after Aurorus explained that his life depended on it) and returned to the temple of Tymora. The priestess then demanded 2000 gold for the body of the boy. Aurorus did not have the money. Battle ensued, and Aurorus and company killed all the priestesses of Umberlee. On her body Aurorus found instructions for lifting the geas.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    After Action Report - Against the Iron Throne

    The commander of the Flaming Fist had hired Aurorus to investigate a local merchant consortium, the Seven Suns. Aurorus agreed and found that dopplegangers had taken over the consortium. After learning from Elminster and the harpers (Jaheira, as it turns out, was a harper as was Gorion) that Scar was a man he could trust, Aurorus shared his concerns with Scar about the Iron Throne. Scar asked Aurorus to investigate the Iron Throne next.

    Entering the Iron Throne tower from an entrance they had found in the sewers, Aurorus and Safana scouted the lower floors in stealth. After finding few threats, they began questioning some of the merchants, employees, and visitors they found there. It seemed likely that the same dopplegangers that had infiltrated the Seven Suns were at work here. There was also a meeting about to take place on the top floor between an emissary from the Grand Dukes of Baldur´s Gate and the leaders of the Iron Throne, of whom there were 6. Suspecting treachery, Aurorus collected the rest of the group and they proceeded up to the top floor.

    Expecting the worst, Aurorus had the group prepare for battle. They then proceeded up the stairs. Aurorus arrived too late, however, as the emissary had already been killed by the Iron Throne. The murderers seemed to less-than-surprised to see Aurorus and company and knew them immediately to be enemies. Battle ensued. [spoiler]

    Quickly assessing the situation, Aurorus saw 2 mages, at least 1 rogue, a cleric, and 2 warriors. The mages were top priority as always. Safana was hiding and snuck off to the right of the stairway where she commenced a poison dart barrage on the nearest mage. Aurorus blew the Horn of Kazgaroth (which he had purchased with funds from his exploits in Baldur´s Gate), and set at the other mage with poison arrows. Jaheira had now grown powerful indeed in the company of Aurorus and it seemed that she had brought the full power of the woodlands into the city with her. She began by summoning a woodland nymph behind the Iron Throne mercenaries. Quayle opened with a Holy Smite, hoping to blind a few of the mercenaries briefly. Imoen, who was invisible, moved around behind Safana detecting the illusions of the mages. The Irone Throne opened with a dispel magic from one of the mages removing many of the parties´buffs. Safana was able to poison the other mage before his spell got off. Cloudwolfe, the leader of this band, opened with archery first on Quayle, peeling off several of his images, then landing a nasty shot after Quayle had unleashed his blight. 2 mercenaries charged Jaheira. Khalid drew sword and shield and charged after Cloudwolfe, chugging a potion of strength to replace his buffs, as his bow threatened havoc for Quayle and Imoen. Quayle took another arrow and retreated to the corner, out of view of Cloudwolfe. Jaheira summoned her nymph and drank a potion of Hill Giant Strength to replace her dispelled strength buff, but she was quickly in trouble as no less than 4 were attacking her. She was falling quickly to their blows. Aurorus got in an arrow on the other mage, poisoning him, as Imoen´s keen eye dispelled their illusions.

    The battle was evenly matched and touch-and-go at this point. The tide turned decisively in the parties´favor, however, as the mercenaries had deployed everything against the party on the stairwell and ignored the new threat in their rear. Jaheira´s nymph cast confusion into the ranks of the Iron Throne (and "chaos shall be sown in their passing... so sayeth the wise Alaundo"). Bedlam ensued among the Iron Throne. Both rogues were confused. One stood dumbfounded in the center of the room for the remainder of the battle and the other, after standing around dazed for a few moments, began attacking one of the warriors. One of the wizards became confused and assaulted the other with his dagger. The tide turned decisively, and none-too-soon as Cloudwolfe was more than a match for Khalid, pummeling him repeatedly and forcing him back. The 4 on Jaheira threatened to bury her under their blows, and the battle would certainly have favored the Iron Throne had it not been for Jaheira and her nymph.

    There were a few more hard-fought moments, but with chaos in their ranks, both wizards poisoned, and spellcasters hitting them from every direction- Imoen slowed them the next round as Quayle finished off one of the warriors attacking Jaheira with a magic missile and then hasted the party, the Iron Throne mercenaries fell to Aurorus and company.


  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,466
    Steady progress there. It seems Aurorus never had to fear for his life after the Ulcaster encounter. I was surprised to read about the hordes of Black Talons entering Davaeorn' lair. Did they follow you from the second or third level? Or is this the latest version (28) of SCS?
    Also, I'm wondering how do you deal with groups that contain mages? In SCS they sometimes protect themselves. Arrows of dispelling?
    Good luck on your journeys :)

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    I think the Black Talons are part of SCS. 3 groups of 5 entered overall separated by about 1 turn each. We killed all of the first group and 2 or 3 of the second group before they huddled around Davaeorn in his teleport field where they were mostly inaccessible for a moment or 2 before the field went down and another group entered.

    I didn´t use many Arrows of Dispelling on the playthrough. Some at the very end, but they were just too expensive to use very often. I really struggled with money. Rather mostly I just focused Safana, Aurorus, and Khalid all using either elemental damage arrows (acid does 2d6 with no save) or poison that goes through stoneskin on the mage. 1 or 2 of the ranged attackers would use poison, the other(s) would use elemental damage. Once a mage was poisoned, they switched targets or switched to elemental arrows and darts. In situations where we encountered more than 1 mage, I had to get more creative (such as luring them off with Quayle and his invisibilities, using potions of magic blocking on Safana and having her draw out their big spells away from the rest of the group). I also just buffed saves, always, on the key people: Aurorus and Jaheira, especially. That is why I bought the Horn of Kazgaroth. With a potion of Invulnerability and the Horn, Aurorus reached 2 on his save vs. spell at lvl 7.

    Also, since many mages open with dispel magic, usually I had 1 round to deal with them as they dealt with our buffs. With focused ranged fire, they were usually poisoned or out of images by the end of 1 round, after which Aurorus was just too much damage for them to stand long (kind of ridiculous actually: 3 attacks at 11-16 damage and 2d6 additional acid damage added to each hit, bringing his average damage per round to somewhere around 70 with acid arrows... and with a THAC0 of -3 or -4, he rarely missed and only missed mages on a 1). Many times, the mages didn´t even get to fire off their sequencers, which were often mirror image and invisibility. For those situations, we had Jaheira with invisbility purge and Imoen and Quayle with detect invisibility. So as soon as a mage went invisible, using his action for the round, we detected it, and the missile barrage resumed. Also by this point, Imoen had regained her rogue levels and had a 100% detect illusions. After 1 round she could dispose of Imp. Inv. and Mirror Images too.

    Finally, SCS is a great AI improvement, but could probably use a little tweaking. It ranks threats and targets based on threat ranking, starting with spellcasters, especially AOE CC and summons it seems, second direct damage spells, 3rd anyone attacking from stealth, and finally melee threats. Last on its priority list are threats from missile weapons, meaning most enemies ignored Aurorus as he just piled damage on them. So to defeat the AI, I learned to use my casters, especially Quayle, as more of a distraction than anything (such as in the battle with the Thayans. I figured at least one, if not all, of the Thayans would chase after Quayle and was hoping to pick them off one-by-one as they chased the gnome).

  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,466
    Aurorus said:

    Finally, SCS is a great AI improvement, but could probably use a little tweaking. It ranks threats and targets based on threat ranking, starting with spellcasters, especially AOE CC and summons it seems, second direct damage spells, 3rd anyone attacking from stealth, and finally melee threats. Last on its priority list are threats from missile weapons, meaning most enemies ignored Aurorus as he just piled damage on them. So to defeat the AI, I learned to use my casters, especially Quayle, as more of a distraction than anything (such as in the battle with the Thayans. I figured at least one, if not all, of the Thayans would chase after Quayle and was hoping to pick them off one-by-one as they chased the gnome).

    This is an interesting insight. Since I mostly solo, I hadn't experienced this. It could be something for a future version of SCS if you could discuss this with the developers (maybe use screenshots).

    As to the rest of your post, well it goes to show that the Archer may indeed be the deadliest class/kit for BG1. I never played one, because I foresaw difficulty against mages and in melee combat, but apparently I was mistaken. Still I wonder how your archer will fare in SoA and ToB.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    Actually, I think archer is the 2nd deadliest class in BG, now. I think Blade Bard is the deadliest, hands down. Here are my reasons: 1) Maximum damage with a +2 to damage on a longbow with offensive spin is 2 damage less per shot than an archer can muster, so a blade bard can almost match an archer for damage and get 3 attacks per round with Arrows of Biting, Acid, etc. 2) With defensive spin, a blade bard can tank almost as well as an archer (no helm is a problem, though). 3) Fast leveling means their dispel magics will actually work sometimes. 4) Mirror image 5) Wraithform... think about it... immunity to normal weapons on a blade bard.... ouch 5) Detect Invisibility 6) Ability to use any mage scroll, especially Greater Malison 7) Fear and morale are inconsequential.

    The big downside, however, and it is a big downside is that Bards cannot use potions of Invulnerability, meaning they will have problems with saves, so the Greenstone amulet is essential.

  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,466
    Wow! Never played a Blade (though it's essentially a class that fits my playstyle a lot.) I wouldn't consider the need for the Greenstone Amulet that much of a drawback.
    What do you mean by fear and morale being inconsequential?

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    Bardsong immediately rallies everyone in your party from all fear effects and broken morale. I just started a Neutral Evil blade bard. I´m torn between him and my evil bounty hunter (whom I may dual-class to a mage) for my evil playthrough. I love the bounty hunter, but blade bard is just so good in a party where level progression is slower. Aurorus´playthrough of BGI ended last night. I won´t spoil the ending, so I want an evil (and probably a neutral druid) ready to go for BGII. I´m going to play through BGII once on vanilla, probably with my druid, then try SCS on hardcore, probably with Ascension as well. Need to get my druid through BGI without dying, however... have died 4 times now with him... because I keep getting sloppy and lazy.

  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    All this talk of druids prompted me to roll a shapeshifter and try it out. Looks good. They get shifting tokens now in BG:EE that seem to improve as you level up. In BGII:EE, it looks as if they worked out some of the issues with shapeshifter as it now seems to benefit from gear. Still no weapon bonus and no armor makes it kind of a weak class, but it works well, I think as a buffer and summoner, then coming into the battle late as some added dps. The greater werewolf will out dps the avenger forms and a totemic druid, so shapeshifter is not all bad. Dual-classed to fighter and it is a legitimate dps engine, but I think I will just stay single-classed, if I can survive BGI.

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