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Solo Poverty Monks? What Steps Are Required For Feasibility?

So most of us have probably heard of "solo insane poverty sorcerer play-throughs". But my question is, can it be done with a monk, and what steps would be required for it to work? Soloing BG2 as a monk is definitely possible, albeit challenging. But on a poverty run? Also, one of the biggest challenges for the hero would be BG1. Does BG1 REQUIRE magical combat to succeed, or can you flee from enemies requiring magical equipment?

For those of you who aren't aware, a "poverty" run-through is where you pick up absolutely no items or gold. Of course this doesn't apply to quest items, since those are required, but it does apply to every piece of non-quest equipment. Previously, the only class that "could" do this was the sorcerer, due to his offensive and defensive power coming straight from his spells, which are gained naturally. The monk's only true weapons are his fists, however, and they do gain an enchantment bonus naturally, up to +4, which is, to my knowledge, enough to kill anything in the game. The monk also gains a great deal of sheer combat potential, what with his eventual magic resistance of 78%, and his excellent offensive and defensive abilities. Now, are these enough? What about traps, or locks, or any number of things that might interfere?

Below I've laid out a few basic options to increase the monk's chances of success.

1. 108 total ability roll.
This would mean that the monk has an 18 in all stats. This isn't absolutely necessary, as some of his stats really don't gain any use from being that high. However, for the sake of the character, I decided on this anyway. So, this would mean that he has...

18 STR: The highest possible damage and THAC0 modifier available. This can't be increased to the (very handy) 19 in BG1 due to the nature of a poverty run-through, but it could be increased in Watcher's Keep, or the hell trials. Up to either 19 or (assuming the character chooses a path of evil) 21.

18 DEX: This would give the monk the best possible AC, which would be very handy, considering he'll be lacking armor. This could be increased to 20 if the character chooses to be evil, but the bonus wouldn't change much, since the monk won't be using ranged equipment.

18 CON: This would give the monk the largest possible health bonus. On the other hand, the monk does not NEED anything higher than a 16, and only if the monk becomes evil would he attain the 20+ required for regeneration.

18 INT: The biggest use of this is simply allowing the monk to survive against illithids for longer. Not much to say beyond that.

18 WIS: Completely pointless. The monk won't be identifying anything, so why would he need the lore bonus, which is all he would get from it.

18 CHA: Since the monk won't be bartering, this really won't do much, other than occasionally allow for better quest rewards and opportunities.

2. Easy difficulty.
This might not be the "uber hard challenge" that many people want, but it would greatly increase his chances of success.

3. Exceptions.
Maybe he needs a certain item to survive, or maybe he needs a weapon to succeed in BG1, who knows. Point is, what exceptions might need to be made, or are there even any?

4. Level Un-cappers.
This would mainly solve the lack of magical fists in BG1, as it would allow the monk to level past level 8 and gain +1 fists at level 9.

Any ideas? Any tips? Any memories from personal attempts? Share and discuss.



  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 7,855
    edited July 2014
    Hanen't read most of your post but I can tell you a little trick for giving your monk a snazzy magical attack. Relair's Mistake!

    You may also want to check this out.

    Edit: No items? Can you maybe make 1 exception?

  • ElrandirElrandir Member Posts: 1,645
    I've read both of those, actually. =p And yes, exceptions can be made, but the idea is to not make any, or at least as few as possible. This is just something I've always wanted to do, and I figured making a thread for discussion on the matter would be the first step to achieving my goal.

  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 7,855
    You probably couldn't do a completionist run without mods or items. I would imagine it would be possible to make it through BG1 but you would have to use every metagaming trick in the book and be extremely lucky with the critical hits and you would probably have to reload a lot. BG2 should be much easier. In fact, BG2 should be quite easy for a solo monk, relatively speaking anyway.

    Keep in mind that this is coming from someone who has never done a solo run in his life.

  • ElrandirElrandir Member Posts: 1,645
    Could certain enemies that need to be killed for the story to progress be killed without at least +1 weapons? That's the big question when it comes to BG1.

  • TressetTresset Member, Moderator Posts: 7,855
    edited July 2014
    I don't think any of the main plot enemies need magical weapons to kill. I know for certain that Sarevok doesn't need magic weapons. I am pretty sure that pretty much all of the TotSC bosses need them though. At least with Karoug and Selaad you could consider either the Werebane dagger or the Burning Earth longsword quest items for that purpose (not like you would be able to beat Karoug's regeneration rate with a solo monk anyway though). Other than that I think you would have to stick to the main plot.

  • ElrandirElrandir Member Posts: 1,645
    Well beating the game is the goal, not completing the game. TotSC isn't a priority.

  • jackjackjackjack Member Posts: 3,248
    edited July 2014
    Go with a Dark Moon Monk for extra flavor and those evil bonuses you mentioned. Detect Illusions will prove invaluable in the second game.
    Remember Dex also affects thieving skills.
    This actually sounds very interesting, and I have always avoided Monks. I may give this a shot myself, but I'll leave it to you to journal.

    Post edited by jackjack on
  • SouthpawSouthpaw Member Posts: 2,026
    For BGEE - good luck (smirk) But I think, except Tana'ri (optional) there's noone else who needs magical weapons in BGEE. Not so sure of Battle Horrors now (you meet about 3)
    For BG2EE - actually doable I reckon, albeit very hard and you will have to avoid some optional bosses (Liches)

  • ElrandirElrandir Member Posts: 1,645
    @jackjack‌ unkitted monks don't lose their class benefits from changing alignment or dropping in reputation, and I feel that stunning blow and quivering palm would be more effective in a solo poverty run than the DMM's abilities. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how I see it. As for journaling, I don't THINK I'll be doing it anytime soon, but you never know.

    @Southpaw‌ Good point about the battle horrors. I know for a fact they require +1 from an ill-advised trip to Durlag's Tower in my early days of BG:EE. I suppose as long as the monk manages to avoid them and kill Davaeorn without them bothering the monk then there wouldn't be too many other places where they would get in the way.

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited July 2014
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

  • GoturalGotural Member Posts: 1,229
    Definitely possible to complete BG1 that way ! It will be more a matter of defining the perfect quest order than anything.

    But I don't think it could be possible to do it no-reload, because without items, you will rely on luck for saves / magic resistance / some physical fights / etc.

    Also, I don't think it can be possible on core difficulty or higher, just imagine how impossible it would be to kill Sarevok in straight melee without any items.

    Very interesting idea, good luck !

  • CrevsDaakCrevsDaak Member Posts: 7,147
    edited July 2014
    I once played with a solo Sorcerer, no reload no items other than a Staff, BG1 was easy. I died in BG2, killed by Mind Flayers, since I had no way to protect from them and I had forgotten to skip them (now I use IWDification, which adds a Wizard spell that protects against Stun IIRC).
    BG1 should be more difficult than BG2 in a no-items, solo no reload run, since in BG2 you get insane Magic Resistance, THAC0, fist damage output and Armor Class, plus lots of cute immunities :D so only watch out for Demiliches (and Mages casting Imprisonment).
    Edit: I'd recommend going with a vanilla/unkitted Monk, too, you'll have problems killing Trolls, and maybe some other creatures I don't remember right now that need +5 to hit.
    You'll just need 18/18/18/16/?/?, since Mind Flayers drain 5 INT each hit, so 6, 11, 16 and 21 are the magical numbers. You won't reach INT 21 so I don't see the point of having 18 INT at the start.
    I recommend using the Tomes, even if it's a poverty run/no item run, you'll really need a stat increase.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Well, he cant get the candlekeep tomes iirc on a poverty run with a monk.

    Cleric/thief could probably do poverty runs without much hassle, but the final fight would be tough. Can you backstab with spiritual hammer, flameblade, etc, or are you stuck backwacking with your stsrting staff?

  • ElrandirElrandir Member Posts: 1,645
    edited July 2014
    No reload is a definite no. =p I've never done that with normal play-throughs, let alone something as crazy as a monk poverty run.

    As for the tomes, I can't get/use most of them. STR is the biggest one, yet I can't get to it, CON is hidden behind the sirines, who I'd rather not fight. DEX is actually quite obtainable, but will I have the necessary gold to identify it? I doubt a 20+ lore (from the 10 bonus gained from 18 INT&WIS) is enough. As for INT and WIS, they're the most useless stats anyway. CHA is the only one besides DEX that I can see as being obtainable and useful. So the stat tomes aren't likely to be obtainable or very useful.

    Edit: Why do I always mix up the lore bonuses for 18 and 25 INT&WIS? I ALWAYS do that. 20 bonus at 18 for both, not 80...

    Post edited by Elrandir on
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Imho, have you thought about limiting yourself to something like found potions?

    Pretend you're a Drunken Master! :D

    If you use a couple potions, but none of the 'cheese' and no gear, it wouldnt be too big of a boost, but you could handle some stuff.

    Also, you have 18 cha, right? Maybe let yourself use the +1 Dagger from Fuller? Its not powerful at all, and is given to you.

  • ElrandirElrandir Member Posts: 1,645
    Potions aren't an ideal choice, but they are a common tool used by players for solo challenges a lot.

    As for the dagger, I was considering that or some other +1 weapon. The monk's fists will out-damage most +1 weapons by endgame (BG1) if I remember correctly, so any of them would work.

    And cheese? Oh no, cheese is pretty much REQUIRED. =p

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Um, monk without gear in bg1 has 1 cheese option, punch and run away. :s

  • ElrandirElrandir Member Posts: 1,645
    DreadKhan said:

    Um, monk without gear in bg1 has 1 cheese option, punch and run away. :s

    Oh. You're right. Silly me. That's called strategy. ;p TACTICAL RETREAT!!! *flees like a frightened toddler*

  • meaglothmeagloth Member Posts: 3,806
    I would not think the sirens would be a problem with the monks speed bonus, just run in, grap the tome, run out. Imthink it fine if you use the dex tome two; it's so easy to get.
    I would say removing the XP cap in both games is a must.
    What are the merits of using each kit? I'm not super familiar with monks, but wouldn't sun soul rah be great for cannon fodder and trolls and such? Do they lose their abilities for the evil path? I don't even remember the abilities of a moon monk so I'll let someone else do this.

  • CrevsDaakCrevsDaak Member Posts: 7,147
    Elrandir said:

    DEX is actually quite obtainable, but will I have the necessary gold to identify it? I doubt an 80+ lore (from the 40 bonus gained from 18 INT&WIS) is quite enough, though maybe it would be.

    You get lots of Gold from Quests. No items/poverty runs' idea is of not using or wearing/wielding any type of stuff, so you can pick up all the stuff you require for Quests without feeling as if you were cheating.

    With 18 STR, you can use the Innate Bhaalspawn DUHM (Draw Upon Holy Might) to raise your STR to 21 at level 9, and 22 at level 12 (if you reach said levels...), so maybe you don't need the STR Tome that much (but you'll need to sleep a lot).

    As you're gonna reload, I think that it is impossible to fail with this (unless you give up), since you could beat the game with a potato if you reload at anything that goes wrong.
    meagloth said:

    I would say removing the XP cap in both games is a must.

    In BG2, Monks' maximum level is 40. And, IIRC, it requires 8M XP (or less), so you can reach it with no problems. But BG1... damn that freaking XP cap!
    meagloth said:

    Do they lose their abilities for the evil path?

    None of the good aligned kits/classes lose their abilities there.
    meagloth said:

    I'm not super familiar with monks, but wouldn't sun soul rah be great for cannon fodder and trolls and such?

    Yes, but Quivering Palm and Stunning Blow are great abilities, too. Sun Soul Monks are good too, I think that's something we have to leave to @Elrandir's playing style (disabling melee or sometimes casting damaging innates).

  • ElrandirElrandir Member Posts: 1,645
    I'd definitely prefer not removing the xp cap, but I can see why it might be necessary. As for the SSM, it would make trolls much easier, but I think quivering palm is one of the big keys to success. Even dragons can fall to it in one blow. Can liches fall to it as well, or are their saves too good?

  • SouthpawSouthpaw Member Posts: 2,026
    1) Sun Soul monk - has actually some range and AoE capabilities + self-heal.
    2) Dark Moon Monk - possesses tricks that help with defense, no AoE and a Quivering Palm in BG2EE, which can be situational, but awesome. Being Evil makes things easier in Hell.
    3) Unkitted - Stunning Fist is good, when it procs in BGEE, gets resisted all the time in BG2EE. Has no other tricks in his sleeve.

  • ElrandirElrandir Member Posts: 1,645
    @Southpaw‌ DMM has quivering palm? Or at least a variant? Interesting... And it has detect illusion as a thief skill as well, which would be quite handy in BG2 since monk's have no True Sight... Plus he begins evil, so choosing evil in the hell trials makes sense from a RP standpoint. Hmm... DMM might be the best choice after all. All three would be interesting to try with, however.

  • CrevsDaakCrevsDaak Member Posts: 7,147
    Elrandir said:

    I'd definitely prefer not removing the xp cap, but I can see why it might be necessary. As for the SSM, it would make trolls much easier, but I think quivering palm is one of the big keys to success. Even dragons can fall to it in one blow. Can liches fall to it as well, or are their saves too good?

    Oh, Trolls can be killed with Quivering Palm, I had forgotten! Duh! Their saves aren't very good and they aren't immune to the Slay opcode.
    Many dragons/liches and other of ToB's bosses are immune to 90% of the non-benefical effects in the game, and, if that isn't enough, they have godly saves, and Quivering Palm doesn't have a Save Penalty, so it's easy to save against.
    If you don't want to remove the XP cap, I won't say that there's a need of doing so, only Skeleton Warriors, Battle Horrors, Vampiric Wolves and Aec'Letec require magical weapons to hit in BG1, so if you avoid those, you won't have any type of problems.

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,012
    edited July 2014
    Southpaw said:

    For BGEE - good luck (smirk) But I think, except Tana'ri (optional) there's noone else who needs magical weapons in BGEE. Not so sure of Battle Horrors now (you meet about 3)

    Battle Horrors are not immune to them, but Werewolf, Loup Garou, Wolfwere, Greater Wolfwere, Mustard Jelly, Vampiric Wolf, Flesh Golem, Fission Slime, Schlumpsha the Sewer King, and Wraith Spiders are immune to normal weapons.

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    I tried a solo monk in tutu, was bored nearly to tears having to kite EVERYTHING with darts. Sling might be better damage now, and less infuriating to get the first few levels.

    For poverty solo, I have no clue how you'll get the first bunch of levels. Its fugly tedius.

  • ElrandirElrandir Member Posts: 1,645
    @elminster‌ Battle Horrors are immune to normal weapons. At least they are for me. *Shrugs* I know because Imoen's arrows are useless against them. (I'm too lazy to switch to magical ones, since the rest of the team can kill them so quickly.)

  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    I think they are immune to missile damage too. Sad for Bountyhunters.

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