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The cheapest (unfair) fights and encounters in the BG saga contrasted with the "fair" fights.

CershenCershen Member Posts: 27
There are several threads about hard and frustrating battles and encounters in BG (Draconis, Mindflayers) throughout various forums on the net. Just for enjoyment, I'd like to start a small discussion on a variation of this theme: the unfair and frustrating encounters compared to those you found "fair" and balanced.

What do I mean by that? By unfair I mean encounters in which you're very likely to lose on the first try even if you have a party with a diverse selection of spells, equipped items, quick items etc... which makes sense based on the dungeon you're currently in and the monsters and characters you've been encountering up to that point (plus any quest knowledge you might have). The outcome of these battles is usually decisively established within the first few rounds (your mage is interrupted while casting a critical spell, enemy spawn points cause one of your party members to be focus-fired without chance of escape, etc..) and there is no often no chance of a comeback even if you make good tactical decisions with the options that you have remaining.


Just to be clear, this isn't a complaint about BG's difficulty (I've already completed the entire saga, without cheese or power-gaming). I'm just curious about which encounters you think fall into which category. What are your thoughts?

Some "unfair" examples:

I find the ambush by three greater doppelgangers in Kiel's room of Durlag's Tower a bit cheap (some might find this laughable as an example but oh well). 2-3X Stinking Cloud + Cloudkill force-cast throughout the entire hall-way followed by an Improved Haste assault on the nearest party member (quite likely an unconscious mage who might have been able to caste Dispel or Remove Magic).

The fight against the Ravager in TOB: it isn't immediately obvious that his minions respawn infinitely, absurd resistances, spells which affect him seem to be arbitrary (only Bigby's is of any use if I remember correctly). The fight doesn't feel tactical really, and HLA spam (mostly by warriors) seems to be the most reliable key to victory, which is very unsatisfying.

Some "fair" examples:

The fight against Yaga-Shura and his army. This is by far one of the best encounters in the entire-trilogy. Every spell and ability from the weakest to the strongest feels like it could be potentially useful during this fight. The fight starts off slow and ramps up gradually as Yaga's troops start streaming in in greater numbers. You can slowly reposition your party throughout the battlefield and hold off incoming troops with area of effect spells and summons. Different members can try and hold different "lanes" whilst 1 or 2 of your characters try and take down Yaga-Shura. Can be seemingly beaten in various ways and with all sorts of spell loadouts. (I"m aware you can also just bum-rush Yaga Shura with every party member, but that's just a bit anti-climactic in my opinion.)

All encounters against Harper parties trying to kill Charname in SOA. Your spells work against them and theirs work against you. Neither side has ass-pull immunities or resistances (at least not extreme ones). Like the Yaga-Shura one, these are enjoyable because they can be beaten in several ways with various party compositions whilst still remaining challenging.

Post edited by Cershen on
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Comments

  • TuthTuth Member Posts: 233
    In BG1 I think that the most unfair fight is Degrodel's house where you're immediately surrounded by very strong enemies and it is quite small area to maneuver. However, there are way more unfair fights in BG2 especially with defensive spells (protection from magial weapons is so cheap). The situation is even more silly in IWD2 where some enemies are immune to almost anything (without casting any spells). That's why even when there are unfair fights in BG1 you still are always able to fight back. Those are strategical disadvantages, but immunities to almost anything are unfair.

    lolien
  • JenzafarJenzafar Member Posts: 303
    The axe of the unyielding has a 10% chance of beheading whoever you throw it at. The character dies immediately.

    But not Melissan. You can behead her and she'll just keep going in a show of ultimate bullcrap.

    DJKajurulolien
  • AnonymousHeroAnonymousHero Member Posts: 94
    AoTU cannot be thrown. And it offers a saving throw vs. Death (at -4, I think).

    Not that that changes the cheesiness of "immunity to death".

    elminsterDJKajurulolien
  • NokkenbuerNokkenbuer Member Posts: 146
    The "Heart" Seal in Watcher's Keep. I'm still stuck there and no matter what I do, I can't get past it. I'm thinking about just leaving Watcher's Keep and come back when I've leveled up more, but at Lv. 18 CHARNAME and a full party no lower than Lv. 13, I think I should be fine.

    lolien
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    Karlat! The bloody runt rolled nothing under 18 several reloads in a row... vs my solo monk. :/

    DJKajurulolientypo_tillyRedRodent
  • DreadKhanDreadKhan Member Posts: 3,859
    In all of IE, vanilla Yxunomei was utterly ridiculous. I had to restart, go caster heavy and pelt her with all the cheddar at my disposal. She got nerfed hard by HoW, which was probably wise. If you werent lucky, you likely had only a couple chatacters able to damage her... great character though, disturbingly satisfying to beat her, even via heaps of spells.

  • AlexisisinneedAlexisisinneed Member Posts: 470
    DreadKhan said:

    In all of IE, vanilla Yxunomei was utterly ridiculous. I had to restart, go caster heavy and pelt her with all the cheddar at my disposal. She got nerfed hard by HoW, which was probably wise. If you werent lucky, you likely had only a couple chatacters able to damage her... great character though, disturbingly satisfying to beat her, even via heaps of spells.


    Especially when you have no idea what will happen and you go into that room...Though the voice actor that plays her does a fabulous job.

    DJKajuruPokota
  • dstoltzfusdstoltzfus Member Posts: 280
    I never ever enjoy fighting dragons. Ever. Any dragon. In my current trilogy, the most fun I've had so far is fighting in Underdark, which is surprising.

  • scriverscriver Member Posts: 1,946
    I think nimbul is a pretty fair fight. He's not overpowering (and doesn't rely on cheats or cheap tricks to be threatening), but he hits you when you think you're safe, and how challenging he is depends a lot on how damaged/spent you got during the Mine Boss Guy fight. Unless you slept in between, but I don't think a first timer would expect that.

    DreadKhan said:

    In all of IE,74, vanilla Yxunomei was utterly ridiculous. I had to restart, go caster heavy and pelt her with all the cheddar at my disposal. She got nerfed hard by HoW, which was probably wise. If you werent lucky, you likely had only a couple chatacters able to damage her... great character though, disturbingly satisfying to beat her, even via heaps of spells.


    Especially when you have no idea what will happen and you go into that room...Though the voice actor that plays her does a fabulous job.
    And unless you've slept down there you're guaranteed to be banged up from and having used spells on the other inhabitants of that level, too.

    lolienAlexisisinneed
  • CershenCershen Member Posts: 27
    Anyone here with experience of pen and paper D&D who knows why some of the encounters can be so unfair? I read somewhere that even back then, there were dungeon masters who would spoil the game with patently unbeatable scenarios.

    Also, I've noticed that people haven't really mentioned any fights that they found to be refreshingly balanced yet. No contributions for the other side of the coin?

    DJKajurulolien
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,277
    edited August 2014
    I consider fair all the fights where you have the opportunity to have a reaction , like drinking a potion , casting a defensive spell/offensive spell, running towards the most vulnerable enemy... you only lose at those battles when you aren't good enough at battle strategy.

    Unfair battles , IMO, are the ones you can't do anything but run and kite your enemy . Kiting is only fun when we fighting big and slow creatures like ogres , otherwise it looks like I'm playing survival horror.

    lolienNokkenbuer
  • GoturalGotural Member Posts: 1,229
    I find all battles to be fair, except the Beholders ones. They aren't very strong, they don't have a good amount of HP, good AC or saves, but they will simply pewpewpew you to death, forcing you to rely on saves, and luck, to avoid being turned to stone or disintegrated (because they will dispel everything you could use of course !).

    There simply aren't any way I'm aware of to take them down 100% reliably.

    lolienNokkenbuerJuliusBorisov
  • scriverscriver Member Posts: 1,946
    Cershen said:

    Anyone here with experience of pen and paper D&D who knows why some of the encounters can be so unfair? I read somewhere that even back then, there were dungeon masters who would spoil the game with patently unbeatable scenarios.

    "Even back then"? DM fuckery is the Gygax way. It's been part of DnD since before it existed. The whole "the DM doesn't play with the players, but against them" philosophy pretty much comes directly from Mr G himself.
    Cershen said:

    Also, I've noticed that people haven't really mentioned any fights that they found to be refreshingly balanced yet. No contributions for the other side pof the coin?

    :(

    loliendunbaratcDave
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,277
    @Cershen, the majority of battles in the game are balanced . 90% of the stronghold dungeons are balanced, otherwise new players wouldn't have any fun playing them.

  • atcDaveatcDave Member Posts: 1,933
    scriver said:

    Cershen said:

    Anyone here with experience of pen and paper D&D who knows why some of the encounters can be so unfair? I read somewhere that even back then, there were dungeon masters who would spoil the game with patently unbeatable scenarios.

    "Even back then"? DM fuckery is the Gygax way. It's been part of DnD since before it existed. The whole "the DM doesn't play with the players, but against them" philosophy pretty much comes directly from Mr G himself.
    Cershen said:

    Also, I've noticed that people haven't really mentioned any fights that they found to be refreshingly balanced yet. No contributions for the other side pof the coin?

    It was Mr Gygax inspiration and original design that first led to D&D and no doubt, we all owe him a great deal!

    But his idea of fair... Or game balance.... Oy!
    His modules are so ridiculous they're better as satire than actual games.
    I like to game WITH my players, not against them.

  • TwaniTwani Member Posts: 640
    Three words: Tomb of Horrors.

    Yeah.

    atcDavejackjack
  • tennisgolfbolltennisgolfboll Member Posts: 457

    Every Demilich encounter is cheap. If you play for the first time, you never know what's coming and you'll inevitably die. If you know and prepare yourself properly, it can't do anything to you.

    This. Its just terrible game balance

    DJKajuru
  • KingGhidorahKingGhidorah Member Posts: 200

    The chess board fight in Durlag's Tower is a little weak too. The game takes the time to set up this interesting idea of using your characters as chess pieces and potentially having to out think your opponent using superior strategy only to have the entire other side of the board bum rush you as soon as they see you with no regard for where they are stepping and when you move up to meet them in battle you are completely destroyed by lightning bolts.

    That reminds me of a first RL chess games i recently had with my 3 year old son...

    Anyway, fair and enjoying battles with plenty of strategy: Sendai, Iron Throne penthouse and all of Watchers keep spring to mind.

    The most cheesy encounter award goes without a doubt to... the Ravager in the pocket plane.

    lolienCershenDJKajuru
  • MoffMoff Member Posts: 13
    Most unfair fights in my opinion are:
    BG1 - two random greater basilisks at the exit from Candlekeep catacombs. Have fun if you weren't prepared for that.
    BG2 - any large group of beholders, unless you have a cloak of mirroring.
    ToB - the entire game is so cheesy, it's hard to pick a particular fight.

    jackjackJuliusBorisov
  • lemarin83lemarin83 Member Posts: 9
    I hate the return to Ulgoths Beard with a passion. You come there, all happy that you got through all of Durlags Tower, and up come these cult enforcer assholes. What follows is the weakest dialogue in the whole series, and a fight where your most important concern is to micromanage your mages away from merciless backstabs. And the peasants of the city stand around like morons, enjoying the spectacle. Also just LOVE it when I don't target my aoes perfectly which results in a fireball wiping out half of the population of said people, standing around.

    JuliusBorisov
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 851
    The most memorable "unfair" fight on my first playthrough was the group of female bounty hunters that you will likely encounter right after completing the Nashkel mines. It's probably the most reloading I ever had to do on a single fight. Of course I knew very little about the game at the time, and it seemed like some fight I had to complete.

    Even after years of experience with the game, this fight just feels misplaced. And I usually intentionally avoid it until going back to Nashkel once.

    RedRodent
  • RedRodentRedRodent Member Posts: 78
    Got to agree with @DinoDin . Came across them again last night and was wrecked every time no matter how I tried to engage them (SCS, Tactics difficulty). At least until I ventured south to the Ghast tomb and got myself a wand of monster summoning. They are pretty fierce in the vanilla game too, especially if you have no idea that they're coming.

    BG1 loves to throw these encounters at you when your party is tired and weary. Tarnesh, Karlat, Neira, Nimbul, and so on, all love to pounce on you just before you get to rest. I generally think these are all fair fights when it's just one assassin to deal with (though Karlat tests my patience at times), but when there's a group of them coming at you just after you just fought a boss, it's hard to think the DM isn't a dick.

    DinoDin
  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 684
    I like how a lot of the "first timers won't know what to do" comments assume No-Reload is standard.

    Information is the strongest weapon you have in your arsenal. The second-strongest is "Load Game."

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