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Doing zero damage

You guys may have noticed I that like unconventional playthroughs.

Right now I'm thinking about trying one where I do zero damage -- all kills will have to happen via death magic, stat drain, level drain, imprisonment, or petrification (et cetera?). I might start with SoA, because I can't think of a way to get past Mulahey in BG1.

The only methods I know for lowering stats without doing damage are Ray of Enfeeblement and Contagion. Anyone know anything I'm missing, or have other ideas? I expect success to depend heavily on enemies' (particularly bosses') immunities, and I'm not very knowledgeable about those.



  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    Approximately 80% of the reason for this thread is the hope that @semiticgod will have some mindblowing insight to make the run easier.

  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    Thank you! This is incredibly good.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,829
    I forgot to mention: Contagion will indeed work, and it is cumulative. If you can get an enemy to fail four saving throws, then you can do them in with Ray of Enfeeblement and three castings of Contagion. But Fire Seeds will work better than multiple Contagion spells, since the Archer STR drain offers no saving throw.

    There are probably mods featuring items which do 0d6 damage, but still have a projectile (to make a bow or crossbow work without arrows, it must have a projectile type assigned to it), and those might also work well with Archers. But I can't think of an example. Too bad the Short Bow of Gesen does 2 base physical damage. Otherwise it would be an excellent choice.

    Many bosses are immune to level drain, but you can kill most anything else with it. There are very few weapons that do level drain: Gram the Sword of Grief, Blackrazor, the Black Blade of Disaster, and the Short Sword of Mask. Gram is TOB, Mask needs a TOB upgrade, Blackrazor is end-game SoA, and BBoD requires 9th-level mage spells. Finally, all of these deal damage, and therefore can't be used on enemies without Stoneskin. You can also summon vampires using Limited Wish: have a character with low Wisdom talk to the djinni, choose protection from undead, and it will spawn 8-hour vampire summons. They're hostile, but you can take control of them with a high-level evil cleric. Viconia can do this. But the vampires will also do physical damage, so we still have the Stoneskin problem.

    Energy Drain bypasses MR and offers no save. But it only drains 2 levels, and requires a 9th-level spell slot. Probably not a realistic option.

    Another level-based method is Deathblow and Greater Deathblow. Greater Deathblow can take down almost all normal enemies, but still requires a melee or ranged hit. Death Spell covers fewer critters, but deals no damage and is area-effect.

    Other instant death effects--Imprisonment, Flesh to Stone, Disintegrate, and Finger of Death--will also work. Aside from spells, you can also get them from the Vorpal Sword, Ravager, Axe of the Unyielding, and Mace of Disruption, which still suffer the damage problem. But many bosses are immune to these effects.

    More to the point, some bosses have to die through damage, or important scripts won't activate. I know Lavok is one, and I believe one or more of the Irenicus fights also require a damage-based death: he is immune to instant death effects, but not stat drain, but stat drain will prevent an ending dialogue. Various other enemies may have the same thing, and I hear this also applies to two of the Five in TOB.

    But you could justify bypassing that. Kill them with stat drain, reload, CTRL-Y. That allows you to kill them without dealing damage, but avoid dealing with game-breaking errors.

    Note that the Wand of Wonder has a 12% chance of petrifying the target. That offers no save, bypasses MR, and counts as a level 0 effect. But it also has a 12% chance of casting Fireball, and another 12% chance of casting Lightning Bolt. So you might deal damage instead of killing the target, unless everyone in the path of the Lightning Bolt, or in the range of the Fireball, is immune to the damage or has MGOI active.

    I have absolutely no idea how you would complete BG1 with such a challenge. Instant death effects do exist in BG1, but I don't believe you can gain access to them. BGTutu with no level cap could work, though, although it would be miserably difficult or impossible to reach the right spells without dealing damage.

    But BG2 is possible to complete without dealing damage, as long as you reload and use CTRL-Y on certain critters with death-related dialogs or scripts, after breaking the game with stat drain.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,829
    Oh... you might be able to beat BG1/BGTutu without dealing damage by using confusion effects, whether from a Jester or a Confusion or Chaos spell. A charm spell to turn the enemies would arguably constitute dealing damage, since you're in control of the critters. But confusion doesn't give you control over them, so you could justify it. No XP from the kills, though, and you'd end up with at least one enemy still standing.

    And I'm not sure about Tranzig, since he has no allies. Maybe drain his spells, charm some other people into following you to his room, attack them to make them hostile, and confuse them so they kill Tranzig for you. But that's a pretty tall order.

  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    Awesome. I guess you could get a Sorceror with Contagion in BG1, but I don't know how you'd get to level 8 without killing stuff. Tranzig doesn't actually have to die at all.

    I notice that the Wand of Wonder also sometimes casts Stoneskin on the target, which is another positive effect in this context. Using that wand after protecting a target from fire and electricity might be a viable strategy sometimes.

  • simplessimples Member Posts: 540
    i'm going to go ahead and say this sounds impossibly difficult

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,829
    True that. Our XP gains would be curtailed, as stat drains gives no XP. But the lack of damage spells would free up room for disablers and defensive spells, so it's not a total loss.

  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    For the sake of completeness, I should mention chunking undead with Turn Undead as another valid technique.

  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    OK, so my first conclusion from this conversation is that it probably would be impossible in BG1 without confusion effects, which I don't really want to use. I think I'll concoct a loose RP backstory that being exposed to Irenicus's torture chambers left my PC deeply repulsed by the idea of damaging a body. If he has to momentarily overcome this to kill Irenicus in Hell, I might be OK with that, for narrative reasons... or I might go with the Ctrl-Y suggestion.

    My second conclusion is that for a single-player campaign, Sorcerer is the only option. This means giving up on Archer strength drain, but an Archer has no way to get past the Mephit Portals. Regarding NPCs, picking up Anomen to chunk undead with is a possibility. If I got as far as ToB, I might dual-class a certain human Fighter to Thief so that he can eventually do 10 APR with the Chaos Blade, which sounds like it could be a necessary (if not sufficient) tactic to complete the game.

    But yeah, this sounds really freaking difficult. I'm psyched!

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,829
    With your RP justification (good thinking, by the way), the Mephit Portals could be destroyed via damage, since there's no pain involved. Same goes for Golems and arguably the less intelligent forms of undead (liches would probably feel pain, I would think). But Contagion is still a viable possibility, as it bypasses the Mephit Portals' MR, and is guaranteed to work, considering the Mephit Portals' save vs. spell of 20.

    This might just be my personal preference speaking, but I'd strongly recommend adding an Archer to the group, if only to use GWW with Fire Seeds. Called Shot also lowers the target's save vs. spells (!) at level 8, which greatly empowers all of your spells. For mages, who have spell protections, Stoneskin, and low STR, the Archer can attack directly, draining STR through Stoneskin. For non-mages, who can be targeted with Protection from Fire, and therefore safely hit with Fire Seeds, you can soften them up for instant death spells like Finger of Death. An Archer is worth a -4 to -6 save penalty on your spells against the toughest enemies. And at level 12 and on, it has an instant death option against enemy mages. The +5 darts, as I've said elsewhere, bypass Improved Mantle, which vanilla mages love so much, and they can be made permanent by tossing them in an ammo belt. An Archer will boost your sorcerer's power and also offer an area-effect stat drain option that bypasses magic resistance, weapon immunities, and spell protections. It will also make a decent supplementary tank for other encounters, given its high HP pool (a human Archer with the right stats can wear Valygar's armor, by the way, and you always have Spirit Armor), and can also serve as a good scout from the beginning of BG2.

    You can avoid the multiplayer pause thing by copying a multiplayer save and pasting it into the normal save folder in your BG2 directory. This will let you play custom NPCs without fussing with multiplayer's pause delays, if that's why you're using single player mode.

    Keep us informed. I want to hear about this!

  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    edited March 2015
    @semiticgod Very good points. Also, I reread the spell description on Contagion, and "painful and distracting symptoms: boils, blotches, lesions, seeping abscesses, and so on" sounds incompatible with my RP rationalization. I think I like the idea of a Ranger who has come to accept that killing is his inescapable destiny as a Bhaalspawn, but he rejects the idea that he must cause pain. Anyway, Mephit Portals are dumb.

    Regarding Fire Seeds, could I use the Gesen bow in the same way? Or does proficiency/Archer bonus damage get added on as physical damage?

    Edit: Never mind, I forgot it also does 2 piercing damage... and you already said that. Oops.

    Post edited by joluv on
  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    edited March 2015
    There's no escaping it: I'm going to end up taking along Anomen and Nalia. I'll be leaning heavily on the mute button.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,829
    @joluv: Anomen is an excellent choice. With a large HP pool and Armor of Faith, he can hold the fort pretty well. And battles are going to take time, when you have to use instant death spells to get XP for kills.

    Don't forget to keep the Death spell handy. Slays Trolls and Yuan-ti, except for the mages, plus a whole bunch of other stuff. I don't think we mentioned that spell. Wail of the Banshee is a more expensive area-effect option, and unlike Finger of Death, it doesn't deal damage on a successful save.

    I assume you won't be bringing along anyone else, to make sure Anomen can get the levels to chunk undead.

    How are you going to get Nalia up to level 12 for instant death spells, and your Archer to 12 for stat drain? Just go after golems and undead until you have enough XP? Nalia might get impatient and leave for the de'Arnise Hold before she gains 6th-level spells and can therefore take down the Trolls in her home. Have you considered Edwin?

  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    @semiticgod Correct, no one else. I chose Nalia over Edwin because I want to be able to occasionally pickpocket, and the experience from traps and locks can't hurt. I guess I'll have her use scrolls for the Torgal fight.

    Although your "they feel no pain" logic makes sense, I'm trying to do this without damaging golems or undead. Plan A is to get Anomen up to a level where he can chunk Shadows via non-combat experience, then hang out at the Temple Ruins.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,829
    Excellent plan. Are you going to just sneak all the way to Torgal and nail him with a Disintegrate scroll? You might be the first one to ever do so!

  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    Pretty much. I'll open the gate and charm Glaicas first, since I don't know whether you can do either of those things after Torgal's dead.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,829
    I completely forgot about Glaicas. I thought he was optional, but you will need that flail head of his (pickpocket after charm?). Also have to nick the other head from the golems. But I don't think any of them turn hostile if you only take the flail head; they only attack if you take both items in that container.

    Good thinking on the gate. I almost never remember to open it. I'd suggest cooking dinner for the Umber Hulks for some more XP, but that's another four critters you'd have to kill. And you can't pickpocket the meat off the dogs; I checked. I hear you can pickpocket blood from Adalon in vanilla BG2, or steal the head off of Adratha and Draconis; but DLTCEP says the dog meat can't be stolen.

    Come to think of it, pickpocketing Adratha's and Draconis' head would be great ways to avoid a couple fights. I checked the files and neither head is tagged as unstealable.

  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    Huh. I would have said I tried pickpocketing Adratha in my min-kill run, but maybe not. Is Draconis ever not hostile? Because he might be immune to charm.

    Glaicas is optional, but he just gives you the flail head if you charm him.

  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    Are you sure that there's a timer on completing Nalia's quest, or do I just have to start it?

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,829
    Not sure about Draconis. I've heard you can pickpocket him, which must mean he starts out non-hostile. But it's possible there are some versions of the game in which he starts out hostile. I fought him recently, but I don't remember. We'll just have to see.

    I never knew you could charm Glaicas into giving you the flail head. Cool!

    Charm seems to have a lot more uses than just turning enemies against each other. Recently I managed to get the Government District guards to kill Tolgerias by charming lots of people and moving them around. First I charmed Tolgerias, brought him outside by ordering him to attack me and walking out, and then had him target himself with Flame Arrow, turning him hostile. Then I just waited out all his spells, got some summons to soften him up, and lured him over to a non-hostile Amnish Soldier, who finished off Tolgerias without costing me a single point of Reputation.

    But it took ages to kill Tolgerias, and even longer to move all the now-hostile people on the map over to a secluded corner. It's probably a better idea just to pickpocket the ring.

    Do you know about Arkanis Gath and killing Renal Bloodscalp for his Boots of Speed? As an Archer, with allies who can cast Death Ward and Improved Haste, you should be able to take down Arkanis Gath, and get away with killing Renal Bloodscalp.

  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    Tried pickpocketing Adratha after consoling in potions to get Nalia's pickpocket score to 255. After the periapt, I got the "no items that can be stolen by a cut-purse of your skill" message.

  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    This is sooooo hard. I was building up to taking out Rayic with Kachiko's Wakizashi, and then it turns out he has 16 wisdom and is level 14, so only 7 Stoneskins. Back to the drawing board.

  • DjimmyDjimmy Member Posts: 749
    Try to play with your display off and with audio only.

  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    @Djimmy I actually did try that in BG1 a couple days ago, in reference to a very similar comment I made on this thread:

    It got boring fast. Imoen found me, but I couldn't find Gorion.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,829
    @joluv: Are you using EE? When I pickpocket somebody with no items, it just says "Target has no items," not the quote you give.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,829
    @joluv: I just realized something. I was wrong. You can drain more STR than the target has Stoneskins. You just have to use Called Shot twice before attacking, and drain 2 STR with every hit. That's 20 for the highest-level spellcasters.

  • joluvjoluv Member Posts: 2,136
    A slight complication: in the current version of EE, Anomen doesn't have Fire Seeds.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,829
    Cernd, then. His Ironskins and AC in werewolf form will help give you some extra time in battle. Otherwise he won't be able to do much, I'm afraid. But you can ditch him once he hits level 11, since he'll be able to make Fire Seeds then. Unless you want him for extra Protection from Fire spells.

    I'd cheat in the seeds once you can get them. Faster than casting the spell.

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