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"Maybe this time" [NO-RELOAD THREAD]: "Foe Bane, Soul Reaver, Grave Binder, ICE Breaker"

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  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 1,623
    edited July 15

    Diary of Nigretta

    We have returned the Stone of Askavar and will now continue to fulfil other tasks which we have been given.

    The road to get here below.




    The section HQ in Beregost is beckoning, but so are other quests.
    However, first I will have to sell items in my bag of holding to make room for more loot.

    StummvonBordwehrEnuhalAerakar
  • Corey_RussellCorey_Russell Member Posts: 458
    Quick update on Thrasher the human cleric:
    Traveling with: Kagain, Minsc, Kivan, Imoen, Dynaheir


    Still making progress - I've cleared most of the chapter 3 areas (not counting TotSC areas) - we have a few areas in the east to mop up, such as Pelvale, Larswood, Wizards of Thay area, then we will venture into the Cloakwood. Party is well equipped and well armored, haven't had much trouble since last update. Will keep at it.

    I'm toying with the idea of being solo in BG 2 - we'll see how that goes...

    StummvonBordwehrGrond0Enuhal
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 9,588
    @Enuhal: Very efficient indeed. One question: Why not use an Invisibility scroll on Liia Jannath, or maybe Pixie Dust before resting and returning to the palace?

    EnuhalRVNS
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 311
    @semiticgod Well, the easy answer would be: I simply forgot about that strategy :)

    Then again, while I've read about it many times, I've actually never used it myself - after the EE-changes to the ducal palace event, maximum damage aided by greater malison + chaos (and other cc) has always been my go-to strategy, and before that, if I recall correctly, I used to go for the wand of sleep.

    So, does Liia simply do nothing at all if affected by invisibility? Won't she try to attack the doppelgangers and reveal herself again? Obviously not, otherwise people wouldn't be using this strategy all the time, but it seems a bit strange to me. Since I have somewhat of an aversion to testruns, I rarely try strategies that are new to me, since there's always a risk involved. That's why there are some common no-reload approaches to several encounters that I've actually never tried at all.

    RVNSWise_Grimwald
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 9,588
    @Enuhal: In SCS at least, Liia Jannath does not attack, whether she is invisible or not. It's always worked for me. Without SCS, or with other mods, it's possible that she will break invisibility.

    One of the things I've done is charm Ithtyl from the nearby inn and use her to cast Invisibility on Liia Jannath, which also allows me to avoid triggering the cutscene conversation, ensuring that my mage's aura is clear when combat begins. Ithtyl also has some high-level spells at her disposal, so she's very useful even if you don't use her to hide Liia.

    EnuhalMantis37Grond0Wise_Grimwald
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,329
    Liia's behavior does depend on the installation - I've certainly had the experience in unmodded games that she breaks invisibility by attacking.

    EnuhalsemiticgodStummvonBordwehrWise_Grimwald
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 311
    edited July 18
    Rikai, Totemic Druid, second update

    BG1+SoD can be found here: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/994086/#Comment_994086

    For SoA, I once again had a specific plan in mind for the beginning of the run. My first stops right out of the dungeon were the party in the sewers below the temple district and Mencar's crew, easily taken down by the unstoppable combination I used for most of SoA - 2 fire elementals, 3 spirit lions, insect plague and, as defensive buffs, ironskin, deathward and chaotic commands.


    Several strength of one spells had been prepared to carry their loot and sell it, allowing me to get the belt of hill giant strength right away - I wanted to get this one early to alleviate the carrying capacity problem as soon as possible.

    After that, I made some more money via a couple of small city quests and payed Gaelan to get access to Aran's trinkets. With those at the ready, I decided to speed up gameplay even more by going for the boots of speed. The Warden, however, is one of the few foes in chapters 2/3 who can deal with summons, and even though I made him waste his death spell, this fight was a little bit close - right as my last summon went down, Rikai in turn defeated him with his nonmagical sling and nonmagical bullets (I hadn't bothered to buy the Biter +2 yet):

    Oh, and this time I did in fact pick up his key before freeing the actors.

    As I continued to complete city quests (mostly for the experience), I didn't encounter any further trouble until the final one I planned to do - the Unseeing Eye. Counting the two times I was hit by horror spells in BG1 and SoD plus the very close ducal palace fight as the first three big mistakes ot this run, the following was certainly the fourth, and by far the biggest. There's the web trap in the old tunnels which will also summon a couple of ettercaps - a trap which I'm well aware off and which had already given me problems in a previous solo run. I knew exactly where the trap was, and for some reaons, my brain decided that instead of preparing for it (for example by buying a potion of freedom from the nearby Roger the Fence), it would be a good idea to just... walk into the trap without any plan and see what happens, I guess. Really, this was just me not thinking clearly, or rather not thinking at all. Predictably, I failed my first save and ettercaps started attacking:

    This could heave easily been the end of my run. Granted, I was getting statistically unlucky, failing the save over and over again, but only I was to blame for my situation, and having to rely on making a save is never a sound strategy for a no-reload run. However, I did end up finally succeeding on the saving throw before Rikai was killed, thus saving this run from a rather embarassing game over:

    By the way, I skipped both the lich battle and the beholders during the remaining Unseeing Eye quest, given that I didn't have access to a Deva yet (which would turn the lich into just a minor distraction) and that beholders are one of the worst enemies a solo druid can face, so avoiding them is always the recommended strategy.

    Eventually, I made my way out of the city, completed the Trademeet quests (where I used pixie dust do skip straight to Faldorn), De'Arnise Keep, the Windspear Dungeon (skipping Firkraag at this point) etc. - you might find the Umar Hills missing from this list, and it's true: This was the time my rule of not ever using the console for this run came back with a vengeance. This might be some new bug with 2.5... I was completely unable to add the Temple Ruins to my world map. I certainly picked up Merellas Journal and Mazzy's Letter, talked to Minister Lloyd about it (though I did things in the wrong order, picking up those things before talking to the ogres)... but still, no Temple Ruins - which also meant no Shadow Dragon Armor to use against Draconis, and no Crom Faeyr for a potential future party in ToB. Not the biggest loss, but a bit annoying (especially since the temple ruins would be easy XP at this point, since I had access to a Deva by now).

    By the way, the second major bug I encountered (which might also be new to 2.5) was that, after confronting Rejiek in the bridge district, I ran down to the second basement level before he could leave the first one - and when I went back upstairs after finishing the fight, Rejiek wouldn't leave, instead he would attack me and start chasing me all over the bridge district:


    This might've also resulted in the followup quest in Trademeet not triggering.

    Anyway, with most of the accessible quests done for now, I hunted for some high value targets: Liches were killed by Devas, mind flayers died to a Deva protected by cc, the Guarded Compound was cleared... I skipped the Twisted Rune (there's a beholder involved, after all, and I really don't need the SotM, not even for ToB) - oh, and I recruited a party member for the first and only time during SoA - Anomen got to kill Kangaxx' demi-lich form for me using the iMoD +2 after my Deva failed to hurt him (it takes ages to try and kill him with weapon damage as a single-class druid due to his regeneration)


    While Rikai wasn't all that close to the XP cap at this point, I had gained all the significant spellslots needed for the remainder of the game, and there were no more items to gather, so I moved on to Spellhold. Not much to say here, summons still took care of everything. After obtaining the Cloak of Mirroring, I started skipping basically all Underdark sidequests - after clearing the Kua-Toa caves (except for the beholders) for the blood and the Demon Knight's loot, I went straight to Ust'Natha, followed Phaere's questline without allowing for any distractions, swapped the eggs and fled the city right away. I didn't need any items from the beholder caves or the illithid city, and I had already decided early on to get my experience during the easy chapter 2/3 quests rather than taking any risky underdark battles (though there would be more experience to gain down there, safety is still a primary concern).

    Back at the surface, I had Cromwell forge some items. I also killed Firkraag (I had forgotten him earlier on, and since I planned to pick up Keldorn during ToB, Carsomyr was an important item to pick up), dealt with Bodhi once again (easy work for another Deva) - and even reading the books about vampirism stashed in her lair didn't add the Temple Ruins to the map. No time to waste - Suldanessellar was cleared (at the cost of Demin's life during battle), the dragon didn't give my HLA summons any trouble - Elemental Prince + Deva aided by a Druid + Simmy using Energy Blades is still very strong in late SoA. Deva + Elemental Prince also took down Jon at the tree:


    The hell trials were completed the good way (though beholders were once again skipped - a Deva using remove fear was enough to get past the fear trial), and Jon returned. Summons quickly took down his allies, he himself quickly lost Hp and I really thought I had him:


    But he just wouldn't go down - mabye due to a common bug during this fight. Eventually, all my HLA summons ran out, and while Jon regenerated, I called in some more low level summons and used an oil of speed to improve Rikai's dps with the Firetooth Dagger. The second time was the charm, this time victory was mine:



    SoA went well except for the whole web trap debacle, pretty much as expected (this is the part of the game were I have the most experience with solo totemic druids) - though the run was actually faster than anticipated: It took me less than a day of playing to get from the opening dungeon to hell, making this a shorter experience compared to BG1+SoD. Basically, the only tactics added since SoD were the addition of SotA to my usual buffs (at least against spellcasters and for certain traps) and the important addition of the Deva (and, almost more importantly, her remove fear spell), the Elemental Prince and some more occasional offensive spells (I really didn't end up casting Nature's Beauty despite having it memorized a lot, but Energy Blades were used a bit).

    This was Rikai's equipment at the end of SoA: Ankheg Plate Mail, Legacy of the Masters, Helm of Balduran, Amulet of Power, Blackblood +3, Firetooth +3, Biter +2, Shield of the Lost +2 (which the EE allows druids to use, propably because the description states that it isn't made of metal), Ring of Gaxx, The Guard's Ring +2, Cloak of Mirroring, Boots of Speed, Girdle of Frost Giant Strength, Golden Lion Figurine, Black Spider Figurine, Rod of Resurrection, a ton of extra utility and protective items in various bags, also some weapons for future ToB companions.

    Enuhal

    StummvonBordwehrCorey_Russell
  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 1,623
    edited July 18
    Grond0 said:

    Liia's behavior does depend on the installation - I've certainly had the experience in unmodded games that she breaks invisibility by attacking.

    Same here.

    EnuhalGrond0
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,329
    Enuhal said:

    I didn't need any items from the beholder caves or the illithid city, and I had already decided early on to get my experience during the easy chapter 2/3 quests rather than taking any risky underdark battles (though there would be more experience to gain down there, safety is still a primary concern).

    Impressive stuff @Enuhal. I was thinking that as a solo you might have some problems without the Greenstone Amulet, but while writing this I realized you said you were expecting to recruit NPCs for ToB :).

    Enuhal
  • Corey_RussellCorey_Russell Member Posts: 458
    FYI now that it's Friday I'll be able to get some real progress on my human cleric run (Thrasher) - will work on him tonight after work. Been pretty busy this week.

    Wise_Grimwald
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 311
    Rikai, Totemic Druid, third and final update

    BG1+SoD can be found here: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/994086/#Comment_994086
    BG2 can be found here: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/994376/#Comment_994376

    I mentioned that I planned to recruit a full party for ToB. Here are the reasons: a) I already know that I can't beat Amelyssan solo as a totemic druid; b) Several other fights, like Draconis and Abazigal, might also be close or at least take a lot of time and nerves; c) fights last a lot longer compared to SoA - it takes quite a while to take some enemies down solo, so party play might actually speed up the game at several points.

    As for who would be joing this party: I think that fighter-types are the most useful when it comes to increased pace of play - they don't need much micromanagement, they don't need to rest very often, all you have to do is point them at a target and sometimes activate GWW or drink a potion. This is why I recruited Sarevok and Korgan (the most effective fighter-types) and, as a third, Keldorn (for his ability to wield Carsomyr, which utterly destroys most mages in vanilla). My next addition was Anomen: Buffing the entire party with deathward + chaotic commands just with one divine spellcaster is a huge timesink - having two will save a lot of time, and Anomen adds cleric buffs into the mix - plus he can fight. Finally, I added Imoen for traps and arcane spells (especially haste and improved haste).

    An additional timesaving measure was the equipment I gave my new party - for example, the Silver Sword for Sarevok gave him two ways to instantly take out enemies (the other one being his deathbringer assault); Korgan would later on pick up the Axe of the Unyielding.

    Anyway, after killing Ilasera and recruiting my party, I entered Saradush and bought all the spellcrolls Imoen would need. The sidequests were all completed and Gromnir was easily dealt with. My next step was Watcher's Keep, which I didn't touch at all in SoA. Nothing of note happened in the first two levels and most of the third - but at the end, when trying to gamble for Spectral Brand (which I failed to get, by the way), I ended up drawing a card that spawned a bunch of high level thieves who managed to kill Sarevok with instant backstabs:

    However, he didn't get chunked and was easily resurrected after the battle.

    Level 4 was easily completed again, and so was most of level 5 until I got to the guardians of the final seal - the Aurumach Rilmani managed to cast timestop, attacking Korgan and casting Cone of Cold a lot - Korgan was dead shortly before the timestop ended:

    However, I used the RoR right away to get back my berserker - he almost died again a short while later, but the party managed to take out all foes before that would be the case. The other guardians failed to pose much of a challenge (the lich even got instantly killed by the Deva's iMoD+2), and I used Helm's scroll instead of taking on the Demogorgon.

    With some much needed experience for my new party under my belt, I took care of the Yaga-Shura questline, sometimes adding protection from fire to my buffs (which, thanks to Anomen, now also included PfE 10' radius and remove fear). I generally tried to rest as little as possible, as any rest would result in me having to rebuff the entire party with DW and CC, which was a huge timesink. Instead, I used lots of healing potions and made sparing use of actual spells, mostly relying on a couple of efficient summons (like 1 mordy sword distracting a huge group of fire giants). Yaga-Shura was eventually GWW'd down before his followers managed to cast any relevant spells, and I made my way to Amkethran.

    The only dangerous sidequest there is the fight against Vongoethe, but I know this battle quite well, which is why I added protection from fire here once again - a very good idea, because the lich used is Dragon's Breath HLA pretty much right away, and my party was immune:

    At Sendai's Lair, mindless enemy hordes couldn't stop my party; I got more and more vorpal hits by now, with a first-attack vorpal strike against Diaytha's Hive Mother being a highlight:

    The battle against Sendai was propably the fastest one I ever had - Keldorn is really good at dealing with most of her versions, and her final form didn't last long enough to heal herself even once:

    Draconis was a bit more challenging, as he managed to evade my planned timestop + IA combo by going invisible right before my timestop hit. Luckily, his first and only acid breath only hit my melee fighters and didn't do much damage at all. He was finished off by regular GWW's, since my prepared strategies failed to do anything - same for his father, Abazigal. Interestingly, the blue dragon failed to dispel my buffs, which is something he usually does quite frequently:

    There isn't much to say about Balthazar - he was his usual weak self compared to the two previously fought dragons. The Ravager turned out to be much more challenging: I didn't bother to prepare the harm-combo I usually use to take him out, and the damage output of him + his bone blades was really high, forcing me to even use RoR charges for healing purposes to keep my party alive - it took a while, but eventually he was taken down:

    For the throne, I prepared a bunch of wondrous recalls to get back crucial buffs in case of dispels. Otherwise, nothing much changed, though Imoen tried her luck with some wish spells (which ended up doing basically nothing). A chain contingency with 3 AHWs turned out to be enough, combined with quick melee attacks, to take out the first version of Mel:


    As you can see, Mel did in fact start dispelling buffs - something she would continue to do during all phases of this fight. I did eventually use a couple of wondrous recalls to get back my defensive buffs. First things first, though, Melissan's second form was quickly destroyed, with me being careful about preserving some GWWs for later. I did go all out for her third form, chasing after her right away and using several HLAs. Luckily, the Slayer Shadows mostly converged on Imoen, who was not only immune to level drain thanks to the AoP but als protected via defensive mage spells.

    The Fallen Solar was lured back to the party to seperate him from his allies a bit (since he's much faster compared to them). Since I still had enough deathwards for everyone, he didn't pose much of a threat and was quickly taken down:


    I used my remaining HLA summons for Melissan's final form, plus the remaining GWWs. She did use a pretty effective dispel magic and dealt some significant damage to Sarevok, but that was all she could muster - during the entire throne chapter, Rikai never lost his buff, always staying at a safe distance, so there wasn't any real danger of defeat:



    While I certainly did make a couple of mistakes in ToB, their impact was lessened by playing with a full party, and since Rikai was always kept away from danger, this part of the run was the safest overall (solo play really does increase the risk of freak accidents). I'm happy with my decision to pick up a party, though gameplay might've been sped up by skipping a couple of encounters (my ToB run was essentially a completionist run) - I simply wanted my new party to gain enough experience to get them a solid amount of HLAs.
    ToB did take a bit less than a day to complete - propably around the same time as SoA. Of course, usually ToB is much shorter, but the difference in playstyle had a significant impact. Still, it took me 3 days to get through the entire saga from Candlekeep to Throne, which is certainly the fastest run I've ever had, and it was a no-reload success too, with Rikai only getting really close to death 2 times (the ducal palace fight and the web trap in the old tunnels).

    I won't make an item list for my entire party this time; Just the weapons for my fighter types. Sarevok ended up using the Ravager +6, Keldorn went with Carsomyr +6, Korgan was a beast with unbuffed 5 APR using the Axe of the Unyielding +5 and Kundane +2, Anomen smashed his foes with the Runehammer +5 and the Defender of Easthaven +3.

    Now, I'm really looking forward to 2.5 for BG1 and SoD getting released!

    Good luck to everyone else,
    Enuhal

    Grond0StummvonBordwehrCorey_Russellsemiticgod
  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 1,623
  • StummvonBordwehrStummvonBordwehr Member, Mobile Tester Posts: 326
    edited 9:29AM

    The tragic deaths of Archy and HHH

    I have had 2 no reloads going:

    1) my IWD HoF run with HHH the Half-Orc F/C


    And

    2) my BG saga run with Archy the elf archer.


    Regarding 1)
    My IWD ended months ago shortly after my first update in this run.

    Things where going well. The undead mopped up the lizard men, and when I got the Aerial servants things really began to pick up.. alas I foolishly tried to do some melee work myself - 2 crits from a tough lizard man sealed the deal (they do pack a punch when they hit!)

    Later I tried facing X......, and the Aerial servants actually killed her them selves. They truly rock.


    Regarding 2)
    My BG saga ended yesterday.

    I was in Baldurs gate and was awaiting the 2.5 patch and the boost to potion of speed. The potion of speed isnt coming so I decided to proceed. I was picking up some XP, gold and Tomes when I decided to do the Iron Throne unbuffed and with regular ammo.. I had become overreliant on stealth sniping enemies, and hybris showed it self.








    Now I have no no-reloads active. Careless playing got the better of me - again

    EnuhalGrond0Wise_Grimwald
  • Corey_RussellCorey_Russell Member Posts: 458
    Unfortunately I didn't make quite as much progress as I had hoped, as I got a crash while trying to play Thrasher (my human cleric). BG 1 EE definitely seems less stable than vanilla BG 1. A little annoying. But in any case, Thrasher and gang did mop up Pelvale, Larswood and the Wizards of Thay area, with a few deaths along the way. Web traps are vicious to this party.

    Next session, will finally brave the Cloakwood Forest.

    EnuhalGrond0Wise_Grimwald
  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 1,623
    edited 7:55PM

    I ran a half-elf fighter mage with very good stats, the assassins in Candlekeep having the usual better equipment that I have given them (+2 armour and swords/daggers) The result was a VERY short game. There are only two changes in tactics that I can make.
    1) instead of having two longswords have a longsword and shield.

    2) Ensure that he/she is under the influence of the oil of speed from the training room. I didn't do the latter as I thought that the effect might wear off before meeting Mendas who was quite tough even before I beefed him up.

    Any suggestions? Would having a shield instead of a second sword be more effective?

    Post edited by Wise_Grimwald at
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,329
    edited 8:02PM

    Any suggestions? Would having a shield instead of a second sword be more effective?

    Probably, but kiting them round the house while shooting them would be more effective still :D.

  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 1,623
    edited 8:12PM
    Grond0 said:

    Any suggestions? Would having a shield instead of a second sword be more effective?

    Probably, but kiting them round the house while shooting them would be more effective still :D.
    Unfair tactics! But effective! However, particularly with Mendas, you have to keep him in sight otherwise he hides and backstabs very effectively. I actually like that improvement. He actually uses his thieving skills!! :)

    My run with Nigretta is awaiting the solution of a bug.

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 3,329

    Unfair tactics! But effective! However, particularly with Mendas, you have to keep him in sight otherwise he hides and backstabs very effectively. I actually like that improvement. He actually uses his thieving skills!! :)

    Agreed. In vanilla it's easier to just lead him out of the house to kite him, but with SCS a hidden thief coming after you with a poisoned backstab is definitely risky. However, there is enough room in the house to allow you to run round while taking the odd pot shot ...

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