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Raising Charname - Minimal Reload Thread (BG1-SoD-BG2 Spoilers)



  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,319
    edited May 26
    @Arvia , great run report. You're fine on number of reloads. Remember, the one time I played all the way through ToB as a "minimal reload" I would up with something like 27, mostly because of the ravager and the final battle with Melissan. @sarevok57 just posted a NWN2 Storm of Zehir "minimal reload" with a pretty high final total over in that other thread.

    We're just doing this for fun, and to improve our game and learn. If you do it again in the future, you'll be able to learn from your mistakes this time, and get your final total down to a lower number. That's part of the fun.

    One thing that would have helped you a lot in that Prat battle would have been a Silence spell. I noticed the mage using some kind of Dimension Door effect, which would have given him the invisibility effect and therefore untargetable by spells. Silence, however, works as an area of effect that can be cast at a point on the ground, and could have Silenced the mage even while he was invisible. An inquisitor or cleric of Helm would have a huge advantage here, with True Seeing for both and Dispel Magic at 2x level for the inquisitor.

    I wouldn't have minded a bit if you had designated your Invisibility 10' as a "critical spell" and taken a reload for that, especially since you "paid for it" with the appropriate potion. I think some of the no-reloaders use the Tweaks mod component of "100 percent spell memorization", as long as they say so in their initial run parameters in the first post they make for that run. Other people turn the difficulty slider temporarily to "normal" for spell-scribing, and then turn it back up, but that feels a little like cheating to me.

    I really enjoy your run reports, so I hope you will consider continuing to play and post when you have the time. :)

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    @BelgarathMTH , I always forget that Silence is a cleric spell... must remember that! No, I won't reload for the Invisibility Radius 10' spell.

    You know, I think I know what your problem with ToB and especially the Ravager might have been, if you ever think of playing that again. Your defensive fighting style and aversion to dual-wielding (as far as I have understood until now, correct me if I'm wrong) get you killed in ToB. The enemies in ToB have such an insane Thac0 that they hit you all the time and your AC is almost worthless. Your only chance is to kill them before they kill you. And the Ravager must have around 300 HP.

    I'm afraid of Durlag's Tower...

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 4,343
    Arvia wrote: »
    @BelgarathMTH , I always forget that Silence is a cleric spell... must remember that! No, I won't reload for the Invisibility Radius 10' spell.

    You know, I think I know what your problem with ToB and especially the Ravager might have been, if you ever think of playing that again. Your defensive fighting style and aversion to dual-wielding (as far as I have understood until now, correct me if I'm wrong) get you killed in ToB. The enemies in ToB have such an insane Thac0 that they hit you all the time and your AC is almost worthless. Your only chance is to kill them before they kill you. And the Ravager must have around 300 HP.

    I'm afraid of Durlag's Tower...

    ravager has this amount of HP

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    edited May 31
    My progress has been really slow, very little time to play. On top of the usual real life issues with family and work, my husband broke his wrist (and was very lucky that nothing worse happened, falling down a ladder), so I'll be a lot more occupied at home during the next month. I'll occasionally play and share the results, but probably not as much as until now.

    We reached Durlag's Tower, after being waylaid twice on the long journey. I'm wearing the Cloak of Displacement. It's annoying to look at, but too useful to care about looks.
    We didn't buy anything from Erdane and met Ike at the entrance after fighting some critters on the way (battle horrors or something?). It was not exactly a warm welcome.

    Imoen, we're counting on your skills!

    Then we accepted to buy a wardstone from Ike (I hope we won't need them all, I got one in Ulgoth's Beard, but refused to pay the 900gp debt at the Inn to get another one) and the result was... unexpected.

    The demon knight scorched us badly and seemed immune to everything that we tried to throw at him, magic or otherwise. Fortunately he seemed to want to teach us a lesson rather than kill us right now. We're not easily intimidated, but I seriously hope that he's the boss here and not just the insignificant, powerless butler.

    We went to check out the upper levels first, which was obviously a good decision. A few traps, a few undead, the ghost of a wizard... not too many difficulties.
    Imoen's improving stealth skills helped us to avoid trouble a few times.
    Thank you, Imoen. With Protection from Petrification, Arvia got rid of that little beast and its three bigger cousins on the roof.
    The advice to alternate between Hide in Shadows and Find Traps because of the different duration was very useful (thank you, @semiticgod, for that insight). It makes progress really slow (Imoen still fails to hide many times), but much safer. Unfortunately Durlag's Tower seems to have some traps where 100 points in Find Traps are not enough.

    No harm done. By the way, the developers seem to recycle areas, because that level of the tower looked identical to the home of that mage in BG2 in the Athkatla sewers where you find Haer'Dalis.

    Then we encountered the only real problem in the upstairs levels.

    What Imoen described sounded suspiciously similar to the sirens, but I decided to talk to her first and keep the greenstone amulet ready to be used, just in case. (I don't wear it all the time, because Imoen gave me a birthday present made from a pin that she had found on Gorion's body, which on top of the sentimental value gives 1 AC bonus).
    Big mistake.

    Great. Even more dangerous than a siren, she's a succubus. I probably would have agreed to free her anyway, but is *that* my only dialogue choice? To ask for a reward and offer to find someone to take her place? Sorry, but that's not acceptable. Do your worst.

    She cast Dire Charm faster than I could activate the greenstone amulet, and then she teleported to the others. That was probably good, because I couldn't accidentally kill one of them. She did the same to Ajantis, but then Imoen knocked her out with a Dart of Stunning and Minsc and Yeslick killed her. Then the four of them escaped downstairs, before Ajantis could kill Imoen, until the Charm spells wore off. Then we discovered that Ajantis had his dexterity and constitution drained. We had no way to know whether this was permanent or required a long hike back to a temple. We decided to try our luck and rest, and he awoke as good as new.

    Then we went back to the ground floor and decided to tackle the dangerous dungeon levels. In the cellar we talked to a man who told us about the dangers that awaited us behind a secret door, and he also knew the boy that we were looking for. So, there was no question whether to proceed or not.

    Ouch! We've got the message. We're in the danger zone now. Be even more careful than usual, please, Imoen.

    We explored the maze on this level with its various traps, undead, flesh golems, greater doppelgangers, and walked around for a bit before we found the reason for the many strange bits of information and machinery in the rooms.

    That sounded like a threat. But we have to cooperate with them all, otherwise we have to leave. Pride and Fear didn't sound too friendly, either, after we found what they asked for.

    (I know that Durlag's Tower is deadly, and I knew the four of them, two spellcasters and two tough fighters, would attack us together as soon as we finished the last quest. I used that bit of metaknowledge to rest and heal our wounds, and had my fighters drink some potions of heroism, strength, that kind of thing, before we talked to the last one of them. If I find out something without wanting to, I'm not going to ignore it and get killed just to prove a point)

    Love had asked us to talk to him after doing what his brothers had wanted.

    Love was the first one to die, but not without Charming Yeslick first, interrupting his Silence spell. That made the battle against the other three difficult to manage. At least we were out of the Cloudkill area when Avarice started to attack. None of them were affected by the Wand of Paralyzation, I didn't dare to let Dynaheir cast Web with their high magic resistance and saving throws, and although Avarice got blinded by Dynaheir's Glitterdust, it didn't make him visible.
    I didn't want to use Haste, either, because I had no idea how long it would take to kill them. I didn't want to risk a fatigued party in the middle of a tough fight. (Why do they get fatigued immediately after Haste in BG1? In BG2 it's only after the second Haste spell) I guess it was a mistake to try to use magic on them.
    It was difficult to keep the others from attacking Yeslick, make them focus on the enemies, make the severely wounded run away far enough to drink a potion before the remaining three warders could kill one of them. It was close for Ajantis, especially, but in the end they were dead and we were not. And Yeslick awoke from the Charm spell just in time to deliver the killing blow to Pride. That was quite poetic, actually. (and I killed Fear. I liked that, too)

    Now we're ready to face the dangers of the next level. But not today.

    Level 6 (Yeslick)
    Level 7 (Arvia, Ajantis, Minsc)
    Level 8 (Imoen, Dynaheir)

    Number of reloads: 7 (the ogre south of the FAI, Daer'Ragh, a spider web north of the Thay Wizards, Tenya, Prat, Prat, a spider web in the Candlekeep catacombs)

    Post edited by Arvia on
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,129
    It's a reflection of how little I know about BG1 that I've never seen the Demon Knight show up like that, and have no idea why he did!

    I'm still amazed you're making so much progress even in the toughest areas of the game, @Arvia.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 101
    The Demon Knight shows up like that when you take the tour. If you just go to the tower, you don't see him until the final fight.

    As for traps that can't be disarmed with 100 points - just the one. The rest of the dungeon plays fair. There's also a constantly triggering trap on a lower level that can't even be detected, but it's impossible to miss; you just have to avoid it. The fireball trap that Imoen triggered there can be detected and disarmed; you just have to get dangerously close in order to get a good angle and see it.

    There are quite a lot of recycled areas, mostly stock building interiors. For example, that house you got attacked in on one of your updates last page? That's the same layout as the Ulgoth's Beard inn and a few other places. Also of note, the spider lair in the Cloakwood gets reused for the spider lair under Athkatla's graveyard district.

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    @jmerry , thank you for that information. I took the tour because I didn't know if I could enter the tower otherwise. Next time I'll avoid it, but now at least I've seen what expects me down there.

  • lroumenlroumen Member Posts: 1,781
    I always do the tour as well. It gives more background on why the demon knight is there

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,319
    Congratulations on getting through some really tough fights without a reload! I've done as much of Durlag's Tower as you've just posted about, but I've never been all the way to the end of it before. I'm too chicken to go to the lower levels. I'll be very interested in reading about your experiences there.

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    @BelgarathMTH , hey, I've literally killed Fear. I have no excuse to go back. Although I'm very nervous. But I believe I have mentioned before that I'm far too curious, and lack a healthy sense of self-preservation.
    If you haven't been to the lower levels before, I'll try to document a few more details next time. Until now, I've always assumed that everybody knows what happened.

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    edited June 1
    Man, your decision to avoid the lower levels wasn't all that bad, @BelgarathMTH.
    Minsc and me just came back from carrying 4 dead bodies to the Song of the Morning Temple after one fight, very narrowly avoiding a reload, and we're not done with the second level yet. The enemies are so strong, I think I have to go back to the level 1-2 strategies at the beginning of the game...

    Edited: Sigh. And of course we couldn't carry more with us than the most necessary items (their armor, weapons, shields...), and coming back I see that ALL the equipment that we left behind has vanished! This didn't happen in other places. That means all the Mithral rings (whatever they are needed for), Spider's Bane, some arrows +2 and arrows of fire, some scrolls and potions and similar stuff are just gone. The only things that didn't vanish were the wardstones, the scroll case and the potion case... grrrrr *bites into a pillow*
    I hate that dwarf!

  • lroumenlroumen Member Posts: 1,781
    You didn't do the stash quickly in a box thing? Ouch!

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 18,464
    I think you should reload there as it's engine mechanics that did it, not game's difficulty levels. You can safely store items into containers, but everything except plot items vanish from the ground in 24 hours after leaving the area.

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    @JuliusBorisov , I thought it wouldn't be a problem, because I still find dropped items in inns and temples after several days and did the same when 2 people died in the Nashkel mines...

    If I want to reload, I'll have to start outside of Candlekeep again, when an automatic savegame for Chapter 7 was created. I was only using Autosaves and Quicksaves, because I didn't plan to reload.
    I guess I will have to take it as part of life, like "our things got stolen, only what we were carrying on our bodies is left". Or are the Mithral rings essential for something later in the game?
    Loss of the other items is annoying, especially the green scrolls, the arrows and the potions of mind focusing, but nothing that really keeps me from continuing.

    Ah, this is so annoying... but it certainly won't happen again 🙂

  • BillyYankBillyYank Member Posts: 2,657
    Arvia wrote: »
    @JuliusBorisov , I thought it wouldn't be a problem, because I still find dropped items in inns and temples after several days and did the same when 2 people died in the Nashkel mines...

    If I want to reload, I'll have to start outside of Candlekeep again, when an automatic savegame for Chapter 7 was created. I was only using Autosaves and Quicksaves, because I didn't plan to reload.
    I guess I will have to take it as part of life, like "our things got stolen, only what we were carrying on our bodies is left". Or are the Mithral rings essential for something later in the game?
    Loss of the other items is annoying, especially the green scrolls, the arrows and the potions of mind focusing, but nothing that really keeps me from continuing.

    Ah, this is so annoying... but it certainly won't happen again 🙂

    This is why I always play with the mod that lets me buy bags of holding at High Hedge. That really saved me when everyone except my MC got killed on a transition map.

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    @BillyYank , what kind of mod is that? I wouldn't want major changes, but a Bag of Holding would make life so much easier. I've been dreading "death on transition map" scenarios...

  • BillyYankBillyYank Member Posts: 2,657
    I thought it was from Camdog's Tweaks Anthology. Looking at the readme now, it says the bag of holding is in Sorcerous Sundries. The problem is I modded the heck out of that particular game, so I'm not sure which mod put the bag of holding at High Hedge.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,319
    edited June 2
    @Arvia , Ouch, that was a terrible turn of events. I would definitely have taken a reload to save Spider's Bane, because one of my go-to strategies is to have Dynaheir cast Web and have Minsc go into the webs with Spider's Bane to kill the held enemies. It's also really useful to have it if you play Siege of Dragonspear, because that expansion is very spider-heavy, and the spiders there can cast Web during combat.

    Even when I am doing a minimal reload, I follow the "Save early, save often" rule. I make a quicksave after every single combat is won. That way, if the worst happens, I always have a save right before the disaster, and I don't have to replay content I'd already done, which would really mess me up if I'm reporting the run and trying to write a story as I go. I also make a hard save at the end of each play session, saving all the progress of that particular session.

    I find it helpful as well that Beamdog made a new feature in the EE's that causes the quicksaves to automatically rotate among four different quicksave slots. I really don't understand at all why some people actually complained about that.

    I'd second the advice to reload if that wouldn't mean you'd lose all your progress since Candlekeep - Ice Island, and the entire upper half of Durlag's Tower. That's probably too much, so I guess I'd just wind up accepting the loss. At least now you know that leaving important items on the ground is not a good solution, and that you should quicksave your progress often. I guess it's a lesson hard learned from bitter, bitter experience.

  • BillyYankBillyYank Member Posts: 2,657
    When I don't have a bag of holding available, I'll usually pick a container near the level's entrance as my "stash barrel". As my inventories become full, I'll keep popping back and dropping the junk I've collected into it. At the end, I'll then make multiple trips back to town, emptying the stash barrels so I can sell every shortsword. Of course, that's easier when you're playing on the PC and have access to ctrl-J.

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    @BelgarathMTH , I do use the quicksave function frequently. Probably too much. Between finishing that fight and coming back from the temple I already had all the 4 slots filled with saves after the fight...
    That's because I compulsively quicksave before I leave an area, although there is an autosave, and then I had to save before entering the Song of the Morning temple, not knowing how they would react to me.
    I knew the FAI was safe, but it was so far, and with only Minsc and me I dreaded a "waylaid" situation. And then we had to rest in the open, because they were all 4 on 1 HP after Raise Dead, and that was it...

    But as you said, it's not a mistake that I will ever make again. Always create hard saves, always put items into containers...
    Lesson learned.

    Side effect of reading OOTS: I keep thinking "Durkon" instead of "Yeslick".

  • BillyYankBillyYank Member Posts: 2,657
    I found out which mod puts the Bag at High Hedge. It's "Thalantyr Item Upgrade". Problem is, I can't find an EE version of it. There must be one, because I installed it, but the page at Spellhold only has the vanilla version. I used Big World to install the mods, so it must have downloaded it for me.

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    edited June 5
    I haven't played since Sunday and don't know when I'll feel like continuing, because Durlag's Tower is very unforgiving on a stressed brain. I can't play that to relax, I can only continue when I feel like it, because I seem to keep making stupid mistakes. So, I'd like to document my twice-embarassing experience with the second lower level in Durlag's Tower.
    I'm going to report in more detail because @BelgarathMTH hasn't been down there.

    When we went downstairs from the stairs where we had killed the four warders, we found ourselves in a small room with several locked doors and some books lying on the ground in front of the doors.
    Okay, so here's something about Durlag's family, and doppelgangers are involved. The locks couldn't be picked, so there was only one possible direction. We're sticking to the concept of Hiding Imoen and advancing step by step while checking for traps whenever she stops. It's slow, but relatively safe. And Imoen won't ever touch anything without reporting back.

    We had no way to know what might happen when operating the statues, so we prepared for the worst with some protective spells and tried them. They alternately open and close some of the locked doors, nothing more. Okay, so, we opened one and went back to the entrance room to see what's there.

    Hm. There was some loot in the sparring dummies, and another door, so we went back and operated the statues again, and went to the opposite room which opened then.
    There were some locked containers in the bedroom. Imoen picked the lock on one and took out a wardstone.

    The door slammed shut, Durlag Trollkiller appeared and cast a fireball at Imoen.
    I ran back to operate the statue to open the door again and noticed only then that there was also a small hallway leading from that room to Imoen.


    Back to the bedroom to look into the other containers. Taking out more wardstone sometimes seems to open doors, too.

    And sometimes it triggers a fireball, although there was no detectable trap on the container.

    Now the annoying part started. We couldn't proceed without opening another door, and we just couldn't find out how. The stone statues only opened and closed the same doors as before. There were no clues to be found. We had all those wardstone now, and we tried everything that I could think of.
    We tried to open the locks while carrying the (identified) wardstones. We tried to put one of them into the container in the room with the statues, and then operate the statues. We tried both steps again with the wardstones and the books that were in front of the doors. We tried to put the identified wardstones back into their containers and ended up getting hit by another fireball taking it out again.

    I tried everything that I could think of, then I got so annoyed that I consulted a walkthrough, where I learned that I had to attack the sparring dummies in that other room to open more doors. I think I could have kept thinking for two hours and I wouldn't have thought of that.

    So, we hit the dummies, the door behind us slammed shut, another fake Durlag appeared and attacked us.

    There seems to be a "get trapped and attacked" pattern. The room to the north is open now, we will have to be very careful. I let Imoen scout ahead as usual, but followed right behind her, so that she wouldn't get attacked or trapped alone if something like that happened again.

    Taking the helmet triggered the appearance of another fake Durlag, of course.


    I wanted to make us as safe as possible. Perhaps the wise decision would have been to get Imoen and myself out of there. But Durlag stayed blue and ran around back and forth, so I decided to get the others in so that we could face the problem together. More greater doppelgangers appeared, and they were stronger than the others had been.

    We didn't know what they would use, so we tried to cast Resist Fear and Chant (which got interrupted, I think) at least. Haste would have been better than Resist Fear, retrospectively, but it probably would have got interrupted, too because of the longer casting time.
    They cast Cloudkill and 2x Stinking Cloud, they were hasted, and tough melee fighters, too. My companions died quickly, either from being unconscious and poisoned, or from the slashing attacks. They were too fast to kite, and their damage came quicker than any potion could counteract. I ad thought about making them escape through one of the two hallways that were open at the sides, but decided against it, because Imoen was the first to die and we had no idea what kind of deadly traps might await us there.
    With only Minsc and me alive, things got tougher. I had the boots of speed, so I could sometimes run into a corner long enough to drink a potion of healing before attacking again. But at least the cloud spells wore off after some time.

    It took me a while to noticed that all three of them came running after me and Minsc couldn't land a hit and was ignored by them. So I made him pick up Imoen's acid arrows and switch to his bow, and we survived.
    That still left us with the locked front door.
    I had jo choice but to heal us completely with tons of potions and then run ahead into the next room, hoping for good saving throws and enough hit points in case of more traps. But the room to the right was just full of 10 or more levers, and I hit them all until I found the one that let us out.

    We took our friend's armor, healing potions, weapons and shields, braces, the important rings (ring of the princes and the ones that give extra spells). We had to leave everything else behind, because there was no inventory space.
    Hoping that we wouldn't get waylaid, we went to the Somg of the Morning temple to get the four of them Raised, equipping them with their gear, and then resting to restore their HP.
    When we got back, I noticed of course that our stuff had vanished, because I didn't remember that items on the ground disappeared after a time, and the travel times from Durlag's Tower are long.

    We're missing some green scrolls (Protection from Magic, several Stone to Flesh scrolls), some potions, especially antidotes (potion case was is full already), Spider's Bane, a +1 Sling (picked up the unenchanted one by accident when I took the weapons), the Mithral rings (found out now that I don't need them anyway, they were related to Xzar and Montaron), some random mage scrolls (nothing essential), some random loot and all our wands (2xmagic missiles, sleep, 2xparalyzation, monster summoning). Also the very, very useful Darts of Stunning. Don't remember what else. Too late, anyway.


    Back in the room with the 11 levers, we opened a door to the next hallway and continued.

    I don't remember what I made Yeslick try to cast, probably Silence, but he got interrupted anyway. At least one of them got Blinded by Glitterdust, but it didn't affect the Invisibility of the one who had cast Shadow Door. They were quick with their arrows. And there were 5 of them, and they changed constantly.
    At least I drank a Potion of Absorption before their first Lightning Spell was finished.


    Some of them were tough fighters, some mages, and so fast that Yeslick and Dynaheir didn't manage to finish one single spell, except for Chromatic Orb, which didn't do much. So, it was "beat them to death as fast as possible", especially when they suddenly all turned cleric and healed themselves.

    Not an easy fight, but we survived. For now.

    "Dwarven Doom Guards" didn't look too welcoming, so after Imoen's discovery we prepared for battle and went forward. I don't know why (again) we didn't use Haste. I fight no bigger battle in BG2 without Haste, ever. I guess it's because we've spent so much time already in the game when Dynaheir couldn't cast it yet.
    The dwarves were strong melee fighters wit whatever kind of burning swords and there was no room to kite and use ranged weapons, and no time to drink potions quickly enough.


    Try again. With the same buffs, but with Haste, too, potions of heroism for Arvia and Ajantis, and a Potion of Regeneration for Arvia, too. (Can't use potions on everybody, not too many left, and who knows what's next)

    They were still too fast and strong, no space to kite, almost no time for healing potions or spellcasting. (Especially cleric spells take so much time...). We lost Minsc, and it was close for Ajantis and Yeslick, too.

    I decided to continue to explore the rest of this level before traveling back to the temple again
    The trapped staircase was a fake and didn't lead anywhere. The room to the south couldn't be opened.
    To the west, there was a hallway with ghasts and more charming books.

    There were more of that kind of books all over the place, more traps and trapped containers, a room that could only be crossed by activating some runes with wardstones, then a torture chamber full of traps and a bloody goblet on the ground. This time I took the goblet and expected another fight, but nothing happened. That room went full circle with the throne room where they had cast the cloud spells and killed four of us.
    Took the goblet back and identified it, it seems to heal one completely when used, but affects you with Fear for 12 hours. Then we suddenly were able to open the last locked door next to where the Dwarven Doom Guards had been. Maybe it was the goblet, I'm not sure.

    There was the real staircase to the next level. The book in front of it said "Know my madness". Very inviting. We went back to the temple to Raise Minsc, and I realized that I should never say "it's not a mistake that I will ever make again". When picking up his stuff, I had forgotten his Mace+1 and Large Shield +1. As I said, not a part of the game that should be played with a stressed, exhausted mind.
    We went to the FAI to get him at least a conventional mace and large shield, and to replace our lost Stone to Flesh scrolls at the temple, in case of more basilisk encounters. Can't go to the smith in Beregost to see if there's a suitable magical weapon for him, because there's Flaming Fist in town. I guess we'll have to go to High Hedge sooner or later, to see if there was something, before we continue.

    That's how far I got during the last weekend. It was tough, but some of it was my own fault.

    Level 6: Yeslick
    Level 7: Arvia, Ajantis, Minsc
    Level 8: Dynaheir
    Level 9: Imoen

    Number of reloads: 8 (the ogre south of the FAI, Daer'Ragh, a spider web north of the Thay Wizards, Tenya, Prat, Prat, a spider web in the Candlekeep catacombs, Dwarven Doom Guards in Durlag's Tower)

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,319
    Great report, @Arvia . Thanks for the extra detail so I could see some of the content I always avoid. It's reminding me of one of the reasons - I've always figured that the lower floors of Durlag's Tower and the final battles they lead to are very costly to party consumables resources. And, I always am saving those for the final battle with Sarevok. I worry I'll get to that very hard final fight and not have enough potions left to get through it. Also, I really don't like puzzles very much, and those lower floors are loaded with them, as you found out. :)

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    edited June 7
    "Till shade is gone, till water is gone, into the Shadow with teeth bared, screaming defiance with the last breath, to spit in Sightblinder's eye on the Last Day."

    Wrong story, I know. Seems fitting, though. Today I felt ready for a little challenge, and Durlag's Tower threw a tough on at me again. I'm undecided what to do about it.

    The book on the staircase had said "know my madness". Before "venturing forth" to the third level, I decided to go back into the civilization to replace as much as possible of the lost equipment.
    We entered Beregost with the AI turned off and Haste cast on us, to visit the smithy and the Feldepost Inn. Nobody seemed to know that we're kind of fugitives under a death sentence, and the Flaming Fist doesn't seem to leave the Jovial Juggler. So, we were safe. Between Beregost and High Hedge we got a few more potions (regeneration, for example), two wands of fear, some +2 arrows and acid arrows. Couldn't find a suitable enchanted melee weapon for Minsc, he'll have to stick to a normal mace, but we found a medium shield+1 and a a composite longbow +1 for him, and a new shortbow+1 for Imoen.

    Time to travel back to the tower and enter the third level.

    That room automatically triggers a fireball (or rather sunfire) about every 4 seconds. Just enough to safely cross the room. So, naturally, we chose the only door that had a small hallway in front of it, so that we could all cross, gather, and then open and enter. I let everyone cross separately between the blasts, to avoid people getting stuck in a doorframe or something.
    I sent Imoen to check what's expecting us there. Why does every critter have a "greater" version?

    Greater Ghouls do more damage and have an increased movement rate, so I couldn't make my weaker characters avoid them (and many critters down here seem to have a nasty habit of going after the weak ones). We had to go back to the temple to Raise Imoen.

    There were several traps in that little maze, and this little beast.

    Sigh. Second hike back to the temple to Raise Imoen.
    Back again, there were more traps and another one of those annoying things, but this time I stayed closer to Imoen and could draw its attention after the first backstab on Imoen.

    This was the next hallway.

    Looks like we'll be playing chess. But suddenly everybody wanted to sleep, and it's not safe here, so I decided to take them outside to rest. I thought Imoen had cleared the whole room with that ghoul maze, but apparently she had overlooked one trap that repeatedly fires arrows or something.
    That was the third time in less than an hour that we had to carry Imoen back to the temple.
    I'm thinking about leaving that cursed tower for good if it happens again on this level.

    Those were the 4 tunnels and the enemies we had to face there:
    The Phoenix Guards were easily killed, but released a dangerous blast when they died.
    The fission slime could be killed with a sword without splitting. Maybe hitting it with flame arrows before was enough to stop it from multiplying
    Air was a bit more difficult, but okay.

    Before entering the last hallway, we decided to clear the room that leads to the south door of the fireball trap hallway.
    That was cool. The room was full of skeletons and traps, but Imoen took the boots of speed, hid in the shadows, always stopped to detect a trap, ran out of sight before becoming visible, hiding again, running back and disarming the trap, same thing again... she disarmed all traps, surrounded by all those skeletons that never noticed her. Then we went in to fight them and they dropped lots of fire and acid arrows and:
    4 Arrows of Dispelling! We're going to take very good care of those and keep them for a special occasion.

    Then we were ready for the last of the four hallways that, according to the statues, would lead us to a chess game.

    Imoen had seen the bear moving very quickly. Many beasts down here (the greater ghouls and those thingies with the Japanese-like names, too) seem to have an increased movement rate. So we went in with Haste, Chant, DUHM on Yeslick and me, Dynaheir with Stoneskin of course. All that was exaggerated on the bear, which died quickly, and his death teleported us directly to another room, so the buffs weren't wasted after all.

    We were supposed to move like chess pieces or get hit by lightning, but the others were archers and spellcasters. The first thing the queen casted was a horror spell, and of course we hadn't cast Resist Fear preparing to face a bear and some winter wolves. My companions scattered, and the Nine Hells broke loose. Our only chance was to run, drink healing potions, try to kill the spellcasters and hope for the best. But the best didn't happen.

    I barely survived, thanks to a Potion of Regeneration and my boots of speed. All the others were killed, and there was no way back.
    I opened the door to continue and went downstairs to the next level, where Durlag's ghost told me to free the tower from some evil invaders to find the way out.
    Then I met the ghost of his wife Islanne, who offered me a last chance to escape the tower for good, to teleport me out.
    But that would mean to leave all my companions's equipment behind, because there was no way to enter the room with the chess board directly from the 3rd level.
    There were the choices of teleporting out or trying to solo the rest of the tower.
    I have asked in the forum and learned that there is no way to get back into this part of the tower after either finishing it or escaping with Islanne's help. So even if I did manage to survive on my own, I'd lose all their equipment. I still thought about it. But I noticed there were lots of hidden doors that I couldn't detect or open anyway.

    Edited: I thought that I would have to reload, but it seems that you can get teleported back to the chess board room by entering the elemental rooms again. That means I'm going to let Islanne teleport me out, Raise my companions, come back to get their equipment and continue... or decide to leave it. If Islanne takes us out a second time.
    I'll have to think about that. I'm not sure if I want to continue walking around in that deathtrap, or if I should head back to the city. Going to decide tomorrow.
    Edit 2: And of course the first thing I did was run up and down the stairs several times to store *everything* in a container! After enough bitter experience, even I learn from mistakes! 🙂

    Party level:
    6 (Yeslick)
    7 (Arvia, Ajantis, Minsc)
    8 (Dynaheir)
    9 (Imoen)

    Number of reloads: 8 (the ogre south of the FAI, Daer'Ragh, a spider web north of the Red Wizards of Thay, Tenya [scripting issue], Prat, Prat, a spider web in the Candlekeep catacombs, Durlag's Tower Dwarven Doom Guards)

    Post edited by Arvia on
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,129
    Very clever, @Arvia! You're already learning to adapt to setbacks, one of the most important skills a player needs for a no-reload run, and your escape with a Potion of Invisibility when things went awry is a classic no-reload strategy. Good thinking on managing your gear--I am so unaccustomed to storing stuff in containers that I probably would have left most of it behind!

    Maybe I won't have to wait too long to see you in the no-reload thread, too. :wink:

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    @semiticgod , I didn't use a Potion of Invisibility (lost that one), I took a Potion of Regeneration (I was at 8 HP facing two archers) and kited until I had gained back enough HP.

    The lesson with the containers was learned by losing precious equipment twice in this tower, when I took people to the temple, couldn't carry everything, came back and found their stuff gone.

    Maybe I'll try a no-reload some time in the next... ahem ... 10 years? 🙂

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,319
    @Arvia , great respect to you. You're already far exceeding my own skill and resolve at facing the worst this game can do to a player. I think the student is exceeding the teacher, now. As a teacher, I really love it when that happens. :)

  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    edited June 8
    @BelgarathMTH , you overestimate my skill, I'm just stubborn, that's all. But thank you 🙂.

    I still have a lot to learn about spells, and saving throws and resistances and all that. I still depend too much on "run ahead and hit them", and I'm still too reluctant to use consumable resources efficiently. But I guess that will change when I know well enough where I really need them.

    Using spells efficiently, and protecting myself from them, are the biggest issues.

    Post edited by Arvia on
  • ArviaArvia Member Posts: 608
    edited June 10
    Yesterday was my first really quiet 24h shift in a month, which gave me the time to finish Durlag's Tower and Ulgoth's Beard. That tower was sometimes (okay, most of the time) really annoying me and testing my resolve, but now I'm glad that I didn't give up. I don't know if I'll go there during another playthrough, but at least I've finished it once.

    After the chess incident, I had to take my 5 friends to the temple to be Raised, and had to think what I'd take with me in my limited inventory. I stored everything in a container, took an armor/robe for everyone, the helmets, and one weapon each. Couldn't take shields, rings and such, didn't have enough space. I also had only 2200 gp and would have to pay 800 gp per person. Sigh.
    I took the boots of the north to sell them, and an unidentified two-handed sword from the loot on the chess board, hoping that it wasn't cursed and would bring enough money for the temple.

    That's just too good to sell, a perfect sword for Ajantis or Minsc! I decided to sacrifice my Harrower instead, because it's only +3 against undead and I have a good +2 sword and my own undead hunter bonus against undead. That, and the boots of the north, gave me enough money to get everybody back to life.

    I was dragging 5 dead bodies, 4 suits of armor, 3 helmets and 5 weapons behind me for 2 days. I'm sorry that I didn't carry you back on your shield 🙄.


    Well, at least that's good to know. I never got him another shield for roleplaying reasons, assuming that he'd want to use only that one. Good to know that he's reasonable. The next large shield+1 goes to him.

    Back in the tower, I did something foolish and completely unnecessary. Of course.

    Instead of heading right back to the 4th level and our equipment, I noticed that we hadn't gone through the west door of the fireball room yet. It couldn't be essential, because we had opened the entrance to the next level, but I had a little attack of completionism and wanted to see what's there.

    Imoen scouted and saw a greater wyvern (that was actually smaller than a usual wyvern). I didn't want to endanger my still badly equipped companions and went to fight it alone. I should have known better after the greater ghouls. It's hasted and deals a lot of damage very fast.

    I guess I had that coming. Hasted and as a team, it was okay. But those beasts still focused their damage mostly on me. And almost everything in this tower has very high magic resistance.


    One completely unnecessary reload. But that's part of the learning curve...

    Back to the fourth level, Durlag's ghost told us again that we'd have to fight the evil within and find all three ways... whatever that means. We went to get your stuff back, talked to Islanne again and noticed that the offer to teleport us out is permanent. If necessary, we can go back and forth as often as we want, or leave for good.

    That level was long and tedious to walk around and search for hidden doors, wardstones and clues. I'm going to post several screenshots with short comments in the following spoiler tab.

    I seem to be gaining a little wisdom (didn't have much to begin with) and did *not* try what would really happen if I crossed that carpet. We went back and looked for a way around.


    Lots of greater ghouls, acid on the floor, potions to be found everywhere. Which is good, since was had to use many potions in this tower, but if I find so many, there will probably be a reason to use many of them in the near future...


    Ah, what a sweet reward for my sacrifice of the Harrower.


    Why are they everywhere? Have I mentioned that I hate spiders the size of big dogs? And the noises they make? *shudder*


    Good. Went back to the room with the rune carpet, crossed it, found some nice items and a portal that took us here.


    The fourth golem gave us a kind of puzzle, we had to put the information given by the others in a logical order. I didn't have patience, guessed wrong, got hit by a lightning bolt. But nobody got killed. Then I paid attention, solved it and we got transported back.


    That must have been on of the three ways out that Durlag had told us about.


    Sweeeeet. I took the shield and gave mine to Ajantis, since he doesn't insist on using the family shield anymore. The mace is perfect for Minsc and the sling for Dynaheir, because we had lost their +1 ones that time when I had left their stuff on the ground of the second floor before going to the temple. I'm glad I didn't give in to my frustration and left the tower.

    To keep it from getting too long, there were several more hidden doors in the creepy acid caves infested by greater ghouls, one of them led to a hallway with a device that needed a wardstone and brought us back to the compass room to get more information about Durlag's family, his paranoia that made them trap the whole tower against intruders, and the doppelganger infestation which killed them from the inside. This time I paid attention and got us out without lightning bolts.

    This encounter was worth noticing, because it contained very important information about what expects us in the future and how to prepare.

    Also, I think he was the one who dropped the wardstone that I had mentioned above.

    The third and last way to the compass room was a stone golem in the spider room, who asked me questions about Durlag's family members. Sigh.
    At least now the time for riddles is over.

    He opened the locked door that we had found next to his wife's ghost. Imoen checked, but there was only one female warrior inside.


    Expecting a tough fight, we buffed with everything we had. Potion of fire giant strength for Ajantis and me, potions of frost giant strength for Yeslick and Minsc, potion of heroism for me (not many of those left), potions of fire resistance for the first three of us, shorter acting spells of protection from fire on the others, ( @BelgarathMTH had kindly warned me to protect us from fire, and the tons of fireballs that the Demon Knight had cast on us and the tourists when entering the tower had suggested the same), oil of speed for all of us (because it's longer acting than Haste and doesn't lead to fatigue), and the usual resist fear, chant, group protection from evil, ghost armor on Yeslick, fire shield red and stoneskin on Dynaheir, and DUHM on Yeslick and me on top of the strength potions.

    To be honest, I think my heart rate was at 160 bpm when I klicked on the staircase to get in, and my knees were trembling.

    I decided to take the risk and open the mirror. It was shattered. The demon knight freaked out, told me that it was malfunctioning and would kill us all. Several "mirror fiends" appeared in a circle around us all, some of them spellcasters. Wonderful. I decided to use one charge of the greenstone amulet, too, just in case. I was too nervous and focused on the battle to take more screenshots. I decided to let us all concentrate on taking down the Demon Knight first, so we hit him with everything we had. No spells, that would take too much time and he probably has a very high magic resistance.

    That was surprisingly quick. But then, we were well prepared. One of the mirror fiends hit us with a fireball, the other one cast Confusion and landed it on Minsc, Imoen and Yeslick.


    They killed Minsc, but we took down the others, and Yeslick and Imoen ran away in confusion without killing each other (though I had to hit Yeslick once to distract him from her until the spell wore off). Dynaheir can't dispel Confusion. I suppose that's because of her level?


    That's it. Islanne took us out (I thought we'd have to talk to Durlag, too, after the fight, but his ghost has disappeared, we couldn't find him), we went to the FAI to Raise Minsc, identified the items found on the demon knight. A Large Shield +1 for Minsc. Now the most important items lost to leaving them on the floor are replaced. Except for Spider's Bane with its Freedom, of course.
    There was also a Helmet of Opposite Alignment. I thought about keeping it to use it on some chaotic evil person, but it seems too dangerous if it falls into the wrong hands, so I dropped it at the temple to be kept safe.
    Relieved that we had successfully finished such a dangerous mission, I considered it adequate to give 20% of our income again, instead of 10%.

    We rested at the inn, adapted our spells and went to Ulgoth's Beard to give the Soultaker back to the dwarf who had asked us to retrieve it.

    They took us by surprise, they were many, and they had at least two backstabbing assassins. And they stole the dagger from us. We had to go back to the FAI again to Raise Dynaheir, and then talk to the dwarf. At least those cult guards all drop potions of heroism, we were running low on those.

    He could have been honest with us from the beginning. But he couldn't have know that we would have helped him anyway.

    Time to destroy some real evil today.

    I'm glad that we had only taken the potions of heroism and giant strength (don't remember which giant) and cast Resist Fear, which lasts also long enough. Would have been a pity to waste precious stuff on those guys.

    At least we had entered that house before, during our first visit in this village (it was unlocked and we were searching for somebody), so we had seen a big cellar with torches and a suspicioussymbol on the floor. Assuming that they would try to summon the tanar'ri there, downstairs, we went into the first floor of the house without more protection.

    Of course there were more cult guards, two wizards, and at least one of those annoying backstabbers.

    We told Dynaheir to use the Wand of Fire. Our weak party members were out of reach, and those of us who might have got a bit of the damage (in the end, only Ajantis got scorched a bit) accepted it for the greater good.
    Yeslick cast Holy Smite, finished it before he got backstabbed, had his ghost armor up and didn't take too much damage. Melee fight, some arrows and a few chromatic orbs took care of the rest.

    Now it was time to prepare for the really serious part. Quickly healing everyone, we were still under the effect of the potions of giant strength and heroism, and Resist Fear. We cast Protection from Evil '10, Haste, DUHM on Yeslick and me, Mirror Image on Dynaheir, Stoneskin was still active.
    We all had a Potion of Mirrored Eyes (*bows into the direction of her teacher @BelgarathMTH for that life-saving advice*) equipped, but decided to drink it at the last possible moment, not knowing how long the fight would be.

    Taking a deep breath, whispering a silent prayer to our gods and gripping our weapons tight, we went in.

    Now we drank the Potions of Mirrored Eyes and I activated the greenstone amulet.

    I'm glad that I had read somewhere that Aec'Letec can take over the living bodies of his worshippers, otherwise I would have focused on killing him first.
    Unfortunately either one of the cultist had cast Hold on Minsc and Imoen, or it was Aec'Letec.

    We concentrated on taking down the cultists, and ignored Aec'Letec until the others were dead. Doubting that our low level magic could harm him, we had buffed up our strength and speed and were relying purely on physical damage. That seems to have been the right strategy. His most dangerous weapon is his gaze, and we were prepared for that.

    Yes! Back into the Abyss where you belong, evil abomination!

    By Torm, that felt right.

    The only sad thing is that we can't seem to solve Therella's quest.

    The fighter in Durlag's tower had specifically mentioned her and the son, but I don't have a dialogue option to tell her that he's dead. I would like to give her some closure at least. I might have missed something.

    We went back to the FAI, Raising Minsc and Imoen, resting, and making plans how to proceed from now on, because we will finally have to go to the city of Baldur's Gate, find proof against the Irone Throne and try to avoid our death sentence. We're not sure how we're going to approach that.

    Conclusion: Sometimes I really felt like throwing the towel. But in the end, the whole chapter of Ulgoth's Beard and Durlag's Tower only caused two reloads, and both can be avoided in the future. That's not so bad.

    Party levels:
    6 (Yeslick fighter)
    7 (Yeslick cleric, Ajantis, Minsc)
    8 (Arvia, Dynaheir)
    9 (Imoen)

    Number of reloads: 9 (the ogre south of the FAI, Daer'Ragh, a spider web north of the Red Wizards of Thay, Tenya [scripting issue, not death], Prat, Prat, a spider web in the Candlekeep catacombs, Durlag's Tower Dwarven Doom Guards, Durlag's Tower greater wyvern)

    Post edited by Arvia on
  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 5,319
    @Arvia , Wow, that was very exciting to read! You beat Aec L'atec on the first try! I've never done it, but most people say that fight is harder than the final fight with Sarevok.

    You should be coming into the final home stretch now, unless you decide to do Werewolf Island first. (Or did you already do the werewolves? I don't remember reading that you did - there's a final fight to that module that is close to the difficulty of the Aec L'atec fight.)

    I hope you don't have too much trouble with the final sequences in Baldur's Gate. There's still a lot of danger to face, and possibly a few more reloads while you learn your way around the scenarios to come, but you seem well able to handle it.

    Much respect to you! I think you're doing one of the best first runs I've ever seen. I'm really glad you decided to share it with us.

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