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Siege of Dragonspear - Truly evil party troubles (spoilers)

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  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    The Flaming Fist isn't an army in the modern sense anyway. They are a mercenary company, more akin to private securty contractors.
  • kamuizinkamuizin Member Posts: 3,703
    Fardragon said:

    The Flaming Fist isn't an army in the modern sense anyway. They are a mercenary company, more akin to private securty contractors.

    For Baldur's Gate they're an army. FF are mercenary group, indeed, but in Baldur's Gate, were they're based, FF are also the police.
  • Sids1188Sids1188 Member Posts: 165

    Sirdent said:

    Duegar would be interesting, probably (off the top of my head as I dont have any second ed reference in front of me) +1 Con -2 Chr, Immune to poison, psyonics, paralysis i think.

    In 2E, it's always a balance in regards PC races (and NPC races). So, +1 + (-2) is -1. That doesn't equal zero. If you notice, all the other race stat changes in BG1/2/SoD equal out to zero in the end. This is beause the PHB/DMG for 2E set up races in that way.

    It started in 3E where that was no longer the case. The balance in 3E and later editions is different.
    Except for dwarves: +1Con, -1Dex, -2Cha.
    And halflings: +1Dex, -1Str, -1Wis

    Maybe that rule was adhered to strictly in PnP, but BG seems happy to ignore it.
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    edited May 2016
    kamuizin said:

    Fardragon said:

    The Flaming Fist isn't an army in the modern sense anyway. They are a mercenary company, more akin to private securty contractors.

    For Baldur's Gate they're an army. FF are mercenary group, indeed, but in Baldur's Gate, were they're based, FF are also the police.
    But the point is, rules that apply to certain modern armies don't apply to the Fist. For example, civil justice applies to them in the same way as it does to anyone else.

    And they can subcontract to smaller organisations, such as CHARNAME's party.
  • kamuizinkamuizin Member Posts: 3,703
    Fardragon said:

    kamuizin said:

    Fardragon said:

    The Flaming Fist isn't an army in the modern sense anyway. They are a mercenary company, more akin to private securty contractors.

    For Baldur's Gate they're an army. FF are mercenary group, indeed, but in Baldur's Gate, were they're based, FF are also the police.
    But the point is, rules that apply to certain modern armies don't apply to the Fist. For example, civil justice applies to them in the same way as it does to anyone else.

    And they can subcontract to smaller organisations, such as CHARNAME's party.
    http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Flaming_Fists

    The references are on the end of the page.
  • rapsam2003rapsam2003 Member Posts: 1,636
    kamuizin said:

    http://forgottenrealms.wikia.com/wiki/Flaming_Fists

    The references are on the end of the page.

    I assume you're specifically pointing to:
    By 1479 DR the Flaming Fists had changed from a mercenary group to the police and military force of Baldur's Gate.[1]
    However, the Baldur's Gate games are NOT set in 1479DR.
  • kamuizinkamuizin Member Posts: 3,703
    They have always been the police force of Baldur's Gate. In 1479 they changed to abandon the mercenary role and become forever bound to baldur's gate.
  • rapsam2003rapsam2003 Member Posts: 1,636
    kamuizin said:

    They have always been the police force of Baldur's Gate. In 1479 they changed to abandon the mercenary role and become forever bound to baldur's gate.

    Hiring a mercenary company as a police force is NOT the same as an official force that is only police and military, so quit splitting hairs.
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    I guess the closest real world equivelent is the Swiss Guard in the Vatican.

    However, they can also be viewed as a privatised police force, and hence the idea that the PC and party as subcontractors really best describes thier status in both BG1 and SoD.
    ineth
  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 2,307
    the point: in SoD you are not an adventurer but a soldier.

    there's no "adventure" in SoD, there's only a military campaign, and you are a leader of an elite squad, a fairytale commando force (your party)

    for the biggest part of the game you have to follow orders in order to advance the plot and finish the game

    limiting yourself to "good" or "evil" comrades in war is missing the point. it's a roleplaying misjudgement, a misunderstanding of the context and the story - in war there is no good and evil there is just your side and the enemy
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    bob_veng said:

    limiting yourself to "good" or "evil" comrades in war is missing the point. it's a roleplaying misjudgement, a misunderstanding of the context and the story - in war there is no good and evil there is just your side and the enemy

    An argument that would be valid, were it not for the fact that SoD does let you customize your party - so long as you're Good/Neutral. Because you then have eleven possible companions to choose from, any combination of which could form a basic balanced party. The story doesn't hamstring players by forcing them to use specific classes or companions to get by; if you're a squishy mage, you can take Minsc - and if you don't want to take Minsc, Corwin is available immediately afterwards, etc.

    The ability to assemble your own party is a fundamental component of Baldur's Gate. If the story of SoD necessitates that this freedom no longer applies, but only for some of the players? (ie: those with Evil-aligned characters) Then the fault is with the story, not those players. There is no "roleplaying misjudgement" here.
    RathenauHalfOrcBeastmaster
  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 2,307
    edited May 2016
    the misjudgement is thinking that you should have an all-evil or all-good party which is the traditional way of going about in bg1 and bg2.

    this game is (intentionally) different.

    what got me thinking about this was the OP's complaint that you can't have a conventionally optimized purely evil party (it depends on your class however) because of lack of tanks.
    some people see it as discouraging "playing evil" and claiming that it has unfairly been made harder...a traditional complaint people have about rpgs.
    thay say that another evidence for that is the preponderance of good companions.

    i tried to explain that this specific criticism does not apply.
    even as a good/evil character, you might find it acceptable to have an oppositely-aligned companion, just as you wouldn't mind having a reliable comrade in war that you really wouldn't like having for a friend under normal circumstances.

    you also might want to switch companions during the game, depending on what challenges you face (it's really a good idea! sometimes you want viconia for undead turning and sometimes you want someone else for additional tanking power etc.). there's no xp wasting because of the quickly reached cap!

    that's why there's very very little npc conflict in the game, it was designed with all this in mind.

    edit: look at the title - "Truly evil party troubles"

    well doh! you should have troubles if you can't set your priorities straight in war! war is not about sentiments, it's about killing and staying power :smile:
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited May 2016
    Again, that position would absolutely be valid for any other scenario but this one, because the game's own mechanics do encourage you to separate Good/Neutral and Evil parties. As has been noted elsewhere, a player who begins at 10 Reputation and recruits Dorn, Baeloth, M'Khiin and Viconia will immediately hit 2 Rep, at which point there's a high possibility M'Khiin herself will automatically leave. Mixed parties inherently require more management than same-alignment groups; as an option, it's perfectly valid, but there's no reason to make it a forced component of the game.

    Setting that aside? Complaints about the inability to "play evil" may be prevalent in the RPG genre, but if you're looking for a party that's about "killing and staying power" it's hard to argue that characters like Korgan, Shar-Teel, Edwin, Sarevok, Dorn and Viconia aren't explicitly designed for that purpose.

    There are, and could have been, better solutions to this problem than telling players that they're "doing it wrong", or that they have to compromise how they want to run the campaign.
  • bob_vengbob_veng Member Posts: 2,307
    i agree that there's a compromise forced onto the player:

    1. confine yourself to "truly evil" with by far the best warrior Dorn, but suffer an overall lack of brawn (unless your character is a warrior and even then you'll only have two warriors which is far from ideal especially on insane)
    2. confine yourself to "truly good" and have a balanced roster of frontliners but suffer an overall mediocrity in the arcane department (unless you're an arcane caster yourself and even then you probably won't have the spell capacity of edwin + baeloth)
    3. don't confine yourself to either (either by roleplaying a neutral character or by roleplaying a minimally pragmatic character) and have the ability to optimize but you are forced to manage reputation

    hey that's a choice right there! isn't choice good?

    you call it compromise, i call it choice yada yada :)
  • kamuizinkamuizin Member Posts: 3,703
    Maybe i'm wrong, who knows, but i don't think the game system had been turned in paragon / renegade style despite it being to near that one now. It's just a secondary concern when a war is at hand.

    After all the end still has a change based on your good or evil choices.
  • AuraofManaAuraofMana Member Posts: 22
    Evil party playthrough in SoD is badly designed with Dorn being accessible almost halfway through the game. If Charname isn't a tank you are kind of screwed. I guess you can spam summons with Viconia + Edwin + Baeloth but... yea very annoying to set up before every fight.
    shawne
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511

    Evil party playthrough in SoD is badly designed with Dorn being accessible almost halfway through the game. If Charname isn't a tank you are kind of screwed. I guess you can spam summons with Viconia + Edwin + Baeloth but... yea very annoying to set up before every fight.

    This is a complete red herring. Dorn is a lousy tank, Viconia is better. And Team Good are also stuck with a lousy tank (Minsc) until quite late on (Jalhera).

    The Thief issue is the only thing that matters.
  • kamuizinkamuizin Member Posts: 3,703

    Evil party playthrough in SoD is badly designed with Dorn being accessible almost halfway through the game. If Charname isn't a tank you are kind of screwed. I guess you can spam summons with Viconia + Edwin + Baeloth but... yea very annoying to set up before every fight.

    Viconia is the tanker in evil parties, AC still matters in Siege of Dragonspear. Only Throne of Bhaal screw with Armor Class.

    In fact i sensed the game a lot easier to evil players than any other for the begin. Edwin + Baeloth is a deadly combo, specially in this game, were difficult is more based on the vast amout of medium power enemies than a single one extremly powerfull.

    Spamm of x2 fireballs / skull trap +fireball / greater malision +fireball can do wonders here.
    Fardragon
  • PurudayaPurudaya Member Posts: 816
    edited May 2016
    I ran an evil shadowdancer through SoD on Core Rules with a reputation averaging between 5 and 9 ("smart evil"). I started out with Viconia, Glint, and Safana and was able to access the series' two most powerful mages on the first wilderness map, rounding out my party with Edwin and Baeloth. I took full advantage of all the backstabbing potential and lured enemy mobs into quick successions of Greater Malison, Glitterdust, Slow, and Emotion from the two casters while Viconia cast Armor of Faith and Righteous Magic for light tanking duty. When more extensive tanking was needed, I had four characters with summoning abilities.

    A few maps later, I found Dorn and replaced Glint. Had a great time being a total bastard whenever possible, tossed some coin to Mizhena to keep the pitchforks at bay, and killed Behlifet after two failed attempts.

    Before getting Dorn, my party consisted solely of thief, cleric, and mage combinations and did fine. I just had to mix up the gameplay a little bit, which was actually a refreshing deviation from the usual approach.
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    Which is fine - until you recruit a goblin and Safina and Glint (and the goblin) quit the party perminantly, leaving you with zero available thieves if the main character isn't one.

    It wouldn't be such an issue if characters returned to camp if your reputation briefly dropped, but no, they are gone for good.
  • PurudayaPurudaya Member Posts: 816
    @Fardragon You're right about that, especially with M'Khin leaving due to the rep drop she herself caused. The easy solution is to feed Mizhena some coinage before recruiting reputation damaging party members, but that does require a bit of metagaming.

    I understand that an evil playthrough isn't as well optimized as a good playthrough, but that just adds to the challenge imo - being a villain *should* be harder in this setting than being a hero. It's very doable as long as you either 1. don't recruit M'Khin or 2. tithe before doing so. I'll admit it's not ideal, but it's not untenable.

    Oh, and I'm actually with people who want to see Dorn available sooner, but for narrative reasons - rescuing him from the crusader camp and walking him calmly out the front gates is pretty silly.
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    edited May 2016
    The difference is in the type of challenge an evil playthrough faces, though. It's one thing to say that prices are higher, that if your rep drops too low you have to fight mercenaries, etc. It's another to say you have to rely on specific party members in non-optimal roles (to wit: the difference between "Viconia can tank" and "Viconia must tank"), and use metagaming strategies to overcome challenges in ways that good/neutral playthroughs don't necessarily have to deal with.
  • FardragonFardragon Member Posts: 4,511
    There are quite a few places where evil players will take quite substantial reputation hits, so without metagaming you would have to keep your reputation around 10 with donations in order to not risk Safana huffing off.

    But the lack of tanking options in the first half of the game is an issue for any alignment. Minsc and Rasaad! The best tanks are Khalid and Jalhira, and they come late and as a pair.
  • PurudayaPurudaya Member Posts: 816
    edited May 2016
    @shawne True enough, but my playthrough didn't require any metagaming - I can't really imagine an evil party being sympathetic to M'Khin and so I didn't try to recruit her. I'm not arguing against better options for evil parties or anything, I just answered the OP's request and described my evil playthrough, which was totally fine and successful.

    What if the type of challenge for an evil playthrough is that it's harder to recruit companions who are willing to work with a 1 rep character? Sounds fairly reasonable considering the narrative. If you're playing smart evil you shouldn't have any problems. If you're playing maniacal chaotic evil, then you will - up until the introduction of Hexxat, it was impossible to play BG2 with a 6 person team at 1 reputation also.

    An intelligent evil character will make sure to compensate for his low reputation by tithing. A character unwilling to do so will suffer the consequences, just like they do throughout the rest of the series. Again, my intention is not to be unsympathetic - I just think that Charname + Safana + Viconia + Glint + Edwin + Baeloth - Glint + Dorn is a fairly obvious progression and doesn't present major problems re: gameplay.
  • shawneshawne Member Posts: 3,239
    @Purudaya: But as you yourself pointed out, your character was a melee Shadowdancer that backstabbed everyone. Would you have had the same experience with an Evil wizard, or a cleric? A class/kit that isn't necessarily designed for front-line combat?
  • PurudayaPurudaya Member Posts: 816
    edited May 2016
    shawne said:

    @Purudaya: But as you yourself pointed out, your character was a melee Shadowdancer that backstabbed everyone. Would you have had the same experience with an Evil wizard, or a cleric? A class/kit that isn't necessarily designed for front-line combat?

    I wouldn't say a shadowdancer is exactly designed for front-line combat, but I take your point. Other options: A PC shaman would have been able to provide tanking relief with summoned spirits, a cleric would have been able to join Viconia on the front lines (or add to the already immense pool of summons with this setup) until Dorn joins on the third map, and a wizard combined with the already awesome Baeloth and Edwin would be able to to disable enemies almost instantly - it's like every round lets you cast a level 7 sequencer. Hell, even a mage can tank with stoneskin, blur, mirror image, ghost shield, and tenser's.

    My good party being saddled with Rasaad felt like more of a handicap than my evil party not having access to a good tank early on. In fact, my evil party had an easier time of SoD as a whole up until the final fight, and that was compared to a good fighter/mage run.

    I'm not saying that people don't have a legitimate gripe about missing Dorn in the early maps (to reiterate: I would have liked to see Dorn available earlier as well, just for different reasons) and more options certainly would have been nice, but it's not like the problem persists throughout the entire game - a little creativity should get you through fine until Bridgefort comes along imo.
  • kamuizinkamuizin Member Posts: 3,703
    Well, my first game in SoD was made with the following team, from the begin to end:


    Charname (Cavalier)
    Corwin
    Minsc
    Dinaheir
    Viconia (intent to redempt her at ToB)
    Rasaad

    So, that's it, no thief, from the begin to the end, and still the game was pretty well playable.

    Dinaheir got all her 2° level spells used for Knock
    Viconia got some detect traps on the memory, and being SoD the same of BG1 (no decent xp for disarm traps or lock picks) i didn't even miss the thief.

    My Cavalier was almost totally elemental immune and 19 con let him endure easly any trap that came around.

    Evil parties can do the same, and while i believe a party without a thief isn't a complete party, the game is doable without one.

    An Atweaks mod preventing ppl from leave the party if rep drops to 2-1 is a must have for me (some neutral characters, as Safana and M'Khin leaving at low reputation is almost stupidy).
  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 3,417
    My answer to this problem was to have the Drizzt Saga installed. If you kill Drizzt, you get a powerful evil fighter and thief.

    They have stayed with me up to the Coalition Camp. :) Haven't finished the game yet.
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