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The LoB + SCS Solo Challenge and the Tales of IWDification



  • histamiinihistamiini Member Posts: 1,306
    Jin continued travels in ToB. Gromnir's allies were Charmed with SoC. Together with five Skeletons we killed Gromnir, after luring him away from the mages.

    Back at Watcher's Keep we passed Dead Magic Balor room to Tahazzar, and got audience from him being Evil. Summoned help, Mind Flayer form and ate him during Time Stop, and I was out before it ran out. Next part was much trickier, as I would would be attacked straight away by Ka'rashur. We buffed up, and ran past the Wild Magic Quasit and Succubus rooms. Ka'rashur has -20 AC and 18 INT, so I decided to save a Time Stop scroll, and just attacked straight away with -12 Thac0 and 8 apr. My PfMW Contingency hit, and Ka'rashur was eaten in a round or so. Then we ran past Quasit, Tiefling, Demon Knights and Demon Wraith rooms to Aesgareth.

    We played him twice for Wish scroll, and I won the second one. Then Jin ate him during a Time Trap. Picked up Deck of Many Things and escaped to next level. We went back to third level to draw the cards:

    1st Draw (SI:Abjuration, SI:Evocation): Ruin
    2nd Draw (SI:Alteration, SI:Enchantment): Key (Ring +3)
    3rd Draw (SI:Conjuration): Throne

    Got the Ring +3, although I don't know if we'll even use it.

    Kithyanki area looted through Mislead, Saladrex stoned. There's no way in hell I would try the Demi Lich room again. Then the Mind Flayer Blade stomped the big Mind Flayer Base, by not even getting injured. It only took around 20 rounds or so. After using the Machine Jin found her final form.

    Fifth level. Test of Stamina was waited Invisible, Dragon Stoned. Spirit Warrior test is repeatable with North, East, Search, North, East, North, Scroll, West, Archway. For the Spirit Seal Jin tried bombing Azamantes with Spikes, but he escaped that Near Death, so I backed away. PfU on and we baited the Lich, mainly from Planetar. Then we wiped it with MoD +2.

    The Heart Seal was tougher, as Y'tossi is one of the few enemies immune to INT drain, and has evercasting PfMW's. My Spikes killed Nalmissra, but didn't injure Y'tossi. I think he teleports in just after Nalmissra so he avoided the traps. During Time Trap I only got him into half health, so I quickly changed plan and used Control Circlet on the Hive Mother, who kept company to the rest with my Skelis. I lured Y'tossi away and peppered it with Wand of Wonder. Couldn't get hit, my summons got overrun and I was found with the rest. But no worries, apparently only Hive Mother and Nalmissra see through Invisibility. This meant I could casually Stone Y'tossi with insta Invisibility from Staff of Magi. After he was Stoned, I lured them to another Time Trap and killed Y'tossi. Escaped the place for good with another Wish scroll and apr gloves.

    Master Wraith and Undead minions wiped with MoD and PfU. First level of Yaga-Shura stronghold looted through Mislead. Brimstoned. Berenn killed with my SoC Charmed Fire Giant army. Imix was eaten during Time Trap, as was Nyalee.

    Jin vs. Yaga. We managed to beat the bridge script, so we didn't need to repel the whole army. Hit Yaga, and after he was vulnerable, we hit him with Greater Malison, and he couldn't escape six Feebleminds with 35% chance each. Then we used SoC to wipe his Lieutenants. Jin then used Yaga as slicing bag until he died. Oasis had a huge poisonous sandstorm and non survived. This nets nice amount of gold, I now had 200k. So I could buy everything interesting from Arcana Archives. In the second Pocket Plane challenge all were eaten through Mislead.

  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    edited September 7
    Part 37: Angelo Waves a White Flag

    Executive Summary: Angelo finishes all remaining quests, surrenders Bridgefort and completes Chapter 9.

    As Angelo tramped through the Forest of Wyrms back towards Boareskyr Bridge, Felicity realised a problem. "You know how you're missing out on 3,000 XP because you tried to play too elegantly?" Angelo bristled at its mention, showing that he still felt salty about the matter. "I feel it's about to happen again... you'll have to choose between being cunning and complete."
    1. Facing His Feyr
      Although Angelo could forgive the goblins around the teleport circle not noticing his invisible presence, he found it baffling that their suspicions weren't aroused when its lights flashed on. Nevertheless, he reappeared inside the Bridgefort to discuss pleasantries with Khalid, who thankfully didn't remember how Angelo had robbed him blind in the Friendly Arm Inn. Better yet, the mere act of entering Bridgefort earned Angelo 5,000 XP, a fact easily concealed by Khalid's automatic dialogue.

      Asking Jegg to craft a nice dragonscale shield (the armour was surprisingly bad) with Morentherene's hide, Angelo hopped out onto the outer reach and rested, both to memorise Hold Undead and Remove Curse (the Claw of Kazgaorth was still bleeding his HP away) and to ensure that it was daylight when he talked to Elandro. This allowed him to offer some reassurances in return for 6,000 XP. Had he conducted the conversation in darkness, a Greater Feyr would have appeared; although Angelo could have turned invisible and let the guards kill it (or tried to poach the last blow and steal 13,000 XP), the free 6,000 XP would no longer have been available.
    2. Touching the Void(stone)
      Next to the drawbridge, Angelo saw the stout fighter Mari and considered Felicity's previous proclamation. The most elegant way to deal with this situation would be to pickpocket the drawbridge key from Mari (if his Pick Pockets skill wasn't up to the job, he could charm her and then try: that way, if he failed, only she would turn hostile, not the whole camp, and the surrounding soliders would kill her for him). That way, he could lower the drawbridge himself and negotiate Bridgefort's surrender. Alternatively, had he rescued Keherrem, then Kharm could give him orders to infiltrate Bridgefort (along with 250 GP for the rescue). Only in this case would he would be given dialogue options to either threaten or persuade Mari into lowering the drawbridge herself. However, although the gold could be acquired without consequence, betraying Bridgefort would miss out on some other opportunities, so Angelo did not pursue the matter.

      Instead, he activated another Protection from Undead scroll for economy, rather than necessity. Speaking to Wynan Hess disrupted the fort's defences, but Angelo had already acquired the scroll of arcane impact to fix the damage. As with the Greater Feyr, Angelo could have vanished and let Bridgefort's defenders kill the wraith (most had normal weapons, but Hess' magic could kill it easily), but his protective magic allowed him to attack it without respite. He didn't get the 2,000 XP killing attack, but he hadn't read the scroll for this combat alone. The real reason for his incantation would soon become apparent.
    3. Ymori No More
      Angelo thought that carrying voidstone corpses and casualty messages was beyond the hero of Baldur's Gate, but it did cause Junia to ask him to find priest Ymori in the surrounding area. Leaving Bridgefort invisibly, Angelo ventured north and briefly considered poking his head into the nearby cave. The small goblin army that awaited him inside made him think twice, however, so he asked Felicity if there were any good items in the cave. Felicity replied that there was a shaman-specific necklace and Angelo laughed, "So, no, then." No amount of jewellery could make a shaman good... and a potion of clarity on its own wasn't recompense enough to warrant wading through the goblin hordes.

      Summoning a spider, Angelo turned invisible and right-click-looted the corpse in the upper left corner. As he was still invisible, the collection of zombies and their wight leader that rose up to surround him were oblivious to his presence, so focussed on his summons (although Angelo could have avoided being boxed in by darting backwards as soon as he'd investigated the body). Of course, being protected against undead, they wouldn't have attacked Angelo anyway, but force of habit made him take extra precautions. In this case, the scroll's protection was warranted, since looting the corpse alone was not enough. The wight had to die to continue the quest, a service that an invulnerable Angelo was happy to provide for the free 1,400 XP.

      Junia figured that where 1 wight didn't succeed, a trio would have better chances, as she summoned 3 wights when he turned hostile upon Angelo's return. As usual, Angelo turned invisible at the first sign of trouble, deciding that Frair Tajik (a relative of Friar Tuck?) was dead meat anyway and hoping that the Bridgefort guards would assist. Sadly, the soldiers remained unalerted to the fight's progress (where was SCS's calls for help when Angelo needed them?!) and the combatants refused to move out the temple even once Tajik had been slaughtered. Unwilling for his Protection from Undead to run out, Angelo donned his heavy plate, buckled his girdle of bluntness and backstabbed Junia.

      Despite being nominally a priestess, Angelo found Junia to be a formidable combatant who hit him with surprising ease. Still, her AC wasn't the greatest and, assisted by Draw Upon Holy Might and his ring of free action to ward off any wayward Hold Person spells, Angelo hacked her down for 975 XP. An added benefit was that becoming visible had activated the wights, and as they couldn't attack him, they started to wander, drawing the Bridgefort defenders to Angelo's aid. Although Junia's reanimation as a level-drain capable ghast came as a surprise, it was little more than an inconvenience as she was now undead. Unable to harm Angelo, she ventured into the vestibule looking for targets... becoming a target herself for the guards on duty. Even the soldiers sleeping in their beds joined in the fun and Junia fell, peppered with arrows.

      Angelo considered keeping Kendra's chain for himself - 5% slashing resistance was a lot when you were being hit by Belhifet! - but remembered that'd he likely be wearing Lon's amulet for its Bless effect. Let the barbarians and dwarven defenders worry about physical resistance, he decided, and returned the necklace to Tharantis for another 3,000 XP.
    4. A Bridge Too Far
      Of the many methods of resolving the Bridgefort situation, Angelo found the best one was to negotiate a surrender himself while also revealing his identity to the Barghest. Only by doing this would Oloneiros become so agitated that the Barghest would be forced to chunk her, giving Angelo a traveller's robe, a staff-spear +2 and one less opponent to deal with later. Before attempting to cross Boareskyr Bridge, he also conversed with a chicken milling around near the cages and persuaded it to jump into his backpack.

      Most walkthroughs cruise past it, but the crusaders gathered on the bridge could be surprisingly nasty to those unprepared. It was vital to damage the mage to prevent her spells from opening a portal and releasing a fiery menagerie, but her precast defences complicated this significantly: Mirror Images and Protection from Normal Missiles made ranged sniping difficult (unless precious arrows of dispelling or detonation were used) while Invisibility and Minor Globe of Invulnerability prevented individually targetted and low level spells respectively. This disabled a considerable range of strategies, but the ever-resourceful Angelo had a solution.

      Before stepping onto the bridge, Angelo cast Wraithform. All of the soldiers used normal weapons, so this would provide several rounds of invulnerability. Furthermore, the mage's considerable defences were largely illusory and simply attacking her in melee with Detect Illusions active would likely be enough to ensure the kill. That said, Angelo didn't want to take chances with a critical miss and launched a blast from his ring of energy - as a level 0 spell effect, it ignored the mage's globe, ensuring that she took damage on the first round. Whenever Angelo saw her preparing a purple-circle summoning spell with a long casting time, he knew this could also open the portal and gave her a further blast (as an invoker, she shouldn't have been able to cast conjuration spells at all, but she had a Melf's Acid Arrow memorised, so to preserve charges, he didn't jump the gun early).

      After the immediate threat had been vanquished, Angelo retreated to draw the remaining soldiers towards the Flaming Fist officers. If these law enforcers wanted to get any credit for showing up to the party late, they'd have to work for it. This held the attacking soldiers up for a few rounds, allowing Angelo's Wraithform to wear off harmlessly (although a precast Stoneskin would have granted further leeway if required). Although Angelo could have recast Wraithform, he opted to fire a Web spell before wading back in with twin scimitars and a ring of free action, since this would both stop him from being hit and make his opponents helpless. All of them had to die for Angelo to progress... and a few rounds later, all of them had unwillingly obliged.

      BG Veteran Quiz: Suppose you are trying the 'Wizard Slayer' version of this challenge. How would you guarantee that you could disrupt the mage's first casting as (a) a cavalier (b) a kensai. For the record, I have an answer for part (a), but not part (b)... which may give you a hint as to my answer to (a)!
    5. Well Well Well
      As soon as Angelo saw the old well, he retrieved the dusty chicken from inside his pack. "Time to wash my dirty cock," he laughed as he loered the chicken into the well. Felicity scowled at him for his lewdness, but there was no denying the manoeuvre was effective. A further risk-free 3,000 XP had been earned... a description that Angelo could not extend to the well spirit he'd summon if he had tossed a weapon down the well. The fight was not a tactically difficult one - he could kite using magical ammunition, abuse the Web spell and so on - but Angelo had seen enough combat for one day.

    "It's a pity that you didn't stumble across either of the random waylay areas this playthrough," lamented Felicity as Angelo left Chapter 9 behind. "None of the items are particularly groundbreaking, but it offers some more easy XP if you know how."

    "Another time, perhaps," Angelo replied, dismissive of her concerns. He'd earned another 17,000 XP through quests alone in this episode and was about to enter the most substantial part of the game. He was sure that he'd be able to make up the lost ground in the upcoming coalition camp.

  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    Interesting to hear your views on the cleric's viability, @histamiini. Personally, I think that it's tempting to think that since clerics can wield Flail of Ages and/or Defender of Easthaven (or even, I suppose, the much-venerated Crom Faeyr), they're sorted on the weapons front. Not saying they're not great weapons - they are! - but being restricted to blunt damage is a bigger drawback than it might first appear. Just off the top of my head, this means no arrows of detonation (and plain clerics lack the AoE damage/disabling spells to compensate), no arrows of dispelling, no speed weapons (Kundane, Belm and Ninjatō of the Scarlet Brotherhood are all slashing or piercing), no Ravager and no Soul Reaver. And as you've shown with Martyr's Morningstar, even if clerics can wield the weapons properly, there's no guarantee that they can utilise them effectively (Defender of Easthaven, for example, is most often used as an off-hand weapon... and since clerics can only put one star into two weapon proficiency, dual-wielding is not necessarily the best option).

    It's a similar story with a cleric's spells (Animate Dead is great, but it'd be even better with Haste; Martyr's is best used when combined with Enchanted Weapon; Harm only becomes truly deadly when it's combined with abilities guaranteeing hits and MR-lowering spells, etc.) - to make the best out of them requires abilities that do not come easily to clerics. As a result, while clerics can add considerable depth to multi-class characters, I'm somewhat sceptical about their ability to truly compete on their own.

  • histamiinihistamiini Member Posts: 1,306
    edited September 8
    @AvidGamerFan I agree that single classed Clerics are pretty much screwed in this challenge on a whole. They haven't even passed SoD yet, because Crusader Attacks have been the obstacle every time. Mainly because they don't have Skulls or Webs etc, Detonators and can't buff hp from Heroism. But the drained lv1 immunity now puts them pass that, and Champion's Strength scrolls, Power Potions and Durlag's Goblet could put them past Bel. This would be nice feat in its own, and then dualing to Thief for example would take all the restrictions away in SoA. Priest of Lathander21/Thief probably has the highest dmg/round, because they can have 9 apr backstabs in Iron Golem form with 3x Boons and Improved Haste.
    ((51*5BS)+14STR)*9apr) = 2421 dmg per round with Assasination.

    40 dmg with Righteous Magic
    42 Gauntlets of Extraordinary Specialization
    45 3x Boon of Lathander
    46 Prayer
    49 Blood Rage
    50 Aid
    51 Bless

  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    edited September 8
    @histamiini Assassination only lasts 1 round and can only be taken once. Mislead, combined with Spell Immunity: Divination, is probably the better option, combined with time traps if your opponents can see through invisibility. Of course, for a C/T, there are only so many scrolls in the game and the things that you'd really want to kill are often immune to backstabs... but I suppose that's where Harm/Magic Resistance/Implosion come in!

  • histamiinihistamiini Member Posts: 1,306
    @AvidGamerFan Assassination can practically be used once per fight in most cases. Mislead would work, and there's about 10 scrolls in the game. Iron Golem form would deal about 500 dmg per round even without Backstabs, which is more than example Fighters can deal. And yeah most bosses are immune to backstabs, but none are immune to Harm.

  • histamiinihistamiini Member Posts: 1,306
    edited September 8
    Sendai enclave was the first one to feel Mind Flayer Blade's wrath. Woodcutter eaten during Time Trap. Thelynn eaten raw, Yochol during Time Trap. Double PfU's for Odamaron and killed with MoD. Ogremoch Imprisoned, and Diyatha eaten during Time Trap. Captain Egeissag was a brave one, so I cave him chance to go 1on1 with the Blade, but he still lost miserably. Sendais last resort was sending the Mind Flayer Boss against Jin, forgetting that she's the 9 apr Mind Flayer Blade, that ate everyone in one sweep.

    The battle against Sendai was a fun one. As with Staff of Magi, Mislead can be cast Invisible, and I started the fight by eating the cleric statue and about 10 Drows. Only after I heard Divination spell being cast, I switched to human form, and got Invisibility from SoM. Waited my Tenser's out, and another go with Mislead. But I was again revealed before I could eat anyone. So they actually had something for me, interesting. How do you handle gas? Well pretty good with their 74 MR, but not good enough. Stopped after all but two non casting statues and one Drow were left. Try casting Divination now. After resting in Pocket Plane we found that one casting statue was still alive, and I probably only killed its Mislead. We ate all but the casting statue, and rested again in Pocket Plane. After eating the last statue Sendai arrived. He immediately destroyed my Skelis. Then he cast Deva which we kited out. And at this point Sendai had used most of her spells, and after she desperately tried casting all protections, my never ending 9 apr blades sliced her. In the third Pocket Plane Challenge Slayer offered nothing against 9 apr Blade.

    Then we traveled to Dragon lands. Draconis immune to pretty much everything except Silence, and Dragonis is the first dragon immune to stoning. The easiest way to transform him for us was just plain old spell baiting. We used Skull of Death to wipe his Invisible Stalker army and Earth Elemental, then waited the Djinnis to leave. Then Time Stop, Improved Alacrity, Dark Planetar, bunch of summons, Blinds, Dispels and weapon protections. Then my Fire Elementals turned him to Dragonis. We waited his Haste out hiding. Then we found something funny. He was turned when he was close to the corner, and his dragon form was trapped in the wall. Jin tried hitting with Greater Malison, Lower Resistance's and 6 Feebleminds, but non worked with 25% a piece.

    How to deal enough damage against 2000 hp (x2 with Heal), 25 DR and -20 AC. I could buff ranged Firetooth +3 to 5 apr and -15 Thac0. But my spell buffs only lasted so long and I only dealt 400 damage, and I noticed something weird. I only hit with 15 and up so he had somehow -30 AC. He also cheats by casting Stoneskins every five rounds, Minor Spell Turning every three rounds, and his Wing Buffet and Acid Breath stomped my elementals. Shadow Dragon Scale, Helm of the Rock, and Shield of Fyrus Khal gives 85 resistance against Acid, which should be enough forever, but the fight will probably last forever when doing 1 Fire Damage and hitting with 20's. With 2,5 apr, hit every 8th round, 8*3600 = 24 in-game days. :D

    Started looking alternatives, and unloading my scrolls. 7 Incendiary Clouds made him waste his Heal card. 5 Wiltings, 3 Meteor Swarms. At this point Draconis had 1600 hp left. Made move and attacked with melee. But I wasn't hitting but 20's with -10 Thac0. What was going on why did he have -30 AC? Three Cone of Colds from White Dragon Scale. I really could've used Lightning and Fire Wands now, and just goes to show you should always hoard everything in this challenge. 3 Delayed Fireballs from Magic Flute. 1500 hp left. Three Prismatic Sprays for 60 damage. Remembered Ring of Energy, and it did 400 damage and got Draconis to 1100 hp. But it was still going to take 160 in-game hours with ranged Firetooth.

    Finally I went to rest in Pocket Plane, and re-organized my spell book for a Skeli attack. Buffed up and now I was hitting even with 4's. What was going on, why was his AC correct -20 now? My first attack and Draconis used his Heal card and was already down to 1000 hp. Another Improved Haste and Tenser's, and he was finally done, just like that.

    This marathon reminded me of the one against Ogremoch. There was definitely something weird going on when Draconis turned, and it changed after I slept in the Pocket Plane. Well Jin is now knackered and probably needs some strong ale to continue.

  • histamiinihistamiini Member Posts: 1,306
    Finishing business before Throne of Bhaal. Jin ate the Greater Werewyvern and Lizard Men through Mislead. My Skelis then casually hacked Anadramatis through Farsight. Hungry hungry Jin then ate all the Kuo-Toa in single meal. Quadruble Dragons were stoned from 23 Wand of Wonder strikes. Carnifex even before he got to buff and huff his first breath. That's a nice pose fore a dragon statue. Then we ran through the Eyeball area Invisible and picked the Bronze pantaloons.

    Before pressing further Neera wanted to go shopping. But we were ambushed and she died in a second. Jin then first casually gassed the rude party, and then everybody in the Thayan arena. We did some girly shopping, mainly Golden Girdle, fourth Rod of Resurrection and some high level scrolls. Then we bombed Szas Tam with Spikes to 1 hp, and apparently he didn't demand us to do his work anymore, and sent us back immediately. Resurrected Neera, it was nice shopping trip, see you soon. Going back to Dragon lands we Stoned Fll'Yissetat for her 12 hour Improved Invisibility ring.

    Jin vs Abazigal. First up was Tamah and the Salamanders. Tamah has 2600 hp, -20 AC and -15 Thac0, she also has Psionic Maze -4 vs. Spell and Wingbuffet/Sleep 1s -2 vs. Death. Our fully buffed BMU should easily handle that. With -35 AC vs. slashing she will hit only 20's, 9 apr -16 Thac0 and saves well beyond needed. Started the fight and Tamah apparently starts it with Improved Haste and Improved Invisibility so her AC was actually -24. We first wiped the Salamanders with Wave, and then concentrated on Tamah. At Badly Injured she went Ethereal and buggered off. Nobody was attacking us so we went to Pocket Plane to rest. Tamah was back visible, and free lunch because she didn't react anymore. After killing her we then used Time Traps to hack the four Drakes. Now Abazigal was all alone.

    For Abazigal we changed tactics. Summoned 5 Fire Elementals and we transformed him to a Blue Dragon. Then we kited his Haste and protections out, as Aba wasted his Breaches, Warding Whips, Ruby Rays etc. Then Jin cloned, and we first hit him twice with Lower Resistance, then Greater Malison and started peppering with Feebleminds, with 35% chance a piece. Fifth spell hit him and he was out. At this point we removed Staff of Magis to avoid any mishaps, and hacked him to 1 hp. And he died after we Dispelled him with the staff.

    Favored of Cyric were quickly hacked by Jin the mountain. Then Balthazar was lured to our side with 2-2-3-2-1-1-1-3-3-1-1-2-1-1 dialogue options. For the Ravager we used summon door trick, and lured the Bone Blades to another room and left them there. With Reflection Shield, and Erinne's Sling +5 and 750 +4 Bullets we were set. Our Thac0 was -20 and Ravager couldn't hit us. It took only 140 bullets as Ravager kept hitting himself with his own missiles. We got the 25 Damage Resistance as the last evil reward from the challenges.

    These are some of the scrolls we have been hoarding, and will probably use for the final battle.
    14 Greater Malison
    16 Feeblemind
    15 Lower Resistance
    4 Pierce Shield
    22 Skull Traps
    6 Delayed Blast Fireballs
    8 Simulacrum
    6 Project Image
    8 Time Stop
    4 Wish
    1 Limited Wish

    Put there seems to be a line outside ToB, hmm that's strange.

  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    edited September 11
    Part 38: Angelo Gets Back Into the Grove

    Executive Summary: Angelo hoovers up the easy XP in the Coalition Camp, Dead Man's Pass and Bloodbark Grove.

    It was a nice welcoming gift, Angelo thought, to receive 15,000 XP merely for sauntering into the coalition camp. His days of grafting away for scraps were over, and Angelo sensed that a cornucopia of easy XP was on the horizon.
    1. Casing the Camp
      Traversing anticlockwise around the camp, Angelo spoke to Vigilant Halasan and trained each of the recruits Garrold, Taeild, Clovista, Danine, Morlis and Hester. Apparently, there was some variation in their training based on what classes or companions were present in Angelo's group... if so, it didn't seem to affect a F/M/T, as Angelo earned 6,000 XP and the Commander's Chain simply for initiating a few dialogues. Similarly with Simonetta Twoedged standing opposite, who only required Angelo to speak to Halasan and Belegarm before parting with a medal of valour and another 6,000 XP.

      Hoping for a repeat performance, Angelo spoke to Xerra and Zidrand after talking to Dosia. However, even this proved too much for Yestimell, so Angelo led him out into the open where the camp's guards slaughtered him. Dosia suggested seeing a druid in Bloodbark Grove, which Angelo promised to do when he left the camp. While he was at it, he vowed to track down a bear in Dead Man's Pass and deliver Helvdar a new pair of lucky boots. Both of these required him to leave the camp, which he was unable to do until he visited the command tent, so he did that first. This also allowed Bence Duncan to ambush him at the entrance and force him to enquire into Skie's whereabouts, but Angelo delayed speaking to Phossey Dugdeep and Torsin de Lancie further. He'd deal with them a little later.

      For now, he ventured over to Safana, who didn't ned to be in his party to inform him that she had pilfered some items before developing plot-convenient amnesia. A quick conversation with Simonetta revealed the runes were from a book borrowed by Malden Col, a traitor who conveniently carried a seal of Caelar on his person. Despite being a level 19/20 F/T, his Pick Pockets was only 30%, so Angelo could eventually steal the seal from him on an opposed check (he didn't turn hostile if Angelo failed). As he was also unwilling to repent, Angelo reported him to Marshal Nederlock, making sure to say, "It's appreciated." in order to earn both the Fleshripper shortbow and 6,000 XP.

      Sensing a spectral presence around Nederlock, Angelo used the spectacles of spectacle to drag Nazramu into the Prime Material Plane. Angelo inspected the djinn's exotic goods, noting that he could grab a bargain by selling his items and buying them back for less gold than he paid for them. Not wanting to utilise this exploit, however, Angelo promptly forgot about Nazramu and never spoke to him again. To emphasise how scrupulous he was, when Damius and Sempack asked him to murder Pritchard, Angelo reported them to Pritchard instead, although this was primarily for the potion of magic blocking from General Stonehand than concern for Pritchard's wellbeing.

      Finally, he approached Waizahb and offered to acquire some crusader items for her black market. When General Stonehand asked Angelo to investigate a thieves' guild, he knew exactly who to go to. Waizahb set him up a meeting with Rhynwis, a thief who could easily be threatened into reducing the guild's activities and sending support for a future assault on Dragonspear Castle. By demanding more, Angelo secured the location of a hidden guild cache, although the same approach didn't work to get more than 6,000 XP and 500 GP from General Stonehand. After talking Mizhena into giving him a Coroniir board, he took his leave of the camp.

      If you shake down Rhynwis and report to General Stonehand before trying to retrieve Waizahb's items, then this quest will no longer be available. However, once the quest has been obtained, the items can be returned at any time, even if the thieves' guild has shut down.
    2. Down Among the Dead Men
      "You have been waylaid by enemies and must defend yourself," the announcer intoned dramatically. Hearing this, Angelo was about to cast Invisibility to investigate the waylay area until he noticed the 'dead magic' icon hovering over his portrait, indicating that spells would not function. It didn't take much deliberation for Angelo to decide that, no, he needn't defend himself and he left, going backwards to avoid even uncovering his opponents.

      After invisibly following Dead Man's Pass to activate the way to Dragonspear Castle, Angelo scouted the map looking for goodies. He found the Heart of the Mountain amulet from a body guarded by shambling mounds and The Forest Queen's Benediction in a tree stump beside Nuber, who yielded 1,000 XP after orating his 21 dialogues. He was unable to access the wand of paralysation on top of the nearby hill without first luring the hobgoblin archers away from blocking the bridge using summons. Unfortunately, this tactic didn't work in either the cave or the hidden cellar - there were too many guardians to make gathering their treasures feasible.

      This left a solitary cave bear for Angelo to take out for the its bear skin. He could have minimised his AC against crushing weapons, but an easier route was to cast Wraithform and casually hack away. Its weapon ineffective, Angelo had more than enough time to cut it down and stuff its hide into his pack.
    3. It's All Grovey
      Before heading back to the coalition camp, Angelo stopped by Bloodbark Grove. It was almost as easy to threaten Lord Dushwick and make Chalmers drop his stuff (not that there was much of value) as it was to invisibly loot the body in the northwestern corner. This time, there was enough room to summon bait in the cellar, allowing Angelo to recast his Invisibility while the wolves and fledgling vampire were busy chewing up his decoy. The poison traps were deadly (their damage rate was so fast that Slow Poison could not be self-cast inbetween ticks), so Angelo was sure to disarm them and the other traps before he cast Knock and raided Sundermaul +3 from the chests. The fledgling vampire's Domination was on cooldown, having wasted it prematurely on his summons, so it was enough to vanish, wait for an opening and escape.

      As it would have been too simple for Onoroth to just give away the cure, Angelo had to kill a greater basilisk to prove his credentials first. The beast in question lay past the northward stone circle, but as this was guarded by several bonebats, so Angelo steered as clear as possible. It only took a few gazes before the basilisk realised that Angelo had cast Protection from Petrification, by which point Angelo had fired a Blind spell. It didn't work and there wasn't much room to manoeuvre in the space out of sight of the undead, but Angelo managed to keep out of range of its snapping jaws long enough to release a second Blind. This time, it connected properly and it wasn't long before the basilisk's sightless eyes closed forever.

      Happy with his progress, Onoroth relinquished the Blackthorn Bark Cure for Angelo to take to Dosia for 6,000 XP and Martyr's Morningstar. Having completed this quest, it was now worth Angelo's while to speak to Hyreth, and a little back and forth between him and Dosia was enough to earn another 6,000 XP. Meanwhile, giving the bearskin to Belegarm tipped Angelo off that there was an ordinary pair of boots kicking around, which promptly ended up in Helvdar's hands for another 6,000 XP. A day later, Angelo swiped the lucky boots meant for Helvdar for himself: as a non-dwarf, he missed out on the +3 saving throw bonus, but Angelo assumed he could sell them for a pretty penny. Unfortunately, he'd assumed wrong and the boots were worthless... perhaps it was not Angelo's lucky day after all!

    In consolation, Felicity explained that he'd effectively earned 58,000 XP in quests for killing two creatures (and those deaths alone earned him 7,900 XP)! As Angelo had predicted, the coalition camp had yielded a wealth of easy XP... and it wasn't over yet!

    Post edited by AvidGamerFan on
  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    edited September 19
    Part 39: Angelo Goes Aprés Skie

    Executive Summary: Angelo checks out Dragonspear Castle's courtyard and the surface of the Underground River.

    Felicity wasn't convinced of the wisdom of approaching the enemy fortifications, even with the seal of Caelar stolen from Malden Col. Still, Angelo assured her that there was plenty of XP to be gained from visiting the courtyard and it would serve as a nice warmup for tackling the main quest.
    1. Going the Extra Yard
      Bluffing his way into the courtyard, Angelo was amused to find himself being asked to arbitrate a trial between Corinth and Valis. Corinth's bow looked rather fancy, so Angelo didn't hesitate to implicate him and letting the remaining crusaders kill him off. That offered an easy 4,000 XP, after which Angelo spoke to Pedro and refilled a wine skin. A crusader uniform taken from a crate allowed him to retrieve morning orders from Deneld, and giving both items to Commander Dreon earned another 6,000 XP. A further quick chat to some others around the camp allowed Angelo to pass Deneld's test and win yet another 2,000 XP, along with a ring of the crusade.

      Retrieving the shackles from a chest, Angelo opened the eastern gates and offered to subdue the troll. By 'subdue', what he really meant was 'fire one arrow at, then hide from'... but this didn't seem to matter to Sindret, who gave him 4,000 XP and several potions (including a potion of power!). He didn't even need to go invisible, allowing him to save it for stealing the annotated map from the camp's table. This netted one of Waizahb's fenced items, and talking to Dreon while wearing a uniform was enough to 'borrow' his ring for another. A chest next to Dreon yielded the battle standard and Mizhena's Coroniir board was used to beat Tristian (at Coroniir, not over the head!) for his holy symbol. Finally, while Angelo could have pickpocketed the ginger dwarf next to Deneld for a token of faith, he was out of potions of master thievery. Making do, Angelo charmed the dwarf using Algernon's cloak (as it wouldn't turn its target hostile if they made their save), took him aside to the end of the troll pens and let some summons cut him down (for 275 XP, which is hardly worth counting by this stage).

      Finding Skie cornered on the castle outskirts, Angelo earned 2,000 XP by telling the mercenaries that Caelar Argent would be hearing from Ensler Waterdeep if their deeds proceeded any further. Angelo also found one of Kjarvan and Qing's rock shards in a pile opposite them, talking Deneld into giving him the other one. This allowed him to get them blessed when he returned to the coalition camp to give Waizahb her items. Mizhena combined the two unblessed shards into one holy one, while Waizahb doled out the following rewards (along with 2,000 XP an item, which can be returned in any order):
      • First Item: 250 GP
      • Second Item: 500 GP
      • Third Item: Pearly White Ioun Stone
      • Fourth Item: 1,000 GP
      • Fifth Item: Shadowed Spear +2
      • All: potions of storm giant stength, power and magic shielding

      While he was back at the camp, Angelo told Marshal Nederlok of Skie's rescue for 800 GP and spoke to Phossey and Torsin to acquire a barrel of bwoosh, a stone dowser and a vial of poison. Before Angelo followed those up, he went back to the courtyard to present the blessed shard, saying he'd found a priest in the wilderness. Plonking it on the altar, Angelo didn't much feel like letting Kjarvan and Qing steal his glory, but he also didn't feel like being tested. Not only did this go against his philosophy of 'all play and no work makes Angelo a happy boy', but the Sentry of Tempus that constituted the test had 100% MR, 4 ApR, Thac0 1 and -11 AC. Besides, Angelo still gained 6,000 XP by declining the test, and this was more than enough.
    2. Roving the River
      It was with reluctance that Angelo dredged himself to deal with Battuks. He'd entered the map invisibly precisely to avoid this sort of nonsense. The goblins looked around uneasily - they'd expected outright defiance rather than grim resignation - before deciding to scarper. This netted Angelo 4,500 XP, and he didn't even have to dig out his seal of Caelar to earn it.

      Where Angelo did have to dig out his seal was to get past the cyclops guarding the central crusader encampment. Some walkthroughs advocate approaching the cyclops stealthily and using Pick Pockets to steal the crusader badge from its person, but Angelo couldn't get the skill to function on it, successfully or otherwise, as it was simply too big. Fortunately, the seal allowed Angelo free entry to the camp, otherwise he would have had to use the help of the druids he'd just freed in a northwestern clearing. After a little customary hacking, they'd asked him to stop Korrusk and would have sent a few animals to help had things come to blows; in reality, these animals were little more than fodder, but they'd act as a suitable distraction for Angelo to disappear had he needed to.

      If Angelo was not Pick Pocket-capable (killing Malden Col summons Andrus Gath, who promptly casts Imprisonment Trap the Soul on you), he would have done these areas in reverse order and taken the seal of Caelar from the cyclops' body to infiltrate Dragonspear Castle's courtyard.

      As it stood, Angelo wanted to remain visible when he talked to Murs in the ogre camp. This allowed him to fight both Arbinge and Cheski for the right to be her champion (had he approached invisible, then the pair would battle amongst themselves without Angelo being able to intervene). Of course, this didn't stop him from turning invisible after he'd initiated the combat... and since the two ogres had been explicitly instructed to fight Angelo alone, they stood helplessly around him as the summons Angelo had conjured before the fight tore them apart without opposition. Well, 'tore apart' was a bit of an overstatement... only Animate Dead lasted long enough to deal decent damaging before expiring... but slow and steady won the race, along with two instalments of 1,400 XP.

      After promising to find Murs' mate Slug, Angelo literally talked a myconoid to death. The mushrooms didn't hold many treasures and becoming visible after searching them alerted the myconoid elder to his presence. This alone gave away 6,000 XP and Angelo had already begun to recast his Invisibility when the elder fired some 'pacifist spores' at him. Failing his save v death caused Angelo to become affected by Feeblemind, but his spell kept casting and he vanished from sight, safe from the myconoids' prying eyes. Fortunately, unlike the spell, this effect was not permanent and after it had worn off, Angelo left the funghi to fume in private.

      Finally, there was the simple task of looting the trap-laden trove north of the ogre bandit camp. The potions on the dead body could be right-click searched without breaking Invisibility, but rifling through Rhynwis' hidden thieves' guild stash required stepping into plain sight. Still, the displacer beasts seemingly couldn't handle some of their own illusory medicine and Angelo was happy to 'displace' himself onto the other side of the map once he'd finished.

    "See, Felicity?" Angelo asked his familiar as he sauntered into the Underground River. "That diversion into the Dragonspear Courtyard earned 34,275 XP with basically no risk. That's almost triple the still-not-too-shabby 13,300 XP that I earned in the Underground River entrance." Now it was time to enter the Underground River itself and plant the seeds of Castle Dragonspear's destruction.

    Post edited by AvidGamerFan on
  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    edited September 19
    Part 40: Angelo Digs the Underground Scene

    Executive Summary: Angelo fails to kill a rakshasa, but runs riot through the rest of the Underground River.

    Entering the Underground River, Angelo was struck at how good the scenery looked. The Underdark textures were awash with purple lights and glowing mushrooms, the sounds of rushing water adding to the natural ambience. This was going to be a fun level to romp his way through.
    1. The Vanquishing and Vanishing of Vidhadyar
      'Ladle' was an appropriate name for the entrance troupe's captain, since this was a verb Angelo would use to describe his doling out of an easy 12,000 XP for moving 20 sacks of grain back and forth. Since Angelo loved the sound of his own voice (as these posts will attest!), he was delighted to spin a long yarn to Gurgle and Floss, earning 1,000 XP and a wand of water elemental summoning. As he was about to leave their chamber, he felt an ethereal presence and, sure enough, donning the spectacles of spectacle dragged Vidhadyar into the Material Plane.

      "Riddle me this," the rakshasa intoned before asking its question. Before answering, Angelo checked his inventory. He quite fancied Vidhadyar's scroll of Protection from Magic, and its scimitar +3 was also tempting. Neither of these could be stolen by Pick Pocket, which only offered a potion of defence, and when Felicity told him that answering the riddle correctly would only yield the Modron Heart, Angelo decided the rakshaha must be eradicated.

      Opening the western double doors, Angelo drew Vidhadyar out into the corridor, using his ring of free action to escape the Stinking Cloud/Web Minor Sequencer and tanking the oncoming Cloudkill spell. The remainder of Vidhadyar's direct damage spells were either fire (to which Angelo was immune with the helm of defence and two rings of fire resistance), lightning (to which Angelo was immune via an imbibed potion of grounding) or Magic Missile (to which Angelo was immune via the shield amulet). Nevertheless, Angelo turned invisible, causing Vidhadyar to start perambulating madly. Funnily enough, he cast Fireshield: Red and Mirror Image pre-emptively, which Angelo waited out and dispelled using Detect Illusion respectively. Once Angelo was sure that Vidhadyar was out of sight, he enacted the next phase of his plan.

      Releasing Felicity, Angelo cast Invisibility on his familiar and positioned her on the thin lip of the lake where the stones narrowed the path. Equipping the Archer's Eyes amulet, as he required critical hits to connect meaningfully, Angelo attracted Vidhadyar's attention by shooting some arrows of dispelling. Since the imp was also immune to fire and electricity (and could not be targetted by Magic Missiles since she was invisible), Angelo sucked up the rakshasa's spells, knowing that Felicity wouldn't be harmed by any AoE. This left Vidhadyar out of options except to close for melee... which, with an invisible familiar in his way, he was unable to do! The imp didn't even need to be polymorphed, although positioning with a smaller body was more finnicky.

      Of course, rakshahas require >+2 weapons to hit, and arrows of dispelling are classed as +1 weapons, so their effects never enacted properly. Rakshasas are also immune to <7th level spells, so there was no way Angelo could get through its defences (SoD isn't affected by SCS changes to Breach!). So Angelo had to take down Vidhadyar's 2 Stoneskin spells the hard way (its 3 Mirror Image spells had already been exhausted by the earlier Detect Illusion)... using arrows +2 purchased from Belegarm for this very occasion. It would take a lot of patience, but as long as Angelo could deliver the final blow before 24 in-game hours (the duration of Felicity's Invisibility), it would be a guaranteed kill...

      ...or so Angelo had thought. And yet, after he had slaved away reducing Vidhadyar down to badly wounded, the rakshasa finally decided that enough was enough and teleported away, leaving the Modron Heart and 5,000 XP behind. Somewhere, in the distance, he swore he heard Felicity snicker mockingly at him.

      Since Vidhadyar is very hard to kill in LoB mode - I hesitate to use the word 'impossible', but I can't think of a reliable method - it's probably better to use this charge of the spectacles of spectacle in Dead Man's Pass to obtain the ring of the tiny fiend. But given how difficult it is to get Vidhadyar down to even half health, I thought it better to illustrate this behaviour than ignore it in favour of the 'optimal' route.
    2. Drow, Druids and Dryads
      Bellowgulp Bluefingers and Concocter's script triggered and they came to the surface even when Angelo was invisible, and their purchasable potion selection included a potion of power, a potion of magic protection and a potion of magic shielding. After blasting the ghost ettin with Magic Missile, it asked him to find its missing club, after which Angelo was able to invisibly extricate the weapon from the giant's corpse in the cave. The ghosts Litla, Woris and Sotuk only appeared if all of the undead had been disposed of - an unrealistic proposal given their numbers - so Angelo ignored this quest, as he did the hidden cave of blind albino wyrmlings a short distance southwards. Exchanging the giant's club for its loincloth cloak of the strange beast earned Angelo 3,000 XP. The stone dowser that Phossey gave him went crazy, and when Angelo placed the barrel of bwoosh nearby, another 4,000 XP was deposited in his account.

      While passing back and forth along the upper half of the map, Angelo had noticed Strunk gesticulating wildly towards a trio of water elementals. Since the conjurer's dialogue only fired if Angelo initiated it, this gave Angelo an idea for a quick kill. As with several other initially neutral enemies, Strunk did not turn hostile if he successfully saved versus Blind, and so this allowed Angelo as many tries as necessary until his spell succeeded. Naturally, this provocation would turn Strunk hostile, along with his water elemental buddies... but as long as Angelo kept out of their line of sight, he could shoot Strunk to bits without them caring. Strunk's death netted 5,000 XP and freed the water elementals, and saying as much to the nereid who popped up to effect their release earned another 12,000 XP and a purification stone.

      Stumbling across a drow war party, Angelo promised to locate runaways Kaelat and Umar, who he found while invisibly scouting the bottom left corner of the map. Annoyingly, although the intervening myconoids couldn't see him, they could sense his presence and Angelo had to make sure they didn't surround him before he could escape their notice. Equally annoyingly, Kaelat and Umar wouldn't talk to him until an adjacent ankheg had been killed, but there was a spot beside them where Angelo could summon assistance without being noticed. Walking his summons toward the drow pair brought the ankheg to the surface, and thus to its doom, and bringing their insignia to Shapur was enough to surrender the storm pike +2 and 6,000 XP. The grateful Theril even chucked in a cloak of the gargoyle for free, which was nothing to sniff at.

      A little more invisible rooting around revealed Ferrusk, the shadow druid about whom the good druids Chorster and Jamven had moaned. Ignoring the warning not to investigate further, Angleo slipped the ring of human influence onto his finger before slipping into the grove. Casually letting slip that he'd helped the nereid only minutes earlier, Angelo successfuly masqueraded as a friend of nature and persuaded Ferrusk to give out an amulet of abnormally awesome ankheg summoning. Being evil, Angelo also offered to bring the heads of Chorster and Jamven, a fact he totally denied when he went to see them after finishing with Ferrusk. With his heightened Charisma, they bought the lie hook, line and sinker, offering up their quest's 12,000 XP and Root of the Problem club without even asking about their enchanted acorn.

      His usefulness expended, Ferrusk would now have to die. If he was allowed to turn hostile on his own terms, he'd call a load of monsters to his aid, so Angelo vowed not to let him do that. Luckily, as with Strunk, Ferrusk did not turn hostile on an unsuccessful Blind, and a successful Blind stopped his summons from appearing. Having barred the door to prevent other creatures from crashing the party, Ferrusk shortly became 4,000 XP fodder for Angelo's ever-itchy trigger finger.

      Finally, Angelo took pity on the poisoned crusader quartet. Unfortunately, the 'poisoned crusader' with whom Angelo had to talk (rather than the 'crusader archers') was still within view of some surrounding monsters and Angelo would have to wait a second or two after giving them the cure from Ferrusk to receive the quest's reward. Still, casting Invisibility as soon as the dialogue had ended was enough to evade the monsters' gazes (wearing the ring of free action to avoid being ensnared by the gargantuan spider's web tangle proved to be an unnecessary precaution). This granted another 6,000 XP and informing Ladle in the supply depot of this rescue gave three potions more.
    3. Footnote: (Underground) River Deep, Modron High
      The Modron Heart sounds good until you realise how restrictive the fact that it only functions against chaotic opponents really is. Belhifet is Lawful Evil, as is Hephernaan (or Caelar if you let her become a blackguard); the devils in Avernus (cornugons, erinyes, hamatula, bone fiends, red & green abishai) are all Lawful Evil; Zhadroth the lich and Kherriun the necromancer are both Lawful Evil; Ashatiel is Lawful Good... but she's still not chaotic! In fact, the only 'enemy' that it works on that you'd really need it to work on is Halatathlaer (although if you think the amulet will win that fight for you... good luck!).

      For what it's worth, here are the remaining enemies that the amulet will work on:
      1. Underground River
        1. Umber hulks, dark treants and gargantuan spiders (no need to fight these)
        2. Shadow and greater shadow in the cave (ditto)
        3. Spense and Anji, the crusaders around the fire where you use the potion of firebreath (ditto)
        4. Ettin ghost, the drow and driders (I'm repeating myself)
      2. Kanaglym
        1. Halatathlaer (lol, kk, gl hf, bye!)
        2. Two of the dark mages (perhaps passingly useful)
      3. Coalition Camp Attacks
        1. All monsters in the 1st crusader wave except the ogre mage
        2. Two mages (in the flanks of the front row) in the 2nd crusader wave
        3. Grimgor and Bird-Dog in the 4th crusader wave
      4. Chapter 11
        1. Beno Ferrari in the assault on Castle Dragonspear in Chapter 11 (no need to... you know the rest!)
      RP-wise, it's appropriate that an item won from an evil creature ends up being more useless than it appears... but from a powergaming perspective, it's no gamechanger!

    "There's one more 'Dr-' creature we missed out in our previous alliteration," Angelo told Felicity as she asked him where they were off to next. "And that 'Dr-' is... 'Dragon'!"

    Post edited by AvidGamerFan on
  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    edited September 19
    Part 41: Angelo Hitches a Lift

    Executive Summary: Angelo checks into Kanaglym, checks out the basement elevator and checks out of the Underground River.

    "What's that tune you're humming, Felicity?" Angelo asked as they sneaked their way towards the lost city.

    "It's a catchy Enya song from the early 90s," Felicity replied, "it's called Kanaglym Blue."

    Angelo rolled his eyes. "I hate you so much."
    1. Licking the Lich
      Halatathlaer's warnings against entering the lost city of Kanalgym were only half-hearted - since she wouldn't attack him, Angelo ignored her and walked right in. Disarming the Slow trap inside the entrance, Angelo proceeded across the bridge until he felt a ripple in the spacetime continuum. Sure enough, the spectacles of spectacle detected a disturbance and using its final charge forced Zhadroth to materialise. Surprisingly, the creature seemed genuinely grateful for its release, but while the ring of regeneration, which it would have given away, was nice, Angelo was really after its robe of arcane aptitude, as its spell sequencer persisted even if the robe was removed. To earn that prize, Angelo would have to turn Zhadroth hostile... and take it from his (un)dead body.

      Of course, liches are not easy to dispatch even in BG2, so Angelo was taking absolutely no chances here. As soon as Zhadroth's protections kicked in, Angelo activated his Protection from Magic scroll on himself (as far as he could tell, the option of casting the scroll on others only kicked in once BG2 started). Zhadroth's eyes narrowed and fired off several Remove Magic spells at Angelo. Angelo shook his head as they bounced off ineffectively - he'd learned from the Demon Knight in Durlag's Tower that Remove Magic cut through the scroll's globe but did not remove it, and had deliberately not buffed in anticipation of this fact. Since Zhadroth had not memorised Spellstrike, nothing he could do could bring the globe down... and since SCS changes do not apply to SoD, it would not have mattered if he had.

      Still, since liches required >+3 weapons to hit, Angelo was busy hacking away at Zhadroth's stone skins with Icingdeath rather than wasting his limited magical arrows. He'd hoped this alone would be enough, but after an unproductive Time Stop, Zhadroth used Animate Dead to summon a skeleton warrior - a mean one, in fact, given the lich's high level. Angelo was not prepared to let up his assault and used a Protection from Undead scroll to prevent its blows from landing. This turned out to be a doubly good move since Zhadroth, now unable to attack in melee even if he'd wanted to, started wandering back across the bridge towards the entrance. Angelo's ward allowed him to follow without attracting the attention of either Kanaglym's other undead residents or the Endless Watcher who'd pre-emptively showed up (and the anti-magic globe neutering the nearby Confusion trap). Angelo ceased combat when Zhadroth meandered towards the rightmost necromancers and resumed once the lich stumbled back into his killing zone.

      This ought to have been the end of the story, but Angelo must have rolled especially badly since his Protection from Magic somehow wore off before he could cut through Zhadroth's 3 Stoneskins and 2 Protection from Magic Weapons. Luckily, the lich had already used its 2 Remove Magic spells pointlessly trying to dispel the globe and had none left to rid Angelo of his anti-undead warding.

      This allowed Angelo to complete his effort-free maiming and talk the Endless Watcher into leaving its astral crossbow +2 behind. This gave no extra XP beyond the 22,000 XP for killing Zhadroth, but this wasn't a problem as Angelo had hit the XP cap.
    2. Killing Kherriun
      As he was on a roll, Angelo watched the western dark magicians kill all 6 of their human sacrifices, after which they gave up and went away. Angelo then moved around clockwise, entering Kherriun's visual range/ Unexpectedly, the troupe did not automatically turn hostile on seeing him (he was not invisible) - he sensed he had to move closer for that to happen - but that was where Angelo's luck ran out. The dark magicians had cycled around here and the 6 new zombies were standing with another pair. All Angelo had really done by watching the ritual was to create more enemies for himself. Such fun.

      This would have bothered Angelo more had he intended on fighting the necromancers en masse, but he did not. First, he cast Spider Spawn twice and cast Haste before chucking a trio of Web spells to ensnare the still neutral magicians. Waiting until Kherriun had been successfully webbed, Angelo ordered his arachnids to attack, then pelted Kherriun with arrows. Since wizards have good saving throws against spells, Angelo was not too surprised to see that a few of the mages resisted all 3 Web spells, but that didn't matter too much. As long as he could burst Kherriun's health down, then the others would be background noise.

      Sure enough, bringing Kherriun to 'Near Death' status got Angelo what he wanted and shattered the ghost jar. Just as the necromancers began to regain control of the battle by casting Chaos on the spiders, Angelo's arrow felled Kherriun for 5,000 XP and he immediately turned invisible, waiting for his cavalry to arrive.

      It didn't take long. Released from the necromancers' evil magic, Halatathlaer rampaged into Kanaglym to exact revenge on her evil tormentors. His work here now done, Angelo scooped up Kherriun's belongings and left the Halatathlaer to hellraise without him.
    3. Wandering the Warrens
      Uncorking the potion of fire breath that he'd found while transporting grain for Ladle, Angelo had hoped to simply pour it onto the campfire, but the container was not yet flagged as a container. Angelo didn't fancy hearing Spensse and Anji's rendition of the tale he was about to enact, so he tried to talk his way past Turin Brassbreaker. Since he'd taken his ring of human influence off, his Charisma was low enough for her to rebuff his attempt, whereupon the campfire miraculously became flaggable. Tossing the potion in caused the defenders to abandon their posts, affording Angelo free access along with another 6,000 XP.

      You can talk your way past Turin with high Charisma but this gives you no XP. On the other hand, you need to be rebuffed by her in order to 'loot' the fire. So a character with high Charisma may be locked out of 6,000 XP here. Yet another reason why Charisma is a dump stat.

      Once inside the warrens, Angelo looted all the containers he could find, casting Knock on any which threatened to bar his progress, for some surprisingly decent scrolls, potions and ammunition (including 3 precious arrows of detonation!). Freeing Slug from his prison cell tipped Angelo off to a hidden cache next to the Concocter, which he promptly emptied to procure Hydra +2 (why was the game so insistent on giving him +2 weapons at this late stage, Angelo wondered... did they not know what was coming up?!). Swearing to Ponvi that he was a man of duty granted Angelo access to his clerical services, the highlights of which were a girdle of bluntness, boots of grounding and a trio of potions of power (disconcertingly expensive, Angelo thought, for a priest supposedly unmotivated by gold). Finally, telling Rhonda to escape the camp earned him a pair of Nimblefinger Gloves... which he couldn't use... marvellous!

      Angelo expected a fight as he approach the gentrified duo of Einer and Betror, but the ogres politely offered him a lift. Not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, Angelo graciously accepted, making sure to cast Invisibility before ascending to the next floor.
    4. Debasement in the Basement
      Despite Angelo's invisibility, he was treated to Belben's dialogue as soon as he stepped off the lift. Even more unwelcome was the crusader cleric's casting of True Sight, forcing Angelo to duck into the storeroom to wait the divination out. Once he was sure that the coast was clear, he loosed a few drops of de Lancie's poison into the water supply, earning 4,000 XP and the hollow threats of a released water mephit who couldn't see him. Crossing over to the other side of the room, he repeated the same trick on the pantry's food supplies for another 4,000 XP.

      Returning to the main chamber, Angelo was alarmed to see several more troops - including Hephernaan, cleric/mage Esserin and conjurer Olvenaun - swarming into it. It briefly crossed Angelo's mind to ask Hephernaan whether he was a reskin of Revered Brother Poquelin, but he had a feeling that this would not be the only reused Icewind Dale enemy he'd encounter. Upon hearing Esserin beginning to chant Invisibility Purge, Angelo dived into the bedroom and disarmed the two traps on the chests - the left, locked chest (with the scrolls of Lower Resistance, Spell Immunity and Spell Shield) was guarded by level drain while the right, unlocked chest (with the helpful Crown of Lies, the not-so-helpful Robe of Netheril and a book spelling out how Kherriun's ghost jars controlled Halatathlaer) featured a nasty Maze dweomer.

      As he was about to leave, Angelo found the ghost of Daeros Dragonspear hiding behind a curtain. Confirming that he was no friend of Hephernaan's convinced the dwarf to give up 18,000 XP and the location of a secret hiding place in the draconic floor mural.

      Snatching Daeros' Full Plate+1 from the compartment, Angelo recast his Invisibility and fled the scene before the hordes of crusaders could get their bearings. Telling ogres Einer and Betror that there'd been a minor disagreement with Belben, which was true, stopped the warrens from turning hostile and allowed Angelo to exit the Underground River without further incident. Outside, Angelo checked in with Murs and Slug to receive a ring of fire resistance and another 6,000 XP before casting his eyes homewards and returning to the coalition camp.

      Unlike Belben, the waterdhavian guard's dialogue did not fire when Angelo entered invisibly, so Angelo had to reappear before he was told of the impending parley in Dead Man's Pass. As suspected, the negotiations were fruitless, but sitting through them doled out 5,000 XP and signalled Angelo's return to the coalition camp.

    As he was leaving Dead Man's Pass, Felicity thought it timely to issue a reminder. "Remember that all you have to do to complete this 'infiltration phase' of Chapter 10 is to trigger Belben's dialogue in Castle Dragonspear's basement. There's no need to poison the food and water supplies, rescue Skie or muck around with stone dowsers and barrels of bwoosh." There were lots of quests flying around this part of the game and sometimes it was helpful to keep things in focus.

    "Duly noted," Angelo nodded in approval, "but now the 'infiltration phase' is over. We're about to start the next part of Chapter 10... the legendary coalition camp battle!"

    Post edited by AvidGamerFan on
  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    edited September 22
    I normally averse to posting spoilers for upcoming parts of a playthrough, but this one seems to genuinely break new ground. The downside of Angelo's walkthrough being so thorough is that it takes time to write, let alone play, and so I thought I should give some highlights now and describe the details in full later.

    Alongside Angelo, I started a new cleric/illusionist. To do my bit for the metagame, I'm attempting the Wizard Slayer challenge, and I think that a C/M has one of the best chances of completing this sort of challenge. They take a while to get rolling, though, and this is problematic when facing Sarevok if they have no wands or necklaces of missiles. What they do have, however, is the ability to buy (and use) scrolls, and this is a real gamechanger...
    If you wait out the potions of fire protection that the lackeys use, there are enough Fireball and Cloudkill scrolls in the game to kill Semaj and wound the others. Keeping out of sight, you can then fire Greater Malison followed by Chaos, which together give a -8 modifier to their saving throw. Diamid's saves are particularly abysmal, so you can count on him being a useful idiot here. The confused will either attack the nearest target without retaliation - which, as they're all clumped up, will probably be each other - or they'll wander aimlessly. And should the afflicted wander into your line of sight while confused, they won't react or trigger others to attack, so you can split them up and blind them while their saves are still reduced (illusionists impose a -2 penalty on their Blind, which is handy, and there are 9 Blindness scrolls in the game). For added nastiness, you can approach them invisibly and cast Prayer or Recitation to lower their saves further (-1 and -2 respectively, and they stack!)... as self-centred spells, this won't break invisibility, so this is 100% safe.

    Sorcerous Sundries sells 20 copies of both Greater Malison and Chaos, so these and some sling bullets will reliably take down the minions. For Sarevok, do the same except apply Doom while he's engaged fighting some bats or standing around to make sure your Blind works. After he's blinded, cast Animate Dead and then keep casting Hold Person (the mage version carries a -1 penalty, and there are 9 scrolls in the game... as well as your priest slots), Emotion: Hopelessness (4 scrolls), Icelance (3 scrolls) and/or Hold Monster (2 scrolls) until they connect through your debuffs. Then cast Haste on your summons, make them attack and pour yourself a nice drink!

    I haven't tried it out with a F/M (who I also think has strong potential for the Wizard Slayer challenge, along with everything else!), but I've tested it comfortably several times with a C/I. While the arcane spells do the work, the divine spells provide the reliability, but the fighter can always use some arrows of dispelling and kiting to even the odds. If the C/I can get past the coalition camp attacks, which will be tough, they can use level 1 trick to get past Belhifet (Protection from Poison + Chaotic Commands + Resist Fear + Protection from Fire scrolls will, I think, immunise them to any special attacks). Once in BG2, they can run riot with the full compendium of arcane and divine magic at their disposal (minus Necromancy, of course, which may make the Ravager and/or Melissan very difficult, but I have other plans for them...!).

    Post edited by AvidGamerFan on
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,497
    I normally averse to posting spoilers for upcoming parts of a playthrough, but this one seems to genuinely break new ground. The downside of Angelo's walkthrough being so thorough is that it takes time to write, let alone play, and so I thought I should give some highlights now and describe the details in full later.

    Alongside Angelo, I started a new cleric/illusionist. To do my bit for the metagame, I'm attempting the Wizard Slayer challenge, and I think that a C/M has one of the best chances of completing this sort of challenge. They take a while to get rolling, though, and this is problematic when facing Sarevok if they have no wands or necklaces of missiles. What they do have, however, is the ability to buy (and use) scrolls, and this is a real gamechanger...
    If you wait out the potions of fire protection that the lackeys use, there are enough Fireball and Cloudkill scrolls in the game to kill Semaj and wound the others. Keeping out of sight, you can then fire Greater Malison followed by Chaos, which together give a -8 modifier to their saving throw. Diamid's saves are particularly abysmal, so you can count on him being a useful idiot here. The confused will either attack the nearest target without retaliation - which, as they're all clumped up, will probably be each other - or they'll wander aimlessly. And should the afflicted wander into your line of sight while confused, they won't react or trigger others to attack, so you can split them up and blind them while their saves are still reduced (illusionists impose a -2 penalty on their Blind, which is handy). For added nastiness, you can approach them invisibly and cast Prayer or Recitation to lower their saves further (-1 and -2 respectively, and they stack!)... as a self-centred spell, this won't break invisibility, so this is 100% safe.

    Sorcerous Sundries sells 20 copies of both Greater Malison and Chaos, so these and some sling bullets will reliably take down the minions. For Sarevok, do the same except apply Doom while he's engaged fighting some bats or standing around to make sure your Blind works. After he's blinded, cast Animate Dead and then keep casting Hold Person (the mage version carries a -1 penalty, and there are 9 scrolls in the game... as well as your priest slots!), Emotion: Hopelessness (4 scrolls), Icelance (3 scrolls) and/or Hold Monster (2 scrolls) until they connect through your debuffs. Then cast Haste on your summons, make them attack and pour yourself a nice drink!

    I haven't tried it out with a F/M (who I also think has strong potential for the Wizard Slayer challenge, along with everything else!), but I've tested it comfortably several times with a C/I. While the arcane spells do the work, the divine spells provide the reliability, but the fighter can always use some arrows of dispelling and kiting to even the odds. If the C/I can get past the coalition camp attacks, which will be tough, they can use level 1 trick to get past Belhifet (Protection from Poison + Chaotic Commands + Resist Fear + Protection from Fire scrolls will, I think, immunise them to any special attacks). Once in BG2, they can run riot with the full compendium of arcane and divine magic at their disposal (minus Necromancy, of course, which may make the Ravager and/or Melissan very difficult, but I have other plans for them...!).

    Nice ideas, though you might be being a bit generous allowing arcane scrolls in that challenge. The reason no scrolls was not shown under the WS challenge is that they are able to use green scrolls ...

  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    edited September 22
    Grond0 wrote: »
    I normally averse to posting spoilers for upcoming parts of a playthrough, but this one seems to genuinely break new ground. The downside of Angelo's walkthrough being so thorough is that it takes time to write, let alone play, and so I thought I should give some highlights now and describe the details in full later.

    Alongside Angelo, I started a new cleric/illusionist. To do my bit for the metagame, I'm attempting the Wizard Slayer challenge, and I think that a C/M has one of the best chances of completing this sort of challenge. They take a while to get rolling, though, and this is problematic when facing Sarevok if they have no wands or necklaces of missiles. What they do have, however, is the ability to buy (and use) scrolls, and this is a real gamechanger...
    If you wait out the potions of fire protection that the lackeys use, there are enough Fireball and Cloudkill scrolls in the game to kill Semaj and wound the others. Keeping out of sight, you can then fire Greater Malison followed by Chaos, which together give a -8 modifier to their saving throw. Diamid's saves are particularly abysmal, so you can count on him being a useful idiot here. The confused will either attack the nearest target without retaliation - which, as they're all clumped up, will probably be each other - or they'll wander aimlessly. And should the afflicted wander into your line of sight while confused, they won't react or trigger others to attack, so you can split them up and blind them while their saves are still reduced (illusionists impose a -2 penalty on their Blind, which is handy). For added nastiness, you can approach them invisibly and cast Prayer or Recitation to lower their saves further (-1 and -2 respectively, and they stack!)... as a self-centred spell, this won't break invisibility, so this is 100% safe.

    Sorcerous Sundries sells 20 copies of both Greater Malison and Chaos, so these and some sling bullets will reliably take down the minions. For Sarevok, do the same except apply Doom while he's engaged fighting some bats or standing around to make sure your Blind works. After he's blinded, cast Animate Dead and then keep casting Hold Person (the mage version carries a -1 penalty, and there are 9 scrolls in the game... as well as your priest slots!), Emotion: Hopelessness (4 scrolls), Icelance (3 scrolls) and/or Hold Monster (2 scrolls) until they connect through your debuffs. Then cast Haste on your summons, make them attack and pour yourself a nice drink!

    I haven't tried it out with a F/M (who I also think has strong potential for the Wizard Slayer challenge, along with everything else!), but I've tested it comfortably several times with a C/I. While the arcane spells do the work, the divine spells provide the reliability, but the fighter can always use some arrows of dispelling and kiting to even the odds. If the C/I can get past the coalition camp attacks, which will be tough, they can use level 1 trick to get past Belhifet (Protection from Poison + Chaotic Commands + Resist Fear + Protection from Fire scrolls will, I think, immunise them to any special attacks). Once in BG2, they can run riot with the full compendium of arcane and divine magic at their disposal (minus Necromancy, of course, which may make the Ravager and/or Melissan very difficult, but I have other plans for them...!).

    Nice ideas, though you might be being a bit generous allowing arcane scrolls in that challenge. The reason no scrolls was not shown under the WS challenge is that they are able to use green scrolls ...

    My interpretation of the challenge rules is that it imposes additional wizard slayer item restrictions as implemented in-game on the protagonist. Before I started the challenge, I made a test wizard slayer and dualled them to a mage.

    They can cast arcane scrolls (e.g. Blindness) from quickslots, but they cannot use other wizardly items (e.g. wand of polymorphing).

    Similarly, I also started another test wizard slayer and dualled them to a cleric.

    They can cast divine scrolls (e.g. Chaotic Commands) from quickslots, but they cannot use other priestly items (e.g. wand of the heavens).

    It appears that the reason that wizard slayers cannot use arcane/divine scrolls is because they can't cast spells in the first place, not because of wizard slayer restrictions. This is good enough for me.

    Post edited by AvidGamerFan on
  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    edited September 24
    Part 42: Angelo Catches a Wave

    Executive Summary: The coalition camp attackers couldn't withstand the potent cocktail of Web and arrows of detonation.

    Angelo and Felicity prepared to leave Dead Man's Pass in a hushed reverance. The upcoming attacks had proven the downfall of many characters, and it would behoove any would-be adventurer to plan for them well in advance. Fortunately, Angelo had a plan and it was very simple: kill 'em all!
    1. Projectile Preparation
      Before they entered the coalition camp, Angelo made sure that he was rested, at full health and was protected by Stoneskin. Counting his supplies, he’d horded 83 of the 97 arrows of detonation available:
      1. Sorcerous Sundries (BG) x 60
      2. Lady's Bedchamber (Durlag's Tower, Labyrinth level 1) x 2
      3. Rahvin (Undercity) x 2
      4. Sorcerous Sundries (SoD) x 25
      5. Waizahb x 5
      6. Warrens x 3

      "Perhaps you could probably have used a few in the spider nests in Chapter 9 or Dead Man's Pass?" Felicity observed. "That would have made tackling the multitude of foes more palatable." Angelo shushed her quiet.

      Although he was herded southwards when he arrived at the camp, he was savvy enough to check to see if any of the storekeepers had goods available. Dependable Belegarm was present and correct, but Waizahb and Nazramu had flown the coop. Foolishly, Angelo hadn't thought to buy her arrows of detonation earlier and was now ruing his lack of foresight.

      Nevertheless, he did take the chance to summon 2 Animate Dead and 3 Spider Spawn spells. These spells had long casting times and it would be prudent for him to get them out of the way now. He also set a couple of traps opposite the Flaming Fist banner on the leftmost pathway. He couldn't leave or rest in the area without heading further southwards (Thaird the innkeeper had scarpered with Waizahb and Nazramu), but it was better than nothing.

      Ideally, the traps would be placed further up, but they mysteriously vanish once the attacking troops arrive (probably because this is done by refreshing the relevant portion of the map). Also, don't stand too close to the path's edges, else you might be damaged by a catapult missile!
    2. Wave 1: Trolling the Trolls
      Angelo was surprised that Coldhearth had kept his promise, but he’d also hoped for more troops than he could count on one hand. The -1 reputation hit merely for associating with them also seemed a little harsh, however meaningless it would ultimately be (Angelo had no intention of buying anything). They looked hardy, though, so Angelo tried not to ungratefully count his chickens before they hatched.

      The undead and the dwarves (which consist of 2 fighters and 2 clerics) are fairly similar in that they are good all-round troops that function well as meatshields (ironic for the skeletal undead!). However, to cater for playthroughs which don't pick up either, I'll deliberately use the allies available by default.

      Upon hearing that they'd be facing trolls and ogres, Angelo's first thought was to enlist the archers, as their flaming arrows would be able to tackle the trolls' regeneration. He was disappointed to see their limited numbers... doubly so when he saw that the enemies opposing him numbered 15 strong. But Angelo guessed that the game had to cater for 6-man parties and he was not about to turn back now. This was one battle where he could not simply disappear and wait for it all to be over…

      As soon as Yarok finished his spiel, Angelo lobbed his first Web spell into the morass of ogres, trolls and berserkers. This held up at least some of the wave from rushing him as he dashed behind Taield, notched his arrows of detonation and began raining fiery death on the ensnared Yarok. As soon as he was able, he loosed a second Web spell, closer this time to catch any enemies who'd advanced through the first webbing. All around him, he saw trolls collapsing, hoping in vain that their regeneration would save them from the next rolling blast of fire. It didn't.

      The lucky souls who managed to brave the entangling fibres were blocked by Angelo's summons, who skirted around the edge of the Webs' effects. Letting the archers take care of them, Angelo made sure no enemies could hide at the back out from his line of sight when he'd retreated. Although he tried to avoid catching his allies in the exploding AoE, he wouldn't hesitate if it meant sizzling more enemies with a single shot. Behind him, he heard his twin traps going off, firing unerring arrows into the advancing enemies' sorry hides.

      His spider summons and the Web's magical tendrils expired just as the battle ended. The entire fight had taken just over a turn and Angelo had used 14 arrows of detonation. One of Angelo's skeletons littered the battlefield as a pile of bones, but the other was still alive and kicking (well, maybe not alive...). Angelo was glad of this, since skeletons would be very useful for what was coming next.
    3. Wave 2: Getting Busy with the Wizards
      The instant the messenger's instructions left their lips, Angelo was on his way to Dosia asking for rejuvenation. This recovered his spells, allowing him to summon 2 more skeleton allies. He guessed that there were 4 rounds in total to buff up, as he'd just finished casting his second Spider Spawn when Andrus informed him that his next opponents would be wizards. "Then send in the wizard slayers!" Angelo exclaimed with as much bombast as possible. In fact, the so-called wizard slayers turned out to be a mixture of inquisitors and wizard slayers… and while Angelo would have chosen to be the former himself, he’d have much preferred the company of the latter.

      The bad news was that Web would not be nearly as effective this time around, as most combatants threw up Minor Globe of Invulnerability when battle started. The good news, however, was that the fireballs from arrows of detonation did not count as a spell, so they penetrated the mages' defences easily. Wizards were not famed for the high health, so Angelo was confident of a quick victory. The fact that he was somehow hasted at the start of the fight only inflated his opinions yet further.

      With 4 ApR, Angelo assumed that the wizards wouldn’t be able to get any spells off at all. But to his surprise, he saw a completed Horror spell shooting towards him and quickly gulped down a potion of clarity to avoid its effects. This proved to be a wise move, since a further Confusion spell hit a second later, slipping through the mental defences of the inquisitors. Angelo’s summons had started the battle back at the main square and had not yet rambled into battle, else they would also have been befuddled.

      Just when Angelo thought the danger had passed, one of the mages got off a Remove Magic, rendering him vulnerable. Angelo retreated immediately, knowing if he was to succumb to CC, the mages would stride past him and the situation would become much more difficult to claw back. Fortunately, his summons had arrived, including CC-immune skeletons, to fight the remaining enemies, leaving Angelo to let fly an arrow +2 or two whenever an opportune moment arose.

      When Ernest Hemingway was asked how he became bankrupt, he replied, ‘Gradually, then suddenly’. Angelo felt the same way about this battle … it progressed slowly, then suddenly it was over. Another 15 arrows of detonation had been used – some wizards protected themselves with Fireshield: Red, so they took less damage than expected – and Angelo’s supplies were still healthy.
    4. Wave 3: Punching Holes in the Holy Men.
      “The crusaders are sending crusaders against us!” Andrus informed Angelo on his return to the campfire.

      “How maddeningly unspecific,” Angelo replied. “What you mean is that this wave consists of fighters and clerics, both of which are heavily armoured and possess healing potions. So they’re resilient to regular combat, but their saving throws will be surprisingly poor, even with the dwarven fighters. Fetch the fighter/mages… I mean, the war mages!” He also instructed the skeletons he’d summoned using Dosia’s second rejuvenation to the eastern passage in the hope that they’d start where he wanted them to this time. Although they kept trying to wander back, they did begin within reach of the enemy.

      As with the first wave, Angelo knew it was vital to stop the enemy from advancing all at once, else he be crushed underfoot. He released a minor sequencer containing a pair of Web spells, which he had saved for just such an occasion (Dosia’s rejuvenation did not restore spell sequencers) before firing arrows of detonation at the back row. The skeletons patrolled the perimeter, tackling any stragglers who made it through, while his spiders engaged central, webbed opponents. As a precaution, Angelo put on his ring of free action to negate the clerics’ Hold Person lockdowns.

      Unfortunately, Angelo couldn’t prevent the war priest’s Holy Smite from raining down. This was the first time he regretted being evil, as their magic took away his sight and hit him for over 90 points of damage. Reeling, he replaced the crown of lies with Durlag’s helm (the crown’s chief advantage, to allow extra summons, had been expended) and gulped a draft from Durlag’s goblet – it was cheap to rebuy from Belegarm and Angelo couldn’t afford to leave himself vulnerable to another blast (both war priests could cast Holy Smite once each). Luckily, the blindness only lasted 1 round, and once his sight returned, he fired another Web spell and resumed his ballistic assault.

      The wisdom of using the war mages soon became apparent. Boosted by LoB mode, their Chromatic Orbs outright killed enemies when they connected and their acid arrows ate away at the enemy’s health even when protected by Sanctuary. Even better, Web could also disrupt their healing spells through Sanctuary and as long as the arrows of detonation were aimed at other targets, their blasts would likewise penetrate the cleric’s defences, ensuring death was quick but not painless.

      Counting that he had used 15 further arrows of detonation repelling the divine warriors, Angelo proceeded to the final wave.
    5. Wave 4: Garotting Grimgor
      Interestingly, although Durlag’s goblet instilled fear upon imbibing, Kiel’s helm could be removed once the battle was over. Recrowning himself, Angelo used Dosia’s rejuvenation a third time and used the additional spell slots to summon yet more creatures. Then he donned Kiel’s helm again, in case there were any more CC surprises like the second wave, and charged towards the upper crossroads.

      His sprint caught the crusaders at as high a point as possible, denying them the chance to make much ground. The orog fighter/cleric Grimgor looked imposing and Angelo hurled a Web at him immediately. On his UI, Angelo saw that Grimgor’s prebuffing included Free Action, Armour of Faith and Resist Fire, which wouldn’t do, so he interleafed some arrows of dispelling into his usual fiery onslaught to remove those pesky enchantments. Grimgor’s AC against missiles was good, so Angelo focussed on maintaining the detonation stream, but he also sensed that removing these buffs would shorten the fight considerably. With 4 ApR, it wasn’t long before Angelo registered a hit on Grimgor, washing away his magic with a single arrow. Elsewhere, the diviner Orleth Blackfinger was immune to the Web via his Minor Globe of Invulnerability and stood centrally, so he was a useful beacon for the exploding arrows.

      Backing away, the crusader archers turned their focus to his summons, allowing Angelo’s explosions to wreak their havoc. This time, he had been lucky: Bird-Dog the barbarian and Turalynn the cavalier had been prevented from closing for melee by the Web, while the hobgoblin fighter Kegleg and the fighter/mage Lannac couldn’t pelt him with arrows for the same reason. Angelo couldn’t be sure, but he guessed that the halfling fight/thief Swift Rabbit and the orc druid Piercer of Boils were likewise disabled, and Orleth was no match for the rapid-fire fireballs alone.

      As it happened, Piercer of Boils was the group’s silent killer, as his Call Lightning would have struck for massive damage had Angelo not neutralised it with a potion of grounding. He had no such antidote for Creeping Doom, but while he could ride out the damage, he was glad of Kiel’s Helm preventing the secondary fear effect. Thankfully, none of the group had access to Dispel or Remove Magic, so Angelo remained safe while he peppered the orc full of arrows.

      Angelo was also lucky in that Lannac did not use her Wand of Paralysation – if she does, it’s basically game over if you’re not resistant, which requires:
      1. Chaotic Commands
      2. barbarian or berserker rage
      3. greenstone amulet
      4. potions of invulnerability or stone form
      5. Spell Immunity: Enchantment (according to BG Wiki, it strikes as a level 4 enchantment spell)
      6. scroll or potion of magic protection
      It has been rumoured that the ring of free action protects against stun whereas the equivalent spell does not, but this doesn’t seem the case.

      The hordes of advancing crusaders seemed endless until the named opponents fell. Then, as quickly as they had arrived, the armies retreated. Angelo was another 19 arrows of detonation down, but the day had been won.

    Telling Ophyllis that he should have presented a chest with gold coins, rather than a sword, in it, Angelo turned his attention to Castle Dragonspear. He had let the enemies come to him… now it was time to bring the fight to them!

    Post edited by AvidGamerFan on
  • histamiinihistamiini Member Posts: 1,306
    edited September 24
    @AvidGamerFan Btw if you plan to use drained lv1 immunity for Bel with C/I, but not for crusader attacks, you should know that you can't access the Vampire Hideout after the crusader attacks, and there's only -2 lv drain chest available. Martyr's, Single Weapon Style, Enchanted Weapon should still do the trick though, I guess Durlag's Goblet is available in Wizard Slayer challenge?

  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    @histamiini Good point! I hadn't planned that far ahead, in all honesty. So far, I've completed BG with my C/I and have run a 'feasibility check' through SoD, BG2 and ToB thinking out roughly how I'd do things and tackle the major bottlenecks. Now I think about it, you're right about the level drain crusader attacks, which is a pain as I won't be able to muster as many summons. Luckily, I'll still have at least 10 Chaos scrolls left over from BG, and a major part of the plan would be to have the waves fight amongst themselves while my allies take them out (the archers and warmages can shoot at range while the rogues can hit and fade). It'll take some careful scroll hording, but I'm still hopeful that it can be done.

  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    edited September 28
    Part 43: Angelo Captures the Castle

    Executive Summary: Angelo disappears from the assault on Dragonspear to beat up Ashatiel and the inhabitants of Avernus.

    Having slept off the low morale effects of his Kiel's helm, Angelo strode forth into Castle Dragonspear, earning 20,000 XP just for showing up. Of course, his allies would be hoping he'd be doing a lot more than that, but Angelo had other ideas.
    1. Purloining the Potions
      Whereas most of the crusaders charged forward once the barrel of bwoosh exploded a large hole in the castle's defences, Angelo remained behind to make some preparations. First, he cast Invisibility on himself, then he followed up with Non-Detection, wanting to ensure that his illusions weren't dispelled by an errant divination. Finally, he drank a potion of clarity, since there were also multiple CC spells flying around and if he was affected, he might accidentally attack someone and that would be the end of him.

      Poking his head into the fray, Angelo found a quiet corner away from the main fighting... the tent to the left of the horseshoe seemed a reasonable perch. Then, Angelo minimised the game, put his feet up and had a nice cup of tea.

      This tactic is relatively secure as long as you push forward initially. If you don't, then you may be cut off from the battlefield entirely and unable to proceed.
      Don't let this happen to you!

      Although corpses littered the battlefield upon his return, Angelo was more concerned with the potions that accompanied them. Right-click looting to maintain his illusion, Angelo hoovered up all the juicy-looking juices that had been abandoned. Discounting workaday libations, Angelo found the following:
      • potion of heroism x 4
      • potion of invisibility x 8
      • potion of invulnerability x 13
      • potion of magic protection x 1
      • oil of speed x 8
      • potion of extra healing x 8
      • potion of power x 8
      • potion of frost giant strength x 1
      • potion of fire giant strength x 1
      Other playthroughs will find a similar, but not identical haul.

      By this point, the combatants had split into two halves. Torsin de Lancie had been surrounded on the right - this didn't worry Angelo since he enjoyed important NPC invincibility, but this did mean that the rate of opponents dying in that area was at a standstill. Mortality rates were similarly low on the other side of the battlefield, where equal numbers of crusaders and coalition attackers were arriving.

      A little reflection told Angelo that equilibrium would always be the eventual outcome where the supplies of incoming troops on both sides were endless. Deciding there was little more to be gained by sticking around, he moved into the horseshoe to initiate the next phase.
    2. Assassinating Ashatiel
      Challenging an invisible man to individual combat didn't seem like the smartest move: even though Ashatiel stipulated that he should not vanish from sight, lest the rules of the contest be broken, she said nothing about starting invisible. As Angelo's Non-Detection was still active, he resisted all of Ashatiel's attempts to divine his location, but Angelo guessed he had about 3 rounds before she'd get fed up and call the whole thing off.
      Don't let this happen to you either!

      So if he had to act in 3 rounds and started invisible, there was only one thing that could possibly be done... backstab! Cursing him, Ashatiel whirled, readied her defences and began to cast her first spell. However, one of the spells Angelo cast before backstabbing was Polymorph Self (which didn't break invisibility)... and as soon as she began casting, Angelo moved over to the other side and changed into a mustard jelly, making both her spell and her normal throwing daggers (which, as a fighter/mage/cleric, she really shouldn't be wielding!) harmless.

      Because the SoD opponents were not SCS capable, Ashatiel wasted the entirity of her projectiles before closing for melee. At this point, Angelo did have to change back to a human (her mace +2 could make short work of his jelly form with her 7/2 ApR), but this did give him time to buff up his protections to fire and cold via potions. These made her flame arrows and wand of frost attacks significantly less dangerous, although a decent chunk of her Flame Arrow was piercing. Had he seen her cast Magic Missile, he would have activated his Shield amulet, but he decided not to let it get that far...

      Angelo first kited her around until he registered a hit with an arrow of dispelling. This felled all of her buffs apart from the Minor Globe of Invulnerability, but Angelo's main target was to remove the potion of magic blocking that she'd imbibed when combat began. Now that her saves were no longer automatic, Angelo took a leaf out of Lannac's book and used a wand of paralysation... and neither Ashatiel's globe nor her ring of free action could prevent its stun effect!
      Turns out that a wand of paralysation does strike as a level 4 spell after all!

      The fact that Ashatiel's defences were also wiped by the dispel was simply the icing on the cake.
    3. Raising Hell
      Ashatiel's inevitable demise routed the crusaders' forces, allowing Angelo free passage to the top of Castle Dragonspear. After sifting through the various rooms (including a scroll collection with Chaotic Commands, Enchanted Weapon, Resist Fear... was the game trying to tell him something?), Angelo bought as many stocks from Belegarm as he could. Then, when Hephernaan surprised no one except Caelar, he drank a potion of clarity, cast his ever-trusty Invisibility/Stoneskin combo and put on his heavy armour before venturing forth into the portal.

      To his surprise, he could waltz past the initial set of preoccupied demons. Once he climbed the stairs to the next floor, however, the committee of 3 lemures, an imp, a hamatula, a bone fiend and a trio of abishai were not so welcoming. The lemures dispelled his illusion while the others teleported towards him firing a mixture of charm, command, paralysis and fear spells. Only Hold Person was not blocked by the magical clarity, but Angelo was thankful that he'd brought a potion of freedom so that he could enjoy its effects while using rings of protection +2 and the crusade (being evil, the ring of purity was off-limits, else he'd have worn that, along with an amulet of protection +2). Not wanting to get surrounded, Angelo made for the narrow edge tucked behind the stairs. Here, only a few demons could assault him at a time, the others reduced to firing ineffective spells at him.

      Of the assorted miscreants, the hamatula was the biggest threat - their barbed defence inflicted automatic damage whenever they were hit in melee - followed by the red, green and black abishai (in that order). With 4 ApR, they would obtain a steady stream of criticals (the 5 ApR bone fiend even more so) no matter his AC, so this was going to be a tough fight. One thing Angelo noticed, however, is that all the demons relied heavily on their 30% MR... their saving throws were, without exception, garbage. Hoping to neuter the hamatula's barbed defence, Angelo stunned it with a wand of paralysation, but this failed to prevent its spikes from finding their mark. Unbelievably, the wand's ray registered as a melee attack and Angelo was struck accordingly.

      A change of tactics was necessary. Rather than focussing on the hamatula, Angelo concentrated on the other demons with the intention of kiting the hamatula after finishing off the others. Although it pained him to use precious supplies, he'd end up saving his defences by improving his offence, so he drank a potion of storm giant strength This significantly improved Angelo's combat efficiency, but he still couldn't finish off an abishai before the hamatula recovered. And while his potion of freedom prevented the entangle effect from the recovered hamatula's impale attacks, it did not block the accompanying damage.

      His health rising and falling like a yoyo, Angelo could not go on haemorrhaging restorative potions. Changing tactics again, he experimented with a wand of fear on the nearest demons and found that they didn't like a taste of their own medicine.

      Trapped by their own forces, the innermost demons found it impossible to flee from Angelo's flashing blade. And once the numbers thinned out a bit, Angelo found he could reliably take down the demons one-on-one, even the annoying ones that kept turning invisible. In the end, he abandoned shooting the hamatula in favour of straightforward smacking, making liberal use of health potions to ensure his victory.
    4. (Angelo's Bag of) Thrix
      After invisibly resting (area transitioning a couple of times to seal the deal... the chances of ambush in Hell were unsurprisingly high), Angelo rebuffed. This time, he didn't use potions of clarity and freedom, but used a potion of invulnerability to lower his saving throws such that he wouldn't succumb to any CC. This allowed him to use an oil of speed to improve his ApR, making him much more formidable when combined with storm giant strength.

      Only once Caelar had entered the basalt tower did Thrix the Profane, a cornugon with a superiority complex, deign to appear. To test Angelo's mettle, Thrix summoned a single demon of each type in the earlier encounter, as well as an erinyes and a hellcat for good measure. The erinyes stood out for having only 2 ApR (at range or in melee) whereas the hellcat was little more than a vanishing leopard. The former could be dumped by retreating the instant Thrix's summons appeared and luring the abishai into a chase... which is exactly Angelo did. This brought the majority of the demons back to the narrow crag, where Angelo could dispose of them in bitesize pieces (by cutting them into such an arrangement).

      This time, the hamatula was on the outer edge of the crowd, and Angelo was in no hurry for it to teleport in. To this end, he tried (somewhat paradoxically) to keep the large green and black abishai attacking him alive as long as possible by reducing them to Near Death status, then focussing on the smaller critters that kept flashing in and out of sight. Once they had been dispatched, he found that the abishai had regenerated back to Badly Injured... but not nearly enough to prevent death by his hands. Halfway through, he drank another potion of invulnerability and oil of speed to make sure that his buffs didn't collapse mid-fight (the storm giant strength lasted for 2 hours, as opposed to the others' 1 hour). This drip-drip approach also meant that had enough downtime between injuries to regenerate via normal potions of healing, rather than the extra healing variety.

      The good part about this plan was that Angelo got to face the hamatula on its own; the disadvantage was that the hamatula's size blocked him from exiting the crag to kite it. It would have to go down the old fashioned way... and 8 potions of extra healing later, it did! Angelo was still badly injured when it fell, but he put on the ring of regeneration and trollblood ioun stone to save further healing elixirs (resting would have meant having to waste more potions rebuffing). As he was hasted, the regeneration was double the usual rate, so he was back to normal in no time. Reapplying Stoneskin, Angelo was able to take out the erinyes without taking any damage at all, correctly guessing that he could tank the -2 save penalty on their Charm Person ability.

      Thrix was more forthcoming once Angelo had killed his mates, offering a sword, a helm or a staff (which he claimed was nearly useless) for solving a riddle. Sensing this demon was telling the truth (fire damage against Hell's denizens was never going to be a winner), Angelo took the headpiece once he'd given his answer (to Angelo, 'murder' was the solution to any problem!). The sword was decent, but Angelo had other ideas for the events ahead.

    "Why can't you keep going invisible like those other imps?" Angelo asked his familiar grumpily. Felicity could tell he was only half-joking, but kept her indignation to herself. She would have her say later. Right now, Angelo needed to focus on the upcoming battle... with the final boss of SoD!

    Post edited by AvidGamerFan on
  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    edited October 1
    Part 44: Angelo and the Avernus Anticlimax

    Executive Summary: Angelo wins by abusing a hitherto negligible exploit... and not the one he was expecting!

    "Did you know," Felicity ventured, "that you earned 89,160 XP killing those demons last time?" Angelo shook his head and she continued, "Along with 5,000 XP for Ashatiel and 20,000 XP for starting Chapter 12?"

    "Enough, Felicity!" he snapped. "I'm at the XP cap already!" Disgruntled, Felicity put her calculator away. She would work out how little of the game he needed to complete later. But still she fumed, secretly hoping some hard times would fall upon her ungrateful master.
    1. Planning the Ascent
      Any fool could tell that a major showdown was about to go down, and Angelo rifled through the potions he'd amassed for the occasion. Looking up the lift shaft, he could see three sets of creatures preparing to teleport in and attack him. Given that different consumables lasted for different durations, this gave Angelo an exact order that he planned to use his items:
      1. Before Wave 1
        1. Violet Potion - 24 hours
        2. Protection from Fire scroll - 12 hours
        3. Protection from Poison scroll - 6 hours
        4. Potion of Fortitude - 3 hours
        5. Potion of Agility - 3 hours
      2. Before Wave 2
        1. Oil of Speed - 1 hour
      3. Before Wave 3
        1. Potion of Invulnerability - 1 hour
        2. Potion of Heroism - 2 hours
      4. After Wave 3
        1. Stoneskin - 12 hours
        2. Enchanted Weapon - 45 rounds = 0.9 hours

      By wearing Kiel's helm, he could guard against no-save fear effect of Durlag's goblet and his remaining saves would be taken care of by the potion of invulnerability. Had he needed them, potions of freedom and clarity both lasted an hour and could be worked into the above plan (there would only be 3 rounds inbetween each wave, however, so some juggling may be required). Only once these precautions had been taken would he use his precious potions of power, which only lasted 4 turns (0.8 hours).

      The advantage of this plan was that it delayed the 'power dropoff' effect for as long as possible. Angelo knew that when potions of heroism or power (that add 10% or 20% to the base HP) are stacked, they build on each other... but when one runs out, the whole 'tower' collapses, so rather than losing the 10% that the expired potion contributed, he'd suddenly lose all bonus HP in one go! This would be disastrous since as soon as he would restore his health back to its new boosted total than the next potion would expire and his health would bomb again. Such stacked buffing would be vital to surviving long against an enemy with a Thac0 of -12 and 4 ApR, so the next best option was to put it off.

      Unlike the former areas, the lift was safe to rest in before the winching mechanism was engaged, so Angelo set up a Fireshield: Blue-Stoneskin-Mirror Image spell sequencer (from his robe of arcane aptitude) and a Protection from Evil-Blur minor sequencer. Then, putting on his heavy armour and ensuring another Stoneskin spell was active, he used the appropriate consumables and activated the lift.
    2. Assault on Basalt (Tower)
      The first wave was a warmup made up of 2 lemures and an imp. Charging the lemures to prevent them casting their charms, Angelo slaughtered them, then the imp. Putting on his ring of regeneration and trollblood ioun stone, he'd regenerated any HP he'd lost by the time the second wave teleported in.

      Consisting of 2 hellcats and a black abishai, this was also more of a nuisance than a real threat, and Angelo again took out the charm-using opponent first. The hellcats' disappearing act quickly became tiresome and they didn't do enough damage to do more than drain a few health potions. But they did tick down the clock on Angelo's buffs, which he supposed was what they were designed to do. The oil of speed hastened their demise considerably and accelerated the ring's regeneration enough to make it a worthwhile investment.

      Having momentarily turned on the party AI so that he'd splat the cats when they flickered into view, Angelo was sure to turn it off before the third wave arrived. With a red abishai, a green abishai and a bone fiend, this one was more formidable. Only the bone fiend kept turning invisible, though, and this meant less time
      wasted waiting for an opponent to appear. Any round not renewing a fallen buff or healing incoming damage was spent drinking a potion of heroism to ensure Angelo had a decent health pool when he reached the top.

      After this latest round of demons had bitten the dust, Angelo cast his final spells (including Enchanted Weapon) and readied Martyr's Morningstar as a single weapon. With the 'mystery item' he'd brought from Baldur's Gate, he hoped need it, but it never hurt to have a backup plan.
    3. Mystery Item Misfire
      Despite everything that Caelar had done, having her as an ally would mean she would soak up Belhifet's initial Dispel Magic, and by dancing backwards, Angelo could avoid its buff-stripping effect. Seeing several other demons teleporting in (to be precise: an erinyes, a cornugon, a green and red abishai, a hamatula and a bone fiend), Angelo left Caelar to be gobbled up as he drew Belhifet into the chase. Herphernaan, now morphed into his true form as a cornugon, was all too happy to oblige, descending onto Caelar with no encourgament required.

      "Now, Felicity!" Angelo cried, instructing her to hand him the archer's eyes amulet. As he was only going to hit Belhifet's -23 AC on a critical hit anyway, he may as well double his chances. Kiting Belhifet around the room, he nocked and fired his mystery item - arrows of biting - figuring that even on LoB mode, Belhifet would fail his save v death every once in a while, whereupon he'd lose 30% of his HP over 20 seconds. Arrows of Biting normally only struck as +1 weapons, but with Enchanted Weapon active, Angelo knew he had enough arrows stockpiled to comfortably poison the demon to death...

      ...which would have worked, had Belhifet not had 100% poison immunity.

      This time, Felicity couldn't stop herself and let out a peel of laughter. "Thought you were so clever, didn't you, Angelo?! Thought you'd spotted something that nobody else had and didn't ask yourself why nobody had mentioned it before. Asked me to look up Belhifet's stats on BG:Wiki, saw no poison resistance listed and didn't bother to check them in-game. Oooh... you're in trouble now!"

      "As are you," Angelo muttered through gritted teeth, "as soon as I get out of this mess!"
    4. Belhifet Belly Flops
      With his ace turning out to be in a far deeper hole than anticipated, Angelo turned to his aforementioned backup plan. Unfortunately, it didn't matter how many mathematical justifications of 'he should fall after an average of X rounds' that he'd read... he simply was not rolling the criticals required. Belhifet, meanwhile, was smacking him around like a rag doll and he wasn't sure that he had the supplies to outlast Big B at this pace. Worse, his potions of power began to drop off, forcing Angelo to readjust on the fly. Any rounds he spent reapplying his buffs was a round he couldn't spend healing... a luxury he could ill-afford.

      Staggering backwards, Angelo ducked aside to reconsider his options. With no way to lower Belhifet's 100% MR (and no way to cast spells in his full plate even if he had), Angelo knew that magic was not the way out of this predicament. But the fates were against him and even the statistically proven 'optimal' way of proceeding was not working. With a sigh, Angelo wrapped his fingers around Icingdeath's handle, finding comfort in its familiar curves. If he was to go out fighting, he should at least use a weapon he was proficient in.

      When the overwhelming attack did not come as expected, Angelo looked up to see why. Abandoning the chase once Angelo had retreated, Belhifet turned his attention to the incapacitated Caelar, who was still being hacked by the gated demons. Angelo suddenly saw an opportunity to get back into battle. It appeared that Caelar Argent was flagged as a critical NPC and enjoyed the corresponding invincibility. And with the SCS-incapable demons being unable to recognise this, they would keep wailing on her all day, every day, regardless of what he did.

      It didn't take a potion of genius for Angelo to figure out his next move. Gulping down a potion of invisibility, he manoeuvred behind Belhifet sizing up his opportunity. Belhifet may have been able to see through invisibility, but that didn't matter if his attention was elsewhere - what did matter, however, was it allowed Angelo to backstab!
      And since Belhifet didn't react to the attack, whether it hit or missed, there was nothing to stop Angelo from doing it again...
      ...and again!

      So total was Hephernaan's focus on Caelar that he didn't even notice when Belhifet died beside him and the devils surrounding him faded away. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Angelo decided what was good for the goose was good for the gander and promptly gave Hephernaan the same treatment.

      It is generally agreed that solo players can accept Caelar as an ally as long as they do not give her orders, level her up, etc. I obeyed all of these criteria to the letter. For the record, testing shows that she's equally indestructible as a blackguard.
      I'm SO not fighting you!
      Although the dialogue option '3-3-3-3' allows you to fight Belhifet and Hephernaan without Caelar, that would mean getting hit by the opening Dispel Magic. One could just use Spell Immunity: Abjuration and be done with it... but, as I mention at the end, I have my reasons for choosing this path.

      News Just In: 'Healing' Caelar by using Ctrl + R removes her invulnerability (along with other status effects) and allows her to kick the bucket.
      Still not doing the fight again, though! :wink:
    5. The Wholly Unnecessary Chapter 13 (Walkthrough)
      Spending an eternity in Avernus didn't seem punishment enough, but Angelo relented and returned to Castle Dragonspear. Waking up after a night of revelry, he was faced with an Unspeakable Horror which didn't allow him any response other than to maul it. Just like that, it reverted back to Skie Silvershield and the hero of Baldur's Gate, he who had literally just ventured to Hell and back to save the world, ended up on trial for murder. Apparently, Caelar Argent could condemn hundreds to death without respite, but one accidental killing of an entitled brat and it was the gallows for Angelo.

      In any case, trying to scrabble together evidence that he wasn't a murderous cretin seemed a futile affair, so Angelo let the sham trial continue. He did not even blink when it was mentioned that the Soultaker dagger housed her spirit, finding no reason to mention that he'd liberated the blade from the demon knight of Durlag's Tower and then left it in a sack in Beregost. Languishing in a prison cell, he spat vituperations at Irenicus the Hooded Man, but for what purpose, he could not say.

      "This epilogue is going on a bit," he muttered to Felicity, his familiar being the only possession that he still had in his pack. "I mean, presenting the evidence at your trial based on your earlier actions in the game was a neat trick, but there didn't seem to be any consequences to this reactivity." He saw her sulky frown and relented. "I'm sorry for getting mad at you earlier." Felicity broke into a smile, her mood perking up noticeably.

      Their reunion was interrupted by a thief breaking Angelo out of the cell. Although he had been stripped of his equipment, Angelo retained access to his spells and that was enough to cast Invisibility. Having vanished from sight, he made his way through the secret exit to the underground sewers, escaping an angry Bence Duncan and bemused Corwin by jumping down a waterfall. From there, it was a simple path to the outside, where Imoen and some assorted NPCs that looked suspiciously like the canonical BG party were waiting.

    "You found this final battle just as unsatisfying as your readers probably will," Felicity said cannily as they ventured into the forest. "Why don't you just reload and craft a more epic narrative? There are still some ways of tackling Belhifet that you haven't explored yet."

    "Some people may have the same installation as me," Angelo replied, "so all of the above would apply to them. But that's not the real reason. I tell it for the simple irony that this method that felled the boss of our saga's first half will be mirrored almost exactly in reverse on the boss at the conclusion of our epic tale."

    Felicity Foreshadow, the ever-prescient imp, merely nodded in approval.

    Post edited by AvidGamerFan on
  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    edited October 1
    Part 45: Angelo Takes a Time Out (Edited for Accuracy)

    Executive Summary: Angelo and Felicity review his Siege of Dragonspear experience.

    As the party settled down to camp, Felicity let out a squeal. “I’ve finally finished compiling your XP earnings throughout the game,” she blurted out before regaining her composure. “But what did you think of the Siege of Dragonspear?” she asked him, realising that he hadn’t seemed keen before and things probably hadn’t changed.

    Angelo was making a conscious effort to be nicer to Felicity now. “You go first,” he told her, “and I’ll give you my thoughts afterwards.”
    1. Felicity’s XP Charter
      “Let’s take a look at how much XP you have to earn, through completing non-combat quests,” she said, unfurling a chart to show Angelo her calculations. “This is not a list of all of SoD’s quests, but only those that can explicitly be completed without killing anything.”
      1. Chapter 7: 103,930 XP
        1. Korlasz’s Tomb: 89,080 XP
        2. Baldur’s Gate: 8,050 XP
        3. Finishing Chapter 7: 7,500 XP
      2. Chapter 8: 38,300 XP
        1. Tsolak: 9,000 XP
        2. The Vanishing: 300 XP
        3. Crommus: 6,000 XP
        4. Dwarven Digsite: 4,000 XP {Semahl requires killing some wights}
        5. Tsolak’s Reward: 9,000 XP
        6. Finishing Chapter 8: 10,000 XP
      3. Chapter 9: 32,000 XP
        1. Irregulars: 6,000 XP
        2. Kherrem: 3,000 XP
        3. Entering Bridgefort: 5,000 XP
        4. Chicken in the Well: 3,000 XP
        5. Completing Chapter 9: 15,000 XP
      4. Chapter 10: 158,500 XP
        1. Vigilant Halasan: 6,000 XP
        2. Simonetta Twoedged: 6,000 XP
        3. Safana’s Traitor: 6,000 XP
        4. General Stonehand: 6,000 XP
        5. Nuber: 1,000 XP
        6. Corinth and Valis’ Trial: 4,000 XP
        7. Commander Dreon: 6,000 XP
        8. Deneld: 2,000 XP
        9. Sindret: 4,000 XP
        10. Skie: 2,000 XP
        11. Waizahb: 10,000 XP (Thief required for pick pockets, otherwise 8,000 XP)
        12. Sentry of Tempus: 6,000 XP
        13. Battuks: 4,500 XP
        14. Myconoids: 6,000 XP
        15. Ladle: 12,000 XP
        16. Gurgle and Floss: 1,000 XP
        17. Giant’s Loincloth: 3,000 XP
        18. Barrel of Bwoosh: 4,000 XP
        19. Chorster and Jamven: 12,000 XP
        20. Turin Brassbreaker: 6,000 XP
        21. Poisoning Food Supplies: 4,000 XP
        22. Poisoning Water Supplies: 4,000 XP
        23. Daeros Dragonspear: 18,000 XP
        24. Dead Man’s Pass Negotiations: 5,000 XP
        25. Completing Chapter 10: 20,000 XP
      5. Chapter 11: 20,000 XP
        1. Completing Chapter 11: 20,000 XP
      “That means that, in total, there’s 355,730 XP of ‘pacifist XP’ available where the only combat you have to engage in is with the compulsory one with Korlasz where you only have to wound her.”

      Felicity beamed, expecting adulation, and was disappointed to see Angelo’s nonplussed look. “What I’m saying is that, assuming you come in with the BG XP cap, you can hit the SoD XP cap without killing anything at all. Now this is obviously completely unrealistic, since you have to kill Belhifet (45,000 XP), Hephernaan (12,000 XP) and at least some of the demons (for instance, there’s 46,240 XP available in the lift), as well as Ashatiel (5,000 XP). Chuck in some other compulsory battles (e.g. the post-Bridgefort bridge) and it’s clear that you can dodge a large portion of the game. The nature of that portion is up to you… I can only give the facts as best I can.”

      “Thank you, Felicity,” Angelo said, patting the imp on the head. “You give them so well.”
    2. Belhifet – Learning About You a Baatezu
      It amused Angelo to note that he was one of the few classes (F/M, M/T, F/M/T or bard) for which it was possible to get at least -32 AC against Belhifet.
      • Permanent: < -8 AC
        • Full Plate: AC 1
        • Dragonscale Shield: AC +4
        • Helm of Balduran/Glory or Guardian Devil: AC +1
        • Amulet of Protection +2: AC +2
        • Claw of Kazgaroth: AC +1 (use if not wielding Claw of Kazgaroth)
        • Twinkle (or Pritchard Family Stiletto): AC +2 (against giants, and Belhifet counts as a giant for The Kneecapper +1/+4)
      • Situational: > +13 AC modifier against Belhifet
        • Full Plate: AC +4 v slashing
        • Ring of Purity: AC +2 v evil creatures (good only; does not stack with Protection from Evil; use if not wielding Claw of Kazgaroth)
        • Ring of the Crusade: AC +3 v demons
        • Protector of the Unworthy: AC +4 v slashing (-4 v crushing, but there were no more crushing sources)
        • Cloak of the Beilur Watch: AC +2 v giants (Belhifet counts as a giant for The Kneecapper +1/+4)
      • Buffs: > +10 AC modifier
        • Potion of Defence or Invulnerability: sets AC base to 0 (rather than 1, c.f. Full Plate; -4 AC v slashing modifer is retained)
        • Potion of Mind Focussing: 25 Dexterity = +6 AC (Potions of Mind Focussing stack; the best Dexterity you can get unbuffed is 21, from 19 initial + Tome of Dexterity + Stalker's Gauntlets, which gives +5 AC)
        • Protection from Evil: +2 AC v evil creatures (does not stack with Ring of Purity)
        • Blur: +3 AC
        • Improved Invisibility: +4 AC? (demons could 'see through it', but does it still grant its AC modifier?)
      Altogether, these options allowed a character of this 'F/M/T setup' of any alignment to reach at least -32 AC ( any AC < -32 is equivalent to -32 AC). Angelo wasn't claiming that the setup was optimal, but it did show what was possible with a bit of forethought.

      It was also interesting to work out how going down a resistive, rather than an armoured, route would fare. Angelo calculated that a non-good dwarven defender could achieve 95% slashing resistance for 3 turns and 45% slashing resistance after that.
      • 10th Level Dwarven Defender: 10% physical resistance
      • Stalwart Scales: 10% slashing resistance
      • Cloak of the Gargoyle: 5% physical resistance
      • Kendra’s Chain: 5% slashing resistance
      • Guardian Devil: 15% physical resistance
      • Defensive Stance: 50% physical resistance (lasts for 1 turn and a 10th level DD has 3/day)
      However, using the above gear, the best that such a dwarven defender can achieve against Belhifet is AC -21:
      • Potion of Invulnerability or Defence: AC = 0
      • Dragonscale Shield: AC = -4
      • Ring of Crusade: AC = -7
      • Claw of Kazgaroth: AC = -8
      • Protector of the Unworthy: AC = -12
      • Guardian Devil: AC = -13
      • Pritchard Family Stiletto: AC = -15
      • 25 Dexterity using Potions of Mind Focussing : AC = -21

      For fun and profit, Angelo calculated which of these setups would do better. Belhifet struck for 20-29 damage, or 24.5 average damage, per hit and only critical hit on a 20 (this didn’t double his damage, as Angelo would always be wearing a helmet, but it did mean that he only had a 5% chance of automatically hitting). Because an attack roll would hit with if its total was equal or less than the target’s AC, Belhifet’s Thac0 of -12 would have a 55% chance of hitting the DD’s -21 AC, a 5% chance of hitting the F/M(/T)’s buffed < -32 AC (for brevity, Angelo assumed that the F/M/T could keep these buffs up using potions and scrolls). As Belhifet had 4 ApR, the average damage per round for each setup would be:
      1. Dwarven Defender
        1. 4 x 0.55 x 24.5 x 0.05 = 2.695 HP/round with Hardiness
        2. 4 x 0.55 x 24.5 x 0.55 = 29.645 HP/round without Hardiness
      2. Fighter/Mage/Thief
        1. 4 x 0.05 x 24.5 = 4.9 HP/round with Blur (and Protection from Evil if no Ring of Purity)

      Unless the DD can finish Belhifet off in 3 turns, it looks like an easy victory for the F/M/T. But not so fast... maybe some of the DD’s equipment wasn’t pulling its weight. Angelo wondered what would happen if he replaced the Stalwart Scales with Full Plate, Kendra’s Chain with Amulet of Protection +2 and Cloak of the Gargoyle with Beilur’s Watch. Because the full plate would add an additional -4 AC v slashing modifier regardless of its base AC 1 being superceded by the potion of invulnerability/defence's AC 0, this would mean the stiletto-wielding DD would have AC -29 and 25% physical resistance (75% with Hardiness). Belhifet would have a 15% chance of hitting -28 AC and running the numbers:
      1. 4 x 0.15 x 24.5 x 0.25 = 3.675 HP/round with Hardiness
      2. 4 x 0.15 x 24.5 x 0.75 = 11.025 HP/round without Hardiness

      There are other permutations that Angelo could have considered, but the conclusion was clear. As long as he could jack it up high enough, AC would win out over physical resistance in the end. Even a DD going all-out AC can only just beat the F/M/T's tanking ability while Hardiness is active; combined with the F/M/T's ability to cast Mirror Image/Stoneskin from scrolls or debuffing Belhifet and the comparison became even less flattering. This surprised Angelo, who had presumed that the DD’s unremovable defences would have put up a better fight. “I suppose there’s always ToB,” he muttered wistfully, anticipating that this would be where DDs earned their keep.
    3. A Summary of Adventures Past
      But that was (far) more than enough about Belhifet. What about the rest of his SoD exploits? Much like in BG, Angelo had tackled most of SoD as if he was a M/T, but he was definitely glad of those fighter levels towards the end. Without the ability to use warrior-exclusive potions, taking out the demons of Avernus would have been tiresome at best and nasty at worst. Because they saw through invisibility, they could not be evaded or efficiently backstabbed… and if a thief can’t backstab, then they must rely on traps to see them through. Obviously, a M/T has more options, but none as straightforward as buff ‘n’ bash.

      Besides reaching Avernus, there were several other difficulties that Angelo was surprised didn’t receive more attention:
      • Korlasz’s Tomb (hideous without a Protection from Undead scroll and Korlasz is no walkover)
      • Temple of Cyric (the neothelid can planar travel and Akanna’s aerial servants pack a punch)
      • Crossing the bridge after surrendering Bridgefort (game over if you don’t interrupt that mage!)
      • Ashatiel (she can definitely put the hurt on the unprepared)
      These paled in comparison to the attention given to the coalition camp attacks and Belhifet, and rightly so, but these encounters did not always get the attention they deserved. It wasn’t so much that these problems were insurmountable as Angelo felt that they had the potential for trouble if an adventurer went in unprepared. They wouldn’t be potential chokepoints if an ironman runner had done their planning correctly – unlike, say, the Duchal Palace ambush, which is more inherently dicey – but they do need to be planned for.

      Speaking of the post-Bridgefort encounter, here’s an answer to part (a) of the earlier BG Veteran Quiz: a cavalier playing the Wizard Slayer challenge could still disrupt the mage’s first spell with 100% certainty using the Sunfire ability of the Suncatcher shield. As for part (b), about how a kensai would do it... I’m still working on that!

    “Whew,” Felicity said as Angelo finished his roundup. “I’m feeling quite sleepy after that…”

    Hearing her trail off, Angelo looked up and saw the source of the imp’s lethargy: a dart sticking out from her wing. He was about to respond when he too felt a faint nick in his neck. No saving throw was given and not even a cavalier’s immunity could shake off the venom. A deep slumber was but a few seconds away…

    Post edited by AvidGamerFan on
  • histamiinihistamiini Member Posts: 1,306
    @AvidGamerFan The Ring of Purity and PfE shouldn't stack as they are using the same resource I think. Also you can get 0 AC from Potion of Defense, and 25 Dexterity from chucking multiple Potion of Mind Focusing. Hitting Bel with Strength also practically gives -3 AC, as it reduces his Thac0 by 3.

  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    @histamiini I did not know about the ring of purity and Protection from Evil not stacking, I will update my post in light of this. That does mean that for cleric-based characters (who can't wield Twinkle or Pritchard Family Stiletto, but who can cast Protection from Evil), it might be better to be non-good for defensive purposes, since Guardian Devil is strictly better than Helm of Balduran or Helm of Glory for protection.

    I'm not keen on counting debuffs as they're rather fiddly to apply (what with Bel's 100% MR) and can start a rabbit hole effect (why not include Greater Malison + Ray of Enfeeblement or Blindness?).

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,497
    Strength used as a debuff benefits from the fact that buffing spells nearly all ignore magic resistance (to avoid benefits from them being blocked). It is slow to cast though, so difficult to complete if you are under attack.

  • histamiinihistamiini Member Posts: 1,306
    edited October 1
    The long casting time can be avoided with Strength Strength Minor Sequencer, and should be used after Bel's Dispel. Also if I remember it correctly there's a weird mechanic, that if the other Minor Sequencer applied spell fails, the other fails too. So double Strength is the best option, even though it doesn't double anything. Strength having long duration is also nice.

  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    edited October 1
    @Grond0: Just checked the BG:Wiki and it does exactly what you say. No MR, no saving throw (although this may not count if it's used on hostile creatures)... why would you not cast it in a sequencer on Bel?! The gulf between the F/M/T setup and DD gets even wider, since this will lower Belhifet's average damage considerably (it won't change his attack chances since he's already only hitting on criticals!).

    @histamiini Does that mechanic only apply if the spells in the sequencer are different? By my understanding, if you have multiple copies of the same debuff that can be applied repeatedly but requires a saving throw each time in the sequencer, if the target fails the save for the first copy of the debuff, they fail it for all of the remaining debuffs in the sequencer. For instance, if Blindness penalties stacked (they don't, but for the sake of the example) and you had 2 Blindess spells in a sequencer, if they failed their first saving throw v spell, they'd have a Thac0 penalty of -8 (rather than having to fail their save twice to get the same penalty). Against an enemy with saves like Bel's, this would represent a massive improvement in debuffing chances if they only got a single chance to resist it.

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,497
    My memory may be dodgy, but I think the mechanic for sequencers is that only a single saving throw is rolled for spells arriving within the same segment. Thus there would be only a single roll for 2 x blindness, but another spell (if that has a faster or slower projectile) would have a separate saving throw.

  • histamiinihistamiini Member Posts: 1,306
    edited October 1
    I think Grond0 is correct and it only applies on the same projectile speeds, arriving at the same time. But I don't think there's anything else usable to add to Minor Sequencer against Bel together with Strength. I've had Strength Minor Sequencer fail against Bel because the other spell, so testing beforehand is advisable.

  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    I've not tried casting Strength from a sequencer yet, but I've just tested casting Strength normally on Belhifet from a scroll. Three attempts, he didn't save or resist it any of those times, but it only lowered his Strength from 25 to 21.
    This took him from Thaco -12 to Thaco -9 and from 20-29 damage (24.5 average) to 15-24 damage (19.5 average).

    In theory, that sequencer effect should still be enough for my C/M to pull off a very nasty trick in their Wizard Slayer run. I'll be excited to try it out and see if it works.

  • AvidGamerFanAvidGamerFan Member Posts: 85
    Part 46: Angelo, Imoen and Irenicus Walk Into a Bar

    Executive Summary: Like BG and SoD before that, the start of a game means only one thing... stealth!

    Angelo awoke with a start. "Felicity?" His voice became increasingly frenzied as he was unable to locate his familiar. "Felicity?! FELICITY?!!!"

    "No, it's Imoen," the figure beside him replied. "We've got to get out of here."

    "I'm getting out of here on my own," Angelo shot back. "You may have forcibly inserted yourself into my party at the start of the game, but I'm doing a solo playthrough. Now get lost!"
    1. Preparing Pets and Pantaloons
      Once Imoen had gotten the hint, Angelo looked through his inventory. This didn't take long. It looked like BG2:EE had closed the exploit that he could pause the instant the game started and drop all his items on the floor to be picked up once the cutscene had ended. As a result, Angelo did start off with an empty inventory, and since he wasn't playing BG:EET, there is no way of recovering most of his old equipment. A pity, since Martyr's Morningstar and Cloak of Balduran were significantly better than a lot of what BG2 had to offer.

      Angelo had also heard that a summoned familiar erroneously did not have their stats updated if they were transferred from SoA to ToB, so he briefly considered not casting Find Familiar and waiting until ToB. However, he realised that he could kill his familiar at the start of ToB and then resummon them - this would cost him a Constitution point, leaving him at 18, which could then be boosted back to 19 via the Machine of Lum the Mad. As a result he could retain his current +5 HP modifier for 19 Constitution, which is the best HP modifier that could be realistically achieved. The alternative would mean staying at Constitution 20, only granting modest regeneration over 19 Constitution, which was far less of a big deal in BG2 than BG original. And this was assuming that said rumour was true... this was one of several 'rumours' that he would test this playthrough.

      Spoiler: it is true.

      Finally, Angelo cast Draw Upon Holy Might to raise his Dexterity to 22 in order to pick the lock on the trapped painting. With this, Angelo's Open Locks was 45% and after a couple of tries, the container yielded its secrets to him: a dagger +1, 3 potions of healing and, most mysteriously, a pair of golden pantaloons. "Better hang on to these," Angelo murmured as they took pride and place beside the newly reborn Felicity in his inventory.
    2. Taking an Air Plane
      Angelo knew he didn't speak only for himself when he claimed that Irenicus' Dungeon was a total snoozefest and that he wished he could just install Dungeon-Be-Gone and get it over with. Still, LoB mode meant that it wasn't entirely trivial to complete anymore, although this really just meant sneaking past things rather than killing them. Being a magic user, Angelo was in the lucky position of being able to have summons do his dirty work for him had he wanted it... but he didn't, so he didn't.

      Invisibility was the key to getting through the dungeon without tearing out any hair. The illusion was not broken by Angelo switching off the mephit generator for 2,000 XP, answering Aataqah's riddle for 3,500 XP and earning 4,000 XP assuring Rielev that he absolutely would use the energy cells for something or other. Answering that he neither knew nor would proffer a solution to Aataqah's spin on the Prisoner's Dilemma wouldn't summon a monster, but he also wouldn't get any XP... and since he would remain invisible, there was no threat involved in having some toothless beast(s) deposited beside him.

      In any case, the dialogues enabled by the energy cells were sufficiently pointless for Angelo to ignore them entirely. Of much more interest was the Activation Stone, also found in Rielev's chamber, as this allowed the sewage golem to open the central chamber (and gave Angelo another 3,000 XP). The otuyugh carried a wand of frost key, but Angelo decided to carry on regardless without killing it. Unfortunately, the 3 goblins guarding the passage to the master's bedroom blocked it off, so Angelo had to lure them out with some disposable summons. After disarming some traps, Angelo took advantage of the uncharacteristically nice loot, including an air elemental statue, the amulet of metaspell influence (he'd had to wait until Chapter 5 in BG!) and the Helm of Balduran.

      Although most items imported into BG2 quickly become obsolete, the Helm of Balduran scrubs up well. Its primary virtue is that it offers a bit of everything, which makes it more rounded than specialised options. The two items of Kazgaroth are unique, but they're outclassed by later items (cheesy 1 HP immunity abuse from Claw of Kazgaroth aside) while Koveras' Ring of Protection +1 is an instant dump. If you are interested in 1 HP immunity abuse, it's good to know that the flame arrow floor trap can be sneaked around, but the trap on the shelves can't... luckily, the 'Level 1 characters can't die in 1 hit' immunity offers some protection (you attempting this trick with a level 1 character, aren't you?!).

      Obtaining the acorns for dryads Ulene, Elyme and Cania would have involved killed the duregar Illyich (although he started neutral, so his pockets could have been picked by a thief more competent than Angelo). This was not on Angelo's menu, so he passed them into the mistress' bedroom, whose surprisingly nasty traps could be avoided by hugging the walls clockwise. Funnily, the lesser clay golems summoned by the room's unavoidable alarm dispatched the interim goblins and by the time they reached the chamber, Angelo had made a clean getaway.

      The western chest, which contains the portal key for the next floor, is guarded by a floor trap which impales you and a chest trap that shoots a poisoned dart. Pure class mages would be advised to have Stoneskin active, as opening them with double damage enabled would otherwise one-shot you. Even priests should think twice about opening them without casting Armour of Faith first.

      Before descending to the next level, Angelo entered the plane of air using his new statue. Freeing the genie didn't break his invisibility, and it ordered him to troops back to the dryads to obtain a flask, which they gave him freely in return for his help with their acorns. Sneaking through the library past Ilyich with no intention of killing him, Angelo gave the genie the flask for 15,000 XP and Sarevok's Blade of Chaos +2 ('Why was Presio so desperate to get his hands on this?' Angelo wondered). For good measure, he stole the scroll of Conjure Air Elemental as he made his escape.
    3. Wand-ering Around
      Upon conversing with Yoshimo, Angelo learned that the farway door in the next chamber would not open unless all the mephit portals had been destroyed. This meant that sneaking the dungeon entirely without combat was not an option, so after telling Yoshimo that his placement was suspiciously convenient (100% correct, as it happened!), Angelo summoned some spiders and skeletons to send into battle for him. Invisibility 10' Radius allowed them to close on the portals undetected and since the portals weirdly took poison damage, they fell quickly to the spiders. Each portal death earned 5,000 XP and killed the associated mephits, so a quartet of them gave 20,000 XP.

      Personally, I think Yoshimo's betrayal was a poor design choice, although I see why the game would steer novices away from high level thieves. According to David Gaider, the BG2 development team apparently had plans for Yoshimo to be resurrected as undead in ToB, but the idea was cut due to time restraints. If having Hexxat as a vampiric thief in BG2:EE is a nod to this cancelled content, then I tip my metaphorical hat to Beamdog.

      Recasting Invisibility, Angelo disarmed the steam trap on the bridge (which somehow was blocked by Stoneskin) and entered the large throne room. For all of Yoshimo's warnings, the wand traps were useless as they could be circumvented simply by walking around the perimeter. Angelo noticed that not only could they not be disarmed (at least not without the relevant key), but his summons could set them off, which he used to kill the hall's duergar when his magically resistant skeleton kept triggering fireballs.

      The lack of worthwhile loot on the second floor was a double-edged sword. On the one hand, of course, it meant that there was hardly any free treasure for Angelo to hoover up. On the other, it did mean that he had to spend relatively little time casing the joint. Ignoring both of the middle passages - neither Ulvaryl the vampire nor Frennedan offered much compensation - he stole the ring of protection +1 from the throne and the girdle of bluntness from the top chest in the farthest room. Then, with a palpable sense of relief, he sneaked past the assassins in the nearest sewers corridor and into the great beyond, triggering 38,500 XP and the coolest cutscene in the entire BG saga.

    As the dust settled on Imoen and Irenicus' massive battle, Felicity piped up. "All in all, you've earned 65,500 XP for killing 4 mephit portals." Seeing Angelo's blink, she went on, "I'm not going to count XP as fastidiously as in SoD, but at least until you get yourself up and running, it's worthwhile to keep track of precisely what you can and can't do."

    Angelo sighed, half in gratitude, half in irony. "Welcome back, Felicity."

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