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Once again: IWDEE modded to the hilt, let's use it to try new kits!

subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 6,213
I've finally crafted another heavily-modded IWD install. The salient rule-change mods include the following:
- Divine Remix, a few kits
- Faiths & Powers divine kits and sphere system
- Tome & Blood arcane kits and changes
- Might & Guile kits and feats
- Scales of Balance item and proficiency system changes

There are actually almost too many options, even for a game where you roll full 6-person parties. Last time around I tested stuff by doing all single-class parties: 6 bards, 6 druids, 6 clerics, 6 rangers, etc. That was interesting, but became kind of annoying. This time I'm thinking about doing more well-rounded parties, built around a theme:

The naturist party:
- Mountain Ranger (FnP)
- Arctic Druid (FnP)
- Fire Mystic (FnP)
- Meistersinger (MnG)
- Psypher (MnG)
- Druid/Thief (FnP)

The elvish/fey party:
- Bladesinger (MnG)
- Elven Archer (FnP)
- Cleric of Corellon (DR+FnP)
- Sylvan Disciple (TnB)
- Spellfilcher (MnG)
- Bard (MnG - should be Elven Minstrel but whatever)

The roguish party:
- Corsair (MnG)
- Stalker (FnP)
- Swashbuckler (MnG)
- Alchemist (MnG)
- Illusionist (TnB)
- Acolyte of Mask (FnP)

The bardic party:
- Gallant (MnG)
- Skald (MnG)
- Jongleur (MnG)
- Loresinger (MnG)
- Cleric of Tymora (FnP)
- Jinxer (MnG)

The divine party:
... (still thinking about it - basically a F/C or two, 2-3 single-class clerics, a C/M and a C/T)

The naturist party has decent power and good healing. So I'll probably start with them, as a warm-up. The elven and roguish and bardic parties will be more challenging - less tanky, and not much healing available - so probably more interesting as well. Should be fun!
Post edited by subtledoctor on
SirBatincelolienbaron_pampaelminster

Comments

  • lolienlolien Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 1,885
    Sounds interesting, i hope you share your progress here!
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 6,213
    edited January 11
    I think I have to do a quick-ish reinstall before I begin, take one last stab at making demibards work and add the Divine Remix kits.

    The one weakness of the naturist party is undead. I may switch out the Fire Mystic for a Light Mystic.
    lolien
  • baron_pampabaron_pampa Member Posts: 9
    What's the trick to installing Faith&Powers in IWD?; )
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 6,213
    edited January 12
    No trick, if you have the current beta. Well actually it throws two errors, so there are two things to be edited:

    1) One of the innate abilities for the Cleric of Deneir stops the installation. I just comment out (add a double-slash // ) the INCLUDE line for Deneir at the top of the .tp2 file.

    2) /faiths_and_powers/lib/sphere_system.tpa has two lines that reference the Shaman, which doesn't exist there:
    COPY_EXISTING ~clabsh01.2da~ ~override~
    ...
    COPY_EXISTING ~clabshgs.2da~ ~override~
    ...
    Either delete them, or comment them out, or if you know a bit of Weidu, add an ACTION_IF around them so it looks like this:
    ACTION_IF FILE_EXISTS_IN_GAME ~clabsh01.2da~ BEGIN
    COPY_EXISTING ~clabsh01.2da~ ~override~
    ...
    COPY_EXISTING ~clabshgs.2da~ ~override~
    ...
    END
    I suggest using the 3rd install option, since the 2nd one will install too many kits and IWDEE does not have scroll bars; and the 1st option pretty severely messes up the ranger kit menu, requiring you to rebuild it by hand in NI. (Easy if you know what to do, but a bit daunting if you don't.)

    So yeah, the current FnP beta doesn't work so well in IWDEE. That will change though, a new beta is on the way and it will work better.
    lolienbaron_pampa
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 6,213
    edited January 13
    Okay I had some more issues with Faiths & Powers... basically, don't use the current faiths & Powers beta with IWDEE. The next beta will incorporate the fixes I did to make this run work, and it will be 100% compatible with all 4 EE games.

    Once I made all the fixes, FnP works perfectly, and I have to say it is super cool! I rolled up the 'naturist' party which has a multiclass Forest Druid(/thief), an Arctic Druid, and a Fire Mystic. All technically within the druid class, but each has spells that the others don't have access to. The Forest Druid can cast Entangle, while the Arctic Druid casts Snilloc's Snowball Swarm at the group of foes. The Fire Mystic, meanwhile, demonstrates the power of the mod's 'focus sphere access' by blasting Aganazzar's Scorcher as a 1st-level spell. He's a glass cannon, but a powerful one.

    I'll talk about some of the rule changes I applied to this setup.

    - FnP + Scales of Balance = much looser weapon restrictions. Druids can use bows, clerics can use short swords, etc. Arcane casters can cast in armor, but more slowly. (Although my only arcane caster in this party is a bard, so no big deal.)

    - Rogues and priests can be specialized in weapons (though they get there slowly) and they get that bonus 1/2 APR. So they are a little bit better in melee combat.

    - With MnG bard songs, you can fight and sing! It's not even so much a 'song' as an aura - good things happen when a bard is around! Call it the trade-off for including an underpowered class in your party. OTOH, the radius of the effect is pretty small.

    - I do my usual thing of dropping the difficulty down to easy for the Easthaven "quests," so that I can get my guys to level 2 before hitting the Ogre Cave. Only because it seems absurd to me that adventurers could even *get* to Easthaven without getting to level 2. After the level-up I go to Core/High difficulty.

    Now, as to my first party: the new kits are cool, but when you get right down to it the naturist party looks like this:

    Ranger...............(mountain ranger)
    Thief...................(psypher)
    Druid..................(arctic druid)
    Druid..................(fire mystic)
    Bard...................(meistersinger)
    Cleric/thief..........(druid/thief)

    That is not a power party, in the context of IWDEE. One of the issues with my 'themed parties' is that none of them has much in the way of tanks. In this party, my 2nd front-liner is seriously a single-class thief. He's a Psionicist, so he will hopefully be okay once he gets Inertial Barrier and Carapace. But still, it's really not ideal.

    In the beginning though, it's okay, since everyone is in the 20-18 thac0 range and only has 1 APR. I took some damage in the Ogre Cave but it was survivable. Having three people who can cast Cure Light Wounds is helpful. And lots of divine casters + lots of Wisdom = lots of early spell slots. I got through the fight in the central hall by distracting the orcs with some summoned bats (yay Spell Revisions for a balanced summon spell at every spell level!) and the Psypher successfully Held the orc shaman. For the last fight, the two druids summoned their spirit animals and then entangled the group, then everyone peppered the orcs with missile weapons while the Fire Mystic took out the ogre with fiery magic.

    One issue that popped up is that the two druids used their shapeshifts early... and then could not use them until after sleeping. But those are supposed to be at-will abilities. So the group is ready to head toward Kuldahar, but I need to take care of that first.

    (Another small issue: I'm using the Tome & Blood 'Level 1 Cantrips' component, but I installed it before Might & Guile bards. The bards mod converts several spells for use by certain bard kits, but these won't get the 'Level 1 Cantrips' treatment. I need to add some cross-mods compatibility code to one of those mods.)
    lolienbaron_pampa
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 6,213
    As I predicted, the Vale of Shadows if tough for this group. Even with lots of healing spells, they take damage quick. They cleared the yetis and shadows in one day, but then had to retreat to Kuldahar. I barely scraped together $2,500 to convert some yeti pelts into a magical hide armor.

    "But the Yeti armor is terrible!" I hear you cry. Yes indeed. But consider, this group has a single ranger, limited to splint armor, and everyone else is limited to hide or lighter. There are not many great leather armors in this game - certainly not enough to kit out five characters. So I need every bit of protection I can get. My main tank will probably end up in elven chain mail. Which is just sad. Okay, that's another weakness of this group.

    Man, did I say above that this group would be powerful? It's not turning out that way.

    The nice thing is, a couple druids = lots of good summoning, since Spell Revisions adds Animal Summon spells all the way down to 1st level. The most efficient way I have to get through hordes of skeletons and temple guardians is:
    1) summon some bats;
    2) let the skeletons clump around the bats;
    3) the fire mystic casts Fire Trap at the clump of skeletons.

    3d4 damage to 5 or 6 skeletons at once can really thin the ranks. And thanks to focus access to the sphere of Fire, I can use 1st-level spell slots for Fire Trap.

    The other nice thing from Spell Revisions is Magical Stone, which is now a sort of anti-undead version of Melf's Meteors. It's in the sphere of Earth, which means druids have a tool to use against undead. Another one is Sunscorch, in the sphere of Light. 4d6 damage to undead + a chance to blind makes it good against the mini-bosses like the skeleton mage and Myrkul's Sending.

    So they are muddling through. The ranger is soaking up a bunch of damage all by his lonesome, and the psion is fairly useless. I had a chance to get a healing ability (Energy Transfer) at his last level-up, but stupidly went for Inertial Barrier instead. Oh well. There's no way they're going to clear the final tomb in a single go. I hate resting before a dungeon is cleared, but these guys don't have much staying power. :(
    lolienbaron_pampa
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 6,213
    ...Aaand, Fire Trap to the rescue again. Got to the last level of Kresselack's Tomb, where you get mobbed by tattered skeletons and temple guardians and the bodiless spectral things. Five non-warriors being mobbed = bad news. But I put the Fire Mystic in the center of the group and he cast Fire Trap at the clump to the north - Boom! Five kills. Cast Fire Trap at the clump to the south - Boom! Five kills. Very nice.

    That let me be more careful about taking out the shadows/mummies/wights ,and let me conserve my magic to use in the final battle against the skeleton mage and six spectral knights. Some summoned dogs and spirit animals, plus Entangle and Grease in the doorway, and Magical Stone plus Flame Arrow (as a 2nd-level spell!) took down the spectral knights. By the time I reached Kresselack everyone was bloody and bruised, and I had zero spells left, and I had used all of the Cure Wounds scrolls you pick up as well as half of my healing potions. But I survived what is probably the hardest fight until Yxunomei!

    Now off to kill a priest...
    lolienbaron_pampa
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 6,213
    edited January 21
    Okay, the naturist party made it through Dragon's Eye. Not much difficulty. By a bug in my favor, the Psypher kit can cast spells from scrolls, so I cheated and let him cast Find Familiar for an extra 12 or so hit points. Add the Ring of the Warrior, the Bless Belt, the Gauntlets of weapon expertise, and the Black Wolf Talisman, and he is as good in combat as a warrior (even though it's really in the thief class). He is specialized in short swords, so the Flaming Short Sword +1 makes him the party's resident troll-killer.

    (Honestly I'm not sure why I included the Psypher in this group... it's a thief kit, it would work better in the rogue party. Another ranger would be more useful, and more appropriate, in this group. I might switch him out, even though doing so is a PITA on an iPad...)

    I won't go into every detail of fighting through the Forgotten Temple and Dragon's Eye, but here are some notes on how this party plays.

    - Remember, the party is Ranger, Druid, Druid, Thief, Bard, Druid/Thief. Early on it was challenging because there's no tank, and they got hit a lot. (I'm playing with the YARAS component of Scales of Balance, armors get a bit of damage resistance but also Dex penalties.) By the time they hit ~5th level, though, they hit their stride and started steamrolling. Here's why:

    - Everyone can heal. Literally all six party members have a method to cure wounds. If you had a single-class cleric and put a healing spell in every spell slot, a) that's a terrible way to play a cleric; and b) you still wouldn't have as many healing spells as this party when I just casually use one slot per level for each PC. It is a really nice thing to have.

    - Summons. Spell Revisions + Faiths & Powers mean druids can summon a ton of stuff, using low-level spells slots. Bats, dogs, and wolves at first, then with 4th-level slots you can diversify into leopards, beetles, or shadow monsters. Not to mention spirit animals, which are reasonably hardy. Having summons on tap in basically every fight is super handy.

    - Entangle + Spike Growth. Entangle + Spike Growth. Entangle + Spike Growth. Every hard fight, every time the enemy has numerical advantage, every time there is a bit of a choke point. Trolls, Cold Wights, Snake People, Yxunomei... everyone has to walk through a field of razorvine to get to my party, and they are cut up bad by the time they come within range of my ranger's sword. Only druids can do this, and it is hugely, hugely powerful. At least at these mid-levels, anyway. Oh yeah - add Wall of moonlight to this just for kicks. It's great.

    Problem is, no other party can match those three advantages, only a druid-heavy party can do it. So I'm about to give these guys a rest and play with the elvish party... and I look at them like, "Only two healers? No animal summons? No Spike Growth??? How am I going to do this?" Even though it's made up of some of the most powerful classes in the game (Bladesinger, Elven Archer, Sorcerer).

    But to make a long story long, that is really the great thing about playing themed parties like this. I'll play the arcane-heavy group through level 8, then switch to back to the druidy group to move on to Severed Hand, and I won't be used to the tactics and they will seem super weak. Using specialized parties makes you adapt your play and overcome challenges in different ways, which is very satisfying.
    CahirlolienArctodusbaron_pampa
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 6,213
    edited January 31
    Well, the 'naturist' party has gotten through the Severed Hand, Upper Dorn's Deep, and Wyrm's Tooth. Not too difficult - lots of Entangle + Summons, then ranged attacks (even though ranged attacks are weakened in this install) and fiery artillery. The ranger and psion clean up any enemies who break through, in melee. Everyone is 12th level, and I'm about to pivot to HOW content.

    But that party is capable of handling anything in its way, so I'll pause that game and switch gears to the party of bards. Thus is:
    - Gallant (fighter who can sing bard songs)
    - Skald
    - Jongleur (a Blade, but no stupid Offensive Spin)
    - Loresinger (bard with some divine magic)
    - Jinxer (thief who can sing bard songs, focusing on abilities to hex enemies)
    - cleric of Tymora (need a priest, here)

    This party is VERY different. I've limited bards' Magic the Enchantment, Illusion, Divination, and Alteration spells. Plus the game doesn't give you many scrolls to divide between 3 casters.

    The druidy party has tons of spells slots because of high WIS scores... these bards have very few spell slots. And their spells include no direct-damage and no summons (until Shadow Monsters, but that's a 4th level spell). I'm using '1st-level Cantrips' from TnB so 1st-level slots can be cast at will... but Charm Person and Sleep are useless against undead!

    So these guys pretty much just walk around and bash everything like a bunch of fighters. But, they'd pretty good at bashing! Three of them have party-buff bard songs, so we have permanent +1 Luck (base song from Gallant), permanent +1 damage (Skald song), and permanent Bless (Loresinger song). And nearby enemies have -1 to hit and damage. Goblins, yetis and skeletons have been mowed down like grass.

    I just got some 2nd-level spells online, which for bards include Glitterdust and Sound Burst. Hopefully as they gain levels and more magic, they can go from pretend fighters, to pretend fighters bolstered by magic. Still, they will need to use very different tactics from the last party. Dragon's Eye is going to be hard.
    lolienbaron_pampaArctodus
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