Icewind Dale's Heart of Fury Mode was meant to be an "ultimate difficulty mode," but it wasn't very well executed. Its main feature is to give enemies extremely large HP bonuses, such that a regular orc could have about 100 hit points. This is bad because it makes fights very tedious. Most of playing Heart of Fury Mode consists of sitting around as your summoned creatures (which also get the extra HP) slowly kill the enemies.
Icewind Dale's difficulty also suffers from the fact that the enemies' AI is terrible, and previously there was no good AI-enhancing mod (like Sword Coast Strategems) for Icewind Dale.
This mod presents a more interesting "ultimate difficulty mode." It's not actually a difficulty setting, so it can be played on Normal, Insane, or even on Heart of Fury mode itself. Here are the main features:
* Battles are made tougher by giving enemies more powers (for example, Fire Beetles can breathe fire), occasionally adding more enemies in an encounter, giving enemies better AI, and making enemies stronger all around, rather than simply by giving them lots of hit points.
When possible, the mod powers up enemies by improving their main ability. Trolls in this mod regenerate faster, bombardier beetles use their spray ability more frequently, sword spiders move super-fast and attack ten times per round, and shadows are like Strength-draining mind flayers (to say nothing about what the mind flayers are like).
* There are multiple ways in which I've improved the AI:
- Enemies are generally much quicker to select a different target, rather than chasing the same target for a long time.
- Enemies generally prioritize attacking characters who don't have Stoneskin or Mirror Image.
- Enemies usually don't attack characters that they can't do anything to (e.g. because of Protection from Magical Weapons).
- Enemies rarely ever use spells or abilities on creatures that are immune to those spells or abilities.
- Enemy spellcasters, particularly ones later on in the game, will only use many of their spells on party members, rather than wasting all of their spells on summoned creatures.
I'm not sure if the mod's AI is comparable with SCS, but it's the closest thing for Icewind Dale.
* The mod powers up most of the magic items in the game, like in Icewind Dale 2's Heart of Fury Mode.
* Summoned creatures are NOT powered up, so you can't rely on them. Some enemies will get special summoning spells that summon creatures that are powered up, though.
* The party will be powered up slightly. Player characters roll 8-20 for stats (as in Dark Sun), rather than 3-18. (Keep in mind that enemies will also have stats like this)
The party starts the game with 30000 experience (divided among the party, so a smaller party will get more experience per character). Pomab sells some good magical equipment and scrolls, and the party starts with a lot of gold.
If you are playing with mod NPCs, they will get +2 to all stats to reflect the higher stats PCs start with.
* Throughout the game items are added, removed, and switched around. There are new random item selections. The random items you get are more likely to actually be useful.
* Many spells are revised. The purpose of the spell revisions is primarily to strengthen weak spells (sometimes significantly), rather than to weaken strong spells.
The game will start off not too difficult - the goblins at the beginning of the game won't be much tougher than they are normally. But the game will get really hard really fast.
I've released Version 3.4! This patch lets you start Heart of Winter right after beating the final boss, without having to start a new game and lose your money and containers. It also sends you back to the inn in Lonelywood after beating Icasaracht so that you can start Trials of the Luremaster. There are various other changes as well.You can download the mod here.
* The Heart of Winter expansion has been modded.
* I made druid shapeshift forms more powerful. Since the characters and creatures in the game are more powerful, the shapeshift forms need to be more powerful otherwise they could be less useful than the normal character.
* Some spectral undead creatures (shadows, spirits on the Burial Isle) can now go through walls. Spectral undead that don't realize that they're undead (e.g. shadowed elves, spectral guards in Trials of the Luremaster) do not have this ability.
* The enemy that you fight if you wish to be more experienced using Limited Wish now has some really badass abilities that no one else has (for context, this mod makes it so that this wish makes you fight a single, extremely powerful enemy rather than several golems; I won't spoil what this enemy is, but it gives 250000 experience (or more depending on the difficulty), and it's no pushover).
* Skeleton Warriors were removed from Kresselack's tomb. I plan to put a more powerful version of them somewhere else in the game later. I made a few other changes to the Vale of Shadows.
* Presio no longer casts Great Shout with Chain Contingency. She doesn't summon nishruus, and she doesn't use her Spell Trigger in the duel.
* Geelo no longer casts triple Shout with Spell Sequencer.
* I made some changes to items and put some more items in the game.
* Chain Lightning and Soul Eater now only harm enemies like I intended them to and don't produce blue fires flying all over the place.
* Know Alignment now offers no save, as I intended.
* Star Metal Cudgel now deals 4d6 extra damage against unnatural creatures, as I intended.
* Flame Strike, Iron Body and Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting have been modified.
* I finished my Trials of the Luremaster modifications.
* Party members will be less likely to die permanently. I'm doing this because party members are going to die a lot in this mod, so it would be good not to have to reload as often.
* Some enemies now require higher enchantments to hit.
* Enemies now have better attack AI.
* Goblin archers no longer shoot Goblin Arrows.
* The prologue cave now has fewer Orc Archer Elites.
* The Goblin Marshals and Orc Archer Elites in the prologue now use Whirlwind Attack instead of Greater Whirlwind Attack.
* I made Lysan tougher.
* I changed the powers of basic wights around a little to make them simpler and more sensible. They no longer drain luck on hit, nor do they have that weird life-draining ability I had given them that they only used on luck-drained creatures. Instead, they drain one level on hit.
* Ettins now only have two attacks per round while throwing boulders.
* Sahuagin leaders now correctly buff their allies as I intended.
* Icasaracht now uses her aura of fear.
* The moonblade created by the Moonblade spell now counts as a silver weapon and deals the extra damage against lycanthropes.
* Wall of Moonlight now deals the full 5d10 damage against lycanthropes.
* Cloak of Fear now lasts 1 turn and the save against the fear is made at -2.c
* Mass Cause Light Wounds now offers no save.
* Enchant Weapon now only sets the weapon enchantment to +5.
* Rangers and Druids can now cast Dispel Magic.
* I made the Wisdom requirements for the Wish spell higher. In order to get the best selection of wishes, you need to have 25 Wisdom.
* Larrel's Sending no longer kills the party with Meteor Swarm at the Severed Hand entrance. I had originally made Larrel cast Meteor Swarm on the squirrel, but I had tested this revised cutscene before I had modified Meteor Swarm to have a larger area of effect. Now the party is in the area of effect, so they tend to get killed by it. Now Larrel casts Comet on the squirrel instead of Meteor Swarm. I have tested this and the comet doesn't hit the party.
* Mirek now actually gives the reward he's supposed to.
* The Unstrung Harp now actually takes three rounds to use.
* I increased the power of some katanas.
* One new component: Change the summoning limit. Since this mod doesn't power up summoned creatures, having a lot of them wouldn't be game-breaking.
* Neo-Orog Marauders and Avengers no longer have a chance to drop permanent HP-increasing potions. While I don't mind giving PCs a lot of extra HP over the course of the game, they probably shouldn't be getting it from regular enemies.
* Many giant-kin enemies, such as verbeegs and ettins, now have worse saving throws, but they now use Barbarian Rage or Berserker Rage to protect themselves against mind-affecting spells. If you sneak up and cast Dire Charm on them before they get their bearings and use their rage, you could gain a very valuable companion!
* Several temples in the game now sell an unlimited supply of Potions of Extra Healing.
* Rikasha (the friendly jackalwere in the last Trials of the Luremaster dungeon) now sells an unlimited supply of permanent HP-increasing potions for you to spend your fortune on. The final stretch of Trials of the Luremaster is among the most challenging parts of the mod, and this won't make it much easier.
* I added a Quiver/Case/Bag of Plenty to Conlan's store.
* I added a ring to Mother Egenia's store that protects against level drain.
* Larloch's Minor Drain now deals 12 damage and grants 12 temporary hit points, which last for 1 hour. It should be quite good to make up for the fact that it doesn't work on undead.
* If EEex is installed, the game will show invisible enemies when a character under the effect of Detect Invisibility is selected.
* If EEex is installed, Know Alignment becomes Identify Creature, which displays the stats of the target creature.
* Haste no longer causes fatigue. This way you'll be less likely to need to rest after every battle.
* Enchanted Weapon gives the creature's weapons +5 enchantment rather than +6. The only creatures that require +6 weapons to hit are creatures under the effect of Absolute Immunity. I'd rather not make Absolute Immunity this easy to penetrate.
* The Phantom Blade is significantly stronger.
* Shroud of Flame now offers no save (it needs to be quite good to compete with Sunfire).
* The spells that can be cast with Seven Eyes are actually good now.
* Power Word, Kill now kills a creature with 120 HP or less.
* Circle of Bones lasts longer and doesn't prevent movement.
* Cloudburst has been overhauled and is much better.
* Negative Plane Protection now lasts 15 rounds.
* Fire Seeds now creates 20 seeds.
* Sol's Searing Orb can be cast more quickly, and undead make the saving throw with a -6 penalty. It deals magical fire damage now.
* The Chaos Dagger no longer casts the entire Sphere of Chaos spell whenever it hits a creature.
* Full Plate +1 is less expensive.
* The Shadows of the Void summoned by Belhifet now have the correct animation.
* Enemies no longer call for help simply by taking damage.
* Enemies no longer open doors. This had caused problems with the call for help AI, where enemies would open doors and call the enemies behind those doors, who were supposed to be in different encounters.
* Orcs no longer have a Blindness ability.
* Cold Wights, Skeleton Archers and Skeleton Bolters no longer interrupt spells from characters that don't take damage from them.
* I made Undead Lieutenants a bit less tanky.
* I changed Presio's legions quite a bit.
* Sunscorch now deals magical fire damage.
* I decreased the cost of Pig's Eye.
* The Celebrant's Blade now grants -50% slashing resistance on hit, but it doesn't stack.
* Orrick now sells a Ring of Free Action, but he no longer carries one.
* The Ring of Negative Plane Protection now displays the right icon.
* Mod NPCs now start with +2 to all stats and additional 5000 experience to reflect the bonuses PCs get at the start of the game. Mod NPCs affected this way are: Dusky, Turald, Holvir, Korin, Nella, Severn, Teri, and Afaaq. These NPCs should be installed before Improved Heart of Fury Mode.
* More enemies now don't interrupt spells if the target is immune to the extra damage they deal.
* Standing in the heated room in the frost salamander aquarium now gives immunity to the Lower Cold Resistance ability of frost salamanders.
* The Spear of Kerish does not stun creatures that are immune to cold.
* Apocalyptic Boneguards and the Idol now have more hit points.
* Belhifet and Icasaracht now have protection from time stop.
* I made it so that after you beat Belhifet, you can go straight to the expansion without starting a new game. And after you beat Icasaracht, you are sent to the tavern in Lonelywood where you can talk to Hobart and start Trials of the Luremaster.
* A new component is added: Modify Fighting Styles. This component improves the fighting style bonuses and lets a character take up to five points in a fighting style (only if the character could normally take the maximum number of points in the style).
* I weakened the orcs in the prologue cave. The orcs now have reasonable THAC0 for their level, and there are fewer orc archers in the fight in the center of the cave.
* Belhifet and Yxunomei no longer cast Imprisonment if there is only one character in the party.
* Yeti Hide Armor now protects against the Chilling Gaze ability of yetis.
* Yeti pelts now sell for twice as much.
* Conlan's store no longer has depreciation: selling yeti pelts will not decrease the value of later pelts.
* Conlan's store now has a large supply of basic +1 and +2 ammunition.
* Potions of Healing now restore 20 Hit Points, Potions of Extra Healing now restore 40 Hit Points, and Spirit Essences (which are quite rare) now restore 120 Hit Points. Elven Healing Wine now restores 12d8 Hit Points (but it still causes intoxication).
* Some scroll description errors have been fixed.
* Many spell projectiles have been tweaked to apply the effects of the spell instantly, rather than waiting for the projectile to spread out. This means that a spell like Fireball will be more likely to damage a creature moving at the edge of the area of effect.
* Sleep is now more powerful. It puts any number of creatures with 6 HD or less to sleep (e.g. goblins, orcs, orc elites), regardless of the total HD of all the creatures. There is no Saving Throw, but targets will wake upon taking damage. I meant this spell to be a crutch for getting past the prologue; it won't be too useful after that.
* I fixed a serious bug with Whirlwind that made it damage targets many times per second.
* I fixed a bug with the Cynicism sword that had made it say lines more frequently with each time it was equipped, eventually causing it to say multiple lines per second. Now it just says one line per turn. This is actually a bug in the base game, but since this mod lets you get Cynicism early enough that it might actually be useful, I decided to fix this here.
* The Rhino Beetle Shield will no longer play an expiration sound every couple seconds (which was caused by the periodic reflection effect repeatedly expiring).
- Do not play this mod on the game's regular Heart of Fury mode. The changes this mod makes to the game are separate from the regular HoF mode bonuses, so if you play on HoF mode, creatures will get the ridiculous HP that HoF gives them IN ADDITION to the even more ridiculous things that this mod gives the creatures. Play on another difficulty, like Insane, or Core Rules. When I was playtesting my mod I went through the game on Insane with double experience and max HP rolls. My team still got killed a lot.
- Don't try to solo the game unless you really know what you're doing.
- Make sure to have a character who can cast Dispel Magic. Dispel Magic is basically this game's version of Breach. There will be a lot of opportunities to use it once you reach Chapter 2.