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Help for my very first ever BG2 run! (getting rekt with SCS mod)

MefestoMefesto Member, Array Posts: 7
Hi everybody! (Hi dr. Nick!)

This is my first post, it'll be a bit long but you know, the subject is wide! :)
First of all this forum is great! It's incredible so see a this much great community for such an old game, I'm amazed.

After being drifted away from videogaming for a lot of time, I finally started playing BG2!

Keep in mind BG1 was my favourite RPG as a kid and I'm a former d&d (even 2nd edition when I was really young), so I'm not an universal noob... just in BG2 (and well, I don't remember the high level paths of the many classes tbh).

So I just started the game and it's beautiful as I expected, but remembering I mastered BG1 without a problem as a child, even not having internet and not knowing english - I practically learnt it through BG1 -, I watched out for some mods to increase difficulty, and I installed the SCS one.

I installed almost anything which increased difficulty, moved the items, raised to 100k the rescue and 50k the magic license (I remember I had more than 100k at the end of BG1 which was useless and ridicoulous). I want my party to struggle, I want to win battles by the skin of the teeth, to barely overcome my enemy in the most smart ways to get the task done with what I have.

I also installed the mod to balance the fact that I wanted a buffed PC cause after all, I'm the damn son of Bhaal! and there's plenty of meh NPC to pick, so, even rolegame wise, makes sense to have a stronger protagonist.

So I'm playing this 19 STR/DEX/CON new created cavalier (makes sense as a top BG1 char + tomes), and after getting out the first dungeon and clearing the circus tent I decided to install the mods cause the game was too easy.

Now I'm at the De'Arnise keep and I'm getting REKT by spirit trolls and lizard mages!

This should be one of the first quests in the game I believe, so I CANNOT still have a good equipment, and more importantly very good spells and casters.

My party is composed by my PC, Minsc, Jaheira, Yoshimo, Aerie and Nalia (I don't like her but I want to have her in the party while I do her quest).

as for killing the trolls, I use some burning hands/melf acid arrow/flame arrow, or Jaheira's flame blade to finish them when they're down or the bunch of flame arrows the captain gave me for the fatal blow.

I barely survived the first floor of the keep, I had to play the main troll group like 10 times to learn how to counter their spells and their powers.

Wizards are just OP for me, a single lizard-mage (don't remember the name of the monster, sorry) can kill my whole party. I even uninstalled enemy casters short term pre-buffs cause that was even more ridicoulous.
And spirit trolls, I don't have the weapons to hurt them, so I need to have many offensive spells in my arsenal, but also some invisibility detection/purges to make them targetable cause they're invisible (and that prevents me from scouting too much with Yoshimo, once he got out of the shadows in a corridor and a couple of spirit trolls went on him).

I'm keen to use all my spare scrolls and wands, to use the temple if needed (I already spent 1600 on two raise dead) and to drink a whole lot of potions. I also don't like to rest every 2 seconds cause is so off roleplay, but I feel like I'll need to get used to it with the SCS mod.

But still, I don't have that much money atm! I need to gather 100k for rescuing Imoen!

so... back to the point.
what can I do to make enemy mages a little less unbeatable? I don' want to play the entire game using my casters only to dispel enemy defenses, they have too many contigencies, triggers, and it's boring even if realistic, but I don't even want enemy mages to die stupidly like vanilla BG.

is there any way to play in between the impossibly hard and the dumb easy?

otherwise I could buff my spellcasters with EEKeeper giving them more spells/day so I don't have to waste them all on breaches and stuff.

I know EEKeeper is like cheating, but now I'm playing against a cheating game :#

well I surely wrote a lot! hope someone takes the time to read it!

bye and thanks again for the community (and also: the amazing SCS mod).



p.s.: I also figured with improving encounters I'd meet more enemies and earn more money and exp, is that right?
I'm also playing on insane difficulty with damage cap to core.

Post edited by Mefesto on

Comments

  • BrightL1ghtsBrightL1ghts Member Posts: 20
    edited September 14
    It's really tough after vanilla, so don't install just about everything (like i did). I had to abandon my first attempt to do it solo with all of the components installed. It was doable in general, but things like Demogorgon and Spellcasting demilich can make you upset :D

    I can also add that after i started to understand spellcasting part better it became WAY easier. Understanding of how to deal with spellcasters is the key to play without frustration.

    So overall : install everything in AI Enhancements and everything in Spell Tweaks. SKIP everything else for your first playthrough. After you will beat the game with that, try to add something else.

    BorekMefestosubtledoctor
  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 468
    Hey, welcome back to the game and don't worry, you are not alone regarding SCS with all/most of the changes applied, it is absolutely brutal and designed to be that way!

    The Fighter Stronghold is pretty tough, i always clear out most of Athkatla before i move outside into other areas and that is w/o all the SCS options turned on lol.

    My advice is to scale back SCS so that you just use the advanced AI and not much else, play that for a bit, get used to the game again, learn which quests are easier and start putting together a plan of attack for gaining items that can help with the sorts of encounters that are causing you issues.

    Once you've got to grips with a basic SCS then you can try adding other features or possibly going "all in" with other mods like Ascension (changes many of the TOB boss fights).

    Personally i am on a run through right now with a basic SCS, plus a bunch of tweaks and item changes, i play solo mostly although i changed Jaheira to a Swashbuckler to deal with traps whilst the romance progresses and make her useful since my Bhaalspawn is a Barbarian dual classed to a wild mage (yeah don't ask, takes some EE Keeper magic lol). Once i've finished this one i'll re-install everything with full SCS and try a full beans run, but as you noted stuff like the Mages/priests pre-buffing at the start of combat is absolutely savage lol.

    Cavaliar is great class, but any Melee based character will struggle to deal with mages under SCS as they will use plenty of Melee blocking defensive spells plus throw around disabling spells way more than vanilla. I've died a fair few times to mages using minor sequencer with 2x Charm person early in the game, including once to the Ogre Mage in Irenicus' Dungeon literally in the 3rd room lmao.

    As a rule Mages are the best way to deal with other mages, although a worthy shout out to Druids who will pretty much disable any NPC mage via Insect Plague. But yes, you will quickly run out of spell slots for removing protections. Spell Thrust at 3rd level is quite effective, but remember that a lot of mages will protect themselves from targeted spells via spell deflection/turning, which does NOT protect them from AoE spells that are not cast directly at them. Pay close attention to what enemy mages use for their protective buffs, if you spot one that leaves open a weakness to AoE spells then don't bother to dispel their other stuff, just chuck several Skull traps and explode em instead

    A good tip for using a thief as a scout is to cast Non-detection on them or use the Cloak of Non-detection, that way enemy mages will blow detection spells w/o success.

    AFAIK the bonus XP only kicks in on LOB difficulty and if you think Insane dififculty is tough, oh boy, LOB is beyond ludicrous, every enemy has 3x the HP's, extra APR, boosted Thaco, better defenses, with SCS it's as tough of a game as it's possible to find IMO.

    Also don't be afraid to simply retreat from a fully buffed mage and wait for their shorter duration buffs to drop, most of the Anti-Melee buffs only last for 4 rounds and whilst they will probably cast them again there's not really any point in wailing on someone you cannot damage when you can simply tactically retreat and put a door or 2 between you.

    Also make use of Wands, wands of cloudkill in particular are amazing for interrupting mages since most are not immune to poison, wand of Fire is also great as it has Aganazers Scorcher as well as firewall, AS will hit everything in a line between you and your target and each use lasts for 2 rounds, plus does nice damage, so you can often move around and use the Orange laser beam to napalm and interrupt quite a few enemies. When wands drop to 1 charge, sell them to a Fence and buy or steal them back fully charged. The wand tactic will drastically help with saving yourself from using up all your spell slots too quickly.

    Mefesto
  • MefestoMefesto Member Posts: 7
    thank you both.
    I'm considering uninstalling the AI for priests and mages (or maybe just mages), sadly.
    I don't want to spend the game breaching absurd protections, it's not fun for me.
    More importantly, what's the point of making the game so difficult that the only way to beat mages is to fill the room with summoned creatures and/or walk away waiting for the time passing to let enemy buffs expire?

    Such way of playing the game is not far from cheating, it's a mechanic exploitation IMHO. And when I have to go total power play to beat secondary enemies in an RPG I ask myself if maybe I have to tone down a bit the harshness of it. :D

    I'll keep the rest of the modules though, as I find them being just what I was looking for, cause I don't want the game to get boring cause I'm too strong (a big problem for vanilla BG).


  • BrightL1ghtsBrightL1ghts Member Posts: 20
    edited September 14
    It's up to you, but there are a lot of ways to deal with mages without waiting for their buffs to go off. Wands for example. Inquisitors, anything with carsomyr, berserkers, and so on. If you will uninstall smarter mages and priest you will essentially kill the whole purpose of scs, because liches will keep dying to their own pit fiends.

    When you are installing smarter mages and priest, it gives you 4 options. Just choose the one which doesn't allow them to use prebuffs with short-duration spells.

    You should not struggle too much if you will only install AI components and Spell Tweaks.

    Borek
  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 468
    Mefesto said:

    thank you both.
    I'm considering uninstalling the AI for priests and mages (or maybe just mages), sadly.
    I don't want to spend the game breaching absurd protections, it's not fun for me.
    More importantly, what's the point of making the game so difficult that the only way to beat mages is to fill the room with summoned creatures and/or walk away waiting for the time passing to let enemy buffs expire?

    Such way of playing the game is not far from cheating, it's a mechanic exploitation IMHO. And when I have to go total power play to beat secondary enemies in an RPG I ask myself if maybe I have to tone down a bit the harshness of it. :D

    I'll keep the rest of the modules though, as I find them being just what I was looking for, cause I don't want the game to get boring cause I'm too strong (a big problem for vanilla BG).


    That's just how AD&D magic works once you get decent levels under the belt, the problem with vanilla BG is the scripting for spell casters is not particularly well done, they often cast stupid spells for no reason, sometimes even screwing themselves over, which isn't what a highly intelligent character is likely to do very often, if at all.

    Remember that you have multiple difficulty levels to pick from, plus SCS can be installed with a wide range of options. Heck the SCS designer even recommends via the Readme file NOT to install everything precisely because it's SUCH a massive change to the over-all difficulty.

    Lastly, you are newly returned, it takes a long time to master a game with so many options for combat, classes, kits, party make up, items and the like, i would argue that if you, as a newly returned player, could totally own Insane difficulty full SCS at the1st try then SCS would have failed in it's goal of making the game EXTREMELY challenging for EXPERT players.

    You've basically made the game as close to impossible as it gets, the only way it could be harder is LOB mode with all the SCS goodies.

    BrightL1ghts
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 1,983


    As people have said, SCS with the way you have installed it is tough.

    However, here's a couple of handy tips.

    Spirit trolls die to cloudkill (I have no idea why but it's as effective on them as it is on Umberhulks). That leaves you with just the regular trolls to deal with.

    Summons, (skeleton wariors) are the way to deal with protected mages. Use one to trigger any "death spell" they may have, then send in the rest and watch the mage waste all their spells on them.

    Borek
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 9,342
    Mefesto said:

    what's the point of making the game so difficult that the only way to beat mages is to fill the room with summoned creatures and/or walk away waiting for the time passing to let enemy buffs expire? Such way of playing the game is not far from cheating,
    Well, it's just doing the same things with the same spells that you would do to protect your mages, right? So really not cheating at all.

    If you have Aerie and Nalia both, you can cast twice as many spells each round as the enemies. So dispelling their protections shouldn't be too hard.

    Mefesto said:

    I have to go total power play to beat secondary enemies in an RPG I ask myself if maybe I have to tone down a bit the harshness of it.

    Heh, welcome to 1990s gaming...



  • MefestoMefesto Member Posts: 7
    eventually I just reinstalled the whole SCS thing with almost all the enemy improvements (everything except "improved spirit trolls" and "can't rest in Illithids city"). no pre-buffs on the casters though, they're already strong enough with sequencers and contingencies.

    On the other hand, this time I didn't nerf too much my characters, I kept the original insect swarm and all the items in their place (I didn't know that most of those great items are on sale in the first area of the game... that's really lame, they shouldn't even be in a store, more so in the very first store of the game... it's just silly. they should be found in secret rooms of high level dungeons).

    this time I took my time in the city, and have done the slavers quest first.
    the De'Arnise improved keep it's just too much for a low level party without money, equipment and fire weapons, the problem was there really. let's say old games could be deceptive sometimes about what to do first. :)

  • ChiefBigFeatherChiefBigFeather Member Posts: 12
    edited September 18
    Sorry, the SCS game is a lot about stripping magic defenses. It is the smart thing to do as per the game rules.
    Disabling medium duration pre buffs on mages helps a fair bit. But fighting mages requres quite some system mastery and will generally be more tedious at higher levels (although some AoEs can work well).
    Your party composition could be improved from a powergaming perspective. Yoshimo and Minsc are among the weakest NPCs in the game. The Chevallier is also fairly weak compared to other options. The De‘Arnise keep is one of the togher places in the early game. It makes sense because you find the best weapon in the game there.

  • MefestoMefesto Member Posts: 7
    I wanted the game to be fair.
    I don't pre-buff tons of defensive spells, I'd like to find enemy NPC doing the same.
    For the party, I'll switch some of them in the future if I find someone I like more. As for now I've only been to the Copper Coronet and I don't like any of the characters in there for my party :)

    The cavalier is fine though. Stronger than a paladin, with no practical nerfs.

    OrlonKronsteen
  • ChiefBigFeatherChiefBigFeather Member Posts: 12
    edited September 18
    The Paladin is not a particularly strong class in the first place though: No magical defenses, no important immunities, no particularly high damage output.

    The unmodded Carsomyr is very strong though.

    Post edited by ChiefBigFeather on
    Mefesto
  • MefestoMefesto Member Posts: 7

    The Paladin is not a particularly strong class in the first place though: No magical defenses, no important immunities, no particularly high damage output.

    The unmodded Carsomyr is very strong though.

    proficiencies apart, what a paladin does worse than a fighter?

  • BorekBorek Member Posts: 468
    It's not that they are bad compared to a fighter, it's that they are (like many single class characters) not as versatile. As you have noticed SCS has a LOT of "mage chess" regarding spell defenses, any class that relies mostly on melee is going to struggle when there's smarter AI use of protective buffs from Spell casting enemies.

  • BrightL1ghtsBrightL1ghts Member Posts: 20
    edited 3:40PM
    Mefesto said:

    I didn't know that most of those great items are on sale in the first area of the game... that's really lame, they shouldn't even be in a store, more so in the very first store of the game... it's just silly. they should be found in secret rooms of high level dungeons.

    I agree, but to some extent. For example - staff of the magi is guarded by one of the toughest enemies in the SoA (when they are together), but it still doesn't change the fact that i will go and take it solo with my lvl 12 naked sorc (with installed scs and without metagaming). So really putting some items in so called "tough spots" won't change too much.
    And when you get some strong item in the end of the game - then what's the fun, if you couldn't even use it during your whole playthrough.

    It's a part of any good rpg game - you should be able to get all the crazy items in the beginning of the game, if you know where they are, and if you are creative enough to get them. But that's just my subjective opinion.

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