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[REVISED] Durlag's Tower straight outta Candlekeep at 0 EXP & NO GEAR. Can it be done?

BalladBallad Member Posts: 196
EDIT: I've revised and clarified the challenge rules as per @chimaera 's suggestion.

Tackling high level areas with a low level party is one of my favourite pastimes in CRPGs. Some years ago, I did a Watcher's-Keep-straight-out-of-Chateau-Irenicus challenge, on SCS/Insane, naturally. It was challenging but immensely rewarding. In order to survive, I had to come up with creative ways of using my skills and items and build my characters around available, rather than ideal equipment. Because my characters were so weak in comparison to the enemies encountered, the challenge had a survival horror feel to it, which I enjoyed immensely. I really felt like an adventurer, risking my life for riches and glory, rather than a bio-bulldozer, plowing through mobs for loot and exp.

I've done Watcher's Keep in Ch2 many times since, but never has it occured me to replicate the challenge in BG1 - to do Durlag's Tower in Chapter 1, with a first level party, no less.

Anyway, my interest is now piqued and I think I'm going to give this a try. The rules are as follows:
  • Players are not allowed to collect a single point of experience before reaching Durlag's. My Charname and his followers must all be level 1 at 0 EXP when entering the area, no exceptions. The improved NPC customization component (SCS) must be installed to ensure 0 starting XP. On the bright side, you get full control over your NPCs' proficiencies and thieving skills.
    NOTE: the component comes with an option to edit your NPCs class/kit as well as their attribute scores. Using this option is NOT OK!
  • Challenge must be played with SCS on maximum difficulty (Insane, not LoB). Reloading is allowed on party death, savescumming is not.
  • The challenge must be completed in CH1 with CH1 NPCs. This means no entering Nashkel/The Carnival for Minsc/Branwen/ others as this would prompt Chapter 2.
  • NPC relocations from BG1 NPC project are ok. Ie. Picking up Tiax in Beregost, Eldoth in the Coast Way etc. Technically, getting Coran and Faldorn from Cloakwood is also OK under NPC project rules. However, you cannot complete Coran's quest as this would make your party gain XP.
  • The challenge can be undertaken with any party of any size. However, once you start the challenge, you cannot leave the zone in order to swap NPCs (booting NPCs is OK)
    [*] I am allowed to loot/pickpocket items on the way, as long as doing so will not make me gain any XP (ie. no killing monsters for loot) I am also allowed to buy and sell items at shops with whatever meager means I have available. RULE CHANGE: The party must enter Durlag's BUTT-NAKED - all equipment, including starting equipment, potions etc must be dropped before entering the area. Equipment cannot be sold on the way and no extra gold looted! No scribing scrolls except those found in Durlag's! You need to contend with the equipment you find in the zone, no exceptions!
  • Once you enter Durlag's, you're not allowed to leave the zone until you've completed the challenge. You can use Erdane for trading purposes.

What do you think? Can it be done?


Post edited by Ballad on
JuliusBorisovOrlonKronsteenPokotaMirandelbutteredsoulCrevsDaak

Comments

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 686
    Let us know how you make out!

    JuliusBorisovThacoBellbutteredsoulCrevsDaak
  • AmmarAmmar Member Posts: 929
    The 0 XP for party members seems to be a potential issue here, at least depending on the exact BG version used. The usually start with some amount of XP > 0, i.e. Jaheira is fairly close to level 2 in both her classes when you pick her up at minimum level. According to Wiki Kagain starts with 115 XP.

    Though I think the latest SCS customisation component overrides starting XP.

    OrlonKronsteen
  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 557
    edited July 18
    What race/class is Gorion's Ward for this? As you won't have access to Minsc or Branwen or Dorn for this, you're going to need some sort of tank...

    E: a Forbidden companions list would help, now that I think about it. Lots of companions would be blocked normally due to either the Chapter 1 Rule or the No EXP Rule.
    • Minsc (Chapter 2)
    • Branwen (Chapter 2)
    • Edwin (Chapter 2)
    • Rasaad (Chapter 2)
    • Xan (Chapter 2)
    • Yeslick (Chapter 4)
    • Viconia (EXP Rule)
    • Neera (EXP Rule)
    • Garrick (EXP Rule)
    • Dorn (EXP Rule)
    • Dynaheir (Resources Rule - I don't remember if rescuing her without Minsc grants EXP but you'd need no less than three sources of Invisibility to pull this particular heist off, one of which would need to be transferable)
    • Baeloth (EXP Rule - his event normally doesn't fire if you're below a certain level, but other than that there's nothing stopping you from leaving the tower and coming back for him...)
    ...I'm looking at this list and 90% of my usual teams are already on here.

    leeuxOrlonKronsteenbutteredsoulCrevsDaak
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,718
    You could EEKeeper any xp to 0 on your companion(s). That would open up your options by a lot.

    Otherwise you've only got Imoen, Ajantis, Safana, Xzar, Montaron, and Shar-Teel to choose from. Not a bad group by any means but Anomen sticks out like a sore thumb in this group. If you don't want to torture him by forcing his LG ass to wander with you, you're left tankless with a lot of thieves!

    OrlonKronsteen
  • southfla79southfla79 Member Posts: 190
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 4,718
    Anomen in BG1?

    Sorry, meant Ajantis. I've been mostly playing BG2 lately so made a Freudian slip...

  • butteredsoulbutteredsoul Member Posts: 160
    edited July 19
    I hope you stream this somewhere, @Ballad .

  • PingwinPingwin Member Posts: 189
    I'd be surprised if you even make it past the battle horrors (or are they doom guards?) and doppelgangers hanging around on the path leading to the tower.

    sarevok57
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 5,219
    Pingwin wrote: »
    I'd be surprised if you even make it past the battle horrors (or are they doom guards?) and doppelgangers hanging around on the path leading to the tower.

    There are several ways the battle horrors could be done easily enough, e.g.
    - using wands available without gaining XP, e.g. frost from Nashkel Mine area (can circle round Nashkel to avoid chapter trigger) and fire from the ankheg nest.
    - using invisibility from potion or scroll to set up an invisible blocker allowing battle horrors to be safely attacked with a 2-handed weapon. For the one on the wall invisibility is not required as you can attack from the bottom of the wall where it can't reach you (with SCS though you will probably need to spend a while first persuading the skeletons to use up all their arrows on the best defended character).
    - there are enough scrolls / potions available to kill the first two battle horrors.

    A thief attacking from the shadows, or blinding the battle horrors, would be good options in the basic game, but become a pain with SCS due to the battle horrors' tendency to wander round whenever an enemy is not visible.

    JuliusBorisovCrevsDaakOrlonKronsteen
  • chimaerachimaera Member Posts: 932
    Within the rules of the challenge, you could obtain the fire wand from the ankhegs nest with a cleric using sanctuary. After that you can just kill the horrors and thats already a level. By the time you'd run out of charges that should be a level or two more.

    Now if the rules were you have to go to the tower with no exp and butt naked... :wink:

    CrevsDaakOrlonKronsteen
  • BalladBallad Member Posts: 196
    edited July 19
    chimaera wrote: »
    Within the rules of the challenge, you could obtain the fire wand from the ankhegs nest with a cleric using sanctuary. After that you can just kill the horrors and thats already a level. By the time you'd run out of charges that should be a level or two more.

    Now if the rules were you have to go to the tower with no exp and butt naked... :wink:

    I went to Ulgoth's for roleplaying reasons, mostly. B-lining for the dungeon felt a touch too, eh, Diablo-esque. ;)

    Your suggestion got me thinking, though... 0 exp and no gear should definitely be possible - it wouldn't even be that much harder actually (at least up to the point where I am now), just a lot more annoying and metagamey. With Tiax, you don't need any weapons to take care of the basilisks, and hitting level 3 gives most characters enough survivability to get past the battle horrors (they have a tendency to get stuck in corners, so you can actually pull them around the courtyard bend with a thief, hide, then let the rest of your party waltz in.)

    Once inside, it is not too difficult to loot the tower without aggroing the enemies. The Bastard Sword +1, Halberd +1, Rashad's Talon should provide enough power to take out some of the enemies. The skeletons in the courtyard should provide bows and basic ammunition for your archers. Surplus equipment can be sold to Erdane and should afford you the wand of fire, which you can use to take out the horrors (if you're so inclined.)

    EDIT: I hate you... ;) :p
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    Post edited by Ballad on
    OrlonKronsteenGrond0
  • BalladBallad Member Posts: 196
    Oh my Gosh, this is so much fun! Starting with no equipment really separates the wheat from the chaff! I can't wait to write a full report for you folks!

    butteredsoul
  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 397
    Sir/Madam, I applaud your dedication and tenacity, especially at the chess room! And here I'm just thinking back to how I cheesed it by just having my party drink 6 Potions of Absorption and then completely ignoring the lightning bolts as I ran across the board willy-nilly and hacked all the chess pieces apart. XD

    Ballad
  • butteredsoulbutteredsoul Member Posts: 160
    Are you sure it's over? You know there are people in Ulgoth's Beard who would be interested in the Soultaker Dagger....

    Adam_en_tium
  • BalladBallad Member Posts: 196
    Are you sure it's over? You know there are people in Ulgoth's Beard who would be interested in the Soultaker Dagger....

    I was hoping someone would say that! Sure, I'll get it to tonight...

    Adam_en_tiumbutteredsoul
  • BalladBallad Member Posts: 196
    I got to say, fighting the cultists upon arriving in Ulgoth's was probably the hardest fight in this entire challenge. There was no way to adequately prepare because of the travel time, and the assassins spawned right on my casters, taking them out before I could get a single spell off. I eventually won the fight with everyone but Charname and Kivan dead. Luckily Ulgoth's Inn stocks scrolls of raise dead, saving me the slog to Gellena's temple.

    ixkc02p5bshv.jpg

    In general, I had forgotten how annoying these cultists are. It seems like each troop is optimised for maximal annoyance - the archers shoot poison arrows, the assassins have endless charges of invisibility, the mages cast slow and confusion... Luckily, the ones in the building are pretty easy to separate, and once I got rid of the assassins and archers, the rest could be managed with precision tactics.

    There really wasn't much to the final fight. The named mage was probably the hardest of them all, but I could pull her upstairs. After that, it was smooth sailing: potions of freedom, mirrored eyes, protection from fire on Imoen, Kivan and Charname. I had Kivan focus fire on Aec while Imoen blasted the cultists with Wand of Fire. After they were all dead, I had Charname tank Aec, which was quite easy with 20 charges of Durlag's Goblet.

    72badr9062bl.jpg

    How's that for a finishing blow?

    butteredsoul
  • butteredsoulbutteredsoul Member Posts: 160
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 658

    Durlag's goblet my favourite cheat item if used well with a fighter type.

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