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The Arcane Prism

So, with Solo Heart of Fury runs being kind of crazy now, I decided to try something different: a party of 6 different specialist mages, with the following rules:

- A no-reload campaign set to Core Rules and no Max HP on level
- Initial spells must be chosen from the mage's specialist school. All scrolls acquired thereafter must be given to the party member who specializes in that school
- No purposefully farming XP

Obviously, some of the challenges are going to come from the lack of scrolls available and having 6 mages battle for the few items that are usable by mages.

Since we can only cover 6 schools, I have to go without 2 of them. Diviner seems an obvious choice, but what other school should I forego? That question might be better answered by answering another first, that being:

- Once a specialist mage has scribed a particular scroll, should I allow any of the other mages to scribe additional copies? With the -15% chance that comes with learning a non-specialist spell and the restriction to Core rules at all times, there is no guarantee this will be easy.

Comments

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,444
    edited October 2019
    That's a tough one. My first knee-jerk suggestion would be to leave out Abjurer, since there aren't many mage battles in IWD, but upon further reflection, you'd lose Dispel Magic so that's probably not a good idea. Definite needs are Abjurer, Conjurer, Invoker, and Enchanter. Transmuter allows Knock - which may be essential. Illusionist allows you to use a gnome for shorty saves and some nice survivability & cheese spells (mirror image, project image, invisibility, simulacrum, etc...). Diviner allows Identify & farsight type spells - if I remember correctly IWD gives a Diviner a few more useful spells but nothing you'll overly miss. Necromancer allows for undead summoning and some Insta-kill spells that will come in handy. I guess I'd go with Necromancer & Illusionist myself. You'll have to get creative to open locked doors and chests though. If you're going with all the other restrictions you mentioned, I'd make sure you buff to 25 INT before trying to scribe knock (and maybe do strength spell at same time).

    Post edited by Balrog99 on
  • AriakusAriakus Member Posts: 8
    Thanks! The first try went badly at the orc cave. No one's gained a level by then, so you're attempting to deal with a ton of foes, some being archers that get two shots a round, against a party of wizards with no armor or items, 6 HP at most, and no ability to negate critical hits.

    This is thinking outside of the box, but one way to go might be to have the leader bring everyone over to the inn to rest for the night and... *ahem* …murder the other 5 mages, do all the town quests alone, and then have the others raised again. The one mage should gain a level or two (hopefully) and have an HP buffer where they won't get one-shot (hopefully). Candidates would be the Conjurer (Armor and Find Familiar for the extra HP) or the Invoker (Shield) and possibly the Illusionist (Reflected Image). It's definitely a challenge!

  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,444
    edited October 2019
    Enchanter 'Sleep' with -2 penalty should be valuable in the low-level fights. Remember to gang-up on the orcs/goblins one at a time though. In IWDEE hostiles wake up when hit. Concentrate your attacks on the bowmen and kill them one at a time before they wake up.

    I didn't suggest this earlier, but most of your mages should have ranged attacks to start. I'd go with 1 staff wielder, 2 darters, 2 slingers and 1 dagger thrower. Slingers and dagger thrower should have 18 Strength (for the bonus damage). Darters only need good dexterity. The purpose of the staff dude is to bash sleeping wimps or kite the non-sleepers to keep them off your ranged mages. Start with Find-Familiar for your Conjurer and make him/her your staff kiter for some extra HP's. I'd pick ferret or rabbit in an all mage party. Ferret can pick pockets but rabbit can actually disarm traps (the ability can be boosted with the Luck spell too!).

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,340
    first cave piece of cake, as balrog99 said, enchanter with sleep will pretty much force all those ninies to fall down

    although in iwd if they get hit once they are instantly back up

    so what you can do is, is make your targets go to sleep, and then have everyone else use missile weaponry and sling 'em or dart 'em all at the same time

    and have a famaliar as a "tank"

    with a true neutral mage you can get a rabbit that has i believe -4 AC so the baddies should have a hard time hitting that bunny

    Balrog99
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,444
    sarevok57 wrote: »
    first cave piece of cake, as balrog99 said, enchanter with sleep will pretty much force all those ninies to fall down

    although in iwd if they get hit once they are instantly back up

    so what you can do is, is make your targets go to sleep, and then have everyone else use missile weaponry and sling 'em or dart 'em all at the same time

    and have a famaliar as a "tank"

    with a true neutral mage you can get a rabbit that has i believe -4 AC so the baddies should have a hard time hitting that bunny

    The familiars are only tanky in HoF mode. Since the OP mentioned playing on core, they will be fairly squishy. I'd recommend only using them on sleeping baddies.

  • AriakusAriakus Member Posts: 8
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    The familiars are only tanky in HoF mode. Since the OP mentioned playing on core, they will be fairly squishy. I'd recommend only using them on sleeping baddies.

    It's also no-reload, so using familiar to pick pockets or disarm traps is very risky as well.

    I pretty much used the strategy above, so maybe I was just unlucky. One thing I found that was a challenge was trying to synchronize the attacks on the sleeping foes. Each character needs to be equidistant from the foe in order to have all attacks automatically hit, but stones fly faster than daggers and darts, which makes things even more difficult. Also, each of those attacks has a different rate of fire, which means you have to stop everyone's attack, getting them into position while waiting for a 'new' round to start for each character, and then fire.

    But Sleep only lasts 5 rounds at first level, and those rounds go by quickly when organizing all of that. I'll give it another try eventually, but I decided on a Solo HoF No-reload run first (No monk this time!), but the Arcane Prism will be next :)

    Thanks for the advice!

    Balrog99
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 6,444
    Ariakus wrote: »
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    The familiars are only tanky in HoF mode. Since the OP mentioned playing on core, they will be fairly squishy. I'd recommend only using them on sleeping baddies.

    It's also no-reload, so using familiar to pick pockets or disarm traps is very risky as well.

    I pretty much used the strategy above, so maybe I was just unlucky. One thing I found that was a challenge was trying to synchronize the attacks on the sleeping foes. Each character needs to be equidistant from the foe in order to have all attacks automatically hit, but stones fly faster than daggers and darts, which makes things even more difficult. Also, each of those attacks has a different rate of fire, which means you have to stop everyone's attack, getting them into position while waiting for a 'new' round to start for each character, and then fire.

    But Sleep only lasts 5 rounds at first level, and those rounds go by quickly when organizing all of that. I'll give it another try eventually, but I decided on a Solo HoF No-reload run first (No monk this time!), but the Arcane Prism will be next :)

    Thanks for the advice!

    You could also go HoF mode just for a higher hp familiar, the wolf, the cellar beetles and the first few goblins. That would get you a couple levels b4 diving in full on. Just a suggestion if you don't mind a tiny bit of 'cheating'. An all mage party needs all the help it can get!

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.

  • AriakusAriakus Member Posts: 8
    So, I took some time off from Icewind Dale but have since returned and taken up this challenge once again.

    We now sit outside of Yxonemei's chamber...

    Given the restrictions I'm playing with, it's very hard to see a win here.

    From what I remember, you need at least +2 weapons to hit Yxonemei. I actually do have 4 weapons amongst the group that satisfy that: Spinesheath +1 (Thaco +5), The Summoner's Staff +3. Presio's Dagger +2 and Life Dagger +2. However, 4 wizards in melee against Yxonemei is obviously the last option, and we'd probably need a natural 20 to hit anyway. We have no ranged weapon option whatsoever here, as no one sells +2 ammunition at this point. I could try to buy the +3 Quarterstaff and +4 Dagger from Conlan in Kuldahar, but they're awfully expensive, and I'd need to sell everything I have if I could even afford it then. Lehland in the Severed Hand gives much better prices, so I'd wait until then to sell if I possibly can.

    She also has massive magic resistance and immunities as well, as I recall. Given the restriction for scribing scrolls that I've set, nearly all the damaging scrolls I have must go to the Invoker.

    Here's the scrolls each wizard currently has scribed (all are 8th level):

    Enchanter
    L1 - Charm Person, Friends, Sleep
    L2 - Luck
    L3 - Dire Charm
    L4 - Confusion

    Transmuter
    L1 - Burning Hands, Color Spray, Shocking Grasp
    L2 - Cat's Grace, Knock, Strength
    L3 - Haste, Slow
    L4 - Dimension Dorr, Polymorph Self

    Invoker
    L1 - Chromatic Orb, Magic Missile, Shield
    L2 - Agannazar's Scorcher, Stinking Cloud, Web
    L3 - Fireball, Icelance, Lance of Disruption, Lightning Bolt, Melf's Minute Meteors
    L4 - Ice Storm

    Necromancer
    L1 - Chill Touch, Grease, Larloch's Minor Drain
    L2 - Ghoul Touch, Horror
    L3 - Hold Undead, Skull Trap, Vampiric Touch
    L4 - none

    Conjurer
    L1 - Armor, Find Familiar, Grease
    L2 - Glitterdust, Melf's Acid Arrow
    L3 - Flame Arrow, Ghost Armor, Monster Summoning I
    L4 - none

    Illusionist
    L1 - Identify, Reflected Image, Spook
    L2 - Blindness, Blur, Deafness, Invisibility, Mirror Image
    L3 - Invisibility 10'Radius
    L4 - none

    My rule is that the 1st copy of any scroll my party gets has to go to the specialist wizard of the appropriate school. Once they scribe that scroll, any additional copies of that scroll can be learned by anyone else. However, being all specialist wizards, they have a -15% penalty to scribe scrolls outside of their specialist school. So, even with an 18 Int, the chance of scribing a scroll outside of their specialist school is only 70%, and with the rarity of scrolls, this is obviously a big gamble. I can use items and potions that raise intelligence, but those are very rare to come by.

    I have no permanent items that raise intelligence nor access to buy any. For potions, I currently have 5 Potions of Genius (+4) and 2 Potions of Mind Focusing (+3 Int and Dex). Oswald has 3 more Potions of Mind Focusing for sale. I know you can't stack potions of the same type, but I could get up to 25 Int by having a wizard drink both potions. Still, that would only get me to 85% with the penalty, and it might be smarter to just go with one potion for each wizard since a 21 Int would be an 82% chance (with the -15% penalty) and a 22 Int would be an 83% chance.

    The relevant scrolls I have on hand and have not yet scribed are as follows:

    L1 - Armor (Conjuration), Burning Hands (Alteration), Chill Touch (Necromancy), Chromatic Orb (Invocation), Color Spray (2, Alteration), Grease (Conjuration), Larloch's Minor Drain (Necromancy), Magic Missile (Evocation), Protection from Evil (Abjuration), Shield (Evocation), Shocking Grasp (Alteration)

    L2 - Agannazar's Scorcher (Evocation), Blur (Illusion), Mirror Image (Illusion)

    L3 - Flame Arrow (Conjuration), Haste (Alteration), Monster Summoning I (2, Conjuration), Protection from Cold (Abjuration), Protection from Fire (Abjuration), Protection from Normal Missiles (Abjuration), Skull Trap (Necromancy)

    Special Scrolls - Protection from Acid, Protection from Fire (2)

    I currently have about 13k gold on hand. The following relevant scrolls are still available from Orrick:

    L1 - Chromatic Orb (Evocation), Color Spray (Alteration), Magic Missile (Evocation), Shield (Evocation), Spook (Illusion)

    L2 - Agannazar's Scorcher (Invocation), Melf's Acid Arrow (Conjuration), Mirror Image (Illusion), Ray of Enfeeblement (Enchantment), Snilloc's Snowball Storm (Evocation), Vocalize (Alteration), Web (Evocation)

    L3 - Dispel Magic (2, Abjuration), Lightning Bolt (Invocation)

    L4 - Emotion: Fear (Enchantment), Minor Sequencer (Invocation), Monster Summoning II (Conjuration), Mordenkainen's Force Missilies (Invocation), Shout (Invocation), Spirit Armor (Necromancy), Vitriolic Sphere (Conjuration)

    For potions, we can't use any of the obvious combat potions like Heroism or Strength potions (higher than 18 strength, anyway). We have the following potions on hand:

    Potions on Hand: Absorption (+10 AC vs Crushing, 100% resistance to Electricity), Fire Resistance (2), Freedom (3), Insulation, Oil of Fiery Burning, Oil of the Serpent's Scales (5), Oil of Speed, Regeneration, Stone Form (3, AC 0, +3 Saves, -3 Dex)

    Healing Potions on Hand: Antidote (12), Elixir of Health (1, +10 HP, cures Poison and Disease), Extra Healing (9, +18 HP), Healing (21, +9 HP), Mummy's Tea (7, cures Blindness, Deafness, Disease).

    Damaging Potions: Flaming Oil (9, 2d8 Fire)

    The following potions are available to be bought:

    Healing (unlimited)
    Elixir of Health (unlimited)
    Antidote (unlimited)
    Mummy's Tea (unlimited)
    Fire Resistance (3)
    Fiery Burning (3)
    Oil of Speed (3)
    Agility (3)
    Mind Focusing (3)
    Freedom (3)
    Flaming Oil (30)

    Obviously, with 6 specialist wizards, magic items I can actually use are very limited.

    Magic Items I have on hand of relevant use:

    Robe of Enfusing (1)
    Necromancer's Robe (1)
    Bracers of AC 6 (1)
    Deep Red Ioun Stone (1, +1 Dex)
    Black Wolf Talisman
    Mantle of the Coming Storm (1, +30% Fire/Cold Resistance, Free Action 1x/day for 4 turns)
    Boots of Many Paths (Blur 1x/day, 7 rounds)

    Charged items I have on hand:

    The Summoner's Staff (Flame Arrow, 2 arrows doing 1d6 missile and 4d6 Fire each, Monster Summoning IV, 1d3 monsters, 15 rounds, Invisible Stalker, 8 HD, 2 hours, 15 charges)
    Wand of Magic Missiles (1 missile, 1d4+1 magic damage, 22 charges)
    Blur Deck (11 charges)
    Holy Chaos! Deck (13 charges)
    Wand of Armory (Shield for 15 rounds or Ghost Armor for 7 rounds, 24 charges)

    Relevant magic items available to buy:

    Clasp of Bron's Cloak (5% Piercing/Slashing/Missile resistance)
    Robe of Enfusing
    Shimmering Sash (Constant Blur)
    Wand of Freezing Death (Icelance for 5d6 Cold, Snilloc's Snowball Swarm for 4d3 cold, Ice Storm for 3d10 Cold, unknown charges)
    Pemby's Wand of Many Missiles (Magic Missile - 3 missiles doing 1d4+1 each, unknown charges)
    Jasper's Ring of Shocking Grasp (Shocking Grasp 4x/day doing 1d8+2 electrical)

    So the obvious issues are as follows:

    1. Doing enough damage to Yxonemei to actually kill her is going to be a challenge even if she was alone and just sitting there. We somehow need to do enough spell damage to kill her and also all her minions.

    2. The traps! I've had to burn a lot of Antidote potions to cure poisons as we've gone through the last level of Dragon's Eye. We have no way to detect or disarm traps at all, and although I have a decent idea of where they lie at least outside her chamber, one bad move and they trigger and we're going to need to be running a great deal, I think.

    3. I was hoping to save my things to sell until we reached Lehland to get the most gold from them, but there's no retreat from the Yxonemei battle, as I recall, so I'm willing to blow every last gold piece if that's what it takes. I don't know how much that will be, but probably not enough to get every single scroll, potion or item I want.

    4. We obviously need to scribe as many damaging spells as possible and spread those out amongst the wizards, so each has as at least 1 damage spell, ideally at each spell level, to throw at her. But what is the best way to do that?

    5. We have no way to negate critical hits which would be an instant one-shot on an 8th level wizard ( I didn't set Max HP/level)

    It's going to be rough. Any advice on the Yxonemei battle or resource allocation would be very welcome. Thanks!

  • ThoriumThorium Member Posts: 4
    First of all, this setting sounds really challenging and intriguing. :) Although I have not tried all-mage party yet, I have some experience in fighting Yxunomei with parties that lack proper resources.

    My advices would be:
    - Melf's minute meteors gives you powerful projectile weapons (they are treated as +6 I think).
    - Oils of fiery burning are good as substitute fireballs.
    - The Summoner's Staff is a valuable tool since it allows you to summon creatures without casting time.
    - The traps inside the chamber should not trigger unless you wander too deep in there.
    - This is probably already kind of obvious to you: besides direct damage spells, AoE control spells (Grease, Web, Stinking Cloud, Horror, Color Spray etc.) and summoning spells are handy in this battle. At least your illusionist and enchanter seem to be good candidates to teach new spells.

    So, my general strategy would be to stay near the doorway and sling in all kinds of spells and also to summon creatures to take hits from the yuan-ti.

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