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Mighty Polymorphin' Power Rangers [Canceled]



  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    Episode 29: The Cult of Aec'Letec

    To start the session, we sell the loot from the tower. It takes multiple trips to Erdane, plus another trip to Beregost for the stuff he won't take.
    Then we visit Baldur's Gate to buy some +2 bolts for Randy - he's getting low. That leads to an encounter...
    We'll take that into account when we return. For now, we have other things to do. Silence shelters us for the night, and we head back out to Ulgoth's Beard.
    Despite our refusal, he somehow takes the dagger. And then, we face the cult in battle. Imoen and Quayle cast their Stoneskins, while the rest of the party attacks. The stoneskins don't last long, as the enforcer has enough levels to dispel them. They do, however, serve another purpose and direct the backstab attacks onto some of my tougher party members.
    The enforcer is the first to fall, dying to Faldorn's poison. We stun one assassin and hit the other with a Wand of the Heavens. Then the melee guards catch up, and Coran is knocked down under 20 HP - time for a potion of extra healing. All the while, Faldorn is dealing with the archers, racing between them to attack whichever has their bow equipped for bonus damage.
    The last few enemies all fall practically at once.

    Then, a visit to Hurgan Stoneblade:
    There is no time to waste. We cannot allow their ritual to succeed.
    Agreed. They won't raise a demon on our watch.

    The warriors drink potions of heroism, Rasaad adds a potion of strength 21, and everybody who isn't already hasted adds oils of speed. In the upcoming fight, we must be at our best.
    Next come the door guards.
    We attack the archers first, then have to reissue the order because the game is stupid about it. Rasaad lands a crit:
    For the guards, we use some Wand of Fear charges to break them up, and then let our archers kite the survivors. Damage is minimized, and we're ready to move in.
    Incidentally, these battles are somewhat less profitable than in the vanilla game; SCS makes it so that the cultists tend to use their potions of heroism.

    Inside, the cult is gathered to fight us.
    We attack the wizard, and get off several hits. Then he casts Mantle; we can't break that, so we retreat.
    Outside, Faldorn finishes the job with a Wand of the Heavens, going straight over the wizard's Minor Spell Turning. (She switched to salamander form just in case that got reflected)
    The archer and guard are easily mopped up. Now we have to go back in, where two assassins and an enforcer are waiting. Everyone switches to melee weapons to minimize any backstabs...

    Sorry - camera glitch. I'll get the next one.

    We use the Detect Invisibility from Albruin, and then hit the assassins with Wand of the Heavens charges - one dies, the other is badly injured. The one that died drank a potion of invisibility, but it was too late.
    The Enforcer gets a Wand of Paralyzation hit instead - magic resistance. Huh, these guys must get some real benefits from their patron.
    We take down the second assassin and focus on the enforcer. That leads to some pain - a Remove Magic and then a Cone of Cold, plus melee hits as the enforcer tanks with Stoneskin and Mirror Image.
    That shot was taken after the Stoneskin was already down, so he fell quickly. The guard didn't last long after that, either.

    The party heals and rebuffs. For the upcoming battle, we want to be at our best.

    Hey, isn't this Shandalar's property? Shouldn't he be here to get rid of these squatters?
    Epic wizards - never paying attention to the little things like demon cults in their vacation homes.
    Focus, people - we've got a cult to stop.

    Uh, boss? We have a problem. The basement set's flooded. We're going to need a couple hours to pump it out.
    Right. Well, I guess there's nothing for it. Take a break and come back in two hours, everybody.

    (Another crash, probably from the polymorphs)

    We have a save right outside the cult stronghold, so we'll start from there.

    This time - no messing around. I hit the cult wizard with three Wand of the Heavens hits, and he's out. The other cultists follow, and an assassin gets a 33-point backstab on Imoen. Still, we recover.
    Ah, a multiple-WoH hit disrupting a cast. I love the smell of burning spellcaster in the evening. We didn't get dispelled this time, so the re-buffing routine will be shorter.
    The second assassin is still inside, for which Quayle has a Detect Invisibility memorized. No further damage, and we're ready for the boss fight. Save, buff up, and head in.
    We focus on the cult leader, taking her down quickly. Unfortunately, she got off one spell - a Remove Magic. Half our party is no longer protected from the demon's gaze.
    The battle continues, slowly. Our webs seem completely ineffective against both the cultists and the demon, and we use a number of healing potions.
    In fact, it goes on long enough that the webs and our mirror eye potions expire. Rasaad gets the finishing blow.
    Fortunately, we didn't get hit by any gaze attacks in the later stages; Aec'Letec kept to Silence and melee attacks.
    And - huh, silence blocks Polymorph Self transformations. Good to know. We have to wait for the effect to expire before transforming back to normal.

    We check in with Therella - apparently, Dalton ran off again.
    And finally, we return to Hurgan Stoneblade. This is a great victory, and it is time to celebrate.

    Come, have a drink with us. This is a day for celebration!
    Well, I suppose I don't have to leave right this minute.
    And another round for the hero of the moment. What's your favorite, Rasaad?
    Coffee. I don't drink anything alcoholic.
    Well, um, OK. Everybody chooses their own drink, then.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    Episode 30: The Island of Werewolves

    We return the sea charts to Mendas. His boat will be ready momentarily.
    Escaping the wreck brings us to an island - an inhabited island, though the locals are strange. The first we see is a child:
    She knows enough to explain that her ancestors came on a ship, and to direct us to the village leader Kaishas.
    After exploring for a bit, we find Kaishas in the center of a walled village. She confirms that the charts have led us true -
    - but that "beasts" hold the wreck of Balduran's ship, and we must defeat them to secure a way off the island. We press a little more, and she elaborates:
    Lycanthropes. The wreck must be held by lycanthropes.
    Yes, but I wonder what she was saying about the villagers. "Like, but not like"? Are the villagers lycanthropes as well?
    They certainly could be. Still, we shouldn't let that color our dealings with them. Right now, they're friendly enough.

    Now that the villagers are willing to talk, we go back to talk with them. Maralee needs us to find her son, who was taken by the "wolf creatures". Evalt wants his brother back from a "witch" on the west coast. Little Farthing wants her dolly. Then old Taloun gives us a warning:
    OK, now I'm sure. The villagers are definitely lycanthropes. They've got some control, since they're not turned right now, but the longer we stay the more we risk infection.
    So let's get out there and get what we need to leave this island as fast as possible.

    The historian Delainy wants us to find a cloak that blew away in the storm. And now, we head out beyond the village walls.

    As we reach the wild northern half of the island, the party distributes some potions. Heroism for the warriors, plus strength 22 and invulnerability for Rasaad.
    The trouble we worried about comes quickly.
    The battle he leads us to is in fact an ambush, but it also solves a quest for us; Palin had picked up Farthing's doll.

    Meym gives us cryptic warnings - then, at our impatience, comes straight out to say that Kaishas will kill us after she gets what she wants. He tries to attack, but dies before he can act.
    These wolfweres aren't very smart. Attacking our party alone just like that?

    Then comes the sirine queen. She tries to talk us out of attacking, but we can see the results of her treacherous magic.
    In battle, she goes down quickly, without managing either an offensive spell or an attack.
    In fact, none of her four sirine minions manage any offense, either.

    Continuing on, we face wolf packs and stray wolfweres. Then a woman named Kryla tells us her husband Jondal was ambushed and killed... we follow her, but we expect a trap. Indeed, Jondal is alive, and waiting to ambush us in his wolfwere form. It's not any more effective than the other ambushes.

    Then we find a proper building. It contains Dradeel, a survivor of the original expedition.
    He will give us a charm to aid in the fight, in exchange for us retrieving his spellbook so he can escape. Fair enough.
    We also pick up a staff mace (new melee weapon for Imoen) and the cloak Delainey was looking for.

    And now, we enter the ship. A large pack of wolves waits within, so Imoen goes to thin the herd with a cast of Horror.
    Rasaad takes some hits and drops below half health, but we are able to clear space for our archers to work. The pack goes down quickly at that point.

    For the next floor, we go with a lure/retreat plan. Faldorn takes a couple hits, but the battle is easy enough. The second floor holds a werebane dagger; now three party members have specialized anti-werewolf weapons.

    Luring and retreating for the third floor needs a couple iterations; the first batch came out right next to the archers. Our warriors' potions have worn off as well, so we renew them.
    The top floor holds Karoug. He talks first, but the child he holds belies his intentions. There will be a fight.
    But, of course, we'd rather not have the fight up here.
    The mage Daese is the first to follow us down. His stoneskin and mirror images don't even last a round. Then come the ordenary wolfweres, and finally Karoug is alone.
    He survives that first round, but the second round of Wand of the Heavens blasts takes him out.
    We return to the top floor, and retrieve the logbook we came for. We also find a bastard sword with even stronger anti-lycanthrope enchantments than Kondar, and Dradeel's spellbook.

    Heading back, Dradeel teleports away as soon as he has his spellbook. Delainey gets her cloak, and then looks at the belladonna flowers we've picked up. Farthing gets her dolly, Evalt gets his brother's body, and Maralee gets her son back.
    Now it's time to talk to Kaishas again. She reveals that she has infected us!

    Wait... how did you infect us? I thought that required a bite, and we certainly haven't been bitten by any villagers.
    Even Peladan didn't bite. I fed him myself!
    Don't miss out. Bite me!
    Oh, all right, I didn't actually infect you. But I could! You won't leave without my approval!
    All right, Faldorn, if you want to be a werewolf, we'll let you as long as you keep the transformation controlled.

    Unfortunately, Kaishas' companion Tailas butts in.
    It seems the villagers are not united in this. Some want nothing more than to slaughter all outsiders. I suppose we will have to fight, then.

    We kill a few werewolves in our way, and then Delainey leads us to a passage through some caves to the boat. Dradeel also shows up, to offer us a bit of information before teleporting off the island entirely.
    The twisted caves conceal a number of werewolves, but they are helpless against us attacking in ones and twos.

    At the ship, Kaishas stands alone. We try negotiation; we have been aiding this village all along, and we have no problem with transformation.
    She is reluctant, but Delainey and Maralee arrive to add their pleas - we will be allowed to leave. It only remains to confront Selaad - or, as the mendacious man called himself, "Mendas".

    The voyage back is quiet. We are greeted at the docks by Baresh, a companion of "Mendas". While no immediate battle ensues, it is clear that Selaad will not take our return well. The party prepares for battle.
    Our initial attacks are focused on the mage Mendas, tearing down his stoneskin and images within moments. Then, as soon as he transforms, we unleash the wands.
    Three charges from each of our single-target damage wands, and it's over.
    The tale of the werewolf island is over. Now, all that remains is to return to Baldur's Gate and stop Sarevok's scheme.

    Drat. I really wanted to be a werewolf.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    Episode 31: The Brink of War

    The party returns to Baldur's Gate, where they purchase more ammo and sell Balduran's effects to the collector. Our use of a haste spell has begun to fatigue the party, but we begin our investigations anyway. The Harper Delthyr speaks with us, and reveals that Scar has been murdered - with clues that could start a war.
    Our first priority, of course, must be to aid Duke Eltan. He is ill, and his healer's actions are suspicious.
    We sneak into the southwestern sector, using Randy's stealth to avoid Flaming Fist patrols. At the gates of the castle, Tamoko comes out to speak with us, and reveals her true intent.
    Everyone deserves a chance at redemption. We'll give him that chance.
    For your sake, I hope he accepts. I don't want you to have to kill your brother too.
    Brother? .... Oh, that. You're right, Rasaad. I hope too. I just don't think it's likely that he'll give up.

    Then, Tamoko tells us of the murderers Slythe and Krystin, who are Scar's true killers.
    She also points to a woman named Cythandria, up in the Iron Throne headquarters. A fruitful conversation.

    Inside the castle, we are faced with a group of mercenaries.
    A Command takes care of the leader, and Faldorn throws a Web down for the rest. Rasaad takes a bit of damage from a pair of Unholy Blight spells, but the rest of the party is unscathed.

    Well, it looks like Duke Eltan's replacement isn't even trying to be fair. We definitely need the duke back to deal with this travesty.

    Upstairs we go, and unsurprisingly the "healer" Rashad is a doppelganger.

    The clip's missing.
    Just put in some stock footage. We've got plenty of doppelganger shots.

    Once the doppelganger is defeated, Duke Eltan bids us take him to the Harbormaster for recovery, and we receive a letter naming Slythe and Krystin again.

    Before that, we'll deal with this Cythandria. Although several people accost us on our way up the Iron Throne headquarters, none try to stop us; Sarevok has lost the loyalty of his old organization.

    Cythandria is as disagreeable as we were led to believe.
    Faldorn tries a Web, but Cythandria has a Minor Globe up. Since we're unlikely to be able to disrupt her right away, the party retreats downstairs, taking out her two golems when they follow.
    Back up top, we get out the special ammo. Unfortunately, most of the first wave attacks miss (including the arrow of dispelling), and she gets the party with a Slow spell. For that, we just pop back down and wait it out.
    Back up on the top level, the second arrow of dispelling works. No more stoneskin.
    She has one last trick - a fireball that hits Faldorn for 50 points. Ouch - that negative luck came back to bite us, hard.
    We need rest. Immediately.
    If we wait, those killers might get away. We need to act now!

    We drink some healing potions and press on.

    The Harbor Master takes Duke Eltan, so one thread is resolved.
    Now, for the murderers. We want to do this tonight, before they have a chance to get away. And for that, we're going to use the sewer entrance to the Undercellar.
    Against these two, we go with Haste, True Seeing, and Insect Plague.
    Slythe dies even before the plague arrives.
    Krystin lasts a bit longer with her PfMW, but the Insect Plague and a Sun Soulray stop her from doing anything offensive except a few MMM shots.
    We now have invitations to Sarevok's coronation, at midday.

    Can we rest now?
    Yes. There's just enough time for a good rest before the coronation. Prepare your best, because we don't know what trouble Sarevok has brought to the party.

    The invitations we appropriated from Slythe and Krystin are enough to get us into the coronation.
    We enter the main hall, and find that Sarevok is using the occasion to press for war.
    The dukes are not so eager - but then the next phase of the plan emerges. Many of the noble guests have been replaced by doppelgangers, which attack. Our party unleashes a trio of Webs as they emerge.
    Unfortunately, some of the elite doppelgangers slipped the webs. We try a Detect Invisibility to stop the assassin, but...
    And then a Chaos hits and Rasaad is forced to kill a Flaming Fist member ... no. That didn't happen.

    Places, everyone. Let's see that coronation again!

    Take two goes much better. We hit the doppelganger mage with a dispelling arrow early on, and then take down the shaman.
    Cast Detect Invisibility... assassin instantly drinks a potion to go invisible again. Argh. Thankfully, we have a second cast of it, from Albruin. The assassin is webbed right now, so we shoot it down. Soon, the battle is won.
    We show the dukes the documents revealing Sarevok's treachery. Without this evidence, the plan was a win/win; even if the dukes had weathered this surprise attack and slain the doppelgangers, the clear treachery would have been all Sarevok needed to start the war he wanted.

    Then, with Liia's Teleport Field still up, Sarevok loses patience and attacks us, effectively confessing his guilt. Rather than try to fight him, we just run around. With one last taunt, he teleports away.
    I don't get it. He's sounding like a mad cultist. War for war's sake? Countries only start wars when they think there's something to gain.
    Maybe he is a mad cultist - we've seen that Sarevok is very interested in Bhaal. And what is war but murder on the grandest scale?

    The dukes teleport us to the thieves' guild, where Sarevok came through. It's time to chase him down and end his madness.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    Episode 32: Endgame

    We sell some junk, drink potions, and head down into the maze after Sarevok. There is no time to lose.
    Voleta can't tell us much - only that the maze ahead is well-trapped.

    The first obstacles we find are oozes; the party tears through them with frightening speed. Then a pair of doom guards - with everyone hasted and the warriors having boosted strength, they're easy prey as well. The trap-guarded skeleton warriors are a bit trickier, but they're not immune to arrows. and ... ouch, that's what I get for ignoring a trap warning.
    Faldorn summons a pair of nymphs for the mass healing, and we make up the rest with some spells. We'll rely on potions for any further healing.

    Before long, we reach the maze's end. Sarevok's mentor lies there, discarded and forgotten.
    Should we do anything about him?
    No, there's no point.

    We don't go down right away; there are other paths we haven't explored, and monsters to kill.
    Oh, and here's what paying proper attention to the wall marks looks like.
    After finishing the exploration and killing a few invisible stalkers, we take that passage to the Undercity.

    There's one nasty fight coming up, and I bring out special weapons for it - arrows of detonation.
    It took about a round to get there. Yeah, that's what arrows of detonation do, on both sides. At least Rahvin's dead and the rest are badly weakened. Mopping up is trivial from there.

    Tamoko confronts us one last time, but we talk her down.
    I'm sorry it had to come to this - but you know Sarevok isn't going to let it end any other way.

    Before we enter the temple, there are all sorts of undead around. Rasaad and Faldorn use Protection from Undead scrolls, and go hunting. The scrolls last just long enough to clear the map.

    We head inside, and buff to the roof with potions. Every party member has either 100% magic resistance or 100% fire/cold/lightning resistance and auto-success saves. They've all got haste going. Five out of six have boosted THAC0. The warriors have strength 23 or better. We've got True Seeing going. It's time.
    You distracted me! Now I don't have True Seeing active!
    We'll all be sorry when we have to deal with invisible attackers. Keep your eyes sharp!

    (That was a misclick, of course. I just integrated it into the narrative.)

    Sarevok! It's over! You won't bring back Bhaal!
    I thought you were mad before, but this? This is even worse!

    The battle is joined. We unleash webs, then move around to avoid Sarevok's attacks while we take on the acolytes. The mages get arrows of dispelling when they show up. Then Sarevok taunts us.
    I am invincible!
    No, you're not. One down...

    Imoen loses her web immunity, and Sarevok gets to her... dead.
    We raise Imoen with a scroll, and keep going. Another enemy falls, and I target Sarevok with Called Shot to weaken him...
    Then, Coran finally lands a dispel arrow on Semaj. We'll have the mages out of this soon.
    Semaj still manages to get off more spells, and confuses Coran. But, finally, he dies. It's just Sarevok and some skeletons now.
    And then - Wand of Paralyzation success. Sarevok is stunned, and that means he's doomed.
    We mop up the skeletons, and then focus on Sarevok. Faldorn gets the killing blow.
    It's over. We've finally beaten Sarevok.
    No more need for Power Rangers. It's time to disband this team.
    This evil is ended, but others remain. I have no doubt that there will be need for Rangers. I will stand with you when that time comes.
    So will I. Nothing could separate the two of us.
    Count me out. I've got a baby to help take care of, and the life of an adventurer is no good for that.
    I need to return to the forest for a time, but I expect we'll meet again. This Green Ranger isn't retired for good.
    I'm too old for this; no more adventuring for me. I'll be back with the circus, training my apprentice - maybe she can help you.
    I know I said I'd be with you, but I have to check in with the Sun Soul temple first. They need to know what happened with the Dark Moon sect here. Goodbye, Randy.

    And ... it feels off. We can do better. All right, time for take 2 on the final battle. This time, we add a few priestly scrolls to the buff list, and Quayle morphs. Imoen stays unmorphed so that she can use dispelling arrows. Also, we cast that True Seeing successfully.
    This time around, Angelo and Diarmid go down without doing anything effective. Semaj opens with a PfMW which gives him four rounds of protection.
    Tazok goes down, and Sarevok is webbed - time for the Called Shot.
    About a round later, Semaj finally loses his weapon protection, and we hit him with a dispelling arrow. It's also time to further penalize Sarevok's saves with Called Shot and another Greater Malison (casted from a scroll). A bit more of that, and the very slippery Semaj is toast.
    The Wand of Paralyzation hit on Sarevok is something of an anticlimax, with how we've shredded his saves.
    The last skeleton has a very surprising drop:
    A scroll of Dimension Door? I thought those were supposed to be completely impossible to get. Of course, at this point, we have no use for it. And, for that matter, our mages only had two level 4 slots each; those were always used for Polymorph Self and Stoneskin, so no room to cast Dimension Door.

    Oh, and one note on our buff sequence ... Quayle drank a potion (strength 18), had Champion's Strength cast on him (strength 18/00), and transformed into a flind (strength 17}. Final strength? 17. The game just had to pick the worst interpretation.

    Sarevok falls with no further incident. I didn't catch the final blow this time.

    The only offensive spells the enemy mages got off in take two were a couple of ineffective Remove Magics. Only Rasaad and Faldorn took any damage, and the potions that dropped during the battle were sufficient to heal them. I didn't even need many sacrificial summons to distract Sarevok before his defenses weakened (25% physical and magical resistance per remaining minion). All in all, an excellent battle, and a much more satisfying ending than the first take.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    Season 1 endnotes:

    Some final stats for the party:
    Randy: 1119 kills for 376114 total XP. Strongest Ungh with 8000 (Cythandria's minion).
    Imoen: 142 kills for 59876 total XP. Strongest Battle Horror with 4000.
    Coran: 544 kills for 282798 total XP. Strongest Greater Wolfwere with 8000 (Karoug).
    Quayle: 118 kills for 53359 total XP. Strongest Ramazith with 4000.
    Faldorn: 572 kills for 332368 total XP. Strongest Demon Knight with 15000.
    Rasaad: 371 kills for 167695 total XP. Strongest Davaeorn with 6000.

    Aec'Letec's 16000 XP is handled as a quest reward, so it doesn't show up as Rasaad's best.

    Randy ends with 240114 XP; while I didn't eliminate the XP cap, I did nullify most of the resets caused by loading a save past the cap. The party was effectively allowed to accumulate experience, but not use it.

    The story of this Baldur's Gate 1 campaign included 561 pictures, all full or partial screenshots.

    Polymorphing is fun, and the Polymorph Self spell is great, but the cracks are showing. A few crashes here and there, always around the day's big battle when multiple characters morph ... it will get worse.

    Posting will resume for the abbreviated BG2 run on Monday.

  • RaoRao Member Posts: 121
    Congrats on posting all the way up through the end of BG1! Looking forward to seeing what BG2'll be like :)

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    Mighty Polymorphin' Power Rangers returns, for season two.
    Opening Credits
    Season Two

    Theme song

    Introducing - the Rangers!
    First we have Randy, the Red Ranger. He is an archer, specializing in crossbows, who transforms into a towering golem every chance he gets!
    (Giving him this gear is very much a cheat - but I want Randy to be able to transform before the extreme endgame.)
    Randy's persistence has been rewarded, as he now has the legendary Red Morpher and all of its accessories. Very little can stand up to its awesome power.

    Second, the inventive mage/thief Jan, the Orange Ranger. He dazzles his foes with powerful illusions, then sneaks behind them to smash them as an ogre!
    Jan joined Randy in gratitude for his protection when one of his schemes went south, and has become fast friends with his new companions.

    Third, the troubled cleric/mage Aerie, the Blue Ranger. She wields an astonishing array of spells, and transforms into a spider when those are not enough!
    (The missing paperdoll for spider form was consistent across all attempts, so I just used one of those pictures)
    Aerie was Quayle's apprentice, and is making her way on her own for the first time. The loss of her wings weighs heavily on her, but her new companions keep her spirits up.

    Fourth, the devout monk Rasaad, the Yellow Ranger. He prefers to fight with his fists, but transforms into a nearly indestructible ooze when danger strikes!
    Rasaad has been a longtime companion of Randy, and is the only other returning Ranger. The team just wouldn't be the same without him.

    Fifth, the stoic druid Cernd, the Green Ranger. He aids the party with powerful spells, and enters battle as a werewolf!
    Cernd has taken up the mantle of our former companion Faldorn, and travels with the Rangers to find his place in the world.

    Sixth, the jovial bard Haer'Dalis, the White Ranger. He wields flashy short swords and tricky spells, but for the toughest battles he prefers the flind's long blade.
    (Pictures taken under the effect of a potion of mind focusing, left over from a pre-rest scribing session)
    Haer'Dalis owes Randy and companions a great debt for his rescue, and has chosen to repay it with enduring loyalty.

    The team, together and ready for anything:
    (Taking that explosion shot required several attempts, as attempting to equip the oils of burning to morphed characters crashed the game multiple times.)
    It's morphin' time!

    Relevant mods:
    SCS (most but not all components, played at Insane difficulty without increased damage)
    Unfinished Business (most but not all components)
    Portraits Portraits Everywhere
    Bigger Bard Song

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    Episode 1: The Red Ranger

    Randy awakens in a cage.
    Fortunately, his captor is distracted, and Randy gets the chance to escape when Imoen arrives; she was captured as well, and has gotten free through some good fortune.

    In a safe hidden behind a painting, Randy finds something amazing:
    Apparently, Elminster came through - he found that smith who wanted the golden pantaloons, and picked up this Big Metal Unit. Randy can now transform, into an incredibly tough golem!
    Imoen tries to morph as well...

    Something's wrong, Randy. I can't transform properly!
    It must be that cursed belt you've got on.
    I can't transform properly, but at least I can still use the attacks of those forms.

    To demonstrate this, Imoen takes up the ogre's club. A Smoke Mephit gets a 51-point backwhack.
    The jailkeep golem, though - weapon ineffective. Ogre form hits as nonmagical in BG2. As such, Imoen morphs again and attacks it with globs of jelly.

    While Imoen is attacking the golem, Randy heads forward to meet a genie and takes on an ogre mage; Scorcher ammo is very effective.
    Imoen finishes off the golem while Randy goes out hunting goblins and mephits ... the Polymorph Self wears off, and Imoen still has her ooze weapon active. So buggy...
    Freeing Rielev brings Randy to just 500 XP short of 250K...

    Hey, Randy, there are some other people here. I see Minsc and Jaheira in cages. Let's free them!

    Jaheira is freed, and the XP trigger brings her up to level 8/10. Imoen goes up to mage level 10 as well.
    From there, we clear out monsters, with Randy often working alone so that his scorchers and frag grenades don't hurt his allies.
    We pick up the Claw of Kazgaroth, then speak to the dryads.

    They're prisoners too? Randy, we have to free them.
    I agree. We will find this Ilyich and get those acorns back.

    I go to have Imoen cast Armor ... she can't. The bugged polymorph has locked her completely out of casting spells, permanently. Likely, only casting polymorph again (from a scroll) and transforming to human would work.
    Well then. I'll just have to clear this dungeon with martial prowess.

    Randy goes to face Ilyich and demand the acorns...
    He doesn't cooperate.
    The only damage Randy took was from the mage's Magic Missile. The Big Metal Unit is fantastic protection. Chain mail +3 recovered, along with the acorns.

    We release a Cambion, and destroy it before it can attack. Jaheira led it in circles, while Randy's Pulse bolts and Minsc's arrows struck it down.
    Mephits in the air room ... they stun Randy, and take him apart with melee attacks. Reloaded.
    The second time around ... still stunned, but this time he had melee weapons equipped. Randy survives, although Jaheira didn't get her Call Lightning off.
    The djinn Malaaq offers to return an item of ours - if we can find the flask he is imprisoned in. The dryads gladly solve that, as they had been holding the flask.
    The item we receive, though, is strange - it is Sarevok's sword.

    This isn't ours. Why would Irenicus' djinn hold Sarevok's blade for us? Well - waste not, want not. Minsc, do you want a new sword?
    Boo says this sword will kick many evil butts!
    I'll take that as a yes.

    And with that, we're ready to move forward.
    Just beyond the portal, we meet the thief Yoshimo; he joins, and levels up to 11. The mephits in the next room do some damage, but their summoning portals don't last long against our ranged firepower.
    Khalid is here as well - dead, and desecrated beyond hope of resurrection. Jaheira announces her intention to spend some time mourning her lost husband, as soon as we get out of here.

    We move forward, disarming more traps and even picking up a number of wands. A side room holds the vampire Ulvaryl and a number of Shadow Thieves; since Ulvaryl is immune to +1 weapons, she's rather hard to kill at this point. We give it a try anyway. And, on the third try or so - Ulvaryl fails a save against the Shadow Thief mage's Chromatic Orb. Stunned.
    Not what I was planning on, but I'll take it.
    Yoshimo backstabs... successful, for a total of 13 damage. He rolled the minimum. Oh well.

    And naturally, the Shadow Thieves are now hostile after we killed the vampire. Sigh.
    Then, in a side room full of duergar, Randy finds something of great value to him - a heavy crossbow. With the +2 damage from that, his special bolts now deal physical damage as well as their magic or fire - a gain of 8 points on every attack. At five attacks per round, that's a big deal.

    A Shadow Thief at the exit accuses us of being from a rival guild in league with Irenicus - his paranoia will be his doom.
    All three assassins fall quickly to scorcher bolts.

    We rest in the sewers near the exits; Jaheira should prepare some better spells, and I'd like to get use out of at least some of Imoen's spell slots.
    And - wow, I can't even use Identify like this. Oh well, identification difficulties are not a long-term problem with my planned party.

    We are greeted by Irenicus on exiting, and Imoen has somehow changed into a different, less vibrant, cloak.
    Mages arrive, and accuse Irenicus of "illegal use of magic". While apprehending him is their main priority, they also take interest in Imoen - and she is taken away as well.

    Imoen! I will find you, and free you from those meddling mages!
    Something's off - that cloak was too pale, and Imoen was having trouble casting spells earlier. Could she have been replaced before that incident somehow?
    Irenicus did have a doppelganger imprisoned there. It's certainly possible that another impersonated Imoen. Still, whether in these cowled wizards' custody or in our captors, I'll be searching.
    Sadly, I won't be coming with you. I need time to myself to mourn Khalid. If you wish for me to travel with you again later, come by the Harper meeting hall in the docks.

    Informational sidebar: The Combined Pantaloons
    As a very late-game easter egg, it is possible to combine three useless items into a powerful set of five items. Their stats are not all obvious, so I'll list them here.

    Big Metal Unit: Full plate mail +11 (base AC -10), with an additional 5% magic resistance and backstab immunity. Unlike most enchanted armor, it allows for the use of a ring, cloak, or amulet of protection. Also unlike normal full plate, it can be worn by almost any character; only the kits that completely forbid armor (Kensai, Shapeshifter) block it. And, of course, it turns your character model into an Iron Golem. That includes being unable to pass through many doorways and narrow passages.

    Big Metal Rod: A light crossbow that weighs slightly less than the usual standard. No bonus to attack or damage.

    Scorcher Ammunition: A line of fire that does 2d12 fire damage (save vs. breath for half), and hits again in the next round. Like the Aganazzar's Scorcher spell, anyone who walks through the line also gets hit. Attack bonus of +10, attacks five times per round, hits as +1. Not recommended if party members are in the line of fire. Requires Int 9 to use.

    Pulse Ammunition: A magic missile, dealing 1d4+1 magic damage. Attack bonus of +10, attacks five times per round, hits as +3.

    Frag Grenades: An explosive attack, dealing 1d12 fire damage in an area centered on the target. Attack bonus of +10, attacks five times per round, hits as +1. Not recommended if party members are near your victim. Requires Int 9 to use.

    The special ammunition doesn't deal any physical damage on its own, but it does deal any bonus damage from your crossbow. This comes out as missile (pulse) or piercing (scorcher, frag grenade) damage, and other bonuses such as specialization or kit bonuses are added if there's anything to add to. When fired from a crossbow that doesn't have a damage bonus, no physical damage is done even if you have proficiency and/or kit bonuses.

    Warrior bonus attacks don't help the special ammunition, since the game caps APR at 5 before haste. Haste effects are the only way to get more attacks.

    Today's somewhat delayed update brought to you by my highly dysfunctional Internet connection; I had to leave the building and join a different wireless network to post this.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    edited May 15
    Episode 2: Lonely adventures in Athkatla

    With the newly gained experience, Randy and Minsc reach level 9. Randy takes crossbow grandmastery and Minsc takes two-handed style.
    We find a container to stash some things, sell the +3 chainmail, and move on to the slums, where Minsc and Yoshimo head off to the local tavern. Gaelan Bayle accosts us, and offers help - for a price. We must raise 20000 gold to gain the assistance of his mysterious organization.

    A "shady character" accosts the incredibly intimidating golem... this seems unwise.
    It's a fight. Randy hits her with a critical, 20 missile and 4 magic damage (using the pulse ammo to prevent innocent kills). She goes invisible with a potion, tries a frontstab and misses, then takes four more hits and goes down. Randy recovers a potion of agility and some basic gear.

    Then Bregg and Cohrvale - another 10K XP, with no damage taken.
    Randy moves to enter the Copper Coronet...

    You must gather your party before venturing forth.
    What? I don't have a party ... oh, this is a no-golems door, isn't it? Couldn't you have at least given an accurate message?

    Inside, it' a fight with the rude man Amalas.
    It's easy enough; he drinks a potion of heroism and gets one swing in before dying. Roll of 13, missed. On the flip side, Randy successfully hit Amalas on a 2.

    Lehtinan offers entrance to the back rooms in the Copper Coronet; Randy's -1 reaction from 9 Cha and 11 rep is good enough that he doesn't demand a fee.
    What is back there is an abomination. Unwilling fighters, without even a pretense of adequate equipment? A dagger-armed warrior with no fire, up against a troll? No. This must end.

    The guards there can't do much; the first group Randy meets merely manages to hit him with a pair of Magic Missile spells. Hendak speaks, and Randy offers his aid.
    Then comes the beastmaster. His animals meet an inferno.
    All are roasted, and Randy takes no damage.

    He releases Hendak, and moves to support him with the Pulse ammo.
    Message log says... Nalia attacks Bouncer? Huh, I guess that's a thing too. As it turns out, Nalia being in "combat mode" allows Randy to walk straight past her without a reaction.

    Lehtinan goes down, and Hendak tells Randy of a slaver base accessible through the sewers. That will be his next target.
    Down there, the first threat is a group of hobgoblins. Striking from stealth, Randy kills two with the first shot. I love scorchers.
    Then an otyugh - not immune to piercing damage. The mustard jelly is, but not to the fire. Myconids and a minotaur - dead.

    It wasn't the myconids that killed this minotaur. I don't see a mark on him. Some mysterious spell, perhaps?

    A second batch of hobgoblins goes down, still with no damage taken. And then, we head up to face the slavers.
    Their priest is first to fall, though not before getting off an Unholy Blight for 22 damage. Captain Haegan gets off a hit too, by rolling a natural 20.

    A pair of trolls - easily dealt with.
    The rest of the compound? There are enough traps there that I'll stop there and retreat to the sewers.

    Up next, a bit of travel. I'll cross the bridge before heading to the government district. On arrival, a guard lieutenant tells Randy of a string of murders - all right, he'll do some investigating. Rampah gets a bit of gold for his unusual hide.
    It's not anything Randy recognizes from his studies of Sword Coast wildlife; he'll have to ask an expert. A talk with Rose Bouquet and Bel Dalemark reveals more - the hide is an elephant's, and it is likely a tanner is involved.

    Then Randy gets a little turned around...
    They have some nasty tricks - the mage casts Mantle and the priest casts Physical Mirror - but the power of scorchers shines through. Even Physical Mirror doesn't work on them.
    Exit when Chaos is cast, kill the fire elemental that followed, wait a few rounds for short-duration buffs to expire.
    Coming back in - the mage goes down, but Randy is hit by a Chaos, then paralyzed by a nabassu.
    OK, that's a failure. I try again. And ... apparently, this nabassu, as summoned by the Cacofiend spell, is immune to even the +3 Pulse ammo. What? All right, we need to wait that spell out. 15 rounds. I'll go do a bit more talking while I wait. Faraji accuses the "witch" Mrs. Cragmoon - she's not out here right now.

    This wait also has the benefit of expiring Dracandros' mirror images. He goes down fast, before his stoneskin even fails.
    Down at the docks below thebridge, some ogres refuse to work .. if they had just walked off the job, we would have allowed it. Killing their supervisor is too far for Randy. Attack!
    Qadeel offers a modest reward of 200 GP, and Randy also earns 6500 XP. He's very close to 500K now...

    Randy stands and watches a scene, as the guards are remarkably oblivious...
    And now, on to the government district.
    Randy is interrupted on the way by Neera appearing - and somehow recognizing him despite his form.
    Impressive, really.

    Randy then arrives, to find Viconia in trouble again - this time, captured by religious fanatics.
    After the fanatics are dealt with, Viconia offers to join - maybe later. Randy is ready for his first long-term ally in this new city, but it won't be her.

    Oh, that super-tough nabassu? Looks to be an SCS bug; there's an SCS-added item that summoned fiends (nabassu, glabrezu, pit fiend) have that grants immunity to +3 weapons and below among other effects. It's supposed to be destroyed in the creatures' scripts, but that doesn't happen sometimes. I'll tinker with that for future play.

    [Edit note - moved sidebar to next episode]

    Post edited by jmerry on
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    edited May 15
    Episode 9: The Orange Ranger and the Yellow Morpher

    Elsewhere in the government district, Randy meets Jan.
    He joins the party - and immediately goes up to 500K XP, leveling to 10/11. Skill investment +60 PP, +5 OL, +10 DI. With his gear, he's at 100 in trapfinding, lockpicking, and illusion detection, plus 140 in pickpocketing. His levels also put him into the second bracket for trap/lock XP.
    Now, it's time to apply his thief skills. We head to the docks, where the thieves' guild invites Randy in. A mad cleric tries to attack - a bad move. He's dead in moments.
    Inside, there's plenty to loot and disarm/unlock. The leader, Renal Bloodscalp, speaks with us:

    I was expecting someone larger.
    Oh, you must mean my morph. It makes getting through doors hard, so I took it off.

    We take a detour on the way to Mae'var's place to open a locked and trapped door, and then have Randy kill the minotaurs inside.
    Gorch gets the letter, and we loot the many containers inside. Then, it's time to get busy shoplifting. Two potions of master thievery, and Jan's at 220. The shoplifting spree starts with everything of values that Gorch and the Black Market Thief hold, plus Ikert's scroll case.

    Travel to Promenade - waylaid. Thankfully, we had Jan stealth up first.
    They can't stand up to the Scorchers. Jan avoids the fight completely.

    Once in the promenade, it's a visit to the temple of Ilmater to buy a pair of potions of genius, at full list price of 480 gold each. Jan drinks them right away, as we're planning for scribing XP.
    Galoomp and Lady Yuth see nearly their entire stocks looted; since there are more scrolls than we can carry, Jan gets to scribing right away. Jan also pickpockets Ribald's ring of regeneration.
    The scribing spree gets us past a million XP each, while still having enough scrolls left to fill two more spellbooks. Jan takes bow proficiency at thief level 12, along with a bit more pickpocketing and a start on stealth.

    I'm at 1 million XP and could easily start recruiting companions, but I'd like to see if I can do better. Next target: the party of jerks in the Den of the Seven Vales. And ... uh, no. Held and killed.

    All right, I'll try some easier targets. We head back to the slums to pick up some scrolls and finish off the slavers. Jan also switches over to a bow, for twice as many attacks when he enters combat.
    Back in the sewers, and this time we can disarm the traps. We also follow the riddle to Lilarcor.
    The kobolds fall to scorchers; Randy is still fighting alone.
    Upstairs, we get to freeing slaves:
    The second party of slavers hits Randy with a Blindness - but he fired a few scorchers first, which shred the enemy.
    OK, no more heavy combat until that wears off.

    Jan's potions of genius wear off in Gaelan's house - no more scribing for now. His thievery potions are still good, though, so he picks up a few things from Arledrian... And now they're not, before even leaving the room. Well timed, there.

    Hendak offers his reward, and we're on our way. About 250K party XP left to reach 1.25 million.

    Night falls, and we head to the temple district. A shadow thief spouts some cryptic nonsense, and then we witness a street preacher with some strange new doctrine. The High Watcher demands our presence. And - huh, can't speak to him as the golem, because he's at the top of some stairs. An interesting way of forcing humility.
    Jan explores the temples, picking up the lock and trap XP. Blindness expires, so we'll be able to fight properly down in the sewers. Jan also escalates to a bit of thievery in the Talos temple.

    They don't need that Wand of the Heavens and those potions, do they?

    The sewers come next - it's time to clear the way to Haer'Dalis.
    The central area of the sewers brings kobolds:
    Nice spray there.

    The rakshasa only lasts a little longer. Charging into the old scorchers didn't help it, either. Cloak of the Sewers acquired - the new and improved yellow morpher. Jan puts it on for now.

    A fascinating piece, but it's not my color. I'd rather use my spells to transform.
    We face the bandits ... it starts well, but then the mage casts an offensive spell. He's already protected by Mantle, and that spell is a Hold Person - Randy is held. Draug Fea chops him up. Failure.

    All right, I'll try once more, and aim an initial scorcher at the mage Gaius. I actually get off two before his buffs activate. Once Gaius is invisible, the priests are the next target. The priest Rengaard is the first to fall, and then Gaius.
    It's easy from there, and the hatchetman is the last one down. The loot is - well, lots of armor.

    Full plate, full plate +1 ... we can't use any of this, but at least it'll sell for plenty. There's a pipe nearby to stash it all for now.

    The mephits upstairs cause some serious damage to Jan:
    Ouch! I appreciate the way you've been keeping me out of combat until now, Randy.

    Now, the yuan-ti group ... three mages at once isn't something Randy is prepared to fight straight up. He'll have to stay unmorphed so he can duck out.
    The melee are already down with the first move. Randy waits a few rounds for the PfMW spells to expire, and heads back in. Put the armor on, wait for the enemy to reveal themselves...
    Jan clears the locks and traps, then leaves with Randy.

    A bit more in the sewers - kobolds and oozes killed, then we talk to Roger and kill a troll for him.
    Except ... oh, crap, beholders just teleported in. Well, time to try out a certain trick. Jan passes the cloak to Randy, who turns into a mustard jelly.
    Incidentally, I choose not to have Jan fire that into melee - he'll use acid arrows to take down the sea troll instead. Or, actually, he'll spend the whole time running away from the sea troll, which ignores Randy and runs past him.
    And then ... the time runs out, and the beholder is still there. All right, that didn't work so well.
    Randy gets shoved away by the beholder and barely survives - but at least the troll is dead.
    Drink some healing potions, try a sneak attack... Nope, death ray. All right, I'll try that again.

    This time, I take out the otyugh with scorchers first and follow up by focusing on the beholder.
    The troll can be tanked indefinitely - it does piercing damage.
    Then the timer runs out, and he's in trouble - but he finishes the job. Barely.
    Whew, that was a close one. We'll have to do better next time.

    The principle has been established - ooze form can tank beholders, for as long as the form lasts. The time limit is an issue, but Rasaad will get a lot more attacks when we try it with him.
    The XP reward from Roger's quest brings Randy to level 12 - two-weapon style mastered.

    Back to the bridge district, where Randy meets a very stupid mugger:
    We kill the vampire Hareishan, with some collateral damage:
    Hareishan is immune to +1 weapons, so we had to target others to hit her with the scorchers. Thus, lots of collateral damage among thieves and muggers. But hey, one of the shadow thieves survived.

    Aegisfield is informed of the evidence we've gathered, and we're off to the tannery to back him up - too late.
    The ghasts, assassins, and bone golem are no match for Randy's scorchers. And that's the key threshold. Randy now has over 1.25 million XP. Next time, we'll gather the rest of the Rangers.

    Informational sidebar: Cloak of the Sewers
    The cloak offers three transformations, each available once per day. They last until either their 18-round duration[1] expires or the user intentionally transforms back to their base form. In addition to the transformations, it also offers a +1 AC bonus when equipped; most parties will want it somewhere.
    Rat: 18/00 Str, 18 Dex, base AC 20. Two attacks per round for 1d2 slashing damage, hitting as +3. The attacks do not gain bonuses to hit or to damage from any attributes. Rat form is 90% resistant to all physical damage.
    Troll: 17 Str, 11 Dex, base AC 4. Three attacks per round for 1d10 slashing damage, hitting as +2. Troll form regenerates at 6 HP per round and is immune to stun, sleep, and paralysis effects.
    Mustard Jelly: Identical to the Polymorph Self version; Str 14, Dex 9, AC 4. Attacks once per round at range for 5d4 crushing damage, inflicting slow (200 sec) and/or poison (3/round for 5 rounds) unless the target saves. If you can increase those stats (most likely with potions), you gain attack bonuses from both strength and dexterity. Counts as a ranged one-handed +3 weapon. This form also gains a host of immunities - immunity to stun, sleep, poison, fear, petrification, confusion, charm, paralysis, and non-magic weapons. It is 100% resistant to magic and to electric and piercing damage. It is 30% resistant to slashing, 60% to crushing, and 85% to missile damage. And, finally, it's 50% resistant to cold. Mustard jelly form is large on the ground, and cannot fit through some narrow passages and doorways.
    Since these forms can be used by anybody, the unique advantage that monks get their unarmed bonus attacks applies. Jelly globs hit just as hard and as often as monk fists, with far better defenses. The biggest drawback is the short duration - less than even a minimum-level casting of Polymorph Self. And unlike the Cloak of the Wolf, you only get one use of each form per day.

    [1] Looking it up in an editing tool, it's supposed to be 20 rounds. But, since my tests consistently resulted in the timer character (Imoen with a crossbow) getting 18 attacks off with the form active, I'm calling it 18 rounds.

    [Edit note: moved sidebar from previous episode]

    Post edited by jmerry on
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    Episode 4: All Together Now

    It's time to gather the party. First stop - the Five Flagons.
    We offer to find the missing actor, Haer'Dalis. Back to the sewers and Mekrath's lair for us.

    We start by talking - but Mekrath is keeping him as a slave. That naked cruelty cannot go unpunished.
    He dies before casting any offensive spells, from the single scorcher Randy managed to fire off.
    That robe of fire resistance might have done more good if he were wearing it.
    Haer'Dalis joins, and we go for the gem. Longsword proficiency taken, as Haer'Dalis levels up to 15.

    Mekrath called you a thief. I see he wasn't lying about that.
    Aye, he told it true. My troupe has often called upon me for such delicate tasks. And it is need that calls us to this gem, not greed.
    If Mekrath had been more reasonable, we might have spared him and negotiated your release. But he was holding you as a mindless slave - that, we couldn't tolerate.
    Then I am in your debt. Lead on, and I will follow you wherever you go.

    We also stop by the temple of Helm, to speak with Guardian Telwyn.
    Off to the government district then, to speak to Sarles about the sculpture. Along the way, we pick up the quests from Tolgerias and Delon.
    Tolgerias is clearly untrustworthy. We tell him yes, but we will speak to this Valygar before coming to any final decision.

    Delon is a little scared of the huge golem, but he does have a real problem.
    Besides, it'll do Randy some good to get out of the city.

    Over at the Jysstev estate, Sarles is demanding pure illithium to work with.

    There's no resisting the muse of an artist, is there?
    Well, then. I suppose we'll have to go looking for the stuff. There's an ore merchant over in the promenade who ought to be able to help.
    No illithium is available right now. We ask to see her source to fix that, and also commission a substitute.

    I'm beginning to suspect that this Sarles deliberately set an impossible task so he wouldn't have to work.
    Well, we'll have something for him at least, and force him to make a decision.

    Then, it's time to investigate the circus tent. We go in, and are immediately greeted by a riddling genie. Randy kills some shadows, and Jan poofs some alleged werewolves with his Detect Illusion.
    Inside, we are greeted by a sweet-voiced ogre.
    Hark! An angel's voice, in a monstrous shell?

    The false peasants are easily disposed of, and Aerie is restored.
    She levels up to 10/11 immediately, taking hammer proficiency.

    And the true beauty is revealed. You are always welcome here, Aerie.
    Ahem. I believe that's my decision? ... And yes, Aerie, you're welcome to join us.

    Incidentally, Jan's Stoneskin has expired - we've spent a lot of time running around Athkatla.

    The illusory werewolves in here are bugged - they do real damage even if you haven't done anything to them. [1]
    Still, Jan can make them vanish, and does.

    On to Kalah, who has trapped Quayle as an ooze. He gets off a Confusion, but the party can easily beat him down - especially since his illusory defenses never last.
    Quayle passes the torch to Aerie...
    ... while all the while, the confused Haer'Dalis is beating on her.

    What happened to that reel?
    You don't need that reel.
    What? You took it just so you wouldn't be embarrassed? ... Oh, all right, We don't need it.

    Fortunately, Aerie is able to get away. Randy takes her place as target.

    Are you sure you don't want to come with us and be the Blue Ranger again, Quayle?
    I'm sure. I'm getting too old for this, and my apprentice Aerie is up to the task. She'll be your Blue Ranger.
    Me? A Ranger? I'm ... I'm honored.

    Outside the tent, a girl hands us a magic lamp - the source of Kalah's power? We will have to investigate this at some point.

    The sun has risen on the second day, and there's just one more thing to do before leaving Athkatla - pick up a bag of holding. Over to the Copper Coronet, where we also speak to Unger Hilldark - we'll need to find his brother if we want the real illithium.

    Clara is recruited, and takes Single-Weapon style leveling up.

    Over to the tomb of Dragomir...
    Something is wrong with this poor woman.
    She sounds enthralled. I've seen victims of succubi act like that.
    Then how do we break it?
    Dispelling magic usually works, but for thrall this deep one sometimes needs to kill the master. And even then, the victims don't always truly recover.

    Inside - devil shades. Joy. I have Randy fight them, relying on his ridiculous AC. He takes a level-draining hit anyway - and interestingly enough, it doesn't weaken his archer bonuses.
    Haer'Dalis takes a paralyzing hit from a Shadow Fiend - and keeps moving just fine, because I had the foresight to give him Arbane.

    Burich is already hostile before he starts talking, and we simply fight it out.

    Haer'Dalis decides to flirt with Aerie, just as Randy comes back...
    And naturally, Clara is a killjoy.

    Could you not do that... oh, why am I bothering anyway. It's not like talking to you helps.

    Naturally, Dragomir is the walking sort of dead. Randy takes care of that. We reach a barrier that only the enthralled Clara can pass ... and then, the Sleeper. Clara uses a restoration scroll on Randy, and we reach the tomb.
    A vampire rises from the tomb - the true Hexxat. She immediately bites and kills Clara.

    Why did you kill her? You could have simply released her!
    No, I couldn't have. She called me "mistress", but she was in truth enthralled by another. I have been entombed here since before she was even born.
    Then... you didn't have a choice?
    Indeed. I gave her the only gift I could - peace.

    Hexxat takes Dragomir's cloak on the way out - it is enchanted to allow vampires to walk in sunlight.
    We are waylaid on the way to the docks - Renfeld needs aid. Apparently, this encounter can come up even if Jaheira isn't in the party.
    The fight goes easily enough; Haer'Dalis uses a charge of the Harp of Discord, Jan runs around to avoid getting hit, and we take no damage.
    Back at the Copper Coronet, Hexxat rejoins us for the moment. Just long enough for her to give us Dragomir's Respite, the bag of holding which contains her cloak. Dismissed now.
    Rylock gets the body - and we are immediately accosted by another. Valen wants us to meet her mistress at night in the graveyard district...
    ... and Brus says Gaelan wants to see us again as well. The plot thickens.

    You seem to have attracted a lot of attention.
    Yes. Gaelan has offered me passage to find Imoen, but only for a large sum of gold. I don't wite have it yet, but I'm close.
    And this Valen has an offer for you now as well? Likely, she belongs to a rival organization and seeks an advantage in their contest.
    Yes, that sounds likely. I'll have to hear them out when I get the chance.

    Xzar wants us to sneak into the Harper base to find Montaron - we'll get around to that sometime.
    A stop at a temple to buy some potions, and we head for the gates. Before we even leave the city - bandits.
    As usual, Randy does most of the fighting. Jan takes a nasty backstab, but survives.

    After the battle, Haer'Dalis chats up Aerie again.
    At the gates, another mission - the town of Trademeet needs help. And they're promising a large reward. We're going there immediately.
    Leaving the city, it's another ambush. Slavers and Orogs, this time.
    Randy's firepower does the trick as usual, and we continue to Trademeet.

    Arriving there, Haer'Dalis complains about the delay in returning the gem - we'll do that next, all right? Just as soon as Trademeet's problem is solved.

    One philosopher sets a thug on another...
    We intervene, attacking the thug. It's not fast enough to save his victim, but we get the real last word here.

    And then, Aerie opens up a bit - speaking wistfully of how it felt to fly.

    You know, we do specialize in transformation magic. Perhaps you could learn how to transform into a bird, or another winged form?
    Perhaps - but it just won't be the same.

    We speak to the mayor; he tells us that a druid in the town jail might be able to shed some light on things. The guildmistress tells us of another problem - that a group of djinni have set up shop and monopolized the town's commerce. We must convince them to leave if peace is to be restored.

    That druid is Cernd, and he tells us that the druid grove has been taken over by evil. Their new leaders seek to destroy civilization and leave the world to the monsters.
    He joins, and levels up to 13. Two-handed style taken.

    Near the town center, we find our old friend Rasaad fighting fellow Sun Soul monks:
    Shortly afterward, Randy catches up to him - he seeks a new cult known as the Twofold Trust, which preaches that Selune and Shar are but two aspects of the same god. With no clear leads at the moment, he agrees to join up.
    Welcome back, old friend/
    I am glad to see you too, Randy. Where shall we go next?
    The druid grove. Cernd here has told us some very disturbing things about what's happening there.

    [1] All right, what's up with those werewolves?
    The illusionary werewolves in Kalah's place have two weapons available; their default illusionary claws that deal no damage, and real werewolf claws that deal 1d12+strength slashing damage. In the unmodded game, they have a basic attack script, and also an override script that switches to the real weapon if they get attacked.

    The general AI improvements in SCS replace the basic attack script with a much more complicated and "smarter" script. Among the features in this script is a block that chooses the most damaging weapon when they go to attack - so they switch to the real claws automatically even when not attacked. Oops.

    The bug has appeared before, and been fixed before. It's back in SCS v32.

    There's an easy fix - just remove the KWEREWL.cre file from your override folder, reverting the creature to its default script.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    Episode 5: The Green Rangers

    The party is fatigued, but we have something to do before resting - Aerie and Haer'Dalis need their spellbooks filled. This earns a few levels; Jan hits thief 13 and takes more stealth, Aerie hits cleric 11, and Haer'Dalis hits blade 16 (two-handed style).

    Just before we rest, Haer'Dalis entices Aerie into some acting:
    A goddess, huh? That'll be something to see.

    Dreams come to Randy. It is a warped and dessicated version of Candlekeep, in which a strangely dull version of Imoen speaks of lost memory.
    And then, Irenicus himself invades the dream.
    He continues to torment Imoen, and those torments spread across a connection to Randy.

    Are you well? You tossed and turned in your sleep.
    Wherever they are, Irenicus is tormenting Imoen. I can feel it.
    We'll find them, and put a stop to it.

    After waking, Aerie speaks of her people the Avariel.
    We'll keep trying. Perhaps someday, you'll have mastered transformation magic enough to gain wings.

    Then we visit the djinni. Jan picks up an efreeti bottle, and we head in to speak to their khan.
    We offer to find this rakshasa for them; if we do, they will leave and the town's normal commerce will resume.

    Over at the grove, a druid greets Cernd. We learn the nature of the trouble - Faldorn is here, and has somehow been turned to evil.
    Our old companion Faldorn, turned to evil? What has happened to her?
    We'll have to confront her. Regardless of the cause, her evil must be stopped.
    I'll be the one to face her. She has taken the role of leader here, and that means she has to follow the rules of ascension. Challenges from other druids cannot be refused.
    When you do - please spare her, if you can. She was a Ranger once, and I must hope that good is still there.
    Agreed. I, too, hope that her turn to evil can be reversed.

    Battle soon comes - trolls. Randy is resistant to the spirit trolls' Greater Command, and his scorchers are devastating.
    Yes, that's a 36-point fire hit on the scorcher's 2d12. Start with a perfect roll, and enhance with negative enemy resistance. Fun.

    A few spiders and ettercaps, then another troll group - Randy takes damage again, from a Flame Strike. Only 19 points, though.

    Inside the troll mound, and Rasaad levels up.
    He's got magic resistance now. Also, we pick up some stuff - bracers of archery for Randy, the Spear of the Unicorn for Cernd. Not that Randy needs the bracers, with +10 to hit on his usual ammo.

    Then we find trolls fighting against a group of humans. Randy attacks the trolls...
    ... only for the humans to turn on him.

    Fanatical hatred is never pretty. Has your new leader poisoned your minds that much?
    In an odd scripting bug, the summoned creatures join us and attack their summoners - I get a free nymph, which the enemy druid targets with a Dolorous Decay.

    Then it's a large group of druids, led by one Kyland Lind.
    He "surrenders" after most of his followers die, running off to return to his true duties.
    The fireshield damage there from his last transformation is all that Randy took.

    Wait, was that Kyland getting hit and dying after he surrendered?
    Yes, it was. Um... we can just end the scene before that, right?
    ... That works. Good idea.

    Now, for the bridge ... I know what's coming, and I've got a Cloudkill wand.
    Spore colonies and myconids are no match for a good Cloudkill. (Both are level 6, with death save 11 for a 70% chance of dying each round)

    Except... I didn't realize how far it went. I sent Cernd through the Cloudkill and found more myconids on the other side. Naturally, he got confused.
    Still, the cloudkill thins out the myconids and trolls chasing Cernd, and he doesn't attack any allies in his confused state.

    Haer'Dalis brings up his script with Aerie again:
    It's all about confidence. Aerie can do it. Sometimes.

    For the last two spore colonies, Randy approaches with stealth and lines up a double-hitting scorcher. They die quickly.
    We pick up Belm; the best use this party has is to put it on Randy's off hand, for the melee weapons he basically never uses.

    Then Aerie talks to Randy for a change - about how Quayle liked to bring cheer.
    That's not quite what I remember about him. He was always more into bragging about his superior intelligence.
    Really? He was always so nice with me.

    Now, it's time to take on the rakshasa - spellcasters that are immune to most of our offensive spells. We prepare heavily:
    Those preparations aren't terribly effective; one True Sight and two Dispel Magics are insufficient to deal with the enemy buffs. Still, Ihtafeer goes down eventually.
    And then, as we work on the last rakshasa ... crash.

    What? Another scene we have to redo? How far back is it this time?
    Before the fight with Kyland Lind and his druids.
    Ugh, that's a bunch to redo. Places, everyone!

    Back at the cottage, we go for a new strategy for take two - just one or two party members at a time, ducking in and out to avoid attack spells.

    Several cycles of this later, I notice something odd in the log...
    Yes, that's an enemy casting a damage spell targeting themself Looking at what they had memorized, it was a Burning Hands sequencer that somehow split up and mistargeted one of them. Also, apparently self-targeting beats their spell immunity.

    Randy and Cernd eventually prevail in this battle of endurance, eliminating the three rakshasa.

    Forward, then. A few shambling mounds, some angry bears, and then one last group of druids.
    I hold hope for Faldorn, but not for you. You have clear heads. You have chosen this evil willingly, beacuse it is what you wanted to hear. Die, so that the grove can be cleansed!

    We enter the grotto, and Cernd challenges Faldorn.
    Alone, with no items. Cernd transforms into a werewolf, and Faldorn's prepared buffs are useless. Except ... oh, I forgot to adjust his AI. He wasted a round on Armor of Faith, failing to cast it due to interruption.

    It's a rather embarrassing battle, really - Cernd fights reluctantly, with little wish to harm our former companion.
    A confused Cernd, beating erratically on the enemy while they try all sorts of ineffective spells. His toughness and regeneration pull through, of course.
    Faldorn is defeated, and the dark spirit that controlled her is gone.

    Thank you, for driving out that evil. I resign as the Great Druid here; I have done too much harm to continue, even if not by my own will. Cernd, will you take up the role?
    No. My place is with Randy, roaming Amn to root out evil.
    I understand. Master Verthan, will you stand for this grove?
    Yes, I will stand as challenge master here as long as I am needed.
    Then there is only one more matter to attend to. Cernd, do you swear to face evil wherever you find it, and to bring balance to these lands?
    I do.
    Do you swear to master your shapeshifting, and never abuse this power?
    I do.
    Then I name you the new Green Ranger. Go forth with my blessing, as my successor.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    Episode 6: The Planar Rescue

    We could head over to Trademeet to pick up our reward, but Haer'Dalis is getting impatient. It's time to go back to Athkatla and deliver the gem.

    We arrive at dawn, and Cernd is accosted by an old acquaintance named Igarol.
    As soon as Haer'Dalis' business is done, we're looking into that with you. It wouldn't do to leave a child unprotected.

    First, though, it's Haer'Dalis' business. We hand over the gem...
    ... and hear the tale of how this troupe came to be on the run.
    Wait - is that play you've had me reciting lines from something like that? Should I be worried about offended nobles sending out hunting parties?
    Of course not, my dove. Your play and your role are beloved by all. Why, the crowds would cheer at your performance, and the nobles would send their guards to protect you!

    The troupe successfully summon their conduit - but then trouble arrives. The hunters they were worried about have followed the conduit here.
    I don't know what's on the other side of that conduit, but I do know we're not getting Haer'Dalis back unless we find out. Are you with me?
    I think I speak for all of us when I say "Absolutely". He's one of us. We never leave a Ranger behind.

    We buff up some, including a True Seeing, and head in. Trouble greets us right away - the bounty hunters are here in this prison to fight us.
    Aerie's Greater Command thins their ranks, and the thief swings at Randy ineffectively, but there's still an invisible mage with a Mantle up.
    The mage appears, casting something. He also has a Minor Globe up. All right - let's try a Hold Monster. Oh, oops - Improved Invisibility is still active. Time to send Cernd over to clear that up and tank the magical sword. Or not - Randy can just kill the sword instead. Teleport Field ... Mantle expires. A round or so to beat down the stoneskin, and then he dies.
    One last Chain Lightning, though. We'll use some healing for that.

    We speak to the former prisoner Tagget - we must free the thralls to have a good shot at the warden.
    He warns against the path to the north, but I try for it anyway. Randy can be remarkably effective.
    One down. Next:
    The power of scorchers is best managed fighting alone. Sadly, the Clay Golem hits Randy - healing is off for him, until I apply a Remove Curse. He can at least kill the thing with fire damage.

    The warden taunts us a bit, but we turn back. The party is going east. A thrall mage - dueled solo, including beating down with a nonmagical bastard sword after a PfMW goes up. Thrall fighter - party joins in.
    And now, Randy takes on the third cell. Full of githyanki, it is likely the most dangerous.
    And ... that didn't work. No protection against mind blasts means dead.

    Right. Take two, everyone. Back to the entrance.[/color]

    On the second take, Randy takes out the nasty yuan-ti mage before it can do anything. The battle, from there, results in exactly zero damage taken. The first cell goes well - and then the second cell is brutal. Randy is cursed by the Clay Golem, and also drops down to less than a third of his HP. OK, time to decurse and use a Heal spell.

    The gith cell to the east... I don't have a Chaotic Commands memorized. Well, that's a bit tougher. I'll try something ... Rasaad goes troll, for stun immunity. No trouble from the mind blasts, but the melee attacks force him to run.
    Having a full 5 APR is nice, but you have to be able to stay alive to use it. He flees, heals up, and returns to draw them out. This one calls for the party working together.
    Rasaad gets mazed at the end, so Cernd heads in to take out the last gith. Then Randy backs him up when Cernd goes down to a Mind Blast, and finishes things off with no further trouble.

    In retrospect, ooze form probably would have worked better; it's also immune to sleep and stun, and immune to non-magical weapons on top of that.

    The multiple yuan-ti mages in the next area are troublesome, forcing us to use healing potions. They also hit Randy with a Polymorph Other spell ... no effect. The Unit apparently protects from polymorph effects as well, simply by virtue of already being a transformation. Still, between Cernd tanking and Randy shooting, we take them down.
    On to the master of thralls. He knocks out Cernd, but goes down easily after that.
    Be careful. I think one of those thralls went invisible. We'll have to watch for when they emerge.

    The wolfwere cell - uneventful. The greater wolfwere here can be hit by +1 weapons, so scorchers get the job done without any trouble.

    The efreeti cell, on the other hand - that one's trouble. Lots of fire damage, so Cernd casts Protection from Fire on Randy.
    They seem incapable of dealing any non-fire damage, but the repeated transformations to gaseous form are annoying and keep them alive for quite a while.

    While Randy is engaged, that hidden thrall attacks Cernd - but, of course, he's a werewolf and able to take it.
    Kundane looted.

    Cernd pops in to join Randy, for some unnecessary aid. That's enough for the Warden to notice, and waste his sole level 9 spell (Black Blade of Disaster). Cernd comes back out at a safe distance, near the wyvern perch.
    And now ... since a level 18/18 fighter/mage is really very nasty for my party with less than 1.5 million XP each, I'm going to abuse those cells to waste as much of the warden's spellbook as I can.

    Wait, what's Raelis doing on the ground there where she can be killed? That's not where she's supposed to be! Rewind the scene. And this time, Planar Troupe, stay in your cell![/color]

    OK, doing that again. Prebuffs (Mirror Image, Improved Haste, Minor Globe, Spell Turning, Shield, PfNM, Stoneskin), contingency (PfMW), chain contingency (Spell Shield, Summon Djinni, Summon Djinni) - out. Black Blade of Disaster cast.
    Kundane recovered. Another PfMW drawn out and wasted.

    Jan tells the first of his stories:
    Is this really a good time?
    We're not doing anything else, so why not?

    The next trip out catches some minions instead of the warden. The party joins in.
    The minions include some yuan-ti mages, so we retreat and duck into a cell to dodge spells. This occasion brings out some of Aerie's insecurities:
    Quit flirting, you two! We really do have something better to do right now.

    Once the retreat is complete, I have Cernd solo the yuan-ti mages. He's incredibly resistant against everything they can do, after all.
    Another cycle, another PfMW wasted. I think the Warden doesn't have any more of those left. OK, time to break the orb.
    And now, we fight.
    Oh, wait. Mantle. I guess we're waiting some more. The Spell Trigger is accounted for now, at least; Cernd's magic resistance is disabled.
    Prismatic Spray ... Cernd chunked.
    Oops. Looks like we need another take.

    The next time goes better, with Randy interrupting several attempted spellcasts. The Warden does get off the Mantle, but then Rasaad keeps him off further spells.
    And then ... um, oops. The troupe is hostile, and Haer'Dalis is nowhere to be found.
    We're teleported out, and don't recover our lost party member.

    What? What is wrong with you? Why are you trying to attack Randy? On second thought, I don't care. How far back do we need to go reshooting this one to fix it?

    And ... still broken. It looks like I'll have to redo the whole area.
    OK, going through again - Haer'Dalis drinks a potion as soon as we enter. As long as he doesn't actually join the fight...
    The warden is dead again. Now, did it work properly? No. OK, I'm going to have to use console commands to bring back Haer'Dalis. I do at least have a pre-prison save I can copy info from if necessary.
    Spawning in Haer'Dalis while Raelis and company are hostile ... no, that doesn't work. He goes hostile, and there's no exit.

    Try again, spawning him farther away so they don't see him - that seems to work.
    Randy was hit by several spells while waiting for the scripts to fire, and is suffering from acid arrows and Hold. Still, Haer'Dalis is actually back this time. Oh wait, no, he isn't. I still need to spawn him yet again, now that we're back in Athkatla. And ... hostile. This is ridiculous.

    Searching more ... there's a global variable "FightingTheTroupe", apparently set immediately after I entered. What happens if I spawn in Haer'Dalis and unset that?
    No. This appears to be completely broken, in a way I don't know how to fix. Well, that's a disappointing way to end a session.

    Well, now I know. We're going to have to go back even farther. And this time, Haer'Dalis, take off that Arbane sword.

    Haer'Dalis rejoins the party, and this scene is finally behind us.
    New levels: Randy reaches archer 13, Jan reaches illusionist 12, Aerie reaches mage 12. All three of my arcanists now have level 6 spells.

    For the last act before we end the episode, Haer'Dalis talks to Aerie again.
    Just don't go gathering an audience when we're trying to sneak around.

    I'm not quite sure what broke the script there, but I actually did have to replay the whole sequence to fix it. That was a lot of trouble for one episode.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    Episode 7: Actions Around Athkatla

    Now, it's time to take care of some things around town. We first head over to the graveyard, to clear out the tombs.
    We speak to some mourners, and Cernd has kind words:
    We rescue a man from his undead uncle ... although it would have been tempting to simply let him die.
    Tirdir is unearthed, and then we go after the Crypt King.
    He puts some serious hurting on Cernd, but that's a very temporary state with Cernd's rapid regeneration.
    Ah, an excellent sword to silence our enemies! I'll take this.

    The gravedigger is interrogated, and then we head down into the larger cavern.
    Fight some spiders ... huh, Phase Spider poison is nowhere near as deadly as it was in BG1. Haer'Dalis takes a 2-point tick, instead of the old 5. Down into the larger spider area, where Pai'Na awaits:
    I'm not so sure about her cause...
    What harm is there in looking?
    I suppose. We might as well find out what happened to that sword after we sold it back in Baldur's Gate.

    Down into the lower tombs, where I have Cernd take point against a level-draining wight ... critical hit averted, one level drained. Drat.
    That bunch goes down with no further trouble.

    And then, Haer'Dalis and Aerie practice their lines a bit more ... until Haer'Dalis abandons his pretense and pushes a little too far.
    E-enough... please. I... I am flattered... but... but I was not expecting this. Please... leave me alone but for a while...

    We clear out all but the final rooms, mostly with Randy's firepower. Then fatigue catches up to Cernd, Rasaad, and Aerie - OK, time to rest. A bit of Aerie's past before we sleep...
    We help out the orphan Risa on the way out.
    Then, we go over to the Five Flagons to rest. Before that rest, of course, Aerie restores Cernd... who levels up to 14. Add on a Remove Curse so he can re-equip his cloak.

    Another dream comes, this time inside the warped Candlekeep. Irenicus taunts Randy with threats and promises of power...
    Your dreams seem troubled, and I have felt something unnatural from you. Is there something I should know?
    Indeed. I am a Bhaalspawn, one of many children the dead god left behind with shards of his power. I have sworn to use this power for good rather than evil, but the taint remains as always.

    We head outside, to find a meeting between a vampire and some shadow thieves... Rose Bouquet walks into a Scorcher and dies. Oops.

    Cut! Use the pulse ammo this time, you fool!
    Then it's over to pressure a kidnapper, who runs into his hideout:
    His partners are not happy with this, and kill Am-Si for it.
    Camitis just stood there for a few seconds, and then Am-Si dropped dead. Not the best scripting.

    These men must be stopped. If they are so cruel even to their own, what will they be like to others?

    We kill them, then head upstairs and release Lady Elgea. No need for pantaloons in this run.
    I considered taking the pantaloons, but silver just isn't my color.

    As we're leaving the area, a conversation between Cernd and Aerie:
    I would like to see that beauty as well. A city is no place to live, for one such as I.

    Back over to the graveyard, where Bodhi has an offer for us:
    Rasaad and Aerie have strong reactions:
    I agree with those two. We're not making any deals with you, vampire!

    Leaving, we encounter a ghost:
    Oh, Randy, could we please help this child?
    Of course. I believe that man is in the back rooms of the Copper Coronet.
    Some stash management, and the bear is delivered. The Promenade is next.

    Jerlia is in, and we accept the fake illithium. The party visits the fence Jayes, and Jan drinks some potions so we can shoplift scrolls and recharge wands.

    Aerie takes the opportunity to speak on her faith, and how it came about:
    I complement you on your good taste. You're the second tallest priest of Baervan I've ever met.
    Second tallest?
    Some of my cousins up north took in an orphaned half-ogre once. Karret always thought of himself as a gnome, and went into the priesthood.

    And then, we visit Cernd's old home to start tracking down his child. The squatter sends us to the nanny Fennecia...
    All right. Cernd, would you step out for a bit?
    It's my child. I have a right to be here.
    And she doesn't want to talk to you. It'll go better if you aren't in here where she can see.

    It does; we receive directions to the estate of a noble named Deril.

    Cross the bridge, shoplifting a cutpurse's good stuff on the way...

    Sir Sarles doesn't like the alloy, and storms off. Oh well, at least the other churches aren't getting a sculpture either.
    Rather than head straight to the Deril estate, we head over to the temple of Helm first. They are disappointed at not getting the legendary sculptor's work, but the High Watcher is strangely pleased by the illithium alloy.
    All's well that ends well.
    That Helm of the Noble is nice, too.

    Guardian Telwyn has more work for us as well, on behalf of the Lathander temple. We agree to recover their Dawn Ring.

    Over to the slums, and Bernard gets looted. Randy now has 23 Cha in his melee setup, and Aerie has upgraded to the Sling of Seeking (with +2 bullets) and Mauler's Arm.
    And ... I check a crack in the wall, and there's a Protection from the Elements scroll there. Random treasure in this game can come up with some pretty impressive stuff.

    Up to the north, one shady character tries to mug us and dies, while another menaces a tourist:
    Despite having watched that, Travin still tries to cheat us. We are not impressed, and convince him to spill without an exorbitant "fee".

    Up to Borinall, and it's a fight:
    A short fight, to be sure. Still, the stealthed muggers are a concern; our mages cast stoneskins to protect themselves, and they divert their attentions to tougher party members.

    Romantic talks continue, as Aerie speaks of her travels:

    Back to the temple, Dawn Ring returned. Then to the sewers, for a visit with Roger and to recover Spider's Bane.
    They don't take the 50, and ask for 75 instead. Given that we sold it for thousands in Baldur's Gate...

    This is rather impressively broken. What were they even trying to do with it?
    I never thought I'd meet a man who didn't know what to do with a sword. Even if they couldn't use it themselves, is it that hard to understand that the pointy end goes in the enemy?
    Regardless, Pai'Na wants it now. I'm not sure how she intends to destroy it further, but we might as well let her.

    And - huh, killing Pai'Na after returning the sword gets you a second spider figurine. Returning the sword is the far more rewarding part, of course.

    And now, finally, we go after Deril. Bandits waylay us on the way. Most of them are easy enough to handle, but one mage puts up a PfMW, resists a dispel from Haer'Dalis, and then drops a bunch of damage spells on us. We outlast him, but it's painful.
    That waylay leads to an unusual sight - entering the government district from the eastern entrance rather than the north.
    We summon a couple of nymphs to accelerate the party's healing, and then enter the Deril estate.

    Inside, we meet Deril ... he doesn't come peacefully, secure in the arrogance of a high-level mage.
    Opening move ... go invisible, Incendiary Cloud and two Mordenkainen's Swords. Against that, we retreat. Incidentally, his lich guest Lagole Gon, a spectator here, isn't protected from that fire. If we had stuck around, the cloud would have killed him.

    And ... oh, it's a party-required area. I can't have Cernd pop in and out without exposing the rest of the party. Still, I'm waiting out that cloud before I even try to fight him.
    Back in, and he starts casting something ... Wand of Cloudkill. Disrupted.
    Rasaad oozes up, and we continue trying to disrupt Deril as much as possible. But then ... PfMW. OK, we're probably going to have to duck out. Deril's got a Spell Trap and a Minor Globe up, so targeted spells are out and low-level AoE spells won't help much either; Aerie tries a Spell Thrust to at least clear out the globe.
    Deril hits us with a Remove Magic sequencer - no more stoneskins on our side. For Deril's next spell attempt, we use a fireball wand - no damage through his Protection from Fire, but the disruption still works. Might as well add a second Cloudkill while we're at it.
    No wait, the disruption didn't work. Meteor Swarm cast, and we need to bug out.

    Coming back ... spell trigger PfMW, Shadow Door, Divination immunity. Well, we don't care about the last two with access to Jan's 100% Detect Illusion. Next spellcast attempt, ducked out to wait out the PfMW.
    And then, he's out of defenses. The next spell is disrupted, and Cernd gets the killing blow. Lagole Gon is quick to hand over Cernd's baby, since he has no real interest in the boy.

    Now that you've got him back, what will you do?
    I'll have the druids take care of him at the grove. See you there in a few days.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    Episode 8: The Heroes of Trademeet

    Before going to pick up Cernd, we do a bit more shopping. Bandits waylay us while still in Athkatla, and Jan fails his save to a Horror before the bard song can kick in:
    Running around like an idiot leaves him in range of the enemy melee. Some of them are backstabbers, and, well...
    We don't have any resurrection spells memorized right now, so I'll use a charge of the rod of resurrection. Jan comes back in time to eliminate the last bandit's potion-granted invisibility.

    A gem bag from the bridge merchant, then a visit to Watcher's Keep. We don't enter, but we do buy a few things from Sister Garlena:
    Back to the Druid Grove, and Cernd rejoins the party.
    Then we learn some spells and rest. Rasaad hits level 15, and Haer'Dalis hits level 17.

    Resting in the druid sanctum brings another dream of Irenicus...
    ... and the brief video you get for resting at an inn. Huh. I suppose that's a consequence of the area being marked as indoors and not a dungeon - usually, you can't rest at those places unless it's an inn.

    All right, Trademeet time. The djinni get their rakshasa head, and we report to the town leaders.
    And ... crash. So troublesome. All right, let's try again.

    Crash again, when I try to take off the Unit so Randy can get out. This is a repeatable one, and I'm pretty sure I know the cause... but of course, I forgot things and propagated it to the autosave at the door. Back to the save at the Druid Grove, then. I eventually get free, by transforming all but Cernd back to human before removing the Unit.

    Then we are approached with a request for help...
    It appears the murderer Rejiek has come here. We will stop him!

    Hold! What manner of creature are you?
    A golem, of course.
    We follow him, but remain alert for tricks.

    Over at the site of trouble, "Raissa" speaks ... the portraits added by PPE can sometimes spoil things a bit.
    You say one thing, your face says another. I say you're lying, monster!
    What? I'm a perfectly trustworthy woman... Oh. It's my face, isn't it?
    You really should be more thorough when you transform, if you're trying to fool people.

    Darsidian and Rejiek are both skin dancers, and the unconscious one is Raissa in Rejiek's skin. The skin dancers fall quickly, and Aerie casts her restoration spell on Raissa.
    Well then, time to rest again. We visit Vyatri's for that. After watching a pair of guards from the dueling families fight, Aerie pleads for rest...
    Of course, Aerie. That's what we came into this inn for.
    I hope they'll be more hospitable now. The last time we were here, the inn wouldn't even rent us a room because I was a druid.
    After what we've done for the town, I'm sure that won't be a problem.

    For once, it's not Randy who dreams...
    And now, we move on. Some shop(lift)ing in the town market, and then on to the Umar Hills.

    But before the trip, the reason I put up with all that crashing. We have statues now. Wonderful statues that show us at our best.
    A fantastic likeness. It really brings out my mandibles.
    If this is to be the reward, we should save more towns!

    Upon arrival at the Umar Hills, we find the mayor holding an unproductive meeting. He mentions the loss of their ranger Merella, who they would normally have looked for to solve this:
    We follow Minister Lloyd to his home, and offer our aid.
    Then he explains the many theories of the townsfolk, to which both Jan and Aerie have something to say:
    You're right about it being ominous, Aerie. We should still investigate first.

    First, the innkeeper can tell us about the witch Umar:
    You might consider getting this made into a play. I find it long-winded and dull myself, but there's no accounting for taste.

    Some youth want bastard swords and ale to be adventurers...
    No. I won't be party to your irresponsible antics. If the merchants won't sell to you as yourselves, I won't help you get around that. They know better than I do if you're too young.

    To the north, it's Madulf and his band. Talking to them, they're clearly not responsible for the disappearances; they've lost some of their own. But there is something we can do - they've offered to help protect the village. Agreed.
    After reporting that, we check out the wizard's place to the north - Jermien won't help the village, but we agree to look for a mimic and take its blood in exchange for a reward.
    The mimic is found in a nearby cave. Half the party is paralyzed, but we gave Cernd the belt to improve his breath save; he clears it easily and tears up the mimic.
    There are umber hulks beyond; we let Cernd take care of them, alone. He easily shreds them, even in his confused state.

    The cabin holds Merella's journal, plus a note from the adventurer Mazzy Fentan. Both point to an old temple as the source of the trouble.

    But first, back to Jermien to deliver the requested ingredient.
    The golem goes mad, and we have to put it down - which goes very quickly. It gets one hit on Jermien, absorbed by a stoneskin. We get the promised sword, and everyone leaves happy enough.

    Then Aerie rains on our parade:
    Why so glum? There are many ways to enhance strength, and our masters of transformation magic could easily give you wings.
    That's ... that's right. As Baervan is my witness, I will fly again!
    That's the spirit! And now, it's time for us to head out. The temple awaits.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    edited May 22
    Episode 9: Endless Shadows

    As we arrive at the temple, someone dies. Already off to a great start...
    The journal speaks of reflecting light near the temple's entrance to defeat the shadows - but why would we need such a tool? Mere shadows are no match for our might.

    Inside a nearby cave, we meet the werewolf Anath, who can tell us more:
    A cloak of the wolf? I'm better off staying human, or using my new morphs.

    Now, for the many shadows out here, I have Aerie walk around with Turn Undead active.
    It's not the fastest, but as a level 11 cleric she can solo this map without ever attacking or casting a spell. Anath dies just as the last shadow is turned.
    All right, a few more shadows spawn in after that. They're dealt with easily.

    The party enters the dungeon, and Randy takes his armor off. Time for our transformations to play.

    And ... crash. The spider form's picture is still missing, and I crash trying to move the ring of regeneration. OK, Aerie and Haer'Dalis will both go flind for this one...
    And ... crash again, when I try to drop a helmet in the bag. Trying to move anything that could possibly be equipped by a currently polymorphed character crashes BG2EE? This is kind of a game-breaker, at least for using morphed forms as anything other than a curiosity. Cancel the morphs for now; we'll just fight conventionally for a while.

    After dealing with some shadows and skeletons, we rescue Mazzy - but send her on her way home, rather than taking her with us.
    We're sorry, but we just don't have room for you right now. And you could probably use some recuperation after being stuck in that cell.

    She has warned us that the hazards here include a shadow dragon. We'd rather not fight one of those if we can avoid it.

    Forward, and we claim the first sun gem from its pedestal.
    The party fights the shadows on one side while Aerie turns undead in the rearguard, and the feeble trap is broken.

    A statue of Amaunator ... we're not doing anything more here until we know the proper rituals.

    We find the illithium miner Gorje Hilldark, and rescue him.
    He spoke of an enormous beast - probably the same dragon Mazzy mentioned. We'll have to find a way to get past it.

    And now ... I know the unfairness that's coming up. I'll retaliate with unfairness of my own. Cernd uses a Protection from Undead scroll.
    It ... isn't enough. No protection from the Bone Golems, and SCS liches see through invisibility to go active. They can't target the protected character, but they throw around enough dispels, area spells, and summons that the protection can't be relied on. This lich starts by summoning a dark planetar. Well, all right, I'll still try. Add a Death Ward to counter the planetar's vorpal sword, and engage.
    Vorpal hit, dispel ... both Death Ward and PfU are still active. Nice.

    Oh wait, no. That was a lie. They were dispelled, but the portrait icons were still there incorrectly.
    [2-9-9 Cernd dead]
    Insufficient cheese error. Time to reload.

    Lesser undead drawn out and scorched. The lich itself ... well, that's another matter. Cernd runs in and convinces it to waste a Time Stop with nobody in sight:
    No spells cast while time was stopped.

    Cernd approaches to draw out more, and gets hit by the fear aura. Running around blindly, he attracts the attention of some ghosts.
    What my friend means to say is "Of course you can have the bones. They don't do us any good." He's just a bit indisposed right now.

    Then Cernd gets blinded (Power Word), we regain control, and he dodges a Wail of the Banshee.

    Then Randy engages - 5 APR, every hit disrupts.
    One spell lost. Then another disrupted. A PW: Blind gets through - Randy runs forward to attack point-blank. That works.
    Amauna's ghost gives us a wardstone to avoid the dragon, and part of the symbol to advance. Excellent.

    What was that chill I felt? Oh, a symbol of death on the ground. Good thing I made the save.

    On to the second random lich group. Minions drawn out and killed. Randy engages... two spells disrupted... then he fails a save against the fear aura, and runs around randomly. Wail of the Banshee... saved. Haer'Dalis gets in and cures his fear. Ready to fight again, as soon as we wait out the new PfMW. Randy gets back in, breaks the Stoneskin - feared again with the lich near death. Regain control and move in - one more hit and it's over.

    Next is a puzzle - the name of the master. Well, we know who that is. But first, we have a symbol to defuse. Cernd gives himself a Death Ward (the one we didn't use after reloading) and heads over there to step on it.

    See? No chilly feeling if you do it like this.

    Randy crosses, and speaks to a shadow. Freedom in exchange for information? Sure, why not.
    The information is good ... and the shadow attacks ineffectually the moment we cross. Oh well.
    Never trust a shadow.
    I didn't, really. He gave good information, and I acted honorably. Better to give them a chance and prepare for any betrayal than to simply assume the worst.

    The sun gem we found opens the way forward, but we still need the full holy symbol to open the door beyond. Randy returns to speak to the statue.
    Jan reaches thief level 14 with this and improves his stealth.

    Beyond the door lies a chapel, where the dragon rests. It is an imposing sight, even quiescent.
    We're gonna need the Zords for this fight.
    That would be nice ... if we had any Zords.
    You mean we have to fight that as our puny selves? Or maybe our regular transformations? I'm glad we don't have to fight it now.

    And now, time to buff for the coming fight. No True Sight, as that's a "hostile" spell that would wake the dragon.

    We head up to meet the Shade Lord, who naturally taunts us.
    Light will prevail here! The sun will return!

    The battle opens, and Shadow Patrick has the worst attack roll I've ever seen:
    That penalty is Aerie's -11 missile AC modifier (Shield spell, girdle of piercing, boots of avoidance), plus the -8 for a melee-range missile attack.

    And ... crashed. That's what I get for trying to actually use the transformations.
    Reload ... the autosave crashes too. I could go back before the lich, but I'd rather not. And that's the last straw for me. Polymorphing is just too crashy. Those transformations are the mechanical theme of the run, and I'd have to go forward not using them. It's just not worth it. The run is canceled, ending here.

    Post edited by jmerry on
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    Final words

    So, there it ends. I liked the concept, and enjoyed playing it, but the polymorphing just broke things too badly. I'd be going along fine, and then - bam, spinny wheel of doom. And if there was an autosave too close, that save would freeze just the same. It's a shame, because the transformations are fundamentally very cool things.

    Some jokes I never got the chance to use:

    "Make my monster grow!" - this would come up with Draconis and Abazigal. Of course, that's Melissan speaking, because she's the obvious villain hamming things up and attacking with pawns rather than getting into things herself.

    Dorn's quest, and concerns about his evil? Don't worry, we're redubbing all of his lines anyway. We can change his character motivations, no problem.

  • RaoRao Member Posts: 121
    You forewarned us, but it's still a sad thing to see this go prematurely. Hopefully you will help keep this subforum humming with another playthrough sometime in the future :)

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,620
    Hey! That's sad to read you abandoned the run. I wondered: how the game would be without the Big Metal Unit from the start of BG2? It sounded and looked as if you used the golem's stats etc to tackle the most dangerous enemies, such as liches.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 768
    It certainly made things easier, but the rod and ammo were a much bigger deal; I'd leave them out if I ran it again. Mostly, the Unit itself just let me play more aggressively against melee enemies.
    Against a lich - well, what good is AC when the enemy never attacks? Most of the scarier threats in BG2EE are spell-based, and the Unit doesn't help with that. Even the mephits in the first dungeon were a real threat to my protagonist with the Unit equipped.

    The ridiculous power of scorcher and pulse ammo in early BG2, on the other hand, is one of those things that takes out way too much of the challenge to keep doing too often. Without it, how would I have tackled those liches? Probably more like I did Deril; duck in and out, let them waste their spellbooks when they can't see anyone. Maybe throw Azuredge while I'm at it.

    So, short version: If a patch fixes the polymorph crashes and I revisit this concept, the protagonist will get the Big Metal Unit from the start but not any of the weapons that go with it. This was never meant to be a challenge run, but taking too much challenge out isn't fun.

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