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BG2 SCS advice - can a party thrive with a single-class druid as its only divine caster

Hi everyone,

I hope you're all well and staying safe in these uncertain times. Like many of you, I'm looking to spend some time escaping into my favourite games to help manage stress (not that I ever needed an excuse before). I have the following question for experienced SCS players:

Can a BG2 party in SCS thrive with a single-class druid (any kit) as its only divine caster? I say thrive, because I know you can get through with any party make-up with enough patience and/or using cheese, but I'm not looking for a run like that. I want to know if I can manage fairly comfortably and without too much micromanagement, resting, etc..

Some background, in case anyone's interested: I want to do a good aligned run with a paladin as my PC. I don't want to create any of my own sidekicks this time so that means my options are:

1) Running with the official NPCs. Well, to put it mildly I have never cared for the good clerics (Aerie and Anomen), so they're out. That means running Cernd, who I haven't used since 2001 or thereabouts. I remember him as being a bit of a putz and dropping him - but I may give him another try if you guys can convince me it's worth it.

2) Trying an NPC mod. Since I haven't found the BG2 cleric mods out there to my taste, I'm specifically looking at the Pai'Na mod, which has received a lot of great feedback and sounds really interesting. I'll likely try this mod in any event, but I'd still like to hear your opinions on running an SCS party with only a druid for divine casting.

Thanks in advance and wishing you well,
~O

JuliusBorisovgorgonzola

Comments

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,632
    Absolutely yes. I've gone through with a two-druid party (Cernd and Jaheira), and had tons of fun doing it. It even comes with its own flavor of cheese - see the story of my all-werewolf party for that. A shapeshifter druid, with the Improved Shapeshifting component, is fantastic throughout the whole saga.

    It's a little annoying to lack the restoration and resurrection spells, but there are plenty of restoration scrolls and you still get the Mass Resurrection HLA.

    JuliusBorisovOrlonKronsteenStummvonBordwehrgorgonzola
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 1,012
    edited April 2020
    While people think of SCS as making the game harder, it actually gives a giant power-up to druids so yes you can absolutely thrive with a druid as your only divine caster. However do keep in mind that only Jaheira can cast raise dead, that is not on the standard druid spell list though of course if you are an experienced player then on the rare occasions when someone dies you can make do with resurrection items.

    If you don't have a particular kit in mind, you might consider a berserker/druid dual. Even if you dual seconds after the game starts instead of waiting until 9 or 13, you'll still have a permanent AC and APR advantage over a singleclass druid.

    OrlonKronsteengorgonzola
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 847
    @jmerry That werewolf run looks like something! Thanks for sharing.

    @iosfrustration Fortunately, the inquisitor and insect plague nerfs are optional. I don't play with the former (though I haven't run an inquisitor in BG2) and I can't remember whether I have the latter installed or not. In any case, I've often found bees ineffective against powerful enemies (even in BG1) - even when they don't have fireshield up. I don't know what other spells block insect plague, but clearly something does. I really need to read the combat log more carefully, I guess.

    @jsaving How does SCS give a giant power-up to druids? Is it because their anti-mage capabilities are all the more valuable in a game where enemy mages are exponentially more powerful? Or am I missing something else?

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 21,589
    edited April 2020
    I think they mean components re/"true" shapeshifting and thus different tokens you can swap in and out without spending any action in a combat round.

    I've been playing SCS and have come to the conclusion that component is a bit game-breaking (but it's all personal, ofc). So I leave that component in for BG:EE (to experience harder enemy druids, especially in Cloakwood) but leave it out for BG2:EE (as it's usually your druids, not enemies, who profit from the component more in that game, except for a few exclusions, namely, in the Druid Cove or in the Abazigal Lair).

    Coming back to your question - absolutely, yes. Your single-class druid will cover everything, and you'll be able to get Protection from Fear from a wizard. One aspect that will be harder without a cleric are vampires but there are scrolls to bring back drained levels and other ways not to get hit.

    OrlonKronsteengorgonzola
  • jsavingjsaving Member Posts: 1,012
    Yes that's exactly right, I was referring to the "true" shapeshifting which despite its name was something invented out of whole cloth by the mod.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
    @OrlonKronsteen You must have the insect plague nerf installed if its being blocked. The only thing that can stop it in vanilla is magic resistance.

  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 857
    ThacoBell wrote: »
    @OrlonKronsteen You must have the insect plague nerf installed if its being blocked. The only thing that can stop it in vanilla is magic resistance.

    I like the vanilla way, some rock/paper/scissors feeling i have with it (but i know its not true). I really like scs ai changes but not the spell system changes. That makes mages and mage fights not fun. If there an scs light with basic spell system but smarter ai i should use that.

    OrlonKronsteenThacoBellgorgonzola
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 847
    edited April 2020
    @ThacoBell Or it may be a bug. I've seen the spell fail even when an enemy mage doesn't have fireshield up.

    Edit: I just looked at the readme and it seems protection from normal weapons will block insects as well.

    @Danacm Have you tried SCS v32? Some of the spell system changes are optional (as always) and there is a difficulty slider that lets you control how smart your opponents are. So, on 'Improved,' for example, they won't use contingencies and sequencers. It makes them smarter overall, but not godlike as they are on higher settings. It still may not be interesting to you, but worth looking at if you haven't already.

    Post edited by OrlonKronsteen on
  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 857
    Sure i did some full runs with it.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
    The way I do it, is just to not install the improved mages component, or the spell rebalancing. Its more than a little insane that SCS buffs mages so much while also debuffing every single anti mage ability that isn't another mage.

    iosfrustrationgorgonzolaOrlonKronsteen
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,632
    edited April 2020
    Two points:
    - Beating mages with your own mages is not the only way to play, even in SCS. That werewolf party I mentioned above beat mages by just plain tanking them. Warriors were generally bigger threats. (And yes, that works even at Insane difficulty; I ran an unreported version of the party at that level.)
    - This is not a thread about mages.

    gorgonzola
  • DavidWDavidW Member Posts: 817
    jsaving wrote: »
    Yes that's exactly right, I was referring to the "true" shapeshifting which despite its name was something invented out of whole cloth by the mod.

    For the (belated) record: I don't call it 'true' shapeshifting.

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,915
    @ThacoBell Or it may be a bug. I've seen the spell fail even when an enemy mage doesn't have fireshield up.

    Edit: I just looked at the readme and it seems protection from normal weapons will block insects as well.

    Things like spell turning and deflection will also stop insects if those are cast directly at an opponent, but won't stop the spread of insects after they initially land (which is one reason why I normally cast them on summons and not enemies - you can also then micro-manage where the center of spread is in order to affect the most enemies).

    OrlonKronsteeniosfrustration
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,632
    Incidentally, some holes I've noticed in anti-insect protection (v32):
    - The protection from normal weapons included in Enhanced Bard Song (the HLA) doesn't block insects; this seems to just be an oversight.
    - The fireshield included in Avenger salamander form (with Improved Shapeshifting) doesn't kill insects. This is very much a double-edged sword - because the fireshield does retaliate for the insects, if their caster is near enough. A salamander-form druid definitely wants to be that close so as to attack in melee.

    Grond0OrlonKronsteeniosfrustration
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