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Beholders Without Shield of Balduran

How do you normally deal with beholders if you do not use the cloak of mirroring or shield of balduran? I vividly remember that I was able to make my sorcerer totally immune to any of their attacks in my first playthrough, but I am not sure how...Chaotic commands + Death Ward + Remove Fear + SI: Abjuration + SI: Necromancy doesn't seem to work, as their anti magic ray still gets through (I assumed this is similar to dispel magic and would, therefore, be dealt with SI: Abjuration, but that doesn't seem to be the case). And since in the Underdark, I get attacked by around 20 of them at the same time, even if one thing gets through my defense, I am dead very quickly.

Just to mention that my party is

CHARNAME (priest of lathlander Lvl 15)
Mazzy
Imoen
Jan
Keldorn
Jaheira

«1

Comments

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,315
    Spell shield used to block rays, but I'm not sure it does any more in the EE.

    Summons are a good option against beholders in the unmodded gamee. Send them in one at a time to start with to soak up any death spells and the beholders will then switch to melee (which they're not very good at). Otherwise, area damage (like fireballs, incendiary cloud etc) works well - just make sure you don't hang around visible to be targeted.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 869
    edited July 7
    On a pure warrior, drink two potions of magic protection for two hours of 100% magic resistance. In your party, that's Mazzy or Keldorn. Or both, if you feel like killing them faster. The beholders won't use their antimagic rays to dispel you.

    A mage can polymorph into a mustard jelly for 100% magic resistance, but the beholders will spam antimagic rays and block you from using wands for any significant damage-dealing.

    Reticentmonico
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 687
    Mordenkainen's Swords. Yes, they are 7th level, but they are immune to beholder rays entirely. Even a single one is usually enough to get the job done. Otherwise, you are back to using gear, as I haven't found any spell combination that works.

    When the Aura mod for BG2 is completed, it's possible she will still have her goggles that protect you from gaze attacks. She took out all of the Basilisks in BG1 for the party. Not sure if they will work against Beholders, though, as the mod hasn't been released.

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    The trouble with summons is that beholders' death ray seems to destroy them immediately, similar to mage's death spell. I tried with Mordenkainen's sword, aerial servants and fire elementals and none of them lasted long enough to kill even a single beholder. But I haven't tried sending them in one at a time. Do beholder have a limited number of death rays or they can throw them at will?

    I could, I guess, load Jan's and Imoen's spell sequencers with 3xfireball and throw them into fog of war to destroy them, but that would be a bit anticlimactic for what is, until now, by far the toughest challenge I have encountered in the game. But this might be one of those encounters where you either kill the enemy immediately or you are dead, so I might try with jmerry's potions solution. Throwing improved haste to Mazzy with tugan bow will make sure she has 10 attacks per round, so she should be able to kill them easily.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 687
    I'll have to try that again the next time I see a beholder, but I was pretty sure Morty's swords were immune. I've used them to go after them in the past, for sure, but I normally send a small fleet of them.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 869
    Would improved haste help? It would be faster damage ... but it might also inspire the beholders to use their antimagic rays. Not worth the risk. Dispellable buffs in general, beyond the minimal magic protection, are a bad idea.

    Beholders have unlimited uses of their rays; they just use them at a certain frequency.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 687
    jmerry wrote: »
    Would improved haste help? It would be faster damage ... but it might also inspire the beholders to use their antimagic rays. Not worth the risk. Dispellable buffs in general, beyond the minimal magic protection, are a bad idea.

    Beholders have unlimited uses of their rays; they just use them at a certain frequency.

    I think I remember the issue. They do only use their death spell equivalent once and only once in the unmodded game. After that, they use other psionic attacks, which the swords are immune to. Maybe send in something cheap at first to absorb that first attack, then follow up with more beefy summons.

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    One thing that also does work occasionally is invisibility 10' radius and surrounding them when they are grouped and then quickly disposing of them. That worked reasonably well for a group of one beholder and 3 lesser beholder (whatever their name is). The trouble with that is that, on this map and with better calls for help installed, they tend to arrive from 3 different directions when you attack one group, which is a death sentence.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 869
    You mentioned better calls for help... OK, sounds like SCS. I've gone through the SCS beholder AI thoroughly, and looked at the conditions for using their antimagic rays. A basic summary: beholders will use their antimagic rays if either
    - the target has levels in a spellcasting class (bard, cleric, druid, mage, sorcerer), or
    - the target has dispellable buffs in certain categories (haste is definitely included).

    The AI-manipulating trick here is that potions of magic protection aren't among the buffs that inspire an antimagic response, but 100% resistance does protect against all of the attack rays. If you start adding more buffs, like oils of speed or potions of giant strength, then you're looking at an antimagic ray - which will also strip your magic resistance. Oops.

    Grond0Blackraven
  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    Thanks for checking that! It certainly seems the potions are the only way to deal with it then. Unless anti magic ray gets absorbed by spell turning/deflection and they don't use it all the time to burn through that quickly? But I guess that if you get attacked by 3 beholders, they will burn through it almost immediately

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    Also, what spell level is their anti magic ray considered as?

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 869
    Ray details:
    Beholder rays:
    SPIN992 (antimagic): level 1 abjuration. Dispels everything, blocks spellcasting and grants magic immunity for a round.
    SPIN168 (telekinesis): level 1 no school. Buffets target away and deals 3d8 total crushing damage on a failed save vs. spell.
    SPIN990 (paralysis): level 1 enchantment. Holds target for two turns on a failed save vs spell at -1.
    SPIN991 (death): level 1 alteration. Kills target on a failed save vs death.
    SPIN986 (wounds): level 1 necromancy. 17 damage, no save.
    SPIN985 (domination): level 1 enchantment. Dominates target for 7.5 rounds on a failed save vs spell at -2.
    SPIN984 (flesh to stone): level 1 alteration. Petrifies target on a failed save vs spell.
    SPIN983 (slow): level 1 alteration. Slows target (with concurrent AC/to hit penalties) for 7.5 rounds on a failed save vs spell at -4.
    SPIN982 (disintegrate): level 1 evocation. Disintegrates target on a failed save vs spell.
    SPIN981 (fear): level 1 enchantment. Panics target for 3 rounds on a failed save vs spell.
    SPIN980 (charm): level 1 enchantment. Charms target into passivity on a failed save vs spell at +3.

    Gauth rays - SPIN990, SPIN986, SPIN983, SPIN980. Also one unique ray:
    SPIN989 (lightning bolt): 9d6 electric damage, save vs spell for half.

    Elder Orbs, Death Tyrants - same as regular beholders.

    Hive Mothers - SPIN990, SPIN985, SPIN984, SPIN983, SPIN981, SPIN980. Also altered versions of the other beholder rays:
    SPIN550 (HM antimagic): level 1 abjuration. Does everything the beholder version does, plus removes all spell protections and drains mage spells/item charges like a nishruu attack.
    SPIN171 (HM death): level 1 alteration. Kills target on a failed save vs death at -2.
    SPIN551 (wounds): level 1 necromancy. 5d8 damage, no save.
    SPIN552 (disintegrate): level 1 evocation. Disintegrates target on a failed save vs spell at -4.

    So, all of the rays are level 1. Still, there are so many that they would overwhelm anything in the spell deflection/turning family quickly. A Minor Globe might work, though. Unless you have to face a Hive Mother. Hive Mother antimagic takes down all of your defenses in one shot.

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    Hm, so SI: Necromancy, SI: Enchantment, Death Ward, Chaotic Commands, Free Action and Spell Deflection would protect from everything, plus would absorb 10 anti magic rays. So, it might work if they don't spam anti magic ray all the time until it burns through? I am gonna try that and Globe of Invulnerability before doing the potion tactics.

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    Damn, there is telekinesis too. Though I didn't see that one cast too often. Maybe SI: Enchantment isn't necessary with Chaotic Commands and Free Action. SI: Abjuration instead would protect against anti magic...Maybe...Probably not

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    Ok, none of these things work, anti magic ray ignores them all. Potion it is, then.

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    And the final update, if anyone ever tries this suicidal mission again. 2x potion of magic resistance doesn't work either, as beholder still trigger anti magic ray. And there is nice elder orb surrounded by three beholders, who is protected by spell trap, has spell trigger that casts dispel magic, fireball and true sight and casts imprisonment too. Together with barrage fire from the three beholders, of course.

    In the end, I put on all the buffs (including protection from fire), summoned 2x fire elementals and 2x aerial servants, hasted everyone and did invisibility 10' radius, killed one beholder immediately and somehow finished the other two and the elder orb. And only half of my group died. Joy.

    Balrog99ronaldo
  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,277
    Regular beholders, without scs? My best tactics are :
    - area spells (cloudkill,fireballs etc) + traps + potion of magic resistance of scroll of protection from magic for direct assault.

    monico
  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    These are SCS ones. The regular ones were more manageable. These are nasty mothers.

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    Not as nasty as SCS liches, though. I am beginning to regret installing this SCS thing. Why am I doing this to myself?

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 791
    edited July 8
    VanDerBerg wrote: »
    These are SCS ones. The regular ones were more manageable. These are nasty mothers.
    VanDerBerg wrote: »
    Not as nasty as SCS liches, though. I am beginning to regret installing this SCS thing. Why am I doing this to myself?

    SCS can be a real bugger, especially if you're not used to it. If you're using v32 and up, you can adjust the difficulty mid-game at any time. Not only can you adjust the main difficulty slider (improved, tactical, etc.), you can adjust each component individually. So, if beholders are getting you down you could turn their difficulty down to 'improved' or even 'basic' if they're bringing you down.

    Personally, I find SCS beholders to be brutal. At the 10th-12th level character range, I can manage them on improved difficulty by staying the f**k away from them and using crowd control and area of effect spells, while using hasted summons as an additional buffer. Basically, I scout ahead while invisible or in stealth, and then launch an attack from out of their range of sight. Web, chaotic commands, cloudkill, skull traps, etc.. are all effective. Having said that, it's still extremely risky as the buggers often make their saves and tear through your summons to chase you down. I do whatever I can to avoid being in their range of sight.

    Edit: greater malison is a key spell to have here, too, though I often find they still make their saves.

    As for liches, they are buggers, too. Best saved for higher levels, but again you can turn their difficulty down by adjusting the 'smarter mages' components.

    Grond0ThacoBell
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 11,122
    Haste + Zerg Rush, its uh, not super consistent :D

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 687
    Ok, I just cleaned out the beholder area in the Underdark with my party last night. I am using the most recent version of SCS with Tactical difficulty.

    The beholders and elder orb both used death spell once, which reliably nuked anything targeted. So, I started the battle with skeleton warriors. Once they burned off that death spell, I followed up with Mordenkainen's Swords, followed by elementals. That worked a treat, and my invisible guide (Isra) only got hit once when an Elder Orb detected her.

    Unfortunately, it followed her back to the entry area, forcing an impromptu real battle that left a few party members stunned, but most of the place was cleared out with a variety of summons. On the upside, the party now has the medallion that protects against psionics.

    Grond0OrlonKronsteenmonico
  • monicomonico Member Posts: 564
    edited July 9
    Recently, I've decided to avoid using the Shield of Cheese.

    So now, I always use the Cloak of Sewers to turn into a mustard jelly (or use the polymorph:self spell)... Which is just about the same, since it turns a tough encounter into a silly waiting game because of just one item/spell.

    But I'm just too scared of those Beholders (especially since I play solo no-reload now) to face those monsters "fairly".

    EDIT: actually, the only time I faced them fairly was with my solo Dwarven Defender, armed with Belt of Inertial Barrier (50% magic damage resistance) and negative saving throws (thanks to gear, defensive stance, shorty race, no dispellable buffs).
    It is still quite dangerous facing several of them, their damaging rays still accumulate to a lot of damage.

    OrlonKronsteen
  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    edited July 9
    At the 10th-12th level character range, I can manage them on improved difficulty by staying the f**k away from them and using crowd control and area of effect spells, while using hasted summons as an additional buffer. Basically, I scout ahead while invisible or in stealth, and then launch an attack from out of their range of sight. Web, chaotic commands, cloudkill, skull traps, etc.. are all effective.

    Very sound tactics, but I have a few more self-imposed restrictions to make my life harder, one of them being - no casting spells in fog of war, to give enemies at least a fighting chance. And the other one being 'no using animate dead on good priests'. I am guessing level 15 skeleton warriors, with their high magic resistance would be very handy, but I think good priests should never use animate dead. In fact, I think this spell should be exclusive to evil priests to compensate for total uselessness of unholy blight and unholy word, compared to their good counterparts. Even though I never play evil priests. But that's another story
    But I'm just too scared of those Beholders (especially since I play solo no-reload now) to face those monsters "fairly".

    I am not brave enough for no reload run. But beholders are special because it is almost like - either you don't give them a fighting chance or they don't give you a fighting chance, especially with 4 of them in one place. So it has to be cheesed in some way, otherwise you are roasted because you simply don't have any breathing and thinking space once they start throwing a barrage fire at you. I did manage to beat non-SCS ones with a sorcerer, Aerie and Imoen by mounting enough defense and refreshing it, and still the fight lasted good 10 minutes or so...

    OrlonKronsteenmonico
  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    edited July 9
    On the plus side, I managed to beat that lich in Underdark without any cheese, on tactical difficulty! I am totally proud of it! It took around 5 reloads, but in the end I managed to get through his defenses and survive his two time stops, with just 2 people in my group dying. I think I am in love with False Dawn as it gave me a tad of breathing space (I think) and Mazzy, since she was the one who did almost all the damage to him as others were running around in horror. Mazzy, marry me!

    OrlonKronsteenThacoBell
  • ReticentReticent Member Posts: 111
    I also play with some self imposed role-play restrictions, but in some ways that mindset is incompatible with the worst offenders in SCS.

    As for alternative approaches to the Beholder lair, I suppose if you can get an innate and equipment based magic resist of 100% on somebody you'd be pretty safe from everything except the Elder Orbs' Imprison spells? Can't recall if that ignores MR in SCS.

    Only problems for you would be that that approach probably requires Viconia plus the Human Flesh armor, and a few extra pieces of gear. Kind of puts the horse before the cart too, as you'd need to escape the Underdark in a specific less-than-good way, and then bother to go back just to fight the Beholders.

    OrlonKronsteen
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 791
    I generally try to avoid abusing the fog of war as well, but I'm willing to make an exception with SCS beholders, especially since there's still risk and challenge with even these tactics. They are an extremely OP enemy - especially for Chapter 2 (Unseeing Eye). I salute anyone who can beat them above the improved difficulty setting. I tried them on tactical once and got my ass handed to me.

    Reticent
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,706
    There are quite a few good tips on the topic here: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/79353/cult-of-the-unseeing-eye

    Try Mislead on Imoen

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    edited July 9
    They are an extremely OP enemy - especially for Chapter 2 (Unseeing Eye)

    For me, at least with my limited experience in BG2, they are the hardest 'non-named' enemies in the game. It is so far the only one when running at them in plain sight is suicidal. Well, it is possible to rush to attack them when there is 1 or maybe 2 of them, but with a group of 3 or more, it is just suicide no matter what buffs you have.

    Surprisingly, I didn't find the Unseeing Eye quest terribly hard. I think they scale in that part depending on the level, so in my current playthrough I did that quest first after the exit from the Irenicus' Dungeon and I mostly encountered gauths, with a few isolated beholders. I found invisibility, invisibility 10' radius and Minsc's berserker rage invaluable. Dropping invisibility on Minsc, having him gulp potion of speed and letting him berserk as soon as he attacks sorted out two or three of these isolated ones very quickly. But in the Underdark, there are 3 of them in one place, plus gauth or two, plus Elder Orb who starts casting True Sight immediately when you approach it when you are invisible, so there is no time to position properly to attack them all in melee...
    I suppose if you can get an innate and equipment based magic resist of 100% on somebody you'd be pretty safe from everything except the Elder Orbs' Imprison spells?

    I think it still bypasses MR, but that with SCS Spell Revision it allows a saving throw. Also, SCS beasts do not cast imprisonment on the protagonist, as that is a game over. Otherwise, I think Elder Orb does not shoot any rays as it is blind - it probably uses the same script as SCS mages, because it is essentially a high-level mage.

    OrlonKronsteenReticent
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 687
    The Unseeing Eye has never been a tough challenge. The rift device makes the only enemy that can seriously damage you a cake walk instantly. In my current run, long before they were seriously OP, Isra took it on by herself. The rest of the party was a bit occupied with the blind priests.

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