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Beholders Without Shield of Balduran

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  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 172
    Blind priests are quite tough. There is bajillion of them and they are very synchronised.

  • OlvynChuruOlvynChuru Member Posts: 2,768
    Try giving a character as many items as possible that increase saving throws and magic resistance. If you have Carsomyr, that makes the beholders a lot easier. Anti-Magic Ray doesn't dispel equipped effects of items.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,725
    VanDerBerg wrote: »
    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.

    I was wondering what you did to have it not work... and then I tried a real-world test myself.

    Level 24 monk Rasaad, versus most of the underdark hive (SCS/Insane difficulty). Relevant equipment: Potion of magic protection, cloak of protection +2, ring of earth control, Sensate Amulet, Glimmering Bands, Moonlight Walkers, supply of healing potions. Effective AC -11, no crit protection, THAC0 -8, 11-30 damage per hit, 4 APR. (I have the gauntlets of crushing, but forgot to put them on for this.)

    I cleared out the two encounters that include non-beholders using my party, and then set Rasaad loose. Three pictures of his progress:
    Early on, after triggering the first elder orb's initial defenses and retreating:
    q4wcgy3ai1i0.jpg
    Later, trying to avoid those darn magical swords the second orb summoned:
    vxi42xkkd3l7.jpg
    Against the final enemy, trying to burn through the hive mother's stoneskins fast enough to kill it:
    0lah6uqrjtx5.jpg

    My current (v32) install has the elder orbs focusing on summons in their spells; both of them sent magical swords against Rasaad, which did significant damage to him. Also, the beholders will use melee attacks, which can deal significant damage because of their numbers. You need those healing potions.

    That final picture contains my mistake, a revealing one for future strategy. Rasaad had a Whirlwind Attack and a Greater Whirlwind. Both times he used them... immediate anti-magic ray response. He survived, because 72 MR and really good saves goes a long way, but he called in some artillery to finish off the Hive Mother.

    Why did the hive mother use its anti-magic ray? Because WW and GWW are forms of haste. The script detects haste, and that's one of the buffs it wants to anti-magic away immediately. Not that it can, since they're undispellable.

    So - lesson learned. Next time I try this, no whirlwinds. Also, just don't bother taking on that hive mother with a lone warrior. Aside from that, potions of magic protection do work.

    Grond0OrlonKronsteenStummvonBordwehr
  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 172
    That's awesome and totally makes me want to roll a monk myself. Only if they didn't suck so much at the beginning of the game.

    So, I should say that I have SCS installed with smarter mages and priests, better calls for help and a few other things (improved mind flayers and dragons and a few improved encounters), but I don't think I have improved beholders part installed, nor do I have improved beholder lair which adds more beholders there. So, beholders should act the same as in non-modded game, apart from elder orb because I assume it uses the smarter mages script and spell selection.

    What I did was what you suggested - had Mazzy gulp two potions of protection from magic and attacking them from distance alone while others were safely sheltered. She cleared two groups of gauths without problems, but as soon as she attacked the first beholder, it started shooting anti magic rays immediately. I didn't use any other power on her and I used the +3 bow that has infinite ammo, not sure how it is called. Also, I never encountered hive mother - in the final part, which I actually don't see on your pictures, it was 3 beholders, elder orb and gauth.

    OrlonKronsteen
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,725
    edited July 2020
    Ah, I was assuming the full power of SCS beholders, with their telekinesis tricks that mean you can't rely on the Shield of Balduran. You're dealing with essentially vanilla beholders, which are generally easier to exploit - but not in the same ways.

    And yes, the Hive Mother in the underdark lair is a (difficulty-dependent) SCS addition with the improved beholders. The "final part" you're mentioning - that would be in the southeast? That elder orb summoned the swords in my second picture. Also, SCS moves the elder orb with the eyestalk to the main corridors of the southeast; it chased Rasaad into the southwest alcove for my first picture.

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 172
    Ah yes, sorry, I wasn't clear. It is just regular vanilla beholders. It's not that I -can't- use Shield of Balduran, it is that I -don't want- to use it. I like for some encounters to really feel epic and this is one of them. For the same reason, I don't use scrolls of protection from undead or protection from magic on Kangaxx (which resulted in him consistently tearing me another one for the last two days). It doesn't make much sense lore-wise for the situation like "Here is one of the most powerful and feared demiliches in history. Who was, by the way, killed by a level 1 fighter using a piece of paper bought in a nearby shop for cheap money."

    Although, it seems to me beholders are somehow different this time. Last time around, I managed to mount an impenetrable defence with them on the sorcerer, so that their rays couldn't hurt me at all. This time, I wasn't able to replicate the same. Maybe I didn't use the right buffs, but I vaguely remember that their anti magic ray didn't take out spell protections. This is also what BG wiki says - that beholder anti magic ray behaves like breach, with the added effect of 100% spell failure for 3 rounds. But breach does not take out SI, so before SI: Necromancy and SI: Enchantment would protect me from most of their rays. So, SCS must have changed how this ray works.

    Unrelated to this, I have to post the proudest moment of my SCS career so far:44hhptnuzbou.png

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 12,009
    What kind of level 1 fighter has the THAC0 to hit Kangaxx?

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 172
    edited July 2020
    Any fighter specialised in quarterstarf has enough THAC0 to hit Kangaxx with +4 weapon they can buy in Adventurer's Mart. And certainly any fighter you create in BG2. The point being that any mediocre character can protect themselves with a cheesy scroll and beat the most powerful demilich in existence.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 922
    VanDerBerg wrote: »
    Any fighter specialised in quarterstarf has enough THAC0 to hit Kangaxx with +4 weapon they can buy in Adventurer's Mart. And certainly any fighter you create in BG2. The point being that any mediocre character can protect themselves with a cheesy scroll and beat the most powerful demilich in existence.

    You could also argue that this is the Achilles heel of being an undead lich as well. Sure, super powerful, except you are undead and vulnerable to scrolls that protect adventures from beings like you.

    Had the original developers actually bothered to fully develop liches, that battle could have been a lot harder. Phylacteries weren't implemented, though. Props to Beamdog for remembering those exist, and that technically every lich you killed in Athkatla resurrected somewhere shortly after, only mildly inconvenienced by your visit.

    ThacoBell
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,935
    You might be able to hit him with that quarterstaff, but you won't find it easy to kill him with it due to his physical resistance and regeneration. Daystar is far better - even used non-proficiently the bonus damage that bypasses his resistance will kill him easily. I agree with the basic point though that PfU scrolls are unreasonably powerful against undead.

    OrlonKronsteenThacoBell
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 922
    Maybe, but this could be fixed by adding a slight subquest to each lich to find their phylactery and destroy it - that will outlast your PFU.

  • ReticentReticent Member Posts: 122
    So many enemies have such a tremendous advantage over an unprepared party, that I appreciate the symmetry provided by being able to reverse the situation with proper preparation.

    Balrog99ThacoBellborntodie
  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 172
    edited July 2020
    You might be able to hit him with that quarterstaff, but you won't find it easy to kill him with it due to his physical resistance and regeneration. Daystar is far better - even used non-proficiently the bonus damage that bypasses his resistance will kill him easily. I agree with the basic point though that PfU scrolls are unreasonably powerful against undead.

    That's true. And this isn't even a scroll that is found somewhere at the level 45 of end-game dungeon, but a scroll that is found in a shop in the centre of the town.
    So many enemies have such a tremendous advantage over an unprepared party, that I appreciate the symmetry provided by being able to reverse the situation with proper preparation.

    That's also true, but it is kinda really hard to define what exactly "fair" means in BG. If you just take pre-buffing as an example, is it fair for you or your enemy to start pre-buffed? In the example of an encounter with a group of beholders, if you run into them without any preparation on your on their side, you are dead. Unless you have very high innate magic resistance, as on an example of a monk or (I am guessing) high-level wizard slayer wearing carsomyr. On the other hand, if your party encounters Kangaxx and neither you or him are buffed, he is dead (at least in the lich form) within the first rounds, because it is 6-on-1 fight. So, some amount on pre-buffing on both sides seems reasonable...

    ...APART FROM A FUCKING SCS TWISTED RUNE. BECAUSE FUCK SCS TWISTED RUNE.

    Reticent
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 922
    Ah yes, that fight is insane with SCS. No joke, the first time I did that fight with SCS on, it was absurd.

    The key is to have a bunch of rogue stones, kill the beholder first, then use their own teleport machine against them. Assuming, of course, you can pull that off. If you can, you can escape and heal a bit before going back for more. As a bonus, they will be in the main room, not the antechamber, allowing you a few seconds to prepare.

    Note that you burn up a rogue stone PER VISIT. Don't run out.

    OrlonKronsteenGrond0
  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 172
    edited July 2020
    It is totally ridiculous. The fight starts with the lich pre-summoning two hakeashars and doing mass invisibility on them. It has a contigency to renew his buffs immediately and a spell trigger to summon some more. And in the first round it does time stop and summons gate fiends. While the mage does pretty much the same, casting time stop at round two. Literally, after two rounds I can't even tell what's happening on the screen as I am fighting 10 high-level summons plus the beholder, lich, mage, thief, vampire and fighter. The vampire who I think drains 4 level per hit.

    And, for some reason, Death Fog, the description of which says that it immediately kills all the summons regardless of their HD, cannot even hurt anyone other than my party members.

    I can't see how that can be beaten without some heavy cheese in the form of setting traps or delayed blast fireballs to eliminate the lich immediately where he teleports to at least prevent his assault. Or doing what you did, which I will also try.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,725
    So, about that Death Fog effect...

    Death Fog and Death Spell kill any creature with the "summoned" gender. Among the high-level summons, fiends have the "summoned_demon" gender and are exempt - it makes some sense that gating them in would be treated differently. Celestial summons are also exempt (gender "both", and they grant experience when you kill them). SCS changes djinn/efreet summons to be exempt; they would die in vanilla, but don't with the mod. Nishruu and hakeashar - Death Spell kills them, but Death Fog is blocked by their acid immunity. Magical swords - also acid immune.

    The Rune leaders themselves? None of them have any innate magic resistance or acid resistance. The spellcasters might have Protection from Acid memorized (Shangalar does in my install), but other than that Death Fog will hurt them. If you're lucky, it might even disrupt some spells.

    Personally, I'd go with incendiary clouds, but that's because I'm running a fire-immune party.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,725
    edited April 16
    I just stumbled onto another way to be immune to beholders. If only I had done so before chapter 9... Oh well, there's always next run.
    Grond0 wrote: »
    Spell shield used to block rays, but I'm not sure it does any more in the EE.
    Spell Shield doesn't block rays in general, but it does block antimagic rays. And unlike against spells like Breach or Secret Word, it doesn't get expended. It will block all antimagic rays for its full duration. SCS or not, both normal and hive mother versions.

    Needless to say, this is kind of busted. Take a character capable of casting arcane spells, have them cast Spell Shield and load them up with buffs. For full immunity to all rays: Protection from Petrification, Remove Fear, Death Ward, Free Action, Protection from Lightning, Chaotic Commands, Protection from Magical Energy, Spell Shield. Aside from the Spell Shield itself, all of them can be cast on others. And all of them have long durations - Spell Shield and Remove Fear are the shortest, at 3 rounds/level and 1 hour respectively.
    Then just let them loose. The damage rays can still disrupt you, so spells with longer casting times are a bad idea, but anything else - normal attacks, items, instant-cast spells - are good.

    OK, SCS beholders add one more ray: telekinesis. Against that, you need a spell save of 1 - otherwise, a failed save will deal a bit of damage and push you away. But it's a low priority in the script, so you won't see it very often.

    This works in 2.5. And I didn't see any mention of it in the 2.6 changelog, so I expect it will work in 2.6 as well. Mechanically, Spell Shield gets you one level of deflection against the "magic attack" type. Antimagic rays have that type and hit as level zero, so that one level is never expended. All of the mage spells that remove protections have nonzero level, so the spell shield is expended after one "hit".

    Post edited by jmerry on
    OrlonKronsteenGrond0Timbo0o0o0ineth
  • lollerslollers Member Posts: 100
    The nice thing about beholders is that most of them are optional. Except for that unseeing eye boss, but you only need to use the rod on it and finish it off with some sort of spell sequenced damage. x3 magic missles should finish it off, and x3 skulltrap will definitely. You can just invisibility 10 radius your way past all the rest.

  • MrBaquanMrBaquan Member Posts: 36
    Summon a few skeleton warriors and haste them and they will butcher regular beholders. Elder orbs and hive mothers usually have death spells so you just need to bait those out. You can also pepper them with cloudkills and similar since the skellies are immune.

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 172
    When I was doing this playthrough, for RP reasons I didn't use Animate Dead - I didn't want my good priest to use something that I percieved as an 'evil spell'. So, skeleton warriors were out of question. Though, I somehow managed to do it without back then.

  • lollerslollers Member Posts: 100
    Why is animate dead evil?

    StummvonBordwehr
  • ZaxaresZaxares Member Posts: 1,223
    lollers wrote: »
    Why is animate dead evil?

    In most editions of D&D, the Animate Dead spell has the "Evil" descriptor. Why exactly this is is usually left up to the DM to decide, but in general, any sort of spell that creates undead is regarded as Evil.

    For my campaigns, the explanation I give is twofold; first, the creation of undead involves Negative energy, which pulls a portion of the Negative Material Plane to the Prime Material Plane in order to power the undead. Over time, this energy will slowly corrupt the world around it, killing plant-life and warping animals and humanoids into diseased or undead beings themselves. Even though for low-level undead, the time needed for this to occur is immensely long, it is still undeniably a corruption of the natural order and thus an Evil act.

    Secondly, when you create an undead, you pull back a portion of the deceased' soul and trap it in their decaying corpse, preventing the soul from moving on to their rightful afterlife. This applies even to mindless undead, and it is a horrific existence, especially if you performed the spell on an unwilling subject. It is thus an act rightfully abhorred by all Good-aligned religions.

    Grond0Balrog99Mantis37
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,725
    As for summons versus beholders ...

    Vanilla beholders will use their rays on anything in sight, with the exception of antimagic rays which are only used if the PC is in sight.
    They also get one instance of Death Spell each, used when they see a summon.

    SCS beholders will use their rays on anything in sight, with the exception of antimagic rays which are only used on party members (and have additional conditions).
    They also get a special no-save Death Ray against summons; that's a Slay effect, so undead summons are immune.

    Elder Orbs get full mage casting, which is likely to include Death Spell. Hive Mothers get some spellcasting, but not Death Spell (at least, not any more than regular beholders).

    So, skeleton summons against beholders with SCS. Undead immunities protect them against charm/domination, fear, hold, slay, and, petrification. That isn't full immunity, but it's close enough that magic resistance will make them last a long time. Disintegrate rays can still kill, but that's a 3.5% chance per ray against the strongest skeleton warriors with their saves and MR. Death rays could kill in theory, but the anti-summon version will take priority and eliminate that chance. Damage rays can still hurt, but only if they beat the MR. Before long, the beholders will resort to melee attacks, and the skeletons are just better at that.

    Against non-SCS beholders, skeletons are toast.
    1qjevibec6k7.jpg
    That's what happens when you send three max-level skeleton warriors up against one regular beholder in the unmodded game.

    Now, when it comes to loophole abuse ... a properly buffed clone of a party member is basically untouchable. Beholders won't use their anti-summon tricks because it's an illusion, and they won't use antimagic rays because it isn't a party member. Even though antimagic rays instantly destroy illusionary creatures, with no save and no chance of magic resistance.

    OrlonKronsteenGrond0
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,935
    jmerry wrote: »
    Against non-SCS beholders, skeletons are toast.

    But only once. In your example you just need to send a single skeleton in to trigger the death spell and a second skeleton can then easily kill the beholder.

    jmerry
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