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Twisted Rune on SCS Tactical

To start a new thread about this...How do you do it? This is by far the hardest fight I had and it is insanely difficult. I just cannot find a way to get even close to beating it. My party is Keldorn, Mazzy, CHARNAME (cleric), Imoen, Jan and Jaheira. Imoen can cast level 8 spells, cleric can cast level 7 spells and Jan and Jaheira up to level 6.

The lich starts the fight by casting protections on himself and summoning two hakeashars and plus adding improved invisibility. Since Jan doesn't seem to ever be able to detect anyone invisible, despite his detect illusion being at 105, I need to waste a round casting dispel magic or true sight on him just so I can see him, but by that time he has fired a contingency and he casts a time stop and summon two more fiends. He also has a spell trigger prepared which does whatever is worst for my party at any given moment - mostly fire three flame arrows at whatever char is not protected from fire. Meanwhile, the mage also starts the fight with a few summons (djini, efreeti) and soon after she also casts time stop and summons more gate fiends. At that point, I am fighting an army of summons, plus the mage, vampire, fighter, thief and lich. My casters can almost never cast any spell apart from the ones from triggers/sequencers because they constantly get interrupted by fiends' fireballs...


So...How do you do it? How do you position your party? What spells do you take? What sequencers/triggers do you prepare?

OrlonKronsteen
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Comments

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 687
    First off, you have to have a rogue stone to even get in the place. It may be an "accidental encounter", but you likely aren't going to waltz in right out of Candlekeep (or, in this case, Irenicus' dungeon)

    That said, if you have enough rogue stones, you can essentially use the door cheese. First, put an invisible character near the teleport device. Yes, the vampire and lich can see them, but the rest of the enemies can't. Also, the rest of your party is going to be keeping them busy anyway. Have the rest of the party focus on the beholder, then use his eye stalk to enable the teleport device.

    The key here is to make sure everyone is in the main room, not the vestibule. Keep the battle on the right side of the round table if possible

    Now, on your second visit (after you have healed your party and dispelled anything), you should be clear to wait out the summons. Which I recommend, because pit fiends are brutal. Note that you can't peek, because half the enemies in that room see through invisibility. Once you believe that their summons have been unsummoned, send in some moderate level summons of your own to soak up any remaining offensive spells. The jig will be up, though, and the fight will come into the vestibule, so be prepared.

    Once the pit fiend is out of the way, Bigby's (either one) works pretty well on these enemies, as does Purifier +4 and Carsomyr +5. I don't recall if it was mod added or not, but I have a gem that casts true sight once per day. Alternatively, my party has Sirene, who can cast True Sight as an innate ability. Contingencies to lower resistance also work well, though it can be hard to get them to fire on the right enemy. Pierce shield is also a good idea.

    Without their summons, this fight becomes significantly more "fair"

    OrlonKronsteenStummvonBordwehr
  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    edited July 13
    That said, if you have enough rogue stones, you can essentially use the door cheese. First, put an invisible character near the teleport device. Yes, the vampire and lich can see them, but the rest of the enemies can't. Also, the rest of your party is going to be keeping them busy anyway. Have the rest of the party focus on the beholder, then use his eye stalk to enable the teleport device.

    Man, that's some serious cheese, though I am not above it at this point. It's just ridiculous to face 8 high level summons in round one, all apart from two immune to death spell and all immune to death fog.

    The party without summons is not a problem, so if I revert to that tactics, it will be easy. On easy or improved difficulty, I can clear it without problems as they cast just a few summons between themselves. But this shit...

    EDIT: I will also try spamming wands of cloudkill tactics. Though I wish there was a different way to beat it.

    OrlonKronsteen
  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 791
    @Mauvir, thanks for that rogue stone tip. I'd never heard of that before - it's brilliant! You can get a bunch of those stones in the game, sell them, and then let Jan Jansen's kleptomania go to work to get them all back.

    Sorry I don't have anything to add - I've yet to win that fight in SCS. I've tried it relatively early (pre-Spellhold) and, naturally, ended up wearing my ass as a collar. I would like to try it with a high level party, but because of restartitis and the fact that I play minimal/no reload now, I rarely make it into the late game.

  • ithildurnewithildurnew Member Posts: 213
    edited July 13
    Lot's of ways to do it without that level of advanced stinky cheesery.

    Here's one way.

    OrlonKronsteenGrond0StummvonBordwehr
  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    edited July 13
    That was some epic fight. Sadly, it seems to involve multiple HLAs used, and I only have access to one level 8 spell on Imoen. Maybe I am too green to do this encounter now...

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 687
    Yeah, if you have HLAs, that fight is MUCH easier. Also, while I admit that my method is pretty cheesy, it does essentially use their own toys against them. I consider that aspect of it "fair" - since the teleporter returns people to where they originally came, and you still have to not only take out one of the enemies, but do several other things all while getting wailed on by high level opponents.

    In that way, I consider it far less cheesy than traditional door cheese.

    OrlonKronsteen
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 869
    On Jan's Detect Illusion...

    It triggers once a round, if you have the mode active at the right time. You have to constantly watch; if his AI tells him to do something new like attack, he'll drop that. You can have him attack and use detection mode at the same time, but you have to explicitly order him to attack and then click the detection button.

    Also, the detection area of effect is fairly small - about fireball size. If he's standing in the back playing archer, he won't be close enough to dispel the enemy's illusions. With that said, 100% is 100%. If an enemy is in range, their illusions will go, and no spell or item protection helps. Only the non-illusionary invisibility of a thief's hide in shadows will work. To beat that - enemy thieves frequently start hidden this way - you need Detect Invisibility/Invisibility Purge or True Sight/True Seeing.

    Grond0
  • whalewerewhalewere Member Posts: 5
    edited July 13
    I remember this! My first SCS run was with a cleric/thief, and I had comparable levels. So don't lose heart just yet.

    Mivsan_NT's walkthrough is incredibly fun to watch, very enlightening, and I couldn't possibly replicate any of it. But here's some things I remember from my own playthroughs.

    First, everyone was hasted and invisible, just so they could beeline to the lower right corner of the map and take out the vampire. I found this spot to be easier to fight from, and it should buy a little time before the lich reaches you.

    Your cleric can cast Firestorm to try and injure the beholder a bit, and if the hakeashar spawn, try and take them out with a Death spell. The Efreet and Djinn must be taken out manually; the Djinn can be an incredible pain, with lightning bolts flying everywhere and multiple stinking clouds disabling you at the worst times, so they have to go fast.

    After all that, the lich and the mage are tough, but nothing you haven't faced before. Since you have Keldorn, his super-dispel may be applicable if you can take out their Spell Shields and Spell Immunity: Abjurations, but keep in mind that even though you can't damage them, it may be possible to interrupt them, using rings of energy and the ring of the ram. Possibly the necklace of missiles (sold in Trademeet, sell and rebuy it to charge it), but I'm not sure about that.

    Edit: looking over this, struck by how much was merely stating the obvious. At the very least, try keeping the lich away for as long as possible, by knocking him back with the ring of the ram. I saw you mentioning Cloudkill spam, which will interrupt and damage the other mage, but this is SCS and she will move out of harm's way. I guess if you can keep those two at bay, you should have time to breathe.

    Post edited by whalewere on
  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    edited July 14
    Mivsan_NT's walkthrough is incredibly fun to watch, very enlightening, and I couldn't possibly replicate any of it. But here's some things I remember from my own playthroughs.

    First, everyone was hasted and invisible, just so they could beeline to the lower right corner of the map and take out the vampire. I found this spot to be easier to fight from, and it should buy a little time before the lich reaches you.

    Your cleric can cast Firestorm to try and injure the beholder a bit, and if the hakeashar spawn, try and take them out with a Death spell. The Efreet and Djinn must be taken out manually; the Djinn can be an incredible pain, with lightning bolts flying everywhere and multiple stinking clouds disabling you at the worst times, so they have to go fast.

    Hmmm, I never tried grouping around the vampire and taking it out first. I will try, but the problem is that lich and mage seems to have infinite supply of fiends to summon - the lich itself starts with 2 hakeashars and casts time stop in the first round and summons two fiends. He summons a few of them in the next rounds, so he ends up with at least 3 or maybe 4 of them. I wonder if the limit of 5 summons holds just for the human-controlled party. So, I simply have to kill the lich in the first round to stand any chance.

    I figured a way to do it in an incredibly cheesy way, with perfect timing of two sunrays - one from my cleric and the other one from helm of brilliance worn by Keldorn. That kills the lich in round 1, milliseconds before his pre-buffed defence comes into play, but the mage is still insurmountable. She casts project image or simulacrum, summons djinni/efereeti (she starts with this) and then also starts summoning gate fiends. The others are not a problem - the beholder and the vampire die in one round with oil of speed on Mazzy and Keldorn...

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 869
    A note on that video: the player talks about Cloudkill interrupting the lich, but that must be something from an older version. The lich now has the standard undead and lich protections, including immunity to poison. Cloudkill on him won't do anything except hurt your party.

    I haven't gotten there in my current playthrough yet, but I imagine I'll open with a triple-Incendiary Cloud chain contingency at the first sign of hostilities. It is my standard response to major battles with my fire-immune party, after all. There's no way the vampire or the fighter will survive that, and then all I have to do is dispel the protection from fire the mages put up.

    The current version of SCS seems much less likely to have its mages use SI: Abjuration. In my current install, I think the only mage in all of SoA that uses it is the Warden from the Planar Prison. Yours may vary, of course. If they don't have it, dispels are an excellent plan. If they do, you need a Spell Thrust, and probably some other spell-breaking attacks to clear the way.

    And don't be afraid to postpone this. It's basically the ultimate SoA challenge, and if you've still got other things you can do before going to Suldanesselar, you should do them first. Your party as described here is very much low-level by the standards this fight expects.

    Grond0JuliusBorisov
  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    haven't gotten there in my current playthrough yet, but I imagine I'll open with a triple-Incendiary Cloud chain contingency at the first sign of hostilities. It is my standard response to major battles with my fire-immune party, after all. There's no way the vampire or the fighter will survive that, and then all I have to do is dispel the protection from fire the mages put up.

    I am really curious how you will do it, because you know so much about the game mechanics. The trouble with your approach is that when the lich first appears, it is hostile for a second or so before starting to speak. So, chain contingency will likely fire at that point, which is maybe a round or two before the others spawn. And maybe two seconds after they spawn, the mage will probably pre-buff with protection from fire. She also starts with project image, I think. Or simulacrum, whichever one is not sensitive to true sight. And she will cast protection from fire as a contingency when you dispel it, because the game seems to tune these things as a response to the events in the game, rather than precomputing contingencies and sequencers before the battle. Not sure.

    In the end, and what was probably close to 100 reloads over the last 3 days, I finally managed somehow to beat it. Using similar tactics as you proposed with dispels - basically killing the lich in round one and then keldorn and mage going 1 on 1, him dispelling her every round. While the others killed the beholder, vampire, fighter and numerous summons. In the end, the mage had time to summon just one fiend. Totally exhausting. But truly an epic fight.

    whalewere
  • ReticentReticent Member Posts: 111
    edited July 14
    I usually avoid this fight because with Item Randomizer you aren't even guaranteed a big payout for all that risk. But when I do attempt it my basic strategy is double Sun Ray on the lich, a geared Korgan tanking most of the crowd, and an invisible + Boots of Speed Druid hitting the mage with Nature's Beauty from behind the lines.

    Grond0
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 869
    edited July 14
    VanDerBerg wrote: »
    ... So, chain contingency will likely fire at that point, which is maybe a round or two before the others spawn. And maybe two seconds after they spawn, the mage will probably pre-buff with protection from fire. She also starts with project image, I think. Or simulacrum, whichever one is not sensitive to true sight...

    SCS chooses new spells for its casters on every install, so you can't rely on any specific spell list. I've looked, and my version of the bunch have Protection from Fire on all three spellcasters. They will have to be dispelled before they can die. Fortunately, I have a high-level bard in the party for that.
    My version of Layene does not have anything like Project Image or Simulacrum; the highest-level illusion she has memorized is a Shadow Door. Oh, and I revise my previous statement about abjuration immunity in my install; she has it in her spell trigger.
    VanDerBerg wrote: »
    .., And she will cast protection from fire as a contingency when you dispel it, because the game seems to tune these things as a response to the events in the game, rather than precomputing contingencies and sequencers before the battle. Not sure...

    Enemy contingencies are prepared in advance. They aren't handled the same way as player contingencies, and they have more flexibility in their trigger conditions, but they're not cheating by making things up on the fly. Oh, and protection from fire is never in a contingency (I looked at all of the mage scripts with contingencies).
    One of the possible chain contingencies includes Protection from the Elements and a self-targeted incendiary cloud. It is only used by mages that already resist fire, and it is only ever used at the beginning of a battle.
    Several sequencers and triggers include red fireshields, but that's only 50% resistance anyway; most mages that use it won't be immune.
    SCS mages will often precast protection from fire and start the battle immune. They won't recast that protection if you dispel or breach it.

    The thing about Incendiary Cloud ... it lasts a full ten rounds. Even if it fires early and there are a couple rounds before the fight really gets going, that's plenty of time to wipe out the vampire and fighter. At 60d4 (save for half) each round, they'll be down in two rounds even if my forces aren't attacking them.
    VanDerBerg wrote: »
    I am really curious how you will do it, because you know so much about the game mechanics...

    This is a "stress relief" party for me, which I'm logging but not posting in general. The inspiration ... a hybrid of the werewolf party I posted a full playthrough of and the "Children of Fire" playthrough also posted in the same forum. Current party (in chapter 6):
    Rhaegar (Protagonist): Dragon Disciple 23. Immune to fire as a class feature, maximum spellcasting speed with AoP and RoV. Fire spells known: Aganazzar's Scorcher, Fireball, Fireshield Red, Sunfire, Delayed Blast Fireball, Comet, Dragon Breath. (Burning Hands is too short-range to use, and Meteor Swarm is too weak)
    Also heavily abuses Project Image/Wish for free rests whenever I feel like it and vastly increased firepower when needed. Some non-fire damage spells (Acid Arrow, Skull Trap, Death Fog, Horrid Wilting) are available, as are a range of defense-breakers.
    He's the weak link defensively, with the worst save vs spell (2), the least magic resistance (20), the worst AC (-12), and the least regeneration (3/turn). Those will improve when he picks up the Ring of Gaxx. When not casting spells, he throws daggers with his 19 strength.

    Jaheira: Fighter 17/Druid 14. Fights in greater werewolf form, abusing the SCS shapeshift token component. Immune to fire, cold, and electricity (Helm of Defense, ring of fire protection, Harper Pin, boots of cold resistance, GW token), substantially resistant to magic, and saves at -2 vs spells.

    Jan: Illusionist 16/Thief 20. Generally fights in greater werewolf form and doesn't cast spells in battle. Immune to electricity and to spell damage (boots of lightning resistance, GW token, cloak of mirroring), substantially resistant to magic, and saves at -1 vs spells. I've recently started using an Improved Haste/Tenser's Transformation/Mislead spell trigger, with which he's likely to switch to a backstab-capable returning dagger for huge damage.

    Haer'Dalis: Blade 31. Sits around in greater werewolf form singing (Enhanced Bard Song). Occasionally chips in with a Remove Magic or an item activation. Immune to fire, cold, and electricity (innate resistance, Dragon Helm, GW token), substantially resistant to magic, and saves at 0 vs spells.

    Cernd: Shapeshifter 24. Fights in greater werewolf form. Immune to fire, cold, and electricity (Helm of Defense, druid resistance, GW token), substantially resistant to magic, and saves at 0 vs spells.

    Rasaad: Sun Soul Monk 29. Fights in greater werewolf form. Immune to fire and to magic (Ring of Fire Control, GW token, monk magic resistance), saves at 2 vs spells.

    The two key concepts the party is built around:
    - Sorcerers are incredibly good at magical artillery. Focus on offensive damage spells, and you can deal enormous damage in a very short time. Dragon disciples, with their innate fire resistance that eventually reaches 100%, can use the party-unfriendly fire spells to really pile it on... but that means you need to protect the rest of the party from those fireballs and incendiary clouds. That brings us to the second part:
    - The shapeshifter druid's greater werewolf form is a fantastic anti-magic tank, and SCS has a component that makes shapeshifting more convenient in an abusable way. The tokens from this component can be used not only by the druid that created them, but also by other druids, monks, and rogues with Use Any Item. Add on the extensive fire resistance gear that's out there, and it's really easy to make fire-immune werewolves in particular. (Shapeshift tokens have been tweaked in SCS version 33, which I haven't installed yet; I'm not sure how this will be affected.)

    During BG1, the party used a secondary PC Avenger and fire salamander tokens to allow fireballs cast into melee. They couldn't build a full fire-immune party, but four out of six was plenty as long as the other two stayed back.

    I'll probably get to the Twisted Rune fight fairly soon, but I don't anticipate problems. This party took on Insane difficulty SCS Ust Natha and made it look easy, slaughtering foes fast enough that there were actual lulls in the battle. They're nearly as tough on defense as my previous werewolves, and better on offense.

    Post edited by jmerry on
    Grond0JuliusBorisov
  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    edited July 14
    But when I do attempt it my basic strategy is double Sun Ray on the lich, a geared Korgan tanking most of the crowd, and an invisible + Boots of Speed Druid hitting the mage with Nature's Beauty from behind the lines.

    That's exactly what I did lich-wise. Cheesily, since I timed the two sunrays so that they trigger in that one second when he teleports into antechamber and when his defenses are not up yet. Didn't give him a fighting chance, but surviving his arcane assault is impossible to me. I don't have nature's beauty, so I couldn't do that trick.
    Oh, and protection from fire is never in a contingency (I looked at all of the mage scripts with contingencies).
    Hm, I thought contingencies are choosen semi-randomly? I was guessing there is a list of spells that can go onto it and the script chooses 3 random ones...
    Enemy contingencies are prepared in advance. They aren't handled the same way as player contingencies, and they have more flexibility in their trigger conditions, but they're not cheating by making things up on the fly.

    Are you positive about this? Because I am quite sure Shangalar's spell triggers weren't the same every time. Depending on the state of his defense, he would either recast them if they are down or, if they are fully up, cast a triple flame arrow at someone from my party. I am pretty sure both were in spel trigger and he didn't prepare one on the fly.

    I'll probably get to the Twisted Rune fight fairly soon, but I don't anticipate problems

    Oh, your party is much higher level than mine. I am at 2.5m xp, so the highest level char I have is the cleric at level 19. Imoen was the only mage who could cast spells of more than level 6 and I had only one level 8 spell to cast and the only one I had memorised for that level was ADHW (which I didn't even use in the end). So I couldn't use Chain Contingency. But do post exactly how you did it, please.

    I assumed the fight, being there in the original SoA, is beatable at my xp level. Which it is, without many problems, on Easy and Improved difficulty. But on Tactical it is just brutal. For fun, I also tried it on Insane and the difference between Insane and Tactical for me was much less than difference between Tactical and Improved.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 869
    It sounds like your Shangalar has a defensive spell trigger (three spells of up to level 6) and a triple-Flame Arrow spell sequencer (three spells of up to level 4). Two different sequencer types there. He'll use the defensive spell trigger if certain defenses are down, and the offensive sequencer is one of the things he can do when his defenses are up.

    There's some randomness that goes into choosing what contingencies and sequencers to give various mages, but that randomness is all during the installation phase of SCS. Once the creatures and their scripts are in place, that's it.

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    But, with the "make contigencies and sequencers into innate abilities" option, I think I cannot have both spell trigger and spell sequencer active at the same time. I can have a contingency and one sequencer or trigger available. So, Shangalar shouldn't be able to have both spell trigger and spell sequencer active either.

  • DavidWDavidW Member Posts: 777
    VanDerBerg wrote: »
    But, with the "make contigencies and sequencers into innate abilities" option, I think I cannot have both spell trigger and spell sequencer active at the same time. I can have a contingency and one sequencer or trigger available. So, Shangalar shouldn't be able to have both spell trigger and spell sequencer active either.

    Really? That’s a bug, if so, not intended behavior. Can anyone else confirm it?

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 791
    DavidW wrote: »
    Really? That’s a bug, if so, not intended behavior. Can anyone else confirm it?
    I just tested a sorcerer and found that I was unable to set up either a Contingency or a Chain Contingency. When I tried to do so, there was only a 'cancel' button, rather than the 'done' button that you usually see after you've selected your spells.

    However, I was successfully able to set up and use a Minor Sequencer, Sequencer, and Spell Trigger.

  • whalewerewhalewere Member Posts: 5
    They worked fine for me, unless there has been a new release fairly recently. But spell triggers and sequencers are a bit glitch-prone already, aren't they? Maybe your mage needs to clear their status effects via debugger.

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    Actually, it works now. At one time I set up a spell trigger and then the icon for spell sequencer disappeared, so I just assumed this is the intended behaviour that you can have only one of these active at any time. But must have been a weird glitch at that point, because now when I rest I can set up both sequencer and trigger.

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    The only glitch I have now is that 'Contingency' is actually called 'Quick Weapon' in the menu. But when I click on it, it works like a contingency.

  • DavidWDavidW Member Posts: 777
    I'll have a look.

    Regarding some of the discussion on contingencies, triggers etc: I can confirm they're all set at install time. You can see the list of combinations I use in stratagems/caster_shared/triggers, in a fairly human-readable format. (Looking at it now, I use SI:Abjuration in five triggers (out of 45-50, depending on your install) and in 5 chain contingencies (out of 30-35).

    Grond0
  • whalewerewhalewere Member Posts: 5
    Just to be clear so you don't lose sleep over nothing, when I said spell sequencers were glitch-prone, I meant in BG2 in general, not SCS. I have installed SCS multiple times, and sequencers have always worked fine.

    OrlonKronsteen
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 869
    Since you asked, here's my run at the Twisted Rune. The party is up to about 5 million XP each, with essentially everything done but Bodhi's lair, Neera's quest, and other small character quests for people outside the main party. Rhaegar has picked up the Ring of Gaxx for better defenses, and that's about it since I posted the party's status earlier.

    The battle, spoilered to reduce clutter:
    owx8richyc0p.jpg
    Spell deflection/turning effects all around, plus Mass Invisibility. Forgot to summon a planetar, so I'll do it now. The Incendiary Cloud chain contingency is self-targeted.
    6iokbyo4am22.jpg
    Vaxall is the first to fall, being unprotected from fire. After the clouds badly hurt it, a Sunfire provided the finishing blow. My forces then engage the fallen planetar in melee, while Rhaegar switches over to melee the fighter Revanek.
    le7acusxklas.jpg
    And then the next round of cloud effects takes him out. Two down. The planetar follows, and the vampire is still active... time to rectify that.
    5j5ukhzy4dl6.jpg
    We clear out some summons, and then another planetar comes down... and immediately goes invisible. Pop the True Sight gem for that.
    Start tearing down spell defenses...
    e4knlr46aq8m.jpg
    Layene Time Stops into summoning fiends, and things get screwy... actually, I think this one is my fault. I was having trouble with summoned fiends being immune to weapons, so I tinkered with their scripts to make sure the item causing that went away... and that seems to have broken things a bit. I'll have to take another look at what I did. Although I haven't seen this before - it's probably about the interaction of the time stop with the fiends' AI.
    sq2a8b0rhmoo.jpg
    Second planetar down, and that means there's not really anything left on the board I'm afraid of. I add a Storm of Vengeance on Layene to reduce her threat level (castable while shapeshifted, since it has been changed to an innate ability). Then a triple-Pierce Magic, freeing Haer'Dalis to dispel her.
    29jzkne5asgh.jpg
    With Layene down, it's just Shangalar left. He's been distracted fighting my planetar all this time.
    0suiu7lrnitg.jpg
    And ... the planetar got him, just before the party killed Layene. The remaining summons take less than a round to clear up, and it's over.
    Over the course of the fight, lots of dispel effects and defense piercers got thrown around; only Haer'Dalis still had his stoneskin up, and only him and Rasaad had their spell defenses. Spells/abilities/items used during battle:
    Rhaegar: Summon Planetar, 2x Pierce Shield (one at Layene, one at Shangalar), 3x Incendiary Cloud chain contingency, 3x Pierce Magic spell trigger (on Layene), Sunfire, Remove Magic (to weaken the first planetar), gem of seeing.
    Haer'Dalis: Remove Magic (on Layene)
    Cernd: Storm of Vengeance
    Jaheira and Jan: nothing.
    I did take some melee planetar hits, but didn't roll badly and lose anyone. I've modified the planetar sword to be non-chunking, so I could have resurrected any victims right back into the battle. For all the hakeashars going around, none of them ever landed a hit on a party member. Actually, they couldn't - their attack is nonmagical, and Enhanced Bard Song grants my whole party immunity to nonmagical weapons.
    I put some effort into tearing Layene's defenses down, because she has an Imprisonment memorized in my install. It's possible she tried it and was disrupted during that Storm of Vengeance, but I have no way of knowing.
    The enemy worked against themselves a bit, with Shangalar's initial Time Stop running out the clock on Vaxall's initial Improved Mantle. That certainly helped taking down the elder orb.
    Based on the time stamps on the pictures, that took me around 35 minutes. It would have gone faster without all the pauses to log things and set up pictures, of course.

    Grond0StummvonBordwehr
  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    edited July 17
    Nice fight. I didn't encounter any planetars in that fight, but that might have to do with my level too. Not sure if I even set 'Mages use HLAs' option. Also, in my run, Vaxall was a regular beholder, not an elder orb.

    Do you need to take out spell protections before using dispel magic? I always thought only SI: Abjuration blocks it, but that spell deflection etc. doesn't.

    My only complaint, as noted before, is that this fight was there in the original SoA and, as far as I know, neither SCS nor BG2:EE changed the level of the enemies in that fight. Which means, it is supposed to be beatable without using any HLAs and level 9 spells. The most you could have were 3 level 8 arcane spells on a specialised mage. So, no summoing planters, no storm of vengeance and remove magic on Layene wouldn't be a guaranteed success. Most importantly, no chain contingency. Without all of these, the fight is notably harder. So, I guess there is a reason that enemy AI in the original game didn't use intensive pre-buffing and was quite "dumb". Shangalar being almost ten levels above anyone else you could have in the original game at that point and having access to plenty of level 9 spells, if he was played smartly it would be next to impossible to beat him without cheese. Well, not next to impossible, but very very hard.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 687
    All true, but this is specifically WITH SCS on Tactical - which obviously wasn't part of a vanilla install. ;)

    Without SCS, a high level party should be able to go in there and mop the floor. Not so much when the enemies actually have something approximating intelligence.

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    Without SCS, a high level party should be able to go in there and mop the floor. Not so much when the enemies actually have something approximating intelligence.

    That's true - on Easy difficulty (which should be approximately the same as core rules in umodded game) I could go there with my party and kill them all without a single of my chars getting even scratched. And I didn't even use any clever tactics. If the enemy mages don't prebuff and renew their defence, every fight seem to be basically "spell thrust/secret/word/pierce magic, breach, go to sleep while your fighters chop the mages into pieces". Which is why I installed SCS in the first place after one run of unmodded BG2.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 869
    VanDerBerg wrote: »
    Nice fight. I didn't encounter any planetars in that fight, but that might have to do with my level too. Not sure if I even set 'Mages use HLAs' option. Also, in my run, Vaxall was a regular beholder, not an elder orb.
    The only real difference between beholders and elder orbs is whether they cast spells. Vaxall is a spellcaster with SCS, therefore it's an elder orb. Without... OK, the vanilla version is just a regular beholder.
    Mage HLAs...
    SCS Readme wrote:
    The High-Level Ability difficulty setting for mages has these effects:

    TACTICAL and below: No mages use High-Level Abilities.
    HARDCORE: Especially powerful mages use High-Level Abilities, but only in the Throne of Bhaal section of the game.
    INSANE: Especially powerful mages use High-Level Abilities, throughout the game.
    SUPER INSANE: All mages in the Throne of Bhaal section of the game who can cast ninth-level spells use High-Level Abilities. In the rest of the game, only especially powerful mages use them.
    LEGACY OF BHAAL: Any mage in the game capable of casting ninth-level spells uses High-Level Abilities.
    You played on Tactical, so no HLAs. I played on Insane, so lots of them.
    VanDerBerg wrote: »
    Do you need to take out spell protections before using dispel magic? I always thought only SI: Abjuration blocks it, but that spell deflection etc. doesn't.
    Only SI:Abjuration blocks dispel magic, yes. On the other hand, my Layene has that immunity in her spell trigger - I hadn't kept close track of what buffs were up, so I nuked her spell defenses to make sure.
    VanDerBerg wrote: »
    My only complaint, as noted before, is that this fight was there in the original SoA and, as far as I know, neither SCS nor BG2:EE changed the level of the enemies in that fight. Which means, it is supposed to be beatable without using any HLAs and level 9 spells. The most you could have were 3 level 8 arcane spells on a specialised mage. So, no summoing planters, no storm of vengeance and remove magic on Layene wouldn't be a guaranteed success. Most importantly, no chain contingency. Without all of these, the fight is notably harder. So, I guess there is a reason that enemy AI in the original game didn't use intensive pre-buffing and was quite "dumb". Shangalar being almost ten levels above anyone else you could have in the original game at that point and having access to plenty of level 9 spells, if he was played smartly it would be next to impossible to beat him without cheese. Well, not next to impossible, but very very hard.

    Layene: level 18 conjurer without SCS, level 25 with. But she cheats on that, and has too many high-level spells memorized in vanilla. (By level: 2/3/3/4/3/5/5/4/4). A specialist mage would need level 24 to match that number of level 7-9 spells. Or level 22, with the "Extra level 7 spell" HLA.

    Revanek: level 19 fighter. Without SCS, he's unarmed and unarmored, so he's a complete pushover.

    Shangalar: level 26 conjurer without SCS, level 29 with. His vanilla incarnation doesn't have enough spells memorized (0/2/0/0/2/3/6/3/2) - aside from the level 7 spells, a level 18 specialist mage could cover that.

    Shyressa: level 13 vampire without SCS, level 13/13 fighter/thief with. Getting a real class gives her +1 APR and the ability to backstab.

    Vaxall: level 9 beholder without SCS, level 20 elder orb with. Obviously, spellcasting capabilities make a huge difference here.

    The non-SCS versions of these spellcasters do have some prebuffs, contingencies, and sequencers. It's all handled ad-hoc, and only done for particularly notable mages. With the focus I had on fire... Layene puts up Protection from Fire, Shangalar puts up Fireshield (Red). Their prebuffs are not included in the memorization numbers above.

    Against the non-SCS version, with the 2.95M XP version of my party... yeah, I've got strategies figured out. Shangalar doesn't put up spells for immunity to fire or acid, so incendiary clouds and death fogs should take him out. Layene gets disruption from cloudkill wands, and the level 23 bard can dispel her. Vaxall gets a protected character in its face. Revanek can be ignored. Shyressa gets ganged up on. And since the enemies aren't throwing around dispels (except for the beholder), I can use spell/potion buffs - protection from fire all around, potions of absorption for anyone in melee with Shyressa, and so on.

    StummvonBordwehr
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 869
    An aside on the uselessness of Revanek in vanilla ... here's a hypothetical duel with a melee character. A weak melee character.

    Viconia, 1.5 million XP. Base physical stats 10/19/8, level 14 cleric, 60 HP. Assume the following equipment: Ankheg plate or full plate, +2 small shield, normal helmet, Mauler's Arm +2, +1 protection item. This results in AC -7 vs crushing, THAC0 9, and 1d8+4 damage attacking once per round.

    Revanek has physical stats 18/9/18 as a level 19 fighter with 120+36 HP. Effective AC 14 vs melee attacks, taking an additional 4 damage. Attacks at THAC0 1 for 1d2+2 crushing damage twice per round.

    Viconia hits on a 2 for 1d8+8 damage and crits on a 20 - 12.5 average damage per round.
    Revanek hits on an 8 for 1d2+2 damage - 4.55 average damage per round.
    They both go down at about the same time, around 13 rounds in. That is, unless Viconia uses some of her spells. Even something as simple as Protection from Evil or Draw Upon Holy Might would turn the battle decisively in her favor.

    StummvonBordwehr
  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 128
    edited July 18
    The only real difference between beholders and elder orbs is whether they cast spells. Vaxall is a spellcaster with SCS, therefore it's an elder orb. Without... OK, the vanilla version is just a regular beholder.

    Then SCS must have changed that, because as far as I remember, in the vanilla game (which I finished whooping one time, so I might be wrong), Elder Orb was not shooting rays. In fact, I thought the lore was that Elder Orb is blind, therefore cannot use rays, but instead of that can cast arcane magic. Which actually makes it far easier to deal with than beholders.

    I didn't know the SCS changes the levels of the enemies, unless you explicitly enable it in specific tactical challenges. And I don't recall the component "Improved Twisted Rune". But I cannot compare it to the vanilla version as I never did that fight in the vanilla version.
    Against the non-SCS version, with the 2.95M XP version of my party

    Yeah, I played the SCS version at 2.5m XP, which is why they were tearing me another one for around three days. I threw Death Fog at Shangalar's summons, hoping it would kill them, but all it did was hurt my party. And, as I said, within two rounds I faced tons of high-level summons and two time stops, at which point I couldn't cast a single spell on any of my casters as they would get disrupted.

    I could take out a few of them. In particular, triple skull trap in a sequencer would kill Vaxall and seriously hamper the fighter. Vampire was never the problem, but taking out Shangalar and Layene, together with their 8-10 summons was way too much.

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