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First time SCS run

Hello people. I'm giving SCS a try for the first time and would like some party advice. I want to stick with a mostly canon party, so Jaheira, Minsc, and Yoshimo will be going with me to Spellhold. Obviously that leaves two spots. Since I want to play a Paladin, I think I'll take Nalia for spell power, and Anomen for Cleric power.

I'm unsure how difficult SCS will be(I haven't decided if I will play Tactical or not).

So, I have a few questions: Does it matter which Paladin kit I choose?
Will this party handle SCS ok?
What weapons should Minsc use? Longsword, mace, longbow? Maybe Axe/shortsword and a point in mace?
What weapons should Jaheira use? Staff or club/scimitar and sling?
What weapons should I use? Longsword/two handed sword and crossbow?

My final question. I had planned on only doing the Keep, Slavers, and Trademeet before going to Spellhold in order to have Imoen in my final party. Will I have difficulty doing a completionist Underdark?

Many thanks!


  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 863
    SCS is not, fundamentally, a different game. It's about smarter AI, not radically new abilities for the monsters. If you can handle the normal game with a party, you should be able to handle SCS with the same party - although maybe a couple difficulty levels lower. Your proposed party covers all of the key roles, and shouldn't have problems in general.

    Weapon choices ... warriors should use weapons they're at least specialized with. Try not to focus on the same weapons for each character, as there are limited numbers of top-tier weapons. Other than that, there are fine choices in pretty much every proficiency class.
    Ranged attackers should have a melee weapon equipped in another slot to switch to at a moment's notice - melee attackers get big bonuses against anyone without a melee weapon equipped. Unless you have a specific class ability to improve ranged attacks, they'll mostly be used to keep squishy characters off the front lines - like giving Yoshimo, Imoen, and Nalia bows in this party.
    Weapon styles ... if you're primarily using a two-handed weapon, get at least the first point in two-handed style. If you plan to dual-wield at all, get at least the first two points in two-weapon style. Sword/shield style is nice if you're using a one-handed melee weapon with a shield, but not at all essential. Single-weapon style is only worth it if your shield choice is restricted to bucklers or less.

    There are two Paladin-specific weapons in the game, which are excellent endgame choices. They are a two-handed sword (found in SoA) and a bastard sword (found in Watcher's Keep).
    Minsc starts specialized in two-handed swords, maces, and longbows, plus the ranger's two points of dual-wielding. He won't be able to specialize in anything else until at least level 12 (1200K XP).
    Jaheira starts specialized in clubs, with proficiency in staff, scimitar, and sling. Going from proficient to specialized in one of those three can be done at fighter level 9 (500K total XP), while specializing in a completely different weapon would take fighter level 12 (2000K total XP).
    Anomen starts specialized in maces and slings, with proficiency in staff and hammer. He's the only one of your proposed group who can go beyond specialization, and he should. Specializing in staff or hammer could be done at cleric level 12 (900K XP), specializing in something else at cleric 16 (1800K XP), grandmaster mace or sling at cleric 20 (2700K XP), grandmaster staff or hammer at cleric 24 (3600K XP), grandmaster anything else at cleric 28 (4500K XP).

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 125
    edited July 20
    I am doing my first ever SCS run of the whole saga, with a somewhat similar party. How hard you will find it depends on your experience with the game. For BG1 (which I played many times), playing with SCS was about the same difficulty for me as the normal game, apart from the first few mage encounters until I got used to it. Simply because I knew the game inside out. For BG2, I only did one run ever in vanilla game, so I found it much harder. And ToB I never did, vanilla or modded, and I am finding it brutally difficult with SCS.

    So, for BG2, for most of the part you won't notice big difference (assuming you only install improved AI, better calls for help, smarter priests and mages). Where you will see a big difference are encounters where there are high-level mages. For example, in one of the other threads you can see my rant about Twisted Rune on Tactical. On Easy and Improved, that fight is relatively easy (or at least manageable) for the level of party you'd have at that point in SoA. But I found it brutally difficult on Tactical - took me three days to finish it. Also, SCS liches are much harder than the vanilla ones - SCS Kangaxx was very hard for me. But both of these fights I never did in the vanilla version, so that might just be my lack of experience.

    I think your party looks very good (based on my limited experience). I love clerics (I am doing my run with a priest of Lathander), so I totally support Anomen, despite his infinitely annoying personality. But my impression is that you need at least 2 mages with SCS - I have Imoen and Jan. I am not sure how you will go with just one - with all the SCS mages casting numerous protections, having defensive triggers and contingencies, I find that in tougher fights I definitely need two mages to deal with their defenses. If nothing, because I need to cast Breach 3 or 4 times per enemy mage per fight.

    As for the paladin kit, I'd personally definitely go with Inquisitor. Their Dispel Magic is a pure godsend in SCS mage fights, as mages will mostly be higher level than you, which means they will almost always take out your buffs while theirs will stay in tact, which usually means you are dead. Inquisitor will almost always be able to succeed in dispelling their magic, which means they will have to busy themselves with renewing their protections, giving you precious breathing room. And since everything in the game casts Improved Invisibility or gulps the potions of Invisibility, having numerous casts of True Sight is a must, especially since you have just one mage who can do that, and two fighting divine casters with low wisdom, hence very few level 5 spells which you will probably dedicate to steroid fighting spells (Righteous Magic forever). But that's just my experience.

    Post edited by VanDerBerg on
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 11,077
    Note that not all SCS components are not created equally. Some will add a nice extra challenge, while others will kick your face in and curse your children for generations. I don't recommend installing everything from SCS, uh, ever. Especially not for the first run. Stuff like improved Beholders, Mindflayers, and Vampires make these very deadly, er, deadly-er. (vampires are especially surprisingly difficult). I wouldn't really recommend spellcasting Demiliches either.

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 125
    Yeah, regular mind flayers are pain in the ass. Mind flayers who can see through invisibility and can teleport around at will are crazy. Plus you cannot even sleep in their lair in the Underdark.

  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 684
    Yeah, I tend to steer clear of some of the "improvements", though I do take improved vampires. Improved beholders and mindflayers, on the other hand. Well, let's just say those could wreck your day (and your game) Especially beholders, because you can't avoid them. In theory, you can avoid mindflayers as opponents depending on your choices.

    These components do add realism, though. In a table-top game, going by the rules, these enemies are supposed to be tough. So, in that sense, SCS is "fair".

  • VanDerBergVanDerBerg Member Posts: 125
    One thing I am sure I will never take, even when I am able to solo ToB on Insane with a level 1 rogue, is improved beholders. Harder version of something that can already wipe my entire party in 10 seconds? No, thank you.

  • ReticentReticent Member Posts: 109
    The SCS AI is a joy to play against, but some of the other optional changes really leave me scratching my head.

    SCS Spirit Trolls for example are less a difficulty increase and more a case study in testing one's patience by constantly breaking the games targeting behavior.

  • OrlonKronsteenOrlonKronsteen Member Posts: 790
    VanDerBerg wrote: »
    Yeah, regular mind flayers are pain in the ass. Mind flayers who can see through invisibility and can teleport around at will are crazy. Plus you cannot even sleep in their lair in the Underdark.

    Keep in mind that the teleportation and ban on rest only occur at the tactical level and above. The great thing about v.33 is that you can fine-tune the difficulty of many individual components. For instance, my preference is to run improved fiends, dragons, mind flayers, vampires and beholders at the improved setting. These enemies are still plenty tough on 'improved', and I don't feel like I'm banging my head against a wall as much as I did on tactical.

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