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The siege of Ust Natha/Improved Ust Natha Defences

Good morning everybody!

Every couple of years I make a full moded, full MP run of BaldursGate 2 with all my favourite classes and characters. Every couple of years I search the forums and find out what the up to date news are. This year I found out there is a BG2:EE which is amazing. Nice to see all those people back in the forums!

ATTENTION: This is not about Role Playing! It is about the optimal way to beat a difficult encounter.

ATTENTION 2: I'am not a native speeker and sorry of all spelling mistakes, I try my very best.

I dont want to talk too much because this should be about the SCS Mod component: Improved Ust Natha defences (or smth. like this). It appears that a lot of nice Mods are not played anymore or you cannot find information about them. Sadly the old forum posts with all these amazing guides to the most difficult BG2 encounters are gone, or I cannot find them anymore. One of these encounters is the Ust Natha Siege and I would like to reanimate this topic and share my experiences and memories of the old guides with you guys.

First of all the Mods: SCS, BG2 Tweakpack and Fixpack, a few components of TACTICS (my favourite mod), Improved Asylum (never use theirs items!!!) , Ascensions, Improved Item upgrades and G3 Spell revision. This last MOD causes the most problems, since it changes a ton of spells and changes the tactics which are available for some encounters. This is also one of the most important points right now for me as I'am writing this guide, since most people dont play the game with the Spell revision component installed, but dont worry, I still remember the original spells quite well.

Second: PREPARATION! You basically need to do ALL of the chapter 2 and 3 quest quests as well as the first 2 levels of watchers keep, to be able to clear the whole UST NATHA defence. You need the experience. And its simple: More MODs = More EXP, which is important for this challange. If you do all these quests included Watcher's Keep 1 and 2 you will be around 2.3- 2.5 million EXP. You will get 1 extra Million EXP during chapter 4 and 5 until the siege begins. Of course you need to have the EXP cap removed. Do not try to Siege Ust Natha with the natural Shadow of Amn EXP cap, I'am pretty shure it will be close to impossible.

Third: The Party composition: There was a genius guy in the old forums, but I forgott his name. It was something like Sforca or Smorca. He wrote a few super interesting guides about the TACTICS MOD and other difficult encounters. His basic Party composition was simple: 5 Melee Butchers and 1 Mage. I'am still playing like this and would never change it and it is simple. 1 Mage is enough magic power to whipe out all the "not magic immunes" in the game. For the rest you need brute force and maybe some dispelling spells (spell strike, Breach, etc.). I think it is a major mistake of the newest guides to the game to take 2 or 3 mages as well as more than 1 cleric with you. Somethink like Edwin + Imoen + Jaheria + Anomen is a total overkill i terms of magic power. Just too much, you have to much to controll and loose a lot of physical damage output. Take Edwin as your mage and add 1 cleric or druid. Thats totally enouch and will provide all the magic power you need. For the melee characters all multiclasses with fighter included are fine: F/T, F/C , F/M and F/D. As well as Dual Classing: Kensai->Mage or Kensai-> Thief is fine too, AntiPaladin, Archers and Paladin Kits too. Thats it.

PS: The party composition is one of the major things that will make the party fail at Ust Natha siege. IF there are too few fighters you will lack physical damage output and Hit Points. My major spell caster is a Sorcerer ALWAYS. i will come to this point.

The Fight: Basic tactic
Fight, fully protected from fire, in a cloud of fire, while meteors are falling down on you and the world is burning! This is not my idea, it is what I remember from the old guides. You need:
1. Incendiary Cloud: 1d4 fire damage per level as a cloud for once turn. A level 20 mage will do 20d4 damage per round, which is, lets say ~30 damage per tick (If they can save succesfully). It doesnt go thru magic resistance which the drows have, but they have only 65. So every third tick will damage them. If there are 10 drows on the screen and you can manage to hit them by the cloud, that will equal 90-120 damage per round. This is for 10 rounds. Thats 900-1200 damage from ONE SPELL. The spell revision which I have installed weakens this tactic by a lot, because the cloud now only does 4d6 damage per round but cuts thru magic resitance, which still is weaker than the original cloud. It sill will work. Of course you will need the fire protection for you whole party that will be running around thru burning hell.
2. Protection from fire: After clearing all the dungeons of chapter 2 and 3 like is said you will have a bunch of items that provide some fire resitance: Fire Scales armor (50), Ring of fire protection (40), both from Firgraags dungeon. Helm of defence (20) from the guarded compound. Protections from fire Ring (40) if you have the improved Twisted Rune component from the tactics installed. Anohter fire protection ring (50) from the Mind Flayer dungeon in the underdark (There is an imprisoned Drugaer somehwere). Now you can either stack protection items on one character or distribute the items among all your characters. It depends which fire resistance Spell you want to use. Protection from fire (lv3 arcane spell) With 100 resistance for 1turn/level or the priest spell which only willgive you 50 if i remember correctly. Then you have the green scroll from the shops that gives you 50 resistance for 12 hours (!!!) . Then there are potions of fire resistance which give you 50 for 10 turns. No matter what you use, just make shure everybody is protected from fire or the clouds will tear you down very fast.
3. Three times Sun fire in a spell trigger was the JOKER in the old guide. If the numbers of drow grew too fast and you were not able to kill them fast enough, just run with your mage protected by the staff a magi between the biggest pack of drows and burn them with Sun fires. Sadly, as i discovered, Sun fire doesnt cut thru magic resistance anymore or does it ? But even if it doesnt, it is a lot of damage to a huge number of drows. You can do the same with the spell sequencer and 3 fire balls of course.
4. Other area of effect spells with fire damage: If you have a druid, go with Fire storm, a high level mage can cast meteor storm. You can cast incendiary cloud from scrolls too if you have a bard or Thief with UAI
5. Basic combat preparations: Chaotic commands, Bless, Haste, Improved haste, Summons. Of course the summons are restricted to fire elementals since they are immune to fire. But you can still start the battle with a few skeletons, other elementals, devas or planetars or summon them later when all the Incendiary Clouds are used and you are fighting will the last bit of what is left.


For now i wanted to present you guys the basic tactics I remember from the old forum but I still would like to initiate a discussion how to beat this encounter. I think the original intend was to make this encounter impossible but it isn'T. I beat it twice in my older playthoughs of highest difficulty where the monsters did 100% more damage (it changed in the latest SCS MOD and I love it!). Back in those days a Horrid Willding could damage you for 80-120 damage because of that 100% increased damage but whatever.

With may latest party I just arrived at Ust Natha and I think I will do the Siege tomorrow or in a few days and can tell you guys how it went this time. As I said I have the G3 Spell revision MOD installed and I'am shure that I will try my luck with the 7th level Spell "Summon Death Khight". A truly overpower spell in my opinion! 3-4 of these guys were able to whipe out the whole beholder layer in the underdark. I know the MOD's intention was to make more spells interesting which is a great success but it still made other spell more powerfull or totally useless spells are now wy too powerfull for their level, etc...

I hope this little guide could help you guys and I'am hopefully looking forward some feedback and differecnt ideas of how to beat the Siege.

HAPPY EASTER!

Grond0JuliusBorisovStummvonBordwehr

Comments

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,975
    Best of luck with your fight :p. One point I'm sure you know, but didn't mention above, is that the divine Fire Storm ignores magic resistance - so can be pretty useful against drow. If you're high enough level for HLAs, then a planetar or deva is also a good summons to use when you're burning the battlefield up.

    JuliusBorisovStummvonBordwehr
  • MyragMyrag Member Posts: 312
    I did improved ust natha with SCS on LOB on few ocassions

    Here are my thoughs on that challenge, hope they'll help

    https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/1066159

    Grond0JuliusBorisovStummvonBordwehr
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,885
    My current run, which I'm posting, did the challenge (Insane difficulty). I'll get to that part in about three weeks.

    Party composition: Dragon Disciple protagonist, Anomen, Cernd, Isra (mod cavalier), Jaheira, Nalia. And bring on all the fire. We have no problem fighting in a battlefield full of incendiary clouds and fire storms, since the whole party is undispellably fire-immune.

    Oh, and fire elementals aren't the only fire-immune summons. You can also bring out magical swords, efreeti, and celestials without fear. Planetars are particularly useful, since they get three casts of Fire Storm and high-difficulty SCS makes them cast spells instantly.

    I also tried the challenge with my previous party - no spellcasting whatsoever. They didn't pull it off, but they could actually get pretty far.
    The key to that one is to use terrain to your advantage. Fight upstairs in the tavern, on the first platform. Let enemies pile up in the cage where they can't reach you and fight against smaller numbers. Then, once you've dealt with the enemies that spawned outside the cage, bombard the enemies in the cage from long range. Wand Cloudkills are best here, since you really don't want to get into a shooting fight with all those crossbow-using fighters.

    Grond0JuliusBorisovStummvonBordwehr
  • appoappo Member Posts: 6
    Nice feedback in general! Thanks for that.

    i did the fight a few days ago and after a few tries (3 or 4) I managed to beat them, but it was hard, since the g3 Spell Revision MOD and another MOD I installed really messed up my game.

    1. Spell Revision: It appears that the current version of this MOD changes the SO POWERFULL Improved haste, into a less powerfull version, in my opinion. It does NOT double the APR anymore. It is now a Short duration (1 turn only), AOE effect with +2 AC, +2 to Hit, +1 APR and +2 to saving throws for everybody, which cannot be countered by a slow spell. I really like the older version! Now it became super hard to pull out those 9 APR mellee slashing juggernouts!
    2. I have a MOD component which says something like: Change HLAs into innitiate abilities (?!) . Well,.... what it does is, that you now can pick High level spells and they will NOT be wrote into your mage/priest spell book but they will be abilities that you can use like Kai or Rage. The big + is: after a few levels you will have more high level spells that you could have before, for example: You are a priest with 2 level 7 spells memorised but in addition you have Storm of Vengence, Implosion, Globe of Blades and Elemental summoning as abilities. The big - : You can only have them ONCE! So, my superstrong sorcerer now can only have 1 Dragons Breath, 1 Meteor and 1 Improved Alacrity which screws the things up for me. Worse then this is, that project image is not able do you those abilities because it can only use Spells or attack.
    3. Whirlwind/ Greater Whirlwind now does NOT give you 10 APR, it doubles your attacks instead. Its the new Improved Haste...

    Nethertheless I started a new run with a "good" group! Inspired by Myrag's posts and his thread I now go with a lot of Mage secondary class characters and try to make an even better run. I have the Bard with me, because during the fights the worst issue was to be HOLD or Paraliesed by the demon waves, so the bard song will help later on and I think this is the ONLY reason why I would take a Bard (a BLADE) with with me, because the F/M/T will outclass the bard in everything! Opinions?

    Sadly the Priestof Lathander (11) -> Fighter character was not possible for me, since I'am playing BG2 and NOT the EE version. I check it out and even with my MODs installed the Slings or Bullets DON'T get any STR Bonus (except of the Sling of seeking of course). It is only a +2 weapon and I think this will make it harded to Hit tougher enemies later on. Correct me if I'am wrong.

    Have a nice evening everybody! I gonna snack some pizza now! :)

    Grond0StummvonBordwehrMyrag
  • MyragMyrag Member Posts: 312
    edited April 12
    Nice!

    Few things from my side. My party was customized for Legacy of Bhaal, so enemies had pretty much tripple the HP, -5 saves, -11AC, etc. That is why in my case 9 APR fighters weren't able to clear everything in time. That's why I went into AOE with Dragon's breath path. So melee jaggernatus are not super useful here.

    Also PoL>Fighter dual was just a test. Overall it's super cool but I like Archer better, seems it's better choice overall.

    HLA into innate is surely changing the tactic a lot but as you already said, it has advantages and disadvantages. I'll check this setting on my next run.

    Now I plan to do
    • Fighter/Illusionist Gnone
    • Fighter/Mage/Thief
    • Fighter/Mage/Cleric
    • Skald
    • Wild Mage (or) Sorcerer - not sure yet
    • Archer

    I think it's my bread and butter composition.

    Wild Mage might be tricky here. With Nahals you can cast without delay with PI which makes improved alacrity a little obsolote, but it adds a risk. Also it allows you to cast lvl 9 spells earlier with Simulacrum. Besides obvious drawback of possibile suicude, another one is lack of Wish scroll before underdark. unless I decide to go into WK lvl 4.

    Sorcerer might be better choice because of WIsh Resting since Ust Natha is a looong fight.

    Overall Ust Natha favors casters, probably the best party would be 5 mages and a Cleric or Druid/Shaman or both. Shaman casting those 6 beautiful fire storms and fire elementals and sorc just wish rests.

    Post edited by Myrag on
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,885
    Update: I have now posted my log of this fight. Complete with 40 pictures.
    Difficulty: Insane. All fifteen waves, but they don't get the ridiculously inflated stats. The party had about 4 million XP each.

    My party's fire immunity solutions, at the time of the fight:
    - Dragon Disciple protagonist: 100% from class.
    - Anomen: 25% from dragon helm, 25% from dragon shield, 50% from red dragon armor.
    - Cernd: 20% from class, 100% from fire elemental form (improved shapeshifting, so it's a token and he can change at will).
    - Isra: 20% from class, 40% from fire resistance ring, 50% from off-hand Taragarth sword (added by Unfinished Business mod).
    - Jaheira: 100% from fire elemental form.
    - Nalia: 50% from personal ring, 50% from fire control ring.

    Plus somebody was wearing the helm of defense for an extra 20%.

    Plenty of melee power, and they can fight at full strength among the fire storms and incendiary clouds. Dispel and Breach effects can take down their Chaotic Commands/Death Ward/Protection from Magical Energy defenses, but not their fire immunity.

    I did not play optimally. There were some definite mistakes, like leaving Isra dead for too long and trying to use planetar dispels. Plus some oddities like a wish getting disrupted and the real sorcerer running around auto-attacking while the image was still casting spells.

    JuliusBorisovArvia
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 21,908
    This fight is something I've been dreaming about for many years. The task which I set upon myself was beating the encounter without HLAs and at 3 mln XP for each party member, and without the Watcher's Keep content in SoA: no Dragon's Breath, no Wish spells, only 1 spell of the 9th level in the group.

    I also wanted to do it without reloads or keeping them at a minimum - while I was looking for a good spot for this encounter.

    The solution came in the form of an area I've always wondered about - why did the city have the upper level and the mid level? Turns out, SCS Improved Ust-Natha, that's why.

    I started the fight on the upper level and while the first few waves weren't dangerous, I soon found out we can get surrounded by the enemies and overrun.

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    So we started moving towards the mid level - my idea was that I could switch the level at will if needed. I didn't require it, though: my party had quite a big accent on ranged attacks and by the careful use of Project Images I managed to defeat them all.

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    The spot is very convenient, and if you combine it with travelling after the fight started, you will get the drow army scattered across the whole city (for example, when I then cleared the city, I found an archmage with 2 demons spawned not far away from the Spelljammer ship).

    My party (each of them are exactly at the SoA XP level cap+10k XP):
    - MC Fighter/Thief with longbows
    - Mazzy with short bows
    - Anomen with a sling
    - Jaheira with a sling
    - Aerie & Nalia

    Good spells for this fight: Project Image (4 of them on Nalia, 1 on Aerie), Incendiary Clouds (2 on Nalia), Firestorms (2 on Anomen, 1 on Aerie, 1 on Jaheira), Web, Grease (yes, even them, they will work sometimes especially in the swarm of enemies), Improved Haste (I think I had 5 overall), True Seeing/True Sight.

    Inspirations: @Mivsan and @jmerry

    StummvonBordwehrArviajmerryAerakar
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,885
    Nice one. That reminds me of some of my attempts with the no-spellcasting party, using the cages in the tavern to trap enemies. Being on the city exterior map actually increases the total enemy count (you also get a zeroth wave of enemies that spawn even in vanilla, plus the drow that were already there), but it sounds like you can work the terrain to split them up very effectively.

    There's actually a limit on how many enemies can be out; a new wave won't spawn if there are more than fifteen enemies out. If you can scatter that around the map, you're down to dealing with one wave at a time, and can even have some downtime. That's a definite advantage.

    Just ... don't switch between areas until you've actually cleared things. The enemies already present will all follow you, including any that were trapped unable to reach you. The doors between levels in the city exterior are safe, but the doors into any of the buildings will wreck you.

    JuliusBorisovArviaAerakar
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