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Ironman Play-through

I've been trying to complete this game for years without save/reload. Just curious if anyone else has done this, and if they have any helpful advice. Are there any particular classes I need, beside the obvious thief and cleric? Last play I went heavy on ranged characters but was defeated by the Skeleton Mage in The Vale of Shadows that knocked half my party unconscious. I have been to the play area after that (Dragons Eye?) plenty of times fought the Trolls, Lizard Men and Snakes. And I think just once to the play area after Dragons Eye years ago -can't remember the name now.

If no one else has done it, or someone tells me it's impossible I can stop torturing myself and play through the normal way.

Comments

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,803
    No-reload play isn't really about the specific classes. People have completed the BG series no-reload with basically every character class solo, after all.

    What you do need is planning and a strong understanding of what the threats are. It's surprises that kill you. If you know what's coming, you can prepare appropriate defenses and counterattacks, use consumable buffs, and so on.

    So, for example, take that last run of yours. Ranged attacks are very good at low levels in general, but that skeleton mage got you with a spell. What spell was it, and how can you defend against it? Can you improve your party's saving throws, or provide resistance/immunity to that effect, or disrupt the mage and make it lose its spell? Or if you can't do that, you can at least scatter the party so they aren't all in range. Or draw out the mage's companions separately so that you're fighting it alone; even if half the party is incapacitated, the other half should be capable of beating down a lone low-level mage. Then there are first-strike options. Sneak up for a backstab? Hit it with an area-of-effect spell from long range?
    Now that you know it's a danger to watch out for, you can plan for it and put more effort into your tactics. That's what no-reload play is all about.
    Grond0AerakarDinoDin
  • ThoriumThorium Member Posts: 35
    I have been working on no-reload runs too: the longest I have got so far is Chapter 5. I think playing no-reload run is challenging, but not impossible. As @jmerry wrote above, it requires quite much preparation.

    Here are some examples of practices I have found useful in no-reload runs:
    • In general, I try to keep my characters as healthy as possible since a permanent death of any of the characters is basically game over
    • It is possible to flee from most battles in case things start to look dire
    • You can buy Raise dead as a service from temples
    • All characters carry healing potions and antidotes
    • Potions of invisibility and Invisibility spells can be used in emergency situations
    • Clerics carry Remove paralysis and Raise dead scrolls (can be bought from temples)
  • martinistripesmartinistripes Member Posts: 20
    Since you can raise dead death is never permanent, just costly to ressurect. Often I've had sell valuable items to pay for raise dead. Higher levels elves must be resurrected, which is even more expensive. Something I do, is pick up as much loot as possible, even if it's items I can only sell for 1 gold, since it all adds up and helps pay for temple services. I never did bullet point 5 or 6 yet, so I'll try this thanks.

    I hate that when you leave a region and come back valuable items on fallen party members disappears. This has often made me stand and fight or recover items, when in fact I should escape with what I have left.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,803
    Since you can raise dead death is never permanent, just costly to ressurect.

    "Chunking" is a thing. If characters are killed by certain effects such as disintegration, breaking an ice/stone statue, or even just too much damage, they're gone for good. Unless you tweak the game settings; turning "Gore" off stops chunking, both for you and for your opponents.
    I hate that when you leave a region and come back valuable items on fallen party members disappears. This has often made me stand and fight or recover items, when in fact I should escape with what I have left.

    If you can make some space, anything you put in a container sticks around. It's only the stuff in piles on the ground that evaporates.
  • YigorYigor Member Posts: 223
    It seems to me that there is a thread here by @semiticgoddess about solo no-reload on HoF difficulty (main campaign). ?
  • alice_ashpoolalice_ashpool Member Posts: 261
    edited November 2021
    Hello my name is Alice my credentials are I have solo-no reloaded IWD1 on HoF from level 1 with a Sorceress, and done a solo no-reload run on Insane, with a Gnome Berserker. I've had quite good success with party play but never really committed to it - my last attempt was months ago and ended at Yuxonomei.

    @semiticgoddess and @Mantis37 have successful playthroughs in the No Reload Thread too.

    So it is do-able. Much easier with metaknowledge though. And either a party that you build specifically to synergise very well together or an OP character/play style.

    There are some very powerful items in the game which can completly change the way you play: looking at you 19-20 crit range Katana

    Is there anything in particular you want advice about?
    AerakarStummvonBordwehr
  • martinistripesmartinistripes Member Posts: 20
    Nothing in particular, just general tips to optimise the party and make progress.

    I noticed you said you've had "quite" good success with party play. Do you feel it's easier to play a solo character, since a single character gets all the XP? Maybe a party of 3 or 4 might be easier than a party of 6.
  • DinoDinDinoDin Member Posts: 1,467
    One thing about Icewind Dale is that it has some dialogue options based on class that are basically "win buttons" for certain small sidequests. Not critical exactly but helpful and one thing that might push the game towards being easier with a full party. Especially true for druids, bards and paladins. So, that's worth keeping in mind.

    A key concept I'd try and study, and you can google search this to find more lengthy articles, is "win more versus lose less". Especially important when thinking about what spells to memorize, what gear to purchase. Basically the idea is that some, seemingly cool abilities, don't do much else except help you win a battle you already would have won. Whereas some other abilities, that might not seem as cool, are critical for saving your ass in a troubled situation. The cleric's remove paralysis is a perfect example of this. It's avoiding or overcoming those desperate situations that's going to save a no reload run. Not necessarily being able to fireball a pack you woulda killed with weapons anyways.

    Lastly, I'd just say respect your own psychological limits. Managing that can be important. No reload play requires a slower pace of play, which can feel a little frustrating at times. But it's key to not give in to frustration or impatience. So maybe consider shorter sessions of play. Find playstyles or party compositions that are pretty effective at breezing through some of the tedious aspects of the game.
    Aerakar
  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 148
    There are some excellent comments in this thread. I haven't done a no-reload challenge, but I always play low-reload.

    A party of 3-4 is an excellent idea, for a few reasons. You can cover all necessary skills/roles, your characters level up a bit faster, the pathfinding is much better, and when taking advantage of area transitions, it is a lot faster to move 3-4 away vs. a full 6-person party.

    Here's my favourite no-mercy no-roleplay setup for a party of 4 on HoF - Sorc, F/M/T, R/Cl (or F/M/Cl), and F/Dr. You've got druid for summons, shapechange, and Call Lightning, cleric for turn undead, animate dead, and buffs, F/M/T for backstab mislead, thief skills, and archery, and sorceror for crowd control, access to arcane spells, and outright bombing (e.g. project image and incendiary cloud).
    YigorAerakar
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 7,276
    A true 'Ironman' challenge would be no saving at all. I wonder if anybody has done that? How about a no-save, no-sleep run? Or the ultimate... a no save, no sleep, no stimulants run!
    Yigor
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,803
    No such thing as not saving at all; if nothing else, the game will autosave when you change areas fairly often.

    The closest I've come is no-loading runs of the last segment of BGEE, to stretch the experience cap. And every time I've done that, the game has crashed before I could reach the end. Accumulating errors over time seems to be a thing; I doubt the game is stable enough to sustain no-loading the whole way, unless you're speedrunning it.

    Also, sleep is fine; I just leave the game on pause in the background when I'm not actively playing.
  • YigorYigor Member Posts: 223
    edited November 2021
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    A true 'Ironman' challenge would be no saving at all. I wonder if anybody has done that? How about a no-save, no-sleep run? Or the ultimate... a no save, no sleep, no stimulants run!

    + no making pauses during the gameplay! Sleepless Ironman! ?
    Balrog99
  • Balrog99Balrog99 Member Posts: 7,276
    Yigor wrote: »
    Balrog99 wrote: »
    A true 'Ironman' challenge would be no saving at all. I wonder if anybody has done that? How about a no-save, no-sleep run? Or the ultimate... a no save, no sleep, no stimulants run!

    + no making pauses during the gameplay! Sleepless Ironman! ?

    No bathroom breaks either. Iron
    Bladder challenge!
    YigorDinoDinAerakar
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