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Dorn It: BGEE and BG2EE with Dorn as the protagonist

jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
This is the tale of a run with Dorn as the protagonist, enabled through console trickery. Patch 2.6, insane difficulty but no increased damage, unmodded except for my personal tweaks. In BGEE, this is an informal "stuff in override" version. In BG2EE, this is the released (2.0) version of my tweak mod.

Posts will be M/W/F, aside from this first post on the infamous Ides of March.
Prologue: Poor Sod, taking the dirt nap so soon.

We do not open our tale with Dorn. Instead, we start with a poor sod. Well, he started out poor.
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Sod has been optimized for looting Candlekeep (halfling fighter/thief, 18 charisma, enough Open Locks for that one chest), so he's actually rather wealthy by the time he hits the road. He does suffer from a lack of intelligence and wisdom, though. And his poor judgment will come back to haunt him.

After Gorion's death, Imoen joins. A wolf goes down cleanly, but a pack of dogs on the way to the crossroads is more troublesome, and Imoen takes a nasty hit.
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Still, the pair press on. Healing is best done in a safe place.

At the Friendly Arm itself, Imoen decides to stay and rest in one of the outbuildings.
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Sod, however, continues forward to sneak in to the main building, past a suspicious character.
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Inside, he meets the most fascinating character.
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Or perhaps it is the other way around. Plans are made...

Sod talks to some people upstairs, acquiring some antidotes and pants.
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After that, he sneaks out again to head to Beregost, and is lucky enough to filch a cloak on the first try.
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(Well, actually, I did that in the other order - which meant sneaking in and out of the Friendly Arm an extra time.)

With all that done in the north, Sod heads south to Nashkel, avoiding all conflict. Until Dorn returns.
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A fight ensues, Sod and Dorn against Senjak, Dorotea, and their bandits. Sod breaks a sword on one of the bandits, and Dorn misses his first nine attacks against the plate-armored Dorotea. Until he finally rolls a crit.
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That was not a quick death, indeed. And it's a good thing his immortality item works now - he needed it, as he took two crits for 16 total damage.
Sod immediately follows up by shooting down Senjak, and Dorn can join.
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The pair continue to the mines, where in a secluded storage shed...
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Sod takes a dirt nap. And Dorn's blackguard blade draws something interesting from his victim...

That's it for the first session. Dorn is now free to adventure as he sees fit.

A mechanical note: how to do the protagonist switch. To pull this off, pause the game and use the cheat command Control-K to remove the protagonist from the party. With the game still paused (if it's not paused, it's just Game Over), save and then load the save. Everyone else moves up a slot, and you can continue the game with the new protagonist. Killing the previous protagonist is entirely optional - but this is Dorn we're talking about.

(I chose Sod's name for the joke in this part's title. And no other reason.)
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Comments

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 22,419
    Thanks for the laugh! Good luck in your run!
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 1: Party Planning

    Now that he's on his own, Dorn doesn't continue into the mines. Instead, he turns back north toward Beregost, only to be waylaid.
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    At least it's not the large group of bandits. Two wolves is a dangerous ambush for a lone level 1 character, but they're pure melee attackers. One poisoned arrow deals ten damage, several other attack attempts miss, an arrow lands a crit ...
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    ... and then Dorn's luck runs out.
    In hindsight, I really should have just run away.

    On reload, the ambush doesn't happen, and Dorn rests safely in Beregost. From there, he heads east for a basilisk hunt.
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    Two basilisks in, Dorn levels up. Five hit points gained (roll 5/10), and he can afford to use melee against non-paralyzed foes. The greater basilisk adds two more levels, for eighteen more hit points (rolls 18/20) and bastard sword proficiency.
    After some more lesser basilisks, it's Mutamin's turn.
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    This gnome isn't an illusionist. By that measure, his memorized Horror and 5x Larloch's Minor Drain are perfectly legal. Using the Horror in this fight is also perfectly stupid.
    One hit later ...
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    The mirror images didn't help him at all. Two hits, both ignoring the five images to hit him directly. Sure, Dorn used Aura of Despair, but that isn't a luck modifier. He just naturally rolled the 1/6 chance twice in a row.
    Finishing off the battle, Dorn reaches level 5 and gains another nine hit points (roll 9/10).

    I give the adventurers a go ... no. Save versus Rigid Thinking failed, and Dorn goes down without killing any of them. Instead, he just clears out the map's random critters, plus Korax when he gets too hungry. With 27737 XP, he heads back to civilization.

    Back in Beregost, an errand is interrupted by an angry drunk.
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    The ensuing fight is ... short. Marl is unarmed, after all. Three hits later (the last a critical), he's reduced to bloody chunks.
    Completing the errand brings a slightly improved reputation, and far more usefully a scroll case.
    Dorn still wants some XP, so he goes after the spiders Sod heard about.
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    With the aid of two convenient crits, it takes five hits plus the spell to bring them all down. The spiders don't land any hits of their own.

    Dorn can't quite afford the +1 composite longbow, so he just leaves town and heads north.
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    Not seen him before? Has Tarnesh never gone inside the building at all? On second thought, probably. He's a desperate fool.
    One swing later (with Poison Weapon active), Tarnesh is down a mirror image and takes two points of poison damage. The ongoing damage doesn't stick, though; the image absorbs it. The second swing takes out another image. The third ...
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    Splat. And of course, the first offensive spell Tarnesh uses is Horror, which can be safely ignored.

    Landrin gets her stuff back. 30687 XP. Dorn continues north for just a bit more. A bandit and twenty zombies, and the critical 32K threshold is reached. Now, time to turn south again and recruit a party.
    But first, Dorn dreams.
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    An unfamiliar man murdered. A promise of power. This is not Dorn's devilish patron. It is something else...

    The first recruits are Montaron and Xzar. Montaron levels to 5/5, gaining 27 HP (rolls 23/32), taking longbow proficiency, and investing in Open Locks (+60 to 85) and Find Traps (+40 to 50). Xzar levels to 5, gaining 10 HP (rolls 10/16) and a pile of spells.
    The trio head to Beregost, and Montaron gets busy looting the place. It's good for enough gold to buy that bow Dorn was looking at earlier.
    In addition, I take on one combat encounter - Neera's introduction. Minor Drain the wizard, then backstab...
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    Oops. He turned. Well, at least I interrupted his initial spell - no Mirror Image protection for him. The enemies go down quickly, with Neera even getting one of the kills with a critical sling shot. Neera joins, going to level 5 and gaining 12 HP (rolls 12/16). And handing over her gem bag.

    For the rest of the party, I head east. Shar-Teel comes first, at the place where the basilisks once roamed.
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    One whack. It would have killed her, if not for the min-HP protection she gets in the starting duel.
    She levels up to fighter 6 immediately, gaining 26 HP (rolls 26/40) and taking longsword mastery. Then she immediately dual-classes to thief, taking scimitar and shortbow proficiency and investing in stealth.

    Larswood comes next, and Shar-Teel gets her first backstab kill on a gibberling.
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    A humble beginning, for what will eventually become an incredibly powerful option. My build for her here is specifically designed to maximize her stab power.

    Also of note here: I have Shar-Teel using "Advanced AI" to automatically hide. Without my tweaks, that wouldn't work; her combat AI (BDSHARTC.BCS) lacks the blocks that control use of thief skills. All hiding and trap-searching would have to be done manually.
    The fix I use is now my tweak "Slightly improved party AI". The AI scripts for all party members get the blocks controlling thief abilities, singing and dancing, and Turn Undead, regardless of whether the character is normally of a class that could use those abilities.

    Once those gibberlings are dealt with, Baeloth shows up.
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    He's in. Reputation down to 7. Incidentally, both Dorn and Neera have interjections in this introductory conversation.
    Baeloth starts with 36 HP, the maximum possible for his six levels and 16 Con. He's not very squishy at all. And he comes with multiple 3rd level spells already available. Including Fireball.
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    This may not be the all-fire run, but Fireball is still a very good spell at this stage of the game. That was his second fireball, by the way; his first toasted three gibberlings and a squirrel.

    Finally, Peldvale. The party rests there, crosses the map, and meets a drow woman. One flaming idiot later, we invite her to join.
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    Neera leaves to make room, and the party reaches its final form. Our reputation is down to 5, despite not getting caught in any crimes yet. This is full evil, everyone.

    Oh, and this part's title? Now that Baeloth is in the party, it's all alliteration, always. Until I leave him behind for BG2, of course.

    @JuliusBorisov : Good "luck"? I would rather have "intelligence", because "luck" runs out. Like the understanding to tweak a bunch of Dorn's BG2 cutscenes so they don't hang the game when Dorn is also player 1. If luck is a problem ... well, this isn't a no-reload run. Gameplay progress is currently mid-SoA; I like a considerable buffer between what I play and what I post.
    (The cutscene problem ... CutSceneId(Player1) followed by ActionOverride("dorn", do something). That command and any commands that follow aren't executed if Player1 and "dorn" point to the same creature, which leaves the game in a state only a force quit can get out of.)
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 2: Early Exploring

    Now that the party has been gathered, we can clear out some areas and explore a bit. Montaron and Xzar want to investigate the troubles in Nashkel, but that's not too urgent.

    First, we head back to the Friendly Arm to rest and memorize spells. And to clear out some hobgoblins.
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    We hand over the ring to Joia for 400 XP and a point of reputation. Many complaints ensue.

    Next, we head south to the crossroads. Unlike the inn's surroundings, this area has spawn points that will repopulate the place indefinitely. Most of them just throw gibberlings and xvarts at us, which go down with no problems. A pack of dire wolves, though? That gets a Horror.
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    All three panic, and then it takes way too long to hunt them down. This is a rather melee-oriented party, with limited ranged attack power. Dorn took one bite, before the spell landed.
    This area's final challenge is an ogre. Extremely dangerous to first level characters (who should never try to melee it), but helpless against our might.
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    Especially since we have a cleric with Command spells prepared. It goes down for a round with no save, and doesn't get back up.
    This ogre carried two magic belts, which Baeloth identifies immediately. The girdle of piercing goes straight into use, and will never come off.

    With the area clear, we head west. This area is just populated by animals, but at least the wolves and bears are worth decent experience. Particularly the bears, at 175 each.
    Traveling south to High Hedge brings an undead ambush, and Xzar takes damage down to 7/14 HP. Then, upon arrival, Dorn is fatigued. Most of the rest of the party soon follows. Well, I guess we're cutting this visit short. Rather than fully clearing the area, we just deal with some gnolls near the tower, using drain spells on them for some free healing. Shar-Teel reaches thief level 2, and invests into stealth. With Perdue's sword in hand, we head back to Beregost to rest.

    After that rest, we head over to the Red Sheaf...
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    Ah right, Sod never visited the place to clear it out. Well, now Karlat is done for. Perdue gets his sword back, and we head out to High Hedge again.

    This area has large packs of knife-throwing skeletons. Perfect targets.
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    It's always nice getting the drop on enemies with an area-of-effect spell. And Xzar appreciates the throwing daggers.
    A second pack gets a different fire spell:
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    With the 2.6 update, it's actually a decent spell now. Situational, since it's melee-range and not party-friendly, but powerful enough to be worthwhile.
    A third group of skeletons gets another two Burning Hands spells - though this involves Xzar entering melee range, and he takes a hit. Down into the yellow for this very squishy mage.
    The biggest threats around, though, are inside the mage's home. Two Flesh Golems. Well, we did buy some +1 arrows...
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    Dorn isn't proficient, but he doesn't need to be. Flesh Golems have very poor AC. 14 arrows spent to take the two golems down for 4000 XP.
    With that done, we visit Thalantyr's shop for the first time. Sell off some junk, buy a potion case.
    The last notable enemy here is a spider in front of the nearby cabin. It gets three drain spells and a broken sword:
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    That's Montaron's second lost sword in this area alone. We really need to find him a better sword, that won't break.

    In service of that goal, we head south. Some hobgoblins ambush us on the way, and the first enemy after arriving is a lone wolf.
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    Thief level 3 for Shar-Teel, and more stealth. With all 90 of her skill points having gone into Hide in Shadows and Move Silently, her chances are pretty good now. At least, as long as it isn't broad daylight.
    That wolf, of course, is the guard for Melicamp. We pick up the chicken, to deal with when we next head back to town.
    The next notable fight is a pack of wolves. A Horror gets them all ... and they just keep attacking anyway.
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    Grr. When I cast a mind-affecting spell, I want it to actually change the enemy's actions. Is that so hard?
    Another pack gets a fireball.
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    After all, a Horror definitely wouldn't do anything to these undead creatures.
    As a side note, check out the difference between the damage dealt to the one that saved and the two that didn't. That's some interesting luck on the damage rolls.
    Not far from there, two enemy groups join together - hobgoblin elites and ghasts. Xzar goes for a Skull Trap.
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    Unfortunately, those ghasts in melee? One lands a paralyzing hit on Montaron. AC -1 and a death save of 7 wasn't good enough. We take the enemies down, but not before they finish him off.
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    Well, I suppose we're headed back to town ahead of schedule. Montaron costs 800 gold to raise at the temple, about a third of our current reserves. Though selling junk and gems recoups around half that.

    After a rest, we head back out to where we were. With a stop at High Hedge along the way.
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    And Melicamp doesn't make it. Oh well.

    We resume our clearing with some ghouls, which pose no trouble. Then comes a trio of named hobgoblins.
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    A Fireball to take out the minions, a Command on the leader. Now Montaron has a nice sword (The Whistling Sword +2). That will last him a very long time.
    The next fight is a pack of wolves, not worthy of a picture. But Dorn dings on them, reaching level 6. 3 HP gained, plus bastard sword specialization. A very poor roll there.
    Before long, we come to the area's final serious encounter. Montaron takes the lead here.
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    Sadly, there's no special dialogue for the Zhents. Or a good way to roleplay evil. The options we choose - accusing him of lying to himself - cause his minions to fall apart. The fight is on.
    We open with a Fireball and a Minor Drain. They fail to interrupt his Rigid Thinking, which catches Montaron. Then a Hold Person...
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    Nope. He saved. Command, then?
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    That's better. Viconia has hammer proficiency, so she upgrades from Stupefier to Ashideena. And although Xzar and Montaron couldn't talk sense into the man, they can at least claim Kelddath's bounty. With that gold...
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    ... we buy a set of full plate armor. Plus a +1 sling and some +1 ammo. Dorn gets that first set of full plate, of course.

    You may notice the reduced party in that last picture? That's a little game I like to call "hide the drow". Dismiss our two drow party members, see reputation rise by 4 (to 10), and shop with the improved prices. Then Baeloth talks to the protagonist and is allowed to rejoin, and we invite Viconia to return. Our reputation returns to where it was, and the only lasting effect is the shopping we did with considerably improved prices. It's still pretty expensive buying things without a discount from high reputation, though.

    That's it for this segment. Next time, the party continues south.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 3: Dueling Drizzt

    Our exploration continues south of Beregost. Sod passed through, but avoided all encounters. Dorn's party engages everything. Including the fights that could be avoided.
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    They may have good armor, but they're not much of a threat to a party of this level.
    And then Shar-Teel does something stupid.
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    She wants to renegotiate her deal. Right now ... she's a level 3 thief with some extra hit points, and Dorn's a level 6 blackguard in full plate.
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    It ends as you would expect. Though maybe a bit quicker. Shar-Teel is supposed to surrender at under 50% HP, but the crit for enough damage to kill her in one hit bypassed that stage. Fortunately, this fight has a Raise Dead contingency for that situation.
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    An accurate comment there. 19 on the d20 attack roll, 7 on the d10 damage roll.
    But, sadly, I can't continue from here. Shar-Teel hasn't become re-selectable, even after that chat. And so, I reload. I'm not even sure how this one broke.

    That reload is from the autosave back in Beregost, so we repeat the area. This time around, Hold Person catches all three of those flaming idiots:
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    Always nice.
    Getting off the road, we run into some hobgoblins. Shar-Teel gets some nice boots out of the deal.
    Then, just as we finish the area and head back to sell the junk we've picked up, Viconia is struck by lightning. Ouch.
    Back in Beregost, that fight between Dorn and Shar-Teel triggers again. This time, Dorn doesn't get a crit.
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    Two strikes, and it's over. Also, the scripting works properly this time. Shar-Teel returns to selectable status, and we continue on.
    At the Burning Wizard, Zhurlong gets to see his boots. He doesn't get to keep them.
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    Oh, come on. 7 damage? That's the absolute minimum she could have done. A good roll would have been a one-hit kill; Zhurlong isn't exactly tough. Follow-up hits easily eliminate him, and Shar-Teel reclaims her boots.

    We also return a scroll to Mirianne and earn that second +1 ring. The party's equipment continues to improve. With that done, we head out again, farther south this time.
    That second road area is pretty uneventful, and we soon turn west. After killing some ogres, a group of named bandits brings a level for Shar-Teel:
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    Or, rather, the potential to level. Shar-Teel isn't taking it. She's saving it for later, so she can invest that proficiency point better.
    Some gnolls get a Color Spray...
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    Seriously? Four out of five saved? Wow. Of course, they're still just gnolls. They die quickly anyway.
    Next up, we threaten a hobgoblin into spilling his guts metaphorically.
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    And then make him spill his guts literally. Casual murder is all right with this bunch.

    Finally, this area's biggest challenge.
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    Well, not this first take. I mis-target a fireball, and wreck my own party without hurting the enemies. Reload, on to take 2.
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    That's what I meant to do with the fireball. Clear out the riff-raff. It's just him and us now. Dorn uses the one "ignore MR" spell he has (Absorb Health), and we start kiting with him at 77/92 health. Drizzt has a few spells - Entangle, Charm - but they don't make any real difference. Mostly, it's just a lot of running in circles hoping for crits.
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    Dorn has 2 APR and 4-9 damage when he hits. Montaron and Shar-Teel have 2 APR and 1-6 damage. Viconia has 1 APR and 3-6 damage. Baeloth has 3 APR and 1-3 damage. Xzar is the bait. With our 5% hit rate and Drizzt's 30% resistance ... that's about 1.59 damage per round. It'll be about an hour in-game.
    Oh, wait, Drizzt has healing too. One Cure Medium Wounds, which he casts once he gets down to half. I should have saved that Absorb Health to disrupt it.
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    So that's about another ten rounds of this. We keep going.
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    Hey, "Near Death" status. I think that means he's under 1/4 hit points. There's a bit of a scramble at one point as Drizzt switches targets, but...
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    Drizzt goes down. We have his stuff. Shar-Teel gets Icingdeath, as she has scimitar proficiency while she's a pure thief. Montaron gets the armor, for now. Twinkle will be sold.

    There are still a few dangers out there in this area, like this pack of ogre berserkers.
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    It gets a bit hairy preventing them from hitting us in melee, but we pull it off. Montaron even randomly succeeds on a hide check and gets in a 22-point backstab on the last one. You know what? He can have the stealth boots for now.
    Back in town, we report to Bjornin. Our reputation dropped to 4 killing Drizzt, and it goes back up to 5 with that. Also, Montaron gets a shield upgrade from the reward. And selling Twinkle is good for 5500 gold.

    Now that everyone has magical melee weapons, we head over to the temple area. Those vampiric wolves shouldn't be a problem now.
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    And here I am, suffering from "shiny new thing" syndrome. I should have opened with a fireball instead. Now Montaron's in there with them, and I don't have a good place to aim party-unfriendly spells. And he didn't even kill that wolf.
    I get in a bit of spell damage anyway before it all dissolves into a confused melee. And with the first vampiric wolf's fall...
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    New levels for Montaron and Xzar, to be taken after the battle. The second vampiric wolf goes down easily as well - it's the dread wolf that slips behind the lines to target my ranged attackers, and the pack of normal wolves that flanks me from behind when I try to evade, that cause problems.
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    We get them, but Baeloth falls into the yellow.
    Now, to take those levels. Montaron goes to thief level 6, gaining 2 HP (roll 2/3) and boosting his trap-finding skill to 75. Xzar goes to mage level 6, gaining 3 HP (roll 3/4) and adding sling proficiency. Sling bullets stack better than throwing daggers and come in magical forms, after all.

    Cattack's bunch try their luck...
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    A bit of friendly fire there. Not that Baeloth would apologize for such a thing. He killed the hobgoblins - why are you complaining?

    So there it is. Some of the cheesier ways of killing Drizzt have been patched out, but you can still beat him and take his stuff. You just need to now how to fight unfairly.

    Next time, the party heads north for some unfinished business.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 4: A Cave, a Cleric, and a Coast

    After looting the unattended chests in the Friendly Arm, we continue north to where the road meets the river. A farmer asks for help with his missing son - sure, we'll investigate. No promises, though.
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    And here we see the likely cause. Ankhegs. We do have the tools to deal with them, at least. Melee attacks work very well, because ankhegs default to their ranged attack and only switch to melee after some time with a threat in close. And with heavy armor and the close-range penalty, it's not too hard to AC-tank those ranged attacks.
    The lightly-armored half of our party, though, stays back. They're vulnerable to critical hits, and a lot easier to hit in the first place. Well, Shar-Teel gets some backstabs in. In the cave, fighting one ankheg at a time, it works perfectly.
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    Nine kills. No damage taken. We retrieve the body, and the treasure trove with it.
    Up on the surface, the ankhegs come in packs. That makes a considerable difference.
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    Well, luck matters too. Three natural twenties with their ranged attacks, and Dorn is down below half health. At least he saved against the acid each time.
    We return the body and stash the shells. Farmer Brun does not receive an additional gift from us, as we're not interested in the reputation gain right now.

    A storm is running, so we take our leave and head north. I don't remember whether it was this visit or a previous one, but Dorn has talked to the fishermen. Time to confront a priestess.
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    Viconia takes the lead, easily ignoring the girl's Command. And whacks her once. Tenya is scripted to stop fighting when hit by crushing damage.
    With that revelation, we have a choice to make. Side with the lay followers of Talos, or with the divinely empowered priestess of Umberlee? We choose the latter. Her god is considerably more likely to be paying attention.

    After killing one more ankheg, we head north to talk to a farmer about a reward. And loot his house for a cloak of protection, because it wasn't a very impressive reward. Then it's Ulgoth's Beard for a bit more looting - I'll save the shopping for later.

    Back at the farm, a little intimidation gets us the bowl.
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    But we won't stop there. He mentioned a flail, and we'd like that too. Pick his pockets ... no, not enough skill unless one of our thieves drinks a potion. Just whack him, then.
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    Excellent. The other two fishermen go hostile, but they have nothing of value. We leave them alone.

    Back to Tenya, then, to return the bowl.
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    Montaron tried for a backstab while she was leaving, but crit-missed. Shar-Teel didn't even start hers.
    As for the reward ... in 2.6, the XP reward depends on how many fishermen are still alive. 1000 base, plus 500 for each survivor. Leaving them alive is definitely worth more than the paltry reward for killing them, with the exception of Sonner's loot.
    If you side with the fishermen, it's 1000 XP plus 650 for killing Tenya. She also has a set of AC 7 bracers.

    On the way back south ...
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    The dreaded ten-bandit ambush. Xzar is exposed and very squishy. Immediately after that shot, he dies. And Baeloth doesn't get his fireball off, either. Still, we regroup.
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    With us breaking the encirclement, the tactical situation gets a lot better. The remaining bandits go down without too much trouble. And we have room to carry all of the important stuff, since it's only one dead party member.

    The gold for raising Xzar is no problem, as we've been picking up a good amount. Plus the ankheg shells; we reach Beregost without further incident and sell twenty of them to Taerom.

    Our next destination is to the west. On the way there, some random undead ambush us:
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    More pain for Xzar - he's just such a squishy target. But at least this time he's still alive.

    After dealing with a pack of dire wolves, we meet the nereid Shoal.
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    Her kiss is a breath save. If you fail, it's 50% an instant kill and 50% to drop you to 1 HP. Or 100% the latter for player 1. Dorn had the best breath save. It wasn't good enough.
    So, then, we attack. Shoal calls in Droth, and I go for the backstab...
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    The crit was entirely unnecessary. Montaron didn't even need a high damage roll. With 19 damage on her from the brief battle, she was down to 32 HP. And since Shoal is unarmed, even a minimum-damage backstab from Montaron would have done 28 to her.
    Then Droth arrives. I cast a Command, a Spook, and a Horror. Saves failed.
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    Well, he lasted long enough to get up, at least. Dorn has a nice new helmet.

    The next fight is a big group of ogre-kin further south. I get a good scout in on them.
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    On second thought, don't go for the backstab. Start them off with a fireball instead, and follow up with a stab on an appropriate target.
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    Two ogrillons down to the fireball, one berserker injured and then finished off with a stab.
    The other berserker gets in a solid hit on Dorn, but that's it. A Horror from Xzar neutralizes any threat the others could offer.

    Talk to Mad Arcand ... no dice. You need a good reaction score to get his quest. We could kill him for 2000 XP and his potion, but he's an innocent. I'd rather not lose reputation right now.

    The last threat around here is a trio of sirines. I open with a backstab...
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    Minimum damage. Though they are tough enough to survive anything other than a crit. From there, it gets messy.
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    We take them down, but three shots at Dorn all hit, and the charmed Montaron adds two more hits in melee. That 10 HP he has is after two healing potions - he'd be dead without them.
    Also, I tried to neutralize Monty with a Spook. It got him, but he just kept attacking us.
    Well, at least there's some free healing around.
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    And with that, we're done with the area. Unless we feel like coming back for Mad Arcand at some point.

    The party returns to High Hedge, and skeletons show up behind them...
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    Boom. Five kills with one Skull Trap. One survivor remains, until Montaron gets in with a backstab.
    Now rest, and end the session. After some ghasts on the first attempt, the second succeeds. Dorn is just short of 50K experience.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 5: Booty, Betrayal and Bounties

    With the party rested, we're ready to move out again. This time, to Seawatcher further down the coast. Of course, it's a long way to travel, and the party is already facing fatigue when we arrive. Not that I let that stop me from killing some hobgoblins.
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    Fair fights are for chumps. The same tactic follows for another pack, including some elites ... and then I realize that I forgot to sell the junk I'd picked up earlier. Very well, back to High Hedge for that.

    After coming back and resting again, no more hobgoblins remain in the north. Instead, we face some worgs.
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    One Color Spray, and that pack is done for. One gets a lucky bite in on Montaron, but that's it.
    After that, it's sirines. They're resistant to fire, so I open with a different type of area damage
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    Go, Skull Trap. It's good for 12 damage on one, 21 on another, and missing the third. Unfortunately, Xzar chose a poor path and that one was coming forward already. We scramble to get our melee into the fray, but the element of surprise has been lost...
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    Both Montaron and Dorn roll poorly on their saves and succumb to Charm. Then Baeloth takes a poisoned arrow from a sirine and a melee hit from Montaron, while Viconia can't immediately cure the poison because she tried for a Hold Person ... I'm not getting out of this without death. So I reload.

    On the new try, the random packs roll dread wolves and tasloi instead of tasloi and worgs. A bit more XP there. And then there's a pack of hobgoblin archers before the sirines.
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    They get a fireball. No more distractions. I also line up the Skull Trap better.
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    That's all three of them. Our ranged attacks disrupt one sirine's invisibility attempt, and we take her down. Then the other two charm Montaron again.
    But wait ... they're not mages. And Baeloth has Dispel Magic. Cast the spell ... what do you mean, I canceled the order? Grr. Plus Dorn gets charmed again.
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    Well, at least Baeloth saved against the poison this time. Also, I tried to override the charm effect with fear again (Horror, in this case). It didn't work. It never works.
    Still, we manage to get through the fight without too much pain.
    After crushing some carrion crawlers, it's time for Sil's trio. I go for a double backstab this time.
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    34 damage for Montaron, and an 18-damage non-backstab from Shar-Teel. Disrupt their invisibility attempts with LMD...
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    ... and Montaron saves against the one Dire Charm they manage to cast. Finally, a clean victory. The cave awaits.

    Flesh golems hit very hard in melee, so I have Dorn get out the +1 arrows. After Montaron disarms the first two traps under stealth, anyway. The first golem runs low on HP, but I can't finish it without running out of cave to retreat to, and it doesn't follow Dorn out. All right, Montaron, you try it.
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    You can't backstab golems, but you can guarantee the first hit with stealth. And in this case, the last hit.
    Shar-Teel has now reached 20K experience as a thief, enough for level 6. And she's still staying at level 3. One more level, and it'll be time to finally hit that button.
    For the second golem, Dorn has a bit more room to work with, and the arrows do the whole job. Baeloth reaches level 7 with this, gaining the full 6 HP and taking spells Sleep, Invisibility, and Spell Thrust.
    Montaron accidentally trips the Dire Charm trap instead of disarming it. Oh well, no harm done - just have to wait the five rounds, since he can't see anyone.
    Finally, Dorn shoots down the last golem and claims the treasure. 15 Con for him

    The rest of the area is easy enough. Provoke Arkushule, kill some wolves... hey, what's that you're asking?
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    Always nice when you finish a quest as soon as you start it.

    On to the next area. We meet Ba'ruk first, and the kobold commandos interrupt Baeloth's fireball. They don't get Xzar, though.
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    Ba'ruk himself is trivial after that.
    After that, there's a pretty substantial pack of gnolls, including a rare gnoll chieftain.
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    They inflict significant damage; the chieftain landed a 13-point hit on Montaron before the halfling got his revenge. A magic Missile scroll drops, but Xzar fails to learn it.
    Next up, we have some unprovoked bear-killing.
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    That bunch doesn't get in any hits on us.

    With the wildlife pacified, we move on to the dig site.
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    And we're doing this the bloody way. We enter, the diggers go mad, and...
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    He's an innocent. Reputation down to 4. Plus 7 XP and his 100 gold.
    Outside, we hand over the idol to Gallor ...
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    ... but the Doomsayer is already here. Gallor goes mad as well, and doesn't live to sell it.
    That leaves us to fight the Doomsayer. It's vulnerable to magic damage and backstabs, so we can do pretty well despite its exceptional AC.
    And then something weird happens. I try LMD on it, and Xzar's spell fails (race GOLEM) but Dorn's spell succeeds? They have the exact same race-based immunity effect, but somehow one worked despite that. Then, bamboozled by this glitch, I try Absorb Health on it as well. Nope. Still, we win through despite my mistakes.
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    We took a lot of damage, but nobody died.

    And with that quest, our reputation is down to 1. Towns are definitely not safe places for us. Not that I'll let that stop me.

    Skipping Brage, I head over to the Nashkel carnival to sell our junk. And I notice something about my settings:
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    The Amazing Oopah isn't a very good act with gore off. Turn it on, then, before we drive that ogre mad.
    Also, never try to buy anything at reputation 2.
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    That's a serious markup. The only exception here? Items with base price zero, such as nonmagical ammo. They'll merely round up to 1 like always. We find the ranged weapon merchant with his unlimited supply and buy a bunch of darts for Baeloth.
    Entering some tents, we find a battle.
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    Dorn disrupts his spell. Montaron finishes him with a backstab and a crit. And with Bentha dead, we just take all her stuff.

    The area also includes some wilder parts with random spawns. Including these ogre berserkers:
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    They aren'y all that dangerous in the base game.

    All right, now we head over to Nashkel. My reputation precedes me ... now where's that bounty hunter? Ah, there he is.
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    I just charm him and send him to a corner.
    But - that's not the only low-rep hazard here. Some patrolling soldiers spot us and go hostile. I send the bounty hunter after them, and then realize something. The soldiers are all pre-placed. If I just kill them now, they won't be a problem in the future. And I only have one reputation point to lose.
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    They're all strung out and separated, so they go down easily. Including the ones in the barracks.

    With the reputation hazards dealt with, I visit the inn. Hi, Neira.
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    Bye, Neira.
    And one last thing to do before we move on - visit Oublek.
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    He pays the bounties. You don't mess with people like that, not if you want to take bounties yourself. Reputation up to 2.
    Also, Viconia dinged on Neira. She takes level 7, gaining the full 8 HP.

    And so our party finds itself facing the forces of law and order for the first time. Certainly not the last. Next time, we continue our western exploration.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 6: Western Wanderings with a Witch

    West of town, we encounter a rugged area holding an xvart village. There are a lot of them, but we have Sleep now.
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    They don't stand a chance. No matter how many enemies they throw at us, Sleep will decimate them.
    The toughest fight around is that shady "merchant" Borda.
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    He's a mage, with inexplicable magic immunity. That's his first spell attempt being disrupted by a well-timed hit. For his second, I'm not quick enough - but it's just a Horror. I can counter that effect.
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    He doesn't last long enough for a third attempt.

    The next area is tougher, with dangerous enemies like ogre berserkers common. One such fight is interrupted by the bandit Neville and his hobgoblin friends ... oh, just hit them with a fireball.
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    That wasn't quite all of them, but it helped.
    Then there's the paladin Laurel and her gibberling hunt:
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    Eh, scratch the gibberling hunt. It looks like we're fighting Laurel instead. So go the reputation checks. It's less reward than fighting the gibberlings, but no further reputation loss. And we do at least pick up a set of plate mail to sell.
    Lightning strikes Viconia; with the party out of healing spells, I take that as a sign to rest. Our first attempt is interrupted.
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    The berserkers inflict more damage before going down, including some nasty hits on Dorn. Thankfully, our second rest attempt works.
    After waking, we kill a few more monsters, including that polar bear. But we don't go back to Jared just yet - there's something we have to do first.

    Instead, we move on to the fortress. Clear out Gnarl and Hairtooth, give Baeloth the 18 Dex gauntlets (everyone else has 16 or more already), and head down to the xvart caves. Dorn claims the charisma tome, raising him to 17. In combination with Algernon's cloak, that's a total of 19 - which makes a considerable difference from the 18 he had before.
    Now, we can go back to Jared. Hide the drow, talk to him...
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    Friendly reactions, which means we get the boots. +8 reaction for 19 Cha and -2 for 6 rep is a total of +6, exceeding the "friendly" threshold of +5. We could have had that reaction with a mere 5 rep, even. 18 Cha is only +5 reaction, so we would have needed at least 8 rep for "friendly" in that case.

    We still can't walk around towns safely, so we head back to the Nashkel carnival to sell some junk and rest outside. Then it's back into the wilderness, for the two remaining unexplored areas in the west.

    In the first such area, Vax and Zal are our first real fight.
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    That's Zal down to the Command while Montaron goes for the backstab. It's a one-hit kill. At about the same time, Dorn lands a crit on Vax, and these two bandits are dealt with. Bracers of archery ... I think I gave them to Shar-Teel for now. Not a big deal with this party.
    Then it's Sendai's bunch.
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    Those circles and barely visible outlines? That's Montaron and Shar-Teel setting up a double backstab.
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    Stabs successful, though Alexander did land an arrow on Dorn. Sendai doesn't last much longer.
    Finally, we kill Rufie - we met Albert and dropped that silly chew toy earlier. Report back to Albert for the XP, and move on.

    In the next area, we soon have to rest. That attempt ...
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    Flinds. Go to sleep, would you? Only one saves against both spells, and we easily put them down.
    The second rest attempt brings gnoll elites, and the same double-Sleep move. The third finally works.

    Once rested, the party helps out a dryad:
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    Reputation up to 3. One more, and we're safe from random bounty hunters.
    Clear out some minor threats, return Drienne's dead cat.
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    I hid Baeloth to get the best reward on this one, since it's a reaction check. Reputation up to 4, and we can walk around towns without trouble now.
    The remainder of the map has some winter wolves and gnolls, but nothing really notable. At least the pelts bring in some good cash.

    Now, back to Nashkel before we take one last trip out west. And for this one, I leave Baeloth behind - we're doing Edwin's job. Edwin levels to 5, gaining 19 HP (rolls 11/16).
    The gnolls are very little challenge at our level. Normal attacks and the occasional Sleep are plenty. Well, OK, I do use a Skull Trap against the chieftain.
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    And then there's Dynaheir. I send Xzar down into the pit alone ...
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    ... and burn the witch.
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    Now, as for Edwin - you are going to pay us for this service, right?
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    Edwin pays up, and leaves forever. He would have preferred to offer his services, but this party already has two mages. See you next campaign.

    On the way back to Nashkel, a half-ogre ambushes us. Trivial, but still enough to put Xzar over the level 7 threshold. 2 HP gained, plus level 4 spell slots that he can't fill because he doesn't know any. We'll have to go shopping in Ulgoth's Beard to deal with that issue.
    Baeloth rejoins the party, and we're finally ready to investigate the mine.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 7: Mine, Mages, and Merchants

    Checking the shed, Sod's body is still where we left it. Neat.
    Then we get to clearing the area. While fighting some ghasts, a soldier comes up to talk:
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    Monsters about? You don't say.
    There's nothing too notable otherwise, until we get to Prism.
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    Why help Prism? Because we want Greywolf's sword. One Command, and - well, he's not quite dead before he gets back up. But he doesn't get off a single attack roll.
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    With that, our reputation is up to 5. And Shar-Teel has the sword she'll be using when she gets her fighter skills back.

    Down in the mine, the kobolds are trivial. Xzar is the only truly squishy party member with 19 HP and AC 5, and he's wearing the girdle of piercing for AC 2 against kobold attacks. Most of the party can't be hit except on a critical. Of course, we'll still use plenty of stealth tactics to reduce the threat further.
    Down past the working mine, the kobolds have traps. When there are both traps and guards in the same place, I go for overkill.
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    There are two traps on that bridge, one of which wasn't detected yet.
    Baeloth's fireball lands for 35, 20, and 8 damage on the three kobolds it reaches. The third saved and rolled low ... but kobolds only have 4 HP.
    Montaron gets in lots of stealth attacks, but doesn't bother positioning for backstabs except for the few non-kobold foes. The kobolds are guaranteed to die in one hit anyway.
    For the last group on this level, I use a Sleep.
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    All but the commando go down. The commando gets a stealth attack from Montaron, and it's over.

    Then comes Mulahey. I go for the free backstab...
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    ... and miss. Montaron needed a 5 to hit, and rolled a 4.
    Well, he's not hostile yet. So I set up for a second try, and land it for 22 damage. It doesn't take long from there.
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    Kill off the minions, grab the loot. Leave Xan and his moonblade behind.

    We exit the mines through the lower passage. Once we're out, ankhegs are the first threat we find:
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    Melee attacks and Sleep spells clean them up easily. More shells to sell in Beregost.
    Farther south - well, we're not passing up a weapon upgrade for Xzar. The revenant must die.
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    It was oddly shy about talking at first, so we took the opportunity to get everyone into melee range. Getting those first hits in is always good.
    More ankhegs follow, and then Narcillicus. Provoke him ...
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    ... and backstab him. Plus some spells. That leaves the jellies, and we have enough non-piercing magic weapons for nearly everybody. Dorn does take two hits here, getting slowed and then poisoned. Viconia cures the latter with a Slow Poison spell.
    With this battle, Montaron reaches fighter level 6. He gains 4 HP (roll 3/5) and takes longbow specialization. Not that he uses it much, but it's nice to have the option.

    Clearing the area exhausts most of our daily resources; Baeloth uses all twelve of his first-level spell slots. By the time we reach the last serious encounter, there's nothing left to do but use second-level spells.
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    Hold Person, Horror, and Melf's Acid Arrow. They work.
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    That's one dead and the other three incapacitated. They don't survive long after that. Dorn does get hit by a poisoned arrow, and drops to 25/51 HP before I can cure him with an antidote. Add a healing potion to get out of instant death lightning range, and head back to town.

    In Nashkel, we hand in a bunch of quests. Joseph's ring, a bounty on Prism's emeralds, reporting to the mayor (reputation up to 6). And then, Nimbul.
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    No, we're not fighting him. We're just killing him. At only 21 HP and with a ranged weapon equipped, Nimbul is extremely vulnerable to backstabs. Montaron hits on a 2, for a guaranteed one-hit kill if it lands. On the flip side, if you try to fight him at range, he has an effective missile AC of -4 and puts up mirror images.

    After a rest, we're off to Beregost. Elminster greets us there, with some nasty things to say about Dorn:
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    Nasty, but accurate. Killing the true Bhaalspawn and stealing his power definitely qualifies as predatory.
    Tranzig goes down easily to a double backstab:
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    And that's our fourth protection item. We also start shopping; "Hide the Drow" can get us up to 10 rep now, so we're in a good spot for big purchases. Here, that's the Shadow Armor +3 for Shar-Teel (12600 gold). With both acquisitions, every party member has either a protection item or enchanted armor.

    The next round of shopping is at High Hedge. Scrolls, the Claw of Kazgaroth, stacks of elemental darts and bullets (26400 gold). Shar-Teel wears the claw, and our casters get the ammo.
    Then it's the temple at the Friendly Arm. Potions of genius and mind focusing, for 3840 gold.
    And finally, Ulgoth's Beard. More scrolls, the Cloak of Displacement, Aule's Staff, and the Wand of the Heavens (16740 gold). Xzar drinks a pair of potions and scribes everything he can - those level 4 spell slots are actually usable now.

    We rest at the inn, and Dorn dreams again. He has a second instance of LMD now.

    Upon waking, the party decides to try out Shandalar's quest. Mages await, starting with a trio of them. I go for backstabs...
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    Well, that's a hit. But these mages are pretty tough. They react with a Horror, faster than I can counter with Remove Fear. And my counter misses one of the victims.
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    At least we've taken down one foe. Cast Detect Invisibility to reveal the others...
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    ... but one of them delivers a Confusion first. Four out of six party members fail their saves. Ouch.
    That was Andris casting that spell. He's not visible in the shot, since he's in the room the party came from. Beyn follows up with his spell, also a Confusion...
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    And that's the entire party confused. I can't issue commands to anyone right now. I suppose I'll just have to see how this plays out.
    Dorn takes out Beyn, then turns his attention to Montaron. Andris charms Xzar. Viconia gets held. And then I get control back.
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    Huh. Not as bad as I would have expected. But it's not over yet...
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    Acid arrows and magic missiles take down Montaron. He's the party's trapfinder, and there are some nasty traps in here. Nope.

    I reload, back at the inn. This party isn't ready for this TotSC content yet. We'll come back to it later.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 8: Ruins and Rudeness

    Before we take care of the bandit problem, we'll clear out the areas in the east. Though first, we revisit an area that we already cleared.
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    With 19 charisma, we can get the good reactions and do this quest. Trade in the cursed ring we already found for a useful potion, and leave.

    Now, for something new - Ulcaster.
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    The place is infested with skeletons and kobolds; a Sleep thins the herd. Then, of course, we have to rest - we traveled a long way from the coast. The first two rest attempts are interrupted by kobolds, but the third finally succeeds.
    After waking, a halfling tries to sell us a "gem of true seeing" for 1000 gold. How about we just take it instead?
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    Huh. It was just a nonmagical turquoise. Well, that's one scammer that won't be plying his trade any more.

    Around this time, I start wondering about the activated ability on Baeloth's ring. I'd been playing with it, to unexciting results. Then I looked it up ... 38% to get a gem of some kind, but it's only ever a Fire Agate, a Lynx Eye, or a Turquoise. 2, 5, or 7 gold to sell. Boring. The damage is an equally unexciting 1-3 total of various elements. The idea percolated; while I didn't apply it to this run, that inspired the component "Barrityl's Bigger and Better Burden" in my tweak mod. In it, I upgrade the ability so that it can create gems up to a Black Opal (150 gold to sell). I also apply a corresponding increase to the damage the ring can do - gamble at your own risk.

    After a trip back to town to sell off the bows and bastard swords we've been picking up, we head up to the plateau.
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    Icharyd can be dangerous, but at least he's alone. He got a couple hits in on Dorn, our Magic Missile spells did considerable damage, and our backstab attempts failed (Shar-Teel missed, Montaron lost his stealth before he swung). All in all, a tolerable result.

    Some random undead follow, and then it's time for the dungeon.
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    Here we have Montaron backstabbing a jelly. They're immune in BG2, but not in BG1. We bring up the party for the mustard jelly; Montaron has a piercing weapon, after all.
    After that, it's basically all wolves, and smooth sailing. Viconia gets her first Turn Undead capture on a Dread Wolf, and Xzar tries out his new necromancy spell on the vampiric wolf:
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    Let's see how you like being helpless. Oh, you're dead? Hmph. I suppose we'll just finish looting the place.

    Gullykin comes next, though not before a trip to town and two ambushes. We kill some ghouls, and then find a group of hired killers hanging out in the gully.
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    They open with an Entangle and an interrupted spell. We open with a Skull Trap, a Fireball, and a Hold Person. Not exactly an even match.
    Dorn gets entangled and has to stick to the bow for the whole fight. Montaron takes damage from our own fireball and then a melee hit from Morvin. Everything else goes well for us.

    With that taken care of, we head to the village. And being rude to Gandolar Luckyfoot doesn't pay off.
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    He even leaves, so he won't be around later to pay the clearing reward.
    For that, Montaron goes and loots all the homes. Well, he would have done that anyway, but it's a matter of principle. Nothing too great, but we do pick up a second +1 sling so Xzar can have one.

    Into the ruins, then, starting from the winery entrance. We go for the less kobold-filled path first. This area is excellent for stealth tactics with the narrow corridors and corners, so Montaron is in his element; he clears the first group of six kobold commandos on his own.
    The undead knight, though, is more dangerous.
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    Two hits on Montaron. He needs some healing now. Hand in the armor and continue on.
    More traps and many more kobold commandos follow. We make steady progress and do our best to prevent them from taking shots at us.
    Before long, we reach the end of the dungeon. Scouting sees enemies from both sides - this is a spot for a fireball.
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    Lendarn is resistant. The rest aren't. I wait for them to come at me ... they aren't coming. OK, go for a backstab next. That takes out Lendarn and wakes the ogre mage. Montaron retreats, kobolds follow and we kill them.
    With the ogre mage's support thinned out, it's time to attack.
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    Command, two Melf's Acid Arrow spells, a backstab, and ranged attacks. Easy.
    Examining our loot ... 98 fire arrows. We killed 49 kobold commandos in that dungeon. And picked up the bows to sell. The entire party's inventories are completely full.

    Back in town, I consider buying the +1 shortbow for Shar-Teel, but decide against it. She just won't get much use out of it. Instead, we just head back out, to the area formerly inhabited by basilisks. We have some unfinished business here.
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    And before we can even talk to these jerks, we launch a fireball. Xzar adds an Emotion: Hopelessness. While that's on the way, they talk.
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    And then they die. Baerin falls to a backstab. Kirian and Lindin are knocked out by the spell. We focus our attacks on Peter.
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    That was a Command and the lethal hit arriving simultaneously.

    With that battle, Shar-Teel reaches the critical threshold of 40K thief XP. It's finally time to level up.
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    She only rolled a 2 on her d6 hit point roll, but everything else is a massive boost. 100/85 stealth, increased to 100/100 with the shadow armor she's wearing. The remaining 30 skill points go to Set Traps, and the proficiency goes to long swords.

    From now on, Shar-Teel is a melee fighter with a strong focus on backstabs, wielding Varscona. And at 24-45 slashing plus 1 cold damage, her backstabs are very powerful. They're not done improving, too.

    This update is a bit short, but Shar-Teel's build maturing felt like a natural stopping point.
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 22,419
    Keep going! You're putting some real effort both into the game and this story-telling. Nice.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    I've been a bit consumed by modding over the last few days ... but I've got a buffer of written posts into next week, and a buffer of logged gameplay out to the end of the Underdark. Keeping this going shouldn't be a problem. Really, the only snag is the length I have to go to for a decent Internet connection - about a kilometer (round trip).
    Part 9: Personal Plots

    Now that Shar-Teel's build has matured, we're ready to enter Durlag's Tower. At least, the exterior and upper levels. We also take this opportunity to sell Baeloth's old +1 staff; it has the "stolen" flag, and the merchant here is the only fence outside the big city.

    What's so special about now? Well, the outside is guarded by Battle Horrors. And backstabs are one of the best ways of handling them efficiently.
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    It doesn't help if you roll that poorly, though. We missed both stabs. Time for plan B - damage spells backed by melee tanking. And Shar-Teel tries for more backstabs.
    She misses. And misses again. What does it take to hit these things? Dorn is the one to finally get a good hit in:
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    And now, we spend most of the day's healing budget on the results of that one fight.
    Some stats here: Battle Horrors have -2 base AC, plate mail for a -3 slashing modifier, and 17 Dex. Montaron has base THAC0 15, 16 strength, specialization, and a +2 piercing weapon. Shar-Teel has base THAC0 15, 18/58 strength, high mastery, and a +2 slashing weapon. On a stab, Montaron gets +7 to hit against that -2 AC, so he hits on a 10. Shar-Teel gets +11 to hit but suffers -3 from the plate mail; she hits on a 9. So, she missed a 60% chance three times in a row. Oof.
    Without the backstab bonus ... Montaron hits on a 17, Shar-Teel hits on a 16 (or 20 off-hand), and Dorn hits on a 17. Conventional melee against these things is not a good plan.

    There are more battle horrors and doom guards on the battlements. Fortunately, they're easier to get the drop on.
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    Now that's more like it. And with the door right there, she can withdraw and set up another hit.
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    Excellent.
    That's level 7 for Dorn; he gains the full 11 hit points (roll 10/10) and gets that warrior bonus to APR.
    The other side has a doom guard with more freedom of movement. It chases the party inside and even gets a hit in on Dorn before Shar-Teel can stab it down.
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    Also, Viconia captured a skeleton there. I kill it anyway. We kill the remaining skeletons outside and head up the stairs. The way to the roof is on the second floor, so I give Dorn some protection and send him out.
    Dorn takes the opportunity to use his drain spells against the basilisk and recover nearly all of his lost health. Then the last basilisk switches to melee and erases most of his progress.
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    Oh well. I can always drink some potions - and I will.
    Now for the ghasts.
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    Ouch. Three party members paralyzed, one nearly dead? I get through it without losing anybody, but that hurt. Time to rest.

    Fortunately, no more ghasts spawn when I rest. Viconia has healing spells for the new day, and we use them.
    The ghasts in the cellar go down easily, and we head up to the third floor. No negotiation with Riggilo. Just kill him.
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    Shar-Teel can't line up a backstab, so he lasts past the first two hits. But not by much. And once he's down, Montaron dings. Thief level 7, 3/3 hit points, and he raises Find Traps to 100. Now we can properly loot this place.
    Well, there's one trap we can't disarm. Baeloth trips that altar trap to claim the wisdom tome, and Dorn uses it. He's greedy that way.
    There's one more foe on this floor - the ghost Daitel. It's a scary opponent, so I use the stairs against it. And take the time for some more looting on other floors as I wait for its illusion defenses to expire. Once I'm ready, I bring in everybody.
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    It didn't manage a single offensive spell.

    Finally, the top floor. There are more ghasts here, which go down easily. It was only that second floor that got us; we couldn't move well, and they kept flanking the party. As for Kirinhale ... I go for a backstab, and Shar-Teel rolls a 2. Missed. Then she hits Dorn with her Energy Drain spell and her Charm.
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    Not level drain; that Energy Drain is a -2 penalty to Dex, Con, and saves, plus another -10 max HP. It also wears off after an hour. The charm merely lasts 20 rounds.
    I go for a Command, but Dorn saves. All right, retreat for a few rounds to regroup.
    The succubus goes invisible, so I can't backstab her without bringing up some mage support. I decide to do that, sending Baeloth up to cast Detect Invisibility.
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    Naturally, she tries her spells on him. But he's magic resistant, so that doesn't work. Then, before I can get the stab in, she goes invisible again. This is a very annoying fight if you don't finish it in the first few moves.
    Still, I persevere. She seems to have run out of charm attempts, and Dorn comes to his senses in time to deliver the final blow.
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    Eternal battle music infects the area, but that's it. I can just loot the place, head down, and end the session.

    In the new session, I head south. First to Gullykin, then through the ruins to Firewine Bridge. There are plenty of kobolds around, but the first serious fight is Meilum.
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    He saves against that Hold Person, and Shar-Teel crit-misses her backstab. That gives him enough time to land one hit on Montaron before we overwhelm him.
    The gauntlets go to Shar-Teel. She has the highest APR of any of my front line with her dual-wielding, and the +2 damage is multiplied in backstabs. She now deals 30-51 +1 damage on a backstab.

    And then, Kahrk. A truly dangerous foe.
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    Spell Thrust to bring down his defense. Greater Malison to weaken him against further spells. Backstab attempts from the thieves. Absorb Health to hopefully disrupt that Mirror Image ... no, it gets eaten by the Minor Globe. Viconia goes for a Command once those mage spells land, but he saves. Then his next spell. I try to disrupt it ...
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    Nope. Kahrk takes a good chunk of damage, but Dorn fails his save and takes a lot more. Retreat!
    Then the rebound comes.
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    Um, ouch.

    You know, I saved just before this. Let's go back to that. And this time, wait out the Minor Globe. Our initial moves will go much more smoothly if we don't have to spend mage time on taking that down. Also, I apply a buff - haste up the party.
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    Round 2, start.
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    That was his attempt at casting Mirror Image. He tries a second spell...
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    That was probably the lightning bolt again. It looks like I've got this - and indeed, I come out of the fight with more hit points than I went in with.
    The remainder of the area holds little of interest; mostly just kobolds and lesser undead.

    Moving on to the next unexplored area, we run into Sarhedra first. She tells us of some ogres...
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    Bring out the big spells. One dead, one injured. Normal attacks handle the rest of them.
    We report our success to her, and rest.

    Next up, it's a farmer beset by xvarts.
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    Well, we were killing them anyway. Reputation up to 7.
    Some ogre berserkers get Xzar's Emotion spell for the day, though the ones that didn't go down still inflict some hits on our melee line.
    Some bandits accost us ...
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    No problem. Horror, backstabs, dead.
    Some more ogres go down as we clear the area ... and presumably Arghain with his +1 two-handed sword, but my log has no mention of him.

    There's one more area to explore in the south, but we have business back in Nashkel first.
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    Dorn's quest has been available for a long time. He's finally acting on it.
    The area pointed to is that last unexplored area, also notable for the deserter Samuel and a lot of gibberlings. 16 hours of travel later, we're there.

    After dealing with some skeletons, we rest. Talk to the local Flaming Fist officer ... a 50 gold bounty for handing over a deserter? That doesn't sound like a very good deal.
    Then comes Kryll.
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    She casts Horror during her cutscene, before you have any chance to respond. So I cast the Remove Fear in advance.
    Also, those names? She really should have turned them into zombies instead.
    Kryll gets in a Slow before going down. It doesn't slow us enough to matter.
    And then, Dorn monologues.
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    Ah, I love it when my actions contort the game into silly things like this.

    After dealing with the gibberlings, we talk to Lena.
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    That jade ring sells for 40 gold. It's nearly a match for the Flaming Fist reward all on its own. The conversation also sets a 3-day timer, of which 40 hours is required for travel. You can afford to rest, but you can't afford significant detours.

    On the way north, I stop to close out a quest.
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    Unlike many evil rewards, this one offers just as much XP as the good reward. Plus a good chunk of coin for selling it. As Viconia says, "Shar looks upon us with favor." Theologically appropriate.
    That drops our reputation from 7 to 6 - a bit more room between us and the rep-10 threshold for Bhaalspawn abilities.

    Handing over Samuel at the Temple of Wisdom brings our reputation back up to 7, and adds two useful potions. Xzar pipes up with "Must we be so insufferably charitable?", which I must disagree with. We were paid well for this errand, with both the ring and the potions.

    As I'm in the area already, I pick up Neera for her quest. Neutral party members are fine, but I won't accept anyone good into the party even temporarily as long as Dorn is in charge. Baeloth takes a break to make room.

    After a zombie interrupt, we rest at Firewine Bridge. Dorn has something to say about betrayal:
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    Can Dorn trust himself? Well, he'd better.

    That brings us to Adoy's enclave. It's pretty harmless, until you reach the cave. And even Rogdok is still easy.
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    The +1 bow is an upgrade for Shar-Teel, on those rare occasions she switches out of melee mode.
    And then there's the real boss fight.
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    I have Neera cast spells. Starting with a Hold Person.
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    Oh, that's a nice wild surge. All her spells are refreshed. I target the mages first, and they go down without much trouble.
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    Varscona's cold damage played a big role here, disrupting any attempts Ekandor made at offensive spells.
    Only the bodyguards got any damage in; one hit on Viconia. They also got me looking at bugs; they're barbarians and they raged, but a Hold Person spell still caused a "Held" message in the combat log on one of them.

    On the way out, I slaughter all the goblins and return Rilsa's ring to Magreb. There's a ten-bandit ambush, which doesn't kill anyone. And a rest, which brings another Dorn monologue:
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    Uh? Are you all right there?

    Back at the Friendly Arm, Neera leaves and Baeloth returns. I also take this opportunity to have Xzar learn three new spells and memorize Stoneskin. Next time, we'll finally get to that bandit plot.

    All right, what's going on with that "Held" string and barbarian rage? It turns out that two different bugs are involved. First, the Hold Person spell has two "Held" strings when it's successful. One is system generated, one is an explicit effect of the spell. Second, barbarian rage doesn't block some of the cosmetic effects it should - including that string. Both of these bugs now have fixes in my tweak mod.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 10: Breaking Bandits

    Before I continue with the plot, I visit an area I've already mostly cleared. There's a bounty to cash in.
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    Laryssa is a pure cleric. Clerics just aren't equipped to hold up to full parties without support. She goes down easily.
    And then Brage.
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    We answer his riddle correctly, and then fight him anyway. He hits hard, but not hard enough.
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    Brage's body is worth 250 gold and 500 experience. The sword is worth another 500 gold; while it's more powerful than Dorn's current sword by the numbers, the drawback is just too much.

    We rest in Nashkel, buy some more elemental darts and bullets at High Hedge, and then head out to the Wood of Sharp Teeth. The bandits are going down.

    Larswood is first. We've been here before, but only covered a bit of it so we could recruit Baeloth. And this time ... no random bandits, just animals and gibberlings. We do run into some druid trouble, though:
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    Corsone getsbackstabbed too; he survives the first hit for a minimal 31 damage, but not the follow-up attacks.
    There is one group of bandits around, at least.
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    They get a fireball. Teven is the sole survivor. Then Shar-Teel stabs him for 51, and he isn't.

    With Larswood clear, we head east to the unnamed spider-infested zone. The big group gets a fireball:
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    Aside from the wraith spider that saw Baeloth and followed him, they don't seem to have been alerted yet. OK, another fireball.
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    The phase spider saw Baeloth and teleported over, getting a hit in. Luckily, he saved. And from there, it's easy. We beat down the phase spider, and there aren't enough other spiders left to put up a fight.

    The other big fight in this area is the group of Red Wizards. For that, I buff. Haste, Remove Fear, and Holy Power.
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    Two go down in the first round, before they have the chance to cast anything offensive.
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    The third goes down shortly after, and the fourth dies just as he's trying to cast a spell. Our buffs were more than enough.

    Haste wears off and the party is fatigued - but we have one more thing to do before we go.
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    We complete Fahrington's quest. And then murder him for giving us that worthless cursed scroll instead of a real reward.

    That just leaves Peldvale. It's another place we've briefly visited before to recruit Viconia, but now we're clearing it out. The bandit presence makes itself known here. I go to sneak up on a pack of Blacktalon elites... and they shoot at Shar-Teel? Apparently, she's not invisible despite the stealth indicator; a problem related to the area transition. I reload to get that right.

    Ah, that's better.
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    Our thieves sneak up properly, and a Sleep decimates them. Then an unwelcome surprise - a second group gets involved.
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    And when you don't get the drop on them, they're nasty. Both Montaron and Shar-Teel take damage, with Montaron falling into the red. That second group fires most of their ice arrows before we can take them down; we recover 41 of 66 between the two groups.

    After dealing with some spiders, we loop back to the southern edge and find more Blacktalons.
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    No added squad ruining our fun this time. Stealth and Sleep work great.
    There's a fourth group in the southwest corner:
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    If not for that critical miss, we would have had a flawless victory. As it is, they still don't get any attack rolls; her next two hits take the one standing man down even without the backstab bonus.

    The north brings two more Blacktalon groups - they're pretty routine by now - and some regular bandits. We're running out of space to carry all those bows, and we have more than enough magic arrows to go around given that none of our party uses bows regularly.
    Finally, there's Raiken's bunch.
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    They get a fireball. We're going to storm the camp, not infiltrate it.

    After selling off the bows and bandit scalps, we have one more encounter that's only available in chapter 3.
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    Deke, near the ruined caravan on the crossroads map. I blast Deke's buddies with a wand fireball, and he spills his guts metaphorically. Then we spill his guts literally.

    Deke is a bit obscure, but he's there as an alternative to Tranzig; he'll tell you where to find the bandit camp. My in-game time speedrun route makes use of him, as fireballing those bandits is faster and safer than fighting Tranzig, and I need to pass through the area anyway as part of my minimal travel time route.

    Now, the bandit camp. The hobgoblin side is easy as always, though Shar-Teel has some fun backstabbing:
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    That's one leader down. And the first damage taken for our party here.
    As we cross over to the Blacktalon side, Shar-Teel sets a new record:
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    A critical backstab for 108 damage. Complete overkill, of course; these bandits have 23 HP and wield bows, so anything but a natural 1 on the attack roll is a guaranteed chunking.
    Taurgosz Khosann is more of a threat; he saves against Command and Hold Person, and we don't get a backstab in.
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    He goes down, but not before inflicting serious damage.
    Oddly enough, we don't have any immediate use for that full plate. Montaron and Shar-Teel want stealth, while Viconia doesn't have the strength. We'll save it for later.

    I buff thoroughly before entering the final tent.
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    Absorb Health and ranged attacks for the mage. Melee for Raemon and Britik. Command for Hakt. There's only one blemish:
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    Shar-Teel takes a poisoned arrow from Hakt, after that round of Command ends. I change my mind after that shot, and have Viconia cure the poison.

    Clear out a cave full of gnolls, loot the camp, and end the session. We've explored all of the map that we could reach before, so there's nothing left to do next time but enter the Cloakwood.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 11: Cloakwood Cruelty

    Well, all right, there's one thing to do before entering the Cloakwood. We've left a quest unfinished in Beregost since the first time we visited. And since we need to go there anyway to sell off our bandit scalps...
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    It's time to deal with Silke.
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    And we're doing things the evil way. We get our wage, the potions those men were carrying, and a -2 reputation penalty (down to 5). Also, Garrick is unwilling to join the party, and leaves forever if we talk to him.
    Silke has some chapter 7 dialogue ... but really, we're best off just ending it now.
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    900 XP, a nice potion, and a staff we can sell for a single-stroke battle.

    Upon entering the forest, Baeloth complains about elves. We don't meet any right away though, just animals and tasloi. Until we find ourselves in the middle of a conflict between druids and hunters.
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    We choose the civilized side. Dorn disrupts Seniyad's spell with Absorb Health, and then just attack. It's an easy battle. Aldeth throws us a potion and says to visit him in the big city.
    All right, there's one elf in the area - but he just wants to hunt wyverns for a bounty. We're interested in the bounty, but not in his company. Goodbye.
    The area is at least worth a good chunk of XP; many of the random encounter groups are dread wolves at 650 XP each. Aside from the Aldeth/Seniyad encounter, though, it's not very interesting.

    The next area brings spiders, ettercaps, and web traps. Also, it's time to rest.
    After waking, we push forward ... and my stealthed scouts have trouble finding the web traps before they trip them.
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    That's a scary one, with phase spiders right there. If Shar-Teel's stealth breaks, she's dead. Fortunately, she has 100/100 and it's night. She saves in the next round, and gets away clean.
    Spiders in ones and twos aren't that bad, but there's one place where they concentrate better - Spiderdome.
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    So I send in Dorn alone to draw the spiders out to my party. And set up a backstab. Shar-Teel dings with that group of two giant spiders and two sword spiders, but we again delay the level. If I wait for thief level 9, I can take long sword grand mastery.
    The party heads in and takes care of a few more spiders and ettercaps. Dorn gladly takes up Spider's Bane, putting Rancor to the side. Rancor is effectively +2 attack and +1 damage, while Spider's Bane is +2 attack and +2 damage; the Rancor attack bonus is not transferable to other weapons.
    Finally, the northwest corner brings two phase spiders. Disarm the trap ...
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    I just love this build for Shar-Teel. So many one-hit kills.
    Then the second spider manages a well-placed teleport that hangs up her escape, and rolls well on the bite. I have to spend an antidote. Which she's carrying.

    In the next area, it's back to wolves and bears. Plus some rather aggressive druids.
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    Laskal has stuff worth looting. The other two don't.
    In the cave, I can't line up a backstab - but I do still manage some big hits.
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    Finally, there's the druid leader Amarande. I strike first.
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    He's tough, at 74 HP. Shar-Teel heads downstairs, re-stealths, and proceeds to crit-miss her second backstab attempt.
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    The normal attacks we follow it with are enough, though.
    After that, it's just wildlife. Rest again, and continue on to the fourth Cloakwood area.

    The first fight in this area is a hamadryad.
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    Or not, in this case. High-powered backstabs are a wonderful tool.
    I go for backstabs in the wyvern cave...
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    ... but they follow Shar-Teel out. It's a general fight now.
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    Dorn takes two hits, and is poisoned once. One antidote used.
    The remainder of the area has a few Iron Throne guards and a lot of aggressive wildlife. No problem.

    And with that, we come to the mine. The exterior brings a lot of those melee guards and a few of the more dangerous Blacktalon elites.
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    Well, two of them. For some reason, this spawn point didn't give us more. A backstab and some follow-up normal attacks take care of them cleanly.
    That brings us to the fortified area, and the big fight. I'm buffing for it. And opening with a free shot.
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    So Shar-Teel rolls a natural 1. No backstab. Oops. I target the mages with acid arrows instead., and still take them down before they cast anything offensive.
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    The remaining two foes, weakened by Dorn's Aura of Despair, go down easily.

    Our haste expires shortly after, and it's time to rest. Dorn dreams of power, slaughtering the bandits again - Horror gained.

    For the mine itself, I start dipping into my supply of buff potions. Montaron drinks one for 19 strength. The first level, with lone guards, is trivial. The second is more troublesome, particularly Hareishan's room. So I apply fireballs.
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    Well, one fireball. Baeloth waits for too long because I put up that mirror image, and I retreat him instead. Xzar's wand shot takes out five guards. Then Baeloth tries again in the hallway:
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    That looks like all of the dangerous foes down. The party heads in to clean up the remainder, and Viconia dings level 8. 7/8 HP gained, proficiency in "sword" and shield style. She has a total of 54 out of 64 possible hit points, considerably better than the 42 she usually has at level 8 in BG2.

    The back paths are supposed to offer an alternative approach here, but in my experience they aren't a good one. You're just better off lobbing fireballs into that main room from the primary path, because of how the enemies are positioned. At least, if you can disarm the traps. If you can't, then the back paths are definitely better.

    Finally, we meet Rill.
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    Nope. No gold to free the slaves. We'll kill any guards we meet, but that's all the help they're getting.
    Yeslick gets to live; I talk to him and send him away.

    We head down to the barracks level next. Montaron's potion wears off, and I replace it. Most of the foes here are hobgoblins, but there are a few other threats.
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    She's tough, so she survives a hit. But not the second.
    Then, something I hadn't realized before - if you don't give gold to Rill, there are living slaves in the ogre mage's room.
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    It doesn't help the monster.

    Down to the final level, where we whack a guard and prepare. Haste, Chant. Get Shar-Teel in place, then attack.
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    I'm not trying for a backstab here, because the mirror images are likely to absorb it anyway. I do land a crit through them for 36 damage, at least. He teleports away, I aim some spells at him...
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    And Davaeorn goes down without casting a single offensive spell. Baeloth already has archmage robes, so Xzar gets this second set.
    With the haste spell still active, we kill Mr. ReCap and the mustard jelly, and loot the place. Then we head up. Time to flood the mine.
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    That lowers our reputation to 3. Also, it's less XP than freeing the slaves first.

    Next time, we will finally be able to enter the city of Baldur's Gate. And the law won't be happy about it.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 12: Patrols and Pilfering

    Exiting the forest is mostly uneventful. We face a wyvern ambush, but that's all. We stop in Beregost to sell some things and turn in quests ... oh. I make a discovery here; Officer Vai won't deal with you if your reputation is below 5. Instead, she goes hostile. So I reload, and play "hide the drow" in order to sell the bandit scalps I've picked up.

    We turn north toward the city, and rest becomes necessary at Brun's farm.
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    It's eventful. A dream of blood brings another instance of Horror, and ankhegs attack. They're easily dispatched, and I store the shells in a container in one of the houses. I'll pick them up to sell the next time I come south.

    The second try at rest succeeds, and I move on. This map and the one to the north have some unique low-reputation encounters - a ranger Nestor and a fighter/mage Tel-anon. Unfortunately, no matter what I do, those encounters don't trigger. On closer examination, it's that I've been through before. The traps to summon them don't reset, unlike those in cities.

    There's one last encounter before we reach the city gates - Dorn's former companion Simmeon. He's on the west side of the bridge, so he can't be reached until chapter 5.
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    And so we seek revenge. I use a Magic Missile on the mage, a Melf's Acid Arrow on the priest, and a Hold Person on Simmeon himself.
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    Two out of three succeed. Sheila is the squishiest of squishy mages, at 8 HP for a level 7 mage with some level 5 spells memorized, and the MM kills her outright. Simmeon fails his save and is held. The priest ... well, the priest isn't disrupted. He casts his spell despite the acid, and it's a Silence.
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    A powerful spell, but worse than useless. Shar-Teel, Montaron, one of those "Thrall of Azothet" demons, and the priest himself are all silenced. Everyone else either saved or blocked it with magic resistance. That includes all three of our spellcasters.
    From here, it's a simple beatdown. Before long, it's over.
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    We took one hit; a demon landed a melee attack on Shar-Teel. The encounter rewards us with the bastard sword Albruin, another golden girdle, a second copy of Fallorain's plate, a set of elven chain, and a bunch of scrolls. The body armor has no use to us except to sell, but the belt is always useful, some of the scrolls are new, and Albruin is a clear upgrade in Dorn's one-handed weapon mode. With +2 damage, poison immunity, and activated Detect Invisibility over a standard +1 bastard sword, it holds value for a long time.

    There's a post-battle dialogue between Dorn and Dorn. This includes the option to tell Dorn to leave ... which would be a very bad idea. Game over if I did that. No, he's staying.

    We rest in town and end the session. Here, I take a look at reputation management. There are a lot of opportunities to gain reputation here, and a few places to lose it. 3 rep isn't bad enough to trigger the law, but 2 is. And I'd like to see that.

    So, in the new session, I head over to one of those rep-loss options right away. Well, after setting some quests in motion first. Dorn uses the dexterity tome from the thieves' guild, bringing him up to 17.
    The trouble we face is at the northern edge of the docks.
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    Entillis Fulsom, a Harper. At reputation less than 8, he attacks you. And he counts as an innocent. He's a poorly equipped mage, but he is worth 2700 XP.
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    That book is "History of the Dead Three", by the way. He clearly knows some things Dorn doesn't yet.

    With our reputation down to 2, the Flaming Fist isn't far behind.
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    In our initial volley, the Magic Missile hurts the mage and the Hold person catches the scout - who is invisible. It looks like I'll need a Detect Invisibility here.
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    That's a non-backstab stealth attack from Shar-Teel; the angle didn't work out. Killing this bunch goes easily after that.
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    Two points of damage taken. One further reputation point lost, because they have the "FLAMING_FIST" class.

    We're now at reputation 1, but the Fist won't come again for a few hours. And if I have my way, they won't come again at all.
    While I'm in the area, I visit the Low Lantern.
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    That's Shar-Teel in place for a backstab on Vay-ya. She won't be a problem. We fight Desreta in melee, and she gets in a couple hits on Dorn despite his -9 slashing AC.
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    Hah. We showed them entropy. The strength gauntlets go to Viconia, and we'll carry the fire wand. With that, Viconia upgrades to full plate and will be generally more useful in combat. Montaron would also use the gauntlets well, but he also has the option of giant strength potions. We have a lot of those, so he won't really be missing out.

    And now, quests. We wander all over the city talking to people. Hand over an old dagger:
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    Reputation back up to 2. Then we hand a skull to a priest:
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    Reputation 3. No more Flaming Fist patrols to worry about.
    The poisoning quest is in motion, and we've been by the temple of Umberlee. Jalantha wants a book?
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    A "friendly" reaction lets you get it for free. Just a bit of "hide the drow", and we're there.
    Since we're in the area anyway, we check in on Ragefast.
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    Montaron was in front, so we got hostile reactions guaranteeing a fight. Not that we would have let him live anyway. I free Abela and receive the cloak; caging her for Ramazith is a serious rep loss that I don't want, especially when killing him and looting his place is so much more rewarding.

    The quests continue with a stray basilisk in a warehouse:
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    As usual, one protected party member is the way to go.
    Then, since night has fallen, we take care of some time-sensitive thieving matters. Shar-Teel hides for Narlen's first heist, and gets away clean. Montaron enters the house for the second.
    Then it's telescope time.
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    Alora doesn't like Montaron's looks? Too bad for her.
    We've already talked to the priest Tremain, and know about the dead kid. It's time to return to the Water Queen's House, and we're taking the violent approach.
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    A double critical backstab. Effective. Not that those regular priestesses are any real threat; in vanilla, they don't even know how to cast spells.

    With the geas scroll in hand, we return to Lothander.
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    And kill him. Surround him so he can't run, and whack him after talking. While the first set of speed boots belong to Shar-Teel, the second might be passed around. Dorn will use them most of the time, passing the boots of avoidance to Viconia.

    Then it's back to Tremain for a substantial reward. Also, we use that tome; Dorn has wisdom 17 now. I can't afford to go to the Blushing Mermaid just yet, as the hostile Flaming Fist guy is still in the area. So, instead, I hit Ramazith's tower.
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    The mage himself gets a backstab on the ground floor. No fight.
    Upstairs, the mustard jellies don't cause any problems. The ghasts land two sickening hits on Montaron and a paralyzing hit on Shar-Teel; that penalty will seriously hurt Montaron's combat effectiveness for the next bit.
    The next two floors have hobgoblin elites and kobold commandoes. I leave the mages behind for them, and don't have any problems.
    That just leaves the top floor and its loot. Dorn gets both the +2 ring and the intelligence tome - Int 11. Also, Baeloth uses the last of his level 1 spell slots - no more identification until the next rest, except for what we can reach with lore.

    I follow that up with Drelik and Jardak.
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    Ouch. Jardak got some good hits in. But the helmet is worth it; Dorn has 20 charisma now, so we'll get the best prices when we shop.

    And now, the patrolman is gone. We can safely enter the Blushing Mermaid.
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    For a certain definition of "safe", anyway. Larze gets a hit from a wand of paralyzation, and we chop him up. Then it's Marek's turn.
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    Not quite dead, I see. A second backstab from Montaron finishes him off. Marek has 59 HP, by the way - he only survived by a single point.

    With the pressure to act quickly relieved a bit, that's a good place to end this part. Next time, the clearing of the city continues.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 13: Continued City Clearing

    We turn our attention to the southwest sector now. The Seven Suns is easy to clear, and has an excellent reward.
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    Montaron dings fighter level 7 there, partway through clearing. He rolls the full 5/5 for 6 more hit points. Once we're done, we report to Scar:
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    Reputation 5. Not quite what I want for shopping, but Dorn gets friendly reactions without any hassle now.

    With that done, I head for Oberan's estate for the last guild heist. With her stealth, Shar-Teel pulls it off while not being seen at all. They won't even know anything happened until they check the desk.
    We turn in the goods to Alatos, and Narlen kills the Halruaan mage when he tries to betray us. You know, I don't think I've ever fought that mage myself. He is worth 4000 XP, and Narlen's heists aren't more profitable than doing it yourself.

    We hand in the telescope next.
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    That chunk of XP brings Baeloth to level 9, his cap for the game. He gets the full 6 HP again, for the maximum possible total of 54. He also learns three new spells; I choose Horror, Slow, and Confusion for a clear theme of party-friendly area disablers.
    We visited the Three Old Kegs earlier, so upstairs it's Cyrdemac's turn.
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    One stab, and he's dead. The two ruffians don't fare any better.

    I want to do some shopping, so I need one more point of reputation ... ah. There.
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    Reputation up to 6, which means 10 when we hide the drow. We'll get a 25% discount on everything, the best possible short of actually getting a good reputation.
    And then - I don't go shopping. Instead, I continue poking around.
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    The Green Slime attack deals zero damage, with poison on a failed save at +4. The poison turns you green, deals one damage per 2 seconds, and then kills you after ten seconds. Explosively, so no resurrection is possible. An antidote will stop the ongoing damage, but it won't save you from dying. At least, that's the case in vanilla; my mod has a component that allows poison cures to completely cure the slime effects.
    I hadn't yet written that component when I played this part, though, so instead I played it safe. Dorn is poison-immune with Albruin, so the slimes can't hurt him at all. They don't even hit him, but hey - no risk is better than a small risk.

    Next comes Sunin and his friends.
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    Sunin gets a Horror off, but Viconia counters with a Remove Fear. Before long, he's dead.
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    Baeloth has been using our first ring of wizardry, so Xzar gets the second. Or will, once I can identify it.

    The Merchants' League estate follows, and it goes pretty smoothly until the top floor.
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    There, Shar-Teel charges forward before I'm ready, into some friendly fire. We have plenty of healing potions, at least.
    I do some smaller quests as well; Brielbara, Lusselyn and his mustard jelly, Cordyr:
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    This one's not a common sight. You need a reputation of less than 14 to even get the quest, and a reputation of less than 8 for the best reward.
    Then Noralee. She raises our reputation to 7, and hands over some useless infravision potions. We respond by looting her warehouse; there are lots of potions there, and only the chest is alarmed.
    Kill a stranded sirine, then return to the Low Lantern for Yago.
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    So many things die in one hit. I'm going to miss Shar-Teel when I move on to BG2.
    Loot some chests, then return to Brielbara and collect our pay. Reputation 8.

    It's been a long day, but Xzar is getting close to level 9. I'd like to reach that point before I rest. So, more of the little quests around the city.
    Laerta and Louise want a "bogeyman" dealt with? OK, we'll kill that mage. Then, since the druid didn't leave, we kill her too.
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    So long, kids. Murder solves so many problems, doesn't it?

    Deliver a "good luck charm", get an amulet that's even more useful for us. Reputation 9. That's getting uncomfortably high, so it's time to lower it again.
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    We were warned. The halfling Bellamy at the Three Old Kegs tells you about Phandalyn if you have a low reputation. We chose to ignore the warning.
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    Reputation down to 6, where it will stay. Aside from when I play "hide the drow", anyway. He's also worth 3700 XP - quite a valuable fight.

    A trip to the sewers follows, to collect some bodies for Arkion. We enter near Schlumpscha and his sewerfolk.
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    A fireball thins the ranks nicely, and our warriors clean up.
    Xzar reaches level 9 with this fight, gaining 4 HP and the ability to cast level 5 spells. He has exactly half as many hit points as Baeloth.
    And then we head back up; the rest of the sewers can wait. Arkion gets two bodies:
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    He only asked for one, but bringing two is worth a bigger reward. Both male and female bodies work. This is a 2.6 update; in 2.5, you only had the option of giving him a single male body.

    And just a few more loose ends. Jacil, because we'll lock out that encounter when we next visit Ulgoth's Beard.
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    The teleporting blink dogs are annoying, but with Stoneskin active they're not very dangerous.
    And then, the mages upstairs at Sorcerous Sundries.
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    Oops. They're Zhentarim, and Xzar reports to them. If Montaron or Xzar are in your party, they talk and leave without a fight.

    I wanted to kill them, so I reload. And this time, remove Montaron and Xzar before going up. The fight goes smoothly, except for Shar-Teel failing her save against Horror. Head back down, bring those two back in, and proceed.
    Xzar drinks two potions of genius, identifies a bunch of stuff with his boosted lore, learns a bunch of new spells, then shops for even more scrolls. Thirty new spells learned overall. We also buy a lot of +2 bullets and some specialized arrows (detonation and dispelling). Overall, it costs about 40K gold.

    And with that, I bring this adventuring day to a close. The party rests, and I end the session. Next time, we do some traveling.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 14: Backstabbing, Burglary, and Backtracking

    Now that they've done the initial rounds of Baldur's Gate, and there aren't any quests with time pressure hanging over them, the party takes their leave of the city. There's some business to be done outside, particularly in Ulgoth's Beard. But before I go there, I head south to do some more trading. Sell surplus scrolls at the Friendly Arm. Buy elemental darts and bullets at High Hedge. Sell ammo I'm not using wherever I can get a good price for it, including a trip all the way to the Nashkel carnival for the +1 arrows. Far too few shops in BG1 buy arrows.

    Finally, the party returns north to Ulgoth's Beard and its weird map placement on the river instead of the sea. It's time to set some quests in motion, and take another crack at the ice island.

    The first battle down in the dungeon is a very dangerous one, against three mages. SO I decide to give myself an initial advantage.
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    Silence.

    Uh ... Viconia? Are you actually casting anything? It turns out she isn't; she got hung up on nothing in particular and started going through the animation without actually being able to reach her target. I cancel out and lose the spell.

    As the enemy mages have gone hostile but not acted yet - my party is out of sight - I just head up and rest. Let's give that another shot.
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    This time, the cast works. Andris teleports over and avoids the area of effect, but that also puts him in range of our melee attacks. Marcellus saves. Beyn gets silenced. Well, at least we got one of them.
    Then Andris casts Confusion, and Dorn fails his save. This could get messy.
    We manage to take both Andris and Marcellus down, though not without some pain.
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    Specifically, 36 points from a lightning bolt on Shar-Teel. Montaron was also hit, but he saved and had resistance.

    Montaron dings thief level 8 ... and I realize I have the settings wrong. Maximum HP is on. Oops. I reload because of that - back to before we entered the dungeon.

    I come back ... eternal battle music. All right, just save and quit.

    I don't take too long to return. I apply the same tactic, with a bit of a wait to beat a Minor Globe...
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    And this time, all three fail their saves. Everything but Andris' teleporting is shut down, and they put up essentially no resistance. Montaron rolls the full 3 HP for his level, and this time it was an actual roll.
    After some wolves and bears - now in white - we reach the next mage.
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    He protects himself with Shadow Door, so I go for Detect Invisibility. But before I can finish the spell, he's casting again. Can't hit him with LMD with disruption, can't deal damage fast enough - he finishes his next spell.
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    And now, both Shar-Teel and Montaron are confused. I take down Garan without too much trouble, especially since Monty kept attacking him. But then Shar-Teel decides to join up with a bear and attack Montaron...
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    And that's a reload. This place has some nasty traps, and Montaron is my only thief good for them.

    That brings us to the fight Andris' group yet again. I win pretty cleanly, and this time Monty rolls 2 out of 3 for hit points. Save. This will be the last repeat of that fight.

    Back to Garan, and his confusion does even better this time.
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    It doesn't help him. The three confused melee attackers finish him off, and then stand around rather than attacking each other. We don't get out of it entirely unscathed, though:
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    Dorn gets a hit on Montaron, and an ankheg gets multiple hits on Shar-Teel.

    With that, Shar-Teel reaches a milestone - enough experience for thief level 9.
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    10 of 12 hit points. 4x backstabs. Grand mastery. Shar-Teel's build is complete, and she can deal 43-71+1 damage on a Varscona stab. Or a bit more with a giant strength potion.

    Since the previous mages have instantly picked fights, I go for a preemptive strike on the next. Shar-Teel rolls terribly.
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    2 on the d20 attack roll. 1 on the d8 damage roll. And this 56 HP mage is still dead in one hit. Now that is the power of true master of the backstab.
    Then there's Tellan.
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    And Dezkiel.
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    The best way to deal with lone mages, hands down. Only Tellan had more than the minimum 5% chance of survival; he's pretty tough.
    Finally, we head up with the cloak Shandalar wanted. The mage decides to just leave rather than giving us a reward ... OK, we'll take one.
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    Montaron drank a thievery potion for the cause. Two potions of heroism and a lot of scrolls recovered. Including Feeblemind, which Xzar doesn't know yet.

    After a talk with Therella, I spend some time setting up traps. Well, OK, I cheese it. Shar-Teel sets two traps, then I dismiss her and have her rejoin - resetting her kit abilities. Repeat until seven traps are in place in each of the three areas I'm interested in.
    I wouldn't do this if there was any actual in-game time pressure; this is just shortcutting the rest mechanic, really. Since the party is free to rest as many times as they want right now, I'm fine with laying the traps all over Ulgoth's Beard.

    After out last bits of business in town - arranging a tour with Ike, and speaking to Mendas - we head back to the big city. With a stop in Beregost to sell off the ankheg shells we picked up. On the way, Dorn pipes up with another monologue.
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    Ah. Dorn is a danger to Dorn when he gets angry. An uncommonly insightful bit of self-reflection.

    First order of business - acquire sea charts. The hard way it is.
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    Well, hard for them. These sailors aren't exactly a threat to our fully-developed party.
    Fatigue catches up soon after, as the party finishes clearing out the dangers in the eastern third of town.

    After a rest, we head west. There's a group of ogre mages in the docks:
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    So - you were hired for a large amount of gold to kill Dorn and companions, and you decided the right strategy was to hide out in an unmarked building and wait for him to arrive? It's like you can read minds. How remarkably insightful.
    Anyway, the battle. Our warriors use bows so they don't rush into the line of fire, and the mages deliver some pain:
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    A fireball and a skull trap. Dead, dead, dead, dead, dead. None of them saved against any of it.

    Next up, it's some thieves.
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    They have archers with powerful arrows, so our melee charges them. That leaves the mage free to cast a Horror, so we have to wait a minute for Viconia and Xzar to come out of it. 75% chance for each of them to avoid the effect, and they get caught anyway. Such is luck.
    After that, Areana.
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    She pays 500, and doesn't have any more gold at the moment. We leave it at that, but do steal her stash of gems (that pile of 208 Ziose Gems). That's enough of a profit that we don't need anything as risky as blackmail.
    And Dorn's in a good mood, so he helps out a little girl.
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    The alternative: talk to Bheren and kill the cat, for a cloak and a reputation penalty. Our reputation is already low enough, so no.
    Then there's Pheirkas. You want a look at my cloak?
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    You got your look. Now we're taking the cloak back.
    Finally, we visit Entar Silvershield's estate. Do we have legitimate business here? No, not really. Killing the guards here won't hurt reputation, but we at least try to be sneaky about it. And go to a bit more effort than that, even.
    Upstairs, all it took was speed to get away with the loot from Skie's room. Downstairs, there's a guard watching the good chests ... OK, charm him and move him out of the way.
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    The loot is ours. An excellent bit of burglary.

    Nearly all of the city is taken care of. It's just the sewers, the iron Throne, and the quest for Balduran's relics left. We'll handle that next time.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 15: Thrashing the Throne

    We'll start this sequence with Degrodel. His place is well guarded, but we have the tools for that. And with it getting so late in the game, it's time to start using our stores - Montaron drinks a giant strength potion.
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    Doom guards have 64 HP. That had a chance at the instant kill, but not a great one. After the stab, of course, they follow Shar-Teel out to where the rest of the party is waiting.
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    And with another backstab, the two doom guards are handled. Helmed horrors and invisible stalkers follow.
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    And with that, the party reaches their BGEE level cap. Level 8 for Dorn, and he gains 9 HP (roll 8/10). He's at 63/80 rolls total, a bit behind the 70/80 he normally has in BG2EE. Or 78/90, or 81+3/90+3, or 83+9/90+9 - his hit point rolls get better the higher the level you recruit him at.

    As a whole, our party now has one member at 71 HP, one at 27, and the remaining four in the 53-55 range. Somehow the sorcerer, the cleric, and the two fighter/thief combinations all ended up in the same place.

    With the guards dealt with, we can talk to Degrodel. He offers his quest, and a stack of Stone to Flesh scrolls to help with it. We return those statues to life, then make demands.
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    This starts a fight. Five enemies with one hit point each. It's not a hard fight.
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    The note we picked up tells us where to find both cloak and helm. Lie to Quenash for the cloak (Dorn wears it), then pick up the helm (Viconia).

    Now for the Maulers of Undermountain.
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    If you know what's coming, you can set up and start with a serious advantage. Our Horror and Slow wreck them.
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    One slowed priest, one slowed thief, one unconscious fighter, and everybody else panicked. Also, the thief is attacking a waiter instead of us. It doesn't take long to run them all down.
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    No damage taken for either our party or the Merry Fools. I think only that unfortunate waiter took any hits.
    That brings us back to Degrodel. On the way, Montaron's potion expires and I upgrade to strength 20, since I'm out of strength 19 potions. He hands over a lot of gold for the the helm, then unleashes more guards.
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    I don't let him keep it. One backstab, and Viconia has her helm back.
    The remaining monsters inflict some damage and we have to drink some potions, but it doesn't go too badly even crammed in there with them.

    That's where I call it for the session; with Dorn at 153717 XP, the next session sould mark the beginning of my "ironman" segment. No more loading saves, unless the game crashes.

    But for the narrative, I'm keeping to the same part. We take to the sewers first, starting with the eastern sector.
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    My first step down took me there. I headed back up before anything could happen, and chose a different grate, so I could come at this encounter prepared. The ogre mage got a backstab, we chopped up the crawlers, and that was that. Scar's problem solved.
    Then when I came back to the intersection after some exploring, Shar-Teel took a hit and got paralyzed. Her poor death saves are a weakness some enemies can exploit.
    Montaron's potion runs out again in the middle segment, though I don't renew it right away.
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    Extra damage isn't needed against kobolds, after all.
    I do some more shopping after that sector for potions. Especially giant strength potions, as our warriors have a lot to gain from them.
    The western sector brings phase spiders - and a corner that gives Shar-Teel exactly what she needs to backstab with impunity.
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    One stab per spider. It doesn't take long to clear them out. And when we're done with that, Baeloth reaches the 161K cap. He's always been a bit ahead of the party since he starts at level 6, and now he's the first to that milestone.

    We report our success, and it's on to the Iron Throne.
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    Not inaccurate, really. We're just brigands on an official mission. Dorn could have talked them down if he were wearing a Cha-boosting cloak, but he's in combat mode with only 18 Cha instead.
    The guard in the basement doesn't like us either. Tough. We're taking that loot, and you're not stopping us.
    Soon, we reach the top floor and the big fight. It's avoidable - all you need here are the documents in the back - but why would we avoid a fight?
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    We start with a volley of explosions. Three of them plus the doppelganger go down immediately. Zhalimar only lasts one more hit.
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    That leaves Gardush and Alai; we overwhelm them and clean them up easily. Gardush lands one hit on Montaron at the end, and that's the only damage we take.
    Then there's Thaldorn.
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    We kill him, too.

    Then there's one last little quest in the city. Nemphre wanted me to pick up a trinket...
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    As neither of our thieves is a pickpocket, we do this the violent way.
    Then Nemphre calls Dorn a fool? She can die too.
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    And so this rivalry ends. They both got what they deserved.

    After a rest and a stop to sell things, we return to Eltan. The Iron Throne is at Candlekeep, so we need to go to that mysterious fortress of learning.

    I'll skip most of the in-game dialogue here, as it doesn't make sense given Dorn's stolen destiny. We rest at the inn, and Dorn dreams again. Vampiric Touch is his.
    Well, all right, one conversation makes sense.
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    Have we met? I'm not sure, but probably not. Meeting a high level good-aligned cleric probably wouldn't have been good for Dorn.

    In the library, Dorn finds a letter. It's not addressed to him, but it does explain his newfound power. A god's blood? Now that is true strength.
    For once, I accept the ring from "Koveras". Vengeance? Now that's something Dorn can get behind. Although he doesn't really care about that attempt on poor Sod's life - it's all those hired killers coming after Dorn since then that really bother him.

    As we head over to confront the Iron Throne leaders, Dorn takes the time to compliment himself.
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    And now, the battle. I start with an assassination.
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    That gets the rest of them mad. Brunos gets a couple hits in, but that's all for them.
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    Leaving gets us arrested, and Ulraunt explains the frame job - the ring "Koveras" handed us apparently belonged to a Shadow Thief assassin, so Amn could be blamed. It's an insult to not be credited properly for the murders we committed.

    That brings us to the catacombs, as Tethtoril is more interested in foiling this plot than our rightful punishment. More battles follow, as do some excellent items. Dorn takes a third wisdom tome, bringing him to 18.
    The phase spiders at the end of the hall are the first serious threat, but I have Shar-Teel.
    q29krlvd6a88.jpg
    Run back around the corner, hide, stab again. Repeatedly. Four attack rolls for her, none for the enemy. Four dead spiders.
    The +2 cloak goes to Baeloth, and the strength tome to Dorn. 20 for him, and that's the last of the base stat improvements. He can only get better with equipment now.

    The rest of the level just brings a few ghasts and some lesser treasure. On to the next, and the doppelgangers. A few of those, a couple skeleton packs fireballed, and Xzar reaches the XP cap. All six party members are at 161K total XP now.
    The toughest fight of this level is the greater doppelganger taking Elminster's form, but I have an answer for that.
    7n7j856hmmwd.jpg
    Not quite lethal, but close. Our ranged contingent finishes it off, and the regular doppelgangers are trivial.

    The caves follow, starting with a dangerous fight.
    5w0wez9tsnci.jpg
    Like the party in the Iron Throne headquarters, they get fireballs. One full volley, one (acid) arrow, and they're all down.
    The bulk of the level is full of spiders. They don't land a single hit, as I use Shar-Teel's backstabbing power to its full potential. Then I send her after the basilisks.
    4kvz88g9z9tr.jpg
    One hit. One dead.
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    Two hits. Two dead. That was easy. As that second shot demonstrates, basilisks have exactly 80 HP. With the anti-ranged boost, Shar-Teel deals 60-88 damage; a 3/8 chance for the instant kill. Of course, she also had PfP up, so she wasn't in any real danger.

    Chapter 6 ends with us killing Diarmid, and we head east. Durlag's Tower, and the remainder of the TotSC content, come next. Xzar learns three new spells, we rest in Beregost, and I end the session. Without actually quitting the game - ironman mode is on. Dorn is at just over 172K XP, even if only 161K of that is visible in the game.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 16: Durlag's Doppelgangers

    After a few minor encounters, we reach the tower and head in. Some tourists get incinerated, and it's time for us to visit the dungeon.

    Since combat will be intense here, I get the strength potions going again for Montaron. We start on the left side of the hall, with the path leading to a trio of greater doppelgangers. Stab one, retreat. The victim panics and is easy prey, but two more remain. And now they have mirror images. Wait for those to wear off, then head in again:
    79u05kyaxmin.jpg
    Minimum damage. Bleh. And now they're hasted, so I back away again until that wears off.
    A fun little trick here: greater doppelgangers cast the normal wizard Haste spell. If you wait the eight rounds for it to wear off, the fatigue penalty will hit them. And that stacks with multiple spells. Three spells is a total of +12 fatigue on them, for a -6 luck penalty. If you bait them into using their spells and dodge out of sight, then wait the spells off, that takes them from THAC0 7 and 6.5 average damage per hit to an effective THAC0 of 13 and 2.25 average damage per hit. Even with their 4 APR, that's nothing. Ettercaps hit harder than that.
    Anyway, I get back to the stabbing. Kill the wounded one with another backstab, then hit the last one from the front to make it move so I can finish it properly.
    uh07adgij50x.jpg
    They didn't get a single attack roll off.
    I continue counterclockwise. Fear and pride handled. The skeleton warrior falls easily, and a mustard jelly approaches...
    zmfjbq2sysr6.jpg
    And that's a new record. 117 damage, after resistances.
    There's a second jelly. It only takes 59 stab damage. Not quite enough for a one-hit kill, because of the 30% slashing resistance.
    The rest is routine. We take some pain from the flesh golems, but nothing too bad. And now, the warders.
    1j4a5yvou3qr.jpg
    We're buffed for this - Chant, Defensive Harmony, Haste, Remove Fear. Shield and Stoneskin on the mages. Shar-Teel is already feeling fatigued, so the party will definitely rest after this fight.
    We start near Love, and it falls quickly to our combined might.
    ikx09h7hy0fz.jpg
    Pride is second to fall, and a Hold Undead spell neutralizes Fear.
    4xj8z8h2vlad.jpg
    That just leaves Avarice. We can't quite take it down before it goes invisible, so Baeloth uses a Detect Invisibility.
    okbjr3zv19pg.jpg
    That does the trick. Clean up, take the loot, and rest on the ground floor. On the second try, because undead spawned the first time.

    On to the second floor, where Dorn drops some more exposition about his backstory:
    m6m3aihn9qgm.jpg
    So, you're saying Dorn has a chance with you? He just needs to clean up his looks a bit ...
    The original four BG2 romances all have race checks; humans, half-elves, and halfings are eligible for all, full elves are eligible for all but Viconia, Aerie appreciates gnomes, and Viconia will go for half-orcs. And yes, this will matter when we get there.
    The Beamdog romances don't bother with race checks. Rasaad and Hexxat will go for female characters of any race, Neera will go for a male character of any race, and Dorn will bang anything that moves. Including himself, though I don't intend to follow that path on this run.
    Dorn follows that up with a rather prophetic comment:
    ic9rrd4zfqez.jpg
    Ah, the advantages of writing when you know the sequel's script. That does provide a rather neat rationale for the romance starting, actually.

    The challenges of this floor are almost all greater doppelgangers - these taking dwarven forms and acting out scripts that have lost their relevance long ago. The first two solo doppelgangers are easy. Then there's the helmet room. Move to the end to face one doppelganger, and wait out the clouds.
    xgixh9pc6n9w.jpg
    It's my usual tactic here; fighting in a stinking cloud or cloudkill is just miserable. And this time around, it has a surprising result.
    qid8dxmjkny4.jpg
    The Cloudkill doppelganger killed itself. 65 HP, 55 average damage on ten rounds of a Cloudkill - bad luck, but within reason.

    For the next room, I pre-place Shar-Teel.
    owh200qaqciy.jpg
    The archer "Fuernebol" is down, leaving only the cleric "Kiel". They're not very effective, casting too many slow healing spells while we beat them down. Or trying to, because we interrupt those spells.

    On the other side of thing, the room with the lava pit brings trouble. The doppelgangers there start moving before I'm ready for them.
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    One down, three to go. I don't like the terrain, so I retreat. Fortunately, the two that follow take relatively low-threat forms.
    pfpe43n7jh5b.jpg
    The other was an Islanne last I checked. A backstab should neutralize the threat ... now they're an invisible Kiel? Not good. I retreat up a level, and wait for the Shadow Door to expire.
    Once that's done with, I return. No problem. That just leaves one doppelganger in the lava room, currently in Islanne form. I go for a backstab...
    d7p1d5w6p8mg.jpg
    Oops. I guess I'd better send in the party. Instead of casting a spell, the doppelganger turns into a Durlag, and then a Kiel. It dies in that form - too bad I couldn't whack it as a Durlag for a set of full plate.

    And now, the Dwarven Doom Guards. I always like to start things out with some lightning.
    5fhmq7w98zob.jpg
    The bounces this time are not in my favor. 10 damage to the enemy, 19 to Baeloth. And that's with the resistance boots. I should have aimed for a different guard.
    Still, that activates them, and the hallway has some much better spots for lightning bolts. Shar-Teel moves in for a backstab, which doesn't kill its target but does get them moving. And then Baeloth unleashes a second bolt.
    fwr429qn7muj.jpg
    Now that's more like it. Two down, two still back where they started. I finish things off with some backstabs; one for the one that was already injured, two for the last.
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    The tomb is ours to loot. Not that we care about any of what it holds.

    Since I was cheated out of some XP earlier by that self-killing doppelganger, I deliberately trigger the false stair trap. It doesn't reset in the EE, but three skeleton warriors are worth a lot if you can handle them.

    After that, it's just a few ghasts, a few traps, and some treasure. Next time, we continue down to finish the dungeon. 194755 XP for Dorn.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 17: Sneaky Strategies

    This next level has three paths through it, but I pretty much always take on the wyverns first. That way, I can come at the other two paths from the back, which I like better. Open with a backstab:
    u4k35gem9nsg.jpg
    Ah. They're a bit too tough for a one-hit kill, unless she rolls a crit. Shar-Teel retreats, and two wyverns follow. They inflict serious pain.
    d3oc9xus492i.jpg
    Well, at least everybody's alive. The wyverns were using their non-poisoned attacks, but that's still 2d8 base damage with 25 strength - 19 average damage per hit. And my party was missing a lot. AC of -5, modified THAC0 of -1, 3 APR, 35% magic resistance, 80% missile resistance - these things have some seriously good stats.
    Before taking on the third and last of them, we heal up. For free, with the repeating fire trap. If you equip over 100% fire resistance (we have two 40% rings, a 50% scimitar, and a 20% helmet), the fire damage heals you.
    That third wyvern goes down easily, to two backstabs.
    wchx4zatso1p.jpg
    It's so much easier with more room to maneuver.

    That just leaves some heroes to summon and kill. Only the ogre Hack poses any issue, and that because Shar-Teel critically missed her backstab on him.
    Then comes the back corridor, and the greater ghouls there are worse. Despite me setting up for a backstab, Shar-Teel reveals herself too early and takes three hits. It could have been worse, too - paralysis and ensuing death were very likely.

    I leave the middle path to the mages. Specifically, their wands of fire.
    19s4rq44b9tu.jpg
    Two fireballs per platform. With a bit of stealthy scouting to help targeting, the enemies never even see us.

    That was a trivial series of "fights", but all is not well. Shar-Teel's selection circle has vanished, and only that "X" indicator of where she's going remains. Errors are starting to accumulate...

    Finally, we reach the garden. And those dreaded backstabbing ashirukuru. I could use Baeloth to cast Detect Invisibility - he has all his second level slots available - ut I go for a purely physical solution instead. I set Dorn up to tank - switch the girdle of piercing over, so he's at -11 piercing AC even on a backstab. Against their stealth THAC0 of 4, that means they need 15 to hit.
    Naturally, the first one rolls a 19.
    efkx1jt8p7cl.jpg
    Not much we can do about that. Well, Protection from Evil would be two more points of effective AC, but actually making that roll of 19 miss is at the very edge of possibility - we'd need PfE and the short-lived Defensive Harmony and either a potion of defense/invulnerability or the +2 shield on the bottom level of this dungeon. Or a character specifically built for it - swashbuckler dual-classed to fighter or cleric.
    Now that the enemy is visible, Shar-Teel's counter-stab kills it.
    And again, greater ghouls are trouble. Shar-Teel backstabs one for a free kill, then retreats as the other one in the pair charges...
    5d65je6wphsv.jpg
    Despite that ridiculous piercing AC and a death save of 5, Dorn gets paralyzed. Sure, it had to roll a 20 to hit him, but it did.
    Five other greater ghouls are in the area. Most of them go down cleanly, but Shar-Teel's stab on the last isn't quite lethal, and it turns around for an immediate counterattack...
    cc05sc350w44.jpg
    That's the ring of energy for an immediate kill before it can do more damage to the paralyzed Shar-Teel. Anything less would have seriously hurt.
    I clear out the traps, and then all that remains are two more of those backstabbers hiding in corners. Dorn plays bait again...
    azsklw2bgt8s.jpg
    That's better. It rolled a 7 on its attack, and Dorn's excellent armor did its job.
    sb8rdvdch4fe.jpg
    Then the third one rolls a 20. Seriously, what is even the point of preparing when the game rolls like this?

    I have Dorn sit in the fire for a bit, and then head for the elemental rooms. Starting from ice.
    pgjqhug5zlw4.jpg
    The wolves aren't a problem. The bear hits hard. That's pure physical damage on Dorn, and the freezing ranged attack on Shar-Teel.
    I give it another round of healing once the battle ends. Plus a round of hauling stuff up to our ground-floor stash.

    Next, Slime. I turn the AI off and use wands for this.
    jl1n5xao5x4o.jpg
    Done. The splitting's not a problem if you only use fire.
    On to Air. The Air Aspect isn't bad when softened by a backstab, but invisible stalkers are nasty in groups.
    mtiuipbeqfgd.jpg
    I'd really be draining my healing potion supplies if not for that fire healing trick.
    Finally, fire.
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    Teleportation isn't quite instant, so I have to dodge the respawning guard a bit.

    That brings us to the chess game, where I follow a strategy best described as "flip over the board and set it on fire".
    n7vnn2v77d34.jpg
    Six fireballs. Six pawns, the queen, both bishops, and both knights go down. Only the rooks and pawns in the farthest files from the center remain, plus the king. One of those pawns charges, so it goes down to ranged attacks.
    Then ... I really should have turned off AI. I send my bishops Xzar and Baeloth forward to shoot down a rook with wand scorchers, which doesn't go well when Xzar gets hung up on nothing. The other pawn charges and dies, but Dorn charges out for no good reason and the king gets involved...
    q5s2dngviyts.jpg
    The king is a bit weird in combat. It doesn't actually wield that big sword it has; instead it just casts Slow repeatedly. Or attacks unarmed if it can't. We focus it down, and the battle ends.
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    One rook poofs with the king's death, but we killed everything else. And Dorn gladly claims the World's Edge. His choice is between one-handed mode for poison immunity and two points better AC or two-handed mode for two points better THAC0 and 1.5 points better damage.

    The final floor is open, and we start clearing. Two helmed horrors to start - one goes down to a backstab, while the other lands two natural 20s on Dorn before falling. Then I face the spiders.
    9y1gz10qvzxp.jpg
    A very carefully chosen backstab spot. Shar-Teel isn't in visual range of the astral phase spider due to an obstruction. The lesser spiders do some damage, especially when a lucky teleport gets Shar-Teel hung up near a door, but not much. And now the astral phase spider stands alone.
    0ktzaw0qerqg.jpg
    So Shar-Teel rolls a clutch crit for the one-hit kill. At 84 HP, nothing else would have done the job.

    Riddles are answered, loot is gathered. Montaron's strength potion runs out again, and so do the mages' Stoneskins. It's been a long adventuring day. I'll reapply the strength boost once I reach the crawlers and ghouls, but Xzar doesn't have another Stoneskin in reserve.

    This area does have some distressingly large groups. With the damage that even two greater ghouls at a time can inflict, I don't intend to play fair.
    ws95on5cdgpz.jpg
    Two scorchers and a runaround. Four dead ghouls. No hits taken. Also, that's fire immunity gear on Dorn; he doesn't have to worry about running through the fire, and even heals a bit.
    The next trio of enemies gets fireballs instead.
    mjzya29fgq1g.jpg
    Not quite lethal on all of them, but close enough.
    Some more small groups follow, easily eliminated, and I reach another trio of ghouls with a crawler.
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    Conventional force here. Backstab one, draw them out, backstab another in the melee... and then I realize that two out of three were just normal ghasts.

    At this point, everything that remains is behind acid pools. I get out the acid protection scrolls for Dorn, so he can grab loot and draw out enemies. Grael's bunch cause serious trouble:
    lup3jkclvcer.jpg
    Three hits in practically no time at all. Drink potion, retreat, drink more. Then Grael nearly gets Shar-Teel:
    t1l4xmfahkm3.jpg
    One more hit, and she would be dead. As it is, I've got the potions to bring her back to fighting form. Once the paralysis ends, anyway. Also, that's a clutch backstab for Montaron that got the kill; I wasn't even trying for it.

    There's only one more group after that. Montaron's strength potion lapses again - my stealth-heavy tactics do take up a good deal of in-game time - but I don't renew it. I have a plan for the demon knight, and he'll be using a bow for it.

    Specifically, for this plan, I looked at the demon knight's AI. The script:
    1. Cast Remove Magic and Fireball at the first PC it sees.
    2. Cast Power Word Stun at the the first PC it sees. Attack the nearest enemy for a round.
    3. Cast Power Word Kill at the nearest enemy.
    4. Cast Remove Magic at the nearest enemy and Fireball at the the first PC it sees. Attack the nearest enemy for two rounds.
    5. Cast Power Word Blind at the the first PC it sees. Attack the nearest enemy for two rounds.
    6. Cast Symbol: Fear at the the first PC it sees. Attack the nearest enemy for two rounds.
    7. Cast Symbol: Pain at the the first PC it sees. Attack the nearest enemy for two rounds.
    8. Attack the nearest enemy. Repeat until either the demon knight or all enemies are dead.
    All spells are instant and uninterruptible. That last symbol isn't a spell players can use; it imposes a penalty to dexterity and base THAC0 for four hours. But then, it's very unlikely the script will get that far.

    So, what's the strategy? I equip Dorn to protect him, and play bait. Dispel-proof fire immunity, drink a fortitude potion after the first Remove Magic for PW: Stun immunity, and otherwise just keep the enemy's attention while the rest of the party delivers ranged attacks. He's permanently immune to fear, so all he has to watch for is keeping his hit points up for power word protection. Don't get hit by too many melee attacks. The strategy in action:
    00jd854ag2rq.jpg
    And victory.
    bnj8ib8bi6dl.jpg
    Dorn took one hit in melee. The demon knight went down at the second fireball; you can see that the fortitude potion got dispelled.

    The remainder of the session is all housekeeping; scribing scrolls, selling loot, resting. And then the game crashes; I get the black portrait death. There's one autosave and one quicksave after the battle, from which I'll restore the XP. Dorn 218675, Montaron 216649, Shar-Teel 185547+32000, Viconia 216873, Baeloth 222610, Xzar 214185. If we didn't have the XP cap in place, Shar-Teel would have her tenth thief level.

    I take this opportunity for a real break, and for the computer to cool down a bit. Next time, we'll return to Ulgoth's Beard.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 18: Crushing the Cult, Killing Karoug

    I get one last ten-bandit ambush on the way north. That has me take a trip back to Beregost, and, well ...
    tz24cgu21y83.jpg
    That's a lot of scalps. 128 of them. And I'm not even playing with the mods that designate more creatures as bandits.

    After that detour, we're back on the road. Trouble greets us immediately in Ulgoth's Beard.
    fadtq786w6z0.jpg
    And we're ready for it. Two assassins and the enforcer, dead instantly. We rush the archers, and the remaining foes go down without inflicting any damage.

    Rest, and continue to the next fight.
    0j4vihp4eim1.jpg
    No traps here, but this is a much less impressive group and we still have a lot of power. Throw in a couple of Horror spells, and nearly all of those guards are neutralized. One manages a hit on Dorn, so he counters the damage with a Vampiric Touch.

    Entering the formerly guarded building brings another fight, after a brief chat.
    zyab6qkj7jld.jpg
    And our traps destroy this group as well. There are still a pair of assassins, though...
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    Dorn used Albruin to cast Detect Invisibility, but it wasn't quite fast enough. And the cult assassins deal a whole lot of damage on their backstabs; they have grand mastery with their swords. Also, Viconia was in ranged mode, a bad decision.
    Still, now that they're visible, we clean them up easily. Heal up, add a few more buffs, and head down.

    In the basement, our third set of traps goes off.
    7tgea1jeeifr.jpg
    We spread them around, so a lot of enemies are still alive - but all of them are damaged. Also, credit seems to be applied semi-randomly; the game somehow thinks some of the traps belong to Xzar, when Shar-Teel set all of them.
    We gang up on Tracea and eliminate her fast, then add a volley of fireballs for the guards in the back...
    ftnwqgw8gbgp.jpg
    Not quite eliminated, but the survivors are near death. Before long, we can turn our attention to the demon. There's some in and out, as he deals serious damage, and Shar-Teel deals the final blow.
    m6nb6hi8e99e.jpg
    He's still alive in that shot, but that's just a script thing. Moments later, an extra 1 damage is credited to Shar-Teel and the demon dies. Unlike BG2EE demons, Aec'Letec does not see through invisibility; he's not harder to backstab than any other monster.

    The greatest threat in this fight is Aec'Letec's Death Gaze. You can save against it , you can dispel it (with a tough level check, since it's a level 10 effect), you can block it with potions of mirrored eyes (this party did), but you can't survive it. Not even Story Mode will save you from being replaced with a ghast.
    Well, that's changing. One component of my tweak mod gives death magic protection such as the Death Ward spell and Story Mode the ability to block that gaze. This will also be included in the EE Fixpack currently under construction, and hopefully future patches as well.

    Now that the cult is dealt with, we head over to "Mendas" and deliver the sea chats. We have an island to explore.
    The village itself is quiet; the only threats on their side of the island are some random animals:
    vb5g8c1miny9.jpg
    That was a pack of six. The fireball kills four, a fifth goes down in a general attack, and the last (which didn't go hostile after the fireball) falls to a backstab.

    As we transition to the northern half of the island, I apply potions. Heroism for the three warriors, 20 strength for Montaron, 21 strength for Shar-Teel. My two main tanks get the slashing AC belts; with the belts, it takes a 17 (Montaron) or 18 (Dorn) for a standard wolfwere to hit them. Protection from Evil would help further, but we only have one instance of PfE 10' memorized. I'm saving that for later.

    The first encounter here is Palin's ambush.
    zmyxznc5e5f9.jpg
    Dead before he could even transform. And that's a new record for non-critical backtab damage.

    For the sirines, I split the party. Dorn and the casters take on the queen, while the backstabbers hang back for the regular sirines.
    dg40e39deiqb.jpg
    There are two more to the north. The backstabbers head over there, and Shar-Teel gets a 93-point hit on one. The non-critical backstab record was short-lived.

    The remainder of the outside area is no trouble. A few wolfweres, but mostly animals. They all die. We pick up the stuff from Dradeel's cabin, and head to the ship.

    In the ship itself, I have Shar-Teel handle things alone. Backstab, retreat. Rinse and repeat.
    tyo6gp51h6b0.jpg
    After all, none of the transitions here are party-required. She can just pull back to a different area, re-hide, and go back in. It works very well.
    70muqli8gy9e.jpg
    The eleven enemies on the first deck got one attack roll. Combined. It was a miss by a dire wolf.

    Out potions expire, so I renew them. I've used the last of my strength 20 potions, so Montaron upgrades to strength 21.
    The second deck brings more of the same tactics - but this time, it doesn't go as well.
    h8uo7hdfz6gc.jpg
    Shar-Teel gets trapped, and starts taking damage. I send in the other warriors to help her get clear. Once she does, I decide that this is the time for that PfE 10'.

    On the third deck, the first trip goes badly ... but I get lucky.
    9yjoim8m502u.jpg
    She crit-misses her backstab on a vampiric wolf, and it turns around to crit her. But despite her poor death saves (Claw of Kazgaroth, no protection item), she saves. She gets away, with no need for our party to intervene. (Vampiric wolves have THAC0 13. Against base AC 1, 17 Dex, and PfE, that's a 17 needed to hit Shar-Teel. Or maybe 20 if I gave her the piercing belt.)
    For her second trip, she takes down her vampiric target but then can't reach the stairs cleanly. Send in Dorn and Montaron again.
    nl706cy1fzo8.jpg
    Actually, I just send in everyone after that, and finish the floor in a general fight.

    The top deck gets the same repeated backstab treatment. Shar-Teel takes a couple of hits, but that's nothing.
    qyide4g6lo3u.jpg
    Soon, just the leader Karoug remains. I have something special in mind for him. Transfer an invisibility potion...
    So of course, she crit-misses him on the first attempt. Back down to hide again.
    The second time's the charm.
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    Stab, drink, stab. Dead. Her weapon of choice here was of course the Burning Earth, while Varscona was good enough for the regular wolves.

    Back at the village, the other shoe drops.
    syex0pa8ecdt.jpg
    They're all werewolves. We need to slaughter them too.
    Well, we could just run for the exit and avoid fighting the ones that aren't in our way, but why would we do that?

    It doesn't take long. The werewolves don't gather in large groups, and we easily overwhelm them. The caverns are no more difficult, and neither is Kaishas. We take the occasional hit doing this, but we have plenty of healing potions.

    Finally, we return to Ulgoth's Beard to face Selaad and his man Baresh.
    856vds6q45hf.jpg
    I thought I had a backstab set up there. Maybe it was that fake invisibility that often comes up after travel?
    Dorn ends up getting both of the kills, though we take significant damage and have to spend some healing spells. And with that, TotSC is done. All that remains is the endgame in Baldur's Gate.

    One last note - ever wonder what those Belladonna Flowers are good for? It turns out that you can put them in your quickslots and use (eat) them. If you do, the flowers poison you and transform you into your base form; a poor man's "Natural Form" ability. Unfortunately, this is essentially useless. It doesn't help at all against the werewolf curse, as that removes affected characters from the party entirely if it triggers. It doesn't help enough against effects such as Polymorph Self, as the BGEE version of those spells/abilities has debilitating effects that aren't tied to the transformation weapon. And there's no point with voluntary transformations, as you still have a real "Natural Form" ability.
    Hopefully, that should change with the EE Fixpack currently being worked on. I should get back to my work on polymorphs...
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 22,419
    Ahh, wow, about the Belladonna Flowers. I had no idea.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Part 19: Slaughtering Sarevok and Servants

    After a brief trip south to restock on elemental darts - they're only sold at High Hedge - the party returns to Baldur's Gate. It's time to hunt down Sarevok and his minions. We reach the city on day 170.

    Since the Flaming Fist patrols the streets searching for us, we take to the sewers to avoid their attention. Naturally, this leads to some issues with the resident creatures.
    fjta3kn7zmp8.jpg
    A high damage roll on a critical backstab. Against a phase spider, which would have died to a minimum-damage normal backstab. More than 100 points of overkill.

    The Flaming Fist castle is our destination, with the mercenaries inside guarding it. As there's a patrol nearly in sight of the door to the northeast, I have the warriors sneak in one by one. Then we use fireball necklaces.
    hhx1gmpju6j5.jpg
    Who needs mages? The mercenaries burn, and don't get any spells off. Deal with the doppelganger, pick up Eltan, leave one by one to avoid those guards' sight.

    Shar-Teel delivers Eltan to the harbormaster with her stealth, and we move on to the Iron Throne. Cythandria awaits.
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    And now it's just the ogres. A command, a backstab, and a few normal hits...
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    Done.

    We head down through the basement, and take the sewer shortcut to the Undercellar. Krystin and Slythe await. Our potions expire, but I don't renew them; instead, I apply spell buffs for this fight. We're resting afterwards anyway because this party fatigues easily.
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    Slythe goes down in two hits and a trap.
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    All right, the trap was unnecessary. He only has 89 HP, after all.
    Then Dorn casts Detect Invisibility, and Krystin falls in moments.
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    Even this late, we're still getting upgrades. The sword is Montaron's new primary weapon, and the dagger is Xzar's backup weapon. We didn't buy the dagger of venom for him, after all.

    I head up to the Blushing Mermaid, wait for haste to expire, and rest. The palace comes next.
    Rather than triggering the event immediately, I have the thieves sneak around to the other floors and loot the place, There's quite a lot of stuff there, after all. Shar-Teel drinks some master thievery potions for the occasion.
    I even manage to loot the treasury in the basement without getting caught:
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    That's a particularly tricky one, as the door to that room is closed and locked and there's a guard in the corridor. Unlocking or opening doors forces visibility, so I had to give Shar-Teel a command that restarted the stealth timer, wait for the button to become available, and hide again immediately after performing the action. Twice.
    The loot from upstairs also included two wands of sleep. We'll use them for this fight, as they're completely useless for anything after it.

    Back on the ground floor, I upgrade to strength 23 potions for all three warriors and summon some monsters. Let's roll.
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    Greater Malison, Confusion, Command, Aura of Despair, and two sleep wands. The enemies aren't exactly in fighting shape after that.
    Dorn gets the first kill. Baeloth gets the second. The third and fourth go to Belt. Viconia gets the fifth, and Montaron the sixth. On our side, only one ogre summon died.
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    Sarevok attacks our summons for a bit, before being teleported away. We've stopped his scheme, but we still have to deal with the man himself.

    And so we reach the thieves' maze. I take a break to collect myself, and then return for the final segment of play. Buy a few things from Black Lily and head down.

    Oozes come first, and they're easy. Doom Guards get backstabs.
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    The next threat are some skeleton warriors protected by traps; that's a bit trickier. We disarm the traps under stealth, but they're resistant to slashing damage:
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    With the lack of an instant kill, I follow up by sending in the party. Dorn takes a hit in this battle.
    The remainder of the area goes easily. Skeleton warriors, doom guards, invisible stalkers. Since they come one at a time, they don't manage a single hit on us. And with every path and dead end cleared, we continue past Winski to the Undercity.

    The first threat is the party standing in our way. I have Baeloth cast Invisibility on Dorn, and sneak all three warriors into their midst.
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    Now Shar-Teel backstabs Rahvin - the one with the exploding arrows. And rolls a crit.
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    Well, that's one threat taken care of. Montaron backstabs the other archer, and the fight is on. Most of them go down easily enough, but Gorf hits Viconia. Twice. Despite her -11 crushing AC. 19 strength, grand mastery, and base THAC0 5...
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    That wand shot is the end for him. He fails his save, and we carve him up.

    Only one living foe remains down here.
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    And another critical backstab takes care of that.
    For the various undead scattered around, I have Dorn and Shar-Teel use scrolls of protection. We slaughter them with no resistance.

    We enter the temple, and make one final save. The final fight is here, and it's time to buff to the skies.
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    Everybody has at least 18/00 strength, and the median is 24. Everybody has immunity to fire, cold, and electric damage with at least 50% magic resistance. Everybody has unbeatable saves. The warriors have potions of heroism, and the casters have potions of power. Everybody's hasted.
    Also, here's Dorn's inventory. I plan to "import" that to BG2 along with the stat boosts he's picked up.
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    With one addition - his old personal sword. He'll only use it once, but that once is important. The "World's Edge" sword will be converted to a generic +3 two-handed sword, the nymph cloak will drop to one charge for its BG2 behavior, and the containers will be removed. Note that this collection includes some items that are rather hard to come by; the only place that sells any exploding arrows is in ToB, Albruin is only available if you successfully cast Heal on a hostile high-level mage, the Legacy of the Masters gauntlets are only found in chapter 6, and Spider's Bane isn't available at all.

    I open the battle with a trio of exploding arrows. And then the phase spider gets to Angelo.
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    He's poisoned. That means he's dead. 46 damage taken from the exploding arrows and the physical part of the attack, leaving only 29 remaining HP. That's one round of life. Or actually less, because the spider hits him again after this shot.
    Also, that's Semaj teleporting over in this shot. He's next.
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    While I'm at it, I deliberately trigger the battle horror traps so I can beat them down.
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    That just leaves Tazok and Sarevok. No magical support, just the two of them alone. I add a dispelling arrow to take out Sarevok's haste...
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    And then there was one.
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    Xzar gets credit for the final kill.

    Checking my final experience, I didn't get credit for Angelo. The spider that did him in got squashed before its poison could finish working, so I missed out on that 9800 XP. But the 15000 from Sarevok and the 16000 from four Battle Horrors are still there, so I can't complain too much.

    Final save XP totals: Dorn 270769, Montaron 268726 (virtual level 8/9), Shar-Teel 237555+32000 (virtual level 6/11), Viconial 268875 (virtual level 9), Baeloth 274561 (virtual level 10), Xzar 266006 (virtual level 10). Without the cap, everyone but Dorn would have earned at least one level.
    Dorn will get better stats all around but 7 fewer base hit points than his level 8 BG2 version. He'll also start with all that gear I showed, and 270769 XP. Viconia will start with 268875 XP and 12 more base HP than her level 8 BG2 version, but no equipment at all. The others won't be joining in the BG2EE portion of this run.

    The final kill stats, in marching order:
    Dorn: 872 kills for 354318 XP. Strongest kill Greater Basilisk (7000).
    Montaron: 505 kills for 197555 XP. Strongest kill Demon Knight (15000).
    Shar-Teel: 766 kills for 500382 XP. Strongest kill Aec'Letec (16000).
    Viconia: 192 kills for 89604 XP. Strongest kill Drizzt (12000).
    Baeloth: 329 kills for 106292 XP. Strongest kill Davaeorn (6000).
    Xzar: 192 kills for 67585 XP. Strongest kill Sarevok (15000).

    Friday's post will be an interlude. Then it's back to Dorn's story on Monday.

    You see, while the final save shows up from the BG2 import menu, there aren't any actual importable characters on it. Dorn isn't starting out in that cage.
    Actually, here's what that save looks like:
    4qa0vmkp4b5e.jpg
    Beware the fearsome blackguard I said nothing to you, Viconia! What brings this on?
    Also the alliterative arcanist I would like to see your services.
    The other four party members' names would come through cleanly; the original BG1 strings were included in BG2, but the new EE material uses string numbers that were already in use in BG2 - so those string references become random nonsense when interpreted in the other game. One of the classic pitfalls of cross-game modding; all those text elements are references to a list of strings, and you can't trust things to be in the same place in different games.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Interlude: A Patsy's Adventure

    First, some housekeeping. It was a long time between playing the end of the BGEE portion and starting BG2EE - long enough for me to put together a tweak mod, release it, and install it for this. Then, after something like a month, I restarted BG2EE with version 2 of my mod.
    Aside from that mod, I have two additional tweaks - an ad-hoc tweak to HAPPY.2DA so that neutral NPCs don't leave at reputation 1, and a fix for the giant pile of portraits I had dumped in my portraits folder. Now it's a much more manageable 300 or so each male and female, instead of over a thousand portraits not sorted by gender and with each picture repeated at multiple resolutions.
    My WeiDU log, for the record:
    ~D2-PORTRAIT-SEPARATOR/D2-PORTRAIT-SEPARATOR.TP2~ #0 #0 // Portrait Gender Separator: 1.1
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #10 // Wilson's strength doesn't stack indefinitely: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #20 // Vernus can be raised: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #40 // Enchant Weapon works in contingencies: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #50 // Joinable NPCs don't have null kits: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #60 // NPCs don't go in inaccessible locations: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #70 // Close polymorph immunity loopholes: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #81 // Shapeshift corrections -> All transformations: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #90 // Wish Hardiness doesn't stack with itself: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #100 // Hold Person doesn't display multiple strings: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #120 // Dueling fireshields don't go infinite: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #140 // Inquisitor True Sight is consistent with other versions of the spell: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #150 // Temple cures work better: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #160 // Bala's Axe dispels reasonably well: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #170 // Celestials cast all of their spells at high levels: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #182 // Antimagic Ray and Spell Shield -> Spell Shield blocks one antimagic ray: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #200 // Elemental protection spells increment resistances: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #210 // Vorpal weapons don't chunk: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #230 // Loosen restrictions on what clones can do: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #250 // Loosen NPC item restrictions: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #260 // Green Slime poison can be cured: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #280 // Allies against Bodhi are better prepared for vampires: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #290 // Noober's Game: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #300 // Slightly improved party AI: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #330 // Randomize battle music: 2.0
    ~JTWEAKS/SETUP-JTWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #350 // Bigger random spawns: 2.0

    And now, on to the game.

    We begin with a Patsy.
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    Her weapon proficiencies are sling, hammer, and shield style. She has 57 HP, representing rolls of 43/56.
    A young priestess of Talos, Patsy has risen quickly through the ranks. Her elders in the faith have noted this rise, and determined through their auguries that she holds a portion of the power of the dead god Bhaal. They have no issue with this, only demanding that the power be turned towards the glory of Talos rather than to resurrecting its source.
    But then, Patsy met a half-orc warrior who asked for a favor. Just hold a few things for him while he travels to Amn, and she will be paid handsomely...

    That was then. Now, she finds herself waking in a cage to the torments of a vile mage. Fortunately, the man is distracted, and a rescuer comes.
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    Imoen looks to be the goodly sort, but that matters little in a place such as this. Escape is the priority now, and all help is welcome.

    Indeed, there are more adventurers being held in cages nearby. Patsy and Imoen rescue them, and the party swells to four. With the dearth of equipment, the group decides that it would be best for the druid Jaheira to transform and enhance her attack abilities as a bear.
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    And so my mod makes an impact already. Jaheira turns into a brown bear, instead of a black bear as that ability would do in the vanilla game - a weird bug introduced by patch 2.6.

    After killing a couple mephits and turning off a strange machine, the party reaches their first serious fight.
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    Well, that does make it easier. Before he can even get up, he's dead.

    Some pain ensues as we push forward - a goblin archer lands a maximum-damage critical hit (16) on Jaheira. But Patsy has healing spells memorized and we have potions, so that doesn't stop us. More equipment is gathered; we add bows for Imoen and Minsc, plus a few magical melee weapons. Including a unique +2 hammer "Ashideena" for Patsy.

    The next serious fight is a group of duergar. They get lightning bolts.
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    Two regular duergar, the mage, and Ilyich himself die to the bolts. Only two crossbow wielders survive to face the party's weapons.

    Then comes the cambion. And it hits hard.
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    That's after drinking an extra healing potion. We won, but it hurt a lot. Patsy uses the last of her healing spells in the wake of this battle; Jaheira still has a few, but she can't use them until she transforms out of bear form.

    As we move on to the air room, Patsy reaches level 8. 6 HP gained (roll 4/8) and an irrelevant proficiency. Just before the big group of mephits, I have Jaheira turn human and use her healing spells. Then, since the rest of the spells she has are useless, she turns into a black bear. Imoen summons some fodder, and we engage.
    This group has a steam mephit, and the fodder serve their purpose by absorbing the Boiling Rain Storm. The actual party only takes a few small healing potions worth of damage.

    Run around some more, clearing out and looting the floor. Even the jailkeep golem is dead, as we have two magic blunt weapons.
    The second floor brings a new addition in Yoshimo. He sleeps through his first fight (the mephit portals), but he should be useful in general. Jaheira is still our best source of damage, tearing through the portals with brutal efficiency.

    Continuing on, Patsy finds a use for her second lightning bolt:
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    Extremely effective once again. That's also the Storm Shield ability, protecting her from any rebound.

    Then there's Ulvaryl. It's always a gamble if you can kill her - we get lucky.
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    Chromatic Orb works like a charm. Patsy and Minsc have the only +2 weapons, so they attack the vampire while the rest of the party deals with the assassins.
    That brings druid level 8 for Jaheira, with 5 extra HP (roll 3/4).

    After a rest and some healing with Patsy's refreshed spells, the party exits to the sunlit world. The mage Irenicus returns, and a group called the "Cowled Wizards" drag him and Imoen away.

    This also grants a pile of experience. Fighter level 7 for Jaheira (+2 HP, roll 1/5) and level 8 for Minsc (+10 HP, roll 8/10). With that, the group goes their separate ways. Minsc and Yoshimo head to the Copper Coronet, Jaheira goes to the docks, and Patsy heads out alone to find Dorn and give him a piece of her mind. He said he would be near the temples...

    While passing through the temple district, Patsy comes across an odd scene. A new cult, recruiting in sight of the established faiths?
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    Dorn will have to wait a few minutes. The Stormherald demands, and his words will not be denied.
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    And so Patsy is given a quest, to seek out and destroy this new cult.

    A mechanical note: the Stormherald (or the High Mornmaster) will only give the quest if the protagonist is a cleric. If your protagonist stops being a cleric between the first meeting with one of them and the follow-up in the temple, you're locked out of the Unseeing Eye quest - and only becoming a cleric again (completing the dual?) can unlock it. After all, the generic option Oisig isn't even spawned in.
    Once the quest is given, your class doesn't matter anymore. Even getting the cleric stronghold doesn't check your class unless you're doing it with Helm.

    And then, Patsy meets Dorn.
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    Thanks to the magic of save-editing, Dorn comes fully equipped with what he had at the end of BGEE, and all of the experience. His "World's Edge" sword is now a generic +3 two-handed sword, but the other items are all the same.
    A conversation ensues, and Patsy relays what she knows about this "Irenicus" and her new quest to dispose of a cult. Then she asks some tougher questions, and Dorn moves things to an out-of-the-way spot...
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    "What are you to me, Patsy? You were a tool. A sacrifice to distract that mage. And now your purpose has been served, and the time has come for you to die."
    Despite that critical miss to start things off, Patsy doesn't land any blows. Her end comes in an explosion of bloody chunks, as a brutal blow tears her body apart.
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    And now Dorn's story can truly begin. His old sword Rancor has done its job one last time, draining the essence of another Bhaalspawn. Athkatla is open to explore, and nobody is hunting him - for now.

    The choice of names for the initial "protagonist" here was easy, especially as I already had the gender locked in for mechanical reasons later on. The class choice was so I could go with the Talos side of the temple quests, just because I felt like it. Patsy may be dead, but she leaves a lasting influence behind.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Act Two, Part 1: Looking for Group

    While Dorn is fully equipped, he had to leave his gold behind to arrange travel to Amn. And while his level of 8 was impressive in Baldur's Gate, this city is far more dangerous. Dorn needs experience and gold as soon as possible.

    In my previous attempts at this, I tried starting with the temple district sewers. That didn't go well; many reloads ensued at the hands of the bandits there. This time around, I skip that and try a less combative approach. Dorn head over to the government district and recruits Jan. It's 20K free experience just for taking him on, and he levels to mage 8/thief 9 immediately. 4 HP gained (rolls 3/5) and 25 points into Pick Pockets for a total of 105. A potion of master thievery ... not quite enough to shoplift his way through the Promenade. He'll need to boost that with a potion of mind focusing, or to grab a little more experience.

    With the plans in place, I head for the promenade. And immediately, we are waylaid.
    my5svpqtib70.jpg
    Dorn will fight up front, while Jan will provide ranged and magical support. He doesn't even start with a melee weapon, after all.
    Also, while it doesn't come up in a static screenshot, this first combat outside the started dungeon has my battle music randomizer pay off. It plays a song I had never heard before, normally used only as battle music for the shopping area in Neera's ToB quest.
    Anyway, that Horror gets nearly all of them.
    qny7ytsj1608.jpg
    Only Eldarin saves and is unaffected. This should be easy, right? Two problems with that. One, Bhaalspawn Horror only lasts three rounds. Two, the enemy AI doesn't always respect that state. The mage casts a spell while panicked - only an irrelevant Remove Magic, but still.
    While the Horror fades before battle's end, we still come through without a scratch.
    zb0ag4rancrd.jpg
    It's not terribly much XP; Suna Seni is worth more than the rest combined. But it comes with a nice sword (already handed to Jan) and some scrolls that can be converted to more XP.

    Arriving at the promenade, I check my stash. 66K scroll XP, not enough for Jan's next thief level. Quest time, then. We enter the circus tent after talking with a few people.
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    While I've certainly done this one enough to remember, I still do the math in my head. And there's level 9 for Dorn. 9 HP gained (roll 8/10) and dual-wielding proficiency.

    Slice up some shadows, poof some werewolves with Jan's skill, and head in. Kill a pair of fake peasants and free Aerie.
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    She's too good for Dorn. Nope, not joining the party. Also, that's mage level 9 for Jan. 2 more HP (roll 1/2), but not the level I'm really looking for.
    More shadows and illusions follow, with a few low-level scrolls to loot. And then, Kalah.
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    Dorn looses an arrow of biting before he can even talk. It works. The poison prevents him from casting anything while Dorn clears out the shadows, and then one good whack finishes things.
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    Ah, caught it during the "fade to black" area transition. Some odd little facts about how Kalah is built:
    - The version you fight is a clone of BG1's highest-level version of Quayle. Spell memorization for a level 6/5 cleric/mage (the illusionist bonus slots aren't filled), a sling and bullets equipped, a flail in inventory, and even the same 24 gold. Then he's set to be a level 8 single-class mage, given an AI that doesn't use the cleric spells, and given the altered animation and missile resistance.
    - The current BGEE version of that level 6/5 Quayle actually has too many spells memorized; four second-level mage spells instead of three. And the flail is swapped for a club, because he doesn't have the strength to wield a flail.
    - Kalah dies twice, which is why he drops that sling, bullets, and flail twice. Plus two piles of gold, the second larger. The second version of Kalah is of course the one with all the good stuff. The first version's stuff should probably be flagged as undroppable, actually.

    The moment we go back to the normal tent, before the second version of Kalah can talk and die... Dorn starts talking to himself. And I lost the picture. It's the first talk on his romance track - "We are a formidable pair, you and I". And it's a short one, since with only two party members the "other companions" part of the talk isn't available.

    Now, it's only about 30K XP to Jan's next thief level. That, I can manage. It's time to horribly abuse the system. I sell my scrolls to the fletcher Perter, then have Jan drink a potion of master thievery and steal them back. Over 3000 free gold, and now he can scribe them for the XP. Spend 912 gold on a pair of potions of genius, and get to it. The first round before any erasing brings him to 313125 total XP, just short of the 160K thief XP needed. Erase and re-scribe spells he doesn't have memorized - make that 326125 total XP. Thief level 10 achieved, and another 25 points into Pick Pockets. 170 skill is enough to safely loot everyone on the Promenade that can be shoplifted from.
    Then I spend his memorized Identify on Arbane's sword and scribe that spell too. Loot Galoomp, scribe - Dorn's at 400K XP before I even start erasing anything. Then Lady Yuth, after the slightly risky non-store pickpocket on Ribald. Ring of Regeneration obtained.
    More scribing. Thief level 11 for Jan, and another 25 PP. Mage 10 for Jan. Blackguard 10 for Dorn - he's past the HP rolls now, and into the flat 3 HP bonuses. I briefly unpause, and Dorn talks again, about something that definitely didn't happen.
    With the scroll collection down to one of each, plus necromancy scrolls and scrolls that would require forgetting a memorized spell, I stop. Dorn is at 740K XP, so he can easily reach 750K on his own before any further recruiting.

    Before I ditch Jan, I take advantage of his skills for a few things. Sell the one-charge wands and steal them back. Sell a couple dispelling arrows to Perter and steal back a full stack of 80. Steal a bit of +2 ammunition from Maheer. And some armor from Arnolinus - full plate and +2 shields.
    We reach the slums without incident, and part with Jan after stashing some stuff.

    The opportunity for that last bit of experience Dorn needs comes up immediately, with the duel against Amalas.
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    It's easily won, of course. With full plate, the slashing girdle, and some accessories, Amalas has trouble hitting at all. I think that Dorn going with shield mode would have pushed him all the way to needing a 20 to hit.
    The music randomizer picked another rare battle song for the Copper Coronet - Black Pits music this time.

    And now, with just over 750K experience, it's a great time to start recruiting. The first new party member is right there.
    s1whdxu1eqil.jpg
    He goes up to level 11 immediately, gaining 19 HP (roll 6/10) and becoming proficient in dual-wielding.
    Nalia ... OK, we'll take your quest. See you at the keep.
    Then, a thief.
    md6p1byjk9dm.jpg
    She goes up to level 13, gaining 16 HP (rolls 10/12), taking single-weapon style, and spreading the thieving points around to top off Open Locks and Find Traps and get decent stealth.

    We open up the back rooms, then head out to pick up some of my stashed stuff. Korgan is properly armored now. And then, we go to the government district.
    j5gvfqtl27ex.jpg
    She's useful. We're freeing her. I take advantage of the choice here to get in position first...
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    And the game's first backstab is a 55-pointer. While we don't have the super-powerful stabs of a fighter-thief dual with grand mastery, 5x bonuses can still do a lot. And that was an archer she just stabbed.
    Then, before she can retreat to set up her next stab, the fanatic turns around and lands a 14-point crit on her. Ouch. I persevere to set up another stab (30 points) and am going for a third when the battle ends.
    Viconia joins, and another round of save-editing boosts her from her BG2 standard of 42 HP to the 54 she had at the end of BG1. Going up to level 11 earns her another 12 HP with a perfect 8/8 roll.
    Before I can even leave the area, Dorn and Viconia have a banter.
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    Clearly, romance is in the air.

    After a false start - I played the next session in the wrong install without my mods, so I had to retcon it - I return. And this means Viconia has to reroll her levels; only +11 HP this time, on a 7/8 roll.
    We head to the graveyard, to deal with Dragomir's tomb right away. Immediately on arrival...
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    Dorn spars with himself. And I take this opportunity to end the self-love track. The very next conversation is the opportunity for sex, which breaks all other romances. While it might be amusing, that's not what I'm going for here.

    The scene at the entrance to Dragomir's Tomb actually gets me the experience for unlocking it twice - "Hexxat" gets there before the scene to unlock it, the scene opens, re-closes, and re-locks the door so she can unlock it again during the battle, and finally the script unlocks and opens the door once the battle is won.

    But before entering that particular tomb, we visit one unmarked tomb.
    jioleq7ccila.jpg
    No undead guards here. Just a new +2 axe for Korgan, in a locked and trapped container. You need +2 weapons to hit Dragomir, after all.

    Coming to this place before 1 million protagonist XP, it's pretty tame. No Devil Shades yet. The shadow fiends inflict a bit of damage, but nothing too bad; even the time they paralyze Dorn, Korgan picks up the slack and keeps them off him.
    Next up, Burich.
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    He's scary only because he can drain levels. Just lead with Dorn, and that's not a problem.

    The toughest fight in here, at least at this level, is Dragomir himself. Hard-hitting melee attacks, domination, regeneration, serious armor, and he requires +2 to hit. But the script on that domination use is dumb; it uses a "!HasImmunityEffects()" check, which looks for immunity to anything. Since Dorn is immune to fear and level drain, no point in trying to dominate him.
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    Dorn and an enraged Korgan get in his face, while Viconia plinks away with bullets and "Hexxat" goes for a backstab.
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    Apparently, that didn't count as behind him? A shame. I think that would have been the killing blow.

    And so we reach the end, and Hexxat's ploy is revealed. She used a patsy just like Dorn, and leaves poor Clara dead in here. Naturally, I let her join at the first opportunity. Five levels gained, to 13. +10 Open Locks to 95. +15 Find Traps to 100. +100 Pick Pockets to 140. All of those stats are with the cloak off, of course. 14 HP gained (rolls 8/12) and longsword proficiency.

    Our newly revised party of four heads out to deal with the other toms and minor quests in the area.
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    An amusing quirk in this one - a skeleton warrior died and dropped its loot into a locked container. But it's a pickable lock, so we're fine.
    After that, it's Nevin and his Uncle Lester.
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    Plus that drunken cleric.
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    He doesn't even know how to fight back. 2000 XP and 13 gold for a free kill. Though a 90-point critical backstab is serious overkill - he only has 7 HP.

    For a more serious fight, there's the Crypt King.
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    A nice backstab there for the final blow. And Namarra will be her new primary weapon, as it does more damage than a standard +2 long sword.

    There's one last occupied tomb before the big one.
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    Hexxat is all backstabs here. Even if that requires going outside repeatedly to hide, and donning/doffing the cloak every time.
    The skeleton warrior gets some absurdly good luck, hitting Korgan seven out of seven tries despite his full plate and +2 shield. By my calculations, it needed 12 to hit - and it rolled at least that well every time. By the time we can finally kill it, he's in the red.
    Still, we press on. The ring of regeneration will do its work while we move.

    The big tomb brings several packs of spiders, and then a room of webs in the middle.
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    A horde of little spiders here - very squishy, but their attacks have extremely dangerous poison attached. Give them a fireball, and then set up the backstab after that lands.
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    Easy. With a bit of luck, anyway - that maximum-damage hit was exactly enough for the kill. As for the spiders, thirteen burned; the remaining seven were eliminated with weapons.

    And now, on to the lower level where the treasure Korgan seeks is hidden.
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    This area is normally troublesome with all the level drain, but this party has very little problem with that. Dorn and Hexxat are permanently immune, while Korgan can rage for immunity at a moment's notice and Viconia can cast a spell if it comes to that.
    The initial ambush goes down easily, though the Vampyre gets away. On to the corridor, with its mummies and spectral undead:
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    Aw, no kill - that was a minimum-damage hit. The ensuing battle sees Dorn take a hit from a wraith, to basically no effect.

    A few more undead go down, and we reach Korgan's objective.
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    Or, at least, where it was. The chase is on.
    The skeleton warriors here drop high-level random treasure - in this case, one of them drops a +1 composite longbow. A nice upgrade for Korgan, when he feels like delivering a special arrow.

    The moment I reach the surface ...
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    The romance with Viconia officially begins. Never mind that mention of "imprisonment", which definitely didn't happen to Dorn. He's out to kill Irenicus anyway.

    On our way to the temple district ...
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    Another ambush. All right, aim a biting arrow at that mage. It hits, and he's poisoned. Arcane spells are no longer an issue.
    ... Wait, what?
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    DUHM doesn't work that way. It turns out that the spell's benefit goes to the caster as usual, but that script (PRIES6A.BCS) is just weird.

    The ambush is defeated without any trouble, and we pick up Renfeld. Grab a stash - Ashideena, Gift of Peace, Claw of Kazgaroth - on the way to Pimlico's place, and then keep going because the man is dead. Hexxat gets the Claw, because its downsides matter very little to her.

    Korgan's crew are on top of the Copper Coronet as he predicted - but they're not talking?
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    Weird. I force things by having Dorn talk to Korgan; Korgan is supposed to initiate dialogue with player 1 here.
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    It works. And the glitch let me set up a backstab...
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    There goes Crazyface. No spells for our enemies this fight. And I'm really appreciating single-weapon style on this backstab-focused thief.
    Well, all right, he triggered a couple spells to start combat. Magic Resistance (irrelevant) and Cloak of Fear (only Korgan had any risk, and he saved easily). The remaining goons are just basic melee fighters, and they go down easily.
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    Korgan's dialogue is great, and he's at top form in this quest.

    With that, I bring this part to a close. The party still has quite a bit of work to do before they can recruit their next member, but these four are coming together well.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Act Two, Part 2: Four Part Harmony

    Since we're in the area anyway, I head into the Copper Coronet for a few things. Talk to Firkraag to pick up a quest, then check in with Salvanas. I tried talking to him with the fake Hexxat earlier, but he didn't have anything to say to her. How about the real thing?
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    Well, Viconia first. Then Hexxat.
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    That's better.

    While I'm here, I pick up the pickpocket gloves and visit Llynis.
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    He doesn't put up much of a fight.
    I leave the rest of the back rooms alone for now, and instead head out to visit Arledrian. Viconia speaks up here with a serious backstory dump:
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    Well, there's your problem. Dropping Dorn's "good name"? You're lucky you didn't get an angry mob for that.

    After a misstep - forgetting to take off the Cloak of Dragomir and missing a trap that got Arledrian killed - I reload and deal with him properly. He doesn't keep a single magic item.
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    After all, that store will become unavailable in the future. I stash my ill-gotten gains - still only about 9K gold since I haven't been selling much, but a ton of items.

    And now, there's something time-sensitive in our packs. We do need to take care of Renfeld before he becomes a real corpse. Our first visit to the docks comes next.
    A mad cleric accosts us...
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    ... and dies. Whatever that spell was, he didn't get the chance to cast it.
    We deliver the poisoned man, then start back...
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    It seems Xzar is having memory problems. Ah, no matter. He and Montaron were good companions. We'll do it.

    The Harpers ask us to deal with a pair of mages...
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    Ah. They got their defenses up. This could get messy. I try a Command and a Larloch's Minor Drain - negated by a save and a mirror image. Plan B, then - use the door to dodge anything offensive.
    And then, one dodge is a little too slow.
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    They hurt me. They kill themselves. So much for the 5K experience there.

    I talk to the Shadow Thieves next, starting up the Mae'var quest line. Also, loot the Black Market Thief for a whole bunch of scrolls and a few other things. As night has fallen, I get started on Mae'var's tasks - burglarizing the Lathander temple is easier when it's just the night shift of guards. Indeed, Hexxat gets in and out without being seen at all; the one guard in the vicinity of the container just walked away.

    After delivering the statuette, it's back to the Harpers. Xzar was a companion longer than Edwin, after all. And now, it's past midnight:
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    We get a bit of street entertainment for our trouble. Having just watched that, VIconia turns her thoughts to other matters.
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    Attraction confirmed.

    The Harpers let us in now, so I find the bird and deliver it.
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    Oops. Too bad for him. But levels for three party members aren't a bad consolation prize.
    If our reputation were one point worse, Lucette would have attacked us as well. Instead, she just leaves.
    Dorn doesn't get to make any choices for his level 11. Viconia takes flail proficiency for her level 12. Hexxat's level 13 adds another 10 points of Pick Pockets (170 with gloves, allowing her to loot almost all Athkatla merchants without a potion) and puts the remaining 15 points into stealth.

    Now, Edwin's tasks. We have a mage to kill first - one who keeps his home guarded. The mephits aren't too bad, but the stone golems?
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    They hit hard. We have no choice but to spend some healing potions. At least that was the last hit for them.
    Finally, Rayic himself. I try to neutralize him with Hexxat's Blood Drain - no, he saved. That leaves stair dodging and normal weapons.
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    Success. One dead wizard.

    Up next, there are a lot of options for getting the documents off Marcus. I go for a nonviolent option, letting Viconia use the Ring of Human Influence for a charisma boost.
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    Hexxat has the charisma naturally, but she doesn't pass the race check for that one - human, half-elf, or elf. She'd just have to settle for snapping his neck.
    Then Mae'var sends us right back to the Sea's Bounty. I try to pick Embarl's pockets for potions before talking to him.
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    Failed, on the second attempt. I guess he dies without telling his story now.

    We're now at the point that we could recruit Edwin, but Dorn is only at 927K experience. I want an even 1 million before I go through with it. So, back to the slums. After looting Gorch and the skill testing room, anyway. Some thugs pop up at the edge of the docks, and the bag's full - we need to visit our stash and sell some junk to a merchant soon.
    As I'm doing this, I notice someone I rarely see.
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    This event only pops up at specific hours of the night, if you haven't disposed of Lehtinan. Let's see what the slavers are doing.
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    It's a slave transfer, from their stockade in that ship to the Copper Coronet. We may be evil, but we don't like slavers.
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    A backstab for one, a normal attack for the other.

    With that taken care of, we head into the back rooms.
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    Our party enjoys a good pit fight. That wasn't one. That was a slaughter, pure and simple. Sending a man with nothing but a nonmagical dagger up against a troll? At least give him proper weapons and armor. It's time we put an end to this farce.
    Guards accost us farther back, and pick a fight.
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    Ooh, that's a nice random scroll - Mass Invisibility. Hexxat is lucky enough to take out her target with a backstab straight through his mirror images. That just leaves one mage; we gang up on him, and he goes down.

    Then I realize something. Bernard's store will fully reset when we finish this quest. SO if we loot him now ...
    Hexxat drinks potions of perception and master thievery for a PP score of 230. And I even get something I wasn't expecting - a scroll case, which the later version of the store doesn't have.

    All right, back to Hendak.
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    Letting Hendak get his revenge? That seems like much better entertainment than the so-called pit fight we watched.
    I've been stealing potions for a while now, and I really should use some of them. Dorn drinks a stolen oil of speed as we head back for the Beastmaster.
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    Oh, come on. A critical miss? That would have hit on a 2, for a minimum of 53 damage ((1+4+4)*5+8). The beastmaster has 53 HP. That was a literal 95% kill chance I just missed.
    You know what? I'll give it another stab. Hexxat drinks a (stolen) potion of invisibility, then stabs again on the next round.
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    That's better. And we've got the animals mostly cleaned up, too.

    We head back to free the slaves, then kill the guards in their way ... hey, where's Hendak?
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    The poor confused man went the wrong way, into the fighting pits instead of down the corridor to revenge and freedom. At least he figures it out eventually.
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    Now there's some proper entertainment.
    Since Hexxat's potions are still going, I loot Bernard's store again - though he can keep some of the ammo this time. Three out of four party members get new weapons from the improved store, and Dorn's getting one soon.

    We're heading down through the sewers next, but Viconia has something to say first.
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    Don't be afraid to insult her back when she insults you. It won't break the romance.

    Now, on to the fighting. Some hobgoblins come first, and we open with a backstab as always.
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    That's one threat removed. The second shaman wastes a Hold Person on Hexxat - she doesn't even meet that spell's "humanoid" condition, and she's retreated out of range of the other party members - before falling to a Command and a slash.
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    That just leaves some normal weapon users. Dorn and Korgan have no issues tearing them up.

    Some more monsters follow. Oozes and an otyugh can't do much against a poison-immune Dorn (from Albruin). The mustard jelly rolls a 20, but he saves against the Slow effect. Another jelly, a carrion crawler ... the Oil of Speed wore off already? Time flies.

    Also, just one carrion crawler? Back in the BG sewers, we saw whole packs of them. I thought I installed a component for that ...
    Looking at the spawn point - encounter difficulty 2? Most BGEE spawn points were at 200. And most BG2EE spawn points seem to be at 2 like this one. My understanding of the system isn't there yet as I play this, but it's percolating.

    Beyond that point, it's another pack of hobgoblins. They go down easily.
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    Really easily, in fact. They got in one attack roll. Total. And no offensive spells, since Hexxat opened by backstabbing the shaman. Ambush tactics are extraordinarily powerful.
    I talk to Quallo about the treasure, and Korgan gets impatient.
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    Well, how about not dealing with those riddles right away? I have other things to do, for XP-management reasons.

    Instead, the party heads up to face the slavers.
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    Ah, I see Korgan's dialogue agrees with this party's stance.
    Then we head back down to fight in a more favorable location. The priest casts a spell ...
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    It's a Remove Magic. Which a priest shouldn't be able to cast, as that's a mage spell. But it doesn't dispel anything, because the priest has mage caster level 1. Ah, the twists and turns of questionably effective vanilla scripting.
    Also, that critical backstab from Hexxat? The slaver in question would have gone down in one hit even without the crit.
    Once we finish with this crowd, the captain is alone upstairs. He goes down easily without his support, though he does land a hit.

    Viconia's romance continues, with an apology of sorts.
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    Don't just take it from her. Hit back with your words. She'll respect you more for it anyway.

    We deal with the trolls here - Korgan has a flaming axe to execute them - and free the slaves. That earns a point of reputation (up to 7) and complaints from multiple party members. Don't worry. I won't let it get too high.
    After clearing out some traps and a pair of yuan-ti, we reach another group of slavers. This one with a pair of wizards.
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    And that's one down before his Stoneskin could activate.
    The second wizard does manage some spells before falling; I had trouble getting the party to focus properly. One of those spells is a Confusion.
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    So despite our victory, we have to wait a bit for Hexxat to regain her senses.

    As we leave the ship ...
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    The option to start chapter 3 is upon us, as we've picked up enough gold from monster drops and selling nonmagical junk. We won't take it up just yet, of course. For one thing, the morning sun is up.
    Then that last slaver guard goes hostile, Hexxat backstabs him, and Brus shows up to update his side's offer.

    Finally, the reward.
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    Perfectly set up. Dorn is just about 2000 XP past the 1 million mark. We're ready to recruit Edwin.
    Korgan passes a million as well here, and takes level 12. He's specialized in dual-wielding now, so he puts a second axe in his off hand instead of a shield.

    Next time, this party grows to five. We're still not ready for the sixth.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Act Two, Part 3: The Fifth Wheel

    On the way to meet Edwin again, Viconia speaks up, telling stories of her past and trying to provoke a reaction.
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    It may not be the reaction she expected - Dorn doesn't have any problem with prostitution.

    And then we arrive.
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    We now have a party of five.

    Edwin goes up to 1 million experience and mage level 12. He gains 6 HP from those three levels (roll 2/4) and takes sling proficiency. And then I feed him a pair of Int-boosting potions and start scribing. Also, sell and steal back the scrolls I've found out in the world, for 13K free gold. I'll allow plenty of shoplifting, but I won't allow stealing back something that was already stolen from a fence - no infinite loops.

    The first round of this scribing, before I even get to the erasing and re-learning, is good for 61K experience. Each. And since I'm planning to rest immediately afterward, no reason not to scribe everything; that's about another 115K each. Viconia reaches level 13, Hexxat reaches level 15 (all skill points to stealth), and Edwin reaches level 13. We memorize spells, rest at the Sea's Bounty, and end the session.

    After the rest, Hexxat gets a word in.
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    Clearly, she didn't sleep all that time. Then again, she can't get fatigued, so why would she?
    Also, I forgot to turn off automatic spellcasting on Edwin. Doing that now. I'll accept that Stoneskin, but no more spells without my explicit choice.

    The new session comes, and I start with a bit of shopping - actually paying for goods this time. Since we're at reputation 8, hiding Viconia gets us to neutral rep and the best prices we're going to get.
    From Ribald, we buy the girdle of hill giant strength, a gem bag, The Victor, a rod of resurrection, and the AC 3 bracers. That costs over 30K total gold, bringing us down to almost nothing. Quick, sell some stuff... jewelry, miscellaneous junk, and magic items to Galoomp. And then steal back the good stuff so I can sell it again to a fence later. That brings enough gold for one more expensive item - the Robe of Vecna - and 15K gold to spare.
    Then I drop below 15K gold buying a few potions of genius and mind focusing. Edwin's future scribing sessions deserve that coverage.

    And now, back to the action. Well, there was a visit from Habib and his unconventional tithe, and an encounter with some thugs, but nothing too serious.
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    Dorn finally gets around to crashing that wedding. Why not earlier? Because our companions have things to say.
    As you can see there, Dorn chose to pick a small fight - but not to make the whole wedding hostile.
    He follows up with the chaotic choice at the main event:
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    There are gender checks in this dialogue, but you can still convince the bride's family to have Colin killed right there.
    Once that's done with, Dorn gets down to business.
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    Uh ... Bollard is supposed to fight back. Something breaks in the scripting, and he can't figure out what to do.
    Then things break worse.
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    The cutscene just ... doesn't end. The only way out is to force quit.

    I try again. This time, Bollard fights back, but the cutscene still hangs. This one's repeatable; clearly, Dorn being player 1 has broken the cutscene.

    All right, plan B. I'm just going to avoid that cutscene and make it a general fight.
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    This guarantees a reputation loss by forgoing the option to let the guests go, but we were going to kill the guests anyway.
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    And even without the duel, Dorn lands the killing blow on Bollard Firejaw. I tried for a backstab, but he's just not standing in a place where that works.
    Also, the unconscious person is that way from a hit with Viconia's melee weapon "The Sleeper".
    Kill a few stragglers...
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    And our work is done. We head out the side door, past the horses "Angel" and "Atta Girl". Reputation down to 5, losing two points for starting the general fight and one for killing the bride. The clock is now running on Dorn's next quest - and the opportunity to recruit our final party member.

    That clock is a seven-day timer. I'd like to be at just over 1.25 million XP when it ends, for the recruitment trigger. That's not far from where we are already - so we're not doing any major quests. Instead, we clear out a few small things.

    First, we head back down below the Copper Coronet.
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    And here's my trick for the riddles - mark which pipe takes which item by putting items on the ground. A ring, a potion, gloves (for the hand) and a staff.
    Lilarcor is, of course, an upgrade over the plain +3 two-handed sword Dorn had. To celebrate its acquisition...
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    We kill some myconids. With the front line immune to confusion, they're not much of a threat.

    Next, we return to the temple district to start a side quest.
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    And because of Patsy, we're doing this for the temple of Talos.
    Sir Sarles is exactly how he usually is, though our party does have some suggestions:
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    Checking ... no, Sarles doesn't have special charmed dialogue. Edwin's idea wouldn't help.
    We visit Jerlia, setting things in motion for both real and fake illithium. Check in with Unger, and then visit the Bridge District for the first time.

    I run into a little oddity - the mugger ambush runs into Neera's introductory scene, so the cutscene plays with the battle music.
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    Which is Neera music due to my randomizer, so that's neat.
    Also, darkness falls in the middle of the scene, and that little movie plays. The only problem with it all is that Hexxat loses her stealth and can't sneak behind that mugger (visible in the picture).

    Then we get on with an investigation. Gather evidence, confront tanner...
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    I thought about letting him gather some "security", but that wasn't an option with my evidence-gathering.
    As you can see, Dorn has leveled. That's level 12, which brings dual-wielding specialization. He'll use two bastard swords in melee; for now, his off hand is Kondar.
    Down below, several party members interject.
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    Including Dorn, warning himself.
    AI off. Look for traps before going anywhere. Then disarm, loot, and head down. It's a battle.
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    He went from being visible and under attack to landing a backstab virtually instantly. I think he used his non-droppable ring of invisibility. Without any log message.
    Fortunately, that was a minimum-damage roll. And now he's visible with no tricks available. He goes down fast. And then the second wave arrives.
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    Another assassin and a bone golem. This thief dies before he can go invisible, and the bone golem only gets one hit in. Victory.

    On the way back to Aegisfield, Edwin pries.
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    No, Dorn isn't going to talk about that.

    That brings 45K experience, and a reputation boost to 6. Now, since we're in the area anyway, we check out some unmarked buildings:
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    Some for loot.
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    Another for a fight.
    We open with Chaos, Horror, and cancel the Greater Command. With the mage confused and panicked already, we don't need it. The priest takes a backstab from Hexxat and a crit from Dorn - dead. The enemies flail a bit in their confusion, but don't deal any damage.
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    A clean win. That party has poor equipment, but they are guarding one item with real value - a scroll of Breach. Edwin will learn and memorize that as soon as possible.

    The cutpurse in the west holds more scrolls to steal. And as we're handling that...
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    Huh. Dorn wants to become a vampire? I didn't know that. It's not happening, though. Hexxat definitely doesn't want to share her curse.

    Then, we enter the building to confront Neb. He goes invisible immediately after speaking. But Albruin has an ability...
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    Revealed and vulnerable. He doesn't last. One child spirit lands a hit on Korgan - who didn't rage this time. But the drain doesn't stick; Lesser Restoration is applied to the party. All but Hexxat (who can't be fatigued at all) are very tired.

    I move toward an inn ...
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    More conflict in he streets. And this time, we have to fight. Since the vampire doesn't stick around, it's an easy fight.

    And then, I realize there's still something I meant to do before the rest.
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    We confront the kidnappers. And kill them.
    Viconia interrupts with another romance talk:
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    Almost there - but her drow sensibilities get in the way.
    Then we go upstairs.
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    Of course we're collecting the ransom. The hard part has already been done for us.
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    I usually pick Welther's pocket for the pantaloons, but not this time. Dorn's party has no fear of reputation loss. We're down to 4.

    And now, we finally rest. Dorn is just 675 XP away from the key threshold. Time to start killing time; a random encounter will probably come along to cover that last bit. Head to the city gates to open up travel ...
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    Ah. There it is already. We cast our spells...
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    ... and the encounter is won. These orogs are indeed enough to reach that magic number.

    With travel opened up, we head to Watcher's Keep. Buy the potion case, don't go in. Travel back and forth between Watcher's Keep and the slums, for four round trips at 20 hours each. The timers run down.
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    And not just Dorn's timer. Hexxat has things to do as well.
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    We're finally ready. Next time, we complete the party.

    Oh, and that bit with the broken cutscene in Dorn's quest? We'll come back to that. We dodged this problem, but it doesn't stop here.
  • SelerelSelerel Member Posts: 172
    This is very interesting, looking forward to hearing more!!
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Act Two, Part 4: Earning His Keep

    The party enters the Copper Coronet, and immediately performs that final recruitment.
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    Anomen. There aren't any more evil characters we can pick up, so we go for a neutral one instead. Anomen levels up to cleric 13, gaining 18 HP (roll 8/8) and taking his third dot in maces.

    Anomen is, of course, not the easiest to get along with in an evil party. He has two conflicts with Dorn we need to avoid.
    The first comes up immediately if Anomen and Dorn are both in the party and Dorn's plot is still on the wedding crash. You can choose between Anomen and Dorn, but the one you don't choose goes hostile. That is, of course, why we waited so long to recruit Anomen; we needed the variable set in that last Dorn dialogue to dodge this conflict.
    The second comes randomly if Anomen passes his knighthood trial, with a banter. It can be resolved without a fight, but that's still Anomen leaving forever or Dorn returning to the Temple District - not an option in this party. Of course, this one's far easier to avoid. We weren't going to let Anomen pass his trial anyway.

    Then, of course, the romance track begins immediately.
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    Anomen may be a bit confused, but Dorn knows exactly what he wants. We can't be too harsh with him; there are romance-breaking options even in this very first talk.

    After preparing spells and resting, we head out. It's time to earn our keep.
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    After dealing with some random bandits on the way. This path has a 100% chance of an encounter. The mage nearly gets a spell off, but Edwin has a timely Magic Missile.
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    And the rest of them are no problem.

    With that, we arrive at the keep. And find trolls. Outdoors, it's one troll or one ice troll per spawn point - laughably easy. Once again, it's that "Encounter Difficulty" of 2 breaking things.
    Meet with Nalia, get the full picture. And some fire arrows we won't use. Inside, the first troll brings level 13 for Korgan:
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    An important level, bringing a boost to 3 main-hand APR. And Korgan's the only one wielding a weapon that can finish trolls right now.

    We talk to Daleson...
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    Anomen nixes the evil option. We weren't serious about it anyway; losing 4 reputation for no good reason isn't a good idea. It's even worse than killing him outright; that would only be -1 for killing an innocent at reputation 4.

    We head through the secret door for the first flail head. While we could activate the forge at no cost, it isn't worth it; we need at least two heads before the flail is worth using at all.

    The first serious fight is a big pack of trolls in the main hall.
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    While Korgan does most of the killing, Hexxat got one with a backstab and an acid arrow. Then another after that. Also, I note Edwin taking melee hits - move him before his Stoneskin runs out.
    Dorn takes a significant chunk of damage in this fight, though I don't spend any healing resources. Just pass that regeneration ring around.

    Once the ground floor is clear, I head outside.
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    An otyugh? No problem. That was an excellent blow.
    Kill some dogs, open the gates.
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    And here we see the first yuan-ti. It's mostly trolls, but it isn't only trolls. All of the kills in this fight go to the guards, as it happens.

    Back inside, the guards join in against one new troll. Then we head up the stairs. More scattered trolls await, plus one more dangerous monster.
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    A yuan-ti mage. It puts up combat protections. But ... we have Breach.
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    The killing blow is a backstab, not that it really matters. An unprotected mage is a dead mage.
    Breach is a seriously unfair spell in the vanilla spell system. Only Spell Shield or full level 5 spell immunity can block it, and the latter is only available for liches and rakshasas unless you use a super-rare scroll of protection from magic.

    Continuing on, we meet the most annoying noblewoman. Four out of five companions have something to say:
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    There's an evil option here too, getting her killed for -4 rep. We don't take it. However tempting it may be.

    That opens the way to the golems, and I start bashing.
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    Wake them up in pairs by taking the treasure they guard? Nah. Better to fight them one by one. I leave the iron golem for the moment, kill the rest, and take only the flail head (which the golems don't care about).

    Next up, Glaicus. Normally, I'd cure him with a dispel. But this is an evil party.
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    Blindness lands. Command doesn't. Good enough.
    Still, despite that blindness, he manages to hit Korgan twice before going down.
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    He is a level 15 fighter with grand mastery and bonus APR. A mere -4 penalty won't stop him.

    There's a bit up on the roof too, and night has fallen. Hexxat can take off the cloak.
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    Just a few snakes, though. Nothing dangerous.

    All right, back to the iron golem. We have the full Flail of Ages now, which will be Viconia's melee weapon. I take the hammer ... no action. Another melee weapon we can use in the fight; golems count as "giant humanoid". Dorn has Lilarcor, Korgan has Stonefire, Anomen has Kneecapper (but he's merely proficient in hammers), Viconia has the Flail of Ages, and Hexxat has the Blade of Roses. Only Edwin completely lacks a usable weapon for this fight. Apply a few cleric buffs, then start the fight.
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    And this is no ordinary iron golem; it has 75% physical resistance instead of the standard 20%. But we start in melee range, with five party members attacking. And Viconia's first attack slows it.
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    It manages one attack. Korgan takes 30 damage. And then it's destroyed.
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    In Lilarcor's words, "Muwahahaha-ha-ha!" We take the rest of the treasure, and head down to the basement.

    There are a few trolls to kill, umber hulks to feed, and loot to grab. Then comes the big fight.
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    We're prepared. Chant, Haste, summons, a few individual buffs. And then my computer crashes on me - hard freeze, need to reset from the power button. I don't blame the game for this one; this is a problem with my aging computer that doesn't seem tied to any particular program.

    Back again, from the start of the basement. With a slightly different buff set for the final fight.
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    We cast one enemy-affecting spell; Dorn's Aura of Despair. Everything else is just our buffed army attacking. Including Korgan at 20 strength, 8 APR, and troll-killing weapons in each hand.
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    Predictably, it doesn't take long. With our buffs still active, we turn around to kill the umber hulks. They go down just as quickly, though Hexxat does get confused and we have to wait it out.

    With the quest essentially complete, I step outside.
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    And the other conflict in our party rears its head. Fortunately, this isn't a fatal one; we'll be able to send one of the two away, then pick them right back up.

    Then we return to Nalia.
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    Not villainous enough? You're the only one who cares about that here, Nalia. Though we won't hunt down the man unless he comes after us or we're getting paid. Mercenary rules, you know.
    As a side note, one thing this quest provides? A massive abundance of magical ammo.
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    That was all collected in this area. We spent a bunch of our stolen +2 bullets (that's what Edwin and Viconia use), plus a couple stolen acid arrows.

    Before we can rest and prepare for the next challenge - the Haste we used fatigued some of our party - both romances continue.
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    Viconia drops a serious chunk of history regarding her and the Underdark. Anomen is still in the early stages.

    In the new session, I return to Athkatla. Pick up the illithium alloy, get the order of things wrong ... well, if I'm in the temple district anyway, might as well talk to Telwyn.
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    Dorn argues with himself, but his cunning side wins out over the brute.

    Now, get things right and talk to Sarles.
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    Well, he won't be making any sculptures for rival temples either.

    Also in the area, I talk to Delon, Madeen, and Tolgerias. Korgan and Edwin have plenty to say in that conversation.
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    Quest taken. With the caveat that we'll jump ship at the first sight of a better offer.
    Since I'm in the building anyway, I hand in Neb's head for a 2500 gold bounty and a point of reputation. Up to 5.

    All right, now we can go back to the temple of Talos.
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    It's not just the Helm temple that's fine with illithium alloy. And while we're at it, we pick up the next quest to secure the Dawn Ring.
    I decide to actually use Ardulia's Fall for once; it'll be Anomen's default mace for a while. Hexxat reaches level 16, boosting her Set Traps score to 55 and taking katana proficiency. We don't have a katana for her yet, but that's on the docket sometime soon.

    One last thing before we head to the graveyard - it's time to close out the business with Mae'var.
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    Message delivered. And we're the hands to actually kill the renegade.
    I start from the top.
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    Low levels, poor equipment. They're very little threat - so little, in fact, that Viconia decides it's a good time for romance.
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    OK, she won't give those talks during actual battle. But this isn't hostile enough territory to stop her during the lulls.
    In the basement, I go for a backstab on Mae'var. And he evades it - by walking slightly forward? Grr.
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    Then she's visible, so she falls back.
    Even this party isn't much of a threat.
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    The armor is nice, at least. Hexxat claims the shadow armor.
    Note also the plus signs. Cleric level 14 for Anomen and Viconia, so they now have level 7 spells. The big reward from Renal (45.5K XP each) doesn't earn us any new levels beyond that.

    And that's it for now. Next time, we head to the graveyard. We have some things to do in tombs.
  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,813
    Act Two, Part 5: Among the Graves

    We enter the graveyard at night, ready to speak with our mysterious contact - but other matters take priority.
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    The tomb is full of traps. And ghosts.
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    I didn't know it at the time, but they were speaking with Viconia there. If I knew they were asking her about Underdark creatures, I would have said something different - probably the "Other than my mother-in-law? No." line. Also, why doesn't she have an interjection there?

    In this case, the creatures in question are mind flayers. And umber hulks.
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    As soon as I see them, I put up defenses. Chaotic Commands for Dorn and Anomen, rage for Korgan, and Hexxat is immune to death by ability drain. Also, that's a wasted ability use - Hexxat is permanently immune to charm/domination effects.
    And then things go wrong. For some unknown reason, the monks all go hostile - my best guess is that a confused monk attacked an ally, and that got them all mad.
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    That complicates things. A lot. Viconia switches to melee for the rearguard, while Edwin tries to pull away from the monks. Those two do fine at first, but ...
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    Hexxat takes several nasty hits, and she's out. We do at least manage to finish off the mind flayers, though.
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    That just leaves the ghosts.
    All of a sudden, things get worse. Keno lands a stunning blow on Viconia, and there's nothing we can do to protect her.
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    Two down. But Anomen has a Raise Dead memorized, so there's no need to abort. The warriors take down the troublesome Keno, and we earn a breather.

    Cast that Raise Dead. And a Heal. Viconia is back to full strength. But we can't do that for Hexxat; only waiting out her one-hour timer will bring her back. Well, at least we can use that time for regeneration; 50 points to spread around our injured characters. The timer ends, and ...
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    Uh ... you were already in the party. We never dropped you.

    There's one more thing to do over here ...
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    Visit this spot, and Hexxat drops some of her backstory. Hmm. Any mods out there that have come up with a Mazewalker of Ubtao cleric kit?

    Moving on, Hexxat warns us about disturbing coffins. We ignore that. There's treasure to be found. Also mummies.
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    Correction - hard-hitting mummies. 3d8 base damage, 19 strength. A maximum-damage hit would have killed Dorn there, though such a hit is very unlikely.
    As a curiosity, most mummies can be defeated by casting Resurrection on them. The mummy is brought back to life as a human, who says a line and leaves. No experience reward. The rod of resurrection is not a valid substitute, as even in patch 2.6 it only casts the subspell with the effects - not the overall spell that the script checks for.

    Up next, it's a fight against a full party of enemies. Well, we could just steal the key and skip it, but that's no fun. Prepare with buffs and summons:
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    And hit the activation. Our initial placement surrounds the mage, so he goes down immediately.
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    The party then splits to continue tearing through the enemy. It doesn't take long.
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    Well, all right, some ghosts get angry too. We take care of them, and continue to the remaining non-angry ghosts to dispose of those as well.

    By the time of the final fight, the haste has worn off and the party's feeling a bit of fatigue.
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    But there's one of him, and nine of us. Well, the skeletons don't really count; Nan Kung Chi requires +2 to hit. It's not hard.

    With the scepter claimed, we are transported back to Athkatla's graveyard. Edwin pipes up immediately.
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    Right, another personal quest. We'll get to that soon.
    And then, some romance.
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    A creepy graveyard at night - what better time for romance? Also, ignore that talk about Imoen. The accurate thing for Dorn to say would be "Who's that? I've never met anyone named Imoen", but that's not an option.

    Then, finally, the woman who has been waiting for us all this time gets a chance to talk to us.
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    And for the first time ever, I side with her. After all, this party is all for it. We enter the hold and grab the Mace of Disruption for Anomen before heading down to Edwin's target.
    Nevaziah is a lich, at least in appearance.
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    He doesn't fight very well, though; despite being level 20, he only knows spells up to level 5.
    Dorn gained enough experience for a level from the ghasts and mummies just before, and then Korgan and Edwin do from Nevaziah himself. Blackguard level 13, berserker level 14, conjurer level 14. No decisions to make.

    After a visit to our stash spot, it's off to the docks.
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    As expected, the thieves are hostile. But there aren't too many of them. Hexxat's second backstab takes down Mook, while the remainder of the party gangs up on the others.
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    And then the surprise comes - Arkanis Gath, who started invisible.
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    He took advantage of that invisibility to land a 50-point backstab on Dorn. We strike back and bring him down, ending this battle.
    Arkanis does drop a unique item you don't find in the other path - the Rifthome Axe +3. Korgan appreciates it, though the "prefer melee" AI mode has a habit of switching to its melee mode instead of the more damaging Frostreaver. I don't understand that one.

    With this battle concluded, we don't leave the docks. Instead, we head over to Cromwell.
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    Anomen's new mace is now upgraded. That also serves as rest, clearing the party's fatigue. And since 24 hours pass, we take this opportunity to knock off another night quest.
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    Travin spills the beans. On to Borinall.
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    Nice and simple. No fight here, unlike the Helm/Lathander side of this quest.
    Before we even leave, a romance timer runs down.
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    I was tempted by the "you should harden yourself" line, but that's a romance-breaker. Anomen hasn't fallen yet, after all.

    After a trip to the Promenade to loot Jayes - lots of scrolls, a Martial Staff for Edwin - we return to Bodhi to report success and pick up the next mission.
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    Both Korgan and Viconia weighed in on this one, and I'm going with their recommendation.

    On the way over to the Government District, we run into some bandits:
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    Easy. Hit them with a Slow take them apart with melee attacks. Also, note that Anomen is still using Ardulia's Fall against living enemies that don't require a high enchantment level.

    That brings us to the Government District from a different entrance than usual. We come to the Vulova estate from the south ...
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    Oh, you don't need to worry about that. We're not at risk from that conflict. In fact, the events don't trigger at all once you side with Bodhi.
    The guards exit through the nearest door ... the Waukeen temple, not Vulova's estate. I followed them before realizing my mistake.

    The Shadow Thief dagger is a terrible weapon. 1d4 damage, no strength bonus. It got bonus APR in some versions of the game, but no longer does now. Still, Vulova only has 15 HP and is unarmed...
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    So naturally, Hexxat rolls a maximum damage critical backstab. 80 points on Vulova, and he's very dead.
    If Vulova sees you and you're close enough, he initiates dialogue to beg for mercy and sic his guards on you. We didn't give him the chance. And with the instant kill, the guards aren't even hostile yet. Hexxat switches to one of her good weapons...
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    Two down. Just the fighter to go. That death wakes him up at least, so the party engages him conventionally.
    We plant the murder weapon and the cloak in the fountain, loot the chest, and head out.

    Before going back to Bodhi, we handle some other things. First, a romance talk that had me laughing out loud:
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    Oh, you poor deluded fool. A blackguard with 5 reputation, and that qualifies as a force for righteousness and honor?
    Looking at the dialogue, it's a reaction check. To get that line, either player 1 is a non-blackguard paladin or player 1 has a "friendly" reaction. Dorn is wearing the Nymph Cloak for 19 charisma, so that combined with his reputation of 5 is a +5 reaction score. Just barely enough for the "friendly" threshold.
    And then, back to the temple of Talos.
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    As we won't be doing the cleric stronghold, there's nothing more to this. No open conflict between the temples, despite any hints in the dialogue.

    That's it for now. Next time, we head out for Dorn's quest.
  • SelerelSelerel Member Posts: 172
    Curious to see how Dorn's quest goes with Dorn as PC. Can't see it going too smoothly...? Maybe that's what you had alluded to in one of the previous posts.
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