TSHawk Member Posts: 2
Hey everyone I need some help here. I just have restarted playing baldur's gate II: Shadows of Amn on Steam. It has been over 20 years but I am in a section that I don't remember. It is also not listed in the old Bioware versus book that I have for the game as well. After doing Nalia's quest I wasn't able to go back to Athakala or whatever so I went to windspear. No I haven't completed that but I was just trying to get back to the city to start chapter 3. However a side quest showed up taking me Southwest to a keep for Helm. Now the Priest of Helm said that my character wasn't strong enough to take on the challenge even though my character has been foretold as the savior. This quest isn't in the guide book at all so is this a new quest?
Throne of Bhaal is designed to take the player and their party from the end of Shadows of Amn all the way to the brink of godhood. Finishing the Shadows of Amn campaign will automatically take the character and their party into ToB.
So, what does this mean for Watcher's Keep? Watcher's Keep is one gigantic dungeon. And it's high-level content, like everything in the expansion. If you haven't built up some strength, you'll find it very hard indeed. You might want to go there anyway, to pick up some of the excellent loot - the first level alone has quivers of unlimited +1 arrows and bolts, a container (ammo belt) to hold 2000 pieces of ammunition, and a returning +3 dart, all before you even get to the level's boss fight. But you'll still want a few more levels under your belt. Level 10 will get you past that priest's dialogue, and I'd recommend at least level 15 for the best experience. In the first level, that is. Deeper down, the challenges ramp up.
But it is an excellent source of experience and loot. I usually head there right after the Underdark.
And role playing wise I can’t abandon Imoen for that long!
But you sure would come out of it pretty tough. Probably gain 5 levels or so? And so much stuff.
Interestingly the adversaries are scaled down for lower level parties:
* There are less statues on level one which is a shame because you earn less magical treasure! (But you still get Usuno's Blade and Foebane). I think that the spiders and jellies are less powerful versions too.
* On level two the fire giants and golems are replaced by Sahuagin (which carry decent loot including magical bolts), Rakshasa and the very interesting Desert Trolls who are immune to fire and can only be killed by acid! The Desert Trolls were a welcome challenge as I didn't find them anywhere else in SoA or ToB
* On level three the Demon Wraith has less spirit allies (thankfully) and there are less Demon Knights accompanying the Cambion (which again means less magical treasure sadly).
* There was very little scaling down on level four - by then though my party was at a higher level so this might have had something to do with it.
I think it's good to have a verbal warning from Ordren before entering, although as mentioned above you can ignore him if you want to.
I have the old Versus Guide, dates back to the original release of the game, and the experience totals it lists throughout the Keep are wildly over stated. I always just assumed the totals were adjusted down between when they wrote the guide and the game was released. (Seriously, you’d probably all gain 10 levels if it were accurate!) But maybe those numbers are accurate if you save it for very late?
The altar level goes into easy mode - half the statues, swap the four spawn points for spawn points with easier monsters in the same place - if your party has less than five members or an average level below 14.
The elemental level goes into easy mode - swap the four spawn points for easier versions - if your party has less than five members or an average level below 14.
On the maze level, the threshold is an average party level of 16. Above, you get the full-strength encounters. At or below, you get weaker versions. In the cambion room, four demon knights are reduced to two. In Tahazzar's room, the yochlol and quasits despawn. In Ka'rashur's room, the imps despawn. In the wraith room, five slave wraiths are reduced to three.
The rest of the dungeon has no level checks. The bottom levels are always at full difficulty.
Therefore I doubt I'll ever try a lower level attempt at watchers keep again...even if the spirits accompanying the Demon wraith are very annoying, what with their level drains. IiRC I think on the low level run I bypassed the Demon wraith completely by simply running for the exit while picking up all the loose treasure from the ground using the quickloot option...how crass.
I was also able to befriend Tahazzar so didn't have to fight him and his allies. I didn't bother with Saladrex or the Demi Lich (although the latter could probably have been defeated without trouble by a single character using a Protection from Undead Scroll and +4 weapon) However, I chose the violent option with Aesgareth and quite easily beat him and his pals though, using some rather cheesy hit and run/divide and conquer tactics. Nishruu conjuring from my protagonist mage helped here against the spellcasters a lot. The Githyanki and their leader were very simple to overcome using mid/low level mage area effect spells like Web, Fireball, Acid Fog and Cloudkill - I was surprised how quickly they went down using a single spellcaster.
I'm fairly sure that the cornugons/pit fiends mark the limiting point for lower level parties anyway. I just couldn't find a decent way of beating them with the spells and equipment I had, and the main reason was that these combats occur in dead magic zones, which destroy all chances of buffing your party. With buffing it would probably be possible.
Edit: I had to repost this because the original ended up with weird formatting.
And Dharius you hit the nail on the head with the Demi-Lich. If I have a “Protection from Undead” he’s toast, otherwise ignore. I usually play paladins (or have Keldorn) so befriending a demon isn’t going to work for me! I usually get a big kick out of watching my cavalier tear through those bullies.
The final seal battles are the worst, most likely to hit reload.
Sometimes I go whup Mr D, but I think that’s usually poor role playing. I prefer to seal him away.
Previous discussion here.
But the battle is a great challenge, one of the toughest in the series. Nearly impossible for low level parties though.
I really wouldn't (and didn't) attempt anything on level five though, especially the adversaries associated with the three final seals. I usually wait until at least about level 20 before trying with a full party.
But I have encountered a number of fights where my experience varied greatly depending on my party mix. Sometimes a “very easy” fight becomes “very hard” with one or two key characters switched out.
It may be my party makeup that made the Imprisoned One more difficult than you might think. The first time I ever beat him was with a party of six containing no arcane spellcasters, which isn't very orthodox...I'm not sure I had a thief either.
Cavaliers make great protagonists: they don't really have any disadvantages at all and their bonuses against demons may have tipped things in your favour.
At the risk of repeating myself and sounding boring, for me it was those unavoidable dead magic zones that provided the insurmountable hurdle for the low level run. As mentioned by jmerry they cannot be sidestepped, so the only solution may be to rely on a lot of perks from permanent magic items e.g. boots of speed to overcome the fiends or outrun them. And depending on the party history you may or not have them in your possession at the time.
Maybe I'll take another look at this scenario on the next run through.
On the other seal challenges I usually find the lich and those weird cold wielding mage/warrior fights rather easy, but then I know where and how they're coming by experience....buffing and mass haste usually do the trick. The cold mage has to be taken out first though otherwise it wreaks havoc.
Also with the dead magic zones I don't really understand why the fiends can cast spells like agannazar's scorcher and we can't, but I guess it makes it more interesting...
Sorry, I forgot we started with the low level theme. No doubt the anti-magic rooms add to the difficulty, maybe the lack of spellcasters didn’t hurt you too much? But obviously they are needed for the seal battles. The lich is the easiest of the bunch, but still tough without anti-magic I would think.