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"Maybe this time" [NO-RELOAD THREAD]: "The Tale of TEN THOUSAND Trials"

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  • FlashburnFlashburn Member Posts: 1,723
    Arrow Slinger's Sneaky Neverwinter Escapade
    Part 2: Chapter 2
    Previous updates: 1

    Thanks to UMD and a good Appraise roll, I can buy a Robe of the Dark Moon at the Temple of Tyr for perma-Haste for a relatively cheap 18k. Back to the North Road caves again. The goblin, bugbear, and orc chiefs are killed again easily with Grimgnaw tanking while Arrow Slinger stands back with ranged sneak attacks. Some trash mobs before Dergiab give a level.
    0eal7pc6xyi3.jpg

    The Arcane Brother's crypt is going to wait until later. The East Road is next and the Creator Ruins give another level.
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    After that, Geth is killed for more XP.
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    Setara in the Neverwinter Wood is killed after giving her the mirror from the nymph's home (who is also killed). Killing enemies seems to give way more XP than doing quests...which is basically the opposite of how it is in Baldur's Gate.
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    Once inside the realm of the spirit of the wood, we have no choice but to kill it. I was planning to give it the antidote first before killing it anyway, but its summoned Shadow Fiend would not stop attacking Grimgnaw after the spirit had surrendered. Attacking the shadow fiend caused the Spirit of the Wood to turn hostile again.
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    South Road is next. Silverback is killed for a level and her head is given to Farmer Pete.
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    Now to solve the mystery of Castle Charwood. I perform the ritual to summon Belial and get his oath.
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    Karlat is killed the first time around for a huge XP gain. Karlat cast Weird at me, but the Belt of Guiding Light I was wearing protected me from the death magic. After killing Karlat the first time, his Challenge Rating takes a nosedive, so it's only worth doing it once. His oath is acquired.
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    Quint's side of the castle is cleared. I take the long way around the bodak guard and kill it from beyond a portcullis. It tries to break it down to get at me, but it's not strong enough to do so. The Belt of Guiding Light would have protected me from its Death Gaze, but it wasn't close enough for the gaze to reach.
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    With Quint's oath, it is time to judge the both of them. They are both declared not guilty as it was Belial's influence that caused the events that transpired in the castle.
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    With the three werewolf boys dead, it's time to cure kill Sir Karathis. On the way there, we get ambushed by Darktongue Breakbone and two of his goons. He hits hard and fast, but Grimgnaw tanks him well enough for me to shoot them all down with ranged sneak attacks.
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    Karathis's cave is found and he is put down after being cured. Nyeh heh heh.
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    Alhelor is the werewolf that caused all this. That's it for this quest chain.
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    I bring back Relmar's journal and the Charwood cultist's journal to Aribeth, which allows entry into Luskan. I'm not quite down here yet though.
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    I bring back all three serpent gems to Eliath Craulnober which grants a level. That means Zamithra, Wanev, and Setara are dead.
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    Mutamin's dungeon is completed. Nothing noteworthy there.
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    With everything else in Chapter 2 cleared, it's time to get revenge on Brother Toras. I make my way to his room and buff with Protection from Evil; potions of Cat's Grace, Bull's Strength, and Endurance; and a scroll of Protection from Elements and Lesser Spell Mantle. His inital Chain Lightning is harmlessly absorbed by the spell mantle, though I find it weird that it still chained to Grimgnaw anyway.
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    Toras is casting spells in rapid succession because he began the fight with Haste. Toras uses Dispel Magic on me, which surprisingly only removes Protection from Evil and Protection from Elements. I have to back off because my health is somehow at 50%, so I retreat and drink a Potion of Heal. Toras follows but Grimgnaw and I ambush him when he rounds the corner, disrupting his spells. I use a scroll of Greater Spell Breach to remove his Greater Stoneskin, which leaves him open for Grimmy and I to beat him down.
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    And now, for a reward that I've been saving for myself for completing all of Chapter 2: Kendrack's bounty glitch. Kendrack wants the ears of 4 Waterdeep Prison escapees and will give some XP and gold for getting the ear... but he has to walk to up you to take said ear from your inventory. If you tell him you have another ear before he takes it from you, you can turn in the same ear over and over again for huge XP and gold gains. All you have to do is run around and not let him get close to you while mashing the '1' key on your keyboard to spam the dialogue option to turn in the ear. I do so with Zor's ear and gain an entire level's worth of XP from it.
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    After leveling up, I try again with Delilah's ear, but Kendrack now runs toward me instead of walking, so he takes the ear from me before I get enough for a level. Drat. I talk to him again with Wyvern's ear and lead him outside into Port Llast so I have more room to run around, but this time he walks. I gain a 2nd level.
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    I do the same with Stirge's ear for a 3rd level and do it enough times that it leaves me very close to a 4th level. Turning in Yesgar's ear should do the trick.
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    On the way to Port Llast's mines to kill Yesgar and take back Kendrack's daughter, Solomon ambushes us. He is certainly no challenge but drops a Ring of Protection +5!
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    We enter the mines and kill Yesgar and his assorted ogre and orc goons. Rescuing Shaldrissa is what gives me the 4th level I wanted.
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    Yesgar's ear is turned in, but you cannot perform the glitch with his ear. There is nothing else left to do in Chapter 2. Into Luskan and Chapter 2E we go.
    msjtn7eqgoao.jpg

    Arrow Slinger - Rogue 8/Wizard 1/Arcane Archer 9

    histamiiniStummvonBordwehrAerakar
  • FlashburnFlashburn Member Posts: 1,723
    Arrow Slinger's Sneaky Neverwinter Escapade
    Part 3: Chapter 2E
    Previous updates: 1, 2

    In the pirate city of Luskan, we have to find a way to get inside the Host Tower and find Maugrim. The two warring High Captains will be our way in. Before that, we enter the Ruins of Illusk. Nothing challenging but I wanted to fight Voleron the lich because he guards several high-tier treasure chests. His undead army is lured out by ranged attacks. Voleron himself spends way too much time buffing himself and pays the price for it.
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    A Grey Robe of the Archmagi and a Scarab of Protection +5 are among the spoils! I can't use the Robe yet since Arrow Slinger's UMD skill is underleveled from all the Arcane Archer levels he's been taking. Leaving the ruins behind, Kurth is the first High Captain to go and we get the diplomatic seal required to enter the Host Tower.
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    We give Kurth's head to Baram and then kill Baram anyway. That's the Neverwinter Nights way. Notice that the two statues providing Baram with Stoneskin and Spell Mantle are still intact.
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    With those two out of the way, we give the diplomatic seal to Aarin Gend to create a forgery of a diplomatic pass to enter the Tower. We give it to Captain Islund at the entrance but kill him anyway because he has some good loot, including a Ring of Regeneration (which heals 2 HP/round instead of the normal 4/round).
    bwmu0g3vm5cd.jpg

    Usually I climb the tower in order of level 2 -> 6 -> Pinnacle, but this time we take all 8 floors upward to make sure we don't miss out on any good loot or worthwhile minibosses. Nyphithys is the only miniboss that gives big XP even at Arrow Slinger's level 17, but I forgot to take a screenshot of killing her.
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    This guy always cracks me up. Fred is the training dummy next to him.
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    Arklem is freed after we kill an Elder Fire Elemental, a Skeletal Devourer, a Grey Slaad, and a Bone Golem.
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    And then, the plot twist of the century:
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    We return to Aarin Gend after this and begin Chapter 3.

    Arrow Slinger - Rogue 8/Wizard 1/Arcane Archer 9

    Aerakarhistamiini
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 488
    edited April 3
    Dragon Age: Origins no-reload run: Valeria, elven mage, update 7

    I didn't remember to take any screenshots for much of Awakening - mostly due to a lack of situations that were interesting or challenging gameplay-wise. The most significant change compared to my DA:O strategic approach was propably taking my mages into the thick of things more often in order to use hand of winter, which served to speed up many encounters. I started with the Amaranthine sidequests before venturing to the Wending Wood, were the first mishap of the run occured - due to an annoying bug that I forgot about. You lose your equipment after you enter the Silverite Mine, and while you'll always be able to get the equipment of your party members by killing specific enemies, there's a bug which might cause your main character's equipment to be lost - which is why, in a no-reload run, you should remove your equipment before entering the mine. I forgot about this bug, so I didn't do this and lost most of Valeria's stuff, though she ended up not getting stripped of all her items as she was imprisoned for some reason, keeping her rings and her spellward, for example.
    This is bad, but not a huge setback - most of her items were going to be replaced relatively soon anyway (mostly in Kal'Hirol). The only really significant loss was the staff Spellfury, one of the two best staffs in the game. Too bad - I just bought it, and it ended up costing most of my gold.

    In any case, fighting our way out of the mine was very easy, especially with two mages (one of them being Velanna, as we were forced to take her along - but I had an additional respec-book at the ready to change her spell selection and make her a lot more powerful). Kal'Hirol was next on our list. While there's barely any chance to suffer problems in the Silverite Mine aside from the bug, Kal'Hirol does involve fighting a lot of darkspawn children who tend to have access to overwhelm - the danger is still relatively low with two mages, as one of them should always be able to free the other via crowd control spells or forcefield if neccessary. Hand of Winter is also very helpful here in order to speed up these battles, as the children usually try to surround your party. I made my way to The Lost and acquired the other really good staff in the game, using greater warmth balms I had still left from origins.

    Now, I made my way to the Blackmarsh, where I finally started to take some screenshots again. Also, we suffered our first knockdown: Anders was hit by overwhelm by some kind of shadow wolf off-screen while I was distracted and busy fighting somewhere else, and I didn't notice that he was taking damage. Still, no serious danger in any of the battles before entering the fade. There, we quickly took care of The First:
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    Back in the real world, the game forced us to take along justice (who I didn't respecc because I was too lazy, despite having another book ready). The Baroness didn't stand much of a chance, as our mages were easily able to keep everyone healed up at all times:
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    Now, for the optional and most interesting pre-endgame encounter in this addon: The Queen of the Blackmarsh, a dragon with an electrical breath weapon and a phase that kicks in three times in which you have to destroy slow-moving sparks before they can reach and heal up the queen. Our opening move: Greater elixirs of grounding for everyone:
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    The first spark phase showed me that things would be fine for us: We had no trouble getting rid of every single spark in time by splitting up our damage. Soon, the queen was at 50%:
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    The next two spark phases worked out the same way, and our elixirs of grounding lasted throughout the entire fight. Lighning damage drains endurance in this game, but honestly, Nathaniel does good damage even without his sustained abilities and justice has second wind if needed:
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    Victory! Time to forge some powerful items back at the keep. Just a quick note in terms of our armor sets: Oghren will be using the sentinel armor with Valeria going for Hirol's Defense. Nathaniel won't be wearing any set, instead equipping all of the non-set-related powerful leather armor pieces in the game. Anders is using the Vestments of the Seer. Most equipment choices in awakening are fairly obvious (there isn't too much to choose from), though I should mention the armor runes I ended up going with: Paragon immunity runes for Oghren, endurance runes for Valeria and evasion runes for Nathaniel.

    Now, the endgame of Awakening awaits - with at least 3 somewhat interesting battles, so there should be some screenshots for this part of the game!

    FlashburnStummvonBordwehrAerakarhistamiini
  • FlashburnFlashburn Member Posts: 1,723
    Arrow Slinger's Sneaky Neverwinter Escapade
    Part 4: Chapter 3
    Previous updates: 1, 2, 3

    Now we have to go to three areas and find the three McGuffins. I've amassed about 500k gold so I do some shopping here and get myself a Robe of the Shining Hand +3 (+3 AC), Boots of Speed, a Cloak of Fortification +3 (+3 deflection AC, +3 all saves), and a Ring of Power (cold/fire/elec resist 15/-, Free Action, Regen 1 HP/round).

    Coldwood's wizard dungeon is up first. Trash mobs in Chapter 3 would be challenging for a party of level 4 adventurers at best and are only worth 6 XP a pop, so I'm not missing anything by skipping most of them with invisibility potions. I have the water elemental free Nax from his prison, but I end up killing Nax as he is a level 20 wizard, which means it's worth way more XP to kill him than to just complete the quest. When I attack him, Nax tries to flee to the dungeon exit but a Called Shot to the leg slows him down enough for Grimgnaw to disable him with Stunning Fist.
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    With the snowglobe retrieved, we go inside of it using Lilian's snowglobe stand at the inn at Beorunna's Well. I don't usually repair the Amulet of the Ages, but I do it this time to see if it's worth any XP. It isn't, and the white dragon guarding the McGuffin goes hostile immediately if he sees you after it's been repaired.
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    The first McGuffin is acquired and turned in to Aarin Gend. Fort Ilkard is next and I level up from some not-so-trash mobs on the way there, which marks the last pre-epic Arcane Archer level.
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    We have to travel back in time to make a trio of guardian golems weak to a certain damage type so we can unlock a big door that leads to the second McGuffin. I choose to make them weak to bludgeoning damage, so I use the Longarm bow to deal that damage type.
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    If you die in the past, you have to reload the game. Fortunately the Old Ones there do not pose much of a threat when Grimmy and I work together. The rituals to unlock the big door are completed but a Balor Lord is the last line of defense. It's no match for sneak attacks.
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    The second McGuffin is turned in. Moonwood is the last area and I kill Obould Many-Arrows while I'm there.
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    Akulatraxas is killed for her eggs. Grimgnaw dies to her acid fog spell just afterward so I go pick him back up at the Temple of Tyr.
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    Inside the fire giant lair, King Skrogg scores a nasty crit against Arrow just before dying.
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    The enslaved blue dragon is also killed, to which Grimgnaw dies again.
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    Then it's time for Klauth the ancient red dragon. I buff with Potions of Barkskin, Cat's Grace, Bull's Strength, Endurance, Bless, Aid, and use Karlat's Protection Wand on myself and Grimmy. I hand over Akulatraxas' eggs, then give him an essence orb that contains the dead blue dragon's soul, which greatly weakens Klauth.
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    Klauth spends two rounds activating draconic auras, then has his spells interrupted by both Arrow and Grimmy. In the end, he didn't manage to accomplish much.
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    Inside the chest that contains the last McGuffin, I find the Taralash longbow. Nice!
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    Klauth's head is delivered to the gold dragon Gorgotha for the Uthgardt Ceremonial Belt, which gives immunity to disease and death magic, along with +5 to Fortitude saves. Grimmy and I re-buff, this time with Stoneskin from a pair of Gargoyle Boots, and kill Gorgotha afterward.
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    Turning in the last McGuffin to Aarin Gend grants Arrow Slinger level 20. Onto Chapter 4: the finale of Neverwinter Nights.
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    Arrow Slinger - Rogue 9/Wizard 1/Arcane Archer 10

    StummvonBordwehrAerakarhistamiini
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 488
    edited April 3
    Dragon Age: Origins no-reload run: Valeria, elven mage, final update

    I decided to defend the keep instead of protecting the city - a choice I usually never make, but I wanted to make the game a bit more interesting, figuring that a bit of unfimiliar content might be more fun. The armored ogre alpha did indeed force me forcefield a grabbed Nathaniel and have Oghren drink a healing potion:
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    Now, time to chase down the Mother herself - first, we have to deal with the high dragon protecting her nest. Once again, Nathaniel gets grabbed and barely saved by a forcefield in mid-air:
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    Well, we've already defeated high dragons in the main game, so this one doesn't cause any further problems:
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    We fight our way to the Architect and decide to fight him. Why? Because his loot includes a decent belt for Anders. Oh, and good luck getting through our 2 spell shields and two anti-magic wards (which we can replace via timespiral if needed), Architect:
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    Now, we have to face the Mother in order to complete this run. I decide to go for a safe and defensive approach: The first thing we're going to is taking down her tentacles and all incoming adds. Hand of Winter is very helpful here. Only after that are we going to focus our attention on the boss for the first time:
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    With our rogue in melee range, the Mother takes a ton of damage until Nathaniel gets grabbed once again, so we forcefield him. Meanwhile, additional children spawn in:
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    Our mages make short work of them:
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    The forcefield effect ends and Nathaniel gets back to attacking. While Valeria is still busy taking down more newly-spawned adds, the final bit of damage is done, and we emerge with a relatively easy victory:
    61tno1aphmfw.png

    Over all, I had fun with the run, though once I got past the circle tower and had easy ways to deal with spellcasters, most of the game was maybe a bit too simple for my taste. Certainly easier than no-reloading the BG games, though possibly a bit harder than PoE1.

    As a little bonus, I've decided to import Valeria into the Golems of Amgarrak, clearly the hardest part of any dragon age game - a very difficult and tactical DLC which requires either special tactics or some imported equipment and respec books to do on Nightmare difficulty. I decided to go for respeccing and imported items from Awakening instead of cheese. There are a few difficult encounters here - four are a step above the rest. One involves four high-level spellcasters, but no physical foes, and can be solved with the likes of spellshield and mana clash (though non-protected party members are likely to die). In Golems, you only have some relatively weak new companions and no secondary mage (instead, you get a weak golem with some very mediocre spells at its disposal). In any case, that one wasn't too bad for me, but I had to drink two lyrium potions to avoid getting my spellshield deactivated:
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    Next there's a battle against 4 elite sentinels, who have all the golem abilities such as quake or hurl bolder - this can result in tons of AoE damage and AoE stuns, and I barely survived their initial barrage. Luckily, Hand of Winter saved the day:
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    You can see that I've turned my warrior into a guardian instead of a spirit warrior. Why did I do this? Well, because certain enemies in this DLC deal so much damage that a) a constitution build is pretty good (and guardian abilities scale with constitution) and b) because of incredible amounts of hostile AoE damage, guardian abilities can possibly save the party.
    These four sentinels are but the precurser to the second-toughest fight in these games - the enraged sentinels. There are four of these, they are boss level and have the golem abilities, plus there are 2 elite sentinels in the same encounter. This encounter is incredibly difficult to win without cheese, at least on nightmare difficulty. It can simply be skipped, though. We, however, are here for the challenge. This is my approach: First, only show your warrior with everyone else on retreat. Use grievous insult to get all the golems to focus on your warrior (otherwise, they WILL go after your remaining party despite the way threat usually works in this game). Hope they won't stunlock you before you can activate your fully-upgraded carapace ability which should give you immunity to damage for a short time.
    Your party should enter - hopefully, the golems will have used their hurl boulder abilites by now. If not, spread out. Protect your tank with forcefield and spam a combination of CC and AoE damage at the golems (with maxed-out spellpower, after a few spells, you will propably get a couple of them out of combat for a while, though most likely not all due to their boss level). Now, your rogue can try taking out the elites first:
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    Now, we have basically stabilized - our enemies are all focused on our tank, and their CC abilties aren't syncronized perfectly, so we always have time to heal up and take out our foes one by one.

    However, this fight isn't as tough as the final battle of the DLC: The Harvester, a multi-phase boss battle involving a bunch of hard-hitting AoE, huge swarms of sparming skeletons, more damage than you can usually heal, and some more incredibly powerful skeletons which can take out your entire party if you don't pay very close attention. The easiest strategy I know for this encounter involves tons of taunt-kiting, there's another one with 100% dodge, but we're going to play it straight. In order to do that, we have to respec our rogue again, this time into an archer with max dexterity and accuracy + aim. He can do a ton of damage without moving around or getting close to this deadly foe, and for this one battle, we can deal with the bad ranged AI.
    For the first phase, we aggressively use the mechanics of this fight to get rid of spawning skeletons rather quickly, which leaves us without the option to do so again in phase 2. At one point, we have to use forcefield because Valeria is unable to heal our tank quickly enough otherwise, but we get lucky when it comes to the harvester's ranged attacks - only one ever hits Valeria, and she ends up surviving. Our archer is left entirely alone.
    In phase 2, the Harvester runs away from us to raise a skeleton while we do some decent initial damage:
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    This first skeleton is destroyed right away, but the second one is boss level and does incredible amounts of damage. We are barely able to take it down before it can destroy our tank while the Harvester is busy already raising another one:
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    We have our bronto taunt the next skeleton - also a super-dangerous boss level one. We can't waste time fighting it, the bronto is able to kite it for a bit but is eventually taken down while we chase down the Harvester again:
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    We're able to call the bronto back again and take down the boss before the skeleton is able to reach the party:
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    I'm surprised that I was even able to win this battle without taunt-kiting the boss or using 100% evasion. Trust me, this is one's much harder than it looks - propably the only encounter in the game on par with some of the most difficult SCS-improved battles in ToB.

    Finally, we also import Valeria into Witch Hunt, the final DLC. However, this one is about as easy as Awakening and quite short. Here's just two screenshots of us killing the final boss:
    7tg45bkwkmyb.png
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    I'll be sure to return with another BG run once SCS v32 is fully released!

    histamiiniCorey_RussellStummvonBordwehrBlind_Visionary
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,328
    @Grond0: I admire your precision. Frisky Bits is using many of the same strategies, but I've always found your sheer breadth of knowledge incredible, handling many obstacles I still barely understand.

    Grond0
  • Corey_RussellCorey_Russell Member Posts: 694
    @semiticgod I agree with your assessment of @Grond0 - I think in Grond0's case, he benefits from his considerable PnP experience and knowledge, which I think gives him a subtler understanding of of what things work and what can be done to resolve a problem/encounter. There's also the simple fact he has massive experience - he's done many runs with many classes (every class?), and with some classes more than 100 runs (like wild mages). He also pushes himself more than the average player (solo usually, no use of healing potions), which forces him to come up with creative strategies. Of course many times his first idea doesn't work, which is why Grond0 has so many innovative ways to kill off his PC, such as forgetting his warrior party still had arrows of detonation equipped and when they all fired, Boss died - not often a player dies to self-immolation, you see. :smiley:

    semiticgodGrond0StummvonBordwehrCrevsDaak
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 5,212
    edited April 3
    @Corey_Russell, @semiticgod I suspect any breadth of knowledge is largely focused around finding ways to die >:). It's true though that I've played BG1 a lot more than BG2, so feel more comfortable there. I've done everything in BG1 lots of times and beaten Sarevok hundreds of times. I've only finished BG2 on a handful of occasions though and there's significant parts of that I've never done at all (like the lower floors of Watcher's Keep for instance).

    Corey_Russell
  • FlashburnFlashburn Member Posts: 1,723
    @semiticgod
    I'm not sure where an entry into the Hall of Heroes would fit for NWN, but here's mine:

    Arrow Slinger the Rogue/Wizard/Arcane Archer: @Flashburn
    Notable mods: Community Patch 1.71
    Difficulty: Core Rules
    Special: No deaths, no pausing in combat except to take screenshots
    Start: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/1058344#Comment_1058344
    Finish: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/comment/1058546#Comment_1058546

  • Corey_RussellCorey_Russell Member Posts: 694
    Unless I was mistaken, I thought the idea was to have one hall for BG runs and the other for all non-BG runs. Am I wrong in this?

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,328
    @Corey_Russell: The third post of the thread now contains a "Hall of Heroes of Icewind Dale" and "Hall of Heroes of Neverwinter," with @Flashburn's entry being our first NWN no-reload run. I could combine them, but a "Non-BG Runs" section doesn't have as honorable a name as a separate Hall.

    RaduzielStromaelBlind_VisionaryCrevsDaak
  • FlashburnFlashburn Member Posts: 1,723
    The other Hall only has IWD runs, so I don't really know. semiticgod is the one who suggested I do a NWN run, so I thought he would know what to do with it if I succeeded.

  • Corey_RussellCorey_Russell Member Posts: 694
    @semiticgod roger that. I just wanted to understand how it works, and now I do, thank you.

  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,328
    I originally thought we'd divide it up by games, but I haven't posted by TES runs or the DWM run out of respect for those who might wish to keep this thread dedicated to games closer to BG. I'll bring it up in the Lounge and we can talk over how to honor things--I definitely think NWN deserves a spot, since it now has an EE and everything.

  • Corey_RussellCorey_Russell Member Posts: 694
    Just a quick update on Coremage the human berserker 13/mage 16 - his party has defeated Nylee and also Yaga-Shura. Gold is still terrible (less than 5000), but fortunately the Oasis is next and we'll get lots of gold there (once we sell the junk we pick up), assuming we survive.

    Grond0AerakarStummvonBordwehrMantis37
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 5,212
    semiticgod wrote: »
    Solo Legacy of Bhaal Run: Frisky Bits the Archer
    Part 9

    Death!

    Hard luck @semiticgod - looks like a reason to go after Dushai next time :p.

    CharlestonianTemplarsemiticgodWise_Grimwald
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