Grond0 wrote: »
After talking twice to Tamoko (so that she will appear in the Undercity)...
I maneuvered Tamoko to where I could attack her and retreat into the temple if necessary.
jessejmc wrote: »
Grond0 wrote: »
After talking twice to Tamoko (so that she will appear in the Undercity)...
I maneuvered Tamoko to where I could attack her and retreat into the temple if necessary.
If you're going to do it anyway, why not just kill her the first time she appears?
No dangers at the High Hall. If you try and steal in the first hall while guards are present, then hostile reinforcements turn up - but you can just run away or use stealth / invisibility (or just avoid them by going in the late evening when the place is empty).
After helping Khaled and Jaheira get to Nashkel, I picked up Xzar and Montaron.
We went to Beregost first and Montaron spent some time picking locks and acquiring treasure. He then found me a very fetching cloak before helping me in a battle with Silke and we also killed Karlat and gave Perdue his sword.
Montaron then relieved those we had saved of the jewels and potions that were weighing them down and they then voluntarily gave us an extra potion..
We sold the ankheg shells before going to Ulgoth's Beard to spend the gold on some useful items. Sadly our gold was insufficient to buy all the items that I coveted.
Whilst I was busy shopping Montaron honed his pickpocketting skills.
We then picked up Khaled and Jaheira and spoke to the mayor after which I left all four of them there.
At the carnival I bought a necklace of missiles and a scroll of protection from petrification.
These helped me a lot when I took on Mutamin and the basilisks.
In Beregost we were attacked by another assassin who quickly died and later on four more.
I picked up Xzar to take on Shoal and Droth, thinking that Xzar was disposable. As it happened he survived and so did Shoal as we didn't kill her soon enough.
Xzar was then left at the Morningstar temple.
Lowbar (male assassin, Gate70); Polgara (female druid, Grond0)
Lowbar steps inside the house and realises four giant spiders are there. OK, maybe he should have entered from the shadows. He runs outside again and Polgara joins him. She duly gets poisoned twice but as we try to make our way to the edge of town the poison wears off, so we kill the spiders as quickly as our limited attacks allow.
Lowbar gets Kirian with a couple of backstabs but she retaliates with two Melf's Acid Arrows. Lowbar fails to hide a third time while Polgara has tired of this game and killed Kirian with another blast from her heavenly wand.
So we move on and clear Nashkel Mine. Lowbar has upped his trap-setting-worthiness to 15% and duly fails to successfully set any several times. He gives up and goes in for a backstab on Mulahey, Polgara arriving to both finish off the half-orc and draw the attention of his minions.
We kill a jelly each on the way out of the mine and run into the Amazons. Lowbar tries to envenom his weapon for a poisoned backstab but the amount of time taken means Lamahla sees this happening and reacts as he drops from the shadows before his attack. Lowbar is duly incapacitated and staggers off as everybody else gets into a fight.
Polgara gets held, but so do the Amazons and our pair of summoned nymphs clear matters up without our assistance.
With that done we have a bit of room left in our backpacks so decide not to visit a store but instead seek out Cloakwood. We outrun a pack of wolves in the first area before dealing with spiders and ettercaps in the second.
By this time Lowbar says his little legs are tired and we decide to stop. It's been a good session and our inventory is filling up nicely.
Here we are at the start of SoD!
Normally I'd side with the Coldhearth Lich to better help with the Coalition Camp invasion later in the game, but I've been skeptical about the lich's help in non-LoB mode runs ever since his skeleton mage's Glitterdust spell ended a run by making one of the orcs at the invasion wander randomly south to the barrels. So this time, we'll be taking down the lich. We have an extra Protection from Undead scroll, which means we can safely torch all of the undead with a Wand of Fire and still rest once before tackling the lich itself with another Protection from Undead scroll.
Unfortunately, Pearl has low Charisma, and apparently returning to Brother Deepvein to report on his buddy becoming a lich results in him turning hostile if you don't have the CHA to convince him you're telling the truth.
Mage buffs keep us safe from the trolls and other nasty critters in the Trollclaw Woods (don't underestimate their THAC0 and APR; they can get through Stoneskins and Mirror Images if they swarm you), while the Wand of Fire does most of the heavy lifting. We kill Morentherene with a throwing dagger, making sure not to cast any spells inside her cave until after she's dead, then use a Protection from Poison scroll to safely tackle Ziatar, whom we slay with more Wand of Fire charges (Arrows of Dispelling help us bring down her mage buddies quickly).
But since we have 4 APR with Arrows of Detonation and the ability to stack Webs, Skull Traps, and Cloudkill spells via scrolls we bought over the course of the game, the first three waves of the Coalition Camp invasion are all very basic. No trolls or orcs wander towards the barrels, no mages dispel our buffs or throw disablers at us, and the clerics and paladins don't live long enough to swarm us, nor does Rhayla have the opportunity to get Remove Magic off the ground.
We then use a Knock scroll to finally get the Spell Immunity scroll from the locked chest in the castle basement and proceed to Avernus. Normal mage buffs and swordplay get us past the early devils, and we solve Thrix's riddle (3, "You speak of murder, devil.") to get a +3 longsword that does 1d4 nonmagical acid damage on hit, an ideal choice for Belhifet.
We buff with EVERYTHING, including multiple Potions of Heroism in case I ever have to tank with Durlag's Goblet. Pearl is in pretty good shape to solo Belhifet.
Belhifet is no contest at all; we have deeply subzero saves, AC, and THAC0; sky-high damage with maxed-out STR and Emotion, Hope and Courage scrolls; an Enchanted Weapon scroll to let us hit him with both our main hand and off hand weapons; a Wand of Monster Summoning to distract the other devils; mage buffs to avoid taking damage; and plenty of Durlag's Goblet charges and Greater Restoration scrolls to heal any damage we take. Ultimately, we take zero; the only reason our HP isn't at max is because we equipped the Helm of Balduran.
Due to disabling the XP cap, we start BG2 with 1.4 million XP, giving us a few extra spell slots and a huge stepping stone to epic levels. We are at level 10/11 instead of 6/6 (if you started in BG2 anew) or 7/7 (if you imported from a normal BG1 endgame save) or 8/9 (if you imported from a normal SoD endgame save).
At first, I try to conserve resources in Chateau Irenicus so I can tackle it with just one rest, but since I don't like the idea of skipping Ilyich for RP reasons, I decide to go ahead and rest multiple times. We have plenty of spell slots to deal with the two big threats of Chateau Irenicus, the Radiant Mephit with its -3 sleep effect from Color Spray and the Salt Mephit with its no-save stun spells.
In Athkatla, we foolishly tackle Kalah without SI: Abjuration active (in the past I've lost buffs to him; he's tougher in SCS v32), but win out by tanking him until his defenses run low. For Mencar Pennypincher et al, we use Cloudkill to disrupt Amon and Pooky, finish them off with Sunfire, and then use a double Web Minor Sequencer to hold down the survivors.
I'll skip over much of the early game, because a fighter/mage at this stage is already operating at minimal risk even at lower levels than ours. Suffice to say that Mirror Image and Stoneskin kept us safe from weapons and Improved Invisibility helped get our saves low enough to deal with simple disablers. By choosing quests carefully, we avoided stretching ourselves thin.
By the time we were midway through the Umar Hills questline, we hit 3 million XP, using our first two HLAs to get an extra level 6 and 7 spell slot, mostly just because the extra casting of PFMW was the safest option. HLAs are actually not a very big step for fighter/mages; they don't radically alter gameplay. But then, fighter/mages are already solid characters across the board.
Protection from Undead and SI: Abjuration let us deal with the Temple Ruins lich surprisingly easily. It didn't summon any planetars; only a demon that ended up getting boxed in by the nearby mummies and skeletons. Waiting out PFMW and hitting the lich with the Flail of Ages was sufficient. The Shade Lord and Ruhk Transmuter over in Firkraag's lair received the same treatment.
Conventional mage fights aren't too crazy, either. With Spell Thrust, Secret Word, and Breach, we can take down the defenses of many mages in short order, and Detect Invisibility is a cheap way to reveal hidden spellcasters. Conster was an unusual case that I found fun: when he used PFMW, we managed to get through his Stoneskins by equipping Belm in the off hand and punching him unconscious.
Once we gain access to level 8 spells, we can cast Spell Trigger. That paves the way for three anti-magic attacks in one round: Spell Thrust, Pierce Magic, and another Pierce Magic or Breach can take down any standard mage setup short of Spell Trap. We debuff Aran Linvail with standard options (I always side with Bodhi when I don't have Mazzy in the party; I don't like fighting vampires), and Detect Invisibility->Spell Trigger renders his mage friend vulnerable.
After some straightforward chores and resource gathering, we proceed to Spellhold. Perth the Adept proves surprisingly easy to take down: our clone can cast Detect Invisibility to reveal him and has a casting of Breach since clone spellbooks are memorized alphabetically, which means we can keep Perth on the defensive just by having Pearl and our clone hammer him with Detect Invisibility and magic attacks, including our anti-magic Spell Trigger. By the time he restores his PFMW spell, he's already low on Stoneskins, and a lucky hit through Mirror Image disrupts his Time Stop.
By the way: there's a slightly faster way to deal with the riddle faces in Spellhold. Activate all of them one by one, once, and then you can just access the next riddle by clicking on the nearest face, rather than walking to the next one.
Anyway, the rest of the Ust Natha questline is straightforward, and Critical Strike ensures that we kill the Egg Guards with no chance of missing them. Back in Athkatla, I go hunting for Daystar to help against Bodhi, hiding under Protection from Undead and nailing the Crooked Crane lich, the Shade Lich, and the Elemental Lich with the Mace of Disruption.
Every single one of them fails their save vs. death on the second swing, averting all three fights. We get similar luck against the vampires. Notice that we've finally learned Time Stop and are now fighting on gray battlefields.
The Twisted Rune was briefly scary due to Layenne not showing up on casting Detect Invisibility (Vaxall can quickly turn the tide with his Anti-Magic Ray), but a True Seeing spell from the Book of Daily spell succeeded, and good timing with Time Stop gave us three rounds of automatic hits on her. Her Improved Mantle was no defense against the upgraded Mace of Disruption, and Improved Haste and Belm let us chew right through her Stoneskins.
For the final fight with the Slayer, I immediately cast PFMW in case the Slayer opened with Time Stop (he can see through invisibility in SCS v32, so the Staff of the Magi no longer means safety) and ran away so my clone could fuss with the demons. The clone managed to bring down a Balor, but the rest of the demons put her down before she could do much more.
We get a brief scare at the start of ToB when Illasera lands a dispelling arrow on us and removes our defenses while we were casting a Time Stop spell. Fortunately, I spotted the change in time and switched to the Shield of Reflection, bouncing her next arrow and letting Pearl finish casting Time Stop. Then we could take down Illasera with GWW and Crom Faeyr.
I don't want to spend time messing with fire giants or the Fire Lich in the fiery fire giant fire temple, so I just steal all the relevant wardstones under the Staff of the Magi, and snatch two of them under Time Stop so the Fire Lich and the Burning Men don't run after me.
Draconis summons a planetar, but we don't need to fight it because it vanishes as soon as Draconis transforms into a dragon; all summoned critters die during the transition. Instead, we just whomp Draconis with the Staff of the Magi. Since it dispels at level 30, it doesn't reliably take down his defenses, but it does go right through Mantle and Improved Mantle, and Greater Whirlwind Attack brings his human form down quickly.
We grab rope from Amkethran and return to face the quadruple dragon ambush. We have lots of Mirror Image and Stoneskin spells prepared, so we can tank the first two dragons without much trouble. We save our Time Stop spells for later.
Now we have to tackle Melissan. This is the only fight I was ever really worried about after we survived the Coalition Camp invasion way back in late SoD.
We reorganize our spellbook, filling all four level 9 spell slots with Wish and stocking up on Project Image spells as well. We're playing on Insane, and in the most recent version of Ascension, that means we won't be getting free rests from the energy pools at the Throne (though the in-game text suggests that you do). Since having access to lots of PFMW and Spell Immunity spells will be super important for the final battle, we'll want to be able to refresh our spells after the first fight, with Irenicus, Bodhi, and two Fallen Solars, is over.
The first fight proves surprisingly simple; the Fallen Solars don't spam Heal spells on themselves or nail us with Mordenkainen's Disjunction spells. We kill the nearest one before it tries healing itself, and since the other one wanders off somewhere along the way, we just hit Bodhi with the Pulse Ammunition while we're safe in the meantime.
We open with my standard option: a Protection from Magic scroll on Abazigal to shut down his spellcasting. But I hit him before his Chain Contingency triggers, which means he still gets his PFMW pre-buff. Worse yet, I see him attempting to cast an alteration spell, and I rush to fire a nonmagical arrow at him in the hopes of disrupting a fatal Time Stop spell while my aura is fogged. Fortunately, the spell was Improved Haste.
We engage the enemy with PFMW active and start attacking with no particular target; I'm not in a rush to kill one of them and therefore summon Melissan and the extra two Fallen Solars that join her on Insane difficulty. Balthazar takes heavy damage, so I pull him aside to cast Flip Resistance, granting him 90% physical damage resistance at the cost of reducing his magic resistance to just 10%.
Sendai still isn't visible and I don't want to waste precious aura casting True Seeing, so we keep focusing on dealing damage. Since I want to save our PFMW spell slots for faster casting, I run away to switch to scrolls, but get spooked when I realize that using an Absolute Immunity scroll is useless if PFMW is still active.
We use a PFMW scroll instead, and when Sendai finally makes herself visible and we have a clear aura to do so, we hit her with our second and last Protection from Magic scroll. But to my dismay, I find that I haven't exercised close enough control over the damage we've been dealing: Illasera has died earlier than expected, and that means Melissan will show up in seconds.
Abazigal is at Near Death, but he casts Absolute Immunity, preventing us from polishing him off. Meanwhile, Balthazar has to run away due to being badly wounded until we can heal him with the Rod of Resurrection (not yet; we had to re-cast PFMW first), and Melissan casts Spellstrike on Sendai.
Balthazar gets targeted by both Fallen Solars and their vorpal dispelling arrows, but we manage to heal him with the Rod of Resurrection at Near Death. At 320 HP, he's an important tank to keep around.
But if we teleport away and Melissan teleports after us anyway, we've lost a round of PFMW, taken even more damage, and still gotten no closer to safety.
The wiser choice would be to re-cast Stoneskin, but for some reason I didn't trust it to stick--maybe the triple Remove Magic sequencer from Sendai made me think "our buffs are in trouble; we can't rely on dispellable stuff right now."
Instead, I teleport away and pray that Melissan doesn't follow. As it happens, this was the ideal call: while I thought that a bug had dispelled our contingencies, since none of them showed up in the spellbook when I last checked it, the contingencies were all still active, and they kick in while we're running away to the west. The net result?
We get our best defenses back.
Finally we kill Sendai, and Melissan is vulnerable. We have no Improved Haste left, so I restore it via scroll while Balthazar keeps Melissan occupied. Melissan summons new critters, whose importance I fail to appreciate at first.
I find myself without SI: Abjuration active. Thanks to that deafness-induced spell failure, I'm out of SI spells; I only have scrolls. I have to stop for a moment to use a scroll instead. When Melissan hits me with Spellstrike immediately after, I begin to worry that I'm going to be spending all my time trying to keep my buffs from being dispelled... until my buffs simply wear off instead.
I teleport away. Melissan follows and begins casting an alteration spell. I hit her once or twice with the Flail of Ages, but I fail to disrupt her, and she gets Time Stop off the ground. It's the classic death scenario for a solo Ascension run.
But Melissan is still slowed by the Flail of Ages, which decreases her APR and also doubles the casting time of her spells. Normally Melissan's +6 bonus to casting time makes her spellcasting incredibly fast, but since Divine Cleansing has a base casting time of 6, its slowed casting time is 12, for a total casting time of 6. Melissan misses several opportunities to attack Pearl by casting this during Time Stop.
Upon going to the lighthouse area we attacked some sirine. Baoloth cast web and fireballs. This killed two but one retreated out of danger.
Impatience was the cause of some trouble. Dorn wearing the ring to protect from hold went through the web to fight melee. The last sirine was almost dead when Dorn was charmed. Baoloth skirted round to attack from the other side and used fireball to wipe out some tasloi.
He then killed the remaining sirine, but not before being poisoned. He used a slow poison potion but was immediately poisoned again and didn't have another. Dorn was still charmed so couldn't pass him another potion and I was too far away. As a result Baoloth was killed and we had to return to a temple to get him raised.
I had to land the final blow to kill the sirine.
We returned and sent in Dorn alone to attack the next group of sirine.
Again he was charmed and feebleminded despite some protection from magic. We moved away to avoid conflict with him. We awaited his return to our party and attacked again, this time with fireballs. This time, they were routed.
Upon entering the cave baoloth was held by a trap and was badly hurt before we killed the flesh golem. We went outside to sleep before returning.
The next trap charmed Dorn. Having learned our lesson, we just moved out of sight until the charm wore off.
We then plundered the cave aand a tome boosted my constitution.
We picked up Xan and swapped him for Edwin. Everything quite easy.
I have realised why katranas are poor. Because they aren't magical they don't work against some enemies.
Chapter 4 before you get a magical one!
I have not really enjoyed playing with an evil party, so despite being exceedingly powerful. Dorn + Baoloth make a powerful duo I am bringing this run to an end. I have learned a lot from it, but the game is primarily for fun and it wasn't.
@WarChiefZeke commented recently that the wizard slayer run seemed hard. It certainly needs some luck to get through both BGEE and SoD, but not an unreasonable amount I think - most of my 34 failures to date have involved mistakes or sub-optimal play and, as it's 6 months since I attempted this class, I felt it was about time to have another go and see if I can do better.
I decided at the start of the run (as I quite often do) not to take any risks. That sort of resolution is typically about as well kept as the average New Year's resolution, but I'll see if I maintain resolve this time. At least for the first session there was no hint of trouble .
Shoal provided a couple of levels and a pretty good addition of 25 HPs before I moved to Beregost to do a bit of looting. That provided plenty of money to upgrade to a +1 shortbow before heading to the basilisk area. Following Korax around there is usually an easy way to get lots of extra XP (so long as you know where the basilisks are of course ) and I picked up 14 HPs for level 4 and 12 each for levels 5 and 6 there. Korax lasted long enough to paralyze Baerin, allowing me to finish him off and grab his magic arrows before running (to avoid the casters latching on to me).
The +1 arrows were put to use at High Hedge to shoot the golems before I talked to Thalantyr. Then it was on down to Nashkel to learn CLW. The ankheg armor found there was traded in to buy full plate in Beregost. I didn't have enough money for a magical shield there as well immediately, but a couple of rings found on the way to the FAI brought a good price after I shot Tarnesh (having the temple available for retreat just in case that proved necessary).
I'd seriously considered switching the starting proficiencies to use long sword as a melee weapon. That's because the +4 to spell saves from using the Spellbreaker long sword in SoD is so important to get through some of the fights there. However, the AC bonus from Twinkle does make it easier to get there in the first place and in the end I kept the melee proficiency as scimitars. Hence, the next port of call was the Lake area. A single gnoll was activated to attack Drizzt there and I ate my lunch while it hacked away 73 HPs - at which point I retreated to another map to reset the combat. The second attempt was a similar story and the third time proved not to be the charm. The fourth was a further waste of time and when the fifth went by as well I considered just letting the gnolls kill Drizzt. However, even though the EE has substantially reduced the chance of the halberds of these particular gnolls breaking, this was an unusually long time to wait for that to happen and I perservered. The sixth attack also came to nothing, but finally on the seventh the over-stressed halberd gave way - and some time later I was able to pick up 12k for finishing off the unconscious drow.
A series of more minor tasks included picking up the pantaloons and reducing reputation further by shooting down Bentan.
A few tasks in the Cloud Peaks, on the way to get the charisma tome, included a first use of melee to chop down Zal. Immediately after that a common wolf was enough for level 7 and another lot of 12 HPs.
Next up will be the Nashkel Mine.
Wizard Slayer L7, 90 HPs, 81 kills
The kobolds in the Nashkel Mine managed to muster only a single hit to add to the trap damage - but both were quickly healed in Mulahey's cave. As this is supposed to be a minimal-risk run, I didn't give Mulahey a chance to talk, but ran him round the little pond while shooting arrows.
Outside the mine, the amazon archers were drawn away and destroyed in melee. For the clerics I could ignore the potential danger of rigid thinking, so long as I retreated out of sight before that cast (and there was nothing else around to trigger movement while confused). I could have used a similar tactic with hold person, but decided just to shoot instead (with the option of running off the map if a spell completed). Lamalha's first attempt at that spell was disrupted and she died before finishing the second. Zeela made 2 attempts, but failed both times and was also shot down.
Back at Nashkel I rested to get LMD before confronting Nimbul. It's pretty safe to dodge in and out of the shop against him, as a decent level fighter has enough HPs to tank a number of magic missiles - so only the slower casting horror really needs to be dodged. However, in this case I just let the guards and Rasaad kill him instead.
At the Camp, Nimbul's boots meant the bandit archers needed criticals and they only got a couple of those. Taurgosz had no distance attacks at all - and thus no chance of doing any damage. For Tazok's tent, the only likely problem was Venkt's horror. He didn't follow me back outside though and the others would have needed to be pretty lucky to have a chance - once the archers were dead, Britik could just be run round.
I'd kept my reputation down to 9, so resting got me Bhaal horror - that's pretty crucial for a wizard slayer to shift the odds in your favor at the coronation.
Before going to the Cloakwood, I bought 10 arrows of piercing at the Carnival for use against Davaeorn. The only bit in the Cloakwood I didn't run straight through was the second area. The first web trap there could be tripped after checking to see if there were any spiders close by - the one there was duly killed.
At the mine, Drasus is fast on his feet, but slow with his morningstar - and only managed a single hit on me while being chopped down in a running fight.
I've used four main tactics with a wizard slayer against Davaeorn. The easiest is to use a scroll of PfM, but those are in limited supply and I haven't used one here for a long time. The next is to snipe shot him, trying to always remain close enough to the exit to run from his spells. That needs a lot of patience though as he's running round and it's easy to get drawn in too far - particularly if Davaeorn decides to stop running around and settle somewhere. The third is to retreat upstairs after the combat starts and rest. That often interferes with his script and may well result in him having no spells left when you return. Conversely though, I've also seen him get unlimited charm and hold spells trying that. On balance I think the fourth option is the least risky - that's to press the attack immediately and try to shut down his casting early on. His first two spells are lightning and fireball and, with 50% protection available against both of those, they're unlikely to do too much damage - while multiple shots at him are highly likely to score before he has a chance to do anything more dangerous. With the arrows of piercing purchased, my THAC0 was 4 here and Davaeorn was hit 3 times before he dimension doored away - meaning he had 75% spell failure and it wasn't surprising his attempted lightning failed. After a 4th hit I switched to cheap +1 arrows to finish him off.
After resting to get a second horror, I flooded the mine and got rewarded by a slave. Baldur's Gate is now open, so I can seek out another equipment upgrade there.
Wizard Slayer L7, 90 HPs, 203 kills
I hadn't travelled north of the FAI before, so slaughtered some fishermen to get Tenya's bowl. Returning that got me my final BG1 level, with yet another 12 extra HPs.
After killing a nearby ankheg I went into the City and quickly picked up some improvements. The first of those was the dexterity tome - that pushed dexerity to 18, with a consequent bonus to AC. The next was the Helm of Balduran - that not only benefits THAC0, AC and saves, but even provides a few extra HPs for good measure. Note that the wizard slayer class is able to use magical items where those are defined as armor or weapons. Unsurprisingly that does not include rings, or amulets (though the amulet of Seldarine is an exception to that in ToB). However, it seems slightly odd that boots are counted as armor, while cloaks, belts and (especially) gauntlets are not.
The next item desired at this stage was Marek's +2 short bow (unlike in vanilla, that's not the best bow in BG1, but I've taken short bow proficiency to benefit from the extra APR available early in BG2 and the ability to hit creatures requiring +4 to hit later in BG2). At the temple Jalantha was shot down after offering her quest (I dodged one of her flame strikes before interrupting the second).
The final items gained for now were much more minor. Returning a body to Varci and visiting the local temple provided a minor improvement for my shield and an unneeded increase to wisdom.
Even in a minimal risk run, I couldn't resist doing a further tour of the Sword Coast to do the remaining major encounters while maximising reputation. One justification for that is the easy XP gained now will carry forward into SoD (so long as I don't reload the game prior to that) and make that marginally easier. Work done included:
- clearing the ankheg nest, without suffering a scratch (or even an acid burn).
- beating up the Doomsayer in a fair fight (I didn't bother with micro-managing movement to give me an APR advantage).
Back in the City I tend to go and get the Helm of the Noble to boost charisma for lower prices. However, with far more money than I need I didn't bother with that this time, but just stocked up on green scrolls and magic ammunition. The latter was needed for one final expedition to the coast, in search of sirines. There's a pretty good chance of shutting down their casting with more standard arrows, but to avoid any risk I used exploding ones - they automatically hit, as well as spreading spell failure through the explosion.
Once more in Baldur's Gate I made use of the tome to push natural constitution to 20 and sold Buckley's Buckler (though a higher constitution slightly improves the regeneration rate, that difference no longer seemed to justify using up an inventory slot on it). A few more encounters included killing the basilisk using horror - the Bhaal version of that only lasts 4 rounds, but that was more than enough to be safe when using acid arrows at 3 APR.
With the Seven Suns cleared, I decided to go for a little bonus by doing the ogre mage in the sewers as well - Spider's Bane being crucial there to avoid any danger of being held by the carrion crawlers.
At Candlekeep I accused Shistal of being an imposter and cut down the resulting greater doppleganger. I then headed on upstairs to give myself up, though not until I'd looted another PfP scroll.
After resting outside the City to get a second DUHM, I'm ready for the final stages of BGEE. Up to now the chances of dying, without making a mistake, have been minimal - but a little bit of luck will be needed to get past the coronation.
Wizard Slayer L8, 107 HPs (incl. 5 from Helm), 343 kills
After talking twice to Tamoko (so that she will appear in the Undercity), I returned to Ramazith's Tower and used DUHM to kick open the container at the top of that - gaining a sixth PfM scroll there. Next, I went in search of Slythe. I wasn't bothered about Krystin, so just shot Slythe with a dispelling arrow without talking and beat him up.
At the coronation I reckoned my chances of success were probably as high as 80% if everything went to plan. That involved:
- using DUHM to boost attack and defense
- using horror as soon as the dopplegangers spawned and again a round later
- using dispelling arrows to nerf those still attacking the dukes (ignoring any attacking me, despite the melee bonus that gives them)
- switching to melee to finish things off
The first use of horror is important as it disrupts the AI of any dopplegangers attacking. It doesn't mean they won't start attacking again even while scared, but the initial blip may well mean they switch from the dukes to other targets. In this case horror affected 2 of them, which was a pretty good result. However, none of the dopplegangers initially appeared to be attacking me, meaning the lives of the dukes could still be very short-lived if the dopplegangers got lucky (I've seen the dukes killed several times in less than 2 rounds). Belt is much more robust than Liia, so I shot at the ones near him first - and found one of those decided to switch to attacking me. After a third successful dispelling arrow, a second horror sent the still-hasted one attacking Liia running. Things looked pretty good at this point with 1 dispelled doppleganger each on the dukes and another dispelled one attacking me, while the other 3 were panicking.
With nothing else to buy, I stocked up with some more magical ammunition before heading for the Thieves maze. I used a PfU scroll there to make killing a pair of skeleton warriors easy and the scroll lasted long enough to account for 4 more of those in the Undercity after I bypassed Rahvin's party there. I have sometimes killed that party to get Rahvin's 2 exploding arrows, but that either requires the use of a PfM or opens up a bit of a risk (and even horror on him won't necessarily stop him using the arrows anyway) - and I decided to leave him this time.
I maneuvered Tamoko to where I could attack her and retreat into the temple if necessary. However, doing that very often results in her duplicating (that happens occasionally with anything, but is common with her) - so I just tanked her flame strikes when those failed to be disrupted (I suspect they are ForceSpell casts) while shooting her down.
Inside the temple there were 8 more exploding arrows on offer from Angelo. Fighting him fairly would require the use of a PfM scroll, entail some risk and almost certainly end up with some of the arrows being used. However, if you don't fight fair then you can get the lot for the cost of a single green PfE scroll . Angelo is the hardest to hit of the group with bouncing lightning bolts, but he also doesn't have resistance to them, so is almost certain to die before Sarevok - and he did.
I wandered around for a while (including in extreme sight range of Sarevok) to see whether the stinking cloud and web effects would trigger. I don't know exactly what causes this, but they do often trigger at this stage when they pose no danger. However, they stubbornly refused to do so this time. The risk-free way to proceed would have been to use a PfM scroll and I had enough available to do that without causing problems in SoD. However, I couldn't resist trying to avoid using any in BGEE and eventually shot Sarevok with a dispelling arrow. As sometimes happens, the trigger this time seemed to be Sarevok's conversation and suddenly things looked bleak with him advancing and area effects spawning. The stinking cloud arrived without me even spotting the projectile, but I saved against that and tried to activate PfM.
I think the odds comfortably favor getting through BGEE, but mucking about at the end there was definitely pushing my luck . I had almost 400k XP on transfer to SoD, so was able to level up immediately.
Wizard Slayer L9, 122 HPs (incl. 5 from Helm), 362 kills
I wasn't working this morning, so was able to crack on immediately with SoD. In the starting dungeon, Porios saw his guards scattered by horror and was persuaded to surrender. PfU made clearing the first 3 areas downstairs easy and the mercenaries in the 4th area were pulled back for the Flaming Fist to help with. A couple of dispelling arrowed destroyed Korlasz's defences and a roll of 2 was enough for an arrow of piercing to strike home and prompt her to surrender. I tried shooting her down to avoid her appearing in the City, but thought she was going to get away when I had a critical miss - she hung around a fraction of a second too long though. I collected a shield upgrade from Fanegonorom before leaving for the Ducal Palace.
In the City I killed a few NPCs for their equipment. With the 65k or so worth of items brought from BGEE in bags there was no particular need for that, though the protection from fear provided by Kiel's helmet worn by Minsc could be useful. I also did the quest to get the Battle Tankard that provides immunity to fatigue.
On leaving the City the first action was to travel to the Coast Way Forest in search of a regeneration ioun stone. I tend not to bother with that these days with other characters, as there are far more regeneration potions available than I ever use, but it still seems potentially helpful for a wizard slayer. Once it became clear I was double-crossing Ikross and Isabella, I shot the mage twice his shadow door triggered and then ran out of sight - so the next spell would target the vampire. However, that spell fizzled allowing me to attack again. An acid arrow then finished the job. Isabella was meleed at close quarters to avoid her attacking Tsolak.
On the way back I came across a group of orcs and trolls. For sling users that encounter offers a useful upgrade, but not for me and I left them alone. I gave Takos his items back, but demanded one of them as a reward. Normally I take the mirror of identification, but as I couldn't use that kept the Suncatcher shield instead. I also bought a marginal bow upgrade from Herod with the Savage Shortbow.
At the bridge I paused immediately after the cutscene and ran behind the tent - there's just enough time to do that before the enemies fixate on you, thus allowing you to avoid any combat before Caelar arrives for a parley.
Moving on to the Troll Claw Woods, I ran straight through there - ignoring the hobgoblins who were the only enemies visible. I then bounced back and forth to the Forest of Wyrms until I triggered an encounter with a young green dragon. A bit more bouncing and I found a big hole in the ground - which was the reason for all the bouncing. The goblin witchdoctor guarding it was shot down before he could react. The rest of the goblins were no threat, but I short-circuited that fight by using a shield sunfire. Inside the hole, the first group of myconids could only confuse me and I was confident I could kill them even while confused - but I saved against that anyway. The second group had a blue myconid that could pacify me, which seemed slightly more of a threat - a couple of arrows of detonation were used there, though once again I saved against the effects. That gave me the Spell Breaker long sword - equipping that reduces spell saves from a very vulnerable 5 right down to a much less vulnerable 1.
It was only at this stage that I realized I hadn't received the regeneration ioun stone - I guess that was intended to be delivered at some point when I was bouncing around and I didn't notice it. Oh well, it shouldn't be crucial. There were no casters on the way to Morentherene's cave so progress was easy to there. In the next cave a bugbear shaman was kind enough to stay out of the way while I killed the greeting party. The shaman then saved against horror from out of sight, but on its own had little chance against an arrow onslaught anyway. A spike trap in the passage would have been repaired by the regeneration ioun stone, but instead I successfully rested to get full health back. The next group of bugbears were pulled away one by one before the shaman there failed against horror and was shot down.
Inside the temple proper there's a hold trap just after some worgs, so they need to be killed before progressing. Without the ability to kill Ziatar from out of sight I worked through the various groups of guards to ensure they wouldn't complicate that fight. I wanted to have PfM and PfP active against the Neothelid, so decided to use those for Ziatar first rather than use up exploding arrows. Sanctuary allowed her to heal, but it still didn't take too long to finish her off. However, even though Ziatar had been out of sight of the cells, her cries had apparently annoyed the Crusaders and I was at a loss about what to do with them. While leaning against the wall thinking about that, however, I must have activated some sort of trap mechanism and inherited Keherrem's badge .
I was wary about the varied abilities the Neothelid has to hold, charm and stun you, so just ran past it with Spell Breaker equipped to find Akanna. Two exploding arrows almost killed Akanna, but she just survived and disappeared. Despite me running round the room following that, her aerial servants took advantage of their good weapon speed to both hit me hard from invisibility. However, that made them potential targets and a further exploding arrow was enough to finish off the invisible Akanna.
The way that played out was pretty irritating, but the Neothelid is one of the encounters I've not found a really reliable solution for. I have in the past tried to drag it further away to make certain it can't get back in time to block me in. It's also possible to drag the aerial servants away while invisible by leaving immediately after attacking Akanna. That strategy has potential drawbacks of its own, such as alerting other opponents and giving the Neothelid more opportunity to use its special abilities - but maybe I'll revert to some variation of that when I try this character again.
If you're going to do it anyway, why not just kill her the first time she appears?
I love your insights into strategy in the Infinity Engine.
Clean up Candlekeep, then dodge Imoen, Xzar, and Montaron. At High Hedge, I kill the gnolls for Perdue's Short Sword. I skip Shoal for now. I plan on recruiting party members once I hit the level cap and want to get the helm.
In Beregost, Marl brings me to level 2. Firebead's book and Landrin's spiders bring me to level 3.
I purchase some +1 bolts and head back to High Hedge for the flesh golems, which bring me to level 4.
I purchase a potion case and a potion of mirrored eyes then head to Nashkel. At the Carnival, I kill Vitiare for his potion of master thievery.
I wonder around near Beregost to get level 5 by killing the ogre for belts. Afterwards, I quaff the potion of master thievery and pickpocket Algernon.
With Algernon's Cloak, I head to the Temple and charm Kelddath to cast Animate Dead. Kelddath is brought out of the temple and the skeleton warrior wreaks havoc on the sirines. I make a mistake by peaking and am almost charmed by a sirine. I rest in Beregost then charm Kelddath again for his skeleton warrior. It's used to clear the vampiric wolves, getting me to level 6.
Low on funds, I retrieve Evermemory and sell it at the Nashkel Store, with the plan of stealing it back later. I stock up on scrolls from High Hedge and use two potions of genius to memorize them all. Under cover of invisibility, I activate the gnolls around Drizzt but get greedy, and while he doesn't initiate dialogue, he does kill all the gnolls. I'll return later with a cleric capable of casting Farsight, but for now Drizzt lives.
I use PfP to kill the basilisks without Korax and hit level 7.
Back in Beregost, I charm Silke to help save Neera. It's going well, but Neera hits Silke with color spray, which turns Silke hostile (at least I think it was the color spray). Silke targets Neera but is unable to kill her, and I manage to get the killing blow. Neera is deprived of her gem bag and removed from the party. I use a Strength spell to enter the mansion and retrieve the lightning wand.
Skull Trap, Magic Missiles, and the lightning wand are used to kill the Battle Horrors at Durlag's Tower. One of them drops a Knock scroll. I use invisibility to get to the roof and kill the greater basilisks, which gets me to level 8.
I skipped the lesser basilisk on the way it and hit it with a Skull Trap and a Magic Missile on the way out. Unfortunately, I forgot to recast PfP, and thus ends my run.
Maybe I should. However, in my version of no-reload I don't allow any testing (with the limited exception of reloading an autosave if I died in a battle without the reason for that being clear). Finding out if a new tactic works can thus be pretty painful if that ends the run. In this case though, I agree the implications are unlikely to be so serious. If, for instance, Tamoko proved to be immortal or disappeared if you attacked when you first met her (and then didn't appear in the Underdark) that would just reduce my AC in SoD by 1 - noticeable, but not enough to seriously reduce the chance of success.
Journal of Ronald the Righteous
On the way to Beregost, I won several minor battles including a couple of ogrillon which brought me up to level 2.
Heading North, I took on an ogre and won before taking on some gnoll.
I then killed Karlat.
and helped Mellicamp which raised me to level 3.
Zordral caused some trouble
After that battle I rested for 10 days!
I then took on Greywolf. Because he was more powerful than me, I let the guards wound him badly before finishing him off myself with my bow.
I then rested before killing Oopah.
In transit I killed a ghast and again levelled up.
I them took on Tarnesh. I was lucky once more. I was panicked by his spell and helpless when a guard killed him.
To the North after killing ankhegs I levelled up again.
I then killed more ankheg.
After killing Sonner, I gave Tenya the bowl.
Vax and Zal died easily.
Caldo and Krumm were next.
I then trashed the gnoll stronghold and released a mage from there. She was surprised that I didn't want her help, but then she doesn't understand my aversion to arcane magic.
In transit I killed a polar bear and shortly afterwards another,
Further North I killed Neville so I now have two magical swords.
I then took Brage to the temple.
and nearby killed Niera.
While looking for Mutamin I killed Linden, Peter et al.
In Beregost I cleared a nest of spiders before heading out to kill Bassilus.
Bassilus cast rigid thinking which allowed him to hurt me badly, but I got my revenge.
Upon returning to Beregost, Silke attacked me and died.
Heading west, because they couldn't charm me, killing sirine was remarkably easy. I was protected from evil which seems to have protected me from poison.
I also killed Shoal and Droth.
Once again I spurned a mage's help.
Outside Lamalha et al were killed followed by a revenant.
Then some ghasts, Narcillicus and Nimbul
I arrived safely in Beregost.
Jeanluc - inquisitor, protagonist
Sarah - undead hunter
April - undead hunter
Heather - cavalier
Imoen - thief
I haven't been posting on this run, mostly because it's been pretty uneventful. In BG 1 a band of paladins is a strong force, and often won battles in just seconds. The group just made it past Sarevok and is moving onto BG 2. The 6th slot is reserved for a thief class character. If a paladin gets chunked, we will recruit Keldorn. If another paladin gets chunked we will recruit Mazzy, as she kind of a halfling paladin. However, no other characters will be recruited this run. Paladins (+1 thief) or bust! Here's one interesting screenshot - paladins throwing fireballs on 5 ogre mages in a house in southern Baldur's Gate.
Much work and little play for me during quarantine, to such an extent that I decided to park slow-paced Eyulf (Priest of Helm) and his comrades in Durlag's Tower, enabling faster solo play with a TN Elven Fighter/Thief named Stil the Blackraven. Stil starts out specialized in long swords and shortbows in what for me constitutes a standard setup with SCS v32 on insane difficulty.
Early on, Stil did some low risk questing for items and XP (rogue ogre, Beregost and Nashkel quests). He took on Tarnesh early on, at level 2/3, as he forgot to hide while leaving the FAI. A backstab, an area transition (evading a Horror), and an arrow later, Tarnesh was down. At level 3/4 (thanks to Brun and Tenya), Stil felt confident enough to bad-mouth Greywolf. Several arrows felled the bounty hunter and rewarded the elf with Varscona.
Stil then went on an excursion to Mutamin's garden. One of the gnome's closest pets was a bit further west from its usual location, but after two arrows launched at the basilisk, the wizard showed up anyway. With his ability to cast Remove Magic and with several basilisks left to kill still, this was inconvenient. The hasted gnome forced Stil to quaff his only potion of clarity when he cast a Horror at our hero, and also dealt some Magic Missile damage before Stil went invisible.
Now rather than getting the main quest going, Stil decided to do things very differently. He wasn't aware of any "main quest" (not talked to Khalid, Jaheira, Xzar, Monty, or Berrun Ghastkill), and he was aware that while he had been training his left arm into a proper sword arm (** in TWF at levels 3 and 6), he still had only one proper long sword. Stil returned to Durlag's Tower, the ideal place to become an even more accomplished warrior and if there was any place that could be expected to hold a quality long sword, it had to be the forsaken tower.
On the first underground level, the Blackraven stalked around patiently, assassinating spiders, greater doppelgangers, and undead here and there.
The Blackraven took a moment to deliberate about his next step: to attack the Demon Knight that had taken control over the level if not the entire tower, or to leave. He opted for the former. Light buffs (fire resistance) to get his enemy to waste two castings of Remove Magic,
He traveled to the Nashkel Carnival to get a lot of loot identified (why are we still penny-pinching with tens of thousands of GP?), and some of it sold. In Nashkel he accepted a commission from Berrun Ghastkill to investigate the Nashkel Mines, and that's where the story finally takes off. Mulahey (greenstone amulet), a hard-hitting revenant, and Nimbul (greenstone amulet) were no match for the Blackraven.
In Cloakwood, Stil secured a cloak of non-detection, Spider's Bane (relying on stealth to loot Centeol's den), and a potion of invulnerability. He also had a run-in with four amazons, who weren't much of a threat thanks again to the greenstone amulet. Stil played hide and seek with Drasus and his gang, applying one of few oils of speed for the occasion. A potion of defense (from Silke's supposed thugs) a greenstone charge, and the staff of striking did most of the work.
Character record (fantastic initial roll of 96) and inventory after arrival in Baldur's Gate, with lots of gold spent on potions and ammo and with the dex tome read:
As has been said before "Luck runs out sooner than you would think"
I had been so used to my saving rolls saving me that when two failed saves against web and poison arrived in Cloakwood, I was still expecting to be able to survive.
I didn't. I had reached level 8 when this happened.
The Morale Failening
Spellhold: Irenicus gets slapped with a critical backstab from Stabby and has his magic devoured by Spaz.
Underdark: The siege of Ust Natha. Stabby breaks his backstab damage record early on in the fight. Yin keeps the drow corralled on the left path of the big room I prefer to fight in with a Merciless Blizzard.
The siege continues. Spaz devours the magic of any priests and mages that appear. The Nightwalker cleans house but even it can kill things only so fast. Teleport Fields give us trouble so drow start invading the center room.
Since the army spawns off-screen and we spend our time near the center and north of the big room waiting out the Teleport Fields, the army gets concentrated on the left side. Matron Mother Ellavere appears, with her elites and demons clogging the left pathway to the center room. An archmage gates in a planetar. Stabby poisons an Arrow of Detonation and looses it into the huge crowd while Yin casts Shadowplague to suppress any casting coming from the horde, followed by Malefic Bomb to shake them up. Debuff sings to them and nearly everyone suffers morale failure. Balors cast Fire Storm at us, causing significant damage to Blaggy, Debuff, Yin, and Cactank while killing Spaz.
Cactank dies shortly after this from what I assume was an Implosion cast by a Balor. This is unusual because aTweak'd demons do not also have SCS demon powers.
This situation is untenable. Even if Debuff keeps the drow in permanent morale failure, the demons will keep casting Fire Storm and gating in other demons if they aren't dealt with. Yin heals up with a potion and kicks it into overdrive with Relentless Assault. Stabby reveals the planetar with Detect Illusions who has also been suffering morale failure since it was first summoned. Yin casts Oblivion Pull to get rid of it, which refreshes Relentless Assault's duration. Yin goes ballistic on the drow by casting Sunder Magic (Annulment would've been better but I wanted to save 8th level spells) -> Sigil of Misfortune -> Inertia -> Shadowblast, and finally, his most powerful spell of all, Dark Meteor.
Demons, drow, golems - doesn't matter - anyone who failed to save vs. breath at -9 in the Dark Meteor's radius is completely annihilated. The save could've been made steeper if Blaggy was nearby, but I pulled him away from the crowd because he was wounded and we were down two party members. The only survivors are a few scattered drow and some summons that Spaz had stunned with Binding Blast before he died. Blaggy uses the Rez Rod on Cactank who casts Mass Raise Dead to bring back Spaz and fully heal the party.
That could've gone much worse if Debuff hadn't kept most of the drow on morale failure lockdown. Debuff and Blaggy are the bane of all living things that aren't outright immune to morale failure, as Adalon soon experienced. She is stat drained to death by the Nightwalker.
Blaggy - Blackguard 24
Cactank - Dwarven Defender 17/Cleric 19
Stabby - Fighter 18/Assassin 21
Spaz V - Warlock 32
Debuff - Nightsinger 32
Yin II - Shadow Disciple 23
Edit: Bard 3 fell immediately after leaving Candlekeep. A wild dog ambush on the way to High Hedge. A melee weapon was equipped, but mayhaps next time I won't skimp on the chain mail...