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The Adventurer's Lounge: Guidance and Support for No Reload Challengers- Newbie or Veteran



  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,809
    One thing I haven't tried: recruiting Viconia or Anomen at the end of the game, just to have them cast Chaotic Commands and Death Ward on Charname for Melissan. That's 180 rounds of near-undispellable immunity to every disabler and instant death effect that you'll ever see at the Throne; only a Mordenkainen's Disjunction spell from a Fallen Solar, an LoB enemy's dispel magic spell, or an party-unfriendly Dispel Magic from Keldorn or Haer'dalis could take it down. That would make the Tear of Bhaal trick redundant for that fight.

    Bottom line is, we have multiple paths to victory. I'm feeling confident about ToB now.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,703
    A newly-recruited party member in ToB? 2.5 million XP. That's level 19 for cleric spells from Anomen or Viconia. Aerie's better than that at the level you have her, unless you have some way of massively boosting XP for the guests.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,809
    @jmerry: The new version of SCS' NPC customization feature appears to let joinable party member XP scale well past that. I recruited Edwin, Haer'dalis, and Keldorn around 4 million XP and they leveled up to around 4 million as well.

    It's super convenient for party runs but it also makes soloing the first part of BG1 or BG2 extremely useful later on, since you can get far higher levels than would otherwise be possible without an infinite XP loop.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,809
    I am so unhappy with myself right now--I forgot to bring the pantaloons with me when I went to fight Irenicus! We are now in the Nine Hells and it's too late to go back to the table in the Copper Coronet where I store stuff before getting the Bag of Holding. We will never be able to get the Scorcher Ammunition now.

    ToB is going to require a lot more micromanagement without that item; there are a lot of fights where that smooths things out and makes buffs unnecessary. Worse yet, we don't have the insane damage output I was expecting to have for Melissan.

    We can still do crazy damage with GWW and Assassination from Jan with BBoD, but those things require limited resources, dispellable buffs, and are dependent on the party member being alive and well. The Scorcher Ammunition can be passed around and used to solid effect even when things are chaotic and the party is below full strength.

    Now that we know we'll hit 6 million XP, though, Jan will also be able to use Improved Alacrity and PW: Blind on himself to set a bunch of Spike Traps mid-combat. We should have 10 such traps by endgame for 350 damage out of Melissan's 500 max (plus some lower-damage regular snares), but any more than that will require Wishes, and the whole process will be aura-intensive.

    It's gonna be sticky. If we just had SI: Abj and PFMW, everything would be so simple. Maybe I should just drop all the micro-heavy mages and grab a bunch of fighters. Mazzy, Keldorn, Minsc, Jaheira, and Korgan could break 1000 damage if they're all using GWW, and they could all do that for several rounds. ToB always has been very fighter-centric, and Wishes aren't as necessary when you don't need buffs to operate.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,809
    Well, Keldorn broke the Slayer. One level 36 Dispel Magic and the Slayer's PFMW was gone. Didn't even need to tank any scary Time Stops in rat form or Maze; the Slayer was debuffed and disrupted on the first round, and the Glabrezu who hit our Transmuter with Remove Magic didn't even dispel anything. Keldorn's Dispel Magic is going to dispel at level 40 by endgame, which amounts to a 100% chance to debuff anything. And I don't see a lot of spellcasters pre-buffing with SI: Abj, anyway.

    I'm recruiting Sarevok (no geas, if it matters) and Jaheira since Aerie and Edwin haven't really been contributing much. Anybody know under what circumstances Sarevok won't join Melissan at the Throne? The .dlg file suggests all we have to do is switch him to Chaotic Good but I wanted to know if anybody has experience with taking Sarevok through Ascension. I only ever remember Sarevok being taken away before, and I was pretty sure I had fixed him in that run.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,703
    SI:Abjuration does come up, but there are enough other solutions that it's very beatable.

    Checking the log for my no-spellcasting party... I ran into abjuration immunity five times in SoA and eleven in ToB. Lower-level mages don't use it, but it's pretty popular with enemies that can cast 9th level spells and especially liches.
    For the SoA cases, I just waited out the combat protections more times than not; you only need a moment of lowered PfMW to snipe a lich with Azuredge.
    For many of the ToB cases, I used wands of spell striking to render the mages vulnerable. It usually took two Pierce Magic shots to do it, with some mages that used Spell Trap only needing one.

    The only time abjuration immunity seriously caused me problems ... dragon form Draconis. And I'm pretty sure that was a bug; something about the transformation making protections he inherited from the human form unbreakable. I could see him absorbing two or three spell breaking attacks, but six? On top of that, he was sitting on top of my protagonist so she couldn't retreat and reposition.
    ... I still won that battle. Normal weapons were good enough.

    No experience with taking Sarevok, but I'm pretty sure the geas doesn't matter. That's what my reading of the dialogue file says. The conditions to keep him, if he's in the party, seem to be: (Sarevok isn't evil) or (Difficulty is Tactical or lower) or (Protagonist is evil with reputation < 10)

  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 592
    I've taken Sarevok along with Ascension before. All I did was to go for no gaeas and turn him chaotic good (which happened over the course of maybe three dialogues, none of them all that late in the game), and he didn't turn on me.

  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 592
    Especially with only two party members, I would emphasize defense over offense. Insect Plague is great, but nerfed in SCS - I would make sure to instead have chaotic commands (and resist fear) up any time you're facing a spellcaster, and protect these (and other) buffs with SI:A and/or Spell Shield (and Shield of Entropy on divine spellcasters). I'm guessing Jaheira only has two level 5 spells right now, which isn't ideal, of course - sleep effects such as emotion: hopelessness are rare (though you will face greater command when fighting spirit trolls), and aside from chaotic commands and SI:E, there aren't that many protections against them available early on.

    You can also play a bit more dirty or a bit more carefully - in an encounter like this, where you can position yourself and buff as you wish from invisibility, why not shoot webs at the enemy party from off-screen? You're likely to affect at least a few of them, greatly reducing any risks. Or, if you feel unsure about your chances, you can just leave the map instead of engaging.

    Do not worry too much, though - these early ambushes are actually among the harder encounters in early SoA with a full SCS installation. Others have struggled with similiar problems in these situations. It's mostly a matter of practice. In my first SCS run, I almost faced my doom against Suna Seni as well (with a full party, mind you) and, as a consequence, fled every following ambush in terror (though that run ended in Spellhold). By now, I feel fairly comfortable aggressively taking down these ambushes, given the right spells at my disposal.

  • velehalvelehal Member Posts: 297
    I don´t like casting spells off screen. The problem was that I had only Jaheira with me. I wanted to reach 750 000 experience before recruting Jan (I try to play "normally", so no stealing spells, writing and erasing them and other dirty tricks). With Jan I can do non stronghold quest in city and when I have 1 million experience I can hire other party members (Keldorn + Rashaad and Neera for their quests, then when I reach 1,25 finally Mazzy and Anomen).
    Jaheira temporarily functions only as spellcaster and summoner. Her fighting abilities are terrible, she deals 3-8 damage with club and 3-6 with daggers (I changed her proficiencies to match the ending of SoD so she starts with two points in dagger and one in two weapon style). I know that in the tomb with Hexxat there is a dagger + 2 but 5-8 damage is not much better. It will take some time to get her Firetooth/Boomerang Dagger and belt of strenght.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,809
    Jaheira has pretty impressive damage output in BG2. Give her Gnasher and Belm and she has over 50 damage per round unhasted with no strength items or other buffs. Gnasher and Belm are one of the best pairs of weapons to dual-wield in terms of the damage they deal, and Jaheira already has pips in clubs.

    Right now the Transmuter is in the fire giant temple. Sarevok, Keldorn, and Jaheira are cleaning up basic fights, and the Transmuter obliterated Gromnir and most of his allies in 4 castings of Time Stop at 6 APR.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,703
    That worked for you in BG1? I've tried it, but it's an instant game over for me ( as soon as player 1 leaves the party. I had to build a fake Imoen for my dukes run, rather than letting her join and then removing Abdel.

    Jan's armor would be perfect for a barbarian, but it's class-restricted too. Actually, pretty much all of the NPC items in BG2 are heavily class-restricted. Sorcerer Cernd can't use his cloak. Nalia's ring is about the only really good one that can be used regardless of class. She's eligible as a fighter or cleric; anything else would either overlap her current class, require a different alignment, or require more wisdom or charisma.

    On the flip side, you mentioned Xan? His moonblade has no class restrictions at all. Even a cleric can use it, as long as it's Xan.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,809
    @jmerry: I had that happen too until I looked back at my old post on it and tried using CTRL-K only when the game was paused, then saving and loading the game before unpausing. That prevents the game from ending and reassigns Charname to the character in the first slot (you may have to boot all but one character for this work, but I don't think so).

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,703
    OK, that works. It was a very quick test.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,809
    Really loving the CTRL-K run right now. Kinda terrifying, though, since Viconia, our Charname, still only has 13 or 14 HP while Imoen is at 48. She almost died to Vax and Zal by a pair of critical hit darts, only surviving because she immediately downed a potion before the second dart could finish her off!

    Khalid makes for a lousy cleric early on. Having low WIS doesn't matter much at high level, but at lower levels, he has like half the spell slots of an 18 WIS cleric.

  • velehalvelehal Member Posts: 297
    Liches are immune to level 5 and lower spells and rakshasas to 7 and lower. But do these immnuties also apply for Dispel Magic?

  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 592
    Remove Magic and Dispel Magic work on liches/rakshasas, because they are coded as lvl 0 spells and are not affected by such protections. You'd need quite high levels to dispel a lich, though (an unnerfed inquisitor will have an easy time, I guess). You can also breach them despite their immunities with SCS installed.

  • velehalvelehal Member Posts: 297
    Thank you. I am planning to kill rakshasas in druid´s grove and this makes things easier. Keldorn should be able to dispel them (although his dispel is nerfed).

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,809
    @velehal: For reference, Adratha is level 11 and both Saadat and Jalaal are level 9. At 1.5x, Keldorn should have a 100% chance of success at level 14 (12 for just Saadat and Jalaal).

    But I think for lower-level rakshasas like these, whom I don't think use PFMW, their primary defense is their extremely low AC and Mirror Images. Having solid THAC0 may make a bigger difference than being able to land a dispel magic.

    Normally I don't mess with them, since I do the druid grove extremely early to get Belm and Gnasher and a reputation point.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,703
    These lower-level rakshasas can actually cast at above their level. With SCS, Adratha/Ihtafeer has the spell slots of a level 15 generalist mage, Saadat a level 13 generalist mage, and Jalaal a level 9 specialist mage. So expect PfMW from the first two, and a spell sequencer from the leader.
    Still, their caster level comes from their actual hit dice. They're easy to dispel.

    One of my favored techniques here? Send Cernd in (greater werewolf form) to tank. He'll wear down their defenses and spellbooks. Eventually.

    Incidentally, back on those plans for a wrong-class NPC run ... barbarian Haer'Dalis can't use his personal short swords, but he does get a free second point in long swords if he has one at 1.2 million XP. It doesn't look like the NPC customization feature does anything about the overly restrictive item requirements.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,809
    We had some scary close calls due to failed saves at Ulcaster, and even at level 4, Viconia has come close to death in a single round. I haven't resorted to just throwing around the Berserker or Barbarian kits, so disablers are still very dangerous. Plus, I ditched Khalid and Jaheira (cleric and Archer) out of disinterest, taking on Baeloth as a scimitar-wielding fighter.

    One factor I didn't consider: tomes. Mostly the tomes don't change class availability (which, for what it's worth, is a self-imposed restriction; the mod doesn't enforce them), but with the right tomes, Baeloth can meet the stats for a ranger and Alora can be a fighter and/or a cleric! Alora will therefore be joining us once we grab the Candlekeep catacomb tomes and can finally bump her STR and maybe her WIS up to 9 each.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,809
    By the way: the item swap trick can be used to cure paralysis effects if you have the Ring of Free Action! We used that several times when Xan got paralyzed in the Wolf of Ulcaster fight: we equipped him with some gold and angel skin rings, then switched out the Ring of Free Action while the game was paused on the inventory screen, curing the hold effect and letting us keep the ring on Viconia.

    As long as a character with Edventar's Gift is within range of a paralyzed character (who doesn't happen to have two cursed rings equipped for some reason), you can cure the paralysis at will. Spider's Bane should be able to do the same thing--and it looks like they can cure stun as well! Same goes for the upgraded Ixil's Spike +6 and Flail of Ages +5.

    This should also work with Peridan and Kiel's Helmet when it comes to fear. Likewise, just equipping the Bard Hat can cure both silence and deafness (a very nasty side effect of (Un)Holy Word) though few characters can equip the item), and the Amulet of Power can cure silence. Better still, you should be able to give the Staff of the Magi to a disabled character who's not shapeshifted or wielding a cursed item and turn them invisible without needing to cast a spell or use an item.

    Unfortunately it probably won't work with Arbane's Sword, Lilarcor, the Spear of the Unicorn, and other items that grant immunities. They don't have the "cure" opcodes that remove those conditions.

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,703
    Curing hold or fear effects that way feels like an exploit; the inventory screen for a character that you can't control is greyed out so you shouldn't be able to change their equipment.

    Of course, removing fear effects is remarkably easy. It's an AoE spell at cleric level 1 or mage level 2, and even Mazzy's innate version is AoE. Then all versions of it grant immunity for a while.

    The amulet of power and bard hat don't cure silence - they grant the Vocalize effect so you can ignore it. The item has to stay equipped as long as the silence effect remains if you want that character to cast/sing/talk.

  • velehalvelehal Member Posts: 297
    So I missed Gnasher. I normally take Cernd with me (I usually don´t have my intended party when I am doing druid grove.) but because now I had it, I send Cernd ahead and met him befere the entrance to the grove. He is standing in front of three druids who have Gnasher and Burnig Earth. I started the conversation and said him that it will be him instead of Jaheira who will participate in the duel but I didn´t accept him to the party. Cutscene started during which he challenged Faldorn and killed her. Nice, but when I left the grove the group of druids were gone. I am planning for Jaheira the combination of Firetooth and Belm so it isn´t big deal but nevertheless I lost the first decent weapon for her.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,809
    Looks like a CTRL-K run will stall on the opening cutscene of SoD... maybe it doesn't recognize a valid Charname because everyone's an NPC. I think we're just going to have to re-do the fight with Sarevok, kicking out Imoen and recruiting a bat or a skeleton or something with CTRL-Q to serve as Charname until we're at Coastway Crossing.

    My main finding from the CTRL-K run is that fighters who can use longbows are basically always more useful than pretty much anything else. We ran with a fighter Alora, fighter Baeloth, Kensai Imoen, fighter/thief Xan, FMT Viconia, and sorcerer Safana, but it was really just Baeloth and Xan who did most of the work, and Alora soloed the final fight with a Protection from Magic scroll.

    Clerics and druids and thieves are modestly convenient, and mages are good for casting Invisibility, but otherwise BG1 is largely a game of fighters. They don't even need to be Berserkers or Barbarians; even an unkitted fighter is excellent.

    ToB is the same in my experience. From what I can tell, spellcasters are only top-tier in early to mid-SoA, when you get the most impactful spells and almost no enemies have high MR, good saves, or many immunities. Everywhere else in the entire saga, fighters are just better. Non-fighters are situationally useful.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,809
    I hit Black Lily with CTRL-Q and carried her until Coast Way Crossing. Viconia is still Charname but we now have a fighter/mage on the team: Glint! As a good-aligned character, he'll be able to use Twinkle, just like Alora, but he'll also have Mirror Image and eventually Stoneskin to back him up. Since he's a true specialist (the game erroneously gives Viconia specialist spell slots but I haven't been using them) and isn't so strained for XP, he'll be a much more solid tank.

    Being able to pick classes is almost as optimal as creating a custom party. This will be our lineup for SoD:

    Viconia (Charname): Fighter/Mage/Thief
    Glint: Fighter/Mage
    Dorn: Cleric of something or other
    Safana: Sorcerer
    Baeloth: Fighter
    Jaheira: Archer

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,703
    Dorn: Cleric of something or other

    If you don't mess with alignments, don't have any kit mods, and hold the kit requirements strictly ... Talos or nothing. Helm priests can be LE, Tempus priests can be CE, but Dorn is NE.
    Cleric/Thief is legal for half-orcs too, if you feel like another multiclass.
    (the game erroneously gives Viconia specialist spell slots but I haven't been using them)

    What does the game think her kit is? If it's anything other than what EEKeeper calls "Base Class" and what Near Infinity calls "Mageschool_Generalist", she'll get the erroneous specialist slots and an erroneous specialist penalty to spell learning. This includes "none"; while that isn't an actual kit, the specialist bonus/penalties still peg it as not a generalist.
    Fixing her kit would immediately fix the spell scribing and clear out the extra spell slots the next time she leveled as a mage.

  • semiticgoddesssemiticgoddess Member Posts: 14,809
    @jmerry: Talos makes sense conceptually. You're right; a Cleric/Thief would work, and might be a better powergaming option.

    In EEKeeper, the "kit" section is grayed out for everyone I assigned a kit (which displays as a bunch of zeros if I try to edit it), just like multi-classed characters in my other save games. I'll just keep those spell slots empty and rely on Potions of Genius to make the penalty irrelevant.

    I actually have a mod installed that removes scribing failure and only makes INT impact the number of spells you can learn per level, but in almost all of my runs since then I've been refusing to scribe anything without 24+ INT (or, rarely, 18 INT with a specialist bonus) to imitate the effects of the mod not being installed!

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 1,703
    Yeah, null kit like I thought.

    In the vanilla game, the protagonist and most recruitable characters have "Base Class" (0x40000000) if they don't have a kit. This includes multiclasses. There are some exceptions that have a null kit (0x00000000) instead - notably Imoen. And she gets the scribing penalty if she dual-classes to mage. I've actually applied a tweak in my own games, giving all of her recruitable versions "Base Class" in the creature files.

    It appears that rather than assigning "Base Class", the NPC customization component is assigning zero instead. There's no practical difference unless that character is an arcane caster, but mages come out as no-school specialists - 15% scribing penalty because everything's off-specialty, bonus slots at each spell level if the character is a mage from level 1.

    We can't do anything about the underlying bug here - which I'm pretty sure goes way back - but we can at least fix things for characters that don't have a kit by assigning the correct value instead of zero.

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