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

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  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 3,171
    edited June 29
    Journal of Dál Riada

    We are currently investigating a cave and have looted the first part using web, skull traps and fireballs pretty effectively. I had to use a potion of extra healing when fighting some umber hulks, but as another was found shortly afterwards that was no big deal. After resting we are now prepared for going forward.

    Finding the belongings of Crommus was a bonus. He won't be needing them any more.

    Coldhearth gave us a powerful hammer in reward for our services. We were fully buffed in case he proved treacherous, but he fulfilled his part of the bargain. I also expected our reputation to drop but it didn't.

    EDIT

    We have now cleared Troll Claw Woods and have been ambushed on the way to the forest of wyrms.
    However the goblins were quickly wiped out with area effect spells and the miconids were killed using a combination of web, freedom of action and the helm that protects against confusion. :) Now onwards to the forest of wyrms

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    I am not finding playing evil easy. When this run is over, I think it will be back to playing a good character.

    Post edited by Wise_Grimwald on
    EnuhalMantis37Arviaalice_ashpool
  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 748
    Love the portrait @Wise_Grimwald ! Is that the Undercity in the background?

    Grond0alice_ashpool
  • alice_ashpoolalice_ashpool Member Posts: 248
    Icewind Dale II Solo No Reload (Attempt 1) - Update 2
    Difficulty: Normal, Solo
    Mods: None

    Arunda the Dreadmaster of Bane continues her rampage, only now things are actually hard. I remember when I was given this game as a child for christmas when it was first released. I found the prologue ok and everything after that very difficult. There is a noticeable difficulty jump as the below will show. As a no-reload solo we are trapped between the rock of needing to level up to deal with encounters and the hard place of everything getting harder if you level up. Mostly we will just level, but we will squat a bit at the beginning of this chapter.

    Chapter 1

    Leaving Targos
    There is one quest Arunda has not done. I avoided it because it required spending 200+GP for the "Braegh" but I forgot that actually there is a second person to turn it in to who gives 240GP as reward. We do that for 600XP.

    Arunda also buys a full quiver of crossbow bolts and Chainmail +1 (1612GP). A base AC of 19 will give marginally more chance of surviving. We also pick up scroll case, gem bag and potion bag.


    Shaengarne River
    This is the first real map to ease you in. It has Orcs, Orc Archers, Orc Shamans who cast Hold Person, explosive barrels, Orc Runners who will place then in pre-designated places and Orc Firestarters who will ignite them. We summon our two Undead and get to work, hanging back and plinking with the crossbow when possible. Otherwise the strategy is to send 3 undead forward and keep one next to us because some orcs will always ignore the Undead and go straight for Arunda.

    We have lots of Commands, and one very useful Dire Charm as a Dreadmaster Domain spell. With our Enchantment DC we are almost guaranteed to have one long lasting charm per battle. This is very useful for taking out Shamans (even with their high Will save) before they can start casting. Also, although we only have two casts of Animate Dead the duration is >8 hours so we can cast then cast again for 4 Chosen Zombies/Armored Skeletons.

    We meet Torak, a mini-antagonist who we will chase through the next two maps and defeat the first and second groups using Undead. Silence is another Baneite Domain spell (level 2) on top of being a normal Cleric spell so we can Silence a lot of the Shamans (it is illusion though so no DC bonuses).

    We clear Dereth Springsong's house and encounter our first Firestarter Barrel. The Orc firestarters use flaming arrows to ignite the barrels with a three second countdown before they explode as a fireball usually killing a lot of orcs. Ideally we would prevent this for XP but in practice it is hard to do in places - only Dire Charm on the Firestarters is really effective.

    We take quite a bit of damage but rescue Springson which gives us a safe rest place and a quest to rescue his wife - along with 1750XP. We have reached level 6 but do not level up yet. We also get a random drop - Yeti-skin cloak with a tiny 1 point cold resist bonus.

    First battles
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    Dereth unlocks the western part of the map which has a few parties of orcs in tight confines including a Runner + Firestarter combo. Charming the firestarter breaks the combo. Arunda makes it through all three o the next orc groups in one sitting with SIlence and her undead, finding Sabrina Fairwynd, Dereth's wife. That gets 1250XP, the next part of the map open and and somewhere to buy things we do not need.

    Western Battles:
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    Oepning the eastern passage sets Orcs running all over the place so while sniping some Barrels of Blasting they come into range from a safe vantage point, sort of. Orcs pop up all over the place. Checking back on Sabrina gets another 375XP and a Scimitar +1 which is objectively worse than our club, and Arunda rests before the final bits.

    The eastern area Arunda fails to stop a Barrel of Blasting, but otherwise theings go fine. We snipe the remaining Barrels, collect a Dagger+1, the only other piece of notable loot here and clear out the last orc group at the exit - but we need to rest again before because we lost half our army.

    Eastern and final battles
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    All in all not a difficult map, but then it is the "first" map of chapter 1. However, next map has our first proper ambush, and it ill be tough, however there is a secret to it. We prebuff with Aid, Bull's Strength and Protection from Evil and make sure we have Sanctuary and Hold Person memorized.


    Logging Village
    When Arunda appears there are immediately orc archers on the ridge and a whole host of regular orcs in front, and Torak who runs away yet again. However, before we panic there happens to be a person here who is much better at fighting than us and can thin out the crowd.

    Arunda casts sanctuary then waits for Emma Moonblade to do her thing. Her AI is bad so she casts lots of spells which are useless before going into melee. The orc' AI is worse and presumably for plot reasons they will not attack her at all. So long as we distract them she will kill 2 orcs per round until gone. No XP but its safe. Emma wants us to retrieve her Moonblade, which we will.

    Emma doing her thing:
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    The next part is tricky. If we do things wrong or get unlucky the orcs will kill all the villagers. What we need is a handlily placed invisibility potion to sneak in, open the gate, sneak back and disable the Orc Firestarter before he ignites the Barrel of Blasting which will kill the villagers. This feels like a 90s Action Movie plot and considering the game was released in 2002 that makes sense. The only way to disable the firestarter effectively is to kill him, via repeated Commands or to Dire Charm him. Since he is on the edge of around 20 orcs we don't want to hang around. We rationalise the whole thing by thinking that it will really irritate Torak.

    First we summon 4 undead then pre-buff and invisibility to open the gate and try and charm the Firestarter which works no problem. Then Arunda runs away back to her Undead and we kill all the orcs. It looks dangerous but if you kill some of them their morale breaks and they panic making it easy to pick them off. Letting the villages out of their barrel prison gets us "Clenched Fist +1" a mace and a nice damage upgrade. It also, funnily, can give is 1GP per day which is a nice flavor thing though useless. Freeing the villages gets Arunda 750XP and access to a merchant who can ID items and buy some of our deadweight.

    Freeing the villagers:
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    The last fight on this map is Torak's camp, and Torak himself. Arunda tries out a new spell: Horror, which is super effective even though it is Necromancy not Enchantment and the orcs all flee making them easy to kill. Torak is vulnerable to Command and does not have very much going for him. We collect the key to the next area along with Leather Armor+1 and battleaxe+1 for selling.

    Torak:
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    There is also an interesting dagger/10 throwing daggers which are +1 and have a 10% chance to silence on hit. Which is not particularly interesting to us but worth >1000GP

    Vrek's Cave is optional but Arunda never runs from a good fight.


    Vrek's Cave
    Slimes and Zombies and Carrion Crawlers. The Crawlers move faster than in BG, but enemies can be made to switch target with Command - once they get back up they target the closest enemy. The Zombies and Slimes are damage resistant (3rd ed does flat damage resistance rather than percentage. In this case 5, so the first 5 points of damage are ignored - though some have no crushing resistance). Oche Jellys do serious damage so Arunda stays back after taking a big hit.

    This cave feels too big for what it is - lacking something, partially incomplete - but it does have the main fight: Vrek the "true boss" Its a troll with a lot of HP, accompanied with various orcs but only one shaman - talking to them before can get 375XP. The main problem is Arunda has to walk into a situation where she is surrounded by enemies. With four undead left further back she Dire Charms the Shaman as soon as combat begins and run away. Arunda keeps Vrek down with command while the undead and charmed shaman clear out the orcs then everyone hammers on Vrek who has a lot of HP indeed. An oil flask kills him.

    Vrek:
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    Moonblade retrieved it is returned to Emma for 750XP and a big 2000GP. We quickly clear the final enemy, a strangely placed and quite dangerous Highland Cat beyond the locked exit gate, and move on to the next map.


    Shaengarne Ford
    Thats it for the easy two maps, now the enemies are tough. We kill a Verbeeg to the north and that is the furthest I want to push Arunda at level 5 so we level up, which takes us to Level 8 Dreadmaster. We would need this anyway for the next map and this one is hard too.

    We raise Wisdom as usual and boost concentration and diplomacy (I'm going for 7 diplomacy). We also gain a feat, Arunda takes Dash for +15% move speed.

    The corner of the Verbeeg house also has our first good random drop, Gantlets of Weapon Skill of +1 attack bonus. We now have a BAB of +6 which means an extra attack. Arunda has +12/+7 unbuffed.

    She also has a whole host of excellent spells, notably the Level 4 Spell Cloud of Pestillence to which she had the Undead are immune but will blind and drain stats of enemies eery round for 4 rounds on failed saves. She also has 4 Animate Dead and some other extra spells all over. Also our undead ar upgraded with Boneguard Skeletons and Poison Zombies. Good stuff.

    With Cloud of Pestilence this map's enemy: Gearnat Sharptooth and their Were-animals, Harpys and Orcs are no problem. There is also a "Spider Queen" which I had forgotten about but nothing can stand up to Command chaining.

    Killing Were-everythings:
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    Next area is really tough and we have to be prepared to run away off the map.


    Shaengarne Dam
    This map is filled with Malarites for some reason - elements of IWD2 really show the rushed nature of the development imo - the painted backgrounds look great but the contents often feels half-done. The Malarites have lots of animals with them and will cast Entangle a lot. That is fine for us since its stops lots of things getting to us. It also begins with an ambush. However we are far better equipped now and buffed as much as possible (AC22), and so some Clouds of Pesilence mean we are ok and can summon up undead. They also cast Rainstorm which does lightning damage which is quite dangerous though Arunda's spell resistance is coming into its own.

    Dealing with the initial ambush:
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    There are other groups including one with a Malarite HIgh Priest but they don't deal with Silence at all well. As an example of Arunda's strength compared to the encounters she is just about capable of of taking out three individual Malarite clusters including the initial ambush before she needs rest. IWD2 is very much balanced around lots of rests and taking each encounter fresh anyway so this does not bother me.

    Clearing up:
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    Arunda destroys the Dam and this gets us just enough experience for the next level which works out really well because level 10 gives us Greater Command, which also happens to be a Baneite demain spell. We gain an extra feat and take Power Attack. This gives a player choice of -1 to -5 to hit in exchange for +1 to +5 to damage. Its good, especially when auto-hitting.


    Shaengarne Bridge
    Arunda has to kill two ogres before the destroy the bridge is she wants the extra XP. Only problem is there are about 50 enemies on the map and the bridge is way over there - the map starts with an ambush and the ogres start chopping the moment you enter. Key is getting to the bridge, taking out the ogres and the named mage with them, then not getting killed by the thousand other enemies on the map. Thing is there is a reload safe way to do it for Arunda since she is a Cleric of high enough level. Transition time from the Dam to the Bridge is 0, so pre-casting sanctuary gives 1 round/level duration of 10 rounds which is enough to sit through the cutscene and run across the map to the bridge out of sight of everything and cast Animate Dead x 4 which can take out the Ogres, Xuki, then the other 50 or so enemies. Also applicable to anyone who can cast Invisibility - or if you let the villages die to hang onto the Invisibility potion in the logging village. Unfortunately Potions of Sanctuary, which are in the game, are not well thought out and cast at level 1 and require the casting animation, meaning you get 6 seconds of sanctuary, after a cast time of 6... so you use six tenths of 6 seconds in order to gain 6 seconds of invisibility... cool.

    Arunda does the above plan, and just like that one of the hardest parts of the game is trivialised due to AI weakness, Greater Command is just an extra addition which allows us to mop up very quickly Our rewards, some boots which give immunity to entangle, those would have been handy with the Malarites... A shield to sell, and a Bag of Holding, very useful.

    Owning the "very difficult" Bridge section:
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    We also use Spiritual Hammer a bit, it is a "ranged melee" attack so Arunda attacks twice per round at her regular regular melee attack bonus but does it at range. Shame there is no strength bonus so it is not the most exciting level 2 spell

    ---

    And that is the Shaengarne series of maps, and the first half of chapter 1 done. I'm pleased with how well the Dreadmaster holds up solo. Its like if you wanted to play an Evil Enchanter, except a cleric so you get 3/4BAB meaning you can hit things too. 3rd ed rules are ok, you miss out on lots of toys but get lots of different ones instead.

    Grond0AerakarArviaMantis37
  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 3,171
    edited July 7
    Journal of Furfoot

    In Baldur's Gate we did many minor quests. We enlisted Coran for the Yago quest.

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    ArviaAerakarEnuhalMantis37
  • ArviaArvia Member, Moderator Posts: 1,789
    edited July 7
    Yeldan II the halfling fighter - FINAL Update!
    Traveling with:
    Joshua - dwarven berserker
    Forrest - dwarven berserker
    April - human inquisitor
    Sarah - human inquisitor
    Sarevok - human fighter
    (Imoen - human thief/mage - CHUNKED by draconis)


    I am pleased to report I kept my focus and Yeldan II has become a god.

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    Now I need to try to do it with the NPCs - clearly with MP parties, I think I got it. I also need to get a sqishy character through, like maybe a thief or bard. Will start a new one in Candlekeep...

    Thoughts about this run:
    Berserkers and inquisitors were extremely useful against enemy casters, and did massive damage to melee enemies as well. They did gulp loads of potions and lots of RoR heals too, but they succeeded all the same. I'll need to try another run without so many uber characters...I also had 3 characters with grandmastery in weapons, this no doubt was part of the strength of this party...

    @Corey_Russell I have just found this post and your success doesn't seem to have been added to the Hall yet.

    Obviously I have discovered the last post, so if you like, please link the first one (and any relevant ones in between, as you wish) and the usual details like difficulty and mods or restrictions and I'll gladly add it.

    Post edited by Arvia on
    AerakarEnuhalGrond0Wise_Grimwald
  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 3,171
    edited July 8
    Journal of Furfoot last Entry

    Candlekeep had only one problem. Dynaheir was killed by being poisoned. However that was a minor blip.

    WE deemed ourselves strong enough to take on Durlag's Tower.

    All might have been well if we hadn't decided to take on the Drarven Doom Guards.

    They were too strong for.... :#

    The ridiculous thing is, that Durlag's Lower Levels contained nothing of import.

    Post edited by Wise_Grimwald on
    ArviaGrond0Enuhal
  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 3,171
    edited July 13
    Journal of Nimrod amd his Helmite Friend

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    Initial gold lower than usual. :(

    We were able to help Mellicamp though we were seriously hurt in the process. We survived, calmed down Marl in Beregost, and took a tome to Firebead.

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    Halis now level 2.

    We were advised to go to the Friendly Arms Inn.

    We killed some hobgoblins there before killing the evil Sonner and his accomplices to the north after which we delivered Tenya's Bowl.

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    I am now level 2 also.

    A nearby ankheg was then killed.

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    As we proceeded back to the FAI to return Joia's ring, two ankhegs attacked us simultaneously the extra ankheg was a bit more than we could cope with and Hal was killed. :(

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    When we delivered a letter to Mirianne she was delighted and rewarded us with a much-needed ring of protection.

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    Upon arriving in Nashkel we turned down a reward which was supposed to be fr Greywolf.

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    We picked up Samuel and took him to the Friendly Arms Inn.

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    That was enough to make us heroes. :)

    Post edited by Wise_Grimwald on
    ArviaGrond0AerakarEnuhal
  • jaypeejaypee Member Posts: 27
    Hi all,

    Good to see so many no-reloads going :smile:. It's been a couple a months since I visited this thread, I had to take a break from playing after Balin Magicbane's unfortunate death. It was a real bummer after playing all those hours.

    Recently I decided to continue on with him, to see what challenges a solo wizard slayer would be facing at the end of BG2 and through TOB. And I must say the challenges are plentiful, but I did manage to get him to the end of the game and actually beat Melissan. I learned a lot from this playthrough, and I hope to make this knowledge count in my next attempt(s). I already have a new one underway, will try to post about its progress soon.

    AerakarWise_GrimwaldArvia
  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 3,171
    edited July 10
    Journal of Nimrod amd his Helmite Friend

    Hal then killed Tarnesh.

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    We were again injured killing ankhegs and upon finding the body of Farmer Brun's son, we took it to him and gave him 100gp to get him back on his feet.

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    We were asked to deal with Bassilus and were successful and when Silke and Karlat attacked us, we killed them too.

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    Perdue then gave us a reward for the return of his sword.

    We headed south where we fought and killed Greywolf. The guards at the mine helped and Hal's command spell lasted long enough for us to finish him off ourselves.

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    We reunited Albert and Rufie before killing Vax and Zal.

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    Krumm and Ingot were killed next.

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    We returned to Beregost to rest and re-equip ourselves before heading west where we killed Droth and Shoal before returning a ring and killing some sirine.

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    Visiting the lighthouse area we killed more sirine.

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    Wherupon inside the cave we killed two flesh golems before looting it.

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    Post edited by Wise_Grimwald on
    ArviaAerakarEnuhal
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