Okay I was doing fine on insane difficulty, minimal reload game. (Load only if the pc is dead) Battle atop the Iron Throne was immense, my party was slaughtered with only my pc wild mage and a confused Minsc remaining, luckily a web spell stopped the enemies while Minsc cut them all up with Spiderbane sword.
Anyway onto Candlekeep. At this point my pc was lvl 7 and my party was very well equipped. Full plate mail, amkheg plate, spidersbane+2, varscona+2, longbow+2, shortbow+2, staff+3, about 20 oil of speed (bought from Baldurs Gate) 50 potions og healing, various strength potions, 3 fire wands, 2 stun wands, all other wands, huge collection of all protection scrolls etc. Etc. In short I had the best items the game had to offer.
I wanted to make the escape from Candlekeep catacombs memorable. Fighting dopplegangers did not sound exciting with all the power my party had. So I dropped all of my party's cool items on to the ground in central library. So I assumed that they were stripped off their items when they were 'arrested'. Did some dice rolling for normal items, and kept them, these were the mundane items Tehtoril could scavenge when he came to rescue the party. So longsword, shortbow, composite bow, hammer, darts and three leather armors. Also got caught by the watchers straling stuff so to 'lose' all the gp. Result was all of the game's best loot was lost to me forever and I need to get out of the catacombs.
The various scrolls in the entrance library area of the catacombs were very important now. I wanted to loot the tombs but Immy got zapped by a lightning to death so I only could get the tome there and exited the area. My only other thief Coran had no trap handling skills.
In the next area, avoided all other disguised dopplegangers and went for the Elminster-Gorion. Oh boy. That was a fight. Used monster summoning and animate dead from Quayle to distract them and attack with what ranged weaponry my party had. Had to fight tooth and nail, and when a swarm of skeletons rushed to join the battle it became too ugly. Quayle used his invisibility and went to turn the skeletons away, my Pc got mirror imaged while Coran and Minsc got badly wounded by the archer skeletons. Skeletons got turned, but greater doppleganger scored a nasty critical (no helmets!) on an already badly wounded Coran-chunking him. Quayle casted wraithform and went to tank them, but to my suprise he got owned by one hit doing 24damage-he exactly had 24 hp. Again it was only down to my Pc and Minsc! Doing some kiting and spells we killed the last dopplegangers. Then my pc used his last invisibility on himself and Minsc used stealth so we avoided all the other dopplegangers waiting there and headed for the exit to next lvl.
I am scared to death to face Prat's party and will likely stealth pass them. Whereas normally I would squish them quick. Coran is gone forever (so sad) but I can raise Imoen and Quayle IF I manage to escape the catacombs AND raise enough money for the spells, somehow. (Got some nice jewelry and scrolls from the catacombs)
Then I will have to do some scavenging to get reasonable equipment. I need to get the various +1 equipment I've sold to the vendors in the past. Haven't finished Durlag's yet, so I have good excuse to go treasure hunting there too. Will be rough, difficult and exciting, as if starting from scratch, kinda.
What do you think about this challenge? Sure it is very sadistic, very hardcore and not for everyone, but suddenly my game became a lot more imteresting! Catacombs would have been a breeze with all of my items, but it turned out to be a nightmarish escape for survival! I enjoyed it and look forward to the rest of the game, I need to find reasonably fine equipment to challenge Sarevok.