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Wizard Slayer led Anti-Arcane-Magic Party - custom party of six mage-killers (spoilers)

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  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,287
    Amn will be interesting for my Wizard Slayer (if she makes it there). She will agree with the law banishing magic of course, but she'll have serious issues with the Cowled Wizards as the enforcers of that law. A corrupt lot with a monopoly on magic, that doesn't have to answer for their actions to anyone. Once she's widely recognized in Amn my WS might want to take on the Cowled Wizards so that a new system of supervision could be established.

    Elrandir
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,280
    edited April 2014
    True, and the game makes it possible of course to purchase a license to practice wizardry.

    Incidentally, BG2 gives a very distorted vision of the Cowled Wizards from canon for that period, the definitive source for which is Lands of Intrigue.

    In LoI the Cowls are an underground or clandestine organization that is Neutral in alignment (at least philosophically and administratively) that is dedicated to the continued research and advancement of arcane magic. Wizards have been forced to practice in hiding in light of the social climate in Amn, which is so hostile to wizards. Therefore they have secretly banded together to share knowledge. The organization accepts wizards of all alignments. The identities of members must remain secret (they wear hooded cowls at their meetings). At least one (maybe two?) members if the Counsel of Six belong to the Cowls. But at least in LoI, IIRC there seems to be a separation between the Cowled Wizards and government. It's more like the Cowls are probably sort of protected as such, but they are not a secret limb of the government. The implication is the organization is sincerely dedicated to the development of magic as a cause, and it is not particularly given to corruption. At least that's how I'm remembering it (although it's been a long time since I studied LoI).

    That's a far cry from how the game depicts them. In the game they are an above-ground powerful branch of the government, and are essentially corrupt. Governmental corruption is indeed rampant in canon Amn; so if the Cowls were a government agency they would undoubtedly be corrupt. So I guess the developers at the time sort of extrapolated the Cowls into what they would look like if wizards in Amn were "out" rather than living on the down-low.

    There is a branch of the Amnian government presided over by one of the Council of Six that regulates espionage. I'm recalling that the same office also registers adventurers to work under contract for the government--i.e., they can be used as such as long as they have some utility for the government in this land of intrigue where so many powerful interests are constantly plotting against one another. There is some tolerance by the government for foreign wizards to be in Amn secretly when registered by that office. But socially it would be unwise for wizards to reveal their identities as such.

    There is a strong black market for magical items, however. IIRC, whichever governmental branch oversees caravan trade regularly inspects caravans and confiscates magical items.

    In a PnP game because everything is so corrupt in Amn a bribe could be offered if a mage is found out or magical items are found and confiscated.

    Blackraven
  • BlackravenBlackraven Member Posts: 3,287
    The LoI Cowls sound more interesting than the SoA ones. Much more mysterious and also easier to sympathize with (though not for the average WS). The game leaves little elbow room for a LoI-type interpretation of the Cowled Wizards unfortunately. More latitude would have been interesting for both a WS and also for your Let the Fades Decide playthrough.

  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,280
    edited April 2014
    Yeah, the game pretty much has to be taken on its own terms in that respect, I agree. Wizardry isn't frowned upon socially in SoA, it's just regulated by the government--and mainly as a means of collecting revenue by requiring a license.

    Blackraven
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,280
    edited April 2014
    Still managing for now to get in a few fun hours here and there, so I'm just sort of racing this game through to completion.

    The chapter 5 battle on the top floor of the Iron Throne was by far the most challenging one thus far. This one is always tough if you don't metagame. The enemy spellcasters saved against Silence. My priest of Helm succeeded in Holding one of them, though, so that helped. Then one the enemy mages cast either Horror or Chaos to which three of my party succumbed. That left me the barbarian, Assassin/Fighter dart thrower, and druid to carry on the battle. I had the druid to heal the barbarian (who gets a lot of chunks with the Chelsea Crusher), and the dart thrower is pretty devastating too in her own right (even just with mundane darts). Fortunately, the other three party members who wandered off in either panic or confusion stayed out of trouble.

    In the Candlekeep catacombs battle against the dopplegangers that includes fake Elminster, it's interesting that they wait for you to come at them rather than attack. That should have made it easier, because I was able to cast Dispel on them before wading in (the druid had one casting memorized). However I noticed that the dopplegangers were still Hasted.

    The other noteworthy thing from the last play session was getting past the bassilisks at the end of the Candlekeep catacombs. For a moment I wasn't sure how I was going to get past them! I typically use a spell scroll of protection from petrification or potion of mirror eyes to defeat those creatures. But here I couldn't (i.e., it's an anti-arcane magic party). Then I recalled that skeletons are immune to a bassilisk's petrification gaze. So I rested and had the priest summon a skellie. The skeleton drew their attacks as the dart thrower made quick work of the creatures. (The druid also memorized Call Woodland Beings just in case. But I just did a test and found that woodland nymphs aren't immune to the petrification gaze. So that would not have done the trick.)

    I had originally planned to have the WS/Thief dual-wield two enchanted axes: namely Bala's Axe and the Golden Axe. But I think Durlag's will feel a bit tedious for me right now. So once back in BG city I will pick up just the Golden Axe and have the Main dual-wield that along with the Dagger of Venom. (I wonder if the axe will dispel the dagger's poison effect? Hmm.)

    I think I will CLUA in Bala's Axe and re-do a few battles just to see how dual-wielding Golden Axe + Bala's Axe works out.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    Lemernis said:



    I will just observe at this point that, at least with vanilla BGEE, it's surprisingly easy to cruise through the game avoiding arcane magic with the party I have assembled. Really, between Silence, Summon Insects (and eventually Insect Plague and Poison), and WS/Thief backstabbing with the dagger of venom and the Assassin/Fighter's poisoned darts, the enemy mages are sitting ducks to begin with. I was hoping to see how well the following work: a) Miscast Magic from both the cleric and druid (it's a spell I don't often use), and b) whether the WS's dual-wielded axe attacks whittle down the target's casting ability.* But the mages are getting killed by virtue of other disabling attacks far quicker. The WS/Thief launches his assault with a backstab from the dagger of venom, and the ensuing poison damage usually interrupts the wizard's subsequent casting efforts anyway. As mentioned, at least with mage targets, they don't stand a chance with the other tactics mentioned above; so I haven't even used Hold Person on them yet which is normally be a staple spell for me with an arcane caster.

    Even with SCS installed and mages prebuffed, I think that you will find similar results with this type of party. I found arcane magic to be too slow against enemy casters. Having several characters with multiple APR doing poison and elemental damage is far quicker and more reliable- even against prebuffs of mirror images and stoneskins. The third level summon insect spell is probably superior to miscast magic. While it only yields a 50% fail rate vs. the 80% of miscast magic, if the mage takes damage from the spell while casting, it also disrupts his casting (making the effective rate somewhere near 80% if the mage does not have stoneskin). If the mage has stoneskin, the damage ticks remove stoneskins.

    LemernisBlackraven
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,280
    edited April 2014
    Okay, this game is finally done, as I just made a beeline to the finish.

    I have to say, the battles did start to get harder at the end starting from about the first battle atop the Iron Throne. Normally with arcane magic and potions those late battles are tougher, sure--but they're still not that much of a problem. The degree of difficulty also depends on the amount or metagaming and/or cheese, I guess. Here I tried to avoid metagamining and cheese. But toward the end I kind of had to give in to just a bit to it in order just to get the win. And I had to reload quite a bit as I drew closer to the end.

    Mind you, I had only the spells of a cleric, druid, and Inquisitor, no potions (except for magic blocking, antidotes, and healing), and a small assortment of enchanted weapons. I didn't buy wands of heavens because this party would never set foot in a magic shop. I had one loot drop wand of heavens with 11 charges that definitely helped a lot, though. I spent quite a few of those charges on the doom guards and skeleton warriors in the maze however.

    Similarly, I didn't buy darts of wounding, stunning, or elemental damage because this party wouldn't make a transaction within a magic shop.

    I didn't think to use the assortment of protection scroll loot drops, and it might have gone slightly easier if I had...

    At the Thieves Guild before heading down into the underground warren I decided to roll a 1d3 as to whether the Black Lily's darts of stunning were divinely enchanted, and fortunately I rolled a 3 (which was my mark as such). So it helped that the dart thrower had darts of stunning.

    For the party of assassins just before the temple of Bhaal I was able to Silence them all from a distance, which gave an interesting result. No one in their party could initiate dialogue that would turn them all hostile. So that was kind of weird, actually. If you attacked one of them Silenced as such, that one became hostile but the others did not. It allowed me to kill two them as the others just stood there until they could speak again. But once the dialogue started, all of the remaining four turned hostile. Anyway, I was able to get the arrows of detonation guy to switch to melee throughout all this. The druid summoned a nymph for that battle which helped a fair bit.

    The final battle was pretty difficult. It took a lot of reloads. I did it in four phases, with quite a number of reloads for the second and fourth phases. I had to resort to divide-and-conquer, drawing the enemy out one at a time. The exceptions to this rule were Semaj and Tazok. Semaj fell almost immediately, as the Assassin/Fighter dart thrower managed to stun him on about the third reload. But then it got much tougher.

    The druid's summoned nymph brought about Angelo's end after quite a few reloads. The nymph went in alone and was able to successfully cast Confusion on Angelo (thus dominating him). Sarevok then killed Angelo. (Not sure if Angelo weakened Sarevok, but I doubt it.) Fortunately that left Sarevok pretty far over on the left side toward the dais, making it possible to separate Tazok from him.

    I was able to draw out Tazok by having the Inquisitor approach from the right side and cast Dispel over the dais area, revealing him. Tazok gave chase to her and basically got his butt kicked when he ran into the party. It kind of surprised me. It only took a few tries to bring him down. I was able to get in a couple of backstabs on him with the dagger of venom.

    So I was left with just Sarevok then. I started with a backstab using the dagger of venom. I don't think I had ever tried poison on Sarevok before, but evidently he is immune to it.

    The three charges from the wand of heavens helped, I suspect. But other than that I had the Barbarian swinging the Chelsea Crusher at him, and the Inquisitor using Spider Bane, with the priests healing them. And of course they were chugging healing potions as well. The WS/Thief tried to repeatedly backstab with the dagger of venom, with a moderate success.

    I got one win where the Inquisitor died but the WS/Thief protagonist made repeated backstabs on Sarevok. But I hate losing a party member so I did it again with no fatalities. Unfortunately for that win the WS/Thief kept missing backstabs and/or failing to hide in shadows on repeated attempts. But sometimes that's just how it goes, right?

    Here was the percentage of kills:

    Assassin/Fighter dart grandmaster - 37%
    Half-orc Barbarian - 24%
    WS/Thief - 16%
    Inquisitor - 11 %
    Cleric of Helm - 5 %
    Totemic Druid - 2 %

    I didn't realize until I checked the percentage of kills at the very end just how strong the dart thrower was. I just saw the half-orc chunking enemies and figured he was the star. He was great, actually. But little did I know she was even better. And she was just using plain (and most often unpoisoned) darts most of the time!

    The WS/Thief was a letdown. I used him mainly as a Thief. He backstabbed with the dagger of venom and he followed by dual-wielding axes. I tried to use him against every mage I could. But the WS piece was meaningless--by which I mean the 10% toward casting failure with each successful hit. It totally did not matter, best I could see.

    So it was an interesting run. Easy as can be for most of the game. But then it took a sharp turn into much higher difficulty right at the end.

    Post edited by Lemernis on
    Blackraven
  • LemernisLemernis Member, Moderator Posts: 4,280
    edited April 2014
    A few more notes:

    Re: the quasi-roleplay aspect of when, and when not, to kill mages: In the case of Thalantyr he is a reclusive but known wizard, who is secluded in the wilderness. I guess it sort of made sense for this bunch to kill him... although killing any innocent is not something an Inquisitor could condone! I should never have had an Inquisitor in this party to begin with.

    For Bentley and Halbazer Drin (Sorcerous Sundries) who are such public figures... and several of the various mages scattered about in BG city, as well... if the party had tried to track them all down and kill every one of them, the party's rep would have been Despised for most of the game from Chapter 5 onward. So I would have been fighting Flaming Fist Enforcers at every turn, and it would have felt like a pure chaotic evil run. At one point I took out the Oberon trio of magesses and watched my rep plummet to 2. When your rep is that low, I had forgotten how much gold it takes to improve it! This really wasn't the game I envisioned playing, and probably would just have been more aggravating than I really wanted. I'm not a fan of having to flee the Flaming Fist in Chapter Seven to begin with. So I reloaded to before that encounter and just forged ahead with the plot.

    I think it's noteworthy that even though the party didn't sell off magic items, potions, spell scrolls, etc., they managed to amass $40K before heading down into the Thieves Warren.

    Blackraven
  • AurorusAurorus Member Posts: 201
    Lemernis said:



    Similarly, I didn't buy darts of wounding, stunning, or elemental damage because this party wouldn't make a transaction within a magic shop.

    Assassin/Fighter dart grandmaster - 37%
    Half-orc Barbarian - 24%
    WS/Thief - 16%
    Inquisitor - 11 %
    Cleric of Helm - 5 %
    Totemic Druid - 2 %

    Ouch... no magic darts... those things are almost as OP as acid arrows and arrows of biting. Imagine how many kills your dart-thrower would have had with elemental damage darts or darts of wounding. I had a playthrough with an archer, Khalid, Jaheira, Safana, Imoen, and Quayle. My archer had somewhere around 67% of the kills and Safana, mostly with darts, had 22%, leaving only 11% of the kills for the others... so I know how good darts can be.

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