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Nuts to you, Irenicus!

FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
Having recovered from the "shock and awe" produced by witnessing the Divine power of Avatar O' Reilly, MC and his companions strode through the gate, en route to the heart of the Tree of Life. He immediately bumped into a small tree which shuddered at the impact, and then showered the group with nuts of various sizes. Amused, MC gathered these up and went on. There was only one other room immediately apparent, which had a nice pool with some pretty fountains, but looked like a dead end. After wandering around cluelessly for 5 minutes, MC was ready to give up and go back; but then Imoen noticed some stone statues with empty hands. The light dawned slowly; the group had found a stone harp and horn back in Salt-cellar, and whadda ya know! These fit into the statues hands. The fountains stopped flowing, the pool dried up and stairs down were revealed.

MC, being the considerate creature that he is, gave everybody in turn the chance to withdraw from the quest; each one swore to follow and exact just retribution upon the foul Irenicus. MC was touched; he also wondered what Edwin, Kagan, Viconia and Dorn would have said had they been there instead. Probably they would have tagged along also, but for radically different reasons.

Down the stairs they went. At the bottom, they encountered none other than Irenicus himself! He was, however, totally oblivious to their presence; they could neither talk to him nor attack him. Drat! Luckily, Princess Ellie-Mae was also there; she revealed that Irenicus was being assisted by sap-sucking parasites, some sort of ethereal aphids or termites apparently. Killing them would break Irenicus' connection to the tree. She also said that MC could use his nuts to bridge the gaps in between the branches and reach the parasites. That sounded rather crude to MC, as well as painful, until he remembered the nuts that he had collected from the tree upstairs. Whew! Much relieved, MC agreed to the task.

And so it was done; easily dispatching the various elementals that sought to block their way, the group exterminated the parasites ... which looked nothing like any sort of aphid, by the way. Unless they were demonic aphids from Hell, which, considering that half of the Abyss seemed to have been summoned for the attack on Salt-cellar, was certainly possible. Performing this pest control job ended up with the party being teleported instantly back to Irenicus. How? Why? MC was confused, but that was nothing new; he coped with it in his usual manner, and put it out of his mind. More important matters beckoned; Irenicus was not amused. He blustered, MC blustered, He threatened, MC scoffed ... OK, stop beating your chests, guys; we all know how this turns out, and it's not hugs and kisses.






Post edited by FrdNwsm on
semiticgodJuliusBorisovSciobtha

Comments

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    edited June 2015
    {I'm not going to bother with any spoiler notice; you have all been through this scenario before. If for some ungodly reason you haven't, just don't read this)

    Throwdown time! Unfortunately, the group had been teleported to Irenicus instantly, with no time to buff up. Bad but not necessarily fatal. MC started foaming at the mouth, Neera started her haste and everyone else began doing their usual pre-combat things; Irenicus, to nobody's surprise, tossed off a timestop. Arg!

    He must have had some sort of buffing sequencer since protection spells suddenly appeared first. He could have done something nasty with his next two actions, but contented himself with a true sight and a death spell. Sorry buddy, MC thought, I didn't bring my usual complement of summonings today. And when Irenicus returned to real time, MC smugly informed him that they would see his ante; Neera gleefully uncorked her own time stop! Hah! MC had been waiting for months to get even for all those yahoos who had hit him with it in the past, and this was the ideal time. She did something more constructive, using her wand of spell striking followed by pierce magic and her own sequencer of flame arrows.

    Irenicus, robes smoldering, looked irate, and told MC "I'll see your Time Stop and raise you one", and promptly tossed off a second! Umm, what level was this guy again? Aren't there rules against this sort of thing? Well, OK, Irenicus believes that rules are for everyone else.

    Things got a bit hazy in MC's mind after that, but Irenicus' second time out seemd more constructively spent. Remove magic and withering? When time resumed, Imoen and Neera had to pull back a bit, but kept up the pressure with their wands of spell striking and the occasional magic missile. Both MC and Keldorn had whirlwinds by this time and used them liberally, while Anomen and Jaheira alternated physical attacks and spells.

    Under the ferocity of this combined onslaught even Irenicus began to falter, and eventually, despite a contingency going off, much to his own astonishment, bought the farm. Whew! OK Buddy; hand over the stolen soul piece before you go, and don't let the door hit you in the butt on your way out.

    Hang on; MC felt a force pulling at him? What? Ack! Irenicus was dragging MC along with him, as well as everybody else? How the heck was he managing THAT little feat? MC called Shenanigans, but too late. The next thing he knew, he and his friends were in a huge cavern that smelled oddly of sulphur ... or was it Brimstone?

    Aww, Hell.



    ArdulJuliusBorisovlunarSciobtha
  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,346
    Irenicus is always underwhelming in the Tree of Life. You wait for some spectacular spells like he does to cowled wizards in the cutscenes, like bam, you are dead, whomph, you are toast. Instead he is weak. In my long and persevered runs of bg2 he has managed to kill me just one time, and it was while I was showing off to a friend who was a fan of Irenicus from the start of the game, quoting his lines with glee, but he sucked at play and was never able to progress to later chapters. I was saying look he is not that tough or powerful. Ofcourse he casts a time stop and does a wail of the banshee. And ofcourse my pc blows the save despite having a save vs death of 3 or 2. Ofcourse.

    howmanyhoursJuliusBorisov
  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,028
    I will say that he's a lot more difficult if you don't have HLAs or 9th level spells yet (as was originally intended, before TOB came out). He also likes to do things like absorb the first Breach spell without it doing anything (can never remember which spell does that, but he uses it), and cast Power Word: Kill on low-health mages. But yeah, especially if you don't care about your NPCs dying, he's not all that tough.

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    edited June 2015
    Jarrakul said:

    I will say that he's a lot more difficult if you don't have HLAs or 9th level spells yet (as was originally intended, before TOB came out).


    Hmmm. If that's the case, it's odd that the designers allow you to access WK (which properly speaking belongs to ToB) while you are still going through SoA. That place is a gold mine of experience, not to mention equipment ... once you get powerful enough, that is. I think most of my folks picked up 3 levels going through it. Also, I've been obsessive about doing every possible side quest. Well, almost every one; I didn't do Dorn's quest since I didn't want to torque off the Radiant Heart folks. And in the EE version we have all those new NPCs with their quests, which give you even more experience. Consequently, my core group people are all level 20-24, except for multi-class Jaheira. And even she has one HLA: summon Deva.

    Naturally, MC gets all the best gear. And berserkers are seriously OP compared to the other warrior kits (Wizard slayer can't use most magical items? No armor for Kensai, not even bracers? Really??). Contrast that with berserker immunities. Being immune to imprisonment is huge when taking on Kangaxx, for example. So a lot of encounters boil down to "MC goes berserk and kills them all". :smiley:

    Irenicus wasn't exactly a pushover, even so. And since MC's soul still isn't intact, I suspect he's still lurking about somewhere. Real villains never go that quietly. Look at Sarevok; he even shows up in Hell and tries to make things hard for you.

    Post edited by FrdNwsm on
    JuliusBorisov
  • YannirYannir Member Posts: 595
    FrdNwsm said:


    Hmmm. If that's the case, it's odd that the designers allow you to access WK (which properly speaking belongs to ToB) while you are still going through SoA. That place is a gold mine of experience, not to mention equipment ... once you get powerful enough, that is.

    I don't think it's odd at all. They just leave it up to the players to decide their own way to play the game. Which is good, IMO. A lot of games during that time were very linear, and it's still a big problem in games today. Not spending the proper time developing a game is the worst crime in this industry.

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    edited June 2015
    Yannir said:

    FrdNwsm said:


    Hmmm. If that's the case, it's odd that the designers allow you to access WK (which properly speaking belongs to ToB) while you are still going through SoA. That place is a gold mine of experience, not to mention equipment ... once you get powerful enough, that is.

    I don't think it's odd at all. They just leave it up to the players to decide their own way to play the game. Which is good, IMO. A lot of games during that time were very linear, and it's still a big problem in games today. Not spending the proper time developing a game is the worst crime in this industry.


    I didn't say it was a BAD thing; quite the opposite. But I was replying to Jarrakul's post, in which he said that the initial design concept was not to have players confronting Irenicus at such high levels that they had access to their own 9th level spells and/or HLAs. In that context, being able to get the extra experience from WK is a bit of a contradiction, since it allows that very thing to happen.

    Of course, it is possible that the designers changed their minds about that, and allowed access to WK as a late modification to the game.


  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 10,944
    To be fair, Watcher's Keep is really hard. That XP is well-earned. It doesn't really affect the difficulty curve very much: although fighting Irenicus with HLAs is easy, getting those HLAs by trudging through Watcher's Keep is not.

    Yannir
  • YannirYannir Member Posts: 595
    I think adding WK as it is, was mostly because of technology limitations of the time. I'm no expert since I was 12 at the time BG2 came out. All in all, it comes down from wanting to add new content to the existing game in addition to releasing ToB.

    I still think it's largely also that they wanted to give players some leeway. You still CAN go through SoA without ever touching WK. Many of the people in this forum do that.

    Besides, battling Irenicus at the Tree is just a prelude. :smile: A small spoiler, but you probably already guessed this.. :wink:

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,028
    Personally, I do agree that allowing players to go through WK in BG2-proper was an odd design choice, and weirdly contradictory of the devs' original boundaries for the game. Which isn't to say I condemn it wholeheartedly, but personally I'm always pretty upset when completionism denies me a difficult final boss fight. Of course it's a bit different in BG2, as killing Irenicus is no longer the end of the game, but the general point still stands.

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    Jarrakul said:

    I do agree that allowing players to go through WK in BG2-proper was an odd design choice, and weirdly contradictory of the devs' original boundaries for the game ... I'm always pretty upset when completionism denies me a difficult final boss fight. Of course it's a bit different in BG2, as killing Irenicus is no longer the end of the game, but the general point still stands.


    On the other hand, since the rest of ToB can't be accessed until Irenicus has been defeated, you could argue that with the inclusion of WK, there is still a "boss" fight in SoA. Namely, the last encounter on level 5 of WK. Which was a lot tougher than the final Irenicus battle, and which I still haven't finished. (I'm assuming that one still can return to it in ToB, although I have just started this and haven't even gotten out of the pocket plane yet). Ummm, or maybe level 6 if there is one.

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,028
    Watcher's Keep is accessible from both BG2-proper and TOB, yes. I think they basically decided they had to have some extra content before the end of BG2-proper, so they added Watcher's Keep as an area accessible from both. I don't dislike the idea, but Watcher's Keep is so huge, has so much xp and so many good items, and the first few levels into TOB-range are so powerful, it tends to unbalance the BG2 endgame. Even if there is still a very strong challenge to be had in the keep itself, the story resolution loses some of its punch when Irenicus goes down too easily.

    In any case, it's easily enough avoided by just putting off the keep for later, so I can't say I really hate it. I can play the way I like, and other people can do what works for them, and everything more-or-less works out. I just find it a very odd design choice, is all.

  • FrdNwsmFrdNwsm Member Posts: 1,069
    edited June 2015
    Jarrakul said:

    In any case, it's easily enough avoided by just putting off the keep for later, so I can't say I really hate it. I can play the way I like, and other people can do what works for them, and everything more-or-less works out. I just find it a very odd design choice, is all.


    This is true for re-runs, but making such an informed choice is not possible on a first run through, since you have no prior knowledge of the events that will occur later on. I stumbled into WK early in Ch 3, did the first level fairly easily, defeated the chromatic demon on level 2, and decided to go down a wee bit further. When I hit the third room on level 3, I ran into seriously stiff opposition and decided "Hey, maybe we shouldn't be here just yet", and went back to doing Ch 3 type stuff. After finishing Ch 5, I felt we were strong enough to try again. Level 3 was still a challenge, but (barely) doable, but after that I went on to Ch 6, and didn't come back to WK until that was over. By the time I hit the last combat on level 5 of WK (and got whupped on! Ouch!) my core group was level 18-23. When we hit the final battle with Irenicus, MC was level 24, and we had spells like summon Planetar and Time Stop. Probably more than the designers orginally anticipated.

    Jarrakul
  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,346
    I wish Irenicus battle had a difficulty setting, if the party xp is high, he would have a few more helpers (some greater rakshasas or maharajahs in the tree, maybe?) and maybe if the party xp is >3m, he could summon a fallen planetar as well. That alone would have made the battle tougher.

    ronaldoJarrakulJuliusBorisov
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