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General Discussion (Spoiler Warning!)
"Maybe this time" [NO-RELOAD THREAD]: "The Tale of TEN THOUSAND Trials"
edited January 2016
Gerland of Candlekeep, NG Half-Elf Skald, 4th SoA report
Final Commission for the Shadow Thieves
Gerland & company accepted to wipe out a rogue named Mae'Var and his gang of thieves that had been making overtures to the Night Masks.
As you can see somehow Mae'Var and the others took quite long before they went hostile, in the case of Mae'Var himself too long. This was after he had been talked to. Uneventful battle, so I'll suffice with the above screenshots.
Battles in the Sewers
In the sewers below the Temple District, a group of adventurers demanded payment of 1,000 GP from Gerland and co. When Gerland proposed the two parties part on friendly terms, their leader said he would kill the Skald.
As at Mae'Var's guildhouse, the enemy for some reason didn't go hostile and pursue Gerland and his friends. I then had an Aerial Servant strike down Gaius, which I later kind of regretted because it turned the battle into a hack and slash fest.
Not much more interesting was the party's encounter with a Rakshasa. It summoned a Web, which caught Jaheira. Anomen's Aerial Servant and Kitty then did the job for the party.
As a favor for Roger the fence, the party also slew a Sea Troll.
At the Copper Coronet the companions met another adventuring party, who were looking for folk to help them retrieve a chest for a nobleman. The quest took them to a dungeon inhabited by (Greater) Mummies, (Bone and other) Golems, Skeleton Warriors,
and a Gauth and a Lich that sold "cheese" as the Gauth called it, i.e. several powerful items.
Not wanting to be too cheesy, I only had the companions buy a ring of protection +1 that was wearable along with other protection items (rings, amulets, cloaks) and a pair of gauntlets that gave a +2 damage bonus. But no boots of speed, robe of arcane might that increased spell-casting speed, etc.
The party obtained the chest from Lepus, a fiendish hare,
and returned to the Copper Coronet where they were rewarded 5k GP for their efforts.
Although they had paid Gaelan Bayle the gold he had asked, his contact Shadowmaster Aran Linvail and the Shadow Thieves weren't ready to escort Gerland & Co to Imoen and Irenicus. They needed help against a rivaling guild. Some shadowing of the enemy and violent dealings with turncoats taught the companions that the rivals were Vampires with a base in the crypts below the Athkatla graveyard. Aran Linvail asked them to fight the Vampire guild.
The party first cleared an underground area that harbored several other types of undead with Anomen destroying many of the creatures with his Turn Undead aura.
Closer to the Vampire guild, the companions helped Arledrian - one of Gaelan Bayle's fences (and a spy from the Suldanessalar War Council they had gathered from the Elf's diary) - overcome three Vampires. The Elf rewarded Gerland with Silverblaze, a fine dagger and useful against Vampires:
At the entrance to the Vampire guild, a mage in the service of Aran Linvail unlocked a magically sealed door. Four Grimwarders attacked him, but the party stopped them from harming the wizard. However when they spoke to him, the wizard dropped dead to the ground. An Aerial Servant slew the first Vampire and a Golem, paving the way for Sir Anomen to blow up a Greater Ghoul and two Vampires,
and to pick up the Mace of Disruption from a pool of blood. With that (not yet upgraded) weapon, the knight also destroyed Tanova, a spell-casting Vampire.
Sir Anomen, Gerland, and Jaheira - the only ones with NPP - slew more Grimwarders and Vampires, until there was only one vamp left, guildmistress Bodhi. Sir Anomen, aided by two Aerial Servants, and Gerland decided to try and take her on without the help of the others. The idea was that Sir Anomen would attack with his Aerial Servants in close range, while Gerland would contribute with his song and with Azuredge. Alas, that strategy proved overly optimistic. Granted the two friends and the summons injured Bodhi with their different attacks, but the she rapidly drained the Aerial Servants' levels, and Sir Anomen's constitution (down to 6, in spite of his excellent AC). She also had a 'Touch of Death' with which she would wound her melee opponents.
Anomen had to retreat. It inspired Bodhi to redirect her attention to Gerland, casting a 'Sepulchral Sleep' at him with the words 'Prepare, for the final sleep comes for you.' The Skald didn't exactly know what to expect, but to stay on the safe side he quaffed one of only two or three potions of magic shielding he possessed.
Like Sir Anomen before him Gerland then retreated. Bodhi, apparently disinclined to go after the two, then said she had seen enough, and disappeared.
The party reported back to Aran Linvail, and found him pleased with their achievements despite Bodhi's escape. He told the companions that they could soon travel to Spellhold, the asylum where Imoen and Irenicus were held. However, the party had some unfinished business to take care of in and around Athkatla. There was the Cult of the Unseeing Eye that had to be stopped, an important mission for Sir Anomen and the Temple of Helm. And the companions had also given their word to Tolgerias that they would track down and procure the killer Valygar Corthala, and to Lord Firkraag that they would bring peace to his Ogre-infested lands.
I love the way you narrate
edited January 2016
, that's really nice of ou to say, and nice for me to know
Happy new year to you and other no-reload aficionados!
Gerland of Candlekeep, NG Half-Elf Skald, 5th SoA report
The party had two jobs to do in the Windspear Hills: delivering the acorns of Irenicus’ Dryads to a Dryad Queen somewhere in the hills, and defeating Lord Firkraag’s Ogres. Right upon arrival the companions appeared to be faced with the Ogres. Gerland tried to argue with the creatures,
but they weren’t open to reason. A battle ensued in which the Ogres proved hardier than such creatures usually were, which didn’t stop the party from defeating them. It was only after battle had been done, that the ‘Ogres’ turned out to be Paladins and Knights of Helm. Some sort of Illusion magic had been used to deceive the party. Amongst the slain lay Ajantis, a colleague of Sir Anomen’s, and Gerland’s old friend and traveling companion on the Sword Coast.
Ajantis and Gerland had fought powerful mages together, banished a Tanar’ri, and defeated Sarevok and his cronies. The Skald would have loved to adventure more with the Cavalier, but now there was only astonishment and grief. The baron of the Windspear Hills, Lord Garren Windspear arrived at the scene moments later. He believed the party’s account of what had happened and explained that only Firkraag, the one who had hired Gerland & Co. could have played this wicked trick upon the party. They found shelter at Lord Windspear’s cabin, and defeated a group of bandits there,
but they couldn’t prevent the baron’s daughter Iltha from being kidnapped.
For both Lord Windspear’s good and for their own, the companions went looking for Firkraag in an old dungeon. On the way they killed two Ankhegs, several Werewolves and Orcs, and they also found the Dryad Queen and gave her the acorn, securing the release of Irenicus’ Dryad slaves.
The first area of the dungeon was a large cavernous room, inhabited by harmless Hobgoblins, Orcs and Vampiric Mists but also by a Ruhk Transmuter surrounded by Kamikaze Kobolds. They were blocking the passage to the next level. One of the explosive Kobolds soon killed all the others, but the Ruhk was a lot more troublesome. It had protected itself with such illusions as Mirror Image and Improved Invisibility as well as other protections like Stoneskin and PfMW. And it had little difficulty fighting off Sir Anomen, and disrupting the priest when he was in the process of casting True Sight. A Remove Magic by Gerland did nothing, and when Jan came closer to Detect Illusions the Ruhk PW:Stunned Jan.
This meant that the arcane casters couldn’t target their foe with single target Abjuration spells (Breach and the like). A subsequent Cloudkill badly injured the Gnome, until a Zone of Sweet Air by Aerie and the expiration of PW:Stun allowed him to retreat. Jaheira then joined Sir Anomen at the frontline, hoping her club’s and her companion’s flail’s elemental damage would soon enough get rid of the Ruhk’s Stoneskins and Mirror Images. With a Skull Trap (thankfully just one) the Ruhk injured both priests.
It was only after an effective Dispel Magic from Sir Anomen and Tensered Gerland’s intervention at the frontline, that the creature met its doom.
Orcs and Golems proved not much of a challenge in the next area, and Sir Anomen, later assisted by Jaheira dispatched a group of Vampires. The Elder Vampires he simply exploded, but the Ancient ones were more problematic.
In fact, their annoying habit of turning into bat form and becoming untargetable while they regenerated had me cheese a bit by surrounding the Vamps with invisible party members to prevent their (equally cheesy) behavior.
It was also Sir Anomen who, protected from fire by spells and by a ring the Ruhk Transmuter had dropped, defeated several guardian Djinns or Efreetis in order to assemble a mask with which he would be able to see and slay a Fire Elemental guarding a treasure trove. This was a mission for an explorer named Samia. There was some running around when the Fire Elemental was engaged while the last part of the mask still had to be obtained, but eventually no harm was done.
A Beholderish creature that was floating around met its end at the hands of an Aerial Servant the companions had tentatively sent in.
Jan cast Invisibility 15’ Radius, the others their long-lasting buffs, and then the party rested by the treasure trove, which contained a long sword and a shield, both enchanted to protect against fire damage. When they got up, Samia and five accomplices, one divine caster and one arcane caster among them, awaited the party, eager to take the treasure and kill the companions.
Sir Anomen landed an early hit on their Orcish warrior, slowing him with his FoA, before he cast True Sight and dispelled the enemy mage’s illusions.
As the space in which the two parties were battling was rather cramped, and the enemy’s ranks contained four competent warriors, Aerie cast a Teleport Field. The enemy priest got off an Unholy Blight before Sir Anomen finished him.
A Kensai was getting the upper hand against Mazzy, who was more archer than meleer in the first place, but Gerland and Jan’s intervention with Magic Missiles, sealed the sword saint’s fate. Jaheira finished Samia and later a rogue in straight melee. Jan downed the Half-Orc with more Magic Missiles, and Sir Anomen with his FoA was too much for the wizard to handle.
The companions looted the corpses, defeated a number of (Greater) Werewolves and Golems, and made their way down to the next level where they ran into an old acquaintance, the Half-Orc Tazok, and some cohorts of his. The party made short work of them,
and then found Windspear’s daughter locked in a cell. She explained that a wizard who had brought her to the dungeon, owned a magical key that would unlock her cell. The companions found him, and Firkraag – a Red Dragon! – in a large hall below the prison. Firkraag explained that he had begun his ‘game’ with Gerland as a way to take revenge for a wrong that Gorion and friends had once done him. Gerland didn’t feel ready to fight the dragon, but he did have to fight the wizard for the key to Iltha Windspear’s cell. Several Abjurations cast in rapid succession at the wizard by Gerland, Aerie, and Jan, left their foe defenseless before Mazzy’s arrows and Jan’s Magic Missiles.
The companions released Iltha from her cell, and went back to speak say goodbye to Lord Windspear.
I'm leaving Viora at ToB in case I want to take her through the rest of the game later on. In the meantime, I've started up a new run, , but I'm not sure I like how the current one is going.
I'm using a gnomish illusionist with Jan and Aerie. The idea is to keep Aerie's AC high so that she can hit enemies with Fire Shield, and so that Jan can hit her with flashers. We've been doing okay so far, but the gameplay seems slow, and we rest incessantly. Having only three party members makes the game considerably harder. Or maybe it's just because my last run was so ridiculously strong. The lack of fighters is very painfully felt. Things might change once Aerie gets the Cloak of the Sewers and can use rat form to tank, but I don't know. The high AC gimmick might not be interesting enough to base an entire run on it.
I'm thinking of starting a new run already, with 12 party members instead of 6. I created a custom spell that will duplicate the whole group via the simulacrum opcode, but the clones will all be at the caster's normal level (I double their levels for 1 second before the simulacrum effect hits). To compensate, the whole party will have a 50% XP penalty.
The idea is to test the notion that fewer party members make a stronger party, because of faster level gains. I don't think it's true, and I'm taking the other extreme, with double the party and half the XP, to see what happens. The party would include:
Cleric of Lathander
I picked single classes exclusively partly because of the XP penalties and partly because the game calculates simulacrum levels differently for other classes (60% of the levels instead of 50%, roughly), and this simplifies things.
edited January 2016
I started out the new run for testing purposes and we have a problem. The images vanish if the original caster is hurt. A Berserker takes one hit and his clone vanishes. I can always replace the clone, but it will lose any active effects it has.
The only way I know to prevent clones from vanishing like this is to have the clone conjure a clone of itself, which makes the third clone persist even if the original caster is hurt. But the third clone will have no items.
I suppose I could always just tweak the clone spell so that it generates two clones, and then just make the original party immune to all damage and invisible to all critters. That way, I'd fight entirely with the clones. The disadvantage of this is that I can't select any of them with hotkeys, and everyone will be tinted blue all of the time, unless I hit them with CTRL-R every time they pop up. Also, they deliver random lines sometimes.
EDIT: Having two clones works fine. But selecting them all with the mouse rather than pressing 1-6 is rather slow. Also, the game has some minor pathfinding issues with the little guys, managing them is difficult, and I still worry that enemy scripts won't operate correctly if they see simulacra they can't remove with Death Spell.
I think I'll end this run before it gets too high-maintenance.
edited January 2016
I was thinking something similar to support me than six party members but in a different manner: fully autonomous AI scripts.
My idea is to create an AI script where an npc can be removed from the party and becomea a blue circle npc that follows the protagonist and uses its skills and spells to protect him and attack hostile creatures.
Kind of like korax with flaming fist or amnian guard AI (who attack hostile creatures), and when the protagonist gains a level the npc also gains one. Then make some dialogue to swap in or out party npcs for the blue npc and have the removed party members use that AI script.
The problem is supporting all possible kits and spells. That is where I got stuck.
Reason is I wanted to recreate the hobbit for my wife to play through and that requires some 14 playable characters, but it would be fully okay to have followers rather than playables (you would go nuts with more than six anyway).
edited January 2016
A new attempt in no-reload mode.
Five months ago Sidonie's failure left a bitter taste in my mouth.
I started a playthrough with a good fighter/thief in duo with Imoen but I never really played it.
I got a more advanced result with an evil F/T halfling in solo but I dislike the idea of resuming something that is 4 or 5 month old.
Here is yet another attempt, similar to Sidonie's setup: a fighter/mage in duo with Imoen.
I have been rolling the virtual dice for about a minute. I got disappointing results, 84 at best. Not that bad but I really wanted a 89 - 91 kind of character. 10 minutes before that I rolled a 90 point sorceress whereas such score is essentially useless for a sorcerer.
When I was about to launch eekeeper, the random number generator felt the threat (or dissatisfaction) and I was blessed with 92. All in all an excellent random strategy
A kind of sweet spot where 4 stats are maxed and the remaining 2 can still get 10 points.
Now that I am overloaded with those points, what to do ?
A duo with Imoen, a limited but sane set of mods (UB, a couple of BG2 tweaks and Stratagems), a personal tweak and, a bias.
The tweak relates to Imoen, she is modified to be a regular swashbuckler.
This time the bias is to perform most, if not all, optional quests before dealing with the main thread starting with the Nashkel mines. That involves a bit of randomness even though the powergaming part is not entirely absent. Let's mention it here otherwise it would be too dispersed:
- equipment easy to grab (rings, armor, etc...)
- collect most wands
- get the magic belts before fighting the hardest opponents.
This means FAI (rings, elven's bane) -> Beregost and maps around (wand of lightning + easy XP) -> Nashkel (armor) -> Nashkel mines exterior (wand of frost + easy XP) and then at some point the ankheg map (wand of fire and incidentally a lot of XP) and Mutamin's garden (actually because of the golden belt and not because of the ultra easy XP) -> Nashkel mines exterior (Greywolf and Varscona) etc... the coastal maps (there is about 20K xp on the lighthouse map) and the named locations come later.
Rather classic despite the introduced bias.
// Log of Currently Installed WeiDU Mods
// The top of the file is the 'oldest' mod
// ~TP2_File~ #language_number #component_number // [Subcomponent Name -> ] Component Name [ : Version]
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #0 // Ice Island Level Two Restoration: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #1 // The Mysterious Vial: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #4 // Finishable Kagain Caravan Quest: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #5 // Coran and the Wyverns: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #6 // Kivan and Tazok: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #7 // Branwen and Tranzig: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #10 // Place Entar Silvershield in His Home: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #11 // Scar and the Sashenstar's Daughter: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #12 // Quoningar, the Cleric: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #13 // Shilo Chen and the Ogre-Magi: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #14 // Edie, the Merchant League Applicant: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #16 // Creature Corrections: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #17 // Creature Restorations: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #18 // Creature Name Restorations: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #19 // Minor Dialogue Restorations: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #21 // Store, Tavern and Inn Fixes and Restorations: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #22 // Item Corrections and Restorations: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #28 // Prism and the Emeralds Tweak: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #29 // Duke Eltan in the Harbor Master's Building: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #30 // Nim Furlwing Encounter: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #32 // Svlast, the Fallen Paladin Encounter: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG1UB/SETUP-BG1UB.TP2~ #0 #33 // Mal-Kalen, the Ulcaster Ghost: v14.0_beta_151227
~BG2_TWEAKS/SETUP-BG2_TWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #1036 // Make Cloakwood Areas Available Before Completing the Bandit Camp -> All of Cloakwood Except the Mines: v16
~BG2_TWEAKS/SETUP-BG2_TWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #1080 // Add Bags of Holding: v16
~BG2_TWEAKS/SETUP-BG2_TWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #2170 // Cast Spells from Scrolls (and Other Items) at Character Level: v16
~BG2_TWEAKS/SETUP-BG2_TWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #2339 // Remove Summoning Cap for Regular Summons: v16
~BG2_TWEAKS/SETUP-BG2_TWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #3040 // Make Bags of Holding Bottomless: v16
~BG2_TWEAKS/SETUP-BG2_TWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #3060 // Remove "You Must Gather Your Party..." Sound (Weimer): v16
~BG2_TWEAKS/SETUP-BG2_TWEAKS.TP2~ #0 #4020 // ToB-Style NPCs: v16
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #1000 // Initialise mod (all other components require this): v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #1910 // Protection from Normal Missiles also blocks Arrows of Fire/Cold/Acid and similar projectiles without pluses: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #2010 // More consistent Breach spell (always affects liches and rakshasas; doesn't penetrate Spell Turning): v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #2020 // Antimagic attacks penetrate improved invisibility: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #2030 // Iron Skins behaves like Stoneskin (can be brought down by Breach): v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #2110 // Reduce the power of Inquisitors' Dispel Magic -> Inquisitors dispel at 1.5 x their level (not twice their level): v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #2120 // Slightly weaken insect plague spells, and let fire shields block them: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #2150 // Make spell sequencers, spell triggers, and contingencies learnable by all mages: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #3030 // Re-introduce potions of extra-healing: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #3041 // Reduce the number of Arrows of Dispelling in stores -> Stores sell a maximum of 5 Arrows of Dispelling: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #4010 // Grant large, flying, non-solid or similar creatures protection from Web and Entangle: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #5020 // Remove the blur graphic effect from the Cloak of Displacement: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #5050 // Stackable ankheg shells, winterwolf pelts and wyvern heads: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #5900 // Initialise AI components (required for all tactical and AI components): v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #6000 // Smarter general AI: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #6010 // Better calls for help: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #6031 // Smarter Mages -> Mages only cast short-duration spells instantly at start of combat if they are created in sight of the PC: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #6041 // Smarter Priests -> Priests only cast short-duration spells instantly at start of combat if they are created in sight of the PC: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #6102 // Potions for NPCs -> Half the potions dropped by slain enemies break and are lost: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #6200 // Improved Spiders: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #6300 // Smarter sirines and dryads: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #6310 // Slightly harder carrion crawlers: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #6320 // Smarter basilisks: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7000 // Improved doppelgangers: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7010 // Tougher Black Talons and Iron Throne guards: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7030 // Dark Side-based kobold upgrade: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7040 // Relocated bounty hunters: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7050 // Improved Ulcaster: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7060 // Improved Balduran's Isle: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7070 // Improved Durlag's Tower: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7080 // Improved Demon Cultists: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7090 // Improved Cloakwood Druids: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7100 // Improved Bassilus: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7110 // Improved Drasus party: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7130 // Improved Red Wizards: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7140 // Improved Undercity party: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7200 // Tougher chapter-two end battle: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7210 // Tougher chapter-three end battle: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7220 // Tougher chapter-four end battle: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7230 // Tougher chapter-five end battle: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7250 // Improved final battle: v30
~STRATAGEMS/SETUP-STRATAGEMS.TP2~ #0 #7900 // Improved minor encounters: v30
I forgot to install the mx HP on level up but I "fix" the HP after leveling up (when I do not forget about it).
The inital spells are Find Familiar and Blindness (I also like to select Spook as well as Larloch's when soloing, I bet sleep will soon be available). However I will be playing Jurs primarily as a warrior and slowly use more and more magic (till he gets the robe of archmagi and becomes a real mage with enough spells to cast).
Pips are allocated to long swords and short bows (yes short bow because I prefer to get this flavour in BG2 - should I reach that stage).
How much XP can you expect from CandleKeep (killing Bubble's friends)
Implying without implying of course;
Totally forgot to cast Find Familiar...
I decide to impress the FAI guards with my powerful magic
Apparently they were not really impress by my duel with Tarnesh
Yes I was lucky, so what...
You can't see it on the picture but the hobgobelings are inactive, they don't move, they don't fight. This is probably a bad interaction between the familiar and the Stratagems scripts.
Born to be wild
Slow progression but two nice rings are mine now.
HALF-ELF requested our help. Unfortunately we were hungry, went to the shop to buy some food and had greasy fingers slipping on the bow string at the worst moment. I am so sorry Neera, you will be remembered, the remainings of your carbonized body are still visible on the ground. Legends say that here a valiant and
-annoying NPC fought a gigantic red dragon and sacrified her life to save Beregost.
To be continued
Edit: missing weidu.log, formatting
I have restarted Viora's run in ToB. After reviewing our characters, I concluded it would be a lot more fun than my other ideas.
I have decided to re-create Yorun Zovai a third time, with her original name's spelling. As we are in ToB, this gained us 1.7 million XP. Azelos was chunked at the end of SoA, so we re-created her as well.
But Azelos is no longer an Archer. She is now a Conjurer, as we are in much greater need of mage power now that we are near epic levels. Notably, both mages have Protection from Fire and Spell Trigger.
We've lost various items for no apparent reason, and we've also gained various items in the process. We have two Rings of Gaxx and two Silver Swords, but we're missing lots of potions and scrolls and other things I don't remember. We also have a special flail (that wasn't supposed to be droppable) off the corpse of a Balor. It's a +5 weapon that does 1d4 crushing damage plus 3d6 fire damage. Fixing our inventory would be a big hassle, so I'm just going to roll with the bug, at least for now.
I'm anxious about ToB's huge fights, so I spend a long time preparing for the fight with Illasera, who is far tougher in Ascension. We cast basically every medium- to long-duration buff we have.
I don't know why I don't cast Magic Resistance more often. At Viora's level, these spells last over 2 turns. Oddly, Magic Resistance caps out at 21 rounds instead of 23; the duration stops progressing at level 18 even as the magnitude increases until level 20.
Viora triggers Illasera's arrival. Ruva's traps eliminate the biggest threat, the enemy mage.
We had ways of dealing with him, but this way is faster.
Yorun Zovai's Project Image clone (re-creating her made her so much stronger) almost gets destroyed on the first round, but Illasera misses her against the odds. I put up a barrier to protect the clone.
Illasera in Ascension dispels magic and inflicts spell failure in Ascension, which makes her extremely hard to deal with. PFMW will block those arrows, as will the Shield of Reflection (currently on Zulfer) and Physical Mirror (pre-buffs for Viora and Laosha).
Our fighters crush the enemy. I recall Illasera casting mage spells, so I bring in Viora to help stop that.
Soon, only Illasera remains. Between Ruva with Frostreaver and Grandmastery in axes, Zulfer and his clone with Sanchuudoku and Grandmastery in katanas, and a Fire Elemental with multiple Skeleton Warriors, we have a lot of attack power.
Notice the Nature's Beauty spell on Laosha. Illasera's MR blocked it, but it would have been an awful blow to Illasera and her ranged attacks for us to blind her. Notice also that everybody is invisible. I recall
praising Mass Invisibility as a pre-buff, so I saw fit to bring it to the table. Unlike in vanilla, Mass Invisibility in EE actually grants the +4 to AC (bypassing the AC cap, mind you) and +4 to saving throws, as well as making the characters impossible to hit with single-target spells.
This, however, carries the drawback of preventing
from casting spells on our own party members. This means we can't restore Death Ward or Chaotic Commands if somebody besides our druid or cleric loses it.
However, Viora, our cleric, is at level 22, so her buffs are very hard to dispel, and she buffs Zulfer, Ruva, herself, and Laosha, so they're unlikely to get debuffed. Laosha, our druid, is only level 15, and so his buffs are much easier to dispel, but he buffs Yorun Zovai and Azelos, who can cast SI: Abjuration to block dispel magic effects. In this way, we minimize the chance of getting debuffed without putting the burden of Chaotic Commands and Death Ward entirely on Viora.
Anyway, Zulfer stuns and chunks Illasera.
Without mage spells or lots of immunities, she's more or less toast.
Because Viora chose the CON bonus for 10 extra HP after DUHM in the Hell trials, she is now Chaotic Evil instead of Chaotic Neutral. She still keeps her good-aligned priest spells, including Holy Word (which does not affect her when she casts it). It also makes the first Pocket Plane trial much easier, as it throws much weaker enemies at you. Although the fight is pretty grim.
The normal fight, if you're good-aligned, involves lots of drow. In the evil fight, you only have to deal with normal elves and paladins, who have rather little MR.
When the paladins come out and I think the last three enemies are about to appear, I give our party an extra layer of protection.
In the good fight, you have to defeat Sarevok, Irenicus, and Bodhi all at once. It's a pretty tough group. In the evil fight, you instead face Duke Eltan, Aran Linvail, and Ellesime, even though you and Ellesime are allies regardless of your alignment or decisions.
I'd heard that Ellesime could be debuffed with a single Breach spell, but my mage doesn't know the spell and our only Wand of Spell Striking is on Yorun Zovai, who is disabled by Project Image. We fight Ellesime at her full power, only to find it wanting.
I'm surprised by this party's damage output. Grandmastery and Improved Haste work very well together. We don't need shields or speed weapons.
The first fight in Saradush is much the same. Although Zulfer and Ruva get badly hurt when they wade right into things, Yorun Zovai keeps them out of trouble long enough for Viora and Laosha to restore them via Mass Cure. Our summons finish the job.
Because Viora is now evil, she can charm vampires instead of exploding them. But it's slow and inconvenient to turn the vampires beneath Saradush against each other. I end up killing Parisa and then hitting the other vampires with CTRL-Y to save time.
Against Gromnir's buddies, I use a clone of Yorun Zovai combined with Farsight to avoid a Dispel Magic trap I thought Ruva couldn't disarm (she could). Just for the hell of it, I use the clone to call out a bunch of Skeleton Warriors, whom the enemy fighters apparently cannot touch, and the enemy mage will not even attack.
I don't know if clones in EE can bypass the summoning cap, but I disabled the cap in my game anyway, since magic attacks like Pierce Magic use invisible critters, and having five summons out makes that impossible.
Zulfer botches a backstab against the mage on the next level up, and half the party gets hit by Horrid Wilting as a result.
Yorun Zovai uses a triple Sunfire Spell Trigger to blast everyone in sight.
Our party has 100% fire resistance across the board thanks to our spell picks, so the only drawback to Sunfire is that it disrupts party spells and triggers an Acidic Backlash if I forget to un-equip Sanchuudoku.
The fighters are easy to finish off, but the mage is at full health thanks to a Protection from Fire pre-buff. Poisoned Fire Seeds once again fix the problem, with some low-level summons to use as targets.
Gromnir is next.
I've had trouble with the fight with Gromnir in the past. I buff the hell out of the party, even the tiniest and shortest-duration spells.
Gromnir himself is quite tough, but the real problem for me are the two enemy mages, who aren't close enough together to hit them both with poisoned Fire Seeds. In my install, all enemy spellcasters in SoA and ToB who can cast level 9 spells also get HLAs, so we're looking at two enemies who can cast Summon Fallen Planter, Comet, Dragon's Breath, and/or Improved Alacrity. It would be difficult to stop both of them.
But we've entered the fight under invisibility, which means we can strike once before their pre-buffs activate. They go down in a single round.
Gromnir is in bad shape. With Zulfer under Improved Haste as well as a Poison Weapon, and Ruva pitching in with Frostreaver, Gromnir just doesn't have the HP to survive.
Apparently Berena Elken, a spearwoman who spawns to the east, can debuff enemies and inflict spell failure on hit. But even without buffs, Zulfer and Ruva are terribly strong.
Notice Laosha's Firestorm. With the whole party immune to fire, we can throw around those things without worrying about getting hurt--although due to bad timing on my part, he does disrupt a Horrid Wilting spell in the process. Firestorm bypasses MR, so it's quite excellent against drow and the like.
The rest of the fight is pretty straightforward. They have no spellcasters left.
Things could have gotten rough if I hadn't taken out those two mages. Using Fire Seeds would have brought them down, but it would take time away from bringing down Gromnir, who might have caused a lot of trouble if he had been around for much longer.
This party has suffered some major setbacks, with four separate chunkings across Shadows of Amn, but we've restructured the group and made it even stronger than it was before.
Also, we got a treat from one of the fallen mages.
Yet another duplicate of a unique item.
edited January 2016
Imoen and Jurs - #2
The strange folks in the Beregost region:
Betsie Finkle's grandma, barrel full of monkeys, nobody important, in contrast a very important lich begging for money, (air) thick with manual labor, Beregost to the west just in case you don't understand, the pains of astrology, the Chill has a name : cut-rate marauders, Gerard and his guards, "hard to look at" (Portalbendarwinden near Nashkel)
Intimitading the Nashkel's guards
One gracious blessing - we have the extraordinary opportunity to be followed by an ephemeral creature : the what-about-now nooberus (not sure about the pedigree though).
Time for action
At the inn we are attacked by another bounty hunter, Neira.
Courageously we go out before she casts her first spell.
Jurs is still lvl1/lvl1 and we have too few options. This is a matter of good timing
Imoen's magic missile wand is ready to interrupt Neira's successive spells whereas Jurs wand of lightning (stolen in Beregost) does most of the damage in one activation. A double hit by arrow and mono-missile get rid of Neira.
A kung-fu maniac wants to help us. Well he is a bit weird.
Now Jurs has a nice ankheg plate and it's easier to explore (more) dangerous areas. Let's go hunt the winter wolves near the mine, Imoen is immune to their attack thanks to Gorion's belt.
Danger, uuh, where ? Hey look at the ghast!
Down here there's nothing. You're 2 miles away from the mines!
We have no buff and our physical protection are too weak to provoke Greywolf. However we do not forget to take the hidden wand of frost. We explore another area in the south east zone. There we meet a dreamer giving us a strange scroll and Imoen's falcon eye spots a well hidden ring of protection against fire. A horde of gibberlings gets decimated not far from a deserter who, the gods know why, came to die in this remote location.
We decide to help him and move to the FAI in one go. From there we explore the northern part of the map. That's part of our always on the move strategy. There, we hunt ankhegs and we are lucky enough to find a wand of fire (yeah!). We also help a father who lost his son and a teenager priestess of Umberlee in conflict with a group of fisherman followers of Talos. There also this strange farm full of zombie (hey no, you cannot go to BG but you can cross the river...). Near the bridge we met another extraordinary guy who never met adventurers before:
Back to Beregost we fight with another bounty hunter, the name's Karlat. He is not talented enough to hit Jurs except if rolling 20. He goes into panic mode and dies soon after.
To be continued...
edited January 2016
Imoen and Jurs - #3
Time to visit HighHedge and to cover the areas west of Beregost. (I do not rush after the easy basilic xp)
These areas also have their share of disturbed minds.
Make way because 1) not time for leisurely chats 2) ahhh I'm chased by hobgobelins.
What about travelling on the roads?
A talking chicken, antichickenator spell, resurrected apprentice. Yet another ordinary day in the Beregost county.
And there is a child spying on skeletons...
When you finally meet Bassilus, your first reaction is to think he really meets the local standards. The problem is that he attacks you.
At this stage, Jurs is still a baby mage so its better to rely on the elemental damage provided by the wands.
As usual Imoen is ready to help disrupt the spell flow.
Let's launch a fireball as an opening, an excellent alpha-test for our new wand. It removes many skeletons without requiring to follow the right dialog path to kill all of them.
Bassilus receives his first damage. I want to attract him to the south but I don't want to go out of sight more than one second or so because I fear his ability to cast sanctuary (even though Stratagems may randomize things a bit). And of course under Sanctuary I won't be able to directly target him to disrupt the next spell even though I still have time to interrupt him once he starts casting.
Bassilus kindly follows me while I start to remove a nearby zombie in the same round. Then it's time to cool him down with the wand of frost (for a change and because it deals a nice amount of damage). Imoen did not used her wand on time this round but it has no consequence. On the contrary she perfectly interrupts him during the next round. Meanwhile Jurs is trying to hit with his sword. It becomes a bit dangerous and therefore it's time to activate aganazzar, this incidentally kills the zombies around us. Jurs is ready for another activation of the wand of fire or lightning but this proves unnecessary as his sword finally hits the cleric-mage.
On the next map we see the legendary drow fighting a group of gnolls.
Knowing there was no real danger, Imoen and Jurs simply relied on their blade and bows. Incredibly they succeed in killing 5 gnolls before Drizzt strikes them.
Moving South on the same map we fight with a few encounters. Just for the record, here is another case of frozen state where the Ogre stops fighting
On the northern part of the map, you can find people in the great tradition of Beregost mental sanity.
Fish-wrangling and singing aloud.
This is probably what brought a group of four ogrillons to these shores.
Let's play a trick with them: the now famous fairy dragon dance. Here three ogrillons get paralyzed at once.
Yet another small group of excited folks.
Here you have to disable the mage first then the archer because the melee guy is hard to hit.
Imoen and Jurs also explore an area south east of Beregost. Nothing noticeable except one important element. There is a cave and its entrance is trapped. Should you go there don't move until the trap is disarmed. Don't forget to save Arabelle - that's the way of the true heroes. If your looking for a magical two handed sword, you can find one on the map.
Here is a picture of the cave entrance with the trap - just for fun.
to be continued...
edited January 2016
Imoen and Jurs - #4
In the cloudpeaks zone you can hunt winter wolves but you can also chase amnian folks hunting human beings. This is how Imoen gets her studded leather armor +2...
Going to Mutamin's garden would have been a better decision but that was an instinctive move.
That's also the opportunity to buy a shield amulet and a necklace of missiles at the carnival. Even though Jurs and Imoen had no obvious need for those items, there was no reason to postpone their purchase, clearly a mistake.
In the cloud peaks they face a group led by Sendai, they also help a boy and his dog... well not exactly. Most importantly they discover a very powerful scroll. The area offers a great opportunity to meet mentally divergent folks, noticeably the fastest draw in the west and a variegated group of small creatures signing autographs. It is urgent to leave the area perhaps something wrong with the air, pollen ? or mushroom spores ?
By the way Jurs is not the fastest "something" but he can hit hard.
I already got a nice xp boost when killing ankhegs, dealing with vampiric wolves was also helpful from that perspective but the xp counters started to explode when dealing with Mutamin's garden creatures.
Mutamin himself is no particular threat for the duo at this point and the basilics have no effect on the fairy dragon and Jurs under protection from petrification - nothing new.
The real target of the operation is not to deal with the psycho gnome, we want Kirian and co.
Not really dangerous, three fireballs get the job done. Jurs move back after each activation of the wand. After the second activation Kirian dies and the rest of the group is a bit disorganised up to the point the engine allows Jurs to re-equip his armor. His initial intent was to use his magic not just the wand but this proves useless. Lindin and Peter died during the third attack. Finally Jurs slew Baerun with his sword.
An easy way to acquire a nice equipment, including the wanted girdle.
Back to Beregost, it is time deal with a long forgotten challenge : Silke.
This is where I use to make several mistakes. I did not verify but I think her spellbook is substantially modified by Stratagems (but as you may know this occurs at Stratagems install time, not at runtime so it is is important to periodically reinstall the set of mods with Stratagems to bring some new aspects to the challenges).
I know she is going to cast mirror image as a precast and therefore magic missiles can be an opening to limit this advantage. Beyond that, relying on weapons (even one dealing elemental damage to bypass a stoneskin) is too random. Imoen can help disrupt the spellcasting and we also have wands but disabling spells are a nice option when you are not (yet) under a case of succeed or die action, there may be several tries. What I tend to forget is that a blind mage in a large or open area may be difficult to chase if partially disabled. That's the case with blind if the opponent can benefit from a haste effect (potion ot spell). And guess what? Jurs stupidely cast blind, it worked but I realised the mistake. Fortunaltely Jurs has spook memorized and Silke also failed her saving throw. It is then easy to shoot her down with arrows while the familiar which is not under direct threat is following the target.
Our next destination is Greywolf.
Even without any buff, Greywolf has to rely on rolling a 20 to hit Jurs (with the girdle).
Therefore I decide to just monitor Jurs health during this now tasteless fight. Surprisingly Greywolf rolls two successive 20 but at this stage Jurs has too many hitpoints to be under direct danger.
Back to the carnival, Vitiare master thief and pickpocket extraordinaire meets Imoen archer extraordinaire (sometimes...)
To be continued.
Edit: remove the wrong reference to Tamah.
Post edited by Musigny on
edited January 2016
Imoen and Jurs - #5
Following their initial plan, Imoen and Jurs continue to explore the sword coast and they programmatically visit all places on the west side of the FAI-Beregost-Nashkel line, from east to west, from south to north.
They meet a dryad threaten by two idiots. One of those wears a wonderful girdle...
Talking about idiots, there is another pair trying to ransom them on a bridge.
The wannabe heroes also assault a fortress guarded by gnolls. This does not go well. Jurs does not want to use his wands and he limits the number of spells cast in this area. Unfortunately and despite his protection he is often hit by the xvarts ot gnolls. The raid is not entirely fruitless as Imoen saves a mage prisoner and Jurs finds a curious book.
Would you please follow me
This way please
Could you please stand in front of the camera? (what a lack of discipline)
And now you smile, there will be no second take.
Borda is magic resistant. Let's use cold steel instead (+ elemental damage). Jurs just uses a shield to block the expected magic missiles. Imoen is charmed but this does not matter much. Jurs cannot be charmed, he is wearing the helm that he bought at the feldpost inn granting such an effect protection.
Neville, the fairest of all fair bandits drops a nice scroll.
Looks like SoD is going to be released, a new year's day edition ?
On this map, Jurs was hit several times and he has no particular way to restore his health: small blue potion and one instance of the corresponding bhaal power. Therefore they decide to go back to town and sell their stuff. Unfortunately on the way back, they were ambushed by an ogre mage who fortunately was unable to hurt Jurs.
Later they found Captain Brage and brought him back to Nashkel.
Intrigued by an archeological excavation, they go back on zone. Not what they expected though.
creature awakens and Imoen's act of robbery provokes the anger of a doomsayer.
In order to respond to the challenge Jurs has to choose between his mage role and his fighter role. The doomsayer is not magic resistant and thus it is an easy way to put him down but no one (not Imoen) can fight the creature in melee while Jurs unleashes his full spell catalog. Jurs decides to buff and engages the fight (prot evil, mirror image, blur, potion of strength). An additional protection against fire can be useful too. Now let's chunk the doomsayer.
Post edited by Musigny on
Much has transpired since our fight with Gromnir.
On the way to Nyalee's grove, we run into some Fire Giants, but they aren't too troublesome here, as they come in small groups. Apparently TorGal is not the only enemy to carry Boulders.
Boulders are projectiles that everyone except a monk for some reason can use. They use the spear proficiency, strike as nonmagical weapons, and weigh so much, at 65 per boulder, that they have almost no real use. But since I like hoarding unique and rare items in case they might be useful at some point, I keep a stash of them in the Pocket Plane.
The Master Wraith fight can be troublesome, but usually isn't very fatal. Turns out undead aren't quite immune to Horrid Wilting. Viora saves several enemies from death by charming them.
For the Master Wraith himself, we buff up Zulfer and send him over to start up a feedback loop.
I'll probably get tired of that trick at some point. But not just yet.
Mists and Vampiric Wraiths have spells they never use, which you only see if you take control of them. I have them summon a bunch of Skeleton Warriors and Invisible Stalkers to weaken the bigger fight up ahead.
They don't do too well against an enemy Comet spell.
The Magic Missile is from one of our Vampiric Mists. I want to get rid of a Magical Sword.
When the Comet fails to kill everyone, the enemy wipes out the rest with a Death Spell.
The Skeleton Cleric hauls out a Fallen Deva for us to mess with, so we scurry away and let some charmed mummies and ghasts take the hit. But the Fallen Deva follows us out of the ruins.
Devas, unlike Planetars, do not land vorpal strikes. Instead, they stun their target. They're not quite as dangerous in that sense, but they're still perfectly capable of slaying one of our party members, albeit not permanently.
Chaotic Commands blocks stun, but it can be dispelled by a Deva's attack. Thanks to Viora's high cleric levels, her Chaotic Commands is rather hard to remove.
We remove its Globe of Blades with a Breach spell and bring in our own Deva to even the odds.
We finish off the Deva without much trouble, but the real threat is going to arrive soon. To the north, our charmed undead go down.
Since we have Sunnis from Laosha's Elemental Summoning, I try to hit the enemy spellcasters offscreen with Earthquake. It's not very impressive.
The Skeleton Mage has yet to wear thin; our initial attack was very low pressure. He still has his best summoning spell available. He calls it out.
Vorpal strikes are once more on the map. Luckily for Yorun Zovai, I've kept her aura clear.
Unfortunately, only two people in our party can cast PFMW. To keep the others safe, we might need some new summons. Laosha calls out three in one round.
Our Deva isn't enough. She doesn't do too well against the Planetar. Since that Planetar is keeping us well away from the fight, the Skeleton Mage is free to cast whatever spells he has. A new critter enters the fray.
To my surprise, Sunnis actually makes a huge difference once I make him switch targets. The threat of a vorpal chunking goes away.
Yorun Zovai mostly just watches. When she tries to cast a Horrid Wilting spell, she is rewarded with a triple Skull Trap sequencer.
But not only does she survive the blast due to her MR; the sequencer actually helps take down the enemy Pit Fiend, right before Sunnis exits the fight.
Viora throws more charmed undead at the enemy. She also spooks the Skeleton Mage, but it doesn't stop him from casting spells.
It doesn't matter. The Skeleton Mage is out of weapon immunity spells. We break him apart. Viora greets the Skeleton Cleric with a Sunray, and holds up his spellcasting long enough for Zulfer to finish him off.
Even nameless enemies like these guys have HLAs. ToB is basically one boss fight after another.
Now we fight Fire Giants. Lots of them, over and over and over again. This is my least favorite part of ToB, to be honest, because Fire Giants in Ascension have immunities to everything and come in big groups. The fights are just contests of damage. It's like Icewind Dale without the pretty scenery.
And for some reason, they're immune to missile damage.
Fire Giants hit crazy hard. Even Zulfer can't handle them for long.
The same thing happens in another fight on the same map. Viora and Laosha summon some HLA critters to keep Zulfer, of all people, safe.
It only gets worse after this. The inside of the Fire Giant lair place thingy is even more packed. I split up our tanks to make sure the giants stay away from our spellcasters. Seconds later, I realize our tanks are the last people who should be tanking.
No amount of AC can block an attack roll from Critical Strike. And you can't run away from boulders because they're missile weapons. Nor can you block them with Physical Mirror or the Shield of Reflection. Laosha takes a couple hits from boulders and loses Ironskins. Zulfer takes a couple hits from boulders and loses half his HP. Ruva has much the same problem.
Two deaths before we can fell a single giant. And because that isn't enough, our summons get crushed as well.
Zaaman Rul, the Elemental Prince of Fire, actually starts running away from the Fire Giants. It really should be the other way around.
At least he has the right idea. The giants' melee attacks can bypass immunity to normal weapons; their boulders cannot.
We vanish and run. We eavesdrop on the giants' secret discussions to learn more about their high-level strategy.
Anyway, I try again and this time have Zulfer dual-wield the Defender of Easthaven alongside Sanchuudoku and pre-buff with Hardiness. With Roranach's Helm equipped, the giants' crushing attacks are useless.
Elite Fire Giants use axes, however, and therefore deal slashing damage, so we have to take them out first. To stay safe, Zulfer runs away whenever the Elite Fire Giants use Whirlwind Attack. The huge XP rewards give us two level ups, one after another.
I don't think I've ever noticed the fire giants saying that before. That was a good laugh.
Apparently BG2:EE handles levels a lot like vanilla IWD. After level 15, instead of going to level 16, you jump all the way up to level 23. Laosha gets 2 extra castings of Summon Spirit Animals and 8 HLAs all at once.
There was a solid reason for doing this in vanilla IWD, since druids and clerics used the same spell slot table, but different XP tables. I have no idea why this is so in BG2:EE, but whatever. I'm not about to complain about getting 7 extra HLAs, not after we spent so much time building up Laosha.
There's also a definite bug here, which I think is due to SCS: the Fire Elemental and Earth Elemental shapeshift abilities don't show up properly on the HLA list. You can still select them, but their icon doesn't show up, which makes it easy to miss. Since I love those abilities and would have taken them had they been visible, I let myself trade out some of Laosha's HLAs via EEKeeper.
There's another bug here, too, a very lovely one. The Earth Elemental Token, which SCS creates in lieu of a shapeshifting spell, is supposed to grant 50% damage resistance. Guess how much it actually grants?
This is so, so, so unreasonable. I love it. Just for fun I have Laosha dual-wield the tokens, as if he needed the Fire Elemental Token's resistances (we already have a Protection from Fire spell prepared just for him) or its Fire Shield effect (which won't even affect the enemies here). Even the Elite Fire Giants can't harm Laosha.
Another excellent feature of SCS shapeshifting is that these HLA forms set both your base THAC0 and your APR to 2, which turns even a single-classed druid into a competent fighter. I bring in Yorun Zovai to cast Improved Haste, and the giant explodes at Laosha's hands.
I send him after the other giants, too. They don't know how to deal with him.
The enemy golems are also unable to touch him. But for some reason, the Earth Elemental Token does not deal crushing damage.
It does slashing damage. Zulfer has to kill the golems for Laosha.
But Laosha isn't immune to everything. As a druid, his save vs. spell isn't very low, which means he's liable to fail saves against Lower Fire Resistance. And Burning Men can dispel his Protection from Fire pre-buff, rendering him vulnerable.
These aren't major issues, though. Burning Men have some unusual abilities, but they're not very strong otherwise, and Zulfer and Ruva are more than capable of bailing out Laosha.
I accidentally trigger the Fire Lich fight earlier than I had wanted.
I had intended to use a clone of Viora to hit that lich with 100% spell failure on the first round. Viora's simulacrum is now at level 14 and can cast Holy Word (though you have to cast each Holy Word spell at least 1 second apart or they won't stack on undead targets). But Viora's clone isn't out and her aura isn't clear. That will take time. Since I haven't seen many level 9 spells or HLAs out of this fight, I am content to let Yorun Zovai and our Skeleton Warriors tank the lich, rather than bringing out Ruva for Fire Seeds.
But that PFMW spell just convinces the Fire Lich to turn its Energy Blades on Viora.
Luckily, Vhailor's Helm cannot be disrupted, and soon Viora's clone is out, with a clear aura, to boot.
Now that the lich is weakened, I feel more comfortable bringing the rest of the party closer to the fight. Then I notice something weird.
Zulfer is immune to the damage coming from the Fire Lich, but it's not Fire Shield damage. The green color of the text indicates acid or poison damage--Zulfer's Acidic Backlashes are being reflected back onto him. I've seen this cause problems, so I'll have to move him away.
Viora by now has a clear aura. She puts a stopper on the Fire Lich.
Inspired by other no-reload runs on the Bioware forum, I finally use the Wave +4 for something. I normally ignore the blade since I don't take pips in halberds due to not liking the early game versions. But the Wave +4 has the curious ability to instantly kill any Salamander or Efreeti, and the latter of those two is very irritating to fight in SCS due to its mist form and regeneration and illusion magic.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party takes care of the other enemies. We finally use Horrid Wilting for something.
The Fire Lich's PFMW wears off, so Ruva tacks on some spell failure with the Crimson Dart.
But because I've been waiting for an opportunity to use debuffers, I ease up the melee pressure on the Fire Lich to let our spellcasters break down his defenses the normal way.
Unfortunately, Breach for some reason does not work--the Lich still has a spell deflection effect active, despite getting hit by Ruby Ray of Reversal, Warding Whip, a Secret Word spell, and a triple Secret Word Spell Trigger. And Secret Word strikes as a level 5 spell in SCS, and SCS liches aren't immune to level 5 effects. We are unable to break down that spell deflection effect. Even after several more castings of Secret Word, which should have burned out a Spell Trap spell, the deflection remains active. I get tired of the charade and have Zulfer put an end to the lich before its spell failure can wear off.
Upstairs are more Fire Giants. And a red dragon named Brimstone.
: The extra lines are a product of BP2, which is the only way of getting Ascension on an EE game. There are lots of goofy lines in BP2. They're worth a laugh, though I prefer them out of the game.
I tried BP2 once, but it made the game crash at inopportune times on my computer. And, there actually is a beta version of Ascension for EE out right now.
edited January 2016
Imoen and Jurs - #6
The two wannabe heroes take a promenade along the coast.
A nice place with an abandonned lighthouse and a pirate cave!
And incidentally a place where their xp counters explode.
The sirenes are no threat for Jurs who is immune to charm and the golems guarding the cave are almost inoffensive for a slightly buffed Jurs. And obvioulsy this little story would not end well without a treasure.
What a treasure! a splendid wand (of paralyzation) and another strange book as heavy as an armor. Carrying the book for a while is perhaps more beneficial than reading it. As a matter of fact Jurs gains one point of constitution.
Who cares about Amn?
Calm down and just tell me what you saw!
Sorry you're not lascivious enough...
Where is that treasure?
The brief interlude of sanity didn't last long.
Our next mad guy (but a lovely one).
Not sure I want to meet the brother of this guy
Let's help Shoal the renegade.
She does not seem agressive. Imoen is curious about what she wants. Now she knows...
Anyway, happy end for everyone except Droth, of course.
Jurs and Droth politely exchange a few spells. Even if Jurs is hit by Melf's arrow, the successive magic missiles have no effect. Jurs blinds him for fun, the real danger is to be engaged in a melee fight.
Now it's time to go back to Beregost and see if they have enough money to buy the best equipment.
edited January 2016
Anselm the Blackguard, ToB part 5 :
The party headed to Sendai's Enclave, there they met a woodcutter. Anselm attacked him for being on his path before he and the animals nearby turned into Drows. Then they proceeded to clean the whole place, Anselm basically soloed everything, at this point he is truely invincible with saves so low and damage resistances so high he cannot be harmed in any way.
When enemies are near each others, Dorn uses Poison Weapon + the AoE ammo from the Big Metal Unit to spread the poison in the area of effect while Anselm is immune thanks to the Ring of Gaxx. This kills everything so fast it's incredible.
Then Sendai herself. Everyone was greatly prebuffed, the strategy here was: Dorn and Anselm destroyed Sendai's statues with Poison Weapon + GWW (using mundane ammo if needed to bypass PfMW) while the others three were killing the Drows as they were coming.
Then they faced the true Sendai, got her to Near Death in a second before the prebuffing triggered.
Her Chain Contingency included a Summon Fallen Deva spell, who casted Heal on Sendai to keep her alive.
Then she kept teleporting around, with randoms Dragon's Breath and Comet spells joining the fight every two rounds.
Edwin got targeted by one of those Comet spell, but he equiped the Ring of Fire Control and drank a Potion of Magic Protection to be 100% immune to fire.
Afterward he casted a Spellstrike, Hexxat detected illusions and finally she casted a Breach spell before she fell.
The forth Pocket Plane Challenge was avoided by talking to Cyric about his previous group of assassins (from the Rogue Rebalancing mod).
Soon enough the evil crew was back in Amkethran, everyone was hostile but nothing that Anselm could not take care of.
Next they entered Balthazar's Monastery and confronted him. It was a really disappointing battle, as you can see in the screenshots, he died so fast (in about one second) that the Monks nearby didn't even become hostile.
Next step, The Ravager and Amelyssan...
Next we fight Brimstone the red dragon, along with a bunch of fire giants, including the mage Berenn.
And something terrible happens. Again.
Before we go upstairs, I decide to make some tweaks to the Earth Elemental Token. For my own convenience, I remove the limitation on spellcasting, so Laosha won't have to unequip them every time he wants to cast a spell. For balance, I reduce the 100% physical damage resistance down to 50. Laosha is still immune to Fire Giant hammers and boulders due to Roranach's Horn and the Fire Elemental form's immunity to normal weapons, so we let Zulfer take a break. Armor of Faith helps against slashing damage from Elite Fire Giants.
It's an awfully slow process. After Laosha uses Farsight to check the next room, Yorun Zovai casts Project Image to bring out some Skeleton Warriors as a light buffer. We engage Berenn the fire giant mage and Brimstone the dragon. He roasts our bone wall.
Both of our mages by now have Project Image active. I've been wanting to shy away from that spell, but I don't want to be caught low on spell slots. I keep the originals well away from the danger, since any source of damage can instantly end the spell. Zulfer gets ready to flood the dragon's system with poison.
We let Zulfer's clone do the melee work, because in EE, even Simulacrum can be broken by a little damage, and if Brimstone gets too rough with Zulfer himself, we'll lose a lot of poison damage. Zulfer and Ruva attack with the Crimson Dart and Rifthome Axe, for safety's sake.
But the clone doesn't last anyway. Zulfer and his clone both get caught in a breath attack, and whether the clone died from the damage or from Zulfer getting hit, we lose our simulacrum, along with our summons.
It seems Magical Sword immunities don't extend to elemental damage; just magic. Nonmagical fire damage hurts them just fine.
Zulfer and Ruva switch to Sanchuudoku and Frostreaver with Laosha alongside them. We use some HLAs to get tougher summons.
We made steady progress, as does Brimstone. We lose our buffs, including fire immunity for Ruva.
Giants encroach on our Project Image clones. Teleport Field is a short-sighted solution, as it only blocks their melee attacks. But I don't think about those boulders until afterward.
Meanwhile, Zulfer is struggling despite Hardiness. Even if he had enough levels to cast it more than once, it no longer stacks in EE, so Zulfer just has to handle the damage. And an Assassin/Fighter dual-class doesn't have the HP to survive long. Ruva has to spend her aura healing him with the Rod of Resurrection, at the cost of her own safety. But Zulfer is much more valuable than Ruva for this fight.
I struggle to figure out what to do with our Project Image clones. We don't have Lower Resistance on hand, so any damage spells we might try will have little effect. I settle for weakening the Fire Giants instead.
Laosha brings out some snakes in the hopes that they can poison Brimstone.
I bring out Horrid Wilting, more to damage the giants than Brimstone, and Zulfer finally slays the dragon.
I start throwing out more summons to occupy Berenn, who until now has lingered offscreen, while our existing summons and our fighters take down the melee giants. Ruva, her Chaotic Commands having been dispelled, fails a save against a boulder and gets disabled.
Azelos' clone debuffs Berenn and is greeted with a symbol spell. Despite her lack of defenses, she escapes harm thanks to a lucky save. Finally, Viora arrives to rescue Ruva.
Berenn's defenses don't hold up too well. He doesn't really have much spellpower, honestly, despite having a cranium the size of a barrel.
I run off to fight Imix and his buddies, the last little fight of this entire area. We trigger a trap.
RUVA GETS PETRIFIED.
I'm not even all that fazed, honestly. This already happened four times in Shadows of Amn, and one of those times was Ruva herself. I invested 2.8 million XP in our second copy of Ruva. But that's not all.
Because she was petrified, we lost all of her equipment. Only a few plot potions are left.
So what did Ruva have that we lost? Surely a Wizard Slayer/Thief without Use Any Item wouldn't be carrying much nice stuff. This is a screenshot of Ruva's inventory before we went upstairs.
I can tolerate losing the Red Dragon Scale; we've got lots of suits of armor anyway. I can tolerate losing a pair of Boots of Speed; we still have enough for most of the party. Hell, I can even tolerate losing a Rod of Resurrection; we've got two left. Losing 70 Potions of Extra Healing isn't that bad, either. There's plenty more. Bala's Axe? It's a great weapon, but Ruva never used it anyway. The Girdle of Fire Giant Strength? I've got lesser belts to wear instead.
But losing all 40 of our Arrows of Dispelling? Those things could have made a huge difference.
Yet another game-changing death. We're going to have to re-configure our strategy; Ruva's spell failure would have played an increasingly important role as we fought more mages with immunities to poison.
It also would have been nice to get some thief HLAs. You know, since Ruva could have hit 107 MR thanks to our two Rings of Gaxx from that weird item bug, and attacked with Carsomyr with the right proficiencies. Along with all of the other crazy stuff thieves can do it ToB.
I kill Imix with a feedback loop, removing the last of the existing enemies. Before we go any further in this area, we need to get a thief in the party. There are more traps ahead.
Since Ruva left an open slot, it's easiest to just bring in an NPC to disarm the traps here. I bring in the best thief I know.
I consider keeping him around and making use of those flashers, but he seems underleveled. I decide to dump him right after he's done clearing up all of our traps. Now I have to find a real replacement for Ruva.
There's nothing that can really replace a Wizard Slayer's spell failure ability. Problem is, if I create a new Wizard Slayer, it's going to be at level 18, and would take another 2 million XP just to recover its fighter levels if I dual-classed to thief, much less get any HLAs. I can't make a new copy of Ruva that will be able to do the same things the old one could, at least not without gathering all of the XP I just now lost.
A single-class Wizard Slayer would have some distinct advantages over a dual-class. It would have much higher APR and excellent combat stats, and it would also have access to warrior HLAs, including, notably, Power Attack and Whirlwind Attack, both of which will work marvelously with Fire Seeds. Even without Whirlwind Attack, her APR would still be stellar, starting out at 2 with Fire Seeds. She wouldn't be able to dispel illusions, but Zulfer still could, and with Laosha already well-stocked with Fire Seeds, our mage problems would be even smaller than before.
But I decide in favor of something completely different.
Ruva used to be a Wizard Slayer/Thief, taking advantage of spell failure and Fire Seeds to shut down mages despite their defenses. How is a Bounty Hunter supposed to help us deal with well-buffed mages?
ToB-created characters start out at 2.5 million XP. This makes dual-classing extremely counterproductive unless Watcher's Keep is completely untouched--ToB doesn't have much in the way of side quests to build up dual-classes--but it also puts thieves at level 21, which means we automatically get the Bounty Hunter's curious Maze traps.
Azelos 2 has Power Word: Blind. If she blinds Ruva 2, then our new Bounty Hunter can lay a Special Snare in the middle of combat and Maze everybody in sight, without a save, bypassing magic resistance and all spell protections. It's a spectacular crowd control tool. The only problem is that it takes 2.42 million XP to reach it, and so it's out of reach for much of Shadows of Amn.
Ruva already has 5 uses of the trap, and the duration of Maze detracts from enemy buffs, meaning it can run out PFMW and the like. We might not be able to inflict guaranteed spell failure, but we can put the enemy in a box whenever we need time to prepare or recover from a setback.
edited January 2016
Anselm the Blackguard, final report :
After killing the last of the Five, Anselm was summoned in his Pocket Plane by the Solar, one last time.
She conjured Melissan herself this time, who revealed her true nature and her true identity as Amelyssan the Blackhearted, High Priestess of Bhaal.
She was gathering all the essence from the dead Bhaalspawn but instead of trying to resurrect the former God of Murder, she wanted to become the Lady of Murder herself.
The final fight was about to take place, but the Solar decreed otherwise. The two needed to fight in the Throne of Blood, Bhaal's former pocket plane and throne.
Amelyssan disappeared while Anselm was left with a final challenge to overcome before he could be able to travel to the Throne of Bhaal, he must fought The Ravager, the deadliest incarnation of murder.
The beast was insanely resistant, but wasn't very damaging for the Blackguards who took it down with FoA+5, Ravager+6 and a couple of GWWs.
All was left was Amelyssan herself, the final fight for the greatest reward.
Anselm and his party took a short rest, prepared themselves as they saw fit and traveled to the Throne of Blood.
There they faced the Blackhearted a first time, she wasn't prebuffed at all and didn't use any Spell Sequencers or Contingencies, so the whole party ganged on her and slew her in less than a round.
But it wasn't over, she returned to the altar to gather more energy and left a couple of elementals to deal with them.
Sarevok's Deathbringer Assault triggered for the first time in the playthrough, at a somewhat appropriate moment.
After they severed Amelyssan's link to the Throne, she was forced to fight once again.
This time, she started the fight by knocking everyone away and unconscious before summoning a Slayer Shadow, but the party was back on track in a few seconds and destroyed her again.
Weakened, she fled to the altar once again while the evil crew needed to dispatch a few more elementals.
For the third fight, the Fallen Priestess of Bhaal used a few tricks, she casted a few Dimension Door spells to move around the place and she summoned 4 Slayer Shadows to help her, but as always she was defenseless, with only a Stoneskin active at the start of the battle, she fell very fast.
Then she escaped for the last time, only one Pool remained, guarded by Fiends and a Fallen Solar.
The real enemy here was time, as the buffs were slowly fading away.
Hexxat and Sarevok lost their Spell Immunity : Abjuration and soon after they were dispelled and injured by the Mariliths and the Fallen Solar.
At first, the Solar was chasing Edwin who ran around the Throne of Blood hasted to escape her wrath and her Creeping Doom spell, but when she went back to attack Sarevok, the whole party turned on her and annihilated her instantly with the help of a Deathbringer Assault.
During this time, Hexxat and Sarevok were also able to refresh some buffs, notably Stoneskin, Mirror Image and Spell Immunity : Abjuration. Their Spell Shield were still active thanks to their really long duration of 3 rounds/level.
Finally, before cutting the energy's flow of the last Pool, they casted again a few more spells, including some PfMW, before the last battle could occur.
They fought Amelyssan one last time, she summoned a few Glabrezus this time around while Edwin summoned a Dark Planetar. Everyone ganged on her with the remaining GWWs from Dorn and Anselm and they felled her swiftly.
Amelyssan the Blackhearted was defeated.
The Solar intervened to put an end to this conflict and she offered Anselm his last choice of this epic journey; to become a God, or to remain a mortal.
Hexxat, Dorn, Edwin, Sarevok, they all wanted him to become the new Lord of Murder, and Anselm was sure that if Viconia was still alive, she would wished that too.
Finally, Anselm accepted, but not because he listened to his allies. Instead he said yes because he was convinced since the very start of his journey that it was his destiny, that only the strongest shall prevail and that after crushing everyone who stood against him, he was now able to take what was rightfully him.
Hearty congratulations indeed,
! Is this your first trilogy no-reload? Because you honestly made it look easy.
, congrats from me as well!! I haven't checked your latest updates properly yet because internet is so slow here that screenshots take ages to load, but ws very glad to read the final paragraphs! Chapeau mon ami!
edited January 2016
and all the others!
For the record, I started playing BG1 when it came out but I didn't understand english at this time, so I started to play it more seriously in 2004 and fell in love with it.
But I didn't play BG2 until the EE was available.
I finished BG2:EE vanilla with a solo F/M/T for my first playthrough, then I stopped in ToB after killing Yuga-Shura.
A year ago, I played another Blackguard with SCS, completed BG1 and I stopped at the end of chapter 2 in BG2.
I attempted to solo no-reload SCS the game with an Assassin/Mage and failed early on in chapter 2 during the Thief's questline.
So playing Anselm was a truely exciting experience, I never played chapter 3 and further with SCS or no-reload, and I never ever played beyond Yaga-Shura, even vanilla. I never did Twisted Rune, Guarded Compound. To be honest, I didn't even know these fights existed before I read about them on these forums.
Most of my BG2:EE playthrough with SCS was blind, and I'm really happy that I managed to complete ToB SCS No-reload on my first try, it was my first time facing Amelyssan, seeing the game credits and so forth.
Hopefully I played PnP D&D for 11 years and I still do nowadays so I'm very familiar with the rules even if I mostly played v.3.5.
In this run (SCS Core Rules), I learned a lot of things :
-You don't need 80%+ DR to tank on core rules, I always thought so because I never played ToB but now I realize that 60% is enough for every situations except Fire Giants. Anselm's Armor of Faith was often dispelled, reducing him to 60% DR and he tanked Dragons and everything else just fine, never dropping below 150 HP, he had a Silver Dragon Armor and the Ring of Gaxx though.
-AC is extremely good. As long as you don't get dispelled, it's not that hard to get an effective AC below -30 with a few buffs without even using a shield. At this point nothing can hit you except on a critical hit which means you're pretty much invincible.
I definitely think you can make at least two characters impervious to physical harm, one by stacking DR and the other by stacking AC.
-Blackguards are so overpowered, mostly due to Poison Weapon it's incredible. Very few enemies are immune to poison, even Liches and most Dragons can be poisoned. Once a enemy has been poisoned, he is toast. Anselm could reach 25 Str 25 Dex 25 Con with a single cast of DUHM, he was dualwielding FoA+5 and DoE+3 with 8 APR under Improved Haste (switching to another weapon before the spell was cast, then equipping FoA+5) with 85% DR and he was able to summond a Fallen Deva multiple times a day.
Honestly I think that I could have solo ToB with Anselm, or even with Dorn.
Poison Weapon is so strong, I prayed it during all the run, it deals at least 12 damage per hit over a round, it effectively grants you the damage bonuses of a level 36 Kensai from the start of the game in Candlekeep.
Plus it is one of the very few things that can disrupt a spellcaster with PfMW and Stoneskin/Mirror Image, all you need to do is switch to a mundane weapon (Arrows in my case) and poison your foe despite of his protections, you can also switch targets to poison multiples opponents at the same time, preventing everyone to cast. The damage alone can kill nearly anything under Stoneskin, I killed many casters in a few seconds with Poison Weapon + GWW despite them having Stoneskin + Mirror Image, it will deal at least 120 damage per round in that case.
You can also cheese a bit and spray the poison in an AoE fashion with Arrows of Detonation, Fire Seeds, AoE ammo from the Big Metal Unit and so forth, this way you can kill everything in sight so fast and you can even hit and disrupt enemies protected by PfMW or Absolute Immunity.
-ToB is probably the easiest part of the saga without Ascension. It's very fight intensive but at this point, your own characters become so strong that nothing can withstand the assault of your party, both Demogorgon and Amelyssan do not prebuff at all and fell in a single round each time.
I don't think it's very interesting to plan a very powerful character for the late game while the real hard fights are mostly in BG1 and BG2. Of course it depends of your character build and your party composition.
-Beholders aren't that dangerous. I was always afraid of them, really afraid, even with saves in the negative I refused to send my Charname to fight them on most occasion and prefered to swap equipment and send Korgan or Dorn 'just in case' but in the end they are fairly easy to kill without taking any risks. My strategy in the early game was to send 5 Skeletons Warriors with Haste + Invi 10 Radius to attack them and it worked perfectly until my own characters were tough enough to deal with them.
-Money is important. Everytime I went back in town, I spend everything I had on potions, scrolls, equipment and so forth. You're swimming in money as long as you don't use it and buying lots of stuff makes a huge difference during the fights.
-Aura management is key, using a spell or an item every rounds can be a bit tedious but this is what will make you win the game. A warrior who uses Potions of Regeneration, Invulnerability, Magic Shielding and Giant Strenght each round is a lot stronger than a warrior drinking only Potions of Healing when injured.
I may have forget a few things but I can always add them later, now I'm thinking about my next run and at the moment I'm leaning toward my solo Sorcerer kitted Invoker waiting at the start of BG2.
I'm really proud to be part of this community and I hope the No-Reload thread will keep going strong in 2016.
Good luck everyone in your adventures!
Post edited by Gotural on
Congratulations, Gotural! I think you underestimate how major an achievement going through the entire saga no-reload for your second play through really is, especially under SCS.