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The Adventurer's Lounge: Guidance and Support for No Reload Challengers- Newbie or Veteran

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  • Corey_RussellCorey_Russell Member Posts: 694

    I think @Corey_Russell meant that post for the no-reload thread itself, but it may stay here as a good example of a report from a seasoned no-reloader ;)

    Oops! Will try to copy the post to the right thread...

    JuliusBorisovArctodusWise_Grimwald
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,356
    My musings on the poverty run are cluttering up the no-reload thread, so I'll move them here.

    The Seducer seems much too weak to survive without items, so I'm thinking about a poverty run with a party: a Bounty Hunter, a Cleric of Helm, three sorcerers, and I don't know who else.

    Most of this party setup revolves around Belhifet. A poverty run means no missile weapons, wands, or scrolls to damage Belhifet, and no potions to survive melee combat with the guy, so I'm thinking our only decent chance is to use two characters who can remove his Improved Invisibility twice in the same round (so he can't just re-cast it indefinitely), allowing some sorcerers to hit him with Lower Resistance and then a bunch of Magic Missiles and Melf's Acid Arrows. If the three sorcerers land only one Lower Resistance spells each and then hit Belhifet with 5 Magic Missiles and 5 Acid Arrows each, we're looking at 300 damage over 11 rounds, out of Belhifet's total 350 HP. If we land a single more Lower Resistance spell, the average damage is over 400, giving us a comfortable window. If we get MR down to zero, we're looking at 490 damage, but that would require us to land Lower Resistance twice in two rounds--and coordinating six rounds of aura would be dicey.

    We might just spam Fireballs and/or Slow for the siege on Dragonspear Castle itself, but I don't know how much that'll really get us, since the fight is extremely long and I don't know how much the coalition itself can contribute. Notably, we'd have no Dwarves of Dumathoin to join the coalition, since tackling the Coldhearth Lich would be foolish.

    As for BG1, we could lean heavily on the Bounty Hunter for the early game, but Sarevok and company pose a problem. I know very little about that fight and have relied heavily on Arrows of Detonation and the Wand of Monster Summoning in the past. Our defenses would be total crap and our spell picks would be constrained due to the need to survive early BG1 and late SoD. Worse yet, unless we got over 200,000 XP for our cleric so it could cast Raise Dead, any BG1 death would mean we fight Sarevok with 5 party members (unless we boot the sixth party member in favor of an NPC, which does not seem like a good investment for a trilogy run).

    BG2 isn't a problem aside from perhaps Ascension. My install removes the summoning and trap limits and while I don't like the idea, Project Image and Wish-resting could get us an army of Planetars, Devas, and Skeleton Warriors as well as a massive pile of traps for the Five.

    What do you guys think of the Sarevok fight, Belhifet, and the siege of Dragonspear Castle without any items? @Harpagornis, @Grond0, @JuliusBorisov? I'm particularly concerned about Belhifet's allies, because I don't know who spawns at what difficulties and if my mages would be in danger despite having Stoneskin and staying on the move, possibly with a Teleport Field to aid in kiting.

    And what do you guys think would work for the sixth character? This is what I've considered:

    1. Totemic Druid. It would be give me decent bait in the early game, powerful summons in SoD, and a strong tank in late SoA, plus some decent HLA summons as well, but I've been leery of its utility against Belhifet because even the Spirit Lions don't seem to have the THAC0 to hit Belhifet without a critical hit.
    2. Wizard Slayer/Druid. I'd be trading Spirit Animals for spell failure on Fire Seeds, but I'm not sure the optimal build, a level 7 dual, is worth the wait, and as strong as this build is, most of its power comes from nonmagical darts, which I can't use.
    3. A second Bounty Hunter, possibly dual-classed to cleric at the start of SoA. Their traps are ridiculously strong, but they wouldn't buy me much against Belhifet or at Dragonspear Castle because their damage output is more burst damage than sustained.
    4. A fourth sorcerer, just because it'll have good defenses, bombing options at Dragonspear Castle, single-target spells for Belhifet, and mage HLAs for BG2.

    I'm going to steer clear of mod spells for this run, so no Emotion: Hope, Thunderslap, or Vestcakes Floating Curse.

    StummvonBordwehrJuliusBorisovWise_Grimwald
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,356
    @Arctodus: Damage spells on Belhifet are the current plan. Belhifet is immune to all disablers except for Hold Monster, but the odds of a successful hit are low due to needing level 5 spell slots for SI: Abjuration and Lower Resistance.

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 5,229
    edited November 2017
    @semiticgod are you playing with the improved SCS Sarevok or the original?

    Edit: I've just been thinking about perhaps having a go at this myself.
    Cleric of Helm looks like a good solid choice - melee option, summons, buffs, decent HPs.
    Bounty hunter can provide considerable damage (particularly on the assumption he's blinded when setting traps) and a bit of utility for traps, locks etc.
    Totemic druid gives early summons, good damage with spells at higher levels. I think it's a close call with the Avenger, but I'd probably stick with totemic.
    Shaman looks pretty attractive to me as well. That provides a potential never ending stream of summons for situations where casters are tapped (could be handy for the Castle siege you were worried about). Also got decent damage for insects.
    2 x sorcerer.

    What are your rules for the poverty run? For instance are you allowed to hang on to the quarterstaff you start BG1 with? Are you allowed to pick up quest items? Are you allowed to pay for quests (if not presumably you need a mod to be able to make progress in BG2)?

    Post edited by Grond0 on
    semiticgodJuliusBorisovWise_Grimwald
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,356
    My poverty rules are based on the original Insane Solo Poverty run back in the pre-SCS days of BG2:

    1. No items can be used except for quest items, only for their intended purpose, and a single nonmagical quarterstaff against the Mephit Portals in Chateau Irenicus and the Magic Golems in the Fire Giant lair.
    2. No gold can be gathered, nor spent except to complete quests. Everything else must be donated.

    Since this is a party run, I think I'll disallow the two-time use of the quarterstaff (it didn't make much sense anyway since it still left monks unable to hit those Magic Golems), but I'll let myself collect gold and time donations so I can manage reputation to change my Bhaalspawn power picks.

    I'm going with the same EET install for Mae and Frisky Bits' runs, with SCS, Ascension, and all the other stuff from BWS. So, no vanilla Sarevok for us.

    I usually go with Core Rules, or Insane without the damage bonus, but I might go as low as Normal mode for this run, if only to avoid dealing with Erinyes and Cornugons. With charm, Hold Person, ice arrows, and Lightning Bolts to worry about, I'm concerned about our spell slots and our spell picks. To block charm and Hold Person, we need SI: Enchantment on our sorcerers, or else both Free Action and Chaotic Commands from our priest(s). But Free Action is a level 4 spell that takes up the same spell slots as a Protection from Lightning spell, and choosing the mage version instead takes up an equally precious level 5 slot. We also need at least one SI: Abjuration spell to block the opening Remove Magic, and at least two Lower Resistance spell picks to actually harm Belhifet, unless we're relying on a single mage to cast four such spells in a row without disruption. This leaves very little room for a Chaos spell pick.

    If Erinyes are good with those ice arrows, it may even be worth it to pick Protection from Cold as a level 3 mage spell pick, simply because it's so incredibly important to land those Lower Resistance spells without disruption, and it's already very easy to mis-time them and have Belhifet go invisible.

    @Enuhal: I'm not very confident that Web will as useful at Dragonspear Castle as it normally might be. With no missile weapons except for Minute Meteors (which conflicts with Fireball), only the Cleric of Helm could actually deal any damage during the fight, and that's only if it maintains Free Action and does not get dispelled by the Crusader mages. Greater Malison combined with Horror and Confusion/Hopelessness might be useful, though I normally consider them sub-optimal picks for no-reload runs due to being fairly unreliable. Chaos would be awesome for the siege, but we already have a need for Spell Immunity, Lower Resistance, and maybe even Protection from Lightning as level 5 mage spell picks. What do you think about Spirit Animals during the siege? At level 10, a Totemic Druid's spirit critters would be immune to normal weapons, but are there many enemies who only use normal weapons?

    @Grond0: The Shaman would give us extra Raise Dead spells and Chaotic Commands, and Insect Plague should be useful at Dragonspear Castle even with SCS due to the lack of Fire Shields, but I've honestly been very skeptical about the Shaman's reliability in a no-reload run as well as its viability without items. A max-level Shaman's AC when dancing would be well north of zero without items, making it extremely easy to hit with missile weapons, and it's entirely possible to go for several consecutive rounds without summoning anything. Plus, it can't move while dancing, and we really need to be able to move around during the Belhifet fight because Belhifet hits so hard and so often and so reliably and imposes disease and poison damage on hit, and it would be all but mandatory to send the Shaman running, costing us its spirit critters, if Belhifet were to target it. Even Teleport Field might not be enough to keep it going.

    Does anyone know exactly how many rounds pass during the elevator to Belhifet? It's well over 5 rounds and may even be 10 rounds or higher, and the timing could be extremely important due to the poor duration of Spell Immunity and a lot of other important buffs.

    EnuhalWise_Grimwald
  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 18,593
    What do you think of a Monk + the Enchanted Weapon used on her fists?

    ArctodusWise_Grimwald
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,356
    @Grond0: You got to level 4 safely with a similar party to mine. Could you explain how? I was thinking of just using Sleep on ankhegs and beating them up with fists and Spirit Animals, but that wouldn't get us the Invisibility we'd need to travel and rest safely.

    Unfortunately for me, Shoal is far more dangerous than normal in my install, because she has a higher movement rate and summons a fast-moving Water Weird that has a paralysis weapon and an instant death attack.

  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 488
    @semiticgod
    According to a quick test I just did, the elevator ride should be exactly 15 rounds long.

    I agree that web won't be as useful as usual, but you can still disable the enemy backline, which would relieve your allied troups greatly. Since fireballs, unlike wands of fire or necklace charges, take some time to cast, disabling the enemy also makes it easier to bomb them, as they won't be able to shoot back. Regarding the unreliablity of save or else-spells - With the sheer amount of sorcerer spellslots available to you, I think you can be pretty sure that a lot of your foes could be disabled, especially with greater malison in the mix - there are no great aoe damage options for level 2 or level 4 anyway, so once you've picked up the most important protective spells, crowd control is a good proactive choice - I would argue that, overall, even pretty unlucky disable attempts with only 2-3 successes will do more than a single-target damage spell during a battle like the Siege.

    Sadly, there's a lot of magic damage and magical arrows flying around during the siege, so spirit animals aren't exactly reliable. They are still good, but since this battle lasts for a very long time, they will most likely get killed eventually. Fire elementals are a bit more survivable, though, especially if enemy mages get taken out quickly (as they are often disabled otherwise). Insect plague can be of great help in order to achieve that and protect your summons.

    I would certainly be interested in how sorcerer spellpicks will change with a) 3 sorcerers and b) no items available. Keep us updated on that!

    JuliusBorisovWise_Grimwald
  • FlashburnFlashburn Member Posts: 1,723


    Does anyone know exactly how many rounds pass during the elevator to Belhifet?

    The game will make a final-save a few rounds before you transition to the top and fight Belhifet. This is usually indicated by a longish pause because I've noticed that saving takes longer the further you get in the games. It still takes about 20 seconds or so before you get there after the game makes the final-save.

    semiticgodWise_GrimwaldGrond0
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,356
    Dying so badly in my first attempts. Shoal is inaccessible and my best Spirit Animal, the lion, has 12 HP; the basilisks aren't doable. I need to kill ankhegs to get the party to level 2 and 3, but Sleep keeps failing and Command isn't enough because unarmed characters cannot attack unconscious characters, which means our only damage dealers are the Spirit Lion and our familiar--unless I cast Seeking Sword, but that means no more Command spells. And traps could kill my Bounty Hunter if I use them and it fails. Three Command spells, or even four, aren't enough to kill an ankheg, which means I have to land a Sleep spell. If I fail three Sleep spells in a row, I have to flee the ankheg or else it'll kill me.

    If I rest, more ankhegs appear, and then I'm out of ammo and have to flee the area, where I get ambushed.

    Wise_GrimwaldJuliusBorisov
  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 641
    Couldn't you use Shillelagh from your Totemic Druid for another lethal damage source? Also, for easy experience, what about Tenya? Her quest is worth 2.5k experience, and you should be able to trigger her dialogue with magic missiles or something. Then there's all the fetch quests: Colquetle's amulet, Mirianne's husband, Samuel... Surely some of those could get you to level 2?

    StummvonBordwehrsemiticgodtbone1JuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,356
    Shillelagh is a good idea.

    I've largely solved it by simply starting anew with two sorcerers who have Sleep instead of just one (the other used to have Blindness). The extra Sleep spells got me the snoozing arthropods I wanted.

    My mods make the basilisk area far more difficult than normal. Korax only has 16 HP (!) and dies extremely fast in my install; I've noticed two or three basilisks vanish without explanation when I left the area and come back; Greater Basilisks gives 5000 XP instead of 7000; and there are 50+ HP Medusas in the north which have poison attacks as well as a short-ranged petrification gaze. Mutamin's garden is considerably harder and less profitable than normal. Repeatedly resting in the ankheg tunnels and killing ankhegs with Command, Sleep, traps, Spirit Lions, Flame Blade, and the Seeking Sword is a much better way of gaining XP.

    I don't have Magic Missile for Tenya, and I think the Tenya NPC mod makes her put up a much bigger fight than normal. A lot of stuff is different in my install.

    Right now I'm at level 4.5 and I'm done with the ankhegs, but I'm anxious about the Nashkel mines. Aside from the poison-using Kobold Guards from SCS, we've got an extremely tough duergar ambush with high enemy APR, Bolts of Biting, and Hold Person; one or two extra kobold spellcasters; a pair of Sword Spiders; and a band of Hobgoblin Shamans and Hobgoblin Captains which thankfully is avoidable.

    Come to think of it, my install probably isn't well-suited to a poverty run.

    ArctodusStummvonBordwehrJuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,356
    Animate Dead, Spirit Lions, traps, and Sleep got us safely through the Nashkel mines. When I was dealing with the tougher mod-introduced critters, I rested extra times to get more traps for the fight, allowing us to take down even the optional Hobgoblin Captains. Silence 15' Radius kept Mulahey quiet long enough for us to Doom and Command him so our summons would get automatic hits.

    Now I'm worried about the bounty hunter ambushes. I think it's different in the original game, judging by the wiki and other forum posts, but in my install, Lamalha and Halacan and Morvin/Molkar ambush you during area transitions and I don't know when they trigger exactly. Does anyone know how I can force those ambushes to trigger?

    I have three Invisibility spells per day, which is only enough to cover the party for short distances between the few areas that are safe to rest in: the mines, the carnival, the temple of Lathander, and the Friendly Arm Inn. If I can just get the ambush to trigger when the whole party is invisible, I could avoid all of them.

    Mantis37JuliusBorisov
  • GrimJimGrimJim Member Posts: 21
    edited November 2017
    @semiticgod Not 100% sure on this, but here's my best guess. The ambushes won't start until you're in chapter 3 and the player character has more than 10,000 XP. After that, your next random encounter will be one of the bounty hunter parties if one of the following conditions is met:
    • It's been at least 5 days since the player character has reached 10,000 XP in chapter 3
    • You've killed Tranzig
    • You've made the bandit camp hostile - not sure about this one
    After that, the other party will be your next random encounter if either
    • You've reached chapter 4 and it's been at least one day since the last ambush
    • It's been five days since the last ambush and either you've killed Tranzig or made the bandit camp hostile

    semiticgodStummvonBordwehrJuliusBorisov
  • AerakarAerakar Member Posts: 651
    Killing Tranzig in my experience has no impact on whether or not the bounty hunters, but they do only appear after Mulhahey has been deposed regardless.

    tbone1JuliusBorisovSerg_BlackStrider
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,356
    All right, things were a bit messy, but there's a solid formula for surviving everything between Mulahey and the start of the Cloakwood, at least with my party:

    The Lamalha and Morvin ambushes:

    If you have a level 4 sorcerer (or level 5 Dragon Disciple) with Invisibility as their first level 2 spell pick, you can turn half the party invisible using all three level 2 spell slots, rest, and turn the other half of the party invisible. The whole party will be invisible for the next 16 hours. You can then travel short distances back and forth from the Nashkel carnival (safe to rest), the Friendly Arm Inn (safe to rest), or the temple of Lathander next to Beregost (weak and infrequent rest ambushes). You will eventually hit the Lamalha ambush with the whole party invisible and can flee without a fight, and you can do the same for Morvin. I used CTRL-T to advance time by 5 days, but resting at a safe place should also work just fine.

    Tazok:

    You arrive at Tazok unrested and apparently there's a time lapse; Invisibility will probably wear off before you reach him. Command and Blindness are virtually useless; I've seen him make saving throws with a 2. A Totemic Druid can summon a Spirit Lion before Tazok targets a party member, but he'll kill it in roughly 6 seconds assuming a level 5 druid. A level 5 cleric can summon two skeletons and keep him busy long enough for the druid to hit Tazok with two Call Lightning spells, and a couple of traps from a Bounty Hunter (or an unkitted thief, if you're level 6 or higher) should be enough to get him to call it quits and let you join the camp.

    The bandit camp:

    Resting is safe and you can set as many traps as you like. I used Charm Person or Mammal on a couple of hobgoblins, but the results were disappointing: the one who failed its save turned out hostile after the duration ran out, and may have turned the rest of the camp hostile if I had not sent him far away from the camp.

    Fighting is unnecessary if you have a cleric and enter the main tent with the whole party under Invisibility. A level 5 cleric should have 50 HP and can open the chest to get the documents without breaking invisibility if you cast Sanctuary first (opening containers never breaks Sanctuary). The Lightning Bolt trap should deal 10d6 damage for a maximum of 60 damage, Chant will reduce the maximum damage to 50, and Aid will bump the cleric's maximum HP up to at least 51. You can then leave the bandit camp with no one turning hostile.

    This is assuming the Lightning Bolt only hits once. In my case, it hit once (though it did a very unlikely 27 damage out of 30 possible with a saving throw), but if that's not guaranteed, only Protection from Lightning will ensure survival. That requires a level 7 priest, 35,000 for a druid or 55,000 for a cleric.

    StummvonBordwehrJuliusBorisov
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,356
    I don't know how I'm going to deal with the Cloakwood mines. I think I'll just have to set tons of traps everywhere and lure enemies across them. Unless I can get a Spirit Snake to poison Davaeorn (which is not remotely reliable enough for a no-reload run), I think I'll have to go over the trap limit (removed in my install) to kill Davaeorn.

    The Iron Throne fight will be a nightmare and will probably require leaving the headquarters to rest in between kills. Cythandria should be baited and waited out; Slythe should be baited into landing a backstab on a summons and Commanded to death; Kristin should be baited and waited; and I'm thinking lots of traps will be necessary for the Ducal Palace. The Undercity party can be avoided.

    Sarevok himself will be horrible. I'm thinking we'd wait out Diarmid's Protection from Magic scroll if at all possible, wait out Angelo and Semaj's buffs, then use Teleport Field to avoid melee attacks and very slowly kill everyone with spell damage. But letting the enemy get a single Chaos spell off the ground could totally ruin us, and we don't have any real anti-mage capabilities.

    JuliusBorisov
  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 2,318


    I don't have Magic Missile for Tenya, and I think the Tenya NPC mod makes her put up a much bigger fight than normal. A lot of stuff is different in my install.

    The Tenya NPC mod does indeed make the fight much more difficult. She uses hold spells and Rigid thinking. You can counter the hold spells with a green potion (Freedom of action) Rigid thinking could be overcome with one of the rarer potions which resist magic. The rigid thinking spell means that you usually have to kill Tenya after she has yielded. :( It could be that with more party members that doesn't happen.

    semiticgod
  • Abby_ZeroAbby_Zero Member Posts: 68
    Wow. I’m just goin to assume that no reload challenge is pretty much that. I really respect you all as gamers. I’m a perfectionist who reloads if I have a crease in my shadow armor and it hurts me even imagining personally doing it lol. That’s awesome, cheers to the survivors and honor to the fallen.
    Crazy.

    ArctodussemiticgodWise_GrimwaldStummvonBordwehr
  • semiticgodsemiticgod Member, Moderator Posts: 13,356
    @Wise_Grimwald: Unfortunately for me, I'm doing a poverty run. No scrolls, potions, or anything like that. But now that I have three level 5 sorcerers with Magic Missile, I can probably deal with her using brute force.

    @Abby_Zero: Welcome to the forums! I notice you just joined yesterday--since you're new here, I think you can earn the extremely rare Combo Breaker badge if you get 5 different badges for 5 different things in one day. It's impossible for old-timers like me, but you're in just the right spot to get it! You should have the Photogenic badge for updating your portrait, so if you get just one or two more today, you should get the Combo Breaker badge.

    Abby_ZeroAerakar
  • Wise_GrimwaldWise_Grimwald Member Posts: 2,318
    edited November 2017
    Corey_Russell said:@semiticgod The Iron Throne 5th floor and Cythrandria are not required fights. You can finish the game without ever doing those encounters. The main thing for the 5th floor guys is sneak/invis past the enemies and talk to Thaldorn OR get the letters in the back room - then Scar will acknowledge your task as a success.

    I acknowledge Sarevok will be difficult with a poverty run.


    That is what I usually do anyway as you are given big hints to do it that way.

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