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Off to an awkward start...

Lenny was bigger, faster, and stronger than all his compatriots in Candlekeep. Growing up, he knew he was special, he stood out, and given his half-orc heritage, he knew he had to either be loved and respected, a one-day leader, or ultimately perish to the fear his presence would bring. By the time his adopted father Gorion deemed him ready to face the outside world, he was the life and soul of Candlekeep. And while his quick wit game him a keen insight into many of the problems faced by a typical scholar of the tomes, he somehow lacked the discernment of people who were genuinely his friends, or perhaps just out to use him, riding into glory on his coattails.

However, above all else, Lenny had an affinity to blades and the martial arts of the long blades, and long swords in particular. Such was his devotion to the art that he forewent armor, partly to reduce the intimidation such a large beast of a manling might bring, remaining affable, and approachable, until you cross him, and partly to maintain his fluidity of movement, man-thing and blade flowing in uninterrupted unison.

Lenny is a half-orc kensai (my first kensai) with a crazy 97-point roll. I was shooting for 91, but after 30 minutes or so agreed to take the first roll over 89, and somewhat overshot the target - so max STR/DEX/CON/CHA, 15 INT to hit the fabled 16 after coming, and WIS as the dump stat. We are playing lawful neutral, and looking to split a good/neutral/evil party, rather than go all neutral. We want flavor in our companions!

The plan is to keep Imoen as the thief throughout the game, taking Viconia and Edwin for spell coverage, and Coran for artillery while Lenny leads into the melee. 6th slot will be rotating a while, as we pick up characters for roleplay or content, planning to settle on Quayle once we reach the city itself.

As ever, I start as a no-reload, but keep promising myself one day we will make it to the fable throne of end-games, so will switch to minimal reloads at some point, and weaken from there...



  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,354
    I was going to post a blow-by-blow account of Lenny, as he ventured bravely across the sword coast accompanied by his band of, erm, associates. In the end, I got little time, and failed to post the few sessions I managed.

    The early highlight I was trying to get to above was immediately upon reaching Nashkel. I entered the inn, and got mugged by Neira as expected. What I did not expect was that Neira's opening spell salvo managed to panic the inn-keeper as well as my party, and in the ensuing confusion, someone took a shot at him, killing him and my reputation. This made resting down to the South of the map awkward as well now, as we had just lost our only inn.

    Eventually I remembered you could just buy your reputation at a temple, so all was good before Bhaal visited me in my dreams, but it was a fair bit closer than I liked, with another accident or two getting rep down to 5 before it recovered.

    However, I did follow through on the plan for my basic party, which was Lenny the Kensai with the obscene stat roll, Imoen, Viconia, Edwin, and a quick charge through the game for Coran as artillery, and Quayle to pad out spelling. I took on Dorn for early fire support, and in order to get a nice item or two off his quest line that conveniently finishes just as we recruit Quayle, who can use that pretty armor.

    With all the hard work done, getting Coran and Quayle both at xp-appropriate levels, all I had to do was clean up some easy xp and collect some choice items around the sword coast.

    So stupidly, late at night when I should know better, I went to clean up some easy xp around Beregost temple. I had not quite adjusted to having just one primary damage dealer, who needed boosting to get a decent AC. (bearskin has been really helpful this game). So my archers have stashed all their magic arrows for safe keeping back at the inn, I am overconfident charging in, and suddenly I have a paralyzed Kensai on half health (yup, did not heal before charging - stupid!) and low level damage dealers, often without magical primary weapons. We did not have enough healing spells to keep Lenny alive until the paralysis wore off, so there ends his no-reload run.

    Continuing as a minimal reload, but I feel I have cheated myself badly, it was a stupid death that should not have happened if I had been a little more awake. Those late night 'one more sessions' seem to be the death of me!

    The interesting things I learned this time around were just how useful Barkskin is to a Kensai. With my 18 dex and single-weapon style mastery, bearskin got me down to AC -4, which is quite respectable around the Sword Coast parts of BG1.

    Also, I had not realized just how overpowered Coran was, if you get the early version. 20 dex and 3-pips in longbow are already pretty silly, but I did not realize he came not only with max hit points, but an additional 3 more than max to boot! Coran with +1 magic arrows was also half my strategy for taking down Daevorn at relatively low level (party average around 4th, still not 3rd level spells). The other half was a Kensai wearing boots of speed :)

    Final nod goes to the boots of speed. Very handy in getting my Kensai to close the distance and start the battle, which is important when you have poor AC and offense is your only real defense!

    The other thing I discovered too late with this party is that it has shockingly poor STR. VIconia cannot equip even a medium shield, or use simple magic items like the sleeper. Quayle is even lower, and these were supposed to be the second half of my front line. Carrying our booty became a trying exercise in inventory Tetris, working out who had just the right amount of spare capacity for the new item, while trying to load up the 19STR kensai at the front, who is limited to the same 16 item capacity. Likewise, Coran cannot use Composite Long Bows, and there are a tiny number of STR boost items to find - one of which would involve taking a detour with Rasaad.

    I still hope to make it to the end with just that one death, and I will score myself a win if I pull it off, then head into BG2 where I am thinking of taking Rasaad as the other half of a front Line for the second game. Alternatively, Viccy has that nice Magic Resistance from the start to go with that dex, and I probably can't take both...

  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,354
    A little update after some more frustration :)

    I tried swapping Quayle out for Rasaad in order to gain the STR belt, as suggested above. After wandering the length and breadth of the land, trying hard not to pick up xp I would rather share with Quayle, I had to admit the Rasaad was never going to get mugged in the docks, so that quest was not firing.

    Finally frustrated and admitting defeat, I return to Nashkel and swap Rasaad back out for Quayle, and head out to a nearby map for some easy xp, to try to grab the levels that a few of us are now closing in on.

    But oops, I picked the wrong map, and get greeted by Korax. Yikes, I'm not ready to go basilisk hunting, but Korax is my friend now, and I dare not waste his aid. Luckily, Edwin has a couple of protection for petrification memorized, so we head down South to where I know from memory (meta for the win!) there is a large nest of basilisks that should not be hassled by other encounters - and protect Lenny just as Korax makes first contact, so they can carve them up between them. This mostly goes to plan, apart from wandering a little too far North and into another adventuring party that wants to get in on the fun, and suddenly I have a whole party-on-party thing happening while trying to avoid the getting too close to basilisks, while my Kensai who Is essentially my whole front line tries to take out basilisks single handed. Madly, it worked!

    Now foolishly overconfident, it is time to head in the direction of Mutamin. Lenny still has his pretri-protection active, and Korax is still a friend, so we close the gap fast, and throw in a few magic missiles to stop any spell casting, and Mutamin goes down, yay! Now we just need to mop up the remaining basilisks that are encroaching on my map from several directions. Edwin casts Mirror Image so that he is a harder target before beating a retreat, my twin archers are backing up Korax and Lenny trying to keep the basilisks attention, and everyone else can run, and why do I have only 5 party members now?

    Darn, I think that statue with lots of mirrored images used to be on my party :(. Finally clear out the last of the basilisks, and hightail it immediately to the adjacent map with a temple in order to buy a stone-to-flesh scroll. Immediately return post-haste to retrieve the mage I have invested so heavily in, and is around 1k xp short of casting 4th level spells. Return him to flesh, and talk to him so he can rejoin the party...

    ... and immediately he is lecturing me about my foolish decision to kick him out of the party, and off he storms in a huff. Darn, that was not the plan, now we have lost our primary magic user, and all the powerful loot he had with him too. Coran clearly does not like this betrayal and quickly pincushions Edmin to death, so we can at least reclaim the loot we had so generously entrusted to him...

    Somehow, I don't think Lenny will make it out of BG2EE (should he get that far) without being tainted by evil :)

    So now a 5 person party without a primary mage, and consistently hitting around 7th level, we take late inspiration and head to Larswood to see if we might turn up any other potent spell casters to see us through to the end of the game...

    (I had not planned on taking Baeloth, preferring Edwin for his original role and crazy extra spells, but at least this way I can get a few hard to find spells like Stoneskin and Melf Minute Meteors)

    After burning a couple of real-time weeks trying to get Rasaad's quest to fire, I hope I can make it to the end a little quicker now - although will probably lose a chunk of time to Durlag's tower. Thinking I may head back to Baldur's Gate and try to wrap up looting there first though, and then head on to Candlekeep and get the last important Tome for Lenny, before popping the last two wisdom Tomes just because. I see no reason to take this party out to werewolf island though.

  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,354
    and finally Lenny falls through faults entirely my own, unrelated to sleep deprivation :)

    With my newly revised party dropping Baeloth in to replace Edwin, we completed out basic tour of Baldur's Gate, and ran a few quests for the authorities, taking care to not exceed our quota of popular opinion! Finally, we reveal that the dastardly leaders of the Iron Throne are behind all our problems, and can be found in Candlekeep - and lucky we are whisked off there forthwith.

    This is where I start to make dumb mistakes. First, we confront the Throne's leaders directly in the keep, and I press on with my front line thinking I can take them easily in a stand-up fight. Baeloth quickly beats the retreat, but with just one guy left, looking like one good blow will finish them off, Quayle hangs in there. And then we have to pick Quayle up off the floor, and all of his kit for good measure.

    Never mind, there is a template in the keep, let's go get him raised up, good as new? Nope, we are arrested the instant we leave the keep, so we are just going to have to carry Quayle out of here, and accept a reduced treasure-toting limit for our looting spree. We also miss the higher levels of the keep, so are still ignorant of the true nature of daddy.

    Once we escape, we speed through the catacombs readily enough, boosting Lenny with both tomes as we go. He really is a combat monster now, shame about the AC. We also rest to ragen our hit points, and dream an interesting dream that brings a really nice stat-boosting ability, in case we even feel we are not monster enough!

    Finally, we make it out into the caves below the keep, and disaster strikes. I am trying to not meta the impending fight with Prat's gang, and every time I do this, something goes badly wrong. In this case, some kind of confusion spell goes off, claiming both Lenny and Viconia (with the Gaunlet's of Ogre Power) and this is my front line, along with Coran who is my main artillery. Between them, Baeloth and Imoen take down three of the gang, but Immy goes down in the process, along with the confused Viconia. Finally, it is down to Baeloth and confused shorty, who is pounding on an unresisting Lenny. Can I take him down in time? I decide a relentless assault of magic missile is probably my best bet, as I see no direct way to boost Lenny, and I don't want to catch him in any crossfire. Sadly, it is not quite fast enough, and Lenny goes down with the last foe still Badly Injured. GAME OVER.

    Or at least it should be, but once I am invested in a character I always transition to minimal reloads rather than no reload (I know I will lose focus before the end of ToB, and have gotten that far only 2 or 3 times in a couple of decades playing the game). So we reload, and knowing a fight is coming, steamroll in so no-one has a chance, escaping with minor injuries. But the whole thing feels like a hollow victory, death has been cheapened for future reloads, and I am unhappy despite the belated victory :(

    Still we can clean up the level now, and head back to Beregost temple to raise Quayle. Next stop will be Durlag's Tower as I seek to maximize Lenny's xp before heading on to Athkatla. I am not anticipating any more deaths, as this fight in the Candlekeep caves is known to the be the one that always catches me if I make it past the early stages, but time will tell. I still have 70k xp to go, and that tower goes quite deep...

  • GreenWarlockGreenWarlock Member Posts: 1,354
    And the final BGEE update - Lenny made it all the way through Durlag's Tower, seeking as much experience as possible before finally heading back to the city of Baldur's Gate to face down the future. This is where I start to get careless and push my luck a little when I should know better, now that I have dropped into a minimal reload game, and Lenny dies a couple of times on the way through due to disabling monsters catching him at the worst time, when there was no ability to get in an help. Dumb, but not yet the dumbest part of this tale, oh no!

    Emerging from Durlag's, I figure I have just enough xp to hit the cap as I beat the thieves' maze. I am wrong, but not by too much, turns out I hit 161k xp exactly on the last fight before entering the final showdown, so objective achieved. At this point, I quaff every potion imaginable before casting all the buffs. Lenny enters the last battle at AC -14, not bad for a Kensai, with THAC0 -4, hitting for 24-31 damage 3x per round. That should do nicely! Of course Coran goes one better with a THAC0 of -5, hitting 4x per round, but for only 9-14 damage, so ego is intact :). Imoen runs ahead to pull the fight, then runs back. The teleporting mage never knows what hit him, and then Sarevok closes in for the kill, not realizing it will be him. Even using Kai ability he lasts a good couple of rounds, though we are never in any true danger at this point.

    And at this point I realize I forgot to grab the pantaloons on my way back to Baldur's Gate. Worse, my oldest save is at the end of the Thieves' Maze. Doh! For once, I was planning a party where claiming the silver pantaloons would be entirely in character, but also now pointless.

    Anyway, it turns out that my final save will not import into BG2EE as it spots some DLC that I need to purchase associated with my saved game - even though there is no DLC on the Mac, all content is purchased up front. So in order to export across games, I need to export the character file. This is where I get too clever for my own good. As I have to export just the character file, why don't I make a multiplayer game with another PC who already has the pantaloons, transfer them, and then export again? This kind of cloning just barely skirts around my cheating ethic where I refuse to use the console or game editors, but barely, and certainly feels dirty. Anyway, I get my just deserts. After saving over the original export, I boldly start BG2EE with my new Kensai, only to discover a complete lack of Bhaal abilities. Doh! I had worked so hard to keep raising my rep to get all the good ones too. Serves me right for cheating in the pantaloons!

    So now I need to decide between going back for an honest export, and keeping the Bhaal abilities, or cheating in the pantaloons and losing my heritage. Serves me right I guess :). Will probably take at least a fortnight off now regardless, due to work commitments, so plenty of time to consider how I want to pick up Lenny's story again when we restart in Athkatla for the Shadows of Amn!

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