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First Thoughts on Legacy of Bhaal

So I recently started a new run, determined to do it on this highest of difficulties. A couple of things seem clear to me:

1.) The lower levels of D&D are always the most dangerous, but that is multiplied ten-fold in LoB.

2.) A great many things just have to be flat-out skipped in the early levels.

3.) All that meta-gaming knowledge that makes a run while playing on core rules a joke (the diamond in the tree, the Ankheg armor in the field) is a god-send in this mode.

4.) Not all classes are created equal. Considering the massive HP bonus summons get (whether this is intentional or just an oversight in the end is immaterial), this truly was the best opportunity to break out a Totemic Druid, and the Spirit Animal summons are literally the only reason I have survived the fights I have taken on, along with.....

5. Kiting with ranged weapons, as is the case in most CRPGs of this (or really any era) remains the only viable option and is immensely overpowered in that sense.

Any thought on your experiences??



  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,526
    I agree that LoB is a major change in balance, but if you are meta-gaming (and are patient) it's not that hard to make progress. A few things that can help include:
    - for a mage or sorcerer (or beastmaster) the familiar is now hugely beneficial in the early game. On core there are few things in the game that can't one-shot a 12 HP familiar, but on LoB there are few things (at least in the early game) that can one-shot a 44 HP familiar - double damage taken does not apply to the familiar. If you're careful then a pseudo-dragon can tank most things in the early game (its higher base speed and regeneration allowing it to kite when necessary). The pseudo-dragon is also immune to petrification so can nibble enemies to death.
    - sleep is now useless, but blind is still a death sentence for most enemies and an alternative way to make progress if you don't want to use a familiar.
    - as you say summons rule even more than in the standard game. Using the wand from the ghast tomb is pretty much all you need as an arcane user.
    - for non-arcane types, Algernon's cloak is a god-send, allowing you to use enemies to tank each other.
    - in the current version of the game Drizzt is bugged and won't attack, so you can get hold of his scimitars without difficulty. The +2 AC available for good characters makes a major difference in how easy it is to require an opponent to get criticals to hit.

    Most of my experience with LoB is playing solo and this thread has a huge amount of information on how you can do that and deal with major encounters like the palace, Sarevok and Belhifet safely. I think playing with a party is probably more difficult, but the basic tactic of having your best tank occupy attention (probably while running round though) and others shoot still works well. Status effects like charm and hold are more difficult to land due to the +5 save bonus, but also more valuable in helping to cut encounters short.

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 8,940
    edited May 2018
    Well, I agree the whole thing is worse for a party, as I've been running around the entire Sword Coast attempting just to get people to level 2 to give myself some breathing room. The only huge dent I've made in doing that was going to kill the 4 basilisks east of the temple (by way of two Protection from Petrification scrolls in High Hedge). But yes, it may have been far more effective to try solo things BEFORE picking up my party, but that cat is out of the bag. Basically I have my Bhaalspawn (Totemic Druid), Imoen, Dorn, Kagain, Edwin, and Rasaad. I haven't even bothered with Sleep, since it's completely useless on this mode. So the major goal here is just to get Edwin to level 2 so he can start casting Horror and Web, though I should have thought about picking up Blind in High Hedge when I was there, which along with Doom should allow me to at least beat the Ogre south of the Friendly Arm.

    Mostly, even just playing about 3 or 4 hours of this mode, I have to disagree with those who say it doesn't offer a change in tactics. For one thing, it eliminates Sleep in the early game as not only a "I win" button, but it eliminates it's use totally. For another, no one who isn't a front-line tank (and designed to be so) can take more than 1 decent hit. On Core rules, you rarely use inventory items such as potions or scrolls. You are absolutely forced to here. You actually have uses for your gold and have to pay attention to the stock limits of the vendors. While LoB is certainly guilty of the "they just buffed the HP and damage" way of doing things, I can't really think of many games whose higher difficulty DOESN'T just involve those aspects. The longer you have to fight, and the more danger you are in during that length of time, the more tactics and outside the box thinking is necessary. And in a game where pre-buffing is the name of the game, fights where your buffs actually might wear off are a novelty in and of themselves.

    When did Drizzt become that badly bugged?? Are they fixing him in 2.5??

    Post edited by jjstraka34 on
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,526
    edited May 2018
    Drizzt had 4.5 APR in vanilla. The extra 1 APR from LoB pushes him over the hard-coded limit of 5 for each half round and he reacts by not attacking at all. I'm not certain, but I expect that to be fixed in 2.5.

    I should have said by the way that the thread I linked previously assumes an SCS installation. That changes a lot of things - notably calls for help and targeting of the weaker party members. As a result tanking and kiting is much more difficult as a party tactic if you have SCS installed.

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 8,940
    edited May 2018
    More thoughts, first on difficulty in general. Baldur's Gate is indeed a hard game the first time you play it, but that is mostly based on having to internalize how the fairly complex systems of the 2e rule-set work in the game. Frankly, once you get yourself in the mindset that your spellcasters are there for CC and buffs/debuffs, 75% of the game becomes a cakewalk on Core difficulty. It is also far easier if you micro-manage your party. I for one am someone who can't stand the AI scripts, and I shut them off completely. The more you pause, and the more you micromanage every angle and aspect of the battle, the easier every Infinity Engine game becomes.

    While the wholly impressive and total revamp of the encounters of SCS is one way to increase the difficulty, the flat-out health, THACO and AC buffs to all enemies in Legacy of Bhaal works just as well. The most obvious example of this is the Sleep spell. In the base game, Sleep is pretty much all you need straight up to Mulahey. It's an automatic win button once you realize how it works on low-level hordes. It trivializes the entire front half of the game. You can't really take on more than 3 enemies at once at low-levels in LoB. There is no legitimate way to deal with it. The enemies hit too often, take too long to kill, and there are too many of them in certain situations. Normally, you would just put the Xvart village to sleep, and go and carve them up one by one. You can't do that in this mode til your Mage hits level 3 and can cast at least SOME AoE crowd control. And mages take awhile to get to level 3. Quite awhile.

    I have some meta-gaming knowledge of BG1, but by no means comprehensive (though I know where to look to get any info I need). Ultimately, as @Grond0 mentioned earlier, pickpocketing Algernon's Cloak is a god-send (even though it fails quite frequently). Not only are you taking one of the enemies out of combat, but since their HP and stats are so inflated, you are getting a veritable meat-shield to go along with it. Beyond that, take the spiders in Beregost. There is no way even your tanks can stand toe to toe with their poison attacks from the 4 of them at level 2. I defeated them by literally kiting them around town in a circle for over 15 minutes. It was either that or leave the quest til later. This WOULD be a stupidly cheesy tactic on Core, in LoB it's a matter of survival.

    It's not a surprise that Baldur's Gate in particular became a game that has been the focus of difficulty mods and hardcore/no reload runs more than just about any other. It's because the Infinity Engine system and the 2e rules and spells allow for it. But by contrast, it is also because once you understand those rules, a ramp up in difficulty is necessary to stay engaged.

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 8,940
    So, aside from playing other games, I have been slowly making my way through the Nashkel Mines. The first 3 levels aren't really worth talking about. Alot of Kobolds slowly pulled an killed. They give almost no EXP and the high difficulty level adds many more of them.

    This becomes an issues with the fight against Mulahey. Now, he himself was immediately charmed by Imoen using Algernon's Cloak. He and Kagain then proceeded to tank the large group of kobolds and skeletons that spawned in his lower room, with Imoen sniping from near the chest.

    In the meantime, my other 4 party members (Dorn, Edwin, my Totemic Druid, and Rasaad) were waiting in the far north as my Spirit Beast bear got aggro on the OTHER large pack. My Druid has two Charm Person spells learned, and immediately turned two of the Kobolds. Then Edwin cast a Horror spell to scatter the remaining Kobolds, and the group focused fire on the skeletons. Eventually when the top was taken care of, the party was able to slowly move down and help take out the still pretty large group of mobs in the south, and Mulahey wasn't even available to say his dialogue, as he fell to the surrounding kobolds and skeletons (but not before lasting a LONG time). All in all, this fight took me alot of reloads, but on this final one I didn't actually lose a single party member, which was welcome.

  • jjstraka34jjstraka34 Member Posts: 8,940
    Then Bandit Camp. Anyone going into the highest difficulty knows this is gonna be a problem. First off, I took the option where I could wander around freely. LoB is not the time to be attempting to slowly pick your way through the minefield that is the hostile outside area. My entire focus here was going to be winning the tent fight only.

    What did that require?? Quite a bit actually, and endless reloads. For one thing, if Imoen didn't succeed in charming Britik with the Cloak, I wouldn't even bother continuing. After the first few attempts, I knew I had to head back to High Hedge and at least get Edwin the Resist Fear spell for the group, or the game was over. Beyond that, he also needed Mirror Image, because Hakt was wiping him out with poison arrows at the start of every fight.

    So, on the successful attempt, everyone was buffed with Bless and Resist Fear, while Edwin had both Mirror Image and Barkskin so he could survive the first couple of early snipes. With the charm working on Britik, we were off the the races. I immediately sent him to start tanking Hakt, along with my Spirit Animal summon. That problem was solved. Meanwhile, Edwin casts Blind on Raemon (who hits like a goddamn truck on this difficulty) and was tanked by Kagain, who had to use two healing potions early on. Meanwhile, Dorn immediately popped his poison blade ability and chugged a Potion of Speed (no access to Haste yet) and went to work on Venkt, as the poison would interrupt his early spells (hopefully). Meanwhile, I learned from earlier attempts that getting Raemon down was paramount, and I had a Potion of Fire Breath on Imoen, which I used and it knocked off a significant portion of his health even on this difficulty. Edwin had survived the early barrage thanks to a Slow Poison save by my Totemic Druid, and was now free to Blind Hakt and then exclusively go to work on everyone with his wand of Magic Missiles. Once Raemon went down, I felt pretty good. Hakt was taken out as well (and in the process of tanking him, Britik was whittle down to "near death"). But on the negative side, both Dorn and Rasaad fell prey to Venkt's spell arsenal. Thankfully, as that happened I was able to send my Spirit Animal and Britik down to take him on just as his Mirror Image was wearing off. Once he was eliminated, the Spirit Animal turned on Britik, and Kagain and the rest of the group joined in to finish it off. Having already lost two group members, I then VERY stupidly had Kagain open the chest, which was trapped with lightning, killing him instantly. This turned out to be annoying as hell because I lost my two characters who could carry any amount of weight, and I had to simply abandon Dorn's Plate Armor to even get my other characters to the point where they could hightail it to the Beregost Temple to resurrect my guys.

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 6,526
    There are several containers in the tent that you could store equipment in, so you shouldn't lose anything except a bit of time.

    A way to make the fight in the tent easier is to enter invisibly and then use blindness spells on Britik and Hakt while out of sight range of Raemon. If you're lucky you might get Venkt as well, but with the LoB bonus to saves he's not an easy target. However, you could use the wand of monster summoning as well as a spirit animal on him - he wouldn't then last long.

  • SomeSortSomeSort Member Posts: 859
    Grond0 said:

    There are several containers in the tent that you could store equipment in, so you shouldn't lose anything except a bit of time.

    A way to make the fight in the tent easier is to enter invisibly and then use blindness spells on Britik and Hakt while out of sight range of Raemon. If you're lucky you might get Venkt as well, but with the LoB bonus to saves he's not an easy target. However, you could use the wand of monster summoning as well as a spirit animal on him - he wouldn't then last long.

    There's a real argument that invisibility (and its various cousins) is the best spell in the series, at least up until SoA when so many enemies start dispelling it, (Spell Immunity: Divination solves that problem!), or ToB when so many enemies start seeing through it naturally, (no solution here, unfortunately).

    Probably much less useful in SCS, but in bog-standard BG it's guaranteed tactical superiority. (Plus it can eliminate any risk of waylays or resting in the wild for good measure.)

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