Thanks @Grond0. It's not a big deal, I simply don't like the fact that I forgot such a major battle in SoA because I'm somewhat of a completionist, even in no-reloads
I was almost finished writing this update when firefox crashed, so I'll make it short - the screenshots mostly speek for themselves. It was an interesting session with some grave losses and great victories.
Watcher's Keep level 3:
Aedan entered the maze, fighting his way through several groups of demons:Cornugons
, pit fiends
Eventually, the party reached the demon wraith
. The fighters quickly killed the spirits while the fallen deva distracted him, and eventually Shakti (who learned to cast level 8 spells here) used pierce magic and breach, and he was defeated shortly thereafter.
Aedan won the Spectral Brand, but not the Wish Scroll.
Watcher's Keep level 4:
Some spiders, shadows and magic golems
couldn't stop the group, and neither could the githyanki
. Phobos used his final protection from undead scroll for the demi-lich
Now for Saladrex. This is propably the most embarassing "fight" in all of my no-reloads (atleast in the past 2 years). Turns out that he immediatly turns hostile if someone casts any buffs around him even if you calmed him down and he's neutral.
Well, I somehow didn't know that - how could I not have known that? I try to remember if I simply never buffed inside this specific area or if I chose other dialogue options etc.... well, anyway.
The result was... not pretty - the party was completely unbuffed, and all I did was have Shakti used Stoneskin while walking back near the entrance where I wanted to set up some traps (for safety reasons, as I didn't want to just trap the neutral dragon). He was actually out of sight, but half a second later, the screen turned red and his breath weapon chunked Shakti and Achilleus - gone forever. Well, there goes my only arcane spellcaster, greatly limiting my versatility
Of course, I ran back, Phobos equipped dragon slayer +2, I started buffing with Andrastos (I should mention that Aedan always has 110 fire resistance since it's the most common elemental damage type - it served him well here) and the fighters, taking lots of potions, started attacking Saladrex. However, he pretty much killed Argus
with two hits before the halfling could retreat (thankfully no permanent death). Using lots of potions and Hardiness, Phobos eventually managed to defeat the dragon.
The group had to loot the fallen party members' corpses
, so there were some equipment readjustements to do. All in all, Achilleus' death doesn't really matter, but Shakti was a crucial party member.
Still, a no-reload isn't over until the player character dies. After selling, buying etc. the group returned to watcher's keep, killing the illithids
, illithid vampires
and eventually Rock&Garrock
. Phobos usually has stoneskin from gargoyle boots active now and mainly uses the improved haste from the improved cloak of protection +2 (since it has the longest duration). Now, without a mage, having GWWs would have been nice, but I won't change his HLA setup since at this point he has lots of items granting him improved haste for a certain amount of time. Used the Machine of Lum to get some attribute upgrades (actually really helpful with a randomized party).
Watcher's Keep level 5:
Aedan started with the color game, summoning all the creatures and killing them mostly with traps and spiketraps (the violet orb undead were turned by Andrastos). Only had 2 spiketraps left for the hive mothers/death tyrants etc., so they had to be fought the regular way
The orks were easy as always with protection from fire and lightning, the puzzles as well. For the dragon, I set up some spiketraps near the entrance. Trying to lure him there kind of failed since his script doesn't want him to follow the party, for some reason. Phobos was immune to his breath weapon, though, and eventually simply started attacking him with hardiness active
. He only activated 1 or 2 spiketraps, but the barbarian eventually killed him.
The ghost warrior minigame was no problem.
The Final Seal:
Well, I wasn't going to take any chances here and set up 7 spiketraps for every encounter. First, I summoned the party with the succubus. The traps killed only her, and wounded the archer and the melee fighter. Not as effective as I would've hoped. Luckily, the dualwielding female fighter came first and was killed just as the archer arrived, who was focused down as well. Andrastos was busy tanking the priestress and the marilith while Phobos and Argus used their HLAs to kill the hive mother
. They eventually succeeded
, making the rest of the fight easy.
The next group was the one with the extraplanar beings. Spike traps only hurt some of the fighters, but with a deva and improved haste, the party quickly focused down one after the other while the mage was out of sight. Phobos, with the white dragon scale armor, was well protected from his cone of cold-spam, and with some breaches
(using the several wands) their leader was eventually defeated.
For the flaming skulls, the spike traps killed all of them but one (the party was immune to fire because of Andrastos' buffs), the last one was destroyed quickly. However, the Lich was still alive, but with the wand of spellstike
this problem was solved within seconds.
Aedan decided to read the scroll. I really don't want to fight Demogorgon right now since I am not very familiar with the encounter and I don't see any reason to risk anything.
Before closing the session, I decided to take on Draconis, who is usually the most difficult enemy for all of my partys that lack arcane spellcasting (except for solo totemic druids who have more trouble with Amelyssan). Since he ended my previous attempt at the randomized party no-reload with Isis, oneshotting a barbarian with 50% acid resistance with his breath weapon, I was prepared to die.
I had stored every item with acid resistance during the game and equipped my party with all of that + scrolls (who would get dispelled anyway, but could be reused), and I used all of the useful buffs + potions of speed.
The crucial point was setting up 7 spike traps about 1,5 screens into the area to lure his dragon form into. For the human phase, I had him fight a deva
while the party killed his invisible stalkers, and eventually Aedan breached
him and he changed forms. He immediatly used wing buffets, kicking the group right above the traps, and, luckily, he followed the party and activated them, ending his existence
- which makes this so far my most successful randomized party challenge
Let's see how Aedan will fare with Abazigal.
Edited by Enuhal, 19 February 2012 - 03:16 AM.