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Baldur's Gate 2 No-Reload Challenge


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#5376
Grond0

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And out again - Needle joins the throng who failed to get out of the dungeon. I couldn't resist trying to kill Ulvaryl, but her bat form beat Needle's flame arrow to the punch and the assassin mage then cast remove magic followed by some form of charm.

#5377
Ygramul

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Please help a beginner here:
(apologies again for the double post; not sure if this should have gone to a separate thread)

So, what is the current "best" BG2 game experience for a no-reload adventure (BG-TOSC to BG2 to TOB)?

I was thinking the following mods (not counting patches or tutu):
tweaks
fixpack
spell revisions
SCS
(avoiding Ascension etc. for a no-reload game)

Is this sensible? Is this the correct install order?

*** important questions:
- Once I screwed it all up with antimagic (spell thrust etc.) NOT targeting improved invisible enemies. How do I avoid it? By not selecting that option in SCSII and trusting SR to do it? 
What do YOU do?

- what challenge options in SCSII are "reasonable"? I haven't finished the trilogy in a long time, but I am nearly an expert on game mechanics and spell system - so I would want only those encounter improvements that DO NOT require one to memorize the bloody lot.

- Lastly, should I use BGT over BGTUTU? Is there a specific install order I should use? (Could really use an idiot proof guide)

Thanks! Can't wait to enter the thread with a character soon for the whole trilogy.

Ygramul

#5378
Jianson

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So, what is the current "best" BG2 game experience for a no-reload adventure (BG-TOSC to BG2 to TOB)?


I am fond of Unfinished Business for both games, quest pack for both games, Item Randomizer for both games and NPC Project for BG1. SCS for both games (with reasonable add-ons).

- Once I screwed it all up with antimagic (spell thrust etc.) NOT targeting improved invisible enemies. How do I avoid it? By not selecting that option in SCSII and trusting SR to do it? 
What do YOU do?


I do not know what SR does with this. Isn't SCS working the way you want to if you pick that option?
Personally, I do not want spell protection removal being able to target invisible enemies. I prefer that I (and the enemies!) need to break the invisibility first (or use Dispel/Remove Magic or other area-of-effect spells instead).


- what challenge options in SCSII are "reasonable"? I haven't finished the trilogy in a long time, but I am nearly an expert on game mechanics and spell system - so I would want only those encounter improvements that DO NOT require one to memorize the bloody lot.


It's been a while, but I remember that liked the improved-but-toned-down Bodhi. I wasn't too keen on Improved Shade Lord (not going to have it on the next playthrough).
The component that made the 'waylaid' ambushes more varied is also something I liked.

Edited by Jianson, 16 October 2012 - 11:11 PM.


#5379
touch_of_the_void

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I am sad to report that Malin has fallen, due to a weird mistake on my part.

With Jaheira, Minsc, Imoen and Yoshimo to help out Irenicus' Dungeon posed no problems. After ferrying various loot to the Adventurers Mart, Jaheira, Minsc and Yoshimo were sent their separate ways, and Malin started exploring the city. I followed a route that I knew would not lead to the Suna Seni encounter (Promenade -> Slums -> Bridge -> Government -> Temple -> Gates), picked up various quests and then left to go to the Umar Hills and get the free xp from there. Unfortunately Gates -> Umar Hils triggered Suna Seni, and Malin was shot and killed before he could finish reading his emergency scroll of invisibility...

I was absolutely convinced there was zero chance of the encounter triggering on this transition, and I've played many games in the past where it hasn't. And yet when I reload the Auto-Save in this game, it happens every time. So not sure what happened exactly; I doubt different install order or mods could affect this but maybe they did. I will try to find the game file that controls this in Near Infinity because I definitely remember checking all the encounter probabilities in a previous game and working out that this guaranteed safe route out of Athkatla existed.

Anyway, for future reference, I found that Gates -> Watcher's Keep, and then from there to anywhere, seems safe.

On the up side, even a brief stint in Amn was quite fun and I definitely want to try running another character through it with the same restrictions. Right now I'll keep Malin's game and test some things out. Also I guess this gives me the chance to fix some mistakes I made with Malin in BG1 (don't lose a familiar, get Vamp Touch rather than the second DUHM as last Bhaalspawn ability, bring one of the Kazgaroth artefacts).


EDIT: I checked the WORLDMAP.WMP file in Near Infinity and sure enough the encounter probability for Gates -> Umar Hills is showing as 25%. Then I open the same file in my other BG2 install and it's 0%. So I was remembering right, but for some other installation / mod setup. I guess better I found this out now than halfway through the game...

Edited by touch_of_the_void, 17 October 2012 - 02:43 PM.


#5380
Grond0

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Hard luck touch_of_the_void, but a good effort anyway. I hope a replacement for Malin can go even further.

#5381
Satyricon331

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Malin was a really great idea for a run, so I'm sorry to hear he died! It's interesting to hear about the ambush tiggers. I'd never paid close attention and just thought there was a general probability, with some specific cases where it was basically certain.

#5382
touch_of_the_void

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Yeah I also didn't know exactly how this works for a long time. Basically the WORLDMAP.WMP file contain the information about areas linking together, and for each area it lists the other areas you can travel to, along with the probability of an encounter along the way. Sometimes it is 100%, sometimes it's 0%.

It is certainly useful to know that you can visit each area in Athkatla apart from the Graveyard as many times as you want without triggering an encounter using this path (there may be others)

Promenade -> Slums -> Bridge -> Temple -> Gov -> Gates -> Docks -> Gates -> Promenade

As soon as you leave the Graveyard for the first time you will have the encounter. Going from the Docks to anywhere other than the Gates also triggers it I think.

Given I observed different behaviour in different games I guess it's worth testing in your game though.

EDIT: also forgot to say that Slums -> Promenade (for instance) can trigger an encounter, even though Promenade -> Slums doesn't. Which is kinda weird.

Edited by touch_of_the_void, 18 October 2012 - 07:14 AM.


#5383
Grond0

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Introducing Schist - Wild mage

Schist passed through BG1 avoiding the use of any spells, but that's not realistically possible for a wild mage in BG2.  That means he will be far more subject to the vagaries of the wild mage gods.  A real problem associated with that is that I mis-clicked following the battle with Sarevok and didn't pick up the Claw of Kazgoroth before starting BG2 - the +3 to spell saves that offers would have made him far more likely to survive if a flesh to stone effect is triggered by a surge.

In the dungeon Schist immediately had to rely on spells.  In particular he used invisibility to avoid combats where possible and mirror image to try and negate traps.  He did trigger several surges, but none proved harmful, despite the apparent explosion here.  Mirror image did it's job pretty well, but did let a spear through here - that would normally have virtually killed Schist, but he had taken the precaution of using vampiric touch on a duergar just before that, so survived comfortably.

Inivisibility was used to draw the mephits from the portals into the adjacent room and shut the door.  Schist only had a dagger for a melee weapon and just a handful of sling bullets.  However, some scroll summoned monsters helped him quickly take down the portals and had enough time left on their clock to aid with the clone as well.

Here's his character record on exiting the dungeon.
Posted Image

#5384
Grond0

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Schist didn't last too much longer. He restored the circus, but then tried to engineer a change of management at the Copper Coronet. He killed the initial guards and then successfully got a grizzly bear away from the rest of the beastmaster's crew thinking that would make it easy enough to kill. However, I didn't allow enough room for manoeuvre against the fast moving and long-pawed bear and got hit once and then again with a fatal critical before Schist could take a potion.

Time for a short break (at least from single player).

#5385
Satyricon331

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Grond0, I'm really sorry about your luck! I love the portrait, but it seems like a bad-luck token for you ^_^

@touch_of_the_void: Thanks for the really helpful post! I've experimented in the past with sorc spellbooks that skip MMMs and that info could really help those guys.

#5386
Matuse

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EDIT: also forgot to say that Slums -> Promenade (for instance) can trigger an encounter, even though Promenade -> Slums doesn't. Which is kinda weird.


Probably to prevent being ambushed straight out of Chez Jon. That's the one mandatory area transition you must make in the city.

#5387
touch_of_the_void

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Yes I imagine you're right. However, it's not just Promenade and Slums where one way is safe and the other isn't.

And yeah I think knowing you can travel around the city, doing or picking up quests, and then outside (via e.g. Gates -> Watcher's Keep -> Umar Hills / Trademeet etc.) without having any encounters is quite useful to know for no-reload or generally 'experimental' games.

#5388
Alesia_BH

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Sorry to hear about Malin ToV.

Best of luck with your next run!

#5389
touch_of_the_void

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Thanks. I am re-running BG1 with an identical character but with Hard Times installed, which is quite interesting. It's kind of on-hold now though because I moved house / country / continent and don't have a gaming computer at the moment (just Macbook Air for work).

Something that was bothering me about Malin in BG2 is how to protect him from some traps. Prismatic Spray comes to mind. Maze is also an issue.

Polymorph Self -> Mustard Jelly is an option but I don't like it because firstly there aren't too many PS scrolls and secondly I consider the 100% magic resistance on the jelly to be a bug (should be 10%, according to both AD&D Monster Manual and other Mustard Jellies in BG). I also do not allow potion stacking so 2x Potions of Magic Protection is out.

I am interested in anyone's suggestions for the cheapest way to guarantee survival against them. Do I really have to burn a Spell Deflection scroll to get the Horn of Valhalla, for instance?

Edited by touch_of_the_void, 21 October 2012 - 12:11 PM.


#5390
Grond0

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Spell immunity would be another alternative, although you might consider those scrolls more valuable.

#5391
touch_of_the_void

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Yes, I'd thought of that. There are also not many SI scrolls. Same goes for Protection from Magic scrolls (which I will only use as a last resort).

For the spells that allow a save like Prismatic Spray, the question probably boils down to whether it's more economical to buff saves or go for the immunity against the spell effects. It's dilemmas like this that are making playing with these restrictions a lot of fun in my opinion.

Edited by touch_of_the_void, 21 October 2012 - 12:27 PM.


#5392
Ygramul

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 Entering the no-reload challenge for the first time:

(errr... how do I attach images to this thingy?...)

Intending to finish the entire trilogy (I have only done this once, a decade ago, and not as a no-reload).
Using fixpack, tweaks, SCS I+II (with most of the enhanced encounters & better AI).

presenting...
** Khemael - Elf - Lawful Good - Fighter 3 / Diviner 2 - 18[79]/18/16/18/15/8 (fairly rolled in 10 mins) 
 current profs: Long Sword ++ Dual Weapons +++

house rules:
- Used Shadowkeeper to make Khemael a specialized multi-class mage (indulge me that much cheese; I cannot resist it)
- Imoen is a Sorcerer in my playthrough
- Minsc is a Berserker
- If I make it to BG2 I will permit myself to carry over one item (probably a Ring of Free Action, presumably hidden in Khemael's netherparts before capture)
- Khemael will roleplay like a paladin; will not use ranged weapons; will keep full party (Imoen/Jaheira/Viconia/Minsc/[thief])


As I resisted the temptation to script in any deus ex machina immunities via Shadowkeeper, my main worry now is how to avoid the inevitable Confusion/Chaos/Stun/Hold/Charm that may end my game. I have been uncharacteristically staying away even from Ghasts so far.

Chaotic Commands is unavailable through BG1 yet there are enemies that cast Chaos. How do you handle that?

Edited by Ygramul, 22 October 2012 - 05:08 PM.


#5393
Gate70

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Ygramul wrote...
(errr... how do I attach images to this thingy?...)

just paste the link in (examples below with spaces on the url/url and img/img sections so you see the text.

Embedded [ img]http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb237/Gate70/BG2012/Jubb1.png[ /img]

Link [ url=http://i208.photobucket.com/albums/bb237/Gate70/BG2012/Jubb1.png]Your text[ /url]

Clicking the BBCode option on the "Standard Form" editing page allows you to switch between the text format and the finished format so you can preview before you submit.

Chaotic Commands is unavailable through BG1 yet there are enemies that cast Chaos. How do you handle that?

Potion of Clarity, Greenstone Amulet, berserker/barbarian rage are a few examples that may help.

#5394
Ygramul

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Potion of Clarity, Greenstone Amulet, berserker/barbarian rage are a few examples that may help.


Thanks!
IIRC, the amulet is only available in the TOSC town up north & I have yet to see a single potion of clarity. I shall hope to interrupt any assassin spell casters before they hold & confuse, I guess.

Wish me luck.

Also, I decided to specialize Imoen in meta-magic arts: spell defense & defense removers + illusion/anti-illusion spells.

It is amazing that none of the D&D games (IWD, PS:T, or NWN etc.) ever implemented such a sophisticated magic manipulation arsenal. 

#5395
Gate70

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Potions of clarity are rare. There is one in a locked chest in the Candlekeep inn, with your strength you could have eased the lock open but I guess your lawful good alignment prevents this sort of behaviour. There is at least one more in the city but that's half a game away.

You could enrage Minsc. In the standard game this would make him immune but liable to turn around and attack the party but not sure what the berserker change would do for him.

Blindness probably casts faster than chaos, you might find that stops their casting. If you have other party members that can add command, hold or silence they would help reduce the risk, or send in summons to keep your party safe.

#5396
Gate70

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Vhorl has Cavaliered his way through BG1, here he is equipped from the chateau with splint mail, a 2HS and a tin hat. He forgot one of the three wisdom tomes (Durlags Tower).
Posted Image

After releasing Imoen, Jaheira and hamster-man it is left to Vhorl to escape on his own. After recovering the Sword of Chaos he glugged an oil of speed to clear a mephit portal. His first task outside is to restore the Circus and visit Gaelan Bayle before retiring to a neaby inn. A change of management is in order here.

With Hendak running the Copper Coronet the next task is to explore the city until Suna Seni is counter-ambushed (glug an oil of speed). Further travelling within 5 turns sees the oil help against the attackers of Renfeld. Selling goods from Xzar, Prebek and Sanasha allows Vhorl to pay Gaelan Bayle and obtain a ring/amulet from Aran Linvail. It is night but the amulet allows safe disposal of a vampire called Hareishan, then Mook is murdered by Lassal before he is forced to flap away. An orog slaver ambush while wounded seems dangerous but Vhorl can cure minor wounds once and adds lay on hands to kill his attackers without wasting precious potions.

Intention is to complete SoA (BGT, Fixpack) in no/minimal reloads. ToB if no-reload. If he dies or finishes the SoA save will be moved into the SCS Ascension thread although I have a technical issue (loss of sound mid-game) which needs to be sorted before Melissan. Having removed many other messages over a number of installs I have a single error message to investigate for this;

ALSA lib pcm.c:7339:(snd_pcm_recover) underrun occurred. I'm sure I've seen sound under-runs mentioned in the Wine setup so might be able to cross another Linux/Wine/BG issue off my list.

#5397
Jianson

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Chaotic Commands is unavailable through BG1


Depends on your setup. With Tutu, Faldorn can use it already from 90k exp.

In vanilla BG1+TSC, it was a Cleric-only spell. So it's only avilable late (mid-late with a small party) and only if you remove the XP cap so a Cleric can reach level 9.

#5398
Gate70

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Vhorl is given another task by Aran Linvail, dealing with two deserters and their rival guild contact. He starts to investigate the Skinner district murders, eliminates a group of muggers and a group of ruffians and then heads to the graveyard. An early group of spiders convince him to switch from a blunt girdle to a piercing girdle and this allows safe passage through Pai'na and her many spiders.

A mage called Haz is killed by a doom warder before Vhorl can destroy it. A few vampires are brushed aside with two being staked after a bruising encounter with a clay golem. Precautionary use of the Arbane sword against greater ghouls means injuries start to mount up (1 APR, non-proficient) but once they are destroyed a mace of disruption is recovered. The remaining vampires can wait for a while.

Vhorl instead agrees to investigate the cult of the Unseeing Eye and to also commission a sculpture from Sir Sarles. Currently Cavalier level 11 and trying not to do anything too risky yet.

Tried several sound changes with no success but last one is working so far (need a longer session to be more certain). Added UseDirectHW=Y registry entry to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\Software\\Wine\\Drivers\\winealsa.drv

#5399
Ygramul

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Just read Alesia's solo battle with Melissan on
http://social.biowar...ndex/3120942/66

Wow!
Is it actually easier to have a single high level solo PC or a full party?
I have yet to finish a single no-reload, but wanna go the whole distance. What party composition has the strongest chance? (I have a F/M PC & running Imoen as a Sorcerer.)

#5400
Jianson

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Wow!
Is it actually easier to have a single high level solo PC or a full party?


It is easier to keep track of what's going on, and you have more money as you only need to equip one character and you quickly go up high in levels.

But every little thing that takes the character out of a fight usually means game over (unless maybe if you already have summoned some good help). You need to know the game inside and out. Where traps are, what the different traps do (unless you're a thief), the spell repertoire and abilities of every dangerous enemy, etc.
Sooo easy to screw up somewhere.

Soloing is not for me - I do not know the game well enough. Plus I enjoy the party interaction and -cooperation far too much to give up party play.

Edited by Jianson, 23 October 2012 - 05:42 PM.