@Aasim: Yikes, that's nasty. (I'm glad I did not install that component this time)
@polytype: That's some impressive beholder kicking! Trying to protect myself from them is too complicated for me (especially with Elder Orbs and such involved). If I don't have the cheesy shield, I resort to summons and off-screen bombing only. I have a question. Can you describe what the anti-magic ray does? I have never understood that.Eileth, elven Beast Master, adventuring in early SoA with Jaheira, Minsc, Yoshimo and Aerie.
All my travelling between maps have been while invisible. This made the ambush fights much easier:
We rescued Renfield but did not do anything major on the Docks map (started Xzar's quest, did some robbery and fought minor ruffians.)
I have only played the extension of the circus quest once before, and that time we easily beat Jafir (a Rakshasa, or at least he looks and behaves like one) so I provoked a fight. Turns out I was in over my head. He started off with a Cloudkill that we quickly escaped, then some sort of confusion spell that Yoshimo failed his save against. Another spell that the three of us fled from by going downstairs (it was Cloudkill again) and Yoshimo failed another save:
We got up and moved past the noxious cloud and made some progress on Jafir. Then he quickly seized dominance with a nasty Web/Stinking Cloud sequencer:
I had 3-4 charaters out of control every round for several rounds now. Very frustrating and dangerous. Everyone awake worked as best as they could on tearing down Jafir's Stoneskins. Jaheira was eventually killed and Eileth failed her save against Hold Person! Minsc could not divert Jafir's attention away from hitting Eileth, and it's of course autohit when you are held. However, Yoshimo was now free to act again and both area of effect spells had expired. Desperate to save Eileth, Minsc and Yoshimo both used oil of speed and Yoshimo backed off to try to throw a special trap or to hide for a backstab:
Yoshimo failed his trap throwing (no bad effect, though) and I thought he could not wait a full round to try another, so he quickly hid around the corner and moved in for a backstab. Missed, but Jafir attacked him instead of Eileth. YES!! Thank you David W for your policy of having your SCS opponents trying to win the whole fight
instead of trying to kill as many as possible. Yoshimo had plenty of big potions so he could survive for quite a while. Minsc hit twice more and Jafir yielded to us.
Whew, that was far too close for comfort.
I decided to pick up Anomen. As pompous as he is, he is the only single-class Cleric in the game that can Turn undead to chunks (something I absolutely love to do!) so if I do not play a Cleric myself, there really is not much choice...
Time for our first major quest, the de'Arnise keep. On our way there we got the Orog ambush, along with a regular slaver pack. We could not quite make our way out of sight before the slaver wizard had dispelled our invisibility. When Jaheira failed her Iron Skins casting and the orogs seemed to save against everything we threw at them, it was obvious we were outmatched. Good thing we had moved to the map edge. So long guys - I hope you had no juicy loot...
I have decided to give Nalia a chance long-term. While outdoors on the map, we had an unexpected visit:
Eileth has too much respect for nature and dryads, but my next character that gets this far will choose answer #6. Eileth did not trust Phluafae - there was something in her voice. She took our answer as a declaration of war or something.
I play with the 'upgraded' Stratagems Keep, but with no extra powers of Spirit Trolls. They are annoying enough as they are (drains STR on hit, moves in an out of invisibility). I have the component that removes improbably placed convenient items, and the small pack of fire arrows that was given to us did not last long. My casters memorized many fire/acid spells. Jaheira had a bunch of Flame Blades, which were useful.
Reasonably smooth troll slaying and looting, etc, but my first visit to one part of the roof came to an abrupt halt:
I had no idea of her powers. She could be a nasty demon of some sort for all I knew. She called in something big. I did not stay to see what. We fled back in.
Everything up to the basement was done. We forged two of the flail heads and I found an axe that did a little acid damage, so now both Anomen and Minsc had permanent gear capable of troll slaying. Glaicas was saved with a Dispel Magic. My goal with that spell was just to dispel his oil of speed and giant strength potion effects, but it also dispelled the charm he was under! Very nice, I did not know it was possible to save him.
After a rest and some Pixie Dust, we returned to the roof to see if our tenacious visitor and her posse were still there. They were:
This was much easier than expected. Phluafae was easily shot down and the shambling mound was stuck on the stairs.
Nalia killed all five umber hulks with a Cloudkill. I prepared the room outside the throne room with a couple of thief traps. Yoshimo peeked in and saw TorGal, two giant trolls and two yuan-ti mages. TorGal walked out of the room to talk to us. He brought two nasty surprises: an umber hulk elder (where did that come from?) and he cast Cloak of Fear quite often during the fight. None of our buffs were adapted to that but I admit that I should have had a Remove Fear going. Minsc could save himself from confusion gazes by holding Lilarcor.
We summoned Aerial Servant and Fire Elemental, and had already cast Haste and PfE 10'. Major chaos ensued. I had 4 of 6 characters scared or confused. Yoshimo fled into the throne room (idiot!) but Jaheira managed to cut off the yuan-ti mages from the main fight by closing the door before she became scared. Yoshimo suffered the wrath of two magi and two trolls in there and was of course doomed. At least he drew a lot of high-level spells from the mages and died a bit back in the room so it took a while for the creatures in there to find us again (yes, they can open doors in my setup).
Anomen was confused for a long time but made a heroic stand against the umber hulk:
The hulk was slowed both by the FoA (3 heads version because we found the third head in early basement) and a Slow spell from Nalia. We focused on damaging the umber hulk elder because confusion is worse than panic and because it was easier to damage. The two big enemies do a lot of damage in melee and my major summons were soon dead and the animals from Eileth's Animal Summoning II were dying rapidly.
That hulk's gotta go. Eileth was getting desperate. She used up the magic lamp and chose to gain control over time. She threw two Darts of Stunning at the hulk before I realized that the darts became stuck in mid-air now that time was stopped. She moved in to whack the hulk instead. Backed off as soon as time returned. Two more arrows and the hulk died. She, Jaheira and Minsc now took turns meleeing TorGal. Eileth used the door to the prison corridor to make TorGal switch between attacking her and some of the others.
By now, the two giant trolls entered the scene. Eileth failed her Cloak of Fear save, ran left and one of the giant trolls chased her. Minsc and Jaheira had brought down TorGal to zombie state. Jaheira, amazingly enough still with iron skins left, blocked the other giant troll. Minsc attacked with the magical axe. He isn't proficient with axes, so he was stuck at 2 apr (1 + oil of speed haste). 1 acid damage here, 1 acid damage there wasn't enough. TorGal had MR blocked just about every spell we had thrown at him but Nalia tried a Melf's anywaw. Yay!
Eileth takes the occasional hit from the giant troll, but not that many because she is still speedy.
Somewhat scary here
but she managed to run around a corner and go into stealth. Minsc and Jaheira had just killed a giant troll and moved into the next room to take out the other one. This fight was still not over. Just when I thought I had some control, this guy showed up:
Eileth ran into the room to the left in case the mage would cast a damage spell. Mage wasted a Breach on Nalia ("that troll is soon dead, and I am not afraid of your fighting skills").
That mage was soon dead, and the next one showed up in the doorway, and it Breached Jaheira. Next spell was Chaos, which confused Jaheira. I did not want her to see a non-Stoneskinned Nalia or a very hurt Eileth so we decided to stay in that other room. Minsc was holding Lilarcor so he was Chaos proof. Idiot me sent a Berserked Minsc to fight that second mage. I came to that decision after Minsc ate a Fireball that hardly did any damage to him. I figured there would be Horror or Hold coming soon. Minsc did great at first, then the mage got down to low-level spells focused on damage, and Minsc was in trouble. Mage threw two of these:
They were of course useless but the mage had a few Magic Missiles left, and Minsc got killed. Jaheira got back to normal and we ate our whole supply of goodberries before taking out the mage. OK, Jaheira is still alive and nobody got chunked so just a few CON points lost. To avoid the risk of losing items if we rested, we picked up Yoshimo's gear and stuffed Anomen's and Minsc's gear in containers.
Now, we just need to rest and...
Oh crap, we are out of almost everything (potions, arrows, spells). This fight was unbeliabley hard for us considering the relatively meager enemies. We met them in a doorway but Jaheira took too much damage. Eileth's Darts of Stunning were crucial to get some control.
Jaheira raised Anomen and Minsc and they recoved their gear. Then we tried to rest again, this time by the basement stairs. Another 4-pack of yuan-ti. We fled upstairs and only two followed. Nalia tried to hide us but Jaheira had moral failure from heavy damage:
Jaheira ran into the golem room. Nalia blocked the doorway to keep Jaheira safe:
Anomen conjures up an aerial servant, so the snakes were soon dead.
A succesful rest, and a final tough troll fight outside (including three spirit trolls). Holy Smite and two thrown Yoshimo traps softened up them pretty well.
From the Keep vi visited Imnesvale. Did some minor quests there (but for some reason never had a chance to talk about the gem in the chicken). I played really well in the temple ruins. Anomen could turn everything up to and including Shadow Fiends (except for that short period after taking a light gem), and we were not high enough in level for any Liches or Bone Golems to spawn.
Mazzy replaced Minsc for a while (I sent him to the Copper Coronet).
I have just the vanilla Shade Lord and we got off to the perfect start:
Piece of cake, and Eileth is now the new Ranger-protector of Imnesvale (despite having handed out some Baalor Ale to the youngsters earlier (no swords, though)).