Corthief VIII level 40 (level cap) solo halfling thief - Update 14 (Saradush, Pocket Plane Challenge #1, Illsaera)
Corthief VIII's first challenge in ToB was to deal with Illsaera. I intended to use traps but forgot to rest before talking to the statue! Woops...So instead equipped reflection shield, summoned some shambling mounds and hoped for the best. Illsaera did a death spell, so summons didn't help. However, Corthief VIII did detect illusions to remove her mirror images. Then melee was enough, even at 1 APR.
Next challenge was pocket plane #1 challenge. I was a bit worried about this, as there's no way to use traps, and had a feeling running/hiding/backstabbing wouldn't work (which is correct, the enemies have a follow-me script on the PC). So the plan was put cloudkills on Corthief VIII and then stay invisible with SotM and apply more cloudkills/heal potions until enemies were dead.
This worked great UNTIL the 3 bosses showed up (Linvail, Ellisime, and another woman). They couldn't be fooled by invisibility. So then Corthief VIII tried hasting himself and melee/ranged, but he took more damage then he was giving out. He had the Reflection Shield equipped to foil the ranged attacker (who died from their own attacks!), but it was a very long fight, touch and go. Corthief VIII did eventually win.
This gave Corthief VIII great concern on how to deal with the many soldiers with magical weapons you have to deal with on the first encounter in Saradush. He gave that some thought...he wasn't sure if running/hiding/backstabbing would mess things up, since when the last opponent falls, you need to talk to Melissan. But things like cloudkill are out of the question because of bystanders, and there's no way to use traps either (at least, not if I hold my position). So despite ZERO dual-wield skill, Corthief VIII dual wielded the Belm and Kundane, hoping the extra attacks would make up for the Thac0 issues - they did!
After Lazarus with his spellbook issue, a lot of items (mostly spells) were bought until out of funds. Next step was to get into Gromnir's Castle. Corthief VIII paid a "prostitute" who took him into the Jail - dual wielding Blackrazor/Belm and also protected by AoP and Charm Helmet, make short work of most of the vampires - traps were used for the powerful one near the entrance to Gromnir's Castle.
Traps, Cloudkills, and running/hiding/backstabbing, as well as dual-wielding if safe enough (still no dual wield skill). Summons were used to draw out the powerful spells of the mage in the vicinity.
Corthief gave a LOT of thought how he would deal with Gromnir. Corey_Russell knew from his Picenon experience that invisibilities/hiding doesn't work that fight, not quite enough room and also they dispel invisibilities with True Sight. Corey_Russell also vaguely recalled his duo with Dogdancing, and they weren't doing enough damage, but when Dogdancing used lightning wands with both of us protected from electricity, that was enough to tip the battle. Corthief VIII decided why not do the same thing.
But first he would "practice" his idea on the party guarding the door to Gromnir's Castle. This worked well.
Charges on the lightning wands were low, so they were recharged before dealing with Gromnir. A lot of buffs were used on Corthief VIII, including expensive buffs from scrolls - wanted to be sure Corthief survived. One of the keys of spamming the lightning wands was to have the Cloak of Reflection equipped (And BotIB) to make him immune to his own bolts. The other key was to constantly move - fire, move for about 5 secs, fire etc. and keep at it. Also a single cloudkill would be shot at the mages, to try to disrupt their spells. Mages were protected, so Corthief VIII concentrated most of his fire on the melees, since the ranged attackers were negated by the Reflection Shield. Screenshots of the fight in the spoiler below.
It takes a lot of running, and lots of shots from his lightning wands, but Corthief VIII DOES win the fight!
Before leaving Saradush, Corthief VIII also helps out Mateo - using a combination of backstabs, traps, and lightning wand attacks to get the job done. He also is using Gromnir's armor, so that Corthief VIII can use boots of grounding, which in turn makes his lightning bolts HEAL himself.
Corthief then returns to the pocket plane, to prepare his venture into the Northern Forest. He won't be able to use the lightning strategy at first, since there's a merchant in the area, and it would be a disaster if he got hit.
EDIT: One of the screenshots shows me getting MASSIVE experience from this fight - the only thing I can figure is they always want to PC to level after completing this major accomplishment? (I had like 1.5 million to my next and final level - put 1 pip in dual wield)