Kathlen, Gnome Cleric/Illusionist, 3rd BG2 update
At the city gates, ready for your journey to the Umar Hills where Valygar the murderer is supposed to have a hideout, your plans change when Flydian from Trademeet urges you to stop in his town first. It's being attacked by ceaseless hordes of animals, he tells you. High Merchant Logan Coprith tells you of people's suspicion of Druids in a nearby Grove. He introduces you to Cernd, an outsider Druid sent to investigate the Druids' acitivities. You escort him out of town, and he travels ahead of you to the Grove.
When you enter the area, you cast invisibility on yourself. It allows you to reach the Druids' shelter unmolested by Spiders, Trolls, Spores, Shambling Mounds, wild animals or patrolling Druids.
In a Troll lair you cast Sanctuary and snatch a pair of Bracers of Archery), in an abandoned tower you find an enchanted scimitar, and in a shed you meet an elderly lady who sells potions. You meet with Cernd close to the entrance, where the two of you rest for a bit and prepare your spells in case the encounter with the Druids ends in hostilities. Invisibily, the two of you enter the shelter. You reveal yourself when you speak to their apparent leader, a woman named Faldorn. She tells you she took the Grove by force and she will defend it that way as well. The only way to get rid of her is through another Druid in a duel. This is where Cernd comes into play.
He's still invisible when he steps into the small arena that seems to be made for the confrontation. He waits for Faldorn's Improved Invisibilities to expire before he casts Insect Plague on her. It shuts down his opponent's casting, buying him all the time he needs to summon Bears and Fire Elemental to defeat the woman.I made a mistake in Kathlen's tackling of the Druid Grove: I forgot to have her fight Dalok: It meant she would never acquire the Gnasher Club. (Naturally Dalok is gone after Faldorn's demise.) With Item Upgrades that club can be forged by Cromwell into a better club, with either Blackblood or the Bone Club. Kathlen will have to become proficient in another weapon: Maces or Flails (Staves are scheduled for later).
You return to Trademeet to inform the High merchant and to deal with another problem of the townspeople: three Dao Djinn's that have monopolized trade. You buff with Stoneskin, Mirror Image and MSD, and assault the first Djinn with Minor Sequencered Magic Missiles. The creature casts Stoneskin and Improved Haste but soon panicks, and falls to your barrage of Magic Missiles.
An Efreeti bottle is your prize. Inside a tent, you face two more Djinns. You cast a Cloudkill and show them your Divine Wrath (twice).
You take one or two hits from your foes, and your Cloudkill's acidic vapors afflict you, if slightly. The Dao Djinns do not cope that well:
High Merchant Coprith and his people are most grateful for your help. They shower you with compliments, gold, jewellery, and the Shield of Harmony. With your new wealth you indulge in a small shopping spree. You acquire the Belt of the Inertial Barrier and the Blackblood Club from one of the merchants, several scrolls from another vendor and at the local smithy (including one of Spell Shield, I wonder if that's thanks to a mod), and some of many potions of mind focusing and genius that are for sale at the Temple of Waukeen. Your first spell scribing session since your arrival in Amn sees you copy the following spells to your spellbook: Teleport Field, Wizard Eye, Breach, Lower Resistance, PfNW, Spell Immunity, Spell Shield, Contigency, Death Fog, Flesh to Stone, Improved Haste, Pierce Magic, Protection from Magic Energy, PfMW, Stone to Flesh, Summon Nishruu, and Summon Hakeashar.
You rid the realms of Riejek Hidesman and an associate (whom you run into completely by accident), saving the life of their last victim, a girl named Raissa you restore. A Stoneskin and a Haste, complemented by the powers of of your deity Baravar Cloakshadow (DUHM, Holy Power, Righteous Magic) enable you to destroy two Skeleton Warriors and the Skeletons they spawn.
Amongst the remains of one of the Skeletal Warriors, you find the Mantle of Waukeen, the object of a longstanding feud between two of the town's most prominent families: the Lurraxols and the Alibakkars. Both have asked you to retrieve the mantle for them, but you're unwilling to pick sides and decide to leave the mantle in the care of the High Merchant.
With that business behind you, you finally travel to the Umar Hills to see if you can find Valygar. You stop in a small village in the hills called Imnesvale, and learn that the people there are greatly upset due to a number of killings and disappearances. You explore the village and its surroundings for a bit. You help some of the villagers with their own, more personal problems. For example, you buy a Beljuril gem off a farmer in need of coin, and for a fellow wizard named Jermien you slay a Killer Mimic and later, barely in time, the dysfunctional Golem that Jermien creates with the Mimic's blood.
You speak with a band of well-meaning monsters led by an Ogre Mage, that have suffered losses of their own. They speak of shadowy creatures, undead. Your visit to the lodge of Merella, Ranger-Protector of Imnesvale confirms this. Her diary points toward Temple Ruins north-west of Imnesvale. You inform the mayor and do not tarry in traveling to the Temple Ruins.
The area is very dark and inhabited by Shade Wolves, Shadows, and Anath, a Lycanthrope that you follow into her cave. She speaks of a powerful Shade Lord, backed by an even mightier creature of darkness, as the source of the recent evil that has spread throughout the hills. She shifts into Wolf form to guide you toward the entrance to the Ruins. However before you leave a glittering circlet stashed away in an opening in the wall catches your keen Gnomish eye. Identification with your Glasses teaches you you've found a Circlet of the Archmagi.
It becomes your new headwear.
I had to google to find the source of this item: Erephine's 1PP4 mod. Interestingly, in the unmodded EEs, the item can be found in the game files (and thus in EEKeeper), possibly because some of the EEs' visual enhancements (paperdolls, icons, etc) were taken from said excellent mod. I had to adjust the item in NearInfinity to make it behave in accordance with the item description in the above screenshot. It did not increase intelligence and saving throws by 1 but set saving throws vs. death, petrify and wands to 1 instead.
I'm aware that the Helm of Balduran is superior, because the out-of-combat utility of +1 INT isn't as good as the Helm's in-combat advantage of +1 Thac0, but for RP/style purposes I prefer the circlet.
Before entering the Ruins you use one of three scrolls in your possession that protect against undead. Creatures that would normally cause trouble, such as Skeleton Warriors, Shadow creatures, Mummies, they all remain calm, as if they can't see you. You don't bother with fighting them, because as soon as you attack, they run. The only creature you kill is a Shadow Jailor, whose key you use to set a captured Halfling free from her cell.
The Temple was previously dedicated to Amaunator. With logic and with your lore from Candlekeep you manage to solve a number of riddles so as to allow you access to the Shade Lord's dwelling. You pass through a large hall where you find the 'mightier creature of darkness' Anath told you about, nothing less than a Shadow Dragon. Thankfully a Shadow Dragon Wardstone you acquired from a Child Spirit Amauna keeps you from being noticed by the dragon. You rest and prepare lots of fire spells for your impending confrontation with the Shade Lord. Protected from Undead again, you leave the dragon's lair and find the Shade Lord next to a Shadow Altar. The Shade Lord is impassive, but the altar keeps spawning Shadows. You cast Greater Malison on the Shade Lord and Lower Resistance (2x). You then bombard the creatures in front of you with Fireballs, Flamestrikes and Holy Smites. Thus you slay the Shade Lord.
The Shadow Altar lasts a bit longer, but you manage to destroy it with Blackblood well before your protection from undead wears off.
The sky immediately brightens and you see Merella, Imnesvale's Ranger dying on the ground in front of you. Sadly, you're too late to save her. The mayor of the town is nevertheless pleased with your good work for the village, and rewards you with a suit of leather armor that you can sell. The initial objective of visiting the Umar Hills, finding Valygar, remains unfulfilled.
Back in Athkatla you lose more than 4,000 GP on a Scimitar you buy from a desperate man who needed the coin for medical care for his father, when an Abraxxi pretty much forces you to hand over the blade.
And at Cromwell's renowned smithy you spend another ten thousand on Improved Kitthix and an upgrade of the Weary Cudgel club acquired at the Shadow Thief Guild Hall.
You accept two tasks for the Temple of Helm: investigating the sewers for leads to a cult that orders its members to remove their eyes, and procuring 200 lbs of pure illithium ore for a sculpture by the artist Sir Sarles.
In the sewers you use both your summons to deal with a Rakshasa. First your Efreeti. When you cast a Holy Smite on the Rakshasa, it angers the Efreeti summon, which tells you much about its alignment. Kitthix, more trustworthy, finishes the Rakshasa for you.Here Kathlen's current Character Record (no buffs), and Inventory Screen: