Arkona, Halfling Barbarian: Never Mind the Bollocks- Early Adventures in Athkatla
My testing is done. The install is solid. Arkona is still alive, and I only experimented a touch. Her run is valid. She's a great character in a great install. Why not post? I'm all about contradicting myself.
Enter Arkona- seen here after her escape from the Chateau
Arkona's HP rolls were excellent. I granted her one max roll early in BG after she had had a near min roll, but aside from that her rolls were straight. Going forward, I intend to install the Icewind Dale Style HP Rolls mods
Proficiencies: Dart, Short Bows, Axes x 2, Two Weapon Fighting x 2
Mods: Fixpack v10, Import Helm and Claw, SCS v15 (full pre-buffs, all tactical challenges, all creature improvements), ATweaks (all creature improvements, no gating), Ascension (full)
Since the above screenshot, the girl has made, like, progress: she's styling in her Ring of Gaxx and Shadow Dragon Armor, ready to face Jonicus. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, right? To the Chateau.
Hey! Ho! Let's Go!
I never, ever feel tempted to linger in the Chateau. Even with the SCS improvements, it bores me to tears. I sympathize with those who use Dungeon Begone- even if that, for me, would break immersion. I'll tell you what though: the ATweaks mephits add a most welcome touch.
The Chateau mephits were my first exposure to ATweaks content. I was immediately charmed. They're beautiful, they're smart, they're endowed with interesting abilities. They're the clever, dangerous and devilish tricksters of PnP lore. They're also well documented, so they needn't increase risk in no reload play, assuming you're a reader. They're just right. I highly recommend them.
Here we see one of Arkona's first encounters with an ATweaks mephits. He was a mineral mephit, fashioning a Glitterdust breath weapon, a 1d4 slashing weapon, and some interesting resistances. He tried to open an interplanar gate, as you can see. ATweaks mephits have a 25% chance of gating in allies. They get one attempt, per hour. This is reasonably balanced for no reload play, in my opinion, and it fits with the naughty cooperative trickster idea of the mephits. It can be disabled if you don't like it.
Here we see Arkona in the mephit portal room. I recruited Yoshi because I wanted to observe the mephit's behavior without incurring risk. Not all the mephits were observed: one portal was chunk-stabbed.
Enraged, Arkona took down the rest.
As for the colors, I love them, but some might find them out of place. It's possible to get the ATweaks Mephits without the distinctive colors.
Onward, ever onward. Yoshi did not relish his tester status when facing the salt mephit- especially since he had already been doomed.
The salt mephit Salt Crystal breath weapon has a range of 15 feet. It stuns for one round with a save v death to avoid. Salt mephits also have a stun on hit effect, with a save v death to avoid: duration 1 round. They'll try to stun you with the breath weapon and then stun you again with their on hit effects. Since you'll have to roll multiple time per round, this could be dangerous for solo characters who, unlike Arkona, lack stun immunity. You don't want to be wearing the Claw here. Soloist who lack stun immunity should stealth by if possible. Others should try to stay 15 feet away for as long as possible. The ATweaks mephits are fast though, and they have huge call for help ranges, so the salt mephit here will race into the shadow thief encounter. Getting a kill at range, before the mephit could close to 15 feet, would be difficult for many characters.
All that remained was the shadow thief ambush. In this install thieves are extremely dangerous since they all get huge stacks of invisibility potions. Named thieves get up to ten. Nameless ambushers get around 5. That's a lot of backstabs. Being a barbarian rocks in this setup (no screenshot of the ambush).
Oh Bondage! Up Yours!
Upon exiting the Chateau, Arkona unchained Aerie, and then took down Kalah. I was semi-expecting some interesting behavior from the shadows here, on account of ATweaks undead, but that didn't happen.
It felt really weird to just leave Aerie after all she and Aphril had been through together.
Pump, Pump, Pump, Pump, Pump It Up!
Onto the Slums. Arkona is punk, not hip hop. But when she buffs her strength for battle, I think of this one sample from a hip hop song- I think it originally came from a Public Enemy song Pump it up!
Half-orc barbarian: strength of 19, lousy saves, unremarkable dex: No. Halfling barbarian: buffed strength of 25, max save bonus, remarkable dex: Yes. That's how I see it, anyways.
EDIT: Yes. The sample I was thinking of is from a Public Enemy song. It's right here at second 41. It ends at second 43.
In contrast, when I buffed Aphril, I usually thought of Soft as Chalk by Joanna Newsom. Soft as chalk is 6 minutes and 29 seconds long. They're, like, different- just as Aphril and Arkona are.
It was nice to be able to just walk over and punk Corvhale for once. He and Bregg get a decent number of potions in this install.
Smash It Up
On to the Slaver Quest. This was some straight up punk-chunkage.
Arkona juked the CC guard to avoid the mages. This is stupid and lame: I'm not doing it anymore.
A pair of axes and pumped up strength let Arkona take the beast master down with ease. SCS bears were priority targets.
Same MO on the flip side. A fortuitous opening critical mitigated risk from the cleric.
Since Arkona was wearing chain in this fight, crushers were priority targets after that.
I hate chain, but it's not a terrible choice for general purpose use in the early game. Arkona moved on to Bracers of AC 3/RoP + 2/Studded Leather ASAP. She keeps splint around for crushers. I find magical armor very nearly useless in solo play. The exceptions are Enkidu's, Shadow Dragon Armor, Adventurewear, and Corthala Family. Shadow Dragon Armor is the only one Arkona can use. She'll use it.
Arkona collected Namarra next. Note that she is wielding Azuredge now.
I fear the details of the early game item acquisitions have been lost, but the early game choices were my standards: RoAC, the Reflex, Azuredge, Sling of Seeking, Bracers of AC 3. Barbarans have less need for a defensive potion collection than other builds, but it's still good to have on. Roger has a Potion Case in this install. Arkona didn't hesitate to fill it up. The potions purchased and or otherwise acquired were as follows: Potion of Firebreath, Oil of Speed, Potion of Invisibility, Potion of Clarity, Potion of Freedom, Potion of Magic Shielding, Potion of Insulation, Potion of Fire Resistance, Potion of Cold Resistance, Potion of Absorption, Potion of Invulnerability, Potion of Defense, Potion of Hill Giant Strength. The el cheapo strength potions may seem out of place, but they're an effective counter to Ray of Enfeeblement. They're good to have around.
Suna Seni is (Not) a Punk Rocker
But her friends sure are drinkers. I forgot how heavy the potion quaffing is in this install. Given that I use breakage, I don't benefit from this much. I just get punished
Sometimes you end up wailing on these blokes forever. Superior Healing? From Suna Seni's cleric.
RoAC II + The Reflex + Rage handled the defense. DUHM provided an extra boost. I tend to use Potions of Firebreath here but Arkona didn't need to.
With a clear aura and no threats, why not use Namarra? Everybody likes to watch a mage cast Vocalize.
Next stop: MaeVar's. Because backstab immunity.