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On to ToB... final experience in SoA was 7.3M with the Ancient Dragon, the Spirit Warrior, the three seal fights, and Demogorgon left in WK. And also the fight outside of it from IA. Will try to add up the experience from those to get a SoA+WK figure, for comparison purposes. Vagrant is level 27, Cernd is 29 and Imoen is 25, for Dispel/Remove Magic purposes.

 

You could fight Aurnumach Rilfmani (provided you fought all the globe challenges) for the Club of Detonation. It's one of the few good weapons with untouched elemental damage on each hit. You could also use it to create the Noble Staff of Fire, which may be of some help vs the Ancient Dragon (though doubtfully).

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Ah right, forgot I could do that first key. At this point, will need to wait in ToB until WK is accessible again... but not sure what specific benefit the Club would provide against the dragon. Are its spells interruptible? I guess it's been a while since I looked at its stats, but I'd be shocked if it had less than 100 fire resistance.

 

Noble Staff is out of the question for the moment... not enough cash or permanency scrolls to go around, at this time. We'll see what ToB provides...

Edited by mikel123

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Well, first of all, turning the key provides 20 000 quest xp. Second, there are plenty of Permanency scrolls in ToB. At one point you may experience difficulties with Manuals of Elaboration, but not with Perm scrolls.

 

No, the dragon's spells are uninterruptable. Naturally I meant that the club is useful vs enemy mages. The Noble Staff grants 75% fire resistance, that's why it may be of some use vs the Ancient dragon.

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Illasera and Gromnir, not too difficult. Then went back to Watcher's Keep at 7.65M experience and will finish it from here.

 

No issues with the Demon Lord to the NE of the Keep. Just killed the spawning Death Lords as they arrived in the wave of 2, 3, and 4. No spells, just powered through the stoneskins and the one PFMW if needed. The spawn of 5 was a little overwhelming though. I left some summons with the Demon Lord and 2 of them, and brought the other three a little south with my party. Divide and conquer.

 

Ancient Dragon was still a nightmare. Took 4 reloads, although I think I had it on the second attempt until I accidentally insta-healed the Nishruu at "Near Death" instead of my fighter/mage. And was doing well on the third, until my Planetar just flat-out refused to cast Heal.

 

Approached with Vagrant and Riskbreaker and Cernd. Summoned Djinni, Berserker, and Swanmay Queen near dragon. Send them towards dragon and Nishruu. Vagrant draws dragon's first few spells - remove magic, dragon breath blows him to the left. Riskbreaker follows and both go immediately after the Salamander, killing him quickly.

 

Imoen, F/M and F>M approach, Imoen uses Lower Resistance x 3 against the Noble Efreet, then Imoen, F/M and F>M all use Spell Triggers with 3xChain Lightning. A couple of swings from Vagrant and Riskbreaker finishes him off.

 

Try to keep dragon busy with summons while I go for the Nishruu. (I cannot fathom how one can kill the dragon while keeping this thing alive and going for it last). Probably lasts 3 rounds or so, with Cernd healing constantly when the dragon approaches.

 

So now it's my party, one Greater Swanmay that I summoned during this madness, and that's about it. My F/M is drained of spells from the Nishruu (which is largely irrelevant anyways since he'll just be silenced for the remainder of the fight).

 

Basically play the survival game for like 20 minutes, maybe more. Dragon has way too many Silences, PFMW, etc. Can't breach him without getting silenced, he casts Heal when close to death, etc. Probably had 9 PFMW or so.

 

The real issue though was unconsciousness. I don't think it was via Wing Buffet, I think it was actually from melee? My team was getting knocked unconscious for like a dozen rounds at a time, after random melee hits, making them sitting ducks.

 

In any case, battle was won on the 4th try, once the dragon ran out of heals and PFMW and randomly decided not to knock 4/6ths of my team unconscious. Having an unsilenceable mage would have been awesome here; as it was, Cernd was the all-star. Without Cernd or an unsilenceable mage, I have no idea how one would survive this.

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Illasera and Gromnir, not too difficult. Then went back to Watcher's Keep at 7.65M experience and will finish it from here.

 

No issues with the Demon Lord to the NE of the Keep. Just killed the spawning Death Lords as they arrived in the wave of 2, 3, and 4. No spells, just powered through the stoneskins and the one PFMW if needed. The spawn of 5 was a little overwhelming though. I left some summons with the Demon Lord and 2 of them, and brought the other three a little south with my party. Divide and conquer.

 

Ancient Dragon was still a nightmare. Took 4 reloads, although I think I had it on the second attempt until I accidentally insta-healed the Nishruu at "Near Death" instead of my fighter/mage. And was doing well on the third, until my Planetar just flat-out refused to cast Heal.

 

Approached with Vagrant and Riskbreaker and Cernd. Summoned Djinni, Berserker, and Swanmay Queen near dragon. Send them towards dragon and Nishruu. Vagrant draws dragon's first few spells - remove magic, dragon breath blows him to the left. Riskbreaker follows and both go immediately after the Salamander, killing him quickly.

 

Imoen, F/M and F>M approach, Imoen uses Lower Resistance x 3 against the Noble Efreet, then Imoen, F/M and F>M all use Spell Triggers with 3xChain Lightning. A couple of swings from Vagrant and Riskbreaker finishes him off.

 

Try to keep dragon busy with summons while I go for the Nishruu. (I cannot fathom how one can kill the dragon while keeping this thing alive and going for it last). Probably lasts 3 rounds or so, with Cernd healing constantly when the dragon approaches.

 

So now it's my party, one Greater Swanmay that I summoned during this madness, and that's about it. My F/M is drained of spells from the Nishruu (which is largely irrelevant anyways since he'll just be silenced for the remainder of the fight).

 

Basically play the survival game for like 20 minutes, maybe more. Dragon has way too many Silences, PFMW, etc. Can't breach him without getting silenced, he casts Heal when close to death, etc. Probably had 9 PFMW or so.

 

The real issue though was unconsciousness. I don't think it was via Wing Buffet, I think it was actually from melee? My team was getting knocked unconscious for like a dozen rounds at a time, after random melee hits, making them sitting ducks.

 

In any case, battle was won on the 4th try, once the dragon ran out of heals and PFMW and randomly decided not to knock 4/6ths of my team unconscious. Having an unsilenceable mage would have been awesome here; as it was, Cernd was the all-star. Without Cernd or an unsilenceable mage, I have no idea how one would survive this.

 

The Demon Lord can be killed by spamming 30-level Remove Magicks in the first 2 rounds of the fight. On Insane, it's way too dangerous to leave Death Lords alive since they can lower fire resistance and at certain point - activate a nasty CC containing Incendiary Cloud for example.

 

Abou the Ancient Dragon - if you had prepared 3 Chain Contingencies (trigger on Hit, each containing Breach) a day ago, similar Spell Triggers and were ready for another Chain Contingency with each mage, and also willing to waste spells (or scrolls) of Absolute Immunity, you could fire exactly nine Breaches at insta-speed or disregarding Silence. I don't remember the dragon knocking back fighters in melee, but then again I had everyone prebuffed with high-level chaotic commands. The dragon had to breach that (remove magic doesn't help here). Keeping the dragon occupied on other spells (Ruby Rays of Reversal vs party mages' spell protections) the moment he's out of PFMW is the key of victory. However, your fighters probably had tons of difficult time keeping important buffs active (Improved Haste, ProFire) which alone was the problem here, not anything else. In short, in IA it's not about what enemies you face, but at what levels and with what items you face them. The battle would be a lot easier if you had party members of 6 experience levels higher, which would be completely possible with max experience harvesting. That way, even Cernd's Dispel Magic would have very big chance of success.

 

As I said before, the Elite Nishruu would pick a spellcaster for his melee attacks. That's why you need Absolute Immunity on all arcane casters. Then the Nishruu can either go for a fighter-type (highly unlikely) or after Cernd. Well I don't think Cernd would be hard-pressed by it (and it's not like he's very effective with those low-level Dispel Magicks anyway). BTW, if you had a R-C for this fight instead of Cernd, it could do a lot more work, by casting Greater Restorations safely out of enemy's reach. Frankly, I don't see how Cernd did something noteworthy vs the dragon in this fight. Sure he healed a bit...but a R-C would've healed a lot more. At least you could use him to refresh Chaotic Commands so that your fighters weren't rendered unconscious.

Edited by Saros

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8,558,000 experience after finishing Watcher's Keep and Judgement Day quests. Minus the 350k I got from the beginning of ToB and it looks like about 8.2M experience in SoA+WK for a Vagrant. Didn't "drain" all of the summons, but did a decent job of it and made up some ground elsewhere, so YMMV. Speaking of such, the Azamantes fight seems to summon an infinite number of Greater Bone Golems and Skeleton Grandlords. I think I went through 28 such pairs, but if I Wish-rested, I certainly could have doubled or tripled that. At 50k experience per pair, that's 1.4M experience for the party from this fight alone. I have to assume this is unintentional though.

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8,558,000 experience after finishing Watcher's Keep and Judgement Day quests. Minus the 350k I got from the beginning of ToB and it looks like about 8.2M experience in SoA+WK for a Vagrant. Didn't "drain" all of the summons, but did a decent job of it and made up some ground elsewhere, so YMMV. Speaking of such, the Azamantes fight seems to summon an infinite number of Greater Bone Golems and Skeleton Grandlords. I think I went through 28 such pairs, but if I Wish-rested, I certainly could have doubled or tripled that. At 50k experience per pair, that's 1.4M experience for the party from this fight alone. I have to assume this is unintentional though.

 

It's not only that...you see, visiting certain areas in a certain order triggers more powerful random spawns, which in turn yields much more experience than usual. Examples: If you go to Windspear hills level 2 dungeon at PC (Vagrant) level 12, you will encounter golem groups of Bone-Gem-Gem-Coin golem. If you go down there at PC level 13 however, the groups will contain 1 more Coin Golem. If you go to WK lvl 1 earlier you won't encounter extra statues (I think 5), each of those worth 20k xp, and also a far weaker random spawn near the fireplace. The Spider Queen alone can be drained quite substantially out of summons, and her 2 Ghost spiders too (I calculated about 80-100 000 xp per party member from this fight alone). Kruin's Elemental golems are worth about 250 000 xp each (if drained out completely, I've made a video how to do that safely on Insane). These are all things you most probably missed. If you go to WK lvl 4 and lvl 5 correspondingly, you get more powerful random golem spawns - one with 3 Elemental golems on lvl 4, one with 4 on lvl 5. Seeing your report, you got only 3 Elemental golems on WK lvl 5. The Ultra Golem from the Red Globes can also be drained completely of Amber golems (180 000 xp).

 

The 6-custom party limits your xp gain enormously. I've calculated that the xp sum of regular NPC quests is more than 50 000 xp per party member for a 5-person party, but that's not all. Yoshimo's heart can be delivered twice to the two city Temples of Ilmater in chapter 6, resulting in 400 000 total xp. Still, your party is not 6-custom NPCs, so you could do that before going to Spellhold (join Yoshi, I mean).

 

These are just a few things "from the top of my head", but had you drained everyone completely out of minor summons, it could result in at least +3-4 party levels compared to your present ones.

 

Hmm...yeah, probably I never let Azamantes live long enough to count his summons...I usually allow him to summon once-twice. Still, even if that's infinite, it's just too late in the game to matter. You need the xp prior to the Ancient dragon fight, after that it's a bit too late.

Edited by Saros

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Didn't have time to post last night, but Demon Prince battle was pretty tough. You begin un-buffed against him, an Elemental Golem, a Death Lord, and a Noble Marilith (who immediately summons two Abyssal Escorts). Then every 5 rounds, a random one of those three will be summoned, until that's happened 8 times.

 

Chain contingencies on F/M and F>M allow them to be instantly buffed, Riskbreaker uses Improved Haste, and Vagrant has boots of Improved Haste, so we're at full combat capabilities almost instantly. If the Death Lord is visible and not under PFMW, I go after him first. Otherwise, Elemental Golem. Kill the two of them (and the first summon from the Elemental Golem), then go to work on the Noble Marilith and Abyssal Escorts. They all have a few copies of PFMW so this tends to drain Breach.

 

Demon Prince has some strong defenses, so I just tackled his summons as they arrived every 5 rounds, one by one. The Noble Mariliths are the toughest, because of the PFMWs.

 

Once alone with the Demon Prince, it's still no walk in the park. He has somewhere between 7 and 9 PFMW himself, and I think is immune to Breach (not that I had many left). Actually, eyeballing NearInfinity now, he's immune to spell levels 1 through 7. He also has a super powerful (fire?) attack called "Burn Mortals", which hits ones entire party, even if they're offscreen. However he only seems to use this when a bunch of party members are near him.

 

Strategy ended up going after him with just Vagrant and Riskbreaker. Both have massive HPs, some physical resistances. On hit, he knocks them way offscreen if they fail a save vs. Wands. So I'd have both attack, get a couple hits, he'd PFMW, knock one of them way back. That char would heal up as they re-approached, and the other would get knocked back. Repeat. Riskbreaker had the Judgment Day sword, which was constantly buffing (worth the struggle), so he spent some spells trying to debuff everything it was casting.

 

Eventually he runs out of PFMW and the F/M and F>M can join in. Takes a while, he has almost Ravager-like resistances and HP, but he eventually falls.

 

Probably going to stick with using Judgment Day sword on the Riskbreaker, because of the extra two attacks per round due to GM and Improved Haste, and because she hits more often than my Vagrant due to the criticals rolls of 17, 18, and 19. Although in a fight that's more physical (Fire Giants perhaps? Yaga Shura?), it might be better to stack resistances on the Vagrant and hit 95% and tank with him. Thus far though, it's just too rare to be able to keep a Hardiness active to make that really worthwhile.

 

Next stop, Nyalee's forest.

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Forest was annoying due to the 4xSkeleton Lord constantly spawning in the background every 12 seconds or so. Really have to end this one quickly and get out of there.

 

Yaga Shura's lair was kind of a cake walk.

 

Yaga Shura himself, at the Siege Camp... perhaps my new "hardest battle". The 5 critters he spawns come very quickly (every 3 rounds) for the 3 sets of them. Priority was to send my summons after the Cleric (2-3 Elite Trolls can kill it quickly and prevent Storm of Vengeance, which is a nightmare for me). While that was happening, Cernd and Imoen shot a few of Ruby Rays at the Elite Bodyguard (seemed to take 3 of those, though it *should* have only taken two, I think), then Breach it and try to take it down. It refreshes Stoneskin once or twice, and 3xADHW Chain Contingency when Injured. If time allows, go after the Elite Assassin next and try to kill it before the new wave spawns.

 

Ultimately this left me with Yaga Shura, 3 Elite Fire Giants, 3-6 Elite Warrior something-or-others, and like a dozen vanilla guys that spawn incredibly quickly (3 at a time) in this area. Plan at this point was to kill one Elite Fire Giant at a time, then run off to heal and re-buff while the others are distracted by summons.

 

Eventually it's just me and Yaga Shura (and, I dunno, 20 of those vanilla guys). Send everyone after Yaga Shura. He targets Riskbreaker, so I use the heal, throwing back all the vanilla guys and damaging them to Injured. They all return around the same time and Imoen shoots off a Comet to blast them away and kill them.

 

Now begin assaulting Yaga Shura. At Injured, he casts Hardiness, which I breach quickly so I don't heal him. Pound away with slashing weapons (except Vagrant who's using the Flail for its piercing "bleeding" damage). My guys are tending not to get blown away at this point, only very rarely, which means he's either missing (didn't check his Thac0, but Riskbreaker had like -23 AC), or we're making the rolls now that we're no longer Malaison'ed. Eventually he goes down.

 

What makes this tough is not only the constant swarm of enemies, but the fact that at least two of them (Bodyguard and Cleric) need to be downed almost immediately. If the Bodyguard lives, he just shoots off a Breach every round, which is devastating in this fight. Elite Fire Giants too, are a nightmare in a group of 3 (4 with Yaga), if they're not distracted by summons. Blech, tough fight.

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Provided your party has high enough levels, they can disregard the clerics and go straight for the battlemages. They and the Elite Fire Giants are the biggest problem indeed. I usually have tons of powerful summons gated pre-battle (you can rest in the N-E corner of the map and rebuff until you get what you want, just don't go near the bridge or vanilla guys will start spawning).

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Oasis was tough. Beat it on my second try when things lined up pretty well. Kept Cernd and Imoen on the outskirts of the area and tried to keep the battle inland so no one switched targets to them. Managed to keep F/M and F&--#62;M under PFMW pretty constantly because of no elemental damage disrupting the spell. As long as Stoneskin was up when I needed to recast, I didn't have issues. (EDIT: just opened up the game and noticed both of them still have their Contingencies active - set to Less Than 50%, cast PFMW - so indeed, in hindsight they weren't ever in too much trouble.)

 

Again, focused on the cleric while Ruby Ray-ing and Breaching the fighter-mages, then going after them as soon as they're debuffed. Once they're gone, it's a straight-up melee battle. It's really scary, but with Cernd's insta-heals, Imoen constantly casting Elite Trolls, etc., and being able to be fully-buffed the whole time, it's do-able.

 

Tons of cash from this fight of course, with 14 Gem Golems plus all of the magic weapons being wielded. Plus, it appears the Rukh that appears (with a half-dozen Noble Trolls) to disrupt your rest always has a Long Sword +2.

 

The end is seemingly pretty close. Sendai's Enclave looks mostly "improved". Might tackle that first and see how far I can get, and if I get stumped, back out and head to Abazigal.

Edited by mikel123

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Forged Cernd's Staff. Steep price, but the 6 HP/round regeneration is pretty nice, plus the ability to stack Cernd's hardiness ("Aura of Invulnerability") with Wish hardiness and the staff to hit 100% physical resist.

 

Counted up my Permanency scrolls and Manual of Elaboration, and have enough to do whatever I want for the rest of the game. So cash is the only limiting factor at this point.

 

Am relatively unenthusiastic about the remaining potential upgrades:

 

Staff of Fire: 60k

Staff of Air: 60k

Staff of Fire and Air: 100k

Boots of Speed: 50k (could do twice)

Warblade: 50k

Belt of 23 STR: 30k

Druid Circlet: 100k

Druid level-up potion: 50k

 

...and of course, ring/cloak upgrades. At the moment, I have 7 rings of +2, plus Gaxx. (Found all of them). Wouldn't mind filling out the +2's for everyone, I'd need 4 more of them so 120k. Maybe cloaks too.

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Even if I do ask, I don't think they will. There are only so few people actually interested in this info.

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