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Why do you say that?

It's been long since I played this, but from memory he decreases elemental resistances with each hit. Ultras don't.

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The Supreme Elemental Golem has a permanent level 9 fireshield, which retaliates by inflicting all 4 elemental types of damage (fire, cold,.electrical and acid). This is one main reason to go after him first, since you definitely don't wanna take his fireshield punishment after you've tackled with some Amber golems. In addition, I remember something buggy about this fight - your lowered electrical resistance stays put until the end of the fight - it won't wane in a couple of rounds. However this was from the IA premium, maybe Sikret actually fixed it. Or maybe he didn't and it's intentional. Anyway, since the Supreme is vulnerable to Criticals and regenerates, he should be your first target. Plus, it's better to deal with an additional Amber golem or two rather with an additional Elemental golem who spawns lesser golems.

 

Also, the Supreme's Fireshield has a chance (provided you fail a save or maybe no save) to decrease all your elemental resistances by 10%. It's cumulative.

 

There is a way to actually distract the Rakshasa prince + an Ultra Golem in the NW corner, forcing them to fight summons only while all other party members are safely out of enemy's sight. Send Greater Djinnis, Noble Spiders, Swanmays and other powerful summons in this corner. This will help immensely, since enemies don't gate additional monsters unless they have a party member in their field of vision. Controlling those summons via Farsight is highly recommended while you deal with the Supreme golem, the lower Ultra Golem and all their minor spawns.

 

Don't rely on ProFire vs enemy Dragon Breath. ProFire is only good vs the Supreme elemental golem, but you have to keep the Rakshasa prince away while you battle that thing.

Edited by Saros

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Here's one more Saros.

 

Hard Nut to Crack. Some kind of Ward Stone is needed to enter the Balthis Estate. Where would that be?

 

Actually, you need no wardstone to enter Balthis estate. You need a pile of Adamantite dust to enter Valeria&Pitre's house, and you're given a weird Wardstone by the Old Squirrel when you defeat them and report back to lord Balthis. That stone is used in the Underdark, Kuo-Toan's altar, to summon forth an Avatar. The loot from the avatar includes a Magical Pull device, which is used on the Sun Gem pedestal in the Temple Ruins to obtain the Ruby of the Gods.

 

Thanks.

 

So if use the adamantine dust to upgrade an item before, you're left holding your dick in front of the house because nobody will come.

 

One more. After you defeat Marvellas Mariliths and Rakshasas and save Pasha, when do these start?

 

Story of The Old Ones (from here on, the quests are only available to good-aligned necromancers)

- My new apprentice and research programs

- Activating an old device

- The Wine and The Sandalwood

- Lavok's postmortem request (or "A second journey to demons' plane")

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Here's one more Saros.

 

Hard Nut to Crack. Some kind of Ward Stone is needed to enter the Balthis Estate. Where would that be?

 

Actually, you need no wardstone to enter Balthis estate. You need a pile of Adamantite dust to enter Valeria&Pitre's house, and you're given a weird Wardstone by the Old Squirrel when you defeat them and report back to lord Balthis. That stone is used in the Underdark, Kuo-Toan's altar, to summon forth an Avatar. The loot from the avatar includes a Magical Pull device, which is used on the Sun Gem pedestal in the Temple Ruins to obtain the Ruby of the Gods.

 

Thanks.

 

So if use the adamantine dust to upgrade an item before, you're left holding your dick in front of the house because nobody will come.

 

One more. After you defeat Marvellas Mariliths and Rakshasas and save Pasha, when do these start?

 

Story of The Old Ones (from here on, the quests are only available to good-aligned necromancers)

- My new apprentice and research programs

- Activating an old device

- The Wine and The Sandalwood

- Lavok's postmortem request (or "A second journey to demons' plane")

 

You can make enough piles of adamantite dust without actually wasting any sellable adamantite items like Drow Full Plate +5. Just collect as many drow bolts +1 or bolts of stunning as you can, before exiting Underdark place 1 bolt in each quiver slot on all characters being able to wear those, and you'll have 9 or more piles of Adamantite dust just out of 9 +1 bolts, which I consider to be a great profit. Those piles will cover all your upgrade needs + enough will be left for breaching the wards (I think breachind the wards doesn't consume an Adamantite dust pile).

 

As for the expanded mage stronghold, your PC has to be a good-aligned single-class Necromancer for them to trigger (RPG and DM-wise, this is the first time ever I hear of a good-aligned Necromancer, Sikret's "genius" shines brightly here), and also needs to have in his possession the Scholastic Cloak (won in Spellhold's library) for the Story of the Old Ones to trigger at all. 3 or 4 days after you save Pasha (if Pasha dies sorry, no expanded stronghold, no matter if you tried your best to save him) the Story of the Old Ones will trigger.

 

From this fight on, provided you win it, you will get a new apprentice. He can make a couple of things for you (new spell provided you bring him an item from WK level 3, Demon Wraith fight, and barbarian essence potions - this is the Wine and the Sandalwood quest), but you need to find and sacrifice a Time Stop scroll to trigger most of the other quests. I cannot remember where the TS scroll is found in SoA, but I think you can find one only if PC is a good-aligned Necromancer anyway.

Edited by Saros

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Here's one more Saros.

 

Hard Nut to Crack. Some kind of Ward Stone is needed to enter the Balthis Estate. Where would that be?

 

Actually, you need no wardstone to enter Balthis estate. You need a pile of Adamantite dust to enter Valeria&Pitre's house, and you're given a weird Wardstone by the Old Squirrel when you defeat them and report back to lord Balthis. That stone is used in the Underdark, Kuo-Toan's altar, to summon forth an Avatar. The loot from the avatar includes a Magical Pull device, which is used on the Sun Gem pedestal in the Temple Ruins to obtain the Ruby of the Gods.

 

Thanks.

 

So if use the adamantine dust to upgrade an item before, you're left holding your dick in front of the house because nobody will come.

 

One more. After you defeat Marvellas Mariliths and Rakshasas and save Pasha, when do these start?

 

Story of The Old Ones (from here on, the quests are only available to good-aligned necromancers)

- My new apprentice and research programs

- Activating an old device

- The Wine and The Sandalwood

- Lavok's postmortem request (or "A second journey to demons' plane")

 

You can make enough piles of adamantite dust without actually wasting any sellable adamantite items like Drow Full Plate +5. Just collect as many drow bolts +1 or bolts of stunning as you can, before exiting Underdark place 1 bolt in each quiver slot on all characters being able to wear those, and you'll have 9 or more piles of Adamantite dust just out of 9 +1 bolts, which I consider to be a great profit. Those piles will cover all your upgrade needs + enough will be left for breaching the wards (I think breachind the wards doesn't consume an Adamantite dust pile).

 

As for the expanded mage stronghold, your PC has to be a good-aligned single-class Necromancer for them to trigger (RPG and DM-wise, this is the first time ever I hear of a good-aligned Necromancer, Sikret's "genius" shines brightly here), and also needs to have in his possession the Scholastic Cloak (won in Spellhold's library) for the Story of the Old Ones to trigger at all. 3 or 4 days after you save Pasha (if Pasha dies sorry, no expanded stronghold, no matter if you tried your best to save him) the Story of the Old Ones will trigger.

 

From this fight on, provided you win it, you will get a new apprentice. He can make a couple of things for you (new spell provided you bring him an item from WK level 3, Demon Wraith fight, and barbarian essence potions - this is the Wine and the Sandalwood quest), but you need to find and sacrifice a Time Stop scroll to trigger most of the other quests. I cannot remember where the TS scroll is found in SoA, but I think you can find one only if PC is a good-aligned Necromancer anyway.

 

Right you are.

 

Let me ask you this:

 

When does one usually get Flail of Defending and Wounding? At what stage of the game.

How about Judgement Day sword?

How about Death of Thousand Cuts?

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I'll take that one, since I just did that like a week ago.

 

Flail of Defending and Wounding can be made as soon as you beat the WK4 demi-lich. You may as well waste the permanency scrolls to turn +2 flails into +3's for this (rather than waiting for ToB where they're nearly free), because you won't run out of permanency scrolls once you begin ToB.

 

Judgment Day is tricky. The battle to get the final items needed are easy (the Demon Knight thing in the northeast of the outer WK area) and hard (the ancient wyrm). And because once you enter WK area with a completed Judgment Day sword, you're immediately pulled into a battle to keep it. The battle is tough, IMO.

 

Death of a Thousand Cuts is pretty lousy. I found it useful in precisely one fight. If you're at all short on cash, I'd skip it.

 

* * * * *

 

Regarding the final battle, good to know about the Supreme Elemental's resist-lowering and fire shield. That said... if the Amber Golems do permanently lower resist, wouldn't that be an argument in favor of taking out the Ultras first? In my one trial, I think I could kill the Ultras with only three Ambers summoned, and the swanmays should be able to take care of those without impacting my electric resist.

 

Yes, given the 5 swanmays my PC summons, plus 5 other summons, it should be easy to get the Rakshasa Prince to follow them to one corner.

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Right you are.

 

Let me ask you this:

 

When does one usually get Flail of Defending and Wounding? At what stage of the game.

How about Judgement Day sword?

How about Death of Thousand Cuts?

 

Not quite actually, I just remembered you have to beat Bodhi for that Wine and Sandalwood subquest, since you will find the Sandalwood in her treasure trove.

 

Mikel123 gave some info about those items, here's more detailed one:

 

Flail of Defending and Wounding can be assembled only after you collected all special ingredients, namely:

 

Defender of Easthaven - that item's locations are randomized, but limited - it can either be in the possession of the WK lvl 4 Demi-Lich or in Saladrex's trove. So it's a pretty late-game item, since you have to fight the Improved Gith in order to reach those locations - which is a very hard fight.

10 Mithril tokens (so, after Spellhold, and yes, there IS a way to descend to WK's deeper levels in chapters 2 and 3 and obtain Defender of Easthaven)

So it's safely to assume that the earliest moment when a normal Insane party can assemble the item safely is in the late chapters 6 or 7.

 

JD sword's first part is obtained early-game from Tor'Gal (provided your PC meets the requirements - i.e. good-aligned single-class warrior). The second part is in the possession of the Ancient Dragon, which is another very tough fight. Other ingredients more or less are obtained up to this point easily. The Demon Lord in the NE part of WK outskirts holds the last ingredient for the sword - if prepared, nothing scary really. All of the needed ingredients can be assembled in chapter 3, but that's for infinite xp-exploit parties only. It's safely to assume that the item can be forged successfully (in a normal Insane run) in the late chapter 6 or 7.

 

Death of a Thousand Cuts +4 can be assembled in chapter 3, but again - for unlimited xp-exploit parties only. As far as I remember, Jhor the Bleeder is in the possession of the Greater Elemental Golem inside the Guarded compound. But I think that item is randomized, although I'm unsure of its other locations. It's easy to obtain a +2 bastard sword early-game, which to be upgraded to a +3 one, however I recommend against that, since DoTC is a total waste of time and resources. The last ingredient, the 48-th sided garnet, can be obtained from the Windspear Hills well after defeating the Viper Queen (second Lady Vanya task, expanded Paladin Stronghold, lady Vanya is only available to good or neutral PCs with reputation of 20). IMO, this gem is best sold since its selling price is 18 000 gp. So this is another chapter 6 item, although it can be forged a lot easier than the FoDaW or JD. And it's totally useless because of the serious nerfing. It's simply not worth upgrading anymore (unlike in an IA v5 game, where it was one of the most powerful weapons).

 

@mikel123 - it doesn't matter that Amber Golems fix your electrical resistance to -128% permanently - once you deal with all of them and the Ultras, and the Elemental/Supreme Elemental golems, there is no one that will inflict further electrical damage on your characters.

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So, second trial run, no issues at all destroying the Ultra Golems and Supreme Golems. Really no issues destroying the Noble Rakshasa's either (barbarian essence potions last well throughout this portion of the battle, and downing an extra one to get everyone to 127+ physical resist does a lot of the healing for them).

 

Significant issues with the Rakshasa Prince. Could get him down to Injured or Badly Injured pretty easily, but then he'd throw up a PFMW or Absolute Immunity and regen back to full. Cernd's Dispel wouldn't take it down.

 

Furthermore, eventually his Field of Repulse would throw back my character whenever they made a successful strike, and I couldn't get back there (due to constant Slow) fast enough to outpace his 5 HP per second regeneration.

 

I see why this makes the Dragon Lord halberd all but required here, but unfortunately it's on my lowest Thac0 character. My Fighter>Mage has a Thac0 of -8 with it, which is enough to hit the prince's -26 AC on rolls of 19 or 20 only. So he's not much help trying to keep the damage ongoing.

 

I guess I may have to try giving to the Riskbreaker, but she only gets 2 attacks per round with it, even under haste, due to lack of proficiency...

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RP is immune to all forms of Dispel magic, you have to wait him out. Circle characters around, it's 6 vs 1. Field of Repulse is annoying, to say the least. Potions of Magic Shielding will help you with it, and with everything else regarding your troubles.

Also, 5HP/round is 10HP/round regeneration under Haste.

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Yeah, the potions help a bit, but they're pretty quickly dispelled. Maybe if I move the Gauntlets of +1/2 attack to the F>M, put Answerer in someone's hand to lower the AC, and do a better job conserving Improved Haste castings...

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Significant issues with the Rakshasa Prince. Could get him down to Injured or Badly Injured pretty easily, but then he'd throw up a PFMW or Absolute Immunity and regen back to full. Cernd's Dispel wouldn't take it down.

 

Furthermore, eventually his Field of Repulse would throw back my character whenever they made a successful strike, and I couldn't get back there (due to constant Slow) fast enough to outpace his 5 HP per second regeneration.

 

I see why this makes the Dragon Lord halberd all but required here, but unfortunately it's on my lowest Thac0 character. My Fighter>Mage has a Thac0 of -8 with it, which is enough to hit the prince's -26 AC on rolls of 19 or 20 only. So he's not much help trying to keep the damage ongoing.

 

I guess I may have to try giving to the Riskbreaker, but she only gets 2 attacks per round with it, even under haste, due to lack of proficiency...

 

You have big issues with Slow and Field of Repulse because you lack powerful protective rings (+4 ones) for everyone who could wear those.

 

The Dragon Lord halberd isn't for inflicting damage, but rather for having a character that is immune to all enemy attacks. Give one 127% physical resistant character both halberds (Poseidon's Wrath and Dragon Lord) and send him alone vs the Rakshasa prince while you erect protections (PFME) and Improved Haste on all other chars, then gang him. The prince has 6 total Absolute Immunities, will trigger two of them on Injured, two on Badly Injured and two at Near-Death. In order to inflict enough damage, you need Improved Haste on all fighters.

 

If you rely on Potions of Magic shielding, the prince will simply throw a Remove Magic (he has infinite number of those). Potions are mainly to cure the Greater Malison effect and give you a round or two of absolute security vs that Field of Repulse. You can't have more than 25 potions provided you collected each and every one of them (and since I doubt you did, you most probably have 17-18).

 

What's worse is the fact that you have no one to match the prince's levels. You need an arcane caster lvl 36 in order to ensure 50% resistance of your buffs vs Remove Magic. Imoen's lousy 32 won't help much. The RB's innate Improved Haste won't be dispelled, but he has only 3 of those (you need 7).

 

At least on Core you don't have to worry about the magical damage from the Field of Repulse. Had you tried that on Insane, you'd find it to be a major problem.

 

The Answerer is weak. Pick better weapons. It won't make a big difference if enemy's AC is worsened a bit, because your fighters will still be Repulsed on each successful hit.

 

Your biggest issue is bad saves vs spells and vs wands (that's why your chars get slowed). Rings, amulets, shields and weapons - everything that may improve saves - should be used. The "lousy" The Truth blade grants +1 to saves due to the innate bless and 2 more from the Protection from Evil while equipped. The Foebane adds +1 to saves, as does the Shield of the Order.

I personally regret that I didn't make an evil Berserker-Mage for my own run in order to wield the Staff of the Magi (not sure if it requires the wielder to be a single-class), because of the +2 bonus to saves and the permanent ProEvil.

 

Edit: If your characters had good enough saves not to be Slowed constantly, you could easily outrun any Dragon Breath. It's probably the easiest spell to evade.

Edited by Saros

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Why do you say Death of a Thousand Cuts is bad?

 

It's essentially the same as Flail of Defending and Wounding, minus the physical resistance and armor class. Of course it's also slashing + slashing, instead of crushing + piercing.

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Well, because it allows save vs death. Meaning that powerful opponents (the ones you want to bleed the most) will actually save all of the time vs the bleeding damage. Even if they fail a save occasionally, it's still an unreliable weapon. FoDaW is good mainly because of the innate 15% physical resistances.

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I agree, but the Flail of Defending and Wounding was a huge disappointment (aside from the physical resistance). The bleeding damage is miniscule and rarely comes into play. Most creatures that you'll be wailing on for a while have 90-100% resistance to piercing damage, so best case you're looking at an extra 4 damage (over the course of 4 rounds) for every third hit when they fail the save.

 

As for my own issues, third time was the charm for the final battle. Better timing with the potions of Magic Shielding (24 of them, and I think I used one or two very early in the game, so perhaps I did find all of them, or perhaps more are available to Vagrants due to that nymph outside the cabin... one is included in her set each week, and I picked potions every single time because of this) was one key, and another was just walking away when the Absolute Immunities were cast. Also was more conservative with level 9 spells which allowed me to hit two Wishes for "rest a full night" (failed every try on my second trial run) and let Imoen keep the team improved-hasted. (Darkfire Bow, Cheetah Amulet, and Cloak +2 weren't needed in this regard). Pulled out all the stops by using my one and only Potion of Power, too.. not sure if it made a difference, but perhaps it was my good luck charm.

 

The whole "wait him out" thing is kind of what bugged me about this mod as a whole. I guess "playing defense" is something perhaps new to BG2 players, since you can power your way through most things, but I don't think it makes for a better game experience than focusing on offense.

 

Saros, it was a nice respite to go, I dunno, 3 posts, without your sad "you can't do that on insane" comments. You are nothing if not consistent.

 

Wrap-up to follow, if anyone cares, and then it's time to try something new. I don't think I'm going to try this with a Necromancer, although maybe... it would go much faster the second time, now that I know most of the battles, enemies, etc., and don't constantly have to look them up.

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Notes from throughout my play:

 

- Mazzy should get a +5 upgrade, not a +4... her upgrade isn't even available right out of the Underdark, while Valygar's +5 is

- would also suggest a custom item for each NPC, like Viconia, who didn't get one (I realize there's not much to work with there)

- utterly ridiculous how many enemies are immune to arrows. I usually try for a Ranger protagonist, which in this mod would probably be worse than a Monk

- why nerf Celestial Fury? most enemies are immune to stun anyways

- many of the auramaster's extra spells seem superfluous and out of flavor

- Valeria's door and the Kuo-Toa tadpole pool are very confusing if you don't have Saros PMing you essays

- would love to see sling, spear, scimitar upgrades built in (well, the first would be useless, but perhaps the latter two. Or you could make a sling upgrade that does crushing damage)

- Firkraag's companions seem weird. Why not replace the grandlords with some souped up fire elementals?

- should probably document the Deck of Many Things changes

- also regarding documentation, include the save penalty to Death of a Thousand Cuts and the Protection from Critical Hits for Ioun stones

- Cernd gets Fists of Nature after you've passed by every Rakshasa (I think) in the game, save for the final battle. This seems silly.

- if you have 5 summons and cast Recast Vital Energy and get the Grandlord, there's a message saying "you can only control 5 summons" and it doesn't appear

- the "silence" spells make mage characters switch to their secondary weapon. Really odd (unintentional?) side effect

- Negative Plane Protection doesn't seem to require Touch, but I think it should

- amusing that Hardwood Golems are weak to crushing. Would have thought slashing (axes, obviously)

- should put Swanmay's resist-lowering into documentation or describe more explicitly in-game

 

As I'm mostly interested in the fun items, I'm curious what people think the best ones are. In many ways, I think this would be Phosphorus - it's available pre-spellhold, and my Fighter/Mage was still using it in the last battle of the game. 24 STR gives an awesome boost to Thac0, which is helpful here, and of course it's a crushing weapon which is the best class in this game by far. Judgment Day did indeed live up to my expectations though, in seeing it in the docs.

 

Hardest battle: probably the Kobold crystal in Spellhold. The resist-lowering chain lightning, and then the Amber Golems on top of that, were a nightmare that I was not prepared for. Maybe a bit easier with potions of absorption (and lots of running around), but I had a real hard time with this.

 

Most fun battle: the one after you forge Judgment Day and return to Watcher's Keep. It's probably average in difficulty throughout this mod, but it makes you feel like you earned the sword, and it's perhaps your first time seeing it in action.

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