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Caedwyr, May 4, 2020 in General Mod Discussion
We've completed Baldur's Gate 1. Only a few bugs cropped up and people have generally enjoyed all the modded content, when we can even notice that there's modded content. We're moving on to Siege of Dragonspear and will get to see how the bridging episode plays out. This is going to be completely new for all of us, so it should be interesting.
So, some comments on mods from my playthrough of BG1. I have not commented on mod content that I did not encounter.
Mods installed on BG1 before EET.
BG1 Unfinished Business: This mod was largely invisible with the game. I used the following components and did not have any issues. Highly recommended to flesh out your adventure.
1. Ice Island Level 2 Restoration
2. Scar and the Sashenstar's Daughter
3. Quonigar, the Cleric
4. Shilo Chen and the Ogre-Magi
5. Edie, the Merchant League Applicant
6. Creature Corrections
7. Creature Restorations
8. Creature Name Restorations
9. Minor Dialogue Restorations
10. Store, Tavern and Inn Fixies and Restorations
11. Item Corrections and Restorations
12. Duke Eltan in the Harbor Master's Building
13. Nim Furlwing Encounter
14. Svlast, the Fallen Paladin Encounter
15. Mal-kalen, the Ulcaster Ghost
16. Chapter 6 Dialogue Restorations
BG1 NPC Music: Another fairly seamless integration. There are a few bits of music that are slightly loud, but another recommended mod.
Sirene NPC for BG: Good NPC. The romance is slow and never seems to build to anything, though I'm guessing she'll be willing to allow a relationship to develop if you continue to BG2. There were a few bugs with some of her random dialogue for reputation, but I think that may have been caused by the Tenya Thermidor mod that was installed next in the chain. I think there were also some kit issues as well that needed some manual fixes. I'd love to see this mod updated to full EET compatibility to hopefully squash the few issues.
Tenya Thermidor: I didn't take her in my party, but for adding a bit more colour to the world, I'd still recommend this mod. I did make some modifications to tone down the bowl of elemental summoning you get. There were a few issues with Sirene for some of the dialogue, but nothing game-breaking. I'd love to see this mod updated to full EET compatibility.
White as Bones NPC: Another mod NPC. I didn't take him in my party, but it was another good NPC to just have around to add texture to the world. One of the other people in the book club did take him for a bit and apparently found him quite funny.
Verr'Sza NPC: Cool NPC and one that I will definitely take for an evil playthrough. Good to have for a little sidequest and texture to the world even if you aren't planning on taking him.
Drake NPC: A really well written and good NPC to have around. Ended up being my main cleric. I enjoyed his personality and the connections he makes with BG2 and Amn. Unfortunately his crossbow proficiency ended up breaking when EET was installed and I had to edit some of the kits to make sure everything worked as intended (though minus getting crossbows to work). I'd love to see an EET update to fix the few issues. Drake is an NPC that I'm quite sad that there is no BG2 version of the mod available.
BGEE Classic Movies: Adds all the little movies in that were in the original game. Honestly, the use of the pre-rendered little movies was always kind of weird in the original BG1 game, so these tend to just act as a reminder that this is an old game. I'd probably keep the Restore BG1 Chapter and Dream Screens component in another playthrough, but skip the movies.
Post EET Mods
EEex: Used to allow a number of features and functions. Required.
lefreut's enhanced UI: Some good UI modifications, though I did have a persistent issue where item descriptions would end up having an extra carriage return part way through the descriptions that I'm not sure if it was caused by this mod or another. I used the following components:
a. Core Component
b. BG2 vanilla bams for spells
c. BG2 vanilla fonts for descriptions
d. Single Click to Map Travel
e. Show sidebar toggle button
f. Show quicksave button
g. Show highlight button
h. Show small right sidebar buttons
i. Quests in journal collapsed by default
j. Left click on portrait to level up
EEUI Tweaks: Another bunch of tweaks that were generally well integrated and received. Some of the features are pretty much required if you have a lot of kits or portraits. I used the following components
a. Mod Options
b. Hidden Options
b. Mr2150's Portrait Picker (Scaleable UI)
c. Mr2150's Backup M_BG.lua
d. Mr2150's Update Portraits
e. Faydark's Abilities Auto Roller (set UI.menu rolls to 300, since classes/kits with stat modifiers cause the autoroller to hang with higher values)
f. Abdul's show hidden creation options.
g. Display max proficiency limits
h. Transparent Sidebars
i. Feedback Message Box Buttons Hack
j. Simple Centered Dialog
k. Leveling Progress Bar Tweaks
l. Leveling Progress Bars Options
Bubb's Spell Menu Extended: Another UI tweak that was fairly helpful and I think ends up being an overall benefit to casting spells in combat easily. Would install again.
Bubb's Revert Pathfinding Fix: This apparently helped with pathfinding, but we still had issues where multiple NPCs would end up standing on the same spot on the ground and get stuck for a bit. This apparently is an issue with 2.5.x of the Enhanced Edition, so hopefully in the future the pathfinding issues will be fixed and this won't be needed.
Northern Tales of the Sword Coast: This is an interesting mod. Many of the minor components that are integrated into the game are seamless and highly recommended. For example, some of the extra assassin encounters, or the hidden dungeon in Firewine Bridge; even things like the extra mage tower in Larswood. However, the main component stuff were additional world map areas are added is a lot more rough. There's a good framework there and for the most part the items are not too unbalancing, but the non-hack and slash content is pretty threadbare and there's some weird things (like cultists that throw arrows and all sorts of NPC difficulty cheats).
I'll probably install it again because with the revisions made by @jastey and others, the weaknesses aren't too bad and the additional content that integrates well with the game is very much worth it. This is a mod that if more work was done to it, or expanded upon it by others could end up extending the content of the base BG1 game by quite a bit. Adding more dialogue options and quest breadcrumbs to the content, or even just alternate resolutions to some of the encounters would help. Plus, the new areas despite being remixed old assets could probably do with a few more events/encounters/quests sprinkled throughout them to make them feel more like those of the base game.
I used the following components:
a. Main Component
b. Spawn fewer monsters depending on game difficulty
c. Keelor the Dwarf
d. Llindellyn's Lucky Arrow
e. Pilar and Gheldehar
f. Fighting Encounters
Baldur's Gate Mini Quests & Encounters: There's a whole bunch of little quests and encounters added and they really enhance the game. No one was able to tell that these were added by a mod and everyone had at least one thing on the list that they really liked. Essential for future playthroughs. I used the following components.
a. Slime Quest
b. Family Treasure Quest
c. Babysitting in Naskhel, including the Carinval Encounter
d. Monster in Naskel
e. Fallen Paladin in Baldur's Gate
f. Undying Love in the Fishing Village
g. Lovesick Half-Orc
h. Unexpected Help
i. Many little paws
j. Drunk near Beregost Temple
k. A Warm Place for Noober
l. Brage's Sowrd
m. Legal Seachart Sources
n. Additions to the House of the Lady and the Bitch Queen's Temple
o. A Worried Farmer
p. Bodies for a good cause
Ascalon's Questpack: Another must-have mini questpack that helps add a lot of flavour to the world. Lots of favorites in this mod for all the people in the bookclub. We were all disappointed to learn that the Serpents of Abbathor component does not continue in BG2.
Endless BG1: A bunch of little tweaks to the story and additions to the game to make EET playthroughs flow more seamlessly. Very much recommended for EET playthroughs and a few components might be good for straight BG1 playthroughs. I used the following components:
a. Main Component
b. More Flavor to Hero of Baldur's Gate
c. Short Public Hero Tribute
d. Sarevok's Unique Items
e. Sarevok's Sword
f. Imoen and Duke Jannath
g. Duke Eltan is in the Palace
h. Flaming Fist Healer come into Undercity Temple
i. Elminster makes an Appearance - Restored BG1 Text
j. First Refugees come to Baldur's Gate
k. Ophyllis the Treasurer in inside Palace Dungeon
l. Denkod in Thieves Guild comments on Sarevok's Death
m. Skip Thieves Maze Once after Sarevok's Death
Baldur's Gate Romantic Encounters: This mod was actually one of the favourites for everyone much to our surprise. Besides the sex scenes, it added a lot of characterization and texture to the world, and even if you are playing a chaste character I'd recommend including it in your playthroughs for the quest content. I used the following components:
a. Main Component - BG Style
1. Bardolan's Briefing
2. Scar's Spare Time
3. Kim's Preoccupation
4. Extension of Bjornin Encounter
5. No Starch in the Maypole
6. Duke Eltan's Spare Minute
7. Husam's Personal Preparation
8. Larel's Post-Hunting
9. Bartus' Seduction
10. Lina's Massage
11. First Night with Quentin
12. Chatting Niklos Up.
13. Slythe and Krystin
14. No Regrets
15. Purchased Love
16. Hull: Heavy Duty
17. Late Night with Jaheira
18. Sil's Blessing
19. Melicamp: The Poultry Boy
20. Reading with Rinnie
21. Molly the Husband-Grabber
22. The Mourning of Centeol, the Spider Lady
23. The Essential End
24. The Harvestmen Lair
25. The Great Zudini
26. The Messenger
27. Ender Sai: The Hero's Reward
28. The Novelists
29. The Honest Lies of Two Riversides
30. Necromancer's Trouble
31. Dinner with Thalantyr
32. Girdle of Gender Reactions
33. The Surgeon's Dream
34. All That Left Was
35. A Childhood Friend
36. Arlene the Working Girl
37. Della May from Thay
38. A Dirty Guard in Candlekeep
39. Phoenix Flame
40. Mikala the Monk
41. The Messenger 2: Rain or Snow or Gloom of Night
42. Camryn and Tamah
43. Minor Disclosures
44. Cloakwood Lovers
Lure of the Sirenes Call: A nice small quest mod that adds an alternate resolution to the Sirenes. Blends well with the base game. Recommended.
Golem Construction for Spellcasters: A system/quest mod that ended up being pretty good for BG1. I was only able to make the bone doll golem and it was decent, but not overpowering. I'm going to be curious as to how it works out for the BG2 part of my playthrough. I used the following components:
a. Golem Construction Ability for Spellcasters
b. Replace original Golem Manual
c. Improve Enemy Spellcaster AI
d. Golems for enemy spellcasters
e. Greater variety of enemy golem types
f. Fighter Stronghold golems may continue to serve you
g. Make golems vulnerable to specific spell effects
h. Reduce weapon immunities and resistances for constructed golems.
i. Add "Teleport" ability to golems
BG1 NPC Project: A must-have mod that brings BG1 much closer to par with BG2 for characterization of the NPCs. I'm not 100% sure I agree with all of the characterizations, but it is by far an overall improvement and I couldn't imagine playing the game without this. Note that there's a bug with Imoen where she won't rejoin via dialogue if you kick her out of the party, even temporarily. CTRL+Q was used as a workaround and it didn't seem to break any of her dialogue scripts. Hopefully this bug will get fixed in the future/has already been fixed. I used the following components:
1. Required Modifications
2. Banters, Quests, and Interjections
3. Ajantis's Romance
4. Branwen's Romance
5. Coran's Romance
6. Dynaheir's Romance
7. Shar-Teel Relationship
8. Xan's Romance
9. Female Romance Challenges, Ajantis vs Xan vs Coran
10. Banter Timing Tweak
11. Bardic Reputation Adjustment
12. Sarevok's Diary Adjustments - SixofSpades
13. Player-Initiated Dialogues
Valerie NPC: A mod npc that I didn't take with me, but added some nice flavour to the game world by her presence and what it implies. Another link to help the player realize that Amn is not just Nashkell and it's mines, but a much larger nation with its own agents and interests. I've heard that there might be some bugs, so I'd want to double check before I installed Valerie again, but I'd be interested in another playthrough and taking her along.
Murneth NPC: A mod NPC that I didn't take, but added to the texture and flavour of the world. I might take for an evil playthrough, but would probably install again for the flavour impact on the world.
Gavin BG1 NPC: I was surprised that no one ended up taking Gavin, but he's another mod NPC that I would include on installs that I am not planning on taking him with me, just for more flavour and potential options.
Glam's NPC Pack: I want to take a number of the NPCs in this pack with me next time as they all sound quite interesting. Good for the texture of the world even if you aren't planning on taking them.
Recorder, Helga, Vienxay, Kale, Emily NPCs:Skitia's BG1 NPCs and very high in quality. No one took one of these NPCs with them for their final party, but I think everyone took at least some of Skitia's NPCs part of the way through the story. Except Emily. Two people took Emily and really liked her. Very much worth it even if you dont' plan on taking them for the little sidequests and texture to the world. These are going on every install of mine in the future.
Aura NPC: Another interesting NPC that I will probably take for another playthrough. Good even if you don't plan on taking her in your party.
Grey the Dog: You can pet the dog. This is a very good mod to have in any playthrough. I think we all kept Grey as the 7th party member, but he's going on the permanent mod NPC list for good. There's a little bit of some rough translation in parts, but I've made a commitment to @jastey to go through the script and help sort those out, so hopefully I'll get that done in the next half-year. Very much worth it.
Weasels!: A bunch of weasel related spells and items. Not overpowered, but quite useful. I think we all enjoyed the swarms of weasels.
Epic Thieving: This is a systems' mod, but I'm almost tempted to count it as a quest mod. With high thief skills it offers a variety of alternate resolutions to parts of dungeons or even story quests, adds extra bonuses for specializing your thieves, and is an overall major quality of life improvement for thief characters. For example, in Durlag's tower I ended up having Imoen just lockpick a bunch of the locks rather than spending a lot of time solving the puzzles. I felt like I had been rewarded for my investment in her skills being able to bypass and do limited sequence breaks. Very much recommended. I used the following components:
a. Epic Locks
b. Epic Traps
c. Epic Pickpocketing
d. Epic Detect Illusions
Portraits Portraits Everywhere: Adds portraits to all the NPCs of your game. The only weirdness is it replaced Quyale's portrait with that of a slime in BG1. I'm not sure what that's about. Highly recommended to add some immersion to your game and so it isn't quite as obvious who are the "Important NPCs" because they have a portrait.
Shadow Magic: I didn't use any of the kits added by this mod, just played it for the quest content and additional items. Very much worth it still. Recommended.
Song & Silence: We all used Imoen as an adventurer kit component, though we had to make this change via a save-game editor since it didn't detect the proper version of Imoen's .cre from EET. The bardic store added by the mod in the Nashkel Carnival and the additional items added to Black Lily were good additions.
Artisan's Kitpack: This ended up mostly being used for the NPC kits (Rashemi Berserker for Minsc, Vanguard for Khalid, Montaron Assassin). All good additions. I am playing a melee Dragon Disciple and the stat boosts are helping keep him relevant to the end of BG1, though the lack of additional attacks per round is going to limit the character going forward. Still, a good collection of kits and worth it for the NPC kits in my opinion.
Might & Guile: After being fixed, this ended up mostly being just for the improvements to rangers and the addition of quickstride. Which are nice flavour abilities for Ranger characters and are pretty good overall. I'm going to have to try out some of the kits added by this mod in the future.
House Rules: The additional options, improved dialogues, and expanded shapeshifting make this very much worth it in BG1. I used the following components. One of the ones I didn't use caused crashes, so be careful when installing this mod.
a. Expanded Racial Enemies
b. Expanded Shapeshifting
c Rebalanced Weapon Styles
d. Monk Can Use Quarterstaves
e. Increased Constitution Bonuses
f. Warrior HLAs
g. Improved Dialogues (BG:EE)
h. Good-Aligned Roleplay Rewards (BG2:EE)
i. Cloak of Dragomir only decreases stats in daylight
j. Race Text Patch
Sword Coast Strategems: A must-have mod for a BG1 playthrough. It adds a lot more interesting encounters that are challenging, but not unfair for a wide range of difficulties (we are playing on at least 3 different difficulties and no one had major insurmountable issues with encounters or ended up finding them unfun.)
Something I'd do for a future playthrough is use a few more tweaks for a few things. For example there's a mod that makes Goodberries cure poison/disease, and another mod that changes it so INT/WIS/CHA actually give some benefits for higher values (INT is basically useless except for dual classing).
Onwards to Siege of Dragonspear.
@Caedwyr thank you very much for the feedback and detailed mod list!
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