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  1. As I understand it this mod is ToB content that starts in the Pocket Plane, so it occurs well after Yoshi's death. I'm hoping adding the mod specific variable for whether Yoshi's heart was put to rest or not is sufficient to allow for experiencing the mod fully, even if I'm past the initial pocket plane setup stage. My concern is that it's too late because the Pocket Plane, first 2 challenges, etc. have all been accessed already, which might mean it's too late for a good chunk (or all) of Yoshi's content.
  2. It's not that Insect Plague specifically makes this encounter too hard (I think they managed to get one casting of it off - if you have Remove Fear available you can deal with the pain). It's more that I was surprised there were 2 casters in double digit levels for a non-boss fight. They seem to be kitted as Avengers and can petrify party members with Chromatic Orb (level 10 version); I remember being a little stunned by that. Plus the environment/tactical situation - since you don't want to hurt/anger Beedor it severly limits AOE options - which is an excellent challenge for people who just like to blow stuff up with wand of fire and such. It's the resulting combination of all the ingredients (2 level 10s, 4 level 6s, AOE restriction) that I felt presented a challenge on par with the chapter end boss fight (single level 11 mage with Dimension Door tricks but only 1 level 5 spell, supported by flunkies), which makes me wonder if that was indeed the intent.
  3. I have a ToB save with the party taking a Watcher's Keep break before going to Amkethran. Is it too late to add this mod (and possibly tweak the variable for having put Yoshi's heart to rest in SoA, which I actually did do)? It sounds like an intriguing concept, an interesting character/story driven mod for ToB (which is sorely lacking in such).
  4. It appears they're level 10 even without SCS installed (checked pre-EET BG1EE install with NI; SCS installs on the BG2EE side with a proper EET installation). My guess is someone decided to up the difficulty somewhere along the line, as their names are X#SHDR06 for the level 6 ones, but the level 10 guys are named X#SHDR08 which would seem to indicate they were meant to be level 8 at one point. Examining the level 10 guys' scripts (X#prefix, pre SCS scripts) shows they're meant to be fully capable of utilizing level 5 spells like Insect Plague and Ironskins (really deadly vs. most lvl 5 or 6 parties). That's fine for me and a lot of veteran players, steep challenge can be fun, but it seems a bit over the top especially for newer players as this encounter ends up being tougher than the end of chapter boss fight vs Daevorn.
  5. Silly random thought: LOTR has Tom Bombadil as a pretty significant and extremely powerful 'side character' who doesn't seem directly central to the main quest/plot, but is a memorable, mysterious 'chance' encounter that leaves room for a lot of questions and speculation. BG2's Tom Bombadil: Twisted Rune, Kangaxx, the Guarded Compound, Temple sewers Mindflayers. Think about the first time you found these guys, leaving you to wonder why are they there? Are they tied to the main plot? Holy smokes they're powerful! The difference is BG's Tom Bombadils are all bundles of juicy XP and loot. Which leads to... re-imagining LOTR as a typical CRPG (in the tradition of DM of the Rings) ... the 4 hobbits try to find all kinds of ways to cheese kill ('Frodo, use fake-talk on Bombadil!') jolly Tom for his stuff and XP... so they can be better prepared to take on Sauron of course ('Oh yeah, I beat Sauron with fake-talk too')!
  6. The pack of shadow druids you fight near Beedor... wow. I remember this fight being really, really tough every time so this time, I decided to peak under the hood with NI... Is it intended that two of them are level TEN characters accompanied by 4 level 6 characters? I enjoy challenges and am an experienced player, but this seemed a bit over the top for the point in the game where you face them (my party is around level 5/6) - that seems like something you reserve for boss fights and/or tactical mods. I have SCS installed so of course, the level 10 druids make full use of all kinds of nastiness. Adding to the challenge is that because you don't want to hurt/turn hostile Beedor who is lying there, you can't use a lot of AOE types of attacks against them... makes for a challenging tactical situation, which again, I enjoy... I'm just wondering about 2 casters with double digit levels here.
  7. They were definitely not taking their sweet time because they wanted to collect moar gold or trinkets they could stab Ringwraiths with... @subtledoctor hit it right on the head; the way BW handles it is the issue. The plot ultimately plays out like yet another harmless, fun game ultimately rather than an epic tale, because the implied consequences are fake; there are no actual consequences in the game in ch 2/3 or 6. You can imagine all kinds of story elements/motivations as you play through the game, but the reality is, it doesn't enforce some of the most critical choices available to the player (while oddly enough harshly enforcing other choices like 'you killed the wrong NPC, STAB STAB GAME OVER'). Which is good enough; it is a fun game, not a serious attempt at a novel... some of us just wish that it was a game that delivered a bit better on the story aspect at times.
  8. After seeing @Subtledoctor's posts I think I'd amend my initial mod suggestion to introduce McGuffins in both ch2 and ch 6: McGuffins in ch2 would help justify delaying the trip to Spellhold a bit, especially for people who easily and quickly hit 20k/40k gp. Alleviates the need to raise the amount asked by Gaylen Bayle to a comically astronomical amount. However, delaying it for too long undercuts sense of urgency which I fear would make it feel like an artificial extension (which is why I'm adverse to using the SCS option to raise the fee to some silly number... 40k, maybe even 60k doesn't seem too crazy, but 'ONE MEELLION GOLD PIECES MUHAHAHA' feels clumsy. This is probably a fine balancing act - add real urgency, consequences for delay that I suggested, but still make it feasible to finish several quests so you're not cramming them all into CH6. McGuffins in ch6 in order to get soul back, unfinished quest bosses possess the needed Mcguffins - believable motivation for pursuing chapter 2 quests that were skipped or unfinished because of the urgency of getting to Spellhold. Gameplay-wise, content like Twisted Rune, Kangaxx also probably makes more sense in Ch6 than cheesing/savescumming those encounters in Ch2 right out of Chateau Irenicus.
  9. @subtledoctorI've had Imoen is Stone mod installed on quite a few runs as well. Anything that helps alleviate the status quo related to SoA's handling of Imoen is an improvement imo. Eventually I felt that it wasn't enough (which is why I was initially very enthused about ImoenForever - Jastey perhaps felt similarly enough to put forth another way to deal with 'the Imoen problem'). Being petrified might be less painful/less suffering for the subject (though this isn't necessarily canon) - it still doesn't address the issue of CHARMAIN quickly accumulating more than enough funds to pay for passage plus having heaps of fancy equipment only a week or two after arriving in Amn (I've hit the SCS modded 40,000gp mark on Day 6 once or twice). At that point, what's the character thinking when he goes to bed at night, assuming he placed value on Imoen as a companion? He has more than enough coin, tons of expensive magical equipment, a solid party of powerful adventurers that's been kicking ass and taking names; just because she's a statue (a condition that he's seen reversed many times previously), does it make sense to put off the trip and instead go seek out yet more 'jobs'? I found that for me, it didn't make enough of a difference.
  10. But that's the problem; there is no actual sense of urgency in SoA because it makes absolutely no difference whether you take 2 weeks or 2 years to go to Spellhold. The game is built this way. People play it and pretty quickly realize this, and pretty soon it becomes more about 'collect as much goodies as you can, level up, take your time and enjoy the scenery, get to Spellhold when good and ready' rather than 'there's an urgency to rescuing this character' or 'there's an urgency to getting our souls back'. What I would love to see (whether my mod idea pulls it off or not is debatable) is an actual sense of urgency with consequences in both ch. 2 and 6.
  11. ToB could indeed use some more interesting content beyond Wheels and Reunion; it's surprising how little content storywise there is for it. Regarding the old argument 'party should take it's sweet time to gear up to the nth degree to prep for trip to Spellhold', sorry, there's a point where I just don't buy it because it becomes outright ridiculous. There's a degree of planning and preparation, gearing up, etc. that's sensible and wise... after all you just lost a boatload of equipment to Irenicus and saw a glimpse of his power. Then there's just procrastinating/ignoring the plight of a friend or companion to finish the other quests so you get your grubby hands on more and more loot and xp. That might make sense from a powergaming/metagamed standpoint, but at a certain point it becomes a ridiculously lame excuse (unless someone is intentionally RP cautious cowards or someone who just isn't all that concerned about Immy). I mean, by the time you finish a mere 2 or 3 Ch 2 quests you usually end up with a mountain of coin (more than the vanilla game requires to advance to ch3) and have a boatload of treasure/magic items... yet there's still so much content left to explore. Storywise it just doesn't make sense to keep putting off the rescue for a lot of characters... heck, how does CHARMAIN even know that there are 4, 5 other major quests that will yield Belm or Celestial Fury or similar? They might turn out to be duds or distractions with no substantial payoff (this is one of the reasons I like Item Randomizer) - precious time lost while a friend is locked up and who knows what is being done to her. 'Hey, I've got tons of money and good gear now, but if I linger a couple more months and take more jobs I'll be better prepared and have more stuff that'll make life easier'... It's metagaming at it's finest and makes little sense in character, unless you are in fact portraying a character that may not care much about Imoen, has procrastination issues/is actually afraid to go after Jon, etc. At some point that makes more sense than months of 'preparation' which is really thinly disguised (self) preservation or a desire to 'get all the goodies in the game' (which is fine in a game, just don't pretend it's something else). People who claim doing all/nearly all the quests in Ch2 is just 'being prepared' for Spellhold - don't get jobs as firemen or police, etc. - which is fine, most of us are not real life adventurers or heroes - but please don't try to sell me that metagaming risk aversion or gaming the system is in-character 'preparation'.
  12. @Lauriel I've installed ImoenForever mod as well on a couple of playthroughs, to address the problem with Bioware's original plot/design. I enjoyed it and definitely found it an improvement in that I can explore more of SoA content while making better storytelling choices than vanilla, plus the extra Imoen banter earlier on with Aerie thanks to Wings mod, etc is very fun (legitimately having Imoen not lose any effectiveness/power at all is also bonus). There's 2 issues for me with Imoen4ever - there were times where I felt like it changed the base plot TOO drastically, rather than simply improving/fixing it. I have mixed feelings on this; the base plot is arguably silly enough that it's not a big deal, but sometimes I found myself missing the sense of urgency in the vanilla plot (even if it turns out to be completely artificial/false because there are no consquences) and just wanting an improved/fixed version of BW's plot concerning Imoen. (I also think as a guy, the 'rescue damsel in distress' trope more often than not pulls me in rather successfully ) The 2nd issue (very minor quibble) is that there are elements/bits of dialog etc in Imoen4ever that could stand tightening up. I realize Jastey is not a native English speaker so I give her all the credit in the world for what she's been able to accomplish especially on a conceptual level; however there are bits in her writing that occasionally utilize some odd phrasing/word choices/colloquials and expressions that remind me that I'm reading modded content. Currently I don't have the mod installed on my latest EET run, and find myself wishing that there was a mod out there that successfully improves/tweaks the main plot while remaining faithful to the main structure AND providing a sense of believable motivation and urgency. As for motivation for breaking into houses... ... for me having someone like Imoen (or even Coran or Alora) is enough. I mean, she probably won't break into and rob EVERY house in Beregost say, but given her personality and skillset she's definitely going to have a look around and might even pocket some nice things, just like she used to do back in Candlekeep (where DID she get that Wand of Missiles, hmm...).
  13. BG2 main plot improvements (arguably fixes) - call it Consequences In Amn. Make a couple of key decisions actually MATTER (I'm pretty sure there's a lot more than these 2 points that could be made more sensible but this is imo one of the biggest holes in bioware's plot): 1. early or late Spellhold; i.e. make it actually matter, have consequences if you ignore Imoen in Spellhold for too long. Can work off of ingame timer (or total XP accumulated by Charmain if this isn't feasible). Two parts to this: A. The longer you wait to pick up Imoen, the worse of a state she's in. Make the consequence something that even powergamers would care about; i.e. she becomes weaker and weaker the longer she's in Irenicus' clutches - the version of Immy you get when you get to Spellhold varies in levels depending on how long you took to get there, losing more and more levels the longer you wait. Irenicus and his torture/experiments SHOULD take a real toll over weeks and months! This will create incentive for both roleplayers AND powergamers who want Imoen in their party without being too far behind in levels (the EE game as is often results in an Imoen that's behind the party's XP anyway, so this could be a significant incentive even for the most diehard powergamer). B. Also, your reputation starts to drop eventually if you wait too long. This might sound odd, but the fact is Reputation in this game is a highly abstracted response to 'moral' choices (Virtue mod had a more 'realistic' approach to moral choices and public perception vs. actual virtue) and effectively more than just 'what people think of you'; it's often an actual reflection of whether you're making naughty choices or not. While it might seem odd that public opinion goes down for what seems like a private decision, this is more or less how Reputation in the vanilla game often works; i.e. if you do naughty things even in private, karma can come back to bite you in a way that matters as far as game mechanics. Naturally, pragmatic/evil parties might not care just as in the vanilla game... but it's lackluster storytelling if good and even neutrals do not experience any consequences/impact of this choice. No matter how much some people try and argue otherwise, letting months slip by while someone who is a friend or even acquaintance has been kidnapped to an unknown fate is either dubious motivation/storytelling and/or a less than virtuous choice. For a CE party dropping karma/Reputation and ignoring Immy might be sensible; for most others it's silly (and NOT pragmatic - an adventuring party's best assets are it's members, not magical items - unfortunately games tend to present companions as replaceable objects that are lower priority than spiffy magic items). 2. Make it so that there's in-character reason to do quests that were skipped in ch2 and 3 to get to Imoen quickly. i.e. Don't penalize parties for making sensible in character decisions by making them miss out of huge chunks of the game's content silly Bioware! How? The oldest trick in the book for adventure/action plots - Mcguffins. In chapter 6 you're racing against the clock supposedly because your soul is missing and you need it back; plotwise it doesn't make sense to spend a lot of time chasing after the quests you didn't get to in ch2/3... But what if in order to get your soul back, you NEED to chase those quests to fetch Mcguffins that are required to be in your possession to ensure you'll get your soul back? I mean, CHARMAIN doesn't exactly have a plan for HOW to get the soul back once he catches up to Jon anyway - give him one. Have him find content in Jon's journal that hints items/regeants X, Y, and Z are needed to make the soul exchange. Irenicus with all his power and knowhow needed tons of dead Shadow Thieves and intricate machines/rituals in order to extract Charmain's soul - yet Charmain expects to get it back just by stabbing Jon? Let's make it a little more interesting and sensible, and give a credible reason why we need to chase down the quests we didn't get to in earlier chapters - Jon's journal gives clues where these items might be found, script said mcguffins to be in the inventories of boss types from unfinished ch2/3 quests. In the end, all the best plans fall apart at the Tree of Life since everyone dies and goes to hell etc. - there's no need for a substantially altered cutscene/ritual to get the soul back. Just kill Jon as normal in hell, watch the vanilla cutscene where your soul gets sucked back into you because of the powers of the demiplane. Optionally add text that indicates the presence of the Mcguffins DOES factor in the restoration of your soul as Jon dies. The End. Ideally, this sort of tweak would be done by someone with some writing chops/finesse...
  14. Works fine for me across several different installs.
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