Well I could resist it no longer - I had to come back and finish what I could not, some years ago! I installed the game, the patch, the fixpack, the widescreen hack and Tactics, Ascension, Valen and Solaufein, though I do not plan on using the NPCs if they are severely more powerful than Jan/Aerie/Sarevok etc. I have experience with Baldur's Gate II+ToB, but not with these mods, save for one excruciating attempt at starting anew with Tactics. So this will be the PoV of a veteran gamer and someone who knows the game pretty well, but is otherwise fresh meat for the mods! Let us begin: Chapter 1: Welcome back, mr. Bhaalspawninson I woke up in Irenicus's dungeon as a Kensai with 18/18/18/18/16/3 as stats (re-rolled for a good 15 minutes). So far - so good, I talked with my annoying sister after witnessing Jon's hospitality (which made me all snuggly-wuggly inside - being back to BGII and all) A few more minutes and my party now included a deranged Rashemeni "bezerker" who's berzerk special ability compares to the actual Berzerker kit as 4E rules compare to AD&D or 3.5 (it sounds the same, but it's so much worse it makes you want to chew trough your own wrists). I also obtained one freshly made widow, a half-elven MILF that I never for the life of me could romance, preferring instead to favor some exotic Drow flavor. We talk to the Golem even though we don't have to and I don't even kill it for the extra couple of thousand XP it would give me. I'll try to play this with some RP limitations in mind (I won't erase and re-record scrolls for XP as well, which mage would actually take the time to do such a menial task?) Everybody gets geared up, and Jaheira is now a passable AC tank with SOF. We walk around, talking to things in vats and killing mephits, and every time we try to rest there is the dreaded (for me) party of duergar warriors. I am forced to immediately run away and lure the Fighters one by one, and making the Mage waste his spells on some summons or casting (reloading and casting and realoading and so on, untill he fails his save) chaos, rigid thinkng or hold monster. Yes my best spellcaster currently is the dryad from CWB. I must at least bless the creator of this particular encounter for making the script target the first party member in sight and have the Fighters chase him/her around. This allows for three of my characters to whack away while the forth rings around the rosey. So after tedious fights, resting with more fights, and then more fights, we powered the vats, had the good golem open the way and beat the Otyugh, although I must object that the thing had learned to cast poison, disease and summed a giant centipede that cast some form of mass insect swarm on the party (thank Lathander for Imoen's Dispel Magic). We entered in the first room, disarmed and looted it, talked to the three dyads (who did not offer me undisturbed rest, much to my dismay). Now we have to make our way to this Improved Illych fellow I've heard so much about. I played a few hours last night, despite not having that many to spare... So we went around and cleared everything bar that Illych mob. I sort of sopiled my surprise with all the stuff that I've read here about them. Anyway this time I cleared the teleporter prior to going for Yoshimo - Duergar Party Members absolutely trhash me with their spells. In fact the only way to beat them safely is to have a Dryad cast Confusion in the area next to them and hope both saves fail... It took some reloading, as you can imagine. Occasionally I might try to follow up a successful save with miscast magic, though then the Dryad gets only one shot before it's felled by the Duergar. So we cleared everything, Yoshimo is a nice temporary addition. We went back, this time Imoen, Jaheira and my main getting level-ups, and Imoen obtaining the vital Invisibility and Chaos spells. Oh, did I mention the clone was much tougher than I remmeber? I was forced to chunk her with my Kensai whilst she still fought the Shadow Thief, because as soon as she turns red she becomes a royal spellcastery pain in the arse. Chaos itself lets you win battles you normally would have no chance of beating head-on. So everyone became invisible and I went to get the +3 sword so I can kill the Vampire that's in the chamber next to the trapped area. It took a haste, 5 invises and some luck as the Cleric is scripted to immediately cast True Sight when you are near with invis. We got in the pocket plane, cleared the annoying mephits, talked to the genie... and then I remembered I did not get the bottle. Sigh. At least one good thing was that we could rest without being attacked by duergar in the pocket plane of air. Very important indeed. So we invised again and went back to the library, and I cast Summon Fodder I to try that Deva trick I read about. Not sure if it worked, but because of the other party members being invisible, I somehow managed to lure the Golem and the Cleric to the round area of the sewer. It took a lot of chasing around (both had targeted Imoen as she was the one who cast Summon Monster) and she had to drink an oil of speed but in the end, Jaheira beat the Golem with the staff +1 and everyone else gutted the Cleric. Hmm... Well I beat the whole dungeon, and I got a great feeling of accomplishment from it. Illych in Insane can two or three shot most party membes, the Astral Deva is just absurd, the Monk is very powerful (for a Monk) etc. What I did. Well it turned out I had only killed the golem. The Cleric, Illych himself, the Crossbow user and the demon were all still allive. It appears that somehow in the loading frenzy I had not saved after killing both, instead saving a different instance when only the golem had followed. I however managed to beat them all now without using any wands, without (ab)using the "summon a dog to trigger firestorm" trick and I would have done it without using potions but I thought it was not worth the effort, seeing as how there's a ton of potions afterwards and they lose their effectiveness quickly. I managed to lure Illych, the x-bowman (actually a woman but nevermind) and the Cleric down the hallway towards the sewer area, while leaving the Astral Deva in the dark by the bookcases. One good thing is that Illych & Co only chase if they can see you (unlike the proletariat who chase ad infinitum). Becaues of that script I got two important bonuses: 1. Illych will attack the nearest pary member instead of chasing the weakened one. This allowed me to tank with Stoneskin/Blur/Mirror Image Imoen and then distribute the damage between Minsk, Jaheira and Yoshimo, all while my Kensai whacked away. 2. Illych can be pulld from the other enemies by Yoshimo with a simple bow and arrow. Using these, and a fresh casting of Haste I managed to chop him to bits. Magic Missiles helped a lot too. Once I got his Club and Hammer It was now possible to kill the demon. Unfortunately the x-bowman and it were too close to one another. But there is another advantage. Imoen's and Yoshimo's traps bypass the demon's DR and deal direct damage. A few traps and it enters the battle at "Near Death". Whack-whack-whac with the +3 club and the +2 warhammer and there it goes. Fortunately, whilst being the hardest to kill (I rate the Deva as high-on-impossible to kill) the demon is actually the most pathetic damage wise, not being able to land a single hit on Jaheira who had -2 AC. The X-Bowman was a pain, as she could three shot Yoshimo, but some potions and chop-chop-choppetychop and she was gone. In hindsight, a casting of Chaos would have done her in as well. I took the acorns, got the bottle, got my sword, cleared the level, though I must admit I had left several Duergar Pary Members around, being too lazy to attempt to clear them (remnants of the resting encounters). I killed the vampire who, after the Illych party, seemed pathetic (but when playing vanilla she was the toughest thing in that dungeon). This all sounds easy but after each fight followed resting that was followed by another tedious fight because I rested, so this took several hours to do. But the dungeon is done and I'm outside now. Imoen is also gone, whcih is quite nice, and I'm about to send Yoshimo and Minsc packing. Jaheira will stay for now. I'm next going to gather Jan, Keldorn, Aerie, Edwin and Anomen, who is to replace the Half-Elf annoyance.