No deaths, no reloads

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two
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No deaths, no reloads

Postby two » Tue Jun 05, 2001 5:25 am

In "preparation" for TOB I started a solo Bard recently, planning on going very slowly and getting every drop of experience I can out of BGII. When my Bard hits the cap at level 23, I'll stop playing until TOB comes out and then continue through BGII and eventually TOB.

As a side note, I am playing this Bard with no deaths, no reloads, no nothing. Just a quicksave and autosave files are there. So far I'm level 15 without TOO much trouble. A couple of close calls...

If there is any interest on how to solo a bard without dying/reloading, I'll post some of my strategies.

By far my most exciting game yet!

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Postby ki-master » Tue Jun 05, 2001 6:02 am

What fun can soloing a bard be?

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Postby Astafas » Tue Jun 05, 2001 6:37 am

I can't imagine the fun of soloing at all, since I love the interaction between the different NPCs, to equip a whole party with wonderful stuff and to use so many different spells, abilities and strategies as possible.

However, should I ever solo, I would definately go for a bard. It is truly one of the most interesting classes. If you know how to play them, of course...
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Postby koz-ivan » Tue Jun 05, 2001 7:57 am

two - are you playing a blade, jester, or true bard?

never heard of a solo bard, that was not a jester or blade.

anyhow good luck
"all around you is tinder for the gods"

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Postby two » Tue Jun 05, 2001 8:22 am

Originally posted by koz-ivan:
<STRONG>two - are you playing a blade, jester, or true bard?

never heard of a solo bard, that was not a jester or blade.

anyhow good luck</STRONG>


Actually -- a Skald beleive it or not. I have my reasons...I know it seems silly to play the Skald without a party, because the Bard song doesn't last more than 2 rounds on yourself (for example, as a Skald, sing your song then step into melee. You get the bonuses but just for 2 rounds, which isn't that useful).

My plan is to help keep myself safe by going through big battles with 4 skeleton warriors (hasted) with me singing my bard song in the background. I've tried it some before and they are deadly. I think the Skald song maxes out at something like +6 to hit, -6 on AC, making summoned allies very useful. Even at +4/-4 it's great.

It's going well so far, level 15, did the troll keep (fairly routine, not many spell casters just lots of melee combat). If you want details just ask I kept a running list of sorts.

Bards being able to use potions of master thievery help -- a LOT. You can get geared up right out of the prison...

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Postby koz-ivan » Tue Jun 05, 2001 8:38 am

ah, very cool.

the skald's song lasts for two rounds after you stop?

so you could for instance sing, cast a spell, and sing again w/ out missing a beat?

i never knew that, may go back and restart my skald's game.
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Postby two » Tue Jun 05, 2001 8:43 am

Originally posted by koz-ivan:
<STRONG>ah, very cool.

the skald's song lasts for two rounds after you stop?

so you could for instance sing, cast a spell, and sing again w/ out missing a beat?

i never knew that, may go back and restart my skald's game.</STRONG>


This is a good question. I never used my Skald like that...yet. I always just sang a few rounds, then ran into combat myself and noticed that very soon my song benefits wore off. I think it was two rounds. It could be some number like 10 seconds, a round and a half. It was never really worth my while to sing and then melee, so as I said I sing while my summoned creatures melee.

I wonder about singing, magic missle, singing, magic missle. It may work, keep the song uninterrupted. Will check today.

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Postby koz-ivan » Tue Jun 05, 2001 3:57 pm

i just checked it out, and what do you know -

it works!

you can sing, cast, sing w/ no problems.

wow, my skald is back in action.

(why the hell did i never try this before)
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Postby two » Tue Jun 12, 2001 6:17 pm

Well, if anyone cares, my solo, no-reload Skald is doing fine. If anyone wants to try it themselves, go slowly, and get every drop of experience you can. I was level 10 leavning the prison, level 11 after scribing all the scrolls I found/bought. After getting a 25 intelligence, of course, from the potion of genius...

Levels 12-14 are somewhat slow. Kill pebblecrusher & co. with some webs and other goodies. Run in and cast knock, grab Daystar, run away from lich. Go to graveyard do all the easy stuff there, littleman, copper coronet stuff, lilcator. Slavers, be careful. By level 15 you are save, more or less. DO the Animate Dead+Haste+Skald song. You can clear out levels with 2 skeletons, 3 is very very safe. Levels 15-20 fly, I did the unseeing eye quest very very safely using summoned monsters and singing (and the occasional Skull Trap).

Remember, blur is your friend. Cast 4 on yourself to subtract 8 from your AC and 4 from your saving throws. Then cast draw upon holy might, haste, and wade into battle if necessary. You spell save is around 1 after the blurs+ring of protection.

Actually, playing with no reloads/no dying is a lot of fun and very very do-able. Makes my other games where I re-loaded as much as I wanted seem...totally lame by comparison.

Currently level 20, got Celestial Fury. 4 skeleton warriors hasted killed all the second level of the guarded compound. NO casualties.

More later...

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Postby ReignsOfPower » Tue Jun 12, 2001 6:28 pm

Two, let me put it this way, how exactly are you going to beat a bunch of Pit Fiends, a Green Dragon (Suldunessalar), Irenicus or even a bunch or Iron Golems? Being alone without a party is one of the most unwise things you can do! Besides, how boring would the game bee with Minsc's battle cries?!!
Sure you gain all the experience for yourself, but so? A meduim level party of 6 is much more powerful than a single ultra powerful main character.
Compare the fight with Sarevok and then compare the fight with Irenicus. I beleive Sarevok was alot harder because he had a quite strong party. Irenicus may have been a level 30 mage, but he fell down alot quicker than Sarevok. :) ;)

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Postby Vehemence » Tue Jun 12, 2001 7:08 pm

Um, Irenicus wasn't alone... he kinda had four big ugly pit fiends with him. :D
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Postby ReignsOfPower » Tue Jun 12, 2001 7:54 pm

So gated Pit Fiends are a 'party' now are they? :D

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Postby Nighthawk » Tue Jun 12, 2001 9:57 pm

I'll be interested to see how far you make it Two. It could be doable, but starting over the first time I got hit by a maze or imprison doesn't sound like much fun...

If you have summoned creatures, do mazes still instakill? I guess you can try to get them hit instead. Clearly summoning is the way to go if you're trying to make it without dying.

Also, most of the fights where you can get instakilled are ones you can avoid (Dragons, Beholders, Lich in underdark). Use of Protection from Undead should make Bohdi and her kin easy.

I'm sure if the game can be soloed in under 10 days without leveling up it can be soloed without dying.

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Postby ReignsOfPower » Tue Jun 12, 2001 10:05 pm

Yes I agree, but what about those major battles which you cant avoid? I can name many. Two, probably the hardest part you'll come across is the entire Sulanessalar battle when you save it from destruction. Even I had big toubles with it and every part member was maxed out with exp.
I recommend that you use Lure tactics in this section. This involves becoming invisible and fireing off one arror (or something) and make one of them follow you. I assure you, fighting 1 Iron Golem is hard enough as it is! Imagine fighting 3 or 4 at time! :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

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Postby Vehemence » Tue Jun 12, 2001 11:09 pm

Originally posted by ReignsOfPower:
<STRONG>So gated Pit Fiends are a 'party' now are they? :D </STRONG>


Erm, yes, well... point taken :D Still, he wasn't alone though now was he! ;)
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Postby ReignsOfPower » Wed Jun 13, 2001 12:04 am

Indeed! :D ;)

[ 06-13-2001: Message edited by: ReignsOfPower ]

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Postby KensaiRyu » Wed Jun 13, 2001 3:20 am

This thread makes me want to quit editing and get back to actually playing the game (something I have not done in a month except to bug test) except for this :

:::Maveru is standing behind KensaiRyu holding snake head whip
:::Snaps whip at KensaiRyu
:::Manveru says,"Get back to work on the expansion, NOW!"

:) he he
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Postby two » Wed Jun 13, 2001 4:17 am

Originally posted by Nighthawk:
<STRONG>I'll be interested to see how far you make it Two. It could be doable, but starting over the first time I got hit by a maze or imprison doesn't sound like much fun...

If you have summoned creatures, do mazes still instakill? I guess you can try to get them hit instead. Clearly summoning is the way to go if you're trying to make it without dying.

Also, most of the fights where you can get instakilled are ones you can avoid (Dragons, Beholders, Lich in underdark). Use of Protection from Undead should make Bohdi and her kin easy.

I'm sure if the game can be soloed in under 10 days without leveling up it can be soloed without dying.</STRONG>


Actually YES, the answer is if an enemy mage is faced with 3 skeleton warriors at point blank range, and one character (me) sitting back in the distance, the mage will attempt to maze the skeletons first. Same with Liches, Beholders.

Thus, as you said, the solution is summoned beasties to throw into the front line. If they happen to not kill the mazing/imprisoning monster themselves, they buy you enough time to do it yourself.

I don't see dragons as being insta-kill. THey don't cast maze/imprisonment...at least they never did to me before. They always kill by reducing HP's, to zero. I expect to be able to kill the black/red dragons without too much trouble using summoned monsters, a mordekainen's scroll or two, etc. If my HP's get low my contingency Tensor's goes off letting me fight more/run away. By this point I'm level 23+ so I better be able to handle a dragon or two!

Actually yes, I'm pretty sure I could go the whole way with not dying, but the point of this particular solo is preparation for TOB. I will stop my solo when I hit level 23, wait for TOB, install TOB, then continue on gaining levels. By the time I finish JonI and hit the new dungeons I will be level 26-27 I think/hope.

Oh, I'm also collecting, on a table in the copper coronet, a bunch of "useless crap" like the helm of baldurun, Dwarven Thrower, etc. The FIRST special ability my Bard will get from TOB is definately "use any item." Way cool, way good, way powerful. Makes those paladin/fighter-only weapons so collectable! Not to mention druid/mage staffs, and goofy NPC-only things like that +5 2handed sword (anti-paladin only). Sigh, I'll have to get proficiency in 2 handed sword now, if only for the +50% magic resistance. But I can't wait to use helmets, use shields, any/everything...should be fun. Bards rule.

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Postby two » Wed Jun 13, 2001 4:53 am

Originally posted by ReignsOfPower:
<STRONG>Two, let me put it this way, how exactly are you going to beat a bunch of Pit Fiends, a Green Dragon (Suldunessalar), Irenicus or even a bunch or Iron Golems? Being alone without a party is one of the most unwise things you can do! Besides, how boring would the game bee with Minsc's battle cries?!!
Sure you gain all the experience for yourself, but so? A meduim level party of 6 is much more powerful than a single ultra powerful main character.
Compare the fight with Sarevok and then compare the fight with Irenicus. I beleive Sarevok was alot harder because he had a quite strong party. Irenicus may have been a level 30 mage, but he fell down alot quicker than Sarevok. :) ;) </STRONG>


You may be right that a medium-level party is probably more powerful than a soloist, but so what? I'm not playing to maximize my party's power, obviously.

Lots of people have finished the game solo, it's not that difficult. Give almost any character the robe of reflection (makes enemy spells useless) and CromF and a smattering of improved haste, and you are dishing out 100+ hp's of damage a round and always hitting. I know from experience that a stone-skinned Bard can be surrounded by JonI's pit fiends and kill them all in melee without getting hurt much, if at all. If you use tensor's transformation, it's just overkill at that point.


As everyone realizes JonI is totally weak if you are wearing the robe of reflection. He never casts Maze/Imprisonment on me, just damage-producing spells...strange. No matter what party configuration I had, solo or not, JonI just wasn't that tough.

Iron Golems, Green Dragons...two words...Crom F. You've got it at that point, might as well use it!

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Postby two » Fri Jun 29, 2001 5:21 am

OK my Skald's journey continues:

I installed TOB! Worked fine on my Windows NT. As I said befoe, I stopped playing SOA when my Skald hit level 23, which was in the temple ruins. After TOB installed I kept going through the ruins. The Shadow Dragon fell after the following strategy:

Cast 5 skull traps in an odd locations.
Cast 4 skeleton warriors.
Send warriors to attack SD while I cast Peirce Magic #1.
Warriors getting destroyed while I cast Peirce Magic #2.
After being buffeted away, we all attack again and I get Peirce Magic #3 in.
I sang my bard song until the skeletons were destroyed, then led the SD to my skull trap nest. It walked right into them, they exploded, and end of dragon.

After levelling up my first special ability was -- duh! USE ANY ITEM. Enough said.

I ran back to the slums. After lots of running around buying and selling stuff, I ended up with the following equipment:

The scarlet ninja-to off hand. It's +3, gives an extra attack, and does poisen damage occasionally. Much better than Belm or Kundane for the +1 attack. Makes me put away DZ blade, who needs those extra spells now?

Robe of Vecna. Sure my AC is only 5 but I can insta-cast skull trap now. Also this robe does not have a problem with X of protection.

Helm of Balduran. Killer head protection, helps thatco and ac AND saving throws. Can't be beat!

I then did trademeet, my next big quest after the shadow dragon. I stole Cernd's cloak (+1 ac, +1 saving throw) after guzzling a potion of wisdom. It is better than the cloak of sewers which gives no bonus to saving throws. I'm still paranoid about saving throws, but I'm ok now. +1 helm of balduran, +1 Cerd's cloak, +2 gaax, +1 earth control, +1 amulet of protection (after Firekraag). That's low, cast a few BLUR spells and all saves are safely negative.

About BLUR by the way: great spell. Still stacks post-TOB. Must be meant to stack. This effectively makes the robe of vecna great, because low AC is trivially easy. Before any big battle I cast 3-4 blur's, get my AC to -15 or better, and saving throws way negative. The only 2nd level spells I have are BLUR and one Mirror Image. Together, plus Stoneskin, you are a melee monster.

BAD NEWS. Playing SOA after installing TOB is boring and too easy. Even if u never reload. I was just flying up the levels. 5 skeleton warriors, improved with bard song, can take out many nasties. After I did all of trademeet I was about level 27 or so. I took time trap, spike trap, went back to the promenade and took the simulacrum helm. I did the "staff of magi" quest using simulacrum+spell of magic resistance. Also used the time trap for fun. It's a poor man's time stop, works about 75% as long and is very powerful. You can get multiple uses of this per day if you keep selecting it.

Still no deaths, no reloads. I can't see dying in SOA at all, at level 27+ and some defensive spell casting, I'm pretty much untouchable. When I got the staff of magi, I generally do the following: sleep. Wake. Equip staff. Cast the defensive spell absorption spell from the staff. Re-equip with typical weapons. Now I've got 8 hours of 30 spell level protections. Nice.

I did Firekrag's dungeon. The vampires were still tricky! Ate up skeleton warriors no problem. I did some daystar sunbursting, retreating, etc. got them finally. Rest of the dungeon very easy, gained more levels, took some evasion special abilities. Got to Firekraag, he went down from the same strategy as the shadow dragon. Since my bard can wear all the anti-fire stuff now, my resistance for this encounter was over 100%.

Got Carsymor. I can use it but it's not the best weapon for me. 50% magic resistance is not worth having only 1 attack a round. I stash it in the coronet with all the other junk I've collected.

Planar sphere next, fairly easy. Lots of levels gained. Gaining levels is actually BORING. You thatco does NOT get better. You gain about 1 spell every 3 levels. The special abilities are boring too, there are only about 5 good ones, the rest are useless (magic flute? create potions? c'mon!). I am getting bored.

Level 30 finishing up the sphere. I really really want to just go to watcher's keep but need to wait for CromF. I'll race through the underdark.

Well, SOA is very easy after TOB removes the ex cap. If I had a party of 3-4 people, they would all be like, level 20 or 21 by now, doing some serious whupping. Basically TOB messes up the power curve of SOA. Soloing is very easy. Small parties will be the most powerful I think. Large parties even will get a few levels above their normal xp max.

I can't say what Watcher's Keep will bring, I'll know more in a few days/weeks after the underdark is complete. I'm just a little concerned, though. I'm going to be level 39 or 40 by the time I start it. Is this too powerful? Or is the keep THAT seriously gnarly? I hope it is, I really do.

Oh, by the way - a serious discovery here. Remember that patzer, Haer ' dalis? Whatever his name is the blade? Most people don't use him much. Well, I don't either. But -- STEAL HIS SHORT SWORD FROM HIM! I mean the one that drains dexterity. Why? The dexterity drain works THROUGH Stoneskin and THROUGH magic resistance and there is no save. I have tested this thoroughly and it really does work this way (I simulacrumed myself, had simulacrum attack me after being spelled up, did some attacks on various enemies, etc.). This is the perfect mage/dragon killer. Put Ninja-to off-hand, Chaos blade main hand. Cast improved haste. 4 attacks/round with Chaos blade. That's 8 points of dexterity drained per round. In 2 rounds the mage is dead, maybe 3 if you miss some or he's got 18 dex. This is because if any creature is drained below zero in any stat it's dead presto.

I use Chaos blade for the really tough fights against spell casters. Otherwise it's Flail of Ages or CFury.

Well, more later maybe if I'm inspired!