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!