Sword Coast Stratagems for Baldur's Gate 2 Walkthrough by David Milward

CHAPTER 1  |  CHAPTER 2  |  CHAPTER 3  |  CHAPTER 4  |  CHAPTER 5  |  CHAPTER 6  |  CHAPTER 7  |  CHAPTER 8  |  CHAPTER 9  |  CHAPTER 10  | 
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Chapter 5  
Underdark  |  Kuo-Toan Caves  |  Illithid City  |  Beholder Caves  |  Ust Natha  |  Leaving the Underdark  | 



Before I actually descend into the Underdark, I have Anomen and Jaheira realign their spells. There's reasons for this. Anomen changes all of his 3rd-level Clerical spells to Animate Dead. I am coming into the Underdark at a significantly lower level than many players would like for their own comfort. And indeed a good many fights in the Underdark will be harder in SCS2 for having come here sooner. However, Anomen has just recently attained 15th level, so his Animate Dead will now summon a powerful Skeleton Warrior that hits hard and has high magic resistance. Many of my tactics will be based on summoning a swarm of Skeleton Warriors that can act as meat shields and magic absorbers. Jaheira also changes all of her 3rd-level Druid spells to Protection from Fire. There will be a few fights where my party has to worry about a lot of fire damage coming their way.

Now I descend, and view a cinematic where Irenicus and Bodhi are apparently in an alliance with a Matron Mother of the Drow Elves.

Once I descend I travel in a south and east direction. I soon run into a group of Duergar Dwarves. Their leader, Carlig, is a merchant who has quite a few spell scrolls for sale that are outrageously overpriced. One of them, Spell Sequencer, is of interest to me but I hesitate to buy it for the time being. I do, however, buy the scrolls of Freedom from him as they are affordable and I need to use at least one of them to begin a quest here.


A frequent foe in the Underdark will be kuo-toans, fish-like men, some of whom have Clerical or Mage type abilities. There's a rather large group of them towards the southeast corner of the Underdark. Their members have a tendency to wander around the Underdark at large and interrupt other things I may be doing, so I may as well take them out now.

I head towards the southeast portion. Killing off the foremost kuo-toans that I see is easy enough. I go a little further and find a bridge. There's no need to rush across the bridge, and indeed it can end up being undesirable as one or two characters find themselves having to bear the brunt of several attacks when they're foremost across the bridge. Instead I plant a Cloudkill, a Skull Trap, and a Fire Storm on the other side of the bridge. This presents the kuo-toans with an uncomfortable choice between either having to take damage on the other side of the bridge, or having to come across into the waiting arms of my warriors. A kuo-toan Wizard did manage to hit the party with a Fireball, but Anomen simply picks the party back up with a Mass Cure spell.

Drow Elves

Note how Imoen changes her third-level spell slots so that they're all Skull Traps. Now I travel somewhat north and west, until I arrive just a little east of a globe-like structure. Just west of the globe will be several Drow Elves. Minsc has scouted ahead to pinpoint their location. What Drow have going for them is very good armor class, and pretty good magic resistance. And indeed this fight in SCS2 was often really tough for me when I tried to use standard tactics. SCS2 has the warriors use their potions generously. The Priestess and Fighter/Mage will have plenty of spell protections in place, and will let loose with their spells when given the opportunity.

Here is another situation where the beauty of Skull Trap can come into play. A Skull Trap will have indefinite duration until a creature comes close enough to trigger it. So, Imoen sets up a solid line of 24 Skull Traps (resting as needed) close to the Drow but not so close that they'll trigger. Casting, for example, a single Fireball on Drow during combat isn't going to do much. But setting this many Skull Traps in their path means multiple chances of beating their magic resistance and inflicting damage. The law of averages says most of them will die outright once they come on.

Even so, once the line is set, I have Anomen summon five Skeleton Warriors as a reserve plan. Avastrian then casts Haste. Once I'm ready I have Avastrian cast Cloudkill and Anomen cast Fire Storm to get the attention of the Drow. They come after me, and sure enough all but two of them die outright. One warrior charges me, but is easily cut down by my party and the Skeleton Warriors. The Fighter/Mage is protected against damage from the Skull Traps, but Keldorn removes them with his Dispel Magic ability. The Fighter/Mage then falls to the remaining Skull Traps. A potential concern with this approach is that it may leave behind a few Skull Traps that weren't triggered and that you don't necessarily want to remain there. Avastrian easily deals with this by triggering them harmlessly while wearing his Cloak of Mirroring.

The Drow leave behind a few sets of Drow Elven Chainmail (armor class 3, -1 casting times, +5% magic resistance) and a Drow Full Plate Mail +5 (armor class -4). These armors won't last past the Underdark stage of the game, but they have definite interim value while I'm in Chapter 5. I have Avastrian and Imoen equip one each of the Elven Chainmails. Anomen equips the Full Plate +5.

There will be a bridge towards the northeast corner of the Underdark. Once any creature goes halfway across the bridge, a large force of Drow will appear, with one half south of the bridge and the other half on the other side of the bridge. The approach is the same but with a slight adjustment. Imoen plants 24 Skull Traps (resting as needed) at the choke point at the north end of the bridge. The party meanwhile is remaining safe at the south end of the bridge. Once I'm ready, Anomen summons five Skeleton Warriors. Avastrian casts Haste on everybody. He then goes halfway across the bridge. The Skull Traps completely wipe out the Drow on the other side of the bridge in an instant. This leaves behind the southern Drow forces, which my party and the Skeleton Warriors are able to quickly overwhelm.

The Drow leave behind a couple of Drow Flails +2, a couple of Drow Shields +3, and a few more Drow Elven Chainmails +3 and Drow Full Plates +5. The shields aren't much of an improvement, if at all. Jaheira and Keldorn each now equip a Full Plate +5 on an interim basis. Minsc also equips a Drow Elven Chainmail +3.

The video concludes with the party heading back to the Globe.

Prison Globe

There are six facets on this globe, each of which releases a trapped prisoner (and most of them hostile). The first prisoner is Madman Aganalo. He's easy to kill, and he leaves behind Jhor the Bleeder (+2 Bastard Sword, 2 hits points damage per round until 10 points of damage done).

The second prisoner is a very powerful Drow Mage named Raevilin Strathi. He comes pre-buffed to the max, and can also cast the high-level special spells that come with Throne of Bhaal being installed. I have a certain approach for this. First, I retreat everyone well east and south of the Globe. I then buff Avastrian to the max, including Stoneskin, Protection from Petrification, Mirror Images, Spell Shield, Spell Immunity: Abjuration, and Spell Immunity: Conjuration. Jaheira adds a Death Ward. Anomen adds Remove Fear and Chaotic Commands. Meanwhile, Anomen also summons five Skeleton Warriors.

Now I send Avastrian and only one Skeleton Warrior ahead back to the Globe. Avastrian summons the Drow Mage, and the fight begins. Avastrian regroups with the party, and leaves the Skeleton Warrior to face the Drow alone. At some point the Drow Mage will cast Time Stop, but with the party well out of his fog of war. Raevilin ends up getting rid of the Skeleton Warrior with a Death Spell. This was the point behind bringing in only one of the Skeleton Warriors, to bait Raevilin into expending his Death Spell.

Once that happens, I send the rest of the Skeleton Warriors in against Raevilin. Imoen also summons a Nishruu, and sends it in to begin draining away Raevilin's spells. Raevilin may once in a while try to catch up to the party, like he does here. If that happens I simply have the party run away, and keep the Nishruu and Skeleton Warriors on top of him. The Drow Mage's spell protections eventually wear off, and his spells begin to run out, so that it's only a matter of time before the Skeleton Warriors cut him down.

*Note* It is also possible to avoid a fight with him if a Cleric casts Heal on him soon enough. This action would earn the party 15,000xp and a Bastard Sword +1. But I prefer to kill him since I get more xp for it.

Next up is a Githyanki named Riti, who's also easy to kill. He leaves behind the Backbiter (3 points piercing damage on wielder for every successful hit), and a scroll of Improved Haste.

The fourth prisoner is a Lich named Alchra Diagott. The approach is pretty much the same as with Raevilin Strathi. One thing to keep in mind is that Alchra will have two instances of Death Spell memorized. But with the party being out of sight during his Time Stop, he ends up expending both on the same Skeleton Warrior. After that I'm good to go. Another thing to keep in mind is he can cast Imprisonment, so I am sure to keep the party well away from him whenever possible. He leaves behind scrolls of Summon Nishruu, Spell Turning, and Delayed Blast Fireball.

Another prisoner is a Deep Gnome named Badlen Dagglefodd. No matter what dialogue option I choose, he heads back to his village.

I don't show it in this video, but there is a sixth facet that is hard to find (x=2030, y=1850). It releases a fighter, Gont of Riatavin, who can easily be talked into leaving peacefully.

Spore Colonies and Myconids

West of the Globe will be three Spore Colonies, each of which can continuously spawn Red or Blue Myconids. Standing in their midst will be a Myconid King. An individual Myconid, which can cause Confusion in a single party member, isn't especially dangerous. But the Spore Colonies can spawn enough Myconids to make the situation at best annoying, and at worst pretty dire if multiple party members get confused. Here I show a safe method for it. Anomen summons five Skeleton Warriors, which enjoy immunity to mind-affecting spells. Anomen then casts Chaotic Commands on both Avastrian and Jaheira. They then lead the Skeleton Warriors ahead, leaving the rest of the party behind, and dispatch the Colonies and Myconids with little trouble.

Therndle Dagglefold

Now I travel towards the northwest portion of the Underdark and gain entry to the Deep Gnome village. I search the various crates along the way, scoring a little gold and a Wakizashi +1.

There will be a large building in the middle of the village, with a west half and an east half. I go to the west half first. I speak with Derndle Dagglefodd, who rewards me with Bracers of A.C. 4. This will make a good interim item for Avastrian after he emerges from the Underdark. It will also end up as an ingredient for the Gloves of the Master Thief. Therndle also runs a store that sells spell scrolls. The ones I bought from him were:


Now I head over to the east half of the building. I have Imoen loot the crates and cabinets before I do any talking, and she scores a scroll of Pierce Magic and a couple of Sunstones along the way. I keep the Sunstones, since they're an ingredient for a useful shield available under the Item Upgrade mod.

I then speak with Goldander Blackenrock. He wants me to kill a 'monster out of nightmares' that was revived after the Deep Gnomes dug too deep in a certain spot. He gives me a Scroll of Stoneshape to seal the cave after I kill the monster.

So I head out. Imoen loots a few chests and crates to the east, and discovers a Ring of Folly (sets Intelligence and Wisdom to 3, cannot be removed except by a Remove Curse spell).

I continue on towards the northeast and find the cave the monster was found in, which is actually a Balor. In SCS2, Balors are given the full range of capabilities they had in the AD&D Monster Manual - 2nd edition. They can inflict vorpal hits. They keep themselves surrounded by an Aura of Flaming death at all times. They can also cast spells like Fire Storm and Symbol: Stun. The former spell can indeed be devastating it if catches the entire party in the small cave. Also, it can only be hit by +3 or better weapons.

This fight can be a good deal tougher for a party that comes earlier to the Underdark. So I make some preparations first in addition to the usual. Anomen casts Remove Fear, and then summons five Skeleton Warriors. Imoen and Minsc cast Protection from Fire on themselves. Jaheira casts the spell on the remaining party members. Jaheira, Anomen, Keldorn, and Minsc gulp down Potions of Giant Strength. Minsc equips the Impaler, which is a +3 weapon. Keldorn uses the Rod of Lordly Might to create for himself the +3 spear that inflicts extra magic damage. Avastrian tops everything with a Haste spell.

Now I click on the hole twice to start the fight. With all of the buffs in place, I am able to chop it down rather quickly. Jaheira uses the Stoneshape Scroll to seal the cave.

I give the good news to Goldander, who rewards me with the Skullcrusher (+3 mace, extra +2 damage to humanoids). Anomen equips this, and indeed he now has the luxury of choice. Skullcrusher becomes his usual weapon, but he can change over to the Mace of Disruption when facing the undead. Every party member also gets 25,000xp.


Now I head over near to where I first met Carlig. Imoen uses one of her scrolls of Freedom. This releases a Mage named Vithal, who apparently got himself magically imprisoned while in search of treasure. The short of it is that he wants my help to continue his search for the treasure, and to make a start by finding his Book of Rituals.

I go back to the Innkeeper at the Deep Gnome village, and buy back the book from him for 300gp. I come back near to where Vithal first appeared. This quest is a good deal tougher in SCS2 than in vanilla BG2, so Anomen summons five Skeleton Warriors as meat shields.

I return the book to Vithal, and he bids me to join him at a nearby Earth Elemental Gate. A Greater Earth Elemental comes through the gate, helped by a few other Earth Elementals. The Greater Earth Elemental can protect itself with Stoneskin, and can cast Earthquake as well. I won't be able to kill it right away, so I take away its help first by taking down the other Earth Elementals. I can then overwhelm the Greater Elemental. I never hesitate to have my party members drink Potions of Extra Healing when they've taken damage.

Vithal returns and bids me to follow him to the Fire Elemental Gate. I soon have to fight a Greater Fire Elemental that can cast spells like Fireball and Flame Strike, as well as a few other Fire Elementals. As with the other battle I take out the other Fire Elementals first to remove the help, and then overwhelm the Greater Fire Elemental.

Vithal returns and bids me to follow him to the Air Elemental Gate. I do, and then have to fight a Greater Air Elemental and a few Air Elementals. The Greater Air Elemental can cast Chain Lightning, and also has a wind attack that can push back and knock down multiple party members. As always, remove the help and then overwhelm the Greater Air Elemental.

Once it's over I have two Avastrian and two Skeleton Warriors remain by the Gate. The rest of the party retreats to a safe distance.

Vithal soon returns, and tries to con me by offering only a Rod of Absorption (one charge to absorb 9 levels of spells for 4 rounds). I press further, and convince him to give me spell scrolls for Simulacrum and Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting. The latter spell is a devastating area-effect damage spell and is also party-friendly. This will be one of Imoen's main weapons over the course of the game. I force a confrontation with him to squeeze the utmost benefit for myself.

I sick the two closest Skeleton Warriors on him, forcing him to expend a Death Spell. Rather fortuitously, he hasn't included Improved Invisibility in his pre-buffs. So Jaheira is able to target him directly with Insect Plague. Imoen promptly summons a Nishruu as well, and sicks it on Vithal. These two tactics together suffice to drain Vithal of many of his higher-level spells. At some point the Insect Plague wears off. Vithal then gets rid of the Nishruu with another Death Spell, and then summons a Mordenkainen's Sword.

This forces the party to retreat, and wait it out while the sword attacks. At some point, Vithal follows. I then decide to end it as quickly as possible. Avastrian casts Haste, and then the party charges Vithal, even though he still has his Fire Shields in place. The party is soon able to overwhelm him, with a willingness to gulp down a Potion of Extra Healing or two if they've taken enough damage from the Fire Shields.

Vithal leaves behind a Skull of Death (Death Spell once a day), and spell scrolls for Incendiary Cloud and Time Stop. Incendiary Cloud will be an awesome lingering damage spell for Imoen. I don't scribe the Time Stop scroll right away. I instead have Avastrian place it in one of his quick-item spots, since this can make for wonderful tactics in conjunction with a Simulacrum spell (via Vhailor's Helm).

As for where to go next, I don't want to go to Ust Natha just yet. The reason being that many of the quests in Ust Natha are time sensitive, including those quests that involve other dungeons bordering the main Underdark area. I thus want to explore those other dungeons first, which will ease my time restrictions for when I do enter Ust Natha. This also has the additional benefit of me scoring some very useful equipment earlier on.

I make a beginning by heading for the kuo-toan Caves.

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