Icewind Dale II Basic Tips
by Chris Avellone, Designer at BIS
hints for Icewind Dale II?
Now since I designed a large chunk of the first area of the game you're going to find yourselves in, I thought I would crap out some common-sense adventuring advice and some not-so-common-sense adventuring advice once you step off the ship and run around like a jaybird along the cliffs of Targos.
The following general advice can help you in your adventuring in Icewind Dale II. I know all you hardcore special forces RPGers have heard this junk a million times, so you can test out of this class and skip the next few paragraphs. If you need a refresher course, read on.
Tips for the Icewind Dale II Adventurer
Save Often: You may have heard this so often your ears are numb, but it's a philosophy that pays off. Whenever possible, save, and even better, try to do save games in a different slot. You'll thank yourself later that you saved the game right before you were ambushed by that score of fireball-hurling wizards and their death-monk bodyguards. Nothing hurts more than losing two or three hours worth of playtime and having to go back to an older save game.
Wear Clothes: Do not play Icewind Dale II naked. C'mon, really. Keep your "Heart of Fury" where it belongs, no matter how hot that female halfling portrait is.
Pick Pockets: If you're not burdened by a guilty conscience, a good Pick Pocket skill will serve you well in most inhabited places in the game, where you might need to supplement your income without harming anyone in the process. Just be sure to save your game first in case you are detected. You can often get some extra arms, potions, and even UNIQUE KNICK-KNACKS by pick pocketing certain characters in the game, making the Pick Pocket skill especially useful.
Stay Sober: It is not funny to intoxicate your Dreadmaster, then go into multiplayer games and start casting Finger of Deaths willy-nilly. Some players get really angry about this.
ALT key: The ALT key is the greatest hotkey in the game. Just hold it down, and ALL doors and containers and ground items in the area are highlighted. You should always keep your left pinky hovering over the ALT key and stab it occasionally while playing to see if you've missed anything.
Containers: You may not be able to carry all the stuff you find on your adventurers. Whenever possible, try to stake out a container in the nearby vicinity and dump all the excess loot you can find into it. If you don't do this, you risk the chance that items lying on the ground will vanish over time.
Combat: The space bar is your friend. When you see an enemy, hit it, and then drag your cursor over your opponents to see what you're up against. Whenever possible, it's best to aim for wizards, archers, and missile troops first with your missile weapons, then move on to other opponents. Stopping time in the middle of the battle is like being in the MATRIX!
"Blah blah blah, but Chris, I KNOW all this because I'm hardcore! I am!"
Well, smart guy, do you know... THIS?
The following information is presented as an aid to beginning adventurers in Targos. Targos is the first town in Icewind Dale II. If you'd rather walk into Targos cold with no potential spoilers, then stop reading here and skip on to the next section, which I hear is funny and filled with drunk icons.
Choose the Right Weapon: Just because a Bastard Sword does twice as much damage as a dagger doesn't mean it's better. If your character doesn't have the feat for proficiency in using a Bastard Sword, chances are you're going to have a lot of difficulty hitting your enemies. If given a choice between using a weapon you have a martial weapon feat in vs. one you don't, go with the sure bet - any goblins you encounter probably aren't tough enough to survive a strike from a dagger anyway.
Resting: Your party needs rest in order to recover spells and heal. Not only can you rest on the Wicked Wench under Hedron's watchful eye (the Wicked Wench is the ship you sail into port on - and Hedron is the effeminate sailor who is your "captain," if you know what I mean), but you may be able to rest elsewhere in town, provided no hostile critters are in the area.
Bashing Doors and Containers: If you encounter a locked door or container and your characters are miserable at picking locks, the door and the container can still be bashed open. To do this, simply click on the attack icon at the bottom of the main screen, then select the door or container you wish to bash open. Your character will "attack" the door, and if he or she is strong enough, you'll bash it open.
Talk to Everyone: Talk to everyone you meet. Chances are each one has some piece of information that can aid you. This information may SEEM innocuous at first, but trust me, it may open up additional dialogue options later on. And knowing is half the battle.
Talk to Everyone When Things Change: If the town happens to be in the middle of an attack, chances are no one will have time to speak to you. Sometimes it's best to speak to them again when an emergency has passed - they may prove to be more informative then.
Journal: Your journal can prove helpful if you get stuck. If you're not sure how to complete a quest, simply look at the information in your journal and see if it provides any clues for where to go, what to do, or who to talk to next. Your journal's your friend... use it.
Charisma Based Skills: Charisma-based skills, like Bluff, Intimidate, and Diplomacy, will allow you to reap greater financial rewards from quests in Targos as well as short-circuit some quests simply by persuading people to let you do things "your way." You won't lose any experience by doing things this way - in fact, you'll be rewarded for using your Charisma-based skills to bend the quests you encounter to your will. Isn't that cool? Sure it is!
Stubborn NPCs: Some of the folk in Targos are as stubborn as a mule. If you can't get them to help you, or if you can't convince them of something, you may want to switch to a high Charisma or Intelligent character and let them do the talking. Drow and Duergar may encounter prejudice but don't let it get you down.
Paladins: Paladins have a number of special abilities, but a great many of these abilities stem from their selfless, altruistic natures. You may notice that any quests that paladins undertake in Targos glean you little in the way of gold (though you'll still get experience points for completing the quests). If you're a money-hound, make sure you have someone else in your party broach accepting missions and quests - and be the one to speak to the quest-giver once the mission is completed.
Monks: Monks suffer the same limitation as paladins - their orders, no matter how evil or self-serving, do not allow for the accumulation of material wealth. This is a completely arbitrary decision that has made Dave Maldonado hunger for my death on many occasions. If you'd like to get paid for your missions, it's best if you do not have the monk be the one "accepting" the reward, or else they will simply refuse it.
Sleep: Resting is important. So is the SLEEP spell. In fact, SLEEP is proving to be the most painless way to deal with legions of goblins and orcs you may encounter in your travel - when offered a choice of spells, make sure you choose... SLEEP. Now available with no bad aftertaste or unfortunate side effects.
I had some "funny" development humor before someone reminded me that developer humor isn't funny, even to developers. As an example, I went in to see smilin' Bernie Weir (our lead programmer) the other day for help on how to turn my computer on, and he was chuckling about "expensive math" that he had to remove from some programming calculations. Huh? What the hell is funny about "expensive math?" Then I realized he was laughing at me because I wasn't wearing any pants. Again.