Icewind Dale II Play Tips
by Chris Avellone, Designer at BIS
These aren't spoilers, but they're just gameplay suggestions that might make the going a little smoother.
The hardcore role-player need not read except to amuse themselves.
1. Spend the first minute in the game reassinging all your interface buttons. Assign magic missile, assign sleep, assign the tiefling blindness innate ability, to keys and interface buttons so you can reach them easier. You will save about a half-hour of actual play time by mapping these functions to the interface and not having to dig through various sub-key menus to get to the spell or special ability you want.
2. If you are ever stuck on a quest, read your journal. The journal is pretty good about spelling out what you need to do next.
3. Whenever you encounter someone who has a store, even if it seems like nothing more than a simple temple or shrine, do the following:
a. Page through the whole store's inventory and examine each item.
b. Check for any gem bags, scroll cases, or potion bags and buy them whenever you encounter them.
4. Read the manual and understand what each character class and race can do with their special abilities. Understand how the paladin's aura works, understand what the druid shapeshifting does for healing hit points, understand why and how the monk gets their armor class bonuses, and understand why barbarian rage turns you into a human lawnmower.
5. Monks and paladins, again, do not accept monetary rewards for things.
6. Do not treat the pick pocket skill as the red-headed stepchild of the thieving trade - it's great. Just be sure to save your game before trying it.
7. Save often, if hard drive space permits. I would recommend saving before you are about to enter any new area or before speaking to important people.
8. The ALT key is the best key in the world. It will prevent you from missing containers - and highlight many hidden containers on a map.
9. Don't choose weapon skills based on what you think the game has in terms of the best weapons - care has been taken to provide cool weapons of every type in the game, even darts. Yes, I said, "darts."
10. While you will encounter ammo on your journeys, it always pays to stock up on as many weapons, bolts, and bullets as you can carry before each chapter - and sometimes in the middle.
11. Save before trying to transcribe scrolls.
12. Remember that even if you don't save, the game will sometimes save for you if it knows something bad is coming where you may need to reload. So if the game suddenly pulls a nasty surprise on you that kicks you in the shins and wipes out your party (hypothetically, of course), check the save game menu to see if the game gave you the courtesy of a reach-around.
13. Sleep, Entangle, Spike Stones, Spike Growth, Stinking Cloud, and Web can make any group of enemies wish they had never been born.
14. Summon Monster 1 may sometimes summon "dire rats." Before you roll your eyes, wait 'til you see these little dudes go.
15. Summoning elementals and demons are great, but you can't trust them without Protection from evil spells. Sometimes summoning animals, monsters, and undead is a lot better because they do what you say without question. Furthermore, if you are suddenly hit with a Dispel Magic spell, you aren't caught with your pants around your ankles when the elementals you'd summoned decide they'd rather kick the crap out of you than that horde of demons that just gated in.
16. Yes, out of all the super good-goodies in the FR, only you can save the world. So get to it.
17. Intelligence is a valuable statistic for skill points alone. A thief with a high Intelligence may embarrass your mage.
18. Orc shamans suck. Shoot them in the face with arrows as soon as they rear their ugly, pig-like faces.
19. Always have a few flasks of burning oil or lamp oil with you for trolls - because trust me, the trolls always show up when you use the last of your Burning Hands spells.
20. Role-play making your party. Despite their limitations, I have always had a half-orc in my parties because they are cool. And plus, they get great dialogue options that other races don't get.
21. Drink your potions. Otherwise, they stack up. And up. And up.