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More IWD2 spell discussion

Discussion in 'Icewind Dale 2' started by SlickRCBD, May 12, 2022.

  1. SlickRCBD Gems: 26/31
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    Taking this here because it's getting confusing discussing IWD1 and IWD2.


    I don't think it's 70%, I doubt it's more than 2/3.
    I should also point out that Entangle is a 1st level spell, and in the beginning most of your fighting is taking place outdoors, making it really useful for the palisade battle, and all of chapter 2 in the Shangarn River area except for that one cave. It's still useful outside the horde fortress, and in the climatic battle at the top at the end of chapter 3.
    Stinking Cloud on the other hand was made a 3rd level spell despite not being any better than Web. Yes, it has a slightly larger AoE, but web has a save penalty. The problem is that you can't use Stinking Cloud until level 5, while Entangle can be memorized at level 1(or level 6 if you're a ranger).
    Also don't forget Grease. While it only slows the enemy, after casing entangle, web, and stinking cloud, grease can help keep the enemies in the kill zone while the druid is casting spike growth or the like. There's a good chance that if they make their saving throw for web, entangle, and/or stinking cloud, the grease spell will slow them down enough that they'll be forced to save again before exiting the kill zone. Thus giving you another chance to fire missiles at a helpless enemy, or at least keep them out of the fight while you deal with their companions. Really useful in the big battles like the Shangarn Bridge, fighting Torak (might be misspelled, the orc leader in the first area of chapter 2), and the Horde Fortress Roof. If you do it right, it's less useful against Sherical and her cohorts because you can keep them stuck on top of those conveyor belts.
     
  2. gibberishh Gems: 3/31
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    Thanks!

    Below I have focused on my usage of Entangle -- but obviously I use it in combination with other spells even though I don't mention them.

    Well, 70% isn't too far from 66.66%, is it? Shall we compromise and settle on 65%? :p

    Targos, Shaengarne, and on the way to Ice Temple you get maximum use out of outdoor spells. Then you have to remember to unmemorize it for Goblin Warrens. If you're attentive, you will remember to memorize it again for the Horde Fortress exterior, and then unmemorize it again. If you're inattentive, maybe you forgot to unmemorize it for Goblin Warrens and will find it useful outside.

    After that you are outside only occasionally. Just outside Wandering Village are the wolves which are dangerous, but Color Spray works just fine with them. Entangle could be useful for them though -- my rogue sets up entangle traps behind the party for the wolves that spawn later. My arcanists set up skull traps and some cloud or other on top of the rogue traps for those same wolves.

    Wandering Village is all outdoors, but other than 2 battles with Limha and the barbarians, you are mostly dealing with undead. If you have a cleric in your party, your level will be good enough by now to turn them. I never play with Paladins so I don't know if their Turn level will be effective enough. Either way, entangle is not too useful because most of them are archers.

    Immediately after wandering village (Cold Marshes) it's useful -- and again you have to be attentive enough to memorize/unmemorize the spell because you will be going indoors very soon. I don't like to rest just to switch a spell out. I usually don't rest at all throughout Wandering Village until I reach the monastery's Eight Chambers. Cold Marshes has good troll and barbarian battles plus a few spiders, but because I don't like resting, I make do with the spells I memorized long ago. By now I have enough webs, and Sunscorch is more useful than entangle to finish off trolls when I run out of fireballs.

    You don't need entangle outside the Black Raven monastery because there's just a few non-hostile wyverns to deal with.

    Then there's the underdark and Z'Hinda Citadel. You could memorize Entangle for the battle where Oswald is waiting for you.

    Kuldahar is full of undead too. My cleric had enough Turn Undeads to take care of the whole map on her own, with a few seconds of wandering between each to allow them to bunch up.

    In Jungles of Chult you don't need Entangle because there are just three low-level mobs. Again, if you are attentive, you will remember to memorize it before defeating the guardian -- as soon as you defeat it, the game automatically rests the party and you have to get out very quickly. So you can't memorize it after. As soon as you return to Kuldahar, Entangle is very useful for the battles against Cedra's minions.

    Dragon's Eye is all indoors. I don't think Entangle is effective in the Holy Avenger battle. So the next place to use it is Fields of Slaughter. And that's it. Severed Hand is all indoors.

    Of course, all this only applies to how I played 24 hours ago. Now that I've bought a Wand of Entangle, I use it everywhere! I believe I bought it in Kuldahar -- probably from Nathaniel, but I'm not sure. I was like, "Why is the game trying to sell me this wand when there's very little outdoors left? Let's buy it and try it."
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2022
  3. gibberishh Gems: 3/31
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    Oh gosh. I forgot about this. Dragon's eye level 1 gives you 21 sanctuary potions!! Each yuan-ti pureblood thief drops one. I've just been through the level on Insane difficulty and I now have 21 potions in my bag. :D
     
  4. SlickRCBD Gems: 26/31
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    I know this is the wrong game, but I recall complaining about running out of invisibility potions in Baldur's Gate II:Shadows of Amn some years back.
    It's why you don't want to rely on invisibility potions or sanctuary potions, or anything else that doesn't have regenerating uses per day or that you can purchase an infinite amount of from the stores (like basic healing potions or non-enchanted missiles, although in the latter I tend to find more normal arrows than I could ever use if you use tweaks pack for infinite stacking, although bolts tend to be a bit rarer, but I tend to only need to buy bullets and my initial load of darts. Darts users can rely on the returning frost darts, axe users on Haft-Over-Head, and later other returning axes.)
    Yes, those potions are great in a pinch, but not as your normal strategy.
    Spells regenerate with rest, but only a mage/thief or cleric/thief can rely on that.
     
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    The gameplay is vastly different in IWD2. It continuously gives you good enchanted missiles of all kinds, so many that you can't possibly use them all up. It also gives you returning missiles of all kinds, spread nicely throughout the game. After my initial stack of normals, I never need to buy any.

    In IWD2, I use spells or casts-per-day items for all out-of-combat setup. Items or potions for in-combat. As mentioned earlier, in IWD2 the rogue doesn't need to have cleric or mage points because sanctuary is not a personal spell and invisibility never was. The potions are for me to setup for the second backstab, which was a wee bit trickier because there are very few invisibility potions in IWD2.

    Having a rogue/mage in IWD2 learn mirror image + invisibility is nice, but not as crucial as in the other games. It makes it easier to go invisible while in the middle of a mob, but there are many items with casts-per-day that let you do that, especially since sanctuary works exactly like invisibility with a time limitation. (more items with sanctuary than invisibility afaik) A pure rogue can equip most such items.

    However, just like in other games, I don't know why one would level up a pure rogue to 30. There seems to be no advantage to advancing a pure-class rogue very far. There are no kits like assassin in IWD2. Their traps are the shittiest and don't develop with levels -- although you can 'cast' them from afar like skull trap which is the weirdest trap implementation I've ever seen. I don't think IWD2 has a backstab multiplier like the EE games (it uses 3E sneak attack rules which I am not very clear on). And you don't need a very high level rogue to be able to disarm and unlock everything. As long as your race is favored for your class, you're better off putting points into another class.
     
  6. SlickRCBD Gems: 26/31
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    As you mentioned, there is no backstab, only sneak attack.
    The rules are in the manual, but basically if you sneak up on them by being invisible, hidden in the shadows, or using Sanctuary you get your sneak attack bonus. Also if you are flanking the enemy.
    So if you have your tank engage an enemy, you can have a rogue maneuver so that he's behind the enemy while he's engaged with your party member and you'll get sneak attack bonuses even though you aren't hidden.
    I love to give monks a level or three of rogue for this.
    As for sneak attack multipliers, IIRC you only get a fixed damage bonus rather than a multiplier like in earlier games. Every other level you get an extra 1d6, plus there are feats to enhance this like inflict slow on the enemies that you make a successful sneak attack on. (Don't underestimate inflicting slow on enemy fighters, it denies them their multiple attacks per round, although it's less useful against spellcasters. ) The catch is that you need 10 levels of rogue, and like you I find it's better to have only 3 levels of rogue before taking another class like fighter or monk, and taking no more than 10 levels of rogue maximum, and not consecutively, but interspersed with the other class. A couple levels of sneak attack really enhance a monk who get "hide in the shadows" as a class skill.

    I also think I outright said that I only ever seem to need to buy bullets for slings, I find more than enough arrows that I never need to buy them at all by using normal arrows unless the enemy has a resistance (or it's a tough fight where I use the "special" arrows) and giving anyone that has proficiency in bows a bow, and there are enough bolts for one or two crossbow users.
    Given that unlike earlier games clerics, druids, and magic-users can use crossbows there is less of a need to rely on slings and darts. I tend to try to have one sling and dart user to be able to make use of the enchanted bullets and darts I find, but I'm not above giving them an alternate ranged weapon in the beginning to use what I've got for free, especially darts because of their short range. Heck, I've taken the strategy of giving my main tank the worst bow I've got (it gets upgraded after all the other party members get first dibs, and they get the hand-me-downs), and all the throwing axes and the darts. They get only normal arrows for places like where you fight Torgas' orcs from range, but use the short-ranged axes and darts for some early damage before switching to melee when possible.

    I find a rogue useful, but mostly as a mix-in. They tried by giving rogue-only feats that generally require high-level rogues, but they often aren't worth investing in 10 levels of rogue.
     
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    Aaah, I must've misunderstood/skimmed over... more likely a combination of the two.

    I prefer my main tank to have a blunt weapon (although in my current run he's an axe-wielding dwarf). I like blunts because they are better against undead and constructs. So my usual weapon of choice for the tank is a hammer and returning throwing hammer because the same proficiency works for both. Right now I'm on axe and returning axe. At very high levels, after I have all critical proficiencies, I'll put a second pip into the opposing school (slashing for my blunt tank or blunt for my slashing tank). The secondary choice doesn't have to correspond with a thrown weapon for me. So I could put it into flails (some of which do more than one type of damage depending on what heads they have attached) or an off-hand sword that would give me an extra APR.

    If my tank is sharing missiles with other party members (bow, sling, etc.), he always gets the worst of the lot because he is expected to shoot from range only at helpless or near-helpless monsters standing in a toxic cloud. Otherwise his job is to tank, which means toe-to-toe. He dare not try to shoot a missile at melee range (-8 penalty in IWD2, -4 with precise shot, which you should take only when you have no other feat left to take).

    Slings give less APR than other (high level) missile weapons, but my personal preference is blunt damage over piercing. I've recently forced myself to play with bows and xbows for other party members instead of all of them wielding slings -- they are good and I haven't faced any major difference in gameplay, but my brain is hardwired to blunts and I just feel better with slings. One thing I have never used in any game ever is darts. First, it doesn't feel right because IRL you can't kill someone with darts unless they are laced with a very lethal poison (okay, same goes for slings but I'm choosing to ignore that). Second is their puny range. Even a throwing knife has better range than darts (or at least it seems so), though in some games they weigh a lot without mods until you find a returning type.

    Rogue monks are very good. Though I usually use a wizard to solo the eight chambers, a rogue monk is also very adept at it. If using a rogue monk, I switch to an arcane caster for the spider chamber though. There's just too many of them to bother with hand-to-hand combat. I find 3-4 Fireballs just too convenient for it. Or even Snilloc's Snowball Swarm -- one of the very few places I use that spell if I remember to memorize it in advance. Monks of any kind are also good at Battle Square.

    I should add a disclaimer that I'm emotionally attached to pure-class thieves. It's why I end up playing as an Assassin in games where that option is available. The first tabletop DND ruleset game I ever played, I was a thief and loved it. That is why I get constantly peeved at finding no use for high level thieves. The game was simply called Dungeons & Dragons and came in a predominantly blue colored box. It was also my first encounter with 8-sided and 20-sided die. [First game was Hero Quest as a dwarf, so I'm emotionally attached to dwarves too, but that was not based on any DND ruleset afaik and there was no thief.]
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2022
  8. SlickRCBD Gems: 26/31
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    Rogues are fun in P&P, but they are support characters, and in most CRPGs support characters seem to get the short stick. Rogues, buffers, and debuffers all tend to get screwed in CRPGs.
    I've only seen a few games where buffing and debuffing focused characters that don't do a lot of damage themselves and can't absorb or evade damage directly are strong and worthwhile. Usually the problem is that their buffs/debuffs cost resources that will run out if you use them in every fight, so you're stuck with a weak character until a major battle or boss fight. Also an issue with mages like Tellah in Final Fantasy IIUS/IVJ.
    With Rogues, they don't fight as well as other characters and most of the game is about combat.

    Moving on to slings.
    Early on, as in until you start fighting the undead around the Wandering Village, there are few if any enemies where slings have an advantage. Bows are actually better because you get two attacks per round.
    I tend to use whatever ranged weapons I can find without spending money as you will find at least a sling+1 by the time you reach the Wandering Village. The main issue is that the game throws tons of arrows at you, but only warriors, thieves, and elves can use bows. Crossbow bolts are rarer, but sufficient to support one or two crossbow wielders.
    Still, you get a light and heavy crossbow in Targos and a few bolts, so I tend to equip and use those on characters that can't use bows. However because of the restrictions and that you get more arrows than you can use for free, anybody that can use a bow does use one.
    I like to horde the special ammo for tough fights, and like to start using the special ammo with masterwork ammo first but if it's a tough fight I'll equip whatever is best. I make a point to save the generic +2 or better ammo for the foes that require it so it's available when I need it and fire off the masterwork, +1, or oddball stuff like the lightning bolts or fire arrows first so that if I find something that needs +3 weapons to overcome damage resistance, I've got +3 ammo available and haven't wasted it on mooks. Actually I save the fire arrows for foes that are weak to fire, although I don't waste them on the winter wolves unless it's a tough fight and I need to take them out quicker. Note also that a druid or ranger using animal friendship can also easily neutralize winter wolves who might even attack an enemy and/or soak some damage.

    Doing it this way, and favoring the cheapest stuff first (especially normal non-magic missiles) unless I really need it, I never need to buy arrows or bolts, although I sometimes need to buy some normal bullets in the beginning.

    On the other hand, I do have my mages take potshots with crossbows and normal bolts quite often, especially at lower levels. If they aren't casting spells, they are firing missiles at the enemy. Their BAB is horrible, but it's better than standing around doing nothing. There is an exception if I manage to make an enemy helpless (paralyzed, stunned, unconscious, etc.) that is on the front line, I might have my mage engage in melee with the helpless foe to take it out before they can recover while the rest of the party with better BAB concentrates on active threats. That way the mage is actually contributing when not spell-casting, but again, I only do this if it is relatively safe.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2022
  9. gibberishh Gems: 3/31
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    All very good points. As I said, my brain is just hardwired to blunt damage. I have no good reason to use slings except the personal bias. And I've been working hard to get away from it in my last 2 + current runs.

    I'm contemplating doing one full IWDEE campaign with 2 assassins + 1 mage/thief + 1 cleric/thief ONLY. Different races, different primary roles, different melee/missile weapons, all backstabbers. It will be a challenge, but I want to see how far I can get before dying. If I die too often, I'll add another mage/thief to the party. I think there's enough buffing/hiding scrolls for a second mage/thief. Maybe I'll drop it to core difficulty.

    Yes, Fighter/M/T and Fighter/C/T would make it very easy, but that's not the point. I want to see how much a band of thieves (or thieves' guild if you please) can do on their own, having to spread out limited equipment among themselves. For flavor, I could add some sub-class of bard into the party (thieves' guild that travels with their personal entertainment in an era without MP3 players or smartphones).

    Don't want to do it in IWD2 because those rogues are just so basic. In IWD2, I would end up with a few levels of rogue and many levels of monk, mage, cleric, druid, etc. So by level 15, I would inadvertently end up with the same party I have now. I see no reason to punish myself for that.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2022
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