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Playing with SCSII - it's hard!

Discussion in 'BG2: Throne of Bhaal (Classic)' started by Dr_Asik, Nov 23, 2011.

  1. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    I'm trying my hand at BG2 with SCSII installed. I first tried it on insane and it was just too painful to bear. I reduced the difficulty to "Core Rules" which is the lowest I'll go, but still, I'm having a very difficult time with most battles.

    For example, the Slavers Stockade, which is usually my first quest in Chapter 2. It seems all the guards hit more often and harder: the mages dispel my buffs and go on to cast confusion, haste on their companions, etc. I eventually got through but only with abusive save-reloading.

    Any good strategies to share? I used to just buff before battles but that doesn't work great when mages dispel them all.

    My current party is:
    - myself (Zeckul, Berserker 5/Cleric something)
    - Minsc
    - Jaheira
    - Yoshimo
    - Aerie
     
  2. Son of Imoen Gems: 4/31
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    SCSII indeed makes the game more difficult, but it is tweakable. Installing all components on your first trying out might make it too difficult. Off course you need answers to your questions of how to do tactics (I myself am more proficient in asking than talking about tactics). But it's also worth noting, that for a first time playing with SCSII, you might want to try out using the smarter AI, smarter mages & priests without all the 'improved battles'. Secondly, the 'pre-buffed' enemy mages variant of the smarter mages is a lot harder than the variant 'mages don't pre-buff'. For a first experience with SCS, not installing the pre-buffing makes battles more doable. And a tactic that works with mages who do the buffing when battle starts instead of 5 or more protective spell at the blink of an eye as soon as they turn hostile is, the tactic of trying to disrupt their spellcasting with silence by a cleric while your mages let of magic missiles, does work.

    This particular battle, the slaver's battle, I usually start with a web to one side and a fireball ball to another side of the room to soften up the attack and a silence spell cast in the area where the casters stand. And if you use a potion of fiery burning instead of the spell, you free up your mage to hurl a magic missile as soon as the mage starts casting.
     
  3. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    Yeah I installed the variant with pre-buffing, but I'm not sure I really want to deal with mages who are already protected from everything in every fight. Not every battle should be a difficult tactical fight, it gets tedious. I just want something more interesting than the trivial vanilla game.
     
  4. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

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    I would remove the pre-buffing component if I were you. I would even think about going back to non Smarter Mages. Reason being, as you say, it gets tedious if every battle with a mage involves breaching their defenses, anti invisibility, then breaching their defenses again, then killing them. I dont know, sometimes I dont feel like the challenge!

    But SCS II is at least highly configurable. At the very least, install things like Smarter Dragons, although I stay away from improved vampires because they are a little OP. or just irritating.
     
  5. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
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    Am I the only one who thought the OP was trying to play the game on a computer with a SCSI hard drive and couldn't get it to work? :geezer:
     
  6. Bsisi Gems: 5/31
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  7. SlickRCBD Gems: 25/31
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    me either.
     
  8. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    Well I've uninstalled the pre-buff version but kept smarter mages in. When I played this game the first time I didn't really have to learn how all the spell protections and anti-protections work, because I had Keldorn with Carsomyr, and his Dispel Magic at 2x his level + Dispel on hit meant I generally had it easy vs mages. Plus I played the vanilla game, on normal difficulty.

    I mainly installed SCSII so I would have to really learn how to play, and it's definitely helping in that regard. :p

    I'm wondering in what order should I proceed with the myriad of side-quests in Shadows of Amn. I started with the Circus, the Slavers, the Tanner in Bridge District, then we went to the De'Arnise Hold (the final battle took me an hour but it was overall manageable). Now I'm not sure where to go next.

    I'm an evil berserker/cleric so I'd like to gain my cleric stronghold as well, but that implies dealing with the Unseeing Eye and that guy seems nigh-invulnerable in SCS2, from what I've read on forums. Then there's the temple with the Shadow Dragon at the end, and there's the other dungeon with Firkraag. I had trouble dealing with a single Yuan-Ti mage inside the De'Arnise keep so I don't think I'd fare very well against any sort of dragons at this point.

    Our party is around lvl9, and consists of:
    Zeckul - Berserker 5 / Cleric 9
    Minsc
    Jaheira
    Viconia
    Jan Jansen

    And I leave room for quest-related party members (Nalia, Mazzy etc). Ultimately I want Edwin and Korgan in. Keldorn is out of the question, being bent on destroying evil and all that.

    Anyway as I said I'm wondering in what order to proceed. Should we just continue with the main quest and come back when we're higher level?

    ---------- Added 3 hours, 3 minutes and 11 seconds later... ----------

    Well I decided to go ahead and do the Renald Bloodscalp quest. It seems to be designed to be easily doable with a party fresh out of Irenicus' dungeon, and it has been very easy overall. Some nice xp and gold, not much in terms of items though.

    Still looking for suggestions for what next! Now that we have recruited Edwin, we could get Korgan in as well (to replace Minsc) and go do both their quests in the graveyard (Nether Scroll and Book of Kaza). With 2 berserkers in the party, we shouldn't have much trouble vs all the undead there no?
     
  9. Son of Imoen Gems: 4/31
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    I did the chapter 2 quests in about the same order as you did and after that I did the Unseeing Eye quest, but I did skip the 'Improved Unseeing Eye' component when installing SCSII. As it was my first time playing BGII, I skipped components that seemed too difficult for a first-timer. If you have all components of SCSII installed, your game will be harder than mine and I can't give you the right advice, except 'you can try and uninstall the component if it proves too hard'. My 2 cents.
     
  10. Proteus_za

    Proteus_za

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    One word of advice - dont install the improved Shade Lord. Even with a party that could kill the Shadow Dragon, I found him near unbeatable.
     
  11. Voy Gems: 5/31
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    I also installed smart mages but didn't let them insta-buff when fight starts, I think the mod has some right ideas but we will see in practise :) would be nice to see some improvement in enemy AI
     
  12. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    So I recruited Korgan and went to the lower tombs. It was basically a piece of cake, save for the Lich. The Lich has several Protection From Magical Weapons, casts Time Stop, summons Glabrezus (that cast teleportation and mirror image), cannot be targeted with spells because it's invisible, even with True Sight on, and dispels our own protections.

    The only strategy I found was to summon skeletons and Jaheira's Fire Elemental, and send them one at a time while staying out of visual range. This would slow the Lich down enough that eventually he'd run out of Protection From Magical Weapons and we could hit him. That felt pretty lame though, and required quite a bit of luck to pull out. Any safer strategies? We couldn't dispel his protections because he was invisible, and True Sight didn't help this time, for some strange reason.

    Jan Jansen was then called home and we did his little quest. No problem there.

    We headed off to Trademeet and did the Animals (evil path) and Djinni in Trademeet quests. We could only succeed against Adratha by exiting the building and waiting out her nastier spells, again, pretty lame.

    We then went to the Umar Hills and did all the quests there except for Valygar. The Temple Ruins was similar to the Lower Tombs: a piece of cake and then a stupidly tough boss battle at the end. The Shadow Dragon was basically invulnerable to our best attempts, so we'll let him live until Chapter 6. The Shade Lord (Improved Shade Lord) was one mean bastard. We did, however, figure out a non-cheesy strategy: Insect Plague was generally successful in disabling it, while we focused down the Altar. We then dispelled his protections (for him we could, unlike the Lich) and finished him off quickly. I make it sound easy, it took a lot of retries nonetheless.

    Anyway, that's where I'm at if anyone is still reading through this. In general I feel like Protection From Magical weapons is a stupid OP protection. Why should every mage be able to make himself absolutely immune to any magical weapon? If we have to start carrying normal weapons to hit people it's... weird. Also it's still quite unclear to me why Breach sometimes work and sometimes doesn't. For the Lich, we couldn't cast it because it was invisible, despite having True Sight on. For the Shade Lord and several other mages, sometimes it allows us to hit it, and sometimes it doesn't, i.e. the target is still immune. Might that be because it dispelled something else in priority, Stoneskin or something? Is it repelled by spell protections, in which case we have to dispel the spell protections first? It's hard to tell what spell/weapon protections are active on a mage during a battle, so I've a hard time understanding what's going on.
     
  13. Voy Gems: 5/31
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    so true

    makes no sense to me either

    also there is component in scsii to raise protection of mantle and lesser spells to protect vs weapons with even bigger enchantment, kinda stupid imo since arcane protection already are so muuuuch better than any other kind of defenses
     
  14. Pyroreaver Gems: 2/31
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    I personally think that Prot from magic weapons is too strong because of miscommunication between the designers and the progrmmers. but to answer somme of your questions(damn! something wrong with my keyboard); when true sight is on and mage is still invisible, its becuase it has spell immunity:divination active. "For the Shade Lord and several other mages, sometimes it allows us to hit it, and sometimes it doesn't, i.e. the target is still immune."- the "mantle" spells ( spells the provide prot up to say +3 weapons) will still not prot you from the "side effects" of a weapon. These side effects are the extra damages such as the cold, fire, electric damages, and slow effects from the flail of ages. stone skin will also not protect you from these side effects. only prot from normal weapons and magic weapon will. so read carefully the descriptions to see which spell is active to know how to defeat them.

    You get the feeling that breach sometimes works and doesn't becuase the rule is they always work ( not stopped by spell trap or ANY protection spell) except 1) liches (they are immune to all spells lvl 5 and below) and 2) the prot potion sold by roger the fence which prtect you from any magic below lvl 5 (actually protects you from spells much higher than lvl 5) 3) i dont remember if they bypass Magic Resistance. if you are truly interested, I will check it out for you.

    next- the myth about dispel magic.... I dont know if SCS2 corrected the problem but dispel magic does not work as the description becuase the coding for the spell was bugged. if you read the codes , it actually dispells all magic if your effective level is higher than the level of the target. there is no 50% +5%/ lvl bs. you can find the fix for that on pocketplane.net. Dispel magic dispels all magic, no priority, no type, no exception when the casting lvl is higher then the target level. The ONLY thing that can protect from dispel magic is spell immunity; abjuration.

    I think you are confused because you have to keeptrack of who you are targeting and what protns it has active. you have to get all that in the text window
     
  15. Rawgrim Gems: 21/31
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    Whats SCSII exactly?
     
  16. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    So True Sight is unaffected by the respective levels of the caster and target? That is, it should dispel any invisibility unless protected by spell immunity: divinition?

    I am really interested, but keep in mind I am using SCSII with some spell rules fixes, including Breach. Here's the relevant text:

    More consistent Breach spell (always affects liches and rakshasas; doesn't penetrate Spell Turning)

    Although it isn't documented, the 5th level spell Breach will remove a creature's combat protections (such as Stoneskin) even if that creature is protected by Spell Deflection, Spell Turning or Spell Trap; it will not, however, affect creatures like liches or rakshasas, because they are immune to spells of level 5 or below. This component removes both features: Breach now bounces off Spell Turning (etc.), but it affects even those creatures immune to "normal" 5th level spells.


    It's a mod for BG2 that makes combat more challenging. http://www.gibberlings3.net/scsii/
     
  17. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I would second that. With a level 11 party he was TOUGH! Took me a dozen tries. After that playthrough I removed that aspect. It was a very unbalanced.

    Most of the other aspects of the "Improved" version were fine in my book.
     
  18. Pyroreaver Gems: 2/31
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    yes, not only invisibility, also illusions such as mislead, project image, mirror image.

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 50 minutes and 38 seconds later... ----------

    it does change the game though slightly. what protection spells did it cast? the text window is now your best best friend,

    I also assume that it has improved invisibility on? otherwise lob it with 12+ spell levels, then cast breach. I also assume that SCS2 only removed liches immunity to breach, not immunity to spells lower than 5th level. other wise that makes liches weaker.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  19. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    Took me around that as well, but I found him vulnerable to Insect Plague. With him running around scared and unable to cast spells, the battle was manageable.
     
  20. Dr_Asik Gems: 6/31
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    Ok how do you explain that then:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The spellcaster does not have immunity to divination.
    The only defenses he has are Minor Spell Deflection, Improved Invisibility and Minor Globe of Invulnerability.
    Zeckul is standing right next to him using True Seeing. It does not dispel his Improved Invisilibility.
    We still cannot cast Breach at him.
    We were able, however, to cast Pierce Magic at him, but I suspect that is because it has an area of effect. Or that SCSII is bugged/weird. Or that I'm crazy.

    :confused:
     
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