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Powergame first, then roleplay

Discussion in 'Icewind Dale 2' started by coineineagh, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    I’ve often heard from RPG gamers that they dislike powergaming, because they feel it spoils the roleplaying charm of the game:o. They are willing to take rather useless characters aboard, and often have a preconceived notion of what a character must be like, refusing to adjust alignment or even take mix-ins.
    I’d just like to offer an alternative perspective, from a powergamers viewpoint:cool:. I’m of the opinion that powergaming has priority over roleplaying, so I do one first, then the other. Here are some back stories for the rather unlikely characters that I’ve played:

    I call them 'escapees from the Underdark', and this attempts to explain how such diverse characters first met, got together, and eventually decided to form an adventuring party:).

    Enchantress Charmian, Lawful Neutral Drow Dreadmaster of Bane X / Fighter 4, 18-18-16-5-18-5:
    Charmian was captured at a young age from a successful elven raid upon a Drow outpost. But soon after, she escaped her elven captors, only to be captured again, this time by clerics of Bane. The Banites realized what a rarity they had, and decided to make use of this rare opportunity. The clerics raised their captive in the teachings of Bane, and Charmian became an accomplshed cleric in their temple. Eventually she was entrusted with missionary duties, accompanying other Dreadmasters in missions of conversion. A Drow raised in the service of Bane was a great testament to the power of the god. Eventually the Drow managed to recapture this insult to Lolth, their matron deity. Charmian was encouraged to renounce Bane and worship Lolth, as she was born to. But the Drow found her habits had changed from her contact with the surface races: She had become devoutly lawful, believing in the rule of law above other considerations. The Drow despised what she had become, and imprisoned her, in preparation for the next scheduled sacrifices to Lolth. Charmian managed to escape with a band of prisoners, and return to the surface. She has proven herself strong and wise, and with the blessing of her order, she now leads a small band of former prisoners towards adventure.

    Lizzt Do’Urden, Lawful Good Drow Morninglord of Lathander X / Pal 1 / Ftr 2 / Wiz 1, 18-18-16-5-18-5:
    Lizzt was captured at a young age in the same elven raid as Charmian was, but she did not succeed in escaping her captors. Lizzt remained a prisoner of the elves for a while, until a traveling Morninglord of Lathander met her. The Morninglord took an interest in her, for her potential as a future cleric. He pleaded to the elves to release her to him, appealing to their sense of morality and fairness. Eventually the Morninglord gained custody over her, and took her to the temple to be raised as a priestess. Lizzt was becoming an accomplished Morninglord, but rumours had spread that a Drow was being trained as a Lathanderite. The Morninglords performed an experimental 'ritual of light' upon Lizzt, resulting in her becoming nearly indistinguishable from an average human. But her abilities and weaknesses remained unaffected, and she was still sensitive to the daylight that she worshipped. When Drow assassins came to eradicate this insult to their entire race and dark nature, they couldn't find her. She agreed to surrender herself to the Drow if they left the temple and the priests alone. As a result, her sacrifice allowed her to be captured instead of slain. The Drow knew that the light of Lathander had brought Lizzt too far from their evil ways to be restored; she was an abomination to them. They scheduled her sacrifice to Lolth's spiders without any hesitation. Lizzt was lucky to be part of a group of prisoners who managed to escape, and has decided to follow her sister Charmian into battle ever since.

    Debbi Illuster, Neutral Evil Deep Gnome Rogue 2 / Illusionist X / Bane 1 / Rgr 1 / Ftr 1, 12-20-18-18-5-1:
    Debbi Illuster was born into a prominent family of Svirfneblin illusionists, but fate changed her future for the worse: A Duergar raiding party pillaged her town and took Debbi and many others prisoner, in order to work for the Duergar in their mithril mines. Debbi adapted to the circumstances, and turned to betraying and backstabbing her fellow captives. Once she gained a position of trust among the Duergar, she found an opportunity to escape, and took it. Upon return to her village, she was no longer welcome, because tales of her misdeeds in the mines had reached her home village. Alone in the Underdark, she was soon captured again, this time by the Drow. Expecting an illusionist, the drow were disappointed to find that Debbi was merely a novice rogue. The Drow could see no use for her as a slave, so they scheduled her as a sacrifice, to be eaten by Lolth's spiders. It was Debbi's rogue skills which actually made the initial escape possible, as she opened the lock, and scouted for an escape route. After escaping, Debbi had nowhere to go, and decided to stay with the ragtag band of former prisoners. She hoped to use the troubles in the north to her advantage, to finally gain some experience as a true Svirfneblin illusionist.

    Deathsinger Laey, Neutral Evil Drow Bard X / Dreadmaster of Bane 1, 6-20-16-14-4-20:
    Laey started her military carreer as a smart and ambitious young recruit in Lolth's armed forces, but despite her talents, she seemed to lack the wisdom to make it as a priestess. She was able to become skilled as a Deathsinger, and her bardic talents added to the effectiveness of the warriors. Females are expected to become priestesses, and those choosing any other profession are given lower regard than their clerical sisters. Laey didn't care about such things, and took command of a battle whenever the matron mothers sent along priestesses that were inadequate at commanding the troops. This led to frequent arguments after battle, and Laey never got the appreciation she deserved for her efforts. Eventually this situation had created too many enemies within the matriarchy, and the matron mothers declared that she should face their strongest warrior in hand-to-hand combat. Melee was not Laey's strength, and she had no intention of facing a warrior alone. She desperately needed a band of warriors to accompany her, but she didn't see any chance of persuading Lolthian troops of disobeying the matron mothers, not even with her talents. In the short time she had to prepare herself for combat, she was blessed by a stroke of pure luck: She stumbled upon a band of prisoners attempting to escape the city. Laey quickly negotiated with them, offering to join them, and help them in escaping. With Laey's help, the group succeeded in reaching the surface safely. Since assisting a group of warriors was all Laey knew, she tried with all her skill to keep the party of former prisoners together. 5 of them decided to stick around, and she suggested they travel north to seek fortune and adventure.

    Sasquia of Ilmater, Lawful Good Human Sorceress X / Paladin of Ilmater 1 / Rgr 1 / Monk o/t Broken Ones 1 / Ftr 2 / Rog 1 / Wiz 1, 16-18-18-3-3-18:
    Sasquia was a gifted young girl, and her parents had hoped she would serve Ilmater in the future. But fate had different plans for her: Sasquia was captured at a young age by Drow raiders, and spared from sacrifice because of her talents. She was being trained as a gladiator, to challenge aspiring Drow wizards in battle. Her sorcery helped her to win many battles that she was supposed to have lost, and the Drow spared her every time. She had become a curiosity. Drow culture praises cruelty and suffering, but Sasquia would not let her spirit give in to such evil values. As the Drow challengers sought to inflict pain and suffering upon her, she vowed to endure the suffering in Ilmater's name, and inflict pain for her god too. Although her spirit remained filled with goodness and fairness, she harnessed her magic with an emphasis on suffering. She appeared to be influenced by Drow culture. At first glance, her magic had become that of a warlock, with powerful fire and necromancy. But she was in fact a white witch; a force of good in the world. When a band of prisoners escaped captivity, she put her skills to good use. Just the sight of the infamous Sasquia guarding the prisoners' rear was enough to make the Drow assassins hesitate in their pursuit. Many of them had been burned by Sasquia before in the gladiator ring, and Ilmater's suffering was not something the Drow wished to endure. After reaching the surface, Ilmaterians praised her heroism in helping to free the other prisoners. The paladin order welcomed her, allowing her to become a member at any time, even granting the same special permission to her newfound friend Lizzt Do'Urden. The Monks of the Broken Ones also welcomed her if she ever decided to join their order; the monks were particularly impressed by her successes as a gladiator. Sasquia of Ilmater now walks the northern lands with a party of former prisoners, in order to inflict Ilmater's suffering upon the wicked.

    Kim of the Woods, Lawful Neutral Human Druid X / Monk o/t Old Order 1 / Bane 1 / Ftr 2 / Wiz 1, 18-16-18-3-18-3:
    Kim was the oldest daughter of a successful family of loggers, and would inherit the family business. She had many suitors for this reason, and her family thought it necessary to send her to a secluded monastery, until they had found her a suitable husband. Kim showed great potential in the monastery, but she desired to leave, since she felt she was imprisoned there. She escaped one night, and traveled the woods around the monastery, never to return to her old life. She encountered a wilderness enclave of druids and rangers, and joined them. She was trained in the ways of the druids. A daring Drow raiding party attacked the enclave one night, and Kim was fighting on the frontline. When the enclave repelled the Drow, Kim was assumed to be killed in battle. In reality she had been knocked unconscious and taken prisoner. The Drow used her as a gladiator, to train their young warriors in battle. Kim had a hard time dealing with captivity so far from nature, and her druid spells were used mostly for healing herself from injuries. She longed for the days in the monastery, and the lessons of the monks in martial arts. She wouldn't have survived much longer, if the prisoners hadn't found a way to escape. When they finally reached the surface, Kim of the Woods was rejuvenated, and got rid of the pursuing Drow assassins for good with a series of Entangle spells. She led the escaped prisoners to her old enclave, where they rested. The first thing she did, was return to the Old Order monestary, to request permission for training by the monks. Impressed by her ordeal, they agreed to train her. With the wisdom of the monks, she returned to the enclave to rejoin, but found that her fellow druids disapproved of her monk training. She decided to stick with the former prisoners, and join them in their adventures.
     
  2. Scythesong Immortal Gems: 19/31
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    Looks like a happy enough party. I really hope you don't intend to roleplay them stat-wise too, though.
    I can almost see Debbi Illuster committing suicide if you do. Between party members with less than 5 Int and a Bard pansy (Drow style) what's an 18 Int Swirf Illusionist to do?
     
  3. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    I wouldn't recommend your party for a first time player. With this party the game will be even harder than with a standard party.
     
  4. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG] Hahaha, life's unfair for a gnome, but it also explains how she became so evil;)
    I tend to see minimized stats as relative weaknesses of party members. So Debbi would be very lacking in the art of persuasion, but I don't see her wanting to kill herself; she's too smart to get cauught in a spiral of depression. Similarly, the sorcerer, druid and clerics can't be as dumb as their INT-score alone would suggest; it's simply difficult to have an intellectual conversation with them. Their choice of mental specialisation has come at a cost in other skills.
    I'm sure you wouldn't, but with proper usage, the party is an unstoppable force. I detail how to level carefully, buff properly, and much more in my guide.

    I just finished normal mode with my party, Insane difficulty, and with numerous mods installed, including the challenging Tactics4IWD2. I found the level of challenge to be high, and enjoyed the challenges I faced. The beginning was like a puzzle; finding the right spells to tackle the considerable challenges was a lot of fun. Having limited options was part of the enjoyment. Later in the game, enemies became increasingly resistant to offensive spells, so the importance of buffing spells increased.
    The final battle was a story in itself: I was disappointed that my arcane spellcasters weren’t able to cast level 9 spells (no Executioner’s Eyes:o), and I foresaw trouble when tackling the twins. But I rested before the battle, and cast all the useful buff spells that I could think of. The battle progressed well, the first part was quite easy. I didn’t need to cast a single Heal spell yet, and took on the minions one by one before tackling Madae (I initially thought Isair would be easiest because he doesn’t heal himself, and has less hitpoints. But he casts Mirror Image repeatedly, making him in fact tougher, I think). The only spells I cast during battle, were Prayer, Recitation, Holy Power, Seven Eyes, Stormshell, Detect Invisibility and Faerie Fire.
    Before combat, I used the following buff spells:
    Champion’s Strength on all but my bard.
    Iron Skins on clerics
    Cat’s Grace on all
    Mind Blank on all (cast unused lvl8 spells before resting, then cast the rest afterwards)
    Stoneskins on non-clerics (barely useful, as most opponents have +5 weapons)
    Freedom of Movement on all without a ring (druid can memorize)
    Death Ward on all (druid obliges again)
    Barkskins on all
    Magic Circle against Evil
    Eagle’s Splendour on bard & sorcerer
    Mage Armour on those who might need it
    Nondetection on sorcerer, in case enemy casts Detect Invisibility, which would dispel Blur
    Protection from Electricity on clerics and druid
    Bless
    Aid on all (just rediscovered this handy spell – it lasts long:D)
    Protection from Fire on frontliners and human sorcerer (when SR fails, this reduces the damage from Isair’s Sunfires)
    Then come short-lasting spells, which need recasting after the first battle:
    Emotion: Hope
    Armour of Faith (clerics)
    Elemental Barrier on clerics and druid
    Mirror Image on arcane casters, my bard didn’t cast it though
    Blur on arcane again
    Shield spells from ring
    Fireshield (Blue) on my sorcerer
    Holy Aura
    Mass Haste
    Mordenkainen’s Sword (the twins are immune, I think. But it took out the minions real fast)
    Aura of Vitality (huddle together, because the radius of this spell is very small)
    In combat, my party members cast 1 or 2 spells before engaging:
    Prayer
    Recitation
    Holy Power (clerics)
    Seven Eyes
    Storm Shell
    Faerie Fire

    I was geared up for the second battle, expecting it to be as easy as the first, and fully expected to brag about not needing to use the Heal spell. I was sorely disappointed: The Slayer minions weren’t too much trouble, but Isair and Madae were more hard-hitting than at first. Isair got in numerous Crippling Strikes with my clerics, reducing their once magnificent 26 Strength to a measly 17 & 21. My clerics became encumbered by their weight, and were locked in place. Thankfully they could heal themselves:).
     
  5. kmonster Gems: 24/31
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    The question is which role the extra XP and overpowered equipment coming from the mods played in making your party appear like an "unstoppable force". ;)
     
  6. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    Yeah.. It's one thing to have an ultra-rare 2d12 Greataxe as a random drop and something completely different to have 3d10 or was it 4d10 as an one-hander. Overpowered way beyond stinky cheese.
     
  7. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    [​IMG] I really don't know how this gameplay measures up to vanilla, really. Sure, I've got powerful modded items, extra druid shapeshifts & spells, DR from armour, monks can wear robes, you name it. On the other hand, enemies do double damage from Insane difficulty, they also get DR from armour, and they are seriously enhanced by Tactics: The AI is more intelligent, meaning you can no longer pick enemies off from a group one by one. Some overpowered spells have been adjusted, making exploits impossible (Tactics adjusts Otiluke's Resilient Sphere, adding invisibility, so enemies won't target an encased ally).
    When it comes to items, they're really just icing on the cake: The most difficult part of the game is the beginning, and there are very few modded items in the beginning.
    Sir Rechet, you were talking about a 4d10 weapon, and I believe you mean the Bastard Sword of Heroism. The modded version is 4d10+3, while the original is 1d10+3, +3d6 slashing, and Keen: Increased chance of scoring a critical. The damage is improved slightly (the mod component is called 'Improved Bastard Swords' after all), but I'm certain I could also have done it with the unmodded version. I just prefer to play the modded game, because I can. Why eat dry bread when you can eat it with some cheese;)? Believe me, it tastes better:yum:
     
  8. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

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    There's quite an important difference between 1d10 + 3d6 slashing and 4d10 weapon damages and it's called critical hit. The first one crits about the same as any decent one-handed sword plus the 3d6 slashing, while the other gets "8d10" as its base damage on a critical hit. Ouch.
     
  9. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

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    No Heal!

    [​IMG] I replayed the 2nd part of the end battle, because I realized I could kill Ormis Dohor for his items (oh I'm so evil). When I played the battle again, somehow I didn't need to cast Heal atall! I think it was because my clerics moved a step back when Isair attacked them (they still got STR-damage from Crippling Strike). Then Isair reverted to casting, and got distracted by my zombies after that. So I didn't sustain much damage, and defeated Madae before needing to cast Heal!:D
    So with the proper buffs and tactics, you might not even need healing!:p BTW, if you look in Isair's room, you can pick up scrolls of Iron Body and Black Blade of Disaster a second time, before you export your characters and win the game. I think I'll move on to Icewind Gate II, Insane difficulty, normal mode now.:)
     
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