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 Return to the Sword Coast

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Carabas
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PostSubject: Return to the Sword Coast   Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:40 pm

I've started a new run with Easy tutu in the hope of being able to take this character all the way through the game (my last attempt several years ago failed when my computer gave up the ghost and my save wouldn't load on my new computer... I gave up after starting SoA a third time).

Anyway this time I've decided not to play an evil character but a neutral one. I get tired pretty quick when I'm playing a goody two shoes/woud be pally.

The idea is to play a somewhat goofy, happy go lucky misguided youth and find out how he will grow into a hero (or more likely an antihero as he will probably grow more devious) through the course of his adventures. I won't have time to document everything so I'll post about stuff that matters or that I find amusing.

I've found a portrait that doesn't look too serious or badass and a soundset that was almost perfect for the concept I had in mind (a soundset based on Guybrush Threepwood from Monkey Island fame). This suits rather well a witty, youthful (to the point of being immature), snide and sarcastic protagonist.



I've started as a Wild Mage with the idea of turning him into a Thief at level 7 (thus access to level 4 spells is possible and thanks to Nahal's Reckless Dweomer he should be able to cast much higher level spells -this alone is probably why Wild Mages unlike other Mages can't dual class in the unmodded game). If I can manage I'll wait until level 9 as it would be better in the long run but I'd like to get the Thief levels while playing BG1. Losing on a Thief kit isn't such a big deal anyway.

I know this is a weird idea but that is the whole point. Wild Mages are simply overpowered at higher levels, so this way I'll keep the game interesting (plus I'll be able to play two of my favourite classes -the other one being Bard which I considered as I like Blades but Wild Magic was just too tempting). He is going to lose some HP but the Familiar should make up for this (I've decided to make Kiu True Neutral so he could get the white rabbit).

Wisdom is his dump stat and Intelligence is at the minimum for dual classing whereas Charisma is higher. The idea is that he makes up for not being smarter by being able to talk his way out of most situations. His stats are pretty high but they are comparable to Imoen's.

Here is a picture of Kiu meeting Finch (a modded NPC).

Spoiler:
 

The line I've picked is meant to reflect his carefree disposition and his personality.

He even makes Imoen look more mature and serious in comparison which is not an easy feat considering how irritating Imoen can be in BG1 (the NPC mod really feels in character).

Spoiler:
 

In other words he is a spoiled brat who probably thinks too highly of himself and is not the most sensitive nor sensible person around.

Playing this game after so many years is a real treat. I have forgotten how unforgiving BG can be after playing DAO for so long. I've always had a fondness for low level adventures but starting as a Mage with 6 hitpoints and no spells was a challenge (there was much running around to avoid Shank and Carbos I can tell you that).

Level progression will probably be slow as facing Dire Wolves without a party is suicide. Kiu has met Xzar and Montaron and Eldoth (thanks to the NPC mod) on his way to the Friendly Arm Inn. He promptly ditched Eldoth for being a sleazy crook after meeting Bentley Mirrorshade (who had good reasons to be pissed at the Bard) and replaced him with Khalid and Jaheira.

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Carabas
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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Mon Dec 10, 2012 4:23 pm

My party went down to Nashkel to deal with the situation in the mines. As could be expected Xzar was the first one to get killed so he ended up being ditched to make room for Xan.

Xan himself was pretty ineffective (even as a Sorcerer). There are many things that can be said about low level spellcasters and none of them are good. The Ring of Wizardry really makes a difference.

Kiu finally reached level 2 (huzzah!) met Quayle, ditched Xan and Quayle to recruit Branwen and went back to Beregost to meet with Kivan and follow up on the iron crisis situation.

Current party is composed of Imoen, Jaheira, Khalid, Branwen and Kivan.

Kivan is hands down one of my favourite characters (couldn't bear myself to play the modded Kivan for BG2 as he is too talkative and I like the brooding silent Kivan a lot more so in BG2 I usually replace him with Valygar who is another character that I really like).

Xzar and Monty being not very useful or trustworthy have been permanently removed.

Not sure about whether I should get Minsc and if so which spot he would be likely to take. I'm also toying with the idea of adding Garrick (since he is something of a loony). They'll have to wait for a spot to clear out.

For now every team member has a good reason to be involved with Charname (besides the "let's tag along and see what happens").

This is a screen that shows why I like Wild Magic so much:

Spoiler:
 

Anyway, it's time to teach Tranzig some manners.

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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:38 am

Cara, this thread is making me wanna actually pick of BG for once. I dunno, its hard for me. I have BG2, but I've tried to start it like three-four times. It's just never really held my interest for whatever reason.
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Carabas
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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:59 am

BG 2 is great, but it's great because it follows BG 1. The main point in these games is to start as a level 1 character and see your character slowly rise up to his/her potential as a hero (or a villain).

Low level characters are easier to relate to. When you start BG 2 with a character that you have taken throughout the entire BG 1 + Tales of the Sword Coast you get a sense of achievement.

Starting off with BG 2 doesn't have the same impact so I'm not surprised that you found it hard to get sucked in this (great) game.

If you enjoy low level adventures and building up a character through countless hours you should give it a try. The key IMHO is to find the right concept that you want to roleplay and stick to it. That's what gives a character some personality and make you care for what may happen to him or her. Wink

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Nakia the Rogue
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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:29 am

Cara is right. I have tried different characters and finally settled on a male half elf fighter/thief. May sound boring to some but the character is real to me and I can role play him different ways.

Nakia developed from IWD II and I did try her in BG I once. She lasted until the first dream. Then quite simply refused to play anymore. I kid you not.

I love BG SoA plus ToB but you should start with BG I because that is where the story begins and the characters develop.

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Carabas
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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Wed Dec 12, 2012 5:13 am

I really like Wild Magic. My party was fighting Droth the Ogre Mage when things got interesting:

Spoiler:
 

Kiu was only casting Larloch's Minor Drain... He still managed to save the day after killing the Nereid they were supposed to be helping and Garrick as well. At least it was entertaining.

I had replaced Khalid and Jaheira ("omnipresent authority figure" quickly became unbearable) by Finch and Garrick.

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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Wed Dec 12, 2012 8:06 am

Why did you get rid of Eldoth, Cara? He is such a smug arrogant A-hole it's funny.

Interesting, I never really dabbled with Wild Magic. It's like playing roulette with magic, I like it.

Neutral isn't something I enjoy playing, but this should make for a good story!

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Carabas
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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:09 pm

I really wanted the Rabbit Familiar and the way I see it True Neutral is either seeking balance (like most Druids), aloof/indifferent (not greedy but more turned towards the inner self) or simply open minded to a fault. My character is currently self obsessed but not selfish, he is not someone who meditates as his lack of Wisdom makes him act first and ponder later (if at all). He is mostly antidogmatic so he approaches life without much consideration for preconceived ideas. He is not Chaotic Neutral but he has a tendency towards chaos (Wild Magic and individualism) while seeing the need for order in life. He doesn't "break" the rules like a chaotic character would, he merely bends them (just like Wild Magic is bending the Weave).

Getting rid of Eldoth was a gaming and RPing decision. I wanted to save scrolls for my main character (and Imoen since I can't abandon her from an RPing point of view) and Eldoth was too much of a crook and not much of a follower (he has his own agenda). The same logic made Kiu leave Khalid and Jaheira (despite their good nature). Kiu didn't want to stay in their shadow and he didn't care that much for Jaheira bossy nature (besides I had Jaheira in all my previous games so it was a relief to get rid of her).

Now he is romancing Branwen to the point that he is acknowledging Tempus as a role model. It's part of Kiu's fickle nature and he doesn't mean any harm. He's just indifferent to deities and could be following any creed for a little while simply out of interest (he is not motivated by faith at all).

I can't believe you've never played a Wild Mage Skorp. You've been missing out on the best spellcasting class in the BG series (even better than Sorcerer and certainly more entertaining). Wild Mages can turn all their first level spells into any other spell they know. That's the theory at least. Low level Wild Mages expose themselves to potentially dire consequences for doing so. High level Wild Mages are simply incredibly powerful (especially if they have high Wisdom and you abuse the Wish spell). That's why I will dual Kiu into Thief and keep some challenge in the game.

My one rule when playing a Wild Mage is to keep at least a slot for Protection from Evil (or a scroll) at all times because some Wild Magic surges can open a Gate and summon a demon... It happened to me once when another of my Wild Mages was fighting Daevorn, defeat was inevitable and my character only had one spell left. The wild surge summoned a demon and I promptly cast Protection from Evil on my Mage. In the end only Charname and Daevorn (who had run out of spells in the process) were left standing... My character finished Daevorn in a mighty melee fight. That is one of the most epic moments I've had in any Infinity Engine game. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Wed Dec 12, 2012 1:34 pm

Your character sounds fascinating, Cara. I have never played a Wild Mage. I may have to give it a try.

Please continue. Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Wed Dec 12, 2012 7:20 pm

I can't believe you've never played a Wild Mage either Nakia, they're so much fun!

I've been having a hard time deciding whether I should dual Kiu at level 7 or 9. Level 7 is convenient but level 9 makes a huge difference in the long run.

The problem is that unless I cheese my way through the levels Kiu won't be able to get enough levels in BG1 if I wait until level 9 which means I'm going to finish the game with a Thief and he won't be both before starting SoA...

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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:41 am

Kiu lost Finch unfortunately... That allowed him to pick up Minsc and rescue his Witch. Bassilus has been dispatched and Myr'Cutio (from the NPC mod) as well. Melicamp has been rescued. Various bandits and rivals adventurers have been taken care of.

Viconia has just been recruited. I thought it was in character for Kiu to rescue a lone Drow.

Branwen is being romanced and it's going very well although Kiu may get bored soon (don't get me wrong she is really nice but he is too fickle and immature to maintain his interest in the long run).

I took Kiu solo to farm some Basilisks, it's a very hazardous hunt but it is rewarding as he was able to double his XP thanks to that stunt (it would have been trickier as a Thief).

Garrick is not that bad with the crossbow of speed and unlimited bolts. I was thinking of giving this weapon to Kiu once he makes the transition to Thief. I will then consider a replacement for Garrick.

I'm saving the money to get him some Robes from Thalanthyr but I'm considering the fact that if I get them he won't get to use them for quite some time. I may get him the Shadow Thief armour instead. In the meantime I keep my fingers crossed so I don't get a Wild Surge that takes away all the party's gold (it can happen).



I will have to decide whether or not I will dual him at level 7 or 9 pretty soon. There are advantages in doing both although in the long run level 9 makes more sense. I have removed the cap from the game so getting enough XP shouldn't be a problem (hopefully).

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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Thu Dec 13, 2012 3:02 am

Cara, congrats. This thread (which is an incredibly interesting read, by the way, even for the non-Baldur's Gate initiated such as myself) has convinced me that I should buy Baldur's Gate. Should I pick up the Enhanced Edition, or is there some awesome somethingorother they cut out and I should just grab the normal game?
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Carabas
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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:19 am

I'm really glad that I've kindled your interest in the BG series. cheers

To help you decide I can only say a few things and I'm a bit partial (as I've chosen to buy the original games from GOG to avoid having the CD in my drive so you've probably guessed that I wasn't thrilled about the Enhanced Edition). Now that we've made this clear I have to say that I haven't tried the Enhanced Edition myself but I've watched videos and read some things that didn't appeal to me... They've cut important things (like the freaking quote from the intro) and I've read they've changed some of the dialogue (a big no in my book). Not to mention the fact that the early game is modified so it is more forgiving (low level encounters are scarce whereas in the original game you had to run to save your hide).

It's up to you. With the "Enhanced" Edition you will be able to zoom in (a little) and you may have to deal with some of the bugs that have been reported.

With the original you will have access to numerous mods and it should be pretty stable (I haven't had a crash yet). But you'll need BG2 and Throne of Bhaal (I think you already have them) to get access to all the cool stuff. You will also have to install mods which I assume shouldn't be a problem for you.

The Enhanced Edition offers three new NPCs but the modded game allows you to pick even more and adds banters, quests and romances to existing NPCs.

I'm a bit biased but I don't think the modded game look bad with the widescreen mod. In fact judging by the videos I've seen of the Enhanced Edition I don't think it's so grand in comparison. The modded original game may have a few elements that are not at the centre of the screen but it isn't a big deal.

Last but not least if you're playing the original you will be able to continue your character's saga in BG2 without waiting for a sequel to the Enhanced Edition (which may or may not be released).

Since you already own BG2 it will cost you half the price to buy the original (unless you want to get rid of the DRM and buy BG2 from GOG but it's not an obligation).

I've read the Enhanced Edition implements some kind of third party DRM (a bit like Steam) which is a bit preposterous for such an old title.

If you need help picking mods I can help by the way. I'm an Easy Tutu guy but I've read good things about BG Trilogy. Since I don't mind using Shadowkeeper the editor for BG2 I've decided to stick with Easy Tutu. From what I've read BG Trilogy seamlessly takes your character from BG1 to BG2.

====================

ION Kiu has just defeated Shandalar the Mage, one of the characters that I hate the most. It was a tricky fight and I had to reload a few times but Kiu got a free Archmage Robe so I won't dual class him before getting to level 9. In the long run it won't matter and taking a Thief to level 10 is a mere formality in BG2.

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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Thu Dec 13, 2012 7:19 am

It could be fun to do three separate runs that cover all alignment spectrums. Like a run as a good PC (throws up), and you have already covered the Neutral part. I could take the mantle of doing the evil run, it would be a pleasure, actually.

That worthless do-goody-two-shoes Triple-Cacti could take care of the run as a good PC, he already got the alignment part nailed down.

What do you say, Cara? That would make for some interesting storytelling, I think.

Quote :
Xzar and Monty being not very useful or trustworthy have been permanently removed.

They are Zhents, which is affiliated with the Church of Bane. That makes them A-OK by me. Useful? Xzar can become a pretty powerful mage, and Monty can be built into a decent warrior and decent rogue. Hell, I even add Xzar to my party via console in BG2 because I like having this ranting, lunatic madman in my party.

I agree about Jaheira's bossy attitude. I hate her. Her stupid stuttering ex-husband is a million times less annoying, but still. I like to cheese a bit and summon a demon with her in the cage in Irenicus' dungeon, making sure I have in my party so I can watch her die a thousand times.

I don't despise Jaheira as much as I do Saerileth, but as far as Druids go... I'd rather have Faldorn.

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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:49 am

Well, Baldur's Gate on GOG is 10 bucks less than the Enhanced Edition, Cara, so that does sound like a very good idea to me. Should I make an unmodded run-through first, or mod it up before I even touch the game?
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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:44 pm

Get it, Dragon, the enhanced edition does improve the graphics except to make it fit the wide screen. Follow Cara's advice, don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.

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Carabas
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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:21 pm

In that case you may want to mod the game so you can have access to all the extra dialogue and NPCs. Some of these mods are so good that (since you don't know the original game like the back of your hand) you won't know for sure that the dialogue you're reading or the quest you're playing are from mods.

The only thing you may want to stay away from are mods that change the gameplay too much (at least in a first run).

For instance here is a list of the mods and mod components I'm using for my Easy Tutu run:

Spoiler:
 

Mostly I'm using things for convenience like BG2 item stacking (I'm not using unlimited item stacking), I'm also using the max HP per level component and the 100% success for spell learning (so I can change the difficulty without having to bother about that). Other things like True Grandmastery are ok as well (this make pure Fighters somehow interesting).

NPCs/Summons Set Off Traps is a different thing however since it is a big departure from the original gameplay and will make the game easier when it comes to traps. I've chosen to install it because it has always annoyed me that only my party could be affected by traps but it is a cheat.

Last but not least mods are very easy and convenient to set up and you often have many choices to make the game work for you in different ways.

Skorponok wrote:
It could be fun to do three separate runs that cover all alignment spectrums. Like a run as a good PC (throws up), and you have already covered the Neutral part. I could take the mantle of doing the evil run, it would be a pleasure, actually.

That worthless do-goody-two-shoes Triple-Cacti could take care of the run as a good PC, he already got the alignment part nailed down.

What do you say, Cara? That would make for some interesting storytelling, I think.

Quote :
Xzar and Monty being not very useful or trustworthy have been permanently removed.

They are Zhents, which is affiliated with the Church of Bane. That makes them A-OK by me. Useful? Xzar can become a pretty powerful mage, and Monty can be built into a decent warrior and decent rogue. Hell, I even add Xzar to my party via console in BG2 because I like having this ranting, lunatic madman in my party.

You didn't get my point. Xzar is awesome, hell he is one of my favourite characters, once I even gifted him a tome of Wisdom so he could dual as a Cleric (just for a change of pace and he was great summoning skeletons) BUT Xzar as a level 1 Mage when your main is already a Mage... Not so hot.

I even made a banner for my forum signature using Xzar's actual lines:



Montaron is a pretty decent choice. I actually made him an Assassin so poison was an option in my game.

Also, a character who isn't affiliated to an evil deity will have problems trusting Zhents... In fact even an evil character will have problem trusting them. Thinking about it I don't think Xzar and Montaron trust each other at all.

When I was doing my clever evil run with my NE Jester I decided that a truly evil guy wouldn't trust the likes of Xzar or Montaron but would prefer tricking Jaheira and Minsc to do the dirty work.

Unless you're playing LE I don't think you can expect any sense of kinship from other evil characters. NE and CE are all out for themselves, they don't care about the big picture and the only reason they will cooperate is because they can benefit individually from such a collaboration. Take away the incentive and they are completely untrustworthy.

As for having you and Tri going through evil and good runs that is a brilliant idea. Do you have an idea of the character you are going to be playing?

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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:13 pm

If it's not too much trouble, Cara, could you PM me (do we have PM on this site?) a list of helpful mods for a first-time playthrough?
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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:20 pm

Carabas wrote:
From what I've read BG Trilogy seamlessly takes your character from BG1 to BG2.

It does. After the closing movie of BG1, it plops you right back down in the Undercity after the final battle, and gives you a quest to follow to start BG2.

I may be wrong about this, but it may even allow you to finish up any left over quests around Baldur's Gate before starting SoA.
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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:40 pm

Thanks for clearing this up Kana. Smile

Quote :
If it's not too much trouble, Cara, could you PM me (do we have PM on this site?) a list of helpful mods for a first-time playthrough?

We do have PMs on this forum.

In the spoiler in my post above there is a list of all the mods I've installed. You will need Easy Tutu (which I'm using) or BG Trilogy (which I've never used so you're better off asking Kana for advice).

http://usoutpost31.com/easytutu/

You will find mods on different websites:

http://www.pocketplane.net/mambo/

http://www.gibberlings3.net/

http://www.spellholdstudios.net/

http://www.sorcerers.net/Games/BG2/index.php

Sometimes you can find more about mods by browsing the internet and googling them.

If you can't find a mod on the list feel free to contact me and I'll probably be able to help. Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:03 am

Haha, alright. Soon as I get home from work I'll install some mods and get playing. Thanks a ton, Cara.
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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:23 am

Remember Easy Tutu comes first. It's all rather straightforward.

Check out my weidu log if you need suggestions for mods. Of course you may simply want to play without mods but I'd suggest adding the fixes and the BG1 NPC mod.

I've got a collection of portraits taken from the internet, it should be easy to get loads of portraits for the game by simply looking for them. There are some pretty nice portraits over there:

http://www.shsforums.net/topic/53637-npc-portrait-pack-expansion/

When you start playing remember that BG is based on Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition which means that low level spellcasters usually suck (there are some goodies to be found that make up for this in the game but if you don't want spoilers you'll have to find out for yourself -remember that pressing tab will highlight containers and objects on the map). If you make your main character a Mage consider yourself warned. If you really want a spellcaster a Cleric is a more reliable choice (they have more HP and can wear armours and cast spells in armour).

My advice would be to start as a Fighter (extra HP) since they are reliable at lower levels or maybe a Cleric (or a multiclass in which case Ranger/Cleric is a very solid choice). Thieves take some getting used to but are a necessity in order to complete certain parts of the game (but you don't have to make one for your main character).

If you don't want to multiclass (spread levels between two or three classes but avoid three it's too slow) dual classing can be interesting but it's only available to humans (who can't multiclass).

Lastly, kits can only be applied to pure class characters or the first class for Dual Class characters. Kits can really make for interesting builds but you'll figure this out soon enough.

Feel free to ask any questions if you have a problem with mods, character builds or anything else in the game.

Have fun! Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:35 am

Thanks a ton, Cara. I'll get downloading straight away. Just gotta decide whether to use Tutu or BGT.
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Carabas
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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:53 am

In that case Kana will be able to help you because I've never used BGT. Wink

Some mods are not compatible (I'm really not sure about Finch for instance) but in the end it should be quite enjoyable.

Last but not least make sure you use the Widescreen mod and the larger fonts mod (you don't need the larger fonts if you download the UI mod I've been using which is absolutely fantastic by the way).

Make sure you read the mod documentation as it will help you making informed choices. Steer away from mods that sound like cheats or that modify the gameplay too heavily if you don't want to take away the challenge from the game.

Bear in mind that the mod hunting and mod installation will most likely take up a few hours but once you're done you will be set for a fantastic experience.

Regarding the BG2 part of the game I don't know how BGT handles that and you may want to install a few BG2 mods like Unfinished Business and the Tweaks. Kana will probably be able to give you some advice about that part of the game (I'm using regular BG2).

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dragoniguana
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PostSubject: Re: Return to the Sword Coast   Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:57 am

I think I'm gonna go for Tutu for now. Maybe I'll try BGT eventually. Thanks.
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