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Aures, level 16 party Update

 

This is more or less what the team looked like from the final battles of WM2 through Thaos. We made a few upgrades between here and Thaos that I'll describe in the final update. With Pallegina wielding Abydon's Hammer, we put her in Blaidh Golan just in case she got targeted. Usually she is wearing Angio's Gambeson. 

 

Aures

 

 

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Maneha

 

 

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Kana

 

 

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Pallegina

 

 

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Sagani

 

 

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Giuseppina

 

 

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Aures Act III, Chapter 2 & Act IV

 

Table of Contents

 

 

 

Part 1: Cayron's Scar

 

We are fully prepared, and ready for the Eyeless. With the hammer and St. Ydwin's Redeemer they are mostly trivial. Maneha suffers one knockout inside the moon fragment while frenzied. 

 

 

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Inside the moon fragment, we make our way quickly to the kraken. We ignore the tentacles and pour all of our damage into it. 

 

 

 

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Itumaak and Sagani are carrying the team with their damage. 

 

Maneha volunteers to strike the hammer blows, so we give her the diving helmet and wish her well. There's was a few minutes where I planned to have Aures strike the blows, but then what if I messed something up with the helmet and she didn't survive. What a terrible way to end the run. Maneha is a much better option here. In the monastery, we encouraged her not to go into the pool. We trust her choice here. 

 

Act IV: Back to the Wheel

 

Part 1: Prepare to Face the End

With everything else wrapped up, we head back to Caed Nua to prep for Thaos. We grab all of the supplies we will need from our stash and adjust equipment. We enchant everyone's armor with proofing (burn where it wouldn't be suppressed) and ability scores (whatever was missing). We enchant Shame or Glory for Aures and Godansthunyr for Maneha with Legendary. We enchant Lead Spitter with Superb and Kith Slaying and Forgiveness with Vessel Slaying for Pallegina. We add lashes to any weapons missing them. We stash Abydon's Hammer. Pallegina won't have need of it anymore. 

 

We breeze through Sun in Shadow, but enjoy it immensely. I set up the AI on aggressive for bounties right before Cayron's Scar, while I controlled Giuseppina. We do the same thing here, being vastly outleveled and overpowered for these fights. The conversations with Iovara and with the companions and Thaos are all enjoyable for me, having come this far and being this invested in the team. As we wind around the path to confront Thaos, the excitement is building. 

 

Part 2: No, those ends don't justify . . . 

The game plan here is to have Maneha and Kana tank the Judge and Executioner with Aures engaging Thaos. Pallegina and Sagani will kill Thaos quickly (letting Pallegina use her Sworn Enemy on Thaos to try and land Deprive the Unworthy). Then we focus down whichever Statue he is not in. Then the one he's in. Then we kill him in a mad rush of damage. 

 

Kana is immune to confuse and dominate thanks to his Cap. I give Aures and Giuseppina Snowcap to eat, since they are able to cleanse any mind control effects. Not having used it before, though, I don't realize it's a food, and we enter combat with it in our quickslots, unable to eat it. (I think someone else made this mistake before in the thread, but I had forgotten it) We are just going to have to rely on prayers and good luck. 

 

I'm so intent on the plan that I forget to take pictures at the beginning of the fight. Here's the first picture right after the Executioner is dead. The first deprive the unworthy landed on Thaos and he dropped quickly. Aures had to lay on hands to recover from the first cleansing flame, but otherwise we survive mostly unscathed. Maneha and Kana are happy as clams squaring off against these giant statues. 

 

 

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While we whittle down the Judge, Aures positions herself next to Thaos, and Sagni and Pallegina spread out on their own within range of him and the Judge. It's not long before the Judge drops. 

 

 

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The first confuse must have only lasted a short time, or Sagani was immune thanks to a prayer (I don't remember having to use Liberating Exhortation on her). We use a scroll of protection and circle of protection in the middle. The second Deprive the Unworthy lands and we are off to the races. I think this dominate must have hit an immune target because I don't remember needing to deal with it. 

 

 

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Pallegina lands a nice hit with her Blunderbuss of Thaos Slaying. Itumaak continues to tear into Thaos. 

 

 

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And he drops dead. Itumaak has slain him. 

 

 

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We return Thaos' soul to the wheel. HIs soul, too, should once again rejoin the great cycle. We do the same for the souls he stole. May they be reborn in new life. 

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Thanks Serg!

 

I’m downloading PoE2 and am hopeful it will run on my MacBook Air. I’ve also been kicking around another PoE run idea.

 

I found the number of really good items and abilities for all of my party overwhelming by the time I was finishing WM1. My party was over leveled even for upscale content. What I missed was the impact of each tactical choice - choosing to use a scroll or change a weapon for a specific fight. In hopes of recapturing that feeling, here’s my idea.

 

Three characters only. Hard difficulty. Vanilla content only (no deadfire pack or WM content). No upscaling, or at least hard level max imposed for each act/quest stage. E.g. Raedric at 5 or less, Thaos at 12? 13?

 

What do y’all think? Also, I’m curious what 3 you’d pick as a hypothetical.

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Three characters in a party sounds like a good alternative to a full party without attempting a highly-restrictive solo run. I'm afraid it would do too much to inhibit party diversity, though--there would be a powerful incentive for every party be at least 1/3 priest and to a lesser extent 1/3 wizard.

 

Another way to avoid the over-leveling issue is to do a less completionist run, or even to fight Thaos before tackling White March. This would involve loading an earlier save to continue after Thaos, but I think it would be realistic for a Watcher to beat Thaos and then go on to White March rather than immediately retiring to Caed Nua.

 

Other restrictions and special challenges could bump up the difficulty as well. A poverty run or solo run would be an extreme example, but we could also work with some lesser restrictions: no crafting/enchantments; no store-bought items; no quick slot items; no per-rest abilities (like my 3-paladin, 3-cipher Normal mode run); randomized stats or classes; only one character class allowed for the whole party; or a special gimmick. One run I've considered is having a party of spellcasters, but preventing them from using any offensive spells--wizards would act as fighters, relying on buffs to get them through fights rather than bombing spells or disablers.

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I think your right about diversity being an issue. We could just remove priest altogether as an option, or limit it to 1 vancian class per group. Even with a priest and wizard locked in, though, I think it would be interesting to see what diversity of strategies there would be in the third member and how that might shape the way the other 2 are played.

 

On another note, I’ve started PoE2 and am trying to read and learn as much as possible. Do y’all have any posts or resources that you’ve found that are helpful in reorienting to the changes? Here’s a short list of key system changes that I’m discovering.

 

-Wizard, Priest, and Druid spells are all per encounter - with a limited number per spell level.

-Afflictions are now associated with an ability score and are countered by an Inspiration (buff) to the same score. Inspirations provide immunity to afflictions of that type.

-leveling up collapses class ability and talent selection into a single pool, with a restriction on what’s available based on current level.

-skills are divided into active and passive and 1 point is available each level to advance a skill in each category (1 point per category). There are several new skills in each category.

-party members can assist the watcher in some skill checks, adding a small bonus based on their own skills.

-traps are now discovered using the perception ability score, but are still disabled using mechanics.

 

More to come as I think of it.

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Congratulations on an outstanding run, Ivanfyodorovich! Though the end game may not have tested your limits, you did some excellent work to get to that point. It was a well earned victory, irrespective of whether you ended up over-powered.

 

On the balancing issue, I'll note the following: I sympathize with the view that PoE can be trivialized with safe routing and over-leveling. And I do think that some of us may enjoy taking steps to remedy that, including reduced party size, as Ivanfyodorovich and Semiticgod have suggested, or 0 knockout runs, embraced by Serg and myself. Coming up with strategies to rebalance the adventure and rediscover challenge can be part of the fun. I look forward to that!

 

While some of us may perceive NRing PoE as easy now, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that no one has successfully completed the challenge yet, since we've yet to move on to PoE II. Perhaps we should put a pin the PoE balancing discussion until after we have a least one entry in the Hall of Heroes?

 

Speaking of which: Who is ready to move on to PoE II? If and when we get three yeas, I'll open up a PoE II thread, and we can begin.

 

Since I was distracted by holiday beaching (and, later, Stranger Things binge watching), Arya is still in the PoE midgame. Arcadia is ready to go, however. I can start when others are ready. Who's in?

 

Best,

 

A.

 

Btw, Ivanfyodorovich, I believe you mentioned that you're running PoE II on a MacBook Air. Let me know if you have any tips on making that work.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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@Alesia_BH: Good point about the Hall. Since we don't yet know how difficult PoE2 is going to be to complete without reloading, creating additional restrictions on PoE1 is premature. If PoE2 is significantly more challenging, then it might make sense to tolerate a lower-intensity PoE1 run, since a full saga run would still be dicey. Also, since we don't yet know all the differences in the game mechanics, we might want to know if there's a way to standardize restrictions across the saga. For instance, if mage/druid/priest spells are per-encounter in PoE2, then a "no per-rest abilities" requirement in PoE1 wouldn't be nearly as big of a restriction in the sequel.

 

I started the sequel but I'm still in the island cave at the start of the game, so I don't have any insights just yet. But I am ready to get started discussing the game in a new thread, and showering praise on other forumites to establish a friendly atmosphere early on. Count me in as the first "yea."

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It wouldn't be in bad faith to do a regular run first. You're free to do whatever you like.

 

But I think it would be fun to jump off this cliff together and take our chances. If we die, we die. If not, we'll have a blind run NR or two. That would be cool. 

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How about this: we try to complete PoE2 blind without reloading, and if we die somewhere along the way, we continue as a normal run, with reloads, and continue discussing our progress and thoughts on the strategy for a no-reload run. I doubt any of us will make it through PoE2 blind without dying, and I certainly don't think we should try to make our first complete PoE2 run a no-reload run (no need to restart over and over again instead of playing through the game on the first time normally), but some of us might get a respectable distance into the game before we get splattered.

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How about this: we try to complete PoE2 blind without reloading, and if we die somewhere along the way, we continue as a normal run, with reloads, and continue discussing our progress and thoughts on the strategy for a no-reload run. I doubt any of us will make it through PoE2 blind without dying, and I certainly don't think we should try to make our first complete PoE2 run a no-reload run (no need to restart over and over again instead of playing through the game on the first time normally), but some of us might get a respectable distance into the game before we get splattered.

I’m up for that. Where would it be best to share learnings? Here or in the new thread to be opened on the PoE2 boards?

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@Ivanfyodorovich: We'd be discussing things on the new thread, which @Alesia_BH will start for us. One of our goals will be to establish a positive and cooperative atmosphere for the new thread to make sure new participants absorb the local culture. We want to make sure the new thread is less about showing off one's skills or competing with other participants, and more about sharing knowledge and helping each other out. That means we'll want to post a lot of stuff very quickly in the new thread to establish a trend.

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Hey, I’m still around and following. Didn’t get anywhere with the party roleplay run, after a couple of hours playing I hit the wall with remembering why I don’t play with parties anymore (too much micro!) although I was enjoying the roleplay aspect. So that got abandoned and I have been messing around with more solo.

 

Tried a chanter solo on PotD which was going great until I messed up at Raedric’s by entering the final fight without any healing potions in my quick slots. But that run did show me that PotD is very much doable with chanter.

 

My other aim has been to complete a fighter/melee solo playthrough. I experimented with several different builds on Hard to see how they fared, using two handed weapons or dual wielding. They worked to a degree until I ran into a difficult fight where my DEF just couldn’t stand up to the pressure. So I eventually decided I had to go back to basics and use a shield build. It’s more boring and some fights take ages but so much more reliable. And the current character I am using is working great and has been a lot of fun - offence is now pretty decent.

 

Will post some screenshots when I next fire up the game. It’s a Coastal Aumaua Fighter:

 

MIG 20

CON 10

DEX 10

PER 10

INT 19

RES 9

 

Balanced build who used weapon and small shield and extensive use of quick slots. Currently level 5, abilities are disciplined barrage, confident aim and vigorous defence, talents are weapon & shield style and deep pockets. I open by firing up both vigorous defence and disciplined barrage, which give me c25 seconds of being unhittable and landing lots of crits. Once they expire I start using quick slots, including Eldritch Aim potions for more ACC and various scrolls. He’s been a machine so far, takes so little damage and cleaves through mobs with little difficulty. All of Act 1 and Caed Nua is complete, Defiance Bay next.

 

If I succeed with this playthrough (and still big IF even though it’s been smooth sailing so far) I will take this character into PoE2 and will join the challenge! Otherwise I may have to run another Chanter on Hard to have a character to take through.

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Questions for the group. What are the rules regarding character choice and legacy for PoE2?

 

-Must a Hall of Heroes qualifying NR run in PoE2 use a character that has also completed PoE1? I know you can't import the actual character, but you can create them within PoE2 to continue the run - e.g. If I complete an NR PoE1 run with a dwarf barbarian named Krug, a qualifying PoE2 run must also be made with a dwarf named Krug. 

 

-Must a Hall of Heroes qualifying NR run in PoE2 import the save of game choices from PoE1 (or create a similar custom legacy)?

 

-If a successful PoE1 run character is used in an unsuccessful PoE2 run, can that same character be used again in a new PoE2 run? e.g. Krug turns out to be a very poor captain and is killed by pirates in PoE2. Can I try Krug again on a new run, or would I need to complete a new PoE1 run with Krug 2.0 to give him another go in PoE2? 

Edited by Ivanfyodorovich
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Some screenshots of my current character.

 

Would you wanna mess with this guy?

 

 

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He looks like death incarnate.

 

Character record and stats.

 

 

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Defences are all strong, even better when buffed, and then Vigorous Defence adds another 20 on top of that. DR is also very high and accuracy is fine for this early stage in the game (with another +20 from Disciplined Barrage). You can see from the personal stats that damage output vs received is 5x (and this from a defensive tank build) and crit rate is around 25% despite PER of only 10. Long term plan is to use an annihilating sabre, take weapon focus/specialisation/mastery, and watch the damage output shoot.

 

Equipment is fairly standard for this stage of the game.

 

 

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Whispers of Yenwood (fine/burning lash) is main weapon, small shield, lots of potions and scrolls used, building up nicely.

 

I don't intend to document this character's playthrough in full here, will post periodic updates.

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Questions for the group. What are the rules regarding character choice and legacy for PoE2?

 

-Must a Hall of Heroes qualifying NR run in PoE2 use a character that has also completed PoE1? I know you can't import the actual character, but you can create them within PoE2 to continue the run - e.g. If I complete an NR PoE1 run with a dwarf barbarian named Krug, a qualifying PoE2 run must also be made with a dwarf named Krug. 

 

-Must a Hall of Heroes qualifying NR run in PoE2 import the save of game choices from PoE1 (or create a similar custom legacy)?

 

-If a successful PoE1 run character is used in an unsuccessful PoE2 run, can that same character be used again in a new PoE2 run? e.g. Krug turns out to be a very poor captain and is killed by pirates in PoE2. Can I try Krug again on a new run, or would I need to complete a new PoE1 run with Krug 2.0 to give him another go in PoE2? 

- Yes, you need to create the same main character in PoE2. The party could be different.

- Yes, you should import the final PoE1 save.

- If your main character fall in PoE2 you need to start from PoE1 all over again.

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In the BG Hall of Heroes, the run had to be a continuous narrative across BG, SoD (optionally), SoA, and ToB. Failing at any point along the way meant it no longer qualified as a saga run unless the player re-started all the way back at Candlekeep. For example, if you beat BG and SoA, then died in ToB, then re-started at the beginning of ToB, and then beat ToB, it wouldn't count as a saga run; it would just be a successful BG run, a successful SoA run, and an unrelated successful ToB run.

 

Dying in PoE2 would send a character straight to the Honorable Mentions section.

 

To qualify for the PoE Hall of Heroes, the Watcher would have to be the same race, class, background, culture, and preferably stats across both games. Since there are some classes in PoE2 that don't exist in PoE1, I'd suggest that the Watcher in PoE2 must be at least partly the same class as in the previous game. Thus, a cipher could become a specialist cipher, and a fighter could become a fighter/thief. That way we can keep things consistent without forbidding the use of certain class builds in PoE2.

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That sounds good to me. I'd love a little leeway with the stats, but I feel there are some good RP reasons for that. 

 

 

What with dying and coming back to life, piece by piece.

 

 

It would feel off, though, to have a character who had an 8 dexterity suddenly have 19. 

 

I also think there's great RP room for multi-classing, given the years between the games, and being an awakened watcher with access to the past lives of your soul. 

 

In BG the essential mechanics didn't change, did they? It was still AD&D 2nd edition in both? 

 

From my experience of PoE2 so far, I'd say it's more of a .5 or 1.0 step up in ruleset. If PoE1 is 1.0, then PoE2 is 1.5 or 2.0. 

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@Ivanfryodorovich: Most of us played BGTutu back in the day rather than the original Baldur's Gate (partly because modding BG1 wasn't really a thing), which meant we were playing BG with the BG2 engine. Thus, we had the option of choosing kits, and spells and items operated as they did in BG2. If I recall correctly, importing a vanilla BG character into BG2 allowed you to change their proficiencies (proficiencies were different in BG2) but not give them a kit. That is, your longsword-wielding fighter could become a katana-wielding fighter, but not a katana-wielding Kensai fighter. BGTutu and EE removed the differences for later players, so it's not an issue anymore.

 

For RP purposes, almost any change in a character build would be justifiable due to the whole reincarnation thing. For the purposes of this challenge, I think the main reason to stick with the same basic class is so that we're facing both PoE and PoE2 with the same character, so the nature and intensity of the difficulty is consistent. Switching to a whole new class would allow the player to choose a more optimal build for each game, so I think we should avoid distinctly different character builds. A specialist kit or a multi-class would be fine, largely since we wouldn't want to ban fighter/thieves and such from the Hall of Heroes.

 

But stats are a different story. Your character can operate pretty similarly even if you make some adjustments to stats, so I think we can afford some leeway. Maybe we could limit the stat difference to 2 or 3 or 4 points away, per stat, from the Watcher's stats in PoE1?

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That is helpful info and makes sense. I’m curious how y’all will find PoE compares from a ruleset/systems perspective.

 

I agree that ability scores matter less for PoE, but also that there should be some continuity. It feels weird to have the stats be totally different. There’s a great talk on YouTube that Josh Sawyer did a few years ago about ability scores for PoE that is interesting if you’re into game design. They intentionally designed the system to make choices feel impactful but with a much smaller range of outcomes - I.e. no bad builds and no god or dump stats. Results are mixed, but it sounds worlds away from BG based on the talk.

 

I think we should give as much room here as we can in terms of freedom to change them, but still make it feel like it’s the same character. A 4 point difference feels fine to me.

 

What does everyone else think?

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Personally, I don't like to respec a character during the run and actually never do that in any game which allow that (Divinity: Original Sin comes to mind). This seems pretty weird to me RP wise. And since I want the very same character to do the full saga run my PoE2 char will be the same stats wise with some class diversity allowed (i.e. making him multiclassed). This is just my personal approach and I don't mind others might see it differently.

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