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Ashoka: Pale Elf, Kind Wayfarer- Entry 9: Caed Nua
 
The most important news from our party is that Ogrnd made an appearance on Extreme Makeover: Defiance Bay Edition. Ogrnd likes his new look. He feels suave and debonair. 
 
 
He intends to keep rocking it unless his namesake insists that he stop.
 
Ok. Enough fashion. Let's move on to some killing.
 
We didn't do much in this session. We stopped by Caed Nua to check out the renovations and then descended into the depths for some recreational spelunking. We finished up by murdering a few Doemenrl thugs. Easy-peezy- for us, at least: the janitorial staff at Caed Nua Hall felt differently.
 
On Level 1 of the Endless Paths, we used our standard bulldozer method. 
 
 
No real injuries here, save the confrontation with the Spider Queen. Pallegina's Firebrand made quick work of it, but Miss Thang did splatter us with poison first. We should have been more aggressive with #/rest abilities. Always learning.
 
The bulldozer sufficed on Level 2 as well. I'm sharing this screenie just because the colors are pretty.
 
 
We had a little fun with the level's final battle. We let ourselves cast here.
 
Eder and Ashoka formed a wall, backed by Cassia, with Pallegina astride, wielding Firebrand. 
 
 
Cassia: Armor of Faith->Concecrated Ground; Ogrnd: Inspiring Radiance->Circle of Protection; Aloth: Whatever- it didn't really matter. Reviewing the screenshots suggests that we should have tossed a Prayer Against Fear. Pallegina looks frightened. In this shot we're on the verge of breaking through.
 
 
Sucks to be this guy.
 
 
Finally, the Doemenel thugs. After sending Pallegina around the scrum to knock off the ranged caster...
 
 
we converged for the finish. Like I said, easy-peezy. 
 
 
(We totally need more mops, though. Brutish Warrior is on his way -again- and we'd like to make the right impression before showing him the door. Has anyone ever met that guy? Maybe it's just me, but when a dude named Brutish Warrior reaches out, I'm inclined to ghost.)
 
Next stop: Gromnir's Castle Raedric Hold.
 
Best,
 

 

A.
Edited by Alesia_BH
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Wonderful! That's what this challenge is all about: sparking enthusiasm and facilitating communal fun.

 

I look forward to next weekend!

 

Cheers,

 

A. 

Edited by Alesia_BH
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I just died a couple times to the Sky Dragon. The first time, it was because I didn't know it was there and failed to placate it via dialogue; the second time, it was because I placated it, but then attacked it because I didn't see anything in my journal that suggested that placating it actually satisfied the quest requirement. When I looked it up, I realized I could indeed spare it. Eder had an item that granted +50 defense while prone, so he made a spectacular tank even though he got stun-locked constantly, but mismanaging our spells meant that we didn't have the resources to keep our accuracy high, which meant we only got the Sky Dragon to Injured using ranged attacks. At 100 in almost every defense, the Sky Dragon was nearly untouchable to my level 7 party, even with resting bonuses against Beasts. I appreciate that there are nonviolent options for encounters in PoE.

 

Otherwise, things have been going great since we finally hit 6 party members. Even when we got accosted by ogres and blights recently, we came out ahead by recognizing the enemy's strength early and using our best resources before anyone succumbed to enemy pressure. The game is actually pretty easy on Easy when you're not a solo mage with zero game knowledge.

 

Next run, I'll bump it up to Normal and try a no-reload with some custom characters. I've been itching to try out a high-Might Aumaua cipher and another Orlan mage (I like tiny mage protagonists) with better Perception than my current one, Gray Sidoh.

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I just died a couple times to the Sky Dragon...the Sky Dragon was nearly untouchable to my level 7 party, even with resting bonuses against Beasts. I appreciate that there are nonviolent options for encounters in PoE.

 

 

With you. Even on easy, the Sky Dragon is kind of a wall if you roll in at level 7 and don't know what you're doing. We had to take the peaceful route, too.

 

The thing to keep in mind, I think, is that there is tons of XP available off the main quest line. I tend to minimize side-questing (rescuing cats from trees and such when the world is at stake never makes sense to me), so my three play-throughs were completed at 7,8, and 8 respectively, but I think most players arrive at that fight at much higher levels.

The game is actually pretty easy on Easy when you're not a solo mage with zero game knowledge.

 

It is. It's not hard, it's just different. As I mentioned earlier, my BG experience made the learning curve tougher, not easier. I had to unlearn before I could learn. I'm glad you're getting it!

 

 

Next run, I'll bump it up to Normal and try a no-reload with some custom characters. I've been itching to try out a high-Might Aumaua cipher and another Orlan mage (I like tiny mage protagonists) with better Perception than my current one, Gray Sidoh.

 

 

Sounds good! Will you be posting this one? Please do!

 

Best,

 

A.

 

Btw, if you haven't completed the game yet -and it sounds like you haven't- best of luck with the endgame!

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Good luck to all the no-reloaders!

I can't wait to join myself on this challenge, but first I must beat my very first Baldur's Gate saga playthrough.

In a sense it's a great practice for the Expert Mode - Trial of Irons PoE run I plan to join here ^^

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Ashoka: Pale Elf, Kind Wayfarer- Entry 10: Raedric Hold

 
The first time I played PoE I didn't even know that you could fight Raedric. I figured there had to be a way -the guy was clearly angling for some come-up-ens, what with the tree and all. But since I hadn't completed the Guilded Vale minor quests, I never got an invite.
 
When I learned of the Raedric fight, by reading online, I became aware of the quest's reputation for difficulty. Heeding calls for caution, I've tended to return to Raedric's Hold post DB, only after I've taken a couple levels. It's an odd quest, balance wise. L4 is too early, apparently, but L5, strangely, feels a bit much and L6 is ridic. We took the ridic approach this time. I have no regrets -it was an enjoyable baddie stomp- but I'd definitely like to try the quest with a well equipped L4 party in the not-too distant future.
 
Ok. Let's get to it, shall we?
 
Each time I've completed the quest, I've gone left, and climbed up the vines, entering the Sanctuary. Aloth gets tired if you do this, but it does get you around the army.
 
 
You take out a handful of guards up on the ramparts and then enter the Sanctuary itself, where you face paladins, priests, and acolytes, mostly.
 
 
The minor encounters in the Sanctuary were easier than I recall- presumably because I'm getting better.
 
Word of advice: Don't Divine Mark Pallegina. She loves killing priests. It's like her hobby. Everybody needs a hobby, right?
 
 
The area's focal battle, in the chapel, got a little strange. Our foes literally decided to line up and take on Ashoka kung-fu movie style, one by one.
 
 
With Aloth in need of rest anyways, and with a set of camping gear nearby, down in our next stop, Osyra's Pleasure-Palace, we decided to drop some spells. I hadn't cast Fireball before. On style grounds, I never liked it in BG. I can't say I'm fond of it in PoE either, although I'm sure it has its uses.
 
 
Down in the Pleasure Palace, against Osyra, we sent Pallegina on a behind-lines mage killing mission while the rest of the party sliced and diced the grunts. Very straight forward.
 
 
On to the Raedric himself! We used our standards party fighting tactics here with one wrinkle: we summoned the adra beetle and let her take care of the backliners. What's the consensus on the adra beetle? Is it over-powered easter-eggy or is it a respectable item? It's always felt a little goofy to me- especially since you can acquire it so soon.
 
 
With Ashoka, Eder, and Pallegina engaged in melee, supported by flame bombs (Divine Marks and Sunbeams) from Cassia and Ogrnd, and an occasional spell from Aloth, this went quickly. There's only one man left standing in this shot. He didn't last long.
 
 
What's next? I'm not sure, honestly. Dyrford is the obvious choice, but my druid fighting tactics are still pretty poor. I'm open to suggestions. Would blind running White March 1 be a terrible idea?
 
Best,
 
A.
Edited by Alesia_BH
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Good luck to all the no-reloaders!

 

I can't wait to join myself on this challenge, but first I must beat my very first Baldur's Gate saga playthrough.

 

In a sense it's a great practice for the Expert Mode - Trial of Irons PoE run I plan to join here ^^

 

We look forward to having you, Hazmy! But first, yes: Enjoy your first BG run! It's a great game!

 

As you surely know by now, the BG No Reload Challenge threads, linked earlier, are many, many hundreds of pages long. There's a ton of content to learn from. They're filled with spoilers galore, obviously, but they're a great resource for aspiring NR players. Check them out, once you're ready (but not too soon- enjoy a blind run first)!

 

I'll note, too, that we have a thread specifically for prospective no reloaders here: 

 

https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/66243/the-adventurers-lounge-guidance-and-support-for-no-reload-challengers-newbie-or-veteran#latest

 

If you're having trouble with something, feel free to post there. You can mention that I sent you, if you feel the need. Someone will take care of you! 

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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I'm not sure I'm big on side quests in PoE, either, at least not in their normal order. On multiple occasions, I've found that it's better to progress in the main quest to gain XP and get strong enough to tackle side quests, rather than the other way around (as it is in most games). PoE is perfectly willing to throw huge optional challenges at you (Od Nua is multiple levels of crazy towards the bottom), and revisiting previous areas to tie up loose ends appears to be the safer bet. I did Raedric's hold at level 7 or 8 and it was the easiest quest in the game just because our numbers were so unbalanced for the quest.

 

Then I went north to an area I thought was from even earlier in the game--but apparently was not. I ran into some mercenaries that had defense values around 100, equivalent to the Sky Dragon's defenses. Half the party died before the last one fell; the enemy just wouldn't go down.

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Yeah. Quest ordering is tricky in PoE. It is in BG, too, for beginners.

 

I'm dealing with that issue now. I'd like to gain some more XP before heading to Dyrford, but I'm afraid I'll stumble into something horrible.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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I've found out how to post images directly in the post. If you store them on imgur, then copy an url from there and edit it this way (without *):

 

[img*=https*://imgur.com/xxxxxxx.jpg]

 

wJzoAfC.jpg

Edited by Serg BlackStrider
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I wouldn't recommend going to White March just yet, Alesia_BH - maybe wait one or two levels. Dyrford is honestly not too difficult, but I'm almost certain that there are several sidequests in Defiance Bay that you haven't done yet, and those would be even easier, so I'd recommend starting there. If you go to Dyrford right now, I would trying to avoid fighting any opponents in stormwall gorge just yet (though I'm not 100% sure if the adragan will show up on hard).

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I've found out how to post images directly in the post. If you store them on imgur, then copy an url from there and edit it this way (without *):

 

[img*=https*://imgur.com/xxxxxxx.jpg]

 

Sweet!

 

EDIT: It's not working for me. I get a "you are not allowed to use that image extension in this community" error.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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I wouldn't recommend going to White March just yet, Alesia_BH - maybe wait one or two levels. 

 

Noted. Thanks!

 

Dyrford is honestly not too difficult

 

I was worried about Through Death's Gate, and in particular the primordials and druids there. I haven't studied druid spells yet. I haven't the faintest clue what they do or how to stop them.

 

As it turns out, my concerns were justified. We were blind-sided by a battle that ended up being way harder than I expected. We survived, but it was a humbling close call. More on that soon.

 

Blood Legacy is next, I guess, but I'm feeling inclined to study cipher powers first. 

 

I'm almost certain that there are several sidequests in Defiance Bay that you haven't done yet

 

 

We did His Old Self and Voice from the Past before leaving.

 

Ashoka won't do Theorems of Pandgram on RP grounds.

 

I guess we're ready for Missing Sentries now, if that's still available.

 

Those are the only DB side quests that I know. I'm aware that there are others, but I'm reluctant to take them on blind.

 

Are there ones that you'd suggest?

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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I've found out how to post images directly in the post. If you store them on imgur, then copy an url from there and edit it this way (without *):

 

[img*=https*://imgur.com/xxxxxxx.jpg]

 

Sweet!

 

EDIT: It's not working for me. I get a "you are not allowed to use that image extension in this community" error.

 

Yeah, I've got that message too at first. You should also add an extention for your image (.jpg or .png) after xxxxxx

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The mercenaries area that semiticgod is referring to is a very high level area. To be fair your steward specifically warns you about it and flat out tells you that you can’t handle it yet if you are below level 10.

 

Fighting Sky Dragon at level 7 is very early. You must have missed quite a lot of quests to be so low level in Act 3.

 

White March 1 can be done around level 8 as long as you stick to main questline and don’t go wandering too much in a couple of the side areas. Generally I like to be 9+ though for safety. WM1 also inundates you with tons of supplies and equipment for not a lot of effort, so it can make the main questline easier afterwards.

 

Dyrford should be fine around level 8 as well. A lot of the fighting in those quests is avoidable.

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Fighting Sky Dragon at level 7 is very early. You must have missed quite a lot of quests to be so low level in Act 3.
 

 

If you stick to the story line, doing few side quests (which I usually prefer, from an RP perspective), you reach the Sky Dragon at L7. That's surely one of the reason why the game gives you a non-confrontational solution to that encounter.

 

I've actually never gotten above level 8/9 in this game. On normal, at least, the end game sequence is perfectly doable at 8.

 

I do intend to pick up a few extra levels before finishing this time.

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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It worked when I tried one of my old pictures from Beamdog, but not when I tried a new one on Imgur. We should continue this in PM.

 

(Btw, the quote you snipped wasn't an attempt in and of itself. It was a clipped segment following a failed test. You can delete that.) 

 

EDIT: Got it now. The issue is the choice of copy button. If you use the copy button on the right side of the Imgur page, it doesn't work (that's a link to the page, not the image itself). If you use the copy button that pops up over the image when you hover, it does work.

 

This: 

cwgOgXF.jpg

 

Versus this: 

 

TXNOZp2.jpg

Edited by Alesia_BH
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I don't recommend going to White March too early if you are unexperienced. Especially on POTD. 

There is a specific enemy type that will eat you for breakfast there if you don't know where to avoid them.

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Done! My wizard, Gray Sidoh, just beat the main questline. Too bad I died like ten times in the process. Maybe the next run will be better.

 

By the endgame, the party was decently optimized, I had adjusted to the new gameplay, and I had learned how to time my pauses and search through the dialog box to find key information about probabilities (I liked seeing that the judge in the final battle had low Reflex while the executioner had low Reflex and Will, which made conceptual sense). The opening fire spell at the start of the final battle was alarming, but the huge area and the numerous new magic items made it clear when I had to eat all of our food for the extra health bonuses, and by letting Eder distract the judge and executioner, the rest of the team was able to run away and heal up. Our archers, the Grieving Mother and Sagani, both got confused, but one of the last items we found was a ring that let Eder dispel or suppress the effect.

 

Basically, both the judge and executioner kept struggling and failing to deal meaningful damage to Eder. Eder always carried the shield Ilfan Byrngar's Solace, which grants +50 defense while stunned or prone--which is actually incredibly overpowered because it means Eder was basically immortal whenever he was on his back. With that shield in hand, he was actually safer when he got knocked down. The enemy just couldn't touch him.

 

Things were different when Thaos was on his own, since he had extremely fast-casting spells, but I made a point of chain-casting defensive spells and scrolls to make sure that all of our saving throws were high. Thaos' defenses were strong, but we had lots of resources and the party was in good condition by the time we reached that phase, which meant we were able to impose some modest penalties to his stats and grind him down. Accuracy is indeed very important; the toughest enemies can have extremely high defense values.

 

I was afraid of the ending since @Alesia_BH suggested I might find myself doing something horrible, but things went well. I picked Hylea, the nicest-sounding god I could find in the in-game lore menu, and I did what she wanted. Raedric's entire hold went empty in a fit of violence, but ending the Hollowborn thingy seemed more important in the long run for the world at large.

 

@Alesia_BH: I also came perilously close to dying against the druids in my first run. Druids have a cone-shaped Corrosion spell that deals area-effect damage over time, so I found my entire party taking heavy damage even though my tank was in place. I think druids can also get a party-wide Corrosion damage reduction spell, so a level 5 druid might be a great counter to that spell. Otherwise you'd need to have sturdy stats... or maybe split up the party into a fan shape, so the cone can only hit one or two people behind the tank at a time.

 

I'll start posting on my Normal mode run sometime soon, but I'm concerned about the endgame. If Normal mode is just a more difficult version of Easy mode and the nature of the challenges aren't too different (that is, if the enemies don't pull completely new tricks on me), then the early game will be a bit dicey and the midgame will be tough but safe in terms of probabilities, but the final battle could get really ugly. I don't know how I'd deal with Thaos if I didn't have the shield Ilfan Byrngar's Solace, and I'm not sure I want to rely on that shield again. It seems too simple to just let the judge and executioner stomp on an unkillable tank while we shoot them down from afar.

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Heyya, it's me popping in again.

 

I suppose I've just created a character and I'll be riding the PoE wave with you for a time (with apologies to Saoirse, my thief/illusionist, who will instead be getting bored in one of Trademeet's taverns).

 

I have a very vague idea of what I'm doing and, because of that, I'm not very inclined to consider this as a proper no-reload attempt. Nevertheless, I shall adhere to the rules and we'll see what happens. If death comes to us (and this is bound to happen sooner rather than later) then I suppose I'll just try to complete the game to familiarize myself with both the story and the challenges/tactical content. 

 

Anyway, I wish all the best to the currently active participants.

 

Regards,

 

B. 

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I don’t want to go into spoiler territory for final battle. If you managed to do it (first time by the sounds of it) you will be fine on Normal with the benefit of experience behind you. You will have seen there is a lot of space for that battle, and that gives you tactical options. Also one of Thaos’ most fearsome abilities, Cleansing Flame, targets Deflection I think, so you can use that knowledge to force him to target your best protected character. The additional Accuracy Thaos will have at higher difficulty levels could be offset by additional buffs you did not yet use (e.g. did you use scroll of defence or Shields for the Faithful? Dragon meat food? Higher enchantments on shields? And every additional level gets you +3 as well, so there’s clearly huge scope).

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@Jaheiras_Witness: I didn't have Shields for the Faithful since my priest was level 7 and everyone else was level 8, but I used multiple Scrolls of Defense to keep our saving throws high. No dragon food; it seemed too expensive (even though I could have afforded it). I did have good shields for our fighter, priest, and druid, plus the shield talent for extra deflection bonuses, but I could probably also tack on some damage reduction against fire attacks, just to buy use a little more health to survive the opening fire spell.

 

On an unrelated note, wouldn't Perception be the most important stat for a wizard in a no-reload run, not Intellect? Reliability is key for no-reload runs, and having an extra-strong blindness spell doesn't mean much if the chance of success is low. The odds will be especially low for the higher-difficulty fights that are most likely to end a run, when you most need those spells to work.

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Congrats, Semiticgod! I'm glad to hear that you finished! We're looking forward to your normal run.

 

Cheers!

 

A.

 

 

I was afraid of the ending since @Alesia_BH suggested I might find myself doing something horrible, but things went well

 

 

I was referring to the Guilded Vale outcome (if you only fought Raedric once) and the Heritage Hill outcome (if you didn't destroy the machine).

 

 

@Alesia_BH: I also came perilously close to dying against the druids in my first run. Druids have a cone-shaped Corrosion spell that deals area-effect damage over time, so I found my entire party taking heavy damage even though my tank was in place. I think druids can also get a party-wide Corrosion damage reduction spell, so a level 5 druid might be a great counter to that spell. Otherwise you'd need to have sturdy stats... or maybe split up the party into a fan shape, so the cone can only hit one or two people behind the tank at a time.

 

It's not so much the corrode spell, Autumn's Decay, but rather the raw damage over time spells. Specifically, Plague of Insects and Infestation of Maggots, intersected with Autumn's Decay.

 

Raw damage is not subject to DR checks. Further, the damage from Infestation of Maggots is an increasing function of damage previously taken and Plague of Insects effects concentration, hindering deployment of counters. It's a slippery slope. And if you've become complacent, accustomed to resisting damage with DR, it's easy to slide off.

 

In the Through Death's Gate encounter, all three are used together. It's an effective combo. Damage from Autumn's Decay allows Infestation of Maggots to take effect; Infestation of Maggots accelerates damage; Plague of Insects adds additional damage and limits ability to counter. 

 

I do see ways of dealing with it now. And even knowing what I knew then -as opposed to what I know now- we would had been fine had I anticipated the magnitude of the difficulty increase from normal to hard and prepared accordingly.

 

I suppose I had also grown overconfident. We were starting to feel invincible. We hadn't suffered a knock-out in combat since Kana and we hadn't really taken significant damage for a long time.

 

In any case, close calls can be helpful, in the end: they encourage you to refocus and remind you to never let yourself get overconfident. That's good. This will help, ultimately, I suspect.

 

Edited by Alesia_BH
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