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Ashoka: Pale Elf, Kind Wayfarer- Entry 12: Dyrford Part 2- Through Death's Gate

 
Ok, everyone! It's time to resume coverage of Ashoka's run. 
 
Ashoka completed the Through Death's Gate quest without passing through death's gate. She very nearly did though and the blame for that rests squarely on my diminutive shoulders. I messed up. I made the one mistake that every no reloader should know to never make: I became over-confident and I let that over-confidence effect my play. Ashoka nearly died here simply because I neglected to take a very real threat seriously. Hopefully I won't make that mistake again.
 
Prior to this quest, Ashoka had never been knocked-out and her team had suffered but three knockouts in total: two to temporary party member, Kana, early in the adventure, and one to Eder while triggering a trap. Despite my constant hemming and hawing and pleas for advice, this run has been -or had been- surprisingly easy. But in no reload play, ease is an enigma: You only find it when you think you can't and you invariably lose it when it's firmly in your grasp. This run was only easy because I thought it wasn't: my constant fear kept me on my toes, on the defensive, and that, in turn, kept us safe. Once I lost my fear, ease slipped away, and Ashoka nearly slipped away with it.
 
So: how did it happen, exactly? Let's start with the where: the Cliaban Rilag ruins. We had entered the ruins by jumping over the bridge. Aloth, whose Athletics skill is low, sprained a wrist. That led us to rest, leaving us with one set of camping equipment with a long quest ahead. I considered jumping back over the bridge to retrieve the free set near the looter's tents, but I wasn't sure of the mechanics and feared Aloth would sprain his risk again. We proceeded with one.
 
That was fine, at first. The early encounters were super-straight forward- including our first encounter with the area's most dangerous enemies: the pwgra/druid crews. 
 
Here we see Ashoka, Eder, and Pallegina forming a line, backed by Cassia while Aloth and Ogrnd provide ranged support. Everyone is happy and healthy, except for Ogrnd who was outside of Strange Mercy range. 
 
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Everything was going smoothly at this point: the first druids went quietly...
 
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and the animats -like many of our enemies- could pose no threat to a three member, full plate + Zealous Endurance front line that's continuously bathed in mass heals.
 
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But the seeds of disaster has already been sown and those early encounters had served to fertilize them. Remember Aloth's cut scene injury, and, thus, our depleted camping supplies? Remember how I was irked by the damage on Ogrnd's portrait, resulting from his position outside of Strange Mercy range? Do you remember how the animats could do no damage due to our formidable damage resistance and how the first druids fell with nary a peep? Well, I sure did. And, respectively, those experiences caused me to: 1) conserve spells; 2) group everyone together; 3) grow more confident in our DRs; 4) lose my fear of druids; . Ok: Whose ahead of me here? Who sees the problem? Who sees where this is headed? If your answer was: 
 
"Since you're conserving spells, the menpwgra/druid crew near mushroom heaven will get off its AoE stuff. And since everyone is bunched together, your whole crew is going to get tagged. And since those AoE spells will do Raw damage, the DR that you've come to rely on will be useless. And since you've lost your fear of druids, this is going to totally-blindside you. So, yeah, you're going to have a bad time."
 
Then you're totally right: that's what happened exactly. And here is the the result. Everybody's dressed in red. We barely survived.
 
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It didn't help that I wasn't expecting a menpwgra here (this being my first run on Hard). Nor did my inept movement near the doorway help. But fundamentally, this was a failure at the level of player psychology. I had gone on cruise control and that prevented me from assessing risk. Lesson learned. Even if the challenges within the game world are meager, dangers can still reside within ourselves.
 
Fortunately, the rest of the quest was a breeze. The spirits were so unthreatening that we could sit back, relax and let Aloth disappoint us with an underwhelming L4.
 
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And full plate + Zealous Endurance still trivializes animats.
 
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But I had learned a lesson here. Ashoka hopes I've learned it well.
 
Best,
 
A.
Edited by Alesia_BH
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Thanks again for the reminder, Hulk'O'Saurus!

 

This is the battle that raised that discussion. I just hadn't posted it yet.

 

I have used Moonwell since then and I had used Moonwell previously, in my unpublished successful normal NR. In this case, Moonwell might have been helpful, but it's an expensive solution to a problem that could have been averted entirely through more proactive methods. In my second hard NR play-through, this time with a mage, we took virtually no damage in this encounter. As mentioned earlier, the issue in Ashoka's case wasn't tactics, but rather psychology. This isn't a hard fight. It's an easy-ish fight that I made hard by being sloppy and over-confident.

 

Best,

 

A. 

 

 

PS: My mage, Alikae, at the conclusion of the same fight- little healing needed, Moonwell not required.

 

AzwTd7n.jpg

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Quick Note on Ashoka's Run:

 

Ok, everyone! Since I've been remiss in posting, I have a lot of catching up to do. I'll take a moment to briefly update everyone.

 

I have completed my first NR on hard. It was not Ashoka who earned that honor, however, it was a melee mage named Alikae. Ashoka fell in the battle with Thaos- a victim of two convergent factors:

 

1) I fought the battle at 4:00am in an airport, exhausted and assuming it would be trivial

2) I failed to anticipate the change in Thaos's defenses on hard, causing our L9 party -which had previously had no need to emphasize accuracy- to have trouble hitting, leaving us exposed to Thaos's spells (notably Cleansing Flame) for too long

 

Following the battle, we completed the fight successfully three times by making adjustments emphasizing accuracy and mitigating Cleansing Flame exposure. I considered running Ashoka again, since I felt bad that I had let her down. But since I've never considered the parallel save method (in which players experiment with a battle and then run through the "real" save) valid or in keeping with the spirit of the NR challenge, I did not feel comfortable running Ashoka again: it would have felt too much like a parallel save run, even though her second try would have been a complete run, sans-experimentation. I chose instead to retire Ashoka and run a different character, with a different party composition, forcing use of different tactics. That character was Alikae, a Fire Godlike wizard. Happily, Alike prevailed.

 

I'll attempt to finish posting on Alikae's run today. I'll also try to get started on Alikae's. I hope to get both done ASAP, because there's an upcoming run that I'm really excited about. I've just -as in just- started a game with a rogue based on a certain bounty hunter that I used to play in BG(!). That should be fun!

 

In any case, good hunting, everyone! I'll get to work posting soon!

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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@Alesia_BH: Congratulations! Is this our first entry in the Hall of Heroes?

 

Two questions about the Hall: is it going to be on the first page? If so, how will it be added if you're on hiatus? The Beamdog no-reload thread's OP belongs to Ygramul, but when he went on hiatus, I used moderator editing privileges to add entries since he wasn't available.

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Thanks, Semiticgod!

 

Now to your questions:

 

1) Alikae does not qualify for the Hall of Heroes at this time. First, her run hasn't yet been documented in this thread: only runs fully documented here qualify. Second, the Hall of Heroes is reserved for PoE Saga No Reloaders, meaning POE 1 & POE 2. Alikae has only completed POE 1.

 

2) I was thinking we could host the Hall of Heroes on Serg's site. I'll edit my post to include a link. If Serg is willing to take on the responsibility, that should work.

 

Best,

 

A.

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I was thinking we could host the Hall of Heroes on Serg's site. I'll edit my post to include a link. If Serg is willing to take on the responsibility, that should work.

 

I'll be happy to maintain the Hall on my site and actually I've already thought about that. Moreover, as far as I know there is a time limit on this boards when you are able to edit posts so it would be hard to make it here (you have an opportunity to PM moderators with a request to do that but this is not quite convenient). I just need to create a new page on my site and that's it.

Edited by Serg BlackStrider
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1) Alikae does not qualify for the Hall of Heroes at this time. First, her run hasn't yet been documented in this thread: only runs fully documented here qualify. Second, the Hall of Heroes is reserved for PoE Saga No Reloaders, meaning POE 1 & POE 2. Alikae has only completed POE 1.

That's too bad. I was hoping Gray Sidoh could get an entry if I make it past Thaos. I don't even own PoE 2. Is it very different from PoE in terms of gameplay? Is it a continuation of the same story and character, like BG1 and BG2, or would a saga run involve two character creation processes?

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No reason not to have two halls: one just for PoE, and another for the saga.

 

I don’t have PoE2 yet either (I imagine somebody will get it for me for xmas!). From what I understand it is plotwise a sequel, you can use same PC, but you start back at level 1 again. Not very satisfying IMO but we’ll see when I get it :)

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Yes, PoE II is a sequel plotwise and you'll create your character there again starting from level 1 (there is even an opportunity to make him/her a true multiclass combining two of all available classes) but you also could 'import' your PoE I final save and live with consequences of your actions/choices and NPCs' story evolution (Eder, Aloth) during PoE I. Or create a custom pre-history of PoE I. Gameplay IMO is more rich (I've only started a new game and explored a few isles) including owning a ship and participate in sea battles.

 

I also agree with Alesia that Hall should be for saga no-reloads only. That's how we have it for Baldur's Gate on old Bioware boards and I see no reason not to apply this rule for PoE challenge as well. I foresee not a small amount of PoE I no-reloads only and if we'll have the same amount of them as we have for BG/ToSC, the Hall will be just huge.

Edited by Serg BlackStrider
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Hm. The Hall of Heroes for BG runs only included full saga runs: BG1, BG2, and ToB (SoD was optional because there were so many runs that came before SoD was made). However, we also had an Honorable Mentions section in the Beamdog thread (if not the original Bioware thread) for notable runs that failed very late or only included part of the saga. JuliusBorisov had a solo druid run in the Honorable Mentions section that died at the very end of the game, and I had a couple runs that were BG2 and ToB only; no BG1. The reasoning was that JuliusBorisov's run was unusually challenging (a solo druid is one of the toughest runs you can attempt) and my two runs had special gimmicks (one was a group of spellcasters that were required to fight primarily using weapons instead of spells; the other was a genocide run on LoB mode).

 

We could have a list of Honorable Mentions for runs that didn't qualify for the Hall of Heroes but were notable for other reasons. That would give a nod to smaller runs that were still interesting despite being incomplete. Otherwise, I'd say the Hall should probably be reserved for saga runs, which have traditionally been more challenging and more epic in scope.

 

What do you guys think?

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The Hall should be a well earned honor. Finishing PoE alone is too easy to warrant admission, in my opinion.

 

(I, too, own only PoE at this time)

 

Best,

 

A.

 

PS: Here's a proposal. In long distance hiking culture we have terms to refer to days spent in and around town. If you spend a whole day in town -with no hiking- it's a zero. If you hike into town, sleep there, and then leave the next day, it's a nero. If you hike in, resupply, and then hike back out, thus hiking for most of the day, resisting the allure of town, it's a hero. If you like, we can have three lists, borrowing those terms, which would effectively document the outcome of every run. The Hall of Zeros would be for characters who fell in PoE 1 (Ex- Ashoka). The Hall of Neros would be for those who complete PoE 1 only (Ex- Alikae). The Hall of Heroes would be reserved solely for those who complete both (Ex- nobody yet, but my money is on Gloomy Face)

Edited by Alesia_BH
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(Or, we could have an honorable mention list and allow each player's first successful PoE run to qualify. Subsequent PoE only runs by the same player would not qualify for honorable mention unless they were unusually challenging)

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Zero and nero sound kinda negative. How about the Graveyard for lost runs and Honorable Mentions for non-saga runs? The Graveyard would be a playfully gloomy name for a challenge that usually ends in failure. Plus, it matches the numerous tombstone markings around PoE.

 

I have two dead characters named Gray Sidoh. They could be the first entries in the Graveyard:

 

Gray Sidoh, Orlan Wizard: Forgot that bears are omnivores, not herbivores.

 

Gray Sidoh, Orlan Wizard: Littered in the forest; executed by tree huggers.

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(Or, we could have an honorable mention list and allow each player's first successful PoE run to qualify. Subsequent PoE only runs by the same player would not qualify for honorable mention unless they were unusually challenging)

 

I think, my personal vote will be for this one.

 

And thanks, Alesia, for betting on Gloomy Face. I'll try my best for him not to disappoint you (though my future first full Deadfire run will be nearly a blind one). But under any circumstances I do not intend to give up. I don't think, he will be there soon - you know, I'm a slow player and follow a completionist approach, but with time he will get it. 

Edited by Serg BlackStrider
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@ Semiticgod. Agreed. The Graveyard + Honorable Mention is better. The terms "zero" and "nero" sound playful to my ear, but that's because I'm familiar with their use in another context. To others they probably sound harsh.

 

@Everyone. We should decide this by consensus, but Serg's voice should carry additional weight, since he'll be the one maintaining the list. So, let's make it explicit here are the two proposals.

 

Proposal 1: A) Hall of Heroes for Saga runs only; B) Honorable Mention for PoE only runs; C) Graveyard for the fallen

 

Proposal 2: A) Hall of Heroes for Saga runs only; B) Honorable Mention for a player's first PoE run and otherwise distinguished non-Saga runs

 

What does everyone think?

 

Best,

 

A.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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@Serg. The only reason I didn't suggest what you've called proposal 3 is that it leads to a subset of successful runs warranting no mention while all deaths are mentioned. So, if they died they'd be remembered, but since they lived, they're not? That's a little odd.

 

I feel that if we're going to have a graveyard we should document all the PoE successes.

 

The Graveyard does sound fun.

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Dear friends,

 

Apologies for the inactivity, but there was just too much RL action going on lately.

 

Unfortunately, I'm here to give a rather anti-climatic update, as Amaruq had fallen before I was able to catch up with her progress. The cause of her downfall at the hands of the party of shadows/spirits handing out the welcome drinks at Caed Nua was twofold: 1. lack of protection against stun and confusion (or mitigation thereof) and 2. insufficient accuracy that would allow our party of four to eliminate the foes before taking substantial damage.

 

Well, this has been expected. It's just that I'm sorry for such a brief (boring) exhibit. With slight adjustments (e.g. by applying accuracy rest bonus vs. spirits), I was able to clear the area on a second go and proceed further without much resistance. I'll continue the run on a reloading basis in hopes of beating the game for the first time (although I have to say that my BG affection is certainly itching as well).

 

@Alesia: Ashoka is dead (I'm sorry for the loss), long live Alikae (congratulations, yay)!

 

@semiticgod/Enuhal/Jaheiras Witness: Great progress everyone!

 

B.

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That's basically my Proposal 1 from above assuming you don't mean that characters that died in PoE might qualify for honorable mentions. Those should all go to the Graveyard, in my opinion- no honorable mention consideration for those.

 

So,

 

A) Died in PoE = Graveyard; B) Completed PoE and stopped = Honorable Mention; C) Completed PoE and died in PoE 2 = Honorable Mention (we can add a line denoting this);D) Completed Saga = Hall of Heroes

Edited by Alesia_BH
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Jazz Wit, Solo Coastal Aumaua Chanter (Hard), Part 4

 

Some minor adventures to report tonight. Went to Anslog's Compass for Aufra's quest and decided to unleash 'The Thunder Rolled' for pure style points ;)

 

 

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I meet the deadfire merchant but for this run I have decided not to use any of the items he sells (since they are quite overpowered in relation to other equipment I can get). The belt is the big miss, even though this build is not exactly suited to wielding Firebrand, the other powers and stat boosts are so nice :(

 

Found a good defensive spot for the main xaurip fight where I could not be surrounded, but 16.5 seconds of frightened :o

 

 

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The hardest bit of this fight was to avoid paralysation from the xaurip skirmisher long enough to get 3 phrases chanted. Every successful paralyse stopped my chant, I needed the xaurip to fail in its paralysis roll 2 times to get 1 phrase through. My FOR is good but you can see from below screenshot that the xaurip skirmisher was already badly injured (from Soft Winds) before I managed to summon the phantom.

 

 

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Can finally upgrade my shield:

 

 

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Onto the guls. These are much stronger versions of wichts and are genuinely dangerous in the early game because of numbers, fast attacks, and interrupt. I therefore drink a potion of Spirit Shield to boost my concentration and avoid being interrupt-locked.

 

 

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As the first group is nearly defeated, I use my phantom to draw out the next group so I can fight them in the same combat phase and avoid losing my Spirit Shield.

 

 

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Hmm, may have bitten off a little more than I wanted to chew :/

 

 

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Still manage to win without too much trouble and I drink a potion of Ironskin in the next sea cave battle against the sporelings (since they hit quite hard).

 

 

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With my health quite low and a number of potions consumed, I do not bother facing the rest of the cave and instead head back to Ranga to brew the potion and to rest by the fire.

 

Next stop is Madhmr Bridge where we complete the Ferry Flotsam task to get this beautiful item:

 

 

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+2 INT is so sweet for my PC and the immunity to confusion avoids a lot of hassle (although confusion is usually not a particularly dangerous affliction for a solo character). Tis will be my headgear of choice for quite some time.

 

I then went to Esternwood for a bit of exploration on the way back to Gilded Vale, completed Aufra's quest, and bought some more food. Next time we will explore the Temple of Eothas.

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