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Bind quicksave to Q and actually use consumables - Meditations on the Path of the Damned


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Approaching The Path of the Damned


So over the weekend I completed a run through Path of the Damned and yes, yes it is a fair shot more difficult than normal or hard. And I have some feedback on both the difficulty itself, some things that could be changed for all difficulties and some suggestions on how to approach playing Path of the Damned.

As an introduction and a bit of background. I love playing Baldurs Gate 1&2 with tactics ( Tactics, Ascension, Stratagems, CoM Encounters, BP, Revised Battles, etc) mods. I certainly won't play through either without the Stratagems mod installed if I can help it. I've not played either Icewind Dale to completion and certainly have not tried my hand at Heart of Fury but I'm planning to get to that after my current run through a Big World Project Tactics installation. I certainly won't claim to be especially good at it but I manage and I enjoy puzzling out approaches to encounters.

The Nature of the Path

Lets review what Path of the Damned entails. PoE enables and disables the enemies you find in locations depending on the difficulty you are using.  Path of the Damned enables all of them. And also gives enemies a 50% boost in stats. So there is more enemies, there is more varieties of enemies and the enemies are harder. There is of-course some exceptions. Pre-determined groups like Medreths never change composition. Don't worry though, they'll still get that difficulty boost.

Path of the Damned on the whole is actually very enjoyable to play. It rewards being careful about how you start and manage combat. Use patrol route timing to break up groups and disabling strike to stagger opponents arriving at your group. The Skaen Dungeon seems built to enable this kind of approach.

There is some downsides too though, In theory the 50% across the board boost sounds like a good idea but can lead to situations where you carefully put down a Symbol, then expertly fireball a mass of enemies, kite them across the symbol and throw an interdiction on top of the whole group as it approaches your front line.

The fireball managed to hit one enemy for decent damage and grazed 2 for 0.7, the rest didn't care. The Symbol never did anything to any of them and the Interdiction only applied its debuff to one opponent. Great, that effort sure helped make this easier. Back to just murdering things in melee and having the casters throw down debuffs and heals in the hope something sticks. I'd love to target a different defense and exploit that but it turns out after the boost they don't really Have a defense that is noticeably weak compared to my parties accuracy ratings.

Instead of an across the board increase I'd like to see a strong improvement ( say the current 50% ) in their stronger points but a smaller boost to their weaker points. This should lead to them being about as effective in whatever role they have but leave open weak-points. The ability to actually target specific weaknesses should lead to more engaging gameplay and varied tactics.

Insights of the Path

There are some things I noticed while playing, frustrations and the like I think could be improved.

Lets talk about what I like to think of as emergency abilities. Abilities like Arcane Veil and Escape. When I press that button I want that, no Need that to activate Now. Not when my delay ends, when my delay ends is probably going to be too late. My wizard will be dead, my rogue will be stuck in interrupts. I'd like to see things like Escape, Healing Consumables and other general emergency abilities to be put on a separate action type that goes off immediately and then resets the delay timer.

On the subject of Escape. I frequently have no clue what the real range on it is or what is or is not going to block it. I suggest a line pointer to give feedback on where exactly I'm going to end up.

So you fight through a room, open some chest or drawer or check behind a tapestry. And find... more stuff you could have gotten off of the enemies in the room. I'd like to see more things like consumables, rare ingredients and such in chests. Especially consumables since I use quite a few of those in Path of the Damned.

Walking the Path

Become good friends with BB Rogue, BB Rogue is both your best damage dealer and out of the box your sneakiest character. And you'll want to sneak, you'll want to sneak to plan ahead and to start the encounters on your terms. Learn to love scout mode. You'll be in it a lot.

As for how to use a rogue, realize they are skirmishers, do not stick them blindly on the front line, do not simply have them plink with a bow. They fill both roles well and you should alternate as needed. Pulls are often best executed with a bow, single casters on the back line are great to take out in melee. Escape will get you out of trouble if you use it well, but its not just for getting away from things. Use the slow to delay an opponent so you can stagger the arrival of enemies. Don't risk a rogue in melee with a massive unstable brawl going on but once things calm down move in for the kill with your stabbing implements of choice.

You know what BB Rogue has on top of all that ? Traps, if you've got any sense you are fighting near natural choke-points anyway to ensure your back line is safe. Put some traps in front of the choke-point. Symbols too, BB Priest has a symbol in each spell level, not all of them equally useful but just throw one down there even if its not that big or doesn't do damage.

Because debuffs are key. You'll not land them as reliably as you will in other difficulties but landing them makes a big difference. Debuffs reduce your opponents ability to hurt you and critically a rogue needs debuffs on a target to land sneak attacks. Sneak attacks are the key that turn a rogue into the damage powerhouses they are.

On the subject of debuffs, Blinding, Dazing and Hobbling are nice but  things that Charm rule supreme. A charmed enemy is a 200% swing of value in your favor not only have they lost power you have gained. Finally summons, though many of the things that apply to summons also apply to charmed opponents.

See those statue things you started the game with ? One summons a group of spiders and the other summons a beetle. Once every rest. Summons are great because they'll take hits for you and you don't care at all about their Health. Send them in first, to eat AoE and other nasty things before going in with your actual party. Use them as additional bodies in fights that start off with dialog to avoid your characters getting overwhelmed before you can get control of the situation and on top of all that their damage is not exactly anemic.

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Remember that you also have underpowered gear for that stage of the game.


Sure but I can only judge and comment on what I have in front of me, and I've tried to lay out my experiences and suggestions based on that. We will see what the next beta update brings, I hope some serious tweaks to enemies.


Surely I'm not the only one to tackle PotD, anyone else want to chime in with feedback. Comments, questions suggestions ?

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