Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Twitter Commentary, Part 10
By Dwip January 22, 2013, 4:44 am Comments (2) RSS Feed for this post

This is part 10 of my expanded Twitter commentary on Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition. You can find the master list of all parts here.

If you’re just tuning in, there are spoilers below the fold. Go play the game, then come back here.

Dopplegangers are actually one of my favorite sets of combat taunts. I love how their voices sound. Also, I’m tweeting this after fighting a room with 3 greater dopplegangers, which is much more exciting than I’m making it sound. It was actually a hard fight.

So, deep in the bowels of the second dungeon level of Durlag’s Tower is the tomb of Kiel, who is guarded by a number of dwarven doom guards, who are extremely tough little buggers. I took them down, but it was close, and it cost me Kagain and Branwen dead. The trek back topside was pretty epic, involving a great deal of loot juggling (Kagain and Branwen were my main mules), followed by a very scary bandit attack on the way to Beregost, where I narrowly averted a TPK using wands.

It’s moments like that that really make the game.

There is a room on level 3 of Durlag’s. It has a massive giant dragon skeleton. It looks really, really awesome. One of my favorite rooms in the whole complex.

This level is apparently where they stuck all the crazy stuff that wouldn’t fit on the other levels. Elemental rooms? Sure, why not. A topiary maze? Sounds great. A chessboard? Perfect.

I’d really like to know if anybody has ever played the chessboard legit and made it work. I always try to move my guys and get lightning bolted, so it always boils down to me dropping area magic and killing everything that way. Cool idea, but I don’t think it worked in the end.

I had remembered there being a level with no way out, and I forgot that you have to do the third level in a specific order to fully clear it. Fortunately, that maze that I skipped doesn’t do much, has really annoying enemies, and isn’t worth it at all.

Irony, of course, what with Sarevok and all, but I decided not to spoil the entire game on Twitter. I’ve probably said way too much there as it is.

Also, Durlag’s Tower is not going to end with peace and good will towards man.

The fleeing AI in Baldur’s Gate is not the best, and it’s never understood the concept of acid pools. And so, invariably my mages flee from a relatively harmless ghoul straight into an acid pool and take way more damage than they would have just standing there. The acid pool section is highly annoying for this reason alone.

The entire lower level of Durlag’s Tower is lousy with massive amounts of treasure, including a large number of magic weapons, I think all of the gems, is a staggering amount of cash. In the warded throne room, mixed in with all those gems, is a completely normal, non-magic longsword. Wonder what’s up with that.

Come to find out there’s only actually somewhere between one and three shops in the whole game that buy magic crossbow bolts. I think the smithy in Beregost is one of them. Magic arrows you can sell lots of places. I have no idea what’s up with this discrepancy, and it’s a little strange. Which is why most of the time I just leave magic bolt loot behind – it’s not worth the trouble unless somebody’s packing a crossbow.

So, once you make it down to the bottom level of Durlag’s Tower, you run into the spectre of Islanne, who offers to teleport you outside the tower. The problem with that is that once you do, so far as I can tell you’re basically done – there’s no way back past the chessboard that I’m aware of. I’m not sure if that was always the case, because I’m pretty sure I remember there being a ghost Islanne somewhere in the upper tower that would teleport you back, but damned if I can find it now.

So I had to CLUAConsole my way back into the tower. Shouldn’t have even bothered.

Back in the day, with the exception of Hold Person and Silence, 15′ Radius and a couple of others, I was pretty much an all damage, all the time kind of guy. Lots of fireballs, flame arrows, and what have you. I spent a lot of this game tooling about with Blindness, Ray of Enfeeblement, Deafness, and a couple of others, and it turns out that, while they may not kill the guy immediately, blinded guys suddenly stop being a huge threat for some inexplicable reason.

Likewise, I always used to hoard my wands of paralyzation, but then I hit a point where I had three or four of them and a whole lot of Aec’Letec cultists to fight, and not a lot of room to do it in. So I splurged. And they’re pretty good. Cleaned up that whole fight pretty quick, whereas before that point the cultists demolished me pretty handily.

I think there’s a lesson in here about reading spell descriptions.

Also, Infravision? Still not that good.

Fun fact about me: In any game with consumables, I am a compulsive hoarder of them, and getting into Fort Knox is easier than getting into my potion case. And there are certain potions where this is a good idea. But then there comes a point where Alora’s carrying half her weight in potions, and you start to take stock of your life choices, one of which is a playstyle that makes potion quaffing not much of a help in fights.

I should maybe be a little more proactive about selling them in future, I think is what I’m getting at.

Said the cultist leader in Shandalar’s house (and why ARE they in Shandalar’s house, anyway?). All of the responses to this are pretty amusing, and it’s all very clever. I like clever, and I like being clever to guys I’m about to cleave in half more.

In the process of cleaving said guys in half, I happened to summon a huge pack of wolves. And then I hasted them. And if you like your screen to look like a pinball machine, I heartily recomend this course of action. Kind of reminds me of taking my friends’ highly frenetic dogs, then giving them amphetamines.

I’m also easily amused.

Roughly, this is how I rolled into that Aec’Letec fight.

– Protection from Evil, 10′ Radius
– Resist Fear
– Haste
– Potion of Cloud Giant Strength on my main character and Kagain
– Potions of Power on Kagain and Branwen
Potions of Magic Shielding on CHARNAME, Kagain, Branwen, and I think Neera.

And this is basically where reading those item descriptions comes in handy. You see that “automatically makes all saving throws” bit? You know Aec’Letec has a gaze attack that’s basically save vs. death or die? Not even a worry.

And come to find out that a whole host of really well-armed, strength potioned, hasted adventurers is more than a match for Aec’Letec and all his cultists. In fact, I’m not even sure I took damage. This had not previously been my experience, and I suppose it goes to show you that there’s something to be said for age and wisdom.

Or maybe just reading the item descriptions and not half-assing your fight prep.

Computer Games - Baldur's Gate Series, Gamecraft Comments (2) Trackback URL for this post RSS Feed for this post
Comments on Baldur’s Gate: Enhanced Edition Twitter Commentary, Part 10
avatar Comment by Samson #1
January 22, 2013 at 12:58 pm

I “cheated” at chess. Stood there, never moving, and cast fireballs onto the edge of the visible area. Blew up all the bad guys without them even coming after me. I’d call that a good win because THEY cheat if you try and play it through legit. I’m not sure the chessboard has ever actually worked the way they wanted it to.

That demon fight with the cultists? I guess I just don’t have your tactical savvy. That’s one of two fights in the game I just said to hell with it and used ctrl-y to get through.

That’s probably one of my biggest gripes with these 2E games in general is that they expect you to know all this crap like the back of your hand and be a master of strategic combat. D&D games based on later editions of the ruleset were far less stupid about this stuff. There’s something to be said for the blissful simplicity of button mashing combat sometimes.

avatar Comment by Dwip #2
January 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Aec’Letec is probably the single hardest fight in the entire game because of the death gaze. Had I not read the potion right, I would have had a bad time like all the other times.

Too, I don’t think it’s so much that 2E is overburdened with minutiae (tabletop 3e plays the same, and Dragon Age abilities are…many) so much as the encounter design philosophy is just completely different – later games were usually level balanced to some degree, whereas BG just doesn’t give a shit, sort of like Morrowind just didn’t even care.

I think I’ve spent enough time in this series establishing which model I prefer, so.

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