We start with visiting na inn, because The Codex is in need of a cold shower after the last update.
Just so I don't kill anyone who you might regret.
Accessing the northwestern area from here will place us in the part containing Blushing Mermaid tavern.
Better for everyone if this is the last part of this fucking quest.
As with Blade & Stars earlier, the spawn point is suspiciously conveniently placed to the tavern. We cast Mirror Image as a precaution before entering.
That qualifies as paranoid behaviour, I think.
Paranoid? Hardly. Just good memory. Inside, we meet Larze.
Fuck you, ogre. Who even let you in here?
We start by an impressive 36 damage critical, but Larze immediately ups the stakes, hitting for 40 with a regular attack.
FUCKSHIT! You're supposed to hit the images!
First attempt to defeat him is a failure.
Death count: 118
Well, fuck. He's one tough son of a bitch.
You can say that again.
We try to blind Larze next time, but he resists.
At least he's not "Magic Resistant".
Yeah. Not that it changes anything.
Death count: 119
Do you have any ideas how to defeat him, or are we waiting for some luck to kick in?
Yeah, well, all my ideas assume some amount of luck, to be honest.
And we get it, as Larze is blinded at third attempt.
Now you die!
Even blinded, he still manages to get a large percentage of hits in. We're forced to renew Mirror Image much sooner than expected.
We also try to paralyze Larze with The Codex' wand, but it fails. No, not that
wand, which you undoubtedly think about.
Time for EXTREME CHEESE. We leave and hide in shadows.
And we're back with a vengeance. Backstab damage still sucks.
Maybe this dagger is out of charges or something?
Cheesecake inbound. Leaving, casting, hiding.
This backstab damage is really pathetic.
This is fucking annoying!
Give me some
sugar cheese, baby
How the mighty have fallen...
Yay, backstab for 22... Fucking incline...
Death count: 120
Are you half asleep, or something? We need to change the approach to fighting this guy! Start thinking!
Thinking is overrated.
We paralyze Larze. This time it works.
Now, this is what I call
After that the combat changes into a woodcutter's work. Chop, chop, chop...
Geezfuck, how many hitpoints did this guy have!?
Yeah, a lot. At the rate it was going, we would've been backstabbing him for three days in a row.
He drops another set of Gauntlets of Weapon Skill and some treasure.
Trying to intimidate me after I fought the ogre downstairs? Hard time.
We did some really impressive critical hit damage there, but Marek goes all Palpatine on The Codex. Fortunately, our hero survives.
Anoter sword-slash is enough to put the assassin down.
How's you creed now, huh!?
Killing Marek finishes the 'poisoned party' quest. Actually, the end is triggered if he's killed after
giving the geas removal scroll to Lothander. If you kill Marek in the brief moment when you meet him for the first time, you're fucked, as the poison quest is initiated and there's no way of finishing it.
Marek drops some nice stuff too.
This potion of antidote may look like regular one from afar, but it actually contains 10 charges of antidote. It will replace the regular antidotes we're carrying.
By the way, my slow poison ability turned out to be fucking useless.
Yes. The'evil' power equivalent of Slow Poison is the much more useful Horror, so it seems it would've been worth the trouble to lower The Codex' reputation after getting Cure Light Wounds, and get the 'evil' ability instead of the 'good' one. I might yet cheat a bit and adjust that with ShadowKeeper before we start BG2. But in this game, we will go with what we got.
Eagle Bow is the best short bow in the game, and also the best ranged weapon for thieves not mixed with fighter. Too bad it's found so late in the game, making thieves suck as archers for the majority of time. Even short bows +1 aren't a very common view, while two best long bows are gotten relatively early (composite +1 can be bought in Beregost and Bow of Marksmanship is found in bandit camp). That's why I went with long bows for this playthrough.
This proficiency might also get adjusted with ShadowKeeper, since in BG2 the best bows for solo play are in the 'short' category (they don't require carrying ammunition, for which we won't have backpack space).
Dagger +2. Will be sold.
Fighting Larze and Marek was tiring, so we rest before moving on.
There are some lootable houses here. Well, at least one.
Cloak of protection. More gold for us.
More gold. You know, you try carrying 55 000 gold coins with you one day. Do you know how heavy they are?
They have no weight, so stop whining.
I have almost forgotten something very important - back to Blushing Mermaid we go. There's an entrance to Undercellar here.
What's the Undercellar?
It's an exclusive whorehouse, mostly for nobles.
OMG ITZ HEAVAN!
But we're not here for pleasure. We've come to find this girl, Quenash, and put our hands on her possessions.
How is that not pleasure?
You were supposed to steal from her, not grab her ass!
Sorry, couldn't resist.
Drinking this potion will ensure The Codex doesn't get distracted by Quenash' shapely body again.
So... What have I stolen exactly?
Oh fuck yeah!
Equipping the cloak gives us a total +4 (actually: -4) bonus to saving throws, putting them into some really reasonable values.
Also, AC drops to -3 (-6 against piercing and -11 against missile weapons).
Brielbara here gives a quest involving Yago, a mage we passed in Low Lantern, remember?
Accidentally, we stumble upon Narlen Darkwalk - the thieves' guild quest giver. The first job is simple - we're supposed to stay behind and watch for the guards.
I'll take any opportunity to mess with the Flaming Fist. Bring them on!
'Make fer the dark'? WTF is this shit? I don't speak like that!
Maybe you just got too excited? Check your underwear.
We ditch the guards using the foolproof approach of going around the corner and hiding in shadows.
There's some inn here I don't remember from my earlier playthroughs.
That probably means we shouldn't even bother entering it.
Unopenable chest - interesting.
That's weird. I'm experiencing a deja vu
Ok, seriously, mustard jelly was not in my top 100 things expected to be found here.
The times these things were a threat are long gone now.
This "area" takes less than half of available space. What a ripoff!
There's one more thing to get before we continue the plot thingy. It's located here.
There are a few points of interest in this area.
This is the guy giving us the quest to find Nester's dagger.
Oh yeah that. What exactly have we done with it?
Fuck it then.
There's a potion of magic blocking, or similar, upstairs in a chest.
Also, a long bow +1. Grabbing it requires hiding from Flaming Fist, as the sleeping guy calls guards.
Where's the realism when we need it?
Healing potion. Nice.
This is our actual target here - Helm & Cloak inn.
An adventuring party (Merry Fools), led by Gorpel Hind, is drinking here. Talking to them triggers a script in which another group of adventurers - Maulers of Undermountain - enters the inn. They're rather hostile and fight is bound to ensue. One of the maulers drops the best battle axe in the vanilla game, but, since this is a non-essential encounter and we don't want to unnecessarily extend our visit in the city, we're going to ignore Gorpel Hind and his boys.
Merry Fools, Maulers of Undermountain. I should also name my party in some awesome way.
Oh yeah, that.
There's a secret stash behind the painting upstairs. It's also trapped.
I wonder what we will find inside, considering the inn is called Helm
& Cloak, and we already have the cloak.
Oh, look, a helm! Who would've guessed!?
Entering another house.
This one certainly has a higher profile than the previous ones.
Holy shit! Battle horror!
There's also a Helmed Horror there by the table.
Yeah, whatever the fuck that is.
Remember the house I warned You about at the end of previous update?
This is the one?
This is the one.
Mirror Image is a must here. Not sure if it will suffice. Probably not.
It seems that besides the two enemies visible from the start, there were also three Invisible Stalkers here (Shadow of Chernobyl, Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat)
. The Codex suddenly became vastly outnumbered. And I don't mean DA2-combat-walkthrough-like 'vastly outnumbered'.
They hack away The Codex' HP at a disturbing rate, so we try to even the odds a bit by casting Hold Person.
Don't move! Please?
It doesn't work. Next up is Web. Spider's Bane should give us an advantage here, as The Codex cannot be paralyzed by the spell.
Two of four enemies in range are held, but the remaining two still outmatch our hero. The situation looks dire.
Apparently, I entered the wrong door. Can I please leave now?
We try to save ourselves with another Mirror Image.
But that only postpones the inevitable.
Death count: 121
I'm thinking this encounter might prove problematic.
My keen precognition senses say You are right.
We shall enter pre-mirrorimaged from now on.
"From now on"? How many more times will we be entering that house?
Some questions must remain unanswered until suitable time comes.
For some reason I decide this defense spot to be better than the previous one. We get hacked at even before The Codex is able to cast Web.
Mirror Image must be refreshed rather quickly.
This doesn't look good.
The defense spot was indeed not better than the last one.
Death count: 122
Do you know how much does getting stabbed with a sword hurt?
Why don't you get closer, so I can show you? That would quickly teach you how to excerise the most cautious tactics available.
This time we enter pre-hidden too, so The Codex doesn't get gangraped from the beginning.
We find a lone Helmed Horror in one of the backrooms.
Let me narrate for a moment: we rape it with a really big sword, and very brutally!
The horror also gets a couple of hits in. These guys are dangerous even one on one.
After some healing, we take on a lone Doom Guard. First attack must be done from afar, as there's another enemy (the Doom Guard we've been fighting before) standing near it.
HURTS!? I HOPE IT DOES!
Surprise attack + Mirror Image = victory. But again, not without The Codex getting hit.
The second Doom Guard can be attacked with a backstab first, which is good news, but we're out of Mirror Image and low on HP, which is bad news.
Essentially, we're fucked. Unless this spell works, The Codex doesn't stand a chance of surviving this fight.
Death, here I come.
It doesn't. I forgot to take the death screenshot here, but I think such proof is unnecessary, considering the situation visible in the one above.
Death count: 123
I would like to postpone fighting the other Doom Guard until after I heal myself and/or am able to cast Mirror Image again.
We meet the owner of the house.
You know what, your household staff sucks!
If we struck a deal with him, he would've given us a quest that would result in getting helm and cloak of Balduran in a very convoluted way. In all my playthroughs, I've never gone all the way with it.
Degrodel and The Codex don't get along very well.
Why don't we step outside and resolve it like men?
But Degrodel does not know meaning of the phrase "fair fight" and calls his dad, mom and retarded siblings for help (one Invisible Stalker is, well, invisible).
OW! Get away from me you fucktards!
Death count: 124
This Degrodel guy is fucking annoying.
Back to backstabbing (shitty accidental pun) the Doom Guard. Damage still sucks ass. Theoretically it should be in the 21-30 range (1d4+2 +4 = 7 to 10, x3). Unless strength bonus doesn't get trippled here, then it would be 13 to 22 (9 to 18, +4). Results seem to indicate the latter, but I'm sure we've dealt more backstab damage already.
Yeah, we did. On a critical hit, you moron.
I'm not sure why I thought we could win this time, but not much has changed since the previous try. Casting Hold Person here is a desperate last resort.
Unsurprisingly, it doesn't work.
I'm beginning to think that we should come here better prepared.
Death count: 125
Any other suggestions as brilliant as "backstab the doomguard"?
Yeah, a few.
Death count: 126
Death count: 127
Death count: 128
Death count: 129
Ok, that's enough for now.
We will be back.
For now, we settle for some house-looting.
More stuff to sell.
The quest to steal Algernon's cloak is given by Pheirkas here.
I don't get it. We were actually expected to give away some of the best magical items in the game as parts of various fetch quests? Who thought this would be a good idea?
Scrolls found easily like this are most likely cursed, but maybe we'll be lucky.
I'm omitting Etnar Silvershield's estate, as there was nothing interesting in there, save for Skie, who we didn't even talk to.
Yet another high profile house.
That doesn't bode well.
No Doom Guards this time. Just a magic potion.
Back to the House of Doom (Guards) and (Helmed) Horrors. Another try for the lone one. This time we're smart and paralyze it with a wand.
It's quite the lesser threat when paralyzed. Even our hero is able to defeat it this time.
Making a move at the Helmed Horror.
kind of move. Just saying.
We manage to paralyze it, but attacking from this point makes us a target for Invisible Stalkers.
I don't see any invisi... Ah. Right.
The Codex retreats into a corner, in search of a better defense spot. Shadow of Chernobyl follows and strikes hard.
Will Web be enough to stop it and its invisible friends?
Death count: 130
Weren't we supposed to get back here after resting, or something?
Yeah, but I got this idea and...
I'm having an idea right now. It involves my sword and your anus. Want to know the details?
Shadows will assist us in our next attempt to resolve this situation.
Starting with Fireball.
Careful where you aim that!
Stalkers and Helmed Horror are drawn to our hero like moths to a lamplight.
Three Invisible Stalkers and one Helmed Horror. Will Web be enough to stop them?
I'm experiencing a deja vu
It works rather well. We manage to kill Shadow of Chernobyl and the Helmed Horror. Clear Sky and Call of Pripyat are paralyzed by the Web.
Clear Sky kicks the bucket!
And Call of Pripyat also croaks!
Back to Helm & Cloak to rest before we take on the mage.
I still can't believe we managed to kill all those fuckers without resting.
Resting means renewed ability to identify items.
This helm kicks ass!
Not by itself, but it shall help us perform this noble activity.
No AC change, as Helm of Glory also gave us a +1 bonus. Saving throws are improved, however - and pretty awesome. Even the worst one (Breath Weapon) gives us 65% chance of resisting the attack.
I am awesome. Yes.
Preparing for the "conversation" with Degrodel.
"Us" and "We". Am I getting megalomaniacal here?
The Codex hides in the corner and bombards the room with Web and Fireball.
This should make them thinking. I think.
We manage to slay the Helmed Horror. Four to go.
Looks promising so far!
False promises, they were.
Death count: 131
Well, that did not turn out so good.
Degrodel and his Melf's Acid Arrow are a major pain in the ass here, so we try to eliminate him with Hold Person.
It doesn't work, but we get lucky and he gets tangled in the Web.
A nicely placed Fireball. Im getting quite good at aiming these. Magic Resistance helps in the moments when I make mistakes.
Don't get so full of tourself just because you managed not to kill me too.
Doom Guard falls!
Degrodel is still an issue here, so we try to Magic Missile him to the other side.
Let's not fuck this up this time!
We fucked this up. Well, actually no. The webbed enemies just made their saves and killed our hero.
Death count: 132
Loading the game.
Alright, I have an idea.
I'm all ears.
Fuck the mage. I mean, seriously. Screw him. Does he even drop anything useful?
No idea. Don't remember.
Exactly. And you would have remembered if he did. We also have both the helm and cloak of Balduran. We have no sound reason to fight the fucker, so let's not.
What about the audience and their expectations?
I think they expect some progress to be made in this update. Or am I wrong?
Uh... Yes, the plot thingy. I completely forgot about that. Yes. I think, we may move on.
(Note: Actually, I've tried to defeat Degrodel - unsuccessfully - about ten more times, but none of these attempts produced a viable set of screenshots, mostly due to my growing level of frustration and fast clicking on 'load game' when something went wrong. One time, we managed to kill all Degrodel, both Doom Guards and Helmed Horror, but got one-shot by the Invisible Stalker after that. That was... not cool.)
The final area of the city awaits!
To be honest, I'm getting a bit paranoid when it comes to entering houses in this city.
Not another fucking mage! They're like a plague here! Worse than paladins! Almost.
Help! Don't want to die! Don't want to die!
I was bragging about The Codex' saving throws earlier. Yeah...
Our hero runs out of Sunin's sight range when panicked. Mage doesn't follow. The wounds visible in the screenshot are from Melf's Acid Arrow. Horror eventually wears off.
Now that I know this is the maximum non-critical backstab damage, there's nothing left to complain about. Except maybe: NO POISON!
The fucker dies.
Two arrows of frost (Arrows of ice? Ice arrows? Frost arrows? Whatever.) are enough.
Sunin drops another Ring of Wizardry. Probably, we won't be using it, as AC and saving throws bonus given by the +2 Ring of Protection are too precious for us.
Altough the quadrupled amunt of 1st level spells would be pretty sweet too.
...that turns out to be an inn. Some paladin (named Phalandyn, next we'll meet a mage named Mhang) lets The Codex go "unmolested".
That's... rather creepy. Yet another reason to get rid of the paladin blight.
This is an inn too. Not sure how are we supposed to know that, though.
The inn is infested by green slimes!
They're no match for The Codex' might!
Green slimes. That's almost worse than paladins. Whatever happens, I'm not eating or sleeping here.
Yet another house. Paranoia kicking in again...
And it might yet be justified...
It's just one woman. What's the worst that could happen?
(On a side note: it's one of the rare instances I like the dialogue options available, especially the highlighted one.)
I'm not giving you my money. I've been gathering it for almost a year!
She wasn't kidding about the invisible friends.
More bodies to loot!
Mirror Image is a must here, especially that Wiven cast hers immediately.
Web should make them a little less capable of fighting back.
The fight is not going very well. The Codex got hurt pretty badly and is force to renew Mirror Image already. All the enemies are still alive.
You're not getting me that easily!
Wiven dies. We're taking a bit of a risk here, since grabbing the bow deprives us of Freedom of Movement and The Codex might get tangled up in our own Web.
We test Meakin for swordproofness. He fails. Another thief, earlier hidden in the fog of war, comes into sight range.
Die, thieving scum!
I probably should have healed The Codex a bit during the fight. Oh well.
Death count: 133
Have you noticed how I'm dying a lot recently?
Well, your faster experience gain edge has worn off by now. Encounters here are set for six characters at your experience level.
We enter pre-imaged this time.
Web worked quite well before, so there's no reason not to cast it.
Killing off Wiven's mirror images with Magic Missile.
She dies a few moments later.
Meakin soon follows.
As does Sath.
I make a mistake and switch weapon to a bow. The Codex gets held by the Web and the last guy, Dirk, almost kills him. As soon as our hero is able to move again, we cast Mirror Image to ensure survival.
Two hits are enough to slay Dirk.
Looting. Most of them drop magic arrows of various types.
Except Wiven, that is.
Yet another house to loot.
Geez! How many of these are left? It got old like fifty houses ago!
And we're only showing one in three, maybe four. Fortunately, this is the last one.
Yup. Only plot locations are left. No more roaming around the city and getting our asses kicked in random places.
Now we will only get our assess kicked in pre-defined places.
I can live with that.
As for the loot inside - free healing potions for the win.
Entering Flaming Fist HQ.
Nothing interesting on the ground floor.
Duke Eltan has some nice items in his chests here. Nothing gamebreaking, but hey, free stuff is free stuff.
A splint mail +1. These are a rare view.
Finally - duke Eltan himself. But before we talk to him...
Next time: Back to the keep that keeps the candles.