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Hi, I've been playing Spidweb games for at least a decade and recently got back into them. I'm trying to play through all 6 Avernum games in order hoping that I finish 2 around the release of Avernum: The Ruined World. With that pretense, I've hit a ginormous brick wall in difficulty in A: EftP. I'm still at the beginning of the game having cleared Silvar, Cotra, Duvno, and Formello I started cleaning dungeons having no trouble in the Bandit Fort, Bat Cave, or the Goblin Tunnels. I was even able to pretty easily clear the back of the Bat Cave but I think that's been made MUCH easier than it was in Avernum. Feeling extremely confident I go to the Underground Nepharim Fort and with a little bit of trouble clear most of the area. The two side rooms that contain shamans and the Chief have been essentially unbeatable though. After dozens attempts I was able to clear one of the side rooms with lucky Dazes and surgical executions of the shaman. Without dozens of attempts to get the luck to line up I can't finish this place though, and it's driving me crazy. The goblin tunnels were a laughing walk through the park previous to this so I don't understand what I'm doing wrong. Iirc this is the next dungeon I ought to do and the Nephilim Fortress a little to the north is second.

 

For building my characters I have a melee, an archer (which I know aren't optimal but I wanted one), a priest, and a mage. All were made with custom template. Half their points are going to their main attack skill and half to Cave, Arcane, Tool, First Aid. Their attributes are all being poured into their main stat. I think my front-line warrior has a sprinkle of endurance too. My guess is I'm focusing too hard on the auxiliary skills and that's gimping me but that still seems super unlikely. I'm playing on Normal and it shouldn't be this hard. The original Avernum definitely wasn't at this point even as a small kid and not building in a remotely logical way.

 

So I'm looking for advice about what I'm doing wrong and how I can progress into the game. This remake is pretty fantastic and I'm enjoying how much more fleshed out the world is without making me feel robbed of the original's world.

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I know part of my problem was the fighters were wearing too much armor that was lowering their to hit chance and making them just meat shields. I had the same problem in that area.

 

The other thing is to take advantage of dungeon terrain where you stop outside the door and to the side so monsters run up to the door and stop. That blocks the room so you can fire area effect spells inside while most of the them can't attack.

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Honestly, I'm not sure what you're doing wrong.  From your description, it sounds like your stat/skill choices should be totally adequate for Normal.

 

If you're worried about your skill allocation into auxilliaries though, maybe you can post your full skill point allocation?  Snapshots or typing out, either way...

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1st Char

Str: 10 (+3)

Dex: 3

Int: 3

End: 6 (+1)

 

Melee Weapons: 8

Blademaster: 1

Cave Lore: 1

 

Improved Strength 2

Improved Endurance 1

Sure Hand 1

 

2nd Char

Str: 4

Dex: 12 (+2)

Int: 3

End: 4

 

Bows: 8

Sharpshooter: 1

 

Tool Use: 8 (+1)

 

Improved Dexterity 2

Deadeye 1

Nimble Fingers 1

 

3rd Char

Str: 4

Dex: 4

Int: 11 (+2)

End: 4

 

Priest Spells: 8

First Aid: 8

Spellcraft: 1

 

Improved Intelligence 2

Healing Focus 1

Energy Blessing 1

 

4th Char

Str: 4

Dex: 4

Int: 11 (+2)

End: 4

 

Mage Spells: 8

Arcane Lore: 8

Spellcraft 1

Magical Efficiency 0 (+1)

 

Improved Intelligence 2

Elemental Focus 1

Energy Blessing 1

 

I'm not having trouble hitting by the way, even get these mobs that beat me up and down the room I'm typically scoring around 80% hit chance and feel plenty good about that. If there's a way to increase Daze's likeliness to actually daze that would be nice but other than that I feel comfy. My characters just get instantly mowed down by the Shaman's Acid Rain or the Chief's cleaving. I can probably use better positioning to handle the Chief as I only have one melee but still, this is absurd.

 

General thoughts I have after typing it all out. I could improve my train selection a good deal knowing now that the Improved Attribute traits aren't as desirable but I don't think that's what's holding me back. My tank actually has more END than what I was expecting but the HP increasing trait is needed. First Aid I know isn't needed per se but I enjoy it. I think I've been getting pretty decent returns so far but at 8 points it does seem kinda lackluster. With further thought it might not have high enough gains to appeal even to me. I know Cave Lore is technically a dud but I enjoy digging up caches when I find them. I guess with CL, TU, and AL I should be stretching them out further than I currently am. If those skills were all at 3 right now and I had 5 points in things like Parry, Gymnastics, and Resistance would I not be having these problems? That's the biggest thing I can see but it still doesn't feel right. Lastly, what's so frustrating is that I know with enough levels these characters could be totally fine and able to clear the game. I have enough aux skills for the first 75% of the game if not more and could just focus on damage and survival. I simply can't progress anywhere though and I'm not going to grind out on wondering mobs.

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One thing I learned pretty fast on Hard and Torment, but that also applies to Normal too, is that there's no shame in leaving an area that You feel like is constantly getting You killed. Chipping away at random encounters, picking off mobs from other dungeons and gaining levels, buying new spells, they're all things to consider when it feels like You've hit a brick wall. 

 

Take all this with a pinch of salt, though, since I do not claim to be a master in these games. Someone else might have more insightful help for You; this is just how I've come to perform whenever I hit a wall and can't break through. 

 

EDIT: PS. Sometimes even one or two extra levels may mean the difference between life and death. Less so in Normal, iirc, but it's there. An extra point of Endurance might leave Your characters alive after a devastating blow like an Acid Rain. You might also want to consider giving Your priest some Dexterity, since it allows them to act sooner in combat, and (provided that You've extra points in Endurance for Your warrior and archer, and Your characters are -- instead of dead -- at very low HP) heal Your warriors back to shape.

 

Resistance, imho, doesn't do all that much since it takes first either Mage or Priests Spells to level up, and on a melee warrior or an archer that's just not an option to waste so many skill points on what could improve their combat effectiveness; on Your mage and priest on the other hand, ... Well, if it feels like You have an extra point to spare and You're happy with Your damage output and healing rate, then sure. 

Edited by Zaego
Just adding stuff.

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11 hours ago, ShinyLegions said:

My characters just get instantly mowed down by the Shaman's Acid Rain or the Chief's cleaving. I can probably use better positioning to handle the Chief as I only have one melee but still, this is absurd.

 

If those skills were all at 3 right now and I had 5 points in things like Parry, Gymnastics, and Resistance would I not be having these problems?

 

1. You do have more in lore skills than you need (at this point in the game) but that isn't a big deal, though as you note that's a loooot of points to sink into First Aid.  The rest of your skill/stat/trait choices are sensible enough.

 

2. Okay, this makes it clear that your big problem is SURVIVAL.  Taking damage.  There are a few things you can do to help with this.

 

- Armor up.  Yeah, I know... but seriously.  One of the things you get by visiting other towns (further away, but really not hard to get to on the roads) is more free stuff, including better armor.  Armor does make a difference.  Doing the random non-combat quests in those can also get you a few more levels, and that means skill points you can put into...

 

- Hardiness.  Hardiness is the single best skill in the game.  Period.  Because weapon skills are useful even for casters (to unlock Adrenaline Rush, which is amazing for casters), there's no reason for any character not to max out Hardiness.  (Resistance is not quite as essential as Hardiness, but it's still excellent -- and for spellcasters it's a no-brainer.)

 

I note that Hardiness and Resistance are particularly important for resisting damage from spells (including that acid) since they aren't boosted as much by equipment as armor is.

 

- Endurance is less useful later in the game, but a few points certainly won't hurt you.

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Alright I'm going to focus on Hardiness and Resistance. I started over and I'm about half-way to where I was. I've more or less ignored the utility skills except for nimble hands across the board, instead focusing on various defensive stuff and dual-wielding for my tank. I also made my archer a pole-weapon wielder instead. I'm definitely getting MUCH more front-line damage than I was before and that's mopping stuff up even faster than my previous save file. My mages are still annoyingly weak but I guess Smite and Firebolt are just really under-powered compared to Avernum 1. Didn't realize I could only raise them once per level either so I feel like I should've put all 5 initinial points into Mage Spell and Priest Spells but I don't think it'll be a hindrance enough to bother me. Here's to hoping things go smoothly this time around, or at least not mind-numbingly painful. Thanks for all the advice.

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I also think your strategy of pouring all the basic stats into one primary stat is dodgy. My second fighter is usually a Rogue type rather than an out and out Archer. I give my Priest the Divinely Touched boost and he's a Nephilim which gives a bows boost. He always has the best bow. My second fighter usually is the pole weapons guy, someone needs to be and he's a Slith for the toughness to deal with the lack of a shield. He gets the better armour for that reason.

 

That means I can have two melee fighters either side of a door of a dangerous room, taking them on one at a time. It is a good idea, especially early in the game to hoard your Priest's energy and not try and use his offensive spells very much. He needs quite a lot of Dexterity for Smite to hit very often so when he's not needed to Heal or Protect he can sit behind and fire arrows. One Melee fighter is only viable in narrow tunnels. To hold a door you need two. Also two fighters hitting one boss with some Backstab each really ups the damage count.

 

Because he is not affected by armour my Priest is also capable of Melee fighting lesser monsters so he needs some Strength, Endurance and Hardiness/Resistance. There is no reason for your Priest to be vulnerable like your mage.

 

You are maximising offense and neglecting protection. Dial down the main stat and spread it around a bit.

 

Later in the game my Priest advances up to the melee front, invokes Adrenaline Rush, casts Divine Retribution, fireblast and/or fires arrows or hits someone with his magic elemental sword (my tank has the other one in dual wield). He can go toe to toe with mutant giants and not just survive by kill them.

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3 hours ago, Muscleguy said:

I also think your strategy of pouring all the basic stats into one primary stat is dodgy.

Also?  No one else has said that.  Concentrating on one stat (Str, Dex, or Int) for your attack, and putting any other points into End, is standard advice, and hard to dispute given the game's mechanics.
 

3 hours ago, Muscleguy said:

I give my Priest the Divinely Touched boost

"Divinely Touched" doesn't exist in this game.  Not sure what you meant here, or if you thought this post was about Avernum 6?

 

3 hours ago, Muscleguy said:

My second fighter usually is the pole weapons guy, someone needs to be

Nobody "needs" to be, and indeed in A:AEFTP you're better off (in gameplay terms, anyway) skipping them.

 

3 hours ago, Muscleguy said:

He needs quite a lot of Dexterity for Smite to hit very often so when he's not needed to Heal or Protect he can sit behind and fire arrows.

Dexterity doesn't affect spell hit rate -- which starts out substantially higher than physical attack hit rate anyway.  Also, if you go halfsies on stats and skill point investment, what you end up with, eventually, is a character who can make half power bow attacks, or half power magic attacks.  This is almost never better than a character who can just make full power attacks of one variety (especially if that one variety is magic attacks).

 

3 hours ago, Muscleguy said:

Because he is not affected by armour my Priest is also capable of Melee fighting lesser monsters so he needs some Strength, Endurance and Hardiness/Resistance. There is no reason for your Priest to be vulnerable like your mage.

Well, there is also no reason for your mage to skimp on Endurance, Hardiness or Resistance :) and there is actually a decent amount of endurance-free armor available.  No one has to be vulnerable.

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Posted (edited)
On 6.1.2018 at 6:30 PM, Ponderlust said:

Well, there is also no reason for your mage to skimp on Endurance, Hardiness or Resistance :) and there is actually a decent amount of endurance-free armor available.  No one has to be vulnerable.

 

Assuming we're going in A:EftP, ... Err, Hardiness on mage? Does that work on Torment? Aside from those 2 points by training, since all of my points went into the Magic stuff on my Torment run (which I actually finished about a day ago, yay).

 

I'd assume that you'd skip out on Magical Efficiency entirely and then put 5 & 5 to Melee or Pole and Hardiness, which would give 7 Hardiness with training. 10 & 10 on Spellcraft and Resistance were pretty much a must.

 

Then again, keeping the damage flowing without Magical Efficiency, you'd need insane amounts of energy elixirs in boss-battles, considering that I was struggling even with Magical Efficiency. Grah-Hoth still haunts my nightmares...

Edited by Zaego
Just cleaning up the look.

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45 minutes ago, Zaego said:

 

Assuming we're going in A:EftP, ... Err, Hardiness on mage? Does that work on Torment?

 

Oh, for sure. It's most important on Torment, since that's where you're taking the most damage.

 



I'd assume that you'd skip out on Magical Efficiency entirely and then put 5 & 5 to Melee or Pole and Hardiness, which would give 7 Hardiness with training. 10 & 10 on Spellcraft and Resistance were pretty much a must.

 

You can get melee or pole up to 8 with skill points, train it up to 10 at a trainer, get Hardiness up to 10 with skill points, and train it up to 12. It's worth the investment. Once you have Hardiness, you can start getting Parry, too, if you feel the need for it.

 

Then again, keeping the damage flowing without Magical Efficiency, you'd need insane amounts of energy elixirs in boss-battles, considering that I was struggling even with Magical Efficiency. Grah-Hoth still haunts my nightmares...

 

Magical Efficiency is pretty much junk and not worth taking. It doesn't help that much with energy conservation in the first place, and the game gives you enough potions to get by.

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Plus you can always gather herb ingredients to have more energy elixirs made so you don't need to worry about running out.  No need to restrict high spell energy spells.

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Posted (edited)

I might as well chip in with the party I built up to beat A:EftP on Torment. I think that my A:CS Torment party was a bit more optimized, yet looking at the statistics might help those who need it.

 

The Angry Wall of Meat - Trusty ol' Bulk SquatLift's job was to draw as much aggro as possible and keep the pointy bits away from the rest of the party:

 

 


Strength: 28 (+8) - Dexterity: 15 - Intelligence: 10 - Endurance: 20

 

Melee Weapons: 18 (+2) - Hardiness: 7 - Blademaster: 8 - Parry: 8 - Quick Action: 6 (+1) - Riposte: 2 - Thrown Missiles: 2 - Gymnastics: 1 (+2) - Lethal Blow: 5 (+4)

 

Tool Use: 2 - Cave Lore: 4 - First Aid: 3 - Luck: 2

 

Improved Strength 3 - Sure Hand 1 - Mighty Blows 3 - Challenger 3 - Parry Mastery 1 - Riposte Mastery 1 - Recovery 1 - Quick Learning 1 - Great Wisdom 1 - Negotiator 1
 

 

 

The Deadeye - While lacking in toughness, Faile made up for it with near-perfect accuracy and frequent multi-shots:

 

 


Strength: 14 (-2) - Dexterity: 31 (+6) - Intelligence: 10 - Endurance: 18

 

Melee Weapons: 3 - Blademaster: 0 (+1) - Quick Action: 0 (+6) - Bows: 21 (+3) - Sharpshooter: 10 - Gymnastics: 3 (+2) - Lethal Blow: 6 - Sniper: 10 (+1)

 

Tool Use: 5 (+2) - Cave Lore: 3 - First Aid: 3 - Luck: 1 (+2)

 

Improved Dexterity 4 - Deadeye 1 - Sure Aim 3 - Recovery 1 - Quick Learning 1 - Great Wisdom 1 - Good Fortune 1 - Great Fortune 1 - Nimble Fingers 2 - Negotiator 1
 

 

 

The Shaman - An experimental meaty spellcaster, Egwene was useful as an emergency fighter early in the game and continued to benefit from Battle Disciplines like Shield Breaker and the invaluable Adrenaline Rush from then onwards:

 

 


Strength: 21 - Dexterity: 13 - Intelligence: 25 - Endurance: 14

 

Pole Weapons: 16 - Bladesmaster: 4 - Quick Action: 0 (+1) - Thrown Weapons: 1 - Lethal Blow: 0 (+1)

 

Priest Spells: 19 - Spellcraft: 7 (+2) - Arcane Lore: 4 - Resistance: 1 - Magical Efficiency: 3 (+1) - Tool Use: 2 - Cave Lore: 3 - First Aid: 3 (+3)

 

Sure Hand 1 - Healing Focus 5 - Blessing Focus 2 - Elemental Focus 1 - Summoning Focus 3 - Quick Learning 1 - Great Wisdom 1 - Energy Blessing 1 - Negotiator 1
 

 

 

The Hedge Wizard - An experimental mage-priest mix, Nynaeve dished out all sorts of elemental damage while saving many a battle with her healing:

 

 


Strength: 11 (-1) - Dexterity: 15 (-1) - Intelligence: 32 (+5) - Endurance: 15

 

Mage Spells: 20 - Priest Spells: 10 - Spellcraft: 7 (+2) - Arcane Lore: 7 - Resistance: 2 (+2) - Magical Efficiency: 4 - Tool Use: 3 - Cave Lore: 5 - First Aid: 4 - Luck: 1

 

Improved Intelligence 1 - Elemental Focus 5 - Summoning Focus 3 - Quick Learning 1 - Great Wisdom 1 - Fast Recovery 1 - Energy Blessing 1 - Energy Boon 1 - Unending Mana 1 - Negotiator 1
 

 

 

Something that isn't present in this party that warrants mentioning is the lack of Priest Spells on either of the fighters. Using a Hedge Wizard in A:EftP taught me the value in having more than one healer, and having two spell energy pools dedicated entirely to healing and nothing else saves a lot of extra healing outside of combat that could potentially go into more advanced spells.

Edited by Seasons of Destiny
Added party descriptions.
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That's nice, thanks for all the replies. Goes to show that you just keep on learning something new everyday. :) Good thing I still haven't got very far in A2:CS Torment run so now I can apply those things in this playthrough instead.

 

... Figures that I'll probably do yet another Torment run of A:EftP too, just to test out how things work out once again. (But that'll have to wait until after Avernum 3: Ruined World.)

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