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A2:CS - No magic playthrough


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Inspired by Learned Noremac's no-magic run of A:EftP. No coherent strategies for now, just thinking out loud.

 

With no Resistance or Arcane Lore training and no items that cure mental effects, this may be a bit of a non-starter. :p

Has anyone ever observed Sanctification Scrolls curing mental effects, or am I misremembering?

Edited by wackypanda
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  • 3 months later...

Thinking out loud again.

 

Sanctification Ritual scrolls don't cure mental effects. It doesn't seem as if any item does. In my last run I had my non-spellcasters wear their mental effect resistance gear all the time, which got them to >60% mental resistance at the endgame. I don't know if there is enough mental armor for four. Human PCs can conceivably burn traits on INT and Luck to improve mental resistance.

 

How many enemies are immune to physical damage?

 

Weapons that can inflict non-physical damage (to different degrees of usefulness):

- Flaming Sword

- Frozen Blade - in A2:CS works like the Flaming Sword instead of using INT for to-hit like A:EftP

- Bow of Storms

- Oozing Sword

- Venomous Blade

- Ever-Rotting Bow

- Jade Halberd

If I recall correctly, none of the swords in this list can be dual-wielded with each other.

 

Whoever is the HM lore slave also has to burn 4 skill points to get 2 Arcane Lore for the portal ritual.

Edited by wackypanda
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Will try a party of one dual-wielder, one spearman, and two archers, all human. Two or more dual-wielders would be much more effective in the late game, but painful in the early game (even when using single swords without shields). Two archers because there seem to be more dungeons in A2:CS where ranged enemies snipe you.

 

Most of them will have skill points or traits for Luck and Intelligence, because those are the only ways I can think of to raise mental resistance other than items. With traits, the more relevant ones will have already been taken.

 

Otherwise most of the strategies from the A:EftP thread should apply, e.g. buying First Aid, hoarding food etc.

 

Intended end-game builds (not counting trained points):

 

Urist (Dual-wielder)

10 Melee

10 Hardiness

10 Parry

10 Blademaster

8 Quick Action

7 Dual Wielding

8 Lethal Blow

 

Traits: STR x5, END x5, Health x3, Mighty Blows x3, Dual Blade x2, Parry Mastery x2, Fortune x2, INT x2

 

Lokum (Spearman)

8 Pole

10 Hardiness

10 Parry

10 Blademaster

10 Quick Action

10 Lethal Blow

5 Luck

 

Traits: STR x5, END x5, Health x3, Mighty Blows x3, Backstab x3, Parry Mastery x2, Fortune x2, INT x1

 

Feb (Archer 1)

10 Bow

10 Sharpshooter

10 Lethal Blow

10 Gymnastics

10 Sniper

2 Priest

2 Arcane Lore (needed for portal ritual)

3 Tool Use

5 Luck

1 Cave Lore

 

Traits: Negotiator x1, Nimble Fingers x2, DEX x5, END x5, Health x3, Sure Aim x3, Fortune x2, INT x3

 

Egdoth (Archer 2)

Weapon skills as above

7 Tool Use

5 Luck

1 Cave Lore

 

Traits as above

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Chapter 1 was straightforward. On Normal one can complete most of the quests, including destroying the slith fort and the hidden ogres (I really wanted the boost in mental resistance that the latter quest gives). For the slith fort I skirted around the perimeter to pick off the slith flingers before taking on the boss, and also took advantage of it being such a small dungeon with zone exits on all sides.

 

An interesting detail about initiative that I learned from the ogre fight, which may have been known already. If you turn on "party acts in roster order" and get into a fight where initiative, from first to last, is rear character 1 > rear character 2 > enemy > first character, the turn order is first character > enemy > party, putting you at a disadvantage. I always had "act in roster order" on because I hate the idea of my archers (or casters, in other playthroughs) getting blocked by my front line, but that outdoor fight went better once I'd turned it off.

 

If in a given round no one has taken enough damage for my archers to finish them off, I have my archers spread out their Flawless Shots to ensnare enemies in the rear. That gives you some breathing room.

 

When I hit level 8, I bought First Aid from Fort Draco for everyone. I also bought some Cave Lore from Tor and mined the fungal clearing every time I passed by Formello, then made as many potions as I could before starting Dark Waters. In hindsight, I could have had two of my party invest an extra skill point in their weapon type to bring it to 11, then bought Bows and Thrown Weapons in Formello to bring them to 15 weapon skills for early Adrenaline Rush instead.

 

Halfway through Dark Waters now. Stashed all my food in Fort Draco prior to going down the rapids, but still got one message about losing food. Oh well. Bandages don't get lost, but they're not that useful for healing in battle. For healing post-battle there's standing outside, or the purchased training in First Aid.

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Upped the difficulty to Hard. Cleared the Coffin Caves by letting the enemies in the coffin room come to the doorways. Then, when fighting the undead in the back room, I exploited the campsite outside by having one archer flee there when everyone else was KO'ed, then going back in for round two. The issue with stashing food prior to Chapter 2 which I belatedly realized is: you need food to rest at campsites. For health you don't actually need to rest, and this party doesn't need to recover energy, but rest is needed to raise unconscious. Derp. At least there was enough food scattered about Chapter 2 for at least one rest, or that cheese strategy wouldn't have worked at all.

 

First Aid is unfortunately useless in the Tomb of Dahris-Bok, because the one person you send will only have 2 First Aid. At 2 First AId it is possible to "recover" as little as 0 health and 1 energy. I chose the archer with Mercuric Leather and Gymnastics, for the increased evasion and extra actions. (I also wanted Tool Use so that I could do both the combat and trap route in the first corridor a la Geneforge, and the melee fighters don't have any.) Worked reasonably well so long as I positioned myself to avoid getting swarmed. I did have to use all my bandages, a few potions, and a few Fiery Wand shots, but I still have plenty of potions and wands to go around.

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Comments on builds and equipment:

 

Urist

Level 12

Strength 16 (+3)

Dexterity 5

Intelligence 5

Endurance 7 (+4)

Melee 10

Hardiness 7

Blademaster 7

Parry 3

Dual Wielding (+2)

First Aid 2 bought

Cave Lore 2 bought

Luck (+1)

Traits: Strength x3, Endurance x3, Mighty Blows x1, Ambidextrous x1, Fortune x1, Health x1

 

I'm still not sure I've reached the point where it becomes better for Urist to dual-wield compared to sword and shield or single sword. I have him dual-wielding anyway, with a waveblade for the +5% hit chance and the steel shortsword stolen from Fort Draco.

 

Lokum

Level 12

Strength 16 (+4)

Dexterity 5

Intelligence 5

Endurance 7 (+3)

Pole 9

Hardiness 8

Blademaster 8

Parry 2

First Aid 2 bought

Cave Lore 2 bought

Magical Efficiency (+2)

Luck (+1)

Traits: Strength x3, Endurance x3, Mighty Blows x2, Health x1, Fortune x1

 

Fairly straightforward. I think his damage output may be starting to fall behind, but I haven't been paying very close attention. The crude halberd is his weapon of choice for now, as it has both the 25% chance for bonus damage which spears get, and the cleave damage chance which halberds get. I don't think the spear bonus was intentional. Now the only advantage the steel spear from Fort Draco has is its damage dice.

 

Feb

Level 13

Strength 5 (-1)

Dexterity 17 (+5)

Intelligence 5

Endurance 8 (+1)

Bows 10

Sharpshooter 1

Gymnastics 5 (+1)

Priest 2

Arcane Lore 2

Tool Use 3 (+2)

First Aid 2 bought

Cave Lore 1

Luck 5 (+1)

Traits: Dexterity x3, Endurance x1, Sure Aim x2, Fortune x1, Nimble Fingers x2, Negotiator

 

Feb is a level ahead of the rest of the party from clearing the Tomb of Dahris-Bok. She has the Mercuric Leather (which can be crafted before even starting Chapter 2) for +1 AP, meaning that Gymnastics only has to succeed once to give her an extra action.

 

If I had started this playthrough on Hard I probably would not have pumped all those lore skills at the beginning . As it is I'm just glad I don't have to think about them.

 

Egdoth

Level 12

Strength 5

Dexterity 16 (+3)

Intelligence 5

Endurance 7 (+2)

Bows 10

Sharpshooter 4

Tool Use 7 (+2)

Spellcraft (+1)

First Aid 2 bought

Cave Lore 1

Luck 5 (+5)

Traits: Dexterity x3, Endurance x2, Sure Aim x1, Fortune x1, Nimble Fingers x2, Negotiator

 

As there are only enough ingredients for one Mercuric Leather in Chapter 1, Egdoth is pumping % missile damage and % crit chance (in equipment and skill choices) instead of Gymnastics. Feb is still the main ranged damage dealer. I expect things to even out as the archers' skill trees max out.

 

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Arrived in vahnatai lands, did the three tests, and saw the council of Olgai. Because this party has no particular love for vahnatai and their hand-waving magic nonsense, they returned to Avernum straight after. Not one of my better ideas. Burned through a lot of potions. Still brute-forced my way into enough quests for Magi Clearance.

 

I've never played the original Test of Patience, but this version could be a little bit more difficult so that it deserves the name more. The gate puzzle in the Tomb of Dahris-Bok was harder. I sent my second archer and did a bit of grinding with the hostile constructs until they started having >20% chance to hit.

 

Test of Strength required a few potions and careful positioning, so that melee enemies block each other and enemies like the thorn-shooting fungi don't have you within all of their ranges.

 

After returning to Avernum, most of the potions that were used were spent on fighting the Serpent Cult (when the party was at level 13-15), because once you go into the Snake Pit you can't leave until you've defeated the boss. At least potions are technically renewable. It didn't help that I didn't have Adrenaline Rush. Failing that, Leg Sweep (weakness curse) + Well-Aimed Blow did the most damage.

 

The brigands in Silvar also deserve mention, as their leader uses Bladeshield, which effectively decreases the damage she takes from this party by more than half. My spearman was able to get some hits in by cleaving from the brigand leader's summons, but otherwise my archers had to do most of the work.

 

I also did a few minor quests and bought some training, including bringing Cave Lore up to 7 total. This got me enough graymold to cure the sick nephil village, which unlocks the best trainer for bows.

 

When it comes to getting Magi Clearance, my petty, spiteful method of doing so is to boat around Almaria because they don't deserve my 5 coins. Because you can no longer land directly north of Almaria, this involves landing north of Fort Emerald, using a piercing crystal or Move Mountains to get into Fort Emerald (they won't open the gate if you enter from the north), getting Magi Clearance at the Castle, activating the Castle pylon, and then backtracking and activating the portal at the Tower of Magi. I may come to regret this since this party actually needs piercing crystals.

EDIT: And of course you can circle around Gnass to get to the Castle from the north instead of breaking into Fort Emerald. Derp.

 

Edited by wackypanda
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Cleared some dungeons in the Eastern Gallery for money. Also cleared most of the Spiral Pit, but can't complete the quest to purge it completely because the center is blocked by a level 2 barrier. I also aimed for fights that would get me items which increase weapon skills, mainly the Almaria storeroom infiltrators and Gaddika's fortress. Everyone now has Adrenaline Rush, and all the Cave Lore one can get from Tor.
 

In A2:CS Dark Thoughts gives a slight boost to mental resistance.

 

I've just noticed that enemies have recurring problems with targeting if I completely block off their path to my two archers. I don't find it too cheesy as I can't always set it up with this party, but sometimes I wonder.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The build I originally posted doesn't actually work, as you need at least 2 points in Mage or Priest Spells to take the Improved Intelligence trait.  Derp. The archer who took the mandatory 2 levels of Arcane Lore could take the trait, but she's also the one who needs it least. Still, the lowest mental resistance I have is 47%. Not too bad.

 

Fun fact: using the obstacle course in Camp Samuels gives you XP once.

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  • 1 year later...

Reviving this thread now that I have time to play my older games.

 

A few key differences between this and the no-magic run of A:EftP:

- As mentioned, there are no trainers for Arcane Lore or Resistance, so there are even fewer ways to boost Mental Resistance.

--- I have seen posts mentioning items which remove mental effects in the unmodded game. Was this changed?

- Adrenaline Rush costs 6 fatigue instead of 8 and allows you to move after using it as long as you haven't attacked.

- I haven't encountered any physical-resistant enemies, except for the bandit leader in Silvar who uses Bladeshield.

- Potion farming is a lot easier.

- There are merchants that sell infinite bandages, healing potions, and javelins (crude, iron, and steel). You could play with a thrown weapon specialist if you wanted, which was not advisable in A:EftP.

--- Since I haven't seen this written anywhere else: the potion recipes are the same as in A:EftP, except that each set of recipes belongs to a different crafter.

 

There isn't really a lot to talk about in the late mid-game. Some notable fights:

- The crystal shade room in... I think it was the Halls of Chaos, where you have to shatter all the crystals in a room before they regenerate each other. The changes made to Adrenaline Rush in A2:CS were very helpful.

- Getting the Orb of Thralni in Kothtar; unless I missed how to disable the defenses entirely, you have the choice of facing golems, gazers, and/or vampires depending on which tiles you step on. Normally I would try to fight all of the guards, but in this case I used invulnerability and shielding potions on just the golem fight.

 

I haven't gone after any of the Crystal Souls, although I should probably have done Ornotha Ziggurat earlier. Everyone is at level 30 or more.

 

Lokum

Strength 32 +9

Dexterity 9 +2

Intelligence 9 -1

Endurance 19 +5

Pole Weapons 11 (? bought)

Hardiness 13

Parry 12

Blademaster 10 +3

Quick Action 12 +2

Lethal Blow 12

Bows 2 bought

Thrown Weapons 2 bought

Gymnastics +1

First Aid 2 bought

Cave Lore 2 bought

Luck 4 +3 (? bought)

Traits: Strength x5, Endurance x5, Mighty Blows x3, Parry Mastery x2, Recovery x1, Fortune x2, Backstab x3, Health x3, Vahnatai Secrets

 

My weapon of choice is Smite or the Chaotic Halberd. The lower fatigue cost of Adrenaline Rush suggests that fatigue reduction from Quick Action, Recovery, and equipment will get me 1-2 more ARs per combat than without. Assuming that the fatigue reduction percentages are additive, 12 QA on my spear wielder gets 60% fatigue reduction. Adding Recovery makes 70%. Smite (and the Jade Halberd later on) both have fatigue reduction, so filling in the other 30% with equipment should be easy enough and will guarantee AR every 3 turns instead of 6, which is just too tempting. Of course, I could be wrong about how the game adds up these bonuses.

 

Urist

Strength 32 +7

Dexterity 9

Intelligence 9

Endurance 19 +5

Melee Weapons 10

Hardiness 13 +2

Parry 12

Blademaster 10 +1

Quick Action 8 +2

Dual Wielding 8 +2

Lethal Blow 7

Bows 2 bought

Thrown Weapons 1 bought +2 (Should swap this equipment.)

First Aid 2 bought

Cave Lore 3 (? bought)

Resistance +3

Luck +2

Traits: Strength x5, Endurance x5, Mighty Blows x3, Parry Mastery x2, Ambidextrous/Dual Blade x2, Fortune x2, Backstab x2, Health x3, Vahnatai Secrets

 

Weapons of choice are the Frozen Blade, which can be obtained relatively early, and the Singing Rapier. Against cold-immune enemies, the Frozen Blade still has good base damage and is useful for the Weakness Curse, fatigue reduction, and cold resistance. I might swap the Radiant Shortblade for the Rapier. As for traits, even with what I mentioned above, Backstab x2 is probably more useful for my dual-wielder than Recovery. If I had noticed earlier that I couldn't take the Improved Intelligence traits, I might have taken the EXP traits (Quick Learning and Great Wisdom) earlier. I didn't want to take them at level 30.

 

Feb

Level 31

Strength 10 -1

Dexterity 36 +10

Intelligence 9 +3

Endurance 15 +5

Pole Weapons 2 bought

Hardiness 3

Parry 2

Bows 12 (2 bought)

Sharpshooter 12

Lethal Blow 12

Thrown Weapons 2 bought

Gymnastics 12 +5

Sniper 10

Priest 2

Arcane Lore 2

Resistance +1

Tool Use 3 +2

First Aid 2 bought

Cave Lore 3 (? bought)

Luck 7 +2 (2 bought)

Traits: Dexterity x5, Intelligence x3, Endurance x5, Sure Aim x3, Fortune x2, Nimble Fingers x2, Health x3, Negotiator, Vahnatai Secrets

 

This is the only party member who could take the Intelligence traits to improve mental resistance. She has the highest mental resistance with equipment at 62% (the lowest is Lokum at 54%). Not bad, but still lousy without a way to cure mental effects.

 

Both archers are using the Mercuric Leather for +1 AP since that's craftable. Their Gymnastics then only needs to succeed once to get them an extra action. No one in this party can afford to use the Quicksilver Sandals now that they're -5% to HER. Sniper also gives extra attacks, but you don't know whether it's worked until after you attack.

 

In A2:CS the best bows (First Expedition Bow, Possessed Bow) are behind level 2 barriers or formations which this party can't break. Boo. Hiss.

 

Egdoth

Level 31

Strength 10 -1

Dexterity 36 +6

Intelligence 9

Endurance 15 +5

Melee Weapons +2

Pole Weapons 2 bought +2

Hardiness 3

Parry 2

Bows 12 (2 bought)

Thrown Weapons 1 bought

Sharpshooter 12 +1

Lethal Blow 12

Gymnastics 12

Sniper 10 +1

Spellcraft +1

Tool Use 7 +2

First Aid 2 bought

Cave Lore 3 (? bought)

Luck 7 +6 (2 bought)

Traits: Dexterity x5, Endurance x5, Sure Aim x3, Recovery, Quick Learning/Great Wisdom x2, Fortune x2, Nimble Fingers x2, Health x3, Negotiator, Vahnatai Secrets

 

I'm not sure Recovery will be as effective here if it's not stacked over Quick Action. Worth a try, since the only other trait I could think of was Fast Recovery (extra First Aid, which this party does use).

 

Edited by wackypanda
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Cleared Ornotha Ziggurat. I think I actually missed the Fort Haledon assault force and, on top of that, forgot that I only needed one character to successfully cross the Guardian Plains. Oops. I used invulnerability potions, armor elixirs, and a Spellward scroll and had my archers attack first, while my melee fighters stood in front of them and waited for enemies to come closer. Finally made a break for it after there were about 5 enemies and Garzahd left. Fortunately, the party had killed so many enemies that they got most of their health back from the bought First Aid.

 

I don't know if there's a way to get the Talisman of Might from the altar on the second tier without triggering the fight where the entire party gets nullity. I'm not sure if any of my party has access to the Battle Frenzy discipline; one tactic might have been for everyone to use that discipline and then take the talisman in combat mode. What I did was station everyone outside one of the doors to kill the eyebeasts and cryodrakes one by one, which has been a useful tactic throughout this playthrough.

 

I encountered a bug on the third tier where one of my archers stepped into the quickfire and died just before I stepped onto the roof, but then appeared with my party on the roof with 0 health and no fatigue. I used the resulting infinite Adrenaline Rushes to see what happens when you fight Garzahd. As reported in another thread somewhere here, he can't die, but he will flee on the next enemy turn if you reduce his health below a certain amount. So there's that.

 

Also, trying to learn spells from Wilvron-Bok with only 2 Arcane Lore is funny. You know the saying: "There are no bad students..."

 

I then spent most of my gold buying ancillary skills, like Gymnastics to help my melee fighters' evasion, and extra potions to save some grinding.

 

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  • 2 years later...

Got the itch to try this again.

 

Had to reorient myself first. I thought I'd go to Angierach or attack Sulfras for the First Expedition greaves, but both of these were taking too many potions. For the Sulfras fight in particular, my dual-wielder had sub-90% chance to hit Sulfras, which usually is a sign that the fight is not level-appropriate. The party was around level 32 or so. One of the Mad Demons in the Sulfras dungeon is immune to physical damage, but so long as I used doorways to my advantage, the Frozen Blade, Bow of Storms, and some scrolls solved that. I would also have had some chip damage from the Ever-Rotting Bow, but that archer got knocked out.

 

For some reason I'd never even discovered Harston on this playthrough, much less done anything with the northern waters. Cleared the Empire Archives. Mental attacks from the Haakai there were a pain.

 

Pyrog's lair was next. The Terror and Mindbreaker Agents have a chance to stun and charm respectively when attacked in melee, which is annoying. Using doorways is essential to avoid getting swarmed. At least my melee fighters still had a minimum 20% chance to hit with their bows.

 

After Pyrog's lair, I used Wisdom Crystals to bump everyone up to level 35, maxed out luck for my polearm-wielder, and tried Sulfras again. Fighting Sulfras is not necessary to complete the game, but I wanted the First Expedition greaves. I equipped all my mental resistance-boosting items (at the expense of armor % and damage boosts) and used speed and armor elixirs before starting the fight. I used invulnerability potions after combat started and only if Sulfras or the summons were targeting someone, because invuln potions have a shorter duration and no one can craft invuln elixirs. My dual-wielder still had sub-90% chance to hit, so I used Rod of Battle a few times. The archers stood as far away from Sulfras as possible and picked off the death curse shades as they were summoned. I think this keeps the archers just out of range of Sulfras' terror spell, but I'm not sure. In any case, I had a good run where my melee fighters resisted all the terror casts. Sulfras (while still chained) can be killed on Hard mode without mage or priest spells.

 

A general tip for new players who might want to try this or players who might not be consciously aware of how AP works: Using items always costs 5 AP. Attacking uses 9 AP by default, 5 AP if Haste or Sniper procs. Once your AP is at or below 0, your turn ends. Normally this doesn't matter, but once you rack up extra AP from Gymnastics or Battle Frenzy and/or have Haste, timing your item use may allow you to do more per turn.

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Destroyed the Portal. I skipped fighting the First Guardpost to save resources. I finally used a Spellward scroll because this is an endgame quest, and unlike A:EftP I don't remember where to get free wards (if any exist).

 

I might have used invuln potions for fighting the Crystalworkers so I could get the control room commands. I'm not sure. Again, the most annoying enemies were the mind-affecting Haakai in the control tower. Because this party can't dispel the barriers blocking off the control room, I had to fight Haakai twice. I don't remember encountering this many mind-affecting enemies when I tried a no-magic run of A:EftP. Beating them took healing, speed and armor elixirs, careful positioning to rush the Haakai before they could cast Terror or Battle Frenzy while avoiding being swarmed myself, and - a lot of re-loading and luck. I might drop the difficulty back to Normal for the other end-game battles.

 

For the run to the exploding portal, I used speed elixirs, invuln potions, and one invuln elixir, for the Battle Frenzy and for tanking the eyebeasts' magic. I then focused fire on Dervish Lokallan so that I could collect the Jade Halberd. (Does Dervish Lokallan drop the Jade Halberd if you leave him to die in the portal explosion instead?)

 

The Jade Halberd is why I did the Portal quest before Angierach (my third Crystal Soul) or Garzahd's fortress. I need that +10% HER and as much polearm damage as I can get. +15% fatigue reduction is also very nice, but now when facing enemies that cast Terror, Terror often lasts longer than the fatigue from Adrenaline Rush.

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Quoted from the A2:CS Item List, emphasis mine:

  

On 1/15/2015 at 2:15 PM, Randomizer said:

Angierach

 

W portal point into Angierach

SW cell - hidden switch - hidden switch - Quinby - opens door[

SW level 3 magical barrier - body - energy elixir, wisdom crystal

SW door - lever to open gate out

S Containment Chamber - door (Lich Key) - Prison of Vyvnas-Bok - metal box - Crystal Soul: Vyvnas (quest item)

S Chambers of Rakshasi

-- energy potion, wine (3), spiritual herb (2), box - energy elixir, energetic herb

-- Alass of the Ten - healing elixir

-- Hrrma of the Ten - curing elixir

-- Orrun of the Ten - speed elixir

-- Infernal of the Ten - platinum ring, fine leather

-- door - hidden switch [11] - level 2 move mountains - chest - Lich Key

-- level 2 magical barrier - chest - gray mold, mandrake root, piercing crystal

 

Is there any path to the Lich Key that does not require level 2 Move Mountains? If not, I am locked out of one of the three ending quests.

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9 hours ago, wackypanda said:

Is there any path to the Lich Key that does not require level 2 Move Mountains?

 

Yes, there is!

 

There are two different paths to the Lich Key. One path requires dealing with a medium-level fight, and taking down that Move Mountains rock. The other path requires dealing with a much tougher fight, but doesn’t require knowledge of Move Mountains. In other words, a player going through the game without any restrictions can effectively bypass a difficult fight if they have characters trained in a particular way.

 

In your case, you don’t have that choice. But you can still get the key. You’ll just have to go down the tougher path!

 

In Jeff’s defence, this is good game design, and I would expect that of him for this location. Angierach is a trapped location, one which locks the player in when they enter. If there were a fixed skill-barrier to unlocking part of that location, then a player could potentially get trapped in there. After all, if they didn’t have the suitable knowledge to get past the barrier, or hadn’t trained appropriately, there wouldn’t really be much they could do to remedy that situation. They’d be stuck permanently! (There’s always a danger with that with fights, naturally, but at least there you have strategic options. If you fail a simple skill check, there’s not much else you can do!).

 

Generally speaking, Jeff is experienced enough to avoid pitfalls like these. Indeed, he’s always been good at avoiding this soft of softlock problem, even way back in the Exile days!

 

In any case, don’t worry about Angierach. At least in principle, you should be able to get through without using any magic!

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And indeed there is! I just couldn't see the secret switch after doing the tougher fight. Thanks.

 

As for the fights: I stocked up on potions beforehand. This is important because as noted above, you are trapped in Angierach until you fight your way out.

 

The limiting ingredient when crafting potions is Energetic Herbs, as these are used for speed potions/elixirs, armor elixirs, and invulnerability potions. I burn through speed elixirs the most quickly, but I was also running low on armor and invuln. Between my limited stock of herbs and shopping trips, I scraped together enough potions so that each party member had roughly 5 healing elixirs, 2 speed elixirs, 3 armor elixirs, 2 invuln potions, and 5 graymold salves. These are the potions I use frequently enough to need crafting, though any other potions like curing potions and the lesser speed and shield potions should be split across the party. I also had a pool of about 11 healing potions for topping up health when First Aid doesn't cut it. Graymold salve both heals and cures the party and only needs 1 graymold each, unlike group heal and recovery scrolls which only heal or cure and must be bought. But I run out of graymold salve because I hoard the scrolls. Go figure.

 

As for the shops, I think town stores restock without having to buy them out of their stock. I'm pretty sure I've bought all the elixirs (but not the infinite bandages) from the Tower of Magi store more than once. So that helps.

 

The pit fight is harder than the battles afterwards. I used speed elixirs and entered combat mode immediately to climb out of the pit and move to one corner of the room before the first wave of monsters spawned. After that, the key was to have Battle Frenzy up all the time and add potions or items whenever I felt like it (armor elixirs for keeping health up, invulnerability for enemy types that are causing trouble, Rod of Alacrity to counter Slow instead of using graymold salve, etc.). The goal is to kill as many hellhounds and eyebeasts as possible before the eyebeasts can cast Battle Frenzy on a whole group. The quickghasts and mutant giants on their own don't do that much damage and I left off Battle Frenzy for a few rounds, but they really should be killed before the Haakai shows up and has the chance to cast Battle Frenzy. At least this time my party resisted most of the Terror and Charm attempts.

 

After that the only fight of note was the boss, Midori the Lich. Speed elixirs sufficed for whaling on them until they cast Spine Shield, at which point I added invuln potions on everyone. The invuln potions helped against the summoned golems and against Midori's single-target magic missile which does damage in the hundreds. Invulnerability also cuts down damage from Midori's Spine Shield, allowing the melee fighters to continue attacking. I burned a lot of graymold salves and recovery scrolls countering Midori's Slow spell.

 

The Mercuric Chain is a nice reward for returning the Angierach Crystal Soul, but I only used it to replace the Mercuric Leather on one of my archers. The Mercuric Chain can be paired with the Quicksilver Sandals to give one of my melee fighters a guaranteed 2 actions per turn. However, the Quicksilver Sandals have a -5% HER penalty and the Mercuric Chain has an opportunity cost (using it in place of chest armor that gives mental resistance), and I cannot afford either when I can't cure mental effects.

 

Next and last will be Garzahd.

 

Edited by wackypanda
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Ding dong, Garzahd is gone! Long live the empress or whoever

 

Garzahd's fortress is fairly straightforward. With a committed dual-wielder, I can use Demonslayer on the demon mobs better than a party without one. However, because my polearm wielder has points in Quick Action, my dual-wielder always acts last. This is bad for fighting the Warded Infernals, which need to be hit once with Demonslayer before they will take any damage. The fight in the narrow hallways with the Warded Infernals and Cave Demons kept killing my party members. Eventually I figured out that I could enter combat mode before entering the hallways, and clear out the Cave Demons first before fighting the Warded Infernals. For fighting Inquisitor Talon (the wizard who casts Death Curses on the party one by one), since this party doesn't have area attacks, I used speed elixirs and maneuvered my party around the other enemies to focus on Talon. If necessary, you can also use Adrenaline Rush to do this, since in A2:CS Adrenaline Rush allows you to move afterwards as long as you haven't attacked.

 

With Garzahd, I had everyone take speed and armor elixirs (yes, I was still compelled to hoard the invulnerability elixirs) and climbed the stairs in combat mode so that I could get the first hit. My dual-wielder went straight for Garzahd while the other party members killed the starting defenders. After Garzahd's ward broke, I had everyone focus on Garzahd. I tried to kill one of the aides that spawn in because I thought they might do something, like Sulfras' death curse shades, but I don't think they actually do anything. One of Garzahd's tricks is to banish and ensnare party members to the bottom of the stairs. Fortunately I had enough curing items to cure the ensnares. I completely ignored spawned enemies (unless there was no way through them) and focused on getting banished party members back up the stairs and attacking Garzahd. I used Invuln potions and elixirs when damage started piling up. Party members did get killed, especially when Garzahd started using the magic missile that does 100+ damage even through Invulnerability. I had about 5 Return Life scrolls for each party member (see, hoarding pays off). Note that Return Life scrolls only raise one party member at a time (was it like this in the previous game?) and seem to place them at the bottom of the stairs more often than not, so sometimes I wasted turns having someone climb up only for them to be killed or banished again. But at last, Garzahd the arch-mage proved no match for my magically-challenged caveman party.

 

Notes:

- Regarding game design, the three game-winning quests can be beaten without casting a single mage or priest spell. However, the Spiral Pit quest seems to be locked behind a level 2 barrier; I cannot recall any other minor quest that is locked. There is also the requirement for 2 AL in the Barrier Tower, meaning that you need at least 2 points in Mage or Priest Spells, even if you plan to never use spells.

- If I was doing this again, I would:

-- Get Adrenaline Rush faster. Adrenaline Rush is the single most important battle discipline.

-- Try a thrown weapon specialist. Thrown weapons can outdamage bows and in A2:CS they have ancillary effects, like cleave damage, that bows don't have. There are also stores selling infinite javelins and more enemies drop thrown weapons. The best bows in A2:CS are also locked behind level 2 barriers or formations. However, someone who only uses thrown weapons may still run out of them too often to be practical.

-- Take the bonus XP traits earlier.

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