Saturday, 16 September 2017

Baldur's Gate 2 BG2 Ascension & Sword Coast Stratagems Arcane Mage Party Guide Walkthrough Part II

Baldur's Gate 2 BG2 Ascension & Sword Coast StratagemsArcane Mage Party Guide Walkthrough Part II

(Continuing from Part I)
No less than ten Baldur's Gate write-ups in the last three weeks! Who can keep up? 😼

Ok! We have formed a five-strong arcane party, scribed a heap of scrolls to our spellbooks, and completed a few of the easier quests offered in Athkalta. As a result, we have gained a few character levels, and are therefore ready to travel to a couple of the easier outlying areas; namely, the fortress and the grove. Just a reminder, that in order to travel to outlying areas you will first have to get to the Gates district; otherwise they will be grayed out. However, once you have been to an outlying area at least once, you will be able to travel back there from any district.

The order in which you undertake the fortress and the grove does not matter; with the exception of the over-powering rakshasa trio (which, however, are optional) you should be more than ready for both areas if you followed my recommendations in Part I

The Troll Hordes of De Arnise and the Druid Grove

• Both the fortress and the grove are infested with trolls which will tear through your mirrors and skins in no time at low level. (Yep, with SCS installed we are already hanging out for PfMW. In vanilla, I barely even need the spell.)

Against the hordes you will want Web for immobilization and MMM, Fireball and Sunfire for destruction. Low level fire and acid spells, or bows loaded with fire and acid arrows, will also vanquish trolls once they have dropped to the ground. Have Nalia fire such arrows from Tuigan instead of loading your slots with Burning Hands and Melf's Acid Arrow; that way, you can load up on more useful first and second circle spells.

Enhanced Spirit Trolls. Be aware that spirit trolls sport innate concealment, on-hit Strength drain and can cast Unholy Blight, Flame Strike and Greater Command. Coupled with their regenerative powers and refusal to die to nothing but fire, acid and poison, it all amounts to nasty, nasty stuff - at least, for the unprepared adventuring party.

De Arnise Fortress

• In addition to the troll hoards, also lurking in De Arnise are yuan-ti that are not to be trifled with, possessed as they are of arcane powers on the level of a middling mage. Generic Yuan-ti spawn on-rest with vanilla frequency (very high). In addition, Umber Hulks plague the lower level but are fairly easy to dispatch with Cloudkill or the Death Spell. My Edwin had not yet broken into the sixth circle at this point, so the latter was not an option.

• Forge the Flail of Ages. I remember the infamous Tactics mod placed one of the flail heads in Torgal's possession, but there is no such barrier to wielding FoA against Torgal in SCS. Wearing the Girdle of Hill Giant Strength or otherwise buffing with the likes of Strength of One or DUHM, Aerie is capable of wielding FoA on-hand and DoA off-hand at 4 ApR under Improved Haste, which is not a bad setup to fall back on if you need her to. FoA crowns my Best Weapons write-up for a reason: it's the best weapon in the campaign. Otherwise, you could have Aerie wielding the Sling of Seeking on-hand and the Shield of Harmony off-hand (Hero of Trademeet reward, see below) for the Strength-based ranged damage bonus and mind shield status conferred.

Golem Treasure Chamber. While you can certainly lower their MR with Lower Resistance or Pierce Shield, the golems of stone, clay and iron will drop quickly to five mages firing MMM at 5 ApR (6 with Haste; 10 with Improved Haste).

• Note that the Clay Golem-inflicted Curse status can only be removed with the actual Remove Curse spell (not at a temple). The curse itself prevents the victim from being healed by spells or by resting. Quite inconvenient.

Improved Torgal. Torgal is the troll-boss heading up the invasion of Nalia's keep. In SCS, and in this level range, he is flanked by three spirit trolls, two each of giant troll and yuan-ti mage, and one each of spectral troll and umber hulk.

Left: This pic shows how the battle starts out. Hidden from the outset, you will need True Sight or Detect Illusion to reveal the spirit trolls and yuan-ti.
Right: Layers of Web and Cloudkill immobilize and eat away at Torgal's ranks in short order. Torgal is on the verge of death, too.

Did you just call me "gradunk"?

• Way I see it, there are two fairly reliable methods to employ in order to beat this battle at low level:

• (above-right pic) One, spam Web to immobilize the mob and then follow up with Cloudkill to wear them down and kill them off. With enough webs nothing will move from their starting points, and with enough Cloudkills regeneration will not offset the stacked poison (the sheer depth of the AoEs will overwhelm their Saving Throws, MR and regen). Firing out of line-of-sight, the cries of pain and anguish will echo through the halls of the keep as the poison nova eats away at Torgal's ranks. Obviously, launching Fireballs and Skull Traps into that hell-hole will speed up their demise. Cheesy, but oddly satisfying.

• Two, Torgal will rage like a barb and attempt to charge your ranks under the effect of PfMW - only to fall against the blistering hail of rapid-fire MMMs fired by five mages (Breach is not needed). Protected by Stoneskin, Mirror Image, MGoI and fire, the party can then fill the room with Sunfires and Fireballs in order to scorch the remaining trolls to a crisp. Yuan-ti that don't fall to the conflagration can be taken apart by Breach, Secret Word and Spell Thrust - just like any other middling mage. After that, they should be easy pickings.

I love Nalia's emotional line after Torgal's demise; she is well voice-acted!

Trademeet & the Druid Grove

• Next up, Trademeet. This town is a popular early port of call for its comparatively generous XP, wealth, reputation and itemization gains. It's also extremely easy to satisfy the two quests and reopen trade because Cernd will handle Faldorn and the genies or rakshasa are walk-overs. The latter is not true in SCS, however. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

• Slay the rogue wildlife, head to the mayor's house, and agree to talk with Cernd on behalf of Logan Coprith. Down in the basement, talk to Cernd to unlock the Druid Grove, and agree to meet him there (that's right, he doesn't have to leech your grove XP by joining the party). Back outside, evil-aligned Charnames will be approached by an unscrupulous lord and given a choice to poison the grove. My Charname is not evil, so it's not an option.

• In order to become the Heroes of Trademeet and reopen trade you will have to achieve two things: have Cernd slay Faldorn and slay Ihtafeer (or Khan Zahraa).

• Ok, the Druid Grove. En route to Cernd in the north you will have to take out packs of trolls, druids, shambling mounds, shriekers, grizzlies and an Elder Earth Elemental that shakes the foundations of the grove itself, but that shouldn't be a problem with Web, Sunfire, Cloudkill and MMM. The XP yield is huge: Spirit Troll x6 (12,000 XP ea), Shambling Mound x3 (8,000 XP ea) and an Elder Earth Elemental (16,000 XP). Not to mention all the other crap to kill.

Below: Beautiful, isn't it? But appearances can be deceiving.

Left: Entrance to the troll mound.
Right: Inside. You can barely see the mob of trolls amidst this hell-hole, and there will be nothing but scorched corpses left when we're done with them. Burn, you bastards! Burn!!!

Cernd vs. Faldorn. Cernd should be pre-buffed with Iron Skins, Haste, Improved Invisibility and whatever else you have at your disposal (you won't need much). Interruption of Faldorn's spellcasting is paramount: you don't want her getting off Creeping Doom or Conjure Fire Elemental. Luckily, that's not hard to ensure: simply unleash Insect Plague and then whale away on her with Flame Weapon. In this way, Cernd will wrest the grove from the Shadow Druids. I tested this three times, thinking I was just getting lucky. But no, it really is that easy. The difference between vanilla and my setup is that Cernd didn't have a hope in hell of defeating Faldorn in the scripted sequence: he must join the party (but then fight Faldorn alone). Anyway, wish Cernd well and take your leave of the now-peaceful grove. (Yeah, I'm not bothering with Cernd's personal quest, but feel free).

Rakshasa 😭You might have thought I'd forgotten about the trio of rakshasa hanging out in Adratha's cottage: Ihtafeer, Saadat and Jalaal. Well, no I haven't. Though I wish I could - because they suck.

Why? Well, Breach and Melf's Minute Meteors aside, Rakshasa are immune to spell circles one-through-seven! (I tested it: nothing below ADHW will damage them other than MMM.) But it's not just the innate OP immunity: you see, SCS: More consistent Breach spell (always affects liches and rakshasas) is consistently bugged in that you will have to cast Breach twice in order to bring down a single Stoneskin → 💩

• Anyway... Mandatory pre-battle buffs are as follows  Cast Stoneskin, Mirror Image and Minor Globe of Invulnerability to mitigate physical damage and circles 1-3 spell-based effects and damage (e.g, Skull Trap, Web, Stinking Cloud) Cast True Sight (and/or Detect Illusions) to dispel their illusions → Cast Spell Immunity: Abjuration to avoid being dispeled → Cast Melf's Minute Meteors and Improved Haste for damage/+ApR (three party members had Improved Haste by this point).

How to take them out  Detect Illusions or True Sight Breach Melf's Minute Missiles (10 ApR).

• Obvious cheese methods aside, you will have to get really lucky to win here. Teleport Field makes things crazy and the Breach bug is annoying. Thus, I advise you to either take out Khan Zahraa instead or simply leave this battle until you have access to Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting - or until Aerie can take them out, buffed to the heavens, wielding the Flail of Ages.

Left: Entrance to Adratha's cottage.
Right: Inside. No, those are not our spells. We are just trying to detect illusions and cast Breach...

• Request: If there is a modder reading this who can whip up a Breach fix or instruct me on how to do it, I will credit you in this write-up. There are liches and more rakshasa to come...

• Anyway, if you get lucky be sure to loot Ihtafeer's corpse for her head. Next, deliver the head to the genies in Trademeet in order to reopen the market and smithy there, from whom you can purchase some key scrolls and items; namely: Protection From Magical Energy x3, Mislead x3, Fire Shield (Red) x2, True Sight x1, Spell Shield x1 and Pierce Magic x1, Robe of the Good Archmagi, Cloak of Displacement (+4 AC vs. missile, non-trivial saving throw bonus) and Belt of Inertial Barrier (non-trivial saving throw bonus, +25% resistance to missile dmg, +50% resistance to magical dmg)

• The party will then be declared the Heroes of Trademeet and be awarded with the Shield of Harmony, which you should gift Aerie. (Why did OPP change SoH's color and turn it into a small shield? Doesn't look as good as the vanilla version, imo.) The Guildmistress will also shower you with gold, gems and jewels for reopening trade in the town.

• In addition, two more quests will now open up to you: the dueling nobles and the second part of the Skinner Murder quest (which began in the Bridge District). Complete both of these trivial quests and don't forget to loot the Elven Chainmail from Alibakkar's corpse. Elven Chainmail does not disable arcane spellcasting. Gift it to Aerie as well.

Left: Elven Chainmail. Flail of Ages on-hand, Shield of Harmony off-hand.
Middle: Robe of the Good Archmagi. IMoD on-hand, Defender of Easthaven off-hand.
Right: Robe of Vecna. Sling of Seeking on-hand, Shield of Harmony off-hand.

(BG2Tweaks: Remove Helmet Animations also disables helms on the paperdoll. Thus, no ugly Helm of Balduran is shown in the above pic).

• To reiterate, if you leave Torgal and Ihtafeer until you have leveled up more, I don't see why Aerie could not take them out physically with the Flail of Ages, providing that she is specced to tank/DpR and that Breach is employed. The on-hit MR-bypassing No-save 33% Slow effect of FoA is amazing. See Best Weapons for more info. Of course, other tactics will open up soonish (possibly aTweaks' Gate), and Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting is the final word if it comes down to that.

• Your party should look something like this now:

tl;dr: Charname and Nalia have broken into the sixth arcane circle, opening up already-scribed and key spells such as PfMW, PfME, True Sight, Pierce Magic, Mislead, Improved Haste and Invisible Stalker. See Best Spells for more info.

◦ Charname ◦ Wild Mage 12 ◦ Spell Slots Arcane5-6-5-5-6-3 → Charname has Ruby Ray of Reversal scribed. Does anyone remember where I would have found that scroll? Yes, I know there is one itemized in the Underdark but I definitely found the scroll legitimately before I took on the golems in De Arnise, and I can't for the life of me remember where I found it. I suppose it could have been a random drop but if it's statically itemized please let me know so that I can add it into the post. Thank you.

◦ Aerie ◦ Cleric 9/Mage 11 ◦ Spell Slots Arcane4-4-4-3-3 ◦ Spell Slots Divine6-6-3-2-1

◦ NaliaThief 4/Mage 12 ◦ Spell Slots Arcane4-4-4-4-4-1

◦ JanIllusionist 11/Thief 11 ◦ Spell Slots Arcane5-5-5-4-4

◦ EdwinConjurer 11 ◦ Spell Slots Arcane7-7-7-6-6

Party Reputation: Heroic (18) → Edwin speaks his "leaving line" but won't leave the party because Charname has 18 natural CharismaUpdate: Actually, that's incorrect. Edwin can indeed leave the party so keep your Rep below 18 (kill a peasant).

Continued in Part III: Umar Hills, Windspear Hills & the Vampire Lair.


  1. I have beaten Torgal in Tactics run with the help of four Greater Werebears. Fun battle!

  2. Hi,

    Probably this is no longer relevant but this G3 thread:

    has a few fixes for the Breach/Rakshasa issue.

    1. Thanks for the heads-up, Xukuth. It's possibly relevant as I may get back to my SCS run in the future (the installation + savegames are backed up).


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