Author Topic: First Time Completing the Beholder's Dungeon - Complaints and Criticisms  (Read 2406 times)

Legacy_BelgarathMTH

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               Hello. I just completed my first run though the HotU beholder's dungeon.

I had to reload repeatedly until I finally beat it.

I have several complaints/criticisms about the design of this module.

1) There is no Protection from Petrification spell available in NWN1. Prot from Pet is a simple first level spell in Baldur's Gate. That is as it should be. In NWN, there is no defense, especially since the d20 rolls are NOT random - you will consistently get at least five rolls lower than 10 before you get a single roll higher than 10. And even if this were not true, no one other than a fool would go up against medusas, basilisks, or beholders without a Prot from Pet.

2) Seeing the designers' intention that you must realize you cannot beat the Eye Tyrant and that you must flee down into the pit where the obelisk is located is dependent not only upon your finding the stone-slab clue before the Eye Tyrant attacks you, but also upon "just happening" to move your cursor over one of the blue-highlightable rectangles around the pit. The first time I stumbled upon one of the key interactable pixels, my first thought was that I was supposed to throw the stone in there to nullify the beholder rays.

The clue on the Examine of the stone should have said "we barely escaped with our lives by jumping into the pit of the Eye Tyrant's lair...There, we found an obelisk that....."

3)Once the player figures it all out and gets the obelisk core, it has only three charges in it that last only a few rounds. This is not enough time, especially given that the area spawns dozens of beholders upon reentry. These spawned beholders are positioned in groups, several of which are out of range of the obelisk core. That means that the player is forced to use the obelisk core against the Eye Tyrant (by far the biggest threat), and wait for lucky dice rolls, while meanwhile the far groups of beholders move in with full use of their eye rays.

4) The whole scenario is biased against sorcerers and wizards. Thankfully, I was playing a bard, but I shudder to think about what would happen here against a poor magic-less sorc or wiz.

5) I defy anybody to make it through this module as a no-reload, with any character class, but especially with a sorc or wiz. I think the flaws in design make it such that you must reload until you save against every petrification ray separately, i.e., defeat beholder group, save game against next petrification, defeat beholder group, save game against next petrification, etc., etc., over and over.

If there is a protection against petrification that you can get from the Vampire Lords, I don't know about it yet, since I have saved that module for the last of the five modules in chapter two.

I'm very interested in some comments or thoughts about this.
               
               

               


                     Modifié par BelgarathMTH, 17 novembre 2010 - 02:14 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_HipMaestro

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First Time Completing the Beholder's Dungeon - Complaints and Criticisms
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2010, 10:30:33 am »


               

BelgarathMTH wrote...
I had to reload repeatedly until I finally beat it.

This is typical for an initial venture into foreign environments, so join the crowd.  You are not alone.

But to be honest, I enjoy all the challenges devised for the relatively over-powered NWN magic users, especially the "wild" magic areas.  There is never a dull moment! '<img'>

** The following commentary contains MANY SEVERE SPOILERS so read further specifically with that disclaimer in mind.  PLEASE! **

I have several complaints/criticisms about the design of this module.

1) Petrify is a mind-affecting spell so any property granting immunity to that genre neutralizes its affect, good rolls or not.  Petrify has a Fort save DC of 13 which is rather low, so boost your Fort and chance the 1 rolls.  Many of the other spells effects like fear (for example) use will saves.  Prot Against Alignment works wonders for that one.

I've yet to meet a "petrifier" with True Seeing. Use Invis or Sanctuary, and force them into melee. To limit the cross-coning of multiple attacks, use summons.  Elementals are immune to petrify so cast one, go invis and resume your knitting.

2) Once again, the tyrant is not a true seer.  Make yourself invis, stack 3 or 4 kegs in front of it, light it and retreat.  And again, any caster with a few scrolls/spells of elemental summon can view the destruction from a position of complete security.  All the obelisk orb does is make it a cakewalk. 

3) It has a HUGE AoE affect so 1 or 2 uses is all that is needed to neutralize all the beholder abilities (BTW, the effect lasts at least 1 turn).  If you need to rinse and repeat, that Magical Electrifier gizmo available from the djinni (or SoU if you used that PC) will charge the orb up to full potential... for a price).

4) A bard is the only class that retains its prime ability... song.  So you chose the best one for the underground tunnel.  Regardless, all one needs to do is put up with the few spider attacks on the way to the shortcut door and then it is status quo once again.  (BTW, those same kegs that damage beholders will work on that door.)

5) To be honest, I only ever died once in all my trips through this area with any class.  I rushed into that nest of drow in the upper rhand corner and got imploded or hit by some some death spell (fading memory '<img'>  ).  None of the beholders were ever a problem because I ALWAYS did recon either invis or with stealth pixie and then sent a sacrificial summon to see what kind of attack is in store. 

Defiance is not necessary.  Just experiment experiment experiment.  In HotU all you need to deal with the challenge is available with some ferreting.

All these Bio campaigns become predictable once you've replayed a few times.  I use HotU as a mid-build testing ground to get an idea of combat effectiveness.  There are a few challenging scenarios, but all-in-all, compared to many PW environments and limited-rest community content, it's still a walk in the park for a caster, relatively speaking.

(And just for the record, if it affects your ability to draw comparison, the only time I ever played on any setting other than hardcore was the first 2 chapters of the OC right after I installed the game.)

I really think your issue with these innovative scenarios is tactics.  Do more recon.  If necessary, explore an entire level while invisible just to see how the enemies and terrain is laid out (True seers are few and far between in HotU).  The campaigns have very few trigger-spawned encounters so recon is generally an effective tactic.  Don't be afraid to send summons into scout and test attack capabilities.  Place them on follow and keep invis until you really need their help.   A bard with high UMD has just about all it will need to cope with just about any situation.

That's about all I can muster.  I hope some of it helps you enjoy the creativity left to experience in the remaining chapters.  You are only a virgin once! '<img'>

Good luck, amigo!
               
               

               
            

Legacy_BelgarathMTH

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First Time Completing the Beholder's Dungeon - Complaints and Criticisms
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2010, 07:45:50 pm »


               Hip, thanks for all the good advice. I notice that you are very fond of tactics based on stealth and invisibility. '<img'>

I think our experiences may be different based on my use of TonyK's AI. The beholders fire Dispel Magic first, so it makes keeping any kind of mind protection through spell impossible. Also, I was wearing that helmet/cowl that says Immune to Mind-Affecting and grants Freedom the whole time, and they petrified me just fine. (Maybe I took it off and didn't realize it? I didn't know that Flesh to Stone counted as a mind-affecting spell. I'll have to test that with an earlier save if I still have one.)

TonyK's AI must also affect spawn placement, or something else is different in our games, because there were at least two groups of lesser beholders who attacked me while the Obelisk Orb was active, and were not affected by it. Its effect also wore off after only a few rounds. I had to use it all three times, and there was still lots of fighting left to do. The TonyK AI makes every enemy in the game much smarter and more tactical than the vanilla. 

I know that you and lots of people don't use TonyK, so maybe I need to remember the huge difference it makes before I criticize a mod. I guess I keep forgetting just how much more difficult scenarios are by my own choosing. I agree with you that easy is boring.
 
It seems to be a NWN tradition to have some scenarios at high-level where your powers are useless and you can only survive by your wits.

I did very much enjoy my first time through this HotU mod, as evidenced by my intense interest in analyzing it post-mortem, and in discussing the ins and outs of the mod.

Thanks again for giving me your take on it and your tactical advice.
               
               

               


                     Modifié par BelgarathMTH, 18 novembre 2010 - 10:15 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_Westan Willows

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First Time Completing the Beholder's Dungeon - Complaints and Criticisms
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2010, 11:49:14 pm »


                I play a Sorc most of the time. I have TonyK's AI on my game and have more trouble with the Dow then the  Eye Tyrant . Possesing my pet after casting inv. helps. 'Posted
               
               

               
            

Legacy_HipMaestro

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First Time Completing the Beholder's Dungeon - Complaints and Criticisms
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2010, 12:47:50 am »


               I see Westan had a similar experience with the drow as when I ran it with my wiz. ':blush:'

I must give credit to the designers of the campaigns, especially SoU and HotU for penalizing the power rush strategy.  Their encounters seem to require patience and strategy for most classes and that makes the whole experience more interesting and challenging for me (at least for a while, anyway 'B)').

As stated before, you shouldn't rely too much on buffs around casters anyway, but rather maximize your saves if the spell allows one. Those high Fort rings can come in handy to bend the odds in your favor.  IIRC there are boots with +Con on them, too. I remember wondering why a certain foe in another module was always killing my mage with Implosion until I noticed how low my Fort saves were.  BTW, I don't think the Beholders use Flesh to Stone or else it could be countered with Stone to Flesh which I was never able to succeed at.  Rather, it's a conic Petrify Gaze similar to the Shifter ability.  Regardless, they both have similar save and resistance characteristics to manage.

Yeah, I've heard that Tony's AI changes the game quite a bit.  But the extent is a mystery to me.  Does it give monsters different abilities or just increase the DCs and/or class levels?  Does it also change the boss AI's?  Just curious.
               
               

               


                     Modifié par HipMaestro, 18 novembre 2010 - 12:51 .
                     
                  


            

Legacy_MrZork

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First Time Completing the Beholder's Dungeon - Complaints and Criticisms
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2010, 02:05:06 am »


               HipMaestro, you really ought to give Tony K's AI a shot! It doesn't change any monster abilities, class levels, or DCs. It just makes the monsters less moronic and a bit more as if a DM were playing them. Some examples: monsters who have stealth skills may well be using them; a creature placed in a room may decide to wander around and even <gasp!> open a door to check out what's in a nearby room (which is probably what BelgarathMTH was seeing above); opponents with summon abilities will generally use them (makes those encounters significantly tougher); spellcasting opponents will try to debuff (using dispels, Mord's, breaches) more often and will use Bigby's etc. to their advantage (many times I have been caught with a surprise Daze when I thought an opponents wasn't a spellcaster or had no offensive spells left); and so on. That AI just provides a more realistic and challenging experience than the default. For instance, an ordinary lich is a bit tougher when he starts out by calling a summons and a familiar (now IGMS spams are less of a kill-all), hasting himself, then casting greater dispelling or Mordenkainen's Disjunction at the PC. And all of that is without changing abilities, hit dice, etc., so that the module creator's encounter is still what he wanted, and maybe a bit more so, since the challenges are smarter.



With your taste for thoughtful tactics, I think you would find playing with Tony K's AI to be a real plus. It makes the sort of advice you've given here all the more applicable. :-)



And, all that isn't even getting to how much less frustrating the henchmen are when you can tell them, "Save your spells for tougher opponents." Or, "Used ranged weapons until opponents are within 5 meters." (In other words, "Don't rush in and start melee with that group of baddies I'm about to hit with Evard's Black Tentacles.")



BelgarathMTH, you are right that petrification is undeterred by immunity to mind-affecting spells/effects. And, the creature version doesn't check for spell resistance, so all you have is your fort save. When I went through the first time, I tried using the "protection from gaze "potion I picked up in the library in Shaori's Fell, but I guess that only works for that one medusa.



I managed not to get petrified, though I believe that a henchy did at some point. My only death was in the anti-magic level when my Shield Guardian (immune to petrification, BTW) got separated from me and I was cornered by a pile of spiders with nothing between them and me but a rapier and my dex bonus. After that, I kept the guardian close and things went  pretty smoothly.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Malifaun

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First Time Completing the Beholder's Dungeon - Complaints and Criticisms
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2010, 04:49:31 am »


               Im am using TonyKs ai and overall I like it, but not everything. For example, I find that way too many creatures use stealth. Take the spiders in the magic dead area, all types and the ettercaps too are invisible (unless you have high listen/spot skill). So youll notice them when the whole bunch is on to of you and in melee range (and most likely has poisoned you, getting first attack vs out-of-combat opponent). While it does make things harder, it isnt exactly adding any tactical options - quite to the contrary. Luring spiders 1 by 1 is tactics, clicking on them to start melee isnt.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_HipMaestro

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First Time Completing the Beholder's Dungeon - Complaints and Criticisms
« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2010, 06:24:42 am »


               Albeit getting somewhat off-topic, I still appreciate the review of Tony's AI... probably the best I've read and I've read a lot of them.  It does appear that skill allotment may need to be customized differently and that in itself changes the building process (no more maxing Appraise '<img'> ).  Thanks, guys!
               
               

               
            

Legacy_BelgarathMTH

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First Time Completing the Beholder's Dungeon - Complaints and Criticisms
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2010, 10:23:54 pm »


               Just as an aside, so I don't need to start a whole other thread, I finished the Undead Cult module last night, discovered what was leading the cult, and beat it.



I had one reload, because I forgot to use Time Stop and Shadow Shield scrolls that I had been saving for a battle like this, and the Big Bad beat me. (I just barely beat it with the scrolls in my reload.)



Way cool! I continue to be impressed by the quality of writing in this expansion, despite my above complaints about the Beholder module.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Mystery X

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First Time Completing the Beholder's Dungeon - Complaints and Criticisms
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2010, 11:03:58 pm »


               Keep in mind that, to advance out of chapter 2, you only need to beat 3 of the 5 of the Valsharess's allies.  It seems that the different ally encounters were set up to favor or disfavor certain classes, forcing careful choice of whom to strike first.  Pulling off defeat of all 5 is more of a bonus than a requirement.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Westan Willows

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First Time Completing the Beholder's Dungeon - Complaints and Criticisms
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2010, 12:15:59 am »


               I like to do all 5. I get more XP that way.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_HipMaestro

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First Time Completing the Beholder's Dungeon - Complaints and Criticisms
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2010, 02:05:18 am »


               

Westan Willows wrote...

 I like to do all 5. I get more XP that way.

Yup, me 2. And much more gold! Each is too interesting to pass up IMO. And it makes the final battle much harder if you shortcut.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Westan Willows

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First Time Completing the Beholder's Dungeon - Complaints and Criticisms
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2010, 07:30:34 am »


               

HipMaestro wrote...

Westan Willows wrote...

I like to do all 5. I get more XP that way.

Yup, me 2. And much more gold! Each is too interesting to pass up IMO. And it makes the final battle much harder if you shortcut.


True. I always kill the elder brain and free the slaves. 'Posted
               
               

               
            

Legacy_BelgarathMTH

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« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2010, 09:34:53 pm »


               Wow, I didn't realize it would free the slaves to kill the elder brain. I thought they were permanently psionically lobotomized. That'll change my thinking process the next time I play through the illithid mod.



This time through, I had been forced to kill most of them anyway when I attacked the compound.



If I did free them next time, I assume that means that illithids would appear during the battle for the Seer's rebel camp. That creates a very interesting moral conundrum for me, since I don't think the drow rebels would have any defense against psionic domination.
               
               

               
            

Legacy_Shadooow

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First Time Completing the Beholder's Dungeon - Complaints and Criticisms
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2010, 10:57:52 pm »


               

HipMaestro wrote...

1) Petrify is a mind-affecting spell so any property granting immunity to that genre neutralizes its affect, good rolls or not.  Petrify has a Fort save DC of 13 which is rather low, so boost your Fort and chance the 1 rolls.  Many of the other spells effects like fear (for example) use will saves.  Prot Against Alignment works wonders for that one.


Sorry, but according to my game knowledge, there is really no immunity to Petrify except to shifter's shapes which can petrify too. Nwnwiki says the same.

To answer OP's question: I don't remember this dungeon or if I did it, also I don't remember any protection spell in bg2, but there was spell turning or shield of ray deflecting. Which were beholder killers. Anyway I have met some petrification creatures on the several PW and mostly you don't have to kill them, you can get invisible/sanctuaried and run pass through them. If you must kill them, then there are ways... Depending n your build.

What Im doing with my wizard/aa is that i send my faerie dragon pet which gets the beholder confused. No roll, just hit and he always hit. He then does nothing or try to fight melee. If you got HIPS, its easy too.