Friday, 22 August 2014

How I learned to disregard the canon and enjoy the game; Neverwinter edition (II)

[copy-paste intro]
It is no secret that I am not that into Dungeons and Dragons. So much so, that I considered it quite an achievement when I was able to let go some of my biases and thoroughly enjoy a game set in  D&D-verse. (Watching some webseries that feature paper-and-pen-folk in action has also somewhat softened my cold, joyless heart. Notable culprits include "Tales from The Table" and "Dorkness Rising".) And now, Neverwinter Nights 2. 

The whole load of playthrough notes turned out too voluminous to wrestle all at once, so I'm dividing it into a series of shorter posts instead. This was Part One.

Now, shall we?

(Clicking the images should display them in full glory.)

Part Two. Borrowed tactics. 

With my kind of character development, it was semi-expected that I'd end up with a weakling hybrid bastard with possible multiclass penalty disorder. Meaning, I don't quite excel in direct combat, and I'm not exactly a spellcasting powerhouse of doom either. In my attempts to perhaps not die and reload quite as often, I ended up utilizing all sorts of tactical elements from all sorts of other places.

For example, when the ambush-happy blokes in Ember kept decimating my party, I was finally able to push for a positive outcome once I'd squeezed my butt into cover (as I'd normally do in other games), effectively blocking off at least two thirds of enemy arrows. (I also learned to send my companions behind barn for Potion Time.)

Ranged attack vs. peasant house.

One tactical combo I grew very fond of has four simple steps. Step 1 - bottleneck the enemy movement; step 2 - spread spike-y growths and/or tangles; step 3 - set the whole thing on fire (keep adding fire to taste.)

Step 4: gloating & profit.
No need to break ranks (or sweat), you guys.
Yup, that'll do.

For added variety and back-up planning, I've come to appreciate the canned fire as well. (And acid. And loud bangs.)
Burn, baby!
Little bit of fire damage goes a long way.

Another adaptation that I initially picked up as necessity, then continued to exploit it with glee, was to litter the ground of an upcoming battle with traps. (Sometimes I'd combine this with making my crew stand guard in strategic position, then unleashing them at the time of my choosing.)

Artfully scattered patches.
Artfully overlapping patches.
Then there's the time we spread traps all over a rival gang's house for the sole purpose of trolling.

Saved the gas traps for the master bedroom. Tee-hee!
Now, as a general principle, I contentiously object to spending any game-moneys on any ingame-consumer-goods in any game I play. (This often leads to comical imbalance where I'm sitting on an ever-growing hoard of currencies, yet spending none and only investing the time and the skills into acquiring stuff - or investing at least as much time and skill into managing without stuff.) So - where exactly did we get all those traps plant around? Why, we retrieved the ones left behind by our adversaries, of course!

Later in the game this practice would lead to encumbrance issues.

With or without pre-trapped grounds, I quickly saw that the default formations and battlegrounds put my already-wimpy ass into further disadvantage. So instead I kept trying to lure the adversaries into different positions (especially if getting there involved passing doorways and other bottlenecks). With some trial and error I'd also learn to tactically disperse my allies (at least the spellcasters and ranged attackers) right as the fighting kicked off.

The road to success is paved with tumbles. (And reloads.)
There were numerous times when my primary contribution in a group fight was to run around (barbarian fast movement bonus!), drawing the opponents' attention while my companions were left sort-of safe to throw shit at them. I'd also cast healing spells when needed and shout motivational slogans on the go.

Then there's that one time when I managed to lure a dragon so far away from the original fighting arena that my fallen crew started popping right back up. 

Too bad I didn't have the resource to experiment further.

Of course, when all else fails, my battle scheming still boils down to the cycle of fail-learn-reload-adapt-fail some more-reload-repeat. Oftentimes it takes me numerous reloads to figure out what works and what doesn't (also to keep temporary crew alive). That doesn't mean I'm after some sort of "correct solution", reloads are just the means to experiment, to figure out what works the best for me in this particular situation.

I'll resurrect you first, and then you can resurrect me!
Let's try with extra blessings this time.
Pfsh, it only took, like, a dozen reloads to get here.

At times I was rather pleased with my clueless-adaptive planning and proud of my creative solutions incorporating strategies from completely different games. 

Pride comes in shiny little packages.
Then again, maybe everyone does all those things anyway, and in my ignorance about the world and its players I'm merely *thinking* such moves make me a special snowflake.

Stay tuned for Part Three!

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