Icewind Dale: Enhanced Edition is here

24 Nov

The Website

It looks like they’ve added the kits and such from Baldur’s Gate II. Pretty Cool.

Killing an endangered species for fun and profit.

24 Nov

So, Pshaw & Co. head into “The Vale of Shadows” on the recommendation of Arundel. Their first task was to retrieve the amulet/locket from King Yeti, so of course they go tomb raiding, instead.

Balan develops a tactical plan for exploring the valley: send the thief in first. Imoen scouts ahead, and then reports back to the rest of the team. Branwen calls up some skeletons, and they take out that enemy. Rest and repeat, as necessary.

Ghost 1: "I thought I saw something." Ghost 2: "What?" Ghost 1: "I thought I saw a girl over near the cliff face." Ghost 2: "You're just seeing things. There ain't no such thing as girls."

Ghost 1: “I thought I saw something.”
Ghost 2: “What?”
Ghost 1: “I thought I saw a girl over near the cliff face.”
Ghost 2: “You’re just seeing things. There ain’t no such thing as girls.”

Branwen's brave skeletons hold the front line while the rest of the team peppers the enemy with slings and zings.

Branwen’s brave skeletons hold the front line while the rest of the team peppers the enemy with slings and zings.

They do eventually catch up to King Yeti, who says he doesn’t want to negotiate. Well, what he actually says is something more along the lines of “YEEAAAARRRRGHHCH!!!!”, but it means the same thing. He is despatched, and the team returns to Mr. Frightened Villager, who gives them a magic sling in exchange for the priceless family heirloom. Then Pshaw & Co. continue their tomb raiding effort

Balan: "So you're the Yeti King? Well, checkmate, your majesty!"

Balan: “So you’re the Yeti King, are you? Well, guess what–” Kagain: “Checkmate, Your Majesty!” Balan: “Hey! That’s my joke!”


Through the Valley of the Shadow of Goblins to the Giant Tree Village of Adventure.

22 Nov

So, Pshaw & Co. cleaned up the town of Easthaven, discovered the missing caravan, and took out the orcs and ogres that had attacked the caravan. Balan got a couple of more spells to add to his book: Cause Fear and Protection against Petrification. The game would be quite a bit easier if the wizard could get more spells starting out. Fireball is a spell that would be quite useful in the upcoming encounters, but a copy of that spell won’t be available for some time. Now, Sleep is an excellent spell to begin with under normal circumstances, but this is “Heart of Fury” mode, and the monsters have too many Hit Dice to be affected by Sleep.

So, anyway, Hrothgar, satisfied that everything is in order in town, leads the expedition to Kuldahar. An interesting note about Kuldahar: it’s not actually one of the Ten Towns of Icewind Dale. The adventurers spend most of their time outside the Dale proper, in fact. But I digress. The expedition is attacked on the road by giants, who cause an avalanche. As it turns out, Pshaw & Co. are the only ones who had sense enough to run forward, and so they are the only ones who can help going forward (see what I did there?).

If I may be allowed another digression, an interesting twist on this sort of thing in RPGs would be to have more adventuring companies in the story, competing with the PCs for quests and such. For example, suppose that while Pshaw & Co. are checking out the Vale of Shadows, Hrothgar and his team are working on some other project that might give them an advantage if the PCs take too long on their own project. Or, supposing that the PCs finish before Hrothgar, they accrue more prestige or have access to better weapons or information. Just a thought.

Back to the game: Pshaw and Co. find that a whole mess o’ goblins stand between them and the big honkin’ tree around which the town of Kuldahar is built.

What does Mr. Exposition care? He's got a economy-sized can of "Goblin Be Gone" that he's NOT going to share.

What does Mr. Exposition care? He’s got a economy-sized can of “Goblin Be Gone” that he’s NOT going to share.

This is an extremely tough fight, with lots of TPKs and reloading. Resting is a chancy proposition, because there’s no real safe place to rest (the goblins will appear and wake everybody up to have a beat down) That Branwen has less than an 18 Wisdom score adds to the strain, because she can only call up skeletons twice. With careful allocation and positioning of skeletal minions, and with prudent application of Hold Spells and Chromatic Orb, the company is able to race through, and reach Kuldahar. I will now take this opportunity to post the Kuldahar Theme.

They meet up with Arundel, the Archdruid, who tells them that strange things are afoot at the local Circle K. He tells them to search out the Vale of Shadows, which is sort of the town cemetary and yeti preserve. I will now take the opportunity to post the Arundel Theme:

Leaving Arundel’s home, they run into Frightened Villager, who gives the hue’n’cry that yetis have invaded the village! Pshaw and Co. easily take these monsters on, over several days, by wearing them down a bit, rushing to the inn to rest up and returning to fight the yetis. They win, eventually, because the yetis make the fatal decision to NOT rest at the inn between fights.

Balan: "See, Imoen? you want to stand a bit back, like me. Getting all up in the yeti's business is Kagain's job."

Balan: “See, Imoen? you want to stand a bit back, like me. Getting all up in the yeti’s business is Kagain’s job.”

Speaking of the inn, Imoen discovered a secret ring in the locked nightstand upstairs in the room she wasn’t supposed to be in. Funny coincidence, you know. Anyway, the ring proved that the halfling “owner” of the inn was really an interloper who took advantage of the previous owner’s condition (he had an acute case of death) and claimed the inn for himself. Pshaw set him straight on the value of honesty and such, and so Aldwin the halfling innkeep dropped his room prices. What a relief!

Balan: "Do you have nonsmoking rooms?" Innkeeper: "What are you talking about?"

Balan: “Do you have nonsmoking rooms?”
Innkeeper: “What are you talking about?”

Kagain: "That Aldwin isn't such a bad fellow, as long as you don't say something to annoy him." Balan: "Yeah, like 'I'd like a room, please'."

Kagain: “That Aldwin isn’t such a bad fellow, as long as you don’t say something to annoy him.”
Balan: “Yeah, like ‘I’d like a room, please’.”

Mr. Frightened Townperson says that a yeti killed his brother, and got away with the family heirloom, a locket of some sort. Balan promises to track down that yeti and negotiate for the locket’s return.

Balan Pshaw Switches Venues….Again

13 Oct

I recently purchased a copy of Might & Magic VI: The Mandate of Heaven, and have been reacquainting myself with this excellent, excellent game. Here is a recording I did, using the characters Balan, Imoen, Branwen, and Kagain:

Fixing the “stuck key” problem with Icewind Dale

15 Jun

So, there is a problem that arises from time to time when playing Icewind Dale or the Baldur’s Gate game: the keys get stuck, and the player is unable to type in character names.  This also seems to affect the screens while playing the game; when the inventory, spell, and other screens are selected, they briefly flash, then the screen is returned to the main play screen.

To remedy the problem, create a new character (importing a character is the quickest) and get to the “Name selection” section.  There will be a string of letters and/or numbers (I have seen on some message boards that it was the number 9 that was endlessly repeated).  Hold down the Backspace Key and the Left Arrow Key.  The cursor will move all the way to the left.  Hit the Delete Key, and a single letter will be erased (leaving the rest of the string of letters).  Release the Delete Key, and a letter will appear in the front of the screen.  Hit the Delete Key again, and the letter will be erased.  Type that letter and release the Delete Key.  Either the same letter, or a new letter will appear.  Keep pressing Delete, then the letter that appears.  Eventually, all the letters will be erased.  Continue pressing and releasing both the Delete Key and the letter that appears, and eventually the cursor will remain in place, and the player will be able to type the preferred name for the character.  This also fixes the “screen blink” problem.

You’re welcome.

Baldur’s Gate Portraits

14 Mar

These are pretty cool, too.

A little honest cheating.

16 Dec

So Balan & Co. venture out beyond the town limits, and encounter four wolves.  Balan quickly develops a strategy: Imoen sneaks up to the wolves and positions herself in such a way that only one of the critters can see her, then she shoots it with her bow.  It chases her back to the others.  Balan throws a chromatic orb at the creature, which blinds it, and the party finishes it off.  Then Imoen sneaks up to the next wolf, and the company takes it down in the same way.  Once the four wolves are taken out, Imoen sneaks to the next area, and spies an orc standing just outside a cave, by a wagon.  This time Branwen throws the spell “Hold Person”, which freezes the orc, and they try to take him down, as well, but he unfreezes and escapes into the cave.  So much for sneaking up on whoever is in there.

Now comes the famous “15 minute workday” part of the story.  The company enters the cave, Branwen throws down “Hold Person”, the company wails on whichever orc is stunned until either it dies, or it unfreezes and attacks, at which point they retreat back outside.  The orcs do not follow them, which is fortunate, for then the company can rest up, prepare spells, and go back into the cave.  It’s tedious, but effective.  Pretty soon, Branwen gets to a high enough experience level to start casting “summon skeletons”, or whatever it is.  Now, the company has instant tanks that can take the front line, while the company peppers the enemy from the back.  Still, there are enough orcs in this cave to require the “15 minute workday” plan to remain in place.  After Balan gets to level 5, however, they change strategy a little.  Instead of going outside to rest, sometimes they rest inside the cave, if Balan and Branwen still have spells available, because there are occasional random encounter orcs that pop up while they are resting.  More XP, FTW!!!

I’m doing the “quicksave”, “rest”, “reload” if there are no random encounters when they rest, because it’s in the company’s interest to be as high a level as possible before they leave Easthaven.  The fight through the goblin valley that’s coming up is brutal, brutal, brutal.  They don’t have to know that, though.