PC Dungeons and Dragons

DM Cross

You want to see a magic trick?
Staff member
So, I've been a DnD player since I was a kid, though for years I haven't had anyone to play with. My friends FINALLY let me talk them into it about a year ago and I've been DMing for them ever since... Some of my friends are moving by the end of the year, so I was getting curious about whether or not anyone plays? I can run an online game with Roll20.net easily.

Just curious, let me know.

Thanks.

~Seth
 

thewrongvine

The Evolved Panda Commandant
Staff member
Well, well, well, look who it is.

No I don't play, but for you I would. Not meant creepily. Or fully true, as I wouldn't have time to learn and play anyway unfortunately.
 

Accname

2D-Graphics enthusiast
I dont like DnD very much. I really dislike the rules, there are so many stupid ones.
 

DM Cross

You want to see a magic trick?
Staff member
Well, well, well, look who it is.

No I don't play, but for you I would. Not meant creepily. Or fully true, as I wouldn't have time to learn and play anyway unfortunately.
Yup. I lurk. And it's all good. Totally filing a restraining order, though :)

I dont like DnD very much. I really dislike the rules, there are so many stupid ones.
There's no such thing as a perfect game, but that's one of the beauties of DnD; you only follow the rules you really want to. If something doesn't work for a group, they house rule it. Wizards is actually a BIG advocate of making the game your own. But either way, to each their own.
 

Accname

2D-Graphics enthusiast
I dont like DnD very much. I really dislike the rules, there are so many stupid ones.
I did however play the Infinity Engine games a lot. I got every one of them + expansions: Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate, Icewind Dale, Baldurs Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2. Really loved all of them (except IWD2)
 

KMilz

You can change this now in User CP.
I did however play the Infinity Engine games a lot. I got every one of them + expansions: Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate, Icewind Dale, Baldurs Gate 2 and Icewind Dale 2. Really loved all of them (except IWD2)
Hell yeah, those games are a blast. Some of the finest story-telling in any video games, imo. BG2 especially, that one was just a fantastic journey the entire way through.

But Seth, I've found myself in a similar situation as well. If we can get a time together where everyone involved has 4-6 hours set aside to play, I'd love to join in. I'd also love to play an evil character, so I dunno how you'd feel about setting an evil campaign up or not, but it could definitely offer a chance to approach things from an entirely different perspective.

So yeah, I'm in if you're still trying to get this together. As long as you don't play with 4th edition rules.
 

Accname

2D-Graphics enthusiast
I preferred IWD over BG2. BG2 was good but you had more freedom in IWD, creating your 6 character party from scratch, just the way you wanted. Especially if you were playing through the entire game on the highest difficulty level. That was painfully hard, but mad fun.
 

KMilz

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I preferred IWD over BG2. BG2 was good but you had more freedom in IWD, creating your 6 character party from scratch, just the way you wanted. Especially if you were playing through the entire game on the highest difficulty level. That was painfully hard, but mad fun.
I agree that those were excellent characteristics of IWD. And it's great for what it is. But the story-telling element of IWD is easily the worst out of any of those games, and it seemed painfully short next to the others, too. I found BG2 to have the best balance of lore, combat, loot and plot development out of them. Plus you're a high level and can learn those sweet mage spells that're so fun to blast people with.
 

Accname

2D-Graphics enthusiast
The storytelling of IWD isnt that bad, its just not as in-your-face as in BG2. In IWD there is a lot of background story, a lot of dialogues and a lot of non-textual story telling. The dungeons are all very beautiful and interesting places. In BG2 many of the dungeons are quite boring and interchangeable. Just think of the Elven Fortress, the frozen Aquarium or the Gloomfrost from IWD. They all come with their unique background story and such inspiring visuals. In BG2 we get stuff like "generic sewer dungeon", "generic dragon cave", "generic dark gloomy temple", etc.

Furthermore IWD has much more interesting spells for clerics, druids and mages on lower levels. Yes, BG2 has better high level spells (in IWD there is only 2 level 9 spells!) but the lower level spells in IWD are superior.
 

KMilz

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IWD's background could have definitely been threshed out more, and you don't meet the last boss until it's time to kill him - like, there's literally no mention of him beyond him being some sort of Master to all these little minions you're going around slaying. Makes the battle seem pretty empty, and the rest of the story to go along with it. Probably worst of all is simply the scale of the game; although IWD does an excellent job of putting every area to good use, there are maybe, what, seven or eight areas to go to? The first city in BG2 has that many areas to go to, and then probably double that number again outside those walls, if not more. And while some BG2 dungeons were definitely bland, the Sahaguin Water Palace, the Underdark, the Cult of the Eyeless dungeon, the Slave Trade/Copper Coronet dungeon and the Planar Sphere were all pretty elaborate and memorable dungeons comparable to the better dungeons of IWD. And whereas you liked your custom party in IWD, I like building a party of interacting characters that have quests attached adding more depth and interest to the character. Jaheira's struggle with her loyalty to the Harpers and her loyalty to the MC, although often annoying, was very interesting and made the potential romance between the characters fairly believable, even considering how pained she was at the loss of her husband. Edwin's quest for ultimate power and his comical transformation into a woman as a result, Viconia's sadistically hilarious flirtations and disputes with allies, Minsc's insane ranting until he and Edwin finally lock horns and Minsc must be slain for the good of the land... all of these things I love about BG2 are missing from IWD. All that, and not a single side quest once you're out of the first village until you hit the expansion.

That said, the dungeons of IWD were very well crafted, usually more visually appealing and, best of all, offered at least two distinctive alternatives (and sometimes more) as to how to go about completing that part of the quest arc. That was the real kicker. The overall story was definitely lacking, but each boss minion had a distinctive story, dungeon and depth of character to them that was more rarely seen in BG2. And I'd forgotten the awesomely high level cap of IWD and the wider variety of spells it boasted, but that just goes to reinforce my initial point: IWD focused on the combat aspect of these games, full of plentiful loot, strong enemies and beautiful dungeons but just touching on a real story, whereas BG2 is more of a balance between them all, strong in story-telling with the occasional impressive dungeon but many uninspired ones, with an overall wider (although not as well-balanced, contrary to how I just described the game) array of loot and enemies. And, while we're here, PS:T is like the opposite of IWD, with a combat system that is easily the worst of any of them but some of the most engaging and interesting story-telling of any game I've probably ever played.

IWD was great. I enjoyed it a lot. It's a nice short, sweet ride. But altogether, there wasn't enough variety to warrant a second playthrough, even on Heart of Winter difficulty (the first playthrough went on Very Hard mode to get max experience, so the upgrade to HoW was not a huge difference). Expansion-wise, Watcher's Keep and Trials of the Luremaster are each about as good as the other imo. I didn't finish the HoW expansion but I did finish ToB, so I can't make a fair verdict here. They both had side quests in the first town, but ToB had no more afterwards. I don't remember HoW having any others, either, but again, didn't finish it. Either way, they're both great games.
 

Accname

2D-Graphics enthusiast
I do not agree on all of what you said. Yes, BG2 had many more "areas" but the majority of them was useless. IWD compressed its space to what was actually useful and needed. Much of the "content" of BG2 was repetitive areas with 20 times the same merchants, hundreds of the same faceless and useless townsfolk / guards / thiefs / etc. When I was playing BG2 I was always using the teleport cheats because it took hours running through those bloated areas with absolutely nothing happening 90% of the time. And if you focus on the main quest alone, I would even go as far as to say that BG2 is shorter then IWD. What takes so much time in BG2 is the side quests, the item crafting and the NPC interactions.

By the way, there are several side quests in IWD but they are much more hidden. BG2 is in-your-face with the side quests, throwing them at you faster then you can actually get to them. In IWD you have to actively seek them out.
About the last boss: Poquelin was mentioned as early as the start of chapter 1 of the game. Then again by Yxunomei and several of Poquelins minions. The difference between Poquelin and Irenicus is that Poquelin has absolutely no personal quarrel with you while Irenicus is focused entirely on you. IWD is "You are a hero, find the evil, defeat the evil" and BG2 is "You and the big-bad hate each others guts, you want to kill him and he wants to kill you". I guess that is a question about personal preference which of these is "better".

By the way: IWD TotLM on Heart of Fury is incredibly difficult. There is nothing like that in BG2 because in BG2 you get better equipment and spells. In IWD the enemies in TotLM will fuck you up on the hardest difficulty. Those fuckin spectral guards... I had like AC -28 with my lvl 30Fighter - 30 Cleric and they still hit me like every other attack for 40 damage each hit.
 

KMilz

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By the way: IWD TotLM on Heart of Fury is incredibly difficult. There is nothing like that in BG2 because in BG2 you get better equipment and spells. In IWD the enemies in TotLM will fuck you up on the hardest difficulty. Those fuckin spectral guards... I had like AC -28 with my lvl 30Fighter - 30 Cleric and they still hit me like every other attack for 40 damage each hit.
Mirror Image/Stoneskin your Fighter/Mage and absorb it all with a grin on your bloodstained face! But yeah, they were pretty fucking hard on Very Hard mode so I bet they were brutal on HoF.

Definitely a lot of faceless NPCs in BG2, but more interactive NPCs as well. IWD is definitely compressed in a streamlined sort of way... I do remember a lot of back-and-forthing in both games, though, just not as much in IWD because there's significantly less content. As for Poquelin, there is far too little mentioned about him still. You still don't even know who he is beyond that of him being a demon that's been trying to open the planes of the abyss for centuries, even post-game. That's just too impersonal for a last boss; I can't think of any other RPG with such a cop out at the end. Like, I was seriously disappointed with the ending because of this. The priest's change of heart, when he was so adamant on his beliefs at your first meeting, was the ending's only saving grace, and the only thing making what would be a lackluster ending into a decent one. They could have done so much more by just making Yxunomei's plot more integral to the story and introducing Poquelin shortly after introducing her. There was some real potential for an interesting dynamic in that, but it went almost completely ignored.

Again, though, I definitely DID like IWD.
 

Accname

2D-Graphics enthusiast
Mirror Image/Stoneskin your Fighter/Mage and absorb it all with a grin on your bloodstained face!
You wish. Try that against their 5 attacks per round with like 10 of them coming all at once. Your stone skin and mirror image will last exactly 3 seconsd before your mage is nothing but a bloody pulp.

As for Poquelin, there is far too little mentioned about him still. You still don't even know who he is beyond that of him being a demon that's been trying to open the planes of the abyss for centuries, even post-game. That's just too impersonal for a last boss; I can't think of any other RPG with such a cop out at the end. Like, I was seriously disappointed with the ending because of this. The priest's change of heart, when he was so adamant on his beliefs at your first meeting, was the ending's only saving grace, and the only thing making what would be a lackluster ending into a decent one. They could have done so much more by just making Yxunomei's plot more integral to the story and introducing Poquelin shortly after introducing her. There was some real potential for an interesting dynamic in that, but it went almost completely ignored.
But you have to be realistic here. What should happen if you meet poquelin? That guy is a powerful badass demon. If you meet him before the final battle he has no reason not to kill you on sight. Why would you ever be able to survive your first encounter with him?
Or, if we assume he keeps his disguise as Illmater priest instead of attacking you, then why would the player know he is evil?

They could do this in BG2 because they established irenicus as a guy who has fun in torturing you, keeping you locked p in his dungeon, and then later in spellhold. He lets you escape because others interfere, but in IWD there are no others that could interfere with poquelin. That is why YOU are so important.
 

KMilz

You can change this now in User CP.
You wish. Try that against their 5 attacks per round with like 10 of them coming all at once. Your stone skin and mirror image will last exactly 3 seconsd before your mage is nothing but a bloody pulp.
Yeah, like I said, them bitches were hard enough on Very Hard so I could see that tactic failing fantastically.

And you want to talk realistic? After you kill Yxunomei, you DO meet Poquelin, now that I think about it. And, lo and behold, he doesn't attack you and doesn't keep a full disguise. You don't know him as Poquelin yet and the entire event makes very little actual sense - if you were enough of a threat to kill his age-old adversary, why does he just derpy-derp on out the door after laughing at you and killing Arundel? All your other points are solid, but c'mon man. The story is just weak and the antagonist, doubly so.

Irenicus was crazy, evil and egotistical, but he was also believable. Betrothed to the queen of elvenkind whom he loved immeasurably, he violated ancient laws and damaged an all-important artifact in an effort to grant him and his beloved eternal life. Left no choice in the matter, the queen banishes him not only from his home and elven lands for all time, but strips his heritage and bloodright from him, leaving him neither elven nor human, but something less. In the years following, and with no other goal to pursue, Irenicus strives to achieve immortality, to find a way back into his former home, and to reunite with his spurned love. As time passes and he sees little in the way of results, though, Irenicus begins slipping further and further into a darkened madness. He perfectly recreates the queen's bedchambers to preserve the memory, booby-trapping the area so that none may disturb it without paying with their life. He begins creating clones of his beloved, killing or torturing them mercilessly only because they just aren't her. As more time passes, his love ebbs steadily and constantly into hatred. Finally, a glimmer of hope in a sea of darkness; a Bhaalspawn, the progeny of the God of Murder. By extracting the divine essence within this Bhaalspawn, he can finally achieve immortality and circumvent his cursed state of existence as he'd long desired. And with his newfound power, he would finally extract revenge upon those who had done him wrong, culminating in the destruction of the elven capital and the death of his forsaken love, the queen.

Poquelin has two conflicting stories surrounding him. On the one hand, he's a devil exiled from the Nine Hells who's been trying for centuries to return home. On the other hand, he' a devil trying to raise an army to overrun the frozen north. And despite him being the final boss, he does literally nothing bad the entire game until the very end, save for killing Arundel and snowing in the pass. And then why snow in the pass? The expedition was going to stop Yxunomei's malicious doings, Poquelin had no hand in the events at Kuldahar. Shouldn't he have been eager for someone to put an end to his ancient enemy? And then if they were such a threat that he tried to stop them before reaching Kuldahar, why completely ignore them when they've proven powerful enough to defeat Yxunomei?
Even his minions are relatively tame - not a single group will attack you on sight (again, this is one of the best features of this game, not being forced directly into conflict without some other possible resolution). And it's not like any of them are out wreaking havoc across the lands, either. Hell, Poquelin's barely even a bad guy. And that would be cool if they had rolled with that line of thinking, but no. He's a straight up, bad-to-the-bone kind of evil monster. No redeeming qualities about him. It's just that he really sucks at being a bad guy, and then they go and decide to make him the last boss? No! That's a bad way to do things! The whole thing's a lazy, lazy conjunction of events that, when push comes to shove, never even needed to happen. I mean, what's kept Poquelin away from Jerrod's Stone all these years prior? Why is it that he is just now, after you've obliterated his army that took centuries to put together, after he's squandered opportunity after opportunity to stop you, invading Easthaven to accomplish one of his two original plot points? You couldn't even get back to Easthaven for most of the damn game, seems like the perfect time to strike, don'tcha think? Poquelin certainly didn't.
 

Accname

2D-Graphics enthusiast
And you want to talk realistic? After you kill Yxunomei, you DO meet Poquelin, now that I think about it. And, lo and behold, he doesn't attack you and doesn't keep a full disguise. You don't know him as Poquelin yet and the entire event makes very little actual sense - if you were enough of a threat to kill his age-old adversary, why does he just derpy-derp on out the door after laughing at you and killing Arundel? All your other points are solid, but c'mon man. The story is just weak and the antagonist, doubly so.
Cant argue with that. Although since this is DnD there could always be some kind of hand-wave explanation for anything. Every spell has its own mind-boggling rules attached to it so who knows whether this actually was poquelin or just some kind of mirror image or copy or clone or whatever.

And despite him being the final boss, he does literally nothing bad the entire game until the very end, save for killing Arundel and snowing in the pass. ...
Well, he and his servants do plenty of evil, for example what happens to the illmater priests or to the svirnefblin or the human slaves in the aquarium, etc, but mostly they try to keep quite and stay hidden. Poquelin snows in the pass (or rather instructs frost giants to do so) in order to defeat the troops from east haven so obviously they posed some kind of threat to him. Furthermore he was still preparing to fight Yxunomai, he was building an army to fight "her" army. Presumably getting to east haven and opening the portal would not be enough to defeat "her". It was also said (although this was hidden) that he was waging war against an underground drow city, that is why the fire giants were building that huge ass ship to cross the lava stream. I would guess that only because the player party defeated Yxunomai Poquelin went to east haven so quickly. You also have to keep in mind that once you got to east haven the town was already in Poquelins control, presumably for quite some time, so perhaps he was actually doing that the whole time. Nobody knows how long it really took him to open the portal, maybe he had to remove several safety mechanisms and guarding spells first.
All in all I think its quite believable that he did things slowly because there was no reason to rush it. He was indeed the strongest force in the area and he had the luxury of playing it safe, he could not have guessed that the player party would get so strong so quickly (because of the ridiculous amounts of experience you got in this game). I mean, the entire game takes place over only a couple of months and you can get to level 20 easily, this is epic level in DnD universe.

If you play through the game on the highest difficulty and reach level 30 eventually and then switch back to normal difficulty you are a literal god. You can mow through endless armies of demons with your eyes closed and your hands cuffed behind your back.
 

KMilz

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Cant argue with that. Although since this is DnD there could always be some kind of hand-wave explanation for anything. Every spell has its own mind-boggling rules attached to it so who knows whether this actually was poquelin or just some kind of mirror image or copy or clone or whatever.
That's fair. Although the world of D&D has a lot of laws governing it, it has even more that are just waiting to be made up on a whim. But he did kill Arundel and acted as Poquelin, so I'm personally gonna assume that it was him.

Well, he and his servants do plenty of evil, for example what happens to the illmater priests or to the svirnefblin or the human slaves in the aquarium, etc, but mostly they try to keep quite and stay hidden. Poquelin snows in the pass (or rather instructs frost giants to do so) in order to defeat the troops from east haven so obviously they posed some kind of threat to him.
Forgot that the Illmater priests' curse came directly from Poquelin's hand, so good point. That was probably the coolest thing he did, twisting and corrupting the priests so that even after the curse was broken, they couldn't bear the weight of the sins they remembered committing all too well. Good stuff. The svirnefblin don't count, though, as their recruitment into his army's ranks wasn't directly caused by Poquelin himself, but by one of his much-better-at-being-evil-than-him minions.
Furthermore he was still preparing to fight Yxunomai, he was building an army to fight "her" army. Presumably getting to east haven and opening the portal would not be enough to defeat "her".
No, wrong. A portal to the Nine Hells is basically checkmate in a Demon-Devil war, just as a portal to the Abyss would be for the demon. Not going straight for this, as powerful as Poquelin was and as ill-defended as Easthaven was would be stupid. It just manages to make sense that, were Poquelin to attack Easthaven without dispatching Yxunomei, that she would come to stop him and put an end to his efforts before he could open the portal, so I guess this part checks out.
Nobody knows how long it really took him to open the portal, maybe he had to remove several safety mechanisms and guarding spells first.
All in all I think its quite believable that he did things slowly because there was no reason to rush it. He was indeed the strongest force in the area and he had the luxury of playing it safe, he could not have guessed that the player party would get so strong so quickly (because of the ridiculous amounts of experience you got in this game). I mean, the entire game takes place over only a couple of months and you can get to level 20 easily, this is epic level in DnD universe.
You're right, nobody knows; it would've been nice to for sure, one way or the other. Would've made a lot of sense to dispatch of the only priest that could finangle his way down to the Jerrod's Stone, too, but they've shown time and again that they don't like to fully think these things through. Regardless, that last bit about the PC's party becoming so strong so quickly is a very valid argument as to why they went as relatively unmolested as they did, but he still definitely should've tried dispatching the PC's party sooner. The story's not as dull and riddled with holes as I remember it being, but I'd still rank it below PS:T and BG2, although the overall story created by your experiences in each region of IWD probably surpasses that of the story told in BG1 if you take that as its own story and not just a part of the greater BG story.
 

Sim

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Interesting discussion you have there. I'm impressed by how you were able to defend Icewind Dale Accname, I don't believe many people share your view on the matter!

Personally, I love both games. I played Baldur's Gate II more than Icewind Dale simply because of the higher possibilities at high level, but Icewind Dale is pretty amazing. Playing those games on the highest difficulty settings is a pretty good idea, I should try that one day. One thing that's quite a turn off in Baldur's Gate II as far as playing on Expert difficulty are the cheap insta-kills every monster seems to be able to throw at you, and some of them are almost scripted (which means, defensive spell can protect you from it).

Quite annoying, I don't know how it fares in Icewind Dale though.

For those who liked the old Infinity Engine games, there is Pillars of Eternity now which is available through GOG or Steam. Pretty good, although not BG2-level quality, at least for me. Still, a good throwback to the games of the genre.

However, the subject of this thread is still DnD, and I believe KMilz expressed some interest in Seth's game earlier? I play D&D tabletop with my friends sometimes, not sure how that would translate on an online platform such as roll20.
 

Accname

2D-Graphics enthusiast
No, wrong. A portal to the Nine Hells is basically checkmate in a Demon-Devil war, just as a portal to the Abyss would be for the demon. Not going straight for this, as powerful as Poquelin was and as ill-defended as Easthaven was would be stupid. It just manages to make sense that, were Poquelin to attack Easthaven without dispatching Yxunomei, that she would come to stop him and put an end to his efforts before he could open the portal, so I guess this part checks out.
Yeah, thats what I mean. If Poquelin is able to teleport to east haven on a whim surely Yxunomai is too. If he shows himself to her she would immediately take her army to east haven and they duke it out. To me it appears like neither of them wanted a direct confrontation because they were unsure which one was stronger. They both took it slowly to make sure they would be victorious in the end.


And just in case I am misunderstood. I am not saying BG2 is a bad game or that IWD is much better, all I am saying is that IWD isnt as "bad" as some people try to make it sound and BG2 isnt as perfect as some believe. I have played BG and BG2 plenty of times (unfortunately, BG doesnt work on my PC anymore since Windows 7) and I had lots of fun with either, but if I had to choose whether to play BG2 or IWD once more I would go with IWD because it has better replayability in my opinion. You play BG2 for the story and the dialogues, but there is only so many times that you can read them without getting bored. But you play IWD because of the tactical gameplay, planning your ultimate party from the get-go, trying to figure out the best spells to memorize, finding the perfect way to engage a certain encounter, etc. In BG2 you find equipment that is so overpowered that 80% of the fights become a joke, even on higher difficulties. And the rest are so hard, even on lower difficulties, that you either need dumb luck or cheesy tactics. I can remember the mind flayer dungeon where the only way not to lose at least one character was to either:
1) Rest. after. every. single. fight.
2) Stupidly lucky rolls
3) Cheese cheese cheese (invisible characters standing in the doorway, someone?)

You dont have this in IWD. The fights there are much more balanced, being difficult without being impossible (perhaps maybe for that fuckin maid Ilmadia, fuck that bitch). And your spells, even on the lower levels, feel much more rewarding. For example, the duration of many spells is different in IWD and BG2, in general IWD spells last longer and give you more bang for your buck. In BG2 there is usually only a fixed duration not based on your level so most spells will never last longer then a single fight.
There is also different spells in IWD, just remember how much a Druid sucks in BG2 with those pitiful spells and how much awesome a Druid is in IWD with his weapons of mass destruction.
 

KMilz

You can change this now in User CP.
Very good points, for the most part. You might be right - I have tried to delve back into BG2 since beating it a couple years ago, and I wasn't able to get back into it. Then the one time I was totally gung-ho and ready to beat the entire saga from start to finish and collect all my precious metal pantaloons, I couldn't figure out how to import my BG1 data to BG2 because I torrented the games. So although I played the shit out of the game as a kid and never beat it, and was able to play through and thoroughly enjoy it a couple years ago when I did finally beat it, I haven't had the will to get into a whole 'nother game of it.

I think that, punch for punch, IWD certainly beats out BG2, but BG2 has a lot more punches to throw than IWD so I think that's where the personal preference comes in. I did probably come into this thinking of IWD as less than it was because, mostly, it was so short. So short and so linear, something I was totally not accustomed to from the BG games. It's kind of like FF13 in a way (although way better, still): the combat was interesting and dynamic and the level-up system was good, the graphics were nice and the level design was solid, but all of that falls to the wayside for a gamer like me when you're railroaded in one direction the whole time and don't have much of a story to enjoy along the way.
 
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