Something flipped in my head the other day and I decided to install Icewind Dale – the complete version I bought on GoG. I own a physical copy of Icewind Dale, but it’s in German and doesn’t have the expansion, so this is preferable. This will suck the life out of me.
Icewind Dale is an Infinity Engine Dungeons and Dragons game from the great era of Bioware. The difference compared to, say, Baldur’s Gate is that Icewind Dale is more combat focused. You create your entire party and take place in a story, but since there are no pre-made playable NPCs, there are no interactions within your party.
That being said, the combat is D&D, so it’s awesome and plays great, if that’s what you’re interested in.
I’ve played through the early parts of Icewind Dale several times in the past, but never got far, due to lack of focus. This time, I intend to complete it.
I made a party. I decided to go with a theme – the all-female gang of heroes that saved Varn and Cron in Might and Magic somehow got transferred to Faerun, into the town of Easthaven. Since people actually talk to people in Faerun, Priscilla will be the party leader, what with being the charismatic paladin and all.
I spent slightly too much time rerolling my stats and tried to make the party relatively close to what it was in Might and Magic, but I didn’t wan’t to limit myself too much.
I explored Easthaven and solved the few intro quests, getting rid of a wolf, killing some goblins, giving wine to a drunk and solving a problem with a fisherman and a mystical woman haunting his dreams.
I got out of Easthaven to find a missing caravan and found the cave where some orcs took the loot after assaulting it.
With all of that, I’m not really close to level 2 on most of my characters. It’s tough, as low level games of Dungeons and Dragons can be. Characters have little health and a single hit can outright kill them if I’m really unlucky. Since there’s no dungeon master to give me lenience in such cases, some reloading is involved. Once I get to level 2 or 3, it should get easier.
Exploring the cave
The biggest problem in the first cave are probably the orc elites and the shaman. I was already inside the cave before the recap, but when the first group led by a shaman attacked, I ran out to go back to Easthaven and rest.
I got back and this time, I was able to use the walls to my advantage, blocking the archers at least and killing the one elite before the rest of them got my party into their line of sight.
That being said, Rax did almost die anyway, due to a lucky arrows shot taking 6 out of her 7 hit points. A heal later, she was fully restored and I saved the game.
I usually explore a dungeon with a lone rogue, but since Rax’s Hide in Shadows skill is at only 35%, this can be a problem. For the most part, if an enemy is in range, I’m instantly spotted. Still, it’s easier to have one guy (or girl) run back to the rest of the party, than to try and arrange the entire party’s formation, while archers are shooting at them.
The second shaman was accompanied by just two regular orcs and I was lucky enough to have Lorelei and Priscilla take him down before he cast a single spell. Of course, Rax was the one that spotted the group, got spotted herself and lured them back to the rest of the party.
The rogue actually get’s lucky now and then. For instance, at two occasions, I managed to get close enough to an orc to hit him before he even spotted me. On one of these occasions, two orcs were guarding a chest with a scroll and a pair of boots inside. Sadly, I’m unable to identify them yet.
In D&D games, you identify items either by having enough lore, paying at a shop or casting a spell from memory or a scroll.
Since I had to go back to Easthaven to rest anyway, I paid a visit to the temple of Tempus and paid 100 gold pieces to have the boots identified. They are Quiet Boots, increasing Stealth of any ranger or rogue wearing them by 7%. Since Rax picked them up, it was only fitting to equip them on her.
The big baddie of the cave is an ogre, accompanied by a bunch of orcs. He was all that was left in the cave for me to do, so I saved my game and gave it a shot.
Since ogre’s aren’t too bright (and neither is the AI), I managed to kill his orcs before the ogre found a way to my party. Since he was the last one standing, even with his extra strength, he was easy to deal with.
The experience was enough for Rax to gain her first extra level. I invested some points into everything except her Pick Pocket skill and she gained 6 extra health, putting her to 13 and on par with Lorelei or Robin.
The experience for reporting about the caravan to Hrothgar was enough for Alana to gain a level as well, but that was about it.
I took care of some errands, sold the loot and agreed to go with the expedition to Kuldahar. This was basically the end of the prologue. I got ambushed in a series of slides and then appeared at a new location.
On a side note, this is where a slight annoyance from way back reappeared – goblin archers. They won’t move closer, they give almost no experience or loot and they are usually spread out in a way that makes more of them attack you. Since I have to move close to kill them, or risk taking a lot of damage while Robin does it with her bow, I usually end up clearing half the map by the time I’m done.
But that’s for some other time. For now, this is where I took a break.