Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:24 am
The Knot of Shou Lung
That golemn! *shakes fist*
The official walkthrough just says to buy adamantine weapon, but even with every attack increasing buff at my disposal, no one is hitting it. The thing's AC is just too high.
The only one in my party to occasionally land a hit is my warlock PC. Yay for touch attacks. However seeing as the darn thing is immune to magic, my warlock might as well be throwing confetti.
After about a dozen retries I got fed up, declared it to be a thing that no one playtested and just cheated the golemn to death. However while I'm past that fabulously designed combat encounter, I am curous: Is there a legitemate way to beat the thing?
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2009 5:30 pm
Re: The Knot of Shou Lung
Actually, this encounter was thoroughly tested, and is functioning correctly. The reason for the difficulty has to do with a philosophy of side encounter design. Modern RPG games often auto-scale encounters, so that the PC can tackle them at any stage in the game. Back in the Baldur’s Gate days (over a decade ago), some side encounters were designed to be won only at certain character levels, meaning that a lower level character would likely get beaten (no scaling). One example was the iron golem in Nalia's castle in BG2 (early on in the game). The purpose was to have a tough nut for the player to crack, prompting them to come back later in order to beat it. That inspired us to include a few such side encounters in MoW (including the Knot of Shou Lung).
I talked to our designer who wrote that quest, and he gave me some helpful information to pass along to you, including tips on how to beat the golem legitimately:
The Knot quest doesn't open until after the players meet Pentical Bleth, so it is impossible for Mantides to be at 8th level by this point. It's more likely 10th, but I wouldn't try this fight until 12th or so. If Mantides can never hit the golem, then the level is too low. I say this because Mantides is the only one of the group with a BAB of 1 per level. The golem AC is 30. In my scenario below, Mantides would hit on a roll of 18 at level 8 without any buffs, etc. That's only 15% of the time and would be frustrating. However, he starts with a strength of 17, which is a +3 attack bonus. By level 12, the player can put an extra point in strength for a total of 18, which gives a +4 attack bonus.
So at level 12, without any buffs or magical weapons, Mantides has a BAB of 12, a STR bonus of +4, and a Weapon specialization bonus of +1 for a total of 17. At this point, he hits with a roll of 13 or better... again without buffs or magic weapons. At level 12, he also has 3 attacks per round, although the subsequent attacks are at a lower attack bonus, and he's almost certainly found better equipment. Again, the Haste spell adds another attack at his highest rating. Proper buffing by a 12th-level cleric should add a minimum of 4 or 5 more to his attack roll as well as additional damage.
So in short, level 8 = nigh impossible. Level 12 = difficult, but doable. Level 14 = pretty easy.
To try the encounter at lower levels, I'd try the following:
- Adamantine weapons are a given, and Mantides is going to be the one to deal the major damage, so he definitely needs one. If no adamantine great swords are available, then have Mantides use a non-optimal adamantine weapon. Mintassan's shop sells a weapon called "Golem Slayer" that was specifically inserted in the shop for this encounter – it is a battle hammer.
- I've found that Charissa's Battletide is the best overall buff to use (a 5th-level spell, so she has to be at least 9th level overall). Once she casts that, then have her hang back and continually heal Mantides because the golem deals a ton of damage. She's better used propping him up than dealing her own paltry damage.
- Mantides will also need as many Heal potions as possible to chug because Charissa will not be able to cast fast enough once the golem gets to working him. She can distract the golem if he needs to drop back for a moment to heal up.
- Mantides needs to chug a potion of Bull's Strength and Bear's Endurance before the battle. This raises his strength (and therefore his Attack Bonus and damage) and his Constitution, which adds temporary HPs.
- He also needs a potion of Barkskin to raise his AC.
- Next, find a way to haste Mantides (potion). He only gets 2 attacks per round between 6th and 11th level, but Haste gets him another one at his highest attack bonus. That's 50% more tries to hit, and it adds to his AC as an added bonus.
- Finally, I'd have Rinara, and whatever summon-fodder he can get, to distract the golem so that Mantides can get in some clean whacks before the golem turns on him. I know Charissa can cast Animate Dead, but without a true wizard in the party, there may be few other summons available. He might have to rely on items - i.e., rods or staffs - to do the trick.
I hope that helps!
CEO, Ossian Studios Inc.
Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:24 am
Re: The Knot of Shou Lung
Thank for replying.
I guess my OP wasn't very useful. So let me try to explain why I thought this fight was poor.
For starters the utter randomness of this difficulty peak. Compare this quest to the Deathtrap quest where it's clearly communicated to the player before you enter the portal that there's a tough fight ahead. Meanwhile this golemn just came out of nowwhere. At least give the player an autosave before entering that house.
While squeezing every single buff out of the game is a valid playstyle, not everyone does that. I didn't even think of half your suggestions. It's not how I think and play the game. And my playstyle of minor buffing was valid throughout pretty much 99% of the module (Heck, the final fight didn't require any buffing).
I know it's very hard to design encounters that will please every possible style of play, but please either be consistent or communicate towards the player that he needs to use a specific playstyle in order to beat this encounter.
As for comming back later. MoW isn't a big game like Baldur's Gate. It's a short module, so the notion of "comming back when you're stronger" feels out of place. While it did felt like I was underlevelled for the fight, I just didn't see how I could get more XP. I think I was level 12 when I tried it and judging from how thoroughly I got thrashed I felt like I had to be at least level 18 before I should even entertain the notion of trying it again.
Lastly, the overall feel of unfairness of the fight. I as a player am frustrated because my Pc is flatout useless due to the magic immunity. If this were a PnP D&D fight I would have stared at the GM with one eyebrow raised until he bowed his head in shame and replaced it with a high spell resistance to give me at least a chance at contributing.
I'm okay with a fight that places one character in the spotlight. But for this to be Mantides' moment to shine, there ought to be at least some setup to this.
I hope that makes it more clear where my frustration came from.