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When I'm having difficulty with a game, I'm not one to jump onto a forum and start spouting off, "wtf this game sucks and i dont understand it" but I'm really not sure what to make of this one. It's not that I haven't played older RPGs; I've played Ultima III, which also had persistent character death and was far easier for me. I also love a good challenge; Ghosts N' Goblins is one of my favourite platformers, but it needs to be a kind of difficulty that can be overcome with skill, and when I wade into combat with my fully equipped party at full health, carefully positioned and attacks carefully chosen, only to have my fighter get one-shotted by a kobold, I'm left to wonder what I'm meant to do with that information. It seems like the developers were keeping true to old-school D&D's sadism and expected the player to keep reloading their save until the dice come up favourably. Am I missing something?
If you're playing BG 1, the game is indeed really hard at the beginning due to the way AD&D works (very low hp and THAC0 means really luck-based combat).
My advice: use bows on as many NPCs as possible (slings on clerics, darts on wizards, since they can't use bows) and try to kite around early enemies. Bows give you an extra attack per round, and if your character has high dex they give you a better chance to hit as well.
Try to make a tank with as high hp and ac as possible, including with spells if you need to, and make him go first.

If possible you should also try to get to level 2 before doing the Nashkel mines by killing easy enemies like bears (they're slow so easy to kill with ranged weapons) or doing quests in Beregost and the Friendly Arm Inn.

Don't worry, after gaining a few levels and some decent gear, combat should stop being so luck-based and become mostly skill-based.
Yes ranged weapons for everyone. Also when enemies are in packs, try to lure them into ambush and take out one by one.
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mystral: Try to make a tank with as high hp and ac as possible, including with spells if you need to, and make him go first.
also note (because it's not immediately obvious) : AC should be as low as possible ;) (that and thac0 are the ones where low numbers are good)

In early wilderness areas, you should stick to the paths and avoid the enemies nearby until you get a full party and then do as suggested above with ranged weapons.
If an enemy /group is still too hard then come back to it later.
Combat is challenging but balanced throughout the whole game but, as the other posters have said, at the beginning it is very easy to die even if you are not playing the game at the highest difficulty settings, simply because your party members - especially your mages - have so few hit points and can be killed by one or two successful attacks, even by weak enemies such as kobolds. So keep your most vulnerable characters out of melee combat and equip them with ranged weapons - bows, slings, darts - and use ranged spells (e.g. Magic Missile, Larloch's Minor Drain) or wands (e.g. Wand of Magic Missile) if you have them. Only use your fighters / paladins / barbarians for melee combat and equip them with potions. Be prepared to use your potions during combat : potions of healing in particular, but also potions of speed. Equip these potions in your characters' quick slots and be ready to use them as soon as your character is injured.

And use the auto-pause feature and / or the space bar. It is virtually impossible to win all but the very easiest of battles without using this feature and completely impossible to "beat" the game without using it at all. A lot of newbies who don't like to read the manual (understandable if they don't have a paper manual or a printer) jump straight into the game and believe it is impossible to play because they are not using the auto-pause feature. Go to gameplay options -> auto-pause and check a few of the boxes, e.g. Enemy Sighted, Character Hit, Character Injured, End of Round etc. This effectively renders the combat turn-based, which is really how the game was intended to be played. You can also use the spacebar to pause at any time. The combat in the IE games is one of the major reasons why these games tower above other RPGs, but to get the most out of it it is worthwhile to learn at least the basics of D&D rules and also to get used to the spell systems. You can right-click on any item or spell to get a description of what it does. The manuals (of all the IE games) contain detailed information on all this stuff and while you don't absolutely need to learn it all in order to enjoy the game (I'm certainly no D&D expert), the more you understand the more this will enhance your experience.
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Theoclymenus: And use the auto-pause feature and / or the space bar. It is virtually impossible to win all but the very easiest of battles without using this feature and completely impossible to "beat" the game without using it at all. A lot of newbies who don't like to read the manual (understandable if they don't have a paper manual or a printer) jump straight into the game and believe it is impossible to play because they are not using the auto-pause feature. Go to gameplay options -> auto-pause and check a few of the boxes, e.g. Enemy Sighted, Character Hit, Character Injured, End of Round etc. This effectively renders the combat turn-based, which is really how the game was intended to be played. You can also use the spacebar to pause at any time. The combat in the IE games is one of the major reasons why these games tower above other RPGs, but to get the most out of it it is worthwhile to learn at least the basics of D&D rules and also to get used to the spell systems. You can right-click on any item or spell to get a description of what it does. The manuals (of all the IE games) contain detailed information on all this stuff and while you don't absolutely need to learn it all in order to enjoy the game (I'm certainly no D&D expert), the more you understand the more this will enhance your experience.
Essentially just this part. Using the auto-pause feature is a MUST in this game or it will make your life very difficult. Some fights in this game are hard though, but not until the very end of the game....Basilisks that instant-stone you and there is nothing you can do type of hard (at least I never found a great way of killing them fairly except to run or use invisiblity)
Post edited March 23, 2013 by redeem4
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redeem4: Basilisks that instant-stone you and there is nothing you can do type of hard (at least I never found a great way of killing them fairly except to run or use invisiblity)
They're not so tough. Just use undead summons (which are immune to the Basilisk gaze) as buffers, then pelt them with ranged attacks.

The well known Basilisk area of BG1 even comes with a friendly Ghast who will join you temporarily if you are nice to it, and you can send it in to the fray first.

And don't forget Potion of Mirrored Eyes, and scrolls of Protection from Petrification, which grant temporary immunity -- given to your best fighter, this works well.
Post edited March 23, 2013 by Hickory
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redeem4: Basilisks that instant-stone you and there is nothing you can do type of hard (at least I never found a great way of killing them fairly except to run or use invisiblity)
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Hickory: They're not so tough. Just use undead summons (which are immune to the Basilisk gaze) as buffers, then pelt them with ranged attacks.

The well known Basilisk area of BG1 even comes with a friendly Ghast who will join you temporarily if you are nice to it, and you can send it in to the fray first.

And don't forget Potion of Mirrored Eyes, and scrolls of Protection from Petrification, which grant temporary immunity -- given to your best fighter, this works well.
haha, I didn't have any potions like that when I was in that prison area, so I doubt I could have gotten any and I didn't see the ghoul guy, but that would have helped out a lot if I did lol. I'm just glad I horded those invisibility potions and just walked right past the basilisks and luckily got away without anybody dying even after they kept chasing me outside.
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redeem4: haha, I didn't have any potions like that when I was in that prison area, so I doubt I could have gotten any and I didn't see the ghoul guy, but that would have helped out a lot if I did lol. I'm just glad I horded those invisibility potions and just walked right past the basilisks and luckily got away without anybody dying even after they kept chasing me outside.
Protection from petrification is a level 1 mage spell you know...
Just casting it on 1 or 2 fighters is enough, basilisks are fairly weak in melee, just keep the other party members out of sight and voila, their petrifying gaze is no longer a problem.
things can be tough when you start out.. (so ill give you some tips, and minor spoilers)

I suggest grabbing monty and Xzar, and sticking to the cobblestone, till you get to the friendly arm.

Use Drain spell, and magic missle wands to disrupt spell casters.. this is hugely key for much of the game.

Grab jaheria and kelid inside, do the quests at the inn.. then finally head south to beregost.. Try to do just the quests in town, anything that sends you outside of town just wait till later. (take the quests if you like and just save them as you can finish a quest when ever you want, outside of very few timed quests)

Try to get 5 heal potions, and a couple potions of antidote on every character.. You will be glad you did.. (well worth spending the money early on these) and head south to naskel.. You can explore the road maps, But be carefull. Using monty at night to explore isnt a bad idea...

Just stick to the what the chapter tells you for 1-2.. explore after that, but i would stick to the maps that are close to the center road.. aka the maps that are only one travel zone from the main road you followed to nashkel the ones 2 maps away (or the distance of 2 maps, aka stuff that is more than a couple hours travel time from your main road are harder and not a bad idea to wait till chap 3, even chap 5 isnt bad to wait for them..

Chapter 3 is the time i would suggest you start picking up new NPC's (unless you really like your party and were able to keep everyone alive till now) The default party of 6 you have is actually pretty decent through the game, especially if you Dual class imoen to a mage at level 6..

if you choose new NPC's this lets you level up to 2-3 and typically the new characters joining you will be a bit higher level.. so you are not starting at level 1 any more..

Leanring to use spells is Key, and ranged weapons are a must..

Good NPC's to get to join you,, Kaigan, Branaween are very helpfull early party additions. check out a list of NPC's that can join you.. Wait to speak with them till you want them to join your party. If you wait till you are higher level, they bump up in level. It is much better to wait, and get them when you need them, vrs talking early and leaving them at an inn..


Saving after any long dialoge, or before you enter buildings is also a good idea..


Good luck!
Post edited March 29, 2013 by JeCy