I’m not to the ending yet, but I had a great time last night. Finished a fun dungeon crawl in the city, beat boss monster, and realized I’m level 7 and have shit for equipment. My main is a cipher/devoted estoc user and I had to spend half my gold to buy a fine estoc. Most of my characters had empty slots and hadn’t even gotten fine weapons yet. I picked up Pallegina, and then went treasure hunting. I used the time honored metric of “the developers want me to go this way, let’s go the opposite way.”
First I uncovered a tainted swamp that plays very differently if you sneak and bring a druid. Then I kept heading into the Hinterlands. I found an explosive mine with a murderous adventurers party who killed the miners. I used the novel strategy of sneaking through the enemy, getting them all to follow, running to the wall of gunpowder, and shooting it; killing everyone there but some reserve characters. Most of my characters got gear from that fight.
Third I landed on an Island and snake people attacked me; killed them, got a fine greatsword for Pallegina. Hike up a pass and four banshees attack me; keep in mind I’m on hard and they’re bosses for my characters. I have three failures, then change my buff order and have a knock-down drag out fight on a narrow pass. Exploding wounds wins the day, and the last desperate banshee teleports Eder for a 1v1. Full sweep.
If that wasn’t enough, I find a lich’s laboratory at the end of the island. Each character there is a boss in their own right. The terrain is murderous, you have to walk through a flooded hallway with two curse obelisks blasting you to fight, and attacking them summons the lich. Through stealthing like a bastard and careful pulls, I take them down in ones and twos. Each kill nets me superior armor and weapons. I’ve gone from nearly naked characters to some really, really, really high end gear.
Finally, it’s time for the lich. He’s a right cockhole; he casts arcane reflection that lasts over a minute. I lost the first fight when magic missiles bounced back and killed Aloth. My strategy devolves into outliving his buffs and then taking him down. Pallegina with a cool rune-lock pistol (from the mine) is the only one who can do significant damage; she chips away at his health. First Aloth falls, one-shotted by a stray spell. Then my character falls, after drawing his attention with a mean psychic blow. The Liches defenses fall after a full minute. It’s Eder, Xoti, and Pallegina left. Eder can’t hit the lich, and when he does can’t beat pen, but he takes a licking. Xoti runs of heals after an empower surge. Pallegina runs out of lay on hands. Xoti goes down after using all potions. Eder hits a lucky knockdown with three health left, but falls when the lich gets up. The lich is running toward Pallegina with some awful summoned spear when she shoots him, killing him for good. He had terrible loot, but it was a great fight.