Before you play the The Temple of Elemental Evil game, you will definitely want to know these simple but useful tips and tricks. If you have any tips feel free to share with us!
Things to Know Before Playing
- Know that its a) very buggy so patch it and b) based on the toughest published D&D module in existence and while the video game is easier still isn’t exactly a walk in the park.
- Sidequests give really minor rewards so don’t worry about them unless you need just a little push over to the next level.
- Its based on D&D 3e, which means in comparison to Planescape Torment’s 2e it plays great but in comparison to modern RPGs plays sort of akin to over management. You’ll have to get used to the strange spell-system where you manage what you know and how long you know it.
- Multiclassing in D&D should pretty much never be 1:1 ratio. Typically you want your second class to be at most half the level of the main class. More importantly, aim for making the secondary class stop at a level which gives you free perk/specialization or whatever they hell they call it. If I remember right, that makes the goal level 4 for a subclass.
- Other than that I don’t remember any particular class or build be super broken but that you would need a fairly diverse party if you want to survive.
Open the “Rolls History” window. Most of the numbers that appear in there are hyperlinks. If you’re consistently missing the enemy, or inflicting minimal damage, then click on the numbers and find out why. For instance, it’s a very bad idea for a rogue to backstab a skeleton, and the game is kind enough to give you a line-by-line breakdown of the underlying rules/statistics.
Use the Ctrl button to bind radial menu selections onto hotkeys. By doing so, you can streamline your standard combat actions (e.g. Charge attack) and spells (e.g. “Cure light wounds”) and reduce the risk of wasted actions due to fat-fingering the radial menu. While we’re on the subject: scan through the radial menu every once in a while. You may not have realized that one of your characters gained a new ability (such as “rapid shot”) during a recent levelup, or you may have forgotten about old ones (such as “smite evil”).
If you have a character in a good tactical position and want to wait for the enemy to approach, left-click their character portrait in the initiative bar (top of the screen) and drag it left/right until they appear at the desired spot in the initiative order. Example: your rogue will tend to win initiative rolls. You could run in and stab a flatfooted enemy for bonus damage, but it puts your rogue at risk. Instead, you might want to rearrange things so that your fighter or cleric charges in first and then have the rogue backstab a foe who is already engaged.
It’s quite possible to wipe out your party by wandering blindly into around a corner and meeting an excessive number of level-appropriate foes. You can set a formation for your party, but it tends to get disrupted enroute and so your toughest characters won’t necessarily be on the frontlines when combat begins. Instead, it’s a good idea to scout ahead using an invisible character or rogue. In the latter case, you must activate the “Sneak” movement mode; enemies will instantly spot a stealthy character who is moving normally (or even standing still, if Sneak is off).
Assuming you can detect that same group of level-appropriate foes early, then you have lots of options:
- Find an alternate route. Enemy groups are sedentary (no roaming patrols), and there’s usually 2-3 paths through any dungeon section (although you may need a skilled rogue to find those paths)
- Retreat, heal, replenish spells, and even (if necessary) recruit new allies.
- Try to open hostilities by catching most of the enemy group in an area-effect spell (or by backstabbing the enemy healer).
- Find a defensible bottleneck and lure the enemy into it.
Archers don’t deal much damage compared to melee fighters or casters. The best use for them that I’ve found is suppressing enemies via the “Tactical” slice of the radial menu. You can disrupt a mage’s spell or stop a charging enemy in his tracks… but only if you actually hit them. Therefore, it’s important to position archers tactically and keep a clear line-of-sight; if you start firing over/through/into a scrum then you’re going to suffer serious penalties on your rolls. You also need to predict the enemy’s actions to some degree; if you tell your ranger to “Wait for spell” and nobody casts one, then he’s just going to stand there looking stupid until his next turn.
Take your time when leveling up and choosing spells for your arcance casters (sorceror, bard, wizard). You’ll feel outgunned in the early stages so it’s tempting to focus purely on offense (e.g. what’s going to inflict the most damage, to the most foes, in the least time?). However, a 2nd-level direct damage spell won’t be of much use in the endgame, while a 2nd-level buff/debuff might still be useful. A few pointers:
- Fog/mist spells can render enemy archers impotent.
- A berserk enemy is very dangerous (due to bonus damage), and hard to kill (due to bonus hitpoints). A simple “Calm Emotions” spell will remove both of those bonuses
- The game will throw a lot of magical loot at you, but if you want to specialize your characters in unusual weapons then you’ll probably need to enchant your own weapons for maximum effect. Consider taking the “Craft Magic Arms and Armor” feat early (to sneak a peek at the prerequisites list), and choose spells accordingly
- A blind enemy is a lesser threat and an easier target. The glitterdust spell will enable you to blind several enemies simultaneously
- Some spells have materials costs which are easy to overlook if you aren’t familiar with D&D rules, but such factors are listed in the spell description. Stoneskin costs 100gp IIRC.
- Almost every locked chest that you find will also be trapped. Unless you have a rogue in your party, you might as well just leave them alone. Note: you can recruit a rogue henchman if you didn’t include one in your main party. On the bright side, the game doesn’t have any “free-floating” traps, so you’re don’t need to spam the “Search for traps” key every five feet.
- Druid is a good, well-rounded class (animal companions and summoned animals make great meatshields), but shapeshifting in ToEE is a waste of time.
- Identify magic items before selling them. It costs 100gp to do so, but most magic items are worth >100gp so you’ll come out ahead. If you don’t identify them then you’ll get screwed on the price. Exception: don’t identify scrolls. Use “Read Magic” (0-level spell) or the “Decipher script” skill instead (they’re both free).
- You might want to install some mods. This group seems to be the most active with added content and such, plus patches that correct a few things that Troika didn’t touch on.
One thing you should get in your party is a spokesman: High CHA, possibly the Negotiator or a relevant skill focus Feat, maybe make him/her a Half Elf since they get a +2 racial bonus to Diplomacy (your main conversation-type skill) and Gather Information (still useful, but not as often), and finally choose a class that complements being a suave motherfucker: Paladin, Bard, Rogue (my go-to choice), or even a Sorcerer will do in a pinch.
If you feel the need, you can cherry pick your stats with a bug that made it through all the patches. When rolling for stats, click on the tab for buying your stats, you’ll notice the box you’re supposed to click and drag the rolled/bought stat to is gone. Just pump up one stat to whatever you want, click and drag over to where one of the boxes was, then switch back to rolling randomly. You’ll see the stat in the corresponding box now. Lather, rinse, repeat with the rest of your stats and go hog wild, or deliberately gimp yourself will all 3s. Whatever butters your muffin.
On one run through try the following: Chaotic Good, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Bastard Sword). Why? There’s a sweet sweet shitwrecker of a bastard sword Fragarach you can get your grubby little mitts on.
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