Shadow Thief Improvements
by aVENGER



Table of Contents



Component Summary

This component enhances the AI and the combat prowess of all Shadow Thief opponents which the party faces after siding with Bodhi at the end of Chapter 2. At the same time, it introduces a stealth path which allows the player to avoid all combat encounters with the Shadow Thieves save for the final battle with Aran Linvail and his personal guards. Furthermore, it allows single-classed Thief protagonists to side with Bodhi in Chapter 2, provided that at least one of their mental attributes (Intelligence, Wisdom or Charisma) is above average (higher than 12) or that their Lore score is higher than 24. This componet also allows the player to keep the thief stronghold even if he sides with Bodhi. Finally, this component also improves the AI of the Shadow Thief allies which come to the party's aid in Chapter 6 in case the player sides with Aran Linvail and requests his assistance.



Shadow Thief Improvements

In Chapter 2 of Baldur's Gate 2 the player is given a choice - to join the Shadow Thieves and go up against Bodhi's vampires or to side with Bodhi and fight the Shadow Thieves. Fact is, the Shadow Thief guild offered very little challenge to the player, especially when compared to Bodhi's vampire-infested lair. As it is hard to believe that the Shadowmaster would send some inexperienced pickpockets after the people who ultimately seek to destroy his entire guild, this component will enhance the AI and the combat prowess of all Shadow Thief opponents which the player may face while working for Bodhi.

Note: the enhanced combat encounters may prove difficult for low-level parties or solo characters. Therefore, it is recommended to use a full six-person party with a minimum of 750,000 XP per character.


The stealth path

This component also introduces a special stealth path which allows the player to avoid all combat encounters with the Shadow Thieves save for the final battle with Aran Linvail and his five personal guards (those who reside within Aran's inner sanctum). Every other combat encounter can be completely avoided through stealth. For example, it is now possible to pickpocket the smuggled shipment from Mook and steal the guildhall basement key from Gaelan Bayle without provoking a fight. Generally, this approach focuses on utilizing stealth and illusionary magic in order to avoid unnecessary combat situations. In effect, this allows stealthy players to complete all of Bodhi's tasks without killing more than 6 people. Detailed instructions for following the stealth path are provided in the following walkthrough sections and are marked in italic text.


Difficulty level scaling

The Shadow Thief opponents will adjust their spell, item and ability usage according to the game difficulty level which can be set in the Gameplay subsection of the Options menu. These adjustments are reflected as follows:

Basic Shadow Thief opponents

The majority of the regular Shadow Thief opponents have been completely revised. These characters are now generally defined as low level Fighter/Thieves (dual-class) and they have been given a couple of Invisibility Potions along with a few Potions of Extra Healing to make them slightly more formidable. All of these characters have the standard attributes and traits that a regular PC of their level would have. This means that they have no unexplainable immunities, inappropriately high attribute values nor unreasonable AC, THAC0 and hit point values. They wield mundane (non-magical) weapons and wear non-enchanted armor. Their main tactic is to drink Potions of Invisibility and backstab the most susceptible opponent. When severely injured, they will attempt to flee and heal themselves using Potions of Extra Healing. The melee backstabbers are often accompanied by ranged supporters which are defined as either multi or dual-classed Fighter/Thieves, depending on their race. The ranged attackers wield bows or poisoned throwing daggers. They usually employ non-magical ammo though they may occasionally use Arrows and Bolts of Biting as well. If, for any reason, the thieves lose track of their opponents they will wander around and search for them while occasionally using their Detect Illusion skill should they suspect that the party members became invisible. They will also use the Detect Illusion skill in an attempt to dispel illusionary protections (Blur, Mirror Image, Improved Invisibility) and illusionary clones (Mislead, Project Image) should their targets employ them. Furthermore, whenever a Shadow Thief opponent leaves the party's line of sight he will attempt to hide in shadows and sneak back. Note that the Detect Illusion and Hide actions both require proper skill checks, which ensures that the opponents play fair and behave exactly like PC thieves. This also means that they may occasionally fail while attempting to carry out these activities. Furthermore, roughly one third of the Shadow Thieves have a few low-level spell scrolls (arcane spells of level 3 and below) at their disposal and they will attempt to use them in accordance to PnP rules. This means that only thieves of level 10 or higher can use scrolls and that they have a 25% chance of spellcasting failure whenever they attempt to do so. In addition, even the spells which opponents cast form scrolls can be disrupted through damage and are subject to spell failure.


Advanced Shadow Thief opponents

Beside these regular characters, you will face some more experienced Shadow Thieves in the inner circles of the guild. They usually wear more distinctive clothing and are named appropriately to mark their higher status. Such characters are also dual-classed Fighter/Thieves but of a slightly higher level (7-13) with some minor variations. In the inner chambers of the guild you may also encounter Kara-Tur mercenaries (Kensai/Thieves) or Assassins who will occasionally employ their innate abilities. They are sometimes accompanied by Zhentarim mercenaries (Mages) and Priests of Mask (multi-classed Cleric/Mages). All of these opponents also have a slightly better potion and spell scroll selection.

Note that the spellcasting opponents which are introduced by this component never use forced casting, non-disruptable spells or any similarly cheesy tactics. In addition, when enemy mages employ spell sequencers and contingencies, they are bound by the same limitations that are presented to the player's party. This means that a mage opponent (depending on his level) may have at most one Minor Sequencer, one regular Sequencer, one Spell Trigger, one regular Contingency and one Chain Contingency at his disposal. It also means that enemy spellcasters can only trigger their Contingencies under the conditions which are available to the player i.e. "When Hit", "See Enemy", "Hit Points at 50%", "Hit Points at 25%", "Hit Points at 10%", "Helpless" and "Poisoned". Furthermore, spellcasting opponents which are present in this component don't normally pre-cast their spells in order to simulate pre-battle preparations. However, under a single, unique condition a one time pre-cast sequence can occur - if the guildhall basement has been breached and the alarm has been sounded. In that special case, all mages in that area will cast a few long lasting spells like Stoneskin and Mage Armor upon hearing the alarm in order to reflect their awareness of an impending attack. Naturally, if the stealth path is taken, the alarm won't be raised and the spellcasters won't be warned.

Whenever an invisible party member passes near an opponent who is not actively engaged in battle (and thus unaware of his presence) the opponent makes a check against the Move Silently skill of that party member. If the Move Silently score of the passing character is too low (or non-existent) a spellcasting opponent may become suspicious of the noise and attempt to cast a divination spell (but only if he has one memorized). Similarly, a Thief opponent will attempt to use his Detect Illusion skill in such a situation. In case the party member is both invisible and silenced (i.e. by the level 2 priest spell Silence 15' Radius) opponents will automatically fail their Move Silently checks and completely ignore the presence of that party member unless they are attacked. Note: during the stealth path opponents will ignore invisible party members regardless of their Move Silently score unless the alarm has been raised.

Although most of the regular guild characters have been kept at relatively low levels, the notable exceptions are the distinctly named group leaders like Haz, Booter and Dedral. Some of them actually had to be toned down a bit (i.e. Dedral was defined as a level 21 Fighter by the Bioware developers) since I wanted all of the guild characters (including the leaders and Aran) to fit under the old BG2:SoA experience cap (2,950,000 XP ). These characters also provide a bit of extra treasure. For example, the Plaguebearer and Longtooth daggers can be taken from Booter while Aran now wields the revised Short Sword of Backstabbing.


The Ambush outside of the Shadow Thief guildhall

After accepting Bodhi's proposal and entering the Docks District you will encounter the first of the improved Shadow Thief opponents near the guildhall entrance. If you are seen by one of the Shadow Thief Sentries a short dialogue sequence will start and an ambush will ensue.

Stealth path note: you can avoid the ambush by either making all of your party members invisible and walking past the Sentries or by simply taking the alternate route to Mook over the rooftops on the right side of the map and past Maevar's guildhall.

In case you trigger the ambush the party will be attacked by three Shadow Thief Sentries (since one of them guards each guildhall entrance) and six Shadow Thieves (of which three use ranged attacks while the rest fight in melee and attempt to backstab the party). The easiest way to deal with the regular Shadow Thief opponents is to cast a few disabling or mind-affecting spells on them. For example, each of the following spells can be very helpful: Entanglement, Grease, Blindness, Spook, Charm Person, Glitterdust, Horror, Web, Hold-Person, Slow, Confusion, Chaos, Emotion:Hopelesness, Greater Command, Domination... etc. Furthermore, as all of the regular Shadow Thieves use mundane (non-magical) weapons, summoning a Lesser Fire Elemental (or any other creature immune to normal weapons) or casting Protection From Normal Weapons on your characters will render their weapons harmless.

In order to complete the first task for Bodhi you need to acquire the Smuggled Shipment crate. This can be accomplished by either defeating Mook and her companions in combat, or by simply pickpocketing her in case you prefer a stealthy, non-violent solution. In case Mook manages to spot you she will call for reinforcements and a battle will ensue. Since Mook is a Fighter/Thief, pickpocketing her will be somewhat more difficult than stealing from commoners or other non-thieves (minimum 60% Pickpocket skill required).

Stealth path note: in order to avoid getting spotted, the character who is going to make the pickpocket attempt must approach the target alone and be under the effects of improved invisibility. Therefore, you need to use one of the spells or items which grant the improved invisibility effect (i.e. Improved Invisibility, Shadow Door, Mass Invisibility, Mislead, Ring of Air Control... etc.) on that character before entering the visual range of the target. If the pickpocket attempt is successful, any Shadow Thief opponents who may be nearby will temporarily ignore the character's presence unless they are provoked by an attack.


Assulting the main and top floors of the guildhall

The interior of the guildhall hosts a number of opponents who are more powerful than the regular Shadow Thieves which can be encountered outside. Expect to encounter Zhentarim mages, Kara-Tur mercenaries (Kensai/Thieves) and Assassins.

Stealth path note: if you enter the main or the top floor of the guildhall with your entire party invisible, the opponents who are present there will not react until you reveal yourself.  Therefore, it is possible to sneak past the guildhall guards and reach the captured informant on the top floor completely unnoticed. In order to do this, the entire party must be invisible before entering the guildhall. Once you get to Palern, you can help him escape without alarming the guards by either giving him a Potion of Invisibility (you need to talk to him in order to do that) or by casting an Invisibility spell on him. Be careful though, both of these actions will break your own invisibility, so make sure to re-apply it before re-entering the guards' line of sight. Alternatively, you can kill the guards or simply kill Palern. Either one of these options will complete the quest, however, you will get less XP if you choose to kill Palern.

Note that the Zhentarim mages who guard these areas have very few hit points so, in most cases, firing off a couple of Magic Missile barrages before their spell protections are up is more than enough to take them down. However, if one of these mages manages to spot you, she will fire off Contingency (Stoneskin) and Spell Sequencer which contains Haste, Improved Invisibility and Mirror Image. The Haste spell will affect all nearby Shadow Thief opponents so make sure to counter that with either a Dispel/Remove Magic or a Slow spell. Be wary of the special abilities which are employed by the Kara-Tur Mercenaries (Kai) and Assassins (Poison Weapon). These abilities can be very dangerous when combined with their backstabs.

In order to enter the guildhall basement you will need the Shadow Thief Cellar key which can be either pickpocketed or taken by force from Gaelan Bayle. In order to successfully steal the key from Gaelan your entire party must enter his house under the effects of either invisibility, improved invisibility or stealth. In case Gaelan manages to spot you he will call for reinforcements and a battle will ensue. Since Gaelan is an experienced thief, pickpocketing him will be somewhat more difficult than stealing from commoners or other non-thieves (minimum 70% Pickpocket skill required).

Stealth path note: In order to avoid getting spotted, the character who is going to make the pickpocket attempt must approach the target alone and be under the effects of improved invisibility. Therefore, you need to use one of the spells or items which grant the improved invisibility effect (i.e. Improved Invisibility, Shadow Door, Mass Invisibility, Mislead, Ring of Air Control... etc.) on that character before entering the visual range of the target. If the pickpocket attempt is successful, any Shadow Thief opponents who may be nearby will temporarily ignore the character's presence unless they are provoked by an attack.


Descending to the guildhall basement

Stealth path note: be sure to rest and carefully pick your spells before descending to the lowest level of the Shadow Thief guildhall. Unless the entire party enters the basement under the effects of invisibility, an alarm will be triggered and all of the guildhall exits will be sealed. Furthermore, taking any hostile actions (or triggering certain traps) while following the stealth path will raise the alarm. After the alarm is sounded you will not be able to escape until you've dealt with Aran Linvail.

Unless you've taken the stealth path, the party will immediately be attacked by a group of Shadow Thieves and a Priestess of Mask. The priestess will attempt to heal and support her allies to the best of her ability should they fall under the effects of fear, blindness, feeblemind, poison or paralyzation. Otherwise, she will primarily cast mind-affecting spells on your party members. Note that the priestess has very few hit points and, in most cases, firing off a couple of Magic Missile barrages before their spell protections are up is more than enough to take her down. After you've dealt with the initial attack you may want to enter Booter's torture chamber in order to pick up his key in order to free Tizzak (Bodhi's agent) though this is not necesarry for progressing toward the other parts of the guild. If any of your characters are skilled in Pickpocketing, you can attempt to steal the key from Booter. However, since Booter is an experienced Fighter/Thief, pickpocketing him will be much more difficult than stealing from commoners or other non-thieves (minimum 90% Pickpocket skill required).

Stealth path note: In order to avoid getting spotted, the character who is going to make the pickpocket attempt must approach the target alone and be under the effects of improved invisibility. Therefore, you need to use one of the spells or items which grant the improved invisibility effect (i.e. Improved Invisibility, Shadow Door, Mass Invisibility, Mislead, Ring of Air Control... etc.) on that character before entering the visual range of the target. If the pickpocket attempt is successful, any Shadow Thief opponents who may be nearby will temporarily ignore the character's presence unless they are provoked by an attack.

Before proceeding further, beware, as many areas of the guildhall basement now contain dangerous traps. Although all of these traps can be detected and disarmed they do have fairly high requirements (80-99% in the Find/Disarm Traps skill). Some of the traps will even reset until they are successfully disarmed, which means that you could activate the same trap multiple times if you are not careful. If your thieves have problems finding the traps, remember that Potions of Perception can help them to spot and disarm traps more easily. A few such potions are scattered throughout the basement's containers. The easiest way to handle the traps is to use a Potion of Invisibility on your thief and send him to disarm them one by one while he remains unnoticed by any enemies that might be nearby. Note that the contents of some mechanical traps can be recovered if they are successfully disarmed. For example, disarming a "Poisoned Dart" trap yields 10 Darts of Wounding.

The secret corridor which leads to Aran's chamber has been heavily trapped and is guarded by several Clay Golems. Note that you need at least a +2 enchanted blunt weapon in order to damage these golems. Coincidentally, one of the tables in Booter's torture chamber holds a Warhammer +2 and Haz (Aran's advisor) wields a Staff-Mace +2, so the best way to handle the golems might be to wait until you've dealt with both Booter and Haz and acquired these weapons. Also, one of the crates in the room where Dedral and his companions attempt to ambush you holds a Potion of Absorption which can make dealing with the golems much easier as it provides a +10 AC bonus against their (blunt) attacks. That potion also grants 100% electrical resistance which can be useful for traversing the narrow corridors filled with lightning traps.

Stealth path note: there is an even easier way to deal with the Clay Golems. Dedral, the leader of the Shadow Thief ambushers, carries one of Haz's Control Rods, an item which can influence the hostility level of the guildhall Golems. If any of your characters are skilled in pickpocketing, and if you are quick enough, you can attempt to steal the Control Rod from Dedral.  In order to prevent Dedral from noticing the theft, the character who is going to make the pickpocket attempt must be under the effects of improved invisibility. If you are unable to steal the rod from Dedral, you can loot it from his corpse after defeating him in battle. Once you acquire the rod, equip it in the primary weapon slot and let the character who is wielding it walk up to a Golem. The construct will recognize the insignia of its master and immediately deactivate. Note that Golems actually have to see the character who is wielding the rod, so an invisible character would be unable to deactivate them. Naturally, it is impossible to deactivate a Golem while it is in the proximity of its maker, so attempting to do this to the Golems in Haz's chamber is quite futile. Furthermore, note that attacking deactivated Golems will make them resume their standard combat routine.

While you are advancing towards Haz's chamber you fill also face several Shadow Thieves wielding shortbows on the nearby platforms. Beware that every one of them possesses a single Arrow of Detonation and several Arrows of Fire. Daedral, one of the higher ranking Shadow Thieves, guards this passage and, if he manages to spot you, he will set up an ambush. This ambush can be completely avoided by making all of your characters invisible (or hidden) and simply walking past the area where it is triggered (the room with the crates and the dark passages). Aran's advisor, Haz, holds the key to the inner sanctum but his chamber is well guarded. If any of your characters are skilled in Pickpocketing, you can attempt to steal the key from Haz.

Stealth path note: In order to avoid getting spotted, the character who is going to make the pickpocket attempt must approach the target alone and be under the effects of improved invisibility. Therefore, you need to use one of the spells or items which grant the improved invisibility effect (i.e. Improved Invisibility, Shadow Door, Mass Invisibility, Mislead, Ring of Air Control... etc.) on that character before entering the visual range of the target. If the pickpocket attempt is successful, any Shadow Thief opponents who may be nearby will temporarily ignore the character's presence unless they are provoked by an attack.


Facing Aran Linvail

Aran Linvail's AI script has been greatly improved and his equipment and his class have been slightly revised as well. He is now a dual-classed Illusionist(14)/Thief(16) and dual-wields the revised Short Sword of Backstabbing and the Dagger of Acumen. He has Protection From Magical Weapons, Mislead and Improved Haste in his Spell Trigger and thus, until those are dispelled, every one of his 4 attacks per round is considered a backstab. Before the battle starts, he will also quaff a Potion of Clarity. On top of all that, Aran is a fairly decent mage, and his Power Word: Stun, Chaos and Confusion spells are not to be underestimated. In general, Aran's spellcasting is easiest to disrupt by using the Summon Insects, Insect Plague or Creeping Doom spells. However, note that Aran has a Potion of Magic Blocking at his disposal which he will use if he is afflicted by one of these spells. Be very careful around his inner sanctum since there are several poison and dispelling arrow traps nearby. The easiest way to defeat the Shadowmaster is to cast True Sight on one of your characters, right before the battle starts, so that you can immediately counter Aran's Mislead spell. In case you don't have the spell memorized, you can find a scroll of True Sight inside one of the containers in Haz's chamber. This should be followed by a casting of Dispel/Remove Magic so that you can purge the protection spells from Aran and his companions. After that, it's probably easiest to use Greater Malison coupled with a few mind-affecting spells like Chaos, Confusion, Greater Command, Hold Person, Slow... etc. You could also toss a few area effect spells inside the chamber. However, note that the Priestess of Mask will attempt to cure her allies to the best of her ability and dispel any toxic vapors with the Zone of Sweet Air spell. Beware that the heavy door which leads to Aran's chamber will be shut and locked (for the duration of the battle) by the two Assassins who enter the inner sanctum after Aran talks to you and gives them the signal.

Stealth path note: after you defeat Aran Linvail and his personal guards, any remaining Shadow Thieves will flee the guildhall and unlock all basement doors in the process. This means that the way out will be clear of all opposition, save for traps. Before leaving, note that the containers in Aran's chamber and his treasure vault now hold some more appropriate items, however, unlocking the containers and disarming the traps which protect them is now more difficult as well.



Improved Shadow Thief allies

The rogues which come to the party's aid during the assault on Bodhi's lair in Chapter Six (in case the player managed to convince the Shadowmaster to help him) were fairly weak despite being described by Aran as some of the best operatives that the Shadow Thief guild could offer. This component changes those characters into formidable allies which they were originally meant to be. In short, their AI scripts and equipment have been slightly upgraded and they now also get a couple of potions and a few low-level scrolls. Although the Shadow Thief allies have become a bit stronger, they are still not powerful enough to steal the spotlight from the player's party. However, they should now be much more useful than they were in the unmodded game.



Compatibility



Known Issues



Version changes

4.47 - November 6, 2011
4.44 - July 24, 2011
4.40 - February 19, 2011
4.38 - October 25, 2010
4.37 - May 25, 2010
4.36 - May 20, 2010
4.35 - May 8, 2010
4.34 - March 16, 2010
4.33 - January 29, 2010 4.32 - December 12, 2009 4.31 - October 24, 2009
4.30 - October 2, 2009
4.22 - September 7, 2009
4.21 - August 8, 2009
4.20 - July 18, 2009
4.11 - May 10, 2009
4.10 - April 21, 2009
4.04 - March 2, 2009
4.03 - January 26, 2009
4.02 - December 23, 2008
4.01 - November 21, 2008
4.00 - November 1, 2008
1.92 - August 25, 2008
1.91 - June 9, 2008
1.90 - March 23, 2008
1.82 - December 23, 2007
1.81 - October 28, 2007
1.80 - October 4, 2007
1.71 - August 06, 2007
1.70 - July 26, 2007
1.61 - July 1, 2007
1.60 - June 25, 2007
1.50 - May 12, 2007
1.01 - May 30, 2003
1.00 - May 27, 2003
0.50 - May 5, 2003



Contact

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