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Optimal Paths -- Notes on the original campaign Edit

Personal reminders on how to run through the original campaign -- something I seem to like doing every other year or so. Posting here is unlikely to be viewed by others, but compared to simply keeping notes on my local system it's at least potentially helpful to others.

General TipsEdit

Don't travel directly from party camp. Exit to the zone you entered from and then travel (permits modes like stealth & bloodmagic to be set).
Review resistances when considering staves. Spirit, Physical, & Lightning are not resisted by anything. Cold is nice for all but some undead, which are totally immune. Nature is resisted/immune so often it's best to ignore all spells & items that do nature damage.

Flemeth's Hut (first visit)Edit

Hit party camp before Lothering. Party chest will be available, though vendor won't be.

LotheringEdit

Beeline to party camp, buy everything nice. Merchant will restock on next visit.
Party chest is NOT available on first camp trip from Lothering, but will return (with items stored from Flemeth trip) on second.
Cap approvals for stat bonuses, rune up, etc.
Return to Lothering, do a quest, then back to camp again; camp is now in second/final mode.
Finish party fixups, then finish Lothering
Remember to talk to the Blackstone Irregular's guy in the chantry before leaving Lothering

Party CampEdit

Advance all party members to max approval and quest status

Circle TowerEdit

Shop at Quartermaster (Circle Tower) arcane tome, backpack, Staff of the Magister LordStaff of the Magister Lord
Staff
Dragonbone (Tier 7)
Requires: 36 magic

Damage: 6.40 (Cold)
Armor penetration: 40.00
+6 willpower
+2/+4 mana regeneration in combat
+6 spellpower
+10% spirit damage
+10% fire damage
, Andruil's BlessingAndruil's Blessing
Belt
Belts of this type, crafted by ancient elven keepers, were given to a clan's honored allies. Although the fine engravings are faded from age and use, the enchantments remain strong to this day.

+2 to all attributes
+20% nature resistance
+1/+2 mana regeneration in combat
+1/+2 stamina regeneration in combat
+10 physical resistance
, lyrium dust, etc. etc.

Brecelian OutskirtsEdit

Shop at Varathorn and tiny XP from camp side quests

Redcliffe VillageEdit

Zone-in with Alistair in party & chat with him to unlock his quest.
nb: don't talk with Tomas on the bridge until you intend to complete all of Redcliffe

Denerim Market DistrictEdit

Shop Wonders of Thedas for Tome of Arcane Technique and other junk
Do Alistair's Family (for XP) & Leliana's Past (for Marjolaine's RecurveMarjolaine's Recurve
Longbow
Dragonthorn (Tier 7)
Requires: 34 dexterity

Damage: 9.60
Critical chance: 1.60%
Armor penetration: 8.80
Strength modifier: 1.00
+3 cunning
+3 damage
Rapid aim
)
Scour the market for quests (Warden requires Stealing on zone-in to unlock Slim Couldry)

HavenEdit

Grab Mage's EyeMage's Eye
Longbow
Dragonthorn (Tier 7)
Requires: 34 dexterity

Damage: 9.60
Critical chance: 1.60%
Armor penetration: 8.80
Strength modifier: 1.00
+3% ranged critical chance
+4 attack
from chest at the store near zone start, postpone completion
(Haven won't unlock until after Genitivi in Denerim and the Tavern fight at the Docks.)
(Improved Atmosphere moves Mage's Eye to a chest in the tower -- skip this step if using IA.)

Sulcher's Pass // Stone Prisoner DLCEdit

Acquire Helm of HonnleathHelm of Honnleath
Heavy helmet
Grey Iron (Tier 2)
Requires: 20 strength

Armor: 1.50
Fatigue: 2.36%
+2 to all attributes
+3 armor
, Harvest Festival RingHarvest Festival Ring
Ring
This wooden ring is etched with a simple vine-and-pumpkin motif.

+2 strength
+2 dexterity
+4 attack
, & recruit Shale

OrzammarEdit

The Rose's ThornThe Rose's Thorn
Dagger
Dragonbone (Tier 7)
Requires: 30 dexterity

Damage: 6.40
Critical chance: 4.80%
Armor penetration: 8.00
Strength modifier: 0.85
Rune slot Rune slot Rune slot
+2 dexterity
+1/+2 health regeneration in combat
+3 damage
+5% melee critical chance
+30% critical/backstab damage
, Key to the CityKey to the City
Ring
Key to the city of Orzammar: a traditional diplomatic boon granted by the Assembly, in acknowledgement of the bearer's understanding of the complex dwarven social weave.

+2 to all attributes
+4% spell resistance
+10% to healing effects received
and easy city quests for XP
Steal the lyrium from Rogek if you can (60 cunning)
Maybe Proving After Dark to get Blood RingBlood Ring
Ring
Images of dragons adorn this ring. Anyone who wears it gets the nagging sensation that someone is whispering nearby, just a little too softly to make out.

Improves Blood Magic
+5% spirit damage
-- fights can be tough at low level

Circle TowerEdit

Finish the tower. Save respec potion until all fade bonuses acquired.
NB! Wynne force-joins the party -- plan accordingly or your party dynamics will be destroyed. Killing Wynne can complicate the final end-game battle by leaving the 2nd group mageless. Basically, it's only OK to kill Wynne when playing as mage yourself or when you don't care if 2nd party has a mage.

RemainderEdit

Any order works from here and can depend on the party build:

DLC's -- many are short and with nice items; can do pre-Tower, too
Soldier's Peak -- Power of Blood & unlocks nice merchant
Return to Ostagar -- repeater gloves, corrupted staff, etc etc.
Redcliffe -- top lbow Far SongFar Song
Longbow
Dragonthorn (Tier 7)
Requires: 34 dexterity

Damage: 9.60
Critical chance: 1.60%
Armor penetration: 8.80
Strength modifier: 1.00
+2 damage
Rapid aim
+3% ranged critical chance
+10 attack
+10% critical/backstab damage
, top staff Heaven's WrathHeaven's Wrath
Staff
Silverite (Tier 6)
Requires: 32 magic

Damage: 6.00 (Electricity)
Armor penetration: 35.00
+1/+2 mana regeneration in combat
+5 spellpower
+10% electricity damage
, unlocks Blood Magic
Urn of Sacred Ashes -- dragon scales for Wade's armor
Brecilian -- W.Wolves can be ultra tough, usually nice to postpone
Orzamar/Deep-Roads -- Lots of XP with easy enemies

Mods, Tweaks, & OverridesEdit

Overrides and mods from 2014 replay. I wish I'd thought of putting this here when I first created these notes; I could have included links to the mods as I downloaded them.

Override LayoutEdit

0 - Reverse Depth Search
Liberal use of subfolders helps tremendously. Blindly dumping files directly into the override folder is a good way to make sure nothing works.
Everything is searched in reverse depth order; ie. flatten the tree, sort it in reverse order, and the first file that supplies the desired data item wins; ie. bottom beats top.
2 - Console Scripts
AddItemImproved & AddItemWithMaterialImproved
3 - NPC Cosmetics
Dalish Elf Tattoo and Preset
Dragon Age Redesigned
Redesigned Morigan and Wynne
4 - PC Model Mods
Proportions mods -- dwarf, elf, human
5 - Base Cosmetics
Bidelles, Dracomies, Eyebrows, Hairstyles, ViLissa's Eyes, PineappleTree's colors
JB3 -- main + armor overlay (main + two packages = crashing)
6 - Dialogue Mods
Zevran's Dialogue Fixes (ZDF)
7 - Area Mods
Improved Atmosphere (minus 7.4 Bodies Stay -- crashes The Attack at Nightfall)
8 - Item Mods
Madd Gifts, (Runes for Bows&Staves), Unobtainable Item Fix
9a - Post CT Rule Mods
Awakening Rune fix, Double Strike fix, GT Core Rules fixpack
9b - Combat Tweaks
Main and Overlays (area scale, compatibility files, creature scale, ct update v323)
9c - Pre CT Rule Mods
50 Tactics Slots (essentially req'd for EMAT), Smarter Enemies (DAO+DAA / PTD version)
Slink's S3 Ravage Extended Difficulty -- says it won't work with CT, but works fine when it has higher load priority. CT alone makes things too easy. RED fixes that -- expect at least one party member death each fight.

Mod ListEdit

Angel Console Fix (visible font for console)


Advanced Party (set full spec on create/join)
Character Respec (permit full respec via ravens)
Two Spec Sten (sten gets normal spec count)

might need save/reload on first adding Sten

Even More Advanced Tactics

incredible improvements to the tactics table system
nb: also install the 50 tactics slots optional file (EMAT consumes a lot of extra slots)

Storage Chest (1mod-old .. chest in camp)

GT Rules Fixpack (lots of bug fixes)

copy to override, don't use helmet tweak (other one is better)

Dual Striking Fix

restores missing strike (included as part of CT, this is the standalone for vanilla)
see Dual Striking and Talk:Dual Striking for background

Improved Atmosphere (extra & more lively NPCs)

claims mostly cosmetic & minor stat tweaks, but many unique items have MUCH nicer stats
this mod is not fun to use without a difficulty enhancing mod
NB! The Attack at Nightfall crashes unless "7.4 Bodies Stay" is removed.

Slink's S3 Ravage Fixpack

random encounters, scaling, increased difficulty (incredibly nice mod)

Lemming's Smarter Enemies PTD

enemies STILL don't focus-fire, but they do use their abilities to good effect

Combat Tweaks (major changes to all talents & combat system)

scaling is good, but RAVage's is MUCH better for increased difficulty (higher difficulty is required for this)
general trend of changes makes game easier -- many of the changed talents are bit overpowered
talents are also a LOT more balanced; entire trees become useful instead of just one talent in the school
eg. Vanilla Bow school has 2 semi-useful talents (MA & Suppress). CT bow school has 5 mandatory and the rest nicely situational

Awakening in the OC (permits DAA stuff in DAO)

dazip + hand copies of daa stuff to dao

Awakening Rune Fix (lets all armor parts use runes)

TWF // The Winter Forge

robust add-on that permits in-game creation of seriously overpowered gear
imho, extreme self-discipline required to avoid trivializing entire game even in balanced item-creation mode -- best way to keep it sane is to only permit yourself to copy stats (with destruction!) and/or change skins

Dialogue Tweaks (fix lots of dialog bugs)
ZDF: Zevran Dialogue Fixes (lotsa Zev fixes)

(dialogue tweaks version, not gilmore)

DA Redesigned (comprehensive aethetic charmodel changes)

requires tucked-hair (unsure if also needs earing & charmodel there)
requires dracomies true textures (included in mod somwhere)


MRP: Morigan Restoration Pack (lots of good morigan stuff)
Zevran ASAP (acquire Zevran much earlier)
Fem Model fixes from 1mod-old (tmp7704's changes)
No Helmet DAO & DAA (hides helm in cloak slot -- better than IA method)

nb: nexus info says needs DAO+DAA, dazip says it works with both

Elegant Morrigan

cosmetic-only -- tad overboard on the fix for her scruffy hair (should be called "Bedroom Morrigan")

Wynne Redesigned

cosmetic-only -- still looks good even without the raft of other mods it requests

Eyebrow Presets

semi-required by Dalish Concept Tattoo, but actually is pretty awesome all by itself

Dalish Concept Art Tattoo

very nice tattoo with a dalish elf male preset crafted to match the dalish concept art
New Eyes by ViLissa required to use preset, otherwise it's toolset-only (could be used by CC with a LOT of chargen hackery)

PT Vibrant Colors (more hair & skin colors)
More Hairstyles (more hair -- mostly fem)
Hairstyle Day (more hair -- mostly fem)
Bidelle's Cosmetics (pretty eyes -- mostly fem)
More CC Tattoo Colors (by Roma Victor)

all the above require chargen fixups (chargen compiler on nexus works fine for this)

JB3 textures (prettier HD textures)
LAA -- large address aware flag fixer

be sure to mark all exes as LAA -- mostly just postpones memory leak crashes, doesn't fix anything
nb: the leak seems to be tied to area loading (including game reloads); lots of zoning = leak & crash

Madd Gift Guide (marks gifts with NPC recipient)
Unobtainable Item Fix (from 1mod-old)
PRC items (bioware dazips -- add using bioware tool)

Ancient Elven Ruins (extra quests)
Pints and Quarts Tavern (more extra quests)
Swamp Tower (more quests)

SweetFX -- currently using 1.5.1 with Boulotaur x64 & JB3 presets

looks really nice and improves the gamma issue

Maybe Later

No Restrictions (remove all limits on gear)
good for removing racials & personals, way too OP for removing stat limits
Faster Combat (speed up combat)
also increases DPS, keep natural unless it's intolerable

Checked but not good to install

Natural Bodies (look fantastic naked, but clothes won't fit)
Realistic Look (req's NatBod, same issues)
Dalish Mage Origin (dalish origin sucks, not much point)
DA autlooter (it's already in IA and perhaps others)
Runes for Bows & Staves
buggy and likely unnecessary -- same behavior without this mod (from other installed mods). Most unruned specials will automatically acquire runes at some point during Lothering, suspect after L9 or Camp with chest unlocks. Sell & reload will usually (eventually) fix rune slots if not unlocked by then.

Stuff installed for 2011? playthrough

fem models
twf (the winter forge -- custom armor/weps/etc)
 nice for stat-copy to copy stats from ugly skins to pretty ones
 can be insanely overpowered using the full customizations
additem (add items by ID)
advancedparty (?)
advancedtactics (better autocontrol party)
consolefix (no invisible console font)
awakening in the OC (add new DA:A features into DA:O)
combat delay reduction (unknown actual effect)
combat tweaks (various fixes, including tougher enemies)
FCR Bodies Stay (?? iirc, leaves corpses on ground)
GT Gore Fix (?? unknown)
Improved Atmosphere (dialog/story fixes & enhancesments)
More Hair (various cosmetics)
Nightmare Plus (increased difficulty?)
no auto deactivate (sustainables don't turn off during scenes)
no helmet hack
PT's vibrant colors
Qwinn DAO Fixpack (lots of bug/story fixes)
Smarter Enemies DAO & DAA
storage chest (box in camp)
two spec sten (make sten like other companions)
unlock25tactics (max tactics slots)
unobtainable item fix (adds back some items)
WRK respec mod (permits full char respecs)
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