Creation and Prelude
In the prelude when you are first introduced to the game and training wizards, bards etc can get a magic wand with unlimited frost rays. It might only do a tiny amount of damage, but it is great for destroying doors and locked/trapped chests. Given the deadly potency of some traps and the fact only thieves have any chance of disarming anything over DC-35…
Here’s your first and most important tip:
You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression
Actually, you do, if your ‘appraisal’ skill and/or, I believe, your level goes up, but that’s not quite the point… Annoyingly, you can find the change to go against you, which I personally disagree with, but there you go.
Naturally the higher you push this proficiency the more likely you are to get a better deal, though there are limits. I have made copious notes, but the general idea is the level/character you are in makes a difference as does the nature of the merchant.
Here’s a very good example or two, all based on a ‘silver necklace’ :
In Shadows of Undrentide the best price was 325 gp.
In Chapter two of Hordes of the Undrentide…
Volkarion, the djinn merchant, will pay up to 275 gp
Drow merchants will offer up to 325gp
The Duergar however offer a massive 475 gp for the very same item!
I’m on Chapter three now and…
The local merchants, like the Pit Boss, cap the price at 250 gp
Volkarion is still at 275 gp, but has a much better selection (again)
However (the spirit of the Drow) Rizolvir now offers you up to 400 gp
As in real life, it pays to shop around, eh!
High intelligence can improve your negotiating skill (up to +12) and the ‘Greater gloves of Appraisal can add another +6, with a good bard song can put it up a few more points further. There’s +20 or better on whatever you assign. I get the impression 20 or over can get you the best prices, 30 to 40 or more will, almost every time.
Without any cheating whatsoever it’s incredibly easy to finish the game with millions, so why the annoying selling cap for Hordes of the Underdark ?
On money cheats
On the off-chance Bioware read this page before I properly report the bug, there is a (logic) flaw that allows you unlimited funds. There is a second, but I’m undecided if it is there for a reason or it’s sloppy programming. I’m inclined towards ( a lack of) a validation call, myself.
Maximimum abilities and bonuses…
The maximums will vary according to race and classes and may increase with your level too. Below are those for Kell, a Half-Elf Rogue/Bard/Red Dragon Disciple. As a comparison, I got the Aribeth (a Paladin) to Strength 30 (+10) and Wisdom 25 (+7).
Out of interest mind, if you polymorph into an Earth Elemental you have a strength of 44 (+17).
Strength 34 for a +12 bonus
Dexterity 25 for a +7 bonus
Constitution 28 for a +9 bonus
Intelligence 34 for a +12 bonus
Wisdom 22 for a +6
Charisma 30 for a +10
‘Use Magic Device’ proficiency
I neglected this the first few times I played until I realised now useful it is. Ever identified an item and thought,
Darn, I wish I was (…) so I could use that!. Well, if you increase this ability you probably could. Five or ten points assigned covers all but the most powerful items. A few of the most powerful items naturally need this far higher though. The highest I’ve seen so far is 42 points needed for the deva’s mace, though the katana ‘Radiant Death’ for Weapon Masters was beyond anything I could wield, despite pushing it to around 50.
I finally managed it with a ‘use magic device’ of 56
I’m not sure why, but your charisma bonus factors into this. Yes, it is by the rules, but why charm!?
Money making tips and the usefulness of craft skills
While some items – especially bolts and arrows – can only made at a loss, others can prove lucrative.
Kick in a few doors for iron and steel and you can easily get, oh 12 gp. Soon have you rich. Hmmm, more lucrative is it? If you ‘enchant’ a weapon or robe with the ‘continual light scroll’ or (far, far cheaper) the ‘light gems’ then the same sword can be worth over 500 gp (depending on your appraisal skill) because it is a magic item.
Incidentally, a ‘Long Sword +1’ does far better, going from 1,565 gp to 3,750 gp. It scales up with +2 and so forth. Yay for my enterprising bard! Of course, if this was a tabletop game any right-minded DM might have something to say about it.
On a related note, while lesser traps are only worth a few gold, rogues can get several thousand gp for some of the more deadly ones. It clearly pays to try to recover any traps you encounter.