Last Light Inn is the toughest skill challenge I have encountered in Baldur's Gate 3
This article contains spoilers for Act 2 of Baldur's Gate 3.I have written multiple times about how Baldur's Gate 3 refuses to let you easily breeze ...
This article contains spoilers for Act 2 of Baldur's Gate 3.
I have written multiple times about how Baldur's Gate 3 refuses to let you easily breeze through a single battle. I have learned to forgo spells to defeat Gremishkas, the gremlin-like cat creatures that are "allergic" to magic. I have learned to keep my Death Clerics separate after seeing them constantly revive each other. And I have saved my crew from teleporting bastards who were strangling my group so they couldn't use magic while attempting to abduct them into the outer darkness. In the 40 hours I have spent with the game so far, I have come to the conclusion that the designers of Baldur's Gate 3 never half-heartedly designed a combat encounter, and they won't let you approach it half-heartedly either.
However, I was shocked when I encountered the battle for the Last Light Inn in Act 2. The fight begins when you visit Isobel, the wizard who protects the oasis from the darkness that consumes the rest of the Shadowcursed Lands. During the conversation, the Last Light Inn is attacked by a Flaming Fist named Marcus and a group of devil creatures called Winged Horrors. For me, this part of the battle was always quite short (although it is possible to defeat Marcus): Isobel is knocked unconscious and carried away to the Moonrise Towers, and the next phase begins with your group outside in the square. It is here that the encounter truly begins to corner you.
Everyone except your group and the druid Jaheira in the Last Light Inn turns into undead and starts moving towards your position. It's an overwhelming number of enemy fighters. I did my best by spreading fat on the sides of my starting position and setting it on fire. But every time, I underestimated how many enemies were lurking at the edge of the map. Some had only a few hit points, which I could extinguish with a half Magic Missile, but others had robust health bars that took multiple characters attacking them to diminish. Their ranks grow stronger as you progress further.
Add to that the Shadow Creepers, violent trees that continuously grew larger until they became massive ancient weapons, striking your characters with the weight of an oak elephant, and my group was wiped out within ten minutes. There were too many enemies, and even with Shadowheart working overtime and multiple potions per party member, I couldn't keep my characters healthy long enough to fight back.
When I finally got my shit together, it didn't result in a perfect fight. Karlach, my front defender, went down. And Jaheira never stood a chance. But I managed to get everyone else through. The realization that turned the tide? The now-obvious fact that I could use the entire Last Light Inn as my battleground, not just the area around the well where the fight began. I had made the mistake of seeing it as a wall behind me, while in reality, it was a large unused section of the arena.
So, when I reloaded the game, I quickly brought my characters into the building. With Gale, I cast a fire spell to explode a red barrel near some rogues, then had him run. I used my player character's Misty Step to get them to the upper terrace of the hotel, where they could take out the guy there with their magical powers and then shoot enemies as they poured in from the front. Karlach and Shadowheart were waiting at the doors, with Karlach attacking and Shadowheart acting as a healer as the horde pushed through the bottleneck.
It worked. With all my characters out of their reach, the trees had nothing else to do but helplessly creak as my group took down every mobile enemy. They could still pummel Karlach to death, but that was a small price I had to pay when equipped with revival scrolls and having had two short rests. I made it through Last Light, but not before it pushed me to the edge of my abilities.
The lesson it taught me is the lesson that Baldur's Gate 3 keeps teaching me: You always have more at your disposal than you initially realize. Whether it's items in your inventory, spells you've overlooked, or areas of the battlefield you've left untouched, there is always more to explore. You just have to take a page from Larian's book. Don't do it half-heartedly.