What does this mod do?

Improved Anvil EE is a mod for BG2 and TOB. It requires the latest version of BG2: Enhanced Edition.

  1. Tactical challenges and improved enemies.
  2. Many new quests and encounters.
  3. New types of monsters.
  4. Fixes and tweaks: Improved Anvil applies numerous corrections and changes (including fixes and tweaks) to the original game.
  5. Item Randomizer program: a concept introduced by Improved Anvil many years ago. A good number of powerful items has been removed from their original locations. Each time you start a new game with Improved Anvil, those items will be randomly (and sensibly) redistributed into new and difficult locations and/or in the inventory of improved and tough enemies. In other words, each time you play the game with this mod, each of those items may be in different places and you won't be sure where to look for them.
  6. New item upgrades: Cromwell, Maheer and Cespenar have 100+ new item upgrade recipes. Many of them require brand new components that are also added by the mod. All new items are balanced and appropriate for the level of difficulty you will encounter in the mod.
  7. Five new kits: two new ranger kits, a new druid kit and a two new fighter kits are added to the game. All new kits are available to the protagonist at character creation stage. In addition, the new druid kit is assigned to Cernd, one of the new ranger kits is assigned to Valygar and one of the fighter kits is assigned to Mazzy Fentan.

All those experienced players who are tired of playing the same game over and over can now play BG2 as if they are playing an entirely new game.

Warnings and important notes

Note 1: Improved Anvil is "the mod for the experienced players" who are looking for a challenge. It includes some really difficult battles. If you do not have the required level of tactical knowledge, you will need to have patience, draw a learning curve for yourself and improve your skills gradually while playing. If you don't have the time or the patience for that, you may need to postpone playing this mod to a later time.

If spending an hour or two figuring out how to defeat a particularly strong enemy is not your idea of fun, and you'd rather enjoy good story, dialogues and other RP aspects, I suggest that you skip playing the mod altogether. You'll most certainly be frustrated and what would be the point in that?

Note 2: We recommend that you don't cheat during the game if you intend to play Improved Anvil. Cheating may look harmless at the first glance and may even help you win some battles, but many global variables are checking the events during the game and cheating sometimes may mess up the future events. Cheating is not confined to using console commands or using external programs. Any action which is deliberately performed to exploit the game's engine is a cheat. Any action which a DM would not allow you to perform in a PnP is a cheat as well.

Note 3: It is strongly recommended to play Improved Anvil with as many party members as possible. Improved Anvil is not designed for solo characters or even for parties with fewer than five members. Create a custom party via a multiplayer session or take your time to choose and collect your desired NPCs normally (no need to hurry) in the game, but don't go too far with a party of fewer than 5 members. A full party of 6 members is strongly recommended even over a party of 5 members.

You might still win the game with a solo character or a smaller party, but expect surprises and don't complain about the game being mean to you or certain encounters being too easy/too tough. All of IA's tactical content is balanced for a full, well-rounded 6 person party. We will never make any effort to adapt them to any other situations. You're on your own.

Note 4: If you are a completely new player and appear to be at loss regarding what to do, why the mod is built this way and how to approach it, please refer to our guide for the new players. And don't hesitate to ask a question at our forum!

Note 5: Improved Anvil does not play well with other mods. It's a total conversion kind of mod and does too many changes to be realistically compatible. At a certain point in the past, a decision was made to make IA as stable and bug-free as possible. The trade-off was compatibility.

Some mods are incompatible for conceptual reasons. We have our spells and items, our own randomizer, our own AI, our own HLA tables, etc. So there is no point whatsoever to try and install Spell Revisions, Item Revisions, SCS, Item Randomizer or any other mods that are great by themselves. It would lead to bugs, pain and suffering. IA is a all-or-nothing kind of thing.

From the point of engineering, IA is outdated. It does many changes the old way, by overwriting existing resources with its own new versions instead of applying direct patches. Until this is resolved (the huge overhaul is planned for the next major version), IA would really just screw over any changes a previously installed mod might have made and vice-versa.

Smaller mods such as custom chars have a chance to work but they might introduce bugs that will affect both their own content and IA's. If you have bugs due to another mod installed, I will try to help, but to a limited extent. I will, however, work with any modder who wants to make his mod specifically compatible with IA in spirit of cooperation and common desire to improve our favourite game.

Installation

For detailed instructions, please refer to the relevant part of this readme document.

Version history

For detailed overview, please see the complete version history.

Version 6.4
  1. WeiDU compiler is updated to version 246.
  2. The mod has been updated to be fully compatible with BG2:EE v2.5.
  3. Historically, the vanilla game has never allowed to have +X vs. monster type enchantments functioning properly on weapons. With the new opcode from EE this has now been fixed and all weapons with this effect are functioning as intended.
  4. The Squirreled Away quest has been made available to all protagonists.
  5. The Four, a separate mod made some time ago by Sikret, has been integrated as an optional component.
  6. All class/character restrictions for crafted items are all reworked with the help of 319 opcode (this has allowed to remove a lot of clutter from the global baldur.bcs script).
  7. Players now can level up Neera & Imoen manually and select whatever spells they desire.
  8. Brain Golem and Hardwood Golem now sport brand new distinctive colours.
  9. A script for automatic & precise XP adjustment of joinable NPCs is implemented.
  10. Allow neutrally-aligned protagonists to encounter lady Vanya.
  11. Numerous bugfixes and small improvements discovered during playtesting of IA v6.3 are introduced.
Version 6.3
  1. WeiDU compiler is updated to version 243.
  2. The mod has been updated to be fully compatible with BG2:EE v2.3. However, it no longer supports older versions of BG2:EE and vanilla BG2:ToB.
  3. A new drudic spell, Alicorn Lance, is ported to the game from IWD:EE.
  4. The amount of experience gained by Imoen when she re-joins the party in Spellhold is now tuned to be more in accordance with the party's current amount of XP.
  5. XP per level progression for bards, mages and sorcerers is now tweaked to progress at a slightly faster pace when the character reaches higher levels and begins gaining high level abilities.
  6. An optional component to identify all items has been introduced.
  7. Reduction of racial bonuses to saving throws for small folk has been adjusted. Instead of a simple nerf, bonuses start out small, but increase with character's level. While they are still not as powerful as they used to be, players now should have more incentive to take small folk characters into their parties.
  8. Numerous bugfixes and small improvements discovered during playtesting of IA v6.2 are introduced.

Testing team

We have had the advantage of working with the best BG2 players during preparation the mod, testing its various features:

  • thetruth
  • Raven
  • Dago
  • Clown
  • LZJ
  • shadan
  • Nicoper
  • SparrowJacek

Chinese translation

Many thanks to the members of Chinese Baldur's Gate community for providing translation and their continuing interest in our work. List of credits to translators(汉化成员名单):

  • IAv6: moon_cloud,fu456,sherlockye,Nameless One,Infinity
  • Text proofreading & polishing (二次校对&润色): Piedelo
  • IAv6.1: lkmax100
  • IAv6.3: xzpchaser99, fanasilver, DandD怪叔叔, 内拉祖国米

Credits

  1. For my daughter, Kiana! (Sikret)
  2. My special thanks to Baronius for hosting this mod in his great site (BWL), for teaching many helpful modding skills to me, for helping me as the technical advisor of the mod and for his continuous kindness and helpfulness.
  3. My special thanks to thetruth for testing a large number of the enhanced battles of IA v2.0 and the entire IA v4.0 (quests, battles, etc) and for making very helpful suggestions. Also, for reporting many of the vanilla game's bugs all of which are now fixed by Improved Anvil.
  4. My special thanks to Raven for testing IA v5 and IA v6 and performing many other important tests, for reporting a big number of the vanilla game's bugs and for giving me very useful suggestions.
  5. My special thanks to Critto for testing IA v6 and offering some most useful technical helps and co-working with me during the implementation of the Expanded Druid Stronghold.
  6. My thanks to Valiant for doing the graphics work for a new wilderness area used in the mod.
  7. My thanks to Dago, Clown, LZJ, Critto, shadan and Nicoper for testing IA v6 and many other important tests and for sending me very helpful reports.
  8. My thanks to Nazar, leonidas and antizyclon for performing many important tests and for sending me very helpful reports.
  9. My thanks to smr49 for speaking Demon Prince's lines in the JD plot.
  10. Thanks to BWL site's Portrait City and the anonymous artists who have made the 3 portraits I have picked from the Portrait City for three of the mod's NPCs. And thanks again to Raven for searching the Portrait City to help me find the right portraits.
  11. I also wish to thank Hoppy, Mordokai, Lionheart, methusalar, Silverstar, (Ø=M)^42, Romulas, smr49, Vardaman, luan, Fillian, Noelle, vik, Ryel ril Ers for their various kinds of help (i.e. comments, suggestions, reports, proof-readings).
  12. I also wish to thank the creators of WeiDu, Near Infinity, DLTCEP, Shadow Keeper, and ConText Editor for creating those excellent tools.
  13. Thanks to the authors of Sword and Fist mod for insights and useful knowledge on how to deal with peculiarities of the monk's fist implementation in BG2 ToB.
  14. Thanks to Nicoper and SparrowJacek for testing IAV6.x and the upcoming IAv7, contributing many important ideas and helping to make the mod better.
  15. Extra special thanks to SparrowJacek for his superb work on improving and expanding the graphic material used in IA.
  16. Thanks to the owner of the Mike's RPG Center for providing a source of fabulous graphic material and developers of Arcanum for producing said material in the first place.
  17. Thanks to the authors of the Item Revisions mod for an idea on how to implement an ability to dual-wield throwing axes and hammers.
  18. Thanks to the authors of aTweaks for an idea on how to implement distinctive colouring for creatures of the same type.
  19. We've took a liberty of borrowing graphics from some of the older Might & Magic games for our brand-new items. Thank to the authors of the game for such a wonderful opportunity. All credits and copyrights rightfully belong to them. And thanks to SparrowJacek for a superb job of converting the images into IE's BAM format.
  20. Thanks to the authors of GemRB for their awesome iesh and ielister utilities.
  21. Thanks to Jarno Mikkola and CamDawg for providing explanation on how to properly fix the kit tables and respective code that actually does the job.
  22. Thanks to FilthyJack from Terra-Arcanum forums for providing helpful insights into .ART file structure.
  23. Thanks to Tresset for allowing to borrow some of his superb workarounds and fixes.
  24. Thanks to bulian for providing numerous useful bug reports.

Copyright

Even though the fan-made modules and materials we release are not subject to 'legal' copyright, the standards of moral courtesy are still applicable to them.

If you desire to use some idea or material from Improved Anvil, please contact us and let us know that you are doing so. We will also expect you to add a note to your mod's readme with a credit to material borrowed from Improved Anvil.

Thanks for your understanding and cooperation.