I read Wilhelm’s post on Dror Ragzlin and I had to set the record straight on what actually happened in that room.
Massive spoilers below, at least for the first areas of the game (I believe this is all Act I). Readers beware.
When I first read his post, I didn’t read the full post because after 45+ hours I hadn’t encountered Dror Ragzlin yet and didn’t even know who it was. I was struck by how different Wilhelm’s playthrough sounds from mine. Apparently there are people who simply walk from the Grove to the Goblin Camp and that’s that. I actually started to do just that, but what actually happened was:
I found some cultists on the way which led to fighting an owlbear in a cave, then explored a Blighted Village, then went into a cellar and found an underground laboratory and a cursed book, then went looking for Karlach, then had to fight through some gnolls blocking a road, then helped with an inn burning down, then talked to some githyanki dragon riders, then tangled with a hag in a swamp, then got impatient and killed the druid leader, causing every living soul at the Grove to be massacred, then rescued a kid from some harpies at the beach, then explored some caves under a well in the Blighted Village.
Then I went to the goblin camp, some 30-40 hours after I first left the Grove. I, too, was level 3 when I left the Grove, and was still only level 4 when I entered Dror Ragzlin’s room (about three-quarters of the way to level 5, but not enough yet for that sweet, sweet level 5 power increase that I remember so well from Solasta).
The full narrative story of my sordid adventures are over on my Baldur’s Gate 3 Progress page. 4,400 words and counting!
Anyway, the point is, I’m playing my first playthrough very differently. I’m playing on Tactician difficulty, and I’m trying very hard to avoid having to reload the game if I make a horrible mistake. I hate losing progress in games, and I hate to replay sections of a game repeatedly. (I wish games would stop using the antiquated load-and-save mechanic and always make death and failure a normal and expected and fun part of the game.) So, after I learned that you can essentially continue without losing any progress if just a single party member can manage to flee from a losing battle (and if you have enough gold to buy resurrections), I only reload if one of the many game bugs forces me to, or I’m completely overwhelmed by an encounter and everyone dies. Which, so far, hasn’t happened since I learned you can flee.
My adventure with Dror Ragzlin occurred only last night, starting with Nightwarden Mithera next door, who is level 6 and made me very nervous. Especially after, in my first fight with her, she downed Karlach, the unstoppable killing machine in the party, from nearly full health, with one flurry of attacks. Not a good sign. The party fled for their lives immediately. Everyone got away except Karlach, who would have gotten away, except a goblin kicked her down a chasm and killed her instantly, something I didn’t know could even happen until just then.
After resurrecting Karlach, I decided to try again, this time with recently-rescued level 5 Druid Halsin, to get all the advantages I could. I had planned to dispatch the goblin leaders without him, because Halsin warned us that if he accompanied the party, there would be no more talking and battles would break out immediately. And he was right.
The second attempt at the Nightwarden went much smoother (partly because we killed one of her bodyguards the first time), and there were no casualties. The hardest part of the second fight was getting rid of that stupid Scrying Eye, which was nearly impossible to hit or damage. Luckily we shut it down with Silence spells so it only managed to call in one reinforcement.
It took so little resources I felt reasonably confident going next door to tackle Dror Ragzlin without even taking a long rest. I wasn’t the slightest bit worried about his horde of goblin buddies, because I had a decent idea of their capabilities from previous fights. I was mainly worried about what Dror himself might do. Was he a caster? Was he a fighter? I didn’t know.
My lineup for this fight was: Halsin, the ridiculously broken and overpowered 5E druid class who can wildshape into a bear and immediately gain 36 temporary hit points multiple times per combat. Karlach, the wild magic barbarian, wielding a massive magic great axe picked up from a dead vendor, who cuts down weaker enemies in a single blow, and a host of magic items giving her various bonuses. Shadowheart, the cleric with an all-around balanced and useful skillset. Astarion, the Rogue Vampire who is not my favorite character but a rogue’s ability to do a cunning action dash or disengage makes him absolutely crucial for fleeing any battle, and rogues are a fairly reliable source of steady damage every round from a near-guaranteed sneak attack. And, of course, the hero of our story, Tavi, the Bard with the Bongos, who mostly plays a supporting role in combat by dishing out advantages or disadvantages on an as-needed basis.
I couldn’t walk into the room with Druid Halsin in tow, or combat would immediately break out. So I sent Shadowheart in by herself to survey the scene. I was worried about what kind of magic Dror Ragzlin could cast, and there were a couple of little goblin casters nearby, so I began the combat by having Shadowheart cast a Silence sphere in the general vicinity. Silence is how you beat casters. Many of them aren’t smart enough to walk out of the silence zone, and will engage in melee combat instead. (A vital lesson I learned in Solasta: Crown of the Magister that also works in BG3.)
It turns out Dror Ragzlin doesn’t cast magic at all. He’s a barbarian and he hits hard. And he jumps around a lot, using the stupid broken jumping mechanic that somehow allows you to move way further than your movement speed will allow. Jump first, then move–you’ll get like twice as far if you have a high strength. It’s nuts. Anyway, Dror frequently hits one party member, jumps halfway across the screen, then hits another party member, both for crazy damage. Not fun.
Astarion went down from a Dror blow, but we got him back up, and he spent most of his time hiding at the top of the stairs with very few hit points, because he ran out of healing potions. In the end, hiding at the top of the stairs was a poor decision, because Dror leaped over to Astarion later in the fight, then kicked him straight into a bottomless chasm below, and Astarion died instantly, and we were down one rogue for about half the fight. That ratcheted up the stakes immediately for my self-imposed “iron man” playthrough because there would probably be no running away from this battle without a rogue.
Two can play at the kicking game, though. BG3’s AI had taught me numerous times how effective kicking someone in combat can be. I lost count of the number of times an enemy had unexpectedly kicked one of my party into an environmental damage area, like a burning patch or electrified water or a grease slick.
Early in the battle, a goblin warrior stood right at the edge of the giant spider pit. Karlach charged him and kicked him right into the pit below, and from that moment on, about half of the goblins in the room spent their time fighting with the spiders instead of us. In the end, one of the two spiders was killed, but many goblins also died, because those spiders also had ranged attacks.
Most of the action took place on the right side of the room around the bottom of the stairs. The main and only tactic I used, really, was to ignore the goblins (and a warg summon) and focus fire as many heavy hitters as possible on Dror Ragzlin to get him down as fast as possible. Every turn that Dror had was a chance someone (or more than one someone, really) in the party could die. Early in the battle we were doing a lot of damage to him, but about halfway through he must have used some spell or ability that gave him a lot of damage resistence, and it was slower work toward the end. A lot of healing potions and bonus action healing words were used in the battle. Shadowheart and Tavi both had bonus action heals that were used to top people off. This was not a situation to conserve spell slots. This was a burn-everything-or-probably-die situation.
Once Dror Ragzlin went down, things got a lot easier. We weren’t out of the woods just yet, though, because right around then, the spider-versus-goblin fight had died out and the remaining goblins were turning their attention back to us. Fortunately they were relatively easy to dispatch, even with most of our resources depleted, and Shadowheart and Tavi mainly being down to cantrips and crossbow shots. Karlach and the wildshaped bear form of Druid Halsin dispatched most of the remaining goblins in one or two hits.
The party was beat up (mostly Karlach), Astarion fell to his death and had to be resurrected, but overall it was a successful operation to bring down Dror Ragzlin on the first try. Druid Halsin was ecstatic that his Grove would no longer be threatened (we didn’t mention that all his druid friends along with all the tieflings in the Grove were already dead).
Dror Ragzlin was the third and final goblin leader defeated in the Shattered Sanctum, which now clears the way for … something. I don’t really know what comes next. Something about a Moonlit Tower I guess, wherever that is.
And that was how things really went down with Dror Ragzlin.