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Spell Arms Race


Protections/Counter Protections  

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Mods: Wasn't sure where to put this, please move as you see fit.


While working on a total conversion project, I realized one of the things that bothers me the most about magic in Baldurs Gate II: It's an arms race.


Mage battles seem to go like this:

A: Contingencies Fired: Protection from Normal Weapons, Spell Turning, Spell Deflection

B: Remove Protections

A: Recast Protections

B: Remove Protections

A: Nuke

B: Nuke

A: Nuke

B: Nuke

A: *Dead*


It reminds me of seeing my newphew playing cops and robbers:

A: "I shot you!"

B: "I blocked it"

A: "Bang!"

B: "I dodged it"


Fun metaphors aside, I'll get to the real point:


Does a game really need a huge chain of protection/counter protection spells? It seems like a good chunk of a Mage's spell book is just trying to one up the other by just a little bit. Would getting rid of, modifying, or toning down a chunk of these protection/counter spells reduce the fun? Assuming a fair balance could be struck, do you believe it would hinder the spirit of the game? This is not asking "would you install it?", but more of "what do you think?".


Here's a reference list I've compiled of what I believe to be "problem spells":


Absorbing spells (These spells absorb a total of X spell levels cast at them):

-Minor Spell Deflection

-Spell Deflection

-Spell Trap


Immunity to Spells (Immunity to spell levels X and below or immunity to a school):

-Globe of Invulnerability

-Minor Globe of Invulnerability

-Spell Immunity


Immunity to Removal Spells (Counters spells from the Removal category):

-Spell Shield


Immunity to Weapons (Immunity to some +X or less weapons):

-Absolute Immunity

-Fireshield Red/Blue

-Improved Mantle


-Protection from Magical Weapons

-Protection From Normal Missiles

-Protection From Normal Weapons


Resistances (Give resistance to elemental and/or magic damage):

-Protection from Acid

-Protection from Cold

-Protection from Electricity

-Protection from Energy

-Protection from Fire

-Protection from the Elements

-Protection from Magic Energy


Turning Spells (Reflect spells against their caster):

-Minor Spell Turning

-Spell Turning


Removal Spells (Counters for some or all of the above mentioned spells):


-Lower Resistance

-Pierce Magic

-Pierce Shield

-Ruby Ray of Reversal

-Secret Word


-Spell Thrust

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I think it will simply replace the spell memorization/get as many slots as possible race with the 'hike up mage's con' and 'speed up spell shooting' race.


It will also affect charcaters like FM's who rely as much on the protective spells as on their fighter's abilities. Though I am guessing that some people use them as casters and as fighters alternatively, I think that many also load them with protection etc spells, so they can self-buff and go into the fray.

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So you want to turn this:

A: Contingencies Fired: Protection from Normal Weapons, Spell Turning, Spell Deflection

B: Remove Protections

A: Recast Protections

B: Remove Protections

A: Nuke

B: Nuke

A: Nuke

B: Nuke

A: *Dead*

Into this:

A: Nuke

B: Nuke

A: *Dead*

Where's the fun in that? The quarrel turns from "I've got more than you." into "Mine's bigger than yours." Protective spells are large part of fun in mage duels, perhaps a bit less in Infinity than in PnP but not nearly enough to qualify taking them out completely. That's my opinion at least. ;)

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The system I'm working on puts more of a focus on Dispel Magic-like spells.


For Protection removal spells, there's Dispel Magic, Greater Dispel Magic (something sort of like Keldorn's), and Spellstrike to remove everything-no-questions-asked.


That way, you can still remove enemy protections, but there's a chance factor involved: Mage combat is not a giant game of rock-paper-scissors.


I'm currently working on rebalancing/removing protection spells. The Immunity to Weapons spells are first on my list of spells to be changed/eliminated. I hate hearing "No effect? Need bigger sword!"


Then again, the better option:


A: *casts Protection Sp...*

C: "Go for the eyes Boo!" *Whack*

A: *dead*

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... You know, I thought about that comic as I was hitting submit... I half expected OOTS to be used against me. Bah ;)


That's why I like spells such as the 3rd edition Stoneskin.


"The warded creature gains resistance to blows, cuts, stabs, and slashes. The subject gains damage reduction 10/adamantine. (It ignores the first 10 points of damage each time it takes damage from a weapon, though an adamantine weapon bypasses the reduction.) Once the spell has prevented a total of 10 points of damage per caster level (maximum 150 points), it is discharged."


That way, you've got a protection spell that can either be beaten with the correct magic weapon. Or sending Minsc to wail on the Mage for a few rounds.


Protection from Arrows is the same way.


"The warded creature gains resistance to ranged weapons. The subject gains damage reduction 10/magic against ranged weapons. (This spell doesn’t grant you the ability to damage creatures with similar damage reduction.) Once the spell has prevented a total of 10 points of damage per caster level (maximum 100 points), it is discharged.


You can either use the counter or you can get past it "the hard way". If you don't have the correct counter, you still have an option other than waiting for the spell to run out. I think it's a much more eloquent solution than "I'm immune to all magic weapons for five turns. Unless you have Breach. Screw you, solo fighters."


Anyway, this is more of a rambling to see if there were any arguments against it.


So far, I'll be sure to prevent:

1) *Nuke*, *Nuke*, *Dead*

2) "I made my saving throw" OOTS style

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I think it's a much more eloquent solution than "I'm immune to all magic weapons for five turns. Unless you have Breach. Screw you, solo fighters.


This actually has a counter. Whack'em with a non-magical weapon.


Unless the mage is naturally immune to non-magical weapons, of course... then the spell becomes cheesy.


The actual AD&D Tome of Magic (or was it encyclopaedia somethingia? bah. anyway.) has three separate, mutually exclusive spells to protect from magical slashing/piercing/blunt weapons. That's more to your liking, I take it?



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Ok, I initially voted to leave them alone, but after reading the posts I'd be for a change. While the spells you listed are a necessity for the game, many of them are redundant and plain weak. If you were to remove or weaken the protection from physical spells, wizards wouldn't last 2 rounds. Same goes for the Protection from magic spells. If those were not around, it would make it seem like a low level wizard could walk up to a high level wizard and just kill them with a few magic missiles. Being a higher level to me means that your spells are higher level than others and just plain better. Thus, 1-upping your opponents spells. After saying this, I wouldn't mind less spells and maybe a few new ones to combine or better ones. Something like Mordenkainen's Disconjunction(super remove magic/spellstrike/silence) comes to mind.

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The thing about the 3rd edition versions of the physical protection spells is that they're balanced for 3rd edition casters, who can have way more HP than 2nd edition casters, who have a maximum of 60HP at 10th level, and 80HP at 20th level (averages of about 20 and 40, not counting CON). Any buffed, hasted or generally min-maxed fighter is going to obliterate a mage of equal level if they're only losing 10 points of damage per swing, and nothing at all if the attacks are magical.


And since in 2nd edition, any hit disrupts a spell automatically, they're going to have next to no chance to get a spell off.




In case you can't guess, I'm not a fan of the damage reduction spells in 3rd edition. ;)

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Alrighty, my opinion as a heavily biased solo magic-user. I don't use Protection from Weapons all that much, your enemies may, but your enemies can't cast teleport field without modificational assistance. I don't think Lower Resistance needs changing/modifying because frankly, this isn't 3E, and sometimes the dice hates you. Yes, the dice can hate you in 3E, too, but at least after you level up you can come back and show that dice who's boss.


Oh, and on the topic of Globe of Invulnerability, have you ever tried to dispel combat protections from a lich without a Heighten Spell feat or Mordenkainen's Disjunction? Yeah. Fun.


Anyhow, I get what you want to do, IWD mages don't have alot of this spell-trading action going on, either, they tend to either have lots of summons, or dimension door an inordinate amount of times, y'know, because no-one's counting how many level 4 spell-slots they have (oh sure, there's Lutzaen's Frequent Jaunt, but I can read battle-text).


So yeah, if you remove alot of the higher level ways mages have to defend themselves against both warriors -and- their peers (if you remove everything on your list, does a mage have a protection spell above level 4?) you'll have to give them some other means to defend themselves, I mean, besides the imbroglio of energies they use to melt everything.

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Ah, to be back in the days of Baldur's Gate. There was no breaching, or striking of spells, or piercings of shields, breaching, or trapping of spells, etc.--dispel magic was the alpha and omega.


Because this was the case, the only characters really powerful were thieves and fighters. When it's time to beat Sarevok, it was either "hide in shadows and backstab" or "summon monsters and shoot arrows". A wizard just wasn't powerful enough with a lightning bolt or level 4 spell to make any real progress.

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