Jump to content

Is Detectable Spells/Abilities Fair Play?


Recommended Posts



I'd like to stimulate a discussion around this question of mine.


I answer first: I would say it is fair play IF it is not abused. I don't think the enemy AI should detect any of the protections that I get by using a scroll or a potion. Same thing about specific kit abilities (ex. Barbarian Rage).


I believe that only spells of protection that are visually easily identifiable should be kept in consideration (Mirror Image, Globe of Invulnerability to name few).


At the same time, and I know that David here does not agree with me, I think there shouold be no feedback for the player about those same situations.


This is what I would call fair play.

Link to comment

If I'm understanding this correctly, you're proposing that the only spells cast by the party that the enemy should know of are the ones for which there is some visual cue? And likewise, the player should receive no information in the feedback text about the enemies buffs and spells they cast?


I think that would be interesting to offer as an option, as David sometimes does for certain features of SCS. I might enjoy trying the game that way. But I would expect that most players prefer to know what's being thrown at them, and the current format would by far be the most popular.

Link to comment

Yes, Lemernis. More or less that was what I meant to say.


I know that detecting protections on the player and its party is a good way to propose an interesting challenge.


This is because the enemy spellcasters (think of: mages, clerics, druids, special monsters) would not "waste" their rounds by casting spells that will be ineffective against you.


But is it fair? I don't think it is unless there is an objective hint to what is happening. It doesn't have to be just visual. It could be somatic or vocal or just a spellcraft check.


Probably what I am proposing is hard to implement and even impossible.


But I must say that between an abuse of the detectable spells/abilities and the absence of it, I would rather choose the latter. ;)


Why should my enemy know that I, two hours ago, have drunk a potion of Fire Resistance? (exemple)


Why should I, as player, know that one of my enemies have just drunk a potion of healing.


Show me the "Gulp!" text. Show me that my enemy is using one round not to fight but to drink or read a scroll (wonderfully done here, DavidW!) but do not tell me what the effects of that potions are. It is unfair. It's cheating to some extent.


At least this is my personal philosophy and between playing a BGT with SCS and without, I would always choose with (never install the Upgraded Kobolds though... :cry: )

Link to comment
Guest PetrusOctavianus

I basically agree with you, especially since the AI doesn't "know" which protections my guys have (it happily casts MM againsts Shielded characters) .


But the problem (for me) is that compared to PnP AD&D, Baldur's Gate is so ridicilously overpowered and down right "cheesy".

BG2 with all it's defensive spells, anti-spells, counter-spells, contingencies, chain contingencies is especially extreme (which is why I prefer the more straight forward, but still more tactical, IWD combat).

So with dozens of protection spells and 100 potions to choose from, how are you supposed to make an informed decision about what to do?

Often a mage is so cluttered with spells effects that it's hard to say which spells are affacting him. If there hadn't been such an *overabundance* of protection spells, it would have been easier.

Once you get Arrows of Dispelling all fights would start with shooting against enemy mages first, since they dispel *all* spell effects on the target.


So bottom line is that no feedback could work in BG1, but not in BG1 with SCS installed and BG2. With SCS and BG2 you really need feedback to make an informed decision, otherwise it's just too frustrating and that's no fun.

Link to comment

@Petrus: quick technical question - is SCS casting MM at shielded characters? If so, that's a bug.


On the general issue: as Petrus says, part of the reason SCS gives you lots of feedback is anti-frustration. It's plain annoying not to know what the relevant defences are or what to do about them, and it encourages metagaming / looking at the CRE files / whatever.


I also think the experience is somewhat cooler if you know that your enemy is doing 6 zillion points of damage per hit because he's drunk a Storm Giant Strength potion, or that your Confusion didn't catch him because he's drunk a potion of clarity, rather than just assuming it's his generic powers.


And I don't think it's particularly unrealistic. Potions and spells have distinctive magical auras which party mages can recognise, and they create distinctive physical effects (bulging muscles and the like). Or at least, you can imagine it that way.


The last reason is game balance: the bad guys can detect your spells, so it's only fair if you can detect theirs.


Which brings us to:


why can enemies in SCS (and a lot of enemy AI, actually) detect your buffs? I think a lot of the reason for this is technical: the engine doesn't distinguish very conveniently between a MR of 100 granted by a potion and by a visible spell. But for me the real reason is about realism: it's very unrealistic if the enemy wizard pumps Flame Arrow after Flame Arrow into someone immune to fire. Wouldn't they notice?


Now, there are ways around this. You can set things up so that they notice after a couple of rounds. But now things get technical again: doing this makes scripts much longer and more inefficient. That doesn't really matter on scripts like the ones in the vanilla game (which are usually 50-100 lines long) - but SCS scripts are sometimes 10,000-15,000 lines long, and I think that's about at the limit of what I can get away with without requiring every user to have a supercomputer...

Link to comment



I do understand your points on the matter. There are four possible situations: player gets feedback while enemy does not (or limited), player does not get feedback while enemy detects your protections, player and enemy do not get feedback and finally, your solution: player gets feedback and enemy detects your protection.


The most fair are obviously the last two. So SCS is indeed a fair AI Mod since it lets both parties have the same advantages.


But when it comes to realism, the only "good" solution would be the one you said possible but that would weigh down the code too much.


The second best is, in my opinion, the "player and enemy do not get feedback".


But this is just my opinion of course. Gameplay-wise, your decision is perhaps the best.


Thanks again for SCS! :cry:

Link to comment


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...