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DavidW

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Hi David

 

Am playing through SCS2 again with an assassin dualled to fighter (solo). Generally fun (if a shade difficult), so thanks once more for your efforts. Couple of things:

 

-have you changed any respawning? Because of the enhanced difficulty, I had to leave and revisit the D'Arnise keep a few times, and every time I came back there seemed to be respawned gangs of trolls hanging about. I don't seem to recall it being quite so bad in vanilla BG2, but I guess I didn't leave/return so many times. Personally I would prefer an option to turn respawns on/off (like with the Easytutu spawn randomizer) - I like areas which I clear to stay clear!

 

-the remove items from party in Spellhold component. Hmm, not my cup of tea at all I'm afraid. I like the idea as a concept (of course Irenicus/Bodhi would steal your cool items, why wouldn't they?), but

 

1/ fighting Bhaal with a piddling few weapons and crap armour just meant I ran away a lot, firing unenchanted arrows which did 1-2 damage. Not much fun I'm afraid. I mean, it's my dream - can't I dream that I kept my equipment? :)

2/ after the dream ends, being in Spellhold with no equipment is a bit of a joke. I just about managed to kill the gang of goblins, but then the Ruhk (which IIRC is guarding the ONLY damn suit of armour on the level) kills me in 2 seconds. I get the sneaking suspicion that if I was a monk or mage, I'd have much less trouble, but my poor assassin-fighter was toast. I might have perservered, but as I also have the UB component (cat & mouse in Spellhold) I can't even rest without being hassled by vampires (who I can't hit). Yeah, I know, it's my fault for soloing, but I can't help feeling I'm being persecuted for being the wrong class...

 

If you want suggestions for improvement, I would say to allow the protagonist to keep his gear in the dream sequence, and for afterwards, either improve the stock of items lying around Spellhold (so the protagonist/party can at least get properly armed and armoured) or do something like scatter the confiscated items randomly around the various chests in Spellhold (perhaps as part of Bodhi's "hide and seek" game...)? Just a thought.

 

cheers

 

coaster

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Hi,

 

Thanks for that. As far as the trolls are concerned: no, I haven't touched it.

 

I like the idea of the protagonist keeping their equipment in the dream in principle... there might be some technical difficulties though. Alternately I could add better generic equipment to the dream - the battle with Bhaal isn't exactly what I'd call tactically interesting, so I was just giving out equipment to make it viable. Perhaps I need more.

 

As for the post-dream bit: you're the first person I've had feedback from so far, actually. I'd like to hear how it works for a party before changing anything (maybe this is just one component that doesn't work so well solo.)

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If you want suggestions for improvement, I would say to allow the protagonist to keep his gear in the dream sequence, and for afterwards, either improve the stock of items lying around Spellhold (so the protagonist/party can at least get properly armed and armoured) or do something like scatter the confiscated items randomly around the various chests in Spellhold (perhaps as part of Bodhi's "hide and seek" game...)? Just a thought.
I don't like the idea of the confiscated equipment lying around Spellhold, but some more generic equipment lying around could be understandable. Maybe it's just me but i think soloing characters deserve to find this component incredibily difficult! :)

I haven't played the UB's hide and seek component because of a reported bug/incompatibility but i quite like the idea, i can think of several other places where camping and sleeping could be made more hazardous (De'Arnise Keep, escaping Mind Flyer city, ...).

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Hi David

 

I found SCSII to be enjoyable, for the most part. However due to a bug in Abazigal's lair (CTD when the water elementals spawn), I uninstalled the mod before completing the last bit of the game. I see that is fixed in v3, but I could have sworn I used v4, or v3 at the very least, it wasn't that long ago (around xmas).

 

EDIT: To clarify a bit; I generally try to avoid installing software (and the like) until it's matured. In addition, I have no recollection of installing SCSII with as low a version number as 2, but after reading the change log, I see more than one issue that I experienced which was changed in v3 (eg. the sewer adventurers). As such, certain elements in this post and my other one may need to be taken with a grain of salt. Apologies for that.

 

But I'd be happy to offer some opinions based on what I experienced.

 

1. I don't know how you've done the whole randomisation of the spell repertoire for spell casters, but I noticed that some spell casters (including one of the liches guarding Kangaxx' remains) only cast combat protections in their start-of-battle sequence (contingencies, sequencers etc). No spell protections at all. While I don't have a problem with it as such, it feels a bit wrong to be able to chunk them after just one Breach. That's not what I installed SCSII for, after all :D

Overall, however, I think you've done a very good job at improving spellcasters (with one further caveat, see point #2). EDIT#2: The battle against Zallanora and entourage was one of the best in the entire game, I think.

 

2. The whole deal with some mages running around and just lobbing the occasional Melf's Meteor at my spell casters doesn't sit well with me. Maybe it's just because having spells interrupted annoys me, but I don't see how it's anything but a fundamentally flawed tactic (from the mage's PoV). Sure, you have the occasional spell disrupted, but other than that, the mage doesn't accomplish anything. Just working towards sabotaging the efforts of your opponent is not a good way to win, you need a plan of your own as well.

 

3. Improved Fiends.

Vorpal weapons are seriously not fun (eg. final battle in SoA), at least not in my opinion.

The whole deal with Protection from Evil is likewise a bit of a turn-off, in my opinion.

I can see where you are coming from in making those changes, but I'd still like to see enemy mages playing by the same rules as you do.

 

4. HLAs.

I don't know if you've simply added them to every character meeting the level requirement in vanilla BGII, but I wouldn't mind seeing some middle ground between

A) your party are the only ones with HLAs and

B) (what feels like) every Tom, Dick and Harry has them.

But as I said, this may really be an issue between me and ToB.

 

Keep up the good work :)

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Hi David

 

I found SCSII to be enjoyable, for the most part. However due to a bug in Abazigal's lair (CTD when the water elementals spawn), I uninstalled the mod before completing the last bit of the game. I see that is fixed in v3, but I could have sworn I used v4, or v3 at the very least, it wasn't that long ago (around xmas).

v3 came out in January, so I suspect you were probably on v2.

 

EDIT: To clarify a bit; I generally try to avoid installing software (and the like) until it's matured. In addition, I have no recollection of installing SCSII with as low a version number as 2, but after reading the change log, I see more than one issue that I experienced which was changed in v3 (eg. the sewer adventurers). As such, certain elements in this post and my other one may need to be taken with a grain of salt. Apologies for that.

Not a problem.

 

1. I don't know how you've done the whole randomisation of the spell repertoire for spell casters, but I noticed that some spell casters (including one of the liches guarding Kangaxx' remains) only cast combat protections in their start-of-battle sequence (contingencies, sequencers etc). No spell protections at all. While I don't have a problem with it as such, it feels a bit wrong to be able to chunk them after just one Breach. That's not what I installed SCSII for, after all :)

Okay, sounds like I ought to look at the sequencer randomizer - there's only a certain amount I can do without the workload going mad, but I can probably improve it a bit. What level of prebuffing have you got installed? (Liches like the ones guarding Kangaxx ought to get autocast defences on the first two settings.)

 

Overall, however, I think you've done a very good job at improving spellcasters (with one further caveat, see point #2). EDIT#2: The battle against Zallanora and entourage was one of the best in the entire game, I think.

 

2. The whole deal with some mages running around and just lobbing the occasional Melf's Meteor at my spell casters doesn't sit well with me. Maybe it's just because having spells interrupted annoys me, but I don't see how it's anything but a fundamentally flawed tactic (from the mage's PoV). Sure, you have the occasional spell disrupted, but other than that, the mage doesn't accomplish anything. Just working towards sabotaging the efforts of your opponent is not a good way to win, you need a plan of your own as well.

Unless something's going wrong, they're only lobbing Melfs while waiting to be able to cast another spell. If you cast, say, a Power Word: Stun then there's about five seconds before you can cast again. SCSII uses that window to chuck meteors. Due to a limitation in how the engine works, sometimes they'll spend a second or two longer doing it than they should, but they should still be casting spells at a rate of about one per round. If that's not happening, it's either (i) a bug, or (ii) because they haven't got any spells worth casting - perhaps because you're too shielded for them to be able to affect you, in some cases.

 

3. Improved Fiends.

Vorpal weapons are seriously not fun (eg. final battle in SoA), at least not in my opinion.

I'm reluctant to get rid of it entirely (it's in vanilla ToB, and in PnP), but I'll have another look at the percentage chance. Possibly it's too high. (Bear in mind that Death Ward can block it: they'll try to dispel it, of course, but that's all part of the fun...)

The whole deal with Protection from Evil is likewise a bit of a turn-off, in my opinion.

I can see where you are coming from in making those changes, but I'd still like to see enemy mages playing by the same rules as you do.

It's a difficult one. (And one that doesn't directly affect me in practice: I play goody-two-shoes characters who wouldn't summon demons anyway). Game-engine limitations mean it's very difficult to script round the existing functionality. I suppose I could make player versions that Pro/Evil doesn't affect, if the worry really is double standards.

 

4. HLAs.

I don't know if you've simply added them to every character meeting the level requirement in vanilla BGII, but I wouldn't mind seeing some middle ground between

A) your party are the only ones with HLAs and

B) (what feels like) every Tom, Dick and Harry has them.

But as I said, this may really be an issue between me and ToB.

 

For mage and priest HLAs, this should be there already. You can choose to have HLAs in ToB only or through the game, and you can choose whether to have them for anyone who meets the level requirements or only for special opponents.

 

SPOILER list: "special opponents" means :

 

ToB mages: Yaga-Shura's lieutenant; Sendai and her statues; the Skeleton Mage; the fire giant mages; Karun the Black; the Hell Trial form of Irenicus; Semaj; Draconis; Illasera (non-Ascension version); Iycanth the Mad; all named liches.

 

ToB priests: Yaga-Shura's lieutenant; Sendai and her statues; the Skeleton Priest; Nyalee; Berenn; Ameralis Zauviir.

 

SoA mages: Alchra Diagott; Suneer; Irenicus (all forms); Shangalar; the Shade Lich; the Elemental Lich; Layene; Kangaxx the Lich; Lagole Gon.

SoA priests: Matron Mother Ardulace, Stalman, Hindra Jae'llat

 

Or do you mean fighter HLAs? These are given out to anyone who meets the level requirements, I think (in practice this means almost only people in ToB) - do you think they should be more stringent requirements?

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Or do you mean fighter HLAs? These are given out to anyone who meets the level requirements, I think (in practice this means almost only people in ToB) - do you think they should be more stringent requirements?

 

I just noticed that some of the characters from Xan's quests get fighter HLAs and one mage even got a nasty 3x ADHW chain contingency. Since these are early game quests, I suppose that this was not intended and I assume the characters in question might have been accidentally flagged as level 20. I've cross posted this on the Xan forum at PPG and will double check with Kulyok.

 

Also, I seem to recall that in the unmodded game, Dedral (ARNWAR07.CRE) one of Aran Linvail's lieutenants is flagged as a level 20 fighter so he might get those HLAs as well. Unfortunately, I can't test this in practice since I use a custom (toned down) version of him in RR and give him my own AI script. Anyway, the party faces him in Chapter 3 as a part of Bodhi's final task, so having him use HLAs at that point might be too much.

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There is something I'm always wondering about. When reading the information regarding unmodified villains there is the point called "demiliches". Do you have any plans about those in the (near) future? Given that they are something "more" than your standart lich it's quite sad to see demiliches - well, especially Kangaxx - reduced to a skull which can only cast Imprisoment over and over while liches are powerful spellcasters. How about "at least" applying basic mage scripts to them? Anything specific could be added in later versions, if ever. Since I'm really enjoying battling SCSII mages this might be a nice addition. On other hand I can understand when you're not feeling like writing and testing long, complicated scripts for about two enemies. Just a thought about the mage related content :)

 

At the moment I think I'll stick to Tactics version of the Kangaxx battle. It should (maybe) work if installed before SCSII, correct?

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Agree wholeheartedly with the above. The Demilich in WK was also a bit of a let down. One SI:Abjuration and he's finished.

 

I'd like a demilich to be...well, like a lich, but with a few extra spell slots per level, high damage resistance (do they have this already? A floating skull ought to be fairly robust, there are no limbs to hack off for a start :) ) and perhaps they can violate the general rule that no Imprisonments are cast on the protagonist...not sure how this squares with P&P demiliches though!

 

BTW David -

 

SPOILER

 

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is the Mind Flayer (Mithykyl?) in Sendai's lair scripted to fire off Imprisonments, possibly as an innate power rather than a spell? I know that mages are not supposed to imprison the PC in SCS2, but one of the goons in the mind flayer ambush - I assume it was Mithykyl - seemed to be firing imprisonments at me (I think it was imprisonment rather than maze, but it was kind of hard to tell with a solo char).

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Note that Demiliches are handled a bit differently from regular Liches in PnP AD&D.

 

Demilich

 

CLIMATE/TERRAIN: Any

FREQUENCY: Very rare

ORGANIZATION: Solitary

ACTIVITY CYCLE: See below

DIET: Nil

INTELLIGENCE: Supra-genius (19-20)

TREASURE: Z

ALIGNMENT: Any evil

NO. APPEARING: 1

ARMOR CLASS: See below

MOVEMENT: See below

HIT DICE: See below

THAC0: 9

NO. OF ATTACKS: See below

DAMAGE/ATTACK: See below

SPECIAL ATTACKS: See below

SPECIAL DEFENSES: See below

MAGIC RESISTANCE: See below

SIZE: M (6' tall)

MORALE: Fanatic (17-18)

XP VALUE: 10,000

 

 

The demilich is not, as the name implies, a weaker form of the lich. Rather, it is the stage into which a lich will eventually evolve as the power which has sustained its physical form gradually begins to fail. In most cases, all that remains of a demilich's body are a skull, some bones, and a pile of dust.

When it has learned all that it feels it can in its undead life, the lich will continue its quest for power in strange planes unknown to even the wisest of sages. Since it has no use for its physical body at this point, the lich leaves it to decay as it should have done centuries ago.

 

If the final resting place of a demilich's remains are entered, the dust which was once its body will rise up and assume a man-like shape. In the case of the oldest demiliches (25%), the shape will advance and threaten, but dissipate without attacking in 3 rounds unless attacked. Younger demiliches (75%) still retain a link to their remains, however, and will form with the powers of a wraith. This dust form cannot be turned. In addition, it can store energy from attacks and use this power to engage its foes. If the dust form is attacked, each point of damage which is delivered to it is converted to an energy point. Since the demilich will fall back and seem to suffer injury from each attack (though none is actually inflicted), its attackers are likely to press on in their attempts to destroy it. Once the demilich has acquired 50 energy points, it will assume a manifestation which looks much like the lich's earlier undead form and has the powers and abilities of a ghost, but which cannot be turned.

 

If anyone touches the skull it will rise into the air and turn to face the most powerful of the intruders (a spell user will be chosen over a non-spell user). Instantly, it unleashes a howl which acts as a death ray, affecting all creatures within a 20' radius of the skull. Those who fail to save vs. death are permanently dead. On the next round, the demilich will employ another manner of attack. In order to attain the status of a demilich, a lich must have replaced 5-8 (1d4+4) of its teeth with gems. Each of these gems now serves as a powerful magical device which can trap the soul of its adversaries. The physical body of someone hit with the demilich's spell collapses and rots away in a single round. Once it has drained the life essence from the most powerful member of the party, the skull sinks back to the floor. If it continues to be challenged, the demilich can repeat this attack until all of its gems are filled. An amulet of life protection will prevail over the gem, but the character's body will perish regardless.

 

In addition to the attacks mentioned above, a demilich can also pronounce a powerful curse on those who disturb it. These can be so mighty as to include: always being hit by one's enemies, never making a saving throw, or the inability to acquire new experience points. Demilich curses can be overcome with a remove curse, but the victim loses one point of charisma permanently when the curse is removed. The skull of a demilich is Armor Class -6 and has 50 hit points. It can be affected by spells in only a few ways: a forget spell will cause it to sink down without attacking (either by howling or draining a soul), a dispel evil will do 5-8 (1d4+4) points of damage to it, a shatter spell will inflict 3-18 (3d6) points of damage to it, a holy word pronounced against it will deliver 5-30 (5d6) points of damage, and a power word kill spell cast by an ethereal or astral wizard will cause the skull to shatter (destroying it).

 

Most weapons will be unable to harm the skull of a demilich, but there are exceptions. A fighter or ranger with a vorpal sword, sword of sharpness, sword +5, or vorpal weapon can inflict normal damage on the skull, as can a paladin with a vorpal or +4 weapon. Further, any character with a +4 or better weapon or a mace of disruption can inflict 1 point of damage to the skull each time he strikes it. Upon the destruction of the skull, those who have been trapped inside the gems must make a saving throw vs. spell. Those who fail are lost forever, having been consumed by the demilich to power its magical nature. If the character survives, the gem glows with a faint inner light, and true seeing will reveal a tiny figure trapped within. If the throw is made the soul can be freed by simply crushing the gem. A new body must be within 10 yards for the soul to enter or it will be lost. Such a body might be a clone or simulacrum. (See spells of those names.) If the fragments of the destroyed skull are not destroyed by immersion in holy water and the casting of a dispel magic the demilich will reform in 1-10 days.

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I just noticed that some of the characters from Xan's quests get fighter HLAs and one mage even got a nasty 3x ADHW chain contingency. Since these are early game quests, I suppose that this was not intended and I assume the characters in question might have been accidentally flagged as level 20. I've cross posted this on the Xan forum at PPG and will double check with Kulyok.

 

Also, I seem to recall that in the unmodded game, Dedral (ARNWAR07.CRE) one of Aran Linvail's lieutenants is flagged as a level 20 fighter so he might get those HLAs as well. Unfortunately, I can't test this in practice since I use a custom (toned down) version of him in RR and give him my own AI script. Anyway, the party faces him in Chapter 3 as a part of Bodhi's final task, so having him use HLAs at that point might be too much.

 

I think I ought to stop auto-granting fighter HLAs until ToB and WK; I'll add that for the next version. (I think the only reason I didn't bother originally was that there are so few high-level fighters in SoA - but you're right, there are some.)

 

I don't actually use 3xADHW chain contingencies (basically because they either do nothing if the party is appropriately protected, or vapourize them if they're not, so I'm not persuaded they add much except extra reloads). So if you really did get 3xADHW, I think it must be another mod (though I could be misremembering).

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I'll give some thought to demiliches. Is there a consensus that giving them lots of wizard spells is a good idea, then?

 

(& yes, incidentally: if you install Tactics Kangaxx before SCSII, I'm pretty sure you'll get the Tactics version of his Demilich incarnation.)

 

Re Mithykyl: it's maze, not imprisonment. I'd intended, but never got round, to having a console option to disable Maze so soloers are immune... having said that, you do get a saving throw against illithid Mazes (in SCSII, at any rate) and if you start disabling everything that's instant death for soloers it gets a bit out of hand. Thoughts welcomed.

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I don't actually use 3xADHW chain contingencies (basically because they either do nothing if the party is appropriately protected, or vapourize them if they're not, so I'm not persuaded they add much except extra reloads). So if you really did get 3xADHW, I think it must be another mod (though I could be misremembering).

 

It could have been a single ADHW + something else too. I can't say for sure since I didn't have time to check the combat log because my protagonist promptly kicked the bucket and the contingency changed after I reloaded.

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