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Of Simulacrums, Projected Images and their exploits


aVENGER_(RR)

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Since their in-game descriptions don't specifically mention that these spells should duplicate items which are found inside the caster's quickslots (such as Wands or Scrolls) nor abilities granted by magical items (such as Charm Person from the Ring of Human Influence) I was wondering should the fixpack close these exploits? FYI, the matter can be resolved quite easily by editing SIMULACR.SPL and PROJIMAG.SPL and assigning the proper DisableButton(x) effects to them.

 

Personally, I think that removing these buttons makes perfect sense for Project Image since it's merely an illusion. OTOH, the BG2 implementation of Simulacrum is a bit odd, so I'm not 100% sure if it'd be justified in that case. I'd still remove it though, as the exploit allows for some serious cheese like having infinite amounts of Protection from Magic scrolls. Anyway, feel free to discuss this further.

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Without that effect I'd lose my favourite method of defeating Kangaxx:

1. Pickpocket Tolgerias to get the Ring of the Ram.

2. Kill Tolgerias in the Planar Sphere and get another Ring of the Ram

3. Equip both rings onto a random character plus Vhailor's Helm.

4. Use the Simulacrum ability of the Helm.

5. Use Protection from Magic/Undead scrolls on both of them.

6. Use all 4 Ring of the Ram attacks on Kangaxx and hope for the best.

 

For project image I think those things should be disabled as an illusion shouldn't be able to activate wands and the such. Also, the items on the illusion's person should also be considered illusionary and thus can't really have any special abilities.

 

As for Simalucrum, the description says that a duplicate of the caster is created. It doesn't mention any of the caster's equipment. From that the simulacrum should really be naked or perhaps have illusionary equipment on as with Project Image. I don't think they should be able to use any of the equipment (including weapons) because I think it's beyond the scope of the spell to duplicate items (even if for a short duration). You can't have a level 8 spell temporarily duplicating Crom Faeyr for example.

 

The spell description isn't much to go by so I guess it'd be better if we could find a P&P reference to go by.

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Wow...you are my personal hero! ;)

 

Never thought about it and if it works i think it should be considered a fix rather than a tweak. Anyway i'm gonna try it as soon as i can.

Furthmore there's one more thing: the simulacrum clone can't be dispelled but the"set colorglow solid effect"disappear with a succesful dispel making the clone appear just like the real one. Actually i rather prefer the clone without those effects at all (so that you can't guess which one is real)...but at least they should be undispellable.

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The spell description isn't much to go by so I guess it'd be better if we could find a P&P reference to go by.

 

Both spells work quite differently in PnP, and I didn't want to bring up the original versions because of the whole "BG2 != PnP AD&D" thing that seems to be the overwhelmingly prevalent line of thinking here. However, since you asked nicely:

 

Project Image

(Alteration, Illusion/Phantasm)

 

Range: 10 yds./level

Components: V, S, M

Duration: 1 rd./level

Casting Time: 6

Area of Effect: Special

Saving Throw: None

 

By means of this spell, the wizard creates a nonmaterial duplicate of himself, projecting it to any spot within spell range. This image performs actions decided by the wizard--walking, speaking, spellcasting--conforming to the actual actions of the wizard unless he concentrates on making it act differently (in which case the wizard is limited to half movement and no attacks).

 

The image can be dispelled only by means of a successful dispel magic spell (or upon command from the spellcaster); attacks pass harmlessly through it. The image must be within view of the wizard projecting it at all times, and if his sight is obstructed, the spell is broken. Note that if the wizard is invisible at the time the spell is cast, the image is also invisible until the caster's invisibility ends, though the wizard must still be able to see the image (by means of a detect invisibility spell or other method) to maintain the spell. If the wizard uses dimension door, teleport, plane shift, or a similar spell that breaks his line of vision, the project image spell ends. The material component of this spell is a small replica (doll) of the wizard.

 

Simulacrum

(Illusion/Phantasm)

 

Range: Touch

Components: V, S, M

Duration: Permanent

Casting Time: Special

Area of Effect: 1 creature

Saving Throw: None

 

By means of this spell, the wizard is able to create a duplicate of any creature. The duplicate appears to be exactly the same as the original, but there are differences: The simulacrum has only 51% to 60% (50% + 1d10%) of the hit points of the real creature, there are personality differences, there are areas of knowledge that the duplicate does not have, and a detect magic spell will instantly reveal it as a simulacrum, as will a true seeing spell. At all times the simulacrum remains under the absolute command of the wizard who created it. No special telepathic link exists, so command must be exercised in some other manner. The spell creates the form of the creature, but it is only a zombielike creation. A reincarnation spell must be used to give the duplicate a vital force, and a limited wish spell must be used to empower the duplicate with 40% to 65% (35% + 5 to 30%) of the knowledge and personality of the original. The level of the simulacrum, if any, is from 20% to 50% of that of the original creature.

 

The duplicate creature is formed from ice or snow. The spell is cast over the rough form and some piece of the creature to be duplicated must be placed inside the snow or ice. Additionally, the spell requires powdered ruby.

 

The simulacrum has no ability to become more powerful; it cannot increase its level or abilities. If destroyed, it reverts to snow and melts into nothingness. Damage to the simulacrum can be repaired by a complex process requiring at least one day, 100 gp per hit point, and a fully equipped laboratory.

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Also, I think that Projected Images and Mislead clones cast by Bards shouldn't have access to the bard song. Since disabling the Bard Song button can not be done, you could simply add effect #251 - "Change Bard Song Effect" to MISLEAD.SPL and PROJIMAG.SPL. Then just point the effect to a dummy .SPL file which does nothing and the illusionary bard songs will have no effect.

 

This should prevent the silly exploit of six Mislead clones singing in a choir with all of their bonuses stacking. Simulacrums are a different matter, since the spell description states that they have access to all of the caster's abilities (albeit at a lower level) and you can only have one Simulacrum at a time. Which reminds me, it would probably be a good idea to prevent Project Images and Simulacrums from spawning secondary clones as they tend to behave oddly.

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OK, the P&P references seem to basically agree with what I said above. Projected image shouldn't be able to do anything other than walk about and should be immune to damage. However I think doing that would allow more exploits than fixes since the AI in BG2 will just constantly attack the projected image. It shouldn't have any spellcasting abilities since it's just an illusion but the P&P reference seems to say that it can cast spells and it has that ability in BG2 so that's good enough for me. The image has no physical body and so can't play an instrument. It can speak which suggests it should be able to sing a bard song. This leaves the exploit open though so I don't really have a strong opinion either way on this.

 

As for the simulacrum. It can move and attack and has HP. Nowhere does it say that the spell is powerful enough to duplicate the items and so without any items, it can't use any item's special abilities. Also, attacking would be rather silly as it only has fists.

 

As for Projected Image/Simulacrum making more copies of themselves I don't see any reason why they can't. Simulacrum's aren't allowed due to the BG2 spell description so that's fine by me. Projected Image should be able to as they can cast spells but the wizard would have to command the first one to give a specific command to the second one and so on so I think it would get a bit crazy in the end. Best to just disable that.

 

Summary:

Projected Image: Can't attack; can move; can cast spells; bard song's debateable; no items and therefore no item abilities; can't Project another Image but can Mislead

Simulacrum: Can attack; can move; can cast spells; bard song's debateable; no items and therefore no item abilities; can't use another Simulacrum but can Project Image and Mislead.

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Since their in-game descriptions don't specifically mention that these spells should duplicate items which are found inside the caster's quickslots (such as Wands or Scrolls) nor abilities granted by magical items (such as Charm Person from the Ring of Human Influence) I was wondering should the fixpack close these exploits? FYI, the matter can be resolved quite easily by editing SIMULACR.SPL and PROJIMAG.SPL and assigning the proper DisableButton(x) effects to them.

 

Personally, I think that removing these buttons makes perfect sense for Project Image since it's merely an illusion. OTOH, the BG2 implementation of Simulacrum is a bit odd, so I'm not 100% sure if it'd be justified in that case. I'd still remove it though, as the exploit allows for some serious cheese like having infinite amounts of Protection from Magic scrolls. Anyway, feel free to discuss this further.

This probably needs a lot of discussion.

 

For Project Image, item usage would seem to be verboten as the image isn't supposed to be able to attack. I've actually got no problem with bard song, as I feel it's closer to magic or speech (which are allowed). Mislead, though, I would consider bard song to be disallowed.

 

For simulacrum, I don't feel there's enough to say what the devs wanted and would be uncomfortable with making changes.

 

Furthmore there's one more thing: the simulacrum clone can't be dispelled but the"set colorglow solid effect"disappear with a succesful dispel making the clone appear just like the real one. Actually i rather prefer the clone without those effects at all (so that you can't guess which one is real)...but at least they should be undispellable.

This should be fixed.

 

Both spells work quite differently in PnP, and I didn't want to bring up the original versions because of the whole "BG2 != PnP AD&D" thing that seems to be the overwhelmingly prevalent line of thinking here.

It's the overwhelmingly prevalent line of thinking here because it was the overwhelmingly prevalent line of thinking for the developers.

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Both spells work quite differently in PnP, and I didn't want to bring up the original versions because of the whole "BG2 != PnP AD&D" thing that seems to be the overwhelmingly prevalent line of thinking here.

It's the overwhelmingly prevalent line of thinking here because it was the overwhelmingly prevalent line of thinking for the developers.

 

Should have added a smiley there, that statement was supposed to be a light hearted jab rather than a vicious stab at the fixpack policy. :) Heh, I guess it may not be so clear at the first glance.

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I would strongly vote for the Simulacrum to not have any items at its disposal. Mostly that would involve disabling the item abilities button but also destroying any equipped weapons. It could be argued that the items are only re-created for a short duration but sometimes we're talking about duplicating artifacts which isn't supposed to be possible without epic level magic.

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Because dev intent behind the behavior of these spells is unknown, and since many scripts (mod or otherwise) depend on the spells as is, I can't imagine adding something so disruptive to Core Fixes.

 

A new OBC component, OTOH, would do nicely. Gimme a wish list of options folks want to see. No equipment (just inventory, or complete including armor and weapon), disabling of buttons/abilites, etc.?

 

Furthmore there's one more thing: the simulacrum clone can't be dispelled but the"set colorglow solid effect"disappear with a succesful dispel making the clone appear just like the real one. Actually i rather prefer the clone without those effects at all (so that you can't guess which one is real)...but at least they should be undispellable.

 

Added to existing simulacr.spl patch (old code!):

 

// fixes expolit of casting restore on a simulcrum
COPY_EXISTING ~simulacr.spl~ ~override~
 READ_LONG  0x64 "abil_off"
 READ_SHORT 0x68 "abil_num"
 READ_LONG  0x6a "fx_off"
 SET "loops" = 0
 SET "delta" = 0
 WHILE ("%loops%" < "%abil_num%") BEGIN
READ_SHORT ("%abil_off%" + 0x1e + (0x28 * "%loops%")) "abil_fx_num"
READ_SHORT ("%abil_off%" + 0x20 + (0x28 * "%loops%")) "abil_fx_idx"
// first fix dispellability of existing effects
FOR (index2 = 0; index2 < abil_fx_num; index2 = index2 + 1) BEGIN
  WRITE_BYTE ("%fx_off%" + 0x0d + (("%index2%" + "%abil_fx_idx%") * 0x30)) 0   // no dispel/bypass resistance
END
SET "abil_fx_idx" = ("%abil_fx_idx%" + "%delta%")
WRITE_SHORT ("%abil_off%" + 0x20 + (0x28 * "%loops%")) "%abil_fx_idx%"
INSERT_BYTES  ("%fx_off%" +		("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) 0x30		  // new effect
  WRITE_SHORT ("%fx_off%" +		("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) 206		   // spell immunity
  WRITE_ASCII ("%fx_off%" + 0x14 + ("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) ~SPWISH46~ #8 // spell resref
INSERT_BYTES  ("%fx_off%" +		("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) 0x30		  // new effect
  WRITE_SHORT ("%fx_off%" +		("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) 206		   // spell immunity
  WRITE_ASCII ("%fx_off%" + 0x14 + ("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) ~SPWISH07~ #8 // spell resref
INSERT_BYTES  ("%fx_off%" +		("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) 0x30		  // new effect
  WRITE_SHORT ("%fx_off%" +		("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) 206		   // spell immunity
  WRITE_ASCII ("%fx_off%" + 0x14 + ("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) ~SPPR713~ #8  // spell resref
INSERT_BYTES  ("%fx_off%" +		("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) 0x30		  // new effect
  WRITE_SHORT ("%fx_off%" +		("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) 206		   // spell immunity
  WRITE_ASCII ("%fx_off%" + 0x14 + ("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) ~SPPR417~ #8  // spell resref
INSERT_BYTES  ("%fx_off%" +		("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) 0x30		  // new effect
  WRITE_SHORT ("%fx_off%" +		("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) 101		   // immunity to effect
  WRITE_LONG  ("%fx_off%" + 0x08 + ("%abil_fx_idx%" * 0x30)) 224		   // restoration
FOR (index = 0x05; index > 0x00; index = index - 0x01) BEGIN
  WRITE_BYTE ("%fx_off%" + 0x02 + (("%index%" + "%abil_fx_idx%" - 1) * 0x30)) 1   // target: self
  WRITE_BYTE ("%fx_off%" + 0x0d + (("%index%" + "%abil_fx_idx%" - 1) * 0x30)) 0   // no dispel/bypass resistance
  WRITE_LONG ("%fx_off%" + 0x0e + (("%index%" + "%abil_fx_idx%" - 1) * 0x30)) 84  // duration
  WRITE_BYTE ("%fx_off%" + 0x12 + (("%index%" + "%abil_fx_idx%" - 1) * 0x30)) 100 // probability
END
SET "delta1" = 5
SET "delta" = ("%delta%" + "%delta1%")
WRITE_SHORT ("%abil_off%" + 0x1e + (0x28 * "%loops%")) ("%abil_fx_num%" + "%delta1%")
SET "loops" = ("%loops%" + 1)
 END
 BUT_ONLY_IF_IT_CHANGES

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Since Bioware's version of the Simulacrum is quite different from the PnP implementation, and as many tactical mods tend to use Simulacrum, I'd vote for simply disabling the quickslot & item ability buttons on all clones and preventing Misleads from singing the bard song.

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No equipment (just inventory, or complete including armor and weapon), disabling of buttons/abilites

You can't access a Simulacrum's inventory anyway as far as I know so those items can be ignored. Only the equipped items (and quick slots) need to be removed. Disabling of the item special ability button shouldn't be necessary if everything equipped is destroyed. Bard song I think we agreed was fine (on all but Mislead) and spells are obviously fine.

 

Should we allow thief abilities? Would a Simulacrum have the knowledge to use them? Projected Image doesn't have a material presence and so can't pick a lock but perhaps it could spot a trap? Is there two-way communication between Projected Image/Simulacrum? If not then they have no way of telling the caster there's a trap present.

 

What about Turn Undead? How does that even work?

 

Since Bioware's version of the Simulacrum is quite different from the PnP implementation, and as many tactical mods tend to use Simulacrum, I'd vote for simply disabling the quickslot & item ability buttons on all clones

Since the BG2 spell descriptions are so ambiguous and vague, I'm happy to go with that since I don't have a particularly strong opinion either way.

 

One thing I've just thought of is that Vhailor's Helm casts Simulacrum. Since it's a helmet it was probably designed for fighter-type classes (maybe clerics?). Any Simulacrum of a fighter is a bit useless with no weapons or armour. I guess this suggests developer intent in that Simulacrum does have items.

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Should we allow thief abilities? Would a Simulacrum have the knowledge to use them? Projected Image doesn't have a material presence and so can't pick a lock but perhaps it could spot a trap? Is there two-way communication between Projected Image/Simulacrum? If not then they have no way of telling the caster there's a trap present.

 

Good point. I'd suggest removing all thieving buttons (i.e. stealth, find traps, pick pockets) and special abilities (i.e. shapeshift, set snares...etc.) as well as Turn Undead from Mislead and Project Image since they are pure illusions.

 

OTOH, Bioware's Simulacrum seems to be something between a powerful illusion and a full fledged magical clone so I'd leave all of the caster's original abilities available to it as well.

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