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Strontium Dog

Minor ongoing critique

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I really like the spell_revisions mod but there are 1 or 2 things I don't understand. Here's the first one I can think of:- lightning bolt affecting just 1 individual; it was, IMO, far more realistic when it went through numerous individuals in a straight line. I suppose the 1-target-limit is designed to prevent the common exploit of targetting a lightning bolt so that it rebounds between 2 walls until it stops re length. However, that isn't a cheat, it's simply a clever way to deal with opponents; and, besides, vastly improved AI from SCS etc. has ensured that it's not as easy as before, to pick off opponents in this way.

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Wait, how does the AI avoid being in a small room with the PC?

Well, protection from lightning could be activated by the opposing spellcaster or if the doors are open on any side, the opponent could flee the room after being hit once.

 

Mind you, past a certain stage in the game, there are so many creatures with magic resistance or immunities, that the above isn't even necessary.

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Other notions:-

 

the shocking grasp should not be a one-off attack but should be a 1 round/level thing where any hand-attacks by the caster give off some electrical damage. It's a bit pointless to have a spell which can only damage through hitting an opponent, and then only work once - makes one avoid using it.

 

Same applies, IMO, to the energy drain spell. I reckon that since by 18th level the caster is already supposed to be far more powerful than a standard vampire anyway, that it should be OK to have the energy-draining effect(2 levels only per hit) lasting for 1 round/level, with it only working if the caster hits the target with a hand-attack of course.

 

I know this mod isn't usually for adding new spells but it's one of the few where it's easy to give suggestions. How about adding "Malek-Keth's Flame Fist" to the spell-revisions mod? - that was in 1 of the ad&d 2nd edition spell-books(which also featured the wild mage), and it involved needing to hit an opponent with a hand-attack and then the opponent would be enshrouded in flames all over the body for 1 round/level and would have to save each round to avoid the spell's effects, with others 5 ' nearby having to save to avoid being enshrouded by flame as well(useful against trolls). The Wall of Fire spell would be great as well since I don't want to have to use the unwieldy spellpack mod to extract it again in future games.

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Wait, how does the AI avoid being in a small room with the PC?

Well, protection from lightning could be activated by the opposing spellcaster or if the doors are open on any side, the opponent could flee the room after being hit once.

 

I don't think any of those things actually happen, or are even anywhere near optimal defenses against a pissy third level Lightning Bolt.

 

But, anyway, you have a point that removing the multiple targets eliminates some of the uniqueness of the spell. Maybe a cute alternative would be each bolt = 1d6 damage; save vs spell 1/2, hits everything in its path, bounces off walls, +1 bolt every two levels (max of 5 at level 10), random targetting, party friendly. What can I say, I like to see lots of fireworks to clean up low level mobs in dungeon corridors, if I want to kill a single tough enemy with a 3rd level spell, I'll use a real damage dealer like Flame Arrow or MMM.

Edited by Duckfeet

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1 other idea:- the black blade of disaster was brilliant in version 2 of spell-revisions but nowhere near as good in version 3. Granted, the black blade of disaster in version 3 did more damage re more effective use of disintegration, but the version 3 lacked the immunity to maze and imprisonment that version 2 added. Having just 1 spell that gives immunity to the imprisonment spell is a huge bonus as magic resistance has no effect in warding off that spell, and, IMO, one ought to have some means of defence against any particular spell, especially when facing a multitude of imprisonment-casting demi-liches, with all the extra mods etc.

 

Plus, the new pierce shield ought to have the same magic-resistance-reducing effect that it has in previous versions, and in vanilla.

 

Lastly, the sphere of chaos sphere with a wild magic effect was incredibly cool in version 2 but very lame in version 3. I agree that it was perhaps too powerful as a 7th level spell, but a wild magic sphere(-4?/ -6? to saving-throws) would be great for a level 9 spell.

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I'll try to catch up the discussion...

 

 

Shocking Grasp

Yep, I thought about it too and that's actually the same thing I suggested to do for Cause Wound serie. It's really difficult to make touch spells appealing and balanced at the same time...but I'll try to work on it.

 

 

Lightning Bolt

Meh, I'd do love to make it affect everyone on its path (a la Scorching Ray) but I don't know how to do it. Spellpack does something like that for Smashing Wave, but the end result doesn't look so good unfortunately, at least imo. Anyway, the thing is current solution is probably the only way to make it "AI compatibile", and proof is that only after this change (and only if SR is installed) SCS assign this spell to mages. You're either understimating the potential issues of vanilla's Lightning Bolt, or highly overstimating the capabilities of mod-enhanced AI. :p

 

P.S This is the best 1-target damaging spell for its lvl as it deals 10d8 points of electrical damage, and except demons there aren't so many creatures resistant to this type of damage.

 

 

Fireball

You mention this here, but this topic is more appropriate imo. I already discussed this with you, a low level damaging spell with such a large AoE and quick casting time can't really do more damage than it already does imo. Just to give you few examples:

* this spell can be put in a Spell Sequencer, and a non capped damaged output would allow you to have an instant casting 60d6 fireball

* its quick casting time makes it a devastating spell under Improved Alacrity as evenwith IR installed you can still obtain -3 casting speed, allowing you to cast a swarm of 5x fireballs (non-capped it would mean something like 100d6 ??? )

As Jarno says Fireball can be very useful even in ToB if properly handled (e.g. have a fire-immune character act as a tank and bombard him/her with fireballs). I actually think many players understimate this spell and prefer Flame Arrow simply because it's way more easy to use that spell at its full potential.

 

What I was thinking to do for V4 is to have Fireball keep its -2 save penalty and remove it from Flame Arrow. I was also asking myself if reducing its AoE from 30' to 20' would actually make it more useful...would it? :down:

 

P.S 3rd edition PnP would allow an Archmage (PrC) to cast party-friendly fireballs and similar spells, but I'm not sure this would be a great solution.

 

 

Sphere of Chaos

Then you may like to know I was going to suggest to add PnP Wildzone, a 8th lvl spell (Wild Mage only though) which causes wild surges in the area similarly to V2's Sphere of Chaos.

 

Anyway, have you actually used V3 Sphere of Chaos before stating it's "very lame"? It's undoubtedly "very powerful" considering it causes a lot of different mind-affecting effects in a large, party-friendly AoE, and targets must save EACH round (making it incredibly hard to fully resist unless under Chaotic Command).

 

 

Pierce Shield

Well, restoring the "lower magic resistance" effect would make Pierce Magic highly unappealing imo, and the breach-like ability is a quite outstanding boost on this spell considering it works on liches and rakshasas.

 

 

Black Blade of Disaster

If players really need an anti-Imprisonment spell I think another spell would be more appropriate than this, am I wrong?

 

 

Energy Drain

I'm really satisfied with the latest version of this spell and what you're suggesting would break any AI trying to use this spell as it can't know the spell creates a "weapon" instead of instantly affect the target. A 2 levels drained per hit would also be quite balance breaking, but as of now you probably know we have a radical different point of view when it comes to "balance" (what seems normal to you more often than not seems absurdly overpowered to me).

Edited by Demivrgvs

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Energy Drain

I'm really satisfied with the latest version of this spell and what you're suggesting would break any AI trying to use this spell as it can't know the spell creates a "weapon" instead of instantly affect the target. A 2 levels drained per hit would also be quite balance breaking, but as of now you probably know we have a radical different point of view when it comes to "balance" (what seems normal to you more often than not seems absurdly overpowered to me).

Speaking of which, I think vampires (there are plenty of them even in Athkatla!) draining 2 and 4 levels per hit are quite overpowered and "unbalanced" too. You see, your character is either protected from negative plane, or most certainly dead.

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Shocking Grasp

[/b]Yep, I thought about it too and that's actually the same thing I suggested to do for Cause Wound serie. It's really difficult to make touch spells appealing and balanced at the same time...but I'll try to work on it.

 

I don't see why it is unbalanced to allow a 1 round/level duration for touch spells. If you're concerned re fighter/mages easily landing numerous touch-spell-laden hits per turn , why not remove the no saving throw aspect from spells like harm/shocking grasp etc. and allow a -4 to saving-throws for each hit? With harm at 150hp damage per hit, of course.

 

At the moment, chill touch and shocking grasp really need a boost as they are otherwise practically useless, by comparison to color spray etc. Come to think of it, I'm not convinced that having a 22nd level limit for those affected by color spray is a good idea(I know they get still stunned for 1 round(?) but that means that most players will no longer want to use that spell after reaching TOB or thereabouts.

 

Lightning Bolt

Meh, I'd do love to make it affect everyone on its path (a la Scorching Ray) but I don't know how to do it. Spellpack does something like that for Smashing Wave, but the end result doesn't look so good unfortunately, at least imo. Anyway, the thing is current solution is probably the only way to make it "AI compatibile", and proof is that only after this change (and only if SR is installed) SCS assign this spell to mages. You're either understimating the potential issues of vanilla's Lightning Bolt, or highly overstimating the capabilities of mod-enhanced AI. :p

 

P.S This is the best 1-target damaging spell for its lvl as it deals 10d8 points of electrical damage, and except demons there aren't so many creatures resistant to this type of damage.

 

Damn. I'd deliberately excluded your lightning bolt version and made sure to keep the spell50 version thereof, instead. I had no idea that the SCS AI was still unable to handle long-term touch attacks or direct 1-path lightning bolts. So, it means my gameplay isn't so handicapped, but the variety of spells from hostiles will not be so interesting.

 

Fireball

You mention this here, but this topic is more appropriate imo. I already discussed this with you, a low level damaging spell with such a large AoE and quick casting time can't really do more damage than it already does imo. Just to give you few examples:

* this spell can be put in a Spell Sequencer, and a non capped damaged output would allow you to have an instant casting 60d6 fireball

* its quick casting time makes it a devastating spell under Improved Alacrity as evenwith IR installed you can still obtain -3 casting speed, allowing you to cast a swarm of 5x fireballs (non-capped it would mean something like 100d6 ??? )

As Jarno says Fireball can be very useful even in ToB if properly handled (e.g. have a fire-immune character act as a tank and bombard him/her with fireballs). I actually think many players understimate this spell and prefer Flame Arrow simply because it's way more easy to use that spell at its full potential.

 

What I was thinking to do for V4 is to have Fireball keep its -2 save penalty and remove it from Flame Arrow. I was also asking myself if reducing its AoE from 30' to 20' would actually make it more useful...would it? :down:

 

P.S 3rd edition PnP would allow an Archmage (PrC) to cast party-friendly fireballs and similar spells, but I'm not sure this would be a great solution.

 

The trouble is that, with capped spells, such high damage can only occur with specially-preparation spells like spell sequencer/chain contingency and the like, allowing 3 spells to be cast at a time. This means constant resting/cheating before each major room in the middle of a quest as spells either just run out due to poor effectiveness or because resting is required to bring back spells to load into a new spell sequencer/chain contingency etc.. Whereas my notion is that a mage should be able to hold his own for longer periods without the need for spell sequencers.

Well, no matter, I'm sticking to the spell50 version of fireball.

 

Sphere of Chaos

Then you may like to know I was going to suggest to add PnP Wildzone, a 8th lvl spell (Wild Mage only though) which causes wild surges in the area similarly to V2's Sphere of Chaos.

 

Anyway, have you actually used V3 Sphere of Chaos before stating it's "very lame"? It's undoubtedly "very powerful" considering it causes a lot of different mind-affecting effects in a large, party-friendly AoE, and targets must save EACH round (making it incredibly hard to fully resist unless under Chaotic Command).

Haven't tested it yet. I meant "very lame" as in it seems merely like a somewhat improved version of the chaos spell, with people becoming confused/berserk or asleep etc. The wildzone spell is absolutely fantastic as a notion. I preferred it as it affected all enemy spell-casters whereas the above presumably doesn't affect undead and the like. Anyway, it seems I very recently by mistake installed the version 3 over the version 2 of spell revisions so I now have no choice in the matter.

 

Pierce Shield

Well, restoring the "lower magic resistance" effect would make Pierce Magic highly unappealing imo, and the breach-like ability is a quite outstanding boost on this spell considering it works on liches and rakshasas.

 

Well, the vanilla version(and your version) of the 6th level spell ,pierce magic, already has a magic-resistance-lowering effect in addition to removing some protections, so I doubt it's overpowered for an 8th level spell to have 1, too.

 

Black Blade of Disaster

If players really need an anti-Imprisonment spell I think another spell would be more appropriate than this, am I wrong?

There is a (4th level?) spell called "dimensional anchor" in an AD&D 2nd edition book which prevents one being removed from that place or plane via banishment spells/hornung's random dispatcher(7th level wild mage spell available in wild mage bg2 spell-mod). I think the spell grants immunity to the teleport field spell as well, and it lasts 1 round per level.

 

Energy Drain

I'm really satisfied with the latest version of this spell and what you're suggesting would break any AI trying to use this spell as it can't know the spell creates a "weapon" instead of instantly affect the target. A 2 levels drained per hit would also be quite balance breaking, but as of now you probably know we have a radical different point of view when it comes to "balance" (what seems normal to you more often than not seems absurdly overpowered to me).

Again, as I mentioned above , a saving throw of -4 instead of no saving throw would make it more balanced. And why would the AI not be able to handle that? I'm no techie but surely getting the spell-caster to just switch to attacking with their hands, immediately after casting the spell, would work, and then, as soon as the spell fizzled out or, perhaps at a random point midway through the spell, it could then be forced to switch back to spell-casting

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Fireball

 

The trouble is that, with capped spells, such high damage can only occur with specially-preparation spells like spell sequencer/chain contingency and the like, allowing 3 spells to be cast at a time. This means constant resting/cheating before each major room in the middle of a quest as spells either just run out due to poor effectiveness or because resting is required to bring back spells to load into a new spell sequencer/chain contingency etc.. Whereas my notion is that a mage should be able to hold his own for longer periods without the need for spell sequencers.

Well, no matter, I'm sticking to the spell50 version of fireball.

The cap is there for a reason, and combining spells is usually the smart way to go.

And so what if the spell takes a few steps to prepare, see the use of the fireballs this way doubles the amount of spells you can use to kill the oppositions, as you don't always have to use the 8-9th level spell to kill every little goblin on high level, as you need to remember that this leaves the 8th and 9th level slots free to do other things... making the mage spell book able to last longer than 1 encounter. You just have to be smart about it and you can last very long... as you don't have to always be able to kill everything with direct damage spells, and make your group so it can do more than just kill enemies with spells.

 

With harm at 150hp damage per hit, of course.
So you can kill most monsters with one hit, and given that the players is able to have 10 hits per turn... Edited by Jarno Mikkola

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With scs1 and 2, and more powerful mod-added creatures it's not exactly easy to wipe out most hostiles with just 1 spell, anyway. even if is a spell50 version. And with maximum hit-points for all allies and hostiles(which I always add in as a component), it's even less likely.

 

 

I'm not solely interested in direct-damage spells, but, before I came across the spell revisions mod, the SCS1/2 AIs, and the BWP megamod-system, virtually all other spells were completely useless as most monsters past a certain point in the game, saved virtually every single time due to very low saving-throws. The spell revisions mod is one of the few mods which allows (non-damaging) spells to actually have a chance at an effect re( confusion/petrification etc.). I just like the notion of enhancing direct-damage spells (if only in line with casters)so as to avoid resting/cheating.

 

(Incidentally, I find it a bit of a double-standard that death knights are able to have 20d6 fireballs at their disposal(at will?) while mages can only go up to 10d6 fireballs).

 

As for the harm spells, I wouldn't mind the damage being reduced per hit, with the same saving throw at -4. of course, it would be even better if the AI could do touch attacks in a similiar way. One could add a disease-effect as well, in place of some of the 150hp damage.

 

My current game is now nearly completed, just have to bring in more party-members and edit their spell-books via shadowkeeper. Making up the spell-book that one wants is a major hassle. I had to carefully remove all the spell50 spells I didn't want, use /* and */ to cut out the spell_rev spells I didn't want, and then add to artificially add in some spl files into the override folder to get the wall of fire spell from the spellpack mod , minus the description, as otherwise I would have been forced to add in 3-4 other spells in the same component that would have harmed my game. Lastly, I had to laboriously go to shadowkeeper and edit my saved game until I was sure that I only chose the spell50(or spell-rev) version in the many cases where the spells were needlessly duplicated by name up to a dozen times. (I seem to recall I saw that several spells which were obviously spell-rev-altered ones, given their descriptions, appeared twice in shadowkeeper in the spells section.

 

What I really need is a mod which does what the spell50 mod aims to do re extending spell-length/damage by level, but only patches the spell-files rather than replacing them completely with a new spl-file.

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you have to keep in mind that not everyone that uses Spell Revisions is going to be using SCS/SCSII or other tactical mods or the maximum hit-points tweak for enemies. He can't base his changes around that assumption.

 

The reason Death Knights don't play by the rules as regards to max fireball damage is: the spell you're refering to isn't a regular fireball. It is the approximation of a unique ability they receive called Abyssal Blast. Only half of it is fire (max of 10d6, as a regular fireball), the rest (the other 10d6) is divine energy granted to them by whatever malevolent deity resurrected them as Undead. They should only be able to use the ability once per day, though.

 

I would guess that it is better to just overwrite the .spl files, rather than patch them. You can't count on a spell being in it's vanilla condition, and you can't account for every change to the spell other modders might produce. Take Flame Arrow for instance, if you assume that it is in it's vanilla condition, and the person has the SR implementation of the spell, it isn't going to work right.

 

I'd like some kind of option to extend the spells further myself, because I'm quite fond of playing solo. But Demi has pretty much said it will never happen within Spell Revisions. So I'm content to just work out a combination with Spell-50, and tinker with SR spells and extend the ones I can myself, manually.

 

 

One of the only things I find myself wishing for while playing (aside from more spells to play with :) ) is more Wish options. Things like being able to Lower Resist on everything in the area, or to be able to make the area dead to magic or a wild magic zone, and the ability to repair an area of those conditions.

Edited by AndrewB

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I presume I would have to use nearinfinity to edit spells manually? Is there some decent NearInfinity tutorial? The only online one I saw was far too vague. I'm surprised there isn't some easier shadowkeeeper-like way to edit spells.

 

The problem for me also is that the Exnem(?) spells I have are in 1 or 2 cases far too powerful(eg:- poltergeist(summoning golems/vampires by level 10 and summoning demi-liches after c. level 20) and bio(20 hp of poison damage per second for 15 seconds at level 20, no apparent save I think!) What I really need is a mod that extends spells up to level 50 re damage, gives -2 to -6 saving throws depending on the kind of spell, has more variety in beating the opposition(eg:- wild magic zone spells etc.), but doesn't give too much power/damage at low levels like the Exnem mod does, while also having the enemy spellcasters etc. AI improved considerably as well.

 

 

I'm not sure if this was an Exnem spell but I have a high-level spell in the spell-lists called "Medusa's stare" which has a -23 penalty to opponents' saving-throws and turns them to stone if they fail their save, which is just ridiculous. Now, if only the creator had been sensible and given only a saving-throw penalty of -2 to -6 to opponents, and made it last a few rounds, it would have been a great spell.

 

Whatever the case, I'm very pleased with the increased variety and abilities of the summoned monsters now that the spell revisions and improved summons mod, among others, have added in more unusual summons spells. They make the game so much more fun.

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A few more observations:- a long while back I suggested that since the gate spell allows one to summon a pit-fiend, that chaotic evil-aligned characters could instead summon a Balor with a neutral-evil-aligned character having a 50% chance each of summoning either a Balor or a pit-fiend(or perhaps a neutral-evil-aligned AD&D Ultroloth?). I think I was told at the time that a Balor was too powerful, yet a Balor, in AD&D hierarchical etc. terms, is equal in power to a pit-fiend. When I suggested that a marilith could be summoned instead as it's only 2nd in rank to a Balor, that was also dismissed as being too powerful for a 9th level spell. I was somewhat surprised, to say the least, then, when I saw the gate-summoned pit-fiend in the latest 3rd version of spell revisions, with hugely powerful abilities(150hp of damage via poison etc. etc.!). Any chance therefore of changing your mind re the above issue re incorrectly aligned PCs summoning a lawful-evil-aligned pit-fiend? It's just that I recently saw that my cacofiend spell has been altered by a mod so that it is now possible to summon a powerful nabassu instead of a glabrezu if one is chaotic-evil-aligned, with neutral-evil-aligned PCs getting a 50% chance of summoning either. Can't recall whether that was a spell-rev-altered spell or if some other mod was responsible.

 

Also, I think that grease, stinking cloud and similiar area-effect, delaying spells should have the same minor -2 to saving-throws penalty as the web spell does. It seems fair. Otherwise, high-level NPCs simply don't get affected by such spells, making them not worth casting, later on in the game.

 

The other thing I cannot understand is the protection from magic weapons spell puzzle. In the past, that spell was a 6th level one lasting 1 round per level, making the higher level spells protecting against +2/+3/+4/+5 weapons(improved mantle etc.) totally pointless. Now that some mod has changed the protection from magical weapons spell to last only 4 rounds, the other higher level spells like absolute immunity are still completely useless(at least I think the protection from magical weapons spell still protects against all magical weapons?). I would prefer it if the improved mantle and higher spells simply were replaced by different, more unusual spells instead.

 

Incidentally, I'm pretty sure I excluded the above nerfed 6th level spell from my own installation of the spell revisions mod. Which other mod nerfs/'weakens that spell to just 4 rounds? I'm hoping it's not an unavoidable mod like BG2Fixpack.

 

*Another suggestion. A different(?) mod added the blackmantle spell to my installation. This 6th level AD&D spell allows the caster to be enveloped in a black-coloured globe and any creature that hits it and fails their save gets covered by the black sphere and then fails to regenerate during the spell's duration. In AD&D I'm pretty sure the spell lasted 1 round per level, but this version of blackmantle only allows a duration of 1 round for every 4 levels, which makes it too weak. Any chance of including a better version of that spell?

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Try DLTCEP. I have both, and use them both often. I like DLTCEP better for Spells. It requires a little setup process, but it's very simple; there's a file included in the installation package called setup.txt that explains how to do it. I don't know of any specific spell mod/creation tutorials for NI or DLTCEP. Just open the program and start looking over spells that you are already familiar with; see how they are set up, discover what each setting in the editor dictates in-game, explore the various tabs. For the stock Bioware spells: the prefixes are SPPR for priest/divine spells, SPWI for the wizard spells, and SPIN for innates.

 

It doesn't surprise me at all that those spells came from Exnem's Vault. I've never tried it, but it's fairly common knowledge that it adds really overpowered stuff. Sir Billybob said as much when he repackaged it for Weidu: "The items are cool but way overbalanced. Most swords are +5. There is a +10 Ring of Protection. Call them what you will, some players love this stuff". Which is cool, if you like that kind of thing.

 

You need to remember that some of the spells you see in Shadowkeeper aren't PC spells. Some of them are creature spells, like the Abyssal Blast for Death Knights I mentioned earlier. That could be the Medusa creature's gaze attack you're looking at. But like I said: it wouldn't surprise me at all if Exnem's did contain such a spell.

 

Improved Summons is pretty cool (I use some of it's stuff also), but I have a major gripe about Summon Vampire and Summon Beholder. They're way too powerful for their spell level's (they should be more like 7/8, respectively), especially if you have SCSII also, which turns Beholders into a veritable chaingun of eye-rays. And I dislike that they replace SR's more-balanced summons for those levels (Summon Shadow, and.. something else, I forget)

Edited by AndrewB

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