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improved vampires drink blood ability


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3rd ed? really? what's next, feats? :)
Vanilla's Tanova is a conjurer, do you want to complain about that too? Live with the fact that BG is a cross between 2nd and 3rd edition, and if you're not convinced about that because you strictly follow AD&D gods like Miloch than live with the fact that for me and David D&D "means some hybrid of 2nd and 3rd edition".

If by cross you mean, the vast majority of it is 2E, then I agree. Note that this particular issue is irrelevant to modders going 2E or 3E in their own mods as it suits their whims.

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reversed and not quoting.

 

the point, like with beholder telekinesis, is there are cleverer ways to increase a challenge without resorting to godmode abilities like uncounterable CON drain, something that is more apt in Tactics mod or IAnvil.

 

Actually, I think the beholder telekinesis is fairly cheap. It was making the best of a bad deal.

 

CON drain is powerful enough that it might as well be the default ability, since it is at least as effective as level drain against fighter types (as intended) but even moreso against non-fighters who likely don't have a CON over 10 in the first place and are going to be hit at a much higher rate.

This argument I hear. The space I'm looking for is for an ability that's less effective than level drain but still nasty. My rationale for thinking CON drain fits that category is that its intermediate effects aren't as serious as level drain.

 

playtesting was brief, but unless there's some absolutely brand new mechanic introduced, playtesting is more for confirmation than research, wouldn't you say? reading the scripts (actually the baf/ssl is easier) and examining effects in NI is better for research.

 

Absolutely not. The issue is and has to be, how does this actually play out? Does modification XYZ actually make a given battle ridiculously hard / boringly easy, or is it about right? Of course, one can make educated guesses based on theory, but ultimately, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

 

i assumed the context was to use abilities to their maximum and to not let the AI cheat

 

Obviously that's not the context, because obviously vampires don't have a blood drain ability in 2nd edition. But SCS has always featured some components that modify in-game abilities (consider, for instance, the Improved Shade Lord, the Wolf of Ulcaster, the Improved Fiends, Nyalee's mirror, Irenicus's cloning of the PCs, the Burning Men in the Fire Giant Temple, or beholder telekinesis). It's true that I have a pretty light touch approach to it; it's also true that I'm fairly diligent about not keeping to the rules for humans and demihumans; it's also true that I fairly rarely add abilities to generic creatures, and that when I do I pretty much always source it to (2nd or 3rd edition) D&D. The three cases so far are Improved Fiends (spellcasting basically based on 3rd edition), beholders (who get telekinesis in 2nd and 3rd edition) and, most recently, vampires.

 

My feeling is that v16 vampires continue to keep to the spirit and flavour of D&D vampires (which are relatively close to the traditional Dracula model, and fairly divergent from the Buffy model) while being more tactically interesting. But I continue to be interested in feedback on this.

 

 

here's what i hate to see:

 

Monster has X and Y as its traditional weapons.

Player uses standard spell/item Z to negate X/Y.

Give Monster automatic damage causing weapon OMG with no counter; name it something appropriate for flavor.

 

it would be an arms race to futility if the player had the option to creatively find a counter or a way to avoid it. instead, now this monster will be defined by OMG instead of X/Y.

 

i'd rather make X and Y more effective across all situations.

failing that i'd rather debilitate Z.

only as a last resort would i go with OMG just to keep Monster as a worthy threat.

 

You don't actually give any reason for your preference order: you just state it.

 

Here's my framework, for reference.

 

1) Vampires' standard melee attack is fairly ineffective except when their opponent is protected from level drain. It is fairly straightforward by about chapter 3 to protect 1-2 characters against level drain. This makes the clear preferred-choice strategy against vampires to send in 1-2 strong fighters who are protected. At this point, level drain becomes largely irrelevant, and vampires become largely ineffectual.

 

2) While of course it would be possible to remove level drain protection from the game, it wouldn't be the kind of change I tend to do in SCS (I only really muck with the spells and items as a last resort). Also, I'm not persuaded it's sensible. Level drain is horrible, and it's entirely reasonable to want to counter it to some degree.

 

3) Nor is it straightforward to give vampires the ability to counter level drain. This would require them to be able to (a) steal magic items, and (b) dispel magic. I can't get away with (a) twice. I can't do (b) without either giving vampires a new ability, or by adding lots of vampire mages into a game (and a mod) that is already pretty mage-heavy. In any case, I don't have a problem with the idea that some monsters level-drain and that you can actually succeed in protecting people against it. I dislike situations in which a party's tricks just don't work.

 

4) This is about the point at which I start mucking with creatures' basic abilities. I need an attack form that's less good than level drain but still good enough to actually be effective, without breaking the flavour. In fact, I have two: vampires who can't find a level-drainable opponent (and they try fairly hard to) will either use their blood-drinking ability, or polymorph into a dire wolf (gaining a significant strength boost) and attack. They do each one about 50% of the time. That's why the question I'm interested in here (and the only objection so far that I've thought was defensible) is whether blood drain is, indeed, too powerful relative to level drain, i.e. whether, as you put it, vampires might as well drain blood as drain levels.

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You could also have vampires' killed enemies be re-raised and then transformed into vampires the party will have to fight against. You'd have to kill your own party member and then reraise him/her in order to cure vampirism.

 

You'd have to embed a 146 in an external .eff file that triggers for dead humanoids on each hit (you need to nest 2 .eff files that use GENERAL - 3 dead, and GENERAL - 1 humanoid). That shell spell will apply a raise dead opcode and then another few opcodes (set AI state to EVILCUTOFF, UNDEAD, and VAMPIRE, and then polymorph opcode, create magical item, etc). Make sure all of them are non-dispellable with durations of 6000000 or something like that. Note that only death and Ctrl+R will force these effects to expire.

 

The only thing not possible is to script them to use their vampiric abilities because the set script opcode does not revert back once it's expired (cough-Asc64). You'd have to settle for them to use their default scripts.

 

-Galactygon

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Mind Flayers and INT drain

I'm fairly certain that it is perfectly achievable, to allow brain eating only on PsiStunned characters. INT drain is changed into SPL (Demi already has voted for it before), the rest is a simple 146/206 work - when successful stun opens up the vulnerability to INT draining.

 

Scalable Level Drain

Phordicus made a very interesting proposal here. It may even be extended to be cumulative with equipped immunities... Probably, as I'm not 100% sure.

 

Blood Drain

Can't it use a save vs death? Say, -2 penalty per each 'level' of draining.

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@ demi: Don't be offended. You and I have totally opposite views on modding bg2. 99% of what i hate about your style would be alleviated if you just documented your changes. For clarity, a horizontal change as opposed to vertical is one that doesn't improve the game in any way, it's virtually cosmetic. What you did with the weapon animations, or the Sword of Chaos is a perfect example (and makes me cringe by being so literal with the definition of "chaos"). It's not horrible; it's just change for the sake of. Changing Infravision to True Strike or what you did with the Metaspell Amulet are vertical: significant gameplay improvement, especially when the AI can benefit as well.

 

Either way, open a thread in SR or IR for this. I hate this getting in the way of the vampire talk (also you seem to be trying to drag David and now Miloch into this). Slightly more for you at the bottom.

 

@dw

Actually, I think the beholder telekinesis is fairly cheap. It was making the best of a bad deal.

The point was its creativity and that you didn't have to pull a mechanic out of thin air. Beholders are scary precisely because they're supposed to have all those abilities already; just because Bioware didn't implement it doesn't mean it shouldn't be ever. I thought that issue was resolved in the xyx era of scripting.

This argument I hear. The space I'm looking for is for an ability that's less effective than level drain but still nasty. My rationale for thinking CON drain fits that category is that its intermediate effects aren't as serious as level drain.

I agree, except that this wouldn't be as much of a problem if PNE still had its perilously short duration of 4 rounds (balance, people! :) ). There just aren't enough 4th level cleric slots in a typical party to keep even the frontline characters protected through most of the typical vampire fights, and that's assuming said cleric(s) aren't the default targets of vampires (there's an idea, perhaps). Or was this component devised for a non-SR install and its hugely extended PNE duration?

 

Immunity durations aside, why a CON drain instead of an absolute HP drain, or even a HP transfer? The targets you want it to be useful against are the ones best able to survive it -- never mind that the drain effects from 14 to 7 do nothing but put this weird lull in the combat as a very clear indication you're in a safe window. Change it to a flat drain/transfer of <fixed % of current HP> and now you're talking pain where it needs to be felt. Hell, just make it an always active effect (with a save?): it still maintains the greater threat versus PNE tanks.

Absolutely not. The issue is and has to be, how does this actually play out? Does modification XYZ actually make a given battle ridiculously hard / boringly easy, or is it about right? Of course, one can make educated guesses based on theory, but ultimately, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

True enough, but you can only avoid metagaming the first time you play; after that, you've always got one up on the AI. And if you're self-gimping for that virgin playthrough feel or for RP reasons, you're probably not exploiting overpowered spells or too-convenient items that let you coast through what are supposed to be difficult encounters, and thus, none of this matters.

 

I suppose one of my modding mantras is to not cater to cheaters. That so much is devoted to providing these people with a challenge seems pointless. If a player wants to superbuff one tank and let him wipe out a beholder or vampire or mind flayer lair, so be it. With the possible exception of ToEE, IE games aren't tactical stress tests.

===

[tangent]

Wouldn't it be vampire-y to have a chance for an auto-charm of one party member? Justified by agents of Bodhi or Bodhi herself pulling a traditional, Stoker-Lugosi drawn out "seduction". Would only happen once, of course, but absolutely both devastating and apropos.

[/tangent]

 

The flame has dwindled. Would you mind divulging a few of the complaints regarding smarter vampires? Curiosity has taken over for outrage.

 

 

Vanilla's Tanova is a conjurer, do you want to complain about that too? Live with the fact that BG is a cross between 2nd and 3rd edition, and if you're not convinced about that because you strictly follow AD&D gods like Miloch than live with the fact that for me and David D&D "means some hybrid of 2nd and 3rd edition".

Allow me to educate you on what is actually new:

"Any human or humanoid drained of all life energy... becomes an appropriately strengthened vampire... Thus it is possible to have a vampiric thief, cleric, etc..." -- Monster Manual, pg 99, copyright 1977.

You're welcome.

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This argument I hear. The space I'm looking for is for an ability that's less effective than level drain but still nasty. My rationale for thinking CON drain fits that category is that its intermediate effects aren't as serious as level drain. ... That's why the question I'm interested in here (and the only objection so far that I've thought was defensible) is whether blood drain is, indeed, too powerful relative to level drain, i.e. whether, as you put it, vampires might as well drain blood as drain levels.
That's the point imo, if CON drain has no counter, no save, and is not curable, than vampires could just as well always use it instead of lvl drain because I'd fear it more than lvl drain. Both take almost the same time (# of hits) to kill a target, but there are many ways to make characters immune to lvl drain (some doesn't even make sense like Enrage), and you can relatively easily cure it within BG2. For the same reasons I always found Mind Flayer's INT drain much more annoying than vampire's lvl drain.

 

Vanilla's Tanova is a conjurer, do you want to complain about that too? Live with the fact that BG is a cross between 2nd and 3rd edition, and if you're not convinced about that because you strictly follow AD&D gods like Miloch than live with the fact that for me and David D&D "means some hybrid of 2nd and 3rd edition".
Allow me to educate you on what is actually new:

"Any human or humanoid drained of all life energy... becomes an appropriately strengthened vampire... Thus it is possible to have a vampiric thief, cleric, etc..." -- Monster Manual, pg 99, copyright 1977.

You're welcome.

Well, I used a 3E reference because of the monk class I suggested, and that class is indeed new to 3E. Then you decided to mock 3E and I replied to that quoting David.

 

Anyway, I don't care if your tone isn't constructive, you actually strengthened my suggestion and that's all I care. :)

 

@ demi: Don't be offended. You and I have totally opposite views on modding bg2. 99% of what i hate about your style would be alleviated if you just documented your changes.
I actually try to document pretty much everything as you can see by those absurdly huge online posts I constantly update. Something small sometimes slip away, sorry, but no more than 1% of what I do is undocumented imo.

 

I'm not offended, I'm only a little saddened that despite my effort of documenting everything and discussing pretty much every change with many players someone can accuse me of doing things in secret and not document it. :)

 

Either way, open a thread in SR or IR for this. I hate this getting in the way of the vampire talk (also you seem to be trying to drag David and now Miloch into this).
You can open it yourself if you wish, I just replied to posts where you mentioned my work, I thought such discussion ("horizontal changes") was for both my mods and David's ones, wasn't it? If it wasn't sorry for my 5-6 lines of off topic material!
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Actually, I think the beholder telekinesis is fairly cheap. It was making the best of a bad deal.

The point was its creativity and that you didn't have to pull a mechanic out of thin air. Beholders are scary precisely because they're supposed to have all those abilities already; just because Bioware didn't implement it doesn't mean it shouldn't be ever. I thought that issue was resolved in the xyx era of scripting.

Well, "supposed" has to mean "supposed according to pen-and-paper D&D". There's no in-game evidence in BG2 that beholders have telekinesis, still less that it can bypass the Shield of Balduran's eyebeam-reflecting power.

 

This argument I hear. The space I'm looking for is for an ability that's less effective than level drain but still nasty. My rationale for thinking CON drain fits that category is that its intermediate effects aren't as serious as level drain.

I agree, except that this wouldn't be as much of a problem if PNE still had its perilously short duration of 4 rounds (balance, people! :) ). There just aren't enough 4th level cleric slots in a typical party to keep even the frontline characters protected through most of the typical vampire fights, and that's assuming said cleric(s) aren't the default targets of vampires (there's an idea, perhaps). Or was this component devised for a non-SR install and its hugely extended PNE duration?

I think you mean "for an SR install and its hugely extended PNE duration"? In that case, no: I don't assume SR (I allow for its spells when assigning spells to mages and priests, but that's about it". But I don't agree with the assumption: my experience is that keeping your front-liner protected from energy drain isn't that difficult, and that's before the Mace of Disruption +2 turns up and grants permanent protection. (A 12th level party with 2 clerics probably has access to 6-8 of them, if they've prepared for vampires - and most encounters with vampires can be prepared for.)

 

(Targetting clerics is a bit tricky with melee creatures, because of pathing problems. You can turn into a rat or gas cloud and hop over to them - and I do do that a bit - but it gets old fast if it's overdone.)

 

Immunity durations aside, why a CON drain instead of an absolute HP drain, or even a HP transfer? The targets you want it to be useful against are the ones best able to survive it -- never mind that the drain effects from 14 to 7 do nothing but put this weird lull in the combat as a very clear indication you're in a safe window. Change it to a flat drain/transfer of <fixed % of current HP> and now you're talking pain where it needs to be felt. Hell, just make it an always active effect (with a save?): it still maintains the greater threat versus PNE tanks.

Canon, basically (Con drain is how vampire blood drain works in 3rd edition D&D; it's also how nosferatu blood drain works in Mystara in 2nd edition AD&D.) I don't regard this as a decisive argument, though, so feel free to come up with alternatives. I'm not hugely worried about the "lull" effect - it's still capable of scaring people, and most frontliners have CON>14 so it does something nasty straight away.

 

(The fact that you're suggesting alternatives seems to indicate a move in your position from "don't add extra abilities" to "the extra ability you're adding is a bad choice because of XYZ, add something different instead". Or is that incorrect?)

 

Absolutely not. The issue is and has to be, how does this actually play out? Does modification XYZ actually make a given battle ridiculously hard / boringly easy, or is it about right? Of course, one can make educated guesses based on theory, but ultimately, the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

True enough, but you can only avoid metagaming the first time you play; after that, you've always got one up on the AI.

I think we're at cross purposes. You've got one up on the AI even on your first playthrough because it is very stupid (even in SCS). But I'm talking much more specifically about: how often do fighters get blood drained? What effect does it in practice have on fights? Does the typical anti-vampire skirmish end up with little blood drain, or silly amounts, or something in between? Does it succeed in making the buff-one-character strategy less attractive while not making vampire battles in general boring? ... that kind of thing.

 

And if you're self-gimping for that virgin playthrough feel or for RP reasons, you're probably not exploiting overpowered spells or too-convenient items that let you coast through what are supposed to be difficult encounters, and thus, none of this matters.

I am very strongly opposed to requiring people to do in-game-stupid things (like ignore a magic item which grants immunity to vampire drain). If I absolutely have to, I take the item out of the game or move it till later, but I try to avoid that too.

 

I suppose one of my modding mantras is to not cater to cheaters. That so much is devoted to providing these people with a challenge seems pointless. If a player wants to superbuff one tank and let him wipe out a beholder or vampire or mind flayer lair, so be it.

 

I don't particularly cater to people who carry out pure exploits (they're welcome to, I just don't cater to them). But I do cater to people who are doing sensible, intelligent things with the resources the game gives them. I really don't see anything unrealistic in superbuffing one tank as a strategy.

 

With the possible exception of ToEE, IE games aren't tactical stress tests.

 

No, but with the possible exception of Torment, tactical challenge is part of the content of IE games (of which TOEE isn't one, incidentally). If you only want to use SCS to remove the irritation of monsters and NPCs doing dumb things, don't install pure tactical-challenge components. But don't expect SCS not to contain them: it has since its inception.

 

The flame has dwindled. Would you mind divulging a few of the complaints regarding smarter vampires? Curiosity has taken over for outrage.

 

Well, they're not secret (check the boards) but as I recall, the complaint is that

 

a) vampires are supposed to be one of the central foes in SoA

b) vanilla vampires fail to live up to this: they're pretty ineffectual opponents

c) SCS vampires don't really improve on vanilla vampires

d) insofar as they do, it's through a cloud-of-bats power which was generally (though not universally) felt to be too strong and too difficult to counter.

 

In reassessing the component, I came to agree with the cloud-of-bats critics. But with cloud-of-bats trimmed down, the vampires-are-underpowered problem just looked worse. The problem of vampires being fairly boring opponents was also looming (their domination gaze, likewise, is pretty easily counterable). So I brainstormed vampire abilities, using 2nd edition, 3rd edition, and mythology as a source, and tried to come up with a range of things for vampires to do that would, collectively, make them more challenging, more interesting, and more varied. The current list (not all vampires use all of them):

 

- turn into a cloud of mist, reappear elsewhere on the battlefield

- turn into a bat, run away for a while until hit points regenerate

- turn into a rat, hide in shadows, come back and backstab (these vampires are assumed to be ex-thieves, though I don't systematically assign a character class - not least because 2nd edition lacks a mechanism)

- turn into a dire wolf, attack (used against non-level-draining opponents)

- drain blood (ditto)

- mesmerise (one-round stun effect, blocked by anti-stun protections but not anti-charm ones)

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This argument I hear. The space I'm looking for is for an ability that's less effective than level drain but still nasty. My rationale for thinking CON drain fits that category is that its intermediate effects aren't as serious as level drain. ... That's why the question I'm interested in here (and the only objection so far that I've thought was defensible) is whether blood drain is, indeed, too powerful relative to level drain, i.e. whether, as you put it, vampires might as well drain blood as drain levels.
That's the point imo, if CON drain has no counter, no save, and is not curable, than vampires could just as well always use it instead of lvl drain because I'd fear it more than lvl drain. Both take almost the same time (# of hits) to kill a target, but there are many ways to make characters immune to lvl drain (some doesn't even make sense like Enrage), and you can relatively easily cure it within BG2. For the same reasons I always found Mind Flayer's INT drain much more annoying than vampire's lvl drain.

 

So I'm persuadable by this. My own rationale is that being drained 6 CON points is annoying but not major, whereas being drained 6 levels is disastrous (-6 to hit, significant save penalty, probable loss of multiple attacks, loss of spells if multi-classed). But possibly I'm giving too much attention to the intermediate effects and not enough to the end-game effects. (Conversely, I don't think I've heard a reply to the intermediate effects point.)

 

(Mind flayer INT drain, on the other hand, has no intermediate effects: all it does is kill a character in 2-5 hits, depending on intelligence. In practice it's not a bad simulation of mind flayer attacks in pen-and-paper D&D.)

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You could use max hp drain instead - it's more noticeable (without going to your character screen) but more gradual. I'd also stick the effects in a shell spell with a secondary type that the regeneration spell can cure/protect.

 

In case you missed it, it'd be interesting to see a "slain enemies become vampires" feature - the plot in Bram Stoker's Dracula is centered around this ability.

 

-Galactygon

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Well, they're not secret (check the boards) but as I recall, the complaint is that

 

a) vampires are supposed to be one of the central foes in SoA

b) vanilla vampires fail to live up to this: they're pretty ineffectual opponents

c) SCS vampires don't really improve on vanilla vampires

d) insofar as they do, it's through a cloud-of-bats power which was generally (though not universally) felt to be too strong and too difficult to counter.

 

In reassessing the component, I came to agree with the cloud-of-bats critics. But with cloud-of-bats trimmed down, the vampires-are-underpowered problem just looked worse. The problem of vampires being fairly boring opponents was also looming (their domination gaze, likewise, is pretty easily counterable). So I brainstormed vampire abilities, using 2nd edition, 3rd edition, and mythology as a source, and tried to come up with a range of things for vampires to do that would, collectively, make them more challenging, more interesting, and more varied. The current list (not all vampires use all of them):

 

- turn into a cloud of mist, reappear elsewhere on the battlefield

- turn into a bat, run away for a while until hit points regenerate

- turn into a rat, hide in shadows, come back and backstab (these vampires are assumed to be ex-thieves, though I don't systematically assign a character class - not least because 2nd edition lacks a mechanism)

- turn into a dire wolf, attack (used against non-level-draining opponents)

- drain blood (ditto)

- mesmerise (one-round stun effect, blocked by anti-stun protections but not anti-charm ones)

Interesting. I haven't played against the improved vampires yet. So I can't comment on the difficulty/balance question. But I do like how well most of those abilities fit in with vampire mythology. Is drain blood supposed to be a ranged magic ability (in which case protection from magic defenses or magic resistance should block/reduce the effect) or is it supposed to represent the vampire physically biting your neck and drinking your blood? If it is the former then I would a suggest a to-hit roll and some kind of combat penalty (for the vampire) for doing so. Despite his superhuman strength, a vampire biting your neck and holding on to drink blood while you are bashing him with a melee weapon seems a little implausible to me. He certainly couldn't be defending himself as well while doing so. Drinking enough blood to physically weaken you would also take some time, which is at a premium during a heated battle. That is, the actual transfer of enough blood to weaken you wouldn't be instantaneous unless the attack was magical in nature. In looking for inspiration for vampire abilities have you also considered some of the abilities from troika's vampire games (VtM: bloodlines)? I don't have anything in particular in mind. I just remember the abilities as being pretty well balanced and interesting. IIRC drinking blood would heal them, an effect that maybe you should also consider.

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Guest Achilles

Interesting thread! As for feedback, I have to agree with the original poster in that these improved vampires (especially a group of them) are more than a tad difficult to survive a battle against.

 

Firstly, I should admit that I'm no grandmaster, I'm not necessarily aware of every possible battle tactic and countermeasure, and I'm only in the early to mid stages of chapter 2. However, the group of five improved vampires in the Windspear Hills dungeon absolutely wiped the floor with my meager level-9-10-11-ish party. The difficulty level comparative to the rest of the place rises at least ten-fold. I reloaded about fifteen times (not exaggerating) and tried every different tactic I could think up - summons, web/fireballs/clouds, invisible door blockers, turn undead, protections, etc, my party as buffed as I could get them, including using one guy as the "protected" tank - vampires had us for lunch every time. And then for dinner. And probably breakfast. :)

 

As the original poster said, this gets irritating. Seeing I wanted to get on with the game, I'm afraid my solution was to uninstall the component. Half an hour later, I reloaded from the same point, and the same buffed party took out the vanilla vampires without any casualties, the first time round(!) Which only proves the desperate need of such a component (and I do love this mod!) They may be just a little too improved in this incarnation, though. :cool:

 

- Perhaps my problem was just one of balancing the early encounters with (I imagine) the later ones? The same type/amount of vampires may well be slay-able for chapter 3 onwards, but early on, facing five of them at once, seemed more like "impossible vampires" to me. (Again, I'm no grandmaster, maybe I suck as much as the vampires, but I do have some experience with infinity engine games)

 

Just to clarify, I actually really like everything this component is trying to do, I'm not speaking against any particular vampire ability. It just seems combined they amount to too much. I like the ideas already mentioned for toning down their thirst for blood (post #5) - I wonder if that might have made the difference. Being able to counter enemies is part of the tactical fun, I just worry they require too many measures to overcome in greater numbers.

 

Anyway, my 2c.

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This is a most fascinating discussion, and despite not having played SCSII vampires yet, it has me all curious about how to handle these now-literal bloodsuckers :cool:

 

CON Drain : it could be randomised to 1-2 CON per hit, say with 2 separate Con Bonus effects, one strikes with 100% chance and the other 50% chance ( if its not already done), and when attempting this attack it does so at reduced Thac0 and at say, -2 or -4 to Damage. Ideally, the CON drain could be altered so that the CON drained actually varies based on the Level-Drain ability of that particular vampire, since after all its meant to replace that ability. (So if Bodhi has 4-Level-Drain, she would also have either -4 CON drain or -1-4 CON Drain)

 

On a tactical basis, apart from carefully splitting down the number of vampires up against the party at any one time, which really makes sense considering that vampires ARE Vampires and should be scary, it would also make sense to have a "cycle rotation" of 2-3 frontliners. This tactic worked very effectively against Mindflayers for me, in vanilla game, and the INT never really caused me too much irritation except when trying to deal stupidly with swarms. (Mord swords rock, btw)

 

At this point, I look up the Mind flayer weapon and can't help but notice, the duration is only 30, ie 5 rounds. If CON drain's basis is that an existing vanilla ability already exists that does this, why not use the same duration for the CON drain ? A quick, simple resolution.

 

On a separate note, Vampires generally have a much faster rate of attack than Mindflayers. It may or may not be necessary to have the CON item reduce their attack by one, or that it may be used once per round (so if a Vampire attacks twice per round, but only one of those attacks can be a CON drain attack)

 

At this point, an elegant solution is to simply put the CON drain item into the offhand of the vampire. This automatically provides a Thac0 penalty, and doesn't require any special AI, as the vampire attempts to drain blood (via the less successful grapple) and drain levels at the same time! Which would make sense if we were to assume that the vampire is expending all of its abilities to bringing down the enemy. Plus being an offhand, Whirlwind and Improved Haste aside, they would only have one CON drain attack per round.

 

Of course, a grapple might reasonably also have say, a 20-30% chance of stunning the target for maybe say, 3-6 seconds? So now we get evil...

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This argument I hear. The space I'm looking for is for an ability that's less effective than level drain but still nasty. My rationale for thinking CON drain fits that category is that its intermediate effects aren't as serious as level drain.

 

How about a temporary drain of max health amount? Same effects as CON, but doesn't result in instant kill for low CON targets.

Effective against everyone, as tanks with lower health will be tougher to heal, and the error margin lowers with each hit.

 

The next part would be trickier to code : but after maximum health is lowered by "X" the character would THEN suffer from weakening effects such as lower strength and slow (loss of blood after all).

When its lowered by "Y" (bigger than X) the effects would be more severe etc. etc.

 

Quite deadly in a long run, not so much instantly.

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