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improved vampires drink blood ability


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the vampires aren't overpowered in this case; you're underpowered. with very few exceptions, this game isn't level-scaled. in pnp there'd be more options for this, but in bg2 it's either die or scout+avoid and come back later.

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Gah. Too many words, not enough said.

 

Mostly to DavidW: I agree, the problem with Vampires is that Level Drain is practically the only thing they do, and once you've got long-lasting immunity to it (which the game strongarms you into obtaining), their threat nearly vanishes. So Vampires need another trick, yes--but NOT a long-lasting, unavoidable, and incurable stat drain! What the heck were you thinking? I was also amazed to read that you apparently decided that the correct response to cheese (people actually using the Shield of Balduran) was not the obvious solution of actually fixing the cheese (changing the Shield from an unbeatable Beholderbane into something plausible, and that a guy like Balduran might actually have wanted), but instead magnifying that cheese (by giving Beholders a totally implausible ability--besides, if they can steal 1 of your items, why don't they steal *all* of them?).

 

But back on topic. Yes, Vampires suck, but that's only because they suck too much. My solution:

1) Increase their combat stats, so they're a threat whether you're under NPP or not.

2) Make all Vampires Dual-wield, and only their offhand weapon can Level Drain. So their attacks are Claw/Claw/Bite, and they can only suck blood on the Bite. [ADD:] Ah, I see Zyraen had the same idea, and probably about as long ago as I did.[/ADD]

3) Vampiric Touch. This is SO OBVIOUS. Their on-hand weapon has a % chance of the effects of Vampiric Touch on each hit.

4) Possibly, allow a Save vs. Death against the Level Drain . . . to allow at least a remote chance of people going up against Vampires even without NPP, or Protection from Undead. Monks & Thieves fightin' Vamps? Say it ain't so!

 

I have no problem with Vampires actually sucking blood, but they should be able to do it only against Charmed targets [using the same mechanic Ardais suggested], and naturally they would be relatively defenseless during this relatively long period . . . likely implementable by giving the ability a Casting Time of 10 with no spellcasting animation. I see no need for a CON drain piggybacked onto this, but go ahead & add it if the ability is moved from a "something to do in the middle of a hectic melee" to a "something to do when the fight is practically already won."

 

Sorry for all the emphasis, but after reading through 2 pages of you guys bitching, I just got irritated.

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Gah. Too many words, not enough said.

 

But back on topic. Yes, Vampires suck, but that's only because they suck too much. My solution:

1) Increase their combat stats, so they're a threat whether you're under NPP or not.

3) Vampiric Touch. This is SO OBVIOUS. Their on-hand weapon has a % chance of the effects of Vampiric Touch on each hit.

 

Yep, I like these better than con drain. Also, the level drain immunities on items could simply be nerfed, leaving only the short lasting negative plane protection buff as a hard counter.

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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.

I would extend Six Of Spade's suggestion regarding the long duration of peforming a blood drain (it can be done via the "Pause Caster" effect or as a spell with long casting time) to the "devour brain" attack of mind flayers - IMO the latter should be sudden death effect rather than losing intelligence gradually as the mind flayer nibbles your character's brain, which is quite silly.

 

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.

I thought about something like this for vampires' level drain actually (according to MM they can use a level draining slam only once per round). A vampire fighter or thief might attack with a more damaging magic sword in the main hand and grab some health with offhand attacks. Except vampire animations don't display weapons...

 

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...

Personally I would skip grappling, because already many creatures that could grapple in PNP - from bears to glabrezu - do not in BG2, nor is this ability available to PC's. It's something that could only be implemented inconsistently.

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Mostly to DavidW: [...] So Vampires need another trick, yes--but NOT a long-lasting, unavoidable, and incurable stat drain! What the heck were you thinking? [...]

I was also amazed to read that you apparently decided that the correct response to cheese [...] was not the obvious solution of actually fixing the cheese [...] but instead magnifying that cheese (by giving Beholders a totally implausible ability).

Rage much? The agitated tone seems pretty unneccessary, especially as you're basically complaining about ONE (1) feature in one of the best mods to BG there is, period.

 

Sorry for all the emphasis, but after reading through 2 pages of you guys bitching, I just got irritated.
Good thing you took it out on the author of the mod instead.
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Mostly to DavidW: [...] So Vampires need another trick, yes--but NOT a long-lasting, unavoidable, and incurable stat drain! What the heck were you thinking? [...]

I was also amazed to read that you apparently decided that the correct response to cheese [...] was not the obvious solution of actually fixing the cheese [...] but instead magnifying that cheese (by giving Beholders a totally implausible ability).

Rage much? The agitated tone seems pretty unneccessary, especially as you're basically complaining about ONE (1) feature in one of the best mods to BG there is, period.

 

Sorry for all the emphasis, but after reading through 2 pages of you guys bitching, I just got irritated.
Good thing you took it out on the author of the mod instead.

 

Thanks for the support, but it doesn't especially bother me. (I'm generally fairly bemused when people start getting worked up and stroppy about computer game mods - priorities, much? - but I don't object to robust criticism, as long as it's intelligent.)

 

Replying to Six's positive suggestions:

 

- I do already slightly increase the combat stats of vampires, but I don't want to overdo it. Ultimately, one hard-hitting melee opponent is much like another and I want to hold on to variety.

- save vs. level drain would be a gratuitous modification of the core game framework. I try to do this as little as possible (which isn't the same as: not at all).

- I find the offhand suggestion tactically ingenious but a bit unrealistic. Vampires have two different combat strategies available to them. Why would they want to use both at once when they can concentrate on the one that works best. (There's also a certain amount of source material fidelity - that's how it works in (3rd ed) PnP. That's not decisive but I tend to use it as an other-things-being-equal guide.) Finally, this doesn't mesh terribly well with the fact that blood drain is only one of multiple things SCSII vampires try if they can't find a level-drainable target.

- vampire touch: do you mean "on-hand"? i.e. do you mean to add this to the level-drain primary effect? If so, I'm reluctant because (again) it's a bit gratuitous. (As for it being "SO OBVIOUS", what can I say? We mere mortals see only dimly.)

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Yeah, I knew that my post was too ranty, but it's just that I've had dual-wielding, Vampiric-Touching, not-so-much-Level-Draining Vampires on my To-Do-Eventually list for so long that I pretty much figured everyone else had also seen it by now. So when I found this thread and instead found myself slogging through 2 pages of CON drain and Beholder Shield-stealing, it just left a bad taste in my mouth.

 

About PnP canon lore: Well and good. Staying true to author intent should always be a priority--but it's a mistake to hold it as gospel. Following the rulebooks always comes after game balance, realism, and consistency. Making a change that constitutes a net improvement can hardly be considered "gratuitous," and if that change goes against the source material, well then, sucks to be you, source material.

 

Vampires have two different combat strategies available to them. Why would they want to use both at once when they can concentrate on the one that works best.

Again, for reasons of fun and game balance. Why on earth does Bodhi make you kill every single one of her minions before she deigns to face you herself? If she were that concerned about the strategy "that works best," she would teleport herself and her entire flock into the party's melee range (as we've seen her do in the Chapter 6 Graveyard encounter) the instant they first enter the lower crypts. But how much fun would that be to play?

 

Vampires. As I said, it just makes a whole bunch of sense to me to have their hands (on-hand weapon) permanently imbued with Vampiric Touch effects, while their fangs (offhand weapon) are their only means of delivering Level Drain. This greatly reduces Level Drain's importance as the definining characteristic of Vampires, while maintaining its status as a defining characteristic. I agree, one shouldn't boost their combat stats too much--the last thing we need is for every major quest to turn into something akin to Weimer's Improved Sahuagin City. Perhaps upping their stats won't be necessary after all, depending on the frequency of their Vampiric Touch; Vampires dealing heavy damage and healing themselves with every (main-hand) hit sounds very scary indeed.

About the Blood Drain, it might actually be better to run it by script instead . . . I'm far from experienced at scripting, but it seems like the conditions of SeeNearestAllyOf(Myself) and STATE_CHARMED should be an appropriate trigger for the feeding frenzy. And it's a very nice outcome to the tactic of sending in a single buffed Tank: In most situations, when your Tank gets Charmed, everyone just stands around until the Charm wears off, but with a scripted Blood Drain, the rest of the party gets to watch in horror as the Tank calmly allows his new friends to open his veins & suck him dry. The idea of a party member slain in this manner rising up to fight against you is very yummy, but I'd have to vote against it as it steals 95% of the thunder from the Chapter 6 Vampirism quest.

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I don't suppose the blood draining attack could be done at a lower THACO? That'd make it a bit less effective, and would simulate the special kind of grappling attack it would have to be.

 

I think that in the end this is the most sensible suggestion.

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@Six: I think, reading your last, what it comes down to is that your vision for how vampires should be changed just starts from a very different place. Feel free to write that mod, but I'm no longer sure how relevant it is to SCSII. A few examples: (i) if by definition all you need to do to justify a change away from source material is for it to make any improvement at all in play, then you're operating on a different set of criteria from mine; (ii) if you're happy to justify opponents behaving unintelligently "just because it makes for better game balance", you're trying to do something very different from what SCS II is trying to do; (iii) if you're interested in spending significant resources allowing for situations in which players are daft enough to send their single tank without totally reliable charm protection, you're making a very different set of assumptions about player awareness.

 

@Salk: At the risk of tedious repetition, I'm totally undemocratic here. If you have extra reasons why you think a given suggestion is sensible, please give them; otherwise, just saying "I agree with X" isn't likely to be worth your time.

 

@everyone: I'm still perfectly happy to have suggestions, but I'd like to reiterate my point from page one: that I have very little confidence in people's ability to assess how something like this works in practice without having actually tested the component, or at least studied the code.

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Guest Thailog
In fact I don't like at all how mind flayer's INT drain works within BG. I'm with phordicus on this matter, INT drain should only work on a helpless target (e.g. stunned by Mind Blast), but I don't know if it's doable within BG.nges".

 

I'm with Demi here. INT drain has no counter and can kill an average fighter in 2-3 hits. This becomes even more pronounced with SCSII since it makes mind flayers bypass summons and teleport directly to party members.

 

As to how feasible it would be from a technical standpoint, I have no clue, but I've seen something similar in my game. The succubus from aTweaks can only kiss/level drain a victim that it has charmed before. Could it be possible to use something similar here?

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In fact I don't like at all how mind flayer's INT drain works within BG. I'm with phordicus on this matter, INT drain should only work on a helpless target (e.g. stunned by Mind Blast), but I don't know if it's doable within BG.nges".

 

I'm with Demi here. INT drain has no counter and can kill an average fighter in 2-3 hits. This becomes even more pronounced with SCSII since it makes mind flayers bypass summons and teleport directly to party members.

 

As to how feasible it would be from a technical standpoint, I have no clue, but I've seen something similar in my game. The succubus from aTweaks can only kiss/level drain a victim that it has charmed before. Could it be possible to use something similar here?

 

From SCS's point of view, it's moot how technically feasible this would be, because I'm fine with it as it is - it's not part of the vanilla game I feel any desire to change.

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@Salk: At the risk of tedious repetition, I'm totally undemocratic here. If you have extra reasons why you think a given suggestion is sensible, please give them; otherwise, just saying "I agree with X" isn't likely to be worth your time.

 

My reason is that I agree with those who believe that the blood drain (which I have anyway appreciated per se) attack is successful too often (introducing a malus to its THAC0 sounded sensible to me). Just so I know for future feedback: do I need to have a different reason to second a change?

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@Salk: At the risk of tedious repetition, I'm totally undemocratic here. If you have extra reasons why you think a given suggestion is sensible, please give them; otherwise, just saying "I agree with X" isn't likely to be worth your time.

 

My reason is that I agree with those who believe that the blood drain (which I have anyway appreciated per se) attack is successful too often (introducing a malus to its THAC0 sounded sensible to me). Just so I know for future feedback: do I need to have a different reason to second a change?

 

You don't need a reason to do anything in particular; it's just that seconding (or thirding, or fourthing) a change doesn't really achieve anything, because I'm interested in arguments, not just opinions. So I suppose, yes, you do need a different reason to second a change, if you mean by that: second a change in a way that has any chance of persuading me.

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I don't suppose the blood draining attack could be done at a lower THACO? That'd make it a bit less effective, and would simulate the special kind of grappling attack it would have to be.

 

hehe, I see vamipres are pretty annoing now, a la mind flyers. good...good...

 

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In my opinion vamipre attacks should increase the fighters thaco (for example 25% or 50% depends on party experience chance to increasing the target thaco +6 for five turns - cumulative, smtg like blindness) and the drink blood ability should drain strength (a la shadow), not constitution.

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