Jump to content

improved vampires drink blood ability


Recommended Posts

i really just wanted to know the design philosophy behind it more than any attempt to get you to change it. logic aside, a modder is king of his own mod.

 

Oh, don't take it too strongly. I hope I have a pretty solid track record of changing things, and / or making things optional, based on feedback. And indeed, I've learned significant things from this discussion that are likely to inform the next version of this component. (It's still the case that I'd like more actual feedback from people who've tried it, but there are things I can get from the theoretical discussion too.)

Link to post

Perhaps a wounding effect (like the darts) would simulate the kind of secondary attack a hungry vampire might make if it can't dominate, subdue and drink at its leisure? Hm, and being wounded might attract more vampire attention and/or drive the vampire(s) attacking you into a feeding frenzy (rage)

Link to post
Guest Achilles
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.

Hey, I get that, believe me! :cool: I carelessly took this same party (at an even lower level) into the Planar Sphere without any +3 weapons(!) With no escape, we still managed to destroy the Improved Iron Golems (without cheating no less), along with nabbing three Improved Fiends hearts (with their extra hit points and innate, uninterruptable magic - now that was a satisfying challenge!) And I think there was a Smarter Efreeti in there too. My point being, these are examples of - as David puts it - "low-key" changes that are rewarding, while also being balanced enough for an inexperienced party/player. I'm not so sure about these vampires; they seemed uber. A party of the same or 1-2 levels higher than the equivalent vanilla should be able to handle them, in my opinion, otherwise it gets more frustrating than fun. At the least, stick a note in the readme about how vicious their appetite :) - perhaps have blood sucking as an option. In any case, I look forward to the next release.

Link to post
Guest Karmapowered

INTRODUCTION

 

I am glad that this topic already exists, since I am sharing the concerns that some other people have raised here before.

 

First, please let met state clearly that I intend this message as subjective, but hopefully somewhat valuable, feedback after going through almost the whole game (BG1, BG2/SOA), modded with SCS I/II through BWP (Big World Project) 9.10, not some kind of gratuitous attack against the author, or his creation. I always try to keep in mind that custom content authors provide us with their talent and creations for free, on their personal time, and that if I don't like it, some other people may. As such, I feel grateful to them, especially if it is such a long-lasting and meticulous labor such as improving the AI of a game which I felt had a very poor one to start with.

 

At this point in my game, awaiting the final confrontation with Irenicus, I feel that the mod introduced many objective enhancements to the game, because enemies (mages, clerics, but also rogues) finally use their powers in a sensitive fashion, making them much more interesting and rewarding to vanquish. However, I cannot help but feel that these enhancements are sometimes achieved in a less than satisfactory fashion, and come with a myriad of other shortcomings.

 

Let me elaborate some on that.

 

ANALYSIS

 

My Weidu.log file can be found here, if someone was so inclined to check it out.

 

Next, some background about my own playing style : originally a PnP player, I have been playing cRPGs in and out since about the first Might & Magics, Ultimas and Wizardry. I immensely enjoyed BG and its sequel, played them with passion as soon as they were released, and have been a rabid fan of "equivalent" cRPGS ever since (Fallout 1/2, PST, Arcanum, etc.). I am used to and usually enjoy challenge, since overcoming it is what generates some of those special times that I fondly remember of these games. However, I despise "munchkinism", and actually anything in game design that I feel steering too sharply away from what I consider as "fair".

 

To give you a concrete example of bad game design : hostile creatures popping out of thin air around me, while I made it a point to thoroughly check the corridors behind me, precisely just so nothing would come to ruin my initiative and ambush me.

 

Second example of cheesy game design to me is placing players in a predicament that simply can not be avoided, and in which they are completely dependent on some random element to avoid the "Game over" screen. Foes with the Confusion spell (even worse if they come as instant sequencers) in BG1 come to my mind, as well as the "new" vampires with their "blood/CON sucking" powers. The standard game is bad enough as it is at providing comprehensive feedback during battles, about what is happening, why it is happening, and how to avoid/counter it, that I feel it an abuse to add more of those unresistable "Illithid brain-sucking" or "instantly hop into ethereal plane every 2 seconds" powers to another kind of creature of the "common D&D lore", like vampires or trolls.

 

Third example of bad game design is completely ignoring game balance. My party was merrily heading to Firkraag's lair. My goal was to deliver the boy, not to fight the Dragon, to avoid being chastised by the Paladins once back to Athkatla, and to fetch the stronghold. On my way in, I had a big (and bad) surprise meeting a group of 6 vampires (2 of which were of the Ancient kind), which at the time (level 10 or 11) I had no means to kill before loosing my whole party. Since these vampires are the guardians of a key that is needed to open a door leading further down to the boy, a mandatory encounter that could usually be overcome with some efforts suddenly became a major pain in the (censored). In terms of game balance, these new vampires, in the midst of otherwise very doable groups of orcs, hobgoblins, vampiric mists but also djinns or golems, stood out like a horrible wart that I didn't feel like wasting further time on, and decided to simply CTRL-y them.

 

If all the above bothers me so much, it is not because the mod is "too hard" or something. I don't like it when creatures altered by this mod suddenly start waltzing around my screen, rushing towards my mages (how'd they know?), with no way to intercept them because those creatures seem to "magically" run faster than my hasted fighters or rogues. This is aggravated (by even low level) enemy casters that discovered some kind of secret kiting technique (cast, run, cast, run) to always remain out of reach of my meleers. I gave up on pursuing such enemies in melee, switching to ranged weapons instead and abusing of summons (which they somehow allow to remain in their melee range), and suck it up for the general balance (giving the AI an edge I will never have).

 

It bothers me when there is simply nothing intelligent to do beside twiddling my thumbs, whistling a little tune while the RNG (dices) decide of the fate of my toon(s). Watching my team dancing on my screen like crazy ants while subjected to a 3 minutes long Confusion spell, which they have no defense against at BG1 levels, is NOT fun for the non-masochists among us.

 

It bothers me, in the same way, having to systematically send a whole array of summoned creatures to fight almost each and every "blood/CON sucking" vampire in BG2, while my team remains inactive, hidden in some distant location is NOT fun.

 

Finally, it bothers me when I feel forced by the game design to create the ultimate 18-in-all-stats party, just so I have a decent chance at beating the first encounter of common creatures in some areas. Orc or yuan-ti mages that cast imprisonment, what is the point of liches again :cool:.

 

CONCLUSION

 

As a NWN-modder myself, I have learned something valuable through my hobby : if players want to cheat in a game, they will. If they want to get that uber-sword or shield of munchkinism into their game, to destroy everything including Dragons and Elder beholders in one hit, they will. Therefore, I think that modders should not come up with some kind of design patterns to prevent such behaviors, because such power-trips will eventually all fail to provide anything valuable to the bigger picture (no pun intended). On the contrary, what we can do is to encourage players to play the game in such a fashion that they feel it is more rewarding to overcome reasonably tailored challenges we throw at them, rather than to cheat their way through.

 

Personally, I try to avoid to buy those relatively cheap (5000 gp still!) permanent "level drain" protection items from the temples in Athkatla, because I feel such powerful items make no sense in a shop. I don't mind ultimately powerful and rare creatures, like Devils, Demons or Dragons, to have ultimate powers, like instant ethereal or unresistable stat sucking. However, I don't want to spend the whole game fighting ultimate creatures with ultimate powers.

 

I would like to be given the chance to play a game in which enemies have a rational behavior, improving their strengths, but also assist their buddies in need, and keep some weaknesses.

 

I would love to see enemy clerics casting heals and buffs on their fighters when needed, instead of said fighters guzzling potion after potion. I would love to see enemy rogues using their stealth *skill*, approaching a party to place a good back-stab and then run away, to switch to ranged, to assist against whatever is their current main target in my party, instead of abusing of potions while remaining largely immobile.

 

I would love to see Vampires taking advantage of cunning (which they epitomize in my mind), and domination/charm spells at large distance, thanks to some decoy ("thralls", "ghouls" ). Retiring from a battle to regenerate at their coffin, and returning at a later time. Not allowing the player party to rest for long in the vicinity of a bloodsucker without serious repercussions. I realize this might be difficult to achieve in a game that hasn't been designed from ground up (encounters, areas) for it, but in my PnP sessions I never had the need for more than ONE vampire to instill unbound fear in the mind of all my players. I believe making vampires memorable encounters in cRPGs can be achieved, using guerilla like tactics, harassing the player party, putting those summoned (rat, bat, wolf) swarms to better use still, blinding player parties, or preventing spells to be cast battle, akin insect swarms. It would be so much, much more rewarding than to create yet another mindless melee-powerhouse, fighting in large groups moreover (aren't vampires supposed to be lone hunters, more or less hating each other?), abusing of uncounterable (to my knowledge) ethereal stealthing and unresistable stat sucking powers.

 

Maybe I am not experienced enough with BG2's proper game mechanics. In such a case, I would welcome any advice on how to further tweak the mod, because I am taking the bet that like me, most players don't enjoy to resort to the console, but still would enjoy the SCS mod to meet some of the above expectations.

 

Thank you for your attention, and reading through this WOT :)

 

 

BUGS

 

Some vampires in Bodhi's lair resist Searing light. They shouldn't. Tanova comes to my mind, but also Gellal :

 

cd738d129252989.jpg

 

Also, there seem to be some (very frustrating) game freezes when fighting some creatures : very frequently with all the rakshasas, frequently with some trolls (spirit trolls?), not so frequently with some enemy mages. My Weidu/BWP setup is a quite complex one, and I cannot pinpoint it down to this mod, so I cannot hold it against this otherwise fine mod. I still wanted to mention it.

 

 

TLDR

 

I don't like the new "blood/CON sucking" powers of vampires, or the constant hopping in and out of ethereal state of some other creatures.

I would welcome any advice to using this quality mod without such features, that I consider as abusive.

Link to post
Guest Karmapowered

Something I forgot to mention : yes, Illithids have a unresistible stat-sucking power too, which could seem similar to the one introduced by SCS for vampires, but there are no Illithids on the main quest route in the game. Not a single one, AFAIK.

 

Which basically means that if you don't want to fight them, because you consider such powers too cheesy, the game does not force you into it.

 

(spoiler)

Vampires on the other hand can't really be avoided.

(spoiler)

Link to post

Most of this is fairly difficult to respond to, as it's more about a philosophy disagreement. Clear case in point: I'm fine with the vanilla game's mind flayers. So anyone who fundamentally thinks things like that shouldn't be in the game is probably not going to enjoy SCS. (Incidentally, there are mind flayers on the core game path: in Sendai's lair.)

 

Some specific comments, though:

 

(i) SCS mages don't in fact move faster than party members. I don't modify their speed at all, in fact.

 

(ii) In BG2 there are indefinitely many ways to partially or wholly resist Confusion spells. If you're struggling to do so, it might be that SCSII isn't at the right tactical level for you. Even in BG1, there are plenty of things you can do to ameliorate it: scatter, most straightforwardly, though potions also help.

 

(iii) I can't think of any orc or yuan-ti in BG2 that can cast Imprisonment, so I don't really understand your comment about this. (You have a very complex install, so it's possible something other than SCS2 is responsible.)

 

(iv) I've played through SCSII with a perfectly average party; so have many others. So it's not correct that winning requires an 18-in-everything party.

 

(v) Vampire blood drain is a special case, since it's part of a new component that I'm interested in getting feedback on. Yours is useful, as you're one of the first people who's commented based on their own playthrough (though your other comments suggest that you may have broader philosophical problems with SCSII)

 

(vi) The straightforward way to avoid vampires draining blood, or hopping into and out of ethereality, is to uninstall the vampire component. It's quite likely that later versions of the vampire component will tone down blood drain, but it's highly unlikely that it'll tone down their use of Gaseous Form. The only other creatures I can think of that "hop into and out of ethereal state" are mind flayers; again, if you don't want them to do it, don't install the mind flayer component.

 

(vii) I don't (think I) modify the immunity states of any vampire, so I think you're seeing vanilla-game behaviour when you try Searing Light. (At a guess: Tanova is using Protection from Energy; Gellal was in gaseous form when you hit him.)

Link to post
(vi) The straightforward way to avoid vampires draining blood, or hopping into and out of ethereality, is to uninstall the vampire component. It's quite likely that later versions of the vampire component will tone down blood drain, but it's highly unlikely that it'll tone down their use of Gaseous Form. The only other creatures I can think of that "hop into and out of ethereal state" are mind flayers; again, if you don't want them to do it, don't install the mind flayer component.
Wait a second...vampires and mind flayers are using Etherealness? May I ask why? I don't like it much on paper, especially because I think their PnP powers cover this more than enough, but I may be wrong. Vampires have Gaseous Form, which within BG even boosts regeneration rate while granting almost complete immunity, and mind flayers can use Dimension Door to hop in and out of combat...do you need Etherealness for a particular reason?

 

Speaking of which, I wanted to suggest a 5th lvl Etherealness spell within SR V4, and there's a vanilla item which uses this effect and is modded by IR, thus I'd like to know how you handled the effect from a technical point of view (if you don't mind discussing it a little), to make all Ethereal effects work the same way. For example:

- which immunities does it grant within SCS?

- does it prevent offensive actions?

- is the affected creautre invisible too?

 

P.S aVENGER's mods do used ehterealness to a certain extent (e.g. fiends) and he made True Seeing reveal the ethereal (aka invisible) creature without "breaching" etherealness.

Link to post

As I mentioned in my feedback thread, I didn't find the blood drain to be a major issue (other than the overly long duration). I dont think it is nearly as dangerous as the mind flayer int drain.

 

For both vampires and mind flayers you are going to be meleeing them with your front line fighters (and by fighter I'm referring to any tank type setup). These fighters will tend to have low int (minsc is a particular culprit) but high con (at least 14).

 

Mind flayers drain 5 int per hit, so a lot of front line fighters will go down in just 2 hits. Even the best will only take 3. A few unlucky rolls and your tank goes splat.

 

Vampires drain 2 con per hit. A fighter will be able to take 7 hits before they die (up to 9 hits for some fighters), and 7 hits from a vampire is enough to kill most characters anyway (unless they get healed). The loss of the extra hitpoints from con (or the reduction for low con) is irrelevant because it only affects maximum health and after you've been hit you won't be at max health anyway.

Link to post
(vi) The straightforward way to avoid vampires draining blood, or hopping into and out of ethereality, is to uninstall the vampire component. It's quite likely that later versions of the vampire component will tone down blood drain, but it's highly unlikely that it'll tone down their use of Gaseous Form. The only other creatures I can think of that "hop into and out of ethereal state" are mind flayers; again, if you don't want them to do it, don't install the mind flayer component.
Wait a second...vampires and mind flayers are using Etherealness? May I ask why? I don't like it much on paper, especially because I think their PnP powers cover this more than enough, but I may be wrong. Vampires have Gaseous Form, which within BG even boosts regeneration rate while granting almost complete immunity, and mind flayers can use Dimension Door to hop in and out of combat...do you need Etherealness for a particular reason?

 

I wasn't interpreting Karmapowered's use of "etherealness" literally: I assumed he meant any kind of vanish-and-reappear effect. Neither vampires nor illithids literally use etherealness. Vampires use gaseous form (implemented both vanilla-style as a shapeshift into a cloud, and as a teleport-style effect when they drift through the cracks in walls and floor). Illithids plane shift to and from the Astral Plane.

Link to post
As I mentioned in my feedback thread, I didn't find the blood drain to be a major issue (other than the overly long duration). I dont think it is nearly as dangerous as the mind flayer int drain.

 

For both vampires and mind flayers you are going to be meleeing them with your front line fighters (and by fighter I'm referring to any tank type setup). These fighters will tend to have low int (minsc is a particular culprit) but high con (at least 14).

 

Mind flayers drain 5 int per hit, so a lot of front line fighters will go down in just 2 hits. Even the best will only take 3. A few unlucky rolls and your tank goes splat.

 

Vampires drain 2 con per hit. A fighter will be able to take 7 hits before they die (up to 9 hits for some fighters), and 7 hits from a vampire is enough to kill most characters anyway (unless they get healed). The loss of the extra hitpoints from con (or the reduction for low con) is irrelevant because it only affects maximum health and after you've been hit you won't be at max health anyway.

 

This is roughly how I did the maths when I was balancing the ability, actually.

Link to post

On the subject of etherealness, I'd like to point out that it allows to increase the survivability of AI without giving it immersion- and balance-breaking boosts to combat stats. E.g. spirit trolls became a real PITA to deal with, at almost no cost.

 

Giving other monsters similar abilities, to make them more elusive without getting overpowered is imo a pure win. Especially since in vanilla game a good fighter can easily bring down anything that walks or flies, only because he delivers 50+ damage per round to stationary targets.

Link to post

Disable_ToBEx 1

Disable_Hacks_If_ToBEx_Skipped 1

 

^ thx to this I was finally able to install scs19 and...yeah, I wiped them all out with improved hasted (scroll) Korgan mainly plus a little help from Anomen's divine magic, swashy protagonist (potion of speed and Daystar+Silverblade(?) - Alderian's gift) and Keldorn (potion of speed and Azuredge). Core rules - Korgan still standing with 4 con in the end, that's all. They are not overpowered, not at all. They are a little less laughable now. Overall a good change. Dunno what the fuss is all about, to be honest.

Link to post
Guest Guest
^ thx to this I was finally able to install scs19 and...yeah, I wiped them all out with improved hasted (scroll) Korgan mainly plus a little help from Anomen's divine magic, swashy protagonist (potion of speed and Daystar+Silverblade(?) - Alderian's gift) and Keldorn (potion of speed and Azuredge). Core rules - Korgan still standing with 4 con in the end, that's all. They are not overpowered, not at all. They are a little less laughable now. Overall a good change. Dunno what the fuss is all about, to be honest.

Are you saying they are not overpowered after coming up to them with every single anti-undead weapon the game has to offer? Especially Daystar strikes me as odd, since you'd have to defeat a lich to obtain it - a fight reasonably more challenging than a few vampires, especially with SCS. At this level, it would only be fair not to have too many difficulties with vampires, right?

Link to post

Fwiw, two months ago I went through SoA with the newest improved vampires component, a standard party where everybody engaged every battle ( no solo berserker while everybody else hides ) and afaik no special anti-undeads gear ( MoD/Azuredge/Daystar were randomized late in the game and I didn't buy green scrolls ).

I am playing with a customized wannabe-3ed CON table: basically it's +1 hp every 2 levels ( and some regeneration increase every odd level ) so every vampire drain blood is -10 maxHP. In a standard setting going from 14 to 6 CON has no effect at all.

 

Well, I only noticed the drink blood ability against the vampire in Spellhold, proly because the lack of good armor that caused Korgan to drop to to 50 or so HP, but nobody died because of it. In chapter 6 I payed a lil more attention to the logs but the ability didn't look overwhelming, the frontliners were missing at most 6 con ( 30 hp ) after the Bodhi fight. The party is well experienced at this stage of the game anyway, a bunch of vampires are no longer scary.

 

While not overkill, I agree that this ability is a bit annoying because of its long duration; Illithid's INT drain has a duration of 30, drink blood is 3000. I woudn't be against it if there was a way ( restoration? heal? cure disease? ) to remove the ability drain but afaik there's no way to get rid of it.

 

Is it enough to edit the 3 duration istances ( two times [WRITE_LONG 0xe+~eff_off~ 3000 // duration] and a [duration=3000] ) in the vampire.tph -> // blood-draining attacks?

Link to post

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...