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Beholder rays burn through everything (even Protection from Magic!) [Possible BUG]

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Before I get on with my rant, I want to express my sincerest appreciation for this mod and its makers and caretakers. It is simply sublime. Even though I'm currently very annoyed with the smarter beholders component, it doesn't take away from how much I love this mod.

 

Anyway: I am currently in the southern tunnels of the Underdark, also known as Beholder City, and no matter what I do, these creatures mop the floor with me. Nothing protects me from their rays; all my spell protections, including Immunity:Abjuration get dispelled by the first anti-magic ray that hits my face. Even Skeleton Warriors, creatures that are supposed to have very high MR, get knocked around, take magic damage and die in seconds. With haste and a lot of buffs, I can take one or two of them, but once they start coming in packs, I'm done for. Even when I manage to land Chaos and Insect Plague on them, they simply keep casting at me meanwhile dispelling one another with their anti-magic attacks.

 

After exhausting every possible strategy known to my BG-addled brain, I finally decide to screw fair play and use a Protection from Magic scroll on my F/I Charname. At first, it seems to work: their harm rays and debuffs can't affect me while I'm in my bubble and they're forced to melee. However only seconds later a couple of more beholders join the fight, start casting at me, and UURGH, I'm dead. Killed by death ray, even though it says "Spell Ineffective" in the feedback window. I try again, and this time I don't even last five seconds. The first Flesh to Stone ray cast at my Charname goes through and I'm dead again, even though I'm supposed to be completely invulnerable to magic! Words cannot express my frustration.

 

As far as I know, this is not supposed to happen. I specifically installed the component so that beholder rays don't have any chance of burning through spell protections, yet they still do. Now, conventional spell protections I can somehow understand, but being able to get through Protection from Magic just goes too far.

 

Can anyone confirm if this is intended behavior? If so, how on earth am I supposed to fight these creatures?

Edited by ballad

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With haste and a lot of buffs, I can take one or two of them, but once they start coming in packs, I'm done for.

To be fair to SCS, what you describe is really how these creatures are meant to be. Even powerful parties will die fast when facing packs of beholders. You of course have the option to sneak instead of fighting - or to skip that section altogether.

 

OTOH, to be fair to players, this accurate representation of PnP beholders is not very fun in a game that throws them at you in packs and basically has a terrible DM. So, my solution is to simply not use this component of SCS. It has a modular design for a reason...

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Thanks for taking the time to reply, subtledoctor. I experimented with the component and discovered that under install option 2 (beholders have no chance of burning through... anti-magic ray blocks offensive spells), beholders cannot dispel Protection from Magic, but under option 4 (beholders have no chance of burning through... anti-magic ray doesn't block offensive spells) they can. The thing is, even when their rays do get blocked by PfM (option 2), the character they're targeted at still has to roll a succesful save to escape their effects. In practice, this means that even under PfM you need sub-zero saves to survive.

 

Discovering this, I eventually managed to clear the lair by giving all my +saves gear to one character (I used Minsc) before using PfM. It took a couple of tries - during my first attempt, the scroll actually expired before all the beholders were dead - but eventually I emerged victorious.

 

It wasn't a particularly fun battle, though. In the future, I might just take your advice and skip the component.

Edited by ballad

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Bumping this. I believe it's a bug in SCS. According to the readme:

Quote

Allow Spellstrike to take down a Protection from Magic scroll (BG2,BGEE,BGT)

In the original game, the protective sphere produced by a Protection from Magic scroll is completely impenetrable by any spell at all - if you use one, all a hostile wizard can do is run away or fight in melee. This component allows the most powerful mage anti-magic spell, the 9th level spell Spellstrike, to destroy the anti-magic sphere of one of these scrolls. It also allows the anti-magic ray of the Hive Mother beholder to destroy the sphere.

I. e., even with this component installed, the only things that should be able to go through a Protection from Magic scroll are Spellstrike and the anti-magic ray of the Hive Mother beholder. However, several other things do go through, including the anti-magic ray of regular beholders and Death ray.

Edited by Alonso

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Incidentally on the question of tactics (albeit this is an ancient thread): my own experience with beholders is you just want to do as much damage as possible as quickly as possible.  They have middling hit points and no real protections: dump tons of area effect on them as fast as you can.

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This happens in v31. I checked it in the beholders hive in the Underdark. The change log of v32 doesn't say anything about this, so I imagine it must be the same.

In my experience the AoE doesn't help a lot in the Underdark cavern with SCS because the hive mother and the elder orbs are just too powerful and smart (and the fact that they are surrounded by lots of beholders and gauths doesn't help, of course). As soon as they see a party member they will pepper him with about ten nasty spells per round, so it doesn't matter how many hit points they have, any character not immune to magic will die in seconds. Plus, even with the AoE, it takes about 15 Cloudkills to kill a hive mother. I really can't imagine a tactic that works in that cavern without resorting to magic immunity of some kind.

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Version v32 is a fairly systematic recoding, so I'd need to see this reproduced there before investigating it.

As for tactics, I'm just reporting what I did last time I played. I agree, you need to treat elder orbs/hive mothers differently.

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On 3/25/2019 at 4:30 PM, Alonso said:

This happens in v31. I checked it in the beholders hive in the Underdark. The change log of v32 doesn't say anything about this, so I imagine it must be the same.

In my experience the AoE doesn't help a lot in the Underdark cavern with SCS because the hive mother and the elder orbs are just too powerful and smart (and the fact that they are surrounded by lots of beholders and gauths doesn't help, of course). As soon as they see a party member they will pepper him with about ten nasty spells per round, so it doesn't matter how many hit points they have, any character not immune to magic will die in seconds. Plus, even with the AoE, it takes about 15 Cloudkills to kill a hive mother. I really can't imagine a tactic that works in that cavern without resorting to magic immunity of some kind.

Add a couple of Webs to your spell arsenal, that is all you have to do. Even a low level party can totally cheese out every Beholder zone. Web x3, cloudkills, fireballs = dead Beholders. 

Pretty sure you have Skull Trap, Incendiary Cloud and tons of summons against Hive Mother. Just let her waste her spell on summons (5xskellingtons, hasted is pure gold here). Use Project Image - you can have 10 skellingtons. Seriously, poor Hive Mother.....

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They're certainly supposed to be, in SCS. (It's one of the installed-by-default spell tweaks.)

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On 3/27/2019 at 11:05 AM, InKal said:

Pretty sure you have Skull Trap, Incendiary Cloud and tons of summons against Hive Mother. Just let her waste her spell on summons (5xskellingtons, hasted is pure gold here).

I tried this. When I said they are too smart, I essentially meant that this tactic doesn't work. The problem is that when they see a character they attack that character, even if you put a wall of summons in the middle. And as soon as the Hive Mother focuses her attacks on a character, that character is dead.

On 3/25/2019 at 4:39 PM, DavidW said:

Version v32 is a fairly systematic recoding, so I'd need to see this reproduced there before investigating it.

That makes sense, of course. I'm currently testing my modded installation and it's a bit unstable. Once I'm more familiar with it I'll install SCS v32 and I'll try to reproduce this.

Edited by Alonso

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Eh... if you see a hive mother in a regular game of D&D you would be dead as well, unless you run away or pull off some spectacular shenanigans. So insofar as this mod makes hive mothers not be pushovers... I say bravo. 

Who says a player must be able to steamroll every enemy in the game? Elder beholders, ancient dragons, liches, powerful fiends... a lot of them should be too tough to beat. Just run away!

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On 3/28/2019 at 5:56 PM, subtledoctor said:

Shouldn't beholders, as floating creatures, be immune to Web?

Web is for blind priests but I still keep casting it everywhere, every time during Beholder encounters OMG lol

 

On 4/8/2019 at 2:25 AM, Alonso said:

I tried this. When I said they are too smart, I essentially meant that this tactic doesn't work. The problem is that when they see a character they attack that character, even if you put a wall of summons in the middle. And as soon as the Hive Mother focuses her attacks on a character, that character is dead.

That makes sense, of course. I'm currently testing my modded installation and it's a bit unstable. Once I'm more familiar with it I'll install SCS v32 and I'll try to reproduce this.

Scout the area but avoid Hive Mother, pretty sure she can see invisible. Locate her, kill all her minions you can kill without alerting her. Rest. Prepare your skellies. Use the spell nobody uses Farsight (you can use Wizard's Eye but be careful). Unleash your Skellington army. Scrap the Hive Mother from the floor....

 

....Run like crazy back to Usth Nata - you must give the eyestalk. Fail. Realod. Use ctrl+j. Pretend that you didn't. Profit.

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