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Stacking Bonuses from Launchers and Ammo


Mike1072

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A recent pull request from Mercurier has brought to light an issue that I think deserves further discussion.

 

We have the ability (in EE games) to make it so launchers can bestow their enchantment level (in terms of what can be hit) upon ammo that they fire. This is something that Demi requested, though I don't know his whole plan.

 

Without this tweak, to hit a creature that needs +3 weapons to be hit, you would need to use ammo that's +3 or greater enchantment. With this tweak, you could use either ammo that's +3 or greater enchantment or a launcher that's +3 or greater enchantment.

 

In addition to the enchantment change, Mercurier proposed removing the damage and THAC0 bonuses from ammo. Right now, both our launchers and our ammo gain THAC0 and damage bonuses from enchantment level, so it stacks (+1 shortbow with +1 arrows = +2 THAC0 / +2 damage). I don't know if that's best, but I think that completely removing the bonuses from ammo would render plain enchanted ammo almost entirely useless. I'll quote our discussion below.

 

 

Conceptually, what do the plain +2/+3/+4 ammos provide if their THAC0 and damage bonuses are removed? There aren't too many creatures that require enchanted ammo to hit to justify hoarding them... and once you get an enchanted launcher, that bonus goes away as well. I don't know if this is what Demi intended to do. We probably don't want doubly stacking damage/THAC0, but they need to have some benefit over plain arrows.

Per PnP launcher and ammo enchantment (and the associated damage/thac0 bonus) should not stack, but the higher one takes precedence. Current EE engine provides limited support for this rule for the enchantment part (determining what the weapon can hit), but not for the damage/thac0 part. IMHO stripping off damage/thac0 from ammo could be a close approximation: players can still hit dragons/liches with +0/+1/+2 launcher plus +3 ammo, but will lost a little bit of damage/thac0, which I guess is not too big deal. A good application is using Strong Arm (+2) and +3 ammo to quickly takeout dragons.

 

Additional note here:

In my personal mod I changed Strong Arm to a non-magical short composite bow crafted by its original owner-- an ogre hunter. In player's hand it functions as a composite longbow requiring 19 str (+8 dmg) -- good at wiping off mobs yet requires rare ammo for serious boss fights.

 

This is a good example that an early game equipment gets extended utility during late game. Some players use weimer's item upgrade mod so that their beloved Celestial Fury gets extended utility. I envision this tweak will open the road for more flexible and innovative item designs.

 

Yeah, but the effect of this change is that the majority of the time, +1/+2/+3 ammo would function no differently from unenchanted ammo. Once you got a +2 weapon, +2 ammo would be worthless. I think it might be good to move this discussion to the forums.

 

What do you guys think?

 

Is doubly stacking THAC0/damage a problem? What solutions would ensure that more heavily enchanted ammo remained better than less heavily enchanted ammo?

 

If anyone can find prior discussion of these issues, linking those posts could help.

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I think the only real solution, if you really wanted to prevent damage and THAC0 stacking, would be that all ammunition-based weapons get one of the THAC0/damage bonus from enchantment, and the ammunition itself gets the other. That is to say, you could either have the launcher itself giving bonus THAC0 from enchantment while the ammunition gets the bonus damage, or the other way around. As far as I can see, doing it any other way either gimps the launcher or gimps the ammunition. I think THAC0 for the launcher and damage for the ammunition makes the most intuitive sense. This would also make Strong Arm serve a purpose, since it would then have a chunk of bonus damage that other launchers simply cannot get. I'm also not sure about splitting implementations of enchantment level between ToBEx and EE games - not convinced that the launcher needs to grant enchantment level to fired ammunition.

Edited by Bartimaeus
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Could some ammo be kept working as-is, and some particular ammo made to work with the additive enchantment bonus? The fluff concept could be that it takes a special material for the arrow to carry the dweomer over from the launcher.

 

so:

 

taralash +5 w. arrow +3 = ench. level +3, +8/+8

 

taralash +5 w. carry-over arrow +1 = ench. level +6, +6/+6

 

/edit: fail/

 

Seems balanced...

maybe void-tipped arrow could be changed to work like that, and keep doing magic damage etc.

Edited by bob_veng
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Could some ammo be kept working as-is, and some particular ammo made to work with the additive enchantment bonus? The fluff concept could be that it takes a special material for the arrow to carry the dweomer over from the launcher.

No, I don't think that can be done. The "bestow enchantment" effect is a property of the launchers, not the ammo.
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Could some ammo be kept working as-is, and some particular ammo made to work with the additive enchantment bonus? The fluff concept could be that it takes a special material for the arrow to carry the dweomer over from the launcher.

 

so:

 

taralash +5 w. arrow +3 = ench. level +3, +8/+8

 

taralash +5 w. carry-over arrow +1 = ench. level +6, +6/+6

Erhm, you failed to show the non carry over ... or ?!?

Short bows...

SB +1, with +1 arrows: +1/1d6 +1

SB +1, with regular arrows, +1/1d6

SB, with +1 arrows: 0/1d6 +1

 

Carnage Giant Space Miniature SB +9, with Void Arrows +6: +15/1d6 +3 .. and your answer to why the F, is that the CGSMSB has odd damage retainer. As normally, it's a one shot one kill weapon.

Ouh, and by the way, this will really $0ↄ8 shiw for Protection from Normal Missile -spell users.

 

So yeah, in my mind, the arrows should set the damage, while the bows say how accurate they are and they can give a small damage via class. So for example all composite long bows could give +1, but their enhantment doesn't give damage bonus. And yeah, there probably should be one bow that gives damage bonus too... but that's for the mod maker to deside on how to go about doing that, and for what bow.

Edited by Jarno Mikkola
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oh sorry, i've been playing iwd2 a little lately and got it all mixed up...

 

- - -

another idea:

how about including the additive mechanic but reducing launchers +2 to +1, +3 to +2, +4 also to +2, and +5 to +3?

 

so that launcher +3 and ammo +3 would have an ench. level of maximum +6?

 

or

launchers +4 to +3, and +5 to +4, but remove projectiles +3

 

or

a combination of those two so that a maximum of +3 launcher and a maximum of +2 projectile would make for a max ench lvl +5 which seems the most appropriate to me

 

 

@jarno

 

On 10/2/2018 at 12:35 AM, Jarno Mikkola said:

...

So yeah, in my mind, the arrows should set the damage, while the bows say how accurate they are and they can give a small damage via class. So for example all composite long bows could give +1, but their enhantment doesn't give damage bonus. And yeah, there probably should be one bow that gives damage bonus too... but that's for the mod maker to deside on how to go about doing that, and for what bow.

 

i've been thinking about it and i that if thac0 and damage bonuses were split between ammo and launchers, ammo should get the thac0 and launchers the damage because an enchanted launcher can launch, say an arrow, with supernatural force, and an enchanted arrow can home in on the target, but in other respects it's just an ordinary arrow that doesn't do anything magical once it hits the target, so if it was launched with relatively weak force from an unenchanted shortbow, it wouldn't do any greater damage. this is more in line with the vanilla state of things, so less of a radical change

Edited by bob_veng
made more concise
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I think the thac0 bonus should come from the launcher, and the damage bonus should come from the missile.

 

There is a mod to make launchers apply their enchantment value to fired missiles, if EE players want that they can install that mod. Or IR could replicate it pretty easily and make it an optional component.

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Enchantment level: That's fine by me, though I'd be hesitant to completely replicate the work of somebody else in IR when it already exists outside of it.

 

Damage/THAC0: Still not sure what I think is ideal here. For reference, these are the launchers in vanilla:

 

Bows: Receive THAC0 bonus from enchantment, but not damage. Base ApR of 2.

Arrows: THAC0, no damage, base damage of 1D6.

 

Crossbows: THAC0 and damage, base ApR of 1.

Bolts: THAC0, no damage, base damage of 1D8.

 

Slings: THAC0 and damage, base ApR of 1.

Bullets: THAC0 and damage, base damage of 1D4+1.

 

In other words, it's a complete disaster. Neither launchers nor ammunition are consistent with each other in any conceivable way as far as I can tell. With weapon changes, they all receive bonus THAC0 and damage, bows are nerfed to a base ApR of 3/2, and bolts instead deal 1D10 damage. By changing all of them to be launcher gets THAC0, ammunition gets damage, it would seem slings are the most stomped on (losing half of their vanilla bonuses), while bows benefit the most (as they come out net neutral from vanilla). Of course, it somewhat depends on what happens to bows' ApR, too - leaving them at 3/2 makes them pretty comparable to crossbows, maybe a little better depending on the level of enchantment arrows you're using (due to the ApR difference). Poor slings, though...but of course, the reverse is happening now anyways - instead of taking away slings' vanilla bonuses, the other categories are receiving them, too.

Edited by Bartimaeus
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Poor slings, though...but of course, the reverse is happening now anyways - instead of taking away slings' vanilla bonuses, the other categories are receiving them, too.

In EE though, slings add STR bonus to damage which bows and crossbows do not. (That is very controversial, I for one dislike it. But it is vanilla behavior and I don't think IR changes that.)

 

One/another way to buff slings in response to low APR is to change the damage type from "missile" to "blunt." These are supposed to be fist-size rocks being hurled at your foe, not a pebble from a child's slingshot. It be more likely to concuss like a hammer than to pierce like a knife.

 

Also keep in mind the APR differences largely go away as you get to higher levels. Whereas in vanilla slings have 50% the APR of bows at level 1, and with IR 67% at level 1, at 13th level wielded by a fighter with GM, that becomes 75% and 86%, respectively (80% and 89% under Haste). At that point other characteristics (damage, secondary effects, damage type) will likely outweigh APR concerns.

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I'm pretty sure IR changes that, since it replaces all slngxx.itm with versions that have that property disabled. Furthermore, I'd be surprised if that wasn't only BG:EE - I'd expect BG2:EE to have it disabled it again (as vanilla BG1 has that property enabled, while vanilla BG2 has it disabled). IR was made for BG2 (IIRC, Demi has never even played BG1?).

 

Not sure how I feel about changing damage types - seems like it would just create more inconsistencies. Good point @ ApR.

Edited by Bartimaeus
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Adding some new thoughts here:

Removing thac0 and damages bonuses from ammo, can render regular +1/2/3 ones mostly useless, however we can add other effects to “justify” their enchantment level, e.g. keen, elemental burst, sundering, weakening, etc. This could offer ranged builds more choices between damage output, debugging, and crowd control. 

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