Jump to content

Priest defenses in SCS with IWD spells


Recommended Posts

One of the perennial problems I have in SCS is keeping priests alive. They have slow casting time, lack sequencers and contingencies, and have far fewer defensive spells than mages - OK, they have much better armor, but that doesn't help for long. So while there are lots of cool priest offensive spells, the AI doesn't get many chances to use them.

SCS v32 possibly changes that, if you're using the IWD spell system. It makes a collection of changes to IWD priest spells; all have (at least some) independent motivation, but the collective effect is to significantly improve priests' defenses. In summary:

  • Shield of Lathander is a really nice, good-alignment-only, combat protection; with its short casting time it's somewhat similar to Mantle. In a BG2 setting it's very awkward to have it named for a specific god (particularly since you can be a speciality priest of that god, but that doesn't affect whether you can have the spell). I give it a more generic name ('divine protection'), but in doing so I drop the alignment restriction - again, alignment restrictions aren't really a thing in BG2 so there's some motivation for doing so, but my ulterior motive is of course to let enemy priests (most of whom are evil) use it.
  • Impervious Sanctity of Mind is 7th level, but it's inferior in all respects to Chaotic Commands, and I don't think it makes sense to have that level of disconnect in a spell system. (Note that although Chaotic Commands is in IWDEE that's only because it was imported from BG2; it's not in vanilla IWD). So I increase the power of the spell a little (in SCS's spell-system tweaks, not in the core installation of IWD spells.) The new version grants immunity to casting-failure effects like Insect Plague and provides a one-off Spell Shield effect.
  • As I discovered from threads at the Beamdog forums, in IWDEE Entropy Shield has a very powerful protective effect: it gives complete immunity to Breach, Imprisonment and Spellstrike. That's particularly impressive since, as a combat protection, Breach is the only spell that can bring it down! … Now, this is obviously a bug. It's undocumented, involves spells that only exist in IWDEE (and so is not imported from IWD), only affects spells with a very specific projectile, and that projectile has the right number to have been added accidentally in an off-by-one error of the sort that's very easy to make with projectiles. So my implementation of the IWD spellsystem removes it. However, it's actually quite interesting, and makes Entropy Shield a nicer spell as well as giving priests a useful extra defense. So I restore (and document) immunity to Breach and Imprisonment (actually, to all non-spell-protection-removing Abjurations) to the spell, and set it to Spell Protection in order to make the party have some options for removing it.

I'm interested how all this plays out in practice - are priests annoyingly impossible to hurt, as papery as ever, or something interesting in between?

Link to post
1 hour ago, DavidW said:

So I restore (and document) immunity to Breach and Imprisonment (actually, to all non-spell-protection-removing Abjurations) to the spell, and set it to Spell Protection in order to make the party have some options for removing it.

Awesome changes. I have installed the RC9 Version but the spell description of Entropy shield is same with RC8 version. Is it an ai only change? Because I see other spell changes are present in my spellbook.

Link to post
10 minutes ago, Hicuty said:

Awesome changes. I have installed the RC9 Version but the spell description of Entropy shield is same with RC8 version. Is it an ai only change? Because I see other spell changes are present in my spellbook.

Congratulations, you've found the first new bug in RC9.

The spell itself is changed but it looks like I forgot to patch the description.

Link to post

in theory seems fine, but the general method of protections is the same as in arcane magic, which makes arcane and divine magic feel much more similar.

i feel that priests' defense, thematically, works mainly in the way of magic resistance and supernatural stats.

so instead of your tweaks, which are in themselves justified, i'd make all those three spells remain the same, and just add a percentage of magic resistance on top.

cumulative with magic resistance which should maybe be changed to have a rather long duration and be pre-castable

Link to post
23 minutes ago, bob_veng said:

in theory seems fine, but the general method of protections is the same as in arcane magic, which makes arcane and divine magic feel much more similar.

i feel that priests' defense, thematically, works mainly in the way of magic resistance and supernatural stats.

so instead of your tweaks, which are in themselves justified, i'd make all those three spells remain the same, and just add a percentage of magic resistance on top.

cumulative with magic resistance which should maybe be changed to have a rather long duration and be pre-castable

These changes were needed for a long time imho. Without stoneskin (which druids have), priests have no chance to deal with melee damage and are easily interrupted by spells. 

Edited by Hicuty
Link to post

1) I very much like these changes, but the mod list I tend to use will generally include IWDEE priest spells before SCS gets a chance to add them, which means I will miss out on these improvements.  I wonder if you you would be flattered, or irked, by me wanting to make similar changes in our mod...

2) Regarding Impervious Sanctity of Mind: I wonder if bob_veng doesn't have a point, at least about this spell.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but Spell Shield is only useful when you have another spell protection up.  Which, for priests, means Shield of the Archons only.*  So the Spell Shield aspect of this is only useful if combined with SotA?

* EDIT - oh, I guess now that includes Entropy Shield as well, which makes it more interesting.  Still it would be nice if something like Magic Resistance was also a spell protection EDIT 2 - oh I see the Magic Resistance is indeed already coded as a spell protection.  Okay, I'm liking this even more now.  Gives high-level priests (only) some nice magic defense.

But wait, how does it work at a technical level?  Could Spell Thrust be used to remove the Spell Shield, and then Pierce Magic used to remove the MR/ES/SotA?  Naturally we don't want Spell Thrust to remove the entirety of ISoM... is the Spell Shield portion cast from a subspell? That would make sense...

Edited by subtledoctor
Link to post
1 hour ago, subtledoctor said:

very much like these changes, but the mod list I tend to use will generally include IWDEE priest spells before SCS gets a chance to add them, which means I will miss out on these improvements.  I wonder if you you would be flattered, or irked, by me wanting to make similar changes in our mod...

These are changes made by SCS’s “initialize AI” component, not by its IWD spellpack. The latter is a fairly minimal implementation of IWDEE’s spellsystem. You’ll get these changes if you install SCS, even if you got your IWD spells from Faiths and Powers, or IWDification, or TotLM-in-BG2, or...

Link to post

I think Bob has a point, making clerics too similar to mages (defense wise) doesn't sound great.

(Though I am not sure if your changes are at that point.)

I like the idea of priests getting a healthy amount of magic resistance and then having them utilize (and possibly buff) their anti melee protections (globe of blades etc...)

Link to post

I am not keen on creating an entirely different system of magic defenses and counter-defenses; that is way out of scope for SCS, which tries to make small incremental tweaks to the existing system, even if the aggregate effect is quite large. (And the existing system is already complicated enough.) Priests already play within the established defensive system (consider Iron Skins, Shield of the Archons, Blade Barrier); they’re just not very good at it.

Link to post
12 hours ago, DavidW said:

These are changes made by SCS’s “initialize AI” component, not by its IWD spellpack. The latter is a fairly minimal implementation of IWDEE’s spellsystem. You’ll get these changes if you install SCS, even if you got your IWD spells from Faiths and Powers, or IWDification, or TotLM-in-BG2, or...

Ah. Sweet!

EDIT for thoughts: I'm not as concerned about veering into "mage chess" situations. Having a Spell Shield over SotA will only require one more Pierce spell... it's not like clerics are going to pop sequencers or contingencies to restore their defenses. 

Entropy Shield concerns me a bit more... outright immunity to Breach might be frustrating to players who aren't sure how to respond to it. Personally, I think I'd be fine with it as long as it's pretty clear in-game that it can be Pierce'd. But it might be worth considering making it work like Spell Shield or SR's Dispelling Screen, blocking the first Breach but not successive ones. 

Another thing to consider is that this gives clerics more spell defenses, but the only ways to overcome them are still wizard-only. What would a cleric-v.-cleric battle look like here? A *lot* of "spell ineffective" messages, potentially. Maybe end up wading into melee with Blade Barriers, and whoever has fewer hp loses? It might be worth considering adding some defense-penetrating capabilities to existing priest spells... I remember Demivrgvs talking years ago about adding this to Bolt of Glory... thinking more radically, I could even justify adding it to Holy Word. 

Of course I don't know all the potential AI implications of moves like that... just throwing out some thoughts. 

Edited by subtledoctor
Link to post

I'll reserve final judgment until I actually play test these changes, but I did want to chime in and say that I think that one of SCS's strengths is that it's fundamentally conservative with the changes that it makes to the spell system - even these new additions are themselves more or less ported over from IWD. While some of the suggestions for more dramatic changes seem interesting, and might make for good gameplay, they're not the sorts of things that I expect, or even desire, from a mod like SCS.

With respect to subtledoctor's concerns, if it turns out that these changes leave people wanting for wider access to anti-magic, one less radical thought would be to make wands of spell striking, which in the EE's are available as early as chapter 2, usable by all classes.

Link to post
On 2/17/2019 at 9:27 PM, DavidW said:

 

  • Impervious Sanctity of Mind is 7th level, but it's inferior in all respects to Chaotic Commands, and I don't think it makes sense to have that level of disconnect in a spell system. (Note that although Chaotic Commands is in IWDEE that's only because it was imported from BG2; it's not in vanilla IWD). So I increase the power of the spell a little (in SCS's spell-system tweaks, not in the core installation of IWD spells.) The new version grants immunity to casting-failure effects like Insect Plague and provides a one-off Spell Shield effect.

 

The spell description states that there is "no chance of casting failure", but my cleric still fails spells when damaged in combat. Is it just the insect plague that it protects against?

On topic of priests being squishy: I've noticed some drow priestesses using Divine Protection (going by the spell animation) and it seems to be working, so they are a bit less papery now. I think it's a great idea to give it to all priests, my cleric certainly appreciates it. 😀

Link to post
On ‎2‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 11:53 AM, chimaera said:

The spell description states that there is "no chance of casting failure", but my cleric still fails spells when damaged in combat. Is it just the insect plague that it protects against?

The spell description could stand to be clearer. There is no chance of a casting-failure opcode affecting them, but ordinary damage can still disrupt it. (I'd ideally protect against ordinary damage too, but I don't think that's doable.)

Link to post
Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...