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Dealing with anti-spell protections


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I am a bit confused on how anti-spell protections should work in SR(R) + SCS. It was my impression that they penetrated improved invisibility but after checking from experience that they do not, and checking in NI that they do not have the right flag set up, and also checking the SCS docs that this particular change is not implemented if SR(R) is detected, my question is how are we supposed to handle enemy mages with a higher level than the party? A typical end game BG1 mage will have non-detection, MGoI and dispelling screen. The odds of Remove Magic succeeding are not that great so that is prolly not a good option. If he goes Improved Invisible and I want to breach him (assume BG1 endgame and that I have a mage with access to level 5 spells), I have to dispel improved invisible. For that I have to get rid of non-detection. The only anti-spell that works then is spell thrust since it is aoe. Suppose we aim right and that the mage does not move in the meantime (as he so often does in SCS). Potentially you may need 3 spell thrusts and then can dispel invis and then can launch breach, so that is five rounds of being kicked in the groin with nasty spells. Of course by then PfMW will have expired so the whole rigmarole was probably for naught. So what am I missing? Of course he will also put up Protection from Missiles so ranged weapons are now basically useless as well (unless you have arrows of dispelling, which allow a save). There are not many usable damage spells in levels 4 and 5. So what is a 6-full party with 1 full arcane caster and a backup one (in SoA it will be 2 backup arcane casters) to do besides just taking it like a man?

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2 hours ago, grodrigues said:

I ...If he goes Improved Invisible and I want to breach him (assume BG1 endgame and that I have a mage with access to level 5 spells), I have to dispel improved invisible. For that I have to get rid of non-detection.

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Nope, you just have to see him, which the True Sight and other spells allow... and as those spells are not casted on a target but the caster himself, this allows the caster to then see "invisible" targets even if they have other protections from spells as they were not affected by a spell, but a counter to their own spell.

Or some other BS, I didn't condone any of this.

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1 hour ago, Jarno Mikkola said:

Nope, you just have to see him, which the True Sight and other spells allow... and as those spells are not casted on a target but the caster himself, this allows the caster to then see "invisible" targets even if they have other protections from spells as they were not affected by a spell, but a counter to their own spell.

(A little light-bulb goes on in an otherwise dark skull). I missed the last sentences in Non-Detection description: "Note, however, that specific opponents affected with anti-invisibility spells such as True Seeing will be able to target the recipient with spellcasting through improved invisibility for as long as such anti-invisibility spells are active."

Thanks for setting me on the right path. I really should have read the descriptions with more attention.

I do wonder however why not simply set the flag bypass improved invis on the targeted anti-spell protection spells. Sure sounds easier. And saves a round if you do not prebuff or use sequencers for other things. Whatever.

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I think Demivrgvs' philosophy was that there was no good in-game reason why antimagic spells should penetrate Improved Invisibility, because the spell protects you by hiding you, not by shielding you. Frankly, he has a point, though SCS handwaves it by a (fictional) small area effect. Demi's alternative is quite interesting and if I'd thought of it ten years ago I might have gone down that road instead; as it is, there's a lot of playtesting wisdom encoded in the current state of SCS's antimagic structure and I don't want to start from scratch now. 

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17 hours ago, grodrigues said:

(A little light-bulb goes on in an otherwise dark skull). I missed the last sentences in Non-Detection description: "Note, however, that specific opponents affected with anti-invisibility spells such as True Seeing will be able to target the recipient with spellcasting through improved invisibility for as long as such anti-invisibility spells are active."

Thanks for setting me on the right path. I really should have read the descriptions with more attention.

I do wonder however why not simply set the flag bypass improved invis on the targeted anti-spell protection spells. Sure sounds easier. And saves a round if you do not prebuff or use sequencers for other things. Whatever.

Yeah, I wrote that in the SRR description with the specific intent of shedding light on the Improved Invisibility + Non-Detection mechanics (since Non-Detection's description in current SR is inaccurate in describing what it does and even more unhelpful in explaining how everything interacts), but people do actually have to notice that the description has been updated and read it, haha.

On a side-note, I actually originally had it so that anti-magic spells all penetrated improved invisibility a la SCS...but @subtledoctor helpfully informed me of how things were *supposed* to be working in SR, and I ended up reverting it and rewriting a number of the relevant spell descriptions instead. Perhaps I should also provide a settings.ini switch or subcomponent that makes them penetrate again so that if you want it perfectly match SCS behavior, the option's there.

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It just seems so inconsistent to me... why would Breach be able to target semi-invisible characters but not Magic Missile, or Finger of Death?

If a mod were to make semi-invisible targetable by Breach, I would want them to be targetable by any spells, and provide some other benefit in place of being untargetable. Maybe let them be targetable by spells, but allow a saving throw to avoid them, like rogues' Evasion in IWD

Hmmm... that would actually be totally doable. Quick, Robin - to tbe bat-cave!

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2 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

It just seems so inconsistent to me... why would Breach be able to target semi-invisible characters but not Magic Missile, or Finger of Death?

If a mod were to make semi-invisible targetable by Breach, I would want them to be targetable by any spells, and provide some other benefit in place of being untargetable.

2

Well, fireball can hit invisible targets. No need to add-in ad-hoc inconsistency there.

Now, of course fireball and Breach are different types of spells, and making Breach to be 30 feet ranged area of effect is OP a lot, but set that to be about 10 feet, and it's a bit different subject, as you ought to know quite well where the mage is to affect them. But there's no need to cast a 5th level spell to counter a 2nd level effect. That's where the inconsistency comes to mind a FCUK lot.

Yes, there's also the Detect Invisible... but that's defeat-able with Non-Detection or Improved Invisibility... and as the Non-Detection is just the Improved -addon to the "primary spell" invisibility spell... . So a 2nd + 3rd level spell = 4th level spell, defeating everything that's not a 5th level or above. Again, not consistent !

Yes, at 5th level you got Oracle. But that's a level above the defense spells. Or actually 2... especially with creatures who got non-detection by default.

PS, this is not directed towards DavidW... I know his tweak about the Breach and I am ok'ish with it.

Edited by Jarno Mikkola
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As it happens Breach doesn't penetrate II in SCS: it only applies to anti-spell effects. (Not that that really affects Subtledoctor's point.)

I have some time for the consistency concern but (a) you can handwave it via imagining a small AoE and (b) ultimately verisimilitude has to be weighed against game balance, and the current system seems to work pretty well.

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8 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

It just seems so inconsistent to me... why would Breach be able to target semi-invisible characters but not Magic Missile, or Finger of Death?

If a mod were to make semi-invisible targetable by Breach, I would want them to be targetable by any spells, and provide some other benefit in place of being untargetable. Maybe let them be targetable by spells, but allow a saving throw to avoid them, like rogues' Evasion in IWD

Hmmm... that would actually be totally doable. Quick, Robin - to tbe bat-cave!

Presumably to make it so that the spell system works. Before SR's usage of opcode 193 to allow an affected character to bypass the improved invisibility effect, a character affected with improved invisibility + SR Non-Detection or vanilla Spell Immunity: Divination was essentially invulnerable to normal spellcasters outside of a lucky Dispel/Remove Magic. You can't remove the improved invisibility because of immunity to divination spells, and you can't remove the Spell Immunity: Divination because of improved invisibility making it so you can't target them with anti-magic. It was a broken combination. So SCS made spells have an AoE effect that was often janky but allowed you to penetrate improved invisibility, and then the flag to penetrate improved invisibility altogether was discovered/made (...was this a ToBEx feature?) which made the AoE effect unnecessary. Doing it this way also made it fair for players if SCS spellcasters happened to use the same combination.

I reverted it because I agreed with you, SR's way of doing it is better. But David didn't know about that opcode when writing SCS, and he says it would take way too much to change it now, which means SR and SCS are mildly inconsistent on this point. I tested a few different spellcasters with SR & SCS installed and, if I remember correctly, SCS makes them do the same amount of steps but in the opposite order. The player has to cast Detect Invisibility/True Seeing first and then use an anti-magic spell like Secret Word to dispel Non-Detection/Spell Immunity: Divination and consequently the improved invisibility; the AI will instead cast something like Secret Word first and then use an anti-invisibility spell. The advantage for the player is that they don't strictly need to dispel the Non-Detection since the Detect Invisibility/True Seeing allows them to start attacking the improved invisible character immediately with any kind of spells if they wish; the advantage for the AI is that they are not bound to the duration of Detect Invisibility/True Seeing, and can also use other spells like Detect Illusion and Oracle to remove the improved invisibility. So it is currently inconsistent, but kind of fair, I guess?

On a side-note, I would not necessarily be against patching *all* spells to penetrate improved invisibility to be rid of this silly "you can't target characters with improved invisibility" mechanic once and for all. I've always thought it was a terrible mechanic especially given the inconsistency of single target vs. AoE spells.

Edited by Bartimaeus
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Yes, it was a ToBEx feature.

I don't actually know if I'd use the SR method if I started SCS all over again. I'd at least consider it. On the other hand, I'm unsure it makes the logic of spell combat more interesting - on the SCS implementation, invisibility is one of a number of protections that have counters, and counters to the counters; on the SR implementation, it's basically a one-off speedbump. From where we are now, the issue isn't that it would take lots of work to implement - after all, I do implement it if SR is installed - it's that I'm very confident SCS's existing mage-combat system works and is interesting, because I've tested it a lot myself and I have a decade of feedback and iteration from players, whereas a radical change to it could imbalance lots of things. (When I support SR, that's not my problem - I just go with the spell system I'm given - but where my own spell tweaks are concerned, I need to be confident they work well with the AI.)

 

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45 minutes ago, DavidW said:

Yes, it was a ToBEx feature.

I don't actually know if I'd use the SR method if I started SCS all over again. I'd at least consider it. On the other hand, I'm unsure it makes the logic of spell combat more interesting - on the SCS implementation, invisibility is one of a number of protections that have counters, and counters to the counters; on the SR implementation, it's basically a one-off speedbump. From where we are now, the issue isn't that it would take lots of work to implement - after all, I do implement it if SR is installed - it's that I'm very confident SCS's existing mage-combat system works and is interesting, because I've tested it a lot myself and I have a decade of feedback and iteration from players, whereas a radical change to it could imbalance lots of things. (When I support SR, that's not my problem - I just go with the spell system I'm given - but where my own spell tweaks are concerned, I need to be confident they work well with the AI.)

 

It's a one-off speedbump for the character with Detect Invisibility/True Seeing, yeah, but nobody else. I think that makes it a pretty interesting protection vs. the other "harder" style of protections and counters that dominate the game, and it makes intuitive sense for something to do with sight - just because one character can see something doesn't mean everyone else should. If you want to reveal that character for the rest of your party, you have to dispel the Non-Detection/SI:Divinity, at which point the system becomes similar to the SCS system but in the reverse order.

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12 hours ago, DavidW said:

 

I have some time for the consistency concern but (a) you can handwave it via imagining a small AoE and (b) ultimately verisimilitude has to be weighed against game balance, and the current system seems to work pretty well.

I *could* handwave it as such, were breach not conceptually the least AoE-feeling thing ever. it's name suggests that it's a precise anti-spell instrument that penetrates defenses (themselves conceptualized as "shields", "shells"/"globes" etc. - something worth puncturing), it's like an anti-spell arrow, or a beam, certainly not a hand grenade...

but yeah, it's not a big deal

Edited by bob_veng
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To be clear, I'm not suggesting anyone change anything. (Well, I think SR's use of 193 could be more comprehensive, but players can get that in Tome & Blood when installed on top of SR, so I don't think SR itself needs to change.)

SCS is a bit different but they work fine together - SCS doesn't totally circumvent SR's mechanic because even if it Pierces your Deflection while you are invisible, it still cannot target you with Breach or other spells. So the AI can work well with the long-tested SCS spell battle mechanics but the player can have the consistency of SR/TnB invisibility mechanics. 

In other words, "it's just so inconsistent" is not a knock on anything - it's just an explanation why I prefer to add SR and/or TnB to SCS. They work fine together; changing SR is unnecessary. 

Edited by subtledoctor
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4 hours ago, bob_veng said:

I *could* handwave it as such, were breach not conceptually the least AoE-feeling thing ever. it's name suggests that it's a precise anti-spell instrument that penetrates defenses (themselves conceptualized as "shields", "shells"/"globes" etc. - something worth puncturing), it's like an anti-spell arrow, or a beam, certainly not a hand grenade...

but yeah, it's not a big deal

To repeat: breach does not bypass II in SCS. (Not that I find this particularly convincing anyway.)

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