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Dealing with anti-spell protections

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Iirc Detect Illusions was the only direct way to dispel II with Nondetection in SCS without SR. So having a thief in your party with this skill was very helpful.

The cloak of nondetection: It makes stealthing thieves completely undetectable by any divination spell, right?  But when worn by mages, it just applies as a permanent Nondetection spell. So they are still susceptible to TS and DI when under II. I would be very glad if you could also comment on ehat exactly the cloak does.

Thank you both so much!

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The Cloak of Nondetection is less useful in that an enemy mage casting Detect Invisible or True Sight can see the hidden thief; but in my game - and possibly with SR/IR as well, I forget if I made personal changes to make this happen - the Cloak is a lot more useful to other people, since it can protect illusionary protections.  With Nondetection and  +1 luck, Mirror Image becomes as good as Stoneskin.  And this makes certain other items more interesting, like that sword that allows you to cast Mirror Image.  Along with Boots of the Gargoyle, it is a way non-mages can get Stoneskin-like protection.  It also, as stated before, protects things like the AC and save bonuses from Improved Invisibility, so it could make e.g. the Ring of Air Control more interesting. 

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7 minutes ago, subtledoctor said:

Sanctuary

Oh, right, I think I recall you talking about this once upon a time now. That is clever, but yeah, probably not do-able in non-EE games(?). A good supplement to have for EE players, though.

@crackwiseCloak of Non-Detection: "It makes stealthing thieves completely undetectable by any divination spell, right?" Yes. "But when worn by mages, it just applies as a permanent Nondetection spell." You list these two as if they're different effects, but they're actually the exact same thing, haha. If a mage casts Non-Detection and then Invisibility, or is a mage-thief that goes into stealth mode, they are also completely undetectable by any divination spell - only the mage or the thief breaking their own invisibility via an invisibility-breaking action (e.g. attacking) would render them detectable. Cloak of Non-Detection does the same thing.

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Thanks a lot for the clarification. @Bartimaeus you are right actually they are both the same thing :)

I think as of now I have understood how the invisibility system works and I am ready to do some buttkicking for goodness!

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2 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

I mean, you cannot use II + Nondetection the way you could use II + SI:Div in the vanilla game to become entirely immune to being targeted by enemies.  That is by design; in my opinion and I believe in Demi's opinion, being easily able to entirely thwart SCS mages is a dumb game mechanic - tantamount to just hitting ctrl-Y.  With SR, to be protected, you actually need to use things like Spell Deflection and Dispelling Screen. 

Unless I'm missing something, SCS isn't so easily thwarted. Ruby Ray to bring down the SI:Div, then Truesight to penetrate II.

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31 minutes ago, DavidW said:

Unless I'm missing something, SCS isn't so easily thwarted. Ruby Ray to bring down the SI:Div, then Truesight to penetrate II.

Huh, didn't realize Ruby Ray brings down SI:Div.  Does Spell Immunity have the spell protection sectype?  I haven't played without SR for... 20 years?  So I'm not too familiar (or concerned) with the vanilla system.  I think it all works more smoothly and makes more sense without Spell Immunity in the game.

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Posted (edited)
46 minutes ago, subtledoctor said:

Huh, didn't realize Ruby Ray brings down SI:Div.  Does Spell Immunity have the spell protection sectype?  I haven't played without SR for... 20 years?  So I'm not too familiar (or concerned) with the vanilla system.  I think it all works more smoothly and makes more sense without Spell Immunity in the game.

I believe it does, and I don't believe SI:Abjuration can protect against abjuration anti-magics like Secret Word either. SCS also makes it so that anti-magic spells can always be cast through improved invisibility regardless, which is why you can cast Ruby Ray to begin with.

Edited by Bartimaeus

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3 hours ago, Bartimaeus said:

and I don't believe SI:Abjuration can protect against abjuration anti-magics like Secret Word

That much I knew.

3 hours ago, Bartimaeus said:

SCS also makes it so that anti-magic spells can always be cast through improved invisibility regardless, which is why you can cast Ruby Ray to begin with.

Oh right, that old chestnut.

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6 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

 So I'm not too familiar (or concerned) with the vanilla system. 

Fair enough - but you are making sharply critical comments about the vanilla system, and its interaction with SCS, and those comments aren't based on fact.

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9 minutes ago, DavidW said:

Fair enough - but you are making sharply critical comments about the vanilla system, and its interaction with SCS, and those comments aren't based on fact.

I'm just repeating what I read on various forums - that II + SI:Div  is more or less a standard formula for countering mages.  SCS is entirely incidental -  I didn't say anything critical about SCS, I simply used it as an example of when the enemy mage is a more serious threat.

Maybe the throwaway line for emphasis - "even SCS mages!" is the problem.  Sure, SCS is smart (as smart goes in the Infinity Engine) and will cast Ruby Ray (able to target improved invisible enemies with it) to dispel SI:Div, and then cast True Sight to dispel Improved Invisibility, and then cast Spell Thrust to remove a Spell Shield, and then cast Pierce Whatever to take down Deflection or Turning, and then cast Breach to remove combat protections (maybe steps 2-4 might be in a different order)... but will non-SCS mages do that?  In the unmodded game, how do enemy mages deal with a player who uses II + SI:Div?

So maybe my statement should be modified by removing three letters:

9 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

being easily able to entirely thwart mages is a dumb game mechanic

If that's the case, the broader point holds.  Does SR make it easier for enemy mages to circumvent your invisibility?  Yes - and that's a good thing.  SCS does something similar, in letting mages "see" invisible targets when casting magic attacks, so I would hazard a guess that you agree.

Engaging the point further: in a game with SI:Div as a spell protection, which can be removed by Ruby Ray (or, presumably, Spell Thrust?  Spell Thrust can dispel 5th-level spell protections, no?), isn't it just another spell protection? That doesn't seem very interesting.  Is [Spell Deflection + II + SI:Div] any different from [Spell Deflection + II + Spell Turning]?  In both cases you need two magic attacks plus True Sight.  I guess the difference is, you can combine them all, and thus require three magic attacks plus True Sight.  (Add Spell Shield and Spell Trap, and it takes five magic attacks plus True Sight. Add Minor Turning and Minor Deflection and Globe of Invulnerability, and we're up to eight magic attacks to get through... though those last three won't stop a Breach so maybe they don't matter?  Of course there is also SI:Abj... I don't recall whether that stops Breach, and I don't remember if you can have multiple SI variants active at the same time, and to be honest at this point in the paragraph I've already lost interest. It all needs simplifying. SR is a step in the right direction.)

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14 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

In the unmodded game, how do enemy mages deal with a player who uses II + SI:Div?

I think you may be forgetting just how dumb enemy mages are in the unmodded game. Never mind working out how to deal with II+SI:Div - most mages can't even deal with II alone. Hardly any mage in the vanilla game tries to take it down; hell, hardly any mage in the vanilla game checks for it before targetting a single-target spell. You can paralyze most of them just by standing next to them with II running. 

The more interesting question would be: how *could* a mage, using the unmodded spell system, deal with II+SI:Div? And there I agree, they can't, basically. Add SI:Abj and the logical circle pretty much closes. I realized that very early in the evolution of SCS; Wes Weimer realised it too, which is why every single Tactics mage of level 16+ uses II+Si:Abj+Si:Div in their Spell Trigger. I looked for the minimal set of changes that I could find to the spell system that made mage combat functional, and ended up with the antimagic-bypasses-II trick. SR, of course, has a very different design goal and is happy to make much more sweeping changes - which is fine, but not what I was (or am) interested in, though I have gone a long way towards supporting SR for those who do like it that way

16 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

in a game with SI:Div as a spell protection, which can be removed by Ruby Ray (or, presumably, Spell Thrust?  Spell Thrust can dispel 5th-level spell protections, no?), isn't it just another spell protection? That doesn't seem very interesting. 

It's in practice slightly different, because there are counters to invisibility other than divination spells - noticeably thieves' Detect Illusion ability and the fact that liches/dragons/fiends can see through invisibility. (Also, it protects your other illusions, like Mirror Image).

16 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

Of course there is also SI:Abj... I don't recall whether that stops Breach, and I don't remember if you can have multiple SI variants active at the same time

It stops Breach on SCS but not on unmodded games (the unmodded game treats Breach as an anti-spell-defense attack, so it bypasses everything. That's something else that's basically not counterable - hence, again, SCS's tweak.) There is no constraint on having multiple SI variants active, in the unmodded game or in SCS, though there is a perennial myth that there is.

16 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

It all needs simplifying.

It doesn't need simplifying, in that it's perfectly possible to have an effective and enjoyable mage-battle AI inside the system as is. One might have a fun play experience using a mod that simplifies it; that's a different question.

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5 hours ago, DavidW said:

Add SI:Abj and the logical circle pretty much closes

How ? Cause the spell removes itself ? Cause that's what it says it does ! In the spells name. You becomes immune to every Abjuration spell, including the Spell Immunity: Abjuration. Simply because it's an Abjuration spell. Ta-daa... And PfMW..

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7 minutes ago, DavidW said:

That's not what the spell does.

Then perhaps it shouldn't be named as it is.

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13 hours ago, DavidW said:

I think you may be forgetting just how dumb enemy mages are in the unmodded game. Never mind working out how to deal with II+SI:Div - most mages can't even deal with II alone.

Or a mustard jelly. Mage fights in unmodded BG2 were a hilarious experience... 🙃

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