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A discussion: New spells as innates vs. spellbook


Andyr

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As the more long-suffering modders and players involved with Cleric Remix know, there is an unfortunate bug in it.

 

Those playing with kitted Clerics can sometimes find that on loading a game they have lost their memorised spells, which can be annoying. This bug is a result of the engine being odd for no apparant reason... :) The changes made by the mod which are responsible for it happening, though, are kitted Clerics learning one spell less of each level per day. This was introducted as a balancing measure to the free spells they get related to their deity's portfolio at each level. It was designed to force them to have some sort of focus, as they should, and help differentiate the kits.

 

As an aside, the system was styled on the "Domain" system in use in 3rd edition D&D.

 

However, no matter how long Cam has spent recoding it (and I have spent hiding and shirking duties), the bug persists. We've got to the point that we're pretty sure it can't be fixed. An alternative scripting method has been proposed, but Cam and I are not sure that it would be quite robust enough.

 

For example, this is the current list of Firewalkers of Kossuth abilities:

 

Advantages:

- Spiritual Weapon: Flail - 'Tendril of Flame' once per day

The flail is the spiritual weapon of Firewalkers of Kossuth, and is wielded as if the caster had grand mastery in the weapon. The flail is a regular weapon at levels 1-5, +1 at levels 6-10, +2 at 11-15, +3 at 16-20, +4 at 21-25, and +5 at levels 26 and above. The spiritual weapon lasts for one round per level of the caster, up to 20 rounds.

- Has 2% fire resistance per level.

- Can cast Burning Hands once per day, as first level mage spell of the same name

- From level 3 can cast Aganazzar's Scorcher once per day, as the second level mage spell of the same name

- From level 5 can cast Fireball once per day, as the third level mage spell of the same name

- From level 7 can cast Fireshield: Red once per day, as the fourth level mage spell of the same name

- From level 9 can cast Sunfire once per day, as the fifth level mage spell of the same name

- From level 11 can cast Conjure Fire Elemental once per day, as the sixth level cleric spell of the same name

- From level 14 can cast Delayed Blast Fireball once per day, as the seventh level mage spell of the same name

 

Disadvantages:

- Memorizes one less spell per level. Note that this means they gain spells of each spell level starting one level later than a kitless Cleric.

 

Sphere access:

- Major access to all, combat, elemental fire, healing, summoning, and sun

- Minor access to divination, elemental air, elemental earth, protection, and war

- No access to the spheres of animal, astral, charm, chaos, creation, elemental water, guardian, law, necromantic, numbers, plant, time, thought, travel, wards, and weather

 

Originally we decided to do it this way for the reasons mentioned above. But there was an alternative we discarded earlier in development, which would fix the bug: Don't subtract one spell per level, but don't give the innate spells too. Instead, add them to the Cleric's normal spellbook.

 

The advantage of this would be that it gets rid of the unremovable bug. However, it is not quite as satisfactory from the point of view of spell selection - a Cleric would no longer be compelled to pick the spells associated with his deity at all! On the other side of the coin, the Cleric could pick nothing but them, which would end up with such extremes as a Priest of Kossuth tanked up with offensive Fire spells much like a Wizard...

 

In addition, some of the spells granted might have to be rethought. What would be the point of the Firewalker gaining the Summon Fire Elemental spell, for example, when they can already cast it as a Cleric? Or a Morninglord of Lathander's now-redundant Negative Plane Proteection or Heal spells, formerly innates.

 

The spells gained in this way would probably still be Wizard spells and a couple of unique new ones perhaps.

 

So, under this possible new system, the Firewalker's kit abiities would look something more like this:

 

Advantages:

- Spiritual Weapon: Flail - 'Tendril of Flame' once per day

The flail is the spiritual weapon of Firewalkers of Kossuth, and is wielded as if the caster had grand mastery in the weapon. The flail is a regular weapon at levels 1-5, +1 at levels 6-10, +2 at 11-15, +3 at 16-20, +4 at 21-25, and +5 at levels 26 and above. The spiritual weapon lasts for one round per level of the caster, up to 20 rounds.

- Has 2% fire resistance per level.

- Knows the Wizard spells of Burning Hands, Aganazzar's Scorcher, Fireball, Fireshield: Red, Sunfire, Disintegrate and Delayed Blast Fireball and may memorise and cast them as Cleric spells.

 

Disadvantages:

- None

 

Sphere access:

- Major access to all, combat, elemental fire, healing, summoning, and sun

- Minor access to divination, elemental air, elemental earth, protection, and war

- No access to the spheres of animal, astral, charm, chaos, creation, elemental water, guardian, law, necromantic, numbers, plant, time, thought, travel, wards, and weather

 

Note - I just picked Disintegrate as the other most fitting level 6 Wizard spell, but it could be something else or a new spell for Kossuth's clerics only

 

This should still balance against kitless Clerics - they get a Spiritual Weapon over them, but the more restricted sphere access would tend to balance things out. And they'd be much less overpowered than the BioWare originals. ;)

 

So... does anyone have any thoughts on the matter? Any other kits which would need new spells (most would have one or two to be changed).

 

Edit: Tweaked. I think you meant Firewalker of Kossuth not Morninglord of Lathander ;) - Grim

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Has anyone tried giving the kits an unremovable item (e.g. their holy symbol) that removes the spell slots? Alternatively, how about one for kittless clerics that adds spell slots? Or does this run into the old "the 2da says he's got 0 spells, so I won't give him any spells even though I've been told to" engine bug?

 

If we are forced to simply have the spells added to their spell books, we might want to consider the suggestion I made for LoI - remove weapon restrictions for clerics, so we can actually have different restrictions for the kits. This would of course mean that a "dummy kit" would have to be used for the kitless cleric.

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I have become so attached to the CR system (even with its occasional hiccups) that I would not want to see it discontinued. With the spell book solution you could always rely on the player to make the right choice, but I don't trust these guys. :-/

 

The merit in the holy symbol idea could be that it could upgrade with the levels and the hindrance of one slot less is a balancing act in itself, if the symbol is properly implemented.

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If we could get the coding to work properly, an undroppable Holy Symbol of Foo could work. And once you get to level 25 I assume it becomes Blessed Holy Symbol of Foo, giving the standard holy symbol bonuses.

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Has anyone tried giving the kits an unremovable item (e.g. their holy symbol) that removes the spell slots? Alternatively, how about one for kittless clerics that adds spell slots? Or does this run into the old "the 2da says he's got 0 spells, so I won't give him any spells even though I've been told to" engine bug?

 

I support using undroppable items to supply kit abilities almost as much as using dialogue for kit selection. ;) Among other issues it can break dual-classing. As Sim points out, if the effect works via item then it should work via spell and vice versa.

 

Has anyone tried giving the kits an unremovable item (e.g. their holy symbol) that removes the spell slots? Alternatively, how about one for kittless clerics that adds spell slots? Or does this run into the old "the 2da says he's got 0 spells, so I won't give him any spells even though I've been told to" engine bug?

Though annoying for our purposes, it's not an engine bug. I would not expect that a first level cleric would suddenly get a fifth and sixth level cleric spell by wearing a Holy Symbol that grants a bonus fifth and sixth level spell, even though the opcode is telling the engine to do exactly that.

 

If we are forced to simply have the spells added to their spell books, we might want to consider the suggestion I made for LoI - remove weapon restrictions for clerics, so we can actually have different restrictions for the kits.  This would of course mean that a "dummy kit" would have to be used for the kitless cleric.

I think this is a good idea, but we still run into the maximum number (32) of unique kit unusability bits. The majority are already used and other mods already use the 'unused kit unusability flag' trick (SPC and Refinements for example) leading to the dual drawbacks of incompatibility and limited scope. I don't think we could open enough bits to implement this satisfactorily. You're entirely correct that it would work. :)

 

I have become so attached to the  CR system (even with its occasional hiccups) that I would not want to see it discontinued. With the spell book solution you could always rely on the player to make the right choice, but I don't trust these guys. :-/

I've become attached to bug-free mods and anything short of that is unacceptable, sorry. ;)

 

First choice would be to get the current system working, as it happens to be the preference of the modders and the players--but a flawed and buggy system is not going to be a part of the mod. The sporadic nature of the bug is extremely frustrating; I have never been able to replicate it locally, though Andy, Bev, and a number of others have experienced it firsthand. We know there is a lot of anticipation for the mod, but we're not going to release until we can ensure everything works.

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It's entirely possible--but being as it seems to be engine wonkiness, I was suspecting something more along the lines of an SoA vs ToB issue or even patch/foreign language versions.

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If it works fine on some peoples' machines but not on others, might it have something to do with Baldurdash or some other fixpack?

 

I've never had Baldurdash installed. In fact, I don't have much in the way of mods installed period. So, if it's a mod causing it, it's not Baldurdash. Although, I do have Oversight installed.

 

Anyway, it's too bad the domain spells can't be implemented the same way as IWD II, whereby there's a separate part of the spellbook for domain spells. Speaking of, maybe it's just me not being very observant, but I don't think a cleric gets fewer spells in IWD II simply because they also get domain spells.

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If it works fine on some peoples' machines but not on others, might it have something to do with Baldurdash or some other fixpack?

 

I've never had Baldurdash installed. In fact, I don't have much in the way of mods installed period. So, if it's a mod causing it, it's not Baldurdash. Although, I do have Oversight installed.

 

Anyway, it's too bad the domain spells can't be implemented the same way as IWD II, whereby there's a separate part of the spellbook for domain spells. Speaking of, maybe it's just me not being very observant, but I don't think a cleric gets fewer spells in IWD II simply because they also get domain spells.

I thought IWD2 didn't have kitless clerics. :)

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If it works fine on some peoples' machines but not on others, might it have something to do with Baldurdash or some other fixpack?

 

I've never had Baldurdash installed. In fact, I don't have much in the way of mods installed period. So, if it's a mod causing it, it's not Baldurdash. Although, I do have Oversight installed.

I'm pretty sure Oversight wouldn't cause this bug. It doesn't touch anything that would seem to relate.

 

Anyway, it's too bad the domain spells can't be implemented the same way as IWD II, whereby there's a separate part of the spellbook for domain spells.  Speaking of, maybe it's just me not being very observant, but I don't think a cleric gets fewer spells in IWD II simply because they also get domain spells.

I thought IWD2 didn't have kitless clerics. :)

IWD2 doesn't truly have kits--3ed doesn't have kits--but yes, in IWD2 you have to select a deity to worship, there's none of this I'm-a-priest-of-no-one-in-particular business.

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I'm generally against spells-as-innates, as it's boring. However, the spell-book is so damn limited, it's often the only way :-/

 

And this should probably go in the some other thread (but.. this one was in the new posts, and I'm too lazy to actually browse the forums to find somewhere more appropriate) - since you're re-shuffling the spells to sphere access and stuff, why not reshuffle the spell-levels too - you could then use the 1st spell level as a 'domain' section.

It would mean that things could get really crowded at the later levels, seeing as some cleric HLA's are actually spells, but, it's a solution, and I quite like it :-)

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The class balance changed in 3E anyhow, so a direct comparison is not too useful. :) And yeh, 3E forces deity choice.

 

Anyway, back to the original question: given that a method of solving the bug is elusive, and we'd rather not overpower kitted clerics by giving them 7 innates over their levels for no penalty, what do people think of making these spells picked from the spellbook? Advantage: no bugs. Disadvantage: players can pick odd spell combinations.

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I've never had Baldurdash installed.  In fact, I don't have much in the way of mods installed period.  So, if it's a mod causing it, it's not Baldurdash.  Although, I do have Oversight installed.

Err, actually my meaning was that NOT having a certain fixpack installed could be why the bug occurs :).

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