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Subtledoc's Random Tweaks


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13 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

Oooh, I just got an idea.  In addition to the spell battle changes mentioned above, maybe I can move Spell Thrust and Minor Spell Deflection to 1st level.  (Or maybe just Spell Thrust?)  The point being, then you could combine this with Tome & Blood's "Level 1 Cantrips" and you would never lack for a Spell Thrust. 

I recently played against a couple mages in early BG2, Aerie only have a few 4th and 5th-level spells.  She successfully used Spell Thrust and Secret Word to take down an enemy's Deflection and MGOI, but soon enough a contingency or sequencer fired, and he had another deflection up!  And there was nothing I could so about it.  (Yes, this is with SCS AI.)  What, should I spend all of my 3rd- or 4th-level slots on magic attacks?  What if I face two mages (or 12? :jump:)  What if I don't want to rest between battles?  Making Spell Thrust at-will would simply take some of the annoyance out of the memorization management, making sure I always have something useful to use against enemies.  It won't help much at epic levels, but with this new system it would allow me to chip away at enemy spell protections even when most of my resources have been exhausted.

I'm not sure it can actually be done in a satisfactory way; we'll see.

Yeah, SCS made me get used to the idea of always having a sorcerer around so I don't have to have a million anti-magic spells memorized on everyone else. Of course, the vanilla sorcerer spell progression/selection tables are kind of wacky and awful (IMO) so I ended up 'cheating' and making my own based off the Anthology Tweaks "P&P" mage spell progression tables (if those are actually P&P-derived at all, I have no idea) that I liked a lot more. IIRC, the idea was basically "bring sorcerer's level & spell progression in line with mage, get less number of initial choices per level but scales mildly better over time".

Edited by Bartimaeus
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Spontaneous casting totally solves this issue, I agree. My Mystic class, while a priest, gets stuff like Secret Word and Breach, so making them cast spontaneously helps. My spontaneous bardic casting can help, though I need to tinker with how their bonus spells work, make their bonus spells available to cast spontaneously without requiring the use of a spell preparation slot. 

1st-level Spell Thrust combined with Level 1 Cantrips would approximate that for Vancian wizards: effectively, whichever 1st-level spells you prepare become available to cast spontaneously. (And without limit.)

Hmm... I could probably rig it such that you get a certain amount of 1st-level casts, instead of being unlimited, but could cast them spontaneously. Like Bardic casting, but limited to 1st-level spells. Not sure if it’s worth the effort to make that, though. And it might be confusing. (Though maybe not, if I changed the icons so that they appear more clearly different from normal spells.)

Or I could set up bardic casting for all wizards. Do stuff like, give specialists access to spells in their school without using memorization slots. That would be a lot of work, though. I kind of like the balance of things now: wizards get strict Vancian casting, with unlimited cantrips; bards get flexible spontaneous casting, but no high-level spells; and sorcerers get flexible spontaneous casting, with strict limits to known spells. 

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I agree that I feel the current balance of power keeps every flavour of caster distinct and capable in equal measure.

My concern would be that, for all the work you could potentially put into adding bardic casting to all wizards, you’d simply be homogenising them - in effect taking the problem of “You need a sorcerer to get through the game” and rather than solving it, just masking the issue.

But having a choice between all-round versatility, Powerful magical flexibility or Magical longevity ensures all tastes are effectively catered to, and everyone feels empowered no matter their decision. 

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Changing gears: I have tried and tried and tried to come up with a good idea for Goodberry, and nothing every seems right.  So, maybe it is time to consider more radical changes, moving away from a spell that summons consumables.  How is Goodberry generally used (if it is used): you're walking around the countryside between fights, chowing down on berries in order to regain hit points without dipping into your stash of potions.  So why not abstract away the berries and design a spell for that particular use?

  • Affects the whole party
  • Regenerates some hit points
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Can only be cast outside combat

Sort of like Mass Cure Light Wounds, but works more slowly, and cannot be cast in combat.  It's a LOT lower level than Mass Cure Light Wounds, but restricting its use to after combat reduces its utility a lot. And anyway, it will have more or less the same effect that the vanilla spell has right now (except with fatigue reduction, which I like as a counter to SR's Waves of Fatigue).  It will just be a lot easier to use.

EDIT - gonna buff Stinking Cloud a bit, too.

Edited by subtledoctor
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@Endarire beat me to the punch. I think making it a slow heal over time + alleviating fatigue would suit it thematically - slowly rejuvenating your party over time, as you’d imagine magical food would do.

It gives it some utility for exploration (especially for dungeon crawling or for those who don’t rest until the whole party is cured), without straight up outclassing other spells or being totally redundant. 

I suppose with this direction though it’d need to remain a consumable to avoid the balancing issues with other spells that would probably come with making it an AoE spell. 

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Jumping off from the suggestions, you could make it a consumeable that grants a fast healing/regeneration type effect.  Make it something that accelerates HP regeneration on the scale of resting, but not something that you gain a whole lot of benefit from using in combat.  Something like X/hp per hour as a way to accelerate inn rest.

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Thing is, making a consumable + going to your inventory screen + double-clicking to split up the stack among party members + right-clicking to use the consumable + repeating for each party member + going back out to the main screen = SUUUUUPER annoying. 

The work-in-progress version I have coded up abstracts it all away, saying “the caster creates some berries and distributes them among nearby friends, who consume them. They are magically delicious and have various beneficial effects.”

In-game, you just cast the spell and it uses the SparkleBlue projectile, same as Mass Cure Wounds. It removes intoxication and fatigue and regenerates 2 hp/round, 1round/level, to a max of 20 hp over 10 rounds at 10th level. It has a very long casting time and cannot be cast in combat. 

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Druids already get Slow/Neutralize Poison?

That's the problem with making consumables: I figured you could give a choice of consumables that mimic various spells... but a lot of the spells, druids can already cast.  So what's the point?  And if you choose other spells, like cleric-only spells... makes sense at first, but if every druid can cast those cleric-only spells with a 2nd-level druid spell... then what's the point of making them cleric-only?  Why not get rid of Goodberry and just let druids cast those spells?? 

Et cetera.  Spend 20 minutes thinking about what to do with Goodberry consumables - whether they should heal, whether they should simulate other druid spells, whether they should simulate non-druid spells... nothing really works, you just keep going in circles.  Well, I'm getting off that merry-go-round.  The spell can be called Goodberry but it doesn't have to literally make berries.

Edited by subtledoctor
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I'm all for removing unnecessary complications from spells. There are already enough mechanical hoops to jump through as it is, without requiring 30 clicks to achieve the same result as a single spell/potion. 

I think the only other potential case to be made for keeping them as a consumable (if it's not already been covered) is perhaps identifying another low-level buff or benefit that is usually only self-targeted? Off the top of my head I can't think of anything that is A) Available to druids, B) Not already available to other classes,  C) Wouldn't be OP,/useless in this form (accounting for balance tuning), or D) Would still actually vaguely fit the nature of the Goodberry spell (Having a berry that briefly grants Iron Skin might be neat, but isn't exactly in keeping with the theme.)

But really, regen and long, OOC cast-time does the trick. Keeps it useful without making a bunch of other spells redundant. 

And, frankly, it's probably the most consideration and attention Goodberries have received in the last 20 years, so let's not be picky.

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