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polytope

Revision of the Dispel Magic mechanic

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Posted (edited)

Following the other recent threads about nerfs of the Inquisitor relative to the mage and dependency on Spell Immunity: Abjuration in SCS to keep protections active, I had the thought to post my own view about the overwhelming effect of Dispel Magic on gameplay and a modification of my own that I made a while ago, but it was part of my much larger mod which is now mostly lost and mostly incompatible with EE.

Even with the fixes implemented by ToBEx, and later EE it's still a fool's game to throw Remove Magics at buffed spellcasters who are even slightly higher level than the party, because while chance of success increases by 5% per level above the target, it decreases by 10% per level below. Potions buffs are also dispelled automatically in any battle with mages or demons (could be used after the first Dispel Magic hits, but you've only got one round of grace especially with demons/celestials and their frequent dispels). In my experience, for anyone except an arcane caster, this forces a style of play based on item based immunity and undispellable counters to disabling effects like berserker and barbarian rage. Druids in particular seem weak as buffers in the mid game because of the long climb to level 15.

My mod substantially changes the rules for Dispel Magic, chance of success or failure is now incremented +/-3% per level difference. This softening reflects the much higher level of most spellcasting opponents a party will encounter. Conversely for a solo character, or even for a full party late game, remove magics from low to mid level enemies like drow and Glabrezu will still be a threat. The school of magic that has been dispelled will also be displayed in game (including potions that closely resemble a spell), and erroneous "dispel effects" strings are omitted on creatures that were not actually effected. This also resolves some inconsistencies with dispelling Polymorph Self and suchlike (if you don't already have it fixed) innate shapeshifting on the other hand cannot be dispelled. I've also included an option to make spells of the 7th circle and higher undispellable, although they might still be taken down by Breach, True Sight etc. This means Protection from Magic Weapons, Protection from Fire etc. are no longer peculiarly more useful than their greater counterparts.

Baldr035.png.db565356fca4e40d356db65dfd2eb9e1.pngBaldr036.png.174fe9dc29068dde793d427fa22543c8.png

As you can see, Protection from The Elements is not stripped, although the Polymorph effect is.

In addition, if a character has levels in multiple classes, the highest is checked when they are the target of Dispel Magic, this makes protective potions more useful and dual classing from (rather than to) a spellcasting profession more viable.

For a probabilistic breakdown of how dispelling works out in game, take the likelihood of Dispel Magic succeeding from a 12th level inquisitor vs mages of:

==========17th level======21st level======25th level

  • Vanilla         85%              65%                          0%
  • With fix        85%              65%                         40%
  • SCS nerf      55%              20%                          1%
  • My mod       53%              41%                         29%

Likelihood of a 21st level mage dispelling targets of:

============12th level=======15th level======18th level

  • Vanilla         95%                        80%                    65%
  • My mod       77%                       68%                     59%

 

polydisp.rar

Edited by polytope
percentile errata

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I was going to someday get around to just capping Dispel at 20th level, so it would always be 50% chance in the late game. But this seems better and more considered. I especially like making some spells undispellable. (Though it might make sense to have that be user-configurable rather than mandating 7th-level and above.) Very nice. 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

I was going to someday get around to just capping Dispel at 20th level, so it would always be 50% chance in the late game. But this seems better and more considered.

Thanks, with my modification it caps for both caster and recipient at level 36, I also experimented with +/-7% per level difference (as an average of vanilla game 5% above ,10% below) but found it was still too poor at removing buffs of a higher level target, too overwhelming against lower level foes (fine for dispelling harmful magic on your own team though, which I guess is the only point of Dispel Magic versus Remove Magic).

14 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

I especially like making some spells undispellable. (Though it might make sense to have that be user-configurable rather than mandating 7th-level and above.) Very nice. 

A breakpoint of 7th circle spells was chosen because this is the tier where archmages part ways with bards, and as I mentioned, where seemingly redundant spells like Mantle and Protection from Energy (why not just cast Protection from Fire and ProME!?) start making an appearance.

Besides, in PnP a dispel attempt should check each magical effect (and not just each caster as a source, which opcode 58 does) separately and therefore be much less likely to completely denude someone of their buffs. Couldn't think of a way to implement that though.

Edited by polytope

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I wonder if it would worth experimenting with an alternative that nods in the direction of PnP... say, have Remove Magic use opcode 226 to remove 1 combat protection and 1 specific protection; and 70% chance of removing one more of each; and 40% chance of removing one more of each. Maybe adjust the chances based on the caster’s level or the targets’ level (adjusting for both might be annoyingly complicated, though). 

You would see a lot of Remove attempts having partial success, eliminating dome buffs but leaving others intact. High-level casters’ primary advantage would come from the tendency to have more buffs up. 

Breach, for its part, could stay the same, removing all combat & specific protections from a single target. (Or even be limited to combat protections... I never really like the idea of Breach removing specific protections.)

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Posted (edited)

That's an interesting idea - basically a minor Breach, as opposed to the "maybe it's a Breach, maybe it's not" that it currently is. Maybe even tie it to level, like at level 5, it does one of each, but then for every...2 or 3 additional levels, it does one more. Not as chance-derived, but still recognizing the fact that as you get higher level, there's more and more crap to dispel that would make just one not particularly useful.

(e): ...Though that would mean, at a certain level, it basically becomes an automatic mass Breach, which is the problem we're having with superleveled AI spellcasters right now anyways. Hm. Maybe not a good idea to tie it to level like that after all, :p. I guess the one benefit of tying it to level in this manner is is that it can still remain useful for lower-leveled casters unlike the totally chance-derived approach where it very often does nothing at all - so if you wanted a mild rebalancing of the spell without totally redoing the concept entirely, this might not be a bad idea.

Edited by Bartimaeus

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Bartimaeus said:

like at level 5, it does one of each, but then for every...2 or 3 additional levels

Though that would mean, at a certain level, it basically becomes an automatic mass Breach, which is the problem

That’s why it would be better to use a slower progression. Maybe something like, remove:

- 1 combat/1 specific at 1st level

- 2 combat/2 specific at 10th level

- 3 combat/3 specific at 20th level

Maybe increase that a bit but give some or all of them a % chance to work. Result being, Remove Magic would eliminate some buffs (and strongest ones first) and thus weaken the target’s defenses; but almost never remove all buffs. Breach OTOH would strip the target completely bare. And then some monsters with at-will RM, instead of never letting you have any buffs, would feel more like they are steadily chipping away at your buffs. 

Edited by subtledoctor

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I find this approach to be more rational and, generally speaking, acceptable.

I'd be interested to hear polytope's counterargument to Bartimaeus' criticism though.

I guess this will be part of your next version of your tweaks, @polytope? (It may be even a good candidate for IR/IRR adoption)

Cheers!

Edited by Salk

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5 hours ago, Salk said:

I find this approach to be more rational and, generally speaking, acceptable.

I'd be interested to hear polytope's counterargument to Bartimaeus' criticism though.

I guess this will be part of your next version of your tweaks, @polytope? (It may be even a good candidate for IR/IRR adoption)

Cheers!

My feedback was more on Subtledoctor's idea than polytrope's. Personally, for the old way of Dispel Magic, I'd be pretty content to just make it 5% both ways instead of 5% up and 10% down. For Subtledoctor's idea, the "1x combat & specific protection per 5 levels" seems like a solid enough starting point to at least test the concept.

Edited by Bartimaeus

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1 hour ago, DavidW said:

How does the changed % rate for DM work technically? 

A whole lot of extended headers, percentiles, and hit-dice limitations. Not fun.

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1 hour ago, Bartimaeus said:

A whole lot of extended headers, percentiles, and hit-dice limitations. Not fun.

That was my fear. I quite like the +5%/-5% change, but I don't think I like it enough to want to maintain that kind of complexity. Too bad.

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30 minutes ago, DavidW said:

That was my fear. I quite like the +5%/-5% change, but I don't think I like it enough to want to maintain that kind of complexity. Too bad.

At 5% per, that's...18 effects per level (presumably 5% lower limit, 95% upper limit), and around 40 extended headers, and you'd need to fix the dice limitations every time you make a new header. Sounds kind of terrible to make regardless of whether you make it through weidu or doing it via a prebuilt .spl.

Do SCS triggers and stuff usually use Remove Magic or Dispel Magic, out of curiosity?

@Salk So I'm having a thought here - why not split up Dispel Magic and Remove Magic conceptually? Remove Magic targets enemies only and does the 1x combat and specific protection per 5 levels, while Dispel Magic continues to be wholesale (dispel everything + targets friendlies and enemies) but works at 50% +/- 5% up/down.

Edited by Bartimaeus

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5 minutes ago, Bartimaeus said:

Do SCS triggers and stuff usually use Remove Magic or Dispel Magic, out of curiosity?

Remove. Party-friendly effects are a nightmare to script around.

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