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Polymorph ideas and Discussion


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Do people have any preferences for how polymorph spells/druid shapeshifts handle stat adjustments?

The vanilla game handles it by setting the player statistics to a value that matches the target .cre (or this gets embedded in the custom .itm that the polymorphed creature wields).  This means that it will set the character's statistics to match the value, either raising or lower the character's statistics.  The druid becomes the bear in every way statistically.

Another way to handle it is to give a stat bonus (+2 str) that the polymorph effect grants, so a druid with 18 STR would have 20 str after shapeshifting into CUSTOM FORM that grants a +2 STR. The druid with threws of ironwood, becomes imbued with the strength of the bear, while the spindly druid is strengthened by the spirit of the bear.

Is there any strong feelings as to which is the best way to handle things?

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Almost all polymorphs I've seen set the ability score values, rather than increasing it.

The base game's polymorphs generally change the subject into the .CRE file of the target form, and the physical ability scores of the .CRE override the player's stats.  I'm pretty sure there is a difference between the EE engine and the TOB engine here: because a .CRE with certain CON values can cause the player's hit points to vary and even heal wounds, I think the EE engine only allows the .CRE file's STR/DEX score to override the player's; the polymorph will not change CON at all.

I've stopped bothering with .CRE files at all, and now all I do is 1) add a claw weapon to the magic weapon slot; and 2) put a bunch of equipping effects in that weapon, including a superficial animation change which matches the appearance of having changed to a different .CRE.  This is more flexible, allowing me to set whatever ability scores I want, as well as handle stuff like movement speed without worrying about the .CRE file's default values.

(I saw you were looking at doing a wild boar shapeshift... I have one all set up in my mod, literally the only thing stopping me from enabling it is that I don't have an appropriate icon to use with it.)  :pout:

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I got the wild boar all working just fine, including an icon (recoloured the grease icon), made sure there's a inventory paper doll, etc, but ended up dropping that since I am going to rework what shapeshifts are included in the geomantic sorcerer kit.

The recoloured grease icon is below.  If you want an inventory paper doll, provide a decent image for me and I can create one for you (though every creature that uses the MboaXXXX.bam animation series will get that paperdoll.

 

The new set of shapeshifts I am planning on using (some still need some testing) are aimed at filling particular niches and being more utility based.

 

Quote

Grizzly Bear      - MBER1INV.bam         Combat - 21 Strength & 19 Con, 13 Dex, immobilize on hit attack, get movement speed from SCS
Cat                    - Acatinv.bam        Utility - Sanctuary, Free Action, Str 3, Small Dex bonus, Con 8, 2d2, infravision, NPC bump
Dog                    - mdoginv.bam         Utility - Find Traps/Detect Ilusions/Tracking, 1d6, str 15, dex 15, Con 15, infravision, +1 movement
Mule Deer            - aderinv.bam        Combat - Knockback, 13 strength, 16 constitution, 17 dexterity, +2 movement, 1d6, THAC0 14
Leopard                - mgclinv.bam        Combat - Special attack, 2d6, 19 dex, 17 str, 15 con, infravision, THAC0 16
Bat (inside only?)    - abatinv.bam        Utility - Str 1, Dex 15, Con 6, echolocation (Farsight centered on bat), infravision, 1d1, THAC0 14, NPCbump
Timber Wolf            - mwlf0inv.bam or mwlf3inv.bam        Combat - Howl (horror enemies + bless allies), 1d6+1 + knockdown, str 13, Dex 15, Con 15, THAC0 16

Exact stat values are subject to change, but the general core idea of what does what is getting firmed up.  Figuring out the combat stats is the tricky part, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to end up giving different forms at different levels.

ca#dsbo.bam

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2 hours ago, Caedwyr said:

Farsight centered on bat

Btw I don't think this is possible.  I wanted to do this as a "life detection" psionic power, to reveal the fog of war around corners and through walls etc., centered on the caster and repeating every few seconds.  But I found (or was told?) that the Farsight effect is hardcoded to shoot you out to the area map and have you select a location.

I like the echolocation idea though.

In FnP we have a ferret, various wolves, various bears, mountain lion, panther, snake, wyvern, yeti, boring beetle, fire beetle, rhino beetle, giant spider, sword  spider, carrion crawler, and small remorhaz.  Maybe one or two more, I forget.  I do need to work more on differentiating each animal's particular utility; right now they are 60% for flavor, 40% for the sake of function.  You can check out the code if it might inspire some ideas or save you time (e.g. grabbing the IWD animation resources), it is over here starting around line 1350.

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10 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

Almost all polymorphs I've seen set the ability score values, rather than increasing it.

Well, then, you haven't seen many of the request for mods that allow the druid to cast spells in their new forms.

7 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

I wanted to do this as a "life detection" psionic power, to reveal the fog of war around corners and through walls etc., centered on the caster and repeating every few seconds.  But I found (or was told?) that the Farsight effect is hardcoded to shoot you out to the area map and have you select a location.

You sure it was Farsight and not a Wizard Eye ?

7 hours ago, subtledoctor said:

, it is over here starting around line 1350.

Then why not use the line function in the link ?

Edited by Jarno Mikkola
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17 hours ago, Caedwyr said:

Do people have any preferences for how polymorph spells/druid shapeshifts handle stat adjustments?

The vanilla game handles it by setting the player statistics to a value that matches the target .cre (or this gets embedded in the custom .itm that the polymorphed creature wields).  This means that it will set the character's statistics to match the value, either raising or lower the character's statistics.  The druid becomes the bear in every way statistically.

Another way to handle it is to give a stat bonus (+2 str) that the polymorph effect grants, so a druid with 18 STR would have 20 str after shapeshifting into CUSTOM FORM that grants a +2 STR. The druid with threws of ironwood, becomes imbued with the strength of the bear, while the spindly druid is strengthened by the spirit of the bear.

Is there any strong feelings as to which is the best way to handle things?

In terms of literal shapeshifting (i.e. turning into an actual bear rather than assuming more metaphysical aspects of the bear nature) I thematically prefer the first option with set stats. At least the way I imagine it, the quality of druid shapeshifting ought to be determined more by their mental or spiritual qualities than by their physical strength. Ideally if anything a druid with high wis and int would turn into a stronger bear than a druid with high str, but that might be overcomplicating things compared to just having set sats. The same reasoning seems even more true for mage polymorphing where very little of the caster's own physicality can be assumed to remain.

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The main thing I want from shapeshifting is the option to retain casting while shapeshifted.  I'm unsure why Gnolls/Flinds seemingly can't since they're Humanoidal.

Druids would benefit from being able to cast while shapeshifted since I've heard that Infinity Engine Druids were weak.  (I'm unsure how true that is.)

I'd also like shapechange to also grant polymorph self's forms.

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7 hours ago, Shin said:

I thematically prefer the first option with set stats. At least the way I imagine it, the quality of druid shapeshifting ought to be determined more by their mental or spiritual qualities than by their physical strength.

This has a few things.

1) Which stats determine what ? Say a bear with 10 hit points is not typical for a bear, the class system is determinedly off by default for a shapshifter, with having 25 CON still giving the druid just the +2 hit points, they gain from CON 16, per level upto the 10th or so levels.

My opinion is that druids should gain the physical attributes(STR, DEX, CON) of their shape, while still retaining their mental stats. Other than that, some forms should allow casting, while the others should offer contributions other than casting to substitude it.

1 hour ago, Endarire said:

retain casting while shapeshifted.  I'm unsure why Gnolls/Flinds seemingly can't since they're Humanoidal.

I don't know, but say does everyone of your games allow you to speak Spanish just because you can ? Aka, the morphological difference could be unsubstainable, at least up to a point.

2) Spell casting... as the opcode generally used in the vanilla game to do shapships, is direct switch, while non direct is determinedly better for multiple reasons, but it takes more effort.

3...

 

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2 hours ago, Endarire said:

The main thing I want from shapeshifting is the option to retain casting while shapeshifted. 

Then why would you ever - ever - be in in your normal human form?  The animal form will have physical improvements - higher ability scores, resistances, etc., or else you wouldn't shapeshift.  But if you get that bonus and keep all of the benefits of not being shapeshifted... why not stay in animal form forever?

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29 minutes ago, subtledoctor said:

Then why would you ever - ever - be in in your normal human form?  The animal form will have physical improvements - higher ability scores, resistances, etc., or else you wouldn't shapeshift.  But if you get that bonus and keep all of the benefits of not being shapeshifted... why not stay in animal form forever?

They have obvious weaknessess. Be a fire elemental and your cold resistance sucks... be a bear and your fire resistance sucks, etc. Like say, you can't equip stuff while polyed.

And the amount of times you can shift a form is limited, per rest. Just like casting spells.

Edited by Jarno Mikkola
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That's sorta what happened with 3.x Druids once they had Natural Spell:  Wild Shape was expected to be on most the time.

I know design expectations changed between BG and Natural Spell.

I also assumed certain items didn't work while shapeshifted into a notably different form.

+1 to shapeshifting costing resources to activate/maintain.

Edited by Endarire
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Again thematically I'm also against retaining spellcasting ability while shapeshifted, on the notion that it's a transformation a bit like Bruce Banner and the Hulk, or Jekyll and Hyde. Even if it's not as drastic a rewriting of the personality, it still seems suitable that at least impulses would be harder to control, maintaining concentration would be difficult, and reagent manipulation/hand gestures would be pretty much impossible. Druids in bear form should likely have better control of their behaviour than your ordinary bear in the wild, but also shouldn't 100% retain their human-form way of thinking and reacting.

In a more detailed mod this could of course be handled by giving various animal forms suitable spell-like abilities. In a more modern game a bear would likely have various mauling and knockback attacks, maybe a stunning roar, etc. It's more a 2E thing that fighter-like classes pretty much just have their regular attacks.

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On 8/20/2020 at 9:12 AM, Caedwyr said:

Another way to handle it is to give a stat bonus (+2 str) that the polymorph effect grants, so a druid with 18 STR would have 20 str after shapeshifting into CUSTOM FORM that grants a +2 STR. The druid with threws of ironwood, becomes imbued with the strength of the bear, while the spindly druid is strengthened by the spirit of the bear.

Is there any strong feelings as to which is the best way to handle things?

So a druid with STR 3 would end up being a bear with STR 5?

I wouldn't say I have strong feelings, but it would seem strange to me.

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