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Balspawn Larlochs Minor Drain and Vampiric Touch


Guest John

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Guest John

Larlochs Minor Drain seems to do more damage than Vampire touch almost like they are reversed.  I'm seeing this with the Bawlspawn powers in V35.16

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Vampiric Touch: 1d6 drain per two levels, capped at 6d6 (level 12). Improved LMD: 1d4 drain per two levels, capped at 5d4 (level 9). So at full power for both spells, that's 21 damage versus 12.5; 68% more for the stronger spell. At the cost of being slower to cast and restricted to melee range. Underwhelming. Vampiric Touch was never a very strong spell.

There are some points at which innate LMD with the "Stratagems of Mystra" boost does more damage than innate Vampiric Touch, due to the exact level timing of when they improve. At level 3, it's 2d4 (5) versus 1d6 (3.5). At level 5, it's 3d4 (7.5) versus 2d6 (7). At any other level, Vampiric Touch does more damage on average, though it can sometimes be a very small difference - like the 4d4 (10) versus 3d6 (10.5) at level 7.

If LMD is getting a boost, Vampiric Touch might deserve one as well. I could see doubling it to 1d6 per level, still capped at level 12 (now 12d6). That would give it as much single-target damage as Skull Trap at the same level and school, but with life drain as a perk instead of the AoE, range, and trap potential.

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LMD should be substantially weaker than VT, not just because it's 1st level rather than 3rd (including the expected difference in casting times) but because it can be shot at range rather than needing your mage to lean in close for it.

LMD competes with Magic Missile and Chromatic Orb, really, I think experienced players never preferred it over the much more damaging MM or the orb, which does about half damage most of the time but bypasses the Shield spell and can inflict some very strong effects that are nevertheless easy to make a saving throw against (hence Greater Malison and Archer Called Shots to make the orb more potent, particularly if those orbs are thrown by an invoker - who can't cast Malison though).

If it were up to me LMD would do a base of 3 flat damage, 3 hp drain (rather than 1d4) and +1 per 4 levels of the caster, up to a maximum of 8 damage, 8hp bonus at 20th level. MM would still outcompete it at mid levels, especially lvls 5-9, that's fine, but it would be tactically relevant at high levels again if for example Liches were shooting these under Alacrity.

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Posted (edited)

Another option, rather than boosting LMD to the point where it's doing ~71% of the damage of MM at the cap and siphoning the same damage to the caster (which is really too strong); remove the glowing ball projectile, so that the spell resolves instantly at a distance like the Power Word line of spells. I still think it should be a little bit more damaging (and hp buffing) than in original BG2, but not to the extent it currently is.

Edited by polytope
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On 5/29/2024 at 7:56 AM, polytope said:

Another option, rather than boosting LMD to the point where it's doing ~71% of the damage of MM at the cap and siphoning the same damage to the caster (which is really too strong)

That description pretty much sums up my reasoning about the relative power, but I'm pretty happy with it. Of course LMT should do meaningfully less damage than MM because of the healing perk, but it's not that good a perk - mages in hit-point-attritional battles are probably doomed, so it's more an opportunistic bonus rather than a systematic advantage.

On 5/28/2024 at 6:32 PM, jmerry said:

If LMD is getting a boost, Vampiric Touch might deserve one as well. I could see doubling it to 1d6 per level, still capped at level 12 (now 12d6). That would give it as much single-target damage as Skull Trap at the same level and school, but with life drain as a perk instead of the AoE, range, and trap potential.

I find that fairly persuasive.

(EDIT: though, reflecting on it, VT doesn't give a saving throw, whereas ST does.)

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On 6/12/2024 at 3:38 AM, DavidW said:

That description pretty much sums up my reasoning about the relative power, but I'm pretty happy with it. Of course LMT should do meaningfully less damage than MM because of the healing perk, but it's not that good a perk - mages in hit-point-attritional battles are probably doomed, so it's more an opportunistic bonus rather than a systematic advantage.

LMD also bypasses the Shield spell/amulet, and can be used to boost the caster's hp out of range of Power Words.

About the attrition, there's a common and longstanding argument that hp don't matter much for a mage, because if their Stoneskins are worn through and they're taking damage then they're on the ropes and soon to die anyway, it's technically true under the specific circumstances of a mage swarmed by melee attackers or showered with arrows that bypass whatever protection they might use. However, other classes and kits that can have significant melee potential for simply trading hits in combat with less concern about potential spell interruption from constant attacks (Blades or any F/M variant except illusionist) can make good use of a stronger LMD as an additional buffer. Also, it's fairly rare before the late game to have a comprehensive immunity to spell damage, cloud type spells in particular are often nibbling away at a mage's hp (even with Protection from Energy, which is a Sorcerer's main defense against non physical damage), which this spell helps to offset.

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