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Everything posted by Jabberwock

  1. Hi everyone, I am an experienced SCS BG1/BG2 player (~500 hours) and am thinking about creating a mod that adjusts some of the squishier areas of game difficulty. I thought I would post about it here and see if there was any interest or feedback. I'm planning on calling the mod "Fair Play", because the intent is to force the player to play fair and to not use certain types of "cheese" that exist in current high level play, particularly high level no-reload play. I'd like to tackle one modification each time I do a run (which happens every few months) and just chip away at the list over time. Modifications: BG2: change "on recruit" experience caps for NPCs to 500k XP, except for Imoen in Spellhold dungeon who stays the same at 1.25mm XP cap Purpose: Remove cheesy solo / small party play in Chapter 2-3 that allows the player to recruit NPCs at high level and then be over-leveled for the rest of a run. 500k matches the SoD cap and allows some benefit for XP gaming, but keeps the benefit to a reasonable level. Questions/Concerns: Are the experience caps actually moddable or are they hardcoded? No stealing from most merchants Purpose: stealing some low level items is fine, but robbing Athkatla blind is a little egregious and removes a lot of the interesting economic decision making. The intent isn't to remove all useful stealing, but to make it more reasonable and make gold management more important. In addition, reduce the prices fences purchase at, and make them "no-steal". No item recharging Purpose: make limited resources limited. The 1 charge cloud kill from Jon's dungeon would no longer be possible to immediately convert into a 50 charge "infinite cloud kill" wand that gives the party nearly unlimited use of one of the strongest spells in the game! Green amulet charges have to be used a little more carefully, resurrection rod heals are a limited resource, etc. Questions/Concerns: not sure if anyone has figured out how to do this. Possibly making any item with charges unsellable would work, but I'm not sure if that would make them unpurchaseable, which would mess with shops like SS. I'm also not sure how easily tunable the "unsellable" status is. Another potential solution I thought about is to raise the charges cap to something gigantic, like 99999, to make them charge expensive to repurchase (not sure if this is possible either). Maybe someone else has already figured out a solution to this modification. No Project Image / Mislead spells Purpose: I have never seen anyone use either of these spells for anything other than egregious cheese Questions/Concerns: is it possible to remove player access only? I know some mage scripts use mislead. I think if all scrolls were removed, and NPC starting spellbooks were adjusted (Jan starts with mislead I believe), that would mostly get rid of it, although it wouldn't stop sorcerers. Not sure if the player sorcerer book is easy to modify, although presumably it is possible given that there are custom spells that I presume sorcerers can choose on level up. I'm sure there is a well established way to remove player access to a spell. Reduce the power of Chain-contingency Purpose: Remove the ability to use any attack spells, which are generally too strong / cheesy (e.g. the notorious 3x ADHW on spot enemy). Alternatively, remove ability to target enemies. Worst case, remove player access to spell. Questions/Concerns: the contingency / sequencer spells are sui generis and I'm not sure how easy they are too modify in any way (e.g. preventing certain spells from being used). Might be easier to just remove, although that hurts the player a little more than I would like. Rest restrictions Purpose: Optional modification. Don't allow the player to rest in unreasonable locations, or give them limited numbers of rests. Makes spell resource management more interesting, whereas right now it generally is not. Not sure if I really like this idea, but thinking about it. Questions/Concerns: I'm sure this is possible, given that Jon's dungeon and the MFs in the UD have this restriction. Might be too much work to adjust more than a few areas, however. Time limits Purpose: Another optional feature I'm not sure about. Similar to rest restrictions, force more player resource management. E.g. 48 hours in Bodhi's dungeon, possibly some other areas. 30 days to leave for Spellhold (perhaps a customizable time period). Needs a mechanism for the player to explicitly know how much time they have left. Questions/Concerns: this feature may be too irritating to players in practice, or may not make the game more difficult in an interesting or enjoyable way. Remove or reduce the effectiveness of kiting Purpose: a HUGE percentage of dangerous enemies in the game can be defeated by kiting. So many "high skill" solo games are just kiting every enemy to death, with the monsters unable to force the player into melee range. No offense to those players, but I would like to make this impossible or at least very difficult :). I think removing the player's ability to get movement speed upgrades (e.g. haste, cheetah boots), while increasing enemy movement speed and reducing weapon speed would work. Questions/Concerns: I don't know if modifications along these lines have been tried before. Lots of potential problems and tradeoffs here to think through. Adjust power of protection from undead scroll Purpose: Some adjustments have already been made by SCS. Adjust: allow high level undead to ignore the effect with a minor thac0 penalty. Perhaps mid-level undead get a larger thac0 penalty, so it has some use against vampires without being unreasonable strong Questions/Concerns: Not sure whether spell effects can depend on enemy level. May need to just check monster type, or give certain monsters immunity. This might be a lot of work for a relatively small benefit. Prevent casting pfM on enemies Purpose: I think the ability to cast pfM exists in either some installation or some version; would just make it consistently self-only to remove the cheesy dispel effect Reduce thief xp (lock/trap) and mage xp (spell learning) Purpose: Remove the ability to generate huge amounts of xp for doing nothing. Particularly egregious when combined with scroll theft, small parties, and NPC level up on recruit. Probably reduce BG2 xp by ~90% Questions/Concerns: Not sure if this is adjustable via mod Remove potion stacking I know this has been done by other mods; I think it's a good change and would include Prevent enemy spellbook draining Purpose: no cheesing enemy fights by removing all their spells via area changes or summons. I think this can be solved by creating more movement barriers (like certain lich fights receive in SCS) and possibly more aggressive teleport-to-player behavior from the AI. Questions/Concerns: not sure how tedious this is to deal with across a large number of encounters. This feels like something that might be too much work to do for many encounters, but perhaps some additional fights could prevent the player from area changing or hiding out of LoS and sending a stream of summons. Maybe enemy casters could check if they haven't seen a party member in a few rounds and refresh all spells if so. Consider reducing the power of player thief traps Purpose: reduce the power of spike traps in particular. I know some mods have already made adjustments. OK! Some of those I think are not too difficult, some are probably beyond my abilities. But hopefully over time I will chip away at this list and end up with an interesting challenge mod that removes cheese from current high level play for those players that are interested to do so. If anyone has any comments I would love to hear them!
  2. It is indeed from a mod, but that mod is SCS . I assure you that I have only SCS and ascension installed... Well, those two and one cdtweak "give every class 4 weapon slots", but that's certainly not the source of the token, and I wouldn't think the source of its removal. I think what we're really learning here is that no one plays with poor Cernd. He's good now! Give him a try...!
  3. But the arena fight actually works now! Just not when cernd is in the party. Seems like all the interactions that clear cernd's inventory take his shapeshift token, which unlike Jaheira he doesn't have the option of recreating. Some of us are playing no-reload and appreciate safer (i.e. more cowardly) ways to deal with a dangerous fight :). I also noticed that 0 damage elemental attacks still interrupt spellcasters when they are from a weapon. I assume this is due to an engine limitation, or perhaps is WAD. Just wanted to mention it. This mechanic came in unintentionally helpful against the fight with the hated (by me anyway) spellhold lich, and allowed keldorn to repeatedly interrupt him with lightning bolts. I also noticed the lich canceled spells sometimes when the target left line of sight (I think ADHW twice, but not FoD - spell types may have been coincidence though). Now I just need to survive the next floor and the fight with Irenicus with only PC monk, Valygar, Minsc and Keldorn (Cernd and Haerdalis both having suicided themselves against greater mummy disease when I wasn't paying attention - but Cernd would have lived with his GWW token ..!). I also noticed that it became harder to get slayer change before the fight with Jon. Or at least I think it did - I used to bring it as a backup to the fight, but now it seems I don't get it until the underdark. Maybe I need to rest more in bodhi's dungeon... Of course still love the mod as always.
  4. Minor trouble with the 1v1 against Faldorn. Cernd works properly if he joins the fight from outside the party. I recall this didn't use to work - he would not shapeshift - but this path is now working correctly. However, if Cernd joins the fight from *within* the party, he gets teleported naked into the arena and doesn't have his werewolf token. Not sure about greater werewolf, my Cernd is level 11. Fwiw, he still won the fight because he landed an insect plague, but he had to work harder for it... Running 33.6. Edit: Somewhat more serious, Cernd is also robbed off his shapeshift tokens in spellhold, if "party items removed" is enabled. My poor wolf boy is sad :(. I noticed that at some point the items from Bodhi's bag of holding were removed. I assume that was intentional?
  5. Ah OK. I just started writing a reply saying I still don't understand the system but on further reflection I think I do. The creature gets generated and saved on area load, so even if SCS reinstall refreshes spell/ability tables, the reinstall wouldn't update tables for any creature that had already been generated. That makes sense. I will probably not worry about an SCS reinstall for BG1, but will reinstall for BG2 once the party gets there (assuming my monk makes it). Thank you!
  6. Is it correct to say that enemy memorized spells (and sequencers, as appropriate) get chosen once at install and then are always the same? So, a player would need to reinstall in order to re-rerandomize enemy spells and abilities? I thought I read somewhere that's how it works, but I can't find it... If that is the mechanic, what's the easiest way to reinstall to refresh enemy abilities? Just uninstall/reinstall the Mage/Priest AI packages? Thank you in advance to anyone (or David) who knows!
  7. Couple minor bugs on a v33 play-though with "remove party items in spellhold" enabled. Really enjoying how solid its been. Bhaal frequently did not want to follow charname into candlekeep. I THINK the consistent behavior was that Bhaal would not follow when charname was hasted (as my character was starting the map by using an oil of speed). But I only tried it a few times and I unfortunately no longer have the relevant save to check. When the issue was occurring, Bhaal would turn red and follow charname to the entrance as usual, but would not actually change areas to follow charname inside. When retrieving the party's items in Irenicus's chambers, many items had one count of a stack removed from containers. The total number was correct, but arrows would have one count removed from the container and left as a 1x stack outside, lots of scrolls were removed, potions, etc. Smarter Beholder anti-magic ray does not force natural form for polymorphed characters (e.g. as mustard jellies). My understanding is that it should. On the other hand, my no-reload party was saved against the unseeing eye's death tyrants using the current mechanic...
  8. New release looks great! One quick bug report. The lich that can spawn in the spellhold "level-dependent" undead spawn (by the vampire with the hand) casts "summon dark planetar" while insane-plus difficulty for Mage HLA is enabled. Which I believe shouldn't be possible as he is not one of the whitelisted HLA users in SoA, at least according to the readme. For what it's worth, I also think that particular lich shouldn't spawn in the first place until maybe 1.5mm exp, even on insane "level-dependent" spawns. It's just (imo) too tough for a level ~12 party with no gear, and way, way out of line with the challenge posed by the rest of the "insane" level content. Would be nice if that specific spawn required 1.5mm exp at insane or 1mm exp at insane-plus to spawn a lich. I think the other potential lich spawns are OK, as they are avoidable, although maybe they should be adjusted as well. As it stands, feels like a player running insane difficulty is forced to either go to spellhold at less than 1mm exp, which is sort of weird and metagamey and cripples them for the entirety of the underdark, or cheese/exploit the fight. Also feels odd that a random spawn is ~10x more dangerous than the headline fight with Jon. Maybe that lich has snuck in due to how the old install options got converted to the current slider/tuner system. Either way, feels very much like an insane plus spawn at 1mm exp because: its unavoidable, the party has no equipment, Imoen only has default spells, the party won't even have level 7 spells to cast ruby ray, etc. Just my 2c. <3<3<3 this mod as always.
  9. MMM SCS script switch doesn't work. Or at least my Edwin is consistently casting it. He is set to attack, ranged, create items, use healing + goodberries and everything else is off. RC9.
  10. Try installing without the changes to cure / cause wounds. I couldn't get it to install correctly and it broke the rest of the install for me when it was included with a bunch of other stuff. If that doesn't work, try installing a few modules at a time to see if you can figure out what isn't getting through.
  11. Are fireshields truly working properly now with druid bug spells? I fought ployer's boys (3x mages, two of which fireshielded, 1 red + 1 blue). Jaheira cast insect plague (lvl 5) once on ployer at the start of the fight, which spread to the 3 mages. The fireshield behavior seemed the same as in v30, in the sense that it didn't protect them from any of the effects of the spell. I couldn't for certain tell whether affected mages were getting spell fail, but they didn't cast any spells other than sequencers, which sure looks like they had spell failure. They definitely took the per round piercing damage and the fear effects. Note that they were already fireshielded when the bug spell hit them (rather than casting fireshield after affected, which would albeit be difficult without a loaded sequencer). I'm not sure exactly what the specific intended behavior of the fireshield spell is. It's possible that it works to purge the bug effects if you cast after you have bugs, but I'm assuming fire shield is intended to act as complete protection as long as fire shield is up, irrespective of when it was cast. If so, it's definitely not working as intended. I replayed the fight a few times to check and confirm behavior. I also tried casting insect plague directly at a fireshielded mage, and the bugs again seemed to completely ignore the existence of the fire shield. Interestingly, minor spell deflection did seem to block the bug spread, but only for the first round. Bugs subsequently affected the previously deflecting enemy mages, who had since lost their deflection (presumably having the 4 levels totally absorbed by the level 5 spell). That kinda worries me the spell might strip 5 turning charges a round, which I guess is OK, but may or may not be intended. I am using SCS RC9 with ascension and no other mods. I checked my SCS install settings and noticed it never asks about fireshield changes, but it doesn't ask about a lot of the other spell tweaks (breach e.g.) so I am assuming they are now installed by default...? Breach worked against the sewer rakshasa when i tested it... Is this a known bug? Edit: I, as with the above poster, also was not able to get the cure wounds changes to install correctly, and so was forced to skip that module during installation (this is unrelated to the above notes on fireshield / bugs spells).
  12. If I wanted to play around with the party member pre-buffing script, how would I do that? Essentially I just want to add in some other spells to prebuff with, and if I can figure out how, add in the ability to autocast wondrous recall in certain circumstances.
  13. I am (or was) doing an insane run through BG2 with RC9. The insane level random spawns seem a little... insane? My level 9/10 party got bullied to death by a group of 3 spirit trolls + 5-6 other minor trolls that spawned in the druid grove. It seems more challenging than the comparable v30 "insaneish" install picks. I guess I don't want it nerfed, but I thought I'd mention it. Maybe I'm misremembering which option I used to pick in v30. Also, I don't know if the call for help scripts changed, but the functionality seems more aggressive. I was frequently getting unrelated monster groups pulled into combats. E.g. the kobold shaman in the slums sewers getting pulled from a significant distance away into a fight with hobgoblins, and then slimes also showing up from some distance away. I'm not sure whether that's a problem or not but thought I would flag it. Anyway: RIP Alphus O'Malley, the Irish Gnome Assassin, you will be missed.
  14. WOW. I haven't played BG in over a year, and what an amazing update. Love the changes, particularly preventing 0 damage elemental attacks from causing cast interrupts, and re-fixing the druid insect spell / fireshield interaction. Thank you David! Shouldn't you have a patreon somewhere...? I wanted to mention some things that felt fixable/improvable that I've noticed over a few hundred hours of no-reload SCS play. I'd feel a little remiss if I didn't. That said, I know this is a bit of looking a gift horse in the mouth, so I'd like to preface that these are just my observations and light suggestions - the update is already amazing! Scripting Better player prebuffing scripts. A setting that says "upon waking, anything that is 1 turn / level, I will cast on all my party members that do not already have the effect". Alternatively, whitelist a bunch of party prebuff spells, using the 1 turn / level filter as a guideline. A huge amount of player time is still lost to repetitive buff casting on rest/wake. The current system with hotkeys helps, but could be substantially streamlined and sped up. It would be really slick if party members automatically took care of all the CC / DW / etc. casting all at once in a few seconds on wakeup without the player having to do anything other than put them in the spellbook and turn this option on. Gameplay Remove potion effect stacking. Can this be removed by making all potions purge their effect before applying it? This seems like a good, non controversial change if the engine allows it Prebuff non-casters, provided that their party includes appropriate casters. Has this not been done previously because the engine makes it too difficult / impossible? It would make a lot of fights a lot more interesting. It also makes in-game sense, considering it's what the player's party does. Remove unreasonable stealing from vendors. Stealing from fences should be disabled. I think this is a fairly non controversial change. If it's possible in the engine, a challenge option to eliminate the ability to rob a vendor blind would also be good. Something like stacking difficulty increases would be ideal, but I don't know what's possible. Alternatively, a challenge option to disable stealing on essentially all the "high quality vendors" would be a great option. Stealing could still be used to get minor items, but not to rob all of athkatla blind in an afternoon, which distorts the early to mid game combat balance. Rechargeable items. Could there be an option for them not to recharge on sale/repurchase? i.e. maintain whatever charges they had on sale, or alternatively, destroy the item on sale? It would also make sense to change the recharge caps to something more sensible than 50/100 for players that don't turn off recharging. I think this change would better reflect the originally intended behavior from a gameplay/lore perspective. It would also improve the balance and challenge of a lot of fights that are currently distorted by infinite fireball / monster summoning / cloud kill charges. Potion buff level. Can potion buffs have a cast level that reflects the level of the drinker? It's a little too easy for BG2 casters to bully fighters out of their potion buffs with remove magic. Alternatively, have an option that sets potion effect level to 40 or something, so that potion buffs are effectively not possible to dispel. I'm a little leery of this one, but it's worth thinking about to reduce the power disparity between arcane casters and everyone else. Buggy stuff Fireshields trigger (or at least did trigger) off of any hostile combat action if the attacker is close enough to the fireshielded defender. This means fireshields triggers off of hostile spell casts, which seems wrong. Worse, it means they can trigger off of fireshield damage itself, creating an infinite loop until one of the characters in the loop dies. I don't know if the EE engine has updated in the interim such that this isn't an issue, but otherwise if it's possible to set fireshields to trigger on melee hits only, that would be an improvement Wish breach had some wonkiness. My recollection is it would ignore all spell protections, including spell shield, which seemed a little rough. At the least, whatever it does (ignore spell defenses or not) should probably be intentional and it seems like its just a corner of the game that has been overlooked Limited wish invulnerability (i.e. the quasi MGOI effect) also had some wonkiness, particularly if it was cast after PfAbj True seeing curing blind didn't seem to work. At least, blinding enemy spellcasters still seemed to be unreasonably effective (maybe their script doesn't realize they can see again?) Do all enemy vorpal weapons consistently allow a save vs. death + not chunk on failure? Does death ward consistently protect from all sources of vorpal? Is planetar on-hit dispel applied after the game checks for vorpal? I was always super paranoid that something would be missed across the various balor / celestial variants and kill a no-reload run... Other I'd probably just remove mislead and project image from the game, as essentially their only purpose is ugly player exploits, but arguably that's SR territory, and moreover I'm sure THAT would be controversial... (So this last one isn't really a suggestion I suppose, more of a pet peeve) I should probably figure out how to fix some of these myself, but in lieu of that I'll at least list them here, in case you think any of them is valuable enough to be worth working on yourself (or someone else does). Particularly the player prebuff scripting I think would be appreciated by a lot of players. Either way, thanks again!
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