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[BGII:EE Bug] Mind Flayers devouring Skeleton Brains

MortiannaMortianna Member Posts: 1,355
edited January 2014 in Not An Issue
Last time I checked, skellies didn't have brains.

photo Baldr005.png

Shouldn't all undead be immune to brain devouring?
Including Hexxat?

Post edited by Illydth on
Fenghoang
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Comments

  • EmptinessEmptiness Member Posts: 238
    I would say not undead with brains, but those without them (skeletons, wraiths, etc.) should be - imo anyway.

    Fenghoang
  • SmilgeSmilge Member Posts: 104
    The only trouble I have with this is that it's actually draining the intelligence score rather than a physical brain. That's why helmets don't stop it, and that's why higher intelligence beings can survive more of these attacks.

    Everything, including skeletons, have an intelligence score. Mind flayers are magical beings with psionic powers; I'd say it's possible to drain the magical "intelligence" given to the animated dead even if they don't have a physical brain. Perhaps the text "devour brain" should be altered, but I think the mechanics are fine.

    CrevsDaak
  • XukuthXukuth Member Posts: 78
    Smilge said:

    The only trouble I have with this is that it's actually draining the intelligence score rather than a physical brain. That's why helmets don't stop it, and that's why higher intelligence beings can survive more of these attacks.

    Everything, including skeletons, have an intelligence score. Mind flayers are magical beings with psionic powers; I'd say it's possible to drain the magical "intelligence" given to the animated dead even if they don't have a physical brain. Perhaps the text "devour brain" should be altered, but I think the mechanics are fine.

    You've gone in the opposite direction from the actual Devour Brain ability here, though. Although Devour Brain is implemented in-game as a stacking intelligence drain (in order to make things easier on the player) , the PnP ability it is implementing is the illithid literally sucking the creature's brain out. So it doesn't make sense that they can do it to skeletons.

    SmilgeFenghoang
  • SmilgeSmilge Member Posts: 104
    Point taken, though I'm not sure Baldur's Gate even makes the attempt to adhere so strictly to PnP rules.

    Even if it doesn't make sense, should every mind flayer encounter really be completely trivialized by summoned skeletons?

  • ankhegankheg Member Posts: 546
    Smilge said:

    Point taken, though I'm not sure Baldur's Gate even makes the attempt to adhere so strictly to PnP rules.

    Even if it doesn't make sense, should every mind flayer encounter really be completely trivialized by summoned skeletons?

    In original it was. Not to mention Mordenkainen's Sword. It is definitely a bug. Mindless undeads should be immune.

    But I dont think that it is literally devouring in the game, if it was why would the victims heal so easily? We don't even need restoration. And what about creatures like fire elementals?

  • AranneasAranneas Member Posts: 282
    edited November 2013
    Smilge said:



    But I dont think that it is literally devouring in the game, if it was why would the victims heal so easily? We don't even need restoration.

    this is a consequence of the implementation they chose - drained stats automatically restore with rest unless an effect is made to set the stats at a different value rather than just reduce them. probably outside the scope of the EE to change, might be doable as a mod tho

  • ankhegankheg Member Posts: 546
    Aranneas said:

    Smilge said:



    But I dont think that it is literally devouring in the game, if it was why would the victims heal so easily? We don't even need restoration.

    this is a consequence of the implementation they chose - drained stats automatically restore with rest unless an effect is made to set the stats at a different value rather than just reduce them. probably outside the scope of the EE to change, might be doable as a mod tho
    Yes, but I do belive there were some rare exceptions. I will looking for them, next time I play.

  • AranneasAranneas Member Posts: 282
    the only exception I'm aware of is the Baron Ployer quest, which is of course intended as such :/

  • zenblackzenblack Member Posts: 92
    Try aTweaks, it has a component that fixes this.

  • XukuthXukuth Member Posts: 78
    Smilge said:

    Point taken, though I'm not sure Baldur's Gate even makes the attempt to adhere so strictly to PnP rules.

    Even if it doesn't make sense, should every mind flayer encounter really be completely trivialized by summoned skeletons?

    Probably not, no. That's why SCS has a component that (among other things) gives Mind Flayers a psionic Detonate ability that blows up skeletons :).

  • DavidWDavidW Member Posts: 509
    Xukuth said:

    Smilge said:

    Point taken, though I'm not sure Baldur's Gate even makes the attempt to adhere so strictly to PnP rules.

    Even if it doesn't make sense, should every mind flayer encounter really be completely trivialized by summoned skeletons?

    Probably not, no. That's why SCS has a component that (among other things) gives Mind Flayers a psionic Detonate ability that blows up skeletons :).
    Which, as it happens, is basically PnP too!

  • JarrakulJarrakul Member Posts: 2,028
    Worth noting that in PnP the attack was instant-kill as soon as it worked, but took multiple hits to work. The short-duration Int drain (which only lasts like 5 rounds) seems to be Baldur's Gate's way of implementing that instant-kill, instead of literally representing them eating a bit of your brain with each hit. Now, granted, there are a lot of reasons why one might not be happy with that implementation, but overall I think it works well enough.

  • From an RP perspective, the intelligence drain during combat doesn't make any sense. Imagine you're an illithid, hanging out in the Underdark with some buddies, worshipping the Elder Brain and whatnot. Five adventurers walk in, two of them encased in metal and carrying weapons that radiate light (one of them is actually a flame). The third is also wearing armor, but chanting a spell; the other two are in robes and remind you of Alhoons, which you know is bad business. You activate a psionic blast to stun them; while you're doing that, a sixth appears from the shadows and literally blows one of your buddies into chunks. You notice that four of the adventurers were stunned by the mind blasts from you and your pals, but two resisted somehow and are looking angry.

    Now, are you honestly gonna run up to one of the stunned humanoids and have a SNACK? No, you're going to continue trying to incapacitate the rest of the group.

    That being said, I completely understand why mind flayers are implemented as they are in BG2. Without the intelligence drain, they would represent no credible threat. It's still fun to think about though. :)

    MortiannaCrevsDaaksarevok57
  • zenblackzenblack Member Posts: 92
    edited November 2013
    In SCS they attack in between using their psionics. So they are maximizing their rounds. Slurping on nearby brains while they gather energy for the next mind blast.

  • DavidWDavidW Member Posts: 509
    Tactically speaking it's not bad behaviour. In BG2 you have relatively quick counters to paralysis, and conversely Mind Flayer brain-eating is a very quick kill.

  • cbad3115cbad3115 Member Posts: 6
    This is such s stupid rule. Where is the fix? Mind flayers should not impact anything that has NO mind. Any way you slice it, a skeleton either has a will to fight for who summoned it or it is simply inanimate matter called to action. In neither case is it anything but an extension of the casters' will. This should not have been tweaked by Beamdog. Black Isle knew what they were doing when the most ridiculously overpowered creature in the game was given a strong counter. I want my money back over this. How can the rest of you pretend like it's no big deal?

  • cbad3115cbad3115 Member Posts: 6
    In short if a skeleton is immune to fear, confusion, and any other mind altering magic then it most certainly can't be affected by a creature devouring its non-existent mind. Why did you change this?

  • MitchforkMitchfork Member Posts: 390
    edited December 2013
    cbad3115 said:

    the most ridiculously overpowered creature

    This thread isn't about Beholders. :)

    I didn't find the change to be that big of a deal, it just means that you have to devote your level 5 Cleric spots to Chaotic Commands when you do the Mindflayer portions of the game. They are a two-trick pony and one trick is easily countered. The other just requires micromanagement of your fighters. Skeleton Warriors and Mordenkainen's Sword are still effective because they absorb psionic blasts and soak hits for your team. Buff melee with Chaotic Commands, split your ranged fighters off so they don't get hit by stuns, and summon your skeletons to absorb hits. Not too bad really. I was able to take both Mindflayer lairs in BG2:EE without door/rest/aggro cheese (albeit with a few reloads).

    From a lore-wise perspective I would love to see this changed, though. It doesn't terribly impact my playing style but I don't think it makes sense at all.

  • cbad3115cbad3115 Member Posts: 6
    I know how to fight, sir, and I am so happy you brought up chaotic commands. Yes chaotic commands stops your one-fighter-per-mindflayer-encounter from being affected by psionic attacks (stun, charm, and so forth), it does not prevent the far more ridiculous ability of the mindflayer from working: one hit marks the creature, two hits kills the creature.

    Devour brain is now a no trick pony. I mean seriously, I could devote every spell slot to chaotic commands and employ every cheesy strategy (web + A.O.E. damage); and we're still probably talking about a ten rest excursion into the mindflayer lair in the underdark with the poor githyanki having to ward away instakill en masse for my entire party for what amounts to a week of in game time. This is ridiculous.

    Maybe I don't want to cheat and put the sword of psionics in my party until I actually find it, but I'd rather do that than complete these missions in any "conventional" ways. Cheesing them or kiting them takes advantage of their poor A.I. (super intelligent magical beings are going to chase down the one melee fighter who has boots of speed while four other people pelt them with arrows, exploit much?).

    Bhaal forbid that a two hit insta-killing creature like a mindflayer could have a soft counter like animate dead. Umber hulks can still smash these skeletons in three/four good hits, and like you said...
    Mitchfork said:

    cbad3115 said:


    From a lore-wise perspective I would love to see this changed, though. It doesn't terribly impact my playing style but I don't think it makes sense at all.

    Skeletons don't have minds to be devoured. Case closed. This is a retarded rule change. Fix it.

  • cbad3115cbad3115 Member Posts: 6
    Smilge said:

    Even if it doesn't make sense, should every mind flayer encounter really be completely trivialized by summoned skeletons?

    I believe that this sentiment expressed by Smilge is the reason for this tweak existing at all. I would, however, argue that bioware and the writers of the D&D rules knew what they were doing. It's okay for a monster to have a counter; in fact, it's necessary. If the reasoning behind buffing mindflayers against their weakness were extrapolated to all creatures it would break the game.

    Furthermore, I disagree that having two or three skellies completely trivializes every mindflayer encounter.

    Does armor class 0 trivialize every goblin encounter? (Yes, lol this one is just for fun.)

    Does Lilarcor trivialize every umber hulk encounter?

    Does the flail of ages trivialize every clay golem encounter?

    Does a +4 weapon trivialize every adamantite golem encounter?

    Does negative plain protection trivialize every vampire encounter?

    Does "true sight" and "pierce magic" trivialize every wizard encounter?

    No, you can still die. A ulitharid can still get at your main character if you place him/her poorly. The wrong party member might catch a wild umber hulk confusion (they throw at some wildly random targets sometimes). And this is the case for all of us seasoned veterans. We can still die.

    But think about the poor n00bs. Have you no heart, beamdog.

    Okay, here's a test. Everyone who had to reload about ten times the very first time they were caught in the mindflayers' lair raise your hand. I said your hand, dude; that's just gross!

    It was a hard lesson learned, how to approach the mind flayer fights; but the point is that they had a counter. Not a slam dunk counter, but they had a counter. You could advance the damn game. Now it's just silly. Now the counter is cheese, or an A.I. exploit.

    In fact this new rule makes the game behave stupidly. Mindflayer's eat the brains out of empty skulls and swords, SWORDS I said! Animate Dead may as well be telepathy as far as D&D is concerned. Skellies have about as much to think about as my freshest shit (less actually, since there are microbes in feces) which is the reason why it can't get confused, it can't be afraid, it can't be dominated or charmed. ::whistles:: "If it only had a brain."

    So now we break the rules a little bit to satisfy who? Who wanted this? Why couldn't the people that wanted this get their own mod made? Why does the entire BG community have to be subjected to this silliness? I think these are pretty fair questions. I for one would very much like to opt out.

    sarevok57
  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 2,558
    edited December 2013
    This is still an issue? I could have sworn that I fixed this already.

    Oh, wait... I did.

    Mortianna
  • cbad3115cbad3115 Member Posts: 6

    This is still an issue? I could have sworn that I fixed this already.I did.

    Well played. Thanks!! ;)

  • MathsorcererMathsorcerer Member Posts: 2,558
    @cbad3115 You are welcome. Realistically--yes, we will consider a fantasy RPG as if it were reality--no, illithid could not devour the brains of things which have no brains, hence the changes.

  • IllydthIllydth Member, Developer Posts: 1,641
    edited January 2014
    So lets get a few facts on the table:

    1) Yes, Illithids DO in fact eat the brains of their victim. That is a well known and well feared "feature" of these creatures.

    2) There is a reason why an Illithid is potentially the 4th most feared creature in the ENTIRETY of AD&D Lore (behind Beholders (3rd), Dragons (2nd) and the friggen Terrasque (obviously...first)). They are DANGEROUS and in any unprepared case unbelievably difficult to manage. Finding yourself in the middle of an Illithid lair is SUPPOSED to breathe fear into you...not "Ok, where did I put my animate dead spell again? Lets load up that cleric and loot us some good stuff!"

    3) An Illithid's method of getting at a victim's brain is to literally rip open the head of the unfortunate victim and devour their brain.

    Lets talk about Undead for a second. There's got to be a way to kill them right? Undead still have "Vital areas"...they have hitpoints and are killable. How DO you kill an animated skeleton? It has no eyes, heart or brain...what do you expect is the critical point on a skeleton? If you assume the skull is *a* critical point, (as I would assume it is on any undead...the more powerful, the more we would assume this) then we have our answer as to why Devour Brain kills undead...once they rip the skull apart it really DOESN'T MATTER if there's a brain there or not.

    Destroyed head = destroyed critical point.

    You want an OOC way of thinking about this? Animate Dead was the BG1 Cheese spell, it doesn't need to be Cheese in BG2. You want an IC reason for this? Because once the Illithid rips the head from it's opponent it really doesn't matter if it's undead or not.

    (As stated in the other thread) The intelligence drain mechanic is there only to simulate the method by which an Illithid rips the Victim's head open. It's not a psionic attack...it's a VERY physical one.

    If you all would like me to try to get an "official" answer on this, I can, but given that we have a mod to do what you all are asking for posted in the linked thread, my gut reaction is to suggest this probably doesn't belong in the "bugs" section...it's almost definitely "intended" functionality. That said, there IS a small possibility that this is nothing more than a missing flag and not actually intended.

  • ankhegankheg Member Posts: 546
    edited January 2014
    Illydth said:

    So lets get a few facts on the table:


    Destroyed head = destroyed critical point.

    I don't remember so let me ask you, are undeads affected by critical hits? If they are, should they?
    Nevertheless using "cheese" as an argument is too frequent in this forum. Half the fun of the game is to find these tactics, using creativity and your knowledge about the world. One can say it is like a level up in real world.

  • MitchforkMitchfork Member Posts: 390
    Illydth said:

    3) An Illithid's method of getting at a victim's brain is to literally rip open the head of the unfortunate victim and devour their brain.

    Lets talk about Undead for a second. There's got to be a way to kill them right? Undead still have "Vital areas"...they have hitpoints and are killable. How DO you kill an animated skeleton? It has no eyes, heart or brain...what do you expect is the critical point on a skeleton? If you assume the skull is *a* critical point, (as I would assume it is on any undead...the more powerful, the more we would assume this) then we have our answer as to why Devour Brain kills undead...once they rip the skull apart it really DOESN'T MATTER if there's a brain there or not.

    Destroyed head = destroyed critical point.

    There are a few leaps here I think. Just because something has HP doesn't mean that you have vital areas- this is doubly true for undead, who do not have "vitality" to speak of. Incorporeal enemies like wraiths and shadows still have hit points- you are attacking the magical forces that give them presence on the prime material plane, so their HP does not represent anything physical at all. Other monsters, like Mustard Jellies, are physical but do not have any anatomy or features that could be considered a weak point. I would include even some humanoid enemies like golems in this description.

    Skeletons (at least the ones provided by the Animate Dead spell) are animated bones held together by magic. The way I interpret that is that there is some divine or arcane source of physical forces that are manipulating the bones. With enough physical trauma, the forces are disrupted (like magnets being broken apart) and the magic ceases to work. The more powerful the caster, the more powerful the forces are that hold them together, and the more trauma is required to overcome the magic - but there's nothing special about where the trauma is applied to.

  • CrevsDaakCrevsDaak Member Posts: 7,081
    There are many undead that can "live" without a head, mostly zombies or skeletons, vampires cannot "live" without their brain.

  • SmilgeSmilge Member Posts: 104
    edited January 2014
    @Illydth I think that justification creates more inconsistencies than it solves. Why does a helmet not provide any protection against illithid attack? Why does a character only take 3 or 4 damage from having their skull ripped open and part of their brain eaten? Why does it take more of these attacks to kill a mage with high intelligence than a warrior with low intelligence? Why does a potion of genius provide partial protection from an entirely physical attack? Why does stoneskin/ironskins not prevent this type of physical attack? How can someone recover from having their skull ripped open and their brain eaten after a couple of minutes with no healing magic of any kind?

    I think the real answer is that this is just a game. Illithid don't do anything aside from drain intelligence scores. Since skeletons have intelligence scores, they are susceptible to this attack. If you want to change that, install the mod that @Mathsorcerer so generously provided. But bringing in PnP and "real life" scenarios completely misses the fact that this is a computer game and never makes the claim of being realistic or true to PnP D&D.

    Your three productive choices are to like it, lump it, or install the mod.

  • IllydthIllydth Member, Developer Posts: 1,641
    @Smilge: The comments you provide are absolutely 100% true. And I'm glad you posted this because as a forum mod this kind of answer is usually seen as "dismissive" to the community when it comes from mods/devs/etc. and something we usually try to avoid...even though what you've said is entirely correct. I'm glad you pointed this out.

    The important point here is that there is no easy electronic, non-imaginative way to implement the brain eating attack that an Illithid does. There's really no condition where you can say "Ok, 1 tentacle from Illithid A has attached to this character's head. Ok, now 2 tentacle's from Illithid A have attached..." etc. The implementation of HOW this attack is performed in BG2:EE is arguably less than perfect...lets even go so far as to say not even close to optimal. However poor the implementation, this isn't a bug. There may be better ways to have done this, it may not make imaginative sense in a quasi-"real life" setting, but as @Smilge says, this is a game, there are limitations. While I was not part of the decision or conversation, (so what I'm about to say is pure conjecture on my part) the previous method of handling these encounters (with Animate Dead and Such) was likely seen as an exploit / making this part of the game easier than the original intention, and thus changes were made to make these encounters more difficult.

    In NO WAY will I argue that this doesn't make these encounters significantly more difficult. It might even make this part of the game a lot less fun to play. This wouldn't be the first (nor last) CRPG on the market with sections that are overly difficult or just plain annoying to have to complete (The "Fade" Section of Dragon Age: Origins comes to mind). And in most cases these days, the community knows what is annoying and tends to get involved in bettering the game play of these annoying sections...as @Mathsorcerer has done in this case.

    If you want to play the game as it was intended, don't install the mod. If you wish to play the game with a better/more "realistic"/ or more "player friendly" way, feel free to install the mod in the linked thread above and enjoy the game!

    That, after all, is the reason these things have continued to exist on many people's radar 15 years later...the ability for the community to change, modify and overall "make things better" through mods is one of the strongest selling points of these games.

    Moving this thread to Not an Issue. Feel free to open a new thread in general discussion to continue the debate if you'd like. :)

  • cbad3115cbad3115 Member Posts: 6
    Listen, though, you're talking about an exploit in a single player game. You as the player have the choice to approach the fight anyway you want. No one is forcing the players who think it is "too easy" to beat mindflayers with skeleton warriors, in other words, if you think it's too good then don't use it.

    Christ, is this really a debate about how a bunch of blow hards are pissed that a certain portion of the game can be outsmarted by real D&D rules that they have to go out and change the rules for everybody? If they want their own play augmented might I suggest that THEY SHOULD CHOOSE NOT TO USE SKELETONS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    Why should my completely "realistic" and effective strategy be stricken from the game because the people that think it's too easy don't have the self control to not use or abuse skeletons?

    Shit the original game script practically bends over backwards to make all the mindlayer encounters fairly simple to accomplish anyway with all those control circlets and brine potions, skeletons or not.

    I just played through this part again and summoned two skeletons for the entire underdark base, and I used zero haste spells. I guess I'm awful because I used my two skeletons to tank while my tough fighter hacked the mindflayers to pieces. After all, it's not like you can throw cloud effects at them or any other magic at all.

    Ooops, cat's out the bag; mindflayers are completely resistant to magic (for all intents and purposes).

    I offer this, how about we rewrite the game so that adamantite golems are immune to +5 weapons and lower. There ARE +6 weapons in the game so this will be no problem for the people who just play the games rather than haunt these message boards. It will be one heck of a surprise and it will stop that silly +4 weapons and higher exploit that players have been using to "cheaply" defeat these badass units. See that's arbitrarily harder, most people here should like that.

    Want a challenge? Beat the game with a three-person party on insane. That will cure all of your "mindflayers are easy" bullcrap, I promise. You'll be begging for an end like cloned Ripley, "Kill me...kill me..."

    Side note: mindflayers DO NOT explode the head of the individuals that they brain devour. They suck out their brain through a tiny hole. Critical point not destroyed. In fact many creature are immune to critical hits, and I wouldn't be surprised if skeletons were one of them. Which certainly wouldn't be the head of a skeleton anyway, for a skeleton I would imagine it being something structural like collapsing the ribcage, breaking the spine, or crushing the hip, you know something that makes it unable to walk or attack.

    In either case Mordenkainen's sword and jellies and golems ALSO being turned into brain having mindflayer instakills waiting to happen is fucking stupid. Don't even try to argue the point.

    Good mother fucking day.

    ankhegMortiannaArquibus
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