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Kit idea: Wild Sorcerer, done right

inethineth Member Posts: 584
edited November 2016 in General Modding
Several people have had the idea to adapt the Wild Mage kit to the Sorcerer class – i.e. to create a Wild Sorcerer kit.
(And at least one modder has actually implemented it.)

The way this is usually approached (including in that linked mod), is to simply let the Wild Sorcerer kit add the same abilities/properties to a Sorcerer, that the Wild Mage kit adds to a Mage – most importantly, Nahal's Reckless Dweomer.

I don't think that's a good approach to designing a "Wild Sorcerer", though.
Mages and Sorcerers work differently, and a kit should cater to it's base class'es design.

More specifically, the Sorcerer and the Wild Mage are two variations of the traditional Mage that actually solve some of the same problems of the Mage class, but in different ways, and they don't have good synergy:
[spoiler]
  1. Both Sorcerer and Wild Mage "fix" the Mage's reliance on knowing ahead of time what spells they'll need the next day...
    • The Sorcerer does this by using a spontaneous casting mechanic.
    • The Wild Mage does this by giving access to Nahal's Reckless Dweomer.
  2. Both Sorcerer and Wild Mage "fix" the problem of Mages running out of spells too soon...
    • The Sorcerer does this by having a higher number of spell slots and spells-castable-per-day.
    • The Wild Mage does this by giving access to Nahal's Reckless Dweomer.
  3. The Sorcerer's class disadvantages destroy the Wild Mage's main selling-points...
    • The first thing that's special about Nahal's Reckless Dweomer, is that it allows the Wild Mage to cast high-level spells they learned from scrolls, but couldn't normally cast yet. Since the Sorcerer can't learn spells from scrolls, a Wild Sorcerer doesn't benefit from that at all.
    • The second thing that's great aboutNahal's Reckless Dweomer, is that it allows selecting from a much larger pool of spells than the normal casting mechanic: Instead of selecting only from the "memorized" spells, it allows you to select from all "learned" spells. This is, again, completely negated by Sorcerer's lack of spell scribing.
    In other words, Nahal's Reckless Dweomer doesn't add anything special to a Sorcerer: All it does, is to effectively increase the number of spells-castable-per-day, in a weird and cumbersome way. Might as well just modify the Sorcerer's spell progression table then, if that's what you want.
[/spoiler]

Here's a summary of what I would consider the "essence" of the Wild Mage kit – i.e. things that make the kit special, and should thus be preserved when designing a Wild Sorcerer kit:

[spoiler]
  1. Is prone to wild surges.
  2. Learns to better control wild surges as he/she grows more experienced.
  3. Can (attempt to) cast higher-level spells than the base class could, at the same character level.
  4. Has more flexibility in choosing spells in-the-moment, than the base class.
  5. Is prone to random variations in spell power.
[/spoiler]

I've put some thought into how a Wild Sorcerer kit could be designed such that it synergizes with the Sorcerer base class, while satisfying those key features/goals.

Here's the kit summary I've come up with:
  1. Does not get the Nahal's Reckless Dweomer spell. (But continue reading...)
  2. Learns and casts spells the same way a normal Sorcerer does.
  3. All spells cast this way (i.e. from the normal spell toolbar), make a roll on the wild surge table as if they had been cast with Nahal's Reckless Dweomer.
    Remember that this means a 100% chance of causing a wild surge, with the caster's level added to the roll on the wild surge table. Yes, this is harsh. It means the Wild Sorcerer has no "safe" way to cast spells, other than from scrolls and innate abilities. But I think it would be really fun – and makes sense, lore-wise.
  4. Has a more favorable spell slot progression table.
    Maybe 2 spell levels higher, and +1 spell slot per level, compared to a normal Sorcerer. The exact numbers would need to be balanced with the help of playtesting. Note that this point was added not only to make up for the harsh penalty of the previous point, but also to carry over more of what makes the Wild Mage so special (see the previous spoiler box).
  5. Gets Chaos Shield and Improved Chaos Shield at the appropriate level.
    (Possibly as Innate abilities that start with 1 use per day, and get more uses on level-up.)
  6. Casting level randomly varies between -5 and +5, just like for a Wild Mage.
  7. Casting from scrolls and innates has only a 5% chance of causing a wild surge, just like for a Wild Mage.
What do you think?

Players who like Wild Mages: Do you think you'd enjoy this kit, too?
Modders: Would this even be feasible to implement?

Post edited by ineth on
JuliusBorisovNoobacca
«1

Comments

  • JuliusBorisovJuliusBorisov Member, Administrator, Moderator, Developer Posts: 20,843
    One remark - wild surges on a wild mage happen also when casting from scrolls and innate abilities.

  • inethineth Member Posts: 584
    edited November 2016
    @JuliusBorisov:

    You're right, the Wild Mage has two different effects:

    1) Casting with NRD has a 100% chance of causing a wild surge, but the caster level is added to the roll on the wild surge table.
    2) Other spell-casting has a 5% chance of causing a wild surge, but no bonus to the roll.

    My proposed Wild Sorcerer kit would use type (1) for all normal spell-casting, and if possible use type (2) for innates and scrolls. I've clarified the top post.

    JuliusBorisov
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    inethAquadrizztNoobaccaPokota
  • AquadrizztAquadrizzt Member Posts: 998



    3) Wild Sorcerers do not get NRD. (It is apparently bugged, anyway.) Instead, they get a similar spell at each level which uses opcode 214's alternate mode of choosing a spell from a .2da file. At each level, the .2da file would contain all wizard spells of that level.

    This is genius. And I agree with the other arguments you've made about Chaos Shield.

  • inethineth Member Posts: 584
    edited November 2016

    More spell slots than the super-spammy vanilla sorcerer?

    More spell slots wouldn't mean he can cast more spells per day, just that he has a greater selection to choose from.

    (Except for the "higher spell level" part – obviously he'll need some spell-uses-per-day for the extra spell level. But if necessary, that could be counterbalanced by nerfing spell-uses-per-day across the board.)

    Wild surges on every spell?

    It would do the name "Wild Sorcerer" justice, wouldn't it? :)

    Also, with the Chaos Shield bonus and character level added to the roll, you'd get mostly neutral or positive wild surges (assuming BG2 character levels).

    It's only at BG1 levels, or when you run out of Chaos Shield, that things are gonna get messy... But messy is part of the fun! :grin:

    3) Wild Sorcerers do not get NRD. (It is apparently bugged, anyway.) Instead, they get a similar spell at each level which uses opcode 214's alternate mode of choosing a spell from a .2da file. At each level, the .2da file would contain all wizard spells of that level.

    This last would allow the Wild Sorcerer to try to circumvent one of the main characteristics of their class (don't know many spells) at the cost of invoking one of the main chatacteristics of their kit (a wild surge). This just seems so perfect to me.

    Yes, that's a cool idea, too.

    You'd loose the perk of being able to cast higher-level spells than the base class, but I suppose having access to all spells of each level would make up for it.

    On a side note, one thing I don't like about NRD (and I assume your opcode 214 spells will have the same problem), is that it has a non-zero casting time before its spell selection toolbar pops up, and that one mustn't unselect the character or select any other character during this casting time, because then the toolbar won't show up and the spell is wasted.
    This can be a real hazard during SCS battles where intense micro-management of the whole party is required.

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  • AquadrizztAquadrizzt Member Posts: 998
    @ineth, you unfortunately cannot give Sorcerer kits a different amount of spells known per level (without resorting to stuff like my Spell Selection Dialog). The table that controls the spells known progression for sorcerers (SPLSRCKN.2da, if I recall correctly) is applied to all sorcerers, including kitted ones.

    IMO wild surge on every spell would just render them... unplayable for the most part.

    ineth
  • inethineth Member Posts: 584
    edited November 2016

    you unfortunately cannot give Sorcerer kits a different amount of spells known per level

    :(

    IMO wild surge on every spell would just render them... unplayable for the most part.

    I've won whole battles where my Wild Mage used nothing but repeated NRD.
    It would basically be like that.
    Unless you're doing a no-reload run, it could be quite fun I think.

    If it turns out to be too harsh, something like a Chaos Shield effect could be applied permanently to the character. (This would also address @subtledoctor's argument about Chaos Shield as an explicit spell being more appropriate to the learned Wizard rather than the impulsive/autodidact Sorcerer.)

    But yeah, I suppose such a kit wouldn't be for everyone.
    Maybe the "Wild Sorcerer" name would be better left to a tamer kit, after all – and then the "always wild surge" kit could have a name that sounds more extreme, like "Chaos Disciple" or "Reckless Warlock".

  • AquadrizztAquadrizzt Member Posts: 998
    Also @subtledoctor , can I steal that Wild Sorcerer idea for TnB? I'm looking for more interesting kits for variant sorcerers other than just (+1 AC, some detrimental bonus spells).

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited December 2016
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

  • DanacmDanacm Member Posts: 834
    edited December 2016
    Great idea. And create a spell, word of chaos :smile: from Skandar Graun.

  • argent77argent77 Member Posts: 2,924
    I'm currently trying my luck with a Wild Sorcerer kit of sorts myself. However, I'm having trouble to work around several hardcoded issues that come with the original Wild Mage kit or are specific to Sorcerers.

    The biggest hurdle is the automatic addition of the spells Nahal's Reckless Dweomer and (Improved) Chaos Shield. I plan to use replacements that are more suited for Sorcerers, but I can't manage to prevent the original spells from being added to the spellbook.
    Using opcode 172 (Remove Spell) doesn't appear to work. Modifying the spells' exclusion flag doesn't work either. Does anyone have another idea? ( @kjeron @subtledoctor )

  • abacusabacus Member Posts: 1,308
    edited October 2017
    Is there anything to the idea of random spell selection?

    As a Sorcerer's spells are "gifted" rather than learned... couldn't a Wild Sorcerer also lose the ability to tailor their own spellbook?

    I'm sure it'd be a nightmare to implement, but maybe some system at level-up where they get to choose either Red, Blue or White, and the spells is then randomly drawn from the relevant spells at that level.

    Oh, and throw in the wild surges too :wink:

  • argent77argent77 Member Posts: 2,924
    I'm working on a 'Chaos Sorcerer' kit. It is similar to a 'Wild Sorcerer', but relies on a different source. That's one reason why I plan to replace NRD by something else. The replacement spell involves different tiers of spell selections that are based on spells available in the game rather than spells picked by the sorcerer.

    The only way I could manage to prevent NRD to appear in the spellbook is by patching the game executable. But that's an option I don't want to include in the mod. Basing the kit on something other than the Wild Mage kit is also not an option, as I would lose the 5% chance of a wild surge and random level adjustments per spellcasting.

  • kjeronkjeron Member Posts: 2,177
    Only way I know is to hide them through UI modding, which won't work for a sorcerer. They're acquisition is entirely hardcoded.

    You could modify those spells to work differently depending on the caster if you want an alternative function.

    You could fake the random wild surge and level adjustment through an aura without the Wild Mage kit flag.

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  • kjeronkjeron Member Posts: 2,177

    Don't see why 172 wouldn't work. Maybe the 172 effect is firing before the spell is granted?

    Opcode 172 works just fine, the problem is that the engine re-adds them to your spellbook every time you load the game.

  • argent77argent77 Member Posts: 2,924
    kjeron said:

    Only way I know is to hide them through UI modding, which won't work for a sorcerer. They're acquisition is entirely hardcoded.

    You could modify those spells to work differently depending on the caster if you want an alternative function.

    I feared an answer like that.

    I was thinking about this option as well: Expanding NRD and Chaos Shield spells, so that they behave correctly when cast by a Wild Mage and do something different when cast by another kit. The only downside I can think of is the spell description (and possibly some compatibility issues with other mods).

    Don't see why 172 wouldn't work. Maybe the 172 effect is firing before the spell is granted? Might need to set it to fire on a delay, so it happens 1 second after starting the game. (But be warned, delayed kit effects won't fire at all for 'pre-generated' characters.)

    Maybe just clone NRD to a new spell, add that new spell via 177+171 targeting Wild Mages in CLABMA01.2DA, and replace the vanilla NRD with a dummy spell, and see an effect to remove the dummy spell.

    Something like that. There's usually a solution to problems like this.

    I've done some tests with these spells. Opcode 172 or any other method of removing the spell appears to be overridden by the game executable which ensures that you can't accidently lose these spells by removing them manually from the spellbook. I was only able to prevent it by clearing the spell resrefs in the game executable. Opcode 172 worked as expected afterwards.

    I'm thinking about posting a feature request over at redmine to unhardcode the Wild Mage traits. From what I've seen, the following traits are currently hardcoded:
    - 5% chance of triggering a wild surge when casting a spell.
    - Random level adjustment in -5/+5 range when casting a spell.
    - Spells Nahal's Reckless Dweomer, Chaos Shield and Improved Chaos Shield can't be permanently removed from the spellbook.

    Anything else?

  • kjeronkjeron Member Posts: 2,177
    argent77 said:

    Anything else?

    The ~20 Wild Surges that aren't externalized yet (all the '*'s in WILDMAG.2DA).

  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited October 2017
    The user and all related content has been deleted.

  • argent77argent77 Member Posts: 2,924

    argent77 said:

    I've done some tests with these spells. Opcode 172 or any other method of removing the spell appears to be overridden by the game executable which ensures that you can't accidently lose these spells by removing them manually from the spellbook. I was only able to prevent it by clearing the spell resrefs in the game executable. Opcode 172 worked as expected afterwards.

    No, my point was, just remove the icons and effects from the vanilla NRD .SPL, so whatever the game forces into your spellbook is invisible and has no effect.

    Or get creative and replace it with an actual, appropriate wild magic spell. Minor Chaos Shield or something like that. And then make a clone of NRD that you can control without any hardcoded silliness, and no need to use 172 at all.
    First option is an ugly workaround. Even with icon and functionally stripped it sticks out in the spellbook like a sore thumb. Sadly, changing other spell properties (like type or exclusion flags) have no effect on the spell presentation.

    Second option sounds much more interesting (and might even work). However, the player must be careful not to remove the replacement NRD from the spellbook or it will gone for good.

  • argent77argent77 Member Posts: 2,924
    argent77 said:

    No, my point was, just remove the icons and effects from the vanilla NRD .SPL, so whatever the game forces into your spellbook is invisible and has no effect.

    Or get creative and replace it with an actual, appropriate wild magic spell. Minor Chaos Shield or something like that. And then make a clone of NRD that you can control without any hardcoded silliness, and no need to use 172 at all.

    Second option sounds much more interesting (and might even work). However, the player must be careful not to remove the replacement NRD from the spellbook or it will gone for good.
    Following your second suggestion, I will probably add these replacements for the hardcoded spells:

    1. (1st level) Nahal's Reckless Dweomer -> Surge Control (not sure about the name yet)
    The spell is a single charge variant of Chaos Shield, i.e. will be neutralized by the next Wild Surge from NRD or similar spells.

    2. (2nd level) Chaos Shield -> Unluck
    Works basically like a negative version of the Luck spell.

    3. (7th level) Improved Chaos Shield -> Nahal's Wildstrike
    Creatures under the effect of this spell will trigger a wild surge whenever they cast a spell.

    They should be generic enough to be used by other Wild Mage-like kits.

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  • PokotaPokota Member Posts: 710
    edited October 2017
    argent77 said:

    3. (7th level) Improved Chaos Shield -> Nahal's Wildstrike
    Creatures under the effect of this spell will trigger a wild surge whenever they cast a spell.

    I am now seriously considering renaming my "Mage Masher" (+1 dagger with on-hit save-or-else for basically the same effect) to "Wildstriker"

  • argent77argent77 Member Posts: 2,924
    Quick question: Do Chaos Shield and Improved Chaos Shield stack with each other?

    If not then I'll remove Improved Chaos Shield and increase effectiveness of the regular variant at higher levels instead. (We don't need three spells which basically do the same.)

  • argent77argent77 Member Posts: 2,924
    Another question: When a Wild Mage is under the effect of Chaos Shield and casts NRD, is the bonus from Chaos Shield applied as soon as the spell selection list is shown or not until the caster selects the actual spell from the list?

  • kjeronkjeron Member Posts: 2,177
    argent77 said:

    Another question: When a Wild Mage is under the effect of Chaos Shield and casts NRD, is the bonus from Chaos Shield applied as soon as the spell selection list is shown or not until the caster selects the actual spell from the list?

    A Wild Surge triggers upon casting completion, after the spells global effects, but before the spells projectile is fired. Any thing that modifies the surge or roll must be active at that moment.

    The Chaos Shield spells provide a passive bonus to the Wild Surge rolls through opcode 281, they are always active, and they have no direct interaction with NRD.

    NRD just forces the next (valid) spell to roll a wild surge, through opcode 280, param2=1.

    The Chaos Shield effect (opcode 199) makes the next 'Amount' (valid) spells invalid for surges, and displays a feedback message each time it does. Such spells do not count as the "next (valid) spell" for [opcode 280, Param2=1](NRD).

    * Valid spells being those not flagged with bits 14(Ignore Dead/Wild Magic) or 15(Ignore Wild Surge).
    * It also ignores spells cast instantly, through ability target mode 7 (Caster, Keep spell / no Animation), the various ReallyForceSpell() actions, or through opcodes (258/260/232/326/333, 146/148 when param2 >0).

    What is it you're trying to accomplish?

  • argent77argent77 Member Posts: 2,924
    I'm planning to create a single charge variant of the Chaos Shield spell. The bonus is supposed to be removed after casting a spell selected by NRD. Adding the "remove" effect (opcode 321) to NRD seems to remove the bonus immediately after NRD's spell selection is triggered.

    But if the bonus is only considered when casting the selected spell, then I have to think of something different. Unless there is a way to trigger a spell/effect on condition "Spell cast".

  • kjeronkjeron Member Posts: 2,177
    argent77 said:

    But if the bonus is only considered when casting the selected spell, then I have to think of something different. Unless there is a way to trigger a spell/effect on condition "Spell cast".

    I don't think you can achieve this without patching the spells to be cast.

  • argent77argent77 Member Posts: 2,924
    kjeron said:

    argent77 said:

    But if the bonus is only considered when casting the selected spell, then I have to think of something different. Unless there is a way to trigger a spell/effect on condition "Spell cast".

    I don't think you can achieve this without patching the spells to be cast.
    I feared as much. I have already revised the spell to produce a similar effect but that is supported by the engine, so it's not a great loss.

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