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Shaman Spell Pick Order

LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
So, this might be a bit of a no-brainer compared to, say, Sorcerer spell pick order (which has multiple threads dedicated to it), since it is established that druids have a more compact spell list and therefore fewer truly good options to choose from. However, as a thought exercise I am going to start up a thread anyway to solidify my thoughts on what spells I should take (my focus here is for a party-based build, although many spells should also be useful for a solo build). Since they can dance to summon spirits, I think the animal summoning spells are a little bit less important, depending upon what you're doing. I will use some of the formatting from this thread: https://forums.beamdog.com/discussion/30931/a-ranking-of-the-divine-spells-now-discussing-level-7-spells/p1 , though with such a small list to choose from, some things will be ranked higher than normal.


Level 1 Spells

Top Tier:
Armor of Faith 4/5 - Obviously terrible as your level 1 spell pick, but quite good as your 5th (and last) choice. It keeps getting better with age.
Cure Light Wounds 5/5 - So, shaman cast spells like a sorcerer, which means that any level 1 spells you have left will roll over into your auto-heal-on-rest. IMO, this utility alone makes it worthy of inclusion and a primary job of the shaman, not to mention that during the first 3 levels of the game it can make a difference even mid-battle.
Doom 4/5 - The casting time is long, but the effect could be worth it against certain foes. Debuffing with this next to your arcanist tossing out Greater Malison could help land a spell that is otherwise easy to save against.
Entangle 4/5 - The save bonus is a little too high for my liking, and the casting time is just a pinch longer than I'd like it to be, and it doesn't stop spells and ranged attacks, but crowd control spells are always valuable even with these stipulations. Probably one of the best ways to contribute at low levels.

Mid Tier:
Bless 3.5/5 - Another of the good ways to contribute at low levels, and if you are running low on spells in a given day, might even warrant some use at higher levels. It has definite limitations and it is better at low levels, so if you're really interested you might try to make room before you're too high level.

Low Tier:
Detect Evil 1/5 - The paladin gets it for free, just say no.
Shillelagh 1.5/5 - In a different theoretical game that wasn't laden with magic weapons this could have some use, but here it is prettymuch junk.
Spirit Ward 1.5/5 - So situational that you usually forget to use it even in a fight it might have some effect in. It doesn't help that the duration is short at low levels; maybe at really high levels you cast it just because you can (a 90 round duration is the same as 9 turns)? It's a good thing this comes free on your spell list, because I wouldn't bother taking it.


Pick Order: Spirit Ward*, Cure Light Wounds, Entangle, Bless, Doom, Armor of Faith

*Free with spell level

JuliusBorisovEnuhalBelgarathMTH
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Comments

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited October 2017
    Let's move along to level 2. We can discuss both level 1 and 2 at the same time, if there's even much discussion to be had.


    Level 2 Spells

    Top Tier:
    Charm Person or Mammal 4/5 - Okay, so it has a big save bonus, a long casting time, and animals are a pretty limited group as others have mentioned (although I've noticed Siege of Dragonspear has a lot more random animals to choose from in outdoor zones). It can still charm humanoids, which is still quite valuable. Outside of Writhing Fog, it's the only spell that gives you any real offense at this level, and if you had to you could combo Doom with it to make it more likely to stick.
    Find Traps 4/5 - It's not that I'm a big fan of this spell or anything, but others have convinced me it could be useful even in a party with a rogue due to searching more often and in a bigger radius. Solo or rogue-less, of course, the value rises even further.
    Slow Poison 5/5 - Far and away the best utility the shaman has to offer at this level, and quite valuable during BG1.
    Writhing Fog 5/5 - A pretty cool (har har) spell that deals, on average, 20 cold damage (comparable to 6d6) in a radius over the course of 1 turn, and it has a chance to slow those inside? This kind of area damage spell is sorely lacking on the 2nd level list for the arcane casters, and if I was a sorcerer I would take this spell in a heartbeat to make use of leftover 2nd level slots (or just straight up kill things in a combo with Entangle, Grease and/or Web at lower levels, depending on your party makeup). Even though this one is free, I would take it if it wasn't.

    Mid Tier:
    Barkskin 2.5/5 - The duration is too short to use at the very lowest levels, and at high levels your kensai/mage/whatever will have found better equipment or spells to use for AC. The save bonus is nice, but probably not worth the time it takes to cast the spell. I think there is a window though, from level 8 (AC 4) to level 12ish (AC 3) where your gear doesn't actually outmatch Barkskin and the duration is long enough for a fight. You might squeeze some utility out of it depending on party makeup and gear from the end of BG1, through SoD, into the beginning of SoA.
    Resist Fire and Cold 3/5 - Because of the short duration, this is more of a late-game spell or a special-encounter spell, but it's hard to argue with the resists as a lowly level 2 spell.

    Low Tier:
    Flame Blade 2/5 - Oh, it's no good really, but killing trolls is enough of a selling point to get it to here. Siege of Dragonspear has a LOT of trolls, and there are some noteworthy trolls in SoA too.
    Goodberry 1.5/5 - I want to like this spell. You build up this permanent resource over time? Sounds cool! Really, it isn't unless you like micromanagement and are playing with some sort of handicap (minimal resting, or no potions, that sort of thing). It takes ages to eat a stack of goodberries, especially as HP climbs higher.
    Know Alignment 1/5 - Somehow even worse than Detect Evil. Don't touch this.


    Pick Order: Writhing Fog*, Slow Poison, Charm Person or Mammal, Find Traps, Barkskin (picked up at level 9, this is the sweet spot if one exists), Resist Fire and Cold

    *Free with spell level

    JuliusBorisovEnuhal
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 477
    edited October 2017
    As a druid enthusiast, I have some input regarding the shaman spell selection. A lot of spell's power depends on your game settings, but here are some general ideas on ranking. I don't feel comfortable putting these spells in tiers, so I'll just talk about each spell in alphabetical order (my considerations are mainly meant for party-based play):

    Level 1

    Armor of Faith: I agree with the op - this is a great fifth and final pick. Not needed in the early game, but a nice bonus later on. 4/5 seems like a good rating.

    Bless: My favorite tier 1 spell for druids/shamans, as it is useful right from the start until even the Throne of Bhaal. Of course, value depends on your party size - but let's just look at what this spell can do in a crucial fight: If you have 6 party members + 5 summons, you gain a total of 11 points of thac0 and damage per round, and the spell has a six round duration (it also works even better with high APR, so consider how much effective damage it will do late game compared to other level 1 spells like magic missle. Yeah, it's a lot). That's a damn good bonus for a level 1 spell. I tend to use it before every major battle. 5/5.

    Cure Light Wounds: The power of this spell depends heavily on your settings: If you don't allow full healing upon rest, this is a clear 5/5 as you want some healing spells early on, and you won't miss out on anything major by taking this right away. Otherwise, I would give this a 3/5 - still good for the very early game, as you don't want to have to rest every time someone takes a hit, but you propably won't be using the spell anymore in BG2.

    Detect Evil: Don't waste your spellpick on this. 0/5.

    Doom: Great spell, but the long casting time holds it back. Its value increases on LoB, and its most powerful early on against powerful single opponents. I'd give it a 3/5 for a normal game, increased to 4/5 on LoB.

    Entangle: I think this spell is somwhat overrated. It doesn't prevent the opponents from ranged attacking and spellcasting, and the +3 save bonus is not great either. My thoughts: The opponents that are really stopped by entangle (= melee fighters with bad saves) are the ones you don't need crowd control against in the first place. I'd give it a 3/5, and a 2/5 for LoB.

    Shillelagh: Not utterly useless like Detect Evil, but not worth a pick. 1/5.

    My pick order:
    Doom, CLW (both of spells are at their best in the early game, so if you want to get good use out of them, pick them right away), Bless, Entangle (I guess?), Armor of Faith. Honestly, the entangle pick isn't even needed for me. I'd consider switching CLW and Bless with full heals on rest active.

    Level 2
    By far the weakest level for the druid spell selection. Hard to even find 5 spells that you will regularily use.

    Barkskin: It does... something, at least. I generally don't like to waste my time on using it. 2/5

    Charm Person or Mammal: This is at least moderately useful in the early game, especially when combined with doom. 4/5, considering how bad the other spells on this level are.

    Find Traps: Almost impossible to give a rating for this one - depends heavily on your metagame knowledge and other circumstances - I've recently used it after getting every thief chunked in SoD during a no-reload game. Normally, it's completely useless for me. Maybe 3/5? Honestly, it can vary from 0/5 to 5/5.

    Flame Blade: There's bullets and darts with elemental damage in the game now, so there should be very few reasons to ever take this (as it's only useful against trolls, really). Might still be okay with the SCS more annoying trolls feature installed, I guess? Or in early BG2, if you are playing solo. 2/5.

    Goodberry: I often don't bother with this spell, but I think it's okay in theory. There's an AI setting (I think it's in SCS?) that will have wounded characters automatically use goodberrys, making it a bit more usable. Still, I won't go higher than 3/5.

    Know Alignment: Let's skip this one. 0/5.

    Resist Fire and Cold: This is worth consideration - I rarely end up using it, but I often have it in my spellbook - there are many situations where it COULD be useful, but there are better ways to protect against fire and cold. Still, at least it's not completely worthless. 3/5.

    Slow Poison: The saving grace for this level, but actually too slow for some poisons on LoB. Still, 5/5 considering your other options.

    My pick order would be: Slow Poison, Charm Person or Mammal, Goodberry, Resist Fire and Cold, Find Traps (just in case)

    _________________________________

    So far, our only major disagreements are on Bless vs. Entangle - I imagine things will get a lot more interesting in the upcoming levels, though!

    Post edited by Enuhal on
    JuliusBorisovBelgarathMTHLordRumfish
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    Hmmm, my party makeups lately have been caster-heavy, so the Bless bonuses don't go as far there. As your number of attacks and THAC0 points add up in the party, I could definitely see using it even late game for the reasons you describe. Entangle is better for me in a "bomb the area with spells" type of party. Seems like party composition affects this particular decision a lot.

    Enuhal
  • NeverusedNeverused Member Posts: 641
    As someone trying to figure out what my skald's damage input actually is in fights, the +1s make a huge difference at some levels and some teams and none at others. If you need a 20 to hit and get a +1, you've literally doubled your chance to hit. If you already hit on a two, you're only getting an extra +1 damage per hit, which is not nearly as exciting.

    Agreed with all the assessments though: low level druid spells are just so bad until 3rd and 4th level spells.

    Enuhal
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 5,140
    I've been playing LoB a lot recently and making plenty of use of druid spells. At 2nd level charm person or mammal is far and away the most useful for me. If playing solo using doom regularly is difficult, but in a party it's no problem and helps charm work regularly even with the LoB +5 bonus to saving throws. Being chased by half a dozen worgs is no joke for a low-level party, but a successful charm will allow you to get rid of 3 or 4 of them while giving you the time and space to disable the others.

    JuliusBorisov
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    Let's start in to level 3 spells, there's some real meat to be had here.


    Level 3 Spells

    Top Tier:
    Call Lightning 4/5 - The bad news is, it only works outdoors and has a 9 casting time. The good news is, it does an enormous amount of damage and affects an area for a duration. Probably top-tier for a lot of BG1 (assuming you reach 3rd level spells fast enough), and there are places to be of use in SoD and BG2 as well. I could be ranking this one a little high based on my playstyle at the moment.
    Dispel Magic 5/5 - Might not be the first spell you take, but sooner or later you'll probably need it. Since it is just about the only tool you have to get rid of already-cast spells, it is unique and therefore valuable. If your party includes an inquisitor, you might value this a little less.
    Summon Insects 5/5 - Now let me get this straight (so I don't overvalue or undervalue the spell): the casting time is 9, that's harsh; the range is 90 ft., can anyone tell me how much of the screen that is?; only affects one creature; save vs. Breath at -4, wow, I'm pretty sure that's among the harshest in the game; 1 point of damage every 2 seconds at 6 seconds per round for 7 rounds = 21 damage, not bad; -2 THAC0 and AC is a handy penalty to tack on for 7 rounds, so non-casters are definitely feeling the sting; and 50% spell failure sounds nice (is this a separate chance from being interrupted by damage, or the same chance?). Yes, I do believe this should be one of the first spells you take, it debuffs a target nicely and might be game over for a caster. In BG1, 21 damage is a huge chunk of HP, especially for a caster. I have heard these insects even chew through Stoneskin / Iron Skins, very nice.


    Mid Tier:
    Invisibility Purge 3/5 - While the casting time is terrible at 8, this is a useful tool for fighting enemy casters with Improved Invisibility, or backstabbers. As a utility spell I would rank it lower than Dispel Magic, but still good enough to be considered "in contention" for a 3rd level spell slot.
    Miscast Magic 2.5/5 - So, let's talk about Miscast Magic. It has a casting time of 5, so it doesn't quite stop an enemy spell from going off in the same round most of the time. As a 3rd level spell, it gets blocked by Minor Globe of Invulnerability. You can't target a foe who starts off invisible. If you get past all of these problems, you could also kill the enemy with damage most of the time (although this spell doesn't suffer from Stoneskin / Iron Skins blocking it). Why am I giving this 2.5 then? It's a unique effect that works at full range and lasts for 1 turn, long enough to turn most casters into pancakes. The -2 on the spell save at least keeps it relevant with debuffing even late-game. Clerics and druids may be particularly vulnerable to it compared to arcane casters, so that's something. The summon insect spells are going to be better by far most of the time, but you can stack this on top of it if that seems necessary. I like it, but I can't defend it being higher than a 2.5 with everything else you have going on at 3rd level.
    Protection from Fire 2.5/5 - Not a bad effect, but you're probably already stuck taking Resist Fire and Cold at 2nd level spells so this is only a 30% fire resist increase, still with a short duration and a single target. You can probably do better at this spell level, unless fire resist is a part of your game plan.
    Spiritual Clarity 2.5/5 - This spell comes for free as a shaman, and I think it could be mildly useful. It removes fear, charm, confusion and feeblemind, which is a nice list since fear and confusion are both common status effects, and it does this at visual range, also nice. However, it is single-target and has a casting time of 9, which is lame. Since you don't have access to Remove Fear, it's nice to get this for free and be able to bring some allies back into the fight, albeit slowly. You can also fight against the NPCs casting Rigid Thinking and whatnot on your party. If it wasn't free, I wouldn't call it an auto-pick, but it seems useful.
    Strength of One 3.5/5 - When I think of the spells that I could be using better on the divine spell list, this is always one that springs to mind. The casting time is only 3, it affects the whole party, and one turn should about do for a combat. Too many times I have Minsc, Dorn or Shar-Teel in my party (or a strong CHARNAME) and the spell seems less sexy then, but with the vast majority of NPCs this spell makes them much more effective in combat (Jaheira, Khalid, Kagain and Yeslick would be greatly improved, for instance). +2 to hit and +4 to damage is nothing to sneeze at; even Ajantis gets a pretty nice bonus out of it. Also, prepping 2 castings of this would let you carry Ankheg shells to the edge of the zone, and then carry them across Beregost upon arriving. Probably loses a lot of value in BG2 due to Strength-boosting items.

    Low Tier:
    Cure Disease 2/5 - Not a bad spell per se, but narrow in effect. Disease is not that rampant in the games as far as I can tell, and not too many enemies will blind, deafen or feeblemind you. Speaking of feeblemind, you can already cure it using Spiritual Clarity, which you get for free (whether you want it or not). If you play a mod where you get hit by Blindness a lot, Blindness has a long duration and it might be nice to take a curative effect against it. At least the casting time is only 1.
    Cure Medium Wounds 1.5/5 - No, this is awful. Yes, you need some heals, but your 3rd level spell slots should be having a potent effect, and this isn't even as good as two 1st level spell slots (8 x 2 = 16, compared to 14 here). You can - and should - do better.
    Hold Animal 1/5 - Right, hold an animal... or you could charm it... with a 2nd level spell... assuming you even find one. Please don't take this.
    Rigid Thinking 2/5 - If this had been a 2nd level spell, you probably would have taken it and gotten some use out of it (since it has no save bonus compared to Charm Person or Mammal). At 3rd level though... ouch. Casting time of 5, save negates, and you don't even potentially remove them as a combatant. It's not useless, but you could do better.
    Zone of Sweet Air 1.5/5 - I haven't come up against many foes who use cloud spells, but it would be handy in that rare instance. Probably more useful to get rid of your own cloud spells; notably, you could rid yourself of Writhing Fog from your own spell list this way. Generally though, a waste of a spell pick.



    Pick Order: Spiritual Clarity*, Call Lightning, Summon Insects, Strength of One (this covers the spells you will get in BG1), Invisibility Purge (picked up at level 11, so this isn't until SoD), Dispel Magic (not until level 22)

    *Free with spell level

    JuliusBorisovEnuhal
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 477
    edited October 2017
    All right, here are my thoughts!

    Level 3

    Call Lightning: I don't end up using this spell all that often, but it's obviously very good, as long as you're outside - which is mostly the case early on, so you might want to pick up this one right away. The long casting time is quite annoying, though. 4/5.

    Cure Disease: Spending a point on such a narrow spell seems like a waste. I've barely ever used it, even though I once put it in my spellbook with a druid for the better part of a run. 1/5.

    Cure Medium Wounds: How useful this spell is depends heavily on whether or not you're playing with full healing on rests. If you do, it's barely worth a 2/5, if you don't, I'd give it 3,5/5.

    Dispel Magic: This spell can be very useful, though mostly if you don't have an arcane spellcaster with your who'd generally be able to go for better options. I don't feel comfortable going higher than 4/5 because I rarely actually use it for fear of dispelling my own buffs. Also, this one loses most of its value on LoB, though it gains some value with SCS.

    Hold Animal: Animals aren't a big enough problem to be worth a spell slot. 1/5.

    Invisibility Purge: This can be somewhat interesting if you have no better options to achieve the desired effect (like a thief with detect illusions). 3/5, as it will take quite a while until you're able to pick up true sight, since there are so many level 5 spells you will propably want first.

    Miscast Magic: I like this spell quite a bit, but its often not worth using. Summon Insect is preferable as your save or else-choice for this level, so I will give this a 3/5.

    Protection from Fire: I love this spell and use it quite often. Buffing your tank with this will allow you to send him in and throw fireballs at your foes with impunity. Quite useful in BG1, constantly useful in SoD, and there are many areas or fights you'd want to be immune to fire damage in BG2 and ToB - I only wish the duration would be a bit longer. 4,5/5, but I wouldn't first pick it as it isn't very proactive.

    Rigid Thinking: No save penalty makes this somewhat weaker than other save or else-choices on this level. While the effect is more useful than miscast magic, it's also harder to apply, so I'll give it the same grade. 3/5.

    Strength of One: Usefulness depends entirely on your party composition - this was one of my favorite spells back when I used to play with entirely randomized groups. If you have a bunch of weak characters, this can be a 4/5 or even higher, but if you have a relatively "normal" party, this spell is more like a 2,5/5.

    Summon Insects: Great save penalty and good effect, though it loses some value with SCS. Combine that with a long casting time, and a 4/5 seems accurate.

    Zone of Sweet Air: I like having one of these memorized in BG2, but that isn't enough to make it a deserving shaman spell pick. 2/5.

    A possible pick order for me would be: Call Lightning, Summon Insects, Protection from Fire, Dispel Magic, Invisibility Purge

    This would change quite a bit on LoB or with no full healing upon rests, though.

    Post edited by Enuhal on
    JuliusBorisovLordRumfish
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    @Enuhal I don't think we're wildly far off on our grades here. You're a lot more fond of Cure Medium Wounds, and I admit that it's a lot more useful on a shaman since you can always burn off your end-of-day spells into heals (assuming you don't auto-heal on rest). I'm still not a fan though.

    If you really plan on using Fireball that much (and the late-game content is laden with fire damage), then perhaps that extra 30% fire resist and that extra 3 rounds make enough of a difference over the 2nd level option. I may have to reconsider my stance on Protection from Fire at some point, for now I will wait.

    Everything else, I think we're close enough on to be basically in agreement.

    EnuhalGrond0
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    Okay, time for level 4 spells I think. Watch out for disagreements!


    Level 4 Spells

    Top Tier:
    Call Woodland Beings 5/5 - I have heard the complaints about the nymph being hard to direct or squishy, but 48 HP and 2 AC seems pretty reasonable to me, especially if you give her any defensive buffs. The hard-to-direct part I hope has been fixed, but even if not, she seems worth the trouble. At a minimum, you get a Mass Cure for out-of-combat healing as a 4th level spell, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. She has Confusion as a mass crowd control spell, Call Lightning for outdoor AOE damage, Mental Domination to control your foe, Hold Monster, Hold Person, Miscast Magic, and some other less exciting tricks up her sleeve. This is somewhere between adding spells to your spell list, and being like a mini-Project Image. While obviously nowhere near as good as Project Image, I think it's folly to sell this spell short.
    Death Ward 5/5 - While not as useful in BG1 (and personally I found it did not protect me from Aec'Letec's special attack, which was very annoying since it was the only time I ever bothered to use Death Ward), I can see this spell growing increasingly valuable during BG2 to stop instant death effects. It has a 1 turn/level duration, so at higher levels this will stick around for quite a while. I might wait to take this as a later spell pick.
    Neutralize Poison 4/5 - I'm going out on a limb here for Neutralize Poison, because I think it's one of the few worthwhile combat heals in the low- to mid-levels of the game. It boils down to the casting time of 1. As you probably already know from Slow Poison, casting time 1 is a life saver. Now we heal 10 HP, and also cure disease, blindness and deafness just for kicks. Also, if you just got hit by a wyvern or a phase spider, you'll probably appreciate the 10 HP in addition to the poison cure. I won't say it's necessary, but it's pretty darn spiffy.
    Spirit Fire 5/5 - Of all the things that drew me to the shaman class, this spell is one that stood out (along with Writhing Fog). This mini-fireball deals magic damage, which is rarely resisted, has a chance of Dooming your enemies (very nice bonus, even though you can't depend on it), and there's even some creature types that take double damage. Unlike so many divine spells, the casting time is reasonable. I currently love the "debuff/DoT/nuke" style of play, and even if I didn't, you get this spell for free and so it's an option to clear out small annoying creatures like the archer armies in Siege of Dragonspear.


    Mid Tier:
    Animal Summoning I 2.5/5 - Creature summons are always useful, but the chance of getting war dogs here is kinda sucky. You could buff them up with Strength of One, but there are limits to their usefulness and they only last for 3 turns. Notably, shaman can dance to summon random spirits, which negates some of the purpose of this spell (you can't directly control shaman summons, so it doesn't completely replace all uses of this spell). For all of these reasons, I think this one barely scrapes into the mid tier.
    Defensive Harmony 3.5/5 - I am a big fan of this spell, but +2 AC eventually has its limits. However, with casting time 1 you can afford to cast this during the first round of combat (including a surprise ambush or a scripted spawning event) and give your entire team + summons +2 AC for 6 rounds. It's the kind of thing I would probably cast at the beginning of any serious fight if I have the spells to spare, and a shaman just might.
    Negative Plane Protection 3/5 - So, I have a lot of mixed feelings here. I hate negative levels with a passion, so something that stops them is great. On the other hand, there are other ways of accomplishing this protection, and this spell only lasts for 5 rounds. If you have a party that has trouble protecting itself in this way, I could see the value rising. If you have one or more berserkers, or other easy means of protection, then the value seems much lower.
    Poison 2.5/5 - I really want to like this spell. It has the potential to do so much damage, especially at higher levels, as well as keeping a caster interrupted. There are 2 problems: first, a flat Save vs. Poison to negate isn't so great, and may require setting up with Doom or Greater Malison. Second, and even more importantly, is the 15 ft. casting range. That's half the radius of a fireball spell, a quarter of its diameter. The first time I tried to cast it, my druid went marching across the screen and became the closest ally to my enemies, drawing their fire and almost getting killed. I still see the potential it has so I won't mark it down to low tier, but it may require some planning to use properly.

    Low Tier:
    Cause Serious Wounds 1.5/5 - Don't get me wrong, I have a strange fondness for touch spells and I have made a workable fighter/mage build that used Shocking Grasp. That being said, Shocking Grasp is an easily disposable 1st level spell, while this is a 4th level spell that deals about the same damage and also requires a successful THAC0 melee hit. People generally pan Shocking Grasp as one of the worst sorcerer/wizard spells, so this can't be good by comparison.
    Cloak of Fear 1/5 - So, with a casting time of 6, I can fear creatures within melee range. With a casting time of 6... melee range... nope.
    Cure Serious Wounds 1/5 - My greatest ire for any healing spell is reserved for Cure Serious Wounds (yes, more ire than Goodberry). It heals 17 HP, which is only 3 more than the lackluster Cure Medium Wounds at 3rd level. You can get a Mass Cure from Call Woodland Beings which is about equal if 2 party members need healing (or radically more efficient for 3 or more wounded adventurers), or you could heal 10 HP and cure poison, disease, blindness and deafness with a casting time of 1 from Neutralize Poison. This spell at least does something, but by my count there are 2 better healing spells at this level, assuming you want a healing spell.
    Farsight 2/5 - There are probably some sort of tricks that can be employed with directing summoned creatures on the map, but mostly this spell seems like a "roleplay" sort of choice. If you sleep a LOT, I suppose it could also be used for scouting an area in place of a rogue.
    Protection from Lightning 2/5 - I am being generous here, since you could use it for a proactive lightning bolt team or to ignore lightning traps in certain areas (the Cloakwood Mines and the chessboard in Durlag's Tower come to mind). Unless you're pursuing the Team Lightning theme though, this spell will get very little use despite its relatively long duration.



    Pick Order: Spirit Fire*, Call Woodland Beings, Defensive Harmony, Neutralize Poison (level 11), Death Ward (level 15), Poison (level 23).

    *Free with spell level

    NeverusedEnuhalJuliusBorisov
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 477
    edited October 2017
    Let's see - I think we will have some disagreements for this level:

    Level 4

    Animal Summoning I: Nymphs are generall more useful than the animals summoned by this spell - I generally wouldn't pick this up, though it can be decent in BG1, and you can still throw the summons at mages in BG2, forcing them to waste their spells at them. The spell's value increases in LoB. 2,5 for a normal game, 3,5 for LoB.

    Call Woodland Beings: I think this is the best firstpick available for a shaman, though the nymphs lose most of their value in late SoA/ToB. Still, 5/5 as I wouldn't ever skip it.

    Cause Serious Wounds: Propably the worst spell on this level. 0/5.

    Cloak of Fear: I don't like it. You have to get close to the enemy, and they don't even get a save penalty. 2/5.

    Cure Serious Wounds: I wouldn't take this with my usual settings, but it deserves consideration if you're playing without full healing at rest, so 1,5 or 2,5 - depending on settings.

    Death Ward: You definitely want this once you get to SoA. One of the most important spells on this level, but you shouldn't pack it first. 5/5.

    Defensive Harmony: Great spell - the instant casting time means you can use it in combat, making it useful despite its short duration. It also stays relevant through the entire trilogy. 4/5.

    Farsight: Useful for controlling summons while out of sight of your enemy. Despite my love for summons, I don't really use this spell all that often. 3/5.

    Negative Plane Protection: I don't like the short duration on this one. The AoP or iMoD +2 are better ways to protect yourself against level drain. 2,5/5.

    Neutralize Poison: Slow poison and antidotes are more than enough to prevent any poison from dealing serious damage, so I wouldn't waste a spellpick for this. 2/5.

    Poison: Honestly, your level three options concerning save or else single-target spells are just better than this. Keep your level 4 picks for buffs and summons. 2/5.

    Protection from Lightning: While this is not quite as important as protection from fire, there are still many situations I like to use this (and it's fun if you want to spam wands of lightning). To be fair, potions of absorption exist, but they are actually quite rare in BG2. 3,5/5.

    My picks for standard settings (core rules, full healing on rest): Call Woodland Beings, Defensive Harmony, Death Ward (you don't need to get this very early), Protection from Lightning, Farsight (the last two can easily be swapped out for animal summoning I and cure serious wounds, depending on party composition and settings).

    Okay, it doesn't look like our disagreements are too great - I just don't think neutralize poison is neccessary, while valuing protection spells quite a bit more than you.

    Grond0LordRumfishJuliusBorisov
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    I definitely prefer the fast healing of Neutralize Poison to Cure Serious Wounds (I mean, I'd even just cast Call Woodland Beings for the Mass Cure and nothing else). Protection from Lightning I could budge on... Poison on my pick order is basically a "free pick" so I could slot in another protection spell rather than a hard-to-use DoT (that's "damage over time" if anyone is new here).

    ...and everything else, we seem to be in the same ballpark. I'm a bit surprised, even. ^_^

  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 5,140
    There are some mods that greatly increase the problems of disease in the game. If you're playing with them neutralize poison becomes much more worthwhile.

    semiticgod
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 477
    I, too, sometimes call woodland beings just for the mass cure - and as I said, I wouldn't even think about picking cure serious wounds unless playing with no full healing on rests, in which case having as many healing spells as possible is just a sensible thing to have to decrease annoyance.
    One of the reasons I wouldn't really pick neutralize poison is that, for the dangerous poisons where instant healing is recommended, I almost always just use an antidote or an elixir of health right away - there are enough of them in the game for me to not run out of them with my playstyle.

  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited October 2017
    Alright, on to the mighty 5th level spells! Hooray! As a special note, I haven't finished playing Siege of Dragonspear yet, and the first 2 spell choices you make will be extremely relevant (levels 10 and 11) throughout both that expansion and all of BG2:EE. I am admitting that my choices forward from here are a bit more academic and less experiential; I'm sure others will chime in to let me know if I goof up royally.



    Level 5 Spells

    Top Tier:
    Chaotic Commands 5/5 - I can clearly see the value of this list of immunities for 1 turn/caster level. It doesn't have to be the first spell you take, maybe not even the second or third, but don't wait too long.
    Insect Plague 5/5 - Oh, my, yes. Up to six enemy creatures(!) within a 30 ft. radius cannot cast spells, take 1 damage every 2 seconds over 6 rounds (18 damage), and every round Save vs. Breath or be feared for 1 round. As a 5th level spell, this goes over the top of Globe of Invulnerability; it says invisibility is no protection, but I'm curious if that means the spread from the initial target, or whether you can target an invisible creature? I'm sure I'll find out soon enough because this is definitely making the list.
    Iron Skins 5/5 - Stoneskin, but for druids... and now shaman! So, it's a spell level later, and it has casting time 9 so you really don't want to do it mid-combat, but it's still a great first line of defense against physical attacks. I can't imagine that you wouldn't want it within your first 3 picks or so.
    Magic Resistance 4/5 - So, if I'm understanding this correctly, you can debuff super-high magic resistance by setting it to this value? Interesting. So, it can be used offensively or defensively (as a defense it seems a bit lacking, but you could still slap it on). Seems like a good pick for your 4th or 5th spell?
    Pixie Dust 4/5 - Mages get Invisibility and Invisibility 10' Radius long before 5th level spells, but you aren't a mage and invisibility is still useful, especially for your whole party + summons. Just how valuable it is depends on your party and how often you use invisibility, but I'm going to give it high marks and call it a worthy inclusion.
    True Seeing 4/5 - You don't get Breach, but you sure get True Seeing. Certainly a cool countermeasure to a lot of annoying spells, and lasting for 1 turn you can keep those spells suppressed for a combat. It's good, but there are a lot of good spells at this level to squeeze in.

    Mid Tier:
    Animal Summoning II 3/5 - Bears (and panthers) seem like nice summons to have, but maybe you get less benefit out of Strength of One for this group? Regardless, 1-3 brown bears or cave bears would be pretty spiffy and could definitely change an upcoming battle or two at the lower end of the level spectrum. Shaman can still dance for spirit summons, which may detract from the value of summoning spells slightly.
    Mass Cure 2.5/5 - You get access to the spell your nymph already has from Call Woodland Beings! But wait... you have more of a caster level than she does, and it actually matters here! For that reason, I would call this an okay (not great, but okay) option; does this have a level cap on HP healed? Lackluster compared to other things you could be doing, but not awful. Also, you have to work hard to be more efficient than Heal at level 6.
    Recall Spirit 2.5/5 - So, if a shaman didn't get this for free, would you take a Raise Dead variant? That's academic though; since we do get this for free, how shall we use it? It could be handy on a no-reload run to revive party members quickly without wasting slots to memorize it. You also might be less inclined to reload even in a normal game (gasp!) if it's this easy to raise the dead. Normally I would advocate taking spells that help you not die in the first place, but this is okay as a free spell.

    Low Tier:
    Cause Critical Wounds 1/5 - Another THAC0-based touch spell, this one deals 27 damage... unless you miss. Oh, and casting time 8. Don't take this.
    Cure Critical Wounds 2/5 - I don't hate this one, at 27 HP it is nearly double Cure Medium Wounds, better than 3 Cure Light Wounds, and just a better deal all-around than Cure Serious Wounds. The trouble is, you don't get it for free, you would have to pick it... and you're one spell level away from Heal. About the time the HP of the heals starts to get useful again, it becomes completely outclassed by Heal. Still, at levels 10 and 11 this feels like a decent healing spell.


    Pick Order: Recall Spirit*, Insect Plague, Iron Skins, Pixie Dust, Chaotic Commands, Magic Resistance.

    *Free with spell level

    EnuhalJuliusBorisov
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 5,140
    edited October 2017

    I am admitting that my choices forward from here are a bit more academic and less experiential; I'm sure others will chime in to let me know if I goof up royally.

    That looks like a pretty good analysis to me :). As a solo player my priorities might be slightly different, but not a lot. On insect plague, note that you can't cast it at someone invisible, but it will spread to those. Spell deflection / turning will also block a direct cast, but not spread - so it's very often a good idea to cast the spell at one of your summons rather than an opponent. Also the save against fear is a one-off when the spell first hits someone, not a once per round check.

    JuliusBorisovLordRumfishArcanjo
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 477
    edited October 2017
    Here are my thoughts:

    Level 5 spells

    Animal Summoning II: Not great compared to what else this level has to offer, but it could be a decent last pick if other abilites like pixie dust and true seeing are already covered fully by your party. 2,5/5.

    Cause Critical Wounds: Don't waste a pick on what is one of the best spell levels for any class on this. 0/5.

    Chaotic Commands: A clear 5/5, one of the best defensive buffs in the game.

    Cure Critical Wounds: I wouldn't pick this with my usual settings, though its nice to have. 2/5 - 3/5 when playing without full healing on rests.

    Insect Plague: The mage-destroyer in SoD + SoA. Great spell, 5/5 - in a normal game. However, with SCS, the value of this spell goes down quite a bit, maybe to a 4/5.

    Iron Skins: Incredibly important for survival, makes you a tanky character by itself. 5/5, get this as soon as possible.

    Magic Resistance: The touch range and casting time make this very hard to use offensively - it's only useful if you play solo. 2,5.

    Mass Cure: One of the better healing spells in the game, but your nymphs can cast this for you (though at a lower level). 2,5.

    Pixie Dust: The only reason not to pick this is if you have an arcane spellcaster who can already use similiar spells. Otherwise, opening combat with an invisible party is an incredible advantage. 4/5.

    True Seeing: The best divination spell and very useful when fighting mages at every point in the game. Only the fact that there are so many amazing spells at this level already makes me go down to a 4,5, but you want this eventually.

    So, the biggest problem on this level is: In what order do you pick chaotic commands, insect plague and iron skins? When playing with SCS, I would theoretically like to go chaotic commands => iron skins => insect plague, otherwise I might be tempted to get insect plague first, as it is the more proactive choice. In practice, I myself usually play no-reload, so iron skins is kind of a must, so this would force me into iron skins => chaotic commands => insect plague. As a fourth pick, I would always go for true sight. The fifth pick can be pixie dust, or if you really don't need it (because you have, for example, two arcane spellcasters with invisibility 10' radius in your party), animal summoning II or mass cure.

    JuliusBorisovGrond0LordRumfishArcanjo
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    edited October 2017
    Aha, touch range on Magic Resistance, I see the error of my ways (the first time I ever cast Poison I had a similar awakening about range). Also, thanks for the heads-up on the one fear from Insect Plague, not one-per-round.

    With Magic Resistance out of the running (for touch range I can't give it better than 2.5/5), I would certainly change my pick to True Seeing.

    EDIT: Whoops, I also meant to add that I generally prefer to take something proactive as the first spell of a new spell level for spontaneous casters (sorcerer, shaman, etc.). Otherwise, you could end up not even using those spells on an adventuring day!

    EnuhalGrond0JuliusBorisovArcanjo
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    Let's roll on to level 6 spells. We're getting up into some serious power now. As a special note, we won't be using these until BG2:EE unless the level cap is removed. The first two picks will see you through the early game, the 3rd pick will come along pretty soon (level 15), but pick 4 and especially pick 5 come very, very late in the game.



    Level 6 Spells

    Top Tier:
    Conjure Fire Elemental 5/5 - Seems to me the best summoned creature of this spell level. I have seen people toss out various statistics in some other threads about how useful the fire elemental is, the gist of it seems to be a fiery aura or flame attack of some kind, and perhaps it strikes as a magical weapon so it can hit certain types of enemies? The potential to get a higher-HD elemental seems nice, as it would have better saves and THAC0, etc., compared to a 12 HD animal that is always stuck at one amount.
    Dolorous Decay 4/5 - 50 poison damage over 50 seconds for Save vs. Poison -2 is nothing to sneeze at, but the really exciting part is 2 rounds of slow automatically with no save at a casting time of 1. This is a nice single-target disabler + DoT that should keep a spellcaster interrupted if they weren't already suffering from your swarms of bugs. I won't call it necessary, but it looks fun.
    Heal 5/5 - If you play your shaman like I tend to, you might not have taken any other healing spell after Cure Light Wounds (well, not counting the Mass Cure from Call Woodland Beings). Now, it's time. This spell could make combat healing worthwhile again in some instances, and in any case is just plain useful, particularly if you have any HP pools up in the 100+ range (your own shaman probably does if you play with max HP). It also cures an array of other problems: feeblemind, disease, and blindness. What's not to like?
    Wondrous Recall 4/5 - Assuming this spell works the way I think it would for a shaman (refreshes your highest two spell slots of 5th level or lower), then the question is: is it worth it to trade one 6th level spell for two 5th or lower spells? I think the answer could be yes. Iron Skins is something you want up all the time, Pixie Dust and True Seeing are both quite useful, and another Insect Plague could be what you want too. Furthermore, it might even be worth it for Call Woodland Beings at 4th level if you can keep the nymph alive long enough to blast off a decent portion of her spells; Death Ward also seems like a worthy 4th level spell to be trading for. 3rd level doesn't seem worth it unless you really need Dispel Magic.

    Mid Tier:
    Conjure Animals 2.5/5 - One of the three summoning spells of this level, and this one seems like the middle option to me. It always summons the same creature type, so this one has some reliability going for it at least. Does anyone want to weigh in on how useful the "mountain bears" are?
    Harm 3/5 - The normal common-sense wisdom for touch spells is that they aren't worth the trouble, especially with THAC0 in the mix. However, reducing the target to 1 HP seems worth it if you can figure out a way to pull this off. Still not a sure thing or a guaranteed inclusion.
    Physical Mirror 3.5/5 - Reversing all missiles back to the shooter sounds pretty cool. The 9 round duration is a bit annoying, but still workable for a single combat. My question is, does this reverse special missiles like Melf's Acid Arrow or Magic Missile or Melf's Minute Meteors? Even if it doesn't, it's still kinda spiffy. Trouble is, this seems like a "special fight preparation" spell, and narrow spells are usually not as good for spontaneous casters. Anyone else want to weigh in? I think I like it better than a lot of other options.
    Spiritual Lock 3.5/5 - Our free shaman spell for the level, this is a temporary but relatively long-lasting feeblemind effect at Save vs. Spell -2 (-4 for spirits, fey, elementals, and spectral undead). While we have some good spell options at this level, this is a nice addition of a single-target "save or lose" effect. By the time you'll be casting this (BG2:EE) you may want to soften up an opponent's saves with Doom and/or Greater Malison in addition to the penalty the spell gives. Seems decent to me, perfectly happy to have it for free.

    Low Tier:
    Animal Summoning III 2/5 - Summons are always handy, but there's a couple of problems here: one, shaman can dance. Two, there are two other conjuration spells at this level, and one of those seems to be a clear winner (the fire elemental). You can't depend on summoning a specific creature with this spell (cave bear, lion, polar bear and winter wolf are all options), so I'm going to rank it the lowest of the three, although I could be overestimating Conjure Animals.
    Fire Seeds 2/5 - So, if I'm understanding this correctly, these are kinda like Melf's Minute Meteors that you can hand out to party members to throw for the duration, and they explode? It's a shame that each casting of the spell has an effective 8d8 damage cap (and the radius is only 15 ft. instead of 30 ft.), but nothing is stopping you from casting it several times and having hasted/improved hasted party members throw these around. I think you would have to work a little too hard to get good value from this spell, but it could be done I guess.


    Pick Order: Spiritual Lock*, Conjure Fire Elemental, Heal, Physical Mirror, Dolorous Decay, Wondrous Recall

    *Free with spell level

    JuliusBorisovEnuhalArcanjo
  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 477
    All right, let's see what we've got:

    Level 6 spells:

    Animal Summoning III: Possibly the weakest spell on this level, due to the abundance of better options. Of course, it's not exactly useless, but if you reall want more summons, you propably shouldn't go for these. 2/5.

    Conjure Animals: This is slightly better than Animal Summoning III, but still not worth a pick. 2,5/5.

    Conjure Fire Elemental: The clear firstpick for most occasions, as these are the most powerful summons available during SoD and early-mid SoA. Fire elementals can solo huge parts of SoA without any additional help, making this a clear 5/5.

    Dolorous Decay: I tried using this a couple of times, but was never happy with it. A single target save or else-spell isn't great for this level, and two rounds of slow is not exactly amazing. 3/5.

    Fire Seeds: So, the power of this spell depends heavily on how much you're prepared to abuse it. Note that you can share these with party members, and they can apply effects like a wizard slayer's spell failure (I believe @semiticgod has experimented with various ways to abuse fire seeds). You can even target your own party members or summons with them, and the aoe effect will hit nearby enemies you otherwise wouldn't be able to deal damage or apply spell failure to. So, if used to full potential, this spell can be incredibly useful against, for example, SCS mages. Otherwise, it's not very usefull at all. 2/5-4/5, depening on what you're willing to do with it.

    Harm: A must have for soloing, however, hitting with this isn't exactly easy. 3,5/5.

    Heal: I use this spell quite a bit, and I might even secondpick it. 4/5.

    Physical Mirror: This can be somewhat fun, but there aren't enough ranged threats in the lategame to make this worth a pick in most setups. 3/5.

    Wondrous Recall: Very good spell, as you often want to have many chaotic commands and death wards as possible in order to rebuff after getting your buffs dispelled. 4/5.

    My picks: Conjure Fire Elemental, Heal, Wondrous Recall, Harm, one of Dolorous Decay, Physical Mirror or Fire Seeds, depending on what I'd want to play around with.

    JuliusBorisovLordRumfishArcanjo
  • Grond0Grond0 Member Posts: 5,140
    edited October 2017
    I would take Fire Elemental myself, but that's because it lasts so long and I play solo. If you were playing in the standard game with a full party you would probably not need summons that often - in which case Conjure Animals would be the better pick (2 mountain bears are considerably more powerful than a single fire elemental unless you're lucky enough to get the elder version).

    I've tried a bit with Dolorous Decay and found it pretty useless. The average damage done by it to a single enemy is probably in line with insect plague (and the latter not only affects multiple enemies, but bypasses spell defences and imposes 100% spell failure).

    As @Enuhal notes Fire Seeds can spread any special attacks across an area (such as assassin's poison) which can be a pretty powerful option, though it wouldn't be one of my picks.

    Unlike many disablers, immunity to harm is rare. I would thus rate this pretty highly (though again that probably reflects my focus on soloing).

    Post edited by Grond0 on
    JuliusBorisovLordRumfishArcanjo
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    A nice case has been made for Fire Seeds, and a case has been made against Dolorous Decay. However, Fire Seeds seems to need micromanagement to take real advantage of it (and maybe special kits), so my "baseline" score will stand. Dolorous Decay might just be worse than I think it is, but I will find out for myself. Everything else seems like it's in a pretty acceptable range here.

    Grond0Arcanjo
  • ArcanjoArcanjo Member Posts: 149

    I want you all to know I haven't forgotten this thread, and level 7 spells are coming soon. I will have more time to write soon, and I am doing a playthrough of BG:EE with a sorceress (CHARNAME) and her boon companion, a shaman (I've cleared the map other than TotSC content, Candlekeep, and the city of Baldur's Gate, and I'm busy at work clearing Baldur's Gate). I'm hoping a bit more time spent in practical application will keep me sharp when I come around to doing the final analysis.

    I wait! ...

    Balrog99LordRumfishDordledum
  • LordRumfishLordRumfish Member Posts: 936
    Hmmm! Alright, I will come back after a bit of research (mostly, I need to know about epic spells and how those affect the 7th level spells).

    trinit
  • trinittrinit Member Posts: 675
    edited August 2018
    wow, i was just reading this thread few days ago and thinking how it's too bad level 7 and HLA analysis was never posted. happy to see it's coming!

    Post edited by trinit on
  • DordledumDordledum Member Posts: 200
    Starting a shaman run in a bit, a lot of valuable info here!

    Question: Can you (at level up) change any learned spells?

  • EnuhalEnuhal Member Posts: 477
  • DordledumDordledum Member Posts: 200
    Enuhal said:

    @Dordledum No, that is not possible.

    @Enuhal: thank you.

    I assumed that it would work like the sorcerer, but I now know that sorcerers don't get the ability either in BG.

    In D&D there is for sorcerers/shamans/favored souls an option to change one spell every 2 levels at level up, was hoping they would have incorporated that in BG too. No problem, but good to know.

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