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How Mages SHOULD work...

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Comments

  • SMRTSMRT Member Posts: 11

    It would also makes Gnomes much more attractive, since with a tome of INT you would be able to get -3 to savings throws with Gnomes (on top of -2 for Illusions).

    Hey, are you implying gnomes aren't yet attractive enough? ;) 19 INT at start is actually just perfect. It gives you 95% chance to learn spells right off the bat. After reading the tome of Clear Thought your INT will be 20, resulting in 24 after drinking a potion of genius (temporary +4 INT). 24 INT enables you to learn all spells instantly (except of course those of the opposition school). Saving the rarer high level scrolls until finding the tome should not really be an issue since you will not be able to cast them at lower levels anyway. So if you hate destroying spell scrolls while experimenting, you can always pick a gnome and apply the method described above.

    DJKajuruThacoBellConjurerDragon
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 9,683

    Let’s just say that the expectations for RPG mechanics are very different today than when AD&D 2ed came out. Also, a big part of the problem comes from translating a tabletop game with a human DM into a computer game. The most annoying part of spell learning is when you fail on an extremely rare or even unique scroll (looking at you, Wraithform) and then have no way to get another to try again. This is especially bad if that was a spell you planned to rely on heavily for you build.

    In a normal, tabletop D&D game, your DM could give you the opportunity to learn the spell again, either dropping another scroll, or allowing you to hire another mage to teach you directly, or whatever. A decent DM won’t ruin your enjoyment of your character over one failed die roll (unless you’re running Tomb of Horrors, but then you asked for it). But in a CRPG, your only recourse is power word: reload.

    I sort of disagree. Or at least, I see from from the opposite angle. Chances to fail to learn spells and lose a valuable (possibly irreplaceable) scroll is generally a good thing; dealing with the bad result and figuring out how to move forward without that spell is part of the challenge that makes a game like this interesting. A good RPG should reflect that life doesn't always give you everything you want or need on a silver platter. (A lesson the BG2 devs really failed to appreciate.)

    So the problem is not that PW: reload is your only recourse... the problem is that you do have PW: Reload at all. (Which you would not in a tabletop game.) And so of course you use it. And so the "challenge" represented by this mechanism is not an interesting, fun, tactical challenge that's part of the gameplay; rather, the challenge simply tests your patience and takes you our of the game. That's a bad mechanic.

    StummvonBordwehr
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,365
    I wouldn't call a random chance "Interesting" "tactical" or "challenge".

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 453
    ThacoBell said:

    I wouldn't call a random chance "Interesting" "tactical" or "challenge".

    I would imagine the interesting tactical challenge would come from learning to get by with less, when you fail to scribe an important scroll.

    subtledoctorBelgarathMTH
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,365

    ThacoBell said:

    I wouldn't call a random chance "Interesting" "tactical" or "challenge".

    I would imagine the interesting tactical challenge would come from learning to get by with less, when you fail to scribe an important scroll.
    But its the result of chance. If say, I failed to get a scroll because of a mistake I made, then I'd agree with it.

  • PingwinPingwin Member Posts: 130
    If you fail to learn a spell from a scroll, then usually it means that you didn't bother bother boosting your INT first so it is a decision you've made to take a chance on learning it with a significant chance of failure.

    Admittedly there are times when the RNG just has it in for you like when I had that stack of cloudkill scrolls saved up for Xzar to learn. When the time came, he drank a potion of genius and proceeded to fail to learn all of the irreplaceable scrolls I had saved up for him.

    BelgarathMTH
  • NeoptolemusNeoptolemus Member Posts: 25
    ThacoBell said:

    ThacoBell said:

    I wouldn't call a random chance "Interesting" "tactical" or "challenge".

    I would imagine the interesting tactical challenge would come from learning to get by with less, when you fail to scribe an important scroll.
    But its the result of chance. If say, I failed to get a scroll because of a mistake I made, then I'd agree with it.
    But the whole game is built on random chance. Would it be a more interesting tactical challenge if there wasn't an attack roll and it was just a variant of THAC0 vs AC?

    ConjurerDragonStummvonBordwehr
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,365
    @Neoptolemus I find a difference between having modified rolls for combat, to simulate skill as well as the unknown variation of real life, vs. having random rolls to acquire abilities and tactics to use ins aid fights. Combat cannot be perfectly planned out irl, but preparation should never be subject to rng.

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 4,748

    ThacoBell said:

    I wouldn't call a random chance "Interesting" "tactical" or "challenge".

    I would imagine the interesting tactical challenge would come from learning to get by with less, when you fail to scribe an important scroll.
    While I find scroll learning failure irritating, and I sometimes turn it off via mod, difficulty slider, or reload, it's the only thing in the game that makes Intelligence score actually meaningful for mages, as it should be. It's also the only thing other than mind flayers that makes Potions of Genius meaningful.

    Lately, I've found that it can increase my interest and immersion if I save up my gold for Potions of Genius and save a lot of scrolls until I can make the most of those very expensive potions. I also like to wait until we're at an inn before having the mage character attempt to scribe new spells into his or her spellbook.

    The biggest temptation for me is when I'm not playing the party mage myself, and Dynaheir, who is my go-to mage, has to be taken all the way to Thalantyr's shop to purchase an Identify scroll, and then she fails to learn it. Grrrr.

    Sometimes I take Neera into my party even though I can't stand her, because she already knows Identify. At first level, Garrick isn't a good alternative, because his lore isn't yet high enough to use bard skill, and he doesn't even get one first level spell slot until second level - and he still has to learn the scroll with his low (for an arcane caster) Intelligence.

    Other than Identify, there are very few spells I consider "can't-do-without". The only similar exceptions I can think of in BG2 would be Breach and Lower Resistance.

    Skatan
  • subtledoctorsubtledoctor Member Posts: 9,683
    ThacoBell said:

    I wouldn't call a random chance "Interesting" "tactical" or "challenge".

    Either you missed my point, or you re-stated it. ( :lol: )

    In the context of a video game like BG2 where the devs shower you with semi-cheesy ways to circumvent real setbacks or challenges - not to mention PW: Reload! - an RNG roll for spell does not make an interesting challenge.

    But in tabletop, where you cannot reload and you just have to roll with the punches and improvise when you encounter setbacks, the random chance to fails to learn a spell can result in an interesting and even tactical challenge. Not to mention that it can be contextualized on the fly by good storytelling. ("Turns out that the mage who scribed that Wish spell onto the scroll had a slight hand tremor as a result as a result of experimenting with using Earth Elementals as cheap construction labor.")

    In other words, in these video games it amounts to an inconvenience for the player, not the character. Whereas in PnP it can be an inconvenience for the character, and can even help propel the story forward.

  • NeoptolemusNeoptolemus Member Posts: 25
    edited September 8
    ThacoBell said:

    @Neoptolemus I find a difference between having modified rolls for combat, to simulate skill as well as the unknown variation of real life, vs. having random rolls to acquire abilities and tactics to use ins aid fights. Combat cannot be perfectly planned out irl, but preparation should never be subject to rng.

    But the roll to learn the spell is also subject to skill modifiers. Doesn't that simulate whether or not the reader is able to grasp the fine details of the spell?

    Edit; although that said I do get your point about interfering with preparation. That is inconsistent with the wider mechanics of the game.

  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 7,365
    @Neoptolemus Basically, let my preparations be 100% successful. But go ahead and throw me some curves during combat.

  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 2,075

    ThacoBell said:

    I wouldn't call a random chance "Interesting" "tactical" or "challenge".

    I would imagine the interesting tactical challenge would come from learning to get by with less, when you fail to scribe an important scroll.
    While I find scroll learning failure irritating, and I sometimes turn it off via mod, difficulty slider, or reload, it's the only thing in the game that makes Intelligence score actually meaningful for mages, as it should be. It's also the only thing other than mind flayers that makes Potions of Genius meaningful.

    Lately, I've found that it can increase my interest and immersion if I save up my gold for Potions of Genius and save a lot of scrolls until I can make the most of those very expensive potions. I also like to wait until we're at an inn before having the mage character attempt to scribe new spells into his or her spellbook.

    The biggest temptation for me is when I'm not playing the party mage myself, and Dynaheir, who is my go-to mage, has to be taken all the way to Thalantyr's shop to purchase an Identify scroll, and then she fails to learn it. Grrrr.

    Sometimes I take Neera into my party even though I can't stand her, because she already knows Identify. At first level, Garrick isn't a good alternative, because his lore isn't yet high enough to use bard skill, and he doesn't even get one first level spell slot until second level - and he still has to learn the scroll with his low (for an arcane caster) Intelligence.

    Other than Identify, there are very few spells I consider "can't-do-without". The only similar exceptions I can think of in BG2 would be Breach and Lower Resistance.
    You should take Edwin instead.

    The complete and utter nonsense of him being unable to identify anything for most of the game cures you of any lingering worry that these easily recognisable items are something to lose sleep over.

    And lets face it, in a fight, a ton of MM or knowing that the sword you pick up afterwards is +1?

  • BelgarathMTHBelgarathMTH Member Posts: 4,748
    @UnderstandMouseMagic , My problem is that I'm a die-hard roleplayer. Of course I already know what every magic item in the game is, as do most of us who have been playing BG for years. But I feel guilty using unidentified magic items. It feels counter to the intentions of the game design, and it spoils my immersion into the game world.

    As for Edwin, I always play a goody-goody, so he's a persona non grata to me. :)

    ThacoBellSkatanKronoKenisis
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 2,075

    @UnderstandMouseMagic , My problem is that I'm a die-hard roleplayer. Of course I already know what every magic item in the game is, as do most of us who have been playing BG for years. But I feel guilty using unidentified magic items. It feels counter to the intentions of the game design, and it spoils my immersion into the game world.

    As for Edwin, I always play a goody-goody, so he's a persona non grata to me. :)

    Quick question.

    Maybe it's my faulty memory, but you can't use unidentified items can you?

    N.B

    Edwin is good underneath, he's just a bit confused, it's the low wisdom.
    ;)

    Permidion_Stark
  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 453

    @UnderstandMouseMagic , My problem is that I'm a die-hard roleplayer. Of course I already know what every magic item in the game is, as do most of us who have been playing BG for years. But I feel guilty using unidentified magic items. It feels counter to the intentions of the game design, and it spoils my immersion into the game world.

    As for Edwin, I always play a goody-goody, so he's a persona non grata to me. :)

    Quick question.

    Maybe it's my faulty memory, but you can't use unidentified items can you?

    N.B

    Edwin is good underneath, he's just a bit confused, it's the low wisdom.
    ;)
    You can't use an unidentified item's active abilities, but everything else if fair game.

    So for example, if you try to use Algernon's Cloak before you identify it, you will get the passive charisma boost, but you won't be able to use it to charm people, because that's a special button that won't have unlocked yet.

    ThacoBellSkatanUnderstandMouseMagicStummvonBordwehr
  • SkatanSkatan Member Posts: 3,533



    Edwin is good underneath, he's just a bit confused, it's the low wisdom. ;)

    I think it's clear to all that frequent this place you love Edwin, but this comment is hilariously delusional! I mean no offense, and perhaps it was in jest, but there's nothing Good in Edwin (capital G, I mean good in-game and not good irl).

    ThacoBellBelgarathMTH
  • fluke13fluke13 Member Posts: 315
    edited September 10
    That's right, there's no "good" in Edwin Odesseiron ...

    There is, however, "Seer" "Odd" "Noise" "Win" , so you could say he's just an odd noisey seer, who cares for nothing, except to win ;)

    ThacoBellKronoKenisisMirandel
  • UnderstandMouseMagicUnderstandMouseMagic Member Posts: 2,075
    Skatan said:



    Edwin is good underneath, he's just a bit confused, it's the low wisdom. ;)

    I think it's clear to all that frequent this place you love Edwin, but this comment is hilariously delusional! I mean no offense, and perhaps it was in jest, but there's nothing Good in Edwin (capital G, I mean good in-game and not good irl).

    Nah the comment was deadly serious....everything I post should be taken deadly seriously. :D

    SkatanThacoBellPermidion_StarkStummvonBordwehr
  • KronoKenisisKronoKenisis Member Posts: 15
    So, I understand you are not looking at this from a DnD perspective. But since the entire concept of the game is predicated on it following DnD rules and giving a DnD feel, you are probably barking up the wrong tree. I'm not one to argue that things based on DnD should follow DnD rules exactly, but in this case it kind of makes sense. Let me explain;

    The entire ruleset is based on DnD, obviously. This means that every facet of every rule and how it interacts with the rest of the game is all very carefully balanced to work with each other. The reasonings for why numbers are the way they are is completely arbitrary - they are defined entirely by how they compare to other parts of the rules.

    This in mind, adding spell saving penalties would be *horribly* unbalancing. All of the spells and the saving throws accompanying them are very carefully designed and balanced with each other and other classes, and even then the magic in almost every version of DnD (especially the one this game is based on) is *already* horribly overpowered.

    So a better solution would probably be to offer bonuses more in line with other DnD rule sets, if that's something you're interested in. For instance, in 3rd edition arcane spell casters get bonus spell slots for having high int the same way divine casters do for having high wisdom. This is a much more balanced solution as it 1) has a precedent, and 2) plays nicely with the existing rule set, ensuring that not only do you get a noticeable bonus but that it isn't going to necessarily screw over the balance. The mod Tome and Blood has a component for this - I think it's the only option unfortunately, as I've also looked into having INT give you something other than a percent chance of learning for years and that was the only thing I've found.

    Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't do what you want to do or that it is impossible, just that it will probably change the way spells interact with the rest of the game in wild and unpredictable ways that you may not intend.

    As a side note, Sorcerers in this game use INT because it didn't matter to change it. In the pen and paper versions, sorcerers use CHA to cast their spells - they aren't preparing arcane rituals and revising theorems to do their magic, they just... sorta... feel it. They don't actually understand what they are doing, hence not casting with INT. It was never intended to be a useful stat for them, either in BG or in DnD. I think that because the current system made their primary spell casting stat meaningless anyway, nobody bothered to change it. The Tome and Blood mod manages to change their primary casting stat to CHA though, and offer bonus' for high CHA.

    As it stands INT is actually rather meaningful on its own, at least for wizards. If you don't reload saves unless you actually have a total party kill then having a high intelligence is downright necessary or you won't be able to learn many spells. Making sure you have an 18 or 19 in INT means you basically don't have to worry about it at all, encouraging investment into the stat heavily. It sounds like this is probably not fitting with your play style though, which is totally understandable.

    TL;DR - Tome and Blood is what you want. It won't give you exactly what you describe but it has a component for adding bonuses to spell-casting stats for both Wizards and Sorcerers beyond the percent chance to learn. Perhaps you could contact the author of this mod if you want ideas on how to implement your own INT changes instead of using theirs.

    UnderstandMouseMagic
  • The_CheesemanThe_Cheeseman Member Posts: 175
    You know, I was thinking back to when I played 2nd Ed in high school, and it occurred to me that I never remember failing to learn a spell and losing the scroll being a problem. So I pulled out my PHB and read over the rules for learning spells from scrolls.

    They weren’t there.

    Turns out, you didn’t learn spells from scrolls, you learned them by studying other wizards’ spellbooks. Scrolls were just handy ways of casting spells without having to memorize them first.

    Not only that, but failing to learn a spell didn’t cause you to lose the book, you just had to gain a level before trying that same spell again. It was totally possible for two wizards to get together and share their spellbooks in order to teach one another new spells. There was even an optional rule for specialist wizards to get a free new spell of their chosen school for each level they gained.

    In short, the spell learning process in Baldur’s Gate is mostly original to the PC game, not AD&D rules, and is actually much more punishing than the PnP version.

    Skatan
  • NeoptolemusNeoptolemus Member Posts: 25

    You know, I was thinking back to when I played 2nd Ed in high school, and it occurred to me that I never remember failing to learn a spell and losing the scroll being a problem. So I pulled out my PHB and read over the rules for learning spells from scrolls.

    They weren’t there.

    Turns out, you didn’t learn spells from scrolls, you learned them by studying other wizards’ spellbooks. Scrolls were just handy ways of casting spells without having to memorize them first.

    Not only that, but failing to learn a spell didn’t cause you to lose the book, you just had to gain a level before trying that same spell again. It was totally possible for two wizards to get together and share their spellbooks in order to teach one another new spells. There was even an optional rule for specialist wizards to get a free new spell of their chosen school for each level they gained.

    In short, the spell learning process in Baldur’s Gate is mostly original to the PC game, not AD&D rules, and is actually much more punishing than the PnP version.

    That sounds way better than the BG system. Not sure if it's less punishing though. At least with most scrolls you can find a new one. With the book system if you miss out, especially on the later higher level spells you're in trouble.

    Still, it would give a whole new flavour, especially to high level mage fights if you had to get a mage's spell book to learn new spells.

  • ChroniclerChronicler Member Posts: 453
    That's kind of how it works in Pillars of Eternity, with the addendum that each spellbook can only contain a very limited number of spells, and you have to cast directly out of the book, requiring you to keep multiple books tailored to different situations, and sometimes switch between books mid battle.

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