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In which order do you remove caster defenses (SCS mod)?

NeoNeo Member Posts: 112
I'm not new to the game (several playthroughs + SoD, BG2, IWD playthroughs on Core Rules) but it's the first time that I try SCS (I'm not putting at the highest difficulty, it's set at Tactical which is sort of the middle difficulty for the mod even though it's a lot harder than Core Rules without the mod).

My characters are now lvl 6, I've managed to kill Drizzt at lvl 5, done the TSC mage island, just killed the Ogre Mage in Firewind Bridge, etc. So I've managed to pull it off through many of the major fights already. Still, I thought that once my Sorcerer would get Spell Thrust, I could take out casters a lot more easily but I was wrong. All it seems to dispell is the Minor Globe of Invulnerability.

Enemy casters seem to generally cast Minor Globe of Invulnerability + Protection from missile weapons + Protection from magic weapons + Mirror Images (and maybe some other buffs I'm not sure).

So for the last few fights (mages on mage island and the Ogre Mage in Firewind), I've noticed that I can break the Minor Globe of Invulnerability but most of my party are physical damage dealers and they can't do anything (maybe I should carry extra non-magical melee weapons?). Ranged doesn't work and magical weapons don't work. I can then land a few Melf's Acid Arrows through their defenses to buy some time by doing a bit of damage with it and interrupting some spells. I mostly then need to wait the enemy caster's defenses out which is not a tactic I enjoy. I've had to do this 2-3 times in my last unmodded BG2/ToB run in very rare cases as I only had an Inquisitor and no arcane casters to break defenses (like vs Kangaxx Lich/Demi-Lich) but it's already common in early/mid game BG1 with SCS.

My current party is the following:

1- Stalker lvl 6
2- Barbarian lvl 6
3- Dorn (Black Guard) lvl 6
4- Blade lvl 7
5- Cleric/Thief lvl 5/6 (getting close to lvl 6 Cleric)
6- Sorcerer

I think I have most of the spells so far that I could find for the lvl 7 Blade (almost done with all the extra zones/subquests, I've got all the best gear I could get/buy for my party until I can access Baldur's Gate city including Drizzt's gear except for Durlag's Tower and the Werewolf Island that I plan on doing later on around lvl 8+).

So for fighting mages, my Sorcerer has Spell Thrust, MAA (no save so it's good for interrupting), Glitterdust (enemy casters also often go invis), Spook (lucky if it can land), Magic Missiles (good vs mirror images but the Protection from Missiles spell blocks it).

My Blade has access to Deafness, Detect Invisibility, Detect Illusion, Dispell Magic, Remove Magic.

Cleric/Thief has access to lvl 3 Cleric spells (so Dispell Magic and Invisibility Purge).

So I think that I need to open with Spell Thrust so that the other dispells can go through Minor Globe of Invulnerability or be able to land some spells if lucky (managed to kill the strong Ogre Mage by landing a stun with a Wand of Petrification). I'm not sure afterwards mostly for the protection from magic weapons and missiles.

I did not activate the component changes flame arrows, acid arrows, frost, biting, etc. so maybe those would work through both defenses?

I can counter invisibility. I would think Remove Magic to be the other best thing to cast to get rid of the other defenses but last time I used it, it never worked despite my Blade being higher level. Either I was fighting enemies that were too strong or SCS raises the level of enemy casters making those spells unreliable? I think I can only access Breach in SoD if I'm not mistaken.

I just want to try to start getting the good habit for stripping enemy defenses right as I plan on continuing this playthrough in SoD and BG2/ToB where there will be even more defenses (but more tools to dispell as well).

EDIT: I just read some in-depth text on how to counter spells with SCS (although it was more focused on BG2). It clarifies a lot (Remove Magic will mostly be bad unless maybe since I tend to clear most of the zones in BG1 and BG2 before I persue the main story, maybe my Blade could be high level enough to sometimes use it). It still isn't totally clear for BG1 though since I can only access Breach in SoD, this means that unless I can land that Remove or Dispell Magic, I think I have no way of removing enemy caster defenses against physical damage (only an Inquisitor maybe could and I don't have one with my party setup).

Post edited by Neo on


  • Adam_en_tiumAdam_en_tium Member Posts: 10
    Neo wrote: »
    EDIT: I just read some in-depth text on how to counter spells with SCS (although it was more focused on BG2). It clarifies a lot (Remove Magic will mostly be bad unless maybe since I tend to clear most of the zones in BG1 and BG2 before I persue the main story, maybe my Blade could be high level enough to sometimes use it). It still isn't totally clear for BG1 though since I can only access Breach in SoD, this means that unless I can land that Remove or Dispell Magic, I think I have no way of removing enemy caster defenses against physical damage (only an Inquisitor maybe could and I don't have one with my party setup).

    I would be interested to read the text you refer to
    Thanks :)

  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 112
    Here you go:

    Although I forgot about the fact that Liches will be immune to some spells so I'm not sure if I'll have to figure some more of it on my own once I reach BG2 (still in BG1 party lvl 7 ATM).

  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 112
    edited December 2019
    Thanks, I'll take a look at them. However, I think that I just took some hard fights at low lvl in BG1 SCS since I cleared every map (except for ToSC where I only did the village and ice cave) before resuming the main plot story and the whole bandit camp area and mage boss were a complete joke after that. Now that I reached BG, I can even could buy a few dispelling arrows (although I'm not sure how they'll work considering all casters instantly set up protection vs missiles and vs magic). I still expect it to get a lot more complicated with BG2 SCS liches but maybe Tactical mode was still too easy (the difficulty curves in BG1 and BG2 varies a lot depending on what you choose to do first).

  • butteredsoulbutteredsoul Member Posts: 164
    edited December 2019
  • ithildurnewithildurnew Member Posts: 171
    edited December 2019
    I assume you're asking about SCS enemy mages in BG1, not BG2/ToB since you're posting in this particular forum.

    PfNM (Protection from Normal Missiles) doesn't block Magic Missile unless you have a mod I'm not aware of. What's likely happening is it's being blocked by MGoI or they have Shield spell up which makes one immune to MM. It's a fairly decent duration spell so chances are if you meet a mage with PfNM he'll also have Shield up. Breach will bring down both.

    Short version, it normally it goes something like this:
    1. Spell Thrust to get rid of Spell Immunity:Divination and spell deflection/turning/Spell Shield (minor versions of the first 2; if you get the rare BG1 foe with the grown up lvl 6 versions you need Secret Word)

    2. Oracle/True Sight to get rid of Improved Invisibility (assuming they have this up) and Mirror Image. If they don't have Imp Invis up, you can probably skip this if your party members have decent APR/Thac0 or want to rely on magic missile to peel off MI. Glitterdust can work too but if they make the save it won't reveal them.

    3. Breach to take down Stoneskin, PfNM, PfNW, PfMW, Shield spell, fire shields, etc.

    Proceed to beat down, unless they have contingencies/triggers, in which case you may need to repeat some of the above. If your group has a lot of APR going on and melee weapons with elemental damage, you could possibly skip 3 (unless they're powerful enough to have PfMW up).

    Or a single Arrow of Dispelling will get rid of nearly everything, unless they're protected by PfMW (or SCS optional tweak PfNM possibly), in which case, you'll have to Breach first, which means you'll probably have to do 1 and 2 as well.

    If your Blade's caster level is high enough (or you have an Inquisitor) you can attempt to dispel/remove magic most of the above as long as they don't have Spell Immunity: Abjuration up. If you want to try your luck at that route, hit them with Spell Thrust to get rid of the SI: Abj, then dispel/remove magic.

    There are situational differences; not all foes have access to all these defenses. Lower level foes like Tarnesh might have MI and PfNM and that's about it (still enough to make them dangerous to a low level party). If you're talking about BG2/ToB with SCS, it's a different ballgame, can get more complicated with the wider array of options foes have - but the above is the core of what you need to do.

    Liches and Rakshasa are a different ballgame since they're immune to most of the above (SCS Rakshasi are dramatically smarter/more dangerous than their stupid vanilla counterparts), but there are no liches or Rakshasi in BG1 afaik.

    Post edited by ithildurnew on
  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 112
    Thanks the the replies and detailed info. I only have the maze up to the final fight left to clear for BG1 (I cleared all of the ToSC content, areas, etc.). I may have overestimated how much harder SCS (I have it set on Tactical which is mid level since it's my first time using it) but it also might just be that it's not that big of a deal for BG1 while it has a bigger impact with BG2.

    There were a few difficult fights early game but that was partly because I tend to clear almost all of the open world before resuming the main storyline which leads me to access some of the stronger items early on but also means that I take on some fights that I maybe normally shouldn't be doing this early into the game (same with BG2 where I clear almost everything and side quests on Chapter 2).

    Since I resumed to the story line along with the 2 harder SoTC zones (Island, Durlag's Tower and it's follow up), there was only 1 fight in the Iron Throne that was more challenging and 1 ambush from ToSC and part of what made those harder were thieves going straight for my squishier members to spam backstabs into them and chug invis potions in between those (I have spells to reveal them fast but no True Sight so if they go back invis, I either have to take the hit or hope to cast the spell again before they land an other backstab. They were dying fast when revealed and focused though).

    Also, since I cleared most of the zones before resuming to the main plot, I now had Spell Thrust (wasn't that useful to my party later on) but also Secret Word that I picked up ASAP on my Sorcerer since I read that it was needed for some SCS casters... but Secret Word has been useless so far with BG1 so it could have waited I guess. The biggest change was that my Blade now had a decent level and Remove Magic was now efficient with most encounters. From that point, with most encounters, I was able to just throw this and take out enemy casters without any trouble (even stronger than Keldorn I had in BG2 unmodded last time around since I can use lots of buffs on my team and Remove Magic was party friendly). Still, the few times Remove Magic has failed or didn't dispell everything, it seems like the other mages I encountered rarely had all of the stronger defenses up at the same time and my party was still able to hack them to pieces.

    About 70% of the game encounters, my Sorcerer could just turn enemies into free XP with Sleep... I think either the hardest difficulty for SCS would have been needed for me to have more of a challenge with BG1 in the end and/or using more of the suboptimal NPCs, less reloads, leave them dead if they die, etc.

    I do expect Chapter 2 of BG2 to be a lot harder though. I'll finally access Breach with my Sorcerer through SoD but I expect to not be able to take down some of the strongest Chapter 2 optional enemies (Dragons, Liches, Demi-Liches) early on as SCS will make them much stronger but also as my Blade will not be able to use Remove Magic effectively vs them early game. I'm a bit worried that if I do manage to clear most of Chapter 2's optional content, I'll end up in a similar situation again with the Blade just turning most SCS enemy casters into a joke with Remove Magic but I'll have to see, it won't get double levels like the Unmodded Inquisitor dispell did so maybe it won't always be that reliable. I'll leave the settings to Tactical for now in case BG2 SCS does turn out to be much harder than BG1 SCS.

  • ithildurnewithildurnew Member Posts: 171
    edited December 2019
    Yep, just a word of warning: SCS SoA has some nasty surprises for people coming over from late game BG1 where they were starting to feel invincible. :smile:
    Also, the SCS prebuff settings matter a TON, especially for enemy mages. If you have them at tactical (quite reasonable for first time) it'll be much easier to manage them, especially in BG1. One big difference (aside from the obvious stuff) with BG2 SCS is guys have access to contingencies and triggers, sequencers etc and start using them intelligently. Also: as stated above, Spell Thrust before trying to Remove Magic vs guys with SI: Abj.

    I've had many runs where I get through BG1/TotSC SCS without reloading, become complacent, then get reminded of the differences in BG2 when my no reload run comes to an end.

  • NeoNeo Member Posts: 112
    That’s encouraging, I don’t expect SoD to be much harder than BG1/ToSC but will be looking forward to BG2 SCS casters. As I wrote though, worst case scenario I could increase the difficulty by a lot next playthrough with hardest SCS difficulty, LoB, fewer reloads and no more than 1 generated character (using the suboptimal stats NPCs). While my setup is harder than unmodded core rules, I’m still very far from max difficulty some people play.

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