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Managing Project Image and Simulacrum

Project Image and Simulacrum are very nice spells, tactically very strong, but I find that actually using them is a real nightmare. I have a party of six with three spell casters: Jan, Aerie and the protagonist. The three of them have both PI and Simulacrum memorized, and my original plan was to save those spells for the really tough battles. However, this has turned out not to be a very good idea. Casting PI and Simulacrum before battle means I go to the fight with six clones wich have the same name as the original caster (seven if I also have Minsc use the Gargoyle boots).

Just identifying each clone is hard enough. In the pre-battle buffing stage I have three dolls named Jan, three named Aerie, etc. It takes a rocket engineer to remember exactly who was casting what, and whether they have already finished casting and are ready to cast the next buff. Auto-pause is very helpful here, but even with auto-pause the whole thing is such a mess. During the battle itself things get even worse because of course some clones have their casting interrupted, others are dispelled, etc.

I'm wondering whether using these two spells is worth it. In theory they make my party much stronger, but in practice it ends up in disaster more often than not. It's virtually impossible to be aware of everything that is going on and I always end up realizing too late that the clone that was supposed to take down the dragon defence was dispelled before he finished casting Pierce Magic or what have you.

A mod that helped with the management of the clones would be very handy here, but I'm not aware of the existence of any such mod.

gorgonzola

Comments

  • sarevok57sarevok57 Member Posts: 5,339
    i play the game unmodded on insane difficulty with double damage on and i NEVER use those spells

    i don't know what mods you use or if you play with double damage but my suggestion would be is maybe start with just one PI or simulacrum, and see if that is enough to win those battles

    and if you are in a tough battle, perhaps bring another one out and make sure all of your clones are in certain parts of the screen so you know what they are doing aka; the clone on the right is casting offensive spells while the clone on the left is casting defensive spells ect

    from what i recall, illusionary clones are different colors ( as in brighter ) than the original to help differentiate them from the original, plus you can also tell if you are selecting a clone by looking at your portraits to the right and seeing that no one is selected

    Alonsogorgonzola
  • SelerelSelerel Member Posts: 18
    Yeah I agree, maybe instead of saving all of the PIs and Simulacrums for the hard battles, use one each for each hostile encounter. By the time you get to the harder battles you still have all your good spells.

    I've always treated PIs and Simulacrums as extra spellcasting for tough battles or for rare item usage in special scenarios. SInce you have 3 spellcasters it may be worth it to reconsider if you even need to spend those slots on PI/Sim, it doesn't seem like you'll be running out of spells too often.

    Alonso
  • MaurvirMaurvir Member Posts: 890
    I have found Vhailor's Helm to be incredibly useful, as it allows my C/T to cast SI. Even just as a decoy/distraction, the simulacrum can make some of those "one on one with the PC" fights more doable for her.

    Case in point, the "book club" in Lava's latest mod. My PC was getting pounded like a cheap steak, but casting SI, followed by chugging a potion of invisibility, let her get a nice backstab in - and then stay far enough away to drop some divine magic on the punk.

    However, in fairness, I rarely used this spell before until getting to the final battle in ToB. The only realistic way to slog through that is to NOT have your casters burning off their spells until the absolute LAST round.

    Alonso
  • AlonsoAlonso Member Posts: 781
    I play with SCS in hardcore difficulty (SCS's own difficulty level), but yeah, I don't really need six clones to win the fights, not even the bosses fights. It's more a case of me wanting to extract the most of my party and feeling frustrated that the game controls just don't allow me to do that. So yeah, unless some mod comes up that improves the UI management, I guess you're right, the best I can do is to limit the use of cloning spells. I've been trying using just one clone and it works quite well, for the most part I can keep track of what is going on with him.

  • SelerelSelerel Member Posts: 18
    Yeah I get it, it's like theoretical efficiency vs. real life usage.

    Similarly...I load up my specialist mages with spells from their schools with saves. E.g. Jan's level 1 is full of Blindness because of the save bonus from being an Illusionist. Would it be better to have some more magic missiles? Probably...but I can't bring myself to do it, due to the imagined loss of efficiency.

    But I mean yeah if the game's not fun to play and you don't need it...

    Alonso
  • BrightL1ghtsBrightL1ghts Member Posts: 52
    Now, try playing with a couple of good friends, which are also playing a caster - type characters in a multiplayer, and try not go completely mad because of 24/7 pause gameplay when each one of them is using alacrity + dumping nukes left and right, when you don't really know what each one of them is doing :D

    gorgonzola
  • AlonsoAlonso Member Posts: 781
    I've never tried multiplayer, partly because I always guessed it would be frustrating for that reason you mention.

  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,634
    Now, try playing with a couple of good friends, which are also playing a caster - type characters in a multiplayer, and try not go completely mad because of 24/7 pause gameplay when each one of them is using alacrity + dumping nukes left and right, when you don't really know what each one of them is doing :D

    Agreed, a player should refrain from using certain caster's tactics when playing multiplayer.
    The worst case is a caster that routinely uses the PRATI combo (PI, Robe of Vecna, Amulet of Power, Time Stop, Improved Alacrity), that at the cost of a single lev.7 spell allows a mage to unleash half of his spellbook, but as the spells are cast so fast requires the use of auto pause on spell cast.
    That way the other party players have their toons freeze and watch the mage destroy the enemies alone, they almost become mules to carry the loot...

    Certain tactics that are utterly powerful when playing single player and even more if playing solo runs are really not suited for multiplayer, unless the whole party agrees to use them for some particular encounter that they are not confident to beat with the usual tactics, I am talking of really tough battles like the last encounter of the Soulafein mod (not EE compatible, but is the best example I can think about), where a well used IA from a mage or sorcerer can take out of the battle a couple of nasty enemies right at the beginning making the whole encounter more manageable with regular multiplayer tactics.

    Playing multiplayer IMHO a mage should use alternative tactics, i.e. relying more on CC then on IA or TS...

    Alonso
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,634
    edited October 23
    sarevok57 wrote: »
    i play the game unmodded on insane difficulty with double damage on and i NEVER use those spells
    And is perfectly possible to play this way and still be very effective, nothing wrong about it...

    Still both Simulacrum and PI are among the best (more OP) spells a mage can use, and particularly shine if the mage happens to be a sorcerer, as a sorcerer can cast many PI/day without having to memorize them, and the PI then can cast (after Improved Alacrity and using the items that allow to cast faster) whatever spell the sorcerer knows, including the lev 7 slots ones not expended before by the sorcerer. This way a sorcerer's PI can cast completely different spells then the previous one in the same day, with utter flexibility, while the one of a mage is tied to the spells that the mage has memorized for that particular day.


    The Simulacrum in EE is more useful for FM types as in EE the player has no control on which spells he retains, the alphabetical order is used, while in the original the player has full control, as the first spells memorized are retained, so there the Sim can act as a secondary mage, pretty powerful at really high levels, while also the real mage is active.
    EDIT: the EE sorcerer's clone can be an effective secondary mage as is not affected by the way the slots are retained, he can still use all the spells he knows. End of edit.
    But even level drained the Simulacrum of a FM, equipped with the best items at the disposal of the party, as the real FM should equip them only the split second he cast the Sim even if normally are used by let's say a fighter, is probably the best mlee oriented summon a party can have.

    And what about Aerie's or Jan's Simulacra?
    A second Aerie with the cleric combat buffs and DW BBoD, cast form quick slot if needed, and FoA OH is really impressive, and packs up a lot of damage, 4 apr and 2 of them are with BBoD, that delivers the maximum damage each hit thanks to RM, so roughly 60dmg/hit.
    A second Jan can use all the invisibility potions for free and a second staff of the Ram, or maybe if you like to overkill can use his mislead clone to stab up to 2 times/round while the original Jan also stabs or performs other duties.

    I talk of PI in the next post to avoid text wall... ;)

    Post edited by gorgonzola on
    Alonso
  • gorgonzolagorgonzola Member Posts: 3,634
    PI, it freeze the caster, and this is a risk, but at the cost of a single lev 7 slot the mage can cast a lot of spells, if Improved Alacrity is also available and RoV and AoP are used, it is possible to do it in a very short time, and a barrage of MM, MMA, Skull Traps or Flame Arrows that come out so fast (using auto pause) can delete even Draconis before he can even react...

    It is a problem to manage multiple PI, but IMO there is no need to have them, a single one can do all the job needed and having more toons freezed at the same time is even more risky.

    but there are many other uses of the PI, I will talk only of a couple of them, the player's ingenuity is the real limit to its usefulness...

    Wild mage (Neera or Charname): using dwehomers is very powerful, but is a sort of Russian roulette, it can backfire. If the WM cast a PI and then the PI uses the dwehomers, as long as the party is careful to sell the loot only when needed and is always with low cash, the risk is greatly reduced as many of the bad sourges possible will affect the clone and not the real wild mage.
    I had more then one run with Neera spamming dwehomers, by PI, almost every single battle and I had never to reload for a wild surge i could not manage, and having Neera spamming ADHW when she is barely able to cast lev 7 spells is really nice, but what the PI can do at higher levels is even better, as to learn high level spells at medium level is not so easy, the scrolls are difficult to acquire (not paying the licence to cast in town and doing the Underground early can help), at high level Neera's PI can use all her lev 1 and 9 slots, ie to spam many dragon breaths or imprisonments, and the dwehomers ignore the 1 spell/round rule and allow to cast spells known but not memorized.
    the PI is the reason why the wild mage, from the moment he can cast lev 7 spells, is the best caster in the game, no sorcerer or other caster can compare to him.

    An other use of the PI that i have done is to spam wishes to rest for free. It is possible to get 2 wish scrolls in WK, and a competent player can do it very early. With a magic heavy party you can cast many PI/day, and every PI can use a potion of insight and the Wish scrolls from quick slots, even the Simulacrums can do it.
    This makes getting the rest option almost 100% sure, so a party can go to each battle, if the player needs, with all the spellbooks full and all the charges/day item full, it is even possible to change the memorization of spells for every battle if the player wishes.
    Want to petrify that dragon, let's do it, pack up greater malison, lower resistance and flesh to stone in the slots, if the tactics fail retreat, cast the PIs and repeat.
    the next encounter crowd control or raw damages are needed? No need to rest, change the memorizations, spam the PIs and you are ready...

    If a mage cast spell trap and then PI the clone can cast back at him a lev 7 and a lev 9 offensive spell and then you have the clone for free...

    As I told those are only 2 of the many many OP uses of PI, it allows a mage to cast more spells then the slots he has, but it is only scratching the surface of what it really allows...
    And some players can think that this is just broken and a crap way to play, and it is perfectly fine, each player should play the way he has fun, here I am not suggesting to everybody to use those tactics, I am only saying that it is possible to use them, and many others, and it can be fun to do it, even if abusing of it can become boring pretty fast.
    I personally have a lot of fun in devising special tactics oriented to particular encounters, encounters that I could beat without PI, but that with PI let me use more my creativity and ingenuity then the raw power of the party.

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