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Anyone tested the limits of Project Image?

I want to hear your best strategies for using Project Image. Yes, I know it's cheesy and game-breaking, but I still want to know more powerful and creative ways to use it.

I have already established that it doesn't seem to be able to cast triggers/sequencers that the original caster has.

This spell obviously lends itself to a combination of mass summons/buff route and AoE spell traps. A sorceror is in the best position to make full use of this spell's power immediately, because of the higher number of lower level spells available when PI is first available, compared to a mage. At character level 14, the first opportunity when PI can be learned, the sorceror has 3 casts of PI, along with 5 of level 6 (Death Fog, Improved Haste, Disintegrate, Chain Lightning) and 6 of level 5 (Cloudkill, Sunfire, Feeblemind, elementals), which has to come close to quadrupling the sorceror's power.

The image can cast from items/scrolls in quickslots without expending them - so a certain summoning staff is also very powerful with PI, as are any extra high level scrolls one happens to have laying around.

I should also mention that a true neutral cleric/mage gets very strong usage from this spell - think 6 aerial servants buffed with Righteous Wrath among other goodies, without causing fatigue in the caster.

Comments

  • YigorYigor Member Posts: 194
    Recently, I used only the Wizard Eye for scouting surrounding areas and conducting summons. 😼

  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 140
    So how does that work with PI, then? Cast PI, cast Wizard Eye, use Wizard Eye to guide the image and spellbomb everything with the image, while protected by summons? Is that truly any better than having an invisible character lead around the image and summons?

  • YigorYigor Member Posts: 194
    Aerich wrote: »
    So how does that work with PI, then? Cast PI, cast Wizard Eye, use Wizard Eye to guide the image and spellbomb everything with the image, while protected by summons? Is that truly any better than having an invisible character lead around the image and summons?

    It's cheesy but definitely safer. 😎 An invisible character can still be touched by area spells and/or sounds (wailing virgins, harpies). 🔔

    These cheesy/smart tactics (Wizard Eye+Project Image/Simulacrum+summons) might be helpful in some problematic situations on HoF difficulty. 😉

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,311
    Project Image (and other clone effects) being unable to use sequencer and contingency effects is new in 2.6. Back in 2.5 (at least in the BG series), they could use them just fine. OK, clones could be created with empty sequencers, but that was harmless; you could just memorize a new one if that happened.
    What changed? Clones have a standard spell effect applied to them when they're created. Back in 2.5, this effect was purely cosmetic. In 2.6, it clears temporary abilities like Raise Dead does, and also blocks some other things like sequencers and thief abilities.

    But yes, PI is an absurdly powerful spell. It almost doesn't matter what you're spending your spell slots on; getting multiple uses out of every other memorized spell is always great.
    Well, OK, self-buffs don't multiply well. The projected image doesn't get weapon attacks, and you don't want to spend much time on defending it when it's going to go poof in a couple turns no matter what.

    StummvonBordwehrYigorJuliusBorisov
  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 140
    Yigor wrote: »
    Aerich wrote: »
    So how does that work with PI, then? Cast PI, cast Wizard Eye, use Wizard Eye to guide the image and spellbomb everything with the image, while protected by summons? Is that truly any better than having an invisible character lead around the image and summons?

    It's cheesy but definitely safer. 😎 An invisible character can still be touched by area spells and/or sounds (wailing virgins, harpies). 🔔

    These cheesy/smart tactics (Wizard Eye+Project Image/Simulacrum+summons) might be helpful in some problematic situations on HoF difficulty. 😉

    I mostly play lvl 1 HoF games. I like to think that my cheese is roleplaying, since my genius-level characters are trying not to die while facing truly overwhelming odds and are certainly smart enough to figure out how to get the maximum out of their spells. That's a good point about sound attacks, those have a nasty range. Does not the image take all damage/effects as if it were a character, and therefore it has to stay in the fog of war and catch the hostiles in AoE?

    In passing, it seems to me that casting PI does not break a character's invisibility. I will have to test this a bit more. But in that case, a bit of invisibility can protect character and image. Or, similar to how Mislead clones can be made invisible for more secure survivability, the image or another character could simply cast invisibility on the stationary caster to help keep them safe.

  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 140
    jmerry wrote: »
    Project Image (and other clone effects) being unable to use sequencer and contingency effects is new in 2.6. Back in 2.5 (at least in the BG series), they could use them just fine. OK, clones could be created with empty sequencers, but that was harmless; you could just memorize a new one if that happened.
    What changed? Clones have a standard spell effect applied to them when they're created. Back in 2.5, this effect was purely cosmetic. In 2.6, it clears temporary abilities like Raise Dead does, and also blocks some other things like sequencers and thief abilities.

    But yes, PI is an absurdly powerful spell. It almost doesn't matter what you're spending your spell slots on; getting multiple uses out of every other memorized spell is always great.
    Well, OK, self-buffs don't multiply well. The projected image doesn't get weapon attacks, and you don't want to spend much time on defending it when it's going to go poof in a couple turns no matter what.

    Thanks for the background.

    I can see a potential use for self-buffs. Protection from Fire + Stoneskin/Mirror Image and Incendiary Cloud (Fireball, Sunfire, Meteor Swarm, etc etc) could be quite good. All in all though, it's probably better to have a summons like a fire elemental draw the mobs and have the image stay back to cast. Does the image's spells get disrupted it it's hit?

  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,311
    An image's spells get disrupted just like a normal mage's, yes. As far as the game mechanics are concerned, it's just another creature.

    As for your suggestion ... why not just cast that Protection from Fire on one of your party's tanks and have them hold the line to trap the enemy in your incendiary cloud(s)? Or, better yet, protect party members from fire with a combination of equipment and class abilities so you don't need anything dispellable - that's what I did for my fire-themed run of the BG series.

    JuliusBorisov
  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 140
    Yes, anything could be the lure. One doesn’t always want to expose party members to bear the brunt of the attention. I would generally (especially) not want to use the image for that either, since it’s clearly at its most valuable as a caster, not a meat (spell?) shield, but it could do so in emergency with minimal cost just with a physical and elemental protection spell. Ok, scratch that thought as non-optimal usage of PI, for emergency only.

    Yes, anything could be the lure. It’s quite difficult (or army least inconvenient) to get high resistance just from items. I’m probably not going to take scimitar with a cavalier just to combine the class-based fire resistance with Frostbrand, although add on Lysan’s cloak and you have 100% fire resistance, which would be intriguing for the final fight. I’d rather use a spell, generally, or an immune summons.

  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 140
    A quick update. I can confirm that an image may be projected by an invisible character without breaking invisibility. This has application in those fights where your caster (or the whole party) goes through a transition in invisibility to avoid squishy characters being targeted. The invisible caster can cast PI immediately on entry, without being targeted or interrupted by physical attacks.

    A projected image cannot cast Mislead and therefore gain near-immunity to targeting/disruption.

    I have to admit that I also use PI for a secondary source of healing - since tanks on HoF mode take a lot of damage. Get over 100% resistance to elemental damage (particularly possible with fire, can also be done with acid), and dance in the flames/fogs to get your health back up. I haven't tested it due to lack of appropriate items and spells (I focused on fire), but it could also work with magic damage (wilting, skull trap, even MFM burst damage).

    Having now used Project Image more often and more intentionally, I'd have to rank it as the most powerful level 7 arcane spell, and in the mix for the best overall, particularly for a sorceror who benefits from more high level slots earlier. It's not the best spell against the few arcane enemies that will cast Oracle or whatever and actually get rid of the image, but it's completely ridiculous against the rest. The first caster to get Project Image becomes the dominant caster in a party.

    For a spell hoarder such as myself, the psychological effect of Project Image is the most powerful, since your image has only a short period of time to affect events. Project Image is a license to 'empty the clip' of your most powerful spells, except that you don't actually lose them. So now your caster can, using Project Image, summon 30+ elementals per rest period, cast 20-30 incendiary clouds or wiltings, and so on. That means your caster can almost become the primary clearer of mobs, rather than conserving spells for best effect to support your meleers. The summons remain after the image dissipates, and when they die you can cast PI again, and the cycle continues.

    So many people give advice to focus on crowd control spells for sorcerors to support meleers on HoF mode in particular, but that's not the end of the story. Once controlled (or focused on summons), the crowd also has to be killed, and Project Image with spell damage is a relatively easy and quick way to accomplish it. So, even on HoF mode, Project Image gives extra reason to take and use spells like Skull Trap, Vitriolic Sphere, Sunfire, Incendiary Cloud, and Disintegrate. No, those will rarely kill monsters immediately (exception is the latter, of course), but killing whole mobs of them in 3-5 rounds is very possible. Damage spells have much more utility if you can cast them 30+ times in a rest period.



  • jmerryjmerry Member Posts: 2,311
    Aerich wrote: »
    A projected image cannot cast Mislead and therefore gain near-immunity to targeting/disruption.
    Mislead is a clone spell. As of 2.6, clones are forbidden from using any clone spells.

    Back in 2.5 and earlier, it was possible for a clone to clone itself again; a projected image could cast Mislead. However, the clone of a clone would consistently end up naked due to the way cloned items are handled. Any droppable items on the original get cloned with the non-droppable flag, and any non-droppable items on the original don't get cloned. Two rounds of this, and all items are gone.

  • AerichAerich Member Posts: 140
    jmerry wrote: »
    Aerich wrote: »
    A projected image cannot cast Mislead and therefore gain near-immunity to targeting/disruption.
    Mislead is a clone spell. As of 2.6, clones are forbidden from using any clone spells.

    Back in 2.5 and earlier, it was possible for a clone to clone itself again; a projected image could cast Mislead. However, the clone of a clone would consistently end up naked due to the way cloned items are handled. Any droppable items on the original get cloned with the non-droppable flag, and any non-droppable items on the original don't get cloned. Two rounds of this, and all items are gone.

    I'm just as happy it's been changed, then. It's certainly not necessary for a projected image to be able to clone itself with Mislead and therefore become immune to non-AoE damage. That would leave only AoE and a few select image-busting spells as the only counter to PI. I think PI is strong enough already, and the presumably unintended effects re items on execution pre-2.6 seem annoying.

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