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Spell Balance Tweaks

verybadverybad Member Posts: 4
edited May 2013 in General Modding
Hello. I'm planning on making a small mod to address some issues I have with spell balance in BG:EE. My primary goals are to:

1.) Standardize casting times. They're currently all over the place, and there is seemingly no logic behind why one spell casts faster than another spell of the same level. Mage spells roughly follow SPELL LEVEL = CASTING TIME, but there are many exceptions for apparently no reason and I plan to address that. Priest spells? Madness and chaos all around.

So, what I'm going to do is have most spells follow the casting time = spell level rule, with the exception of "Power Word: X" type spells (always casting time 1) and some long term buffs (full round casting time) such as Armor. Priest spells generally seem to have longer casting times, so I am considering having them have casting time = spell level + 2. Then again, I don't really see a pressing balance concern to have priest cast slowly, so I would appreciate feedback on this point.

2.) Buff touch spells (and others that create magical weapons). They're terrible, nobody uses them, especially after the BG:EE fixes to them. All touch spells get +4 To Hit -bonus and Chill Touch gets its 1-8 cold damage back without a save. I don't think this will make them great, but useful enough to occasionally consider. Shillelagh/Flameblade/Spirit Hammer - I have no idea what to do with these, actually. I don't want to radically change them, but I must admit they're very nearly useless right now. Feedback, please.

3.) Adjust Cleric/Druid spell selection, ie. give druids some not-shit choices for level 1&2 slots. This probably means giving druids access to Remove Fear and Magical Stone at level 1. Level 2? I don't know, I guess I'll buff Goodberries (+1 morale bonus to luck for 1 round after eating?).

4.) Figure out a way to sneak in immunity to the Berserk effect in some spell or item because goddammit I want to be able to use Kiel's morningstar/Cursed Sword of Berserking and not have my party gibbed!

Additional things I would like to do but probably lack the means to implement:

5.) Darkness penalties to THAC0 (-1 to hit rolls). Activates whenever infravision does. Creatures with infravision do not suffer from this. Infravision becomes moderately useful, yay!

6.) Detect Evil/Know alignment does... something?

Problems? I'm a complete newbie modder. I *think* I can use DLTCEP to make most of my changes. I'm fairly sure I'm going to struggle with making a WeiDU installer that correctly patches the dialog.tlk without fucking everything up in the process. Links to relevant tutorials or other resources would be much appreciated.

Would there be any interest in a small mod like this?

Post edited by verybad on


  • DarkersunDarkersun Member Posts: 397
    edited May 2013
    I'm very interessted!

    I realy like the:
    5.) Darkness penalties idea if possible.
    6.) Detect Evil/Know alignment, maybe they should give an insight bonus because you know something about your enemy.
    4.) Figure out a way to sneak in immunity to the Berserk, mybe an emotion spell/symbol that calms, would be better than immunity and can be used against other berserking people.

    Maybe you should connect to other mothers (for example @Requiem & @Mordeus, they are working on completly new spells and selection), but I can understand if you want to do you own thing.

    There is/was an Spell Revision Mod that does a lot ( maybe you should take a look. It is not working without problems for BG:EE as far as I know and tested.

  • verybadverybad Member Posts: 4
    Thanks for the input, Darkersun.

    So far I've gone through the first level wizard & priest spells, and have made following modifications:

    1. Most spells have had their casting speed set to 1. Non-combat spells (detect evil) and long term buffs (armor) haven't been touched.

    2. Color Spray no longer has a level cap on creatures it can affect.

    3. Sleep saving throw was vs. death. Now it's (correctly?) vs. spells. Duration is 5 rounds at all levels (this was 5% for balance reasons and 95% for "I can't be bothered to edit 20 instances of this spell" reasons).

    4. Shocking grasp lost the level scaling, gained a 1 round stun (save vs. spells) and a +4 THAC0. Would've liked to have kept the scaling, but alas, sgrasp2-20.itm had me running for the hills.

    5. Chilling touch: +4 THAC0, 1d8 cold damage, no save; -2 THAC0 to target, save vs. spells

    6. Armor of Faith: 25% resist at all levels, 6 round duration

    7. Druids gain Remove Fear and Magical Stone

    8. Shillelagh gives 2 APR, 3 round duration

    Problems so far? DLTCEP is terrible for handling spells with level scaling. Any spell that needs anything more than its cast time adjusted is going to have its scaling dropped.

    I haven't yet figured out how to change the spell descriptions without just editing the dialog.tlk, I know I need to work some WeiDU magic here but I haven't had the chance to read up on that.

  • IsayaIsaya Member, Translator (NDA) Posts: 729
    edited June 2013
    @verybad, since you mentionned WeiDU, you should probably invest some time to learn about it now. WeiDU has some wonderful capabilities to patch things like changing casting time for all 20 variations of the spell according to level, so that you would have to edit them one by one in DLTCEP.
    Actually, most of what you want to do can be done through some WeiDU automation, by patching the current spells instead of overwriting them with your new version of the spell.

    In order to learn WeiDU, you should start by downloading the tool and having a look at the readme file (its documentation). It contains tutorials for specific commands. Then go to Gibberlings Three and Spellhold Studios and have a look at their tutorials.
    None will show you directly how to do what you have in mind, I'm afraid. Patching is not easy at first, but it's very powerful. You can also learn a lot by having a look at other mods that do similar things. BG2 Fixpack (which aims at fixing bugs and uses a lot of WeiDU patching) and Spell50 (extending spell scaling to level 50 instead of 20) might be good examples. There is also a mod called Spell Revisions hosted at Gibberlings Three, although I'm not sure how it's done from a WeiDU point of view, as its aim is rather broad and its authors might have preferred overwriting the spells since there were too many changes.

    You'll need a good knowledge of the spell structure in the game. It's documented on the IESDP site, which it the bible for all things regarding the Infinity Engine.

    Good luck with your mod.

  • MajocaMajoca Member Posts: 263
    you know a lot of the things you have said make sense stuff like shillelagh and flame sword, chilling touch and the crappy level one spells druids get really bother me, they are so useless, just the spell remove fear would make a druid more useful. I think good berry could be improved too either more health, or adds to health giving you additional hit points for 24hours.

  • lunarlunar Member Posts: 3,396
    edited June 2013
    Spell revisions mod does bring some new changes, though I don't like the 3e style saving throws it brings up to the table. (Energy blasts require save vs breath, higher lvl spells are harder to resist, etc) Your ideas make sense too. I've edited spells and items myself via dltcep and I agree you may find some spells with lvl based variables too tedious to edit.

    I wouldn't touch spell casting times too much, though, I know they seem all random but they define a spell's purpose and usability within combat well. Cleric spells do have a higher casting time, but they can wear full plate mail to avoid getting hit while casting them. I would change the doom spell back to speed 1, it was like that in bg2 and more useful in the thick of a battle, a decent debuff to weaken an enemy.

    Totally agree touch spells need a buff greatly, +4 to hit makes sense, but chill touch is no damage at a asave is original pnp, and it does even less damage! It drained strength like a shadow's touch, though. Shocking grasp should not have stun, it does not have it in pnp and with level scaling, it actually does massive lightning damage at lvl 20 with no save and can not be magic resisted. I would love to see burning hands having a small area effect, though.

    Sleep spell forces a save vs death at -3, you can think it is like a powerful anesthetics of sort, and with a -3 penalty to hit it is actually as difficult a save as a spells for most victims. Most common enemies use fighter save and their save vs death is 2-3 better than spells. Mages have it in reverse, their save vs spells is superior to death, while priests have it to extreme: excellent save vs death, crappy save vs spells. A save vs spells at -3 is overpowered, even more so for sleep spell.

    I like if color spray has no level limit, right now it is so inferior to sleep spell in every respect. Also it should have varying effects determined between the lvl difference between caster and the victim (blindness, stun, confusion etc) but that would be incredibly to code with dltcep. And cone shaped spell effects are bugged so they don't hit that often as well.

    Charm and domination type spells do have longer durations in pnp, but were greatly reduced for bg, even more reduced in bg2, from various play-test results I think it makes sense, if your charname is charmed for 10 hours you need to kill him or have dispel magic/charm of your own or wait for looooong time.

    Some new lvl 1-2 druid spells are needed desperately. Iwd has cool spells like sunscorch, frost fingers, fearie fire, alicorn lance, thorn spray, etc.

    Make detect evil check every round like true sight so you can travel areas to search for evil constantly. Know alignment either should not offer a save or have area effect.

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