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RPing Specialist Mages

This is an idea I had that I find very enjoyable because it increases the challenge of the game and forces you to be more creative.

The idea here is that you create a Specialist Mage and limit yourself to only using spells of that chosen school. If this seems too much, you could add in one spell per level outside your school (probably necessary if you're a Diviner). On the one hand, this cuts down on a Mage's versatility, which is kind of the big appeal over a Sorcerer. On the other hand, it can be easy to get into a rut of only using certain spells - especially if you've been playing the game for a long time - and this pushes you out of that.

I personally tried it as a Transmuter, and it was a lot of fun. I also discovered that in BG1 - not BG2 and, sadly, not BG:EE - Shocking Grasp was actually a pretty rad spell, as instead of turning your hand into a weapon that you had to hit with, it was an instant-hit, targeted spell like Vampiric Touch.


Anyway, I recommend giving it a shot. Invoker and Necromancer are probably the easiest. Diviner and Abjuror are probably the hardest, and the rest are all somewhere in between.

Give it a shot! I think you'll enjoy it. And if you're really looking for something new, do a party of specialists: CHARNAME (preferably as a Transmuter or Abjuror), Xzar, Edwin, Dynaheir, Xan and Quayle.


Doing this with a Wild Mage seems silly, though. You'd just be NRD'ing more NRDs, hoping that something good will happen.

SCARY_WIZARDFredjoDJKajuru

Comments

  • ShinShin Member Posts: 2,345
    Good RP approach challenge-wise I guess, but it also seems a bit like a kensai who devotes his life to his sword and superspecializes, but yet for some reason comes out kind of half-assed with it.
    In terms of thematic or mental RP, if you specialize so much that you can only cast from one school, you should get like five extra spells per level rather than just one, or some other kind of bonus relating to the chosen school.

  • elminsterelminster Member, Developer Posts: 16,303
    Diviner being used in this way would suck. Unless of course you used wands.

    JuliusBorisov
  • the_spyderthe_spyder Member Posts: 5,018
    for me personally, I always RP my specialty mages, but I don't think I could adhere to this level of stringency. My congratulations for those who can.

    I usually play a necromancer and as such make sure that the majority of my spell casting is from the necromantic arts. However, spells like Magic Missile and breach and web become far more important to me than the RP perspective. Quite frankly just Magic Missile breaks the mold for functionality and usability. Not to say you couldn't get through the game without it, but I couldn't.

    I think it is good to say that your specialty is your 'preferred' school and therefore makes up 60% or more of your spell book, but 90% or more is just darned tough. I personally couldn't hack that. So again, congrats. Sounds like fun, just not my kind of fun. Far more stress in my life as it is. Don't want to add more from a game I enjoy.

    Dragonspeartypo_tillyJuliusBorisovSCARY_WIZARD
  • elementelement Member Posts: 833
    well i played a dragon disciple that only used fire element spells that was pretty fun,i also played a mage who only used non violent spells also fun

    i also played one of the iwd games with a party made of 6 differant specialist mages

    I could see this approach being pretty fun with the right spell school, if i play bgee again with a mage anytime soon i may give it a go or atleast some variation on it.

  • HeindrichHeindrich Member, Moderator Posts: 2,959
    I think this challenge could be great fun, but only if you got multiple arcane casters. Also as Shin said, if you specialise to such an extent, you should be rewarded with extra spells for such a loss of flexibility.

  • FlashburnFlashburn Member Posts: 1,838
    After watching Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, I've been wanting to make a Transmuter and only using spells from that school. It'll be pretty hard I think since Transmutation doesn't have any stand-out spells besides Stoneskin and Disintegrate/Flesh to Stone.

  • MilesBeyondMilesBeyond Member Posts: 324
    edited August 2013
    Flashburn said:

    After watching Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, I've been wanting to make a Transmuter and only using spells from that school. It'll be pretty hard I think since Transmutation doesn't have any stand-out spells besides Stoneskin and Disintegrate/Flesh to Stone.

    It's got some pretty good stuff. Color Spray is a decent level 1 spell, though it requires caution. Strength can be useful early game, Haste is obviously awesome, and Melf's Minute Meteors is pretty impressive. And like 90% of level 4 spells are Alteration so you've got a lot of selection there. And if you make it all the way... Time Stop, Shapechange, oh my.

    I think this challenge could be great fun, but only if you got multiple arcane casters. Also as Shin said, if you specialise to such an extent, you should be rewarded with extra spells for such a loss of flexibility.

    Yeah but the point isn't for it to be balanced LOL. The challenge is its own reward.

    Flashburn
  • mylegbigmylegbig Member Posts: 292
    Sounds fun. Too bad specialist mages don't get any bonuses to the school they're supposedly specializing in. Can anyone tell me if this is different in PnP?

  • DragonspearDragonspear Member Posts: 1,835
    Ya Invokers tend to believe that there is no such thing as overkill. Very similar to The Simbul in that regard. They are more likely to use more than the situation requires just to install fear into their foes (and because its fun obliterating them).

    lunar
  • ZanathKariashiZanathKariashi Member Posts: 2,867
    Kind of hard to do due to some schools getting the shaft with regard to their actually useful spells. Illusion being a poster child for this. They get almost nothing but invisibility spells, aside from a few very low, or very high image spells (two of which are so utterly broken I refuse to even learn them)....where are mid level images (basically summons, except they deal no damage but can take a lot of punishment and AREN'T effected by summon destroyers (though truesight would work))? Where are the shadow magic spells (can dublicate lower level evocation/conjuration spells (albeit with less damage/effect) or summon a shadow with HD depending on the version of shadow magic used)?

    Abjuration is also lacking a lot of it's more useful barrier-type effects.

    And enchanters/transmuters are largely getting screwed due to a lack of the save penalty specialists are supposed to apply to their chosen school, making their spells much less effective then they should be, vs necro or evo that can just deal damage and not worry as much if the spell is saved against.

    And the lack of a new free spell per level of your chosen school all specialists are supposed to get.

  • PalanthisPalanthis Member Posts: 283
    edited August 2013
    This is what i'm planning for my next playtrough but i'm sticking with the "official" PnP rules on this matter (or so i think), which is one specialist spell for each spell level.

    You can choose more, to add RP color to your character, but only one spell by level is mandatory. And since in BG some levels don't have a specific school spell, in this case you have to choose something that's close to your specialist philosophy.

    Actually i found transmuter is indeed pretty fun.
    It's a bit of change and a lot of transmuter's spells are actually very useful : haste, slow, stoneskin, teleport field (no saves on these ones, or saves with penalties on slow) and of course, time stop or ruby ray for the top spells of BG2.
    If you add some disintegrate or turn to stone, it really adds fun, even if, like Zanath said, there is the problem of saves on these spells.

    I'm not sure of the number of NPC specialists i want to have in my group, but it could be fun to make a party of 3 / 4 different specialists mages, for sure.

    Post edited by Palanthis on
  • PalanthisPalanthis Member Posts: 283
    edited August 2013
    Also i should add that i'm actually planning a wild mage with a "transmuter specialisation". This school seems to fit perfectly to the wild mage, and i think it's not so silly to RP a wild mage and to give him a special "magic color".
    About colors, remember that all spells of the same school have the same color. It adds to RP, in my opinion.

  • DJKajuruDJKajuru Member Posts: 3,300
    I usually have my specialist mages have at least one spell of their school per level .

  • MilesBeyondMilesBeyond Member Posts: 324

    Kind of hard to do due to some schools getting the shaft with regard to their actually useful spells. Illusion being a poster child for this. They get almost nothing but invisibility spells, aside from a few very low, or very high image spells (two of which are so utterly broken I refuse to even learn them)....where are mid level images (basically summons, except they deal no damage but can take a lot of punishment and AREN'T effected by summon destroyers (though truesight would work))? Where are the shadow magic spells (can dublicate lower level evocation/conjuration spells (albeit with less damage/effect) or summon a shadow with HD depending on the version of shadow magic used)?

    Abjuration is also lacking a lot of it's more useful barrier-type effects.

    And enchanters/transmuters are largely getting screwed due to a lack of the save penalty specialists are supposed to apply to their chosen school, making their spells much less effective then they should be, vs necro or evo that can just deal damage and not worry as much if the spell is saved against.

    And the lack of a new free spell per level of your chosen school all specialists are supposed to get.


    But that's the whole point. It's supposed to be hard hahaha. Think of it as Invokers/Necromancers/Conjurers easy, Illusionist/Enchanter/Transmuter medium, Abjurer/Diviner hard. This is within the context of it already being difficult, of course.

    Illusionists don't get THAT screwed. Spook, Blind and Deafness are surprisingly effective spells in BG1, Invisibility is always nice to have around, and Mirror Image and Blur are both essential spells for the spellcaster who wants to survive. Granted, they pretty much get, at most, one spell per level after that, and they're all invisibility spells. An Illusionist might therefore find themselves in the strange position of the first few levels being their easiest time.

    Unless, of course, you go for a Gnomish I/T, in which case all bets are off.

  • NymMoondownNymMoondown Member Posts: 210
    Tasty idea! I'll play my next Illusionist that way...hoping to survive ^_^

  • ZanathKariashiZanathKariashi Member Posts: 2,867
    But they completely lack offense except for phantasmal killer (which I think is tagged conjuration in BG) and Weird (9th). Don't get me wrong, Blind and Spook are two of my favorite spells, but they're not going to kill enemies for you. Which leaves you chucking darts or daggers at the enemy. Sure you can wreck mages/archers by blinding them, but if all you can use are the illusions currently available in BG, you're going to be using physical attacks for most of your damage, and a lot of enemies, like demons and liches are immune to most of those or can simply see through illusions. The shadow magic line of spells at least had the advantage of being semi-real and even if disbelieved could still cause about 1/2 the damage it should've been (except the summoned shadows which are completely real). Unless wands are allowed (which completely removes any challenge due to wands being more efficient then ever memorizing any direct damage spell, even as an invoker).

  • KaltzorKaltzor Member Posts: 1,050
    If I use a specialist mage, I always try to have at least one specialist school spell memorized per level...

    But I suppose this might be an interesting thing to try... Except that my favorite specialist still happens to be Necromancer... Throwing those Minor drains at anything with over 3 hit dice might just be a waste of time... and that's the only damage spell you'll have before Skull Trap...

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