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SR v4 (detailed list of changes - ongoing update)


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#601 noah.linden1

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:13 AM

Some feedback:

 

It would be better to give mages 10th level spell slots and clerics 8th level spell slots, as per PnP rules, because they only ever got 3 or 4 slots of these levels even when they were level 31 or above IIRC.  That way, spellcasters wouldn't be able to use high-level abilities early as often as they could in vanilla, 9th level spells for mages and 7th level spells for clerics would be freed up for actual 9th and 7th level spells respectively, and you could still use any given 10th level spell or quest spell (8th level spell) multiple times per day if you wished.

 

Chill touch is still useless.  It can barely hit anything and still does almost no damage if it hits.  Why not make it just like shocking grasp, but with cold damage?  At least it would be balanced that way.  All touch spells should be able to hit anything in the game, because they put the caster in danger by requiring him to engage enemies in melee.

 

Improved haste is utterly horrible now, because it gives a total of +2 attacks, whereas haste gives +1 attack to each party member for a total of +6 attacks.  Also, logically speaking, haste should definitely grant bonuses other than an additional attack.

 

A good solution would be to have haste grant +1 attack, -2 AC, +2 to saves vs. breath and +5 speed, but make it last only 1 turn, after which it would produce its usual fatigue.  Improved haste could be an area-effect spell like haste, offer +2 attacks, -4 AC, +4 to saves vs. breath and +10 speed, but last only 1 turn and impose *double* the fatigue penalties that haste imposes.  If you're afraid this would be imbalanced, you could make haste a 4th level spell and improved haste an 8th level spell to compensate for the increased power.  This would make haste and improved haste unique and powerful buffing spells that could seriously backfire if you don't finish a fight quickly...and most buffing spells, even in SR, don't have major drawbacks like this.  In addition, this wouldn't gimp fighters (as the changes to improved haste definitely do) but wouldn't make greater whirlwind obsolete either.

 

Disintegrate has become both useless and overpowered, depending on your luck.  With a very weak save penalty, it probably won't do much to any creature you'd want to deal massive damage to, but if the enemy actually fails its save, it will deal too much damage for its level.  Why not make it impose a -4 save penalty but cap the damage at 40d4 rather than 40d6?  That way it would be both consistent and balanced.

 

Energy drain is still utterly horrible for a ninth level spell.  The cleric's harm spell is far more powerful, and it's only a 6th level clerical spell.  Why not make energy drain an improved version of vampiric touch?  Because energy drain doesn't require a touch attack to work, we would have to take that into consideration when determining exactly what energy drain can do.  Maybe have energy drain deal 60 points of magic damage with no save possible and heal the caster 60 hit points with excess hit points becoming temporary hit points that last 5 turns?  This seems balanced, considering that meteor swarm deals 90 points of fire damage in a huge area of effect and ignores magic resistance.

 

Finger of death and wail of the banshee should have a save penalty of -4; as it stands now, they are almost certainly guaranteed to fail, and because there are so many creatures that are immune to them, they have become pretty worthless in V4.

 

Spellstrike should be more powerful than it is; it just doesn't compare to spells like meteor swarm, gate and black blade of disaster. because it's useless except vs. mages  Why not give it a 20' radius?

 

Energy blades, comet and dragon's breath should be more powerful than they are (especially energy blades, which is far less useful than most 5th and 6th level spells!).

 

High-level spells should have a save penalty of -4 (the cap that has been imposed in V4); anything less and they just won't work on most enemies you'd actually want to use a spell slot to destroy.

 

Also, why not bring back the summoning cap?  It would make sense to do so, considering the fact that summons are buffed up in SR.  The ability to send 20 pit fiends at your enemies does seem overpowered.

 

Other than these issues, I love the changes, both implemented and proposed, in V4.  The nerfs to skull trap and project image were badly needed.  The imposition of the -4 save penalty cap was also badly needed.  Getting rid of spell immunity was a great idea, because it truly was horribly overpowered for its level and never worked as intended.

 

Although this isn't a balance issue, sunfire really is a better name than fireburst, which I find personally to be cheesy.  But that's just a minor nitpick.  :p  Demivrgvs suggested that it might be too weak; you could make it deal double damage to undead and move it up one level to a 6th or 7th level spell if you wanted to improve it.  That way, it would be devastating against undead like other "sun" spells like sunray and sunscorch but otherwise far from ideal when destroying non-undead enemies.

 

What do you think of these suggestions?


Edited by noah.linden1, 18 April 2018 - 10:49 AM.


#602 Jarno Mikkola

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:17 AM

Some feedback:

 

It would be better to give mages 10th level spell slots and clerics 8th level spell slots, as per PnP rules... What do you think of these suggestions?

Yeah, this is not a PnP game, it's rather a mockup of RTS and randomizing element which factors in a portion of the D&D ruleset. This is because the time unit the game uses... which makes it Real Time Strategy. And have you looked up what your suggestion would do... it would just need a remake of the whole game User Interface, and a different start file as the current one only supports a 7&9. Go on, have a crack at it... it's not really that easy. Which is why the spells are used as innate and not other ways. But don't worry, the game has been modified the past 15 years, so it's not like you could have known this of the bat.


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#603 noah.linden1

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 09:31 AM

I know nothing about programming.  I was only trying to make suggestions that seem balanced to me.  Please forgive my lack of knowledge.  

 

What do you think of the other suggestions, like making energy drain a more powerful version of vampiric touch?


Edited by noah.linden1, 18 April 2018 - 09:39 AM.


#604 Bartimaeus

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 11:15 AM

​I'm pretty sure it's not possible to give clerics and mages access to 8th/10th level spells - engine limitation. I think the current implementation is the best that's really possible.

I'd already implemented your Chill Touch (more or less) in my version of SR, as I too thought it was very odd that it wasn't more similar to Shocking Grasp.

 

I'm not sure what SR's current version of Haste/Improved Haste are, but mine is 30' AoE +1/2 ApR and the normal movement bonus for Haste (with a duration that scales on level, but with a short fatigue effect after the spell ends) vs. AoE +1 ApR and the other bonuses for Improved Haste (but no scaling duration and no fatigue, because +1 ApR for everyone is very strong).

​I actually had noticed pretty much the same thing about Disintegration, but that's...pretty much how the spell is supposed to work. If you want to use it more consistently on tougher enemies, Greater Malison is a must.

Energy Drain is pretty bad. Definitely more geared towards a fighter or swashbuckler-mage, but still kind of awful for a 9th level spell.

​Death effects are very strong - there's a reason they have weaker saves, though yes, later game, most special monsters seem to be immune to them. My Finger of Death's save damage is actually somewhat buffed up compared to normal SR's (the description of which does NOT reflect what it actually does when the save succeeds/the creature is immune to effects, IIRC), but again, if you want to use it on tougher enemies with any great amount of success, Greater Malison is a must.

I'm not sure I get the complaint with Spellstrike. Does Pierce Shield compare to Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting?

Comet and Dragon's Breath are, I feel, very powerful already. Huge amount of damage, large AoE, no magic resistance or save check, knockback + unconscious effect. Not sure how you think those need to be more powerful. Energy Blades I'm not as sure about. Let's see here...a Mage has about 14 base THAC0 by the time they get this spell, which is set to about 4 (with no other modifiers) with Energy Blades. Not fantastic THAC0, but decent. Assuming every single one hit, it'd be 20D4 + 20*5 missile damage + 20D10 electrical damage, with no saves and no magical resistance to reduce it (though any missile and electrical resistance would obviously factor in). That's an insane amount of damage...even going down to only half hitting, that's still a huge amount. Do you find that not enough actually hit, or..?

​Sunfire probably sounded too close to "Sunray", if I had to guess (and I think Fireburst is the name of a similarly functioning spell in NWN?).


Edited by Bartimaeus, 18 April 2018 - 11:27 AM.


#605 subtledoctor

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 11:34 AM

IMHO the 1st-level elemental touch spells should be designed more around secondary effects, rather than just damage.

- Chill Touch = cold = chance of Slow or weakness
- Shocking Grasp = electric = chance of very brief Stun
- Flaming Hands = fire = chance of panic

You can't do 8th/10th-level slots in the engine, so the only options are 1) HLAs are 7th/9th-level spells; or 2) HLAs are innate abilities. In PnP that level magic has days-long casting times, so only using HLAs once per day seems fine to me. You don't need to use HLAs on trash mobs, after all.

Those ideas for Haste/Imp. Haste seem wildly overpowered, no offense. If anything I would *nerf* haste to a party-wide 0.5 APR bonus, and reduce its duration to 4-5 rounds. Then Imp. Haste could be party-wide +1 APR, and last a bit longer. I might also give bonuses to casters with these spells: -1 casting time for Haste, and cast more often with Imp. Haste.

A -4 penalty is not appropriate for an instant-death spell at 6th level like Disintegrate. SR Disintegrate seems fine to me.

Re: Spellstrike: I recently found out that opcode 321 can remove item effects as well as spells. So theoretically you could make Spellstrike into a massive debuffer, something to temove buffs from potions etc. that normally can't be dispelled. It would be interesting, and make it useful against non-wizards. EE-only, though... :(

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#606 noah.linden1

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 06:13 PM

I guess my issue is that energy blades isn't very viable against many of the tougher creatures which you'd actually want to use it on, because they are generally immune to, or highly resistant to, electricity, and have a great Armor Class to boot.  I don't want to waste a 10th level spell on something that can only be used effectively against trash mobs.  The same is true with dragon's breath - most creatures later in the game seem to be immune to it, although at least this spell doesn't require rolls to hit like energy blades does.  Comet is better, I'll grant you that, but still does less damage than, say, delayed blast fireball, which is a 7th level spell.  I guess the ability to knock creatures unconscious might make up for it though, but creatures I'd want to use a 10th level spell to destroy are immune to unconsciousness and usually highly resistant to crushing damage.  10d10 = 55 damage on average, with 50% crushing resistance you're spending a 10th level spell to deal about 23 damage to your average run-of-the-mill demon - something that can be accomplished with a single casting of magic missile if the demon fails his magic resistance check and isn't immune to first-level spells (and most of them aren't).  Even though the spell might knock the demon unconscious if you get lucky, that's still weak in my book for 10th level spell.

 

Basically, against most of the really powerful enemies (except liches and demiliches), it's far more effective to use something like spell sequencer (skull trap x 3) than to rely on something like comet or dragon's breath.  For me, that defeats the purpose of 10th level spells, which are supposed to represent the pinnacle of a wizard's power.  A good solution is to get rid of the knockback/unconsciousness and just have dragon's breath and comet deal more damage.  That way, they'd actually be useful against many of the bosses.

 

Re: haste...what I proposed is actually not any more powerful than what SR already has.  My version of haste has slight bonus to defense and saves vs. breath compared to what V4 offers, but offers no attack bonus...otherwise it's the same spell but moved up to 4th level and with reduced duration.  What's so wildly overpowered about that?  It's actually, overall, a nerf of the spell.  However you're right about my idea for improved haste being overpowered, now that I think about it.  However, I still find no reason to use V4's improved haste at all...overall, it's a far weaker spell than haste because it only affects a single target.  If the goal was to gimp (not nerf, but gimp and make worthless) improved haste because it was overpowered, V4 did a great job, but I'd like for the spell to actually be useful.  As it stands now, there are much better uses for 6th level slots, IMO.  If improved haste were made into an 8th level spell but affected a 30' AoE like haste does, I'd use it though.  It would certainly save the inconvenience of having to cast six spells separately before combat.


Edited by noah.linden1, 18 April 2018 - 06:19 PM.


#607 subtledoctor

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 07:16 PM



Re: haste...what I proposed is actually not any more powerful than what SR already has.  My version of haste has slight bonus to defense and saves vs. breath compared to what V4 offers, but offers no attack bonus...otherwise it's the same spell but moved up to 4th level and with reduced duration.  What's so wildly overpowered about that?  It's actually, overall, a nerf of the spell. 

 

I don't understand how it's a nerf.

 

I look at it like this: what other spells are there at 3rd level?  Prayer?  That gives +1 to thac0, damage, AC and saves.  +1!  What else?  At 4th level Defensive Harmony gives an AC bonus only, some of the IWD Emotion spells give bonuses to thac0 and/or hp and/or morale, etc.  Haste gives you 1) faster movement, and 2) more APR.  To give combat bonuses in addition, would step on the toes or and marginalize every other spell around that level that gives you combat bonuses and not speed or APR bonuses.  So leave the combat bonuses to the spells that are designed for them, and for Haste stick with going fast: faster movement, faster attacks, faster spellcasting.

 

For Improved Haste... well balancing it against the unmodded version is silly because you can only use one or the other.  This incarnation was balanced against basic Haste being single-target.  (Which I approved of, actually.)  Now that Haste is AoE again, Improved Haste has been thrown out of whack and should be adjusted.  Not sure how... honestly +2 APR on the target of your choosing (the guy with highest DPS, most likely) is pretty damn powerful, considering a decent fighter without any Haste probably does more damage than most 6th level spells... +2 APR is a big force multiplier there.  I suggest 1) benefits for spellcasting as well as for melee; and 2) something flavorful like damage resistance against slashing and piercing. (You move too fast to be struck with full force... but crushing attacks are wide enough that they are effective.)  Or maybe add slashing damage to every attack, or something.

 

Forget about moving things to different levels, it is obnoxiously difficult to do from a technical standpoint.  No sense doing that when we can just balance the spells for the level they are already at.  (The only reason I move some spells to different levels in my mod is for school balance, e.g. to get some Enchantment spells into levels where there were none.)


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#608 Jarno Mikkola

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Posted 18 April 2018 - 08:14 PM

... EE-only, though... :(

Just put it, and everything of the same kind, into a component called -EE-only without any other actual programming, and you are fine on all sides.


Edited by Jarno Mikkola, 18 April 2018 - 08:20 PM.

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#609 Daxtreme

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 07:14 AM

I disagree that Energy Blades is bad.

 

And you're not "wasting" a spell slot, all HLAs are free to cast once per day once you learn them. Cast them or not, but you always have them once per day. So in a sense, your single cast of Energy Blades is free and isn't comparable to any other casting because it can't be switched for something else. It just exists.

 

And I love Energy Blades, it's highly useful against spellcasters as unless they're protected by absolute immunity or PfMW, most of the time either the damage or the lightning damage make it through and interrupt their spells. It's also very good to wipe out those pesky summoned fiends like Cornuggons or weaker summons without much effort. Also gives you uber movespeed which is definitely useful.

 

I'm pretty sure Spellstrike has a radius already now. In the "Arcane spells" thread pinned to this forum it says there is a 10' radius, don't know if it's still there or been removed.



#610 Jarno Mikkola

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Posted 19 April 2018 - 08:29 AM

Cast them or not, but you always have them once per day.

Apparently your day is only 8 hours ... as you can wake up multiple times in a normal day. PS like our species did before the society desided to appandon the practice. This is the reason why people have (day time) naps.


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