SCS for SR (or viceversa)
What might one expect from this dowload?
Few years ago when I noticed that on SR+SCS installs some spells were misused by AI. Since SCS's main concept is "don't do anything stupid" this bugged me a lot. So I decided to change it. This mod is a compilation of my own tweaks I used in numerous No-Reload games.
Most of the changes are found in Demi's first post. I'll go into how this affects gameplay, since with newest SR it will differ from ur usual SCS experience. BG1 part may not be so affected, but BG2 is a much different experience than before.
The biggest two changes are
1) Dispelling Screen. This tweak probably changes gamplay the most. It's a substitute for the uber-cheese SI:Abj (fwiw, Spell Immunity in PnP worked by absorbing a single spell, and then dissapearing). The difference between Dispel Screen and SI:Abj is that SR makes Dispel Screen work much more like it's PnP counterpart. It will now absorb a dispel attempt (by "dispel attempt" I mean anything that dispels - Carsomyr, Dispel Arrow, Anti-magic ray and similar) or Breach, then dissapear. As a balancing factor, the spell now has AoE similar to Protection from Evil, so even your fighters can enjoy beeing buffed bit longer.
AI will use Dispel Magic and Breach against it to bring it down. As in-game effect, this will make early BG2 a bit easier, it will make late BG2 a bit harder, and it will make ToB a living hell for your mages.
If you're enjoying vanilla mage omnipotence, this change you will not enjoy. With ToB Demons using Dispel at will you'll see that mages are no longer as overpowering as they used to be. Dispelling Screen *always* gets removed, regardless of dispel level check.
You'll want a balanced party to play SR/SCS game now. Fwiw, my longest no-reload run using this ended in ToB, Sendai enclave Lich Odamaron.
Anybody finishing this battle on this install w/o cheese deserves a medal.
2) Spell Deflection targeting.
I made this change after SR introduced "NWN-style Deflection" component. What I noticed is that, since SCS was already scripted to ignore Deflections with AoE spells, Spell Deflections I used on my mages would get "burned through" with ADHWs, Fireballs etc. This seemed cute in action. Then we had a lenghty discussion about it. Implementing this always had some bad effects. Either Breach spells would be wasted, AI could be screwed etc.
The idea is now refined, more specific checks are used (I even added a custom trigger in SCS library file to account for Archons/Trap and seperate them from other Deflections), and in practice you'll be witnessing a fairly dynamic combat against AI mages.
Spells like Spell Deflection, as far as AI is concerned, have two possible values. Either it's 1 (active) or 0 (not active). This made AI ignore casting spells at a character protected by Deflection, even if it had only one more spell level apsorption left.
No.of spells absorbed was completely irrelevant, for AI it doesn't matter if it's 1 or 99 - no spell would ever be used against it. Some people complained it was a bug. In reality, it's not a bug, it's a scripted thing. If stat=1, don't cast vs it.
This is now changed. AI will use even single-target spells to bring down your Deflection, in addition to usual removal methods via spell removals like Ruby Ray of Reversal. In some cases, this will make the game easier (like absorbing a Finger of Death). In some cases, it will make it harder (you have one Deflection layer left and AI blasts you with 3xFlame Arrow sequencer, which would never happen before. First will be absorbed, but two will go through). SCS randomizes such stuff, so it's hard to predict how this changes the overall difficulty of the game.
In ToB, difficulty will rise drastically (Demons will simply eat your Deflections with Charms/Unholy Blight, Glabrezu will use PW:Stun (7th level, usable at will! WTF?!) vs it etc.)
In short - watch your mages' buffs carefully. Just as an example of a scenario: Say you have Greater Spell Deflection active. AI will consider you a valid target for 3xDisintegrate trigger (previously you'd not be valid target). GSD absorbs 12 levels. Disintegrate is level 6. First two are absorbed, last one goes through....even if you survive, you're left w/o Deflection and exposed for further spell bombardment.
Not all is bad for mages however. You can make your Deflection spells last longer by buffing with specific protections like Chaotic Commands, pro x type spells, Globe of Invulnerability etc. If you play wisely, these can go a long way in keeping your caster ass safe.
Moreover, Spell Trap now has unlimited spell apsorbtion. Hence, AI will not use spells against someone protected by it - this (and Archons Shield) work as "old" SCS targeting - if stat=1, don't cast vs it. They will need to remove it or wait it out. They will protect you from AoE provided u use relevant SR component (and you should), so they're "high-priority" spells to memorize.
This works best with "NWN-style Deflection" tweak in SR and hasn't been tested w/o it. Likewise, I highly reccomend using Item Revisions as well.
Other changes are more-less fine tuning of some SR/SCS compatibility, with some targeting priorities tweaked etc. One more tweak I added is that enemy clerics use Break Enchantment on disabled fighters. I also made virtually all priests have this spell memorized. This will make spells like Charm-Cofusion-Feeblemind-Greater Command a bit less game-enders for AI fighters, provided they have an operational priest nearby... There might be a few instances where this will might heavilly affect an encounter difficulty, depending on your spell choices (Sendai in Ascension + Yaga Shura camp battle come to mind....) but overall it shouldn't affect gameplay much. It's a very cool feature however, so it's there.
For some advices:
- mages may be nerfed, but they're still the most powerful class in the game
- druids (up to ToB) have similar offensive power as a sorcerer devoted to summoning and evocations
- priests can become very tanky characters which hit for massive damage. They're legit frontline fighters with SR.
- saving throw system is *much* harsher than in vanilla. Previously, you had to worry for your spell save, rarely death, breath was almost non-existent, same as poly. This is changed. Not even dwarfs are safe anymore, and a failed save is nothing uncommon. Item Revisions will help a lot for buffing your save vs x type (ex.breath for fighters, death for mages).
- touch-attacks are a great way of killing a mage under PfMW, and are very valid picks
- Dispelling Screen can be refreshed if it gets removed mid-battle. It's rather expensive (5h level) but it may save you. Trigger with DS/Imp.Haste/Deflection goes a long way.
- both mages and priests have access to Break Enchantment. This is a valid sorcerer pick, and a must have for a priest.
- for personal experience, use Boots of Grounding on your PC if he's a fighter. While a spell trigger with 3x Chain Lighting was pathetic in vanilla, with SR if used against a fighter it will often kill him instantly or cause massive damage. Same applies for Skull Traps, but in this case buff with Pro Mag Energy. Luck spell will also decrease the damage you take from such spells.
- make a habit of carrying around Stone to Flesh scroll.
- Dispel Screen protects you against the dispelling abilities of Anti-magic Ray. Spell failure, inability to use items etc. will still affect the character however.
- all cure x wound spells are cast *much* faster with SR. Don't just sit there with your cleric and waste potions.
- experiment. SR goes a long way of making all spells useful. Some might not be so great for a sorcerer, but a thief-mage has great use of them. Some spells work best on fighters, some are exellent on mages, some destroy thieves. SCS will make enemies have same weak(and strong) saves as your characters, so use this to your advantage. Fighers will often survive a Finger of Death, but they may not be so good against Feeblemind.
- SCS sometimes uses a 3xDispel Magic sequencer. Dispel Screen will only block one instance of it, other two will affect your PCs.