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#1 Karnor

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 06:09 AM

I've been trying out SCS II for the first time while playing BG2. Overall I've really been enjoying the mod so far - it ups the challenge level considerably and mostly in a fair way. For reference I've just completed Spellhold so far.

Vampires

I've seen the thread about drink blood. I actually didn't find the ability too bad, but it needs a player with really good AC to survive it. Although I'm not sure it's required - level drain is already a pretty powerful ability - I've generally only got 1 player immune to it so it forces me to fight vampires solo.

My main issue with it is that the con drain lasts way way too long. Often I found myself needing to rest twice to get rid of it. I don't see any reason that it couldn't do the same job if it lasted just a couple of minutes or so (i.e. more like the mindflayer int drain.

Thieves

Invisibility potion > attack > invis potion is an immensely cheesy way to fight. True sight ought to counteract it, but it doesn't because true sight is only checked once/round. If I wanted to fight like this then I'd equip the staff of the magi on a thief and solo the game with no trouble.

Mages

I really like the pre-buffing thing they do. It ups the challenge considerably.

I don't like the Immunity: Abjuration thing they do. No sane mage would do this because while it would protect them from dispel magic, breach, etc it would also disable most of their spell protections (major globe of invulnerability, mantle, etc are all abjuration school). So they would effectively have self removed most of the protections that they are trying to keep safe.
The fact that the BG2 engine doesn't seem to properly prevent beneficial spells being affected by Spell Immunity is a bug/cheese - I don't abuse it myself and I'm not a fan of NPCs doing it.

I also don't like the way that mages keep running away during a fight. Under the 2ED AD&D rules running away from melee should trigger an automatic free hit from any melee attackers. This isn't enforced in the BG2 engine, and in fact the BG2 engine is worse because a melee swing doesn't connect if the target has moved out of range. It's too easy in BG2 to cheese fights by continually running out of melee range - I don't do it myself and again I don't like NPCs doing it.


However, overall I'm really enjoying the changes.

#2 phordicus

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 02:53 PM

SI:Abj
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#3 Karnor

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 07:48 PM

Found something else in the underdark too. Theres a machine which has souls trapped inside that you can free. A couple of the trapped souls are mages - as soon as they pop out they pre-cast all their defensive spells.

There's no way they could have possibly prepared for this fight - they were barely coherent when they came out. It's pushing it for them to even have contingencies set up after that long in the sphere.

#4 Karnor

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Posted 22 April 2011 - 07:52 PM

View Postphordicus, on Apr 22 2011, 11:53 PM, said:


I looked through that thread, but couldn't find any mention of the fact that SI: Abj doesn't affect helpful spells.

Although on the thread it did link the spell text:

"Casting this spell grants the wizard protection from one spell school of her choice. After the spell is cast, the wizard must choose the school she wishes to be protected from. All spells of this school will not be able to harm or aid the caster for the duration of this spell. This includes all spells from this school, including any priest spells that might benefit the caster."

Which pretty clearly indicates that it should prevent the benefit of other Abjuration spells for the duration.

#5 phordicus

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 01:05 AM

i just provided that link to show how many different ways there are to interpret SI. my own version won't stack with itself, so no multiple castings like SI:Div then SI:Abj. you have to assume that a mod as old as this is going to be nigh impervious to major overhauls.

p.s. where exactly did the bg2 SI come from? i only have an early printing of 2nd ed PH.
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#6 DavidW

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 04:08 AM

View PostKarnor, on Apr 22 2011, 03:09 PM, said:

I've been trying out SCS II for the first time while playing BG2. Overall I've really been enjoying the mod so far - it ups the challenge level considerably and mostly in a fair way. For reference I've just completed Spellhold so far.
Thanks for the feedback - and glad you're liking it.

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Vampires

I've seen the thread about drink blood. I actually didn't find the ability too bad, but it needs a player with really good AC to survive it. Although I'm not sure it's required - level drain is already a pretty powerful ability - I've generally only got 1 player immune to it so it forces me to fight vampires solo.

My main issue with it is that the con drain lasts way way too long. Often I found myself needing to rest twice to get rid of it. I don't see any reason that it couldn't do the same job if it lasted just a couple of minutes or so (i.e. more like the mindflayer int drain.

I'm ambivalent overall as to what to do about Con drain in subsequent versions, but I'm at least persuaded that the duration could be much shorter.

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Invisibility potion > attack > invis potion is an immensely cheesy way to fight. True sight ought to counteract it, but it doesn't because true sight is only checked once/round. If I wanted to fight like this then I'd equip the staff of the magi on a thief and solo the game with no trouble.
Everyone seems to use the word "cheesy" in different ways, so it's hard for me to respond. (I've seen it used to mean any or all of: (i) this does something the game writers didn't intend; (ii) this takes advantage of a bug, (iii) this isn't possible in PnP; (iv) I don't personally like this.)

But there's a fairly major difference with the staff of the magi: namely: you can only take invisibility potions once per round. The staff is genuinely impossible for AI to counter (and fairly difficult even for a PC to counter). There are lots of ways of dealing with thief invisibility.

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I don't like the Immunity: Abjuration thing they do. No sane mage would do this because while it would protect them from dispel magic, breach, etc it would also disable most of their spell protections (major globe of invulnerability, mantle, etc are all abjuration school). So they would effectively have self removed most of the protections that they are trying to keep safe.
The fact that the BG2 engine doesn't seem to properly prevent beneficial spells being affected by Spell Immunity is a bug/cheese - I don't abuse it myself and I'm not a fan of NPCs doing it.
It's certainly not a bug. It's quite clear from the structure of the game that a mage's own protections are deliberately exempted from the immunity effect. As noted above, "cheese" is too unspecific for me to comment on.

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I also don't like the way that mages keep running away during a fight. Under the 2ED AD&D rules running away from melee should trigger an automatic free hit from any melee attackers. This isn't enforced in the BG2 engine, and in fact the BG2 engine is worse because a melee swing doesn't connect if the target has moved out of range.
The mere fact that something's true in AD&D doesn't particularly make me inclined to respect it in BG2.

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It's too easy in BG2 to cheese fights by continually running out of melee range - I don't do it myself and again I don't like NPCs doing it.
I have a degree of sympathy, but this is one of the places where I think not having mages do something is worse than having them do something. Passively sitting around, rather than using their free time to move out of harm's way, is immersion-breakingly stupid in my book. (Note that it's not as if you don't have plenty of time when mages aren't moving at all.)

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However, overall I'm really enjoying the changes.
Glad to hear it.

#7 Guest_Karmapowered_*

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 09:27 AM

View PostKarnor, on Apr 22 2011, 06:09 AM, said:

Thieves

Invisibility potion > attack > invis potion is an immensely cheesy way to fight. True sight ought to counteract it, but it doesn't because true sight is only checked once/round. If I wanted to fight like this then I'd equip the staff of the magi on a thief and solo the game with no trouble.
I wouldn't mind it, if AI thieves actually respected the same game mechanics that the player party has to abide to.
There is no way that my rogues can achieve the same tactic (attack, guzzle invis potion, attack, guzzle invis potion, etc.) in the same, short time frame than the AI.
Still, I can live with this "feature".

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Mages
I really like the pre-buffing thing they do. It ups the challenge considerably.

I don't like the Immunity: Abjuration thing they do. No sane mage would do this because while it would protect them from dispel magic, breach, etc it would also disable most of their spell protections (major globe of invulnerability, mantle, etc are all abjuration school). So they would effectively have self removed most of the protections that they are trying to keep safe.
The fact that the BG2 engine doesn't seem to properly prevent beneficial spells being affected by Spell Immunity is a bug/cheese - I don't abuse it myself and I'm not a fan of NPCs doing it.
I tend to agree, but the mod offers an option to disable pre-buffing, which I have selected.
The constant spell sequencing is annoying enough as it is, but I consider it as a necessary "evil" if I want to have somewhat challenging mages to kill.

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I also don't like the way that mages keep running away during a fight. Under the 2ED AD&D rules running away from melee should trigger an automatic free hit from any melee attackers. This isn't enforced in the BG2 engine, and in fact the BG2 engine is worse because a melee swing doesn't connect if the target has moved out of range. It's too easy in BG2 to cheese fights by continually running out of melee range - I don't do it myself and again I don't like NPCs doing it.
Again, I agree. AI casters also consistently seem to run faster than any of my (high level) hasted characters.
I don't mind it when an AI lich outruns me, or some AI boss, but even hobgoblin shamans can run away from my meleers with no further trouble.
This "feature" however should go.

#8 polytope

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 03:59 PM

View PostKarmapowered, on Apr 23 2011, 10:27 AM, said:

Quote

I also don't like the way that mages keep running away during a fight. Under the 2ED AD&D rules running away from melee should trigger an automatic free hit from any melee attackers. This isn't enforced in the BG2 engine, and in fact the BG2 engine is worse because a melee swing doesn't connect if the target has moved out of range. It's too easy in BG2 to cheese fights by continually running out of melee range - I don't do it myself and again I don't like NPCs doing it.
Again, I agree. AI casters also consistently seem to run faster than any of my (high level) hasted characters.
I don't mind it when an AI lich outruns me, or some AI boss, but even hobgoblin shamans can run away from my meleers with no further trouble.
This "feature" however should go.
Only "fleeing" from melee allows a free attack, characters can still back away from an opponent without provoking an attack of opportunity.

I don't find enemy mages retreating from melee attacks particularly cheesy - yes the speed factor bug is annoying and allows hit and run tactics, but fortunately once you get magic weapons with good s.f. (or grandmastery) this becomes irrelevant.

From Ch 9 of Player's Handbook:

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Whatever the precise length of a combat round, a character can accomplish only one basic action in that round, be it making an attack, casting a spell, drinking a potion, or tending to a fallen comrade. The basic action, however, may involve several lesser actions.

When making an attack, a character is likely to close with his opponent, circle for an opening, feint here, jab there, block a thrust, leap back, and perhaps finally make a telling blow. A spellcaster may fumble for his components, dodge an attacker, mentally review the steps of the spell, intone the spell, and then move to safety when it is all done.

Polytweak - Polytope's enhancements of BG2 creatures, NPCs and the proficiency system.

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Posted 23 April 2011 - 04:18 PM

View Postpolytope, on Apr 23 2011, 03:59 PM, said:

I don't find enemy mages retreating from melee attacks particularly cheesy - yes the speed factor bug is annoying and allows hit and run tactics, but fortunately once you get magic weapons with good s.f. (or grandmastery) this becomes irrelevant.
Yes, I can only concur that this feature should remain in the game, if we want to keep fights with enemy mages interesting, because that's what we want if we install SCS, isn't it ?

I just would like this extra challenge to be added with measure, or rather a distinction to be made between the usual cannon fodder at BG2 levels (hobgoblin shamans, orc mages, etc.) and experimented mid to high level human or elven mages.

It is really a small request (I know, nothing is ever as easy as it first seems), but the flavor of the (SCS modded) game, and the pleasure I am getting out of it, just isn't the same if every caster uses the same "smart" tactics, independently of how smart they are supposed to be to start with :cool:

#10 Zyraen

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 06:01 AM

Quote

It is really a small request (I know, nothing is ever as easy as it first seems), but the flavor of the (SCS modded) game, and the pleasure I am getting out of it, just isn't the same if every caster uses the same "smart" tactics, independently of how smart they are supposed to be to start with
I'm not sure, but do note when installing SCSII, Power Users can use Scaling and Adding tactics to Mage levels to achieve a higher "difference" between the actual Mage's level. Essentially, stronger mages become more powerful, and weaker mages become weaker.

Assuming that Most Mages become "powerful" and "satisfying" to kill above level 16 (this is the level you decide as a player), we get...
Mage_Level_Add -12
Mage_Level_Scale 175

20 --> 24
18 --> 20 (actually its 19.5, so not sure...)
16 --> 16
12 --> 9

Just a suggestion, might that help?

Edited by Zyraen, 24 April 2011 - 06:03 AM.


#11 Karnor

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 06:32 AM

One other thing I've found is that, rather bizzarely, enemy mages typically don't do that much damage.

They are great at defending themselves (prebuffed to be immune to practically everything plus contingencies/triggers to refresh those defenses). They remove my defenses. They often have summons as well. And the occasional instant death spell (e.g. finger of death) if I miss a save. But in terms of straight damage they don't do a lot.

I really noticed this in the drow city where you get the option to use the wardstone to take out one of the drow houses. Really tough fight and I needed to reload several times to get through it. At first my tactic was to rush the enemy mages and try to take them out as fast as possible. But the drow warriors were mowing my team down with their hasted melee attacks (only two of my team had a good enough AC to survive).

So I tried an alternative tactic of ignoring the mages, formed a wall with my two high AC fighters and held them off on the narrow stairs at the entrance. I was expecting the mages to unleash all forms of hell on my party in that tightly packed space but they did almost nothing - sometimes they dispelled/breached my protections but otherwise they mainly just refreshed their own defenses.

I'm wondering if its because they have so much of their spell arsenal diverted towards defenses that they don't actually have many offensive spells left to cast.

I noticed this in the fight against Irenicus at Spellhold too. For my first attempts I was trying to kill him first and ignoring my clones, but I just couldn't kill him. But subsequently I tried killing my clones first and it was much easier - Irenicus running around unchecked should have destroyed my party but he really didn't do much (although a triple skulltrap trigger did one shot Aerie).


As for the whole mages running away thing. It's mostly frustration on my part that even with hasted fighters all chasing after a single mage it can often take quite a while before I get a melee hit to happen. I often end up needing to shepherd them into a corner with my whole party before I can kill them.

#12 Karmapowered

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 10:34 AM

View PostZyraen, on Apr 24 2011, 03:01 PM, said:

Quote

It is really a small request (I know, nothing is ever as easy as it first seems), but the flavor of the (SCS modded) game, and the pleasure I am getting out of it, just isn't the same if every caster uses the same "smart" tactics, independently of how smart they are supposed to be to start with
I'm not sure, but do note when installing SCSII, Power Users can use Scaling and Adding tactics to Mage levels to achieve a higher "difference" between the actual Mage's level. Essentially, stronger mages become more powerful, and weaker mages become weaker.

Assuming that Most Mages become "powerful" and "satisfying" to kill above level 16 (this is the level you decide as a player), we get...
Mage_Level_Add -12
Mage_Level_Scale 175

20 --> 24
18 --> 20 (actually its 19.5, so not sure...)
16 --> 16
12 --> 9

Just a suggestion, might that help?
Thank you very much for your suggestion, that would indeed help to further tweak SCS I/II to suit my needs.

I will also keep going through the readme of the module, as I believe it is a very rich and complex (not necessarily complicated) one, but well documented.

It may take time to master all of its features, and will not give up, since "quality time" in game probably comes at that price :cool:

Edited by Karmapowered, 24 April 2011 - 10:35 AM.


#13 DavidW

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Posted 25 April 2011 - 05:25 AM

View PostKarmapowered, on Apr 23 2011, 06:27 PM, said:

View PostKarnor, on Apr 22 2011, 06:09 AM, said:

Thieves

Invisibility potion > attack > invis potion is an immensely cheesy way to fight. True sight ought to counteract it, but it doesn't because true sight is only checked once/round. If I wanted to fight like this then I'd equip the staff of the magi on a thief and solo the game with no trouble.
I wouldn't mind it, if AI thieves actually respected the same game mechanics that the player party has to abide to.
There is no way that my rogues can achieve the same tactic (attack, guzzle invis potion, attack, guzzle invis potion, etc.) in the same, short time frame than the AI.
Why not?



Quote

Again, I agree. AI casters also consistently seem to run faster than any of my (high level) hasted characters.
I don't mind it when an AI lich outruns me, or some AI boss, but even hobgoblin shamans can run away from my meleers with no further trouble.
This "feature" however should go.
They might seem to, but they're not. They move at the same speed as usual for creatures of their type- I don't modify it (although if they've got a haste effect running, of course they'll move faster.)

View PostKarmapowered, on Apr 24 2011, 01:18 AM, said:

It is really a small request (I know, nothing is ever as easy as it first seems), but the flavor of the (SCS modded) game, and the pleasure I am getting out of it, just isn't the same if every caster uses the same "smart" tactics, independently of how smart they are supposed to be to start with :cool:

Well, hopefully they don't use the same smart tactics, because tactics used are a function of actual spells known. But they all use smart tactics. After all, hobgoblin mages are at least averagely intelligent, and are unlikely to think "hmm, I'm only cannon fodder. No sense using my spells sensibly, then!"

#14 Guest_Guest_Karnor_*_*

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 02:18 AM

Tried the Twisted Rune encounter today and got my ass handed to me multiple times. Had a lot of fun trying it tho - I think I need a few more levels before I try it again. I just don't have the tools to be able to take down their defenses with my 2 casters being Imoen (missing about 1m xp even though I went to spellhold pretty early) and Aerie (being multiclassed). I pretty much need spellstrike to take their defenses down in a reasonable time.

I do have a complaint about enemy mages however - they often seem to start the fight with an instant Abi-Dalzim's Horrid Wilting. I'm presuming this is from a spell trigger. Shouldn't this wipe out their pre-cast improved invisibility? (or rather drop it down to the level when you can see the enemy even if you can't target them with most spells)

The mod has also made me realise how overpowered Protection from Magical Weapons is, particularly on enemies who are naturally immune to non-magical weapons (which seems to be most of them). It outclasses the 9th level alternative Absolute Immunity (which doesn't protect against the very rare +6 weapons). This isn't a complaint about the SCS mod, just an observation on a poorly designed 6th level spell

#15 Shaitan

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 03:00 AM

Do you use the Spell Revision mod?
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