Some Musings on Tactics

AuthorTopic: Some Musings on Tactics
Off With Their Heads
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I just ran some tests on how spells are affected by immunities. I figured I'd share. (Some of this is fairly obvious. Some of it, I think, is not.)

Fire is pretty much what one would expect. Giving a creature cr_immunities 0 = 100 makes that creature fully immune to fire and thus invulnerable to the spells Bolt of Fire, Fireblast, and Divine Fire.

Cold, likewise, confers immunity to Ice Lances (but NOT Smite, which apparently does Magic damage, despite its description: "Fires bolts of ice").

Next up, Magic. It seems to make the creature immune to Slow, Lightning Spray, Forcecage, Arcane Blow, Smite, and Divine Retribution.

Mental: immune to Capture Mind, Terror, and Control Foes.

Poison/acid: immune to Spray Acid.

Melee: immune to Cloud of Blades. Also gives immunity to ranged weapons (bows, javelins, etc).

That leaves two offensive spells: Repel Spirit and Simulacrum. Repel Spirit appears not to be affected by immunities at all. All undead are vulnerable to it, and so are all demons (if you have it at a high level), regardless of immunities. Simulacrum isn't affected by immunities either, but only by creature species: species 12 is immune to Simulacrum.

The upshot of this is that certain spells are probably pretty useful in almost any combat situation, Simulacrum and Cloud of Blades in particular. Most combat situations will not be against a monster who is completely immune to Melee, so Cloud of Blades will almost always work. And generally only big, important monsters will be Special species and therefore immune to Simulacrum -- and woe betide any designer who forgets to make his dungeon boss of this species, because suddenly that boss will be fighting a duplicate of himself (or possibly two or three).

Spray Acid, on the other hand, is pretty worthless, because so many things are immune to poison and therefore also immune to acid that it really can't hurt anything.

Immunity to Magic is a pretty big deal, because it disables so many spells, and not just direct damage ones: Slow and Forcecage are under that heading, too. Those are useful spells for getting a creature out of the way for a few turns, and they can't be done to magic-immune creatures.

I was investigating this in the interest of designing tactical challenges in a scenario, and I was wondering if there was some way to make the player use spells that one normally wouldn't use. Hope someone finds it interesting and possibly even useful. :cool:

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Useful. Interesting. Thanks Kel.

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While this is no surprise to anyone who designs for BoE or the Arena, BoA would be made easier with a Scry Monster spell instead of having to sneak a peek at the scenario files, which is cheating in my book.

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That reminds me. I wanted to ask about the Spray Acid spell... does it have any USE? Because whenever I've casted it on a foe, I find that I could easily have done more damage by hitting the enemy with a rock.

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It has limited use- cast it on a boss and then run. I used it to beat a Shambler at level 1 in Avernum 3.
But that's pretty much it.

Oh yeah- magic immunity also protects creatures from petrification. This is not as big of a deal since parties can't capture the soul of a Basilisk anymore (unlike A3, where Rentar could be slain with one), but it's still worth noting.

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quote:
Originally written by Kelandon:

And generally only big, important monsters will be Special species and therefore immune to Simulacrum -- and woe betide any designer who forgets to make his dungeon boss of this species, because suddenly that boss will be fighting a duplicate of himself (or possibly two or three).
Unfortunately, you can't make something Special and Undead (thus affected by Repel Spirit, dropping bones instead of blood, etc). In BoE and BoA, I have wondered why Important/Special is a species and not a separate property.

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Posts: 192 | Registered: Sunday, April 4 2004 08:00
Agent
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Probably BECAUSE BoE had special as a species, and just for easy porting and because of a lack of imagination, Jeff just did it the same way.

That is kind of pathetic, though. Multiple friendly Vahkohs helping you is just silly.

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Silly maybe, but effective. That's exactly what made me win the battles in DwtD. :)

And I agree that in some cases you might want an Undead boss to be immune to Simulacrum. Right now, that's only possible at the cost of having him immune to Repel Spirit as well... that might make sense if casting it gave a message like "This Undead is too powerful to be affected." When it instead gives the message "This monster is not undead", it looks rather dumb.

[ Saturday, August 28, 2004 05:17: Message edited by: Also rather a nutcase. ]

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I found it interesting that Vahkohs is very vulnerable to Cloud of Blades for some reason.

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That's been discussed before. It seems as if Cloud of Blades has a component of its damage proportional to the monster's HP; this is pretty noticeable on, say, Licgan in EM as well.

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Damnit, I've never tried Cloud of Blades. :rolleyes:

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Yes cloud of blades is the type of spell which doesn't look that useful until you start using it. Its much more effective then blade clouds in boe at least as I remember.
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Once a monster I was fighting casted Cloud of Blades. It ended in the monster's death, his spell finishing him off. It's wonderful to fight suicidal monsters :D

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Another thought: I think that Simulacrum-duplicated monsters use their default scripts, so if you really wanted to have an undead boss who was vulnerable to Repel Spirit but not terribly vulnerable to Simulacrum, you could give it wimpy base stats and a really powerful script. That way, if the player Simul-ed the boss, the duplicate would be a weakling.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

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The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
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I bet you could take away the simulacrum spell during a boss battle (or is there no call for taking away skill with a spell?)

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Off With Their Heads
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Yeah, now that you mention it, you could do that with change_spell_level. But that seems inelegant somehow. Maybe you want the player to be able to Simul the helper monsters but not the boss himself. Or something.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
Ephesos: In conclusion, yarr.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Apprentice
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One way that you could prevent a boss monster from being Simalcrumed is by making a terrain script that removes any duplicates of the boss. I made a script similar to this for a boss fight... but I had it disable any summons at all instead of just the boss:

check_char = 86;
while(check_char < 120)
{
if(char_ok(check_char))
{
if(get_summon_level(check_char) > 0)
{
erase_char(check_char);
print_str_color("Your summon is disrupted.", 2);
}
}
check_char = check_char + 1;
}
With a few modifications you could get it to only erase a duplicate of the boss. Just use the creature_type(short char) call to check if the summoned monster is the same type as the boss. Alternately you could probably have the boss's creature script check if it is a summoned creature and then erase itself if so.

[ Monday, August 30, 2004 14:18: Message edited by: Gorvin ]
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You could modify the INIT_STATE of the basicnpc script to erase the character types in question. It's only for your scenario, so don't freak out about it.

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*bump* To preserve material
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