Romans are wimps

AuthorTopic: Romans are wimps
Member # 6979
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Having played through the demo on both sides (I am still debating whether I should buy the upgrade) I must say I think the Romans are wimps. Note that I have played all Spiderweb games on at least hard difficulty and never had problems.
In terms of spells, obviously, they are supposed to be weak, and they are, bigtime. They are unable to cast spirit spells at all and unable to get the higher level beast/craft spells. This is a huge blow. In addition, the spell point cost of getting just war & healing spells up to level 8 is 48 points more than for the Celts, enough for the Celts to raise Craft, Beast and Spirit up to 5 levels each! All my Celts start with at least 2 levels of healing & war spells for a mere 6 points, which enables them to buff themselves before every combat and heal themselves afterward, which is huge. To do the same with Romans would cost 18 points, which is prohibitive. Worst of all, my Romans start out with less than half the spell points than my Celts; even my warriors with no intelligence and 2 druidism have more SP than my dedicated Roman mage. Since I have to constantly heal my warriors, I use up my points just healing them
But Romans are much better fighters, right?
Wrong. Roman have Roman Training, which starts at 2 skill points and raises the damage every other level (and helps to-hit, if I weren't always at 95% anyway). Celts have Beserker which starts at 1 skill point and raises damage every level, so Celts actually do MORE melee damage than Romans,even without all the extra buffs Celts can give themselves, and they get mind resistance in the bargain.
In terms of missiles, again Romans stink. True, RT increases missile weapon damage, but the weapon of choice, the javelin, is now mostly useless. Unlike the original, in NR javelins disappear when thrown (where do they go?) As a result, it is simply not realistic to carry enough javelins to get very far in a dungeon, so my troops end up mostly using slings, despite having invested SP in javelin skill.
Armor is the only real advantage Romans have, and it isn't a big one. For the same skill point investment, Romans have 2-3 more armor use than Celts, which is nice but hardly a big deal. Being able to wear plate mail may help a little at the end, but through most of the game you can do fine with chain.
But Romans have tool use, right? Actually, this is a disadvantage! Instead of having enough spell points to simply use pass portal spell to open everything easily, they have to invest a bunch of precious skill points in a skill that is completely unnecessary for the Celts.
And Faerie Lore, while not cheap, opens up some of the best spells in the game, gives good resistance, and helps in special encounters. There is no equivalent for Romans.

I am not saying it is impossible to win with romans or that you can't do well, but I am saying that the game heavily favors the Celts.

Some suggestions:
1. Javelins should be recoverable after a battle
2. Melee, Spears, Slings and RT should be cheaper for romans
3. Berserker is overpowered
4. Weapons skills and RT should increase damage every level.
5.Maybe there should be a class of weapons that only romans can use
6. Get rid of TU, or find some way of making it regularly do something beneficial that Pass portal can't (or combine first aid with TU and have it Roman-only, and cheap.)
7. Make war/healing start at 2SP for romans.
8. Give Romans much (i.e. 2x) more health points
9. Give Romans the same number of spell points per level!!!!
I have some other issues with general gameplay, but I will save those for a different topic.

And finally, I want to say that while I have plenty of criticisms, I have throughly enjoyed Jeff's work since Exile.
Thanks, Jeff!
Posts: 7 | Registered: Friday, March 31 2006 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
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Jeff purposely nerfed Roman spell casting after seeing repeated abuses from the original game and early beta testing. You don't need war circle spells about 4 (quicksilver boots - haste). You can after the demo get up to 8 in craft or beast circle spells.

Armor use increases the damage reduction of the armor and Romans are the only ones that get the best armor.

Tool use gives experience that is lost with pass portal spell.

Romans are supposed to be at a disadvantage in this strange place. You would be surprised how much they can kill with these disadvantages. Still Celts have it much easier because of their spells.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Law Bringer
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Disadvantages aside, Romans make much better singletons than Celts.

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Posts: 1556 | Registered: Sunday, November 20 2005 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
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Not on Torment they aren't!

Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
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Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Law Bringer
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Roman singleton on torment can't kill Raven and Reptrakos. Celt singletons can summon wind warriors to kill everything.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
Member # 261
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Well, Roman singletons can, it just requires an obscene number of potions and scrolls, and is much harder even with them.

Slarty vs. DeskDesk vs. SlartyTimeline of ErmarianG4 Strategy Central
"Making poorly-sourced claims is not the same as determining something."
Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
Electric Sheep One
Member # 3431
Profile #6
Romans mostly bash stuff, and pretty much any player can click on enemies to bash them. There's not such a big range in tactical skill for the Romans; if it's doable for the duffers to whom Jeff still wants to sell games, then the experts still have a bit of a challenge.

Spellcasting offers a lot more options, and it can take some skill to do so optimally. Jeff wants newbies to be able to beat the Celt game too, so the result is that experts can murder with the Celts.

Perhaps something could still be done to equalize the two sides more, but I believe this issue limits how much. Plus, who cares? The sides aren't playing against each other, so it doesn't matter if one is harder than the other.

We're not doing cool. We're doing pretty.
Posts: 3335 | Registered: Thursday, September 4 2003 07:00
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It matters because it is rascist against Romans. :P

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Hes told us not to blow it
Cause he knows its all worthwhile
He told me:
Let the children lose it
Let the children use it
Let all the children boogie
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I'm gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I'll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.
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Posts: 157 | Registered: Saturday, August 25 2007 07:00
Member # 10234
Profile #8
So what's the best Roman fighter "build"?

Am I right:

Primary Focus on -

Roman Training
Armor Use


Agree with: 1. Javelins should be recoverable after a battle

Just not enough of the Javelins around, and slings do good damage without requiring any ammo.

Is a Roman Slinger worth it or are slings gimped at higher levels?

Either make them recoverable or have enemies drop more Javelins (I've seen a couple of Goblins drop a handful so far).

Recoverable javelins remind me of the scene in Excalibur when Mordred retrieves his javelin from the corpse of some poor Round Table Knight... :D

[ Tuesday, September 04, 2007 03:52: Message edited by: Ming ]
Posts: 102 | Registered: Monday, September 3 2007 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 6785
Profile #9
You need to increase dexterity throughout the game to 6 with fast on feet or 7 without that trait to be able to attack Celtic Tribesmen before they do. At least with one character in a standard party.

Early in the game the druid protection spell can negate almost all damage. So that one drudish Roman is good for more than healing. The higher level spells aren't as helpful. So Druid Mastery as a trait isn't important.
Posts: 4643 | Registered: Friday, February 10 2006 08:00
Member # 10430
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Yeah, I agree that Romans are vastly inferior to Celts. The skill point investment for only minor spell casting abilities is excessive. I don't have a problem with this, given that Romans are meant to be at a disadvantage magically.

But the problem is that Romans don't have any other strengths to make up for their magical weakness. Javelins (as mentioned) just suck. Celts can easily beat Romans in melee due to magical augmentaton (the protective effects of 'Shielding' are amazing.) Any investment in Defense or Hardiness on Torment just seems like a waste, when you can cast Shielding.

Romans also get much poorer deals in any worthwhile shops, and the treasure in their starting dungeon is vastly inferior to the treasure available to Celts.

All in all, Nethergate is just like the rest of Jeff's games. A magic heavy party is preferable to a warrior heavy party. Usually the only role of the warrior is to either function as a tank to draw fire, or deal damage to magic resistant opponents. Otherwise, you can deal far more damage magically.

[ Wednesday, September 12, 2007 00:42: Message edited by: Lepus timidus ]
Posts: 136 | Registered: Wednesday, September 12 2007 07:00
Member # 7557
Profile #11
Javlins were meant to bend or break on impact so they coundn't be thrown back.

Romans hack at things. Celts can still hack at things but have the awsome power of spellcraft. A good heartstrike or Doom (Not played much on NR yet) will turn a roman patrol into quivering jelly without firing a shot. No contest.

First person to call me a mercenary gets necromatized.
Posts: 942 | Registered: Sunday, October 8 2006 07:00
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Profile #12
If we're going to be totally realistic about it, javelins should do *way* more damage than slings.

Sure, a sling stone is travelling at high speed due to being wound up...but a javelin is basically a dude hucking an enormous freaking dart at you.

You don't wanna get hit by a flying rock...but you *really* don't wanna get hit by a javelin.
Posts: 10 | Registered: Wednesday, November 1 2006 08:00
Member # 7557
Profile #13
Tpoic Necromancy but yes, Jav should do wayyy more damage then a sling-stone. A sling could be turned aside by Roman armour. Jav should go right through without a problem.

"I must admit, killing mortals is much easier that killing demons. If you remove a demon's head, all you end up with is something that tries to bite your ankles." -Valen
Posts: 942 | Registered: Sunday, October 8 2006 07:00
Member # 10919
Profile #14
Actually, it was more or less the opposite.

Slings were valued in antiquity because they could hurt even armoured targets. The stone doesn't go through, but that doesn't matter. The force is still transferred.

Slings also have a much better range than javelins.

However, javelins are easier to use and inflict a lot more hurt if they're not turned by very heavy armour. And they made shields unusable. (at least that was one of the ideas behind the roman pila)

Anyway, I'm playing this game with a roman party and not finding it very difficult (but then, the difficulty is set to normal) with just the one character using druid spells. (no beast or craft at all, just war and healing up to sixth circle)

But I'd love it if javelins were recoverable... as it is, I use them sparingly and carry 20+ per character with me into each dungeon... that's a bit weird, but the only way to have enough ammunition to use in tough fights. (especially against spellcasters)
Posts: 1 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2007 07:00