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Thrawn4
2009-10-25, 05:55 PM
Hi.
So, don't hit me, but I'm partially confused about the superiority of spellcasters in D&D, especially in the Forgotten Realms. According to what I read in this forum, they grow far more powerful than other characters in the course of leveling. Well, my knowledge is only derived by a board game and Baldurs' Gate (2nd Ed), but in the latter I am quite intent on having some fighters in the party as I consider them quite useful. So, am I wrong, or is there some huge difference I just don't know?

taltamir
2009-10-25, 05:59 PM
huge differences between pen and paper and computer RPG.
In CRPG casters are hopelessly underpowered... In pen and paper the situation is reversed...

why?
They have a lot more spells, they have a lot more they can do with those spells (creative applications), they have a spell that can solve anything, and they have a party to keep them from getting hit (and spells)

When was the last time you saw a CRPG allow your caster to cast "fly" on himself and "protection from arrows"? you are now 50 feet in the air (no melee attacks can get you) and immune to all ranged attacks with the exception of spells... no rain down death on your enemies...

And direct damage is the main attack in CRPGs... in PnP it is worthless... why direct attack? blind, sleep, mind control, etc etc... a single spell and the BBEG can be ordered to kill himself, or passes out and you just walk over to him and kill him... and the more source books you use, the more likely you are to come across an ill thought out spell (ex, no save allowed)

holywhippet
2009-10-25, 05:59 PM
Firstly, computer based D&D games aren't a good indicator on the strength of spellcasters as they are limited to what the game makes available.

Secondly, spell caster generally still need fighters to protect them from being engaged in melee.

Finally, the difference really only kicks in at higher levels. At low levels a mage can at best throw a few useful spells before they have to resort to magical items or taking shots with a ranged weapon (or melee combat if they are really game).

taltamir
2009-10-25, 06:01 PM
even at lower levels... grease is a first level spell and is highly effective at crippling a group of enemies for a few rounds to turn the tide of battle...
at low levels a caster turns the tide of battle, but cannot fight (his fighter allies must do the killing), at higher levels he is a god.

OP, what you need is examples... check out some of the wizard guides around here... like this one:
http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=104002

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-10-25, 06:03 PM
Hi.
So, don't hit me, but I'm partially confused about the superiority of spellcasters in D&D, especially in the Forgotten Realms. According to what I read in this forum, they grow far more powerful than other characters in the course of leveling. Well, my knowledge is only derived by a board game and Baldurs' Gate (2nd Ed), but in the latter I am quite intent on having some fighters in the party as I consider them quite useful. So, am I wrong, or is there some huge difference I just don't know?

In 3.5e, mages get to alter the fabric of reality. The fighter gets to hit things with a sword really hard.

mostlyharmful
2009-10-25, 06:06 PM
There's also the issue of NPC level-up. Mage's level up the same way as fighters if a player is running them but in a larger world then it's a leeeetttllle different, a fighter type has to keep getting into life and death duels, a mage has to publish interesting academic journel articals or whathaveyou. It's the difference between a Dragon earning XP and fighting it's way through level after level or just going to sleep for five hundred years and waking up epic, you tell me which is more likely to result in you making it?

Mando Knight
2009-10-25, 08:19 PM
but in the latter I am quite intent on having some fighters in the party as I consider them quite useful.

Melee guys are quite useful, especially early on. They can coup-de-grace better, and can act as living walls before you get all of your "win buttons" lined up. The problem melee has is that Summon Monster often gives similar options for a bodyguard.

Nostri
2009-10-25, 11:09 PM
Another reason you might not be seeing the huge gap between fighter types and casters is because in 2nd Edition it wasn't as prevelant. To be sure it was still somewhat there but because fighter advanced faster in 2nd Edition then mages they stayed at roughly the same power level (also direct damage was more useful in 2E, at least in my experience and opinion). In 3e/3.5 everyone uses the same xp track to level so everyone is always the same level. In addition direct damage went way down as far as efficiency to kill things is concerned.

PairO'Dice Lost
2009-10-26, 12:05 AM
Another reason you might not be seeing the huge gap between fighter types and casters is because in 2nd Edition it wasn't as prevelant. To be sure it was still somewhat there but because fighter advanced faster in 2nd Edition then mages they stayed at roughly the same power level (also direct damage was more useful in 2E, at least in my experience and opinion). In 3e/3.5 everyone uses the same xp track to level so everyone is always the same level. In addition direct damage went way down as far as efficiency to kill things is concerned.

To expand on this, in the 2e-3e transition, the developers dropped many of the fighter's perks and the wizard's handicaps because (A) they didn't fit with the new d20 system or more likely (B) they just didn't understand their purpose.

--Before skills came around, there was no equivalent to Concentration; if you're casting a spell, and you get hit, it's gone, period. The more powerful a spell you were casting, the longer it took to cast, and thus the easier it was to disrupt. Nowadays, it's hard for a caster not to fail the check to avoid an AoO from casting.

--Hit points were much lower (HD capped at 10 and then you only gained a certain lower number of HP each level) so direct damage spells and regular attacks were better, which meant that (A) fireball and lightning bolt were tossed around as often as SoDs and (B) fighters hitting things harder actually meant something. Nowadays, you can buff your HP to high enough levels that a few sword swings to the gut won't really hamper you, assuming they somehow manage to get past your defenses.

--Saves depended on the person making the save, not the effect requiring a save, so by higher levels fighters really only failed on a 1. Since they advanced faster than mages, a fighter would usually shrug off any "win button" spells, and when it came down to direct damage spells vs. sword, sword usually won. Nowadays, casters can boost their DCs high enough to make them almost impossible to save against if they really try.

This made the caster/martial disparity much smaller, so if your experience comes mostly from Baldur's Gate et al., then of course the fighter and thief are highly-valued members of the team.

Eldariel
2009-10-26, 12:31 AM
Disclaimer: I'll be using the acronym "AD&D" a lot in this post. All it refers to AD&D 2nd Edition, from whcih most of my AD&D experience comes from. I'm using the shorthand for convenience. I'll also be using Mage and Wizard somewhat interchangeably. Sorry, bad habit o' mine.


--Before skills came around, there was no equivalent to Concentration; if you're casting a spell, and you get hit, it's gone, period. The more powerful a spell you were casting, the longer it took to cast, and thus the easier it was to disrupt. Nowadays, it's hard for a caster not to fail the check to avoid an AoO from casting.

To expand upon this, not only can you avoid an AoO for casting by casting defensively (WTF) with a trivially easy check, you can also finish casting a spell even if you're dealt damage! Before, damage = lost spell. Now, you simply need a Concentration-check.


Issue #2: And there are problems for Warrior-types specifically (Ranger/Pally/Fighter):
1) Nowadays everyone gets the same amount of bonus HP from high Con. Before, Warriors not only had a bigger HD but were the only ones to benefit of a Con more than 16 (and at Con 16, Warriors got +4 HP per level at 16 while others got +2, and at Con 18, Fighters had +6 while others still had +2).

This means the Fighters' advantage is much smaller. Not only that, but with 3.X way of boosting Con, the class HD is actually only a small part of your HP; most of it comes from Con meaning a Wizard can have very much similar amounts of HP as a Warrior.

2) Anyone with high BAB gets iteratives. Before, only Warrior-types got multiple attacks per turn on higher levels. Now anyone with BAB (that's available to everyone thanks to Divine Power) can do it. So even as a Warrior, Warrior-types no longer have any exclusive advantages.

Everyone can learn to use any weapon/armor, everyone can get iterative attacks with a weapon, etc. Hell, Polymorph into a form with lots of Natural Attacks (say, Hydra?) means more attacks than a Warrior.

3) This whole "full attack" BS. Before, you moved and you attacked. Now you move and attack once, when most of your damage comes from your 3-4 attacks a turn. Meaning you either move or you attack.

There are few ways to overcome this, but only one is easily accessible for warriors and apparently considered cheesy by many DMs (and invokes the dreaded "dipping"), which is why Spirit Lion Totem Barbarian, not being Core, is an insufficient solution to this.

4) As touched above, everyone gets a lot more HP now. This is further made worse by everyone getting their normal HD even after level 10. In AD&D, you pretty much stopped gaining HP after level 10.

Nowadays, it goes on infinitely by levels meaning damage dealing is just less efficient than back then. Of course, this is not a problem 3.5 warriors can't overcome, but it's a problem they need to overcome. Before, there were no such issues to deal with in the first place.


Issue #3: Spell drawbacks were removed and spells were improved overall. AD&D Gate calls anything and creates a portal and so on. D&D 3.5 Gate calls anything and makes it your bitch. Nice Balor/Solar/CR Inappropriate Challenge you picked up there, sir.

AD&D Shapechange had a 1500gold material component and lasted rounds/level IIRC. D&D 3.5 Shapechange has a 1500gp FOCUS (so one-time investment) and lasts 10 min/level.

AD&D Polymorph could throw the subject into system shock. D&D 3.5...well, same spell except it doesn't.

AD&D Haste had the potential to age you dead, D&D 3.5...oh right, it has NO DRAWBACKS!

The list goes on, and on and on. Should come as a no surprise that spells are better when the drawbacks are taken away.


Issue #4: Bonus spells. In AD&D, you had a bunch of spells per day and got more as you leveled. That meant you started with 1 spell on level 1. This, of course, meant you were mostly dead weight. Now, you can have up to 2 bonus spells from 20 Int, 1-2 from (Focused) Specialization and so on. On level 20, you just have infinite spells on all levels.

Should come as a no surprise that when Wizards' primary weakness, being limited on their daily spell selection, is removed, they become stronger.


Issue #5: Practically all spells took long enough to cast in AD&D that a fast attacking opponent could attack you if he could reach you. This meant that it was much harder to get a spell edgewise.


Ps. If necessary, I'm sure the forumfolk can gladly point out just what Wizards can do in 3.5, especially on higher levels. Mostly though, they're just ridiculous as they are no longer limited by practically anything. Fighters need to be specialized builds not to suck, Wizards...well, it comes down to your spell selection.

Myrmex
2009-10-26, 01:29 AM
--Before skills came around, there was no equivalent to Concentration; if you're casting a spell, and you get hit, it's gone, period. The more powerful a spell you were casting, the longer it took to cast, and thus the easier it was to disrupt. Nowadays, it's hard for a caster not to fail the check to avoid an AoO from casting.

It's harder to fail at higher levels. Below level 10, casters have a real risk of flubbing concentration checks.


--Hit points were much lower (HD capped at 10 and then you only gained a certain lower number of HP each level) so direct damage spells and regular attacks were better, which meant that (A) fireball and lightning bolt were tossed around as often as SoDs and (B) fighters hitting things harder actually meant something. Nowadays, you can buff your HP to high enough levels that a few sword swings to the gut won't really hamper you, assuming they somehow manage to get past your defenses.

It's trivial to get your damage to be high enough that an enemy will only last 1 to 2 rounds against your attack. The real problem is the lockdown abilities casters get, coupled with their abilities to permanently replace fighters (polymorph effects, charm & dominate, create/summon/call minions) & persist iwin spells all day. Without persistent spell abuse, wizards are actually quite fragile, or, at the very least, have to spend a significant amount of time putting up defenses so they don't die immediately to a barrage of arrows, shadowpounce, blood wind full attack, ubercharge, etc. 'Course, a Celerity followed by a maximized Time Stop circumvents this, but casters only get 9th levels spells for 10 to 15% of the game.


--Saves depended on the person making the save, not the effect requiring a save, so by higher levels fighters really only failed on a 1. Since they advanced faster than mages, a fighter would usually shrug off any "win button" spells, and when it came down to direct damage spells vs. sword, sword usually won. Nowadays, casters can boost their DCs high enough to make them almost impossible to save against if they really try.

Well, save-or-dies aren't so great against enemies in a PvM situation. High HD monsters can make them most of the time, as can stuff with great saves and ability scores like dragons & outsiders, and a couple levels of paladin, hexblade or crusader goes a long way in saying stfu to the SoD. It's just that casters can circumvent being the target of an SoD with a low level spell, while fighters require specific magic items. Fighters depend on access to ye olde magick shoppe if they're going to be up against stuff with fear effects or what have you.

To be honest, it's not that hard to make your monsters caster resistant with either SR or boosted saves (feats, class levels, advanced HD, changing their ability arrays, templating, items), such that they have a 60 to 70% chance of making their save vs. the highest level spell the wizard has access to. As the game gets closer to epic, the easier it is to minimize the effects of the SoD on your monsters. Unfortunately, the wizard gets more no-save-just-lose effects, and the spell slots to burn things like Assay Spell Resistance, and stuff like Planar Binding, Planar Ally, and Create/Control Undead.


This made the caster/martial disparity much smaller, so if your experience comes mostly from Baldur's Gate et al., then of course the fighter and thief are highly-valued members of the team.

They still are between levels 1 and 10, it's just that after you start getting fifth level spells, you have oodles of low level spells that can be devoted to circumventing virtually any obstacle, and, if metamagic abuse is in play, you have the good ones persisted all day long.

Soras Teva Gee
2009-10-26, 01:34 AM
Something confuses me here, you played Baldur's Gate II but don't understand mages being more powerful?

It may not be as bad as 3.5* but cripes I'd hate to run that game without casters. Linear Warrior, Quadratic Wizards is very much the rule there. Minsc is great fun, but if I had six of him for a party it would be a nigh-impossible game. Just for example mages casting stoneskin and that fire barrier spell, where just smacking the barrier down will cause damage. Then there's liches, dragons, beholders, mind flayers, and so on...

The real reason the gap is smaller is mostly because BG II gives out some incredible items. A talking sword that gives immunity to a bunch of effects and is a +3 capable of beating most DR, and you can get it as soon as you leave the leave the starter game? Not going to happen at that level in 3.5. And the Holy Avenger with massive SR (and SR being stronger then in 3.5 if memory serves) that dispels whatever it hits and is +5, the thing would be a frakking artifact in table-top. And despite that, I still would hate to fight any of the dragons without mages lowering its SR and then casting at said dragon. And the dragons aren't as bad as some foes for needing a mage to cancel.

Short version casting has always been better at later levels.


*Side-Rant: I find the gap is overstated in 3.5 with some dubious assumptions. Like that all the enemies in an encounter will be close enough together to fit in a spell's area. That merely because a useful spell exists that every mage always has it at their disposal, every day. Or that you can renew your spells before a dangerous encounter. Nevermind anything involving 9th level magic, something only gained at the end of the game is a bit disingenuous as a "I always win" argument.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-10-26, 01:45 AM
*Side-Rant: I find the gap is overstated in 3.5 with some dubious assumptions. Like that all the enemies in an encounter will be close enough together to fit in a spell's area.
Either Sculpt or Widen Spell will give you a huge increase in area.


That merely because a useful spell exists that every mage always has it at their disposal, every day.
Divinations, and the fact that thre are some spells that are good for just about any purpose. I've made sorcerers that can be quite hard to kill and go up against a wide variety of enemies that I have no foreknowledge of jsut by selecting versatile spells.


Or that you can renew your spells before a dangerous encounter.
A legitimate weakness, though holing up in a Rope Trick, Tiny Hut, Magnificent Mansion, and the like, or using a Restful Bedroll to gain all your spells in 2 hours can work around that problem.*

Still, sometimes you're just pressed for time and can't rest.


*Let us assume you cannot cast Genesis and make your own demiplane where a day there passes in one round on the Prime Material.

Myrmex
2009-10-26, 01:50 AM
*Side-Rant: I find the gap is overstated in 3.5 with some dubious assumptions. Like that all the enemies in an encounter will be close enough together to fit in a spell's area. That merely because a useful spell exists that every mage always has it at their disposal, every day. Or that you can renew your spells before a dangerous encounter. Nevermind anything involving 9th level magic, something only gained at the end of the game is a bit disingenuous as a "I always win" argument.

It really depends on what players have access to. If metamagic reducers are in play, then by level 8, the party is going to have all the good level 1-4 buff spells up all day long. This includes stuff like greater mirror image and improved invisibility, and heaps of other really nasty stuff. In order for a lot of encounters to pose any threat, you're going to need very specific counters. For plot-centric stuff, and in certain dungeons, this will make a lot of sense. But when a level 4 wizard can kill a Battle Titan in a single round, or a level 13 psion can dominate the Tarrasque? These are battles that will be IMPOSSIBLE for a melee character of the same level, but a caster can easily defeat them. The point here is that, for a generically optimized caster with a generic, optimized spell selection, you have to go out of your way to provide a challenge, but it's very easy to get melee in over their head.

In an actual, beer & pretzels game, I too find the differences overstated. Tiers 1 through 4 are much closer together, mostly in the first 10 levels of the game. This has a lot to do, I think, with casters being more reliant on the beatsticks, so their spell load out has stuff like Haste and Heroism, Black Tentacles, Solid Fog, See Invisibility and Glitterdust, as opposed to Time Stop, Maw of Chaos, Shapechange, or Twinned, Repeated, Maximized, Empowered Quickened Orb of Fire.

Thrawn4
2009-10-26, 05:33 AM
Thank you, your responses really clarified some things. So, basically, WotC messed up the balance... a pity they aren't able to provide a balanced game. So I guess there are a lot of house rules out there to fix this matter?


Something confuses me here, you played Baldur's Gate II but don't understand mages being more powerful?

If memory serves mages are quite squishy there while golems and some other creatures are quite persistent. Furthermore, I hate to rest after every battle, as it seems cheap to me to spend a week or two in a dragon's lair.

Eldariel
2009-10-26, 05:44 AM
If memory serves mages are quite squishy there while golems and some other creatures are quite persistent. Furthermore, I hate to rest after every battle, as it seems cheap to me to spend a week or two in a dragon's lair.

Generally in 3.5, low-level Wizards have gas for about 4 bigger encounters (that is, encounters where they need to use spells instead of just tossing alchemical bombs or shooting (cross)bows) per day. On higher levels, their endurance obviously increases dramatically as they gain new spell levels but many lower level effects still remain eminently usable, not to mention they've got access to Wands and Staves to turn to when their daily allotment isn't needed for the task.

In BG (and AD&D), things were obviously a bit different, but still, with proper rationing and meatshield usage, it was generally possible to clear out the earlier dungeons without too much resting (especially in ToB boss fights though, you had to do Wish-resting a LOT).


But yeah, casters really have most endurance than you'd think with just a quick glance. Much of this is thanks to the potency of their spells. And this is honestly what probably has improved the most with 3.5.

sadi
2009-10-26, 09:26 AM
Thank you, your responses really clarified some things. So, basically, WotC messed up the balance... a pity they aren't able to provide a balanced game. So I guess there are a lot of house rules out there to fix this matter?

Unless you mean outright banning of certain spells, tactics or feats... I'm playing a 3.5 game right now with a DM new to the system and I'm getting ready to drop it since I'm not having fun. I'm the only caster so I nerfed myself to keep the game in check, and the DM complains about the fighter using a reach weapon and power attack/great cleave to rack up kills. I've been thinking about breaking the game just to show the DM if he thinks a power attacking reach fighter is bad how many other flaws the sytem has...



If memory serves mages are quite squishy there while golems and some other creatures are quite persistent. Furthermore, I hate to rest after every battle, as it seems cheap to me to spend a week or two in a dragon's lair.

Mages were only squishy if you didn't use stoneskin in the middle of combat, and considering stoneskin had a casting time of 1 second there was no reason not to. Combine that with mirror image and a decent set of bracers and your mage could easily survive, at least long enough to get away from the nasty things hitting you.

Fishy
2009-10-26, 09:37 AM
The other thing is that PnP magicians have access to spells that 'break the rules'. The humble Grease spell changes the way movement in combat works, and has a dozen other uses besides. Let's not even get started on what you can do with a Minor Image.

(Again, what can a Fighter do? Hit things with a sword.)

These sorts of flexible, world changing spells make up a lot of the power of Wizards, and are very, very hard to accurately represent in CRPG form. So lots of computer games have simply not tried, which means our wizards are limited to Lightning Bolt and Fireball, which are actually something close to balanced.

Starbuck_II
2009-10-26, 10:24 AM
When was the last time you saw a CRPG allow your caster to cast "fly" on himself and "protection from arrows"? you are now 50 feet in the air (no melee attacks can get you) and immune to all ranged attacks with the exception of spells... no rain down death on your enemies...

And direct damage is the main attack in CRPGs... in PnP it is worthless... why direct attack? blind, sleep, mind control, etc etc... a single spell and the BBEG can be ordered to kill himself, or passes out and you just walk over to him and kill him... and the more source books you use, the more likely you are to come across an ill thought out spell (ex, no save allowed)

Temple of Elemental Evil does allow all that, but the game is so buggy that you may gain fly once, but next time you load save might be corrupted (happened to me 4 times so far but I'm not giving up).

Optimystik
2009-10-26, 10:33 AM
I don't understand the OP at all. Even in CRPGs like Neverwinter Nights, fighters are still purely optional at high levels.

Need a tank? Slap Premonition on the Sorcerer (or ESPECIALLY Druid.) NWN is 3.0, so Haste and Darkness are no save, just lose. Two spells per round, and now my entire party's invisible to every monster without Ultravision; oh, I just buffed my allies with that too. How about IGMS? I'll ram 20 force missiles up the enemy's tailhole, no save. What's that? They automatically spread themselves out among multiple targets? Sounds great! Oh my, it seems Ice Storm and Holy Word have no save. And none of the Hand spells do either. Implosion does, but for some reason they gave +4 to the DC. Yep, those 9th level spells could sure use a buff all right. Heck, I'll just gate in a Balor to take the fighter on, and he'll happily serve me thanks to a level 1 spell. I want to get involved too; I'll just shapechange into a Dragon. With all that buffing I'm pressed for time; good thing I can stop it. The fighter's looking a bit wounded; I'd better finish him off with one word, no save.

Don't get me started on the CRPG Harm and Heal. Yes, I just reduced that Dragon and that Lich to 1HP each with level 6 spells. I think you get the picture.

Mark Hall
2009-10-26, 10:46 AM
Hi.
So, don't hit me, but I'm partially confused about the superiority of spellcasters in D&D, especially in the Forgotten Realms. According to what I read in this forum, they grow far more powerful than other characters in the course of leveling. Well, my knowledge is only derived by a board game and Baldurs' Gate (2nd Ed), but in the latter I am quite intent on having some fighters in the party as I consider them quite useful. So, am I wrong, or is there some huge difference I just don't know?

Others have mentioned the difference between RPGs and CRPGs, but there's also a big difference in edition. In 2e, there were few effective ways to increase the potency of your spells, so fighters had a pretty good chance of saving (comparatively). This meant save or suck spells were far more likely to fall in the "save" category, especially as levels climbed. There were also fewer ways for a mages and the like to extend the amount of spellcasting they had... wands and scrolls were rarer and more expensive, especially before level 9 (where you can get Enchant an Item and the ability to make scrolls), so wizards had to be a lot more judicious with their spells. Also, rememorizing spells was a far longer process... rather than 1 hour, no matter how much you've expended, it was 10 minutes/spell level, which turns into DAYS at high level. This, again, led to a far more judicious use of spells.

It gave fighters a fair bit of relative power.... wizards could still kick their tail, especially if they wanted to go all-out, but it was less of a one-sided contest, especially if the wizard had a reason to be conservative.

Mark Hall
2009-10-26, 10:48 AM
Temple of Elemental Evil does allow all that, but the game is so buggy that you may gain fly once, but next time you load save might be corrupted (happened to me 4 times so far but I'm not giving up).

Have you tried the Circle of 8 patch for ToEE? You'll have to start over, but it fixes a lot.

Lapak
2009-10-26, 10:59 AM
I don't understand the OP at all. Even in CRPGs like Neverwinter Nights, fighters are still purely optional at high levels.Mostly you're right, but the commercial NWN campaigns suffered from a bad case of 'Apply Arbitrarily High SR/Immunities to Everything Significant.' A surprisingly large number of monsters (especially bosses) in the single-player campaigns were all but immune to most magic. This wasn't a problem for druids or clerics, but the arcane spellcasters I ran through had a harder time than straight-up warriors with some of the key battles because of it.

Starbuck_II
2009-10-26, 11:21 AM
Have you tried the Circle of 8 patch for ToEE? You'll have to start over, but it fixes a lot.

Not yet. I have Patch 2 and 1 though.

What exactly does CoE do?

Optimystik
2009-10-26, 11:25 AM
Mostly you're right, but the commercial NWN campaigns suffered from a bad case of 'Apply Arbitrarily High SR/Immunities to Everything Significant.' A surprisingly large number of monsters (especially bosses) in the single-player campaigns were all but immune to most magic. This wasn't a problem for druids or clerics, but the arcane spellcasters I ran through had a harder time than straight-up warriors with some of the key battles because of it.

With Improved Spell Penetration I rarely had problems hitting anything, even Ancient Blacks. Failing that, buffing my summons to the nines usually worked.

Digital arcane casters lost a lot of their PnP goodness, but they gained some hefty tricks to make up for it in my book. Disjunction leaves magical loot intact, The Spell Mantle line blocks everything, The Breach line both strips buffs and punches SR... while being itself immune to SR.

Or you can just download Kaedrin's pack and add in the Orbs, if you really want to redress the balance. Don't feel guilty about doing it; he did throw in Warblade after all. :smallwink:

Mark Hall
2009-10-26, 11:41 AM
Not yet. I have Patch 2 and 1 though.

What exactly does CoE do?

It's an unofficial patch by some of the developers that fixes a lot of the bugs. Some of the initial quests get moved around (there's no longer a lone goblin sitting in town, conveniently waiting to be killed for a ring), there's an option to buy your gear from a merchant before the beginning of the game (also letting you reset spells and such), and there's a spell called "Extraplanar Chest" which functions as a bag of holding. A lot of fixes, making the game very playable and fun.

Soras Teva Gee
2009-10-26, 01:42 PM
Either Sculpt or Widen Spell will give you a huge increase in area.

Which depending on the geography/geometry increases the risk of hitting the party or may still not work. And depending on what build the player has in mind they may not want those particular feats. Now certainly possible, but I'm irked by things being overstated. I see arguments like this used on the assumption every mage ever can do it.



Divinations, and the fact that thre are some spells that are good for just about any purpose. I've made sorcerers that can be quite hard to kill and go up against a wide variety of enemies that I have no foreknowledge of jsut by selecting versatile spells.

Plenty of spells useful enough to have every day, but that also begs the DM to design counters for them. Mage likes tentacles, throw some incorporeals into an encounter, or have an enemy caster put on freedom of movement in another. Yes it can be done to excess too.


A legitimate weakness, though holing up in a Rope Trick, Tiny Hut, Magnificent Mansion, and the like, or using a Restful Bedroll to gain all your spells in 2 hours can work around that problem.*

Still, sometimes you're just pressed for time and can't rest.

I get irked because I don't think enough on-paper optimization takes into account that sometimes a plot shouldn't allow you the Take Your Time trope. Or that say camping in a hostile dungeon even with Rope Trick isn't necessarily a good idea, if say said dungeon was originally designed by dwarves and the occupiers collapse the room you cast the Rope Trick in.

Now I'm not saying casting isn't overpowered, but I think it is more counterable then generally presented.

Optimystik
2009-10-26, 02:10 PM
Now I'm not saying casting isn't overpowered, but I think it is more counterable then generally presented.

The problem isn't that casters are counterable. A savvy DM can counter anything a wizard can come up with (even Batman); nobody is, or at least should be, disputing that.

The problem is that countering the wizard generally means screwing over the other classes even worse. Those incorporeals you tossed into the fight to stop the tentacle wizard have just ruined the fighter's/rogue's day, yet the wizard still has force missiles and they don't. Similarly, if the party is in a collapsible dwarven dungeon, chances are the wizard has more ways to get out of a bad situation than the fighter does.

Even more mundane counters are a pain for the party. Golems for SR? The rogue is reduced to tears. Antimagic fields? The wizard tosses in orbs/called summons while the fighter's expensively enchanted gear is reduced to masterwork quality. The list goes on.

Arakune
2009-10-26, 03:11 PM
Mostly you're right, but the commercial NWN campaigns suffered from a bad case of 'Apply Arbitrarily High SR/Immunities to Everything Significant.' A surprisingly large number of monsters (especially bosses) in the single-player campaigns were all but immune to most magic. This wasn't a problem for druids or clerics, but the arcane spellcasters I ran through had a harder time than straight-up warriors with some of the key battles because of it.

So far I managed to one-shot a lot of enemies even with the immunity of magic. I mean, when my wiz with Str 8, Con 10 can outfight the Paladin/Blackguard in a swordfight...

Lapak
2009-10-26, 03:18 PM
So far I managed to one-shot a lot of enemies even with the immunity of magic. I mean, when my wiz with Str 8, Con 10 can outfight the Paladin/Blackguard in a swordfight...
Sure, and it's not hard, but you can almost literally walk a melee-classed character through all the main game or either major expansion campaign, right through epic levels, without even paying attention. Which is not usually the way that 3.x works, where melee has it easier than the casters.

Pharaoh's Fist
2009-10-26, 03:20 PM
Or that say camping in a hostile dungeon even with Rope Trick isn't necessarily a good idea, if say said dungeon was originally designed by dwarves and the occupiers collapse the room you cast the Rope Trick in.

Congratulations, you've just killed the entire party*. What does that prove?


*Assuming the Wizard does not have Plane Shift, Etheralness, or like effects.

mostlyharmful
2009-10-26, 03:22 PM
Congratulations, you've just killed the entire party*. What does that prove?


*Assuming the Wizard does not have Plane Shift, Etheralness, or like effects.

To be fair the Cleric gets Plane Shift sooner than the Mage so it's probably them that pulls your ass out of the fire if you're still not in a magnificant mansion. Cleric rescue doesn't do anything much to undermine the whole 'casters rule and everyone melee/skill based suck ass' though.:smallbiggrin:

John Campbell
2009-10-26, 04:44 PM
When was the last time you saw a CRPG allow your caster to cast "fly" on himself and "protection from arrows"? you are now 50 feet in the air (no melee attacks can get you) and immune to all ranged attacks with the exception of spells... no rain down death on your enemies...

Why do people keep saying this? Protection from arrows provides DR 10/magic, and only stops 10 points per caster level, total. This is not immunity to everything but spell damage. Arrows from a +1 bow, or a regular bow with magic weapon cast on it, will bypass it completely. Even failing that, a primary combat type can punch right through DR 10 with a halfway decent damage roll, and whittles away at its capacity with every shot, even if he fails to penetrate.

My half-orc ranger does 6 to 13 points of damage per shot with his bow (possibly more, if I get my favored enemy or other circumstantial bonuses), without a scrap of magic, at 2nd level - at which point a wizard can't even cast protection from arrows. I'd knock down a protection from arrows from a wizard a level higher than me with three average-damage shots, and if I rolled even slightly high, would be punching damage right through the DR.

Starbuck_II
2009-10-26, 05:06 PM
Why do people keep saying this? Protection from arrows provides DR 10/magic, and only stops 10 points per caster level, total. This is not immunity to everything but spell damage. Arrows from a +1 bow, or a regular bow with magic weapon cast on it, will bypass it completely. Even failing that, a primary combat type can punch right through DR 10 with a halfway decent damage roll, and whittles away at its capacity with every shot, even if he fails to penetrate.

My half-orc ranger does 6 to 13 points of damage per shot with his bow (possibly more, if I get my favored enemy or other circumstantial bonuses), without a scrap of magic, at 2nd level - at which point a wizard can't even cast protection from arrows. I'd knock down a protection from arrows from a wizard a level higher than me with three average-damage shots, and if I rolled even slightly high, would be punching damage right through the DR.

Yes, but the Wizard can always windwall if he must (blocks all arrows).
And at level 3, how many arrows are magical?

NPCs don't get that much wealth to throw around.

Thrawn4
2009-10-26, 05:52 PM
I don't understand the OP at all. Even in CRPGs like Neverwinter Nights, fighters are still purely optional at high levels.
Well I beat Neverwinter Nights once (totally forget it until this post), and I have to admit that the game was absurdly easy with my priest. I still remember beating two dragons at the same time(!), only "aided" by my thief companion. But as only played it once (lame story and no reason at all to play it again - in contrast to Baldurs Gate) I can't assume this was just because of the spellcaster class. And, of course, NWN is 3rd Ed, while BG applies 2nd.

It occurs to me that all this earth-shattering-kaboom spells shouldn't be available at the next magic shop but be part of quest, like the Holy Greatsword +5. At leat that's what I think...
Or at least some SERIOUS nerfing...
I'm not sure I would have fun in these circumstances.

deuxhero
2009-10-26, 05:55 PM
Firstly, computer based D&D games aren't a good indicator on the strength of spellcasters as they are limited to what the game makes available.


Temple of Elemental Evil comes decently close. No fly, but casters are still perfectly able to shut down encounters with minimal thought.

mostlyharmful
2009-10-26, 05:56 PM
It occurs to me that all this earth-shattering-kaboom spells shouldn't be available at the next magic shop but be part of quest, like the Holy Greatsword +5. At leat that's what I think...
Or at least some SERIOUS nerfing...
I'm not sure I would have fun in these circumstances.

The problem is that the magic in question ISN'T the uber-gamebreaking stuff, it's the stuff like Illusion and conjuration that rewards creative thinking and intelligent gameplay that computers just can't deal with. You going to make every mage in your campaign world go on a great quest for Silent Image? Grease? Haste? how about Polymorph? or Planer Binding?

Starbuck_II
2009-10-26, 06:27 PM
Temple of Elemental Evil comes decently close. No fly, but casters are still perfectly able to shut down encounters with minimal thought.

Web is better than Paper version due to no need to anchor it between to places.

Thrawn183
2009-10-26, 07:12 PM
OP, who are you and what have you done with my namesake!?

John Campbell
2009-10-26, 07:22 PM
Yes, but the Wizard can always windwall if he must (blocks all arrows).
Wind wall is also overrated. It blocks all arrows, yes, but only arrows that pass through it. It's fixed-position, so it doesn't move with the caster and can't be adjusted to block changing lines of attack. It must run along the ground, so a flying caster has to stay fairly low to get any protection at all from it. It's a vertical wall, so no matter how you shape it, it's open at top and bottom (the former is probably the more exploitable trait, of course, because the bottom must be on the ground). And it only provides complete deflection against arrows and bolts - sling bullets, thrown daggers, spears, axes, shuriken, and whatnot, or even just thrown rocks, have only a 30% miss chance.

And all you have to do to bypass it completely is move to the same side of it as the wizard. It's pretty easy to move significant distances and still get ranged full attacks, without using any magic or even feats, especially if the fight is on the Infinite Featureless Plane of Death that always seems to be assumed so as to let the wizard fly around as much as he wants - and where the archer can ride his mount.


And at level 3, how many arrows are magical?
At level 3... not many, though a dedicated archer might have taken advantage of the relatively low price of magical ammo to pick up a few. At level 5, when a wizard can actually cast the other half of the protection from arrows + fly trick, they're rather more common.

And magic weapon is a 1st level spell.

And, again, you don't need magic weapons to punch through the DR that protection from arrows provides... though they certainly help, in that they render the spell utterly ineffectual. You just need a sufficiently big hammer, and, even at low levels, primary combat types generally have that hammer. Dishing out large amounts of HP damage is what they do.

(The ranger I mentioned in my last post is, admittedly, an archery specialist who accordingly reluctantly bent over for the ridiculous screwage built into getting a high-end Str-rated composite longbow, but I could do just as well damage-wise throwing spears. Actually, better - I could rage and apply that Str boost to thrown weapon damage, where I get screwed out of it with my bow.)

Now, I'm not saying that these spells aren't effective magical defenses (though protection from arrows in particular goes from pretty good to nigh-useless awfully fast - you hit the point pretty quickly where anything that can make ranged attacks at all ignores DR/magic) but those combos are not the I Win Button that they're frequently made out to be. They certainly don't make the wizard immune to anything but spell damage, as was initially claimed (and I've seen similar claims before).


NPCs don't get that much wealth to throw around.

And NPCs are a lot more likely to have picked up magical ammo, because the only-works-once isn't so much of a drawback when they're unlikely to ever be in more than one encounter. Come to that, magic ammo is a good way for the DM to boost the power level of encounters without significantly increasing the amount of loot that falls into the PCs' hands once they kill the NPCs and take their stuff. Even if the NPCs didn't expend it on the PCs, the PCs only get one use of it themselves.

Myrmex
2009-10-26, 07:26 PM
NPCs should almost always come equipped with basic 1,000 to 2,000 gp magic items and oodles of potions, scrolls, partially charged wands, etc. Consumables on NPCs works fantastically.

taltamir
2009-10-26, 07:37 PM
Temple of Elemental Evil does allow all that, but the game is so buggy that you may gain fly once, but next time you load save might be corrupted (happened to me 4 times so far but I'm not giving up).

are you using the circle of eight mod pack?
http://www.co8.org/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=14