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  1. Admittedly, while Planescape: Torment did have a much smaller variety of spells to choose from than other Infinity Engine games, one spell in particular stands out in my eyes as almost superior in design. Globe of Invulnerability. Unlike the traditional self-targeted sphere which protects individuals from set levels of spells, this one occupied an area - a fairly considerable one. One could cast the globe over an area, and ranged, squishy characters could remain moderately protected inside; Ignus and Co. snug under the sphere, protected from Fire-and-Ice (but not necessarily from Deathbolt or Bladestorm!) and able to at least protect themselves from minor punishment. Others may not have used this spell in the game, considering its sparsity of enemy spell-casters, but I found it quite useful against a certain Deva, and can imagine quite vividly its use as a tactical, defensive utility in Project Eternity. But why draw the line there? Sure, Chanters and other such classes may have auras that follow them around, but what about things like Magic Circles of (Minor up to Greater) Regeneration that are magically inscribed into a region of the battlefield, giving a choice area of the field a natural tactical advantage? "I've sustained several bleeding wounds, but I can last a little longer if I stay inside the circle!" Tactical disadvantages in the field are already aplenty in CRPG titles - Get out of the Cloudkill! - No, you fool, you've just run into a Meteor Swarm! - You HAD to just get caught in the Web, didn't you? In Icewind Dale there were Undead Wards, behind which a meagre party of four could hide (assuming that their turn undead skill was strong enough!) when the swarms of shades and skeletons proved too overwhelming. There are bad examples of attempts at this as well: in NWN2, the Wall of Fire and the Wall of Dispel Magic spells occupied a tiny area, were straight (therefore being easily circumvented) and did pathetic damage (therefore having little stopping power). But if they were circular or wider, a surrounded party might erect a shield of flames to at least deter the monsters' approach. It wouldn't be necessarily as strong as, say, casting Sunfire/Fireburst might be, but it avoids hurting the party and can work in protracted situations ( *SPOILER INCOMINGlike the fight during the reforging of the Sword of Gith SPOILER OVER, BREATHE EASY). Of course, the disadvantage of being locked to a certain position in the battlefield remains, which could still be exploited by the foe. You have a fire-shield? We have a fire-ball. - You have a warding circle? We have spears. Now, I would by no means argue the preclusion of individual protective magics - perhaps area defenses such as these would be higher-tier than individual defenses, maybe channeled or something if they are particularly powerful (Undead Ward was level 5). Perhaps the player characters wouldn't have access to them or use them much at all, and they would be the tactical responses of enemy bands, who already have positional control of an area and now can influence where they fight positively as well as negatively. Naturally, a mage fighting on his own wouldn't shield an entire area. Maybe one's front-line friends are dashing about the battlefield to reach distant foes and don't want to sit around in some silly circle. But the fact that one has the option to do so, in an environment when it could prove useful (like being surrounded by Hook Horrors that are scurrying on the ceiling only to drop down and flank with terrifying agility, or being ambushed by a patrol of bandits) makes the battlefield come alive. Spell-casters should have such defensive tactics open to them. They are useful, call for thought and imagination on part of the player (whether they are the attacker or defender), and above all are very cool. There are so many possibilities in what has been a largely unexplored region of magic in CRPGs, perhaps born of the eventual ability of most parties to just walk through hordes as if they were a stiff breeze and thus not need to be in any one place. But if the combat of Project Eternity is truly to be rich, difficult and with variety, in which characters can't just walk past each other in endless congo-lines of aggression, surely it is things like this which will make a pitched battle feel like a pitched battle, and not a glorified room-clearing.
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