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The (un)usefullness of mages

mage balance hp casting

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#21
TrashMan

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1. You can't use the Weapon Finesse feat with a longsword.
2. You can't take the Weapon Specialization feat without FOUR levels of fighter AND Weapon Focus.
3. Gaseous Form makes it impossible for you to attack and do damage. It is strictly a stealth/locomotion spell.
4. Mage Armor doesn't stack with Bracers of Armor--both grant an Armor bonus.



If you're going to blither about how to build a mage who can function without spells, it helps if you actually know the system you're talking about.


A rules laywer...great.

Listen, I don't have the character sheet with me, so I'm pretty much talking from my memory - and it has been a few months.

The point isn't if I got the name of the feat right (it was Weapon Focus, not Specilization) or not, the point is that you can make a mage that can take care of itself in battle.

Also, who ever said using Braces of Armor and Mage Armor at the same time. I was saying that either is a possiblity.

If you want to build a truly functional 3.0 or 3.5 D&D fallback for an elven wizard or sorcerer, though, you pick up a longbow. No need for a feat, because the bow already uses dex for your to-hit bonus. Greater Magic Weapon, Bracers of Archery, and Tenser's Transformation can help make up for the serious base attack bonus deficit that wizards have (particularly at higher levels). And, of course, if you're 21st level or better, you can Shapechange into a Solar which gives you DR 15/epic and evil, fly 150 (good), immunity to acid, cold, and petrification, regeneration 15, resist electricity and fire 10, and spell resistance 32 just for starters. Not to mention +21 natural armor, +18 strength, +10 dex, and +10 con. Ahh, Shapechange. The original "I win everything" spell. Lasts all day. Lets you turn into any creature of less than deity status. So, so broken.


I know. But I didn't want that.
The character concept was a sword mage and Irolled with it, even if it wasn't optimal.


Casters being near-useless once they are "out" of spells is actually a DESIRABLE condition, part of a functional game balance in games where casters have many, varied, POWERFUL spells. It is the ONLY thing holding them back. Otherwise casters are absolutely the most powerful classes across the board no contest.


The question becomes "how useless".

#22
Osvir

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Keep in mind, folks, that mages in P:E are already known to be much more combat effective characters than in D&D -- we've been specifically told that mages commonly wear heavy armor (full plate level) due to guns making their previous arcane defenses inadequate. I'd judge it likely that the "Gandalf" version of mages (can cast spells and fight more conventionally) is far closer to the developers vision than the standard D&D "hide in the corner when you run out of spells" version.


Commonly wear heavy armor?? Commonly?? Are you saying that my magic barrier can't block bullets? :(

Personal opinion/Idea, worded weirdly: I am getting the impression/assuming and hoping really that there are going to be many different Mage's, and they will be distinctly different. That the Evoker is truly an Evoker, and an Enchanter is truly an Enchanter. Like completely different skill trees, restrictions and limitations.

Edited by Osvir, 03 October 2012 - 03:44 AM.


#23
ogrezilla

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Becoming slightly useless in a fight when out of spells is part of the trade-off for being very powerful when fully prepared, everything works as intended

It will be interesting to know how magic even works in Eternity, who knows, their might not even be a situation when a character is out of spells.


There was a long discussion with one of the devs - characters will run out of spells during fights if the idea doesn't radically change before they start programming it.


So basically, mages are going to be nerfed like usual, sucks for us who play mage characters...like usual. Also, they said we can play solo, so I would like them to explain how a mage could go through a game solo without being forced to learn something unmagey things. Someone explained mages as glass cannons, they are super powerful, but they are weak physically, that was the trade off. I do agree to a point, but they dont need to be so weak that one hit kills mages (I have had that happen in a few games...I was like, what the hell just happened?!?!?!). They did say mages would wear armour, which I suppose is good, but I an not a fan of them being forced to use swords or other wepons, that is another class all together.

simply put, nobody has said that.

#24
MReed

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Keep in mind, folks, that mages in P:E are already known to be much more combat effective characters than in D&D -- we've been specifically told that mages commonly wear heavy armor (full plate level) due to guns making their previous arcane defenses inadequate. I'd judge it likely that the "Gandalf" version of mages (can cast spells and fight more conventionally) is far closer to the developers vision than the standard D&D "hide in the corner when you run out of spells" version.


Commonly wear heavy armor?? Commonly?? Are you saying that my magic barrier can't block bullets? :(


Yeap -- it was confirmed in a dev post about "How do guns work in Project Eternity". I'll see if I can dig up the post / thread later, though (it isn't in the dev post thread).

#25
PsychoBlonde

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A rules laywer...great.


I can spell lawyer, too. And I haven't played 3.0 or 3.5 in YEARS.

If you don't want your casters running around throwing a bunch of unimpressive pew-pew spells, it's generally best to have them be pretty durn useless when they hit OOM. Why? Because otherwise what reason do you have to conserve your resources and not just throw everything + the kitchen sink at every encounter?

The Mage I'm currently foodling around with in Dragon Age: Origins is a prime example of this. There is absolutely no reason for any other party member to exist, my mage can solo everything--her armor and resists are so high that she's pretty much indestructible. AND she can throw enormous CC effects AND AOE damage when she feels like it. And heal. When mages can do everything but fighters and rogues have limitations (they can't heal or CC very well, and they certainly don't get instant-death or big resistance/immunity spells), the system is degenerate. It is not complex, interesting, or mechanically functional.

Of course, you CAN do a system like Diablo 3 where the difference between a wizard and a Barbarian is one of style more than substance. Both do damage. Both buff and debuff. Both have big flashy effects. But then the whole OOM problem is moot because you never really are OOM and reduced in effectiveness.

But, here's the thing--DIablo 3 is terribly boring. It's hard to summon up any interest in trying another class or build in that game because they really are functionally about the same. So if you want to build a system with the kind of depth that keeps people coming back, that means that different builds need to look, feel, and play *very* differently. This is even HARDER in a party-based game because you (pretty much) will wind up playing ALL of the classes at least a little. So you're best off with having way more potential builds than the available party members can cover.

Part of accomplishing that is in having limitations, so that the various builds have very different approaches to timing, application, resource use and regeneration. This is why casters get OOM while fighters don't get Out of Swings. Granted, you could just as easily reverse that and create a caster who endlessly pew-pews away while the fighter gets several big attacks and then falls over exhausted, but either way there's going to be this differential between the classes. (And even if you don't have classes, this differential between builds needs to exist in some way.)

Or, you could just make a boring-ass game that people will only play through once. That's an option too.
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#26
ogrezilla

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this game is not using D&D rules, is it? It might take some ideas, but there's no reason to expect this game to limit itself with rules designed for a completely different type of game. The devs will balance things on their own because it makes sense for this game, not because some dungeons and dragons manual told them to.

Edited by ogrezilla, 03 October 2012 - 04:17 AM.

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#27
Lady Evenstar

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Becoming slightly useless in a fight when out of spells is part of the trade-off for being very powerful when fully prepared, everything works as intended

It will be interesting to know how magic even works in Eternity, who knows, their might not even be a situation when a character is out of spells.


There was a long discussion with one of the devs - characters will run out of spells during fights if the idea doesn't radically change before they start programming it.


So basically, mages are going to be nerfed like usual, sucks for us who play mage characters...like usual. Also, they said we can play solo, so I would like them to explain how a mage could go through a game solo without being forced to learn something unmagey things. Someone explained mages as glass cannons, they are super powerful, but they are weak physically, that was the trade off. I do agree to a point, but they dont need to be so weak that one hit kills mages (I have had that happen in a few games...I was like, what the hell just happened?!?!?!). They did say mages would wear armour, which I suppose is good, but I an not a fan of them being forced to use swords or other wepons, that is another class all together.


So long as they deliver on the super powerful part as well as the physically weak bit. If mages are physically weak and more prone to run out of resources than other classes, their spells should hit much harder than attacks by classes not burdened with similar restrictions.

#28
TrashMan

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If you don't want your casters running around throwing a bunch of unimpressive pew-pew spells, it's generally best to have them be pretty durn useless when they hit OOM. Why? Because otherwise what reason do you have to conserve your resources and not just throw everything + the kitchen sink at every encounter?


Is this directed at me?
Because you and I practicly want the same thing.

I DO want for mages to run out of spells and I DO want for their efficiency to plummet.
However, I don't want their efficency to go so low that after that they can't contribute anything at all anymore.

No one said to turn a mage into mele-monster (unless he uses spells..but in that case he's only a melle monster as long as he has spells).

But if you BUILD him to cover his weakneses then he should be reasonably capable.




Part of accomplishing that is in having limitations, so that the various builds have very different approaches to timing, application, resource use and regeneration. This is why casters get OOM while fighters don't get Out of Swings.


With fatigue, it would play pretty much teh same as D&D, except that fighters too could grow tired. Not as fast as mages, so they would have plenty of "swings" and they would never really run out (they'd just have penalties).

#29
DCParry

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Also, for the love of all that is unholy, Gandalf was for all intents and purposes a DEMIGOD.

Sigh.

#30
TrashMan

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Also, for the love of all that is unholy, Gandalf was for all intents and purposes a DEMIGOD.

Sigh.


Just like high-level D&D mages....

* ZING *

Edited by TrashMan, 03 October 2012 - 05:04 AM.


#31
ogrezilla

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Also, for the love of all that is unholy, Gandalf was for all intents and purposes a DEMIGOD.

Sigh.


Just like high-level D&D mages....

* ZING *

except gandalf was way more badass duel wielding a sword and a staff

I am hoping the game allows for a wide variety of mages. Old school mages that don't cast often, but when they cast you damn sure notice. Mages that are able to actually hold their own with a weapon. Even mages that are more of a steady stream of mediocre spells if that's anybody's cup of tea.

Edited by ogrezilla, 03 October 2012 - 05:34 AM.

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#32
Elerond

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Also, for the love of all that is unholy, Gandalf was for all intents and purposes a DEMIGOD.

Sigh.


Just like high-level D&D mages....

* ZING *


http://en.wikipedia....a_(Middle-earth)

Gandalf was one of the maiar, creatures which one could call godlike creatures or demigods.
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#33
curryinahurry

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Also, for the love of all that is unholy, Gandalf was for all intents and purposes a DEMIGOD.

Sigh.


Just like high-level D&D mages....

* ZING *

except gandalf was way more badass duel wielding a sword and a staff

I am hoping the game allows for a wide variety of mages. Old school mages that don't cast often, but when they cast you damn sure notice. Mages that are able to actually hold their own with a weapon. Even mages that are more of a steady stream of mediocre spells if that's anybody's cup of tea.


This is actually something that I too hope for in the game and this thread maybe a good place for people to post ideas for how they might imagine mages in this setting.

TrashMan's OP is fine as are his exmples; why not offer an opinion on what you might want in this setting based on your post?

How about a mage/ arcane scientist that slings spells and can also create contraptions or make special rounds to fire froma musket for when his spells get depleted

Or a mage/ alchemist that can brew potions to lob as crowd control and fire spells into slowed or held mobs

Or a mage illusionist build with rogue skills that can cast simulacra type spell, hide inshadows or go invisible, sneak around behind bewildered enemies and deliver backstabs/ trips, cheap shots what have you
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#34
TrashMan

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Also, for the love of all that is unholy, Gandalf was for all intents and purposes a DEMIGOD.

Sigh.


Just like high-level D&D mages....

* ZING *


http://en.wikipedia....a_(Middle-earth)

Gandalf was one of the maiar, creatures which one could call godlike creatures or demigods.


I know all about LOTR. Read everytihng Tolkien wrote.

Thou art missing the point.

#35
Mattku

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I think whatever Obsidian does with mages will work out well. They are not strangers to the genre, and I am sure they will do a good job of balancing the usefullness of each class.

I think it may be wise to look at P:E as a chance to do something new with some of the classes, instead of using the same old formula. That being said I am a fan of the D&D class system (even with all its problems) and wouldn't be sad if P:E's class system worked very similar to D&D's.
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#36
1varangian

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As long as you can build a Mage to be able to fight off at least some minions without spells it's all good. Sacrifice a little bit of magic potential to be able to fight a bit.

#37
smithereen

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As far as I can recall, DA2 was the only game I ever played where mages were arguably not a top-tier class, so I'm not worried about them being (un)useful. It was actually be refreshing for them to have a real weakness again.

#38
mikayel

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Hahahahaha, I wish I could give Psychoblonde a fist-bump.

If scroll-scribing is in the game, then wizards and clerics should NEVER run out of spells, end of story. In ToEE you used your innate spell slots for meta-magic or for high level spells that you didn't want to sacrifice hundreds of XP for. Otherwise, all of your web, magic missile, fireball, haste, enlarge person, etc. was cast from scrolls because they were cheap, you could have a ton of 'em, and more importantly they allowed for many, many more castings of spells.

The IE games had no such feature, and neither did NWN I believe so you had to either buy scrolls to cast 'em (most would consider this not-worth it unless they needed a specific gimmick for a fight) or you had to find 'em. In real D&D you make your own arsenal -- that's why in KotC my wizards ran around wielding wands of fireball +1 and would just rain artillery-hell on everyone while the cleric and knight kept the stronger monsters at bay for them to eventually unload more useful spells.

As for making a fighter-mage type of character, why not just bring up multi-classing or prestige classes? Eldritch Knight basically made any wizard a good BAB decent HP gish at the cost of one caster level.

Word on the street is that Gandalf was a half-celestial double-halfling cleric of Monochromatus, the god of blandness and neutrality.

Edited by mikayel, 03 October 2012 - 11:30 AM.


#39
smithereen

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^^ That only worked in Neverwinter Nights. In real DnD, to become an Eldrich Knight you needed a level of a combat primary class - the class requirement was proficiency with all martial weapons, which you couldn't take as a feat.

#40
Kitan

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I just hope that there are some interesting non-combat or at least non damage spells... I know there's a lot of spells that don't do much sense in a PC game if it doesn't support the mechanics but spells like leomund's tiny hut, water walking, flying bla... there's just more to a mage than being a walking artillery and lately in games all a wizard could do was bomb the place...
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