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Ooh! "The Tactics is" game. I'll play!

 

-Tactics is camoflaging or otherwise rendering invisible your party members who have low saves when in the presense of a powerful mage or other deadly, spell slinging opponent who can kill you with one spell.

 

-Tactics is silencing that mage at the very outset of an encounter.

 

-Tactics is dazing that mage, or stunning that mage, or blinding that mage, or deafening that mage or Holding that mage, Or even directly engaging that mage in a spell battle, where he's forced to focus on counter/defensive spells, instead of the nasty offensive stuff he or his AI had been planning to toss at you.

 

-Tactics is surrounding that mage with summons, so that if he does cast Disentigrate, it will be at them, not your party.

 

-Tactics can even involve willingly sending your most useless party member to engage that mage in the hopes that the mage will waste his nastier spells on him instead of your vital-to-winning, big players.

 

-In the meantime, other gameplay tactics include keeping an eye out for scrolls, wands or other magics that can Raise dead party members, you know, just in case your tactics don't succeed as planned.

 

But this is all falling on deaf ears. It's been more than a half a decade since an RPG came around that allowed for such refreshingly *good* tactical combat. I bet you're absolutely giddy about that too. You and your Xbox Live Friends. <gag>

Edited by Stun
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I'll add to Stun's comment above;

 

-Tactics is not whining about abilities that inconvenience you & make the game a bit harder until the developers have them removed.

 

-Tactics is anything in-game that gives you an advantage in winning the fight.

Edited by Randomthom

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I'd be very pleased if a "death-spell-mage" doesn't throw his "sniper-one-shot-death" against my obviosly weak summoned minions. This tactic was the death of all beholders etc. I encountered. They just throw away their potential.

 

An Opponent with an instant death ability should be very nasty in using it. Therefore I expect a quite good AI for them.

 

In every other way the difficulty of the game should be determinated by the needed tactic to defeat that opponent. (Increasing difficulty isn't just pushing up HP)

 

@ Stun, Lephys and Karkarov: I lost sight what you really want. I want instant death for some of the "boss" monsters and characters. I want only up to 10 types of instant death with high risks and consequences for the caster. I want only 1use per type. And I don't want something as an resistance check, because your tactic has to fail until the flash of green light comes.

 

But I want instant death to exist in that game.

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I want instant death spells of various power. the lower teir ones should start at the mid level range, with players and enemies acquring them around level 12. These spells should be limited in what they can kill... say... targets of up to 10th level in power.

 

After that, Insta death spells should become increasingly more powerful. at 15th level, each spell-casting class should have access to at least one insta-death spell that can kill any mortal creature of any level.

 

At 20th level+ the cataclysmic, "game changer" stuff should become avaliable. They should come with long casting times, and they should induce fatigue on the caster (like haste does in the IE games). If they're single target, then this target should be forced to make a saving throw with a significant penalty, to drive the point home that this spell is more powerful, and more useful, than its 15th level variant. If the spell is an AOE effect, then no save penalty, but a large area of effect.

 

I'd also be alright with various creature specific death spells. Such as Undeath to death (spell that insta-kills undead), or Elemental expulsion (spells that will insta-kill elementals, or magically conjured creatures.)

 

 

As for non spells. Yes, I most definitely support death-based traps. And I'd support giving Monks some love. Their pinnacle ability should be a once-per-day quivering palm-like power. And Cyphers should get something like that too. Perhaps a power that can terrify an opponent's mind and cause a heart attack (think Phantasmal Killer).

 

Weapons- I'm not so much in favor of fusing insta-death effects on weapons. The beauty of magic weapons should be in their debilitating effects. Think poison, bleeding, slowing, stunning, holding. Stuff like that.

 

 

And I don't want something as an resistance check, because your tactic has to fail until the flash of green light comes.

A good system allows for manipulation of those resistance checks. IWD2 did this marvelously. You could "soften up" your target's ability to resist by first casting spells like doom, malison, Prayer and bane (all stackable.) Then when the target's saves are in the negatives, you unleash your finger of death.... and he dies. Edited by Stun
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 These spells should be limited in what they can kill... say... targets of up to 10th level in power.

 

 

While I dislike deathspells in general, these ones are super annoying.

 

Point death ray at 10th level character and he dies, point at 11th level character and he doesn't even get a nosebleed!

An arbitrary line, crossing it transforms the ray from ultimate destroyer to something less useful than a 1st level magic missile.

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-Tactics is camoflaging or otherwise rendering invisible your party members who have low saves when in the presense of a powerful mage or other deadly, spell slinging opponent who can kill you with one spell.

 

-Tactics is silencing that mage at the very outset of an encounter.

 

-Tactics is dazing that mage, or stunning that mage, or blinding that mage, or deafening that mage or Holding that mage, Or even directly engaging that mage in a spell battle, where he's forced to focus on counter/defensive spells, instead of the nasty offensive stuff he or his AI had been planning to toss at you.

 

-Tactics is surrounding that mage with summons, so that if he does cast Disentigrate, it will be at them, not your party.

 

-Tactics can even involve willingly sending your most useless party member to engage that mage in the hopes that the mage will waste his nastier spells on him instead of your vital-to-winning, big players.

 

-In the meantime, other gameplay tactics include keeping an eye out for scrolls, wands or other magics that can Raise dead party members, you know, just in case your tactics don't succeed as planned.

You realize nothing you just posted has anything to do with instant death attacks?  Silencing a Caster in D&D is a viable strategy regardless of what spells they are casting.  Even if the best tool they got is "Magic Missile" having a rogue sneak up and stun them is still a reasonable thing to do. 

 

There is only one strategy for specifically dealing with instant death spells.  Have a protection from death effect on the character.  Removing instant death magic has no effect on the depth of combat, it just means I don't need to buff myself to specifically protect against death attacks anymore.  I can still cast hold on casters, I can still surround casters with summons, I can still send my weakest party member to distract casters, I can still focus fire casters with ranged attacks, etc etc etc. 

 

None of that hinges on them having death spells.

 

 

But I want instant death to exist in that game.

Fair enough Morgulon but my point is really simple.  Death magic is a farce and actually adds no depth to the game.  It just encourages save scumming or forces precasts of specific buffs "just in case".  If it adds nothing worth having to the mix, it shouldn't be in game.  Death magic doesn't add anything worth having.

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-Tactics is camoflaging or otherwise rendering invisible your party members who have low saves when in the presense of a powerful mage or other deadly, spell slinging opponent who can kill you with one spell.

 

-Tactics is silencing that mage at the very outset of an encounter.

 

-Tactics is dazing that mage, or stunning that mage, or blinding that mage, or deafening that mage or Holding that mage, Or even directly engaging that mage in a spell battle, where he's forced to focus on counter/defensive spells, instead of the nasty offensive stuff he or his AI had been planning to toss at you.

 

-Tactics is surrounding that mage with summons, so that if he does cast Disentigrate, it will be at them, not your party.

 

-Tactics can even involve willingly sending your most useless party member to engage that mage in the hopes that the mage will waste his nastier spells on him instead of your vital-to-winning, big players.

 

-In the meantime, other gameplay tactics include keeping an eye out for scrolls, wands or other magics that can Raise dead party members, you know, just in case your tactics don't succeed as planned.

You realize nothing you just posted has anything to do with instant death attacks?  Silencing a Caster in D&D is a viable strategy regardless of what spells they are casting.  Even if the best tool they got is "Magic Missile" having a rogue sneak up and stun them is still a reasonable thing to do. 

 

There is only one strategy for specifically dealing with instant death spells.  Have a protection from death effect on the character.  Removing instant death magic has no effect on the depth of combat, it just means I don't need to buff myself to specifically protect against death attacks anymore.  I can still cast hold on casters, I can still surround casters with summons, I can still send my weakest party member to distract casters, I can still focus fire casters with ranged attacks, etc etc etc. 

 

None of that hinges on them having death spells.

 

 

 

I think you're missing his point, perhaps deliberately.

 

You're right, none of those are directly to do with instant death spells. It doesn't stop them from being good tactics for countering an instant death spell. What he/we are saying is that, if death ward is the only tactic that you can see to an instant death spell then you're not thinking tactically.

 

This is the difference between a 'counter' and a 'tactic'. The other difference is that tactics are things you use in the game, counters are things you argue about on forums...

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Oh, side question, are you against the inclusion of the Maze spell? (Or non-WotC equivalent)

So yeah, just like every other ability or attack that takes all planning out of the equation I don't like Maze either.  Also it isn't me who is deliberately missing the point.  Take instant death out.  Get rid of it.  Now... I want you to tell me how you approach a fight with a high level caster knowing that he has no instant death attacks.  Not maze, not power word kill, not anything like that.

 

You have your plan?

 

Okay.

 

Now assume he has power word kill.

 

Has your plan actually changed in any significant way?

 

Do you understand what I am saying now?

Edited by Karkarov
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One of the points the pro faction had so far is that you have to plan around an instant death setting. It can be refreshing to have a setting with some certain other things that happen. For example your weakest party member gets killed or kidnapped if a boss fight lasts too much time.

 

It is only really annoying if instant death mages are standard settings.

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Fair enough Morgulon but my point is really simple.  Death magic is a farce and actually adds no depth to the game.  It just encourages save scumming or forces precasts of specific buffs "just in case".  If it adds nothing worth having to the mix, it shouldn't be in game.  Death magic doesn't add anything worth having.

 

 

 

 

Like I said it adds "pressure" to your decisions: knowing that a spell will certainly kill you is not the same as "I´ll just take damage / use my greater potion". That alone can make a battle completely different cause you now have a priority: you need to silence that mage, shut down that trap, reveal that thief that just went into the shadows vs your mage or even hold/trap the monk with his death-palm attack.

And sometimes it has ROLEPLAY sense: you mess with the death god? then just be obliterated, the lava flooded the room? you are no more than ashes. Damage has no sense at certain difference of power or situations.

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So yeah, just like every other ability or attack that takes all planning out of the equation I don't like Maze either.

What?

 

Maze does not take planning out of the equation. It's a spell with a non-lethal, non-physically harming temporary effect used to delay a threat for a short period of time. It's essentially no different than any other Disable. I never bothered using it in BG2 (the only IE game that had it) because it was next to worthless when compared to the other 8th level spells (why bother with a harmless delaying spell when you could, instead, take a spell like Abi Dhalzim's Horrid Wilting and just nuke the entire battlefield with something that will do 70-80 points of damage to EVERY ENEMY AT ONCE.)

 

However, that doesn't mean that it can't be used as the very centerpoint of any game plan that is based on either phases or timing.  For example: you're in a boss battle and you're kicking his ass, then suddenly, He summons a nasty, spell-casting minion out of the blue. Normally, this could be a game changer; a complete turning point in the fight. But, you can use Maze to get that Summon out of the way for a few rounds so that you can continue to focus on the Boss, possibly kill him and then be ready to take on his summon in full force when it comes back from its extra-dimensional prison thing.

 

Also it isn't me who is deliberately missing the point.  Take instant death out.  Get rid of it.  Now... I want you to tell me how you approach a fight with a high level caster knowing that he has no instant death attacks.  Not maze, not power word kill, not anything like that.

 

You have your plan?

 

Okay.

 

Now assume he has power word kill.

 

Has your plan actually changed in any significant way?

Maybe, maybe not. The first thing that usually pops into an experienced player's mind when he faces a powerful mage is: Ok, I'm going to need to pad my health and my resistances, since mages are known to shoot off spells that do a lot more damage than a sword swing. And that's just the defensive part of the thinking process. The offensive is a little more variable, but there are the unchanging basics: All mages have the same achilles heel(s). 1)If you silence them, they're as good as dead. 2)if you disrupt their spells, they cannot harm you. So you go from there. If you succeed in #1 or #2 then it won't matter at all what spell he's got ready to toss your way.

 

And if you don't, your own defense (padding your health) will be good enough to defend against Power Word: Kill.

 

Do you understand what I'm saying now.

Not really, no. It seems like you're trying to argue that Insta-death spells are some weird thing in a combat that stick out like a sore thumb. But the fact of the matter is that they, invariably, only rear their ugly heads at the high levels, when your party and your enemies already have a bajillion tools at their disposal. Thus, they do not affect game balance, nor do they impact combat enough to render it untactical. They're merely another tool.

 

Their Beauty and value though, as something that keeps even good players on their toes (fear of death will do that), cannot be understated.

Edited by Stun
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I think you're missing his point, perhaps deliberately.

 

You're right, none of those are directly to do with instant death spells. It doesn't stop them from being good tactics for countering an instant death spell.

That's a fine point. Really it is. But it still doesn't eliminate another point: That anything other than "counter that ability" is not a viable choice against death spells.

 

If you face a Warrior and a Mage, you have 2 threats, and multiple ways to deal with both at once. Maybe you engage both at once. Maybe your party is heavily armored, so you're more worried about the Mage. Maybe your party is more weakly-armored, so you worry more about the Warrior. You're not forced to address one in the same way every time, regardless of the circumstances. If that Mage has an insta-death spell, how's the "We'll worry about him later" tactic gonna work? How is anything BUT "make everyone invisible" or "kill him immediately" or "silence him," etc. a viable choice?

 

I'm not saying that's the end of the world. I'm merely saying that it's always a more limited set of viable choices than you'd have if dealing with any other ability on the planet. Every other ability in the game has a variable effect that's dependent upon circumstances. An insta-death ability does not have this. You stop it from being used, or you stop it from landing. You have far more options than that against any other ability, ever.

 

So, when you have 10 abilities in the game, and you add an insta-death one. Sure, you just added an 11th ability, so obviously there's a greater total number of things to deal with. However, that's true of ANY 11th ability, as compared to only 10. A more apt comparison would be to replace a current ability, of the 10, with an insta-death spell. Then tell me you didn't just lose something. "Well, I could've reacted to that firestorm in 17 different ways. But, now that it's insta-death, I pretty much have to either stop it from being used or stop it from successfully affecting anyone at all."

 

If they wanna put them in the game, then awesome. It's not the end of the world. But that has nothing to do with the fact that an insta-death ability always reduces the number of factors involved in viable tactical combat decision-making as compared to any other, non-binary-effect ability.

 

If you still like them, awesome. You're not dumb for that. If you want them in the game, awesome. But if you're going to tell me that's false, then you might as well tell me that 2 + 2 is 5.

 

Personally, I'd rather always have a greater range of tactics to use in a given dilemma, than a lesser range. I don't want to get to the point in the game at which we face 3 insta-death-wielding necromancers and 5 other melee combatants and face an encounter 17-times more difficult than any other in the game, purely because I didn't spend all my party's points on the highest Save-vs-Death values I could get and I lack the ability to prevent 3 necromancers from firing off a single spell before I kill them without the rest of the enemy group slaughtering me for ignoring them completely.

 

*shrug*. Call me crazy.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Do you understand what I'm saying now.

Not really, no. It seems like you're trying to argue that Insta-death spells are some weird thing in a combat that stick out like a sore thumb. But the fact of the matter is that they, invariably, only rear their ugly heads at the high levels, when your party and your enemies already have a bajillion tools at their disposal. Thus, they do not affect game balance, nor do they impact combat enough to render it untactical.

Actually it sounds like you almost did understand what I was saying.

 

In a world of prismatic spray, black blade of disaster, chain lightning, fly, stoneskin, anti magic shell, bigby's crushing grasp, tenser's transformation, and god knows what else I would hope the lack of death magic has little to no impact on how you approach a fight with a powerful caster.  There are a million ways to kill a character that are far more effective and way harder to stop than "power word kill".

 

Taking instant death out of the game doesn't actually effect how you tactically approach a powerful caster at all does it?  So if it only encourages a forced pre buff for no other reason than "just in case they cast that", and degenerate gameplay if they do and you aren't protected...  I don't think the game really suffers for it's absence.  It is just one less boring buff for me to waste time casting.

 

That said I actually got real tired of the end game of BG2, because it became less about tactical fights and it became more "counter the mage: the game".  Too bad countering the mage was all combat ever boiled down to a lot of the time at that point.

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In a world of prismatic spray, black blade of disaster, chain lightning, fly, stoneskin, anti magic shell, bigby's crushing grasp, tenser's transformation, and god knows what else I would hope the lack of death magic has little to no impact on how you approach a fight with a powerful caster.  There are a million ways to kill a character that are far more effective and way harder to stop than "power word kill".

Thus the inclusion of death spells, by your own admission, do not negatively impact combat as a whole. Therefore, by arguing for their removal you're simply asking for... LESS. Literally. You're asking game developers to remove some player options that used to exist.

 

At face value, this doesn't seem to be a bad thing, since a case CAN be made (and you've made it on this thread) that stripping away the redundant stuff typically only *helps* a game. But the core of this argument is super detrimental to the Genre as a whole. Dangerous even. It can lead to boring, constricting, soulless games. I can use your argument to ask for severe weapon variety limitations (for example). After all, Why have 4 different types of blunt weapons for the player to choose from, when a game can make due with just one type? I mean, think about it. Does a mace *truly* add anything new to combat that a warhammer doesn't? Is warrior's tactical combat approach going to be any different if he's using a mace than if he uses a warhammer?

 

Hmm?

 

Taking instant death out of the game doesn't actually effect how you tactically approach a powerful caster at all does it?  So if it only encourages a forced pre buff for no other reason than "just in case they cast that", and degenerate gameplay if they do and you aren't protected...  I don't think the game really suffers for it's absence.  It is just one less boring buff for me to waste time casting.

See, this is why I dislike discussions where everything hinges on the examples I've been asked to give. You're wrong here. Flat out wrong. Instant-Death can have a HUGE impact on both combat and the game. Even putting aside the potential narrative/story mutations that a good writer can create, instant, luck-based Death in combat can directly contribute to the tactical gameplay and combat drama itself. Josh Sawyer DODGES this very point whenever someone brings it up. He flat out Refuses to acknoledge the fact that often times, players will NOT reload when one of their party members dies. Instead, they will do the opposite. They'll further immerse themselves in a game's wonderful, strategic, tactical combat, and when they suffer a loss (say, their mage gets insta-killed in the middle of battle) They will NOT just reload. They will NOT 'save scum". They will meet the Fight's challenge head on. They will adjust their tactics on the fly. They will try and figure out how to win that encounter without their mage!<sheesh>

 

Dear Josh Sawyer: Please stop focussing on 'degenerate' gamers and their degenerate gameplay. Focus on the rest of us instead. The *REAL* RPG fans. Please? Thanks.

 

You ask me why I want insta-death spells in a game. THAT is why. Because I *WANT* combat to be an unforgiving, uncushioned challenge without arbitrary limitations. I *WANT* to be faced with the uncertainty that the luck of a dice roll symbolizes. When I get through a tough encounter, I *WANT* to be able to say that I faced death repeatedly and survived. By pushing for the removal of instant death spells, that's all you're doing: removing a very *successful* element of fear and chance.

 

That said I actually got real tired of the end game of BG2, because it became less about tactical fights and it became more "counter the mage: the game".  Too bad countering the mage was all combat ever boiled down to a lot of the time at that point.

Sure, there's been a lot of criticism of BG2's overly mage-centric approach to encounter design. It's a topic for a different discussion though.

Edited by Stun
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I can use your argument to ask for severe weapon variety limitations (for example). After all, Why have 4 different types of blunt weapons for the player to choose from, when a game can make due with just one type? I mean, think about it. Does a mace *truly* add anything new to combat that a warhammer doesn't? Is warrior's tactical combat approach going to be any different if he's using a mace than if he uses a warhammer?

So wait... having different weapon types that work to varying effects under various circumstances is likened to having death spells (which work the same way against everything), and having only a single weapon type that always works the same against everything (because it's the only one) is likened to only having abilities whose effects actually react to various factors and circumstances?

 

That seems a little bizarro to me. *shrug*

 

I'm also confused by how you keep suggesting "death" and "instant, absolute death no matter what" are the same thing. Like, if something can't ignore all factors but one and kill me, I won't be afraid of all the other ways my party can die via tactical complexity.

 

Yes, removing the threat of death from the game would be bad. Removing the threat of death gambling, however, is an entirely separate animal.

Edited by Lephys
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Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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So wait... having different weapon types that work to varying effects under various circumstances

Begging your pardon? Can you describe for me the ways/effects/circumstances in which a mace works differently than a Warhammer?

 

is likened to having death spells(which work the same way against everything),

False. Some death spells only work on specific types of creatures. Some work on all creatures within a specific power range. Some work on all creatures regardless of their level of power. Some act by way of life essense removal, while others are based on bodily destruction (finger of death vs. disentigrate, for instance). Some come in the form of melee weapons and thus must work within the confines of melee combat rules (see: Black blade of disaster) Some are single target, others are AOE. Some have saving throws, others don't. Some require different types of saves than others. Some are "all or nothing" in their natures, others do damage even if the target saves. Some have instant casting times, others have medium or long casting times. Some require a ranged touch. Some require a melee hit. Others don't require either one.

 

Go ahead Lephys, Find me as many functional differences between a mace and a warhammer. Take all the time you need.

 

 

 

absolute death no matter what"

Straw man. There's no such thing. Edited by Stun
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Begging your pardon? Can you describe for me the ways/effects/circumstances in which a mace works differently than a Warhammer?

Oh, I'm sorry... You were referring to simply to like "this mace looks like a mace and deals 8 damage, and this warhammer looks like a warhammer and does 9 damage." My mistake. I thought you were talking about functional differences in weapons. If that's the case, then what difference would there be between having 17 different weapons that all function the same way, and just one weapon type (aside from the mild jollies we get from seeing various models represented and more easily pretending that we're using "different" weapons)?

 

False. Some death spells only work on specific types of creatures. Some work on all creatures within a specific power range. Some work on all creatures regardless of their level of power.

Poor word choice on my part. Their effect is the same, when successful, no matter what. A sword that strikes light/zero armor can deal higher damage and cause bleeding, for example. The exact same sword, wielded by the exact same character, at the exact same level, against the exact same enemy with the exact same HP (who happens to be wearing heavy armor) might deal significantly lower damage and fail to open a bleeding wound.

 

Can you guess what the "Kill Instantly" spell does in both situations? That's correct... it kills instantly.

 

Straw man. There's no such thing.

If there's no such thing, then why have you wasted your breath this entire thread? If a successful hit from a spell (on a valid target; I don't care if there's one spell that works on everything, or 300 different death spells for 300 different enemies... if there's one that works on a given enemy, then obviously that's the one I'm talking about) ignores all other factors and produces the death of that target, then it is an instant-death spell. Otherwise everything that could possibly deal damage would be called a "Possibly-Under-The-Right-Circumstances-Instant-Death-Ability." If you hit me with a stick for 1 damage, and I happen to only have 1 hitpoint left, and am vulnerable to attacks from sticks, that doesn't make your attack an "instant-death" stick attack. It makes it a "circumstantial-death" stick attack. The stick doesn't produce death. It just produces damage. The damage has the potential to cause death.

 

I've been talking about "instant-death" abilities and spells this entire time. The thread is literally named "instant death." What do you not get about "instant" and "death" distinguishing an ability from other abilities? If the effect of the spell is unconditional death, then that's what I'm talking about. If the effect of the spell is not unconditional death, then I'm not even arguing against that.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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Oh, I'm sorry... You were referring to simply to like "this mace looks like a mace and deals 8 damage, and this warhammer looks like a warhammer and does 9 damage." My mistake. I thought you were talking about functional differences in weapons. If that's the case, then what difference would there be between having 17 different weapons that all function the same way, and just one weapon type (aside from the mild jollies we get from seeing various models represented and more easily pretending that we're using "different" weapons)?

LOL

 

What in the world are you babbling about? I asked a very clear, very specific question. If you can't answer it, then just say so. No point in spewing out a stream of incoherant nonsense to try and mask the fact that you're Dodging.

 

Poor word choice on my part. Their effect is the same, when successful, no matter what.

You're saying nothing here, since success is only ONE of the possible outcomes of any of those spells. Or any spell in general. And of course all death spells have "you can die from this!" as a common demoninator. They wouldn't be called Death spells otherwise. DUH. But again, you're saying nothing here. All Sleep based spells have Sleep as a common effect. Should we be getting rid of those too?

 

 

If a successful hit from a spell (on a valid target; I don't care if there's one spell that works on everything, or 300 different death spells for 300 different enemies... if there's one that works on a given enemy, then obviously that's the one I'm talking about) ignores all other factors

Oh? Can you cite me a death spell that ignores all other factors? Because I can't think of a single one. They're ALL governed by many, many factors, various limitations, various caveats.

 

I'll give you a quick example. All spells are subject to an opponent's spell resistance check. (this is seperate from a saving throw, btw.) It's a mechanic that is essentially the same as an Armor rating check on a Warrior who is faced with a sword swing from an opponent in melee. In fact, in 3rd edition D&D, it's EXACTLY the same (same dice roll). Moreover, a mage may make his spell more powerful by taking feats like Spell penetration. And this would be the same as a warrior who takes Weapon focus.

 

This is just the tip of the iceberg. The deeper you dig, here, the more you'll realize that Insta-death spells are Buried in factors. It's as complex and varied as standard melee. It's just different.

 

Do yourself a favor: learn the basics behind the mechanics you're attempting to debate.

 

 

A sword that strikes light/zero armor can deal higher damage and cause bleeding, for example.

That's a big SO WHAT. You are simply describing the nature of melee combat. Magic, (ALL magic, not just insta-death) Works differently than melee, and has always worked differently. Are you in favor of removing all spells that happen to just have one static, unchangeable outcome? Because there's a HELL of a lot more than just Insta-death spells that suffer this so-called "flaw". From a quick guess, I'd estimate that a good 90% do.

 

 

 

 

absolute death no matter what"

Straw man. There's no such thing.

 

If there's no such thing, then why have you wasted your breath this entire thread?

 

I haven't. Never once have I falsely claimed that there's ever been a spell in D&D or in any of the IE games that features absolute death, no matter what. Why? because If I had ever claimed such a thing, I would be ignorantly wrong.

 

You, on the other hand, have repeatedly peddeled this exact claim, even after more than one poster has flooded you with examples to disprove 1) absolute death and 2) no matter what....in every single death spell in D&D and in the IE games.

 

Of course, at this point, you have no *choice* but to utterly ignore all these clear factual examples. To do anything else would be to abandon your STRAW MAN.

Edited by Stun
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How can people make such a big deal out of nothing?

Instant death (& equivalent) effects were always a part of IE games. Were they worse for it? That's news to me!

Did they stand out as being difficult to handle? Hell no!

Did they add to the atmosphere and excitement? Undeniably!

It also goes both ways. When I play a caster, I certainly do want to have instant kills at my disposal. Removing these options can not make game play anything but more limited and poorer. And for what reason? Because some people are afraid to load once or twice?

Since when is having a little accident in a computer game a big no-no? It's E3 now - just look at what happened to Thief series because of such attitude.

Edited by Jajo
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LOL

 

What in the world are you babbling about? I asked a very clear, very specific question. If you can't answer it, then just say so. No point in spewing out a stream of incoherant nonsense to try and mask the fact that you're Dodging.

You specifically chose a mace and a warhammer -- two remarkably similar weapons -- to try to make it look like the very idea of functionally different weapons doesn't even exist. For what reason, I have no idea. So, I chose to actually consider weapons with relevant functional differences.

 

You're saying nothing here, since success is only ONE of the possible outcomes of any of those spells. Or any spell in general. And of course all death spells have "you can die from this!" as a common demoninator. They wouldn't be called Death spells otherwise. DUH. But again, you're saying nothing here. All Sleep based spells have Sleep as a common effect. Should we be getting rid of those too?

Since every other attack/ability in the game possesses a MINIMUM of 2 possible outcomes -- success or failure -- and my point revolves around the differences between instant-death abilities and all other abilities, then we can obviously rule out "failure" as moot to try to evaluate as a difference. I don't know how to make that any clearer.

 

When a sword hits (doesn't fail), it can do multiple things. When a fireball hits (doesn't fail), it can do multiple things. When an instant-death spell hits (doesn't fail), it can do one thing. Reduce your HP to 0. When a sword hits you, it deals a finite, variable amount of damage that does not necessarily reduce your HP to 0. When a fireball strikes you, it deals a finite, variable amount of damage that does not necessarily reduce your HP to 0. When an instant-death spell hits you, it doesn't care how much HP you have, or what your armor is, or any other effect-mitigating/altering factor in the universe. It reduces your HP to 0.

 

Again, I pretty much can't make it any clearer than that. Non-instant-death ability? More than 2 effective outcomes (including failure). Instant-death ability? Only 2 effective outcomes. Hence my use of the term "binary" that you failed so hard to comprehend, then felt the need to act like I was some kind of moron for using.

 

Oh? Can you cite me a death spell that ignores all other factors? Because I can't think of a single one. They're ALL governed by many, many factors, various limitations, various caveats.

I'm sorry. I wasn't aware that P:E would only be copying spells from existing games, and didn't have the potential for unique, novel spells.

 

 

That's a big SO WHAT. You are simply describing the nature of melee combat. Magic, (ALL magic, not just insta-death) Works differently than melee, and has always worked differently. Are you in favor of removing all spells that happen to just have one static, unchangeable outcome? Because there's a HELL of a lot more than just Insta-death spells that suffer this so-called "flaw". From a quick guess, I'd estimate that a good 90% do.

I see you need a breadcrumb trail. All right. I only covered the nature of melee combat? Okay, lightning bolt. Once it hits you, it can deal various amounts of damage, based on lots of factors. Even then, it only deals a finite possible range of damage, so that the extent of the effects of that damage on a given character depend on their current health, possibly armor (or magic resistance... really depends on the system used). Poison: even after it hits you, it deals various amounts of damage, lasts various amounts of time, and even affects other things (such as regeneration of health/stamina in some instances).

 

I don't see how magic and melee working differently has any bearing on the fact that both produce finite and variable effects in contributing towards a character's death. Instant-death spells are the only ones that make it so.

 

Really, the only thing I could think of would be something like petrification. But, if it wasn't a temporary/curable condition like in some games, and was, instead, permanent, then it IS an instant-death spell, just with a slightly different flare. "Instantly kills you by turning you to stone." So, yeah... if all it has to do is actually successfully connect (just like any other ability in the entire universe), and you turn to stone and die, then it is functionally the same thing.

 

If you could give me an example of a spell that isn't an instant-death spell that produces just a single static, invariable effect, that would be so lovely. I would very much appreciate it. ^_^

 

 

I haven't. Never once have I falsely claimed that there's ever been a spell in D&D or in any of the IE games that features absolute death, no matter what. Why? because If I had ever claimed such a thing, I would be ignorantly wrong.

Then that doesn't answer the question of why you've been arguing this whole time against something I've not even been talking about. o_o

 

"You're totally wrong about instant-death spells, because *cites a bunch of D&D/IE spells that he blatantly admits aren't instant-death spells*!!!"

 

Hehe... Also, you keep claiming such spells do not exist? Well, neither does Project: Eternity, the game. You see, it's what we call "in development," meaning that they could be writing any spells at all at this very moment. You see, that's kind of why we're discussing whether or not to put instant-death in the game. I don't think the name of this topic is "Should we copy spells ONLY from D&D/IE games?"

 

In case you didn't know, P:E won't be using the D&D ruleset.

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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You specifically chose a mace and a warhammer -- two remarkably similar weapons -- to try to make it look like the very idea of functionally different weapons doesn't even exist. For what reason, I have no idea. So, I chose to actually consider weapons with relevant functional differences.

No, Lephys, I did NOT choose Maces and Warhammers to "try and make it look like the idea of functionally different weapons doesn't exist".

 

Lets start from the beginning here and get you up to speed with the context of this discussion and what was being debated. First, Karkarov pointed out that death spells are redundant in combat because they do not really add anything unique to the system (ie. You can already kill someone with a sword. You can already be more deadly with a meteor swarm. Your rogue can insta kill his target with an assassination attack etc. etc.) He argues that, therefore, Death spells should be removed because they are redundant. NOW, Fast forward to my response. Why not remove redundant weapons too? I chose Maces vs. Warhammers because they are similarly redundant. There's nothing a mace can do in the hands of any character that a Warhammer cannot. Therefore, using Karkarov's logic, we remove maces, since they are redundant.

 

As you can see, The logic here is still flawless, despite the fact that the argument itself is a terrible one. What self-respecting RPG fan would ever advocate a smaller pool of weapon choices, even IF this smaller pool reduces redundancies? But that's what he wants. Scroll up and read his last post for yourself. He's *Literally* arguing for the removal of redundant spells. As a huge fan of spell casters in RPGs, I take personal offense to this. Devs should include those spells anyway, and then let US, the players, decide what's redundant and what isn't. As it stands, a game without death spells, means I can no longer role-play a decent Necromancer. But I digress.

 

 

Since every other attack/ability in the game possesses a MINIMUM of 2 possible outcomes -- success or failure -- and my point revolves around the differences between instant-death abilities and all other abilities, then we can obviously rule out "failure" as moot to try to evaluate as a difference. I don't know how to make that any clearer.

 

When a sword hits (doesn't fail), it can do multiple things. When a fireball hits (doesn't fail), it can do multiple things. When an instant-death spell hits (doesn't fail), it can do one thing. Reduce your HP to 0. When a sword hits you, it deals a finite, variable amount of damage that does not necessarily reduce your HP to 0. When a fireball strikes you, it deals a finite, variable amount of damage that does not necessarily reduce your HP to 0. When an instant-death spell hits you, it doesn't care how much HP you have, or what your armor is, or any other effect-mitigating/altering factor in the universe. It reduces your HP to 0.

Nope. It doesn't matter that your sword can do 100 different things after you score a hit. At the very most, we may chalk this up to a nice, robust melee combat system. Great. But what's that have to do with magic? A decent magic system will also see a mage being able to do 100 different things with the energy he calls forth from his fingertips. And who's to say that Death can't be one of those effects?

 

Well, who besides Lephys....

 

 

I'm sorry.

Stop repeatedly apologizing and answer the f*cking question already. You made a grotesquely generalized claim that death spells ignore All combat system factors. In fact you've made this claim at least a dozen times. Now support it with evidence.

 

 

 

 

I see you need a breadcrumb trail. All right. I only covered the nature of melee combat? Okay, lightning bolt. Once it hits you, it can deal various amounts of damage, based on lots of factors. Even then, it only deals a finite possible range of damage, so that the extent of the effects of that damage on a given character depend on their current health, possibly armor (or magic resistance... really depends on the system used). Poison: even after it hits you, it deals various amounts of damage, lasts various amounts of time, and even affects other things (such as regeneration of health/stamina in some instances).

Lephys, have you ever played a game that has mind effecting spells? How about a game that has invisibility spells? Or healing spells? or summoning spells? or buffing spells? or silence spells? ie. spells who's point is not "lets take away health and see who wins the game!" derp.

 

 

If you could give me an example of a spell that isn't an instant-death spell that produces just a single static, invariable effect, that would be so lovely. I would very much appreciate it. ^_^

Just one? Hahaha. That's not the way we do things here on the internet. No, no no, mon ami. Here on the internet our goals are to BURY, and EMBARRASS, and graphically Demonstrate how clueless our opponent really is.

 

Lets do it. Off the top of my head, here is a modest (and extremely non-complete) list of spells that produce just a single static, invariable effect.

 

1) Hold Person

2) Silence

3) Invisibility

4) Slow

5) Haste

6) Flesh to Stone

7) Stone to flesh

8.) Power Word Silence

9) Power Word Blind

10) Power Word Sleep

11) Command

12) Doom

13) Breach

14) Infravision

15) Shield

16) Symbol: Stun

17) Blindness

18) Deafness

19) Mordenkanen's Sword

20) Horror

21) Bless

22) Entangle

23) Silence 15' Radius

24) Hold Animal

25) Hold Monster

26) Greater command

27) Spook

28) Charm Person

29) Charm Animal

30) Charm Monster

31) Dire Charm

32) Greater Malison

33) Emotion: Hopelessness (BG2's implementation)

34) Otiluke's Resilient Sphere

35) Domination

36) Mass Domination

37) Feeblemind

38) Bigby's Clenched Fist

39) Energy Drain

40) Imprisonment

 

I think that's good enough to prove the point. You owe me. You will answer a Yes-or-No question for me now, Without your usual dodging, or stream of consciousnessness blathering. YES OR NO, Lephys, since all these spells produce just a single static, invariable effect (just like insta-death spells do!), should they be removed?

Edited by Stun
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I find it interesting that the argument being made against instant-death spells seems to be that it encourages save scumming and reduces combat to a luck-based binary chance.

 

This is the way magic worked in 2nd ed D&D (3rd ed too).

 

As Stun states, spells with binary outcomes are plentiful. If the game casts mass hold on your party and then their fighters beat you to death with sticks while you're helpless, is this any more acceptable to you? If your fighter has maze cast on him then he's pretty much out of the fight.

 

I'd also second the argument that was made by i-can't-recall-who earlier that, by the time you're facing mages with instant-death abilities, you should have some pretty effective tools at your disposal yourself.

 

Also remember that D&D, with it's basis in a dice-based tabletop game, is a game of chance. When your characters become more powerful, what that really means is that your characters gain a higher chance of success and a lower chance of failure with each dice roll.

 

I do understand the frustration of losing a party member to instant-death spells but I wonder if those arguing against it have ever gone on to finish a fight where they've lost someone or do you just reload & try again?

 

I remember losing someone early in the bard mission in BG2 and having to finish the rest of it with no front-line fighter and half of the party encumbered with carrying the dead guy's gear. It made for an interesting challenge before I was able to finish then find a temple to resurrect my fallen comrade (I think it was minsc... and boo).

 

If you're instantly reloading with the death of a party member then I suggest you try to tough it out, it's very much still fun & interesting.

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I think that's good enough to prove the point. You owe me. You will answer a Yes-or-No question for me now, Without your usual dodging, or stream of consciousnessness blathering. YES OR NO, Lephys, since all these spells produce just a single static, invariable effect (just like insta-death spells do!), should they be removed?

They don't produce a static effect, so your question is moot. I refuse to answer silly questions you pose after ignoring my point this entire thread.

 

Half those abilities have a duration (a variable one). Most of them grant saves each turn (in the D&D ruleset, at least) to the target, amounting to a variable duration (will I break out in 1 turn, or will I break out in 7 turns?). Also, you can still do things while Silenced, and while Slowed, etc. You're just left to deal with a changed factor. When you're dead, you can't do anything anymore. It leaves that character with no options. Therefore, ANY reaction on that character's part is wiped completely off the table. You're never going to roll a good saving throw next turn and come back to life. The effect is permanent (meaning that it never wears off of its own accord).

 

You cannot be partially dead. You cannot be temporarily dead (well, I guess you could be, really. That would be an interesting ability, actually), with the type of spell effect I'm referring to, anyway. Therefore, there are only two possibilities for the spell's effect on you: nothing (regardless of what caused it to be nothing), or complete death.

 

If you could tell me how that doesn't make any sense, that would be lovely. With any other spell that doesn't reduce your hitpoints to 0, you still have more than 0 hitpoints. So, yes, that actually is a difference. I don't care if you're incapable of performing tasks. Someone can dispel that effect and you're fine again. If someone dispel's you when you're dead, you're still dead. I suppose someone could necromantically reanimate you, and that would be kinda like dispel... give you your combat capability back without actually giving you your life back? That would actually be pretty interesting, too, heh.

 

"What happened?"

 

"Well, you were dead, so I... kinda used your body as a puppet. Just temporarily!"

"WHAT?!"

 

Death is not a status effect. It is the most completely a character can be removed from combat out of anything in the entire game. It is infinity. Death deals infinite damage to you, and lasts infinitely long (on its own; it doesn't ever wear off). That's why resurrection spells typically require the most resources (cast time, mana, etc.) out of any "friendly" spell in any game, ever. It's not because it's just the cure for a different status ailment.

 

Not to mention what has been brought up in this thread like 73 times: There probably won't be any kind of resurrection (from a 0-health state) mid-combat. So, once you're dead, there is no "But someone can just revive you, just like they can un-stun you" comparison in the context of P:E. Why? Because we have Stamina. And running out of Stamina and falling "unconscious" is the functional equivalent of running out of HP in combat in a typical RPG without the dual-system.

 

It's really quite simple: Instant-death is a roll-of-the-dice absolution, and I'd much rather have a variable-effect spell in its place. If I'm crazy, then I'm crazy. If you don't want that, then cool.

 

My day isn't ruined just because you are more focused on figuring out ways to make sure I'm wrong than you are on actually seeing the reasoning behind my entire argument.

 

This whole time, you still don't even know what my argument is, and it's not because it's complex.

 

If you want to point out things I haven't thought of regarding instant death, then be my guest. But every "that's totally not what instant-death does!" response on your part is wasted typing.

 

I do understand the frustration of losing a party member to instant-death spells but I wonder if those arguing against it have ever gone on to finish a fight where they've lost someone or do you just reload & try again?

Absolutely, I keep going. This isn't about losing a party member. It's about HOW you lose a party member. When I'm dodging things and repositioning people and making oodles of tactical decisions to make the enemy's attacks less effective and my own MORE effective, and someone throws a "you can't make this less effective because it simply kills you" ability at me, that's like a crying baby in a movie theater. If you take advantage of my failing to move my Wizard, and crush him against a wall he so carelessly backed up against, thereby trumping all his defensive factors with your offensive ones to result in kill-achieving damage, then I tip my hat to you. If you half-assedly whip out your "I don't feel like dealing with factors, so I'm just going to fire this Death Beam" spell, and a coin is flipped, and heads means he dies, and it lands on heads... I may still not reload, but that's pretty preposterous.

 

The fact of the matter is, the two things conflict: dealing with all the regular factors and tactical decisions of combat, and then dealing with this thing that ignores all of them. It wouldn't even be a big deal if you ALWAYS faced either ONLY instant-death wielding enemies or ONLY non-instant-death-wielding ones. But, you put them together.

 

The sole reason regular enemies aren't killing you is because you're handling them with tactical efficiency. But the sole reason an instant-death spell isn't killing you is because you're forgoing normal tactics to place emergency-focus on one thing: Making sure that spell doesn't hit you. "Make sure nothing ever actually hits me" is not a requirement of normal tactics. You can get hit fewer times instead of more, and get hit for more or less damage. You can even get more effective offensive strikes via counters, which rely on getting hit. There's an entire tactical smorgasbord at your disposal. Then, instant-death guy steps into the battle, and it's "stop him from hitting anyone" or watch people die. And if people dying on you isn't a significant detriment to your ability to finish combat, then I dare say the combat isn't balanced very well in the first place. If it's magically balanced so that "let someone die at the cost of taking out other baddies before you tackle the instant-death guy" is equally as viable of an option, then what's the point? "we hand-tailor every instant-death-involving encounter to make sure instant-death isn't TOO much of a restriction on what tactics you can use." That's the whole problem. It restricts tactics.

 

Again, it doesn't instantly make combat pointless, or kill the whole game, just because it exists. But it does cause tactical restriction.

Edited by Lephys

Should we not start with some Ipelagos, or at least some Greater Ipelagos, before tackling a named Arch Ipelago? 6_u

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