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The difficulty of the game

difficulty combat tactics strategies gameplay

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#41
KaineParker

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I don't necessarily want the AI to be smart. Rather, I would like it to reflect the tactics the foes I'm battling would actually use. For instance, a group of savages wouldn't be executing complex maneuvers, they would be charging at the party. IMO, having enemy tactics vary by group makeup would be far more interesting than a universally smart AI.

most of the time savages are quite skilled at fighting smart. sparta was quite refined yet was pretty slow to react to things. but ya the general idea is that wolves and such shouldn't focus the mages behind the ranks of fighters, they wouldn't do that most likely.
Perhaps "savages" was a poor word choice. I do believe that the general idea is fantastic for flavor, and would also require players to adapt strategies depending on then enemies they were facing.

Edited by KaineParker, 17 August 2013 - 07:39 AM.


#42
Lephys

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I suppose you are right. That does make you think which foe to attack with which character. I like it, it stops you from just controlling all 6 characters at once and overwhelming a single foe with everything you have. I don't think bosses should have those kinds of resistances though (unless they have reinforcements during the fight), it would make sense for them to be more powerful sure, but it simply removes 1 character (or 2 if your rogue is longsword speced) from the battle. Maybe not completely, but at least 1/2 of him/her.


Well, for what it's worth, I agree with the sentiments that people "shouldn't" be pausing 90% of the time, etc. But, all things in moderation, :). Really, as long as the game isn't designed such that making combat into a constant slideshow is always the best possible tactic, with no allowance for any bout of fluid combat, I think it's fine. I mean, you can't stop people from doing what they don't need to do, and someone's unnecessary over-use of pausing in their own game isn't going to harm my playthrough in the least.

Also, I don't think "everyone just use cool abilities all on this one thing at a time!" should be a viable tactic, but, again, because of the design of combat challenge. If you make that the best tactic only in very specific situations, then you're not requiring anyone to rabidly pause and make sure everyone's always "cooldown spamming" their abilities on a single target, etc. Thus, there once again is no real pause problem.

In short, I believe I understand your very valid concerns for the flow of the game, but I don't think the removal of pausing does anything but replace a problem with another problem.

And (regarding the general discussion again), for what it's worth, there's nothing at all wrong with the idea of wanting direct control over only your main character, who acts as a sort of field commander for the rest of your party, while relying mainly on their AI "plans" instead of constantly manually issuing new orders and piecing their behavior together at every step of the combat. While I personally like to control all the characters, I honestly prefer a bit of a hybrid (which is, probably for the 5th time that I've now mentioned this somewhere on these forums, why I liked the idea of the Dragon Age AI tactics settings so much, even though they were a bit lacking in implementation). :)

#43
Christliar

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Well, for what it's worth, I agree with the sentiments that people "shouldn't" be pausing 90% of the time, etc. But, all things in moderation, :). Really, as long as the game isn't designed such that making combat into a constant slideshow is always the best possible tactic, with no allowance for any bout of fluid combat, I think it's fine. I mean, you can't stop people from doing what they don't need to do, and someone's unnecessary over-use of pausing in their own game isn't going to harm my playthrough in the least.

Also, I don't think "everyone just use cool abilities all on this one thing at a time!" should be a viable tactic, but, again, because of the design of combat challenge. If you make that the best tactic only in very specific situations, then you're not requiring anyone to rabidly pause and make sure everyone's always "cooldown spamming" their abilities on a single target, etc. Thus, there once again is no real pause problem.

In short, I believe I understand your very valid concerns for the flow of the game, but I don't think the removal of pausing does anything but replace a problem with another problem.

And (regarding the general discussion again), for what it's worth, there's nothing at all wrong with the idea of wanting direct control over only your main character, who acts as a sort of field commander for the rest of your party, while relying mainly on their AI "plans" instead of constantly manually issuing new orders and piecing their behavior together at every step of the combat. While I personally like to control all the characters, I honestly prefer a bit of a hybrid (which is, probably for the 5th time that I've now mentioned this somewhere on these forums, why I liked the idea of the Dragon Age AI tactics settings so much, even though they were a bit lacking in implementation). :)

 

You are quoting the wrong person :D I like pause and I don't think it really interferes that much with the flow. Micamo is the one you should be quoting ;d I also want to control everyone.



#44
Lephys

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You are quoting the wrong person :D I like pause and I don't think it really interferes that much with the flow. Micamo is the one you should be quoting ;d I also want to control everyone.


Good heavens... *facepalm*.

I literally read your response, then my brain just switched to "Yeah, so about the effects of pausing... which is TOTALLY WHAT YOU JUST READ! Nope! Don't double-check! Just quote and type!"

Hahaha. I'm sorry about that, truly. Looks like it's to the closet with me, for a diagnostic. *plugs into diagnostic station... makes shutdown noise*... x___x

Can I mulligan?

MULLIGAN:

Yeah, you wouldn't want a situation in which you were fighting a single, potent enemy (like a boss) and it was all but immune to several of your characters' main means of combat effectiveness. That's always highly annoying. It's on up there with those "Only ONE type of damage can hurt this guy!" bosses/foes.

But, what I was getting at was that, maybe he's resistant to, say... bleeding. Well, if the two potential effects you can cause with longsword-spec'd characters are bleeding (damage over time) and wounding (slowed movement/action speed... purely for example), then you simply can't rely on the oodles of damage over time from bleeding cuts that you might normally have used quite often. But you can still utilize specialized effects of the longsword (delaying the enemy's actions), and still deal damage. And yes, you could think of that as "well, now I can only do 1 effect instead of both." But, just because the longsword can produce 2 effects, in this example, does not mean that the norm of the game is a bunch of enemies all susceptible to both effects from longsword attacks.

In other words, I think things that restrict the way in which you can use things are far better contributions to fun and interesting combat than things that just shut doors in your face. "Your sword isn't effective in the way you've been used to so far, but it's still effective in another way(s)."

Really, the idea works better when expanded out to a character build, rather than just a weapon, so zooming in on the weapons/equipment like that wasn't my best example. Maybe your Fighter doesn't hit as hard against this boss, but there are more factors than damage-per-hit that determine effectiveness in combat. So, maybe you have to make better use of the other factors to make up for that partial detriment. IF you want maximum combat effectiveness, that is. It probably won't be that you can't beat the boss without employing the absolute perfect strategy against him, chocked full of micromanagement. It'll just be tougher and a closer fight, perhaps. Or maybe you just focus on the other characters a bit more, who are still quite effective against the boss (if he's got a strength, he's got to have some sort of weakness that makes other people/attacks/tactics even better against him than they usually are against general foes). *shrug*. That's the beauty of a whole party.

Sometimes, the easiest effectiveness boost will simply be from swapping weapons, but plenty of times there will be alternatives, methinks.

Edited by Lephys, 17 August 2013 - 03:30 PM.


#45
Christliar

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Good heavens... *facepalm*.

I literally read your response, then my brain just switched to "Yeah, so about the effects of pausing... which is TOTALLY WHAT YOU JUST READ! Nope! Don't double-check! Just quote and type!"

Hahaha. I'm sorry about that, truly. Looks like it's to the closet with me, for a diagnostic. *plugs into diagnostic station... makes shutdown noise*... x___x

Can I mulligan?

MULLIGAN:

Yeah, you wouldn't want a situation in which you were fighting a single, potent enemy (like a boss) and it was all but immune to several of your characters' main means of combat effectiveness. That's always highly annoying. It's on up there with those "Only ONE type of damage can hurt this guy!" bosses/foes.

But, what I was getting at was that, maybe he's resistant to, say... bleeding. Well, if the two potential effects you can cause with longsword-spec'd characters are bleeding (damage over time) and wounding (slowed movement/action speed... purely for example), then you simply can't rely on the oodles of damage over time from bleeding cuts that you might normally have used quite often. But you can still utilize specialized effects of the longsword (delaying the enemy's actions), and still deal damage. And yes, you could think of that as "well, now I can only do 1 effect instead of both." But, just because the longsword can produce 2 effects, in this example, does not mean that the norm of the game is a bunch of enemies all susceptible to both effects from longsword attacks.

In other words, I think things that restrict the way in which you can use things are far better contributions to fun and interesting combat than things that just shut doors in your face. "Your sword isn't effective in the way you've been used to so far, but it's still effective in another way(s)."

Really, the idea works better when expanded out to a character build, rather than just a weapon, so zooming in on the weapons/equipment like that wasn't my best example. Maybe your Fighter doesn't hit as hard against this boss, but there are more factors than damage-per-hit that determine effectiveness in combat. So, maybe you have to make better use of the other factors to make up for that partial detriment. IF you want maximum combat effectiveness, that is. It probably won't be that you can't beat the boss without employing the absolute perfect strategy against him, chocked full of micromanagement. It'll just be tougher and a closer fight, perhaps. Or maybe you just focus on the other characters a bit more, who are still quite effective against the boss (if he's got a strength, he's got to have some sort of weakness that makes other people/attacks/tactics even better against him than they usually are against general foes). *shrug*. That's the beauty of a whole party.

Sometimes, the easiest effectiveness boost will simply be from swapping weapons, but plenty of times there will be alternatives, methinks.

 

This just seems like the normal D&D resistances, like undead being immune to sneak attacks and elementals being immune to their own element etc. ;d I'm 99% sure that P:E will have this. It works exactly like how you describe it, but sometimes more annoyingly especially for a rogue against an undead boss. ;d But that's *fine*, it adds variety and makes you focus on other characters.



#46
Micamo

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> You encounter an Allip.

> You don't have any magic weapons.

> Kiss the entire party goodbye.

#47
Christliar

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> You encounter an Allip.

> You don't have any magic weapons.

> Kiss the entire party goodbye.

This is my fear, too. It could be avoided by not giving enemies any resistances until you get access to magical weapons, but eeehh.We need more information about P:E combat mechanics to make even the vaguest speculations.



#48
Osvir

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> You encounter an Allip.

> You don't have any magic weapons.

> Kiss the entire party goodbye.

This is my fear, too. It could be avoided by not giving enemies any resistances until you get access to magical weapons, but eeehh.We need more information about P:E combat mechanics to make even the vaguest speculations.

 

Simple. Run away and adjust.

OR!

Engage -> Lose a party member -> Realize it was too much for you -> Run away -> Prepare -> Kick some ass

^That's Hardcore Ironman thoughts. For some more casual thoughts:

Save game -> Run into enemies -> Die -> Load -> Meta-Prepare


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#49
Lephys

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This just seems like the normal D&D resistances, like undead being immune to sneak attacks and elementals being immune to their own element etc. ;d I'm 99% sure that P:E will have this. It works exactly like how you describe it, but sometimes more annoyingly especially for a rogue against an undead boss. ;d But that's *fine*, it adds variety and makes you focus on other characters.


"Normal D&D resistances" is part of it. I'm just vying for a system that demands adaptation more so than one that just takes away your capabilities. "This thing can only be hurt by yellow-colored pebbles! Everyone get out your slings and paint! SLINGS AND PAINT, people!"

Hehe. I'd rather see a boss/tough foe who's tough by demanding cleverer use of your resources, rather than eliminating all your options. If they want to reduce your ability to do damage to some boss, they could just boost its armor or HP. No need to say "SUCK IT, FIRE MAGE! YOU ARE MEANINGLESS HERE!"

I'd like to see a boss that requires that your Rogue employ tactics you wouldn't normally have him employ, because there's usually a much better way of taking on your challenges. Not make your Rogue quantifiably less useful as an entire character. Tactical immunity/resistance, as it were. :)

#50
Micamo

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Simple. Run away and adjust.

OR!

Engage -> Lose a party member -> Realize it was too much for you -> Run away -> Prepare -> Kick some ass

^That's Hardcore Ironman thoughts. For some more casual thoughts:

Save game -> Run into enemies -> Die -> Load -> Meta-Prepare


Throwing an Allip at the party because it's CR 3 and you thought they'd be fine? I can forgive that, it's an easy mistake for a newbie to make.

Throwing an Allip at the party on purpose and knowing exactly what you're doing (especially after saying "Okay guys, so there are no magic items in this setting...")? That's a **** move. **** you.
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#51
Lephys

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^ One reason I'm very fond of full-immunities being used quite sparingly. I think effect immunities work better more commonly. i.e. "This thing can't be ignited for burn damage, even though your fireball still hurts it," or "this thing can't be slowed by cold, because of it's very nature," or "this thing can't bleed," etc. Instead of "I HAVE A RESTRAINING ORDER ON METAL! MUAHAHAHA!"

Another thing that might even be interesting is if, say, a fireball (so easily pluckable as an example, :) ) did full damage and full effect, but using it against a particular foe caused it to molt flaming blobs of itself around in an area, which could harm you. So, it wouldn't be so much "what do we use that will hurt this thing?", but rather, "how do we kill this thing and not burn alive while doing it?". Or, maybe if you use crushing damage against some big stone golem, you can smash its limbs off with critical hits. But, the debris from its broken limb falls to the ground, only to animate itself as a lesser golem thing. If your party's better suited to taking on one single enemy and dealing with his attacks, maybe it's more prudent to forego the extra damage from majorly crushing attacks so you don't have to face multiple opponents. *shrug*
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#52
Sabotin

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Honestly, I think full immunities should be part of the game where it makes sense. They should however not be something sweeping like "immune to non-magic" or randomly put there (thug type 1 immune to cold, thug type 2 immune to fire, ...)

 

My reasoning is that with just resistances you can more easily have a one-approach-fits-all situation where specialized party members can have enough punch to ignore resistances, thereby making them pointless. And that I have preconceptions (common/fantasy sense?) in place, like "fire elementals are immune to fire" etc...

 

Sort of unrelated: I'd like to see some encounters that have a narrower field of possibilities to overcome, but that the player has the option to plan ahead. Ok this sounded weird. I'd like some encounter that you have to be pretty specific about your strategies, but that the game provides you with some knowledge and hints, so that you prepare somewhat. So that the encounter is similarly difficult on further playthroughs and doesn't hinge on the player being unprepared.


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#53
KaineParker

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> You encounter an Allip.> You don't have any magic weapons.> Kiss the entire party goodbye.

Which is why the Cleric or Wizard should always have "Magic Weapon" Memorized at low levels. That and the fact it is a very useful buff.



Honestly, I think full immunities should be part of the game where it makes sense. They should however not be something sweeping like "immune to non-magic" or randomly put there (thug type 1 immune to cold, thug type 2 immune to fire, ...)
 
My reasoning is that with just resistances you can more easily have a one-approach-fits-all situation where specialized party members can have enough punch to ignore resistances, thereby making them pointless. And that I have preconceptions (common/fantasy sense?) in place, like "fire elementals are immune to fire" etc...
 
Sort of unrelated: I'd like to see some encounters that have a narrower field of possibilities to overcome, but that the player has the option to plan ahead. Ok this sounded weird. I'd like some encounter that you have to be pretty specific about your strategies, but that the game provides you with some knowledge and hints, so that you prepare somewhat. So that the encounter is similarly difficult on further playthroughs and doesn't hinge on the player being unprepared.


I agree, the "immune to magic weapons" in BG2 was really stupid. Having partial immunity to certain types of damage(slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning) seems like it would be a lot more fun.

Edited by KaineParker, 19 August 2013 - 08:10 AM.


#54
Mr. Magniloquent

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> You encounter an Allip.

> You don't have any magic weapons.

> Kiss the entire party goodbye.

 

I have no problems with this. In a world of magic, people should be prepared for stituations that call for magical solutions. Likewise, in a world populated with monsters where the character's profession is to go out in the world and do battle with them--these kinds of scenarios are a fact of reality that they character accepts. Informal graves are filled with not just the unprepared adventurer, but the unlucky ones too.



#55
Micamo

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Which is why the Cleric or Wizard should always have "Magic Weapon" Memorized at low levels. That and the fact it is a very useful buff.


This reasoning is why the Allip is rated at CR 3. Personally though I find it very troubling that the game is balanced around the assumption that the party will have spellcasters (see also diseases that can only be magically healed, locks that can only be magically picked...).

I have no problems with this. In a world of magic, people should be prepared for stituations that call for magical solutions. Likewise, in a world populated with monsters where the character's profession is to go out in the world and do battle with them--these kinds of scenarios are a fact of reality that they character accepts. Informal graves are filled with not just the unprepared adventurer, but the unlucky ones too.


There's a significant difference between "This is something that could conceivably happen in the game world" and "This is a smart thing for you to do as a DM." If you want to play a tabletop version of Nethack then more power to you, but let's not forget that we play the game so that everyone at the table can have fun, and there's a reason why Killer DMs are unpopular. If verisimilitude is getting in the way of having fun then it's time for verisimilitude to take a back seat.

Edited by Micamo, 19 August 2013 - 10:12 AM.


#56
J. Trudel

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I have no problems with situations like this IF and ONLY IF the game has a decent way to retreat and then come back later and better prepared. In fact, this is something missing in most game. Some encounters should be failed, that is when you run and think about an alternative, sneaking past that invincible golem, making him fall to his death in a trap you disarmed sooner in the dungeon. Endless possibilities, if many encounters happenend in a similar fashion, 



#57
Christliar

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I'm playing The Prophet modules for Neverwinter Nights and I have to say that it does quite a few good things with the difficulty and general pacing. You have to go into a mine to rescue some elf for such and such and this mine stretches into a spider kingdom in which he is found dead, Your main quest is done now and you can leave, but there are 4 extra tough bosses you can defeat (seriously tough, one is a cleric/mage with invisibility and regeneration and you are 5-6th lvl) who drop awesome loot. If you can defeat them all you perform a ritual to open even further into the temple where you fight an even harder boss with even more awesome loot. Also more importantly they were supported by lore. The whole rescue the elf thing went wrong because of those 4 bosses, because they just had to awaken centuries old Drow heroes.

I find that level of exploration depth awesome and gives you incentive to explore while flinging everything the game has to offer at you (within reason, you can't have a 20th lvl demilich versus a 3rd lvl party) while remaining accessable to newer players.

The 4 bosses were a mage who uses Stoneskin and Ice-based spells; A cleric/mage who uses invisibility the moment you attack her and casts every possible buff on herself and then summons a wight and a dire spider - she was the toughest of them all and I had to reload many times; A drider druid who was all about cc'ing your party with Entangle, Grease and healing himself, but I found he was the easiest of them all; and a Blackguard with a vampiric weapon who had massive hp and high AB and damage.

The toughest boss was actually a previous party member of one of your companions who was turned into a drider with many spiders taking care of him. When you talk to him enough his previous party member attacks him and I think you can let him (the drider) kill him (your companion) and strike some sort of deal, but I'm not sure since I joined the fray immediately. All spiders attacked you and when you killed him he was resurrected by 4 orbs which you had to destroy. It was quite hectic and most importantly fun ;d Also awesome loot.

I find these very hard optional encounters are the best, because they challenge you and give you incentive to explore. I think FF do this as well with the "weapons", but since I haven't played FF ever I can't tell from personal experience.


Edited by Christliar, 19 August 2013 - 02:10 PM.


#58
Lephys

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I agree, the "immune to magic weapons" in BG2 was really stupid. Having partial immunity to certain types of damage(slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning) seems like it would be a lot more fun.


I think the other potential problem with something like immunity to magic weapons (or non-magic damage/weapons) is how broad that is. In a game in which you could feasibly have a party of non-mages, and no magic weapons, you're essentially at a brick wall. It's approaching the level of restriction at which a foe is susceptible to only a single type of attack. "You can only damage this thing with backstabs. I hope you have a Rogue, MUAHAHAHA!" Obviously that's more extreme, but it illustrates the extent of such restrictions, methinks.

I think immunities (even when used sparingly) work best when they're against more specific forms of damage, rather than entire types. Even then, I still hold that it would be quite interesting if, say, a fire elemental was immune to fire damage, but that it could still be damaged/affected by something like a fireball (which explodes). You simply wouldn't be able to BURN the fire elemental, since you can't burn fire. Thus, if you have a party filled with fire mages, you're going to take a hit in effectiveness, versus a fight with a typical group of non-fire-immune foes, but forcefully throwing exploding magical balls (even of fire) still counts for something. What would be REALLY interesting (but admittedly hardly suited to a game like P:E -- probably only really suited for like a PnP campaign) would be if you could start so many fires in a smallish room with a flame/fire elemental inside, then flee the room and seal it off. Even though you aren't actually damaging the elemental, directly, with fire, your extreme amount of flames could burn all the oxygen in the room faster than it could seep in under doors, etc, and extinguish the fire elemental (or at least weaken it, if it's simply made out of molten/burning substance rather than being comprised entirely of flame).

Anywho... simply put, I think it's best when you remove specific functions of tools from the equation, rather than entire tools (much less sets of tools). For the most part. It's fine to occasionally restrict a bit further, but I still think it should always keep in mind each classes'/roles ability to provide SOME effectiveness, even if it isn't via damage. Of course, in regard to non-magic immunity, I think P:E's lore rather supports the notion that everyone would have SOME means of combatting a foe, even if their physical weapons were extremely diminished in effectiveness, or even useless, what with its soul powers/magic.

#59
Christliar

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I agree, the "immune to magic weapons" in BG2 was really stupid. Having partial immunity to certain types of damage(slashing, piercing, and bludgeoning) seems like it would be a lot more fun.


I think the other potential problem with something like immunity to magic weapons (or non-magic damage/weapons) is how broad that is. In a game in which you could feasibly have a party of non-mages, and no magic weapons, you're essentially at a brick wall. It's approaching the level of restriction at which a foe is susceptible to only a single type of attack. "You can only damage this thing with backstabs. I hope you have a Rogue, MUAHAHAHA!" Obviously that's more extreme, but it illustrates the extent of such restrictions, methinks.

I think immunities (even when used sparingly) work best when they're against more specific forms of damage, rather than entire types. Even then, I still hold that it would be quite interesting if, say, a fire elemental was immune to fire damage, but that it could still be damaged/affected by something like a fireball (which explodes). You simply wouldn't be able to BURN the fire elemental, since you can't burn fire. Thus, if you have a party filled with fire mages, you're going to take a hit in effectiveness, versus a fight with a typical group of non-fire-immune foes, but forcefully throwing exploding magical balls (even of fire) still counts for something. What would be REALLY interesting (but admittedly hardly suited to a game like P:E -- probably only really suited for like a PnP campaign) would be if you could start so many fires in a smallish room with a flame/fire elemental inside, then flee the room and seal it off. Even though you aren't actually damaging the elemental, directly, with fire, your extreme amount of flames could burn all the oxygen in the room faster than it could seep in under doors, etc, and extinguish the fire elemental (or at least weaken it, if it's simply made out of molten/burning substance rather than being comprised entirely of flame).

Anywho... simply put, I think it's best when you remove specific functions of tools from the equation, rather than entire tools (much less sets of tools). For the most part. It's fine to occasionally restrict a bit further, but I still think it should always keep in mind each classes'/roles ability to provide SOME effectiveness, even if it isn't via damage. Of course, in regard to non-magic immunity, I think P:E's lore rather supports the notion that everyone would have SOME means of combatting a foe, even if their physical weapons were extremely diminished in effectiveness, or even useless, what with its soul powers/magic.

 

 Yeah, I like that. I don't know what else I can add to this idea. I don't think fire elementals require oxygen since they draw their flame directly from the elemental plane of fire, but I get the gist of the overall idea :D It would be too much work though, since this isn't a point-and-click adventure game where you have to find extreme methods of dealing with situations. Other than that, yes to everything.

P.S. You can actually burn fire ;d it creates plasma. (it's not that simple, of course, but the idea is the same)



#60
Lephys

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Yeah, I like that. I don't know what else I can add to this idea. I don't think fire elementals require oxygen since they draw their flame directly from the elemental plane of fire, but I get the gist of the overall idea :D It would be too much work though, since this isn't a point-and-click adventure game where you have to find extreme methods of dealing with situations. Other than that, yes to everything.

P.S. You can actually burn fire ;d it creates plasma. (it's not that simple, of course, but the idea is the same)


Maybe the Elemental Plane of Fire is ill-named, and should be called the Elemental Plane of Combustible Gases? :)

Nah, it was just an interesting thought, of how a witty person might use fire to combat living fire, in a given situation. As I said, I don't at all recommend that they try to implement that scenario into P:E. At least, not in unscripted, open-combat form. That would require an oxygen/breathability tracking system for every space in which combat could take place and flames could occur. Pretty much only suited for PnP games, really.

As for the plasma, I was not aware of that. You learn something new every day, ^_^





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