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Old February 28, 2014, 18:48   #1
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Light for spellcasters

The discussion in the monster weakness thread has given me a couple ideas. I will speak of light as an element in general and then of my specific ideas later. Also, while this is in the Vanilla forum, my ideas are actually more Variant material.

I suggest light should not have too much physical damage as an effect. Strong light will shine in your eyes and burn them to a cinder and thus disorient and blind you, but physical damage implies something along the lines of being burned by the pure light energy, which would be hard. On the other hand, I can easily imagine Divine Light doing something like that, so there is a way for it to be plausible.

On the other hand, light attacks stunning/confusing/blinding (doesn't exist, stealable?) monsters would be plausible. Mages could then Light monsters into disorientation, Rift them away, or just blast them. Priests could achieve similar effects, but possibly do more damage with their light spells. I can imagine a mage calling forth a bright light from the end of his staff, blinding nearby monsters and damaging the ones susceptible badly, while the others are mostly okay while a priest would be likely to ask his god for light, which would be damaging to evil. Lights associated with a god are always harmful to nasty things.

The issue here is that priests are already incredibly powerful. If they have perfect healing, teleportation, detection and would get a great damage spell that stuns and confuses monsters. A plausible way to balance it would be to limit range and targets. A small ball centered on the character, a short-range bolt, a single-target spell at long distance, and a weak spell that hits everything. This is a lot of spells, and it is a theme. Themes go well with dungeon books, so a dungeon book would be nice for this. Which dungeon book do we get rid of?

Priests have the teleportation book, the detection book, the healing book, the destruction book, and the enchantment book. The enchantment book is useless. It has remove curse, and I guess enchant to_hit to_dam can be nice, but it is not a useful book. That makes it a candidate for removal, but would also just make priests better. I suggest replacing the detection book. We keep clairvoyance, but no longer do priests get perfect detection. Instead they would have powerful light spells.

It is a major change and would have to be done while rebalancing other spells for priests and for mages, but it would be interesting. I think the idea should be tried in a variant first and only be ported over if it works fine. Idea dump over, I'll work on specific descriptions and level ranges for the spells.
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Old February 28, 2014, 19:44   #2
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Going off the suggestions in my first post. If we wanted to make a book, we should have about 6 or 7 spells in it.
1) Clairvoyance. Should keep difficulty and clvl as it is now.
2) Column of light. Radius 0-ball (those are great on priests, I tried a game with annihilation replaced by one of these). Does extra damage to evil, wouldn't prioritize stunning or blindness, more like a choice smiting.
3) Flood of light. Caster-centered high radius ball, ignores caster, does reasonable damage, extra to evil, stun and blindness yes.
4) Light bolt. Just a bolt of light. Damage dealing, easy to cast. Possibly low range. Not particularly great against evil.
5) Light beam. A beam of light. Like light bolt, but long range, beaming and similar damage.
6) and 7) Don't know, possibly steal something from somewhere?

For the mage we just grab a useless spell mages have somewhere in say, Raal's and replace it with some form of light spell.
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Old February 28, 2014, 21:02   #3
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What kind of mage requires a lantern?!

Idea for a light spell: "Enchant with Light"

Gives any wearable item (or possibly just weapons and/or lights) +1 light radius and ever-burning status. If it was already a light source, it can potentially increase the radius by 1.

Gives mages an appropriately themed bonuses - they never need to worry about fuel, lanterns, torches once the spell is learned - like Gandalf in Moria.

Even once a permanent light source has been found, like Phial, the spell can be used to make it +1 better, so the spell still offers a slight bonus past the early-game.

It's not a great spell, because you'd probably only cast it two or three times in the entire game - but could help fill out a Light or Enchantment themed book for a mage. (Or a priest, but feels more magey to me!)

Alternatives could be "Recharge Light" / "Refuel Light", which would be limited to early-game use, but would be cast more often, like Satisfy Hunger. Saves an inventory slot early on.
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Old February 28, 2014, 21:12   #4
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Great idea, but the problem is that Mages have two light spells early, don't have to many empty slots in the early books et al. As for priests, filling up a theme dungeon book with a spell primarily for the early game feels odd. Of course it would be nice if priests could cast it on a weapon and it would behave differently in combat, but I don't know how that would work. I like the idea of infusing objects with light, I just don't know where it would fit in.
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Old February 28, 2014, 22:28   #5
Timo Pietilš
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Originally Posted by Philip View Post
I suggest replacing the detection book.
Which would make priests hound food. Priests need that book, they have no means of detecting non-evil monsters otherwise.
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Old February 28, 2014, 22:37   #6
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Well, there are rods of detection. I see what you mean, but maybe we should make detection handy for choosing fights and not necessary. And hey, in the latest comp I tried a priest, and despite bad stats and not finding any dungeon books almost till when I died I still wasn't fried by any hounds. There weren't even too many, with density being lower. Priests have alternative methods of dealing with hounds - between the rods of detection, telepathy and just suffering through, they manage.

It is still a very real concern. It is impossible to tell how much such a change can affect gameplay. I wouldn't be sad if priests were harder, since they are sort of easy in the dungeon book phase of the game anyway. I understand that changing a class in such a major way could also lead people not to play it - I don't generally play things which have been nerfed.
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Old February 28, 2014, 23:00   #7
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One thing to keep in mind is that "hard" light (i.e. light attacks that affect even monsters who aren't vulnerable, as in the Light Hound's breath attack) as a damage source has the potential to be of unexpectedly high utility. Few monsters resist it, and it doesn't destroy items at all. Thus, light-based attacks that deal significant damage can potentially be overpowered. Compare to the other spells in Raal's Tome: IIRC the only ones that can't destroy items are Cloud Kill and Rift, and Rift is the last spell in the book.

If you want to apply status ailments, well, see this thread.
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Old February 28, 2014, 23:31   #8
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Well, I did suggest that it shouldn't be a particularly damaging attack - not for mages, at least. I do remember the status effect thread. Thinking about it again, I think it should just stun, whatever that does. Confusion gives you free time, which is just powerful. While blinding would be accurate, since we're in a dungeon, it just seems too powerful if it also does damage. My idea is that you wouldn't necessarily want to spam it, just use it every now and then against monsters who don't resist, and otherwise use something else. If we were to put it in Raals I would replace shardstorm. It is a useless spell and it doesn't do anything interesting.
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Old March 5, 2014, 09:38   #9
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I'm using Staff of Starlight in my current Halls of Mist test run. It now deals LOTS of damage to light-hating monsters AND blinds monsters that fail their save. I love it. My fragile Sorcerer couldn't have handled those orc tribes without this.
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