COMPLETE Overview of Arcanum Spells

Discussion in 'Arcanum Hints & Tips' started by FayeValentine, Mar 27, 2002.

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  1. FayeValentine

    FayeValentine New Member

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    Well, I have completed my Overview of Arcanum Spells and here it is in its totality. For those who have already read the first section, just scroll down. For what the spells actually DO, see your manual, pg. 45. Herein I mostly just discuss how well the spells work.

    CONVEYANCE: Overall Grade: A-

    Conveyance has two extremely useful, albeit very specific, spells and one absolute must have spell, but is otherwise dead weight.

    1) Disarm: Grade B
    This is useful if your enemy does in fact HAVE a weapon. It is good for taking on higher level human enemies, especially the Boil, Stringy Pete, and the gunfight in Ashbury. Unfortunately a lot of these enemies can still beat the bejeezus out of you with their fists.

    2) Unlocking Cantrip: Grade A
    Vital if you can't pick locks, and a timesaver even if you can. Also, once magically unlocked, a merchant's chest STAYS unlocked forever - which can come in very hany in certain nefarious moneymaking schemes).

    3) Unseen Force: Grade F
    This is a "why bother?" type spell. Doesn't do enough to be worth wasting an action to cast.

    4) Spatial Distortion: Grade D
    Well at least this is THEORETICALLY useful. But since most combat occurs at close quarters and is over quickly tactical maneuvering isn't all that handy. Add to that the fact that the spell will only take you places you could walk (no leaping chasms with it) and its damned near worthless.

    5) Teleportation: Grade A+
    Once you get used to having this spell you'll never want to play a non-mage again. Saves SO much time and bother its well worth the useless spells you have to take to get it.



    DIVINATION: Overall Grade: D

    Pretty much a waste of points. See spells for particulars.

    1) Sense Alignment: Grade F
    Oh yeah, right, thats really useful. Alignment is pretty easy to tell already, no need for a spell. I haven't ever seen this be genuinely worthwhile.

    2) See Contents: Grade D
    Not really necessary but at least its amusing and can save the lives of the hapless NPCs when you realize you WON'T have to kill them to see what they have in that chest after all.

    3) Read Aura: Grade F
    Just kill it! Don't fiddle fardle around with this stupid spell.

    4) Sense Hidden: Grade C
    Well this MIGHT be useful if there were more invisible creatures in the game OR if traps weren't so laughable. But there aren't; they are; and it isn't.

    5) Divine Magick: Grade B
    AKA: "Identify". Nice spell, but not worth the point wastage to get it when gypsies can do it for you.


    ELEMENTAL AIR: Overall Grade: D+

    This whole school would be worthless, except for Body of Air, which is surprisingly good.

    1) Vitality of Air: Grade C
    Well it gives you more constitution. Not nearly as useful as the Earth or Fire variants and generally not worth taking an action to perform, but not entirely a waste of a skill point.

    2) Poison Vapours: Grade D-
    Useless - unless thay have changed it with the latest patch this thing can barely kill rats. Anything worth sneezing at will shrug it off.

    3) Call Winds: Grade D-
    Another "theoretically useful" spell, but unless you are just wanting to play cat and mouse its much better to cast something else instead.

    4) Body of Air: Grade A-
    As a self buff this is useful only for a pure mage as it renders you unable to attack, but for a strong caster gaining a whopping 95% damage resist is great for fighting melee types. Add to this the fact that you can cast it on melee enemies to totally negate their ability to attack and you have an excellent and versatile spell. Too bad the rest of the college sucks unmentionables.

    5) Call Air Elemental: Grade D
    Well at least it gives the monsters an alternative target. Its attack is so pitiful it has to be seen to be believed.



    ELEMENTAL EARTH: Overall Grade: B-

    Decent stuff. Unfortunately Earth gets outclassed by Fire in almost all aspects.

    1) Strength of Earth: Grade B
    More strength = more melee damage. This is good! DOG likes this spell.

    2) Stone Throw: Grade B
    Outclassed by damage dealers in other schools this is nonetheless a serviceable damage dealer and can damage some inanimate objects that Harm and Lightning can't.

    3) Wall of Stone: Grade D
    Combat is usually too quick and it is too difficult to position any wall spell properly to get much useful effect.

    4) Body of Stone: Grade C
    Effective, but there are usually better things you could be doing.

    5) Call Earth Elemental: Grade B
    Decent fighter but a mana hog. Not really worth the points invested.


    ELEMENTAL FIRE: Overall Grade: B+

    Contains one bread-and-butter spell and is otherwise quite formidable in dealing damage.

    1) Agility of Fire: Grade B
    More agility = more speed = more attacks. This is good. DOG likes this spell too.

    2) Wall of Fire: Grade D
    Combat is usually too quick and it is too difficult to position any wall spell properly to get much useful effect.

    3) Fireflash: Grade A
    Area effect damage baby! Need I say more?

    4) Body of Fire: Grade C+
    Like the other "Body of . ." spells (with the exception of Air) there are more productive things you could do. But it look very impressive and deals considerable damage.

    5) Call Fire Elemental: Grade B+
    The most useful of the elementals, fire deals lots of damage.


    ELEMENTAL WATER: Overall Grade: D+

    Water and Air seem to be in a race to catch up with Divination as most useless college, and it can be tough to tell which is winning. If you combined them they might make one decent school but as it is there is just not enough good amidst the drek.

    1) Purity of Water: Grade C-
    Can help if an NPC is on the borderline of being unwilling to deal with you. Otherwise useless. It also has the single most annoying sound effect in the game, and it is continual.

    2) Call Fog: Grade D-
    HA HA HA! Does this actually DO anything? I've played with it a lot and I can't squeeze even a drop of usefulness out of it.

    3) Squall of Ice: Grade B
    Area effect damage over time. The damage is perhaps too little too slow, but it works defensively as well. As a solo player center this on yourself and enemies will often retreat out of range. Combine with Body of Air and they will come to beat on you uselessly while being shredded by Ice. Too bad this lovely combo requires taking two otherwise lame colleges.

    4) Body of Water: Grade C-
    See the other "Body of . . ." spells. Not enough damage to be as good as Earth or Fire.

    5) Call Water Elemental: Grade B-
    Not as good as Fire or Earth, but better than Air. (Not that THAT says much!)



    FORCE: Overall Grade: A

    Along with White Necromantic and Temporal one of the three best schools overall. It has a great defense spell, a good single target offense, a mediocre area effect damage spell and DISINTEGRATE. Its only weak spot is a Wall spell. This is probably the best school to Master since the casting cost reduction will make a HUGE difference.

    1) Shield of Protection: Grade A
    Cheap to cast and maintain and gives great protection. DOG's favorite spell.

    2) Jolt: Grade C+
    Outclassed by Fireflash in a big way, but useful if you don't want to invest points into Fire, or if you have a problem with getting surrounded.

    3) Wall of Force: Grade D
    Same as the other walls - too cumbersome to be worth using.

    4) Bolt of Lightning: Grade B+
    Expensive to cast but useful on monsters resistant to harm and fire (Golems in particular)

    5) Disintegrate: Grade A+
    It may cost an arm and a leg to cast but it will obliterate what it hits everytime unless they have a dweomer or reflection shield up. Also great for getting rid of unwanted doors.


    MENTAL: Overall Grade: B

    There's only one bread-and-butter spell here but Dominate Will is SO much fun it makes the rest well worth it.

    1) Charm: Grade B
    This one seems a bit buggy. It says it is supposed to reduce reactions after it wears off but I have never seen this happen. Also when I force cast it on a member of my party it also seems to raise reactions PERMANENTLY, though who knows what problems this may cause.

    2) Stun: Grade B
    Fast to cast and well worth it when you really need to put a couple monsters out of battle for a moment while your melee friends deal with something else.

    3) Drain Will: Grade F
    Waste of time. Just kill it.

    4) Nightmare: Grade C
    Range and duration are too short to be very helpful but it can be useful when surrounded or to make an NPC you don't want to kill back off.

    5) Dominate Will: Grade A
    This spell is way too much fun. In combination with the Unlocking Cantrip it makes robbing merchants seem like a stroll in the park.


    META: Overall Grade: B

    These spells would be very useful except that there are hardly any spellcasting enemies. As it is they are very good only in very limited circumtances, principally in the end-game. Its final spell also has a really grossly abusable bug attached.

    1) Resist Magick: Grade C
    Does what it says. If only there were more magick to resist.

    2) Disperse Magic: Grade C
    Handy for those rare occasions an opponent has stacked up buffs or shields on themselves.

    3) Dweomer Shield: Grade B-
    This would get an A- if you faced off against more mages.

    4) Bonds of Magick: Grade B
    AKA Silence - since this can totally shut down a caster its quite nice. Pity there aren't any to do it to.

    5) Reflection Shield: Grade A
    Ok why an A? There aren't any casters to speak of so why why why? Permanent spells - thats why. Otherwise it gets a B. Reflection Shield is bugged in such a way that you can render spells permanent and upkeep free on anyone except yourself. Cast the spells you wish to make permanent, then cast Reflection Shield on the same target. Cancel the spell before removing the shield - that spell is now permanent. BE WARNED - it CANNOT be removed by any means I have found, not death, not Dispersal, nothing. So unless you want a quick trip to the asylum DON'T do this to any spell that has an ongoing annoying sound effect like oh say . . . Purity of Water. This trick ALSO works to make created undead, summoned creatures, and spellbound creatures/NPCs your permanentslaves. In other words its unholy powerful.


    MORPH: Overall Grade: C

    I haven't found these spells terribly useful. They actually DO help a little, so its head and shoulders above Air as a school, but not that much, so I can't really recommend bothering with it.

    1) Hardened Hands: Grade D
    Damage enhancement to unarmed attacks. So why don't you have a weapon, dumbass? Really, this is a stupid spell.

    2) Weaken: Grade C
    Well it is helpful against tough, armored type monsters but they don't usually last long enough to justify casting it.

    3) Shrink: Grade C+
    Its fun, I'll give it that. It might also be needed for a quest, but if it is, you can always buy a scroll.

    4) Flesh to Stone: Grade B
    The only really decent spell in the college. Rather like Stun in that it can take enemies out of comission for a bit without using an upkeep slot.

    5) Polymorph: Grade c-
    Worthless when compared to spells from other schools. When you can obliterate a foe outright (Disintegrate), take over its mind (Dominate Will), or just kill it with any damage dealing spell, why would you bother with Polymorph? Unless you are a pervert that is. Then this is THE spell for you.


    NATURE: Overall Grade C+

    These spells are ok, but the final spell in the college is lame, and since there are not many beast type creatures of significant power in the game the school doesn't really merit much attention. However, it IS useful enough that if you want to take a few ranks for roleplaying reasons you won't regret it.

    1) Charm Beast: Grade B+
    Useful in the early game for breaking up packs of wolves and the like. Also works on spiders which can be a blessing if they come in a horde.

    2) Entangle: Grade C+
    Not nearly as good as Stun or Flesh to Stone as it only negates movement and requires an upkeep slot.

    3) Control Beast: Grade C+
    Nice but there just aren't that many natural beasts that are worth turning into pets.

    4) Succour Beast: Grade F
    Ok so its not really that bad, more like a B, and actually summons more powerful creatures depending on you magickal aptitude, but at the highest level of aptitude this spell summons a vorpal bunny - which you may think is funny, but I think is just dumb. I'm sorry, but its WAY beneath my dignity as an evil spell caster to be summoning little white rabbits.

    5) Regenerate: Grade F
    Ok this one REALLY is worthless - combat goes far too fast for this spell to make any difference at all. As for utilizing it for between combat healing I can't see this being remotely useful unless for some reason you are a spellcaster who doesn't use White Necromantic magic. Another word for this type of caster is MORON.


    BLACK NECROMANTIC: Overall Grade: A-

    This has what is arguably the best spell in the game as its starter, and most of the rest of the school isn't too shabby either. Only the relative lameness of its final spell prevents it from taking a place alongside Temporal, Force, and White.

    1) Harm: Grade A+
    So good as to be broken. Cheap to cast and does plenty of damage to nearly everything. Golems seem to be very resistant though.

    2) Conjure Spirit: Grade D-
    Cute but virtually worthless. Very rarely you can get some decent info from this spell.

    3) Summon Undead: Grade B+
    This spell summons more potent forms of undead as your magickal aptitude increases, it also has a low maintanance cost. Good stuff.

    4) Create Undead: Grade B+
    Useful AND fun. Who wouldn't want to turn the corpses of their enemies into mindless minions?

    5) Quench Life: Grade C+
    Potent, but on a mana for damage scale it doesn't come close to Harm. It does look very cool though.


    WHITE NECROMANTIC: Overall Grade: A+

    What can I say? This is the curative school extraordinaire; if it's broken White will fix it. Don't leave home without it.

    1) Minor Healing: Grade A
    Does what it says. Vital in the early game though it gets upstaged by Major healing later.

    2) Halt Poison: Grade A
    Poison is a pain in the butt and so is carrying around a bunch of antidotes. With Halt Poison you needn't worry about either.

    3) Major Healing: Grade A
    When Minor Healing just isn't enough . . .

    4) Sanctuary: Grade C
    Well no school is perfect . . . I suspect this is really only useful if for some reason you need to go solo against a horde of undead. Otherwise its mostly just a pretty effect.

    5) Resurrect: Grade A+
    So long as you avoid overly technological sidekicks, once you have this spell any death (except your own, of course) becomes irrelevant, and even a benefit if the deceased was a caster who had run out of stamina. They return with Health, Fatigue, and Poison all restored.


    PHANTASM: Overall Grade: B-

    Pretty much worthless except for the final spell, which is great.

    1) Illuminate: Grade c
    With lanterns and helms that provide light this spell just isn't really worth troubling with. It can be handy as a marker for NPCs made permanently invisible by way of the Reflection Shield bug though.

    2) Flash: Grade D
    Another "why not just kill it?" spell.

    3) Blur Sight: Grade F
    You are a CASTER. What are you doing in melee? Do something better with your turn.

    4) Phantasmal Fiend: Grade C-
    Too weak to be worth the trouble.

    5) Invisibility: Grade A
    Wonderful for zipping along through areas without getting pestered. It eats mana like a whole farmyard full of pigs though, so bring along plenty of Morgana's Tears.


    SUMMONING: Overall Grade: B

    Summoning is a good school but somewhat redundant in its spell set. Personally I'd rather invest in Black Necromantic as that provides an excellent summoning spell and other goodies as well. However, Summoning has an excellent final spell so it a tough choice.

    1) Plague of Insects: Grade D
    Waste of time. Cast Harm instead.

    2) Orcish Champion: Grade B
    Summons an Orcish Champion. You were expecting Carmen Miranda?

    3) Guardian Ogre: Grade B
    Summons an Ogre. Sorry, still no Carmen Miranda.

    4) Hellgate: Grade B
    Summons Carmen Miranda. Just kidding. Fairly potent spell, but it gobbles fatigue. I'd rather create an undead version of whatever I'm fighting.

    5) Familiar: Grade A-
    Having a permanent companion is nice, but it cannot be resurrected so the fact that it levels up with you is pretty much moot unless you have figured out how to make the NPC AI behave intelligently. Also the Reflection Shield bug allows you to have pretty much anything in the game as a permanent companion by way of Dominate Will, Control Beast, or Create Undead which really makes this spell irrelevant (The A- grade is assuming you avoid cheating).


    TEMPORAL: Overall Grade: A

    The final magickal college and the last of the three A-list colleges along with Force and White Necromantic, Temporal is another good candidate for Mastery since ALL of its spells require maintainance and stacking them is a great thing. The mana savings will be a blessing.

    1) Magelock: Grade C
    Huh? A C! Why not an F you wonder? Well this seemingly worthless spell has a rather nasty use in combination with Dominate Will, and Teleport. I'll detail it in another post sometime, or you can figure it out for yourself.

    2) Congeal Time. Grade B
    Slows your enemies. Since it effects a whole group of enemies this spell is well worth casting.

    3) Hasten: Grade A
    Lots more attacks :smile: Another DOG favorite.

    4) Stasis: Grade A
    An excellent choice for taking out a creature you don't wish to disintegrate. As long as it is maintained the creature is totally helpless, and can be beaten down at will. The only downside is that it takes a maintanance slot to use.

    5) Tempus Fugit: Grade A
    The bigger your party, the better this is. Combined with haste you become a whirlwind of destruction. Great stuff.



    And there it is. Faye Valentine's Complete Overview of Arcanum Spells. I hope it has proven useful to you.



    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: FayeValentine on 2002-03-27 01:37 ]</font>

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: FayeValentine on 2002-03-27 19:15 ]</font>

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: FayeValentine on 2002-03-27 19:17 ]</font>
     
    13oojum likes this.
  2. gamenut

    gamenut New Member

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    Thanks for the info, and welcome to the forum!!!
     
  3. rosenshyne

    rosenshyne New Member

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    if ever make a mage character (signs point to no, but still) this will come in sooo handy... thanks for going to all that trouble!! and i already welcomed you, fellow cowboy bebop fan, but that's okay...

    WELCOME!!!! :wavey:
     
  4. Vlad the Imposter

    Vlad the Imposter New Member

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  5. Piter

    Piter New Member

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    great analysis. i'd change one thing though. give vitality of air a b+ or a-.

    that spell is really useful for recharging mana faster (and even increases mage staff mana recharge) for when your in deep areas and don't feel like running to the exit just to rest up an hour.
     
  6. HexRei

    HexRei New Member

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    Actually, I liked this spell a LOT. I took out the Boil almost immediately upon reaching Tarant. I had no idea that the rest of Tarant was much easier and that I should just wait till later :p

    But disarm rendered most of those thugs much less dangerous- insteading of worrying about death, i had to worry about fatigue loss and unconsciousness.
     
  7. FayeValentine

    FayeValentine New Member

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    Piter: are you sure you aren't running into some oddity with those staves of yours? Vitality of Air adds at MOST 2 points to heal/regen rate, and then only if you have a low con to begin with. If you have a heal rate of 6 already (which seems to be max) it adds nothing. Since the spell costs one mana to maintain already that means you are getting a +1 heal bonus in a best case scenario. Since I make it a point to make sure a caster has a decent con this spell doesn't help me out a lot. Am I missing something?

    HexRei: Now thats intrigueing. If I play through again I'll have to try it out. I usually level up for a while on fodder so that possibility never occurred to me.

    Rosenshyne and Gamenut: Thanks for the welcome :smile: I LOVE Bebop. Sometimes I use CowboyBebop as my name in chat forums. Big fan here.

    Keep the comments coming. I like the alternate viewpoints a lot. Its good to see what I missed. Anyway if, after a while, an authority type figure decides they would like to post this permanently somewhere I'll edit the document to take people's comments into account.

    <font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: FayeValentine on 2002-03-27 07:18 ]</font>
     
  8. rosenshyne

    rosenshyne New Member

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    yes this is off topic, no i don't care... edward is my favorite!
     
  9. Deadly Bread

    Deadly Bread New Member

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    I agree with HexRei, disarm's great against enemies of much higher levels than yourself, stringy pete for example, tried taking them on for the first time, died after one round of TB, decided to try my disarm spell(first time I ever bothered), they couldn't hurt me AT ALL, just stood there beating the crap out of 'em for a long while - I can't remember what level i was on but it was low, 20s or thirties i guess, where Pete & Friends(TM) are level 50, i believe..
     
  10. FayeValentine

    FayeValentine New Member

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    After experimentation to confirm Disarm's usefulness and some further playing with Water and Air I have edited the appropriate colleges as below. I remain unconvinced of the worth of Vitality of Air, even after playing with it more.

    CONVEYANCE: Overall Grade: A-

    Conveyance has two extremely useful, albeit very specific, spells and one absolute must have spell, but is otherwise dead weight.

    1) Disarm: Grade B
    This is useful if your enemy does in fact HAVE a weapon. It is good for taking on higher level human enemies, especially the Boil, Stringy Pete, and the gunfight in Ashbury. Unfortunately a lot of these enemies can still beat the bejeezus out of you with their fists.


    ELEMENTAL AIR: Overall Grade: D+

    This whole school would be worthless, except for Body of Air, which is surprisingly good.

    4) Body of Air: Grade A-
    As a self buff this is useful only for a pure mage as it renders you unable to attack, but for a strong caster gaining a whopping 95% damage resist is great for fighting melee types. Add to this the fact that you can cast it on melee enemies to totally negate their ability to attack and you have an excellent and versatile spell. Too bad the rest of the college sucks unmentionables.


    ELEMENTAL WATER: Overall Grade: D+

    Water and Air seem to be in a race to catch up with Divination as most useless college, and it can be tough to tell which is winning. If you combined them they might make one decent school but as it is there is just not enough good amidst the drek.

    3) Squall of Ice: Grade B
    Area effect damage over time. The damage is perhaps too little too slow, but it works defensively as well. As a solo player center this on yourself and enemies will often retreat out of range. Combine with Body of Air and they will come to beat on you uselessly while being shredded by Ice. Too bad this lovely combo requires taking two otherwise lame colleges.
     
  11. blackfey

    blackfey New Member

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    I realize that this thread is very old but wanted to post anyway.

    First off, it's been incredibly useful, so thank you Faye Valentine (if you're still listening).

    I do want to say that I think the Wall spells got a bit short shrift in this analysis though. You say that they can't be used effectively in combat but I've had much success with Wall of Force (granted in turn-based mode). Within the correct environment, it can be very useful. You can block off a doorway or a narrow tunnel with lots of baddies on the other side, then pick them off at your leisure with arrows, thrown weapons or other spells. Unless they have a disperse magic capability, it's simply impossible for them to breach it, no matter what their level is.

    I'd say that deserves a B-, at least.
     
  12. MatahChuah

    MatahChuah New Member

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    Even though this is an extreme gravedig, it's not as bad as the last one.
     
  13. blackfey

    blackfey New Member

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    My apologies. It won't happen again. I didn't realize there was a rule against it until I searched on "gravedig" to figure out what exactly it meant.

    This spell thread has been an important reference for me so I thought others might be using it that way. It seemed like a bit more info would make it more useful.

    Didn't mean to piss anyone off.
     
  14. Solaris

    Solaris New Member

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    Well, its an interesting analysis anyway, I'm kind of glad someone bothered digging it out. BUT:
    The guy who wrote it underestimates Wall of Force. If you play a magick oriented archer or thrower, or even a spellcaster for that matter, Wall of Force CAN come in handy in TBC- because you can shoot through it. Your enemy has to make his way around the wall, taking damage from both you and your followers, and if you're smart enough, you can stand in the corner and surround yourself with walls, becoming virtually invincible for any melee oriented opponents.
    Black Necromancy is hugely overrated in this overview. Summoned Undead are slow, weak and dumb. Harm is the only spell in that school worth bothering.
    And, of course, he had insulted Vorpal bunnies. They rule.
     
  15. Xz

    Xz Monkey Admin Staff Member

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    No, the stupidity of this gravedig mightn't be as huge as the last one, but, DAMN, this is old...
     
  16. Silvara

    Silvara New Member

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    Another example of a year-old gravedig?? WTF is going on here? I agree that the offending post wasn't half as stupid as the other one, but still... I hope this doesn't spread.
     
  17. Demosthenes

    Demosthenes New Member

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    To comment on the original post, the ratings given are very biased towards a usefulness in combat. Many spells were given low ratings that have an incredible value for someone who wants to heavily roleplay throughout the game.
     
  18. blackfey

    blackfey New Member

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    I noticed that too, Demosthenes. Are there any spells in particular that you think have high role-playing potential?

    For instance, the above analysis discouraged me from spending a point to get Conjure Spirit even though my character is a persuasion-type with definite diplomat/spy tendencies. The spell fit well with the character's proclivities but I didn't want to invest in it if it would never get me any "decent info". I guess it depends on your definiton of "decent info" in this context.

    Any thoughts?


    P.S. Now that the thread is "dug up", am I aggravating my offense by continuing to respond to it? Dancing with a corpse as it were?
    Still trying to figure out the rules here.
    Please be patient and don't call me "stupid".
     
  19. Silvara

    Silvara New Member

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    Nope, you aren't aggravating anything. If someone gravedigs a thread, that person is doing things wrong, but anyone else can post normally afterwards. Just try not to gravedig again.
     
  20. Sleek_Jeek

    Sleek_Jeek New Member

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    I'm actually kinda glad they gravedug this one... its a pretty useful thread i hadnt known about before...
     
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