"Useless" spells in Arcanum

Discussion in 'Arcanum Discussion' started by Dirtman, Oct 3, 2008.

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  1. Dirtman

    Dirtman New Member

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    Hmm, where should I start...

    Poison Vapours, nobody ever got poisoned in any of my play-throughs?! :D

    Call Winds... I guess, you can use it to distance someone from you, but also, never had a real motive to do that.

    Call Fog... :lol:

    Squall of Ice - at first I thought that anyone passing through it would slip and fall, but in the end, it turned out to be a yet another disappointment.

    Flash never blinded anyone, same as the Vapours.

    Wall of Stone, along with the horrible art comes the sheer ineffectiveness of the spell. I guess you could hold someone off if you were in a small space... :/


    If someone is willing to shed some light on the usage of these spells, I would really be grateful. Or you can add some other spells that you never found useful and, despite that, had to learn in order to climb ranks in that particular college of magic.

    Anyway, just wanted to write something down. I still can't believe that the stupid key went to the keyring. :)

    P.S. I almost forgot. What's the point of the Water and Air colleges if you can't walk on water or fly over obstacles?! :-o
     
  2. The_Bob

    The_Bob Administrator Staff Member

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    Most spells in Arcanum can be associated with varying levels of uselessness, all because of the simplistic game mechanics.

    For example most of the spells that change the caster's body into flame/air/ore/water are terribly inefficient gameplay-wise, both compared to other, simpler options, for the same CP-cost. The reason for that is that they require you to have decent melee skill and dexterity to actually gain anything from them - and with so many decent magickal weapons available, all but the fire spell actually give worse effects then average weapons. But in case of body of fire - using fireballs if more efficient.

    The whole divination college is pretty much useless. Even though it allows the player to obtain some information about the game world, none of it is valuable enough to warrant spending CPs.

    Most summoning spells are less efficient then direct offensive spells, although having a bunch of summoned or reanimated monsters running around may be a better solution for clearing dungeons then harm spamming - provided they don't aggro too many monsters. Also, the quench life spell is less efficient then the harm spell.

    The spells you mentioned, and generally all kinds of defensive/tactical means aren't very useful - DoT spells are too weak, terrain blocking spells do nothing in the open, blinding spells/grenades as well as the blink spell don't make enough of a difference for them to be worth considering in combat.
     
  3. Archmage Orintil

    Archmage Orintil New Member

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    Unseen Force. What is the use of this spell other than to pass the Mastery test? It pushes the target back a few squares. Edit this to function on Virgil and to push the sob across half the continent and then it'd be pretty useful.
    Spatial Distortion. Works only within visual range, and only when nothing is in the way. Visual range is never enough to escape an enemy.
    Sense Alignment and Read Aura. They're pretty useless unless you want all the incorrect racial and character info of the target. The rest are pretty useful for a thief.
    Bonds of Magic. Good luck finding an enemy that actually casts spells.
    All of Morph. Except Shrink which is only useful for a specific quest. I do however get a perverse pleasure from beating the crap out of shrunken enemies. It's like beating the shit out of spoiled brats in a store without all the legal troubles. Must use unarmed combat to get maximum enjoyment.
    Conjure Spirit. Works only on 4? or so npcs.
    Summon Undead. It's not useless but it's in the wrong school.
    Regenerate. I don't know about others, but with anything less than a max of 6 heal rate, this spell actually costs more fatigue than it restores. And forget about hit points. It doesn't even try to restore them, despite saying 1-7 in the spelllist. However, this might be a bug. I also never restore any hit points by sleeping.
    Phantasm with the exception of Invisibility. Illuminate makes nothing brighter. It has no practical effect other than making a target glow purple. And if you can already see the target to cast Illuminate, then obviously it's not dark enough to need a light.
    Flash blinds the target for a millisecond. They always still manage to crit me tho' despite their lack of a visual cortex.
    Blur Sight? Isn't that just Flash but with more fatigue drain and a +1 armor class? +1? That's suppose to help? I just replaced this one with a custom spell to inverse aptitude. At least I can trade with techies when needed.
    Phantasmal Fiend. It's not useless persay, but is nothing but a summoning spell and belongs in that college.
    Temporal is a pretty cool college, but why is there magelock? Thankfully it's just 1st level. It's still bloody useless. I've never had to lock any doors, and if I did, guards just hopped through windows.
    All of Summoning. Familiar would be nice if it wasn't for that constant wing flapping.


    As for elements? Ack...I think I'm going to just combine them into Steam (Fire and Water) and Dust (Earth and Wind) colleges, thus freeing up 10 spell slots for custom work. Maybe some form of conjuration to summon various items. I had good luck with summoning a storage container.
     
  4. The_Deathsangel

    The_Deathsangel New Member

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    Hm, I made use of some of those spells.

    Spatial Distortion can be used in some areas where stuff lies in the way. For examples the passes. Use the spell to get behind the bush and they walk around... this can give you sometimes a round or two to three, which can be life saving.

    Unseen Force and Gust of Wind. For a none combatitive spellcaster PC forcing the enemy back to your followers that stupidly hack into enemies further away, because you attacked them first. They also than know that that enemy is a target. Also when you followers use ranged weapons this can give an edge.

    Bonds of Magic true that to little people use magic against you, but when they do this makes a tough fight into an easy one, or easier. Kerghan uses magic, Tulla mages (yes, you can kill them :p), M'in Gorad uses magic, Joachim uses magic heavily, some random encounters, though there magic is rather weak, some dragons (and I love not getting fire elementals against me that destroy my equipment and that of followers being silly enough to smash into them).

    Summon Undead in the wrong school? Doubt it. All RPG's put this in Necromancy but call it Animate Dead or so.

    Regeneration I didn't want the healing school RP wise. I am heavy on that and care little for power. Hence, the healing was nice to have it.

    Wall of Stone for another breather or saving a stupid acting follower

    Summoning is good, if having few followers.


    Spells I do dislike:

    Divination School I do find rather useless... still I have a PC using it.

    Poison Vapors is too poor for a PC as you tend to kill badies before the poision does true damage

    Flash and Blur Sight, although I do blind them the effect of blinding or being blurred has to little effect to be worth the casting in comparison to an other spell

    Call Fog... euhm the enemy finds you regardless. It seems to help though for ranged attacks from a distance still to engage, but that might be simply luck.

    Squall of Ice Too little damage with 5 subsequent saves... unfortunately not good enough.

    And Dirtman.. if you could walk on water or fly the program would have problems with some stuff liking animating you passing over impassible stuff, but yeah it should be in there.
     
  5. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    I'm too lazy to write an elaborate answer, but here's a few notes, anyway.

    Unseen Force and Call Winds actually do damage to creatures. When they're being pushed into debris and scenery they receive a plenty of damage. (Technically into any blocked tile). Call Winds is especially useful since it can damage several critters at once.

    Conjure Spirit can be used on almost all important and semi-important NPCs, i.e. several dozens of them.

    The Wall spells are good for ranged fighters, e.g. you can lock yourself in a corner with two walls and shoot everyone to death.

    A blinded target gets TH -30% penalty.

    And a few bits on earlier spells. First, there was no Summon Undead originally, there was Poison spell as the second one and Conjure Spirit was the third. There are still graphics and sound effects in the game for Poison spell (and the scripting as well, it's just commented out), so I may make a small patch that restores it. Summon Undead was added because Tim Cain wanted as many summon spells as possible. And considering water walking, it's disabled. The feature was planned and was in for a long time, but was disabled later. Even the description for Body of Water spell still mentions it.
     
  6. Vorak

    Vorak Administrator Staff Member

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    It sure was in for a long time, they listed it as a feature on the box when the game came out.
     
  7. Dirtman

    Dirtman New Member

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    I like this part, especially the restoration of the Poison spell. :D
    Is there any way of enabling water walking?
     
  8. papa_dog_1999

    papa_dog_1999 Well-Known Member

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    I'll second that.
    As hard as I try, I just can't follow Chiun's 'how-to' in walking on water.

    "You must run very fast" --Chiun, Master of Sinanju
     
  9. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    It should be possible, most of coding is still in, it's just the engine treats blocking tiles and 'water-walkable' tiles the same way at the moment. I need to find the subroutine where it checks this and see how they disabled it.

    Anyway, the feature is not so exciting. The followers will still follow you, teleporting to you, and when you cancel the spell, you'll just get stuck in the water. Also, you will be able to walk to the IOD, etc. It's pretty broken.
     
  10. Wolfsbane

    Wolfsbane Well-Known Member

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    Don't fix the walking-on-water thing, and don't change the dark necromancy school. The spells are good just as they are.
     
  11. Archmage Orintil

    Archmage Orintil New Member

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    Really? Is there a list? I've been playing for 5+ years and the only time I've used the spell and got dialogue beyond the generic "please release me" stuff was with Wraith in Qintarra, the professor at the elven ruins, Gilbert Bates, and the two murderers (the ghost in the cave at the crash site and...Falken I think was the other murderer). I haven't played a character using B. Nec. for some time tho', so I obviously missed a lot.
     
  12. Dirtman

    Dirtman New Member

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    I've always found it ironic how Pelonius Schuyler disses you when you try to conjure his spirit, but when his idiotic son does the fake spell he's really talkative and full of cryptic shit. :D

    Anyways, Conjure Spirit can be useful. Sometimes. Right? :-?


    I wholeheartedly agree that it's broken, and if my assumption is correct there is no way to limit the effect to cities (e.g. Tarantian water canals) where it could be applied as a mean of quicker transport. Same thing with the Spatial Distortion. :) 'Cause running around could be circumvented this way by, let's say, teleporting :)D) from one place to the other.

    void BlockSpell(){
    if (destination==water) || (destination==an empty space behind a small fence or a ledge)
    printf('I bet you wish you hadn't spent those experience points on this piece of shit of a spell.');
    }


    edit: I accidentaly double-posted. :lol:
     
  13. Shota Shernokavich

    Shota Shernokavich New Member

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    Not really. In the mod I'm working on, the poison spell replaces harm, it just does wonders in terms of balance. Toning down the direct damage spells in general has worked great for making the magick/tech relationship a bit more even, such as jolt, fireball, etc etc. they are really too powerful.
     
  14. Wolfsbane

    Wolfsbane Well-Known Member

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    Technology shouldn't be as powerful as magic. This sounds silly, of course, but lorewise it's true. The everyday technology in Arcanum has not had the time to evolve like magic has. Magic's been around forever. Technology in Arcanum (save Vendigroth) has been around for less than a hundred years.

    Besides, technologists can become powerful beyond any magicians dream already; mages can't have armies of automatons running around after them, can they?
     
  15. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    You obviously didn't see the thread about the mechromancer.
     
  16. Frigo

    Frigo New Member

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    I don't think I need to remind anyone about a book in Tulla, and the researcher in Roseborough describing the weakening of Magick.
     
  17. Wolfsbane

    Wolfsbane Well-Known Member

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    And it has been weakened; magic was much more powerful in, say, the age of legends. See any spells in the game that can destroy entire countries (thinking about Arronax) or any such thing? No? There's your weakened magic. It should still, though, be more powerful than technology which's just begun it's uprise.
     
  18. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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    Strange, I always interpreted the general tone of Arcanum as if though magick was waning and well on its way to be replaced or at least heavily stigmatized by the rise of technology. Think about te weakening Ring of Brodgar that allowed Kerghan to attempt his escape, the clearing of the Morbihan, the lost three spells, the prevalence of technology everywhere save Tulla and the elven communities etc.
     
  19. Klaz

    Klaz New Member

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    Harm, probably.
     
  20. The_Deathsangel

    The_Deathsangel New Member

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    Sorry to be slighlty qurious/noobish in asking this question, but what three lost spells? I have read more people saying that, but frankly my memory fails me to think when that happens in game.
     
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