Potential Changes: Sequencer Item Property

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Post by The Amethyst Dragon on Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:00 am

Edit (July 28): Property will be allowed, with potential changes (see this post below).

Old text of this first post:
Spoiler:

So, I'd never actually used an item with the Sequencer property until today when I figured it was high time I figure out why it's been such a popular one picked for custom items (even by characters that aren't primarily spellcasters). So I made a test item that could store 3 spells and be used an unlimited number of times (the combination most often appearing on custom items) and played around.

Needless to say from a balance perspective, I'm adding it to the list of properties that will no longer be going on custom items. Sorry folks, but the ability to cast even 9th level spells for free (after casting it only once on the sequencer) is just way too powerful. Even spells like gate and sunburst seem to be eligible for sequencer items (it's not just purely defensive spells). I can see now why default NWN's lowly sequencer robe (that can hold just 1 spell and be used only 1/day) has an extra 10k gp tacked onto the value.

The items already added to the game palette that have the property will keep it, but any further ones (including later redesigns or upgrades of existing items) will not be eligible for having the sequencer property.


Last edited by The Amethyst Dragon on Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:45 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : Edited to update info.)

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Post by RustyDios on Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:22 am

Really?.. I thought Spell Sequencer item's could only hold defensive spell's... Didn't know that they could be used for offensive spells too... (well other then the offensive/defensive shields)....

Well at least "old" items get to keep it... now I just need to re-think some of the newer custom items I was getting ready to submit.... will there still be any sequencer items in-game to find ?
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Post by daveyeisley on Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:10 am

I suggest simply restricting unlimited sequencers. I have been using sequencers for years in Aenea... and I have never taken an unlimited sequencers for reasons similar to the above.

The 3 spells 5/day are pretty pricy and with only a handful of exceptions, only able to cast defensive spells which is perfectly balanced (also remember that sequencer caster level is craptastic by default, so on the few offensive spells that can be centered on the caster, they wont be penetrating SR or doing truckloads of damage).

Also, restricting these to spellcasters is another viable way to limit them. Plenty of options rather than just flatly removing them.

This change is both frustrating and sad if even limited use sequencers are taken away.
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Post by Eric of Atrophy on Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:58 am

I gotta "true that" with dave ... restricting them is a much better option than out and out banhammer ...
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Post by Amethyst347 on Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:12 am

Yes, I was going to suggest simply limiting them to uses per day, rather than totally removing them as well. But then I got distracted and forgot to post. So add me to the chorus who agrees w/ Dave!
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Post by The Amethyst Dragon on Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:32 am

I'll ponder it today (offline with family most of the day).

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Post by daveyeisley on Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:46 am

I do see that Use Magic Device plus spell scrolls plus 3 spell sequencers could be a bit unbalancing if the character has no other spellcasting classes. Thats why I would say limit sequencers to classes with spell lists and PrCs with spellcasting requirements.

Disallow unlimited sequencers as well, and they should be perfectly viable on custom items.

With no Timestop and no permahaste, casters have trouble getting their spells active when caught in an unexpected fight. Sequencers are really the only thing left that solves that issue.
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Post by Svair on Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:21 pm

I have yet to use one, and almost asked in my "Custom Item Advice?" thread what makes them so good. I still don't understand.

I know what they are supposed to do in theory: Store a spell that gets 'cast' when a specific circumstance occurs(or it multiple spells cast at once?), but still don't know their utility (I rarely play PCs that depend on spell-casting and don't know).

Is it that the same spell keeps on getting cast if the specific condition is still in effect? Or am I confusing this with Contingency (another property that I don't quite understand).
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Post by daveyeisley on Sun Jul 25, 2010 3:50 pm

Contingency makes beneficial magic take place when your chosen 'trigger' condition is met. One effect, and only goes off when trigger is met, single use - must be recast after being triggered.

Sequencers store a defensive spell or combination of spells that you can later release on command all at once. Can be multiple effects all at once whenever you choose to activate the sequencer, usable multiple times up to its limit of uses per day. (hence why it should not be unlimited)
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Post by RustyDios on Sun Jul 25, 2010 4:41 pm

I'd even go for having sequencers use a 3~4 charge / use option.... that way, you'd still have to pump magic items into them via the correct tool, to keep them charged, and that means finding said tool (and possibly someone to use it), and if you use it too much/don't pay attention to what your doing.... it goes *boom*... ..... ..
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Post by daveyeisley on Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:34 pm

I despise charged based custom items for the exact reason that they completely disappear when they run out. I mean, where did the devs of NWN get that concept from? No version of D&D I can remember ever made the item completely disintegrate. If charge-based items simply went dormant until recharged I would agree, but completely losing a custom item? No way...
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Post by eeriegeek on Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:38 pm

Just as a result of a quick test, a sequencer can store the following 9th level spells: Black Blade of Disaster, Gate, Greater Spell Mantle, Mordikainen's Disjunction, Shapechange, and Summon Creature IX. The remainder of the spells (offensive) could not be stored. Shapechange was an oddball in that it can only be cast from a sequencer if it was the only spell since it launches a conversation and which fails if you are "busy". The summons appear next to you without targeting and the Mords is cast only on yourself. I checked sunburst because The Amethyst Dragon mentioned it as well a few other low level offensive spells and none could be stored.

Obviously as a wizard, I'm leary of any magic which allows non-magical folks to go around casting magic spells willy-nilly. I just assumed (silly me) the 5/day casting rule applied to sequencers since it would otherwise violate all the other 5/day spell casting limits.They certainly should be limited to 5/day, and perhaps even to spell casters (or at least require the Usable only by spell caster: X property). With those limits, I don't see them as terribly overpowering. A 3 spell sequencer requires more that 40k in custom voucher, and the use I see most people making of them is for a little extra buffing, or, as I do, for a rarely used panic button (Shadow Shield/Greater Sanct/Haste.)
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Post by evilkittenofdoom on Sun Jul 25, 2010 10:39 pm

For what it's worth, a cleric (or someone with UMD) could store 3 Heals in it, totalling to a full heal. Apply that infinte uses/day and no more need to buy healing potions....

I think however the most valid point is one that Dave brought up; the caster level out of sequencers is simply terrible. Anything that is rounds/level or has consumable bumbers based on caster level (Like premonition) is severely being hurt by casting them from a sequencer.
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Post by evilkittenofdoom on Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:18 pm

As an update, as a level 30 caster, I placed my premonition into my current item that still has sequencer. I then used the sequencer and found out that the sequencer returned the spell as a level 15 spell.

I will grab 2 levels and see if the sequencer casts as half or simply a flat 15

Either way, these effects are thus highly dispellable at a caster level of only 15, and effects such as Premonition will apply a limited benefit.

Infinite uses a day, probably overkill. But outright banning probably is too.
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Post by eeriegeek on Tue Jul 27, 2010 11:34 pm

I pretty sure the sequencer casts spells as per the equivalent scroll... that is at the minimum level needed to cast (premonition is level 8 hence level 15 casting, 9 th level spells would be cast as level 17.)
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Post by The Amethyst Dragon on Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:40 am

Moving thread to general discussion...

I've had time to think about how sequencers work, as well as the item values added by this property, along with how I originally thought they worked. I'm considering adding them back in, but with a change to their actual function so that it functions more like an item-based defensive spell trigger.

Using "Cast Spell: Sequencer (3 spells) (1 Use/Day)" as an example.

Current Default Functionality:

1. User casts 3 defensive spells on the item (up to 9th level spells). These can come from a caster or from a spell scroll.
2. After each rest (up to 3 times/game day) or after each use of a potion of magic renewal (up to 6 times/game day) [total of up to 9 times/game day], user can activate sequencer item to get those 3 spells cast all at once on himself/herself.

Potential Functionality:
1. User casts 3 defensive spells on the item (up to 9th level spells). These can come from a caster or from a spell scroll.
2. Spells remain "stored" in the item until used. When used, all 3 spells are cast at once on the user. Spells are cleared from the sequencer when used.
3. User "refills" sequencer with up to 3 new spells (or the same spells as before).


Reasoning behind potential changes:

Until recently, I assumed that the sequencer property worked like a spell trigger, "storing" spells for later use, then being used up (making it a way to "save up" a few spells for quick release later). Probably comes from my days playing Baldur's Gate and using the spell sequencer spells.

Even going with just 1 use/day on a 3 spell sequencer, that's a potential of 27 extra high-level defensive spells per game day for those with some extra money (1 sleep/8 hours plus 1 renewal/4 hours).

What I want to do is transform the current sequencer property into an item-based "improved defensive spell trigger". Basically, instead of the item being able to infinitely recast the spell(s), it clears itself when used. Like a spell trigger spell, it get's used up when activated, but unlike a spell trigger, it A) remains available until used (not until you next sleep or use a potion of magical renewal) and B) is still useful for those that invest in Use Magic Device (since the spell trigger spell is kind of a waste for such characters).

If I make this change, I also plan on bringing down the cost of the property a bit (by about 75%). This would mean a 3 spell sequencer 1/day would add about ~4,500 gp to the item's value (rather than the 18,000 gp it now adds). For an unlimited use/day 3 spell sequencer, that'd be about ~22,500 gp (rather than the 90,000 gp it now adds).

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Post by daveyeisley on Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:31 am

Better than no sequencers at all.... but I think the added upkeep of needing to recast the spells after every single use sucks, even considering the lowered cost (the lower cost just makes it suck less). Its needless time and effort wastage.

The stone of rapid defense (or several stones for that matter, so you can use more than one/day) beats the proposed sequencer functionality in every way... and the stone doesnt cost custom item voucher value to get.

The way sequencers work now isnt broken, no need to fix them. Unlimited sequencers are broken. Disallow unlimited/day, and problem solved.
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Post by RustyDios on Wed Jul 28, 2010 5:49 am

Gotta say, I agree with Dave. The way sequencers work now, and the cost of them on an item (and a custom one at that) is NOT broken. But after using my 3spell/unlim/day sequencer and reading some of the things in this thread.. that IS where the break lies...

... Granted existing items should possibly be "grandfathered in" but new items should have a 3 or 5/day limit....


And you can cast spells from scrolls into a sequencer,eh?!... Learn something new everyday.... ....
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Post by Elhanan on Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:17 am

The only offensive sequensor item I recall was a rod made for an Epic mod in NWN.

I would tend to say that unlimited usage could be exploited, but the other useage should be ... pallateable *toolkit pun*
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Post by Amethyst347 on Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:16 am

Elhanan wrote:

I would tend to say that unlimited usage could be exploited, but the other useage should be ... pallateable *toolkit pun*

OK, someone get the pun bottle... Potential Changes: Sequencer Item Property Icon_razz
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Post by evilkittenofdoom on Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:32 am

I'd be in support of even not grandfathering in the sequencer property under the circumstances that they can keep the other properties on the item if nothing else is changed (except in increasing stats, such as +3 AC to +5, +1 regen to +2 or whatever) and other properties are added to compensate for value differences.

That way the unlimited sequencer is entirely killed, but it allows for items that have older benefits to not be penalized for such a change assuming NOTHING ELSE is modified EXCEPT in increasing numerical things or adding new properties to compensate for the price difference (such as unlimited Teleport/Transference, 90% Immunities to X or whatever changes were made to properties that are no longer allowed but once were)

As for the proposed way... I'd say that I'd only ever need or use 1/day 3 sequencer. Any more than that would be wasted at that point when I could simply cast the spell ahead of time, especially since it wouldn't replicate metamagic for things such as extended Haste or Tempest's Protective Gale.
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Post by daveyeisley on Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:47 pm

Elhanan wrote:The only offensive sequensor item I recall was a rod made for an Epic mod in NWN.

I would tend to say that unlimited usage could be exploited, but the other useage should be ... pallateable *toolkit pun*

*Lets fly the D.P.B*

(ie. Dreaded Pun Bottle)

As for sequencers, I could see 3spells being useful more than 1/day.... but thats besides the point. Updating current customs to remove unlimited sequencers is Ok by me mainly because I wouldn't be affected.... but it probably would be a big deal if it would affect me... I hate to say it, but allowing those to be grandfathered is the most fair thing to do. On the other hand... if those items are ever redesigned, then it would be a sticking point. I am fairly confident, as changes take place.... eventually almost every single sequencer item will be redesigned at some point.

Regarding spell sequencer caster level, from NWNwiki:

Spells cast using a sequencer are cast with a caster level of 10 and a DC (if applicable, e.g. war cry) as the standard item DC (13 + innate level of spell). This means that lower level casters can have spells improved by sequencing them.

As you can see the sequencer caster level is craptastic. Only a lowbie would benefit, and the spells a lowbie could manage would be less than gamebreaking with 4-5 extra caster levels. Higher level spells stored by using scrolls will be reduced in power.
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Post by evilkittenofdoom on Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:03 pm

Need I note my own post here - when I cast Premonition via my sequencer, it held 150 points of absorption, NOT 100 as per a caster level of ten. I never held credit to that one article for that reason. Usually I'd say the wiki is right, but like I said, this is one of the few and far between that isn't.

The only reason I say once a day is IF ADs changes were made. If they weren't, then I'm all for 5/day
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Post by daveyeisley on Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:43 pm

The spell script for Premonition may set 150 as the minimum absorption. The duration of spells would be a better barometer. Try casting a spell that would last 20 rounds (like an unmodified tempest protective gale by a 40th level caster) and immediately use the sequencer for a 1 round/level spell. When the 1 round/level spell wear off, activate it again.... and it should wear off the second time right around when tempest's does.
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Potential Changes: Sequencer Item Property Empty Re: Potential Changes: Sequencer Item Property

Post by MannyJabrielle on Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:59 pm

Personally, I'd say leave them as is.

As Dave pointed out, the caster levels for the spells make it only beneficial for low level casters (death armor for example.... sequencers cast it just like the potion, 3 rounds per use).

It is still very advantageous though... especially for absorption type spells (premonition, stoneskin, spell mantles, ect). Not as powerful or long-lasting as when cast directly, but when you're being pounded on by enemies, the absorptions get eaten up fast, so multiple lesser powered versions of the spell can out perform higher levels at fewer casts per day.

But again, that's limited to basically the absorptions, which make up only about a quarter of the possible spells available for the sequencers.

Sequenced spells also can't be metamagicked or hastened. Aenean specific spells can't be sequenced, only vanilla NWN spells. That's a huge thing for dedicated spell casters. Taking a full round to activate a sequencer can be a detriment when those spells are absolutely needed.

There's also a mechanical aspect to using them few people are aware of. If you activate the sequencer in the beginning of an action queue, the sequencer itself won't actually fire off until every other action is completed. This makes using them practically in combat somewhat of a hassle.

As Dave also pointed out, stones of rapid defense, while working a bit differently, accomplish the same basic thing (and in essence, exceed a 3 spell sequencer... 10 or more spell sequencer that keeps caster level intact), and don't require a voucher to gain, and one could carry enough of them to make them virtually unlimited... a 3 spell unlimited sequencer isn't entirely cheap on a voucher item, especially when there are other properties on the item.

I'd say given the balance of benefits and detriments, if a player wants to spend the voucher value for one, let them.
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Potential Changes: Sequencer Item Property Empty Re: Potential Changes: Sequencer Item Property

Post by Eric of Atrophy on Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:48 am

Manny and dave have some sound arguments. I vote to leave it be, and focus your creative energies on more worthy tasks ... like holdable wands!

Seriously, though, I vote to not change the sequencer item property.
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Potential Changes: Sequencer Item Property Empty Re: Potential Changes: Sequencer Item Property

Post by The Amethyst Dragon on Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:07 am

I decided to leave the sequencer property in, but just limit it to one use/day. It does work differently from the stone of rapid defenses...the stone uses up memorized spells, the sequencer does not (beyond the initial cast for loading).

Holdable wands...not going to happen. Razz While I would have been all right with the concept years ago, I now prefer the way it works now, where you just use a wand for a quick spell without having to equip it first. Making them holdable would mean you would have to equip them every time you wanted to use one. Plus, I'm not sure I really want to make hundreds more models which wouldn't be nearly as visible as the magical staves I'm doing now.

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Potential Changes: Sequencer Item Property Empty Re: Potential Changes: Sequencer Item Property

Post by Eric of Atrophy on Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:35 pm

Hey, I said it before, just make a simple single glowy one ... I don't think anyone would mind! Twisted Evil
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Potential Changes: Sequencer Item Property Empty Re: Potential Changes: Sequencer Item Property

Post by MannyJabrielle on Fri Sep 24, 2010 10:11 pm

There's something on the vault already that does holdable wands/rods. A few of them are in the CEP as well, but stuck into the torch/holysymbol/flag category of items.

Then again, the holdable wands/rods from that particular pack were rather meh looking. Simply holdable versions of the ground models for the wands... not really great looking.

The need to equip to use thing would also be a huge detriment for as cool as it would be (although, I could see one of my characters using only a wand instead of a dagger or staff).
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Potential Changes: Sequencer Item Property Empty Re: Potential Changes: Sequencer Item Property

Post by Eric of Atrophy on Fri Sep 24, 2010 11:48 pm

Exactly! Harry Potter, anyone? Twisted Evil
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