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Post by rosareven on Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:22 pm

I hope I'm not annoying anyone with this recent flood of noob questions! I'm not only new to NWN, but D&D in general (yeah, imagine that!), most of my questions are in fact regarding the nature of D&D mechanics itself rather than NWN or Aenea.

That being said, I've been puzzled by how casters work lately. I grew up with games where a caster treat magic like bullets, you have this thing called "mana" and you deplete it to channel spells at will. This "mana" thing regenerates on its own over time for you to cast spells again.

In D&D, spells are limited to so many number of casts per day, putting strategic and efficient usage into emphasis. I accept the point of that and it makes sense to me, but there are a few things I don't understand (after reading dave's magic guide too):

1. If casters should save their spells for tide-turning purpose, what do they do most of the time in combat? Melee/crossbow?

2. Are offensive spells useless if you spend most of the time melee/crossbow-ing anyway?

3. Pure casters are generally expected to have low AC and not meant to fight up close. Do they work like a ranger with a bow then, killing at range and only use spells when needed?

4. Being able to solo is important to me because I play graveyard hours, not everything of course but at least reasonable enough to get around the everyday gnolls and bandits. Are pure casters capable for that with some tricks or would I have to consider a defensive prestige?
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Post by Elhanan on Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:10 pm

Am far from an expert, but will try and answer some basic questions:

Wizards memorize spells, as well as Druids and Clerics for the most part. Bards and Sorcerers have fewer known spells, but may cast these as required as long as they have Spell Slots (ie; 6 spell slots may cast any six spells of that or lower lvl, I believe).

That said, spells can vanish rapidly in certain conditions, so casters are prudent to be aware of their Spell limits and have secondary tactics available.

1 - I enjoy ranged combat even if it is not as powerful as melee, simply because it may cause damage at distance, and may avoid direct contact. Clerics and Druids may take Zen Archery to aid ranged accuracy, and casters are wise to wear items that also increase DEX to aid this and AC.

However, melee is also available as an option for those that have the AC and skills to survive close combat. Here is an older build of a pure Wizard that can be effective doing so:

http://home.comcast.net/~worldofgreyhawk/builds/data/build301814.html

2 - Few weapons can offer the sheer power of offensive magics as a rule. However, the build must support them by taking Feats and Skills to boost their power, as the targets will take such to defend against them.

3 - Rangers actually are able to be quite effective at melee or range; simply are limited in the types of foes that thay may use said bonuses. But in any event, it is wise not to waste spells, though it is far worse to die with a full canteen of spell slots. Like with most games, it takes practice to learn.

4 - I also value soloing, and prefer a Rogue/Wizard to the Melee Mage build I posted earlier for the higher Skill Pts and varsatility. But for every lvl of Rogue, I weaken my Wizard casting strength. And again, it takes practice.

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Post by daveyeisley on Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:09 pm

Casters who wish to blast their way to victory must be prepared to run out of spells quickly. It can be done and there are ways to regain spells quickly as well - smitty's shop sells helpful slumber potions which arent too costly and reset your sleep timer - so you can get your spells back as long as you are in an area that isnt near enemies and that also allows resting.

If you need spells back in a dangerous area then magical renewal potions are the only real option. They are pricy, and only sold at the shrine to Mystara which is in a second area behind the wanderer's portal at the top of the hill in the Vale.

My party-saving primer is mainly for when a caster has allies to help them. When solo, you gotta do it yourself and yes, that means burning spell slots to drop your enemies. This need not be done with direct attack spells, however.

At lower levels, direct attack spells are actually the least efficient way to defeat foes. What you want is the Extend Spell feat, and then use spells like Summon Creature, Haste, Flame/Shock/Acidic/Frost weapon, Greater Magic Weapon, Keen Edge, Displacement, Stoneskin, etc in order ot give yourself an edge in melee, if only a temporary one.

You should still find this will get you through more combats over a longer period than if you try to spell the enemies down directly.

So, Minions and Self-Buffs for melee are the way to go at lower levels.

Always save at least one invisibility and/or escape potion in case your stuff wears off and you need to run away and rest.
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Post by rosareven on Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:58 pm

Thanks guys. For Rovina's purpose of role play, I'm very tempted to go pure sorceress, although Dragonsoul sounds really intriguing too to prestige for. But then I hear a lot about not doing prestige unless "you know what you are doing".

Some day I may just make a wizard for the purpose of learning how all the spells works first.
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Post by daveyeisley on Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:54 pm

Knowing what the spells do is the first step to knowing what works in each situation.

Study your spell descriptions, learn the mechanics. Think about how to apply each spell and when. Then test it in combat.

Its a process, but it is the key to spell-slinging effectively.
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Post by Elhanan on Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:03 am

rosareven wrote:Thanks guys. For Rovina's purpose of role play, I'm very tempted to go pure sorceress, although Dragonsoul sounds really intriguing too to prestige for. But then I hear a lot about not doing prestige unless "you know what you are doing".

Some day I may just make a wizard for the purpose of learning how all the spells works first.

As a newbie Mage, I would practice on some solo mods, esp those that were made for Mages to shine. Such environs are great for learning basic spell and combat tactics, and helps with adapting the more intense UI focus of spellslinging.

As for Aenea, the lands can be precarious, and requires more study as it contains server only content. But Dave, Manny, Eric, Ray, and others have offered aid and great casting tips that help make the experience a lot more tolerable than it might be otherwise. Not certain, but I do not believe Barnabas Bottlebottom - my first caster - ever made a trip to the Great Halls thanks to these friends of Aenea.
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Post by Ramana Jala on Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:14 am

I'm still learning with my first pure mage I just created here recently. Dave's tips about Essential Spells for Arcane Casters, and his other threads, and his and others' advice, have been indispensable for me. I'd say, essential, because Aenea caster and spell mechanics differ from stock NWN. Also study the Spell sections on the website.

I was going to multiclass my mage, but then his advice made me realize that you won't get the most powerful spellcaster if you do. Same with trying to multi-task with feats, you need to use them for magey qualities and more of the appropriate caster attribute (Greater INT/WIS/CHA). Because if a spellcaster isn't as powerful as possible, then it isn't really a totally useful spellcaster. Mages really shine at higher levels.

That said, you do have to learn how to use one's specialty, especially at lower levels. One thing I would contribute to all the above, is that it is useful to have some weapon backup, which will be useful for mundane lower-level kills to spare your spells. A ranged weapon like a bow is ideal, although a caster using a bow won't be as good with it as a ranger would be, that's just how it is, but while using the ranged weapon, one should definitely bolster one's ability with equipping DEX or feat enhancing items. Also, scribing scrolls or getting magical items with spells on them is very useful. Like one of my favorite things to do, as I mentioned before, is put a Barrier of Force up to protect me from a crowd, then use my bow to take them down. But don't take any weapon feats --I've been finding that with each level, I use weapons less, as I find ways to have more spells on hand (scribe scrolls, items, etc.). There's many useful items to find, especially some staves available with Barrier of Force and various other useful spells.

And please don't hesitate to ask away, we're all just learners here!
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Post by daveyeisley on Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:10 pm

Any new character in Aenea is well advised, spell caster or not, to take custom item vouchers whenever they get player reward chests (vouchers start at the 8 hour chest).

The most beautiful property you can get on an item is a cast spell #/day property. Either it gives you access to the effect and saves you spell slots, or lets you use an effect you otherwise could not.

Think your choice of spell through carefully - don't pick spells that need to have lots of caster levels to work well either due to spell resistance or short durations. Don't pick spells that allow a save. Generally buffs and utility magics are your best bet.

If in doubt, ask before you submit an item.
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Post by Ramana Jala on Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:03 pm

Yep, what he said, reinforcing what I said the other day here about the custom item vouchers.

Myself, I'm still taking my time thinking through my custom items. Even though I've collected them all, I haven't redeemed one yet. It's taken me this long to understand what my toons really need (especially my new mage), discovering what's available via IG items, and balancing what's available via upgrade versus what's only available via custom items (like those aforementioned Cast Spells). It's a lot to consider.
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Post by Elhanan on Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:31 pm

Due to scheduling conflicts, I utilize and recommend Custom Items way more than upgrades. I still have anniversary crystals that need applied for some characters from a couple of years ago, as well as bags full of items meant for additions. Simply the nature of the time consuming beast that is RL.
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Post by Belarric on Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:54 pm

You always have the ability to change your voucher item as you learn and grow.
I recently purchased an renewal voucher at Green dragon for 75k and amalgamated.
I changed my current voucher item, robes, to a ring and added some more voucher items to it

The robes worked well earlier when I needed, but now my ring is even better as I have grown wiser
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Post by rosareven on Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:23 pm

Belarric wrote:You always have the ability to change your voucher item as you learn and grow.
I recently purchased an renewal voucher at Green dragon for 75k and amalgamated.
I changed my current voucher item, robes, to a ring and added some more voucher items to it

The robes worked well earlier when I needed, but now my ring is even better as I have grown wiser
That's great to know. I have worried custom items being obsolete if used too early on.
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Post by RayvenNightkind on Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:12 am

That's the great thing about custom items, they can be added to and/or changed as your pc grows to suit his/her needs. My pc ol' Ray has reincarnated as well as ascended and still carries/uses rather effectively the blade he made back when he was a wee tyke. It has gone through more then a couple changes itself. On a side note as Elhanan stated earlier, Dave (firstly), Manny (if ya can catch him about, seems as though the dreaded RL monster may have gotten it's mitts on him lately), Rusty (he be pretty knowledgeable about the magics here), Eric, myself, or any of Aenea's population for that matter would be glad to lend some advice or even a blade if need be to assist in your acclimation (while trying to avoid sending you on a trip to the Great Hall. Although be forewarned, I have been known, on occasion, to "break" Aenea as a whole. Wink
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Post by rosareven on Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:33 am

You guys are awesome!

I'm contemplating putting my sorcerer on hold and make a wizard instead, so that I have wider range of spells to explore and practice at my pace. I'll probably still need a sorcerer guide after I've done so. Anything but giving up though, I'm too much of a sucker for fantasy magic.
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Post by daveyeisley on Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:17 am

In my opinion, D&D 3.0 (which is the version aenea tries to emulate most) was the sweet spot as far as magical mechanics. I hope it will be for you as well.
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Post by daveyeisley on Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:13 am

Regarding custom items for spellcasters... What I did, which has worked out extremely well for me, was identify gear slots that I never need to swap gear around in - for instance my belt - and then I spent a lot of my voucher value on a custom belt that granted bonus spell slots of my highest spell level.

Don't get me wrong... Six extra 9th level spell slots cost me a TON of voucher value (almost all of my 500k voucher), but with my metamagic feats, I can do so much with those extra slots, and the spell effects that come from them get the full benefit of my caster level and stats and feats, which spells cast from items cannot match.

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Post by Ramana Jala on Fri Oct 26, 2012 11:46 am

Thanks for the info, Belarric and Rayven. I wasn't aware that a redo voucher could do so much!

And Dave, that's a really helpful tip, thanks!

I'm hoping that all this just might help me with getting past the mental logjam to use and clear out my inventory pageful of vouchers.
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Post by MannyJabrielle on Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:51 am

And a late comment on the "casters have low AC" remark in the original post...

Perhaps at lower levels, but at higher levels, epic magic can easily bring the mage up to par with melee classes, even surpass them.

And a general bit of advice... anyone brought up under the new-school of "Mana" magic would probably find it easier to learn the old-school DnD spell slot system by going sorcerer before wizard.
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