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Seeking input on Strength progression


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#21 Qwinn

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 03:25 PM

Hmm, fair point. The description says class -and- race, where I've been focusing on just the class aspect of that. That's mainly because there -are- class based restrictions in place, but some things affect those restrictions and others don't, and it's inconsistent all over. But there's no inconsistency I can see as far as racial restrictions... there don't appear to be any at all.

As far as I can tell from all in-game sources, Annah and Dak'kon are being treated as humans in terms of their maximum strength. If there was a hint in any existing spell or engine code that 17 was a limit for them, I'd be happy to give it a serious look, but I'm not seeing anything that hints that they actually meant to go there.

Scient, have you noticed anything in the engine code that checks for race?

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#22 scient

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 03:27 PM

Grace: Succubus -> starting str 16
Dak: Githzerai -> starting str 17
Vhail: Spirit -> starting str 18/51
Annah: Tiefling -> starting str 14
Nordom: Modron -> starting str 16
Ignus: ignus (lol?) -> starting str 13
Morte: not set (blank in Infinity Explorer) -> starting str 12

At the moment, none of the strength spells takes into account race.

edit:

Scient, have you noticed anything in the engine code that checks for race?

In all the code areas I've looked at since working on PST, no. Granted I really haven't been looking. I can see if it's used anyplace.

Edited by scient, 17 January 2009 - 03:31 PM.

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#23 Qwinn

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 03:29 PM

And Shambelle, heh, sorry, I didn't realize that you already pointed out a bunch of the things I just "discovered"... sorry :blush:. In my excitement, I was skimming through everything, but I wasn't skimming cause I wasn't interested, I was skimming because I agreed with the arguments and was busy coming to the same conclusions, heh.

Anyways, sorry... good calls there! I agree. Lol.

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#24 Qwinn

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 03:33 PM

If you go through the circle with Dak'kon, when you upgrade him his strength becomes 18. So there apparently wasn't any intention of restricting him to 17... in fact, they boost him over that score purposefully.

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#25 Shambelle

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 04:06 PM

So. Again, back to the "items that give +strength" issue.

What is the 2nd ed. rules about items that grant strength bonuses? I realize that the more popular ones actually set it to an absolute value ("Gaunlets of Ogre Strength" giving 18/00) rather than a simple + boost... and now we know why, heh. Are there -any- 2nd ed. items that gave a relative rather than absolute boost that we can look at for guidance?

To make things consistent and balanced for the classes, we could probably go one of two ways. 1) Make them work like "Strength", hard caps at 18 for non-fighters and 18/00 for fighters. I don't like this approach. 2) Make them work like "Improved Strength" - caps ignored, but all classes use the 18/XX tree.

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Neither... :ph34r:

You must understand that the percentiles are a specific case for when you have a warrior (be it paladin, fighter, gladiator, ranger...) and you roll a 18 for your Strength score: in this case, you roll a second die (D100) to see how extraordinary strong you are.
It is a mean to compare a strong warrior with a stronger warrior but in fine, they all have 18 to Strength.
If you add to your warrior an item that add +1 to Strength, you get exactly this:

16 -->17
17 -->18
18/XX -->19

Your warrior can have 18/68, 18/01 or 18/00, in all the case he has 18 and then get 19.
If he's not a warrior, he goes from 18 to 19.

Example of item of AD&D:
The Manual of Gainful Exercise is an artefact that add permanently +1 to Strength.
If you have 16, you get 17...
If you have 18/00, 18/45 and so, and so, you get 19...

Edit, to answer to the last posts: clearly the differents races are not implemented so all your followers have a maximum Strenght score of 18/00 for the fighters and 18 for the other.
Scient, with Near Infinity, I find:
Morte> Race: Human
Ignus> Race: Human
Vhailor> Race: Ghost
Nordom> Race: Rogue Modron
FFG> Race: Tanar'ri
Annah> Race: Tiefling
Dak'kon> Race: Githzerai
Nameless One> Race: Human

Edited by Shambelle, 17 January 2009 - 04:31 PM.


#26 Qwinn

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 05:14 PM

Shambelle,

Fair enough... however, I think the deliberate way in which Improved Strength was implemented suggests that they weren't comfortable with jumping straight from 18 to 19 strength. And I can see why. From +1 To Hit/+2 Damage directly to +3 To Hit/+7 Damage is a pretty huge leap, and as previously noted, it gives mages and thieves a huge advantage. That doesn't make sense, the percentiles is supposed to be a bonus for fighters, not a penalty.

Also: If I am a fighter with 18/01 strength, and I attribute a point at levelup, I don't go to 19, I go to 18/51.

Gonna have to check what happens if you're a mage with 17 strength and you pump points into strength at levelup. Hmmm. I -thought- that would also give you 18/XX scores, but mebbe not.

Remember that PS:T is also unusual in this respect... in AD&D, the XX percentile of strength is always a rolled, random value. By nature. If you gave +1 strength to a warrior with 17 strength, he'd automatically be 18/XX, where XX would be a randomly rolled 1-100 value. You -can-, if you're lucky, go straight from 17 to 18/00, at which point another +1 to 19 is not a big deal. That's not the way it works in PS:T, for TNO at least... for TNO, if you add 1 attribute point at character creation or levelup to a 17 strength, you get 18/01 every time. It's part of the progression.

Qwinn

Edited by Qwinn, 17 January 2009 - 05:24 PM.


#27 scient

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 06:12 PM

Gonna have to check what happens if you're a mage with 17 strength and you pump points into strength at levelup. Hmmm. I -thought- that would also give you 18/XX scores, but mebbe not.


Non-fighters progress with 18/xx when allocating points on level up.

18/30
18/60
18/90
18/99
18/00

Edited by scient, 17 January 2009 - 06:12 PM.

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#28 Shambelle

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Posted 18 January 2009 - 05:32 AM

I know.
You have 3 cases:

-The allocation of points in your character sheet: due to the nature of the Nameless One, you can access to the extraordinary Strength normaly aveable only to Fighters with all classes. In the end, the Nameless One could become suprahuman. The progression was described by Scient.
-The Strength Spells: it really depends of your class and the level of the Spell. We discussed it earlier.
-The magical means: it is the case I talked about. 19 is not a natural value for humans. You can access it with a natural score of 18/XX and a magical +1 to Strength. (or a natural 17 and a magical +2).

You could find it illogical but then there are a lot of not so logical rules in AD&D...For exemple 25 being the Strength of a god or when you use a race with a natural +1 to Strength...A real mess...

#29 Qwinn

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 01:06 AM

Ok, having let this soak in my neurons for a couple of weeks, time to revisit.

Shambelle, you said

You have 3 cases:

-The allocation of points in your character sheet: due to the nature of the Nameless One, you can access to the extraordinary Strength normaly aveable only to Fighters with all classes. In the end, the Nameless One could become suprahuman. The progression was described by Scient.
-The Strength Spells: it really depends of your class and the level of the Spell. We discussed it earlier.
-The magical means: it is the case I talked about. 19 is not a natural value for humans. You can access it with a natural score of 18/XX and a magical +1 to Strength. (or a natural 17 and a magical +2).


I don't think this breakdown really fits the way things work. For example, "Magical means" should certainly include the Improved Strength spell, separate from the other Strength spells.

Here's the way I see the breakdown:

1. Class limits, fighters only use exceptional tree: This is the way it works for the Strength spell and post-fix Power of One. They are an exception, as all other methods appear to have been intended to count as stronger magic that ignore class limits.
2. No class limits, exceptional tree used: This is the way it works for TNO allocating points on levelup, and the Improved Strength spell.
3. No class limits, exceptional tree completely ignored. This is the way it works with item boosts, dialogue boosts, and the fighter specialization boost.


(scient, do we know how the Whispering Flask works? I'm presuming as an item, which is why I'm not categorizing it separately, after all, it -is- an item.)

Based on this, I don't think we can stand on the rigid principle that mages and thieves should never have 18/XX strength. If we were to do so, then we need to change Improved Strength and how TNO points are allocated (which would introduce a whole buttload of how-the-heck-to-implement issues). I don't think there's any greater reason to believe that method 2 was a screwup and method 3 was intentional, as opposed to the opposite.

Note that there is other evidence of intentional violation of 2nd ed. rules. For example, it actually should be impossible for a fighter to have a plain 18 strength. Yet, that is exactly what Dak'kon gets after you upgrade him via the Circle, or if Annah has a 17 strength and you give her a +1 strength item. Per 2nd ed. rules, they both -should- at least go straight to 18/01, and really it should be a random number. But the random component is completely absent in PS:T. In all cases in game where the exceptional strength tree is used, it is straightforwardly part of the overall strength progression, no different from 3-18 or 19-25.

Also note the oddities that Vhailor's dialogue boost (one of the only two dialogue strength boosts in the game) and the fighter specialization boost, both exclusive to fighters, both ignore the fighter exceptional strength tree altogether.

TECHNICALLY speaking, fighter TNO's with an 18/XX strength should go down to 18 when he switches class, no? But that introduces a whole mess of issues, such that I can see why they decided to avoid the whole thing. The way I look at it, they developed a new way of handling the tree in the cases where the logistics of ignoring class strength limits created really -obvious- problems, but then didn't apply that solution consistently. The result is unbalancing elements that encourage OOC altering behavior for the sake of powergaming and min-maxing, such as scheduling your progression so as to not use levelup points for a period of your career, for no in-character reason that makes any sense. I am intentionally biased towards making things consistent -and- to avoid that sort of thing.

It looks to me like, when they developed the Improved Strength spell, they recognized the problems caused by the exceptional strength tree when ignoring class limits, and came up with a logical, consistent, balanced way of dealing with it. But then, they didn't continue and apply it consistently everywhere else where they chose to ignore class limits, which I would argue should have and would have been done had they had time to finish the game.

The way I'm looking at it, there -should- be 2 ways to handle it - one standard way of handling it, plus any other method we have reason to believe was a deliberate exception. So it should be either 1 and 2 as described above, or 1 and 3. Leaving all 3 in place encourages the OOC immersion breaking min-maxing behavior I referred to earlier that I don't really see anywhere else in game. Hell, if there is one thing I see as an Overarching Theme in all of PS:T's gameplay, it is precisely to avoid things like that.

Personally, I see the Levelup and Improved Strength implementation as it exists to be the most balanced and logical, and it is why I'm leaning toward making the things categorized under method 3 consistent with the way method 2 works. I'm still leaning toward items, dialogue boosts and specialization boosts working the same as the levelup tree and Improved Strength.

Wrapping all of that up into a short explanation for my justification? The exceptional strength tree creates problems when class strength limits are ignored. These issues were recognized, and a solution implemented, in the handling of allocating points at levelup and in the Improved Strength spell. However, the solution was not applied to the rest of the ways to improve strength that ignore class limits, such that the issues remain and additionally encourage immersion-breaking OOC metagaming behavior. The solution is now applied consistently, and metagaming OOC behavior is no longer unduly rewarded.

Sorry that was so long, but it's not a very simple issue, and I think both sides have good points. I'm still very willing to give alternate views a further hearing.

Qwinn

P.S. EDIT: Incidentally:

You could find it illogical but then there are a lot of not so logical rules in AD&D...For exemple 25 being the Strength of a god or when you use a race with a natural +1 to Strength...A real mess...


No argument on the illogic of some 2nd ed. rules, but what exactly is illogical about "25 being the strength of a god"? At least as how it relates to strength specifically... 25 is generally the god-level for all stats, not just strength. Not sure what you mean about races with a natural strength boost either.

Edited by Qwinn, 15 February 2009 - 01:46 AM.


#30 Qwinn

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 05:21 AM

scient, no need to check for me on the Whispering Flask, I tested it out myself. Indeed, it behaves like any other item that boosts strength - it ignores class limits and the exceptional strength tree, skipping straight from 18 to 19.

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#31 scient

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Posted 15 February 2009 - 10:05 PM

scient, no need to check for me on the Whispering Flask, I tested it out myself. Indeed, it behaves like any other item that boosts strength - it ignores class limits and the exceptional strength tree, skipping straight from 18 to 19.

Qwinn


Ya, all it does is cast aid and the str bonus is a temporal effect using the same code as items (ie. not permanent boost). It's basically the strength version of area in code that I was fixing for luck bonuses.

Edited by scient, 15 February 2009 - 10:05 PM.

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#32 Karnor

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 04:30 PM

What to go for depends on whether you want something which is logical and fair or whether you want something which follows 2ED rules.

As others have noted above, under 2ED rules, exceptional strength (i.e. 18/XX) was a bonus for fighter types only. If they had 18 strength (either when initially generating their character or through some strength boost) then they got to roll percentile dice for exceptional strength.

If they received +1 to strength from 18/XX then they would go straight to 19. Non fighters simply went straight from 18 to 19. I agree it didn't make much sense because non fighters went straight from +1/+2 to +3/+7 but thats what happened. Most strength spells couldn't take the receipient above 18 (or 18/00 for fighters) so the issue didn't arise.

A fighter who dual classed would retain the benefit of 18/XX strength. But a non-fighter with 18 strength who dual classed to a fighter would not get to roll for 18/XX strength. But if he dual classed to fighter with 17 strength and subsequently gained +1 strength then he would presumably get to roll for 18/XX strength.

It's worth noting that stat bonuses were few and far between in 2ED games. And none of the standard races had any racial bonuses to strength - presumably for the reason that they would gain a huge benefit if they could get straight to 19. Minotaurs on Krynn got +2 to strength and it made them pretty unbalanced. Also in one of the early dragon magazines Gary Gygax included a example of a potential ogre PC race which gained +1 strength, but it had some pretty heavy penalties in other stats in an attempt to balance it.

A fairer approach for PST would be for TNO to have to progress through 18/XX categories, regardless of how he gains the bonus to strength. Alternatively if you really wanted to match 2ED rules then he would go straight from 18 to 19 however he gains the strength boost, and if he happens to get to 18 strength while a fighter then he would get a random 18/XX strength. One final alternative is to say that TNO doesn't really follow standard rules which can justify doing pretty much anything!

#33 Shambelle

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 01:26 PM

No argument on the illogic of some 2nd ed. rules, but what exactly is illogical about "25 being the strength of a god"? At least as how it relates to strength specifically... 25 is generally the god-level for all stats, not just strength. Not sure what you mean about races with a natural strength boost either.


About the 25, it's not related to Strength specifically.
It's only the fact that stats have a finite upper limit...(except for Boccob's Famous Intelligence Score of 26)
It was removed in D&D3.

And for the +1, I was thinking of the Half Orc in AD&D 1ed: from memory, he had a +1 to Strength but if he rolled a 18, he didn't get a 19 but a 18/00

#34 gothemasticator

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 12:43 AM

"A fairer approach for PST would be for TNO to have to progress through 18/XX categories, regardless of how he gains the bonus to strength. Alternatively if you really wanted to match 2ED rules then he would go straight from 18 to 19 however he gains the strength boost, and if he happens to get to 18 strength while a fighter then he would get a random 18/XX strength."

I think I finally understand this strength thing. If I've got it right, nobody would ever (in 2E D&D) progress through the 18/xx stat levels. The only time they would come up is when a fighter rolled an initial 18 strength. Then he would make an extra roll for the 18/xx bonus. This would mean that a player would never spend points on any 18/xx levels. If this is the case, then the mistake in PST is that a point spent in strength when TNO is at 18 doesn't take you directly to 19 str. I had been thinking that the progression would take you through all the 18/xx levels, and that stat bonuses in PST were just missing this.

In Baldur's Gate, it's a little weird in that, on character creation, if you adjust your roll by spending down some points and reallocating them to strength, you do indeed spend a point to get the 18/xx bonus. I have no idea what happens in Baldur's Gate if you get strength bonuses at that point from items or spells.

If my understanding above is correct (which is 180 degrees from what I actually thought), then, Qwinn, the fix should actually do something like this:

- When creating TNO or leveling up, when strength reaches 18, the game should make a random roll and assign an 18/xx bonus. The next point that is spent on strength should take TNO to 19 strength.

- And stat increases by spell or item or dialogue should take TNO from 18/xx to 19.

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#35 Qwinn

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 01:43 AM

Except that TNO is created by a point-buy system. The whole point of a point-buy system is to remove the randomness.

Think about it. You press "New Life". You create your TNO. You bump up his strength to 18... and you randomly get 18/31. Bleah. That sucks. Okay, quit out to the menu, press New Life again, repeat... again and again until you get 18/00.

Yuck. Not their intent, IMO.

And it's not just a matter of removing the randomness. PS:T had to be handled differently because, unlike 2nd ed. D&D, PS:T mostly wipes its ass with the concept of class limits. In 2nd ed. D&D, the vast majority of items that conferred a bonus to stats did so by assigning it an absolute value, i.e. Gauntlets of Ogre Strength (18/00 strength regardless of what it normally is) or the Girdles that worked the same way.

The only reason the exceptional strength tree concept works in 2nd ed. D&D is because there were so very very few ways to permanently raise your strength above the class limits. In PS:T, class limits to strength are the exception, not the norm.

Qwinn

#36 Daulmakan

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 03:34 AM

Think about it. You press "New Life". You create your TNO. You bump up his strength to 18... and you randomly get 18/31. Bleah. That sucks. Okay, quit out to the menu, press New Life again, repeat... again and again until you get 18/00.
Yuck. Not their intent, IMO.

Repeat possibly a hundred times?? Not worth it, IMO. You might as well let him have it, for being persistent if nothing else. :P

#37 gothemasticator

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Posted 19 February 2009 - 11:06 AM

Except that TNO is created by a point-buy system. The whole point of a point-buy system is to remove the randomness.

Think about it. You press "New Life". You create your TNO. You bump up his strength to 18... and you randomly get 18/31. Bleah. That sucks. Okay, quit out to the menu, press New Life again, repeat... again and again until you get 18/00.
The only reason the exceptional strength tree concept works in 2nd ed. D&D is because there were so very very few ways to permanently raise your strength above the class limits. In PS:T, class limits to strength are the exception, not the norm.

Qwinn


Hmm. I'm largely ignorant of 2E rules. So, you are saying that PST ignores those rules when it comes to class limits, item bonuses, etc., mostly because of TNO's unique situation.

So, would it be fair to assume that the inconsistencies you are trying to fix are the result of using a rule system that wasn't really designed to handle TNO's situation? If so, I'm back to whole-heartedly supporting the change.

Regardless of the 2E rules issues--and regardless of a few other things, too, I'm sure--here's what I really think:

Fully implementing the STR 18/xx progression system for every pc, npc, class, item, spell, dialogue bonus, etc., would improve the game.


Sure, it would mean that STR as a stat effectively has more points before max than any other stat. But, the way combat works in PST, this would add challenge and the need for more strategy in combat across the board. And it might also seem weird to implement a fighter-specific progression for non-fighters: FFG, Ignus--but is it really going to come up for those two? How often, if ever, do they reach >18 str? And, as to multi-classes, i.e. Dakkon and Anna, since they mostly fight like fighters, I think the fighter progression is fitting.

Anyway, good luck sorting out the many many spell and item details. Thanks for tackling the sticky issue.

gothemasticator

Edited so I don't appear to be shouting.

gtm

Edited by gothemasticator, 20 February 2009 - 01:04 PM.


#38 Karnor

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Posted 20 February 2009 - 07:21 AM

Personally I would agree with Qwinn and I think that the only inconsistency is how strength gains through dialogue or items are treated.

As I see it, +1 strength should be the same amount regardless of the source of the increase and regardless of how much strength you currently have. All other types of stat gains are identical, e.g. +1 wisdom at level up is worth the same as +1 wisdom from talking to O.

It is only if you have 18 or 18/XX strength that +1 strength at level up (or on creation) is treated differently from +1 strength via an item or dialogue. So why should this specific case suddenly be treated differently? Nothing I have seen from the game itself, from the manual or from notes of conversations with the designers suggests a different treatment is justified or intended.

The question remaining is therefore whether all strength gains should go from 18 to 19, or whether all strength gains should progress from 18 to 18XX and finally to 19.

Here there is no specific evidence one way or the other, but my instinct is that the designers would have spent time considering and implementing the creation and level up strength gain system to ensure that it worked as they intended. This type of strength gain will be experienced by every player of the game. The fact that gains from dialogue/items can be used to completely skip the 18/XX ranks isn't immediately obvious until you actually encounter this scenario (which will be pretty rare unless you plan it that way), suggesting to me that it was probably an unintended oversight.

Edited by Karnor, 20 February 2009 - 07:22 AM.


#39 Qwinn

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 10:51 AM

Okay, scient and I have been going over this, and it looks like we'll be deciding on a final implementation pretty soon, so time for one last visit to this issue.

One thing's for sure: based on recent observations, there can be no sane argument for "leave it the way it is". Or, at least, the way it is is so utterly inconsistent and illogical that I can't personally imagine a good argument for keeping it.

Check this out:

If you are adding points to TNO at levelup, he goes through this progression: 18, 18/30, 18/60, 18/90, 18/99, 18/00. I actually like it as a smooth-ish progression through the strength chart. It'll probably be what gets implemented across the board eventually. But anyway, on with what actually exists in game:

If you cast the Power of One or Improved Strength spell on someone, then they go up the tree like this: 18, 18/01, 18/51, 18/76, 18/91, 18/00. If you're thinking that it might cause oddities if you are a TNO who got to 18/30 via levelups and then get one of these spells cast on you, you would be correct. Odd things happen. I actually had my TNO get scores of 18/84 and 18/96 by doing that. Very weird.

If you cast the plain old Strength spell, then we really get ugly. Each point from -that- spell adds only 10% to the percentile. So casting it on Annah, you could get 15, 16, 17, 18, 18/10, 18/20, 18/30 or 18/40. Now, the description of the spell actually -says- that you'll get a tenth of a point for each point up the ladder. But so does Power of One, which as noted above is very much incorrect, so the description isn't very useful as a guide. And I'm not about to require spending 11 stat points to go from 18 to 19, because I'd prefer not to be assassinated.

Anyway, the way it works in vanilla produces horribly inconsistent results, because Power of One is only supposed to give you one additional "boost" up the strength ladder (Strength gives a fighter 1d8 strength, and Power of One gives 1d8+1), yet it effectively gets you lots more. For example, in the vanilla game, the best result you can get casting Strength on Annah is 18/40, while with Power of One you can get to 18/00. That's four steps up the strength chart rather than one.

And then, as we know, items and dialogue bonuses skip the entire tree altogether.

Ugh, ugh ugh. If all that ain't broken, then broken has no meaning.

At this point, yes, we are planning on simply making the exceptional tree a normal part of the progression that ALL methods of raising or lowering strength must traverse. So, every single method of raising strength must go up the 18/30, 18/60, 18/90, 18/99, 18/00 progression. Strength and Power of One will both be class restricted, in that if you are a mage, cleric or thief, those spells can only bring you up to a plain 18 (strength already works that way, and Power of One was fixed so that it does too).

And yes, concurrent with this release, there will also be a Maximized Strength Spells tweak, to take some of the pain away from those who lub their overpowered TNO's.

Qwinn

Edited by Qwinn, 07 May 2009 - 11:10 AM.


#40 gothemasticator

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 10:17 PM

At this point, yes, we are planning on simply making... every single method of raising strength must go up the 18/30, 18/60, 18/90, 18/99, 18/00 progression. Strength and Power of One will both be class restricted, in that if you are a mage, cleric or thief, those spells can only bring you up to a plain 18 (strength already works that way, and Power of One was fixed so that it does too).

And yes, concurrent with this release, there will also be a Maximized Strength Spells tweak, to take some of the pain away from those who lub their overpowered TNO's.

Qwinn


I think this is a wonderful solution. I didn't even realize just how inconsistent the game was. I was mostly aware of the item/dialogue inconsistencies. Offering the optional tweak will be nice, too, since it means no horde of torch-wielding villagers will be able to rid the world of our beloved Qwinn and Scient.

I do keep up with these forums, and I look forward to a few new playthroughs at any point in the future when you release new versions of your mods.

gothemasticator