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Seeking input on Strength progression


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#41 Hannibal

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Posted 29 June 2009 - 07:45 PM

I really don't envy your trying to make STR boni consistent. You've pretty much come to the only conclusion that's consistent with TNO's point buy levelling, but I expect the backlash from this to be huge, relatively speaking. Despite all proclamations otherwise, we so much do love our power-gaming.

Should you take an alternative method into consideration, I've got this to offer: in AD&D, Str 17 gives you +1 to hit and +1 to damage, while Str 19 gives you +3/+7. So, for a balanced 17 > 18/xx > 19 Str progression, with only a single 18/xx value, 18/90 would make the most sense, as it gives you +2/+4, the exact middle between the other two values.

#42 nevill

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Posted 30 June 2009 - 12:48 AM

I really don't envy your trying to make STR boni consistent.

I do. :) To think I had to cut some STR-increasing effects out of my game just to avoid running into that bug! I really hated that.

Despite all proclamations otherwise, we so much do love our power-gaming.

Nope, not all of us, at least. I don't know what kind of reaction this fix will receive (though I can imagine that, heh), but I want Qwinn to know there are those who are with him on that. As I said before, I'd take logic and consistency over any kind of advantage/powergaming.

#43 Hannibal

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 03:49 PM

So, most of the heavy lifting on this subject is already done. I've still got some thoughts to add, however.

First of all, here's a link to a pretty thorough, if extraneously wordy, examination of 2nd Ed. AD&D exceptional strength rules. Maybe you can get some use out of it.

As we know by now, P:T's point-buy system for exceptional strength conflicts with basic AD&D rules, such as how gaining STR from items works. For whatever reason, Black Isle left some of these inconsistencies in the game. As a result there are currently ways to bypass the additional point requirements for STR entirely, that have become standard practice, if not for all people (still) playing P:T, then at least for all people writing guides for it.

Now, while I agree with your efforts for more consistency, the fact remains that this'll effectively be a huge nerf for fighter TNOs. The physical stats, STR, DEX, CON, already are of questionable use in Torment; before the proposed fix, there at least was a strong incentive, for a fighter, to buff up TNO's STR in the early game, at the cost of the overall much more important stats WIS and INT. That won't be the case anymore.

Instead, now there's a very valid concern why even fighter TNOs should bother investing points in STR at all.

IIRC, you get some inconsequential dialogue options with 12 or 13 STR, but beyond the early game all of these can be taken care of by having Dak'kon cast Strength or Power of One on you. While on the other hand, Torment's combats aren't exactly renowned for their difficulty, so there's no real incentive to invest points from that regard.

With this fix, the unintended but very real consequence might be that it becomes even more pointless to play/specialize as fighter than it was before. I think this point should be discussed before the next release is finalized.

Edited by Hannibal, 12 July 2009 - 03:51 PM.


#44 Qwinn

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 04:40 PM

As far as combat goes, CON is most certainly not of questionable value. TNO's regeneration rate with high values of CON is amazing.

It is true that Dex above 18 for a non-thief, and hell, even thieves doesn't do much. Then again, you don't need much INT over 19 even as a mage, so that's not all that inconsistent.

there at least was a strong incentive, for a fighter, to buff up TNO's STR in the early game, at the cost of the overall much more important stats WIS and INT.


Not really, IMO. If you neglect STR and CON at startup, you can get INT and WIS up high enough that they really don't need any more investment at levelups (and if you keep investing in WIS you're likely to wind up wasting points) so you're pretty free to spend your levelup points on the combat stats. I never put a STR point into the game at startup, but there was always plenty of points at levelups and counting the 3 points from specialization to get it up to 18 by the time you got Vhailor to give you his dialogue boost, which is what most people did to exploit the system to get from 18-19, or at least that's what the guides suggest.

With this fix, the unintended but very real consequence might be that it becomes even more pointless to play/specialize as fighter than it was before. I think this point should be discussed before the next release is finalized.


I think I've already done a few things to prop up the fighter class, such as make fighter THACO exclusive to fighters, and we're also releasing a maximized strength tweak at the same time as the fix to take some of the pain away.

While on the other hand, Torment's combats aren't exactly renowned for their difficulty, so there's no real incentive to invest points from that regard.


Possibly part of the reason they aren't renowned for their difficulty is because it was cheap and easy to get 19 strength? ;)

"The game is too easy as it is" does not seem to me to be a valid argument against nerfs. It's a valid argument in -support- of nerfs.

Qwinn

Edited by Qwinn, 12 July 2009 - 04:42 PM.


#45 Qwinn

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 05:10 PM

Just noticed this from the thread in the other forum:

Currently at least, fighters can also bypass the prohibitive 18/xx strength increments through their specialization bonus or tattoos, which makes them the only class for which it makes sense to invest in strength. That might change if you go through with your current plans of changing the way it works however, I'm afraid.


This isn't the case. Every class can skip the exceptional strength tree, primarily via Vhailor's dialogue boosts. I've done it for my mages many times. Also, any class can use the Rat Charm, Tattoo of the Betrayer , Tattoo of Might, Tattoo of Justice's Eye, all of which grant strength. Fighters only gain access to two additional +STR items, far as I can tell (Tattoo of the Warrior and Dread Bond).

Qwinn

Edited by Qwinn, 12 July 2009 - 05:15 PM.


#46 --Noel--

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 05:49 AM

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.

Qwinn


At the end of the game, if you have studied the 8th circle and you raise Dak'kon for the final fight, Dak'kon gets +1 Str which currently means it goes to 19. Will you keep this, which means he really gets +6 Str, or will his strength go to 18/30? Vhailor has a similar issue.

#47 Qwinn

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 06:54 AM

As the plan currently stands, he would go to 18/30. Vhailor would take one step up the ladder as well.

And yes, I will be checking with MCA on this one. If he doesn't answer either way, yeah, I'll probably make this change optional.

Qwinn

#48 Avenger_teambg

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 03:29 AM

I just now got to the point to actually implement the 'power of one' projectile (in gemrb). MAN, this is so much screwed up!
It is a damn projectile, but it creates a strength bonus effect, and the calculation of the bonus is simply insane.

My thoughts:
The power of one spell can make someone stronger than 18, up to 20.
But there is a rule which makes non fighters unable to reach 18/xx
They all stay 18 (str extra bonus is 0)

So, what if ALL bonuses calculate with the intermediate ladders, and then adjust the strength (simply set the extra bonus to 0).
This will surely make any non fighters unable to reach 18+
TNO/nonstandard races are always an exception, of course.

If the extra bonus scale size is 10, Annah would never reach 19.
Avenger

#49 Qwinn

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Posted 02 August 2009 - 04:20 AM

Indeed, the Power of One spell is -completely- screwed up. Strength has issues too. Try casting both spells on Annah repeatedly till you think you've gotten the highest value you can, and look at the difference. It's supposed to be 1 point difference, but if I remember right Strength gets Annah up to 18/40 at best, and PoO gets her to 18/00. That's like a 4 step difference. And yes, PoO can get you above 18/00, which it should not based on both the spell descriptions and 2nd ed. D&D logic.

I may actually split the fixes discussed in this thread into two parts. The part that syncs up Strength and Power of One would be pure Fixpack material, cause the way they are is just contrary to every bit of evidence we have of how the githzerai spells are supposed to work relative to the base spells. Indeed, PoO should be limited by class restrictions, as the description states, and scient has already coded that part up. And, the two spells will henceforth go up the strength tree similarly, so that PoO gives you one additional strength point up the ladder from the Strength spell, as the description states, rather than potentially 4 or 5 more points.

If I make any part optional, it will just be the part that makes dialogue strength boosts, the specialization bonuses, and item strength boosts use the exceptional strength tree. That's the part everyone wants to keep exploiting... erm, *cough*, I mean that's the "controversial" part anyway.

Qwinn

Edited by Qwinn, 02 August 2009 - 04:23 AM.


#50 --Shambelle--

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 12:19 AM

Then again, you don't need much INT over 19 even as a mage, so that's not all that inconsistent.


To be correct, as a mage, more INT gives you more spells.
So to be the best, you don't need 19 but 25... :whistling:

#51 Qwinn

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 12:56 AM

Incorrect. You do not gain any more spells for INT above 19.

There -may- be a limit to what the highest level spell you can scribe is based on INT... that is part of 2nd ed. rules, but I don't know if it's implemented in PS:T. For example, if you have 15 INT then it may be that you can't scribe spells higher than 5th level. But even if that is implemented, at 19 INT you can learn 9th level spells.

And there is a limit to how many spells of a given level you can copy into your spell book based on INT, but at 19 INT you can learn them all.

INT makes no difference at all in how many spells you can memorize between rests, either in PS:T or in 2nd ed. rules.

Qwinn

#52 Shambelle

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 08:07 AM

Sorry, I was thinking about Priests and Wisdom... :whistling:

But it adds a bonus to your lore. ;)

#53 scient

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 06:03 AM

For those interested, I thought I'd post the function I coded to handle exceptional strength modifications. This is specifically for PermaStatChange (strength boosts via dialog) but I'll be using same logic for boosts via items (temporary or while equipped). Interestingly, "Power of One" and "Improved Strength" are using similar approach except the table they use is the low end (0, 1, 51, 76, 91, 100) values found in STRMODEX.2DA while I'm using the high end (0, 50, 75, 90, 99, 100). The use of (0, 30, 60, 90, 99, 100) is purely for aesthetics and to fall in line with how character point distribution works. I'm going to make changes to "Power of One" and "Improved Strength" to use these values instead. You won't gain or lose anything stat wise, you'll just get "nicer" looking numbers than crap like 18/01 or 18/84.

@Avenger: If you're interested I can PM you the assembly I used because I optimized it over how below code compiles. The logic is still the same.

int str = 18, str_ex = 100, modifier = -2, type = 1, nPool;
	const unsigned char bEXTree1[] = { 0, 50, 75, 90, 99, 100 }, bEXTree2[] = { 0, 30, 60, 90, 99, 100 };

	if(type == 3){ // set
		nPool = modifier;
		str_ex = 0;
	}else{ // inc or dec
		nPool = str + modifier;
		if(str == 18){ // ex str will only be non-zero if 18
			// 0
			// 1-50
			// 51-75
			// 76-90
			// 91-99
			// 100
			int nLoop = 0;
			while(bEXTree1[nLoop++] < str_ex) nPool++;
			str_ex = 0;
		}else if(str > 18) nPool+=5;

		if(nPool >= 24) nPool-=5; // 19-25+
		else if(nPool >= 18){ // 18:XX
				// ...
				// 17
				// 18 -> 18:0
				// 19 -> 18:30
				// 20 -> 18:60
				// 21 -> 18:90
				// 22 -> 18:99
				// 23 -> 18:100
				// 24 -> 19
				// 25 -> 20
				// 26 -> 21
				// 27 -> 22
				// 28 -> 23
				// 29 -> 24
				// 30 -> 25
			str_ex = bEXTree2[nPool-18];
			nPool = 18;
		}
		// otherwise < 18
	}

	if(nPool > 0){ // bounds
		if(nPool > 25) str = 25;
		else           str = nPool;
	}else str = 1;

Edited by scient, 02 January 2010 - 06:05 AM.

Those interested in the classic TBS game Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri / Alien Crossover should check out the unofficial patch I work on here.


#54 Markus Ramikin

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 06:57 AM

Can someone please explain to me why the 18/xx thing even exists? I'm not really into D&D much so it baffles me. The whole mechanic doesn't make sense to me, if strengths of 19 and more are possible then what's so special about 18->19? And is there any real benefit to having 18/xx rather than a straight 18? I don't mean just in Torment.

In any case, if anyone cares about my two cents, consistency > powergaming. If you can make the game give consistent results rather than encourage abusing mechanics, that's great. It's the same reason I love the HP levelling tweak - not because it makes the NO more powerful, but because it makes him consistent and no longer encourages abusing the game save. I'd still like that one even if it gave an average HP per level up, not max.

Edited by Markus Ramikin, 02 January 2010 - 07:02 AM.

*coughQwinncoughLotharcoughskullscough*

#55 scient

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 07:17 AM

Can someone please explain to me why the 18/xx thing even exists? I'm not really into D&D much so it baffles me. The whole mechanic doesn't make sense to me, if strengths of 19 and more are possible then what's so special about 18->19? And is there any real benefit to having 18/xx rather than a straight 18? I don't mean just in Torment.

In any case, if anyone cares about my two cents, consistency > powergaming. If you can make the game give consistent results rather than encourage abusing mechanics, that's great. It's the same reason I love the HP levelling tweak - not because it makes the NO more powerful, but because it makes him consistent and no longer encourages abusing the game save. I'd still like that one even if it gave an average HP per level up, not max.


I can't comment on 18/xx in D&D but for PST there is a pretty big difference between 18 and 19 strength.

str : to hit bonus : damage bonus : bash success % (?) : weight allowance
18 : 1 : 2 : 20 : 200
19 : 3 : 7 : 50 : 500

The whole point of "exceptional" strength is to bridge this jump.

18/30 : 1 : 3 : 25 : 220
18/60 : 2 : 3 : 30 : 250
18/90 : 2 : 4 : 35 : 280
18/99 : 2 : 5 : 40 : 320
18/100 : 3 : 6 : 45 : 400

Edited by scient, 02 January 2010 - 07:19 AM.

Those interested in the classic TBS game Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri / Alien Crossover should check out the unofficial patch I work on here.


#56 Qwinn

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 07:37 AM

Yes, that table is accurate for 2nd edition D&D. If you are thinking "Well, that's dumb", realize that the folks who maintain D&D agreed with you a decade ago when they came out with 3rd edition D&D in the year 2000, at which time all these rules we're discussing were deemed obsolete. In fact we're on 4th edition now.

Anyways, the idea was to give fighters who managed to get "maximum" strength (18) a special bonus only they had access to. A fighter with 18 strength got to roll a random 1-100 at character creation. This was "exceptional strength" that gave him significant bonuses over a plain old 18 strength, as the table scient posted makes clear.

The problem we have here in PS:T is twofold:

1. They got rid of the randomness and made PS:T a point-buy system. The whole exceptional strength idea just doesn't work with point-buy.

2. Unlike normal D&D, PS:T gives you eleventybillion occasions to add to strength. In normal D&D, items that increase strength are extremely rare, and most that do so don't *add* to it, they just set it to a certain value regardless of your base strength (so Gauntlets of Ogre Power set your STR to 18/00, Girdle of Frost Giant Strength sets it to 20, etc.). That rarity was for a good reason. The PS:T guys apparently didn't grok this reason... or they *did*, and implemented a consistent way to deal with it in their Improved Strength spell, and even started to copy that logic elsewhere (such as the Power of One spell, though that was shoddily done) but then wound up having to ship the game before finishing it. What I'm attempting to do here with scient is to finish it, and make the Improved Strength logic apply everywhere that strength can be raised.

Oh, and why is "18" special? Most stats were rolled on 3 6-sided dice, so 18 was the natural maximum you could get. And, in fact, stats of 19 or above were considered superhuman, and you *couldn't* get your stats that high by normal means. PS:T wipes its ass with that notion, and gives you a ton of ways to get your stats higher than that. Again, that's part of the problem.

Qwinn

Edited by Qwinn, 02 January 2010 - 07:40 AM.


#57 Markus Ramikin

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 09:59 AM

Got it. Thanks for the replies, guys.
*coughQwinncoughLotharcoughskullscough*

#58 Qwinn

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 12:36 PM

By way of additional explanation, the real reason these changes are needed is that, due to the issues listed above (point-buy and many ways to increase strength), in PS:T the exceptional strength tree winds up being a -penalty- to fighters rather than the bonus its supposed to be.

It also creates a situation where metagaming knowledge becomes overly advantageous, such that almost every walkthrough guide out there recommends to -not- increase strength above 18 until you can increase it via either fighter specialization or Vhailor's dialogue, at which point you skip the entire exceptional strength tree and go from 18 directly to 19. You can do the latter even when specializing as a mage or thief. There's no plausible reason why gaining strength in that particular window and in that specific manner should be such a huge advantage over adding points via levelup. To be more specific: At any strength score other than 18, Vhailor's boost is identical to the boost you can apply at levelup. When you are at strength 18, though, Vhailor's boost will take you directly to 19, and his boost is worth something like 7 levelup points. That's pretty clearly an exploit, and that is the main issue we're trying to resolve.

Qwinn

#59 Qwinn

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:22 PM

Okay, this is where I sheepishly ask everyone to give scient extra thanks for working on this, since I stupidly came up with something to add -after- he was almost done coding the whole thing.

Specifically: I've asked scient to make it so that, whenever target X gets his strength adjusted, if X is a fighter, then skip over 18/0. In other words, for fighters, always go straight from 17 to 18/30.

This is more in line with 2nd ed. rules - as I mentioned above regarding the Circle boost, a fighter should never be stuck with a plain 18 strength. It also gives fighters a concrete benefit in terms of strength vs. other classes, which was always the intent behind the exceptional strength tree, so that's good.

RE: TNO, the intent is, if TNO is a mage with 17 STR and a +1 STR tattoo, it puts him at 18. If he then switches to fighter, his strength automatically updates to 18/30, and if he switches back to mage (or thief), it bumps back down to 18. He has to actually be a fighter for strength boosting effects to skip over the 18. Other classes do need to pay a point to get through the 18/0 step.

Whatcha all think? I think this would be a really nice improvement to the implementation of the fix. In fact, IMO it puts it solidly into the category of "fix", as it is now truly making the game live up to the 2nd ed. D&D ruleset as much as possible within the constraints of TNO's "specialness" and all that.

And here's where I once again consult the Hive Mind: There are many ways to change strength, and most of them are pretty simple to figure out how they should work. The trickiest is Character Creation/Leveup Screen. Should -that- skip 18/0? I'm tempted to say that yes, they should. In Character Creation, the logical argument is because you are necessarily a fighter at the beginning of the game, and the emotional/balance argument is, if you're actually willing to dump other more significant stats to get STR to 18+ at the beginning of the game, hell, you deserve the boost. Levelup is truly tricky, though. If you just gained a level as a mage with 17 str, and put the point into STR, should it hop to 18/30? Technically, probably not, it can legitimately be argued that the level just gained should have to be fighter in order to skip the 18/0 stat, but I'm thinking this would just mostly be a nuisance. And what if you get to 18/0 that way as a mage and then switch to fighter? Having -that- automatically bump you to 18/30 would be a real pain in the ass and not worth it, IMO. So I lean toward just saying that in the character creation/levelup screen, TNO is always treated as a fighter.

Whatcha all think? Not just about that last issue, but the entire concept? I always appreciate your input.

Qwinn

P.S. Oh yeah, if you do like the idea, please do remember to add your own scient-butt-kissing to my own, seeing as he'll basically have to re-implement the whole thing. Yeah, I know. BAD mod management, Qwinn, BAD. Sigh.

Edited by Qwinn, 02 January 2010 - 11:23 PM.


#60 Qwinn

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 11:31 PM

Bumping.

Qwinn