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Weird spells in Exile 3


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The spells in the Avernum games suck. Nobody likes them. That's just a fact. The Exile games, however, were full of weird and curiously intriguing spells. So weird, in fact, that they found little use. Did you ever really need to cast Goo or Disease or Detect life? No, but you still did, for the exact same reason people climb up high mountains. Because they were there. And also because some of them were quite memorable. Here are some of my favourites:

 

Scry monster - Because knowing your opponents made fighting them much more satisfying. It was very addicting to walk around looking for strange creatures and adding

them to your bestiary. Gottacatchemall!

 

Summon beast - A completely useless spell. But, it summoned a wolf. A wolf!

 

Wall of Force - I enjoyed using all the wall spells, as they suited my playing style very well (I favoured long, convoluted battles with walls and summons all over the screen). The force fields looked neat.

 

Stealth - Did anyone ever find a use for this? I guess stealth wasn't very well implemented in Exile 3. This spell was the president of pointless spells, and as such, totally irresistable.

 

Antimagic cloud - Fun and useful. Made battles with magic-users somewhat less repetitive. Could be used for both offense and defense.

 

Quickfire - Of course.

 

Symbiosis - Good idea, not-so-good spell. Another one of the cheap spells I had a lot fun fiddling around with during the early portions of the game. I have not forgotten you, Symbiosis!

 

Sticks to Snakes - Death by snakes! My absolute favourite of the summoning spells and one of my all time favourites. Just think about it. Snakes. Sssssnakes. The serpents it summoned were underpowered and weak, making it pretty useless in most fights - and that's why I love it! A favourite strategy of mine was to spam this spell over and over again, relentlessly assaulting my foes with waves upon waves of slithering snakes. There is a very special kind of joy in killing much stronger enemies such as drakes and khazis using only this spell and nothing else (except maybe some cursing and blessing if the snakes had trouble hitting). Oh, and the name is great.

 

Summon host - Another semi-useless, endearing summoning spell. The deva graphic was neat.

 

Mass charm - This spell was neither weird nor useless, but it was great fun, especially when you wanted to go on a murdering spree in a town. Just remember to add some snakes for good measure.

 

Pestilence - ...and when they're being chased by snakes, hit them with pestilience. It's like the Old Testament all over again! This spell was insanely underpowered for a sixth level spell, but, like the Wall spells, suited my playing style very well.

 

Protective circle - A spell so weird that not even I found any use for it. What the hell?

 

 

There are probably many more weird/useless spells I don't even remember. Which were your favourite weird spells in Exile 3?

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Here's my list of weird spells:

 

Spark - In all my time playing E3, I have yet to find this spell useful.

 

Scare/Fear - Two totally useless spells. The strongest monster I've successfully cast either of these on was a goblin.

 

Shockwave - Excellent for large groups of enemies. Hit everyone with one punch! grin

 

Major Blessing - A bit of a misnomer, as it's a mage spell. Great way to buff everyone at once, though.

 

Death Arrows - Worthless, except against 2x2 monsters (giving you 4 targets for the spell).

 

Wound - Very useful for bringing down magic resistant (and magic immune!) monsters, because its damage type was generic, not magical.

 

Minor Manna - Almost totally useless. The most food I've gotten with this spell is about 3, as opposed to an average of 10 or 11 with Manna.

 

Divine Thud - I found this one to be moderately useful, because it did decent damage. And, bar none, it has one of the coolest spell names I've ever seen.

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Originally Posted By: The Mystic
Here's my list of weird spells:

Spark - In all my time playing E3, I have yet to find this spell useful.

Scare/Fear - Two totally useless spells. The strongest monster I've successfully cast either of these on was a goblin.

I think most of the first and second level mage spells were useless, even in the very beginning of the game. Flame, Minor Haste, True Sight and Scry Monster were the only ones I ever used. The priest spells were actually pretty good, especially the second level spells. Bless, Cure Poison, Curse, Move Mountains and Charm Foe are all pretty solid. Wound was great, as you pointed out.

Quote:
Divine Thud - I found this one to be moderately useful, because it did decent damage. And, bar none, it has one of the coolest spell names I've ever seen.

Amen. Bring back Divine Thud, Jeff! You know you want to!
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Spark has saved me in a pinch a few times, actually, where my spellcasters were down to 1 SP and had no energy potions, and I ended up winning battles by the skin of my teeth. My priest-mages have no physical combat skills whatsoever, and my mage-priest has next to none, so that extra four damage was useful to have available.

 

Scare/Fear work by reducing the monster's Morale stat. I forget the exact mechanics of it, but you can see it when you cast Scry Monster, and it goes down as you attack the monster and its allies die. Scare and Fear reduce morale as well, and when it falls below a certain level the monster will run away. Group Fear in particular can be useful, because it scares away the hordes of weaklings that some monsters will summon, allowing your fighters to get access to them.

 

As for Divine Thud, I agree that it had a cool name and should come back, and with a pleasing "THUD" sound effect, which it should have had from the very beginning in Exile.

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Stealth can actually be pretty useful. Its effects stack with multiple castings, so if you cast it 10 or 20 times in a row you can walk right through a whole town of hostile monsters without any of them seeing you. It's good when you just can't be bothered fighting.

 

Originally Posted By: The Mystic
Death Arrows - Worthless, except against 2x2 monsters (giving you 4 targets for the spell).

 

Nah, it's still worthless even then. If a monster isn't immune to magic, you should usually just cast Paralysis on it.

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I love this thread!

 

Quote:
"The spells in the Avernum games suck. Nobody likes them."

 

Never was a truer statement written.

 

Goo - fun but not particularly useful

Conflagration - found it much more useful in later replays, especially since stupid monsters run through it

Spray Fields - another fun fields spell!

Stumble - nice try

Holy Scourge - way to not live up to your billing ... wish we could cast Unholy Ravaging like Evil High Priests

Mass Sanctuary - I actually used this a lot with my priest casting it at the end of turns so only mages could hit the party

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There was nothing like multiple castings of shockwave to clear the field leaving nice piles of loot. smile

 

Exile had so many interesting things you could do with spells. Some weren't useful, but you could always experiment.

 

I really miss a mass blessing, mass hasted divine warrior getting 3 attacks per round. frown Especially fighters with 2 weapons.

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Conflagration is surprisingly good for killing Doomguards and similar monsters: you blanket the area around them with fields and it prevents them from splitting. Sure, it's an engine exploit, but it's a cool one.

 

Spray Fields is a way to make antimagic if you're desperate and don't have Antimagic Field for some reason.

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I usually didn't bother with Shockwave. The damage was kind of weak, wasn't it? And while it did hit a lot of enemies, it hit your party members just as hard. Still, it must have been a great spell for singletons.

 

Holy Scourge was a funky spell. If cast by an enemy priest, it didn't only curse your party members, but slowed them as well. You, however, could not use it to slow enemies. How unfair. The evil priests had access to much better spells for some reason...

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Did Holy Scourge deliver a more powerful curse than the regular Curse spell, though? I always thought it did, but I could have been mistaken.

It did, supposedly. That's one charming quality about the Exile spells; sometimes it was hard to figure out what they really did. The spell descriptions were not very accurate.
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Originally Posted By: The Almighty Doer of Stuff
Did Holy Scourge deliver a more powerful curse than the regular Curse spell, though? I always thought it did, but I could have been mistaken.

Technical details :

From the BoE source, only the calculation method differs :

Originally Posted By: code
// curse

curse(2 + bonus);


//holy scourge

curse(2 + adven[current_pc].level / 2);


where bonus is the value at the caster intelligence value index in the following array (21 values) :
skill_bonus[21] = {-3,-3,-2,-1,0,0,1,1,1,2,
2,2,3,3,3,3,4,4,4,5,5};

plus one if has the Mag. Apt. trait,
plus one if has an item with the "Intelligence" (better at spellcasting, aka Micah's gloves) ability equipped.

Basically, a monster will be fully cursed (8 max value) when :

  • the caster is level 14 and casting Holy Scourge
  • the caster has 19 or 20 in intelligence and Mag. Apt. or "Intelligence" item equipped and casting Curse.
  • the caster has 16-18 intelligence and Mag. Apt. and "Intelligence" item equipped and casting Curse.
So Holy Scourge seems a little more powerful (no trait or item needed for max effect) and doesn't requires investing in lots of Intelligence to be potent.
In the end, it's up to the caster's preference wink

Chokboyz
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Originally Posted By: Seaweed

Protective circle - A spell so weird that not even I found any use for it. What the hell?

 

Personally I thought that was a really cool spell. It was the only way for priests to cast anti-magic cloud (good for Anama, and when mage spell points were a bit low) and all the other effects came in handy when you were swarmed - which happened A LOT in Exile. I used to cast it all the time in town fights.

 

Edit: regarding anti-magic cloud, I guess I should point out that this was a powerful *defensive* effect. (In Exile with bless party you're basically immune to physical attacks, and the anti-magic stops you being hit by any spell effects either.)

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But you couldn't cast while standing within an antimagic field, whereas enemies were still intelligent enough to target area of effect spells right next to it. I found it much more useful for neutralising enemy casters...and casting Avatar, running straight through the enemy forces, and then casting Protective Circle right next to the enemy caster is great fun. Especially when the Exile AI meant that the caster would just walk back and forth between the field of blades and the antimagic field.

 

And IIRC Shockwave did more damage the further away something was from you...is that right? I do remember casting it in a really big area and getting a whole load of kills.

 

-E-

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Protective Circle saved me in a scenario once. The one with the bird people, in what I think was the final dungeon. Was that Tatterdemalion?

 

As for antimagic clouds, in Exile II at least, even if you cast an area-of-effect spell on an unclouded space next to a monster in such a cloud, it won't damage it. Also noteworthy is the fact that breath weapons don't work into or out of antimagic clouds. Was this changed in E3 and BoE?

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Originally Posted By: Randomizer
There was nothing like multiple castings of shockwave to clear the field leaving nice piles of loot. smile
1 really big outdoor battle, 6 PCs who could cast Shockwave. Ka-ching! grin
Quote:
I really miss a mass blessing, mass hasted divine warrior getting 3 attacks per round. frown Especially fighters with 2 weapons.
I miss it too, but you've got to give monsters at least a little glimmer of false hope. tongue
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Originally Posted By: The Almighty Doer of Stuff
As for antimagic clouds, in Exile II at least, even if you cast an area-of-effect spell on an unclouded space next to a monster in such a cloud, it won't damage it. Also noteworthy is the fact that breath weapons don't work into or out of antimagic clouds. Was this changed in E3 and BoE?


It must have been, because in BoE you can definitely damage a target inside an antimagic field by targeting an area-effect spell just outside of it. Breath weapons still don't work into antimagic clouds, with the exception of darkness breath, which does. I don't remember for sure if there's anything preventing monsters from breathing out of a cloud; I don't think there is.
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Originally Posted By: Micawber
Personally I thought that was a really cool spell. It was the only way for priests to cast anti-magic cloud (good for Anama, and when mage spell points were a bit low) and all the other effects came in handy when you were swarmed - which happened A LOT in Exile. I used to cast it all the time in town fights.

The problem was that the effect benefited the enemy as much as it benefited you, or so I recall. Your party was safe inside the circle, sure, but your mages couldn't attack the enemies with magic (because of the antimagic field) and your fighters couldn't reach them with weapons (unless they waded through a bunch of damaging fields - and in that case, why did you cast Protective Circle in the first place? The point of a protective circle is to stay inside the circle!).

The enemy, meanwhile, was just as unable to attack you with weapons or magic. In my games, use of this spell would regularly lead to standoffs, during which both sides just waited for the fields to come down so they could get at each other. I guess you could say Protective Circle was the ultimate protection spell; it protected both your party and the enemy. Probably the invention of some pacifist deity.

Yeah, I know, missile weapons. But I usually didn't bother with missiles.
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My fighter, Queso Blanco, uses thrown weapons, particularly razordisks and Lightning Rods, if he can find them in plentiful supply, or in BoE he'll use slings or the Singing Mace from Riddle of the Spheres. I never use bows or crossbows though.

 

Even without missiles, Protective Circle doesn't necessarily need to protect a fighter. I think what happened in that battle was everyone fighting was in close quarters, so when I cast the spell, my opponents were all hit with damaging fields. Queso Blanco had a ton of HP (as a high-level fighter should) and was heavily blessed, hasted, and possibly magic-resistant as well before I cast Protective Circle, so he could go about killing everyone without worrying too much about the fields and spells, while my spellcasters were well protected. It's been a long time since that happened, though, so I'm probably fuzzy on a lot of the details.

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Shockwave: damage increased out to a distance of ten units in all directions; it was pretty strong at the limits. Best part: it could hit through walls (although you had to be careful about friendlies in the vicinity because of this). Assassinating Hawthorne: before entering the throne room, stand in the middle of the adjacent wall & cast multiple shockwaves. Gets everyone except those in the last couple of rows by the throne. They never knew what was hitting them. The horror, the horror !

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Originally Posted By: human of the year
This thread has made me install Exile 3 again. Thanks a bunch guys. tongue

I started playing E3 a while back, too, although I never got further than Karnold Province. Things get so repetitive after the roach plague. The demo area (Upper Exile + southern Valorim) is without a doubt the most inspired part of the game. Compared to the Isle of Bigail, the northern provinces seem bland.
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Originally Posted By: Seaweed
Originally Posted By: human of the year
This thread has made me install Exile 3 again. Thanks a bunch guys. tongue

I started playing E3 a while back, too, although I never got further than Karnold Province. Things get so repetitive after the roach plague. The demo area (Upper Exile + southern Valorim) is without a doubt the most inspired part of the game. Compared to the Isle of Bigail, the northern provinces seem bland.


I never got farther than the Golems, and never finished the Giants. I agree, the beginning (pre-plague) and middle (slimes and roaches) were the most fun. It would have been cool if the Upper Exile area was longer and more-challenging, so you'd spend more time there. After finishing that, you could tackle the slimes and roachs -- but they would have to be beefed-up so they wouldn't be too easy compared to Nephils, Sliths, and Bandits.
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I disagree, I've always loved Upper Exile, although I don't know how much of that is due to it being my introduction to Spiderweb Software. I like the bandit/goblin lair (was it called Wolfrider Warren?), and the introduction of the adorable Spiny Worm in Ghikra, among other things.

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Originally Posted By: Drakefyre
I always thought that Upper Exile sucked ... and the troglo/giant plague was my second most fun, next to the roaches. Doing the troglo "peace" mission, and going to the barrier cave were lots of fun.

I'm curious as to why you didn't like Upper Exile. I think it was a pretty interesting beginning area. And having a base of operations close to the surface made sense, sort of.
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I found Mass Slow to be an absolute game-breaker when fighting most foes, and death arrows could cut vast swathes through enemy ranks at high levels. Alien Beasts in particular would die like mad against it, or be rendered so low on HP that a single basic attack finished them off. Shockwave was decent, but unhelpful in most cases.

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Shockwave is for outdoor encounters (like alien beasts) and areas where, from previous experience, you know there's nothing friendly to kill.

 

—Alorael, who thinks Unlock and Long Light may also be a bit too good. The former obviates the need for lockpicks or a lock picker. The latter obviates the need for light sources. Both are so convenient that the other possibilities are entirely unnecessary in the game.

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But do you start the game knowing them?

 

Plus, lockpicks and light sources are still useful in two situations: if your party has no spellcasters, or if your party has spellcasters but they need to conserve their spell points (or perhaps simply don't have enough).

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Yes, you start the game with them. They're both level 3 Mage spells.

 

Also, if you have no spellcasters, you'd damn well better have high Strength. If you have high strength, any door that can be picked can also be bashed. Unlock has the added benefit that it's the only thing capable of unlocking magically locked doors.

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  • 1 month later...

I miss the cloud/aoe/barrier type spells the most. Utility ones such as scry monster were also sorely missed; I can see why some spells were removed (power balance?), but I don't know why scry was. Some of us like stats, stats, and more stats.

 

About Avernum's autotargeting spells I think the aoe spells of Exile backfired on the monsters more often than it did on you. I think enemy casters tended not to care whether they would puree their own troops just to hit some squares your party occupied.

 

A compromise would've been nice, though - a mix of aoe spells and Avernum's too-convenient autotargeting ones.

 

One of my favourite fights was in E2 I think; far to the east, near the front lines of the Empire war, was it? Where you could trigger endless fights. I might be misremembering though. I recall it was one place where you could actually hit the summon limit pretty easily due to the casters on both sides, lol. After a mere handful of turns the battlefield resembled hell, with multiple layers of fields blanketing everything and magic flying everywhere.

 

I'd have loved to attempt to have taken on the Empire army. Provided there was some cover you could retreat to (say, a nice rock wall) and enough enemy mages to mindduel for mp, there was no reason you couldn't outlast them.

 

Ah, the nostalgia. Fights in Avernum on the other hand seem pretty tame by comparison.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I really liked the Exile spells. Yeah, long light and unlock made torches and lockpicks totally unneccesary, which was sort of a shame.

 

But having all sorts of spells, that do all sorts of different things, not just a few variations on "whump" was pretty cool. Sure, I'd never ever use fear spells, and many spells I'd hardly ever use, but there were a few that came in handy ever so often.

 

Though, Ice Bolt always annoyed me, the description says that it's lobbing an icicle at the enemy, not freezing them, so it shouldn't be cold damage. Or, if you wanted to be weird, it might be partially cold damage and partially being hit with pointy thing damage.

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Originally Posted By: Thaluikhain
Though, Ice Bolt always annoyed me, the description says that it's lobbing an icicle at the enemy, not freezing them, so it shouldn't be cold damage. Or, if you wanted to be weird, it might be partially cold damage and partially being hit with pointy thing damage.


Back in Exile 1 I think it just counted as magic damage, since there was no such thing as cold damage.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Originally Posted By: Orifushi Mafuyu
aoe
*slays the evil abbreviation*

Seriously, it took me a minute or two to realize that you meant "area of effect".

Originally Posted By: Sss-Chah
i don't mind the spells in avernum, though i agree that some of the exile ones should come back.
like scry and that spell you used to put poison on your weapons (envenom?)
Yeah, I liked that. Avernum doesn't even have the concept of poisoning weapons, though.
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