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Geneforge 2's Instruction manual is a house of lies

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My specific complaint? It incorrectly lists damage dice for spells.


How can I know this? Simple. According to the book, firebolt has a 1-4 dice. My agent has 6 battle magic, three spellcraft, and three firebolt ability. According to the book, that means firebolt should do 12-48 damage.


And yet just a few minutes ago, my Agent did 54, then 51 damage with her firebolt. No blessing. Just a-natural.


Meaning that we don't have a concrete way of knowing the damage die for firebolt, or any of the other spells really.

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Jeff's documentation is based off of his documentation for prior games, and he rarely changes it, even when he makes changes in the game.


It's possible to do empirical testing, assemble data sets, and use statistical analysis to work our the damage dies of spells, and several members do do so when new games come out. I'm not sure if anybody's done it for G1 and G2, though.

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Found it! This was surprisingly difficult to find.




So, after being inspired to start up another G3 game, I was poking around the scripts, looking at how the game balance has changed. I didn't realize just how widespread the changes have been. It's not just melee weapons that were weakened. Here's a list of damage per level across games:






G1 G2 G3


1-6 1-4 1-3 Firebolt, Fiery Wand (Fyora)

1-6 1-6 1-6 (Drayk)

1-7 1-5 1-4 Searer (Artila/Roamer)

1-5 1-6 1-5 Ice Spray, Icy Crystal (Cryoa/Cryodrayk)

1-8 1-4 1-5 Searing Orbs, Spray Crystal (Drakon)

1-8 1-6 1-6 Diamond Spray, Swarm Crystal, Jeweled Wand (Ur-Drakon)

1-5 1-5 1-5 (Vlish)

1-12 1-10 Kill (Gazer)

1-12 1-10 Aura of Flames (Eyebeast)


1-8 1-8 1-4 Regular melee attack

1-3 1-5 1-4 Vlish melee attack

1-5 Alwan's melee attack


1-5 1-6 1-3 Thorn Baton

1-6 1-6 1-3 Venom Baton

1-8 1-5 1-3 Acid Baton

1-10 1-7 1-3 Submission Baton

1-14 1-10 1-12 Reaper Baton

1-6 1-5 1-4 Javelin

1-16 1-12 1-8 Discipline Wand

1-5 1-4 1-4 Terror Wand

1-5 1-4 1-4 Ensnaring Crystal, Null Wand



Spells and creation attacks were also weakened (especially compared to G1), though melee weapons took the worst hit.


This brings up a few interesting points. For one thing, whatever effect the weakening of melee has had on guardians, it's completely nerfed most battle creations. If you look at their stats, Clawbugs and Battle Alphas are pretty much complete crap next to comparable Magic and Fire creations, despite being more expensive -- and that was much less true when physical attacks hit harder. Thahds get a HP bonus that's noticeable early and Rotghroths get bonuses to strength and quick action, though they still don't impress me.


This also reveals just how Vlish became so overpowered. Originally, all their attacks were noticably weaker than those of a Fyora of comparable level; that was to make up for the powerful slowing effect. Now their melee attack is on par with a Clawbug's, while their missile attack is stronger than a Roamer's, and as good as Ice Spray with a more consistent crippling effect. Drayks have also gotten somewhat better.


Reapers are spectacularly good in G3. I knew that, I just didn't realize how good.



The formulas for damage and hit rate for ANY type of attack made by any character are very simple.


Base hit rate is determined by type of attack and has mostly stayed the same throughout G1-3. Basic rule of thumb: 60% physical, 60% fire, 70% magic/acid, 80% ice. Then add 5% per point of attack bonus. Enemy ability to dodge can affect this, I believe reducing it by 5% per point of Dexterity -- not sure.


Base damage is attack specific, with an additional amount per level of attack bonus. In G3, Firebolt has a base of 1-4 and gets an additional 1-3 per level of attack bonus. The enemy's armor or resistance is then applied to the total amount rolled.


To get your attack bonus:


PC Melee attacks:

Bonus = Strength + Melee Weapons + Level of equipped weapon


PC Missile attacks:

Bonus = Dexterity + Missile Weapons + Level of item used


PC Magic attacks:

Bonus = Spellcraft + Battle Magic + Spell Skill


Creation attacks (melee OR missile):

Bonus = Strength + Appropriate attack Skill


Attack skill is a hidden stat, but it is generally in line with creation power level. Not always, though -- Fyoras have a better melee attack skill than Plated Bugs do.


Note that the descriptions for many of the stats involved are inaccurate in both the manual and the game. Strength and Dexterity come to mind.


Also, note that the attractive thing about missile weapons is that they tend to have higher base levels compared to spell skill. They won't be scaled back anytime soon, though. They are -- at best -- mildly more powerful than magic, but they have the huge restriction of being limited to what items you collect and save. Reapers are nice, but even they are typically weaker than a Gazer.

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  • 3 years later...

PC Melee attacks:

Bonus = Strength + Melee Weapons + Level of equipped weapon


What does this mean exactly? Does this mean that in G2, that every level of melee weapons adds an additional 1d8 and every rank of strength also add an additional 1d8 to the damage multiplier? Thus with 6 str, 5 melee, and a lv. 7 weapon, you'd get 6d8 + 5d8 +7d8?


Are these all added together into a single roll (18d8 thus 18~144 dmg) or are they rolled separately with the three roll results giving the actual damage? (the sum of 6~48 + 5~40 + 7~56 dmg)

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I probably did something wrong (other times I've tried to help solve math-mechanical questions have always been flawed by my failure to understand the issues), but I decided to try test this. I started a new game and repeatedly whacked the first rat you meet in the Entry Valley.


So, first, I made 30 hits on the rat with 3 Str and 3 Melee: the lowest result was 27 damage, the highest was 52, and the mean was 40.7. In the course of getting in 30 hits, I also missed four times, with “(%85),” presumably a reference to my chance to hit.


Next, I boosted Str by 1 point (so Str 4 and Melee 3). I hit the Rat 30 times. The lowest result was 29, and the highest was 59, and the mean was 44.9. In course of getting in 30 hits on the rat, I missed only twice and got “(%90).”


Third, I went back and ran the test with one extra point of Melee over the baseline (so Str 3 and Melee 4). Curiously, in course of getting 30 hits, I missed five times, each with “(%90).” The lowest damage was 29, the highest was 57, and the mean was 43.8.


And FWIW, the Dagger (my weapon) lists it's damage as 2-16.


I don’t quite understand the whole dice question and maybe these tests are wholly inadequate to help answer any question. But here’s some numbers after killing a rat 90 times, now go play. :D

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You increased Str by 1, that's 1 level of damage. Your average damage went up by 4.2. The average damage on a roll of 1d8 is 4.5. So, that's very much in the expected neighborhood.


The "base damage" or "damage" displayed for weapons was, up until fairly recently (G5 or A6 maybe?) just the weapon's levels of damage times its item level. In this case, 1-8 times 2, or 2d8, for a range of 2-16.

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