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Prompted by Randomizer, I decided to do some more legitimate, empirical tests on spell damage. So I now have several pages of Excel tables.


The experiment tested damage from different spells at different levels of Intelligence, Druidism, and the circles. All other factors were controlled for, with the exception that the PC always has the Druid Mastery trait -- its effects are unknown, but anyone using direct damage spells will likely have it.


So, I was WAY OFF before. It's not clear that all the magic stats have the same effect, and it looks like they may affect different spells in slightly different ways. But in general, Intelligence and Druidism appear to affect magic damage identically.


The effect of Spell Circles was a little erratic -- for Lance of Fire and Darts of Ice they had about 2/3 the effect of Int/Dru, but for Heartshock they had the same effect and for Ravage Life they had about 3/2 the effect. I don't think these discrepancies are due to random factors, as the data was remarkably well-behaved; unlike the Geneforge engine games, variance is mostly limited to +/- 10% of the average damage.


Basically, stats are not nearly so relevant for spells as they are for melee. At high skill level, the effect of 3 points of Strength being added is still definitely visible; that's not true of adding 3 points of Intelligence.


So you can be a great fighter early on by pumping stats, but you can't really coast through the game on spells until you get the good ones. Here's the average damage I got (against zero resistance enemies) with each damaging spell (at 10 Int, 10 Dru, 10 of each Circle), along with its mana cost and targets:


1   2  47.4 Lance of Fire1  10 102.0 Ravage Life1  15 121.5 Heartshock1  28 159.0 Doom3  12  59.6 Darts of Ice5  14 110.2 Soul Lances5  30 222.9 Clouds of Night
Darts of Ice sucks... a lot. It's just horribly overpriced. Lance of Fire is cheap, but weak. Ravage Life is a great value considering you also get slowing and cursing out of it. Also, Ravage Life, Heartshock and Doom appear to be equally unresistable, which makes Doom rather less enticing! Soul Lances, however, is clearly the turning point in value per SP spent, and Clouds of Night is perhaps better given its unresistability.
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This makes some sense. From beta testing Jeff mentioned that darts of ices was being reduced and that doom and soul lances were not going to be reduced.


Soul lances is great for being the only spell with up to 5 targets. Even when facing some resistances it does major damage.


I like to start with ravage life or doom versus single targets because of the extra effects to weaken an opponent.


Romans have it bad. Spells are mostly for increasing combat damage and after the Ruined Hall the damaging spells are rapidly becoming useless.

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I haven't been playing on Torment, but if Torment has the usual increases in monster HP, Darts of Ice must be totally worthless on Torment.


Randomizer, do you have an idea of how much you need to raise magic stats for the charm spells to maintain effectiveness?

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In torment, darts of ice becomes useless except against goblins and lizards. Consider it the Roman version of pest removal. It was okay against fomorians as a fast way when you could block them with summoned monsters. For a while in beta testing we got Jeff to really increase torment monster health, but he had complaints and put it back to current levels.


When I ran Celts that had soul lances I used that instead.


Charm spells seems to be usually effective against regular monsters and humanoids. It rarely failed, maybe 1 in 20 so the level of beast or spirit circle with druidism is enough. I didn't try it against named characters. I assumed that they would be more resistant. Reptrakos resisted some of the regular spells so I never even considered it.

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