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Some questions about AEftP mechanics

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I have played Exile 3 and Avernum 3 many moons ago, so I know the grand narrative of the trilogy, but I've never played the first two games in the trilogy in any of its iterations, so I'd prefer to avoid specific spoilers. However I am the sort who likes to know roughly what I am doing, even for a first play through, since I try to minimize reloading and accept the consequences of mistakes. 


I am playing on Normal difficulty, but I do like to keep to a personal rule of trying to do entire dungeons in one go without leaving and coming back (because it makes no sense that the bandits/monsters would just leave their fortress/lair exactly as you left it mid-adventure). I've found this difficult as playing blind, as I don't know how to pace the use of resources, and losing even one character is crippling and pretty much forces a return to town unless I have a resurrection scroll. However the point of asking questions is to improve so that hopefully I can do better going forwards.


  1. As I understand it, you can never purchase the 3rd level of any spells, so you need to buy the lv1 and lv2 of every spell before you read a tome for its 3rd level. If you read a tome before you learnt the spell to lv2 already, you will never be able to learn its 3rd level? Is that correct?
    1. If my above understanding is correct, which spells are very important and I need to prioritize buying as soon as I can?
    2. Does anyone have a detailed guide about all spells? It's very difficult to make decisions on spell purchases, given the cost, limited gold supply, and the fact that there is no description on what the upgrades provide in practice. 
  2. I've been using wands and scrolls as consumable items. I guess there is no mechanic to learn spells or anything from scrolls? (Yes I played Baldur's Gate) There also seems to be no benefit in using scrolls or wands with magically trained characters?
  3. Does "chance to hit" affect magic? If not then the main constraint for spellcasters using heavy armour is just the weight? 
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1. Slarty has an excellent analysis of everything including spells here. It will probably answer questions you haven't thought of like where to buy spells to save money on training.

2. Scrolls and wands are consumable and not for learning. Except for lightning wands, as you go up in levels they are less useful and pretty much become another thing to sell for money. They can be helpful for finishing fights quicker.

3. "Chance to hit" affects magic, but the base chance is usually higher than for weapons. Mage spells can not be cast in combat above a certain to hit penalty. You can reduce the penalty with traits and items that improve your to hit chance. Weight can reduce action points.

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Ah thanks,


I looked at that guide actually, but found it a little overwhelming. I've had another look, I got a better idea now, cheers.

I noticed that there is some disagreement between Slarty's guide and The Reverend on Cave Lore. I guess playing blind, I'm going to miss quite a lot of random stuff hidden in odd corners of the map, so perhaps I should go with Slarty. I've already invested 3 or 4 pts, but that's not a disaster. 

Also, for melee fighters, what is the rule of thumb for "minus chance to hit %" vs "plus % armour" that you would willingly trade off? I used to assume that the more valuable an item was, the better it would be, but this doesn't seem to hold true for Avernum. For example it would seem to me that the Steel shield is inferior to the Iron Shield, because 5% to hit chance reduction is not worth just 3% extra armour.


(ps I know that Slarty says shields shouldn't be used at all, but I'm not a min/max'er so it's okay) 


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5 hours ago, Heindrich1988 said:

As I understand it, you can never purchase the 3rd level of any spells, so you need to buy the lv1 and lv2 of every spell before you read a tome for its 3rd level. If you read a tome before you learnt the spell to lv2 already, you will never be able to learn its 3rd level? Is that correct?


This applied to some of the older games, but it's no longer true in the new remakes. In the new Avernum trilogy, you can only buy two levels of each spell and you have to find the remaining level, but the order doesn't matter; you can get the findable level first and still buy the other two levels.

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Re the Cave Lore question -- I wrote that guide for the original release of the game, where money was more limited because the second level of training in a skill or spell cost double what it does now.


I still don't think you get much out of training in Cave Lore, but there is more wiggle room with money, so I don't think it's an awful idea either.


I still would advise against putting manual points in there, but you do get a few magic items and xp items out it -- meh.


Your thinking about trade-offs with pieces of armor is pretty much on the money, especially early on when hit chance is very relevant.  Later in the game, once you have high stats and good investment in basic skills, you may reach the point where that doesn't matter much (for non-mages anyway).  Also, you eventually start finding great pieces of armor that don't reduce hit chance.

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If you are playing on normal and have completionist tendencies, then I would go ahead and get some cave lore.  Slarty is of course correct when he says that it is not worth it from a mathematical analysis stand point.  However, if you have an emotional need to find everything, or almost everything, then a little cave lore will help with that.  And at normal level, you do not need to min/max in order to beat the game.

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