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Exile 1 item bonuses


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Hi everyone,
I'm currently replaying Exile 1, and it's been a lot of fun.  Could anyone suggest good resource for the details of item bonuses?  A fang necklace "blesses occasionally", but it also allows you to wear heavier armour without being encumbered.  How does it compare to the circlet of giants, or the gauntlets of skill, or a ring of skill?

I also noticed my thief got worse at disarming traps after equipping the nimble gloves.  I was reasonably high level by the time I got them - dex 16, traps 14 - so I guess the value is rolling over.  I saw an old post about this for Exile 2, but there wasn't an answer.  Does anyone know the details of this behaviour?

 

Cheers,

John

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What the linked post is describing (I think) is what happens when Dex is raised past the point where it has a bonus lookup value, so I'm guessing the bonus just reset to 0.  That shouldn't be happening here.

 

There's a table of lookup values for disarm chance:

 

5,30,35,42,48,

55,63,69,75,77,

78,80,82,84,86,

88,90,92,94,96,98

 

Your combination of Dex + Disarm Trap + the Nimble Gloves (+ Luck, if you have any) should be more than enough to max this out at 98%.  I don't think I've ever heard of overflow from this, and if you have any Luck your stats are probably enough to push past 98% without the gloves anyway.  If you test by taking off the Nimble Gloves, do your chances of success improve significantly?

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Posted (edited)

I just tested this again, and yes - removing the gloves significantly improve my chances.  I used the Bandit Lair near Fort Saffron - there's an alarm trap right at the entrance which respawns if you leave and come back.  After playing around a bit, I sat down and started counting - I did sets of 10 attempts with, then 10 attempts without the gloves.  Out of a total of 40 attempts without gloves, I didn't trigger the alarm once.  With gloves, I triggered it 31 times out of 40.

I should add that I have a luck of 1.

Edited by joleneth
clarifed method
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I used the editor to play around a bit more.  A different character with a dexterity of 4 and a luck of 1 was still succeeding the majority of times with 18 traps and the nimble gloves.  When I increased to 20 traps, this jumped to failing most times.  Thanks for the lookup table of values - do you know if the dexterity bonus adds to the traps skill before the lookup?  This would then be consistent with an overflow.

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It does, but there are actually several numbers that are added in before the lookup.  Your traps value moves up 1 slot per point in Traps, and 2 slots per Dex bonus point, which is either +3 or +4 at your Dex (I forget which) and which IIRC is just increased by +1 if wearing the Nimble Gloves.

 

I think Dex 4 is a bonus of 0, so your second test would have 18+2=20 vs 20+2=22.  I guess your results would be consistent with an overflow.  Not having seen this before could be explained by the fact that, well, nobody ever invests that far into Disarm Traps that I've heard of.

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Most people just save and reload until the trap disarms, and usually a regular fighter who'd have high Dexterity for combat could disarm any trap within a few reloads without even needing a single point in Disarm Traps. Some of those skills (especially Disarm Traps, Lockpicking, and Poison) are really only useful for novelty party builds with no or very limited magic (for Lockpicking and Poison which are both easier with spells) or no-fighter builds (where no PC would have high Dex and Disarm is cheaper) and things like that. They're not useless entirely, but they are unless you're trying for a challenge.

Edited by The Almighty Doer of Stuff
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Thanks for the extra info.  The thing I do feel I miss for Exile is a big old table of values so I can work out what's worth investing in - this was something I enjoyed a lot when playing games like Baldur's Gate.  Did you pick the lookup table out of the source?  On the other hand, I'm aware you don't need to be especially wise with the skill points when mid-game gold is plentiful and you can just buy a potion of knowledge.

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Quote

There's a table of lookup values for disarm chance:

 

5,30,35,42,48,

55,63,69,75,77,

78,80,82,84,86,

88,90,92,94,96,98

@Personal Injury Doily just curious if you lifted this from the BOE source code or pulled it directly from Exile 1?

 

Quote

How does it compare to the circlet of giants, or the gauntlets of skill, or a ring of skill?

The questions posed by @joleneth were the reason I started digging around in the old binaries, because I really wanted to know which items were better, or what they did exactly. Things like the rings of skill were somewhat of a mystery. Looking at the BOE source helps a bit, but things could have changed from the original game.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the pointer, I downloaded the BOE source to have a look.  There doesn't seem to be a bug in that version - the code applies limits to the skill value so it's never below zero or above 20.  However, I can certainly believe that there used to be a bug - I notice the lookup table has 30 values in it, which would only make sense if these limits weren't applied.

I will have a look to see if I can find details about the item bonuses, but probably not today.

Edited by joleneth
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Posted (edited)

Yes, sorry, the "effective" skill value used for the lookup.  As you said, this contains a bunch of stuff - luck, dexterity bonus, item bonuses, and a penalty for the town/dungeon difficulty.  It's interesting how different the implementation is to picking a lock, which doesn't use a lookup table at all.

Edited by joleneth
Sorry, second half just wasn't true. Removed
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Posted (edited)

Poking around the BOE code also gives some other answers, as you expect.  A ring of skill has an item ability level of 2,5,8 for bronze, silver and gold, respectively.  A fang necklace has an ability level of 4.  The other items aren't in the list (PC editor/ITEMDATA.H in the original open source BOE).

I also looked to see if I could answer the question by @Walter (in 2006!  but it's not like the game has changed since then 😅) about spell failure and encumbrance, but the behaviour seems to have changed between Exile 1 and BOE. In BOE, the encumbrance for each item can be reduced by up to 1.  Also, the chances of reducing the encumbrance of an item with 1 encumbrance is higher, and is guaranteed for a sufficiently high defence skill, so you can wear as many items with 1 encumbrance as you like as long as you have a high enough defence skill.  As soon as you have an item with 2 encumbrance, there is a chance of failure, and failure is guaranteed for encumbrance 3 or two items with encumbrance 2.  The chance of failure depends only on your defence skill with no modifications, so this is certainly different to Exile 1, where e.g. a ring of skill can let a mage cast while wearing armour.

Edited by joleneth
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7 hours ago, joleneth said:

Poking around the BOE code also gives some other answers, as you expect.  A ring of skill has an item ability level of 2,5,8 for bronze, silver and gold, respectively.  A fang necklace has an ability level of 4.  The other items aren't in the list (PC editor/ITEMDATA.H in the original open source BOE).

I think that item data list isn't actually used by the game. It might be used by the character editor if you add items to the party, but the game loads the item list from the scenario that you're playing. There are a few hard-coded items as exceptions though (mainly the starter items that a new party gets).

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Personal Injury Doily said:

I think those item ability levels are actually visible in-game as well.

I think what you see in game (at least Exile 1) is the item level (0,1,2, respectively, for bronze, silver, gold rings of protection, and 0 for the fang necklace, although zeros show up as empty boxes), rather than the item ability strength.
 

2 hours ago, Celtic Minstrel said:

I think that item data list isn't actually used by the game. It might be used by the character editor if you add items to the party, but the game loads the item list from the scenario that you're playing. There are a few hard-coded items as exceptions though (mainly the starter items that a new party gets).

Yes, it seems that way, it's a neat way of doing it.  There weren't any matches for "fang necklace" or "ring of protection" in the game files, so I looked a bit further afield.  Both strings also crop up in the three bundled scenarios, but it's binary data so I can't just read the values out.  Of course, the stats could also have changed since Exile 1.

Edited by joleneth
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2 hours ago, joleneth said:

Both strings also crop up in the three bundled scenarios, but it's binary data so I can't just read the values out.  Of course, the stats could also have changed since Exile 1.

You can just open those files with the scenario editor to read the values out. Of course, your point about them possibly changing since Exile 1 is still valid.

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18 hours ago, Celtic Minstrel said:

You can just open those files with the scenario editor to read the values out. Of course, your point about them possibly changing since Exile 1 is still valid.

Ah, thanks, I should maybe have thought of that myself.

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Exile 1 has a smaller set of attributes for the items compared to Exile 3+ (which makes sense since it was the 1st game). From what I can tell, it looks like Exile reused fields for different items. E.g. the damage field for a weapon seems to be reused for the defense value for shields. Many of these fields make sense, however some fields that should be apparent seem to be missing such as item value. I also wasn't able to easily identify the item levels.

 

I'm assuming that somewhere in the item definition table there would be an index into another table that defined any special abilities like always poisoned or flaming (for exile 3). Unfortunately I haven't learned anything yet. Patching the tables and re-running the game may provide some insight. Figuring this out would finally answer the question about what is so special about the giant's circlet vs regular fang necklaces!

 

I also think some items are dynamically generated - the rings of regen aren't hard coded in the binary like other items are. There may be smaller item tables that are less obvious to spot for things like this.

 

I also don't understand why certain items have multiple table entries. I see this in the BOE source as well; there is a short_item_record_type and item_record_type that seem to have almost the same information.

 

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It's great that you're looking into this.  Are you decompiling the code to look at these, or using something like a hex editor?  I had wondered why the Blades source had the short and long description, I wondered if it was to provide compatibility for parts of the code that hadn't been rewritten from older versions.  That obviously doesn't make sense if you see it in Exile 1.  If you only see some items listed twice, it's possible they're just duplicates - I know there are two lemonwood bows in Exile 1 with different bonuses, and I think there are also two yew bows with different (gold) values.  This seemed to crop up for a few other items too.

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Decompiling the code. I don't think I could figure this out with just a hex editor. The hard part is that these are 16 bit applications, and support for 16 bit is not that great since it's not really used anymore.

 

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On 6/26/2021 at 9:04 AM, joleneth said:

Could anyone suggest good resource for the details of item bonuses?  A fang necklace "blesses occasionally", but it also allows you to wear heavier armour without being encumbered.  How does it compare to the circlet of giants, or the gauntlets of skill, or a ring of skill?

Here is a file with the specs of all the items in Exile 1. It was created by scraping the item data from the EXILE.EXE binary.

Below is an excerpt from the file showing the items with negative encumbrance:

| defen | encum | ability | fullname           |
| ----- | ----- | ------- | ------------------ |
|     0 |    -1 |      26 | Ring of Speed      |
|     0 |    -3 |      47 | Circlet of giants  |
|     0 |    -1 |      47 | Fang necklace      |
|     3 |    -3 |      46 | Necklace of Lords  |
|     3 |    -3 |       0 | Gauntlets of Skill |

 

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for the extra stats @Motardo, this is exactly what I was looking for.

 

1 hour ago, Personal Injury Doily said:

Those items definitely don't reduce encumbrance in-game, FWIW.  It seems clear that Exile used some fields for multiple purposes, and I guess that must be one of them...

I think decreasing the encumbrance is actually the easiest explanation.  I opened up an Exile1 save I have, my mage a defence skill of 4 and has magic chain mail equipped for an encumbrance of 2.  With the fang necklace, I manage 10/10 attempts to cast (just set him as active in combat - you don't even need to cast a spell, the check is done when the select spell dialogue comes up).  Without the fang necklace, he failed 4 times out of 10.  Simply increasing defence by a couple of points wouldn't work this well.

Edited by joleneth
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  • 3 weeks later...

One odd thing I found is that cursed studded armor gains a -5 penalty from being cursed, which unlike the other cursed armors gives it a negative value and actually causes it to loop around and have a really ludicrous defence stat, like 256 or something.  I think this is only a visual bug - it never seemed to give me a massive AC boost - but I'm not entirely sure.

 

Also, I noticed that Scrolls of Ice Bolt will poison you!

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