Casters: Mechanics vs Roleplay
I saw a thread recently that hit a little to close to home, as such you get more of my two cents :). I usually do not play a caster type character, in fact I most often play a frontline melee type of character. While playing the frontline, I have been very guilty of thinking "why does that caster not buff me or the others, dont they realize the best use of spells". Then however I rolled up a few clerics, including my current one and a realization hit me. There are two very different threads of thought running within the "why doesnt the caster buff" conversation. I thought I would break them out here, as I think they tend to get confused a lot (and can cause some frustration for all players).
Mechanically speaking, 99.9% of the time the best use for level 1 and level 2 spells will be to buff the frontline. This is possible even true of some level 3 spells. Protection from Evil, Magic Weapon, Circle of Protection from Evil, Bull Strength, Endurance, Shield of Faith, Improved Invisibility … the list goes on and you get the idea. From a pure numbers / mechanically survive the quest standpoint almost always the best idea is to cast these on the frontline melee characters and let them have at it. Hold back a few more powerful spells for a tight situation, and you are usually golden if your group is at all appropriate for the quests levels you are on. We can all accept this from a mechanics stand point, and I think when playing a melee character it is important to remember that the caster players understand this as well. However, the point of CoA (in my view) is not to mechanically crush the quests and NPC spawns. The point for me is to bring to life characters and tell an entire story made up of those characters and their experiences on the server. That brings us to the role play section.
II. Role Play:
As a caster character, you are often going to do things that are NOT mechanically the absolute best choice in order to play your character. I can tell you from experience that my clerics would not hand out blessings to certain people ever, and may only hand others to some depending on events (prayers offered, the situation occurring, etc). Why? Because I am playing a character who is divinely gifted by his god, the implication being his god expects him to utilize the god's gifts to further the gods mission in the world. A wizard is not an Improved Invisibility buff bot, they are a talented wielder of the arcane who has studied for a great deal of time to discover secrets very few (relatively) know. These are just the viewpoints I gave my characters when I played them, you could very well have a cleric of Ilmater who feels it is his god's command to provide divine blessings to everyone to reduce the harm in the world and so on. The point is that its important to remember the role play aspect when wondering why a caster character did or did not take a certain action that may or may not have been mechanically the best choice.
Ok, great so where does that leave us? Well just like a caster player is role playing a character, a melee player is role playing a character as well. One of the things I like about CoA is that it tends to be fairly easy to get money (in my experience). Maybe have your melee player stock up on basic potions for when the cleric isnt handing out blessings or the mage isnt casting wards. One of the hardest things I had to learn as melee player was that money in my inventory usually did me NO good at all, unless I was saving for a specific item. If I am in a tight spot I would much rather have those extra invis potions and few shield potions rather than 500 coins in my inventory. Also, if a caster is acting a way that your melee character does not like confront them over it (IC of course and with OOC consideration for the other player). I have seen some great in game interactions result because of this. The results were religious rants, refusal to every journey with an individual (character not player) again, and other stuff. It was all done IC and very tasteful, and lead to some great character developments. Other thoughts?
Clearly this is an IC issue.
If my character travelled with a priest who made good use of buffs and then another priest withholds the buffs.. It's only normal my character would be annoyed. Deal with it IG. Pretend your deity doesn't grant you buffs or that it demands you to mostly cast offensive spells. Ask money for buffs like some do. Or just honestly explain that you want to do some killing and don't just want to play a supporting role in battle. I don't understand how it is an OOC issue.
I really think it's just people being OOCly annoyed by IC stuff and bringing it to the forums.
Cadiz last edited by
with regards to buffing other characters over self…
sometimes you have to realise that the character (rather than the player) is self centred and would rather save those all important stoneskin and imp invis buffs for themself to ensure 'their' survival over yours!
that said i always try to hit a balance between buffing the party (usually the characters that i know over those i dont) and saving spells to effect outcomes in a tight spot.
another issue for me is that i try to use the spells i have sparingly, ie when they are needed, rather than going this is a short quest lets roll out all the buffs at the start as they will last. not so much a case of metagaming but more you never know when things are going to go pear shaped due to a death/dm intervention/crash etc
This is entirely an IC issue If your playing a fighter on the front line and the self-buffing cleric is not leading the charge but you are just stand there and tell them to take the front think ive done that to every single self-buffing cleric ive ever met in game.
From the clerics point of view do what the hell you like if you get beaten up,refused to join groups or left to die because your character refuses to help the characters he's working with well you reap what you sow don't complain OC about it.
Thats my take on the issue that isn't an issue really.
PC casters should definitely roleplay as they like, even if it means withholding stuff.
However, PC fighters know buffs are essential to survival so IC acts have IC consequences. One consequence might be getting the crap beaten out of you by an angry barbarian who hates you who endangering the party with your terrible usage of spells.
I do think a high INT wizard (not cleric) would favor 50% buffs over any other load-out, just from experience, unless he's a huge snob. But again- IC consequences for IC actions. If your wizard is terribly useless don't expect to join quests.
By the way, it's possible to be useful without buffs but it requires such a huge degree of skill it is not worth it 95% of the time. I've seen only one PC or maybe two in my NWN career that were great help on quests despite having very few buffs for the party. Ironically, those PCs still buffed using wands and kept the fighters healed constantly.
Maruz last edited by
There are IC actions and opinions, but there are also OOC ones in this. The part where characters "have no supplies" when a priest/mage is around I've seen all too often. That's a sleasy way of getting the free stuff and conserving your own resources. And yeah some characters might have IC reasons to do this, but then you perhaps you could do something more than just say you're out of supplies?
My current wizard will have potions to sell on her at all times for those who request buffs. Her prepared spells will be the ones that fit her idea of how to work her magic in dangerous sutiations.
Mr.Moloch last edited by
It is entirely IC and people should treat it IC.
That said, I've done the math. Whether or not buffs are better really does depend on the situation. Especially with the new AI, the assumption buffs are always better can rapidly prove wrong as the NPCs now use Dispel Magic correctly. You may spend 8 spell slots buffing your team, they get hit by a dispel and you were much better off having used some damaging spells instead.
…..That said, I've done the math. Whether or not buffs are better really does depend on the situation....
Seeing this just gives me the warm fuzzy inside glow.
Something I've always felt. And sometimes those buffs are better off NOT on front-liners. And buffs being different depending on party composition.
yes, on some melee-heavy quests against "normal" opponents, its rather obvious that barkskin/stoneskin can be useful for those in front.
But even in that situation, the stat-boosts are debatable as to who they are best for. Except of course the cross-bow mage.
Ops, good point Moloch. I didnt think about Dispel. I have not yet run into the dreaded dispel in NPCs hands here (yet) :).
khammy last edited by
Sometimes Hold Person on that raging goblin is more effective than Bulls/Stone/Endurance on the fighter…
CitizenBane last edited by
Damn, I french fried when I shoud've pizza'ed.
All for individual spell-selection, though. Especially for Clerics. Domain spells are the best flavor there is. Aside from pizza.
And french fries.
I should add this works the other way around as well.
If you keep meeting warriors that are mysteriously out of supplies all the time as your caster- ditch them. They are horrible bums. You should buff, yes - but a warrior not stocked on supplies is a crap warrior and you're safer without them. Make better friends in-game.