An Idea: Improveing Clerical Spells

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An Idea: Improveing Clerical Spells

Post by Tristan_Durst » Thu Mar 03, 2005 3:01 pm

Dougnoel summed up the thread on Healing kits with his post on Page 2. And brought a good point to light. Here is part of his post.

dougnoel wrote:Question #3: Are clerical curative spells underpowered in NWN PW's?
Forget about healing kits. To answer this question, it doesn't matter if healing kits exist or not on a server, or what they can do. If a party of four players (fighter, cleric, rogue, wizard) goes on a dungeon crawl, can the cleric keep the party in good health with his magic? The answer is, "No." Due to the nature of a NWN PW, a prty will encounter many more monsters than would be encountered in a PnP game. The healing output of his spells are so low, that a cleric is better off using his magic to prevent the party from taking damage by improving both defensive and offensive capabilities. Since the party must rely on their combat prowess instead of recuperative abilities to stay alive, clerics themselves generally find themselves drawn to the same roles as fighters. If curative spells were stronger, clerics would be more apt to cast them instead of buffs. If curative spells were stronger, clerics could fulfill their role as healers using the divine powers that set them apart from other characters.
Answer #3: Yes.

By separating healing kits from curative spells, we can approach the real problem: curative spells aren't worth much. It doesn't matter what you do to healing kits, it won't make the spells better. In fact, anything you do to healing kits will make the healing situation worse for players and consequently make the whole experience less fun for players. The root of the problem then, isn't the healing kits - it's the healing spells.

That's my impression anyway...


I have been playing PnP D&D for close to 16 some odd years now, and I have to agree with this, Clerics are not up to par when it comes to the healing department. I personally like the Cleric class in PnP, but in NWN it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, when I have to tell the party, "I am out of Spells, so we need to wait till I can pray again," venture two more boards, and then say, "I am out of Spells we need to wait till I can pray again." I personally have always been in the mind set of "A Cleric's job is to heal the party." I tend to reserve spells for this purpose, or make sure we are stocked with enough items that cure, so that I can cast protection spells.

My Question Is simple, should we up the cureative spells of clerics to make them more effective as a class in NWN?

Some suggestions -
Adding an addtional die to each Cure spell.

I noticed on some servers the Cure Minor is 1hp, and some is 4 hp. Up this to 8.

This is just a thought.

- Tristan

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Post by Malathyre » Thu Mar 03, 2005 4:18 pm

If this is something worth doing, let's all get on the same page. Healing spells are the following:

Cure Minor wounds: 1d4 healed

Cure light wounds: 1d8+caster level (maximum 5) healed, max 13.

Cure Moderate wounds: 2d8+caster level (maximum 10) healed, max 26.

Cure Serious Wounds: 3d8+caster level (maximum 15) healed, max 39.

Cure Critical Wounds: 4d8+caster level (maximum 20) healed, max 52.

Of course, these will do damage to undead on a successful touch attack, undead get a will save for 1/2 damage, and there are the Inflict series of spells which do the same amount of damage per the corresponding spell (i.e, Inflict light wounds does 1d8+caster level damage). Cure Critical is a 4th level cleric spell, and maybe the problem is this series doesn't continue past 4th level, there is no Cure Egregious Wounds or whatever at 5th level or higher. You can get a bit more mileage out of these by empowering them, but no one is going to empower Cure Critical Wounds (making it 6th level) when Heal is also 6th level. Let's face it, 52 hp's healed just ain't that exciting. Adding one more die to this for a maximum of 60 healed still isn't that exciting, even for relatively low level d8 hit die characters.

So, how could these spells be adjusted allowing them to scale with level? Well, I don't know what's codeable and changeable, but my suggestion would be to add 1d8 of healing per every 2 clerical levels to each of these spells. That means at level 20, a cleric's Cure Critical wounds would do: 14d8+20 healing. That would be an average healing amount of 83 points ((14*4.5)+20=83), a maximum of 132 points ((14*8 )+20=132) and a minimum of 34 ((14*1)+20). This is better than what my high wisdom druid with about 20 points in the heal skill and a nice heal skill boosting item can do with a healing kit. Out of combat, fully buffed, my druid can heal about 85 points of damage with a kit +12.

Just a suggestion, but around 80 points of damage, average, healed for a level 20 cleric using a cure critical wounds spell doesn't seem unreasonable to me at all. Whether or not the spells could be changed this way, I don't know. It might not be wise to change them all this exact same way, but maybe Cure serious wounds could gain +1d8 healing every 3 clerical levels, Cure moderate +1d8 healing every 4 clerical levels, etc. I actually think this method is pretty conservative.
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Post by vergilius » Thu Mar 03, 2005 4:35 pm

The main issue is the fundamental difference between PNP and online gaming. How many fights do you have on an average 4 hours session of PNP? How many do you go through in 4 hours of online gaming? More fights = more damage that the characters take = more healing that needs to be done to the characters. The Cleric spells are fine for PNP, but they can't keep up pace in online game.

The other dynamic is the relationship between the Cure spells and full heal. As soon as you hit 120HP, you're statistically better off with full heal. Since PW are long term, we see an increasing ratio of characters with over 120HP and therefore a decreasing dependance upon the lower cures.

A good solution would be to make them scalable in more ways than just +1 per caster level (with a max), which is what MAL was getting at.

Since many spells use a d6 as the base, what about:

Cure minor: always 4

cure light: 1d6 per level, max of 5d6. range 5-30

cure mod: max of 10d6, range 10-60

cure ser: max of 15d6, range of 15-90

cure critical: max of 20d6, range of 20-120

You still probably wouldn't empower a cure critical, but it would put these spells to some good use. It may also increase demand for potions of the same type, thus aiding the potion economy which like the spells that clerics memorize, focuses almost exclusively on full heals and buffs.

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good thoughts

Post by Apandapion » Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:24 pm

You could always switch to:

Cure Minor wounds: 1d4 healed or 10% healed

Cure light wounds: 1d8+caster level (maximum 5) healed, max 13 or 20% healed

Cure Moderate wounds: 2d8+caster level (maximum 10) healed, max 26 or 30% healed

Cure Serious Wounds: 3d8+caster level (maximum 15) healed, max 39 or 40% healed

Cure Critical Wounds: 4d8+caster level (maximum 20) healed, max 52 or 50% healed

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Post by kombinat » Thu Mar 03, 2005 5:38 pm

I like that change... although, I'd suggest it only be effective for spells cast by clerics, not scrolls, potions or items.

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Post by Arkonswrath » Thu Mar 03, 2005 7:13 pm

by this note, would these spell changes also hold true for the druid spell of the same name? Druids are still a divine caster with healer abilities and heal is a class skill. So would we be doing this for both classes or just the cleric class?

Btw... I like the % version

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Post by Tristan_Durst » Thu Mar 03, 2005 7:36 pm

I like the % idea as well. Gives a decent advantage to a cleric.

As for what Arkonswrath question. I would like to see it for only Clerics. Druids are a "Nature Priest," but they have distinct class abilities that over-shadow a cleric. Clerics are the only Divine spellcaster that can spontanously cast a cure or inflict spell and burn up a spell of that level. That was there gift for being a devoted member of their deities flock.

Druids get the Woodland stride, Animal Companion, and Nature Sense, which lends them to more Nature orientated characters. While the cleric is tradtionally focus on people, politics, and recruiting followers to the god. They each serve their individual roles in Nature religons, but the Cleric has always been the healer of the group.

Just my 2 coppers.

-Tristan

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Post by Wyrmwing » Thu Mar 03, 2005 7:59 pm

Hmm.. you can be a good healer cleric when you set your mind to it.

Playing one, I almost never have to resort to bandages if I take on the healer role in a party of 6-8. That is considering occasional rests though. There;s a limit to how much simply because of the slots allowed.

But yeah.. once you go over 100-150 hp's heal is definately better than the cure spells. to see the percentages would help greatly.
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Post by Orleron » Thu Mar 03, 2005 8:29 pm

Question: Why not just remove the max?

Cure light wounds: 1d8+caster level healed, max 48.

Cure Moderate wounds: 2d8+caster level healed, max 56.

Cure Serious Wounds: 3d8+caster level healed, max 64.

Cure Critical Wounds: 4d8+caster level healed, max 72.


Empowering them would help a bit too. The percentage idea isn't bad though, and it also seems like a better idea for using it against undead because it makes you less likely to kill them with it. We'd probably have to add a save to the inflict spells though, if we made it percentages.
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Post by Sarmanos » Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:50 pm

I know everything isn't about balance but let's consider all the other spells available to clerics(Including bio created ones, or the item buff ones as well). Not saying clerics are hideously overpowered but in my experience playing them, they can be one-man parties in a lot of places with little difficulty.

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Post by Orleron » Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:55 pm

Well, I will say one thing. Doing this will probably make clerics into soloing machines.
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Post by Dark_EK » Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:25 pm

Perhaps remove their abilities to be one men armies, like they are already, and make them more like healers?

I know many might be against it, but perhaps decreasing some other spells, like offensive, and those that make you more powerful, and concentrate more on healing and protective spells? Might sound odd, or be too hard, but I think this will give them a better role.

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Post by Nob » Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:27 pm

Well, they already are, I think...

Having better healing spells does give them an alternative role in a party, IMO.

I think though, that if the changes go in, it should apply to all CAST healing spells, but not to potions and wands and scrolls and what not.

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Post by slave.of.emotions » Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:38 pm

I self as player still can not see the problem.... i never played PNP so i dont have any feeling towards making NWN more like PNP, and in my eyes clerics have still a very important role in evry party...

And yes, they are already now solo machines, especialy on copap. On high levels they get from spells +5 bonus to evry armor type, with allows them to have the best AC, with is one of the most important aspects in evry fight, and with other spells they boost they atack bonus far over that of any fighter...
one just needs to look into the pre hotu and sou times, to that time both clerics and druids were a very often choosed classes, now almost evryone plays a cleric and druids became rather rare... improving they healing spells would make them really overpowered.

And i still stay at what i said before... a healer must not be a cleric and a cleric not a healer. Those changes you want to make is because of what you are used to from PnP, to have clerics as healers... but this is a online game.

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Post by dougnoel » Thu Mar 03, 2005 10:46 pm

Some reactions:

1.) My question would have been better worded, "Is curative magic underpowered in NWN PW's?" I did not mean to say that only cleric spells should be upgraded. Why not? Because in 3E, spells are the same for anyone who can cast them. Yes, druids are not focused on healing, but that's why they don't have heal. If you want to nerf a druid's healing ability, the right way to do it is to change their spell list. So, when thinking about these changes, don't think in terms of only clerics - think in terms of spells.

2.) This also means scrolls, potions, etc that use these spells. Otherwise, why would a cleric ever create a healing items? A possible argument would be that only player-created items would have the enhanced benefits, while Bioware vendor items remained at their old values. This would make sure that these changes would become a lucrative gold sink.

3.) The heal/harm ratios do not have to be the same. It's magic. It would not be unreasonable that cure/cause wounds spells are more effective at curing than damaging, which would keep them used as we intend - to heal parties, instead of encouraging clerics to become touch-atatck mages.

4.) We could make these spell increases only work on others. IE, casting on yourself gets you reduced (or the old) values. Thus, it's better to have two clerics than one. Potions can be the only exception to this rule. so, if clerics want the benefits of their own spells, they have to sink some major gold in brewing potions.

5.) There is no need to give clerics "better" versions. They already get to spontaneously cast. If they want better spells they can take the healing domain and get all their heailing spells automatically empowered (which doesn't stack on Avlis, but does in Bioware's version IIRC.) Furthermore, they get more of them and at lower levels than any other class. And finally, metamagic rods will become very valuable to clerics, allowing them to maximize these spells. A cleric with the healing domain will be able to cast a maximized and empowered CCW for about 2,000 gp.

6.) Ok, now let's talk about numbers. Mal got us started with the current numbers for the heal spells. Now let's take a look at max hit points on eitehr end of the spectrum:
- Level 1 wizard with a 6 Con: 2 hp
- Level 40 barbarian with a 30 Con: 880 hp, rage: 1,040 hp
- Average level 20, I've heard people say is around 300-400 hp.
Using these numbers, let's apply a maximized, empowered level 20 CCW to someone with 350 hp:
- Mal's Idea: 14d8+20 * 1.5 = 198 or ~57%
- Verg's Idea: 20d6 * 1.5 = 180 or ~51%
- Apandapion's Idea: 4d8+20 * 1.5 = 78 or ~22% (OR 50% * 1.5 = 75% if we allow that)
- Orl's Idea: 4d8+20 * 1.5 = 78 or ~22%

The question is what percentage should each spell heal, and should that be hard-coded in as xdx+x or x%, or should we just adjust the progression to give a percentage based on average hit points at that level? Should a level 1 cleric be able to cast cure minor wounds and heal 35 hit points on an epic character, while the spell only heals 1 hit point for him?

7.) We should also consider other magic healing powers, such as the paladin's Lay on Hands and the monk's Whole Body. If we're upping the power of curative magic, these abilities may need to be adjusted to match. Otherwise a level 20 paladin may end up being able to heal more with a cure light wounds spell than his Lay on Hands, and it will no longer be a benefit for that class.

Doug

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Post by Nob » Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:16 pm

Would this be possible?

Cure Minor Wounds:
1d4 or 1%/2 caster levels to a max of 5%.

Cure Light Wounds:
1d8 + caster level (maximum 5) or 1%/caster level to a max of 10%

Cure Moderate Wounds: 2d8 + caster level (maximum 10) or 1%/caster level to a maximum of 20.

Cure Serious Wounds: 3d8 + caster level (maximum 15) or 2%/caster level to a maximum of 40.

And Cure Critical Wounds: 4d8 + caster level (maximum 20) or 3%/caster level to a maximum of 60.

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Post by Orleron » Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:20 pm

To be honest, this is another one of those issues I'd rather just go back to ignoring. Who's with me?

The numbers get more and more complicated, and we're dangerously close to messing with balance. I know, doug, that you are just trying to make spells cooler because of the new hooking code, but what I really think needs to be done is to define the difference between "making cooler" and "balancing".
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Post by dougnoel » Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:28 pm

Actually, I was trying to derail the healing kit nerfing thread - which I did. :D

My point in that thread was the kits aren't broken, the spells are just weak. We don't have to change them, it was just my suggestion for how I think the "unbalance" of the healing kits should be handled to keep the game fun.

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Post by vergilius » Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:33 pm

I think I'm with Orl; we can think of tons of ways to make our worlds better. We have the resources to do a few. We need to ask ourselves which are the most important.

I think Doug laid the Definitive argument on why Heal Kits aren't the problem, but that doesn't mean we should immediately run down the "fix cure spells" track.

The issue is probably most up to Doug, since you are mister spellhooking king and the one who would probably code this. If you have the time, energy and inclination to do this, then perhaps its an avenue to consider. If there are more pressing spells to hook, then we might want to backburner this.

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Post by Tristan_Durst » Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:45 pm

I see the point about the balencing the class, and where we draw the line. In so saying then I will change my opinion of improving the Clerical spells. As Vergilius just stated, we should focus more on the developing and refineing of our respective servers, and work on this if we have time. :)

- Tristan

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Post by dougnoel » Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:50 pm

The work is rather minimal. All the cure spells run the same function, so we'd just pass it new numbers for each spell and/or add in a percentage line and let the function do the decision-making.

The work, as in most of the spellhooking changes, is deciding what we want to do. Since I have more time that I can spend on the boards than coding, I don't mind discussing these things. Having said that, I really don't have any strong feelings on the issue.

We may want to table a decision until we have potion-making in so that the benefits of the spell would conicide with a nice large gold sink... but I would like to see what ideas people have for balancing the idea. I'm also interested in any warnings from nay-sayers with pitfalls and/or balance issues.

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Post by dougnoel » Thu Mar 03, 2005 11:54 pm

Tristan_Durst wrote:I see the point about the balencing the class, and where we draw the line. In so saying then I will change my opinion of improving the Clerical spells. As Vergilius just stated, we should focus more on the developing and refineing of our respective servers, and work on this if we have time. :)

- Tristan

Again, it's healing magic in general and its effectiveness, as opposed to balancing cleric spells. The goal is not to "balance" healing spells against healing kits either. But, when changing spells like this, you have to discuss how that will affect 'play balance'. This isn't a discussion about making clerics more powerful, it's a discussion about making the game more fun for the players.

For me, it's a minor issue, but it's one that I've seen come up over and over. I had a little insight on the issue and shared it. To me, it's a minor change, and so I'm offereing my thoughts on the issue.

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Post by Baron » Fri Mar 04, 2005 12:48 am

Orleron wrote:To be honest, this is another one of those issues I'd rather just go back to ignoring. Who's with me?.


I'm all for ignoring it...though it would be nice if we could at least add the AoO.

I dont want to see kits nerfed to the point of uselessness (i.e. only use 1 every 4 minutes and never in combat) I do think an attack of opportunity is reasonable...but more than willing to live without it.
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Post by dougnoel » Fri Mar 04, 2005 12:57 am

Baron wrote:...though it would be nice if we could at least add the AoO.

I dont want to see kits nerfed to the point of uselessness (i.e. only use 1 every 4 minutes and never in combat) I do think an attack of opportunity is reasonable...but more than willing to live without it.

That's a much more labor-intensive solution, if it is indeed possible. We could fake one by scripting it, or we might be able to make a 2da change, but someone would have to look into that...

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my closing thoughts

Post by Apandapion » Fri Mar 04, 2005 1:22 am

Orleron wrote:Question: Why not just remove the max?

Cure light wounds: 1d8+caster level healed, max 48.

Cure Moderate wounds: 2d8+caster level healed, max 56.

Cure Serious Wounds: 3d8+caster level healed, max 64.

Cure Critical Wounds: 4d8+caster level healed, max 72.


Empowering them would help a bit too. The percentage idea isn't bad though, and it also seems like a better idea for using it against undead because it makes you less likely to kill them with it. We'd probably have to add a save to the inflict spells though, if we made it percentages.


More thoughts on my percentage idea...

I'd make the percentage thing *not work* against undead... I think. Honestly, I have no idea how well clerics smite undead in NWN, but my inclination would be to make it a healing effect only thing. Making clerics too uber against undead is problematic.

As for bards, paladins, and so forth, I'd give them half of the percentages clerics get. I can understand why you want the clerics to heal *better*, but if we're accepting that CLW is less than useful, there's no reason to leave it in it's semi-useless state for anyone. It might not be so unbalancing to give them full... it'd be a bigger buff to bards than paladins, I think. I have no idea how well bards are balanced towards and into the epic levels - when I think of a bard, I think of Elan.

As for druids... (Disclosure - my main is a druid) I don't really see druids as being that awesomely powerful over clerics. Shapeshifting is nice, but you really need to multiclass to get a lot out of it, and we all know what that does to primary casters in an enviornment without Practiced Caster. Druids do get worse weapon and armor selection, as well. The clerical end has some nice buffs as well, and even if you give both classes percentage heals, the cleric can still cast more of them because he can spontaneously convert.

If we're going to fix the spell, let's fix it for everbody, not put some special hate in a box for one class or another. [I see skimming ahead that Dougnoel has said this.]

The big problem with percentages that I can think of at the moment... doesn't it screw healing domain clerics? Isn't a cure minor wounds on a 500 hp fighter 25 hps, empowered or not, under the 5% system? We'd need to tweak the healing domain advantage a bit.

Regarding the clerics being soloing machines... can't any class do that with kits? Regardless, however, if it does work out to be a problem, it should be easy to make the percentages not work if the healer is targeting himself. [I see skimming ahead that Dougnoel has said this also. Great minds and all.]

Orleron wrote:To be honest, this is another one of those issues I'd rather just go back to ignoring. Who's with me?


I could very happily live with that.

Wasn't there also some discussion about removing the "x per level" power caps for spells? If that was still going through, then this is an issue that should be revisited later, after that happens.

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