This is why I have to confess at having to sort out another “mechanic’s problem” before I can get back to writing the plot. Furthermore, this is just one example of a complete system rife with cost anomalies that would drive a player to despair if they looked closely enough. But it’s only a fantasy world, I hear you say. I know I could have just gone with the flow, but after having put so much effort into encouraging crafting, why have the whole thing spoiled due to bad game economics?
Sorting through the tangled web of 2da files that handles cost has not been easy, and I have discovered a number of further “problems” along the way. One file in particular has grabbed my editing attention: iprp_spells.2da. Examining this file, I discovered a large discrepancy between the costs of casting spells of the same level. Some spells even did not have a properly calculated cost element in place, meaning some high level spells could be cast at a cost cheaper than a 1st level spell!
This was not the only 2da file with problems. The baseitems.2da also needed some editing to help bring prices back in line with D&D costs (e.g. shields and everything else halved), and also to help alleviate the cost of preparing potions (multiply factor). To sort out the problem of craft items being worth more than the final product (like the Holy Water above), I ended up reworking some of the costs of the individual crafting items (reducing their worth) and changed one or two of the items required for various items in the crafting.2da file. This also meant I had to update the information in my crafting tome that PCs can find in the game. I will also need to re-evaluate all the costs in the nx2_crafting.2da file as well to reflect a more consistent cost when crafting items using the various materials that have changed price.
Finally, I am also working through the des_crft_spells.2da because there are some spells that can currently be made into potions that should not be able to. I am following the rule that potions only work on the imbiber. E.g. It’s absurd to consider a Light potion can be brewed to allow a PC to cast Light on a fellow PC.
I spent quite some time working out the formulae for calculating costs of items before I found this piece of information in the itempropdef.txt file, which confirmed what I had already figured plus gave me the missing factor that was to be found in the itempropdef.2da.
A factor that determines the final cost of an item. The actual calculation may or may not involve summing all the "cost" values of item properties, squaring this value, multiplying by 1000, adding this to the base value of the item, then squaring the sum of all the negative "cost" values, subtracting this from the positive/beneficial sum, then multiplying this value by the base item multiplier.
With this new knowledge in mind, I started to examine why certain items calculated at certain costs and discovered that some 2da files had errors in them. As one example, notice how the costs for adding the 70% of weight reduction to an item costs more than better values. I have altered the iprp_weightcost.2da file to use the following figures to correct for errors and alter for Althéa costs. (NB: Although I have kept the rows in the same order, this table is not meant to represent the actual 2da file, but a table to show my figures and results. I decided to cost weight reduction at roughly 10gp per 1% reduction.):
|Updated With Correct Values November 2014|
Another issue with the iprp_spells.2da file is that it contains the costs of setting a spell on an item at different levels. The problem with this is (in my opinion) is that it automatically defaults to the highest level (and therefore costs) for the PC. This just serves to add further confusion for the player when using one of these varying level spells, because one time a spell may cost X amount to craft an item, while another time it has increased to Y. To resolve this issue, I calculated what I believed to be the correct cost for each spell level as if cast by the lowest spell caster level possible, so that now, a player knows exactly how much it costs to craft an item with a particular spell. Check the table below for my current set cost figures and the equivalent item values.
From this, I also developed the “Scaleable Power” system, which has always been a part of the Althéa scroll system: Casting power (for scrolls) scales to the user rather than the original creator. Furthermore, as long as a PC can use an item, it will automatically cast at the user’s highest spell casting level, regardless of magic type. E.g. A 1st level wizard / 15th level cleric would be able to cast a Fireball scroll as if caster level 15, because they have at least one level in wizardry that allows them to be able to read the scroll. However, I have introduced one check that must also be satisfied: The user must have a Wisdom, Intelligence or Charisma score equal to the spell level + 10 to be able to use the magic in the item. E.g. In the above example, the PC must have a Wisdom score (most likely key attribute in this case) of at least 13 (as Fireball is a 3rd level spell).
Both scrolls and wands scale in this way, with one further exception for the wand: The power of a wand will only scale if the PC knows the spell it is casting. (Awaiting new SpellKnown function in patch v1.23) If they do not know the spell, then the wand casts at the lowest level that the spell can be cast, with a minimum of 5th level (the level any crafter has to be to craft the wand in the first place). E.g. A Wand of Ice Storm used by a 17th level cleric would only cast at 7th level. (The lowest level to cast Ice Storm.) However, the same wand in the hands of a 10th level wizard who knows the Fireball spell would cast at 10th level. UPDATE: I have introduced another part to the craft system that means wands will now only cast at the level they are created. I will explain more in my next post.
Potions are always set to work at the lowest level that the spell could be cast, but at a minimum of 3rd level (the level any crafter has to be to brew the potion in the first place). NB: There are some “Special Brew” potions (E.g. Heal) that do work at higher levels, but are outside the ability of the PC to craft. PCs can only brew potions that are 3rd level or lower. UPDATE: Potion crafting has also altered. Again, I will explain more in my next blog.
There is a downside to all this, of course, and that is I have to add a small amount of code to every spell script that requires power scaling. (That is a lot of scripts!) Now, considering this, I may opt to only scale certain spells (even though any spell is potentially possible), simply due to time constraints.
And this is where I ask the readers to give me feedback on “MUST HAVE” spells to scale with use. Please leave any comment you think will be helpful. Thanks!