The Let's Play Archive

Dragon Wars

by rujasu

Part 4: Low Magic & Combat

Mini-Update 4 - Low Magic & Combat

MaskedHuzzah" post="442039898 posted:

Magic Rundown - Low Magic:

Some spells have the option of spending more MP when you cast them to increase their effect - this is capped by the caster's relevant Magic skill.

Mage Fire (2MP) - Does 1-8 damage to one enemy 30' away. It's useful early on as something to do when enemies approach, but is outclassed by basically everything else.
Disarm (4MP) - Disarms a foe? It states that it won't work on natural weapons, but I've never seen this work on anyone.
Charm (3MP) - Increases one target's AV by 1 for the duration of battle, and also heals 1-2HP? Never bothered with it, but that's what the description says.
Luck(3MP) - Increases one target's DV by 2 for the duration of battle. No fun secondary effects.
Lesser Heal(2MP) - Heals 1-4 points of health to 1 target. Probably the best Low Magic spell, due to the way Stun damage works. If one of your guys falls out of the fight, this brings them back in before you lose.
Mage Light(1+MP) - If you're in a dark area, cast this so you can see - it lasts 3 hours per MP spent. Another key Low Magic spell.

Thanks for posting this. We'll get to using Mage Light soon enough, but actually I'd like to do a mini-update here to discuss the combat spells, and combat in general.

As you say, Mage Fire gets outmoded quickly. Actually, so does Lesser Healing, but as you say you can use it to pick up a stunned ally, so that's helpful if you have a character with only Low Magic. That said, in my experience, using Lesser Heal on a stunned ally is a losing battle more often than not. Either the enemies are weak and you can take them without waking anyone up, or the enemies are strong and they'll deal damage faster than you can recover it. Once you find a spell that heals the whole party (and yes, those exist in this game) the single-target heal spells are no longer worthwhile.

Charm and Luck are two spells that I rarely used. AV and DV are important, but increasing one character's stats by such a small amount for one battle is generally just not worth it in this game. However, I did always wonder about Charm healing 1-2 HP. Turns out it totally does, and you can even use Charm in the Lesser Healing role of picking up a stunned character. I guess that's kind of handy, but really I don't think it offers enough of an advantage over Lesser Healing that I'd ever want to use it for that. Also, you can use Lesser Healing outside of combat. If you try to use Charm outside of combat:

You can try, and it will use your Magic Power, but it won't do anything. Not that you'd want to use it outside of battle. Just use the more efficient Lesser Heal.

That brings us to Disarm. It disarms a foe, but only if they're carrying a weapon. Before we talk about that, let's talk about combat for a minute.

When you encounter an enemy party, the game will present you with the information you see on the right half of this screenshot. First, a sometimes-witty message about the enemy party you're about to battle with. Second, the number, class, and distance of each enemy group you're facing. In Purgatory, we mostly encounter a single group of enemies (sometimes with only one enemy in the group), but we'll soon run into many encounters like this one, with multiple groups at varying distances. Ideally, you want to deal with the group in front first, before the other group closes in. When those King's Guards get to 10', we'll have 5 guys attacking us, which isn't too bad, but once their buddies catch up with them, we'll have all 11 to contend with, and we'll quickly get our whole party stunned.

Third is our list of options. We can Fight, Quickly fight, Run, or Advance Ahead. However, if even one enemy group is at 10 feet, Advance will not be on the list, that's as close as you can get. Note that if we advance:

This is the message we get; the party always advances by exactly 10 feet.

If enemies are out of range, they'll advance (in this case, by 10 feet feet apparently smile:. But some enemies can advance by more than 10 feet in a single turn:

That leaves us with Fight, Quickly Fight, and Run. Of these, technically the latter two are redundant. If we fight, we get a large list of options:

"Dodge enemies" and "Block attack" are similar. Dodge increases DV for the round. Block increases DV a little more, but only for the first time you're attacked that round.

"Use item" does what it says, "New weapon" takes up a turn equipping a weapon, and "Load weapon" equips arrows if you have a bow equipped (usually if you ran out of arrows and need to reload).

"Run" - this character will run from battle when his/her turn comes up. This is always successful, assuming he/she hasn't been stunned, killed, or otherwise incapacitated when his/her turn comes up. There's no "fail to run" or "can't run." If one character runs away, the rest can stick around to fight.

"Move" - change party order on the fly. It takes a whole turn to move forward or backward by one slot, so this is usually not useful.

Typing a ? shows us Health/Stun/Magic bars.

There's also "Cast spell" for people with magic, but Piers doesn't have any.

If we choose Attack, we get another list:

"Attack blow" is what we've been using. It's your standard "swing sword at someone" option. "Mighty blow" is supposed to try to swing harder for extra damage, but in reality it will do zero damage because you'll just miss. Seriously, accuracy is usually bad enough even without using this, so I just leave it alone. "Disarm foes" will deal 1 damage if it hits, and can dislodge an enemy's weapon if it carries one.

Regardless of what we pick, we can target either enemy group, but not an individual enemy. Both of these groups are out of range, but we can target them anyway. If they advance into range before Piers's turn comes up (impossible in this situation, Guards never advance more than 10', but that doesn't stop us from trying), he'll connect. If they're out of range when his turn comes up, he'll just waste his turn swinging at thin air.

And yes, disarming foes can definitely work against some enemies. I'm not sure how valuable it really is, but if you successfully disarm with either the attack or the spell, you'll see this happen on the next turn:

This is kinda cool, as it keeps your enemy from attacking for a turn, but remember that both the attack and the spell only hit one enemy, and can miss easily even against armed enemies:

So while it's kinda cool to see it in action, just killing the enemies is usually a more effective way of stopping their attacks.

Also, Dolph doesn't get the Attack/Mighty/Disarm menu. Apparently it is impossible to disarm an enemy with a bow or release the arrow really hard.

So that's Fight. What about Quickly Fight?

Wait, that's just Fight with a shorter list! What is the point of that?

The idea is to speed up combat by simplifying the menus, but removing Block and Move from the menu doesn't make it any faster. Since you're just typing the first letter of the command you want, disabling options doesn't actually save any time!

However, if we select "Attack" it just uses "Attack blow" rather than prompting, so this does save a few keypresses. It's a bit faster if we're in an easy battle and we just want to type "QAAAAA" instead of "FAAAAAAAAA" to attack with our front four. Since I never use Mighty or Disarm, I go for Q most of the time.

So that covers most of what there is to know about combat in this game. In our next update, we'll be going to Hell!