The Let's Play Archive

Exile 2: Crystal Souls

by berryjon

Part 6: Spells

Update 003a – Spells

Unlike Exile 1, where there was a limited selection of spells, of which maybe 5 got regualr usage in my LP, the spell selection in Exile 2 is much more robust and deep. This post will go over all the spells in the game - including those I don't have yet, so SPOILERS AHEAD – with their descriptions, as well as some comments from myself about the spells that aren't spelled out.

Sorry for the pun there.

Hello, Kai-Lyss and I, being the only Spell Casters currently in the party will be providing in-character commentary about the spells.

At least I can drop the accent for this.

As Exile 1, there are seven 'levels' of Spells in each of Mage and Priest. But unlike Escape from the Pit, you don't automatically know all the spells from each of the first three levels. There are now spells of the first tiers that have to be found or purchased as the game goes on.

This isn't as much a deal as one might make it out to be. The additional spells can range from nigh-impossible to find, to being able to trip over them.

In fact, some of these spells can be located in multiple places, which can only increase the chances that they are located and utilized.

And, as we are both Priest casters, we should begin with those.


As you can see, spell selection is dependent on the current pose of the party. There are different spells available whether the group is inside, outside, or in combat. Spells that are currently available for casting are marked with Green dots, while unavailable ones are Black. A red dot is the curently selected spell.

Why are you here?

Yes, you're not a caster.

Not yet, and besides, I'm the one with Mage Lore, so I can provide some neutral commentary. Anyways, as I was saying, all spells have a name, followed by a number, followed by a letter. The letter is the keyboard shortcut to select that spell for casting. Caster can also be shortcutted, as well as the target of the spell.

The largest change in spells is that the spell is no longer tied to the circle of the spell. Whle the majority of spells in a circle cost that much – Heal for example, being a level 3 spell and costing 3 SP, the next spell – Minor Heal All now costs 4, despite being the same level.

No spell costs less than its level.

The first priest circle, with a couple exceptions, consists of minor spells that are replaced by more expensive and more powerful versions later.

Sanctuary is one of the spells new to Crystal Souls. The key word in the spell description is Probably, as more powerful monsters will be able to break through the effects of the spell.

If Mercy had been chosen for the party, I would have had him start with this spell, for the flavour.

We don't have this spell by default. But I'm not a big fan of it. It's just a means for the caster to protect themselves while they cast healing and buffing spells. Pacifism without the downside, if you would.

It could also be used to allow someone to get into position to attack enemy mages to the rear, letting them bypass the front line fighters.

Assuming, of course, that they can physically pass them by.

Marianna, I can see. The rest of you?

Non-mage viewpoints.

Symbiosis is poorly worded, but what it does is heal the target of the spell from the Hit Points of the caster when damage is taken. The more powerful the caster, the less damage is taken in the process.

Not a good spell as it locks down the caster into healing themselves, and unless they're like me, won't have the HP to properly exploit it.

So why don't you exploit it, Sir Ma'am?

I'll be busy with other things.

Anyways, Ritual – Sanctify is one of the most expensive spells in the game, but will be utterly required in the future.

It's a plot spell. I'll cover what it does in more detail when it comes time to cast it.

The second tier of spells is a lot better than the first. Bless in particular is a massive improvement over the Minor version, lasting longer, and with stronger effects at later levels.

Wound is nice, but there are much better options.

Including hitting them with your spear.

Remember, not every caster is like Art, capable of melee combat, or myself, that has access to the better Mage spells for dealing damage.

Whybird posted:

Wound is a lot better than you'd expect, since it's cheap, it ignores almost all enemy damage resistances and scales really well with level. It's become a mainstay for my priest when he's done buffing and healing.

Summon Spirit, however, is the first spell using a new type of magic. The ability to summon allied monsters into battle!

Less combat oriented casters can use this well, though enemy priests can and will abuse this spell and its followers to no end of trouble.

Don't tell me Move Mountains actually does that!

What is 'Mountain'?

A geological formation that stands independently of walls, but does not touch the ceiling. A larger <hill>, if you would.

This spell is pretty useful in terms of utility, as you can blow open new paths, or find secrets with it.

You'd think a spell like that would grab attention.

Dispel Field is a fairly utilitarian spell. But most fields dissipate over time anyways, so unless you're in a hurry, you needn't worry about this.

I'll cover Fields and Status like Bless, Curse, Poison, Disease and what not in a different update.

Detect Life would be useful, if you hadn't already explored sections of the map, and thus needn't worry too much about enemies behind you.



No one in particular. You might meet him later.

Smite is an expensive version of Wound that can target multiple foes. If Art develops her mana reservoir more, it may see some use.

Remove Curse is ideal for those times when you're foolish enough to put items on before knowing what they do.

Or you do know, but you don't care, or because needs must.

There is a far superior option, which we will cover later.

What about this 'Sticks to Snakes'?

It's a religious reference, but it's the Priest's first multi-summon spell. Asps have a poison attack over the Giant snakes.

Martyr's Shield is a very useful spell, though I'm not sure if it works against Assassination or not.

Parts Kit posted:

Oh god does it ever. It also works against Demonslayer's extra damage (which stacks onto assassination damage if you can assassinate demons). There were times when I had the primary melee character dishing out about 60 damage per attack thanks to assassination + demonslayer and then taking almost all of it back thanks to demons with that fucking spell. Not such a good thing when a well hasted character gets 3 attacks/round!

If your characters are blessed and the enemy is cursed (like they should be whenever possible) Martyr's Shield becomes totally useless as they'll never hit you anyways.

And we can expect ranged attackers, as well as spellcasters to target this person, as there is no protection against them.

Firewalk! This way, my fur wont get singed, and my drink won't burst into flame!

Hey Glazius! Remember when you asked if this spell existed back in the Exile 1 LP? Now it does!

You would not believe how much I celebrated when that spell became available!

Fifth circle spells tend toward mass versions of earlier spells, with multiple targets.

Shatter is also useless, as while it is more cost-effective than Move Mountains, there are only a few places where it would be proper to use it.

Flamsestrike is the Priest's version of Fireball, but of power more in line with being a tier 5 spell, rather than a tier 1.

Plenty of healing options in this tier, oddly enough.

But Summon Guardian is the next step in the Priest's summon line, this time bringing forth an invisible support!

Sure, but friendly fire is still a thing, and having it turn on you in the middle of combat would be very,very bad.

Protective Circle, despite the interesting description, leaves much to be desired as the fields take up space, space your allies usually occupy. Unless of course, you're under the effects of Sanctuary.

So, like if Art got up close and personal?

Exactly, but our foes are usually very good about avoiding getting close to such things, meaning it will clear out a large volume, and trapping Art in the middle of it.

Whoever named Divine Thud needs to be punished.

I don't know. I think it invokes the imagery of a fist from on high!

Then call it divine fist or something!

While they argue that, what is with this Avatar spell?

Art aside, most Priests aren't good combatants, so this spell levels the playing field for a bit. Someone with Art's skills... well... would be a force of super-nature.

Redmark posted:

Avatar is pretty cool and is really good on paper, but your average priest won't take advantage of anything but the haste. If you're a Slith in the warrior-priest mold it would be effective, but seven levels of Priest Spells is a lot of skill points to sink. Avatar also heals to full and removes any debuffs/DoTs (or at least it does in Blades), so there's that.

Why would Word of Recall send us back to Fort Ganrick?

I don't know either.

It would appear to follow leylines to specific locations, and in this case, would also explain why Ganrick was built when Fort Draco was already so close by.

Oh wait, this spell could break the entirely of Chapter 2 and 3 if it's available then. That's why.

That's all the Priest spells. Time for the Mage versions.

Everything here is presented the same as the Priest Spells.

Except I am the only current caster.

Would it help if others learned as well?


The single most important Mage Spell is identify.

Which makes Mage Lore irrelevant, given time.

Scry Monster also sounds useful, but I think there are better uses for your time.

Or I can scry an enemy, re-load the game, and advance based on that information. Especially when dealing with... unique foes.

And True Sight seems useful.

But there is a better option later on. And it only works in a limited radius, and doesn't move with you.

Envenom is a massive boon for Archers, now that we're useful. Being able to poison foes at long range reliably will help whittle down enemy forces, like mages and other archers.

Stinking Cloud is the Mage's first 'Field' type spell, once that I get a lot of use out of. The ability to set up a field that curses everyone in it is amazing, especially once the enemy front line piles onto ours, and I can hit them all at once.

Is Summon Beast any useful?

Not really.

Invisibility is outright better than Sanctuary as it makes the target ignored by the enemies.

Unlock, Haste, Fireball... such amazing spells. I cannot wait to cast them.

And what use is Resist Magic if it doesn't protect from magical elements?

Wound, Divine Thud, a few others like that and of course, non-damaging effects.

Huh. That's weird.


I thought that guy would show up again now we've reached Magic Map.


Capture Soul and Simulacrum are interesting, but they require something we've never heard of.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

Capture Soul is kind of silly; if I recall correctly the chance of successfully capturing a creature decreases with their level, but never actually hits 0%. Find a friendly NPC of a powerful base type (like a Wizard or Blademaster or a REDACTED), and sit there in town casting Capture Soul over and over again and eventually you'll get them! Of course, the cost to summon them increases with level, too, so enjoy paying 20+ mana for your limited-duration AI-controlled ally!

Redmark posted:

Capture Soul I just use for (Ur-)Basilisks to cheese fights sometimes. It works well enough.

veekie posted:

Capture Soul can break the game over your knee really.

And I am obligated to inform everyone that this game came out the same year as Pokemon, and before it came to North America.

Why would we use Stealth? Ever?

You didn't just seriously ask that question now, did you?

Dispel Barrier is a very useful spell, I would think.

Aren't fields also considered Barriers? So you can use this when Dispel Field doesn't work.

And I've walked through enough Fire barriers in my time to know exactly how useful both spells are.

I am interested in Shockstorm, if only so that I can better funnel our foes into kill zones, while Spray fields is far too random for my tastes.

Kill still doesn't outright kill ones foes, but deals plenty of damage to them.

And whoever thought summoning Daemons was a good idea?

And this Antimagic cloud seems like it will be useful against enemy mages, assuming they can't just walk out of it.

GodFish posted:

The game doesn't say, but antimagic cloud also stops the magic abilities of monsters. For example, I believe it prevents dragons and basilisks from using their breath and gaze attacks, and I know it stops slimes from splitting onto a square with the field. It wares off infuriatingly fast though, so it can cost a lot of mana to stay effective.

Parts Kit posted:

You can also use it in conjunction with a good hasting on your own mages to give them a safe space from which they can pop out, fire their spells off, and return to without the threat of getting blasted by enemy spell casters on their next turn.

Or you can just do the obvious tactic of cornering an enemy caster, dumping an antimagic field on top of them, and wailing on the helpless bastard.

Mindduel's existence was a boon to me as it would allow me to justify reducing Art's power from E1 into this game. High Intelligence is a must for this, and you can even kill foes with this spell.

I've also heard that this Flight spell is based on something called the Orb of Thranli. I wonder what that is.

Shockwave is still the final word in area of effect spells. Those last four words are perhaps the most true words in any spell description ever.

There is no physical way Major Blessing can be this awesome, and yet it is. Bless, Haste and Envenom costs 7 SP, but being able to cast all three on everyone in the party at the same time for a faction of the cost?

So you're saying this is the best spell ever?


Moving on, Recharge has limited utility, though I suppose it could have some use for rarer wands.

Protection has been buffed from Exile 1. Now in addition to temporary invincibility, it casts Resist Magic on everyone at the same time!

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

And yeah, there's no reason to cast Force Barrier as far as I'm aware; Flame Barrier has the same LOS-blocking effects but doesn't need to be dispelled since you can just walk through it instead (albeit while taking damage).

Quickfire... I don't know what to say about that one.

Only that it needs to be seen to be believed.

Gullwhacker posted:

All I have to say right now is that I remember seeing Quickfire in action. Once. Only once. And not in this game, and I think slimes were involved.

It really does have to be experienced. There is only one word to say about it, really.


TooMuchAbstraction posted:

Quickfire is great fun, but of sadly limited utility for actual combat. It's kind of like Armageddon from the Ultima series that way, though unlike there Quickfire at least can't spread out of the map zone you're currently in.

veekie posted:

It's perfect for when you have a town you want to be rid of.

SIGSEGV posted:

Happily, quickfire doesn't just stop at wiping towns. Quickfire is a thing of beauty. And at least a little use.

Gullwhacker posted:

Suddenly I find myself hoping for a return trip to the town of Spire.

TooMuchAbstraction posted:

I remember once playing this game, getting holed up in a corner in a dungeon where the monster generation had gotten completely out of hand, and making myself a little cubbyhole out of Flame Barriers before casting Quickfire.

It cleared up the dungeon gratifyingly well...only problem then being that, well, the entire dungeon was full of Quickfire and I was stuck in a corner.

That's it. I'll be updating this post as the game progresses, and in response to feedback from the thread.

Redmark posted:

Slow Group and Curse All are great for the obvious reasons, but they're also cheap in spell points and have utility value. If you're going to a bad place with bad people and want to know what you're up against, throwing out a Slow Group enumerates all the monsters that are slowed (it's a pretty big radius) and gives you a free turn to boot to maneuver.

HisMajestyBOB posted:

I always found the multi-target spells, like the arrow spells and smite, to be rather worthless. High cost, but the damage tends to be the single-digits. Much better to hit a single enemy with Wound or Flame for 15+.

GodFish posted:

I've had the same experience, except that death arrows are amazing. Once your mana pool is large enough, and you've cast major blessing, a single mage can do massive damage, even against late game enemies.

Shady Amish Terror posted:

For anyone who plans to play along, bear in mind that blessing, hasting, cursing, and slowing are EXTREMELY powerful effects in battle, and that the efficiency of them increases massively the higher up you go in the spell trees, so you should just about always use bless instead of minor bless, haste instead of minor haste, stinking cloud instead of curse, curse all instead of stinking cloud, etc. Almost every fight in the game can be made more manageable through the use of bless all/haste all/curse all/slow all, and many of the fights expect you to do so and will still be quite difficult besides.

Mage 3 is, to reiterate, an incredibly important breakpoint; Unlock Doors is literally required in a few places, and negates the need to spread points into lockpicking besides. Fireball is unbelievably good in terms of mana efficiency. Haste is fantastically good and you'll want pretty much everyone to be hasted as often as possible. Long Light is just a great utility spell that you'll be making use of throughout the game just to cut down on the headache of light management; it does have the downside of cluing the enemy AI into your presence in some places, but many of the most dangerous places are already lit anyways, so it's hard to say how much of a problem that is.

The multi-target spells are, as people have pointed out, usually not very mana-efficient, but they still have a niche use; in large battle formations, it can sometimes be the most efficient spell for picking on spread-out archers and mages who need to die fast. Flame Arrow is especially weak, but Poison Arrow does alright in that poison can stack and is often the best choice for humanoid mages and archers of the more burly varieties (there are, in particular, a couple of Empire archer units later on that can soak unbelievable amounts of damage; the Empire loves its archers). Death Arrows is very powerful, but by the time you get it you'll be running into lots of enemies that either resist the effects or for whom more efficient tactics may be necessary.

Web is an expensive niche utility spell, but bear in mind that webbing stacks on units to slow them further and enemies find them just as annoying as PC's do, and any source of slowing is a welcome one. One of the more interesting uses of web is as the poor man's barrier spell; webs more than two tiles deep will block line of sight, so a couple of web spells can close off corridors or break line of sight with mages who then have to tramp through the webs, slowing themselves, just to get back in sight of you. Web is, however, very expensive for what it does, and at least one class of enemies who you'd really WANT to use it on are immune to its effects outside of the LOS tampering, so you'll usually have better options.

Summoning is rarely as helpful as you'd like, but bear in mind most summoning spells are affected by casting strength, so you can get some useful results from them; sticks to snakes in particular has the distinction of at least making an awful lot of chaff to confuse enemy formations with. Summon Demon and Summon Spirit can call up casters, I believe, so they can be quite long as the AI doesn't fuck you over or waste its time doing stupid things.

Anyone who does ANY casting AT ALL should get to at least level 2 of priest spells or level 3 of mage spells, due to the more efficient and powerful spells available at those points. A fighter who can bless and haste themselves is not to be scoffed at, and there will be some very good damn reasons to have fighters who can do that for themselves later on.

I was going to add a rant about which effects stack and which don't and all that, but I assume that will get covered in the status effects post.

JustJeff88 posted:

I'm just gratified to see a game where buffs and debuffs are worth a toss, frankly. So many games are all about nukes & heals, nukes & heals, blah blah blah.