The Let's Play Archive

Wizardry 8

by PurpleXVI

Part 4: Fire and Water

Update 003.5: Fire and Water

It took me a bit to decide how to organize the spell list, since it's essentially organized in three ways: by spell school(wizardry, divinity, psionics, alchemy or a combination), element(fire, air, earth, water, mental or divine) and level. Ultimately I decided that element was the only way there'd be some logic to the organization and no crossover between the lists.

Spells are learned in two ways. Either from spellbooks, if the caster has high enough skill levels, or from level-ups. All casters get to learn one spell per level, and they unlock new "levels" of spells every time the relevant elemental spell skills gets high enough. The "school" skills also contribute, but only at a 10:1 ratio, so they're less relevant. Especially for the Bishop.

It should also be rapidly obvious that some caster types are very under-represented in certain elements, or have huge gaps from spell to spell. I believe the point of this is to encourage cross-classing so you start out as, say, a Mage to get an early start on Fire Magic and then swap over to a Psionicist so you actually have the Fire skills necessary to cast their big Fire spells.

Fire and Water magic have few "weird" spells, mostly just Big Damage of various kinds.

One thing of note is also that all condition spells' durations scale by Effect Level(the thing I mentioned in the first game post where you could cast spells at a higher level at a risk of backfiring) and all damage spells' damage done by effect level. However! While higher-level spells usually have a greater damage ceiling per level(for instance Dehydrate is like 2 to 38 per level), they often have almost the same damage floor as lower level spells(generally the lower bound of each effect level varies between 1 and 3, at most). So this means that a high-effect low-level spell is a "safer" cast than a low-effect high-level spell(which you usually lack the magic skills to jack up to their maximum power).

In practice this tends to mean that you won't really cast the highest-level spells as much as you might expect.


Energy Blast
(Level 1, Wizardry, Single Target)
The workhorse combat spell for early game Wizards. It does respectable damage, but rapidly becomes outclassed by better spells that can hit more enemies at once or inflict status effects. Against single large enemies, it does remain a good option because it can be cast at bigger effect levels than higher-level spells without risking fizzling or backfire.

(Level 1, Divinity, Wizardry, Alchemy, Party Buff)
Light doesn't mechanically do anything other than light the area up. Most items you can interact with, i.e. pick up, are 3D objects which stick out like a sore thumb in any case, and most parts of the game are also generally well-lit anyway. However, it's extremely cheap to cast and Light casts still count towards levelling up your Fire magic and relevant magic school, so you should actually always be casting this worthless spell. It's also worth noting that Light is the only level 1 Fire spell for Alchemists and Clerics, so it's their only way to passively level Fire.

Blinding Flash
(Level 2, Alchemy, Radial AoE)
Blinding is both a great and an awful status effect. Enemies affected by it take 2x damage from melee hits and can fail their combat actions, or will often miss with those they do take, and they can't bust out of it with high strength like being Webbed. Unfortunately it also tends to make enemies run away, which can sometimes be good(scattering enemy melee formations) and sometimes be bad(making that enemy you almost had whittled down run behind cover). The Radial AoE also means it can be great for hitting all enemies in combat if they've got you surrounded. Unfortunately, as you have no Energy Blast spell to train your Alchemists with Fire on, you're unlikely to have an Alchemist well-set to cast this unless you're rolling with a Bishop.

(Level 3, Wizardry, Radial AoE)
Doing slightly more damage per effect level than Energy Blast, it's almost ALWAYS a better option for casting unless you're dealing with fire resistant enemies. The game also has no friendly fire at all, so feel free to cast it right in front of you to hit every enemy currently stuck in melee. It's one of the reasons your Mage is likely to start off going Fire heavy before anything else.

Hypnotic Lure
(Level 3, Psionic, Radial AoE)
This is an odd one. It places a beacon that will attract enemies towards it. I've never used it much myself because I've had mixed results from it, but it could be useful for bunching enemies together for cone-blast spells or simply for drawing them out of cover or out of melee with the party. Note, though, that level 3 is the first level Psionics get access to Fire spells at all, so you're unlikely to be using these spells much except via a Bishop or after considerable level-up investment. Or possibly a cross-classed mage of another type flipping into Monk or Psionicist

Psionic Fire
(Level 3, Psionic, Cone AoE)
Slightly more damaging than Fireball in exchange for having a worse AoE type. Psionics don't really have another option, though, and in some cramped areas like tunnels and hallways, it may be able to hit everyone anyway. My Bishops never made great use of it.

Fire Bomb
(Level 4, Alchemy, Radial AoE)
Straight up just an upgraded Fireball that does more damage.

(Level 4, Psionic, Party Buff)
This one is GREAT. It provides a huge buff to speed even at low levels(+10 per effect level), which means attacking and casting faster(always great) and for physical combatants possibly getting more attacks per round. It's an all-round force multiplier. Unfortunately it can't be prepared outside of combat, so it should be the first think your Monk/Psionic casts on combat starting up.

Ring of Fire
(Level 4, Alchemy, Self AoE)
This is a weird one. It does less damage than any previous fire-damage spells, at a higher cost, but to all enemies within Extended Range so on all sides of the party but pressed up against it. The problem is that a Fire Bomb or a Fireball centered on the party would hit those enemies, too, do more damage and do it cheaper. It does continue doing this damage for multiple rounds, so if it's an early cast, it may pay off over time, but I'd probably rather be casting Fire Bombs.

Boiling Blood
(Level 6, Alchemy, Single Target)
This does absolutely massive damage to a single target. For comparison, Fire Bomb does 2 to 10 points of damage per effect level, while Boiling Blood does 2 to 38. This does make it a bit swingy in effect, unfortunately, but if it lands a kill, the target will explode damaging nearby enemies. Usually I'd say that an Alchemist would have better things to do, especially as there's a Gadgeteer item that replicates this spell.

(Level 6, Wizardry, Radial AoE)
It's like a Fireball except it keeps doing the damage every round. One of those spells that pays off in a long battle but for shorter encounters you're better off just casting a couple of Fire Bombs or the like instead.

(Level 6, Divine, Cone AoE)
This one really kicks ass, with twice the potential damage of a fireball. Unfortunately it's also the first Divine fire spell since level 1, so having the necessary skill to learn it, cast it effectively and really leverage it is doubtful for non-Bishop, non-crossclassed characters.

Prismic Ray
(Level 6, Psionic, Cone AoE)
Ah, yes, gacha, except as a spell, complete with the high cost and high odds of disappointment. It can theoretically inflict any condition on the enemies hit, so you might get really lucky and, say, Turncoat half your enemies into fighting for you, or turn them Insane. But if you want to do that, you could just cast Insanity and be assured of not getting, say, Sleep, and since you could cast Insanity at a higher level, also be assured of a worthwhile duration on it.

Nuclear Blast
(Level 7, Wizardry, All Enemies)
It doesn't do an awful lot of extra damage, but there are some insanely large fights later in the game where All Enemies vs Radial AoE can actually make the difference between hitting a shitload of enemies. So it has a niche, albeit a rare one, specially as the positioning necessary not to be right in the middle of a huge mob of enemies, but instead having them come at you down a hallway or other narrow area is a gameplay fundamental anyway.

Prismic Chaos
(Level 7, Psionic, All Enemies)
The target-all version of Prismic Ray which makes it considerably more useful for, as mentioned, those few late-game battles where it's you against the world in a big open area and you can't ruse the AI into coming at you single file. Level 7 spells do in general suffer a bit from the issue, though, that without intentionally doing some levelling, you'll likely finish the game before you've really got the level and skill ratings necessary to wholly leverage them.


Acid Splash
(Level 1, Alchemy, Single Target)
Just the Water version of Energy Blast.

(Level 1, Wizardry, Single Target)
Just the Wizardry version of Acid Splash.

(Level 1, Divinity, Psionic, Single Target)
Paralyze is probably the single best condition you can land on an enemy since it has no get-out-of-death-free like Web or Asleep do, and doesn't make enemies run away like Afraid or Blinded. A single target going down quicker and being able to ladle on more hurt can sometimes be what turns a fight around.

(Level 1, Divinity, Alchemy, Single Ally)
Restores a huge pool of Stamina. Great for keeping fighters on their feet in long fights, or for recharging Bards and Gadgeteers when they really go hog wild with the instruments and gadgets.

Cure Lesser Condition
(Level 2, Divinity, Alchemy, Psionic, Single Ally)
Reduces/cures fear, sleep, blindness, nausea, or irritation. Being able to cure Blindness is really the big use case for CLC since you're usually better off just toughing out the other conditions and keeping your caster on the offense.

Dracon Breath
(Level 2, Alchemy, Cone AoE)
It copies the Dracon's native breath attack, which remains disappointing past level 1. It does some undocumented level of DoT damage that doesn't scale with spell level. I've literally never cast this.

Holy Water
(Level 2, Divinity, Radial AoE)
This spell is necessary, in my mind, for getting anywhere if you want to tackle certain areas of the game early, or for certain later areas where you can't cast Fire spells. It's a level lower than Fireball, but slightly cheaper to cast and does the same amount of damage, though only to demons and the undead.

(Level 2, Psionics, Group AoE)
Like any Group AoE spell, the effectiveness is determined by how generous the game is with grouping enemies. It's the inverse of Haste, no real surprise there, and does its best work when the two are combined so enemies are slower and you're faster, giving you a massive initiative advantage and making enemies easier to hit.

Cure Paralysis
(Level 3, Divinity, Alchemy, Single Ally)
The only way to cure Paralysis except for waiting it out. I'd say this spell is a necessity for beating certain fights without taking casualties.

Freeze Flesh
(Level 3, Wizardry, Group AoE)
Oh man THIS SPELL. It's Paralysis except Group AoE and it's so good so good so good. It's the sort of spell that singlehandedly turns battles around if you manage to stick it, letting you chunk piles of enemies unopposed.

Rest All
(Level 3, Divinity, Party Buff)
It's Stamina except it recovers everyone's Stamina. Again, one of those unexciting spells that's nonetheless a necessary workhorse for longer battles, unless you want to load everyone up with Stamina potions AKA meth in a bottle and have them waste turns chugging it that they could instead be using to hew enemy combatants in half.

Acid Bomb
(Level 4, Alchemy, Radial AoE)
Another damage-over-time effect. For certain areas where enemies are water-vulnerable, it can be decent to use, but by that point in the game you're usually better off focusing on status effects than raw damage from your casters in any case.

Cure Disease
(Level 4, Divinity, Alchemy, Single Ally)
Another one of those cure-a-condition effect. Frees you from reliance on Cure Disease potions, which is a godsend. There aren't a lot of disease-causing enemies in the game, but the potential permanent statloss from it is still a butt-clencher when it shows up.

(Level 4, Wizardry, Radial AoE)
Blue Fireball.

(Level 4, Divinity, Single Ally)
This one buffs all stats by 5 points per level, thus capping out at +35 to all stats, which as mentioned go on a scale from 0 to 100. Not very big for mages, but for your physical combatants, it can be extremely worthwhile. I'm not sure if it also effects your chance of getting skill-ups, however, if it does it might certainly be useful to cast on everyone in a fight. Gadgeteers can replicate this one with one of their items, so I rarely ever cast it with an actual mage of any sort.

(Level 5, Wizardry, Single Target)
The Water version of Boiling Blood without the corpse explosion. Still has the insanely high damage, though, so if you've got a boss where it's the only option, it can be worth a cast.

Freeze All
(Level 5, Wizardry, All Enemies)
Absolutely the best spell in the game. Target-all Paralysis. This should be your primary spell for all Wizardry-capable casters as soon as you've learned it.

(Level 6, Wizardry, Cone AoE)
Pelts your enemies with disappointing games if cast after the year 2000.

Okay I kid, it really just does decent cone damage and has a chance to blind enemies. Just cast Freeze All instead and beat the enemies to meaty chunks with your melee combatants.

(Level 7, Alchemy, Cone AoE)
The potentially most powerful damage-dealing spell in the game that affects more than one target. Since it's one of the Gadget-replicable spells, I never bothered to learn it in any game of Wizardry I ever played.