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Early to mid game Fireball vs skull trap

Discussion in 'BG2: Shadows of Amn (Classic)' started by SlickRCBD, May 27, 2023.

  1. SlickRCBD Gems: 28/31
    Latest gem: Star Sapphire

    Resourceful Adored Veteran

    May 7, 2005
    Likes Received:
    I was just reflecting on how many people disparage the Fireball spell in favor of Skull Trap.
    I'd say that early to mid game, when your level is less than 12 that Fireball is actually superior to Skull Trap. Note that I'm posting in the Shadows of Amn forum, not Throne of Bhaal.
    Yes, I said level 12, because at level 11 the extra 1d6 damage from Skull trap probably won't make a enough difference compared to the advantages of Fireball. However at level 12 you are losing 2d6 damage and might want to consider switching to Skull Trap as you use up your memorized fireballs.
    In the beginning, Fireball does the same damage as Skull Trap until you hit the level cap at 10. So at level 7, Fireball will do 7d6 damage, as does Skull Trap. Fireball actually hits a larger area, allowing you to hit more enemies. Also you can center it where you want without having to worry about making sure an enemy gets close enough to the center to detonate it. This allows for more precise targeting allowing you to hit more enemies while avoiding damage to allies.
    Most of the time you want the damage to happen right away given how the game works, so the trap part of Skull Trap is more of a nuisance than a feature 9 times out of 10.
    For a significant portion of the game, having a wizard cast Fireball instead of Skull Trap is usually a better option, if only for convenience.
    Now granted a Sorcerer should probably go with Skull Trap because they did not implement replacing obsolete spells like Sleep at level up so you have to use long-term planning. However, for wizards that aren't necromancers, learning Fireball and later transitioning to Skull Trap might be a smart move, just like learning Sleep in BG1 or either IWD game is smart for wizards early on, then moving on to other spells like Magic Missile.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2023
    DraikenWeAre likes this.
  2. Gallowglass Gems: 2/31
    Latest gem: Fire Agate


    Mar 10, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Agreed on all points.

    A difference which sometimes matters is that Fireball does Fire damage (d'oh!) whereas Skull Trap does Magic damage, and there are various enemies with Fire Resistance against whom Skull Trap would be more effective ... but there are also enemies (mostly undead) with negative Fire Resistance against whom Fireball will do bonus damage. So sometimes you might want to vary your selection if you know what enemeies you're likely to face next. But in general, I agree with Fireball in the earlier parts of SoA, and Skull Trap in the later stages.
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