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First time with BG: Random Thoughts/Questions

Discussion in 'Baldur's Gate (Classic)' started by Ludovik, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. Ludovik Duty-bound

    Jan 6, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Hey all

    So I picked up the Dungeons and Dragons bundle on GoG for my summer amusement and have been playing quite a bit of BG1 (I combined BG1+2 using BGT) and I thought I'd give some random thoughts and some questions. So far I've hit Beregost and am just doing some side quests before I hit south with my weird Good/Evil party.

    1. I've been enjoying the game immensely thus far; it's rare these days to find a RPG that treats its player like an adult with complicated and deep text and NPC dialogue. I am genuinely interested in pretty much NPC I run across.

    2. Imagination: Along the lines of my first point, the game trusts me to imagine what people look like, what they sound like, what the ale tastes like and what-not. It's actually written as if a DM where sitting across from me telling me a story.

    3. Questing: The presentation of the main story line so far has been great. It's not very often that a game is willing to hold so much back in the telling of the story. A lot of people might find it irritating that you don't know exactly what big thing you have to kill or what magic crystal you have to retrieve but I think it adds to the sense of adventure.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to say that I'm loving the game so far but I had a couple of questions that I haven't been able to fully find the answers for online or in the forums. I hear mixed answers to both.

    Attack Speed / Number of Attacks

    My understanding of attack speed is something like this: A Round = 6.0 Seconds; attack speed is based on 1-10/10 but it doesn't actually determine how many attacks you get, it just determines at what point in the 1-6 second window I swing my weapon. So, for example, if I'm fighting a giant burger that has an attack speed of 4/10 and I have an attack speed of 3/10, I will swing my weapon in 3/10 x 6.0 whereas the burger will swing at 4/10 x 6.0.

    Number of attacks works like this, I think: My dead cat weapon + my proficiency at swinging a dead cat grants me a number of attacks of 2/5 (as it show on my character screen). I take that to mean that in a round I will hit the giant burger 2 times and over two rounds I will hit it 2.5 x 2, so 5 times.

    What I don't understand in this is what role initiative plays: If me and the burger catch sight of each other at opposite sides of the room and both come charging at each other: Do our "rounds" start at the same time? Are the mismatched while we are slogging? If that's the case then it doesn't seem like attack speed matters much.

    Anyhow, that might be unnecessarily complicated. My second question is not as convoluted. I just wanted to ask about reputation. For my first play through I decided that I liked the sound of "Priest of Helm" but I've quickly discovered that there are generally only two outcomes for most quests: Good vs Evil. What I'm discovering is that my reputation just keeps shooting upwards as I help people but it seems sort of out of character to just mix and match good vs evil. There seems to be no "Lawful Neutral" way to lose reputation. I'm just wondering if this will matter in the long run (will I lose my helm-y abilities) and if in BGII and later in BG if there are opportunities to RP this alignment.

    Anyways, just some thoughts. Additionally, if anyone has a simple way of explaining casting speed, I'm all ears.
  2. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

    Nov 9, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Attack speed is just as you described, a sort of a measure of how quickly you can start swinging your weapon relative to other weapons. In the case of charging combatants, the combat round starts once they're in melee range, and the one with the faster weapon swings first. Please note that animations and/or sound effects do not often match with the actual swings - you'll need to check your combat info to see what's actually happening behind the scenes.

    Once you get several attacks per round, a seemingly slower weapon might actually swing first since you need to be able to fit both attacks into the same combat round.
  3. Lasivern Gems: 1/31
    Latest gem: Turquoise

    Jul 23, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Speed factors & casting time

    Everyone is on a personal initiative, every round. This is based on a hidden die roll - which everyone, including enemies make, every round.

    This die roll is modified by various things, like personal Dexterity, casting speed, weapon speed, etc. Faster is better, since that lets your attack/spell be resolved before slower opponents get to do their stuff.

    As a really basic example [things will never be this simple in game, but then you will never see any of this stuff anyway, so it serves]: You are fighting a bandit. He has a L. Swd and you have your Magic Missile spell. You both roll initiative behind the scenes. He rolls a 5 and you roll a 7. However, his L. Swd has a speed factor of 5, so he effectively rolled a 10 [5 roll, 5 speed]. Your MM spell has a speed factor [casting time] of 1, so you effectively rolled an 8 [roll 7, casting time 1].

    Comparing the two, you have the faster response with regards to initiative, 8 vs 10, so your spell will be cast and inflict its damage *before* he even gets to roll to hit you with his strike at initiative 10. If your MM kills him, he won't even get to roll to hit - he's just dead.

    Everything being equal, a lower casting time/speed factor is better, but there are of course a vast number of other considerations. Higher level spells normally have higher casting times; weapons which do more damage are weighted slower in AD&D [2-handed swords do more damage than a dagger, but are significantly slower].

    So, when you are contemplating what weapon to use in X situation, speed factor is one consideration. If you are trying to interrupt a Mage's spell casting, Darts [speed 2] are preferable to a L Bow [speed 8] simply because in this instance, speed is the issue, not *amount* of damage done. If you are fighting a Gnoll armed with a Halberd [speed 9] then a faster weapon, say a S Swd [speed 3] will get your attack in, on average, before his happens in a round. Like in the example with the MM spell, if your S Swd thrust kills him before he gets to act, you never have to face his Halberd at all in that round.

    So, basically, speed factor directly correlates to casting time [different name for identical effects] and all things being equal, faster is better. Note that magical "plusses" also decrease the speed factor of weapons - so your +2 L Swd actually has a speed factor of 3, not 5 [5 for weapon type, -2 for magical bonus = 3].

    All of this really only makes a significant difference if you are trying to disrupt spell casting, where speed is a definite advantage. In melee, it can make a difference, but overall it will average out [except in the cases where you can kill your opponent before he strikes in the round].

    It should be a component of deciding upon favoured weapons though, among all of the other considerations. One has to decide, for example, is the +2 to damage for a Hvy X-Bow a big enough deal to offset the 10 speed factor and single shot per round? With that 10 speed, you will almost *always* be acting last in the round and it is the worst weapon for spell disruption. Are darts, with their wimpy 1-3 Dam per dart made more attractive by their 3 shots per round ROF and their speed of 2? Depends on what you want them for, right?

    Anyway, hopefully you have a better idea now regarding what's going on with speed factors and casting times. :)

    ---------- Added 0 hours, 31 minutes and 56 seconds later... ----------

    In-Game, Reputation matters for a few things; it modifies the prices you pay at stores, it modifies quest rewards and it modifies NPC happiness and willingness to remain in your party.

    All of the above is also modified by the Charisma of the Party leader [person at the top of the line on the right side of the screen - note that anyone can be Party Leader, not just the PC].

    For prices, higher Rep is always better [and higher Charisma makes it even better]. High Rep means discounts and high Chr means more discounts, so having the highest Rep and the person with the highest Chr doing the talking [aka Party leader] will result in the lowest prices.

    Some quest rewards are more influenced by Rep and Chr than others, but in general, the higher the Rep and higher the Chr of the Party Leader, the better the reward. [For example, as a micro-spoiler, in BG1 you do a fed-ex quest for a guard in the guardhouse - bringing him a quoit of bolts. If, and only if, you have a Chr of 18, he will give you a +1 Dagger, in addition to the normal money and exp for the quest. Any other Chr than 18, and you just get the money and exp.]

    Some people won't even give you their quest in the first place, if your Rep is too low [and high Chr can only mitigate this so much]. And many will give you a smaller reward for completing their quest, based on your Rep/Chr when you finish it, *if* they even gave it to you in the first place.

    The only reason to have a less than stellar Rep is that Evil NPCs will leave the party once you get to Rep 19 or 20. They will b1tch and complain at the higher Reps, but above 18, they will "break" and leave. [Same thing in reverse for low Rep and Good aligned NPCs, of course - get a too low Rep and *they* will b1tch and ultimately leave. In both cases, with all of the stuff you have given them!]

    Both BG1 and BG2 are heavily weighted towards Good - AD&D has always maintained that Evil is *not* "Heroic", so as a Heroic Fantasy, the BG games reward Good behavior and penalize [more or less] Evil behavior. One can disagree with the design for doing this, but it is the reality of the situation; there are very, VERY few situations where the reward for being Evil is superior to the reward for being Good, in terms of money and items gained, and experience earned.

    In your specific case, no, there is no penalty to your party having a high Rep, with regards to your LN PC. Helm [and the game] will not punish you for being charitable, protecting the weak, helping the needy and/or defeating Evil. :) This applies equally to BG1 and BG2.

    Since the game is based primarily on the Good/Evil axis, there is not a lot of opportunity to RP alignments which are Neutral towards Good and Evil. Pretty much the only way to complete quests and *not* have your Rep rise [where a Rep increase is part of the reward] is to not claim the reward - which means you also lose all of the potential quest experience and added treasure from the quest giver. There is a way to lower your Party Rep without committing an [overtly] evil act later on in BG2, but that opportunity doesn't come around for a long time, in the game.

    As I said, this may be unsatisfying to those who really want to RP a Neutral [towards Good/Evil] Alignment, but it is what it is, as far as BG 1 and 2 are concerned.
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