Announcing Epic Spellcasting in NWN2

I’ve wanted to do a version 3 of the Mage Tome mod for a while but left it on the backburner while I dealt with some RL issues and helped develop and upcoming game based on one of my childhood favourites.

Once those cleared up I decided to start working on version 3 again. I already had a list of PRCs and spells I was interested in adding but I needed a big improvement to add to the game to justify making a new major version of the mod. It needed to top the Shadow Magic system I created in version 2 in terms of complexity. The one remaining glaring issue with Neverwinter Nights 2 in terms of magic systems compared to NWN1 is the lack of real epic spellcasting. In NWN1 there was an entire mod that did a fairly good job of implementing the epic spells. In NWN2 we were left with single use feats we could select. With epic feats being a commidity spending a feat on each spell you wanted to get is not fun.

So after deciding on epic magic as the main new system to implement I had to think how I could actually implement it with the Electron Engine’s limitations.

Starting Out – The Epic Spellcasting Feat

To even begin to access epic spellcasting you need to take the base feat. This will be the only feat you need to take so you are free to take Great Intelligence or other epic feats that are more useful to your build after that.

Once you have that feat drag it to the quick bar (or some other way of accessing the epic menu) and click on it to being up a menu system with options for recalculating your number of spells per day based on your base Spellcraft skill as well as developing new spells.

The number of epic spells per day you can cast will be equal to your base Spellcraft skill / 10 rounded down.

You will also have access to the spell creation system which lets you develop your spells.

Creating Epic Spells – The Seed System

If creating an epic spell is the successful result of following a recipe then we can think of seeds as ingredients to the recipe. Seeds will be implemented as feats in Mage Tome and you cannot craft an epic spell unless you have the required seed feats for that spell.

In the Epic Handbook they lay out a number of base seeds with linked Base Spellcraft DCs. These are:

Seed Base Spellcraft DC
Afflict 14
Animate 25
Animate Dead 23
Armor 14
Banish 27
Compel 19
Conceal 17
Conjure 21
Contact 23
Delude 14
Destroy 29
Dispel 19
Seed Base Spellcraft DC
Energy 19
Forsee 11
Fortify 17
Heal* 25
Life* 27
Reflect 27
Reveal 19
Slay 25
Summon 14
Transform 21
Transport 27
Ward 14

* These two seeds are only to be used by those with high Knowledge (Religion) and Knowledge (Nature). I will have to have a system to detect if the character’s highest class is divine or something similar for this to take effect here.

So how does one aquire seeds in NWN2? The best way would for there to be modules where gaining a seed is part of a quest to find ancient hidden knowledge. Perhaps the party could go through old Netherese ruins or gain the favour of some ancient Elf Sorceress.

But if a player wants to gain seeds without custom modules written by the community they will need some other methods. I plan on releasing a full list of the seed feats by their Feat Id for those who just wish to ‘cheat’ them in.

But for everyone else I plan on having custom grimoires you can find that when used allow you to learn that seed if you pass a base Spellcraft check for that seed and possess the Epic Spellcasting feat.

But how will those books be found during adventures in custom mods?

There is a mod I use that randomly generates treasure on enemies after they are slain. I plan on modifying that script to include these grimoires as ultra rare drops in high level (CR17+) encounters. Then if you choose you can install that mod and overwrite a script with the modified version that will come with Mage Tome.

Please let me know if you know of any better way to teach seeds using the NWN2 system. I think learning the seeds as the first step in developing epic spells is an important step in making you ‘earn them’.

Crafting Epic Spells

Once you have the required seeds you can access spell creation options in the Epic Spellcasting menu.

You can select one of the spells and it will show you how much gold and experience you must spend to learn the spell. Then you have the option of developing it if you have enough gold. If you select that option you will learn the spell and lose the given gold and experience.

Epic spells will still be handled as feats but there will be five different versions of them going from one usage a day to five usages per day for those will super high base Spellcraft skills.

This system actually means if you have developed lots of spells you will be able to cast them more than in PnP but this rewards players for the extra trouble they have to go through to develop them in NWN2’s engine.

What Spells Will Be Available?

Right now I am planning on implementing the following spells from the Epic Handbook in general order of difficulty to create and cast:

  • Ruin
  • Mummy Dust
  • Dragon Knight
  • Let Go of Me
  • Greater Spell Resistance
  • Spell Worm
  • Epic Mage Armor
  • Animus Blast
  • Rain of Fire
  • Epic Repulsion
  • Mass ‘Chicken’ / Frog
  • Verdigris
  • Greater Ruin
  • Superb Dispelling
  • Time Duplicate
  • Soul Dominion
  • Summon Behemoth / other
  • Animus Blizzard
  • Eidolon
  • Enslave
  • Demise Unseen
  • Momento Mori
  • Hellball
  • Damnation
  • Kinetic Control
  • Living Lightning
  • Dire Winter
  • Vengeful Gaze of God

The Spellcraft DCs will be in the 20-60 range so they are attainable and castable by players in-game.

I am also planning on developing a number of custom spells using the development guidelines in the handbook.

Here are some initial ideas:

  • Congenio’s Mantle – immunity to spells lvl 5 or less
  • Isaac’s Epic Missile Storm
  • Jeriah’s Time Duplicate
  • Karsus’ Avatar
  • Larloch’s Lich Dust
  • Larloch’s Lifelink
  • Melf’s Acidic Blast – 30d6 acid damage in a 20ft radius
  • Proctiv’s Telekinetic Shield
  • Summon Vampire Assassins
  • Telemont Tanthul’s Shadow Servants – summon Shadow Elementals
  • Telemont Tanthul’s Shadow Storm – 24d6 magic damage in 20ft radius, no save

And I would also have to update the two epic spellcasting PRCs, Elven High Mage and Netherese Arcanist, to use this new system.

So that’s my initial thoughts on Epic Spellcasting. I am also looking to add new spells and PRCs.

What Else Will Be Included?

I’m a big fan of Prestidigitation in PnP. But implementing in in NWN2 is extremely difficult due to engine limitations.

I already have a number of ideas for the spell and if it works out even half-decently I plan on including it.

Other spells I really want to implement are Limited Wish and Wish. Hopefully I can determine what module the player is playing in for the main campaigns and include some extra special stuff for those spells such as teleportation.

Beyond that I have large lists of spells and PRCs that I would like to implement. I will do an update in the next few weeks with my initial selections.

Wrapping Up

Design and planning has just begun on this mod so it will take at least a month of development before it is ready. Check back here for regular updates.

Am I missing anything? Are there any epic spells you’ve seen or developed that you think I should add? Any other questions or thoughts on what I am including in V3 of the mod? Then let me know now so I can look at including them in the final release of the mod.

Greg Caughill

Greg Caughill

Greg Caughill is the owner and creative director of Broken Staff Studios.