Reduction and avoidance of damage is often given more scope than damage output. The trend in more recent games is towards more weapon or magic types and abilities
In the early part of Black Isle's Fallout series, the power of healing items in inventory was balanced with a cost of Action Points; players had to allocate resources between damage output and damage control; it cost points to use items, and points to access the Inventory. Diablo and Diablo II sped things up considerably, increasing damage while removing any tactical cost for using healing items. The only resource required is game money, and healing potions can be used almost instantaneously and infinitely. PS:T likewise is fast damage. As in Fallout, a similar tactical resource, namely time, is required to use items from the 'quick' inventory, but access to the main inventory is almost unrestricted, if the spacebar or Autopause functions are used to pause the game. Healing others with items again takes time, but items can be traded from one character to another within a wide radius, and the recipient can use the item(s) on themselves, all while the game is paused.
Some weapons confer a heal-on-hit ability - notably the Sword of Chaos, 2HE (BG2) which is found from completing a quest for a genie in the confines of Irenicus' dungeon in chapter 1, and Adjatha the Drinker, LS (BG2) which is used by the Warden in the Planar Prison (Five Flagons Inn)
Regenerative items provide significant healing value out of combat such as the ring of regeneration, or Kangaxx' ring. The former of which can be (with mod packs) rebuilt into more useful rings with AC/saving throw bonuses. Some weapons also provide regenerative abilities which do not require landed hits such as the Axe of Unyeilding.
Lastly, while not exactly a healing 'item' but provides regenerative polymorphs should also be listed. The cloak of sewers, for example, which allows a troll shapechange can refill HP in a few minutes of unpaused gametime.
Damage avoidance Edit
Temporary Hit PointsEdit
Spells such as 'Cloak of Warding', 'Aid', 'Tensers transformation' and 'Vampiric Touch' provide extra hit points in a few different (and stackable) methods with tensers transformation doubling the hitpoints of the mage, which, when paired with an item like the girdle of fortitude can produce a near 200HP tank with stoneskin and all the other magical immunities (protection from normal/magical weapons, protection from normal missiles, fire/cold resist, improved mantle, etc.). However, they only exist for the duration of the spell, and then expire. If damage is sustained while they are active, they are used up as and before normal HP.
There are a few ways to increase resistance bonuses in BG and in Torment. In BG2, some characters have built in resistances that pair with shortcomings in stats, for example Haer Dalis has significant resistances to counter his low (9) constitution score. The PC gains some bonuses to resistances in the final chapter regardless of class.
If a barbarian is chosen as PC, resistances to physical damage are gained at various levels confering a total of 25% resistance.
Armor of Faith is the obvious choice to boost resistances in early game (5% at level 1, 10% at level 5, 15% at level 10 etc. )
Many magical items provide non-physical damage resistances such as 40% first resistance, or 25% fire/cold/acid resistance.
Armor Class bonusesEdit
Spells such as 'Armor' and 'Shield' increase the Armor Class of the target temporarily, making for a chance of damage being negated altogether (enemies missing). Items increase it while equipped, and a few rare permanent bonuses can be acquired throughout the game.
Armor Class is cumulative with dexterity bonuses, armor, rings, weapons, shields or other magical items which increase the Armor Class.
The Armor Class is added to 'to hit' rolls, if a 10 or above is rolled the target is struck, 20's or 19's and 20's in some cases when mastery with a weapon is applied will always hit.
Crowd Control Edit
True Crowd Control (CC) removes enemies' capacity to fight or move temporarily
- Stun: A true Stun effect shuts the target down completely, and adds no other components. The target cannot move or take any action while the spell is in effect, regardless of being attacked. Stuns are usually limited in duration. Neverwinter Nights and other D&D games have Fear, which is Stun plus random movement imposed on characters or enemies, which is very powerful indeed, probably OP.
- Sleep / Mesmerize: Targets that are attacked 'wake up', but those that are left alone cannot move or take any action while the spell is in effect. Sleep spells sometimes, eg Final Fantasy series, allow magic damage to be inflicted without waking the target, which would be OP, except for the scarcity of targets susceptible to Sleep.
- Snare: grease offers a partial snare in terms of targets attempting to close distance; but 'slow' is the most common snaring system in game. Slow not only reduces movement speed, but imparts a significant AC debuff, a THACO debuff, and an attack frequency debuff (i.e 3/2 hit's per round -> 0.5 hits per round). Targets can be hit with multiple slow debuffs which can cripple otherwise deadly opponents. First slow will cancel haste/improved haste, and subsequent slows will reduce mobility and combat stats. Subsequent slows can be applied to significantly reduce incoming damage. One of the best applications of multiple slows is on the improved Torgal (modded final boss of the fighter stronghold in BG 2) who has a very high attack rate with exceptional THACO, high movement rate, and is improve hasted, who wields a weapon which will drop your strength (and hit for 35-40 every hit) rapidly. Applying 5-6 slows on this boss after lowering his MR and saving throws (doom+greater malison) is arguably the most suitable method to make him tankable.
- Root: The druid spell entangle provides an area root which enables actions (weapon use, casting, drinking potions, etc.), however movement is reduced to zero. Targets that use melee who are not in range of a suitable target has their damage potential neutralized.
- Silence: A few spells and weapon(s) are available. Targets that use magic will be unable to cast spells unless a 'vocalize' spell has been cast (which removes the vocal component to the spell) but can still move and attack. Notably, and RP appropriately, removes the capability to engage in dialogue.
- Blindness: Targets will suffer a -4 penalty to attack rolls and AC class. Level 1 blind is useful, but the level 2 glitterdust is an AOE blind which is highly effectual paired with slow (also AOE) in reducing incoming damage.
- Paralysis - hold person, a level 3 mage spell is a remarkably effective spell in early game (vs low saving throw opponents) in stopping incoming damage and converting a challenging battle into a mere hack and slash affair. Hold person spam paired with doom+greater malison in mid to late game is still a highly effective CC tactic.
- Subversion of target selection: Confusion/chaos/rigid thinking confers slightly different effects to the target but ultimately these spells cause AI in the opponents to be significantly interupted. targets under these spells usually do not cast spells, but instead take up arms against friends or foes nearby, or wander around.
- Charm, dire charms are different from target subversion in that they will not stop someone charmed (or your own party members) from attacking automatically. Once their circle changes to green (from red) one must manually change their fighting target.
Working the game code to achieve a reduction in the number of enemies or the damage they inflict is more effective in Torment than in other games, and more necessary due to the scarcity of true Crowd Control options.
The code that directs monsters to pursue and attack targets, and choose which particular players or characters to attack first, is sometimes called Aggro, a British slang term which entered some games, with roots in the word Aggression.
Monsters may be given a code which counts the number of hits, amount of damage, distance to targets, and other factors, to make them decide who they should be attacking. In BG2, there are three types of AI, the first is a 'rigid thinking' type of behaviour which often accompanies other berserker attributes (high hit rate, high strength, low THACO, some spell immunities) and generally means that as soon as a target is identified, that is the only target. This type of behaviour is exceptionally easy to outmanoeuver via Kiteing around grouped friendlies, forming blockades, or by trapping the berserker. The second type of AI is adaptive and chooses new targets which are selected based on proximity to the attacker. The last type of AI is intelligent and varies between choosing weakened targets for power word type spells, to choosing targets with lower overall HP as the target of high damage spells which should produce a kill (i.e abi-dalzim's horrid wilting vs. a low hp mage), to using an appropriate casting selection, i.e. removing magic prior to casting confusion (remove stoneskin then confuse the fighters so they hack apart your unprotected mages).
Aggro Range is the distance within which a monster will pursue and attack a character or player. It may be the distance that a monster can see, or they may be able to see further or less far for other purposes.
Bring a Friend Edit
Monsters commonly respond to physical or spell attacks on other monsters, particularly monsters of the same species. Many games do not code monsters to respond to other forms of attacks such as debuffs, and most do not code monsters to respond if one of their race merely sees and chases a player or character, ie "comes into aggro range". The code for which forms of alert will cause others to respond is sometimes called Bring a Friend, or BAF for short.
Pulling means to attract, or 'pull', one monster, or one of a group of monsters, to a location better suited to a player for fighting.
In the more common case of a group of monsters, this is to avoid the extra damage that they can inflict while the first is killed, and so on.
The most common, or at least preferable way is to attack monsters, on the edge of the group, that are far enough away from other monsters that they will not BAF. When this is not possible, pullers approach within Aggro Range of a single enemy on the edges of the group, but out of the Aggro Range of others; this is known as Body Pulling.
In cases where monsters cannot be pulled individually, then the strategy is to ensure that the monsters do not use Concentration of Fire to do so much damage to a single party member that they die. This is done by getting their attacks (Aggro) onto other party members, by attacking them or commonly, with some sort of Taunting.
Clerics are an excellent choice of character for this, as they should have nothing to do if this is done perfectly. Given sufficient control, by means of autopause or manually pausing the game, it is hypothetically possible if not always feasible to kite five monsters around in a square, pentagon or hexagon and still be able to attack with one character. Note that there are diminishing returns to the lead that kiting characters have on their pursuers when running in a circle, as the monster will always be running in a smaller circle as it heads directly toward a target that is turning across its path. Similarly, because characters in Baldur's Gate will actually stop each time they are given a new command to move, there are diminishing returns to the number of times that they are micro-managed, and so near-perfect circles are actually significantly slower movement than hexagons, which may be slower than pentagons, which may be slower than squares, etc.