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Fun With Spell Stealing Eels

Clerics sometimes forget how annoying it can be to have a spell stolen, so it is somewhat refreshing and a little comical that the most recent wave of Hollow-Eve lead-in monsters use Idon’s Theft, too. While their magics make them powerful enough to rip a spell from me, I was still able to take some back.

Here’s one exchange:

>steal eel
You turn your gaze on a lapis-hued cloud eel, letting a jolt of Idon’s Theft engulf your sight.
Limned in cobalt lightning flash, the simulacrum of a primed spell pattern is disclosed to your senses.  You cloud the cloud eel’s mind with psychic cacophony while you reconfigure the intersections of mana lines, successfully usurping the Air Lash spell!
Roundtime: 2 sec.
You begin to weave mana lines into a target pattern around a lapis-hued cloud eel.
A lapis-hued cloud eel turns its gaze on you, eyes ablaze with a tempestuous silver sheen.
Eerie unspoken words reverberate in your ears, captivating your thoughts in a maze of untruth and cajolery, until the cloud eel has irreparably ruined the Air Lash spell you were shaping!
And here’s a different one a bit later:
>steal eel
You turn your gaze on a lapis-hued cloud eel, letting a jolt of Idon’s Theft engulf your sight.
Limned in cobalt lightning flash, the simulacrum of a primed spell pattern is disclosed to your senses. You cloud the cloud eel’s mind with psychic cacophony while you reconfigure the intersections of mana lines, successfully usurping the Geyser spell!

You gesture at a turquoise cloud eel.
You contribute your harnessed streams to increase the pattern’s potential.
You feel a connection to waters deep below you, and you manipulate them to surge upwards. A spout of steamy water erupts from the ground, sending bits of dirt through the air. You quickly divert the superheated water and steam toward a turquoise cloud eel.
A jet of scalding water impacts its dorsal side, wreathing it in a billow of superheated steam.
The cloud eel is stunned!

Guide to Outfitting Your Cleric

With some regularity, I get asked how a young cleric should be outfitted. I’ll make a few general recommendations and then list specific things that are essential for cleric training.

Clerics are magic primary, weapons and lore secondary, and survival and armor tertiary. It’s a pretty popular notion that armor-terts should wear light armor, but on the other hand, as a survival tert, it’s unlikely your cleric will be utilizing stealth in combat. I outfitted mine with chain and have been happy with the balance of maneuverability, weight, and protection. Of course, your race will have an impact on how much weight you think appropriate for your cleric.

As weapons secondary, clerics need a heavy dose of weapons skills, and it seems a pretty common problem for younger clerics to keep up with parry training. Clerics require two weapon skills, though the second weapon requirements aren’t particularly difficult to meet. So at minimum, you’ll need to two weapons (or of course, one swappable), and a parry stick is recommended.

Summary of combat equipement:

  • Armor
  • Small shield to be arm worn
  • Two weapons
  • Parry stick

Naturally for any magic primary character, cambrinth is essential. As a side note: many people mistakenly discard their cambrinth ring as soon as they can advance to a larger piece. Size of cambrinth determines the difficulty of using it while worn, so keep your ring and it will be usable earlier-on while worn than the armband you’re likely to procure next.

Clerics require a decent amount of miscellaneous stuff for purposes of Rituals and Theurgy. Below is a list of what I can come up with on the top of my head for cleric specific uses, but feel free to comment with other suggestions:

  • Silver vial or blessed glass bottle
  • Holy Oil (oil plus bless spell)
  • Blessed or sacramental wine (or “deep red wine”)
  • Incense
  • Flint (or lighter)
  • Prayer badge
  • Prayer chain
  • Wood shaper
  • Rough blocks (can be purchased from the Shaman in Dirge)
  • Prayer parchment(s)
  • Inkwell from the artificer shop is required for casting Persistence of Mana, a highly recommended spell

Considerations for the more advanced cleric:

  • Prayer tome to hold multiple prayer parchments
  • Prayer mat to perform devotionals on the fly
  • Carving knife if you’ll want carve your own blocks from limbs
  • Reticule or alabaster staff from the artificer shop for casting Murrula’s Flames (Note: the staff requires knowledge of the Improvised Rituals feat)
  • Musical instrument to perform at an altar
  • An off-mana runestone (Can be focused on to train sorcery early on which can be valuable if you intend to use Idon’s Theft)

These are all in addition to the other things young adventurers should try to procure anyway like belt-worn knives, gem pouches, bundling rope, shoulder-worn bags, etc.

Rituals, Devotion, and Theurgy

*** What is Theurgy? ***

To those returning to Cleric-dom for the first time since the release of DR3, welcome to the land of guild-specific skills, such as what rangers and moon mages have had to do for years. The new theurgy skill is trained by, influenced by, and influences the cleric super-magic abilities known as communes. So first, what exactly is Theurgy?

To quote Wikipedia,

“Theurgy describes the practice of rituals, sometimes seen as magical in nature, performed with the intention of invoking the action or evoking the presence of one or more gods, especially with the goal of uniting with the divine…”

To relate it to the religion of Dragonrealms, theurgy is the practice of performing devotional rituals and communing rituals and both tie directly into a cleric’s devotional state – again similar to other guilds’ metrics like soulstate or prediction pools. Training theurgy is a hard requirement for circling, but also makes cleric commune abilities more powerful, last longer, and be used more frequently.

*** How Does One Train Theurgy? ***

Theurgy is trained primarily by performing communal rituals – invoking the power of the Immortals to additional magical effects outside normal magic use such as inflicting extra damage to the undead or stopping blood loss from wounds. Using these commune abilities will draw from the cleric’s devotion state, the more powerful communes providing more theurgy training but being more taxing on devotion, also.

To increase one’s devotion pool, a cleric must perform simple rituals to appease the Immortals and maintain their places of worship. At the bottom of this post, I’ll provide a list of common rituals, but there are many more available besides just what’s shown here. Rituals will generate a small amount of theurgy, but the amounts are typically very small and get smaller as a cleric increases his or her theurgy. Younger clerics (those under 20th circle) will get a decent amount of theurgy from a full sequence of devotionals, but the amount tapers off pretty quickly.

So to simplify, you must COMMUNE with the Immortals which trains theurgy and costs devotion. Performing RITUALS will cost time but yield devotion. Ultimately, theurgy boils down to taking the time to train it like every other skill.

As a side note: clerics have always had the option to draw from their devotional state to power these extra abilities, but few ever did since higher devotion resulted in a boost to power perception. Since the release of 3.0 and theurgy, there is no longer a bonus for higher devotion. So in addition to requiring spending devotion to train theurgy, there is no longer any incentive for holding onto a higher devotional state.

*** Communing ***

There are several communions that can be performed by the cleric, most are learned before reaching circle 20. I won’t list them all, they’re best discovered and tried earnestly, but the two you learn will be extremely valuable for practical and training purposes.

Your first commune ability is to ask a blessing from Tamsine to empower your targeted magic damage against the undead. Clerics have many exciting hunting grounds available where the plague of undead or the accursed can be cleansed from the lands. Slaying of these creatures will periodically grant devotion and theurgy, and some undead/evil creatures grant higher return of coins and treasure over some of the mundane denizens of Elanthia. For example, Moss Meys can only be struck by blessed weapons or fists, but are skinnable, drop coins, gems, and boxes that have greater returns than other similarly difficult creatures.

The second communion talent is Eluned’s blessing of water. This will allow a cleric to procure water from even the most inhospitable places. As you’ll see in the list below, water is very useful for performing many rituals, and several communes also require the use of holy water. Once learned, a cleric can merely commune to Eluned with a handful of dirt and She will turn it to water which can be collected if the cleric is holding an appropriate vessel in the other hand, or into a pool on the ground (weather appropriate) from which others can collect the water.

 *** Rituals ***

There are many rituals that can be performed, far too many to list here, but I’ll mention the most common and easiest ones below.

  • Praying to a specified Immortal
  • Praying and kissing an altar or prayer mat
  • Marking a prayer badge at an affiliated altar (by pushing the altar with your badge)
  • Praying upon a prayer badge
  • Pouring sacred/blessed wine on an altar or prayer mat
  • Dancing before an altar, in a consecrated room, or on a prayer mat
  • Praying upon a prayer chain with beads before an altar or in a consecrated room
  • Waving lit incense at an altar or prayer mat
  • Washing an altar or anloral pin with holy water (warning: an anloral pin will break if you interact with it if the animal represented is not the same as the Immortal from whom you received your most recent favor!)
  • Tithing five silver coins
  • Offering unskin, unlooted dead enemies in a consecrated room – cannot be undead, evil, or cursed
  • Planting a sirese seed and sprinkling the room with holy water (this grants sizable theurgy experience for younger clerics)
  • Bathing in a sacred pool with appropriate herbs
  • Offering of stolen goods, sprinkled with holy water, on a dark aspect’s altar
  • Offering of your own blood on a dark aspect’s altar (warning, this is very dangerous)
  • Studying the wall at Urrem’tiers hidden chamber in the Eyes of the Thirteen
  • Reciting a prayer parchment in a room of people
  • Reciting an appropriate prayer before an altar or in a consecrated room
  • Breaking of bread at the anlas of Hodierna’s Blessing and eating it

Training Magic in 3.1

Thank you for continuing to read my journal. I understand many people are confused and/or frustrated by the changes to magic mechanics and experience gains in 3.1.This will be focused on magic training as an academic endeavor and not so much efficacy or ideal utilization of magic.

First, you’ll want to understand why the changes were made. Second, you’ll want to understand a few basic fundamental changes they’ve made to the way spells operate. And third, you’ll want to experiment with your own spells and find the practical and useful limits for your spells and mana amounts.

*** Why the Change? ***

The biggest set of changes to magic have been geared with the intent to make experience gained from spell casting increase as difficulty of the task increases – effectively, the harder spell you cast, the more experience you’ll gain. Spells you can cast without any effort will not yield any training. Casting difficult spells either because they naturally challenge you or through forcefully increasing their difficulty and spending time performing magical research are two most effective to train.

*** Cyclics ***

The first thing you may have noticed is that cyclics do not provide the continuous boon of experience many magic users have grown accustomed to. Cyclic spells that challenge the caster will teach to a finite skill level (see below), and even then will only teach for a few minutes before experience gains taper off and stop completely. Combined with regular spellcasting, cyclics can still provide a great source of training if managed properly. In order to keep learning via cyclics, you must remember to regularly release and re-cast the same or other cyclic spells.

The best way to learn, however, is once again repeatedly casting challenging spells at challenging mana for training purposes. For those of you who played prior to the release of Magic 3.0, it probably will feel like those days. For those who grew up in the 3.0 cyclic world, I apologize, but things will get more complicated. Read on to see how to learn in this new 3.1 landscape.

*** Discern ***

You’ve probably used DISCERN and dismissed it outright as not particularly useful nor accurate. It is more accurate than you might think (though I can produce several examples that are completely off base). But anyway, take this example:

R>discern halo
Much as the Divine Radiance and Shield of Light spells solidify lucent energy into solid matter, the Halo spell forms a powerful wall of light that echoes away from the caster.  If successful, this force will push foes at close range back, and may even knock them into a daze or send them sprawling.  The Undead are especially susceptible to these magics, often suffering wounds at the brunt of the holy energy crashing into them.

The Halo pattern will lie dormant until you are within pole or melee range of an opponent, at which time it will activate.  If woven into an Osrel Meraud orb, however, the power held within will not be unleashed until such a time as you are in serious peril, such as being severely wounded or incapacitated.

Alternately, you may infuse mana into the spell pattern and immediately invoke the halo yourself.

This is a battle spell, intended to be prepared quickly and cast on a single target while in battle.  When used on opponents, this spell pits your magic against your enemy’s reflex.  It can be cast without a target.  It requires a minimum of thirty mana streams, and can expand to a maximum of one hundred mana streams woven into it.  To begin to be able to cast this spell, you will need to reach the rank of a 50th degree adept.  By the time you have mastered this spell, you will be ranked as a guru in your abilities as a caster.  It requires the Warding and Debilitation skills to cast effectively.  Before you can learn this spell, you must know Divine Radiance and Major Physical Protection, and be circle 20.  It will also cost four spell slots.

You think you could weave at most 43 mana streams into this spell.
Roundtime: 10 sec.

This information is telling me what Halo is – a wall of light that will repel enemies at pole or melee range and do physical damage to undead. It also informs me of how the spell works – it will activate when enemies are within a certain range, can be infused to activate, or will infuse when I’m in peril if I’ve woven the spell into my Osrel Meraud orb.

Finally, the last full paragraph tells about the mechanics of the spell –  short preparation battle spell, it uses a ‘Save vs. Reflex’ against enemies, it’s cast between 30-100 mana, it requires a 50th degree adept (250 ranks of relevant skill to cast), will teach up to guru level (1249 ranks), uses warding and debilitation skills, the prerequisites to learn the spell, and the number of spell slots it uses.

Most importantly to the conversation of learning magic, assuming basic and unbuffed mental stats, no mastery-feats learned, no magic skill buffs, no cleric alignment bonuses or penalties, and no other modifications to your casting, you won’t be able to cast the spell until you’ve reached 250 ranks in primary magic, utility, and warding. It will continue teaching up until 1249 ranks, where, like monsters in combat training, it will stop teaching.

Modifications to spellcasting abilities like masteries, buffs, and abnormally high mental stats will allow you to cast the spell sooner and at more mana than DISCERN suggests while experience rewards are still based on the raw-skill check. That means that one could likely cast this spell prior to reaching 250 ranks and cast it with capped-mana well before reaching 1249 ranks, but it will still teach in those ranges.

Halo is an esoteric level spell, and as such, has a very high casting skill range. Introductory, basic, and advanced spells have significantly different ranges. Take these examples:

Centering: To begin to be able to cast this spell, you will need to reach the rank of a lowly novice.  By the time you have mastered this spell, you will be ranked as a professional in your abilities as a caster.

Minor Physical Protection: To begin to be able to cast this spell, you will need to reach the rank of a lowly novice.  By the time you have mastered this spell, you will be ranked as an authority in your abilities as a caster.

Malediction: To begin to be able to cast this spell, you will need to reach the rank of a beginning practitioner.  By the time you have mastered this spell, you will be ranked as a master in your abilities as a caster.

Based on this page, you can see what skill rank corresponds to the in-game RP terms. This should give you an idea of which spells teach to what skill caps if you take the time to DISCERN the spells you use frequently.

*** Symbioses ***

In order to keep learning beyond the skill cap of a particular spell, you’ll need to increase its difficulty. This can be done with the new Symbiosis meta-spell system via Research. Click either of those words to get a guide to those mechanisms.

Symbioses will allow you to add extra spell power (except in the case of the Chaos Symbiosis) onto an existing spell with the side effect of increasing the base spell’s difficulty to where even an introductory spell becomes difficult for high-level mages and will continue to teach.

You must first build a Symbiosis pattern by RESEARCHing a SYMBIOSIS. This symbiosis will stay memorized until you die or release it intentionally. Lapsing GAF or other research endeavors will not harm or interfere with your stored symbiosis.

Once you have researched a Symbiosis to completion, you can then prepare (via PREPARE SYMBIOSIS) it at any time during the spell casting process – either prior to preparing your spell or while preparing it. Symobioses will only activate when you successfully cast a non-battle spell (again, refer to DISCERN to see if a spell is a battle spell if you’re lost on this). Backfires or released preparations or counterspell effects will not affect the symbiosis; it will affect the next spell you cast instead.

From what I can roughly tell, adding a symbiosis will approximately double a spell’s difficulty, meaning an introductory spell that caps at Professional level (499 ranks) will stop teaching even with a symbiosis around 1000 ranks. Esoteric spells should then teach all the way up to (and beyond) the game’s hard skill limit of 2000 ranks.

*** Research ***

Researching is a way to dedicate your time and focus towards magical research. A project takes over ten minutes to complete but will provide you with a predictable and useful experience reward at completion. You can read my whole write-up here: Research 3.1.

This ability is recommended if you’re wanting to learn magic where it is rude or impractical to repeatedly cast spells to train. It’s also useful if you don’t have spells of a particular skill-type over a level at which you surpass the skill-cap. For example, Empaths are particularly low on warding spells and have none that teach beyond advanced skill. If it’s preferred to not have to use a symbiosis, an empath wouldn’t be able to learn warding above a certain amount, and even with a symbiosis, would eventually reach a point where the skill is completely unlearnable through casting. In these instances, the Research option is useful.

*** TM/Debil ***

If you’ve read these guides and not skipped parts, you’ll know that battle spells are not compatible with symbioses and if you’ve read your RESEARCH LIST, you’ll see that there is no Targeted Magic or Debilitation research options.

To learn these spells, it will work to how it did in 3.0: you’ll need to use these skills in the fray and against enemies that give you a proper skill check against your ability in these skills. You can check how an enemy will teach you by APPRAISING it. You may need to appraise something carefully to get the necessary information. See the example below:

>app drake careful
You are certain that the lava drake is healthy.
You are certain that the lava drake has an incredible spirit that is healthy.
You are certain that it is somewhat stronger than you are.
You are certain that it is a little more agile than you are.
You are certain that it is about as disciplined as you are.
You are certain that it is apparently as quick to react as you are.
You are certain that it is somewhat more conditioned than you are.
Taking stock of its offensive abilities, and defending with a brass-trimmed targe embossed with a screeching falcon and a battle monk’s parry stick branded with interlocking holy symbols, you are certain that the lava drake is a challenging opponent.
Taking stock of its defensive abilities, and attacking with your fists, you are certain that the lava drake is a very difficult opponent.
If you brawled with the enemy, you are certain that it would train exceptionally well, but you probably won’t be landing many blows.
If you defended by parrying attacks, you are certain that the enemy would train very well.
If you defended by evading attacks, you are certain that the enemy would train exceptionally well.
If you defended by blocking attacks, you are certain that the enemy would train exceptionally well.
If you attempted to beguile the enemy with tactics, you are certain that it would train exceptionally well, but you probably won’t be affecting it..
If you targeted and cast a spell at the enemy, you are certain that it would train very well, provided you can land a spell.
If you attempted to debilitate the enemy, you are certain that it would train very well, provided you can affect it..
The drake appears immune to fire.

In this example, you can see that my debilitation and targeted magic would teach well, tough I may have difficulty landing a spell. Like DISCERN, this information appears to disregard buffs, masteries, and bonuses. The drake will teach in a particular range, even if casting at it imposes minor difficulties.

Good luck to all you magic users. Feel free to comment with corrections, suggestions, questions, or comments. Thank you for reading.

Current List of Guides I’ve Published

I’ve made this post sticky so it should remain at the top of my blog. Check out my current collection of how-to guides. Most will likely be regarding magic training and clerics, but others may find their way in here eventually.

Welcome to the writings of Tenike Sylofr

Dear readers, welcome to my blog. On this site you’ll find entries both In-Character and Out-of-Character regarding Tenike Sylofr, a cleric in the MUD game, Dragonrealms. It will likely not contain a ton of IC updates, but mostly be used for how-to guides and cleric and game discussion. Please feel free to comment with questions, comments, corrections, and suggestions.

Thank you for stopping by.