Lots of misunderstanding exist for breaking through the spell protections of high level spell casting creatures. This guide is an almost exact copy of zvijers guide at the gone forgotten wars forum, also carried on by “The Hero’s Guide to a Successful adventure”. I found this to be very informative and vital for solo runs. The strategies explain mage protections in weimer’s Tactics modification.
All credits go to Xyx, Alson and Littiz for their Spell Reference Guide!
So What is spell protection? Spell protection is in 3 catagories…spell protection to protect you from physical damage, like stoneskin, and protection from magic weapons. It is also elemental protection, like protection from cold, and protection from the elements. And last, protection from spells, like spell trap and spell shield. So, to be able to punch thru protection spells, you need in your arsenal spells that can destroy all 3 types of spell protection, right? Wrong! Now due to the way the game works, protection from spells is incredibly easy to get around…simply hit the target with area effect spells…like my favorite, incindiary cloud, or abi dahzim’s horrid wiltings…since a protection from spells DEPENDS on the enemy casting a spell directly at you, like polymorph other, or magic missile, if your enemy hits you with a area effect spell, or just plain bashes you with this big hammer, all the protection from spells in the game wont help you at all…so this means that the spell turning, spell trap, globe of invulnerability and spell shield that enemy mages put up are completely useless…you hit the mage or spell casting monster with an area effect spell, or holy avenger, and all the protection from spells it casts does nothing…
So, as you can see, if your magical arsenal of attack spells is mostly area effect, and if your party has some good warriors, all you need to punch thru spell protections is to destroy your targets physical protections, like stoneskin or absolute immunity and your targets elemental protections, like protection from energy or fireshield red. It turns out every two spells will dump all elemental protections and physical protections….breach and remove (dispell) magic. Both spells will get rid of stoneskin, protection from magic weapons, mantle, and other physical protections. Both will destroy protection from energy, protection from fire, protection from acid and other elemental protection spells.
This is why 90% of the time, if you have breach and remove magic, you can kill any mage or spell casting monster. Now, remove magic (or dispel magic) is an area effect spell, so you can hit multiple targets at once. But instead of always removing protections on the target, you are forced to roll for it, and your level and the target level will affect the roll, the higher in level you are, compared to the target, the better your chances. Breach on the other hand is a single target spell, so the rules apply…the target may not be improved invisible, a valid target, and you may only breach one monster per casting the spell. Both have their good points, breach always works, except on liches, and remove magic works on liches.
Breach will strip out any elemental and physical protection, and almost nothing stops it…spell trap will not stop breach, spell turning will not stop breach, only spell shield will stop breach, but only once, and the spell shield is consumed by stopping breach. However due to its nature as a single target spell, you can stop enemies from breaching you by being improved invisible. It is a single target spell, after all. Liches are immune to breach, since they are immune to spells below a certain level, and breach is one of the spells liches are immune to. So how do you strip off the protections of a lich???
Remove magic is an area effect spell, so it can get rid of a lot of enemies protections at once, but you roll for its effect, if you are much higher in level than the target, you are almost sure to destroy its spell protections, however the reverse is true, if your enemy is much higher in level than you, good luck…however, as usual in this guide, there is a way to stack the deck…spell sequencer spell allows you to triple your remove magic rolls, by casting the spell 3 times fast, so your chances of removing a enemy protections is tripled… and there is the nasty inquisitor dispell, which casts at twice the level of the inquisitor. Unfortunately, dispel magic will also dispel YOUR protections, so this is not good…however, spell immunity abjuration (which does NOT stop breach) will protect a mage or sorceror from an inquisitor’s dispel magic, so your inquisitor can cast dispel magic all day long, and your protected mages and sorcs will not care.
Remove magic does remove lich protections…you noticed it is a 3rd level spell, so liches should be immune to it, however remove and dispel magic are EXCEPTIONS to lich immunity… it will remove a lich protections if you make the roll. However it is stopped by spell immunity abjuration… sounds complicated? Actually its simple. Have both spells, and know when to use it. Use breach for everyone except liches, and use spell sequencer remove magic or inquisitor dispel after protecting your weaker party members with protection spells, and spell immunity abjuration.
Attention: only Pierce Shield, Ruby Ray of Reversal and Spellstrike get rid of Spelltrap! Plus all spells require targetting so you’ll have to get rid of the invisibility problem first. You cannot dispel illusions if mages cast Spell Immunity: Divination. But on the flipside, there’s also an exploit here, without the need of Spell Immunity. Cast mislead and stuff your image out of sight of the caster. True Sight will only dispel illusions within RANGE so you’ll be still improved insibile. Some enemies (dragons, beholders, etc) can see through illusions, so don’t bother. High level mages (18+) have True Sight set on casting as soon as you enter the area with at least one illusion spell active (Mirror Image, mislead, …). You’ll need the Immunity then.
Now we get to the cases and specifics of Wes Weimer’s tactics mod. And why I had such a good time lich hunting with smarter mages installed…the smarter liches use a almost ubeatable defense against spell protection removal… almost, that is…it is a masterpiece of stacked mutally supporting defenses that is very very tough to crack. But i assure you it can be done with the right spell selection…smarter liches, cast improved invisibility, spell immunity abjuration, protection from energy, spell immunity divination and protection from magic weapons. Whew! thats a lot of spells, but you really have to understand why smarter liches cast so many spells…
First, protection from magic weapons and protection from energy stops physical attacks and area effect spells cold. (since the smarter lich script casts and stacks protection from energy, it is completely immune to elemental spells and spells like abi dahzim’s horrid wilting) Then spell immunity abjuration will stop remove magic(dispell magic, including inquisitor dispell) cold. So now you must remove the spell immunity so remove magic (or dispell) can work, right?
Now the spells that remove spell immunity are spell strike, ruby ray of reversal, and khelbens warding whip…ALL spells that must be targetted on a single target. So now you understand why the lich casts improved invisibility and spell immunity divination…You may not target improved invisible creatures with single target spells. The game engine will not allow you to target improved invisible creatures with spells, until you get rid of the improved invisibility…and spell immunity divination will make the lich immune to true sight… a seemingly closed loop.
However, i have found out that Chain Contingency spell will target improved invisible creatures with single target spells!!!! (this is covered above in the Spell Cheeses section). So when killing smarter liches, (or smarmy liches) the procedure goes like this…. First, you must first isolate the target. Using a spell triggered triple sunfire will do a good job of blasting into paste the smarmy liches friends, the skeleton warriors and mummies smarter liches comes with. Then immediately after the sunfire fries its friends, move your mage or sorc close to the lich, and while paused, cast chain contingency, nearest enemy, a triple ruby ray of reversal. Ruby ray is an alteration spell, so it is not stopped by spell immunity abjuration, like khelbens warding whip and other anti-spell immunity spells. Why a triple? I have noticed a while back, that wes put spell shield in the script for undead sola, so you triple it to blast past the spell shield. (spell shield will automatically absorb and negate ONE spell protection removal spell, so the first ruby ray will break the spell shield, and the next two will break 2 spell immunities…spell immunity abjuration and divination.
Now the lich has just lost spell immunity abjuration and divination, so a triple spell sequenced remove magic, or true sight will work. Why true sight? Once you true sight the lich, it loses its improved invisibility, so if for any reason it still has spell immunity abjuration up, you can now target it with ruby ray again. Once you remove magic and it succeeds, bash it to death with a weapon, or cast abi dazim’s horrid wilting on it, since the remove magic will bring down protection from magic weapons, stoneskin and protection from energy.
02/02/2007 - Addendum: Lark at the Gamebanshee forums pointed out the triple Ruby Ray of Reversal in a Chain Contingency strategy can be easily avoided using items which cast magic protection removal spells: Items that you can cast spells with, for example the Wand of Spell Striking, whose second function is Pierce Magic, or for example a scroll of Spell Strike, IGNORE Improved Invisibility. In addition, late in Throne of Bhaal you can acquire the Rod of Reversal. (one Ruby ray of Reversal charge, usable by fighters)
Spell Immunity: Abjuration will not stop any Spell Protection Remover, not even those that are of the abjuration school (such as Pierce Magic, such as Spell Strike). So when confronted with such a spell defense, simply point your Wand of Spell Striking at the opponent and cast Pierce Magic twice or use a scroll of Spell Strike, preferable by a Simulacrum. This is much simpler than using a Chain Contingency of triple RRoR, such as UseRUnfriendly proposes, and moreover usable by a bard. Thanks Lark!
The Inquisitor and wizard slayer obviously have the edge here, since True Sight and dispel magic works wonders (mostly). Other paladins better try to acquire Carsomyr before hunting liches as it dispels magic on hit. But you still can’t dispel invisibility with protection from Divination… The only option is to wait until the spell wears off. As a non-spellcaster, four things are very very important to have and use.
Potion of Magic Protection in particular, with some Potions of Heroism and possibly a potion of invulnerability. The most important aspect of fightning mages is of course magic resistance. There are many cheesy ways to exploit potion usage if you really want to do it (read the details in the link on Top). Luckily, those effects usually stack wit your innate protection values! Be sure to buy as many oil of speeds as you can and use the divide & conquer strategy to your advantage! Don’t go rushing into a battle with multiple mages.
Another no-brainer. As overpowered as the Cloak of mirroring is, you will be needing it, badly. Don’t depend on it however, since most high level mages and liches cast area of effect damaging spells and won’t target you directly. Plus reflection has been removed in Throne of Bhaal - but that doesn’t matter since mages are more heavily protected from anything than you probably will be. Equip as much magic resistance stuff as needed. Drag some special helmets and armor along with you for occasional spell effect disruption (protection from negative plane, level drain, death spells, etc). Always carry some sort of anti-undead weapon with you! (Daystar, Azuredge, Mace of Disruption) Notable “special” combinations include: Ranged attacks: Arrow of Spell Disruption (armorsmith in Waukeen’s Promenade) + Arrow of Biting to pierce through most shields and - hopefully - dispel them, while doing acid damage over time to disrupt his new protection spellcasting. Will need to be timed just right to work! Greater Malison (lvl4 arcane) or Doom (lvl1 divine) from item charges + Azuredge axe to instant-kill undead. Cloak of Mirroring + Vhailor’s helm (Simulacrum) (+ restore scroll on your mirror) + potions/items in quickslots. Extremely cheesy. Ring of Energy and the Ram do 2-12 and 5-30 damage, there’s no save. The never used weapon class clubs: Gnasher. Does damage over time to disrupt casting.
You can’t initially use any arcane or divine scrolls. But! The “green” scrolls can be cast by anyone. The most important scrolls are - again: Restoration, protection from various elements and especially Undead. Combine these with the previous strategies and you’ll have near 90% Magic Resistance, good enough to take on multiple Abi-Dalzim’s Horrid Wiltings. Rogues get the upper hand here with the HLA Use Any Item. Actually, if you love cheese, there’s a way for other characters to use ALL scroll types, without even consuming them! (If you did not install Baldurdash patches that is). Check out xyz’s cheese guide.
The spider figurine, the djinni summoning lamp, dryads, whatever. As long as the enemy targets most spells on them instead of on you, you’re safe for a few more rounds. This will also help greatly in the “waiting out” technique until the most important protections have been removed. Be careful though: improved mages will have access to multiple sequencers and recast those much needed protections right away - even sometimes from scrolls. Keep on casting backup from items as much as possible (scimularium helmet + restoration = lol).
I recently discovered this tactic myself, but I’m sure you are probably aware of it. I do not think this is an exploited bug, as the scrolls directly state the post-cast effects. Anyway, if you like killing mages and liches with a few strikes without any hassle, this is for you. All you need is one Scroll from Protection of Undead or for other mages Scroll from Protection of Magic, bought at the Adventure’s Markt in Athkatla. The undead scroll results in liches completely ignoring you. Wow. I thought (demi-) liches weren’t affected by this scroll? Seems I was wrong (ToB and baldurdash fixpack installed…). Do as you like, even if they turn hostile, they just stand there. Without protection, whacking three times results in complete destruction. How lame…
Secondly, casting protection from magic ON the mage/lich instead of on you result in all his offensive and defensive spells failing! As the scroll describes, all magic is rendered useless within the cast sphere, so not only from outside to in, but also from the inside to out. Wow again. They try casting stoneskin, mantle, globe of invulnerability, Gate, and whatever: all spells fail. Activate your favourite offensive mode and kill them without any need of Breach or so. The scrolls are rather pricey (3.000 GP? Or more?) And I only found two of them, so use them wisely. Or don’t use them at all as it takes away any challenge…