Saturday, June 11, 2011

Companion Trainer Spells

So... I wrote a new mod last night; but I haven't uploaded it anywhere because I'm not sure of the appeal.

As I have mentioned in non-specifics before, in my recent Oblivion games I've been toying heavily with a mod set called Lovers; a rather expansive and modular group of files that adds many... more adult aspects to the game.

One of these that the scripting behind has so captured my fascination, is a sub-set called Tomago Club. Basically, what it does is add pregnancy to the game for females (NPCs and player both). Now, this isn't some lame mod where after a certain number of acts or random percentage or whatever an NPC just magically gets knocked up. It adds full menstrual cycles; ovulation, the whole bit. Once the bun be in the oven, the NPC or player carries to term (though reduced length -- I don't think I've ever even seen an Oblivion game that could go 9 months of game days without the saves getting corrupt...). When the time is up (presuming that the mod settings on miscarriage and so forth let it reach that far) a new NPC is spawned, with the mother's hair color and similar features.

It took awhile to get working, but once I did I've played about a game-month, and now seem to have several kids around. Whoopsie.

Mods like MCS that I linked to before let you take the kids as companions; whether to move them to a new location, or to have them along on adventures -- but the problem is that they don't match level with the player (even at a reduced rate), and they default to Commoner class, I think it is. Which means less than ten hit points and no discernible weapon skills. Take them along on an adventure, and they die. Quickly.

MCS allows setting essential, but it doesn't have any provision for class or level. You can set such things via the console, but setting class via hex gets old fast.

So. Thinking on this issue the other day, I decided to write a set of "training" spells. A touch-range lesser power, that when cast on an NPC sets their class, combat style, and matches your level. Three spells at the moment: one each for Archer, Mage, and Warrior -- the three most useful general purpose classes I've found for companions.

Unfortunately, I don't know of any function to flag them as auto-leveling, so the spells just match your level at the time of casting; though I did condition all the spell effects so that it only applies the ones needed at the time -- EG: if you cast the mage trainer and the NPC is already a mage, it won't set the class and add spells again; if they're already your level it won't change the level again.

The trouble is, the spells have what you might call a limited appeal. I don't know any of my audience here that uses Lovers; and the spells aren't good for a lot else. If you use MCS or EZ or whatever to take general NPCs as your companions it might be useful; but those are more easily reset via the CS. The spells here are really only useful for game-generated NPCs that can't be edited any other way.

They appear to work fine; I've only had occasion to use the spells twice since writing the mod -- once for a mage and once for a warrior -- and both times went without a hitch.

Of course, I suppose I could just direct you all to the Lovers forums to get you running the mods... Spread the love, as it were.

...'Course, then you guys would probably want my edited plugins, too...


  1. I think such a plugin is definitely worthy of upload.

    "But why, Herculine? You prefer CM Partners and could use the CS to make a companion anything you want?"

    Well, for the same reason that I don't use the console commands to cheat my way through this or any other game. It can take all of the fun out of it.

    There's a similar mod that I use that allows me to teach spells that I've learned to my companions. This is especially handy with mods like Midas Magic. Sure, I could use the CS to give them every spell imaginable, but again where's the fun in that?

    For the sake of example, let's say I've got Divine Avenger's Talitha following me around. She's a thief when she's added to the game, but I'm more of a spellcasting warrior and I'd like to teach her my skills and spells through in-game interation rather than CS trickery. I guess you could say it would add a sense of immersion.

    I'd like to see your mod with a full range of spells and I'd use it, and I think others might feel the same way and use the spells regardless of the companion system(s) they are running.

  2. Interaction, not "interation".

    I hate having to proof-read to determine which red squiggly underscores I need to ignore and which are valid...

  3. I fully plan on giving Oblivion another try once I get my computer rebuild.

    Sadly, that requires me getting un-lazy and doing it. It's also putting many other projects behind schedule, include my attempts to learn the mod tools so I can make my "James Bond Villain base" player housing for FNV. Since FO3 seems to have one or two that will serve nicely

  4. Herculine, define "full range of spells" if you would?

    The ones I included were just a handful, really. Heal self, heal other, shock damage; novice to master -- on the theory that they'll cast the most powerful spell their skill level allows in the situation.

    That said, the scripting is simple enough. I can add quite literally any spells you'd like -- up to and including the script length limit, of course.

    I am thinking of upgrading it to a single spell, though. My menu-fu is a bit weak in Oblivion though, so that may be more trouble than I think...

  5. It does sound generally useful and other people running Tomago Club would probably appreciate it too.

  6. @Kirtai:

    The thought had occurred to pop over to the Lovers forums and inquire about interest there. I haven't seen a similar functionality in any of the existing plugins.

    Though, I don't know how many are actually translated -- there may well be one that does that already.

  7. Sorry, I didn't mean that your plug-in should reference every spell known to man and mer; we have the "Teach Spells to Others" mod that I mentioned for that.

    I was just saying that the part about a spell to teach your companions new general skills and trades that they did not previously possess -- teaching my thief companion conjuration, for example -- without having to exit the game and fire up the CS would be a neat and useful thing to have and I would definitely DL it, use it and endorse it.

  8. Well, yeah, I suppose the script could be set up to teach specific spell-sets. Can't use leveled lists in that way, but blocks of individual spells could be used.

    Though, I do have to note that I'm not sure NPCs can cast spells that are above their skill level, and I don't remember the thief class having conjuration as a skill... so I'm not sure how many spells they'd be able to use without getting into custom classes.

  9. I get what you're saying; for that to work I'd either have to change the thief's class to a spellcasting class or create a custom class and add it to the plugin. I should've thought of that...

    See, I'm spending so much time with other games I'm starting to forget stuff...

  10. I'm not going to say it's impossible.

    I don't know for sure that NPCs rely on skills like the player does to cast spells. I've never tested it directly.

    Beyond that, it's always possible. Even if increased skills is a requirement, a ModAV function can take care of such things.