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Okay, I have to ask.

Skull Mage

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Okay, I have to ask.

Postby DomingoRules! » Wed Mar 01 2017 11:24am

How much HP exactly does the damn Skull Mage in Scenario 1 have? Granted I won the fight with only two casualties (the most I've had so far in a battle), it was so ridiculous that for a while I thought the reason he had ??? HP was because the game was simply keeping it concealed for the sake of a more uncertain battle. In turn, that got me very curious.
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Re: Okay, I have to ask.

Postby ZethaPonderer » Wed Mar 01 2017 6:00pm

1000 HP!!!!! Yes, the Skull Mage is probably the toughest enemy in SF3 - Scenario 1. Hate when he uses Soul Steal lvl2. Have your luck stat at 8 to never suffer instant death from that Spell.
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Re: Okay, I have to ask.

Postby DomingoRules! » Wed Mar 01 2017 8:23pm

Fortunately, of the two times he used that spell, it only killed Obright. Unfortunately, the one character he just had to exhaust with that was Obright, which is probably one of the most painful characters to lose in terms of reducing friendship bonuses.

Other than that, and one needless scare when the dragon rushed Noon, the only loss I suffered was when he solo hit Eldar with Tiamet because I got a bit antsy after rushing his wizard allies with a barrage of Spark Lv. 2-3 spells, not knowing if that would trigger the boss into moving.

I also found the Slow spell to be fairly useful. With all that HP, I feel like that extra few points of damage with every hit started to add up. It also got me thinking that Slow is probably a lot more useful on higher difficulties, but that's another topic entirely.
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Re: Okay, I have to ask.

Postby MCRT » Wed Mar 01 2017 11:10pm

Yeah, the Skull Mage is a resistant cookie :)
But I like how they balanced his damage capacity due giving him Soul Steal (when it hits multiple, it is more likely that someone wil get killed) and a high level Summon (kills any solo-hit without resist), therefore he actually requires some preparation to be sure that you will have no losses.

Slow affects every enemy, even the last bosses, so yeah on higher difficulties it will make your life easier (in addition to enabling ridiculous powerlevelling due to the fixed exp-points)
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Re: Okay, I have to ask.

Postby DomingoRules! » Thu Mar 02 2017 1:25am

Yeah, I love how the spell actually works. I never used it in other games because it didn't do enough for how unreliable it was to hit. On very rare occasions in older games, I would still use things like Dispel or Sleep, but Slow never felt like the payoff was worth the risk of missing.

I also noticed, and really like that approach to the Skull Mage. His spell selection really puts the player in a situation quite unlike most other bosses. Typically with a boss, there's a safe solution to the problem. With him however, the player is forced to choose what they believe to be the lesser of two evils, then hope their decision pays off. Considering how Eldar was hit for I believe 81 damage by Tiamet though, I imagine it's a rather tough spell to survivably resist. The best bet would probably be a mage or healer with Resist cast on them, but even then they don't have a whole lot of HP to withstand the blow.

Then of course there's also Sleep, but throughout the entire battle he didn't use that once. Made me wonder if casting that is just rare, or it only exists to make the boss seem a bit more intimidating than he actually is, like some enemies in Shining Force 2 who have spells such as Boost that they never use.
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Re: Okay, I have to ask.

Postby MCRT » Sat Mar 04 2017 3:10pm

Yeah, it also keeps the Skull Mage dangerous even when your Force really overpowered.

Poor Eldar... but even with resist the most high summons will outright kill most party members without giant HP-bars.
The highest damage his Tiamat can cause to one character is something around 100 HP (without dark reistance). But thankfully this is very rare.

I also cannot remember to see him casting sleep, but unlike the older SF titles I guess he would actually use it when the corresponding triggers are present, for example: all force members in range are grouped and all have a luck stat of 8, or somthing comparable.
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Re: Okay, I have to ask.

Postby DomingoRules! » Sun Mar 05 2017 1:19am

Yes, but at least she served me well in the second battle of that trial area. While everybody else basically just hung back, she flew straight up the pyramid to reach the battle's boss. She may not have the best stats in the game, but just the ability to fly alone I feel made her a huge asset throughout the game in ways no other character could match.
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Re: Okay, I have to ask.

Postby Lord Kane » Sun Mar 05 2017 9:53pm

MCRT wrote:The highest damage his Tiamat can cause to one character is something around 100 HP (without dark reistance). But thankfully this is very rare.

I also cannot remember to see him casting sleep, but unlike the older SF titles I guess he would actually use it when the corresponding triggers are present, for example: all force members in range are grouped and all have a luck stat of 8, or somthing comparable.


It's only 75 HP, but that's fair enough. ;)

And he never cast Sleep, when I met him, so I don't think, his AI is programmed to ever use it. Tiamat 2 and Soulsteal 2 is terrifying enough. ;)
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Re: Okay, I have to ask.

Postby MCRT » Mon Mar 06 2017 7:36pm

Lord Kane wrote:It's only 75 HP, but that's fair enough. ;)


I knew that posting stat-related statements would summon thee Lord Kane ;)

You're right, it is the base damage of the spell.
But if you remember this topic: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=26474
you will know that I wanted to test the whole spell-critical rumor :)

And while I unfortunately was not able yet to decipher the whole probablitys behind it and if it can be changed by "+critical-chance"-bonusses (at first i thought yes, but recent tests could not confirm it), what I can confirm is the following: spells do have a crit-like mechanic that is outside of the regular +/- 3 points random damage variance range :thumbsup:

The knack about it is: it is changes the damage by multiplication (kind of like the crits of SF II) unlike the physical crits/specials, which add a damage value.
Crits happen with all damage spells, but due to the damage multiplication they will just be far more obvious the stronger the spell is. The multiplicators (after random variance & resistance) are 100% (normal hit) and approximately 120% (crit) and approximately 140% (heavy crit)

You can test it yourself when you are patient enough ;)
Take a strong spellcaster, save your game and zap a poor helpless enemy. Note down the damage and reload.
Do this around 50 times (it makes no difference if you use savestates or regular saves, I did both to confirm if crits exist).
My first test spell was Thor 2 casted by Brigit (base 99) on a poor Lizardman in the Heroes test. I do not have my notes with the exact numbers at hand, but you will mostly see damage around 95-103 points. But from time to time you will also see damage around 124 (but never something between 110 and 120) and in rare cases even up to 147 points damage (but still with a clear never touched gap between the 2 higher possible ranges).

As all this number are from the same situation, the same caster, the same spell and the same victim, just repeated again and again and again... there is no way to explain this with normal damage variance or enemy resistances.
This may also be he reason why the Goldbeak-special sometimes also breaks the 100 damage frontier against enemys that are not weak against the element of the spell, despite having no weapon or affinity bonus to increase the damage.

Back to initial topic... even if I did no tests if this applies for enemy spells as well, I see no reason why they should be excluded from this mechanic and therefore in rare cases the Tiamat 2 spell of the Skull Mage should be able to reach 100 damage with a "heavy crit" ;)
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Re: Okay, I have to ask.

Postby Lord Kane » Mon Mar 20 2017 2:56pm

MCRT wrote:
I knew that posting stat-related statements would summon thee Lord Kane ;)


Right, your summon spell worked well. ;)

MCRT wrote:Crits happen with all damage spells, but due to the damage multiplication they will just be far more obvious the stronger the spell is. The multiplicators (after random variance & resistance) are 100% (normal hit) and approximately 120% (crit) and approximately 140% (heavy crit)


That is really new to me, that there are two kinds of magical critical hits! I tested much on magic attacks to find out certain resistances, but I never tested on the critical hits. So I can't verify/falsify this. [/quote]

MCRT wrote:My first test spell was Thor 2 casted by Brigit (base 99) on a poor Lizardman in the Heroes test. I do not have my notes with the exact numbers at hand, but you will mostly see damage around 95-103 points. But from time to time you will also see damage around 124 (but never something between 110 and 120) and in rare cases even up to 147 points damage (but still with a clear never touched gap between the 2 higher possible ranges).


Very interesting! I'll add here something, when i get access to my numbers soon.

MCRT wrote:Back to initial topic... even if I did no tests if this applies for enemy spells as well, I see no reason why they should be excluded from this mechanic and therefore in rare cases the Tiamat 2 spell of the Skull Mage should be able to reach 100 damage with a "heavy crit" ;)


Here I have to interfere. Enemies don't get critical hits with magic spells, I'm 100% sure! It's a "Force only" thing like counter attacks (while there are few exceptions).
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Re: Okay, I have to ask.

Postby MCRT » Tue Mar 21 2017 12:02am

Lord Kane wrote:
MCRT wrote:
I knew that posting stat-related statements would summon thee Lord Kane ;)


Right, your summon spell worked well. ;)


I practiced a lot until I had the perfect formula :lol:


Lord Kane wrote:
MCRT wrote:Crits happen with all damage spells, but due to the damage multiplication they will just be far more obvious the stronger the spell is. The multiplicators (after random variance & resistance) are 100% (normal hit) and approximately 120% (crit) and approximately 140% (heavy crit)


That is really new to me, that there are two kinds of magical critical hits! I tested much on magic attacks to find out certain resistances, but I never tested on the critical hits. So I can't verify/falsify this.


Yeah, it was also one of the main surprises for me.
In one of my recent tests those "heavy crits" did not happen when the caster had no weapon experienced with the equipped weapon(no weapon equipped. But as those tests were only 25 trials each time, this also could just have been random chance. So there is still a lot of things to find out.

I just noticed that the spell affinity can be changed with the SF 3 Editor, maybe I can confirm more accurate percentages (and if those are spell related or general) on my next test run with an elemental affinity stat of 100 :evilgrin:


Lord Kane wrote:
MCRT wrote:My first test spell was Thor 2 casted by Brigit (base 99) on a poor Lizardman in the Heroes test. I do not have my notes with the exact numbers at hand, but you will mostly see damage around 95-103 points. But from time to time you will also see damage around 124 (but never something between 110 and 120) and in rare cases even up to 147 points damage (but still with a clear never touched gap between the 2 higher possible ranges).


Very interesting! I'll add here something, when i get access to my numbers soon.


I am really looking forward to see your numbers.

Lord Kane wrote: I tested much on magic attacks to find out certain resistances


I just noticed that you can actually review the elemental resistances and spell affinities of the enemies in the editor. If you have no full list yet, I wanted to note down all this information anyway on my next playthrough :thumbsup:

Lord Kane wrote:
MCRT wrote:Back to initial topic... even if I did no tests if this applies for enemy spells as well, I see no reason why they should be excluded from this mechanic and therefore in rare cases the Tiamat 2 spell of the Skull Mage should be able to reach 100 damage with a "heavy crit" ;)


Here I have to interfere. Enemies don't get critical hits with magic spells, I'm 100% sure! It's a "Force only" thing like counter attacks (while there are few exceptions).


Yeah, from this point this makes sense. In this case, the maximum damage would be 75 + whatever the dark affinity stat of the Skull Mage is (at least for the party members that do not have negative dark resistance)

Oh my, this is some real learning through discourse, Sokrates would be proud of us :lol:
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