The Frustrations of Training Inscription

RockRock Posts: 373
edited June 2018 in Skills and Stats
It feels almost to me as if Inscription is designed to be an obnoxious skill to raise.  Let me start with an overview of why I think some of the factors are set up in the manner the way they are.  Basically the scribe is infusing his magic into a scroll for another player's benefit, a player who may have no magic of his own, or insufficient to cast a given spell.  The most common example is probably a player who cannot use either Recall or Sacred Journey, so is dependent on a scribe's pre-charged recall scrolls.  This infusion has consequences:
  1. Lower Reagent Cost (LRC) of the scribe is irrelevant.  The player using the scroll may have no LRC and the scroll magic must have its physical requirements met.
  2. Lower Mana Cost (LMC) of the scribe is irrelevant.  The player using the scroll may have very low mana, and the scribe must provide it himself.
  3. Once a scribe begins training with scrolls of the 7th (40 mana) and 8th (50 mana) circles, his need to regenerate mana becomes the primary brake in training the skill.  Meditation, Focus, and Mana Regeneration (MR) are the only factors the scribe trainee has to mitigate the time sink caused by mana loss.
My scribe, Paper, has just completed a training session where he gained 1.1 skill and is now at 93.1.  He was scribing 8th circle Magery scrolls the whole session.  (One strong positive: the EC inscription gump can be set to its "Last Ten" tab, and clicking the 8th item allows the scribe to easily rotate through all 8 spells of a circle.  The 8th item goes to the top of the list, and what had been the 7th is now the 8th. This helps balance out reagent use.)  Other factors affecting him are has base of 163 mana, Meditation of 100, Focus of 84.1 (set to go down because it's his last non-final skill, and an MR of 21. His irrelevant factors are max LRC and LMC.

Note that Paper doesn't bother with active Meditation any more.  It is the heart of what makes training inscription feel as if it is designed to be obnoxious.  First of all, with 21 MR, there is little difference in mana gain rate between passive and active Meditation.  As I understand how it all works, every 10 points of Meditation is effectively 1 MR in addition to the MR property.  Similarly, every 20 points of Focus is another 1 MR. So his total MR is normally 21 + 10 + 4, or 35.  Turning on active Meditation doubles its effect, raising the sum to 45.  So instead of the effective rate being doubled, it only increases by 10/35, or a little less than 29%.  I would not call that useless, except that turning on active meditation after scribing has a long wait period with no visual indication of when you can actually use it.  If you try to activate it too quickly, yet another delay is added on top of your original delay.  Until I stopped bothering with active Meditation, I was doing a slow count to 15 ("one one hundred, two one hundred" etc) before activating it.  Sometimes even that wasn't enough (I guess I counted too fast), and the 2nd delay was activated. The whole process was too obnoxious for words, and within those 15 seconds he would have over 50 mana anyway and was ready to attempt scribing the next scroll. His current success rate on 8th circle scrolls is 38.2%, so he fails a lot.


  1. Fix active meditation.  Usually the EC does a very good job of indicating when a skill becomes available.  You have made the rules for activating Meditation so ponderous that providing such visual indication is probably too much work.  That's a clear sign this needs to be simplified.  How about, when peaceful, 6 seconds since last activity besides walking and the like, but 12 seconds if engaged in battle.  Don't double down on the delay if a player attempts to activate it prematurely.  Yes, a player should be calm before commencing meditation, but not at the cost of adding new aggravation.
  2. Have the scroll end user provide up to 10 mana, or 50% of the spell's mana cost, whichever is lower.  I think INT has a lower bound of 10, so every character should be capable of this. Using a recall scroll, such as in a runebook charge, would cost 5.5 mana (normally 11 to cast, 0 currently as a scroll). The end-user's LMC property would lower this cost proportionately.   This future mana would be deducted from the mana cost of inscribing a scroll, assuming the end user has no LMC.  The scribe's LMC property would still be non-functional, however. The cost of making an 8th circle scroll would go down from 50 to 40, a 7th circle down from 40 to 30, etc.
  3. Keep ignoring the scribe's LRC property and have him use the full ingredients.  Perhaps an inscription failure would only use reagents 80% of the time.  These sorts of failures could be ascribed to reagent mismanagement, such as looking for them in the wrong spot, or misgrabbing the wrong ones.

Rock (formerly Imperterritus VXt, Baja)


  • Petra_FydePetra_Fyde Posts: 427
    The more frequently used method of gaining the higher skills is to write spellbooks. More expensive to buy the scrolls, but far less frustrating. Recall to a few carpentry (real estate) and mage shops buying scrolls. End in a mage shop, write as many books as you can, sell them to the mage npc then move on to the next group of shops. Some map maker npcs also sell scrolls and there are 2 extra real estate vendors in Skara, near the mayor.
  • RockRock Posts: 373
    edited June 2018
    @Petra_Fyde, thank you!  I knew some map makers sold blank scrolls but did not know about the real estate agents.  I had not thought of crafting spellbooks.

    I see that the success chance of an 8th circle spell is currently 36.2% but 43.1% for spellbooks. Magery, Mysticism, and Necromancy books all have the same chance of success, and require 10 blank scrolls.  Crafting 8th circle scrolls costs a blank, 3 or 4 reagents, and 50 mana.  No mana for creating the spellbooks! How did I not know that before?? I see that an NPC mage will buy an empty magery book for 9 gp, while 10 blank scrolls cost 50 gp total, or a 41 gp fixed cost.  Selling back scrolls almost balances out the cost, depending on how many reagents were used (# of failures).  But not needing mana is a major win!  Even if skill gain rate is slightly lower due to the books being slightly easier to make, it still seems like a big win.  The extra reagents I have accumulated can be used in Paper's Alchemy training.
    I still like my suggestions in the OP, though.  They just don't feel as important now.

    /add Heh, I just noticed the Baja Trammel Skara Brae only has one real estate vendor, but two mayors.
    Rock (formerly Imperterritus VXt, Baja)
  • Arroth_ThaielArroth_Thaiel Posts: 255
    edited June 2018

    Also, Scrolls of Alacrity and Scrolls of Transcendence if you have access to them, or cash for them. I know that using Transcendence scrolls isn't training the skill, but hey, it's part of the game now, may as well factor it in.

  • RockRock Posts: 373
    @Arroth_Thaiel, I have no aversion to using Scrolls of Transcendence, and there is a possibility that my two characters on Baja who engage in trade deals will end up with Inscription one(s).  Heck, I mean I already have a Taste Identification one -- Inscription can't be far behind!

    Paper may use an alternative methodology to gathering blank scrolls than that mentioned by @Petra_Fyde. I noticed that Occlo has 3 mages and a cashual selling blank scrolls in the Sorcerer's Guild, and there are two mapmakers at the Anchors Aweight shop across town.  (Only one of them seems to sell blank scrolls, though.  Since he has not yet finished training Magery yet, he can hang out in town and run his 10-repeat EC magery training macro several times, buy what blank scrolls have become available, use them, go back to magery training for a while, etc.

    On a somewhat embarrassing note, Paper was created in 1999, and he has never completed his goal template.  (There was an 8-year break when I had stopped playing, but still...) So if you think training is taking forever, you can most likely say, "At least I'm quicker than Paper!"  His skills are:
    skill       curnt  goal
    Alchemy 65.5 100
    Eval Int 100 100
    Inscription 93.2 100
    Magery 97.2 120
    Meditation 100 100
    Resist 100 100
    Wrestling 80.5 100
    I realize most players would have shifted to a 6x build when Power Scrolls were added, but Paper is stubborn. If anyone is interested, he is training Magery while holding a -26 mage weapon.  His EC macro is set to 10 repeats of:
    1. delay(3)
    2. Polymorph (defaulted to polar bear), level 7, 13% success chance
    3. delay(4)
    4. Invisibility (self), level 6, 48% success chance
    5. delay(4)
    6. Magic Reflection, level 5, 83% success chance
    (I've convinced myself that doing more than one thing might be increasing his chances of a gain.) That's almost 2 minutes per sequence, so after a number of runs he checks the vendors for more blank scrolls, and he scribes if he finds them.  Since the number of scrolls a vendor offer doubles each time they become available (up to 500 I think), Paper should be able to eventually have a steady supply just in Occlo.
    Rock (formerly Imperterritus VXt, Baja)
  • Petra_FydePetra_Fyde Posts: 427
    edited June 2018
    Ocllo is indeed an excellent choice, but you're going in the wrong direction. Instead of the map maker, head to the library, where you will find four scribes you can buy from. 
    The main drawback is, it's a  VvV town, you'll have to leave if a battle commences there.
    oh and scrolls double up till they reach 999
  • RockRock Posts: 373
    edited June 2018
    @Petra_Fyde, dayam!  Three mages, three cashuals (I missed two initially), one mapmaker, and four scribes.  That's 11 sellers of blank scrolls in one town.  I'm not sure even Luna has that many.  I'm not too bothered by the VvV stuff.  I have yet to see an actual battle.  The bigger hassle for me is that you cannot recall or gate to a town during battle.
    Rock (formerly Imperterritus VXt, Baja)
  • Petra_FydePetra_Fyde Posts: 427
    I think there should be 3 cashuls - there are on Europa. You do realise if you stay in town during a battle you'll go 'orange'?
  • RockRock Posts: 373
    edited June 2018
    @Petra_Fyde, I edited my post to correct the cashual count. Thank you for the correction.  You actually came to Baja to verify this while I was there.

    If a battle does start while I'm in town, I'll recall out, if possible.  So far I've been in several towns that have gone to battle mode, but I have yet to see any sign of battle, or other players for that matter.  Most of the few players on Baja avoid Felucca.  That's actually a factor in making Occlo a great place to do this.  I don't have to compete for scrolls with anyone. (That has not often been a factor, but it happens.)
    Rock (formerly Imperterritus VXt, Baja)
  • RockRock Posts: 373
    Paper made GM scribe and mage today.  :)

    I misunderstand the conditions under which spellbooks with properties are made.  I had thought that once he achieved GM in both Inscription and Magery, then any exceptional spellbook would have at least one property.  Having made several, I now know that not to be true.  What I mis-remembered was that an exceptional spellbook with 100 Magery would have one prperty, two properties once 110 Magery is reached, and three properties at 120 Magery.  Also Paper is going to have to get a talisman for Inscription -- without one, he has only a 5% chance to make an exceptional book.

    I am wondering:
    1. How often will exceptional spellbooks occur?
    2. Is the property count something like, "up to 1 property at 100 Magery, up to 2 properties at 110 Magery, and up to 3 properties at 120 Magery"?  Or is it more complicated than even that?
    3. Do only Magery books get properties, or might Necromancy and Mysticism books get properties too?
    4. Are there things a GM scribe should know that I don't have enough knowledge to even ask about? (I.e., something not mentioned herein.)
    @Arroth_Thaiel, he did use 2 pinks in the final lap to achieve GM Inscription. They were not vital; he seemed to be averaging steady gains of 0.1 skill every 320 scrolls (1600 gp).  However the gold and time saved was appreciated.  He had all 11 Occlo scroll vendors respawning 999 scrolls in their inventory before he was through.  They were spawning faster than he could use them.  Near being done, I made a global announcement letting folks who needed scrolls to come to Occlo and feast.  Someone who heard that gave me one of the pinks.

    @Petra_Fyde thank you again for your guidance.
    Rock (formerly Imperterritus VXt, Baja)
  • RockRock Posts: 373
    Question 1 of my previous post should have read:
    1. How often will exceptional spellbooks with properties occur?

    Rock (formerly Imperterritus VXt, Baja)
  • CinderellaCinderella Posts: 394
    If you are making spellbooks, you can also turn them in at the library
  • BasaraBasara Posts: 99
    Over a decade ago, one of the devs brought up a possibility of having LRC affect inscription (for the regs, not the blank scrolls; was also mentioned for alchemy) at a "Real total-100" level.

    While that was shot down then (rightly so), it would be totally wrong to do now. After all, back then, you might have been able to squeeze out 160-180% LRC on a suit with an AoF, Pendant of the Magi, Stitcher's Mittens, etc. but it would have been an expensive suit for a non-combat character (even if it was one of the cursed AoFs). These days, you can hit 200% easy with loot/reforged (that is likely to have obscene Mana Regen levels).

    On the other hand, LMC should play some part in making the scrolls. Typically, a maxed out scribe can make 5 8th level scrolls before having to wait for mana regen (4 scrolls, then what's left plus the passive regen during the crafting process being enough for a 5th). As it is, mana gets used twice in scrolls (making and using).

    Suggestions I would have for scroll manufacture would be one of the following:
    1. No LMC use, but as Magery (at least) scrolls cast difficulty is as a spell 2 levels lower, reduce the scribing mana cost the same way.
    2. OR, let LMC work on scroll crafting. After all, even if LMC worked on scrolls, there would still be AT LEAST 120% of the normal casting cost (60% mana from caster, 60% mana from crafter, after subtracting 40% LMC) invested in the spell.
    3. A third option would probably be the hardest to program. Have LMC affect scribing at some reduced amount (say, actual total -50%, so you would have to be overcapped by a significant amount to see an effect). It would increase the value (theoretically) for a number of otherwise-junk pieces of armor/jewelry for a short time, as people assembled scribe suits.
  • RockRock Posts: 373
    @Basara, good ideas.
    Rock (formerly Imperterritus VXt, Baja)
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