Hi folks! I've consulted this site, plus the Dungeon Master Encyclopedia, on and off for a couple of years and have found them to be an invaluable resource. I've been doing some testing of Dungeon Master 2 and have noticed a few things that are interesting, or are different from what is stated on the encyclopedia, and I wanted to share what I've learned.
SHIELDS & ARMOR
Shield defense power is definitely NOT ignored, despite what the Encyclopedia says. I ran 4 tests (with solo Torham) against one of the guards in the second village and recorded the damage I received with various armor setups. I tested with and without shields (2 Techshields @ 100, total of 200 defense) and with and without a typical set of strong armor (Techplate @ 160, Fire Poleyn @ 88, Techhelm @ 76, Mithral Hosen @ 40 = total of 364 defense). I mention the defense totals above cautiously as I am unsure of their impact. Also note that my tests were not extensive enough to have any confidence in minimum and maximum numbers, but the ranges listed should still be fairly average. Here were my results:
N Armor, N Shields: Avg 71, Range 30-123
N Armor, Y Shields: Avg 41, Range 27-61
Y Armor, N Shields: Avg 39, Range 15-68
Y Armor, Y Shields: Avg 28, Range 07-53
As you can see, just wearing the shields (I never used any actions on them) clearly had an impact on the damage received. However, this impact was smaller both in terms of actual reduction, and proportionate reduction, when other armor was worn. Looking at the damage ranges, shields also appeared to reduce damage more consistently (not stronger, just more consistently) than 4 pieces of armor with different defense ratings. I'm not quite sure what this means as far as mechanics of different body parts being targeted, etc., but shields definitely reduce damage.
WEAPONS & DAMAGE
I also looked into weapons and damage a little bit. My main goal here was just to figure out if, playing as solo Torham, I could do more damage over time by spamming a weaker but faster weapon, such as the dagger, with the first listed attack and just clicking as fast as possible. With a full party the wait time on weapons is never an issue, but with just Torham, there's time left over. The answer here is simpler: early on this is a great tactic, but once you face enemies with significant armor, low damage attacks do little to no damage. In fact the ONLY first slot attack I could find that could compete with the best third-slot attacks (Vorax Berzerk, Excysmyr Melee, Blue Steele Sever) was the Vorax's own Chop -- when spammed, it will do more damage over time than Berzerk, and use less stamina.
I was also able to discover that weapon strength and attack strength both affect damage done, but attack strength makes much more of a difference -- at least at high strength, high fighter skill, and against enemies with armor. That might be different under other circumstances.
STAT GAIN & CHAMPIONS
I looked very briefly at how your stats go up when you increase in skill level. I'm not sure it's exactly the same, but at first glance gains appear to be fairly similar to the ones described on this board for the original DM. I put this information into a spreadsheet and backwards-calculated what we would expect the stats of all 16 Champions would average WITHOUT their already-acquired training. The results were mostly unsurprising. I also added together Str, Dex, Wis, Vit, and Stamina to see who had the most points all around (omitting Health and Mana since gains made at high skill levels far outstrip, and do not depend on, original scores; and omitting Anti-Magic and Anti-Fire due to irrelevance; I also omitted Luck since (1) its effects are poorly understood, and (2) we don't even know if starting with a higher Luck will actually keep it higher throughout the game). Of note:
- The best all-around champions were Bane and Jarod (at 244) followed by Torham and Aliai (at 231); those four champions also have no specific problems or weaknesses. Equus was close behind at 229, but suffers from low Dexterity. The worst scorer was Cordain (at 193) followed by Uggo (at 198).
- Kol Del Tac, despite having mostly excellent scores, has an incredibly low base Stamina -- only 25! (The range for all other champions is 35-67.) Since Stamina gains are always dependent previous Stamina, this explains why his is always a persistent problem.
- All the hardcore magic-users have low Strength. Jarod and Saros are the most tolerable.
- Torham and Saros actually have negative base Mana, if you account for the skill levels they come with. Not that it matters.
I also played around a bit with experience gain. I didn't use any kind of RAM watching tool, which would have made this process much easier and more precise, but I still concluded a few things.
- It was hard to tell if location affects experience gained as it does in DM and CSB. I suspect that either location or enemy difficulty plays a role, though.
- Compared to original DM, doing things while in combat seems to make more of a difference.
- Anecdotally, casting a new spell (or an old spell at a higher power level) seems more likely to trigger skill gain than casting an old spell. This observation could be explained in many ways, particularly by observer bias. But, it has persisted through all of my playthroughs.
- In practice, it was more effective for experience to just charge into battle swinging and casting wildly, than to attempt any kind of organized skill-practice session.
- Using weapon actions that are faster or give more experience helped speed things up, but not too dramatically.
- That said, attacking with daggers is definitely the fastest way to improve ninja skill.
- Attacking your own guard minions is a poor way to earn experience. This is in line with original DM where you need to be under attack to get the in-battle bonus.
I don't know how much of this is new, but hopefully it will be useful to someone. Comments are welcome. Criticism is especially welcome -- if I look to be making a poor assumption somewhere, or if I've overlooked something, please correct me!