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fizzix
March 28, 2012, 04:55
It has always seemed to me that the curse weapon and curse armor scrolls are very poor gameplay. The main problem is that they can be avoided, and the way of avoiding them is either hackish (Identify) or tedious (remove all armor, read unknown scroll). They also do not agree to me with what a cursed item should be.

However, the effects of the curse scroll is ok. Having something blast an item in your inventory is pretty good gameplay, albeit frustrating. (The sticky-item part sucks though, but we've discussed that ad nauseam already).

So, a crazy idea I had would be to remove the curse scrolls as they currently exist, and then give a small chance for every scroll to be cursed. A cursed scroll, when read, does the appropriate effect, but also invokes a curse. The curse can scale with the level of the scroll. So reading a cursed ?phase will have a small effect, like causing 5 turn blindness, but reading a cursed ?mass banishment could have a large effect, like junking your nice artifact sword. This also means that timed effect curses or small damage curses will have a place, since some scrolls will be read in tricky situations.

The idea came to me while thinking about scrolls, but it can also apply to spells and other consumables etc. Having cursed wands/rods/staves sucks because of stacking issues. But we certainly could have items and spells backfire, which for gameplay purposes is basically the same. If you fail to cast a spell or use an item, you have to roll again. If you fail twice, the item/spell backfires.

All consumables: scrolls, staves, wands, rods, potions have slightly different characteristics, so curses/backfirings can be tailored appropriately.

relic
March 28, 2012, 12:15
You want Angband to move into NetHack direction, eh? :D

Mikko Lehtinen
March 28, 2012, 12:54
It has always seemed to me that the curse weapon and curse armor scrolls are very poor gameplay. The main problem is that they can be avoided, and the way of avoiding them is either hackish (Identify) or tedious (remove all armor, read unknown scroll). They also do not agree to me with what a cursed item should be.

I think I've managed to make the gameplay a bit more interesting in Fay. (Ey already had different Curse Equipment scrolls, and I've tweaked them further.)

A Curse Equipment scroll has about 2/5 chance of cursing each worn equipment. So in order to identify the scroll by use you want to be wearing at least two or three pieces of "bad" equipment. If no equipment gets cursed, you will not learn the scroll's type.

There are also dangerous summoning scrolls of several different types to make getting naked before reading scrolls more dangerous! I just realized that I should probably make one extra tweak: the level of summoned monsters should depend on your maximum depth, not your current depth, to make reading scrolls in town more risky.

I agree it can be a bit tedious. But because there are big enough risks and rewards involved, I think identifying scrolls by use is actually quite fun, for me at least.

Two caveats:
- Identify scrolls/effects need to be quite scarce to make id by use worth it.
- If there are too many scroll types, identifying by use gets tedious. For this reason I've removed lots of "boring" scrolls and potions from the game.

fizzix
March 28, 2012, 14:19
You want Angband to move into NetHack direction, eh?
I never got too far in NetHack, can you elaborate?

I think I've managed to make the gameplay a bit more interesting in Fay. (Ey already had different Curse Equipment scrolls, and I've tweaked them further.)

A Curse Equipment scroll has about 2/5 chance of cursing each worn equipment. So in order to identify the scroll by use you want to be wearing at least two or three pieces of "bad" equipment. If no equipment gets cursed, you will not learn the scroll's type.

There are also dangerous summoning scrolls of several different types to make getting naked before reading scrolls more dangerous! I just realized that I should probably make one extra tweak: the level of summoned monsters should depend on your maximum depth, not your current depth, to make reading scrolls in town more risky.

I agree it can be a bit tedious. But because there are big enough risks and rewards involved, I think identifying scrolls by use is actually quite fun, for me at least.

Two caveats:
- Identify scrolls/effects need to be quite scarce to make id by use worth it.
- If there are too many scroll types, identifying by use gets tedious. For this reason I've removed lots of "boring" scrolls and potions from the game.

I think this probably aligns with mostly with my thinking. The only difference is that if possible I'd like cursed items to be more than a "once-a-game" issue, which means that I don't really like flavored bad items. I'd rather have the bad items be replaced with bad effects for failing/cursed good items.

ID by use is certainly fun, and I'd really hate for optimal gameplay to require forced scrounging for ?ID because the risks are too great.

Mikko Lehtinen
March 28, 2012, 14:48
I think this probably aligns with mostly with my thinking. The only difference is that if possible I'd like cursed items to be more than a "once-a-game" issue, which means that I don't really like flavored bad items.

I think there are too many flavoured bad items in Vanilla for id-by-use. I think I've removed most of them.

However, I want to keep *some* nasty effects in Fay. In Fay, characters with high INT+WIS get more Identify effects, and I want braindead characters to be appropriately punished!

Actually you might have the same thing in mind -- punishing characters with low INT or low magical skills -- because you did mention "bad effects for failing"? How about giving some concrete examples of that?

Also, what kind of tactics could the player use to deal with cursed good scrolls? What matters most is tactically interesting gameplay.

relic
March 28, 2012, 15:07
I never got too far in NetHack, can you elaborate?



Sorry, I read your post a bit hasty. I read it as if you suggested that wands/staves/rods could be cursed, but after rereading I see that you don't.

Well, all, (or most) items in NH are either cursed, uncursed or blessed, with corresponding bad, neutral or good effects when they are used. This has never existed in Angband, so introducing this would be something new. But since I misread, my comment is moot.

Mikko Lehtinen
March 28, 2012, 15:12
Backfiring spells or devices might be perfect for effects that don't have any penalty for failing, for example Identify, Detect Traps, or Satisfy Hunger. At the moment you can just keep trying until you succeed.

BTW, in the dev version of Fay, when you fail to use a device, and then fail Magic Device check again, you lose one charge. This makes Device skill relevant even with Staff of Perception.

buzzkill
March 28, 2012, 16:08
So, a crazy idea I had would be to remove the curse scrolls as they currently exist, and then give a small chance for every scroll to be cursed. A cursed scroll, when read, does the appropriate effect, but also invokes a curse. The curse can scale with the level of the scroll. So reading a cursed ?phase will have a small effect, like causing 5 turn blindness, but reading a cursed ?mass banishment could have a large effect, like junking your nice artifact sword. This also means that timed effect curses or small damage curses will have a place, since some scrolls will be read in tricky situations.

I don't know if I like this. Identified scrolls are currently a no-fail single use magic device. The only no-fail magic device for many classes (well potions too I guess). That no-fail bit is important in a games where a character can go form fully healthy to fully dead in a single turn.

You used phase door as an example and I think that it illustrates my point well. A failed phase door is bad enough (assuming used as a low level escape). Tacking on 5 turns of blindness could easily lead to death, or at the very least another turn wasted curing the blindness (if potions can carry similar hidden curses, then the problem is compounded).

My point is, if already ID'd scrolls are going to be occasionally cursed, then there should be a way to detect such a cursed scroll ahead of time, else you're just screwing the player (rock falls on head, you die), but allowing them to be discovered ahead of time defeats the whole purpose.

Here's my half-baked solution. Forget about that last paragraph. Lesser stack sizes (in inventory) are less likely to be cursed, because carrying large stacks of like items somehow causes corruption. A single scroll will never be cursed, but a stack of two might have a 1% chance of being cursed, of three 2%, of four 3%, and so on. Maybe cap it at 25%.

Non-critical scroll like phase door or detect foo, that are often carried in large stacks, will have relatively high fail/cursed rates when carried in large stacks. Therefore it's in the players best interest not to carry twenty scrolls that are critical to survival (teleport level). It might better to carry just one if you want to be sure, or maybe just two or three if you're feeling lucky.

EDIT: DAJ also does some unusual things with cursed items (or maybe they're mimics) which are interesting. It's been a while since I've played DAJ. Maybe Will will chime in and explain what happens.

AnonymousHero
March 28, 2012, 16:15
Non-critical scroll like phase door or detect foo, that are often carried in large stacks, will have relatively high fail/cursed rates when carried in large stacks. Therefore it's in the players best interest not to carry twenty scrolls that are critical to survival (teleport level). It might better to carry just one if you want to be sure, or maybe just two or three if you're feeling lucky.

... but this interacts badly with elemental destruction of scrolls and potions.

Mikko Lehtinen
March 28, 2012, 16:26
If you wanted to reduce scroll stack sizes, I think the best way would be just to reduce maximum stack sizes. :)

I agree with buzzkill. I wouldn't like to be surprised with a malfunctioning, identified Phase Door scrolls either.

But I would like to know beforehand that a scroll or wand is cursed, and then risk using it anyway if I really needed to.

Maybe items could sometimes become "damaged" when hit with elemental destruction? Using those items would be chancy and dangerous. (If there's no room for a new pile of scrolls in the inventory when they get damaged, drop the damaged scrolls on the ground.)

buzzkill
March 28, 2012, 16:33
... but this interacts badly with elemental destruction of scrolls and potions.

I hadn't thought of that, but the same solution could apply. A single scroll will never be destroyed (in a protective case). Items in larger stacks, more likely to be destroyed.

Derakon
March 28, 2012, 16:55
I like the idea of damaging items affecting their likelihood of working properly. I don't know how well it'd interact with stacks, but it's a neat idea and it makes intuitive sense. Burnt scrolls are hard to read; bent wands can't channel energy properly; charred staves leak magic. Sadly I don't see a way to apply this to potions, since the damage is being done to the container, not the liquid therein.

ghengiz
March 28, 2012, 17:24
I like the idea of damaging items affecting their likelihood of working properly. I don't know how well it'd interact with stacks, but it's a neat idea and it makes intuitive sense. Burnt scrolls are hard to read; bent wands can't channel energy properly; charred staves leak magic. Sadly I don't see a way to apply this to potions, since the damage is being done to the container, not the liquid therein.

What about the potion changes its effect?
The new effect could be a new (random) one, or the same but less powerful...say, a CCW becomes a CSW.


Warning: a bit of chemistry ahead!


Flavour-wise, this can be explained with a change of the equilibrium constant of the potion, due to extreme temperatures, or extraneous components:
the cap could be damaged, and therefore it lets air pass, or part of it mixes with the potions (I'm thinking of very small wood shards)...

Who knows what's in the potions, and what their equilibrium is sensible to? :)

Moreover, a damaged container may leak, and one can imagine that two or more different potions mix in the inventory, giving, with a very small chance, an explosive effect or another random effect...but this is probably too much hassle to code ;)

CunningGabe
March 28, 2012, 18:01
Rather than having cursed scrolls or having wands etc randomly backfire, I'd just like to see some item egos for non-equipment. Some of them could be bad (like the ones Derakon mentions above), but this would also open us up to concentrated potions, fast-charging rods, and similar improvements.

As far as the curse weapon / curse armor scrolls go, I think it would be more interesting to have them randomly either (a) remove a random positive affix, or (b) add a random negative affix, and take away the stickiness entirely. We could then add some new negative affixes to use as curses; for example, an "anti-slay" that reduces damage to a particular type of enemy.

Magnate
March 28, 2012, 18:16
Rather than having cursed scrolls or having wands etc randomly backfire, I'd just like to see some item egos for non-equipment. Some of them could be bad (like the ones Derakon mentions above), but this would also open us up to concentrated potions, fast-charging rods, and similar improvements.These are great ideas, though I fear that most of them will need some infrastructure to work. But there's plenty of room for new flags like fast-charging, or %chance-to-use-without-using-a-charge etc. Double-strength potions are a great idea for the new effects framework (you could implement them without it, but you'd need a lot of if (of_has(o_ptr->flags, OF_DOUBLE)) all over the place). As far as the curse weapon / curse armor scrolls go, I think it would be more interesting to have them randomly either (a) remove a random positive affix, or (b) add a random negative affix, and take away the stickiness entirely. We could then add some new negative affixes to use as curses; for example, an "anti-slay" that reduces damage to a particular type of enemy.Great minds think alike. I suggested this during your last sojourn and got shot to pieces - but that was before the advent of v4 so it might be possible to try it now. I still think it would work much better than sticky curses. We could also, with a little work, make adding and removing affixes temporary for lighter curses and permanent only for the worst ones.

fizzix
March 28, 2012, 18:25
You used phase door as an example and I think that it illustrates my point well. A failed phase door is bad enough (assuming used as a low level escape). Tacking on 5 turns of blindness could easily lead to death, or at the very least another turn wasted curing the blindness (if potions can carry similar hidden curses, then the problem is compounded).


Yes, this is a sticking point and it is a problem. It also possibly leads to some things that do not make intuitive sense. This part being that the ?phase does work, and so does the ?mass banishment, but it comes at a price. I guess you might argue that the player has the ability to scan the scroll and say, yup that's a phase door, but there's an invisible triggered curse as well.

The way I've imagined this working in the little bit of brainstorming I've done is that you would have an edit file with a list of curse effects. Each effect would have the class of items that it applies to (tval) and a level (or level range). It could also have an allocation probability if that's deemed important. Cursed items would be restricted to curses that are their level or below, or maybe gaussian centered about their level. So something like ?phase would only be able to take the very weakest curses. Perhaps even blindness is too strong of an effect.

Here are some low level options for phase and the like.

Darkens room
Teleports player
Deals 1d5 + 5 damage (explosion)
Light poison
Light cut
Wake up monsters


Here are some mid-level curses:

Drain random stat
Timed blindness or confusion
teleport level
earthquake
Deal 5d5 damage (explosion)
Target random direction
Summon single monster
Trap creation
Polymorph target


Here are some high level curses:

Perm reduce stat
Disenchant/ de-affix item
Summon multiple monsters
Destroy the item (useful for non-scrolls)
Destruction
Heal target monster

fizzix
March 28, 2012, 18:27
Great minds think alike. I suggested this during your last sojourn and got shot to pieces - but that was before the advent of v4 so it might be possible to try it now. I still think it would work much better than sticky curses. We could also, with a little work, make adding and removing affixes temporary for lighter curses and permanent only for the worst ones.

I don't think this solves the main problem. That there is a workaround for curse scrolls and the workaround is tedious. It's an improvement for sure, but still not ideal.

Magnate
March 28, 2012, 19:00
I don't think this solves the main problem. That there is a workaround for curse scrolls and the workaround is tedious. It's an improvement for sure, but still not ideal.You're quite right - I wasn't disagreeing with your ideas, merely agreeing with Gabe's ;-)

CunningGabe
March 28, 2012, 20:31
I don't think this solves the main problem. That there is a workaround for curse scrolls and the workaround is tedious. It's an improvement for sure, but still not ideal.

I think the main problem isn't this, exactly, but that there is a tedious workaround and that in the current implementation, reading a scroll of curse weapon is really bad. If the scroll of curse weapon is sufficiently non-hosing, then I'd wager most people won't care enough to bother taking off their equipment before reading an un-ID'd scroll.

I guess what it comes down to is that I support ID-by-use, but I also like that you have to be a little careful with it. We've toned down several bad items in order to make ID-by-use acceptable; I don't see the problem with just doing the same with the curse weapon/armor scrolls.

Derakon
March 28, 2012, 20:48
I agree with Gabe. Curse Weapon in particular can effectively "kill" a character if they find it at the wrong time -- any character young enough to not have a valid alternative to melee effectively cannot kill anything.

Curse scrolls should either render an item sticky or blast it into uselessness; doing both is excessive. Or they should do something else entirely. But at least the either/or leaves the player with an interesting scenario: having to stick with a weapon until you find *Remove Curse* while it becomes increasingly obsolete, or having to find a new weapon to replace your blasted one.

Nick
March 29, 2012, 01:36
If curses are going to be made more varied, Curse Weapon/Armour can be revamped in line with that.

If not, why not?