Angband Forums

Angband Forums (
-   Vanilla (
-   -   Class/magic feature branch (

Derakon December 29, 2017 15:44

I like the idea of encouraging mages to rely on devices, but I suspect that most players that go with mages want to be able to do basically everything with spells alone and not have to worry about consumables. I don't have any good ideas for ways to convince such players that they need to broaden their approach, especially since devices are not usually thought of as a primary damage dealer (either in Angband or in any other game in the genre).

debo December 29, 2017 16:17


Originally Posted by Derakon (Post 127175)
I like the idea ...especially since devices are not usually thought of as a primary damage dealer (either in Angband or in any other game in the genre).

Poscheng magic-eaters and devicemasters beg to differ :)

Tibarius December 29, 2017 16:28

Mages actually can't take on M without consumeables. I personally feel that uncool, but somehow bearable. I think what realy is required to have the spell books separated into single spell scrolls so that not every mage is the same.

Sky December 29, 2017 18:24

Because a rod of drain life does 150 damage flat. And a wand of annihilation with 3 charges max does less than 400 in the hands of the best caster. When ANY schmuk with a decent ranged does 150+ for each arrow. Not even gonna mention rangers or hobbits with Buckland. Warriors will do AT LEAST 300 per hit if not double. There is just no comparison.

Tibarius December 29, 2017 18:33

class comparison
It is no requirement that classes can be compared to each other considering playability and damage output.

But i think each class should be fun to play if you like the theme of the class. Mages are spell casters - i have no clue why the first attack spell should show up at level 8.

Derakon December 29, 2017 18:57


Originally Posted by Tibarius (Post 127181)
But i think each class should be fun to play if you like the theme of the class. Mages are spell casters - i have no clue why the first attack spell should show up at level 8.

And this is where the main disagreement is about how mages "ought" to play. The funny thing is that Angband mages have never been best-off relying solely on spells. Their attack magic was lackluster for the first decade or so of the game's existence, being overpriced and underpowered. And while that's been fixed, magic devices are still entirely competitive with direct spellcasting.

I personally like that mages are not a class where you can get away with ignoring everything that isn't in a spellbook (to hyperbolize a bit). That is, while they are spellcasters, that is not the sole defining trait of the class or the way they solve every problem they encounter.

That said, it does sound like they need a more clear path to getting up off the ground than they have in this first pass at reworking magic. I don't really see how a newbie could be expected to play a mage with any amount of success; are we explicitly relegating the class to be for experts only?

Philip December 29, 2017 21:00

Mages have indeed consistently been the class with the most control. Buffs (including Haste and Resistance, and GoI once upon a time), great detection (though Priests were better late game, awkwardly enough), excellent teleportation, door creation, destruction, banishment, recharage and all perfectly reliable (0% fail, except for recharge). Their damage output has been and should be unimpressive. Why should they be competitive with a warrior or even a ranger, with that level of control.

One thing that seems like it would be a good idea would be to put a wand of magic missile into the starting inventory for people who start with a kit. Maybe a scroll of recharging too, to give people an idea of how the mechanics works? Sort of teach people the new way to play mages.

It is my opinion that if Mages were ever able to ignore devices as a way to do damage (and they were), then that was a problem. Fortunately, if your idea of spellcasting involves exploding things, then Necromancers ought to satisfy that nicely (I hope), with them using devices for the support stuff Mages really excel at.

Also, while I don't want mages to be exclusively for experts, I do believe playing them should require awareness and control as a style of play. Perhaps the help files should emphasize the importance of choosing your battles to avoid wasting charges of magic missile early, through the use of say, stealth. I also think the idea of an early buff to boost stealth is a good idea, though the way stealth and mana costs and regen work now, it could end up being either too powerful (letting you pretend to be a Rogue with 0% fail) or useless (oh good, burn a turn to get +1 stealth for a little while, that may even pay for itself in the amount of time it would cost). Perhaps some new way of avoiding monsters (or an old one - teleportation or sleep monster or such)?

Nick December 29, 2017 22:38

Thanks for all the discussion, it's very helpful. I should say first up - for now, I'll leave Magic Missile in the second book but make it level 3 and 1 mana and back to its previous (lower) damage.

There has been some talk previously about what the principles behind the class changes are, but I probably haven't made them very clear, so I'll do that.

As suggested in the original post linked in the first post of this thread, I'm looking at two pairs of opposing realms of magic - Nature-Arcane, and Holy-Death. You can think of it a bit like this


with Wisdom meaning the ability to harmonise with the creation order and Intelligence the ability to create something distinct


Now details:

Nature magic draws on the things in Middle Earth as it was created - animals, plants, weather, geology. It will have spells to directly affect monsters (and @), to modify the environment, and to use the elements of poison, gravity, ice, water, plasma, sound and meteors. Its pure spellcasting class is the Druid (not entirely happy with the name, but haven't found a better one) who will be fairly average in most skills but bad with devices.

Arcane magic I tend to think of as technology. It will have spells of detection, teleportation, dungeon modification, and mental control over objects, and will use the elements of acid, fire, electricity and cold, or directly use mana to wound or create explosive effects. Its pure spellcasting class is the Mage, who will be an exceptional device user but poor at fighting.

Holy magic uses the power of the Valar, the beings entrusted with the care of Middle Earth. It will have spells to empower the spirit of the player, to daunt and dispel evil, to bring revealing light and to create effects of holy power. Its pure spellcasting class is the Priest, who will be fairly poor at most skills but have an excellent saving throw.

Death magic uses necromancy, the ability to directly control the souls of intelligent beings and (to a lesser extent) creatures. It will have spells to sense and drain the spirits of living monsters, directly affect evil beings and damage the spellcasting ability of monsters, and will use the elements of darkness, nether, chaos and disenchantment. Its pure spellcasting class is the Necromancer, who will be fairly unskillful across the board.

This gives an idea of the realms, and the pure spellcasters, but other classes can then be chosen which combine aspects of one of these realms with others and/or with combat ability. Examples here include Rangers (Archery and Nature magic) and Rogues (Stealthy combat and Arcane and/or Death magic).

Overall the intent is to make magic use coherent and to make it feel like you are using the magic of a given realm, rather than just a grab-bag of utility spells. This will mean that pure spellcasters can no longer expect to get magic for everything they do; instead, they get a more focused set of spells in fewer books and will have to carry some other items.

Naturally, some people will not welcome this change. It is, however, not too hard to revert by changing edit files; in fact, I'm considering including a data file with the old classes to make that easy.

Derakon December 29, 2017 23:56

Thanks for this high-level overview, Nick. Thematically these sound plausible to me; the real question is how they'll shake out mechanically. In particular, there's some question as to how easy each class will be to play. Like, if you asked me to rank the overall difficulty of the game, from start to finish, for each class, I guess it'd look something like this (lower is easier):

Warrior: 1.0
Mage: 1.2
Priest: 1.0
Paladin: 0.8
Ranger: N/A, I never play them
Rogue: 0.9

I'm not looking to start a discussion about a "tier list" for the classes, just saying this is about what I feel the spread is. Note that both pure casters are at least as hard as the warrior, due to their poor HP and physical stats and unusually difficult early-, and for mages, mid-game. This is despite the caster classes having a very broad selection of spells. If we both expect to keep a similar spread of relative difficulties (do we?), while also giving the casters more limited and individualized spell lists, then we'll need to compensate in other ways. For example, we can give the casters better non-casting-related skills, or we can make life harder for the non-caster classes in ways that don't impact casters as strongly.

Put another way, every class needs to have the tools to traverse the game and be able to kill Sauron and Morgoth. I recommend deciding what those tools are for each class at a high level, and then building the spell list with reference to those tools and the class theme. You've started on this, by listing the elements that each realm depends on. I guess I'm looking for the answers to these questions:

* What should a young character be doing to get experience and make it to the mid-game?
* What should a mid-game character be doing to get to the late game?
* How do they kill Sauron and Morgoth?

Estie December 30, 2017 00:10

I have played a bit with the new mage.

This is the 4th start who made it down to the bottom.

1st start was a gnome new mage, 8 str 12 int, with starting gear. The first time I bought a wand of mm, made it to clvl 5 and realized I had forgotten to set randarts; restart. One wand is plenty to get to recharge level, but you cant waste charges on low level stuff - instead, using the first spell in the book, find down staircases and go down a few levels. A good first kill is one of the unique dogs; gnome gets to level 3 from that.

2nd start had no wand in the shop; I bought a longsword instead and slowly advanced to level 2 by killing easy stuff on level 1. Much retreating and abandoning of fights. I died at around clvl 10, from lack of SI.

3rd start had neither a wand nor any decent weapon; only daggers and a spear 1d6 at the blacksmith, I restarted. I missed the second weapon store there.

4th is the above dump, who got a wand and used the fast approach. Once the offensive spells kick in, the play is very similar to the old mage.

Overall, the start is very similar to priest - a rough life as bad fighter before midgame offensive spell glory. Priest has the bless spell to help though and is easier to get to said midgame.

I can see how making 4 casters all with utility coverd by spells isnt going to work, but I also see a danger of replacing the 2 old casters with a bunch of new hybrids. What is the difference between the pure caster and their hybrid going to be, for 4 schools ? (I know we dont have to make the pattern fit and create 1 hybrid for each branch.)

Anyway, I am very curious what you have planned for the other schools, most importantly for necromancy.

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 22:53.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.