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-   -   Remove featherfall or make it useful (http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=3676)

Derakon September 16, 2010 01:06

Remove featherfall or make it useful
 
Featherfall is almost entirely useless in the current game. All it does is negate a trivial amount of damage from certain traps. I went and looked it up: pits deal 2d6, spiked pits deal 2d6 and have a 50% chance to double that (and some spiked pits are poisoned), and trapdoors deal 2d8. Past the very early game, this is trivial damage, even for gnome mages!

So basically we have a super-specialized ability that is only useful in the first 300' of the dungeon, and past that point does nothing beyond dilute the ability pool for items that have random abilities.

Can we please either make it useful or make it go away? Frankly, I'm not certain how to make it useful, though. Z-descendants replace it with levitation, which is basically featherfall + trapdoors can't change your level, but even that's hyper-specialized. ToME has terrain effects which you can sometimes dodge by levitating, but that would require adding terrain to V -- I doubt that's in the cards. The only other thing I can think of is making it negate some aspect of gravity attacks, but I couldn't think of anything that wasn't horribly gimmicky.

Suggestions?

buzzkill September 16, 2010 01:26

Feather falling, as I see it, is essentially anti-gravity so have it resist gravity attacks to some extent and also reduce ones burden without increasing strength. It's something.

Nomad September 16, 2010 02:02

Maybe it could give you immunity to all traps? If you're walking feather-lightly then you're not going to set off any triggers. Rings of feather falling would then be pretty useful at the early depth you find them, before you've got regular trap detection and when you're still highly vulnerable to traps that poison, paralyze and reduce stats.

By the time you're finding equipment with random abilities trap immunity is really only useful to warriors, though, so it should probably give the gravity resistance effect as well. (Or else it should be taken out of the pool of random abilities and just restricted to the rings.)

nullfame September 16, 2010 02:04

Scale traps by level? I don't know. I prefer eliminate (and make way for something new) over make useful.

will_asher September 16, 2010 02:24

In DaJAngband, featherfall reduces gravity damage (though not by much) and has a chance to make you resist the slowing effect of gravity. It also gives you a chance to catch hold of the floor when you hit a trap door, giving you a choice of whether you want to fall to the next level or not.
I like Buzzkill's idea of increasing carrying capacity a little too.

Magnate September 16, 2010 07:41

I like all these: slight gravity resistance (including resistance to the slowing effect), some degree of trap immunity, some increased carrying capacity.

I think there is a ticket somewhere to introduce more terrain types, but there isn't currently a dev particularly interested in coding it up AFAIK.

Pete Mack September 16, 2010 08:35

Also, too: engraving A Elbereth Gilthoniel on your shield should give nether and darkness resistance.

If you want to make feather falling worth something, it needs to be rare. Otherwise, remove it.

I personally feel time hounds and gravity hounds should remain utterly terrifying to at-level characters.

Derakon September 16, 2010 15:20

I'm inclined to agree with Pete here -- I mentioned the gravity resistance as something that I felt was not a good idea because it makes gravity a lot less threatening.

I do like the trap immunity / reduced burden ideas, though. Trap immunity would mean that you wouldn't need to remember to detect traps all the time; I have trouble gauging the utility of that in a strict optimization sense (you do this, what, every hundred turns maybe?) but it'd make the user's life easier. And a burden reduction would be immediately sought out by mages.

We'd need to rename the ability, though.

d_m September 16, 2010 15:27

Quote:

Originally Posted by Magnate (Post 40093)
I think there is a ticket somewhere to introduce more terrain types, but there isn't currently a dev particularly interested in coding it up AFAIK.

This is because Takkaria's view of what terrain should do was weird... he didn't want to have any game play effects AFAIK. So it seems like a lot of work for little (no?) gain.

For my part I would rather get rid of Featherfall and use the free space in the UI/feature set to do something better.

fizzix September 16, 2010 15:49

Quote:

Originally Posted by d_m (Post 40112)
For my part I would rather get rid of Featherfall and use the free space in the UI/feature set to do something better.

If you ever go with Timo's suggestion a while ago to decouple resistances and abilities. (thread here: http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=3379) I guess that would be as good a time as any to chuck feather fall. You may want to add Rstun as mentioned in the thread.

I'd also get rid of slow digestion at the same time. It's just as useless.

ImpHP and ImpSP also have slots but the only item that has it are rings of open wounds. These are pretty much junk. So if you're thinking of cleaning out the window, I'd chuck the rings and get rid of those two also.

Magnate September 16, 2010 16:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by fizzix (Post 40113)
If you ever go with Timo's suggestion a while ago to decouple resistances and abilities. (thread here: http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=3379) I guess that would be as good a time as any to chuck feather fall. You may want to add Rstun as mentioned in the thread.

I'd also get rid of slow digestion at the same time. It's just as useless.

ImpHP and ImpSP also have slots but the only item that has it are rings of open wounds. These are pretty much junk. So if you're thinking of cleaning out the window, I'd chuck the rings and get rid of those two also.

I think the original intention was that ImpSP and ImpHP would appear on a much greater range of items, including randarts. The problem was that that was waiting for the overhaul of curses - a new wide range of curses that were all less painful than the cannot-drop "sticky" curse. I think we're still hoping to overhaul curses one day, but like terrain it lacks a champion.

Tiburon Silverflame September 16, 2010 18:10

If we remove feather fall, then I'd also suggest removing pit traps. The point was made that they do trivial damage, so they have little reason to exist as well.

As far as it providing immunity to all traps: that basically implies that traps are of the "pressure plate" type. Don't really care for that. And, it's just too broad.

If we want it to be useful...instead of "feather fall" make it "levitate." That is: immunity to pit traps *and* trap doors. THAT would be nice-to-have, but obviously not essential.

On fizzix' point about slow digestion: wouldn't bother me to ditch this one, but I rarely run warriors. The issue would seem to be with a warrior, once you're talking about +15 speed...because IIRC your food consumption is fairly rapid at this point. If food consumption rates aren't a factor in this situation, then, yeah, slow digestion is pretty much meaningless.

Timo Pietilš September 16, 2010 18:26

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derakon (Post 40110)
I do like the trap immunity / reduced burden ideas, though.

If we add terrains at some point then feather fall could make moving through mud or snow or stuff like that easier. Reduced burden would make it worth having as before stat-gain ability. Definitely better than what it is just now.

buzzkill September 17, 2010 01:25

Getting rid of the current useless stuff may lead the the next best tier of items eventually being considered useless. There is a slope to be considered here. Not every thing can be "useful", because "useful" a relative term.

Feloniousmonk September 17, 2010 04:34

Aren't rings of FF like scrolls of darkness? Useless sure but it adds flavor to the dungeon to have useless junk around.

Tiburon Silverflame September 17, 2010 19:17

buzz, the 'slippery slope' argument is usually really weak. Fine, if there's other stuff that no one cares about...then we ditch that. Keep it to a high standard. The ONLY benefit for feather fall is avoiding tiny amounts of damage in one narrow situation. The damage is irrelevant once past the *very* earliest levels. There are damn few traps on those first 5-7 dungeon levels, and past that, you're probably high enough level to ignore the trap damage.

And it would probably be a good thing to remove some of the crap that's accumulated over, what, 20 years, umpteen updates and however many maintainers. With that kind of pattern, the game almost always just gets extended, with new things being attached. It's much less common to trim out. The result is a long-term tendency to bloat. And IMO there's a LOT of bloat when it comes to items.

Hariolor September 19, 2010 04:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzkill (Post 40151)
Getting rid of the current useless stuff may lead the the next best tier of items eventually being considered useless. There is a slope to be considered here. Not every thing can be "useful", because "useful" a relative term.

IMHO "useless"ness occurs when a given feature fails to provide a benefit. This can occur because it helps overcome an insignificant obstacle (featherfall), or provides a meager benefit (slay animal, orc, etc).

The fluctuating nature of Angband is great, but it also means that feature creep has led to a fundamentally imbalanced game. Not that it necessarily was balanced to begin with...

Well-balanced games tend to have specific obstacles, and specific solutions. The best ones make some of these solutions mutually-exclusive so as to force the player to make tough choices.

will_asher September 19, 2010 04:32

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derakon (Post 40110)
I'm inclined to agree with Pete here -- I mentioned the gravity resistance as something that I felt was not a good idea because it makes gravity a lot less threatening.

I do like the trap immunity / reduced burden ideas, though. Trap immunity would mean that you wouldn't need to remember to detect traps all the time; I have trouble gauging the utility of that in a strict optimization sense (you do this, what, every hundred turns maybe?) but it'd make the user's life easier. And a burden reduction would be immediately sought out by mages.

It makes gravity a little less threatening, but not by a lot (at least in DJA). I think it works partly because feather falling really is already kindof rare except on the early ring (which has no other benefits) and as a random power. If you were in gravity hound depth, you would be sacrificing something else if you decided to wear a ring of feather falling.

Traps are already underpowered. They're very easy to detect, and if you can detect them, they're trivial to avoid. If you add trap immunity to the game, you might as well remove traps altogether.

Timo Pietilš September 19, 2010 06:01

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hariolor (Post 40191)
IMHO "useless"ness occurs when a given feature fails to provide a benefit. This can occur because it helps overcome an insignificant obstacle (featherfall), or provides a meager benefit (slay animal, orc, etc).

The fluctuating nature of Angband is great, but it also means that feature creep has led to a fundamentally imbalanced game. Not that it necessarily was balanced to begin with...

Well-balanced games tend to have specific obstacles, and specific solutions. The best ones make some of these solutions mutually-exclusive so as to force the player to make tough choices.

Game is balanced when it is fun to play. Quake was fun (and is still fun when played head to head). It didn't have any specific solutions, just blast away your enemies. Sometimes a "unbalanced" feature leads to better balance in game. TY-curse in TY-era Z.

Even useless item is still an item, and as such affects generation rates of every other item. Useless feature in item affects ratio of useful features in those same items. Which we need to be very careful about. Too much good is not good at all, it just changes the scale of measurement of what is useful.

We don't actually need to axe "useless" items. We need to axe out "semi-useful" items. Those are the source of boredom in items. They dull out entire range of items. Actually we might need to have real junk to create contrast and flavor (shards of pottery, broken sticks, skeletons). Maybe even as non-squelchable items.

Nomad September 19, 2010 12:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by will_asher (Post 40193)
Traps are already underpowered. They're very easy to detect, and if you can detect them, they're trivial to avoid. If you add trap immunity to the game, you might as well remove traps altogether.

I guess the other way to approach it is to nerf trap detection along with introducing immunity as an ability: remove the rods, give the spell only to rogues, and everyone else survives on a limited supply of scrolls and their own searching skills until rods of detection start showing up. Or at least have detection show all traps as the same, so you can't tell a lowly pit trap from a trap door or summoning runes until you unwisely try to disarm it in the middle of a vault.

fizzix September 19, 2010 14:55

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš (Post 40197)
We don't actually need to axe "useless" items. We need to axe out "semi-useful" items. Those are the source of boredom in items. They dull out entire range of items. Actually we might need to have real junk to create contrast and flavor (shards of pottery, broken sticks, skeletons). Maybe even as non-squelchable items.

I've mentioned before that I think those 'junk items' should be generated with the monsters and give clues as to what may be lurking in the dungeon. pottery shards or broken swords mean semi-intelligent creatures (kobolds, yeeks, orcs etc.) Skeletons mean dangerous animals. You can also have burned, melted, frozen and (whatever electricity does) bones for elemental monsters.

They certainly should be squelchable though.

Timo Pietilš September 19, 2010 18:25

Quote:

Originally Posted by fizzix (Post 40207)
I've mentioned before that I think those 'junk items' should be generated with the monsters and give clues as to what may be lurking in the dungeon. pottery shards or broken swords mean semi-intelligent creatures (kobolds, yeeks, orcs etc.) Skeletons mean dangerous animals. You can also have burned, melted, frozen and (whatever electricity does) bones for elemental monsters.

They certainly should be squelchable though.

If they are not in monster drops, are always created as single items and not piles of items then there is no reason to squelch them. Consider them as dungeon decorations :)

In any case I think we should increase floor items a lot compared to monster drops. Current dungeon is way too boring.

Pete Mack September 19, 2010 23:08

If you want to experience traps at their worst, play a warrior and dive fast. Unless you get lucky with an early Rod of Detect Traps, you will discover that traps are not harmless, particuarly trap doors and summoning. This is a relic of an earlier variant where trap detection was less universal; it was not truly by design.

If you want to find out how traps work when designed with easy detection, try NPP 0.5+

buzzkill September 20, 2010 01:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pete Mack (Post 40235)
If you want to experience traps at their worst, play a warrior and dive fast. Unless you get lucky with an early Rod of Detect Traps, you will discover that traps are not harmless, particularly trap doors and summoning. This is a relic of an earlier variant where trap detection was less universal; it was not truly by design.

Except for summoning and to a lesser extent trap-door/teleport, traps are mostly harmless. I'd like to see traps scale properly with dungeon level. I suspect that they do probably already scale, but not strongly enough. An 'in-depth' character has virtually no chance of being seriously hampered by a (non-summoning) trap. Most often, even with negligible disarming skills, I won't avoid a trap (except for summoning, because it does scale properly). I just keep bumping into it until it is disarmed. The damage to my stats, kit and/or HP will be mostly inconsequential. Carry around a means of disarming? Never. Use a scroll of trap/door destruction if I happen to have one for some reason? Maybe, if I happen to remember to.

More trap variety would be nice too. If it's in the game, it should be able to appear as a trap. Just call it an 'unknown trap' (which it would be wise to avoid) and let the chips fall where they may. A trap that creates traps? Sure, why not.

krugar September 20, 2010 05:00

Some thoughts on additional traps:

- Instadeath (tought one, I agree)
- Equipment zapping (removes and destroys one piece of equipment)
- Town teleport
- Burning Trap (damages player and destroys all scrolls. Chance to destroy books too)
- Freeze Trap (damages player and destroys all potions)
- Shock Trap (damages player and zeroes out metallic equipment for extend time)
- Mind Trap (affects player memory and clears level mapping)
- Super Trap (A trap of any kind that can be detected as normally, but cannot be identified. Also harder to disarm and easier to set off)

A possible trap damage formula:

[Player Maximum HP] * [Depth (level)] / 100 * [Trap Dam Factor (TDF)]

Trap damage thus increases the deeper one goes in the dungeon with level 100 meaning full HP damage. Note that "Total HP" means the player total HP unhurt. So a hurt player chance to be immediately killed by a trap is higher the deeper they go. The exact opposite of what is currently happening.

The TDF is a property of traps, a real number in the interval ]0,1] that can reduce total damage based on trap type or conditions in which the trap was placed. For instance, the result of a RNG during level creation, or a reflection of the level of the monster using the trap creation spell. I suppose this element introduces the necessary unknown into the formula so that players cannot immediately determine the danger factor of a trap.

[Player Maximum HP] * ([Depth (level)] + [Trap Dam Factor (TDF)]) / 100

Same as above, but TDF is now an integer in the range [0,n] that generates a deadlier trap as if it was n levels deeper.

Note: 100 represents Morgoth's dungeon level. Should be changed accordingly if this level ever changes.

On Feather Falling and traps

Personally, I don't see feather falling as feather walking. Traditionally (meaning in RPG-like games) it's not. Feather falling deals with damage from falls and not some sort of special walking ability that is instead controlled by abilities like stealth, speed and levitation.

Currently, I think, it balances out pit traps with other traps by introducing a damage negation effect into them that other traps have through resistances. That is alright. But admittedly is not reason enough to have it as a top special ability in equipment because unfortunately there's no other opportunities for feather falling as there are for elemental and magical resistances.

Introducing those opportunities (by perhaps introducing new damage types or attacks into monsters) seems too complicated. On the other hand, using it as a means to avoid traps could seem like the right thing to do. But:

- Makes little sense for the aforementioned reason feather falling is not feather walking. I understand this point is purely argumentative.
- It removes from the game an opportunity for a much more exciting later development: Class based trap avoidance skills and player speed factor (i.e. rogues and rangers being better at avoiding them; The faster the player is the biggest the chance they will trigger it. Also even when trying to disarm).

Instead, I suggest feather falling to be entirely removed from the game, leaving pit traps as the only trap type which damage cannot be reduced/negated. Which can open some doors to interesting consequences in the hands of devilish developers and a renewed fear of players from this classical type of trap. Alternatively, feather falling could become a spell.

will_asher September 20, 2010 05:53

my trap ideas: (some of which are already in DaJAngband)
- earthquake traps (which can damage the PC's space)
- hallucenation traps ("You are surrounded by a purple haze!")
- mana drain traps
- deep pit traps (more damage along with the difficulty of getting out of the pit)
- taking buzzkill's idea: a trap which creates other traps. And when you try to disarm it, you usually can't tell whether you were successful or whether you triggered it. (dissapears after it activates)

An instadeath trap would be cheesy and bad.

Derakon September 20, 2010 06:06

ToME 2 has a variety of nasty traps that, combined with traps being more difficult to manually disarm, mean that everyone carries a source of magical (fail-proof, or at least non-harmful-when-failing) disarming. If you don't have a way to safely disarm a trap, then you just go around, or if there's no way around, you do without whatever's on the other side. The risk simply isn't worth trying to manually disarm traps.

Consider: traps are usually dealt with during "dead time" in exploration, when there's nothing particularly urgent going on. For them to be a significant factor during these periods, they have to be pretty dang nasty, since you assume that the player is fully-healed and generally on top of things. But then every once in a while, the player has to deal with traps while in combat situations. I don't think you can make a trap that is interesting when there's no combat without making it ludicrously dangerous when there is combat.

If we want to make traps more interesting, then we have to rethink entirely how traps work. Simply beefing them up isn't an acceptable solution because of the instadeath potential.

That said, we can have a larger variety of effects for the current "not-very-dangerous" traps. Traps that modify the local terrain can be interesting -- assuming that the player isn't then required to dig through solid granite after triggering the trap.

Rizwan September 20, 2010 07:20

Combination traps like poisoned pit and summoning :)

Timo Pietilš September 20, 2010 08:39

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derakon (Post 40249)
If we want to make traps more interesting, then we have to rethink entirely how traps work. Simply beefing them up isn't an acceptable solution because of the instadeath potential.

How about removing magical devices of trap disarming or give trap a saving throw when it is tried to disarm with magic, and not make it trigger with failed disarm attempt? Give it actually activate only when you both fail in check of disarming and separate check of activating it. Make rogues and other "good thieves" (hobbits) get 100% sure that latter will not happen, but never reach 100% for first.

Basically just make it take time to disarm a trap or take damage for activating trap without trying to disarm it. Also disarming and or activating a trap should not move @ to the grid with a trap. A triggered trap door or spiked pit becomes a hole into ground that can't be disarmed if @ doesn't move to it. Others, like summoning, poison darts, teleport etc. just does what it is supposed to do. Maybe "physical" traps like pits and trap doors could be avoided just with high enough DEX. Even undetected ones.

BTW also make sure that with perfect searching you don't step on any traps even when they are created one turn before you step in it.

I would also like to see monsters activating traps. or, if aware avoid them. But that is thing that would need better AI (4GAI? 5GAI?).

Nomad September 20, 2010 11:35

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš (Post 40253)
I would also like to see monsters activating traps. or, if aware avoid them. But that is thing that would need better AI (4GAI? 5GAI?).

I was thinking about this earlier, but it becomes problematic in vaults, where the traps and monsters would end up working against each other, and makes the create traps spell something that actually protects the player. It would be kind of neat for players to be able to set their own traps, though. (Hey, how about that as another use for spikes?)

I think the way to go with later dungeon traps is to move away from straight HP damage - there's no real way to make it dangerous without unreasonable chances of instadeath - to things that cause the player inconvenience instead. Traps that cause earthquakes, destroy floor and inventory items, drain charges and mana or do nether damage, summon breeders, sticky curse things that you're wielding, teleport you back up several dungeon levels... Stuff that won't kill you unless you're already in trouble, but will make you lose time replacing and uncursing gear or regaining lost ground.

buzzkill September 20, 2010 13:18

Quote:

Originally Posted by krugar (Post 40245)
Some thoughts on additional traps:

- Instadeath (tought one, I agree)

This just should never happen. Even I don't want traps killing healthy characters that aren't way OoD. However, (at least some) traps should be dangerous or unpredictable enough that they be taken seriously on thier own (like uniques, kind of).

Quote:

[Player Maximum HP] * [Depth (level)] / 100 * [Trap Dam Factor (TDF)]
I have a knee-jerk reaction to avoid basing any dungeon creation on a character's particular stats or equiptment. It's bad precedent.

bebo September 20, 2010 14:54

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nomad (Post 40255)
I think the way to go with later dungeon traps is to move away from straight HP damage - there's no real way to make it dangerous without unreasonable chances of instadeath - to things that cause the player inconvenience instead. Traps that cause earthquakes, destroy floor and inventory items, drain charges and mana or do nether damage, summon breeders, sticky curse things that you're wielding, teleport you back up several dungeon levels... Stuff that won't kill you unless you're already in trouble, but will make you lose time replacing and uncursing gear or regaining lost ground.

This looks like the best solution to me. Disenchantment, charge drain, draining 50%-100% of SP, hallucination, etc... are all great effects to add to traps, making trap detection and avoidance that much more important and interesting, while not excessively unfair.

Increasing noticeably their difficulty to be disarmed would make the spells/scrolls/wands actually useful also.

Also (and i realise this would be very difficult to code) changing the way they are generated and placed on the dungeon floor could have a serious impact on gameplay - ie for example instead of having only one or two disjoined ones in a room, have a whole line of them effectively dividing in half the space, and actually having a tactical impact on fighting monsters; or place quite a few in a row in corridors, etc...

Derakon September 20, 2010 15:11

Re: monsters triggering traps, back in the 2.8 days I actually wrote a feature to do this. It's straightforward to make traps on icky floors harmless to monsters. Presumably any monsters on the level have long since learned how to safely navigate the vault.

Tiburon Silverflame September 20, 2010 18:25

I like bebo's idea of disruptive traps...charge drain or make your rods trigger (therefore force you to wait for them to recharge before you can use them again). But, this is likely a disproportionate penalty, as it has little effect on casters, who typically use items a great deal less.

Another part of me has kicked in. WAY back in the day...in early D&D, traps were a dungeon staple. There were books, books, and more books about traps; I think I still have Grimtooth I, II, and IV somewhere. This was the day where the DM, fairly often, ended up almost in competition with the players; certainly, I saw that mindset more often than I care to recall.

Things changed tho. I remember an article (Dragon mag?) titled "Do you trap *your* bedroom door?" The gist was, traps don't exist in a vacuum. Don't just throw them out there so they mess over the players. Include them when they make sense...not just because you can. In tabletop, that kind of random trap inclusion forced paranoia...you ALWAYS moved carefully, you ALWAYS checked doors before opening, etc. It was boring, seriously unrealistic, and ultimately IMO disrupted the story by weakening suspension of disbelief.

The situation that we have now, is that negative scenario. We *are* paranoid; we check for traps ALL the time. (Admittedly, it's less of a disruption here than it is in tabletop.) Perhaps it's time to reconsider this. But if we want to take up this discussion, I'd suggest starting a new thread (about traps generally).

krugar September 25, 2010 13:29

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzkill (Post 40256)
I have a knee-jerk reaction to avoid basing any dungeon creation on a character's particular stats or equiptment. It's bad precedent.

You mean you don't like the fact certain game features may scale according to a player attribute like HP? Or that you like it?

As far as HP is concerned (and trap damage), it's a fail-proof method to guarantee scaling of damage throughout the entire game experience. Other elements introduced into a possible formula can guarantee enough deviation so that players may encounter traps that barely damaged them and traps that nearly or effectively killed them (only if the player was already hurt). All on the same level. However it ensures that the top of the bell curve can shift with player progression.

But the issue really is what do we want from traps? A real definite threat, or not? Because I honestly can't see how an "immovable non aggressive monster" like a trap can become a challenge throughout the entire game experience otherwise. You risk creating instadeath traps, or barely noticeable traps no one bothers with, by refusing to balance them against the player, but instead against the dungeon level.

buzzkill September 25, 2010 16:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by krugar (Post 40399)
You mean you don't like the fact certain game features may scale according to a player attribute like HP? Or that you like it?

I believe that the dungeon should be a dungeon. It shouldn't customize itself to a particular adventurer. It should be generally difficult for everyone to navigate (this is already heavily negated by the fact that player can pretty much choose their own stats).

Styling the dungeon fit a particulate character negates the other random aspects of Angband. If traps are going to deal damage based on the players HP then there's one less reason to worry about maximizing you CON. The slippery-slope is that once traps are established as scalable, then how long before monster damage gets scaled as well. After all, it's the same argument and some people dislike the instadeath nature of Angband.

The solution, make trap dangerous, possibly deadly (esp to weak characters). If you're low on HP or resists, then you need to beef up your detection (just as in other aspects of the game). Until imperfect detection becomes available (which I support) it should work like a charm. IMO, my suggestions earlier in this thread IIRC would be no more deadly than a current summoning trap, or old style paralysis.

Why don't we give certain monsters the ability to silently set traps every once in a while. A silent spell like ability, not the current trap creation which telegraphs itself.

krugar September 25, 2010 18:27

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzkill (Post 40402)
If traps are going to deal damage based on the players HP then there's one less reason to worry about maximizing you CON.

Before I answer this, a small disclamer: I do generally agree with your reaction to scalable content based on player attributes. But like most other aspects of game design the trick is deciding where and when a given methodology is worth a different approach. More on that below.

Now, as for that quote, yes. Indeed trap damage will be scaled accordingly when players raise their CON essentially reducing any benefits of doing so as far as traps are concerned. But there's plenty of other reasons to raise CON, with traps already not being one of them with the current system. It's not that basing trap damage on player HP will introduce something radically new to the decision of raising or not CON.

The problem I see here is that traps are ubiquitous across the entire game and trying to scale them according to some element outside player control means that if you make it too easy, traps will be ignored (that's what happens today), and if you make it too hard traps will almost single-handedly determine when players take stairs down. Finding the mid term is not possible because it will depend on the characteristics of each class and even on the player's playing style.

In that case, I'd rather see traps as they are today then to see traps being the reason why I would need to replay the same dungeon levels over and over again until I could raise my HP high enough to be able to tackle with the lower dungeon traps.

Quote:

The slippery-slope is that once traps are established as scalable, then how long before monster damage gets scaled as well.
With this I have to agree. If used as a basis to argue for other similar changes, then it loses value and can even become dangerous.

But then and again, I'm solely operating on the basis that developers/designers are of the sensible sort. That they understand an exception to a rule is not a rule for further exceptions. All in all it is about flexibility of beliefs; knowing that not set of design methodologies is perfect and that adopting different strategies in key places may prove invaluable.

Quote:

The solution, make trap dangerous, possibly deadly (esp to weak characters). If you're low on HP or resists, then you need to beef up your detection (just as in other aspects of the game). Until imperfect detection becomes available (which I support) it should work like a charm. IMO, my suggestions earlier in this thread IIRC would be no more deadly than a current summoning trap, or old style paralysis.
Which is actually entirely within the scope of what I propose. What makes you think a formula based on character HP doesn't handle this?

Tiburon Silverflame September 25, 2010 20:27

Quote:

What makes you think a formula based on character HP doesn't handle this?
No. Not ever. Absolutely the worst possible scheme, IMO. This benefits weak characters and penalizes stronger ones, which is WRONG, and ridiculously illogical as well.

Damage depends on factors related to the *source* of the damage...so, a monster's current hit points for a breath weapon, or use depth to scale power for traps, or @'s weapon statistics...those define damage. You don't look to see how strong the target is, as a factor.

Atarlost September 25, 2010 21:50

One thing to do is consider Dwarf Fortress. Traps are a staple there and there are lots of saved maps on display illustrating their use.

There are two ways to set traps in DF that I know of: massed at the entrance(s) and traps in corridors to catch maddened dwarfs. The latter would also apply to any monsters that breach the gate defenses.

This is how intelligences place traps, and what should be simulated. This means traps should never be placed inside rooms, and should be concentrated in the corridors giving access to stairways. At least the part about never placing them in rooms is easy, at least for some variants of the dungeon generation code which place special terrain in corridors.

Since most players will travel through intersections this is another good place for traps since it can be learned and avoided which makes it more interesting gameplay.

Derakon September 25, 2010 21:51

If you want to scale damage (which I'm not convinced is a great idea), then you should base the damage on the dlvl. I firmly agree that nothing external to the character should scale with the character's stats.

krugar September 25, 2010 22:46

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tiburon Silverflame (Post 40409)
No. Not ever. Absolutely the worst possible scheme, IMO. This benefits weak characters and penalizes stronger ones, which is WRONG, and ridiculously illogical as well.

How?

Note that this is an honest question -- I'm not trying to be a smartarse. But I keep hearing these arguments that don't seem to really make sense to me. How exactly a scalable system based on character HP penalizes stronger characters. Or rather, why should it?

Note also that I'm not adamant on this option. It's not that I feel this is the solution to all our problems (or that there is a problem in the first place -- but that's another matter). I just don't see any clear and precise arguments as to why it is such a bad idea and why it draws such strong against opinions.

Nomad September 26, 2010 02:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by krugar (Post 40416)
How exactly a scalable system based on character HP penalizes stronger characters. Or rather, why should it?

It means that if you spend a lot of extra time descending slowly and carefully building up your character's stats to prepare for the dangers ahead, the dungeon will adjust itself harder to make sure you get no benefit for your extra effort. If you recklessly descend as fast as possible, the dungeon will make itself easier to make sure there's no penalty for your haste. It artificially balances things so that stronger characters have no advantage - they face exactly the same degree of risk as weaker characters.

Instead of scaling trap damage, imagine scaling monster damage. In the early levels, an orc might kill you with two good blows. That shouldn't scale so that no matter how much HP you gain, an orc can always kill you with two good blows, otherwise there's no benefit to gaining HP, and no way to improve your odds of surviving melee with an orc.

Deeper levels should be dangerous if you're ill-prepared, and more survivable if you've built up the stats and equipment. They shouldn't be tailored to provide the exact same degree of danger regardless of whether you've prepared or not.

Magnate September 26, 2010 08:55

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nomad (Post 40417)
It means that if you spend a lot of extra time descending slowly and carefully building up your character's stats to prepare for the dangers ahead, the dungeon will adjust itself harder to make sure you get no benefit for your extra effort. If you recklessly descend as fast as possible, the dungeon will make itself easier to make sure there's no penalty for your haste. It artificially balances things so that stronger characters have no advantage - they face exactly the same degree of risk as weaker characters.

Instead of scaling trap damage, imagine scaling monster damage. In the early levels, an orc might kill you with two good blows. That shouldn't scale so that no matter how much HP you gain, an orc can always kill you with two good blows, otherwise there's no benefit to gaining HP, and no way to improve your odds of surviving melee with an orc.

Deeper levels should be dangerous if you're ill-prepared, and more survivable if you've built up the stats and equipment. They shouldn't be tailored to provide the exact same degree of danger regardless of whether you've prepared or not.

+1. Very well put. This particular issue (trap damage) isn't a huge deal, but the principle is important. There is something perverse about designing a game to react to the character's stats. It's fundamental to some games, but inimical to roguelikes.

Sangband has a monster flag which sets its speed to your speed +5, which shows up in monster memory as "it is faster than you". That breaks this principle and is one of the most annoying things about Sangband, IMO. But it's used extremely sparingly (less than 1% of monsters), and never on monsters which could kill you in a double move (they're irritating rather than dangerous).

fyonn September 26, 2010 10:23

I must say I agree with the side saying that traps should not scale to the character, for a couple of reasons:

a) I can't think of a way to explain this in my head, how could any trap could physically scale itself to the character? nor could I see why some dungeon master rogue or mage would want to set a scaling trap. maybe something that scaled by weight I could see, ie did much more damage to half-trolls than hobbits as a factor of how pressure plates worked?

b) I think a valid defence against traps is getting more HP. a half-troll warrior is rubbish at finding traps but then the traps are less likely to matter to him. a trap is likely to be big news for a low level hobbit rogue though.

Now I would support traps being harder to find, significantly more dangerous the lower you go, more cunningly placed etc. perhaps even a separation into physical and magical traps, mages and priests only being able to find teleport and summoning traps via magical means for example, but everyone having a chance to "find" physical traps via perception and rogues having a spell for all traps?

but scaling with character HP.. I can't see it.

dave

krugar September 26, 2010 13:55

Very well then. I will not pursue this matter further. An unpopular suggestion merits no more.

But as a footnote I don't think comparing traps to monsters is a convincing argument. Sorry, it kind of ignores what I've been trying to say that traps are traps, monsters are monsters, and we were discussing traps, not monsters. I was hoping for technical, design, or mathematical arguments. Not a sort of ideology that limits possibilities for the simple matter you insist in comparing it to things where this is not being applied.

I'll be curious about what comes of this discussion and how traps will be fixed so that they remain balanced throughout the game. I sincerely wish you the best of luck.

Pete Mack September 26, 2010 22:47

One more time: if you wish to be educated on the possibilities of traps, try NPP 0.5. It covers this issue far more deeply than traps alone:
* Many traps can affect you at a distance, and their damage scales with depth.
* Dungeon has topography (sand, oil, shrubs, lava, water, etc) that affect the bahavior of both monsters and the player.
* Area affects are persistent, and cause limited sight lines.
* Area damage is persistant, so a poison breath does (say) 800 damage up front, and an additional 70 damage on the next dungeon turn.

Hajo September 27, 2010 11:27

Unangband has more sophistaced traps too. I assume it is the same concept that NPPAngband also has - regions and terrain features.

Unlike some other games, Angband has no persistent levels. It generates new levels as the player moves up and down the dungeon, allowing to grind, train, scum for better stats and items. In a game that has this as a very basic game feature, scaling the dungeon danger with player HP would nullify the training effect that was allowed in first place.

Scaling with player abilities works for games that have only a fixed number of opponents, where the player has no chance to "go training/grinding/leveling" further before they run into new areas. Since they can't go training, the new area must be scaled to be doable for this player.

Angband is another sort of game. Training, levelling, looking for resistances is a basic part of the game. Things which work well in one sort of game do not always work as well in another sort of game. So I'm against traps that scale with player abilities. Traps should (if they need to) scale with depth - this is native to Angband, the deeper you go, the more nasty things become.

Generally I want to second those who suggested that traps should not depend on "HP damage", but on other effects to the player and their equipment. There have been very good suggestions for trap effects.

EpicMan September 27, 2010 15:49

Krugar,

Are you a programmer (Can't remember if you said so one way or the other)?

If so, why don't you get a copy of the Angband source and see if you can alter the trap code to scale with player hp?

If you think this would improve the game the best way to demonstrate it to the skeptics is to make it happen in a variant; if the gameplay is appreciably improved by scaling trap you might be able to win over more people.

Of course, if you're not a programmer this isn't a viable option (unless you become one? Messing around with game code is probably a fun way to get your feet wet).

PowerDiver September 27, 2010 17:17

The whole point of a HP system is that more HP means you can survive more attacks. No attack should scale with HP, ever. If you want to separate out avoidance and armor damage reduction so that a blow to the head has a fixed chance of killing the player, then you should use a different system entirely.

Tiburon Silverflame September 27, 2010 18:19

Hajo: I don't play a heckuva lot of CRPGs any more; the last one would've been Neverwinter Nights. But from my experience: each area has a set difficulty. They *don't* scale to become harder as the character(s) get better; it's just that the stories are much more linear, and often there's no monster repop...so by the time you get to Area 7, the game knows you'll be 11th level.

krugar, I'm NOT comparing it to monsters. My point is, it's terrible design, in that it reverses things. My attacks and my defenses, are tied to my level. That's natural. YOUR attack power isn't linked to MY defenses, or to MY attack power; that's just wrong. I can readily explain why my attack at level 50, is more powerful than it was at level 40: I'm more skilled, more accurate, stronger, I can draw more power into a spell, whatever. All of those are entirely plausible and not a bit forced or contrived. Why does the damage that *your sword* (or the jaws of the bear trap, or the spikes in the pit, or whatever) change, between me being 40th and 50th level?

The first time I ever saw this point made explicitly, was in the 3.0 to 3.5 conversion for D&D...specifically, with the spell Harm. In older D&D and in 3.0, this spell didn't do X damage...it *left you* with 1-4 hit points. So if you had 100 hit points, you lost 96. If you had 300, you lost 296. The spell was *more powerful* against more powerful foes...and they realized (and stated) this is completely wrong.

Note that the kind of interaction you mention *can* exist in a reactive situation...how hard a batter hits a ball is partially a function of how hard the pitcher threw it. But we don't have that kind of interaction.

Timo Pietilš September 28, 2010 01:27

Quote:

Originally Posted by PowerDiver (Post 40447)
The whole point of a HP system is that more HP means you can survive more attacks. No attack should scale with HP, ever. If you want to separate out avoidance and armor damage reduction so that a blow to the head has a fixed chance of killing the player, then you should use a different system entirely.

To me HP represents physical endurance. However some attacks like poisoning or mind blast could go past that physical endurance and be direct percentile damage. HP-based scaling has its places. Same applies to healing. Either go with fixed amount or percentile and we have now percentile healings, and it not only feels right, it feels realistic.

Atarlost September 28, 2010 02:32

Quote:

Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš (Post 40464)
To me HP represents physical endurance. However some attacks like poisoning or mind blast could go past that physical endurance and be direct percentile damage. HP-based scaling has its places. Same applies to healing. Either go with fixed amount or percentile and we have now percentile healings, and it not only feels right, it feels realistic.

\

If an attack isn't effected by physical endurance it shouldn't effect something that represents physical endurance. By your logic mind blast should be save or die or attack mana or stats, not do a fixed fraction of HP damage.

ewert September 28, 2010 07:08

This "what HP stands for" is I guess a regular discussion on tabletop games. IMHO, it stands for more than physical endurance (ie. physical combat prowess in general, luck, fatigue, etc. whatso, all combined together). As such, there are arguments for both sides, but simply put in game mechanics in Angband I don't feel percentile based dmg belongs in the game.

Tiburon Silverflame September 28, 2010 18:03

If hit points ever mean something in some system, they don't here. The scale simply becomes ludicrous; a gigantic stone figure (colossus) *smashes* you with both its fists, blows that would rip stone walls apart...and it's just minor wounds to you. At that point, it's not toughness, or luck; it's purely bookkeeping.

Conversely, you can also say that ANY interpretation of hit points, in this context, is valid. This has the same effect: you can't use it as a basis to assert anything based on hit points.

Timo points out that the cure potions (the lesser ones, anyway) do percentage healing, and we feel it's realistic. I disagree on the latter. It's NOT realistic; it was done strictly to make them remain at least somewhat viable, and I suspect because we want the notion of "cure serious wounds" to scale. If I have 500 hit points, being down 50 hit points is not seriously wounded. It's those damnable adjectives that prejudice us. :)

Also, percentage healing was an answer to the TMJ issue; this approach let them be much less not-junk. But, it's the wrong answer because it's doing exactly what it shouldn't: the effect scales not with the power of the object, but the power of the target.

Note the impact if we simply change the names on the healing potions:
Healing
Adventurer's Healing
Daredevil's Healing
Heroes' Healing
Conqueror's Healing
Divine Healing
Life

From the names alone, one gets a different sense; the adjectives evoke a sense of greater and greater power, *without* the sense that they'll work as well on you whether you're level 10 with 70 hit points, or level 45 with 750. Thus, they don't create the expectation that someone who needs the full power of a Conqueror's Healing potion, will get much benefit at all from a basic, townie-level Healing potion. It's a subtle but IMO significant change to the player's thought processes and expectations.

krugar September 28, 2010 20:11

Folks, I'll try this again just to dispel some beliefs and probably clarify my position a little better.

Warning! Long post ahead. Enjoy. But please, if you choose to comment on some part, make a point of reading the whole thing. I'm sure if there is something that annoys you too, is to have to answer someone with quotes from your own previous post because they failed to read the entire thing.

The HP legend
HP is, and will always be the base for any balance decision on a game that relies on it to determine when a player character is alive or dead. In the early stages of the game development decision concerning damage and effects are based on the established hit die (HP). What we actually see in the end of the design process is an abstraction of this in the form of damage die, number of attacks, etc.

For this purpose, on quality games, mathematical formulas are devised (sometimes quite complex ones) to determine the right balance across several character classes and their levels and for the duration of the game. Player progression is often matched with linear damage progression on the basis of established hit dies (HP).

You must be careful when defining HP has something that should never influence damage progression. That assertion is almost always wrong. It's the way the game then abstracts these raw formulas, hiding them into concepts such as dice (randomness), value ranges, HP, and damage (including even effects), that may lead you to think there's no correlation between player character progression and their HP. You couldn't be more wrong.

Thinning out the correlation in the game
That said, it is indeed true players (but also designers) don't like to see those formulas clearly during gameplay. More to the point, they don't like to expose that correlation between HP and damage in a clear fashion. In a minimalist definition, a game is nothing more than an abstraction of mathematical formulas. So, one can hide the maths (or expose different and more simplistic maths) using those abstractions.

In this process one can effectively thin out this correlation between HP and damage in the context of player progression, giving the illusion of natural progression. Ubiquitous mathematical elements in about every game, like randomness, value ranges and others (number of attacks, effects, etc), with the help of statistical analysis, expand on the initial raw formulas and do indeed introduce more to the game than a simplistic relation between HP and damage. Player progression is given a "natural" feeling -- and in any generalized debate about the game, we can indeed conclude the game offers more than just a direct relationship between HP and damage.

The HP formula
How does the above can be exemplified? Let's take a direct relationship and turn into something more "natural" -- more gamelike.

Imagine traps always did 75% of player charater's HP:
Code:

TPdam = PChp * 0.75
That's the raw concept. A rather ugly way to deal with damage. That's as far as someone with no interest in designing an good game goes. But believe it or not, is part of the thought process that goes into defining better methods.

Let's introduce something more interesting. I want to define trap damage to sit randomly within a certain range of values based on player HP. Say, it should damage the player between half and 3/4 of the player character HP:

Code:

PChp * 0.5 <= TPDam <= PChp * 0.75
It's still pretty much linear. But what this means is that a natural factor of randomness was introduced into the formula (I can't possibly use mathematical notation on this text box, so bear with the above simplistic non formula). That is a first step into defining something more complex. With more thought and thinking of different factors, we can reach something like:

Code:

TPdam = PChp * depth / max_depth * damage_factor
The above, which is one of my earlier suggestions, determines that trap damage should be defined in terms of dungeon depth, with potential damage increasing as we go down. A damage_factor can be applied in the form of a random number (or arbitrarily, on a case by case basis) to reduce or increase the damage. Finally damage is defined in relation to player HP.

With the above approach, we can then apply an abstraction to trap damage based on the current game abstractions and with the help of statistical analysis: For instance, just averaging the hit die of every class:

Code:

TPdam = (depth)d6 * damage_factor
Naturally, we want something more complex than this. But this is just a crude example of the way we move forward from raw formulas and concepts and into an abstraction that introduces -- gives the illusion of -- a more natural damage progression.

The HP definition
HP is not a player character physical endurance, damage resistance, or something else with a relationship with human resistance. HP stands for "hit points", as you well know. As such HP is Hit Points and nothing else.

Trying to establish relationships between HP and real-life counterparts is not going to help reach any conclusion or serve any purpose. HP is a mathematical device to a mathematical approach to games. Nothing more. In real life the same shot through the heart will kill an elephant, a strongman or a child. And if it doesn't, it was not because an internal HP count in our bodies stayed above 0. I'm sure we can agree at least on that.

I'll be happy to discuss HP as being this or that in the context of playing the game. But please don't bring that debate when we are discussing game design choices. We can generally agree on a weak definition and on the game semantics that go along (it depends on constitution, for instance). But no more. Everyone knows what HP stands for; but nobody should dare saying what exactly.

The Trap monster
Stop making comparison between traps and monsters, then saying you aren't comparing, and then keep doing it :)

Traps aren't monsters. The semantics are completely different. Both in the way the game approaches traps as the players do. A completely different set of rules currently apply to traps. In no way any consideration between traps and monsters should be made to further a point, or to counter another.

Traps aren't currently even well defined as a strategic medium. There's a few cases, but by virtue of the game random generation of dungeons (and trap placement) they are only evident on static dungeon elements like vaults, or by chance when the RNG did make something interesting out of a dungeon section. Unfortunately the monsters currently don't take advantage of traps either. So really, with traps not being monsters already, they aren't even strategically significant.

With this in mind you should really think twice before using again a monster example to counter trap damage arguments. If instead traps start becoming more interesting, then we can start discussing it in those terms... sometimes.

Tiburon Silverflame September 28, 2010 21:19

Quote:

The above, which is one of my earlier suggestions, determines that trap damage should be defined in terms of dungeon depth, with potential damage increasing as we go down. A damage_factor can be applied in the form of a random number (or arbitrarily, on a case by case basis) to reduce or increase the damage. Finally damage is defined in relation to player HP.
And that's when we completely reject your position, because the final assertion is WRONG, for reasons many of us have cited.

Using depth, and depth alone, in a formula gives the rest of the model you describe. It is reasonable to extrapolate "at a given depth, the player will typically be level X, with Y Con, and therefore hit points will be roughly about...this much". If divers push that, and tend to be lower level at a given depth (or have lower Con) then they have a consistent, increased risk that they choose to accept.

SPECIFICALLY, what we are rejecting is the hard tie-in you imply: that, at the time damage is computed, the amount of damage is related to your current or max hit points. We are NOT rejecting the notion that damage increases with depth.

nullfame September 28, 2010 22:03

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tiburon Silverflame (Post 40487)
SPECIFICALLY, what we are rejecting is the hard tie-in you imply: that, at the time damage is computed, the amount of damage is related to your current or max hit points. We are NOT rejecting the notion that damage increases with depth.

This.

Depth is *roughly* a function of character level. Gear is a function of depth. HP is a function of character level (and class and race, which you can use average values for, and gear which we've already seen is a function of depth).

It is the "roughly" part that makes the game interesting.

I agree with the assertion that, in the end, basing it off HP and off of depth would be functionally similar. I would even agree that to determine logical damage output one should base it off of *assumed* HP. What I don't agree with is this:

Quote:

Originally Posted by krugar (Post 40245)
A possible trap damage formula:

[Player Maximum HP] * [Depth (level)] / 100 * [Trap Dam Factor (TDF)]

This takes away the risk of diving too fast and the reward of clearing too slow.

krugar September 28, 2010 22:46

Interesting to note my post was simply ignored. Being that isn't even the in-game formula, but just the concept formula. Should learn to not write so much. A waste of time and effort.

Tiburon Silverflame September 28, 2010 23:15

The waste of time and effort is being casually and sarcastically dismissive, when you fail to ever counter any argument WE made.

At this point, it's not we who fail to read your posts, it's you who fail to read and/or answer any of our arguments.

fizzix September 29, 2010 00:22

Quote:

Originally Posted by krugar (Post 40491)
Interesting to note my post was simply ignored. Being that isn't even the in-game formula, but just the concept formula. Should learn to not write so much. A waste of time and effort.

There's no waste. I read your post and all the other ones. It's always good to have opinions, and there will always be disagreements. I've made a lot of suggestions on this forum that were argued against and discarded. I've also had some suggestions that were played with, adapted, and included in the code base.

The only reason I haven't responded to this post is that I agree with the consensus that basing damage off of HP is a bad idea, and there's really nothing for me to say that hasn't already been said.

Even if you get no responses, don't feel like you've been summarily dismissed. You can be certain that people have read what you suggest and probably put some thought into it as well.

Hariolor September 29, 2010 00:45

I'm just going to float this out there:

How about a trap damage formula that runs something like

TDam = %CharMaxHP, where %<100

This way accidentally stumbling on a trap will never kill anyone if they are at full HP. However, if a trap does 99.9% MaxHP, and you're short even 1hp, you could insta-die.

This may provide the benefit of making traps scale with the player across all classes and levels, while preserving the notion that (damage-causing) traps should be *very* dangerous if the @ is not careful, particularly if there are baddies around.

edit for clarity: TDam can be any %, not necessarily 99.9%...

krugar September 29, 2010 01:32

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hariolor (Post 40494)
TDam = %CharMaxHP, where %<100

Yes. I didn't make it clear this time around, but on the original suggestion I do refer that HP is in fact player max HP. Or, for matters of angband mechanics, the player's Level * Hit Die.

Hence why it can eventually be turned into a final formula that can use the dice abstraction taking into account player's current depth, averaged hit die between classes and expected level progression at that depth.

buzzkill September 29, 2010 01:49

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hariolor (Post 40494)
How about a trap damage formula that runs something like

TDam = %CharMaxHP, where %<100

I still don't like it. Are we now proposing merciful traps. It's the dungeon's job to kill you, not hold your hand. Properly 'balanced' trap shouldn't instakill (non-diving) healthy players. It's a non-issue IMO.

nullfame September 29, 2010 04:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by krugar (Post 40491)
Interesting to note my post was simply ignored. Being that isn't even the in-game formula, but just the concept formula. Should learn to not write so much. A waste of time and effort.

That isn't fair. I read your post. Some things I agree with, some things I don't, some things I don't understand. It doesn't mean I ignored it.

I agree that it should be in relation to depth. When you say "damage is defined in relation to player HP" I don't agree or at least don't understand what you mean. If you mean that you should take *expected* HP and what % you want to take from expected HP and use those as inputs to create your level-to-damage formula, I would agree with that. That also seems obvious to me.

When you say "You must be careful when defining HP has something that should never influence damage progression. That assertion is almost always wrong," I'm not sure if "has" should be "as" and if so whether I agree with your statement. I think the character's current HP, max HP, or even level for that matter should never be taken in to account when calculating damage (or, if it is, should not increase damage as you level). I think expected HP always should be and you couldn't create a balanced game without doing so.

Hajo September 29, 2010 11:23

If we are about traps and such ... Unangband has some funny sorts of traps.

There is a hidden machinery with tripwires that shoots clay pots and urns at you. If your character is lucky, they can catch some of the pots. I find that imagination hilarious, to stroll through the dungeon, suddenly have pots flung at you and in a sort of reflex catch the one or other :D

Now I must find out what such ancient pottery is good for ...

nppangband September 29, 2010 22:18

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hajo (Post 40443)
Unangband has more sophistaced traps too. I assume it is the same concept that NPPAngband also has - regions and terrain features.

Correct. Andrew and I have borrowed alot of ideas from each other over the years.

Hariolor September 30, 2010 00:18

Quote:

Originally Posted by buzzkill (Post 40497)
I still don't like it. Are we now proposing merciful traps. It's the dungeon's job to kill you, not hold your hand. Properly 'balanced' trap shouldn't instakill (non-diving) healthy players. It's a non-issue IMO.

Buzzkill,

These traps would not be any more merciful than a "balanced trap". They could easily kill any player, provided they are encountered at less than maxHP.

I am proposing this as a method FOR balancing traps. If your criteria is that balanced traps should not kill a healthy character at a depth appropriate for their level and class, this achieves that. As the player goes lower, traps can simply do an increasingly higher % of MaxHP. I don't know about you, but a trap that leaves me with 1 hp on DL 65 when I'm CL 20 is pretty terrifying. Probably as good as instadeath, but not *quite* as abrupt.

nullfame September 30, 2010 01:02

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hariolor (Post 40525)
These traps would not be any more merciful than a "balanced trap". They could easily kill any player, provided they are encountered at less than maxHP.

I'm still with buzzkill here. A level 1 character stepping on a dl99 damage trap even at full HP (13? 15?) should die. Period. Don't ask me how she got there.

IMO you should take the average HP of a Human Ranger and a Human Rogue with educated guesses of what their CON boosts will be at a given level to determine expected HP and scale your damage from there. Would it hurt a Hobbit Mage more? Yes. Would it hurt a diver more? Yes. Would it hurt a over-powered clearer less? Yes. That's the point.

For me a trap should take no more than 1/3-1/2 of your expected HP but buzzkill is a self-proclaimed meanie so this may be where we start to disagree :)

I definitely favor more interesting trap effects. Chaos, gravity, electricity, time, sound, disenchantment, aggravate, drain mana all sound fun and (relatively) easy since the effects exist.

buzzkill September 30, 2010 02:40

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hariolor (Post 40525)
These traps would not be any more merciful than a "balanced trap". They could easily kill any player, provided they are encountered at less than maxHP.

You should be extra careful when wandering injured. Trap detection is currently *infallible*, so this shouldn't be a problem. Even so, I believe I suggested a DL100 trap inflicting about 250-300 points of damage. That shouldn't even kill a character that's already half-dead.

Tiburon Silverflame September 30, 2010 17:26

nullframe's suggestion is along the lines I was suggesting. The dungeon can be divided into sections; the biggest dividing line is, of course, stat gain territory, because this is where the big improvement (relatively speaking) happens.

I also agree that 250-300 points is about the right range for DL100 trap damage. It's definitely enough that you'll take notice, but not so much to be devastating in itself. That's the proper role of traps in this game, IMO. More generally speaking, I'd say average trap damage should be in the 1/4 to 1/3 range of typical max hit points, on every level.

fizzix September 30, 2010 21:45

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tiburon Silverflame (Post 40550)
I also agree that 250-300 points is about the right range for DL100 trap damage. It's definitely enough that you'll take notice, but not so much to be devastating in itself. That's the proper role of traps in this game, IMO. More generally speaking, I'd say average trap damage should be in the 1/4 to 1/3 range of typical max hit points, on every level.

Sure this covers pits and acid/flame traps. But if you want to beef up traps, you need to do something about dart and gas traps too.

Daniel Fishman September 30, 2010 21:59

Currently, though, it doesn't really matter, because past about level 15, everyone has perfect and cheap trap detection anyway, and traps only affect people who are careless (apart from create-traps spells, I suppose). Any revamp of traps, IMO, should ideally change that - in a way that neither penalises warriors further, nor forces players to be highly paranoid. Although I'm not entirely sure how this would be achieved.

andrewdoull October 1, 2010 00:07

Quote:

Originally Posted by PowerDiver (Post 40447)
No attack should scale with HP, ever.

What utter nonsense and you, if anyone, should know better than to say that.

Take paralyzation. That attack scales 100% with your hitpoints. You will be 100% paralyzed regardless of how many or how few hit points you have.

Andrew

PowerDiver October 1, 2010 00:23

Quote:

Originally Posted by andrewdoull (Post 40560)
What utter nonsense and you, if anyone, should know better than to say that.

Take paralyzation. That attack scales 100% with your hitpoints. You will be 100% paralyzed regardless of how many or how few hit points you have.

Andrew

That is the opposite of scaling. No difference in effect in relation to number of hp.

Paralysis is a timer, or counter, or call it what you will. The change to that counter does not currently scale one iota with your hitpoints.

fizzix October 1, 2010 00:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by Daniel Fishman (Post 40556)
Currently, though, it doesn't really matter, because past about level 15, everyone has perfect and cheap trap detection anyway, and traps only affect people who are careless (apart from create-traps spells, I suppose). Any revamp of traps, IMO, should ideally change that - in a way that neither penalises warriors further, nor forces players to be highly paranoid. Although I'm not entirely sure how this would be achieved.

remove the spell entirely. Traps need to be searched for. Amulets and rings of searching now become very powerful in the early game. Alternatively, make disarming scale with trap difficulty, so that you have a good chance of setting off a high level trap.

fyonn October 2, 2010 20:11

Okay, here's my mindless ramblings.

First hitpoints. HP is, for me, an indication of how injured someone is. full HP equals full health, <0HP is dead, or so injured that they're as good as. I think it's highly unrealistic for a level 50 human warrior to have nigh on 1000HP, where a level 1 human mage has about 6. If you imagine both being executed, they're led to the block and the executioner takes off the head of the mage in one blow of the axe. For the warrior he has to hack away for 30 minutes with frequent rests in the middle to regain his strength. Or perhaps both lieing asleep in cotton PJ's when a rogue creeps in and slips a dagger between their ribs. the mage will expire with barely squeeze, but the warrior is unlikely to fare much better. he might well get his hands round the rogue's throat, but unless the paramedic's are standing by then it's tombstone time. I guess we could grant the executioner and rogue critical hits but even so, with our current system, that level 50 warrior's got time to read a short novel before dieing.

I can honestly see a hardened adventurer being made of stern stuff then a novice, but they're both still human. If a level 1 warrior has 10HP, then perhaps at level 50 he should have maybe 40-50? I can see a half troll being a lot more hardy than a hobbit, but lets not get carried away.

When I think of my guys in the dungeon, mid battle, they're battle scarred and bloody. several cuts, a few deep gashes, maybe a broken rib. they've not got an arm off! their intestines aren't dragging along the ground, we can't see bone sticking out of flesh. but that's what being under 10% HP kind of implies. Also these injuries are not fixed by just pulling out a sleeping bag and taking nap.

also, imagine that level 50 warrior taking off all his armour and standing in front of an ancient dragon. a single flick of a talon would gut him and leave him bleeding to death on the ground. he wouldn't be able to stand there for 5 minutes.

truth is, while our hardened and experienced adventurers are very tough, they're not super-human. most of their ability to survive hand to hand fights with terrible enemies comes from their ability not to get hit. This is perhaps due to armour, or being fast, or very dextrous, or due to magic.

I think I'd be interested in a system where HP only went up very slowly and top HP for a race is only a small multiplier of starting HP. I'd then like to see much more use of AC and dodging attacks. once you get past orc's, then many of the creatures would realistically kill you with only a few landed blows. our guys should only survive because they mostly avoid actually being hit, or only get scratched.

In the system in my head, "light" injuries (less than 50% maybe) would only heal on their own very slowly so without magical intervention, most people will walk round with some injury. more serious injuries would not heal on their own at all and might well impart their own penalties like slowed response, lower DEX, CON or STR. lower SP/higher fail rates due to lack of focus, quite possibly HP drain over time as bad injuries go longer without medical attention. getting these fixed up should either be a trip back to town (medical facilities? cost involved?) or magical healing of some sort.

then fights would more heavily involve AC and DEX vs attackers skill. an attack would either be judged to have:

hit - Here the blow has got though and hit, potential for damage
missed - Here an attack is dodged, blocked or parried. no damage at all

if there is a hit, then we'd need to see how the attack interacts with the armour. a stock whip hitting plate mail is likely to have 100% of damage blocked, a sword thrust into a leather jacket could go straight through and do a lot of damage.

Right, traps! (finally).

I agree with the general view that traps should not scale with character HP. a nasty trap on level 99 would likely kill a level 1 character dead in an instant, not do the same percentage of damage as it would to a level 50 character. I do support traps getting much more nasty with depth. we assume the people down there are much more experienced with making really evil traps that can do a lot more damage. they're also be much better at making them hard to find.

However, much like my diatribe on HP above, I think a large part of surviving traps is around not suffering the full brunt of them. a very deep level poison dart trap that hits should be extremely likely to kill, otherwise leave the character very ill. high level/experienced characters should have multiple methods of avoidance. one would expect rogues to know the signs and have a big boost to perception of traps. magic users should be able to find magic based traps, but not physical traps. all characters would have the ability to use perception to find them, but it should be hard. all traps should have a chance of not being found.

when a trap is tripped however, your high level characters can use their experience to get out. so fast or highly dextrous guys could dodge darts or jump away/catch something before a trap door opens. darts or spikes might well hit armour and not flesh etc.

deep traps should be potentially deadly, but high level characters should have a good opportunity to avoid these traps or the worst of them. Hence divers would be at serious risk of traps, and that, to me is right.

Also, there should be the chance of monsters setting off traps. chances are that low level humans monsters will know about the local traps and know not to set them off, but if a herd of mumaks charges through a trap I'd expect that a number of mumaks would have suffered bad effects and that the trap would be non-functional afterwards.

I'd certainly think that traps could be enhanced to make them more of a risk. perhaps even new and varied types, perhaps including the type that does no damage but changes the dungeon nearby, perhaps closing a corridor off or even dropping impervious rock where the trap is. traps with acid/fire are easily imaginable, so are ones with big spikes or dropping stones etc. these different types of traps could be avoided with certain stats. so weight/size of character might have a bearing on whether one is set off. some could be avoided by speed of DEX checks. a falling roof could be avoided by STR checks for example.

err.. hmm.. I did go on a bit didn't I. sorry. I won't object to any "tl;dr"'s ;)

dave

PS. of course, all this may have/probably has been thought of before. etc.

PowerDiver October 2, 2010 21:08

What you want is not a HP system. In system design, you make decisions on how you want gameplay to go. The important thing is to embrace your decisions rather than mucking things up thinking you are not happy with a decision you made earlier.

Try to find a copy of Runequest for a different approach that I would guess would be more to your liking.

fyonn October 2, 2010 21:57

well, I've been playing angband for 15 or so years, so it's not like I hate the current system. just throwing it in for good measure. something to think about.

Derakon October 2, 2010 22:57

Fyonn: I'll admit I didn't read your entire post. I got to this bit:

"truth is, while our hardened and experienced adventurers are very tough, they're not super-human."

and then I stopped. Because in fact, our hardened and experienced adventurers are super-human. They have to be! They're out to kill Morgoth! Anyone who can kill a god is not a normal person any more by any stretch of the imagination, even if they started out that way. By the end of the game our characters are heroes at least on the scale of someone like Heracles; possibly even stronger.

Your examples of a rogue sneaking a dagger through the character's ribs or an executioner trying to chop off their head would actually end up playing out rather comically if tried against a Greek-style superhero. Heracles had to get hit with some very exotic poison to die, for example. Anything less would have just bounced off. Prometheus was sentenced to have a vulture eat his liver for all eternity! He just kept growing it back over and over again, despite being tied to a rock.

Bottom line is, fantastic characters can survive fantastic punishments and keep on kicking. "Realism" doesn't extend this far, and it doesn't need to.

nullfame October 3, 2010 06:34

(I read it)

Quote:

Originally Posted by fyonn (Post 40583)
imagine (a) level 50 warrior taking off all his armour and standing in front of an ancient dragon. a single flick of a talon would gut him and leave him bleeding to death on the ground. he wouldn't be able to stand there for 5 minutes.

Are we also assuming this level 50 warrior hasn't been consuming magical potions (constitution, augmentation, etc)? I can imagine those making him superhuman. But, if he has consumed no potions, isn't wearing any armour (no CON boost, resistances) then he probably has 500 HP. An AMHD would kill him in one shot. Even the strongest warrior (950 HP) can be killed in 2. To kill the AMHD would be an act of luck (isn't it all?) but a level 50 warrior with nothing but what he inherited from his family would for sure die (unless he read the ?recall). The game is very realistic in this regard :)

Quote:

our guys should only survive because they mostly avoid actually being hit, or only get scratched.
Dodging attacks, IMO, is built in to damage. Yes, we expect a single blow to be devastating to said warrior. But he's not standing there saying "give me your best shot." He's running like hell, avoiding any damage he can, etc. Unfortunately he can't do that forever. In pure melee the average AMHD kills the average human in 5 rounds. The best AMHD do it in 3. This also seems right.

With magical enhancements, all bets are off. With the right equipment a cl50 human warrior can kill Morgoth.

Quote:

Right, traps! (finally).
Yes, back to the original topic. Oh wait, no :)

Quote:

I do support traps getting much more nasty with depth. we assume the people down there are much more experienced with making really evil traps that can do a lot more damage.
Totally agree. Who do you think sets a better trap: Wormtongue or Harowen? I bet Feagwath sets a mean trap. I would hate to be caught in Shelob's web.

Quote:

a very deep level poison dart trap that hits should be extremely likely to kill, otherwise leave the character very ill.
If you don't resist poison you should die (long duration). Otherwise it should leave you very ill (take meaningful damage from the dart).

Quote:

high level/experienced characters should have multiple methods of avoidance. one would expect rogues to know the signs and have a big boost to perception of traps.
I don't know how searching scales but it should by level, class, and race. Maybe it already does.

Quote:

highly dextrous guys could dodge darts or jump away/catch something before a trap door opens.
DEX and INT currently reduce your harm from traps (by increasing the likelihood you disarm them to begin with).

Quote:

deep traps should be potentially deadly, but high level characters should have a good opportunity to avoid these traps or the worst of them.
If traps scale, this is automatically true because HP scales by character level (and magic) to compensate.

Quote:

Also, there should be the chance of monsters setting off traps.
This already happens. You just don't notice because the trap was set off before you detected it. Some of the monsters also died before you detected them. Getting rid of skeletons was a bad idea. The rest stumbled away or back to their friends and then healed before you noticed. A lot of them even fell back asleep because you've been taking so long.

fyonn October 3, 2010 13:10

Quote:

Originally Posted by nullfame (Post 40595)
(I read it)

thanks :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by nullfame
Are we also assuming this level 50 warrior hasn't been consuming magical potions (constitution, augmentation, etc)? I can imagine those making him superhuman.

I guess when I said superhuman, I mean nigh on invulnerable. yes, these guys have magically high stats but their skin is not made of steel, nor their bones of titanium. they have massive endurance and stamina, but even the mightiest have been brought down by relatively weak attacks. the the witch-king of angmar really was super-human but got killed when he was stabbed in the leg by a hobbit (Merry) and then had a sword stuck into his helmet by a nurse-maid (Eowyn). bear in mind that Eowyn was not an experienced fighter, she just got lucky. in the game, Angmar has 6000HP, which is 4-6 times as many HP as any character is ever likely to get.

Quote:

Originally Posted by nullfame
But, if he has consumed no potions, isn't wearing any armour (no CON boost, resistances) then he probably has 500 HP. An AMHD would kill him in one shot. Even the strongest warrior (950 HP) can be killed in 2.

I see you've picked out an AMHD there, which are significantly more powerful than most other base dragons. What about your typical D&D dragon, an ancient red.

Code:

It can claw to attack with damage 4d9, claw to attack with damage 4d9, and bite to burn with damage 7d9.
so excluding it's flambe attack, looking at maximum damage we're talking 36+36+63, so a maximum damage rate of 135 damage in a turn, an average of 67.5. our naked warrior here would probably last 7 rounds here, or worst case, nearly 4 rounds. surely an ancient dragon would bite his torso in half in one go and swallow. end of? he lasts longer because he fends off the claws and teeth with a weapon, a shield and fancy armour.

Quote:

Originally Posted by nullfame
Dodging attacks, IMO, is built in to damage. Yes, we expect a single blow to be devastating to said warrior. But he's not standing there saying "give me your best shot." He's running like hell, avoiding any damage he can, etc.

and I guess that's the thing for me. we're modelling this dodging and avoiding with high HP, where we could perhaps be modelling it in better use of things like AC, DEX, speed or magical defenses?

Quote:

Originally Posted by nullfame
With magical enhancements, all bets are off. With the right equipment a cl50 human warrior can kill Morgoth.

oh yes, I agree that magical kit, especially artifacts should and do make a considerable difference, but to me, they should enhance our ability to defend ourselves.

Quote:

Originally Posted by nullfame
Yes, back to the original topic. Oh wait, no :)

hey, if a topic doesn't wander then we're not doing it right ;)

Quote:

Originally Posted by nullfame
Totally agree. Who do you think sets a better trap: Wormtongue or Harowen? I bet Feagwath sets a mean trap. I would hate to be caught in Shelob's web.

yes, completely. and feagwath doesn't seem the type to set traps with the though in his head of "well, I'll just injure them a bit".

Quote:

Originally Posted by nullfame
If you don't resist poison you should die (long duration). Otherwise it should leave you very ill (take meaningful damage from the dart).

should we (do we?) have levels of poisoning? like we have levels of cuts?

Quote:

Originally Posted by nullfame
DEX and INT currently reduce your harm from traps (by increasing the likelihood you disarm them to begin with).

somehow, I see it in my head as though disarming high level traps is unlikely for many, but what they may well do is spot them and understand how not to set them off?

Quote:

Originally Posted by nullfame
This already happens. You just don't notice because the trap was set off before you detected it. Some of the monsters also died before you detected them. Getting rid of skeletons was a bad idea. The rest stumbled away or back to their friends and then healed before you noticed. A lot of them even fell back asleep because you've been taking so long.

I didn't think it did? I'm sure I've detected traps and then seen hounds run over them. or detected traps underneath trolls etc. actually definitely in vaults. monsters never set off traps do they?

dave

fyonn October 3, 2010 13:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by Derakon (Post 40590)
Heracles had to get hit with some very exotic poison to die, for example. Anything less would have just bounced off. Prometheus was sentenced to have a vulture eat his liver for all eternity! He just kept growing it back over and over again, despite being tied to a rock.

not sure I agree with these two examples :)

Heracles was the son of Zeus, a greek god. he should be expected to realistically be super-human. and Prometheus was a titan being punished by Zeus with a divine punishment. his liver grew back because Zeus willed it, not because prometheus had awesome regenerative capacities :)

none of our angband characters have either divine heritage, nor do they appear to be involved in some petty revenge scenario. of course, Morgoth is virtually a god so he could probably enact some form of divine punishment on those who try to kill him and fail, but the game doesn't model that ;)

dave

Timo Pietilš October 3, 2010 14:23

Quote:

Originally Posted by fyonn (Post 40602)
the the witch-king of angmar really was super-human but got killed when he was stabbed in the leg by a hobbit (Merry) and then had a sword stuck into his helmet by a nurse-maid (Eowyn). bear in mind that Eowyn was not an experienced fighter, she just got lucky.

Eowyn was a fighter. A good fighter born into female body in world ruled by men, and based on her words not stranger to combat.

Witch-king was not a human. Not anymore. He was basically a incorporeal ghost and as such difficult to kill. Yet given right weapon and right person to wield that weapon he could be killed.

Ringwraiths power was based on fear, if you didn't fear them you could beat them. Witch-king was greatest of the ringwraiths, but nowhere close to strengths of Gandalf, Saruman, Elrond, Galadriel, Glorfindel (or any high-elf for that matter) Aragorn and definitely not anywhere close to Balrog of Moria. Even Frodo could resist Witch-king (but not The Ring). Movie made Witch-king way more powerful than what he was in the book.

Our heroes go beyond any of these. Our heroes are preparing to kill Morgoth, which is by far stronger being than anything in LoTR. Second to Eru in power. What this game is about is basically impossible task of killing a immortal being that is basically a god. So our heroes need to be gods to do it.

Timo Pietilš October 3, 2010 14:27

Quote:

Originally Posted by fyonn (Post 40603)
none of our angband characters have either divine heritage

I'm not so sure about that. Dunedain are part-maiar, and maiar are "divine" by nature. Same kind of beings as Valar, but weaker.

nullfame October 3, 2010 18:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by fyonn (Post 40602)
I didn't think it did? I'm sure I've detected traps and then seen hounds run over them. or detected traps underneath trolls etc. actually definitely in vaults. monsters never set off traps do they?

No, I was being silly and suggesting that monsters already having set off traps is already built in to the game. But no, they don't.

andrewdoull October 4, 2010 00:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by PowerDiver (Post 40562)
That is the opposite of scaling. No difference in effect in relation to number of hp.

Paralysis is a timer, or counter, or call it what you will. The change to that counter does not currently scale one iota with your hitpoints.

Losing 50% of your hit points doesn't scale with your hit points. It is always 50% of your hit points regardless of how many hit points you have.

Andrew

andrewdoull October 4, 2010 01:08

Actually - rather than continue trolling, I'll just state for the record that there's far too much fuss about what hit points are in this thread.

Feel free to rejustify whatever argument you're making by assuming that every character regardless of level has 100 hit points, but has a 'life factor' which scales down damage that they receive.

My position on hit points is that they are an excellent game mechanism, and abstraction, and if you read anything beyond that, you're probably doing too much. This includes resisting the idea of some types of damage scaling with your hit points.

Andrew

zaimoni October 4, 2010 05:24

Quote:

Originally Posted by fyonn (Post 40603)
... Prometheus was a titan being punished by Zeus with a divine punishment. his liver grew back because Zeus willed it, not because prometheus had awesome regenerative capacities :)

Ahem...per "Theogony" Prometheus is a generation-one god (like any other titan) while Zeus is generation-two. Prometheus would be expected to "naturally" heals about as well as Aphrodite [another generation-one god(dess)], and Aphrodite's recovery speed from "mortal would have been instantly killed" is pretty well documented in the Iliad.

[Taking Heaven and Earth to be generation-zero.]

I don't think Tolkein's Maiar and Valar "analogize" well to the usual ancient religions. Also, I'm pretty sure anything above CL2 Warrior in hp is "superhumanly hard to kill" so real-world and Tolkein-world realism arguments are both already out the window.

Storch October 4, 2010 14:13

Quote:

Originally Posted by PowerDiver (Post 40586)
What you want is not a HP system. In system design, you make decisions on how you want gameplay to go. The important thing is to embrace your decisions rather than mucking things up thinking you are not happy with a decision you made earlier.

Try to find a copy of Runequest for a different approach that I would guess would be more to your liking.

Thanks for the example. I have been thinking about this many times.

The executioner example is properly ridicilous but does not bother me much. I accept that HP is just an abstraction.

There are two things that do bother me:
- Almost dead characters can attack, cast spells etc. the same as at full health.
- Instant healing. Try to imagine Morgoths's frustration - after every manastorm and/or series of good hits with Grond, the @ is almost dead and every time instantly heals to full health. Over the course of the fight @ takes enough damage to kill him/her several times and yet heals again and again and finally kills the poor Morgoth.

Are there any examples for different approaches?

PowerDiver October 4, 2010 17:09

Quote:

Originally Posted by Storch (Post 40626)
Are there any examples for different approaches?

It comes down to what you want to design for. If you want the @ to fight thousands of battles,many against ridiculously powerful foes, you need to set things up so that there are no instakills and the @ can heal quickly. HP does what it was designed to do. Even semi-realistic systems would leave the @ with only a negligible chance to win.

Here is a fundamental question. Are forty 1-point wounds worse than one 10-point wound? In the additive world of HP they are. However, you can set things up so that minor wounds are minor wounds no matter how many you have. Major wounds and worse have immediate nasty consequences. However, this is a fundamentally different approach and you cannot put it on top of a HP system.

I only played Runequest a few times, and the truth is that I hardly remember anything except the roar when you throw all of the dice to determine what happens on an attack. I mentioned it because it was sufficiently popular you might have heard of it or be able to find it. Getting really esoteric, I am pretty sure the wounds distinction I mentioned is in "Skyrealms of Jorune" but it would be amazing if you come across that.

As to the troll, we already have lifeforce in V. It's called CON. However, like everything else, it is designed to be additive. The deep trap that costs about half your hp is the one that irresistably drops con by 25 points, from 18/100 internal to 3 is at least in the ballpark. As I am opposed to attacks that drop a stat by more that 1 you can easily figure out my position on that. If you want repeated attacks to kill the @, that is easy too, just take out the floor on stats of 3 and embrace negative numbers. Once again, that is going against fundamental design decisions.

I wouldn't mind seeing CON change to be multiplicative or something more complicated. I wouldn't mind seeing stats be linearized and allowed to drop below 0. However, those are major design decisions that should be addressed in their own rights. Breaking the system with traps because you do not like the fundamental design decisions is extremely misguided IMO.

Tiburon Silverflame October 4, 2010 17:54

Andrew:

Quote:

Losing 50% of your hit points doesn't scale with your hit points. It is always 50% of your hit points regardless of how many hit points you have.
That's the EXACT definition of scaling with hit points. It does 300 when you have 600; 500 when you have 1000; or 5 when you have 10. It doesn't do a set amount; it does an amount that changes based on your hit points.

And I agree that hit points are a bookkeeping abstraction, but that's irrelevant to the issue of scaling damage dealt to max hit points.

Systems that don't use hit points:
--Hero System
--Storyteller
--original Legend of the Five Rings, and others which use the same 'exploding d10' system
--Shadowrun

Most of these also have wound levels, which apply penalties of one sort or another. I played a fair bit of Shadowrun, and GM'd it some as well...and let me tell you, designing a combat in Shadowrun was *hard* because of the way penalties worked. A character with moderate wounds, lost a LOT of effectiveness...or, conversely, if the party got in the first licks, the fight might become very easy, very quickly. A good GM can pull this off, but it's not something to leave to the whims of a random number generator. Building a dungeon crawl based on this would give something *seriously* different.

Actually, if you want games that don't use hit points per se: many first person shooters. These games are all about reflexes, and resource management...you've only got so many healing potions and top-notch ammo.

Derakon October 4, 2010 18:09

Every FPS I can think of has a health gauge and litters healing packs all over the place. Recently they've taken to letting you regenerate if you don't get hit for awhile, but you still have a health gauge that, once depleted, causes you to undergo spontaneous existence failure.

EpicMan October 4, 2010 18:43

I'm pretty sure all FPSs use the hit point system, they just replace the raw numbers with a pretty bar and make their health potions look like first-aid kits or other generic 'medical' stuff.

Sure, some FPSs have minor penalties for low health (Secret Service comes to mind), and some give their players innate regeneration after not taking damage for a while, but it all boils down to 'this much damage will certainly kill you, less than this will never kill you'.

If you want a more realistic model look at Dwarf Fortress (well, more realistic except your dwarves gain power like Angband characters to become virtually unstoppable killing machines). You can take organ damage (damaged eyes = blindness, damage heart/liver/brain = probably instant death), bones can be broken and limbs can be lost. Just don't try it if you get headaches easily - the ASCII graphics in DF are a bear to look at and decipher.

Hariolor October 4, 2010 23:53

*snip to put on new trap thread*

Storch October 5, 2010 10:46

My questions were not connected to traps in any way and I apologize for hijacking the thread :-)

To explain my view more clearly:
  • It is OK for high-level chars to have lots of HP and survive things low-level chars couldn't. It is even realistic - boxing champion or american football player survives with no problem during every match such beating that it would very probably kill me or at least required long stay in a hospital.
  • I do not need realistic damage simulation of severed limbs and punctured spleens. HP abstraction is good enough.
  • It is not OK that it is possible to do everything the same at 0 HP as if nothing happened. I would expect gradual deterioration of strength, carrying capacity, speed etc.
  • It is not OK that it is possible to heal from almost dead to full health instantly and repeatedly and that it is integral and necessary part of the gameplay.

Hajo October 5, 2010 11:15

Quote:

Originally Posted by Storch (Post 40671)
[*]It is not OK that it is possible to do everything the same at 0 HP as if nothing happened. I would expect gradual deterioration of strength, carrying capacity, speed etc.

Loosing carrying capacity at low HP might turn annoying - if you won a battle, but got badly hurt, you must collect your stuff newly from the floor after resting a while.

If you need to flee a battle, but stayed in it long, you might have lost vital equipment ...

cinereaste October 5, 2010 17:23

Quote:

Originally Posted by Storch (Post 40671)
It is not OK that it is possible to heal from almost dead to full health instantly and repeatedly and that it is integral and necessary part of the gameplay.

This seems to be a pretty fundamental part of game play at the moment. Do you have an alternative?

For me, this sort of healing never bothered me. Yes, IRL people can't drink a potion and suddenly have limbs grow back, etc. But magic doesn't exit IRL either. If people are worried about realism in terms of healing, then shouldn't they also be concerned about realism about magic? It's magic healing. If your system allows magic that breaks laws of physics, why not have healing magic that breaks laws of biology?

Derakon October 5, 2010 18:06

It's not inconceivable that you could rework Angband such that in-dungeon regeneration was limited to use-on-pickup items dropped by killed monsters or found on the floor. Thus the only ways to heal would be to keep killing or to retreat to the town. You'd have to completely rework monster damage to make this work, though; dealing >25% of the player's max HP in a single turn would be completely out of the question.

This would have the happy side-effect of basically eliminating instadeaths. It also wouldn't be Vanilla any more by any stretch of the imagination.

nullfame October 5, 2010 18:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by Storch (Post 40671)
It is not OK that it is possible to do everything the same at 0 HP as if nothing happened. I would expect gradual deterioration of strength, carrying capacity, speed etc.

Well, there is the stunned side effect. If you have taken a real beating you are likely to be stunned or cut so that satisfies "weakened at low HP" for me.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Storch (Post 40671)
It is not OK that it is possible to heal from almost dead to full health instantly and repeatedly and that it is integral and necessary part of the gameplay.

The potions that allow you to do this (Life, *Healing*) are currently (3.1.2v2) pretty rare. Taking Morgoth-quality damage would require at least two !healing to recover from.

Storch October 6, 2010 08:27

I do not want to make angband "real". I accept that magic is magic and that magic healing potion is not aspirin.

What I wanted to say is, that I do not like these aspects from gameplay perspective. I usually do not enjoy fighting Morgoth much because it's just a bit silly war of attrition.

Eddie mentioned Runequest which uses different system. I was interested if there are other examples of playable, enjoyable alternative systems.


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