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-   -   Blackguards: 4.2.0 to 4.2.1 (http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=9901)

DavidMedley March 14, 2020 05:07

Blackguards: 4.2.0 to 4.2.1
 
Hoping to concentrate information and opinions about Blackguards in this thread. Please post bugs, ideas, pros and cons, and anything else about Blackguards here. I'll edit this initial post several times to add relevant external links, such as to other threads where BGs were discussed at length.

BGs get more than their fair share in this recent thread "Preparation for Angband 4.2.1: classes"
http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=9863

January 2020 Dunadan Blackguard competition
Discussion http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=9762
Entries http://angband.oook.cz/competition.php?showcompo=229

DavidMedley March 14, 2020 05:07

Nick Says
 
This quote seems like the best place to start.
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 143184)
Blackguard: 3-week competition, 2 winners out of 30 attempts with a strong race (Dunadan). The final new class is looking like it's missed the mark. The concept is supposed to be of a big evil thing which just beats everything around it into submission, and it feels like it gets close to that in the late game, but a bit too late.
What worked:
  • Thirst for Blood
  • Throw Monster
  • Shield bashing
What didn't:
  • Forceful Blow
  • Impaired HP regen with no counter-balance
  • High effective minimum weapon weight
So I have come up with some ideas for a pretty big revamp of the class, which should give a distinctive play-style but may take some balancing. The basic ideas is that this class should seek out monsters to fight, and the more the better. Specifically:
  1. Keep the HP impairment, but give a bonus to HP regen based on number and power of monsters who have LoS of the character;
  2. Also have a percentage reduction in damage based on monsters in LoS;
  3. Replace Powerful Blow with area of effect melee - monsters adjacent to the monster you are hitting also take damage, more the heavier your weapon;
  4. Permanent aggravation;
  5. Reduce minimum weapon weight by half.
This is a big series of changes, but I think capable of being balanced and likely to be fun, again opinions solicited.

http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showpos...84&postcount=1

Grotug March 15, 2020 10:55

What if instead of regen health when monsters are in LOS regen health when you kill a monster? Health regenerated would be directly proportionate to either the amount of damage dealt in killing a monster (so more health regained for killing healers) or experience points gained from the kill (problematic if you quaff an early !experience as doing so would suddenly result in little health gains from killing tough monsters).

archolewa March 16, 2020 01:46

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grotug (Post 143631)
What if instead of regen health when monsters are in LOS regen health when you kill a monster? Health regenerated would be directly proportionate to either the amount of damage dealt in killing a monster (so more health regained for killing healers) or experience points gained from the kill (problematic if you quaff an early !experience as doing so would suddenly result in little health gains from killing tough monsters).


Could also scale the healing based on monster health, kind of like breath damage. This could be interesting because it might incentivize putting a couple of beefy monsters at almost dead so you have some quick healing available. Especially if they didnt pose a large threat, like dragons.

Diego Gonzalez March 16, 2020 01:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grotug (Post 143631)
What if instead of regen health when monsters are in LOS regen health when you kill a monster? Health regenerated would be directly proportionate to either the amount of damage dealt in killing a monster (so more health regained for killing healers) or experience points gained from the kill (problematic if you quaff an early !experience as doing so would suddenly result in little health gains from killing tough monsters).

The current behavior has its uses, like when a character is running from monsters. Or when you are fighting a monster in the entrance of a corridor. The splash damage made by "crowd fighting" can hurt 3 others monsters in LOS behind the first monster (the epicenter is in this monster) and you get the regeneration boost.

Related to this... I would like to see with bigger detail the bonuses and penalties that crowd fighting has (or shield bash, or shapeshifts). Can be in the documentation, or from the new S command.

DavidMedley March 19, 2020 21:06

Blackguard Candidate
 
As some of you know, I'm working on a significant revamp of the Blackguard with Nick. I'd like to describe what I'm shooting for. Hopefully I'll hear back that people can't wait to give the new model a test drive! But if people aren't enthused, that too is valuable.

We had some discussions when I got started, and I'd like to single out this gem:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 143184)
their abilities and spells should be leading the player to stay in fights rather than escape, the idea being that the character is having too much fun to stop.

Armed with this principle and all of the other discussion I referenced above, I tried some things, bounced some things off Nick, and here's what I have tentatively arrived at.

Goals
  • Melee class
  • Maximize Action
  • Fun to play!
Melee class
  • Ability to close quickly or otherwise minimize enemy breaths and spells
  • Mitigate enemy melee tricks (confu, stat drains, etc.)
  • Staying power
  • Reward heavy weapons
Maximize Action
  • Give incentive(s) to keep moving rather than resting
  • Bad stealth / aggravate / other enticement to fight more often
Fun to Play!
  • Unique play style
  • Not much harder or easier than other classes
  • Optimal play close to theme (e.g., if the best play style is to avoid melee, we failed this test)

Blackguard in Prose

Blackguards love combat when it's up-close and personal. Whether laughing in the face of mortal danger or cursing the mothers of their adversaries, there's no place a Blackguard would rather be than in a fight.

Blackguards are no ordinary brawlers, however. They learn powerful Shadow Magics that help them harness their martial spirit and battle rage. With this power they bolster their strength, weaken their enemies, and sustain their life force.

Blackguard exemplars include Morgoth, Tulkas, Feanor, Boromir, and Uruk-hai such as Ugluk.

Mechanics Overview

Figuring out how to reward BGs for jaunting from one combat to another (without making them overpowered) is the defining characteristic of the current design. We encourage players to forge on relentlessly by reversing MP regeneration. BGs lose MP at half the rate other classes gain them. They gain MP by attacking in melee or getting damaged by enemies at any range.

So at the end of a battle if you have 50% or so of your HP and 50% or so of your MP, it should be optimal (given your arsenal of spells) to keep moving rather than rest to 100% HP and 0% MP. If you've played a Rage Mage in some other variants, the MP in this design rise and fall much slower so the BG has more time to find his next victim or cast utility spells.

As your MP degenerate or are spent, you get a small amount of HP back. The more damaged you are, the more HP you recover from this process. Even when very hurt this HP boost is not huge, but it's enough to keep you in the fight longer (25% longer seems about right). Degenerating MP giving some healing diminishes the (not fun!) urge to cast post-combat spells before your MP evaporate. And the increased healing while hurt lessens the impact of entering a battle when already banged up.

So while BGs have their HP regen reduced 50% and their MP regen reduced 150% (to -50%), they regenerate both faster in combat. They can also do a little thematically appropriate bullying to generate some MP or quaff a !Restore Mana to get ready for a big fight. (Might have to nerf those potions a bit for BGs only, if we continue down this road.)

BG spell arsenal, at present:
  • 5 buffs
  • 3 debuffs (debilitate monsters)
  • 3 attacks (2 melee and 1 to move-and-melee)
  • 2 heals (neither are direct HP healing spells)
  • 2 utilities
  • BG now uses 3 books

Attacks and debuffs will rely on scoring a melee hit - think how ?Confuse Monsters or Forceful Blow works, but you get one free blow. For example, one spell in the works puts ATT_STUN on the player and then attempts 1 melee blow on the target. If it hits, the target is stunned and ATT_STUN ends. If it misses, ATT_STUN stays in place for 10 turns or until the player's next melee hit. 5e D&D calls these "smites" and I think they're fun. I think the (not fun!) spell fail rates can be lowered on these spells since they have a potential secondary fail of missing the melee blow.

How bad to make their stealth is still under consideration. One version gave BGs permanent aggravation. This seemed way too hindering, though we could possibly change the range. The current nightly version gives BGs -1 stealth to start and -1 every 10 levels, totaling -6 at CL50. This would make everything wake up 4x as fast. I'm concerned with how difficult vaults in particular would be with either of these. The best alternative proposal that I'm aware of says BGs don't aggro everything, they only aggro things they think they can bully, like creatures whose native depth is much less than the BG's max depth.

Some things we are not doing: Direct healing of HP like Paladins. Vampiric attacks. Ranged damage spells. Spell damage without a successful melee strike. Teleportation. Some of these things could work in a Blackguard concept, but they're not part of story we're trying to tell.

Final Word

Thanks if you got through this whole post! None of these concepts are final. I'm interested to hear what feedback we get back from the community!

archolewa March 19, 2020 21:42

I am super excited by this. Barbarians are some of my favorite classes in RPGs (I recently had my first ADOM win with one in fact), and I've always been a little bit sad that Angband didn't really have one. Looks like the Blackguard is Anband's answer to this.

I also like that you've posted some non-evil examples of Blackguards (i.e. Tulkas and Feanor). I don't really like playing evil characters, so it's nice to have some lore that assures me that wielding shadow magic and loving a good fight doesn't mean I condone eating children and raising their undead bodies as my slaves.

For the whole aggro thing, what if that was a special ability that players had? Like, they could turn it on and off (think a battle shout or something). This could help blackguards get into fights faster when they are a lot of weaker monsters around, and turn it off when they really need to be stealthy.

I'm less concerned about vaults to be honest, the only times I seriously consider raiding vaults is when I'm playing a sneaky class (rogue or mage). Usually diving ten-twenty levels means I'll find stuff just as or almost as nice, and guarded by snagas instead of ancient dragons.

Are the extra melee attacks full attacks with full damage? That'll be fun.

Also, if you really want to double down on the whole "super-aggressive raging berserker" you could give them a bonus when they're not carrying a shield. Like, a spell that lets them upgrade their melee hits (so a miss is still a miss, but hits become good hits, good hits become great etc) if they're not wearing a shield. This will massively increase your damage output, but you're losing a lot of defense and almost certainly some elemental resistances.

This would partially balance the fact that bows will pretty much be used solely as stat stick, by taking away one of your slots. It also allows the player to better keep from getting overwhelmed by letting them tear through enemies faster.

Also, I'd really like to see a top tier spell that lets them shatter the dungeon with melee hits, and maybe getting a rapidly degenerating buff if an enemy gets crushed by the ceiling (though I don't know how easy that would be to code). I just love the idea of Morgoth and a Blackguard shattering everything around them. Though you'd have to make Morgoth immune to being crushed. It would suck if you couldn't use your Ultimate Spell in the Ultimate Battle.

DavidMedley March 19, 2020 22:15

I'm just going to try to keep my responses short, but there's a ton I'd love to respond to here.

Quote:

Originally Posted by archolewa (Post 143743)
Are the extra melee attacks full attacks with full damage? That'll be fun.

The melee attack spells and debuffs are geared to reward heavy weapons / low number of blows right now. I don't think any of them will do a normal round of blows. But they will do one or more blows just like you bump-attacked the monster, plus additional effects.

Quote:

Originally Posted by archolewa (Post 143743)
Also, if you really want to double down on the whole "super-aggressive raging berserker" you could give them a bonus when they're not carrying a shield.

I did throw out this idea while brainstorming with Nick. I don't want to try to take this on as it could affect the whole game, and I'm sure most people don't want me monkeying around this broadly! But, yeah, I think it's a good idea and BGs would probably be the class best poised to benefit.

Quote:

Originally Posted by archolewa (Post 143743)
Also, I'd really like to see a top tier spell that lets them shatter the dungeon with melee hits.

Yeah, Forceful Blow actually did this. I'm not sure earthquake is a very desirable effect, but it does seem cool and on-brand.

Thanks for the response!!

archolewa March 19, 2020 23:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidMedley (Post 143748)
Yeah, Forceful Blow actually did this. I'm not sure earthquake is a very desirable effect, but it does seem cool and on-brand.

Is that one of the spells that blackguards currently have? I admit I haven't played them as they are currently, partially because I interpreted their branding as "evil knights," and partially because they were so new and I was so new that I didn't really feel comfortable trying to figure them out while also figuring out the game itself.

And I'm inclined to agree that earthquake isn't particularly desirable, which is why I suggested getting a buff for crushing enemies with the ceiling. I feel like Blackguards would need some benefit from the earthquake for it to be useful. Whether it's a buff for crushing enemies, or they automatically know the new layout without having to reuse a Staff of Mapping, or something.

Grotug March 20, 2020 03:21

I understand the idea of rewarding risky "charge into battle" behavior by regenerating mana when taking damage, but there is something about this mechanic that feels cheesy to me. I think it would be more satisfying/more fun, less cheesy, if you regain mana only when you kill a foe and whenever you get a *GREAT* hit on a foe. But gaining mana when a dragon breathes fire on you seems cheap to me and not fun.

I do like the concept of having mana that is always degenerating. I'm not sure how you can remove healing and HP regen while keeping @ in battles most of the time, though (actually, I have a novel idea towards the end of this post). One option could be: since Blackguard degenerates mana quickly they could regenerate health quickly, thus solving the problem of them being confused with a tanky Paladin. I do like the idea of blackguards losing stealth every 10 levels. What do they gain every 10 levels to counteract this? better performance with heavy weapons/more critical hits?

I'm not too concerned about low stealth ruining vaults. Characters who can't kill a lot have to get their loot using stealth getting into vaults. Characters that can't use stealth to get into vaults need to find their loot by killing stuff. I've had lots of games with HT/Warrior where 70% of my endgame equipment came from drops. If you want to raid vaults, play a hobbit rogue.

I like the idea of aggro only affecting monsters lower than @'s level. You can combo this with giving blackguards the "protection from evil" spell, though maybe rebrand it as something like "protection through evil" as a form of immunity to evil (kinda like how undead have an immunity to nether) rather than a protection from it. Blackguards can gain a high resistance to evil creatures because they are themselves aligned with evil (sorry Archolewa, just spit balling here).

Just my $0.02: I never pick up Grond at end of the game because I don't like the earthquake effect.

I'm wary of having regeneration happening on HP as well as MP from combat. I think it probably should be one or the other and I am campaigning for MP over HP, although I think a special caveat or exception could be fun where when you kill certain Uniques you gain some health (the higher above your level it is the more health you regain--maybe any unique that is 'evil'?) but for all other monsters you do not gain any health for killing them. I propose this because the more I think about it the more I like MP negative-regeneration with mana regenerating through damage delivery rather than health regenerating as a consequence of combat. This way you're only regenerating health occasionally from combat and not mana and health all the time (which would be cheesy). Also: good things that only happen on occasion or through taking risks are more fun.

A variation on this idea is you could maybe give a health bonus only when Blackguards deal damage to (only evil?) monsters at a higher level than them and you give BG's an even more terrible fail rate on devices to compensate. (I personally would really like to play a class that does not need to rely on teleport other in order to succeed, and Blackguard seems to be the ideal candidate for such a class).

Finally, I would discourage any kind of healing for Blackguard (why can a blackguard get healing when my Ranger cannot?) and instead focus on coming up with creative alternatives to healing. One way to do this is to give Blackguards someway of getting augmented AC (shield spell used to be one way to do this) but they could also get a new spell that allows AC to absorb enemy breath or spell damage.

It could work like this: when you cast the spell, your armor becomes temporarily imbued with a special magical power that makes your AC absorb non-melee damage, so if you have 210AC and a great wyrm of chaos breathes for 600 damage at you and you do not resist Chaos you only take 390 damage. Or if Morgoth invokes a mana storm for 560 damage you only take 350 damage. Such a spell would have to be quite expensive (I'm thinking at least 70 mana points and must be CL40). Furthermore, since this spell would be quite OP, non-melee damage absorbed by AC would shorten the duration of the spell. So if the spell lasts for 25+1d25 turns, then each 10 points of damage absorbed by AC would reduce the amount of time the spell lasts by 1 turn. So if you have 210AC and have had the spell active for 5 turns when you get blasted by 600 damage then your spell will only last another 1d24 turns instead of another 20+1d25 turns. Ie. absorbing 210AC would result in the spell duration being reduced by 21 turns.

Sky March 20, 2020 04:38

i did say the blackguard didn't have a niche to stand out as a class of its own ...

wobbly March 20, 2020 04:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 143184)
Reduce minimum weapon weight by half.

I changed how this works for jb so that blackguards are rewarded for heavy weapons, instead of just punished for light weapons. Basically I found the middle point of weapon weights & anything below is effectively 20% heavier & everything above 20% lighter for the blackguard. (20% the difference between the middle pt).

DavidMedley March 20, 2020 09:07

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grotug (Post 143752)
there is something about this mechanic that feels cheesy to me.

This is a primary concern. That's why I'm presenting the general idea here rather than waiting to publish a playable version. In my head, rage and the joy of combat combining with shadow magic to power spells and regeneration makes sense. But if no one else buys that then I'll go back to the drawing board.

Quote:

I'm not sure how you can remove healing and HP regen while keeping @ in battles most of the time, though
Yes, agreed, and that's why we are using significant HP regen when the player uses MP, usually in battles.

Quote:

since Blackguard degenerates mana quickly they could regenerate health quickly
This is what is happening when the player has SPs.

Quote:

I do like the idea of blackguards losing stealth every 10 levels...I'm not too concerned about low stealth ruining vaults.
OK, good. You're the second player to say this so far.

Quote:

I like the idea of aggro only affecting monsters lower than @'s level.
I believe this is the most important part of my response: Would you say this should be in addition to negative stealth, or choose one or the other?

Quote:

I'm wary of having regeneration happening on HP as well as MP from combat. I think it probably should be one or the other
My first playable test had only MP regen from combat. But as you pointed out above, that made it really hard for the BG to stay in combat.

Quote:

the more I think about it the more I like MP negative-regeneration with mana regenerating through damage delivery
Great!

Quote:

you could maybe give a health bonus only when Blackguards deal damage to (only evil?) monsters at a higher level than them
Vampirism is a very tempting way to go. The current 1-to-1 vampirism in Angband would almost certainly be OP, though we could cut that rate down. In the end, it just seemed more interesting to make a battle rage BG than a vampire BG. Nick led by example in avoiding vampirism, and I eventually reached the same conclusion.

Quote:

I personally would really like to play a class that does not need to rely on teleport other in order to succeed
But if the BG isn't healing during combat, and he isn't TP'ing away to quaff potions, how does he survive? You suggested damage resistance or absorption, and I agree that's one way to go.

Quote:

Finally, I would discourage any kind of healing for Blackguard (why can a blackguard get healing when my Ranger cannot?) and instead focus on coming up with creative alternatives to healing.
Well, that's what I'm trying to do. The BG doesn't have any healing spells, instead he has a kind of hyper regen. Attacking in melee and getting hit generates rage/joy/energy which is represented by SP. As that energy is used, it in turn helps the BG recover or push through injury. It's not very spiky like when a Paladin casts heal. It's more smooth like fast regeneration. As I mentioned, right now it's only around a 25% rebate. A paladin can get back 25% HP much easier. Could maybe simplify it a bit by removing the connection to casting, but it felt like the right choice to give the player more agency.

Thanks for the feedback! Although you bring up a lot of disagreements, I've gone through a lot of the same thought processes you detail here, so we're actually closer to being on the same page than it might appear.

DavidMedley March 20, 2020 09:08

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sky (Post 143753)
i did say the blackguard didn't have a niche to stand out as a class of its own ...

I hope you are saying that this new proposal will give BGs their own niche.

DavidMedley March 20, 2020 09:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by wobbly (Post 143755)
I changed how this works for jb so that blackguards are rewarded for heavy weapons, instead of just punished for light weapons. Basically I found the middle point of weapon weights & anything below is effectively 20% heavier & everything above 20% lighter for the blackguard. (20% the difference between the middle pt).

Totally agree! Two points from my initial brainstorm list to Nick:

"Penalizing the BG by increasing the min weapon stat might not be the right approach (min weight is an ugly bandaid for a screwed up weight-to-blows system anyway)."

"What if the effective weight of a weapon when you're not wearing a shield is (wgt-5)/2+5? I.e., every lb over 5 only counts for half for reducing blows? For all classes. I don't think it would be enough of an incentive to abandon a shield in most cases, but with this in place we could do something to encourage BGs to use big two handed weapons."

I'm not saying my proposals are better than yours. I'm saying we're identifying some of the same issues. In what I actually have programmed and am testing, though, BG spells are used to reward heavy weapons or low blows.

Philip March 20, 2020 11:37

If Blackguards are supposed to revolve around a sort of "battle-rage" idea of combat (presumably in contrast to warriors who are more careful, deliberate, and use ranged combat as well as melee), then I think it would be reasonable to represent it by something other than SP, personally.

My idea is for Blackguards to have a sort of special numerical effect, which could be called Rage, or Adrenaline, or Bloodthirst, or anything.
Rage would increase when the Blackguard gets hit, but increase more when hit from range, or when hit hard, would increase when the Blackguard kills a monster, and would decay instantly if the Blackguard gets out of sight of all monsters (this creates weird situations with invisibility and blindness, which should by all rights be enraging, but would actually end Rage with this implementation, but that could be fixed). Rage would also decay normally, in combat, by something like 10% every turn, and the decay gets turned into SP (this means that after most fights, as they calm down they get their SP back, and it encourages use of SP throughout the fight, to avoid wasting resources). A spell, called Berserker or something, could be used to create Rage manually when needed.
This Rage effect would give, proportionally to its value, a small general speed boost (capped at +5 or lower), a large boost to movement speed (to make Blackguards able to navigate battlefields easily while fighting, and also create tactical depth by allowing the Blackguard to run away to the nearest corner, where they lose all their Rage, recharging their SP and allowing them to reengage in the fight a bit later once they've healed up and rebuffed), increased critical hit chance (IMO a thematic combat boost for them to get, that also rewards use of large-dice heavy weapons), and damage reduction (this would presumably be the most powerful part of the cocktail). It would also reduce the effectiveness of healing and cause aggravation in a radius that increases with Rage, as compensation for being very powerful. Any of these boosts could, if wanted, be gated behind a temporary buff.

This version of Blackguards should be absolutely garbage at ranged combat of any sort. More or less incapable of doing anything to anyone not right next to them, but pretty good at getting next to things and then doing things to them. Perhaps one of their higher-level buffs could give them temporary resistance to side-effects of melee hits (like disenchantment and such) that normally punish people for trying to use melee? Their stealth wouldn't necessarily be garbage (let's say, warrior-tier), but the second they get into a fight everyone knows it and joins in. Their fights are not "start hitting and don't stop until everything dies or you die" but revolve around a sort of tempo, with tactical breaks in tougher fights. They don't mind having a lot of enemies, but try to avoid being surrounded.

If casting still provides a HP refund, this would create a situation where getting into a fight gets you a combat boost that decays into SP, which decays into HP, which I think is a reasonable buffer to have to reward fighting with HP without having Vampirism.

Nick March 20, 2020 12:41

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philip (Post 143766)
My idea is for Blackguards to have a sort of special numerical effect, which could be called Rage, or Adrenaline, or Bloodthirst, or anything.
Rage would increase when the Blackguard gets hit, but increase more when hit from range, or when hit hard, would increase when the Blackguard kills a monster, and would decay instantly if the Blackguard gets out of sight of all monsters (this creates weird situations with invisibility and blindness, which should by all rights be enraging, but would actually end Rage with this implementation, but that could be fixed). Rage would also decay normally, in combat, by something like 10% every turn, and the decay gets turned into SP (this means that after most fights, as they calm down they get their SP back, and it encourages use of SP throughout the fight, to avoid wasting resources). A spell, called Berserker or something, could be used to create Rage manually when needed.

This is very close to what they already have - bloodlust, from the Thirst for Blood spell. This is started by casting, but then charges up by killing things and gives big melee bonuses when highly charged.

DavidMedley March 20, 2020 12:58

Lots in this post, but I'm just going to pick out a couple things

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philip (Post 143766)
This version of Blackguards should be absolutely garbage at ranged combat of any sort.

I agree. Where on the scale of other classes do you think they should fall? In the version I'm working on I've dropped their Shoot skill 10 points to 40:30, which is equal to the Druid, less than Paladin and much less than Warrior or Ranger. But still twice as high as Mage and Necromancer. Also, their melee skill is unchanged from previous versions -- equal to Ranger, slightly less than Paladin and significantly less than Warrior. Presumably they have enough tricks to make up for this.

Quote:

Perhaps one of their higher-level buffs could give them temporary resistance to side-effects of melee hits (like disenchantment and such) that normally punish people for trying to use melee?
We're on the same page here. Current test version gives temporary rConf and FrAct at CL12 and a restoration spell at CL40, though that feels late to me.

Disenchantment is one of the melee side-effects we're currently forcing the BG to navigate without help. Wouldn't be very fun if they had immunity to all the negative melee effects... or would it??

Philip March 20, 2020 13:01

Well, kind of. My proposal is for a more powerful mechanic that is a central class feature, rather than a spell-based effect that you only get later on in the game. Also, my proposal is less focused on boosting combat (though of course better crits are a combat boost, and so is +speed) and more on encouraging a particular sort of battlefield control/management. Also, it doubles as a form of SP regen in my proposal.

EDIT: Agree that BG should be vulnerable in melee in some form. I think having them on the caster scale of ranged combat is more or less correct. The melee skill seems at the right point too, so long as they're not horrible early game due to the light weapon penalty, which it seems you're moving away from anyway.

Chud March 22, 2020 03:16

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nick (Post 143770)
This is very close to what they already have - bloodlust, from the Thirst for Blood spell. This is started by casting, but then charges up by killing things and gives big melee bonuses when highly charged.

Does this expire and need to be re-cast periodically, or does it effectively last indefinitely as long as the BG stays in combat?

Nick March 22, 2020 03:56

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chud (Post 143790)
Does this expire and need to be re-cast periodically, or does it effectively last indefinitely as long as the BG stays in combat?

It counts down every turn, and will eventually run out unless you kill something else.

Grotug March 22, 2020 10:05

I like philip's ideas as they are quite intuitive and logical and encourage the type of play that I already try to employ with HT/Warriors. I would also thump the drum for BG to get really abysmal device skill as I'm not sure aggravation is a big enough penalty for all the buffs of rage/bloodlust. Device skill should take a -50 hit or something like that, or device skill should be inversely proportional to how much rage/bloodlust BG is experiencing.

Maybe a middle ground for the rDisenchanment issue could be that BG's need to experience disenchantment of their gear for them to gain the ability to automatically identify items that have rDisenchantment (but they also need to have reached CL40). In other words, they need to reach CL40 and have had some gear disenchanted at some point in their game.

DavidMedley March 22, 2020 11:07

Quote:

Originally Posted by Philip (Post 143766)
Rage would increase when the Blackguard kills a monster

Considered this initially. The problem I had with it is I don't want the same reward (SP in my version) for killing a mouse or blubbering idiot as for killing something tougher and level appropriate. I give a percentage of max SP for 1) every round of melee attacks made by the player, and 2) for the percentage of max HP lost to each enemy attack.

Bloodlust does increase for each kill, but that's an effect that is far less flexible than SP.

Quote:

a large boost to movement speed (to make Blackguards able to navigate battlefields easily while fighting, and also create tactical depth by allowing the Blackguard to run away to the nearest corner
Well, I'm trying to make the BG not use these kinds of tricks. I have a very early "charge" spell that helps them get closer but can't help them escape. And we're keeping Throw Monster which can achieve distance in a more thematically satisfying way. If you're getting beat up, you can still use things like PD, but I'm trying to not aid kiting and LoS cheese for this class.

Philip March 22, 2020 11:21

Ultimately, the precise triggers for building up whatever meter the BG is going to use are going to depend on the desired player behavior. My thing, which rewards getting hit at range, getting hit a lot, and killing many monsters, would encourage the player to hang around messy battlefields with plenty of mooks to recharge on (which is also kind of what my reward scheme encourages, particularly the increased movement speed). Yours rewards a pitched battle against a worthy opponent, which has the advantage that every other class is also optimized for that kind of situation (arguably, Dispel Evil rewards Priests for hanging out in particular messy battlefields, but even that drops off, and certainly doesn't apply to the big two battles), because the spiky monster damage output discourages having multiple monsters in line of sight.

DavidMedley March 22, 2020 11:28

I'm definitely reading and re-reading all the feedback in this post for inspiration. I hope no one takes my responses as dismissive.

DavidMedley March 22, 2020 19:39

Quote:

Originally Posted by Grotug (Post 143793)
BG to get really abysmal device skill

It seems to me that BGs, as a semi-caster, should get semi-caster levels of device skill, which is where it's set in 4.2.0. Berserk Strength reduces device skill by 10% in 4.2.0. Blood Lust doesn't, but that's a good possibility.

Sphara March 22, 2020 20:09

I really appreciate the passion developing a different fighting style here!
Breath/rare manastorm mechanic however, make it very hard. Killhole and hockeystick still remain great tactic.

I was thinking about an ability where you regenerate more and more quickly the more monsters are in sight. During that ability, you'd get nasty bleeding if less than two are visible. That would discourage using both killholes and hockeystick. But it would still mean that having two big breathers in sight, would probably still be hazardous.

Just throwing an idea in. Keep the brainstorming going!

archolewa March 23, 2020 05:35

I'm a little bit leery about giving massive penalties to Device skill (some penalties are probably fine). My biggest issue with the Berserker in Frogcomposband is that you can do only two things: stab, and drink potions. This means that berserkers pretty quickly hit a ceiling, and you in fact have to be *even more* careful than with other classes, because once you start a fight you have to finish it.

Fundamentally, Angband is all about picking your battles, with escapes available when you (inevitably) make a mistake, or you just get a little unlucky and things go sideways. Having a class that plays a little against type is fine, but go too far and either you have a *massively* powerful class who can take three ancient dragons and a pack of balrogs at once, or a *massively* difficult class who has to fight every fight they get into, winnable or not, and has difficulty avoiding them in the first place.

So either they need a halfway decent device skill, or they need a *Destruction* spell or something. A high movement speed is all well and good, but that doesn't really seem to me like a very useful escape. The player doesn't really have an easy way of assessing whether they can safely get around the corner before the Tarrasque breaths on them.

DavidMedley March 23, 2020 17:24

Quote:

Originally Posted by archolewa (Post 143810)
I'm a little bit leery about giving massive penalties to Device skill (some penalties are probably fine).

I agree. We're already punishing BGs for resting and shooting. I think that's enough for now.

DavidMedley March 25, 2020 18:33

Making Progress
 
Here's what I've programmed and tested so far:
  • SP degeneration
  • SP refilling from melee attacks and losing HP to enemy attacks
  • Expanded (but hacked) Spell List

The playstyle (after many adjustments) is pretty much what I was hoping for.
  • Some nice positives right away to counter the negatives
  • Lots of incentive to get into melee.
  • If you have leftover MP and reasonable HP there's plenty of incentive to keep on trucking. But with very low HP or no MP it's prudent to rest.
  • HP recovery that works better the more damaged you are (nothing that will make paladins jealous).
  • When you have to escape combat you have more incentive to get right back in that monster's face (after quaffing some healing pots, of course!).
  • The above 3 items keep the pace at a much higher level than standard Angband play, which is different and fun.
  • Instead of being bored by low level monsters, they look like small SP boosts to the player (bullying for fun and profit)
  • 2 very fun fear effects, largely because you have a move & attack spell to chase enemies down!
  • Kept most if not all of the best stuff from 4.2.0 and nightlies: berserk, CotD, poison, taunt, throw, thirst.

My new working title/description for the essential blackguard quality, from player_property.txt:
code:COMBAT_REGEN
name:Combat Regeneration
desc:Battle fuels your spirit, but complacency dims it

I have one big hack in the spell list that I need to fix. Otherwise I can provide a playable version which is pretty darn close to what I want in terms of gameplay, but farther away in terms of programming effort, and not too much thought given yet to balance vs other classes. I think the way to do this is on my own angband fork, but I'll defer to Nick on how to proceed. I have a small team of testers already: my sons, ages 12 and 9. They're scheduled to dig in this weekend.

Nick March 26, 2020 02:53

I'm inclined to think get it out for testing as soon as you think it's worth it, and then update regularly.

mrfy April 7, 2020 04:59

Trying a blackguard from the latest nightly and I'm very amused by the collateral damage attack. Attack one cave spider and you get the message:

You have slain the cave spider. <4x>

Is the idea that they swing their weapon wildly in a big arc and so hit multiple foes?

Nick April 7, 2020 05:45

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrfy (Post 144271)
Trying a blackguard from the latest nightly and I'm very amused by the collateral damage attack. Attack one cave spider and you get the message:

You have slain the cave spider. <4x>

Is the idea that they swing their weapon wildly in a big arc and so hit multiple foes?

That's the general idea. We should have significant changes out soon, too.

DavidMedley April 9, 2020 01:18

Update:
I've submitted my changes to Nick and he is looking into incorporating them. I think the wise thing for you, gentle reader, is to wait for that process to complete. BUT, if you want to see what I have in mind, you can find it here:

https://github.com/damedley/myband/tree/BGmod
(make sure you use this branch and not "master")

You can compile it if you wish and play. Selfishly, I'd like to see that early feedback. Grotug did some of this already, and his feedback was influential. But, again, the smart move for most of you is to wait for it to get into the nightly.

Eric April 9, 2020 16:17

Looking forward to trying this out! Hopefully will have the time in the near future.

FWIW, the --single-branch option is fantastic for minimizing the amount of git fiddling.
"git clone --single-branch --branch BGmod https://github.com/damedley/myband"

DavidMedley April 9, 2020 20:57

Yeah, good point. I've been using

git clone --branch BGmod https://github.com/damedley/myband.git dirname

Is that any different from the command you posted?

Nick April 9, 2020 22:37

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidMedley (Post 144362)
Update:
I've submitted my changes to Nick and he is looking into incorporating them. I think the wise thing for you, gentle reader, is to wait for that process to complete.

There's some interesting changes in there, so I'm taking my time going through it (also, I'm going to simplify the git history). If it goes according to plan it should be ready for all you people in weird time zones to play on Friday morning.

EDIT: Actually a bit quicker than that

Eric April 10, 2020 00:58

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidMedley (Post 144383)
Yeah, good point. I've been using

git clone --branch BGmod https://github.com/damedley/myband.git dirname

Is that any different from the command you posted?

Not really - --single-branch just pulls down that specific branch, instead of the whole repo followed by a checkout. Probably doesn't make much real difference in this case but I found it kind of a satisfying flag... If you had a repo with large files in one branch it might be more relevant.

mrfy April 10, 2020 05:05

Initial thoughts from the changes: very interesting. The SP decreasing while not fighting takes some getting used to. Feels like you lose them quicker than I expected, but my character (level 26 now) is still at normal base speed.

I'm carrying less ammo and fighting more hand-to-hand.

Liking the Leap into Battle and Whirlwind spells, haven't used the 2nd store book much.

DavidMedley April 10, 2020 06:00

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrfy (Post 144392)
Feels like you lose SP quicker than I expected

Should be 1/2 normal speed, just in the wrong direction. The main issue that I'm aware of is that, if you have 30 max SP, 29.999 current SP shows as 29. Which is really troublesome at very low max SP.

mrfy April 10, 2020 06:55

I see Restore Mana potions do the right thing, restores SP to the max even when completely drained.

DavidMedley April 10, 2020 07:01

Yeah... should they have reduced effect for BGs? +50% of max, so that 2 will get you to max?

mrfy April 10, 2020 07:07

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidMedley (Post 144396)
Yeah... should they have reduced effect for BGs? +50% of max, so that 2 will get you to max?

Don't think so. I'd be ok with a limit, maybe 100 SP max.

mrfy April 10, 2020 07:11

Another thing this SP decreasing while not fighting could lead to: better to postpone killing the townspeople until right before you return to the dungeon. Not that I'd advocate killing the townspeople, of course. :D

DavidMedley April 10, 2020 07:30

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrfy (Post 144399)
better to postpone killing the townspeople until right before you return to the dungeon

Heh, yeah when I'm testing I do this. If you have > 0 SP then it doesn't matter if you wait or not.

I had been getting pretty annoyed with townspeople while playing other classes, so getting something out of killing them is slightly satisfying to me!

backwardsEric April 10, 2020 18:47

With the new changes for the blackguard, the clang compiler packaged with Xcode 11.3.1 complained about the local variable, target, in effect_handler_MOV_ATTACK() being uninitialized when the condition

Code:

(context->dir == DIR_TARGET) && target_okay()
is false. Should target be initialized to loc(0, 0) so function will cleanly bail out if the target is not appropriately set?

Nick April 10, 2020 23:18

Quote:

Originally Posted by backwardsEric (Post 144412)
With the new changes for the blackguard, the clang compiler packaged with Xcode 11.3.1 complained about the local variable, target, in effect_handler_MOV_ATTACK() being uninitialized when the condition

Code:

(context->dir == DIR_TARGET) && target_okay()
is false. Should target be initialized to loc(0, 0) so function will cleanly bail out if the target is not appropriately set?

Yes, that one's fixed in development.

wobbly April 11, 2020 19:24

Breeder scumming seems a little generous, though I can't see a way to fix that without a cutoff for weak enemies.

Diego Gonzalez April 12, 2020 04:44

Wow! The new BG is great! I have one with clvl 25. It's pretty strong. I like the new mechanics and spells a lot. You did really a great job.

DavidMedley April 12, 2020 17:33

I'm glad you like it! It's not a complete work, so please continue to give feedback.

Diego Gonzalez April 12, 2020 17:49

Silly jokes:

-Mushrooms of Terror should be avoided for true BGs?

-Can a BG slap himself to get enough mana for maa?

:rolleyes:

Diego Gonzalez April 12, 2020 20:50

Got a crash when casting Leap Into Battle around a corner. The monster was running away.

I wanted to ask... The attacks made by Maim Foe, cannot be avoided? Im trying to figure out uses for it.

DavidMedley April 12, 2020 21:01

Around a corner, huh? Did you just cast detect?

DavidMedley April 12, 2020 21:01

The stunning cannot be avoided, but the blow(s) can be.

DavidMedley April 12, 2020 22:38

Quote:

Originally Posted by wobbly (Post 144447)
Breeder scumming seems a little generous, though I can't see a way to fix that without a cutoff for weak enemies.

I thought about this for a while, both in development and after I read this comment. In the six months I've been here, wobbly is definitely among the people whose opinion I respect most.

But I don't see the above as an issue. Part of the idea of the Blackguard is that he's a bit of a bully. In fact that's one of his 10 titles, from before I returned to Angband. Thug and Tormentor are also notable on that list. On March 25 I listed it as one of the pros of the class
Quote:

Instead of being bored by low level monsters, they look like small SP boosts to the player (bullying for fun and profit)
Of course, bullying low level monsters can be boring as well, but hopefully if you feel strongly about that then you've chosen a different class. And I don't find filling up to max SP a game breaking advantage for BGs. If it is, then I'll need to make adjustments since !Mana are easy enough to come by.

Diego Gonzalez April 12, 2020 22:42

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidMedley (Post 144462)
Around a corner, huh? Did you just cast detect?

Code:

# #
#K##
#  @
####

This situation

Perhaps I missed something of the code when I updated my android sources. I'll take a look.

DavidMedley April 12, 2020 22:47

OK, thanks for the report!

Diego Gonzalez April 13, 2020 01:04

I could reproduce the bug

Is this expression:

Code:

if (i == 2) {
  d -= 4;
}

It can generate negative indexes. In this case the starting value of d is 7, modified with every interation of the loop (0 to 2).

DavidMedley April 13, 2020 03:43

Oh geez. OK thanks. It's probably easiest for Nick to fix such an obvious error himself. Well, it's obvious now that you point it out, anyway.

Diego Gonzalez April 13, 2020 04:12

I tried to fix it but it ended working in a bizarre way hehe. Its better that you or Nick make it work in the right way.

Nick April 13, 2020 05:45

I've done a fix which should work, I'll push it before too long.

Diego Gonzalez April 13, 2020 09:06

If d = 0, d_test < 0 when choice[i] = -1

Perhaps including this:

If (d_test < 0) d_test = 7;

Nick April 13, 2020 09:50

Quote:

Originally Posted by Diego Gonzalez (Post 144485)
If d = 0, d_test < 0 when choice[i] = -1

Perhaps including this:

If (d_test < 0) d_test = 7;

*facepalm*

Fix pushed, I went with
Code:

                        int d_test = (d + choice[i] + 8) % 8;
which I think kills the problem dead.

Diego Gonzalez April 13, 2020 13:20

Nice! Learned something new...

Diego Gonzalez April 13, 2020 17:47

Ive uploaded all these changes to the playstore. The blackguard is a nice opportunity for me to rethink the spell ui in Android.

DavidMedley April 14, 2020 01:07

Response has been good so far, and the feedback is helpful. I'm going to post an outline here to hopefully generate further discussion.
  1. Impaired Recovery
    1. Impaired HP recovery (1/2 speed)
    2. SP degen (1/2 the rate of normal SP recovery)
    3. IMP_HP and IMP_SP have no further effect
  2. Ways BGs gain SP
    1. Gain 5% of max SP for a full round of melee attacks
    2. Attacked for X% of max HP, gain X% of max SP
    3. !Restore Mana or other items
    4. Hurting self not allowed
  3. Casting and SP Degen heal HP
    1. Spending X% of SP heals X/2% of damage (max 25%; spending >50% of mSP in one spell is inefficient)
    2. SP degen is 2x more efficient at healing, but obviously slower
    3. SP gains above max SP are wasted
    4. Resting and Regeneration flag double SP degen *only if* the player is hurt
  4. Max SP taken to be at least 10 for SP gain and healing.
  5. Spell list (not going to itemize every spell here)
    1. New melee spells
      1. Leap, Whirl, Maim
      2. Every 5 levels one of these becomes available or increases 1 blow
      3. Number of blows does not increase with lighter weapons, higher strength, +blows gear, or other effects
    2. Short effect lengths
      1. Berserk Strength starts pretty short, but gets longer (8+1d8 to 55+1d55)
      2. Grim Purpose 12+d12, Taunt 10+d10, Venom 20+d20
      3. Bloodlust 10 (extendable)
    3. Only half-caster to have a shapechange (Werewolf Form)
  6. Skills (initial +bonus every level)
    1. Shoot skill down to 35 +1.5, worse than all except Mage and Necro
    2. Throw 40 +3, equal to Druid
    3. Hitdie 8 (Warrior 9, Rogue and Paly 6)
    4. -1 -0.1 stealth - never before seen in Vanilla (I think?)
    5. 60 LB armor limit for casting - 50% more than any other casting class
  7. Global changes
    1. =Open Wounds sometimes available in Magic Shop (546 AU)
    2. Berserk Strength (SHERO) applies only to melee, and stops natural HP recovery

mrfy April 14, 2020 03:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidMedley (Post 144522)
Response has been good so far, and the feedback is helpful. I'm going to post an outline here to hopefully generate further discussion.

New melee spells
Leap, Whirl, Maim
Every 5 levels one of these becomes available or increases 1 blow
Number of blows does not increase with lighter weapons, higher strength, +blows gear, or other effects

Confused by a couple of things. Current weapon says it does 2.7 blows per round. It's an artifact dagger, lightweight. If I cast Whirl for example, it says it does 2 blows per foe. I'd then expect it to deal 5.4 blows per foe but that is contradicted by your last point. At some point there is a tradeoff where the weapon's solo # of blows is better or worse than the spell. I had been using the Whirl spell regularly when next to 2 or 3 monsters but will have to reconsider.

I also expected the Whirl spell to generate extra SP because you are hitting multiple foes, but it doesn't seem to work that way.

And at the moment the Maim spell only does 2 blows plus a stun. Not that useful yet.

Diego Gonzalez April 14, 2020 13:26

The stun effect of Maim is nice. But at high levels (not there yet) you get 3 blows max. How about making each blow unavoidable? Less blows, but each one of them lands on target. Or reduce the evasion chance

Hounded April 14, 2020 17:41

Blackguard Shape-Change?
 
"Only half-caster to have a shapechange"

What's the change? Are we envisioning a Cuchulainn battle-fury type effect or an animal/creature label?

"The first warp-spasm seized Cúchulainn, and made him into a monstrous thing, hideous and shapeless, unheard of. His shanks and his joints, every knuckle and angle and organ from head to foot, shook like a tree in the flood or a reed in the stream. His body made a furious twist inside his skin, so that his feet and shins switched to the rear and his heels and calves switched to the front... On his head the temple-sinews stretched to the nape of his neck, each mighty, immense, measureless knob as big as the head of a month-old child... he sucked one eye so deep into his head that a wild crane couldn't probe it onto his cheek out of the depths of his skull; the other eye fell out along his cheek. His mouth weirdly distorted: his cheek peeled back from his jaws until the gullet appeared, his lungs and his liver flapped in his mouth and throat, his lower jaw struck the upper a lion-killing blow, and fiery flakes large as a ram's fleece reached his mouth from his throat... The hair of his head twisted like the tangle of a red thornbush stuck in a gap; if a royal apple tree with all its kingly fruit were shaken above him, scarce an apple would reach the ground but each would be spiked on a bristle of his hair as it stood up on his scalp with rage."
— Thomas Kinsella (translator), The Táin, Oxford University Press, 1969, pp. 150–153

DavidMedley April 14, 2020 18:46

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrfy (Post 144527)
Whirl does 2 blows per foe

Right. It's not "2 rounds of blows" per foe. One of the goals, right or wrong, was to reward Blackguards for using big, heavy weapons. Whirlwind Attack in particular is easy to see why this might be the case. You have to spin the weapon and maybe your whole body 360 degrees for each blow. Using a light weapon such as a dagger wouldn't make it much easier to do that.

Quote:

At some point there is a tradeoff where the weapon's solo # of blows is better or worse than the spell
Yes, totally. Not sure if this is good or bad, but I personally think it's fun and interesting. For example, at CL20 Leap grants 2.0 blows. There's a really good chance that your character has 1.3 blows or less at that point. So it becomes a nice spell to cast even adjacent to an enemy, if you have the SP to spare. There's a lot of these little boosts and inflection points along the Blackguard journey. (By inflection point I mean a place where the optimal strategy changes.)

Quote:

I also expected the Whirl spell to generate extra SP because you are hitting multiple foes, but it doesn't seem to work that way.
Yeah, I thought about that but it doesn't seem to make much sense to give SP back for spending SP. I'd rather focus on giving you good value for the SP you do spend.

Quote:

And at the moment the Maim spell only does 2 blows plus a stun. Not that useful yet.
It might surprise you how effective stun is. I have written down: "Damage reduced 25%. Accuracy reduced 25%. 10% chance to miss a turn. Gives player +10 to-hit for crit calc only. See mon-timed.h and test_hit in player-attack.c." It might do other things, too. But at a minimum it's very effective at reducing the damage you take in melee combat.

Thanks so much for the comments and questions!! As I've said a few times, this is not a complete work, and the feedback is very influential. (Might not be significant changes before 4.2.1 release, depending on Nick, but I do have changes planned over the next few months.)

DavidMedley April 14, 2020 18:48

Quote:

Originally Posted by Diego Gonzalez (Post 144538)
The stun effect of Maim is nice. But at high levels (not there yet) you get 3 blows max. How about making each blow unavoidable? Less blows, but each one of them lands on target. Or reduce the evasion chance

I'm actually thinking of going the other way. Stun (and some other effects) will only happen if you can land a melee blow. But I'll drop the spell fail chance to compensate. And maybe the stun effect will be applied for *each* hit, rather than just once.

DavidMedley April 14, 2020 18:51

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hounded (Post 144540)
"Only half-caster to have a shapechange"

What's the change?

Sorry, the reference goes a bit over my head. I'm talking about Werewolf Form, which gives +1 blows, +1 move speed (generally, doubles your footspeed), gives regeneration (if you don't have it), +5 to hit and to-dam, and a one-time Howl of the Damned effect (attempts to cause fear). I'll update my outline to be more specific.

Hounded April 15, 2020 00:12

Thanks David. Sorry I wasn't clear. I'm realizing more and more that the bulk of this game gets played in my head and the computer is just a story-board aid.

I didn't realize you were referring to werewolf form and was struck by the possibility of some sort of warped Hulk-Type physical berserk-rage transformation (the reference was from Irish mythology; penultimate noble warrior half descended from the gods who transforms into an unstoppable undiscriminating ravening beast in combat trope).

Appreciate the quick answer.

Eric April 16, 2020 15:16

Thanks for that explainer (#66) DavidMedley!
I was confused from the text in the 'S' command how the SP/HP relationship worked, but I'm really enjoying the new dynamic.

Being able to heal by casting spells during combat is pretty neat, I've gotten through a few tough fights that I otherwise would've run from (like Bolg and some Old Trees) thanks to Grim Purpose. While I had a heavy weapon, the extra blows (and healing!) from Leap & Whirlwind were great, now that I've got Forasgil, Whirlwind is still great (walking into packs of O,T,C,Z and absolutely destroying is Oh-so-satisfying), and Leap is still handy for fleeing monsters and getting the jump on breathers when I don't want to turn on Taunt. I've had plenty of close calls still, so it doesn't feel overpowered, either.

So in short, I'm a fan. The SP mechanics are definitely clearer with more SP, but without fractional display, I don't think there's really much to do about it. There's not a clear winner for "best race for starting out with" in my mind, which is interesting... gonna have to try out a half-orc next. Posting progress on the ladder at
http://angband.oook.cz/ladder-show.php?id=23483
for what it's worth, though I've had some luck lately, so I'll probably die soon. :)
Hopefully I'll make it to Werewolf before kicking the bucket...

DavidMedley April 16, 2020 17:27

Thanks for the detailed response, Eric!

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eric (Post 144605)
I was confused from the text in the 'S' command how the SP/HP relationship worked

Yeah, this dynamic is totally new so I thought I needed to describe it. None of the other player properties have nearly this long of an explanation. Nick suggested I could break "Combat Regeneration" into more than one property, but I feel it's all one thing. If you (or anyone else) want to try to rewrite it, that would be awesome.

For reference, here's the current description:

Quote:

Combat Regeneration

You draw power from the thrill of combat. This power is represented by
Spell Points (SP). You gain SP in combat when damaged by a monster or
when you attack in melee. When not in combat you *lose* SP at half the
rate others gain it, and you gain hitpoints (HP) at only half the normal
rate. When you spend SP by casting a spell you regain some HP, and
unspent SP replenish your health even more efficiently. The more damaged
the character is, the bigger these HP gains will be.

Diego Gonzalez April 16, 2020 17:50

I'm becoming a fan too hehe.

I'm using a combination of Taunt and Whirlwind for some mobs (Venom too). Sometimes I cast Hollow of the Dammed to make some of them fly away and fight less enemies at once. Taunt is a *must* for mobs. At higher levels its better to fight just 2 or 3 monsters at the same time.

Leap is great for retreating enemies, as Eric said.

I like the spell selection very much. Again, well done!

DavidMedley April 16, 2020 17:56

Thanks, Diego!

mrfy April 17, 2020 16:58

So you can still shield bash as werewolf shape? Seems illogical.

DavidMedley April 17, 2020 17:32

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eric (Post 144605)
Being able to heal by casting spells during combat is pretty neat, I've gotten through a few tough fights that I otherwise would've run from

This is what I was going for. Something that may not be obvious right away is that the healing side-effect is proportional to damage. So if you save your spells until you are near max SP or near zero HP you get the most out of them. I think this is fun and cool, too. But if you use your SP in this way the magnitude of the healing might be a bit too high, and I may have to cut it a bit. Or maybe it's a reasonable reward for courting death.

Quote:

While I had a heavy weapon, the extra blows (and healing!) from Leap & Whirlwind were great
Again, that's what I was going for. The minimum effective weight for weapons really punishes BGs early compared to warriors, paladins, and rogues who can get a lot of blows with a light weapon. Berserk Strength is a nice early consolation prize, but once you get 2 blows with any size weapon at CL20 with Leap, the BG gets some nice payback for living with low blows for the first 19 levels. And 2 blows at CL25 with Whirl multiplied by 3 or more enemies is pretty nuts. When you start gaining strength (and therefore blows) these spells diminish again.

I'm not sure I love chain-casting Leap at melee range at CL20, from a fun and immersion perspective (and verisimilitude, if I can use a 25 cent word). But it seems to fit the bill for rewarding heavy weapons.

Quote:

There's not a clear winner for "best race for starting out with" in my mind, which is interesting
In my mind, Half-Orc was the ideal race, thematically, followed by Dunadan. But I think Dwarf and Half-Troll should play quite well, too. Humans fit very well thematically, and I guess BG is as good a choice for them as any. Elves would be the only combo that would make me blanch in Tolkien (meme joke). I saw Sphara playing a Kobold Blackguard yesterday, which is not a combo I would have expected!

DavidMedley April 17, 2020 17:33

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrfy (Post 144635)
So you can still shield bash as werewolf shape? Seems illogical.

Never thought of that!

DavidMedley April 17, 2020 17:38

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrfy (Post 144635)
So you can still shield bash as werewolf shape? Seems illogical.

Now that you say this, maybe a shapechange isn't the right tool for this. Maybe I'll change it to just a buff. Make shooting, casting, and devices really bad, but not impossible. I have in mind the humanoid werewolf, not the Tolkien werewolves which appear to be intelligent spirits forced into wolf bodies.

DavidMedley April 17, 2020 17:43

Nick didn't love a half-caster using shapechange anyway. As a BG player I liked the idea of being able to switch back at will, but maybe that's not the right game design choice, either.

Hounded April 17, 2020 19:42

What if the shapechange automatically reverted if you did anything except attack?

DavidMedley April 17, 2020 20:24

I like this idea, but it's already being used (more or less) in Bloodlust. At one point I had Werewolf much earlier and didn't have the escalating blows trio that I do now. The thought then was to reward big heavy weapons with the +1 blows, and to be able to chase down fleeing enemies. Now it's already awkwardly close to Bloodlust for a somewhat similar effect, so I'm reluctant to make it even more like Bloodlust unless I move them more apart.

But thanks for the idea. It is worthy of consideration.

Nick April 17, 2020 23:43

It would be easy to prevent shield-bashing while shapechanged.

Eric April 18, 2020 19:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidMedley (Post 144636)
This is what I was going for. Something that may not be obvious right away is that the healing side-effect is proportional to damage. So if you save your spells until you are near max SP or near zero HP you get the most out of them. I think this is fun and cool, too. But if you use your SP in this way the magnitude of the healing might be a bit too high, and I may have to cut it a bit. Or maybe it's a reasonable reward for courting death.

I'm not sure I love chain-casting Leap at melee range at CL20, from a fun and immersion perspective (and verisimilitude, if I can use a 25 cent word). But it seems to fit the bill for rewarding heavy weapons.

In my mind, Half-Orc was the ideal race, thematically, followed by Dunadan. But I think Dwarf and Half-Troll should play quite well, too. Humans fit very well thematically, and I guess BG is as good a choice for them as any. Elves would be the only combo that would make me blanch in Tolkien (meme joke). I saw Sphara playing a Kobold Blackguard yesterday, which is not a combo I would have expected!

Yeah, it was definitely risky behaviour to rely on healing from SP use, with the low success rates (9-15% on the half orc and dwarves ive rolled up so far, trading 1 Dex for a few Int has been a lifesaver early on). The escalting reward for being closer to death is pretty cool, made me double check 'r' frequently, which is probably good practice against most Uniques anyway. Things like grim purpose and maim have been much better than chain casting leap, fwiw - is it possible to knock out monsters now with stun? Haven't been able to before they bit the dust yet, but haven't tried too hard.

I keep finding light artifact weapons that give me multiple blows around the same time as I hit lvl 25 or so, which makes me prefer them over a nice maul. Kind of sad about it, but dmg is king.

Werewolf was sweet while it lasted (before I died to greed/laziness), much more reliable than bloodlust, which is a bit terrifying. The 'randomly move toward and attack nearest enemy' effect is very cool - not sure if Conf is still one of the effects but I generally kept Grim Purpose on at the same time when possible. Rampaging through a level trying to keep bloodlust going is pretty fun, but feels very dangerous. Hard to balance with diving when a depth feels 'safe'.

Half orc has a very nice start compared to dwarves imo, and agree with the thematic fit. I tried a hobbit (Shirrif in training before things went wrong) but didn't make it far.

Capn_Carpaccio April 18, 2020 23:12

My BG found a lance of extra attacks -- cool, except it has a strong curse that summons demons. Well, maybe that's not so bad! Those demons will help me keep my mana up! hehe! Once my CL is high enough to use Venom reliably, adding venom to this lance will be nice. The extra damage that heavy weapons do from *good* hits, is not (I don't think) accounted for when you "inspect" them. That's a major reason people might ignore the heavy weapons - I had a mace of disruption of extra attacks once, that got a *good* hit about 20% of the time, which was really nice.

DavidMedley April 19, 2020 00:21

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eric (Post 144682)
Things like grim purpose and maim have been much better than chain casting leap, fwiw

I was referring to CL20-24 with a big weapon that normally would only grant 1.0 blows. Doubling your melee damage output for 4 SP is a very good deal!

DavidMedley April 19, 2020 00:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by Capn_Carpaccio (Post 144689)
Those demons will help me keep my mana up!

Yeah one time I had a summon undead curse on a necromancer that was a pretty great mana booster.

backwardsEric April 19, 2020 16:53

This is not a gameplay issue but perhaps a configuration one (or my misunderstanding): the impaired HP regeneration flag for blackguards is set both from class.txt and then as an effect of the COMBAT_REGEN ability in player-calcs.c. Are both necessary? Though, if it is only set as an effect of the COMBAT_REGEN flag, some adjustment will be needed for the display of the second character sheet since that doesn't consider the COMBAT_REGEN flag.

Capn_Carpaccio April 20, 2020 16:08

Ah ha! Bloodlust and Werewolf stack their extra blows! I'm now getting 8 blows per round (when I'm a CL 35 bloodlusting werewolf with dagmore (2 extra blows from that too)).

Diego Gonzalez April 20, 2020 16:09

Shhh, that's a secret! Dont tell the maintainers...

Capn_Carpaccio April 21, 2020 01:49

My BG has a problem, of always being fed 88% to 90%, especially after bloodlust, and its a problem because I can't CCW (or heal) without getting the full belly penalty. Yes, my weapon gives me slow digestion, but that's supposed to be a good thing, right? I've totally sworn off eating anything, but its getting to be a problem. i can't tell what's feeding me! (I suspect its part of the normal healing BG function)... I guess I need to collect some mushrooms of purging, and use them in between bouts of bloodlust. (update: I "solved" it by unwielding the weapon, and resting 1000 turns.. it seems like my "digestion" is perfectly balanced between energy usage and the slow digestion factor of the weapon, so I actually don't need to eat.. and this might not be a BG thing at all -- but I've never experienced this before, so maybe it is.)

Nick April 21, 2020 01:53

Quote:

Originally Posted by Capn_Carpaccio (Post 144767)
My BG has a problem, of always being fed 88% to 90%, especially after bloodlust, and its a problem because I can't CCW (or heal) without getting the full belly penalty. Yes, my weapon gives me slow digestion, but that's supposed to be a good thing, right? I've totally sworn off eating anything, but its getting to be a problem. i can't tell what's feeding me! hehe... I'm sort of laughing about it, but its actually kinda bad.

Yeah, this is a universal thing that needs fixing.

mrfy April 21, 2020 04:03

Guess I missed the bit where digging holes in walls takes you to 90% of hit points? Funny that I just noticed that.

DavidMedley April 21, 2020 04:14

I don't understand, mrfy.

mrfy April 21, 2020 04:28

Quote:

Originally Posted by DavidMedley (Post 144776)
I don't understand, mrfy.

Level 36, have 655 hit points. Rested so at full. Tunnel with weapon into wall, hit points drop to 584, indicator goes yellow, so slightly damaged. Continue tunneling, and they stay about 584-585. That's about a 11% drop from maximum.

wobbly April 23, 2020 10:54

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Thanks to lag on angband live I can see my drunkguard "leap into battle". I move 1 square to the E then 1 square NW.

wobbly April 23, 2020 13:24

I just cast "leap into shopping" bought some stuff and continued on to hit my target.

Diego Gonzalez April 23, 2020 15:44

Quote:

Originally Posted by wobbly (Post 144856)
Thanks to lag on angband live I can see my drunkguard "leap into battle". I move 1 square to the E then 1 square NW.

Reminds me of Jackie Chan movies...


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