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Old October 4, 2011, 19:55   #1
Mikko Lehtinen
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 1,246
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FayAngband 1.1, "Tough but Fairy"

Hello, Angbanders!

I'm proud to announce...


Not so hard anymore!
  • Proficiencies
  • Critical wounds below 0 HP
  • More information, less guesswork
  • Changed level size
  • Simplified character creation
More tactical gameplay!
  • Range is much more relevant
  • New take on hit chance and critical hits
  • Tweaks to melee weapons
  • Streamlined magical devices and distraction spells
  • Miscellaneous changes

Downloads available on the FayAngband homepage: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux 32-bit, Linux 64-bit, source code. (Later edits: updated links to 1.1.1 which fixed a bug. Added the OS X version.)

Read on for details.


This release has probably as many changes as Fay 1.0 had compared to EyAngband. I didn't want to release until it was "done". Let's start with proficiencies.

Fay 1.0 was too hard, and proficiencies is one of the changes that addresses this. It was particularly frustrating to return to dungeon after you had spent all your scrolls and potions in a big fight -- and lost. In Angband you could just start slowly accumulating resources again on easier dungeon levels, but that's not really an option in Fay. Proficiencies are designed to make you less dependant on resources.

The second reason for proficiences is that I wanted to make INT and WIS still more important for non-casters. (Charisma too, but see "spell range", below, for that.)

Why do I call them proficiencies? Because after I had removed the (p)lace traps command, I had letter p available on the keyboard.

To use proficiencies, just press p and choose: "Use which proficiency: (i)dentify, (c)ave lore, (r)ecover, (s)hift?"

You can see your Reserves, Escapes, and Lore points on the left side of the screen below HPs and SPs. The proficiency points are refreshed each time you go down a staircase.

Let's handle Reserves and Escapes first.
  • RECOVER, which uses a point of Reserves, is simply Cure Critical Wounds. You can use Recover even when blind or confused.
  • SHIFT, which uses a point of Escapes, is directed teleportation. Choose a direction, and Shift tries hard to teleport you in that direction, usually at least 150 feet away if there are enough empty floor squares to land on in that direction, and never further than 250 feet. You can use shift while blind or confused. You can't choose a direction if you are confused.

The in-game flavour for Shift is that the Realms of Angband and the Faery Realm are very close. If you know where to look, you can find a small portal (a "mouse-hole") and enter through it to the Faery Realm. Then you shift back to the Realm of Angband, in a different location. Faery races are obviously best at shifting, but all characters will eventually learn the secret.

Reserves and Escapes accumulate as you gain levels:

10	1		15	1
20	2		25	2
30	3		35	3
40	4		45	4
50	5		55	5
			65	6
Races have bonuses or penalties:
  • All faery races (elf, dwarf, gnome) get +10 levels to Escapes.
  • All small races (hit die 8-) get -5 levels to Reserves, and +5 levels to Escapes. Small races are better at shifting because they can easily slip through the mouse-holes. On the other hand, they are worse at recovering from damage.
  • All tough races (hit die 11+) get +5 levels to Reserves table, and -5 levels to Escapes.
  • These modifiers are cumulative. For example, gnomes get +10 levels to Escapes for being faeries and +5 for being small. So they get to start the game with one point of Escapes.

Ok, now the Lore table. Lore points and available proficiencies are derived from your Intelligence and Wisdom like this:

22+	Lore 1		Identify, Cave Lore
33+	*Lore* 1	Dungeon Lore, Identify Pack, Analyse Item
44+	*Lore* 2
55+	*Lore* 3
As you can see in the table, INT+WIS 22+ gives you access to Common Lore, with two proficiencies:
  • CAVE LORE is directed detection for doors, stairs, and minerals. It also grants a bonus to your next mapping attempt.

INT+WIS 33+ gives access to Greater Lore (aka *Lore*). At first, you don't get any extra Lore points.
  • DUNGEON LORE is directed detection for mapping, minerals, and -- most importantly -- traps. It also grants a bonus to your next mapping attempt. (Tip: don't forget to use Dungeon Lore on vaults.)
  • ANALYSE ITEM tests a skill: Alchemy for potions, Perception otherwise. If you succeed, you identify the item fully. In case of potions, you also learn all alchemical information.

To give more relevance for Lore, I removed scrolls and staves of Detect Treasure, spells and staves of Detect Doors and Stairs, and Identify spell. I made scrolls of Identify rarer in shops and more expensive. Scrolls of *Identify* are also rarer.

Note that peeking at artifact.txt is cheating. Play fair and use your *Lore*!

Critical wounds below 0 HP

You no longer necessarily die when your hitpoints fall under zero! Instead, you suffer a random wound that hurts two of your abilities.

Internal wound hurts Vigor (STR & CON), brain damage hurts Wit (INT & WIS), and broken back hurts Grace (DEX & CHR). One point of damage to each ability is substracted from your racial bonus, so it is *truly permanent damage*, but sustain protects from this. Note that wounds have the same ability pairs as Restore potions and Sustain rings.

After being wounded, your hitpoints are set to 50 % of the new maximum. Adrenalin surge then cures all poison, cuts, stunning, confusion, blindness, paralyzation, and slowing. If you already have the same type of wound, you die.

Faery races (elf, dwarf, and gnome) have a 1/2 chance of dying when wounded. "Your half-faery constitution can't handle the system shock. You die." This is to balance their shifting skills.

Angels and demons have a 1/4 chance of getting banished when wounded. "Your spirit abandons this dying body. You return to Heaven." This is mostly for flavour. I like it that humans and animalistic races are a bit tougher than the "special" races.

Let me know what you think of wounds. Is -1/-1 permanent penalty to abilities too bad, or just right? Did you continue playing after being wounded? I might introduce a mega-rare mushroom that cures wounds... I find that mostly I'm happy to continue playing after a stupid mistake, even with slightly reduced stats.

More information, less guesswork

I want FayAngband to be a game full of interesting tactical choices. You can't really make good choices unless you know what's happening inside the game. So I decided to give the player access to lots of new information. You no longer have to depend on guesswork.
  • (I)nspecting a weapon shows how much STR you would need to use it effectively, and how much DEX you would need to get the full blows. It also shows your ambush chance with that weapon.
  • You can now check fail rates by inspecting devices. Most magic items also show damage, beam chance, and radius when inspected.
  • Powder vials and oil flasks now have descriptions when inspected. (I had to add powers that do nothing.)
  • Mushrooms show their enhanced effects when a Shaman inspects them.
  • Monster lore now shows the monster's saving throws against status effects. It looks like this: "He cannot be confused. Wands & staves have a 43% chance of affecting him, other sources 59%." Bard and mystics have more powerful distraction spells, and monster lore looks a bit different for them: "He cannot be confused. Your spells have a 70% chance of affecting him, wands & staves 29%, other sources 61%." Since monster's saves are based purely on its level, you gain access to them once you kill one monster and learn its level.
  • When you (l)ook at a monster, you see your melee to-hit chance and critical hit chance in the monster status line like this: (undamaged, confused, 92%+4%). When you target a monster with bow & arrow or a thrown weapon, you see your to-hit chance with that weapon, taking the range in account. Monster armor rating is now always known.

Changed level size

There are no more tiny levels (too dangerous) or normal huge levels (boring in Fay because you are supposed to clear levels completely before diving). Half of the levels are now square-shaped (2x2), and the other half are narrow (1x3 or 3x1).

Greater vaults don't fit in these small levels. I decided to have Fay occasionally generate a huge level with an almost guaranteed greater vault.

Fixed a stupid bug: small levels didn't get the correct amount of monsters. Tiny levels were OK but larger ones had too few monsters. I also restored minimum monster allocation level back to 14, the EyAngband default. I had erroneusly increased this to 17 because I didn't realize there was a bug in monster allocation. These extra monsters made Star's competition (which had normal sized levels) even more difficult.

Simplified character creation

Standard roller is now the only stat creation method. All rolled characters have exactly the old maximum of 66 points in stats, so hopefully you don't miss the autoroller or point-based too much.

Keep rolling until you are happy! Remember that many different stat combinations are viable in FayAngband for every class, and that every stat is important. Also, stats go up and down a lot in the dungeons, so precise min-maxing might not be so beneficial after all.

I also removed some other birth options: birth_force_small_lev, birth_ironman, birth_autoscum. FayAngband is itself a kind of Ironman-option, so I saw no need for these.

Range is much more relevant

Range is now much more relevant tactically in all forms of combat.

The most radical change is this: Charisma determines your spell and magical device range. Range is shorter than it used to be. (Remember that Charisma also affects your Device skill.)

Monster spell range is also shorter, and random: 2d6+5 squares. It's a good idea to keep the average monster spell range in mind, it is 120 feet. Monster range is rolled every turn before the monster chooses what it is going to do. So monsters are less likely to shoot or cast attack spells at long range. Monsters are still able to cast some spells, like healing, outside spell range.

I changed almost every bow and arrow to make equipment choices more interesting and range more relevant. For example, Flight Arrows now have a mighty +6 bonus to range, allowing you to shoot beyond probable monster spell range. They may be worth carrying now.

I also reduced thrown weapon range, and made weapon weight more important. You can't throw anything beyond short bow range (80 feet).

Now you really have to pay attention to range. To make it easier, I modified the targeting interface. Now, when looking or targeting, you can see the distance between you and the target grid. You can no longer choose monsters that are out of range in the default mode. Now you first have to press 'o' to be able to target someone out of range. In the 'o' mode the description changes from "You target" to "You see" if the target square is out of range or if the line of fire is blocked by a wall. You can no longer accidentally target a monster that is out of range with targeting keymaps like "f1*".

New take on hit chance and critical hits

I noticed that hit chance was very often at the maximum 95%. The extra skill points were worthless, and I hated it.

There are now two ways to score critical hits. The first is ambushing sleeping, confused, scared or blind monsters, which works just like in Fay 1.0. The second is overpowering your opponent with superior combat skill. When your hit chance exceeds 90%, your critical hit chance increases by (chance-90)*(chance-90). If the difference between your skill and monster's AC is huge, you will easily devastate it!

I tweaked minimum to-hit chances also. The minimum chance in ranged combat is 10 %. The minimum to-hit chance in melee combat is 25 %.

Other changes to critical hits:
  • Powder clouds will spread on a critical hit. Fun! This opens interesting tactical opportunities. Oil flasks now explode just like powders and cause fire damage. Rogues (only) may get great critical hits, which increase radius by two.
  • You can't get criticals with ranged weapons if the target is in melee range.
  • Potion of Sneakiness changed back to Potion of Stealth. It doesn't increase ambush chance anymore but the stealth boost lasts six times longer. There were too many effects that increased ambush chance.
  • Rangers now only get one extra shot, at level 25. But their superior bow skill and better archery criticals are much more effective now.

Tweaks to melee weapons

I continued rebalancing melee weapons. See also changes in 1.0.1.
  • Rebalanced weapon prefixes so that starting weapons won't get out of hand now that early heavy weapons deal much more damage. Ursan weapons are better, and many light prefixes are worse. Despite nerfing, Gnomish Broad Axe, Grippli Glaive and Rattikin Two-Handed Sword are probably the best starting weapons for warriors.
  • After my balancing effort, Fellpurr weapons had got boring. What to do? I decided to give Fellpurrs some cat-like habits. "Wrapped up in courtly etiquette and fine silk, the Fellpurr culture at its heart is playful, competitive, and sometimes cruel. They love hunting animals and Faeries, often just for the fun of it." Added slay animal at 1.1 and slay faery at 1.2 to the Fellpurr weapon prefix.
  • Forester's, Hunter's, Iron, Silver prefixes: increased slays to 1.3. Iron-Tipped Arrow: increased slay demon to 1.3.
  • Made Long Sword lighter. It's still not a very good weapon without prefixes, but many prefixes work beautifully with it. Interestingly, both heavy Ursan Long Swords (two blows) and light Elven or Fellpurr Long Swords (three blows) are excellent weapons for a starting warrior. Rattikin and Gnome Spellswords like Long Swords, too.
  • STR 14 is now enough to swing weapons weighing 18 lbs (up from 16 lbs). STR 14 used to be useful only for warriors and shamans. Now Broad Axe (18 lbs) is a fine starting weapon for bards and rangers at least, and vargr spellsword gets a cool Vargr Two-Handed Sword (also 18 lbs).
  • Swapped names: Morning Star and Flail. Flail has now has damage 5d4 and weighs less, 19 lbs. Made Flail available to all classes as a starting weapon.
  • Made Halberd a bit lighter to make it available to characters with STR 16.

Streamlined magical devices and distraction spells

In order to add new information to (I)nspecting magical items and to monster lore, I had to do a lot of streamlining.
  • Rebalanced device fail rates. You can't get partial successes with wands or talismans anymore. Charisma is even more important than before. Often you need to boost Charisma to get tolerable fail rates for a given device; just like you need to boost STR or DEX to use weapons.
  • Rebalanced and streamlined monster saving throws against status effects. Wands and staves are very effective at beating monster saves until character level 20. In the late game all the other sources -- spells, mushrooms, powders, artifacts, and talismans -- will get much better than wands & staves.
  • Calm-effects no longer have +50% power compared to other effects. To compensate, non-wounded monsters have to make their saving throw twice to resist calming. CALM_NON_CHAOS is the only Calm-effect with non-standard power.

Miscellaneous changes
  • Made identifying worn equipment much faster.
  • Level feelings were a bit off for small levels. Gave small levels a bonus to level feelings. The feeling "What a boring level" can't be generated anymore, which is appropriate because there are no boring levels in Fay . "This level can't be all bad" is now the lowest level feeling.
  • Character level now affects the power of shaman's mushroom breaths.
  • Potion of Resist Heat & Cold replaces separate potions.
  • Fixed a bug: when firing, throwing, etc. diagonally, the objects often flew 10 feet beyond the maximum range.
  • Redesigned the character sheet.
  • Removed the skill Bypass Trap, mostly to unclutter the character sheet. There were few situations where the skill mattered.
  • You are now asked to confirm stepping on a known trap.
  • Innate resistances from race + class can now exceed normal resistance caps. Previously only racial resistances could exceed caps. This change is most important for rangers, demons and angels. For example, an Angel Ranger can now have permanent fire resistance at 74 % instead of the normal maximum 55 %. Level 50 Demon Ranger specialised in fire has fire resistance at full 100 %. That's how I imagined it worked from the beginning. Reduced Angels' light resistance to 90 % to prevent any race/class combination from having higher than 100 % resistances.
  • Doubled thrown weapon damage now comes at STR 17 (lowered from 18).
  • To compensate spellcasters for their reduces spell range, I gave some more mana to spellcasters with lower than 18 spell stat.
  • I also boosted Mages' Charisma by one, it's now at +2. I moved one point from Priests' Charisma (now +1) to Intelligence (now -1). It seems natural that Mages have better CHR than Priests now that they really need it for those long, beaming elemental attacks. (Mystics have already benefited from other changes -- *Lore*, better distraction spells, better powder vials -- so no buff for them. Mystics also don't rely on beams as much.)
  • Updated help files.

Last edited by Mikko Lehtinen; October 6, 2011 at 07:13.
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