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Old April 3, 2012, 19:32   #1
fizzix
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complete revision of stats

This post is partly inspired by Mikko's comments about stats being all important to vanilla, and how they fail to live up to their intention. This post essentially is the result of what I would do with stats if you gave me a complete blank slate and about a day to think about them.

I'll list each stat and what it affects. bold effects are different from current. italic effects require some other feature of the code.

Physical stats:

Strength
  • Affect carrying capacity
  • Affect combat (prowess)
  • Affect door bashing and digging

Dexterity
  • Affect combat (finesse)
  • Affect AC evasion
  • Affect trap avoidance/disarming

Constitution
  • Affect HP
  • Affect saving throw (poison, paralysis)

Mental stats

Intelligence
  • Affect magic device skill
  • Affect spell failure rates ( for priests/paladins also )
  • Affect tracking/perception
  • Affect trap, door detection
  • Affect telepathy abilities
  • Affect saving throw (confusion, blindness, fear)

Wisdom
  • Affect Spell points (note Int no longer governs this)
  • Affect curse recognition/detection
  • Affect saving throw (mind blasting)

Charisma
  • Affect pricing
  • Affect player-spell range (including devices, and detection)
  • Affect monster spell range
  • Affect status spell success rates (conf, fear, blindness, sleep)
  • Affect monster fear status

The big change is that INT/WIS/CHR are all needed for the spell casters, although you can specialize for two of them. For example, a rogue could ignore Wisdom and instead focus on INT and CHR, take a low SP value and only use spells for detection. Similarly, a priest could ignore charisma and only use spells when close to monsters. There still is not a good motivation for a warrior to invest in most of the mental stats, but I don't see a way around that.
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Old April 3, 2012, 20:13   #2
Therem Harth
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If Charisma becomes a mental stat (which it should be IMO), you might want to get rid of acid attacks' affecting it. (I believe V has that, though I'm not 100% sure.) Otherwise it would be less "My presence is fearsome and awe-inspiring" than "I'm too pretty to die!"

BTW, am I reading your intentions right with Charisma affecting spell ranges? Because if that encompasses attack spells, it is a pretty huge change.
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Old April 3, 2012, 20:19   #3
Mikko Lehtinen
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Not bad for a first round!

How do you define INT and WIS?

Charisma affecting spell and device range (only for targeted effects, though, and not for monsters) has been tested in Fay 1.1. Works really well IMHO.
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Old April 3, 2012, 20:34   #4
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Pretty nice... But why does charisma affect MONSTER spell ranges? That doesn't make much sense - "I am so charismatic that monsters don't want to cast spells from far away; they want to meet me in person and THEN cast spells at me"???
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Old April 3, 2012, 20:51   #5
Mikko Lehtinen
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LOL! I'm still trying to wrap my mind around how that would work, too. Perhaps fizzix has a perfectly good explanation.

Two ideas from Unangband 0.6.4 may be worth considering:

- A high wisdom will increase your overall armour class, whilst a low wisdom will penalise it.
- A high charisma character will cause monsters to flee from him sooner, and makes it less likely for monsters to use their ranged attacks or to summon their fellow monsters - this makes charisma an ideal 'crowd control' ability.

Last edited by Mikko Lehtinen; April 3, 2012 at 20:57.
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Old April 3, 2012, 21:18   #6
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Of course, sometimes you don't WANT monsters to flee... they gain some speed when they do so, making it more difficult to get the XP for a kill!
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Old April 3, 2012, 21:39   #7
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IIRC another idea that has been floating around for a while is getting rid of charisma overall and replacing it with stealth. Have you considered this? At least it would solve the problem that there are three junk stats for warriors.
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Old April 3, 2012, 22:02   #8
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Sorry, but INT-based priest spells make even less sense than being unable to leave gold at home.
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Old April 3, 2012, 22:24   #9
Mikko Lehtinen
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Here's the description of Charisma in Fay:

"Charisma is more than just appearances and personality. It also represents the character's metaphysical presence, his "aura". Charismatic characters are very good with magical devices, and they get better range with spells and devices. They will also receive better prices from store owners, whereas a character with a very low charisma may be robbed blind. Finally, a high charisma will allow monsters that are magically calmed to remain non-aggressive longer."

***

I recently did something pretty radical to skills in the Fay dev version.

1) I turned as many of them as possible to pure percentile scores. To test these skills, the game tries to roll 1d100 under the skill score, without any difficulty modifiers. In Vanilla, at least Perception, Saving Throw and Disarming could work like this. This is as transparent and easy as it gets.

2) Only five "primary" skills get better with levels: fighting, shooting, throwing, magic device and saving throw. All the other skills depend only on your race, class, and stats. Now the influence of both stats and races can be much bigger. (One exception -- for each skill, there is one class that does get better with training.)

***

How do you envision communicating to the player all the different kinds of saving throw bonuses? Having only one Saving Throw skill is important for this reason.

***

I kinda like having both INT and WIS as priest's spell stats. I think it all depends on what the definition of INT and WIS are in this game -- there are as many definitions as there are roleplaying games. (I tend to associate WIS with perception and common sense, INT with logic, theoretical reasoning and language.)

But if we decide to keep pure WIS as the priest's spell stat, and INT for wizard's, I recommend having powerful effects that depend on the combined INT+WIS score. See Lore in Fay as an example. This gives every spellcaster a reason to develop the "other" mental stat, too.

Last edited by Mikko Lehtinen; April 3, 2012 at 22:32.
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Old April 3, 2012, 22:42   #10
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Vanilla has a very strong D&D influence throughout, and that extends to its stat system. This is nice and intuitive for people who are familiar with that system (which is a lot of people), and who thus know automatically that INT is the mage stat and WIS is the priest stat. I could easily imagine them being confused when they fire up a new mage and discover that they have practically no spellpoints, or a new priest and be unable to mumble their way through a prayer. So if we do end up revamping the stats, I also recommend that we rename them, to avoid invoking pre-existing connotations.

Also if we want to rework the stats, I would tend to favor transparency and simplicity of impact as much as possible. Make each stat do only one or two things, but make those things be important. Here's my suggestions for stats:

STR: prowess, carrying capacity
DEX: finesse, hit chance
CON: hitpoints (already the God-King of stats; no need to put more stuff here to make it more powerful)
INT: spell failure rate, number of learnable spells
WIS: mana pool, saving throw

Nuke CHA altogether. Don't even bother replacing it with anything. Stealth already works well as-is and making it a boostable stat would have significant game balance implications. CHA functionally has almost no impact on the game already; at worst you end up paying 6k more for stat potions from the BM for a bit. So we can just axe it, have a simpler system, and not worry about having to rebalance everything. Regarding the specific suggestions in this thread, IMO having CHA influence range is unintuitively weird, and applying status ailments to monsters is either completely debilitating or completely pointless with very little middle ground -- so you end up with a stat that is either vestigial or a gamebreaker. That sounds tricky to balance to me.

Everything else should derive from your class, race, level, and equipment. Trap detection/evasion? Class skill(s), rogues are better than everyone else. Devices? Class skill, mages are better at it than everyone else. We get the same desired result (certain classes being better at certain skills than others) while keeping our algorithms simple and transparent. Win-win.
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