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Old January 6, 2011, 14:47   #1
buzzkill
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Too many blows?

Let's use the current comp 97 character, Hanna the Dunadan Warrior, as an example.
STR 18/50
DEX 18/30
CON 18/20

At CL 1, with her inherited cutlass, she gets 2 blows per round (as well as starting with 21 HP).
If she trades it in for the main gauche, a no-brainier, that rises to 3.8 blows per round.
Additionally, the number of blows never changes save for stat and equipment boosts, which seems wrong.

Does anyone else see this as a problem? Highly customizable stats lead to unrealistically high damage output at birth. A propose a single fix here, though I primarily opened this thread so that the effect of inflated starting stats would be considered during the discussion of melee combat in other currently active threads.

1. Alter character generation so that superior characters are rare creations.
2. Assuming character generation isn't going to change, place a hard cap on blows, based on CL (1/turn at CL 1), then increases that cap fractionally, based on class, upon each level gain.

Maybe it's just my perception. I'm from the age of D&D, where 18 was the ceiling, not the starting point. Then again, Angband has those same roots. What ever happened to the 10's and 13's and even 15, you know, average stats. Anyone?
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Old January 6, 2011, 15:22   #2
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I agree. With the current system you can almost skip the first 10-20 levels as a melee character.

I feel that these first levels are quite boring though, but maybe that is only because they are so easy.

On the other hand, you can always choose to use the standard roller.
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Old January 6, 2011, 16:02   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzkill View Post
1. Alter character generation so that superior characters are rare creations.
"I got Moria off a public domain disk for my Amiga nearly 20 years ago I guess. I wore out my escape key re-rolling characters (no autoroller or points distribution in those days and I was certainly not hardcore enough to take the first one I rolled)."

- Psi, in "How did you find Angband"
(I'll confess I quote him because I have very much been there and done that.)

Think of the chilllldrennnnnnn!
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Old January 6, 2011, 16:13   #4
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IMO, 3.5 blows with a dagger for a warrior is not a problem. The problem occurs when you can get 3.5 blows with a +9, +9 dagger. Even a diving character is likely to find something like a +2, +4 dagger at some point early, and that's a huge boost.

There are lots of fun solutions, and I think all of them are being considered for 3.3. Here are the three I know of.

1. Splittling AC to absorption and evasion helps because more blows with light weapons will do less damage to heavily armored monsters but more damage to lightly armored monsters.

2. O-style combat creates damage multipliers instead of added damage. Low-dice weapons do less damage with the same damage multiplier.

3. Enchantment caps are placed (based on weapon weight?) so that you cannot enchant a main gauche more than +3, +3.

Who knows, which of any of these three measures will wind up being satisfactory. They certainly help the main problem though.
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Old January 6, 2011, 16:14   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frood View Post
I feel that these first levels are quite boring though, but maybe that is only because they are so easy.
In a game with 100 levels (which nobody seems to want to get rid of), safely-skippable levels are if anything a blessing. Also, in a game that frequently forces you back to the start, anything but the most diverse of starts quickly becomes boring. A diverse beginning is a better solution to this than an easy one, but an easy beginning is a better solution than a hard one, since hard just means spending even MORE time repeatedly consuming much the same gaming diet.

- Bostock, who rarely plays V and thus really has no right to comment on it
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Old January 6, 2011, 18:34   #6
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There are distinct phases of the game. Some classes are better at one than another. A Dunadan is an easy race and warriors are best at the start, so it should be expected that a Dunadan warrior will blow through the early game.

There's no way around this if you want fighters optimized for melee to do a bunch more damage than priests do with melee when they are optimized for spells. Priests still have to survive the early game with melee.

The solution is straightforward. If the level you are on is too easy, take the stairs down.

You could reduce the number of initial stat points. That's a question of how much time you want to force the player to scum for stat potions in the DL30s before the game starts in earnest at DL40. Even with the increased consumable drop rates, I think the current start is about right, but that is obviously a question of personal taste.
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Old January 6, 2011, 20:02   #7
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Originally Posted by PowerDiver View Post
...That's a question of how much time you want to force the player to scum for stat potions in the DL30s before the game starts in earnest at DL40.
I've heard this 'game starts in earnest at DL40' before and I wonder why you think that. Certainly the dangers of the dungeon and the methods of dealing with them change as you get deeper, but I'm curious why you single out DL40 as a break point.

The only major thing I can think of that begins roughly at DL40 is the beginning of breath instadeaths (namely poison)
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Old January 6, 2011, 20:04   #8
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Yah, I think the problem's being somewhat overblown here, because this is close to a worst-case scenario. Dunadan (and high elf) stat bonuses are just incredibly sweet for startup.

A valid point to be brought up here...Int and Wis have very little impact on a starting character, except for spell points. They don't impact skills much at all. Sink 12 points each into a dunadan warriors Int/Wis, saving throw and magic device only go up 2 points. With the suggested stats, which give the stats buzz noted, I get +4 to hit, +2 damage, +2 AC, and +4 to shoot...all of which will be directly useful. I also get 1 point higher disarm, if I want to use traps as a source of minor XP. So a tweak here, might be to lower the start values for these skills, but give more impact (at the lower and middle parts of the curve) to the underlying ability score...so the difference on saving throws between a 10 and an 18 Wis is more like 6-8%.

IMO, the better solution is to support NOT starting at level 1, but at some higher level (and with WoR immediately starting you at a deeper level). Allow a birth option that you're:

--10th level, or 2000 (or whatever) total XP giving you whatever final level your race/class combination allows

--reasonable set of starting gear, or a WoR scroll plus something like 2500 gp cash from which to make whatever purchases *from a fixed, non-random list* you want.

--When you're done here, *boom*...you immediately start on DL 10.

At this point...sure, starting stats still matter, but they'll be less overwhelmingly out of balance. Note, too, that the "start with X XP" option penalizes dunadan and high elf, as they'll probably be a level lower than most other races with lower XP costs.
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Old January 6, 2011, 20:09   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
I've heard this 'game starts in earnest at DL40' before and I wonder why you think that. Certainly the dangers of the dungeon and the methods of dealing with them change as you get deeper, but I'm curious why you single out DL40 as a break point.
My guess is that at this point, your character has most of the abilities they're going to have for the full game, they're mostly done climbing the experience ladder, and the monsters are given access to all (or almost all) of the potential abilities they can have; particularly summons and big breaths. I don't claim to speak for Eddie, but I will say that while the early game has its interests, I'm much more interested in the post-2000' region. 2000' isn't a hard breakpoint by any means, but it's a nice round number and it's in the general vicinity where your character goes from newbie to veteran and the monsters step up to match.
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Old January 6, 2011, 20:17   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiburon Silverflame View Post
A valid point to be brought up here...Int and Wis have very little impact on a starting character, except for spell points. They don't impact skills much at all. Sink 12 points each into a dunadan warriors Int/Wis, saving throw and magic device only go up 2 points. With the suggested stats, which give the stats buzz noted, I get +4 to hit, +2 damage, +2 AC, and +4 to shoot...all of which will be directly useful. I also get 1 point higher disarm, if I want to use traps as a source of minor XP. So a tweak here, might be to lower the start values for these skills, but give more impact (at the lower and middle parts of the curve) to the underlying ability score...so the difference on saving throws between a 10 and an 18 Wis is more like 6-8%.
Your other idea is too radical for me but I like this one. I'd been thinking much the same thing, along with a general smoothing-out of bonuses from ability scores (no more 25% gain going from 18/190 to 18/200 CON)
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