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Old October 1, 2017, 14:26   #1
Quirk
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I'm considering making a new Sil branch

Hi all,

I'm considering at some point sitting down and trying to make a new branch from Sil 1.3.0. I've a number of ideas I'd like to try out to tweak the current balance of the game. For the most part I'm sticking to things which won't lead me into too much complex implementation.

So, overhauls I'm considering so far are:

MELEE

- Replace Throwing Mastery with Blind Fighting, prerequisite of 3 Melee
-- Removes penalties for attacking enemies you can't see; however defence against them is not improved

- Replace Follow-Through with Feint, prerequisite of Finesse, 6 Melee
-- After a miss, the next strike is made as if you had +3 Dexterity

- Replace Momentum with Impale, prerequisite of Power or Polearm Mastery, 9 Melee
-- Polearms and greatswords also attack any enemy directly behind the enemy you are attacking

- Replace Knock Back with Smashing Blow, prerequisite of Power or Charge, 12 Melee
-- Reduce defender's armour roll by the weight of the attacking weapon

- Make Feint the prerequisite to Subtlety instead of Finesse

- Remove the restriction on using Whirlwind Attack when next to a wall or rubble

- Change Two Weapon Fighting and Rapid Attack to have only a -3 strength penalty, no dexterity penalty

- Remove prerequisites on Strength

The goal with all of this is to break away from Subtlety / Momentum and give some incentives to use heavier weapons again.

MELEE WEAPON CHANGES

- Remove throwing axes, sceptres, broken swords
- Make quarterstaffs 2d4, and introduce a Quarterstaff of Vaulting (grants Leap)
- Make war hammers 4d2 by default
- Add Stealth to the Dagger of Murder
- Give daggers a higher chance of having an enchantment
- Remove Hador's House weapons
- Add Swords of Nimble Blade which grant Feint
- Add War Hammers of Crushing that are 4d3 and grant Smashing Blow
- Add Spears and Great Spears of Piercing that are 1d10 or 1d14 and grant Impale

ARCHERY

- Remove Careful Shot
- Add Arrows of OromŽ, prerequisite of 9 Archery
-- Your light radius adds to the accuracy of your arrows

- Point Blank Archery will need no prerequisite

- Crippling Shot should have some kind of boost

Careful Shot isn't useful, especially if you pick Flaming Arrows. Arrows of OromŽ + Song of Trees might make for an interesting Archery build.

EVASION

- Extend Leaping to allow leaping over traps

This tree seems generally in good shape. I feel like the non-ranged part of Blocking is probably not very relevant though?

STEALTH

- This generally needs some love - perhaps alertness checks need relaxed?

- Remove prerequisite for Opportunist

- Cruel Blow also could do with some kind of boost

I'd gladly have some advice from stealth players here on how things could be improved.

PERCEPTION

- Remove Lore-Keeper, replace it with Alchemy, prerequisite of 4 Perception
-- This provides auto-identification of all herbs and potions

- Remove Lore-Master, replace it with Find Weakness, prerequisite of Concentration, 7 Perception
-- for each consecutive round attacking the same opponent, ignore 10% of their armour

- Remove Focused Attack, replace it with Second Sight, prerequisite of 10 Perception
-- If Perception is greater than Evasion, gain a bonus to Evasion equal to the difference between them

- Move Grace to have a prerequisite of 12 Perception

Focused Attack encourages a fairly dull playing style. I might need though to revisit Polearm Mastery in its absence.
My hope is that Find Weakness complements Concentration better against boss enemies, and that Second Sight opens up new build possibilities.
I think splitting identification from Lore-Master will make things a bit more interesting.

WILL

- Improve Channeling to also auto-identify staves and horns

- Make Mind Over Body a prerequisite for the much-loved Hardiness

- Improve Clarity to also incorporate resistance against fear

- Improve Strength in Adversity to add to Str and Dex, +1 at 75% health, +2 at 50% health, +3 at 25% health

The goal here is to strengthen some of the weaker skills, and make Hardiness less of an autopick.

SMITHING

- Remove the now mostly obsolete curses from artifact manufacture

- Remove Artistry, and allow numbers to be manipulated by default with Weaponsmith and Armorsmith

- Improve Enchantment to grant autoidentification of enchanted wearables and artifacts

Smithing needs a bit more love also. Artistry gets to be obsolete later on, so I think folding it into Weaponsmith and Armorsmith makes sense.
The tree could really do with a couple more skills - I haven't thought of anything to replace Artistry, and Masterpiece isn't very useful either right now.

SONG

- Remove Song of Freedom, replace it with Song of Wisdom, prerequisite 7 Song
-- Each turn there is a chance proportional to Song of identifying an unknown item
-- While singing the song, the singer has full knowledge of all opponents

- Move Song of Staying from 7 Song to 4 Song, no prerequisite needed

- Change Song of Aule to boost by Song / 3

- Boost Song of Silence, Lorien, Mastery

- Move Song of Slaying from 2 Song to 9 Song (maybe have Staying or Este as prerequisite?)

- Move Song of Este from 9 Song to 2 Song, no prerequisite needed
-- Improve it so that all stats are sustained while singing

- Replace Song of Sharpness with Song of Might, prerequisite 10 Song
-- Give a +1 bonus to Str and Con for each 8 points of Song
-- Might need to look at the difficulty of removing Sils from the crown without Sharpness

ITEMS:

New item:
Lyre - off-hand, adds to Song (probably +2-4)
-- Can be enchanted with Song of Elbereth, Song of Este, Woven Themes

Skeletons should be searchable like chests, but have just 1 wearable item.
Filthy rags should go. So should damage rings, though possibly they could still be smithable.

I've relied a little bit on the old post on most-used skills in Sil 1.3, and I believe most of the skills I'm removing are currently seldom used.

This is a pretty hefty brain-dump, and I worry this would take a little while to properly implement so I probably won't get round to it that soon. I'd be glad to have some input from experienced players, either speaking up for things I'm removing or giving thoughts on proposed changes.

Last edited by Quirk; October 1, 2017 at 16:01.
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Old October 1, 2017, 15:16   #2
wobbly
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I'll just comment on a few, maybe some others when I've looked a bit closer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirk View Post
Hi all,
- Replace Throwing Mastery with Blind Fighting, prerequisite of 3 Melee
-- Removes penalties for attacking enemies you can't see; however defence against them is not improved
I doubt I'd take this as listen does a similar thing better.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirk View Post
This tree seems generally in good shape. I feel like the non-ranged part of Blocking is probably not very relevant though?
It works ok with focused attack & control retreat.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quirk View Post
- Cruel Blow also could do with some kind of boost
I'd be careful here as with subtlety & a big slaying bonus it currently can completely take Morgoth out of the fight. It's... it doesn't work properly at the low end & is too good at the top end.
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SONG

- Remove Song of Freedom, replace it with Song of Wisdom, prerequisite 7 Song
-- Each turn there is a chance proportional to Song of identifying an unknown item
-- While singing the song, the singer has full knowledge of all opponents

- Move Song of Staying from 7 Song to 4 Song, no prerequisite needed

- Change Song of Aule to boost by Song / 3

- Boost Song of Silence, Lorien, Mastery

- Move Song of Slaying from 2 Song to 9 Song (maybe have Staying or Este as prerequisite?)

- Move Song of Este from 9 Song to 2 Song, no prerequisite needed
-- Improve it so that all stats are sustained while singing

- Replace Song of Sharpness with Song of Might, prerequisite 10 Song
-- Give a +1 bonus to Str and Con for each 8 points of Song
-- Might need to look at the difficulty of removing Sils from the crown without Sharpness
I'd be disapointed to see freedom go, which is actually quite good. It'll be particular hard to play a -1 str sindar build without this.
Not sure why the silence boost, it's already quite good.
Song of wisdom sounds a bit like loremaster with extra ui hassle, I'm doubtful of this.
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Old October 1, 2017, 15:55   #3
Quirk
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Hi wobbly, particularly good to hear from you.

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I doubt I'd take this as listen does a similar thing better.
Hmm. Okay. I'll give some thought to coming up with something better. Could even move Knock Back into its place.

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Originally Posted by wobbly View Post
I'd be careful here as with subtlety & a big slaying bonus it currently can completely take Morgoth out of the fight. It's... it doesn't work properly at the low end & is too good at the top end.
Perhaps it needs a rebalance then. I noted it was under-represented on the winners list here:
http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=8157.

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Originally Posted by wobbly View Post
I'd be disapointed to see freedom go, which is actually quite good. It'll be particular hard to play a -1 str sindar build without this.
This again was not widely used, as far as I can see. Could you explain a little bit more about the circumstances in which it's useful? I feel it may be a bit niche.

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Not sure why the silence boost, it's already quite good.
Noted. I may have been lumping it in with the pacifist skills which really seemed to not be very useful at present.

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Originally Posted by wobbly View Post
Song of wisdom sounds a bit like loremaster with extra ui hassle, I'm doubtful of this.
This is fair. I wanted to spread identification skills around a little bit, as I think currently perception suffers from the "easy option" for identification being to spend 7 points and 2 skills in that tree, and I wanted to give more alternatives to get to an acceptable result. This alternative may be more hassle than it's worth.
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Old October 1, 2017, 20:20   #4
Philip
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Song of Freedom saves your life, and can in fact do so very often. Locked door and low STR? You don't care. Webs? Not entirely crippling for you. It can entirely replace Leaping in your build, since it deals with pits and chasms just fine. It is also a perfectly fine replacement for a shovel, since it kills rubble. You will still want a Horn of Blasting or something, but it is a very nice utility song. It also detraps and unlocks chests, which can otherwise be a total pain. Don't quote me on this, but I think it also gives Free Action type bonuses.

It looks underwhelming on paper, since all it does is substitute for str/FA/perception/leaping, but it substitutes for all of those, and does so perfectly adequately. The cost is not exactly ideal for someone who wants to run Sharpness/Slaying for Morgoth, because you will likely also want Trees, and I think Freedom has Elbereth as a prereq, and suddenly you're running 7 or so abilities in the Song tree. I suspect those are the main reasons it doesn't see too much use.

In general, though, I suspect you focus a bit too much on abilities that don't see much use. With some, like Throwing Mastery, they are genuinely pretty much useless, but others are used, just in niche builds.
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Old October 1, 2017, 22:32   #5
Quirk
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Quote:
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The cost is not exactly ideal for someone who wants to run Sharpness/Slaying for Morgoth, because you will likely also want Trees, and I think Freedom has Elbereth as a prereq, and suddenly you're running 7 or so abilities in the Song tree. I suspect those are the main reasons it doesn't see too much use.
The biggest problem here is probably the perceived need to run Sharpness/Slaying. This makes it very difficult to use many utility songs (particularly utility songs with prerequisites), and hence distorts the usability of the entire tree.

I am wondering a little bit how easy a melee victory in the throne room is without those two songs. It feels awkward to have a couple of abilities in one of the trees effectively reserved as the standard choices for the final level, and trying to do it without them effectively being a challenge run.
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Old October 1, 2017, 22:37   #6
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I've done slaying/freedom, slaying/staying & just slaying. It's harder without sharpness but certainly do-able. You only really need sharpness if you are trying to crack 3 sils or get 1 out without any str
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Old October 1, 2017, 23:24   #7
Quirk
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How doable do you think it would be without Slaying?
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Old October 2, 2017, 05:55   #8
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Pretty sure others have. there's mastery & lorien wins for a start. There's a couple of no ability wins, I think 1 might be a Morgoth kill but I'd have to search to find it. Guess the main problem is you're limiting the no. of builds that can kill him as you need more melee/evasion or to smith a ridiculous weapon etc. Should be fine if you compensate somewhere else.
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Old October 2, 2017, 14:06   #9
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For your consideration (with ones you already did removed):

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Officially supported difficulty settings that encourage the use of smithing, stealth or pacifist builds to beat them - lower items spawns, worse item spawns, no ego challenge, stronger monsters, etc.

Add more pacifist ways to deal with Morgoth (such as Fear and Mastery: http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=8284 )

Make it reasonable to NOT take Slaying/Sharpness, and give support for other songs in general (easier to get, better to use)

Buff Concentration (merge mpa-sil change to requirements, make it so Concentration is NOT broken by free attacks triggered by your other abilities)

Buff Parry (give an extra +1 or even +2 evasion if you use a blunt weapon)
Also, I'd say that since you're making a variant not a mainline Sil, don't feel like you have to remove 'niche' abilities too aggressively. Keep Careful Shot, keep Song of Freedom, etc - if people want to use them, why not?, let them. Stuff like Momentum being nixed is reasonable though since they warp the entire meta of the game by merely existing.
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Old October 2, 2017, 16:43   #10
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For your consideration (with ones you already did removed):
Difficulty settings probably wouldn't be too hard to do, though I'll need enough play-testing on my main line changes that they'd probably be added later.

I'm going to try to strengthen the existing pacifist means of dealing with Morgoth, but if you have any ideas for new skills that would bolster pacifist runs I'd be happy to hear them.

Slaying/Sharpness is its own complex topic, I'll say a bit more about it below.

I'll look into fixing Concentration. If it's really strong after I probably won't have another ability based on focusing on one opponent, and find something else.

Parry I'm on the fence about. Shortsword of Galadriel adds a mighty 3 evasion with parry, defender blades add 2. At higher evasion scores, paying 1500 or 2000 experience for +1 is an okay deal, and if you're getting +2 or more it's excellent. I appreciate that it is another ability that privileges swords over other weapons, particularly as quarterstaffs are not very usable in their current form and great spears are relatively unloved. Also it leads into Riposte, which can be quite strong.

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Also, I'd say that since you're making a variant not a mainline Sil, don't feel like you have to remove 'niche' abilities too aggressively. Keep Careful Shot, keep Song of Freedom, etc - if people want to use them, why not?, let them. Stuff like Momentum being nixed is reasonable though since they warp the entire meta of the game by merely existing.
Song of Freedom I think could be reasonable, if Slaying/Sharpness didn't warp the song tree so greatly. At the very least the prerequisite needs to go. Careful Shot is I think a newbie trap (it might seem reasonable if you don't have a feel for the rarity of arrow drops), and I want to avoid newbie traps, particularly newbie traps that have few valid build uses for more experienced players.

I am wondering if a redesign of the throne room might be in order. The current one has an iconic feel, but is heavily balanced toward standing in the open with Rage herbs and singing Slaying. This condenses melee builds toward a very similar ending point.
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