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Old February 28, 2014, 09:05   #1
Mark
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Wink Unserious Idea - Ego Monsters

I glanced at the forums and misread dhegler's post "Monster Weaknesses" as "Monsters of Westerness".

Wouldn't it be interesting if any monster (or sometimes only some species) could appear as a more powerful variant. We do that with weapons, and some combinations prove more powerful than artifacts (uniques).

Ego Monsters: (Why are ego weapons called "ego" anyway?)

of Isengard - +50% AC (Saurman and his workshops)
of Mordor - +0.5 speed (Spurred on by Sauron's dark will)
of the First Age - damage, HP, AC, attacks/round, saving throw all +20%
of Gorgoroth - has additional moderate-damage darkness breath attack (land of Ungoliants' brood)
of Moria - always can 'throw javelin for 12d6' in addition to regular attacks
of Erech - always a ghostly version that can move throw walls

....because you know, the game isn't hard enough already

On the other hand if they dropped great loot...

Naturally I'm not being serious, but it's fun to wonder
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Old February 28, 2014, 12:02   #2
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TomeNET and probably other variants already have ego monsters: for example hill orc chieftain, blink wolf, black ogre archpriest, possessed giant white mouse...
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Old February 28, 2014, 18:45   #3
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I was once killed by a lich giant white mouse on Dungeon level 2 in Tome. Yeah, screw ego monsters.
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Old March 6, 2014, 06:31   #4
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No but I like this idea. If that counts for anything. It should. I don't know why, though.

I'm always bored when it comes to slaughtering wave after wave of faceless hordes, and bored means dead. But if I'm forced to keep an eye out for something that might be more dangerous--yet potentially be more rewarding, I'd stand a better chance of retaining interest. Hence less death through boredom.
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Old March 6, 2014, 06:41   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knight View Post
No but I like this idea. If that counts for anything. It should. I don't know why, though.

I'm always bored when it comes to slaughtering wave after wave of faceless hordes, and bored means dead. But if I'm forced to keep an eye out for something that might be more dangerous--yet potentially be more rewarding, I'd stand a better chance of retaining interest. Hence less death through boredom.
Same here. There is discussion about "know full monster info" in another thread and this whole suggestion is exactly opposite of that. This would bring unknown monsters in every game, and I like it.
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Old March 6, 2014, 07:14   #6
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I think some kind of added flavour to monsters is certainly worth thinking about.
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Old March 6, 2014, 08:07   #7
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Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš View Post
Same here. There is discussion about "know full monster info" in another thread and this whole suggestion is exactly opposite of that. This would bring unknown monsters in every game, and I like it.
Not necessarily. Tome has ego monsters *and* full knowledge. Although I find the implementation somewhat problematic.

If monster abilities are not known then they must be fair*. If they are known then it must be easy UI-wise to find out what you're up against.

*defining "fair" is hard, but if 1 out of every 5 ego monsters can kill the average character at that level, then you're just going to avoid them like the plague. If 1 in 100 could, I probably would still avoid them, but it depends on the reward level for victory.

@Nick: Eventually it'd be nice if "ice troll" was just an ego version of a troll, or something like that. Simplification of the monster list while still allowing for great variety is a useful goal.

Also, hey look, I'm in a time zone somewhat reasonably close to yours (for at least two more days.) Too bad irc is blocked.
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Old March 6, 2014, 09:05   #8
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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
Not necessarily. Tome has ego monsters *and* full knowledge. Although I find the implementation somewhat problematic.

If monster abilities are not known then they must be fair*. If they are known then it must be easy UI-wise to find out what you're up against.

*defining "fair" is hard, but if 1 out of every 5 ego monsters can kill the average character at that level, then you're just going to avoid them like the plague.
Pretty much anything in the dungeon is deadly if you let them kill you, so it depends how they would kill you. Not "can it", because nearly everything can.

I would ban extra mana/darkness storms from anything and breath weapons from monsters that can't usually use breath weapons. Also thematically inappropriate things, like Ice Wyrm breathing fire. Pretty much anything else goes.
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Old March 6, 2014, 12:36   #9
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Originally Posted by Timo Pietilš View Post
Pretty much anything in the dungeon is deadly if you let them kill you, so it depends how they would kill you. Not "can it", because nearly everything can.

I would ban extra mana/darkness storms from anything and breath weapons from monsters that can't usually use breath weapons. Also thematically inappropriate things, like Ice Wyrm breathing fire. Pretty much anything else goes.
Well, a lot of angband danger rests on the single big attack, so I'm more worried about that than anything else. If you cut out the big attacks, we're probably mostly in agreement, but we might end up with a lot of randomization of things that just don't matter.

Most spells are actually severely underpowered in the mid/late game. I've been wanting to experiment with toning down the breath weapons and cranking up some of the other spells, but haven't really gotten down to figuring out how this would play out.
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Old March 6, 2014, 16:33   #10
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Some of my friends play ToME4, and a common complaint is that you basically just steamroll through the dungeon until one of the ego-monsters happens to randomly get a ridiculously overpowered set of abilities, at which point it steamrolls you. Even though the player has perfect monster knowledge in that game, it's not reasonable for the player to check every single monster's ability sets because there's so many monsters.

I think it's certainly possible to do ego monsters without running into this problem, but it seems like an awfully easy trap to fall into.

My inclination would be to have a set of templates that we can apply to monsters that tweak their stats and melee attacks, but largely leave their spells (and speed) alone. E.g. a Lich version of a monster attaches experience and DEX drain to the monster's melee (if no other attributes are already on those melee attacks), makes them undead, and gives them 20% more HP. A Ghostly monster would be able to move through walls but only has half health.

Along with this we need a way to visually indicate these monsters. If we could color their backgrounds that would probably do the trick.

This is basically the Diablo 2 approach to ego monsters, and while it's not super-interesting compared to what potentially could be done, it's also not a) unbalanced, or b) a lethal shock to encounter.
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