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Old December 24, 2010, 15:26   #1
fizzix
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Monster AC -> absorption + evasion

In the heavy blows thread, Eddie suggested splitting monster AC into an absorption parameter and an evasion parameter, with the notable caveat that this would create a lot of work in rebalancing (he's right).

However to start things off, I did a once through the monster list and quickly split the monster AC into an absorption (armor) and an evasion (quickness) values. At Magnate's suggestion these were done so that the sum of the two values was the old AC. The resulting monster list is attached and below I briefly describe the approach. Comment and suggestions are very welcome, my intuition may be far off here.

Absorption vs Evasion by monster race:

Dragons - mostly absorption
Hydras - lean evasion
Demons - split/lean absorption
Ghosts - pure evasion
(ring)Wraiths/Lichs - pure absorption
Golems - pure absorption
nagas - mostly absorption
Non moving creatures - pure absorption
Humanoids - wide variation, smaller races (kobolds, yeeks) have more evasion, larger (ogres, trolls, giants) have more absorption. Classes play a strong role here as well.
Animals - split, most cues taken from monster description.
Zephyr hounds - pure evasion
Angels - even split

Unique monsters, specifically unique humanoids could use some help, if you feel inclined.

Lastly, there are some problems with splitting in this manner. The game tends to give heavily armored monsters more AC than heavily evasive monsters. So even if I do something like a 66-33 split with Wyrms they wind up with an evasion score of 40 which is more than, say, a blink dog. This obviously needs changing, and some evasive monsters like thieves, mystics, blink dogs, may need a boost.

I'll write another post for how I think this will work, and give some numbers as well.
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Old December 24, 2010, 15:35   #2
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I have not had a chance to really think about this, but I just noticed that you put Ghosts as full evasion and Wraiths as full absorbtion. I think that is a little strange, since wraiths and ghosts are often characterized as pretty similar (ghostly spirits and apparitions). I always thought of the ring wraiths as being similar to ghosts.

Did you decide this because all ghosts have PASSWALL and only one wraith does (Nether Wraith)? I feel like there are plenty of monsters that have PASSWALL that should absorb more than evade (Earth Spirit, Xaren).

I guess it depends on how you plan to use these stats, but the idea of ghosts being harder to hit with a big mace than with a small dagger seems strange--they are incorporeal, not fast dodgers.
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Old December 24, 2010, 15:36   #3
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Ok, here's how I envision this split working. The evasive aspect works pretty much as it does now, with the probability that critical hits will get reworked to be based primarily on to-hit. You always hit a monster with 0 evasion. For simplicity we should scale evasion to essentially be a - on to-hit. This means that monsters like the cat lord with ungodly evasion scores of 200 will have to be scaled down. Some non-linear scaling will be necessary.

Absorption works the same way with the value being a -to-dam per blow. Again scaling is necessary because no one is doing 80 damage per blow to a stone golem.

Both values can either be flat values, normally distributed values that are individually assigned to monsters (like HP) or dice rolls. I don't have a preference for any of these.

Absorption damage should be bypassed by slays and unresisted brands. These weapons always do full damage. I might even recommend evasion be bypassed by slays (but not brands).

Thoughts, suggestions?
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Old December 24, 2010, 15:38   #4
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When in doubt, 50/50 out.

I'd start all monsters at 50/50, make obvious changes, then play test.
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Old December 24, 2010, 15:43   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d_m View Post
I have not had a chance to really think about this, but I just noticed that you put Ghosts as full evasion and Wraiths as full absorbtion. I think that is a little strange...
I think you guessed my intuition. I kind of view ghosts as wispy incorporeal beings that constantly move out of the way at oncoming blows, while I view wraiths as magically enchanted beings that get their armor from the magical enchantment. It's good to get a feel for other players' feelings and I'm not attached to this approach at all. The best thing would be to satisfy the players' intuition as best as possible, and if there are significant splits, the monster description should be edited to hint at evasion or absorption based.

There is a second reason though. The majority of monsters (especially late game monsters) are obviously absorption based (think giants, dragons, high undead). I feel we needed some late game monsters that are evasion based, and ghosts seemed the best candidates for that. I could make demons evasion based. I do not have a good feel for what these demons are...
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Old December 24, 2010, 16:00   #6
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Some demons could probably be evasion-based. Heck, we could change their names and descriptions to be more evasion-friendly.

You didn't mention vortices, but they're presumably evasive.
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Old December 24, 2010, 16:14   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
The majority of monsters (especially late game monsters) are obviously absorption based (think giants, dragons, high undead). I feel we needed some late game monsters that are evasion based, and ghosts seemed the best candidates for that. I could make demons evasion based. I do not have a good feel for what these demons are...
Hmm. Maybe the key is to think of evasion as "difficulty landing a useful hit" rather than necessarily the idea of the monster leaping out of the way of all your blows. For instance, ancient dragons could have a high evasion factor not because they're nimbly dodging out of the way every time you come at them, but because you have be able to get in past all the lashing jaws and claws to stab them in the vulnerable belly.

So it would actually make some sense for late game monsters to have both high absorption and high evasion. Not only have you got to hit them hard, but you've got to do it fast enough to get in there and stab a weak spot when you see your chance come up.
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Old December 24, 2010, 16:30   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
Ok, here's how I envision this split working. The evasive aspect works pretty much as it does now, with the probability that critical hits will get reworked to be based primarily on to-hit. You always hit a monster with 0 evasion. For simplicity we should scale evasion to essentially be a - on to-hit. This means that monsters like the cat lord with ungodly evasion scores of 200 will have to be scaled down. Some non-linear scaling will be necessary.

Absorption works the same way with the value being a -to-dam per blow. Again scaling is necessary because no one is doing 80 damage per blow to a stone golem.

Both values can either be flat values, normally distributed values that are individually assigned to monsters (like HP) or dice rolls. I don't have a preference for any of these.

Absorption damage should be bypassed by slays and unresisted brands. These weapons always do full damage. I might even recommend evasion be bypassed by slays (but not brands).

Thoughts, suggestions?
Ok, first question: are we all happy to get rid of another D&D relic: the automatic 5% chance to hit and to miss? That's relevent to the "0 evasion means always hit" debate. I don't think we'd want that for the player ...

Second, I'm not sure that linearity is going to work here. I think this will cause huge cliff-edges of difficulty, where monsters go from never hitting you to always hitting you, and vice versa. Same for absorption: I think it should be %-based not literal hp absorbed.

I think perhaps absorption is bypassed by all slays but evasion only by *slays*. And this definitely doesn't mean auto-hitting, so 0 EV cannot mean that either.
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Old December 24, 2010, 16:46   #9
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No reason it couldn't be 1%, or even less, any non-zero number.
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Old December 24, 2010, 16:49   #10
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Percentage absorption would obviate the original reason this was suggested, to provide a difference between light and heavy weapons. Heavy weapons could overcome the flat absorption.
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