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Old January 2, 2012, 04:29   #1
RCIX
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Mage brainstorming

I've been thinking, and it seems mages have the short end of the stick as far as equipment goes. Physical warriors get the choice between dozens of different weapons, one of two fighting styles, various armor and defensive options, and even weapon affixes/runes. Priests/paladins get their own form of spellbooks, use of weapons (and all that entails), access to better saving throws, etc. Even rangers get access to a variety of ammo and launchers. What do mages get? A bunch of set spellbooks and spells, and rods/staves/staffs (which anyone can use, though I think mages are more proficient at it).

What could improve this situation?
* Variable spellbooks and spells - why does every game come with the same Magic for Beginners spellbook housing a Magic Missile spell which costs one mana and deals 3d4 damage? Why can't I find an artifact spellbook offering me an Arcane Acid Nova which deals lots of acid damage around me and to myself (assuming no resistance)? Things like that.
* More kinds of spells - cone-based AoE spells, targeted AoE, ones that manipulate monster positioning...
* Spellbook effects - "This is an Elven spellbook, crafted from the finest parchment. Casting spells from this book has a 25% chance for mana costs to be halved." or "This is a Gnomish spellbook, well worn and very durable. Gnomes get bonuses to damaging spells cast from this book."
* Armor interaction. AFAIK, no armor grants any sort of bonus to spellcasting. Plus, we flat out can't wear gloves. Maybe make special arcane gloves which don't interfere or even enhance spellcasting ability?

It might be a bit overkill to ask that everything of the above be implemented, but you get the idea of what i'm saying
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Old January 2, 2012, 05:03   #2
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Mages get to avoid melee combat, and to reach 0% failure rate on spells. That's what makes them awesome. Not having to engage in melee combat means that they take way less damage from most monsters, with the caveat that they have fewer hitpoints for when they do take damage (e.g. from monster breaths).

They also have the best device skill (19% more damage with devices than the closest contender, discounting INT/race bonuses) and excellent saving throws. And they get Banishment and Mass Banishment later on, two of the best spells in the game.

Bottom line is, mages are pretty balanced where they are right now. They have a hard start and they'll always be fragile, but they can deal with any situation that comes up aside from "I have no hitpoints left". If you're gonna go in there and give them better equipment or other neat toys, you will have to take something away from them in exchange. Otherwise they'll end up overpowered.
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Old January 2, 2012, 05:05   #3
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Variable spellbooks and additional spells have been talked about for a while. Like most things, all it takes is someone to run with it. Right now the way that artifact spellbooks are handled in v4 is a bit lacking and is sort of a band-aid solution.

Personally, the only constraints I have with mages and spellbooks is the following: A mage must be able to defeat every monster with available books in every game.

By available, I mean spellbooks that it is possible to find at that point in the game. For example if spellbook X is only obtainable by defeating monster Y, then monster Y needs to be defeatable without spellbook X. Using spells to win does not have to be the most efficient, or the most desirable. Devices or weapons could be a much quicker route depending on drops. It just needs to be possible.
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Old January 2, 2012, 05:10   #4
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Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
If you're gonna go in there and give them better equipment or other neat toys, you will have to take something away from them in exchange. Otherwise they'll end up overpowered.
I don't see a problem with that :P They may get the best ranged combat and a few other goodies, but it just seems so static. I thought the point of roguelikes was finding that awesome artifact Katana (+62, 0) with half a dozen runes, a couple slays, and just enough drawbacks to make it an interesting choice. Or maybe getting a high level ego item with those 2 resistances you needed to make the final plunge to the boss. Or lucking out and finding a really useful upgrade on the first visit to the weaponsmith. The most we can hope for as a mage is getting a good wand/stave/staff at a timely visit to a shop.

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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
Variable spellbooks and additional spells have been talked about for a while. Like most things, all it takes is someone to run with it. Right now the way that artifact spellbooks are handled in v4 is a bit lacking and is sort of a band-aid solution.
I'd seriously consider it but A: i know zero about C(++?) and the libraries that Angband uses, and B: already have one coding project in progress and another in the idea stage (which just so happens to be a roguelike idea of my own...). Which reminds me, I really should go work on that...

Anyway, I meant this topic to brainstorm ideas about how mages could be made more dynamic. That way, whoever decides to work on it has an idea of what the community wants as far as specific mechanics.

Last edited by RCIX; January 2, 2012 at 06:26.
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Old January 2, 2012, 06:52   #5
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Originally Posted by RCIX View Post
I don't see a problem with that :P They may get the best ranged combat and a few other goodies, but it just seems so static. I thought the point of roguelikes was finding that awesome artifact Katana (+62, 0) with half a dozen runes, a couple slays, and just enough drawbacks to make it an interesting choice. Or maybe getting a high level ego item with those 2 resistances you needed to make the final plunge to the boss. Or lucking out and finding a really useful upgrade on the first visit to the weaponsmith. The most we can hope for as a mage is getting a good wand/stave/staff at a timely visit to a shop.
I see what you're saying, but I always felt that the dungeon spellbooks filled this niche. The fact that specific monsters now drop those spellbooks honestly feels really weird to me, and I can't remember why it was done -- fortunately it's still possible to find the books without killing those specific monsters, though they seem to be incredibly rare at the moment (as are all artifacts).
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Old January 2, 2012, 09:06   #6
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The fact that specific monsters now drop those spellbooks honestly feels really weird to me, and I can't remember why it was done -- fortunately it's still possible to find the books without killing those specific monsters, though they seem to be incredibly rare at the moment (as are all artifacts).
They were given to specific uniques because of the general difficulties involved in finding specific artifacts. Making the Dungeon books artifacts meant that either a)Massive scumming would be needed to find the set or b)a guaranteed method of obtaining them needed to be added.
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Old January 2, 2012, 14:56   #7
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Originally Posted by Zyphyr View Post
They were given to specific uniques because of the general difficulties involved in finding specific artifacts. Making the Dungeon books artifacts meant that either a)Massive scumming would be needed to find the set or b)a guaranteed method of obtaining them needed to be added.
It was also a good opportunity to try out the miniboss concept, which had been discussed for years and never implemented. It's definitely not ideal, and I suspect it'll change at some point when someone has a better idea, but it's tolerable for now.

I'm definitely in agreement with dynamic spell lists (i.e. scribing) and different types of (empty) book having different effects on casting. Also more sophisticated armour penalties (for both casting and melee). If anyone would like to "do a Derakon" and step up to code any of this, that would be cool.
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Old January 2, 2012, 16:53   #8
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I'm definitely in agreement with dynamic spell lists (i.e. scribing) and different types of (empty) book having different effects on casting. Also more sophisticated armour penalties (for both casting and melee). If anyone would like to "do a Derakon" and step up to code any of this, that would be cool.
I always thought that Dexterity should affect arcane spell fail rates.
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Old January 2, 2012, 18:18   #9
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I always thought that Dexterity should affect arcane spell fail rates.
Well then, CHA (charma) could affect 'holy' casters similarly, they having curried more or less divine favor.
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Old January 2, 2012, 18:57   #10
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Well then, CHA (charma) could affect 'holy' casters similarly, they having curried more or less divine favor.
I'd prefer to see the six primary stats get less important rather than more. Instead I'd like to see racial traits and object flags that add directly to mana, casting skill (== "effective clev"), reduce failure rate, etc. etc. These kind of things could also be done as class skill distinctions, but I'm conscious of Derakon's warning in a previous thread about tieing too many things to clev leading to grinding for xp.
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