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Old May 18, 2014, 23:21   #1
bagori nd
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chancy chasms?

A few games ago, I ended up in one of those rooms with a bunch of 1x1 squares surrounded on all sides by a chasm; Angrist (which I could really have used) was on one of them. I had enough experience saved up to buy Leaping if I really wanted it, and thought to myself: "Self, if there is ever going to be a time when it would make sense to buy Leaping in Sil, now is that time." But I just couldn't bring myself to spend a bunch of experience on an ability I was sure I would never use again (by that point, I had a Mattock of Beleghost and normally just tunneled around chasms I had to get by). It was too bald a transaction--3,500 experience for a useful, one-of-a-kind weapon--and I resented having to choose. So I explored the rest of the level on the off-chance I would luck into a pair of Boots of Leaping and avoid having to decide, but of course I didn't. So I descended and got killed by Turkano a level or two later.

My point with this story is that even in the (arguably rare) cases when Leaping is potentially worth the price, for players who think like me, it's just not fun. I will never play a character who purchases it, unless I'm similarly confronted with an even better artefact on the wrong side of a chasm, in which case I will purchase it and hate myself for it. So, for me, chasms are just impassable barriers. They create some cool ranged combat situations, and it's cool to knock stuff into them (and risk being knocked into them myself), but otherwise they just make the game less fun.

However, I think they would make the game more fun, and arguably more believable, if you didn't need Leaping to try to jump over them. That is, I suggest that anyone be able to leap over a chasm by making a Dexterity check. I'm thinking Difficulty 0, with bonuses for things like carrying a very light burden and penalties for things like being a dwarf. The idea would be that if you're fairly strong and dextrous, and not carrying a huge amount of heavy stuff, your odds of clearing a chasm would be pretty good--but far enough from a sure thing to not be taken lightly.
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Old May 19, 2014, 01:44   #2
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I agree with you that Leaping is awful as-is, but I don't like single random events that have such large swingy effects (either you get the Sil-carver of the gods or you take falling damage and are stranded deeper in the dungeon). Better I think would be to make Leaping useful outside those cases where you want to jump over a chasm, either by giving it a combat effect (you could merge it with Dodging, for example), or by making it a prerequisite for something useful (Sprinting? Flanking?).
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Old May 19, 2014, 03:15   #3
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I don't like the leaping skill either. It's rare for it to be useful (although this happens), but more importantly it just isn't interesting most of the time. It's not the _worst_ ability in the game in terms of usefulness, but it's pretty low.

Making it a prereq to sprinting (replacing dodging) would make people take it more, but the design of the ability itself would still be bad.

It either should be merged with an existing skill in the evasion tree, or it should be something that isn't tied to an ability. Or it could be removed from the game entirely (along with vaults that require it) and chasms would just be for jumping down and for ranged attacks.
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Old May 19, 2014, 14:45   #4
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I can definitely see the case for making it at least an alternate prereq for various things. If it supplemented Dodging as a potential Sprinting prereq (so Blocking builds might use it to qualify instead) that might be pretty cool. Conversely, I could also see it as an alternate prereq for Controlled Retreat (you jump back), which might also be an interesting option for some builds.

It's also worth thinking about non-combat applications: maybe Leaping could give you a chance to avoid (certain kinds of) traps you don't see, by quickly jumping to an adjacent square. If it were changed to protect you against false floors, for instance, this might address two common pet peeves at once (though at the nontrivial cost, arguably, of making the game less dynamic).

Still, I'd wonder if most elves or agile Edain had, say, an 80% chance of clearing chasms (which they could then improve to near-certainty with a Dex potion if they really wanted to) it would really be too swingy. Again, the result I have in mind is one in which failing to clear a chasm is *just* likely enough to make you avoid trying unless you had a strong reason to: you were trying to escape something, or most of the level was on the other side, or the like. I think there would be lots of situations in which these choices would be pretty interesting.
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Old May 19, 2014, 15:34   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bagori nd View Post
It's also worth thinking about non-combat applications: maybe Leaping could give you a chance to avoid (certain kinds of) traps you don't see, by quickly jumping to an adjacent square.
Or dragon / serpent breaths (leap N squares in the opposite direction of the blast to reduce damage) -- but I feel that in practice, this could be very hard to get right.

Edit: I was adding rockets to a weird sil clone I was inventing, and I thought about adding an innate ability that gives you a choice of a direction to leap at the time that an enemy launches a rocket at your square ^_^
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Old May 19, 2014, 15:41   #6
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Edit: I was adding rockets to a weird sil clone I was inventing, and I thought about adding an innate ability that gives you a choice of a direction to leap at the time that an enemy launches a rocket at your square ^_^
...and yet you apparently failed to include rocket jumping.
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Old May 19, 2014, 16:19   #7
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...and yet you apparently failed to include rocket jumping.
Yes. That is strictly variant territory.
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Old May 19, 2014, 17:15   #8
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Did somebody just say rrrrockets?
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Old May 29, 2014, 12:59   #9
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I'm leery of the suggestion that Leaping be made a prerequisite for another, more useful ability (though an optional prerequisite sounds reasonable, and it might dovetail nicely with Sprinting or even Exchange Places)––it runs contrary to the intuition that gameplay is on average more fun when you give things to the player than when you take them away.

Why not just make Leaping more useful? Rename it something like "light of foot" (increased evasion in light armor or some kind of synergy between stealth and evasion, plus leaping) or "acrobatics" (chance for a free move if an enemy misses you, plus leaping: alternate prerequisite for Riposte) or "leaping attack" (bonus to attack similar to charge, maybe depending on total armor weight––like a tackle––or use a key to move toward an enemy and attack in the same turn).
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Old May 29, 2014, 13:23   #10
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An ability that gives additional evasion due to stealth score sounds like a good ability overall and ties in nicely with the armor weight system (albeit high evasion characters are already viable as-is).

I'm personally cool with having chasms be unleapable and just change the dungeon generation algorithm so that they can't block off parts of the dungeon - having leaping depend on a random roll sounds cool but would inevitable lead to situations where the correct play would be dropping the inventory to risk jumping for an artifact or equally frustrating situations.
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