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Old July 1, 2012, 23:16   #1
half
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New curses for Sil?

There are several kinds of negative effects on items in Sil:

(cursed) (aka sticky curse)
Penalties to Stats or Skills
Darkness
Slowness
Attention (aka Wrath aka Aggravation)
Hunger
Danger

Scatha and I are interested in adding another one or two, to create more variety in the special items and artefacts, and were wondering if anyone has any ideas. We'd be particularly interested in them if they aren't immediately obvious on wearing (so far only the last three are like this). One example could be:

No regeneration

A downside of this would be that unless it also had a sticky curse it would be easy to swap out when not in combat, so would only affect combat and would involve more item swapping.

Any ideas?
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Old July 2, 2012, 00:04   #2
HugoTheGreat2011
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How about a negative effect that drains your Health or Voice while you're wearing the equipment? Although this can be swappable, wielding this at the wrong time (when your HP is less than 5) can instakill or derail your tactics. If you're going to make the Health negative effect, make it drain Health really fast, like 4+ HP/turn.

Last edited by HugoTheGreat2011; July 2, 2012 at 00:12.
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Old July 2, 2012, 02:20   #3
Patashu
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One thing I noticed about curses in Sil is that 70% are on gloves, 20% are on lanterns and 10% are on rings. So let's try and balance that out:

Bow of Gloom: Any arrow fired from it darkens each tile it passes across, like an anti bow of radiance.
Helm of Constriction: Grips tightly around your thought, halving your voice meter.
Boots of Tiring: Like an anti-sprint. If you spend more than four tiles moving in a row, you automatically lose a turn with the message 'You rest a moment.' and the counter starts over.
(Gloves? Helm? Armour? Weapon?) of Recklessness: +1 Str, -1 Dex. Or maybe +1 Str, -1 Con?
Cloak of the Hermit: +1 Gra, -1 Str. (Or maybe +1 Gra, -1 Dex? +1 Gra, -1 Con?)
Helm of Illusions: Whenever you are struck (at all? hard?) you hallucinate briefly.
Weapon of Disorder: On a successful hit, confuses your opponent AND you. (You can imagine a whole line of weapons like this)

One thing I think curses should aim for is not being crippling, but either a trade-off or something you can deal with having. That way you need to decide 'drat, a cursed item... is this change to my character build something I can work with until I find sanctity, or does it even help? or do I need curse breaking/to find some green worm masses ASAP?'
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Old July 2, 2012, 13:44   #4
Nick
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Here are the FAangband curses:
  • Induces random teleportation
  • Prevents teleportation
  • Aggravates nearby creatures
  • Occasionally greatly aggravates nearby creatures
  • Slows your regeneration
  • Makes you afraid
  • Speeds your digestion
  • Occasionally poisons you
  • Randomly envelops you in poison
  • Occasionally cuts you
  • Will suddenly cause deep wounds
  • Sometimes makes you hallucinate
  • Will suddenly leap from your grasp
  • Makes demons suddenly appear nearby
  • Calls the undead from their slumber
  • Cannot be dropped from your pack
  • Sticks to you if wielded
  • Will briefly paralyze you
  • Can paralyze you even if you feel immune
  • Drains experience
  • Drains mana
  • Will sometimes lower a stat
  • Will take energy from your magic devices

These work best on otherwise good items; you may well be prepared to live with the bad effects for the sake of the good, and interesting choices are always a good thing.
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Old July 2, 2012, 16:21   #5
Derakon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick View Post
Here are the FAangband curses:
  • Calls the undead from their slumber
This made me think of a curse that could randomly resurrect slain monsters a short time after they're killed. I bet that'd make for some interesting gameplay. Like Doom's Nightmare mode, as I understand it.
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Old July 2, 2012, 17:54   #6
HallucinationMushroom
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How about weapons that seem good at first, but eventually break after a dozen or so uses? A brittle curse, or perhaps just shoddy manufacture, which would explain anomalies in some of the larger than normal damage dice weapons.

Sleeping curse? Items that every 100 or so turns do a background will save and if failed, you fall asleep until either attacked, status change, or a set number of turns that equal a good nap?

Sil has done a good job of keeping magic very subtle. So much so that I'm having a hard time thinking of any curses that are in line with what I think I know about Tolkien's world. Are there instances in the books that can be translated into the game?
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Old July 2, 2012, 19:35   #7
T-Mick
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Armor or boots that make a lot of noise, making sneaking harder.

Related to the above, perhaps, as monsters would hear you coming, they would be grouped around the stairs in ambush.(Or waiting for their "allies" to join them)

Items that hide monsters from your sight. Make them invisible, I guess.

Isn't there a turn limit of some kind? The thing that drags you down if you dawdle. How about items that half the turns you can spend on a given floor?

This may not be acceptable, due to the desire to keep it close to Tolkien, but how about a possessed or intelligent item. A possessed sword would be hard to hit with, maybe striking at monsters on it own as you sneak by. Perhaps it would free itself from your grasp. The Ring did this a few times, why can't a sword?

That's all I've got.
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Old July 2, 2012, 20:01   #8
Scatha
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patashu View Post
One thing I noticed about curses in Sil is that 70% are on gloves, 20% are on lanterns and 10% are on rings.
These numbers aren't exactly right (e.g. cursed boots and amulets exist), but I agree with the general point. The new version already takes several steps towards improving this, but we realised that we didn't have enough tools to make sufficiently diverse items for every slot, which led to this thread.

Quote:
One thing I think curses should aim for is not being crippling, but either a trade-off or something you can deal with having.
I agree with this too. The current Boots of Slowness are perhaps a bit too nasty -- that might be better used as a negative on an otherwise-powerful artefact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon
This made me think of a curse that could randomly resurrect slain monsters a short time after they're killed. I bet that'd make for some interesting gameplay.
I really like this idea, but I'm not sure it's right for Sil, for the reasons Hallucination Mushrooms talks about -- the magic is a bit too blatant.

Nick, thanks for the list of curses from FA. Some of these wouldn't work in Sil, but several of them are in an interesting direction we haven't explored: over time randomly hitting you with a bad effect, rather than just static effects. This gives more variables to allow balance, and in particular lets you use things which would be outright unfair on their own (I think being afraid would mostly count as unfair, but perhaps this could work on some specialised mixed-blessing item).

Seeing the discussion here has helped to give me a bit of perspective. In particular I've noticed that the existing curses in Sil fall into three broad categories:

(A) Make the player directly weaker (lowered stats; increased hunger; darkness). These are generally the inverse forms of bonuses you can find elsewhere.

(B) Change the situations the player faces. Danger and Aggravation do this.

(C) Restrict what the player can do. Sticky curses are the only one here at the moment, restricting changing equipped items. (Arguably Slowness, too).

More generally, cursed items should have some reason they see use. Sil uses all of the following strategies:

(i) The player doesn't know they're cursed. Rings of Hunger, Amulets of Danger, etc.

(ii) They've got a sticky curse, so there's no choice (in the short term).

(iii) They have enough good properties that they see use in spite of the curse. (Can even be that the good properties follow from the curse -- e.g. tactical use of Rings of Wrath.)

Right now we're primarily looking for more types of curse that fit into one of the categories (A),(B), or (C). More cursed items would follow (and note that several new ones are indeed already in the game for the next release). Other categories in either series might be interesting, but would be a bigger stretch for the game. The FA curses which produce random bad effects over time are could be said to be a fourth category, or could be placed as part of (B).

Setting this out does let me make some suggestions of obvious things we haven't used:

Things in (A) generally invert positive effects, so we can look for positive effects we haven't inverted. Resistances are an obvious one. A vulnerability to an element (-1 to resistance level) needs a new rule for what negative resistance does, but is otherwise a clean mechanic, which (even better) isn't obvious upon equipping. Negating some non-elemental resistances wouldn't even need a new rule: "weak-mindedness" might give you a -10 penalty to Will saves against Fear, Confusion, and Hallucination, for instance.

New things in (B) will involve changing dungeon, item or monster generation, or perhaps monster behaviour. Perhaps an increased chance to stumble into levels riddled with spider webs (or just traps generally)? Or which call wolves after you, adding a lot more wolves as wandering monsters?

The category (C) is perhaps the one with the most unexplored space, but it's also the most dangerous. It's fun to play the game, and having too many options restricted might be frustrating. But I'm sure there are some worthwhile things in here. Imposing fear on players would be one, but as commented before perhaps too cruel. You could lessen it by allowing a Will save to attack, or similar, but it's still fairly mean. Not using up-stairs might be an interesting restriction gameplay wise, but I'm not sure if it's possible to find a flavour to fit the mechanic.

Anyhow the main point of laying this out was in case the classification makes it easier for others to think of ideas!
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Old July 2, 2012, 20:12   #9
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Ah, I crossed posts with T-Mick, but some great ideas here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by T-Mick View Post
Armor or boots that make a lot of noise, making sneaking harder.
This treads on the same ground as Aggravation, but it's not obviously worse! We haven't used direct penalties to individual skills (except melee/evasion) much; maybe we should.

Quote:
Related to the above, perhaps, as monsters would hear you coming, they would be grouped around the stairs in ambush.(Or waiting for their "allies" to join them)
Now this fits solidly into my category (B), and would lead to interesting situations.

Quote:
Items that hide monsters from your sight. Make them invisible, I guess.
Aha, we'd basically dismissed a "Helm of Blindness" as being too harsh and not-fun, but this ("dim vision"?) could be a much better version.

Quote:
Isn't there a turn limit of some kind? The thing that drags you down if you dawdle. How about items that half the turns you can spend on a given floor?
Yes, category (B) again, and very possible. I think it would have to be flavoured as something which draws Morgoth's will to you, bringing you down faster, and there might be reasons to try to avoid bringing that mechanic to the surface, but speeding the clock is natural and subtle. Nice.

Quote:
This may not be acceptable, due to the desire to keep it close to Tolkien, but how about a possessed or intelligent item. A possessed sword would be hard to hit with, maybe striking at monsters on it own as you sneak by. Perhaps it would free itself from your grasp. The Ring did this a few times, why can't a sword?
Well, there are a couple of intelligent items in Tolkien! Gurthang talks (as does Bill's purse when Bilbo tries to steal it, but as that's from the Hobbit it should perhaps be taken with a large pinch of salt). Not quite sure how you'd get this to feel right in-game, though.
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Old July 3, 2012, 01:26   #10
Djabanete
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How about an unusually powerful bow whose arrows always break on impact?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HallucinationMushroom View Post
How about weapons that seem good at first, but eventually break after a dozen or so uses? A brittle curse, or perhaps just shoddy manufacture, which would explain anomalies in some of the larger than normal damage dice weapons.
I like this idea very much, but perhaps it would fit the atmosphere better if it were modeled after the Morgul-blade --- a weapon that has a deadly effect, but that might shatter or disintegrate after setting that effect in motion. Perhaps it might be good for killing uniques. Of course it could be renamed to suit the First Age setting: "Dagger of Shadow" or something instead of "Dagger of Morgul". It could even be something dropped by Wraiths. (Wait, doesn't "Morgul" just mean "Sorcery"? So maybe it can be "of Morgul" or "of Sorcery.")

@half/Scatha: I forget --- does Sil have any flaming swords? They're overtly magical, sure, but still canonical --- I believe the Witch-King wields one at the siege of Minas Tirith, and doesn't the Balrog of Moria use one? They could be powerful weapons that reduce your stealth or cancel out Disguise/Vanishing or something...

Last edited by Djabanete; July 3, 2012 at 01:38.
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