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Old April 14, 2019, 05:47   #1
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Lightbulb Charm / Friendly Summon

I'm curious why Angband (vanilla) has no spell which will charm a monster to fight for the player, or a spell that summons such a monster.

Is it because it would require (relatively) significant A.I.? (Sure its easy conceptually, but that doesn't mean easy to implement).

To prevent being overpowered, charming high-end monsters could be very hard, impossible, or only last for 1 -3 turns. Given charming a monster wouldn't give you loot, or xp, you could even have some easier Unique susceptible to it, for short time.

Charming monsters would allow more strategy, and could be used both offensively and defensively. They could become meat shields, or may have the right elemental attack to help you overcome a difficult unique.

It would be something that helps improve the mage spells only (not sure what has changed there in v4, but last I played holy prayers were 'better' than magic spells, in general, was the consensus).

If Charm Monster would be too powerful (in the sense that almost always it would become the best option available to a player with that spell, making it boring), perhaps we could have very limited charm spells - like Charm Orc, Charm Troll, Charm Person?

Anyway, I'm curious if this has been discussed already and if it has any merit?
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Old April 14, 2019, 14:56   #2
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Several variants have the ability to summon allied monsters, and the concept of coaligned monsters in general. For example, in ToME you can find Gandalf, Shadowfax, Treebeard, etc. as friendly monsters, who will help you out in fights. There's a fair amount of complexity to make summons be useful without being overpowered, and to keep them from accidentally killing the player.

One of the big problems you have to solve is how to keep the game interesting when the player doesn't have to be in LOS of a monster to fight it. Even if their summons / allies can't kill, any about they can weaken enemies by is an amount the player doesn't have to personally deal with.

Another issue you can run into is out-of-control summoning sprees. Monsters don't make any effort to avoid LOS the way the player does, which means they'll happily walk into view of a bunch of summoners and let them bring in huge numbers of hostile-to-you summons. This is a potential threat in many late-game fights, which limits the utility of summons. It's for this reason that the first thing I do on entering many late-game levels in ToME is attempt to dismiss any coaligned monsters. For me, they're more trouble than they're worth.
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