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Old December 13, 2009, 19:24   #1
Derakon
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Rethinking Free Action

There are two primary ways to get paralyzed in the game: through a spell of some kind, and through a melee attack. Spells are dangerous but not instant death; your opponent gets several free turns but probably won't recast the spell, so you're unlikely to get chain-paralyzed. Melee attacks are a guaranteed death without Free Action, though, unless you get very lucky and/or have an incredibly high AC to prevent the paralysis hits from getting through reliably.

The upshot of this is that there's a big sign hanging around level 20 or so saying "Abandon all hope, ye who enter here without Free Action". The Carrion Crawler, Gorgimaera, Basilisk, Spectator, Ghoul, and Ghost all show up in the 20-30 range and have melee paralyze attacks; trying to fight those in melee is suicide (the Homunculus also has one and shows up at 15). However, if you have Free Action, then those same melee attacks are a complete non-issue. It bothers me that something can go from absolutely deadly to not remotely dangerous with a single flag change.

And before you say "Well, just avoid those monsters then", keep in mind that the only way to find out that those monsters have melee paralyzing attacks is to get into melee with them. Unless you're advocating that everyone read the monster spoilers or have years of experience playing the game.

I'd like to see Free Action get de-emphasized, so that not having it isn't instant death and we can stop putting it on half the egos and artifacts in the game just to make certain the player doesn't have to worry about it when rearranging equipment. Ideally, I'd like to see Free Action become important not at 20, but at around the 40-60 range. It should of course still be useful to have earlier, but not required. So here's my proposed changes:

* Change all melee attacks with the PARALYZE attribute to SLOW instead. There are not currently any melee attacks that cause slowing, I note, so this would probably require some code changes to support it.
* Free Action should prevent being slowed in addition to preventing paralysis
* Make paralysis duration scale with the monster's level (and possibly with the player's saving throw?). This makes Free Action steadily more important as you get deeper into the dungeon; getting paralyzed by an Elder Vampire (level 54) is going to be much more dangerous than getting paralyzed by a Druid (level 13).
* Remove Free Action from Westernesse, Holy Avenger, Dwarven, Gondolin, and Lothlorien ego-items (leaving it on crowns of Might, gloves of FA/Thievery, boots of FA, and Defender weapons). Make boots and gloves of FA rarer. Remove Free Action from a bunch of artifacts.

I think these changes would make FA desirable without making it mandatory, and would also make it a more interesting factor when considering your equipment. Thoughts?
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Old December 13, 2009, 19:41   #2
Marble Dice
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Free Action already prevents slowing but the slow effect from gravity and inertia cannot be resisted in any way.

Another possibility would be giving the player one turn of immunity to paralysis after becoming un-paralyzed. Are paralyze attacks still cumulative? There was talk about making them non-cumulative as well (like the blindness on darkness breath).
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Old December 13, 2009, 19:42   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
keep in mind that the only way to find out that those monsters have melee paralyzing attacks is to get into melee with them. Unless you're advocating that everyone read the monster spoilers or have years of experience playing the game.
I advocate that everything in the edit files should be presented seamlessly to the player.

Corollary: When monsters have fixed attributes, everyone should start with complete monster memory.
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Old December 13, 2009, 23:07   #4
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I like a lot of what you're saying, but disagree with some of the specific changes you're suggesting. Currently gloves of free action are great for mage/ranger/rogue, boots are great until you find artifact boots or boots of speed, if these things are necessary later in the game they're going to be competing with also essential things like better artifact boots, boots of speed, artifact gloves, etc; this clash would likely be really annoying unless you happened to find a rare artifact with free action along the way (unlikely given your suggested removal of free action from most artifacts).
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Old December 15, 2009, 23:35   #5
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As usual, I will preface this by saying I am much too busy/lazy to read the code and determine how the game actually works. I just like playing in the occasional free time I have.

HOWEVER

I have always found it curious just how *hard* it seems to be to resist things like paralysis. In D&D, for example, there is, and pretty well always has been, a range of saving-throw possibilities and a range of difficulties for various status effects. In fact, this is a common trope in any game of the dungeon-crawl/combat role-playing type, whether tabletop or computer.

Why then was the decision made to make status effects (blind, paralyze, drain life, etc) virtually impossible to resist without magical assistance - but then virtually harmless once magical assistance is found?

I'd much prefer a spectrum of risk and resistance, with wielded items boosting resist (or rarely giving immunity), but there still being some risk at all levels of play. At shallow levels, carrion crawlers or homonculi should succeed at paralyzing pretty rarely - but the risk should be there. By the lowest levels, nasty undead should be a serious paralysis threat even to a veteran combatant. Not to say they should always paralyze on every hit, but that you'd have maybe a 10% chance when hit to be paralyzed by the likes of Vecna, even with maxxed FA.

I realize this may be a lot of work. I don't care about that. I just think it would make the game better.
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Old December 16, 2009, 05:24   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hariolor View Post

I'd much prefer a spectrum of risk and resistance, with wielded items boosting resist (or rarely giving immunity), but there still being some risk at all levels of play. At shallow levels, carrion crawlers or homonculi should succeed at paralyzing pretty rarely - but the risk should be there. By the lowest levels, nasty undead should be a serious paralysis threat even to a veteran combatant. Not to say they should always paralyze on every hit, but that you'd have maybe a 10% chance when hit to be paralyzed by the likes of Vecna, even with maxxed FA.
I don't agree with this point at all. Considering that paralysis for even one turn in a battle with Vecna has a good chance of ending in death, what you've done is prevented melee, or even battle with Vecna if he has a ranged paralysis attack. Blindness, confusion, fear, stunning, cuts, poison you can deal with. But paralysis is way too dangerous.
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Old December 16, 2009, 06:01   #7
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We could introduce different types of paralysis. Para from sound, would differ from para from touch, which would differ from para from gaze, which would differ from para by hit (stunning). Low level FA items would have only one or two resists, while deeper items would likely have most if not all.
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Old December 16, 2009, 13:38   #8
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Paralysis is far too dangerous to risk traveling at deep levels without 100% immunity. I'm intrigued, however, by the idea of changing some of the low-level paralysis attacks into slowing attacks.
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Old December 16, 2009, 16:31   #9
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While we are at it... What about giving FA some bonus against confusion too... Or, just get rid of hummerhorns. Those are deadly until you have a high enough AC, potions, etc unless you have cloud spells or wands. I can take it that the umber hulk can confuse me, but if you sit in a bunch of hummerhorns and then something nasty walks by, you're more often than not dead. Also, there is no potion of resist/cure confusion is there?
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Old December 16, 2009, 17:38   #10
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Not every deadly enemy needs to be nerfed. As you noted, there's several ways to deal with Hummerhorns, including ball spell attacks like Stinking Cloud that any character can use. You can also carry a Staff of Teleportation with you, which can be used when confused. Finally, Cure Critical Wounds potions and Mushrooms of Clear Mind will remove confusion effects, though they don't provide any temporary resistance to it.
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