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Old November 6, 2020, 19:31   #1
ThatFishNemo
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Frogcomposband - Liches and Suggestions

So after finally getting my first win in this variant I had some thoughts about the lich monster race. They're my absolute favorite but I'm surprised there have only been 3 wins with them despite being a very powerful endgame race. I imagine maybe they just need some extra flavour to make them more fun to play as. Especially since I hear that some players seem to look down on them in angband.live

If anyone is open to listening, then I do have a few suggestions.

Archlich: Should stay as they are. Incredible damage output with manastorm, and can easily kite with their free passwall even using summons to gain free distractions. Though I feel like I'm the only one who really uses them, I just love having a personal undead army. This is of course restricted to CL50 so you can't do the J quest as early as the other races/classes without having some issues. You're also quite ineffective against most undead/demons until you get mana bolt/storm unless you want to resort to summons. But the reward for getting about 12 million XP points is generous enough to compensate.

Black Reaver: I feel these could be like battlemages or blackguards, they could stay in combat for longer than the Archlich before having to flee. Maybe they could have better melee than archliches with innate unlife properties with their touch that could boost your spell power temporarily similar to the liches in Poscheng or Oposband if I'm remembering this correctly. Reavers are supposed to seek out the living to harvest souls so I feel it could fit the roles quite well. I'm not sure if they would get summons though since they would be purely offense focused. Hopefully this wouldn't be too hard to implement. They obviously would destroy walls after they fully evolve, but I can understand having Legates of the Damned with passwall at around level 40 or so would be strange.

Iron Lich: This would be a really funny one to imagine since the equipment slots would be bizzare, but we already have servants of khorne so maybe it could work, of course this is a low priority subrace. Maybe Iron liches could get lots of basic resists because of equipment restrictions and they should probably have innate reflection to match their enemy counterparts. And they could have lots of elements spells like Whirpool or the basic elements breath attacks of fire, cold and electricity.

These are all just suggestions of course, if there isn't any reason you wouldn't want these ideas I'd be glad to have it explained. I just felt a bit disappointed my favourite monster race barely had any names behind it despite being really good once you start getting your fail rates down.
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Old November 6, 2020, 20:49   #2
wobbly
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I think just about every magic based monster races suffers from being weaker then mages at magic-ing till the late game and being generally poor at melee. I mean for the lich it makes sense that it's weak at melee, but for the vampire for instance that is a late game mage machine, its early melee game is weak. Maybe monster mages just need some more early game util? They seem to finish strong, but suffer all game?
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Old November 6, 2020, 23:26   #3
ThatFishNemo
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That is something I noticed with them. Liches especially only really have around 7 spells that you use. Nether ball/bolt, Phase door/Teleport, Mana bolt and Mana Storm. Most players I see never really use summons and Drain Mana despite it being incredibly useful when I was playing. Confuse could be more useful but its really unreliable when you have staves of confuse monster and even confusing lights which totally renders Terrify, Slow and Confuse spells quite obsolete. Brain Smash requires a saving throw from the target monster and that never seems to get through anytime you actually need it. 12d12 is also quite underwhelming for a single target attack that *can* be resisted. Maybe one of the spells could be replaced with a buff for your summons in view similar to the necromancer class.
I think the general problem with monster spells is that they don't take up inventory space like regular spellcasters and they can still use them even while blinded. But that means their spells have to be more reliable/useful than the spellbooks where you can dump the first one after a certain point. So while liches have strong and effective spells, they come quite late and are pretty tedious to keep using the same ones constantly for all 12 million xp.
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Old November 6, 2020, 23:52   #4
Sideways
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Thank you for the feedback and suggestions! Adding more lich subraces was on Chris's to-do list, and probably ought to be on my to-do list as well.

Considering that the earliest ever Oberon kill (by far) was murphy's lich, I'm not sure I buy that liches aren't strong in the early going. He used summons, Magic Missile and Detect Life extensively. It is true, though, that liches are a somewhat problematic race. Evolving into a Demilich (and especially Archlich) gives some extremely powerful innate bonuses; it's very hard to balance something like that, and an extreme XP modifier isn't the most fun way to do it. Chris apparently considered approaching this problem by not giving archliches Mana Storm, but I'm not sure what the justification for that is since monster archliches do get it.
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Old November 8, 2020, 09:14   #5
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Quote:
Thank you for the feedback and suggestions! Adding more lich subraces was on Chris's to-do list, and probably ought to be on my to-do list as well.
Patiently and gladly waiting for any new leads on this

If there were any options to balance liches, it could be to give them penalties to dual wielding in spellcasting. Though this would probably just make the early game even harder since I really banked on my DL 1 broken dagger (nature) paired with another (nature) ego weapon for the INT boosts. I ended up keeping said dagger with me till around CL37 or so because it was just a really helpful weapon. Its not like I ever needed to melee with spell rates so low.

Maybe they could have increased energy costs while casting spells or resting in walls, they already get these penalties while moving, but I think it applies to every monster with passwall so I'm not sure if it would be easy to put in.

Removing one tick of innate cold/poison resistance could do, but it would be awkward considering Liches are undead and shouldn't even really be taking damage from these attacks. It would also just slow down the early game more without affecting much by the end.
Liches are so strange in the fact that they take nearly as long to max out as angels but just absolutely blow everything out of the water when they do. Nerfing anything they gain in their final forms would feel less rewarding to players who get through the hell of surviving as the weaker base forms, and nerfing anything before that only makes it more difficult to go through the game, but ultimately doesn't change much at the end. (Or maybe I'm just acting like some kid who has something stupidly strong and wants it to stay that way)

This race truly is a monster
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Old November 18, 2020, 18:38   #6
EpicMan
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What if monster mages were given access to the Arcane realm? It's not (I think) a powerful magic realm on its own but has lots of utility spells.

This would give monster mages a more "magey" feel and probably buff their early game considerably but shouldn't push them over the top in late game.
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Old November 19, 2020, 15:55   #7
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This makes sense somewhat but it should probably be implemented differently. Firstly monsters aren't supposed to use spell books in my opinion. So you could just add the arcane spells into their powers list. But not all spells would fit onto all monsters, especially since this would really bloat out the spell lists. You'd have to specifically pick those that would be helpful and thematically sensible to have. No 'Light Area' on Vampires please.
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