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Old August 13, 2020, 15:12   #1
Saeldanya
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Questions / feedback from a new FrogComposband player

I originally posted this in the 7.1 Salmiak update thread, which probably wasn't the best place for it, so I apologize.

New (a hundred hours, which is nothing) FrogComposband player here. I have some comments (from a newb perspective) and questions I wasn't able to find answers to anywhere else. I hope you can help me out!

1) I'm currently playing a Beastmaster and am a little disappointed by the lack of early game 'uniqueness' in their play apart from the level 1 class ability, which is of course very good. But apart from that, there's only a tiny selection of available Trump spells (due to the spells having far higher level requirements than for other Trump casters) on some level-ups. Ok, I'm only level 21 so far, but even Dragon warlocks (which also get their class abilities quite late) had 3-4 class abilities at this point. Sure, I can have lots of pets, but apart from riding one and letting them loose on enemies I can't do anything with them. Haste / heal monsters And the one other thing I can do with Trump magic (phase door and teleport) is at odds with having pets because it leaves them behind. This is the only class I've played so far where the early game bores me and I usually love pet classes in games... hell, I currently have 7 study spell points I don't even know what to do with.

tldr; when do Beastmasters get the rest of their class abilities? And would you (the developer) maybe consider lowering the level requirements for some of their Trump spells? I looked at the second Trump book an put it right back into my home because it only has ONE quite situational spell I can even learn before level 29. That's harsh, man! It's the SECOND book! Especially considering the lack of low level class abilities... it would be so nice to at least be able to call pets back to me after teleporting, examine their stats or haste / heal them without a wand.

And before you say 'players breeze through their first 25 levels as quickly as possible anyway' this is not necessarily true for new players. Please make the early game interesting for Beastmasters.

2) The context sensitive ingame help is fantastic, definitely the best I've seen for any game ever. Big thumbs up for that. That said, is there a way to look up class abilities (not spells from books) and their levels for any class? I found a list for the spells from each book (whose levels will of course be different for some classes) but not class abilities.

3) Is there any way (by editing files) to enable Hex magic and Necromancy for Skillmasters? Yes, I'm sure the results could be quite imbalanced, but there are already other ways such as the munchkin personality to create an OP character. I don't play to win (TOME 4 is the only roguelike I actually won once) or to be OP, it would simply be fun.

So, if it was possible and anyone was willing to explain a not very tech savvy newb how to do it, you would be an awesome person with sugar on top.

All that said, thanks for putting this together, I'm loving it - especially dragon warlocks. <3
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Old August 13, 2020, 16:12   #2
Sideways
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saeldanya View Post
New (a hundred hours, which is nothing) FrogComposband player here. I have some comments (from a newb perspective) and questions I wasn't able to find answers to anywhere else. I hope you can help me out!

1) I'm currently playing a Beastmaster and am a little disappointed by the lack of early game 'uniqueness' in their play apart from the level 1 class ability, which is of course very good. But apart from that, there's only a tiny selection of available Trump spells (due to the spells having far higher level requirements than for other Trump casters) on some level-ups.
Welcome to oook and FrogComposband!

The things that set Beastmasters apart from other classes are their exceptional riding ability, exceptional capture ball use, good charming and summoning, and low pet upkeep; in other words, all their uniqueness revolves around pets. (They're also all things that help and apply in the early game, though riding proficiency can take a long time to develop fully; the Trump spells are admittedly late and expensive, but they just support beastmasters' main shtick, pet use.) Beastmasters are OK at things unrelated to pets - their melee, archery and device use are all quite decent, and they can consequently cope pretty well on their own if necessary - but there's nothing unique or special there; indeed, even compared to the other riding class (Cavalry), Beastmasters rely less on melee and more on pets.

So if you find pet use in Frog boring, you will probably find Beastmasters boring. Pet classes are not to everybody's taste - hitting everybody on the head with a big weapon is very straightforward (and frequently satisfying!), while pet management can require a lot of fiddling. But if you like the pet and riding aspects of dragon warlocks, maybe you will grow to like Beastmasters too; you can still find enjoyment in taming dragons, riding them and evolving them into wyrms; in watching your grown-up mount casually incinerate gods and street urchins for you; in unleashing an army of loyal pets on a poor, helpless Serpent of Chaos; even in coming up with a funny or thematic name for that big bloody-red H you just charmed. Think of beastmasters as dragon warlocks with Trump spells instead of eldritch blasts and dragon songs

Quote:
Is there a way to look up class abilities (not spells from books) and their levels for any class? I found a list for the spells from each book (whose levels will of course be different for some classes) but not class abilities.
There is no one big file (even a spoiler file) that lists them all; but if you have both show_future_spells and show_future_powers on, that allows you to see what class powers and non-book spells your current @ will get in the future. (It might not show everything if your class gets random spells, or if you belong to a monster race with some spells locked behind specific evolutions.)

Quote:
3) Is there any way (by editing files) to enable Hex magic and Necromancy for Skillmasters? Yes, I'm sure the results could be quite imbalanced, but there are already other ways such as the munchkin personality to create an OP character. I don't play to win (TOME 4 is the only roguelike I actually won once) or to be OP, it would simply be fun.
There is no way to enable those just through edit files, I would have to allow for it in the code. I don't think they'd necessarily be imbalanced (or at least that they'd be more imbalanced than other Skillmaster stuff is); it's possible though that there might be technical obstacles, especially with Hex which is a rather unusual realm. The only other remotely similar realm is Music, the Bard speciality, which is also not currently available to skillmasters.
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Old August 13, 2020, 18:55   #3
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Oh, hey, hello Thanks for the swift response.

How do I turn show_future_spells and show_future_powers on? I haven't seen those options anywhere... they would be very helpful as I enjoy having visible goals such as an awesome new spell at level X to work towards.

If I may ask another question, I often get a message that a living creature I'm trying to dominate with the level 1 Beastmaster skill is 'immune', even if I've tamed that same creature before. Why does this happen? For instance, I tamed a hippogryph in the Warrens, but after it died and I tried the same thing with a different one in the Hideout, I got that message.

I had completely forgotten about capture balls! Will have to look into those. I remember seeing them in the shop and being amazed such a thing (and pet breeding!) is possible in the variant. I assume the capture balls would solve the issue of having to leave pets behind when traveling on the world map, as well.

I think my main beef with the Beastmaster pets is that they're so... disposable and the only thing I can do to support and direct them are the general pet commands which are available to all classes. It seems odd that Beastmasters don't even get a class power to examine the stats and level progress of their pets - dragon warlocks get one, after all, and they're less of a pet class.

I enjoy dragon warlocks because their pet support isn't purely passive, they get unique class powers directly related to their dragon mount. The songs, for instance. Or the jump riding ability. If Beastmasters are more of a riding class than dragon warlocks, why no riding techniques for them? Why can't they even sense monsters or animals? And why do those Trump spells have to be so insanely high level for Beastmasters? I just don't understand.

I might have to try necromancers next, they also appear to be a pet class (sort of) and seem to get a good amount of active spells and skills even at lower levels.

I understand what you're saying about skillmasters, makes sense. Still, if you could allow those currently excluded magic branches at some point in the future, I think it would make a lot of FrogComposband players very happy. Not just me. Veterans enjoy tinkering with unusual combos even more than us newbs do

Last edited by Saeldanya; August 13, 2020 at 19:08.
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Old August 13, 2020, 19:29   #4
CyclopsSlayer
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Originally Posted by Saeldanya View Post
That said, is there a way to look up class abilities (not spells from books) and their levels for any class?
One thing I often do to see Spell/Skill levels is to use the 'Ladder' and find a character at L50. Examine the levels they got their skills/spells. I haven't checked them all, but it is a fairly safe assumption that most any class has hit L50, and all the more common spell books are in play.
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Old August 13, 2020, 19:37   #5
Sideways
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saeldanya View Post
How do I turn show_future_spells and show_future_powers on? I haven't seen those options anywhere... they would be very helpful as I enjoy having visible goals such as an awesome new spell at level X to work towards.
They are in the List Display options (press = followed by 7). I think one of the two is already on by default.

Quote:
If I may ask another question, I often get a message that a living creature I'm trying to dominate with the level 1 Beastmaster skill is 'immune', even if I've tamed that same creature before. Why does this happen? For instance, I tamed a hippogryph in the Warrens, but after it died and I tried the same thing with a different one in the Hideout, I got that message.
There are several reasons why a creature might be immune to charming. One is that a previous, failed attempt to charm it might have annoyed it enough that it's now uncharmable; the chance of a failed charming triggering this effect is pretty low, but sometimes you get unlucky. Another fairly common cause of charming immunity is area aggravation (think of scrolls of Aggravate Monsters or the shrieks of a shrieking mushroom patch). I would expect one of those two - failed charming or area aggravation - to have been responsible in your case, but they aren't the only reasons why a monster might be uncharmable or uncapturable; monsters with living "parents" (the summons or bodyguards of someone big and buff) are uncapturable, and charming mechanics (especially capturing) are also somewhat restricted for quest and arena monsters.

Quote:
I enjoy dragon warlocks because their pet support isn't purely passive, they get unique class powers directly related to their dragon mount. The songs, for instance. Or the jump riding ability. If Beastmasters are more of a riding class than dragon warlocks, why no riding techniques for them?
There are two directions this question can be answered from: the historical perspective and the current perspective.

The historical perspective is that Beastmasters are an older class than dragon warlocks; so at the time Beastmasters were originally designed, those special riding techniques did not yet exist, and so no one thought of letting Beastmasters use them. The current perspective is that Beastmasters are already pretty strong, so giving them access to additional strong stuff would likely be unbalancing and make them overpowered.

Of course, it isn't impossible that Beastmasters could be tinkered with! Additional strong tricks could be balanced out by nerfs elsewhere; and all suggestions, whether from new players or from seasoned veterans, are always appreciated.
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Old August 14, 2020, 07:42   #6
Saeldanya
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They are in the List Display options (press = followed by 7). I think one of the two is already on by default.
Ah, thank you! I believe it is on for the 'U' abilities by default, but it doesn't seem to work 100%. Dragon warlocks are a good example. All of the eldritch blast variants of all levels were shown (greyed out) from level 1, but the actual dragon warlock class abilities were not shown. Those only appeared on the list at their appropriate levels.

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Originally Posted by Sideways View Post
There are several reasons why a creature might be immune to charming. One is that a previous, failed attempt to charm it might have annoyed it enough that it's now uncharmable; the chance of a failed charming triggering this effect is pretty low, but sometimes you get unlucky. Another fairly common cause of charming immunity is area aggravation (think of scrolls of Aggravate Monsters or the shrieks of a shrieking mushroom patch).
That's very helpful to know!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sideways View Post
There are two directions this question can be answered from: the historical perspective and the current perspective.

The historical perspective is that Beastmasters are an older class than dragon warlocks; so at the time Beastmasters were originally designed, those special riding techniques did not yet exist, and so no one thought of letting Beastmasters use them. The current perspective is that Beastmasters are already pretty strong, so giving them access to additional strong stuff would likely be unbalancing and make them overpowered.

Of course, it isn't impossible that Beastmasters could be tinkered with! Additional strong tricks could be balanced out by nerfs elsewhere; and all suggestions, whether from new players or from seasoned veterans, are always appreciated.
Really appreciate that feedback is appreciated! Allow me to keep babbling for a bit...

Makes sense, but... I see only one Beastmaster winner on the ladder for Frogcomposband, and that one seems to have gotten exceptionally lucky with equipment drops. For Angband I don't see any Beastmasters on the ladder at all, and for Composband a single one at level 34ish.

It could also just be that they're not very popular with players, but that would also kind of prove my point (that they're a bit boring to play...)

The class feels underpowered to me so far, I didn't have this much trouble surviving to level 25 with any other class that I played, possibly with the exception of my Karrot disciple who was gimped by lucky personality stats. The summoned animals and spiders at level 23 are so weak, they die in 2-3 hits and do almost no damage. I have to melee / shoot everything to kill anything. My dragon warlock at level 23 summoned a fire angel that nuked everything way out of my LoS before I even saw what it was (but please don't nerf dragon warlocks!)

Some suggestions for a possible rebalance:

-Sense monsters or at least sense living are very basic low level abilities for many classes and it really feels like Beastmasters should get one of these too.

-A basic class ability to examine the stats and level progress of pets most likely shouldn't be overpowered either.

-How about an ability to call pets back to the Beastmasters side after a teleport? Maybe with many pets it would only call some of them and would need to be cast multiple times to get them all.

-Maybe look into lowering the level requirements for some or even most Trump spells for Beastmasters? The current levels seem unreasonable.

-Some not op riding or archery (they're very good archers according to their class helpfule) active abilities would make them more fun to play.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CyclopsSlayer View Post
One thing I often do to see Spell/Skill levels is to use the 'Ladder' and find a character at L50. Examine the levels they got their skills/spells. I haven't checked them all, but it is a fairly safe assumption that most any class has hit L50, and all the more common spell books are in play.
Hey, I had no idea all spells and abilities were listed on the ladder. Thanks for the heads up, that's helpful.
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