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Old August 18, 2008, 03:58   #1
Atriel
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[Sangband] another rambling, suggestions {spoilers}

Just recently i have come back to S, and got addicted and amazed with certain features and solutions, amongst them, i just noticed (and loved) that you can throw the bigger necro and wizard books, and deal great damage with them! Also, i just quaffed a ! of death, but didn't die; got with 1 hp and all stats drained to single digit levels and that cool cliche message...

I've had some really powerfull oathless maxed-magic-device warriors... and felt in love with Magic Device. Then i started to dabble with Throwing and felt in love with throwing, but still not able to make a strong character. As i always play limiting myself to 10 skills, balance is much more important. Ok, in the start i was a munchkin that maxed everything, but this just was not fun...

Now, i wanted to make a deviceless shadowstalker. Here's the skill set planing:
Martial Arts, Throwing
Burglary, Dodging, Stealth, Disarming
Perception, Saving throw, Alchemy, Infusion

And then I realize two big problems/imbalances
1. Unability to read in complete darkness
2. Disarming is sooooooo friggingly worthless as a skill... I could have Devices

Then I take out Disarming and (after some nail-gnawing) concede to introduce Magic Devices. More imbalances:
1. I can set traps perfectly well even being unable to disarm a trap made by a yeek grandma, because setting traps is based 100% on BURGLARY and 0% DISARMING.
2. I can use aaalllll those damaging/helping devices, nulifying somewhat the point of using Alchemy and Throwing... And also, nulifying the need for Disarming.

After a few power level 100 chars and some lurking in the forums and rgra and reading these
http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=24
http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=82
http://angband.oook.cz/rgra.php?showpost=100610

I have some suggestions that might already be suggested in the above:

* Setting traps should be Disarming, not Burglary; Burglary is already kickass just because the combat bonuses with light weapons (that also are kickass), and everybody want to deal more damage in combat, while Disarming is worthless... Or maybe, at least use Disarming AND Burglary 50/50 to setting traps.
* Scrolls should be readable in the dark, after the oath or after some skill(s) breakpoint. If some skills were to be used for scroll failure rates, I think it should be a mix of Burglary AND Perception, not just one of them. (maxing both = 100% reading in the dark... suggestion by Twisted, tweak by me, and this fits really well with the above sugestion, balancing also Burglary)
* Nerf Magic Disarming, and/or make the devices rarer or even remove rods of disarming, leaving only wands.
* Oath of Iron is weak. I was never attracted to it, even liking warriors (exception was some troll warriors...) The main reason isn't device penalty, is that Heavy Weapons are weak. Haven't tested heavily, but by instinct i can say that a so-so forged Bluesteel blade will deal more damage than forged Maces of Disruption and Scythes of Slicing, in the hands of a warrior. Also, There's no truly heavy sword... maybe create one? Or put the maybe_heavy flag into two-hand swords, exec swords and blades of chaos. Also, some slighty more noticeable bonus to criticals would be nice or maybe even oath-based more blows, for the warriors of light weapons.
* Potions of gain skill and *gain skill* - they destroy the choice to leave a skill at a given level, say, 50, intentionally. The old !Experience was much better.
* Shapeshifting isn't as atractive/interesting as [O]. They are like, animals? Or shapeform "goat" is a sort of humanoid goat? Or am i free to imagine? (hehe) Personally, i used Werewolf a lot in [O]....

Also, Magnate's idea of making some sort of difficulty levels that limit and relate skill number and score is really cool.
Even thou Martial Arts are heavily discussed, i haven't played a lot with them... Only Karate that i feel is really weak, topping ~5x (x2) damage.

Opinions?

Last edited by Atriel; August 18, 2008 at 10:07.
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Old August 18, 2008, 16:53   #2
camlost
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Ah, a well-timed post. I have recently returned my interest to SAngband, and I am collecting information in preparation to make some more changes.

You didn't mention which version you are using, so I assume that you are using Leon's latest official version. I made some balance changes and some bugfixes. Making shadowstalking playable (making some scrolls and books readable) was one of the more major efforts.
http://middendorfproject.googlepages.com/sangband
(Oh, the latest "unofficial beta" is still rough. Look for polish perhaps in a couple of weeks, if I'm lucky. All the shadowstalker modifications are in this branch, though.)

I've like the Oath of Iron the few times I've taken it (I'm a chronic spellcaster). You get a fair bit more HP, you get bonus str and con, you get extra shots and/or extra might, which is pretty awesome, and you get some bonus to_hit and can wield heavier weapons, which are usually better (though maybe not in the end game).

I'm interested in hearing theories on what to do with magic devices. The best suggestion I've heard is to split magic devices into rods/staves/wands, each are important through the game (maybe add some rods of spark or something).

Disarming is a really cheap skill, and it's incredibly cheap if you take burglary. The assumption is that you'll take both. I think the cost of disarming is reduced to around 1 or 2 (from 4?) if you take burglary.

I've generally enjoyed shapeshifting; what part of it don't you like? Do you suggest some additional forms? I think a few more forms would be good (esp. for a necromancer).
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Old August 18, 2008, 18:11   #3
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I've actually played your version and i find interesting
your changes. But I noticed that Martial Arts actually isn't like in
the changes, at least for the file sang-win-100-unofficial-b2.zip. I max at 2 blows at Karate even at high skill levels with near-max dex.

Disarming is so cheap? 1 or 2?
Still, I can't use scrolls in the dark, so i still have to resort to Magic Devices for Teleport and PhaseDoor; Then I will get decent disarming anyway...

My first 2 suggestions would fix this, and make Disarming more interesting: associationg set traps to Disarming and allowing somehow reading of scrolls in the dark.

About Shapeshifting, if i imagine dysmorphic humanoid animals, it actually works for me ... I think a cool fighting shape in Blood Dominion ex. agravating Werewolf form from [O] in Blood Dominion is missing thou...

About the Oath of Iron, early on it is kickass, but the problem is that late game heavy weapons are weak, weakening OoI. I don't know how nice are the critical effects of polearms and maces, but damagewise the Sword is king, and they aren't even heavy... The dice format of weapons worsens this due to some stuck roots on how weapons should be...
EX: (damage, crit1, crit2, crit3)
Great Axe
4d4 5d4 6d4 7d4
Scythe of slicing:
7d3 8d3 9d3 10d3
Mace of Disruption
4d8 5d8 6d8 7d8
Blade of Chaos
2d13 3d13 4d13 5d13 <<< !!! 2d13 is alone more than 7d3, nearly as much as 4d8 AND gives better criticals...

I intend to play more with poles and maces, and could do some nerdy damage table like the one i did to help balance [O] heh, but then, i have to get the feeling of how the critical effects work at late game with those weapons.

About magic devices, um i have 5 min to be in class so later!
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Old August 18, 2008, 21:03   #4
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Damage-wise the sword is clearly best, but it's my impression that benefits of other weapons are better; polearms rob energy from monsters, and blunt have a chance of stunning, IIRC. No idea if this balances out the damage issue, though.

I can certainly see including disarming into the trap-potency equation.

Maybe I never actually published the changes that give karate a max of 6 blows and wrestling a max of 4 blows. I think maybe I was still tweaking numbers.

More later.
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Old August 18, 2008, 22:47   #5
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I find that Sangband's combat system makes it difficult to compare the actual damage output of various weapons. Consequently the Oath of Iron is tricky to evaluate. The problem is that Sangband warriors depend so heavily on critical hits. Unless you dive into the source code, it's very difficult to determine what your average damage will be.

Maybe I'm missing a feature that already exists for comparing weapons and criticals?

Anyway, I just find it odd that my late-game characters probably get 75% of their damage from criticals, but there's no way to see what that damage is. My weapon might be a 2d5 long sword, but that tells me almost nothing about my total damage output. With rods and spells you can know exactly what your damage potential is.
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Old August 19, 2008, 09:02   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerN View Post
I find that Sangband's combat system makes it difficult to compare the actual damage output of various weapons. Consequently the Oath of Iron is tricky to evaluate. The problem is that Sangband warriors depend so heavily on critical hits. Unless you dive into the source code, it's very difficult to determine what your average damage will be.
Actually, after the PHD in [O] combat, it is easy to evaluate the damage hehehee The hard thing to evaluate are the effects (Stun, slow, etc) from criticals from different classes of weapons with the damage from swords...
Damage: Just add +1 dice of the weapon per level of the critical and you have it.
in [O] You can assume that you crit 30 to 40% depending of class and race late game, and that crits add average 2.5 dice. Now I have to source-dive to find these values in [S], oath and non-oath... but i guess they're not that hard to find and not very different from the above.

MAGICAL DEVICES:
I don't know if dividing the skill is the best... I think that nerfing to some degree the most powerful ones should be ok without hurting utility devices.

My suggestions:

Weaken Rod and Wand of Disarming a lil bit.

RODS:
Up to the bolts, rods are ok. The big rods can be nerfed by doubling (balls and non-detection utilities onwards) or tripling(?) (big damage rods, speed, healing) recharge time, so that they would have the same "burst power" but less "staying power", and actually make someone think about recharging rods in an emergency, and/or also carry some backup pots later.

WANDS:
The too powerful ones start at drain life(I used this quite a bit) and the balls, and go to the end.
As the point of wands is staying power, i guess that damage should be lowered a bit (10%?) from the ball wands onward, and also reduce the number of charges of the very powerful ones a bit (Doomblasts, Breaths, Annihilation)
I have little experience with wands of wizardry. But i had an oathless with stacks of doomblasts, fire+cold breaths and anni. Maybe leave Dragon Breath (the mixed breath wand) as is because it is so random...

STAVES: Most very powerfull staves simply have too many charges.
CMW, Healing, Speed, Dispel Evil, Power, Destruction, Detection, Doomspeels and Chaos - All of them could have their max charges cut by a third, rounded down, and still be kick@ss, thanks to accessible sources of recharging in [S], relative to [O] at least, and also being already more powerful, and *much* more resistent to elements already (this is good, nerf the charges!)
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Old September 4, 2008, 16:53   #7
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[QUOTE=Atriel;9521

Also, Magnate's idea of making some sort of difficulty levels that limit and relate skill number and score is really cool.
Even thou Martial Arts are heavily discussed, i haven't played a lot with them... Only Karate that i feel is really weak, topping ~5x (x2) damage.

Opinions?[/QUOTE]

I haven't seen Magnate's idea, but my idea to limit skills would be to limit the total number of points available to be spent on skills so that you have a choice between getting to 100% in a small number of skills or having more skills but never being able to get to the max in them.
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Old September 5, 2008, 03:06   #8
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The ideas that I've heard floated around for limiting skills are:
1) Once you reach power 100%, that's all you get. (your idea)
2) Some cap on number of allowed skills (and various settings to allow for how many).

I'm not so interested in #2, but I am considering #1.
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Old September 7, 2008, 13:17   #9
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I've been thinking about both the skill limitations ideas and the possible issue of magic devices being too powerful and I have some suggestions about them; feel free to ignore them if you like..

The idea of not being able to increase any more skills once you reach 100 power seems sensible; for a long time I assumed this would be the case, until I first got a character with 100 power and found I could still increase skills!

I think it would be good if players had to think about the costs of skills rather than just the total number of skills as this would make the physically weaker but magically adept races more useful; as it is at present, by the end of the game, AFAIK, a troll or giant spellcaster can get just as good at magic as a gnome or elf (with good +int equipment) but has the advantage of higher hitpoints which the weaker races cannot make up.

One idea I have thought of is that maybe instead of the costs of learning different skills being dependent on race, different races should get overall bonuses or penalties to certain skills - so a gnome with maxed Spellcasting would have an effective skill of over 100%, making spells even more powerful, while a troll would have less than 100%. Oaths could also do something similar.

In terms of the power of magic devices and the devices skill, how about having something like a 'Guild of Gadgeteers' that would work a bit like the burglars guild but allow a character to specialise in using devices. Only these characters would be able to use the powerful rods etc at their full capacity, while nonspecialist characters and characters with magical oaths would still be able to use them but with reduced damage, and warriors with the Oath of Iron would still be significantly weaker with devices.
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Old September 7, 2008, 18:54   #10
Atriel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camlost View Post
The ideas that I've heard floated around for limiting skills are:
1) Once you reach power 100%, that's all you get. (your idea)
2) Some cap on number of allowed skills (and various settings to allow for how many).
I'm not so interested in #2, but I am considering #1.
I like this, as i mostly always play with less than 10 skills, but think its a bad idea overall because it would be a turn-off to lots of players (IE the ones that like to pump 15 skills heh)
And this change would *require* a change to the pots of gain skill also...

Sugestion to implement this:
One would choose at startup a "mode of play"
MUNCHKIN - can max lots (all) skills (just like it is now)
NORMAL - like #1 from quote, but say, power 200 ?
HARDCORE - like #1 from quote (power level 100 is like 3 skills? or 6 half-upped skills?)

BTW i had thought about some sort of cap to some maximum skill levels... like a limited pool of maximum points to-be subtracted by every skill after say, 90, for example, or something race-related like sugested, but i think this would mess the rules a lot for now...
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