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Old March 21, 2012, 00:08   #1
fizzix
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Illusions

I've been thinking about whether illusory monsters would be a useful concept. The basic idea is to create a new monster type, an illusion, that have the following characteristics:

They move exactly the same as normal monsters
They can cast spells and cause mental status effects (confusion, blindness, fear, hallucination)
They cannot cause physical status effects (all spells/attacks deal 0 damage. No stat draining, paralysis, poison, inventory destruction.)
They disappear/dissipate when you successfully attack them
They always appear to have full health, except for self-illusions.
They are always awake, except for static illusions which can never awaken.
They cannot cause any physical damage (all attacks and spells deal 0 damage)
They can be dissipated by stronger monsters that push past them (but weaker monsters are afraid to try.)

Then we could have the following monster spells:

SUMMON_ILLUSIONS: summons monsters as our normal summon_monster spell, perhaps with a small (5%) chance of an illusion being a real monster.
similarly there could be spells like,
SUMMON_IDRAGONS: summons illusory dragons. etc. etc.
CLONE_SELF: Make several illusory copies of the monster casting the spell. These illusions appear to have the same HP as the casting monster at all times. Upon casting, the caster immediately swaps places with one of the illusions.

Also the player spell
DISPEL_ILLUSIONS: Remove all illusions in line of sight.

You could have static illusions that appear on trap squares (when the player tries to attack, they step on the trap.)

There could also be a intermediate step between, full realistic illusion and dissipated. This would be an illusion that exists but that is recognized by @ as faulty. This illusion continues to act as normal but can no longer cause status effects. It would be nice to distinguish a known fake from the real deal to the player. If @ knows the player should be able to see this as well.

I'm guessing area of effect spells should dissipate all illusions, but this seems a little cheap. Maybe there's another approach?

Here are some basic monsters that I think should have the spells.

Illusionist, mage: S_Illusion
Sorcerer, Dark elven sorcerer: S_illusion, clone self
Will of the wisp, harowen, draebor: clone self


Lastly, there is probably a way to also allow @ to create self-illusions, but this doesn't seem useful enough to be worth the tremendous hassle involved.
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Old March 21, 2012, 00:36   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
I've been thinking about whether illusory monsters would be a useful concept. The basic idea is to create a new monster type, an illusion, that have the following characteristics:
I have illusory monsters in DaJAngband. Currently they only appear when hallucenating (instead of the old hallucenation effect), but I like these ideas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
They move exactly the same as normal monsters
They can cast spells and cause mental status effects (confusion, blindness, fear, hallucination)
They cannot cause physical status effects (all spells/attacks deal 0 damage. No stat draining, paralysis, poison, inventory destruction.)
They disappear/dissipate when you successfully attack them
They always appear to have full health, except for self-illusions.
They are always awake, except for static illusions which can never awaken.
They cannot cause any physical damage (all attacks and spells deal 0 damage)
They can be dissipated by stronger monsters that push past them (but weaker monsters are afraid to try.):
In DAJ, timed effects (like confusion) caused by illusions are much shorter-lasting, and they can't inflict those physical status effects like you said. Also, they don't do any actual damage and they are always awake.
Unlike how you describe them, illusions in DAJ lose hit points as normal. They start with a fraction of the hit points that that race of monster normally has, and they dissapate when they hit 0 HP (no XP or drops obviously).

Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
Then we could have the following monster spells:

SUMMON_ILLUSIONS: summons monsters as our normal summon_monster spell, perhaps with a small (5%) chance of an illusion being a real monster.
similarly there could be spells like,
SUMMON_IDRAGONS: summons illusory dragons. etc. etc.
CLONE_SELF: Make several illusory copies of the monster casting the spell. These illusions appear to have the same HP as the casting monster at all times. Upon casting, the caster immediately swaps places with one of the illusions.

Also the player spell
DISPEL_ILLUSIONS: Remove all illusions in line of sight.
Thanks to this post, I will probably be adding these monster spells very soon (except I won't bother with the specific racial summoning illusion spells -no SUMMON_IDRAGONS). The applicable PC spell is true seeing, which is already in the game. (True seeing in DAJ does more than just make you see invisible. You also recognise mimics automatically and have higher alertness).

Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
There could also be a intermediate step between, full realistic illusion and dissipated. This would be an illusion that exists but that is recognized by @ as faulty. This illusion continues to act as normal but can no longer cause status effects. It would be nice to distinguish a known fake from the real deal to the player. If @ knows the player should be able to see this as well.
This is also something I will likely add soon.

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Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
Lastly, there is probably a way to also allow @ to create self-illusions, but this doesn't seem useful enough to be worth the tremendous hassle involved.
I decided not to bother with PC invisibility spell for a very similar reason. I'd have to keep track of which monsters use scent to locate the PC as well as which ones can see invisible, and make a system for how well monsters can figure out where you are by your noise, etc.
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Old March 21, 2012, 00:45   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will_asher View Post
I decided not to bother with PC invisibility spell for a very similar reason. I'd have to keep track of which monsters use scent to locate the PC as well as which ones can see invisible, and make a system for how well monsters can figure out where you are by your noise, etc.
But it would be excellent to have such a system. Any decent 5GAI ought to have this anyway, thereby facilitating invisibility and a whole host of other cool stuff. Presumably fizzix's "self-illusion" is what's normally called a Mirror Image spell?
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Old March 21, 2012, 00:50   #4
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Not having played DaJ, what are the impacts on gameplay of having illusory monsters? How do we handle monster memory for the spells -- when does the player learn that the summons were illusory? What if we have a monster that can summon both illusory and real versions of the same monster type? If the player learns they're illusions on seeing the spell cast for the first time, then on subsequent castings they "ought" to be able to tell if the summons are illusions or not, but cannot because the monster memory has already been filled in.

Don't mind me, I'm just being difficult.
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Old March 21, 2012, 09:38   #5
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Originally Posted by will_asher View Post
I decided not to bother with PC invisibility spell for a very similar reason. I'd have to keep track of which monsters use scent to locate the PC as well as which ones can see invisible, and make a system for how well monsters can figure out where you are by your noise, etc.
Ey and Fay have player invisibility.

Each turn, there's a random check depending on Stealth skill that a monster knows where you are. The same mechanic is used for blinded monsters.

Some monsters have SEE_INVISIBLE flag.
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Old March 22, 2012, 01:40   #6
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Invisibility implies more than just "hard to see". Invisibility shouldn't be dependent on stealth (IMO). Scent based location seems more "real". It would be great in DAJ could nail this down. It's really a better variant (of V) than it gets credit for.
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Old March 22, 2012, 04:54   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Derakon View Post
Not having played DaJ, what are the impacts on gameplay of having illusory monsters? How do we handle monster memory for the spells -- when does the player learn that the summons were illusory? What if we have a monster that can summon both illusory and real versions of the same monster type? If the player learns they're illusions on seeing the spell cast for the first time, then on subsequent castings they "ought" to be able to tell if the summons are illusions or not, but cannot because the monster memory has already been filled in.

Don't mind me, I'm just being difficult.
I think illusion summons should be obvious to the player, but not necessarily to @. However, I like the idea that even with illusion summons there's a small chance that the monster is real. This keeps the player honest. This way summoned illusions can always be considered as real monsters, even though there's something like a 95% chance that they're not.

@will_asher: when did you add illusions? I don't remember them the last time I played DJA.
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Old March 22, 2012, 05:08   #8
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This way summoned illusions can always be considered as real monsters, even though there's something like a 95% chance that they're not.
So the message would be "The Sorceress summons illusory dragons!" and the monster memory would say "she can cast spells that summon illusory dragons" but the spell would sometimes pull in a real one?

I dunno, I think that crosses the line into outright lying to the player.
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Old March 22, 2012, 07:00   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fizzix View Post
I think illusion summons should be obvious to the player, but not necessarily to @. However, I like the idea that even with illusion summons there's a small chance that the monster is real. This keeps the player honest. This way summoned illusions can always be considered as real monsters, even though there's something like a 95% chance that they're not.

@will_asher: when did you add illusions? I don't remember them the last time I played DJA.
I think 1.3.0 was the first version that had illusion monsters appear when hallucenating.

I think with a summon illusion spell, it should not initially be obvious to either the player or the PC. When the spell is cast, it should be the usual message for S_MONSTER or S_MONSTERS. When the PC dispels one of the illusory monsters, then he learns that the monster has the summon illusion spell for monster memory.
If the monster has both S_MONSTERS and S_ILLUSIONS, neither the PC nor the player should be able to tell which one is being cast (even if he has full monster memory) until the first illusion is dipelled (or recognised as an illusion some other way).
The problem with this is I wouldn't know what to do with monster memory between the casting of the spell and the dispelling of the first illusion.

I don't think a summon illusion spell should ever summon real monsters, but maybe there'd be a chance of a semi-real illusory monster, which would allow the illusion to do some damage (though probably still just a fraction of the real monster's damage) and have slightly more effective spells than other illusions.
(D&D has shadow illusion spells which can do damage and have effects as if the illusion was semi-real.)
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Last edited by will_asher; March 22, 2012 at 07:05.
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Old March 22, 2012, 09:19   #10
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Invisibility implies more than just "hard to see". Invisibility shouldn't be dependent on stealth (IMO). Scent based location seems more "real". It would be great in DAJ could nail this down. It's really a better variant (of V) than it gets credit for.
I think it should be both scent and noise.

In Fay the flavour of Invisibility is "impossible to see". But since Stealth governs moving silently, IMO it's natural that it helps.

Fay doesn't have sophisticated noise mechanisms. I think Sangband does, for example.

I'm very interested in DaJ. I just skimmed through the dungeon generation for ideas. I'll probably borrow "interesting rooms" at some point.
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