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Old February 8, 2014, 20:43   #1
DanielKennethRego
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Question Help me find a variant, please (details inside)

Hello everyone,

I started playing roguelikes about 7 years ago, and Angband was my first. I won Angband once (it's been so long that I forgot what race/class), and then I moved on to ToME 2, which I also won once. College then happened and I fell out of the roguelike habit until about a year ago, when I started playing ToME 4 (DRASTICALLY different game now), and Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup.

I have my frustrations with both games, moreso ToME 4, with its drastically different gameplay involving cooldown-based combat, generally uninteresting monster behaviour, and the gameplay that ultimately degenerates (for me, at least) into hotkey spamming (since everything is unlimited in the long-run, no consumables, just cooldowns).

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup has a lot more depth in my opinion, but it lacks a lot of flavour/atmosphere/vibe that made Angband and ToME so much fun and so immersive for me. Despite my love for a lot of Crawl's concepts, such as the skill-based character building and the complete openness of character development in the long run (anyone can pick up any skill eventually, pretty much), the gods system and the variation in dungeons through branches, I find myself soon treating it more as an intellectual affair of perfecting a build and item set, and don't find myself very immersed in the atmosphere and setting of the game.

I'm trying to give the *band-style roguelikes another shot now, and I was looking to find the perfect variant (or even an entirely different kind of roguelike, for that matter) for me to sink my teeth into.

Here are the things I'm primarily looking for:

1. Interesting, intelligent AI (like Sil, for example - except I find the lack of magic a major detractor for me). I read about 4GAI and it sounds like what I am looking for, so I'd ideally want to be playing a game that uses that).
2. Interesting terrain and maps (I get bored quickly of vanilla's same layout and terrain, level after level). I'd love a game where terrain plays a real tactical role in gameplay.
3. Less repetitive and more tactical combat (eg. some kind of abilities system like what Sil has, that makes you stay more involved and actively thinking tactically in combat).
4. An active player/developer/discussion community, just because I like playing a game that has active interest in it, from the players as well as the developers.

I've tried Sil, and really want to like it, ESPECIALLY for how tactical all the enemies are, how tactical you need to be in combat, and the amazing abilities system, but I find the absence of magic too much to miss out on.

I'd really appreciate some leads here! It doesn't NEED to be a *band-style game, could be an entirely different roguelike too, as long as it has a proper emphasis on atmosphere, setting and flavour (this is where I find Crawl a bit weak).
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Old February 8, 2014, 20:57   #2
Philip
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What you're looking for seems like FAangband. Have you looked into it? It's Nick's variant based off of Oangband, but it adds some interesting flavor, monsters, maps/terrain and things ported from V. Oangband itself is very old vanilla with intelligent monsters, limited monster mana (to prevent chainhealing monsters), a drastically different combat system and a couple extra classes. FAangband has criterion 1, criterion 2, criterion 4, and while it doesn't have abilities, there is magic, and four schools of it, so there is tactical thinking. Specialties help to make characters not monotonous. It also has a good emphasis on setting, being strictly First Age.

Nick is in fact so good at his job as maintainer for a variant he was ordained successor for Takkaria as maintainer of V.
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Old February 8, 2014, 20:57   #3
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I think NPP is the only one with 4GAI, and I don't even know if it still works or whatever there. I still like it.

I might also try FAangband -- still sticks reasonably close to the lore, has a few abilities / feats for each class, wilderness + multiple dungeons, and more. It's pretty tough, too.

Poschengband is really weird but definitely has a lot of variety in terms of abilities and such, as long as you're ok with things like fighting Bowser and Barney the Dinosaur. Also it's super, super long.

Vanilla itself has changed quite a bit recently -- it might be worth a play for you.

I still like Sil the best, but that's me
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Old February 8, 2014, 20:58   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanielKennethRego View Post
It doesn't NEED to be a *band-style game, could be an entirely different roguelike too, as long as it has a proper emphasis on atmosphere, setting and flavour (this is where I find Crawl a bit weak).
I really enjoy crawl, but this (combined with the length) are what keep me from playing it religiously too.
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Old February 8, 2014, 21:01   #5
HugoTheGreat2011
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If you are looking for variety, try PosChengband. It's a variant based on Hengband with many different races, classes, AND Monster races to try. It has many places and approaches to explore while embarking on the journey into Angband to take down the Serpent of Chaos.

This variant has an intelligent Al, sometimes a *very* vicious one. Monsters can blast you with 'splash' Ball spells. If you are character with pass-wall ability, monsters will use spells to 'uncover' you or summon an army for you on the way out. Some monsters are so vigilant that you could be detected from 4 dungeon screens away. Moreover, there are decent challenges throughout the game, even at the ealry mid-game....Camelot Knights!

Even with uber-strong characters, there is always a chance of getting instakilled. I learned the hard way. There are *very* nasty Armageddon traps that summon parades of Demons and Angels simultaneously, with the player getting caught at the same time. There are many deep-level monsters with player insta-killing potential...for example, the Lord of Change.

Last edited by HugoTheGreat2011; February 8, 2014 at 21:07.
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Old February 8, 2014, 21:12   #6
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FAangband does seem quite a good fit (and it does have 4GAI, debo).

A couple of others you might like:
Sangband: skills rather than classes, very open-ended
Steamband: I'm not sure how well it meets your criteria, but it's very thematic and immersive.
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Old February 9, 2014, 04:49   #7
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I used to enjoy FayAngband quite a bit. It's no longer maintained but does have a few interesting features that I don't recall off the top of my head. I do seem to recall it being pretty brutal, ditto Steamband.

Have you played Brogue? It hits all your criteria, with vigor.
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Old February 9, 2014, 08:05   #8
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Isn't FayAngband Halls of Mist now? It has interesting light and terrain management.
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Old February 9, 2014, 08:26   #9
DanielKennethRego
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Thanks everyone, FAAngband and NPPAngband look very interesting. I'm checking out some of the others, too.

About Brogue and Sil, I did enjoy them a lot, but I found something lacking in both.

Brogue has a very real, tangible stealth mechanic, and the dungeon generation is amazing, including terrains that have serious impact on tactics. That said, I found melee combat to be a bit boring again, and I never managed to get that far to find a staff to enchant for magic.
Also, I felt strangely limited by the fact that say, magic is not something that can be learned in the traditional way but depends on items. But maybe I just need to give it more time.

Sil is a lot of fun because of the extremely tactical nature of combat, what with all the abilities like charge, zone of control, etc. It can almost feel chess-like, which I think is a great achievement in a roguelike. Really makes you think positionally.
But I really, really miss magic. I almost wish someone made a fork of Sil that introduced magic (responsibly, so as to not take away from the tactical and positional emphasis of the game - make range and terrain hazards significant in magic use, for example). It could really be the best roguelike I can imagine, then.
Also, I started to find the range of monsters a bit limited, I got tired of tactically engaging orc warrior after orc warrior, and archer after archer. It started to get a bit repetitive, but this may just be me here. It's not a major deal, in any case, and I could just dive deeper to find more interesting monsters.

Back to FAAngband and NPPAngband and other variants (preferably among the ones with the improved AI), which of the two would you guys suggest I dive into? I like variety, in dungeon design and terrain (less of the endless series of rectangular rooms connected by corridors, more interesting terrain, preferably terrain that actually makes a tactical difference to play), variety in monsters, variety in items, and I'd also be biased towards the one striving for more balance - I don't like the idea of one-shot deaths and monsters that need a lot of spoiling before you ever encounter them,
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Old February 9, 2014, 10:05   #10
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I really like FAangband for many reasons. It has a bit more variety in character races and classes than vanilla. Also, the specialities you can choose and achieve add more to this variety.
Divergent from Angband you get four magic schools.

FAangband has different starting towns, depending on the race of your character. An assortment of distinct wilderness levels connects the towns and dungeons. Playing in wilderness is quite different from vanilla dungeon play stile - the wide open plains are more dangerous to unexperienced starting characters.
Various terrains have impacts on game play, both monsters and player chars may be hindered by certain terrain types or could use them to hide or progress faster than their opponent.

You can use up to four recall points to make travelling a bit more easy.

All terrain types can occur in some dungeon places or can be created by chaos breaths.

FAangand offers a plethora of magical jewelry with more abilities, benefits, penalties, or curses. Because the game uses a percentage resistance system you might want to keep them all, but the inventory is as limited as in vanilla. Except, you can store throwing weapons in your quiver, including artifact daggers or spears.

Some of the monsters and uniques have different abilities than their counterparts in vanilla, so better be carefull. ^^

Every now and then you may encounter special themed levels, which are fun and dangerous.

In the newest version of the game Nick has streamlined the design a bit, shortening the travel time by thinning out the connecting wilderness regions.
I wager this makes the game more fun, at least I'm making better progress with my current char than with any other before.
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