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Old January 3, 2019, 23:04   #1
Scatha
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Sil-Q Review

Neither half nor I have had much time for Sil in a while. We were interested to read about the changes being wrought in Sil-Q. More recently, I spent several hours exploring 1.4.1. I had a few characters, including one (Christmas-present-aided) winner. For Tolkien's birthday, I thought I'd write up my thoughts. This is a review based in part on my experience playing it, and in part based just on the written descriptions in the manual, viewed with the lens of the design aesthetic we tried to build into Sil. This is solely my review. Since half and I share similar taste, I expect he would agree with quite a bit of my thoughts, but also that there will be places where we’d disagree. (Perhaps he will come by the thread.)

Overall: I am really quite impressed by Sil-Q. Quirk has taken a game where we put a lot of attention into crafting each detail, and extended it in substantial ways, largely congruent with the original vision. There are a good number of changes that I straight-up like; there are a good number that I dislike; and there are a good number that I on the fence about. In this review I’ll get into specifics of things I like and don’t like, and why. In some cases I’ll throw out ideas for how else things could be. It is, of course, Quirk’s prerogative to completely ignore these views!

---

Major design aesthetics of Sil, and how I think Sil-Q does on them:

Tokienian flavour:
Excellent, feel happy with the taste displayed here. Sure in some cases I have a slightly different take, but overall seems very good

Elegance of mechanics
Medium-good. I think many of the changes are roughly fitting with this (certainly more than a lot of game design), but there are a number of rough edges

Making optimal play interesting
Good. Some definite improvements. A few loopholes and places where it feels like it gets carried away slightly on the wrong version of things.

---

Monsters:
Removing Deathblades maybe the right choice. They had become the most egregious of the remaining monsters in terms of fit for the world (even if Tolkien does do talking swords). They did play an interesting role as an opponent that light-weapon characters would have difficulty with but actively want to fight. I wonder if something else should be filling a similar role in the monster ecosystem.

I support making Morgoth tougher to kill, and tougher as you fight him. We’d thought it would be good long term to have some feature like this, along with a record of how badly you wounded him (Fingolfin managed seven wounds!). I haven’t actually tried fighting Morgoth, so don’t have a view on how this is in practice.

Both Phantoms and Brood spiders are interesting early game monsters. I think in each case you’ve put them slightly too early, though. Brood spiders feel like they should go 50’ or 100’ deeper (and get correspondingly tougher presumably) so that it’s more likely one has met Spider hatchlings before first encountering one. This is both for thematic reasons and mechanical ones: trying to introduce monster mechanics slowly. Similarly we tried to make the first few levels of the dungeon feel more mundane, with stronger magics and weirder foes as one goes deeper. I think Phantoms at 50’ undercut this a lot: they are much earlier than the first other undead (350’), and much much earlier than the first other invisible monster (600’). They also somewhat undercut the feeling of all the Ws being dangerous/draining. I do think they’re interesting, though. My instinct while writing this is to do something like make them a ‘w’ rather than ‘W’ and push them to 250’.

No strong feelings on the other monster changes – I have minor good feelings and minor bad feelings about most of them. I rather like the paired orc uniques, although I seem to encounter them a bit too often (also be aware that paired uniques are quite a chunk of experience for the player; possibly they could do with a slight buff).

Mechanic changes:
  • Blunt weapon damage is not fully absorbed by armour
I don’t love the implementation of this one. I do think it’s an interesting way to differentiate blunt weapons, but I think there’s some flavour + incentive fail, of e.g. carrying around a quarterstaff so that you can easily deal with grotesques. Also I haven’t tested whether there’s an exception, but on the natural implementation blunt weapons would make cutting out silmarils trivial.

Spitballing: maybe the natural thing is for blunt damage to ignore a fraction of armour? That’s what sharpness currently does, but you could argue that sharp enough weapons should ignore light armour altogether. So an alternate mechanic would have bluntness do something like current sharpness, and sharpness reduce protection by a fixed amount (5? 7? 10? Variable amount with the song if that still exists? 100 for Angrist?).
  • Defence is now halved against attacks of opportunity made against point blank archery
I remember years ago discussing with half whether this (or something quite like it?) should be the case. I don’t even remember the conclusion of our discussion! It seems reasonable to me in any case.
  • Stealth is boosted a little at early levels and lowers as you descend
I’m basically happy to defer on whether this improves balance, but the implementation feels a little bit clunky: why not tweak monster Perception scores instead?
  • Monsters scared from the level yield a (little) experience
This one I again remember a conversation about whether we should do this. We decided against, because the player has already been given experience for the encounter, and it’s not obvious that scaring them off should yield more than sneaking past them. I don’t feel strongly about that conclusion.

I do feel strongly that the implementation is a bad one. The manual says “This is calculated as the current experience that would be gained for seeing a new monster of that type divided by the number of monsters of that type that have been scared upstairs or downstairs.”. This incentivises weird behaviour: there is more total experience available if you scare some monsters away rather than just kill them, and there is more available if the ones you scare are among the first few you encounter.

If you want experience for scaring monsters off the level, the simplest thing would be to count them as defeated, and award the experience for killing them (for non-uniques). A little less simple but still non-distortionary would be to count them as “half a kill” (in either case this should update the experience available for future kills as well as future scares).

[Part of the reason I care so much about this is that Sil is quite delicately balanced in terms of the pools of experience points available, and a modest change in the amount of experience available can have a surprisingly large affect on difficulty.]
  • Gorged status gone - you can overeat without losing the ability to eat more
This is a tradeoff of realism-seeming against avoiding really annoying seeming downsides for the player. I don’t have a strong view either way. [I do have some feeling that things like this contribute to the erosion of the hunger clock as a significant mechanic in Sil. Maybe it should eventually be removed, I’m not sure. I certainly used to lose characters to starvation and don’t anymore.]
  • All stairs are shafts during the escape
I believe that this could create better gameplay, but the implementation has(for me) a weird breaking-of-immersion. Could the change happen more off-screen, so that they appear as just stairs on the level, but taking any stairs with a Silmaril makes you go an extra 50’?

Relatedly, I don’t think removing crumbling stairs on the ascent straight works: stair-scumming to try and get two in the same room is pretty powerful. One could not increase the relevant variable for taking up staircases on the ascent (and perhaps not for taking down staircases in the main game).

A more extreme alternative would be to have “the stairs crumble behind you” on the ascent, so you’re always dropped into a level without an immediate escape. (I think this might be pretty interesting to play with, actually.)
  • Traps easier to detect and disarm
This might be alright, but I notice I’m worried about it. I think traps throwing players into unexpected and difficult circumstances provide some of the most exciting moments in the game. If it’s too easy to opt out of the dealing-with-traps game, people will do that, and then the game will be less interesting.
  • Passive identification is faster
Sounds fine.
  • Sunlight
I think I do like the addition of sunlight. Half and I discussed whether there should be sunlight at some point and thought maybe it was a bit weird, but it feels better in-game than I would have expected. Don’t feel very strongly either way.
  • you now start with a curved sword equipped
This one is a convenience for experienced players, but removes something about the feeling of desperation at the start, and also doesn’t include the subtle nudge to make sure new players know how to equip things. I feel mixed about it overall.

Objects:
  • Filthy rags and broken swords removed.
Feel a bit negative about this change. It seems like it’s coming from an aesthetic of only presenting the player with interesting choices. However, the choice not to use these items is actually a trivial one for players – not just in terms of there being not an interesting choice, but there being no hassle cost associated with not using them. So I think the cost of having them in is relatively negligible. And there are a few benefits: giving some easy things to work out for new players; adding flavour to the world; occasional interesting decisions with the artefacts.

(If we added features to Sil, broken swords would also appear in a couple: some ability to reforge broken swords might be interesting, and perhaps some nightmare mode where one starts with a broken instead of a curved sword.)
  • Quarterstaff, spear, great spear, glaive and war hammer base stats tweaked
The base stats for the blunt weapons definitely depends on where the rules for blunt weapons end up.

I believe that polearms may have been slightly underpowered before, but I think not by much, and the stat changes here are one of several different buffs they’ve received. I think this may be a bit much overall. I’ll discuss in the abilities section.
  • Daggers, sceptres, robes and crowns have new flag that increases the chance of having special abilities.
I feel mostly fine about this (similar to these items (except daggers?) having the modifier making it easier to smith powerful artefacts).
  • Robes default to +1 Evasion.
Feel odd about this in conjunction with the previous. At [+1], Robes are at basically the natural point in the armour spectrum – better for extreme evasion characters than leather. They’re shrinking the natural market for leather armour down, but it still exists (characters whose exchange rate puts [+1] at between 2 and 2.5 sides of protection dice, where those below 2 will naturally prefer heavier armour, and those above 2.5 will naturally prefer robes). If Robes are also very often special, I think it’s squeezing on the natural market of leather armour even further. Then there’s a judgement call to be made on whether it feels flavourful to have a significant proportion of characters descending into the depths of Angband doing so in robes. Maybe that’s OK actually?
  • [new items]
I generally like these.

An exception is around new bows. Sil tried quite carefully to make bows ignorable for characters who didn’t want to dabble in archery (with a single mild exception in Belthronding). But several of the new special types have bonuses that matter outside of archery, which means that they start to matter. I find this is somewhat immersion-breaking.

(This is a matter of taste, and Sil already violates it a bit, for example having melee weapons sometimes affect archers. Still, wanting to share where my taste is.)
  • Horns now affect a cone instead of a straight line
Nice! I’ve thought that something like this could be good. (Spitballing: maybe there could be an artefact horn of dragonfire, which lets you create flame like a dragon?)
  • Cursed negative stat jewellery removed
A bit like traps, I feel like this leads to some interesting experiences and stories. Don’t fully feel the pull for removal (even if it’s obviously frustrating in the moment to put on).

Smithing:
I initially felt confused and like things were mispriced. After exploring more and trying to break things I felt less sure. e.g. slays and damage sides on weapons seem very cheap and good value, but perhaps that’s OK because it makes Weaponsmith more attractive?

I do still think that damage sides on weapons are underpriced relative to accuracy on weapons. (Based on old combat-simulation spreadsheets.)
I find the rules governing the costs confusing. One of the aesthetics we aimed for in Sil was trying to have good behaviour come out of fairly simple rules. I think this is particularly good if achievable for smithing, since the player needs to be able to plan. On the other hand perhaps it was already relatively opaque, and it just seemed more transparent to me because I’d been involved in the design.

Things that were particularly surprising to me:
  • Why is it so expensive to move a shortsword weight down to 1lb?
  • Why is it so cheap to increase protection on a hauberk (e.g. relative to a corslet), and one can do it twice?
I’m not quite certain that either of those are mistakes! But I’d prefer to have an elegant system that naturally generates outcomes like this, and can be explained to the player, if one exists. (Maybe with a few exceptions that get special flags)

[This has got pretty long already; I'll put discussion of abilities into a follow-up message in the next couple of days.]
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Old January 4, 2019, 05:03   #2
Nivim
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
[...]Variable amount with the song if that still exists?[...]
Just a quick note, as I'm a little short on time now; Song of Sharpness definitely no longer exists, just as Song of Slaying was removed, because they were too effective at helping kill Morgoth. Quirk did a lot of work trying to add songs in their place that people would use (as well as in place of Este, because it already wasn't used much), and that work probably isn't done yet.
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Old January 4, 2019, 19:30   #3
Quirk
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I'm honoured. I am very glad you gave Sil-Q a shot, and even more glad you enjoyed it. I want to take the opportunity to thank you for the original Sil, with its many ingenious systems; this fork was for me a labour of love.

There is much you've written to respond to. I appreciate this, as often it feels like I'm scraping round desperately for any sort of feedback. Some I'll probably agree with fully or to some extent, some I'll disagree with, but probably the most interesting cases are the places where I used to think as you did and changed my mind.

I'm going to split this over a couple of posts because it will get large.

Firstly though, there are a few things I need to bring up as context for the rest.

Sil has a number of simple elegant mechanics. Unfortunately, simple elegant mechanics can scale awkwardly or unevenly. Basically what I'm saying here is that good behaviour coming out of simple rules tends to come with points where it breaks down, and I'm going to refer to this in particular with reference to abilities and items (skill points self-balance a good deal more because of the scaling costs).

I spent a chunk of time with a combat simulator which allowed me to investigate the results of hypotheticals such as going up against an orc with only a spear vs having a longsword. (Initial work was here: http://angband.oook.cz/forum/showthread.php?t=8857). Some changes which may "feel" too strong are very much data-driven e.g. I didn't change Finesse to improve crits by 2 points instead of 1 because of my personal experience, but because simulations showed it was worse than Power even for a longsword over a range of reasonably typical face-offs.

I also had the great advantage of getting to watch players on angband.live and finding out more about how they actually played the game in real time. This was very educational, and there are too many people I have to thank for giving me fresh perspectives on things.

There are undoubtedly things I've changed based on too limited feedback. Often it's all I've had. Early on in particular when I had less skill of my own with Sil I accepted some suggestions I consider in retrospect questionable, but I have kept evolving the game and hopefully corrected most if not all of the early missteps.

On to responding properly!
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Old January 4, 2019, 21:48   #4
Quirk
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
Removing Deathblades maybe the right choice. They had become the most egregious of the remaining monsters in terms of fit for the world (even if Tolkien does do talking swords). They did play an interesting role as an opponent that light-weapon characters would have difficulty with but actively want to fight. I wonder if something else should be filling a similar role in the monster ecosystem.
I agree deathblades filled an interesting role. I have though been looking for foes more rooted in Tolkien; partly because even Tevildo and the cats make players less steeped in lore raise eyebrows, and am not finding it altogether easy. I've generally tried to steer clear of large re-engineerings of how the existing set of enemies work as I want the game still to feel like Sil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
Both Phantoms and Brood spiders are interesting early game monsters. I think in each case you’ve put them slightly too early, though.
I'm going to put this together with:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
  • Filthy rags and broken swords removed.
Feel a bit negative about this change. It seems like it’s coming from an aesthetic of only presenting the player with interesting choices. However, the choice not to use these items is actually a trivial one for players – not just in terms of there being not an interesting choice, but there being no hassle cost associated with not using them. So I think the cost of having them in is relatively negligible.
So - early game, Sil is very plain. There are a handful of enemies you might see at 50': wolves, orcs, tanglethorn, grimhawk - maybe spider hatchlings, orc scouts, blue serpents. Despite this, it's got a brutal reputation among players who haven't spent long with it. New players often die quickly, and then come back to the same spare first couple of levels, and die again without experiencing much of the game, only seeing enemies that are relatively dull in Sil terms. This is not helped by the list of sexy abilities which are both tempting to newbies and mostly worse in the very early game than sinking points into skills. Worse, though, I observe very experienced players wiping out at 100' or 150' much more frequently than one might expect.

Part of this is that it's very lumpy. Getting protection early on is particularly important for the survival of players unused to the stealth mechanics, but you can very easily get screwed on drops and not see any. The "hassle cost" in not using the items is that they make a drop a non-drop at a point in the game where orc soldiers are about to spike the difficulty. Once you have some quantity of armour, the next couple of hundred feet are decidedly less challenging. Getting that armour when many of the drops are useless is not a given. And, of course, there are still useless drops even after dropping the actual useless drops - seeing nothing but shortswords still leaves you horribly ill-equipped.

Harsh and highly random difficulty at a point where the player has barely seen the game and feels they've hardly made any real choices is IMO questionable, and I think not deliberate. I read Sil complaints such as:
Quote:
Originally Posted by A player on /r/roguelikes
I was a little disappointed by the way the enemies I encountered felt pretty samey, and that almost all of my deaths came from just being a little too surrounded by boring mobs. The dungeon itself is almost featureless, in contrast to the OP's two picks.
...
I felt like there was a rich complex game under the surface of this first-contact experience and sameyness of the first few floors every run
and I cringe, because I can see exactly how they got there.

There are two tacks I've taken here: one is to ease early difficulty, and one is to give the player more to see. Improving item drops counts for both, and brood spiders and phantoms are not hard to fight, but necessitate very different tactics to fighting orcs or wolves. I agree phantoms could go a little deeper, perhaps with some buffing, but in that case I would like to find something equally interesting to confront the player with at 50'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
I rather like the paired orc uniques, although I seem to encounter them a bit too often (also be aware that paired uniques are quite a chunk of experience for the player; possibly they could do with a slight buff).
They began buffed, and got gradually debuffed after player complaints. Some of the players complaining certainly knew how to play, so I took them seriously. Of course, nobody complains when they're a little too weak so maybe they've gone too far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
  • Blunt weapon damage is not fully absorbed by armour
I don’t love the implementation of this one. I do think it’s an interesting way to differentiate blunt weapons, but I think there’s some flavour + incentive fail, of e.g. carrying around a quarterstaff so that you can easily deal with grotesques.
So - I actually don't love this either. The problem though was that blunt weapons were almost strictly worse than alternatives. Axes have many dice and are good if you are strong. Polearms have many dice sides and are good if you're weak (well, in theory). Swords are a happy medium, and grant evasion. Blunt weapons...? Sceptres are an odd flavour choice, and unplayably bad without a certain ego. Quarterstaffs grant evasion at the cost of not being able to have a shield, and do pitiful damage. Hammers are slightly weak but fixably so.

I could have thrown out sceptres and quarterstaffs altogether, but having hammers sit in a smithing category on their own felt wrong, and it wasn't clear what kind of identity any other blunt weapons would take - or even could take, given we have the Power weapons in the axe corner, the Finesse weapons in the polearm corner, and the swords in the middle. In the end I fell back on the well-used anti-armour trope, which is at least rooted in real medieval warfare, though it's not particularly suited to sceptres and quarterstaffs.

I would love to get to discuss this further.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
  • Stealth is boosted a little at early levels and lowers as you descend
I’m basically happy to defer on whether this improves balance, but the implementation feels a little bit clunky: why not tweak monster Perception scores instead?
Well, the effect is largely the same whether Perception is decreased or Stealth increased, but it came out of an initial misguided attempt to improve Stealth before I did my own pacifist runs and came to the conclusion there was little wrong with it. I agree that it would probably be thematically better to adjust monster perception instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
  • Monsters scared from the level yield a (little) experience
This one I again remember a conversation about whether we should do this. We decided against, because the player has already been given experience for the encounter, and it’s not obvious that scaring them off should yield more than sneaking past them. I don’t feel strongly about that conclusion.

I do feel strongly that the implementation is a bad one. The manual says “This is calculated as the current experience that would be gained for seeing a new monster of that type divided by the number of monsters of that type that have been scared upstairs or downstairs.”. This incentivises weird behaviour: there is more total experience available if you scare some monsters away rather than just kill them, and there is more available if the ones you scare are among the first few you encounter.

If you want experience for scaring monsters off the level, the simplest thing would be to count them as defeated, and award the experience for killing them (for non-uniques). A little less simple but still non-distortionary would be to count them as “half a kill” (in either case this should update the experience available for future kills as well as future scares).
I am not convinced this is good either. One or two people pushed for it, and initially it yielded experience equivalent to a kill. This was clearly too good because scaring is easier than killing. I think half a kill would possibly be too bad, as it would be a significant loss of possible XP for monsters you see early on. As it is, the reward is barely useful - yes, if you scare the first monster you meet you get half the experience you got for seeing them (this is worse than killing them), but walking into a room, seeing and scaring three new monsters of the same type gets you just 1/4 + 1/8 + 1/12 of the experience you'd get for killing one.

I don't think Majesty/Elbereth need this and I'm not sure this is enough to help the scary pacifist anyway. I would be disposed to remove it again, I think it is probably a mistake.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
  • All stairs are shafts during the escape
I believe that this could create better gameplay, but the implementation has(for me) a weird breaking-of-immersion. Could the change happen more off-screen, so that they appear as just stairs on the level, but taking any stairs with a Silmaril makes you go an extra 50’?

Relatedly, I don’t think removing crumbling stairs on the ascent straight works: stair-scumming to try and get two in the same room is pretty powerful. One could not increase the relevant variable for taking up staircases on the ascent (and perhaps not for taking down staircases in the main game).

A more extreme alternative would be to have “the stairs crumble behind you” on the ascent, so you’re always dropped into a level without an immediate escape. (I think this might be pretty interesting to play with, actually.)
These are all useful thoughts. The stairs crumbling when you were escaping in the most natural manner possible seemed a petty and frustrating annoyance, so I removed it, but I actually very much like your idea of the stairs crumbling behind the player.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
  • Traps easier to detect and disarm
This might be alright, but I notice I’m worried about it. I think traps throwing players into unexpected and difficult circumstances provide some of the most exciting moments in the game. If it’s too easy to opt out of the dealing-with-traps game, people will do that, and then the game will be less interesting.
I think traps lead to a lot of frustrating deaths that feel unfair, as well as randomly eroding armour and whisking people off the level where they've finally found a forge. These are mostly bad play experiences. When I hear players talk about traps, pretty much everything I've heard has been strongly negative.

I would like in the long run to make traps feel more fair. This means letting players determine from the environment that there might be traps about, so they can slow down and play accordingly. I have done this to a small degree lately with spider-infested rooms which have webs; ages ago I considered generating whole levels which felt like caves or felt like underground city, where one might consider the cave with skeletons likely to be spider-infested, or the treasury likely to be booby-trapped. Without doing this though they're a random frustration of the players' plans, placed without logic to ruin your armour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
  • you now start with a curved sword equipped
This one is a convenience for experienced players, but removes something about the feeling of desperation at the start, and also doesn’t include the subtle nudge to make sure new players know how to equip things. I feel mixed about it overall.
This also I fought for a long time. Eventually I started looking at starting equipment, trying to find something that better differentiated the starting races and made it look like you were there on purpose: why are you in Angband unequipped, and why has someone left a sword lying next to you? I couldn't quite settle on starting equipment I liked and put it off for another day, but made a concession to the mpa-sil crowd. I am also mixed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
I believe that polearms may have been slightly underpowered before, but I think not by much, and the stat changes here are one of several different buffs they’ve received. I think this may be a bit much overall. I’ll discuss in the abilities section.
Having simulated: I strongly disagree.

Two-handed weapons are in general not great for much of the game. The lack of protection means you take damage a shield would spare you. They do gain something because you can half-kill an unaware enemy, or finish one enemy before another arrives, but the ratio of damage dealt to damage received is in simulation mostly bad. Even being very strong doesn't make a two-handed weapon look great in an extended brawl in a corridor - but here I'm talking about axes and greatswords. Great spears and even glaives are frankly terrible in Sil in comparison - and then, to add insult to injury, elves get a bonus to sword proficiency, making them even worse.

Then we get to the one polearm that you can wear a shield with, the spear. The Sil spear does (-1, 1d9). A longsword is (0, 2d5)[+1]. A spear is 3 lb, so you need to crit by 10 to get a second d9.

With 0 strength (most players have at least 1), the spear is doing an average of 5 damage with 1 die, 10 with 2 dice. The longsword does 6 damage with one die, 9 with 2. In practice it would outdamage the spear in most realistic confrontations - at 0 strength - even without having both a melee and evasion bonus. Then of course we have elf sword proficiency on top of that, so the most-played races have even less incentive to use them.

Spears have had a lot of buffs. They have needed them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
If Robes are also very often special, I think it’s squeezing on the natural market of leather armour even further. Then there’s a judgement call to be made on whether it feels flavourful to have a significant proportion of characters descending into the depths of Angband doing so in robes. Maybe that’s OK actually?
I don't see many players using robes - the first little bit of protection makes a huge difference. Early game they're certainly very much worse than leather armour.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
An exception is around new bows. Sil tried quite carefully to make bows ignorable for characters who didn’t want to dabble in archery (with a single mild exception in Belthronding). But several of the new special types have bonuses that matter outside of archery, which means that they start to matter. I find this is somewhat immersion-breaking.
So this is a case of hard choices. Someone made the point that having a bow care about what it's pointing at is silly. Why would a bow slay dragons but not orcs? An arrow might be enchanted to special deadliness, but the bow is just the launcher.

It turns out that once you've removed slaying from bows, it's hard to make good bow egos. Putting archery abilities on them only negates the point of archers taking them (and if archers don't want ego bows, who does?).

Having also disliked the idea of having bows affect non-archers, I found I didn't really have much of a choice if I wanted bows to have egos and didn't want to write a ton of new code to do special bow-specific things. The latter may yet happen, as my muted feelings as to how much bonus is fair on a bow has made them possibly a little dull, but it wasn't a question for this release.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
  • Horns now affect a cone instead of a straight line
Nice! I’ve thought that something like this could be good. (Spitballing: maybe there could be an artefact horn of dragonfire, which lets you create flame like a dragon?)
I like the idea, but I can think of at least one Tolkien fan whose hackles I suspect would rise at it. An artefact horn would be cool though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
Smithing:
I do still think that damage sides on weapons are underpriced relative to accuracy on weapons. (Based on old combat-simulation spreadsheets.)
I find the rules governing the costs confusing. One of the aesthetics we aimed for in Sil was trying to have good behaviour come out of fairly simple rules. I think this is particularly good if achievable for smithing, since the player needs to be able to plan. On the other hand perhaps it was already relatively opaque, and it just seemed more transparent to me because I’d been involved in the design.
Ironically, it's trying to keep things simple which I think is the root of the issue there.

Melee and evasion are still priced the same way over all items. Evasion is easy to get to be completely broken late-game. High Melee is much less broken. Costs which are necessary to prevent stupid late-game Evasion look oddly high for Melee.

I think +Melee on weapons could be a good deal cheaper and not be broken. Weaponsmith in particular is a good deal more limited than armoursmith, so it needs to make its weapons count. I am less sure about Melee costs on armoursmith, which gets to double up its advantages with both heavy armour and gauntlets. Possibly the calculations need split.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
Things that were particularly surprising to me:
  • Why is it so expensive to move a shortsword weight down to 1lb?
  • Why is it so cheap to increase protection on a hauberk (e.g. relative to a corslet), and one can do it twice?
1d8 shortswords at 1 lb are broken good with Subtlety. Devastatingly so. Weakening Subtlety would make them less desirable, but leave pretty much any other choice underwhelming. Were they cheap to make, they would displace every other possible weapon a Subtlety build might take.

Hauberks are worse than corslets. I spent a bunch of time simulating and playing with the stats. At 2d6 they're slightly better, though still heavier, and are worse than corslets again once corslets hit 2d5. They drop deeper than corslets, so by the default smithing mechanics, a hauberk is more expensive, and a fine hauberk more expensive than a fine corslet.

I don't know if anyone is smithing hauberks, but I wanted to make players have some reason to choose to do so.

Protection incidentally is cheaper than before and Evasion more expensive: this is largely because in the early game, protection is very good, often better than an extra point of Evasion, but in the late game Evasion is king. Smithing is now priced more round the late game than the early game. A 2d7 hauberk will carry you easily through the levels where enemies do 2d7 or 3d6 damage, but late on where enemies hit for 2d19 or 3d13 and criticals are extremely damaging the lost Melee and Evasion are less amply compensated.

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Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
I’m not quite certain that either of those are mistakes! But I’d prefer to have an elegant system that naturally generates outcomes like this, and can be explained to the player, if one exists. (Maybe with a few exceptions that get special flags)
This proves to be a little difficult. Symmetry is always tempting, but often the things we are looking at are not actually symmetrical. Evasion is not the same as Melee, and Perception is less useful point for point than Stealth. More than this, the equations change over the course of the game as the gap between the player's Melee and Evasion and the enemies' Melee and Evasion widens, and to cap it all, these things do not widen linearly: as soon as you roll two dice against one another, you find yourself in binomial land, and while +1 Evasion may reduce your odds of being hit by 10% when you're both equal, when you're already 17 Evasion ahead that same +1 Evasion can halve your odds of being hit.

In the end, I'd rather have an asymmetrical system in which players looking for an advantage disagree which route is best than an elegant symmetrical system in which experienced players always take the obviously best choice.
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Old January 5, 2019, 14:38   #5
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Hi Scatha, great to hear from you & hope you're doing well. Now that Quirk has had a chance to reply I'll add my 2 cents on some points.

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Both Phantoms and Brood spiders are interesting early game monsters. I think in each case you’ve put them slightly too early, though. Brood spiders feel like they should go 50’ or 100’ deeper (and get correspondingly tougher presumably) so that it’s more likely one has met Spider hatchlings before first encountering one.
This is hard for me to judge as I recognize spider hatchlings already. I'll give the good & the bad for me. Having something new in the early game is great for an old player who sees the same stuff all the time. Having something that is easy xp scumming before the 1st forge, not so great.
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No strong feelings on the other monster changes – I have minor good feelings and minor bad feelings about most of them. I rather like the paired orc uniques, although I seem to encounter them a bit too often (also be aware that paired uniques are quite a chunk of experience for the player; possibly they could do with a slight buff).
I'll just mention that the one with Cruel Blow was horrendous to fight with an Edain pre-nerf. I mean Edain's are meant to be hard & Boldog's a nightmare too, but it's worth keeping in mind. A lot of experienced players were dying here with Noldors.
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  • Monsters scared from the level yield a (little) experience
[Part of the reason I care so much about this is that Sil is quite delicately balanced in terms of the pools of experience points available, and a modest change in the amount of experience available can have a surprisingly large affect on difficulty.]
I don't 100% like the implementation either but am not convinced it's worth scumming. I'm pretty good at collecting broken levels of XP. The time to scum this is potentially losing more then you gain. My main trick for breaking the XP pool is to stack a couple of levels of danger & dive as hard & as fast as you can (obviously this is risky). Possibly you can scum vampire lords & the like, I've never bothered to try. There are easier ways to break the XP curve.
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Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
  • Gorged status gone - you can overeat without losing the ability to eat more
This is a tradeoff of realism-seeming against avoiding really annoying seeming downsides for the player. I don’t have a strong view either way. [I do have some feeling that things like this contribute to the erosion of the hunger clock as a significant mechanic in Sil. Maybe it should eventually be removed, I’m not sure. I certainly used to lose characters to starvation and don’t anymore.]
Gorged is & has always been one of the most horribly bad mechanics in every angband variant (Obviously my opinion). If you're ready to face Morgoth the last thing you want to do is go through a heap of busy work emptying your stomach. It's slowing the game down at a moment that should feel dramatic.

I too had food issues as a beginner. That still works for those learning the game (a beginner is probably better at answering whether that's good or bad). I think it still works as a slot filler & limit on how much hunger gear you can wear. Mostly I'm neutral on hunger clocks. I'm not neutral on Gorged & never heard of anyone liking them outside of 1 player who recently posted in the vanilla thread on hunger. I'm sure you can find the thread if you want an alternative opinion.
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Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
  • Traps easier to detect and disarm
This might be alright, but I notice I’m worried about it. I think traps throwing players into unexpected and difficult circumstances provide some of the most exciting moments in the game. If it’s too easy to opt out of the dealing-with-traps game, people will do that, and then the game will be less interesting.
I didn't mind the old traps but I'm in the minority. I did dislike lugging chests around till I found a freedom staff & I certainly disliked getting caught by rooms where you couldn't find the secret door, ever, no matter how many times you hit search....
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Smithing:
I initially felt confused and like things were mispriced. After exploring more and trying to break things I felt less sure. e.g. slays and damage sides on weapons seem very cheap and good value, but perhaps that’s OK because it makes Weaponsmith more attractive?
For the most part I find smithing better balanced. Which is to say it's not but it never was & has always been a hard ask to get right. Previously it wasn't worth the investment to go low smithing, only to replace 50-100' latter. Now you can usually get something that'll last you to 400' (& still ultimately be replaced).
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Originally Posted by Scatha View Post
Things that were particularly surprising to me:
  • Why is it so expensive to move a shortsword weight down to 1lb?
  • Why is it so cheap to increase protection on a hauberk (e.g. relative to a corslet), and one can do it twice?
I'll add my perspective on these 2:
Making weapons super light was usually a big deal for me in smithing something crazy good (particularly if you play str 1/dex 5 on a feanor)
Hauberk's are generally bad unless you can get 1 with high protection when all of a sudden they are crazy good (on the right character of course). Getting a good hauberk by the 1st forge used to be pretty strong. I prefer the feeling of starting with mail then upgrading to a hauberk if I'm going for super heavy.
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Old January 5, 2019, 20:29   #6
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Thanks Quirk and wobbly for the in-depth replies!

OK, second half of my review. I want to reiterate that I like a lot of things about the game, but the places I feel most like I'm seeing something important which is being missed end up being the places where I'm spending most words.

But I'm feeling sad to notice that in discussing new objects I didn't mention that, say, I think the Ring of Mairon or the Spear 'Dugrakh' are wonderfully evocative and thought-provoking, nor that the Crown of Maedhros captures that story perfectly, nor that potions of Esgalduin may have more magic in them than any flasks we left in Sil.

Abilities:
I have lots of zoomed in things to say about the ability changes. Holistically, I feel like the ability trees have lost the feeling of being an interesting intricate structure with some things screened off. I think this is a loss to making the game feels like it hangs together as a coherent whole, and a loss to some things feeling particularly special.

Getting the pre-requisites to feel right did take some time and attention, and perhaps if you’re still juggling to work out which abilities you even want in the game it’s reasonable to wait until after to try to work it out, but I would recommend returning attention to it.

Melee tree:
  • Momentum removed
I guess this was maybe a correct move. I am fond of the Momentum mechanically, but it does seem to have distorted the late-game a bit without enough corresponding interest.
  • Throwing Mastery gone; Knockback moved into Throwing Mastery's place
These seem reasonable. I don’t have strong views.
  • Finesse strengthened
Interesting move. There are two effects here: making Finesse a better buy, and making light weapons generally better. If mostly thinking of the latter I’d wonder about just reducing the base for criticals back to 6 (where it was back somewhere before the 1.0 release) and leaving Finesse as only a single point difference.

I guess I’m interested to see if it’s not too broken. I do think Finesse becomes a solid ability with this change, and I think it’s possible it will end up being too strong (e.g. I think it should normally be preferred to Power by longsword users as well as the more obvious shortsword and polearm users, though that isn't obviously problematic).

A side effect of this is a major boost to Subtlety characters. But they’ve lost rings of damage, deathblades, and some of the strength of Cruel Blow, so it’s not obviously over the top. I did experiment some with it and it seemed powerful, but in a fun way.

Another nice side-effect is that daggers become more plausible.
  • Polearm Mastery strengthened
I’m ambivalent on the argument that “mastery should grant +2”. I think there’s something to it, but the extra ability granted kind of plays this role.

Note that polearms have five different buffs in Sil-Q: base stats improved, Finesse improved, Polearm Mastery improved, Impale introduced, smithing slaying weapons cheaper (and polearms are often the best choice there). I suspect that this is a little too much. In testing I did think they were strong, but I didn’t have a winner abusing it, so I’d describe my suspicions as theory-driven and not-disconfirmed-by-data.
  • Impale added
I played a bit with this on a Flanking character. It was interesting but not ridiculous there. I think the ability is reasonably elegant. I am worried that it’s another ability that pushes towards fighting in corridors, which is often the least interesting gameplay. I’m not sure whether you’re tracking this. I guess I'm tentatively a fan.
  • Anticipate added
Interesting, I haven’t played with it but on face value this sounds very strong. (Why not just reroll once? That would at least be more elegant, and sounds plenty powerful enough.)

I don’t think the reliance on enemies being aggressive mitigates that much. It’s already sometimes an advantage as it lets you fight in corridors rather than having to emerge into rooms.

Playing off the name, I’d think something like a natural version might be: If you didn’t move last turn, re-roll missed attacks once. I suspect that’s still very strong.
  • Whirlwind Attack changed
This again removes one of the incentives for fighting in the open rather than in corridors. I don’t feel great about that direction. At the same time, I do think that Whirlwind didn’t get much use (even if it was quite strong with Flanking). So I agree with the desire for a change, but I’m not sure about this particular one.

---

Archery tree:
Interesting to see such a reimagining of the whole tree. I haven’t tested archery much, so the review here is based mostly on the manual and my own theory.
  • Careful Shot, Rapid Fire, Flaming Arrows, Precision gone
There are none of these I feel are obviously wrong to remove. I don’t think the losses are free, though.

Careful Shot and Flaming Arrows were pressure valves on number of arrows found mattering. There is now only one pressure valve for this: smithing. Maybe that’s enough? Or maybe you decide that arrows will be frequent enough that you just don’t want this ever to be a real constraint? I guess I feel OK about that. Flaming Arrows also had some canonical support (Gandalf lighting Legolas’ arrows as they fight wolves); however I do feel sympathetic to the argument for balance to remove it.

Rapid Fire was one of the few outlets for high Strength to matter for archery. If it’s being removed, I wonder if dragon-horn longbows should be a 3- or 4-dice weapon to compensate.
  • Crippling shot modified
I feel OK with the direction of the modification. Don’t have any strong view over the exact formula you ended up with; seems fine modulo testing.
I’ll note that an alternative change would have been to stop the duration of the effect scaling with the level of critical (since the difficulty already did).
  • Rout added
This is fairly simple and cute. Is the effect size large enough?
  • Blessing of Orome added
Huh. Interesting ability. I haven't played with it a lot, but I played around and it definitely does feels cool. I worry that it is a little crowded in-between 1) Bows of Radiance, and 2) Song of the Trees.

Perhaps the Ability and the effect from Bows of Radiance should be the same, and then the bows could grant the ability? I’m not sure which the best version of the effect would be. The 'radiance' effect is maybe a little weak-seeming. One could change it to make it illuminate a width-3 corridor instead of a width-1 one, but maybe the Blessing of Orome effect just plays better; I'm not sure.

Another issue with this ability is how explicitly ‘magical’ feeling it is. Generally we tried to keep such non-mundane things confined to the Grace-based skills. Flaming Arrows was a bit of an exception, but a) it was a little ambiguous, one could imagine doing it in a mundane way, and b) it was deep into the ability tree. This all makes me end up feeling mildly negative on the ability, or keen to sink it a bit further into the tree if it's kept.

The name is very fitting.
  • Fletchery added
This is simple and on the face of it sounds like an interesting question it poses to the player. I like it.
  • Dedication added
Oof. In many ways I like this as a simple reward for going heavily into archery. I do have a couple of worries:
1) Does this just add annoying busywork to the player, of equipping and unequipping a weapon all the time? (This was a large part of why there’s a separate bow slot from weapon slot)
2) Does this make ‘pure’ archers too appealing relative to those who dabble a bit in melee?
  • Deadly Hail added
This is pretty interesting, clean and potentially powerful without obviously being broken. I like it quite a bit.

---

Evasion tree:
  • Leaping now leaps all traps that aren't roosts and webs
Sounds good to me. (Assuming this means when they're known about.)

I faintly remember a discussion with half when we introduced Leaping about whether it should do this. But I can't remember any particular reasons for concluding it shouldn't; maybe just a worry that it would be too strong?

---

Stealth tree:
  • Exchange Places and Opportunist exchange places
Not obvious to me, but also not obviously wrong. These are both Stealth abilities with significant utility to non-stealthy characters. I think Exchange Places is the more powerful of the two and the one that feels more heavily stealth-linked, so I’d have been inclined to leave it where it was, but I don’t feel strongly.

---

Perception tree:
  • Eye for Detail gone
This one wasn’t essential, but it was sometimes a helpful utility ability and I thought gave some interesting choices. I don’t fully understand the reasons for removal (without feeling that it was necessarily wrong to remove).
  • Lore-Keeper, Lore-Master gone, Alchemy added
I think how you’ve spread these effects out among other abilities is pretty interesting. I might be missing something, but it seems like there now isn’t anything which gives full knowledge of enemies. Maybe Master Hunter should? [Oh, I see it’s with Forewarned]
  • Quick Study added
In some ways this is a bit boring and meta. I kind of like it though. But my liking it reminds me of how I like Momentum, giving the player a way to bypass what’s actually an interesting constraint, and it’s possible it would turn out to be a mistake in the same way.

In any case, I think it’s currently undercut by how much you’ve stripped the frequency and depth of pre-requisites out.
  • Forewarned added
I think this is a pretty interesting concept for a Perception ability. However, I really don’t like the way that this sometimes makes investing an extra point into Evasion make your character weaker. We carefully avoided that problem for Versatility, but it’s easier there since they both rely on Dex. Here it feels like Grace boosts should help you, so importing the same solution doesn’t obviously work.
Riffing off the idea: how about it adds Perception to Evasion, but only if you weren’t attacked the previous round?

---

Will tree:
  • Mind Over Body gone, Clarity becomes Indomitable, adds resistance to fear and slow digestion
I think this is a balance question. Indomitable feels to me like it may be a bit too much, but I’m not confident.
  • Strength in Adversity dropped to Mind Over Body slot, strengthened
That’s quite a lot stronger! I’d be interested to test, maybe this is fine.
  • Vengeance added
Mostly I think this is interesting. However, I worry that it incentivises a weird thing of trying to finish fights with a ‘vengeance boost’ in place (for instance by scaring away the last foe after getting hit). Perhaps the boost should disappear if not used within a modest number of turns?
  • Channeling changed
Looks reasonable on the face of it. I think one of the main uses of Channeling before was to strengthen the ability to put Morgoth to sleep with staves. Perhaps the boost to Staves of Slumber will be enough to not make this a problem for that kind of build?

---

Smithing tree:
  • Artistry gone, effects available by default
Having played with this I think it’s OK, with some residual suspicion that it makes early smithing too powerful.
  • Expertise added
This is cute, I like it. Should it come before Artifice in the tree?
  • Jeweller lets you identify jewellery, Enchantment enchanted items
Makes these strong, but not obviously a problem. I like the way that it makes dabbling in Smithing a bit more tempting.

---

Song tree:
  • Song of Slaying gone
I understand there have been issues with this ability. I think it’s quite powerfully thematic, though, and I feel bad about cutting it altogether (which is not the same as a claim that it should definitely be kept).

For what it’s worth, here are some old notes of mine on things we could do to improve the ability:
Quote:
We wanted to smooth the power of the song, so it's stronger when you are killing few things and weaker when you are killing many -- in particular in the throne room.

There's currently a constant K which is used internally to track kills etc, which gets converted to another constant k (I think a small multiple of K), and gives you a bonus of k*S (where S is your song).

I propose leaving the algorithm for K as it is, but replacing k with k', where k' = sqrt(k/2).

(If all the arithmetic is with integers, we probably want to take a square root at the level of K rather than k)

This will leave the effect alone when it's currently granting a bonus of S/2, and otherwise use the geometric mean of the current bonus and S/2 (this description gives an alternate way of coding the rule). Of course this would want a bit of playtesting.

I could also look closely at the current algorithm and propose something which is a bit more base-level (there is something inelegant about applying this transformation at the end). However:
• Song of Slaying is already opaque about the exact workings.
o We'd be keeping its most important transparency property, which is that the bonus is proportional to your Song
• There was some fine balancing about the speed of building up and decaying of the bonus. Changes to the fundamental mechanism there will need more playtesting than versions which leave it alone.
  • Song of Aule gone
I think this was quite thematic but not extremely so. It’s also unclear whether it made the gameplay better; it certainly complicated the balancing of Smithing. Overall I guess I feel fine without it.
  • Song of Este gone
Again I think this was pretty thematic, but it seemed to get very little use. Strengthening it or removing it both seem fine. If removing, one could consider wrapping (some of) the ability from Song of Este up into another song … I think the natural candidates are Song of the Trees and Song of Staying.
  • Song of Sharpness gone
This one I feel quite bad about. This is one of the most canonical songs (sung by Beleg to free Turin), and many of the sharp artefacts in the game are taken directly from that verse.

I also don’t think it was particularly problematic. It was often taken for the throne room, but it was useful for combat before the throne room too, and doesn’t seem particularly differentially useful for combat in the throne room. It is also useful for cutting out Silmarils, but I feel like that’s working as intended.
  • Song of Challenge
I think the effect is interesting but doesn’t quite deserve a song. I also think the name is a bit weak thematically.

(Possible this effect could be combined with a somewhat weakened Slaying effect.)
  • Song of Delvings
Wow, this is cool. It’s also, I believe, very strong.

I used this song on my winning character. I found the exploring effect both useful and flavourful as a kind of gradual subtle magic – much less jarring than Staves of Revelations. I would have been delighted to take the ability just for this exploration effect, without any detection of traps or boost to tunnelling. I like the way it works, and the way it scales with your Song score. (The exact scaling is a parameter that could be used for balancing.) From everything in Sil-Q, this gave me my strongest "I wish I'd designed that!" moment.

I think the detection of traps should almost certainly be removed from the song. It’s just a very cheap way to totally obviate the trap sub-game. It also steps on the toes of Song of Freedom, which is a slightly more expensive way to do the same. I’m not sure that the tunnelling bonus is needed; I suppose it seems fine.

I quite like the name of this song. [I think this could also potentially be called “Song of Aule”, although perhaps in that case I’d want to remove the tunneling and add some minor boost to smithing (although helping you find forges will mean it’s already very useful to smiths, so maybe that last isn’t even needed).]
  • Song of Thresholds
The part about warding doors is pretty cool. Based presumably in part on the word of power Gandalf speaks to ward the door against the Balrog? I haven’t played with it for real to see how that turns out.

The bit about combat boost for fighting in doorways I’m less sure about. That’s a very big bonus with a relatively easy condition to meet (especially since doorways are often good places to fight anyway). It’s also a little … dull? I can’t quite picture what makes the person singing about thresholds so much better at fighting there. If it gave them a Grace bonus or opponents a morale penalty or something, I think I could see it a bit more. Maybe I feel a bit funny about the flavour overall.

I think this should probably be a noise 8 song. I also want to note that we tried to make all of the songs use 1/3 or 1 voice per turn for simple-pattern reasons. It’s not crucial that this is kept, but it feels like you’ve broken the pattern with a couple of new songs without getting much payoff for doing so.
  • Song of Overwhelming added
I’m underwhelmed.

I think in a vacuum it would be fine, but:
a) Thematically it’s a bit too close to Song of Mastery
b) “Foes stricken and shields broken” makes me think it’s going to be easier to hurt the foes, but this doesn’t match the mechanics
c) Stunning already has a different meaning in the game. Something about being consistent and making things work within the rules system where they naturally can rather than with a hodge-podge of exceptions to it is I think part of what makes the game rules as a whole feel elegant. The different "stunning" effect here is a bit painful because of that (that damage is mitigated a little if it's called something different, but only somewhat).

(Also, restricting songs to affect only adjacent things is slightly funny. Why should the sound work like that? But this is a pretty minor point and I’d be willing to give it a pass if I otherwise liked it.)

-------

Well, that was a long review. It’s a testament to the fact that I think you’ve done something cool and impressive here that I was happy to write something so long.

Good luck with the future development!

(I'm hoping to come back and reply to some of the replies, but I am fairly busy the next few weeks, so I don't want to promise I'll manage them all.)
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Old January 5, 2019, 21:46   #7
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Interesting read! Couple of thoughts paging through:

Blunt Weapons, Sharpness: Enemy protection is currently only using [d4]'s to signify armor strenght. One easy way to simulate penetration whilst simultaneously bring it more in line with how weapon damage/strenght works would be for penetrative weapons to lower the number of sides rather than act as a percentage points. Examples given; Blunt Weapons and singing the song of sharpness (and spears?) could bestow a penetration value of 1 (lowering enemy armor dice sides from Xd4 to Xd3) and sharp weapons could have Penetration 2.

This would also slightly nerf Sharpness effects since it'd lower enemy armor by 20 and 40% on average, respectively.

Harder to implement, but I'd also prefer it from a purely design elegance point of view if the characters armor could also be calculated as a # of equal-sided dice rather than the current system of added dice ranges. This would obviously require quite the rework but maybe calculating total protection values (as well as maluses to attack, defense and stealth) as a function total weight rather than the individual pieces (with Mithril and various positive magical effects adding to functional weight for protection calculation only)?

Traps: Why not simply remove the acid traps and trap doors, and possibly rebrand alarm traps as magical wards rather than mechanical contraptions? This would also reflavor disarming traps to unraveling wards, which is a flavor win in my book (and helps explain why its a grace and not a dex ability, and why V's creations passes through unharmed). Additional wards that could be added could for an instance block the player from passing (like glyphs of warding) or summon additional (OOD) aware monsters to the level in addition to the Alarm effect.

Literal traps in commonly traversed areas are among the stupidest tropes of fantasy roleplay and I for one wouldn't be sad to see them go. Webs and roosts and the occasional pit are still fine imo.
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Old January 5, 2019, 23:47   #8
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Regarding the difficulty of making blunt weapons meaningfully distinct, what if they rolled damage twice and took the higher roll? So they'd just straight-up reliably do a bit more damage; for example, a 1d8 weapon's average goes from 4.5 to 5.8.
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Old January 6, 2019, 00:37   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Infinitum View Post
Blunt Weapons, Sharpness: Enemy protection is currently only using [d4]'s to signify armor strenght. One easy way to simulate penetration whilst simultaneously bring it more in line with how weapon damage/strenght works would be for penetrative weapons to lower the number of sides rather than act as a percentage points.
Interesting thought! Or possibly:
- Blunt penetration reduces the number of sides of protection dice (e.g. 3d4 -> 3d3)
- Sharp penetration reduces the number of protection dice (e.g. 3d4 -> 2d4, although I think the default should be sharp 2 if it's to be comparable to other brands)
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Old January 6, 2019, 00:43   #10
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There is much you've written to respond to. I appreciate this, as often it feels like I'm scraping round desperately for any sort of feedback. Some I'll probably agree with fully or to some extent, some I'll disagree with, but probably the most interesting cases are the places where I used to think as you did and changed my mind.
I'm not going to properly respond now, but I wanted to say thank you for such high-quality responses. I really appreciate seeing the details of your thinking on lots of these issues.
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