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Old August 1, 2009, 05:37   #1
Whelk
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Not-so-great weapons

Is there any interest amongst the folks here in doing something about weapons that end up just not being that great no matter how you use them? The two I'm particularly interested in are the quarterstaff and the sling. These poor guys just never seem to be useful (with the exception of the exceptionally-rare Sling of Buckland, which is nice - but that's a rare ego-variety). I'd love to give these weapons some sort of functionality that would make them at least situationally useful.

Quarterstaff - This could be turned into a weapon used primarily for defense. It could grant some plain old armor class bonuses, but something more interesting would be to give it the ability to outright parry melee attacks - basically working with mechanics similar to the Protection against Evil spell, but working against all creatures instead of only evils. It would require the shield slot to be empty for this proposed added bonus. It couldn't parry -too- often, because this could be quite powerful for a simple added benefit of an entire weapon type. Still, even with a low chance, this could be very handy for characters who are using spells or ranged attacks as their primary offense. Perhaps an argument to make the chance a bit higher than exceedingly rare would be the fact that you have to give up a shield for it to work - not only missing out on some armor class, but also any resistances and other powers an ego+ shield might provide.

A special ego-variety of the quarterstaff could even have the ability to outright parry ranged attacks.

As for the sling: This one's a bit harder to think up a generic bonus for the entire weapon type. Slings are already the weakest ranged weapon, and to add insult to injury, their ammo is heavy, so you can't carry as much around with you. To counterbalance this and make the humble sling a weapon that people might actually choose to wield over the other ranged weapons, there could be a variety of somewhat-common special ammunition with an ability unique to sling ammo only: Exploding ammunition. Now, there might actually be exploding ammo out there already - if there is, let me know, but I don't recall ever seeing any. If so, exploding ammo could just be somewhat common for the sling, as opposed to the rare exploding bolts/arrows.

This exploding ammo would do a small (probably adjascent) radius attack, and could come in a variety of flavors - firestones, voltstones (electric), thunderstones(sonic, not electric), froststones, et cetera. With things like the thunderstone, and maybe some other unique things like plasma spheres, shatterstones (shards), voidstones (nexus) and such, slings could enjoy a diversity in damage brand types that the other ranged weapons don't have available. The voidstones, doing nexus damage, could even have the neat ability of having a chance to displace (phase door) the target. Brightstones (light damage) could have a chance to blind (probably mechanically causing confusion) the target. The thunderstones (sonic) could have a chance to stun.

So, the overall perks to slings would be A) Unique damage brands that are rarely resisted by enemies, B) Some unique damage brands that cause status ailments and C) a radius of damage for their branded ammo types. Thinking about it, the status-inflicting ammo would be fun even without the radius explosion effect. Maybe the common, damage-only brands would be the exploding ones, and the status-inflicting brands would be single target only. There could be some ego ammo that has a larger-than-normal radius of damage, or that does that status inflictions as well as explodes over a radius.

I know I'd buy one.
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Old August 1, 2009, 05:57   #2
Pete Mack
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A Modest Proposal

Here's a modest proposal for making slings more effective: allow them as a launcher for flasks of oil. Then with a +9 sling, and 2d3 flasks of oil:

(2d3+9)*3*2 = 78 damage/shot against fire-vulnerable creatures

Of course, flasks of oil would have to be extremely expensive and would not restock automatically.
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Old August 1, 2009, 06:01   #3
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Here's another possible take on slings; I am planning to include this in FAangband at some point.
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Old August 1, 2009, 06:26   #4
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Yeah, I use a sling every once in a long while, mostly when going down and I find one and I find bullets. Even then it doesn't last long, hell flasks of oil now are strong and cheap.

For one thing, I think sling ammo should be a bit lighter, it's a shame an already undervalued weapon is shunned moreso because the ammunition is heavy.

I also rarely use cutlasses, longswords (unless they are... {special} ) and a few other heavier sword and weapon types unless they are good ego's.

Heck, pretty much the only weapons I use are daggers, gauches, rapiers, whips, long bows, cross bows (Both) and any others IFF I can only get one blow with others, or if they are somehow too good and need to be used.

I honestly think the combat system should be overhauled much like O's (although I have never played O). It kind of sucks being limited to a light weapon with multiple blows because you can easily and nicely stack up +damage... although this is somewhat mitigated in the later game when maxed stats allow everyone to get at least 4 blows with pretty much everything. Even so, it's a tad irritating to be limited to a lower weapon selection early on.

One more idea with slings, maybe stuff like bad potions shot with a sling, affect monsters like that? Such as potions of blindness blind monsters (give them hit penalty and make them move erratically), sleep paralyzes, confuse confuses, etc. And maybe like Whelk suggested, exploding ammo, or maybe distracting ammo? Something that makes a noise or something that has monsters blocking a path to go for it?
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Old August 1, 2009, 06:37   #5
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New idea, why not let one create branded ammo from shots with potions?

Potion of poison - Shot of venom
Potion of resist heat - shot of frost
Potion of resist cold - shot of flames

Maybe multiple potions are required, or each one grants a higher probability of a successful branding.

Stack 99 of bullets attempted to brand with potions of resist heat to make bullets of frost:

1 75% no effect, 15% of +1d2,+1d2 and frost brand, 10% of +1d3,+1d3 and FB
5 30% no effect, 30% of +1d2 and FB, 20% of +1d4 and FB, 15% of 1d5+FB, 5% of 2d3 +FB

and so on, to where 10 give a 100% chance of at least 1d2 and frostbrand on the shot

This would give early characters a good chance at ego ammo, (ferric persons too) and such.
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Old August 1, 2009, 07:40   #6
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The only one of those that has merit is the potion of poison, and even that has the same weakness as my "modest proposal." UnAngband has a similar feature, where you can coat (non-sling) ammo with confusion, blindness, disease, etc. It may add a bit of damage, but the side effects can turn a powerful monster into a patsy.


(As for !rFire--it should not do fire damage--if anything, it should give the monster temporary fire resistance. Also: it's available in shops, which makes it way too common: see NPP branding service.)

To make this point completely clear: consider the possibility of selling wands of Fire/Frost Bolt in the Mage's shop. If that sounds unbalancing, consider that making branded ammo easily available is even worse.

Last edited by Pete Mack; August 1, 2009 at 07:46.
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Old August 1, 2009, 08:13   #7
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I like Whelk's ideas for quarterstaffs and exploding sling ammo.


What I did in DaJAngband:
Some classes and races (druids, barbarians, hobbits and such) get strength bonus added to sling damage. I also added a 'handheld catapult' which is a launcher of sling ammo with the same multiplier as a long bow. (A handheld catapult never gets strength bonus because it's more like a crossbow that shoots sling ammo than a sling).
Quarterstaffs are 1d7 double weapons. This means it's much easier to get multiple attacks with them when not wearing a shield and slightly easier to get multiple attacks with them when wearing a shield.
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Old August 1, 2009, 08:49   #8
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@Pete, very true, although I was thinking branded ammo with weak damage bonuses (works only on unenchanted ammo). rFire would give cold damage, and rCold fire damage, kinda opposites. Anyway you're right.

@Will & Whelk - Re-reading I like the parry idea, and even the double weapon idea. Also the hand catapult is a keeper, or even some kind of Gnomish Spring gun? Either way, it would be nice to use the good mithril shot I end up having to let rot...
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Old August 2, 2009, 02:20   #9
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About the quarterstaff: not allowing shield looks like a bad start to "improve" the quarterstaff. Consider what you loose, youd have to add something equivalent to, say, Thorins shield bonusses first to make any late game quarterstaff useful.

Adding AC (without loosing shield option) also looks too weak for people who do melee. When was the last time your warrior replaced a ring of damage with a ring of protection ? And if you dont melee, you care about the stats on the weapon, not the damage; in this situation, quarterstaves get used already (mage doesnt care much if his westernesse +2 weapon is quarterstaff or rapier, warrior does, though mage would still prefer rapier if he got the choice because of the weight).

As for sling: it is an inferior, but cheap weapon. The reason it doesnt get used is that people farm floor treasure near the stair till they can afford the superior longbow (I guess).
For early game, removing floor treasure from level 1 would fix that. Overall, reducing shot weight would work, but then we get a new non-used weapon in the shortbow since its only advantage over the sling is the lower ammo weight.
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Old August 2, 2009, 02:30   #10
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Perhaps the quarterstaff parry would still function while using a shield, but the heavier the shield is, the lower the chance of the parry coming into effect.

Or, just let people use all shields as well as get the full quarterstaff parry bonus. We can already wield a twohanded weapon, a large metal shield, a torch and a heavy crossbow all at the same time, so it's not like everything needs to make complete sense. I was going at it with the whole "it's a twohanded weapon" angle, but then realized that I have a rogue using the Glaive of Pain and Thorin's shield at the same time no problem.

I've been playing too many heavy-roleplaying roleplaying games, I guess. It gets in your brain, the whole "stuff should make at least a bit of sense" concept.
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