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Old August 26, 2012, 11:54   #1
Mikko Lehtinen
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Halls of Mist attributes and skills

I'm starting a new thread for attributes and skills documentation in case people want to continue the interesting anti-farming discussion.

Before the launch I'm going to collect all useful bits of documentation into a website. Years ago I learned Python by coding a little app that easily generates web sites like this out of folders plain text files. I think the format is perfect for *band documentation. Hmm, am I allowed to call my variant a *band anymore...?
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Old August 26, 2012, 12:49   #2
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You may want to check out webgen and other static site generators.
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Old August 26, 2012, 12:50   #3
Mikko Lehtinen
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The attributes are the heart of the game

The attributes are basically the same six as in Angband. I've renamed Intelligence to Memory, and Charisma to Presence. I think these names are slightly better at conveying their game effects in Halls of Mist.

When you create a new character, Attribute scores are rolled randomly. You may keep rolling for as long as you like. Every starting character has exactly 66 points in attributes, plus bonuses from race and class.

Strenght
Memory
Wisdom
Dexterity
Constitution
Presence

The attributes are the heart of Halls of Mist. They are very, very important in determining what your character can do.

Every attribute is useful for every character. Different attribute arrays result in different gameplay and change the optimal strategies. To some extent, the attributes in Halls of Mist can be compared to skills in Sangband. (In Halls of Mist, just like in Angband, skills are simply important abilities derived from your attributes, class, level, and race.)

As long as your spellcaster has a high score in her spell attribute, or a warrior in either strength or dexterity, your character should be competitive. Even these are not absolute requirements.

I hope that this heightened importance of attributes makes equipment choices -- perhaps the most important strategic decisions in Angband -- even more interesting in Halls of Mist.

Besides equipment, I've added new kinds of temporary and permanent effects that affect your abilities. Temporary effects, like blessings and transformations, usually last for at least your current dungeon level and the level after that. (Visiting the town does not count.) After that the effects have a 50 % chance of ending whenever you take the stairs down.

During a game of Halls of Mist, your attribute array is in constant flux, and you get to make strategic decisions that concern your attributes much more often than in Angband.

Attribute bonuses from your class are added to your internal attribute score. The internal maximum for every attribute is 20 but bonuses from your race, your equipment, your deity, and your shapeshifted form may increase your attribute score even higher than that. The game benefits from attributes keep increasing until your score reaches 30.

Last edited by Mikko Lehtinen; August 26, 2012 at 13:26.
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Old August 26, 2012, 12:59   #4
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You may want to check out webgen and other static site generators.
I will, thanks!

The reason why I like using my own apps is because I want to increase my programming skills in text modification. It's really important in my editing and publishing work.

The *band programming, on the other hand, is mostly just a useless hobby. I've never read a book or attended a course about C. My source code is ugly as hell. Maybe someone can recommend a good book that helps me learn the basics?
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Old August 26, 2012, 16:25   #5
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If you always get the same number of total stat points, and you can reroll as long as you like, why not save us the grinding and just let us ALLOCATE them?

edit: I do like the longer-term status buffs, though, so you're not constantly having to remember to cast Bless or Resist Fire or whatever all the time, just when you enter a new level! And making all stats useful to all characters is definitely good!

edit2: do NEGATIVE status effects last until you leave the level, too?
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Old August 26, 2012, 16:37   #6
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If you always get the same number of total stat points, and you can reroll as long as you like, why not save us the grinding and just let us ALLOCATE them?
Maybe some day. For now I want to force people to do things my way, to prove that rolling stats can be a fun method for creating characters. I wish other variants would adopt my method to save me lots of grinding when manually rolling characters. I'd especially like to create my Sangband characters using this method.

When you die, you can quick start your next character with same stats.
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Old August 26, 2012, 16:43   #7
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Originally Posted by ekolis View Post
edit: I do like the longer-term status buffs, though, so you're not constantly having to remember to cast Bless or Resist Fire or whatever all the time, just when you enter a new level! And making all stats useful to all characters is definitely good!

edit2: do NEGATIVE status effects last until you leave the level, too?
I wasn't talking about all status effects! (Although there is a method for making your Bless and Speed last until you leave the level.) I meant a couple of entirely new kinds of buffs. And yes, they can be negative as well, like when you are hit by a ray from a Rune of Change hidden in a wall and turn into a goblin.

Oh, and Bless from a Prayer scroll does last until you leave the level.
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Old August 26, 2012, 19:29   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikko Lehtinen View Post
Maybe some day. For now I want to force people to do things my way, to prove that rolling stats can be a fun method for creating characters.
All right, that's certainly your decision! But can you at least make the rolled stats visible before the player chooses his class? This makes sense not just from the perspective of gameplay (don't force the player to do as much before restarting to get good stats; subtly encourage him to try more classes than just the ones he's comfortable with) but also thematically - if Heronicus has always wanted to be a mage, but he has an INT score of 3, even someone that stupid should be able to figure out that magery is not for him!
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Old August 26, 2012, 19:55   #9
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All right, that's certainly your decision! But can you at least make the rolled stats visible before the player chooses his class? This makes sense not just from the perspective of gameplay (don't force the player to do as much before restarting to get good stats; subtly encourage him to try more classes than just the ones he's comfortable with) but also thematically - if Heronicus has always wanted to be a mage, but he has an INT score of 3, even someone that stupid should be able to figure out that magery is not for him!
In theory, I've always agreed with you. What you propose is the original Moria system for creating characters. For Angband, that's exactly what I would want, because there you really need to have to high scores in certain stats.

But in Halls of Mist, the current system is my favorite, I think. It's a bit simpler to understand, and it gently pushes people try different kinds of mages or warriors. It's a somewhat different subtle encouragement from what you propose.

Most often I just pick the first rolled character or reroll once or twice. That's all you really need to create a competitive character in Halls of Mist.

Mages only need to have one semi-high stat, and all sorts of different arrays of stats work for warriors. (Well, to really min-max a warrior, you'll want to have 14+ in either STR or DEX or perhaps in both if you want flexibility in weapon choices. I think a single reroll is all you usually need!)

Actually you cannot create a mage with Memory of 3 in Mist, because class bonuses are applied directly to the internal stat, not to racial bonus.

Last edited by Mikko Lehtinen; August 26, 2012 at 22:32.
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Old August 26, 2012, 22:31   #10
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It's all just simple percentage rolls

Here's a Halls of Mist character sheet. Hmm, I didn't mean to create a female human warrior named Mikko, but whatever... Most of you probably have no idea whether Mikko is a male or female name.

To make a skill check for Saving Throw, Perception, Jumping, Alchemy, or Navigation, the game always tries to roll 1d100 under or equal to your skill score. No complications whatsoever -- what you see on your character sheet is what you get.

The three combat skills and Magic Device use different mechanics. They work more or less like in Angband, I've just streamlined the systems a little. Even though these skills don't use unmodified skill checks, getting your exact success chance in percentages is still pretty easy:
  • For magic devices, (I)nspect the device.
  • For your melee attack with your equipped weapon, (l)ook at the monster. You can see your to hit chance on the message line with the monster status information.
  • For shooting or throwing, target the monster with your bow or thrown weapon and check the message line.
  • (The message line will also tell your critical hit chance if you have any.)

Magic Device skill has another function that does use the simple, unmodified skill check. Whenever you fail to use a magic device, make a Magic Device check. If you fail, you lose a charge.

Stealth is the only skill with hidden success chances. I've no idea how stealth works but I guess it works pretty much like in Angband.

I think you can learn everything you need to know about the relationship between attributes, skills, and other derived abilities by just rolling random characters and watching how the numbers on the character sheet change. For those of you who like to read manuals, though, tomorrow I'm going to write more about the six attributes.
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Last edited by Mikko Lehtinen; August 26, 2012 at 22:55.
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