Posts from ·PleasingFungus·

A Brief History Of Buffness

Recently, I’ve been having many conversations about the same subject. People see that we’ve removed various buffs (spells that temporarily improve the player’s stats – Stoneskin, Condensation Shield, Phase Shift), or that we’ve changed others (Ozocubu’s Armour) to be more situational. So they ask, why?

The Problem With Buffs

Dungeon Crawl is a long game. A 3-rune game, on average, takes about six and a half hours to win. (Often longer – very skilled players drag down the average.) An ‘extended’ game, getting all 15 runes, takes twice as long – about 13 hours, on average. And, of course, not all games are won – only one in a hundred! The average unwon game is considerably shorter (about 20 minutes), but weight of numbers will tell – on average, each won game represents a great amount of playtime, thousands of fights and hundreds of thousands of turns.

There’s nothing wrong with a long game, of course, but it does change what makes sense to design. In a shorter game – a sprint, perhaps – a spell that you cast at the start of every fight, or just every 50 turns, isn’t too bad. In Crawl’s main game, though, remembering to refresh your buffs regularly gets tiring very fast! And if you don’t, you’re just reducing your chance to win (passing up free AC, EV, SH…) for no benefit but retaining a tenuous grip on sanity. That’s exactly the sort of choice that Crawl is opposed to; opposing ‘optimal play’ to ‘fun’.

This was the space that many of Crawl’s ‘buff spells’ found themselves in. If you’d memorized and learned to cast Stoneskin, it was totally possible to keep it running at all times, and generally a good idea to do so. But, the work involved wasn’t any fun.

The fact was, Stoneskin and friends were certainly good for a character – they were useful spells! They provided interesting strategic decisions, about skill investment, armour, spell slot use. But, in practice, the annoyance involved over the course of a long game – the choice between ‘good play’ and ‘avoiding tedium’ – made the game less fun. That’s why we cut them!

But Why Didn’t You Just…?

There’s quite a lot of suggestions I’ve seen for what we should have done instead of removing these spells. The simplest is probably to dramatically reduce the duration. If a buff doesn’t stay up for more than a dozen turns, it becomes impractical to keep it running constantly!

The trouble is that this only solves one part of the problem. You’re still left with the choice to cast your buffs at the start of every encounter, and many characters will be well-advised to do so – if you’re waiting for your enemy to close to melee, why not take a turn and a little MP to give yourself some extra defense? Well, because it’s a pain to do that at the start of nearly every encounter in a game with hundreds or thousands of fights… and so we’re back, more or less, where we started.

Another suggestion goes in the opposite direction. So players are keeping these buffs up all the time, or should – why not just automate it for them, and make the spell never expire once cast? That’s how Repel Missiles and Deflect Missiles work these days – they have a chance of expiring when they repel an incoming attack, but stay up forever otherwise.

The problem is that Dungeon Crawl’s spell system is fundamentally built around the assumption that spells are being cast in combat. In combat, the turn spent casting a spell matters – that’s a turn for enemies to act! The MP spent matters – that’s less MP to use for the rest of the fight! And the chance of failure matters – your turn is gone, your MP is gone, and you’re no better off than you were before!

Out of combat, none of those things matter. A turn doesn’t matter, MP doesn’t matter, failure doesn’t matter – you can just rest and try again. This is a problem for buffs in that you don’t need to worry about failure chance very much – get it below, say, 80% failure, and you can just recast until you succeed. What’s more, armour doesn’t matter – normally the choice of body armour is an important strategic choice for spellcasting (something heavy and protective, or something light and easy to cast in?), but for out-of-combat spells, you can just shuck your armour, cast the spell, and put the armour back on. This effectively means that Repel Missiles, for example, is a free, permanent buff for anyone who finds a spellbook containing it – no noticeable skill requirement, just a couple of spell slots. Not too much tactical annoyance, but no strategic decisions, either. It’s no good.

You can try to start patching this problem – what if taking off your body armour took off the spell! (Well, would that also apply to switching in a staff of wizardry, or a couple rings of wizardry?) What if the chance of the spell expiring when it reflected a projectile was based on your current spell failure chance, not spellpower? But when you have to keep suggesting a series of unintuitive mechanics that work like no other spell in the game, in an attempt to make an effect work within Crawl’s spell system, you have to wonder whether it makes sense for that effect to be a spell at all.

There are other variants on the ‘permanent buff’ approach – one suggests making buffs reduce your maximum MP when active, to make it less of a ‘no-brainer’ to keep the spell around all the time. But that doesn’t solve the spell failure issue, and has other undesirable effects – should armour buffs be more useful for melee warriors (who aren’t using much MP otherwise), rather than lightly armoured ‘casters’? Should these buffs become eventually almost ‘free’ later in the game, when MP pools become larger? There aren’t easy answers here.

What Does Work?

We haven’t removed all buffs quite yet. In fact, almost all of them are still around. Why?

Well, let’s look. Something like Swiftness is clearly a buff – you move faster! But the drawback when it wears off, slower movement for a time, means that it’s pretty silly to try to cast it all the time, or even at the start of every fight. It’s situational – useful, but situational. A fine spell to learn, but not one you feel like you should be casting every fight, or every 50 turns!

Other good buffs follow the same pattern. Portal Projectile teleports your shots directly to their target, letting you shoot past intervening enemies – useful, but each shot costs MP, and a miss is totally useless, whereas normal shots could hit another enemy behind your original target. Excruciating Wounds gives your weapon dramatically better killing power (against living enemies, and with investment in Necromancy…), but makes a considerable noise when cast. Invisibility makes you invisible (perhaps unsurprisingly), but the contamination means that you’re not gonna be able to turn invisible again for a while afterward, and haste would be dangerous – which can leave you in some pretty tight spots…

Adding ponderous to Ozocubu’s is an attempt to make it fit that same pattern – useful, but situational. This is an experiment! It may not work out – the drawback may be too weak, or too irrelevant (as for Cheibriados worshippers, perhaps) – or too strong in other cases! We’ll see how it works out.

A Dash Of Context

We don’t want to kill your playstyles, and we won’t. Statue Form has already been buffed to make up for the loss of Stoneskin; other forms will likely have some similar compensation in the near future. Transmuters and other light-armour characters will not stop being viable; trust us on this one.

Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup has a long and storied history of removals. Remember Alter Self, the spell that randomly mutated your character? (Repeat until desired mutations achieved…) Or Divinations, the spell-school entirely made up of out-of-combat spells? Or, perhaps, Mountain Dwarves?

Every removal’s led to some wailing and gnashing of teeth. This one’s far from the worst in that regard, and it certainly won’t be the last – but it is one of the removals with the most history behind it, and which the most thought and design effort has been applied to. It’s my hope that this post is helpful to those who were confused, informative to those who were curious, and, if perhaps not a perfect salve to those who were angry, at least reassuring with regards to the care which has been invested here.

Thanks for reading, and happy crawling!

Many thanks to dpeg for the help with this post.

Trunk updates, 18 February 2016

Hi, crawlers! Spring has sprung, so here’s some changes for you:

  • Wand changes:
    • Removed: Cold, Fire, Draining, Fireball, Frost, Invisibility, and Magic Darts.
    • New: Acid, which shoots a beam of corrosive acid. Roughly as powerful as Draining was.
    • New: Iceblast, which launches an explosive, partially physical explosion. Somewhat more powerful than Fireball was.
    • Monsters will no longer machine-gun their wands quite as often.
  • Other removed items: Xom’s chesspieces, rods of destruction & the swarm, and potions of poison.
  • Luckily, potions of degeneration are back! They now drain all stats by 1d3 points when consumed.
  • Even more luckily, stats now regenerate faster at low XLs.
  • Statue form, bat form & hydra form no longer have stat modifiers. Low-strength Vampires rejoice!
  • Statue form also now gives somewhat more AC.
  • Other spell changes:
    • Ozocubu’s Armour now gives ponderousness (+0.1 movement delay).
    • Passwall is now level 2 (previously, level 3).
    • Song of Slaying has been simplified; it now gives +slay with every kill, capping at +9 slay. (It was previously… complicated.)
    • Removed spells: Stoneskin, Condensation Shield, and Phase Shift.
  • God changes:
    • Ashenzari now lets you directly curse items, rather than needing to create scrolls of curse armour/weapon/jewellery. This ability still consumes a scroll of remove curse.
    • Okawaru’s abilities (Heroism & Finesse) are now considerably lower duration at low Invocations, but cost less piety and scale to higher max durations.
    • If you would regenerate MP under Pakellas while already full, you can now get a potion of magic instead.
    • Sif now gives miscast protection at ** and amnesia at ****. (Previously, the reverse was true.)
    • Yredelemnul’s Enslave Soul now works on angels and demons.
  • Swamp worms’ ambush predator functionality should now function correctly. Beware…
  • The Captain’s Cutlass now does flat bonus damage when it disarms an enemy.

Thanks to chequers for helping to compile this post.

For those who are interested, there’s also two new experimental gods being tested – Ukayaw, God of Ecstatic Dance, and Hepliaklqana, God of Ancestral Memory. They can be played on CBRO or, for the antipodeans, CPO.

Happy crawling!

Trunk updates, 23 January 2016

Hi, crawlers! Some fresh changes for the new year:

  • Items:
    • New unrand: the Warlock’s Mirror, a +3 buckler of reflection. Unlike other shields of reflection, it’s also capable of reflecting piercing beams, enchantments, and other effects. Watch as that neqoxec’s Malmutate bounces off and malmutates its caster!
    • New amulet type: amulets of harm, which increase damage done by and to the player by 25%.
    • New amulet type: amulets of magic regeneration, which increase player MP regeneration considerably after a short warmup period.
    • Weapon types no longer have hidden ‘strength weights’. Instead of dex and str both giving varying bonuses to damage, str now solely gives a bonus to-dam, and dex now solely gives a bonus to accuracy.
    • Potions of cure mutation are now dramatically (~50%) more common.
    • Potions of ambrosia now bypass clarity.
    • The amulet of corrosion resistance is now a ring.
    • Evocable +tele effects are gone. Rings of teleportation now only provide random teleportation.
    • Rings of invisibility have disappeared; they are no more.
    • Ditto, potions of degeneration. They will be missed by someone, somewhere, somehow.
  • Monsters:
    • Natasha no longer becomes weaker upon revival.
    • Swamp worms are now amphibious and generate submerged, emerging to attack the player and never resubmerging.
    • Deep elf high priests now have an Aura of Brilliance spell that affects all allies in their view, making them cast spells more frequently and with more spell power.
    • Demonspawn warmongers’ Sap Magic has been simplified: it now has three levels, rather than scaling continuously, and the spellcasting chance penalty now expires at the same time as the Sap effect itself.
    • Demonspawn corruptors’ Corrupt Body and wretched stars’ Corrupting Pulse now tend to cause multiple levels of a single bad mutation, rather than single levels of multiple bad mutations.
    • Doom hounds’ howls now summon a variety of nasty things, rather than other doom hounds.
    • Trapdoor spiders have crawled out of the game.
  • Spells:
    • Alistair’s Intoxication is now level 5 and gives Vertigo status instead of confusing the player or draining Int, and can sometimes affect rPois monsters.
    • The Infusion spell now ramps up to maximum power much more quickly, which should make it more useful past the first floor or two of the dungeon. (If still not too much longer than that.)
    • Spectral Weapon now bases the strength of the summoned weapon on spell power, instead of weapon skill.
    • Summoning tweaks: Shadow Creatures is now level 6, Monstrous Menagerie is now level 7.
  • Gozag’s Call Merchant shops no longer secretly vary in quality by the floor they’re called to.

Happy crawling!

Trunk Updates, 21 June 2015

Hi, crawlers! Here’s the latest changes in trunk:

  • New feature: ecumenical altars, appearing in the early Dungeon & allowing you to convert to a random god… if you dare!
  • Controlled Teleportation has been removed. Rings of control teleport, the spell Control Teleport, and the book of Control are no more. Levels no longer have -cTele (meaning that you can now cBlink your way straight to the Orb of Zot on Zot 5, if you like), but the Orb of Zot now renders blinks completely uncontrolled while carried (making it somewhat trickier to get out again).
  • Monster descriptions now list spells’ chance of affecting the player on the main description page, rather than requiring that the player view the detailed spell descriptions.
  • Potions quaffed by monsters are now always explicitly identified, instead of ‘almost all of the time’.
  • Ravens will be seen in Crawl – nevermore! Mainly because they were removed.
  • Ghostly flame clouds have been renamed to spectral mist clouds, to avoid confusion with the completely unrelated ‘ghostly fireball’ effect.
  • Ghostly fireballs no longer partially ignore AC.
  • Unarmed attacks no longer receive an extra, small attack speed penalty while using shields.
  • Zin’s Vitalization no longer provides nutrition, and also has a very small MP cost.
  • Jiyva’s Slime Prayer now paralyses slimes for longer, and also has a very small MP cost.
  • Friendly monsters bribed by Gozag’s ability are now permanently bribed, but will not leave the branch from whence they came.
  • Sif no longer requires worshippers to know any spells before entering Sif’s service.
  • Wanderers should no longer start out with completely useless items (!cure for mummies, ?tele for formicids…)
  • Ice Cave necromancers no longer have a special chance to spawn with wands of fire.
  • Hell beasts no longer have randomized speeds. (Quiz for the comments section: how many people knew that their speeds *were* randomized? Also, can you name the other two types of monsters which still have randomized speeds?)

Happy crawling!

Trunk Updates, 7 June 2015

Hi, crawlers! Here’s the latest changes in trunk:

  • Chimerae have been removed; the box of beasts now produces ‘mutant beasts’, a new type of creature varying in strength & abilities. Each has a ‘tier’ of strength, varying by the evocations skill of the box’s user, and a random pair of ‘facets’ providing abilities, attacks & resistances. Check them out!
  • Most spells and abilities have had their descriptions rewritten for consistency & clarity. Many thanks to MarvinPA for the painstaking work!
  • AC now applies before elemental resistances when taking damage for clouds, as with other sources of resistible damage; this effectively makes them more dangerous in the late-game.
  • Sticks to Snakes now takes arrows from the inventory, rather than requiring them to be wielded.
  • Powered by Death now triggers on kills, not corpses.
  • All scrolls & potions can now generate in stacks, even potions of XP, scrolls of acquirement, or a few others.
  • Monsters will now pick up all scrolls & potions, not only ones they can actually use. (This only applies to items you haven’t seen yet, of course.)
  • Most monsters have lost Teleport Self*; now only Maurice, Ribbit and Sonja can cast it. Rare and powerful magic…
  • Weapon descriptions now list the skill level required to reach minimum attack delay.
  • Slime wall damage no longer varies by depth.
  • Deep dwarf player ghosts now lose their un-regeneration-ness on death; their ghostly ectoplasm reknits normally over time. Now they can finally fit in with the other ghosts…
  • Moth of wrath zombies are now pluralized correctly.
  • Friendly torpor snails now slow enemies. Rejoice, gastropedomaniacs!
  • The Rod of Destruction no longer has a chance of producing bolts of crystal.
  • Monsters casting Legendary Destruction no longer lose HP.
  • You can no longer die by casting Vampiric Draining on a tile with an invisible demon on it.
  • Forms which prevent spellcasting no longer also give a penalty to spell success chance.
  • Pan has been removed. (Again.)

*perhaps they left it on the nightstand?

Happy crawling!

Trunk Updates, 25 May 2015

Hi, crawlers! Here’s the latest changes in trunk:

  • Monster intelligence has been simplified from six levels to three. This has a limited number of gameplay effects. Some highlights:
    • High-intelligence monsters (e.g. deep elves, non-berserker spriggans, salamanders, Killer Klowns) are now in the same category as human-intelligence monsters, and so no longer have shaft immunity, walking-into-deep-water-while-confused-and-drowning immunity, better ability to estimate victims’ MR when deciding whether to hex them, or other esoteric effects.
    • Human-intelligence flying monsters no longer dip into water to extinguish sticky flames.
    • Starcursed masses no longer care about their victims’ intelligence.
    • Stupid monsters that suffer noisy miscast effects (as caused by Spellbinder, etc) no longer have a chance of thinking that someone else made the noise.
    • If Kirke porkalates something, and then you kill Kirke, whether or not that monster become permanently friendly no longer depends on whether it had human intelligence before it was porkalated.
  • Air elementals no longer randomly ‘submerge’ in air.
  • Fire elementals no longer fly (though they can still cross lava). They can also now cross shallow water, which means that my brilliant vault showing off their former inability to do so has been removed… It’s a messed up world we live in, and it’s tragic as heck, basically.
  • Various unrandarts now more clearly indicate their effects in their names; e.g., the Captain’s Cutlass {speed, disarm}.
  • The Sceptre of Torment is now a staff, not a mace. (The Sceptre of Asmodeus was already a staff.)
  • The Dragonskin Cloak no longer gives rCorr.
  • The *Corrode randart property has had its chance of triggering reduced from 10% to 3%.
  • Corrosion no longer depends on the player holding a weapon or wearing armour.
  • Black Mark (both the demonspawn mutation & monster spell) no longer has a ‘vampiric’ effect, and now applies one effect at a time (instead of two). The non-vampiric effects (antimagic/weakness/draining) are now stronger, to compensate.
  • Gozag’s potion petition prices are now more variable.
  • Uniques are now somewhat less likely to have wands, especially high-level, late-game uniques.
  • ‘Sustain Abilities’ is now ‘Sustain Attributes’.
  • You can now use a Crystal Ball of Energy with less than 2 intelligence.
  • The chance of doors creaking when opened no longer depends on Dexterity.
  • Confused monsters are no longer also bewildered.

Happy crawling!

Trunk Updates, 16 May 2015

Hi, crawlers! Here’s the latest changes in trunk:

  • Cleaving now functions while confused. Ctrl-attacking does not (except when a tree); in compensation, you can no longer stumble into deep water/lava while confused.
  • You can no longer open/close doors while confused.
  • Jellies will no longer eat items you’ve seen, unless you follow Jiyva. (This does not include items at the bottoms of stacks which you haven’t stepped on – you haven’t seen those items yet!)
  • The Serpent of Hell is now somewhat weaker.
  • Apporting the Orb of Zot now causes the orb run to begin (spawns, etc). You can now apport the orb in Sprints.
  • The Storm card can no longer summon twisters.
  • With the default rc, getting drained by an invisible ghost moth or missed by an invisible creature’s attack should now stop autoexplore/resting.
  • New negative randart property: *Drain, which causes drain when un-equipped.
  • New negative randart property: *Confuse, which causes a chance of confusion when taking damage.
  • New negative randart property: *Corrode, which causes a chance of corrosion when taking damage.
  • The mountain dwarf population has doubled! Jorgrun is no longer a deep dwarf, and now regenerates normally.
  • Faith is now useless for Gozagites.
  • Giant spores no longer appear normally in the dungeon.
  • Dropping items now takes 10 aut apiece (as most actions do), instead of 0.8.
  • The Flight spell has flown away forever. Replacements: Silence in the Book of Dreams, Flame Tongue in the Book of the Dragon, Lightning Spire in the Book of the Sky, and nothing in the Book of Air.
  • Cigotuvi’s Embrace is now somewhat stronger in most circumstances, but will probably no longer provide hundreds of points of AC/SH in ziggurats.
  • The Horn of Geryon is now worth somewhat less gold.

Happy crawling!

Trunk Updates, 7 May 2015

Hi, crawlers! Here’s the latest changes in trunk:

  • All range-based mechanics now treat diagonals identically to orthogonal directions. Line of sight, spell range, and other effects are now visually ‘square’. Many of those, including line of sight, are now slightly shorter. (This results in them covering roughly the same number of squares).
  • Removed monsters: baby alligators, boring beetles, and goliath beetles. (To compensate for baby loss, alligators now come in pairs.)
  • Removed curses: basic mummies’.
  • Removed spells: Abjuration is gone. Aura of Abjuration is now level 5 and in the book of Summonings instead of the Grand Grimoire.
  • Monstrous Menagerie is now in the Grand Grimoire in Aura of Abjuration’s place; it’s no longer in the book of Summonings or the book of Beasts.
  • Summon Mana Viper has been moved from the book of Hinderance to fill Monstrous Menagerie’s place in the book of Summonings.
  • Followers of good gods can no longer be Demonologists. (They get different high-level summoning titles.)
  • ‘?’ should now work on the offline title screen.
  • Player-made storm clouds no longer fire at four times the rate of those onscreen.
  • Monsters can no longer zap empty wands & leave them with negative charges.
  • Vine stalkers no longer have fur.

Happy crawling!

Trunk Updates, 30 April 2015

Hi, crawlers! Here’s the latest news from crawl dev, plus a photo of a horrifying foodstuff (!?) that someone sent me today:

  • Stat rot is now restored by gaining XP (like drain), rather than over time.
  • The deterioration mutation is now two levels, instead of three, and causes a chance of losing stats when taking damage, rather than over time.
  • Potions of restore ability have rotted away, and, coincidentally, were removed.
  • To prepare for summer, Crawl is going on a diet: Snake, Spider, Swamp and Shoals are now all four levels long.
  • Heavy armour no longer provides a speed penalty to Unarmed Combat and Throwing.
  • New Ru sacrifice: Sacrifice Eye. Causes inaccuracy as if you were wearing two amulets of inaccuracy at once, which, like those, affects both melee, ranged and spells. Stacks with amulets of inaccuracy.
  • New Ru sacrifice: Sacrifice Resistance. Provides rF- rC-.
  • When following Gozag, gold that lands in deep water/lava now teleports into the player’s pockets.
  • The wrath of Chei now slows the player’s movement until it expires.
  • Killing demonspawn now give Yredremnulites piety, as with murdering other living beings.
  • The Placid Magic card has been placidified; much as that is not a word, Placid Magic is no longer a card, since it’s been removed.
  • Scrolls of random uselessness can no longer reassemble in your hands after being read. Please join me in mourning.
  • Queen ants are now normal speed.
  • The Spiny mutation is now considerably stronger.
  • Corpses in deep water can no longer be animated.

Players may also be interested to hear that a legendary feature is back in testing

Happy crawling!

Trunk Updates, 22 April 2015

Hello! It’s been a busy week for crawl dev. Here’s what’s new:

  • Character:
    • When taking movement actions that last longer than a normal turn (10 arbitrary units of time), the game no longer caps the resulting hunger and hp/mp regeneration at 10-aut levels. This increases effectively increases hunger for slow-moving players. Nagas have been given Slow Metabolism 1 to compensate, and Chei’s metabolism slowing effectiveness has been increased.
    • The game will now warn before the player reads a scroll near enemies while blurry vision is active.
    • Very high levels of stealth are now less effective.
    • DrFi no longer gets extra aux armour.
    • You no longer get -5 EV for most multi-turn actions; only ascending and descending stairs, now.
    • You no longer get -5 EV for winning.
    • Poison immunity now makes you immune to poison.
    • Vampires can now drink from anything with blood, regardless of chunk type.
    • Vampires no longer get a very small amount of extra healing from vampire weapons under very specific conditions.
    • Kirke can no longer trap the player in vampire form.
  • Monsters:
    • Poisonous chunks have been merged with rot chunks to form ‘inedible chunks’, which are inedible by all non-ghouls, regardless of rPois status. Several formerly poisonous monsters (e.g. beetles, snails) have had their meat cleaned up.
    • Unrelated monsters can now swap with each-other.
    • Ghouls no longer rot in melee.
    • Mummies have been mostly removed from D.
    • Some strange, rarely relevant monster-eating special cases have been removed; for example, death oozes no longer take damage for eating silver items (!).
    • Monsters will now zap empty wands, once.
  • Spells:
    • Ignite Poison has been reworked. It’s now level 3 Tmut/Pois/Fire (from level 5 Tmut/Fire), and now only burns poisoned enemies & poisonous clouds. The damage to the former is dramatically higher than before, especially at low power.
    • Undead created by the Animate Skeleton and Animate Dead spells are now temporary, though with a long duration. (Yred’s invocations are unaffected.).
    • Sacrifice Love now blocks the use of minion spells. (Summoning, animate dead, etc.)
  • Items:
    • New unrand: Maxwell’s Etheric Cage, which occasionally causes small amounts of contamination while worn. In exchange, it provides rElec and + MP. Our seventh head-slot unrand, and the first helmet unrand!
    • New unrand: the Crown of Eternal Torment, which provides rN+++, sInv, complete immunity to Torment, and -20% mhp. Embrace… torment!!!
    • The fencer’s gloves now give +4 to Long and Short Blades skills, rather than a flat +2 slay.
    • Scrolls of Holy Word now apply the Daze status effect, rather than stunning monsters directly. Daze is now more effective, and Holy Word now also does more damage.
    • The game should no longer crash whenever the player picks up gold or runes on the Android version.
  • Gods:
    • Xom will no longer swap the player’s weapon with an enemy’s.
    • Gozag:
      • Potion Petition’s cost is now slightly higher, but no longer increases with use.
      • The joining fee has been decreased, especially early on.
      • Monsters without corpses (e.g. demons) now drop gold on death.
      • Exploding monsters no longer multiplies the amount of resulting gold.
  • The player no longer needs to enter a name at character creation (when playing offline).

Happy crawling!

Trunk updates, 7 April 2015

Hi, crawlers! Here’s the latest and greatest:

  • Character:
    • MP apts & scaling have been reworked again, and are slightly less linear (extra MP for the first few levels).
    • Healing effects now cure rot first, rather than last; while the player has rot, half of their healing goes toward curing the rot rather than healing them.
    • The Forlorn mutation is no more.
    • MP-powered wands is now a single-level mutation (down from 3).
  • Monsters:
    • New monster: Salamander stormcaller, fire cultists appearing in late D and Vaults. They chant for a few turns before calling down a Fire Storm on their enemies. (They also have a few other fire spells.)
    • New monster: Entropy weaver, creepy humanoids appearing in Spider, Vaults and Depths. They chant for a few turns before heavily corroding their enemies’ equipment.
    • The concept of ‘confusion-immune’ monsters has been removed; everything that’s not magic immune is now confusable. This includes e.g. gargoyles & thorn hunters.
    • Nergalle no longer recasts Death’s Door when no enemies are nearby, and takes ten times longer to recover from exhaustion after it expires.
    • Monster-summoned Spellforged Servitors are now dramatically weaker.
    • Pale & grey draconians no longer appear outside a few vaults.
    • Phantasmal warriors have +50% base damage (up to the same as large abominations), to compensate for losing SH+AC piercing.
    • Monsters with spines now all work the same way as Hell Sentinels previously did (a 1/3 chance when attacked in melee of doing 5d4 AC-reduced damage). This is mainly a buff to porcupines, which also have significantly increased melee damage (now somewhere between sheep & yak damage).
    • Tough monsters should generally no longer waste their time with terrible wands.
    • Giant mites have been shrunken right out of the game.
  • Spells:
    • Enslavement has been removed. It’s been replaced by Tukima’s Dance in the Enchanter book, and Gell’s Gravitas in the Arcane Marksman book.
    • Gell’s Gravitas is now level 3, smite-targeted, and no longer confuses enemies.
    • Tukima’s Dance is now somewhat more powerful.
    • Being in water now prevents catching on sticky flame.
  • Items:
    • Staves of power now give a flat +15 MP, rather than 5 + 40% of your base MP.
    • Troll leather armour now provides regeneration for trolls. Be the troll troll…
    • Exploding tomahawks now spawn.
  • Gods:
    • Trog no longer accepts corpse sacrifices. (Piety from kills & piety decay have been improved to compensate.)
    • Gozag’s gold distraction effect is now a duration on the player that refreshes whenever more corpse-gold is found (made), rather than being an effect centered on the gold piles themselves.
    • A prompt is now given before casting most spells that would anger your god.
    • The success chance for Banishment is now shown properly for all values of Invocations skill.
    • Beogh’s chance of providing blessings has been considerably reduced – it was accidentally increased by 50% in January in a commit that intended to halve it.
    • The Shining One no longer blesses allies’ weapons and armour. Angel summoning is now cheaper.
  • Shadow Traps have been removed.
  • Picking up the Orb of Zot now increases the time until a teleport goes off.
  • Xv now allows examining from the ‘map screen’ (just as xv does).
  • EV penalties from constriction & multi-turn actions are now displayed in the game UI.
  • Multi-turn macros should no longer reduce EV.
  • Spacing in all messages has been improved to the Gallic standard.
  • Beogh now reacts properly when a Beoghite player is slain by a hostile orc priest.
  • Natasha can now talk in her sleep.
  • Harold can no longer talk after exploding.

Happy crawling!

Trunk updates, 29 March 2015

Hi, crawlers! The tournament is officially over (results up soon!), and development of 0.17 has officially begun. Here’s what’s new since 0.16.0 came out:

  • Monsters:
    • Most uniques (mainly those that can spawn in D) have had their XP and placement adjusted. In general, their XP has been increased (by anywhere from 50% to 150%), and they’ve been prevented from spawning in areas that were late enough to make them no longer challenging. (E.g., Fannar in Elf.)
    • Phantasmal Warriors’ attacks no longer pierce SH & AC.
    • Silent Spectres are now much rarer in Crypt, no longer spawning outside vaults.
    • Unborn have been merged into death knights; the latter now have Agony, Haunt, and Injury Mirror, and the former no longer exist.
    • Revenants no longer ignore silence.
    • Monster rElec has been changed; rElec++ has been removed, and monsters that had it now either have rElec+ or rElec+++ (immunity).
    • Mnoleg’s attacks have been simplified.
  • Spells:
    • Summon Guardian Golem is now level 3 (previously 4).
    • Sure Blade has been removed.
    • Blade Hands has its offhand attack back (accidentally lost it at the start of 0.16 development), and Dragon Form now has one too. Beware the rising dragon punch!
  • Items:
    • The Cloak of Flash has been merged into the Cloak of Starlight; the latter now has a +2 enchantment and gives Stlth– (from Stlth-).
    • Wands of fireball, lightning, and draining now have 15 max charges, up from 9 for the former & 12 for the latter two.
    • -Cast should no longer appear on non-armour randarts.
    • Staves of power no longer store power for a short while after being unwielded.
    • Quicksilver Dragon Armour has had its base armour reduced by one, from 10 to 9.
    • Potions of decay have been removed.
    • Gnoll sergeants no longer have a special chance to spawn with potions of curing or heal wounds.
    • Staves of summoning no longer have a chance of abjuring on hit.
    • Warding now affects ranged attacks from summoned enemies, in addition to melee attacks.
    • Faith no longer makes your god more likely to save you.
  • Gods:
    • Finesse no longer causes contamination. (It previously caused slightly less contamination than dissipated naturally per-turn.)
    • Shadow Step no longer works on harmless plants (‘plant’, ‘fungus’, ‘bush’…).
    • Beogh’s Smite ability now scales more strongly with Invocations.
    • Lugonu no longer accepts corpse sacrifices. (Piety gains from kills has increased.)
  • All races’ evocations aptitudes have been reduced by 1.
  • MP limits have been reworked & simplified; you now get 0.9 max MP for each experience level, and the lowest highest of (0.9 MP per level of spellcasting, 0.54 for each level of Invocations, or 0.45 for each level of Invocations). The preceding is already out of date – rapid balance changes…
  • Species that cannot wear armour can no longer get the ‘ill-fitting armour’ mutation.
  • Throwing wielded items is no longer three times faster than normal.
  • Krakens no longer spew ink continuously.
  • The rod of shadows can no longer summon friendly pan lords.

Happy crawling!

Crawl 0.16: “The Great Annihilating Truth”

We are proud to announce the release of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup 0.16: “The Great Annihilating Truth”! 0.16 features two new deities and many, many additions to and improvements on the game.

Download DCSS 0.16 here, or play it online on one of many servers across the world! Update: OS X binaries are now available!

The release tournament begins today (13 March 2015), with all online 0.16 games counting towards your score. See the tournament website for more details, including how to set up or join a clan.

0.16′s highlights include:

  • Spells: Five new spells have been added, including Singularity, a level 9 Translocations spell that sucks in and destroys enemies with an intense gravitational field.
  • Monsters: A huge number of monsters have been reworked or added; in particular the Tomb of the Ancients now has a far more diverse population.
  • Gods: Ru the Awakened offers strength through sacrifice; Gozag Ym Sagoz the Greedy provides power through wealth. Nemelex Xobeh’s decks have been reworked and strengthened considerably, and Elyvilon’s abilities have been completely reworked.
  • Branches: The tides in Shoals now shift only between shallow water & land, preventing players from getting stranded; they also move much faster than before. Each ziggurat successfully ‘cleared’ (by exiting from the 27th floor) makes all subsequent ziggurats even harder.
  • Items: Many new rare and valuable items are now available, including shadow & quicksilver dragon armour, potions of ambrosia (replacing potions of confusion), and the dual-linked artefact quickblades, “Gyre & Gimble”. All chunks of flesh of a given type now merge together into a single, meaty slurry, and rotting chunks are gone. Double and triple swords are back.

For a list of other major changes, see the changelog. Many thanks to all those who have contributed to Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. We hope you enjoy playing 0.16!


Crawl 0.16 beta

Hi crawlers!

Crawl 0.16 has entered the beta phase; it is now playable on CBRO and CXC, and should be available on other servers soon. Local beta binaries should also be available in the immediate future.

See also the 0.16 changelog and the 0.16 tournament announcement.

0.16 Tournament

The 0.16 tournament will begin in just one week! From 20:00 UTC Friday 13 March through 20:00 UTC Sunday 29 March, any 0.16 game played on any of the online servers will count for the tournament. 0.16 will be officially released before the start of the tournament.

The rules page contains all the details about how to score points and earn banners in the tournament. Quite a few changes to banners, in addition to a few other tweaks to scoring rules – check up!

As usual, clans (teams of up to six players) can be formed and changed until one week into the tournament, so don’t panic if you aren’t on one yet! (Being on a clan isn’t necessary to participate in the tournament, but it can be a lot of fun.)

Once the tournament has started, the tournament leaderboard will contain the current results. (Before tournament start, some scores might briefly appear on this page as we test the tournament scripts, but they are just for testing.)

Community Contributions

With the 0.16 release on the horizon, it seemed like a good time to recognize recent non-dev contributors to crawl. Dungeon Crawl is an open source game, and we’ve always welcomed help from the community, as the name implies. Our devs all started out making volunteer contributions, and many features of the game (like Octopodes) were created by non-developers. We don’t appreciate that as much as we should; so here’s some making up for lost time, a post about non-dev contributors, initially composed by a non-dev contributor! (Thanks, Edgar.)

(If you just want advice on how to contribute, skip to the end of the article!)

== Stats ==

(Global stats as of 0.16 (ish) from

Over the course of Crawl’s development, we’ve had 47,577 commits by 203 authors (not counting contribs not in commit form!) resulting in 373,054 lines of code.

All this took an estimated 101 years of combined effort! A century of crawl.

For 0.16 specifically, we had

  • 50 commit authors.
    • 24 members of the team contributed, the other 26 were community members,
    • with 5 more making contributions but not listed as commit authors.
  • Nathaniel Rook, infiniplex, Edgar A. Bering IV, and Chris Oelmueller all had more than 10 commits; Chris Oelmueller had 39!
  • Altogether 54 tiles were edited or added by community tiles authors, with Bloax contributing to 48 tiles.
  • Over 150 commits credited community members for their input.

During development approximately 580 new mantis tickets were opened on our bug-tracker, and 680 were resolved.

== Highlights: ==

Volunteer contributions ranged the gamut for this commit. Some people added new items, like the unrand Gyre and Gimble (designed by argonaut before being rewritten by wheals), or the new Potion of Ambrosia that replaces Potions of Confusion (thanks again, Edgar!). Others added new dungeon features, like Nathaniel Rook‘s troves that take piety instead of items, or Infiniplex‘s new set of dungeon layout generators. (Probably most noticeable in Elf!) Bloax added an enormous number of new tiles, for monsters, items, icons & features; Chris Oelmueller contributed a preposterous number of balance tweaks, bugfixes, and general quality of life improvements.

== Full breakdown: ==

== Interested in contributing? ==

That’s great! So, what do you want to do?

If you want to make art, that’s great! If you feel comfortable working with small sprites (generally around 32×32), then we can always use new tiles for almost everything – monsters, features, you name it. (Most of our monster tiles date back to the first release of tiles, nearly ten years ago!) You can check out our existing tiles by looking through the subdirectories here, and this document provides a full guide to the rest.

If you don’t feel comfortable with sprites that small, we can always use new loading screens – our existing ones are here.

If you prefer coding, probably the simplest place to start is by looking through the list of open bugs, finding something that looks promising, and uploading a fix. The code is here, and there are also guides to creating a patch.

If neither of those are your strong suit, you can try creating a new vault – a partially randomized area of the game. Documentation is here You can also try designing a new part of the game, like a god, species, or spell, and suggest it on the forums – remember to keep a thick skin and not take criticism too personally, though!

Once you’ve made something, art or a vault or anything else, put it on mantis in a new issue. Don’t feel too stressed about all of the fields – we can fix small mistakes with that sort of thing.

For help with any of these, feel free to visit ##crawl-dev on irc:// – there’s generally devs around to help any time, between 9 AM to 11 PM Pacific. (And even if no one’s around, you can leave a message and come back later – generally someone will read the logs sooner or later.)

Thanks for reading, and happy crawling!

Trunk updates, 22 February 2015

Hi, crawlers! Here’s what’s been going on during the feature freeze:

  • Gozag changes:
    • Gozag’s wrath now lasts until the player accrues a considerable amount of XP (like Ashenzari’s wrath), instead of being based on a number of punishments.
    • Gozag’s wrath no longer turns items to gold, or taxes gold that’s picked up.
    • Gozag’s wrath can now bribe more kinds of enemies, and no longer gives them invisibility.
    • Odds of Gozag preventing quaffing under wrath is up from 20% to 33%.
    • The first use of Gozag’s potion petition is now free.
    • Duplicate is no longer offered.
  • Monsters can no longer be distracted by your allies if you follow TSO. (Thus preventing annoying situations where you can’t attack an enemy, since it’s busy fighting your angel pal…)
  • Gell’s Gravitas is now level 5 (down from 6), and its confusion effect lasts somewhat longer.
  • Player ghosts now should have the proper rate of remembering spells again. (It was considerably too low for the last few months, owing to a badly named function.)
  • rMut now properly gives 90% mutation protection again, instead of 81%. (Broken since mid-September of last year.)
  • Ancient zymes’ melee attacks no longer drain stats.
  • rPois- randarts no longer generate.
  • Monster spriggans no longer have weird resistances (rPois for druids, rElec for air mages, rF & rC for the Enchantress)
  • rHellfire has been removed from most monsters that do not actually cast Hellfire, with the exception of Cerebov. Also, Cerebov is now magic immune.
  • Many previously magic-immune enemies are no longer: notably, most plants, eyes, mummies, and angels.
  • The Royal Jelly now spews jellies when polymorphed.
  • Descriptions for body armour now list the AC that they provide after Armour skill is taken into effect.
  • The Orb of Zot now always degrades controlled blink to semicontrolled blink (previously had a 50% chance of turning it into uncontrolled blink).
  • Xom is no longer amused when the player destroys the Orb of Zot. (It is impossible to destroy the Orb of Zot.)
  • Bazaars no longer ever contain oklobs.
  • THE GIAGGOSTUONO is now available for player tile use. (As “giaggostuono”.) Beware!
  • Fleshy orifices have been made a little more obvious.

Happy crawling!

Trunk updates, 8 February 2015

Hi, crawlers! The feature freeze came down last week (Tuesday the 3rd); that means we’re focusing on bugfixing and small balance changes for roughly the next month, until the release of 0.16 (which should hopefully be early March.)

Anyway, here’s some changes:

  • Card changes:
    • The Storm card can no longer create a twister & storm clouds at the same time (thus blowing you into the clouds & killing you), and can no longer create elemental wellsprings.
    • The Water card is back; it now creates temporary shallow water & summoned wellspring allies.
    • The Repulsiveness card will now always create at least one friendly ugly thing if it creates any hostile ugly things.
  • The Abyss that Abyssal Knights start out in has been tweaked. It can now generate stairs down; it’s once again possible to get a rune without leaving the abyss. (In theory!)
  • Monsters can now shout even if they’re already awake; in practice, this means the “tossing stones at wandering monsters” tech is considerably weaker.
  • Zombies, skeletons & other non-healing monsters can no longer be healed by any effect. (Including e.g. Ghostly Fireball.)
  • Josephine’s band of zombies & skeletons has been replaced by a band of wraiths.
  • The Dark Maul has had its enchantment & base damage increased; it should be more usable now.
  • Monstrous menagerie has had its summon cap decreased from 4 to 3.
  • Fake languages can now only be stacked up to 3 times. ‘Butt’ is now parameterizeable.
  • Friendly monsters should chatter a bit less.

Happy crawling!

Trunk updates, 1 February 2015

Hi, crawlers! Changes:

  • Ely rework:
    • Piety gain now comes from exploration, not pacification or weapon destruction.
    • Abilities have been reworked: Lesser & Greater Heal Self are now 1* and 4* abilities respectively (and have been renamed), Greater Heal Other is now 2*, 3* is Purification, and Lesser Heal Other has been removed. The “Heal Self” abilities have been renamed to just “Lesser/Greater Healing”.
    • Wands of Heal Wounds can no longer be used to pacify monsters.
    • The Healer background has been removed.
  • Other removals: the spell Forceful Dismissal, the spear of the Botono, and rN- effects.
  • Tomb monster tweaks:
    • Death Scarabs no longer cause draining (or rN-).
    • Bennu no longer have sticky flame.
    • Ushabti now only create negative energy clouds, not miasma.
    • Anubis guards no longer have Control Undead.
  • Shadow traps now deactivate temporarily after being triggered.
  • Display of artefact weapons in non-webtiles HUDs has been tweaked; the names no longer display if it would cause the line to become too long.
  • Elemental evokers no longer stack.
  • Meatsprint lost souls have been renamed to wretched souls, so as to avoid ambiguity with the completely unrelated monster, non-meatsprint lost souls.
  • Dispersal & Gell’s Gravitas have had their confusion effects slightly buffed.
  • The lantern of shadows now drains MP while wielded, and summoned shadows disappear after reaching 0 MP or unwielding the lantern. It no longer recolours the environment in console.
  • Large rocks no longer have a randomized throwing range.
  • Steel ammo now mulches at the same rate as normal ammo.
  • Two new Ru sacrifices: “sacrifice skill”, reducing all skill apts by 1 point (and adjusting your existing skills accordingly), and “sacrifice experience”, costing you 2 XL and reducing the XL cap by 2. (So max level becomes 25.)
  • Beogh now has the same chance of blessing followers after a kill, regardless of whether you or your followers made that kill. (Previously, the odds of a blessing were dramatically higher for kills made by followers.)
  • The ‘pizza=’ rcfile option has been added back & improved, after over two years in rcfile exile. As the famous pizza chef once said: Have It Your Way.

Happy crawling!

Trunk updates, 23 January 2015

Hi, crawlers! The newest changes, organized by a completely arbitrary and arguably meaningless set of priorities:

  • Major:
    • Shoals tides have been reworked: they now shift only between shallow water & land, never creating or destroying deep water tiles. They also move fifteen times faster.
    • New fake language: ‘butt’. To quote the purpose statement of the original:

      Buttbot is a social experiment in humour and interaction, it
      playfully mocks those around it. Almost deconstructionist in
      nature by manipulating the context of the text it parodies,
      it forces people to reexamine what has been said in a new light.

      It builds on the tradition of mechanising surrealist techniques,
      such as example Dadadodo by Jwz implementing the cut-up technique
      made famous by William S. Burroughs (and used by Radiohead).
      However instead of merely rearranging the content, buttbot aims
      to augment it with the simplistic low brow humour.

      The use of puerile humour is mainly to bring the conversation
      back down to earth, to remind us that in our intellectual pursuits
      that childish references to anatomy can bring a smile to our

    • Fake languages are now stackable. Try adding “fake_lang = dwarven,!!!” to your rcfile, or see the options guide for more languages and options.
    • New rcfile option: “easy_door”, which toggles whether or not to ask for a prompt when (C)losing doors if only one open door is adjacent. (For consistency.) Defaults to true.
    • add_autopickup_func() rcfile functionality has changed; returning false now signifies that corresponding items should never be picked up. I am told that if your autopickup is broken by this, you should do the following: “in the function passed to add_autopickup_func, change return false to return nil and change return a and b or c and d to return (a and b or c and d) or nil”. If you don’t understand that (I’m not super confident on it myself), maybe just delete the relevant functions and hope for the best.
    • Evocables now charge & discharge per-type, rather than individually. (That is, whenever you use a lamp of fire, all lamps of fire are unuseable until you gain enough xp to recharge it.) The elemental spirits are whimsical beings…
  • Moderate:
    • Light armour now has a small penalty to spellcasting success chance, and heavy armour’s penalties to spellcasting are slightly reduced.
    • Bucklers now have a very slightly smaller encumbrance penalty.
    • Shields’ evasion penalties, & the skill required to completely mitigate them, are now displayed in their descriptions.
    • Caustic shrikes, after being nerfed, buffed, nerfed, and nerfed, have been buffed. Specifically, they’re now somewhat buffer, and less likely to appear when polymorphing earlier, weaker creatures. Celebrate!
    • Natasha has traded her Mephitic Cloud for Conjure Flame, which she’ll use to try to block off the player’s avenues of manuever. (She had a bad habit of walking into her own mephitic clouds. Ridiculous cat…)
    • All book tiles have been completely replaced.
    • New tiles for several uniques. Check out Nikola’s new look, just before the next time he electrocutes you to death!
    • Gargoyles, being statues, can no longer cast Statue Form.
    • Exploration piety no longer scales by the size of the level; it now is based solely on the number of tiles explored. (Early Ziggurat levels no longer give enormous amounts of Ash/Nemelex piety.)
    • Throwing net range no longer varies by the size of the player; all races can now throw them to the edge of LOS, up from 5 squares for most races, 6 squares for ogres, 4 for halflings & kobolds, & a mere 3 squares for spriggans.
    • The Tome of Destruction has been utterly destroyed.
    • All non-permanent summoned monsters are now unable to use stairs.
    • Trog’s wrath summons are now permanent.
    • rPois- items now prevent the player from reaching rPois+.
  • Minor:
    • Item descriptions no longer claim that rPois- “protects against poison”.
    • It is no longer possible to instantly die from putting on a -hp item, or from having your last maximum hit point rotted away, or by being tormented at 1 hp while at rN-.
    • You can no longer drink !poison, !decay or !degeneration if you know what they are and are not immune to them. Crawl does not encourage self-destructive drinking among its players.
    • Hell rats no longer appear in the Sewers.
    • Hexes with a 100% success chance should no longer fail.
    • +Twstr and +-HP have been removed from randart generation.
    • Artefacts can no longer spawn with both “cause random teleportation” and “prevent all teleportation” properties.
    • Mummies can no longer be trapped in an infinite loop when calling for merchants.

    Happy crawling!