You feel a terrible foreboding… the trunk updates come into view!

Hello crawlers! It has been a busy month since we last wrote, with lots and lots of new stuff landing in trunk.

First of all, you’ve probably noticed a lot of fresh new looks for monsters and terrain. A big thanks to community contributor Sastreii for the stream of awesome tiles.

The long promised Hell overhaul has arrived in trunk, with a complete refresh of each of the sub-branches and tons of new monsters. nicolae is hard at work on new Hell vaults as well, so watch out! Speaking of vaults, hellmonk has brewed up six new WizLabs for you to loot, or perhaps to die in.

Fighter and Fire Elementalist have both been adjusted – the latter has two new spells, and there are a few other new spells as well. The behavior of random rage from all sources has had a variety of tweaks, and there’s the usual grab bag of other tweaks, changes, and adjustments.

Hell Overhaul:

For a long time, players have let us know that hells are too long (28 floors!) but too easy – a “victory parade”. To fix that, we’ve taken what was fun and challenging about the hells and distilled away the rest. The result is much more lethal, shorter, and a rip-roaring good time all the way through. Changes include:

  • Hell effects are divided into timed effects and branch wide persistent effects.
  • The timed effects are the same for all hells, and consist of temporary mutation, stat drain, hp drain, and noise.
  • The branch-wide persistent effects are:
    • In Dis, players have 8 Corrosion (-8 AC and Slaying).
    • In Cocytus, potions are frozen solid cannot be used.
    • In Gehenna, scrolls are obscured by hellish smoke and cannot be used.
    • In Tartarus, Willpower is halved by the sheer horror of the environs.
  • In each hell sub-branch, floors 1-6 are shrunk to 1/4 of their original area. (The final floor of each branch, floor 7, is unchanged.)
  • Each level only generates a single downstair, with no randomly placed shafts and a limited number of escape hatches.
  • Hell subbranches have their monster lists refreshed with a variety of new enemies, replacing things like weak derived undead and so-called “trash mobs”.
    • Each subbranch has hellions, tormentors, dread liches, and ancient liches.
    • In addition to the cross-hell population, there are revised monster sets in each subbranch.
    • Gehenna is now populated by brimstone fiends, hellephants, hell hogs, fire giants, salamander tyrants, balrugs, and three new monsters:
      • The creeping inferno stalks the player like a lurking horror, and when it explodes it goes off in a fire storm.
      • Searing wretches are ghoul-like monsters that strip fire resistance with their melee attacks.
      • Stokers tend the fires of Gehenna, summoning creeping infernos and setting off wind blasts.
    • Dis is now populated by hell sentinels, iron giants, caustic shrikes, iron dragons, war gargoyles, buffed iron golems, and two new monsters:
      • Quicksilver elementals have quicksilver bolt and antimagic attacks, as well as batty movement.
      • Crystal echidnas throw barbs and fire crystal bolts. They’re made of green crystal and are appropriately vulnerable to LRD.
    • Cocytus is now populated by ice fiends, shard shrikes, azure jellies, titans, frost giants, freezing wraiths, simulacra, and two new monsters:
      • Wendigos have stunning blast, paralyzing victims for 1 turn on hit. They can also turn nearby simulacra into very powerful iceblasts, destroying the simulacrae in the process.
      • Narguns hit hard, have a vulnerability melee, and cast petrify. (Watch out – since potions are frozen solid in Cocytus, you can’t quaff cancellation to stop the petrification!).
    • Tartarus is now populated by tzitzimimeh, silent spectres, doom hounds, bone dragons, profane servitors, eidola, shadow wraiths, spectral things, and two new monsters:
      • Tainted leviathans are undead giants which mesmerise, throw large rocks, and are ringed by miasma clouds
      • Putrid mouths are screaming ghosts with miasma breath, strong poison and stat draining melee.

Six New Wizard’s Laboratories:

Hellmonk, with an assist from PleasingFungus and art from Sastreii has brought a whole assortment of new WizLabs for you, including restoring two that were cut in 0.17.

  • Eringya’s Formal Garden (previously removed in 0.17) returns with a modified layout, nastier archers, and the addition of some of the swamp monsters that have been added between then and now.
  • Tukima’s Studio (also removed in 0.17) returns with a modified layout and several brand-new monster types to complement the dancing weapons: walking tomes, which summon living spells that cast themselves at the player. Walking Tomes also now appear as high-tier enemies in Depths.
  • Yara’s Duelist Academy features mana vipers, lots of warrior-mages wielding antimagic weapons, and a fearsome semi-unique Head Instructor who likes to dual-wield triple swords.
  • Borgnjor’s Mausoleum features both corporeal and incorporeal undead. Lost souls occasionally appear when monsters are killed, making big fights scarier. A cult of halazid warlocks serve as the final encounter.
  • Maxwell’s Workshop features an array of golems and big, meaty workers who wield big, meaty maces. You’ll find some of Maxwell’s cast-off equipment here, perhaps including the legendary artifacts themselves.
  • Alistair’s Party Mansion features an array of wizards and their bizarre guests. There’s some good consumables to be had if you don’t mind crashing the party of the century… and wading through statrotting clouds of degeneration.

Background changes:

In 0.27, we removed some Level 5 spells from book starts. This was to push them toward being like other backgrounds: a starting kit, not something that lasts you through most of the game. Fire Elementalists are now being changed in the same way: they get two new low-level spells, Scorch and Flame Wave (described below), replacing Sticky Flame and Fireball in the starting book.

Changes to shield delays made kite shields a worse starting item. Accordingly, most Fighters now start with bucklers, which require less skill. (Ogres and Trolls, which cannot use bucklers, are unchanged.)

Spell changes:

  • New spell: Scorch (L2 Fire). Hits a random enemy within 3 tiles, dealing fire damage. If damage is dealt, applyies short term rF- to the foe. Cinder Acolytes start with Scorch instead of Foxfire.
  • New spell: Flame Wave (L4 Fire/Conj). Flame Wave is a channeled spell (like Searing Ray) that hits all surrounding tiles in ever-wider waves of flame. The initial cast costs 4 MP, and each turn of channeling costs 1 MP. The noise starts a bit louder than a shout, and gets up to fireball level by the last wave.
  • New spell: Summon Cactus Giant (L6 Summoning). Summons a jolly green giant, which impales attacking enemies on its giant spines. Appears in the Book of the Wilderness and the Book of Scorching
  • Searing Ray‘s power scaling is decreased.
  • Storm Form’s power scaling is decreased, but blinkbolt is now always LOS range.
  • Bolt of Magma and Corona are now monster only.

Random rage:

  • Random rage bypasses Ashenzari clarity
  • *Rage now causes berserk on 20% of hits per item (the exact chance is displayed in the % screen and item description).
  • The evokable berserk artefact property is removed.
  • Unrand changes:
    • The necklace of bloodlust keeps *Rage but with 50% berserk chance.
    • The Zealot’s sword retains *Rage with the standard 20% berserk chance.
    • Leech trades *Rage for Harm and Drain on unequip.
    • The hat of the bear spirit gains *Rage instead of +Rage (for now).
  • Berserkitis’ chance to berserk on melee hit stacks with *Rage linearly, and the cumulative chance is displayed in the % screen.
  • Cheibriados permits berserk, and just suppresses the extra speed.

The rest of the changes:

  • All derived undead keep their reach, constriction, and trample effects.
  • New entry vaults, ruin sub vaults, and maps for Desolation
  • Red Devils no longer kite, and instead their melee attack inflicts the barbs status if damage is done.
  • The Ranger Card now summons rangers from these three types: centaur warrior, naga sharpshooter, deep elf master archer. (thanks sdynet!).
  • Ironbound Beastmasters are removed.
  • Depths is now 4 floors.
  • The experience cost of high-level skills is reduced (approximately equivalent to a +1 increase in aptitude at skill level 23).
  • To compensate, late game XP is reduced.
  • The top-end two handers have slightly lowered skill requirements for mindelay. Executioner’s axes and bardiches now reach mindelay at skill 24, and triple swords at skill 22.
  • Throwing ammunition is reduced.
  • Abyssal Knights background stat contribution is changed to 5/2/5 Str/Int/Dex, from 4/4/4.

On the horizon:

That rounds out the changes for this update. Looking to the future is always fraught, but amid the miasmatic haze of Tartarus there are some outlines of a spider overhaul, adjustments to the wanderer start, more efforts to compactify mid-to-lategame, and a host of community and dev-team designed new vaults. Further afield there are rumors of new Bailies, overhauls of Yredelemnul and Jiyva, and perhaps even something about ranged combat. Stay tuned! And until next time, happy crawling!

The trunk update rustles loudly! The trunk update casts itself at you!!!!!!! You die…