The trunk updates gesture, and weapons take to the air!

Hello crawlers, and welcome to the first trunk update post of the 0.29 development cycle. The dust has settled from the 0.28 tournament, and a bug fix release for 0.28 will appear soon. Meanwhile, trunk development has taken off as various members of the team and the community get to work on new exciting projects. First off we have several new vaults by community contributors DreamDust, and spicyCebolla, as well as tweaks, fixes, and text from Antern, chequers, CipHuk, Elliot Bernstein, Diego Essaya, Implojin, perryprog, and robertxgray. Many thanks to the community contributors that keep crawl alive and healthy! Now let’s turn to the gameplay changes since 0.28.

Launcher ammo is removed

You read that correctly: player launchers now have unlimited ammo. Along with this are changes and tweaks to bring balance in this new, free firing world:

  • ranged weapons have had their stats adjusted downward
  • the Hunter background no longer starts with a short sword and no longer has a throwing option
  • Kobolds now have +3 crossbows aptitude
  • Armour penalties apply to ranged weapon attack delay
  • Launcher damage scales with dex instead of str
  • Spriggans can no longer wield triple crossbows, and fustibali are 2-handed.

Several new Uniques stalk the dungeon

  • Parghit the Mighty. Following the example of Maggie/Margery, Parghit is an “alt-timeline” version of Pargi. Parghit appears in late Depths, Zot, Crypt and Tomb, and sports high-enchantment golden dragon scales (with a 1% chance of wearing the Dragon King) and an astonishing 27 HP regenerated per turn. He’s definitely killable, but best not underestimated.
  • Josephina the Ice-Lich. As one more “alt-timeline” unique, Josephina is an upgraded version of Josephine. She appears in late Vaults, Depths, Crypt, Tomb, and Zot, and borrows Wendigo Seracfall (turning simulacrula into 3d33 bombs) to add to her classic Ghostly Fireball. She comes with a guaranteed randart ring of ice.
  • Amaemon the Diabolical Poisoner. Crawl’s first demonspawn unique, appearing in mid-D, early Lair and Orc:1. Alongside his orange demon companion, Amaemon summons scorpions (the classic returns!) and casts Concentrate Venom, upgrading his allies’ poison into curare. To encourage players to try to kill him, he wields a demon whip of venom, with 1% chance of the unique Snakebite.
  • Lodul the Thundrous. Lodul is an ironbound thunderhulk who’s been sent to patrol outside the Vaults, in late D. He’s got a weaker version of Call Down Lightning and a big band of ogres and two-headed ogres to help him keep distance from the player. Defensively, he looks a lot like Erolcha.
  • Vv the Exile. Vv is a combination of ironbound frosthearts (Creeping Frost) and Salamander Tyrants (Eruption/Pyroclastic Surge), appearing in Depths, Zot, Crypt, and Tomb. She’s themed as a new species, the Stoneborn, sentient earth elementals. She also has strong defenses and both flaming and cold melee.
  • Zenata, Seeker of Sheza. Zenata is another late-game unique (appearing in Depths, Zot &c), borrowing a bit from the Desolation of Salt and putting a twist on it. She’s taken the ragged hierophants’ “Resonance Strike”, which is like airstrike that gets bonus damage from adjacent constructs instead of from open spaces, and uses it in conjuction with a new “Sheza’s Dance” spell, which summons 2-4 dancing weapons. She comes with a high-tier weapon with some plusses already on it.

Monster energy and attacks of opportunity

A major mechanical change has landed in trunk. “Random energy” was introduced long ago in Stone Soup’s history as an attempt at deterring tedious-but-optimal levels of pillar dancing and luring, while permitting shorter trips. It has not been successful in that role, and additionally offered a “get out of jail free-ish” card in many fights against certain monsters. The spirit that motivated it also motivated previous devteam attempts to meet the problem with a better solution, such as the dynamic-monsters experimental during the 0.17 cycle. This time around we’re tinkering with the mechanic again, in the following form:

  • Monster move energy is no longer randomized.
  • Monsters adjacent to the player gain a 1/3 chance to gain a free* attack if the player moves away from them. Wu Jian martial attacks & rampaging give immunity, and monsters that don’t move fast enough to follow you can’t attack. *Terms and conditions apply: the monster must have sufficient energy to be able to move the next turn (monsters slower than the player don’t get this chance on the turn they fall behind), and monsters that attack slowly don’t get a full refund on the energy used for the attack, only the amount of a normal turn.
  • Ogres, 2-headed Ogres, Ogre magi, and Thunderhulks attack more slowly in melee.
  • Early D spawns are nerfed a bit, with top killers less common and Harold moved later.

In addition to the direct tuning changes above, backgrounds have their starting kits improved a bit with extra consumables, to increase tactical options in the very early game. See the next section.

Expanded starting kits

Many backgrounds get improved starting kits with a new consumable or two to help with the very earliest moments of the game when tactical options are limited.

  • All ‘mages’ (‘pure casters’) start with a potion of magic.
  • Gladiators get a throwing weapon (one); a javelin, large rock, or boomerang.
  • Monks get a potion of ambrosia.
  • Hunters get a scroll of immolation.
  • Brigands get an additional poisoned & curare dart.
  • Artificers trade their chesspiece for nine charges of iceblast.
  • Wanderers get an additional random potion or scroll.
  • Abyssal Knights start at 60 piety (just over 2*) instead of 38 (just over 1*). This should allow them to use Bend Space if needed.
  • Chaos Knights get Artificer’s xom chesspiece.
  • Transmuters get a potion of lignification.
  • Warpers get more boomerangs of dispersal.
  • Arkane Markspersons get a scroll of vulnerability.
  • Enchanters get another potion of invisibility.

Everything else

Along with big-ticket changes there’s the usual froth and fizz of trunk development, with little tweaks and small features all over.

  • Unrand tweaks:
    • the Glaive of the Guard is reduced to +5
    • the arbalest “Dammnation” is reduced to firing 2d14 explosions
    • Gyre & Gimble are now +12
    • the Woodcutter’s axe is now a battleaxe
  • Long and short blade damage scales with Dexterity instead of Strength.
  • Merfolk’s polearms aptitude is reduced to +3, with long blades increased to +2
  • Mummy necromancy enhancers now appear at XL 3 and 13
  • Most zombies and skeletons are removed from Dungeon generation.

That’s all for now! The team is still getting organized around 0.29 priorities, so through the haze of Gehenna it’s hard to make out what’s coming. One big project is an overhaul of Necromancy, particularly the corpse exploitation spells; it’s still in the early phases so keep an eye out to see what sort of dark abomination comes out of the work. Until next time, happy crawling!

The trunk updates hit you as you move away! Ouch! That really hurt!!! You die…