Crawl refreshed


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Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1774

Joined: Tuesday, 23rd December 2014, 23:39

Post Monday, 8th June 2015, 22:03

Crawl refreshed

The motivation here is that the early game in crawl is more enjoyable and interesting than the later game, so let's design a variant of crawl where the whole game is more like the early game. From the other thread, these are the elements of the early game I would like to capture:
What does the pre-lair game have that the later game does not?
  • Item identification! That thrill of identifying your first heal wounds potion is unmatched later on.
  • Fewer enemies per level. Later in the game it becomes boring to fight so many hordes of enemies because it's just the same damn thing over and over for each one.
  • More dangerous enemies relative to your xl. It's more interesting to decide tactics to fight or escape from a single hard enemy or two enemies.
  • More sleeping enemies. You can frequently choose not to fight - and because the enemies are so dangerous, that's frequently a good tactical decision. Later in the game, when more enemies wake up and wander, it often ends up just being you against the horde of everything in the area, which is uninteresting.
  • Item finds that impact your game much more. That blowgun, that hunting sling, that hand crossbow, or that spear of venom are all usable against many of the hardest enemies, even at 0 skill.
  • Greater influence of background on the game. This leads to more variety of gameplay.
  • Narrow corridors. Again, this fits with the emphasis on single combat with dangerous enemies, rather than you against a horde.
  • Greater variety in what capabilities different characters have. Later on everybody has flying, everybody has digging, most have ctele, etc etc. Early on it's much more randomized.


The basic concept I'd like to run with is that every time you enter a new branch, you get set back to xl1 and lose most of your gear and items. Then you play that branch from xl1 with a similar play-feel to the early dungeon. During the course of a branch, you will level from level 1 to approximately level 10-12, killing enemies that are scaled in difficulty so that you can handle them. Here are the changes I think would support that concept:
  • When you enter a branch, you lose items and experience.
    • You receive the message: "As you pass through the gateway, you feel the power of Zot tearing at your mind. Ghostly hands pry at your armor and pack. You cling desperately to your most valued possessions." You may press space to continue.
    • You get a glimpse at the entry area of the level before you press space. This lets you e.g. choose to hold on to consumables to help you survive it in case it's dangerous, at the expense of holding on to other items.
    • Once you press space, you are presented with a screen where you must choose 15 items in your inventory. You will retain 10 of those items at random. The remaining 5 items, along with the rest of the items in your inventory, will be destroyed.
    • Your XL is set to 1.
    • You forget all spells except up to two level 1 spells (at random, if you know more than two level 1 spells).
    • All items on the floor in previous branches are swept away by the power of Zot.
    • Your skills and base stats are reset to the starting skills and stats for your background.
    • Your non-innate mutations are cleared. This includes Ru sacrifices.
    • Your piety is reset to the amount it would be if you had just worshiped your god from an altar (I think 20 in most cases?). Monks/zealots get a bonus here.
  • Enemies are made similar in strength and number to D1-10 enemies.
    • Enemies are scaled in toughness, damage, and HD to your level. To achieve this it is helpful to compare them to D1-10 enemies. e.g. a harpy is maybe similar to a bat, but dealing 3x more damage than a bat.
    • There are far fewer enemies placed normally. Vaults with many enemies will not be placed. Or maybe they could be placed, but with many of the monsters removed from the vault at random.
    • Enemies will be sleeping in accordance with the proportion of sleeping monsters on D1-10. This means they will be initially asleep a lot more often.
    • More dangerous enemies won't be placed on the first few levels of the branch, and are strongly weighted to the end of the branch, similar to the D1-10 monster progression.
    • Later branches would end up having more dangerous enemies than D1-10. This is compensated by later branches having better items in them (books, weapons, armor) and by the fact that you can retain some of your items from previous branches.
    • Shorter branches would have to increase their length or the amount of XP given by monsters, to give you time to get to xl10-12 by the end of them.
  • Spells are rescaled to be appropriate to xl1-11.
    • All spells in the game are level1-6. Firestorm, for example, would be level 5. Level 5 spells are about what you can cast if you focus on fire/conj from D1-10. The rationale here is that it would still be nice to have firestorm in the game. Tornado/shatter would be level 6, so that you can't get them too early.
    • Some higher-level spells (that had their level reduced) would deal greatly reduced damage. Firestorm, for example, would be scaled so it would take about two shots to kill a hill giant.
    • Level 9 spells would still be very strong - a level 5 firestorm would be a lot stronger than fireball (which would still be level 5). This is balanced by the rarity of finding the right spellbook. Consider that once you get firestorm online, the branch will soon be over and you'll forget it (and maybe lose the book).
    • Formerly high-level spellbooks are thus great "pick me up and use me" items, similar to finding a nice early demon blade on a fighter.
    • Spellbooks are a lot more common after D1-10. In later game branches, the higher level spellbooks are more common than in early branches, just as better weapons are more common in the later game.
  • Weapons and armor are also rescaled to be appropriate to xl1-11.
    • Decreasing the ER of some of the heavier armours, and the base delay of some of the slower weapons, would be in order.
    • It may be necessary to have more enchant armor/weapon scrolls especially in later branches.
  • Piety gain would be scaled so that you reach 200 piety by branch end if you don't use god abilities. The exception would be on D1-10 where it would be like now. This could also vary by branch - later game branches would build piety faster.
  • God abilities that require invocations would be scaled so they are usable at lower invocations. Say, 8-10 invocations should be a rough equivalent of 20 invocations currently.
  • D11-15 would be a branch with a gateway that resets you to xl1 like other branches.
streaks: 5 fifteen rune octopodes. 15 diverse chars. 13 random chars. 24 NaWn^gozag.
251 total wins Berder hyperborean + misc
83/108 recent wins (76%)
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Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 11111

Joined: Friday, 8th February 2013, 12:00

Post Monday, 8th June 2015, 22:10

Re: Crawl refreshed

If you have some ideas about monsters for early dungeon, can we add them there? I don't see how we can enter a branch with many poisonous monsters, confusing monsters, tormenting monsters, hellfiring monsters, death-cursing monsters etc. at XL1.

Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1774

Joined: Tuesday, 23rd December 2014, 23:39

Post Monday, 8th June 2015, 22:14

Re: Crawl refreshed

Sandman25 wrote:If you have some ideas about monsters for early dungeon, can we add them there? I don't see how we can enter a branch with many poisonous monsters, confusing monsters, tormenting monsters, hellfiring monsters, death-cursing monsters etc. at XL1.

Simple: let them deal less poison damage. Let confusion wear off faster. Let hellfire deal less damage. Let death curses deal less damage. Let torment deal less damage - or since it already does deal damage proportional to your hp, maybe torment's ok as-is.

And save the more dangerous enemies for levels nearer to the end of the branch.
streaks: 5 fifteen rune octopodes. 15 diverse chars. 13 random chars. 24 NaWn^gozag.
251 total wins Berder hyperborean + misc
83/108 recent wins (76%)
guides: safe tactics value of ac/ev/sh forum toxicity
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Barkeep

Posts: 1786

Joined: Saturday, 29th June 2013, 16:52

Post Monday, 8th June 2015, 22:17

Re: Crawl refreshed

This seems like a bunch of cool ideas that are mostly just held back by being associated with Crawl at all.

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Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 5331

Joined: Friday, 25th November 2011, 07:36

Post Monday, 8th June 2015, 23:11

Re: Crawl refreshed

If you're going to have everything reset this would probably work better as episodes, rather than one game. Let the player pick a character and do a branch, win the game in 30 minutes, poof, a coffee break roguelike with 10 different dungeons to try! You could try streaking them all with one character for online bragging rights (we love those)!

As archaeo said, it's a cool idea, doesn't fit with crawl though.

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Rast

Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1774

Joined: Tuesday, 23rd December 2014, 23:39

Post Tuesday, 9th June 2015, 00:47

Re: Crawl refreshed

The words you're looking for are "crawl variant."
streaks: 5 fifteen rune octopodes. 15 diverse chars. 13 random chars. 24 NaWn^gozag.
251 total wins Berder hyperborean + misc
83/108 recent wins (76%)
guides: safe tactics value of ac/ev/sh forum toxicity

mps

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 886

Joined: Saturday, 3rd January 2015, 22:34

Post Tuesday, 9th June 2015, 01:06

Re: Crawl refreshed

This is like the exact opposite of the variant concept being passed around in cszo tileschat, tentatively titled "Dungeon Crawl: No Soup." I suggest you call your variant "Dungeon Crawl: Bottomless Soup and Salad."
Dungeon Crawling Advice tl;dr: Protect ya neck.

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archaeo, Arrhythmia

Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1774

Joined: Tuesday, 23rd December 2014, 23:39

Post Tuesday, 9th June 2015, 03:20

Re: Crawl refreshed

Also:
  • On entering a new branch, you forget all item identification except for the items you are carrying.
  • If you are judged to have inadequate equipment after entering a new branch, some of your items will be replaced with the starting gear from your background. If you have no melee weapon and are from a melee background, you will be granted your starting melee weapon. If you have no food, you will be granted your starting food. If you have no ranged weapon and are from a ranged background, you will be granted your starting ranged weapon. If you have no books and are from a book background, you will be granted your starting book. Wanderers are a special case and will be considered "melee" "ranged" and/or "book" for this purpose, depending on what their starting gear was.
streaks: 5 fifteen rune octopodes. 15 diverse chars. 13 random chars. 24 NaWn^gozag.
251 total wins Berder hyperborean + misc
83/108 recent wins (76%)
guides: safe tactics value of ac/ev/sh forum toxicity

mps

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 886

Joined: Saturday, 3rd January 2015, 22:34

Post Tuesday, 9th June 2015, 04:25

Re: Crawl refreshed

Berder, I got an idea: What if every time you find an item, you don't know what it is. Like, you find a spear, but you don't know it's a spear. You find a potion of heal wounds, you don't know it's a potion or that it heals wounds. Items on the map are just formless blobs. UNTIL: You read an ID scroll!

What do you think?
Dungeon Crawling Advice tl;dr: Protect ya neck.

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Arrhythmia

Barkeep

Posts: 3890

Joined: Wednesday, 14th August 2013, 23:25

Location: USA

Post Tuesday, 9th June 2015, 05:01

Re: Crawl refreshed

I like the early game a lot (with you there), but that doesn't mean I'd want to be stuck in DCSS Groundhog Day, replaying the early game with the exact same character with little sense of progress. An analogy: Oftentimes I like the appetizers more than the main course, but that doesn't mean I want a dinner consisting only of spinach and artichoke dip. (So mps's comment about endless soup and salad was spot on.)

It doesn't really sound like a Crawl variant when you remove one of the major distinguishing features of Crawl, persistent levels that you can skip past and return to as you wish (Pan and Abyss notwithstanding). The ideas in the OP could definitely make for an intriguing concept for a game, but I honestly think you'd be doing those ideas a disservice if they were shoehorned into current DCSS, rather than being implemented in a game designed entirely around them, from scratch.

Shoals Surfer

Posts: 300

Joined: Thursday, 1st May 2014, 13:13

Post Tuesday, 9th June 2015, 05:42

Re: Crawl refreshed

As a mini version of crawl, I like playing just till I clear D:7 (or a later floor, if 7 has some ridiculous unique on it). I started doing this when I was trying to learn combos for CSDC, but I enjoy it on its own terms.

My standard game now is a variant of crate crawl--get one S rune and one non-S rune and ascend. Don't go into depths. Abyss is still doable via banishment. I get much less bored than I do in a standard 3-rune game.

Anyway, your variant sounds interesting, but I think there are ways to get a shorter crawl experience without the amount of work this would take.

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