Confusing manual/help pages


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Mines Malingerer

Posts: 30

Joined: Thursday, 24th May 2018, 16:47

Location: UK

Post Tuesday, 29th May 2018, 12:55

Confusing manual/help pages

I am not sure if this is the best category to put this thread, but I'd suggest it would be useful to have a page on Tavern or the Development wiki where players -- and especially beginners -- can list aspects of the game that the manual/help pages (inside the game) left them confused or where ambiguous. This list could then be used by players/devs that understand the game better to submit contributions that improve/fix these pages. Thoughts?

To start here are a few personal examples:
1- In the description for ring of slaying, it is not clear if the bonus is only for physical weapons (ranged, melee, and unarmed) or also for magical weapons (magic dart, stone arrow, fireball, etc).
2- In the manual it is not clear what determines the "aim" for magical attacks. For a long time I thought it probably was agility, or less probably intelligence. I discovered recently it's power.
3- Does the amulet of inaccuracy affect spells too?
4- What does "power" mean for transmutation spells? Does it affect the base damage?
5- Often I do not know how to resist certain attacks, like Beogh's smite (is it MR or rNeg?), or non magical effects like wasp paralysis (is it rP or MR?)
6- Is there a roll to avoid or half area damages (like fireball or various vapours)?

For this message the author Antares has received thanks: 2
duvessa, nago

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 5728

Joined: Tuesday, 30th October 2012, 19:06

Post Tuesday, 29th May 2018, 16:19

Re: Confusing manual/help pages

The description of a ring of slaying is:
  Code:
A ring that increases or decreases the wearer's effectiveness with ranged weapons and melee attacks, depending on its degree of enchantment.

I'm not sure how you would apply that to spells unless you deliberately misread it.

Spells in general are effected by spellpower, but not all spells have a to-hit component (some always hit, for example magic dart and fireball) and of course there's a lot of spells that aren't attacks at all. It would probably be good if attack spells that could miss had an accuracy bar that changed with training to go with the power/range/hunger/noise meters that already exist for attack spells. The problem is that what spellpower does for each spell is dependent on the spell itself, so you can't easily represent the effects of spellpower in a general way. This goes for your question about transmutation too, while the failure rate is always effected (and is obvious) a lot of transmutation spells don't have *any* effect for additional spellpower, but some do.

The amulet of inaccuracy's description is this:
  Code:
An amulet that makes its wearer less accurate in melee combat and when targeting monsters via ranged attacks or spells.

I feel like that's as explicit as it can get.

Some things don't have a way to resist them, and some do, but don't have a good description that clues you in, for example the hornet's description reads:
  Code:
A buzzing hornet with a vicious stinger dripping with paralytic poison
which clues you in that the hornet's paralysis is from poison, and maybe rP would be helpful against it.

It is not clear, however, from either the description of orc priests, or from the description of the smiting ability itself, that it's resistible at all.

In reference to your "roll for half area damage" no, there's no such roll, nor is it implied anywhere in the documentation that there would be. (I realize that's a thing in D&D, but crawl isn't D&D nor is it intended to be reflective of those mechanics at all) Obviously the documentation can't list all the mechanics which *don't* exist in crawl, that would be silly.
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Mines Malingerer

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Location: UK

Post Tuesday, 29th May 2018, 21:09

Re: Confusing manual/help pages

Siegurt wrote:The description of a ring of slaying is:
[...]
I'm not sure how you would apply that to spells unless you deliberately misread it.

Fair enough. I am sure when I was a newbie I checked and was left unsure. Perhaps my issue was that when it says "ranged weapon" I thoguht that it wasn't including things like hexes but it may include things like stone arrow too. It may help to include "but not spells" or something similar.

Spells in general are effected by spellpower, but not all spells have a to-hit component (some always hit, for example magic dart and fireball) and of course there's a lot of spells that aren't attacks at all.

Of course. But for example in the "Spellcasting" section in the manual (section H) there's a nice explanation of "hunger", how it works and how to check the value for your spells, but it says nothing about "power". At best it says in the introduction that increasing the skill corresponding to a spell's school "will improve the casting chance and, in many cases, the effect as well". At the end there's a whole paragraph on the casting chance and how to improve it, but nothing about the effects.

So perhaps like for casting chance and hunger, there should be a paragraph explaining that a spell can have various levels of "power". That this can be check in the spell screen (like hunger). That it increases with skill and Int. And that it may affect things like: duration, damage, aim, or chances to overcome magic resistance. It doesn't have to explain the exact meaning for each spell: figuring out which applies to each spell is not too hard.

It would probably be good if attack spells that could miss had an accuracy bar that changed with training to go with the power/range/hunger/noise meters that already exist for attack spells. The problem is that what spellpower does for each spell is dependent on the spell itself, so you can't easily represent the effects of spellpower in a general way. This goes for your question about transmutation too, while the failure rate is always effected (and is obvious) a lot of transmutation spells don't have *any* effect for additional spellpower, but some do.

I am not proposing changes to the mechanics or to the user interface: just changes to the help pages and/or the manual.

Some things don't have a way to resist them, and some do, but don't have a good description that clues you in, for example the hornet's description reads [...] which clues you in that the hornet's paralysis is from poison, and maybe rP would be helpful against it.

It is not clear, however, from either the description of orc priests, or from the description of the smiting ability itself, that it's resistible at all.
And is the draining effect of some early monster defended against using rNeg or MR? There's many such cases.

Imho the best option would be to put an item in the spell's or ability's description that explains how it can be resisted, the same way that now monster's description explains any fire/cold/etc. damage that they may cause.

In reference to your "roll for half area damage" no, there's no such roll, nor is it implied anywhere in the documentation that there would be. (I realize that's a thing in D&D, but crawl isn't D&D nor is it intended to be reflective of those mechanics at all) Obviously the documentation can't list all the mechanics which *don't* exist in crawl, that would be silly.
Thanks for the explanation on the mechanics. Much appreciated.

My point here though was about the description page. For example there could be a mention in the "fireball" and "cloud" spells that the damage is unavoidable (although it can be lessened with rFire, etc.), the same way it says for "Magic dart" that it always hit. Similarly (imho) it should say for other conjuration spells that it may or may not hit and this depends on "power".

I mean, currently the "Fireball" description doesn't even say how big is the explotion (i.e. 3x3). This is all it says: "Hurls an explosive ball of fire". :D

An additional point I noticed: in the manual's section on "Attributes and Stats" (section C.) it doesn't say that Int affects a spell's power (but I think it does, right?).

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 29th May 2018, 23:05

Re: Confusing manual/help pages

Antares wrote:
It would probably be good if attack spells that could miss had an accuracy bar that changed with training to go with the power/range/hunger/noise meters that already exist for attack spells. The problem is that what spellpower does for each spell is dependent on the spell itself, so you can't easily represent the effects of spellpower in a general way. This goes for your question about transmutation too, while the failure rate is always effected (and is obvious) a lot of transmutation spells don't have *any* effect for additional spellpower, but some do.

I am not proposing changes to the mechanics or to the user interface: just changes to the help pages and/or the manual.

I was talking about putting the accuracy bar in the spell's description (Aka the 'help pages') With the other bars (like power, range, hunger and noise) I was also not suggesting a change to the interface or mechanics.
Antares wrote:
Some things don't have a way to resist them, and some do, but don't have a good description that clues you in, for example the hornet's description reads [...] which clues you in that the hornet's paralysis is from poison, and maybe rP would be helpful against it.

It is not clear, however, from either the description of orc priests, or from the description of the smiting ability itself, that it's resistible at all.
And is the draining effect of some early monster defended against using rNeg or MR? There's many such cases.

Imho the best option would be to put an item in the spell's or ability's description that explains how it can be resisted, the same way that now monster's description explains any fire/cold/etc. damage that they may cause.

Yes, I agree, sorry if that wasn't clear, I think all spells/abilities should have that information in the description (not just it be hinted at inconsistently)
Antares wrote:An additional point I noticed: in the manual's section on "Attributes and Stats" (section C.) it doesn't say that Int affects a spell's power (but I think it does, right?).

Yes, it vaguely indicates that it "Affects how well you can cast spells" which is fairly unspecific, but it does effect spellpower.
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Mines Malingerer

Posts: 30

Joined: Thursday, 24th May 2018, 16:47

Location: UK

Post Tuesday, 29th May 2018, 23:29

Re: Confusing manual/help pages

Siegurt wrote:I was talking about putting the accuracy bar in the spell's description (Aka the 'help pages') With the other bars (like power, range, hunger and noise) I was also not suggesting a change to the interface or mechanics.

Oh, I see (I thought you meant in the spell list: "z?"). Your idea would be even better: as a player I'd love to have something like that. But it would involve more work (for a start it would require change to the code).

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 29th May 2018, 23:33

Re: Confusing manual/help pages

Siegurt wrote:a lot of transmutation spells don't have *any* effect for additional spellpower, but some do.
This isn't true. All the transmutation spells currently in the game are affected by spell power.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 07:55

Re: Confusing manual/help pages

duvessa wrote:
Siegurt wrote:a lot of transmutation spells don't have *any* effect for additional spellpower, but some do.
This isn't true. All the transmutation spells currently in the game are affected by spell power.

Yes, you're right, that's misleading, all transmutations have at very least the spell's duration effected by spellpower, The actual damage/defenses of the form may or may not be effected depending on the spell.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 30th May 2018, 23:54

Re: Confusing manual/help pages

As far as I know, most transmutations have additional properties which are boosted by higher spell power (ice form/statue form give more ac per spellpower), but the only one which gives more unarmed damage with increased spellpower is hydra form, which grants more heads, and heads = damage. I think spider form only scales the duration. Same with beastly appendage/blade hands, but that's hardly a form spell, they're more just boosted attack modes. And finally dragon form is duration only.

So:

Spider = Duration
Ice = Duration, AC
Hydra = Duration, damage
Statue = Duration, AC
Dragon = Duration

For this message the author tasonir has received thanks:
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