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Dungeon Branch: The Ant Nest

PostPosted: Monday, 19th October 2015, 21:34
by Can-ned Food
Sorry, my notes are not available at the moment. I'll edit this with the full details later.
Curious to see who would be interested, or if it is something only I'd be playing. Dungeon Crawl Pebble Porridge, if you know what I mean.

What I would like to do is begin writing up a new branch to the dungeon, featuring lots of ants. Some of the planned features:
• Alarm pheromones: invisible, persistent AoE triggers
• a boss battle with a fecund (queen) ant and her spawn
• 5 to 12 levels of many chambers accessible mostly by vertical travel
• eggs, larvae, pupae

It would probably be one of the possible sub-branches from the lair o' beasts.

Re: Dungeon Branch: The Ant Nest

PostPosted: Monday, 19th October 2015, 23:17
by tedric
so...hive 2.0?

Re: Dungeon Branch: The Ant Nest

PostPosted: Tuesday, 20th October 2015, 03:51
by Skrybe
I've always thought ants could work as a serial vault. Most serial vaults don't place monsters, though, and I guess there's probably a reason for that that's lost on me.

Re: Dungeon Branch: The Ant Nest

PostPosted: Tuesday, 20th October 2015, 13:21
by byrel
I don't think this would be good gameplay if you can stair dance freely. The idea of a vertically connected branch is thematically cool, but gameplay-wise mostly trivial and dull.

I can think of two solutions:
1. Monster abilities. You can't go upstairs when netted; perhaps some new type of ant has a ranged 'netting' attack (Spit glue or some such). This sounds entirely too similar to jumping spiders though... Or you could have a vault-warden-esque mechanic . Maybe an ant spits glue over the upstair which either decays after several turns or makes you take twice as long ascending (you could have a message "Are you sure you want to ascend through the glue? You feel this might take a while (y/n)?")
2. No stairs. All ascending and descending are through hatches. This requires a significant amount of coding as I understand it, but might do the best for making the branch feel unique and challenging.

Re: Dungeon Branch: The Ant Nest

PostPosted: Tuesday, 20th October 2015, 15:36
by MainiacJoe
My question is, why would someone want to go there? Is there loot like Elf:3, or shops like Orc:4, or a new rune? To be a whole branch, you have to have something big at the end. If on the other hand you keep it on the scale of a portal, then it is very similar to Labyrinth, in that you have confusing travel and then a boss at the end. And on top of all of this you need to make sure that it doesn't require rPois for survival, it needs to be on the level of Spider where rPois is nice but certainly not necessary.

It may work best as a whole-level Dungeon or Depths vault, similar to how Big room in Nethack doesn't always appear. You could even use Lab or Abyss mechanics or fixed portals like in Golubria's wiz lab on that one floor to mimic the confusing tunnels of the anthill.

Re: Dungeon Branch: The Ant Nest

PostPosted: Tuesday, 20th October 2015, 17:42
by Sprucery
FR: Big room!

Re: Dungeon Branch: The Ant Nest

PostPosted: Tuesday, 20th October 2015, 17:52
by byrel
Big room already exists in depths. I remember I got that on a Lairless DrBe attempt... it was super rough.

Re: Dungeon Branch: The Ant Nest

PostPosted: Thursday, 12th November 2015, 23:36
by Can-ned Food
Thank you for the good points. Yes, this is a work in progress, so I have yet to outline all the details.
Porpoising the branch has been my major concern from the get-go. Right now my best idea is to turn the defeated queen into loot herself; she'd be something like the Bag Of Spiders, but producing servile ants over time rather than as a single Evocation.
The vertical travel is mostly, in my mind, a way to make chasing her more difficult. It would probably just end up being frustrating more than anything else, though. It wouldn't be necessary or even desirable to restrict the ability to travel either way.

So, I'd like to do this, but only if it interests enough people. Here's my notes at this time, so they are rather rough:
Spoiler: show
**   it would have eggs and larvae, but a high respawn is easier to implement than tracking every single new ant through the entire metamorphosis
the eggs and larvae only happen when the fecundus is nearby, and they help guide you to her.

Adventurers would be foolish to wander purposeless in to the depths of an ant nest, beset on all sides by the hive as it defends itself from invasion. It is said, however, that ants behave very differently when in their nests, and that spiders are able to infiltrate their midst by mimicry.
Most ants hoard naught but food and slaves, and so the only other thing you will certainly find down there is many, many ants — all brooded by one fecund ‘queen’. The prospect that perhaps you could obtain from her a fund for your own army of ants tempts you downward.

it can have anywhere 5..14 levels.  these are arranged mostly vertically, though, so there's not a lot of horizontal room used.  mostly the chambers are like a maze of tunnels going up and down.
this makes finding your way difficult unless you have learned the patterns; having reference guides on paper nearby will help.
ants will respawn often and plenty until their fecundus is defeated.
the trick is to avoid molesting the ants and avoiding them as much as possible; even if you were to polymorph, the ants would know that you were not of their brood, and the ability to impost yourself is something you can not obtain.  of course, once they are aware of your presence, the entire hive will eventually be alerted:  the more you make a commotion the swifter it will spread.

some helpful abilities (spells or potions):
•   stealthiness
•   cures
•   speed|haste
•   slowing
•   controlled blink

it features some changes to ant characteristics which only happen with its occurance:
•   pheromones
   all throughout the nest, and some on the level featuring its entrance, the ants can drop AoE pheromones which stimulate behavior from other ants.
   •   alarm
      makes ants Excited
         this is similar to Berserk, except that it
            lasts longer
            doesn't end with Exhausted or Slow
   •   food — this one should probably have some system for modelling the trails to their entrance, also, but simplified so as to only feature the go-for-food trails
•   ants will eat any deposited (see below) food they encounter in their nest or on the level with its entrance — can be a tactical tool
      which therefore will not feature any food; ants will also scavange any corpses.

unique NPCs:
•   queen ant
   okay, this one is changed rather than unique.  wanders the branch spawning eggs.
   when she is defeated, rather than a corpse she leaves behind an item:  Captured Queen
   or, perhaps it makes more sense to capture a new fecundus.  how will you know which this is?  the only way to be sure is to take a gland from the old one and a fresh egg.
      this seems very complicated, and is gruesome but no more than is seen already with ants and such insects.
   !   obviously, Elyvilon priests will be able to heal the fecundus.  all others will need to save an egg.  what's the difference?  those who need an egg must save one from her brood and somehow keep it from hatching.
      …  eggs do not hatch until Tended?
      it would be very frustrating indeed to go all that way and not know that you must keep one egg safe.
      probably i will have special nursury chambers, and some way to learn about the process from there.  you will find many of these prior to catching up with the fecundus.
•   ant eggs
   will eventually hatch to become larvae
   can be destroyed; give no XP
•   ant larvae
   almost stationary but not quite, and though blind they chomp at nearby enemies.
   Tenders (other ants) do.  these will pupate, which soon become ants (either soldiers or workers, but somehow distinguished).  you get no XP killing these:  must kill the fecund.

cave–ins would be a nice touch:  they'd happen if you use a digging spell too much in some areas

item:  captured queen

Evoking it takes some MP and 1 non-contaminated chunk to produce 1 egg.  has a long cooldown.
an egg hatches in 1 turn and produces a larva.
the larva must kill one enemy, then forms a pupa.
a pupa grows with 3 turns into an adult soldier ant.

new graphics for (until which time it won't work for 'crawl-tiles', of course):
•   stairwells
•   pillars
      must look like they were hobbled together from wood, glued by the ants.
•   fecundus
•   eggs
•   larvae
•   pupae
uses the dirty rock walls and floors, features lots of large rocks as well as stones.

Re: Dungeon Branch: The Ant Nest

PostPosted: Friday, 13th November 2015, 19:13
by tedric
Can-ned Food wrote:Porpoising the branch

TBH, i'd be way more into this if it were dolphin-themed