Help Punching Things


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Dungeon Dilettante

Posts: 3

Joined: Saturday, 6th April 2013, 15:09

Post Saturday, 6th April 2013, 16:15

Help Punching Things

Howdy,

TL:DR Version : I'm looking for some advice on Punching things, more specifically an Unarmed Combat character. I've recently got into playing Crawl and so far I just haven't had a good run with a few setups, so I figured I'd come here to ask if any one has any major Tips to playing an Unarmed Combat guy, particularly in the What to skill and What to stat first department, For the sake of saying, I'd preferably not like to use any magic, although abilities from gods/etc are fine.


Long Version:
Spoiler: show
And as this is probably going to be a long text, I thought I'd give you a simple question at the top with my Wall of text below it.

Now I always like playing Hand-to-Hand Heavy Armor combat characters in games, and while usually challenging they're somewhat workable in some games. And in Crawl it's no different, but I'm just having trouble getting a good enough run. I'll try to explain.

I've had around 20 characters now (not to much I know but bare with me), 2 of which haven't been UAC guys, a Kobold Zerker, a Minotaur Fighter. Both which got quite far in comparison (Kobold got to D:8 before being completely dicked over by auto-exploring into a Mage dude, who teleported me into an Orc fortress smack bang in the middle like 9 of them... And the Minotaur got sent to the Abyss..) and the rest all UAC guys who end up dieing anywhere from D2 to D6.

I realize this is still probably the very early game for most people, hence why I'm asking for some help, but I'm just going to list some of my thought process when making a UAC guy. and Maybe you can find the error of my ways? and If my thought process is good then I've just had some shitty luck.

Ok so for starters, My main Idea was to have a Face Tanking Face Smasher, To me in a game about surviving where death is permanent, unless you have a way out it's probably best to have a lot of health and armor lest you want to get murdered. But I'm also open to the other styles of playing an UAC character what with dodging and evading, and seeing how UAC works I quickly adopted a less heavily armored/more evading style of play.

I've tried quite a good number of Specie/Background combinations, as far as Species go, Trolls/Minotaurs/Ghouls/Felids/Tengus seem to be the more capable ones, with Centaur/Ogre/Hill Orc also being quite viable and for more of a random aspect Demonspawn/Draconian. And so far Felids/Trolls/Tengu/Minotaurs have been my best bet, but for different reasons. Trolls can usually face tank, regen and deal a lot of damage but can't run away or avoid well or wear a lot of armor, when you're still level 2/3 if you run into Mr Sigmund you're pretty much screwed, you can't run away because you're a troll and he's seen you before you can see him, and unless you get lucky you're probably gonna get your ass handed to you. Felids and Tengus are actually better then I first expected. having a higher stealth skill and being able to run from harder challenges is useful, although they usually fall short when the monsters start to get a little tougher. And Minotaurs are probably what I was more or less looking for in the beginning what with a heavy armored gut puncher. And they do pretty well.

As far as Backgrounds go, Beserker/Fighter/Monk were my main focueses, with Gladiators and Transmuters being an okay second. Beserkers are naturally tanky, although they're stuck to a god (I'll get to that). Fighters are a good start if I planned on using a shield and going for a more heavy armored type fighter, but Monks were a main stay, the ability to pick a god freely + their bonuses fit in quite well with my less armored/more evading type of UAC guy. i've messed around with Glads and Transmuters but didn't enjoy them as a whole because Transmuters used magic and Gladiators although in theory sounds good (More armored then a Monk, More damage unarmed then a fighter) they just didn't impress me.

Going into Gods, Jiyva seemed the best to me if I was rolling with a Troll/Felid/Demonspawn, although never actually being able to get to worship him. The Mutations are very welcome to characters that don't use armor, what with giving some amazing bonuses, and while Claws etc are "bad mutations" aslong as you don't get to unlucky you should be fine. And you won't be needing much items because you're an UAC guy. After Jiyva there was always a tie with Makhleb/Okawaru/Trog, Makhleb has the insanely useful ability of giving you hp back when you kill something, Trog gives you berserk which early on is a life saver, and Okawaru gives you some sweet armor and the ability to attack faster in heavy armor without dumping tons of points into the Armor skill (although you will anyway)

And out of all of these I haven't had much luck. Mainly I think it's because I'm not to sure what to skill or level first, I usually swap it to Manual, level UAC and Fighting equally to start with, ignoring everything else, and adding either Stealth + Dodging + Stabbing(much later) or Armor + Shields later on in. And I skill either Dex every time if I'm going for the lightly armored version, or add some Str to outweight the armor but mainly focus on Dex.

Is there any tips you have for me in regards to mechanics with UAC? Is it better to pump strength to offset the attack delay even more if you're going for an armor guy? Should i be getting 8 Int to protect me from some stuff later on? Should I be focusing on UAC heavily for the first couple of dungeons, and then take up the rest later?


Thanks for your help in advance, And while I doubt I'll get the answers I need (I am asking quite a lot) really any tip that adds to this helps.
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Swamp Slogger

Posts: 153

Joined: Sunday, 23rd January 2011, 20:04

Post Saturday, 6th April 2013, 18:10

Re: Help Punching Things

One of my favorite wins was with my punchy character, based on this wonderful guide.

Deadscale wrote:I'd preferably not like to use any magic, although abilities from gods/etc are fine.

The easiest punchy build that doesn't use magic would be a Troll Berzerker.
Start by turning off everything but UC. Never turn off UC. Once it hits 10 turn on fighting.
See if that gives him a bit more stopping power.

Dont run at archers, or mages, or Sigmund. Hide behind corners and deck them in the face as the come running towards you.
Your builds are pretty solid, and you've seem like you've done your research. Just work on your tactics a bit.

Lair Larrikin

Posts: 17

Joined: Tuesday, 4th December 2012, 16:21

Post Saturday, 6th April 2013, 19:10

Re: Help Punching Things

Unarmed combat is more reliant on skill levels to lower its attack speed than other weapon types (approx. 0.2 pr skill vs 0.5 for normal weapons). So early heavy armour may end up crippling you.
For most UAC characters light/medium (up to -3 armour penalty) will provide good defense without impacting your damage too much.

And strength does not offset the attack delay from armour, it just prevents you from suffering additional penalties from having too low strength.

Melee, if it's heavy or light armour, is also heavily reliant on positioning and smart movements, few characters can just rush into the fray and slug it out, so it's less Face Tanking Face Smasher and more Smart moving tactician.

Spells are the main source of utility in DCSS, since there's no 'physical' skills. So if you plan to ignore those mid to late game you'll want to keep a good eye on your consumables (hoard those haste wands, they'll be your most precious possession), and chose a god that can help you in actual combat.

Sigmund is the #1 killer in DCSS iirc. He is really strong if found during the first couple of levels, but he can also be avoided, even by trolls, as long as you don't mismanage your resources and noise too badly. (Most things, such as combat, enemies 'shouting/croaking/buzzing/roaring', spells etc. make sound, which wakes up and attracts enemies that heard them). So make sure you identify your consumables from early on to you have something that will let you get away.

For skills you may want to focus on just Unarmed combat during the early game, the HP bonus from fighting is based on your character level so you wont see much return from it early on. Armour skill relies on having a decent armour, and dodging either needs ridiculous dexterity (felid/spriggan) or notable XP investment (mid game)

Gods:
Jiyva - The most reliable aspects of Jiyva is the free consumable/corrosion protection (frees up cloak slot), removing bad mutations every now and then (less worry about magical contamination from Haste/Blink), sustenance/hp & mana recovery and the Slimify (aka. Mummies-be-gone). The mutations will in general provide some power boost, but can be quite random (giving fire resist when you're already maxed out etc.) so it's hard to rely on them.

Makhleb's servants and destruction are both incredibly powerful, especially considering how early you can get them, and these skills stay useful even in the extended game, the HP recovery is just a bonus on top of those 'piety cannons'. (save up piety and blow something up)

For general early level play:
Make sure you use everything you find to your advantage, poisoned darts, early blowguns, javelins/large rocks, all types of wands, potions and scrolls can give you some kind of edge. You don't have enough XP yet for your character to fully develop a proper combat style, so a level 2 Troll Berserker with a Wand of Confusion is almost as efficient as a level 2 Spriggan Artificer with the same wand.
And fight smart, you don't need to kill everything right now (or even later), you'll never run out of things to kill, but you can run out of HP.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 6th April 2013, 19:28

Re: Help Punching Things

Sigmund is the #1 killer in DCSS iirc.


I think that was hobgoblins, with kobolds close behind.

Slime Squisher

Posts: 400

Joined: Saturday, 24th September 2011, 03:45

Post Saturday, 6th April 2013, 19:34

Re: Help Punching Things

Wanting to do a magic-free UC build does not make sense unless you're a Troll or Ghoul berserker. Transmutations put your punch damage through the roof.

I go Oka on all my punching dudes. (and nearly all my nonpunching dudes)

Crypt Cleanser

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Joined: Monday, 14th February 2011, 05:35

Post Saturday, 6th April 2013, 20:16

Re: Help Punching Things

This is a lot of questions to address at once, so I'm going to list the ones I am trying to answer.

Q: Assuming I don't want to cast spells, which skills should I begin raising as a character using unarmed combat (UC)? Which stats? How does unarmed combat really work?

The only skill that you should be training at the start of the game is unarmed combat. Here is a rough description of how unarmed combat works: if you don't have claws, as a troll, ghoul, or felid does,then hitting someone with 0 UC does 1d3 damage. Each level of UC increases the number of sides of the die by 1, and each 5.4 levels decreases the time your attacks take by 1/10th of a turn. In other words, at 27 UC, you will be doing 1d30 damage per hit, and you can attack twice per turn.

Fighting skill also influences unarmed combat. Each two levels of fighting increases your melee accuracy by about +1 and increases your die sides by about 2%. So for a character with 27 UC, 13 fighting will give you about 1d34 damage per hit and 27 fighting will give you about 1d39. However, if you have only 5 UC, 27 levels of fighting will take you from about 1d8 to 1d10 damage. So I hope you can see that the less UC you have, the less important fighting is for your damage output. Fighting also increases your max hp according to this formula: ((1+racial_factor/10) * Fighting * XL) / 8. As many people will tell you, because one of the multipliers is XL, fighting barely increases hp at low levels. For example, an XL 5 minotaur will gain about 1 hp for every 2 levels of fighting. This is a pathetic gain considering that it could have put that xp into UC and been hitting harder and faster.

If you are not planning on casting spells, the stat you should usually raise is dexterity. The most common exceptions are: 1) you have or plan to have a fairly good armour that you don't have enough strength for and your race does not gain strength on levelups; 2) strength or intelligence are dangerously low and you don't want to have problems if they reach 0.
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Cocytus Succeeder

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Post Saturday, 6th April 2013, 22:18

Re: Help Punching Things

Ok I've seen a number of errors in your way of thinking. Let's see...

he's seen you before you can see him
No. This never ever happens. You ALWAYS see him before he gets to do anything, even if his very first move is to go invisible. If you're saying this then you're not paying attention to him appearing - change your init settings to force the game to pause and draw your attention to his appearance.

didn't enjoy them as a whole because Transmuters used magic
You're stuck in the mindset of other games. It's rare not to cast spells at all in crawl. There are no set boundaries. All there are is your EXP budget and how big your toolbox is. That may mean not casting spells until way later, around the time you do Vaults. If you start as a berserker, that may mean waiting until you're strong enough to ditch Trog in the lategame.

Regarding no set boundaries: take Berserker. That is not a background for going pure melee. You could, but it's really better suited for a hybrid melee/summoner/ranged style once you get to the midgame. Similarly with Oka: that is again not a god choice for just pure melee. People take Oka to free EXP in their budget to put into magic. Makhleb is a god picked to have easy access to powerful conj and summoner tools which compliment whatever you're trying to do.

level UAC and Fighting equally to start with
No, train nothing but UC until 10, preferably 15 before you switch on any other skill. Mikee explains why.

add some Str to outweight the armor
It's a binary check: you either have enough Str or you don't. For plate, that means having 18 Str. If you have more than 18 Str, don't bother putting anything into Str. It's another matter if you happen to find a crystal plate armour (which needs 24) but they're so rare you should never plan on finding one (even if you worship Okawaru).


Never plan on worshipping Jiyva in the earlygame. His altar is rarely outside Slime:6 (which is endgame content), though sometimes you may find it at the entrance to Slime (which is still deep in Lair). Unless you get that lucky early Jiyva altar, always pick another god and then switch to Jiyva later when you can handle the god wrath.



Having "heavy armour, UC" as your character concept is fine. But it's best to avoid falling into the pit trap of "that is all I will ever do - punch things and face tank". You must also "run away, divide & conquer, zap wands, bait into melee range and attain tactically advantageous positions" at minimum, "call in help, shoot/blast things as they approach and apply buffs on myself" depending on god choice.

Dungeon Dilettante

Posts: 3

Joined: Saturday, 6th April 2013, 15:09

Post Saturday, 6th April 2013, 23:02

Re: Help Punching Things

Thanks for all the replies,

@people who said about the running away thing
As far as the whole "you can't get away" 9/10 when I play a Troll, When ever i find a powerful enemy and try to run, he'll either Gain or stay equal with me that's all I meant, And while you can usually skid addle back to some steps if it's one of the faster ones unless you can handle it well.. and he's usually not sleeping by the time I've found him,

@Skill + Stat Advice
I didn't usually specifically level UC before, usually paired it with fighting but I see now why not to early on. I didn't really think about the whole hp based of XL part of Fighting, And I usually Pump Dex anyway, just never understood why.

@Omndura Thanks for the Guide link, didn't see that before but I'll be trying that,

@Gruud Ah i see about the armor, and I get that Jiyva is quite random but (as far as I understand it) can't they constantly gift things randomly? meaning eventually you will get more or less the mutations that work. I should start taking a God earlier though

@Eeviac I understand that but It's just more of a preferred thing, I don't so much as want an amazingly powerful character, more want a Themed character and be strong while doing it. Hence the no magic.

@Psieye I get that Magic is powerful but, it's just, as said, for more of a themed character. I'll probably be playing around with a few Ranged/Magic classes later. as Spriggans and Centaurs seem like a fun concept to play around with. I didn't think to much about betraying a god, but Yeah trying to get Jiyva from the start isn't probably a goal I should have.

Thanks for the help again :) Time to see how far I can get

Crypt Cleanser

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Joined: Friday, 11th February 2011, 18:46

Post Saturday, 6th April 2013, 23:30

Re: Help Punching Things

Deadscale wrote:Thanks for all the replies,

@people who said about the running away thing
As far as the whole "you can't get away" 9/10 when I play a Troll, When ever i find a powerful enemy and try to run, he'll either Gain or stay equal with me that's all I meant, And while you can usually skid addle back to some steps if it's one of the faster ones unless you can handle it well.. and he's usually not sleeping by the time I've found him,

@Skill + Stat Advice
I didn't usually specifically level UC before, usually paired it with fighting but I see now why not to early on. I didn't really think about the whole hp based of XL part of Fighting, And I usually Pump Dex anyway, just never understood why.

@Omndura Thanks for the Guide link, didn't see that before but I'll be trying that,

@Gruud Ah i see about the armor, and I get that Jiyva is quite random but (as far as I understand it) can't they constantly gift things randomly? meaning eventually you will get more or less the mutations that work. I should start taking a God earlier though

@Eeviac I understand that but It's just more of a preferred thing, I don't so much as want an amazingly powerful character, more want a Themed character and be strong while doing it. Hence the no magic.

@Psieye I get that Magic is powerful but, it's just, as said, for more of a themed character. I'll probably be playing around with a few Ranged/Magic classes later. as Spriggans and Centaurs seem like a fun concept to play around with. I didn't think to much about betraying a god, but Yeah trying to get Jiyva from the start isn't probably a goal I should have.

Thanks for the help again :) Time to see how far I can get


Probably at least 75% of the enemies are as fast as a default character, if not more. And not all of those are a major threat. For those that aren't there's consumables.

If you have no intention of using magic, pick up a ranged skill. I don't know what kind of tactics you employ, but the time you spend getting close to an enemy is time you could be spending reducing their hp. I'm not saying you have to turn into an archer with a side of unarmed either; just get a feel for what enemies are best avoided early on, such as ogres or orc warriors. Blowguns can be good too, as you need little/no throwing skill to use them.

As for gods, others have the right idea. Elyvilon could also maybe work. If you're *really* into the idea of mutations though, there's also Xom, but be aware that Xom will likely get you killed in the end.

Cocytus Succeeder

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Joined: Saturday, 14th April 2012, 21:35

Post Saturday, 6th April 2013, 23:51

Re: Help Punching Things

Deadscale wrote:As far as the whole "you can't get away" 9/10 when I play a Troll, When ever i find a powerful enemy and try to run, he'll either Gain or stay equal with me that's all I meant, And while you can usually skid addle back to some steps
That translates to "can run away". You're a Troll. In the earlygame, there isn't anything that's faster than you which actually poses a significant threat because you punch so hard. Trolls have it hard later on, but earlygame should be a breeze.


Themed characters, i.e. roleplay, is fine but IMO a new player should first learn how to play crawl before embarking on self-imposed challenges (themes). Crawl isn't like most other games so learning it while tying one hand behind your back is masochistic. But it's up to you how you want to play crawl so I cannot dictate anything. Having said all that, you're dying at the point where magic shouldn't be on the table anyway - that's a mid-lategame decision for an unarmed character. Until you have 15+ UC, magic is just an EXP distraction.

Dungeon Dilettante

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Joined: Saturday, 6th April 2013, 15:09

Post Sunday, 7th April 2013, 00:57

Re: Help Punching Things

I see you're point with that. And it's just been my experience so far, I think one option I failed to really consider was using a shield, they seem to work quite well in keeping me alive.

Also I haven't really looked into Xom or Eylvlion, may do that now.

Lair Larrikin

Posts: 23

Joined: Thursday, 27th December 2012, 06:07

Post Sunday, 7th April 2013, 06:10

Re: Help Punching Things

Shields on trolls (ie, UC) are not too great of an idea, they hinder your UC considerably.
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Sunday, 7th April 2013, 07:35

Re: Help Punching Things

If you want to take Xom, prepare to die in a hilariously random fashion. I'm not saying you can't do well with Xom, but if you're unfamiliar with how he works, he's most likely going to get you killed.

Cocytus Succeeder

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Joined: Saturday, 14th April 2012, 21:35

Post Sunday, 7th April 2013, 09:53

Re: Help Punching Things

caleb wrote:Shields on trolls (ie, UC) are not too great of an idea, they hinder your UC considerably.

While true, a troll has such bad defences that a shield may be just the thing you need to survive. That's factoring in how it's useless against certain ranged attacks like beams.

Slime Squisher

Posts: 365

Joined: Friday, 25th November 2011, 17:22

Post Sunday, 7th April 2013, 10:12

Re: Help Punching Things

From what I understand, once you negate the penalties from the Shield with sufficient Shield skill, the only problem with using one when attacking barehanded is the loss of the auxilliary attack. But since that auxilliary attack doesn't get the full benefit of the UC skill, it isn't much of a loss, and given how important additional defense is to Trolls the shield is usually worth it.

Cocytus Succeeder

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Joined: Saturday, 14th April 2012, 21:35

Post Sunday, 7th April 2013, 12:48

Re: Help Punching Things

For a Troll, it's some 20% of damage output you lose out on if you wear a shield. It's definitely a hefty price you pay for unreliable defence but a Troll might still consider that a worthy bargain.

Sar

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 7th April 2013, 16:56

Re: Help Punching Things

Sojiro wrote:From what I understand, once you negate the penalties from the Shield with sufficient Shield skill, the only problem with using one when attacking barehanded is the loss of the auxilliary attack.

IIRC you also have a 50% chance your attack will be 0.1 turn slower - this is unique to UC.
I almost always use shields on Trolls because it's extremely cheap for them (only 9 skill to use a regular shield) and does add quite a bit to survivability.

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