Change manuals for gnolls


Although the central place for this kind of discussion is on the CDO wiki, some may find it helpful to discuss potential requests and suggestions here first.

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 8425

Joined: Sunday, 5th May 2013, 08:25

Post Sunday, 25th November 2018, 19:43

Change manuals for gnolls

A regular character trains one skill at a time. A gnoll trains 31. This means that manuals take 31 times as long to use up. This means that any manual you find on a gnoll will be sitting in your inventory the whole game, taking up a slot. But you don't want to drop it since it's still giving you an advantage.

To make gnolls use manuals at the same rate as other species, you'd change the aptitude bonus from +4 to +124. Unfortunately, this has one problem: even a double-digit bonus won't fit on the skill screen in console, let alone a triple-digit one.

So I see the following options:
- Simply make manuals do nothing for gnolls. Say they're functionally illiterate or whatever. This seems kind of mean but it does solve the problem.
- Increase the aptitude bonus to +124 for gnolls so that the manual gets used as quickly as it does on other races, and rearrange the skill screen so that there's room for "+124". You could also go with +99 which is one character shorter but would still probably be good enough.
- Goldify manuals so that they don't take up an inventory slot. This has the problem that gnolls may prefer to avoid a manual to a useless skill in order to manipulate acquirements. So either the skill dependence of acquirement needs to be removed, or gnolls need to still have a way to toggle a manual on and off (which is kind of ridiculous).

Any others I've missed?

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

Blades Runner

Posts: 567

Joined: Saturday, 12th December 2015, 23:54

Post Sunday, 25th November 2018, 20:54

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

Third option is independently good for all species so I favor combining that with the first option.
Remove spell hunger.

For this message the author Hellmonk has received thanks: 3
duvessa, Fingolfin, nago

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 812

Joined: Tuesday, 4th January 2011, 15:03

Post Sunday, 25th November 2018, 21:04

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

If implementing the third is too hard for now, I also support the first option. It does not look too mean to me, when was the last time a manual actually mattered in a game? I personally do not remember any such game in amongst my games.

For this message the author sanka has received thanks: 4
duvessa, Fingolfin, nago, tealizard

Crypt Cleanser

Posts: 742

Joined: Friday, 6th January 2012, 12:30

Post Sunday, 25th November 2018, 23:17

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

The status quo is better than option 1.

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 8425

Joined: Sunday, 5th May 2013, 08:25

Post Monday, 26th November 2018, 01:40

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

On reflection: I'm stupid. Changing the aptitude bonus wouldn't affect the speed at which the manual gets used, so it's pointless. So forget about option 2. (Even if it did, the bonus would only need to be like +24, not +124, because it's exponential)
Last edited by duvessa on Monday, 26th November 2018, 04:41, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar

Mines Malingerer

Posts: 50

Joined: Thursday, 1st November 2018, 02:33

Post Monday, 26th November 2018, 01:59

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

Option 3 is already in hellcrawl and should be added to dcss. Inventory slots haven't been taken seriously as a limitation on the player for years. In general, items should be eliminated wherever possible. They are bad.

Option 1 is also in hellcrawl and works fine, though gnolls do not gain skill points in hellcrawl, their skills are based on experience level and initial background skills instead. The dcss gnoll/manual interaction is completely goofy. Gnolls get too much skill and certainly do not need more, but if they did, the lair-to-zot manual would not be the way to make it happen.

If you wanted to introduce alternative manual mechanics, a flat, permanent skill bonus on collection without the requirement of training skills would be better and cleaner for all characters. You eliminate a class of items, skill menu interactions, and all the weird mechanics associated with manuals as they exist now. Making items either not exist or less interactive is extremely good.
This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off.

For this message the author tealizard has received thanks:
Rast

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 808

Joined: Monday, 29th September 2014, 09:04

Post Monday, 26th November 2018, 02:28

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

Is it really that bad gnolls use manuals super slowly? Deciding if you keep a manual or other item is no worse than any other item comparison. Gnolls having a bit more inventory pressure also seems like not a big deal.
User avatar

Mines Malingerer

Posts: 50

Joined: Thursday, 1st November 2018, 02:33

Post Monday, 26th November 2018, 02:36

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

I think the point is that inventory pressure itself is bad. It does not meaningfully limit the player, even if the player has 10 slots wasted by marginal items. It only creates more interface hassle.
This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off.

For this message the author tealizard has received thanks: 5
byrel, duvessa, Fingolfin, nago, Rast

Snake Sneak

Posts: 116

Joined: Friday, 9th March 2018, 20:26

Post Monday, 26th November 2018, 03:26

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

duvessa wrote:On reflection: I'm stupid. Changing the aptitude bonus wouldn't affect the speed at which the manual gets used, so it's pointless. So forget about option 2.
Well, if you set the apt bonus to +124 you'd probably be able to drop the manual faster by virtue of maxing the skill...

More seriously, manuals are not a tactical item and may as well be goldified. They are purely passive with no downsides and need not be interacted with again in any way after picking it up, unlike equipment or consumables.

tealizard wrote:If you wanted to introduce alternative manual mechanics, a flat, permanent skill bonus on collection without the requirement of training skills would be better and cleaner for all characters. You eliminate a class of items, skill menu interactions, and all the weird mechanics associated with manuals as they exist now. Making items either not exist or less interactive is extremely good.

I also like this idea. Changing aptitudes mid-game already exists with draconians, making manuals a smaller but permanent aptitude boost sounds clean and simple. If there's any concern about acquirement optimization on gnolls, it could simply require Using the manual (which would consume it) instead of being automatic on pickup.

The main problem is the elimination of tactical choices provided by manuals currently; a short-term but dramatic aptitude boost is arguably more likely to make you consider training the manual's skill than a permanent and retroactive apt boost. The latter simply buffs any skills you've already trained with no further investment required, whilst providing less incentive to train a new skill you haven't invested in. That being said, I've never found a manual for a skill I hadn't trained and thought "Oh, maybe I should learn this skill after all.", so this might not be an actual issue...
User avatar

Mines Malingerer

Posts: 50

Joined: Thursday, 1st November 2018, 02:33

Post Monday, 26th November 2018, 04:21

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

The acquirement issue can be avoided by using a heroism style skill boost, say a flat +1.0 to skill level, that does not count in "real skill" calculations. This also avoids the ashenzari skill transfer interaction.
This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off.

For this message the author tealizard has received thanks:
duvessa

Mines Malingerer

Posts: 44

Joined: Sunday, 20th August 2017, 06:29

Post Monday, 26th November 2018, 09:54

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

Another solution could be to make gnolls focus exclusively on the skill(s) of the manual(s) they carry and temporarily stop training their other skills. It would fit within their flavor of being somewhat obsessive-compulsive I suppose. I can't think of any reasons this would lead to degenerate behavior either. Not sure how easy it would be to program, though.
User avatar

Mines Malingerer

Posts: 50

Joined: Thursday, 1st November 2018, 02:33

Post Monday, 26th November 2018, 09:57

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

That would entrench the bad mechanics of manuals.
This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off.

Mines Malingerer

Posts: 44

Joined: Sunday, 20th August 2017, 06:29

Post Monday, 26th November 2018, 10:05

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

tealizard wrote:That would entrench the bad mechanics of manuals.


Do you ever really find more than one manual at a time, though? Juggling manuals just doesn't ever happen very often. You would pick up a manual if it has a skill you want, turbo boost that skill, and then go back to training everything. Otherwise, the manual would be useless, but all characters have useless skills that can potentially be found in a manual.
User avatar

Mines Malingerer

Posts: 50

Joined: Thursday, 1st November 2018, 02:33

Post Monday, 26th November 2018, 10:50

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

That's not the point though. Finding one manual is already bad with current mechanics, particularly for gnolls but for other characters as well.

I think there's a certain charm in your proposed mechanics. They could even be an improvement if the rule across all species were that carrying manuals means training those skills. (Not as much of an improvement as other possibilities for manuals, including removal in my opinion.) As a special case for gnolls, it is inconsistent and forecloses on other better possibilities for manuals.
This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off.

Swamp Slogger

Posts: 132

Joined: Sunday, 11th September 2016, 17:21

Post Monday, 26th November 2018, 18:02

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

Option 4: Remove manuals from the game entirely. If you're training a skill, you carry the manual... if not, you don't. This is a complete no-brainer decision. At best you could argue that in the rare case where a desirable manual is generated in a shop, the player has to make a decision about when they can afford to make the purchase, but even so, I don't think that decision is meaningful enough to justify keeping them in the game, especially if they're causing ancillary problems.

Option 5: Rework manuals to be consumables that simply improve a skill aptitude by one point, permanently. No fuss, no muss. Still a no-brainer.

Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1671

Joined: Tuesday, 13th March 2012, 02:48

Post Monday, 26th November 2018, 21:32

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

Nekoatl wrote:Option 4: Remove manuals from the game entirely. If you're training a skill, you carry the manual... if not, you don't. This is a complete no-brainer decision.


The decision is: should i train the skill I wasn't going to train, now that I have a manual which will make it train twice as fast?

Swamp Slogger

Posts: 132

Joined: Sunday, 11th September 2016, 17:21

Post Tuesday, 27th November 2018, 06:25

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

To which the correct answer is almost always "no", because if the skill is worth having, it's worth training even without a manual.

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

Snake Sneak

Posts: 119

Joined: Friday, 13th March 2015, 13:33

Post Tuesday, 27th November 2018, 07:52

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

what about letting gnolls train all skills faster with any manual. They are generalists, so they can pick up general applications for any manual. They would use up manuals super fast though lol.
User avatar

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 4086

Joined: Wednesday, 23rd October 2013, 07:56

Post Tuesday, 27th November 2018, 08:40

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

gameguard wrote:what about letting gnolls train all skills faster with any manual. They are generalists, so they can pick up general applications for any manual.

This, but also make the training bonus not +4, but +4/(number of skills). This makes manuals practically insignificant for gnolls, which is ok in itself imo.
...SENeGEFEMDBeDDFiHOWzVpVMHuEE{HEMoDEHuDDAs}{HaBeKoAK}CeVM{MfWnMiAK}TeAMDrIE{FoVMVSFi}
{MuVMGhGlVpMo}HaWrSpWz{OgGlTrMo}{CeWnMfBeMiSk}DrEE{GrFiFoGl}DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}
DDArHaCKSpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMoHuVM{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}SpNe
User avatar

Slime Squisher

Posts: 396

Joined: Thursday, 1st March 2012, 01:42

Post Tuesday, 27th November 2018, 13:45

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

+1 to giving manuals the spellbook treatment. Benefits everyone. Some games have inventory management be a big deal, crawl is already not one of them.

Dis Charger

Posts: 2131

Joined: Sunday, 18th December 2011, 13:31

Post Thursday, 29th November 2018, 18:09

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

Considering how rare are the situations where a manual actually matters in a game I think the most clean way to solve this issue would to remove at all manuals.

I mean, I believe there are 3 situations:

1) The manual is one skills the char won't ever use, e.g. stealth on a char wearing plate armor or a long blade for a polearm guy.
2) The manual is a "core" skill the char want to train. This may be one of the generic good for all chars such as fighting, weapon skill or whatever, or a specific such as fire magic for a fire mage guy.
3) The manual is of one "support" skill the char would train only as extra, when he has some extra exp point to save, such as hexes or charms or throwing or whatever.

In the 1st case, the manual is 100% useless.
In the 2nd case the manual isn't interesting - at most the char may train some point extra of that skill, or earlier, because it is cheaper, but that will change almost nothing.
The 3rd case is the only one where I can see some interesting decisions, like "maybe I'm going to train a bit of hexes I wouldn't otherwise had".
However considering the experience balance and the boost provided by the manual itself, I don't think there are realistic cases where would be a legit good choice to train that skill with the manual avaiable, and it would be a real bad choice if the manual wasn't.

TL;DR: remove manuals.
screw it I hate this character I'm gonna go melee Gastronok

Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1671

Joined: Tuesday, 13th March 2012, 02:48

Post Thursday, 29th November 2018, 18:18

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

nago wrote:In the 2nd case the manual isn't interesting .


By that reasoning, you might as well remove potions of experience too.

inb4 duvessa unironically thanks.
User avatar

Barkeep

Posts: 4359

Joined: Tuesday, 11th January 2011, 12:28

Post Thursday, 29th November 2018, 18:27

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

This is getting pretty far afield from the OP's "manuals and gnolls" proposals; do the mandatory "remove/rework manuals" thing in another thread please
I am not a very good player. My mouth is a foul pit of LIES. KNOW THIS.

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 8425

Joined: Sunday, 5th May 2013, 08:25

Post Thursday, 29th November 2018, 23:04

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

Actually, removing and reworking manuals are both excellent options for solving this problem with gnolls and completely on topic. Reworking manuals is one of the options I provided in the OP!

For this message the author duvessa has received thanks: 3
nago, njvack, Rast

Dis Charger

Posts: 2131

Joined: Sunday, 18th December 2011, 13:31

Post Thursday, 29th November 2018, 23:31

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

Rast wrote:
nago wrote:In the 2nd case the manual isn't interesting .


By that reasoning, you might as well remove potions of experience too.

inb4 duvessa unironically thanks.


The rare experience potion on early dungeon have a very big impact and makes a big difference, in opposition to manuals, whatever the point you get them.

I don't know if this is to be considered positive or negative, but certainly makes experience potions noteworthy.
However, by I dunno, Lair they are pretty unremarkable
screw it I hate this character I'm gonna go melee Gastronok

For this message the author nago has received thanks:
duvessa

Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1671

Joined: Tuesday, 13th March 2012, 02:48

Post Friday, 30th November 2018, 01:25

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

duvessa wrote:- Goldify manuals so that they don't take up an inventory slot.


This is the simplest.

duvessa wrote:This has the problem that gnolls may prefer to avoid a manual to a useless skill in order to manipulate acquirements.


Nobody will do this and it's not a problem. And if someone does want to do this, they will just turn off autopickup of manuals. And if they are in zig/pan/abyss when it happens then I guess they will have to make the super-important strategic decision whether to take the manual or leave it behind forever. Meaningful decisions, hurrah!
User avatar

Mines Malingerer

Posts: 50

Joined: Thursday, 1st November 2018, 02:33

Post Friday, 30th November 2018, 01:41

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

I'm glad someone brought up xp potions. To me, it would make a lot of sense to roll manuals and xp potions into a single class of gold-like items that give a bonus to a single skill as described upthread. These mechanics are cleaner (no carrying things, no menu dives, no quaff/id), more likely to put the player in nago's scenario 3 than current mechanics, and less disruptive to the overall xp curve of the game (see the early xp potion case).
This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off.

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 8425

Joined: Sunday, 5th May 2013, 08:25

Post Friday, 30th November 2018, 03:01

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

Rast wrote:
duvessa wrote:This has the problem that gnolls may prefer to avoid a manual to a useless skill in order to manipulate acquirements.


Nobody will do this
I would do it.

Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1671

Joined: Tuesday, 13th March 2012, 02:48

Post Friday, 30th November 2018, 15:41

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

duvessa wrote:
Rast wrote:
duvessa wrote:This has the problem that gnolls may prefer to avoid a manual to a useless skill in order to manipulate acquirements.


Nobody will do this
I would do it.


And would it affect your win chance, at all?
User avatar

Barkeep

Posts: 4359

Joined: Tuesday, 11th January 2011, 12:28

Post Friday, 30th November 2018, 19:06

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

Rast wrote:
duvessa wrote:I would do it.


And would it affect your win chance, at all?

IIRC weapon acquirement weights skill pretty heavily? I wonder if the most useful thing Gn can do with a manual right now is bump your bows / crossbows skill up to be above the rest of your skills so you can get a good shot at a sick ranged unrand from acquirement.
I am not a very good player. My mouth is a foul pit of LIES. KNOW THIS.

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 846

Joined: Thursday, 29th August 2013, 18:39

Post Wednesday, 5th December 2018, 18:47

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

You could make any manual work for all skills, but have the same capped amount of skill XP so it expires in the same time and raises each skill less than a manual normally would raise one skill. Reading a manual of axes and getting a new perspective on summoning seems pretty gnoll-ish.

For this message the author johlstei has received thanks: 3
duvessa, PseudoLoneWolf, Shtopit

Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1671

Joined: Tuesday, 13th March 2012, 02:48

Post Wednesday, 5th December 2018, 19:29

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

johlstei wrote:You could make any manual work for all skills, but have the same capped amount of skill XP so it expires in the same time and raises each skill less than a manual normally would raise one skill. Reading a manual of axes and getting a new perspective on summoning seems pretty gnoll-ish.


So a delayed-action potion of xp?

For this message the author Rast has received thanks:
duvessa
User avatar

Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1730

Joined: Monday, 14th October 2013, 01:05

Post Friday, 7th December 2018, 00:45

Re: Change manuals for gnolls

nago wrote:In the 2nd case the manual isn't interesting - at most the char may train some point extra of that skill, or earlier, because it is cheaper, but that will change almost nothing.
But it feels good.

Not everything needs to be a decision, sometimes it's just nice to find stuff which helps you in a straightforward way. That's not fundamentally bad game design or anything like that.

For this message the author Shard1697 has received thanks: 2
Fingolfin, Wahaha

Return to Game Design Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests

Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group.
Designed by ST Software for PTF.