Positional Attack Spells


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Slime Squisher

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Post Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 02:23

Re: Positional Attack Spells

ebering wrote:Regarding your edited away UI tangent: necro the thread and I'll reply there!

Yeah, I realized after looking at the OP that you requested UI issues be left out of this thread, so: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=21763
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Slime Squisher

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Post Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 04:29

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Looking through the notes you posted, I can only really applaud your willingness to eliminate bolt spells and some other mid-level single target projectiles. Minmay's suggestions on conjure flame and searing ray are nice, though you should not allow CF to create gaps the way it seems it can from the description. This version of CF is otherwise very clean, a major improvement to crawl magic on its own. The unlimited mass knockback spell seems not to be good idea to me, though. Maybe there is supposed to be some proviso that's not written there that makes this reasonable.

A couple of your new effects compound issues with hallways and other chokepoints with trailing clouds or terrain, airstrike being the only change that pushes the other way.

As far as schools go, you're too willing to settle for existing mechanics that suck. The bouncing targeters of the air school are awful, while the jumping effects of chain lightning and static discharge are thematic and fit perfectly with the idea of position-sensitive attack patterns. Make another jumping mechanic with a more directional nature and apply it to shock and lightning bolt. Regarding the earth school, I mean by your own logic as written in the notes you gotta find a new approach. Finally, of course, if you're willing to make such deep cuts to the poison school, you should bite the bullet and cut the school entirely. (This goes to a lesser extent for conjurations too.)

I would suggest replacing battlesphere and/or servitor with more of a straightforward "option" type summon that mimics whatever direct damage spells you cast, possibly hitting you. Maybe workshop your stencil-type attack patterns (starburst and hail storm) with that kind of design in mind, maybe expand on that kind of pattern.

I think if you take a more point of view more liberated from existing mechanics, maybe rethink some of the level 1s more, there's a lot of potential here though.
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Slime Squisher

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Post Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 09:50

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Are these changes as outlined in the branch applied to PC and enemy spells equally? Because if so, there may be issues with targeting. The examples of reworked IMB which damages and knocks back, reworked bolt (flame) with the cross template and that new ice ring AoE come to mind. With PC casting it is generally not a problem due to player agency, but enemy casters tend to work both in loose and in tight groups that will make their casting clash with the friendly fire aversion. Places like lower D: reaches, E:, V:, and U: would actually become clunky if enemy casters stopped using a quarter or third of their spells due to having friendlies inside the attack template. It would make them more easily manipulated into a position of disadvantage, and would possibly produce wasteful turns. Another thing I find strange is the idea of removing bolt (negative), which both PCs and enemies can put to good use with undead/demonic allies and snipe with impunity.

The thematic changes and elemental diversity are fine, I appreciate the effort in giving them a distinct feel.
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Post Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 11:30

Re: Positional Attack Spells

For the most part the removals are of player spells; monsters will have the old spells. Teaching monsters to use positional spells seems like a nightmare and an exercise in making monsters too smart to be fun to fight. Some pruning of monster spell sets might be warranted but that's an exercise for another time.

Currently the only spell that’s taken from monsters too is IMB they get a different Conjuration instead.

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Post Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 13:10

Re: Positional Attack Spells

tealizard wrote:you should not allow CF to create gaps the way it seems it can from the description. This version of CF is otherwise very clean, a major improvement to crawl magic on its own.


Let’s workshop this. The options for a clean CF are:

  • On the player, then they can step out
  • Random adjacent to the player

The first allows gap creation, but is perfectly smooth in terms of position and placement. The second seems somewhat interesting, but in a killhole allows renewing indefinitely (forbidding this “you can’t conjure a flame because a flame is already there” seems undesirable). Maybe it’s worth a try and there’s something to be explored further.

The bouncing targeters of the air school are awful, while the jumping effects of chain lightning and static discharge are thematic and fit perfectly with the idea of position-sensitive attack patterns.


I like the bounce targeters. Declaring that they suck without further exposition leaves me to file them in “aesthetic differences”, and I said from the start of this thread that I don’t share your views on the nose. There is room for UI improvement on them; let’s defer that to the UI thread.

Another, more directional jumping mechanic could be a viable alternative. The challenge is picking some jumping rules that are easy to reason about (at least approximately). CL and SD are at the upper limit of this.

Regarding the earth school, I mean by your own logic as written in the notes you gotta find a new approach.


As I’ve said before, I’m willing to accept some single target spells. Perhaps in the fullness of time I’ll come around to your view.

Finally, of course, if you're willing to make such deep cuts to the poison school, you should bite the bullet and cut the school entirely. (This goes to a lesser extent for conjurations too.)


The net cut is one spell each. Not sure what you’re getting at here.

I think if you take a more point of view more liberated from existing mechanics, maybe rethink some of the level 1s more, there's a lot of potential here though.


The goal of this thread was to get some out there ideas and it generated a few. No good L1 alternatives, though. I came up short on my own, so I’m all ears here.

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Post Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 14:41

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Removing venom/draining bolt nerfs firing through SLS and undead minions, but that's probably a good thing (and neither were impressive spells regardless). These changes look interesting to try overall.

Apparently "force blast" makes it in, but as IMB instead, that should be good to play with as sometimes you really don't want to scatter stuff that way and sometimes it's useful.

I don't think players will use bolt of magma very often even after the changes, as its use cases over iron shot aren't frequent or threatening/significant enough to merit tying up that many spell slots on it. I'm not sure buffing it changes that, unless you buff it so much it replaces iron shot (which would then have the same problem instead). The only time I've used it in recent memory was a cosplay challenge which banned all non-fire spells, leaving me a ton of slots open that I'd usually use on superior magic. Even then it was underwhelming and quickly got phased out in usage. Maybe give it something like magma hardening to create a weak obstruction? Or just leave it for now as a spell people generally won't use.
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Slime Squisher

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Post Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 15:24

Re: Positional Attack Spells

My suggestion for CF would be to spawn a "smoke cloud" on the player which will disperse if a monster walks into it or the player stays in it the subsequent turn and which ignites into the usual fire cloud after two turns. My previous suggestion was adjacent to the player in the direction of the closest nonadjacent monster with ties for eligible placement options broken randomly, never selecting already clouded tiles, but I have come around to minmay's idea with the above modification.

I seem to recall having written about bouncing mechanics in the past, though I may be mistaken. I don't see any reason to rehash this (or hash it for the first time) as the problems seem obvious enough.

About L1's, of course I have made a suggestion for shock, but homing mechanics along the lines of orb of destruction or summon ball lightning would be worth looking at, summoning some kind of homing projectile (call them will'o'the'wisps, foxfire, w/e) that spawns around the player. There are various mechanical possibilities here to coax the player out of corridors on d1, for example the projectiles could despawn on contact with the player and spawn in smaller numbers in tight spaces. This would also create different timing for the attacks, where you cannot necessarily expect to hit the target on the turn you cast the spell. Both magic dart and flame tongue could be replaced by different takes on these kinds of mechanics.
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Slime Squisher

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Post Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 16:54

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Another possibility for CF with a clean UI would be to make it summon a short-lived ring of flames that completely surrounds the player and doesn't move with him
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 17:59

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Another possibility is to just not do anything to CF, I mean more spells without targeters are good, replacing some boring/simple spells with ones that are positional, and have unusual attack patters (forcing you to use the player's position as your targeter) is interesting, but I don't think we need to replace *every spell* that is targeted.

If we can't come up with something *better* to do with CF, leaving it alone is probably fine (There's a bunch of different goals here, making the UI better, nerfing the spell, removing some weird edge cases etc. Probably CF deserves it's own conversation in depth to establish what we want).

Some possible positional attack patterns:
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.#.....#.
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  Code:
#.....#
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#.....#


You'll note all these are patterns of chess moves, I think chess piece attack patterns make pretty good spell attack patterns (Obviously more squares touched is a higher level spell)

Some non-chess inspired ones:
  Code:
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.#.#.....
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  Code:
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  Code:
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Also, single-shot in-advance low-duration cast, but bump/move firing (so like confusing touch, but without the "hit them with a weapon" requirement, bumping would be the spell "trigger" which would *replace* the standard melee attack)

I also would like it if we retained *some* bolt spells, and *some* single-target spells.

Also the main problem with the bounce-bolt targeter is that it's frequently suboptimal, it will sometimes pick a good square to bounce things off of, but sometimes it will pick a bad square (for example, hitting a creature twice, but also the player, when the same critter is hittable twice without hitting the player, or hitting one creature twice, instead of one creature twice and a second creature once) It also seems to stick with the same "bounce" wall target even when the creature moves so that it's no longer double-targeting that creature, but there's another option which would double-target that creature. I would say that the best bounce-bolt targeter would, search through all targetable squares for the most "hits" possible that don't hit the player with ties going to most hits on the creatures closest, only searching through the 'hits the player' options when it exhausts the 'doesn't hit the player' options (unless you're immune to the damage of course) Similar logic would be appropriate to area effect targeters as well.
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Post Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 19:43

Re: Positional Attack Spells

tealizard wrote:My suggestion for CF would be to spawn a "smoke cloud" on the player which will disperse if a monster walks into it or the player stays in it the subsequent turn and which ignites into the usual fire cloud after two turns. My previous suggestion was adjacent to the player in the direction of the closest nonadjacent monster with ties for eligible placement options broken randomly, never selecting already clouded tiles, but I have come around to minmay's idea with the above modification.


This is a perfect solution. It preserves all of the great positional impact of starting at the player but prevents gap-making. I'll add it to my notes and work it into the branch in due course.

tealizard wrote:I seem to recall having written about bouncing mechanics in the past, though I may be mistaken. I don't see any reason to rehash this (or hash it for the first time) as the problems seem obvious enough.


The default targeter not making the right choices is a UI problem (and one I'll acknowledge). That doesn't mean the "do more damage to monsters by walls and corners" principle is bad. So I'm not sure what "obvious enough" mechanical problems you're alluding to. I (thankfully) don't have a cyclopedic knowledge of everything that's been written on tavern so if you won't rehash and won't link to old writing I can't know what you mean.

tealizard wrote:About L1's, of course I have made a suggestion for shock, but homing mechanics along the lines of orb of destruction or summon ball lightning would be worth looking at, summoning some kind of homing projectile (call them will'o'the'wisps, foxfire, w/e) that spawns around the player. There are various mechanical possibilities here to coax the player out of corridors on d1, for example the projectiles could despawn on contact with the player and spawn in smaller numbers in tight spaces. This would also create different timing for the attacks, where you cannot necessarily expect to hit the target on the turn you cast the spell. Both magic dart and flame tongue could be replaced by different takes on these kinds of mechanics.


"foxfire" is a nice idea for a flame tongue replacement. To zero in on a specific spell design consider something like the following:

L1 Foxfire. F/C. Conjure two foxfires on cells adjacent to the players. Foxfires are pseudo-summons kind of like orbs of destruction. They have the following behavior: if a monster moves into them they dissipate and the monster is able to move into that cell. On their move they try to path to their target (either closest or picked with a targeter). If they succeed (or find a different hostile along the path) they hit and do flame-tongue damage. If they fail (because the player or an ally or a wall is in the way) they dissipate harmlessly. Range of the foxfires increases with spellpower (according to the old FT formula).

In a corridor this is really bad. You'll get 0 or 1 hits per 2 turns casting (if you get 0 it's because a monster snuffed out your foxfire by walking into melee range). In a slightly more open space you can get both hits but you have to wait a turn before re-casting. In the wide open you can cast every turn and they'll always do well, giving you 2 hits per turn.

Using missiles is a bit tricky: you don't want to give the player ways of indefinitely blocking monsters with a cheap pseudo summon.
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Post Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 20:51

Re: Positional Attack Spells

I think you would find that the distinction between your foxfire guys running into monsters and monsters running into them would be difficult to reason about and unpredictable for players, which would create frustrating/annoying situations. I would just make them always trigger on contact with monsters. Getting blocked by the player and not spawning at all because monsters are in the way should be enough to make corridors very unfavorable terrain for the player. I would suggest making the total damage of two or whatever number of things the spell produces similar to FT (or whatever you're replacing) damage, so that you're talking about a penalty for fighting in corridors rather than a bonus for fighting in the open vs. current spells.

About bouncing, in outline, it encourages corridor fighting/luring and the possibility that the autotargeter does not select the best or preferred projectile path for the player, which I believe will always exist despite your best efforts, destroys much of the value in automation/optimization of the UI. It will always be too fiddly to meet a certain standard of fluid play.
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Post Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 20:59

Re: Positional Attack Spells

This is a perfect solution. It preserves all of the great positional impact of starting at the player but prevents gap-making. I'll add it to my notes and work it into the branch in due course.


How useful will the spell be under this implementation? We're talking about a lot of turns just to set up something that's at all usable outside a corridor. I worry it will go from one of the top tier damaging spells in the game to very situational to even cast. I guess you could still kind of work it by making two conjured flames next to each other in a line, as long as you're near a wall. Monster would have to be 4+ tiles from player though, and not fast/random energy or the setup would be useless. Pretty gimped vs confused enemies or those that push into/through flames outside of corridors too.

Current conjure flame isn't ideal outside corridors but under the proposal players would be encouraged to constantly lure things from LoS and then set it up, likely at least as tediously as right now.

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Post Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 21:07

Re: Positional Attack Spells

I'm a a bit worried what this will do to early-game Wizards and FE.
If Conjure Flame is nerfed as suggested, how can a wizard kill hydra's and other rPois nasties in Lair? Currently it's possible with the starting book. I'm not sure what would happen to me after this change if I had a wizard of Sif or Ash with bad book luck. I suppose this could be fixed by giving them more/better spells :lol:
It also sounds like your proposals would make FE very vulnerable to the situation where a fast enemy is next to them in a corridor. Sometimes this situation can't be avoided. I'm not as sure about this problem as the wizard one.

Some more spell ideas, just in case you like them:
merge Slow & Metabolic Englaciation into a level 2 AOE 3x3 Slow? If you keep its bonus against cold-blooded animals it might help wizards in Lair.
adapt bcrawl's Icicle Burst? It's basically an ice-flavoured scattershot. It has a diffuse range, in the sense that the further away an enemy is the less damage he takes. It also has some AOE applications, but is much worse at AOE than single-target destruction.
an earth/air spell which places calcifying dust on all adjacent tiles which are not currently occupied by monsters.
an level 2 fire/ice spell which creates a single tile of steam - even on top of monsters.
bcrawl's infestation - level 6 poison/transmutations/hex, works like infestation, spawns hornets instead of death scarabs.

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Post Tuesday, 15th October 2019, 21:46

Re: Positional Attack Spells

If Conjure Flame is nerfed as suggested, how can a wizard kill hydra's and other rPois nasties in Lair? Currently it's possible with the starting book. I'm not sure what would happen to me after this change if I had a wizard of Sif or Ash with bad book luck.


You cast slow on the hydra and avoid letting it next to you until it sticks. Then you kite it and shoot it to death with magic darts. If you have a wand you might use that instead. FE getting run down by something much faster early is riskier/more of a new problem, though the window where you can't kill it with sticky flame isn't going to be large.

Still, I don't think we need to take CF so far down that it's another equivalent of inner flame/gell's gravitas. Playing Wz w/o conjure flame is possible, but I'm not sure it's more fun/clear improvement to now.

AoE slow at low levels would actually be pretty crazy.

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Post Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 00:14

Re: Positional Attack Spells

petercordia wrote:I'm a a bit worried what this will do to early-game Wizards and FE.
If Conjure Flame is nerfed as suggested, how can a wizard kill hydra's and other rPois nasties in Lair?


newcf.gif
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I don't claim this to be anywhere close to the optimal use of the spell. But I think I make my case.

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Post Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 00:54

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Curious. Maybe I'm too scared of hydras. I'm intimidated by the idea that they could one-shot me.

I do note you're losing 40% of your hp on a 110%hp species, against a 4-headed hydra. Those numbers don't look promising for the frailer races. (Because 8-headed hydras do show up occasionally)

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Post Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 01:07

Re: Positional Attack Spells

petercordia wrote:Curious. Maybe I'm too scared of hydras. I'm intimidated by the idea that they could one-shot me.

I do note you're losing 40% of your hp on a 110%hp species, against a 4-headed hydra. Those numbers don't look promising for the frailer races. (Because 8-headed hydras do show up occasionally)


I don't want this thread to get derailed with DCA about how to fight hydras, but I'm using *only* conjure flame in the gif. I don't even use it the best possible way, I took a step that let the hydra get closer and put me further away from an escape route and got me up against a wall so I couldn't get one more cloud in a useful place. No wands, no potions, no imps, no weapon, no other spells, no throwing.

The change is supposed to be a nerf. It's good that a single level 3 spell in two starting books can't carry Lair all by itself.
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Post Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 01:12

Re: Positional Attack Spells

My dudes don't realize they can deal with these hydras with summon imp.
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Post Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 01:21

Re: Positional Attack Spells

tealizard wrote:My dudes don't realize they can deal with these hydras with summon imp.


Shhh this thread has been producing good ideas let's not get it off course.

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Post Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 01:47

Re: Positional Attack Spells

I don't think this delay mechanic on Conjure Flame is an improvement. It prevents it from being used to create a gap against a monster that is faster than you and already adjacent to you, sure. But I don't think that usage is more degenerate than using it to maintain a gap by casting it a couple turns before the monster reaches you. So from my perspective it is adding a pretty complex and unintuitive mechanic to the spell for little to no gain.

If using the spell to make gaps is undesired, there is a 100% certain way to prevent that: make monsters always willing to walk into the cloud.

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Post Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 01:51

Re: Positional Attack Spells

tealizard wrote:My dudes don't realize they can deal with these hydras with summon imp.

I've tried that. It was a felid so I could even run away as much as I wanted. The regen was too much for the imps to get through. Same problem with magic dart. Most I managed with the Felid was to get the Hydra's to 50% hp, by making it walk through 3 tiles of fire. Didn't dare come adjacent because the max damage was much greater than my max hp.

ebering wrote:The change is supposed to be a nerf. It's good that a single level 3 spell in two starting books can't carry Lair all by itself.


I understand why you wouldn't want 2 level 3 spells to be able to carry you through Lair. Maybe it's silly Wizard even works right now. However wizards currently work because they have some very strong low-level spells. If you nerf those spells I'd like them to receive some kind of buff.
Wizards of Sif & Ash are some of my favourite characters right now. I'd be sad if their Lair became even harder than it is currently.

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Post Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 01:55

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Pretty sure balance concerns are irrelevant here. Also there's like, a 99% chance that Conjure Flame will remain the best conjurations spell in the game after these changes
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Post Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 02:28

Re: Positional Attack Spells

@duvessa, I'm at a point where I prefer to be pretty vague about details with these things for a variety of reasons. "After two turns" is the kind of thing that can be taken in a lot of different ways "quantitatively," but at least points in a particular direction that's better than the way things work now.

As far as how degenerate existing cflame mechanics are, I mean, it's like all the way. To me, the object would be to get clearly less degenerate, as opposed to less degenerate in some ways but more degenerate in others.

edit: re: folks for whom summon imp didn't work on hydras, try it again.
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Post Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 16:28

Re: Positional Attack Spells

The change is supposed to be a nerf. It's good that a single level 3 spell in two starting books can't carry Lair all by itself.


It can't actually carry lair "all by itself" now, but that's besides the point. If the goal is to reduce tedium, I'm not seeing how the sequence depicted accomplishes that goal (calculating/looking up monster move speed to confirm you won't have a useless cast is more tedious than picking an empty tile). Nor does it seem to particularly fit fire's theme better than present spell.

There are other ways to make conjure flame a weaker spell, if that's the intention instead. Including just making it do less damage and taking duvessa's suggestion of making stuff willing to walk into it.

edit: re: folks for whom summon imp didn't work on hydras, try it again.
Bit tangential but even right now I prefer slow on frail species that can't safely tank even 1 hydra shot. Its boosted success chance and crippling effect on their ability to do anything meaningful is nice. Barely matters what you actually kill them with after that.

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Post Friday, 18th October 2019, 00:03

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Reverse Positional Attack Spell: Hot Spot (Level 4 earth)

When cast, game chooses a 5x5 square of tiles in LOS as though fire storm had been cast randomly. These are marked red and if the player inspects them they will be described as "warm/hot/very hot" 0/10/20 auts after casting. Monster AI ignores it. At 30 auts, everything on those squares takes big explosion+fire damage and the squares return to normal.

Flavor: You are weakening the earth's crust, making pressure build up to a localized eruption.

The spell does not depend on the player's position, but if they are wise, their subsequent position will depend on it!

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Post Thursday, 24th October 2019, 20:18

Re: Positional Attack Spells

I have a suggestion for the L:1/2 earth spell.

The basic idea is that it does more damage when the player or target is next to a wall. There are different iterations for this.

1) bonus damage for each wall the target is next to
2) bonus damage if the target is next to at least one wall
3) bonus damage for each wall the player is next to
4) bonus damage if the player is next to at least one wall

There could be patterns too. Make the range only 1. Give bonus damage if the player is next to a wall, but only on the tiles on the opposite side. So if there's a wall to the North, then the South tile receives extra damage.

Or instead of bonus damage the spell only works if player/target is next to walls.

I realise it doesn't fit into your earth = single target damage scheme, but hey. :)
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Post Thursday, 24th October 2019, 21:00

Re: Positional Attack Spells

You want to get away from walls as the mechanical gimmick. You don't want to play in halls or hug walls in open areas more than the game already encourages you to.

Once you've thrown out the environment modification mechanics of the original earth spells, you're left with something that just doesn't need to exist at all. Of course a false sense of feature completeness and symmetry is what crawl's all about, so can't just remove it. I would look at rethinking earth magic as effecting the dungeon floor/ceiling rather than walls and maybe bringing in plant themes. I'd look at moving summon forest and that zombie hand thing into earth (or earth-only), rework Leda's into something that makes sense in this game, remove the magic arrow spells, and then figure out three or four new direct damage spells.
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Post Friday, 25th October 2019, 16:44

Re: Positional Attack Spells

A Level 4-6 AoE Fire Magic spell, FireFury. Can't miss, randomly chooses between one of the following patterns centered on the player:
  Code:
..###....
.....#.#.
..####.#.
.#.#@#.#.
.#.####..
.#.#.....
....###..
  Code:
..##..#..
.#..#..#.
...###.#.
..##@##..
.#.###...
.#..#..#.
..#..##..
  Code:
.....##..
.###..#..
.#.####..
...#@#...
..####.#.
..#..###.
..##.....
  Code:
....##...
..#...#..
.#.###...
.#.#@#.#.
...###.#.
..#...#..
...##....


Probability distribution is completely symmetric (each number is the number of patterns that tile is represented in, so odds out of 4 that it will hit that tile:
  Code:
002222200
022111220
021444120
0214@4120
021444120
022111220
002222200


This spell doesn't reward memorization of the patterns very strongly, has a pretty low skill floor, and yet has rather good fire-flavored implementation (somewhat similar to the bolt of fire replacement, but with pretty different play pattern.)

Edit: Another option with less well-defined spirals but a completely uniform probability distribution at 2-3 radius:
  Code:
.####..#.
.....#.#.
..####.#.
.#.#@#.#.
.#.####..
.#.#.....
.#..####.

.###..##.
.#..#..#.
...###.#.
..##@##..
.#.###...
.#..#..#.
.##..###.

.....##..
.####.#..
.#.####..
..##@##..
..####.#.
..#.####.
..##.....

....##...
..##.##..
.######..
.#.#@#.#.
..######.
..##.##..
...##....

022222220
022222220
022444220
0224@4220
022444220
022222220
022222220
This variation also hits the same number of tiles in every pattern, which is a minor advantage.
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Post Friday, 25th October 2019, 18:55

Re: Positional Attack Spells

tealizard wrote:You want to get away from walls as the mechanical gimmick. You don't want to play in halls or hug walls in open areas more than the game already encourages you to.

I disagree. Specifically, because my proposal is for a lvl 1 or 2 spell. There are lots of walls in the early dungeon and encouraging sticking to them may actually have a teaching function.

It's fine for the spell to become obsolete for Lair.
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Post Friday, 25th October 2019, 19:23

Re: Positional Attack Spells

No, "teaching" the player to hug walls and exploit corridors is bad because these do not correspond to good gameplay, even if they are the way to win under current mechanics. The point is to change mechanics and therefore to change best practices to be more interesting.

Of all the accepted modes of thought in crawl design, this idea of a mechanic that teaches players to play in a way they are "supposed" to play is maybe the worst and most reactionary. It is a way to lock in bad ideas and grandfather them into the game forever because of their influence on "best practices." Changing best practices is the whole point. Don't bother changing the mechanics of the game if it won't change how the player ought to play the game.
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Post Friday, 25th October 2019, 19:24

Re: Positional Attack Spells

byrel wrote:A Level 4-6 AoE Fire Magic spell, FireFury. Can't miss, randomly chooses between one of the following patterns centered on the player:
  Code:
..###....
.....#.#.
..####.#.
.#.#@#.#.
.#.####..
.#.#.....
....###..
  Code:
..##..#..
.#..#..#.
...###.#.
..##@##..
.#.###...
.#..#..#.
..#..##..
  Code:
.....##..
.###..#..
.#.####..
...#@#...
..####.#.
..#..###.
..##.....
  Code:
....##...
..#...#..
.#.###...
.#.#@#.#.
...###.#.
..#...#..
...##....


Probability distribution is completely symmetric (each number is the number of patterns that tile is represented in, so odds out of 4 that it will hit that tile:
  Code:
002222200
022111220
021444120
0214@4120
021444120
022111220
002222200


This spell doesn't reward memorization of the patterns very strongly, has a pretty low skill floor, and yet has rather good fire-flavored implementation (somewhat similar to the bolt of fire replacement, but with pretty different play pattern.)

Edit: Another option with less well-defined spirals but a completely uniform probability distribution at 2-3 radius:
  Code:
.####..#.
.....#.#.
..####.#.
.#.#@#.#.
.#.####..
.#.#.....
.#..####.

.###..##.
.#..#..#.
...###.#.
..##@##..
.#.###...
.#..#..#.
.##..###.

.....##..
.####.#..
.#.####..
..##@##..
..####.#.
..#.####.
..##.....

....##...
..##.##..
.######..
.#.#@#.#.
..######.
..##.##..
...##....

022222220
022222220
022444220
0224@4220
022444220
022222220
022222220
This variation also hits the same number of tiles in every pattern, which is a minor advantage.

I don't think, personally, that I would ever want to use a spell that I didn't know what I was going to target, the upside would have to be very very large for me to reduce my chances of hitting my desired opponent to 50% or less (I guess I could treat it as a "hit everything adjacent and maybe some other stuff sometimes" spell, but at that point, it might as well just be an everything adjacent targeter without the extra complexity/randomness.)
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Post Friday, 25th October 2019, 21:25

Re: Positional Attack Spells

tealizard wrote:No, "teaching" the player to hug walls and exploit corridors is bad because these do not correspond to good gameplay, even if they are the way to win under current mechanics. The point is to change mechanics and therefore to change best practices to be more interesting.

Of all the accepted modes of thought in crawl design, this idea of a mechanic that teaches players to play in a way they are "supposed" to play is maybe the worst and most reactionary. It is a way to lock in bad ideas and grandfather them into the game forever because of their influence on "best practices." Changing best practices is the whole point. Don't bother changing the mechanics of the game if it won't change how the player ought to play the game.

Why is being near walls and using corridors not good gameplay? Is only fighting in open space good gameplay?

I'm not sure I t understand the second part of your post. If one spell encourages a different behaviour from another spell, isn't that at least somewhat interesting? Every spell and ability will have some way to use it that's the best way. If that turns out to be the design intent, is that bad 'teaching'? If it doesn't turn out to be the design goal, is it bad design?

I'll just repeat that the idea was to have a spell that gets a boost from nearby walls in an area of the game with a fair number of nearby walls. If you don't find that interesting then that's fine. I'm still not sure why you dislike it though.

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Post Monday, 28th October 2019, 14:24

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Siegurt wrote:
byrel wrote:A Level 4-6 AoE Fire Magic spell, FireFury. Can't miss, randomly chooses between one of the following patterns centered on the player:
...

I don't think, personally, that I would ever want to use a spell that I didn't know what I was going to target, the upside would have to be very very large for me to reduce my chances of hitting my desired opponent to 50% or less (I guess I could treat it as a "hit everything adjacent and maybe some other stuff sometimes" spell, but at that point, it might as well just be an everything adjacent targeter without the extra complexity/randomness.)

It's not terribly different from current IMB that way. You have a guaranteed effect which is worth using it for (though not amazing) and a sometimes-explosion that helps with packs.
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Post Monday, 28th October 2019, 16:13

Re: Positional Attack Spells

byrel wrote:
Siegurt wrote:
byrel wrote:A Level 4-6 AoE Fire Magic spell, FireFury. Can't miss, randomly chooses between one of the following patterns centered on the player:
...

I don't think, personally, that I would ever want to use a spell that I didn't know what I was going to target, the upside would have to be very very large for me to reduce my chances of hitting my desired opponent to 50% or less (I guess I could treat it as a "hit everything adjacent and maybe some other stuff sometimes" spell, but at that point, it might as well just be an everything adjacent targeter without the extra complexity/randomness.)

It's not terribly different from current IMB that way. You have a guaranteed effect which is worth using it for (though not amazing) and a sometimes-explosion that helps with packs.

Well, the upside of IMB is that it's a fairly good single-target single-school spell (it's cheap to get online and does the job of a single-target spell fairly well), the occasional splash damage is mostly irrelevant to it.

That many squares hit is way too strong for a typical level 4-6 spell (You could probably get away with as low as level 5 for "everything adjacent to me") The "sometimes" part of your proposal is way to strong to call irrelevant or immaterial.

What I mean by "the upside would have to be very very large" there needs to be sufficient upside to outweigh the randomness, a full-screen sized nuke with that many squares hit contains enough power, that it either needs to be: high level, or mid-level with enough drawbacks to make it comparable in power level to other spells that will target many fewer enemies. Drawbacks might include "really watered down damage" or "can inflict self-damage" (see CBL) but the randomness on it's own is insufficient to lower it to mid-level.

It'd be fine power-wise to have a high-level spell with that many squares, but historically high-level spells have been very reliable in terms of damage done and area of effect (as the spell levels increase you generally increase not only the amount of damage done, but also the reliability with which you can effect it) so I expected that this kind of spell would be competing with other high level spells, which I presumed would be similar to the current level of reliability and damage done.

That's why I felt that that large of a spell with a randomized attack pattern must be *exceptional* in some fashion (Maybe just that much more damage done, maybe inflicting some kind of DOT, maybe bypass armour/resistance, maybe inflict some kind of status effect, etc. etc.) Because I assume that it will be in the context of comparing it to other high-level spells, but that makes it very difficult to balance when comparing it's single-target effectiveness to other spells (particularly since this suggestion has both guaranteed and random parts)

Now that's all speculative, I assume a lot, for example I assume that the intent is to not drastically change the general power level of attack spells, and that larger attack patterns, by virtue of being more powerful, will be relegated to higher-level attacks, and I assume that high level spells will continue to be generally more reliable ways of doing damage to more creatures than lower level ones, and I assume that spells of roughly the same spell level should be roughly as powerful as one-another (with allowances for number of spell schools). I don't think those are unreasonable, but it is a lot of assumptions.
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Post Monday, 28th October 2019, 16:31

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Siegurt wrote:Well, the upside of IMB is that it's a fairly good single-target single-school spell (it's cheap to get online and does the job of a single-target spell fairly well), the occasional splash damage is mostly irrelevant to it.

That many squares hit is way too strong for a typical level 4-6 spell (You could probably get away with as low as level 5 for "everything adjacent to me") The "sometimes" part of your proposal is way to strong to call irrelevant or immaterial.

What I mean by "the upside would have to be very very large" there needs to be sufficient upside to outweigh the randomness, a full-screen sized nuke with that many squares hit contains enough power, that it either needs to be: high level, or mid-level with enough drawbacks to make it comparable in power level to other spells that will target many fewer enemies. Drawbacks might include "really watered down damage" or "can inflict self-damage" (see CBL) but the randomness on it's own is insufficient to lower it to mid-level.

It'd be fine power-wise to have a high-level spell with that many squares, but historically high-level spells have been very reliable in terms of damage done and area of effect (as the spell levels increase you generally increase not only the amount of damage done, but also the reliability with which you can effect it) so I expected that this kind of spell would be competing with other high level spells, which I presumed would be similar to the current level of reliability and damage done.

That's why I felt that that large of a spell with a randomized attack pattern must be *exceptional* in some fashion (Maybe just that much more damage done, maybe inflicting some kind of DOT, maybe bypass armour/resistance, maybe inflict some kind of status effect, etc. etc.) Because I assume that it will be in the context of comparing it to other high-level spells, but that makes it very difficult to balance when comparing it's single-target effectiveness to other spells (particularly since this suggestion has both guaranteed and random parts)

Now that's all speculative, I assume a lot, for example I assume that the intent is to not drastically change the general power level of attack spells, and that larger attack patterns, by virtue of being more powerful, will be relegated to higher-level attacks, and I assume that high level spells will continue to be generally more reliable ways of doing damage to more creatures than lower level ones, and I assume that spells of roughly the same spell level should be roughly as powerful as one-another (with allowances for number of spell schools). I don't think those are unreasonable, but it is a lot of assumptions.

I mean, currently irradiate is a very strong level 5 spell that hits everything adjacent to you, doesn't check any resistances, and reliably 3-4 shots Orbs of Fire at relatively low power. It has a downside which is irrelevant in 1v1s and somewhat relevant when getting mobbed.

I think a level 5 fire spell that hits everything adjacent to you for, say, fireball level damage and has a 50% change to hit a larger area would be weaker than irradiate and about on-par with fireball (less ability to kill things at range, somewhat better AoE and safe to use in a bad position.)
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Post Monday, 28th October 2019, 18:17

Re: Positional Attack Spells

byrel wrote:I think a level 5 fire spell that hits everything adjacent to you for, say, fireball level damage and has a 50% change to hit a larger area would be weaker than irradiate and about on-par with fireball (less ability to kill things at range, somewhat better AoE and safe to use in a bad position.)



Well, I consider irradiate a pretty weak spell, both because it's adjacent-only at level 5, and because it uses investment from a spell school which doesn't have other overlap with conjurations. I did some testing in wizmode and it takes 4-5 irradiates at high spellpower (20 conj+transmutation, 25 spellcasting, 20 int) to kill an OOF (I didn't manage to kill one in 3 in 20 attempts, one did take 6, but I assume that was just bad rolls). A spell that requires you *first get next to an orb of fire* before you can spend 4-5 turns killing it, that costs spellcasting plus two skills, one of which has almost nothing to do with conjurations, is weaker than other options. Spell-wise iOOD/Iron shot/LCS are currently much better ways to kill an OOF than irradiate, and better for non-OOF than irradiate as well. If your argument is that "you could fight two or more adjacent OOF's at once with irradiate" consider for a moment the wisdom of ever attempting to do such a thing. 5 irradiates is also about the limit for number of times you can cast it in a row without a significant chance of blowback from the contamination, so you're right it's rarely a consideration in a 1v1 battle.

Against a 1-2 targets I would consider your suggested fireball-level spell to be about 65% as good as fireball is now (Which is to say, about as good as bolt of magma, which is to further say, a spell I very rarely bother to memorize because it sucks.)

That's because:
1. Ranged attacks are way better than adjacent-only attacks, by between 50% and 80%.
2. The ranged ability of your described spell is about 50% of fireball, so 50%-to-80% of the time it's half as good as fireball is now.
3. The advantage "better AOE and safe to use in a bad position" nearly never applies to me, the occasions in which I wanted to cast fireball at an adjacent creature and couldn't without self-harm because of my positioning approach 0 so closely as to be statistically insignificant. I admit that's because not backing myself into a bad position has become second nature to the point that I don't even think about it consciously any more, and someone else might have it happen more than nearly never. But "I can screw up my positioning with fireball" doesn't actually count as a weak point in the spell's actual power, since your positioning is ultimately directly under your control.

*In the context of there being spells that are about as good as fireball at level 5* I would be unlikely to use/memorize this spell, if all spells were scaled to the power level of this spell, then it would obviously be inline with those (although I think that might make it out of alignment with melee)

Now on the flip side of the coin in a very very rare "near whole screen filled with creatures" scenario, your suggestion is about 3-4x *better* than fireball is now, that excessive variance of effectiveness makes this type of spell *extremely* hard to get right balance wise.
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Post Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 21:47

Re: Positional Attack Spells

IMO irradiate is more a "get off me" spell for tmut setups than it is something for conjurations. If you have dragon form or something it only takes a little bit of conjurations to get it pretty solid. Having something with respectable AoE that can't miss is nice utility on transmuters, even though you're generally trying to prevent having > 1 thing next to you.

As such I don't expect the fire spell to step on irradiate's toes much.

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Post Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 08:46

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Not sure whether this falls under the scope of "positional attack spells", but could the spelllevel of summon lightning spire be increased to 5?

Also if the range of dispel undead is reduced to 1, I'd like to see its damage increased, unless it's intentional that the spell gets obsolete quickly. It's already hard to justify spending 5 spell slots on the spell if you have access to iron shot (or something like that). For the spell to be worth using in the late game, where you'd have to get adjacent to a lich/ancient lich/curse skull (anything else you should be able to kill normally), it would only be worth it if you could be pretty sure of instantly killing the thing. That would sound overpowered though...
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Post Tuesday, 19th November 2019, 14:25

Re: Positional Attack Spells

So here are some thoughts on the current positional magic branch, that probably don't belong in that newer thread. I'm not sure where they do belong so I'm putting them here.

First of all, when I play a character that uses conjurations etc. as my main way of dealing damage, I typically feel quite different than a character who is using a ranged weapon. Even if the basic methods of offence are similar, the character built around those things is usually not. The pacing and skilling is not the same, as are the things they want to find on the floor; a typical crossbow user feels a lot like a melee weapon attacker to me, just one that's better at hitting things from further away.

(I feel like preventing ranged weapons from manually targeting enemies would actually be a good solution to several problems, other than the lack of "realism" factor in not being able to choose where you shoot, which personally wouldn't bother me but I'm sure lots of people would be up in arms about.)

Secondly, while your intended design goal is more or less clear to me, the intended play outcome is not. Without clear replacements for a bunch of the removed spells, I feel like my magic user games are going to start with FE and IE a lot less, and transition to earth magic and melee weapons a lot more. If your goal is to move away from 5 types of magic slings, then surely just going down to 2 types and a bunch of other stuff that gets mostly ignored is not really a success.

Playing around with the new spells was fun, but when I went back to my DEIE game in trunk, I felt what I can only call relief as I didn't have to worry about all sorts of weird spell ranges. A lot of the positional spells make you think more to use them effectively, but they don't really make the majority of the situations you find in crawl -- lots of relatively straightforward enemies that you can kill easily as long as you're strong enough -- any more interesting or dangerous.

Lastly I didn't complain about spell removals in the other thread per request, but I'm going to do it here a bit: I like bolt of draining, poison arrow, and bolt of cold. There are different situations in which one is more effective than the other, and training one spell school over another gives other spells more relevance. I'll be pretty sad if they just get axed outright with nothing else in their place.
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Post Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 02:15

Re: Positional Attack Spells

"Differentiation from ranged combat" is kind of a red herring. As you say, ranged combat in its current form is a strictly less interesting version of melee with an interface that is 5000% worse. This is bad, which is why so many developers have expressed a desire to change ranged combat. Spells like stone arrow have the exact same problem, so spells like stone arrow ought to be changed too. Yes, the external gimmicks like MP and ammo and skills can act as a sort of bandage for spells that are uninteresting on their own...but those gimmicks can be applied just as well to spells that are interesting on their own, so their existence is no reason to keep bolt of draining, poison arrow, or bolt of cold around.
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Post Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 03:22

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Well ebering has said several times that differentiating spells from ranged combat is one of the main motivations for these changes, and that he's hoping to do some work on improving targeting, so I don't really agree that it's a red herring.

Anyhow, this may surprise you but I really don't mind the interface for spells/ranged combat. I agree that it could be improved, but like I said in the other thread, it doesn't even register on the list of things in crawl that bother me or that I wish were changed. I've been learning recently that some people really dislike it; you seem to be one of those people, so if wouldn't mind writing a few words, or pointing me to a thread, about why you think it's so bad, I'd appreciate it.
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Post Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 03:49

Re: Positional Attack Spells

It is definitely not surprising that you think everything is good. That is the single most commonly expressed opinion on this forum.

There's reason to believe targeting can't get significantly better than it already has. It seems to me that once you accept that you can't show what the player will target before they've selected a spell or whatever, you're already screwed. When you follow this line of thinking, you realize either you need to either know what the player is going to use to attack (because there's only one thing to do -- this is ranged weapons/quiver, basically) or their attacks have to have no target ("positional attack spells").
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Post Saturday, 23rd November 2019, 02:14

Re: Positional Attack Spells

As far as spell ideas, something to replace lightning bolt and/or shock -- you start with two arcs at low power, scaling in number like cbl with increasing power, that select nearby targets first. Each arc jumps to another target farther from the caster than the previous target and in the same general direction as the previous arc in its chain, so that a given target is only hit once by a given chain of arcs, but possibly hit by more than one of the chains. These chains would have a chance of "grounding out" when they're near walls. Thematic for the school, eliminates targeters.

edit: I should have said there are a few different ways to go for differentiating versions of this mechanic. For example, a replacement for lightning bolt could continue to arc until there are no targets far enough away and in the right direction to hit, so it can hit anything in line of sight. Another way to go would be to make it ground out after a small number of arcs or at a certain range, to get something more suitable to replace a low level spell like shock.
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Post Monday, 6th January 2020, 03:54

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Human Cannonball
Earth/Transmutation (level to be determined)
Violently hurls the caster into a chosen direction, attempting to damage everything that gets in the way. You deal lots of damage to monsters, but if you don't hit a monster you get confused. For funsies, the spell could have finite speed (2-3 tiles per turn?) and disable normal movement until you hit something.

It doesn't get much more direct that tramping enemies with your body. I think this spell would soon become a player favourite.

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Post Monday, 6th January 2020, 20:16

Re: Positional Attack Spells

b0rsuk wrote:Human Cannonball
Earth/Transmutation (level to be determined)
Violently hurls the caster into a chosen direction, attempting to damage everything that gets in the way. You deal lots of damage to monsters, but if you don't hit a monster you get confused. For funsies, the spell could have finite speed (2-3 tiles per turn?) and disable normal movement until you hit something.

It doesn't get much more direct that tramping enemies with your body. I think this spell would soon become a player favourite.


It could be a transmutations/translocations spell. I don't think there's any?
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Post Thursday, 9th January 2020, 14:00

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Contact Bolt
Targeting mechanism
Automatically targets the longest continuous chain of monsters starting from adjacent to the player, up to the spell's max range. The bolt must continuously move away from the player, ie. cannot go from 4 squares away to an adjacent monster that is still 4 squares away from the caster.
  Code:
example 7 range bolt
...............
...............
.........*.....
.......@*.*....
...........*...
............*..
.............**

Spells that can't find a valid next monster can stop at the end of the path, explode, w/e.

Distinguished from bolt spells in that you need a continuous chain of monsters from your position to get the maximum effect, and the path can curve. But for high-powered spells it'd probably be difficult to get more than 1-2 good casts in a fight.

(Originally thought up as an alternative chain lightning targeting mechanism)

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Post Thursday, 9th January 2020, 17:57

Re: Positional Attack Spells

Shtopit wrote:
b0rsuk wrote:Human Cannonball
Earth/Transmutation (level to be determined)
Violently hurls the caster into a chosen direction, attempting to damage everything that gets in the way. You deal lots of damage to monsters, but if you don't hit a monster you get confused. For funsies, the spell could have finite speed (2-3 tiles per turn?) and disable normal movement until you hit something.

It doesn't get much more direct that tramping enemies with your body. I think this spell would soon become a player favourite.


It could be a transmutations/translocations spell. I don't think there's any?


I'm not sure transmutation/translocations is brutal enough. One of my inspirations is Fighter ability from Nox:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGbJvbDMEf8
In this multiplayer video, the Warrior player uses Berserker Charge liberally. You won't miss it.

This would also make a very good fit for characters with Horns mutation, especially minotaurs. An activated ability.
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Post Thursday, 9th January 2020, 19:34

Re: Positional Attack Spells

I definitely would enjoy a spell that makes natural weapons (or even general mutations) more incisive. Something in the line of how Dragon Form interacts with Draconian scales.
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Post Tuesday, 14th January 2020, 17:26

Re: Positional Attack Spells

A spell idea to fill a void which is felt in Ice & Fire:

type: level 2, fire/ice
name: ???
flavour: rapidly heat & freeze a random target in LOS.
effect: deal damage to random target in LOS. Deals double damage to brittle creatures (like LRD)

Game-play aims:
1. give IE something to spam against weak enemies
2. give IE something against skeletons (because or rC)
3. give FE something to do in corridors
4. give FE extra ways to play with Inner Flame
5. give IE & FE a level 2 spell
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