Dragon form idea


Although the central place for design discussion is ##crawl-dev on freenode, some may find it helpful to discuss requests and suggestions here first.

Abyss Ambulator

Posts: 1242

Joined: Thursday, 10th March 2011, 19:45

Post Friday, 9th April 2021, 20:59

Dragon form idea

If you cast Dragon Form while wearing dragon scales, the scales could determine the type of dragon you become.

You would keep the resistances from the scales (and also the AC bonus?) and gain a breath weapon appropriate to the dragon type.

Dungeon Master

Posts: 366

Joined: Monday, 18th August 2014, 20:04

Post Saturday, 10th April 2021, 22:06

Re: Dragon form idea

FWIW grown-up draconians already get this exact bonus based on their color, which I think we wouldn't want to dilute.

Lair Larrikin

Posts: 17

Joined: Sunday, 15th September 2019, 06:21

Post Friday, 7th May 2021, 01:09

Re: Dragon form idea

Not many characters can cast dragon form in dragon armor, except for crappy steam or mottled armor, and I don't think you want to be a steam dragon.
Though, I suppose this could be changed by giving characters in dragon armor a bonus to spell success for casting dragon form. That would be kind of cool, actually.

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 903

Joined: Thursday, 16th August 2018, 21:19

Post Saturday, 8th May 2021, 12:01

Re: Dragon form idea

Steam Dragon form is actually quite desirable, because of the implied evocable fog (steam)
It would max out at the armour bonus of a XL3 draconian (+5) so it could possibly be ok balance-wise

Interactions between armour and forms like the OP suggests would be cool (but only if they can't be gamed too much)

Blades Runner

Posts: 578

Joined: Thursday, 25th October 2012, 03:19

Post Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 06:30

Re: Dragon form idea

This isn't quite on topic, but since they were mentioned:

The change that Draconians can't wear any armour seems absurd to me. That is such a harsh handicap, and why? At least they should be able to wear dragon armour. Pretty much most draconian games are a rush to find a transmuation spell or splat. Usually splat. Am I missing something? Is this not the case?

Dungeon Master

Posts: 366

Joined: Monday, 18th August 2014, 20:04

Post Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 03:37

Re: Dragon form idea

svendre wrote:This isn't quite on topic, but since they were mentioned:

The change that Draconians can't wear any armour seems absurd to me. That is such a harsh handicap, and why? At least they should be able to wear dragon armour. Pretty much most draconian games are a rush to find a transmuation spell or splat. Usually splat. Am I missing something? Is this not the case?


Not sure what change this question is about, can you clarify? (Probably not the change from 0.10??)

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 903

Joined: Thursday, 16th August 2018, 21:19

Post Thursday, 3rd June 2021, 16:49

Re: Dragon form idea

svendre wrote:This isn't quite on topic, but since they were mentioned:

The change that Draconians can't wear any armour seems absurd to me. That is such a harsh handicap, and why? At least they should be able to wear dragon armour. Pretty much most draconian games are a rush to find a transmuation spell or splat. Usually splat. Am I missing something? Is this not the case?

You can usually get respectable AC, good hp, good EV, decent SH, the ability to cast spells with very minor investment, and no stealth penalties.
Draconian base AC (4 + XL/3) compares somewhat favourably with steam/acid dragon scales.
It's true it can't compare with heavier armours, but I wouldn't call Draconians weak just because they can't commit to an all-in strength-AC-melee build.

Blades Runner

Posts: 578

Joined: Thursday, 25th October 2012, 03:19

Post Friday, 4th June 2021, 02:03

Re: Dragon form idea

advil wrote:
svendre wrote:This isn't quite on topic, but since they were mentioned:

The change that Draconians can't wear any armour seems absurd to me. That is such a harsh handicap, and why? At least they should be able to wear dragon armour. Pretty much most draconian games are a rush to find a transmuation spell or splat. Usually splat. Am I missing something? Is this not the case?


Not sure what change this question is about, can you clarify? (Probably not the change from 0.10??)


It was nothing recent. If I had to guess, like a year or more ago. I know they get a lot of other benefits, but still, I feel like we need to do something in general about how paramount AC is. That might be another solution than modifying draconians, because the matter exists for all races that cannot wear armour (they splat so easily). Going back in time, it used to be that you could play more carefully and still get by without it, but then a lot of things changed that are all focused on stopping people from kiting, not receiving damage. Unless you play extremely carefully and then even if you do, eventually in the course of a game you get badly trapped somehow and in a position to take a damage spike. It only takes one bad event to die, so I think without heavy armour, statistically speaking, it's exponentially harder to not splat. It's not that I don't want characters to die or the game to be easy, I like the game hard... but I just think it'd be nice if that came in more forms and trade-offs. Buffing EV and other defenses that don't come easily in heavy armour is interesting (I mentioned some ideas in another recent thread).

I suppose I'll play a few more draconians in the present trunk before I comment any further on how they feel.

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 6443

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

Post Friday, 4th June 2021, 05:43

Re: Dragon form idea

svendre wrote:It was nothing recent. If I had to guess, like a year or more ago.

September of 2011: https://github.com/crawl/crawl/commit/c ... 5c365825ac
Spoiler: show
This high quality signature has been hidden for your protection. To unlock it's secret, send 3 easy payments of $9.99 to me, by way of your nearest theta band or ley line. Complete your transmission by midnight tonight for a special free gift!

Blades Runner

Posts: 578

Joined: Thursday, 25th October 2012, 03:19

Post Saturday, 5th June 2021, 03:39

Re: Dragon form idea

Siegurt wrote:
svendre wrote:It was nothing recent. If I had to guess, like a year or more ago.

September of 2011: https://github.com/crawl/crawl/commit/c ... 5c365825ac


Good grief. I meant to say 10 years ago! Oh well, we'll all be in some sort of alien digital museum one day.

Blades Runner

Posts: 578

Joined: Thursday, 25th October 2012, 03:19

Post Sunday, 13th June 2021, 10:43

Re: Dragon form idea

I just finished a draconian delver. It was one of the worst experiences ever. The early/mid game was ok. I was able to use poison magic and breath weapons to survive and progress. Ignite poison filled in most of the blanks for the poison resistant stuff. Then I got dragon form active, but my unarmed still was pretty low, so it didn't help much at first. As the game went on, I found I needed to keep retreating/healing far more often. By the end game, I had dragon form, storm form, and statue form and shatter all functional.

Basically, dragon form was the only real help since I could at least kill stuff quickly - but there were a lot of close calls even with the massive health pool.

Storm form was fun to blink-stab stuff with, but on more than one occasion I found it was more useful simply for blinking next to a target at range, ending the transformation, then using dragon form. The loss of equipment and large health pool for short fights didn't seem to be made up for in offensive power. I used it to good effect a few times, but overall it seems more like a liability. The cleaving effect clears out trash, but it's not really safe to use against multiple dangerous enemies since you have no AC.

Statue form was pretty decent, as usual, being the only one of the forms with any decent AC. In my game my ac with it was still only in the 30-40 range maximum. Still worse than most games wearing regular armour. I get sick of recasting it all the time, and that's probably one reason I stuck more to dragonform after awhile. It seemed better than storm form overall due to AC and you don't lose armour/weapons stats. The torment resist was also somewhat handy.

So how did it end? Well, I got to the extended part of the game, and with torment and the low AC overall (unless I guess if I had tried to play with permanent statue-form, which is an irritating gameplay style for me) it just got too painful to continue. I had too many close calls in the hells without even fighting the bosses, decided it was time to throw in the towel and headed to Zot. Zot was extremely painful and I was mutated beyond recognition with teleportitis and -30% health and everything else. It seemed like I only got 1 or 2 mutation potions the whole game (almost as though the drop rate changed), and would have been tough without dragonform at the least to worship Zin, so, I limped my way into Zot5 and burned consumables and very narrowly managed to win with a mere 3 rune game.

I can't fathom why draconian is in the "easy" category at game start. Any race that can't wear armour and/or has to rely on transmutations is pretty close to terrible. I think the best they could have hoped for previously was being stealthy and absolute zero, but with that now out of the game, I'm not sure again - it's back to buffing up and launching crystal spears and a whole lot of luck...... or just play a melee race that can wear armour and swing a weapon, and it's 1000% easier.

There are some real balance issues, I'm not sure why they aren't more easily recognized, or maybe they are... but having draconian in the "simple", "beginner" category or whatever it is, seems to indicate something is confused.

Spider Stomper

Posts: 202

Joined: Friday, 13th December 2019, 01:33

Post Sunday, 13th June 2021, 15:12

Re: Dragon form idea

Agreed; the only draconian I ever won (IIRC) was a DrTm in 0.16 bugbuild. I'd switch them with deep dwarves; those are "easy" if you go with Makhleb, at least, though I suppose that would need to be communicated clearly to actual newbies.

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 6443

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

Post Sunday, 13th June 2021, 18:15

Re: Dragon form idea

svendre wrote:Any race that can't wear armour and/or has to rely on transmutations is pretty close to terrible.


Transmutation reliant builds are, IMO, generally somewhat harder than conjuration type builds (for any given race with the possible exception of troll and maybe ogre), and Dr will have better defenses than a typical robe-wearer (although missing robes's nicer egos)

Maybe you don't like to play robe-wearing conjuration-user builds to compare Dr to? (It's certainly not outside the realm of possibility to consider AC the most valuable asset for winning, it is pretty darn good)
Spoiler: show
This high quality signature has been hidden for your protection. To unlock it's secret, send 3 easy payments of $9.99 to me, by way of your nearest theta band or ley line. Complete your transmission by midnight tonight for a special free gift!

Blades Runner

Posts: 578

Joined: Thursday, 25th October 2012, 03:19

Post Yesterday, 22:15

Re: Dragon form idea

Siegurt wrote:
svendre wrote:Any race that can't wear armour and/or has to rely on transmutations is pretty close to terrible.


Transmutation reliant builds are, IMO, generally somewhat harder than conjuration type builds (for any given race with the possible exception of troll and maybe ogre), and Dr will have better defenses than a typical robe-wearer (although missing robes's nicer egos)

Maybe you don't like to play robe-wearing conjuration-user builds to compare Dr to? (It's certainly not outside the realm of possibility to consider AC the most valuable asset for winning, it is pretty darn good)


Maybe not. To be more precise though, I'd say I can enjoy carefully playing a spell casting race with low AC - it takes a lot more skill than "tabbin", but that doesn't prevent me from also being all the more frustrated the many times that they (seemingly) go splat from the myriad of situations that you can't always control: shafting 3 levels, getting paralyzed, unlucky damage spikes, or you encounter stuff that is super fast and you may just not have had enough xp for all the spell schools required to deal with all the different combinations. I suppose you're right that a draconian can be just like that, but slightly better armoured. But, if pressed to compare draconians to those other equivalent builds - I'm not so sure that the breath weapon and little bit of AC stacks up so well to more specialized races like Octopodes potentially using 8 artefact rings, or deep elves or tengus having amazing caster aptitudes, or felids having multiple lives and being quick (debatable though). It's okay I guess, but a little AC for a pure nuker is still mostly preparing for a dangerous situation that you shouldn't be in ideally anyhow. Is it better than nothing, or possibly a false sense of security?

Really, unless the race dictates no armour at all (felid or something), I don't find that the majority of games where I'm building a nuker can't still afford to wear some decent medium weight dragon scales at least and not have their spell casting hampered too badly to be usable.

If robes of archmage and orange crystal plate were two presented options, in a game, If I can, I'll always opt to use the orange crystal plate and cast lower level spells if I have to...

Apologies for the poor writing in this, allergies are driving me up the wall right now.

Dungeon Master

Posts: 366

Joined: Monday, 18th August 2014, 20:04

Post Today, 19:00

Re: Dragon form idea

I continue to be a bit confused by this thread. To be clear about the no armour thing, they don't have "no armour" in anything like the sense that felids do, they have automatic race-specific AC on levelup that for everything but grey drac ends up being comparable to light dragon scales, e.g. steam, acid or quicksilver dragon scales depending on enchant level and armour skill -- but no need for enchanting it or training armour, and no spellcasting penalties at any point to get it! That's really one of the main reasons why they are in the "simple" column -- they are not by any means the easiest thing in that column but don't need a thought/planning about body armour and how that interacts with casting. I can't say I've played the species a lot but in my experience a good book start like DrCj is a strong and straightforward hybrid start. I also don't think I would even recommend a transmuter build for most Dr, let alone say it is necessary. (As a side note, this column is named "simple", not "easy". But I would personally rank Dr as noticeably easier than e.g. deep elves.)

Return to Game Design Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests

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