Proposal: A New Nemelex Xobeh


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Barkeep

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Joined: Saturday, 29th June 2013, 16:52

Post Thursday, 6th February 2014, 19:24

Proposal: A New Nemelex Xobeh

e2: this is actually a big mess, but I'm working on something better, promise.

Sorry for the wall of text; I split this from the other Nemelex thread for ease of commenting, but mods can pop it back if they feel like this doesn't merit its own thread. See TL;DR below for the gist of the proposal.

I personally enjoy Nemelex as he is currently, but I don't think my opinion is widely shared. If played correctly (i.e. totally micromanaging sacrifices and using abilities optimally) Nem is widely considered overpowered, sacrificing items is tedious, and deck gifts are a clumsy mechanic. Here's a suggestion for a complete overhaul that hopefully addresses these issues:

Upon worshipping Nemelex, you receive a Deck of Cards and a suite of abilities. However, all cards and abilities are available immediately, as piety only comes into play after you've dealt the last card in the deck.

The abilities:
  • Draw One - As currently, though perhaps increase MP cost
  • Peek at Two - Identify top two cards of deck. Discard one from bottom.
  • Triple Draw - Pick one card out of the first three, discard remaining two.
  • Deal Four - Draw four cards at once; Nemelex protects you from the effect of cards both positively (no doubled Orb) and negatively (cannot use XP card). Discard three from bottom.
  • Stack Five - You may stack the next five cards in any order. Discard four from bottom.
Discard prices must be paid to use abilities; you must have 9 cards to use Stack Five, for example. Success rates are based on evocations skill.

The deck appears shuffled and complete, with two each of summoning, destruction, and escape cards, and then one Experience/Helix card and one card drawn from deck of oddities for a total of 52 cards (this number is subject to rebalancing, of course). I would remove the possibility of hostile summons. Card power would be evocations-based, with fairly high levels of evo necessary to consistently get power level 3 cards (though it could be partially piety based to encourage running through decks; see below).

After you deal the last card your abilities are replaced by two new options, each of which give 1* of piety per use up to 6*:
  • Buy In - For a piety-based amount of gold, you may "buy in" to a new game and purchase a deck. The cost increases with each level of piety at a high rate. For example, the first deck may cost only 500 gold, while the sixth deck (and those thereafter) would cost many thousands of gold.
  • Nemelex's Mercy - Nemelex will grant you a new deck, but you instantly lose whatever beneficial effect you gained from the XP or Helix card from the previous deck and must draw a card from the deck of punishments. At each * of piety, you must draw an additional card. Ideally, these punishments would be rebalanced to create an interesting cost, as the current deck of punishments is extremely swingy. Another way to handle this: at each * of piety, the punishments become increasingly severe.
At 6*, you gain a final ability:
  • Hand of Fortune - You may forgo receiving an additional normal deck for a Legendary Deck. This deck is endless, with most cards from summoning/destruction/escape, rare examples from XP/helix/oddities, and even rarer punishments. In exchange, you may only use Draw One; all other abilities are removed.
If you abandon Nemelex, you lose your deck and must draw randomly from the deck of punishments (e: maybe the 6* punishment deck, or maybe a more extreme "deck of wrath," something troubling). Nemelex only accepts the worship of those with decks; if you fail to use Buy In, Nemelex's Mercy, or Hand of Fortune within some small number of turns with the "deckless" status, you will be excommunicated.

This would remove the tedium of sacrificing items and sorting through/micromanaging Nem's gifts. While I don't claim that this current proposal is anything near "balanced," it would also create a much easier deck paradigm to work with, so Nemelex could become less overpowered. The god's abilities can be summed up by the cards in the deck, and removing/adding/changing cards would be easier without four different deck types to juggle and balance against one another. And the Nemelex's Mercy/Buy In choice makes it difficult to accumulate much XP/Helix over time until 6*, when one assumes a character is past the point where a single XP/Helix card really makes a huge difference. The only thing this doesn't address is dpeg's issues w/r/t cards replicating existing mechanics, but that's a problem that would require a wholesale reinvention of the entire deck, something outside the scope of this proposal.

As for the other decks, while removing them wouldn't be necessary for this new Nemelex, I think it would be advantageous. The interesting cards without analogues could be moved to evocable items or consumables, e.g. Scroll of Trowel, Alchemist evocable (didn't mumra create a Chalice that did something similar?), Mercenary Contracts, etc.

TL;DR: Nemelex gives you a single deck of 52 cards and the full suite of abilities upon joining. Every time you run out of cards, you earn a pip of piety and can either buy increasingly expensive decks or face increasingly bad punishments to receive a new deck. At 6*, you can choose to receive an unlimited deck, but must give up all abilities except Draw One. All other cards are removed.

e: the 52 cards work out nicely and conveniently, but in all fairness a few of those cards don't belong. At the very least, we could go down to 50-card decks just by removing Damnation from the Escape cards. Apologies again for this enormous wall of text.
Last edited by archaeo on Saturday, 8th February 2014, 18:35, edited 2 times in total.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Thursday, 6th February 2014, 23:24

Re: Proposal: A New Nemelex Xobeh

I don't think making the deck have predetermined contents is viable, since it would encourage things like keeping track of previously drawn cards to gain knowledge of the deck.

I do like the idea of buying into a new deck, but I don't think you need to be so concerned about "removing previous benefits from Helix and Experience cards." Making sure that these cards appear randomly and are not to be counted on seems to be the best way to ensure they do not become overpowered. Since there has to be incentive to have high piety, I think linking card power to piety still makes sense. Otherwise, it might be optimal to try to keep one's piety stunted to reduce the cost of new decks.

I also like the Hand of Fortune concept a lot, as it seems very thematic for Nemelex, and seems to be doing the most to distance itself from the current 'micromanagement for fun and profit' model. It also seems to be providing a significant choice for players as they enter the later parts of the game- do they continue suffering from gold costs and punishments to enjoy the benefit of manipulable High-Piety cards, or do they go for a less taxing, but less reliable card strategy?
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Barkeep

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Post Friday, 7th February 2014, 00:51

Re: Proposal: A New Nemelex Xobeh

wizzzargh wrote:I don't think making the deck have predetermined contents is viable, since it would encourage things like keeping track of previously drawn cards to gain knowledge of the deck...Making sure that these cards appear randomly and are not to be counted on seems to be the best way to ensure they do not become overpowered.

Seems reasonable to randomize it more, sure. If the predetermined contents remain, the description should just tell you what cards remain, which gives short decks a lot of power (and retains another reason to avoid Hand of Fortune instead of rushing for it). As for the XP/Helix thing, you're probably right, as long as they weren't guaranteed every deck.

wizzzargh wrote:Since there has to be incentive to have high piety, I think linking card power to piety still makes sense. Otherwise, it might be optimal to try to keep one's piety stunted to reduce the cost of new decks.

The inspiration for this actually came the recent thread about a reverse piety god. In the above proposal, piety is mostly just a counter. If card power depends on piety too much, there's no reason to avoid going for 6*, and my goal here was to make it equally viable to play it safe.

wizzzargh wrote:I also like the Hand of Fortune concept a lot

See, in tileschat, Gammafunk singled that part out in particular for being overcomplicated, "two gods in one," etc. I also like the concept, but it would be a precarious balance to keep one option from grossly outweighing the other. But it is pretty complicated, like this whole proposal -- one of its major weaknesses.

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