Species: Salamander


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

User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 291

Joined: Wednesday, 6th June 2012, 18:59

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 15:53

Species: Salamander

I've been tinkering with this since shortly before the tournament began, mainly to explore the species design space in a few ways that haven't sufficiently been explored before that I think have the potential to be an interesting game experience - namely, what can be done to balance an (initially) slow moving species, what sorts of innate attacks can be viable, and what sort of a species do we expect to be able to swim through lava (if any). Key ideas are bolded.

For their current implementation, see here: http://sprunge.us/cRcY (if you're just reading, scroll down to 4/4 for the important bit).

Salamander

Half-human, half-snake, and all ablaze, these creatures have a legendary affinity for fire and combat.

Mutations / innate abilities:
  • Size: medium
  • Base Str/Int/Dex: 7/8/9
  • Fiery attacks: Melee attacks deal a small amount of extra fire damage, up to d9 at XL27.
  • Tough skin 2 (AC+2)
  • Cold vulnerability (rC-)
  • Deformed body (half AC from body armour)
  • Slow movement 2
  • Cannot wear boots, but can wear naga bardings
  • At XL7, gains rF+ and loses a level of slow movement
  • At XL14, gains another point of rF, loses the other level of slow movement, and gains the ability to swim through lava
Aptitudes (still a work in progress):
  • Fighting: 1
  • Short Blades: 0
  • Long Blades: 1
  • Axes: 0
  • Maces Flails: 0
  • Polearms: 1
  • Staves: 0
  • Slings: -1
  • Bows: 0
  • Crossbows: -1
  • Throwing: -1
  • Armour: -2
  • Dodging: 0
  • Stealth: 2
  • Shields: -2
  • Unarmed Combat: 0
  • Spellcasting: 0
  • Conjurations: 1
  • Hexes: -1
  • Charms: 1
  • Summonings: 0
  • Necromancy: -1
  • Translocations: 0
  • Transmutations: 0
  • Fire Magic: 3
  • Ice Magic: -2
  • Air Magic: -1
  • Earth Magic: 1
  • Poison Magic: 1
  • Invocations: 1
  • Evocations: -1
  • HP: 1
  • MP: 1
  • Exp: -1
Recommended backgrounds: Gladiator, Berserker, Abyssal Knight, Death Knight, Skald, Conjurer, Fire Elementalist, Earth Elementalist
Thanks to dck and Basil for providing a lot of preliminary feedback on the design, helping it to arrive at this point.

For this message the author sgrunt has received thanks: 4
dck, jason0320, Marbit, Sar

Barkeep

Posts: 3890

Joined: Wednesday, 14th August 2013, 23:25

Location: USA

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 15:59

Re: Species: Salamander

Maybe have them deal a flat amount of fire damage on melee (less than d9; maybe d4 or d3?) right from the start, such that it is more useful early on, when they are still hampered by slow movement, but doesn't really matter later on, when they have overcome slow movement? Maybe that's what you had in mind though, starts at d3 and scales up to d9?

[EDIT: sorry missed the HP/MP/leveling apts at bottom.]

Dungeon Master

Posts: 3618

Joined: Thursday, 23rd December 2010, 12:43

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 16:01

Re: Species: Salamander

Looks good, but the one thing I wonder about is that slow movement goes away. I like slow movement as a species trait but with this proposal, they start out crippled and gain in power as soon as the game gets easier anyway. :)

For this message the author dpeg has received thanks:
Sar

Slime Squisher

Posts: 377

Joined: Friday, 1st February 2013, 21:08

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 16:12

Re: Species: Salamander

dpeg wrote:Looks good, but the one thing I wonder about is that slow movement goes away. I like slow movement as a species trait but with this proposal, they start out crippled and gain in power as soon as the game gets easier anyway. :)

This. Couldn't it be inverted? Slow movement coming together with fire resistance as a symptom of growing laziness and overconfidence?

For this message the author Bart has received thanks:
TeshiAlair

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 832

Joined: Wednesday, 17th April 2013, 13:28

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 16:26

Re: Species: Salamander

Yes! Another species that can use barding! Is Yaktaur next? :P

Anyway, RIP passive heat aura. It was probably too strong - it could do things like kill Grinder despite being paralyzed. Fiery attacks seems like a good substitute.

My initial thought is that it's kind of bland. Old LO probably had too many mechanics, but this version may have stripped too much away. For example, I don't think it would be too bad to keep innate Stoneskin at low level (instead of flat tough skin AC bonus), then losing it partially at XL7 and fully at XL14, in step with the movespeed increase. In this way, increasing temp isn't just strictly better, in keeping with the old LO. Maybe not have rC- kick in until XL14 too?

Also, it doesn't look like you've kept the old restrictions against some Ice and Earth spells (Ozo's Armour, Condensation Shield, Ice Form, Statue Form, Stoneskin). Would it make thematic sense to reinstate those?

Another thought: how about losing the +3 Fire apt and instead give them innate Fire enhancer. Would that be more interesting?

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 853

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

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 17:08

Re: Species: Salamander

Nitpick, but could you normalize the weapon aptitudes(except for maybe short blades)? I think the question of what type of weapon one should use is interesting enough without aptitudes pushing you in one direction or the other. Not sure how I feel about slow movement going away, for such a strong malus it seems weird for it to just...fade away. Lightning scales would be a pretty awesome find on this one.

Would they have the weird sort-of large thing going on like nagas wrt shield usage?

Barkeep

Posts: 3890

Joined: Wednesday, 14th August 2013, 23:25

Location: USA

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 17:19

Re: Species: Salamander

Uneven weapon apts annoy me, but -1 to 1 for all of them is even enough for my tastes.

I think innate fire enhancer would push toward fire magic *too* strongly. A +3 aptitude is a pretty strong push, but an innate fire enhancer means I would basically never choose a Sa mage start other than FE in any game I wanted to win. Probably wouldn't choose conjurer ever, either.

Maybe I'm off base here, but I think the idea is "Naga-like challenge at start, but your positioning tactics aren't made weird and limited later in game." As you say, dpeg, if slow movement is much less of a challenge when you get into mid-game that is, in my opinion, an argument for keeping the design as laid out in OP: You keep it for the time frame that matters most. Of course they could keep it for entire game but then I'm not sure these guys are sufficiently different from Naga (in my entirely non-expert non-dev opinion).

Also if we invert it, slow movement is a strong enough malus that it could well encourage people to avoid getting experience, worrying about when they hit the level that gives them slow movement, etc. I don't think making levels matter in that particular way would be very fun.

dck

Vestibule Violator

Posts: 1650

Joined: Tuesday, 30th July 2013, 11:29

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 17:48

Re: Species: Salamander

While indeed the slow movement going away coincides with the part of the game where things definitely get easier, it also means they don't have the same peculiar kind of mid-game Na provide and instead can focus on their intrinsic cold vulnerability, which starts becoming more relevant as more cold users appear (which isn't a whole lot after they gain the ability of moving at normal speed).

One thing I noticed when testing a really early version was that early ice beasts and frost wizards were literally satan and that perhaps they should gain the rC- at XL 7, but ever since the species has become much more flexible and I think having a couple of early enemies that are particularly bad news (especially when they're not even really early most of the time) is quite fun.

For this message the author dck has received thanks:
sgrunt
User avatar

Shoals Surfer

Posts: 293

Joined: Tuesday, 19th February 2013, 18:55

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 19:12

Re: Species: Salamander

reminds me alot of lava orc
I love pitsprint and pitsprint culture.
dpeg wrote:The only good player is a dead player.

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 832

Joined: Wednesday, 17th April 2013, 13:28

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 19:20

Re: Species: Salamander

Well, that's because it is based on Lava Orc. Hopefully a version that works better.
User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 291

Joined: Wednesday, 6th June 2012, 18:59

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 19:28

Re: Species: Salamander

DracheReborn wrote:Well, that's because it is based on Lava Orc.
No it isn't.

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 832

Joined: Wednesday, 17th April 2013, 13:28

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 19:30

Re: Species: Salamander

sgrunt wrote:
DracheReborn wrote:Well, that's because it is based on Lava Orc.
No it isn't.


Whoops :oops: I thought it was
User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 202

Joined: Thursday, 5th December 2013, 05:01

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 19:44

Re: Species: Salamander

To be frank the proposal is perhaps *too* safe and conservative. It's not very exciting, you basically start with Slow Movement 2, rC-, and a small amount of fire damage on hit, eventually switching out Slow Movement 2 for rF++. So in effect you handicap yourself early on for guaranteed later obtainment of the effects of a fire dragon armour.

And... that's it. The 10% HP/MP is nice but not really a selling point, the aptitudes are unremarkable except for the 3 Fire Magic. In its current state I'd rather play Draconian or Demonspawn over Salamander if I was hankering for a weaker-early-stronger-late character. Both those races also have (unreliable) access to rF+/rF++ without the Slow Movement 2 or rC- drawbacks.

At this point in the game's life I think new races should bring something unique to the table. This doesn't necessarily mean being more mechanically complex or more powerful than other races, but that they should be noticeably different to play compared to one of the "standard" races. Vine Stalkers and Octopodes succeeded well at that, IMO.

What if they didn't lose slow movement, but instead got a trail of flames a la Azrael at the rF+ ticks? With slow movement 2 you won't be kiting much of anything to death, but you could ensure that a few tiles are safe from approach or fight enemies in terrain favorable to you. (Are monsters intelligent enough to move *out* of danger tiles even if they're in combat? I know some monsters are intelligent enough to not move into dangerous tiles.)

For this message the author Brannock has received thanks:
TeshiAlair
User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 202

Joined: Thursday, 5th December 2013, 05:01

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 19:46

Re: Species: Salamander

I do like lava swimming, but I wonder how often you'll have opportunities to use it. Other than randomly generated vaults, there's the Volcano and Gehenna. Where else?

Slime Squisher

Posts: 330

Joined: Thursday, 10th May 2012, 03:29

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 19:50

Re: Species: Salamander

Brannock: couldn't disagree more. I think new races should not necessarily rely on gimmicks but small alterations to existing, successful formulas that result in fun play. I think vine stalkers and octopodes are remarkable exceptions wherein a gimmick is well-conceived enough to play well. From a brief few tests Salamanders feel unique without having anything too outlandish and that's pretty great. Furthermore, "unremarkable" aptitudes are very important. I don't want my whole game to be defined by my species.

Dungeon Master

Posts: 3618

Joined: Thursday, 23rd December 2010, 12:43

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 19:50

Re: Species: Salamander

Lava swimming is almost exclusively flavour: fits the theme, and easy to turn into game mechanics. Compare with Beogh water walking.
User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 762

Joined: Thursday, 25th April 2013, 02:43

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 20:07

Re: Species: Salamander

Brannock wrote:To be frank the proposal is perhaps *too* safe and conservative. It's not very exciting, you basically start with Slow Movement 2, rC-, and a small amount of fire damage on hit, eventually switching out Slow Movement 2 for rF++.
I agree with this. Other than the rC-, which is something slightly new (that can be almost completely disabled by finding one of two separate rings), I do not think this proposal would be significantly different from other species. I am interested by dck's statement that the weird slow movement thing means that you get Naga-ish early game but normal mid-game onward, but I do not see how this differs significantly from being able to just play a Naga and then a human.

In addition is there any logic to the various +1s and -1s in the aptitude post? I could understand something like "Axes don't get +1 because the fire damage stacks with cleaving and Axes should not be the best weapons for salamander just because of that", but otherwise I do not know why they have been changed from the default (read: human) apts. Of course, the elemental magic skills are exempt to this critic.

However, these Salamanders are still significantly better design that, for example, halflings, so I would be fine with them being in the game.
On IRC my nick is reaverb. I play online under the name reaver, though.
User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 202

Joined: Thursday, 5th December 2013, 05:01

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 20:16

Re: Species: Salamander

dpeg wrote:Lava swimming is almost exclusively flavour: fits the theme, and easy to turn into game mechanics. Compare with Beogh water walking.


Sure, I agree. Why restrict something so flavorful to later on in the game though? By the time you have lava swimming you'll likely have a method of flight.

n1000 wrote:Brannock: couldn't disagree more. I think new races should not necessarily rely on gimmicks but small alterations to existing, successful formulas that result in fun play. I think vine stalkers and octopodes are remarkable exceptions wherein a gimmick is well-conceived enough to play well. From a brief few tests Salamanders feel unique without having anything too outlandish and that's pretty great. Furthermore, "unremarkable" aptitudes are very important. I don't want my whole game to be defined by my species.


I'm fine with "unremarkable" aptitudes, I was just noting it as part of an overarching point I was trying to communicate.

I don't understand the aversion to "gimmicks" though. They're gameplay mechanics and/or restrictions. Evokables were "gimmicks" until they suddenly became a legitimate part of the game. Is spriggan's fast movement a gimmick; Troll's saprovore and hunger; Gargoyle's construct nature and resistances? Is it a "gimmick" to start with slow movement and lose it? Do you mean species like vampires that are commonly viewed as overcomplicated and micromanagey? Why not just say "overcomplicated" or what?

Grunt opened the proposal by saying that he wanted "to explore the species design space in a few ways that haven't sufficiently been explored before that I think have the potential to be an interesting game experience". As it stands slow movement 2 already exists on naga, rF+/++ potentially exists on draconian/demonspawn. rC- is unique. The most unique part of salamander, it seems to me, is the fire damage on-hit -- you see bonus damage from racial attributes on many other races but they're either from claws (requiring Unarmed combat) or auxiliary attacks.

Salamander would be the first race to have bonus damage tied directly to their primary attack and that trait would be what draws me to play this race over others. How would this interact with weapons of flaming? Does it just straight stack, or do they amplify each other? What about freezing? Fast/slow weapons?

edit: Why the hell did I think mummies had rC-? Whoops, fixed.
User avatar

Dungeon Master

Posts: 762

Joined: Thursday, 25th April 2013, 02:43

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 20:46

Re: Species: Salamander

Brannock wrote: don't understand the aversion to "gimmicks" though. They're gameplay mechanics and/or restrictions. Evokables were "gimmicks" until they suddenly became a legitimate part of the game. Is spriggan's fast movement a gimmick; Troll's saprovore and hunger; Gargoyle's construct nature and resistances? Is it a "gimmick" to start with slow movement and lose it? Do you mean species like vampires that are commonly viewed as overcomplicated and micromanagey? Why not just say "overcomplicated" or what?
Generally, the aversion to a "gimmick" means "this feature makes gameplay significantly less deep, although it also makes it different." For example, orb spiders are often viewed as gimmicky monsters because although they can provide an interesting challenge occasionally, they force melee characters to carry attack wands to hit them with or tediously lock them down in a corner, rather than enjoy rich positional gameplay.
On IRC my nick is reaverb. I play online under the name reaver, though.

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 8782

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

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 21:41

Re: Species: Salamander

Brannock wrote:I don't understand the aversion to "gimmicks" though. They're gameplay mechanics and/or restrictions.
And adding new gameplay mechanics has an inherent bad effect: it makes the game harder to learn and less elegant. Any mechanic added must add enough good things to the game to outweigh the inherent badness of adding another mechanic. "Gimmick" is just shorthand for "I think this mechanic is stupid".

For this message the author duvessa has received thanks:
WalkerBoh

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 4055

Joined: Tuesday, 10th January 2012, 19:49

Post Tuesday, 15th April 2014, 21:57

Re: Species: Salamander

obvious disclaimer that i dont like races that arent human but

slow movement going away seems really weird to me
why is this a good thing to implement? why is this better than just permanently having slow movement (or never having slow movement)? i legitimately do not understand

it also means they don't have the same peculiar kind of mid-game Na provide

I do not understand what you are saying (although partly this is because the term "mid-game" is useless because it does not have a common and meaningful usage in this community, but even without that ambiguity i dont understand)

anyway clearly this was the main idea for the species (well i hope so anyway) so it would probably be a good idea to explain what the idea is here

---

I personally strongly dislike races with negative resistances, I think it honestly is not interesting and just serves to turn otherwise good monsters (orc wizards in particular come to mind; keep in mind this is already the most dangerous monster in all of crawl) into absolutely terrifying haha-nothing-you-can-do enemies. Later on it's also not interesting, since it just locks one of your ring/armour slots into providing the resistance to counteract the vulnerability (unless you think taking 90 damage from a yaktaur the turn it wanders into sight is an acceptable thing) and arguably encourages even more ring-swapping than crawl already does normally, which is annoying (though most players would just not bother with swapping out the rC ring when it's not needed and then swapping it back in after enemies die).

I don't really see how bonus fire damage is actually noticeably different from other auxes crawl already has so I don't see what the gain in gameplay is there to make up for the added complication of introducing a new "aux" attack. There's even hooves if you want to ignore AC.

For this message the author crate has received thanks: 2
duvessa, Galefury
User avatar

Vestibule Violator

Posts: 1591

Joined: Saturday, 3rd August 2013, 18:59

Post Wednesday, 16th April 2014, 03:29

Re: Species: Salamander

The question I would like to pose is this: What, if anything, does this add to the game?

From what I can see, this adds a new, different take on the "slow movement" penalty for a species. While doing this, it also doesn't add anything bad into the game; it holds itself well to the general design philosophy of crawl and I don't understand any reason not to continue putting effort into perfecting it.

The species seems like it needs a little bit more to it I think. I agree with the above posters about being a bit too conservative, but duvessa is right in that adding new things to the game that are too gimmicky is really a bad idea. But perhaps we can reach a middle ground. Thoughts?
To all new players: Ignore all strategy guides posted on the wiki, ask questions in the Advice forum, players with lots of posts normally have the best advice.

crawl.akrasiac.org:8080 <- take this link to play online or spectate.

Lair Larrikin

Posts: 17

Joined: Saturday, 7th September 2013, 10:55

Post Wednesday, 16th April 2014, 09:40

Re: Species: Salamander

Fiery Attacks is a really interesting concept(if it's scaling on XL why not just 1d(XL/3)) and I'd love to see where that goes. That said, I find fire one of the less compelling elements(outside of hydras), the interactions just feel limited(do attacks on/in in water cause steam?). Does this species do any form of constriction, maybe delayed(your tail grows big and strong)? Fiery Constriction would be impressive indeed.

As for more salient/gimmicky mechanics, if you wanted something somewhat radical: you could bring back the evaporate mechanic but localize it around the salamander itself when it consumes a potion. Since it's all ablaze I think it makes sense, and revives an old interesting(if then abusable) mechanic. That said, I'd make it so the effect of the positive potions(drink a healwounds potion, heal everything around you, drink might... you get the idea) are shared rather than just(in addition to, or replacing) various clouds.

As to the legend of the salamander, it is not only has fame for flame(said to have generated and even fueled by it), but is also renown for it's poisonous ability. Such that it's secretions are said to have the ability to poison rivers, drinks, and even the meat of animals who eat it. Even supposedly able to spray a mild venom at enemies! Some interplay of poison and fire would be fascinating. Sticky flame and poison just go hand in hand it seems.

@trail of flame: wow... that seems incredibly powerful. I love the concept but at the same time... I feel like it's ridiculous if it's on all the time. Maybe only when berserk or on "low life" ? Or maybe it's a temporary effect after lava swimming.

On the topic of lava swimming, I like the thematic feel of it, but I personally crave interesting interactions. Ex: evaporate-effect described above only triggers in lava.

I personally like that it gets faster... the timing of it and how it happens would be my only issues. I'm not a fan of deformed... and a -2 armor skill... that just hurts. I guess they're only good at fighting w/o armor!

Of course I don't think it does the game very many benefits if it too closely resembles the naga, but I don't think there's too much of a danger for that yet(I wouldn't want all these ideas implemented, just mentioned a few because I think they're thought provoking)

Overall, I like the flavor of this species, and think that it could be refined further into a very fun addition! (I don't like the idea of a yakataur though)
User avatar

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 4361

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

Post Thursday, 17th April 2014, 09:06

Re: Species: Salamander

Perhaps they could spawn fire clouds upon being (massively enough) hit.
DCSS: 79: ...{OgGlTrMo}{CeWnMfBeMiSk}DrEE{GrFiFoGl}DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}DDArHaCK
SpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMoHuVM{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE
{MiEnMfCj}SpNeBaEEGrFE{HaAKTrCK}DsFESpHu{FoArNaBe}FeEE{HOIEMiAE}GrGlHuWrGnWrNaAK
Bloat: 4: RaRoPrPh{GuStGnCa
User avatar

Tartarus Sorceror

Posts: 1881

Joined: Saturday, 7th September 2013, 21:16

Location: Itajubá, MG, Brazil.

Post Sunday, 20th April 2014, 21:22

Re: Species: Salamander

please dont ruin Ds most awesome facet by giving it to someone else, sprucery.
my posts are to be read in a mildly playful tone, with a deep, sexy voice.

For this message the author Hirsch I has received thanks:
TeshiAlair
User avatar

Slime Squisher

Posts: 332

Joined: Friday, 4th February 2011, 18:04

Location: The South, US

Post Monday, 21st April 2014, 00:09

Re: Species: Salamander

Slow 1 as a Species mutation in order to KISS, and an Ability : (Flame Cloud Trail + rC- + Slow 3)?
Human kind cannot bear very much reality.
TSE
User avatar

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 4361

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

Post Monday, 21st April 2014, 09:33

Re: Species: Salamander

Hirsch I wrote:please dont ruin Ds most awesome facet by giving it to someone else, sprucery.

OK, I guess I haven't played a lot of demonspawns lately...
DCSS: 79: ...{OgGlTrMo}{CeWnMfBeMiSk}DrEE{GrFiFoGl}DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}DDArHaCK
SpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMoHuVM{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE
{MiEnMfCj}SpNeBaEEGrFE{HaAKTrCK}DsFESpHu{FoArNaBe}FeEE{HOIEMiAE}GrGlHuWrGnWrNaAK
Bloat: 4: RaRoPrPh{GuStGnCa

Return to Game Design Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests

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