Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand


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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 22:01

Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

First off, I'm not doing this to be confrontational or inflammatory but I genuinely think that there are ways to improve this without just cutting it out - as was proposed here https://crawl.develz.org/tavern/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=12799.

The general premise of it's removal is that dragons aren't hard enough enemies to justify a whole brand to themselves, which makes it undesirable to use. The secondary premise was that the brand itself isn't good enough anyway.

A basic counter-argument:
-Draconians are plentiful (and strong) late game, and doing up to 150% more damage to them is pretty good.
-Dragons/Drakes, whilst not overly powerful on their own, are one of the most plentiful (and elemental) mid-late game threats.
-Hydras also (last time I checked) took extra damage, and they are a significant early game threat.

If that's not desirable enough, lets look at making it more desirable:
-Giving the brand a chance to make all dragons-genus in LOS flinch/miss a turn/fear.
-Giving more reliable extra damage (it's currently 1% to 150% which is a bit wide)
-Causing a Damage over time effect similar to poison
-Causing all dragons in 1-2 squares around the player to suffer random damage
-Protect from breath attacks

If dragons are the problem, why not buff them? They're supposed to be the big bad guys in most fantasy, and if they're currently too weak to even deserve a brand, why not buff them (especially late game ones)? That and a dragon slaying weapon would give the player something worth hunting for and make a secondary/third weapon desirable.

Again, this really isn't meant to be inflammatory or reactionary, I just genuinely feel we can improve mechanics without just getting rid of them and I'd hope the devs could keep open minded about it.
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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 22:15

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Bim wrote:(last time I checked)
sounds like you never checked, because dragon slaying doesn't do extra damage to hydras (they also aren't a significant early-game threat unless you are trying to scum d:1 with a naga)

Bim wrote:If dragons are the problem, why not buff them? They're supposed to be the big bad guys in most fantasy, and if they're currently too weak to even deserve a brand
i don't get why you consider "brand made to kill specific monsters" a good thing
if you're fighting one of those monsters it's better than every other brand
if you're fighting any other monster it's worse than every other brand
that doesn't lead to decision-making, that just leads to carrying an extra weapon (or, in practice, leads to nothing at all, since almost everything affected by dragon slaying or holy wrath is either harmless or doesn't exist at all (personally i would very much like it if holy wrath were removed))

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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 22:27

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

There's no need to be hostile about it.
Hydras did used to take extra damage from dragon slaying, and whilst you might not find them a challenge, they are one of the biggest challenges for newish players (not being able to cut them, resistant to poison).

I believe they can create interesting situations - say you're skilled in maces, but you find a good polearm of dragon slaying - do you move and take advantage of it or not? (Yeah, if you want you could fsim and crunch the numbers for optimum play but we're going to say that's not an intended playstyle) Or how about if you find it on a randart which has some bad properties but a powerful brand against dragons?

Yeah, not the most earth shattering of choices but it would be a lot more interesting if Dragons were harder and the brand was balanced out well.
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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 22:30

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Holy wrath has at least some use, in that almost everything in the extended game is harmed by it, so at that point it's essentially just a brand that damages everything.
Dragonslaying does nothing but arbitrarily kill players in a single hit because they chose the wrong race.

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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 22:34

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

khalil wrote:Holy wrath has at least some use, in that almost everything in the extended game is harmed by it, so at that point it's essentially just a brand that damages everything.
Dragonslaying does nothing but arbitrarily kill players in a single hit because they chose the wrong race.


This is a legitimate concern, could draconians not be damaged by it until they took on full form? By that point you're not often going to get oneshotted by it, and if we made it clear to the player that it was a weapon of dragon slaying it'd make it sensible to avoid (hasted reapers are still a problem...)

I agree that in it's current incarnation it's not useful enough, but with stronger dragons and a good effect it'd be a useful brand to have.
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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 22:45

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Bim wrote:There's no need to be hostile about it.
yes, thats why I wasnt hostile about it
Bim wrote:Hydras did used to take extra damage from dragon slaying
can you cite a version where this was true? i know it wasn't true when dragon slaying was added and i certainly can't find anything in git logs that suggests it ever was true
Bim wrote:I believe they can create interesting situations - say you're skilled in maces, but you find a good polearm of dragon slaying - do you move and take advantage of it or not? (Yeah, if you want you could fsim and crunch the numbers for optimum play but we're going to say that's not an intended playstyle) Or how about if you find it on a randart which has some bad properties but a powerful brand against dragons?
if your intended playstyle is playing badly, then i think we disagree about some pretty fundamental concepts of game design
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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 22:47

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Bim wrote:Hydras did used to take extra damage from dragon slaying.

Nope, never happened

Bim wrote:I believe they can create interesting situations - say you're skilled in maces, but you find a good polearm of dragon slaying - do you move and take advantage of it or not?

What advantage would it give? You haven't trained polearms, but now you need to to use it effectively, and again, you have a weapon that applies to an incredibly limited set of enemies.

I don't understand your fascination with flavor for flavor's sake. I have to admit, I am glad you don't have an orange title.
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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 23:00

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

My apologies, I was convinced that in earlier versions they were. My mistake.

nilsbloodaxe wrote:What advantage would it give? You haven't trained polearms, but now you need to to use it effectively, and again, you have a weapon that applies to an incredibly limited set of enemies.
I don't understand your fascination with flavor for flavor's sake. I have to admit, I am glad you don't have an orange title.


If Dragons were made a big enough threat, it'd be an interesting decision. Although being able to kill the main mob in Zot more effectively is quite useful, Dragons could stand to be made more powerful in general and having a brand to counter that gives you more of a decision. We hopefully want crawl to have more tactics than 'one weapon for every situation' - especially now inventory weight isn't an issue.

I really don't understand your need to make remarks like your final one. What did it achieve?
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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 23:13

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Dragons would have to be ridiculously powerful (to an extent that is obviously undesirable) to warrant switching weapon classes/enchanting up a dragon slaying weapon. But that isn't the main issue with the brand, it's that it is simply not an interesting brand. Why do you think the game should encourage players to use a brand that doesn't affect the vast majority of fights at all? Doesn't that completely remove an interesting aspect of weapons in most fights? And it isn't interesting in the minority of fights where it is useful either, because it simply makes these trivial. If you somehow made the choice "do I enchant up and train for a dragon slaying weapon" interesting, actually using the weapon isn't going to be, even if you change the brand's effects to something other than deal a lot of damage to dragons.
Last edited by cerebovssquire on Thursday, 19th June 2014, 23:16, edited 2 times in total.

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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 23:15

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

I think dragons are a good enemy right now in Crawl. They have fairly strong ranged attack that might make you consider your resists, and they have decent melee as well. They're more dangerous in their early appearances, most definitely, but they're an okay enemy in V and U (though by Z they're somewhat trivial yeah). I don't think making them super-strong and than adding a brand that makes them super-trivial will make them a more interesting enemy.

Character power-wise, endgame Crawl characters are powerful enough to kill millennia-old spellcasters, lords of Hells and tiny stars. Dragons pale in comparison, especially since Crawl dragons seem to be powerful, but not very smart (except for Xtahua, and his smarts extend only to opening doors and complaining loudly).
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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 23:16

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Sar wrote:Dragons pale in comparison, especially since Crawl dragons seem to be powerful, but not very smart (except for Xtahua, and his smarts extend only to opening doors and complaining loudly).
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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 23:24

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Bim wrote:If Dragons were made a big enough threat, it'd be an interesting decision. Although being able to kill the main mob in Zot more effectively is quite useful, Dragons could stand to be made more powerful in general and having a brand to counter that gives you more of a decision.

This doesn't address my objection to your scenario at all. Unless you have been training polearms, there is no reason to do this. And even if you have, other brands will work nearly as well and against most enemies instead of just one limited type. This includes Zot, because then you would want to switch (maybe) for non-dragons. But this leads into my next objection...

Bim wrote:We hopefully want crawl to have more tactics than 'one weapon for every situation' - especially now inventory weight isn't an issue.

Cannot disagree more, weapon swapping is a boring "tactic", leave it out. Plus, inventory weight was not the major reason you could not carry too many weapons, it has always been the item limit.

Bim wrote:I really don't understand your need to make remarks like your final one. What did it achieve?

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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 23:27

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

All very valid points. I mainly like the idea of giving the player the decision of what the right tool for the job is - I find it very satisfying to use a freezing weapon against something vulnerable to it or burning up a mummy, and I just feel that expanding that can only add more fun.

Expanding the brand (dragging in hydras/snakes/whatever) and calling it 'Serpent Slaying' might be interesting (nagas as well) or expanding the variety of weapons it can appear on. It could possibly appear on armor too as a way to fend off breath attacks.
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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 23:34

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

You have also failed to address the major complaint about dragon slaying, its effect on player draconians when wielded by monsters.
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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 23:51

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

The issue is with its affects on player draconians not enemies.

Here is why I don't think slay-X is a great idea, where X may be a player species:

1. Suppose that slay-X is wielded by enemies. Let us, as we must do when arguing about design, consider an idealized game played by an optimal player. Such a player must act very cautiously around every enemy with a glowing weapon, so as to avoid being dealt huge amounts of damage unexpectedly. However, the chance of an enemy actually having the brand that does extra damage to you is vanishingly small, so it is a waste of real-time. Some people might be fascinated by treating any monster with a glowing weapon in this way but I am not.

2. Suppose you find a weapon of slay-X. If it is better to switch to that brand vs. enemies of that species, an optimal player must carry around that weapon and do so. This is not even a decision. The only decision an optimal player would have to make is how many slay-X's they wanted to carry around, and if they wanted to carry more around artificially by dropping them on floors, or in other ways I can't conceive of.

Now, in a real game 2. is not really a concern but 1. definitely is because you want to avoid randomly taking a 100 against an enemy you could otherwise easily kill.
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Post Thursday, 19th June 2014, 23:58

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

tabstorm wrote:The issue is with its affects on player draconians not enemies.

Here is why I don't think slay-X is a great idea, where X may be a player species:

1. Suppose that slay-X is wielded by enemies. Let us, as we must do when arguing about design, consider an idealized game played by an optimal player. Such a player must act very cautiously around every enemy with a glowing weapon, so as to avoid being dealt huge amounts of damage unexpectedly. However, the chance of an enemy actually having the brand that does extra damage to you is vanishingly small, so it is a waste of real-time. Some people might be fascinated by treating any monster with a glowing weapon in this way but I am not.

2. Suppose you find a weapon of slay-X. If it is better to switch to that brand vs. enemies of that species, an optimal player must carry around that weapon and do so. This is not even a decision. The only decision an optimal player would have to make is how many slay-X's they wanted to carry around, and if they wanted to carry more around artificially by dropping them on floors, or in other ways I can't conceive of.

Now, in a real game 2. is not really a concern but 1. definitely is because you want to avoid randomly taking a 100 against an enemy you could otherwise easily kill.


In fact, I would say 2 is a concern. Look at ADOM (1.1.1, I haven't really played 1.2) and it's slaying mechanic. It was so optimal to use arrows and slaying ammo for pretty much every big boss fight. Which was tedious, annoying when you didn't find slaying, and, in this case, totally unflavorful (yeah, look at my bad ass troll berserker put away his big ass melee weapon and take down the Chaos Wyrm with this bow and arrow!)
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:05

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

The problem with such a narrowly powerful weapon is that you really don't want to train up a lot of skill for something so specific, and if you happen to find the brand on the right weapon type, then you just carry it around and switch to it against the specific thing it works so well against. (Or not use it at all, of course.)

Other brands have this issue to a degree, but dragon slaying was much worse in this regard. There was the additional problem that it was not always clear what counted as a dragon (which came up in this thread, in fact, regarding hydras) and also introduced problems with players who rolled up a draconian suffering huge amounts of damage (this problem would be retained or even expanded if a "serpent slaying" weapon did huge damage to nagas).

You can get away with this kind of thing on unrandarts, which are intentionally designed around certain concepts/flavor. As a general brand, however, this sort of effect just doesn't seem appropriate.

Something like "do extra damage to undead/demons, beasts, or humanoids" (choose one, and only one) could perhaps be interesting as a final ability from a god or something. What would make that a potentially interesting strategic choice, however, is that you can only choose one. (Also note that this wouldn't randomly screw over players who choose draconians.)

EDIT: Ninja'd somewhat.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:12

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

I did try to address it here:
Bim wrote:Could draconians not be damaged by it until they took on full form? By that point you're not often going to get oneshotted by it, and if we made it clear to the player that it was a weapon of dragon slaying it'd make it sensible to avoid (hasted reapers are still a problem...)


Not a great solution, but one that would stop the early game problems.

tabstorm wrote:The issue is with its affects on player draconians not enemies.

1. Suppose that slay-X is wielded by enemies. Let us, as we must do when arguing about design, consider an idealized game played by an optimal player. Such a player must act very cautiously around every enemy with a glowing weapon,



This could be gotten round by identifying the weapon as dragon slaying. Whilst it would be special casing it somewhat, it'd be relatively easy to explain with 'the fear generated from such a weapon' and help the player avoid difficult situations if they were a draconian.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:22

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Draconians usually hit level 7 around what, d:3 or d:4? That wouldn't really get around the problem, as it is still pretty early in the game. It also adds weird special cases to something that already has a bunch of weird, special stuff going on with it (only on polearms, only gives extra damage against dragons yet it is far from obvious what counts for these purposes), and yet which doesn't really add much in the way of interest despite all that weird special stuff.

I get that you really like the flavor here, but the reason devs were not opposed to removal was because it is a pretty bad feature in terms of how it actually works in the game.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 00:29

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

That makes a lot of sense. I just felt that it could be a case that we could change the brand to make it better rather than just removing it it outright as dragon slaying has always had a nice feel to it.

No great ideas or ways to improve on it have come up it seems, so I'm happy to just let it die.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 06:59

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Dragonslayer mutation (only available to non-draconian players): You tend to deal more damage to dragons, drakes or draconians in melee.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 12:26

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

tabstorm wrote:The issue is with its affects on player draconians not enemies.

Here is why I don't think slay-X is a great idea, where X may be a player species:

1. Suppose that slay-X is wielded by enemies. Let us, as we must do when arguing about design, consider an idealized game played by an optimal player. Such a player must act very cautiously around every enemy with a glowing weapon, so as to avoid being dealt huge amounts of damage unexpectedly. However, the chance of an enemy actually having the brand that does extra damage to you is vanishingly small, so it is a waste of real-time. Some people might be fascinated by treating any monster with a glowing weapon in this way but I am not.

2. Suppose you find a weapon of slay-X. If it is better to switch to that brand vs. enemies of that species, an optimal player must carry around that weapon and do so. This is not even a decision. The only decision an optimal player would have to make is how many slay-X's they wanted to carry around, and if they wanted to carry more around artificially by dropping them on floors, or in other ways I can't conceive of.

Now, in a real game 2. is not really a concern but 1. definitely is because you want to avoid randomly taking a 100 against an enemy you could otherwise easily kill.


Good point. Holy wrath says hello! Everything you said is 100% applicable to holy wrath weapons.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 12:32

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

damiac wrote:
tabstorm wrote:The issue is with its affects on player draconians not enemies.

Here is why I don't think slay-X is a great idea, where X may be a player species:

1. Suppose that slay-X is wielded by enemies. Let us, as we must do when arguing about design, consider an idealized game played by an optimal player. Such a player must act very cautiously around every enemy with a glowing weapon, so as to avoid being dealt huge amounts of damage unexpectedly. However, the chance of an enemy actually having the brand that does extra damage to you is vanishingly small, so it is a waste of real-time. Some people might be fascinated by treating any monster with a glowing weapon in this way but I am not.

2. Suppose you find a weapon of slay-X. If it is better to switch to that brand vs. enemies of that species, an optimal player must carry around that weapon and do so. This is not even a decision. The only decision an optimal player would have to make is how many slay-X's they wanted to carry around, and if they wanted to carry more around artificially by dropping them on floors, or in other ways I can't conceive of.

Now, in a real game 2. is not really a concern but 1. definitely is because you want to avoid randomly taking a 100 against an enemy you could otherwise easily kill.


Good point. Holy wrath says hello! Everything you said is 100% applicable to holy wrath weapons.


That is why he started this thread: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=12822
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 12:35

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

duvessa wrote:
Bim wrote:(last time I checked)
sounds like you never checked, because dragon slaying doesn't do extra damage to hydras (they also aren't a significant early-game threat unless you are trying to scum d:1 with a naga)


Maybe he checked by trying in-game. Crawl is notorious for preventing people for actually learning what's going on through playing the game.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 12:41

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 12:57

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Hurkyl wrote:
duvessa wrote:
Bim wrote:(last time I checked)
sounds like you never checked, because dragon slaying doesn't do extra damage to hydras (they also aren't a significant early-game threat unless you are trying to scum d:1 with a naga)


Maybe he checked by trying in-game. Crawl is notorious for preventing people for actually learning what's going on through playing the game.

No, dragon slaying never affected hydras.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 13:40

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Hurkyl wrote:Maybe he checked by trying in-game. Crawl is notorious for preventing people for actually learning what's going on through playing the game.

This is a really weird distortion. Crawl tries very hard to help players learn what's going on in-game. I know because I played with minimal spoilers for quite a while, and because I've seen many patches whose main purpose is to make the game experience more clear.

Crawl doesn't give you all the numbers that you would like to see, but that's not at all the same as or even similar to preventing people from learning what's going on through playing the game. You've made it clear that you want to change Crawl's philosophy on this subject, but please accept that the current design philosophy also offers something that people value, and that they also have reasons for valuing it.

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 13:44

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

I'd remove standard DSlaying, but it is PERFECT as a unrandart brand.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 14:05

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Dragonslaying is a pretty useless brand because it only branded polearms and only affects dragonkind, who can be equally affected by an appropriately non-ds branded weapon.

What also sucks is the cool aspect of the dragon-slaying unrand that increases +Slay every time it killed a dragon was not applicable to standard dragonslaying.

It was too niche when alternatives were available.

NOW, did it add flavor that was good for players to experience?
Yes.
BUT, in general was it an overall less optimal brand to use in all aspects if it wasn't the unrand? Seems that way. And if it is something that purports to be more useful than it is, causing player confusion, then developers either need to make it work or (their seemingly preferred tactic) remove it.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 15:06

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

What we came up with a different brand to replace it?

What I have in mind is:

A brand that starts doing more damage the more enemies of the same type you've killed in a (arbitrarily defined recent time period) So while you're in orc it will be an orc slaying weapon, while you're in snake it will be a naga-slaying weapon etc.

(Honestly it sounds like it wouldn't be very practical to code (Genus is fairly inconsistently applied), but from a design standpoint it seems like it could be workable.)

I'd call the brand "bane" and as it selected a genus to be a "bane" of it would go from being a plain old "bane" weapon to a "<foo> bane" weapon

Now that I say all that, it sounds better as an unrand of some sort.
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 17:28

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Siegurt wrote:What we came up with a different brand to replace it?

What I have in mind is:

A brand that starts doing more damage the more enemies of the same type you've killed in a (arbitrarily defined recent time period) So while you're in orc it will be an orc slaying weapon, while you're in snake it will be a naga-slaying weapon etc.

(Honestly it sounds like it wouldn't be very practical to code (Genus is fairly inconsistently applied), but from a design standpoint it seems like it could be workable.)

I'd call the brand "bane" and as it selected a genus to be a "bane" of it would go from being a plain old "bane" weapon to a "<foo> bane" weapon

Now that I say all that, it sounds better as an unrand of some sort.

Actually, I've thought that [genus]-slaying could be a flavorful random property on artifact weapons, as opposed to a brand. This could help get around the problem that orc-slaying and dragon-slaying are niche, since this way they wouldn't be competing with a more generally useful brand.
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Crypt Cleanser

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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 19:02

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

I want a unrandart sling of giant-slaying
duvessa wrote:Christ, you can't remove anything without tavern complaining about it.

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Midpoint
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Post Friday, 20th June 2014, 21:23

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Siegurt wrote:What we came up with a different brand to replace it?

What I have in mind is:

A brand that starts doing more damage the more enemies of the same type you've killed in a (arbitrarily defined recent time period) So while you're in orc it will be an orc slaying weapon, while you're in snake it will be a naga-slaying weapon etc.

(Honestly it sounds like it wouldn't be very practical to code (Genus is fairly inconsistently applied), but from a design standpoint it seems like it could be workable.)

I'd call the brand "bane" and as it selected a genus to be a "bane" of it would go from being a plain old "bane" weapon to a "<foo> bane" weapon

Now that I say all that, it sounds better as an unrand of some sort.

I would really enjoy this as an unrand, or even just as a randart exclusive brand. Then again, I'm a big fan of flavor.

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Post Saturday, 5th July 2014, 17:37

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Lasty wrote:
Hurkyl wrote:Maybe he checked by trying in-game. Crawl is notorious for preventing people for actually learning what's going on through playing the game.

This is a really weird distortion. Crawl tries very hard to help players learn what's going on in-game. I know because I played with minimal spoilers for quite a while, and because I've seen many patches whose main purpose is to make the game experience more clear.

There are things it helps with and things it deliberately obscures. The relative quality of killdudes is one of those things that gets obscured (if not deliberately then as a side effect of other deliberate design choices), and why I am antagonistic to claims that such things can be divined through casual observation and experimentation.

(the fact that dragon slaying is also visible by a "convulses" message in addition to the extra damage is something I had forgotten, given how rarely I've ever played with the brand, and had I ever thought to try this test in-game, it could easily have happened at a point in time when I had forgotten, or even the many many months before I had ever encountered the fact of the convulses message)

Sar

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Post Saturday, 5th July 2014, 23:30

Re: Reinstating Dragon Slaying Brand

Holy Wrath says the same thing for unholies (including you, if you're on the receiving end of it). Now that I think of it, all braqnds by vorpal behave the same way - "You hit the foo! You burn/freeze the foo!" or whatever the exact wording is. It also says if the foo resisted that part of an attack.

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