Reworking Vampires

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Post Monday, 11th August 2014, 08:12

Reworking Vampires

Currently vampires are rather finicky, weak and generally pretty boring (tiring) to play - particularly due to the high amount of management because of the varying degrees of regeneration and resistances, and they have no sources of permafood.

So instead of having a race that has lower stats than humans (they don't gain any random stats) and having fast/normal/slow/no hp regen, rPois and rTorment at all their different satiation levels (and that's not counting transmutations at >satiated), I decided to take inspiration from what vampires are typically known (and loved) for: superhuman strength and speed.

The current list of features (early design doc):

  • The vampire base stats (before classes) are 5/14/5 str/int/dex, and they gain +1 str/dex every 666 satiation up to +15 at 9990 (thus their base stats in their prime are 20/14/20)
    "666" and "9990" satiation might not tell you much if you don't know the numbers, but just know that you cap out on stats somewhere in the middle between "very full" and "alive".

  • Satiation is gained exclusively through biting (attacking) things, and biting itself is much more prevalent - doing noticeable damage and restoring a bit of hp alongside your attacks.
    Eating begone, damn you.

  • Vampires now regenerate fast at all satiation levels, no buts, no ifs.

  • Vampires are now permanently bizarro-undead, cold resistant and torment/poison immune - yet still able to use transmutations, berserk and highlevel necromancy (with an obvious exception).
    They aren't quite dead-dead (in fact they can still be mutated), but their timelessness renders them immune to common perils of mere mortals.

  • Batform can now be used at any satiation level, and is not exclusively an escape ability. Due to the biting being so prevalent (it only falls down to occuring on ~66% of attacks at max satiation) and doing more or less the same amount of damage in batform - along with having a doubled vamp effect and 1.5x the nutrition gain per bite - it is now quite good as an offensive/defensive form, and a good way to build up your blood reserves, since batform melee does little damage by itself. (Thus allowing you to bite more times than you normally would be able to, and then even more due to the 1.5x multiplier.)

  • Permafood (Potions of Blood don't rot now!) can be acquired by bottling your own blood while engorged/"alive", although the message at XL6 doesn't indicate that. (Whoops! What a rough implementation!)
    Doing so drains you of all blood (and thus leaves you with quite low stats), so keep that in mind. Worth noting is that acquiring food (blood) might actually be a Good Idea for once.
    They give a lot of nutrition though (straight up to Very Full), so don't be afraid that you're losing much (besides your stats for a bit) by bottling excess blood.

The vampires are available as windows console/tiles builds or as a git patch for compiling them yourself.
(You apply the patch by running "git am 0001-ADD-MEGAVAMPIRES.patch" in the crawl/crawl-ref/source directory, with the patch in said directory.)

The rough, rough featureset is scratched out - and the only thing that remains undone is polishment and some minor fixups. (Ignore whatever the hell your mutations screen says about your innate abilities)
Oh, and of course the MOST IMPORTANT PART of any REAL RACE - balance, seeing that the aptitudes are vaguely tweaked Vp aptitudes they might be a tad too high, but the part that I am the most concerned about is the whole satiation deal, and how much hp your biting gives back is also somewhat questionable. And this is where this topic comes in, because I myself am a bit lost after messing around with them for so long, I don't have the time nor the patience to try out various playstyles and combos and even combinations thereof.

General strategy tips:
Batform is great, especially for getting stats fast.
Stabbing is one of the best ways to get nutrition.
Don't be afraid if you are slowly starving in the early game, that's just how it goes. (I'm unsure of whether or not to make you gain even more satiation from combat, but decay it much faster.)
Resting up, backtracking (stashing would be really bad) and thoroughly exploring every floor bites into your blood reserves pretty badly.
The abyss is pretty scary.

go have a good time with more "Vampire" vampires or something, iunno

tl;dr i ruined vampires, discuss

Edit: Someone asked for a list of aptitudes, here goes:
Vp: Fighting: -1, Short: 1, Long: 1, Axes: -1, Maces: -2, Polearms: -1, Staves: -1, Slings: 0, Bows: 0, Xbows: 0, Throw: 0, Armour: -1, Dodge: -1, Stealth: 5!, Shields: -1, UC: 0, Splcast: 2, Conj: -1, Hexes: 3, Charms: 1, Summ: 0, Nec: 2, Tloc: -1, Tmut: -1, Fire: -2, Ice: 1, Air: 0, Earth: 0, Poison: -2, Inv: -1*, Evo: 0, Exp: -2, HP: 1, MP: 1

I am very much sure that it might be an idea to knock most of the skill aptitudes down by 1.
Last edited by Bloax on Monday, 11th August 2014, 08:30, edited 3 times in total.
take it easy
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<Sequell> 20749. Bloax, XL24 VSTm, T:13320:

Did you know that I like ruining crawl every now and then? Go check it out.

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Post Monday, 11th August 2014, 08:18

Re: Reworking Vampires

Cool rework. And biting sentient creatures should also have a chance to create "zombie" followers. :)=


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Post Monday, 11th August 2014, 09:26

Re: Coconut Vampires

I think the whole deal with bottling your own blood leads to things like leaving bubbles in orc alone so you can go back later and eat them should you have the need to do so. It also makes bottling blood a bit silly since once you have a feeling for how long it takes you to get to decent satiation levels and you spot a bunch of weak things you can drain, you will spot such things very often in crawl.
Add stabbing to the formula and these scenarios come up so much more often and one should indeed take advantage of them so much more often.
Then, this is hardly the biggest concern about the feeding system seeing how this proposal would make available a high speed, high regeneration, high EV form available that can vampbite twice as hard and drains more than normal bites drain.

There is also a big problem regarding making eating important for your character's strength and that's autoexplore exists and people like to use it. A system like this gives people a big reason to avoid autoexploring altogether and explore both manually and less (as there is a tacit benefit in doing so). Now, I believe if exploration is so bad it is best avoided altogether by automating it then something is very wrong with your game's exploration and perhaps you should seek to solve it, but that doesn't mean that in the crawl that exists you should try to make people not press "o" because that won't bring any more enjoyment for anyone, much less reward them for not pressing "o" (which is not unlike rewarding people for staring at a brick wall for hours).
Regardless, the changing stats seem for example particularly bad for people who cast spells and want to use somewhat heavier armor because as their str drops so do their failure rates grow; in practice in order to play a Newpire with spells and who uses his str for something other than hitting harder one would have to constantly keep track of the changing failure rates, which I think would play pretty poorly.

Even leaving aside the whole deal about spellcasting and having your stats dance about all the time making your I key wear out, there are playstyles that lead to more reliance on stats for your dude to work and playstyles that don't (but are still made stronger by higher stats). In practice this means some may really cripple themselves by using the self-bottling ability and some would in practice do nothing of the sort. This is worsened by the fact you can't actually tell the impact losing the ton of stats you're going to lose is going to have on your character without a great deal of understanding of the game's stats.

Last but not least I believe there is a big problem using enemy blood or intelligence or any of that nonsense for core mechanics, and that problem is that when said monsters were being given a "has blood" flag or a "is smart" flag the complications that stem from their interaction with races that attempt to use them were never a consideration. The distribution of monster body weight, intelligence, blood status and whatnot is for the most part just flavor for the monster itself, flavor for the band it belongs to, flavor to the branches it spawns at.
They are not honest game mechanics that have been thought through in their implementation: they have no player transparency, they have no depth. Tying actual game mechanics that intend to be important to them can somewhat work in a couple of isolated cases but more often will just crash and burn in a spectacular fashion.

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Post Monday, 11th August 2014, 19:01

Re: Reworking Vampires

Casters are definitely a big question mark, since on one hand they get fucked over by a high rate of fluctuation, but on the other the ones that don't get fucked over by a fast pace will benefit a lot from it being slowed down.

As a side note I'd like to mention that I'm not a fan of using weird shit like "blood" and "chunk type" to define whether or not something works, so I'll likely just make it work exactly the same as it does for clean-chunked monsters at the moment, unless they're summoned, undead or demons (in this last case it's probably just a lack of vamp).

I'm definitely treading in strange places here, but I don't mind taking the risk of wasting my time if it has the slightest potential to fix up vampires.
(Who are a pretty cool race, but I don't think their main gimmick works too well in a game like crawl.)
take it easy
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<Sequell> 20749. Bloax, XL24 VSTm, T:13320:

Did you know that I like ruining crawl every now and then? Go check it out.

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Post Tuesday, 12th August 2014, 16:14

Re: Reworking Vampires

I'm seeing some pretty major issues with this proposal.

For one thing, fluctuating base stats tends to effect either too much to be workable or not enough to be interesting. The dexterity means that your EV is a bit swingy, which is kind of whatever. At minimum maybe you lose a couple points compared to a human. If you're wearing heavy armor, a 15 point strength swing DRASRICALLY affects what you can get away with wearing, especially if you cast spells. So much so that you can't really take advantage of it at all if you can't rely on it. If you wear light armor it does almost nothing. The effect of stats on damage is supposedly negligible in most cases, and variable bite percentages would cancel it out anyway.

Also, you're encouraging a lot of tedius behavior. Deliberately wield a bad weapon or adopt a weak form to farm nutrition off of weak enemies. Refrain from using ranged attacks on weak enemies. Tank your stats to farm permafood off of weak packs or branches. Carry multiple suits of armor and reevaluate what you can wear every time you rest (this is especially bad, and yet completely necessary if you want to capitalize on your high strength at all). It's different from the current Orc blood bank problems, but still problematic nonetheless.

EDIT: Some of my own brainstorming:

Bloodless vampires regenerate health slowly. Even a marginal amount of blood gives you normal regeneration. Vampires with high satiation get bonuses to max HP and MP, as well as faster HP and MP regeneration. Maybe a small slaying/spellpower bonus? At low satiation HP (and MP?) is below average.

Stealth and undead resistances ramping up as your blood drains remains. Bite chance is constant, but the strength of the vampirism brand goes up at low satiation. Bat form and transmutations are always available.

Add a new ability, Exsanguinate, which instantly makes you bloodless and causes some cool effect depending on how much blood you sacrificed. Remove blood bottling entirely.

The big problem with Vampires now is that if you end up bloodless and injured with no blood potions, you're basically doomed unless you have a fridge somewhere or you worship Kikubaaqudgha. This makes bloodlessness too scary to be broadly useful and fridge management too necessary. If you actually need to be tactically bloodless to deal with a tormentor or something, the only way to do it is to stand around waiting for your blood to drain, which rots all your potions, which makes the whole endeavor too dangerous. Making bloodless vampires fragile without having it be a gun to your head mitigates those issues while keeping the blood mechanic meaningful.

The biggest problem with this idea is that it doesn't outright prevent you from keeping orcs alive for food. It makes it way less necessary, but it might still be optimal, which isn't great.
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Post Tuesday, 12th August 2014, 20:18

Re: Reworking Vampires

Why don't you just make batform unable to attack and then have vampires gain "satiation" directly from killing living enemies (It's magic, I don't have to explain it). That way you avert the issue of people who want to torment themselves by playing, for instance, VpCj, running out of food constantly because they weren't meleeing. You also avert theoretically tedious optimal behavior like changing to batform to bite enemies or using a weak fast weapon like a +0 dagger to get as much satiation as you can.

You could for instance weight the amount of nutrition gained on the monster HD in some way, and furthermore have vampires gain fast metabolism levels at like, XL8 and XL16 or something, whatever. That way you aren't constantly starving because there are only kobolds to eat, and will make stuff like going back to Orc to farm less effective for people who are determined to do it, and probably get players to actually exsanguinate themselves at a few points if they want to have a permafood supply for parts of the game without living creatures.

This way you can preserve the play of "Potentially powerful race that needs to proceed quickly to stay that way" while avoiding gimmicks like transmuting to bite for less damage, using crap weapons, farming weak monsters, blood gimmicks, running out of STR while using conjurations to kill, etc. With the vamp bite you may as well just tie it to STR+DEX like VS so that you are encouraged to stay at high satiation.
remove food

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Post Sunday, 17th August 2014, 20:17

Re: Reworking Vampires

This is running on DBRO now (the Dev wing of CBRO)

You can play via webtiles at:

or via console. ssh to user: dev same ssh keys as cbro (

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Post Friday, 17th October 2014, 00:46

Re: Reworking Vampires

take it easy
!lg * won !DD-- min=turns -log
<Sequell> 20749. Bloax, XL24 VSTm, T:13320:

Did you know that I like ruining crawl every now and then? Go check it out.
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Post Friday, 17th October 2014, 10:17

Re: Reworking Vampires

I'm SO trying out this thing rite nao, balance or swingy armor capacity or whatever be damned.


I could log on to berotato 8081 and play no problem this morning but apparently later I couldn't, but the time I could play I felt it was CRAZY POWERFUL. Like, everything was silly easy except coming back from bloodless after bottling your first potion. Taking long to recover your blood isn't a problem, the problem is that it's annoying: Too often you become almost bloodless, take a couple of steps and are bloodless again... it should take as long or a bit shorter, like... 4/5ths of the time it takes now, but without as many notifications.

For the record I picked a vampire gladiator just for the quarterstaff, planning on Okawaru but Makhleb showed up earlier, and I whacked nearly everything to death no problem at all (I played until lair 2 or so)

The attribute bonus feel a bit crazy, I´d like... halve it? Slowly raise the cap following XP?. Also drawing life of most undead is kind of a no-no.
Hirsch I wrote:Also,are you calling me a power-gamer? this is highly offensive! now excuse me, I have to go back to my GrBe game, that I savescummed until trog gave me a Vampiric +9 claymore.

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