Removing the Charms Skill


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

Mines Malingerer

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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 00:44

Removing the Charms Skill

Forked from the cross-school spellcasting discussion here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=444. A quick summary is that most late game casters tend to look very similar because there are a set of useful utility spells that are always worth getting. The problem extends to midgame because there is no reason not to pick up these spells as you find them, because the cost of learning them is so low.

smock wrote:Getting rid of the charms school might help. Most of the offending spells are charms. This means that just training charms gives access to many powerful spells. Most (but not all) charms are dual school and could simply be supported by the other school alone. Deflect missiles is made easier to cast (and hence better, more powerful) because of it's membership in charms. Were it only air, EE's would find it very hard to cast.


I feel like this is partly a statement about the role of self-buffs in rougelikes in general. They're an incredibly powerful class of spells (they unconditionally make your character better), and perhaps it's best not to have a single school that helps you learn all of them. As smock says, it's fairly easy to come up with replacement schools for the spells, and I feel like the changes in spell learning difficulty are all very positive (dmissiles very difficult for an EE to learn, regen and rmissiles not effectively free for all characters, etc.

As a counter point, this does change the balance of many spells, and doesn't alone make certain offending spells any less powerful.

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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 01:30

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

I'm pretty sure this was already tried, back when they were called 'enchantments'. The whole school of hexes was split off, and it didn't affect the charms left behind one whit. Players go where the good stuff is, and they're not going to be fooled if we just shuffle that same good stuff around.

Single-skill spells are easier to cast than dual-skill spells. Even with the cross-element malus, it would not be undoable for an earth elementalist to get air-only Deflect Missiles working, and every other build would get it much more easily because they'd be grinding one skill instead of two.

I would hope that you're not thinking that we'd shuffle any of the existing charms into air, transmutations, or necromancy either, because those are all very strong magic skills already that don't particularly need to be buffed.

I also don't think it's a good idea to judge gameplay based on the snapshot of spells known at the very end of the game. By the time you clear Zot 5, you've already gotten to the post-scarcity part of the game with regards to xp, and you can cherry pick all the spells you want from every skill. Earlier on, you're definitely choosing whether to train for Blink, Repel Missiles, or Bolt of Foo right now, and you can't have them all. Yet, anyway. For the vast majority of the game, you won't have your perfect wish list ready, so there's no point in rebalancing just to change that wish list. A greater concern are spells that cause you to drop everything to get them ready the moment you find them regardless of other concerns, such as Blink or Swiftness.

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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 02:30

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

As counterpoint to the opening post, I think charms as a spell school is interesting and viable for things like Tukima's dance, Regeneration, and even Haste (though I don't understand why Haste isnt a higher level spell). I think if most of the low level utility offenders like swiftness and repel missiles were kept out of the charms school and balanced a little better, Charms could stay as a viable, strong spell school without the necessity of completely removing it (I like having diversity in spell school options).

I think translocations will be harder to address, low level translocations spells are very useful and seem harder to me to balance for cross school casting.

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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 04:04

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

Tukima's Dance is a hex.

Haste used to be level 8
from a comment in the source:
// lowered to 6 from 8, since it's easily available from various items
// and Swiftness is level 2 (and gives a similar effect). It's also
// not that much better than Invisibility. - bwr
(this comment is kind of ridiculous.)

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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 04:23

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

I honestly haven't kept strict tabs on the enchantments split and which spells go where, but tukima's dance being hex rather than charms kind of a head scratcher. It would make more sense as a hex if you were doing it to the enemy's weapon.
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 08:41

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

Hushed wrote:I honestly haven't kept strict tabs on the enchantments split and which spells go where, but tukima's dance being hex rather than charms kind of a head scratcher. It would make more sense as a hex if you were doing it to the enemy's weapon.

The split is "self/others (and things)" not "buff/debuff". It's not perfect, but that's what is being intended.
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 11:03

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

I have to admit this is why I havent been following the split too closely. If the split is supposed to be self/others (and things) I would think brands and tukima's dance would fall on the same side of that split. It's arbitrary and I'm ok with that, it just doesn't seem consistent so I ignore it so that I won't get irked. Anyways, good for hexes, tukima's dance is one of the spells I like more from enchantments so hopefully that will make the school more attractive.

Anyways, charms is still strong even if haste were the only spell in it (I'm being facetious). I think charms could stay, keep haste, and split off some of the lower level spells that can gain flavour elsewhere and rework some of them to be more skill dependent (be it length of effect or strength of effect).

edit: alot of which is already discussed on the wiki

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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 11:36

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

As far as I see it, removing the Charms skill is out of the question. Unlike Divinations, the individual spells are tactically relevant. They may be too cheap and/or too strong, but they're not broken and there is no scumming. "Too cheap" and "too strong" can be addressed by changing numbers.
There is no reason not to make buffs special (i.e. work differently from ordinary spells). At the same time, there is no way but to address overpowered spells one by one. Removing their school will make matters much more complicated (including balance), without achieving the goal.
By the way, the Hex/Charms split has just begun, it is not finished. No matter how often you repeat the opposite statement, removing spells from a school weakens it. Over time, Hexes will get new (or modified spells) but we have to start somewhere. Enchantments was the richest spell school by far, so some kind of split was the most natural action to take. The type of section does matter much less than many seem to think, since individual spells have to added (Hexes) or nerfed (Charms) in the future. The split is the first step, not the end result.
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 11:38

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

brand spells were in hexes initially. They've been moved back in charms because of Cr. We should probably move them back to hexes and figure out a new book for Cr.
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 12:39

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

If it is desirable to keep brand spells as charms so they fit in with crusader spells, there may be a way to reflavor them:
What if instead of changing the weapon to add flames, the fire brand spell temporarily made the player a conduit of fire, which makes anything touched by the player burst into flame? You'd turn the current weapon into a flaming weapon, but switching weapons would make the new weapon flaming instead of just putting out the brand. Unarmed attacks would get a flaming bonus, or maybe touching your enemy would have a chance of causing sticky flame if we're bursting things into flame on touch. Thrown projectiles would flame. You couldn't read scrolls because they'd burn up. But it would be changing the player, not the weapon, so it would still be a charm and would fit with Crusaders.

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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 13:06

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

dpeg wrote:As far as I see it, removing the Charms skill is out of the question. Unlike Divinations, the individual spells are tactically relevant. They may be too cheap and/or too strong, but they're not broken and there is no scumming. "Too cheap" and "too strong" can be addressed by changing numbers.

There is no reason not to make buffs special (i.e. work differently from ordinary spells). At the same time, there is no way but to address overpowered spells one by one. Removing their school will make matters much more complicated (including balance), without achieving the goal.

[...]


I guess what I would say, and I'm sure that it has been said before (so I will try not to flog a dead horse too much), is that "self-spells" enhance your abilities against everyone, while "other-spells" are limited to a large number (LOS?) at best, and a single monster at worst. It is not so much that the individual "self-spells" are OP, rather that the kind of spell they are tends toward OPness, especially relative to "other-spells".

It's not that the individual spells are broken. It's that the most useful spells to any random build are mostly all connected to each other, and the learning of one or two of these spells facilitates the learning of the rest. Vinterman's post in Removing Spellcasting might work and I hope it does. However, removal of the Charms school would serve to strengthen and differentiate the other schools, particularly the elementals. That, too, would be a good thing, I think.

If perma-pets/summons were more common, then "other-spells" would see a huge increase in power. You could enhance your underlings against anything (that fit the criteria of the enhancement, anyway).
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 13:09

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

Permanent summons won't come. What's wrong with just buffing temporary summons?
I still don't get why buffs are inherently OP. It'd be trivial to make them so expensive nobody would use them anymore. If they're now used by everyone and could be unused, there should be some point which makes them properly relevant?
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 13:26

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

of course. see haste at level 7 (or even 8), for instance.
that'd put it in controlled blink territory: still really great, but also a significant investment.
(i am aware that there's plenty of goodness in charms besides haste, but again, you have to start somewhere.)
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 13:29

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

For fairness, I should point out that we have encountered features which resisted balancing by continuity: the Tomb of Dorokhloe spell was life saving in two turns (controlled blink, then tomb). It got higher level twice (I think), then was removed. However, I believe that the Charms spells are not of this grossly offending type.
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 13:51

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

I wasn't trying to say that I want perma-summons. I like temporary summons. However, if every adventurer had a pet or something, instead of just those with summoning skill, then buff-type "other-spells" would be more powerful and sought after. This isn't a suggestion, just pointing out the relationship between enhancing the good guys and debuffing the bad guys. Even then, though, if you had more than one pet, you would still have to make a choice about which to enhance, like you make a choice about which to hex.

I don't think that buffs have to be OP, but absolutely think that there is a strong pull toward OPness in buffs that other kinds of actions/magic don't have. And DCSS's buffs are considered OP, or at least, of high utility. Therefore, I think that by linking them all (mostly) to the same school is unhelpful. Yes, Charms are thematic and a staple of Fantasy RPG, I know that. I don't even think that Charms should even be permanently excised. However, cutting the links between utilitarian spells would, I think, make the individual spells more special and thematic because you would cut yourself off from other spells, to some degree, in order to get them.

What I would really like, is if Charms were reduced what are now pure Charms and Charms/Hexes and everything else split off into its respective school. Charms would be tiny at the beginning, but I feel like people would come up with good generalist spells for it fairly quickly.

I'm sorry if the horse is now a pulpy mess. I'm not trying to flog too much.

edit-grammar, clarity
Last edited by dolphin on Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 14:03, edited 1 time in total.
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 13:59

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

(answering dpeg:)

of course not. we were talking (among many other things, because the discussion is very expansive and also all over the forums by now) about how to help differentiate high-level casters. the biggest offender here is charms, because it features many very useful low-level (6-) utility spells (swiftness, flight, repel/deflect missiles, haste, etc) and most pick it up. a simple solution in this case is to make some of these spells harder to cast, so that they require a greater investment, and there's more room for *choice* at all but the highest levels (which by the way are fine by me, i don't care if many 15-runer casters look similar). this isn't even meant to solve the differentiation problem: it's more of a balance of charms, which is buff-centric (i.e. *always* good) and very bottom-heavy.

in all fairness i think the split's going in the right direction (flavour aside), and that all that's needed is (1) making some charms spells a bit less useful (e.g. scaling with spell power) and/or more expensive (e.g. haste could very well be level 7, as it isn't any less useful than, say, darkness, and remains the flagship of its school), and (2) making hexes useful past floor 6 or whatever (via the mythical MR-reducing scheme).
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 14:07

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

jejorda2 wrote:If it is desirable to keep brand spells as charms so they fit in with crusader spells, there may be a way to reflavor them

You've got it backward. We want to move brand spells out of the charm school. The point of the "self/other" split is that it allows us to move some buff out of the charm school, so that the ench split don't end up with all the good spell in the same school (what would be the result of buff/debuff split).
So we'd rather move brand spells back in hexes and redesign the crusader (can we remove the berserk spell in the process?)
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 14:21

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

We can also disable the Cr background for a release or two, and then think about how to get a replacement back in. (Completely off-topic, but we could probably re-use the name Paladin then.) There are many ways to set up a Cr-style background; no need to just look at brand spells.

I think I don't speak just for myself, but also on Trog's behalf, if I point out that the Berserk spell is pernicious nonsense and an arcane aberration. It might be possible to have a high-level and non-trivial (drawback!) Berserk Other spell.
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 14:43

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

That was discussed at Remove Berserk Spell; Replacement.

Summary:
- Replace Berserk with Poison Weapon or Ozocubu's Armor in War Chants.

- Berserk L3 -> Frenzy L4-L6 : Berserks the target. The target is Confused, which "flickers" off and on during Berserk. Smite targeted, like Haste.

- Reduce efficacy of berserk state on Monsters: No immediate re-Berserking, Possibly reduced MR or some other malus while berserk.

Should it be wikified? or does it need refining?
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 14:59

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

a "berserk other" spell also steps on trog's toes a bit (brothers in arms). berserked summons could be pretty crazy and hard to balance, no matter whatever additional drawback you come up with (unless it's too restrictive, in which case it won't be used much).

there are many decent replacements for the berserk spell in the crusader's book, but i actually like it there. maybe it's a tad too cheap (level 3, single school), but it's fun and, if i recall correctly, weaker than trog's, who can extend it like there's no tomorrow and protect you from passing out when it's over. i've never used it intensively because in the old book you'd eventually switch to haste, but i don't think it's something you'll rely on in the long run (again, unlike trog's). if the crusader's re-imagined and the spell goes, then it goes, but their book isn't *that* bad now. replacing the brand spells for ozucubu's armour or something similar may be sufficient.
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 15:15

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

dpeg wrote:We can also disable the Cr background for a release or two, and then think about how to get a replacement back in. (Completely off-topic, but we could probably re-use the name Paladin then.) There are many ways to set up a Cr-style background; no need to just look at brand spells.

I think I don't speak just for myself, but also on Trog's behalf, if I point out that the Berserk spell is pernicious nonsense and an arcane aberration. It might be possible to have a high-level and non-trivial (drawback!) Berserk Other spell.

Sure, we can disable the background. But as I have said on the crusader wiki page I've just wrote: charms being the home of overpowered spells, we should be able to figure out a playable background out of it :)
Also, yay for the removal of the berserk spell!
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 16:00

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

There are no good low level charms except for a few stolen from hexes. There are no good high level hexes except for a few stolen from charms. Naturally charms are good at high levels and hexes are good at low levels.

A "charmer" background would require one or two spells to be created for them if they can't use brands.
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 16:01

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

Why is no branding a priority? It seems to me that magical weapons and shields and armor and evasion are good things, thematically, for a magical fighter.
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 17:27

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

dolphin wrote:Why is no branding a priority? It seems to me that magical weapons and shields and armor and evasion are good things, thematically, for a magical fighter.

Because it's one of the few buffs that can be easily (thematically) moved out of charms. The goal of the enchantment split is to try to avoid having all the good buffs in a single school.
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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 18:06

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

To further expound what minmay is saying:

Generally level 5 and below can be considered "low-level" later on. Yes, it won't be early on. Yes, it's semantics. Whatever you want to call it, Charms has the best low level spells period. Swiftness, Flight, Control Teleport, Repel Missiles, Regeneration, Ozocubu's Armour, Berserk Rage - a lot of these spells are lategame staples for a mage. I'm not advocating that we have a game of cookie-cutter builds, but trying to differentiate just for the sake of making things look 'different' is a bad idea.

Enchantments was already split and I can't say I agree with it, but it's livable. :(

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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 22:55

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

galehar wrote:Because it's one of the few buffs that can be easily (thematically) moved out of charms. The goal of the enchantment split is to try to avoid having all the good buffs in a single school.


That's also the point of removing the charms skill! :) Moving all charms spells to other schools that are not overpowered would mean redistributing a good share of the currently-OP spells to weaker schools.

Think about it like this for a moment. Suppose there never was a charms school and current charms spells were distributed among other schools. Now, someone comes along and says "Let's combine almost all the buff spells -- many of which are among the best spells in the game -- and put them into one school called Charms." Would anyone support this? I bet it would not go over well.

Crawl really does have a charms schools. And adding is different than removing. So the above hypothetical may not be a helpful way to think about it. But for me, it's a powerful, if unarticulated, argument that the charms school isn't the healthiest.

In any case, be it removed or maintained, the very good proposed changes to duration-based spells and further hex/charm tweaks will have a tremendous effect on gameplay, probably far larger than distributing charms spells to other schools.

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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 23:09

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

smock wrote:That's also the point of removing the charms skill! :) Moving all charms spells to other schools that are not overpowered would mean redistributing a good share of the currently-OP spells to weaker schools.


I don't think there are any schools weak enough to harmlessly absorb the existing charms. 'Weak' schools in the current version are mostly just considered weak because they aren't very versatile, and if buffs are added to them they would become versatile. The schools that are already versatile, like transmutations, air, and necromancy, are already nipping at charms's heels in the overpoweredness department.

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Post Wednesday, 20th April 2011, 23:49

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

I honestly don't believe there are any weak schools anymore. I used to believe that Earth was, but then it was buffed in many ways to the point of contesting with Fire for the best blast-crap-it-dies school. I thought Poison Magic was, then I realized Poisonous Cloud is overpowered and Poison Arrow is the nuts. Even now, with Charms having most of the amazing spells I think Hexes isn't underpowered just because it fits a niche and it fits it extremely well. =x

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Post Thursday, 21st April 2011, 15:52

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

KoboldLord wrote:I don't think there are any schools weak enough to harmlessly absorb the existing charms.


Retaining charms, the go-to school, because the other schools are well-balanced doesn't make sense to me. Other schools can be re-balanced, as I think you allude to with the "harmlessly." Re-balancing charms, the school with (most of) the strongest spells involves nerfing many spells. But what if they are strong because they are together?

Getting enough charms levels to cast regeneration means I'm on my way to learning deflect missiles! Without a charms school, learning the one very good spell would not could toward learning all the other good spells. It's as if the spells slot system used for fireball and delayed fireball were used for charms spells. (The cost is in terms of XP, not spell slots, but I hope you get the point.)

Let's take one example: frost brand. I don't think that the game would break if frost brand was moved from charms/ice to ice alone. I think that it would be harder to cast for most builds, because most builds right now train up charms for other spells, and many builds can reliably cast frost brand without levels in ice in the early game. It would make ice magic stronger because you wouldn't need charms to cast frost brand. But I don't think it would be consequential.

Another example: deflect missiles. Removing charms would make it harder for non-air mages to cast deflect missiles because they haven't just spend lots of XP training charms to support the best spells in the game. But it would make air spells stronger overall. Moving deflect missiles to level 7 might help re-balance things if it make air overpowered.

The enchantments split is a work in progress. Considering it to be "the problem of the enchantments school being overpowered" suggests a broader scope of potential solutions. Removing some spells from enchantments might be part of that solution. Constraining the set of potential changes to charms versus hexes may not yield the strongest changes.

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Post Thursday, 21st April 2011, 16:08

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

Moving Freezing Aura to pure Ice (already the strongest elemental school, IMO) wouldn't make Ice Magic any better. Freezing Aura is maybe used by one character archetype or is fixed to a weapon and then tossed away. Deflect Missiles still requires a good amount of Air Magic unless you want to get Charms up to 15+ and then suffer from stepdowns. Deflect Missiles isn't even overpowered, so I don't know what you're talking about. If anything, Repel Missiles is overpowered. :|

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Post Thursday, 21st April 2011, 16:31

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

Could the Berserk spell be replaced by a Might spell (that works like the old Okawaru ability?) I guess this would overlap with the potion, but I think there's potential there.
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Post Thursday, 21st April 2011, 16:52

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

Jeremiah wrote:Could the Berserk spell be replaced by a Might spell (that works like the old Okawaru ability?) I guess this would overlap with the potion, but I think there's potential there.


Berserking does not just enhance strength. It adds HP, increases speed, and I believe it also increases accuracy, but I could be wrong there.
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Post Thursday, 21st April 2011, 17:08

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

Jeremiah wrote:Could the Berserk spell be replaced by a Might spell (that works like the old Okawaru ability?) I guess this would overlap with the potion, but I think there's potential there.

There's a reason might was removed. I don't think bringing it back as a spell would be a good idea.
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Post Thursday, 21st April 2011, 17:41

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

galehar wrote:
Jeremiah wrote:Could the Berserk spell be replaced by a Might spell (that works like the old Okawaru ability?) I guess this would overlap with the potion, but I think there's potential there.

There's a reason might was removed. I don't think bringing it back as a spell would be a good idea.


Agreed. Berserk's downsides make for interesting strategy, unlike might. But it's too strong. If there's much interest a melee-buffing spell, something different, more creative, and strategic could be an appropriate replacement.

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Post Thursday, 21st April 2011, 18:05

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

smock wrote:Retaining charms, the go-to school, because the other schools are well-balanced doesn't make sense to me. Other schools can be re-balanced, as I think you allude to with the "harmlessly." Re-balancing charms, the school with (most of) the strongest spells involves nerfing many spells. But what if they are strong because they are together?


Your suggestion will simultaneously break several other schools at once. The cure is worse than the disease.

Dual-skill spells are, in principle, less desirable than single-skill spells because they cost more xp for the same amount of spell power. In principle, having all buffs being part charms will make them all harder to cast than they would be if they were just air or necromancy, much like how conjurations already works. The problem is that spell power is currently meaningless to most charms spells.

I would think that we should first try the obvious solution of making spell power relevant to charms and figure out where to go from there after evaluating the results, rather than halving the xp cost required to invest in most of them and hoping that somehow improves matters.

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Post Friday, 22nd April 2011, 02:56

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

KoboldLord wrote:Your suggestion will simultaneously break several other schools at once.

Wow. So I suppose that dispersing necromancy (or some other strong school) spells among other schools would break several of the other schools. If not, I wonder how charms is different.

KoboldLord wrote:Dual-skill spells are, in principle, less desirable than single-skill spells because they cost more xp for the same amount of spell power. In principle, having all buffs being part charms will make them all harder to cast than they would be if they were just air or necromancy, much like how conjurations already works. The problem is that spell power is currently meaningless to most charms spells.

Yes, definitely. This fact surely affects the game and is a reason to have dual-skill spells.

Two observations. First, getting rid of the charms school doesn't mean that all current charms must become single-schooled. Deflect missiles could be tloc/air, to give a (maybe not so great) example. Keeping spells dual-skill, just without being a charm, might prevent other schools from becoming broken. I have a soft spot for Condensation Shield precisely because it's not a charm.

Second, the additional XP needed for a charm spell is very low because every caster already has a few levels in charms for other schools. Suppose a mage wants charms only for frost brand, regen and flight. Suppose also that frost brand requires 4 levels between charms and ice, regen requires 6 levels between charms and necromancy, and flight requires 8 levels between charms and air. To cast all three spells, I could train charms to 8. The additional cost of flight, given that I already want to cast frost brand and regen is 2 charm levels. Suppose instead that charms was dropped from all three spells. Then frost brand requires 2 levels in ice, regen requires 3 levels in necromancy and flight requires 4 in air. To additional cost of casting flight, given that I'm already casting frost brand and regen, is 4 levels. Now, I know that higher levels require more XP, so this thought exercise deviates somewhat from how things actually work. But the fact remains that the marginal/additional XP costs of any given charms spell is lower because there are so many other good charms spells.

A good example is frost and flame brand. Having memorized frost brand, the additional XP cost of flame brand is zero, or close. (I rarely need levels in fire or ice to cast them after the early game.) If frost and flame brand were ice and fire only, I would need to invest in both ice and fire, rather than relying on charms. (And I was going to get a few levels in charms, anyway, so I could cast regen....)

I hope this makes sense to everyone. If not, please ask me to clarify.

I don't think this is the most important issue with charms -- spell power is. But is could be important nonetheless.
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Post Tuesday, 26th April 2011, 12:04

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

Ok, my brain-fart is finally over, and I remember what the duration thingy was about. If Charms merely extends duration, without increasing power, then L27 Charms L0 [Other Skill] should maximally extend a thoroughly useless effect. Gotcha.

I support tying duration to Charms, and not removing it.
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Post Tuesday, 26th April 2011, 20:03

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

smock wrote:Wow. So I suppose that dispersing necromancy (or some other strong school) spells among other schools would break several of the other schools. If not, I wonder how charms is different.


Breaking up necromancy might or might not overpower the other spell skills, depending on how it's done. The way I see it, spell schools are strong based on one of three factors: versatility, raw power, and efficiency. Necromancy is pretty much the ultimate versatility school, with transmutations and air coming in a bit behind it. In raw power, it isn't so great; the theme of necromancy is power at a price, so every spell in it has some meaningful drawback. Pain and Agony are good direct damage spells, but if you invest in conjurations you can use those instead without the drawback or the chance to resist. Animate Dead is a good non-summoning minion spell, but it requires a reagent that can be difficult to obtain. And so on. Necromancy is very versatile in that it has a tool for every task, but never quite so good at that task as a tool that can only accomplish that task.

So if you broke up necromancy and sent the direct damage spells to conjurations, and the minion spells to summons, etc. then you probably wouldn't overpower anything because. If you gave Agony to summons and Animate Dead to conjurations, though, there would be a problem because the other schools would be getting exactly the capabilities they currently lack, while keeping their former strengths in the process.

Charms is different than necromancy in that instead of versatility it focuses on efficiency, with a few key (i.e. overpowered) spells that have raw power too. Most charms are multiplicative, in that they increase the benefits of your other skills and stats, and offer a bigger benefit as those other skills and stats go up. Repel Missiles functionally doubles your EV or SH by on average cutting enemy hit rolls in half. An already strong effect gets even stronger as you train dodging or shields. If you split up charms, the recipient schools get a jolt of efficiency or raw power, but their versatility will at least be no worse than before and will probably be better.

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Post Saturday, 30th April 2011, 22:03

Re: Removing the Charms Skill

Interesting argument. Thanks for the thoughtful response.

I'd take some issue that charms are about efficiency and not versatility, though! I find flight, repel missiles and haste very versatile from a strategic standpoint. I think I understand the argument though.

But take it on a case-by-case basis. Would moving frost brand to ice (or ice/tmut, or ice/hex, or ice/anything) break anything? Probably not. Repeating for several of the charms, I really don't see how sure blade as a hex, levitation, swiftness and flight as air, repel/deflect missiles as tmut/air, ozo's as ice, poison weapon as poison, control tele (moved to L5) and warp weapon as tloc, etc, would simultaneously break a bunch of those schools. (I think that haste still breaks any school that it's in and berserk rage needs to be cut or nerfed anyway.) If it's just a matter of there being more XP to go around, then I do understand but I don't see that as an unsurmountable issue. (I love the new vaults and their added XP, and I trust that devs are thinking about how the added XP affects the game.)

I'm surprised that no one has replied to the arguments about the "marginal/addition cost" of each charm spell being too low. Most of my opinions are weakly held, but this one I hold rather strongly: Charms are too inexpensive because most casters want to invest in many charms spells anyway, so the XP additional XP cost of any given charm spell is low. Most spells that are currently charms would be more expensive in terms of XP if they were dispersed across other schools, even if they were made to be single-skill (though I am not advocating that they become single school.)

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