Race Proposal: Elementals


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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 16th January 2015, 04:25

Race Proposal: Elementals

Goal: An adaptable, elemental race which cannot wear armor, but gains certain powers based on the type of elemental they become.

I think there's a lot of good design space for races which do not wear armor, with octopodes being my current favorite, so here's another in that sort of style: Elementals.

Elementals are non-humanoid vortexes/clouds of their element, and as such cannot use armor. They are still capable of wielding weapons and wearing jewelry, because gameplay reasons. I mean, I'd be fine with forcing them to use unarmed, but I figure people would rather have choices.

All aptitudes are 0. It kind of bugs me that humans are no longer 0 to everything since the spellcasting/invo/evo adjustments, let's go pure 0's for this one! (before elemental type messes it up)
Hp and Mp are +1. Current armor free races are at -40% and -10%, so I wanted to give elementals the higher hp/mana space.
MR +4 per level.
Experience aptitude is 0.
+1 any stat every 4 levels, starting attributes are flat.

One of the main questions I have about the design is if it's alright to allow the player to specify their element type. It seems that crawl is against that - draconians are random, demonspawn mutations are random. No race picks a major aspect of their development from a list. I would like elementals to be able to pick theirs, but if a random system is considered superior, that's alright too.

So, either at creation, or picked/randomly assigned at level 7, elementals get a primary type:

Fire: +5 EV, rF++, ranged flame attack(s)
Ice: +5 AC, rC++, ranged ice attack(s)
Air: +5 EV, rElec, ranged lightning attack(s)
Earth +8 AC, no resistance, ranged earth (physical) attack(s)
Poison: +3 EV and +3 AC, ranged poison attack(s)

All elements further get +2 to their magic school. Each element adds a brand to unarmed combat: flaming, freezing, electrocution, stone fists (claws 1 or 2, but with FLAVOR), venom.

For ranged attacks, I'd like to see elementals get two - one which is a range 5-7 or so projectile (similar to a stone arrow, but of the appropriate elemental), and one that is an 'overload' which blasts all targets around you in radius 2 (lower damage). If having two actives is too much, one could be dropped. They would cost mana, and have a decently long (~20-30 turns) breath timer.

While AC is likely to be considered better than EV, I've kept things even for now. I'm considering giving them a base AC value, something like just starting with 5 ac. Might make the early game too easy, not sure. Earth gets slightly more ac for not having a resistance, based on what the protection brand. I believe qaz uses +3 ac when hit by physical, so I'm going with the same value here. For air, I'd like to give immunity to electricity, but I'm not sure if others will agree. Resistance is fine also. Might make the disc of storms overpowered, but that would be a fun build!

At level 15, a second type is chosen/randomly assigned, without allowing for opposites - you can't be earth/air or fire/ice. Secondary type has the same effect as primary except it gives +1 to the school, and has no effect on unarmed combat. You still get the ranged attack(s).

Elementals are barred from using most transmutations, as they have no body to reshape. No form spells, stoneskin. Believe me it's hard for me to ban statue form, but there's already some options to get ac, and they have branded unarmed, so branding + transmutations is too much. I'm somewhat on the fence regarding Ozo's armor, cigotuvi's embrace. They could go either way.

Elementals have to eat. We don't want Djinns again. Flavor's a bit weird here, but something about "consuming material" should make just enough sense to overlook this.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 16th January 2015, 04:55

Re: Race Proposal: Elementals

"draconians, except ridiculously overpowered"
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Snake Sneak

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Post Friday, 16th January 2015, 06:13

Re: Race Proposal: Elementals

duvessa wrote:"draconians, except ridiculously overpowered"


Those were my exact thoughts.
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Vestibule Violator

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Post Friday, 16th January 2015, 06:29

Re: Race Proposal: Elementals

An idea for a variation on the ranged attack is that you could just make unarmed combat work at range, probably with a nerf of some sort to damage for enemies not adjacent to you.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 16th January 2015, 08:11

Re: Race Proposal: Elementals

duvessa wrote:"draconians, except ridiculously overpowered"

I feel the ability to choose your element is a big difference, and you also lose the rest of the armor. If they really are too strong, limit it to choosing one type? I mean, you pick an ice elemental, you're limited to 5 ac for the whole game, unless you are using a protection ring. I don't think that's too strong, but if it really is, it wouldn't be terribly hard to remove some perks, like lowering hp/mp to 0, removing the ranged bolt (if they're too similar to draconians, having only the short range aoe is more distinct).

If anything I was aiming to make them somewhat weak, although being able to pick a second type could give you somewhat decent AC if you picked AC types twice.

Spider Stomper

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Post Friday, 16th January 2015, 09:49

Re: Race Proposal: Elementals

Comparing to Draconians:

Stronger:

They have better spellcasting, better resistances, better MP, better ranged aptitude, better experience growth, and more ranged variety.

Weaker:

Worse melee, worse armor slots, worse invocation/evocation, cannot access transmutations (including non-form transmutations, which is kind of silly).

Ambivalent:

Natural AC is worse unless they start with the suggested +5 AC, in which case it's better. Stats are more generic instead of being weighted for strength over dexterity. Unarmed combat is questionably better since Draconians get tail slaps and some form get additional attack mutations, while you get branding (which is probably pretty awesome for unarmed). Ranged attacks seem designed to be weaker than Draconians, since swapping a bolt+effects for a stone-arrow or similar level 3 conjurations is pretty awful.

I honestly think these are worse than Draconians, since pips of resistance aren't that important and losing all armor is pretty bad (especially if the new artifact changes create more amazing artifacts, which it sounds like they might). But that's questionable, and they're essentially just a combo of human flexibility with Draconian "I have an element and a ranged attack." I'm not sure what design space they really fill at that point.

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Friday, 16th January 2015, 10:19

Re: Race Proposal: Elementals

Elemental vortex: More often than not a failed experiment, usually involving a mage's apprentice. Vortices still resemble their previous humanoid forms, but their very nature limits them with armour. They slowly acquire kinship with their choosen elements, and are somewhat unstable blah blah blah (sorry, I'm no writer :/)

Special abilities:
- Your body doesn't fit with most forms of armour
- You evolve
- You regenerate slowly in the presence of enemies
- Magical devices have half an effect on you
- You steal the energy of elemental activity in your vincity (like demonspawn's powered by death, but more on this in a moment)
- You have and % chance to being energized & healed by elemental damage instead of damaged. Base 10% for every element

-20% Hp, -10% Mp
human stats & aptidutes
random stat every 4 levels, weighted by choices below

- Instead of choosing stat every 3 levels, you choose element:
- fire: weights str & dex, + 0.5 fire aptitude, +8% chance to absorb fire. + 0.5 EV & AC
- ice: weights str & int, + 0.5 ice aptitude, + 8% chance to absorb ice. +0.3 EV & + 0.7 AC
- air: weights dex & int, + 0.3 air & dodging aptitude, + 8% chance to absorb lightning. + 1 EV
- earth: weights str, + 0.3 earth & UC, + 1% for every three above, + 2 AC
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 16th January 2015, 18:00

Re: Race Proposal: Elementals

tasonir wrote:I feel the ability to choose your element is a big difference
Okay, so you're adding 4 species instead of 1, how does that change the design space overlap at all?
tasonir wrote:and you also lose the rest of the armor.
Which pretty much just means you get less AC.
tasonir wrote:If they really are too strong, limit it to choosing one type? I mean, you pick an ice elemental, you're limited to 5 ac for the whole game, unless you are using a protection ring. I don't think that's too strong, but if it really is, it wouldn't be terribly hard to remove some perks, like lowering hp/mp to 0, removing the ranged bolt (if they're too similar to draconians, having only the short range aoe is more distinct).
I guess I shouldn't have added the "overpowered" part, since you seem to have taken the opportunity to fixate on it instead of acknowledging the fundamental problem with your design (it's the same as draconians)

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 16th January 2015, 19:49

Re: Race Proposal: Elementals

Fair enough. I think mixing elements and being able to choose them, and not wearing other armor is a big enough difference, but I can definitely agree there's overlap. If it's too much overlap, ah well. Also going the other way on transmutations - draconians get bonuses for dragon form, work well with most other transmutations. Elementals don't use transmutations in favor of branded unarmed. I realize this may not matter to 90% of builds, but let's face it, unarmed is how you should be playing! I kid, I kid.

As far as blocking transmutations, I just meant form spells, stoneskin. They could still irridate, sticks to snakes, petrify, etc. Any other similar transmutations which were added would be fine too.

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Friday, 16th January 2015, 21:08

Re: Race Proposal: Elementals

The differences are mostly just in the details, though, not in the overall concept. Both races are "balanced aptitudes with limited armour options that gets some elemental themed defensive bonuses and aptitude shifts at some point." Some people might prefer playing one of the other, they're not the same, but there's still the question of what do these really add to the game when Draconians are already a thing?

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 17th January 2015, 02:19

Re: Race Proposal: Elementals

The goal is for the race to be able to direct it's own growth, rather than using items to grow. Hence the no armor. This may have issues with elementals ending up looking similar to one another, but in theory if it's balanced you'd be able to pick very different character types. I'm thinking of expanding that to also no jewelery as well, and giving them mutation resistance (they have no humanoid bodies to mutate anyways). The only issue there would be finding rCorr, and you may have to deal with no stasis, but of the two only rCorr is really a problem imho.

I think I'm going to remove the choosing primary/secondary types, and have it go in a more granular system, where you get to choose to "enhance aspect" every 2 or 3 levels, and pick from a range of aspects to gain. So you could pick +ac, +resist, +wiz, +slaying, etc. Almost anything, scaled appropriately. Possibly add one "enhance major aspect" to allow for picking up something significant only once per game (branded attacks, spell enhancer, damage shaving?).

I have started mucking around with code, but mostly for my own education/experimentation. I hear the criticisms and I'm under no delusions that this has much chance of being accepted :)

Crypt Cleanser

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Post Saturday, 17th January 2015, 22:50

Re: Race Proposal: Elementals

tasonir wrote:The goal is for the race to be able to direct it's own growth, rather than using items to grow. Hence the no armor. This may have issues with elementals ending up looking similar to one another, but in theory if it's balanced you'd be able to pick very different character types. I'm thinking of expanding that to also no jewelery as well, and giving them mutation resistance (they have no humanoid bodies to mutate anyways). The only issue there would be finding rCorr, and you may have to deal with no stasis, but of the two only rCorr is really a problem imho.

I think I'm going to remove the choosing primary/secondary types, and have it go in a more granular system, where you get to choose to "enhance aspect" every 2 or 3 levels, and pick from a range of aspects to gain. So you could pick +ac, +resist, +wiz, +slaying, etc. Almost anything, scaled appropriately. Possibly add one "enhance major aspect" to allow for picking up something significant only once per game (branded attacks, spell enhancer, damage shaving?).


That sounds better to me. While in general part of what I like about DCSS is the emphasis on adaptation over planning, I think it's reasonable to have a race that's based around having more predictable and controllable growth for people who want that. Getting to occasionally choose small bonuses instead of just choosing one or two elemental aspects makes it feel more like guiding the direction of your character and less like four different races that start out the same.

On the other hand, I also think a race that gets to guide its growth would be more interesting if you could use equipment, because then part of the strategy would be reacting to the equipment you got and using your bonuses to fill in weaknesses. I realize that partly goes against what you're trying to achieve here, but I think a race that does no adapting and gets every bonus it ever needs through level ups is boring and fundamentally un-DCSS, so I would probably at least let them keep jewelry, maybe more, to make it so there's some adaptation involved and you don't 100% plan every upgrade from level 1.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Saturday, 17th January 2015, 23:49

Re: Race Proposal: Elementals

Perhaps the race could adapt at each choice they could choose to give up a slot and get a bonus in exchange, although that starts to sound very Ru-like.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Joined: Friday, 25th November 2011, 07:36

Post Sunday, 18th January 2015, 02:40

Re: Race Proposal: Elementals

I've actually called them "Ru the race" in my mind already, so yeah ;) A bit of Qazlal too, but mostly just in flavor, and an aoe elemental attack...They're much more like Ru. But being non-random and with a fixed sacrifice (no equipment) rather than picking random sacrifices at a time.

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