Weapon handedness and size


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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 04:43

Weapon handedness and size

The following weapons are 1-handed for all species:
  Code:
club
rod
whip
hammer
mace
flail
demon whip
sacred scourge
dagger
quick blade
short sword
rapier
cutlass
falchion
hand axe
blowgun
hunting sling
hand crossbow
The following weapons are 1-handed for all species except spriggans, for which they are 2-handed:
  Code:
morningstar
eveningstar
long sword
scimitar
demon blade
eudemon blade
war axe
spear
greatsling
The following weapons are 2-handed for kobolds, halflings, and spriggans, but 1-handed for all other species:
  Code:
double sword
broad axe
trident
demon trident
trishula
staff (magical)
The following weapons are 2-handed for all species and can be wielded by all species:
  Code:
quarterstaff
lajatang
arbalest
shortbow
The following weapons cannot be wielded by spriggans, and are 2-handed for all other species:
  Code:
triple crossbow
The following weapons cannot be wielded by kobolds, halflings, or spriggans, and are 2-handed for all other species:
  Code:
dire flail
great mace
great sword
triple sword
battleaxe
executioner's axe
halberd
scythe
glaive
bardiche
longbow
The following weapons can only be wielded by ogres and trolls, for which they are 2-handed:
  Code:
giant club
giant spiked club


Don't you all think that 7 different weapon size categories is awfully high? I know axes, bows, and polearms are supposed to be useless for small races, but isn't giving them the appropriate useless aptitudes enough?

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 05:39

Re: Weapon handedness and size

No. IMO the aptitudes aren't sufficient.

We have five sizes of creatures that can use weapons (spriggans, Kobold/Halfling, Naga/Centaur, Ogre/Troll, Everything else) and three states of being able to use a weapon (one handed, two handed, and unusable) be glad there are only 7 sets and not 15.

Even if you lumped spriggans with Kobolds/Halflings (as currently the case with Naga/Centaur and everyone else) you'd still have 3 categories and 3 states (making for nine possible sets)

Also you neglected Formicids in your enumeration (Which are a size category unto themselves, least-optimally, we'd have 18 different sets).

I think spriggan's sacrifice of some weapons is intended as a balance against their high-powered ness, and it wouldn't work from a game playing perspective to either give spriggans kobold/halfling weapon selection, or to give kobolds/halflings spriggan's limitations.

I think that there are different categories for different races is irrelevant, since *in any one game* you only have 3 categories, one handed, two handed, and unusable.

To me it sounds like you're trying to make a case for simplification for simplification's sake alone, you haven't made any argument as to why it's a problem to have as many categories as we have, or what would be better about the game if there were less categories of weapons.

Off the top of my head, reasons that aptitudes alone don't suffice:
1. There's XP aplenty, it's viable to train a skill to 27 even on a race that has poor aptitiudes for it.
2. There's a variety of weapons in each weapon class it's reasonable to try to give some races aptitudes to use a subset of those weapons is reasonable from a racial balancing standpoint. Trying to use aptitiudes alone to do so severly restricts the kinds of races we can make. Trying to make triple crossbows not practical to use for small races by giving small races large aptitude penalties, on the basis that they're small alone, means that even the smallest, lightest crossbows are unusable for small races.

You could detach the notion of "size" from "weapon using class", however that doesn't make it any clearer or easier to understand, and doesn't make it any easier to balance races (And if anything it makes it more like that each race will be special cased to meet the imagined racial design arbitrarily assigned at the time, ultimately resulting in more, not less categories)
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 06:11

Re: Weapon handedness and size

Siegurt wrote:Off the top of my head, reasons that aptitudes alone don't suffice:
1. There's XP aplenty, it's viable to train a skill to 27 even on a race that has poor aptitiudes for it.
2. There's a variety of weapons in each weapon class it's reasonable to try to give some races aptitudes to use a subset of those weapons is reasonable from a racial balancing standpoint. Trying to use aptitiudes alone to do so severly restricts the kinds of races we can make. Trying to make triple crossbows not practical to use for small races by giving small races large aptitude penalties, on the basis that they're small alone, means that even the smallest, lightest crossbows are unusable for small races.
1. Do you use axes on high elves or maces on merfolk?
2. In Crawl, bigger weapons are better with very few exceptions (demon weapons, eveningstar, double sword), and different weapons in the same class do not act differently. The effect of taking away large weapons is that the weapon class becomes worse. Aptitudes accomplish the same thing.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 06:20

Re: Weapon handedness and size

You could also accomplish the effect of making larger weapons bad for even characters of smaller races with tons of XP to spare by changing the str/dex weighting portion of the damage formula. Then smaller races would not generally want to wield the largest weapons because they would get more DPS out of smaller ones despite the difference in base damage. But this would probably have to come with some kind of UI improvement to make the sacrifice clear ("Your damage with this weapon depends heavily on your [strength/dexterity]" at the bottom of the item description, if nothing else).

Tomb Titivator

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 06:29

Re: Weapon handedness and size

All weapons except quickblades have damage that depends more on strength than dex. For quickblades it is equal.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 06:33

Re: Weapon handedness and size

johlstei wrote:All weapons except quickblades have damage that depends more on strength than dex. For quickblades it is equal.

Right. My point is that if I remember correctly, the damage contributed by that portion of the formula ends up varying so little that it is not even worth considering when evaluating a weapon compared to base damage, enchantment, and delay. But I'll check the code in a couple hours when I get a moment and post the exact numbers if no one else does first.

Mines Malingerer

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 08:48

Re: Weapon handedness and size

So I worked through a couple examples with OgBe and SpBe. I hope I did all the arithmetic right.

A GSC's effective base damage at XL27 is 32 for OgBe and 23 for SpBe.
A double sword's effective base damage at XL27 is 20 for OgBe and 17 for SpBe.

In other words, even though a SpBe gets +2 to the double sword and only +1 to the GSC from the str/dex contribution, a GSC is still quite a bit better at equivalent delay. And obviously it crushes the sword for the OgBe but everyone knew that.

But if you allowed the result of the str/dex calculation to be negative and rescaled the formula to work out the same for high-str species, you could effectively apply some kind of malus for low-str characters wielding heavy weapons, which would probably let you simplify the categories to "1h for everyone," "2h for everyone," and "2h for small species only" while preserving the original design goals of weapon size. Also I really like the idea from a flavor perspective that a Dg who focused heavily on strength could end up laying into things with a GSC.

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 08:55

Re: Weapon handedness and size

I don't like the idea of tying weapon damage heavily to Str because I liked tabbing things on my casters.

Though I dunno, I mean that would make a melee/magic choice more meaningful. Do you want spellpower or do you want weapon power? Or do you want both? Then go Chei! (Don't actually go Chei, kids!)

Then again pain would still work.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 08:57

Re: Weapon handedness and size

The result of the str/dex calculation is allowed to be negative.

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 09:05

Re: Weapon handedness and size

duvessa wrote:The result of the str/dex calculation is allowed to be negative.

This is technically true but you have to have very very low strength in practice.

edit: Less than 9 at weight 10, to be clear. At 1 str you lose 7 base damage off a GSC on average, which leaves it with a respectable 15 still.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 13:53

Re: Weapon handedness and size

I would like to have unused weapons for small races be displayed in species selection screen. It is annoying to use wizard mode (or ?/, I guess) for checking which weapons a species can use.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 14:35

Re: Weapon handedness and size

The following weapons are throwable for all species:
  Code:
rocks
tomahawk


The following weapons cannot be thrown by kobolds, halflings, or spriggans:
  Code:
javelins


The following weapons can only be thrown by ogres and trolls:
  Code:
large rocks


I think I got that right...
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 14:36

Re: Weapon handedness and size

Siegurt wrote:Also you neglected Formicids in your enumeration (Which are a size category unto themselves, least-optimally, we'd have 18 different sets).


19 sets; there is a null set if you count Felids.
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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 16:24

Re: Weapon handedness and size

Siegurt wrote:To me it sounds like you're trying to make a case for simplification for simplification's sake alone, you haven't made any argument as to why it's a problem to have as many categories as we have, or what would be better about the game if there were less categories of weapons.


For me, the issue is be obviousness and learnability -- there are bunch of kind of arbitrary non-obvious rules; when I find an exe axe on my kobold maybe I'm all "WTF why can't I use this, that wasn't obvious from the start." Sandman25 put it pretty well:

Sandman25 wrote:I would like to have unused weapons for small races be displayed in species selection screen. It is annoying to use wizard mode (or ?/, I guess) for checking which weapons a species can use.


... THOUGH ...

I think just knowing item restrictions exist is enough for me. I'm going to see a GSC laying around on an ogre corpse and have it marked as useless on pretty much every game; item restrictions are all over the place and feel like part of the furniture to me. None of them actually surprise me (they seem arbitrary but whatever).

Would aptitudes be enough? I suspect yes -- aptitudes are a huge hint as to what weapon class you "should" use, and I think this is as much an issue of psychology as it is game balance.
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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 16:34

Re: Weapon handedness and size

Right now, bucklers are unusable by large species, while large shields are easier to use for them (lower skill thresholds to negate penalties). Meanwhile, spriggans can only use bucklers, and small species can only use up to regular shields, and they all have a harder time making use of those items than normal-sized characters. Would it make sense to do something similar here? Give each weapon a "size" that it's suitable for, and if using a weapon outside of your suitable range, increase the skill needed to "negate penalties" (i.e. - reach mindelay)? I imagine an ogre with a quickblade or dagger would be a clumsy mess with it, since the weapon comfortably fits in a spriggan's fist and it'd be nearly impossible for an ogre to actually hit with the blade without significant care. Likewise, a halfling trying to wield a greatsword would probably need to go through a whole hell of a lot of contortions before getting the weapon to actually swing effectively, and a spriggan would have an even worse time of it. Straight damage wouldn't be affected, but damage over time would suffer since each attack would waste additional auts.

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 17:49

Re: Weapon handedness and size

The weapons in the OP are a bit large-species-biased.

Should Spriggan-wieldable daggers be too small for Trolls and Ogres to manipulate effectively? Certainly it's reflected in their skills, but small species have access to maces/flails/whips, and there are weapons excluded.
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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 21:40

Re: Weapon handedness and size

duvessa wrote:
Siegurt wrote:Off the top of my head, reasons that aptitudes alone don't suffice:
1. There's XP aplenty, it's viable to train a skill to 27 even on a race that has poor aptitiudes for it.
2. There's a variety of weapons in each weapon class it's reasonable to try to give some races aptitudes to use a subset of those weapons is reasonable from a racial balancing standpoint. Trying to use aptitiudes alone to do so severly restricts the kinds of races we can make. Trying to make triple crossbows not practical to use for small races by giving small races large aptitude penalties, on the basis that they're small alone, means that even the smallest, lightest crossbows are unusable for small races.
1. Do you use axes on high elves or maces on merfolk?

Rarely, but sometimes, if I found for example a demon whip with a good brand while I was still using a spear or trident, heck yes I'd use it on a merfolk, it takes less XP with a merfolk's poor aptitude to get to min delay with a demon whip than it does to get a bardiche to min delay with merfolk's exellent aptitude. Aptitude doesn't dictate weapon choices, it only makes them more or less efficient to do so.
duvessa wrote:2. In Crawl, bigger weapons are better with very few exceptions (demon weapons, eveningstar, double sword), and different weapons in the same class do not act differently. The effect of taking away large weapons is that the weapon class becomes worse. Aptitudes accomplish the same thing.

The effect of taking away large weapons is to make the *average* weapon in a given class worse, and make the *best* weapons available in a given class rarer. You don't use the average weapon you find though, you use the best weapon you've found in a class you have XP invested in, or perhaps not invested in, particularly if you find one that cross trains or is reasonable to train, or if you find one before you've invested lots of XP in something else, it's totally worth using a weapon with low aptitude, particularly when such a weapon is better than anything else you could be using by a significant margin.

Weapon limitations restrict the *availabilty* of "best" weapons, Aptitudes restrict the *efficiency* of using the best weapon available. The two are related, but don't accomplish the same goals or have the same results in practice.

Handedness has a much less dramatic effect, mostly the availability of a shield (Yes, there's the offhand punch as well, but that's pretty minor, If I was going to commit to a one-handed weapon I think a shield is pretty much the obvious choice there) The presence or absence of a shield is rarely the determining factor for me in whether to use a given weapon.

All of the suggestions I've read so far to supplant the existing system with a different one appear to me to be at least as complicated and difficult to understand. As arbitrary and capricious as the current system is, it's at least clear while playing the game whether a given bit of equipment that you have in your possession is one handed, two handed or unusable (Planning on upgrading to a bit of equipment you don't actually have yet is poor play in any case)

I guess it might be sort of nice if there was a label of some sort which could be used to derive the expectation of whether you could use a given weapon one handedly, two handedly or not at all with any given race, (someone mentioned a "weapon size" at some point) However learning the "rules" for how that labeling system would work doesn't sound any prettier or nicer than the current system, and trying to figure out what kind of weapon you might or might not be able to use with a race you're not playing right now seems like meta-information at best, and not really relevant to the game you're playing at that moment.
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Post Tuesday, 3rd February 2015, 22:10

Re: Weapon handedness and size

Giant Orange Brainbow Dash wrote:Right now, bucklers are unusable by large species, while large shields are easier to use for them (lower skill thresholds to negate penalties). Meanwhile, spriggans can only use bucklers, and small species can only use up to regular shields, and they all have a harder time making use of those items than normal-sized characters. Would it make sense to do something similar here? Give each weapon a "size" that it's suitable for, and if using a weapon outside of your suitable range, increase the skill needed to "negate penalties" (i.e. - reach mindelay)? I imagine an ogre with a quickblade or dagger would be a clumsy mess with it, since the weapon comfortably fits in a spriggan's fist and it'd be nearly impossible for an ogre to actually hit with the blade without significant care. Likewise, a halfling trying to wield a greatsword would probably need to go through a whole hell of a lot of contortions before getting the weapon to actually swing effectively, and a spriggan would have an even worse time of it. Straight damage wouldn't be affected, but damage over time would suffer since each attack would waste additional auts.


I like this, especially if took Strength and Dex into account as well. This is going to sound sarcastic, but it's not: I always prefer a complicated system with numerous inputs (e.g. spell failure rate, and/or encumbrance generally) to flat categories.

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Post Wednesday, 4th February 2015, 05:53

Re: Weapon handedness and size

Personally, the biggest issue I see with these categories is that they seem to be based mostly on flavor. Now, on the one hand, that makes it somewhat intuitive, but on the other hand, it makes some of the distinctions kind of arbitrary when you look at it from a gameplay standpoint. Polearms are the main thing here, being consistently in "heavier" categories than other weapons, with even spears being two-handed for spriggans and small races. The staff category and the triple crossbow category are also a bit odd, and the fact that the three demon weapons fall in different categories despite all serving similar roles of "light, fast one-handed weapons" gameplay-wise.

From a gameplay standpoint, I'm not sure if making the restrictions on some weapon types heavier than the ones on other weapon types is very interesting, aside from short blades. So maybe the issue here isn't the number of categories, but the gameplay inconsistencies in the categories?

Here's a pitch off the top of my head for making the categories a bit more consistent. The names of the categories are arbitrary, the goal here is to have a clear correlation between a weapon's role in gameplay and what category it falls in.

Very large weapons: Giant Clubs. Same as they are now.

Large weapons: All melee weapons that are two-handed for medium races, with the possible exception of lajatangs and quarterstaves. Unusable by small or tiny races.

Medium weapons: The "heaviest" one-handed weapon in each class (eveningstars, double swords, broad axes, polearms doesn't really have an equivalent). Two-handed for small races, unusable for tiny races.

Light weapons: The second "heaviest" one-handed weapon in each class (tridents, morningstars, scimitars, war axes), and demon weapons. Two-handed for spriggans, one-handed for everyone else.

Very light weapons: Everything else. One-handed for everyone.

There are a number of issues with these, admittedly. I don't like demon whips and regular whips being in different classes, but I also don't like putting the demon weapons in different classes, and making regular whips two-handed for spriggans is awkward. I'm not sure where to put staves. I'm also not sure about ranged weapons, although I think triple crossbows and longbows should go in the same category. But I hope this at least demonstrates the idea that I'm going for.

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Post Wednesday, 4th February 2015, 15:45

Re: Weapon handedness and size

Triple crossbows are usable by small races because Kobolds have the best crossbow aptitude and it doesn't make much sense for them to not be able to use the best crossbows.

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 4th February 2015, 17:48

Re: Weapon handedness and size

Ha and Sp have the second best bow aptitude and can't use the best bows. Mi has the second best maces aptitude and can't use the best maces. Mu has the only innate necromancy enhancers in the game, and can't use the best necromancy spells.

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