Early spellbooks


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

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 15:34

Re: Early spellbooks

Don't forget about aptitudes. FoAE will be happy to find a book of EE on D1 and switch immediately.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 19:08

Re: Early spellbooks

and into wrote:Even if you find a spell book with flame tongue (let's say) near the end of D1 when you started as an AK with maces, it is almost certainly still going to weaken your character to suddenly switch away from training maces and instead try to get flame tongue online.

It depends on the species aptitudes and the spell. If you found a book at the end of D:1 with flame tongue or sting and you happen to have +1 aptitude for it, it might indeed make sense to pick it up and train it immediately. It's a ranged option and there may be other good spells in there.

Should a blowgun and a few poisoned needles be a guaranteed drop on D1 to D3? Or a wand of random effects? A single throwing net? A -2 quarterstaff?

A blowgun and a few poisoned needles are pretty likely to drop on D1-3. Some basic wands are pretty likely to drop on D1-3. A gnoll is likely to give you one or two throwing nets. There are tons of weapons on D1-3 equivalent to or better than a -2 quarterstaff. The situation is missing books.

Berder wrote:It's easy to do a melee start with any background since starting weapons are all over the place.


Yes, with any background you can pick up the first weapon you come across and start using that as your primary method to kill stuff, but that's very rarely what you should do.

It's often what you should do!
  • If you're a Wn or Ar, your starting melee weapon is junk and you need a better one from the floor.
  • If you are VM, AE, or a Wz (unless you take Vehumet or find a lucky book) you should do magic at first, but then pick up a weapon and train it as your main attack as soon as you find an okay one. This is because VM, AE, and Wz starting books lack the tools to handle mambas/spiny frogs effectively. Also VM needs to be able to handle undead early on.
  • To a lesser extent, summoners and necromancers too should generally get fairly early melee.
  • If you are a Mo with a race that doesn't have good UC, a weapon can be a smart idea.
  • If you have any mage background but have poor aptitudes for magic (e.g. Ogre, Minotaur) you should grab a weapon and use that. In this there is no symmetry for fighter backgrounds that have poor aptitudes for melee (e.g. Deep Elf) - they don't get spells.
  • If you're a hunter, it's a good idea to pick up a better melee weapon than your short sword and start training that instead of your launcher. The launcher is weaker in melee than a melee weapon would be and has limited ammo early on. doubtofbuddha's 7-streak of hunters is based on that principle.
  • The same would apply for arcane marskmen.
  • If you're an assassin, your starting melee weapon is junk and you need one from the floor.

There's a tyranny of melee among classes. VM, AE, Wz, Wn, Ar, AK, CK all have to or should become melee characters either immediately or fairly early, despite the fact that they aren't billed as a "warrior." Too many classes quickly end up as playing the same as other classes. A few early spellbooks could shake that up.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 19:16

Re: Early spellbooks

Berder wrote:A blowgun and a few poisoned needles are pretty likely to drop on D1-3.

That's what I thought before my current GhGl had to go and buy one from a shop after doing D:15, Lair and Orc. Randomness makes games interesting.

My opinion: remove restrictions from item generation, don't make any guaranteed spawns.
...{HaBeKoAK}CeVM{MfWnMiAK}TeAMDrIE{FoVMVSFi}{MuVMGhGlVpMo}HaWrSpWz{OgGlTrMo}{CeWnMfBeMiSk}
DrEE{GrFiFoGl}DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}DDArHaCKSpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMoHuVM{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}
DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}SpNeBaEEGrFE{HaAKTrCK}DsFESpHu{FoArNaBe}FeEE

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Tuesday, 2nd June 2015, 19:16

Re: Early spellbooks

Berder,
Your last message and OP are quite different. Do you still want "artifact spellbooks on D1-3, each containing a few low-level spells (level 4 or lower, not necessarily in the same school)" or "Too many classes quickly end up as playing the same as other classes. A few early spellbooks could shake that up.".
I agree with the latter (buffing casters is good IMHO) but I can't agree with the former (buffing melee is not good IMHO). Specifically I don't agree that there should no be books with higher level spells.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 06:38

Re: Early spellbooks

Instead of just "artifact spellbooks on D1-3" this proposal could use a special early-dungeon portal to a monster-infested library, similar to ossuary and sewers.
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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 14:25

Re: Early spellbooks

and into wrote:
Yes, with any background you can pick up the first weapon you come across and start using that as your primary method to kill stuff, but that's very rarely what you should do.

Actually, it's a great idea. 0 skill melee with a mace or whatever is often more effective than your level 1 spell for most book backgrounds. Use 0 skill melee to kill most things, and save your spells for more powerful enemies. "Primary" is a bit misleading, since I am still skilling magic up to the amount needed for my level 4 spell before I stop training conjurations for the game, but more enemies will be killed with 0 skill melee than with conjuration.

Doing this kills enemies faster and conserves MP so you won't be caught on low HP/MP when an enemy that outspeeds you and is dangerous notices you far from stairs. On a game I played yesterday, 0 skill melee with a +1 dagger of draining was basically as good as Freeze.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 14:35

Re: Early spellbooks

I believe optimal play is to cast spells at range and then depending on monster either retreat or kill it with melee. Dagger of draining is a very lucky/good item indeed. Freeze is the only starting spell with range 1 so it basically requires having good defenses later.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 16:34

Re: Early spellbooks

Speaking about decisions. Do we have any vaults that make player select loot (gold or food, for example)?
I mean something like that Volcano map where loot is destroyed by lava but without luck being a factor?
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Barkeep

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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 16:46

Re: Early spellbooks

Mod note: this thread seems to be ranging pretty far from the topic of early books; I've split some posts but maybe there should be a thread for the more general idea of itemgen restrictions and vault ideas.
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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 18:55

Re: Early spellbooks

Pollen_Golem wrote:Instead of just "artifact spellbooks on D1-3" this proposal could use a special early-dungeon portal to a monster-infested library, similar to ossuary and sewers.


How about adding a spellbook as possible treasure to ossuary and sewers?
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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 19:57

Re: Early spellbooks

Rast wrote:
Pollen_Golem wrote:Instead of just "artifact spellbooks on D1-3" this proposal could use a special early-dungeon portal to a monster-infested library, similar to ossuary and sewers.


How about adding a spellbook as possible treasure to ossuary and sewers?


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Post Wednesday, 3rd June 2015, 23:14

Re: Early spellbooks

Sandman25 wrote:Berder,
Your last message and OP are quite different. Do you still want "artifact spellbooks on D1-3, each containing a few low-level spells (level 4 or lower, not necessarily in the same school)" or "Too many classes quickly end up as playing the same as other classes. A few early spellbooks could shake that up.".
I agree with the latter (buffing casters is good IMHO) but I can't agree with the former (buffing melee is not good IMHO). Specifically I don't agree that there should no be books with higher level spells.

Having them all be level 4 or lower is not crucial - I said that so that they would be more comparable to the low-tier weapons available on D1-3. It is crucial to have some of the spells be low level though, particularly level 1, otherwise the book would not have any effect on the early game.

It may not be clear which kind of character this would help most. You think it might help melee characters more. and into has said he thinks it would help magic characters more.

What is clear is that it would add more magic to the game and cause players to use a greater variety of early game builds, both good things.
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Post Thursday, 4th June 2015, 16:01

Re: Early spellbooks

While the details are foggy and questionable, I can certainly get behind the idea that more books early would seem to be a good thing overall.
However, I wouldn't want to see the common utility spells get more common, e.g. regeneration, deflect missiles, oza's armor, animate skeleton, etc... In other words, we want spells that increase variety of early builds, not more spells that just enhance those builds.

So I think the idea of a new group of artifact spellbooks, which only contain low-ish level damage spells would be best. Keep book spawning exactly as is, but after that separately spawn some of these artifact spellbooks.

I'm not totally clear on item spawning mechanics, so the way I described it might not make sense, but hopefully you understand what I mean.

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Post Thursday, 4th June 2015, 16:33

Re: Early spellbooks

dowan wrote:However, I wouldn't want to see the common utility spells get more common, e.g. regeneration, deflect missiles, oza's armor, animate skeleton, etc... In other words, we want spells that increase variety of early builds, not more spells that just enhance those builds.


I think some of those spells are problematic (too useful for their levels). For example, it is sad that we cannot have Ozocubu's Armour work differently for different backgrounds (level 3 for IE, level 5 for FE/Be and level 4 for everyone else). Regeneration might be level 4 for Sk and level 5 for everyone else etc. Backgrounds are only starting packages, I know.

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Post Thursday, 4th June 2015, 16:53

Re: Early spellbooks

Sandman25 wrote:
dowan wrote:However, I wouldn't want to see the common utility spells get more common, e.g. regeneration, deflect missiles, oza's armor, animate skeleton, etc... In other words, we want spells that increase variety of early builds, not more spells that just enhance those builds.


I think some of those spells are problematic (too useful for their levels). For example, it is sad that we cannot have Ozocubu's Armour work differently for different backgrounds (level 3 for IE, level 5 for FE/Be and level 4 for everyone else). Regeneration might be level 4 for Sk and level 5 for everyone else etc. Backgrounds are only starting packages, I know.

Hrm. Here's a radical thought: what if a background gave you skill bonuses, rather than an initial distribution of experience? While OA wouldn't actually be a lower level spell for IE, the skill training requirements would be less.

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Post Thursday, 4th June 2015, 16:59

Re: Early spellbooks

Hurkyl wrote:Hrm. Here's a radical thought: what if a background gave you skill bonuses, rather than an initial distribution of experience? While OA wouldn't actually be a lower level spell for IE, the skill training requirements would be less.


It contradicts to "Backgrounds are only starting packages" which is in crawl design document as far as I know.

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Post Thursday, 4th June 2015, 18:25

Re: Early spellbooks

Sandman25 wrote:Most book backgrounds need other books or they become weaker than melee backgrounds in Lair branches.

After doing Lair, dungeon and orc most characters have found 1-5 books in addition to starting book ( based on my limited experience). Of course that doesn't guarantee their usefulness, but there is Vehumet and Sif for that.

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Post Thursday, 4th June 2015, 18:43

Re: Early spellbooks

hannobal wrote:After doing Lair, dungeon and orc most characters have found 1-5 books in addition to starting book ( based on my limited experience). Of course that doesn't guarantee their usefulness, but there is Vehumet and Sif for that.


Right, I didn't have bookless runs either.

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Post Thursday, 4th June 2015, 20:02

Re: Early spellbooks

Hurkyl wrote:Hrm. Here's a radical thought: what if a background gave you skill bonuses, rather than an initial distribution of experience? While OA wouldn't actually be a lower level spell for IE, the skill training requirements would be less.

As minmay's pointed out, species already do this; we probably don't need 'species' and 'species2'.
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Barkeep

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Post Thursday, 4th June 2015, 20:10

Re: Early spellbooks

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wouldn't this change mainly be important only to players who are attempting suboptimal character combinations? As in, these early spell books would only matter to the relatively small minority of players attempting things like GrAE or DEFi?

Not that I'm really opposed, I just feel like "early game, post-background flexibility via D:1-2 spell books" is kind of a niche thing. I understand that Berder and others are interested generally in "magic playstyle buffs," but this doesn't seem like the best way of solving that perceived problem, IMO.

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Post Thursday, 4th June 2015, 20:49

Re: Early spellbooks

Well, a CK that found an early book of conjurations might decide to train conjurations rather than bows for a ranged option. Or a wiz or a VM that found a book with actually good damage spells might branch into that brand of magic(Maybe VMs and Wiz fit your 'suboptimal character combinations' though).

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Post Thursday, 4th June 2015, 21:21

Re: Early spellbooks

I don't know, I've won Wz and VM both and never felt like I was hampered in developing magical skill (even with OpVM^Ash, which relied on floor books), while I usually consider CK a "melee background." I guess I just feel like the entire point of Crawl's backgrounds is establishing a foundation for a character at the beginning of the game, and I'm unlikely to be swayed from that initial choice because of a low-level spellbook popping up on D:1.

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Post Thursday, 18th June 2015, 20:43

Re: Early spellbooks

archaeo wrote:I usually consider CK a "melee background."

Why do you do that? CK has the exact same beginning stat distribution as a Skald, so a CK that finds a Book of Battle on D:2 is on the same page as a Skald that finds a Xom altar on D:2 and converts.

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Post Thursday, 18th June 2015, 20:47

Re: Early spellbooks

Skald is a melee background.

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Post Thursday, 18th June 2015, 21:18

Re: Early spellbooks

Sandman25 wrote:
dowan wrote:However, I wouldn't want to see the common utility spells get more common, e.g. regeneration, deflect missiles, oza's armor, animate skeleton, etc... In other words, we want spells that increase variety of early builds, not more spells that just enhance those builds.


I think some of those spells are problematic (too useful for their levels). For example, it is sad that we cannot have Ozocubu's Armour work differently for different backgrounds (level 3 for IE, level 5 for FE/Be and level 4 for everyone else). Regeneration might be level 4 for Sk and level 5 for everyone else etc. Backgrounds are only starting packages, I know.

FR: Random artifact early spellbooks cannot generate charms spells. Problem solved :)

FR: A spellbook with statue form is guaranteed by D:9, like altars. This is for personal reasons :P

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Post Thursday, 18th June 2015, 21:54

Re: Early spellbooks

tasonir wrote:FR: A spellbook with statue form is guaranteed by D:9, like altars. This is for personal reasons :P


There should be only 2 ways to get statue form: guaranteed Chei gift at 6 stars and random Sif Muna gifts.

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Post Thursday, 18th June 2015, 22:04

Re: Early spellbooks

Do you think it's too good or are you joking (I would assume it's a joke but you usually don't joke)?

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Post Thursday, 18th June 2015, 22:13

Re: Early spellbooks

No, I am serious. The spell makes life of Fe/Op too easy.

Edit. Provided I often put smiles in serious messages without a reason you can safely assume I always put smiles when joking ;)

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Post Thursday, 18th June 2015, 22:24

Re: Early spellbooks

Part of the problem is that there are simply too many melee classes. There are many classes that have their starting gimmick, which could work with melee or ranged or magic, but they only allow a melee start. That's arbitrary and boring.

  • Chaos Knights worship Xom. This concept is compatible with melee or magic or ranged, but the class requires you to do melee.
  • Abyssal knights worship Lugonu. This concept is compatible with any kind of character, but the class requires you to do melee.
  • Artificers use wands and evocations. This concept is compatible with any kind of character, but the class requires you to do melee.
  • Wanderers could be any kind of character, but usually their starting equipment forces them into a melee start.
  • Assassins have a blowgun (and stealth/stabbiness, but since they should pick up a non-shortblade, this soon ceases to be relevant). The concept of having a blowgun is compatible with any kind of character, but the class requires you to do melee.
  • Hunters start with a ranged attack. However, due to the scarcity of early ammo and the lower damage output of ranged weapons compared to melee weapons, they usually should train melee instead. (doubtofbuddha's 7-hunter streak was based on that principle). The concept of having a ranged weapon is equally compatible with having magic, or with being a ranged specialist, but the game pushes you into the melee role anyway.
  • Arcane Marksmen have the same problem as hunters.
  • Warpers start with translocations. The spells in their starting book could be useful to any kind of character, but warpers are forced to do melee.
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Post Thursday, 18th June 2015, 23:05

Re: Early spellbooks

Crawl is a melee game. Although it supports playing as a pure mage, there's a lot more support for playing as a fighter or fighter/mage.

Even Gandalf used a sword...

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Post Thursday, 18th June 2015, 23:18

Re: Early spellbooks

It's not fair to call Crawl a "melee game." Crawl has a lot more content supporting magic than it does supporting melee - many more interestingly different spells than meaningful distinctions between weapons. Other games have many more melee abilities in support of melee, whole skill trees of physical abilities that you work through the game to get, that make melee combat more complex and interesting. Crawl doesn't have that. By comparison, Crawl's melee system is very simple and repetitive. Crawl's magic, on the other hand, is rich in content.

No one is saying that a mage shouldn't pick up a weapon. This is about what classes train at the start.
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Post Friday, 19th June 2015, 15:47

Re: Early spellbooks

The way something is =! the way it has to be. Crawl favoring melee doesn't mean it wouldn't be an even better game if it equally favored melee and magic. More options makes for a more interesting game, generally, especially if those options don't detract from the other options.

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Post Friday, 19th June 2015, 18:55

Re: Early spellbooks

since when does crawl favour melee? have you ever tried missiles? summoning?

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