Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread


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Post Friday, 15th July 2011, 23:57

Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Ever since the Enchantments split, Hexes has been sitting in the corner like a problem child, while we all whisper about its shortcomings. No longer! We call Hexes to the front of the class.

Note that I'm including anything I find, thus we have many mutually-exclusive proposals present here.

Wiki Entries
Development Wiki Page, the list of current Hexes on Chaosforge

Proposals
Hexes/Earth synergy with several spells.
MR-lowering on multiple castings of Hexes spells
MR and Glow and a discussion of partial-success Hexes spells.

Individual Spells
Inner Expansion, something like the recently-implemented Inner Fire.
Invisibility's controversial status.
Irresistible Slow and other spells to be made irresistible.
Haunt as a Hexes/Necromancy spell.

I would really love to see a lot of discussion in one place, so that everyone can see all the ideas.

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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 00:57

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

I'd like to reiterate an old proposal of mine.

Mephitic Cloud should be hex/air/poison, not conjurations/air/poison. Currently, Mephitic Cloud spends most of the early game as a super-hex that gets a free ride on spell power from the main damage spell skill for a whopping SEVEN different caster backgrounds, two of which even get it in their starting book. Using no additional investment of resources other than what they were already spending on their main elemental blast spell, all seven of these backgrounds get to cover the screen in nearly irresistible hex clouds that affect more targets per mp spent than any actual hex spell at comparable levels.

Once the mid-game is in full swing and Mephitic Cloud is starting to fall behind in the resistance race, the casters that were using it have absolutely no incentive to continue using similar effects. If they want to jump into hexes now, they have to train it up from scratch, and they might as well stick with blowing things up harder or picking up charms or translocations. Were they forced to invest a modest amount of xp in hexes to get Mephitic Cloud online, picking up other mid-level hexes such as Confusion or Invisibility would be easier to stomach. A good chunk of the cost has already been paid for, so why not?

Ultimately, Mephitic Cloud has more in common with other hexes than it does with conjurations. It's not a blast spell by any stretch of imagination. The noise it produces is an unusual drawback for hexes, but if it shares a skill with those other hexes, the noise is just incentive to diversify with other hexes. You can Confuse those poison-resistant foes or Hibernate targets you want to assassinate without drawing unnecessary attention, and use the noisy multi-target Mephitic Cloud when there are multiple foes present or you can force them to stay in the clouds.

As a stretch proposal, it might be good to break cloud spells in general off of conjurations and feed them to hexes. Freezing and Poisonous Cloud are currently really ridiculously good, in many ways powerful enough to clear the midgame on their own. But their playing style really fits in with the tricky style I envision for hexes than the endless dakka thematic for conjurors. They've got the MR-bypassing punch that a hexer really needs after a certain point in the game, but you've got to keep the enemy from simply walking away from the dangerous clouds. A hexer can force the desired behavior way more interestingly than a conjuror, who will basically pillar-dance while dropping more clouds. Were cloud spells moved to hexes, it would also dilute the skill investment of air elementalists, who currently have the strongest elemental skill of the four, but without actually needing to remove any of the unique properties of their spells.

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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 01:23

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

It's the age old problem of 'making sense vs. gameplay', as P+F cloud are conjurations and so is mephitic. In terms of, they are things that are conjured up. As mentioned on 'Invisibility's controversial status' it doesn't seem to make sense (from an English background, some may differ in usage) to have hexes affect anything other than monsters, and charms for affecting yourself and your items, same with conjurations. Of course it doesn't matter in the long run as things can be re-flavoured, but it sounds odd and a bit of a mess, and just seems as though the designers have made a mistake.

I think the main thing about Hex's is the fact that they're resistible by just about everything past mid game, and it's a pain to have to always check and then hope for the best when you cast a spell, as it don't seem as intuitive as poison. Having a wider variety of monsters open to Hexes would be better (especially demons) but the problem is, as with the SpEn, everything that can be Hexed is instantly dead due to stabbing and E.H.
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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 01:53

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Bim wrote:It's the age old problem of 'making sense vs. gameplay', as P+F cloud are conjurations and so is mephitic. In terms of, they are things that are conjured up. As mentioned on 'Invisibility's controversial status' it doesn't seem to make sense (from an English background, some may differ in usage) to have hexes affect anything other than monsters, and charms for affecting yourself and your items, same with conjurations. Of course it doesn't matter in the long run as things can be re-flavoured, but it sounds odd and a bit of a mess, and just seems as though the designers have made a mistake.


The thing about flavor is that flavor is almost infinitely tolerant of modifications. You aren't causing dangerous clouds to poof into existence out of nothing, you're causing the monsters to be so unfortunate as to blunder into gas that's already there. Terrible luck, who'd have ever thought such a concentration of toxic gas would have collected right there?

Gameplay-wise, I only see up sides so far. Smokescreens and worse might not feel right in hexes at first consideration, but I'm fairly confident that people will get used to the idea quickly if it was tried.

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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 02:18

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

minmay wrote:I agree that Mephitic Cloud fits gameplay better as a hex, though.


That's why moving Mephitic is the main proposal, and the other is just a stretch proposal. It's worth moving Mephitic Cloud even if people don't like moving clouds in general, and I'm willing to relinquish moving clouds in general if it gets Mephitic Cloud moved faster.

minmay wrote:Poisonous/Freezing Cloud are for direct damage, and that's what Conjuration is about. If Hexes needs improvement, let's not do it by making it a grab bag of spells tied together only by the fact that they happen to be in Hexes.


I would argue that conjuration skill is all about the burst damage. With the exception that I acknowledge of a very short list of clouds and DoTs, conjurations are all about killing stuff hard, killing stuff fast, and killing stuff lots. The exchange rate of mp for damage is worse for conjurations than it is for charms, hexes, or summons, but in exchange for this inefficiency it works fast, meaning your enemies don't get the chance to deal damage back. Clouds reverse this dynamic, giving conjurations a highly mp-efficient source of damage that gives enemies quite a few chances to give you trouble before they succumb. Should players really be able to have it both ways with one skill? I argue against it.

Poison seems like a natural hex effect to me. Hit points are just another stat that can be reduced, like movement speed or damage output. Poison is superficially similar to direct damage, but the lengthy delay before the target's death makes it play differently in practice. Instead of alpha striking your entire mp pool and running away if the target doesn't die, you instead have to outmaneuver your target to lock them down while your magic weakens them.
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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 04:01

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

In my opinion, Mephitic Cloud's functionality - an AOE confusion spell - works better for a Hexes-school spell, whereas its form in the game - a cloud of gas that cause confusion - works more for Conj/Air/Pois as-is. I would suggest removing Mephitic Cloud and putting a Hexes, probably a Hexes/Something Else. The conjuration problem/question arises with "do we keep a lasting cloud effect?" which I'm not sure about. Maybe it could put down some kind of runes on the ground or something that last 2-3 rounds and cause a confusion effect...? I'm not sure.

Another thing that I think would work well in Hexes is a damage reflection spell - unless that's against any design philosophies.

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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 10:50

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

roctavian wrote:Another thing that I think would work well in Hexes is a damage reflection spell - unless that's against any design philosophies.

That would make Yred a less desirable god.

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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 12:03

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

KoboldLord wrote:The thing about flavor is that flavor is almost infinitely tolerant of modifications. You aren't causing dangerous clouds to poof into existence out of nothing, you're causing the monsters to be so unfortunate as to blunder into gas that's already there. Terrible luck, who'd have ever thought such a concentration of toxic gas would have collected right there?

I completely disagree with that. Flavour is less important than gameplay, but it doesn't mean it's not important. We can reflavour a spell for gameplay reasons, but we have to give it a reasonable flavour, and you gave a perfect example of one that isn't acceptable.
I agree that it could be interesting to make MC a hex/poison/air spell, but such a move would need a decent flavour. The reflavouring can be applied to the hex school too.
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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 12:41

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

As mentioned, I think shoehorning mephitic cloud into hexes just feels wrong. I'm sure players would get used to it and all that, but it's such a crawl defining spell and it is FUN. When I started playing crawl NOTHING beat casting mephitic cloud on a group of orcs and watching them hit each other whilst I wandered casually over and stabbed them all.

I think hexes needs a boost, be it better new late(ish) game spells or just a lowering of all monster resistances. I just don't think that having to squash other workable spells into Hexes to make it a viable school is a good idea.
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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 18:36

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Here are my ideas:

1. Create a spell that lowers an enemies MR.
2. Change the formulas. The formula is currently:
magic resistance + 100 - the spell's power is compared to random2(100) + random2(101)
Why not have instead just have random(the spell's power) compare to random(magic resistance) or something similar?

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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 19:14

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

galehar wrote:I completely disagree with that. Flavour is less important than gameplay, but it doesn't mean it's not important. We can reflavour a spell for gameplay reasons, but we have to give it a reasonable flavour, and you gave a perfect example of one that isn't acceptable.
I agree that it could be interesting to make MC a hex/poison/air spell, but such a move would need a decent flavour. The reflavouring can be applied to the hex school too.


Certainly the flavor is important, but at the end of the process of changing something flavor is an easy thing to fix. You aren't going to cause any game-damaging side effects by fixing a flavor problem; you can just go in and do it. Given a choice between an easy and painless gameplay fix that requires an adjustment to flavor, and a probably-impossible gameplay fix that does not require an adjustment to flavor, it's probably a good idea to do the first one. Free hex effects for conjurors is a gameplay problem that makes conjuration too easy and hexes less useful, and moving the free hex effects over to actual hexes fixes the problem without removing a fun spell from the game entirely.

Bim wrote:As mentioned, I think shoehorning mephitic cloud into hexes just feels wrong. I'm sure players would get used to it and all that, but it's such a crawl defining spell and it is FUN. When I started playing crawl NOTHING beat casting mephitic cloud on a group of orcs and watching them hit each other whilst I wandered casually over and stabbed them all.


You could still do that if Mephitic Cloud was a hex. You'd just have to pay the xp to get access to the effect. I don't see why paying xp for access to the benefits of a skill is a problem. Certainly you shouldn't have an off-skill ability that's better than equivalent level abilities that are actually in the skill in question.

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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 20:29

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Moving Mephitic Cloud to Hexes also has the problem that it will be nearly unambiguously better than Confuse, which is also level 3.

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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 20:34

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

ElectricAlbatross wrote:Moving Mephitic Cloud to Hexes also has the problem that it will be nearly unambiguously better than Confuse, which is also level 3.


Confuse is silent, so you can use it to pick off a dangerous giant or orcish caster without alerting the entire Orcish WAAAAAAAUGH!!! waiting in the next room. It is also unaffected by poison resistance, so it can disable dangerous opponents like ice beasts and crossbow imps.

Generally, you'll probably choose to cast Mephitic Cloud because of its AoE and ability to reapply confusion while the clouds linger, but if they share a skill there's at least room for both of them on your list, for different situations. This isn't as worth it if you have to train them both from scratch separately.
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Post Saturday, 16th July 2011, 23:25

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Here my contribution to the invisibility. The controversial about invisibility is about this nature in front of its effect. The effect is clear: you are not seen. But the cause is vague:

- If it was a charm, then probably the spell alters your body in some fashion or creates a magic aura to deflect the light... whatever. Being a charm has a certain duration dependent (if something) only on your skill.

- If it was an hex, then you probably continue unaltered but it's the consciousness of the affected beings (probably an area effect) what . It's more like a effect of unnoticeability by clouding minds. Being a hex, it depends on your hex skill and the magic resistance of the afected beings.

- There is also the posibility of considering this unnoticeability like a temporary stealth boost, in this case it affects on you rather than others. Perhaps Charm/Hex should be a possible solution.

Being invisible by some "shield" is different from being überstealth, for example, in the first case you could be heard or smelled (off.topic: wouldn't be nice to have a stat for corporal odor ? ), while in the second you continue undetected but only to sentient beings. Why not do different spells that has similar effects but not completely equal, one for charms other for hex ?


EDIT:
Also combine Hex school with Poison school to create more powerful disease, plague-like spells :twisted: to improve both schools without touching Transmutations or any other (see thread on Poison magic).
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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 00:17

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Roderic wrote:The controversial about invisibility is about this nature in front of its effect.

It's an illusion spell. It doesn't need any more explanation and it fits Hexes perfectly.
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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 08:16

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

KoboldLord wrote:Certainly the flavor is important, but at the end of the process of changing something flavor is an easy thing to fix.

So you say. But I have yet to see a good flavour proposal for MC as a hex/air/poison spell. Last I checked hexes doesn't exactly make noisy explosions, nor does it create anything. The school change would need to be accompanied by some changes to the spell itself to make it work.
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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 10:44

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Erm, Hexes do not make noises, but I guess that the Hexing part makes the fumes confusing. But the confusing charms need some sort of material basis to spread out in a certain distance (not just affect a single creature or affect all of them: the material basis is the thing that basically holds them on a place). And in order to create fumes, you need explosion.
Why do they stink and why are they poison-based? It helps the charms to affect the unlucky ones longer. And you need less, erm, Arbitrary Hex Units (ahu) per a clouded square without making it lose effectiveness.
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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 10:49

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

You could make MC a target-required spell, like Haunt, though not smite-targeted, and say that you are merely inducing extreme flatulence, BO, mind-fryingly stinky pustules, (. . .) in the victim.
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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 10:55

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

That would be repeatative. One or two spells with such mechanic are okay, but three or more spells of such kind...
I am not against Bolt of Something or Throw Something spells, but I think there should be just one Inner Something, and there must be a ve-e-ery good reason to add another one.
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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 14:21

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

jejorda2 wrote:
roctavian wrote:Another thing that I think would work well in Hexes is a damage reflection spell - unless that's against any design philosophies.

That would make Yred a less desirable god.


I don't think a damage reflection spell overlapping with Yred's power would be an issue, there's many other cases of gods' powers that replicate or are at least similar to something available otherwise. Also I'd imagine such a spell would be fairly high level, and a character who's capable of casting high level spells (or planning to) doesn't have much reason to go with Yred anyway.
The problem is rather that the idea of tanking damage in order to hurt one's opponents doesn't suit the sneaky enchanter playstyle at all. Before the enchantment split it could have been a crusader's ultimate trick though.

Regarding moving mephitic cloud to hexes, I don't see what that would accomplish besides a sort of nerf (which might be desirable). Hexes' main problem is being useless later on, not lacking good early spells. Even if I was forced to dabble in hexes in the early game due to an unrenounceable spell, I would still have no reason to learn any other spell from that school. Much like mephitic cloud currently doesn't help making poison more desirable for the late game (and poison is already a far more useful school than hexes).

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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 14:32

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Asdu, you've hit the orc on the head with that one.

Hexes are pretty much useless later on, and that is the main problem. Mephitic cloud has about the same cut-off point as hexes for usefulness, and doesn't add anything to the play style.

My main problem with crawl is that I feel that there are some backgrounds that are just unplayable, where as some are fine for a full win. For instance, berserker's are fine for a win, whereas enchanters aren't. As in, you're forced to branch out heavily, you can't just win using Hexes as your main skill. I'm not saying that every combination has to work, it's just that some roles just need a boost to be able to play as you'd like.
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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 15:17

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Bim wrote:My main problem with crawl is that I feel that there are some backgrounds that are just unplayable, where as some are fine for a full win. For instance, berserker's are fine for a win, whereas enchanters aren't.

No background is supposed to carry you to Zot on its own. It's just a starting package. And you can't rely on a single skill either. No playstyle does.
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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 15:22

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Also SpEn is the combo with the most wins ever so I'm not sure how you feel like it's an unplayable background...

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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 15:50

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

I meant more that it's an issue that some 'starting packages' are much more viable for longer than others, whereas other's are only good for the early game. SpEn is great, but I think it's auxiliary factors that make it so, not enchantments (stealth, stabbing, evasion). Air Elementalists are pretty much good through most of the game, hardly anything is overly resistant to the spells and it contains lots of suitable buffs, whereas Hexes is rubbish after you start meeting undead and demons.

I simply propose that we should try and bring all 'starting packages' up to a similar level of usefulness, or at least not leaving some much weaker.
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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 16:02

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Bim wrote:I simply propose that we should try and bring all 'starting packages' up to a similar level of usefulness, or at least not leaving some much weaker.

Huh, why? This has never been a design goal. Having backgrounds and species of varying level of difficulty is fine.
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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 16:11

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

What I do not like about hexes is that the chance to affect a monster is tied to the level of the spell, while in my opinion it has nothing to do with it. I compare the chance to affect a monster with a chance to hit a monster with a conjuration spell, and the effect it causes is like the damage of a conjuration spell. It makes sense that magic dart can hit anything - it barely does any damage. Likewise, it would be good if it were very easy to affect a monster with corona - it's not terribly strong.
Crystal spear on the other hand has a good chance to miss, but it does a lot of damage. I would think that higher level hexes should have a much stronger effect, but sometimes a higher chance for the monster to resist - because they can trivialize the victim. Since confusing a high level unique is usually stronger than hit her with crystal spear, it should be much less chance to hit - just like now.

In the current system high level monsters has insane magic resistance, to prevent hibernation or confuse to affect them. But this also prevents corona, slow etc. to affect them - and I do not like it. I would like a system where there are hex spells that can affect everybody, or almost everybody, but does not have so strong effect like killing the victim. And I do not think that with a hex skill at 27, casting corona or even slowing Cerebow about 1 in 4 castings would be that strong. Yes it helps - but conjuration at 27 still would be better.

About formulas - I do not have any specific thing in my mind, but I would not use the spell's level. Instead, I would only use spell power, or, even better, hex skill, without level dependent caps. Spells with stronger effect should have diminishing results on high magic resistance - like they need to hit multiple times to have any effect (so the chances are squaered or cubed).

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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 16:41

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

galehar wrote:Last I checked hexes doesn't exactly make noisy explosions,


There's nothing in the hex definition that says that hexes must be silent. Many of them are, because they support the stabber playing style which puts a premium on maintaining silence, but hexes needs a broader appeal than just that. This particular noisy explosion affects other creatures, so even though the noise is unusual for a hex the spell still shares the core definition of a hex.

galehar wrote:nor does it create anything.


Deoxygenated air is a common hazard in mining and spelunking, which bears some significant similarity to the player's activities in the Dungeon. The bad air often sinks to the bottom of a passage, and miners pass through one way without incident, but when it's time for them to return something has stirred up the slurry of bad air at the bottom of the passage and they suffocate if they attempt to pass back through. The air is colorless and odorless, resulting in the practice of bringing a fragile canary into the mines, since you can't possibly know when this stuff has been kicked up.

The Mephitic Cloud is pretty much the same, but it reacts with the ambient radiation from the Orb of Zot to create an unearthy cacophony resulting in nausea and hallucinations. On the plus side, the hallucinary light show shows where the dangerous air is, so affected individuals and animals can stagger out of the afflicted area even if they don't have a mining canary to warn them.

galehar wrote:The school change would need to be accompanied by some changes to the spell itself to make it work.


I'm afraid I literally don't understand why this is a big deal. I don't understand the vehemence of your objections, although I do acknowledge that you appear to feel strongly. If I'm treading on your feet, please be assured that I'm doing it in confusion rather than malice.

asdu wrote:Regarding moving mephitic cloud to hexes, I don't see what that would accomplish besides a sort of nerf (which might be desirable). Hexes' main problem is being useless later on, not lacking good early spells. Even if I was forced to dabble in hexes in the early game due to an unrenounceable spell, I would still have no reason to learn any other spell from that school. Much like mephitic cloud currently doesn't help making poison more desirable for the late game (and poison is already a far more useful school than hexes).


Ultimately, hexes needs to be useful for the entirety of a 3-Rune game. We can all agree on that, right? Accordingly, it probably does need some high-level spells that have a reasonable chance to work on magic-resistant targets. But these will never be guaranteed, because that would also be too strong. Hexes needs to be exactly strong enough at every part of the game leading up to Zot, and being too strong is as bad or worse than the current state of not being strong enough.

At the moment, the hexes' early game is impaired by the fact that hexes are simply not the best tool for the job, for most characters. Conjurations and transmutation are useful in general for every caster, and Mephitic Cloud and Evaporate do the early-game job of hexes much more efficiently. Investing in hexes is an actively bad idea during the early game unless you started with that focus, because you're diluting your xp to get an inferior effect.

Once you're past the early game, hexes start to be better at what they do, but you absolutely need to focus on them if you want to stay ahead in the magic resistance race. A character who doesn't focus on hex skill won't even be able to incapacitate a big, dumb brick of an ettin, much less a more dangerous target. I don't think we're ever going to get to the point where a high-level hex allows the player to coast through Zot on 10 or 12 hex skill, because that would be a terrible idea that we should actively avoid. 18 or 20 hexes skill is more appropriate for your heavy-lifting skill, but if you were going to build that up from scratch just because you got access to an endgame super-hex you might as well have pumped it into Tornado instead.

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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 16:57

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Low level Hexes are already great, and moving in an unrelated level 3 spell won't fix any of the main problems with the school (lack of appealing high level spells). Randomly shifting Meph to a different school also isn't an appropriate nerf (see also nerfing Tornado by tacking on the conjurations school: it's harder to cast, sure, but it's still the same broken spell).

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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 17:14

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

KoboldLord: I am under the impression that Mephitic Cloud conjures up a cloud of chemicals resulting in confusion. It doesn't take out the oxygen from the air and uses some radiation from the Orb that isn't mentioned in the game and doesn't make sense to seed nausea and hallucination.

Mephitic Cloud

This spell conjures up a large but short-lived cloud of vile fumes.


Otherwise, the spell would be useless outside of the Orb's radius anyway. And outside of mines, for that matter.

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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 17:54

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

MarvinPA wrote:Low level Hexes are already great, and moving in an unrelated level 3 spell won't fix any of the main problems with the school (lack of appealing high level spells). Randomly shifting Meph to a different school also isn't an appropriate nerf (see also nerfing Tornado by tacking on the conjurations school: it's harder to cast, sure, but it's still the same broken spell).


Shifting Mephitic Cloud would indeed be an effective nerf, although the value judgment of whether it is 'appropriate' can remain in contention. A starting wizard will train mostly conjurations for the first three xp levels, and Mephitic Cloud will be roughly at fair when that wizard hits level 3 and can learn it. At this point, the wizard should start training air and poison; I've found 4 air and 2 poison does pretty well in getting it online without sacrificing too much of the other urgently valuable skills.

Were Mephitic Cloud a hex spell instead, the wizard would have to train up all three skills essentially from scratch. That wizard would not be able to BS their way through every early-game unique and orc pack with this one spell, and *gasp* might even prepare Slow to help jump-start hex training.

A conjurations-caster that picks up a book with Mephitic Cloud just before entering Orc or Lair will basically be able to cast it straight out of the box. It's a free hex for them, full stop. Mounting every useful ability for an early-game conjuror on a single skill is bad, and it can be fixed either by nerfing Mephitic Cloud into oblivion, or by making it not-free. I gather you would prefer to nerf Mephitic Cloud into oblivion? That's a valid viewpoint, but I'd rather fix troublesome spells than remove them.

cerebovssquire wrote:KoboldLord: I am under the impression that Mephitic Cloud conjures up a cloud of chemicals resulting in confusion. It doesn't take out the oxygen from the air and uses some radiation from the Orb that isn't mentioned in the game and doesn't make sense to seed nausea and hallucination.


This here. I'm getting really tired of this canned response that comes up every single time a school switch is proposed for any spell, Mephitic Cloud or otherwise. Every single spell ever imagined, in Crawl, in D&D, in fantasy literature in general, in the whole of human imagination ever, can be rationalized as either creating something out of nothing or as changing one thing into another thing. Usually both. Every spell can be rationalized as conjurations and/or transmutations. Yet we haven't chopped out all the other spell skills in favor of just using these two.

'Spells that make something' is a horribly, terminally vague classification. It has no value for guiding the design of gameplay, and it has no value for flavor.

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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 18:33

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

KoboldLord wrote:I gather you would prefer to nerf Mephitic Cloud into oblivion? That's a valid viewpoint, but I'd rather fix troublesome spells than remove them.

I don't recall ever saying anything along those lines, no.
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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 18:48

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

KoboldLord wrote:I'm afraid I literally don't understand why this is a big deal. I don't understand the vehemence of your objections, although I do acknowledge that you appear to feel strongly. If I'm treading on your feet, please be assured that I'm doing it in confusion rather than malice.

What I strongly object to is the phrase "let's move spell foo to school bar, flavour can be trivially adjusted later". In many cases, the reflavouring is simply not trivial and sometimes impossible. Note that this is my personal opinion, and not the one of the devteam since this phrase has been thrown quite often by dpeg.
Regarding MC's flavour, try to come up with a name and an in-game description for a hexes/air/poison spell which send a beam that explode in a cloud of noxious fumes confusing monsters. Or adjust the spell effects as I suggested to make it fit. I simply don't see how it's possible. Your story about miners is interesting but do you seriously think it can be used as the base for a spell description?
Regarding gameplay, I mostly agree with MarvinPA, it won't fix hexes and would barely be a nerf to the spell. As for evaporate, I think using spell power for cloud effect would help a lot. Especially since it's a 3-schools spells and with the higher early game cost for magic school skills. Raising it to a decent power is a significant investment.

@cerebovssquire: the exercise was to reflavour MC which basically means changing the spell description. So saying it doesn't fit the description doesn't make sense.
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Post Sunday, 17th July 2011, 20:19

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Off Topic:
This discussion is starts to be more about mephitic cloud then the problem with hexes. Maybe somebody move this part to a meph cloud thread.

My idea to nerf the cloud spells is to cut the duration of the effects radically if the target moves out of the cloud (1 turn at low power, 3 turns at high power maybe), and tie the duration of the cloud strongly to spellpower - so maybe if you have the power, the cloud will stay there much much longer then now..They still will be strong if you are immune to the effect and have high spellpower tough.

On topic:

I think that the school - weakening enemies - has a lot of potential. But I repeat - the chance to resist I think need not to depend on the level of the spell. Effects that weaken the enemy tends to be equally strong or weak, provided they can affect a monster, in any part of the game. So to elaborate my earlier proposal : there can be effects, that, if you have high enough hex skill, should have a chance to affect the monsters. To affect high level monsters you need not to learn high level hexes, but you need to have high skill.

Compare this to charms (even if they are a little overpowered): if you cast haste, you will be faster compared to everyone, without any chance for the monsters to resist. Slowing affects one monster, if it does not resist. So I think a good chance to affect her is not overpowered (even if slow is only level two), if you have high enough hex skill (spent the xp in the relevant skill). Of course effects that almost disable an enemy should be easily resistible by strong opponents. I do not want to clear the game with confusion alone. So the chance to resist should depend on the effect instead of the level (of course using the skill vs mr or something as a base).

But I think we can collect a lot of ideas that weaken, but does not defeat the enemy, and they can be 'strong" in the sense that with a lot of skill no monster should resist them. Corona is an already exisisting example, altough a little weak (but it's level 1).

- Illusion monsters. Does no damage, does not block the way of other creatures, but the monsters sometimes get "distracted" - like with real monsters. No chance to resist. No spam - it's active for a time
- will o whisp : a stacionary light cloud in a square, monsters try to resist every turn, if it fails, they step towards the light in that turn.
- blindness : the monster acts as you are invisible to him, but she has "sense invisibility"
- double every damage on a monster for a little time (may be up to a certain amount of damage)
- make the monster "forget" you - unaware of you. She has a chance to immediately notice you if you are not stealthy enough.
- give the monster "blinkitis" - blink around in every couple of turns.
- make the monster's attacks do half damage
- make a monster attack an other one for a while Attacking it breaks the charm like enslavement.

I think several of these has been proposed somewhere - I do not know. But most of these are not so strong, so I think that if these effects are available at end game monsters, it would not break anything. Of course you need to spend the xp to overcome the magic resistance - but otherwise I do not see why can't we make spells that can be useable trough the game.
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Post Tuesday, 19th July 2011, 00:43

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Here's an idea I just had - what about a high-level hex (perhaps 6 or 7) that smite targets (perhaps an individual, perhaps a group) and animates weapons right out of enemy hands?

Another idea I had was a mid-level, perhaps 4 or 5 hex that compels one target to hit itself? Not a chance to hit itself like confuse, but turning-the-weapon-toward-the-wielder sort of thing?

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Post Tuesday, 19th July 2011, 02:16

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

minmay wrote:The spell taints the air in front of the caster (hexes/poison/air), then blows it towards the targeted location with a strong gust of wind (air).


Sounds good to me (not that my opinion matters half an iota, but).

One thought I had was that there should be more hexes that use an indirect path to incapacitate an opponent, meaning that they would be ultimately resisted by something other than MR. Tukima's Dance, for instance, doesn't hex the victims directly, it animates weapons that attack the monsters, which is resisted by the usual attack stats instead of MR. A Hex-based Mephitic Cloud wouldn't confuse monsters directly, it would hex the air and the air would affect monsters based on HD instead of MR. A couple suggestions I've seen floating around have Hexes that hold or slow monsters by animating parts of the environment (the earth, corpses, etc.), which would presumably be dodged by EV or HD instead of MR. Stuff like that.

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Post Tuesday, 19th July 2011, 09:43

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Animating corpses is necromancy, not hexes. I think letting repeated hex casts overcome MR would be better than introducing lots of new spells to hexes and leaving all the old ones useless.

I like minmay's flavor for a hex/poison/air MC.

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Post Tuesday, 19th July 2011, 15:52

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

By Minmays logic though, every cloud should work that way?
It seems to be uselessly convoluted for a spell that is fine as it is. As mentioned, I think there are MUCH better ways of making hexes work than pushing a good spell into it, as that doesn't solve the problem and just means that people will pick up hexes pretty much just for that spell.

Most importantly though, Mephitic cloud loses its usefulness at the same time as other hexes. As soon as you find poison resistant enemies, you find hex resistant ones. So it doesn't really add that much.

Reducing MR in general sounds like a good idea, as does having some irresistible spells which would make it still useful later on.
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Post Friday, 29th July 2011, 13:26

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

I like minmay's flavor for a hex/poison/air MC.


Also could be the basis to higher level spells to poison mages, based on plagues or diseases.
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Post Thursday, 18th August 2011, 19:00

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

I also like minmay's flavor suggestion for hex MC, although personally I would make it simpler and have the spell just taint the air around the targeted location instead of blowing it. That's a minor quibble, though.

One simple suggestion I have that I'm not sure has been mentioned is to make targeted Hex spells more likely to succeed when the target is sleeping or unaware of you—like a magic stab. Flavor-wise this is simple: Unaware of your presence, the monster has not had an opportunity to harden itself against your magical intrusions into its mind and body. Gameplay-wise, it will feed into the existing synergy between sneaking and Hexes, and depending on the extent of the boost (the effectiveness increase doesn't necessarily have to be as strong as that for a stab with a short blade), it could either be a great help to hex users in the late game, or just a small but decent buff among other changes that will make Hexes viable.

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Post Thursday, 18th August 2011, 19:12

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

The basic point of Hexes is that they have to overcome a resistance, whereas Charms do not (on the other hand, Charms can use the glow mechanic for an additional drawback). It is obvious that stronger monsters will have more resistance than earlier ones. So even if you have a lot of power behind your useful, low/mid level Hex, there will come monsters where the spell does not work reliably, or not at all.

Now there could be a spell that cuts down a monster's resistance, but it would have to pass a check on its own or be very high level. Instead, I propose to follow a lead already listed in the first post: each casting of a Hex on a monster, if successful, should reduce the resistance. How much depends on spell level and spell power. You can only do this once for each spell. So if you have an arsenal of Hex spells, you will eventually affect the monster. There is some choice about spell order. By the way, there should be some mass hexes, not necessarily mass versions of single Hexes. Affecting a whole group can be more interesting than affecting just yourself, and I believe that Hex spells can often work with smite targeting.
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Post Thursday, 18th August 2011, 23:06

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

dpeg wrote:each casting of a Hex on a monster, if successful, should reduce the resistance.

You mean unsuccessful, right?
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Post Friday, 19th August 2011, 08:37

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Yes! Sorry.
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Post Friday, 19th August 2011, 08:41

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

dpeg wrote:You can only do this once for each spell. So if you have an arsenal of Hex spells, you will eventually affect the monster. There is some choice about spell order.

Don't know about that. Seems a bit random and arbitrary. And also unintuitive. Want to enslave a monster? Cast slow and confuse first to soften it (and hope you don't succeed) and then go for enslavement. It means you can't really control which effects is going to be applied.
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Post Friday, 19th August 2011, 08:45

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

I wanted to avoid players casting the same Hex level 1 spell until their Hex level 5 spell kicks in.
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Post Friday, 19th August 2011, 09:02

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Then make the MR reduction depend on spell level (that's what you suggested). Casting 5 times a L1 hex reduces MR by the same amount (or even less) as casting 1 time a L5 hex.
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Post Friday, 19th August 2011, 09:14

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Sounds good! We should indicate the temporary resistance reduction, in the monster descriptions and when targeting a monster with a Hex spell:

This monster is [adverb] weakened.
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Post Friday, 19th August 2011, 09:38

Re: Let's Talk About Hex: A Compilation Thread

Could combine the two ideas and have a separate unresistable spell to reduce resistance. - perhaps called hypnotise. Probably level 2 or 3, with perhaps a mass hypnotise at level 5 or 6
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