Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic


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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 06:29

Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Charms are currently the one type of spell you can cast pre-battle to gain a long lasting strategic advantage, instead of having an instantaneous tactical effect. This places them in a weird position, balance wise, rendering their spell power (insofar as it is tied to duration) and failure rate largely irrelevant. It also makes them tedious to use since it is never not optimal to have charms active, but doing so requires frequent casting. Finally it steps on the toes of equipment and consumables by giving your character a (theoretically) continuous advantage at the cost of mere spell slots.

My proposal is this: change the duration of Charms to be quite short (around 4 turns), and increase their effects dramatically. This will necessitate frequent casting during combat, which will make failure rate and spell power meaningful, as well as introduce some degree of tactical uncertainty as to when to use a Charms spell, which one to use, and when to use your valuable combat turns on something else. This will also make constant out-of-combat activation suboptimal and/or impossible (due to much higher MP cost vs. turns active).

Example of what im talking about:

Infusion - Guarantees your attacks will not miss for the duration and do +3 flat dmg. 3-6 turns depending on spellpower.

Repel Missiles - 90% chance to repel missile attacks against you for the duration. 3-6 turns depending on spellpower. (Deflect missiles becomes reflect missiles)

Shroud of Golubria - 90% chance to absorb melee attacks against you the duration. 3-5 turns depending on spellpower.

Song of slaying - Any time you kill an enemy, the damage you dealt will also be inflicted on other hostile monsters in LoS. 4-8 turns depending on spellpower.

Etc. Note that these are just examples, numbers can certainly be tweaked so long as the MP cost / turn ratio on all spells remains higher, or at least quite close to, maximum potential non CBoE based mana regeneration.

While an extreme rework, I believe this solves all current and theoretical future problems with Charms in one fell swoop, aligning the sphere with how all other magic in Crawl works (cast during combat). As well as making the spells more impactful, meaningful, and I'd guess fun to use.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 11:03

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

That's a new and interesting idea! At least, I haven't seen it before. Certainly worth testing, in my opinion.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 11:08

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Excuse me, but I'll have you know I worked hard on this idea, and the fact that you all just keep dismissing my...

Wait. What... what did you just say?

You, an orange name, said you liked my idea.

What.

What.

Does not compute.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 11:12

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

No guarantee it'd play as well as it sounds -- the recasting might quickly become tedious, after all. But yes, the approach addresses the principal shortcomings of the current Charms (and of both flavours: the permant Reflect Missiles style, and the temporary Shroud style). Since we also know that contamination helps in curbing Haste/Invisibility overuse, I think it might actually work out.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 11:13

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Yeah, and that could make things like higher spellpower Haste actually more desirable. Honestly sounds pretty good.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 11:34

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

I looked at the replies before I read the OP and they got me worried. With good reason it turns out. Super short durations are the exact opposite of what should be done with duration effects.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 11:37

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

well fuck me and here I got exited for literally nothing

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 11:41

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Sar wrote:well fuck me and here I got exited for literally nothing
Me too! Thank Trog that a cool guy came to the rescue. We might've almost gotten our hopes up.

On topic: a good feature of the proposal is that it can be implemented and tested incrementally -- no need to redo all Charms in one go. I'll try remembering to advertise this in the relevant channels. Wonder what galehar would say about this...

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 11:46

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Ive agreed with many of your posts on the subject goodcoolguy. Im just presenting this as an alternative to permanent duration (with maxmp cost).

Either solution would be an improvement over the status quo I feel. This one solves the balance concerns while permanent duration solves the tedium.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 11:51

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

goodcoolguy wrote:I looked at the replies before I read the OP and they got me worried. With good reason it turns out. Super short durations are the exact opposite of what should be done with duration effects.

No, it's exactly what should be done. It's beautiful.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 12:00

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Sprucery wrote:No, it's exactly what should be done. It's beautiful.


This... This feeling... What is this? Is this happiness? Ive never felt this way on this forum before.

Just like in crawl, 1000 deaths makes the first ascension sweeter. Maybe i had to fail a thousand times in the GDD subforum to finally be worthy of success. Somehow all the pain and hardship has become worth it in this one moment.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 12:04

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

There's no balance issue. The problems with duration effects are purely user experience issues.

I'd point out that the obvious direction this kind of idea goes is this: discussion of your increased effect angle will result in a consensus that there could be a power creep issue (obviously), but the super short duration part will stick around as an attractive half-measure. It was already the approach to phase shift, you'll recall.

The root problem here is that the idea that tedium acts as a balancing factor in roguelike games by dissuading people from playing their best possible game through abuse like making them recast charms constantly has a deep, deep appeal to certain kinds of players (and developers too, it turns out).
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 12:14

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

The cool guy above is right, you know. Recasting spells every few turns will be really annoying. You can try to counter it by e.g. putting charms on cooldown related to fighting as opposed to turn count (similar to drain) so players can't wait it out like they can with the current Haste.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 12:16

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

I think it's worth a try, though I think I have the same worry dpeg alluded to: that it would be tedious in it's own way. Rather than constantly recasting during exploration, you're now casting every time an enemy comes into LOS, even if it's weak (who knows what could be behind it, better be buffed while it/you approach).

But the fact that it could be applied to spells a la carte in testing is appealing and worth comparing armchair crawling to actual play.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 12:22

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Leszczynek wrote:Recasting spells every few turns will be really annoying.

There's a contamination mechanism in the game to prevent it for some spells (Haste, CBlink) already.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 12:23

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

If the buff only lasts a few turns, you have to consider when to cast it. Also you can't spend turns casting several buffs. When a monster comes into view, you have to make a decision whether to cast a charm or attack the monster directly. Of course a cooldown timer/contam, whatever can be added to really prevent you from recasting right away.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 12:34

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Sar wrote:There's a contamination mechanism in the game to prevent it for some spells (Haste, CBlink) already.

And its biggest impact is making you wait longer between fights until contamination disappears. If applied to short duration spells, it would only make using them more miserable, not more tactical ("why do I have to wait for 200 turns every time I cast a spell lasting 3 turns?"). Besides, if you really need that second or third cast, you will cast it and no amount of contamination will stop you.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 12:44

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

goodcoolguy wrote:There's no balance issue. The problems with duration effects are purely user experience issues.


Are you talking about charms as they currently exist, or as they might exist in a permanent-cast with max mp penalty style? If the former, I lean towards those complaining that charms are currently "no brainers" - there is no effective cost to using them, since complete MP recovery within the duration of the spell via resting or channeling safely outside enemy LOS is possible (though tedious).

If the latter, what about the fact that so-called "melee characters", or simply put chars on the lower end of reliance on MP usage during battle, will be immune to caring about the max MP loss, leading back to the problem of it always being optimal to have as many non-downsided charms up as possible (for those characters)?

goodcoolguy wrote:The root problem here is that the idea that tedium acts as a balancing factor in roguelike games by dissuading people from playing their best possible game through abuse like making them recast charms constantly has a deep, deep appeal to certain kinds of players (and developers too, it turns out).


I can't speak to the psychology of anyone here, but I suspect you ascribe an intentional urge to pair winrate-optimal play with excessive tedium to the devs, where "this is just kinda where things wound up after years of different people tinkering around with Charms, plus inertia, plus disagreement on how/what to do to reform it" is closer to the truth.

Leszczynek wrote:The cool guy above is right, you know. Recasting spells every few turns will be really annoying.


I think that seeing a monster, backing up, casting shroud/song of slaying/haste/regeneration/spectral weapon/ring of flames/excruciating wounds, channeling or resting to regain MP, then re-approaching said monster and fighting while monitoring the duration of several charms status effects is what's really annoying.

Just casting ONE situationally optimal charms spell ~4 times in a given battle because literally no other action you can take involving charms is even potentially good... sounds a lot less tedious to me.

Granted, making all charms permanent similar to rMsl would also solve the problem, but my suggestion also cuts down on tedium significantly compared to current crawl. At least... I believe it would.

minstrel wrote:I think it's worth a try, though I think I have the same worry dpeg alluded to: that it would be tedious in it's own way. Rather than constantly recasting during exploration, you're now casting every time an enemy comes into LOS, even if it's weak (who knows what could be behind it, better be buffed while it/you approach).


I think if the durations are kept to what I have in mind, this shouldn't be a problem, because by the time the 2nd monster entered LoS, the spell already would've run out, leaving you in an identical position but with less MP.
Last edited by lethediver on Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 12:46, edited 2 times in total.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 12:45

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Another benefit of OP is that it naturally solves problem with too many buffs active at once. You cannot just cast Haste, Regeneration, Spectral Weapon, quaff might etc. and start fighting.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 12:55

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

goodcoolguy wrote:There's no balance issue. The problems with duration effects are purely user experience issues.
What really gets me is how you post here as if you were in possession of the Universal Design Truth.

Yes, lethediver's proposal might not work out, but we might actually live to see it in practise. I'd like to mention instead that the Reflect/Deflect Missiles (very long durations) *did* solve the interface problem, but wasn't a solution to the underlying design problem.

It gets hilarious when you claim that the we, the devs, intentionally use tedium as a balancing means. Sure enough, there's lots of tedious gameplay left, but DCSS certainly has a history of at least trying to attack it.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 13:10

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Wasn't phase shift a short-duration pseudo-charm that still got removed anyway?
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 13:13

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

tabstorm: yes, but there wasn't the OP's paradigm of that time. It was squarely in the "cast often for little gain" camp.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 13:21

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

lethediver wrote:
goodcoolguy wrote:There's no balance issue. The problems with duration effects are purely user experience issues.


Are you talking about charms as they currently exist, or as they might exist in a permanent-cast with max mp penalty style? If the former, I lean towards those complaining that charms are currently "no brainers" - there is no effective cost to using them, since complete MP recovery within the duration of the spell via resting or channeling safely outside enemy LOS is possible (though tedious).

If the latter, what about the fact that so-called "melee characters", or simply put chars on the lower end of reliance on MP usage during battle, will be immune to caring about the max MP loss, leading back to the problem of it always being optimal to have as many non-downsided charms up as possible (for those characters)?


There is no balance difference between persistent duration effects with persistent max mp cost and the current situation. There is a massive difference in user experience, though.

It is totally, abundantly false that there is no cost to using duration spells. The cost is in the experience it takes to get them online, which depends strongly on armor and stat distribution. Many of these spells are not at all "no-brainers." The real no-brainers in crawl are stuff like apportation, summon butterflies, blink, rmsl, and swiftness. Theoretically, shroud of golubria is also a no-brainer -- 10 free hp, all you gotta do is cast it 1300 times -- but of course, it is balanced by tedium. They are cheap in any conceivable armor setup where spells could possibly matter.

People throw around the word "optimal" as if it has a lot more meaning than it does. If you have > 40 ac and any spells castable at all, reasoning about what's optimal is pointless [edit: strategically optimal, obviously you can always kill yourself with stupid tactics]. The game has been over for a long time. You're maxed out, everything else is gravy.



lethe wrote:
goodcoolguy wrote:The root problem here is that the idea that tedium acts as a balancing factor in roguelike games by dissuading people from playing their best possible game through abuse like making them recast charms constantly has a deep, deep appeal to certain kinds of players (and developers too, it turns out).


I can't speak to the psychology of anyone here, but I suspect you ascribe an intentional urge to pair winrate-optimal play with excessive tedium to the devs, where "this is just kinda where things wound up after years of different people tinkering around with Charms, plus inertia, plus disagreement on how/what to do to reform it" is closer to the truth.


That's not what I think. Obviously, my comment there was directed primarily at dpeg. It's sometimes a little disappointing to see him in action after reading his vaunted crawl design philosophy.

re: dpeg's reply (after I had typed the rest here), I totally appreciate that crawl has come a long way. Yet it seems to me that for a long time, there's been a lot of money to be had in terms of tedium reduction that's been left on the table. I don't think the problem is that it's hard to cut.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 13:21

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

The max duration on Phase shift was 30 turns according to the wiki. Even assuming half of that, it's still enough to retreat from a monster, cast P.Shift, channel a few times, re-enter the fight and get a decent EV boost on the first 5-10 hits. Worth pre-casting, in other words. Also, the effect of the spell was "only" EV8, meaning just enough to make it optimal to have to cast before a serious fight. I remember several chars where I had dMsl, haste, swiftness, statue form, stone skin, P.Shift, might, and berserk active all at the same time. P.Shift was just one of the many cluttering charms effects which im sure had something to do with it being axed.

What i'm looking for is spells with durations of like... 5 turns at absolute max spell power, 3 for the average 3 rune char. Low enough that you have no choice but to cast IN combat if you want to achieve more than just senselessly burning MP at an unacceptable rate. And if these ultra-short durations were applied to all charms spells, you wouldn't have 5 active at once anyhow, you'd have one. Any more than that and you'd be wasting too many turns keeping the charms up and not enough turns actually capitalizing on their existence.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 13:29

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

The way I remember it, phase shift would often run out surprisingly quickly.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 13:31

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Oh wow look at the nostalgia. Charms were the first spells I looked at as a newb.

Berserk is redundant and awful if you're already mighted and hasted.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 13:37

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

jwoodward48ss wrote:Oh wow look at the nostalgia. Charms were the first spells I looked at as a newb.

Berserk is redundant and awful if you're already mighted and hasted.

It isn't because you will still get the HP bonus if you berserk on top of might/haste and will end at normal speed (Fast+Slow)
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 13:41

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Also I think something like 8-10 turns will be better. If it's only 3 turns, you will spend like 1/4 of your turns recasting charms because combat will go like this:
You miss the X! (x3)
You cast Shroud of Golubria.
You miss the X! (x2)
You hit the X but do no damage.

etc.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 13:42

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

lethediver wrote:Infusion - Guarantees your attacks will not miss for the duration and do +3 flat dmg. 3-6 turns depending on spellpower.

Repel Missiles - 90% chance to repel missile attacks against you for the duration. 3-6 turns depending on spellpower. (Deflect missiles becomes reflect missiles)

Shroud of Golubria - 90% chance to absorb melee attacks against you the duration. 3-5 turns depending on spellpower.

Song of slaying - Any time you kill an enemy, the damage you dealt will also be inflicted on other hostile monsters in LoS. 4-8 turns depending on spellpower.



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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 13:47

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Since it hasn't been addressed yet, here's my two cents:

One rather obvious problem with frequently recastable high power buffs is that the type of effects you're talking about necessarily overlap in role with danger resolution consumables. Crawl is more fun to play when the character's golfbag has a hole in the bottom; things like Charms and Summoning tend to plug that hole. Even if you're only plugging the hole for a few turns at a time, that is enough to save a character dozens of buff and escape charges.

Strengthening these types of recastable effects in current Crawl seems very likely to exacerbate the game's ease of escape issues.

You could of course adjust consumable generation or monster damage output to compensate, but then you travel further down the power spiral for some very questionable benefits.

Having to renew your buffs frequently during combat would also create interface annoyance: The shorter the buffs, the more you're mindlessly tapping keys. If the idea is to extend their duration with spell power, directly trading character experience for annoyance relief, I have to think there's a better solution.

(Reworking charms to be both high power, short duration, and recastable only rarely per spell [Say, once every couple of XLs] might do the trick -- but at that point, why not just nix the school and move the effects to potions?)

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 13:54

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Another thing: It's hard to make charms, pseudocharms, and transmutations compatible with Crawl's current spell-failure system without having them be a pain. Having to recast these spells sucks. But if they didn't expire, you would see people casting them at 80% fail rate and then putting their armor back on or whatever. On other hand, spell failures in combat with conjurations or summons are actually meaningful because you're X MP down with nothing to show for it except maybe a miscast effect. This is why I would rather see something like a binary requirement of X skill to cast a spell with a given amount of intelligence, with encumbrance reducing spell power, rather than the current failure + miscast system. Miscasts are also kind of spoilery and can cause unexpected deaths if you don't know what you're doing - see people who die in Zigs after an earth miscast at 2% petrifies them.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 14:23

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

tabstorm wrote:Also I think something like 8-10 turns will be better. If it's only 3 turns, you will spend like 1/4 of your turns recasting charms because combat will go like this:
You miss the X! (x3)
You cast Shroud of Golubria.
You miss the X! (x2)
You hit the X but do no damage.

etc.

I think that's the point: by making it only 3 turns, you need to think strategically on when to invest the EXP to get the buff 'online'. You'd first ensure you can actually hit the target reliably before casting. When facing a high EV monster, you'd have to think about whether it's in your interest to spend a significant fraction of your time not attempting to hit.

It's worth experimenting with on a new branch, but unless you scrap every Charms and make entirely new ones designed with this paradigm then it's not a fair experiment. These new Charms would need some thought to ensure it's not a simple no-brainer to always use them as soon as they expire. Now, where do we get the coding manpower to make this branch happen?

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 14:31

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

The point is that you can never hit the target reliably.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 14:39

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

goodcoolguy wrote:The point is that you can never hit the target reliably.


That's fine. If you have time to cast a buff before hill giant approaches, do it. If the hill giant is already adjacent, just hit it. It should probably make you happy as you will not need to cast the spell often.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 14:51

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

This makes whether or not invest the experience to get the spell a pretty easy decision.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 14:53

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

It does not change much IMHO. You already should get offense and defense before charms. Currently charms are a bit OP so they can survive the nerf.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 14:58

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

tabstorm/goodcoolguy: Yes, perhaps it will be better to dispense with Charms altogether. After all, we removed Divinations, too. (There, it was very clear to see that most of the effect are harmful as spells, it seems to be a bit more complicated with many Charms.) I agree that consumables are a good place for these kinds of effects. The question is if there can be an interesting, additional system of similar effects as spells.

As I see it, the crucial input of the OP is to add another resource to the equation: the turn.
This unit may be too small, but like I said, it will be interesting to test it. However, there is some kind of predecent: Confusing Touch. This is a one-off spell, and I think it works very well. I could imagine that short-duration Charms play a bit like current Confusing Touch.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 15:11

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

VeryAngryFelid wrote:It does not change much IMHO. You already should get offense and defense before charms. Currently charms are a bit OP so they can survive the nerf.


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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 15:36

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

goodcoolguy wrote:"You should win the game before getting charms. They are also OP."


You win the game because charms (and some other support spells and wands) are OP. Remove them and see how easy depths/vaults 5/zot will be. This is off topic in this thread probably
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 16:00

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

I like this idea -- at least, I'd sure try it out.

The one effect I'm curious about is Regeneration. Super fast regen sounds OP, but the existing regen is kind of problematic as a "yeah cast me out of combat whenever you're a little hurt" spell. Of course, it may be that regen isn't actually an effect we want on a spell.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 16:04

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

I suggested a long time ago that we revamp charms into spells that are only useful to cast in combat, (by actual having effects that are only useful when critters are around to fight, rather than by spending shortening the duration)

And mostly there was no response at all.

Here are some examples:

Shroud of golubria: when you move, the spell ends

Rmsl: i still think this would be more fun as the previous "wind wall" proposal, pretty much you spawn clouds in your los that have a chance to deflect missiles (and of course they disappear when they leave your los, like all clouds)

Spectral weapon: I would just have the summoned weapon not move at all, it should also be dismissable in case you summon it somewhere annoying, since you wouldn't be able to swap with it.


Of course this only solves the "it is tedious and optimal to cast these spells when you are out of combat, just in case" problem, it doesn't change the no brainer-ness of them (that the investment is nearly always worth it for low level charms at least at some point)

Probably to solve that, the effects of low level spells would need to be very low or nonexistent against higher level critters. (for example critters could get a hd-based chance of bypassing SoG)

Also, I personally think charms are better when they are powerful, but apply to less situations. More situationally useful charms that you would cast only in some circumstances would mean you wouldn't drop your entire list of memorized spells on every combat, but rather make a hopefully intelligent choice about what would be useful.

Anyway doing all of that is more work, but imho way more worthwhile than removing charms outright.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 16:14

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Here's a shamelessly unoriginal approach to fixing Charms:

Attach charm effects as an AOE aura to a friendly durable summon with low HP/defenses. (Flavour then as crystals, orbs, ioun stones, act2 mercenaries, whatever.)
More charms skill = more durable summon slots, stronger aura effects.
Summoning a new charm could have a temporary strategic cost attached: Something like eating 5 applications worth of wretched star abyssal malmuts.

This steps on Hep's newfound toes a bit, but it seems like a better approach to me than some previous suggestions.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 16:30

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

just what crawl needs, more allies

the suggestion in the OP is sort of neat conceptually but i would never want to play with it in the game, as goodcoolguy pointed out
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 17:21

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

I'm not a fan of lethediver's idea, personally -- I don't like how often I have to switch on my buffs, and having to cast them multiple times over the course of a fight sounds even more annoying/would maybe make me stop playing anything that could buff itself -- but I do find it kind of amusing that the one thing we all know we don't want is the current paradigm.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 17:26

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

What if with Charms, they became... "Toggle-able" ?

So for example, take Regeneration. Level 3 Charms/Necromancy
Instead of casting it for 3 MP and it having a duration --> You "toggle" it on and it reserves 3 MP from your MP pool. You now have 6/6(9) MP available for other spells.
Level 6 and above could generate contam as long as its "active" in addition to reserving mana, just to keep people from running around with it on at all times.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 17:27

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

lethediver wrote:Charms are currently the one type of spell you can cast pre-battle to gain a long lasting strategic advantage, instead of having an instantaneous tactical effect. This places them in a weird position, balance wise, rendering their spell power (insofar as it is tied to duration) and failure rate largely irrelevant. It also makes them tedious to use since it is never not optimal to have charms active, but doing so requires frequent casting. Finally it steps on the toes of equipment and consumables by giving your character a (theoretically) continuous advantage at the cost of mere spell slots.

My proposal is this: change the duration of Charms to be quite short (around 4 turns), and increase their effects dramatically. This will necessitate frequent casting during combat, which will make failure rate and spell power meaningful, as well as introduce some degree of tactical uncertainty as to when to use a Charms spell, which one to use, and when to use your valuable combat turns on something else. This will also make constant out-of-combat activation suboptimal and/or impossible (due to much higher MP cost vs. turns active).

Example of what im talking about:

Infusion - Guarantees your attacks will not miss for the duration and do +3 flat dmg. 3-6 turns depending on spellpower.

Repel Missiles - 90% chance to repel missile attacks against you for the duration. 3-6 turns depending on spellpower. (Deflect missiles becomes reflect missiles)

Shroud of Golubria - 90% chance to absorb melee attacks against you the duration. 3-5 turns depending on spellpower.

Song of slaying - Any time you kill an enemy, the damage you dealt will also be inflicted on other hostile monsters in LoS. 4-8 turns depending on spellpower.

Etc. Note that these are just examples, numbers can certainly be tweaked so long as the MP cost / turn ratio on all spells remains higher, or at least quite close to, maximum potential non CBoE based mana regeneration.

While an extreme rework, I believe this solves all current and theoretical future problems with Charms in one fell swoop, aligning the sphere with how all other magic in Crawl works (cast during combat). As well as making the spells more impactful, meaningful, and I'd guess fun to use.

This sounds like it would make charms even spammier: you would want to recast them continuously during each fight to get the extreme bonuses. The basic problem with charms is that they're generically good, so you always want them on, but they're also temporary and unlimited. This doesn't change that problem, only exacerbates it.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 17:35

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Lasty wrote:This sounds like it would make charms even spammier: you would want to recast them continuously during each fight to get the extreme bonuses. The basic problem with charms is that they're generically good, so you always want them on, but they're also temporary and unlimited. This doesn't change that problem, only exacerbates it.


Did you miss that it lasts for 3 turns only?
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it should not change your actions. let's say you sacced a hand and you're being bad and fighting two monsters in melee at once, an ice fiend and [your favourite monster here]. when you kill the ice fiend, if you switch from your ring of protection from cold to your +8 ring of slaying before killing the other monster, you are either grievously misinformed or just stupid. the time it takes to perform the ring switch means you lost at least 1 attack; your subsequent attacks will do more damage, but you will still kill the monster slower overall because you wasted time switching rings.


and it applies to short-duration charms also.
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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 17:39

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

I think the people complaining about the tedium are forgetting how spells work in this game. If you want to kill a guy with fire bolts, you keep casting fire bolt until he's dead. If you want to confuse an enemy before you stab him, you cast confuse on him till he's confused.

Now, if you want to have a +3 to damage and guarantee to hit on your next x attacks, you cast infusion. What exactly is the difference here? You literally can't just cast all your charms before each fight, because they don't last long enough. It's less tedium, every time you cast a charm, it's because it was a meaningful thing to do, not just a "just in case" like it is now.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 17:49

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

Yes, I saw the short durations. I also saw things like "90% protection" -- casting something like that even once means a net decrease in damage taken during the fight. As for the +8 slaying ring example, it really depends on how much the ring of slaying increases your damage output and what kind of defenses/hp the monster has. At certain ranges of both values, switching is the right choice.

I think charms will only work if they're tactical, much like Siegurt's proposal for wall of wind. Effects of that sort are interesting, but not called for in every fight, and not pre-gameable. Tactical magic that helps you win a fight is interesting whether it's blink, fireball or wall of wind, but a repeated action that you need to take continuously to keep your stats at an advanced level isn't.

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Post Tuesday, 4th October 2016, 17:58

Re: Idea: Make charms tactical rather than strategic

90% protection from melee is clearly a broken thing and should be changed. With more reasonable value you would not cast it again when having a single adjacent monster.
Correct, switching to +8 slaying can be good depending on situation and the same will happen with short duration charms, exactly like we want: in some situations you will cast a spell (just one spell!), in others you will continue fighting without buffs.

Edit. If we can have just a single charms spell active, we can add more decisions/spells: have higher damage, higher AC, higher EV, higher HP, RMsl etc.
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