Monks and balance


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Halls Hopper

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Post Sunday, 31st July 2011, 00:25

Monks and balance

I am of the opinion that monks are currently an underpowered background. Most species have little reason to pick the monk background instead of a transmuter. Even trolls and ghouls may as well be transmuters because the extra starting skills of the monk are negligible in value compared to a spellbook. Even if this were not the case, making a background only desirable to a couple of species seems unsatisfactory anyway.

Undesirability compared to comparable hybrid, casting, or religious backgrounds is a problem shared by most backgrounds which are both non-casting and non-religious, but at least fighters and gladiators have weapon options unused by other backgrounds and also start with shields, which might be desirable for players with specific plans.

Obviously, weapon choices are not an option for monks, so I propose that they receive something else to make them an appealing choice over the transmuter's starting kit. The problem is that there are few ways to do this that are both thematic and effective. I propose the following possibilities:

-One or more healing, might, or speed potions to start with; this would give them an early advantage to offset the lack of transmutation options.
-Make their starting robe +2 AND give them gloves to start. This would give them a little extra AC, but frankly I'm not convinced that would even be good enough.


That's all I can really come up with, actually. Anyone else have any ideas/opinions/disagreements?
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Halls Hopper

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Post Sunday, 31st July 2011, 02:40

Re: Monks and balance

I agree about fighters, but at least heavy armour and a shield to start with is something not attainable with any other background, so the differentiation is there, if not the balance.

As for increasing starting skill levels, that sounds great to me. A higher net exp-worth of skills in exchange for a more difficult start. I don't know if the devs like that idea, though (are starting skill levels currently ~equal in exp cost between backgrounds?).

Flavor-wise, I think fighters would benefit from a mildly enchanted starting weapon, but it's hard to come up with something like that for monks. I don't think buff potions would really impact flavor (at least not the way giving them, say, a helm, would) but I also don't like giving them Qstaves because that just makes them priests without a god.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Sunday, 31st July 2011, 03:38

Re: Monks and balance

Maybe invent a monkly god of unarmed combat that would grant (a)bilities like Flying Kick and Drunken Monkey.
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Sunday, 31st July 2011, 05:31

Re: Monks and balance

minmay wrote:Although, they had staves for a while, so I guess anything's possible.


Wait, they don't anymore?
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Blades Runner

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Post Sunday, 31st July 2011, 10:44

Re: Monks and balance

who said that all backgrounds should be equal? They should not. Monks in a late game is on par (if not better) than most melee builds.
i agree that they do not present anything interesting in comparison with transmuters

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Post Sunday, 31st July 2011, 11:11

Re: Monks and balance

Once, in an attempt to get Monks out of their combat-only niche (among monks in general), I proposed these: Mo starts with Spellcasting 1. This meant little in 0.8 and means even less now, given how easy it is to pick up Spc 1; the proposal was mostly for flavour (Monks would be literate but not specialised casters).

A new, and perhaps more interesting, idea could be to stress their mental capabilities: they could start with Invocations skill (but no god, of course), or, more interesting in my opinion, with piety: when taking on a god, they'd start at 60 piety (say), rather than 60. I believe the latter fits with how backgrounds work. Thee virtual piety would be shown on the main and ^ screens, of course.

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Halls Hopper

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Post Sunday, 31st July 2011, 17:32

Re: Monks and balance

Curio wrote:who said that all backgrounds should be equal? They should not. Monks in a late game is on par (if not better) than most melee builds.
i agree that they do not present anything interesting in comparison with transmuters


I don't believe they should all be equal, but I do think they should all be useful. There should be a reason to choose each background, or else the background only exists for flavor and challenge games (like thieves, before they were removed). Right now, the only reason for me as an informed player to choose a monk is "I want to be an unarmed fighter that doesn't start with transmutations for some reason." The starting skills monks receive "instead" of spellcasting and tmut are quite negligible in effect at the early levels of play.

Late game doesn't show us a good comparison of backgrounds because literally any background can become a "monk" (I assume you mean an unarmed dodgy fighter) in late game if they want to, and the transmuter background just makes it (much) easier to get there.

dpeg wrote:A new, and perhaps more interesting, idea could be to stress their mental capabilities: they could start with Invocations skill (but no god, of course), or, more interesting in my opinion, with piety: when taking on a god, they'd start at 60 piety (say), rather than 60. I believe the latter fits with how backgrounds work. Thee virtual piety would be shown on the main and ^ screens, of course.


That second idea is quite interesting. It would certainly differentiate monks from transmuters, it would be useful, and it would be thematic.

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Post Sunday, 31st July 2011, 18:08

Re: Monks and balance

Thanks, Danei. You got my idea, but I was typing too hastily. The actual proposal is: Monks take on their first god (except Xom) at 60 piety (instead of the 15 piety everyone gets).

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Blades Runner

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Post Sunday, 31st July 2011, 19:38

Re: Monks and balance

@Danei
so, you have any proposals at all? I tried -stave as weapon choice for them was my idea, with much effort from Danr to implement. But its reverted now anyway.
@dpeg
i also like your idea. But there should be taken all gods in consideration to avoid exploits.
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Snake Sneak

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Post Sunday, 31st July 2011, 20:19

Re: Monks and balance

Monks of races with aux attacks like centaurs are a solid start. Okawaru heroism also seems to help UC more then it would a weapon skill since each point of UC skill adds 1 to the base attack of the punch. I have played lots of monks and they do fine once the early game slump all fighters have to go through is done with.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Sunday, 31st July 2011, 21:42

Re: Monks and balance

Curio wrote:@Danei
so, you have any proposals at all? I tried -stave as weapon choice for them was my idea, with much effort from Danr to implement. But its reverted now anyway.


The enchanted robe + gloves and the potions were all I could really come up with, but I like dpeg's idea more than either of those.

Another idea I thought of a while ago was to combine them with priests and make them start with Zin, tweaking Zin to be a god who likes followers to avoid excessive eating, not carry too much stuff, and other ascetic-type stuff, but that doesn't seem like it would fit with the semi-recent Zin rework.

LunarHarp wrote: I have played lots of monks and they do fine once the early game slump all fighters have to go through is done with.


My issue with monks as of right now isn't that they're unviable; it's that there's no reason to pick one over the transmuter. Even a centaur would derive far more benefit from being able to throw mephcloud potions than from an extra couple of points in combat skills to start. The playstyle is basically the same except monks have fewer options.
Last edited by Danei on Sunday, 31st July 2011, 23:10, edited 1 time in total.

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Sunday, 31st July 2011, 22:13

Re: Monks and balance

dpeg wrote: The actual proposal is: Monks take on their first god (except Xom) at 60 piety (instead of the 15 piety everyone gets).


Maybe they could start with an amulet of faith, though that would probably be too good...
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Post Sunday, 31st July 2011, 23:08

Re: Monks and balance

dpeg wrote:The actual proposal is: Monks take on their first god (except Xom) at 60 piety (instead of the 15 piety everyone gets).

Great idea.
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Post Monday, 1st August 2011, 09:40

Re: Monks and balance

Although I like the piety idea a lot, I can't help but feel they need something else to separate them, most backgrounds see benefits pretty much straight away, and they also don't require getting to the temple to see any benefit. Also, the benefit is only a one shot thing.

My idea would be to slightly re-flavour them as something like 'monks of the shining eye' and give them a clarity amulet to start with. It's not immensely powerful, but helps stop a few nasty early attacks and is also quite thematic with the whole discipline thing, this or making them very magic resistant to start with? This would allow them to play without a god and still be different.
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Tomb Titivator

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Post Monday, 1st August 2011, 09:58

Re: Monks and balance

Monks want to find confusing touch. Why not just have them start with it?

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 1st August 2011, 14:27

Re: Monks and balance

Given that priests are limited to one god, why not have a special god for monks. He would give them things like invisibility, flying kick, levitation, be in two places at once - basically he'd be a supernatural kung-fu god.

The piety idea is good though as you could be a monk of any god and have your devotion clear and useful early on. Could there be monks of Zin though?

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Post Monday, 1st August 2011, 19:26

Re: Monks and balance

minmay: I agree. Do you consider the piety bonus a gimmick? (I don't, obviously.) I think it's a nice nod to what a monk could be, and at the same time small enough to not overpower and strong enough to matter (comparing Fi[claws] with Mo, for example).

A granted resistance via item (clarity or MR) is way too strong, as is THE spell they want. There is no need for a dedicated god (and I haven't seen a good UC god proposal so far). Monk may need a little help, but definitely not a lot. Handing out a little piety is something you reap early (overflow altars appear very early, the Temple can be reached reliably) and it is a consumable resource like a javelin or a potion.

Halls Hopper

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Post Monday, 1st August 2011, 20:33

Re: Monks and balance

minmay wrote:The background really doesn't need more equipment or special abilities. There needs to be a general-purpose unarmed combat background, just as there is a general-purpose weapon combat background. I would rather do a straight buff than add any extra gimmicks. This goes for fighters, too.


I, too, don't think that a buff is necessary - but now that the idea has been named, I am really fond of it. It would bring a new element to the backgrounds and give some gods a boost. For!
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Abyss Ambulator

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Post Monday, 1st August 2011, 20:34

Re: Monks and balance

The piety idea is cool, but what about Demigod Monks?
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Post Monday, 1st August 2011, 20:57

Re: Monks and balance

TwilightPhoenix wrote:The piety idea is cool, but what about Demigod Monks?

They either forfeit it, just like SpHu don't get nets; or they could be N/A, just like FeAr.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd August 2011, 04:06

Re: Monks and balance

I support the piety boost idea, and think that for DgMo the piety increase should be forfeited instead of the background disallowed.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd August 2011, 13:24

Re: Monks and balance

I like the flavor, but the increased piety for a background sounds kind of weird. Backgrounds are about starting skills and equipment.

How about this:
1)Starting piety with any god becomes a function of invocations skill, regardless of background.
2)Monks start out with some invocations skill.

Set up the formula such that at zero levels of invocation, starting piety is 15, at 4, starting piety is 60, and at 27, starting piety is the highest level any god grants the first power. Start monks with 3 levels of invocation.

Or you can make the invocation to starting piety formula different for each god, so monks have advantages with some and not with others. I don't know how well the piety scale numbers mesh from one god to another.

This would make invocations training valuable to those who wish to switch religions, which seems like a nice touch.
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Post Tuesday, 2nd August 2011, 14:31

Re: Monks and balance

Anything with claws makes a solid monk. If you want to play a monk just chose a species with claws....

The background is fine as it is to be honest.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 2nd August 2011, 18:39

Re: Monks and balance

snow wrote:Anything with claws makes a solid monk. If you want to play a monk just chose a species with claws....

The background is fine as it is to be honest.


Even as a troll, transmuter is a no-brainer compared to monk, though.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd August 2011, 18:58

Re: Monks and balance

It seems strange that Monks would have invocations without having a starting god. Who were they invoking at?

I'm also not so sure about the idea that Invocations determines starting piety with a god. Starting over from zero piety is the only option that makes sense in most god-switching situations.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd August 2011, 19:14

Re: Monks and balance

There is a reason why I didn't push the third alternative in my list (the list was Spellcasting / piety / Invocations). In the future, I'd like to see Invocations being tracked separately (for each god using the skill; and the good gods would share). God switching should be made easier by reducing wraths (will come), but asking for the xp investment seems reasonable, not to mention the flavour.

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Post Tuesday, 2nd August 2011, 19:23

Re: Monks and balance

ElectricAlbatross wrote:It seems strange that Monks would have invocations without having a starting god. Who were they invoking at?

They have "contemplated the meaning of life (or unlife)," achieved a measure balance and inner peace, and can invoke the name of the universe, or their own name as a piece of the consciousness of the universe as it strives to understand itself. Or they have practice invoking whatever yogi or philosopher or kung fu master they followed in their cloistered monastic days.
I'm also not so sure about the idea that Invocations determines starting piety with a god. Starting over from zero piety is the only option that makes sense in most god-switching situations.

Well, the gods seem like jealous entities who like to be flattered. If you've gained the favor of one diety, any other diety would be glad to have you, either because you have shown yourself worthy and capable, or just because the new god gets something the old one wants. Spite seems like a good enough reason for most of these characters, from a flavor perspective.

And with a low enough cap on the starting piety, I don't think it will be abusable. I'm just looking for a way to use skills and equipment to improve monks, instead of adding a whole new mechanic to backgrounds.

Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 2nd August 2011, 22:09

Re: Monks and balance

dpeg wrote:There is a reason why I didn't push the third alternative in my list (the list was Spellcasting / piety / Invocations). In the future, I'd like to see Invocations being tracked separately (for each god using the skill; and the good gods would share). God switching should be made easier by reducing wraths (will come), but asking for the xp investment seems reasonable, not to mention the flavour.


Does this make switching Gods actually easier? Waiting out the wrath of a god is "just" a matter of patience and resources. When you are required to re-train your Invocations Skill entirely, you need to grind/dance it up from scratch which is more complicated IMO. Also, it would render TSO completely useless.
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Post Wednesday, 3rd August 2011, 00:29

Re: Monks and balance

I don't think a transmuter is a better start than a monk for a troll. For one all your spells are going to be failing and it's better to just have more strength and more experience in your combat skills. But for the sake of argument let's say it is.

How can a monk be on par with a transmuter without adding anything gimmicky? The simplest approach would be to have them start with a few more items. What about a few potions of berserk or something along those lines?

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Post Wednesday, 3rd August 2011, 01:19

Re: Monks and balance

snow wrote:I don't think a transmuter is a better start than a monk for a troll. For one all your spells are going to be failing and it's better to just have more strength and more experience in your combat skills. But for the sake of argument let's say it is.


Even with poor aptitudes, it doesn't take all that much xp to get Evaporate to usable levels, and poison clouds kill nearly everything and miasma clouds kill quite a bit of the rest. That's at least partially due to Fulsome Distillation/Evaporate being ridiculously overpowered, though. Having crappy defenses as a racial disadvantage is a lot more manageable when you can blanket the entire screen with death-clouds at any moment.

Allowing monk to be on par with anything that starts with Evaporate is simply not going to happen, but at least the piety or invocations advantage gives it a little ascetic character.
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Post Wednesday, 3rd August 2011, 02:17

Re: Monks and balance

Transmuters can always be nerfed if you feel they are overpowered. Maybe have the evaporated clouds only last a single turn instead of multiple turns? If that doesn't even the playing field why not have the clouds be even more resistible?

And I understand that no matter what a monk is just a transmuter without a book. That's why I've suggested giving them some extra items to fill that gap.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Wednesday, 3rd August 2011, 03:45

Re: Monks and balance

I'd just say, instead of special casing anything, just give them an identified Amulet of Faith. I know someone said it's overpowered, but it is it's own drawback- the become worthless not too much later in the game when you need to switch amulets to rMut and rCorr.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd August 2011, 04:02

Re: Monks and balance

Zuboki wrote:I'd just say, instead of special casing anything, just give them an identified Amulet of Faith. I know someone said it's overpowered, but it is it's own drawback- the become worthless not too much later in the game when you need to switch amulets to rMut and rCorr.


The need for mutation or corrosion resistance is way the heck later in the game. Until then, faith is one of the power amulets, up there with gourmand depending on species, background, and choice of deity. If a couple extra scrolls or potions is too much to start with, then one of the best possible early-game amulets definitely is.

Not that I think a couple extra scrolls or potions is too much, mind you, but an amulet of faith is in a class all its own. Think, "Oh, hey, I'll start as a monk, pick up the first axe I see and if I can make it to Trog at the Temple I'll be a strictly better berserker than a berserker."
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Halls Hopper

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Post Wednesday, 3rd August 2011, 05:33

Re: Monks and balance

KoboldLord wrote: "Oh, hey, I'll start as a monk, pick up the first axe I see and if I can make it to Trog at the Temple I'll be a strictly better berserker than a berserker."

Why not? I play Hill Orcs of Beogh who aren't priests but rather casters or gladiators or wanderers, and I take them to Orc Mines to be strictly better than a HOPr. Consider that the Monk still has to survive the early game and build their weapon skill from scratch to match berserkers, who may find Faith or Gourmand randomly by the time they hit the temple as well. I think you're overplaying the effects Faith has on the game. It's also less reliable than starting with Trog, since he gives you access to the weapon and ability to berserk and survive right away, whereas Monks would gain more of a midgame benefit.

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Post Wednesday, 3rd August 2011, 05:35

Re: Monks and balance

Being able to berserk from turn 0 is sort of the main advantage of a berserker. A berserker that can't berserk probably isn't strictly better than one who can.

(Not that I actually agree with giving monks an amulet of faith, but still!)

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Post Thursday, 4th August 2011, 00:31

Re: Monks and balance

Why did the idea to give monks staves for starting weapons get scrapped? it would've been a unique reason to pick Monk.
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Snake Sneak

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Post Thursday, 4th August 2011, 13:26

Re: Monks and balance

You can play an artificer now if you want to start with staves. The devs don't like the extra screens after picking a background. That is why chaos knight got split up, and that is why wizard and conjuror no longer have a choice in books. In this case it is like playing two very different backgrounds in the same background, so it got scrapped.

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Post Wednesday, 10th August 2011, 20:48

Re: Monks and balance

I really like the +starting piety buff

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