New Hybrid Species: Hulijing


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Lair Larrikin

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Joined: Thursday, 12th February 2015, 13:45

Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 16:20

New Hybrid Species: Hulijing

In spite of originally thinking I wouldn't be able to implement this, it turned out to not be very hard. I'm not sure where to go from here, though. I've never used git except to mess with DCSS's source code, so I don't know how to upload this so people could download it and try it out on their own. I also don't know if there's . I've revised my OP again to describe what I actually implemented.

Hulijing are fox spirits in humanoid form that have very high int and dex, high, but somewhat skewed combat aptitudes, an innate spell power boost and a very high spellcasting aptitude. They pay for it with double MP costs for all spells, -10% HP, -1 XL growth and fairly weak aptitudes in specific spell schools. This is intended to give them great freedom to learn a wide variety of spells and use magic heavily in a support role without allowing them to rely on it exclusively. To allow a relatively frail race to perform well in melee, they get the choice between leveraging their +1 shields aptitude or an offhand punch that deals extra damage. To make melee possible for book starts early on, in addition to the offhand attack, they get claws 1 and fangs 1.

That's the TL;DR, specifics on aptitudes and why I did this are below.

Why do I suggest this? High elf was my favorite species. However, this is not an attempt to revive HE. It is an attempt to design a species like HE, but better and more interesting. While I completely agree with the argument of cognitive load for the removal of species in general and I partially agree that HE had overlap with other species, I don't agree that the species didn't offer any unique play style whatsoever. It was unique among species in that it was relatively suited for melee combat while combining high stats, particularly high intelligence, with high aptitudes, particularly a good spellcasting aptitude. What that meant was that they could afford to pick up a much wider array of support spells than other hybrid species and use them creatively to make up for their fragility in melee. Hulijing is intended to be similar, but It shouldn't be as deceptively weak in certain roles, especially in the early game, and it shouldn't have clear overlap with other species because of its strong mechanical distinction.

Mutations:
Claws 1
Fangs 1
Spirit Magic (+10% spell power at levels 1, 7 and 12)
"Off-hand punch"

HP -1
MP +2
XL -1

Fighting +1
Short Blades 0
Long Blades +1
Axes -2
Maces & Flails -3
Polearms +1
Staves -1
Unarmed -2

Throwing -1
Slings -2
Bows -1
Crossbows -2


Armour -3
Dodging +2
Shields +1


Spellcasting +3
Conjurations -3
Hexes 0
Charms +1
Summonings -1
Necromancy -2
Translocations -1
Transmutations 0

Fire Magic -1
Ice Magic -1
Air Magic -1
Earth Magic -1
Poison Magic -1


Invocations +1
Evocations -1
Stealth +2
Last edited by huiren on Friday, 20th January 2017, 12:14, edited 4 times in total.

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removeelyvilon

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 17:16

Re: Proposal for a New Hybrid Species: Hulijing

I think there's a flaw in your approach to designing this species. I think overall, I like what you're trying to do, and specifically the reaction to HE removal of trying to propose a replacement that captures what you thought was unique about HE.

The big problem I see is that you seem to be focused too much on making sure people play the species the exact way you intended, which makes it way less interesting. Low conjurations aptitude to reinforce that this species is not mean to be a conjurer, even though that already has bad synergy with their main gimmick. Low shields aptitude and a bonus to offhand punch just because you really want to force the idea of using a 1h weapon with no shield. Bad ranged aptitudes because you really want to push them being melee/spell hybrids.

I think that's all bad design. Versatile races are more interesting, that's why flat aptitude races are popular. I realize that you're trying to make a race suited around a specific playstyle, but I don't see why you want to stop players from being able to play them any other way. As long as the race works for the playstyle you want, why does it matter if they can also be played other ways? Focus more on enabling the playstyle you do want, not preventing anything else.

My thoughts on the gimmick in particular: I think this might be overcomplicated. A much simpler idea: just double the mana costs of all spells. This preserves the core idea (you're good at learning spells but can't cast very many in one combat) without being as fiddly or potentially confusing. It also solves the idea of not wanting the species to be able to rely on Dragon call.

Also, mild magic could be a possible alternative to high spellcasting aptitude. It promotes the idea of a species that can learn a wide range of spells but shouldn't rely on them as its main form of offense, and many utility spells don't really care too much about spellpower anyway (although I personally wouldn't mind that changing).
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 18:36

Re: Proposal for a New Hybrid Species: Hulijing

Quazifuji wrote:I think that's all bad design. Versatile races are more interesting, that's why flat aptitude races are popular.


While I personally agree that versatile races are more interesting, others don't seem to think that way - if the reactions to ogre rework and Barachians are any indication. So I wouldn't call flat aptitude races popular.

But the actual problem here is that crawl market is rather saturated with human-like aptitute races, so putting stonger accents on specific things a new race is supposed to be good at is only natural.
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Shoals Surfer

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 19:59

Re: Proposal for a New Hybrid Species: Hulijing

Quazifuji wrote:I think that's all bad design. Versatile races are more interesting, that's why flat aptitude races are popular. I realize that you're trying to make a race suited around a specific playstyle, but I don't see why you want to stop players from being able to play them any other way. As long as the race works for the playstyle you want, why does it matter if they can also be played other ways? Focus more on enabling the playstyle you do want, not preventing anything else.


You know, one could say same exact thing regarding other species such as troll, felid, DE, spriggan, etc.
Personally, I don't this that's a valid argument.
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Dungeon Master

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 20:50

Re: Proposal for a New Hybrid Species: Hulijing

there're so many words in the OP I can't actually find where the gimmick of the race is actually spelled out

edit: okay for some reason the gimmick is described several paragraphs after the first mention that there is a gimmick; you should really make that the first thing mentioned since it's the thing that will actually decide if it's worth implementing the race

As a rough placeholder name, the gimmick could be called "spirit magic". The idea is that as they use MP to cast spells, each subsequent spell grows in MP cost. The precise numbers are strongly open to change, but the idea is that after spending roughly 3 mp, subsequent spells cost a further 1 to cast. After spending 6 MP, further spells cost an extra 2, and so on up to a cap of +5 MP. Dragon's Call would probably have to be special cased to increment the penalty with MP spent through sustaining the spell, but infusion and portal projectile probably would not. This would make frequent use of offensive magic unsustainable. However, as the the spirit magic penalty rises, hulijing also get a bonus. They deal extra damage with their off-hand punch attack that ignores AC and is based off of their XL and the level of the spirit magic penalty. So, if an XL 3 hulijing wizard casts meph cloud then attacks in melee, they have a chance for an extra damaging auxiliary unarmed attack as long as one hand is free. The penalty reduces at a moderate rate as time passes, and reduces very quickly whenever the hulijing deals damage with a weapon (or with the touch, I'm not sure which would be better). Therefore, hulijing are good at learning a wide range of support magic and get a bonus for using it in combat, but cannot rely on it exclusively. They have to mix magic and weapon combat to be effective.

that sounds like it transforms every spell into a "bonus slaying" charms spell which is contrary to the direction dcss has been moving
Last edited by CanOfWorms on Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 20:58, edited 2 times in total.

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huiren

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Post Wednesday, 18th January 2017, 21:59

Re: Proposal for a New Hybrid Species: Hulijing

removeelyvilon wrote:While I personally agree that versatile races are more interesting, others don't seem to think that way - if the reactions to ogre rework and Barachians are any indication. So I wouldn't call flat aptitude races popular.

But the actual problem here is that crawl market is rather saturated with human-like aptitute races, so putting stonger accents on specific things a new race is supposed to be good at is only natural.


pedritolo wrote:You know, one could say same exact thing regarding other species such as troll, felid, DE, spriggan, etc.
Personally, I don't this that's a valid argument.


I wasn't trying to argue that all races (or all new races) should have flat aptitudes. The main point I was trying to make was the it seemed like OP was not just trying to make the race suited to the playstyle they wanted, but like they specifically wanted to pidgeonhole the race to fit only the playstyle they wanted. Wanting the race to be good at being a squishy evasive melee character who makes up for their melee with a variety of supporting magic doesn't have to mean making a race that is bad at doing any other playstyle. You don't want a race that's just amazingly good at everything because then they're just overpowered, but that doesn't mean the race shouldn't have multiple playstyles it's well-suited to.

For example, I see no reason that they should be bad at ranged weapons, besides the fact that OP wants to use them in melee. The poor conjurations aptitude also seems unnecessary, since it's already somewhat redundant with their gimmick making them poorly-suited for a conjurations-focused playstyle. I also see no reason to try to force them into using a one-handed weapon with no shield, except that OP thinks it sounds cool.

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Lair Larrikin

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Joined: Thursday, 12th February 2015, 13:45

Post Thursday, 19th January 2017, 03:16

Re: Proposal for a New Hybrid Species: Hulijing

CanOfWorms wrote:there're so many words in the OP I can't actually find where the gimmick of the race is actually spelled out


Point taken. Doubly so since you completely misunderstood the gimmick. My OP was pretty awful and I have heavily revised it.

Quazifuji wrote:I wasn't trying to argue that all races (or all new races) should have flat aptitudes. The main point I was trying to make was the it seemed like OP was not just trying to make the race suited to the playstyle they wanted, but like they specifically wanted to pidgeonhole the race to fit only the playstyle they wanted. Wanting the race to be good at being a squishy evasive melee character who makes up for their melee with a variety of supporting magic doesn't have to mean making a race that is bad at doing any other playstyle. You don't want a race that's just amazingly good at everything because then they're just overpowered, but that doesn't mean the race shouldn't have multiple playstyles it's well-suited to.

For example, I see no reason that they should be bad at ranged weapons, besides the fact that OP wants to use them in melee. The poor conjurations aptitude also seems unnecessary, since it's already somewhat redundant with their gimmick making them poorly-suited for a conjurations-focused playstyle. I also see no reason to try to force them into using a one-handed weapon with no shield, except that OP thinks it sounds cool.


I think you have a point, but you're also reading things into my post that I didn't intend. I don't blame you for that, however, because I expressed my idea quite poorly. However, I did express reasoning in my post beyond what you're quoting.

The species is specifically not intended to have flat aptitudes. It is intended to have high aptitudes in certain areas similar to other species that have high aptitudes that encourage a specific role, like to minotaurs and deep elves. I don't think it would be a good idea to just give it high aptitudes everywhere; if some are high, others have to be low, and I decided on the low aptitudes for reasons other than that's the kind of character I want to play or because I think it would be cool.

Ranged aptitudes were set low (though perhaps you didn't catch that I said -1 bows was there specifically to keep a ranged option open) because I think the design space for "ranged character with lots of magic" is already full. Conjurations was set low for heuristic purposes, perhaps you think that's unnecessary, but I would rather be conservative. Nevertheless, I've raised some of the aptitudes that were arbitrarily low and explained some reasoning for it in my post.

Regarding the off-hand, I specifically gave reasons for it other than "it sounds cool". I phrased it poorly in my original post, but I intended no shield to simply be a good choice, not something I would force them to do. However, you have a good point, so will increase the proposed shields aptitude to +1. That makes it more of a choice between very good offense at high investment with a two-hander, defense at moderate investment with a shield and pretty good offense for cheap without a shield.

Quazifuji wrote:My thoughts on the gimmick in particular: I think this might be overcomplicated. A much simpler idea: just double the mana costs of all spells. This preserves the core idea (you're good at learning spells but can't cast very many in one combat) without being as fiddly or potentially confusing. It also solves the idea of not wanting the species to be able to rely on Dragon call.

Also, mild magic could be a possible alternative to high spellcasting aptitude. It promotes the idea of a species that can learn a wide range of spells but shouldn't rely on them as its main form of offense, and many utility spells don't really care too much about spellpower anyway (although I personally wouldn't mind that changing).


That certainly would be much simpler, but I have some issues. First, doubling the cost of all spells seems really harsh. I don't know how book starts would function. A fractional increase might work, but would be hard to represent and also potentially confusing. Second, I'm not sure how you'd counterbalance it. +3 spellcasting wouldn't seem to be enough, I think you'd have to bump up other aptitudes significantly as well. And no strong early damage boost would make the species miserable hybrids early on, just like HE. Perhaps aux unarmed would be enough, though.

Actually, I think in practice my idea wouldn't be so awkward, I'm just perhaps not doing a good job explaining it. After you cast once or twice, you get a mp cost +1 status. That increases to mp cost +2 and so on. The status decrements when you deal damage with a weapon or gradually over time. The trick is balancing it so that book starts can still cast enough to survive early on, while having the increments remain relevant, but not brutal late. I admit that might not be so easy.

I don't like the idea of placid magic because with my proposal, between high int, spellcasting and enough xp to go deep into one school with good single school spells (hexes, earth, air, summons, etc.) you could cast high impact spells from it, just without great frequency.

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Post Thursday, 19th January 2017, 06:21

Re: Proposal for a New Hybrid Species: Hulijing

Okay, I think I understand the idea behind the offhand punch now. It wasn't so much about forcing the race towards one-hander and no shield, as it was about giving them a very experience-efficient melee option to allow them to divert more experience into spells. It fits with the idea behind the spellcasting aptitude, which is to mitigate the extremely high experience cost of trying to use both spells an melee weapons.

I'm not sure if tying it to the mana cost rampup is a good idea, though, just because that could be seen as adding tedium by encouraging the player to burn mana just for the buff even if the spells aren't useful. Maybe that wouldn't be an issue, but even just from a complexity standpoint I think it might be better to just make it a constant thing rather than something tied to the mana scaling. I also think it might be hard enough for most players to determine the value of a buffed off-hand punch on its own, let alone one that increases in power as you cast spells. Figuring out whether it's worth using the offhand punch rather than a shield or two-hander could be a bit too complicated and possibly spoilery with the scaling mechanic.

Also, on the subject of the changes I suggested: I think your reasoning does make sense. I wonder if it would be overpowered to have double mana costs but innate wizardry (no spellpower penalty)?

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Lair Larrikin

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Post Friday, 20th January 2017, 07:21

Re: Proposal for a New Hybrid Species: Hulijing

Double MP costs and the off-hand always being active makes things a lot simpler and is probably much better. I'm still worried that the early game will be too tough for most caster starts because double MP cost is pretty brutal (e.g. spell failure kills your one chance to use meph cloud and you're screwed: sounds pretty frustrating). But, after looking at the game's code I found it's actually very easy to add a new species that has to pay double cost for all its spells. Reading over melee_attack.cc it seems like it also shouldn't be too overwhelming to give them a special offhand punch. What I wonder is if I should try to have it apply at a reduced rate if you're using a two-hander. I don't want one-handed weapons to actually be stronger, just a cheaper choice that still offers good damage.

I'm actually considering giving them a light spellpower since that fits the theme of casting strong spells infrequently. I need to spend more time looking at the code for power enhancers to see if I can figure out how to do it, though. I thought about just going with wild magic, but wild magic from level one would be awful and having it come in later would really suck too unless you planned for it specifically since you might lose access to spells you were counting on.

Lair Larrikin

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Joined: Thursday, 12th February 2015, 13:45

Post Friday, 20th January 2017, 12:20

Re: New Hybrid Species: Hulijing

Double post, but I finished implementing the species. I don't know how the balance will work out and I'm unsure about the off-hand attack. Now I have it as simply the basic off-hand punch, but Hulijing don't check unarmed skill to use it and get + xl/5 bonus base damage. However, it still does benefit from unarmed. That means an investment of 8-10 unarmed might push a quickblade's damage output ahead of other weapons, especially if you have high str and dex. It might be better to simply create a new auxiliary unarmed attack called "sly fighting" or "preternatural coordination" that is disabled if your off hand isn't free.

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