YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)


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Mines Malingerer

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Post Sunday, 5th February 2017, 04:32

YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

Maybe this is just me blowing off steam right now, and I'm certain the devs probably don't take this forum too seriously (I've seen my fair share of awful suggestions here), but this one seems pretty straightforward.

Some context: I've been playing this game since 0.2, and for me, one of the things that keeps me coming back, unlike all the other roguelikes I've played, is its fairness. In all the thousands of deaths I've accrued, 99% of them, at the very least, have been my own fault. I could look at it and go, "Oh, dang, I messed up. I'll have to do better next time." The other less-than-1-percent have been pure RNG: walk around a corner and get 1-shot by a hill giant before you can react kind of thing. Frustrating, but a necessary evil in any game with an RNG element.

Today, however, was the first time in all my years playing DCSS where I felt like I died due to unfair game design.

A few weeks ago I posted a YASD when I ran into a single Tarantella as a Mummy, missed 4 venom bolts in a row, and then it singlehandedly whittled me down from 100% to 0 over about 50 auts as I flailed around hopelessly. And I was okay with that. That was due to a lack of caution on my part: I could've blinked away at any time, but I didn't.

So, today, I walked down to the Spider's Nest with a secret weapon under my belt: Olgreb's Toxic Radiance! If I run into any of those purple bastards, I'll just fire off one of those and it's dead before it ever gets to me. I just have to keep a decent reservoir of mana. Simple enough, right?

...Well, not when the place has the occasional [INDETERMINATE SEXUAL ORIENTATION] MANA VAMPIRE invisibly floating around. And when you're dealing with one of those and you're at 0 mana within a couple of turns, and a Tarantella walks around a corner. "lol looks like I'm already dead".

Granted, there is still potential counterplay here, but the fact that these ubiquitous, 15 speed enemies effectively 1-shot you if they ever get into melee range is just ludicrous. At best, you have to blow through a scroll of blinking every time you see one while you're in a sticky situation. At worst, your situation is so sticky that any reaction would also potentially lead to death.

TL;DR: Here are 10 ways that this interaction could be balanced:
Spoiler: show
My Favorite: Change their effect to something other than Confusion. Crawl seems to have a precedent for affects that are idiosyncratic to individual monsters, so give it a "Dance" effect, not a "Confusion" effect, likely similar to "Otto's Irresistible Dance" from D&D, which seems to be what Tarantella are based off of to begin with (both in the dance and the irresistible part): the confusion only affects your lower body (as you dance around madly), so you move as though confused (or even rooted in place), and lose SH (or perhaps EV, or just a penalty to EV), but can still Ctrl+Attack, cast spells, wands, scrolls, etc. Tarantellas would likely have to be buffed in some other way. The best part of this is that it'd be highly appropriate to many other monsters: I can totally see enemies like Satyrs or The Enchantress casting this as a melee-range irresistible spell, and maybe even making it a level 8 Hex (a school which lacks lategame potential), just like the D&D spell.

2: Write in a special exception to make mummies immune to their confusing bite. Brute force, clunky, it'll never happen, but it'd work.

3: Make poison immunity give immunity to their bite, but not poison resistance. This'd potentially make Spider marginally easier for Gargoyles, but I think that's a small price to pay for a decent amount of fairness, especially when so many enemies are already pretty easy for gargoyles.

4: Partial immunity: increase the duration of their confusion a bit, make poison resistance reduce it to X% duration, make poison immunity reduce it to 1 turn. Tarantellas are still a threat to mummies and can potentially whack off lots of your HP if it gets into melee range, but it'll miss eventually and that'll give you a chance to escape/retaliate.

5: Give them one "charge" of confusion, and once they affect you with it once they can't do so again for [large] number of turns.

6: On second thought, make it like Death's door, where you can't be affected by the confusion for 1-3 turns after it's expired/affected you once.

7: Make it affected my magic resistance, but with a very high spellpower. Simple enough.

8: Confusion rework: since the main penalty of confusion seems to be "directional" it feels like it'd be thematically appropriate for confusion to not affect omnidirectional spells like Toxic Radiance and Refrigeration. The Crawl dev team seems to be moving away from thematic design and towards mechanical balance, though, so this'll never happen. (It's for the better, though, imo).

9: Reduce Tarantella's speed to 10, buffing something else. This would add the very simple counterplay of "walking back to an up staircase to reengage later", and would increase the effectiveness of counterplays like the Blink spell or scroll.

10: GET RID OF THE BASTARDS. For most characters their bite is just -1 potion of curing, anyways.


EDIT: I'd like to mention that the only reason this interaction stands out is that the game is so fair in almost every other way. In most other roguelikes this kind of shit wouldn't seem that out of the ordinary, but DCSS has a high standard of fairness.
Last edited by Gorgondantess on Monday, 6th February 2017, 03:08, edited 4 times in total.
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jwoodward48ss

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Post Sunday, 5th February 2017, 05:03

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

IMO confusion should increase spell failure rather than make spellcasting impossible. It should increase scroll read time or give a scroll fail chance rather than make scrolls impossible. The chance to attack/walk in the wrong direction when confused should be 50% instead of 87.5%. And so forth. Also monsters shouldn't be able to stack in on you without limit.

As for ghost moths, they "need" to drain mana so fast because if they drained it slowly the effect would have no impact on 90% of characters. So the devs chose instead to make the drain faster enough to instantly fuck over primary spellcasters.

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Post Sunday, 5th February 2017, 05:20

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

confusion got nerfed from a 7/8 chance to misdirect to a 2/3 chance recently was always a 2/3 chance: https://github.com/crawl/crawl/blob/c8f ... 3156-L3186

melee'ing through confusion is thus a valid tactic if you have decent melee, which you generally should if you're venturing into spider

also mummy very strongly prefers to go ashenzari or gozag these days so it can deal with confusion from this and other sources. carrying hexing wands also helps as tarantellas have poor MR (20; same as a yak).

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Gorgondantess, jwoodward48ss

Mines Malingerer

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Post Sunday, 5th February 2017, 06:17

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

Rast wrote:IMO confusion should increase spell failure rather than make spellcasting impossible. It should increase scroll read time or give a scroll fail chance rather than make scrolls impossible. The chance to attack/walk in the wrong direction when confused should be 50% instead of 87.5%. And so forth. Also monsters shouldn't be able to stack in on you without limit.

As for homosexual mana vampiresghost moths, they "need" to drain mana so fast because if they drained it slowly the effect would have no impact on 90% of characters. So the devs chose instead to make the drain faster enough to instantly fuck over primary spellcasters.


I knew I was forgetting something! That was one of my original ideas, having confusion increase spell failure by a lot instead. And yeah the stacking as absolutely nuts, as is the duration to begin with.

Ghost Moths are nasty, but there are a lot of monsters in this game that screw over [Foo] playstyle. It's why having versatility by the time you get to the lair is so important! Tbh if you're 100% caster and not a deep elf (who should be able to reliably 2-shot a ghost moth) you're kinda doing it wrong anyways. Or you can just summon a couple of demons (or any summon with SInv) in the two turns you have mana, which work perfectly well. Or use Evocations, which most races who use magic are fairly good at.

So, yeah, specialization is for insects. i.e. Formicids.

Doesnt wrote:confusion got nerfed from a 7/8 chance to misdirect to a 2/3 chance recently was always a 2/3 chance: https://github.com/crawl/crawl/blob/c8f ... 3156-L3186

melee'ing through confusion is thus a valid tactic if you have decent melee, which you generally should if you're venturing into spider


I actually had quite good melee. Hell, I even killed the Tarantella - the only problem was that the Ghost Moth ate my face off in the meantime. It was pretty close, though, I got it down to "Almost Dead" - a bit better luck and I would've survived. The main problem was the duration - I carried on eightish auts after the tarantella died and was confused the whole time.

Also, confusion is a LOT worse when there are spiderwebs everywhere - one of my biggest problems is that I stumbled into one early on and was easy pickings.

also mummy very strongly prefers to go ashenzari or gozag these days so it can deal with confusion from this and other sources. carrying hexing wands also helps as tarantellas have poor MR (20; same as a yak).


Oh, I am well aware of the strength of Ashenzari on Mummies. He's kindof objectively the best god for them, as well as most other generalist casters with middling to low aptitudes. But I'm a diehard Sif Muna worshipper, who works very well for my playstyle, and I don't think I should be forced to worship a god I frankly greatly dislike for the sake of avoiding bullshit. Makes a lot of sense why it hasn't been dealt with, though, as the vast majority of Mu likely do pick those two.

Thanks for the advice on hexing wands, though! Of course there was some other counterplay I didn't think of. I didn't actually have any this particular death (Acid, Random Effects, Digging and Flame ), but next time I'll try to remember that and plan accordingly.
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jwoodward48ss

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Post Sunday, 5th February 2017, 10:15

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

lmao @ the idea that mp drain is anything more than a minor annoyance for "primary spellcasters", let alone something that instantly fucks them over

anyway my new nickname is HOMOSEXUAL MANA VAMPIRE

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Post Sunday, 5th February 2017, 12:15

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

Gorgondantess wrote:HOMOSEXUAL MANA VAMPIRE


But it begs the question - how could you tell that the mana vampire's sexual orientation was indeed biased towards others of the same gender?
Mind you, I'm not discussing the fact's relevance, since it's clearly of great significance for one's gameplay decision-making process in DCSS.
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Post Sunday, 5th February 2017, 16:47

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

Tbh, Gozag isn't much help with tarantellas because potion petition doesn't work while confused. So the only way you're really surviving a tarantella encounter at a decent amount of health is if it's 1v1 and being tanky as fuck.
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Post Sunday, 5th February 2017, 17:28

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

Killhole?

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Post Sunday, 5th February 2017, 22:00

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

Don't go to Spider as a mummy if you don't have some form of invisibility and plan to deal with tarantellas with MP.
...{MfWnMiAK}TeAMDrIE{FoVMVSFi}{MuVMGhGlVpMo}HaWrSpWz{OgGlTrMo}{CeWnMfBeMiSk}DrEE
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DDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}SpNeBaEEGrFE{HaAKTrCK}DsFESpHu{FoArNaBe}FeEE{HOIEMiAE}GrGl

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Rast

Mines Malingerer

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Post Monday, 6th February 2017, 00:42

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

Sprucery wrote:Don't go to Spider as a mummy if you don't have some form of invisibility and plan to deal with tarantellas with MP.


See, that's pretty much the case, but it's still extremely unfair. Mummies are arguably the weakest post-lair species in the game; while it's easy street for almost every other caster at that point, Mummies have a much longer "early game", which extends pretty much to mid-vaults. Missing out on all the xp and loot from a whole S branch makes that even worse, and unfairly ramps up the difficulty based on a simple coin flip.
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jwoodward48ss

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Post Monday, 6th February 2017, 01:21

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

I think the question here is not "can I handle tarantellas as a mummy" (you can) but instead "is it good game design to be forced into incredibly tedious behavior against a semi-common midgame monster while playing as a single particular race?" (it is not). And this isn't even a theoretically optimal play issue here, you absolutely must treat tarantellas like the plague or else the game will flat out kill you.

Just give mummies (and lichform) confusion immunity already. Or restore their self-restoration thing and make it into a vitalization/purification/divine vigour hybrid where you lose all bad status, can't gain them again while restoration lasts, get extra HP/MP for the duration and permanently lose 1 MP when the effect ends.

And then remove deep dwarves, because their "no healing" gimmick is terrible and their "burst recovery in return for permanent MP loss" gimmick is taken by mummies.

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Post Monday, 6th February 2017, 02:57

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

Croases wrote:I think the question here is not "can I handle tarantellas as a mummy" (you can) but instead "is it good game design to be forced into incredibly tedious behavior against a semi-common midgame monster while playing as a single particular race?" (it is not). And this isn't even a theoretically optimal play issue here, you absolutely must treat tarantellas like the plague or else the game will flat out kill you.

Just give mummies (and lichform) confusion immunity already. Or restore their self-restoration thing and make it into a vitalization/purification/divine vigour hybrid where you lose all bad status, can't gain them again while restoration lasts, get extra HP/MP for the duration and permanently lose 1 MP when the effect ends.

And then remove deep dwarves, because their "no healing" gimmick is terrible and their "burst recovery in return for permanent MP loss" gimmick is taken by mummies.


Well said, and that's an interesting idea - granted, this means that most forays into Spider will end up with missing max MP, and a lot of it too for melee mummies (though I guess most of those opt for Gozag). Still, it'd definitely balance out the stupidness for an appreciable but definitely not game-ending punishment. Could be flavored as them "consuming" some of the font of negative energy that keeps them animated without sustenance. I think the extra HP/MP would be a bit overkill, though, I'd just have it restore !curing-ish HP instead.
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Post Monday, 6th February 2017, 02:58

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

Why is Mummies having a big weakness a problem?

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Post Monday, 6th February 2017, 03:04

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

chequers wrote:Why is Mummies having a big weakness a problem?


Because they're one of the weakest races to begin with. Because it's less a "weakness" and more of an "insta-kill button". Because all other "weaknesses" force you to play more strategically/tactically and force you to make interesting decisions (often in the vein of consuming strategic resources vs. risking death), while Tarantellas just make mummies play incredibly tediously. Because it creates very few character build options which are clearly more optimal, rather than allowing variety. Because it increases the chance of dying due to luck/random chance even when you're playing very safely and tediously to unacceptable levels (Spider has loads of blind spots where a Tarantella can come around a corner and bite you before you can react). Because Tarantellas are too common an enemy for a weakness this big. Because no other race has any weakness that bad (except maye Octopodes and giant spiked clubs). Because it's an unintuitive interaction to begin with.
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Post Monday, 6th February 2017, 05:10

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

chequers wrote:Why is Mummies having a big weakness a problem?

That isn't a problem, mummies having a stupid weakness is a problem. Confusion wasn't designed to irreversibly disable most of your actions, doesn't have the initial/extension durations for a status effect that irreversibly disables most of your actions, and is not handed out to enemies in a careful and controlled manner which it would have if that were the case.

Note that nobody complains about the fire weakness that mummies also have, even though that probably caused more deaths than tarantellas ever will. This is because fire weakness amplifies the danger posed by certain monsters, instead of making a single trash monster into death incarnate and forcing you into playing a bizarre minigame where you aren't ever allowed to let it go into melee.

My suggestion is to make confusion non-curable by the potion, which will immediately make people realize how ridiculous the current status quo is. I mean, you can still use ~tactics~ to avoid these tarantellas, right? In the same way that mummies do?

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Post Monday, 6th February 2017, 05:56

Re: YAM&TD (Yet Another Mummy & Tarantella Death)

Mummies are ok in Lair branches, complete immunity to poison is very useful.
Just don't be a pure caster as Mummy, don't be a pure caster as Minotaur, don't be a pure melee as Felid etc.

I agree that confusion is bad as is.
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