Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''


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Halls Hopper

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Post Friday, 19th May 2017, 11:01

Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

Sorry for the unclear post title, but I'm not sure what the official designation is for the feature I'm describing.

One cool aspect of crawl's flavour is the 'predicate' your character receives based on their highest skill and the strength of that skill. For example, a character just starting out as a wizard gets "X the Magician" as their predicate because Spellcasting is their strongest skill. It's fun to see the different predicates, especially how they develop as you improve that skill, often starting with a somewhat insulting tone (i.e. "the Twirler" for beginning stavers). However, because optimal skilling across builds and characters tends to be similar, characters tend to receive the same predicates as they progress: they are "the Conqueror" or "the Slayer" because of the importance of Fighting, or they have the predicate of their God because of Invocations. Practically, this means that we never get to see a lot of the predicates unless we enter wizmode or intentionally skill our characters poorly.

I propose that we allow players to choose their 'main skill' via an option in the character overview screen accessed via %. The only function of this choice would be that the skill chosen determines the character's 'predicate'; there would be no mechanical impact. This allows, for example, for Hexes to be the main skill of my enchanter (what I assess to be the 'core' or 'essence' of the character) instead of Fighting, even though Fighting will eventually have more experience invested in it.

Positives: players get to see more flavour content than they otherwise would; players have more ownership of their character's 'identity'
Negatives: has to be implemented; does not improve the game mechanically

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Post Friday, 19th May 2017, 11:20

Re: Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

monkeytor wrote: However, because optimal skilling across builds and characters tends to be similar, characters tend to receive the same predicates as they progress: they are "the Conqueror" or "the Slayer" because of the importance of Fighting,

I'd sooner see a reform of the underlying skill system to address this problem than slapping a coat of paint on the titles.

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Post Friday, 19th May 2017, 11:26

Re: Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

Implojin wrote:I'd sooner see a reform of the underlying skill system to address this problem than slapping a coat of paint on the titles.


A simple solution would be to change aptitudes or set hard limits on skills based on background (something like FE gets +1 in Fire/Conj and -1 in Fighting/Armour or FE cannot train Fighting above 15) but it contradicts to crawl philosophy :(
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Post Friday, 19th May 2017, 11:50

Re: Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

Implojin wrote:I'd sooner see a reform of the underlying skill system to address this problem than slapping a coat of paint on the titles.

Well, that would be a lot of work, whereas the OP's proposition would be quite straightforward to implement. So as long as the goal is just to get the player see the different titles, there's no need to reform the whole skill system.

As for the proposal, I'm all for it, as long as the player can also choose to go without a selected skill (so titles are given like currently).
...{HaBeKoAK}CeVM{MfWnMiAK}TeAMDrIE{FoVMVSFi}{MuVMGhGlVpMo}HaWrSpWz{OgGlTrMo}{CeWnMfBeMiSk}
DrEE{GrFiFoGl}DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}DDArHaCKSpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMoHuVM{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}
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Dis Charger

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Post Friday, 19th May 2017, 12:00

Re: Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

I am a bit baffled by the opening post. My winning characters have 31 different skill titles (I hope I did not miscount).

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Post Friday, 19th May 2017, 12:22

Re: Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

Magipi wrote:I am a bit baffled by the opening post. My winning characters have 31 different skill titles (I hope I did not miscount).

Fortunately, we can look at the data for this:
  Code:
!lg * win cv>=0.19 s=title
[07:10] <Sequell> 7090 games for * (win cv>=0.19): 1322x Conqueror, 879x Slayer, 443x Axe Maniac, 234x Invulnerable, 221x Archmage, 183x Wrestler, 163x Executioner, 161x Acrobat, 160x Impregnable, 157x Hoplite, 151x Middleweight Champion, 138x Intangible, 120x Heavyweight Champion, 108x Ninja, 87x Sorcerer, 87x Warrior, 80x Imperceptible, 78x Swordmaster, 73x Skullcrusher, 72x Minotaur Barricade, 70x

And breaking it down by player categories with varying wins:
Spoiler: show
  Code:
!lg !goodplayers win cv>=0.19 s=title
[07:12] <Sequell> 2941 games for goodplayers (win cv>=0.19): 727x Conqueror, 317x Slayer, 250x Axe Maniac, 148x Invulnerable, 106x Archmage, 78x Hoplite, 69x Middleweight Champion, 60x Impregnable, 59x Executioner, 56x Intangible, 56x Minotaur Barricade, 48x Wrestler, 48x Ninja, 48x Skullcrusher, 47x Heavyweight Champion, 46x Acrobat, 37x Swordmaster, 36x Petrodigitator, 33x Gargoyle Barricade, 32x Meteorologist,

!lg goodplayers win cv>=0.19 s=title
[07:11] <Sequell> 4149 games for goodplayers (win cv>=0.19): 595x Conqueror, 562x Slayer, 193x Axe Maniac, 135x Wrestler, 115x Archmage, 115x Acrobat, 104x Executioner, 100x Impregnable, 86x Invulnerable, 82x Intangible, 82x Middleweight Champion, 79x Hoplite, 73x Heavyweight Champion, 73x Warrior, 63x Imperceptible, 60x Ninja, 59x Sorcerer, 53x Ruinous, 51x Sensei, 46x Grand Master, 43x Phalangite, 41x

!lg greatplayers win cv>=0.19 s=title
[07:11] <Sequell> 1470 games for greatplayers (win cv>=0.19): 227x Slayer, 201x Conqueror, 58x Wrestler, 51x Axe Maniac, 38x Acrobat, 38x Warrior, 38x Executioner, 35x Impregnable, 31x Archmage, 25x Hoplite, 24x Sorcerer, 24x Ninja, 24x Middleweight Champion, 24x Imperceptible, 23x Ruinous, 22x Invulnerable, 21x Phalangite, 21x Grand Master, 17x Intangible, 16x Sensei, 14x Petrodigitator, 14x Merfolkian Porcupine,

!lg greaterplayers win cv>=0.19 s=title
[07:11] <Sequell> 1300 games for greaterplayers (win cv>=0.19): 213x Slayer, 185x Conqueror, 49x Wrestler, 37x Acrobat, 37x Axe Maniac, 35x Warrior, 35x Executioner, 33x Impregnable, 25x Hoplite, 24x Archmage, 23x Ruinous, 22x Sorcerer, 21x Middleweight Champion, 21x Phalangite, 19x Invulnerable, 19x Imperceptible, 18x Grand Master, 18x Ninja, 16x Intangible, 15x Sensei, 12x Annihilator, 12x Metallomancer, 12x

edit: Of course, sorting by title is a poor way to view this, since some skills have different titles based on things like god choice or character str/dex. Sorting instead by skill:
  Code:
!lg * win cv>=0.19 s=sk
[09:12] <Sequell> 7093 games for * (win cv>=0.19): 2292x Fighting, 641x Unarmed Combat, 620x Axes, 576x Invocations, 411x Armour, 349x Shields, 326x Dodging, 326x Spellcasting, 196x Stealth, 165x Long Blades, 140x Polearms, 135x Conjurations, 118x Maces & Flails, 107x Earth Magic, 107x Air Magic, 94x Bows, 76x Evocations, 73x Crossbows, 53x Necromancy, 49x Throwing, 47x Fire Magic, 43x Summonings, 29x
[09:12] <Sequell> Translocations, 29x Slings, 27x Short Blades, 25x Ice Magic, 19x Hexes, 7x Staves, 5x Charms, 5x Transmutations, 3x Poison Magic

It should be obvious from looking at these queries that Fighting, at the least, is problematic in its perceived utility to players at winning XLs. A more thorough analysis would look at relative skill breakdowns across the XL range, and skill breakdowns of winning vs nonwinning characters at winning XLs, but I'll leave that to someone else.
Last edited by Implojin on Friday, 19th May 2017, 14:15, edited 1 time in total.

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Post Friday, 19th May 2017, 12:58

Re: Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

In all 3 categories the fighting titles are around 30% total, not a majority or anything.

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Post Friday, 19th May 2017, 13:46

Re: Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

Fighting represents approximately 3% of the total skills in the game (give or take a few, I'm both tired and wiped out on grading math assignments for hours last night) but is 30% of the endgame titles. That's the definition of disproportionate.

This of course says a lot about fighting.

On topic, barring a massive skill overhaul that only might come incrementally over the next six releases, it would be cool to have a screen where you could select the title you could use from a list of ones you qualify for (maybe only the highest one from each skill)

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Post Friday, 19th May 2017, 15:17

Re: Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

ZipZipskins wrote:it would be cool to have a screen where you could select the title you could use from a list of ones you qualify for

Instead of a whole new UI screen, it could just be a placeable flag on the skilling screen. Flag a skill you have >0 in, see the results in your character description. Or remove it to revert to default behavior.
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Post Friday, 19th May 2017, 15:34

Re: Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

ZipZipskins wrote:Fighting represents approximately 3% of the total skills in the game (give or take a few, I'm both tired and wiped out on grading math assignments for hours last night) but is 30% of the endgame titles. That's the definition of disproportionate.

This of course says a lot about fighting.


Says a lot about the excess of experience in a 3 rune game. It's only when you've gotten your other skills to key breakpoints that it begins to make sense for fighting to be your highest skill.

As to the OP, I don't see the value added. The title system is a bit goofy, but it makes going for unusual titles a mildly amusing pursuit in a game that otherwise gets pretty mechanical after a number of wins.
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Post Friday, 19th May 2017, 17:54

Re: Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

ZipZipskins wrote:Fighting represents approximately 3% of the total skills in the game (give or take a few, I'm both tired and wiped out on grading math assignments for hours last night) but is 30% of the endgame titles. That's the definition of disproportionate.

This of course says a lot about fighting.


this might put it in context:

!lg * won cv>=0.19 s=char
7098 games for * (won cv>=0.19): 450x MiBe, 379x MiFi, 261x GrFi, 181x FoFi, 163x HOFi, 122x DDFi, 108x MiGl, 107x DsFi, 106x DsGl, 104x GrBe, 101x VSFi, 98x GrGl, 77x CeHu, 77x GrEE, 76x TrMo, 74x DEFE, 71x SpEn, 70x MfGl, 65x HOMo, 61x DECj, 61x MiMo, 55x NaFi, 52x GhMo, 51x DsMo, 48x TrFi, 47x HOBe, 46x DsBe, 46x DsWn, 43x BaFi, 40x VSBe, 39x MfSk, 38x HaHu, 37x DsAK, 35x HOGl, 34x GrMo, 33x Ba...

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Post Friday, 19th May 2017, 18:49

Re: Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

The entire point of crawl is to win with cool titles. The skill system exists primarily to allow you to manipulate your title and only secondarily to let you survive with that title. Subverting this with shortcuts is blasphemy!

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Post Friday, 19th May 2017, 21:06

Re: Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

I have 35 different titles in my 52 victories. I'm actually surpised that there is so much variation.
  Code:
Slayer x5
Annihilator x4
Hawkeye x3
Middleweight Champion x3
Ninja x3
Bludgeoner x2
Conqueror x2
Eclecticist x2
Grand Master x2
Axe Maniac
Crack Shot
Cutthroat
Demonologist
Destroyer
Devastator
Elf of Death
Executioner
Grand Gadgeteer
Grand Scion
Heavyweight Champion
Imperceptible
Impregnable
Lord of Darkness
Merfolkian Porcupine
Metallomancer
Meteorologist
Phalangite
Politician
Rapturous
Shatterer
Smasher
Sniper
Sorcerer
Thanatomancer
Tortoise
...{HaBeKoAK}CeVM{MfWnMiAK}TeAMDrIE{FoVMVSFi}{MuVMGhGlVpMo}HaWrSpWz{OgGlTrMo}{CeWnMfBeMiSk}
DrEE{GrFiFoGl}DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}DDArHaCKSpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMoHuVM{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}
DsWzDDHu{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}SpNeBaEEGrFE{HaAKTrCK}DsFESpHu{FoArNaBe}FeEE
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Post Friday, 19th May 2017, 21:58

Re: Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

Adding a UI for this would be supreme overkill.

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Post Sunday, 21st May 2017, 09:15

Re: Flavour Reform: Allow Choice of Skill for 'Predicate''

Thanks for the responses everyone. I'll respond to a few things explicitly.

Implojin wrote:I'd sooner see a reform of the underlying skill system to address this problem than slapping a coat of paint on the titles.

I'm not sure if this is trolling or just tone-deafness. "Flavour" is right there in the title; if you want to discuss skill mechanics reform, there's even a relevant thread on the topic active right now.

Something else I didn't mention in the OP but relevant here: whatever reforms are made to the skill system, as long as it allows for maxing out multiple skills at the same value, it would be nice at least to be able to choose which of those equal skills defines the character. Currently the game chooses via an opaque mechanism.

Sprucery wrote:As for the proposal, I'm all for it, as long as the player can also choose to go without a selected skill (so titles are given like currently).

mattlistener wrote:Instead of a whole new UI screen, it could just be a placeable flag on the skilling screen. Flag a skill you have >0 in, see the results in your character description. Or remove it to revert to default behavior.

chequers wrote:Adding a UI for this would be supreme overkill.

I originally called for an additional screen accessible from the % screen, but now I think that won't be necessary. I didn't want to do title-skill selection from the skill screen so that players would not under any circumstances confuse the choice of their title skill with the choice of a skill or skills to train. Now I think the most elegant solution would be to add one more toggle to the skill screen, like auto|manual or enhanced|base. As Sprucery points out, the default behavior should be "auto", that is, the game handles title assignment just like it does now. The player can switch to "manual" at which point their current title-bearing skill will be highlighted (ideally using a new color) and they'll be prompted to choose a new one. It's a far cry from a full-on UI, and it's only overkill if you think the whole proposal is.

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