Remove Catoblepas


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Spider Stomper

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 05:39

Remove Catoblepas

Catoblepas has several problems that make it a poor fit into Crawl.

Catoblepas encourages scumming. Catoblepas itself is a fairly low-threat monster that allows you to successfully petrify high threat or unique monsters on the floor, provided you are willing to chain one of them around. Additionally, given Catoblepas have a ranged cloud attack, it is extremely easy to kite them in a way that presents zero risk to your character.

Catoblepas require unusual modifications to the cloud system. Typically, clouds damage you or have their effect on the same turn you enter them. However, to prevent Catoblepas from instantly and continuously petrifying players, Catoblepas clouds do not affect the players on the turn they are generated. This is an obtuse mechanic and it could easily be unclear and read that the clouds merely have a chance to petrify the player (as e.g. chaos, storm, or sickness clouds have a chance to impose status effects).

Because of this modification to the cloud system, Catoblepas are also very low threat monsters that encourage dragging them into a cleared open area so you can simply sidestep clouds and beat them to death. This is... vaguely interesting, in that it counteracts the usual desire to fight monsters in a corridor, but it also just turns them into a joke.

The Catoblepas vault typically found on L:6 is an autoexplore trap, with at least one corner having a long narrow path that ensures any players autoxploring will be petrified by the catoblepas at the end of the vault. This is not necessarily a mark against the monster, but if the way Crawl has decided to make them interesting is "set up a special-case that bypasses the special-case we made to stop them from being bullshit", it's not a good sign they're a useful addition to the game.

Overall, I just don't see the benefit of Catoblepas unique breath mechanic/movement requirements outweighing the fact they're weak monsters that let you petrify enemies freely and need an autoexplore trap to be remotely threatening.

Alt suggestion: Let Catoblepas cast Orb of Petrification, which is like an Orb of Destruction that can't be blocked and guarantees petrification.

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 06:31

Re: Remove Catoblepas

Note that they are slightly tougher and harder hitting than death yaks are, and the clouds do a small amount of impact damage. For their depth they aren't exactly "harmless" although they don't seem to be especially dangerous if you encounter them alone, (they obviously get potentially nasty when encountered *with* a death yak or elephant pack)

Also, while it is theoretically possible to avoid their cloud attacks indefinitely without killing them, dragging them around indefinitely without either killing them or getting petrified doesn't seem plausible (at least not in so far as being able to drag them anywhere you could use their clouds to kill anything more dangerous than they are, maybe if there's a nasty hydra or something on the current floor?)

As you point out, they are a "tactic spoiler" they actually prohibit what are "usually good" tactics (aka fighting in a corridor) which IMHO makes them one of the more interesting things you are going to encounter in the lair, at least.

Also, the autoexplore trap you mention actually stops you in the square *just outside* the point at which it would be a death trap, you have to move one step closer to him (instead of diagonally away) to put yourself in a position to be unable to escape petrification, or at least that's what I recall happening the last time I encountered it. Maybe it's more of a newbie trap than an autoexplore trap?

I do agree that if it's retained, that the "you get petrified if you stand around in this cloud" part should be communicated better.

Also the orb of destruction mechanics are even worse and more abusable than the "there's a line of clouds here that you shouldn't stand in" mechanic.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 06:39

Re: Remove Catoblepas

I was thinking, if anything just make them bellow very loudly in rage when they first see you and at various points during the encounter. Like scroll of noise level noise, its a big, angry bull. Because the one thing that makes them more dangerous is having more enemies on screen at the same time. Can't imagine dragging a dangerous unique around just so I can try to get it petrified in cloud. That cloud can petrify me, too, and you aren't always able to step out if for example the encounter starts in a bad area or, specifically, if the other monsters are blocking your free squares! Not to mention taking repeated move actions when adjacent to a dangerous unique is maybe not the best course of action, if those move actions are not simply moving away from the unique and instead constrained to moving to specific squares which may very well be adjacent to the unique.

I like the monster, personally. Its interesting because it is different, and it was one of the first monsters to really drive through to me as a new player, that position is important even in an open battle.

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 06:40

Re: Remove Catoblepas

If Catoblepas looks easy to some players, maybe it should come with a pack of fast monsters: Black Mambas and/or Blink Frogs, the latter can be more fun with their block retreat path ability

Edit. Ninjaed by crawlnoob.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 06:49

Re: Remove Catoblepas

Another possible idea, in addition to making them noisy: Give them rage like the polar bears, only for their first action upon raging is to snort a huge cone (starting with 3 squares width in front of the catoplebas) of dust at the player. Make them immune to their own cloud effect of course, if not already.

Now the "safe" square is adjacent to a raging monster, assuming the player was already in melee. Not such a push-over any more, good luck dealing with any other monsters petrified in that cone in the meantime. My bet is you will probably be burning a consumable at this point.


Alternatively: Catoblepas, despite its aggressive nature, is a deeply caring creature with a surprising softside; it mates for life. Catoblepas are always found in pairs.
Last edited by crawlnoob on Thursday, 28th September 2017, 06:55, edited 1 time in total.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 06:53

Re: Remove Catoblepas

For extra fun let the accompanying monsters be resistant to petrification (gargoyles?).
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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 06:57

Re: Remove Catoblepas

Sprucery wrote:For extra fun let the accompanying monsters be resistant to petrification (gargoyles?).

Stone-birds that live off the victims who blunder too close. They move and hit like harpies, but won't wander too far from their bull.

Abyss Ambulator

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 08:07

Re: Remove Catoblepas

Petro-shrike!

If this game needs anything, it's more shrikes.

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Crypt Cleanser

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 11:23

Re: Remove Catoblepas

Monsters with mechanics that can be turned against them with good play are great.

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 13:10

Re: Remove Catoblepas

"Hard Shrikes"

I like the catoblepas. I think it's fun, and can be an extremely interesting ally, I think you can get some through Nemelex.

As an enemy, the breath can save you or kill you, depending on many factors, but it forces you to think, which is imo 1000% better than a MR check.
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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 20:29

Re: Remove Catoblepas

Siegurt wrote:As you point out, they are a "tactic spoiler" they actually prohibit what are "usually good" tactics (aka fighting in a corridor) which IMHO makes them one of the more interesting things you are going to encounter in the lair, at least.
To me, this raises the question of "why don't catoblepas show up in places with more enclosed terrain?"

I don't think I've ever encountered a catoblepas and not been able to step out of the clouds easily, as is the only time I get petrified by them is if I'm not paying attention and just tabbing.

Halls Hopper

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 20:58

Re: Remove Catoblepas

Catoblepas abuse (leading them, using their own clouds as weapons) is possible when you play Gargoyle, since you're naturally immune. I usually can do it well since when playing Cheibro I'm slow enough that they can follow me around without me trying to do it. Also, I don't get the "tougher than death yaks" part. Stat-wise it seems true, but in action I always have an easier time killing them than Death Yaks, even one-on-one. Probably just my perceptions.
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Barkeep

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 21:18

Re: Remove Catoblepas

IMO, either gargoyles shouldn't be immune to their clouds, or catoblepases shouldn't try to cloud them.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 22:08

Re: Remove Catoblepas

^Gargoyles are statues, so you can't logically petrify (turn to stone) a statue.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Thursday, 28th September 2017, 22:54

Re: Remove Catoblepas

Alphaeus wrote:Catoblepas abuse (leading them, using their own clouds as weapons) is possible when you play Gargoyle, since you're naturally immune. I usually can do it well since when playing Cheibro I'm slow enough that they can follow me around without me trying to do it. Also, I don't get the "tougher than death yaks" part. Stat-wise it seems true, but in action I always have an easier time killing them than Death Yaks, even one-on-one. Probably just my perceptions.


If you are fighting them with
Gargoyles, they will be weaker than death yaks, as breathing their clouds amounts to a no op that they could otherwise be using to whack you, also if you are using the council (as walking around them gives you free strikes when they breathe)

Also death yaks are rarely solo and appear earlier, so that might also factor into that perception.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 29th September 2017, 03:21

Re: Remove Catoblepas

If catoblepodes stay, they should at least petrify you immediately instead of requiring you to stay in the cloud for an extra turn. I have been complaining about this since they were reduced; if you can just avoid it by moving out of the cloud, the monster is a complete joke.
I suspect they will still be borderline irrelevant to non-Chei characters due to being slow - they'll definitely still be less dangerous than basilisks.

An orb of petrification wouldn't improve this since if it works like IOOD, you can just move to dodge it, same as with actual IOOD.

Swamp Slogger

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Post Friday, 29th September 2017, 04:23

Re: Remove Catoblepas

duvessa wrote:If catoblepodes stay, they should at least petrify you immediately instead of requiring you to stay in the cloud for an extra turn. I have been complaining about this since they were reduced; if you can just avoid it by moving out of the cloud, the monster is a complete joke.
I suspect they will still be borderline irrelevant to non-Chei characters due to being slow - they'll definitely still be less dangerous than basilisks.


Instant, unbreakable perma-petrify. Fun and interactive!
I'm with tasonir on this one.

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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Friday, 29th September 2017, 06:17

Re: Remove Catoblepas

What? It wouldn't do anything a basilisk can't already do. It wouldn't be perma-petrify and it wouldn't be instant. Petrify is never instant (which itself probably keeps it a non-threat, but that's another discussion).

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Post Friday, 29th September 2017, 12:45

Re: Remove Catoblepas

Shard1697 wrote:
Siegurt wrote:As you point out, they are a "tactic spoiler" they actually prohibit what are "usually good" tactics (aka fighting in a corridor) which IMHO makes them one of the more interesting things you are going to encounter in the lair, at least.
To me, this raises the question of "why don't catoblepas show up in places with more enclosed terrain?"

I don't think I've ever encountered a catoblepas and not been able to step out of the clouds easily, as is the only time I get petrified by them is if I'm not paying attention and just tabbing.

There is that Lair:$ vault that has the treasure chamber at the end of a long width-1 corridor, with a catoblepas in the treasure chamber.

I like catoblepas a lot, but I did need to be told on tavern that one gets a free turn in the cloud before petrification starts, which one can use to step out of the cloud. Before that was spoiled to me, they were terrifying creatures that made me skip levels. I've not x-v's a catoblepas in a while, but that would be a good place to hint towards this tactic.
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Post Tuesday, 3rd October 2017, 00:40

Re: Remove Catoblepas

Just make all monsters immune to Catoblepas petrification. There's no longer any incentive to keep them alive, and they're still interesting in confined spaces.

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Post Tuesday, 3rd October 2017, 01:02

Re: Remove Catoblepas

mrob wrote:Just make all monsters immune to Catoblepas petrification. There's no longer any incentive to keep them alive, and they're still interesting in confined spaces.

This would make them easier for anyone with allies, unless you make allies subject to petrification in some hand-wavey way.
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