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Race Suggestion: Muet

PostPosted: Friday, 9th March 2018, 23:00
by Tumalu
Forum signups work again! And now I can be a dork and share the concepts I've been designing. When I read the thread for Goblins, scroll-less sounded interesting, but I wanted to take the idea in a completely opposite direction; Silence. Hence, the Muet, a species cursed with permanent silence. (Yes, it's french for Mute. Google didn't turn up any silent mythological races, and silent spectres are... well, spectres. Feel free to suggest a better race name.)

Quick Summary
  • Cannot read scrolls, but can still cast and invoke with bad apts, even under Silence. Take that, Ereshkigal!
  • Learns abilities to remove curse, enchant equipment, and auto-ID magical jewellery. These are almost purely to offset core issues of scroll-less.
  • Enchant equipment is limited; gain 1 charge per 2 LvlUps. 14 uses at lv27, and more are gained for further XP ala felid lives.
  • Silence field (a)bility. The race's positive ability. Power increases with XL. Costs draining, has a cooldown.
  • Good innate magic resistance, high mp mutation (offsets bad spellcasting apt)
  • Awful spellcasting apt due to silence, but high magic schools. Good armor/bad dodging on a stealthy and magically capable race. Well suited to more hybrid builds.
Possible Aptitudes:
*Fighting/melee/ranged:All 0, Staves +1 (Maybe -1 Throw/Sling/Bow?)
*Armor:+2, Shields:0, Dodging:-2, Stealth:+3~4
*Spellcasting:-3, Most Magic Schools:+2, Charms:+3, Elemental Magic:+1
*Invo:-2, Evo:+2~3, EXP:0, MP:+1

Concern:Magic schools were originally +1, but I was concerned Spellcasting/magic school apt merely balanced eachother out in terms of spell success, equivalent to standard -1 cast and 0 schools, while also penalizing spell levels/hunger... on a race meant to be good with magic. However, the current apt set might be too skilled at hybridizing. Then again, they can't use any scrolls and have fewer spell levels with no Amnesia scroll, so. Feedback?

The dodging/armor apt might seem to mismatch overall theme at first glance, but this race is accustomed to enchanting and using good equipment, and cursed silence does not mean dextrous. Melee builds don't miss the spellcasting apt that much whilst being able to train up for individual schools or spells fairly well (e.g. enchanters), and spellcasters enjoy high apts and more AC than usual due to using all self-enchants for AC and +2 armor skill. I considered an HP penalty, but figured inability to use escape scrolls probably covers it.

Full Examination:
A humanoid race that has been cursed with eternal silence. The Muet are stealthy, but not unmatchably so; their body still makes noise, although they cannot speak. They have learned the art of speechless spellcasting over generations, and in the process grown adept at sensing magical power and enchantment as well as applying their own enchantments to their gear. Particularly skilled Muet can share their curse, emitting a field of unnatural silence around them. However, spellcasting and the invocation of godly powers is still made much more difficult by their curse, and they cannot evoke the power of magical scrolls.

  • Decursing ability at lv5~7:Necessary without scroll of remove curse. As opposed to ignoring curses, this preserves curse system and ability to worship Ashenzari.
  • Auto-ID of jewellery:This is purely because you don't have ID scrolls to avoid wield-IDing amulets of faith. Being afraid to ever try on a new amulet later in the game would just be annoying as heck, and this makes more sense than having a special exception just for amulets of faith. (I anticipated resistance to suggesting they ID all non-artifact equipment)
  • Potions can only be identified by blind-quaffing or purchasing them from a shop. Hello Gozag/Ashenzari. (Unless it's decided this is also annoying as heck.)
  • Silence Field:The key race-defining ability. Regular access to Silence greatly assists against many uniques, quite a bit in Elven Halls and Tomb, and to a lesser degree in Shoals and Snake. It does not help at all in Lair/Swamp/Slime, and only against Entropy Weavers in Spider and some draconians and liches in Zot. (Although boy will you enjoy silencing liches!) It holds some use in vaults and depths, but not extensively. Keep in mind this is not passive, and if you can't kill all the spellcasters before the range shrinks (or even get them into range of it at all!), they're still going to be a problem.
  • Enchant Gear:Overall, they have less enchantment than scrolls usually grant, but with more stability and control; it's not split between weapons and armor, so you can pump up armor while spellcasting or waiting for the right base weapon... or freely buff weapons if you get a nice armor randart. Overall, probably a minor buff compared to conventional enchantment, but you can't +9 your sweet demon trident as soon as you find it unless you sacrifice AC to do so.
I did consider part of a scroll-less character could be the weaker equipment, but I decided it does really unfun things to the meta. Weapon-using characters would really want oka/trog for actual good equipment gifts, and any well-enchanted randart armor would be disproportionately useful- plus the pain if you never get any and face lategame with +0 dragon armor and a +3 weapon. The race would overall be much more biased to spellcasting due to inferior AC and weapon power without said god gifts. It just doesn't sound like it works out well.

As for the silence, it's worth considering that after you complete depths and vaults, most casters (orb of fire, electric golem, and all demons iirc) are actually immune to silence, leaving noise reduction as the main effect outside of Tomb. Granting a small permanent silence field near/at max level might not be unreasonable, when a character has likely already done most/all of Vaults/Depths. Even granted at lv25~27 it notably affects those seeking 15 runes... and in hell/pan it mostly only reduces enemy-sourced noise. Late-game switch to noiseless Qazlal, anyone?

Also, I'm not sure how they use Zin's Recite ability. Aggressive sign language at the demons???

Re: Race Suggestion: Muet

PostPosted: Saturday, 10th March 2018, 07:05
by despairbutalsodespair
bloated as hell

Re: Race Suggestion: Muet

PostPosted: Saturday, 10th March 2018, 10:52
by Majang
I like it and I would like to play it. Interesting concept, good use of stats to make the character stand out.

Re: Race Suggestion: Muet

PostPosted: Saturday, 10th March 2018, 15:59
by Tumalu
despairbutalsodespair wrote:bloated as hell

There is a numerous amount of abilities (three, which IS abnormally high for innate species powers)- but everything except the silence field is more or less a required "this stops the scroll-less feature from ruining everything" by adding back a basic feature every other character always has. At least the alternate enchant system adds slight interesting difference from the norm, as opposed to merely replacing the feature. Although at best, it just gives you a few extra AC earlier in the game.

The only power here that isn't on all characters is Silence; it comes down to whether that makes for a good race gimmick. (Or whether scroll-less is too un-fun of a detriment)

Re: Race Suggestion: Muet

PostPosted: Monday, 12th March 2018, 02:45
by bhauth
Tumalu wrote:everything except the silence field is more or less a required "this stops the scroll-less feature from ruining everything" by adding back a basic feature every other character always has

How about this?

Any speaking action creates silence for X turns, with radius = turns remaining.

spells = 1 turn per spell level
shouting = 3 turns
scrolls = 7 turns

-1 weapon aptitudes
+2 spellcasting and conjurations

The inability to cast multiple high-level spells in a row plus good magic aptitude would encourage hybrid characters, but pure melee characters could neutralize casters in melee range by shouting every 3 turns in exchange for slightly low aptitudes.

Re: Race Suggestion: Muet

PostPosted: Monday, 12th March 2018, 05:42
by Tumalu
How about this?

The species would be more interesting if the silence was more than just "innate usage of Silence spell", but I hadn't thought of a good way to work with that. More complicated ideas tend to be too hard to balance; "simple and sweet" is usually the way to go.

With your idea, when you want to use spells/invocations more than melee, optimal play becomes walking away from the monster between each cast... which sounds un-fun. I think it'd also almost force a melee brute build, with a nice god whose abilities will silence you instead of magic, while doing more for less XP investment. Conjurations don't do well without multiple casts until you reach high level ones that will require wearing light armor; but you need good armor since you'll be forced to melee if you can't wipe things out in a single spell.

Plus as a melee brute, you won't end up silenced much (it'd be almost never if it wasn't for invoking gods), and get to disable spellcasters with few downsides, which is too powerful of a bonus for too little cost. They aren't penalized enough for their silencing, while hybrids are penalized too much and sound annoying to play even if, say, they had no armor penalty on casting. I tried to think of some other tweaks (this post took literally an hour plus and used to be vastly larger), but they made more problems than they fixed.