Level effects

Although the central place for this kind of discussion is on the CDO wiki, some may find it helpful to discuss potential requests and suggestions here first.

Tomb Titivator

Posts: 822

Joined: Monday, 29th September 2014, 09:04

Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 01:02

Level effects

This is a proposal for a new mechanic: level effects. I'll start with the WHAT and then talk about WHY.


When a level is generated, there is a low chance for it to get a special effect. This would be a relatively rare occurrence, you would expect to see about one special level per 3-rune game. The effect could be good, bad, or neutral for the player.

Some example effects:

* This floor is poorly lit and you cannot see as far as normal (-LOS)
* You hear the rattle of bones... spooky! (all monsters are zombies or skeletons)
* You enter a lush greenhouse, it seems like plant life is taking over the floor (firewood appears, level generates as "ruined" with some grass and mossy floors, a few oklobs spawn).

Level effects can:
* Change map generation logic (eg generate the map "ruined")
* Modify the map after generation (eg replace tiles, add features)
* Modify monster set before placement (eg use a different branch monster set or depth)
* Modify monsters after generation (eg convert all monsters to zombies)
* Apply permanent passive effects (eg -Stlth+, increased trap rate)

Other details:
* Each level effect would be valid for only certain branches (eg zombie effect wouldn't fire in Crypt)
* Some places would be invalid for level effects (D:1, Abyss, Tomb, Zot:5, probably Hells, etc)
* Each floor can only have one level effect (at least initially)


I think level effects represent a relatively efficient way to add more variety to DCSS. A small number of effects that fire rarely will add a lot of novelty and replayability to the game ("remember that time I got zombie vault:5?"). Because level effects could modify multiple systems (map, monsters, passive effects) they can have good thematic cohesion, and because they are rare and localised they can be relatively intrusive without becoming annoying.

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Implojin, pedritolo, PseudoLoneWolf, runewalsh

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 8495

Joined: Sunday, 5th May 2013, 08:25

Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 01:25

Re: Level effects

While I don't see something fundamentally wrong with the idea of level effects, none of your suggested level effects sound compelling to me.
Derived undead, firewood, and oklobs are some of the worst monsters in the game. Ruin is already used quite a bit. +/- LOS or changing effective depth is more of a difficulty increase/decrease than anything else, which means you'll just do levels out of order (because DCSS allows backtracking). I can't think of any good ideas for level effects myself, either. The fact that you can backtrack really limits what you can do with level effects.

You also need to consider that this is quite a bit of additional stuff for new players to learn.

For this message the author duvessa has received thanks: 2
nago, Nekoatl

Ziggurat Zagger

Posts: 4074

Joined: Friday, 8th May 2015, 17:51

Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 06:49

Re: Level effects

That probably means effects should not care about backtracking, something like
1) you cannot enter Lair more than once
2) you cannot buy rings
3) you cannot use robes
4) you cannot train evocations
5) you cannot join gods in Temple
Underestimated: cleaving, Deep Elf, Formicid, Vehumet, EV
Overestimated: AC, GDS
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Tomb Titivator

Posts: 822

Joined: Monday, 29th September 2014, 09:04

Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 08:51

Re: Level effects

The effects would only apply on the level in question, to be clear.

Shoals Surfer

Posts: 277

Joined: Thursday, 11th April 2013, 21:07

Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 15:40

Re: Level effects

Instead of focusing on technical limitations, can we discuss the kinds of level feelings that would be fun to have in the game?

Pulling monstersets from other branches sounds fun for sure, especially if it's something that the player wasn't expecting to see in that game, like from branches that didn't generate.

duvessa wrote:The fact that you can backtrack really limits what you can do with level effects.

You also need to consider that this is quite a bit of additional stuff for new players to learn.

Re: backtracking: All you really need to do to address this is to couple level feelings with some flavor of short-term upstair-related trick. One option is dropping the player in away from any < (shaft/tomb-style), another option would be something like locking out+hiding the < on a small XP timer (mini-elemental evoker-style). Either of these would force some engagement with the floor and a possible downward dive. Granted, this kind of approach overlaps with shafts, but, y'know, people *like* shafts.

Re: New player info load: "This floor seems spooky" coupled with, e.g., a bunch of skeletons appearing, is pretty self-explanatory. The trick here is to not try and be subtle with level effects, I think.
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Halls Hopper

Posts: 78

Joined: Saturday, 10th March 2018, 18:00

Post Friday, 18th January 2019, 16:40

Re: Level effects

This floor feels... spooky. All monsters spawn as derived undead.
You hear scuttling within the walls.... Greatly increased chance of spider/insect spawns, replacing other normal spawns.
CRASH! You hear a cave-in in the distance. Only one down stair on this level.
This place seems to be on fire. Random short-lived clouds of flame spawn and despawn around the player. (Note that I'd love to make this "Around the whole level" but clouds disappear outside LOS of the player, seems redundant)
The fates are capricious... Every creature on the level is subject to Xom effects at random.
You feel a strong breeze blow past you. All creatures get rMsl on this level.
You're filled with determination! +1 to all skill XP modifiers on this floor. (Shouldn't be too abusable now that OOD timer spawns have been removed.)
The air hangs with the heavy fog of antimagic. Spells are harder to cast on this floor.
The magical essence of this place infuses you! Spells are easier to cast on this floor and cost one less MP.
The veil between worlds is thin here. Summoning spells call one extra creature on this floor.
A demented essence lurks here... Spawns one very powerful OOD neutral-aligned demon on this floor.
Reality is fragmented here. Level is corrupted with many areas from many different branches.
Reality is completely broken here. Abyss corruption, high chance of Lugonu altar(s).
The gods make their presence known. 100% chance of all god altars appearing on this level.
The gods have no power here. Active god powers unusable on this level. Passives remain in place.
You feel like you've missed something.... Completely removes this floor from the game and shunts the player to the next floor. Going up from the next floor skips this level as well. i.e., the dungeon skips right from D:4 to D:6.

Some of these are bad, I'm well aware. Just throwing out some ideas to facilitate discussion.

For this message the author PseudoLoneWolf has received thanks: 3
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