God: Ixool the Masked


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Post Sunday, 28th April 2019, 16:22

God: Ixool the Masked

Ixool is the God of fools and knows that all beings are flawed; therefore the only true path to
divinity is the rejection of ones self. Ixool commands her followers to reject their own identities
in favour of adopting new ones supplied by her in the form of divine masks which bestow
the wearer magically with the properties of whomever or whatever the mask represents.

At highest piety Ixool grants you the supreme power to (once only) rewrite history and change
yourself permanently into an entirely different species.

Abilities:

Borrow Mask (**)

Ixool will occasionally lend you or one of your allies a masks from her book of faces to aid you in
combat.

This could be passive or active, I prefer passive. If active then she could offer you a choice
between three different masks. Otherwise the mask is randomly selected from a pool. This part definitely needs some work
but here are some initial ideas:

Face of the Assassin: Bonus to dex, stealth, throwing, short blades
Face of the Werewolf: Speed, str, monstrous, bite attack
Face of the Void: Triggers sheer terror and/or insanity in any who gaze upon it
Face of the Angel: Enchants all with its sheer beauty. Monsters are distracted but helplessly drawn towards you
Face of Death: Drains the lifeforce of any who see it, causes draining and minor pain damage

Mirror Mask (*****)

Ixool will create a mask from a targetted being, allowing you to become them for a time.

This is basically a "mimic other" - you can take on the form of any other monster or even unique.
Your whole body will transform (melding may occur) although you do not gain their weapons or armour,
but you *will* gain their spellset and/or any innate abilities. Your own spells and abilities are
unavailable during this time. At higher invocations you can wear the mask for longer.

In the simple version the effect just applies immediately. However there is an alternate version
where you have to first kill the monster to create the mask, the mask is then saved for you and you can use
it later when you wish. You can only save one mask this way of course.

Costs: 6 MP, piety.

Rewrite History (******)

You may petition Ixool once to create a *permanent* mask of another species, rewriting your
history in the process. Once the mask is worn it can never be removed.

This once-per-game ability allows you to change your character's base species. Your XP will be
reapplied starting from XL:1 - so for instance if you switched to Demonspawn at XL:27 then you
would immediately go through all 27 levels again and gain all your mutations. You can also
make your stat choices over again. However even though your species has been rewritten, you
still performed all the same actions to get through the dungeon to where you are now - in other
words, you still invested in all the same skill training! Your skills will probably change
levels due to different aptitudes however. The interface should include the ability to preview
how your skills will look with the new aptitudes.

Any armour which can no longer be worn will be unequipped. Any random mutations which are
incompatible with your new species will simply disappear, as will any species-related permanent
mutations, e.g. demonspawn.

Special Ru clause: Rather than trying to apply Ru sacs to a new species that may have been
incompatible with certain sacs in the first place
... Ixool simply prohibits any followers who have
ever taken a Ru sacrifice!

Gaining piety:

When you kill a monster, Ixool is able to create a mask from them to add to her
book of faces. If the book did not already contain that monster's face then you gain an amount
of piety corresponding to their level. Uniques of course count as a different face to their
base monster type and award an additional piety bonus! (Note: Flavour-wise this is thematic and
differentiates Ixool a little from typical piety for kills or exploration. But, it perhaps encourages
scummy behaviour in that a player planning to take Ixool late-game could conceivably attempt to leave
various monsters alive all over the dungeon to go back and get the piety later. I have a couple
ideas how to tweak things around this but I'm interested in hearing other thoughts on this piety
mechanic first.)

Wrath:

Having rejected Ixool's masks and assumed your own identity, Ixool now lends her masks
to denizens of the dungeon as she sees fits, so monsters will frequently assume the masks of more
powerful beings. And of course, Ixool has now created a mask from your face as well!

Additional notes:

This idea was in part inspired by the Many-Faced God from ... er .... some show some of you might
have seen. Hopefully the flavour is different enough. This God has potential use for almost
any character in particular due to the 6* ability. Rerolling species is something I thought about
after seeing an artifact naga barding on D:1 - I know many people have posted similar finds
and "of course that will only happen when I'm not a naga". Well, here's a way to change that.
She is probably also an interesting option for players wishing to go into extended - once you know
what equipment/items/spells you have available, maybe a specie swap makes some branches
a lot more viable - even taking the perma-lich-form option of going mummy.

I feel like she's missing an ability around 3/4* but I'm not quite sure.

Anyway, interested in hearing any and all thoughts, criticisms, suggestions.

For this message the author mumra has received thanks: 2
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Vaults Vanquisher

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Post Sunday, 28th April 2019, 16:44

Re: God: Ixool the Masked

In my opinion, the way character building works in crawl is already too loose, but species at least somewhat constrains or at least shapes the long term possibilities for a given combo. Existing gods, e.g. Okawaru, Cheibriados, and especially Ashenzari undermine these distinctions among characters by dumping more effective skill on the character, or swamping out differences in stats with huge pluses, but they don't totally eliminate species. It becomes kind of a no-brainer for bad species to take this god, which strips out a lot of the impact those species have on the game.

The rest of the abilities seem similar to existing gods and spells in one way or another. Forms for each monster type seems pretty ambitious, but I would like to see that functionality available in the codebase regardless of whether it is even usable in any playable version.
This is where mechanical excellence and one-thousand four-hundred horsepower pays off.

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duvessa, nago

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Post Sunday, 28th April 2019, 17:35

Re: God: Ixool the Masked

tealizard wrote:In my opinion, the way character building works in crawl is already too loose, but species at least somewhat constrains or at least shapes the long term possibilities for a given combo. Existing gods, e.g. Okawaru, Cheibriados, and especially Ashenzari undermine these distinctions among characters by dumping more effective skill on the character, or swamping out differences in stats with huge pluses, but they don't totally eliminate species. It becomes kind of a no-brainer for bad species to take this god, which strips out a lot of the impact those species have on the game.


Well, it is an intended purpose of gods, to give the player powerful abilities to overcome deficiencies in their species/background. At 6* piety with any god you should have the tools needed to beat the game. The switch should probably incur a serious XL penalty though to make it less of a no-brainer. Anyway honestly I did sorta think this god was probably gonna turn out to be utterly broken ;)

tealizard wrote:The rest of the abilities seem similar to existing gods and spells in one way or another. Forms for each monster type seems pretty ambitious, but I would like to see that functionality available in the codebase regardless of whether it is even usable in any playable version.


Yeah ... I started realising the many many problems with "any form" and this simply needs to be toned down. And I agree that otherwise this is rather lacklustre for general play. I will sit on this and see if anything else turns up.

Blades Runner

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Post Monday, 29th April 2019, 04:38

Re: God: Ixool the Masked

It looks like an incredibly difficult God to balance and tweak, but it also sounds like it would be fun to play around with. One thing that caught my eye was the wrath causing monsters to become more difficult monsters would appeal to some people if they give more xp, so I think you'd want to prevent that from happening otherwise you could have people incurring the wrath intentionally to gain an edge.

I know I would enjoy changing all my spriggans, draconians, kobolds, and felids into gargoyles, but it wouldn't seem right how it would impact game statistics.

Dungeon Master

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Post Monday, 29th April 2019, 04:55

Re: God: Ixool the Masked

svendre wrote:I think you'd want to prevent that from happening otherwise you could have people incurring the wrath intentionally to gain an edge.


Certainly, they should only award their original XP value.

svendre wrote:I know I would enjoy changing all my spriggans, draconians, kobolds, and felids into gargoyles, but it wouldn't seem right how it would impact game statistics.


Why not just play as a gargoyle in the first place if that's all you want?

Regarding the statistics, I was thinking about this issue. I think the win should count as whichever character you spent most time as - measured by some metric like XP gained as each species rather than turncount, to prevent using this to abuse won combos.

Swamp Slogger

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Post Monday, 29th April 2019, 06:35

Re: God: Ixool the Masked

I like it! It's got a flexibility and (especially with the passive) unpredictability, but with active tools instead of the straight chaos of Xom. Though I have to think that it'd be a nightmare to try to get working, considering how many masks/situations/etc. are available.

As a 3* ability, I suggest one of two directions.

1. Fear of the Faceless
Akin to your suggested Face of the Void. Ixool temporarily takes your face for her book, leaving you faceless. During that time, you do not receive faces from her, but enemies have a (HD-dependent? MR-dependent?) chance of fleeing from you on any given turn.

Pros: Flexible - helps escaping dangerous situations, or setting up fights for you.
Cons: Could be hard to balance - if monsters flee easily it's too strong an emergency button and annoying as a combat tool; if they don't flee easily enough it could be a poor emergency option and an unreliable tactical option.

2. Masquerade
Every creature on screen is temporarily given a mask. This could go lots of ways. It could depend on the faces you've already collected, or it could work off polymorph logic, or something else entirely (replace with faces from other monsters that can spawn on that floor?). Could also have a chance to confuse/charm/frenzy enemies, if you think that's appropriate.

Pros: Powerful crowd-control ability, but could go wrong on you.
Cons: Might be hard to balance. If it's too powerful it can trivialize tough fights, and if not powerful enough it could be fairly useless. And if it works off monsters you've added to Ixool's book, it's open to micromanaging.
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Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 29th April 2019, 07:11

Re: God: Ixool the Masked

The masks are fine by me, but imo changing your species just does not belong in Crawl.
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DgEnFeNe{OpGlHuSu}DDArHaCKSpAEGrTmDgFEDsCjGhMoHuVM{HaAMBaEn}{HuMoHOWn}DsWzDDHu
{DgWnGnBe}FeIE{MiEnMfCj}SpNeBaEEGrFE{HaAKTrCK}DsFESpHu{FoArNaBe}FeEE{HOIEMiAE}GrGlHuWr

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Blades Runner

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Post Monday, 29th April 2019, 16:44

Re: God: Ixool the Masked

mumra wrote:
svendre wrote:I think you'd want to prevent that from happening otherwise you could have people incurring the wrath intentionally to gain an edge.


Certainly, they should only award their original XP value.

svendre wrote:I know I would enjoy changing all my spriggans, draconians, kobolds, and felids into gargoyles, but it wouldn't seem right how it would impact game statistics.


Why not just play as a gargoyle in the first place if that's all you want?

Regarding the statistics, I was thinking about this issue. I think the win should count as whichever character you spent most time as - measured by some metric like XP gained as each species rather than turncount, to prevent using this to abuse won combos.


I'll try to be a bit more clear. Instead of saying that I would (always) enjoy changing one race into an easier one, it's more of a temptation. Sometimes I do enjoy playing races that I feel are more difficult for variety, and a good reason to play online is for the statistics that build up over time. If I play a whole bunch of kobolds, and the track record is worse than say gargoyles (just one example), then there is some value to me in the difference between the two when comparing stats. So, if I was able to start a kobold and then change it into a gargoyle or something else (for most of the game), and it tracked as a kobold, that would contaminate the game statistics. I suppose if you track which race was used most, it might help with that problem.

I think it could still be a somewhat slippery slope. The reason for that is that certain races may perform better at different depths and in different branches and different stages of the game than others. I think still, the system could be gamed if you wanted to create your top (weak race) run, but actually let's say you played your species to enter the stats a total of 11% (and only later in the game when you had secured levels and gear), but nine other easier races each 9% or 10% of the game. Ok so, 9 race changes is an extreme example, but I'm just using it to make the point. I'm playing devil's advocate, but I cannot think of any better solution at the moment.

Blades Runner

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Post Monday, 29th April 2019, 17:58

Re: God: Ixool the Masked

Rather than full species change, you could have a mask that allows you to pick between a few packages of innate abilities. Something like "mask of formicid's digging" or "mask of gargoyle's per level AC" is probably too much, while "mask of Sinv and rPois" might not be strong enough, so there's some room for balanced options in there.

This also reminds me that a god of shapeshifting could be interesting, migrating the mimic ability over to that. Zin would adore the inclusion no doubt.

Ziggurat Zagger

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Post Monday, 29th April 2019, 19:00

Re: God: Ixool the Masked

I'm a bit wary about the perm species change. It'll kind of muddy the water about what counts for "winning a mummy". If I start as a mummy, take this god, and then reach 6* piety around the end of lair, and switch to a troll, did I still win a mummy? Does the species high score for challenge races become "who can switch to a VS/Spriggan/InsertPreferredSpeedrunRaceHere fastest"?

Borrow mask seems great. My preferred version of it would be to have it randomly applied while in combat, and then last until Ixool gives you a new mask. Ixool will change your mask periodically, which pushes characters towards hybridizing and being able to benefit from different masks. You would always have one mask active, but it may not be the one you want.

This also makes it easy to add an active ability which costs piety where you request a specific mask, for tough fights when you need to get the bonuses that match your build.

Then another active to create a unique mask based on a monster (who could be a unique or just a normal monster). This would then get added to the random mask rotation, as well as being requestable. There isn't a need to limit this to only one, although it may get cumbersome if the god really lets you make 30 masks.

If you feel the god needs another ability, wearing two masks as an active is a simple yet possibly powerful mechanic.

So an outline view of the abilities:

*, passive: Ixool randomly assigns you a mask during combat, which may be changed in later combats, but 1 mask is always active. A mask will last for a minimum amount of time to prevent this triggering repeatedly.
**, active, small piety cost: You can request a mask and that will be immediately activated, removing your random mask.
****, active, medium piety cost: Two faced - wear two masks at once. Active ability, when the second mask times out you return to having just the one normal mask active.
*****, active, medium piety cost: Create a new mask based on a monster, gets added to your mask pool.

I don't think the 5* needs to cost that much since it isn't really granting you any immediate benefit. If the player is a simple melee fighter, they can create more "fighter" masks in order to make the random mask more likely to match their build. But finding a unique with powerful spells might push them towards hybridizing, leading to interesting choices.

The god is ultimately very simple; you get a list of buffs and one randomly chosen. You can select a specific one for a cost, and add a second one for an additional cost. Duration of each mask could depend on invocations, possibly the effects also scale upward with higher invocations. Requiring you to be in combat for your mask to change is to try to avoid people resting until they get the mask they like, and letting people select the mask from ** also means you don't really need to try to scum the right mask. Resting a huge amount of time would just waste piety in any case.

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Post Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 08:55

Re: God: Ixool the Masked

I'm not sure whether species changing should be in the game, but I think it would be a shame if it was kept out for the sake of statistics. For the statistics, you could just call the species 'shapeshifter' if they ever used the ****** ability.
I also think actually that the Rewrite History ability would be most fun if it undid all Ru sacrifices (it's called "Rewrite History" after all) and if it could be used repeatedly. It would feel a little like Ash's Transfer Knowledge.

To avoid the change-species mechanic feeling exploity, I think it would necessitate very severe wrath. I'm thinking of Jiyva-style random species changes (+ a severe debuf), but maybe something else fits better.
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Halls Hopper

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Post Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 14:23

Re: God: Ixool the Masked

I like the idea of this god from a flavor perspective, and I also like the idea of drastically changing your playstyle mid-game, but IMHO permanently changing your race might be going too far. I definitely like the masks, though, and with a good amount of balancing and tweaking, this god would be a good addition overall. Perhaps Shapeshifters could worship her as well, and become neutral towards you should you worship her. :)

I don't have much criticism to say. Not that there aren't any issues, but I can't think of any specific improvements at the moment. Others are better and more qualified to give advice about this, so I'll leave it alone for now.

I hope this goes somewhere.
Relatively new to Crawl, and willing to help development in any way I can.

Lair Larrikin

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Post Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 19:26

Re: God: Ixool the Masked

First, I think this is a cool idea. It actually reminds me of Majora's Mask, on top of what you already referenced.

Second, I think tasonir provides some great input. Making it random turns it into something the player has to adapt to, as opposed to something that is inherently good. I think the addition of stat decreases to masks would also aid in balancing them.

Swamp Slogger

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Post Tuesday, 30th April 2019, 21:53

Re: God: Ixool the Masked

One of the major criticisms seems to be from the stat perspective - the whole "winning an X" thing.

I wonder if this could just be mitigated by making piety gain very slow (or the piety cost of abilities quite high) for Ixool. If you usually only reach max piety late in a 3-rune game, for example, then permanent shifts become the exception rather than the rule, and mainly only in 15-runers.

That way if you play a "challenge" species you've already done the hard part with them by the time you get a chance to change, so it shouldn't really mess up the stats for those.

Spider Stomper

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Post Wednesday, 1st May 2019, 07:40

Re: God: Ixool the Masked

From a coding difficulty perspective, it seems too difficult to mimic any monster and any species. In my opinion, the way we present certain masks to our enemies and the way we choose masks of certain species is possible.
For example,
First opinion: God sometimes gives your face to enemies. The masked enemy has become natural, attack maskless targets.(passive)
Second opinion: New power 'Invade( or replacement)'. Select one target. The target will be an illusion of the player. All enemies( on the floor) except the subject become allies. The duration is about 5-10turn.(Active)
Third opinion: Select one faces of a certain species.(about six?) Immediately raise by 1 xl.(just one)
Face of sprigan: Increase the speed, dex, stealth, EV. HP -10%
Face of minotaur: Add 2 Horn mutation, counterattack mutation, -WIZ, MR-
Face of formicid: Your have four arms now, -Tele
Face of mummy: Life protection 3, poison immunity, rot immunity, torment immunity, vulnerable to dispel undead and holy wrath-branded weapons, can't drink.
Face of troll: Increase the str, HP +10%, Add regen+, decrease int, dex, your can use giant clubs and giant spiked clubs now
Face of naga: Add seeinv, resist poison, can spit poison, gain additional AC as they grow, move very slowly
Or, let's unify the penalty into one. Add deterioration mutation rank 1.
It feels like this.

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