Diversify thrown vs slings


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Halls Hopper

Posts: 87

Joined: Monday, 14th March 2011, 11:14

Post Sunday, 12th January 2020, 16:53

Diversify thrown vs slings

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRm6lCl499w

I prefer weapon classes that differ a bit in use and are best in their own niche. Currently slings and throwing weapons are very similar. They're both ranged weapons that can be used with shields. The differences are that thrown weapons have a wider choice of ammunition (normal, silver, dispersal), seem to deal more damage, but slings can benefit from launchers (scrolls of enchant, brands, randarts). Honestly, I think that's not a lot. Especially that you may wish to spend your scrolls on melee weapons, in which case your sling will likely be plain and won't have an advantage over thrown. Also, Crawl lets you throw even if you wield a cursed weapon, no switching whatsover is necessary.

The ability I propose is Running Throw and it's inspired by history. You will note pictures and photos above show objects being thrown by running people, or at least people using their forward momentum to give the throw more power. It comes naturally when you try to throw stuff. You can throw while being stationary, but it's not as effective. It's easy to find images and photos of people performing running throw.

While sling can, and often was, used with a shield, I couldn't find any pictures of people who would run - or even lunge - with a sling.

In Crawl terms it would mean that the default way to use thrown weapons would be Running Throw. Each time you 'f'ire at an enemy, you throw and advance 1 tile towards it. Stationary throwing would either be not permitted or performed with 'F' (force throw at), and it would deal -20% damage. Naturally it would mean thrown weapons would be best for characters who favor melee, and that's okay. Thrown and Slings would become better defined. Slings are still pretty easy to find for early survival.

Thrown: a sidearm for characters who prefer melee
Slings: the most defensive ranged weapon
Bows & Crossbows: sacrifice shield defense for extra power. Bows and Crossbows can be diversified at a later time.

As a bonus, it creates an incentive to play without excessive luring.

Historically skirmishers and raiders did use short bows, but thrown weapons and slings were popular because they could work with shields. Skirmishers were especially good at ambushing archers, and many thrown weapons can double as melee weapons, so you could exploit poorly defended archers if an opportunity presented itself.

Side note: shorter versions of fustibalus can be used one-handed, but if it were to be realistic, it would be a 2-handed weapon and share the main weakness of bows and crossbows: no shield.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bFQYNfJqqY

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vt

Lair Larrikin

Posts: 27

Joined: Saturday, 7th December 2019, 17:58

Post Sunday, 12th January 2020, 17:55

Re: Diversify thrown vs slings

Interesting. And, for what it's worth, it's in line with the idea of distinguishing attack styles through positioning.

> Stationary throwing would either be not permitted or performed with 'F' (force throw at), and it would deal -20% damage.

The first, I hope. Crawl already has plenty of finicky interface complexity with questionable gameplay value. Maybe I am missing why having the option to do the second thing would be interesting?

I suspect a major concern for a player considering the new throwing will be that they are sharply cutting down the number of attacks they can make as the enemy closes with them. So damage per blow would have to be increased quite a lot to keep throwing as currently balanced (which maybe is not a concern for you?). Depending on how such a buff happens, standing still and firing at a -20% penalty may well be better than current throwing.

And whether or not such a buff happens, standing still and firing may well be better than rushing the enemy as you throw, since often you would trade off a 20% penalty for several more attacks. But I suppose your intention is not that the default is standing still and firing.

(Perhaps if piercing AC is a concern the player would want to move while attacking? But whether it is worth it to move and in so doing group your attacks into fewer and harder blows against a given amount of AC is going to be obscure to almost all players, and IMO the game does not give the kind of information that makes it good for players to think too hard about this sort of thing. That is, it is bad to add more mechanics that need fsimming and spreadsheet-making to deal with. This seems like a consideration even if the penalty is made much larger---say, closer to 50%.)

On the whole I suspect having one "mode" for throwing is easier to balance and less spoilery for the player to make decisions about.

On another note, what happens if you cannot move forward? (Say an enemy is in front of you, or deep water or lava.)

Halls Hopper

Posts: 87

Joined: Monday, 14th March 2011, 11:14

Post Sunday, 12th January 2020, 19:53

Re: Diversify thrown vs slings

vt wrote:Interesting. And, for what it's worth, it's in line with the idea of distinguishing attack styles through positioning.

That's what I sensed and why I came forth with this idea. I also toyed with a few ideas for quarterstaves, but I realized my ideas boiled down to bonuses against certain enemy types (disarming), which promotes weapon switching and not tactical positioning. Tactical positioning is more interesting because it remains viable no matter if it's an orc or giant iguana.
> Stationary throwing would either be not permitted or performed with 'F' (force throw at), and it would deal -20% damage.

The first, I hope. Crawl already has plenty of finicky interface complexity with questionable gameplay value. Maybe I am missing why having the option to do
the second thing would be interesting?

To be honest I also favor the first, more radical version. People who are very particular about ranged weapon choice can always go Hunter or Arcane Marksman. I presented the -20% standing throw variant to show I'm open to a compromise. That said, standing throw might be necessary to make it work in presence of invisible monsters or deep water. It would be strange if player was suddenly unable to throw at all.
I suspect a major concern for a player considering the new throwing will be that they are sharply cutting down the number of attacks they can make as the enemy closes with them. So damage per blow would have to be increased quite a lot to keep throwing as currently balanced (which maybe is not a concern for you?). Depending on how such a buff happens, standing still and firing at a -20% penalty may well be better than current throwing.

I recently played Gnolls (One 3 rune win) so that might explain why thrown seem to deal more damage than most launchers. I heard thrown benefits a lot from stats. In my experience thrown weapons don't lack power at all and don't need to be strengthened. Also as said above, it's a downside only for characters who fear melee, not for those who like it. For those who want to close in it would be an upgrade!

Poisoned darts deal low initial damage and are thrown, so if anything then those should have their physical portion buffed. Alternatively, move poisoned ammo to another launcher. They wouldn't fit the new proposed function of thrown. Boomerangs of Dispersal would also become self-contradictory.
And whether or not such a buff happens, standing still and firing may well be better than rushing the enemy as you throw, since often you would trade off a 20% penalty for several more attacks. But I suppose your intention is not that the default is standing still and firing.

In my vision, if you're a cautious player you might prefer Slings, Bows or Crossbows. Note that in many cases it's still beneficial to run at an ogre if you're damaging it from a distance. But overall I think it's good that player might stop and think sometimes. A throwing character will still be able to evoke a wand.

I like your reasoning about not having to crunch numbers (which a separate -20% damage mode encourages), fsimming etc.

Snake Sneak

Posts: 124

Joined: Wednesday, 15th January 2014, 07:08

Post Sunday, 12th January 2020, 21:11

Re: Diversify thrown vs slings

Or just eliminate bows and crossbows.

vt

Lair Larrikin

Posts: 27

Joined: Saturday, 7th December 2019, 17:58

Post Sunday, 12th January 2020, 21:24

Re: Diversify thrown vs slings

Thinking about it a little bit more, another consequence is that every speed 10 character will want to get at least 3 or so throwing and carry stones everywhere, since throwing will be a faster way to make an escape than walking :).

Halls Hopper

Posts: 87

Joined: Monday, 14th March 2011, 11:14

Post Sunday, 12th January 2020, 21:55

Re: Diversify thrown vs slings

Technically you could - both slings and thrown weapons have their 2-handed real life variants. 2-handed sling is staff sling, (fustibalus, 1-handed in the game). Two handed thrown weapons are heavy thrown axes and hammers. You hold them behind your head. The most famous 2-handed thrown axe was francisca (francesca) used by the Franks. You'd have to rework centaurs and yaktaurs though.

A common belief is that crossbows were more powerful than bows. *Modern* crossbows are. Recent research, particularly by reconstruction archeologists such as Tod Cutler* - cast strong doubt on that. Crossbows seemed to at best match the kinetic force of a war longbow. Stronger draw weight doesn't help much, you need to measure flight speed with chronometer and consider projectile's weight. In fact, because with shorter powerstroke bolts need to accelerate faster, they need to be thicker than arrows for bows, and as such don't penetrate as easily. We'll never know for sure how powerful historical crossbows were because these devices are much more complicated to make than bows and the knowledge has been lost, often only passed from master to apprentice as a trade secret. To give you an idea there are 9+ ways to load a crossbow. It seems however that their main advantages were different: you could hold them loaded for a long time, the bolt was always released the same way (accuracy) and you didn't need to be that strong to load them. Bows were the brute force weapon.

While replicas of historic steel crossbows have bad efficiency, Andreas Bichler**, an Austrian reconstruction archeologist has managed to recreate a XIV/XV century composite crossbow with a bigger punch. It weights 11.4kg (!) and is much more efficient. It manages 426 Joules compared to 120-150 Joules of a war longbow. Recurve/composite horn bows like Tatar and Turkish ones manage 131 and 142 J respectively, and they're pretty short***. Note the crossbow is so big it's hard to even carry around for one person, it's unlikely it would be used outside sieges.

The fustibalus (staff sling) I've seen manages around 115 J, and that's with stones, not even lead bullets.


* Tod's Stuff on youtube
** https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AA5M0QKXtWU
*** John Gibbs, a 170 pound guy who can draw a 210 pound bow.

Ziggurat Zagger

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

Post Sunday, 12th January 2020, 22:09

Re: Diversify thrown vs slings

Don't use the targeter. Do this instead: whenever you move, the weapon attacks the nearest monster in that direction. Instead of a standing throw, just allow melee attacks with the weapon.

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Zot Zealot

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

Post Sunday, 12th January 2020, 22:52

Re: Diversify thrown vs slings

duvessa wrote:Don't use the targeter. Do this instead: whenever you move, the weapon attacks the nearest monster in that direction. Instead of a standing throw, just allow melee attacks with the weapon.

So if you have javelins quivered and you step east in this situation: @....o -- you will automatically throw a javelin as you approach the orc? That would encourage me to quiver and unquiver javelins depending on if I wanted to throw them or not, which seems more annoying than having an explicit (f)ire action.

Ziggurat Zagger

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

Post Sunday, 12th January 2020, 23:44

Re: Diversify thrown vs slings

That's why I specified it as a weapon, not as ammo. Ammo and quivering would be gone in this hypothetical. There'd still be plenty of situations where you'd want to unwield the weapon, but unwielding isn't instant, at least.

Spider Stomper

Posts: 195

Joined: Monday, 7th April 2014, 06:11

Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 07:48

Re: Diversify thrown vs slings

How about this: Add "Throwable" as a possible ego (is that the correct term?) to daggers, pole arms, axes and hammers. (Except that Crawl has some silly stuff in it so why not all melee weapons? There are double and triple swords already.) It probably should only appear on a dedicated mundane version of each, but could appear on randarts. It always includes returning, so no mulching or ammo needed. You can use the weapon normally as melee weapon or fire it for a throw.

For this, the skills should be considered. Would it be better to ditch throwing and use only weapon skill, use a combination of throwing and weapon skill or just use throwing for throwing. (Not the last, since the you could just train throwing and be a Gnoll about thrown weapons).

Stones would just be sling ammo. Remove darts or add their effects to sling ammo. (Make them "puff balls" that create similar cloud effects as poisonous vapors spell)

Crypt Cleanser

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Joined: Thursday, 16th August 2018, 21:19

Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 10:46

Re: Diversify thrown vs slings

For what it's worth, I don't dislike the OP proposal, but I think throwing is already sufficiently differentiated.

Javelins are insane, throwing has good damage but ammo problems, and throwing even helps with darts. Throwing and slings are extremely different to me.

Crypt Cleanser

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Joined: Wednesday, 19th June 2013, 09:31

Post Thursday, 16th January 2020, 13:08

Re: Diversify thrown vs slings

I agree with the logic about running throws, and I like the idea of it.

My take:

- a -20% penalty on standing throws is probably not enough to discourage it, given that LOS is 7 tiles. This gives you approx 3 running throws, or 7 (or more) standing throws before close quarters engagement. It may still be optimal to do standing throws in all situations if the penalty is only 20%. A 50% penalty would make it into more of a choice. Care should be taken to not nerf characters who choose to train heavily and throw things as their main form of offence as they will want to avoid getting close to enemies. Perhaps something along the lines of the below (Taken from silver Javelins, I've cut base damage in half)

  Code:
Base damage: 5 Base attack delay: 1.5 Base Penetraton: 2
This projectile's minimum attack delay (0.7) is reached at skill level 16.  This projectiles maximum base damage (10) is reached at skill level 16. This projectiles max penetration (4) is reached at skill level 16.
This projectile can use the "running throw" ability to double its base damage and increase its penetration


  Code:
Running Throw

Throws the quivered projectile at the target enemy while running towards it.  The user will advance one square towards the target while throwing the projectile, and the projectile will deal increased damage. If the projectile is capable of penetration, it will penetrate through one extra enemy.

This ability costs:
Hunger : #......


-Running throw would be best suited to become an evocable ability to avoid too many mechanics changes leading to complaints about positioning. Or, perhaps the throwing targeter could change color (red/yellow beam) and/or have some kind of indicator in the missle path to highlight where the player will end up ( I attach a quick mock up I've done for a running throw). You could then have a button to toggle between running or standing throw while in targeting mode, and your preference could be remembered between throws.

-Slings and throwing are sufficiently distinguished in my opinion at the moment. However, I think Javelins have become slightly overpowered. I haven't used slings much, but I can't see any reason to use one (Except early game) over a character with a good melee weapon and Javelins / Boomerangs. Most of my recent melee characters kill 80% of their foes from afar with javelins, with a very small investment in the throwing skill; Even though I have their main weapon skill at mindelay. Standing in a one tile corridor with multiple enemies, it should not be optimal to throw javelins with low skill rather than hit stuff with your chosen, and mindelay trained weapon.

-Perhaps Javelins could have a max penetration of 2 enemies with standing throw, +1 with running throw, and more with sufficient throwing skill? (as per above example?)

Possible Running Throw graphical mock up

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